I Don’t Think I’m a Feminist

Well not in a literal sense and there are so many variations today I think it’s probably best left to the women as I wouldn’t want to encroach, it’s laughable in one way that women create a movement to give them independence from males within a male dominated society and men want to join in, hmmm? Yesterday there was a landmark occurrence that may have gone unnoticed? The British Athletics governing body has selected more women than men to represent us at the European Athletic Championships for the first time in history. Let me take you back fifty one years to 1967. A young woman named K.V. Switzer entered the Boston Marathon, nothing wrong with that I hear you cry. Well actually there was; you see, it was for men only, as women were considered too fragile to run a marathon, yeah? Tell that to the Kenyans and Ethiopians lol. She entered under the name K.V. Switzer so no one noticed until race day. An official then tried to oust her from the race and failed.

Boston My but how far have you come, ladies. So, I might not be a feminist, but God bless you all 🙂

Running Girls

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Posted in Athletics, Freedom, History, Life, Opinion, people, Running, Sport, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Hemingway’s Birthday (More Than Just a Writer?)

I can be a bit of a sucker for ‘stars’ probably because I grew up watching the likes of Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton and Steve McQueen. Their lives off stage were as interesting as the characters they portrayed, so it’s not surprising that when it came to authors ‘Papa’ would captivate me. If you are readers and what blogger isn’t? Then I don’t need to rant about his books, you know who he is.

 

Go back over a hundred years to WW1 and Ernest was a young, bored volunteer ambulance driver for the Red Cross in Italy, so he offered to deliver chocolates and cigarettes to the front line. While chatting with some soldiers a mortar explosion left him with 237 shrapnel fragments in his leg, he then carried a seriously injured soldier to safety whilst under machine gun fire and was shot in the knee. The Italians awarded him the Silver Star for valour. The stone was set 🙂

 

He was a hard drinker and maybe that contributed to his list of misdemeanours, but during his life he managed to pull a skylight down upon his head, break his leg in a car accident and shoot himself in the legs trying to kill a shark. He was badly burned helping to fight a bushfire, he survived two plane crashes (one of which supposedly killed him) emerging with first degree burns, internal bleeding, ruptured kidney, ruptured spleen, ruptured liver, a crushed vertebra and a fractured skull. He was by no means safe from disease and he survived anthrax, malaria, pneumonia, dysentery, skin cancer, hepatitis, anemia, diabetes and high blood pressure.

 

In WW2 he converted his boat the ‘Pilar’ to a Nazi submarine detector and embarked upon a search and destroy mission that lasted a year. He then joined the allied forces in Europe as a war correspondent and having disregarded his non-combatant attire (in violation of the Geneva Convention Guidelines for the press), formed a small unit of  resistance fighters assumed the title of Colonel and liberated the Paris Ritz. Upon entry he greeted his old friend the barman and ordered 73 Dry Martinis 🙂 An investigation afterwards accused him of assuming the title of Colonel and storing arms in his room. To which Hemingway replied that it was a nickname given to him by the men and as for the arms he said he was just looking after them. Several friends gave character references and he was not only cleared but awarded the Bronze Star for bravery.

 

Ernest Hemingway was not always a gentleman, he was not always a good husband and certainly not always a good father, but most of his books came from his experiences so, like the man or not, he was a helluva writer and a helluva a man. So Happy Birthday ‘Papa.’ I, for one, will be raising a glass to you tonight. 🙂

Posted in Blogging, Books, Hemingway, History, Life, Opinion, people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Live to Run, Run to Live

The story so far; when I was a kid I was pretty damn good at athletics but someone put paid to the enthusiasm, remember Mr Trudd?  he was the teacher who loved to batter the ‘less able.’ By the time I was eighteen I was travelling and diving with ‘The Master’ you’ll have to go back to the ‘So I Left Home’ series if you’re curious , but it was ‘he’ who got me back into running, albeit only to improve lung capacity. I nearly took it seriously again when I was thirty something, but as always the facilitation of life intervened so I was a part time lover runner (that was Stevie Wonder) Then again mid fifties the urge struck again and I developed a calf injury that has taken five years to sort. Now I am determined nothing is going to stop us now (that was Starship). AHH, but where is your inspiration you old fool, I hear you cry. It’s right here:

The British Athletic team and I was lucky enough to be there for the Championships two weeks ago. Plus I discovered the Masters it’s like the Olympics for old people, well 35+. So, what’s the plan you cry? Or, you’ve already clicked close and you are now reading a blog about how a one legged fireman saved a cat from a forest fire in Patagonia? Anyways, four months ago after ‘princess bride,’ found a physiotherapist who actually knew what he was doing I am kinda back 🙂 Capture

The result sheet is from the Park Run Site, it’s free to enter and a phenomenal idea. Now you statisticians out there must love this 🙂 but, basically from April to June I’ve increased my performance by 10% and knocked over 3.5minutes off my 5k time, which means I need to knock off a further 6 minutes as 17 minutes for a 5k is International level, but you know what? ‘If you can dream it you can do it,’ who said that? Oh! and don’t unfollow me this isn’t turning into Charlie’s running diary. Next week it’s hanging baskets and bird boxes 😉

 

Posted in Athletics, Blogging, Humour, Life, Lifestyle, Opinion, people, Running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

A Night in the Forest

Aha, you’re expecting a ‘Blair Witch Tale’ with deceased witches, selfies and gore? I wish I’d written that now, but, nope, sorry this is musical with a degree of nostalgia. We had a night in the forest last weekend Dalby Forest in fact, but it was with Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot and they aren’t scary in the least. Some performers are always reliable, you know that they’re going to give a hundred percent. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot are such performers. Remember the House Martins and Beautiful South?

Well he’s still around with three new albums under his belt and having retained that distinctive voice and of course that northern sense of humour it’s good old value for money.Real talent survives and keeps pushing the boundaries.

Apart from anything else it was a lovely way to spend an evening in the Dalby Forest and the view from hotel was picturesque 😀

Then on Sunday it was off to Scarborough. It’s amazing that Peasholm Park hasn’t changed since I was a kid. The island still has an Oriental Style first designed by Harry. W. Smith a council engineer way back in 1911, were not great lovers of change in Yorkshire. “If it’s naught broke, tha’s no need to mend yon” I would say they continue to reconstruct Naval Battles as the boats are still there complete with the ‘Explosives Store.’ I remember being so surprised as a kid when a man got out of one 🤪

I spent some great times here as a kid, exploring ‘The Monkey Walk’ which was basically a night walk through the island with a few lights and of course wrestling at the Spa, which wasn’t fixed in any shape or form. 😀 But one of my fondest memories was sneaking into a room shared by two teenage girls on holiday by themselves for the first time. We used to sit and chat away for ages until my parents dragged me away, well, I was only eight years old. How times have changed 😘

Posted in Blogging, Family, Humour, Life, nature, Opinion, people, Scarborough, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

So, How did Zak do?

You know what? It really didn’t matter, yup I know; me = Mr Competitive. He enjoyed the experience and at 16 years old and he was the only student of mine that was willing to enter, that’s what really counts. The SkillBuild Competition is a great way for young Construction people to come together and pit their skills against each other.

So Zak finished 4th, but if you take into account that all the other competitors were at least two years older than him and he’s only been in my class since September, he did really well and there is always next year. Pride doesn’t even come into it 😀

Posted in Blogging, Carpentry, Education, Further Education, Life, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Competition and Stats

I’m not sure if the two are related. I am definitely competitive and that is why I am at the Skill Build Competition in York College today. Although I’m not competing my Level 1 student Zak is.

The thing is, he’s very comfortable and laid back and I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof 🤪. I don’t think it’s supposed to be that way around 😀. It’s a great event as kids and seniors get to compete from all over the country and some of the skills are extraordinary. Zak has still got a few hours to go and then we have to wait for the judging. So watch this space 🙏.

“What about the stats,” I hear you cry? Ah, yes, I’m not particularly competitive with my stats, but it’s lovely to see them rising and today I reached 1000 followers so thank you, lovely people for following me and I love you all (a bit dramatic, but it is me 🤪)

Posted in Blogging, Carpentry, Education, Life, Opinion, people, York | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

The School Bully and Why I didn’t Run

This is a true story but the names have been changed if you recognise yourself then it’s probably you 🙂 Every school has a bully, ours was called Mr Trudd he was around forty five, we were twelve-years-old. He had a size ten plimsoll, we had our backsides. This was the 70’s so it was OK to beat us or cane us, it kept us in line 🙂

 

This wasn’t the problem, we were from a Bradford council estate so we spent a fair bit of time beating each other. No, the problem was his intolerance of the weak and the ‘different.’ He was our P.E teacher and my personal battle began on a sunny afternoon in the Gym. Mr Trudd loved circuit training and there appeared to be a hold up at the rope climbing exercise. I took a wander over and there was George, he was a rotund kid who obviously had some form of affliction, I mean this wasn’t overeating he was literally round. Mr Trudd was beating him with a wooden wedge because George wouldn’t climb the rope, as if he could, I mean he could hardly get out of a chair. But, he was holding up the circuit (a ‘Mr Trudd’ mortal sin). There was something about this poor little fat kid with red face, red eyes and tears streaming down his face that made Jack very angry, remember Jack 🙂

I have no idea what was in my head at the time, but I said. “I’ll climb it Sir, he’s holding up the line!” Trudd turned, George ran off and I climbed. When I got to the top I pulled myself over the beam and shouted down that I was stuck. OMG! Two hold ups in a matter of minutes. Trudds head became quite red and he began to shout.                                             “What do you mean your stuck, lad?”                                                                                                “Don’t know Sir, I’m stuck.”                                                                                                              “Un-bloody-stick yourself and get down here!”                                                                         “Can’t Sir, I’m stuck.” This continued for about five minutes until he sent his star climber to help me down. Trudd had a quandary, he couldn’t beat me as it appeared to be some sort of emergency, so he announced the emergency was over and we resumed.

Now this episode gave me ideas. It wasn’t a conscious thing it was done on impulse, but I began to wage a war of non-conformity. Mr Trudd was like the P.E teacher in ‘Kes.’ but with an evil streak. When we played cricket in the school yard I hit the ball over the wall, a crime that got you sent off, but held up the game. In circuit training the line was held up constantly due to my mishaps 🙂 I got stuck on the bar, I fell off the horse, I tripped when we ran up and down the hall bringing everyone down  behind me and on the high jump after knocking off the bar I lay motionless until Mr Trudd helped me to my feet. George had become insignificant 🙂 Then I made a fatal error, I was by far the best distance runner in the class. One day as I entered the home straight a hundred yards in front of everyone else and Trudd shouting encouragement I slowed down to cross the finish line 5th or 6th. That was too obvious; that deserved a beating 🙂 I began to think that maybe I couldn’t win so I told my Dad about his treatment of us all and he promptly wrote to the Headmaster, who showed the letter to Trudd. The next P.E lesson Trudd hauled me out in front of the class and said that I wouldn’t be doing P.E anymore until he had a letter of apology from my Dad. So that was the end of my athletic career.

But, in spite of Mr Trudd I came back eventually 🙂

Posted in 1970'S, Athletics, Education, Humour, Life, Opinion, people, Running | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Fun in Zakynthos, That’d be Greece :-)

Did I mention I was off to Greece? Well it is half term and you wouldn’t teach if it wasn’t for the holidays. The last time I went on holiday I met the girls; do you remember the lovely dancers in Cyprus, Lisa, Laura, Emily and Kizzy?

Well, so far no dancers, but as you would expect the people, the weather and the food are wonderful. The first few days were extremely quiet as the hotel had opened the day we arrived for the season. Somewhat like ‘The Shining’ except the staff weren’t dead and there was no blood running down the walls 🙂

I love the Greek philosophy, the layback style. I was sitting on my balcony when I heard the cock crow, it was 7pm 🙂 On the second day I toddle down to reception where I receive a huge smile from the young lady. “Kalimera,” she says.

“Hello,” I say. “My shower only spurts forward and last night I lost an eye.” (It was a posh shower with jets everywhere) ” Maybe it is supposed to be like that?”

She smiles again. ” Maybe it is; this is Greece anything is possible.”

There were sheep or goats (yup  charlie-countryboy should know the difference) outside my balcony, a Mini Golf outside the hotel with a Statue of Liberty? and some stairs the Health and Safety Executive would possibly frown upon.

The early mornings were fantastic with deserted streets, but there is always a cat, a scooter and a wheelie bin in Greece 🙂 and beaches.

C’mon, you know I’m not a travel blog. I just write tosh most of the time 🙂 There is always the Greek dancing which a lot of people enjoyed and there was Karaoke, now I am a music lover as you well know, so I will spare you the rant, but if I ever get to meet the person that invented Karaoke I would not be responsible for my actions grrrr.

So all in all a good break and ready for the final four weeks of term before I wave some of my students off into the world of work, haha they’ve no idea what’s in store for  them during the next fifty years.  But I can survive on the early morning memories until then 🙂

Posted in Blogging, Greece, Humour, Life, Lifestyle, Opinion, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

An Early Start in Zakynthos

The weather is just beautiful out here in Greece at the moment, I thought I would share the sunrise with you all 😎

Posted in Blogging, Greece, Life, nature, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

My Very Own Language

As a toddler I had no need for the English language. I had my very own way of expressing myself. My sisters could translate some of it by using pictures. I would say something and they would get out various  books and when I spoke they pointed to things until I nodded.

 

An example; I once informed them that there was,”A howashay bin da cowashay”. After pointing in several books and my tantrums (they weren’t very good at it) we took a walk around the farm until they finally understood. “There was an elephant in the cowshed”. I was the only one who could see said elephant and much had to be taken on trust. 🙂

One day an electrician came to do some work and so I assisted him, fresh meat 🙂 I chatted away to him and filled him in on all the farm gossip, probably about animals or what my imaginary friends and I had been doing and I most likely told him about the elephant in the cowshed incident. Upon leaving he posed a question to my mother.

“Nice kid, when’s he going back?”

“Back where?” asked mum

“To France, he is French isn’t he?”

“No! He’s my son.” Picking up on my mum’s tone the electrician probably decided not to pursue the conversation and left.

Let me set the scene a three year old boy on a farm all day by himself (and you thought Forest Gump was strange) Your parents are in their forties and you have two older sisters. One of them relishes pinning you to the floor and licking your face or tickling you until you pee your pants. The other one listens to Rock’n’Roll, jives with you and tells you that Elvis is really God.

 

Your role model is a pretend friend called Johnny (cool name) and you have a pretend girlfriend called June (birthday month). You also have a horse called Red (no idea). June is quite lovely but always being kidnapped by red indians  Native Americans who tie her to a tree. Most of your day is spent sneaking into the enemy camp and releasing June, getting nettled, tying dock leaves to your legs (eases the sting) and inventing things that don’t work. The Native Americans only speak Sioux or Crow, June and Johnny only speak via you; whereas you, at three-year-old don’t have anyone to talk to.

And they wonder why I had my own language.

Posted in Blogging, Humour, Life, Opinion, people, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments