News and Journalism

So a 23 year old girl takes off her top in a “holy” mountain and gets a £850.00 fine and a short jail sentence. Major news which lasts for days on radio and TV discussed endlessly on radio. Obviously there’s not much wrong in the world for this to warrant so much publicity. I suppose the lady in question will now achieve the status of celebrity with all the trappings associated with it. Thoughts of Erica Rowe come to mind) TV interviews, Big Brother, shop openings, fete openings etc. all for becoming a public nuisance. Stupid child should grow up and learn respect for others especially when in other countries where believe it or not she is representing the English just as other countries are judged by us when their citizens visit us.

I was on a weekend break to Paris some years ago and we decided to visit the Notre Dame cathedral where we were amazed to see a large number of “oriental” tourists climbing over the barriers and pews shouting to each other disturbing the peace and tranquillity of that beautiful place just to get a better photograph of each other in front of the main altar. My opinion of any “oriental” tourist with a camera was very low for a very long time. It was sheer disrespect. BUT did it make the news for days on end? No those were the days of proper reporting not of finding an insignificant “story” blowing it up out of all proportion and then milking it dry then repeating it over and over again.

I used to frequent a pub which was also used by a number of reporters, some freelance some committed to one newspaper or other. Two of them made a good living by taking a short story and investigating it properly then selling it back to the same paper for a large fee. I was also in the pub one evening when another reporter said to me as he ordered me a pint “what do you think of this tale about … I then gave him my opinion. The following morning that story was written with a sentence at the end “A spokesman said…” and there were the very words had said in the pub the night before. All for a pint oh! I do sell my words cheaply!

My opinion – LAZY JOURNALISM!!

Old man rambling

Not So Difficult Christmas Quiz the first one was a little too difficult try this one

Some are easy and others are easier.

  1. In which city did Roger Bannister run the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954? Oxford
  2. Which large animal kills more people than any other animal in Africa? Hippopotamus
  3. Which country do swallows migrate to when they leave Britain for the winter? South Africa
  4. In fashion, what do the initials DKNY stand for? Donna Karan New York
  5. Occurring twice yearly, what name is given to a day consisting of twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness? Equinox
  6. How many X chromosomes do women have? Two
  7. Which city is the largest port in Germany? Hamburg
  8. Which country is the natural habitat of the emu? Australia
  9. Where in the world does the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival take place, which culminates in the burning of a Viking long ship? Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland
  10. Which American film and television actress is best known for her role as Jennifer Hart in the 1980s television series Hart to Hart Stefanie Powers
  11. In 1872, which country played England in the first ever international game of football? Scotland
  12. Who married comedian Les Dennis in 1995? Amanda Holden
  13. Claire Richards was the lead singer in which dance-pop group? Steps
  14. Who became First Minister of Scotland after Alex Salmond’s resignation? Nicola Sturgeon
  15. Which Irish novelist was personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London? Bram Stoker
  16. Which singer starred in the televison documentary From Riches to Rags? Lily Allen (now Cooper)
  17. Who said: “The history of the world is but the biography of great men.”? Thomas Carlyle
  18. How many hurdles are there in a 400 metres hurdles race? Ten
  19. In 1811, nearly a quarter of all the women in Britain were called what name? Mary
  20. Which Portuguese-born navigator was the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean? Ferdinand Magellan
  21. Which historical figure is widely regarded as the greatest of all the Anglo-Saxon scholars? The Venerable Bede
  22. What disease killed thousands of people in Glasgow in 1832? Cholera
  23. Which killer was also known as ‘The Whitechapel Murderer’? Jack the Ripper
  24. In which year was the Wall Street Crash? 1929
  25. The Battle of Balaclava is a famous battle in which war? The Crimean
  26. In which French city was Joan of Arc put to death? Rouen
  27. Who was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover? Queen Victoria
  28. In which century was The Black Death? Fourteenth
  29. Which American outlaw was the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang? Jesse James
  30. In which country was Boxing Day renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994? South Africa
  31. Who served up figgy pudding in Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’? Mrs Cratchit
  32. Father Christmas is known as Pai Natal in which European country? Portugal
  33. Mummer’s Day is an ancient midwinter celebration in which English county? Cornwall
  34. Which band had a Christmas number one in 2009 with ‘Killing in the Name’? Rage Against The Machine
  35. Who is the servant of Cinderella’s father and also Cinderella’s friend? Buttons
  36. Which mathematician was born on Boxing Day in 1791? Charles Babbage
  37. Which country traditionally gives London’s Trafalgar Square Christmas tree? Norway
  38. Who had a Christmas hit with the song ‘Skyscraper’ in 2013? Sam Bailey
  39. In literature, which fictional character said it is ‘always Winter, but never Christmas’? Mr. Tumnus (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
  40. The Christmas favourite of ‘Piggies in Blankets’ is chipolata sausages wrapped in what? Bacon
  41. Which of Santa’s reindeer shares its name with a mythical god of love? Cupid
  42. In the Christmas carol, which town is known as Royal David’s City? Bethlehem
  43. At which of her homes does the Queen traditionally spend Christmas? Sandringham
  44. Which alcoholic ingredient is used in a Snowball cocktail? Advocaat
  45. In the rhyme Christmas is coming, who is getting fat? The goose
  46. Feliz Navidad is Happy Christmas in which language? Spanish
  47. How many Lords-a-leaping are there in ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’? 10
  48. In cockney rhyming slang what are ‘eyes’ called? Mince pies
  49. What was Mr Bean searching for when he got his head stuck in a turkey? His wrist watch
  50. Which monarch was crowned on Christmas Day in Westminster Abbey? William I

Bern’s Christmas Quiz 2014


Here it is chaps are you ready get set GO


  1. Which American state is nearest to the former Soviet Union? Alaska
  2. What state does Sarah Palin represent as its governor? Alaska
  3. What U.S. state did Barack Obama become senator of in 2005? Illinois
  4. If eating Cambridge No 5s, Wellands or Bedford Winter Harvests what would you be eating? Brussel Sprouts
  5. In which year did Royal Mail introduce self adhesive stamps? 2001
  6. In a standard set of playing cards which is the only king without a moustache?
    The king of hearts
  7. What is the speed limit on a German motorway? There is no limit
  8. Which fruit contains the most calories? Avocado
  9. What does a somnambulist do? Sleepwalks
  10. How old was the title character in the novel Lolita? 12
  11. What numeric term describes perfect eyesight and a form of cricket? 20/20
  12. What does the word `pop` refer to in Pop Goes the Weasel?
    To pawn (weasel was a shoemakers tool)
  13. In heraldry, what colour is gules? Red
  14. How many lions are depicted on the royal standard?
    Seven (one represents Scotland)
  15. On what occasions would the royal standard be flown at half mast?
    Never, because on the passing of a monarch, his or her descendant immediately accedes to the throne.
  16. Energy firm British Gas is owned by which company? Centrica
  17. In the game Cluedo, which room can be accessed via the secret passageway from the Study? The kitchen
  18. Which three fruits are combined to make the drink Vimto?
    Grape, blackcurrant and raspberry
  19. According the Bible how many of each type of animal did Moses take on the Ark?
    None (Noah did)
  20. In the Wild West, how was Henry McCarty better known? Billy The Kid
  21. Who did Ted Turner, the media tycoon, marry in 1991? Jane Fonda
  22. Which ‘Artist’ had the first UK number one in the UK in the year 2000? Bob the Builder, “Can We Fix It?”
  23. Which Holiday movie favourite featured a character called Kevin McCallister? Home Alone
  24. Robert L May created which popular Christmas character in 1939? Rudolph 
  25. On Christmas day in 2000, which country officially established a new National Anthem? Russia (Vladimir Putin signed the treaty which uses parts of the Soviet Union anthem)
  26. Who wrote the poem ‘Twas the night before Christmas also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas” in 1822? Clement Clarke Moore
  27. Which saint’s day is also known as Boxing Day? St Stephen.
  28. True or False? The German’s made the first artificial Christmas tree out of Goose feathers? True
  29. True or False? The word mistletoe comes from the Gaelic words for kissing girl plant? False (It comes from the Anglo Saxon word for little Dung twig)
  30. Which comedy star plays the title character in the film Elf? Will Ferrel
  31. Which ancient relic was stolen by Scottish Activists from Westminster Abbey and returned to Scotland on Christmas day in 1950? Stone of Scone (Aka the Stone of Destiny of Coronation Stone)
  32. Who wrote the poem ‘If’? Rudyard Kipling
  33. At the end of the novel ‘The Day of the Triffids’, on what island do the two sighted protagonists Bill Masen and Josella Payton eventually find refuge? Isle of Wight
  34. Which region in the Pacific Ocean is also the name of a character in the ‘Dr. Doolittle’ stories? Polynesia (the parrot)
  35. Which French artist, born in 1834 was best known for his paintings of ballet dancers? Edgar Degas
  36. Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ was the Prince of which country? Denmark
  37. Which artist is famous for his statue ‘The Thinker’? Auguste Rodin
  38. Which British artist achieved notoriety in 1976 after confessing to faking old masters? Tom Keating
  39. Who was the author of ‘Pygmalion’? George Bernard Shaw
  40. Franz Hals painted his most famous work in 1624; what was it called? The Laughing Cavalier
  41. Who was the pilot hero of Captain W.E. Johns stories? Biggles
  42. Which Scottish golfer (aka Mrs Doubtfire) has won a record eight European Tour Order of Merit titles, including a streak of seven consecutively from 1993 to 1999? Colin Montgomerie
  43. Who was the third President of the USA, following on from George Washington and John Adams was also famed for his numerous inventions? Thomas Jefferson
  44. In which town is the cartoon series ‘The Simpsons’ based around? Springfield (Oregon)
  45. Since 1934, the annual Golf Masters tournament is the only major played each year at the same course. Name the course? Augusta National Golf Club
  46. What is the often used name of the political protest of throwing a beverage into a harbour in December 1773? The Boston Tea Party
  47. Name of the world’s busiest passenger sea port? Dover
  48. Which American actor, who sadly passed on October 31st 1993 at the age of 23, was the older brother of Rain, Joaquin, Summer & Liberty? River Phoenix
  49. What was the name of the German Chancellor, the primary force behind the unification of Germany 1871, who also had a famous battleship named after him? Otto von Bismarck
  50. A Stephen King 1975 horror fiction novel which involves a writer (named Ben Mears) who returns to the town where he lived as a boy, to discover that the residents are all becoming vampires? Salem’s Lot
  51. What country produces Efes beer? Turkey
  52. What are the two main colours of Blackburn Rovers home football kit? Blue and white
  53. Who played detective Peter Boyd in the BBC drama series Waking The Dead? Trevor Eve
  54. What does a dendrologist study? Trees
  55. Which TV show featured DS Jane Penhaligon? Cracker
  56. What was Ellie Goulding’s debut album called? Lights
  57. What is Germany’s blutwurst known as in the UK?Black pudding
  58. What was the last James Bond film to star Pierce Brosnan? Die Another Day
  59. Name the four British prime minister who where bachelors while in office. Spencer Compton, Pitt the Younger, Arthur Balfour, Edward Heath
  60. Name the four Pevensie children in the Chronicles of Narnia books. Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy
  61. In which four films did Humphrey Bogart and Lauran Bacall co-star? To have and have not, The big sleep, dark passage, Key largo
  62. What are the legendary four rivers in the Garden of Eden? Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates.
  63. What are the first four elements on the periodic table? Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Berylium
  64. Which four US Presidents died of natural causes while in office? William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G Harding, FD Roosevelt
  65. As of 2013 who are the only four women nominated for a Best Director Oscar? Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sophia Coppola, Kathleen Bigelow.
  66. Which four events make up tennis’ Grand Slam? Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open
  67. Apart from London, which four other British town or cities have hosted the Eurovision Song Contest? Edinburgh (1972), Brighton (1974), Harrogate (1982), Birmingham (1998).
  68. Which four historical figures have appeared on the back of the English £20 note? William Shakespeare, Michael Faraday, Edward Elgar, Adam Smith
  69. A UK Number 1 for Diana Ross in March 1986 written by the Bee Gees? Chain Reaction
  70. Who won an Academy Award for best supporting actor for “The Fighter”? Christian Bale
  71. An idiom meaning” a no win situation” came from which novel by Joseph Heller? Catch 22
  72. What is the most southerly tip of Britain called? Lizard Point
  73. What is London’s oldest gentleman’s club founded in 1693? Whites
  74. Tufted, Ruddy and Mandarin are types of which bird species? Duck
  75. Lapsong souchong is a type of what? Tea
  76. Who created the character of Bridget Jones? Helen Fielding
  77. Which 1949 British film featured the character of Harry Lime? The Third Man
  78. In which fictional county would you have found DCI Tom Barnaby? Midsomer
  79. What is the name of the drummer with Showaddywaddy? Romeo Challenger
  80. The body of which monarch has been found beneath a car park in Leicester City Centre? King Richard III
  81. Which board game is also known as “Reversi”? Othello
  82. Which David Essex hit was co-written by Mike Batt & Tim Rice? Winter’s Tale
  83. Which mammal does the term “Soricidae” refer to? Shrew
  84. Pound, cup and foot are all types of what? Measure
  85. Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F Kennedy, but who shot him? Jack Ruby
  86. In which year was John Lennon assassinated? 1980
  87. Who stabbed Jean-Paul Marat in his bath in 1793, an act which has later been seen as patriotic? Charlotte Corday
  88. Which guerilla leader during the Irish War of Independence was assassinated in 1922? Micheal Collins
  89. Which Roman Emperor was allegedy killed by his wife, Aggripina, in AD54? Claudius
  90. Which is the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated? Spencer Perceval
  91. Politician Airey Neave was assassinated in Westminster in 1979 – how was the killing carried out? Car Bomb
  92. Which British jounalist was shot outside her home in Fulham 1999? Jill Dando
  93. Whose last words were “Et Tu Brute” according to Shakespeare? Julius Ceasar
  94. Which Gerry Anderson TV character is modelled upon James Garner? Troy Tempest
  95. Mel Gibson (1990) and Kenneth Branagh (1996) have both played which character in movies? Hamlet
  96. Which president was shot whilst reviewing a military parade in October 1981? Anwar Sadat
  97. Which Latin term, usually applied to legal evidence, means ‘at first sight’? PRIMA FACIE
  98. What was the character name of TV’s ‘The Saint’? SIMON TEMPLAR
  99. In literature, who was the best known pupil of Greyfriar’s School? BILLY BUNTER
  100. What is the alternative common name for a Black Leopard? PANTHER
  101. O.K.SO WHERE ARE THE ANSWERS??? try highlighting


It seems to me that all this mass hysteria about the followers of the Muslim faith (whipped up by One newspaper in particular and also a political [?] party claiming to be putting Britain first) is now getting out of hand. I think history is repeating itself.

Between the world wars there was, in Germany, a huge anti Jew movement with Synagogues being daubed with paint and being burnt. Followers of the religion were ridiculed, beaten up and murdered. They were made second, no, third class citizens. Their lives were made a misery and the perpetrators marched, shouted and bullied and held their mass meetings until they went home to their families and children with a self-centred smile on their faces. They felt good, stating that God was on their side, and they were doing good work.

Then war broke out and the anti-Jew movement strengthened

They made up stories about the Jews and towards the end the Jews were not allowed to own anything nor even to live where they wanted to. They were moved into ghettoes and eventually to various camps “for a better life”

entrance to Auschwitz (To work is to live)

entrance to Auschwitz
(To work is to live)

I visited one of those camps recently and I saw for myself the appalling conditions that those people had to endure. Everything was based on humiliation beginning with the mode of transport to the camp (cattle truck, vastly overcrowded), to all hair being shaved to all possessions being confiscated

Even those who were murdered had their prostheses and gold fillings taken (14kg gold extracted per month)

I saw the punishment cells and the gallows. I saw the crematoria and the gas chambers. I saw the execution wall and the mass of murdered children’s clothes. I felt the tears in my eyes at the thought of all this going on at the hands of other human beings who went home to their wives and children at the end of their duties

The execution Wall

The execution Wall









Entrance to the "Showers" (gas chamber)

Entrance to the “Showers” (gas chamber)

Baby's Clothes

Baby’s Clothes








Afterwards I was talking to a fellow visitor and expressed my fears about history repeating itself to be faced with the reply “So what’s wrong with that?” Words fail me! What hope has the human race?


So we went on an excursion whilst we were on our Eastern Europe holiday an excursion which was different to the normal type of excursion. This was a trip to see the place of one of the biggest mass murder sites of all – Auschwitz-Birkenau. Over 1,300,000 men women children and babies were routinely gassed, hanged, shot or worked to death. That’s not just one of those anonymous numbers that are so difficult to comprehend Just about the entire population of the county of Kent U.K.



The visit started as usual by being introduced to our guide and we were issued with our radio receivers and headphones and we had a little talk about the history then off we went through the infamous gate into the camp


The Infamous Gate (Work will set you free)

Then we went to some of the accommodation blocks. After just 5 minutes the feeling of doom and horror came over me that this was not just a tourist attraction but this was real! Human beings did actually live 3 to each level of the triple bunks they were humiliated in every way from having all the hair from their bodies shaved, only allowed to use the communal “Toilet” twice per day and then for only 10 seconds at a time with no privacy nor toilet paper (There was the tale of a prisoner whose friend managed to find one sheet of toilet paper and gave it to her as a present, It was never used she kept it to remind herself that life was not always as bad as the camp)


Communal Toilets (10 seconds only and maximum of twice per day)

We saw some of the official photographs of prisoners. There were Jews, Poles, Catholics, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and Criminals They were tailors, goldsmiths’, farmers and every trade and profession even priests and monks. Musicians managed to have a slightly better life as their duties were to play music when new prisoners arrived (to keep up the pretence of everything being normal) and also to entertain the guards.


We saw the punishment areas and cells. These gave so much injury that often the punished prisoner was unable to work so was of no use to the camp and therefore they were gassed.

We saw the wall where prisoners were shot, the gallows, and we went into the gas chamber. We also saw the crematoria where the bodies were disposed of.

The execution Wall

The execution Wall



There were the display cases of hundreds of shoes, suitcases, clothes, brushes, pots and pans, prayer shawls and 7½ tons of human hair.





Baby's Clothes

Baby’s Clothes

This was one of the most harrowing visits I have ever made BUT I feel that I must go again I can’t explain why but I just feel that I must.

Been Quite a Busy and Stressful Time

My mum went into hospital a while back Broke her hip and was discharged just before the family holiday (see my blog (the photograph) )

It was considered by her doctor and all of us that she was discharged far too early to be home alone.Mum is aged 92. I have sent in a complaint to the Health Authority but they are trying the delaying tactics. I think they are waiting to see just what I will do hoping, I suppose that I will go away. Are they in for a disappointment!   Just to show you what I have complained about I list the points here:

  1. I often had to press hard to get even the slightest information from the ward staff despite taking the precaution of setting up the password                                        (Whenever I phoned and asked how she was I usually only got the reply “Oh She’s OK”)
  2.  One nurse said that her dementia was really bad and that made communication difficult!                                                                                                                              (My mother does not have dementia but she is profoundly deaf and I would have thought that even the newest nurse would be able to tell the difference)
  3.  It was often implied that Mum would have some time in B Hospital for rehabilitation  (They later told me that B Hospital will not take patients from WSM                             (I later found out, by other means, that B Hospital does not accept patients from W –  I am now informed by her G.P. that transfer to B Hospital would have been possible)
  4.  One nurse did not even know which leg she had broken!                                           (The question I put to the nurse was, is it the same leg that she broke 6 years ago? So there could be no confusion between left and right!)
  5.  The Independent Living Team said that they would organise aids for her and also led us to believe that a meals on wheels service via the Red Cross would also be set up                                                                                                                                            (I am now informed that there is no “meals on wheels” facilities in the area)
  6.  Why was my mother sent home without any discharge letter?
  7.  Why was there no district nurse assigned to carry surgery after care?                       ( A week after her discharge, whilst on a holiday in the area, my wife had to contact the District Nurse to check the wound and remove the sutures.  . Although they had no knowledge of my mother’s injury they did attended promptly)
  8.  Why was her G.P. not informed of this incident?

I think we will have to wait and see!!!

A few weeks later mum was found by the evening carer to be in a confused state and to put it in a nutshell the Paramedics were called they called an “out of hours” doctor who refused to go out untill the paramedics strongly insisted (Took him 2 hours then he gave her an antibiotic) we received a call to say that mum had been found in the bath unable to get out The paramedics were called and she was taken to hospital.

While she was there Mum decided that she wanted to go into a care home. (I would have liked for her to come to me but the Doctor told me that flying was out of the question because of the risk of D.V.T and the road /ferry trip was impractical.

She is now in a care home where she tells me that she is very happy. (Plenty going on) 24 hour care weekly visits to the home by the hairdresser and the doctor (just happens to be her own doctor) and the home specialises in care people with sensory difficulties especially hearing and sight. I feel that a whole load has been lifted from my shoulders.

I am going over to England next week before heading off on our Golden Wedding Holiday (Honeymoon?) We have extended our stay to see mum and to see just what her wishes are with regard to her property etc. and we are all going over for a week later to carry out all that needs to be done. Expensive time but after all she is my mum.

Well it looks like out holiday home letting has ended for the year with no more bookings but we have already got some for 2015 We have had some very different people during the year from all over the world. All very nice. We don’t make a lot of money enough to pay the fuel bills so helps out the pensions.

Well that’s it for now until after the Golden Wedding Holiday when I will bore you all with the stories and pictures of out trip.


The Photograph


Back in April I went to see my Mum in Somerset. While we were there we went shopping in a nearby town we had a phone call from our daughter in Kent “We’re in Tesco do you want anything?” Big laugh “No seriously, we are at Tesco in Burnham”  

Our Daughter and family had driven 200 miles to surprise us. That certainly did they did that!. We all went round to Mum and had a very good day.and In the evening they left for their 200 mile journey back home.

While we were staying in Burnham we decided to have a look at some caravan sites nearby and we found one that we didn’t know about that was very near to Mum. We had a look and found that it was quite reasonable.

After we got back home to Ireland we were talking to our daughter who said “That was a lovely day I wish we could do it again” That got me thinking…

I made some more investigations, made some decisions, contacted my family and booked three caravans at the holiday site. It had to be in August because of holiday rotas and school holidays. Everyone was invited together with their partners. The excitement started in April and increased ever onwards.  

Two weeks before the holiday Mum helped by falling and breaking her leg. This meant her having a trip to Weston Hospital where she stayed for two weeks. Not long for a 92 year old (she was sent home alone!) Oh Well we can all go and see her somehow. 

Came the holiday and a disaster of an overnight stay for us Irish contingent (another story). We arrived on the Saturday while the others were due on the Monday (That turned out to be a very hectic day) Oh what a week that turned out to be absolutely marvelous Much laughter and fun; we even all played bingo (2 of our gang won!!)

On the Thursday before most of the gang had to go home we gathered at Mums house for a family photograph. 


A 5 generation photograph Fantastic Mum even got Dad’s picture in there. This is what memories are made of.

Five Generations