Monday, 24 December 2012

A Sailor's Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, the ship was out steaming,
Sailors stood watch while others were dreaming.

They lived in a tin can with racks tight and small,
In a 30-man mess deck, cramped one and all.

I had come down the funnel with presents to give,
And to see in this War Canoe who might perhaps live.

I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stockings were hung, shined boots close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures of a far distant land.

They had medals and badges and awards of all kind,
And a sober thought came into my mind.

For this place was different, so dark and so dreary,
I had found the house of a Sailor, once I saw clearly.

A Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in a rack and dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle, the room squared away,
This was the Royal Navy Sailor today.

This was the hero I saw on TV,
Defending our country so we could be free.

I realised the families that I would visit this night,
Owed their lives to these Sailors so willing to fight.

Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
Because of the Sailor, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve on a sea, far from home.

The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The Sailor awakened and I heard a calm voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice."

"Defending the seas all days of the year,
So others may live and be free with no fear."

I thought for a moment, what a difficult road,
To live a life guided by Honour and Code.

After all it's Christmas Eve and the ship's underway!
But freedom isn't free and it's sailors who pay.

The Sailor say's to our country "be free and sleep tight,
No harm will come, not on my watch and not on this night.

The Sailor rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours, so silent, so still,
I watched as the Sailor shivered from the night's cold chill.

I didn't want to leave on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honour so willing to fight.

The Sailor rolled over and with a voice strong and sure,
Commanded, "Carry on Santa, It's Christmas, and All is Secure!"

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Time Flies

Where did November go?

I can't believe how fast time is passing these days.

Someone once told me that the older you get, the faster time passes. I had no idea they meant this fast though. The next thing you know, you'll be wondering whether it's worthwhile getting out of bed - are you going to have enough time to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea before bed time comes around again.

I've always said that it would be nice to turn back the clock and go back to my teenage years, but I think that statement should be revised. Can we stop the clock instead? Or at least slow it down.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Dark Nights

After all this time you'd think a person would be used to certain things.

So why is it that I always have trouble adjusting to daylight saving time? And with the weather getting colder, I think that's a good reason to go into hibernation for the next few months.

Someone wake me up when spring arrives.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Mobile Phones

A lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen.

20 minutes later when she called her hubby from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says 'I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago.' When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was alread
y withdrawn.

The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Moral of the story:

Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mum, etc.... And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.

Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet 'family and friends' who text you!

It's better being safe than sorry.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Play Time

It's been a while since I had a bit of a play about with the design and layout of this page. I did a bit of playing today and changed the layout - let's see how long this one lasts. I'll have to see if I can find time to come back and look at some gadgets at some stage, there may be some new ones that catch my eye.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Dieting Can Be Expensive

I'm not so sure that this losing weight plan of mine is such a good idea. I gave up smoking a few years ago and my weight just shot up. I've not been particularly bothered about it in the past and haven't done anything about it. But at the beginning of this year I decided to try and shed a few of those excess pounds I'd put on.

At the time I thought it might be a good idea. I have a lot of old clothes from when I was a little slimmer and I thought it would be nice to get back into them, especially as I don't have the money to spare to go out and buy new outfits. I didn't think things would turn out as they have done though and its starting to become expensive.

I'm losing weight so fast that the clothes I'd hoped to get back in to are now too big for me. I've lost three stone in the last three months and I am rapidly running out of things to wear. And that is what's turning this whole weight loss plan into a major problem.

At the start I thought that I might lose weight gradually and I'd be able to replace my clothing as and when it was needed, but it didn't work out that way and I'm going to have to replace just about every item of clothing I own. It's not going to be easy.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Time Flies

Where has the year gone? It's over half way through already and nothing has been done. I've always said that I have plenty of time on my hands, but nowadays I just don't seem to have the time for anything. It is so true about time going faster as you get older - very soon it will come to the point where I get up in the morning and I think, "do I have time to make a cup of tea before bed time?"

Friday, 25 May 2012

Independence Day

Thirty years ago today I was just off the Falklands Islands on a ship which was under attack from Argentine missiles. We turned into the threat as Exocet missiles were approaching, the ship’s company were ordered to ‘hit the deck’ and take cover. One of the missiles passed us and hit the Atlantic Conveyor two miles away. A few minutes later another, low, fast contact was detected and we fired three salvoes of Sea Dart missiles at it in quick succession whilst it closed.

I had just left the Main Communications Office when the order to ‘hit the deck’ was given. When you’re lying on the deck covering your head trying to protect yourself from a missile that you’re never going to see coming, a million and one thoughts are going through your head - I was still clutching the telegram that I had just picked up saying that my son was born two days ago. At the time, the thought most at the front of my mind was “will I get to get to see my new baby.”

After the attack, when the ship’s company started recovering from the recumbent positions in which they had ‘hit the deck’ it was realised that it was the speed of the attack that was so striking. Gradually life returned to normal, heart beats slowed down, voices came down an octave, and everything happened a little more slowly. Everyone felt relieved – each one of us a little older, and a little greyer.

It was several minutes before many of us were able to speak. My first words were, “I’ve got a new son,” but I don’t think anyone heard. They were all too busy trying to get their own thoughts in order.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Maltese George Cross

Today is the 70th anniversary of the award of the George Cross to Malta. 

King George VI awarded the George Cross to Malta for its heroism in the early days of World War Two. In his message to the island's governor, King George VI said: "To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history."

At the time of the George Cross award, military resources and food rations in Malta were practically finished. Fuel was restricted to military action and heavily rationed, the population was on the brink of starvation, and even ammunition was running out, so much that Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns could only fire a few rounds per day.

Italian battleships of the Regia Marina out-gunned the British, the German airforce had superior aircraft until late in the day, when Spitfires were finally sent to Malta. Also at this time, German and Italian strategists were planning a sea and air invasion of the Maltese Islands. The invasion was continuously postponed until it became too late, as the Maltese Islands finally received their vital supply of fuel, food and munitions.

On 15 August 1942, on the feast of Santa Maria, a convoy of Royal and Merchant Navy ships made port at Valletta's Grand Harbour, after completing one of the more heroic maritime episodes in recent history. To-date, this event remains commemorated in Malta in remembrance of that gift from heaven, the Convoy of Santa Maria, and all the men who lived and died in this and previous attempts to bring supplies to Malta.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Home Shopping (again)

I'm convinced that Asda are trying hard to lose their regular customers. Towards the end of last year they failed to deliver within the allocated time slot, and last month they delivered my order with with several items missing (although credit is due to them for not actually charging me for the missing items).

Unfortunately I can't say the same for them this month. Not only are there items missing for which I haven't been charged for, there are also items missing from my order which I HAVE been charged for. After contacting their Customer Services department, the money that I was overcharged was eventually credited to my account. But, really, is this the way to run a home shopping service?

Because the money has been credited to my online shopping account, the only way I have of recovering it is by doing more online shopping with Asda. Let's hope that next months' shopping experience is a better one than what the previous two months have been. If not, then I will be using another supermarket.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Asda Home Shopping

It wasn't all that long ago since I was going on about how convenient it is to be able to do your shopping from the comfort of your armchair, and how good it is not to have to struggle on and off buses with heavy bags of shopping. How did we ever manage in the past?

I just found out that it doesn't always work like that though. One of the reasons that I use online shopping is to save having to carry all the heavy items like tinned goods and cartons of milk. I only do the shopping once a month and try to get most of the heavy things in one go, perhaps taking a trip into town later on in the month if I run out of some of the lighter goods.

For that reason I usually purchase 12 cartons of milk and my tinned goods amongst my monthly online shopping. But yesterday I was let down big style by the supermarket. They delivered my shopping with items missing, saying that some of the tinned goods and the milk was not available 'at the time of picking'. It's not rocket science - why not do the 'picking' when the items ARE available?

I've just had to pay a visit to the supermarket to get my missing items, and struggle home on the bus with them - not much fun if you struggle to walk because of a dodgy hip.

Supermarkets are always asking for your feedback about how happy you are with them so I sent off an email to let them know how 'happy' I was with their home shopping service. Their reply was, "Here's £2, now be a good chap and go away." Although it was worded slightly different, as in, "As a gesture of goodwill, for the trouble caused, we have attached a free delivery e-voucher to your online account," but it still amounted to the same thing - here's a couple of pounds, deal with it and move on.

I may be strapped for cash but I'm not that desperate. I didn't send the email to try and earn a couple of pennies from them, I sent it so that they could try and improve the service they provide. Fat chance of that happening.

Keep your £2.00, Asda - try offering a better service instead. Or is that too much to ask?