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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me ..,

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.

— Izaak Walton
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‘With half a pint of poison’

Unquestionably rare grave unique in all England. And a 300 year old unsolved murder case in my home town where this gravestone gives a tantalising clue to it’s victims chillingly evil killer in the picturesque village in North Staffordshire.

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Lymies Lowdown on Nantucket and London

Nantucket Island, MASS. USA
Nantucket Island, MASS. USA
  • Limey is a predominantly North American slang nickname for Britons, specifically people from England.

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The World at War

The World at War is probably, in my modest yet quite well informed opinion on the subject, the best documentary on WW2 ever made.
Produced by Jeremy Isaacs and narrated by Laurence Olivier; The World at War was commissioned by Thames Television first shown in the early 1970s on the UK TV station: ITV. Voted by industry professionals at the time and still thought of as one of the best ever documentaries on World War Two ever made.
‘The World at War’ – Thames Television 1973 Episode 21 – ‘Nemesis: Germany’ (February – May 1945) :-

Nemesis: Germany – February-May 1945. The closing weeks of the European war bring retribution for Germany in the form of carpet bombing cities like Dresden, the collapse of the Whermacht, atrocities by Soviet forces, and finally the fall of Berlin and suicide of Hitler. 
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The 1st British Hero ~ Admiral Horatio Nelson and The Napoleonic 1805 Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies during the the Napoleonic Wars with the French (1803–1815). During the battle, the British Royal Navies’ Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, was shot by a French musketeer and died shortly before the battle ended in an infamous glorious victory for the British Royal Navy. That ensured Britains’ world dominance and near full command of the High Seas. Which also ensured the French impending invasion of Britain never took place. With the complete defeat of the French at the Battle of Waterloo in 1814, spelled the end for the ‘ Little Corporal’ ~ Napoleon Bonaparte and the newly formed French Republic.

The Battle of Trafalgar -Turner
The Battle of Trafalgar -Turner

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America & the WW2 Air-war over Europe

The USAAF WW2 'Airwar over Europe' Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bomber
The USAAF WW2 ‘Air-war over Europe’ The Boeing B17 Flying Fortress American bomber

The English speaking Allied air-raid bombing of Germany by ’44 reached in excess of 1000 bombers per raid in endless and successive waves, both day and night, in a-all-out total land and air war in Europe post-44. With 1000s and 1000s, both military and non-military, Axis targets attacked and destroyed-a-day in all the occupied territories of Europe and, most destructively in Germany itself. In huge air raids – 1000s of bombers and 1000s of fighters at a time.
The Americans in their Boeing B17 Flying-Fortress and P51 Mustang fighter escorts by day – and the British RAF pilots in their Lancaster and Halifax bombers with night fighter escorts during night air raid missions.
These missions, however, carried a high price, especially for the American USAAF Eighth Air Force stationed in southeastern England.
Half of the U.S. Army Air Force’s casualties in World War II were suffered by Eighth Air Force (more than 47,000 casualties, with more than 26,000 dead). Seventeen Medals of Honor went to Eighth Air Force personnel during the war. By war’s end, they had been awarded a number of other medals to include 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals. Many more awards were made to Eighth Air Force veterans after the war that remain uncounted. There were 261 fighter aces in the Eighth Air Force during World War II. Thirty-one of these aces had 15 or more aircraft kills apiece. Another 305 enlisted gunners were also recognised as aces.

The Biggest Bombing Raid of World War II: USAAF 8th Air Force Sent 1000 B17 Bombers to Destroy Berlin
The Biggest Bombing Raid of World War II: USAAF 8th Air Force Sent 1000 B17 Bombers to Destroy Berlin

Some say, controversially..,  that the losses hitting civilian targets next to the German Nazi war machine industrial targets were far too great. Yet, as crucial to the defeat of Hitler and the evil Nazis as the land war in the East. The English speaking Allied land war as seen soon after D-Day June, 1944 often faltered. In Normandy, northern France and in the Low countries especially on their home soil of the Fatherland, it was so bitterly fought over by the German Eastern Front battle hardened fanatical SS soldiers and co. it often thwarted, advanced no more than a mile or two a day.., or ended in retreat – or, even defeat. In the Rhineland for example in enemy held territories it ended in defeat and forced the British at least into a humiliating retreat. British Field Marshal Monty’s Operation: ‘Market Garden’ Arnhem, Holland in September ’44 .., regardless of the brave actions by the men of the British Parachute Regiment, the British army went a Bridge-too-Far  and it remains one of the worst military ‘British Blunders’ of WW2. Failing to capture an intact bridgehead over the River Rhine into Germany and an open road to Berlin.
The ongoing ariel bombardment of Berlin and industrial heartlands of the Nazi Fatherland, such as the Ruhr by the USAAF 8th Air Force and the RAF British Bomber Command under Harris ensured the English speaking Allies appeased and paid their very considerable burdens in men and materials in the inevitable destruction of Hitler and the Nazi war machine as well as the American and British armies commitments & considerable sacrifices on the Post-D-Day Second Front land war.
Ensuring Roosevelt and Churchill avoided the venomous wraith and ever worsening threat of continued hostilities after V. E. Day by Russia. The enormous threat of violence of the oldest enemy of the west: The Russian – ‘Great Bear.’ Then under the full control of that evil tyrant, leader of the Communist party, Hitler’s old foe: Josef Stalin. Whom we pacified by the combination of the English speaking Allied land War. And, crucially by America’s ‘Air-war over Europe’ and some say brutal bombing of Nazi Germany in WW2.

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Talkes Phoenix

Bill Cawley: “Peter Kay is not far out when portrays the strange acts at the Phoenix. I recall vividly the Pakistani stand up comedian who told racist jokes against himself, the asthmatic country and western act from Cleverley who stopped for breath half way through his act.” I’ll be with you in a moment “, or the overloud ear-ringing rock bands. Sometimes there were special events like a boxing tournament at the Suburban where one competitor eschewing the basic defensive stance advanced with arms flaying like a windmill to be quickly demolished by punishing jabs that opened his nose up in a crimson torrent. For the turns themselves there was recognition that there efforts were taken with proper regard. As local act Gerry Stephens writing of the time reportedSaturday was the highlight of the week and people would make an effort to look their best. The Committee officers ran them with a grip of iron and membership were as tightly controlled as any freemasons. Instant silence followed the command ” Give order please” and quiet was demanded- and got- when Bingo started. Bingo was a ritual with its language and actions especially when certain numbers were called out ” Ted’s den- Number Ten, Two fat ladies 88, Leg’s eleven” followed by wolf whistles and the clinking of glasses as pens were banging against them. Sometimes a frustrated gamester would call out to the elderly lady caller ” Shake them up, Elsie” if his numbers were not coming up.Then there were the turns.“You’d arrive outside the Club, grab your gear, and go in. The room would be completely empty. Then people start coming in; the room is packed, and it’s your job to entertain them for the night. You’ve only got your guitar, your voice and your patter, to get them going, gets them laughing.It was quite a thing to be an artist in the 70s, there was a lot of respect shown; the audience wasn’t allowed to come in or go out during a bracket”.But the knell- as it was for the working class- was already tolling for the clubs.”

Bill Cawley: “I was born in Stoke in 1955 and lived and worked in the City. I was a City Councillor from 82-7 and a County Councillor from 97-05. I’m a member of the Green party My heroes are Thomas Paine, HL Mencken, Tom Joad and Ernest Everard..,”

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Drake & The Spanish Armada

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm.

Words of Queen Elizabeth I of England – Delivered at Tilbury docks, London, England on the approach of the Armada, 1588. Sir Francis Drake – favoured by HRH Queen Elizabeth I of England defeated Catholic King Philip II of Spain’s Spanish Armada in 1588 off the coast of the British Isles in one of the most famous battles and naval engagements in history.
Queen Elizabeth , Sir Francis Drake & The Spanish Armada circa 1588
‘Spanish Armada’ – Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I of England ~ circa 1588

Elizabeth appears to have adopted some very clever delaying tactics …”Will I, or won’t I?” And whilst all this procrastination was going on on one side of the Atlantic, English ships captained by ‘pirates’ such as Drake, Frobisher and Hawkins were mercilessly plundering Spanish ships and territories in the Americas. To the English, Drake and his fellow ‘sea-dogs’ were heroes, but to the Spanish they were no more than privateers who went about their business of raiding and robbing with the full knowledge and approval of their queen. It is thought that Philip made his decision to invade England as early as 1584 and almost immediately started the construction of a massive armada of ships that could carry an army capable of conquering his Protestant enemy. He gained Papal support for his venture and even identified his daughter Isabella as the next Queen of England.

Drake’s attack on the The Spanish Armada

Sir Francis Drake ~ Globe-trotting-circumnavigating explorer, pirate & privateer. An Admiral in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I of England’s Royal Naval Fleet during The Spanish Armada – circa 1588 

Their tactics appear to have worked as in a bold preemptive strike, said to be against Elizabeth’s wishes, Sir Francis Drake decided to take matters into his own hands and sailed a small English fleet into the port of Cadiz, destroying and damaging several Spanish ships that were being built there. In addition, but just as significant, a huge stock of barrels was burned. These were intended to transport stores for the invading forces and their loss would affect essential food and water supplies. Elizabeth had also appointed Lord Howard of Effingham to command the English fleet, a leader considered strong enough to keep Drake, Hawkins and Frobisher under control.

Admiral Sir John Hawkins (also spelled as Hawkyns) (1532 – 12 November 1595)
Admiral Sir John Hawkins (1532 – 1595). Drake and his cousin Sir John Hawkins were mercilessly plundering Spanish ships and territories in the Americas before Queen Elizabeth I honoured them with Knighthoods and appointed them Admirals of the Fleet in Her English Royal Navy to defend the British Isles from The King of Spain’s ~ Phillip II ~ Spanish Amanda

After one false start in April, when the Armada had to return to port after being damaged by storms before they had even left their own waters, the Spanish fleet finally set sail in July 1588. Almost 130 ships had gathered with approximately 30,000 men on board. For moral and obviously spiritual support, their precious cargo also included 180 priests and some 14,000 barrels of wine.

Sailing in their classic crescent formation, with the larger and slower fighting galleons in the middle protected by the smaller more manoeuvrable vessels surrounding them, the Armada moved up through the Bay of Biscay.

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Selective Subjective Semantics

Told this drinking pal local yokel mate once:
“You should read more my mate ..’there’s more to life than books’ they say.. ‘but, not much more’ not saying copy me my mate, no!”
‘But, do try to study something. Like a good book or a classic novel.’
‘The dictionary, funnily enough is a great way, well it was for me personally, a good start to learn about the English language – literature etc.’
‘You could even end-up studying at a good university in England or Scotland. Studying something like architecture, or English literature or even something really interesting like semantics!’
He looked on completely bemused..
Semantics ¬!!?’ he asks ..,
‘Whats that words means??!!’
‘Exactly!’ I said .. ,
 ‘You’re more intelligent than I first imagined ?!’
Wrongly congratulating the gob-smacked knob-head