Archives

All posts by Malcolm Toogood

cancelled

So, when the time comes to sidle off this mortal coil, the very least any living being might hope for is a small plaque physically-fixed somewhere on their home planet to mark that they actually existed for a relatively-fleeting moment of its history – and that they meant something to the someone who took the time to mark their memory for posterity.

But what if, sometime in the future, someone else completely unconnected with either party, decides that the very name that being was known by, the essence of their identity, has become offensive to future sensibilities?  Will that being’s plaque simply be removed from existence, thus cancelling them forever?  Well, that is what has just happened to the dog who was the wartime mascot of the RAF’s famous 617 Squadron – The Dambusters. Continue Reading

 They say that adversity brings the best out in people.  Well, I guess I am lucky in having a lot of friends, both long-standing and online, who have a sense of humour.  So after we went into lockdown on March 23rd 2020, many of them started sharing that humour with me.  Some of it is light, some a bit dark, and some just plain daft.  But it all brightens the long days in isolation.

I started sharing the best one or two every day, and was rewarded with a load of shares back.  Then, whilst clearing-out a cupboard, I came across a set of old books I have had since the ‘sixties, containing omnibus collections of random jokes. They provided the inspiration for starting this blog, compiled from a contemporary selection of the best from every day’s input from my friends during this lockdown.  It will run for as long as we need it.
Continue Reading

Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and there will be many recollections published I’m sure.  I wasn’t born then, so I can only defer to my parents’ recollections, which were few – their generation did a good job of shielding us from the horrors they experienced.  However, the odd ‘time capsule’ still emerges.

A few months ago while sorting through some old papers left behind by my father-in-law, we found an envelope with some letters in that were not his.  The note on the outside read: letters found down the backs of chairs.  He was an upholsterer, and obviously used to find all manner of stuff that way which he gave back to the owners. But these must have come from jobs for antique dealers who had no use for them.  One was a small envelope stamped Bath, May 1945.  Inside was a four page letter sent to Harold and signed ‘Madam’.  It reads as follows: Continue Reading

Maiden Aunts were always interesting.  Your parents would pack you off to them, with the parting admonition don’t upset auntie, for a few days during the summer holidays, and you would have a great time – most of which was conducted under censorship administered with a finger to the lips accompanied by whatever you do, don’t tell your Mum. They always sent you a card on your birthday or at Christmas with ‘a little something’ inside, and you always sent them a postcard selected by your parents with a boring view of whatever Godforsaken coastal village you happened to be staying at that year.

Then came adolescence and the personal selection of a saucy holiday postcard about an actress and a bishop, followed by the frosty reception you received from her at the next family gathering months later.  Well, if your parents had spoken about her once being an actress and the young admirer whose parents considered her ‘below them’ who became a bishop, you would have known not to send that particular card, wouldn’t you?
Continue Reading

read about the press pack in the Lynn News

In coverage yesterday on Sky during the private meeting of the Royal Family that was taking place on the Sandringham Estate, they trained their cameras on the press pack encamped on what was described as a lozenge of grass outside the entrance. What immediately came to mind was the old adage – if you’re not part of the solution, then you must be part of the problem.

Every grandparent experiences family issues during their lifetime. Solving them requires both common sense and experience plus, at times, simply space. What isn’t needed are acquaintances sniping at the fringes who neither know the full story, nor appreciate the subtle nuances that may be at play. You certainly don’t need them camped on your lawn offering their uninformed opinions! One only needs to read two words – fully-supportive – in the Queen’s official statement from yesterday to recognise just how much this press pack is out of touch with reality.
Continue Reading