Communication

Communication
There was a film in which James Stewart played the part of a photographer, who was injured and had to lie in bed. His only viewpoint was through the window of his bedroom, and the film is called Rear Window. Looking out through the window day by day, he became convinced that one of his neighbours in the flat opposite, was going to be murdered. I quote this because I too am in a situation where I see very few people, and rarely go out. My view is the front window, and from time to time, while I’m musing on what I’m going to write, I look out the window, see those passing, and draw conclusions that may or may not be accurate.

At my age, one has a tendency to draw comparisons between one’s own childhood and that of today, and the same with adulthood, and what I find in both cases is that verbal communication is not as prolific as it was in the past. I remember when my grandchild was about four years old, the family were worried because she hardly talked, and her father said this was because everything was done for, and so she had no reason to make demands.

If you read this blog will know that I am particularly worried about the life of children living today. It is only rarely that I see children walking to school and then it is either with a parent, or on their own. My elementary school was about a mile and a half from home, and walking to school, one picked up other children who were going to school, and from then on the conversation rarely stopped. I’m sure that sitting in a car, the child is probably musing, or perhaps not even that. Previously I told the story of my great grandchildren, in one family, where they don’t seem to talk to one another, but they communicate in other ways and work as a team, I found this amazing on the first occasion.

One of the reasons that people don’t talk to one another any more, is because socially we are disparate, you may be lucky enough to know the people in the house next-door, but the chances are they are the only ones you have spoken to in the whole street. In the 40s and 50s it was not like that, but then we didn’t have television, few had the telephone, and computers were space technology. Now people spend their time with an iPod or a phone attached to their ear, which implies that that they only want to speak to close friends and relatives. The drink and drive stricture has reduced those social occasions when you’re invited someone in for a drink and a chat, at the drop of a hat. Now, other than family, the social occasions are reduced, they are on a monthly basis instead of being weakly or sometimes even daily.

I just wonder where this trend will go, and what it will be like in the next 50 years. I have seen such incredible changes, starting with the end of World War II, when I was married, and ever since.

A 60 year regression

Due to the greed of those handing our money, at the banks and the stock exchanges, across the world, coupled with the stupidity of our politicians who could easily have predicted this occasion, my mantra of the majority suffering as a result of the shortcomings of the minorities is yet again justified. Now, 60 years after it was common for people to repair and, mend rather than throw way and buy new, has come to haunt the young people of this generation who have never been trained to live in paucity. My generation, even the boys could darn socks and carry out other repairs right across-the-board, because it was economically essential. These young people today have been born into a throw away society, which should never have been allowed to persist, because of the waste of the world’s resources. It has been another exercise in greed, where the manufacturer would have lost output if the household products were repairable.

I was fortunate to live in those years because during the war I was able to repair my socks and other garments, because all I was earning in those initial months, was 10 shillings a week, out of which I had to buy food because I was hungry. The generous government after almost 6 years of war, threw me out onto the street without a job and little chance of one because I was only one of many thousands in the same situation. However, like most of my generation, I had been taught to use tools, with the result, when my children went to parties with their schoolmates, whose families were better off than ourselves, I was able to make dolls houses, dolls, and wooden jigsaw’s, all unattainable in the shops, to take as presents, as my children would be returning home with any number of presents that they had received at the party.

My generation couldn’t afford to have decorators, gardeners, and rarely electricians at times of serious problems. I now find that people are buying material in order to make clothes, which my wife did, and more of them are doing home decoration. This sudden financial change has been too sudden for the young people to be able to grasp exactly the effects that this is having upon them. The learning curve is too steep, and the old principles too embedded for change to be easy. They will have to learn economy the hard way.

Are you as worried as I am?

I don’t think all the children of today are getting a fair crack of the whip. I’m not talking
metaphorically about corporal punishment, but I think there is a large class of children who are suffering considerably as a result of the credit crunch. Some are the children of single parents, who will inevitably suffer irrespective of what class they are in, I was one, and I know the effects of having a working mother. There is no doubt, from the evidence that I have seen, that the children of today are a lot more sophisticated, and intelligent, than my generation and those that followed. However they do not seem to have the opportunities to enjoy the simple pleasures my generation had. I have said this before in another form, but I believe it is so urgent that repetition can be justified. Not long ago I was quoting an experience I had when several children got off the bus I was on, and immediately took out their mobile phones to talk to somebody, and it isn’t only children who find this need. Now they have introduced cheaper versions of the I pod, that so many children seem to have, and spend so much time at every opportunity, playing with it, and this is not the only the children. Those toys cost upwards of a £180 a year, and for some families this is a big deficit taken on, so the child will not feel disadvantaged, when other children all have one. Not only in the winter evening does one see blue lights in many of the bedroom windows, possibly indicating that children are sitting at computers, long into the night.

When we were young, and my children were young, we used our imaginations to build a world of our own when we played. I asked a young woman of my acquaintance, aged in her early 20s, whether she felt that young people were being sold short because there were not enough play areas. She replied that when she was young she lived near a forest, and they invented games there. I watch young people, and not so young, not so much playing, but running to keep fit, or training for a charity run, endlessly along the same dull roads. There is no visual stimulus, which one would have in a park, or a purposely made sports area. In the latter, the surface would be constructed so that it was more amenable for running, unlike the foot-paths which are a sure route to foot damage.

I get the impression that sport is no longer as important as it was in my day, or there are not the same number of sport teaches. It worries me that the youngsters today are more sedentary than we ever were. This is partly because of the increase in the number of vehicles per family, and the fact that parents are loathe to allow their children to walk unsupervised. It is an absurd situation, and should be remedied urgently. The fact that cities and towns are blocked with traffic because of the Mummy Run is part of the same problem. These young people have nothing like the freedom that we had, probably neither the safety, although I believe that to be overstressed. There is an element within this system which echoes the problems created by health and safety legislation – yet another case of the minority making unnecessary difficulties for the majority. I can not really believe that there is such a high level of criminality, and possibility of child abuse, at midmorning and mid afternoon, as to warrant this high level of supervision. I feel that it is the responsibility of the social services to carry out a nationwide survey of the number of children who are attacked or abused, categorized to give some idea of where the dangers lie, and to what extent they occur

Other speculations

Other speculations The majority of the population understands that supermarkets are steadily taking over the legitimate forms of trading that were previously carried out by individual specialist companies, such as insurance, a floral section, jewellery, and the latest one suggested is of car tyres. I think we have all found that as a result of out-of-town shopping, the quality of the high street has diminished, with some shops closed, and others converted to charity shops. I believe by now the majority of people realize that the low prices offered by the supermarkets, are at the expense of the providers, who are always under the cosh to bring their own prices down. In some cases this has shut the provider down, and put his staff out of work.

I believe that if our manufacturing, call centres, and other services are continued to be sent abroad, while the operators of these British companies are achieving savings, which have not been passed on to the economy of the country, it will have a long-term effect on the number of people unemployed. When you have a one-stop shopping mall, you are denying yourself the opportunity of comparison, knowledgeable assistance, and variety. What is on offer is the choice of the company, and you can either take it or leave it, but if there are no other shops carrying the articles that you are looking for, then your choice is limited to their taste. The one-stop system has also reduced the number of people required to service the customers. The advice you are likely to receive will be minimal and not knowledgeable. Specialized shops have staff trained in the merchandise. From what I have said above, it will be seen that if this policy of out-of-town shopping is perpetuated, we will all be in the hands of the shopping mall, and the level of people required to serve us in the past, will be swelling the ranks of the unemployed. All trading is a matter of competition by providing the best quality, commensurate with the lowest price. Get rid of the specialist shops in the high street, and there will be no competition, but there will also be an increase in the unemployed.

Another criticism When someone is launching a new product for manufacture, the first thing they do is a study of whether the new product will be viable, and have reasonable success in the marketplace. This is done in a number of ways, a questionnaire is carried on in the entrance to a supermarket, and often a small representative number of the general public is invited to a meeting in a hotel to give their views on a mock-up, or prototype of the article. So much today seems to be that someone in authority has an idea, and instead of this being tested, it is implemented whether successful or not, at considerable cost. A prime example occurred in our district, the Council provided us with a little green plastic box, about 10 inches cubed, beautifully made of high quality material, and was intended for people to place their plate scrapings in after meals. Placed in a kitchen, it did not meld either in colour, or because it was so was too large to be accommodated either on the shelving, or in cupboards. The principal was that the council was worried that these little scrapings would induce so much methane, when they rotted down, as to be a dangerous level of CO2. I asked one of my carers her views on the matter, she said that in the 40 homes that she dealt with, only one person was using the box. This is clearly a total waste of money, and with two or three trial runs in different districts, using a total of 36 boxes, this result would never have happened.

Another is this business of changing the electoral boundaries. I don’t think the average citizen could even cite the boundary of his or her electoral area, and what is more, probably doesn’t care. I believe that it is the politicians who are trying to justify their position. Taking the case of the change of the actual bounders, I suspect that this is going to cost a considerable amount of money for very little return, coupled with a vast amount of disruption For a start off, one must assume that the differences in area in many of the electoral areas, causing this change is fairly considerable, to cause this furores. Firstly, maps will have to be redrawn or modified, the routing of staff on the ground will have to be changed, some staff will have to be shifted, reallocated, and learn the problems in the new districts. Paperwork will have to be modified, and reprinted, accommodation for the change in the staff, including furniture and even offices will be affected. All records will have to be revised. The resedents will have to be notified which will be costly, and caused considerable disruption over a period of at least six-months if not a lot longer. The question the populace should be asking is why is this so urgent at a time of financial paucity?

Do you realise, 7

Do you realise? , 6
1935 to 1970
The quality of life which was improving after all that austerity, was brought to a halt in 1939. Children, and in particularly, male children, between the ages of 10 and 25 were about to lose those valuable years between the ages of 15 and 25, if not their life. They were not to know the fun of sports, holidays and courting, in a calm and easy world. They would be shoved from place to place with no say of their own choice, and take their pleasures, if any, on the run. Those early years of the war were duplicated across the world, with Communist Chinese in a civil war, Europe and the Eastern countries in uproar, Japan invading, and America and the Commonwealth brought into the troubles as well.

It therefore took years to bring normality to Britain, we were destitute, owed a fortune to America, the reconstruction of work was enormous, and the changes produced by the men coming back from the war, to find a place within the workforce of the nation was the problem . The government initially made a promise, that anyone who was co-opted or volunteered to serve in the forces, could count on having his job back in peacetime. At the beginning of the war people were saying that it would be over in a short time, which probably accounted for that promise. People like myself who had only started their articles, were still totally untrained in the profession that they had originally chosen, and hence those of us in that condition could not just walk back into a job without additional training, so a lot of us found ourselves on the dole with a family to support, and no house to live in. I was fortunate in that I qualified for a place at a University, what some of the other men would not have done and would have been unfair, but the government had made no provision in this eventuality.

In 1950, while there was still the last areas of cities and towns that were derelict as a result of the bombing, Britain was returning to a level of normality we hadn’t seen in some time. There were job vacancies, a better economy, and manufacturing was widening considerably. In 1960 the number of cars on the road had increased considerably, and shops were stocking a higher range of products from home and around the world. This set the stage for the the period when the morays that we had been taught, were thrown to the winds. Carnaby Street, with its wild coture, was just the start. People dyed there hair, not just one colour, but areas of several colours. Behaviour was more extravagant and what was more, the morals of the past were beginning to be thrown over. People started to take what today are referred to as partners. In the 50s, it was unnecessary to lock your front door as the likelihood of being burgled was very low, it was common for women to go to the shop round the corner without locking the front door. In the 60s we had the Kray Twins, high-profile gangsters, who had their corner of London in their grasp, and were ultimately sent to prison for life. Since then on a steady rising curve, criminality has increased steadily, to the point now, it seems parents can’t leave her children to walk to school, for fear of interference. It was in the 70s that those huge open air concerts became a regular feature, people became more wealthy, started taking holidays abroad as a regular thing, it was also in the 70s that the government miss- managed the economy and there was a tightening of the belts which had severe effects on industry, and the high Street.

It is not my intention to take this revolution which started after the Second World War, and has been going on ever since at an increasing rate, any further, because the majority of people who are reading this are of and age where they have experience the incredible changes over the last 30 years. I don’t think anyone could have forecast the changes in the way the country is run, and the way in which people now live in so much isolation, with the village mentality long gone, and along with it the consideration for others.

Do you realise? , 5

Victorian values
As far as the working class, and the lower-middle-class were concerned, things had changed little in the early 30s, from what they had been in Victorian times. There were of course considerable social changes as a result of the vast number of men having been killed during the war. There was a high percentage of unmarried women in consequence. In my own case I had three aunts, one never married, one married when she was 40, and the other one married when she was 60. The majority of people in these classes lived in terraced housing, with a small or no front garden, and possibly a small patch at the back. Every kitchen had a range, fired by coal, which provided hot water, heating of a kettle or saucepan on a trivet, and an oven. Children were bathed in front of the range, everyone washed at a washstand in the bedroom, using hot water provided by a large enamelled jug. Adults would make regular trips to local swimming baths, which had individual bathing facilities. In the majority of cases, while radio was in its infancy, only those who were able to make their own crystal set, or knew someone with that capability, were privy to the king’s message, on Christmas Day, listened to by the whole family from headphones in a bakung bowl in the centre of the Xmas luncheon table. Subsequently valve operated sets, powered by a large dry-cell battery, and a 2 volt liquid accumulator, became common, ever increasing in the quality of the cabinet and the price, while the technology improved at a snail’s pace

We were a nation of hoarders, even to the extent that when a pan became thin in the base, many people would get a gypsy to repair the pan while seated on the footpath kerb. Where possible everything was repaired, and the general saying was, ‘ keep it for a rainy day’. Above all we were stoical, a leftover from WW1, and ‘nice’, a word which covered practically every condition, from gossip to behaviour. When an aunt of mine was proposing to marry a divorcee, the whole matter was discussed when I wasn’t there, and when she was ultimately married, I was not allowed to go to the marriage ceremony, because he was divorced, and consequently, not nice. I consider that was the epitome of the way life was conducted, if it wasn’t nice it was not banded about, but talked of in hushed voices. How you were viewed by others was seen to be important, something that I believe we inherited from the Victorian era, and, in most cases, was still in vogue by the end of the 30s. It wasn’t a case of keeping up with the Joneses, rather what the Joneses might be thinking about you.

Obviously, there were changes from the 20s to the 30s, but they were very slow, partly because of the effects of World War I, the state of the economy, and probably to some extent, that the man in the street was happy enough with his lot. In general cases he had a job for life, ambition was not as prevalent as it is today, and generally only the man in the household went to work. From my perspective the high point of 1935, when I was about 13, was that austerity by this time had diminished, middle-class people were beginning to own cars because they were in semi-detached or detached houses, and consequently had room for a garage. Municipal sports grounds were beginning to be made, enabling the population to keep fit, if they were inclined. The cinemas had become more sophisticated, and the quality of the films was of a much higher standard. People were once again going on holiday to the seaside, although it was only the wealthy who holidayed abroad. The way I remember that the era was as though the sun shone every day, and every day was a holiday. This is clearly absurd, but it was a sudden awakening. I believe schooling was more liberal, and facilities such as museums, boat rides on the River, and fanfares doing the rounds of the country added to this feeling of a load lifted off one shoulders. But this was not to last long, within four years, we, the children at school would be hustled off to become a burden to families in the country, and when I say families in plural, it was generally the case that the evacuee would have more than one home, even as many as four, before going back to his own home. This was a level of disruption which was felt right across the south of England.

On the day the war broke out we had air raid sirens, which startled quite a lot of people, but that was the beginning of the phoney war, but it wasn’t long before we would be faced with the reality.

Do you realise? , 4

The aspects of education
If you go to the search facility in this blog, and type ‘ caining’, you will see a number of items that I have written concerning corporal punishment in schools by teachers and prefects, over the years. You will discover that some of the teachers behaved in a disgustingly criminal manner, which has ultimately brought about the situation of today, where corporal punishment is anathema both in school and the home. My wife, a secondary school teacher, would come home in recent years, and tell me of some young teacher who was crying because she could not control a class. If you read what I said in these other items you will find that I was beaten more often than most, for less than most, and it had no effect on my psyche. I was caned at school caned at home, and took it as part of my existence. There were times when I resented it, receiving it from boys only a few years older than myself, but with the authority to do so.

On a broader aspect, watching my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up, I have been able to assess the increasing rate of assimilation that each generation has been capable of. Part of this is because the quality of the technology that surrounded them was increasing at a fast rate, and they took this revolution in their stride. However, by the same token, this increase in technology has had the reverse effect as well, it has made entertainment more readily available at the touch of a switch, with the result that the children today are more prone, in a high proportion, to use the electronic advances in preference to the more simple pleasures that I knew. This I believe is a retrogressive aspect which requires national consideration, if we are to maintain the physical fitness that we enjoyed from the 20s to 60s.

There is another reverse effect engendered by the way in which children have become more sophisticated, and capable, and inconsequence demand more from life. The effect is that they expect to go to university as of right, when in fact they would be better off being articled or apprenticed, in some way of work, as so much of the academically trained, are finding it increasingly difficult to find work, and thus a loss to the nation of a failed potential. There is a level of snobbery that has crept into people’s concept of what they want for themselves and their children. With the result we are employing foreigners to do the work that these people feel is beneath them. This attitude is not helping our economy, or the level of employment, when you see so much also being sent abroad in one form or another. A typical example is the fact that so many call centres are now established in the subcontinent, with the result that firstly, the average English speaking person finds it difficult to carry on a conversation, and also their personal information is now being leaked abroad, with the result that scams concerning bank accounts are now becoming a national problem.

I have always believed that education did two things, one was to give one a groundwork from which one could understand and learn more about different subjects. The second thing that education does, is to teach one where to find the knowledge that he needs, and this is where I think the educational system needs its own revision. People are having to enter into examinations which require knowledge of complicated equations, or similar information. As this information under normal circumstances is readily available, I believe that it should be readily available in the examination room. At the risk of telling you something that you already read, I want to explain how we, instructors in the Royal Navy of highly technical material, set our exams. We allowed the examinees to take in anything that was written that they wished, but they were not allowed to talk during the examination. We then, knowing those who were likely to do well, took their papers, marked them, gave the best man or woman a mark of 95, and then we were able, having marked all the papers, to grade the rest proportionately. These people like anyone else in any form of employment will be able to research anything they needed in future life, and forcing them to remember material which was basic, but essential, and complicated like formulae, at a time when they were under the maximum stress, is unnecessary. The system always seemed logical and I never understood why it was not implemented across the board.

Do you realise, 2, and,3

Do you realise, 2
The E U.
One of the most serious, far-reaching, and controversial revolutions was when we joined the European market. A large number of us could never see the reason why, even when people suggested that it would improve trading. If we were producing products that were better than those produced elsewhere, whether they were paid for in pounds, shillings and pence, or some foreign currency, they would still have been bought. Instead of which we have been forced to suffer regulation designed to help people in countries that have neither the climate, the density of population, or the tastes of us in the UK. Furthermore Maggie Thatcher did her best to limit the amount of contribution that we would be paying, but I don’t think that today, with the advent of so many poor nations subsequently joining, we are being fairly treated. It has been a thorn in our side, ever since.

Do you realise, 3
Aspects of children’s lives.
There have been incredible changes right across-the-board for children and adults alike. The greatest change, I believe, has been the way in which children have assimilated technology, in play and in school. I suggest that this is to do, to some extent, to information being transmitted from generation to generation in the genes. Clearly the parents’ experience depends largely on their age, their ability and their environment, at the time of conception, and so the information transmitted will vary from child to child. Children of my generation played very simple games, with things like hoops, spinning tops, and whipping tops. Much of our play was physical, as well as make-believe. We had scratch teams playing seasonal sport on Commons, which dated back hundreds of centuries, where people once grazed their livestock. Much of those Commons were lost in World War II, when we had to grow our own vegetables, and not replaced. Something similar is happening today, where schools are selling off playing fields as building sites.

We were fortunate that there were very little, if any, vehicles that were not horse-drawn, in which case we were able to play in the streets, in small groups, but not gangs. There may have been some gang warfare in some parts of large conurbations, but I never remember any in my part of South London. Many of us would help a local trader or roundsman, as much for the fun of riding on a horse drawn milk cart, or getting a few sweats for running an errand. Group by group, we were innocent, childish and unsophisticated by present-day standards, and our interests at all levels were equally simple, and uncluttered. In the winter months, and in bad weather and dark evening we played simple card games and board games. Apart from some youngsters who had fairly wealthy parents, the majority of us had very little pocket money, it never seemed to worry us, we were more interested in what we could do, than what we could buy. Our Stockings and our presents, at set times, were generally equally simple, with probably one prize item. We never felt denied because we didn’t know any better, and we were happy as we were. It is true, that at Christmastime, we breathed on a lot of shop windows, more with hope than expectation.

Do you realise? – 1

Do you realise that you are part of a vast revolution, which has changed, and is still changing the way we live? We are partly responsible, because we are influenced by razzmatazz, spurious advertising, and laziness on our own part.

Shopping
The corner shop has almost totally ceased to exist in the main conurbations, and is replaced by supermarkets and franchise stores . We are no longer the customer that is always right, but puppets dancing to the supermarket’s impersonal tune. When we go to a shop, we just have to select from what is on offer. We can no longer nip round the corner for something we are short of. We no longer have any control of what is on the shelves, as we did in the past, when our individual needs were considered by the shop-owner. This revolution in shopping, has first of all reduced the number of people in the retail trade, and changed the look of the High Street. It is now more like a market, where’s there are some shops empty, and are only used for high days and holidays, and a large number of the other shops are fighting a losing battle with the supermarkets. Unfortunately things have gone too far for us to be able to turn back the clock. Out-of-town shopping is here to stay, making the car an unavoidable necessity, because public transport no longer fulfils the need.

Politics
In the very old days, when I was a young man, everything was done with pen and ink, which meant that you had time to think what you were writing, and others had time to read what you were putting down, and respond in like manner. Now with the Internet, the computer, TV, not to mention the iPod, everything is instant which translates into ‘ knee-jerk’. I believe that politics today consist of a series of knee jerk responses to every eventuality, without careful thought. I am constantly complaining that the government paints with a broad brush, without careful thought and without experience, resulting in mistakes, serious misjudgement, and irredeemable reflects from bad decisions and inept legislation. The credit crunch, and the way with which it was dealt is a prime example..

There seems to be a trend that problems can be solved by sweeping changes, without scaled-down modelling to see where the traps are. This latest effort of moving the boundaries with respect to how the electorate votes, is another example where they haven’t considered the cost that this is going to involve. Any change of this type involves considerable costs because new environments often demand new controls, which in turn often involves changes in location, paperwork, and the loss of valuable records. I firmly believe that this move is another one of these knee-jerk reactions which will only benefit a very small proportion of the electorate, and it appears the percentage of those will be for people who have come to live here from other countries. There is a constant perception that the majority, in this country, is disadvantaged by the needs of the few, which are often spurious.

The Northern Ireland Troubles, 7

THE SOLDIERS IN BELFAST
Any right thinking person had to be sympathetic to the young men who were sent over here, whether they wanted to come or not, to become potential targets for hidden snipers. The result was that they lived as we had in the warships, something which we accepted because times were harder in those days, but with the availability of more money, pressure groups, reducing recruitment, and the greater choices open to young people, the living standards in general of the armed forces would be unrecognisable to old sweats like me.
When I tried to persuade Gwen, my aunt, to come over here for a holiday, the fuss her friends made was unbelievable and the way they described what might happen to her if she agreed brought home to me, not only the ignorance, yet again, of the English in Irish affairs, but how the parents of the soldiers must have felt and still feel.
With the pressure from the job, the pressure from home and the tedium of confined living and no relief, it was surprising the men retained their humour, but they did, if perhaps in a cynical sense. I remember several instances of this, two in particular.
A mature woman, living in a corner house in one of the Republican areas in or near the Falls district, had been annoying a group of soldiers who were supposed to patrol the area by rushing out, as soon as they appeared, and banging the pavement with her bin lid, a general warning signal used to great effect in the area in the 70’s. In the end the sergeant decided to put a stop to it.
‘Everyone bring their mug’, he said and that was all. The men duly climbed into the Land Rover armed with all their equipment plus their mugs. They arrived at the woman’s house so quickly that she had no time to get the bin lid and immediately on arrival the Sergeant and corporal went to her door and knocked. While he was waiting he told the corporal to bring all the men who were not on guard to the garden path with their mugs.
When the woman opened the door he started to talk to her, but shielded her from view in the street, he then told his corporal to collect the mugs and pass them to him. A few moments later he passed the mugs back, one at a time and instructed the men to appear to drink. Finally he ordered the men back into the Landrover and with a salute and a loud ‘thank you for the tea’, they left.
Apparently, they were hardly round the corner when the woman had one of her windows broken by a neighbour.
That story was going the rounds, but another along the same lines was witnessed by our Senior Tracer and can be vouched for. She was going to catch the bus to go to work when she saw a sight, which totally mystified her. She waited to see what it was all about.
A lorry full of soldiers had stopped, the men had dismounted, and some with dustbin lids in their hands, and they all tiptoed down a long road in the Springfield Road district. They spread out along the centre of the road and waited. On a signal, the ones with the lids bashed the road, giving the well known signal and within seconds a number of doors burst open and men, putting on clothes, ran into the street, into the arms of those without lids but with repeating rifles pointing at where the men’s breakfast should be. A cynical sense of humour? Maybe. Devious? Definitely.