Category Archives: Commemoration

Yorkshire Day

Despite the politics, and the weather, Yorkshire flags will be flying high again today. And even though politicians continue to ignore – or even block – the region’s choices, normal life will go on without much in the way of protests or demonstrations. The droughts, the floods, the heat and the cold are just minor annoyances to be endured. The lack of accountability at the Yorkshire tourism organisation will be handled without melodrama. And in or out of the EU the average Yorkshire citizen will just quietly get on with making a living.

So today will more likely be celebrated by a pint or a larger portion of fish and chips than a ticker-tape parade. Them southerners can do all that sort’a stuff …

Road To Freedom

Tomorrow will be the 75th anniversary of the start of the battle to free the occupied European states from German control. The Allied landings on the Normandy beaches marked the start of a long and costly campaign to liberate north-west Europe.

The invasion, if successful, would drain German resources and block access to key military sites. Securing a bridgehead in Normandy would allow the Allies to establish a viable presence in northern Europe. But it was not easy fight and over the weeks that followed the Battle of Normandy would incur the deaths of nearly 37,000 ground and over 16,000 air personnel for the invading forces.

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Of the five invasion beaches the landings at Omaha suffered the most casualties but none of them could be called, by any stretch of the imagination, painless. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the landings and subsequent push inland.

Despite their tremendous costs in terms of lives and national wealth the invading Allies did not seek control over the countries they fought for. Instead they chose to restore these nations’ freedoms and encourage democratic governments.

How different it could all have been if the D-Day plans had failed – or if the USA and the British Commonwealth had opted to simply defend their homeland borders instead.

ANZAC Day

Troops from Australia and New Zealand fought along side the British throughout World War One – but they had to endure one of the worst of all the campaigns. To quote the Imperial War Museum –

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Of all the varied parts of the world where British and Commonwealth forces were deployed during the First World War, Gallipoli was remembered by its veterans as one of the worst places to serve.

 … Gallipoli has become a defining moment in the history of both Australia and New Zealand, revealing characteristics that both countries have used to define their soldiers: endurance, determination, initiative and ‘mateship’.

National Holiday

It’s St George’s Day – and this year it comes with a promise that it will be made into a national holiday. Sadly the promise is subject to the Labour Party being in government – and is only a promise; not a guaranteed outcome.

The Labour party also promise to make the other three patron saints’ days holidays – as part of their land of milk and money which would blossom if they were in power … But then everyone believes that politicians never break their promises – don’t they?

However back in the present the Labour opposition are instead promoting even closers ties to the EU. More tied than the toxic Dead Donkey deal of Mrs May.

So we should sell our freedom to Brussels in exchange for an extra day off … bargain!


Into The Sixties

Winter Dance Party - Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, Dion

It is sixty years ago tomorrow that a four-seater Beechcraft Bonanza crashed at around 1am in bad weather near Clear Lake, Iowa. All four on-board were killed. A tragedy but nevertheless an event where reports would normally be limited to just local news.

But this time the deaths of pilot Roger Peterson with singers  Ritchie Valens (17), Jiles Perry “Big Bopper” Richardson (28) and Buddy Holly (22) made news around the world. Not least in Australia and the UK where Holly’s popularity was high having toured both during the year before.

Even so at the time of his death Buddy Holly’s records had only appeared in the UK music charts for just over a year. With Peggy Sue, Listen To Me, Rave On, Early In The Morning and Heartbeat being the ones that charted before the crash. Despite this brief and restricted career his music and influences can still be heard today – some sixty years on.

For many 3-Feb-1959 was not The Day That Music Died but a tragic loss that shaped a new and highly successful era of popular music – Rave On!

Sixth Anniversary

It’s six years since the start of this website – so how much as changed?

Well so much as happened around the world to so many people – and businesses – since 2012 that we have to restrict things to just that mini-world of topics that were covered here.

And tellingly many of the issues raised in 2012 have made very little progress and some remain unresolved.

Scotland tried and failed to leave the UK. The UK tried to leave the EU but is still stuck in limbo. While at the more trivial level – road signs are still in miles and yards; penny coins are still in use despite being worth even less; DAB radio is still be pushed as the replacement for FM channels despite missing all its take-up targets and the Daily Express is still printing wildly inaccurate weather predictions. Even the successful Crossrail project has yet to carry its first paying passenger.

But looking at the topics that have reached the top of in-tray during the past six years it is clear that somethings do change much more quickly than others.

Take retail for example where the six years have seen massive changes and some big names fail. From British Home Stores to Toys R Us from Mothercare to Maplin closures have been changing both the High Street and the retail parks. The stats show just how bad it has been with an estimated 10,000 stores closing since the start of 2013.

But it’s not all been bad news. And despite some gloomy prospects on the political front we still look forward with hope to more rewarding years of postings. And to making more attempts at sticking a pin in the elephant of bureaucracy.

Good News From Europe

Froome, Thomas and Yates

For much of the British public professional cycle racing is a foreign sport. And this is largely true when you consider how many races are held in mainland Europe each year and how few in Britain. So it really is remarkable that all the races that make up the European Grand Tour trilogy have been won this year not just by a British athlete but by three different British athletes.

To put these results into some sort of  perspective the situation in 2011 was that no British cyclist had ever won a Grand Tour. And Grandad was starting to think that it would never happen. Then everything changed as Team Sky got the funding and talent together for a serious attack despite the challenges faced. Now six of the last seven Tours de France have been won by British riders backed by Team Sky. And this year saw Team Sky win the Tour of Italy for the first time and so set-up the chance to take this unique triple victory in 2018.