Guest Post John Woodhouse
A first for my blog, I’m publishing the work of another author. This article will be a guest post by my good friend and author of ‘A Copper at the Yard’, John Woodhouse.
John’s life epitomises triumph over adversity. John survived lung cancer in an age when survival rates were abysmally low, he continues to live with the challenges of dyslexia, and has contributed to the nation’s security in an awe-inspiring way. An ordinary guy who led an extraordinary life. His book, which is his life story, is well worth a read!
John’s battle with lung Cancer left him with just one lung. Of course, I would never have guessed that when in 2016 John and I, along with my Dad, ran the nuclear race with a team of others for BLESMA, the limbless & injured veterans charity. 50 obstacles over 6k of mud water and more mud. I started the race with John, and I finished with him. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was struggling to keep pace with this 70-year-old man, with only one lung.
During the Covid lockdowns and isolation periods, John put his love for writing to good use, he sent out a number of light-hearted emails to keep his family, friends, and associates in good spirits. Below you will find a number of those messages. Some are funny, some less so, some are historical, and all come from the heart. Thanks John, you helped us to keep our sanity during an insane year.
Excerpts from the note book of a dyslexic author.
This is not the first time isolation has been forced upon some of us, but we survived then and we will again. As an inmate of my own castle ‘Colditz’ I am trying to organize an imaginary escape committee but I need help with the following things.
I need a Mr Big to look at the overall running of the group, someone like ‘Trump’ who is slow to get a grip of an ever changing situation, but is shielded from reality by living in a parallel world.
Also a good quality Forger to produce counterfeit cash to support all those ‘Professional Footballers’ who can’t go to work for three hours a day.
Some digging equipment, to enable me to bury the bodies of all the hoarders of food, medical equipment and toilet paper plus scammers and burglars.
A number of Tailors to design and make trousers with flaps at the back for those that have completely lost it.
Some professional five year olds, who can train us all up to wash our hands correctly.
Someone to infiltrate the media to put a stop to all the T.V. adds on our screens for things nobody wants or can get anyway.
Someone who can cook a meal for a family of four by only using the following ingredients, a cardboard box, grass cuttings, junk mail, last weeks T.V. times and an endless supply of bullshit.
Please swallow this electronic email after reading it, in case it gets into the wrong unwashed hands.
From a dyslexic authors note book.
Could this have been one of the last broadcasts over the Public address system by the Captain of the Titanic early on that fateful day?
Attention please, will all passengers that wish to disembark on to the life boats from the lower deck kindly move up to the next deck as the lower deck is now out of bounds due to a slight problem of flooding.
Ballroom dancing lessons will soon commence in the main ballroom on deck 3, music will be provided by our resident band, apart from the woodwind section which is presently engaged blowing up life rafts.
A talk on Bee keeping given by Professor Sting has now been moved to the library on deck 4, and as a reminder would you take this opportunity to return all books to the library if held longer than 14 days.
The ships chef is now offering this one off opportunity for a free course in cooking and preparing Fast Food, this will take place in the main galley.
Later this morning Diving lessons will take place from the bridge, but do remember to bring your own towel.
May I remind all passengers that the Pursers office is still open if any of you wish to exchange any currency?
I am afraid that golf lessons on the main deck has been suspended due to the angle of the deck, so would you kindly return all balls and clubs to the sports shop where we are currently holding a 99% discount sale on all goods.
Can I remind passengers that a strict dress code will apply at dinner; the first sitting will take place very very early this morning after this broadcast.
Stoker Woodhouse, Second Class, will be holding a very quick Quiz in the lounge shortly, but do remember to bring your own pencil and paper.
For your further entertainment the cinema is presently showing ‘Sink the Bismarck’ followed by ‘The Great Escape’.
My next open letter may follow in the next few days if you share my kind of humour, let me know either way. Keep well, John (one lung Woody) Woodhouse.
Keeping life in perspective 3.
It appears from the growing feedback I am receiving concerning the excerpts from the note book of a dyslexic author that more disclosures are wanted, only by a very small section of you, so for them only here goes number 3.
Firstly, two things I would like to say is, Historic Facts only become facts when they are written down, and as an ex copper I have never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
The last time this country was overrun by an enemy was the invasion by the Romans. Could this have been one of the first address’s by the celebrated Roman General, Julius Caesar, to his troops on the beaches of Dover. I should point out that History and Geography was never my strong point.
Friends Romans and Countrymen lend me your ears, so I can remind you all to put on your long sleeve jumpers and woolly Benny hats as it gets a bit parky in the evenings.
Also, some of you may already have realised that the Roman battle dress was not designed to be worn in Britannia where stinging nettles and thistles grow, at least three feet or more.
At this point can I instruct all commanders to remember to alternate the duties of the Rape and Pillage squads, as I have received reports of the Raping squads falling asleep on the job.
Can I say that I appreciate the difficulties of storming the beaches of Dover while wearing Australian type flip flops, but newly designed high heel type shoes are being tested and will be distributed in due course.
It has come to my notice that communicating with the local Brits, is proving difficult but I am assured that if you speak very loudly and slowly they will understand eventually, and to recognise a local just look out for a prominent stiff upper lip, which appears to be a national trait.
The next item, may I point out that most locals are not usually armed but when cornered they may point a finger at you and complain about the weather, do not be alarmed at this strange behaviour.
The construction of public toilets will soon commence, but as there is no toilet paper to hand, a stick with a bit of cloth wrapped around one end, will be provided, but be sure not to ‘Grab the wrong end of the stick’.
In order to stop running over even more locals can all chariot drivers stop using the European sat nav’s while driving, plus it doesn’t appear to cover Britannia, and please remember to keep to the left hand side of the roads when we start building them.
This is the second week of my self isolation at home and can, just about feel the first thoughts of an imaginary escape coming on; the need to be free is a powerful feeling. Which reminds me of an interesting and true story. It began in 1940 when an increasing number of British and Canadians Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the British Government was looking at ways and means to facilitate their escape.
Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of ‘safe houses’ where a POW on the run could go for food and shelter. Paper maps had some real drawbacks- they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they also wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn to mush. However someone in MI 5 (British Intelligence) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads and, unfolded as many times as needed and, makes no noise whatsoever.
At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington Ltd. When approached by the Government the firm was only too please to do its bit for the war effort.
By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licenses for the popular American board game Monopoly. As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category of items qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.
Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany, Italy and France or wherever Allied POW camps were located. When processed these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece. As long as they were at it, the clever workman at Waddington’s also managed to add: A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass: A two part metal file that could be screwed together: Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!
Both British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first missions, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set – by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.
Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWs who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in any future war.
This story wasn’t ‘Declassified’ until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were finally honoured in a public ceremony.
It’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail’ Free card! Some of you are (probably) too young to have any personal connection to W.W.11. (1939 to 1945) but this is still an interesting bit of History for everyone to know. Keep safe out there. John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping Life in perspective 5
A glimpse into the crazy world of a dyslexic author.
While immersing myself in a hot bath this morning pondering the present circumstances surrounding us, I thought how much minor difficulties, such as at present, have actually proved to have been an advantage in overcoming far larger problems in the past, as in the case of Sir Edmund Hillary, the mountaineer and explorer. Who once said “People do not decide to become extraordinary, they decide to accomplish extraordinary things”. There he was, near the top of Mount Everest in the Himalayas, sitting in a 6 by 4 foot tent with a howling gale outside, his only company was his friend and guide Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, snoring next to him in the early hours of 29th May 1953 when he (may) have penned this short report.
Co-ordinator Base Camp 1.
Sir, in reply to your supply delivery and note, I received yesterday. Firstly may I apologise for my shaky hand but it is 30 degrees below outside and howling a gale through the flaps of my tent and not as you mistakenly assumed that of a female named Gale forcing her way into my tent during the night.
Furthermore my request for extra ‘crampons’ appears to have been mistaken for extra ‘crumpets’, as was my reference to ‘Frost bit toes’ which confusingly turned into Frosties of the Kellogg’s type. Plus your inability to find a pair of ‘Yanks’ in this part of the Himalayas has confused me somewhat, as a pair of ‘pants’ would have been far more useful, as would have been a pair of ‘gloves’ rather than a pair of ‘Doves’, and ‘rope ties’ rather than ‘neck ties’ or your reference to the ‘length of my coat’ rather than a ‘lengths of rope’ and red rocks rather than bright red easily seen soaks.
Whereas, this is not any kind of criticism on my part I would have preferred some ‘roll up ropes’ so I can carry them easier, rather than ‘roll up smokes’.
The conditions up here appears to be deterioting somewhat with lots of fine snow, I’m praying for more ice for more gripping, or as you put it ‘Iced tea and dripping’.
It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves!
Keep safe out there. John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping Life in perspective 6
Being a dyslexic author is not all it’s kracked up to be.
While hiding in the garden shed this morning, away from the wife’s dreaded jobs list, it crossed my mind that one of the things that I find amazing is the ability by some people to rise above minor setbacks in life, such as self isolation and in fact use those situations to achieve even greater heights in their personnel journey through life.
As Field Marshal Montgomery (Monty) of Alamein, once said of a junior officer. “The boy Stirling is quite mad, quite quite mad, however in a war there is often a place for mad people”. He was of course referring to Sir David Stirling, the founder of the S A S. (Britain’s Special Air Service) who, when he was captured in Tunisia in January 1943, promptly escaped four times before being sent to Colditz Castle, near Leipzig in Germany in late 1943. And, (may) well have penned this letter during his incarceration to his then Bank Manager.
Dear Sir, With reference to your letter dated the 3rd January, informing me of my present overdraft situation and insisting that I remedy this oversight ASAP, while also pointing out the fact that you had not agreed to any such arrangements. May I assure you this is purely a temporary situation, as my proposed travel arrangements have not yet been authorised by the camp Commandant of Colditz Castle, a Colonel Franz Von Stigler.
Further more you may have noticed that I have not used my account since 4pm on the afternoon of 1st January, the date of my capture by the The Third Reich, who incidentally have confiscated all my credit cards, which brings me to my next point. Can you kindly arrange replacements of the said credit cards, preferable by secreting them somehow in future correspondence, food parcels or make them recorded delivery, as the postmen in this part of Germany are dreadful thieves and cannot be trusted.
I also noticed an enclosed leaflet for Insurance. Would it be possible to have more details please, including the areas they do and do not cover, such travel cancelations, P.P.I. and if the cell door locks here, conform to British Standards 3621, because I don’t know, nobody knows.
Can I also point out my change of address, where I can be contacted for the foreseeable future, hence the reason for not using my ‘On line banking facilities’.
You also made mention of the need to reply to your letter within 14 working days. Let me assure you I’m doing my very level best to comply in person to alleviate any further interest charges. Yours sincerely David Stirling. (later to become D.S.O. & O.B.E.)
To conclude, may I remind you that when a bird is sitting in a tree it is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not in the branch but in its own wings. ‘Always believe in ones self’. Best time to laugh, Anytime. John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping Life in perspective 7.
If dyslexia is caused by a virus, everyone reading this should wash your hands before continuing any further.
I was e-mailing one of my son’s the other day regarding the possible replacement of my laptop, which is now a few years old, rather like myself. During this discourse he started to ask me some strange questions which I found very disconcerting, or is it just me, as I don’t spend a lot of time these days on the tinternet.
Question 1. What kind of floppy disc do I have? Very indignantly I replied ‘that kind of information was between me and my doctor’.
Question 2. How do I feel about going from Windows 7 to Windows 10?. Well I thought Windows 10. Sounds it would be a much larger version and would perhaps let in a lot more light into the computer room.
Question 3. What kind of Software do I use? Again I thought, why the same as most other people I add one small cup of ‘Lenor’ Fabric Conditioner to every wash.
Question 4. The physical equipment known as Hardware. Surly I don’t have to wear steel toed boots and a hard hat in the house, he’ll be asking me to wear a high viz yellow jacket next, and who would dare put a Rom and a Ram in the same room together.
Question 5. Then he mentioned one word, ‘Drag’. Well then I put my foot down and said, ” I will not wear ’ladies make up’ just to use a bloody computer”.
Question 6. Had I thought about computer viruses? I didn’t know one could catch viruses from a computer, I wondered if that meant wearing a mask and social distancing, one person in the same room at any one time and what kind of symptoms one might expect.
And what’s ‘Linkadink’ for Gods sake? And where do I get ‘apps’ from?, are they small apples, and I thought ‘Hard drive’ was sitting next to the wife when she’s at the wheel, and don’t even mention a mouse, she would go ballistic, and a ‘Gigabyte’ sounds like a dance!.
At the end of the day he came back and instructed me not to do anything until he came over at the weekend and sat down and went through the ramifications of living in the modem world.
Is it time for me to contact Social Services to get a carer to come in, twice a day, to do a bit of defragging for me.
To conclude, may I say that some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, while others merely gargle. Until the next time. John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping life in perspective 8.
Yes before you ask, I have washed my hands and dried them with a disposable paper towel, allowed the towel to dry then inserted it into my printer for recycling.
I appreciate that things are very difficult for most of us at the moment, but there are some groups of people who really do struggle with self isolation and social distancing.
Take burglars for instance, knowing that every house is defiantly occupied by people working from home, mums cleaning, kids screaming, dads screening, how are burglars supposed to earn a living. And although they are technically self employed they cannot get any help from any Government schemes.
Then there are Publicans, no early morning deliveries, no stacking shelves, no lunch time meals and no last orders, no late night fights, and watching the 9 o clock news on TV is unprecedented. And there’s no need for them to go into the cellar to pick which barrel to water down as they’ve all been done already.
Another group of workers to be hit are prostitutes, no chance of social distancing there, and even if they found a client out exercising in his lycra, they can’t get near him without marks, very thin see through clothing (no change there) and certainly no mouth to mouth. I suppose they could always talk dirty from across the road, but it’s just not the same, so I’m informed.
The next group, although they are not quite as energetic as the above group, they do work out very hard at least three hours a day, three days a week. I refer to celebrity Footballers, the £750.000 a week nancy boys who fall to the floor screaming in agony if you accidently push by them. How do they manage without the daily dose of pampering and adulation? And where are they when a 99 year old war veteran on a pension, can raise over 27 million for the N.H.S. in a couple of weeks, while they cry on twitter about being paid.
One would also expect the sound of ear busting sound bites of familiar songs from the dreaded ice cream vans to be heard, especially the ones that seem to find you, where ever you are, even in the garden with the grand children. At £10 to £15 a time, out of the pension when 95% of what they sell is frozen water. They should be called ice cream highway men
And of course my favourite. Estate Agents. Yes I know your feelings about them but in to- days market, how do they feed their little estate agents. Who they diligently home school in the art of exaggeration, fast talking bullocks and small print contracts. I’m sure you can think of many more.
Still there is always one thing you can count on in life, and that’s your fingers.
John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping Life in perspective 9.
Nowadays few people have heard of William Joyce, who once said, and I quote “If you really love to write and if you really love to tell stories you just have to keep doing it no matter what anybody says“. Well I agree with these sentiments, especially when it sounds like good advice, coming from a sensible well balanced young man. But if I told you he was the last civilian to be excicuted for treason in Great Britain in 1946, bells may well start to ring. In fact he was the British born radio voice who broadcast Nazi propaganda from Germany during W.W.2. He was more commonly known as Lord Haw Haw.
I have often wondered why we Brits didn’t have our own Lord Haw Haw, who may well have been known as Lord Ha Ha, and would have delivered broadcasts via the world famous B.B.C. such as this.
“Britain calling. Britain calling.
You Germans may laugh at our ‘Dads Army but just you wait and see, our Dads bigger than your Dad. As you are probably aware we are planning a rather large group excursion trip over to see you all soon, although the details are still very secret, even what day we are coming, but we are going ahead and producing a travel guide for all over Europe for our landing forces, but we are not sure to include skiing equipment or shorts, sandals and dinner jackets for a Mediterranean cruise type visit. But one thing is for sure it’s going to be a big party as even more invitations have gone out to both the Americans and the Russians. Don’t know where. Don’t know when. But I’m sure we’ll meet again some sunny day. Bye the way your famous ship the Bismarck has been found in a Norwegian fiord and has defiantly been ‘Banged up abroad’ for good. To continue may I ask why Herman Goring is named ‘Her- Man’ is it because he’s not sure which he is, a her or a man. Boring Goring
But now for some good news, the Gestapo full length black leather trench coats are much sort after over here, as they are considered a ladies fashion item, but can also be worn by guys who are more in touch with their feminine side, they love a bit of leather.
I understand that the severe rationing over there is making it almost impossible to find a German made car, while over here you can pick them up for a pair of nylon stockings.
Well goodbye for now, from over here in Britain, from your friendly Lord Ha Ha.
May I conclude by saying “Yesterday’s the past, Tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift, that’s why they call it ‘the present’. So make the most of every day as tough times never last, but tough people do.
John Woodhouse. (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping life in perspective 10
Excerpts from a dyslexic authors note book.
I was thinking the other day, which is most unlike me. I don’t suffer from dyslexia, I live with it, and work with it every day of my life. I do however suffer from a very small minority of ignorant people who think they know what it is like.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get to where I am today; (he said laughing up my sleeve.) despite my dyslexia, but because of it. Dyslexia is not a pigeon hole to say you can’t do certain things it just means you put information into your head a different way than most people. It’s like comparing information storage in the internet cloud and an Amazon warehouse, it’s all there but sometimes it takes a little longer to find it.
Yes we’ve all heard the story of the two dyslexic guys driving and one say’s to the other “Can you smell petrol” the other one replied “Don’t be a moron, I can’t even smell my own name” or about the dyslexic guy who walks into a bra. But you can learn to deal with it.
Some famous dyslexics include Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Tom Cruise (just to slip a small one in) Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg and me to name just a few.
To delve into the mind of a dyslexic try try reading the following,
fi yuo cna raed tihs yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid, olny smoe plepoe can. The phaonmneal pweor fo the hmuam mnid si azanmig and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling wsa ipmorantt.
Or to put it another way.
7H15 M3554G3 53R35 70 PRoV3 HoW OuR MIND5 C4N DO 4M4ZING 7HING5.
Logic will get you from A to B but imagination in dealing with problems will take you everywhere you want to go. As Albert Einstein once said, and I quote “Most teachers waste their time by asking questions that are intended to discover what a pupil does not know, whereas, the true art of asking questions is to discover what the pupil does know”. Quite an interesting concept, for an ex copper.
So, in the future when you see me take up a pen kindly remind me that, b’s have bellies, and d’s don’t. At the end of the day I’d rather be remembered as a ‘d’ rather than a ‘b’.
To conclude, it is said that a successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation for his life with the bricks others have thrown at him, and I’ve caught a few in my time.
John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping life in perspective 11
Even more excerpts from a Dyslexic Authors Note Book
I have noticed during the last few weeks that my Dyslexia and Terminology have been having great fun together. I didn’t realise for instance that Terms come in different sizes, short term, midterm and long term, and there’s nothing like an ology to bring things together, plus a bit of imagination also plays a big part. That’s the place where, it’s nice and quiet and where the minds goes to relax and leaves the body behind.
Take the term ‘Carbon Footprint’, now I didn’t know I had even stepped in it, let alone brought it into the house on my shoes. There was certainly no telltale smell to it. Then shortly after my wife assured me I had a very large one, which was little comfort, as I’d never seen it. So do ladies really choose them, I think all ladies should have shoes.
Then there’s the term” The bottom has fallen out of the market”. Now I’ve been to a few markets in my time and I’ve heard a few bottoms talk out loud, but I’ve never actually heard them fall out with each other. I suppose the best place to hear them talking is when they are completely relaxed, like sitting down on a seat, or in a yoga position, when, suddenly they are surprised by something and have to stand up quickly, then you hear them load and clear!. The owner of the bottom then turns and normally smiles and puts their hand over their bottom as if to tell it to be quite. Or is it just an age thing, hence the term ‘Old Fart’.
And what about the term 4x4 cars, why are they so expensive and yet you never see these extra 4 wheels. Where are they kept, and when you ask the salesman where they are, he just gives his nose a tap with his finger and that knowing smile and walks away as if everybody else knows where they are except you.
And what about leverage, who wants to know how old a lever is, and who would ever want to play a bored game and why one can’t do a standing order sitting down and why is there no water in a bath chair and does footloose really mean one of them is falling off. Life can get very confusing at times. Although I must say though this Carnivorous 19 is something else, isn’t it, rather like the Carousel 19 that just keeps going around.
Bye the way have you ever noticed that the Collins English Dictionary is slightly biased towards the French as it includes words like French Beans, French Bread, French Chalk, French Fries, French Horn, French Dressing, French Mustard, French Letters, French Polish, French Windows, but the English only have the English Breakfast to munch on.
To conclude may I say. Hard work spotlights the character of people, some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don’t turn up at all.
John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping life in perspective 12.
House arrest, but what have I done.
There are lots of things I’m finding very difficult during this time of lockdown and social distancing. Surprisingly enough having a lot more cash in my pocket, as I can’t get down to my local pub to see the lads and have a pint. Or waking up early on a Monday mornings and thinking “Here we go, back to work again”, or coming home on a Friday afternoon thinking another week over, another dollar earned. Then the banter up at the club with the lads and of course the gossip, I do miss it all.
Instead I spend most of my time these days washing my hands. They are as pristine and as nimble as a pick pockets hands. This has become one of the most important activities of the day. Washing my hands before I cook, and washing them after I cook. Washing my hands after opening the morning mail, as if it were porn sent through the post. Washing my hands after unpacking the shopping, having sent the wife out to do it. Washing my hands after gardening and clearing out the shed, well it is spring. Washing my hands after painting the garden fence and furniture. Washing my hands after picking (no it’s not my nose, its seedlings out in the greenhouse). Washing my hands after clearing out the garage and greenhouse then putting it all back where it was, in case the kids want to store their stuff there. Washing my hands after clearing the loft out. Filthy dirty, covered in cobwebs, what a mess, but she’s good with the grandkids. Washing my hands after decorating the spare room and after pressure cleaning the front drive and back patio. Plus a bit of ironing, if it’s raining, but the wife still won’t let me near her smalls, on or off. Some things never change!! Bye the way when I wrote the words ‘on or off’ I didn’t mean on me, but of course that didn’t cross dressing your mind did it.
The other thing, is answering the bell at the front door, opening it, and stepping backwards but at the same time wanting to dash out into the street and scream and give whoever they are, a big hug and a kiss because it’s so nice to see a fresh face for a change. This only happened once at my house, now the postman won’t deliver parcels anymore. Mind you the DHL delivery driver keeps knocking just because he’s in the area, even though he has no deliveries for me. Such a nice boy!!
And why does the wife have to hoover every single day, no buggers been here except us, and we don’t go out, except to see the postman drive passed once a day.
To conclude may I say ‘Run when you can, walk if you have to, and crawl if you must, just never give up, life is far too precious. John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping life in perspective 13.
There I was sitting in the garden the other day, enjoying the sun shine, while thinking back to times gone bye when I was a Flying Squad officer, what feels like 100 years ago. Yes the Sweeney, the most famous crime fighting organisation, certainly this country have ever seen. Fortunately it is still going strong to this day. Then as I sat there, half thinking, half drifting into imagination I wondered what would it be like for Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Detective Sergeant George Carter, from the Sweeney, to come back from the 70s and answer the call for retired Police Officers to volunteer to return to the Metropolitan Police to help out during the present situation.
No doubt they would find a very young faced university graduate named Timothy, who insisted to be addressed as Tim and not as Detective Chief Superintendant as shown on his office door. Inside Jack and George sat on two bean bags facing their new senior officer. “Just call me Tim please Jack, we don’t use rank today, it’s part of our equal opportunities approach strategy”. He continued.”Here is your i-pad for all your weekly reports, applications for overtime, equipment and personnel updates etc, to be completed on our Police App, plus a mobile phone, and of course your oyster cards for you and George, sorry no squad cars these days due to re-organisational priorities, but of course, if you feel it really necessary you can apply for a car, through me, to get a pool vehicle, who we share with other emergency services, after it has been approved from above of course, any questions”.
The two blank faces opposite said it all. “Just one thing Guv” Jack said “Sorry I meant Tim, where’s my team”. Tim replied.”Oh yes, they are waiting for you at one of our new Police Centres, and in your case it is in the car park of Sainsbury’s in the High Street”. An hour later D.I. Regan and D.S Cater arrived at the New Police Centre in the car park of Sainsbury’s, which turned out to be a very large container painted dark Blue with a diced strip band painted round the top. The two of them stood at the entrance of the car park and first looked at the container then at each other. Then Jacks phone rang, it was Tim informing him that his team were standing by the steel door of the Police Centre waiting for him to arrive and introduce themselves.
As D.I Jack Regan and D.S. George Carter approached the container they saw a uniformed WPC. aged about 40 years old, built like a JCB, very short cropped hair with more than a hint of a moustache with a voice lower than a basement, who introduced herself as Lucy Lovelace. She then turned and pointed to a scruffy yob, standing by her side who looked like he had just been arrested with earrings, a ponytail and a metal stud in his tongue. She said “This is P.C. Nightingale, Jack, the other half of your team”. Then suddenly I woke up with a start as the wife shouted from the back door,”Cup of tea dear”. . John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping life in perspective 14
While I appreciate the hardships and difficulties that most people are going through at the present time, I was reminded the other day that a look back in time can sometimes help to put things in perspective. Take the birth of our present day hero, Captain Tom in 1920, (God bless him). This was just two years after the conclusion of W.W.1. During which over 22 million people died worldwide. Also that year a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and ran until his birth in which it is estimated 50 million people die from it. Yes 5o million people in two years. Not the ideal time to come into this world.
About six or seven years later the Great Depression begins, unemployment hits 25%, the world G.D.P. drops 26%. That runs for four years. The country nearly collapse along with the rest of the world economy.
When he was 19, World War 11 starts. He hasn’t even had time to straighten his tie when two years later, the United States joins the war. Between his 19th and 25th Birthdays, 75 million people have died as a result. Also the Smallpox epidemic had arrived, killing an estimate 300 million people during his lifetime so far.
At 30 years old the Korean War starts, I should add, at this point, it is thought this is nothing to do with him, nevertheless a further 5 million people die.
All his life his generation had to deal with the fear of the Polio epidemics each summer, killing or paralyzing millions. At 35 the Vietnam War begins, again not his fault, but it doesn’t end for another 20 years. It is estimated over 4 million people die in that conflict. Then came the Cold War, during which, the whole world lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation. In his 42rd year the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted, a tipping point in the Cold War and life on our planet, as we know it, almost ended. When he turned 55 years old the Vietnam War finally ended.
Just think of his generation enduring all that. How did they cope with it all, and still go about their day to day lives. When you think that when we were kids and didn’t think our 80 year old Grandparents knew anything about life, we had to manage with all that homework from school. How difficult it was to deal with the bully in our class. Yet they survived and prospered through everything above.
Perspective is an amazing tool to help the mind deal with difficult times and situations. So try to remember what your parents and grandparents were called on to endure, yes all the above while YOU ARE JUST CALLED UPON TO STAY AT HOME AND SIT ON THE COUCH AND WATCH T.V..
John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Keeping Life in perspective 15
I recently watched a film the other day based on Winston Churchill and wondered what he would say to Boris Johnson today, given the chance. Bearing in mind Winston loved his quotes so I have included as many as I can remember and squeeze in. The following letter may well have been on the lines of.
Boris, my dear boy, I am 155 years old, and as you know I’ve been in more than a number of desperate situations in my time. From being captured by the enemy in my early life, to waging war in later life, nether I would recommend. So I do understand what you must be going through. The pressure from the Press, the very buggers that always criticize from a safe position. The opposition who never miss an opportunity to say “I told you so” and of course your own party who will stab you in the back, given the chance. However I must congratulate you for bringing out the courage and fortitude of the British people. Once again they have proven they can overcome and survive. Time and time again they have put their minds and bodies into gear and do what is necessary for the common good.
I once said “Never in the field of human conflict have so few” which should, perhaps now read “Has so many”. “So let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and bear ourselves that if the British Isles and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, this was our finest hour”.
“The British people know how to make the best of things, their so called muddling through, is simply a skill at dealing with the inevitable”. So tell them as it is, “One ought never to turn one’s back on a theoretical danger and try to run away from it, if you do that, you will double the danger, but if you meet it promptly and without flinching you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything, never”. “ Remember success is never found, it is created”.
And whereas I do understand the problems of victory over this situation “They still are more agreeable than those of defeat, albeit they are no less difficult”. “If you are going through hell, keep going”. We maybe up and down, but we are not down and out.
“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes”, so you won’t be wrong all the time. So when this is all over and the dust has settled you will realize that “A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on”. That is the time to put pen to paper and write a book of what you’ve been through. ”It will be an adventure to begin with, it is a toy, then an amusement, then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be returned to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public”. The very best of luck Boris you will need it. Yours Winston .
John Woodhouse (The Dyslexic Author)
Guest post by John Woodhouse, author of A Copper at the Yard.