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Gettysburg

June 6, 2008

By an accident of direction a motorcycle show I have to be at in six hours is located just fifteen miles away from the Pennsylvania village of Gettysburg.  Which just so happens to be the site of the largest intercenine battle in U.S. history.  Normally I associate myself with naval history but at heart I am a soldier so decided to take a brief look at the battlefield.

The way that the road map displays it, one would assume that the battlefield park would be off road.  How wrong I was.  United States Route 30, the Lincoln Highway of old, passes right down the middle of the battlefield site.  One minute you’re in countryside, and the next you are in countryside littered with stone and marble memorials, with the cupolas of the Lutheran seminary rising above the tree tops in the distance.

The sun was setting on the battlefield, so I had only time to visit the area closest to Gettysburg itself where the initial fighting took place, between Union cavalry and the vanguard of the Confederate army under Robert E. Lee.  Twilight always seems to paint landscapes in a sad blurry way, and Gettysburg is no exception.  There was a monument topped by an eternal flame, dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt on the 75th Anniversary of the battle in 1938.  Despite the stillness of the evening sky, one could barely see the light flickering atop it.  And to the west, the sun sank out of sight at an unusual height above the horizon.  And then the wind picked up.  How strange…

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Time marches on…

June 4, 2008

It is a sobering thought looking through my email onbox to think that of my correspondents, one died a little over a month ago – just dropped dead even though he had been very sprightly for 79.  And another, whom I knew rather better has just gone into a coma and it’s certain he won’t come out of it.

Normally I put a grim face on and accept these things, but this year so many “bad things” have been happening to people I know; death, illness, abuse &c. I am starting to get a touch fatalistic.  Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse they always do, and things are “worse” already.  The only problem is I know it’s not me who’s going to get it in the neck…

Boris – Was He Right to Ban Booze?

June 2, 2008

Someone raised an interesting point to me the other morning.  London Mayor Boris Johnson is well known for boozing in the Bullingdon Club when he was at Oxford University.  Therefore, by banning alcohol on the London Underground, is he guilty of hypocrisy?

The short answer is…yes.  But that’s not the point.  There are not that many who say that the ban is itself a bad thing.  That’s a given.  But who would implement it?  Would it be anymore acceptable if a non-heavy-drinker had put the ban in place?  Hardly.  That person would have been railed at for being a fiddy-duddy of sorts.

At least Boris has learnt from his mistakes in the past.  Yes, he may have been an unruly student, but at least he’s stood up and done something about it.  This is how things progress in the real world.  Otherwise, we’ll never change our ways.  Why on earth should he be pilloried for trying to prevent people from making the same sort of mistake (note that, it’s not exactly the same mistake now is it?).  I’d rather someone who enjoys his drink told me to stop doing it in public than some prudish bugger.

PM doing cold-calling – poor bugger

May 31, 2008

I was impressed slightly by the news that Gordon Brown is now cold-calling the public.  This is, of course, what any politician should do most of the time to keep in touch with the public – after all, this kind of calling is what gives us most polling data when it is needed.  Of course, it is a shame that the Prime Minister is doing this when his party has just sunk to its lowest level of popular estimation since…polling began!!  An overwhelming majority of the British people currently have no confidence in the Government and its party.  So it’s common sense really that the P.M. tries to find out what’s wrong and fast.

I wonder if Brown is finding out that people are fed up of the economic policies which he created and the culture which his party and Tony Blair espoused and propagated.  I also wonder if he has yet realised that most fringe parties are full of disaffected Labour voters…