Happy Christmas 2017

Christmas is a special time for little ones

Is Happiness a Warm Gun?

I pen our 2017 newsletter against the backcloth of a murder enquiry 5 miles away in Oswaldtwistle. The trigger may have been pulled by a child of 14. Christmas is traditionally wrapped in a similar heart wrenching sadness.
The first Christmas started a trend.
Herod wanted to stop a Jesus led revolution, so ordered that all boys younger than 2 be killed.
But the sadness is not a lot different now. Christmas is a time we are more likely to be depressed, and when we are more likely to commit, or attempt to commit suicide.
Perhaps a 14 year old’s hormones had kicked in, for when behaviour isn’t guided by decent adults so 14 year olds can become as lawless as the terrible 2’s!
Perhaps the trigger was pulled by the teenager’s father, a trigger happy wildlife killer.
Someone who hasn’t grown up.
Pray for children of all ages who can’t “live the dream” without the security of a gun to shoot defenseless animals.
The next gun I see will be wrapped round the brainless gun toter’s head. My word.
Do I live in wild west Lancashire?
But whether aggressor or victim, what kind of life lies ahead for families of killers and killed, because guns and happiness don’t mix.
If you think people should be allowed guns and bullets, think about getting your head examined
I tuned into an American preacher on Godtube who quoted Jesus as saying that if you have two swords you should give only one away (for you need the other for protection)!
If I‘m housed next to this goon in heaven I’ll apply to be transferred to hell.
I understand that there are those in the US, and some in the UK who believe owning a gun is a God given right. But they live in the past.
Their logic leads to a 14 year old shooting to kill.
So what did President Trump say when dozens were shot dead in a Baptist church in Texas?
He said that guns aren’t the issue, crazy people are…
But Mr Trump, the first step has to be to replace guns with sticks of rhubarb.
For rhubarb doesn’t kill.
Christmas 2017 will soon be here.
An early present has arrived, for Lynne’s hip operation was scheduled for Thursday 14th December (but a common virus has now meant this will be delayed until the New Year).
Thank you, NHS. Arthritic pain is bloody awful, though not as much as toothache (is anything?).
There are those who can’t cope with others’ arthritic discomfort, like a neighbour who screamed “get dressed!” when she saw Lynne in her PJ’s at our front door, last summer.
Lynne at the time was in severe arthritic hip pain, and was advised to wear loose fitting under clothes.
The NHS vital . We all pay into it, and we get out of it when we need to.
God bless the NHS.
Let me tell you what happened to our close ones in 2017.
Our Headline news is that son Edward became a daddy on 6th July
Lovely Emma Statham is mummy, and George Edward Statham Armstrong the grandson.
Edward has for 3 years owned and managed www.ninthwardlondon.com a stylish bar eatery close to London’s St Paul’s.
I fell in love with Emma the first time I met her at Ninthward not because of her beauty, an endearing attribute she casually wears, but because she pronounces bath with the a of an apple rather than the aof a fart
Seriously can one ever trust anyone who pronounces an alike a fart?
Lynne’s oldest Carolyn and hubby Robbieare into their 4th year of life, owning and running www.elcaminodenajac.com in one of the world’s most beautiful locations, Najac, in the Pyrenees.
For a short while a few weeks ago we were worried as Robbie had a heart scare, but the French hospital service came to the rescue and Robbie is now as right as rain. It’s a relief to be reminded that the NHS isn’t the only decent health service in the world.
As I write Racheland her children Verity and Harri have returned from a half term break in Najac, with sister Claire.
What a wonderful time these two children are having, growing up.
I miss the time we had with them as infants, and will forever want to embrace them until their backs break, and my arms grow weary.
Beautiful Clairecontinues as Head of Sabden RC Junior School
My firstbornJonathan has a girlfriend, Jessica, who I’ve spoken to but not yet met.
Probably Boxing Day.
She’s a lawyer who lives and works in Rome.
Apart from my children and stepchildren I should also give you an update on my neighbours.
Lee and Clare Kenny, with children Betsy and Dotti are a lovely normal family and a pleasure to live next door to.
I recently had to claim on my household insurance policy because the plumbing above my downstairs lavatory resulted in a collapsed ceiling.
Lee’s insurance company wouldn’t pay up, so he replaced beams and my ceiling at his own expense.
An honourable response.
How different matters were when a similar problem occurred with our other next-door neighbour.
He had a deficient vehicle, which ran into a fence I paid for separating our two properties, breaking its concrete frame.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you that the wind destroyed the fence” he claimed when he returned from a holiday in Costa del Sunburn.
My insurance company checked it out, and no high winds had been reported at the time in question.
Oh me oh my!
Wind doesn’t destroy concrete structures, vehicles with faulty brakes do.
But enough of the trivial mind of a small boy.
Take a minute now to reflect on the deaths of famous figures in 2016, for they add a positive background flavor to our lives.
January
Peter Starstedt, 76, Nuclear Palsey
Hit song Where do you go to my lovely?
Graham Taylor, 72,                            
England and Watford Manager
John Hurt, 77
Film star of Elephant Man, Harry Potter
February
Peter Skellern 69
The creator of You’re a Lady was ordained as a priest and deacon last year
Gerald Kaufman, 86
The oldest serving MP at the time.
March
John Surtees, 83
Only man to win Formula One (1964) and 3, 500cc motorcycle Grand Prix world titles (1956-1960)
Chuck Berry, 90  Great-grandchild of slaves, this rock n’ roll legend made pioneering music since the 1950s like Johnny B Goode.  His first No.1 was in 1972, My Ding-a-Ling
Ronnie Moran , 83,
Liverpool midfielder.
Served Liverpool FC as player, coach and assistant manager. Epitome of the famous Boot Room culture.
April
Leo Baxendale, 86
Cartoonist creator of the The Beano’s Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx.
Ugo Ehiogu, 44
Spurs coach and ex England and Villa defender, rushed to hospital after collapsing at Spurs. Doctors couldn’t revive him.
May
John Noakes, 83
Nearly 23 years a loved Blue Peter presenter. Known for daredevil stunts, he looked after Shep, the Blue Peter sheep dog.
Gregg Allman 69,
Founder of The Allman Brothers Band
Married Cher in 1975, but divorced four years later. Not important to me but of massive interest to my father in law, Walter, that Cher is now a free agent.
Roger Moore, 89,                     cancer.
This Stockwell born actor is known for playing the Saint, and secret agent 007.
June
Peter Sallis,96  Actor
Star of Last of the Summer Wine, and voice of Wallace in the Wallace and Gromit series of animated films.
Michael Bond, 91, Creator of Paddington Bear.
August
Glen Campbell , 81 Alzheimer’s disease
Country music legend, Known for hits Rhinestone Cowboy, Wichita Lineman and Gentle On My Mind
Bruce Forsyth 89
Legendary entertainer and face of dance show Strictly Come Dancing. Longest TV career for a male entertainer (mid 50’s to 2013. Well known for his catchphrase, “Nice to see you, to see you nice”– voted the most popular UK catchphrase in 2007.
Oldest performer at Glastonberry at 85.
Didn’t he do well!
Jerry Lewis, 91
Legendary American comedian and actor.
Along with comedy partner Dean Martin he dominated American show business in the 1950s with his slapstick humour.
September
Hugh Hefner, 91
Hefner launched Playboy magazine and presided over his realm in silk pyjamas and smoking jacket, puffing on a cigar.
Liz Dawn. 77.
The soap actress trod the Corrie cobbles as Vera Duckworth for 34 years, wife of Jack. She left in 2008 but made a last appearance in 2010 when her ghost visited Jack before he passed away.
Walter Becker, 67                              
Steely Dan guitarist and co-founder he wrote some huge hits in the 70’s, including “Reelin’ in the Years,” and  “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number,”
The jazz-rock group broke up in 1981.
October           
Legendary rock and roll singer. Biggest hits included Blueberry Hill and Ain’t That a Shame. Sold over 100 million records and influenced other musicians including Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
Lee Holt, 32                Shot in the chest
Friends described him as a kind-hearted man who “wouldn’t hurt a fly” This loving father in Oswaldtwistle was shot dead after knocking on the door of a neighbour to discuss bullying.

November
Keith Barron, 81
The most gifted English actor I saw in the 1960’s on British TV. A Mexborough lad.

December
Christine Keeler, 75

A good time girl who made a big impact on the UK political establishment in the early 1960’s.

Max Clifford, 74
What can you say about a bloke who chokes it in prison while serving an 8 year sentence for molesting young women?
Not a lot.


For the rest of us, for the moment, life goes on, but we all understand that death is a 1 in 1 statistic.

I found this year’s creative writing in a book by Sheila Hancock (brought up above a pub in London’s Kings Cross, and her much loved husband, John Thaw, born in Longsight, which at the time was a turf land in north Manchester.
Letter to a much loved friend (July 21st, 2012)
The letter was written by Peter Thompson for the talented Claire Venables, on her death bed.

My much loved friend
It matters to have trodden the earth proudly, not arrogantly, but on feet that aren’t afraid to stand their ground, and move quickly when the need arises.
It matters that your eyes have been on the object always, aware of its drift but not caught up in it.
It matters that we were young together, and that you never lost the instincts and intuitions of a pioneer.
It matters that you have been brave when retreat would have been easier.
It matters that, in many places and at many times, you have made a difference.
Your laugh has mattered.
Your love has mattered.
Above all, it matters that you have been loved.
Because nothing else matters.”
In this season of “goodwill” it’s a good to be reminded of the vital importance of love.

Because without it nothing else matters.

Published by Rob

Now 70, I'm getting back into website development and brand protection, as well as showcasing the delightful artistic talents of my beautiful wife Lynne. My projection will encompass a lifetime of database marketing, as well as the Christian democratic socialist ideals of my wife and I.

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