John's website

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This is no more than a personal website, as a bit of a vanity project, and visitors shouldn't expect anything very clever as I'm not really very good with all this technical stuff. What I've got is a website to share bits and pieces, mostly to do with my family history research, and a few general 'odds and sods'. There are links to some 'Blogs' that I write from time to time and also to some other bits of nonsense.
I have hopes that some of what's here will be of interest, particularly the family history, and I also hope that nothing will prove to be too contentious. All of the stories are my own work, unless specifically stated to be otherwise, and all of the views expressed are mine and mine alone. I don't expect anyone to necessarily agree with everything, or anything, that they may come across, but I reserve the right to express my own opinions whatever they may be and so long as they are within the law.
It would be appreciated if anyone wishing to copy any of the information on the site would be respectful of its origins and copyright. An appropriate reference should be adequate.  

My Favourites

Favourite Bands or Musicians: I've never cared very much for 'modern' popular music, though that isn't to say that there hasn't been anything in the last 50 years that I've enjoyed. That said, my true love is the jazz and blues of the 1920s and 1930s, plus some bits from the 40s and 50s.

Give me Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang or the Quintet of the 'Hot Club'; Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, Billie Holliday and Fats Waller, and I'll be happy.

Favourite TV show: Anything except soaps, chat shows and reality shows, which doesn't leave much, does it ? Detective series, older comedy shows (Fawlty Towers, Black Adder or anything with Ronnie Barker, for instance) plus serious programmes covering politics or the natural world.

Favourite films: Most modern films are simply too ridiculous, violent, obscene or full of impossible 'special effects' to do much for me. The great age of films was in the 1930s and 1940s; the 50s are a bit of a desert for quality though there has been some decent stuff since.

For choice, give me anything with the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart or Edward G Robinson, Cary Grant or Carol Lombard, Charles Laughton, Robert Donat or Ronald Coleman. The musicals of Astaire and Rogers were sublime, and there's never been a better comedienne than Judy Holiday. I can't forget Errol Flynn, David Niven, Spencer Tracey, John Mills, Alec Guinness, Gregory Peck or Audrey Hepburn and, more recently, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Steve McQueen, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, Julia Roberts, Jody Foster .......... those I've missed out will just have to forgive me.

To pick one favouirite film is impossible, so it's The Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca, Pride and Prejudice, Goodbye Mr Chips, It's a Wonderful Life, Lost Horizon, A Double Life, Key Largo, The Way to the Stars, Hobson's Choice, Born Yesterday, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Winslow Boy, Paths of Glory, Tunes of Glory, Advise and Consent, Spartacus, The Thomas Crown Affair, True Grit, The Cincinnatti Kid, The Towering Inferno, The French Connection, All the President's Men, The Sting, Alien, Erin Brokovitch, Silence of the Lambs, As Good as It Gets, and many, many more.

Favourite books
: I've always been on for traditional science fiction and used to read anything by Arthur C Clarke and Robert Heinlein; Clifford Simak was another and so was John Wyndham. However, my favourites were always the books of Isaac Asimov and his 'Foundation' series in particular.

Favourite sports teams: Ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, my dad talked of Tottenham Hotspur and I've carried the flame for more than 50 years now, through thick and thin. My favourite sport, though, is undoubtedly cricket and I've been a supporter of Middlesex CCC since I first visited Lord's to see them play in 1962

Favourite food: Traditional English fayre rather than the Indian and Chinese so believed of many these days, thouigh I don't mind partaking of the latter from time to time. The traditional sunday roast of lamb, beef, pork or chicken must come top of the list, but fillet steak is also in there. For other days, you can't beat  a nice bit of steak and kidney and I do love liver with either bacon or onions, or both. If I fancy being healthy, a little grilled or pan-fried salmon isn't bad either.

My Hobbies

As a kid, I used to collect stamps and did chemistry experiments at home. I gave up the former when the Post Office started producing huge numbers of poor quality 'commemorative' stamps, just to make money, and the latter after I burnt a hole in the kitchen table.

After that, I took to reading, a lot of science fiction but also the encyclopedia that Dad had acquired, and that led me on to loving quizzes and crosswords. I still do general knowledge crosswords regularly, though haven't taken part in a quiz for a few years.

Along the way, I gained a taste for decent beer and, at one time, even went on trips to various corners of the country in search of a good pint; these days, I confine myself to the best beer I can find locally plus always being on the lookout for an interesting pub when away.

My love in the last 15 or so years has been Family History research, which I've persued with some vigour and now have a tree with more branches and twigs than most rambling roses. This is a great hobby as it never ends and there's always more to be discovered; you simply never know what's hiding under the next stone !

Most Admired

Winston Churchill was a man of whom the old adage, 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man' could not have been more true. His career before the second world war was an amazing mish-mash of derring-do, success and failure and yet, had it not been for him, we could easily now all be speaking German. His ability to lift the entire nation and carry it through what really was 'it's darkest hour' marks him out as a man of truly extraordinary character.

Margaret Thatcher arrived on the national scene at a time when the United Kingdom was on its knees, beset with financial nightmares and the trades unions determined to destroy it. Her iron will changed all that and she layed the foundations of a nation reborn, one with financial security and from which much of the crippling left-wing dogma of the 1960s and 70s had been banished. That she eventually overstepped the mark was, perhaps, inevitable as another old saying has it that 'all political careers ultimately end in failure'.

My Mum is in this illustrious company because she was the best person I've ever known. She gave herself wholeheartedly to her family in every way and without reserve. She was always the peacemaker in family quarrels and always supported my father, brother and me in whatever we did. She loved us all and was unstintingly proud of our achievements in life, without ever expecting anything in return. Not a day goes by without I think of her, and miss her. 

Mum and Dad, about 1990

Links to other bits on the Site

Every now and then I decide to let the world have an insight into what's on my mind, so I write an addition to one of my 'Blogs'. I don't pretend that what I write is of great value, well researched or even sensible, but it is what I was thinking at the time of writing. There may well be some entries that will not find favour with all, or any, of those who may read them; if you're offended by anything, don't read it, ignore it or write and tell me I'm a fool, or worse. It's up to you.

The other link is to a some bits of literature that appeal to me, some Shakespeare, a few bits of poetry and some good old traditional songs, as sung at the Last Night of the Proms.

My Blogs

Literature I like

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