Tuesday, 27 December 2016

God, Church And First Class Seats.

A lot of people don’t know this. A lot won’t believe it but sometimes, on my walk to the village I pop into the church for a few minutes and have a sit down and a think.

I usually sit in a pew about halfway down the aisle. Never in the front pews. I don’t sit in the front pews because that is where the gentry sit and I’m not gentry.

To be honest, I don’t know if the gentry still sit there during services because I never go to services. But when I was a youngster, us kids couldn’t sit in the front due to rich people having first choice and it became a habit I keep to this day.

Some of the pews even had name plates on them. Lord this, Lady that, Colonel Stuck-up, Major something or other, The Right Honourable so and so, Dr and Mrs posh-nob. All up the front nearest the altar.

Those posh people, they even had proper thick kneelers to kneel on with fancy tapestry patterns. Their kneelers were so thick they hardly had to kneel at all. I know this for a fact because I sneaked a go on one once when I was putting the hymn books out. I didn’t even have to lift my arse off the pew and I only had a small arse in those days.

Us common people who wore boots and hand-me-down clothes never had names on the pews we sat in. We never had proper kneelers either. We had thin lumpy kneelers if we were lucky enough to get a kneeler at all. What with them always being in short supply in the back pews.

So yes, occasionally when the mood takes me, I will tie Mia the German Shepherd’s lead to the bench outside and pop into the church for a few minutes of quiet reflection. I will admit to saying the occasional prayer. Not because I believe in God exactly, but you know, there might be something in it and I don’t want to blot my copy book entirely.

I have it in my mind to go to a church service one Sunday and sit in the front pew. I shall say to Lord and Lady Muck, “Budge up you two, make room for a little ‘un.” I wonder what their reaction will be?

If by chance I do find myself in heaven one day I will be terribly disappointed if God carries on with His them and us policy though.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Golly Forgotten Marmalade.

It was whilst I was trekking across the fields on a walk with Mia the German Shepherd yesterday that I remembered - I say trekking, I mean, stumbling slowly with mud-logged boots – I needed to buy a jar of marmalade. I can’t be doing with toast without marmalade and Christmas Day the shops will be closed. Not sure what it was that jogged my memory but it might have been thinking about, why aren’t there any ginger birds? The feathered variety that is. I wasn’t thinking about redheads of the human variety. Well, not at that moment. I always think of marmalade as being ginger. Strange, as it is obviously orange?

It occurred to me that Mia The German Shepherd is quite ginger. And Bonnie the Ginger Cat of course. And some of the hens could be described as ginger. But is there a ginger bird other than the hens? I am talking wildlife here, not tame hybrids.

I googled ginger birds. Got loads of photos of women none of birds. It seems there are no ginger birds. I feel I have defeated google. A long-held ambition.

After consulting with Mia the German Shepherd, it seemed she wasn’t interested in my marmalade dilemma so we continued our outward walk. We went around the reservoir. Just two birds on the water - neither of them ginger. A coot, or it could have been a moorhen, that didn’t hang about when it saw us and a lone goose that could have been a Brent or a Canada. Difficult to tell due to the weather being drizzly and visibility not good. It was coming up to four in the afternoon and it gets dark around four thirty just now. I spent a few minutes wondering why the goose was on its own - geese usually go around in pairs – sadly, concluding that its mate was probably cooked.

I am walking a lot easier since I stopped taking the statins but due to the mud underfoot clogging my boot treads and making them twice as heavy as normal I was moving quite slowly. Trudging. That’s a nice word I don’t use too often. A little laboured with the old breathing too I noticed. Probably, sans statins, lining myself up for a heart attack? Strange how Mia’s paws don’t get clogged up?
Indeed, it was dark as we arrived back home, but with marmalade still on my mind I left Mia playing ball with my Extremely Handsome Son George and drove to the village shops.

I bought three new wire bird feeders, two bags of peanuts, A block of suet with embedded mealworms, a bag of mixed bird seed, two pints of semi-skimmed milk, half a pound of butter (unsalted), six mini apple pies, pot of double cream and a large family size Rice Krispies.

It wasn’t until I got back home that I realised I had forgotten to buy marmalade!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas!

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

EHS George and Mia the German Shepherd.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Shirley Oaks Children's Home. Abuse Survivors

It was on all the television news and all the newspapers so it must be true. All of us kids who were in the children's home I wrote about in my book 'Elbows off the Table' are to receive compensation. The amazing thing is that the articles in the papers could have been lifted straight from the pages of my book they were that similar.


 I can't believe it! Compensation? It is going right back to the 1950's. There must be hundreds of us? Perhaps thousands? How is that going to work? Also I know that abuse was going on even before the 1950's. I met one man who was ten years older than me and he still had nightmares about his time there.

I have mixed feelings about receiving money as compensation. Too little and I shall feel insulted. Too much and I shall feel guilty. Where is the money coming from? How does it compensate for an unhappy childhood? Will money bring back my sense of loss? I recovered eventually why should I get compensated?

One concern I have regarding this and which has been causing me some anxiety, is to do with the good and decent people I met as a child. There is nothing in the news reports about these caring people who did their job with proper respect for the kids. I mention some of those who had a good influence in my book. Those who have now passed away, are they to be tarred with the same brush?
I phoned one of the national papers who ran the compensation article to express my feelings about this but they were not at all interested in hearing about the good in people. I suppose that doesn't sell papers?

I am considering changing the title or sub-title of my book to include the name of the Shirley Oaks Children's Home. I am not sure how I feel about doing that either. Remember how the Jimmy Saville story was in the news when I published my book and I felt some might think I was jumping on the band-wagon? I feel that now, but at the same time I want people to know about my book too. I mean, that's why I wrote it!


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Great Britons. No 2.

Frank Drake one of many children in his family was born sometime in the 14th century at a young age. He didn’t do a lot. Just sailed about. Found a few places. Magellan Strait springs to mind for some reason. No idea why or how it has anything to do with Frank but it rings a bell. Although I thought Magellan discovered the Magellan Straits, else why would they be named after him? History eh? Weird. Maybe Drake just passed through on his way to somewhere else?

Drake, or Drakey as he was affectionately called, was Queen Elizabeth’s friend, cos he didn’t like the Spanish and neither did she. He was always aggravating the Spanish by sinking their ships and stealing stuff from them. That’s probably why she made him a knight and he became Sir Francis Drake. They had strange ethics in the old days.

After getting knighted he became one of the first slave traders, making a lot of money from it. Then he did a bit more sailing about and a lot of plundering and destroying things he really had no business messing with. Bit of a bleedin’ nuisance to be honest! I can’t take to him personally, but to be fair maybe he wouldn’t have liked me either.

Not much is known about him after that, except he liked to play bowls and he was the Mayor of Plymouth once. It is not known if he was any good at playing bowls or mayoring. Probably people would have said he was good at stuff just to curry favour because he was rich and powerful and they didn’t want their heads chopped off.

Talking of chopping heads off Drake was responsible for having Thomas Doughty -another of the Queen's favourites – beheaded. Accused of witchcraft would you believe? A touch of jealousy maybe?

I don’t know how Drake made it to number two on my list of great Britons? I am thinking about moving him further down or even deleting him entirely.

Sir Francis Drake died in... Oh, I don’t know when exactly, but people didn’t live long in those days. Anyway, he got the shits bad one day and expired soon after.

Good riddance I say. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe he was a decent bloke? We will never know for sure. If only we could turn back time, we could ask some of the slaves or Thomas Doughty what their feelings towards him were. No, why bother? I know the answer. He is definitely off the list!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Great Britons. No1.

The bicycle was invented centuries ago by a young bloke called Wally, who felt sorry for those people who were unable to get their heads around the concept of the internal combustion engine. Internal combustion at that time was common parlance for the condition known today as severe flatulence. In those days, before reading and writing was invented you could only have a motor vehicle if you invented it yourself and it was powered by self-generated gas.

Originally, Wally had intended his invention to be called a cycle but due to political correctness - which was going around in cycling circles –  going around in circles, cycling circles… That sounds funny. ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’. Yeah, well, anyway, political correctness decreed that it should be called a bi-cycle. This was so people who couldn’t decide if they were gay or just brightly coloured had an equal chance to buy one.

Wally later found world fame when he invented waterproof puddles for Her Majesty the Queen to tread in. Soon after this invention Her Majesty was obliged one day to make use of it during a downpour and Wally -bless him- was knighted and became that special person we all know and love, Sir Walter Raleigh. Sir Walter later invented the wheel thereby making the bicycle even more popular.

Sadly, Sir Walter Raleigh was tragically killed when a bicycle pump he was inventing blew up and took his head off.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Bain Of My Life.

My latest book is ready for you to purchase. It didn't take long to write because it is full of posts written from the beginning of this blog. This is just part one. This could turn into a series.

Here is a link to it.


I hope you will all rush there to have a look and maybe buy a copy or two.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Acid Reflux. A Cure.

John’s medical tip. Number 43. Acid Reflux.

A good way to avoid acid reflux is never to bend over. To avoid having to bend over move all your cupboards to a height where bending over is not required. This applies also to your fridge and oven. Never bend over when getting dressed. Never bend over when putting on socks and shoes or tying shoelaces. Avoid bending over when cutting or painting toe nails. Never under any circumstances bend over to pick up a bar of soap in the shower especially when sharing the shower with another person in prison or the navy. If you do, acid reflux will not be your only problem. Do not bend over to pet a dog or cat or any height restricted family pet. Either get a taller pet or always keep your pets on a table.

I cannot think of any more reasons not to bend over. If you can think of any try to avoid doing them.

Good luck in your attempts not to bend over. Keep practicing not bending over and in a few short years your acid reflux will be a thing of the past.

PS. I just thought of something else. Never bend over to pick anything up off the floor.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Drug Addict.

I have written this poem about a young man's addiction to drugs. It is not about me. But I did know a few young people who lost.

The Cruel Mistress.

He used to have a mother sort
But was not his mother’s son
Never knew her much at all
After he was twenty-one.

Twenty-one, twenty-one
Reaching tall and strong
But never knew a father’s hand
To show him right from wrong.

She held him in the vices grip
Promising the very best
No invigilator shows the way
He failed the hardest test.

Feathers in the mattress
Are the only soft caress
A pillow gives scant comfort
From anguish and distress.

Take him home
Take the bad man home
Take him home
Take the bad man home.

Sheets the lovers laid upon
Once fresh with a young man’s dream
Now discarded rumpled knots
Hidden by the liar’s screen.

She will come back again for sure
Hold him in sweet embrace once more
Just one more time, she says
Yes, yes, hear him implore.

Has he seen her liar’s face?
Has he seen her liar’s face?
Look into her liar's face.
Look into her liar's face.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Fair Exchange

Instead of having money why don't we all just give each other stuff for free? You know, like if you need a couple of tomatoes I would give you them and you could give me a medium sized turnip in exchange. That sort of thing.

Actually I need my tomatoes for tomorrows sandwiches but I have got half a cucumber if that's acceptable? And I prefer swede to turnip please.

It's not a perfect system yet. There are a few things to iron out.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Woody Wood Mouse Wants Everyone To Take Their Litter Home

A short story. It has a sad ending. You may want to give it a miss. I don't want to ruin your day.

Please Take Your Litter Home.

Early one morning in autumn, just about the time the last leaves had finished carpeting the ground beneath the venerable old oak tree, summer made a fleeting return visit, and in so doing warmed the ground underneath which lay the home of Woody the Wood Mouse.

Woody had, as Wood Mice are prone to do, been up all night foraging for food, although as foraging goes this night had been unsuccessful due in no small part to the persistent attentions of Toowit and Twoo the Tawny Owls who had lately, much to Woody’s annoyance taken to spending a lot of their time in the old oak tree.

So, it was that Woody feeling the warmth of the sun percolating into his burrow decided to go outside and have a last look for something tasty to eat before he went to bed for the day. Although Woody rarely ventured forth during daylight hours he was very hungry and besides, he knew that Toowit and Twoo would be bound to be sleeping after their long night of hunting and being complete nuisances.

After a bit of careful thought Woody made his mind up. He would risk a quick look about outside in the hope of finding a bedtime snack. It was a decision he would come to regret.

Let us go back in time. Not too far back. Just back a few weeks to the time when Mrs Elizabeth Smith -not her real name- and her two children Ben and Sally -not their real names- of 6 Holly Road- not their real address- in a nearby village -which shall also remain nameless to avoid embarrassment to the family- decided to have a picnic in the woods. As it happened the same woods where Woody the Wood mouse lived.

The family, chose to set up their picnic under the venerable old oak tree. The same old oak tree in whose roots Woody the Wood Mouse had his nest.

After their picnic the children, Ben and Sally -not their real names- had a fun time playing in the woods while their mother Elizabeth -not her real name- read a few chapters of a romance novel in the welcome shade and cool of the old oak. They did not stay long for Elizabeth had shopping to do and the evening meal to prepare for her husband Malcolm -not his real name- who liked his meal to be ready when he got home from work.

They did not clear up after themselves. Was it because Elizabeth -not her real name- was distracted thinking about dinner? Was it because the children Ben and Sally -not their real names- didn’t want to go home so soon and began to play up, causing their mother to lose her temper a little and forget all about taking their litter home? We cannot know the reason why. Maybe they were just selfish people? Maybe they didn’t care about the mess they made? Whatever the reason, they did not clean up after their picnic those few weeks ago.

Woody the Wood Mouse found the empty lemonade bottle they left behind. He saw the juicy rosehip that had fallen into the bottle where it lay wedged upright in the fork of a fallen branch. Woody the Wood mouse was hungry. He loved the sweet seeds inside rosehips. He climbed the branch and reached the bottles neck, squeezing into it. It was then he found his little feet could not get a grip on the smooth glass and he suddenly slid right into the bottle, landing with a bump beside the rosehip.

He was all right. It hadn’t been a long fall. Woody the Wood Mouse tucked into the juicy rosehip. He thoroughly enjoyed it. This was rather fitting because like the condemned man in his prison cell it was his last meal. Ever. Unable to climb up the steep, smooth glass sides of the bottle Woody Wood Mouse died a terrible, lonely, lingering death.

Please take your litter home.

John Bain 10/11/2016

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Absolutely True Tale Of Fishy Fishface. Chapter Four.

Here is the last part of Fishy Fishtale. It has rather drifted away from being a children's book.

Chapter four.

But what about Cecil Bigbotty? What became of him I hear you ask? Well, I was just getting to that bit. What happened was… Hold on a sec, should there be a colon, a semi colon or a comma after what happened was? I’m not sure. To be honest I’m not much good at punctuation. I shall stick with comma. I always think these colon things are a little bit pretentious truth be told. So yes. Err… What happened was, after Cecil Bigbotty had sent the last walkie-talkie message he wondered why Albert Wisselbum didn’t answer. So, he called him again. “Bigbotty to Wisselbum. Are you receiving me? Over.”
When there was still no answer he called him again. “Bigbotty to Wisselbum. Are you receiving me? Over.”
And again. “Bigbotty to Wisselbum. Are you receiving me? Over.”
And again. “Bigbotty to Wisselbum. Are you receiving me? Over.”
And again. “Albert, it’s Cecil. Are you there, mate? Come in. Over.”
And then with a growing feeling of dread, “Albert? Did you get washed away by a big wave? Over.”
When there was still no answer and after remembering to sign off with, “over and out,” he gave up calling, decided his friend and colleague was probably dead and went home. Well, it was raining heavily so you can’t blame him, it had been a long day. When I say, he went home, that is not strictly true. Read on and you will be enlightened.

We know that Albert Wisselbum isn’t dead. Far from it. Indeed, here he is opening the front door to his house. He is cold, wet, hungry and in need of a comforting hug from Mrs Wisselbum. Maybe more than a hug, maybe a cuddle if he can find the strength. Although, that is not likely to happen for, although he was loathe to admit it, Mrs Wisselbum had been rather unresponsive to his advances lately. More than lately if the truth be told. But Albert hoped that when she saw what a sorry state he was in, his beloved wife would soften towards him, even if only temporarily and he would be allowed to… “I am home dearest,” he called. There was no answer but he could see a light was on upstairs. Wearily he climbed the stairs. The light was on in the bedroom. He turned the door handle and walked in saying, “I am home my dearest one.”
Oh, the shock, the horror, the dismay, Albert must have felt when he saw sitting there in his bed, as though he owned the place, not his beloved wife, but his friend and work colleague Cecil Bigbotty. Yes, sitting there, comfortably propped up on Albert’s very own feather pillows and smoking a pipe too. Albert Wisselbum Esquire was not going to stand idly by and let such a thing happen. Not in his bed. No, never. He would not tolerate such an outrage. “HOW DARE YOU?” he shouted in large capital letters, “HOW DARE YOU SMOKE IN MY BED?”
Just then Mrs Wisselbum appeared from the en-suite bathroom. She was stark naked and seemed astonished to see her husband standing there in his hi-vis health and safety jacket with the stuck zip. “Albert,” she cried, “thank God! You’re alive.”
“Never mind that,” said Albert, “What is Bigbotty doing in our bed?”
“Oh Albert, you silly old billy, don’t be reading anything into this situation. I simply told Cecil he must rest up. He has had such an awful day and when he told me you were dead I felt it only right that I should offer him some hospitality.”
“Why are you naked?” inquired Albert, “why don’t you have any knickers on?”
His wife smiled lovingly at him, “Albert Wisselbum, you have such a suspicious mind. If you must know, I am just getting changed for yoga. In case you have forgotten, it is Thursday. My yoga night.”
Cecil Bigbotty got up out of the bed and Albert Wisselbum saw that he was also stark naked and he couldn’t help noting that Cecil’s willy was bigger too. Men tend to notice little things like that. Or in this case, bigger things.
Albert became angry again. “And I suppose he is getting ready for yoga too?” he said sarcastically.
“His clothes were soaking wet Albert and I insisted he take them off so I could put them in the tumble dryer,” said Mrs Wisselbum, “and I think you should get your wet things off too before you catch your death of cold. Now come on, let me help you my dear”
Albert was rather moved by this caring gesture from his wife and with her help he could extricate himself at last from the hi-vis health and safety jacket with the stuck zip. Mrs Wisselbum took the soggy hi-vis health and safety jacket and put it in the en-suite bath to drain the water from it. She then went back into the bedroom and soon Albert too was stark naked.
Albert looked at Cecil Bigbotty standing there naked. He looked at his wife standing there naked. He looked at himself standing there naked and he suddenly heard himself saying, “Anyone fancy a threesome?”

Afterwards, while the men were both enjoying a post coital nap Mrs Wisselbum went to retrieve Albert’s hi-vis health and safety jacket with the stuck zip from the bath. As she picked it up she became aware of a flapping and fluttering from one of the pockets. Not wanting to put her hand in she carefully turned it upside down over the toilet bowl. Out fell Fishy Fishface, plop into the water. Mrs Wisselbum let out a screech, “Eeeeek!” In her shock, she flushed the toilet. Poor Fishy Fishface. This had not been his day at all.

Monday, 31 October 2016

The Absolutely True Adventures Of Fishy Fishface. Chapter Three.

I have changed the name Flunkbum to Wisselbum. Sorry if this leads to any confusion.

Chapter three.

They say that good luck and bad luck always comes in three’s? That is rubbish. Who are ‘they’ anyway? Do you know? Does anyone? No. Me neither. In fact, to be perfectly frank with you, I have forgotten how much good luck or bad luck Fishy Fishface has had so far. But let us for the sake of not having an argument say it is about equal. Certainly, without a shadow of a doubt, it was very lucky indeed for Fishy Fishface that Albert Wisselbum whilst being tossed about and gasping for breath in the raging torrent of floodwater should happen to swallow him. I mean, come on what’s the chances of that happening? Swallowing a fish? A goldfish? In a river? No way. Added to that Albert Wisselbum had also lost his false teeth whilst being tossed about and gasping for breath in the raging torrent of floodwater. So, there was no risk whatsoever of Fishy Fishface getting bitten accidentally. Okay, perhaps a slight risk from a mild gumming but much less than if Albert had his teeth in you must admit.
What do you think the odds of Albert Wisselbum getting hooked by a fisherman as he floated rapidly down river were? A million to one? I would say that’s about right. But, and I know you won’t believe this, that is exactly what happened. You couldn’t make it up, could you?
Old Cromwell Smelly the local poacher, had fished this river for nigh on fifty years, man and boy. That should be boy and man but nobody ever says it that way. Man, and boy eh? Perhaps I’ll make that nigh on seventy years because if he started fishing when he was a boy of let’s say ten and he was old now he must be ninety years old at least. I don’t know when people started calling him Old Cromwell Smelly but he would have been quite old when they did. I suppose one day someone said, “Here comes Cromwell Smelly,” and someone else said, “He’s looking old,” and from that day to this he is known as Old Cromwell Smelly?” Makes a lot of sense to me. Let’s make it that he had fished there for nigh on eighty years. I mean, he could be a hundred years old for all I know. Yes, all right he had fished there for nigh on ninety years. However long it was, it was a heck of a long time and he had never bought a fishing permit in all that time.
He had caught some big fish in his long lifetime but never anything as big as Albert Wisselbum who was, to put it indelicately, and not taking political correctness too seriously, a right proper lardy fatso. But here luck makes another fortuitous appearance because Old Cromwell Smelly was using the same type of fishing line as that which is used to catch sharks. Don’t ask me why. He just was, okay? Not little sharks either. Oh no. We are talking Great White Sharks here. Okay, you can ask me why. It was a job lot he picked up cheap at a car boot sale.
Anyway, he reels Albert Wisselbum in and pulls him coughing and spluttering up the bank. You would think, wouldn’t you that Albert Wisselbum having just been saved from drowning, would be grateful? But no. Not a bit of it. Don’t forget Albert Wisselbum works for the river authority, normally wears a peaked cap, and is therefore, duty bound to be a pain in the ar… neck, making him an actual jobsworth. “’Ere,” he says to Old Cromwell Smelly, ‘ave you got a permit to fish here?”
“No I ain’t,” says Old Cromwell Smelly angrily, “’ave you got a permit to pollute the river with your fat, bloated carcass?”
“Ere, that’s enough of your cheek,” says Albert Wisselbum in reply, “I shall be reporting you to the authorities in that on... What’s todays date? Oh, never mind. I shall be reporting you for fishing without a permit on whatever todays date is.”
“And I,” said Old Cromwell Smelly with an air of quiet satisfaction, “shall report you to the Health and Safety busybodies at the town hall for being in or on the river without a life jacket.”
Albert Wisselbum was so shocked by this audacious counter argument that he began to splutter with rage and then he began coughing again until after one particularly strong cough who do you think popped out of his mouth? Yes, that’s right. It was Fishy Fishface. Well done for paying attention.
“And furthermore,” went on Old Cromwell Smelly looking down at Fishy Fishface flopping weakly on the ground, “I shall be reporting you for cruelty to this innocent little goldfish.”
“Oh you will, will you?” said Albert Wisselbum, “in that case you will need some proof,” and with that he quickly scooped up Fishy Fishface and shoved him into the pocket of his hi-vis health and safety jacket with the stuck zip and walked off along the riverbank looking back over his shoulder and laughing, “Hahaha, where is your proof?”
I would like to say, he laughed all the way back to his house, but I can’t because I don’t know and besides, it was getting dark. If I had to guess though, I would think not, because it is difficult to keep laughing when your boots are wet and your socks all squishy.

What Albert Wisselbum failed to notice due to being soaking wet and cold was the young man who had filmed the whole thing on his smart phone and was now uploading the video to Facebook. Where in just a few hours it will have notched up over twenty million views. Not that it makes any difference to this story. Because I probably won’t be mentioning it again.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Absolutely True Adventures Of Fishy Fishface. Chapter Two.

Chapter two.

You are going to find this next bit extremely difficult to believe, but it is the truth I tell you.

At the exact precise moment Mrs Snotdrip flushed the hapless Fishy Fishface down the toilet the haplessness disappeared and Fishy Fishface had the most incredible stroke of luck any goldfish has ever had in all the time that goldfishes have been bred for the lucrative pet fish market. Note I say fish market with two words and not the one word fishmarket. I should admit here that I don’t know for certain if fishmarket is one word. However, I believe a fishmarket is a place where dead fish are sold in their thousands and well, let us not go there today.

Now then, at the almost precise moment exactly that Mrs Snotdrip flushed Fishy Fishface down the toilet it happened that quite by chance in the house next door, her neighbour Mr Ivan Underpants in a last-ditch effort to dispatch a large recalcitrant floater which had already resisted several flush attempts, decanted a copious amount of water from the largest bucket he owned – and it was a very large bucket indeed – down his own toilet bowl. This superabundant extra flow of relatively clean water - relatively clean in that it had recently passed over the recalcitrant floater which incidentally had also defied this latest effort from Mr Underpants – saved Fishy Fishface’s life. Well, that and incredibly another amazing happenstance.

Can you believe it? A few minutes before the almost precise exact moment that Mrs Snotdrip flushed her toilet in the rather grandly named cloakroom and Mr Ivan Underpants decanted the large bucket of water down his toilet bowl, it just so happened that several miles away a sudden rain storm of tropical intensity had caused the river to almost but not quite burst its banks.

It is at this stage of proceedings that I am pleased to introduce you to Misters Albert Flunkbum and Cecil Bigbotty. These two gentlemen - I use the term loosely – are employed by the water authority to monitor the river closely at times of increased rainfall. Hence why they were on duty this very day. And, oh my word, thank heavens they were. Not only were they able to save the river bank from catastrophic damage but in doing so added to Fishy Fishface’s chances of survival. It happened like this:

Cecil Bigbotty is speaking on his walkie-talkie radio. “Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Bigbotty to Flunkbum.  Come in please. Bigbotty to Flunkbum are you receiving me? Over”

Back came the answer. “Flunkbum here Bigbotty. Receiving you loud and clear, Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Hello Albert, Cecil here. Over.”

“Yes I know it’s you. You just called me. Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. The river is about to flood. What shall I do? Over.”

“Open the flood gate barrier thingy immediately. Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Over.”

“What? Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. I am opening the flood gate barrier thingy now. Over.”

“Good. Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Over.”

“What? Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. The handle is stuck. Over.”

“Hit it with a hammer. Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Where is the hammer? Over.”

“In the van probably. Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. I am just getting the hammer out of the van. Over.”

“You don’t have to tell me that. Just get it and hit the bloody handle with it for heaven’s sake. Over.

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. There is no need for bad language Albert. Over.”

“Just get on with it. Hit it. Hurry before it floods. And stop saying Bigbotty to Flunkbum every time. It’s getting on my nerves. Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Over.”

“What the hell is it now? Over”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. I expect an apology from you for using bad words and you said hell too. Over.”

“All right. I am sorry. Now just get on with it for heaven’s sake man.”
“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Over.”

“What now?”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. You forgot to say over. Over.”

“For crying out loud! Over. Happy now? Have you opened the floodgate yet? Over.”

“Bigbotty to Flunkbum. Yes, the extra water should be with you any second. Make sure you are not standing in its way. Over.”

“What was that? Over”

But unfortunately, Albert didn’t get the chance to hear the last message again because as he was putting on his hi-vis health and safety jacket the zip got stuck halfway up and in a rare moment of inattention as he tried to free it he was swept off his feet and disappeared, tumbling over and over, struggling to keep his head above the swift torrent, down the storm drain. The very storm drain that Fishy Fishface also at that almost precisely exact moment found himself in. An incredible turn of events. You couldn’t make it up.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Absolutely True Adventures Of Fishy Fishface.

I have started to write a children's book. This is the first chapter. I would appreciate your feedback. Thank you.

The Absolutely True Adventures Of Fishy Fishface.

Fishy Fishface lived in a round glass bowl full of water. Space was limited. So, can you imagine how Fishy Fishface felt when his owner a small boy called Billy Snotdrip put a little ornamental castle in the bowl? You can? Well, let me tell you, you are wrong. Fishy Fishface loved it. Being mostly used to swimming aimlessly to and fro he was now able to swim around his castle and sometimes, just to break up the monotony even more, he would swim through it, because the castle had a hole in it.

Fishy Fishface swam at a slow leisurely pace most of the time because well, he wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere but sometimes he went really fast around his bowl when Billy vigorously stirred the water with a wooden spoon. This was great fun to Billy but to be honest Fishy Fishface hated it Not only did he hate being stirred so vigorously but he also got very upset when his little ornamental castle got bashed and knocked over.

One day, after a particularly bad spoon stirring Fishy Fishface’s beloved ornamental castle got broken. This incident made Fishy Fishface so angry that he climbed out of his bowl and slapped young Billy Snotdrip hard around the face with his tail and he kept slapping until young Snotdrip managed to run off and tell his mum.

Mrs Snotdrip did not believe a word of it when Billy related how Fishy Fishface had assaulted him with his tail and who can blame her? In fact, I am struggling to believe it myself and I’m the one writing this!

Mrs Snotdrip gave her son a jolly good telling off and then, noticing the awful disgusting smell of the water in Fishy Fishface’s bowl she insisted that Billy change the water immediately or else she would flush Fishy Fishface down the toilet. Billy Snotdrip went into a proper strop at this, stamped his small foot and declared loudly to his mum, “Flush the stupid fish down the toilet. I don’t care and I will do a poo on it too.”

Sadly, Billy Snotdrip being so young and unversed in the ways of women failed to take into account his mum’s PMT and was astonished when she picked up the bowl, marched swiftly to the downstairs cloakroom which is what she rather grandly called the toilet and poured the contents, Fishy Fishface and all into the toilet bowl and pressed the flush lever.

At this stage of proceedings, I could go into great detail about how young Billy Snotdrip cried himself to sleep that night dreaming of Fishy Fishface and of how his mother Mrs Snotdrip full of remorse at her rash behaviour began hormone replacement therapy to try to deal with her PMT and hot flushes but I don’t think I shall bother because from the moment she flushed that toilet Fishy Fishface and his round bowl with its ornamental castle ceased to be a part of the Snotdrip family’s life.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Strange, Surreal Behaviour.

Mia the German Shepherd's unpredictable behaviour, which I thought we were getting to grips with has caused a bad cut requiring veterinary treatment to my friends elderly and gentle Labrador Raven. The attack came without warning and for no apparent reason. I always do my best to avoid other dogs when we are out walking, but this incident happened at home and I had let my guard down. Most times if we do unexpectedly encounter another dog this passes without incident and in fact Mia shows a disinclination to interact, but I cannot relax my guard on a walk as I used to do with Sadie the German Shepherd. The situation has now come to this; Mia has to be muzzled when we are out walking.
The muzzle looks awful and it makes me sad to see her in it but the instructions that came with it said I must not feel sorry for her. It is the best muzzle I could find and doesn't hinder her in any way. She can pant and open her mouth normally and even take treats without removing it. She doesn't seem to mind wearing it and doesn't try to remove it. So I can now relax when we are out walking knowing she can't inflict any injury. This is something that can happen when one takes on a rescue dog. It seems obvious that she was never socialised as a puppy. It would have been nice if I had been told the truth about her problem but who would give her a home if they knew the truth of her nature?
Apart from this unfortunate aspect of her character Mia is a lovely friendly dog with everyone. I love her and will not give up on her. Even though she has caused my bank account to be seriously depleted by the vet's bill.

On a happier note. Here is my latest painting. It took me ages. It started with this drawing and gradually evolved into the finished work.

Untitled.  Oil on canvas. 32in x 24in. Please click to enlarge.
The wonderful thing is I sold this painting within three hours of it going on-line. That'll help with the vet's bill.
I think I shall concentrate on surrealism for a while.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Just A Couple Of Things.

I have been having a bit of a think and wonder if any of you can answer a couple of questions for me because they are hurting my head?

Question one: Do fridge magnets work in outer space? Any magnet really not necessarily fridge magnets. I don't know why I said fridge magnets. When I was a boy we never had fridge magnets, Come to think of it we never had a fridge when I was a boy. The question is actually; do magnets work in outer space?

Question two: What direction does a compass point to if you are in outer space in a space ship?

Thank you in anticipation.

Monday, 3 October 2016



Yesterday, mother held her, suckling at the breast
And father tough, rough yet tender, spoke to her in baby babble.
He gently bathed her, caressed her.
Doing the best he could
In the circumstances.

While the mother, fraught, harassed and fearful, did her best
For the other three. Toddlers all.
Yes, the best she could
In the circumstances.

They coughed in the dust.
Choked. Retched in the dust.
Dry vomited in the dust.
But still, they had each other and deep love
To comfort see them through.

Today she won’t taste mother’s milk
Nor feel her father’s cracked and calloused hands about her.
Nor hear the sounds of brother’s laughter
Nor sister’s sweet voice.
They are gone. Obliterated. Evaporated.
Wet dust.

They died believing
When the politician in his ivory tower says truce
It is the truth.
When the politician in his ivory tower says ceasefire
It is the truth.

And when the rescuer with blood soaked hands
Pulls her tiny infant body from the rubble.
It is all he can do for her.
And all he cannot do for her
That cause his tears of pity and impotent rage
To drop heavy into the dust
To mingle with her family’s blood.
He did the best he could.
In the circumstances.

John Bain October2016

Monday, 26 September 2016

The Plastic Carrier Bag.

What I do now is, I er.. I hang a er.. I hang a plastic carrier bag on the cupboard under the sink. One of those you get in the supermarket. The carrier bag I mean, not the sink. I don’t hang a sink on the cupboard under the sink. That would be stupid. Or a cupboard come to that. Let’s get this right. What I do is, I hang a plastic carrier bag on the handle of the cupboard door. The handle on the door of the cupboard under the sink.

When I say hang that’s not strictly true. I attach a plastic carrier bag to the door handle. The thing is you see the plastic carrier bags are really lightweight and they don’t have the ability to hang. Not until they have something inside them then they hang but by the time that happens I have already attached it. So yes, attached it is then.

It’s to put kitchen rubbish in. The plastic carrier bag. Scraps and suchlike. Saves having to spend money on rubbish bags. No, not scraps. Scraps go to the chickens usually. Unless it’s something I think Mia the German Shepherd would like. In which case she gets it and the chickens miss out. Sad for the chickens but well, you know, that’s life. I wonder when a chicken becomes a hen? Always puzzled me that. No, not always. Just now I meant. It has just puzzled me. This instant. I mean that instant. The instant just passed an instant ago. Or was it a moment? A moment ago. Well, a few moments ago actually.

Other kitchen stuff like.. Take an apple core for example, or maybe a banana skin? Things like that get put in a plastic container next to the sink and when it gets full up I empty it onto the compost heap. Used tea bags too. They get put in the plastic container. And coffee grounds they would go in there. But I don’t have coffee grounds so.. Anyway, I would probably use instant coffee so it doesn’t apply to me ‘cos instant coffee dissolves completely. No residue.

No, the plastic carrier bag is mainly for wrappers and stuff made of paper or plastic. Used kitchen roll, yes, that’s a good one. Stuff that can’t be re-cycled. That goes in too. Stuff that can be re-cycled gets recycled. Unless the recycling bin is full. In which case I usually think sod it and chuck it in the plastic carrier bag anyway. I do my best for the environment but I’m not a saint.

The thing is the supermarket now charges for the plastic carrier bags. It's a new law. I wasn't consulted. So the saving money by using them for rubbish doesn’t work anymore. I mean, I may as well buy proper plastic rubbish bags. It’s a hell of a dilemma. I just don’t know what to do for the best.

Anyway, I don’t want to bother you with it. I know you worry, but please don’t. You know me, I’m sure to figure something out.

Saturday, 24 September 2016


I met Jill an elderly friend at the car boot sale:

"Hello Jill, nice to see you. Have you found any bargains?"

"I just bought this number thirty house number."

"That's nice. Do you live at number thirty Jill?"


"Why'd you buy a number thirty then?"

"I am going to sell it."

"Do you know anyone who lives at number thirty?"

"No, but I know someone who lives at number twenty nine."

"You could sell it to their next door neighbour."

"She died last week."


"Their neighbour."

"Oh, that's a shame."

"Anyway, She was number thirty one so that wouldn't work."

"Oh well, I'm sure there are lots of number thirty houses in England. You are bound to sell it eventually."

"I might hang onto it for a while."

"Good luck with it anyway Jill. I hope you make a profit. See you soon.

"Bye John. Do you know anyone who lives at number thirty?"

"No sorry. Bye love."

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Scottish Wildcat Haven.

Life is a bit odd at the moment. Instead of spending most of these warm late summer days outside - apart from repairing my old campervan -  as I am sure I used to do I now spend lots of my time painting happily. A lot of the time I am painting at night and into the early morning. I enjoy working at night when it is so quiet outside - not that it is ever very noisy here at any time. This is down to the fact that it is now possible to buy craft lights that imitate daylight so perfectly. This does mean that I spend a good part of the day asleep in bed. it's a good job I have to walk Mia the German Shepherd or I might not see much real daylight at all.

The Scottish Wildcat by John Bain 2016
Oil on canvas
20in x 16in

I spent a couple of nights and part of a day on this painting of a Scottish Wildcat and finished it at 6.30 in the morning. The Scottish Wildcat is in great danger of becoming extinct some estimates put it at only thirty five left in the wild. How sad it would be if it were to disappear entirely. Some people are doing their best to see this doesn't happen. The main reason for it's problems is that it is being hybridised by mating with feral domestic cats. The group called Scottish Wildcat Haven operate a catch, neuter and release of feral cats and it seems this is being successful. Here is a link to their website:


I have only once ever seen a Scottish Wildcat. I was fourteen years old and I was with my mum's boyfriend Fergie. It was somewhere in Aberdeenshire Scotland. The chances of seeing one today are extremely unlikely.

I am doing my bit to help. Look, I have bought a square foot of the Highlands.. Please in future address me as 'Your Lordship'. Laird being a Scottish lord.

 I would like to donate this painting to Scottish Wildcat Haven. Not sure how to go about doing that or even if they would want it.

Click on photos to enlarge.


Sunday, 11 September 2016


Here is another big painting I recently finished. I did it over the course of a week from a small black and white photo. It is the same size as the Bowie painting I did a couple of months ago 60in x 48in. It doesn't half use a lot of paint. I made the stretcher myself and put the canvas on nice and tight with the help of my extremely handsome son George.


And here are a few more paintings finished recently.

The Old Barn at Drove Farm.


The Pond Nymph.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Holiday? You're 'Aving A Laugh!

I ain’t never bin on a n’oliday never. I bin places an’ I done stuff but I ain’t never bin on a proppa’ roliday.
What’s the point of it? Know what I mean?
You gottu pack all your fings in a bag and most fings you don’t need and then you gottu go somewhere strange and pay to go there an’ pay to stay there an’ you can’t even get a proppa cup of tea there probably and even if you could get a proppa cup of tea it costs a bleedin’ fortune. And there ain’t a comfy chair to sit on and the bed? Well, it ain’t noffink like your bed at home ‘cos your bed at ‘ome ‘as got all the proper lumps and dent’s in it wot you fit around perfect. And you ‘ave to get up in time or you will miss breakfast and if you don’t miss breakfast you ‘ave bacon and eggs an’ fried bread every day during yor ‘oliday and at the end of yor ‘oliday wot you got to show for it? Constipation that’s wot ‘cos you ate all those fried breakfasts every day ‘cos you paid for it and you might as well get yor money’s worth. Serves you right really that does.
An’ then you sit on the beach with people laughing at yor white body, especially yor white legs which from the back look like a pair of white tapes hanging out of yor bathing suit and you roast in the bleedin’ ‘eat covered in factor god knows wot sunscreen so you don’t get burnt. An’ you get burnt anyway ‘cos you bought sunscreen cream from the pound shop and it don’t work ‘cos it’s cheap so what did you expect? An’ sand gets everywhere too an’ it sticks to you ‘cos of the suncream. Even in all yor fatty bits, ‘specially between yor buttocks.
If you don’t sit sweltering on the beach all day you go sight-seeing. On a bleedin’ coach probably with lots of really fat people who smell quite ripe ‘cos of the ‘eat an’ farting ‘cos of tummy upsets caused by the drinking water being full of shit. An’ you all troop off the bus together an’ go and look at some brick rubble and then you all troop to the toilets together an’ the women complain ‘cos they only got two toilets between the lot of them but the men have got urinals and they can all pee at the same time, an’ it ain’t right and then troop back on to the bus together.
An’ at the end of it all yor glad to be back ‘ome to yor own bed ain’t you? An’ you can show all yor friends the photos you took of yor ‘oliday. Photos they could all see on the bleedin’ internet if they was at all interested, but they ain’t.
Look do yorself a favour an' stay at 'ome next time and 'ave a really nice rest. I mean, that's what an 'oliday is about. Know wot I mean?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Why Paint? Why Not?

My art exhibition has ended. There were forty paintings. Two paintings were sold. Fortunately they were two of the more expensive paintings. I can afford more canvases and paint now. That is all that really matters.

Here is a portrait of Mia the German Shepherd I recently painted. I am quite pleased with it. Not entirely though. I never am. I once explained this lack of a satisfaction in my work to someone who asked, by telling her, if I thought my work was perfect I might give up trying. I am not sure if this was an honest answer. I have never found a reason to explain why I paint except that I enjoy it. I have heard some artists explaining their work and it almost always leaves me feeling confused.

Mia German Shepherd Bain
Oil on canvas
16in x 12in
I once painted a still life of a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine and a tin of sardines. That's all it was. A still life. Someone remarked that it reminded him of Jesus and the feeding of the five thousand. So that is what it became; an allegorical (I hope that's the right word) painting. But truthfully it really was just a still life. Others paintings I have done have also taken on a meaning only after they were finished. As far as I was concerned they were just paintings I wanted to do.

Of course I have painted scenes that meant something, such as moments from my childhood for example. But in the main, as I say, I paint because I want to paint.

This painting is the first one done on the 'new' easel I made from off-cuts and an old table. It worked well. Saved myself a lot of money too. New studio easels are expensive.

Mia is fed up with posing.

Monday, 8 August 2016

A Poem.

Like the Gipsy danced
Who noticed not nor cared an audience saw
And danced her heart content.
And when you sing
Sing loudly to the sky
Where words soar far.
And when you love
Love like the poet 
Says love is.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Ramblin' On.

This is one of those days when I want to write but for some odd reason cannot get started. So I am going to ramble on and see what develops.

Err.. Erm.. Umm..

There is a programme on TV tonight about a factory where they make crisps. I can't wait! By the way if you are in the U S of A crisps are what I believe you call potato chips. Chips here in England are what the Americans call French fries. I like potatoes but not too fond of crisps. Too fatty. Although I love chips (French fries) which are fried in fat. Weird eh?

I was supposed to be holding an art workshop tonight, but as no-one could confirm they would be coming I decided it would be quite pointless. Maybe people are staying home to watch a programme about crisp making? Blogger think I am spelling programme wrong. That's how we spell it here in Blighty. At least I think so. I know Americans spell it differently. I have mentioned Americans a few times already in this post. That is because the stats show mostly Americans read this blog. I am pleased to have you along. I like Americans.

I read somewhere recently that we Brits don't like Americans. That is nonsense. Most people I asked in my recent poll love Americans and America. It was quite an extensive poll comprised of a group of six American tourists. Four of them loved Americans

We also don't like the French. That too is nonsense. I haven't conducted a poll this time. But this is based on the feelings I used to get whenever I saw Bridgette Bardot.

Tricia has given me a pair of large, lined curtains (American call them blinds I believe). I am going to use them in my showman's wagon instead of doors. The doors take up too much space in here. I will need to cut the curtains up and do some sewing to make them the right size. I hope there will be enough to make some for the windows too. Here is a picture of the curtains. They are on the washing line behind the tractor. I don't know when I shall start cutting and sewing. Actually, I can see through the window that they (the curtains) are dragging on the ground. I am going out to lift them up a bit. Excuse me a moment....... That's sorted.

Here is another picture after I stopped the curtains dragging on the ground. No, it is not the same photo. Please note the small football on the ground near the tractor.

 The crisp programme has probably started. I wonder if I am missing any useful knowledge? The final of Child Genius is on at the same time. I am not much interested in watching little children driven to breaking point for the purposes of entertainment. Oh well, perhaps I shall just have a look to see who wins. A little girl called Rhea won. A little girl called Saffy was second.

Sapphire the crow is a big girl/boy now. If there is a way of telling the difference I don't know it. Sapphire is free to come and go as she pleases and has spent the occasional night away from home. Where she goes we know not but so far she/he always comes home. There is often a potential suitor in the trees nearby. Saying that makes me think Sapphire is a female. Not that I know anything about crow romances but presumably the male does the pursuing. Here is a picture of Sapphire, also known as Saffy, (By strange coincidence the same name as the Child Genius runner-up) outside my kitchen window. She likes toast.

Sapphire waiting for toast.

Last night I did some quick portrait drawings using photos from the internet. There are two of Jimi Hendrix, one of which I did without looking at the paper as I drew it. Can you guess which one? This has given me an idea for some abstract paintings. The other two are Paul McCartney and David Bowie.

This took a bit longer and lost some of it's spontaneity. Profiles are notoriously difficult.

I think I have rambled on for long enough. I expect you want to get off to bed.

Good night and whomever your God might be, may He bless you.