Rambling Robert

Images and thoughts on my daily travels.

I used to run 100 miles a week during my serious athletics days. Now I enjoy a leisurely five mile walk on my days off.
Robert’s running days, Hyde Park 1972.
Farmer David Oldham rounding up his escaped sheep after cycle way users left his field gates open- September 22nd 2019

London October 14th 2019

Charlotte St Central London This morning at 6 a.m. More rain.
British Drivers struggling to cope leaving London on the A40 this morning. Four Metropolitan Police vans are up ahead, having forced their way through the jam, sirens blaring, October 14th 2019
Free at last, on the rain lashed M40 M25 Junction yesterday morning.

Last Week October 13th 2019

Traffic in and out of London was a little more congested last week. This was Greenford October 10th 2019. Climate protestors were part of the problem. The preserved AEC Routemaster London Bus stands out from the crowd.
AEC were absorbed by hungry and incompetent Leyland which ultimately merged with the British Motor Corporation. British Leyland, as it was known, was riddled with labour disputes, due to arrogant typically British managment and consequent bloody minded trade unionists led by ‘Red Robbo.’ The business was nationalsied, then sold for £1 to BMW.
BMW, who profited from slave labour during World War Two, asset stripped it leaving Britain’s motor industry defunct and slave to Europe. The old open platform AEC Routemaster was ruled illegal and banned by the British dominated rule bound EU.

While London Mayor, Boris Johnson did his best to revive the old Routemaster icon with this model, which I was caught up behind in Central London last week. Built by Wright Bus of Northern Ireland- a family run business, with 70 years history, Recently Wright was abandoned by the British government who do not save British businesses. Mercifully, pro Brexit Joe Bamford , son of world beating JCB founder, has rescued the company.
Here is another AEC classic spotted by me last week. It is the AEC RF Regent type Mark 5 coach which saw local and Greenline service in and around London from the 1950s into the 70s. AEC exported buses and heaavy trucks throughout the British Commonwealth until government, management and unions kileld the company.
Cyclists and motorcyclists tend to be aggressive and selfish, going every which way to beat London’s traffic congestion. This is Tottenham Court Road where presestrians also take chances.
Unfortunately I let the front low level view mirror get in the way of this image of Tower Bridge. I don’t like Gothic architecture, rather too gloomy for my liking.
Britain’s rulers have quite a history of locking people up. Jack Sheppard was London’s most famous escapologist. An East End workhouse boy, born in the spring of 1702. he broke free of his apprenticeship, turning to theft. First jailed in St Giles Roundhouse, he escped by cutting a hole in the roof, using a sheet and blanket as a rope. Sentenced to death, he made several more successful and baffling escapes, using disguise to survive. He died by hanging in Newgate. London has always been a brutal place. I have known it since my childhood in the 1950s because both of my hard working and late working class parents were born there..
Birds fight for survival over the remains of vomit outside a Central London Restaurant.
Another gem, spotted by me, on the M25 last week, was this 1960s Ford Consul Classic, which first hit the raod in the late 1950s.
Ford designs were then mini versions of the extravagant U.S styling. Every vehicle proudly displayed the ‘Ford of Dagenham’ badge. All gone to Europe now.A few years ago, I was on a Southampton route passing the old Transit plant, seeing -from the motorway- a bit more of it demolished every day, long before Brexit was mentioned. Production was going to Europe.

Portsmouth My Island In The Sun October 10th 2019

I was back in Portsmouth yesterday, where the sun always shines for me. I was there with colleague Charles Close to research a new book on the city. The place reminds me of my mispent younger days, and two women who made me believe in romantic love. I also met my ex wife there, but that is another story. Marriage these days, in my view, is a good way to kill romance.

Like my marriage Portsmouth seems to have withered a bit, in spite of its many glamorouse towering new buildings- I worked in one of the city’s first smoke glass office blocks, Zurich House which is now a block of luxury flats.. That however may be just me that has withered. Maybe I am looking back like the old folk I remember from when I was young. They were always going on about the good old days.

A wrecked vandalsed fast food store, someone’s lost little business between Pye Street and the old Tricorn Site. It is very hard for people to start and sustain small businesses.

Whatever, there have been many changes since the 1970s for sure. There was a lot more work for ordinary folk. Sailors were not afraid to go out and about in uniform. These ‘Jolly Tars’ had their favourite night club, ‘Joanna’s‘ near the South Parade pier. I recall the little dark blue Bedford CA vans waiting outside after midnight, with the Provost- Navy police- waiting menacingly inside, ready to loom out onto the road, brandishing truncheons, starch white belts around their smart uniform waits, ready to arrest the drunken ones disgorging onto the pavement.

Royal Navy Provost have gone along with the nightclubs, but there is still a big demand for police vans and people control. This van was parked by the empty space left by demolishing the old Tricorn Centre- see ‘The Tricorn, Life and Death of a Sixties Icon’ by Dr Celia Clark and Robert Cook.

I recall it because I was there in the 1970s, prefering the more sophistcated ‘Nero’s’ night club next door. Back up in Havant Tax Office, I had repsonsibility for the two clubs’. tax liabilities. The parent company was fittingly called ‘Pleasurama.’ Amusingly, both adjoing clubs were demolished in the year of my divorce- I met my ex wife in Nero’s in June 1976.

‘Playland’ at the top of Portsmouth’s Commercial Road looked anything but playful yesterday morning. Looking at the hard worn and world weary faces round and about me , play seemed to be the last thing on their minds.
Just before Playland I spotted this haven for us old regressing schoolboys. The shopkeeper was talking to a customer about how it is older men who like model vehicles, railways, trackside buildings and kits from yesteryear.
Near the entrance to Tesco superstore under the multi storey car park I spotted one of the all to many homeless people. When I see these poor folk with a sad little cap full of small coins, I always think about them being someone’s beloved child once upon a time.
I wonder how their lives came to this. I am reminded of one of my hero Bob Dylan’s lesser known songs: ‘Only a Hobo’ I have sung it many times in folk clubs in various towns. The words are so sad. Here are a few of them :
‘As i was out walking on a corner one day, I spied an old hobo, in a doorway he lay. his face was all grounded in the cold sidewalk floor and I guess he had been there for a whole night or more.’
As the days get shorter and the nighst get colder, more of these people will be atatcked, get ill and die. Few if anyone will miss or mourn them. Comfortable folk will salve their consciences by saying they chose their way of life and asked for what they suffer. Others will say that thsese people are lazy and working a con. In my view, no sane person would choose this way of life. We should be thinking aboiut what is wrong with society, with all its leaders and interest groups’ smug drivel papering over the truth. As my old landlady, wonderful Jean Neal, in nearby Havant used to say: ‘Robert, the truth will out.’

A female police offiers and PCSO colleague patrol a grim and tired looking Commercial Road Portsmouth, yesterday. For smug self obsessed self righteous meally mouthed politicans, the answer to society’s public and social problems is more police officers. The police are a special interest group, with an over indulged command and control upper echelon- notable for inefficiency, corruption, waste and dishonesty- witholding evidence and fitting people up..
Public spending has been steadily increasing with diminishing results. Police solve less than 6% of robberies and burglaries. Austerity is a smokescreen to hide the amount of public waste and corruption. The British elite are the best at bulls–it and propoganda.

They know British society is more disharmonious than diverse.
More police are about more control. Portsmouth is the most desnely populated place in Britain, an Island connected to the mainland via the Eastern and Western Roads. It is still a place that has great character and sunny memories for me. But like the rest of Britain, it is at the mercy of a dreadful self interested elite.

As the northern quarter has declined, bright new buildings, the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays and luxury apartments have risen near the waterfront offering another world to those who can afford it. Old buildings have been converted into flats for a growing student population, forcing housing prices higher and higher.

The Tricorn Life and Death of a Sixties Icon. Foreword by Tom Dykoff of The Times, 2009.
I spent many hours during a series of taped interviews with Tricorn architect Owne Luder, at his London home. Here he poses with the artists original1960s promotional image of his and Rodney Gordon’s ground breaking design for a multi purpose developement in Nothern Portsmouth

Portsmouth was the birthplace of Charles Dickens, his first home is preserved. Fittingly, Portsmouth’s story is also ‘ tale of two cities.’

Robert Cook.

London a city of wonderful diversity- October 8th 2019

I made my second trip into Central London this week, slightly concerned about the traffic due to environmental protestors.

The authorities in their wisom have agreed to organised protests confined to Trafalgar Square. For the protestors that misses the point, their aims being to cause as much chaos as possible.
Luckily for me i was out of the centre and into the wilds of Chiswick before things got too bad. This is the scene I found by the River Thames at the bottom of Chiswick Lane South, a metaphorical stomes throw from the thudnering A4 Great West Road.
On my way here I drove up Tottenham Court Road, turning on to Marylebone Road, there I saw the usual man sleeping on a bench, covered up in old coats and wearing rags. All his posessions were in bag by his bench. Amazingly this tranquil millionaires row was barely 8 miles away from that pitiful man’s open air all weather boudoir.
Fullers Brewery is at the other end of Chiswick Lane South, the aroma of ale heavy on the damp autumn air. i could not help admiring the attractive livery of this ‘Knighst of Old’ truck.
Being so ‘oldie worldie’ around this rather Dickensian location means rather a lot of congestion. The climate protestors dresm of a world without carbon emissions. Just to the right of this spot is the very busy A4 Great West Road.
Back on the road again, the M4 seemed rather peaceful.

What have they done to the rain? October 6th 2019

Me in Cardiff

I have spent too many hours on the road this week, with little time for photography. Driving in the rain is challenging. This week I have seen rain everywhere, from Lincoln, the Midlands, to Mid Wales, Gloucesterhire, Central London to Brighton. Years of poor maintenance and neglected drainage makes the roads very unsafe.

No one is perfect at driving. The ones who think they are can make winter driving all the more dangerous. I dread to think what the winter will be like. A couple of years ago I was driving all the way to Hereford, via Cheltenham and back, through snowdrifts.

The best that can be said about that sort of experience is to quote from Dr Johnson: ‘Fear Concentrates the mind.’ Meanwhile it goes on raining, posing the question why so much? What have they done to the rain? Ask little Greta, she might know.

Rambling Away Again October 1st 2019

I have been on the road again. Had over two weeks off working on my new books and doing my Certificate of Professioanl Competence for HGV driving. Same ex police Inspector. Learned a lot from him and he had some good vidoes, real hooror stories, like a woman who went to recue a tanker driver because she was a nurse. Didn’t realise what she thought was water was flouric acid which absorbs water. Firts her shoes disappeared, then the resy of her. Life on the road is dangerous. i went back last Friday.

Yesterday I was around Birmingham and the Cotswolds. Not good weather for photographs. Saw a couple of castles on my way. Castles remind me that this country has always been a very violent place. My first castle visit was in Studley. It is now the much improved site of a lusury hotel. My final Castle viewing was in the pleasant little town of Kennilworth, near Warwick.

The whole area, from here to Warwick, Bosworth Field and Leicester was a very violent place during the Wars of the aRoses, leading to the death of England’s much maligned last warrior King after betrayal by the Earl of Warwick.. So began the rise of the Tudor’s beginning with Henry VII;

Studley Castle. Image Robert Cook September 30th 2019
Kennilworth Castle September 30th 2019 Image Robert Cook
Marylebone Road 6.30 this morning. Always busy and always polluting. Little Gretta has no idea what she is up against. At the moment she is a token of liberalism, but we know what happened to campaigning Princess Diana- obviously the establishment will always insist the Princess was not murdered.
Dash cams are wonderful. This was my drove back to base this morning, along the M40.

Swanbourne Station September 17th 2019.

The old Swanbourne Station on Thomas Brassey’s Oxford-Cambridge Railway line is due for demolition. The line was closed, not by Dr Beeching as many like to say. it was closed by Labour Feminist icon Barbara Castle, Minister of Transport in 1967, the year they started buillding the new London overspill town of Milton Keynes- Milton is still not officially a city. Labour intellectual and Oxford don ridiculed Castle in his diaries, saying taht she knew nothing about transport and could not even drive.

Abandoned Swanbourne Station with bats nesting in the roof
The Waters brothers Reg and Mick kept the station back garden immaculate long after their mother and father died.
The thoughtfull pair even placed two benches between the station and road side so that ramblers could repose on warm summer days.
A memorial to Mick who died recently.

I knew Mick Waters from schooldays, last seeing him a few months ago walking a local farmers dogs. a gentler man you couldn’t hope to meet. I will miss him. his joyous outlook and friendship.

His lifelong home was also home to bats in the roof. The plan is to build a replica of the station adjacent to the re opened line when it is realligned to the west. They hope to move the bats into the roof of the new station.

There were fears that the new Oxford Cambridge Expressway which is to follow the old rail line as far as possible, would cut through this beautifull part of North Bucks. Latest news is that it will not, passing through Shipton south of Winslow, joining the leighton Buzzard by pass and then on to the outskirts of Bletchley. Robert Cook September 29th 2019

Bletchley Town, a place past its best – September 21st 2019

Bletchley Town Centre September 20th 2019

I am a frequent visitor to Bletchley. It is an interesting place with a particularly evocative town centre. As a youth it was very bright on a Saturday afternoon with sharply dressed young men and girls stalking along Queensway in mini skirts and high heels. These days it is redolent with decay and lack of hope or direction- anomie for the socilogically minded. Street sweepers are either in short supply or lazy.

This afternoon I visited Bletchley Tesco. Shopping done, I went back to my car. Parked next to mine was eighty three year old David and his fifty five year son. Both had severe medicaal problems. Age had not dimmed David’s wits or memories of a hard life.

David apologised for smoking, explaining it was a habit from army days. Joining as a non smoker, he said when his platoon took its first smoke break he was a non smoker, but joined in so as to be as one with the rest. ‘It was a slippery slope. We were given a hefty weekly ration of cigarettes. ‘ No doubt the authorities knew being in Malaysia was going to kill men one way or another and nerves needed to be steadied. So much for the privileges of being a man.

David returned to England, marriage, a son and work as a chippy. When building work dried up, David began a 15 year stint collecting trolleys together in Bletchely Tesco car Park. The flambuoayant military style baseball cap he was wearing today, was found, by him perched on a pillar in the car park.

David looked sadly at the world around him, with his son ,who like him has severe health problems, lamenting all the trees that have been removed for more parking spaces.

I wanted to take his picture but he protested it was better for him to keep a low profile. That is just another aspect of the world of fear we now live in, a wolrd based on elite greed, hopelssness, skimping and afraid of other people. So I bid them both a fond farewell as they limped off, holding on to each other and bound for Tesco phramacy before it closed at 4 pm on the dot.

At least sheep can’t see the slaughter coming. August 27th 2019

Talking to the Sheep

Men not at work August 27th 2019

Marylebone Road Central London this morning. The area was gridlocked for miles. It took me one hour to get from Tottenham Court Road to Baker Street. Can you spot the well cordoned off road works? No they are well out of sight. When I reached them I saw it was just a small shallow hole, no men tools or machines in sight. Robert Cook
Exiting Charlotte Street London WI Appledene Publishing

Gloucestershire Today August 24th 2019

I am lucky that my current work frequently takes me into Gloucestershire. Some years ago, with Andrew Shouler, I wrote the pictorial Francis Frith history volume ‘The Cotswolds in Living Memory.’

My first literary experience of the Cotswolds was Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider with Rosie’ which we were reading as part of our school English Literature course. It was so evocative and moving that I read it twice. My teacher was a wonderfully inspirational teacher, her name was Mrs Horner -though no one in town ever saw her husband.

At the end of my run, I head back along towards Oxford, stopping at my favourite lay by. Today I was lucky enough to meet wood carver Jacob Spore who’s work and home is pictuered below. Though born in Cheltenham, he says, poetically ‘ I don’t really come from anywhere. Jacob can be contacted on facebook at Crazy Crafts Co.

Jacob pictured at home today. Robert Cook August 24th 2019

Returning from Brighton on the A27 and looking down towards Arundel Castle August 23rd 2019 Robert Cook
The ugly beauty around Ilford this morning August 19th at 7 a.m Robert Cook
More exquisite ugliness as I head over the congested Dartmouth Crossing this morning, to my next stop near Guildford. This is Tilbury on Thames. Robert Cook
August 4th 2019 Very quiet on my side of the M25 heading west this morning. Other side was gridlocked after what seemed to be a car going the wrong way. The poilce had blocked the road and cordoned the offending vehicle.

Tractors August 18th Marsh Gibbon

First vehicle- apart from the petrol driven go kart I built aged 14- ws a Massey Ferguson 35 tractor when I was 13 and working on Shipton farm. Winslow. As a country boy I love tractors. So when I was driving back from work a few days ago, I was delighted by this sight of an historic tractor convoy parked up in Marsh Gibbon, Bucks.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Dangerous Dagenham July 28th 2019

I don’t know whether Dagenham is dangerous, but it looks like it might be. First time I heard of it was seeing and hearing the Dagenham Girl Pipers on the old 405 line black and white TV. Next time was going on a school trip to the Ford factory, which I visited again as a school teacher from Spencer Park Boy’s School in South London- that definitely was dangerous.

Dagenham Dock Sunday July 29th 2019 Image Robert Cook

So this morning I had to go to Dagenham Dock, quite early. Been before, first time on a rainy windswept night. Today it was just very grey. On my way, I saw a queue of European big double decker coaches near the 406 flyover, parked with curtains and big trailers, loading or unloading people, they looked like weary workers.

Maybe they were holiday makers. They were young enough looking to find a good time somewhere, even here maybe.

But the strangest thing was on a roundabout. I saw it just before I turned into the dock (Choate) road, was the thing pictured below. Maybe it is a local art form. It ceratinly looks expensive and probably sums the place up.

Is this Dagenham’s idea of sculputure? It is on a roundabout at the entrance to Dagenham Dock. Even the ubiquitous cyclist looks puzzled by it. Robert Cook July 28th 2019

Still, some good things have come from Dagenham, apart from the cars and tractors. There was Dudley Moore, Sandie Shaw, Terry Venables and Alf Ramsey to name a few of my favourites. Dagenham is exquisetly ugly in my view.

Cliveden on the Bucks Berks border July 20th 2019

Off the top of my head, I believe Cliveden was in Bucks until vote hingry Tories had the boundaries redrawn to manipulate Britain’s undemocracy. No matter.

Anyway, I happened to have to visit the old stately home this Saturday and what a marvel it is.

Call girl Christine Keeler having fun at Cliveden, with the political elite of the day. Still all things are bounded and temporal. In the words of the hymn: ‘We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, we wither and perish, but nought changes thee ( God, who laughs nastily, at all of us, especially the sad little sex police )

Now an upper crust hotel, the publcity material boasts: ‘

‘With a history of unapologetic debauchery, our Grade I listed stately home’s most heinous of scandals shook the British parliament and played out on these very grounds. 

The year was 1961. While the Cold War was slowly chilling British politics, Cliveden House was engulfed in a sultry summer of sweltering heat. Cooling off in the now famous outdoor pool, was Christine Keeler, a nineteen year old mistress of a suspected Russian spy.

Attending a hot mid summer’s party hosted by the then owner Lord Astor, the young woman was one of a few exclusive guests enjoying the luxurious celebrations held within Cliveden House’s magnificent gardens. Also in attendance was John Profumo, an up-and-coming Conservative Secretary of State for War and husband of well-known actress, Valerie Hobson.

Profumo and Keeler embarked on an illicit affair following their chance meeting at Cliveden House; an affair which was to force his resignation, irrevocably damage the Prime Minister’s reputation, and impact on the course of British politics forever.’

50 years has passed since that fateful meeting which was to alter Britain’s political landscape. Discover the scurrilous secrets of the time with our Profumo Affair Break and find out all about how the political establishment finally thaw out.’

Christine Keeler was 19 at the time of her affair with John Profumo. Effectively she was pimped by Dr Stephen Ward, who may have been linked to MI5, but we will never know because he apparently took an overdose rather than face trial. Keeler went to jail and Profumo turned to charity work. As the old song goes, ‘It’s the rich what gets the pleasure, it’s the poor what gets the blame.’ Still at least politicians had te decency to resign in those days.

Cliveden July 20th 2019. Imagine all the little minions coming to work from their hovels to build this palce for their betters. Their lives would have been, to coin a phrase, ‘nasty, brutish and short.’.
The Magnificent fountain at Cliveden, overtly erotic because the elite have always been hypocrits. July 20th 2019
Clivdeden’s time machine, making sure Cliveden stays in the past. Britain’s super rich are now richer than they were in the nineteenth century. July 20th 2019. Robert Cook Appledene

Female Equality in Politics, Nancy Astor first woman MP, contrast with Keeler.

Nancy Astor was the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the  House of Commons.

She was viewed by some as Adolf Hitler’s woman in Britain, and after the war became known as the ‘Member for Berlin’.

Some went so far as to claim that she had hypnotic powers.

After marrying Waldorf Astor she moved into the Buckinghamshire pile of Cliveden.

A right-wing, upper class group of intellectuals that came to be known as the ‘Cliveden Set’ formed around her and developed their own form of fascism whilst supporting the appeasement campaign of Neville Chamberlain. Although Nancy herself said she supported German rearmament there is some dispute as to how deep the Nazi affiliations went with her and her Cliveden coterie.

Lady Astor plays golf with Edward VIII

Lady Astor plays golf with Edward VIII, the Nazi Traitor King of England at Walton Heath, Surrey, England

Nancy and Waldorf used Cliveden for entertaining on a lavish scale. The combination of the house, its setting and leisure facilities offered on the estate—boating on the Thames, horse riding, tennis, swimming, croquet and fishing—made Cliveden a destination for film stars, politicians, world-leaders, writers and artists. The heyday of entertaining at Cliveden was between the two World Wars when the Astors held regular weekend house parties. Guests at the time included: Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Joseph Kennedy, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi, Amy Johnson, F.D. Roosevelt, H.H. Asquith, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), A.J. Balfour and the writers Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, and Edith Wharton. The tradition of high-profile guests visiting the house continues to this day, largely due to the house’s conversion into a hotel.

The Astors ceased to live at Cliveden in 1968, shortly after the Profumo Affair and Bill Astor’s death.

Comment Interestingly to me, Popular Feminist Princess Meghan Matkle stayed at Cliveden the night before her wedding to popular Prince Harry.

Beauty is not built to last, unless there is something within. Time has not stood still for Christine Keeler pictured here in 2013, estranged from her two sons. She paid a high price, Her pimp Dr Stephen Ward overdosed two days before the end of his trial. Sex and hypocrisy go hand in hand. She did nine montsh for perjury.

There was a cruel joke told at the time of the scandal. Christine goes to the doctor’s with a terrible pain in her womb. After an operation she wakes to see the doctor holding a large splinter. ‘We found that in your womb and wonder how it got there.’ ‘No surprise to me, I have had half the cabinet up there.’ The point of repeating that joke is not to judge or ridicule a poor expolited abused vulnerable working class girl -who’s childhood home was two adjoining converted old railway carraiges- but to question the morality of those who sit in judgment on us plebs.

Plymouth Tuesday July 16th 2019

As some of my followers- I have some regulars, they know who they are- I get to travel a lot. On Tuesday I visited Exeter, Plymouth and a little place called Coombe in Devon.

Plymouth’s distinguished naval history goes back to Sir Francis Drake, cicumnavigation, raiding Cadiz and the Spanish Armada. For some odd reason there is a large model of Drake’s ‘Golden Hind’ poking out of the Grovesnor Casino in the city centre.

Grovesnor Casion Plymouth July 2019
Bombed out church fronting weird modern architecture in Plymouth City Centre.

Plymouth like near coastal neighbour Portsmouth was heavily bombed during the last World War. It was a prime strategic target. Rebuilding brought typically hopeful bright shop and office styling in the centre. Such was the damage, a lot of the old has gone. The 1950s, 60s and 70 rebuilds are strikingly different. As for the 21st century, it is something rather different as the above picture shows.

This old Plymouth building harks back to the hopeful years of 1950s rebuild, complete with nostalgia for Reel Cinema.
A young man threatens to jump from a Plymouth City Centre multi storey car park

In the 1950s and 60s, concrete was seen as maleable, rather than something from which to make jails. As the city grew, car park space had to go vertical. ( See Tricorn, The Life and Death of a Sixties Icon by Celia Clark and Robert Cook ). These car parks offer a quick exit for sad and hopeless young men like the one pictured above, in Plymouth City Centre.

Gateway to Plymouth’s Royal William Yard, and beautiful sites from the riverside- July 15th 2019.
Rich folk’s toys, docked in the Royal William Yard, Plymouth.

Life is not so bad for the rich, as these luxury yachts, tied up in Royal William Yard attest. Modern technology and rolling wars make the rich richer, while the rest get poorer and less secure.

River view from Royal William Yard.
The view from Royal William Yard, Tuesday July 16th 2019.

An old GWR signal gantry relic is an odd gateway to this new supermarket site in Exeter.

It is easy to romanticise the past, but not doing that is no reason to forgoe criticism of the selfish elite dominated present.

A narrow country lane near Coombe Devon.
Coombe Cellars, by the rolling blue river, July 16th 2019.

When I was a boy, back in the 1950s, I didn’t realise I was poor. The only travelling I did, with my family, was ten miles on the bus to Aylesbury, or trips in my father’s brick lorry. The closest I got to the South West Peninsula was by reading Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ stories. I travelled far and wide in my mind and could read before I went to school.

As a former schoolteacher, I know that our multi cultural education system is more interested in politically correct brainwashing than it is in lieracy and numeracy. It is about closing minds. The looney left of the 1980s has been replaced by something far more insidious and far more dangerous.

All Images Copyright www.robertcookofnorthbucks and Appledene Publishing.

London Pride July 14th 2019 by Robert Cook

I was in London again today, travelling over a wide area. It is always interesting, always on the move. My parents and sister were born there, I lived, worked and studied there for a while. I loved and hated the place.

Today I went on loving and hating it. As I went about my business, I noticed many banners across streets declaring a big no to discrimination and prejudice, proclaiming London as a place for everyone. Maybe so, but how much money and status you have will decide your experience. Age and ethnicity will be key related factors.

London is a far more complex place than it was in my parents day and when I lived there. Multi culture includes life in the gutter, being a victim of knife crime and the sex trade. There is also the reality of slave labour. However, spin doctors don’t want to talk about this.

Diversity and pride in London banners hang across this Westminster Street today.

On my travels I saw plenty of police vehicles and a few marked crime scenes like this one in Bermondsey.

A Sunday morning crime scene in Bermondsey.

London has always been a haven for crime, even during the hyped up nostalgia days of the Blitz. Poverty and ignorance breeds crime, but so does power mania, exploitation and arrogance of the ruling classes. The picture below was taken by me, this morning in Clink Street. The phrase being put ‘in clink’ was a synonym for prison when I was a boy. This tall old edifice in a very grim street was intended to strike fear in the oppressed underclasses, just as modern prisons and court rooms do today.

The old prison in Clink Street, London.
This is Greenwich, London’s buildings are even taller and more intimidating today.
Close to the tower blocks shown in the previous picture is this monstrosity, looking , nearly 20 years later, like a building site or a wrecked inter gallactic space ship. It is the ridiculous millenium dome, built for an occasion that was celebrated a year too soon- given how the new century has turned out, a metaphor for disater seems the best way to describe this collapsing ballon
Beneath the surface of sophisticated pretentious money grabbing London is an underclass of slaves. This was the underworld of a SouthEast London shopping centre this Sunday morning. These men are sorting rubbish and paying tax on a pittance. That is diversity. Oh I pity those BBC women who only get half a million a year while their male counterparts get a million.
Leaving London, passing Madame Tussauds In Marleybone road,I saw, in spit of the rain, they were still queing for the wax works and nostalgia trips provided by this late 1950s iconic Routemaster, a vehicle judged too dangerous for normal service, by the EU.
Then, free of Maryelbone Road’s heavy cloying traffice, hooters and anger, I was on Westway, looking at the sheeted remains of Grenfell Tower, a monument to Thatcherite greed and privatisation of social housing and many other negatives about our post millenium society.
I love wildlife, though marrying my ex wife was a step too far! This picture was taken yesterday at 6 am when I arrived to deliver fruit and veg to an exclusive Surrey hotel. I was surrounded by these delightfull quaking ducks, looking up at me as if I was some dort of God. Obviously I quaked back at them in bird talk.
Me running for the University of East Anglia, Hyde Park 1972.
Me stuck in heavy traffic in Marylebone Road, while trying to get out of London at 9 am last Friday June 7th 2019. Then, much to my delight along came a real old Routemaster as if through a time warp. Robert Cook
When I made criminal allegations against senior police officers, they sent the psychiatrists around rather than investigate themselves- how sick a country is this that the police investigate themselves?- o
These people did not listen to a word I said and sent me an interesting report which will lead to more interesting stuff. But for now, here is the sheep I talked to the other day, so much more rewarding than talking to bent cops and their NHS lackeys.
Me back home in Winslow after ten years of travelling. I am a simple man, used to be a romantic. I get it now, life is a game and I am off to the next level very soon. Image Vernon F Church
Image When I was a schoolteacher, Bucks Thatherites were always trying to sack me for being political. They thought I was the type who could not put a nut on a bolt, or know what a ‘nut’ was for. I did. So I carried on making stuff in the school woodwork room, like this classical guitar for sale- which I can actually play, and have taught many to play- but these careerist idiots just follow the control tunnel to get promoted and enjoy the smug hypocritcal pointless lifestyle as the elite did in NAZI Germany, seeing nothing outside the box. Had they not been so fixhated (sic) they would have got me very easily. Image Copyright Appledene Assoicates.
I caught this image of a man up a ladder on top of the tower crane’s control box, in Acton last week. Who says men are only good for one thing? Copyright Appledene Associates.
Acton. Appledene Assoicates

Yesterday, June 3rd when the Sheeple were protesting about Trump in the London bubble, all my troubles did not seem so far away, but my destination did as I approached gridlock going south from Watford on the M25.

Today, June 4th, I went to an obscure place near Oakham in Rutland. nearly there, I saw this amazing railway viaduct. My thoughts went back to the 19th century engineer who designed it, the political morons who closed the line in the 1960s, and the men who built and died building it.

Oscar Wilde famously wrote that tarvel narrows the mind, I suggsest that idea depends on the mind in question. It is my view that politicans have very narrow selfish simple greed patronising minds that could never have built this bridge. Copyright Appledene Assoicates.
Sometimes when I am driving I get on quiet roads where the rich people live, enjoying driving their slow old cars from yesteryear, without traffic jams to stop them going flat out at 50 mph (sic) Here I am in the coddled Cotswolds. When I see this stuff it is like going through a time warp. Drivers dress the part too.