Rambling Robert – Archive

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.

Back of a Bus – April 30th 2021

Buses have interested me since early childhood for various reasons. My first trips were with mum , pre school , on the old Red Rover and United Counties Buses in the early 1950s. Next came childhood visits to my parents roots in London, the excitement of seeing bright red London buses and trolley buses. I enjoyed all the vitality , diversity of life and chatter on a crowded bus.

The buses also appealed to me, their design and order made sense of city life, all the numbers, skilled drivers and reassuring bus conductors seemed always cheerful. When my mother wanted to speak badly of a of another woman, she had some interesting phrases, such as ‘She has got a face like the back of a bus.’ In those days, I thought backs of buses looked quite nice blending well with the rest of the vehicle. I am not so sure about modern vehicles.

Had to wait nearly two hours for a bus , to Stony Stratford , in Winslow High Street because a massive accident in involving a BMW had blocked the road during early morning rush hour. The driver’ shift so the next bus had to take his passengers.
It took over 60 years to build up Britain’s National Bus network. It took the Tory Greed Goddess Margaret Thatcher and her henchman less than one year to destroy it. Her privatisation ideologues sold it very cheaply to the likes of Stagecoach, Cowie’s Arriva and First Bus.

This double decker was originally in the Luton Division of United Counties which was sold off to Stagecoach before the Monopolies Body forced sale on to the old Luton District management, subdividing operations into Luton Bus & Aylesbury Bus. The Buckingham route originally terminated here in Buckingham Bull Ring. It has since been extended and renamed under Arriva takeover, to X60 – Red Rose still operate a number 60 village service between Aylesbury & Buckingham.

The promised effects of privatising National Bus leading to more competition lower fares and better services was obviously doomed to failure.

The new private companies made a fortune from asset stripping town centre depots for expensive residential redevelopment. Stagecoach made so much money that they moved into the U.S public transit service where they got their fingers burned.
The X60 entering Old Stratford en route to Stony Stratford where I got off, leaving the bus to continue on to Milton Keynes city centre .
The old United Counties bus depot in Stony Stratford, sold of during the Greed Goddess Thatcher era. The X60 stops opposite en route back to Aylesbury.
After a stop over in dull pretentious Stony Stratford, where I was told my bicycle is too out of date for the shop to supply new tyres, I returned all the way to Aylesbury bus station , where the bus is entering as seen here.
This is where my X60 bus journey ended , in grim grey cold Aylesbury Bu Station , from which point I headed back up what’s left of Great Western Street into the old market square.
Dining out is back in fashion in Aylesbury Market Square. The old courthouse and Bell Hotel , favoured by richly rewarded barristers – who says crime doesn’t pay ? -, is visible in the historic background.
On my way up to Tescos on the old Hazell , Watson & Viney print works site, I was shouted at by this Asian road worker on the High Street. He told me , angrily , that I had no right to take photos on the street. I was merely recording Bucks Council’s inadequate methods of road maintenance – not him. These are very dangerous times , where everyone is free so long as they obey ever restrictive laws and some people know they are freer than others..
On the way back, I passed along by the old Aylesbury branch of the Grand Union Canal, toward the boat basin. Then it was on to the A413, and wet past the new sign in front of Aylesbury’s monstrous 1966 former County Council Offices, now a renamed unitary authority.
Stepping up in the local world , which is how councillors and staff feel when they enter this palace of power. The original , and now overflow 1888 County Offices opposite, are beautifully reflected by the well polished glass at the top of the mighty steps.
Here , back down in the world of Aylesbury Bus Station, I have a 40 minute wait for my return trip to Winslow. An Arriva manager described this school rush time as chaos.

Winslow & Adstock April 21st 2021

Sheep St Winslow April 21 2021 P.M. High speed fibre optic broadband cable being laid. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Broadband workers from Roumania pose for Robert Cook. April 20th 2021. P.M
Image Appledene Photographic/RJC
Winslow’s TSB Bank , April 21st 2021, formerly Lloyds at close of business, staff have all left and the workman are already on site this afternoon at 3pm. The bank has been closed as a cost cutting and profit boosting exercise. The bank opened in 1887 as Bucks & Oxon Bank. Winslow’s other ban closed many years ago in the late 1980s. Buckingahm is also set to lose its last Bank – Barclays on the Market Square. The bank was a focal point for local businesses and the farming community.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
After dealing with matters in Winslow , we walked out along the dangerously busy A413 to Buckingham. This is the ‘pretty’ expensive village of Adstock.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

As the hedgerows become black with an abundance of blackberries why not experiment with this excess by producing a pleasurable drink to be enjoyed in the depths of winter.

Blackberry Wine Recipe / makes around 15litres 


  • A large bucket or bowl with a secure lid
  • A large plastic/metal spoon
  • Something to strain the liquid through e.g funnel with an integral filter, sieves, muslin material
  • A glass/plastic demijohn
  • A thermometer
  • Empty bottles

Make sure all equipment has been sufficiently sterilised.


1.75g blackberries

1.5g sugar

4.5litres boiling water

2tsp pectic enzyme

Yeast nutrient (follow instructions on the packet)

1tsp wine nutrient


1. Gently wash your fruit and carefully remove any bits of stem, leaves and bugs.

2. Place the blackberries in the bucket/bowl and mash with a potato masher or rolling pin

3. Pour over the water, stir and wait for the temperature to dip below 21 degrees.

4. Stir in the pectic enzyme, cover and leave for at least 8 hours or overnight.

4. Add in the yeast nutrient and yeast, loosely cover and leave in a warm place for 4 – 7 days. You should stir the mixture daily.

5. Once the initial process of fermentation has slowed (bubbles of Carbon Dioxide rising to the surface causing the mixture to go frothy) strain the liquid off the fruit.

6. Place the sugar in the demijohn. In stages pour the fermented liquid through your straining equipment and int the demijohn. To ensure the sugar has dissolved evenly swirl the demijohn regularly as the liquid passes through.

7. Top the demijohn up with remaining liquid or water and insert an airlock. A cotton wool bung, covered with cling film and secured with an elastic band works well. Leave in a warm place.

8. Every so often take the wine off any sediment that has collected at the bottom of the demijohn until you are happy with the flavour. Pour into your bottles and enjoy.

* Don’t forget that blackberries are never to be picked in late October for then the devil spits on them.

* This article was updated on September 11th 2014.

* © Wwwmaksim68 | Dreamstime.com – Blackberries. Berries. Photo

Death Run February 20th 2021

The A413 Saturday early afternoon just north of Winslow, the brief sunshine brought out the ‘Death Runners/’ These are middle aged profesional types , including off duty police officers, who enjoy the thrill of the twisting and turning at speeds exceeding 100mph busy A413.

They are the ones who can afford the best bikes and gear. The run across the county of sedate Buckinghamshire is described as the death run ‘ with low plod interest.’

Obviously the bloggers saying this have inside information . Here we see the near completion of dangerous overtaking as two bikers cross the hatching, north of a very dangerous road junction. They left the car standing. Accident and death rates are exceptional during summer. R.J Cook
R.J Cook 1980 I preferred to enjoy motorcycling off road, but economics back in the 1980s necessitated the use of this bike for commuting along the A413 in all weathers , day and night I gave up motorcycling as soon as my son noticed me riding. Rather hypocritically I didn’t want him at risk. I used to be good friends with a Boeing 747 Captain who had been one of the RAF Red Arrows, He told me he never considered owning a motorbike because they are far too dangerous..
The Death Run’ A413 , a very twisty road that crosses Buckinghamshire north to south , very popular with well off middle aged bikers. Location here is passing ‘Seven Gables’ north of Winslow, Feb 20th 2021.

By the old canal, Aylesbury November 24th 2020

Canal Bridge Stocklake Aylesbury Image Appledene Photographics/KC
Like the rest of Britain, post Thatcher and EU, Aylesbury has seen considerable manufacturing and retail decline. This old area of Stocklake was the first to diversify from dependence on agriculture in the early twentieth century. This area will soon be filled by more very epensive luxury waterside apartments.
Those of us who have spent long hours working in grim back breaking warehouses know the pleasure of opening a door in the wall, stepping out for a glimpse of natural light, fresher air and fouling it by smoking a cigarette.
A clear view of Bearbrook Stream running parallel to the canal, where the tow path divides as all pass under the ring road bridge, which I crossed many times during my 18 years as teacher in this town.
Looking back west under the bridge, we see the desperation of people living in a County town where the Council’s Chief Executive earns over £200 000 a year with benefits and we still have to pay council tax during lockdown.
The sight of this privileged white male’s bed by the canal should shame the greedy who think homeless people are lazy and only the poor of Africa and India deserve charity. Image Appledene Photograhics.RJC
Life is good here for those with money. a life of luury flats and a nice new boat basin on the leafy edge of Aylesbury town.
Heading on east to Broughton, at long last swallowed up by ever expanding Aylesbury.
Broughton Canal Bridge
An early first railway line used to run out this way to Cheddington and the London-Birmingham West Coast line which was extended on to Glasgow.
Heading back toward Tescos and town way ahead, the County Hall peeping over the shrubbery and bushes, another old industrial relic dominating the foreground.

Exquisitely Ugly Bletchley November 6th 2020

All Images Appledene Photographics/RJC

Bleak, lonely. dirty faded 1960s dream town.
Bletchley’s bleak, windswept, horrible depressing bus station.

Bletchley Today November 4th 2020

Jesus Is Coming October 22nd 2020

I don’t travel much these Covid 19 days. Today I went to Bletchley and Buckingham, In Bletchley Queensway it looked very dull and dreary. It’s a pain getting in there while the massive railway rebuilding works are going on.

Rebuilding Bletchley Viaduct September 2020. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Strolling down Queensway, I noticed queues for all the banks. An exotically dressed African woman wafted up to me handing out a leaflet. heavily accented she assured me that ‘Jesus is coming. ‘

Covid mania is rife, black looks for me as I was seen maskless in the shopping arcade. On my way there, I passed ‘Plucky’ the busker. We had a pleasant chat about our times performing folk. I told him of the night I was performing back in 2011 in Bradwell, with my friend, fellow musician and song writing partner , Christine.

That was the night, singing with my heavily accented Irish tones, I started singing ‘The Green Fields of France’ by Eric Bogle. Christine was doing a great job with the lead guitar. I was doing the easy rythmn guitar, so I could focus on vocals and moody intonation. It was a Sunday night.

I was just starting the first verse when I noticed a mature gent wearing an Aaran jumper make for the door. I thought I must be sounding very bad . Then the grey haired fellow turned, walking with purpose to the stage area. I was expecting serious criticism. Now some people look Irish. He did. the most I can say about my Irishness is that my poor old grandfather came here to England because Ireland was even worse in 1919.

Plucky the busker performing outside the old Co-op, this afternoon, October 22nd 2020
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

The man did not heckle. He cocked his old ear, watching and listening with the hint of a sad old smile on his wrinkled face.

As I finished, he made his approach. His opening line was ‘What part of Ireland are you from ?’. I said, ‘I am not Irish, I am English.’ ‘No you are not. You are Irish. From somewhere south of Dublin I think.’

‘Alright’ I said. ‘Yes. I am an Irishman pretending to be English.’ This made the man cock his head like a little Budgie bird. He frowned, then said in a wonderful poetic soft Southern Irish accent, paused thoughtfully, then he said ‘Now what would you want to be doing that for ? ‘ When I took a break, he introduced Christine and Ito his sister, telling me how he had been to the U.S to seek his fortune before coming ‘home’ to England.

Bletchley is a very poor town. It grew around the railway and brickworks. Buckingham, the county town by contrast is predominantly posh. Both places attract me for their chairity shops. You can tell much about a place by what they throw away. My interest is books, though I did buy two good classical guitars recently, under priced because the people did not know their value. I do because I have played, teaching others, for years and used to build them.

I visited three charity shops in Buckingham today, being very surprised to find the British Heart Foundation shop on Market Hill is closing down,

British Heart Foundation Charity shop, Market Hill, Buckingham.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

The member of staff on duty today told me that she was told of a leaking roof. It was in the lease that the tenant had to pay for repairs. The landlord apparently told British Heart Foundation that they would not be able to afford a repair. So goodness knows what is wrong with it. Whatever, the landlord has told them to go. That is a shame. People will lose their jobs. Landlords are under terrible pressure because of Covid crazy lockdown. Just a few doors up ‘The Duke’s Music’ has gone.

It seems that all those wealthy affluent African and other affluent foreign students at Buckingham’s Private University use their posh BMWs and Mercs to shop out of town, only coming back to park them along the narrow olde worlde streets where even a two up two down terace will cost you £300,000.

A snippet from Olde Worlde Buckingham today, October 22nd 2020. Terry Davey and his brother have been car part stalwarts for years. In my car loving days, I was a customer. It was as olde worlde inside as out, but haven’t been in there for years. Back in the 1960s, I worked in the local paint tactory warehouse and laboratories, just down the lane to the right.

I worked there after a disgruntled worker burnt it down, so it was more modern when I arrived to wear an important white coat, specialising in marine paint research. I got fired because I was skipping college day release, where I was being paid to study Chemistry, to see my girlfiend in Portsmouth.

Anyway, in the old days, the pub on the corner was called ‘The Barrel’. Now it has a multi cultural name, as suits a town with so many posh BAME students.
Image Appeldene Photographics/RJC

The Isle of Wight Photographed in 2003 by R.J Cook who was flying out to the Pyrenees on a rock climbing assignment.

The Isle of Wight and Solent separating the island from Portsmouth and Southampton 2003, The Isle of Wight is situated between the Solent and the English Channel, is roughly rhomboid in shape, and covers an area of 150 sq mi (380 km2).
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Robert Cook’s best selling modern well illustrated history of the fascinating Isle of Wight, named ‘Vectis’ by the Romans.
R,J Cook takes a breather to pose for team leader Pierre to take a photo, while en route to Breche La Roche and a passage into Spain, after overnighting in a mountain refuge. Image Appledene Archives

Portsmouth, The Point May 2005

My mother with me in Old Portsmouth in May 2005. She loved the city and neighbouring Isle of Wight, which she also enjoyed visiting. Sheand my eldest son took turns accomanying me when researching my 3 books on the city and the Isle of Wight. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

May 2005. The famous Spice Island pub in the background on ‘The Point,’ Old Portsmouth. My mother prepares her camera to photograph me for my book, jointly authored by Dr Celia Clark of Portmouth University on the subject of ‘The Tricorn, rise and fall of a Sixties Icon.’
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Ramblings September 20th 2020

Vintage New Holland Combine Harvester clears a poor wheat crop near Swanbourne. New Holland used to build these machines in nearby Aylesbury until Thatcher came along to make industry leaner and fitter.’
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC August 2020
Vintage Vauxhall Victor Buckingham September 2020
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Fire at my house September 13th 2020

The fire brigade were called , all the way from Buckingham,to deal with my smouldering bonfire this evening- at a neighbours behest.

Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

It Might Have Been Spring by R.J Cook – First Published in Buckinhamshire Countryside November 2003. Posted Here September 12th 2020

Quainton, Buckinghamshire November 2003. The start of our hike. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

As seasoned walker Martin Blane commented, ‘it might have been spring, when we parked by Quainton’s ample village green. Finishing touches were being made for Bonfire Night celebrations in this very traditional looking village. The local church is called Holy Cross and St Mary, a reference to the remains of an old stone cross similar to others set up by the Knight’s Hospitallers in places owned by their order.  They had a hospice here.

QUainton is a rather snobbish village, where the smallest houses cost a fortune. They don’t really like the lower orders passing through.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

We were off for a walk in Quainton’s attractive and bumpy little hills, on the first Saturday morning of November. Only a hint of brown and russet in the prolific leaves and an absence of bird song suggested it was nearly Christmas. As we made our way to open country, an Arriva bus squeezed between the parked cars and 4 x 4s that reminded us we were among 21st century village life. A postman disembarked from a white van to make his deliveries.  Without his red van and Royal Mail logo, he wasn’t quite Postman Pat, but I did see a black and white cat along the wayside.

The late Martin Blane looks out across the Aylesbury Vale from Quainton Hills. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Quainton is a mix of ancient and modern. It has its share of thatched bulging cottages, rich retreats, and revamped period council houses.  Many monuments have been laid here, including one to Charles 1st secretary Sir Richard Winwood who endowed gabled almshouses near the 14th century church, in 1687. The Dormer family is also remembered. Bucks. George Lipscomb’s father,sailor and surgeon James was entombed in the churchyard.  George, lawyer, doctor, soldier and author, was born in a cottage on the green.  This man’s historical mission almost bankrupted him and he died in a London garret, saved by charity from a pauper’s grave.

Qainton Windmill, now a rich family’s home. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

A mile away is Quainton Railway Centre a reminder of the Great Central Railway and another by gone age. Though the church has a wealth of history packed inside, the most obvious of all is the old windmill, a marker for anyone who might lose their way on the variety of paths leading up to commanding height, from which Martin and I could scan the Bucks countryside for miles around.  Among the sights, we saw North Marston idyllic in the east and Winslow, with its distinctive Hall and St Lawrence Church, ever bigger in the north.  Away on the skyline we saw the whiteness of Mursley Water Tower and beyond the horizon lay the pulsating city of Milton Keynes.

Rich folk love God, having much to thank him for. Here is the thriving Quainton Parish Church. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Once away from the little lanes and into the hills, there was only the mobile phone mast to mark the differences so many decades have made to rural ways. Martin is now 86, a keen cyclist and member of Swan Wheelers before the war, his passion for walking began during wartime RAF service in India, with walks in the Himalayan foothills.  Though Quainton has no Everest, there are some taxing little slopes and some well-fed cattle to admire, slumbering through their short lives in the sunshine.

Aylesbury Vale viewed from Quainton Hills Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Going back toward the village in the afternoon, smoke was curling up from the little chimney pots, and I saw affluent villagers enjoying the rural idyll, some chopping logs

Various Ramblings Posted September 12th 2020

Southern Cyprus, April 2016, a Russian warship off the coast.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Modern Life in Essex, the U.K Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Portsmouth July 13th 2020

Mudflats at The Hard. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Portsmouth Harbour
HMS Warrior
The Hard Bus Interchange
Admiralty House Queen St, Portsmouth.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Havant Sept 2017

More Comment to come. All pictures Appledene copyright, all 2017 images from the period corrupt police date their surveilance of my remote home, based on allegations that I was working for my son Kieran as a ‘gay escort’ in a fantasy escort agency. They refuse to explain or disclose anything, having me labelled as mentally ill with the excuse of needing to keep me under constant surveilance because they are protecting my ex brother in law, the criminal liar Chief Constable and Police Furearms lead Simon Chesterman, along with members of his family and police colleagues .

They had primed their source, refusing to investigate her. I had just been writing this up, when the page crashed. I will write more later.

The police are a despicable disorganisation, rotting from the head down. I am tired of hearing that the cowardly corrupt police pick only on blacks. They pick on the vulnerable for their own fun and aggrandisement. They do not care who they lie about and harm as long as their is something in it for them and perceive their victims are weak. They run away from obvious danger… Britain’s establishment are smug, supercilious, patronising, self righteous, arrogant, and stink like the rotting fish they are.

Robert Cook

East Street
Looking East
Hayling Billy Old Line
Along the Old Hayling Billy Line
Langstone Harbour
River near Havant & Langstone
Kieran Cook at Langstone
Dave Evans; painting and my poem about the renowned ‘Hayling Billy’ railway which British Railways closed down in their ‘wisdom’. Extracted from ‘Havant and Hayling’ in Old Photographs by Robert Cook 1996
Robert Cook Leigh Park Havant 1975
Image Appledene Archives/Vernon F Church
Vernon F Church and wife Sylvia on Hayling island 1975 Image Appledene Archives
Robert Cook, Leigh Park Havant 1975 Image Appledene Archives.VFC

Ramblings September 2017

This is me, September 2017- with my flat bed truck, when I was delivering pipes for a major construction firm. According to the police who had been staking out my house and talking to neighbours for three monthsx 20117-18 -who raided my home and locked me in cells- I was wprking as a gay escort for my son in his imaginary brothel and shopped myself at the time of this picture being taken.

A lot of British cops get undercover fantasies off TV. They are very dangerous people. They used my aggrieved ex partner from Potters Bar, who I had dumped becaue she was avery unpleasant person, charity and tax fraud. She contacted them under Claire’s Law, telling me that they told her to ‘let seeping dogs lie’ and that I had lied to the police. She also told me that they called on her regularly asking about me and where I was. That is Police State Britain – and their abuse of the ‘Me Too’ feminist culture.

I am now officially paranoid with a personality disorder, schizophrenic and liable to die from misadenture. at the time. they still haven’t closed the case because they would get sued. It is all part of their corrupt practice to save my criminally corrupt lying ex brother in law and his family from investigation, prosecution and jail. That excuse for a human and epitome of U.K Police, being is Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman last known to me as of the Civil and Nuclear Police. He is pictured below having fun. All images Appledene Phototgraphic.RJC
This is the liar, Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, and he has the cheek to call me weird and mentally ill, his uncle died in a mental hospital, being sectioned his whole adult life. His mother decided my youngest son Edward needed shutting away. I have not heard from Edward since March 2008, the police telling Birmingham Crown Court in 2012 that Edward is too ill to be interveiwed by them or to attend court. Appldene Photographics/RJC
My ex wife, Chesterman’s sister, with son Edward in 2004. She was still washing and taking him to the toilet up until removing him and herself from the house while I was away- lying to the police that she feld from my violence which had terrorised the family sicne Edward’s birth in 1988.

The police have admitted in writing that they refused to investigate my complaints dating back to 2008, including their refusal to take action against her admission of domestic violence, recalling at least four violent incidents of her hitting me.

Edward. repeatedly threatening suicide, spent the last 3 plus years of his life at the family home, on his bed in underpants eating cling wrapped sandwiches, drinking bottled water, with a bottle to pee in and on playstation until his mother came hhome from work to wash and take him to the toilet.

No one else in the house was allowed near Edward. Yes, I am repeating criminal allegations here, nothing has ever been investigated so far, which is why police have spent over 12 years resisting disclosure or investigation – lying all the time and spending a fortune to ruin and jail me and my son Kieran. They are corrupt arrogant racist and sexist criminal liars. My ex wife dismissed outside help I had called in for Edward, insisting I had the problem, telling me I would not have family unless
I went to an analysts.

That analyst, on hearing my books included a novel about a transexual, told me to find the woman within. I started writing and researching a novel of that name based on Kafkas ‘Metamorphosis.

After many police raids following the Chesterman cover up, police confiscated many computers many times, reading the typescript development of my novel, concluding that this was evidence of mental illness, finding a cretinous psychiatrist Dr C R Ramsay to break the rules, ignore my evidence in favour of moron police lies,.

Ramsay concluded, on this basis- not listening to a word I said unless it backed what had been decided by his briefing and refusing to explain now, that I have a sexually depraved violent lifestyle, would be upset by all their records on me so must’t see them, that this lifestyle would likely lead to my death by misadventure. It is all quite extraordinary and far beyond my literary imagination.

The police have consistently lied to mine and CPS lawyers throughout this 12 plus years of absolute hell. And now they have the bare faced cheek to call and label me paranoid. If I don’t go on fighting this my son and I will soon be on the street. Lockdown has made matters worse. My eldest son and I have had so many job applications blocked by vile corrupt police lies, all triggered by vile DCC Simon Chesterman and his corrupt crony his then Chief Constable Paul West – a man whose contract West Mercia Police Authority wisely refused to renew- Chesterman went soon after due to his altering an official report covering for three fellow officers who lied over Plebgate and should have been sacked. At the time West Mercia was top of the list for corrupt practice, and is still very corrupt. It takes real criminal talent to top that list in corrupt Police State Britain.

My novel idea thus became something of a reality thanks to my corrupt despicable ex brother in law Simon Chesterman, his greedy lying nasty family and his corrupt police colleagues. The Chesterman family’s behaviour and misconduct here suggests that they are homophobes , transphobes and racists – they would not let me have my black best friend , magistrate and Inland Revenue colleague Vernon Church as best man at my wedding to Nicola Chesterman in 1977 because they are racists – the norm for white U.K cops.

The irony is that Chesterman was at one time a police diversity officer and ACPO firearms lead pressing for all officers to have more, and more powerful, tasers. He told me in 2003 that his ex Thames Valley boss, Paul West wanted him at West Mercia, next to West Midlands because of his anti terrorism exericne in Bucks.

As an anti terrorism officer, his lies about me and son Kieran stalking him at his remote Shropshire home make interesting reading I have covered that story elsewhere and eventually found some interesting documents on the matter, a lot due to an honest person in West Midlands CPS

After my 2016 arrest in the run up to their failed malicious prosecution- for which they have never stopped seeking revenge- Aylesbury CID Boss Bamfield was rather interested to know about that source.

The British police are a rotten self promoting self aggrandising unaccountable institutionally corrupt over funded organisation, classist, not racist.
Robert Cook. Image Appledene Photographics

Portsmouth June 26th 2020

Cash strappeed locals queing for bargains at Primark , Commercial Road Portsmouth.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Cold almost deserted Cascades Shopping Centre where many units have closed permamanetly. Portsmouth is a city of contrasts, past, present, rich and poor in Britain’s most densely populated urban area.
Image Appledene Photographics/Portsmouth
Looking Down on the dockyard, a much reduced and now privatised facility. the last ship built here was Andromeda , launched in 1969. The sky soon darkened yesterday afternoon, making my favourite city look even more grim.
Image Appledene Photographics/Portsmouth
Darker still in the once bustling Palmerston Road now ‘Desolation Row’, with two department stores boarded up, and young beggars on the dirty pavements. At least a pub was open.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Model Shop re opens in Commercial Road. The owner told me yesterday that lockdown has pushed him close to bankruptcy, saying it will be a struggle to carry on in a street with many boarded up shops. He told me that Initu the shopping centre landlord had gone into receivership because of ludicrous lockdown. He also expressed concerns that his teeth might fall out because he could not afford a dentist.
Outside, we were accosted by one of the city’s many homeless drunks. Explaining that he was on to his second bottle of whisky, this redundant restaurant worker, an Italian migrant came via London, describing himself with slurred heavily accented words as ‘A London geezer, and Portsmouth geezer.’ He wasn’t pleased when I told him I had no cigarettes to share, then the man, an obviously privileged white male like all the other drunks here, explained he needed to get to Cosham,
I told him which bus to catch, adding he would need a mask to ride on such a bus. This is not the city of my youth. It is a terribly depressing place.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Arundel Street, off Commercial Road, Literary Theme, Inscriptions on the pavement and plaques included, ‘You will never reach the Promised Land, but the journey is worth it,’ James CalLaghan, former PM, sailor, tax man and son of Portsmouth. Another was ”Women are bloody marvelous’ the late Betty Boothroyd, Labour MP and former speaker.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Politically Correct recommended new book pile, all about nasty white racists and sexists. All part of the correct thinking camapaign and one of the reasns why only 3% pf the population visit bookshops, why the shop was almost empty and whey we have record male illiteracy. Image Appledene Photographics/Portsmouth
Lift to top of Cascades Car Park, built by Germny’s Thyssen Krupp because Thatcher wrecked British Industry, forcing sale and closure of Northampton’s Express Lifts to Otis. See ‘A Century of Northampton’ by Robert Cook
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Portsmouth’s Jubille 1977 fountain at the junction of Commercial Road and Arundel Street. Portsmouth is a very loyalist City, in spite of – or perhaps because of- its large number of deprived and unemployed inhabitants. There was outrage when the City’s finance cheief suggested demolishing it 15 years ago.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Meanwhile here is one of the police riot control vans hidden away on the forecourt of the ‘Queen’s Hotel’ Southsea yesterday, with several of the bike patrol officers reporting in, the seafront not far away and potential control duties to be done.
Image Appledene Photographics/CC

Portsmouth June 18th 2020

The weather was dreadful yesterday, but urgent work as a writer and journaist forced me back on the road down to Portsmouth and Southsea. My old home land of Portsea Isalnd never ceases to fascinate and entertain me. It is the most densely populated areas of England and one of the poorest. I know it well.

My first stop in the city is always Sainsbury’s, for oe of their excellent three meal deals. The store isbuilt on the site of the old Royal Portsmouth Hospital where I had my first ever operation, with a few wonderful weeks on the wards to recuperate. Those were the days of a two pint a day Guiness ration and we were allowed to smoke in our beds. I ahd nowhere more interesting to be, so enjoyed myself and the company of other patients, the nurses and my pretty lady visitors from my workplace.

On Sainsbury;s wall in Portsmouth is a banner reading ‘Home isn’t just a space or a place, it’s a feeling.’ Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
This is someone’s home in Commercial Raod Portsmouth. There is certainly a feeling about this place outside the Ann Summers sex shop.
Image Appledene Photographics/Portsmouth
Southsea Common, Portsmouth, yesterday. Travellers had just moved on to the area by the sea front. Already the rubbish was piling up. I chatted to one young man who said it had happened before. He called Portsmouth Chav Town. The young man is just visivle far right. I recall a friend telling me some years ago, ‘They take the swans from Canoe Lake and eat them.’ Image Appledene Photographics/Portsmouth
Rampisham Down Dorset January 2020 Heading for Dorcheter at sun rise. Appledene Photographics/RJC

The Natural World At The Bottom Of My Drive May 8th 2020

Freud reckoned human sexuality was extant among four year olds. He shocked polite society in Vienna with this view and much else.

I snapped this image while talking to the sheep and lambs in the field adjacent to the lane at the bottom of my drive, this evening.

Hope this is not regarded as child porn or racist ! I am posting it for scientific reasons. It is obviously not amusing, and these tiny creatures need to be taught the importance of social distancing and safe spaces.

Image Applledene Photographics/RJC
The old London Planetarium
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Henley on Thames Image Appledene Photographcs/RJC

Portsmouth Lockdown March 25th 2020

Commecial Road Portsmouth March 25th. This road was busier during World War Two’s Blitz Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Near Cheltenham Yesterday Posted March 17th 2020

I pulled into this truck stop just east of Cheltenham on the charming old A40, yesterday, after a run into Hereford, mid Wales, Gloucester and Cheltenham .

I talked to a lot of gloomy people threatened by the government’s police state crackdown.
Several people told me their businesses are facing job losses and even bankruptcy in this hysterical over reaction to Corona Virus. One man I delivered to near Hereford, ex army, wondered what the government were trying to distract us all from.

The guy in the green overall was waiting to load a combine harvester onto his low loader. He said ‘Farming is fucked, but at least the sun is shining.’

There is no doubt that the country is either run by idiots and.morons or they have a hidden agenda. Image Appledene Photographics.RJC

Rained Nearly Every Day Since Saturday September 2019 Posted March 14th 2020

Nothing much to report on my weekly trip to Salisbury, Exeter, Dorchester, Weymouth and Poole except that it rained and the wind blew. The warehouse supervisor at Poole Tesco, and I chatted about the Corona Virus. He had to collect his daughter from school because they thought she had it because of a cough.

The holiday camps in Weymouth fear a business collapse from the virus and bad weather. I saw a lot of sad people holidaying in the gloom. Dark clouds hung heavy over the Weymouthsurrounding hills as I drove away.

Salisbury had been my first drop, at 3.30 a.m. Always think of the Skirpals, what became of them and why. First went there back in 1974 with my only ever true love, Portsmouth’s Helen Thurston, and my first car- a Hillman Minx VLU174G I remember them both, but loved her much more.

Dark and gloomy in a back alley near where the Skirpals were poisoned by who knows. The British are capable of anything, as the Assange affair demonstrates. Image Appledene Photographics.

As for Exeter, well it is a long way to go, but worth it with two big pallets. On the way back, I pulled over at Southampton servisces, falling asleep. Then back up the motorway, on to the mad A34, and a hold up because of a crash. Saturday is always bad for crashes because it is the only day some drivers come out.

Exeter, a long way from base March 14th 2020. Image Appledene Photographics

Dark Clouds hang over the Weymouth Bay Hills as Holiday time approaches in the age of Corona Virus. Image Appledene Photographics March 14th 2020.
A strange desolate beauty at the Rownham Services truck stop near Southampton March 14th 2020; Image Appledene Photographics March 14th 2020.
Young woman crashes off the A34, just north of the M27 interchange, a haven for busy bullie and free for all. Image Appledene Photographics. March 2020

As for the A34, horrible road. Once passed a crash where a woman in a little car had been decapitated by the ramps of a break down truck she ran into the back of. That is how quickly and suddenly life ends. There are many lessons from life on the road, which sees more deaths than Corona Virus ever will, but gets very little attention. Robert Cook

Portsmouth Return Posted January 17th 2020

I was back in Portsmouth yesterday, where it is a joy to be. Few people realise it is an island city, being which gives it a certain character and an interesting history- about which I have written two books and co authored another to date.

The Portsmouth to Isle of Wight hovercraft struggles in stormy seas yesterday. RJC

Yesterday’s weather was, as usual rather unpleasant. Eating lunch and watching the rough waves on the Solent was still relaxing. The outbound Isle of Wight Hovercraft was struggling on its way, under very grey skies. The ferry, looking top heavy, was heavier and more majestic on its way in.

By this time, I had spent time browsing in Charity shops and Waterstones in Commercial Road, also looking at the site where the Tricorn used to be- and the memory in mind of re development plan from Centros Miller in this curious story part told in my co authored book on Tricorn.

The Tricorn, Life and Death of a Sixties Icon’ by Dr Celia Clark and Robert Cook

Waterstones had an interesting display of books on strong feisty women. Greta’s memoir, in hardback was piled high and half price at £7. It is basically a collection of photographs of the young gurning Greta, looking as scarey as the climate crisis her image is meant to decribe and portend.

Books on and by fesity dominant modern women, on display at Waterstones, Commercial Rd Portsmouth Jan 16th 2020- ball breakers as men used to say before all the new PC laws came to pass.

Eveen more frightening are the other books by the Clinton women and Michelle Obama and the sex war that will never end till all men in the west kow tow.

Talking of kow towing takes my mind east and to the image of Kim Yong Un, or whatever his name is. There was some light relief in a volume called ‘Choose you Apocalypse.’

The not so popular Apocalypse collection, also half price at Portsmouth Waterstones

Hopefully Waterstones will soon have a display of my new book on Portsmouth which will be as brilliant and successful as my last ones- I hope. Robert Cook

Three car crash at Mursley Drayton Parslow road junction, just outside speed limit Posted January 7th 2020

Three car pile up just outside Mursley Buckinghamshire this early evening. Two big 4 X 4s and a little car on the Swanbourne Posh Prep School run route. I go this way to Milton Keynes to avoid the road pigs, but I am not the only one who knows this rat run. RJC

Don’t blindly follow Sat Nav if in a truck Posted January 4th 2020

My progress between Cricket St Thomas in Somerset, this morning, to Dorchester was, impeded by the unfortunate fellow who drove his car transporter up a steep narrow road onto the busy A30 near Crewkerne. The long low vehicle bottomed out on the slope.

This he managed to block both sides of the carriageway. I had to back up, and go via Yeovil to make my final delivery this morning. The driver could not speak any English. Robert Cook

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

Hardy Country December 23rd 2019

I was up and out on the road early again yesterday, passing through creepy Salisbury, down near to Exeter and back across to Dorchester in Dorset, then on to Poole.

On winter’s day the back road from Creukerne to Dorchester can be awkward because I am aways driving into the low sun. Not so with all the rain we have at the moment. On my way up to Poole, I passed the sign to the Tolpuddle Maryrs Museum at Tolpuddle.

Two Dorsetshire farm labourers – the Lovelace brothers- had been transported to Australia for forming a union ( called an Assciation back then ) in 1827. They were spied on, then reported by local grovelling toadying worthises.

The Tory Government of the day- only rich men could vote – held trade unions illegal because they got rich off the backs of workers, who were also forced to go abroad and die in their Imperial wars for them. Apart from yechnology very little has changed- though political experts try to make us think it has, and for the better. At least life span was shorter, so the suffering less drawn out in the good old days.

In youth I was a great fan and reader of Thimas Hardy novels. I especially enjoyed ‘Jude the Obscure’ and ‘Tess of the d’Ubervilles’. The air of gloom and doom still lingers over Dorset. It is almost as awful as West Mercia and its interesting police force.

Anyway it was an uneventful day, though a man in Salisbury told me there was much more to the Skirpal incident than meets the eye. He said that the restaurant where the Russians went before their poisoning had a secret room. He knew because he had heard people talking from behind the walls when he was delivering There was much more he dare not tell me. Strange world we live in. Robert Cook

Heading due east on a back road toward Dorchester early yesterday morning, all very quiet as the sun struggled to shine through the murky mily Dorset sky. RJC

A Foreign Country Posted December 22nd 2019

It was very cold on Mermaid Quay on Cardiff Bay when I arrived there at 5 a.m yesterday morning. Raining, dark and damp, but Cardiff Bay was still an inspiring place to be. So much amazing history there. Years ago this was a busy port. The bay was nicknamed ‘Tiger Bay’, legend for its influx of exotic sailors. John and Hayley Mills starred in a 1960s black and white film set here, called ‘Tiger Bay.’

Robert Cook Cardiff December 21st 2019

Cardiff is the national capital and county town of Glamorgan. Until Roman conquest, Cardiff was part of the territory of an iron age tribe called Silures that flourished. Their territory included the areas that would become known as Breconshire, Monmouthshire and Glamorgan.  

The local River Taff, where the Romans built their first settlement aside its’ mouth, is the origin of the Welsh peoples’ nickname ‘Taffy.’  The word Welsh’ means foreigner and we still use the non PC phrase ‘to welsh on a deal.’

Norman invader and King William the Conqueror started his slaves building the castle keep in 1081. It was built within the walls of the old Roman fort. Cardiff Castle has been at the heart of the city ever since.

The imposing walls of Cardiff Castle December 21st 2019. RJC

The castle was substantially altered and extended during the Victorian period by John Crichton-Stuart and the architect William Burges. Original Roman work can, however, still be distinguished in the wall facings.

It is still a city of relatively small population of under 400,000 but has been developing and modernising during recent decades, notably as home to the devolved Welsh National Assembly.

I sampled the city’s nightclubs back in late 2007, after watching Welsh National hero boxer Jow Calzaghe at the Millenium Centre win the middle weight world title.

Earlier that evening, I had great fun, with the Welsh flag tied around my neck and flowing like a cloak while I dnaced and held court in several pubs, enjoying a hard drinking session with rival Danish supporters. As the evining wore on, glass glasses were replaced by plastic ones through fear of violence breaking out,

Cardiff has seen a lot of changes. This image shows change on going, with a tiny remnant of the old world seen here in the foreground. Pubs were once abundant watering holes for hard working and often worn out working men. For years , Wales has struggled to attract new jobs and industries, blaming England for the lack of work. There are obvious limits to what tourism and services can offer. As in all British cities, there is a thriving university student population. RJC

I digress, Cardiff’s wider urban area has a population of 479,000 nd it is the most popular tourist destination in Wales. The BBC have a stronghold there, even using the city as a location for filming the revived ‘Dr Who’ series. Robert Cook

Manchester Crime and Government Posted December 20th

Manchester City Ethiad Football Stadium built with Abu Dabi Oil Money- What happened to Britin’s oil revenues? RJC December 2019

Before George and Robert Stephenson’s railway was extended to Manchester, the city- a mere village at the start of the Industrial Revolution, was far away from us southerners.  The horrible lingering dampness of this place in the Pennines proved very suitable to the cotton spinning factories on which the revolution thrived.

After the Napoleonic Wars- when the landowning classes thrived thanks to the punitive corn laws, causing hunger and misery for the labouring classes- the self appointed hero of Waterloo, Wellington ,became Tory Prime Minister by choice of this elite.  

The Duke of Wellinngton, whose home address was Number 1 , London, thought it fair to send the militia to shoot people protesting against high corn prices due to a ban on cheaper imports.  That was the Peterloo Massacre at St Petersfields Manchester.  

These little terraced houses, on the western outskirts of Manchester have been converted into retail outlets, giving clues to local life style/ There would have been houses facing these shops before 1960s demolition and construction of a dual carrageway. the dispossessed would have been moved to high rise blocks. RJC

It was not just the Irish starving at the time, but they were brought over to keep labour costs low, and profits high.  Manchester was the centre of all this, so important that a canal was eventually dug out to the Atlantic Port of Liverpool- the Manchester Ship Canal.

The first time I ever read the word Manchester was a six year old reading where my favourite Co-op fig roll biscuits were made.  The Co-op started in Rochdale Lancashire, near Manchester, as a workers combine to ensure good cheap food rather than the expensive adulterated rubbish produced by the Capitalist classes for the lower orders.

Tower blocks peeping over the fence toward Manchester City Football Stadium. One of them looks as if it has been built inside a cage. There is a crowded local Victorian prison with the interesting name ‘Strangeways.’ Manchester crime rates are high.

The next time I heard of Manchester I was still a boy, watching the new soap opera ‘Coronation St’ set in a backstreet of Manchester terraced houses.  I watched it at a friend’s birthday party in 1960.  There were only three of us at the party, running out of amusements we sat down to watch it on a black and white TV.  

My friend’s home was also in a terrace, so was mine.  We also had a black and white TV.  The set was big, the screen quite small.  It was near our front room window, a window on the world and a window on the street, next to each other.  

The road was a main route to London, always busy.  So was the pavement, bustling with busy body women, shrieking children and stoic men- their haven being the pub just up the road at the bottom of the school hill.

My Childish painting of Sheep St Winslow, where I was born and grew up in the last house next to the last thatched cottage at the bottom of the hill. Manchester started life as a little country village like this in the nineteenth century. Farm workers were out to work in corron factories and other grim unnatural employment, helping a small number of people get rich at their expense.

Much of life was black and white in those days. We all knew our place.  The illusion of Britain’s Imperial greatness lurked like a wounded monster, caught on newsreels reporting in denial.  Then came the illusion of the 1960s, places like Manchester were losing their terraces, high rise reservations for the surplus working classes grew like weeds from the rubble.  Bright young northerner headed south for fame and fortune.  And so we have what we have today.

Remnants of the old nineteenth century cotton mills are overwhelmed by modern edifices built for profit and glamour. The city has two unviersities, a large student and ethnic population. On the day this picture was taken, firefighters were dealing with another major fire. RJC

It took me nearly four hour to get there in my truck limited to 55 mph for economy.  A chunk of the motorway near Stafford wasis being converted to what they call SMART motorway, which means getting rid of the hard shoulder refuge.  This was another great David Cameron idea to improve traffic flow on the cheap, to hell with actual safety.

Just past the terraced shops, I saw this giant Heineken Brewery. Alchohol has always been a relief to the working men- and now even more women, along with smoking despite health warnings. RJC

Trucking through Manchester, I saw remnants of the old city, and gaudy emblems of the new.  It is what it is.  This is the Northern Powerhouse.  The roads were noticeably quiet, making my job much easier.  That is always a good thing for me.  Job done, back I went, down to the not so sunny south where the rich folk, and my new Tory MP are pledged to block the HS2 rail project because they like having a nice view, peace, quiet, security etc, all paid for and provided at the expense of the low order masses.  The spirit of Peterloo lives on in diverse Britain, which is about as diverse in reality as it was in the nineteenth century.  Divide and rule is the key to successful crime and government. Robert Cook Search for:

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What is Watford ? Posted December 17th 2019

What is Watford ?

The name of this town, just north of London, reeks of dullness, like so much of the area.  I took a small load there this morning, cutting through the smug bourgeois Bucks County Town of Aylesbury. Aylesbury has been over expanded with no serious attention to infrastructure.  There are no many publci servants in Aylesbury, they have a town centre car park all to themselves.

Traffic queing to enter Aylesbury on the A413 this morning. RJC

As usual, it took me over an hour to cross the sprawl this morning, before I could enjoy the relative freedom of the A41, heading south toward the terrible M25 and Watford beyond.

This place has a notable rail junction, massive shopping centre and a luxury hotel fit for VIPs.  It was chosen as the venue for the recent NATO 70th birthday summit, where high flown folk and hangers on flaunted themselves for the media. They never give up congratulating themselves for fighting the Russian menace.

Graham Taylor’s statue outside Watford FC stadium in busy rain sodden Vicarage Rd this morning. RJC

On my way into town I passed grand houses, glimpsed through hedges, large forecourts resting places for the BMWs and Mercs. At the football ground I pondered the statue of the teams late and illustrious manager, Graham Taylor.  He would be sad to see his team heading for relegation from the Premier League.  Watford is also home to the Harry Potter studio and museum, which is expensive to visit.

The rainswept M40 near Stokenchurch this morning. RJC

Hoping that the traffic on the M25 had subsided, I went back along it, then on to the M40, through driving rain. Robert Cook

Breakdown March 6th 2019

Trucks are run around the clock these days, with remarkably few breakdowns. I have had a few. This picture was taken on March 6th 2019, while I was waiting for a tow truck. RJC

Breakdowns can mean long waits. First the fitter comes out to tell you what you already knew. On this occasion I had taken refuge in the truck stop near Northampton. I had been on a fairly local run, coming back down the M1 from Tesco’s huge site at Daventry. At first I was indignant when I Stobart lorry hooted me.

I was in the inside lane flat out at 50 mph. When I checked the dash I saw the warning lights. I limped into the truck stop smoke coming out of the bonnet. The fitter confirmed that the turbo had blown and belt broke.

So I settled in for the long wait for a breakdown truck. While I sat there, cold and trying to read in failing light. I noticed there was no fence between me and the M1. It had rotted and collapsed years ago. What a wonderful spot to commit suicide if you felt that way.

My reverie was disturbed by a lot of revving and shouting. So I left my truck to watch a British registered Class One Truck trying to reverse into a vacant slot in the truck line.

This truck stop is way to small with little room for manouvre. A group of East European truckers were doing their best to guide the English driver. The young woman was getting nowhere, so she climbed down looking very stressed, until the other drivers advsied and comforted her. Eventually she made it.

A short while after, me still taking the air, another Class One roared in at speed. The driver spun it across the gap, banged into reverse, slotting it into the tight space with accuracy and finesse.

The person who stepped down from this Polish regsitered truck was the smallest trucker I had ever seen. I watched the diminjutive figure in scruffy jeans, colourful top and raven long hair walk along the truck and trailer side, doing various checks before hurrying back and up into the high cab. I watched in amazement as this person flipped down the vanity mirror, then touched up her make up, gave me a demonic smile, pushed back her hair, then into gear and away as fast as she had arrived.

The magnificent breakdown truck which came to my rescue 7 hours after my breakdown. RJC

West Mercia Today November 11th 2019

I was in one of my least favourite parts of Britain today, West Mercia. Even before the region’s very corrupt police force set about destroying mine and my son’s lives eleven years ago, I did not like it there. It is borderland with Wales, so there was much fighting and death during Norman Times. That is why places like Ludlow had Castles.

Worcester Today, a horrible little place to drive in, full of totally uninspiring architecture. Not far away is Hindlip Hall, HQ to a police force that has a history of corruption and malpractice. Hindlip Hall is close to a good golf course, favoured by the top dogs. RJC
I was held up in Worcester because of works to remove flood debris near the bridge. Going on to Ludlow, it was noticeable that river waters were high. Might be trendy for the well off, but not very sensible to buy property near rivers in this part of the world. RJC
Ludlow is about as pretty as it gets in West Mercia. Worcester is rather a blot on the landscape by comparison. RJC

Easy Day November 8th 2019

Driving back from Newhaven and Brighton this morning on a quiet M23. The autumn leaves had a chance to shine at last. RJC

There has been little of interest or excitement in my driving work this week. Frost and fog on the way to work was a bit of a niggle.

On my way back up country it was nice to see a bit of sunshine over Sussex, but on to the M25 and Surrey clouds gathered, the sky was grey and gloom was nigh.

The M23 is nearing completion of what the authorities euphemistically call conversion to SMART motorway status. One gets a false sense of security in a truck, but I would hate to break down on there in a car.

Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire Today October 31st 2019

I was back in this area for the second time this week, but there is rarely anything worth photograohing. It is commuter land, so lots of traffic jams and road accidents. The landscape is littered with large houses and secure estates.

However, today I decided to park up my truck near the ruins at Virginia Water, in the neighbourhood of Runneyemede where Magna Carta was signed so long ago, giving rise to the myth that England is a free country. As with the referendum, it was not long before the King of the day reneged on the deal.

The Ruins at Runneymede Virginia Water photographed by me today. RJC
This plaque explains what the ruins are about.
On my way back from Virginia Water to the A329 and Reading, I drove through affluent Sunningdale. Here is the sedate and wealthy little town’s BMW Rolls Royce dealer. RJC

Goodbye to all that October 28th 2019

Today was a sad day for me. I will not be going to my favourite resttaurant in Charlotte Street W1 anymore. My job there is over, so I said goodbye to my friend Chef Alberto.

This morning I drove into London when the sun was just rising over Ealing. The traffic was very heavy, but the weather looked promising in spite of the cold.

Looking at the sun rise over Ealing, on the A40, October 28th, 06.30. RJC

I have done this run into London more times than I can remember and will miss it, and all the people I have met, the sights and the traffic.

Alberto, the wonderful head chef and me this morning. Image by Sergio
On my way back, the leaves are turning ready to drop in Tottenham Court Road, Autumn sun gives them a perfect light as they fade away. RJC
On the slip road from Tottenham Court Road onto Marylebone road, I saw these shaddowy people rising from their freezing cold nights sleep on the benches. All their worldly goods are in this picture, RJC

Tomorrow I will be on the road at 2 am, to new places, but as for London, it is goodbye to all that. Robert Cook

Driving and Driving Rain Again October 27th 2019

Taking a break from the road, enjoying coffee on the patio outside one of Prince William Yard’s excellent restaurants last Wednesday, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.

Friday was gloomy again, dark heavy rain filled clouds hung over the South Downs as I headed back from Brighton at 10.45. Having spotted a peculiar accident on the A23- involving a car hanging from a bankside near Hicksted- I saw the northbound traffic getting worse. So I headed for Portsmouth and the A34. The M23 and M25 can’t cope at the best of times.

My destination was Bicester 10 miles north of Oxford. Here two major roads, the A34 and M40 junction at a large roundabout which is awful most eveinings, let alone Fridays.

So, aware from trafic news, I knew there were major problems just north of Oxford. That is why I cut through the country back roads via a pretty little rich persons’ Archers sort of village named Islip. There I would go on to the A41 and beat the traffic.

Unfortunately a Class One truck driver chose the same route to head south from the A41. I found the village road tight but know the area. There was no chance with a class one truck.

As my picture shows, the driver got stuck trying to turn around. He told me he had hoped to use another road to skirt the village but the road closed signs did no show until it was too late. That is cheapskate Britain which has allowed too many roads to go into decline for too long, while traffic has grown massively.

Large truck jams the road through Islip late afternoon October 25th 2019 So much for my short cut. Articulated trucks can be very awkward in extremely confined spaces. i did my best to help as banksman, but the driver was amazingly cool headed and skilfull. . I got back to the depot at 16.45. Image RJC

Yesterday was another awful day on the road. My run was out in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The roads around the latter were deep in water in some places, the wind and rain driving. I had nine drops and got absolutely drenched to the bone.

Cheltenham, late afternoon, October 26th 2019. Traffic was heavy, roads wet and demanding. The lights had changed after a long wait, but the car driver in front of me did not seem to noiice. RJC

Royal William Yard October 24th 2019

I was back down in Exter and Plymouth yesterday, stopping for a break and coffee at the Royal William Yard, the ex naval victualing yard. Plymouth has a distinguised naval history, Sir Francis Drake famously having his bowls game interrupted by news of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

World War two hit the locals hard, so much of the place is new, though relics remain.

Royal William Yard is now a tourist attarction with ex naval buildings converted into luxury apartments and restaurants. RJC

This is the former Cooperage Building at Royal William Yard, with a fully functioning red phone box of Sir Gilbert Scott’s design. RJC

The run back to the depot was especially taxing yesterday as this crash held traffic up on both sides. This was the A38 just north of Plymouth. The tail back on the other side streteched almost to Exeter. It was a reminder to me that the roads are very dangerous places, with too few police cars on patrol. Two other damaged cars just beyond the police cars were possibly an outcome of the sudden halting of traffic. RJC

Green Fields of France October 20th 2019

Alan Leonard Lewis VC’s statue outside Wildwood Cafe in Hereford – simply entitled ‘ A Hertfordshire Man. I look in wonder on this statue when I go there at least once a week and wonder why he bothered for the nasty police state Britain has become. I will look at him again in the early hours tomorrow, and wonder. Image RJC October 2019

I have the utmost respect for Britains front line fighters but a lot of contempt for rather too many of the officer class. I have even more contempt for lying corrupt police officers who wear medal ribbons and badges for their fallen. The police have no right to such boasting.

For me the most beautiful anti war song I have ever heard is Eric Bogle’s’The Green Fields of France.’ I have performed it many times. Here are a few of the lines:

‘Well how do you do young Willie McBride,

Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side?

I’ve been workin’ all day in the warm summer sun

and I’m nearly done.

I see by you gravestone you were only 19

When you joined the great fallen in 1916.

I hope you died well and I hope you died clean,

Or young Willie McBride was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drum slowly

as they lowered you down?

did they play the fifes lowly

did the band play ‘The flowers of the forest?

By the way, Trump has offered the Kurds a share in Eastern Syria’s oil revenue. Do you really believe the Syrian war has been about democracy? Do you need a brain?

Around South Buckinghamshire October 19th 2019

The River Thames early morning, Cookham October 19th 2019 RJC

Work took me around South Bucks yesterday. The area exudes wealth and snobbery. Coming from the north of this county, I have never liked this typical manifestation of the home counties, where they call London ‘Town.’

There is no limit to what money can buy in Cookham. A BMW is not enough if you are a somebody. You need a boat, a nice one. RJC
The Little Bookshop in Cookham always has some interesting items in its little window. RJC
This little book about an interesting little girl was in the Little Bookshops Little window. Interesting choice in a posh village where there must be a very high average carbon footprint and many frequent flyers. RJC
Beaconsfield London End viewed from the back of my truck yesterday. RJC
Beaconsfiield is a model of Englishness at its best. It even has a a model village for its model people to visit. Here, left is the town’s model posh Tory defector MP Dominic Greave agonising about Brexit yesterday while I was hard at work.

Fittingly, I first visited South Bucks with my mum, sister and Alsatian dog in the cab of my late father’s brick lorr back in the 1950s. There was a lot of building going on back then. Compared to North Bucks, the sun always seemed to be shining on this land of gated homes, expensive dress shops, antique shops expensive cars. Even today, one just does not see rough sleepers or beggars. Robert Cook Posted October 20th 2019

Beaconsfield – a beacon of niceness- South Buckinghamshire October 19th land of large homes, security gates, Mercedes, BMWs, Mini runabouts, posh frocks and so much more including some very heft carbon footprints. RJC

London to Brighton October 11th 2019 Posted October 20th 2019

For a while I have had to go down to London and on to Brighton on Fridays. It is rather a challenege getting into Central London, unloading and on to Brighton- in the tiem available. Easier on a van without the tacho to worry about. The M25 and M23 are always congealed, so my preference is usually to return via the M27, A3 and A34, though they tend to be sticky.

For some time now I have seena strangely dressed man of obvious non British origin- hope that point is not offensive- on the central reservation of Marylebone Road as one comes of Westway.

He approaches drivers stuck in the heavy traffic asking to wash their windscreens for money. I didn’t like to offend him by letting him see me take his picture so I took his image in my rear view mirror.

The strangely dressed and desperate looking man near Westway, Central London RJC
Brighton Rock- these big stones intrigue me as one approaches Brighton on the A23. Graham Greene wrote a disturbing novel called ‘Brighton Rock’. It was made into a film in the 1950s, starring a young Dickie Attenborough as the young psycho killer and William Hartnell, the first actor to play Dr Who. RJC

London October 17th 2019

Regent Street this morning October 17th 2019, on my way south from Charlotte Street. RJC
Passengers abound around Victoria Coach Station RJC
Heading back towards Marble Arch. Tower Cranes and towering change are ubiquitous. RJC

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 heavy trucks throughout the British Commonwealth until government, British Leyland, management and unions killed 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 5% 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 Owen Luder, at his London home.
Here he poses with the artists original 1960s promotional image of his and Rodney Gordon’s ground breaking design for a multi purpose developement in Nothern Portsmouth Image by Robert Cook 2003

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 wisdom 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 travel 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.