Remembrance Day 2018; remembering my grandfathers and remembering who profits from war

My grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield
My grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield.

Last weekend, Remembrance Sunday, 11th November 2018, was the 100th anniversary of the armistice and the end of fighting in the First World War, and I spent time thinking about my lovely grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield. Both of them, thankfully, and unlike many, returned home after military service in that appalling conflagration.

During the Remembrance ceremonies on the TV and radio, I heard ‘Rule Britannia’ being played, and some of the words stuck in my mind;

“Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves. And Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

But we are slaves. We are all slaves, like most of the world, to the vast corporations and the obscenely wealthy and powerful who set the agenda, who promote wars and profit from them, who set us against each other to distract us from their activities, who own and direct the majority of our media to spread lies and misinformation in furtherance of their own greedy, self-serving schemes, schemes that are to the detriment of the majority and that add to the destruction of our environment.

Those of us who are fortunate, through accident of birth, to live in relatively wealthy countries and to have a certain amount of personal freedom, must take more care in choosing who to vote for. We must look carefully at our choices and try to select candidates who are independent of the rich and the corporations, or of those who are stoking the flames of nationalism, xenophobia and false patriotism for their own personal gain.

Remember who profits from war, and remember who suffers from it, because they are not the same people.

 

The Old Soldier by Harry Fellows 1987

 

‘The Old Soldier’, shown above, is a moving poem by Harry Fellows that I posted on social media for Remembrance Day. The poem was written in 1987 by Harry Fellows about his friend Walter Smith; they were both living at the Willows Elderly Persons Home where my wife Sue worked at the time.

 

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Janis Ellen Lewin (nee Manterfield)

7 September 1957 – 9 November 2017

 

Janis Ellen Lewin (nee Manterfield) 1957 - 2017 (A4)Monday the 27th of November 2017 was a very sad day. It was the funeral of my lovely sister Janis. I wanted to mark the day in memory of a very special person.

Janis was wife to John, Mother to Amy and Tom, Sister-in-Law to Sue, Aunt to Alice, relative and friend to many others and my only sibling.

Janis’s funeral took place at Loughborough Crematorium at 11am, with a wake afterwards at The White Horse on Leicester Road in Quorn. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the turn out for her funeral was astonishing. The crematorium was completely full, all the seats were taken and people were standing all around the room from end to end.

Order of Service for Janis's funeral (27 Nov 2017)

This is the eulogy that John, Amy and Tom Lewin put together, read by Suzanne Buckeridge during the service:

“Janis Ellen Manterfield was born on the 7 September 1957 in the family home at 5 Front Street, Birstall to Dennis and Betty Manterfield. A sister for older brother Roy. Jan’s father gave her the nickname ‘Pod’ because she was so small when she was born, he thought she looked like a pea in a pod. This affectionate nickname stayed with her all her life. Growing to the height of 4ft 10½” tall (always aspiring to be 5ft, but never quite making it!), Pod was living proof that good things come in small packages!

Two years after Jan was born, the Manterfield family moved to 56 Denegate Avenue in Birstall, with a big garden that was landscaped by Dennis. Janis loved spending time in the garden with her Dad; making bonfires, planting seeds, and drinking cups of tea. The large garden also enabled them to have many family pets; so many that at one time the nickname ‘Manterfield Menagerie’ was coined! The pets ranged from dogs and cats, all the way through to Charlie Jones the tortoise. The Manterfields were an active family, going on family holidays around Britain, and regularly attending clubs, such as the Bowmen of Birstall.

Janis left school at 16, and after 6 months at BPX Electrical she moved to the British United Shoe Machinery Company where her parents worked. It was also the place where she met a long haired, bearded individual called John Lewin. Jan always got a lift to work with her Dad, so before work started, she would sit in his office reading the paper. Janis was initially cool to John’s advances and decided instead to hide behind her newspaper when he visited the department. A decade later, fate played a hand when John was on a Saturday night out with ‘the boys’ and happened to bump into Jan. John asked Jan if she would like to go out for Sunday lunch the following day and she agreed. 

After a couple of years together, John and Jan planned their first holiday abroad – to the Greek island of Santorini. This first holiday to Greece was very memorable because one night, while walking on the beach in the sunset, John got down on one knee in the waves. It was a good job that Jan said ‘yes’, as the tide was coming in; John had wet trousers all the way back to the apartment!

John and Jan were married on the 2 August 1986, after another holiday in Greece. When the DJ announced that it was time for the first dance, instead of ‘Always and Forever’ as they were expecting, the opening bars of ‘Zorba’s dance’ started playing as John’s friends arrived dressed as Greek dancers! Throughout their time together, Jan and John enjoyed many wonderful holidays to Greece, France, Turkey, Egypt, America and more.

In April 1988, Jan gave birth to her first child, Amy. Jan was over the moon to be a Mum, and took to it perfectly. Three years later, in April 1991, Tom was welcomed into the world. To Amy and Tom, Jan was the best Mum in the world: caring, loving, patient and kind.

When Amy was born, Jan made a decision to go to a local ‘Mum and Baby’ group at the health centre in Syston, as she didn’t know any other young Mums, and wanted Amy to grow up with friends her own age. A large group of friends was quickly formed there.

Jan originally worked as a secretary and shorthand typist, but when Tom started school, she decided on a new career direction, and became a healthcare assistant at PPD. This was the perfect role for someone with such a caring nature, as she was able to put her natural kindness into her work. When PPD closed, Jan continued in a similar role at Bupa. She always enjoyed working with people, and the camaraderie she shared with her colleagues.

Her family meant everything to Jan, and she was happiest with those she loved around her, or on the end of a characteristically long phone call. She also loved hearing from her French friends, and her relatives in America and Brighton. While bringing up her children, Jan remained tireless in supporting her parents and auntie, dedicating herself to their care, as she did everyone who ever needed her.

Her many friends – as we can see here today – played an equally important role throughout Jan’s life; friends who loved and supported Jan as she loved and supported them. Jan was often the life and soul of the party with her feather boas and her happy smile. She had a musical ear and loved to dance, as everyone who has been to a party with her will agree.

Jan was well known for her thoughtful words, cards and notes. Any occasion, Jan always sent a card in her neat handwriting, usually with appropriate, sparkly confetti inside. She wrote notes to Amy and Tom in their lunchboxes all the way from their first days at school, to the end of sixth form. Notes were left inside the door if she had gone out, and upstairs if she was working a night shift. Such was the care and thought that went into everything she did.

Everyone who knew Jan said that she was lovely, and she truly was. It is customary to focus on a person’s good points in their eulogy, but the truth is that Jan really was a good person, beautiful inside and out. It was her way to focus on the good in life, and to see the best in everyone.

Jan considered herself to have led a happy life, filled with the love of the many people who mattered to her; and that is the way that she would want to be remembered. Happy, and loved.”

 

Now it’s an immeasurably sad time, but Janis had early onset dementia, so in one way it’s a relief to know that she is no longer so confused and anxious. It was terrible to see my bright, caring, smiling sister gradually fading to the awful illness. I really don’t know how John coped from day to day with caring for Janis during the last couple of years.

 

Janis was born when I was five years old; she is the only person I’ve known for the entirety of their life. On the day she arrived, at home in Birstall, I couldn’t wait to meet my new sister. I whiled away the time drawing on a small blackboard easel, then Dad came to fetch me and we went up to my parent’s bedroom where Mum had just given birth.

Mum was in bed, the District Nurse was fussing around and tidying up, and my little sister was wrapped up and sleeping. I remember being slightly surprised because Janis was shiny, almost glistening, a tiny bit wrinkly and quite red with blue tinges. Being already familiar with how babies looked, I had expected her to be much paler.

Perhaps because I was a few years older or maybe because we were simply compatible personalities, but whatever it was we always got on very well. We played together, building dens with boxes and blankets, dressing up and posing our poor long suffering menagerie of pets, setting up lending libraries with our books, play fighting with sticks and dustbin lid shields, and probably many other games that I’ve since forgotten.

I frequently teased and joked with Janis; we laughed and giggled together at many silly things. I miss our familiarity and companionship, or siblingship, or whatever it might be called.

I always looked forward to her visits while I was at art college in Leeds and after I moved to Nottingham to work, and the many holidays we had together, with family and with partners.

It was a huge privilege to know Janis and I will miss her so much.

 

I’ve been touched with the kind thoughts and comments made on social media since I posted the composite photo of Janis at different ages. Here are just a few of them:

“Very sorry to hear this, No age is it, seems like she was cheated. I hope she enjoyed her life, I suspect from the photo’s that she brightened many. Thinking of you.”

“Really sorry to hear that. My condolences to your family. If personality does affect the face as we age she must have been a delight, her smile is wonderful.”

“She’s beautiful. I’m so sorry you had to lose her so young.”

“Best wishes and my thoughts to all.  I love that she was smiling through all those images.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful smile Janis had.”

“Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing. Condolences to you and all she held dear.”

“What great photographs, she looks like a lovely person. Thinking of you all x”

“I’m happy you had such a wonderful sister and I’m sorry for your loss. She was born about 10 months before me.”

“She looked to be a sparkle of life to many. 💖 My Condolences.”

“Such a sad loss to you and your family. What a beautiful sister you’ll always hold dear.” https://youtu.be/IMtnLkXCKlY

“My condolences Roy. Her pictures indicate a happy demeanour. – Bet you made her laugh lots.”

 

The following photo montages are six panels I put together with images I had of Janis, family and friends, and that John arranged to be printed and displayed at the wake.

Janis Lewin - Panel 1Janis Lewin - Panel 2Janis Lewin - Panel 3Janis Lewin - Panel 4Janis Lewin - Panel 5Janis Lewin - Panel 6

 

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Whoopee…

A post on social media reminded me of my obsession with practical jokes as a child in the early 1960s. I spent my pocket money on quite a few from the Ellisdons Jokes, Magic and Novelties catalogue. Ellisdons sold all manner of practical jokes; rubber beetles and spiders, wind-up butterflies, whoopee cushions, and realistic looking rubber things such as food, soap and bars of chocolate. I had, for example, a very lifelike chocolate finger biscuit made of brown rubber.

Practical jokesI also had a handshake buzzer, which never really caught anyone off guard, but the floating sugar cubes and imitation rubber snail with a real shell were both winners; I suspect the snail put many friends and relatives off salad for life.

I loved the floating sugar cubes; a family friend’s grandfather spent an incredibly long time with a teaspoon trying to make them sink, it was only my barely controlled mirth that eventually caught his attention.

I’d also forgotten about the imitation dog turd. I had a brilliant shiny metal one, very realistic. It’s probably still in the attic somewhere. I left it on the rug in my grandmother’s best/front room on a visit once and all hell broke loose. Both the poor dog and I were in so much trouble, but it was worth it…

Ellisdons 1960s Joke Catalogue

 

 

‘The Colour of London: Historic, Personal, & Local’ First published in 1907

By William John Loftie FSA. Illustrated by Yoshio Markino. With an introduction by Marion Harry Spielmann FSA and an essay by the artist.

 

An interesting read, peppered with period Victorian/Edwardian morals and outlooks, and fascinating historical details.

In the introduction, Marion Harry Spielmann talks of “London by warm gaslight on Chelsea Embankment, or by cold electric rays on New Vauxhall Bridge…” and when discussing Yoshio Markino’s depiction of Baker Street Underground, he describes the “sulphur and noise”.

Later in the book the arrival of cars and the decay of fashionable life is lamented; “…we cannot expect ever to see again. The gay throng has been broken up by the invasion of motors” and “…motors render impossible that slow and stately pacing, the long waits under the trees, the show of fine horses and carriages”.

Originally published in London by Chatto & Windus in 1907; this edition was published in 1914.

A selection of the fascinating illustrations by Yoshio Markino.

Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1971532399

 

Still More MumblingNerd Stuff

 

Still more of my previously unpublished Twitter posts:

I’m a Pacifist; it’s my favourite ocean.

I really dislike 144; it’s gross.

Well that’s very disappointing. Apparently, fasting has nothing to do with the speed that you eat.

After all the hype I’ve heard, red tape is surprisingly easy to cut through.

Why would you rest on your laurels? I once had laurels in the garden; they were extremely uncomfortable to rest on.

I’ve had a parcel delivered. Although I never did find out how the liver got into the parcel.

Can you spot a pointillist painting without going dotty? I don’t see the point.

Vive la différence, as the Dutch say. When they’re speaking French.

I cut my finger today, but on the other hand I’m fine.

I’m amazed at how much procrastinating I managed to fit in today.

I repaired a hole in my sock, but it was sew sew boring.

I’ve been thinking outside of the box and decided on cremation.

My hairdresser gave me a Roman cut; she used a pair of Caesars.

Birds must be infuriated when they get vertigo.

I’m writing salad puns; if anyone knows a good one please lettuce know.

There’s a fine line between
silliness
____________

and humour

And I’ve no idea where it is :^)

I’d like to give you some sage advice. It goes well with parsley, rosemary and thyme.

Snakes are measured in inches as there are no feet.

Has anyone else tried fly-tipping? As soon as I attempt it they fly off.

On the one hand the weather is wet for June, but on the other hand I have a broken nail.

I spoke to a grassroots campaigner today, but they refused to look at my lawn.

Watched the test match today. It lit first time.

Apparently a Japanese zoo has an elephant seal. That must take one hell of a lot of cling film.

Soya milk. Didn’t see mine though; has anyone else seen it?

Attempting to sketch with French chalk, but I’m drawing a blanc.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m hopping around on one leg.

I’m wondering if I could scrape a living as an archaeologist. Perhaps I’ll dig out my CV.

Hummingbirds should attend to their personal hygiene.

Saw a spoonbill today. That’s the last time I buy cutlery in a hurry.

Look where you’re going! That was just a heads up.

I’ve split my feather quilt and now I’m feeling down.

My nail and hammer mishap stands out like a sore thumb.

Visited the local health centre to show my support today. No one was willing to have a look at it.

I’ve taken another re-sit. It was a huge improvement; I didn’t fall off this time.

Pricked myself on a needle again. I just don’t see the point.

Our dentist is conflicted; he’s cheerful, but he always looks down in the mouth.

I wouldn’t visit a denture shop; I don’t like to pick my teeth in public.

I visited an owl sanctuary recently, but the owls didn’t give two hoots.

I drove past one of those average speed cameras yesterday, but I thought it looked pretty good.

Where can I borrow a dictionary? I only need it for a short spell.

As house spiders are getting bigger, I’ve adjusted the burglar alarm so they don’t trigger it. I wondered where all the flies had gone…

Aww, a little bird just told me to cheer up. Oh, I misheard; it said chirp.

Did a little bowling practice this morning. I now regret not finishing the cereal first.

On my bucket list I have an iron pail, three household buckets and a small plastic beach bucket for making sand castles.

I’ve had a protracted conversation with a neighbour, but dropped the protractor. Now it’s scratched.

Can anyone recommend a local artisan natural GM free organic vegan craft pop-up pantry zero carbon footprint kitchen micro café?

I’m thinking of setting up a family tracing service, but I can’t find a large enough sheet of translucent paper.

I spent all last night running around the bed, but I still didn’t catch up on my sleep.

It’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes. Slightly disappointed they weren’t from the same donor though.

The Queen doesn’t appear to do much when she launches a ship, surely someone in her position should really push the boat out.

When William the Conqueror visited Nottingham Castle, he had pizza delivered and told them to change the keep.

I’ve been short-changed at a yard sale; I only got 35 inches.

A problem shared is a problem halved. Regrettably I’ve so far failed to apply that to utility bills.

Vicious mathematicians shouldn’t work in dreadful pubs; vile inns never solved anything.

I just found some raw toast.

I went to Muffin Break today, but they only do replacement muffins, not repairs.

If I tweet about bacteria, will you all help it to go viral?

I have a spring in my step today. Also a tiny cogwheel and a brass screw from an old clock.

Should I complain about this pressure cooker not working properly, or should I just keep a lid on it?

If you’re into bondage, it’s vital to have a partner you can truss completely.

If I hadn’t had fillet mignon last night, it would have been a missed steak.

Just saw a shepherd handing out hard boiled sweet mints for Christmas. Baa humbug.

I’ve been getting contractions all morning; it started with isn’t, then can’t and now I’ve just had a couple of don’ts.

If you can’t decide whether to buy a telepathic abacus as a Christmas gift, just remember it’s the thought that counts.

There are holes in our chest of drawers; I suspect they’ve been rifled.

Our dining room lights are too bright for eating Chinese takeaway meals; we have to dim sum.

I don’t know why I’ve been called supernumerary; maths has never been my strong point.

I’m concerned about this kebab; I suspect it may be from ancient grease.

Just had a watershed moment. The shed roof is leaking.

If you make allegations about crocodile tears, does that make you the alligator?

The Met Office are issuing a yellow warning for snow in some areas; whatever you do, AVOID THE YELLOW SNOW!

Spent a lot of time sole searching today. Eventually managed to prise the stone out.

Not impressed with this new ‘Soothing Apricot Toner’. The apricot I tested it on is neither soothed nor toned, and it tastes revolting.

I once tripped and fell on a cricket pitch in freshly ironed trousers; I ruined the crease.

I just discovered a greenhouse that’s only a stone’s throw away…

I’ve taken this barometer into four pubs so far; I think it’s broken.

I’m not a gossip; I just have a great sense of rumour.

On my last hospital visit I signed a doctor’s organ donation form, now there’s a man after my own heart.

I’m feeling a little left behind today. Later on I shall also feel my right side.

I have quite a large fan base. Although to be fair, the fan is still unstable and liable to fall over.

I need to buy a bigger scarf; my old one is too tight.

Finding accommodation for a flock of chickens was a big coup for me.

I’m feeling marginalised. I’m on page one, just to the left of the first paragraph.

They pulled the wool over my eyes once too often; I’ve exchanged the item for cotton.

This is a pretty kettle of fish, although the pot of toads is slightly unpleasant.

Don’t worry about parallel lines and vanishing points. It’s all a matter of perspective.

I couldn’t find a nutcracker, so I used a sledgehammer.

Don’t breed guppies. We have much bigger fish to fry.

I felt like I should be dusting or vacuuming. So I’m having a coffee until the feeling passes.

I take homeopathy with a pinch of salt. Of course the pinch of salt is so diluted that my descendants will be drinking it for generations.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law, but only if you exorcise regularly.

After pouring oil on troubled waters, I’m now pouring coffee through an anxious filter.

Do you want to increase your #SocialMedia presence?
Fluorescent paint will make a huge difference to your visibility.

I’m very concerned about an old well in our back garden; it’s not a tall well.

I had to give up being narcissistic when I realised I couldn’t spell it.

I couldn’t work in a cemetery; there are too many dead lines.

When the first speaker took the floor I was left balancing precariously on a joist.

In chemistry labs on casual Fridays, formaldehyde turns into spontaneousdehyde.

I’ve been setting the record straight today. The needle skips tracks if the record isn’t straight.

I’ve been finding my feet today.
Oh look, there they are again!

I’ve never been backward at coming forward in awkward parking spaces.

Just heard someone say their supply of ice is running dry. Our ice only ever runs wet.

I used to have a life outside of social media, but I forgot the password to it.

“Everybody you ever met in your life was brought to you for a reason.” Last night it was pizza.

Had a brush with the law yesterday; I found a box of toupees and now the police are combing the area.

I now realise that I will never be old enough to be grown up.

I was in a pretty pickle today. Well, I say pretty, gherkins are more attractive than actually pretty.

I’m up to my neck in it today, but then I’ve never gone without a shirt even when it’s hot…

What a fantastic start to the day; I went into another room and actually remembered why…

Belts are waisted on me.

Delighted to know that oily fish is good for you, because these reformed economy fish fingers soaked in melted lard really hit the spot.

I’ve been itching to study flea bites, but I don’t want to start from scratch.

I could eat French honey with every miel.

I’m ticked off with checklists that won’t let you work outside the box.

I’ve been shopping for a pair of pear paring knives, but only found one.

I was balancing the books today, until Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ toppled the whole pile.

I’ll never get rid of these gnat bites; I think I’ll have to start from scratch.

I paused to listen mindfully to the gentle sounds that surround me today. Turns out to have been chewing gum on my shoe.

I was approached by a whistle blower today. I confiscated it.

Focus on the positives and forget the negatives, but not if you’re still using a film camera.

I don’t regret the demise of wired phones, except now I can’t slam the receiver down on the 95% of calls that are spam.

If you take a ballet degree, are you guaranteed to graduate with at least a tutu?

I’m not convinced those cardboard policemen are cut out for the job.

Fabrics are conspicuous at the Olympics; must be all the curtain raising and blanket coverage.

I attached some guitar strings to the cat once; turned it into a strumpet

Our cat doesn’t like lemon; what a sourpuss.

Best foot forward. However, involve your worst foot too, or you won’t get very far.

I’m ecstatic, which is a relief; the static was quite painful.

I’ve reported my triangular luggage as stolen; the Police tell me that it’s a case without parallel.

I’m on a roll. It’s cheese and tomato, but I don’t know who put it on the chair.

Visited an origami display that went terribly wrong; the whole thing unfolded right in front of us.

I’ve always been edgy, but as I get older, and rounder, my edges no longer appear to have an edge to them…

Nothing goes to waste, it all goes to waist.

Thinking outside of the box didn’t really help Schrödinger’s cat.

Surfers Against Sewage is a campaign against the blight of plastic pollution in our oceans. Also, their title works on more than one level…

Some strange times are afoot, well, 30 centimetres.

I can’t remember the name of my homing pigeon, but I’m sure it will come back to me.

Digging up grape plants felt de-vine.

People travelling to Australia from Britain are having their world turned upside down.

I’m a man of letters. Sorry, that should have said lettuce. It’s a lad thing, I mean a salad thing.

I went the extra mile today. Got off the bus at the wrong stop…

I tried 3D printing some Dutch footwear, but it clogged up the printer.

And now for some brilliant word-play for telepaths.

Lying through your teeth is still an option with dentures, as long as you keep them in.

I’ve had my milk chocolate sailing boat converted to dark chocolate; it’s all plain sailing now.

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Did You Know?


Did You Know?A thousand seconds is about 16 minutes, a million seconds is about 11 days and a billion seconds is about 32 years.

About 20 percent of the Earth’s land is desert.

Approximately every two minutes, we take more pictures than all of the photographs taken in the 19th century.

For every human on the planet there are approximately 1.6 million ants.

Hippopotamus milk is pink.

Honey is the only food that doesn’t spoil.

Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per person than any other country.

If the earth were completely flat, water would cover everything in a layer two miles deep.

Mammoths became extinct approximately 1,000 years after the Egyptians finished building the Great Pyramid.

Oxford University is centuries older than the Aztec Empire.

Pluto didn’t make a full orbit around the sun from the time it was discovered to when it was declassified as a planet.

Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.

The full name of the toy Barbie is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

The ice that covers 98% of Antarctica holds 90% of the world’s fresh water.

The initials YKK on your zip stand for Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha; YKK is a Japanese group of companies.

There are more atoms in a glass of water than there are glasses of water in all of the Earth’s seas.

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.

You are twice as likely to be killed by a vending machine than by a shark.


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My Nottingham destination print

My Nottingham destination print

 

For other information about Nottingham click here

 

If you want to know more about Nottingham’s past there is further information in ‘Events and dates in Nottingham’s history’ and through these websites:

The Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway

The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire

Nottingham Local Studies Library

 

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