I'd like to invite you all to a little gathering

Did any of you used to read Frank Davis's blog?
It's still linked on my sidebar, but unfortunately Frank passed away a few years ago. He created his blog in 2007 with the specific purpose of complaining about the smoking ban. Ten years later, he created something a little more imaginative than your average blog; The Smoky Drinky bar

The Smoky Drinky bar is hosted in an online video chat service called Whereby (A bit like Teams or Zoom but better). For the past seven years, many different people have been visiting the SDB for a chat. Over time, some of the regulars have dropped by the wayside, others have sadly passed on, and some visited but decided video chatting was not for them. Now there is a hardcode group of regulars who meet up on most Saturdays at 10:00pm

We started out moaning about the smoking ban, which was the original purpose of Frank getting us all together, but now we just chew on whatever fat is brought in during the evening
We still talk smoking bans, we talk general politics and we also just talk about what have you, from holidays to cars, to the time we were all comparing mops. We generally just set the world to rights

There are some attendees from England (including myself), who are generally drunk by 10:00pm, some from America who are just starting their first beers, and some from New Zealand who have just dragged themselves out of bed and are on their first coffee

This Saturday, it will be the seventh anniversary of the Smoky Drinky Bar, so we're having a little get together. It would be great to see some new faces if anyone fancies it

You can access the SDB by clicking this link:
You don't need an account and you can enter you name as anything you like, if you want to remain annonymous, although we never record anything and there's no kind of tracking or anything like that
You will be prompted to give your browser access to your mic and video, so just click yes. If you are using a device with built in speakers, it's often better to listen through headphones to avoid feedback
The room is always open, so you can log in at any time to test your equipment if you want
So that's 10:00pm tomorrow night (If you can't make it tomorrow, we're there most Saturdays)

Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box

I saw this image over at AK Haarts place (Then promptly nicked it for use over here, without so much as a 'By your leave')

The reason for the blatant thievery, was because it reminded me of Bob the Builder

We just need Ed Davey to do the cardboard box

Sorry Ed, not quite. That's more like, 'Huge knockers'


So it's been eighty years to the day since the allies stormed the beaches at Normandy and started to put an end to the Nazi occupation of Europe
I won't use this post to ask questions about the world we've created since then, those are for another day

Having had a grandfather who fought with the British army in Europe shortly after the D-Day landings, my wife and I decided to visit Normandy ten years ago, during the 70th anniversary celebrations

It was something else, to say the least. Seeing what we saw for that week was a once in a lifetime experience. The celebrations were huge and went on all down the Normandy coast and beyond. Quite unexpectedly, but because we were British, we were treated like kings by the local French population. It was obvious even so long after the event, how grateful they were / are to the people who liberated their country

Also unexpected, was the ferry trip from Portsmouth. Most of the veterans had left for France before we set off, but there were still a number of them travelling on the same boat as us. The boat was escorted out of the harbour by Royal Navy fire fighting ships, who saluted the veterans by pumpung large plumes of water into the air on either side of the ferry while escorting us out
There were also planes and a helicopter in the air


In addition to that, there were some navy boats docked and the crew lined up on the decks and saluted the vererans as we sailed past

On board, there was an old time trio of female singers doing your wartime favourites, and plenty of other festivities

In an unfortunate turn that I will regret until the day I die, once we got out into open water, I became incredibly seasick and had to go back to our cabin. For the record, I never get seasick, so for that reason, it pissed me off even more
While I was trying to get some sleep, Mrs Bucko went to the bar and ended up talking with a Spitfire display crew and an actual Normandy veteran with his family

On arrival in France, we had a short drive to our accommodation, but got hopelessly lost due to a one way system in the village. Fortunately Mrs Bucko remembered enough high school French to get help from a random hotel
During the week there was a firework display down the entire Normandy coast, an air drop of multiple parchutists, a parade of WWII military vehichles and many other things, much of which we couldn't fit in due to time or the need for tickets that we didn't have
The Normandy coast is not suitable for the volume of traffic that descended on it, and we spent most of one night sleeping in the car until the traffic had cleared after one event we attended. Fortunately we had thought ahead and put some pillows and blankets in the car, just in case

The bars were all celebrating and when the evening came, they had no issue with just closing off the road, getting out the tabels and chairs, and partying
The two guys in the picture below owned a bar just round the corner from where we were staying and they were the friendliest Frenchmen I've ever met

But the celebrations were not just about partying, there was also a lot of somber reflection. I don't think someone of my age can truly feel the awe of the D-Day landings until you've seen this

This was the American cemetary at Omaha beach; the crosses go on for as far as the eye can see

The six days we were there were unlike anything I've ever experienced. I wish we could be there again today, but circumstances would not allow it this time

And the trip took it's toll a little. My old Ford Probe made the trip from Lancashire to Portsmouth, made it up and down the Normandy coast numerous times, then got us about 100 miles from Portsmouth before it decided to give up on us
Getting home took two recovery trucks, four hours kip on a service station car park and the entire night. The sun had come up when we arrived home

World no tobacco day

You already know my feelings on this one


Potatoes are awesome, aren't they. You can make them into so much stuff. Like pototo waffles
And even if you're too lazy to turn a potato into chips or mash or something, you can just cut it up and eat it raw

So very versatile
Enjoy the day of potato. Eat some spuds!

What if they called a general election...

...and nobody came?
Well I reckon there's a good chance this year
We have two parties that could win this and they are both a complete dung heap. Years ago, when I wrote this post about democracy, we had a distinct two party system. One was left leaning and one was right

Ever since the New Labour of 1997 got booted out though, the party on the right has been shifing further towards the left. So much so now, that the two main parties are indistinguishable from each other

It really makes me laugh when the socialist grifters in our society, who have never contributed or created anything, bleat slogans like 'get the Tories out', and I spit so much coffee when they compare the Conservative Party (and the legacy media) with the right wing
What on Earth do these people think distances the Conservatives from Labour these days? What do they think the current government is doing that Tony Blair didn't already do or want to do? What do they think a Labour government will do differently than the current incumbent?

The two main parties are as different as night and later that night

There is an up and coming new option at the moment, in the shape of Reform. They're not perfect, but they might offer a fair decent alternative (Assuming we have to have someone, of course). They won't get anywhere substantial in this years election, but if people keep voting for them, they may eventually be big enough to offer a proper conservative option at the ballot
They're not standing anyone in my area though, so I can't vote for them anyway

If I do have the energy to slightly modify my route to work on election day and nip in the local polling station, it will only be to write something childish and obscene on my voting forms. 
Yes I know, people went to war and died for our rights to democracy, etc, etc, but the right to vote is one thing, the duty to vote for the lesser of two evils is totally different, and something I will never do. Voting for them only validates and encourages them. Refusing to participate sends a stronger message, in my opinion
And I think many will refuse to participate this time. Labour will almost certainly win, but I reckon it will be with the lowest voter turnout of all time

But at the end of the day, whoever gets in, the country is doomed. Western civilisation is collapsing in on itself, just like many civilisations before it. Our time seems to be done

And maybe that's what we need. Maybe a Labour Government hammering the final nail in the coffin, will finally wake people up and turn the situation around. Maybe the phoenix that rises from four years of a Labour fire will be the dawn of something new and different

Or maybe not...

(The only thing I'm looking forward to is how Anglo-American relations pan out with Kier Starmer and Donald Trump in charge. Should be interesting)