Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 139 – April 2012

Kimber’s Men have been busy in the recording studios again this last month, we’ve been working on our 4th compact disc. Signs are that this could be our best yet. I’m sure the critics will tell us. Mike Harding probably won’t, I don’t think he listens to our music.

Why is it when in a public place, like a railway carriage or a café that people shout into mobile telephones? Is it because they can’t see the person to whom they are talking? Probably not, people don’t shout when using a land line. I was in my local café the other day having a late breakfast and there were two young ladies on the next table in quiet conversation with each other not bothering anybody. Suddenly and independently they both made two telephone calls. I knew where they were going this weekend, where they were meeting, who they were going with, what time and whether they should wear a chastity belt and if they did should they bring a key with them in case they changed their mind. Well that last bit isn’t quite true, but I’m sure you gather my point. Why do we have to listen to this stuff? Shortly after this a male birdwatcher two or three tables away started telling some anorak or other about the finches he had seen this morning alongside the canal. So the problem is not confined simply to the female gender.

Had a very nice letter in this month from a new sea shanty group asking permission to sing ‘Rolling down the River’ at a festival. I quickly told him that whilst we were not the authors – the author certainly wouldn’t mind. Jack Forbes wrote it in 1982 for a radio programme about Tilbury Docks. It has since been used in an Educational Drama production, a Folk Theatre presentation and also as a Morris Dance, as well as being sung all over the world. It can be heard wherever there are shanty sessions at folk festivals and festivals of the sea. There is an American version and a Polish version (sung of course in Polish). It’s a great song; for years I thought it traditional.

Worried about the drought? Wait until June and July; it’ll be cold, wet and miserable, just like the last couple of years. But spring seems to have come early again this year. We have blackbirds, robins, wrens, starlings, doves, all manner of tits and those delightful magpies back in the garden. Not sure where the tits and the wrens are nesting but things are coming together nicely and the starlings manage to shit on you as you enter the back door. So we know where they are. I know where the blackbirds are nesting, just hope the magpies don’t find out. Delighted to see the wrens again apparently only 14% of gardens in Britain this year have wrens in them. As for sparrows? Well they might be doing ok in London, but they are as rare as hens teeth here in Providence Place. The crows and jackdaws come in to feast on bits and pieces, and sometimes if we are really lucky a thrush pops its head in as well. Life at the pond however has never really recovered since it was decimated a few years back by twins who had at the time just moved into the area. Ardent and comprehensive readers of this column will remember that they came into the garden whilst we were shopping, emptied the pond of water and slaughtered 23 frogs in the process of mating. We had originally stocked the pond from sources as far afield as Cornwall and Hadrian’s Wall, including Llanfair Caereinion in between. Life at the pond has in the frog world has never really recovered. It brought back to me Nigel Mazlyn Jones’s warning, when taking frogspawn from his garden in Camelford, that I shouldn’t really be playing with nature in this way and he was letting me do it under protest. And although his warning has been borne to fruition nobody could have envisaged the horror we were to witness the day we returned to find the pond with the dead frogs spread out across the lawn. One would have thought a quiet Yorkshire garden to be a haven for them. The twins have been moved on and so have the years so this year I intend to ignore Nigel’s warning yet again and I will restock the pond from local sources, although I might bring some back from Dave Anderson’s garden if it is still available when we return there in a couple of weeks to mix down the new album. I think the likelihood of further children as mentally unbalanced as those two breaking into our garden again is pretty remote. I mean who on earth could have imagined it in the first place?

I am delighted to see that George Galloway has become a member of parliament again, this time representing the people of Bradford. His ‘Respect’ party will have gained a lot of the Muslim vote who like me would have been delighted to hear his acceptance speech portraying Tony Blair as a traitor. George served the Labour Party as an MP for 15 years and urged Labour Party members (of whom I was once) to return to the old ways. Some people think I’m a racist because I condemn some Muslims for being pimps, thieves, fraudsters and liars, and I do think lying is epidemic in their culture. But I know, as we all do, that not all Muslims fill this prototype image. But there is no point standing idly by hoping that the problems will heal themselves; because they certainly won’t. We have liars and fraudsters in our own white culture and I can give you a good example.

In October last year I visited a number of prisons to give a lecture on Paul Robeson. October is Black History month. The prisons are committed to filling this niche and the Robeson lecture is perfect and saves the Prison Diversity Managers a big headache when I suddenly pop into their line of sight.

All but one prison paid me for my services within 30 days. The other HMP Lindholme near Doncaster decided to ignore my statements and my letters. Whether the Diversity Manager employed me without first getting the governors approval is of no consequence; the staff employed me and payment should be made as contract. For the last 3 months I have been writing to the governor of HMP Lindholme (a certain Bob Mullen MBE mind you) pointing out that deliberately employing somebody and then deliberately not paying them the agreed fee amounted to fraud and as such he was no better than the inmates he guarded. Even ‘Recorded Delivery’ letters went unanswered.

So, having waited 6 months for my wages, I wrote to his superiors. This is what I had to say……..

Providence Place, Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire. HX6 1BA
E Mail:

Deputy Director of Custody
Yorkshire and Humberside,
Marston House,
Audby Lane, Wetherby,
West Yorkshire LS22 7FD
For the attention of Amy Rice
28th March 2012

Dear Ms Rice,

I wish to complain in the strongest terms I possibly can about the behaviour of Bob Mullen MBE – governor of HMP Lindholme and I would be grateful if you would kindly investigate my complaint and report accordingly.

On the 17th October 2011 I was contracted by the Diversity Department of HMP Lindholme to give three lectures on the Life and Times of Paul Robeson at the prison on Friday 21st October commencing at 10am for a fee of £400. During October, which you will be aware is Black History Month, I gave identical lectures at HMP Grendon, HMP Wealstun, HMP North Sea Camp and HMP Ranby. All the other prisons settled my account by the end of November.

Not only am I six months later still awaiting payment for my lectures at HMP Lindholme the governor, despite sending him letters by recorded delivery, is refusing to even acknowledge my correspondence on the matter.

I am sure you will agree with me that deliberately employing somebody for an agreed fee and then deliberately not paying the agreed fee amounts to fraud and I would be grateful if you could explain to me the best way I can take legal action against Mr Mullen if this matter is not settled. Can I for example issue him with a County Court Judgment addressed to the prison? Mr Mullen is responsible for the actions taken by his staff and therefore whilst he did not employ me directly he is fully responsible for my employment and payment thereof.

I am, to put mildly, astounded by his behaviour.

I’m enclosing herewith copies of all correspondence sent by me to the prison. The Agreement was sent by email directly to the Diversity Officer who employed me. The statements were sent by normal post and the last two letters have been sent by recorded delivery and it is therefore impossible for Mr Mullen to claim that he has not seen my correspondence. As governor of the prison he was obviously aware and sanctioned my employment in the first instance and I therefore hold him totally responsible for the settlement of this matter.

Hopefully this can be settled quickly without legal action and without me reporting his fraudulent behaviour to the national press.

I await your comments with interest and trust you will take quick if not immediate action to investigate my complaint.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours faithfully
Joe Stead

I was paid TODAY by BACS direct into my bank account! It took the Deputy Director of Custody about 2 hours to sort it out. She did indeed take immediate action to investigate my complaint. Now had Mr Mullen MBE (MBE mind you) been a Muslim all you so called liberals out there would have called me a racist for attacking him, and goodness knows what Mr Broadbent might have said had it been Monsieur Mullen MFE.

Sorry Tim, only one French joke this month. Never mind, more possibly next.

Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead

Apr 11th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Sam Carter
Apr 20th (KM) Clee St Margaret Village Hall, Near Ludlow, Shropshire.
Apr 21st (KM) Perranporth Memorial Hall, Wheal Leisure, Perranporth, Cornwall
May 4th (KM) Sheepscombe Village Hall, Gloucestershire.
May 5th (KM) Minstead Village Hall, Hampshire.
May 9th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Martyn Joseph
May 19th (KM) Deal Royal Marine’s Association.
Jun 13th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Flossie Malavialle, Bram Taylor, Will Kaufmann, Little Giants, O’Hooley and Tidow in a special charity concert for Eve Williams.
Jun 22nd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jun 23rd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jun 24th (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jul 21st (KM) Music on the Marr, Town Foot Farm, Castle Carrock, Cumbria.
Jul 22nd (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea
Jul 27th (KM) Port Isaac with Fishermen’s Friends – To be confirmed
Jul 28th (KM) Dolphin Hotel, Beer, South Devon – To be confirmed
Aug 3rd (KM) Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, St Andrews, Fife. KY16 9LA.
Aug 4th (KM) Arbroath Sea Festival
Aug 5th (KM) Arbroath Sea Festival
Aug 17th (KM) Fano Festival of the Sea – Denmark.
Aug 18th (KM) Fano Festival of the Sea – Denmark.
Aug 19th (KM) Fano Festival of the Sea – Denmark.
Aug 24th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 25th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 26th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 1st (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 2nd (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 12th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Brdg – Chris Newman & Máire Ní Chathasaigh
Oct 10th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Peggy Seeger
Nov 14th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with The Wilson Family
Nov 17th (KM) Llanfair Caereinion, Powys – To be confirmed
Dec 12th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies

Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 8th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Earl Eugene Scruggs (January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012) has left the building. He was an American musician noted for perfecting and popularizing a three-finger banjo-picking style (now called Scruggs style) that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. Although other musicians had played in three-finger style before him, Scruggs shot to prominence when he was hired by Bill Monroe to fill the banjo slot in his group, the Blue Grass Boys.
Scruggs joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in late 1945, and quickly popularized his syncopated, three-finger picking style. In 1948 Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt left Monroe's band and formed the Foggy Mountain Boys, also later known simply as Flatt and Scruggs. In 1969, they broke up, and he started a new band, the Earl Scruggs Revue, featuring several of his sons.
On September 24, 1962, singer Jerry Scoggins, Lester Flatt and Scruggs recorded "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" for the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, which was released October 12, 1962. The theme song became an immediate country music hit and was played at the beginning and end of each episode. Flatt and Scruggs appeared in several episodes as family friends of the Clampetts in the following years. In their first appearance (season 1 episode 20), they portray themselves in the show and perform both the theme song and "Pearl Pearl Pearl".
On November 15, 1969, Scruggs played his Grammy-winning "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on an open-air stage in Washington, D. C., at the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, becoming one of the very few bluegrass or country-Western artists to give support to the anti-war movement. In an interview after his performance, Scruggs said: “I think the people in the South is just as concerned as the people that's walkin' the streets here today... I'm sincere about bringing our boys back home. I'm disgusted and in sorrow about the boys we've lost over there. And if I could see a good reason to continue, I wouldn't be here today”.
Scruggs' wife and manager, Louise, died on February 2, 2006, aged 78, at Nashville's Baptist Hospital following a lengthy illness.
Scruggs died from natural causes on March 28, 2012, in a Nashville hospital. Bela Fleck named Earl Scruggs among his influences and has stated that Scruggs is "certainly the best" banjo player of the three-finger style.


Hello Joe,
It is incredible just how many shallow-minded people are consistently being brainwashed by royalist propaganda. Royalist lovers do not have a monopoly on patriotism. Indeed it is perfectly possible to be 100% patriotic, without having to wave flags – whether real or proverbial – either at the Queen, or at other members of her over privileged entourage.

The so called royal family is after all, a collection of non-elected, multi-billionaire aristocrats, who are worshiped by many as if they were Gods. Half Greek they may be, but Gods? Definitely not.

In a true democracy a monarch is neither necessary or desired. For that matter we don’t HAVE to have a president either – but at least a president is democratically elected and can be disposed of.

There is never a reason good enough for us to continue to pour billions of pounds of taxpayers’ hard earned money, into the bottomless purses of one of the richest families in the world, when most of us still have to work for a living and spend our lives scrimping and saving.

Once again, this country has to soon suffer, yet another pointless pantomime of a jubilee. Quite why, or what the rovelling masses are supposed to be celebrating, is never made very clear. But they continue to feed the egos of the favoured few, by consistently striving to put smiles on the faces of the obvious one family in Britain that really doesn’t need such attention.

If all the time, effort, organisation and money, that is soon to be wasted on the jubilee celebrations, was spent putting smiles on the faces of the many unfortunate and underprivileged citizens of this country, then it would be a wonderful and joyful opportunity for EVERYONE to participate in.

As it is, most people in this country will turn their backs on the royal pantomime and leave the wringing of the caps, the grateful rovelling, the praise and the pampering, to the true peasants, who are still clearly unable to think for themselves.
Keith Burge

Hi, Joe.
Reference the thread that seems to have been started by Ms Warboys and Ms Tauman (I don’t know how to spell the plural of Ms), I am reminded of a remark once made by a very good friend of mine (a very well know pop/folk singer- songwriter – let’s call him Stevie Daley): “It’s not what you’ve got – it’s how big it is.”
I remain, as always, your obedientish servant,
Paul Downes

Great Britain isn’t, and never has been, a country. It is the name of the Largest of the british Isles, which comprises England, Wales and Scotland. It was coined by the Roman’s to distinguish it from the rest of the British Isles.
Jeff Lewis.

First let me thank you for your brilliant music and great harmonies – will try to get to see you ‘live’ later this year.
I sing with “Hobsons Choice” an “inland” sea shanty group – with a slightly whimsical set of songs. We sing to raise money for various charities and have been asked to sing at this years Falmouth sea shanty festival.
We would like to sing “Rolling Down the River” as a modern take on the nautical scene. Would this be OK with your group ??
I certainly don’t want to upset you or infringe any copyright issues, so feel free to decline this request if you so wish.
Keep up the good work.
‘Doc Martin’
Dr Martin Garlick “rtd”

Hi Joe,
I loved Seymour Sunshine’s letter! The funnies made me smile too, at a time when I needed cheering up, thanks.
Hope you are all well. May see you in Deal?
Mary Brooker

Hi Joe
How kind of you to include me on the list to whom you send your ramblings – they are great and I enjoyed every one of them
Have a great day Joe, you just made mine – thank you
Noel Moroney


Jean hoisted his beer and said, “Here’s to spending the rest of me Life, between the legs of me wife!”
That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night!
He went home and told his wife, Marie, “I won the prize for the Best toast of the night.”
She said, “Aye, did ye now? And what was your toast?”
Jean said, “Here’s to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife.”
“Oh, that is very nice indeed, Jean!” Marie said.
The next day, Marie ran into one of Jean’s drinking buddies on the street Corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, “Jean won the prize the other night at The pub with a toast about you, Marie.”
She said, “Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he’s only been in there twice in the last four years. “Once I had to pull him by the ears to make him come, and the other time he fell asleep”.

Voted best Australian Joke

A bloke’s wife goes missing while diving off the West Australian Coast
He reports the event, searches fruitlessly and spends a terrible night wondering what could have happened to her.
Next morning there’s a knock at the door and he is confronted by a couple of policemen, the old Sarge and a younger Constable.
The Sarge says, ‘Mate, we have some news for you, unfortunately some really bad news, but, some good news, and maybe some more good news’.
‘Well,’ says the bloke, ‘I guess I’d better have the bad news first?’
The Sarge says, ‘I’m really sorry mate, but your wife is dead.
Young Bill here found her lying at about five fathoms in a little cleft in the reef. He got a line around her and we pulled her up, but she was dead.’
The bloke is naturally distressed to hear of this and has a bit of a turn.
But after a few minutes he pulls himself together and asks what the good news is.
The Sarge says, ‘Well when we got your wife up there were quite a few really good sized
lobsters and a swag of nice crabs attached to her, so we’ve brought you your share.’
He hands the bloke a bag with a couple of nice lobsters and four or five crabs in it.
‘Geez thanks. They’re bloody beauties. I guess it’s an ill wind and all that…
So what’s the other possible good news?
‘Well’, the Sarge says, ‘if you fancy a quick trip, me and young Bill here get off duty at around 11 o’clock and we’re gonna shoot over there and pull her up again!


An American photographer on vacation was inside Westminster Abbey taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read ‘£10,000 per call’.
The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the telephone was used for.
The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £10,000 you could talk to God.
The American thanked the priest and went along his way.
Next stop was in Lincoln
There, at the cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it.
He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in London and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was.
She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £10,000 he could talk to God.
‘O.K., thank you,’ said the American.
He then travelled to York, Durham and Liverpool
In every Cathedral he saw the same golden telephone with the same ‘£10,000 per call’ sign under it.
The American, upon leaving the N of England decided to travel to Shropshire to see if the there was a similar phone.
He arrived in Shrewsbury and again, as he entered St Mary`s Church, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read ‘50 pence per call.’
The American was surprised so he asked the steward about the sign. ‘I’ve been all over England and I’ve seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I’m told that it is a direct line to heaven, but in the other places the price was £10,000 per call. Why is it only 50 pence here?’
The steward smiled and answered, ‘You’re in Shrewsbury in Shropshire now, son …. it’s a local call.’


SELF EXAMINATION FOR ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE....It takes less than a minute...
If you are over 45 yrs old, you SHOULD take this Alzheimer's Test
How fast can you guess these words and fill-in the blanks?
1. _ _NDOM
2. F_ _K
3. P_N_S
4. PU_S_
5. S_X
6. BOO_S

Answer after next joke


A young monk arrives at the monastery.
He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand. He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the Old Abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son."

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the Old Abbot.

So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing:
"We missed the R!; We missed the R!;
We missed the bloody R!"
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.
The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?"
With a choking voice, the old Abbot replies,
"The word was ... . . . CELEBRATE!"


Answers to examination

5. SIX

If you got all 6 wrong You do NOT have Alzheimer's
You are a Pervert


Life in the Australian Army...

Text of a letter from a kid from Eromanga to Mum and Dad. (For Those of you not in the know, Eromanga is a small town, west of Quilpie in the far south west of Queensland )

Dear Mum & Dad,

I am well. Hope youse are too.. Tell me big brothers Doug and Phil that the Army is better than workin' on the station - tell them to get in bloody quick smart before the jobs are all gone! I wuz a bit slow in settling down at first, because ya don't hafta get outta bed until 6am. But I like sleeping in now, cuz all ya gotta do before brekky is make ya bed and shine ya boots and clean ya uniform. No bloody horses to get in, no calves to feed, no troughs to clean - nothin'!! Ya haz gotta shower though, but its not so bad, coz there's lotsa hot water and even a light to see what ya doing!

At brekky ya get cereal, fruit and eggs but there's no kangaroo steaks or goanna stew like wot Mum makes. You don't get fed again until noon and by that time all the city boys are buggered because we've been on a 'route march' - geez its only just like walking to the windmill in the bullock paddock!!

This one will kill me brothers Doug and Phil with laughter. I keep getting medals for shootin' - dunno why. The bullseye is as big as a bloody dingo's arse and it don't move and it's not firing back at ya like the Johnsons did when our big scrubber bull got into their prize cows before the Ekka last year! All ya gotta do is make yourself comfortable and hit the target - it's a piece of cake!! You don't even load your own cartridges, they comes in little boxes, and ya don't have to steady yourself against the rollbar of the roo shooting truck when you reload!

Sometimes ya gotta wrestle with the city boys and I gotta be real careful coz they break easy - it's not like fighting with Doug and Phil and Jack and Boori and Steve and Muzza all at once like we do at home after the muster.

Turns out I'm not a bad boxer either and it looks like I'm the best the platoon's got, and I've only been beaten by this one bloke from the Engineers - he's 6 foot 5 and 15 stone and three pick handles across the shoulders and as ya know I'm only 5 foot 7 and eight stone wringin' wet, but I fought him till the other blokes carried me off to the boozer.

I can't complain about the Army - tell the boys to get in quick before word gets around how bloody good it is.

Your loving daughter,



A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale 'He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.
'You talk?' he asks.
'Yep,' the Lab replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what's your story?'
The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA.
In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.'
'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running...
But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.'
'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.'
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
'Ten dollars,' the guy says.
'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?'
'Because he's a bloody liar. He's never been out of the yard!'

Keep smiling, keep singing

Joe Stead