Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 124 – January 2011

Happy New Year !

December came in with snow, ice and goodness knows how much trouble. Whilst FIFA surround themselves in mystery and prove to be the most tainted sporting organization on the globe, WikiLeaks expose tainted governments and Julian Assange, who masterminded it all, suddenly discovers there are two women in Sweden who, with just a little persuasion from the American government, suddenly claim to have been sexually assaulted by him. Meanwhile here in GB some students decided to riot and I have to confess I can feel little sympathy for them and a great deal for the police; which is something I thought I would never say. At least rioting is preferable to terrorism and we should all commend our security services for outwitting a recent plot by a bunch of Muslims who were intent on causing mayhem in the capital.

The year has flown by even quicker than last year. Indeed nearly everybody I meet says the same thing. Well folks next year will fly by even quicker – and I can tell you why it will seem that way. I have a notion that nobody, not even Tim Broadbent or Vic Smith have disputed – which is a little worrying because until they do I won’t be convinced that I’m definitely right. The notion is this. The longer you live the longer a lifetime becomes. That’s obvious. But if you are only six then six years is a lifetime and therefore one year of it takes up a lot more of the lifetime span you have experienced than one year would if you were sixty nine. Consequently each year seems shorter than the last. Obviously in real time this is not the case; but in your time (who ever you may be) each year appears to be getting shorter because you are getting older and your lifetime span is increasing. Of course if you die half way through; well not only the year but the lifetime itself will have flown by. Q.E.D.

Consequently it’s nice to report that Kimber’s Men enter the next year with a record number of future engagements……………….

Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead

Jan 11th (Joe) Burley in Wharfdale Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Jan 13th (KM) Trades Club, Hebden Bridge. 8.30pm
Feb 5th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. (Valparaiso round the Horn) 3pm
Feb 5th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. (Valparaiso round the Horn) 7.30pm

Feb 8th (Joe) Fox Pub, Main Street, Thorner, LS14 3DX. – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 18th (Joe) HMP Huntercombe, Henley on Thames. (Special invitation only)
Feb 24th (KM) Tremayne Hall, Mylor, Falmouth, Cornwall 7.30pm
Feb 25th (KM) The Ring of Bells, Wadebridge, Cornwall. 8.30pm
Feb 26th (KM) The Market Theatre, Ledbury.
Feb 27th (KM) The Somerset Arms, 30 Moorend Street, Cheltenham. 3pm
Mar 5th (KM) Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge. 9pm
Mar 19th (KM) Rhos-y-gilwen, The Oak Hall, Nr Rhoshill, Pembrokeshire.

Apr 7th (Joe) 4 Bradford Playhouse Chapel Street, Bradford. Life + Times Paul Robeson
Apr 8th (KM) Folly Bridge Inn, Abingdon Rd, Oxford (Folk Club). OX1 4PD
Apr 9th (KM) The Quay Theatre, Sudbury, Suffolk.
Apr 10th (KM) The White Horse, Edwardstone. 2pm
May 1st (KM) Liverpool Shanty Festival
May 2nd (KM) Liverpool Shanty Festival

May 12th (Joe) Bradford Playhouse, 4 Chapel Street, Bradford. Life + Times Pete Seeger
May 13th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 14th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 15th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
Jun 17th (KM) Falmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 18th (KM) Falmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 19th (KM) Falmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 25th (KM) Wirral Folk Festival
Jun 26th (KM) Wirral Folk Festival
Jul 11th (KM) New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke.
Aug 26th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 28th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 29th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival

Sep 14th (Joe) Barnsley Probus Club. – Life and times of Paul Robeson.
Sep 17th (KM) Astor Theatre, Deal. (Maritime Festival)
Sep 28th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge
Sep 30th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 1st (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 2nd (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 26th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge
Nov 30th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge

Jan 28th (KM) Minstead Village Hall - Provisional
Jun 22nd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival – Provisional
Jun 23rd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival - Provisional
Jun 24th (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival - Provisional

If you are still in the Christmas spirit you might care to look at this>


Dear Joe,
I agree with you about the scary nature of American politics. The idea that Sarah Palin could become President is truly frightening. John Humphries on this morning's Today programme expressed surprise when a Muslim woman stated that the average American knows nothing about US Foreign policy other than that evidenced in military actions. I have in my life done over 200 visits to the US and worked in Washington DC for two years, living in Maryland. I also lived for a time in Anchorage Alaska. At the time the IRA were very active bombing the innocent. To my astonishment I found that most Americans believed that the IRA was the true army of Eire and that UK was an occupying force in the North. If one phoned a radio station trying to educate their ignorant listeners to the truth they just would not believe that the IRA was illegal in the Republic as well as in the North. In New York uniformed IRA collected money openly in the streets during the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Returning to Palin, she is hailed in the Lower 48 as the tough gun toting, fishing politician. What the lower 48 do not understand is that in Alaska the women who do not shoot and fish are the oddities. Without these activities all meat in Alaska would have to be brought in at great expense from other states. Even salad vegetables are flown in from as far away as San Francisco. Fishing for salmon to store in the freezer is a doddle, you can lift them out of rivers at spawning time without rod and line, I have photographs to prove it. The Inuit feed their Malamute sledge dogs on salmon. For red meat, Caribou, Moose etc. are the commonest ingredient of many Alaskan meals.

Incidentally most Americans believe that there was no Invasion of American soil in World War 2. How wrong they are, the Japanese invaded and occupied the Aleutian Islands, part of Alaska. It frightened the US military and the US Government to bits.

Lastly, in case you had not heard it, my wife Ray died on 24th October. The Music played at the crematorium was The York Waits performing the Black Nag from Playford. It was at full volume, she would have grinned.
Best regards,
Eric Cowell

More saddened than angered by your latest deluded ramblings. You do seem to be a very confused person. At one stage of your diatribe, you are giving the right-on Pete Seeger-inspired total leftie views on the Republican successes in the recent mid-terms then you turn your attention to unsubstantiated and outrageous claims about your fellow Yorkshiremen, who just happen to follow Islam. Can't you see the dichotomy? What would Pete Seeger - who you claim as a lifetime hero - think of your racist views? And trying to pass it off as a joke at the end just does not work. You call yourself 'naughty' but it comes over more as 'stupid'.
Perhaps the most irritating aspect of your diatribe was the apparent dismissal of the views of Tim Broadbent and myself because of where we live. Somehow, living in "the leafy downs of southern England and the green, green landscapes of southern France" prevents us having an accurate world view! Living in the gritty Halifax area makes it obvious to you that a world-wide Moslem conspiracy exists! Joe, it just ain't so. Fortunately there are people with your background (Halifax area and folk music) that think differently. Karl Dallas works happily with the Moslem community though in spite of his lifelong Maexism, he has once again embraced the Church and Pete Coe, John Adams and others of the admirable Ryburn 3 Step organisation work happily on joint projects with the Moslem community in your area.
Did I suggest that you were being stupid? Perhaps I was being a bit harsh; perhaps it is just that, as you say yourself in these rantings "I’m not up to serious concentration these days." so instead of arguing with you, I am going to suggest that you look at some photos that I took earlier this month that are now on an album on the internet at
Just click on the link to go there.
These were taken earlier this month in The Gambia at the Islamic festival of Tabaski in the town of Brikama. I am not a religious or spiritual person; in my opinion organised religion, mainly Christianity and Islam, have caused more damage than good in the world, but I must say that the joy created in that community by the celebration of Tabaski was a wonder to behold.
best wishes
Vic Smith

Wicked Joe.!!
Its always good to hear form you mate and you're bang on as far as I can see.
I hope you're all well and happy
Big love to you big guy
Dean Jones

Well, mon brave (and no, don't let them convince you that that's French for 'silly old wanker'), I hope you've had a good lie down and are feeling much better.

The left-handed homosexual stuff had me a tad confused I must admit but statistics, being one, always left me a bit cold. And what's with all this geographical side-swiping?? As if the content of what one has to say is altered by the location from which it's spoken.You ought to move back to the leafy thoroughfares of Shooter's Hill if what I say is somehow lost in translation between the green fields (well, brown mostly) and hills (yep, we have those) of sunny (as I write it's 1° and snowing heavily) south west (south east actually - too many bloody Brits in the south west) France (right again).

Oxymoron? Now don't tell me you didn't have to look that one up just to be absolutely sure. We all know perfickly well that such words are only used well south of Milton Keynes. Show off. And no, I wasn't condemning you for mourning the passing of a friend with a chequered history, simply enquiring as to how you might have reacted, given the kind of treatment you'd apparently relish inflicting on non-indigenous law-breakers, had your chum had different origins. Not a million miles from that of the Swiss (sorry, you'd probably prefer 'the yodelling, chocolate-eating inhabitants of the pine-clad, snowy-capped peaks of Helvetia') I would venture, whose recent referendum decided simply to boot 'em out. How fitting that the movement's protagonists all sported ties picturing sheep.

Speaking of the latter, my comment regarding the alleged sexual activities of the Falkland Islanders was totally unwarranted and very cheap and I withdraw it unreservedly. What they may or may not get up to with their 4-legged friends is no concern of mine. Goose Green must have got its name from somewhere though.

And what in heaven's name is this latest manic tirade concerning curry houses all about??? Get a grip Joe. If what you're insinuating has any substance at all, the folk movement - unless post-gig eating habits have changed since I departed circa 1980 -must have bought Al-Qaeda about a dozen bloody aircraft-carriers over the years. Another of your oxywotsits there if you ask me. And yes, I'm relying on your shortcomings in the geographical department not to take me to task over the claim.

In a word, what gets my goat, or sheep, are the constant 'them and us' diatribes from the mouths of those who blindly refuse to accept the constant migration and flux which the western world (in particular) not only (quietly) enjoys, but also needs and, it's worth pointing out, can do sod all about at the end of the day. Read Mayhew's accounts of the inhabitants of the slums and suburbs of Victorian London (another leafy, southern town you may have heard of) and you'll have to admit that it's probably a more enjoyable place in which to live now than it was then, notwithstanding (or because of?) 150 years of steady immigration and demographic fusion. Could it possibly be anything to do with the fact that fundamentally we're all identical? Nah, gerraway.

As for the accusation concerning 'myopic political correctness', my lawyers, Messrs. Sue, Grabbit and Runne have been informed of the slander and will be sending a team of heavies to the fog-laden, slag-heap infested, dry-stone-walled, dog turd-ridden, eebahgummy-bound steppe of Halifuckinfax with a writ forthwith. Poltical correctness. Tsh, how dare you, Sir.

Right. Enough. 'Time for bed', said that other celebrated Frenchman, Zebedee. I've had my alcohol and garlic and now it's time for sexual intercourse. The heterosexual, right-handed sort of which you too are no doubt an ardent adept. Mon brave.

Joyeux Noël
Tim Broadbent.

Hello Joe,
What great news. Every normal person in the country is ecstatic.
In this gloomy period of government cuts, double-dip recessions, bank-bailouts, looming unemployment, street-riots, foreign wars etc.. We now have something to be completely happy about.
I am of course talking about the failure of England's billionaire football cartel in their bid to host the world cup.
At least the tournament won't be dragged to our green and pleasant land and be forced upon its ever suffering non football loving majority.
Neanderthals from thirty two nations would have invaded us. All of them grunting together in a common basic four letter language, and all hopping up and down like psychotic gorillas on hot-tin football terraces.
What a stroke of genius sending Messrs Beckham and Prince what's his name to help with the negotiations. Beckham is only just about beginning to grasp the idea, that if you join up enough words all in one go, you can actual make a sentence - well just about. And we all know that Prince what's his name and all the so called royals, only go along to such events so they can get free tickets, and also because they get to sit in the posh seats where people can see them and wave flags at them.
The salaries that footballers demand are not just ridiculous, they are immoral. How can anyone of them ever be worth £150,000 or more per week, when so many other people work hard and have so little?
These over-inflated salaries are only matched by the players' own over-inflated egos.
Yet dumb football fans still continue to support this iniquitous system of hero worship.
At least the football fans in England will be staying dumb in 2018. There won't be very much to shout about here.
And Joe, don't worry too much about upsetting your football readers. Most of them would still be a long way back in the letter - trying to work out what Neanderthal means!

Best wishes,
Keith Burge

So, which do you think is better? Sarah Palin or Hilary Clinton? I couldn't call between them.

Of course, if you and I believe that, we would be well advised to avoid any outlet that we consider could be a place where we would be contributing to violence and, then, avoid spending our money there.

There are a few places and things that my wife and I usually avoid for similar - and for different - reasons. Each of us have to be responsible for the money we use and not think we can blindly spend with no moral responsibility.

On a slightly lighter note, Kath and I try to avoid buying SONY products when an alternative is available because of the way we feel they control people's lives through their policy of contractually owning the creative products of their stars.

Our society uses labels in order to put down those they don't like. If you were ever converted to Christ (highly unlikely but not impossible), you would become a homophobe overnight, according to the homosexual wing of society.

If you are against the Prosecution Service making sure the right percentage of suspected rapists are convicted (regardless of guilt, of course) then you're a misogynist at best.

Our society thrives of condemnation - it rarely wants to accept facts or truth.

Lee Smith


An airport ticket agency offers some examples of why the USA is in trouble!

(Although I have to confess I sometimes have to wonder whether such items as these are actually true or simply the result of a vivid imagination).

1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)
2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman's (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, ''I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts.''

Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, ''Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa ''his response -- click.

3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, 'Don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!'' (OMG)

4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife (Landra Reid) who asked, ''Is it possible to see England from Canada?''

I said, ''No.'' She said, ''But they look so close on the map.'' (OMG again!)

5. An aide for a cabinet member(Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, ''I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.'' (Aghhhh)

6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m.

I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

7. A New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, ''Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?'' I said, 'No, why do you ask?'

He replied, ''Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!''

After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, Ca. is (FAT - Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting destination tag on his luggage.

8. A Senator John Kerry aide (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, ''Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?''

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright (D) from Ala who asked, ''How do I know which plane to get on?''

I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, ''I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers o them.''

10. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) called and said, ''I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?''

I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, FL on a commuter plane. She said, ''Yeah, whatever, smarty!''

11. Mary Landrieu (D) La. Senator called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. 'Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those.''

I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, ''Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!''

12. A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, ''I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York.''

I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, ''Are you sure that's the name of the town?''

'Yes, what flights do you have?'' replied the man.

After some searching, I came back with, ''I'm sorry, sir, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere."

''The man retorted, ''Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!''

So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, ''You don't mean Buffalo, do you?''

The reply? ''Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.''


This letter is purported to have been sent by Tesco's Head Office to a Customer in Banbury, Oxfordshire....:

Dear Mrs Murray ,

Whilst we would like to thank you for your valued custom and use of the Tesco Loyalty Card, the Manager of our store in Banbury is considering banning you and your family from shopping with us,unless your Husband stops his antics.

Below is a list of his actions over the past few months all verified by our surveillance cameras:

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's trolleys when they weren't looking.
2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute Intervals.
3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to Feminine Products aisle.
4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official tone, "Code 3 in housewares"..... and watched what happened.
5. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.
6. September 15: Set up a tent in the outdoor clothing department and told shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring sausages and a Calor Gas stove.
7. September 23: When the Deputy Manager asked if she could help him, he began to cry and asked, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?'
8. October 4: Looked right into the security camera; used it as a mirror,picked his nose, and ate it.
9. October 10: While appearing to be choosing kitchen knives in the Housewares aisle asked an assistant if he knew where the Antidepressants were.
10. November 3: Darted around the store suspiciously, loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.
11.November 6: In the kitchenware aisle, practised the 'Madonna' look using different size funnels.
12. November 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed, yelled 'PICK ME!' 'PICK ME!'
13. November 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, assumed the foetal position and screamed 'NO! NO! It's those voices again.'
And last, but not least -
14. November 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited a while, then yelled, very loudly, 'There is no toilet paper in here.'
We thank you for your patronage, but please leave your husband at home.


O x y m o r o n s

1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?
2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?
3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?
4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?
5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?
6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?
7. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?
8. Why do "tug" boats push their barges?
9. Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game" when we are already there?
10. Why are they called "stands" when they are made for sitting?
11. Why is it called "after dark" when it really is "after light"?
12. Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?
13. Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?
14. Why do "overlook" and "oversee" mean opposite things?
15. Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds?
16. If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?
17. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?
18. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
19. If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?
20. Why is bra singular and panties plural?
21. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?
22. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?
23. How come abbreviated is such a long word?
24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?
25. Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
26. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?
27. Christmas - What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead