Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 114 – March 2010

So very soon we’ll be having a General Election. We have a chance for a fresh government or a continuation of the existing conglomeration.

I suppose we have three real choices if we are not to waste our vote.

We can vote for Labour, the party that took us into an illegal war with all the repercussions we are now experiencing. A brilliant bunch of no-hopers and in-fighters who are seriously considering a massive death/cemetery tax as a way of supplementing income to support the aged and useless amongst us. Most of them, if you watch Question Time on BBC Television, are liars; or at the very least they have convenient memories. When VAT was temporarily reduced to 15%, the Chancellor added 2% duty to fuel to offset the reduction in tax collected from motorists. Now that VAT has been increased to 17.5% again this hidden tax has not been removed - hence recent rises in your fuel costs. Those amongst us who blindly vote Labour every election because their father and his father before him voted Labour will doubtless do so again be they liars or simply wastrels. I’m wasting my time even talking to you.

We can vote Conservative and get a carbon copy of Tony Blair looking at the world through blue tinted glasses. If Margaret Thatcher was not enough to put you off voting Tory for ever and a day then surely David Cameron must put the shivers up your back to the point where you look elsewhere. The party that loves a good war could hardly stop themselves from supporting the invasion of Iraq. Remember it will be Iran next. Another bunch with convenient memories and, similar to those who blindly follow Labour, those amongst us who always vote Tory will do so again however horrific their leader may appear. People like you frighten me with your blinkered vision.

The third real alternative, if you are not going to waste your vote in pointless protest, is to vote Liberal, the party with the sense to see through George Bush and his war mongering. Don’t tell me the Liberals are not experienced enough, because neither are the Tory’s. They’ve both been in opposition so long that there is hardly an experienced man or woman amongst them. So if you are going to stick to experience you have to vote Labour, if you want a change then vote Liberal.

Take a look at
Alice Mahon was an honest politician who stood successfully for parliament throughout the Blair years. I’m proud to say she represented my home town of Halifax. The last Labour politician you could really trust!

Anyway, why not give the Liberal Party a chance? Write and tell me your opinion.

In 1979 I made my first singing tour of USA, and whilst there in a spare week after the Philadelphia Folk Festival I found myself in Cape May, New Jersey. A beautiful little seaside town I have visited on every occasion since. Here I fell in with Danny Cohen who had just inherited his father’s fishing fleet. At a party he introduced me to ‘Upside down Margaritas’ a folk custom from Southern New Jersey which involved drinking tequila, triple sec and lime juice poured from above straight into the mouth. To do this the recipient sits with his head back and mouth open. In true folklore tradition this custom has been transferred to Denmark where I introduced ‘Upside down kaffepunch’ to a bewildered group of Danes and then Germans. The whole episode was filmed by Wilhelm Ruempler and is part of a film that has been produced by his son Gerrit. I took my shirt off to save having the drink poured down it by inexperienced pourers! Not a pretty sight I now realize but essential at the time.

It’s all here ……………

I have to confess I’ve had that little shit Jonathan Ross back on my television screen this last month, but only because I wanted to watch the BAFTA awards. So as innuendo followed by innuendo and yet another unfortunate innuendo of filth was offered to an audience that contained an embarrassing looking future King of England and with only a ripple of laughter to show for it I had to ask myself how this parasite of humour continues to get such prominence. I’ve come to the conclusion he’s probably a member of the rolled up trouser brigade who have an uncanny knack of looking after each other whatever the other might have done. But did the lack of encouragement from the audience stop our Jonathan and make him think? You bet your bottom dollar it didn’t, he’s made his fortune entertaining simple minded souls who think a few swear words and a lot of banter running down the oppressed and unfortunate is funny. He has made considerable mileage out of it, so why stop now? A good reason to stop Jonathan is because a growing number of people don’t like bullies however funny they might be, and they don’t like you. All we can hope is that he will continue to make a rod for his own back and will eventually disappear from our TV screens altogether. I was pleased to see the back of Barrimore (if you will excuse the unintentional pun) so perhaps Ross can follow him to New Zealand – although I understand that Barrimore ain’t too popular down there either.

OK. So you’ve probably heard most of the jokes about John Terry and the poor old ‘heaped upon’ Wayne Bridge before. And like me I’ll bet that most of you have found one or two of them comical if not downright funny. The exposure has come just at the very right time for the Fleet Street Hack’s who seem determined, every time the England national football team reaches an epic point, to destroy morale and team confidence. They do it every time. This year the England team stands a better chance than normal to lift the trophy in South Arica so the exposure of the John Terry affair with Vanessa Perroncel could not have come at a better time for them. I cannot understand how the British press can be so stupid as to not realise the damage they do, especially as it is highly likely that a large number of them are hypocritically swimming in the same sea of mess as our hero!

I feel incredibly sorry for Wayne Bridge who is now suffering as a part of jokes. Vanessa Perroncel and Wayne Bridge had separated, they were engaged but they separated, although I have to confess that I don’t know a time span here. But I don’t see how, unless John Terry was the reason for the separation, why Mr Terry should be put through the mangle with the repercussions rebounding on poor old Mr Bridge. I think it is very unfair on both of them especially the latter.

Anyway, here for your delectation are some of the jokes presently in circulation. Not PC? Well I’m an ‘Old Codger’ that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

1. Ashley Cole was caught doing 104mph in a 50mph zone. When questioned by police as to why he was speeding, he said: "I've just heard JT is parked outside my house!"
2. After Wayne Bridge refused to play for England while John Terry remains captain, fans are now urging JT to try it on with Emile Heskey's wife.
3. John Terry has been lined up to star in a new ITV drama. It's called “Other Footballers' Wives.”
4. What do Wayne Bridge and the Titanic have in common? They both should've stayed at Southampton.
5. John Terry is to release a charity single - it's a version of The Cars' - My Best Friend's Girl.
6. What has Vanessa Perroncel got in common with a Champions League final goalpost? They've both been banged by John Terry...
7. Chant heard at Hull v Chelsea: "Chelsea, wherever you may be, Don't leave your wife with John Terry. Cos he likes a shag, he likes a bit of fluff, And he'll get your missus up the duff".
8. Poor Wayne Bridge - he's not even first choice with his wife.
9. Wayne Bridge bought Vanessa Perroncel a chocolate willy... but she says she prefers Terry's.
10. Somebody bought me a box of Terry's All Gold. I was shocked to find new chocs called French Fancy and Cheat Cluster.
11. John Terry has explained he didn't mean to have sex with Vanessa Perroncel - he just slipped while he was showing her how to take a penalty.
12. The England team have voted for Terry to keep his place in the World Cup squad. With the ban on WAGs travelling to South Africa, no one wants him left behind.

Take a look at
Twenty five or more years ago I was the first performer to ever record this song which has been a firm favourite of mine (and Kimber’s Men) until this very day. Good proof that a good song transcends both time and language.

Please note that our gig at Holmfirth on March 13th has been cancelled.
Our gig on the Grand Turk in Whitby Harbour apparently raised more than £1,000 for the RNLI.

I’ve been told by the BBC that the programme ‘Songs of the sea’ (or similar) which we filmed in July in Whitby and Robin Hoods bay should be screened on BBCTV4 in the next few weeks. I’ll send you a ‘special notice’ out when I know more.

Joint Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead.

Mar 3rd (Joe) Halifax Library 2pm. (Life and times Paul Robeson).
May 14th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 15th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 16th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 28th (KM) Waterford’s Festival of Song and Sea Shanties, Ireland – Provisional
May 29th (KM) Waterford’s Festival of Song and Sea Shanties, Ireland – Provisional
May 30th (KM) Waterford’s Festival of Song and Sea Shanties, Ireland – Provisional
Jun 11th (KM) Southwell Folk Festival - Nottingham
Jun 12th (KM) Southwell Folk Festival - Nottingham
Jun 13th (KM) Southwell Folk Festival - Nottingham
Jul 2nd (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 3rd (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 4th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 9th (KM) Stonehaven Folk Festival, NE Scotland
Jul 10th (KM) Stonehaven Folk Festival, NE Scotland
Jul 16th (KM) Hebden Bridge Folk and Roots Festival
Jul 17th (KM) Hebden Bridge Folk and Roots Festival
Jul 18th (KM) Hebden Bridge Folk and Roots Festival
Aug 20th (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 21st (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 22nd (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 28th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 29th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 30th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 11th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 12th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 24th (KM) Blackmore Theatre, Exmouth, Devon. with Exmouth Shanty Men
Sep 25th (KM) The Pack o’ Cards, High Street, Combe Martin, North Devon
Oct 8th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Oct 9th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Oct 10th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Nov 12th (KM) St. Michael All Angels School, Meadow Close, Shelf, Halifax HX3
Jan 11th (Joe) Burley in Wharfdale Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn


Five piece Kimber’s Men formed in 2001and since have built a reputation on the maritime and folk festival circuit with their full bodied interpretations of traditional sea songs and shanties and their own material written in the style.
‘In Port’, a double CD, recorded live in Halifax, April 2008 features 27 tracks and captures the band in full swing, largely concentrating on something they do best, vibrant 5 piece a cappella harmonies. The live warts‘n’all recording only serves to enhance, capturing the atmosphere, the band’s clear love of the material, and their self depreciating stage banter.
They’re also versatile enough to include a particularly strong version of ‘Old Man River’, performed solo by John Bromley, and Little Pot Stove (a song made famous by Nic Jones) but it’s the shanties where they really come into their own, especially on the closing brace ‘Shenandoah’ and ‘Leave her Johnny leave her’ for which it seems most of the audience felt inspired enough to sing.


Dear Joe,
You are justifiably upset about the Iraq war and the current enquiry. Here is another dimension that no one is talking about, and yet I think it may have a lot to do with it: arms technology.
My father was a friend of Winston Churchill in the mid-1930s, and Churchill sent him over to the USA to see what aircraft were being designed and built there, in case the UK needed to buy some in a hurry to ward off Hitler. The British aircraft industry was being repressed by the Air Ministry in case British armament should draw the unwelcome attention of Hitler. My father returned after a year and tried to sell some US aircraft in the UK, but all he managed to sell were a handful of Consolidated Catalina flying-boats (one of which later caught the Bismarck before it could escape). Not only did these aircraft have a range about double of anything in the UK, but also had a radio that enabled the pilot to talk with home base in San Diego, California while he was flying over the Isle of Wight – way ahead of any European radios. The RAF bought only the cheapest version they could buy, and yet it included the radios, which they then reverse-engineered and managed to make in the UK.
My point is that when the Iraq war broke out the USA (by virtue of having spent billions year after year) was perhaps decades ahead of anyone in Europe in certain important military technologies, and I believe that a major part of Blair’s decision to join in was that UK troops would then have access to much of the new US military technology. This would help keep the UK safe in future wars, and would give the UK’s industries a leg up in making related products for sale to allies. This of course does not exonerate Blair, but I think it was one of the larger factors involved in his decision. On the other hand, he couldn’t very well come out and say that in public, even years after the fact, could he? That would be too cynical.
Keep up the good work!
Best wishes, John Millar

Dear Joe,
Britain under New Labour is now insane.
Are you watching Britains Naval Empire? It is perpetrating a lot of rubbish. So much so that Richasrd Woodman has written to BBC about it and I am writing a review for Windjammer,
Are you interested in joining Mariners International Club?. If so I will send some info.
I agree with everything you wrote about Blair in Ramblings.
"I never saw Blair but I trod in some once".
Best aye Eric Cowell

The 45 min. charade is not all bad news. The anti-WMD shelter we built upon hearing that within 45 minutes we would all be blown to Kingdom Come has been a wonderful success. We have rented it out to a Romanian family of seven hiding from the Border Agency and Immigration authorities. All the while they keep their head down we screw them for the Euros they receive from the family back home. At the moment they are looking for a empty lorry heading south. Nice little earner!!
John Hills

Hi Joe,
Thanks for your Ramblings. I actually agreed with some of your political views this time. Particularly good analysis of Tony Blair's twisted logic at the Iraq inquiry, I thought. You even made me laugh more than once. Careful with that banjo!
Best Wishes,
Martha Burns – Washington. USA.


1. It's important to have a woman who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, cleans up and has a job,
2. It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh,
3. It's important to have a woman whom you can trust and who doesn't
lie to you,
4. It's important to have a woman who is good in bed and who likes
to be with you, and...
5. It's very, very important that these four women do not know each other!
Tiger Woods


New Zealand Police : Investigation

An Officer stops at a dairy farm outside of Morrinsville New Zealand and talks with the old farmer who's the owner.
He tells the farmer, 'I need to inspect your property for illegally grown marijuana.'
The old Farmer says, 'Okay, but don't go in that field over there.'
The officer verbally explodes saying, "Mister, I have the authority of the New Zealand Police with me"!! Pointing to the badge on his chest he proudly says, "See this badge"!?
"This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish, on any land, whenever I want to". "No questions asked, no answers given". "Have I made myself clear!!??" "Do you now understand me!!??"
The old farmer nods politely and goes about his chores.
Later, the old guy hears loud screams and spies the officer running for his life and close behind is the huge breeder bull. With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer.
The officer is clearly shitt*ing himself.
The old farmer immediately throws down his pitch fork, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs to the officer..... "Your badge! Show him your f*cking badge!"



It was the small hours of the morning at the Camp. The Duty Officer was sitting at his desk with his feet up and a cup of coffee in his hand when the phone rang.
"Hello, Duty Officer here."
"It's Sarn't Harris at the Main Gate, sir."
"Yes, what's the matter, Sergeant?"
"You'd best come down right away sir, there's been a haccident."
"What's happened?"
"It's Private Jones, sir. He's shot a man dead, sir."
"WHAT! I'll come at once!"
At the Main Gate there were two soldiers standing in a pool of light from the arc lamps and a body stretched out on the ground on the far side of the barrier.
"What's going on here, Sergeant Harris?"
"It's ‘4509 Jones, sir," said the Sergeant, saluting. "He's done shot this here bloke what I can only describe as stone dead, sir."
"Jones! Explain yourself at once!"
"It's like this, sir," said Jones, saluting. "About fifteen minutes ago I heard these footsteps coming up the main drag, sir, and I comes out of me sentry box to see what's up, like."
"Yes, go on, Private."
"I can just make out a bloke what was standing on the edge of the lights, sir, and I shouts out, in accordance with standing orders, sir, ‘ALT OO GOES THERE?"
"What happened then, Private?"
"Sir, the bloke, who was just a shadowy figure really, says FRIEND. I was not deceived by this sir, so I shouts back, again in accordance with regulations sir, ADVANCE FRIEND AN’ GIVE THE PASSWORD."
"Yes, yes, go on."
"The shadowy figure takes one step forward sir, and he says, dead confident like, GOLDEN DRAGON. So, like a flash sir, I lifts me rifle and shoots him dead, sir."
"Ah, I see. Well, Sergeant, sounds to me like a straightforward case of an attempted intrusion by person unknown, what do you think?"
"Quite right, sir," growled the Sergeant.
"Yes, well done, Jones. By the way, Sergeant, what is tonight's password?"
"It's GOLDEN DRAGON, sir."
"JONES! You bloody fool! You've shot a man dead who gave the right password!"
"Oh no sir, he definitely wasn't one of our blokes, sir."
"How do you know that?"
"Well sir, our blokes, when they are challenged, always shouts back PISS OFF!"


The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.


A group of 40 year old buddies discussed where they should meet for dinner.

Finally it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the waiters and waitresses there were very young and very hot.

10 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also.

10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.

10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair accessible and they even had an elevator.

10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.


I've just found out I can still have sex at 76!
I am so happy because I only live at 72, so it's not far to walk home......................


There were 3 good arguments that Jesus was Black:
1. He called everyone brother
2. He liked Gospel
3. He didn't get a fair trial

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:
1. He went into His Father's business
2. He lived at home until he was 33
3. He was sure his Mother was a virgin and his Mother was sure He was God

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
1. He talked with His hands
2. He had wine with His meals
3. He used olive oil

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
1. He never cut His hair
2. He walked around barefoot all the time
3. He started a new religion

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was an American Indian:
1. He was at peace with nature
2. He ate a lot of fish
3. He talked about the Great Spirit

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Irish:
1. He never got married..
2. He was always telling stories.
3. He loved green pastures.

But the most compelling evidence of all - 3 proofs that Jesus was a woman:
1. He fed a crowd at a moment's notice when there was virtually no food
2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it
3. And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do.


A woman was in town on a shopping trip. She began her day finding the most perfect shoes in the first shop and a beautiful dress on sale in the second. In the third, everything had just been reduced by 50 percent, when her mobile phone rang.

It was a female doctor notifying her that her husband had just been in a terrible car accident and was in critical condition and in the ICU.

The woman told the doctor to inform her husband where she was and that she'd be there as soon as possible. As she hung up she realized she was leaving what was shaping up to be her best day ever in the boutiques...She decided to get in a couple of more shops before heading to the hospital.

She ended up shopping the rest of the morning, finishing her trip with a cup of coffee and a beautiful chocolate cake slice, compliments of the last shop. She was jubilant.

Then she remembered her husband. Feeling guilty, she dashed to the hospital.

She saw the doctor in the corridor and asked about her husband's condition. The lady doctor glared at her and shouted, "You went ahead and finished your shopping trip didn't you! I hope you're proud of yourself! While you were out for the past four hours enjoying yourself in town, your husband has been languishing in the Intensive Care Unit! It's just as well you went ahead and finished, because it will more than likely be the last shopping trip you ever take! For the rest of his life he will require round-the-clock care. And he will now be your career!"

The woman was feeling so guilty she broke down and sobbed.

The lady doctor then chuckled and said, "I'm just pulling your leg.
He's dead. Show me what you bought."



Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-kg potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-kg potato sacks.

Then try 25-kg potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 50-kg potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.
(I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each sack.

Keep smiling, keep singing.