Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 134 – November 2011

I can’t say I really enjoy looking at fine art, so it’s a bit ironical really that ‘The One Show’ should ask me to play the part of Ford Madox Brown last month. I can’t say meeting Phil (I’m not very bright – but I do alright) Tuffnell was very exciting for me either, but we duly shook hands. For my part I’ve never watched ‘The One Show’ mainly because the original presenter was that awful (and by the way the researcher agreed with me) man Adrian Chiles who left the BBC to work for ITV, and I’ve never really got into the swing of it after he went. No idea when it will be screened, probably sometime in November.

The letter X is not found that often in names, which you will discover if you think of all the people you know. But it is nevertheless a very tenuous link into this next paragraph. Amanda Knox and Dr. Liam Fox have been hitting the headlines this last month. The former will be well known to all Americans, the latter less so. So I’ll start with dear old Liam, our former Defence Secretary until he resigned his post, has been gallivanting round the world on official business with his ‘best man’ Adam Werritty. Now wives have been known to travel with their husbands on official business, but the Best Man? Well the Best Man is normally left at the alter, or the reception or somewhere convenient. Just what they got up to in the many hotels they shared is anyone’s business and certainly not mine but 22 meetings at the Ministry of Defence and 18 meetings abroad with Mr. Werritty the self styled advisor to Dr Fox is rather a lot and as a consequence dear old Liam eventually bit the bullet and resigned on security grounds. Whereas Dr Liam Fox is probably only notorious in Britain Amanda Knox on the other hand is an infamous personality known world wide, and I suspect her notoriety will outlast our Defence Secretary. Amanda has gone home to a heroines welcome in America. Having spent four years languishing in Italian jails she is a free woman again despite almost overwhelming evidence of her guilt. But far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meritith Kercher was murdered, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered question over her fate. What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what really happened? The failure to use protective gloves by the police when examining certain items of evidence eventually overcame the fact that Knox initially admitted being in the adjacent room when the murder took place and that she claimed the murderer was Patrick Lumumba a Congolese bar owner, for whom she worked as a waitress. Lumumba eventually proved he was not there that night and strangely having admitted her presence she decided she had actually been in the bedroom of her boyfriend Sollecito on the night of the murder. She changed her story a number of times but failure by the police to use gloves has decided her innocence despite the fact it is known that Kercher was murdered by at least two people, probably more, and nobody knows who the missing killers are. Is she a lucky lady or what? Do you think money changed hands somewhere?

Perhaps we should celebrate the safe keeping of Saif Gadaffi who has turned up in Niger after spending the last few weeks in the desert. If he’s bound for The Hague as he seems to want we can expect some interesting revelations when he gets into court. Just how many times did Tony Blair fly around Libya in Colonel Gadaffi’s private jet and why when he knew about the Lockerbie connection etc. Just what fancy gifts was he given? Oh it could be great fun.

Finally, I’m sure you will all be delighted to hear that Neil Kimber continues to improve in health, but is not performing yet, and as such our recording dates for the next CD have been postponed until March.

Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead

Nov 9th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Martin Simpson
Dec 13 (Joe) The Victoria Hotel, Great George Street, Leeds. 2pm (Valparaiso)
Dec 14th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge, Amazing Mr Smith

Jan 11th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Martin Carthy
Jan 13th (KM) Sixmilebridge Folk Festival, County Clare, Ireland.
Jan 14th (KM) Sixmilebridge Folk Festival, County Clare, Ireland.
Jan 15th (KM) Sixmilebridge Folk Festival, County Clare, Ireland.
Feb 4th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.
Feb 7th (Joe) Brighouse Third Age Forum, Waring Green Centre, Brighouse. Robeson.
Feb 8th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge
Feb 11th (KM) The Rose Youth Theatre, Ormskirk, Lancashire.
Apr 20th (KM) Clee St Margaret Village Hall, Near Ludlow, Shropshire.
Apr 21st (KM) Perranporth Shanty Fest 2012 - Cornwall
Apr 22nd (KM) Perranporth Shanty Fest 2012 – Cornwall
May 4th (KM) Sheepscombe Village Hall, Gloucestershire.
May 5th (KM) Minstead Village Hall, Hampshire.
Jun 22nd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jun 23rd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jun 24th (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jul 23rd (KM) Music on the Marr, Town Foot Farm, Castle Carrock, Cumbria.
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.
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 8th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 9th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

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


I just wanted to thank you for the fabulous lecture you delivered during our Black History Month celebrations. I have spoken to several of the men who attended and they were relishing in the content and historical importance of Paul Robeson. Many of them were greatly moved by the piece recorded from the rally at the border to Canada, I am so glad you played it.

I found the lecture to be fascinating and am so glad it was greatly received. I would definitely recommend you to my counter parts in other establishments.
Kind regards,

Helen Milne
Diversity and Equality Manager
HMP Grendon and Springhill


I know in your rush to condemn all things Palin you are willing to suspend all disbelief, but in fairness I think I should have to dash your vicarious fantasies by pointing out that in a recently leaked e-mail from McGinniss (who is, indeed, a far-left partisan) to one of his major “sources” he lamented that the book was taking a long time in legal review since he was able to obtain not one shred of evidence for any of the salacious rumors he documented as fact. I’m sure the only reason the book was eventually green-lighted was the fact that libel against a public figure is almost impossible to prosecute in the US.

With regard to politics, I’d guess you’d say I’m Republican by default. Overall if I have to pick a label I’d go with Libertarian Traditionalist (if you don’t hurt anyone I don’t care what you do, but I also don’t see a reason to radically change the overall social structure without strong compelling reason). While both Repubs & Dems political class want to control you, I find the Dems, with their heavy bent towards socialism, general anti-business position, and slavish obedience to PC nonsense, to be the more onerous.

WRT to Palin, specifically, and Repubs in general, I find the press usually serves as the Dems’ hit man, so caveat emptor. For example, consider the extreme rumors about Palin that cannot be sourced and have no evidence being offered to the public as known fact. Or even more telling, what have you heard about Fast and Furious or Gunwalking?

In case you haven’t heard about our latest national disgrace, in operation Fast and Furious the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms worked with the FBI to arrange for people to legally purchase guns and then illegally transfer them to know members of a notorious Mexican drug cartel in a process known as Gunwalking. In many cases the gun store owners reported to BATF and the FBI their suspicions that something was amiss, but were instructed to make the sale anyway. These guns have since been traced to over a hundred murders in Mexico and at least one border agent in the US. In fact, there is evidence of a concerted effort by the FBI to obscure and hide the connection between the operation and the killing. Why would the US government intentionally arm known killers operating in a neighboring country? The story from the BATF is that they were trying to track the cartel’s networks. Interestingly, though, while this was all going on there were many Democrats, including Pres. Obama, using the presence of US origin guns in Mexican drug gangs as an argument for greater restrictions in gun sales and ownership. Meanwhile, the Mexican government is rightfully incensed and looking to indict for accessory to murder.

In the ensuing Congressional investigation (that only started once the Republicans took control of the House), officials in the Justice Department have denied any knowledge of the operation, despite it being entirely within their organization and contrary to testimony from operatives. Likewise, the White House has denied any involvement, despite e-mails indicating contrary. Do you doubt that had this happened under the Bush administration it would have been top story every night, and rightfully so. But they’ve not only been largely silent about what the administration has done, but two major news papers (NYT and Washington Post, I believe) have even published hit jobs on the Republican Congressman heading the investigation. As someone else said, the two biggest differences between the Watergate and Gunwalking scandals are that nobody died in the Watergate break-in and the press was actually trying to expose the truth.

WRT Bush, I know you and I will likely always have a difference of opinion concerning the man, his actions, and character. Further discussion by either of us is likely little more than gorilla chest beating (just less effective).

Sorry this missive has seemed to degenerate into the ramblings of a younger codger, but over the past few years I’ve come to believe you are the sort of lefty with whom one may have disagreements and discussions without being off-handedly dismissed as evil or damaged. Unfortunately, my experience in the States is that this is a very rare and wonderful characteristic for those on the other side of the aisle.

As for your regular gigs at The Works, I’m tempted to look for a cheap flight to show in November. Martin Simpson, besides being a phenom on guitar, has always been a gracious and friendly fellow on the occasions when I’ve been fortunate enough to see him.

Always best wishes,
David Henry

Sorry I’ve been out of touch = particularly to hear Neil has been ill – do give him my very best wishes for a really speedy recovery – that was bad luck.

I sympathise as I’ve had a bad spell over the last few months! Suffered from bad back pains for weeks which Derriford Hospital Plymouth said was a trapped sciatic nerve with which both my doctor and physiotherapist disagreed and I was experiencing so much pain I wanted to be ‘put down’ by a vet! Even when I had my right leg badly smashed up years ago when, in the RM, the RAF dropped us on to rocks instead of in the sea, that was nothing!

My daughter, a sister at UCH years ago was most unhappy and, since my son-in-law is a senior plastics surgeon at the North Staffs University Hospital , she took me up there, got me registered as a Temporary Resident and, bearing in mind back pain can be Prostate Cancer, they made me a Priority NHS patient. The result? I had a full MRI scan in 48 hours and saw a brilliant Indian Spinal Surgeon and delightful man who Jeremy works with and 5 days later He saw me and said Derriford were totally wrong !

I had in fact been ‘walking’ about with a broken back !! No wonder I was in agony ! A badly damaged vertebra a third of the way down but, more seriously, a bad fracture at the base of the spine – if Clare had not taken me up there I would been a wheelchair case by Christmas and probably never walked normally again ! He said surgery was his last option and put me on to heavy medication – large calcium intake plus Alendronic Acid etc to stop bone degeneration etc I have been so lucky as another MRI three weeks later showed it was working and eventually he passed me back into the hands of my excellent doctor down here – I’d been away for 2-1/2 months!

Oh, and a Urology Consultant up there checked and confirmed, like 83% of men of my age I did have Prostate Cancer but my level was so down it just needed a 6 monthly check and possibly so treatment might be needed later in life!

And all that was on the NHS ! No influence by Jeremy except to recommend the actual Spinal Surgeon when they gave me a list of who I could see!! If they can do that up there, why not down here where it takes 4 weeks upwards to get an MRI result? they seem to be much better managed there.

It was a close call – I’m now reducing the many painkillers I have had to take and the pain is so reduced so I’m walking again – now going to be in the hands of a specialised clinic. At its worst I was only managing 25 yards to reach a car – folk here were marvellous in getting me to clinics and hospital.

My family have been so good too – I can be so thankful for the outcome of what was a disgraceful situation a few weeks ago.

My day was made last week when I had a copy of the letter from my great doctor to the clinic which started “ I am most grateful for you taking over the case of this fantastic 83 year old who has been suffering........” etc.
Must say it did my morale the world of good.

It was all a close thing and I have so much to thank so many (except the incompetents at Derriford!!).

Sometimes I think things do work out – maybe with guidance from above (?) !

Now I’m trying to deal with the near three months backlog of everything!!
Best wishes
Brian H Williams

Thanks Joe for your latest Ramblings.
We have recently, and for the last three years, watched the death of Common Sense, who used to be such a good neighbour!
Hope to see you at Tenterden Friday evening.
Peter and Iris Sampson

The funniest funny was Mary Brooker's 'quaint essential story' sic. I thought it the quintessential example of the phrase 'two countries divided by a common language’.
Jim Bartlett

If a sliced onion can absorb the flu virus, maybe you should plug your computer into one.
David Fishken; Boston, USA

The onions thing didn't work with me. I've been bedridden with a very bad cold so I thought what harm? And I put the unpeeled onion with both ends cut off by my bedside. It's been there for several days now and it never got black as promised. My cold is following its normal course.
Of course, the mayo chemist talked about bacteria. And colds (and flu) are both viruses (is that the plural?), so perhaps it might work with bacterial infections, but I dunno.
I always like to slice up an onion from the fridge and put it on a peanut-butter sandwich and no problems so far.
Perhaps it's like the anti-tiger powder kids put under their beds. "But there are no tigers round here." "See, it works!"
Karl Dallas

Hi Joe
Thanks for your October Ramblings.
Took advantage of the heat wave last week with a few days on the Suffolk Coast around Aldeburgh and Southwold.
Called at Snape Maltings, I noticed that Kimber's Men were there the previous weekend sorry we missed you.
Hope all went well. So very sorry to hear of Neil's plight please convey my sincere good wishes for his speedy recovery.
Good Health and Smooth Shanties
Quentin Hood

Hi, Joe & Kimber's Men

I really enjoyed being part of the shanty session at Tenterden with yourselves and Liam and my old pal Mr Kendrick.

Let me say that it is my sincere hope that Kimber's men will continue undiminished for many years to come, but in view of the very flattering remarks made to me by Gareth & John in the William Caxton last Saturday evening, I just wanted to say "Hi" to wish you all well, and to give you my home number 01732 833183 and my email address should you wish to contact me for any reason in the future.

More power to your (collective) elbows

Malcolm Ward



For 2 years a man was having an affair with an Italian woman.

One night, she confided in him that she was pregnant. Not wanting to ruin his reputation or his marriage, He paid her a large sum of money if she would go to Italy to secretly have the child. If she stayed in Italy to raise the child, he would also provide child support until the child turned 18.

She agreed, but asked how he would know when the baby was born. To keep it discrete, he told her to simply mail him a post card, and write 'Spaghetti'on the back.. He would then arrange for the child support payments to begin.

One day, about 9 months later, he came home to his confused wife.

'Honey!,' she said, 'you received a very strange post card today.'

'Oh, just give it to me and I'll explain it later,' he said.

The wife obeyed and watched as her husband read the card, turned white,
and fainted.

On the card was written:

Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti. Three with meatballs, two without.
Send extra sauce.


An elderly man in Louisiana had owned a large farm for several years.

He had a large pond in the back. It was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple, and peach trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over.

He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit.

As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee, and as he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.

One of the women shouted to him, 'we're not coming out until you leave!'

The old man frowned, 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked.'

Holding the bucket up he said, 'I'm here to feed the alligator...'


Over five thousand years ago Moses said to the children of Israel "pick up your shovel, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the promised land."

Nearly 50 years ago, Harold Wilson said, "Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a camel, this is the promised land."

Then Gordon Brown stole your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of camels, and mortgaged the promised land.

Now David Cameron has loaned my shovel to a third World country, (he hasn't realised yet that WE are now a third World country), raised my fuel bills, lent my money to a crowd of incompetent, greedy "merchant bankers" and increased Vat to 20%.

I am so depressed last night I called the Samaritans, they diverted my call to a call centre in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter.
The man at the counter asked the older boy, "Son, how old are you?"
"Eight", the boy replied.
The man continued, "Do you know what these are used for?"
The boy replied, "Not exactly, but they aren't for me. They're for him. He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these you would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now, he can't do either."

Every day, Luigi walks to work and passes a shoe store twice.
Each day he stops and looks in the window to admire the Armani leather shoes.
He wants those shoes so much... it's all he can think about.
After about 2 months he saves the price of the shoes, $300, and purchases them.
Every Friday night the Italian community holds a dance in the church basement.
Luigi seizes this opportunity to wear his new Armani leather shoes for the first time.
He asks Sophia to dance and as they dance he asks her, 'Sophia, do you wear red panties tonight?'
Startled, Sophia replies, 'Yes, Luigi, I do wear red panties tonight,
But how do you know?'
Luigi answers,
'I see the reflection in my new $300 Armani leather shoes. How do you like them?'
Next he asks Rosa to dance, and after a few minutes he asks, ' Rosa , do you wear white panties tonight?'
Rosa answers, 'Yes, Luigi, I do. But how do you know that?'
He replies,
'I see the reflection in my new $300 Armani leather shoes.. . How do you like them?'
Now as the evening is almost over and the last song is being played, Luigi asks Carmela to dance.
Midway through the dance his face turns red...
He states, 'Carmela, be stilla my heart,
Please, please tell me you wear no panties tonight,
Please, please, tella me this true!'
Carmela smiles coyly and answers. 'Yes Luigi, I wear no panties tonight...'
Luigi gasps, 'Thanka God ... I thought I had a CRACK in my Armanis!'

These are classified ads, which were actually placed in a U.K. newspaper:

8 years old.
Hateful little bastard.

1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbour's dog.

Mother is a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd.
Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

Also 1 gay bull for sale.

Must sell washer and dryer £100.

Worn once by mistake.
Call Stephanie.

Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 45 volumes.
Excellent condition, £200 or best offer. No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.

Statement of the Century
Thought from the Greatest Living Scottish Thinker--Billy Connolly.
"If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, how come they can't have a headache and sex at the same time?"

A Police Stop at 2 AM
An elderly man is stopped by the police around 2 a.m. and is asked where he is going at this time of night.
The man replies, "I am on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late."
The officer then asks, "Really? Who is giving that lecture at this time of night?"
The man replies, "That would be my wife."


The wife suggested I get myself one of those penis enlargers, so I did.....

She's 21 and her name's Melissa.


Are you a fan of the England rugby team?

Feeling down in the dumps?
Then call the Rugby World Cup helpline on 0800 101010:
That's 0800, won nothing, won nothing, won nothing.

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead