Ever thought about Obituaries?

Let me introduce you to this rather solid looking gentleman who goes by the name of Mike Osborn. His obituary appears in todays DT and I have no connection with him whatsoever other than having read his obituary this morning. I have neither asked the permission of the DT for using this obituary or his family and if I cause offence by doing either I apologise unreservedly.

I picked Mike because he is so typical of the type of person who populate the obit pages of the DT, he is not famous, he is not a ‘celeb’ but to those who loved him he was the most important man in the world. I suspect not many of us on this site will make the heady heights of the DTs obituary page, I could be wrong, I suspect many a light is hidden from view only to be revealed when the holder of the light dies. A close colleague of mine had his obit published in the Times some years ago and although I thought I knew the person I was surprised to read that during the WWII he was the man who tested different type of parachutes and it was done in the only way they knew, by strapping one on to Harry and saying ‘jump’. I often read the obits in the DT especially the military ones and I marvel and wonder at the deeds carried out and the lives lead after all the ‘derring-do’, sometimes fairly hum drum lives and I wonder what it must have been like to go from fighting to the death in a theatre of war and being recognised for your bravery and then coming home to pick up the threads in the Town Clerks dept of your local council. I think if I were a teacher today I would read these military obits occasionally to my class as some of them read like something from the old ‘Boy’s Own’ comics of my youth and when I had the class gasping for more I would gently remind them that the person concerned was once a young man or woman but now they are old and frail and you probably laugh at them as they totter along or get angry and barge past them if the get in your way. And there I think is the essence of the obit. It reminds us that a life stretches behind us, billowing like a dusty cape through our past, constantly attached and growing ever longer until one day, it stops growing and turns from something we can physically add to, to our mark upon this world. So please read about Mike and do as I will later, raise a glass to a stranger who has lived his life for better or worse and wish him well on his last journey.

Colonel Mike Osborn

Colonel Mike Osborn, who has died aged 92, had an adventurous career in which he was awarded a DSO and an MC, and played a leading part in the arrest of Heinrich Himmler.

Continue reading “Ever thought about Obituaries?”

On This Day – 19th February 1700 in England (and elsewhere)

A Popish Plot!

… it was March 1st 1700 in Denmark.

In 46 BC Julius Caesar reorganised the calendar with months at fixed lengths, one year had 365 days, 12 months and every 4th year was a leap year with 366 days. To return the public feasts to their correct seasons an additional month was inserted in 46 BC which was called the “Year of Confusion” since it consisted of 445 days – and on 1 January 45 BC the Julian Calendar came into effect. But the Julian calendar did not account for the fact that a solar year is not quite 365 and a quarter days.

Continue reading “On This Day – 19th February 1700 in England (and elsewhere)”

Snow Big Deal

Poking about the local marinas after the record snowfalls here last week revealed a couple of catastrophes of significant proportions. Those poorer people who do not have the advantage of owning their own docks, but own expensive (read large) boats usually keep them in “Covered Slips” at local marinas, these shed like structures usually hold boats in the 50 to 60 foot range (read $1-$2 million a pop). The forty inch snowfall last week collapsed at least two of the covered slips containing about sixty such craft. Looks like about $30 million in property value involved here, sort of thing that would spoil your breakfast any day.

Continue reading “Snow Big Deal”


I am at the kitchen table surrounded by books and articles as I start to try and put together an essay (3000 words) for a Uni module –  “Facilitating Workplace Learning.” It has been decreed that all nurses in our area (of band five and above) have to have this qualification. When asked my preference for when I’d like to do it I said, “As long as it doesn’t interfere with my gardening.” Three weeks later I had been allocated a funded place. Continue reading “Procrastination”

I feel a bit like this today…..

Still transferring my blogs, and I’ up to this one, so, since I had a bot of a bad hair day today, I thought I’d re-cycle it 🙂

What is the point…

…… of clingfilm that doesn’t cling? Or cereal wax packets that resist all efforts to open them until you exert so much force that they burst open and spray cereal all over the kitchen? And why can no-one produce an airport luggage trolley which goes in the direction you push it easily, and every time? These are the real mysteries of life. Why can’t IKEA have their assembly instructions for flat-pack furniture translated directly into English instead of having it done in Bahasa first? Why is it that things that say ‘Open Here’ never do and screw-tops don’t? Why am I doomed to go through life pushing doors marked ‘Pull,’ and why are the toilets always at the other end of the building from me? Why are my car keys always in the last place I look, and my glasses always in the car when I’m in the house, and vice-versa and my umbrella always at the other end of the journey when it’s chucking it down? And, most of all, why me?