I'm just a WYSIWYG kind of guy … who wears his heart on his sleeve.

This is a re blog of a post I wrote some years ago whilst ‘people watching’ in the Emergency Dept., at my local Hospital. My wife and I had taken Mum and Dad (now sadly deceased) down to the Emergency room as Dad was in excruciating pain and could barely move, let alone walk. The people I observed, whilst trying to be non-judgemental, were an interesting mix of society

Saturday 24 th March 2012
Sat in A&E with mum, dad, wifey and me…been here for about two and a half hours…very little sign of movement since Dad went into The black hole that is Triage. He is having a great deal of pain in the hip he had replaced about 7 years ago when weight is put on it or he has to twist. Got the call about 0930 hrs this morning so it was a rushed breakfast and away to mum and dad’s…rang NHS Direct and the doctor didn’t diagnose anything, he just said if the pain is bad get yourself to hospital and wait in the A&E for a diagnosis…not really very helpful but then again, it maybe just another sign of the times and the NHS not being bothered at the point of use, passing the buck even, for a quiet life.         Anyway here we are waiting waiting waiting…at least there are no druggies, alcoholics or violent noisy drunks (We could come back later tonight to get involved with those !!!!!)Lots of people using mobile phones…it really annoys me that they totally ignore all the rather large signs that say, “PLEASE TURN OFF ALL MOBILE PHONES”…….. If you tell them, they will only look vacantly at you and spit abuse…FFS !!!!”……… (SSLLAAPP!!!)        AAHHH !!!! The first swearing loudmouth has just come in… to be two sandwiches short of a picnic or have a great psychological need to noticed by everyone. No sporting injuries, which is unusual for a Saturday afternoon…I can well remember when I was a young lad being brought to A&E with various sporting injuries..( I was a goalkeeper, and goalkeepers, being more insane than outfield plays, have a tendency to suffer more at the murderous feet of big burley center forwards) … and you could guarantee being laid on a bed along with rugby players with hands or fingers turned at impossible angles, or squished noses and football players with ankles facing the wrong way….but non of that stuff today…it’s a Saturday, a day of sport so where are they???Is it a sign that today’s youth don’t play contact sports any more ? Or do they play more carefully ??…can’t see that happening. Maybe it’s a sign that the youth of today are frantically buying cans of white lightening in order to beat the 40p per unit price hike, or maybe they are all on Xbox/Playstation or computer getting their adrenalin rush. Maybe it’s just me being a Victor Meldrew and not giving them enough credit. Maybe they are all participating in Sport relief and raising money for the underprivileged youth of the third world..??  Did I see a pig on the wing then ??? ……. OH!! Look another swearing loudmouth has just entered the waiting area of A&E..shit, he has sat next to me !! Best stop writing before he looks and sees me writing about him. Be back in a while folks ………..He’s gone now….. Mum has just come out of the assessment room and the doctor has said it may be a trapped Sciatic nerve, but they need to X-ray it to be sure there is no damage to the hip joint…… More waiting and more of an opportunity to observe the sick lame and lazy ( as they used to say about the military sick parade)….two just come in who look like junkies that have had a mishap with their dosage, and an elderly guy that looks as though he has taken half his top lip off with a cut throat razor !!! Various trades men beginning to show up with cuts gashes and other types of open wounds….. Been here now three and a half hours and getting a numb bum on these hard hospital seats….so, time to sign off and go and get a cuppa java. I may add a little more before I get into wi- fi range of home…if not, well…TTFN. 
    Aaarrrggghhh!!!….. Been here over five hours now and one of the “Street Dwellers” came over and sat by my side to have a chat and tell me …here she comes again..switch off.
I must be a sh1t magnet…I attract desperate people like jam attracts flies !!!! The ‘lady’ in question told me all about the reason for her visit to A&E, turns out her Bessie mate repeatedly punched her in the head whilst walking in town yesterday and she had a bit of an headache afterwards….and…. She has since been seeing spots before her eyes. I said that she might have a mild concussion , at which point she held her head and started moaning, throwing the six year old daughter she had with her into a panic( as well as me !!!) “I can see the spots and the stringy bits floating across my eyes”, she moaned… to quieten her down I told her they would probably only be ‘floaters’ she was seeing, at which point she grabbed my arm and asked, very seriously, “Will they hurt me?”….so I reassured her that most people get them and they wouldn’t hurt her…..then she left again, ….thank heavens. I can now continue the waiting waiting waiting……… In the hopes of being left alone to nurse my VERY numb bum….bye folks.

Well, I recovered from my ‘numb bum’ and Dad was pronounced well at the end of it.

As some of you may know, I publish a Vlog on Youtube (steelcityman) and during the covid 19 Pandemic and the consequent lockdown and restrictions on traveling, I’ve been doing poetry readings each day rather than a generic Vlog. The latest reading I did was an excellent poem by the very influential American poet, WALT WHITMAN. Its entitled, ‘O Captain My Captain. It’s been immortalised in modern times by the late ROBIN WILLIAMS in the film ‘The Dead Poet’s Society’. In the Vlog, I read the poem and did a brief analysis of the metaphors involved……Trying to upload it to my Youtube channel however, was a very different kettle of fish !! After 30 hrs of uploading it was still only 52% done !! ….. That’s where the INTERNET MADNESS comes in ! The Upload speed is driving me crazy ! At this rate it will take in excess of 60 hrs to complete the upload of a 2G/byte file to Youtube !! I know Ive mentioned it before, but I am living in an ‘Internet Black Hole’ that even the late Stephen Hawkin wouldn’t be able to escape from !! Anyway I’ll keep trying and wait until something better than a length of copper wire is used to connect me to the outside world. In the words immortalised by CAPTAIN OATES, I may be some time” …………. ( before Fibre optic is discovered in the postal district of S35 !! ) It’s rather ironic that I have just paid over £50 to WordPress for a domain name and the ability to include my vlogs into my Blog !!! Ha! That’s a bit rich isn’t it ?

Captain Lawrence Oates

Because the vlog has not been uploaded ( I’ve since scrapped the process until I’ve scratched my head enough to come up with another solution ) I’ve decided to write the poem in this blog for the delectation of anyone who is not familiar with WALT WHITMAN and ‘O Captain my Captain’, I must admit, Until I’d seen the Dead Poet’s Society, I’d never heard this poem myself. One last word before I launch into it….. I am NOT going to write the verses in the shape of a ship !!! If you want to see that, please refer to the Wiki link above and you can see Walt’s original manuscript……..


Oh, Captain, my Captain our fearful trip is done, The Ship has weather’d every rack, The prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring, But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells. Rise up – for you the flag is flung – for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths, for you the shores a-crowding For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning, Here Captain, dear father, this arm beneath your head, It is some dream that on the deck You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchored safe and sound, it’s voyage closed and done, From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won, Exult O shores, and ring O bells But I with mournful tread Walk the deck my Captain lies Fallen cold and dead.

WoW !! That is a a powerful poem and one I return to every now and then for the pleasure of reading WALT WHITMAN, poet extraordinaire. O Captain! my Captain! was written after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and is known as an extended Metaphor type of poem. Also classed as a mourning poem, or an elegy. During the Civil war, Whitman moved up to Washington D.C. where he cared for the wounded, and many of his poems have the war as a theme. In O Captain! My Captain!, the ‘Fearful Trip’ that the ship and crew undertook is a metaphor for Civil War and the Prize they sought and won was the victory over the Confederate cause. The ship itself was the NATION which the Captain (President Lincoln) steered to victory. As the war was won, Lincoln was assassinated, hence he was ,’Fallen cold and dead on the deck’ of the victorious ship.

Like I said Earlier, “It’s a powerful poem and one I revisit from time to time.” …… Anyway, I’ve waffled on far too long now, I’m just thankful it’s been a very warm and sunny end to the month of May and I’ve been able to compose this blog outside, amidst the birdsong and buzz of Bumble Bees.

I follow many bloggers, too many to name them all, but of all those I follow, and remember, although I don’y comment too as much as I should, I do read your work, there are two bloggers in particular I will mention who have inspired me tremendously, both in my writing and my outlook on life, they are ;

CAROL. A. HAND with her blog, VOICES FROM THE MARGINS which she describes as , “A welcoming place for resistance to the forces of oppression and hegemony.” Carol is a truly inspirational human being and a writer of the highest order.

ELLEN HAWLEY — with her blog, NOTES FROM THE UK An American in Cornwall, Ellen gives her perspective on the quirky side of life here in the UK …Of course Ellen is much more than a blogger, she is a published author as well. Her sense of humour is second to none and she weaves it skilfully through her work. I would describe her work as “a riveting read ” One read and you’re hooked !!


A few months ago I enrolled on a short Creative Writing course (inspired by no less a personage that ELLEN HAWLEY, Author and Blogger extraordinaire). I thoroughly enjoy reading Ellen’s blogs and I have often wished I could write with the same flair and professionalism that she does. I want to be able to write interesting ‘stuff’ like her, ‘stuff’ which makes you want to read on to the very end and which elicits a sigh of satisfaction as you reflect on the content read. Follow the link above and sample Ellen’s work, I guarantee you’ll go back for more ……

On the course, there were only seven people, so it was intimate, almost one to one tuition and Rachel, the tutor, certainly knew her ‘stuff’. We had only finished the second session when Covid 19 reared it’s extremely ugly head … Just as the creative juices began to flow !! It was with a heavy heart that I read the ‘e’mail telling us the course had been cancelled due to Covid 19 and the country, nay! the world, had gone into lockdown. A few weeks later I received another ‘e’ mail from the community education charity, which organised the course, inviting the course participants for an online version of ‘Creative Writing’. It was to be via ‘e’ mail, so in line with the government’s social distancing rules. I’ve just handed in my third session for evaluation and critique. It’s been really enjoyable, I’m learning stuff and as a bonus, it’s put me back in touch with my steelcityman blog, can’t be bad ! I’d like to share a small piece of work which I did after talking about emotions and feelings and incorporating them into the diary of a fictitious character ;


SUNDAY 5th FEB…… It’s cold and very frosty this morning. When I looked out of the window, or tried to, the glass panes were etched with Jack Frost’s tell tale patterns, so I decided to stay in bed longer and save money on the heating. Last week I reported to the landlord, that the electric fire had lost another bar. However, he hasn’t even been round to look at it, the bastard ! He makes me so angry ! I get frustrated, and even depressed since I lost my job at the factory. Yes, I stay in bed a lot … but then I get bored and have to get up and face this life. I always hated Sundays, but now I’m not working, (who wants to hire a 59 year old ?) every day is a Sunday. It’ll be tea time soon and having missed lunch, I’m ready for my tea. I think I’ll then take a book to bed while there’s still some light to read by. I’m reading Dickens again, Great Expectations …. Ha! that’s rich. MONDAY 6th FEB….. I didn’t sleep a wink last night; bloody neighbours partying ’till 0300hrs ! I so wanted to go round and give them a piece of my mind, but they are the kind of people you don’t mess with. They’re scary… well, they scare me and I’m not as young as I used to be. I stumbled out of bed at 0600 hrs, and as it was a bright Winter’s morning, I got dressed and walked down to the cafe for a rare treat of tea and toast made by someone else. As I walked home and turned the corner at the bottom of my street, I noticed my noisy neighbours flash car parked away from his house. I walked past with a smile, and looked back with satisfaction at the deep scratch in the metallic paint across all the nearside panels. I think I’ll sleep better tonight. No lunch, Spam fritters for tea and bed with Dickens again. At least it’s warmer in bed. TUESDAY 7th FEB …… Up at 0900 hrs , called the landlord about the electric fire. No answer. Left a message. Called again at 1000 hrs. Answer machine, so I left a message. I took a walk in the park but it was so cold, the wind blew straight through my jacket and I had to come home, via the cafe. Just had a cuppa, money’s getting short. Don’t think it will last until my Job Seekers goes in on Friday. At home I called the landlord again .. no answer. I’m going to get on to the Council Housing Dept., see what they can do to help me. Something need to be done to leeches like my landlord, quick to take his rent but won’t get anything fixed !! baked potato for tea…a treat, then bed with Dickens again (the neighbours will be talking !) Lately I find I’m jealous of Pip, having a benefactor. How stupid is that ? WEDNESDAY 8th FEB….. Stayed in bed ’till 1100 hrs for warmth. Outside temperature was -2C. The one bar electric fire wouldn’t help, so I didn’t switch it on. I had £2.80 left of my allowance and £14.35 in my bill tin. I threw caution to the wind, walked down to the cafe and ordered a full English for £2.60. I’ve been thinking of selling my General Service Medal for some time and although it wouldn’t raise much money, it would keep me going for a few weeks. It’s only a medal, a few ounces of memories. I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in warm surroundings. All I missed, really, was some company. I’m getting bored talking to myself. Some say it’s the first sign !! I smiled to myself on the way home as I saw the neighbours flash, scratched, car being taken away on a tow truck. It’s amazing how little can drive a man to vandalism. No book tonight, Pip had got his just desserts and lived happily ever after. THURSDAY 9th FEB…… A little warmer this morning, which was good for my visit to the Job Centre. Got the same spotty faced, arrogant, woman/girl I usually get. When she sees me coming into her booth, I always get a knowing look and a smirk. It irks me. I got threatened with benefit sanctions if I didn’t put more effort into finding a job. What a bloody system ! Feeling angry, defeated, depressed and desperate, I dragged myself homewards. I’d walked about two miles when I saw a wallet in the weeds at the bottom of a wall. I pocketed the wallet and hurried on my way. I can’t remember arriving home until I stumbled through the front door, and then I realised someone had been in my flat. The mat in front of the fire had been disturbed and there was a note on the fire surround. The bloody landlord had let himself in to look at the fire ! The note said he would try to arrange an electrician for next week. Next week !! I nearly cried !! Then I felt the wallet in my pocket. I opened it and saw the wad ! I counted £1860 in £20 notes. “Call me Pip” I exclaimed. I was on a see-saw… keep it…hand it in…keep it…hand it in. I decided to sleep on the dilemma and decide what to do in the morning. Went to bed late. Didn’t even have tea. FRIDAY 10th FEB….. Didn’t sleep a wink, again. However I decided to hand the wallet in at the police station in town, much as I needed the money. All night I thought about how I could spend it. I quite enjoyed spending the money in my thoughts … but … I was brought up with a moral compass and it pointed in the direction of right. Toast and tea and off I went to the police station. The Desk Sergeant looked at me with surprise in his eyes, counted the money and told me it had been reported lost this very morning. Lots of questions, who I was, where did I live? etc, then he thanked me for my honesty and put the wallet in his desk drawer. I spent the rest of the day kicking myself for being so honest, yet knowing I did the right thing. Didn’t feel like having tea, so I went to bed with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. (From Here To Eternity) SATURDAY 11th FEB….. What a day !! I’m laid in bed thinking of Phillip Pirrip again. It’s nearly midnight and I’ve just fallen into bed. It started at 0800 hrs when I was woken up by an authoritarian knocking at my door. I opened the door thinking the neighbours had found out it was me who scratched their flashy car. Instead there was a gent in a dark blue, pin striped, three piece suit, white shirt with a yellow tie which was tied in an immaculate Windsor knot, He introduced himself as the owner of the wallet I had handed in, and the police had told him I was responsible for finding it. Reluctantly, I invited him in to my sparsely furnished, run down flat and offered him the only serviceable straight backed chair. He’d come to thank me, which he did, and to find out what kind of person would give back that amount of money. His name was Sir Denzil Forthright and he was the Tory MP for the posh end of town. He summed up my situation without me giving much away, then took out the wallet I had found and pushed £100 into my hand ! “Don’t tell the Social” he said with a grin. Then added, “If you want a job, report to Bright’s Engineering, personnel Dept., on Carry St, next Monday, 9am prompt. It’s only a labouring position to start, but there’s scope to do better if you’re up for it. That is the best I can do for you. You see, it’s not just for the money you returned, the wallet contains a lock of my late wife’s hair, which I treasure greatly.” He opened an almost invisible zip inside the wallet and showed me the lock of red hair. I’m sure there was a tear in his eye when he stoop and said, “Be there my good man, cheerio and thank you for your honesty.” Seems that not all Tories are black hearted so and so’s after all. After he had gone, I made some tea and let it sink in what he had done for me, £100 !! and better than that, I had a job !! I could tell that spotty faced girl/woman with the smirk, at the Job Centre, where to go !! I had been tempted, but resisted and got MY just desserts. I really did feel like Phillip Pirrip, young Pip. Monday would be a day of GREAT EXPECTATIONS indeed for me and my new beginning.

Well…. That’s about it for today….Any critique you leave will be most welcome. I was going to do a piece about a Walt Whitman poem, but it’s such a nice day I’ll leave that little gem until tomorrow. STAY SAFE PEOPLE AND LOOK AFTER EACH OTHER.

Well … Blogging and Vlogging curtailed yet again !! The reason being, I’ve been admitted to hospital … I’ve been attending a creative writing course for the last few week, only a couple of hours per week, and when I got home at lunchtime this last Thursday, my dear wife informed me that my cardio consultant (a professor no less !) Had rung and said after reviewing my blood test from last Thursday, I was to get myself down to the hospital asap, where a bed was made up and ready for me !

Well, no time to take off my coat and hat or even have a cup of tea !! The Nursing Sister was waiting and ushered me into a bed, 15 mins later the ‘Prof’ arrived, quizzed me and said that I would be in for at least 10 days because I had SEPSIS !!!!. … So … intravenous antibiotics, scans and rest for the next 10 days.

Talk about queue jumping !! … I wrote a little poem which reflects on how I see these magnificent nurses in the NHS.


They’re run off their feet from the start to the finish of their shifts. Day after Day Night after night Angels without wings.

They do a thousand things for those in their care                               From bedpans to comfort Day after day night after night Angels without wings

Underpaid and overworked Still they carry a smile Day after day night after night As they traverse the shiny blue mile (or whatever the colour of the ward floor is !!) Angels without wings

When I wake from my pain and see in their eyes The look that eases my ills, I see their wings, Silver and Proud, And thank God ! FOR THE ANGELS WITH WINGS.

Like I’ve said before, I’m not an expert in writing poetry, I just write from my heart about whatever stirs my soul … and the nurses and doctors of the Northern General Hospital stir my soul with the spoon of gratitude…. THANK YOU N.H.S.

Just a short one today, fellow bloggers. As the title suggests, I’m going to try and embed my latest Vlog into this Blog whilst using the new all singing, all dancing block system … I tried using the block system several days ago but to be as honest as only a first grade technophobe can be… I gave up! Well … I’m not the brightest button in the tin when it comes to technology ! Anyway, I’ve taken the bull by the horns and this is my attempt to get to grips with the block system and embedding a video. (Before my lengthy layoff to dally in the world of vlogging, one couldn’t put a video into a vlog without forking out for an upgrade !!) But, it appears you can now. So here it is, for your delight and delectation, my 45th steelcityman video …..

There you have it… hope it didn’t put you off looking at more of what I’ve done on You tube.

      I don’t know why I wrote that title, ‘Crying Time’, by the late great Ray Charles, but it was going through my head as I thought, “Let’s do a Blog this morning.” Ray Charles is one of my musical heroes, along with Nina Simone and a whole host of others in the jazz/blues genre. ( and just to be eclectic, I love opera and Pink Floyd !!) Anyway, the title suits the weather this morning, it’s coming down in stair rods and bringing loads of snow/sleet with it.  It’s enough to make you cry, and the faraway look in your eyes? … It must be a longing for the dry half of Spring and (hopefully) sunny Summer.

      To the point of this Blog.  Wishing to hone my literary skills, or at least Gain some, I recently enrolled on a CREATIVE WRITING course with a local community charity. The three sessions were ‘Taster’ sessions,  during which I wrote my life story in three foolscap sheets of paper.  At the end of the three sessions, it left me thirsting for more of the same and I was disappointed it had to end. I asked the tutor if any longer courses were in the pipeline but she replied, “Not to my knowledge.”     ‘Ah! well, I thought, I enjoyed what we were given.’

About a week later I received an E-mail from the tutor telling me an eight-week course was starting on such and such a date, would I be interested? I was over the moon when I found out that the third session would embrace my favourite writing topic, POETRY!!  It’s this topic I wish to explore in this Blog, including some of my own work.  Here is a poem inspired by one of my Army tours in Northern Ireland, a market town close to the border with the Republic in South Armagh. I was stationed at the Keady police station (then the R.U.C )  I’m not publishing it because it’s good, I’m publishing it because it’s me …….



My turn in the Sanga

This wet Winter’s night.

A young trooper, alone

With a gun, and my fright.

My job was quite simple,

To observe and protect

My comrades in arms

From the I.R.A. threat

  I hated that Sanga!

 I could see through the slit

Down Keady’s main street,

And right,  up the hill,

Where streetlights and darkness

And my fears did meet.

                                                               I hated that Sanga!

The ample young woman across the way

Who, with the bedroom light on, took off her kit,

Tempting a young face to peer long enough

To get a bullet, in his head, right through the slit.

Then howls of derision from a gang of drunk youths

As they sped past in a car hurling bricks and abuse

 I hated that Sanga!

Nothing happened that night, tho’ oft’  times it did!

The thud of a bullet on sandbag or brick,

Narrowly missing my trusty Tin-Lid.

Sometimes it was spittle, SPLAT ! in my face

As a group of young women walked past my place.

In the Sanga, cold and shook up — Wanting my home.


It must be obvious to an accomplished wordsmith, a real writer, that I am not an expert on poetry. I don’t know much at all about the construction of poems, the ‘proper’ way to write poetry. For me, I often just feel ‘stirred’, or enough emotionally involved in some thing or event, to write about my feelings about whatever ‘stirred’ me. Much of my own poetry is political in nature because I feel very  … passionate about my political standpoint. I get angry, I write … I feel good, I write and that’s me. Regarding other people’s poetry, I have my heroes and I have ones I can not fathom. I suppose I’m like an uneducated drinker of wine, ‘I know nothing much about wine, I just like what I like.’

      My two poetic heroes are MAYA ANGELOU … What a woman, admired by me for her role in the political arena, the fight for civil rights and fighting for the women of the world as well as being a poet that can stir my soul. The world is a much duller place without her. R.I.P.  The other poetic hero is  RUDYARD KIPLING. Although he has come up against much criticism as a poet, I love his work. Of particular interest to me are his poems about the British soldier. Not very PC in this modern … enlightened ?? age, but he reflects the attitudes and values of the British Empire at the time and does so quite well. During his epic GUNGA DINN,  you can fair smell the gunpowder and hear the noise of battle as you read… well, I can!

At the risk of writing an overlong post, there is one more poem I would like to share with you. It is quite well known but has a secret that fascinated me as I learned more about the poet himself … THE LIFE THAT I HAVE by Leo Marks  (1920-2001).

Leo Marks was a cryptographer during WWII and although he didn’t quite make the cut for working at Bletchley Park, He worked in secret for the S.O.E, compiling codes mainly for the agents in France and the resistance. He invented the concept of using poetry as the all-important ‘KEY’ for the codes, The ONE TIME PAD. The agents memorised a couple of poems and used them as the KEY to decipher the messages. However, the Germans proved quite good at cracking the codes because they had a load of poetry anthologies and simply, through a process of trial and error, went through all the poems until they found the poem that was the KEY. Leo Marks started using his own ‘ORIGINAL’ poetry not found in any anthologies, including THE LIFE THAT I HAVE, which was written after the death of his girlfriend in an air crash in Canada.

He gave the poem to Violette Szabo a female French agent who was captured, tortured and murdered by the Gestapo. She never divulged the secret of the poetic code.    So, here is a poem that had been weaponised, it fought the Nazis, was inspired by a Canadian Tragedy, written by a British intelligence officer and smuggled over the channel into the hands of a French woman who gave her life for her country ……….


The life that I have

Is all that I have

And the life that I have

is yours

The love that I have

For the life that I have

Is yours and yours and yours

A sleep I shall have

A rest I shall have

Yet death will be but a pause

For the peace of my years

In the long green grass

Will be yours and yours and yours.

LEO MARKS  (1920-2001)

I hope you enjoyed reading my witterings and in particular my choice of poetry. Like I said I’m not an expert but I do enjoy writing my own poetry and reading/listening to that of other people. If you can spare a minute, please let me know what you think, of both my writing and that of Leo Marks  …….. Until the next Bloggeroony.. TTFN.

      Well, after all this time, and just a few reblogs of ELLEN HAWLEY’s   great works, I’m back AGAIN with a renewed commitment to the SteelCityMan Blog.  I’ll just say that if you haven’t yet had the great pleasure of reading what Ellen writes, then you are in for a treat if you follow the above link to her page…and…follow you must !!     I’ve been away for so long, I didn’t realise that WordPress have made so many changes. In fact I’ve been away for so long I half expected my account to be closed as I have been concentrating on my VLOGGING journey for the last two years and sadly neglected the old Steelcityman Bloggeroony … I’ll include my latest Vlog, in the Blog, at the end of this phase of the comeback. I’m not sure about the ‘BLOCK’ system that’s appeared…It’s New and scares me a little !! …I don’t seem to be able to incorporate my little interior spinning cogs in the post now, they were put in on my very first post, as an exercise in Blogging 101, years ago, but I’ll give it a go and look at the preview later …( Ah they’re in, I’ve reverted to the ‘Classical editor)…… RIGHT …… I’ll post a link to my latest Vlog;  Walk a mile in my shoes # 20     A whimsical look at the local dialect of my home city, SHEFFIELD in South Yorkshire. This is version #2 of ‘SHEFFIELDISH’, the previous episode gaining well over 13,000 views to date. If you enjoy it, Give me a thumbs up, leave a comment and please subscribe to my channel on Youtube.  


cogsinwallIt Has proved quite an expensive venture, has Vlogging, spending cash on cameras ( now standing at 3 … A Canon 750d (DSLR), a Panasonic Lumix G7 (a compact 4/3rds system) and a Canon Powershot Gx7 MK III ) and of course the attendant lenses, tripods, Flashguns, studio lights, backdrops and empty bank balance to go with it all !!! Still, it’s all in a good cause, though a Cecil B Demille I will never be. If the technology had been around 50 years ago then I would have aspired to be a filmmaker as opposed to a run of the mill small Youtuber. I enjoy making the 15-minute films for Youtube. The only two problems I have are (a): my health, which restricts me getting out and about, and (b); I don’t have a place to set up my studio and leave it set up. As it stands I have to carry the lights and all my gear to where I’m filming and afterwards take it all down and carry it back to where I store it. Living where I do, in a one bedroomed flat, there is just not the room. I have to use the public lounge areas upstairs. Anyway enough wittering on about that.

blue-and-yellow-round-star-print-textile-113885.jpgA lot has happened in the political arena since I last posted on a regular basis, with the two main topics being the UK has left the European Union, which in my humble opinion is the single worst thing to happen to my country since the Black Death, I really fear for the National Health Service, workers rights, health and safety at work,  The dreaded Universal credit (which is responsible for thousands of premature deaths through poverty and debt).  In the same depressive vein is the fact that the potential saviour of the British working class, Jeremy Corbyn, the Socialist leader of the Labour Party, suffered the most crushing defeat in modern-day politics at the last General Election and, I feel, we have at least another 15 years of black-hearted Tory rule before the labour party will recover. That is of course unless the misguided masses realise what a catastrophe the Tories are making of this country because the working class used the election to speed up Brexit !!! I was gutted, I don’t mind saying, and it seems to be the end of the Socialist dream here in the UK. I think I will hibernate for a long time and just come out to Blog and Vlog.Take care you all……cogsinwall

Another great read from Ellen … worth sharing I thought.

Notes from the U.K.

Almost everyone in the English-speaking world (she asserted on the basis of no evidence whatsoever) grew up on stories about Robin Hood, that dashing outlaw of Sherwood Forest who fought the Sheriff of Nottingham and assorted other medieval baddies, who stole from the rich to give to the poor, and who did it all while looking fabulous in green tights and a nifty little hat with a feather. 

Yeah, that Robin. You’ve met him in movies, in comic books, in novels. His arrow never missed its target, his tights never bagged at the knee, and his merry men never got cold or hungry or even wet, living out there in the forest. 

Was he a real person?

Hmm. Probably not–or at least there’s no evidence that he was. The giveaway is those tights that never bagged or sagged. Who thought that was possible? 

But let’s take a quick run…

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Ellen Hawley…Ive said it before and Ill say it again .. “She is one hell of a writer” … a fascinating delve into the history of ‘Bonfire Night’…Well worth a read … I love how Ellen weaves Humour around the macabre

Notes from the U.K.

November 5 is Guy Fawkes Night, when people across most of Britain (we’ll get into the most part eventually) light bonfires and burn a long-dead Catholic plotter in effigy.

The only time I went to a Guy Fawkes Night bonfire, all we burned were some potatoes (and we did’t burn them well enough, if memory serves), but we did at least light a fair-size fire. In other places, they go all out, shooting off fireworks, tossing the effigy into the fire, and (according to what I read) chanting bloodthirsty rhymes. (I’m not really sure if anyone chants it on the spot, but I’ve heard people quote a line or two, so the rhymes do circulate.)

All this dates back to 1605, when a plot to overthrow James I (of England) and VI (of Scotland; same person; same name; it must’ve been confusing for him) failed.

James was the son…

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    cogsinwall TRYING  a PODCAST now !!!        Is there no end to this man’s foolish search to master  technology ??? I mean, a blog (neglected recently), a Vlog (reason for neglected Blog ) and now a PODCAST ??? I must be mad, loosing my marbles at 69 … well, 69 on the 5th of August. Trying to master the technology of Media and Communication at my time of life seems a silly thing to do, after all I’ve only just managed to trust a calculator, never mind a blog/vlog/pod and the software to go with them . The calculator I’ve just learned to trust ( I say that tongue in cheek ) is used solely for simple maths. There are a myriad other functions that may as well be used for Quantum physics and string theory calculations … which I will NEVER use !!! Only the numeric keypads and the +, -, division and multiplication signs … (SEE !! I can’t even find the right signs on a simple computer …  when I’m talking about a calculator … ) Did I really say, simple ???  . Well, now you have an insight into how a Bona Fide ‘TECHNOPHOBE’ struggles in the modern world of gadgets, software and electronic  ‘stuff’ … Hence the title of this post … ‘NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING’ … with reference  to the 1959 poem by STEVIE SMITH ….



      The Blogging bit I am quite ‘au fe’ with, well, I still make plenty of ‘technical’ mistakes so I suppose i’m not entirely ‘au fe’ with it all … I know if I upgrade and start paying a yearly subscription, then I would benefit from a more ‘complete’ experience of WordPress, but being a pensioner, every penny counts so I make do and mend with the free version. 

It’s really the same with the Vlogging experience … I’ve mastered enough of the technology to make and post videos on You tube even though the ‘How I did it last time’ thing will NOT stick in my head and so I have to hunt for the solution again and try and remember how I did it the last time…I know, it’s a sad state of affairs, but you’ve got to use what you’ve got left in the tank, or do nothing at all.  I certainly love the vlogging and it gives me a buzz to see them published and have them commented on by like minded people and fellow vloggers. I think I’m getting better at it….The only down side to vlogging is, for me, the relative inability, due to my physical ailments, to get to outside locations in order to add a more interesting dimension to the films, … some days I can but most days I can’t and when I can It’s usually raining !!! What’s the phrase ? “Catch 22” ….  The equipment for vlogging can be quite expensive too, what with a decent camera, lights, audio equipment, a fast computer (what’s one of those ??? ) and expensive software for editing. I use as much of the free stuff as I can which brings to mind, when talking about quality, the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”


I don’t know why  I decided to go into the podcast lark. I’d been listening to Poddies for years, mainly BBC magazine podcasts such as radio 5 live and science and astronomy podcasts, never thinking about doing one of my own until I saw/heard other You tubers doing podcasts on You tube … new idea, new technology …. WALLOP !!!! fell straight into the trap and thought about doing it myself as an extension to my vlog and blog … how simple can it be ???  Just talking into a mic !!! I didn’t reckon with the fact I was, a Bona fide TECHNOPHOBE !!!                                   I managed to get the first episode up on You tube yesterday, after quite a struggle with audio software that just kept laughing at me, that’s what it felt like anyway. I really did struggle with it. Anyway it got published after doing everything the LONG WAY ROUND ! and it’s on You tube now (the steelcityman podcast.. episode 1)


So, you can see where the poem comes in  .. Not Waving But Drowning .. I’ve been drowning in a sea of technology and new experiences. As I get older, I’m finding it more difficult to retain the technical information required to perform these complex tasks, more difficult to keep myself motivated and at times, I feel like giving up, or at least having a rest from the vlog/blog/pod creating cycle … but, I know if I do have a rest from it, it will be even more difficult to get back into the swing of it again…so…I’ll keep on keeping on, keep on trucking and keep on vlogging/blogging/podding.

Thanks for staying the distance and reading the witterings of this old man,

      If you have a God, may you walk in His/Her light….If you haven’t , may you live your life in peace and happiness. 

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