Author: Colin Cross

National Treasure

Coloniescross, Going Postal

The National Health Service in Britain is seen as a “National Treasure”. Politicians of a certain stripe have recently started to call it “Our National Health Service”, leading me to wonder just who it used to belong to before it was ours. But I digress (slightly).

There are certain truths about this organisation that we should be clear on and there are certain myths surrounding it also. For some people it is the pinnacle of what civilisation can achieve. A clean, efficient, well run and free at the point of use service for the taxpaying citizens of The United Kingdom to make use of should they ever need to. For others it is exactly the opposite, a dirty, inefficient and expensive shibboleth that badly needs to be taken down and possibly never rebuilt.

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Evangelicalism

Colin Cross, Going Postal

For a time as a young boy I flirted with Evangelical Christianity. I was born into a family that had close ties to the Salvation Army but although I liked listening to the band as it made its way around the village, stopping to play such tunes as “He is a Friend of Mine” on various street corners it wasn’t really for me.  Sunday mornings at St Michael’s parish church didn’t really appeal either although I knew, even at an early age, that I wanted to be part of something spiritual.

The Pentecostal church in our village seemed to offer something that other branches of the church didn’t. Their Sunday school was taken after the morning worship. This allowed me to marvel at a large group of adults making their feelings know to God and to their fellow worshippers in the most extravagant of ways.

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Shocking Pink

Colin Cross, Going PostalPoliticians, if that is what we should call them, are a very funny breed. I don’t know if it has always been the case but the current members of the House of Commons, with one or two notable exceptions, seem to me to be lost in a morass of contradictory thought and opinion. Male and female members, on all sides of the house, appear to delight in exhibiting the very characteristics that, if they were to exhibit them in every day scenarios, would see them roundly and justifiably challenged.

How has this come about? One of the problems and possibly the biggest one stems from the fact that so few of them have ever had anything remotely resembling a proper job. Many have never worked outside the Westminster bubble since leaving education and many, especially those who consider themselves “progressive liberal free thinkers” are anything but. They find themselves in a constant state of flux because everything that isn’t “progressive and liberal” has to be wrong, no matter how right it is.

Currently there is some brouhaha within political and media circles surrounding the forthcoming state visit to our country of probably the single most powerful man in World politics, PotUS Donald J Trump. This hissy fit, initially instigated by that paragon of political virtue John Bercow, over whether or not the PotUS “grabbed a fanny”, has accelerated exponentially since three tweets, originally posted by Britain First and picked up by American ultra-conservative Anne Coulter Nile were re-tweeted from the Presidents twitter account. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that at least two of the videos contain graphic images of atrocities being carried out by Muslims in the name of Allah. The third video, strangely enough the one that the MSM and the political cognoscenti have concentrated on, holds less veracity but is, in its own way, just as shocking.  It clearly shows a young man on crutches being beaten by men of “Asian” appearance who may or may not, be the offspring of Muslim immigrants.

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A Couple of Side Dishes for Christmas Day

GP’S 2017 ADVENT CALENDAR OF CUISINE

Coloniescross, Going Postal
NOT Colin Cross frying leeks

Sometimes Red Cabbage, boiled Brussels and frozen peas just don’t hit the spot. Try one or more of these vegetable dishes and “liven up” the Christmas Dinner Table; All these dishes will serve around 8 people as part of a Christmas Dinner.

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Icon

Coloniescross, Going Postal

Where to even begin?  Coming up with one single descriptor for Owen Jones is nigh on impossible. Mr Jones is one of the most charismatic figures of the modern left and he is rarely, if ever, out of the news, off our screens or out of the spotlight. Writing about him from a completely unbiased and balanced perspective while at the same time pointing out some of his more glaring “inconsistencies” is nothing if not challenging, but let’s give it a go.

Coloniescross, Going Postal

To some he is the “enfant terrible” of “socialism, a no nonsense sort of guy with an opinion on everything, and, when I say everything I mean, literally, everything. Over the last 10 years or so he has been extremely vocal on all manner of topics. He has a regular column in the Grauniad, which can be highly entertaining, he writes occasionally for other newspapers and periodicals and is also the author of several books. He is, as you might have guessed, a member of the ABBC revolving door club along with people of the calibre of Yasmin I’maliar Brown, Diane Abbott, Michael Heseltine, Chuka Umunna and others who, although they might have very important day jobs are ever eager to trouser the odd £500 of license payers hard earned to be given a platform to spout inane claptrap on a very regular basis.

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Postcard from York, The National Railway Museum

Coloniescross, Going Postal
The Imposing “Industrial” Entrance

On Sunday 12th November we ventured out to do another one of those 40 things to do when you’ve been married forty years (12 down 28 to go before August 2018). So far none of the things we have done have been a hardship but here was one that I was particularly looking forward to. As a child I lived less than 100 yards from the East Coast mainline. I was an avid train spotter and saw many of the great engines of the 1950’s “up close and personal”.
On a good day York is 2 hours drive from my home, Sunday was a good day, made better by the fact that my nephew had taken on driving duties. The museum itself is located just outside the city centre and, on Sunday at least, has ample parking. £10 for all day parking, but entrance to the museum is free and I suppose it is one of the ways of raising revenue.
As I walked into the Great Hall I might as well have been 60 years younger, it is easy to forget just how imposing a steam locomotive can be. The engine at the entrance has been cut open to reveal the inner workings, extremely interesting if you like that sort of thing, again it brings home just what amazing feats of engineering these things are.
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Postcard from the Lake District, No 2

A LONG WEEKEND IN THE LAKE DISTRICT, PART Four

Coloniescross, Going Postal
A View of Ullswater

It’s Monday morning already. You’ve seen Grasmere, been over Kirkstone Pass, spent the day in Penrith, seen the Winter Droving and passed a pleasant afternoon at The Lakes Distillery. Your temporary place of residence has to be vacated by 10 am but you’re in no real rush to get home and the little teaser of Friday’s drive along the Ullswater shoreline has whetted the appetite for more “Lake District”.

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Postcard from the Lake District, No 2

A long Weekend in the Lake District, Part Three

The Lakes Distillery

Coloniescross, Going Postal
The Impressive Entrance

Another of those 40 things to do when you’ve been married for forty years, which happened, by a quirk of Mrs Cross engineered fate to coincide with my 66th birthday, was a day trip to the Lakes Distillery. Although I’m always a bit wary of stuff like this, believing that style and presentation often outweigh substance, I was in no position to decline, especially as Mrs C was missing Carlisle at home in the 1st round of the FA Cup (they beat Oldham 3-2), no doubt I’ll be reminded of this in the months and years to come.

The Lakes Distillery is situated in Cumbria, West of Keswick. It operates from a lovingly and fastidiously restored Victorian Model Farm and is the brainchild of a man called Paul Currie. It makes whisky, gin and vodka and the first batch of single malts will be released for sale, in very limited amounts, later this year. This place is more than just a business though, it has become a thriving visitor attraction and now, in my view, one of the “must do’s” during any visit to the Northern Lakes.

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Postcard from the Lake District, No 2

A long Weekend in the Lake District, Part Two

Festival Penrith and the Winter Droving

Obviously, if you are coming to the Lake District for a long weekend the last thing you need is someone running your life. Have a leisurely breakfast; watch the rain from your lodge window and plan the rest of your day. At this point it might make sense to have made sure that where you are staying is on a bus route to Penrith. Traffic on festival day can be annoying. Besides streams, rivers, lakes and mountains there are all kinds of things to see and do in Cumbria. The house where William Wordsworth lived as a boy is in nearby Cockermouth and Carlisle has an interesting Museum in a building called Tullie House. Rheged Visitor Centre, just outside Penrith often has an exhibition or a “fayre” of one kind or another. In between downpours you might even want to take a walk around the village where you are staying, you may come across a roll of rusty wire.

Coloniescross, Going Postal
Some Rusty Wire

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