Monday 31 December 2012

Britain is no country for old men within its borders and Germany is no country for old men within and inceasingly, without its borders

According to Germany’s 'Federal Bureau of Statistics', more than 400,000 old men and women cannot afford a German retirement home, a figure growing by around 5% per year because many are living for longer while their pensions are stagnating.

At the moment :

* EU law prevents state insurers from signing contracts with overseas homes but this is likely to change as legislators are forced to respond to Europe’s ageing population.

* the 'Krankenkassen', statutory insurers which make up Germany’s state insurance system, are discussing cheaper care in foreign retirement homes.

When it comes to private care homes :

* rising numbers are moved overseas for long-term care because of sky-high costs at home with some private healthcare providers are even building homes overseas.

* the 'Sozialverband Deutschland' (VdK), a socio-political advisory group, said the fact that many Germans were unable to afford the costs of a retirement home in their own country was a huge ‘alarm signal’ and its President, Ulrike Mascher, told The Guardian : " We simply cannot let those people, who built Germany up to be what it is, be deported. It is inhumane."

* Artur Frank, the owner of 'Senior Palace', which finds care homes for old men and women  in Slovakia said it was wrong to suggest senior citizens were being ‘deported’ and "many are here of their own free will, the results of sensible decisions by their families who know they will be better off."

* researchers found over 7,000  pensioners living in retirement homes in Hungary in 2011,more than 3,000 in the Czech Republic, more than 600 in Slovakia and unknown numbers in Spain, Greece and the Ukraine, as well as Thailand and the Philippines with some saying they were there 'out of choice' as costs were lower, while standards of care were often higher while many others admitted they' moved reluctantly'.

The reality :

* Germany has one of the fastest growing populations of elderly and with the long-term health care cost rising and actual care standards falling, one of the best solutions is to send the elderly and the sick overseas for treatment, rehabilitation and retirement, where cost is much cheaper and quality of care and attention given to patients are far better.

Sunday 30 December 2012

Britain is a country which, in 2012 said "Goodbye" to 33 remarkable old men who collectively had lived within its shores for over 2,400 years

1. Peter Hammond (right) : 87
Britain is no country for and says "Goodbye" to an old actor then film director called Peter Hammond

2. Ronald Searle :  91 
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to its greatest cartoonist called Ronald Searle

3. Harry Fowler : 88
Britain is no longer a country and says "Goodbye" to an old cockney actor called Harry Fowler

4. Bob Weston : 64
Britain is no country for and says " Goodbye" to one old rock guitarist called Bob Weston and "Happy Birthday" to another called Jimmy Page

5. Nichol Williamson : 73
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old Scottish actor with a rasping voice called Nicol Williamson

6. Gerald Laing : 75
Britain is no longer a country for and said "Goodbye" to an old pop artist called Gerald Laing

7. Philip Lawley : 84
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to a great old scientist called Philip Lawley

8. M.R.D.Foot : 92
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" an old hero from the Second World War, 'Mr Resistance' MRD Foot

9. Philip Madoc : 77
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old welsh actor called Philip Madoc now gone into 'that good night'

10. Norman St John Stevas : 82
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old parliamentarian called Norman St John Stevas

11. Richard Carpenter : 82
Britain is country which remembers 'Robin of Sherwood' and other outsiders and says "Goodbye" to an old tv script writer called Richard Carpenter

12. John Griffiths :  85
Britain is a country where old men say "Goodbye" to book illustrator John Griffiths and remember the science fiction they read when young

13. Dom Homfray : 76
Britain is a country where old men say "thanks and goodbye" to Don Homfray who took them out of their living rooms with his tv stage sets when they were young

14. Jim Marshall : 88
Britain is no longer a country for and its old guitarists say "Goodbye" to Jim Marshall, the 'Father of Loud'

15. Bert Weedon : 91
Britain is a country which says "Goodbye" to Bert Weedon and old guitarists say "Thanks" to the 'Wizard' who taught them to play

16. Peter Halliday : 87
Britain's old men say "Goodbye" to Peter Halliday with black and white tv memories of him, the beautiful Julie Christie and 'A for Andromeda' when they were boys

17. Brian Morgan : 69
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old cameraman called Brian Morgan whose work brightened its film and tv screens

18. Vidal Sasoon : 84
Britain was a country for a time and now says "Goodbye" to an old hairdresser called Vidal Sassoon who once fought fascists on the streets of London

19. Chris Challis : 93
Britain is a country where old men say " Goodbye" to an old cinematographer called Christopher Challis who brightened their lives and widened their eyes at 'the pictures' when they were boys
20. Victor Spinetti : 82
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old film actor beloved by 'The Beatles' who "made the clouds disappear" called Victor Spinetti

21. Simon Ward : 70
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Good night sweet prince" to an old actor called Simon Ward

22. Tony Scott : 66
Britain was once a country for and says "Goodbye" to and old Hollywood film director called Tony Scott

23. Terry Nutkins : 66
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old tv presenter and naturalist who inspired children with his 'Really Wild Show'.

24. Derek Jameson : 82
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old newspaper editor called Derek Jameson who was born in poverty and blessed by angels

25 and 26. Eric Hobbawn and Herbert Lom : both 95
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to one very old historian and a very old actor called Eric Hobsbawm and Herbert Lom

27 and 28 : Bill King and Eic Lomas : 102 and 95
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to one old Second World War submarine captain called Bill King and prisoner-railway builder called Eric Lomas

29. Big Jim Sullivan : 71
Britain is no country for and says "Goodbye" to Big Jim Sullivan and the music of his sweet guitar

30. Maurice Keen : 78
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to and old Oxford historian and English gentleman called Maurice Keen who gave its men their chivalry

31. William Walker : 99
Britain is no longer a country for the oldest Second World War Battle of Britain pilot and one of the last of 'The Few' called William Walker

32. Leo Blair : 89
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old lawyer and father of a Prime Minister called Leo Blair

33. Patrick Moore : 89
Britain is no country for and says "Goodbye" to an old astronomer called Sir Patrick Moore

Thursday 27 December 2012

Britain is no country for old men who had to choose between either heating or eating this Christmas

 Either                                  Or      
A study by the charity,'Age UK' has found that, among old men and women in Britain :

* many are being hit by the combination of rising fuel bills and plummeting savings and would have had to choose between either heating or eating over Christmas.

* receiving a surprise bill of just £200 would be enough to push more than a million and a quarter into debt.

 Director General, Michelle Mitchell, said: "Many older people are living hand-to-mouth and dreading the day when the cooker breaks down or energy prices rise again."

Policy Officer, Sally West, said: "This is the time of year when many people start to think about the cost of turning up the heating when they want to buy Christmas presents for their grandchildren. It is often very difficult for them because they only just have enough income to get by. When the boiler or cooker breaks down then it could tip them over the edge. They start to “make do” and that really means cutting back on the essentials of food and heat and clothing. They may do things such as only using one ring on the cooker."
The basic state pension for old men and women is only £107.45 a week and, although extra financial support is available, with many eligible for a £33 a week top-up and potential help with council tax bills,.around £5.5billion a year, however, goes unclaimed.
Sally West said : "It is an enormous amount to go unclaimed. For many it is simply that they are not aware they are eligible but some are put off by the process of claiming."
Britain today - a sad, uncharitable place for poor, old men.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Britain is a country where old men remember this day 50 years ago, being boys, snow falling and the start of the coldest winter for over 200 years

I was a boy of 15 living in South London when the snow began to fall on this day exactly 50 years ago and what we didn't know then was that it was to herald the start of 'The Big Feeze' and one of the coldest of winters. In fact, the records extending back to 1659, showed only the winter of 1683–84 to have been significantly colder and 1739–40 being slightly colder than that of 1962–63.

From that point on :

* on 29–30 December a blizzard swept across South West England and Wales with snow over 6 metres deep in places driven on by gale force easterly winds, blocking roads and railways.

* January 1963 was the coldest month of the 20th Century with much of England and Wales snow covered with temperatures as low as −19.4 °C at Achany in Sutherland and freezing fog a hazard for most of the country.

* temperatures plummeted and lakes and rivers began to freeze over and as the cold persisted, at Herne Bay in Kent, even the sea froze over up to 1.6 km from the shore.

* in February 1963 more snow fell with a 36 hour blizzard causing heavy drifting in most parts of the country and in some areas, gale force winds reaching up to 130 km/h.

* over 2 months after the Freeze began, a thaw set in during early March and the 6th was the first morning of the year without any frost anywhere in Britain.

* temperatures now soared to 17 °C and the winter was over leaving those who had lived through it with a yardstick with which to measure the severity of all their following winters.

Memories of the big freeze :

Friday 21 December 2012

Britain is a country for more and more divorced old men, 'silver separators' with a lust for life


The years take their tollAn article in the 'Daily Mail' today was entitled :

Surge in divorces among the over-60 'silver separators' despite drop in overall rate of couples splitting up 

It made the following points, that official figures show :

* the number of old people whose marriages collapse when they reach their 60's has risen sharply even though divorce overall has become less common, the rate of break-ups among the ‘silver separators’ has soared in the past ten years.
Couples in their forties are most likely to divorce, but more men aged over 60 split than women of the same age (Source: Office for National Statistics)
* the overall rate fell to 10.8 divorces per 1,000 people last year, down from 14 per 1,000 in 2004, however, the proportion of couples splitting up in their 60s was up by 58% on last year, to a record 5,836.and is likely to keep rising.
*  among old men over 60, the number of divorcees went up by 43% from 6,580 to 8,539 with the numbers of husbands over 60 divorcing being higher because men typically marry at older ages than women.

The growing number of silver separations, might be explained by the fact that  :

* they are  partly a result of the increasing health of older people, who would once have been expected to sink into a passive retirement.

* many women have separate incomes to their husbands, giving them the financial freedom to move on. 

.Dr Ros Altmann, of the 'Saga' organisation, said:

"This is an effect of success, that people are expecting to live longer and are embracing life.
People in their 60's are looking forward to decades more of life. They want to experience new things.
People of this age are in a tumultuous phase. The children may have left home and they are spending less time at work. For some, the grass looks greener. They think they are going to have a great social life, but that may not turn out to be true, and often a partner is left unhappy. It could be the mid-life crisis is shifting to later in life. Some counselling for people around retirement age could help."

Family lawyer Vicki McLynn, of the Pannone law firm, said:
"This trend has developed over the last decade and possibly represents a greater lust for life than might have been seen in this age group in previous generations."

Monday 17 December 2012

Britain is still a country for and says Happy Birthday" to an old rock and roll musician called Tommy Steele who began in a distant time called the 1950's

Tommy, widely regarded as Britain's first teen idol and rock and roll star in the 1950s was born in Bermondsey, London, Thomas William Hicks, in 1936, three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, is 76 years old today. I was a little too young to be caught up with the Tommy craze, but I do remember going to the cinema and seeing his film, 'Tommy the Toreador' when I was 12 in 1959.

What you possibly didn't know about Tommy was that :

* after leaving school worked briefly in the Merchant Navy and either on leave or during London dock strikes, played guitar and banjo and sang in Soho in 'The 2i's Coffee Bar' and the 'Cat's Whisker' where hand-jiving (left) was devised, working as a solo performer and with 'Wally Whyton's Vipers Skiffle Group'.

* when a ship he served on docked in Norfolk, Virginia in the USA, heard Buddy Holly, fell in love with 'rock and roll' and turned his back on the British skiffle craze.

* was 'discovered' by freelance photographer John Kennedy, who believed he could be Britain's answer to Elvis Presley and decided to adapt and adopt the surname of his Scandinavian paternal grandfather, Thomas Stil-Hicks.

*  quickly emerged as the frontman for a rock and roll band, 'The Steelmen', with their first single, 'Rock With The Caveman,' and started to pick known hit records from the USA and record and release a cover version before the American version could enter the charts hence 'Singing the Blues' in 1957 before Presley :

* apparently spent a day with Elvis in London in 1958 after he had finished his Army service in Germany and later said: “It was two young men sharing the same love of their music. I swore never to divulge publicly what took place and I regret that it has found some way of getting into the light. I only hope he can forgive me."

 * revisited his youth in his autobiography, 'Bermondsey Boy: Memories of a Forgotten World'.

* was interviewed 2 years ago looking incredibly spry at the age of 74 :

* said ; "I owe it all to Dick Campion, a waiter on the Mauretania. He taught me to play the guitar when we were at sea together."

Early career link :