Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ten things

One of my fellow followers belongs to a Coffee Klatch group and has been given the tasks of listing ten things done, like to have done, not done etc, which prompted more followers  (link  another link) of both our blogs to do a similar thing which in turn has prompted me to follow on with another copy cat post.

Ten things not too many other people will have done.
1. Met Julius Caesar – two of them actually, both related.
  One lived on my dad’s little caravan site in the 1950s. The other was a Major in the army, who attended some of my ICT classes when I taught at The Royal Military College of Science.
2. Played with Norman Wisdom’s dog Buttons as a child.
  He too lived in a caravan on my dad’s caravan site, just before making his first movie, Trouble in Store. He then became rich and famous and moved into a posh bungalow nearby.
3. Helped discover Jupiter’s magnetic field.
  For a short time I worked as a technician for a UK astronomy team funded by Florida University.
4. Been shot in the stomach around 1945, just after the outbreak of peace.
 A stray bullet managed to find me half a mile away from an Army rifle range.
5. Had a cabin cruiser fall on me and lived.
 Someone had removed the trestles just before I crawled underneath it to help my dad insert a bung in the bottom of the hull. As he walked across to my side it fell over trapping me underneath it and crushing one leg. No permanent damage, but I have been left with an irrational fear of crawling underneath large cabin cruisers ever since.
6. Been mobbed by teenage fans when working for a pop group they all fancied.
 Had to do some service work on some equipment for Amen Corner just after they had a number one hit. Their house was surrounded by screaming teeny boppers and it was OK going in but they mobbed me when I came out.
7. Knew the actor Trevor Howard, who wanted me to play Oliver in the 1948 version of the movie Oliver Twist.
 I was too shy to even try, so who knows what may have happened if I had. The kid who did play the part has an uncanny resemblance to me when you see photos of us both.
8. Had a grandfather who invented chipboard and then sold the rights, to raise capital for his core business. Which is why I am not a millionaire member of a business dynasty.
9. Been arrested in what was once Yugoslavia.
 Two very large seeming armed men took me into a back room at Ljubljana airport and tried hard to convince themselves I was someone they were looking for. It affected my wife more than me because she was just left outside to worry and no one would tell her what was happening. After about two hours I was released.
10. Invented the Frisbee around 1952, but did not think to market the idea.
  I discovered that a used clutch plate from my dad’s garage could be made to soar across the field behind the garage, which Buttons ( see no 2) chased after like a greyhound.
11. Independently discovered wireless and blotted out all radio reception in our village until asked to stop by an irate neighbour.
 My cousin and I discovered that using headphones you could pick up the sound of a high voltage spark we had been producing. We had an ignition coil out of a Spitfire that we had bought in a surplus shop; we bought the coil not the aircraft. This when connected to a car battery produced a spark about an inch and a half long. We then started sending Morse code to each other. Unknown to us, our spark transmitter was so powerful it drowned out any other radio signal for about half a mile radius.
12. Been inside the crater of a live volcano.
 Vesuvius has tours that go into the crater, or they did about thirty years ago, which was venting smoke.
13. Found an unexploded bomb on a beach and with some friends took it up to show my dad. He was not too delighted.
 Fortunately it was a simple type, with a contact detonator, so we survived because we did not actually drop it or throw it away.
OK so that is ten things within an accuracy of plus or minus 33%

Things I have achieved at least once
1. Walked up Snowdon. Doesn’t sound like much but it was like climbing a mountain for me.
2. Stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon
3. Been up in a balloon
4. Retired whilst still alive
5. Crossed the Rockies
6. Flown a light plane.
7. Toured Europe.
8. Discovered a lost relative or two or ten, well to be honest, they discovered me.
9. Sailed around the Hebrides
10. Seen Niagara Falls.

Things I have never done but would like to
1. Visited Australia or New Zealand for that matter, although I have friends and relatives in Australia
2. Flown in a helicopter
3. Won any kind of race
4. Travelled at or above Mach 1
5. Ridden a Camel
6. Found out where odd socks go
7. Owned a sea going vessel and hold a Skippers ticket
8. Got down to my correct Body Mass Index
9. Been any good at sports
10. Learned English grammar

Things I am happy to have avoided
1. Death, or as the local man replied to the tourist’s question, ‘Have you lived here all your life?’ ‘No not yet.’
2. Spending more than a week in hospital.
3. Becoming senile and forgetting things and oh yes, becoming senile and forgetting things.
4. Going to a football match.
5. Having to send good men out to die horribly.
6. Meeting royalty.
7. Living in the East End or Coronation Street.
8. Eating cabbage.
 Well ever since I left school and could make my own choices about the horrible stuff.
9. Being horribly totally skint, although the present government are working on it. 
 I have starved, but that was because my whole family came down with Influenza all at once and we were unable to feed ourselves for about a week.
10. Conscription, or was that constipation? No matter either will do.


  1. Snafu, you have led such an eventful life! What an interesting list.

    Of all those, I've met Norman Wisdom but not his dog, had my own encounter with an unexploded bomb of which you already know,flown in a helicopter,spent very much more than one week in hospital, been to a whole season's worth of football matches out of love for the true fan, met more royals than has perhaps been good for my health, love cabbage, was always the one left in the line when it came to PE team picking and I'm afraid I have known a time when discarded food in a waste bin looked incredibly good because I had no money. My relatives made a deliberate choice to lose me, I don't need to be senile to forget things and, hey, Body Mass Index is over-rated anyway.

    Where odd-socks go eludes me,too; I expect they're with the teaspoons. x

  2. Elizabeth, nice to see that Blogspot is letting you post comments again.
    No that doesn't sound right; The sock ran away with the spoon:)

  3. What a wonderful set of lists! I've learned so much about you. And some of it is scary....
    I'm jealous of you knowing Trevor Howard.

  4. Wow snafu i never realised how many things you have done! They're all amazing and maybe i'll do this list at some point too!

  5. "I've been waiting to see your lists, Snafu. Guessed you would post. What an interesting and eventful life you have lived. Thanks to your father I was once the proud owner of Norman Wisdom and Trevor Howard's autographs. To my disgust when my parents moved and I was still in college, they threw out all kinds of my precious possessions, including those autographs.

    Welcome to Saffron Amy -- come on in and join all we old fogeys!

  6. Great lists, snafu - and more to add to your life's history! Pretty soon you will have a best-seller!

  7. now reading this felt like watching 14 series of PARKINSON's best bits....
    a lot of interesting information!

  8. I still can't comment on Kathy's though, Snafu; totally weird, man. x