Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 152 – May  2013


So the witch is dead and buried.  Buried mind you at your expense and my expense and I can't say I'm altogether charmed about that.  Pete Seeger came physically into my life during the reign of Maggie Thatcher when he recorded two long playing records to raise funds for the miners who had been out on strike; so I suppose I have her to thank for that.  He's been a friend ever since, a friendship I very much value.  But the fuss that has been made about her funeral service and the expense involved is beyond my comprehension.  It reached almost hysterical level when it was mooted by a couple of football chairman that there should be a minutes silence before football matches!  Can you imagine it? On that particular Saturday I popped over to Barnsley to watch the South Yorkshire side play Charlton Athletic, a team I've supported since boyhood - well 1949 to be precise.  An amazing match that Charlton won 6-0 and I was impressed that the Barnsley fans observed a 90 minute silence for her throughout the match which I consider to be damn decent of them as Thatcher wasn't exactly  popular in Barnsley when she was alive.


Now I don’t claim to know too much about lifesaving …


But if anyone is going to bring this guy back to life, then my money is on the girl on the right



Bees, or the lack of them, has been very much discussed this past month.  I was sent a petition during April which everybody in Britain certainly should sign.  Of all the insects that keep this world ticking over we, as humans, desperately need bees.



Breaking news! This morning, an important parliamentary committee said the pesticides that are being blamed for killing our bees should stop being used.  They agree with scientists and other governments across Europe that these pesticides are a danger to bees.
But Owen Paterson, the environment minister, is refusing to listen to the mounting scientific evidence. In just a few weeks he will vote on whether these pesticides should be taken out of use across Europe. Last time he refused to vote in favour. This time let’s make sure he votes to protects our bees.
The petition to protect our bees is growing fast, more than 100,000 of us, including you, have now signed it. If we can grow the petition even larger, we can send a message that he’s not only going against science, but he’s going against public opinion too.
Please can you forward this email to your friends and ask them to sign the

petition too? They can sign the petition here:
Bees pollinate apples, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and many many more of our fruit and veg. [2] France and Italy have already taken steps to ban these pesticides but our minister is putting his head in the sand.
With this new report, Owen’s refusal to act looks even more ridiculous. Even his fellow MPs are saying these pesticides should stop being used. He talks a lot about protecting our bees, but his actions seem to do nothing but protect the pesticide industry’s profits.
If we can get the petition to over 150,000 we’ve got something rather special planned. We’ll build a mock-up ‘mountain of evidence’ and wheel it right to his doorstep so that he can’t ignore it.
38 Degrees members have a great record on protecting wildlife and the environment. We joined together in our thousands and helped stop the government selling off our forests. We’ve pressured the government to postpone the badger cull. Recently we’ve even helped stop the Lake District being turned into a nuclear waste dump. [3]
Please can you forward this email to you friends and family and ask them to sign the petition: for being involved and helping to protect our bees,
Robin, Megan, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team.

P.S: Can you share the petition with your friends on Facebook and Twitter:

38 DEGREES Registered Company No. 6642193

An interesting Footnote here.

Peter Seeger warned of this way back in the 1960's with a song called 'The People are scratching'.  It can be found on his album "God bless the grass"


Pete will be 94 years old/young on May 3rd.  Happy Birthday Pete!



Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead



May 8th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Martyn Wyndham Read

May 17th (KM) The Bacon Arts Centre Whitehaven

May 23rd(KM) Barn Village Hall, The Playing Field, Main Street, Baston, Lincs.

Jun 12th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Martin Simpson

Jun 21st (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jun 22nd (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jun 23rd (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

July 6th (KM) Rhyl - Opening of New Harbour Concert

July 7th (KM) Rhyl

Jul 10th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge

Aug 3rd (KM) Arbroath Festival of the Sea, Angus, Scotland.

Aug 4th (KM) Arbroath Festival of the Sea, Angus, Scotland.

Aug 23rd (KM) Bie Daip International Shanty Festival, Holland.

Aug 24th (KM) Bie Daip International Shanty Festival, Holland.

Aug 25th (KM) Bie Daip International Shanty Festival, Holland.

Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 8th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 11th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge

Sep 21st (KM) The Astor Theatre, Deal Festival of the Sea.

Sep 22nd (KM) Deal RNLI Sing.

Oct 4th (KM) Portmagee Festival of the Sea - Provisional

Oct 5th (KM) Portmagee Festival of the Sea - Provisional

Oct 6th (KM) Portmagee Festival of the Sea - Provisional

Oct 9th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge

Oct 11th (KM) Banbury Folk Festival

Oct 12th (KM) Banbury Folk Festival

Oct 13th (KM) Banbury Folk Festival

Oct 25th (KM) Lichfield Arts Centre, Lichfield, Staffordshire

Oct 31st (KM) Royal National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Nov 1st (KM) Plaza Theatre, 40 Winchester Rd, Romsey. SO51 8JA

Nov 2nd (KM) Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

Nov 8th (KM) The David Hall, Roundwell Street, South Petherton, Somerset.

Nov 9th (KM) Epsom Playhouse

Nov 12th (Joe) Thorner Probus Club, The Fox, Main St.  LS14 3DX

Nov 13th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge

Nov 25th (Joe) Ilkley Probus club.

Dec 11th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge. Christmas Party.

Dec 12th (KM) Sheffield.



Jan 15th (KM) The Met, Market Street, Bury, Greater Manchester. BL9 0BW

May 23rd (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium

May 24th (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium

May 25th (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium

May 26th (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium




Dear Joe,


Today the environment minister, Owen Paterson, will be casting his vote in Europe on the future of our bees.


Please, can you help spread the word right now, and make sure that everyone is talking about the bees before he goes to vote? Owen will find it harder to vote against a ban if he knows that public opinion is completely against him.


Let’s share the petition on facebook, let’s email our friends and let’s tweet about the bees. With over 300,000 signatures so far, we can make sure the bees have an army of us looking out for them.


You can use the links below to spread the word:
Email your friends:


It's a long shot, Owen seems determined to do the bidding of the pesticide companies. But if we can make sure that Owen Paterson and his department are swarmed by hundreds of thousands of people demanding he votes to protect the bees, it might just be enough to change his mind.



Megan Bentall





Hi Joe


Just read the ramblings and it put me in mind to send you this received today.

I don’t know whether you already are on the avaaz email list or whether you approve, agree with or support such email petitions but I was surprised that Maldives had Sharia law – I suspect most tourists don’t realize this.




Mark Green

Amicus Technology

Slieveuan, Clarinbridge, Co Galway

Tel: 091 776122




From: Jeremy Waiser - []
Sent: 28 March 2013 18:43
To: Joe Stead
Subject: Horror in paradise


Dear friends,

It's hard to believe, but a 15-year-old rape survivor has been sentenced to be whipped 100 times in public! Let's put an end to this lunacy by hitting the Maldives government where it hurts: the tourism industry.


The girl's stepfather is accused of raping her for years and murdering the baby she bore. Now the court says she must be flogged for “sex outside marriage”! President Waheed of the Maldives is already feeling global pressure on this, and we can force him to save this girl and change the law to spare other victims this cruel fate. This is how we can end the War on Women – by standing up every time an outrage like this happens.


Tourism is the big earner for the Maldives elite, including government ministers. Let's build a massive petition to President Waheed this week, then threaten the islands' reputation through hard-hitting ads in travel magazines and online until he steps in to save her and abolish this outrageous law. Sign the petition and forward this email to everyone:


The Maldives is a paradise for tourists. But for women there, it can be hell. Under harsh interpretations of sharia law, women and children are routinely punished with flogging and house arrest if found guilty of extramarital sex or adultery. It's nearly always the women who get punished, not the perpetrators. A staggering one in three women between ages 15 and 49 have suffered physical or sexual abuse -- yet zero rapists were convicted in the past three years.


Winning this battle can help women everywhere, as the Maldives government is right now running for a top UN human rights position - on a platform of women's rights! Global outrage has already forced President Waheed to appeal the sentence in the 15-year-old's case. But that's not enough. Extremists inside the country will force him to abandon further reforms if international attention fades. Let’s tell the Maldives that it stands to lose its reputation as a romantic tourist hot spot unless it changes its attitudes to and laws about women.


If enough of us raise our voices, we can get President Waheed and his MPs to face down the extremists. The president is already on the back foot over this shameful, tragic story - let's seize this moment to prevent more horrifying injustices against girls and women. Sign the petition, then send this email widely:


Avaaz members have fought many battles in the global war on women. In Afghanistan, we helped protect a young woman who bravely spoke out about her horrific rape; in Honduras, we fought alongside local women against a law that would jail women using the morning-after pill. Let's now protect the women of the Maldives.


With hope and determination,


Jeremy, Mary, Nick, Alex, Ricken, Laura, Michelle and the whole Avaaz team




Well done for highlighting the police corruption in relation to the Hillsborough disaster.


One of the blatant lies that was deliberately spread around at the time was the allegation that fans had forced open a gate to gain access to the ground. However, it is clear that this was not the case. Another myth that was perpetrated was that fans had been drunk. The Taylor Report states clearly that alcohol was not a factor.


It's obvious that South Yorkshire Police were happy to spread plain lies in order to deflect the blame from themselves, and all these years later the families are still having to campaign for justice.


Mark Sampson



Dear Joe,


Good to see you lat week - really lovely gig, I thought. And thank you for the fab spag-bol, that was splendid.


Thank you for your recent Ramblings. As it happens, I need to comment as regards your musings on African fundraising - but not because I feel we should be subscribing (I seriously doubt the "on the ground" effectiveness of this). What the human race needs is for the western world, in particular, to slit it's throat - or shoot it's governments and bankers - and stop persecuting/exploiting it's neighbours. And so I argue that nurturing freedom fighters (at home or abroad) will only serve the greater good.


There are hundreds & thousands of worthy causes out there, but nothing is as important (in my opinion) as realising just who is responsible for most of the wrongs on this planet.


Love to you and Nora,

Maggie Boyle xx




The fact is that governmentally funded (local or national) Children's and other Social services have never been as effective as the charities.

What does aggrannoy me though, is the fact that so many charities, including Red Cross, waste MILLIONS of donated money on TELEVISION ADVERTS! I'm sure that they do not generate more than they cost.

Trevor Lister




I deter from sending money to Africa because their Governments spend far too much money on arms and fighting the neighbours. Assegais are out, AK47s are in.

And Yes we do pay enough in taxation.

And Yes Julia Gillard has it completely right

Why do some of your correspondents hate the French so much?  Simple. We’ve fought the Germans twice in (almost) living history and beaten them fair and square, now we’re chums. We’ve fought the French for a thousand years, thrashed them (mostly) every time, slain the cream of their aristocracy with the longbow (which I shoot) and thrown the invaders out of their country (twice). And they hate us for it.

Rob Davies.



Thanks for that Joe.

I wondered if my question might stimulate discussion? Your correspondent Rob does not have it quite right. I think that the French got rid of the ‘cream of the aristocracy’ themselves with the aid of the guillotine! And, as I pointed out, they suffered far, far more than the English in WWI getting rid of the Germans. Anyway, it’s good to have such a discussion.

All the best Joe – keep on rambling,

Rudy Sunde (New Zealand)



Hey Joe


Sorry to tell you this but the quote you've attributed to Aussie PM Julia Gillaard is made up. It's been around for years on the internet, firstly ascribed to PM John Howard, then to Kevin Rudd. None of them said it, it was a hoax.

It's taken from an American newspaper article by a journalist called Barry Loudermilk.



CP Lee



I use a G7 capo on the banjo and occasionally on guitar, also. It really is a great product, and because they had my email address, I think that’s why I got this early announcement of an entirely new type of capo they now produce. They don’t have the patent yet so they don’t reveal too much about how it actually works, but I think it must have something to do with how the capo is placed. Not all of you will find this useful, but it is still a novel idea.


Yours in Music, Dr. Klutzyfingers



Dear Joe,

Great news! Suzanne, a 38 Degrees member, has got a meeting with the Environment Minister tomorrow to take him our message about the pesticides blamed for killing British bees. Now we need as many signatures as possible to prove to Owen Paterson that public opinion and scientific evidence are both against using them.


British bees still need our help! Last time the Minister refused to vote in favour of stopping these pesticides. [1] Even a committee of his fellow MPs said Owen’s approach is "extraordinarily complacent". [2] Now we’ve got a meeting with the man himself to change his mind before he votes again.


You and nearly 150,000 other people have already signed the petition to demand he protects our bees. Let’s get it to over 175,000 before we meet him.


Please can you forward this email to your friends and family and ask them to sign it too?


Your friends and family can sign the petition here:
Changing Owen’s mind won’t be easy. We’re battling against “furious lobbying” from the big pesticide companies.  But his refusal to act is beginning to look very out of touch with science and public opinion. He talks a lot about protecting our bees, but his actions seem to do nothing but protect the pesticide industry’s profits.


Bees pollinate apples, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and many, many more of our fruit and veg. France and Italy have already taken steps to ban these pesticides but our minister is burying his head in the sand.


38 Degrees members have a great record on protecting wildlife and the environment. We joined together in our thousands and helped stop the government selling off our forests. We’ve pressured the government to postpone the badger cull. Recently we’ve even helped stop the Lake District being turned into a nuclear waste dump.


Now it’s time to protect our bees. Let’s demand our government stands up to the powerful pesticide industry and takes action to protect our bees.


Please can you forward this email to you friends and family and ask them to sign the petition:

Thanks for being involved and helping to protect our bees,
Robin, Megan, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team.








It was the Scotland/Wales rugby International weekend in Edinburgh and as the crowds made their way down Princes Street towards Murrayfield, a Rottweiler suddenly lunged towards an eight year old Scottish lass, with its jaws wide open ready to attack.


The crowd nearby gasped in horror but, quick as a flash, a man in red jumped out of the crowd, grabbed the dog by the throat and throttled it.


As the dead dog lay there, and the crowd cheered in admiration, a journalist from the Glasgow Herald who had witnessed the heroic deed, went up to the man and said, 'That was brilliant, I can see the headline now -


'Welsh Rugby Fan Saves Young Girl From Certain Death'.


The man replied, 'No you've got it wrong. I'm not here for the rugby!'           


'Don't worry' said the journalist, 'I can see the headline now -


'Welshman Saves Girl From Jaws Of Rottweiler'.


The man replied, 'No you're wrong again. I'm not Welsh; I'm from London .'


The journalist said, 'Don't worry; I can see the headline now -


'English Bastard Strangles Family Pet'..




Now that I'm older and wiser, here's what I've discovered:
1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats have turned into prunes and all-bran.
3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
4. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
5. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
6. If all is not lost, where is it?
7. It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.
8. Some days, you're the dog; some days you're the lamp- post
9. I wish the buck stopped here; I sure could use a few.
10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
11. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
12. It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.
13. The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you're in the bathroom.
14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees.
15. When I'm finally holding all the cards, why does everyone want to play chess?
16. It’s not hard to meet expenses . . . they're everywhere.
17. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
18. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter .......I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm hereafter
19. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.
20. DID I SEND THESE TO YOU BEFORE ..........??????






Blonde was sent on her way to Heaven. Upon arrival, a concerned St Peter met her at the Pearly Gates.
'I'm sorry, 'St Peter said; 'But Heaven is suffering from an overload of
goodly souls and we have been forced to put up an Entrance Exam for new arrivals to ease the burden of Heavenly Arrivals.'
'That's cool' said the blonde, 'What does the Entrance Exam consist of?'
'Just three questions' said St Peter.
'Which are?' asked the blonde.
'The first,' said St Peter, 'is, which two days of the week start with the
letter 'T'
'The second is 'How many seconds are there in a year?'
'The third is 'What was the name of the swag-man in Waltzing Matilda?'
'Now,' said St Peter, 'Go away and think about those questions and when I
call upon you, I shall expect you to have those answers for me.'
So the blonde went away and gave those three questions some considerable
thought (I expect you to do the same).
The following morning, St Peter called upon the blonde and asked if she had
considered the questions, to which she replied, 'I have.'
'Well then,' said St Peter, 'Which two days of the week start with the
letter T?'
The blonde said, 'Today and Tomorrow.'
St Peter pondered this answer for some time, and decided that indeed the
  answer can be applied to the question.
 'Well then, could I have your answer to the second of the three questions?'
St Peter went on, 'how many seconds in a year?'
The Blonde replied, 'Twelve!'
'Only twelve?' exclaimed St Peter, 'How did you arrive at that figure?'
'Easy,' said the blonde, 'there's the second of January, the second of
February, right through to the second of December, giving a total of twelve seconds.'
St Peter looked at the blonde and said, 'I need some time to consider your
answer before I can give you a decision.'

And he walked away shaking his head.

A short time later, St Peter returned to the Blonde.
'I'll allow the answer to stand, but you need to get the third and final
question absolutely correct to be allowed into Heaven.
 Now, can you tell me the answer to the name of the swagman in Waltzing
The blonde replied; 'Of the three questions, I found this the easiest to
'Really!' exclaimed St Peter, 'And what is the answer?'
'It's Andy.'
'Yes, Andy,' said the blonde.
This totally floored St Peter, and he paced this way and that, deliberating
the answer.
Finally, he could not stand the suspense any longer, and turning to the
blonde, asked 'How in God's name did you arrive at THAT answer ?'
'Easy' said the blonde, 'Andy sat, Andy watched, Andy waited til his billy







Wonderful English from Around the Word

Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations:


On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:


In a Tokyo bar:


Hotel, Yugoslavia:


Hotel, Japan:


In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:


A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:


Hotel, Zurich:



Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:


A laundry in Rome:

Keep smiling, keep singing.