The Grumpy Old Man

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Welcome to the Forum
Grumpy has had his say, now it's YOUR turn
Or, perhaps you are curious as to what Grumpy's views are on some unrelated topic. If so, ask here

Pending the selection of a suite of "boards" software I shall start the forum off with extracts from some of your emails. So keep them coming.

Please note that all comments will be extremely welcome but it would be very convenient for Grumpy if you were able to use the "contact" form on the website. Accessing emails through Friends Reunited is long-winded and I have not found a way to extract email addresses from their website. This means that to respond to you I have to go back through their site. Which quite bluntly I find a bit of a fag.

Note: the emails and/or responses are ordered with the most recent first.

On 13th September, Diane from Dorset wrote

"looked at the website, the link worked perfectly on my PC. I 100% agree with no mobile phones. I have got one - somewhere - which was used when my Mum was very frail and so she could get hold of me easily if she needed to. Used like that it was a godsend but not for any lesser purpose. I seldom if ever even remember where it is let alone put it in my bag if I go out."

Grumpy responds;

Thanks for that, Diane, it's always useful to get feedback on how the site appears using different browsers and platforms.

Now, mobile phones I must confess are one of my pet hates because they are so intrusive and the damn things get used up hill and down dale very often intruding on people who have nothing to do with the call. After all, twenty-five years ago they were almost solely in the realm of the 'used car salesman'.

How anybody can afford to run one escapes me, no wonder so many people claim to be hard up! If I look at it from a slightly different point of view, we have what is reputed to be a Vodafone ground station some thirty metres up the road on the roof of a small guesthouse. What is of interest in this, is that there was a technical upgrade of the station last week. It went on all week and involved four or five technicians, and on three of the days a huge crane was hired that must have had a jib extending some thirty or forty metres! The crane seemed to need two people to drive it. Now, I have no idea how much such a crane would cost per day but it would certainly not have been cheap, and twenty-one days of technicians time would certainly have cost the company a very significant amount of money. When you add this to the cost of transport and of the equipment being fitted I would be surprised if there was much change from a hundred grand for the whole upgrade of this one ground station. And the users of these mobile phones will be paying for it one way or the other.

But as a postscript, I must confess that some mobile phone users make me snigger. Last evening, I was walking the dog along the prom for our final constitutional. The sunset over the Atlantic was absolutely beautiful. As I walked and he sniffed along the prom, we were passed by a power walker who, with one hand holding her mobile phone, the other arm gyrating and bum wobbling like a jelly, or even two boy scouts trying to get out of a rather small tent, she strode along jabbering away at full throttle (or for motoring enthusiasts "full chat"!) into her mobile phone. As Hamish and I went up and down the prom once, this Lassie passed us four times. Each time, deep in conversation on the perishing mobile phone, completely oblivious of nature's evening performance i.e. the sunset. As well as amused, I must confess I also felt a tad sorry for her missing nature's amazing free spectacle.


On the 27th July Martyn from Ashby De La Zouch wrote:

Hi Grumpy

Wow, you must be well old, as well as being grumpy.

I didn't start at Strutts till 1961, so our paths did not meet. I suppose you knew Timothy Dalton, who I think was in the upper sixth in my first year.


Grumpy replies

Yes, boy, I may be old, bald, grey and grumpy but must confess I still feel young!

You cheeky young whippersnapper, we're not that far apart, age wise, but pleasantries aside, the website grew through comments I made to the family on many of the things I see happening in life today. It was initially said in jest that I always seem to have something to say, perhaps I should start my own website. So here we are.

Philosophically, I am a very optimistic chap but I do dislike many things that I see going on around me today. I hate to see waste and inefficiency. I abhor abuse of privilege, or the taking of advantage, in whatever form it takes (for example this could be privilege as a member of a family or privilege as an arm of government etc). I cannot stand violence and wholeheartedly support the view that he who strikes (or shouts) first has just lost the argument!

I hate to see sharp practice which seems to abound these days. I also hate cruelty to the underprivileged particularly children and animals.

I certainly hate the Big Brother attitude of many large organisations who force their inefficient ways upon us.

I won't go as far as claiming to be an "eco-warrior" but I do find extremely disturbing what we are doing to this planet and worry about just what we are going to leave to our grandchildren. There is much that can be done that is not being done due to pressure from vested interests.

It is against this background that this website was born. It will only be effective if "the word gets round", so please encourage your friends and acquaintances to visit the website whenever they can.

Oh, yes and Timothy who?

Seriously though, thanks for getting in touch, I hope you enjoyed the website.



On Jul 30, 2015 Sue, from Derby, UK, wrote;

Hi Grumpy, Looks like it works!! Got your e-mail yesterday, but no chance to reply until today !!

It all looks good, BUT I had no sound?

I will consult with the Ďgangí tomorrow at lunch, and see if anyone else heard from you.

Good luck and best wishes Sue

Grumpy says:

thanks for that, Sue,
perhaps you had the sound on your computer 'off', set very low or on 'mute'. Do also remember that not all the grumps have sound. However, I did try at my end and the sound worked very grumpily!

Regards Grumpy


On 30th July, David from Switzerland wrote and said

Hi Grumpy,
I hadn't used Friends Re. for years so I wondered who was writing... - even had to reset my pwd !

I left school about '68 - long time ago... so I don't remember you, sorry.

I've been retired 2 years. I was briefly on your site - I'll read some more when I've time - as you know pensioners have little time. :-)

Greetings from sunny Thalwil, Switzerland. David

Grumpy replies,

Friends Re was a good site for me as it carried a large number of email addresses with a 'year' and 'location' attached to them. It allowed me to bulk up a number of people together who were around my 'establishments' in a particular era and thus contact them about the website. Clearly, some of the people to whom I wrote, won't know me from Adam. To those in this category, apologies for writing but, do have a geek at the website!

And, David, yes, I too wonder how I ever had the time to go in to work!

regards Grumpy


On 29th July Merlin from Somerset wrote


Sorry but I don't remember your name, tho it must be said that I forget a lot these days, although it's more likely to be what happened yesterday than 50 years ago!!
........... ..............I would love to have a look at your web site - also as someone with plenty to grumble about! - but my computer says that "this document is not available with this server" so.... Maybe it will become available at some point. I hope so.

Best wishes in retirement & many thanks for contacting me.

Merlin who married the boss!

Grumpy replies,

Yo! I get accused of being absent minded too, but then I have always been a little like that. I still walk from the lounge to the kitchen and then stand there wondering why I came out here. So don't worry, just join the club!

The technical problem to which you refer is one with which I am not familiar. The site was designed and does work best on Google Chrome, but I have reports of it rendering well on other browsers.

Of curse, the clever cloggs out there will say 'how can we read that if we can't get into the site!' That, my friends is this weeks conundrum.

If you look further up the forum, you will see how I got your email address.

regards Grumpy

Hi again, Grumpy

I have Chrome, I tried what you suggested & I got there - no problem! I'll study it later.
Hope there's more coming up.

Many thanks!


Grumpy responds,

Great that you were able to 'get in', and yes I do intend to grump again, I have a number of good grumps sculling around at the moment, but being retired, there never seem to be sufficient hours in the day!

regards Grumpy


On 29th July, John from Basingstoke, UK wrote;

I am afraid I do not recall your name Dermot. Do you have a photo of you from around that time?

Grumpy replies,

yes, I do, I have a number, but they are too embarrassing to publish as they show me somewhat thinner and with hair!

regards Grumpy


Also on 29th July, Brian from Southampton area wrote,

Hi Grumpy,

Congratulations on setting up your web site. Itís something I keep thinking about myself but it hasnít reached the top of the do-list yet. Like you, I would be starting from scratch. Iím an Apple Mac person and you will be pleased to know that your site renders perfectly under Safari.

I certainly remember your name from Plessey days, but Iím not sure if the face that drifts into my mind is yours. Maybe you could put a 1970-era photo on your web site. Did you work on the ERNIE project by any chance?
You mention being made redundant; I wonder if that was after the GEC take-over or later.

.......... ........... I swore never to go back to my home territory, but here I am!

Do give me an update when you have time.


Grumpy replies;
Hi, Brian I do remember the name and thanks for the comments about the website. It is interesting that a number of other people have also said that they would like to try the same. In general terms it took me some six to nine months to get the site to this stage. I must confess that over the last six months I have not managed to spend much time on the site and as an example yesterday was spent repairing a section of the roof!

Yes I must confess I am he of ERNIE fame. I see that if you Google ERNIE 2 you will get a picture of the machine as we built it.

I do recognise a couple of the names you mention although I must confess that due to business takeovers and company name changes I have found great difficulty accessing any sort of list of people who worked in Sopers Lane. So any assistance that you may feel able to do in this respect would be much appreciated.

I will respond to the rest of your email as soon as possible, regards



Also on 29th of July David of Hampshire wrote:

Hi Grumpy,

Thanks for the message : I remember you as a name and face from school, but little more ( were you in my year? )- we are going back 55 years after all ! I left in 1959, married in 1963 and 'emigrated' to Hampshire in 1967. We still keep in touch with a lot of school friends, and have followed the whereabouts of a lot more.

Regards David

Grumpy responds;

we must have been not too far apart in progress through school as I left in 1960.

I have contacted a number of people from school but would appreciate it if you would pass on the word about as I would like to increase the exposure of the website as much as possible. Thanks in anticipation

Regards Grumpy


On 28 July Ken from Dorset wrote:

Greetings from one grumpy old barstard to another

Grumpy replies

Ken, great to hear from you, I note your spelling hasn't improved any with age!


On 28th of July Chris from Limoges, France wrote;

Hi Mr...............,

I might now revert to Grumpy, I have really enjoyed your web page, I think I've spent my whole life being a grumpy old man before my time whilst still enjoying being young for a great part of it.
I remember the name but cannot put a face to it, I left Strutt's in 1957 when half way through the 6th form, I'd found better uses for my talent
.................... I retired in 2006 and moved to France to live.

Were you around in the '50's? much power to your elbow with the site.


Grumpy replies

If you left Strutt's in 1957 halfway through the 6th form then we could have been little more than a year apart!

Yes I went to the esteemed seat of academic learning in 1953 and left in July 1960.


On 28 July Geoff from Fareham wrote;

I love the Victor Meldrew-like grumps! People SHOULD complain more, but they don't, feeling apologetic that is somehow their fault!

I have done it for older woman who worked at a cake shop in Fareham, got me a cake from behind the shop and when I got home, I found it was a crushed one! I went back the next day and told her she wouldn't get away with "palming" me off here again, as I was going to have the very cake that I choose from now on!"

My son's ex- girlfriend was a trainee lawyer and she was interested in Contract Law. She said the contracts you mentioned are MUTUAL and you have 100% right to delete anything you don't agree with AND add a clause of your own. Of course, we didn't know that did we? To get the sale, some salesmen will just let it through and your alterations are legal!

I look forward to reading your articles...just up my street, I have always been a rebel.

Kind regards Geoff

Grumpy replies;

Gordon Bennett, Geoff,

I could do with you on my team. If you have a grump that you would like to knock up I'd be quite happy to publish it as part of Grumpy's site.

With regards to complaining I agree wholeheartedly with you but complaining is continually made more and more difficult as people insist on using Christian names in order to convince you that they are your buddy and are on your side. But then I've already had a good old grump on that front!

Your comments about contract law are interesting. If you do get involved in negotiations like this the process is like a Dutch auction in that you can accept what is on offer at any time. If you do, that seals the contract at that time, however, if you make a counter suggestion you give the "opposition" the chance of amending your suggestion or anything else in the contract at the time. The skill is in accepting the contract when the of conditions are advantageous to you.

One of the grumps I have in mind at the moment stirs the pot on contracts a little bit more so follow this space.

See also the grump entitled

Etiquette 1 on the use of Christian names

Big Bro 3 on contract terms and conditions

Big Bro 3.1 also on contract terms

Regards Grumpy


On the 27th July Martin from Bristol wrote

Grumpy old man? Nothing's changed then in 50 years?

Hope you are keeping well. Where do you live?

I see B.... & C.... every few months. Brothers still living in Derby. Regards Martin

Grumpy responds:

they do say it takes one to know one even if after 50 years.
I am keeping well thank you and "about" on the website tells you where I'm living!

Glad you are keeping in touch with B and C, I saw them, Gordon Bennett, it must be the best part of 10 years ago! Please tell them about the website, they might get a giggle from it or even pass it round some more of our old (perhaps I shouldn't use that word, let's just say "mutual") friends in Derby, or even France (B will know who I mean!).

Good to hear from you and find that you haven't changed much either.

Regards Grumpy


On 26 December 2014 Tom, from New Zealand wrote

Happy Grumps,

I am staying with Sue and Doug for Christmas and Doug showed me your web site so I thought I'd wish you all the best. ..............

Hope the world is treating you well and you are not too grumpy

Best Regards Tom(Sue's brother)

Grumpy replies

Good to hear from you Tom, glad you liked the site, do pass the word around, thanks

Regards Grumpy


On 24th December 2014 Edward from Bournemouth wrote:

Good God!!!

I thought you were trapped on a rocket site in Woomera!!!!

Haven't seen you for 50 years!

So what's your story then??

Join the survivors club!

Really pleased you have identified yourself.

...............Went to my first Old Boys reunion at school 2 years ago.

What a mistake!!!

Felt really creepy!

...............No more!!

Regards Edward

Grumpy replies

I'm afraid I managed to reach escape velocity from Woomera, great to see you are also surviving.

I've not been to a school reunion although I did go to a Uni reunion after 20 years and found that I didn't recognise anybody by sight but the moment they spoke I could place them immediately! Like me, many of them had lost a lot of their hair and put on weight!

Regards Grumpy

On 23rd December Edward from Bournemouth first wrote:

I refer you to Pedant's Corner in that esteemed organ, Private Eye!!!

Although you may well have transferred your affections to The Oldie, by now!

Keep up the good work!

Still lots to complain about!!!!

Edward the Elder

Grumpy comments

Gordon Bennett, this was before Edward realised exactly who I was. I had intended to try and maintain some level of anonymity but realised that in contacting a number of people in order to publicise the website would necessitate admitting who I was!



On 11th Sept 2014 Sue, from Auckland New Zealand wrote;


.....a real blast from the past....we were in Europe at the beginning of the year visiting a new granddaughter in Barcelona.... Scotland as well as a few other's a pity we didn't know where you were ...we would have come and seen you.

...... We have children all over the place it's a good excuse to travel here and there. We were in Shanghai this time last year with a pipe band as guests of the Chinese government what a laugh anyway I'll sign off .........


Grumpy replies,

Glad you are able to get around and see the family. Between Mrs Grumpy and I we have five with seven grandchildren. Like yours they are scattered around the world although perhaps not as widely as yours. We have a British and a US branch, with one of the grandchildren born in Switzerland! We don't do a huge amount of travelling ourselves but they all seem to come and visit us when they feel like a holiday. (That's just me being cynical!) Seriously it's great to see them but we frequently feel like a holiday ourselves after their visits!

With all your travelling perhaps you could do me a favour and mention your grumpy blast from the past, and then your family can giggle at the website as well. Let's face it all visitors are very welcome.

Great to hear from you again.

Regards Grumpy


On 3rd October 2014, Doug, from Auckland, New Zealand wrote

Hi Grumpy,

Sorry for the delayed reply.

............Iíve still got my business consultancy running but have scaled things back a bit.

( I was also lecturing at The Auckland University Graduate School of Business Short Course programme for the last 12 years but retired from that in May this year. So taking things a bit easier.)

I am now helping a friend who has a stable of Business to Business magazines, so that is stopping me from being completely idle.

Kids and Grandchildren are scattered around the World. Daughter C..... is Dubai with grandson M....... and elder son C...... and granddaughter N... are in Barcelona so visiting the family has created a few world trips over the past few years.

Too true that we would probably not recognise each other after all this time so I have attached a photo of Sue and I at a recent function.

Hope all is going well with you and yours. Keep in touch Doug

Grumpy replies

As I said to Sue it is great to hear from you both after all this time. With all these business and educational contacts, to say nothing of all the children scattered around the world between us we must have sufficient contacts to get under way on all continents. (You don't by any chance know anybody who lives in Africa do you?)

Seriously, all publicity would be most welcome. Will try and drop you an email in the near future

Regards Grumpy