Friday, 29 May 2015

Sexual Abuse!

I remember running my hand over her thigh and feeling the flesh above her stockings. I didn't know it was abuse.  I did know it was all my fault!

It took the train eight hours each way to visit my parents in Bridlington, Yorkshire, last weekend. Brid is now the largest Crab & Lobster handling port in the UK.  It’s also the holiday destination, where my family stayed, in a caravan each summer, for the first seventeen years of my life.  My first ever plane journey was aged 18 to play rugby for England schoolboys against France.

Yorkshire holds many happy memories but one (which changed my life) not so happy. As I said last week ‘what doesn't destroy you makes one grow’.

Normanton Grammar School are having a 50th anniversary reunion this June and all being well, I shall attend.  Memories of the school and my childhood come flooding back as I journeyed north. I remembered I had failed the Grammar School entrance exam. I also recalled my introduction to sex.

New Year’s Eve 1962, at home on the sofa in my pyjamas, feeling unwell with flu.  I was trying to play the guitar Santa had delivered for Christmas.  Mandy (yes the same one) is 18 months old and my 3 and 5 year old brothers are all sleeping upstairs.

She was not our normal babysitter, 15 years old, in the final year of the senior school and as it was New Year’s Eve must have been a last minute replacement.

She had clearly been on her way to a party; heels, stockings and the rest. This girl was in bloke speak ‘hot to trot’.  Someone had spoiled her biggest party night of the year and told her she was babysitting instead!  Now I would be pissed off, wouldn't you?  Before you all panic and say but she was only 15.  My problem was worse; I was only 9.

My parents were at Green Lane Working Men’s Club, 15 minutes’ walk away. The babysitter looked bored and fidgety.  A bit like how most teenagers (and the rest of us mutters Tiggy) would look if their mobile phones were taken away.  She was not a happy bunny. She stands, brushes her hair in the mirror, checked her eyes were still made up and looked at her watch.  She sat down again, sighed and glanced over at my attempt to play a C on the guitar.

She stands again, brushes her skirt down, walks across the room on her high (well high to me) heels and sits next to me.  Slowly her hand reaches up to her buttons as she undoes her blouse.  She turns to me and asks me to stroke her breasts. I am not sure what to do or how exactly I should do it, but terrified I comply.   She then asks me to stroke her legs and again I am becoming anxious but I obey. I feel stockings attached to suspenders for the first time. The fleshy bit at the top feels nice. I'm shaking.

She asks me to stand up, so she can lie on the sofa and then asks me to lie on top of her. At that moment in time I hadn't got the faintest idea of what was happening, but something inside me is being stirred.  The shaking intensifies and turns to panic.

It's now a severe panic attack and yet this particular one seemed to fill me with pleasure and fear simultaneously.  She asked me to move up and down on top of her and even though I still had my pyjamas on I was experiencing my first ever conscious arousal. She abruptly stopped and moved away. No further contact or conversation was ever had.

I knew it was all my fault and I mustn't tell anyone.

The next day was hell, the next week was hell, the next month was little better.  I was unable to walk past Gordon Street Senior School, our schools adjoined and I was in the junior school. I was terrified. I can feel it now.

It took me a further 18 years before I could openly talk about my secret or the guilt I carried with me. Sound familiar to any of you?

Why does sex still spark such fear and dread when it’s a somatic (nice word look it up) response to our genetic make-up?  Who would have thought such a Catholic country as the Republic of Ireland would be the first in the world to legalise gay marriage. I do hold religion responsible for much of our sexual confusion. That’s for later.

So I entered my last year at Gordon Street junior school dazed and confused, but sexually alive.

In those days there was no internet, and being so young the thought of buying a top shelf magazine terrified me (hang on, it still does) so the nearest I came to pornography was an old Grattan mail order catalogue I found somewhere.  The beginning of the catalogue contained the lingerie section with women in various stages of undress wearing heels, stockings and suspenders. Simple adverts but my sexual energy was now on fire.

I decided that I should share my new found ‘porn’ with my friends at school and promptly ripped out half a dozen pages and took them into class.   Not a good move! Some girl screamed, the teacher discovered my stash, called me disgusting and sent me to the headmaster. The following morning I was humiliated and canned, on stage, in front of the whole school.  Unsurprisingly, I closed down to sex for the next five years.  That energy was about to be channelled elsewhere.

I remember, in my last months of junior school, going off to a special day somewhere by coach, finding it boring and just messing about.  It was actually part of my entrance exam (some new method with interactive stuff and painting) for Normanton Grammar School.

I failed and was rewarded with a place at Gordon Street Secondary Modern School. The dreaded senior school, thankfully the babysitter had left.

On the first day the headmaster said just because we hadn't made the Grammar School it did not mean good jobs were not available.  An apprenticeship should be the goal, learn a trade. I did think about being an electrician at the coal mine, same as my Granddad but by now the sexual energy was raging and I channelled it onto the rugby pitch with profound effect.

The school had a rugby team but only for the second year and above.  Undeterred by the fact I was in the first year I went along to training and secured a place in the team.  We played 11 games and lost them all. Game twelve was against South Featherstone who was top of the league and unbeaten. In a small town, with only two schools, we were arch enemies.

I had this idea that if I pretended to pass the ball, then didn't (it’s called a dummy) and ran like hell, It might work.  It did, I scored, and we won. When I left to go home I was attacked and beaten by four lads.  My first and only, I hope, beating.  I can still remember lying in the side of the road crying whilst being kicked and punched.

The next day I took my dad with me and went to see the headmaster.   I said to the head, ‘Ignore the black eye and bruises, I don’t want to be in this school any more I need to go to the Grammar School.’ He said ‘At the end of the year the top two in the exams go and re sit their entrance exam. My dad looked at me.  I smiled and said, ‘message understood’

No rugby, but work, work, work for the next three months. I came second in the exams and joined Normanton Grammar School. Phew, that was close; I almost didn't qualify for next month’s reunion.

Little did I know it but my new found sexual energy was about to propel me to England rugby and Twickenham by the age of 14.  See my sex drugs and rugby blog for what came next.

What happened to me with the babysitter was fairly low on the Richter scale of abuse yet it took many years to understand I was the abused not the abuser. The Survivors Trust is a national umbrella agency for over 135 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. I have just completed their on-line survey on historic abuse.

Last Wednesday I joined the Sherborne Business Exchange Breakfast Club which starts at 7am (yikes) and is attended by up to 40 local businesses. Watch this space.

And the point I am making is:

Sexual energy is a very potent force. Handle with care.

Have a good week.


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Engage brain and open your mouth!

My life has been turned on its head over the past few months. I’m told; what doesn’t destroy you makes one grow. I hope so!

I have quit my Mayfair office, the yacht in St Katherine Docks is for sale and it’s time for a new challenge.  In saying goodbye to London and hello Sherborne it brought back memories of my second seismic change of direction in April 1981. The first, leaving Yorkshire for London, is for later.

After six years as a physical education teacher and a worn out rugby body I decide to retrain as a Chartered Surveyor, as you do.  I knew nothing about property but my brother was a builder and I had two mates who were already training.  I enrolled with Reading University (College of Estate Management) to sit my professional exams.

Problem!  The minimum entry requirement was two A Levels and I had one; Geography grade C.  I didn’t work at school. At Loughborough I scraped a Certificate of Education, not a degree, coming 115th out 120 and the last four failed.  The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) said as a mature student (What! Mature at 28!) they would swop my three years doing no studying at Loughborough for the missing A Level.  

I had chosen the five year route to qualification whilst working full time. The Goddess was also four months pregnant! 

It’s amazing the number of men who change jobs when their partner is pregnant. Did you?

Next I had to get a job.  Easier said than done! One much esteemed firm (now called DTZ) replied with ‘when we want a trainer for our partners’ gym, we will let you know’.  The last laugh was mine when I scored the try to beat them in the semi-final of the National Surveyors’ Rugby 7’s.

After sixty or so letters (no email in those days) and only one interview, I finally got a break.  I was offered the position of trainee surveyor at Donaldsons Chartered Surveyors in their Gloucester Road management department on £4,000 pa. This was half my previous salary as head of physical education at St Marks Comprehensive School Fulham, where I was on a formal warning for taking my kids to play rugby on a Sunday, instead of taking them to Church.

Donaldsons head office was in Jermyn Street, world famous for men’s shirts and home to Fortnum and Masons.  Every wanabee surveyor (I didn't care, I had a job) eyed promotion to head office as their ultimate goal.

I bought a shiny brown briefcase and wore a suit for the first time since my wedding day, three years earlier.  The Goddess dropped me at Kings X station to catch the Piccadilly line to Gloucester Road.

I was shown into in a room with five others, an old Victorian lounge, in days gone by.  When someone left, (still happens today) the rest of the office completely asset strip the workstation of anything better than theirs, and move desks.  My desk was just inside the doorway with my back to the open door. Panic setting in already.  I took off my jacket and placed it on the chair. I could feel my heart starting to thump, I needed to just keep a low profile.  Five faces were staring at me as I sat down.

The bloody chair collapsed!  I grabbed the desk for support, the leg broke and there I was flat on my back with a broken chair, table leg and the desk balanced on my chest. Five faces turned away, heads shaking as the sound of contained amusement filled the room.  The joke rebounded as I had a brand new desk and chair delivered by lunchtime.

I had to speak letters into a microphone (not quite the same as shouting through a megaphone at a bunch of rowdy teenagers) attached to a tape recorder on a lead. I took the tape down one floor to Kim and it came back as a letter, with my name on it to sign and send.  It felt good.  Also great because I still hadn't learnt to write properly.  Tiggy has just muttered ‘you still haven’t’.  Who the fuck is Tiggy? That’s for later.

I was given 30 blocks of flats to manage with porters, gardeners, lifts and communal central heating. It is no joke having a boiler, providing hot water and heating to 42 flats in Kensington, break down on Xmas eve and was beyond repair! Especially as section something of some Housing Act says I have to get at least two quotes and follow a set consultation process before proceeding.

My client, the freeholder of said flats, calls me and gives firm instructions. I tell him I am sorry but can’t agree to what he wants.  We talk and reach an understanding on how to proceed.  Phew, that was scary!

Roger, our team leader and, and top of the list for promotion to head office, lays into me in front of the others. He shouts ‘that’s not how you speak to clients.  You disagreed with him, you put your own point of view forward. You must show the client total respect at all times’. I was deflated, said sorry and thought this job is not for me.  In those days the client dictated what happened and, as they were ultimately paying the wages, the surveyors often agreed. Me being wet behind the ears and only having the manual and college notes to refer to, had yet to learn the rules.  I never did learn those rules despite many a ‘cash’ offer from clients.

Back to my new job. Rodney, the management department Partner, was my real boss.  He was a Lancastrian lad from a poor background who taught me how to survive in a world of seemingly clever people. Rodney was known for his drive and determination and was not averse to speaking his mind.

One afternoon I walked into his office and said ‘I have a problem’.  He sent me away saying; ‘look at your problem and come back when you have at least two solutions for us to discuss.  The third solution of doing nothing you have already overcome by being here. Well done’.  I have used his words ever since.  I think it’s called experiential learning.

He took me to a residents meeting to discuss the three yearly painting of the windows which were required under the strict terms of the lease. This block (52 flats) had two sets of opposing residents associations.  Old Money Association wanted the windows painted in the summer when they were out of town at their country residences.  New Money Association preferred the autumn when their garden parties, with pimms and cucumber sandwiches, were over.  Each association had barristers and lawyers.

After almost three hours of arguing, all very politely of course, Rodney stood, called for silence and asked “do all your windows open?” General nodding.  “Do any of them leak?” General shaking.   “Good, I’m going to put the lease in my bag and leave it there for three more years.  Please don’t ask me to get it out again.  See you all next time”, and left.

I followed in his coat tails as he was muttering ‘that was close, it’s almost closing time and no-one paints their bloody windows every three years anyway’.   We scurried across the road to the nearest watering hole and settled for a pint of Fullers ESB.  I have used it so many times (the lease bit not the pub) in my surveying career.  Sadly Rodney succumbed to the dreaded C in his prime.  He was God in my book.

It was a steep learning curve but I seemed to thrive on the challenge. After eighteen months I was handed a new client and his property to manage. It comprised a terrace of seven buildings in Garrick Street Covent Garden, newly acquired by the Jermyn Street investment team. It tied in with an urgent college essay I had to write on how to manage a similar investment. I used the Garrick Street property, stating how I would let one bit, combine two other bits and change three units from retail to a wine bar and two restaurants. I also sent an adapted copy of my essay to the client.

The Jermyn Street investment partner was livid. I was summoned to his office and told to sit down. He towered over me ranting ‘how can some unqualified upstart tell my client what to do’. I was dismissed in no uncertain terms.

Word of my encounter spread, the client liked my report and asked me to implement it. Parts of head office were in stitches as ‘some unqualified upstart’ had made the investment partner look a fool. Six weeks later I was invited for a beer, with a different partner from head office, at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. This place was, is, serious opulence, full size marble columned swimming pool in the basement with sun loungers, gym, dining rooms and even a snooker room. Members were called Sir. Women were not allowed beyond the 'ladies room' at the entrance and could not become a member.

I had no idea I was about to become a regular for the next two years and get called Sir! Wow, I was offered the job my line manager Roger had been quietly cultivating. I grabbed it with both hands and even had tea in Fortnum & Masons to celebrate.

The investment Partner retired early. Roger, my line manager, was never promoted and left. I attended his leaving do and reminded him of our first encounter whilst looking deep into his eyes and smiling.

When, six years later, I established Lamberts Chartered Surveyors the owners of no’s 2-12 Garrick Street, Covent Garden were my first client. I managed the site with love and affection for the next five years before selling the investment. I once crawled over a snow covered 1m wide ledge, six floors up, to unblock a gutter when I couldn't get a builder.

Over the 11 years, since sending my college essay to the client, I made over £70,000 in fees from the property. All because I had engaged brain, opened my mouth, talked into a machine, signed the letter and had the belief in myself to send it to the client.

I had a meeting last Wednesday with Abbey 104 FM, Sherborne’s local radio station. I'm going to be a DJ. Hardly seismic but watch this space, it’s time for challenges new!

And the point I am making is:

 Never be afraid to; Engage brain and open your mouth!

 Have a good week.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

What is love?

"... the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another..." (Wikipedia)

September 2010 Pontefract West Yorkshire

I loved my sister Mandy.  BUT, she did my head in and I was on my way to give her shit.

Mandy had two problems. The first, she had no money and the second, her breast cancer had spread. See my 'Cunards Queen Victoria' blog for more about her.

She lived in Kirk Smeaton, a small village with a tiny shop and the ‘Shoulder of Mutton’ pub, just outside of Pontefract and two minutes walk from Brockadale Nature Reserve with its craggy outcrops of limestone high above the River Went - the northern tip of the old Sherwood Forest.

We spent hours and hours walking along the crags with her dog Rosie.  We walked off many a hangover and cried a lot.

So there I was, driving to Pontefract from Devon to bollock her, as by now the rest of my family was also imploding.  I put a familiar CD on. I know, same band as last time.  I’m sad like that! I find a piece of music and listen and listen till it nauseates everyone around me.

How can I change the world
If I can't even change myself?
How can I change the way I am
I don't know...

...Put down the drink, try not to think
Let it go, ... And so, reality is dreaming 
Just below my skin I'm screaming...

The screaming under my skin intensified all the way to Ponty (what t’ locals call it). “On arrival, I will head straight t’ ‘Shoulder’, down three pints of lager, a least one bottle of wine and a curry.  Then I can really let rip and roar like the Viking I am.  That will show her!”.

However, back to Mandy’s first problem, money! 

She solved it by spending money, the bank’s money, my money, the whole family’s bloody money, like crazy.    Mandy was beautiful inside and out, she had a Lady Diana look about her, always dressed in the most stylish clothes, heels to die for and a Range Rover to boot. She worshiped her children, kitting them out in designer outfits, had dinner parties for friends, was an amazing cook and of course had a dog, cat, rabbit and the rest.

At this point she was very much alive and had every intention of going out in a blaze of glory.

Readers who knew her will be giggling in agreement. She even got banned from the ‘Shoulder’ on more than one occasion.   I took her clubbing to Leeds, as you do, and she introduced her new toy boy to me saying ‘meet my Italian stallion’. I know had a problem as her previous stallion, a bloke from Halifax, who had been buying her drinks all night, was not happy and I was straight in his line of fire!  

Oh and she also had a horse!

Bloody Capital One Bank had given her a credit card with an £18,000 limit. Four weeks and a Range Rover later it was gone. Not to mention all the other credit and store cards.  I had Power of Attorney and ran her lack of finances.   

I even went to Court twice:

The first time was to rescue her son who had finally cracked under the pressure and played hopscotch on car roofs in the town centre.  Hardly blame him could you?

The second time was altogether more interesting.  We wanted some money from the ongoing divorce settlement and had to appear in court to plead for it, ma Lord.

The first hurdle was a court usher who insisted she remove her hat. (Any readers who have lost their hair from chemotherapy will know that their hat is a vital lifestyle accessory).  Words exchanged, tempers were raised and eventually the judge was called to adjudicate.  We won and the hat stayed on.

The second hurdle was a feisty woman lawyer explaining that her secretary had cancer for over ten years and is fighting fit.  She said, despite letters from the hospital saying otherwise, we should not be given an interim payment until all was agreed, as Mandy could live for years to come as proved by her secretary.

We lost and spent the next day arguing about who had finished the third bottle of wine without sharing the last glass, as you do. Mandy did prove the lawyer wrong even if we didn’t get the money.

It was hard work. 

The support team were brilliant. The Goddess was fab, or as we say up North, ‘went way beyond the call of duty’; the kids were brilliant, the whole family was brilliant. I discovered what love really meant during our time together.

At the same time the family’s and my nerves were in shreds and emotions sky high.

The trouble was having bought (or borrowed) the lifestyle, Mandy then had to keep it up.  Answer; borrow more, and more and more. Does that sound familiar to any of you? 

I didn’t!

Didn’t what?

I didn’t down three pints and a bottle of wine.  I ‘put down the drink’ and left the pub sober. Something inside had stopped me from repeating old patterns of behaviour. I still had insufficient insight or understanding of where these feelings were coming from so I ended up being quite grumpy (the Goddess said belligerent!) for the rest of the weekend.  However I managed to keep the lid on my anger until I left.
Not long after saying goodbye and driving away, I pulled over to the side of the road, got out of the car, screamed, shouted, ranted, raved, cursed and bloodied. I kicked the tyres and eventually sobbed and cried.  Wow, anger release in a conscious manner with no-one nearby to hurt.  My goodness, Lambo, you may have learned something that day.  I didn’t but that’s for later.

In Japan you can rent a padded cell with a baseball bat for an hour.  Bashing pillows also works and it’s free.

Two years before the end she was done with ‘stallions’ and met a wonderful man who said to her; ‘no buts, I just love you’. They walked, talked, laughed and cried together.  They flew to Amsterdam and joined my family for a weekend of fun. She appeared for dinner, dressed to kill, in her best 5” heels.  We partied long into the night.  She told no-one her feet were already covered in raw blisters from the chemo.  That was Mandy.

Sadly, the cancer problem solved the money one.  We spent New Year’s Eve in Leeds Royal Infirmary and from there to the hospice.  The Goddess tried to manage the flow of visitors ensuring calm and plenty of rest. Mandy had other ideas!  She was texting all her mates and demanding champagne and chocolate!  She wanted one last party and it lasted all week.  She was just amazing. She died three days later with her man beside her. Her mum, the goddess and I were trying to sleep, on the floor of the lounge next door.

On the day of her funeral the village was full to bursting and many couldn’t get into the church.    The Shoulder of Mutton team were fantastic, as were the regulars. They provided the reception for all the guests so we could all share our last goodbyes. Mandy would have loved it!  Maybe she was watching and smiling from afar?

I loved my sister.

And the point I am making is: 

There is no BUT in true love

Have a good week.


PS. It is OK for men to cry, isn't it?

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Rape of Berlin

“The USSR’s role in the defeat of Nazi Germany World War II, 70 years ago is seen as the nation’s most glorious moment.  But there is another story – of massive rapes by the Soviet soldiers of German women in the dying days of the war.... Some readers may find this story disturbing“.
(BBC News.– 1 May 2015)

I have never raped, physically abused or violated anyone. I did have two fights as a lad over the same woman. (See my ‘How do Chromosomes make love’ blog) but detest violence of any kind.  Even spiders are fine. My one exception is wasps and even then I suggest it leaves before zapping it.

There is a really simple solution to remove abuse of woman from the frontline of wars.  I will explain.

The ‘Lads’ on the front lines are our children, young adults at best, pumped with adrenalin, testosterone and endorphins.  These are lads on tour, only difference is; if they don’t win, they die (remember my ‘Thought for Monday Morning’ blog).  So they are literally fighting for their lives.

Rugby is played in a similar fashion.  Dropping the ball, when 4 points behind in the last minute of a cup tie in Newcastle, felt like death.   After six pints of Brown Ale, a curry and a night with a Geordie lass, the following morning my head was only throbbing (from the punch I was given for ‘trying it on’) not detached from my shoulders.

In last week’s blog ‘How Do Chromosomes Make Love’, I made light of this very serious subject, that being the abuse of women in war. In my blog I talk about the Wars of the Roses circa 1450.  Here’s a bit more:

At one point the Lancastrian [House of Lancaster to be correct] King of England, Henry VI, is under ‘house arrest’ in London as the Yorkists have taken control.  Meanwhile his wife Margaret (a feisty French lass) is in Scotland trying to build an army sufficiently strong to move south, attack the Duke of York and free her husband, without whom she is ‘dead meat’!  What could she offer the Scots so their young lads would travel south, eat crap food, use woollen blankets to sleep under and probably get killed in the process?

You guessed it; Rape and Pillage!  However, not until the soldiers had passed Newcastle (they knew what the lasses were like) and in return Berwick-upon-Tweed would be handed to the Scottish Queen as her reward. The English took it back in 1482 and it is now our most northern town.  Maybe we could give it to Nicola Sturgeon in return for her not seeking revenge for our metaphorically ‘raping Scotland’ ever since.  Standing in Murrayfield listening to ‘Flower of Scotland’ makes even me want to be Scottish.  My favourite sailing in the entire world is the West Coast.

Rape as a consequence of war is not a new problem it has been around for a long time.

The Chinese found a solution even before the Wars of the Roses.  They were far more advanced than a bunch of marauding Northerners.

On 8 March 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China.  The ships, some nearly five hundred feet long, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di’s loyal eunuch admirals.  Their orders were to ‘proceed all the way to the end of the earth’.      -  (1421 The year China discovered the World  -  Gavin Menzies)

Loyal what!!

If my balls were chopped off I would happily sail to the end of the world and be pretty loyal doing it.  I would have nothing better to do! This solution gained great favour throughout the world for a few hundred years until they discovered it was fine for servants and gardeners but no good on the front line, no balls no fight.  We now save it for Cats, Dogs and ‘Game of Thrones’. Phew that was close; I would have been a prime candidate!

My mum and dad had a black Lab, Sammy.  He kept his balls and boy did he use them. One sniff and he was off like the clappers, days on end sometimes. He created many a Hienz 57 pup and ruined the reputation of some highly bred bitches in his time!  Sadly Sammy died on the A1 at Ferrybridge, killed when chasing the scent of a woman.  Same place as thousands of ‘our lads’ died,  at the Battle of Ferrybridge (Wars of the Roses) on 28 March 1461, chasing the same scent.

Modern armies (last 100 years or so) tried to solve the problem with brothels on the front line.  Even terrorists are promised 16 virgins in heaven.  See my blog ‘Fatal Silence’.
Hang on isn’t there a staff shortage, for the brothels in the Middle East at the moment.  The recruitment campaign is even conducted on Facebook and there is public outcry when our girls sign up. 

I now understand how and why the ‘Rape of Berlin’ happened.  Young lads, full of adrenalin, testosterone and endorphins, need a release.  They have their balls. They are ‘dogs on heat’ and no laws or moral principles are going to stop them.

As I said at the beginning; there is really only one simple solution to remove rape as a factor of war.

Don’t send our lads to war in the first place!

Chopping the balls off some political leaders would help speed up the process.

Woman ruling the world would also work if they didn't seek revenge first and we could hardly blame them for wanting that, could we?

And the point I am making is:

Make love not war.

Have a good week.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

How do chromosomes make love?

I read last week that children in the UK were suffering from Vitamin D deficiency because their parents were covering them in sun block or they were glued to computers rather than being outside in the sunshine. He ho.
Had my 85 year old dad staying. We talked about, football (He’s a Chelsea fan and thinks Jose' Mourinho was a Yorkshireman in a past life), gardening, more football, music (Pink Floyd or Dire Straits) cars and money. Sound familiar with your dad, different bands maybe?  We talked about  our family line, my dad is a proud Yorkshireman.
Sorry Dad but I’m not.  I looked it up!  I am in fact a mixture of Viking, Derbyshire and Lancashire.  Somehow that enables me to live by the title of Yorkshireman.  It is true to say there have been many famous Yorkshiremen throughout history.  Indeed, Richard III was given a state funeral in Leicester a few weeks ago, as his death in 1485 ended the Wars of the Roses and the Yorkists rule of the country.
I have a dear friend who is also proud to be a “bloody Yorkshireman”.  It actually turns out his father came to England from Poland after the war, changed his name and married a Yorkshire lass.  As I mentioned my own roots can be traced back to the Vikings who in turn came from Scandinavia, who in turn came from Eastern Europe, who in turn came from Italy and Greece, who in turn came from North Africa. The other half of my family originate from Holland via East Germany and Russia and guess what?  North Africa.
As a lad I just presumed everyone came from Yorkshire and even when I didn’t I  assumed Yorkshire ruled the world.  It does doesn’t it?  I’d never read a paper till 14 (News of the World), black and white TV and ‘in-t-net’ was something that happened on a tennis court.

The first of many battles during the Wars of the Roses (the wars lasted over 30 years) took place in St Albans, Hertfordshire in 1455.  Lancashire were firmly encamped and playing a defensive 4-4-2 within the city.  Yorkshire adapted a more attacking 4-2-4 system and deployed wingers on either flanks. The wingers delivered hundreds of crosses into the box which was packed with Lancastrians.  In this war the wingers crossed with bows and arrows!
Yorkshire won and went one up in the series.  The victorious warriors wanted to party.   Why else would a bunch of blokes, with Viking genes, march from Leeds, carrying loads of armour, rubbish food, a blanket to sleep under if they were lucky, not want to party? Oh and they also had to kill a bunch of other blokes, claiming to support Lancashire, first. These were lads (young lads at that) on tour.  We all know of course; what happens on tour stays on tour. Especially with no YouTube to record events, or journalists checking they weren’t having the odd whiff of laughing gas. 
I have had two fights (as in the fisticuff stuff) in my 60 years, one aged 17 and one at 20 both over the same girl!  Engaged at 18 but lost her at 20 to a drama student just after I had pinned him to a condom machine in the loo and kissed him.  A ‘Glasgow kiss’ that is. Quite apt considering my contribution to her becoming pregnant two years earlier. That’s drama enough isn’t it! She thought otherwise and my engagement was off.  She also wrote my essays (I was in year 3 at Loughborough) which left me with a different problem.  That’s for later.
Oops back to the Wars;
“The victorious Yorkist troops were causing havoc …… rampaging through the streets, looting as they went and leaving behind a trail of destruction”    (Alison Weir - the Wars of the Roses)
They had discovered that the girls of St Albans were feisty, the beer was plentiful and it was considerably warmer than Castleford on a wet Thursday in January.  They wouldn’t go home, why should they, they were boys in the sweet shop!  In the end the Duke of York had to order them out so they turned it into a tour (no different to today’s rugby tours) of towns on the way home.
The Goddess is from St Albans.  Clearly the Viking in me knew where to look.   My Grandchildren are true Vikings and they’re just yummy.
So it is safe to say my family’s genes, and probably most of yours (I do have some readers in Thailand but that’s for later), originate from North Africa where the pigmentation of the skin was much darker to cope with the heat and blazing sun.   Migration moved north through Italy and Greece into Eastern Europe. Sadly it still does and thousands are dying daily when their boats capsize in the Mediterranean. As they moved north the sun shone less and the climate became colder.  The skin’s pigmentation became lighter to adapt and by the time it reached good old England, we couldn’t travel south without covering ourselves in factor 25.  I did try the package holiday to Greece stuff in my 20’s but just resembled a beetroot as you do. I even tried false tan a couple of times hoping it would improve my pullability. It didn't! 
Sorry Dad but we are all part of one big family.  You me and the rest.
Oh, I nearly forgot;
How do chromosomes make love?
They take their jeans off, of course.
And the point I am making is:
Our politicians really should check who their own ancestors are before slagging them off, or making political pawns of them.

Have a good election week.
P.S.  The genes of our most patriotic English Royal family would make an interesting study!