Tag Archives: Dunkirk

Power Without Responsibility

Power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages

A quote with an interesting history.

I haven’t turned the news on this morning. For one thing, I didn’t need to, as it’s all there on my screen when I switched the computer on. For another, it’s dull, repetitive, negative, depressing, and it’s often not news.

If I turn on this morning the news will be much the same as it was last night. In one case recently, the coverage from South Africa was exactly the same as it had been the night before, apart from the fact that several things had become inaccurate. References to “tonight”, for instance, should have been “last night” by the time it was shown for the second time.

Optimism has been shown to be beneficial to health. This isn’t just some New Age mindfulness wishful thinking – it’s endorsed by years of medical research. Readers Digest tells us that Laughter Is the Best Medicine and, again, this is backed up by medical research. This article probably isn’t the most scientific, but it is the most comprehensive list of the benefits of laughter.

After much thought I actually stopped watching the news as much as possible a few years ago, and have felt much better since. I may be slightly worse informed, but I’m a lot happier.

Let’s look at journalists next. Who are they? It seems to me that they are people who talk about the things other people do. Often, they talk about this with the benefit of hindsight, which we all know is the best way to be right. The opening quote, which I now find to be by Kipling, sums the situation up as well today as it did in 1931. Unfortunately I can’t blame journalists for the bad news bias. They are merely reporting events in a way that attracts the mist interest. It always seems that bad news attracts the most attention, and misery, as they say, loves company. 

It is traditional , in the UK, to run ourselves down. When the Chinese started with coronavirus they built a hospital in two weeks. As someone told me, this is a clear sign of Chinese superiority, as it would take us years to build a hospital.

I pointed out that it’s a clear sign that the Chinese Government shoots people who stand in its way. You tend to have fewer stages to go through in China. In the UK you have planning, public enquiries, NIMBYs, and Health & Safety.

In general I’m sure that China has just as many problems as we do with big building projects, but when it comes to swift and decisive action the Chinese Government model has no equal.

On the other hand, we just converted a conference centre to a hospital in two weeks and the story deserves more prominence. We also have tons of equipment being delivered and Formula 1 racing teams and various engineering companies are gearing up to produce machines to assist with breathing.

It’s looking good to me.

But the main stories are about how we supposedly mishandled the ordering of ventilators, are leaving staff without proper equipment and aren’t testing enough people.

Something I’ve noticed is that they seem to favour interviews with doctors and nurses coming off shift – that’s definitely not going to produce optimistic views.

I’m not going to say that the government is brilliant (I think you may have noticed a few criticisms in recent weeks) or that we should have bad news kept from us. However, the Government does deserve some credit and it wouldn’t hurt to be more positive.

Finally, I just saw a segment about the Medway Queen on Flog It. One of the people who appeared on the TV was a WW2 veteran who had been saved from Dunkirk by the Medway Queen. Compared to Dunkirk, a few weeks locked down hardly counts as an inconvenience.

 

This is the Coronia, another Dunkirk ship, based in Scarborough.

Scarborough, Sandwiches and a Broken Phone

This morning (Thursday)  I broke my phone. It slipped from my hand and hit the pavement face first. I’ve dropped it many times before but this time the screen shattered. In itself it’s annoying, but the full importance will be revealed later…

The weather on Wednesday lived up to its forecast so we swung into action with a trip to the coast. It was Julia’s only day off of the week so I thought I’d treat her to a day at the seaside.

We drove further north than usual and visited Wetherby Services for elevenses (breakfast had been toast, which I don’t actually recognise as a meal). We’ve stopped there once before and were impressed by the architecture.

Sadly, having decided to have a bacon baguette from Upper Crust, the architecture remained the only impressive part of the visit. Too late, we remembered that this was the situation after the previous visit. The bacon tasted of fish.

From there we turned towards Teeside, dropped down through the moors and emerged on the coast at the top end of Whitby near the Rugby Club.  A few years ago Nottingham U15s went on tour to Scarborough. Scarborough Rugby Club, with their £10 million facility, didn’t reply to my enquiry about a match.  Despite it being last minute, Whitby stepped in and hosted us.

They made us welcome and lent us several players (including a full Yorkshire player) to augment our squad. By “squad” I mean 11 forwards and a scrum half who had spent the previous day and night on a training diet of seaside rock, chips and Red Bull.

All in all, I always feel a warm glow when driving past the club.

We had crab sandwiches at Mrs Botham’s. They were excellent. The photos are currently stuck on my camera. Attempts to extract them, trying to swipe the shattered screen, did not go well.  At quiet times of the year you can park outside the shop, obtaining a parking disc from the newsagent.  There are some very interesting shops along the street.

Finally, we went to Scarborough.

The vessel in the featured image is the MV Coronia, the second excursion ship of that name to sail from Scarborough. Built as the Brit, she cruised the Norfolk coast from 1935 to 1939 befire being taken up by the Admiralty and renamed HM Tender Watchful. She spent the war in hard but unglamorous work – boom defence on the Humber, resupplying destroyers in Yarmouth Roads and working on PLUTO (Pipeline Under the Ocean).

For a short time in 1940 she was one of the ships that rescued troops from Dunkirk, bringing 900 home. One of the crew at that time spoke of clearing body parts from the deck and having to beach the badly damaged ship on the return to Dover.

The other shots show the castle above the town and a painted bicycle – probably from the recent Tour de Yorkshire.