Tag Archives: money

A Wastrel’s Life, Or The Glamour of Compost

I used to be a dull person, but I was lucky enough to work outdoors with butterflies, compost and bread.

This added a false veneer of interest to my life.

Now that I spend my days packing parcels in a windowless back room I dream of butterflies and the glamour of compost.

On the plus side, I do get paid for sitting in the windowless back room where most of my work on the farm was unpaid. That’s what happens when you work for your wife…

All in all, I really don’t know which I prefer. Money isn’t everything and it’s hard to put a price on working with your wife, and having flexibility and free time. I would definitely live my life differently if I had it all over again, but I’m not sure it would be an improvement.

I think I’ve covered this before.

All I will add before moving on is that I really ought to be ashamed of the way I have squandered my opportunities, ruined my health and loafed my life away. I do sometimes have regrets in my more introspective moments, but they aren’t real. I don’t necessarily like being a ne’er do well, but I’d hate to be an accountant.

Don’t take this badly if you are an accountant, there is academic research on the subject. This shows that accountants are boring because of the vocabulary they use. It also shows that academics have too much time on their hands. It’s not as if someone writing something called Writing in English for Specific Purposes can take the moral high ground in matters of being interesting. I’m actually confused as the link in the article doesn’t quite tie in to the page that comes up but I can’t really be bothered to sort it all out. Sorry about that, but I’m not academic and I have a cavalier attitude.

If I had to select a motto for my life I’d probably give this one a go.

“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”

Augusten Burroughs

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Juvenile Starling – looking before it leaps

What Does £32 Million Buy? (Part 1)

The easy, topical answer, is that it buys a Winter Olympic team, along with 59 athletes, four medals and the material for some great film scripts.

A crowd-funded bobsleigh team, crashing skater and an ice dancer who came back from smashing a kneecap – it’s all there.

I’m not a great sportsman, as you may have guessed from my photos and various comments on size and sloth, but every four years I rotate through Olympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. The kids make me watch a variety of World Championships, there’s the Rugby World Cup,the Rugby League World Cup and plenty of local news on skaters and kayakers who train in Nottingham. It’s hard not to get involved with all that around on TV.

Now, the question, as raised by National Treasure “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards, is, are we spending too much on Winter sports. We aren’t, it seems, a natural Winter Sport nation.

Unfortunately we aren’t naturally good at Summer Sports, cricket or football either.

So, where do I go from here?

I could go on to discuss sport, politics and the national mood, which always seems to improve when we do well.  It often improves when we lose too, as we all love an underdog and Elise Christie, though devoid of medals, has set an example of determination that’s a great example to the rest of us.

I could talk about sport and money. It’s a massive subject, and it has plenty to offer a cynic, particularly if, like me, you believe that the money would be better spent on developing better drugs programmes. If people want to run as fast as chemicals allow, let’s help them. I’m looking forward to the two minute mile.

However, for those who want to do it the old-fashioned way – hard work and dedication – I’d have a separate set of games. I’d also ban transgressors for life instead of handing them a short rest between games. Yes Justin Gatlin, I’m looking at you.

Finally, as we’ve sort of covered politics, cash and the cowardice of governing bodies, it might be a good time to mention James “Darkie” Peters. I’ll say no more. If you’re interested in the history of sport, apartheid and spineless administrators you will find it interesting.

In Part 2 I will look at what else you can buy with £32 million.

 

 

 

Dreams, Laws and Randomness

 

Searching for inspiration, I just Googled “Random Subject Generator” to see if there was such a thing. There is.

The subject it generated is: If you could pass a law right now, what would it be, and why?

Well, my first thought is why bother, because nobody takes notice of the law these days. On Friday I actually saw a cyclist ride across a pedestrian crossing without using his hands whilst reading something off his phone screen. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, though that was a minor safety consideration compared to the rest of it.

No amount of legislation will improve that situation – some people are way past that.

The appropriate action was that sort of thing is a marksman on a high building with permission to cull the weakere members of the herd. American dentists would probably pay a large sum for the chance of mounting such a rare head on the wall, complete with unused brain.

My second thought was about the advisibility of passing a law that allows me to win the next big lottery jackpot…

 

 

Micawber and Me

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.” Wilkins Micawber (David Copperfield)

I suppose you can sum the philosophy up as “enough is enough”. The difference for Micawber is just a shilling. The difference for me is just a few plastic bags. Fifty bags are good, a hundred would be too many and I would start to worry about waste and storage. In general this seems to be the way. Research on lottery winners suggests that large amounts of money aren’t enough to make you happy as you adjust to having it.

That’s a great comfort to me for a number of reasons, including, I admit, envy. I can take a certain amount of pleasure from the idea that the rich aren’t happier than I am, and derive satisfaction from the knowledge that, no matter how much money I may have, this is as good as it gets (in other words, working harder would have made me richer but not happier).

Unfortunately, in my quest for knowledge, I looked up more links and found  this research . It seems that lottery winners can be happy, though this one doesn’t seem overly cheered by their million pound win. Some people are never satisfied.

A million pounds would come in handy, and I’m sure I could handle it. I certainly wouldn’t sue anyone for giving me a million. But in truth, I don’t need it, and I can do without it. This is all part of the thinking I’ve been doing whilst sitting round healing.

Obviously I’ve concluded that health is more important than money, and that Julia has a price far above rubies, as Proverbs tells us. Well, it does in the King James version, more modern versions say jewels or precious stones, which is not the same at all. Whoever used rubies (and it may well have been Shakespeare) knew how to select his words.

Whilst watching daytime TV I’ve also seen plenty of adverts for charities and learned to appreciate access to clean water, the NHS and a fridge full of food. Then there’s the electricity to run the fridge, the road to the shops and the roof over my head.

It’s amazing how much we have, what we take for granted.

To be fair, though it does provide the above lessons, I probably could give up daytime TV.

 

We may see the small Value God has for Riches, by the People he gives them to.” — Alexander Pope (1727)