Tag Archives: politicians

Victorian Values

I was up a little later today, but am continuing my new system of getting up once I wake at an approximately suitable time.  It may cut my sleep slightly short but I’m not convinced that the extra grudging 20-40 minutes of sleep is actually worth it. I never feel rested at the end of it.

It’s a funny day, Saturday. Lacking the discipline of the rest of the week, it is a slightly chaotic morning. I don’t have to get Julia to work, so there’s no rush to be out of the door before 8.00, but I do want to get to work in time to settle and find a parking spot. I’m old-fashioned like that. If I “start” at 10.00, I like to be there at least fifteen minutes early to get myself ready and relaxed. I’ve always done this, even in the days when a day in the office involved pens and paper rather than computers. Do you remember those days? We used to do our calculations using pen, paper and knowledge, instead of clattering away on a calculator or computer.

It’s always been one of those things that winds me up.  If you start work at a certain time, that’s when you start. You son’t sidle into the office dead on time, hang your coat up, say hello to people, use the toilet,, shuffle the stuff on your desk and, ten to fifteen minutes after your start time, actually get down to work . . .

As I say, probably just me, as this sort of attitude is generally considered “Victorian” in today’s world. That’s Victorian in the context of an insult. These days it’s seen a s a bad thing to do a fair day’s work for your pay, and to keep your word. I fully support this boss. It would be even better if the Prime Minister would show this sort of backbone when dealing with his government. Of course, that would imply that he had some sort of values himself, and that, to be honest, doesn’t seem to be the case.

However, I do admit that it’s difficult for people to know how to respond when they see so many politicians and sports starts behaving like the rules don’t apply to them.

Not My Best Day

Sorry, I’m struggling with a throbbing ankle tonight after too much walking today. I say walking, I mean a few laps of the shop. It isn’t impressive. When you think that in my teens I used to walk to a market town 13 miles away, eat my sandwiches and then come back the long way, this shows how much I have declined. It also shows I used to live in a flat part of the country.

I often thought about buying a bike and doing the run from land’s End to John O’Groats but it remained a daydream. If only…

Unfortunately I think this is now likely to remain a dream.

Christmas is now officially cancelled, and the nation is having to take holier than thou advice from a man with a father who has been photographed more than once flouting Covid guidelines and supported an adviser who did the same. It doesn’t sit well.

Even Julia, who is generally not one to bear a grudge, said the same. When you manage to upset her, you really are pushing your luck. I know this from experience.

I’ve been looking at government stats on vaccinations – at the rate we are going I’m more likely to die of old age than I am to be vaccinated. I think the government has worked out that if they allow those of us in the 45-65 age groups to suffer high Covid mortality it’s better for the pension scheme than keeping us going for another 20-30 years.

If I ever get round to planning a prize-winning blockbuster (because nobody ever plans to write a mediocre potboiler) I may use this as the main premise – a group of accountants releases a deadly virus to make up for deficiencies in the welfare state. I just need to find a reason why there is a hole in the finances – as they are accountants wine, women and song aren’t going to play a big part in their lives and it’s unlikely they put a billion on red in Monte Carlo.

Ah well, I’ll just have to see what my imagination comes up with over night…

At least Strictly Come Dancing ended well.

 

 

 

One of those Quick Posts

Remember when you were a small child and water was always colder? Well, it was if you were a small child in the UK. Swimming pools weren’t heated then and the sea was always cold. Come to think of it, swimming pools didn’t always have a roof. And sun was something that, apart from one week in summer, only foreigners had.

Anyway, the best way of entering the water was always to throw yourself in and get it over with. You might gasp a bit, but at least it was done.

Well, I’m feeling that way about posting tonight. I’ve tried several starts, and nothing good has come from it, so this is the modern writing equivalent of that leap into cold water.

Currently I have done half the unofficial target of 250 words I set myself, and I have managed to do it without actually having anything to say. If I carry on at this rate I may end up with a career in politics.

I’ve noticed a growing tendency in politicians to give longer answers as the epidemic has progressed (that’s Covid, not the epidemic of political lying and ineptitude that has been such a noticeable bi-product of the Covid epidemic).

Julia mentioned it recently while we were watching the news. It’s a good tactic. Instead of avoiding, or evading, you look like you are honestly trying to answer the question, and because you take so long doing it, you run out of time and they can’t ask you more difficult questions.

It’s a brilliant system and, a bit like tonight, you end up filling the time without actually doing anything useful.

And that, I think you will find, is my target of 250 words done, and nothing useful has been said.

In fact, at 292 words, my target is rapidly fading into the dust behind me, and 300 is rapidly coming into view. And has been passed…

It’s amazing what you can do when you get your head down and start throwing words onto a page.

A photograph of a pen, some tags, and that’s me done.

 

The New Dystopia

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

George Orwell – “1984”

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Here it is, as promised a few days ago.

I am embarrassed to admit that I lived for many years, and )read many dystopian novels, without realising the word existed. However, I’m not so embarrassed that I won’t use the fact to start a blog post. That sort of blind-spot, I’m afraid, is the mark of a self-educated man. Looking on the bright side, though I lack a degree, I also lack the debt that goes with it in the modern world. Given the choice of being debt free or knowing the word ‘dystopian’ I’ll settle for ignorance.

However, after learning about it a few years ago I find it’s a useful word for our current circumstances.

During the recent lockdown we mainly behaved like sheep and obeyed the instructions of the government. It was quite disturbing, but far preferable to the prospect of the NHS being overwhelmed.

Once the panic buying had subsided, I felt quite relaxed. The roads, when I had to use them, were empty, and the air quality improved.

Some police forces were, to be fair, a little too keen to use the extra powers that Government gave them, and supermarkets have seemed a little too keen on issuing instructions, particularly as their staff are some of the worst offenders when it comes to ignoring social distancing. Other police forces, such as Durham and Leicestershire, seemed unwilling to use their powers (see remarks on Dominic Cummings and Sir Petrer Soulsby below).

Shops have also used the virus as an excuse for refusing cash. They have wanted to go to a cashless society for a long time now, as cash handling incurs costs and security problems. The Government also wants to move away from cash as it wants to know all about your money so that only rich people with accountants are able to avoid paying tax. The “cash job” of the working man will no longer be an option.

Of course, when restrictions were relaxed, people reacted by flocking to the beach, holding raves and street parties, and even by rioting, in an exhibition of selfishness of staggering proportions.

Even before that, a number of high profile figures had been caught breaching regulations, and though several did the decent thing and resigned, some didn’t. It was a shame to see a number of scientists resigning for giving way to human weakness, particularly at a time when we needed scientific guidance. It was also a shame to see that a number of politicians, when caught out, didn’t resign. I include Dominic Cummings in this, despite him not being elected, and Sir Peter Soulsby, the Mayor of Leicester.

As far as my mental journey goes, I have lost the ability to mix with people. Strangers are no longer just friends I haven’t met, they are potential sources of infection. Even friends I have met are a potential source of infection.

The world has been spoilt and I may never feel the same about it again.

Whilst reading for this post (not that you would guess any scholarship actually goes into it), I enjoyed this article immensely. Especially Number 5.

 

 

The Mask of Borro

I’m doing some research for an article which I am writing, when I came across a reference to Zorro. In my mind this was translated to Borro, as Boris the blonde buffoon is always in my thoughts. As the government is now threatening to fine people for not wearing masks on public transport the title of the post took shape in my mind – The Mask of Borro!

To be honest, that is as far as it goes. I don’t have the enthusiasm to pursue the Prime Minister and lambast either his advisor, his lack of leadership or his disorderly life.

The government policy on face covering, like many features of their handling of the lockdown, has not reflected credit on them. I don’t mind them making decisions, even wrong ones. But I do mind them flapping and vacillating and wobbling about. That’s it. I now wash my hands of them.

Lobby-card-The-Mark-of-Zorro-Rouben

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation –  Lobby Card 

I note, in passing, that it’s also possible to write lambaste and adviser and still be correct. Spelling is a remarkably flexible area, even in the twenty first century.

I have been storing a title in my drafts for several years now – Polishing, Pondering and Plagiarism – because I liked the alliteration. It would be hard to assemble all the necessary elements for a post. Over the years I have thought of adding and subtracting – Pontification and Procrastinating both being considered for inclusion at one time – but I’ve never managed to write a post that drew the elements together in a convincing matter.

Yesterday, as I was thinking in the car, I decided that I really ought to use it, even if I only used it to introduce a post on titles I would love to use. Unlike the Corvid 19 joke, where I knew that I would get a photo of a crow sooner or later, it is unlikely I will ever need this title.

It will now never be used as a title because, although I was going to use it for this post, I then thought of the Borro title.

I have several others stored away too.

Vandetta was going to be a post about the way white van drivers seem to have it in for me when I’m out driving. I’m not sure if they bear a grudge against all car drivers, the Highway Code or just me, but it does seem like it’s personal.

Cyclots was one I was storing up for a post about one-eyed cyclists doing stupid things. I don’t actually remember seeing any one-eyed cyclists, so I’m thinking it’s unlikely that I’ll be needing it in the near future either.

I’m currently working on a post merging the worlds of politics and astronomy. There are, unfortunately, too many politicians and only one planet with comedy potential (and even that comedy potential is limited for anyone over the age of 14). I will therefore keep my fingers crossed that Michael Gove is made Minister for Space Exploration, because only when that precise combination of unlikely circumstances coincide, will it be appropriate to write a post titled Michael Gove looks like Uranus.

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Caesar’s Wife and the Special Advisor

Sorry, I’m being political and I’m writing about Dominic Cummings today. He is a special advisor to the Prime Minister and was recently accused of breaking the lockdown guidance. People have resigned, or been forced to resign, over this several times and in several countries. Some useful scientists have been discarded as a result, at a time when we need scientists. Now Dominic Cummings has been accused of breaking the rules. He is not a scientist and, to my mind, is not useful. Political advisors fill the same niche in politics as catfish do in the world’s rivers – they lurk in murky places and feed from the bottom.

If he was sacked tomorrow I really don’t think the world would notice.

However, Boris Johnson won’t sack him. He has, according to Boris, ‘acted responsibly, legally and with integrity’.

First, may I say that Boris, with his expensive classical education, should be the first to know that Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion. It is not good enough for someone in that position to be squeaky clean: they must give absolutely no room for suspicion.

And when they are tackled by the press they should remember, that, as the Bible tells usA soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. A soft answer does not seem to be the favoured response of either Mr Cummings or the Tory Party. Their responses to the press are verging on arrogant.

As for ‘responsibly, legally and with integrity’, I don’t know the exact definition of what was legal. Discussing things like this is what keeps the legal profession in wigs and holiday homes. The ex-Chief Constable of Durham seems to believe there was a crime.(that is the same link as the previous one).

Responsible? I’m not sure that travelling the length of the country with a child and an infected person in the car to stay with family is responsible.

Integrity? I’ll let you make your own mind up.

All over the country people are making sacrifices. Even some politicians are making sacrifices. Sadly, it seems that some of them aren’t.

I photographed the crow in the picture 18 times before I got that shot, which makes the title of that shot corvid19.

I’ve been waiting to use that joke for months…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of the Day

Just a few more musings on things I didn’t cover in the earlier post.

I noticed, while shopping yesterday, that my thoughts were turning more to sugar. It tested my self-control yesterday, enmeshed as I was in a shop filled with cake, hot cross buns and chocolate eggs, but I got through it.

Well, I say I “got through it”. I got through it in the sense that I bought Belgian buns, Battenberg cake, two small chocolate rabbits and a bag of mini eggs. It’s not much for a week as long as you spread it out, and could have been a lot worse. I’m hoping that next week will be slightly more disciplined.

Number Two Son rang Julia. He was trying to reassure her that he was OK and back in employment, this time at a bank call centre. It’s nice to know he’s financially secure but now she’s worrying that he’ll catch something off his co-workers.

It seems a local politician has lost her job over remarks she made about Boris Johnson being in hospital. To be honest, though the comments were ill-judged and discourteous I think things are being blown out of all proportion. She was also inaccurate in saying Boris was the worst PM we’ve ever had – we’ve had far worse, though to be fair he hasn’t really got into his stride yet.

As I write this, I have a massive pan of ratatouille cooking. I carried on buying aubergines even though I couldn’t get courgettes on my last couple of shopping trips. They are now starting to go brown in places so I decided to get them cooked now and then store the results.I’m determined not to waste a morsel of food, though it can be tricky with all the fresh veg I’m trying to store.

Despite the pronouncements of this brain-dead mother of two, we aren’t all throwing food away. In the last three weeks we have thrown away a couple of cupfuls of milk that went off. I just couldn’t be bothered to find a suitable use for it. Sorry. I will do better if it happens again.

I note from the article, and the pictures with it, that she “had” to throw stuff away, including Worcester Sauce, Soy Sauce and two jars of pickled onions. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never found that those products actually go off. They certainly don’t go off three weeks after they were bought as part of a panic-buying spree.

That, I think, covers the bits I missed last time. Tonight’s tea was roasted veg (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, leek) with a bought-in chicken pie, broccoli and gravy. Tomorrow’s tea will be fish pie, because we need to eat the fish. On Friday we will start on the ratatouille. If we eat it with something out of the freezer we will have space to freeze some ratatouille.

Inn the garden, poppies are getting ready to bloom and the Red Valerian is preparing to burst out.

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Red Valerian, about to flower

In Praise of Potatoes

One of the better events of my week was the purchase of potatoes last Sunday. We had run out and although we don’t eat a lot (I’m trying to cut down on carbs) I was uncomfortable relying on rice and pasta. Although I like rice and pasta they will never replace potatoes.

We had mashed potatoes tonight, with butter, mustard and spring onions. Whilst I was looking up ways to jazz up the mash I read a recipe (if you can call it that) where the writer said “I’ve never used a hand masher before”.

What!?

(That’s an interrobang, by the way, it is, a proper punctuation mark with a fifty year history, and not just something I’ve made up. That doesn’t excuse it, but on the other hand , how do you express the proper degree of incredulity at someone who writes recipes but has never used a hand masher. How have they been mashing their vegetables until now?)

We are getting into ring-pull territory here? Do you remember that? It was 2017 when someone posted on Mumsnet with the opinion that only poor people used can openers. Well-off people bought cans with ring-pulls.

I, needless to say, have a can opener and buy the cheapest cans. That makes me poor, though if I were really poor I’d buy my chick peas in bags and soak them myself.

Interesting events tonight as the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland has resigned after admitting visiting her second home, against her own advice. Hypocritical? Yes. But if she’s one of the best medical brains we have, is her resignation the best thing for Scotland or, as we are attached, the UK?

I had to laugh though, when I read a Twitter comment asking if Prince Charles will be warned for going to his Scottish holiday home to self-isolate, instead of staying at home in England.

As you can see, the free photo resource is not the be all and all. I searched for “Prince Charles”. This what I got. Thank goodness I didn’t search for Prince Albert.

shallow focus photography of a cavalier king charles spaniel

Photo by Steshka Willems on Pexels.com

 

The Story So Far

I think all the positivity of my last few posts has exhausted me. It’s not easy being cheerful when the whole world seems set on misery. Earlier tonight I was listening to a negative, whining politician tonight as he made a selection of party-political points and offered nothing useful. This, of course, is merely reverting to type. They behaved like a basket of weasels through the whole Brexit debate, briefly grew up at the start of the Covid outbreak and are now reverting to type.

The country is led by a man who has made all his political decisions based on how it would help his career, so you can’t blame any of his verminous fellows who are trying to further their careers in the current climate. It may be a tragedy for the us, but it’s a career opportunity for them.

Today, after reading more of the 1700 book, I have mainly been watching TV, reading blog sites and searching newspaper archives. There are worse ways of spending a day.

Julia’s day started at 6.55 when someone rang her. It was a wrong number. It finished at 20.15 when some of the clients decided to conference call her. They get bored and ring at all times, having no concept of working hours. It’s very wearing.

Tomorrow will be similar, but may feature a trip to the pharmacy. I really must start measuring medallions too. It’s time to start making lists so that I do actually accomplish something. I can then bore people with stories of what I did in the Great Lockdown of 2020.

Good news from earlier in the week is that pollution levels are falling because we aren’t using cars as much.

An Elegantly Wasted Life

We had a slowish day, with enough work to keep us going but nothing overly taxing.

We had three parcels to send this morning, with a fourth to be packed and weighed so that we could invoice the buyer. In the afternoon another order came in – one postcard. It didn’t take much packing.

I’ve just had a look at the shop’s eBay account. The invoice has been paid and two more things have been purchased, a post card and a coin set. It looks like another easy day, though I’d rather have a busy one because it means I’m earning my wages.

There’s a very fine line between having an easy day and having a succession of easy days, or “unemployment” as it also known. Not that I would be unemployed, I’d just call myself a writer and get on with all the stuff I’ve been meaning to do for years, such as drinking more tea, claiming for pens on expenses and looking wistful.

I would also spend time selling my own stuff on eBay, though I note that their namby-pamby terms and conditions prohibit me from selling a kidney (Plan C, as I think of it), advertising my services as an inept assassin (or even an efficient one, to be fair) or advertising coins from Sudan.

I can see their point in some of these, but other prohibitions, such as Sudanese coins, make no sense.

Last week we wrote up a sale for a miniature George Cross on a First Day Cover, It’s a novelty collectable and the George Cross is a perfectly respectable medal. However, eBay automatically refused it as Russian law prevents the ale of Russian State Orders and Decorations. To advertise this, we would have to remove the Russian Federation from our postage list on this auction. We did this but still couldn’t post the auction.

We removed the word “George” from the title and it allowed us to proceed. The Russians, you see, have an Order of St George and the idiot in charge of such things at eBay has allowed for this by making it impossible for you to advertise medals with “George” in the title.

Politics by eBay is becoming ever more farcical, even in a world that includes Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister.

Just out of interest, now that President Trump (UK slang for breaking wind) and Prime Minister Johnson (US slang for penis), does anyone else have a growing belief that we are living in ludicrous times?

I’m going to resist temptation and not discuss silly names.

However, if you want to follow the link I can’t stop you.