The manager of a nearby petrol station has gone for a surprising new look. For the past dozen or so years, he would perhaps best be described, along with myself, as 'folicly challenged' or bald as a coot, if you prefer.
Today, however, he sprang a surprise. Summoned to the counter to answer a query as to the availability of the jet wash, he appeared from the newspaper aisle sporting a bouffant gentleman's hairpiece that was as startling in its luxuriance as for its man-made lustre. So much nylon, close to petrol dispensing equipment might be inadvisable on safety grounds; so much new, artificial hair, as featured in his syrup, was also a threat to good order and discipline in the queue to pay.
Once I got over the shock, and mastered the urge to stare, my initial reaction was one of midlife crisis or urge to impress a new special someone in his life. Either way, what better time than a new year to completely throw over the traces and face the future with a bold, if nylon, new look?
Happy new year.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
The manager of a nearby petrol station has gone for a surprising new look. For the past dozen or so years, he would perhaps best be described, along with myself, as 'folicly challenged' or bald as a coot, if you prefer.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
Perfection of a kind, was what he was after, And the poetry he invented was easy to understand; He knew human folly like the back of his hand, And was greatly interested in armies and fleets; When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter, And when he cried the little children died in the streetsBy my reckoning, they've reached the easy invention of their themes, and are delighted to experiment with human folly in garnering as many shares, hits and likes as possible. We need to be afraid when they discover armies and fleets - and watch out for those Tories who, anxious to save their skins, suddenly find an accommodation rather easy to swallow, for they will be the first to quake at the jokes made at the expense of the lost, lonely, different or disadvantaged.
Monday, December 08, 2014
The middle-aged male cashier who served me Sainsbury's this afternoon was plainly under weather. After laughing off his symptoms with a self-deprecatory diagnosis of man-flu, he then said that it was nonetheless a real condition. His special pleading then broke down, because he put his plight down to excess oestrogen!
Cue hilarity from self and two women ahead of me in the queue.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Monday, December 01, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Friday, November 14, 2014
This week's Private Eye (Eye 1379) contains a worrying article on page 9 (Tidings of Joy) which reveals that Daily Express employees have been commanded not to make disparaging comments about owner Richard Desmond or any of his friends in their Tweets or on Facebook.
This is worrying for several reasons. First, an employee should not be expected to cede all aspects of their right to freedom of expression when they sign their contract of employment. Second, an adverse comment about an unidentified co-worker, superior or manager made in exasperation or as a throwaway remark should not constitute a breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence that forms part of the contract of employment when to do so serves to allow the employer to intrude into an employee's personal and private life. In any event, to claim a right to control how an employee uses social media represents a gross abuse of bargaining power that distorts the employment relationship.
In my case, I can say that my boss can sometimes be a right pillock; but then again, I'm self-employed.
Saturday, November 08, 2014
On 17 December 1985, the Labour MP Brian Sedgemore was suspended from the Commons for calling the then Tory Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, a 'snivelling little git'. After his brazen attempt to spin his dodgy deal yesterday can't help but feel that Gideon is a worthy heir to Sedgemore's earthy epithet
Friday, November 07, 2014
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Specsavers email a 'friendly reminder' that it's my 'last chance' to complete their customer satisfaction survey. Last chance or what? They'll send someone round to scratch my new glasses?
What is it with the survey meister's need for endless approval of the most mundane of actions? Celebrate our mediocrity, we're just doing our job, but we need your approval to massage our bored egos. Sadly this was an offer I could refuse: Speccy speccy Specsavers, you're opticians - not the Mafia. The kid with the specs doesn't get to make the threats. I know, I've been wearing bins since I was 8. Get over yourselves, and wise up on the marketing. The current model suits you as well as a pair of Dame Edna's glasses.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
With two male teenagers in the house, we've developed the practice of throwing clean pants and socks onto their beds and letting them out them away.
Yesterday afternoon, eldest son brought new girlfriend home, but didn't tell me. So I, clean shreddies etc in hand, kicked open his bedroom door and launched them at his bed. At which point I noticed son and girlfriend talking (yes, just talking). Managed fulsome apologies before the undertrawlies hit their target, then withdrew to barely suppressed laughter.
Joys of parenthood...
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
The full account of News International's hacking and other illegal information gathering activities. Written by Nick Davies, freelance journalist and long time Guardian contributor, Hack Attack also charts the lengths to which Murdoch - both Rupert and James - demanded 'no-holds-barred' journalism (as exemplified by the widely used injunction 'whatever it takes to get the story'), and the corrosive effect of their use of power, threat and patronage to befriend and threaten elected politicians, as decreed by Rupert and his senior lieutenants, such as Kelvin McKenzie and Trevor Kavanagh. Davies is honest about the shortcomings and failures that beset his investigation; he also raises the terrifying spectre of a resurgent tabloid media that was all too eager to trash Leveson and hide behind freedom of speech to resume its prurient spying on those who threaten its lack of ethics or basic morality or allow it to sell papers and news subscriptions with 'stories' that exploit the weak or chew over the foibles of public figures or transient celebrities..
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
I had an eye test the other day. In addition to myopia (been wearing specs since I was 8), I also have to be tested for glaucoma because my mum had it. This involves sitting at a machine that puffs a shot of air onto your eyeball to check the pressure ( the correct ophthalmic name is tonometry). Now, I'd always thought that the person sitting on the opposite side of the puffing machine administered the puff by pressing a switch or button. Indeed, I have to admit to rather envying them their role: being able to add an extra one 'for luck' if faced with a particularly stroppy or annoying patient would be a great perk of anyone's job. Not so. The pleasant woman who ran the test for me, and apologised after each puff, told me the entire process is automated; the puff is triggered when the eye is fully opened. So why was she sitting there? Do they record reactions and play the best ones back at break time?. Didn't ask. After she'd blown the gaffe about the automation, the process lost some of its magic for me. The strange thing is, no matter how many times a person has the tonometry test, she said they always jump. Unpleasant the sudden shock of forced air to the eyeball may be, if it diagnoses glaucoma, keep on puffing, I say.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Friday, October 03, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
I bought Nick Davies' expose of high crimes and misdemeanors in the evil Murdoch empire Hack Attack on Read Now app, which has just recommended Mein Kampf for 74p. I knew Rupe was a thoroughly-bad egg, but didn't have him in the same league as Hitler. One recommendation I won't be taking up.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Peppa, one half of the duo of sows we 'adopted' in April died in her sleep on Wednesday night. At six-and-a-half this was not entirely unexpected. Cheeky and playful to the last, her version of raging against the dying of the light was to stage an audacious dash for freedom when being moved from the run to hutch for what proved to be the last time.
Her partner, Salt, at three, and with a far more nervous disposition, has gone through a complete transformation in behaviour. Where previously she'd run away if we approached, even bearing food, now she just sits and looks vacantly into space, she is also now content to sit on a lap and purrs when stroked. I think we will soon be looking for another adoptee.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Youngest son celebrates thirteenth birthday tomorrow, so tonight - as requested, we have a sleepover preceded by an outing to KFC. Hope sleep comes early, and the heartburn inducing deep-fried grease fest doesn't mean I'm the one who can't get to sleep til the wee smalls...
Enjoyed Terry Hayes' debut novel. Bit too James Bond in places but a good espionage tale nonetheless. Looks like a film's planned, so see what the movies make of it. Decided to follow it up with Le Carre's Most Wanted Man. Might not get to see it at cinema so soon after its release bit really enjoy his writing in any case. Sad to see it's Seymour Hoffman's final leading role.
Just seen off the second shredder of the year. With the sheer volume of paper that contains names, addresses or even hints of bank details needing to be disposed of, you'd have thought they'd built to last. Them again, perhaps weakness makes up for the lack of built-in obsolescence in the damn things. Either way, it's another 25 quid down the drain. At least it keeps the guinea pigs in bedding.
And now, as the nights draw in, the time has come for Autumn's least likeable task: removing dessicated fly and moth remains from the conservatory roof blinds delicate folds... All hail the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and crispy creepy-crawly corpses.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Over dinner last evening in Ziggy's Indian restaurant, Halifax, my eldest son regaled us with the news that one of his scout leaders had, earlier that day, cycled from his home in Sowerby Bridge to England's highest market town, which is situated in Wensleydale, an are I love to visit. Indeed, so caught up was I in the moment that I immediately ejaculated the highly ambiguous phrase 'I like Hawes'.
Cue coughing fit and mirth from spouse and offspring.
It's great when you can embarrass the kids in public...
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Went to Ingleton today as a family of four looking forward to the 4 mile walk that takes in a couple of dozen waterfalls and some fine limestone scenery, all in the majestic shadow of Ingleborough. There's always been a charge for this, as most of the route is admittedly over private land. However, we were unpleasantly surprised to find the price had been hiked to £14 for a family ticket! Time for another mass trespass?
Saturday, August 09, 2014
Friday, August 08, 2014
Might sound rather old-fashioned, but my family of four likes to eat together, sitting at a table, but here on holiday in south-west Wales that's proving rather difficult. In pubs and cafes over the past week, we've had food delivered at intervals, so that some sit eyeing up the dish in front of them, while neighbouring sibling or parent twiddles their thumbs. It used to be standard practice to assemble and hold all one table's dishes in the kitchen so they could be served together. Now, food delivery seems to focus on each individual dish, so that eating is staggered - even between members of the same party, who ordered their food at the same time. And it's bloody annoying.
Caught a falconry display at Pembroke Castle. A couple of Harris hawks put through their paces by a falconer from Abergavenny with a nice line in slightly politically incorrect patter. Come the grand finale, however, and the anticipated peregrine flying display fizzled out when the bird flew off over the castle walls only to find chasing seagulls preferable to entertaining the crowd, which left, leaving lone falconer climbing the castle walls shouting 'Quack Quack' - the bird's name, but surreal nonetheless.
Neyland, Pembrokeshire. The letting agent insists on calling the three-bed semi we've rented for the week a 'cottage'; it isn't.
It's comfortable enough, although the claw-footed bath with ersatz rubber shower hose attachments is rather impractical. We're also next door to a masonic hall. The bowler and pinny brigade haven't shown up yet, but I'm on the lookout for rolled-up left trouser legs.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
In which Churchill's recorded as being in favour of using poison gas against native uprisings. Mussolini got there first though. War in Ethiopia was orchestrated by Italian fascist regime and used copious amounts of the stuff against poorly equipped Ethiopians.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
First Gove derided one, now Patterson has blamed one for his ministerial demise. Both criticised 'blobs', environmental or educational establishment groupings that stood in the way of their pet theories. But delving into the alleged constituent parts of their respective blobs, a different picture tends to emerge. Take Patterson's Green Blob, where we find pressure groups - like Greenpeace and other lobby groups, the Green Party, and a vague identification of others opposed to Patterson's climate change beliefs. These aren't the dangerous elements he describes, but rather those concerned enough to take stand against the arrogant/ignorant stance taken by ministers convinced as to the rightness of their cause, but lacking the empirical evidence for their frequently dogmatic assertions. It's not the blobs we should fear, rather the unchallengeable assertions of Tories with unshakeable views that don't stand up to reasoned argument. Bet IDS has a lot of blobs.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Really enjoyed this surreal romp through 50 years of geopolitical history; even made grim, apartheid era South Africa funny. And the king even appealed to Republican me http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062329127/the-girl-who-saved-the-king-of-sweden
Monday, July 07, 2014
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Son's school has just had an Ofsted inspection that shows - achieving academy status AND opening a 'free school' FE vocational centre notwithstanding - that it's gone from a 'good' community high school to being so inadequate, across all four inspected areas, as to be placed in special measures.
All this decay took place against a veritable deluge of supposed good news stories pumped put at regular intervals via email and paid for mailshots. Strange, then, that notification of the Ofsted inspection was by way of a letter handed to pupils to bring home. Being suspicious by nature, I now wonder if they hoped to ameliorate the potential flow of bad news to the inspectors by using the least reliable method: after all, the Ofsted report itself mentions the low number of parental submissions. There's a parents' forum taking place in an hour, where I'm really hoping that serious questions will be answered, particularly regarding the findings of inadequate teaching in KS3 and 4 and the inadequate finding for pupil behaviour and safeguarding. But then again, perhaps I shouldn't expect too much, after all, in the (mailed) letter inviting us to the 'forum', the headteacher assures how keen they are to embark on their 'improvement journey'. From Michael Gove preserve us...
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Saturday, June 07, 2014
When was it decided that button flies were back in fashion? What will they bring back next - night soil removal? Rickets? I know UKIP and the Tories want to take us back to the fifties, but hadn't realised zips were on the list of things they disapproved of, along with social security, the NHS and human rights.
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Time was if misfortune or accident struck, you called your insurer and left it up to them to sort put estimates and costs. That's what insurance companies did. But then, insurers realised they could cut operating costs by turning themselves into call centres, which handled the initial contact, and sent out premium reminders - which have now morphed into egregious auto renewals, complete with nasty, unexpected direct debit bills. The difficult site visits and dealing with builders, mechanics, car body repairers, etc being farmed out to loss adjusters.
The insured, having notified the insurer of a claim, would then deal with someone from a different company, who sorted out the costs and expenses and instructed the repairer. But now, yet another entity has interposed itself between insured and insurer: the claims or loss assessor. Once a claim comes into existence, these bottom-feeding ambulance chasers use divers means, including, apparently, payments to emergency service personnel, to discover the identity of the insured, and then hasten to 'sign' them up, by getting signatures to a contract that allows the assessor to 'manage' the claim on the insured's behalf, in return for commission payments from the repairers they obtain permission to use from the loss adjuster.
In reality, however, the assessor is doing nothing the insured couldn't do in person, and adding yet another party into the equation also increases the time taken to put right the damage caused. Unnecessarily complicating the claims procedure adds to adminstration cost and that forces up premiums, meaning that we all lose, due to the resistable rise of the loss assessors.
Sunday, June 01, 2014
Saturday, May 31, 2014
15-year-old son's high school has a tendency to send out emails on matters of mindless tedium. Surprising then to discover, 10 days after the fact, that it saw fit to inform parents of a recent Ofsted by the tried and not-so trusted method of sending a letter home - which I've only just found!
Anyone would think they didn't want us to talk to the inspection team...
Friday, May 23, 2014
Sunday, May 04, 2014
Routine collection of a repeat prescription was enlivened by the announcement that the pharmacist on duty wanted to review my medication. This turned out to be a short discussion in a rather cramped 'consultation room' that they've craftily hived-off from a storeroom. Working through a list of my medication, the pharmacist seemed most concerned to know whether I needed to take rabeprozal sodium every day - and what would happen if I didn't?
Now, these questions rather highlight the facile nature of the review exercise: this medication was prescribed several years ago to treat a hereditary condition that affects the duodenum's ability to prevent stomach acid entering the oesophagus. Rebeprozal is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that stops me enduring perpetual heartburn caused by acid reflux. Asking the question means the pharmacist didn't know the obvious answer, and caused me to wonder why she'd decided to second guess my GP, who also regularly reviews my medication - the key difference being that, whereas the pharmacist dispenses, the physician prescribes. And I'm interested to know who has decided that essential and time-honoured division should now be eroded by the pill-counters.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Research showing that bullying victims recall their feelings and sense of humiliation years after the event comes as no surprise to me. Bullied at primary school in the mid-sixties, I can still remember the sense of hurt and alienation. Even now I fear seeing the face of a tormentor in the crowd if visiting the place where I grew up. The effects, for me, are heightened when I remember the inaction of those supposed to protect me. Teachers then handled complaints of bullying by doling out the routine advice 'don't let them see it upsets you'. In other words, they expected the victim to modify their behaviour, rather than challenge or confront the tormentor.
A few years ago, I saw how things can change for the better. Now a teacher myself, I found a Yr. 8 boy crying in the cloakroom. A sensitive and intelligent child, he told me he'd been bullied by another boy. I mentioned this to a senior staff member, who asked that, as there were 'pastoral' issues surrounding both boys, would I mind writing a short note for 'the record'? Remembering my own humiliation from decades earlier, I agreed, but asked that she take my comments onboard. Her response was swift and effective: both sets of parents called, bully confronted, and effects of his actions painstakingly explained.
We have learned something in the intervening half-century. It's not the victim that has to hide their feelings or the bully that's allowed to carry on unchecked anymore.
And Richard, if you ever get round to reading this, the kid you used as a punchbag in the cloakroom at Beckett Park Primary School in Leeds back in 1966 hopes you somehow learned to change your behaviour on the way to becoming the director of an electrical contracting business. If you didn't, you must have cost the business thousands in compensation claims by now. You see, your primary education failed to prepare you in much the same way that those charged with providing it failed to protect me. Either way, it did not allow us to grow into fully rounded people, capable of empathising with, and relating to, those around us.
But there's another face I fear glimpsing in the crowd, and that's your's, Chris. Because every victim can turn on another they perceive to be weaker or different to them, and that's what my senior colleague saw from my report: the victim had turned on a quieter boy, a victim of his own, to visit revenge of a kind, for the humiliation he'd suffered at the hands of others. Which is what I'd done to Chris - one who struggled at school, who now would have been identified as having needs to be addressed so he could make the most of the education he needed. Yet back then, he was singled out by the teachers and his fellow pupils, made to sit at the back with much easier work than the rest. They might as well have painted a target on him.
The bullied can bully too. I did, though thankfully not for long, because a deputy head intervened, but the harm I could have done shames me as much as the hurt I suffered.
Bullied children still suffer at 50 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27063715
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Confusion reigned this week. A blocked drain, and some distressing internal seepage, raised the question as to whether I or Yorkshire Water were responsible for the repair bill. On Monday, a blockage was discovered, which meant we were no longer left feeling flush after a visit to the smallest room. So, I called a company that advertises in the phone book. Assuring me they were specialists in this matter, they advised a CCTV survey. For £140.00 I got to share a viewing of the mystery of our sewers, which the technician assured me were damaged beyond repair. A pavement licence would have to be obtained from the local authority. This would allow them to dig up the path outside the house and replace the cracked and broken pipe from the fall pipe to the nearest manhole.
Fortunately, at this point someone decided to call Yorkshire Water, the 'statutory undertaker' for drainage in these parts. A visit from the aforementioned Glaswegian contractor then followed, which brought forward two pieces of very good news. First, Yorks Water were responsible for all the work because the fall pipe entered the ground on 'public' land; after the first flush, our poo became public property. Then he got his own camera out. This showed that the 'collapsed' pipe our contractor had identified was nothing of the sort, but rather a long abandoned surface (ie rainwater) drain. The poo pipe ran beneath - and was soon unblocked by a high pressure squirt from my new Caledonian best friend. Up to that point, I had been in fear of a four figure repair bill, but with that jet wash blast, my worries disappeared -- the block to happiness vanished along with the very tangible matter that he had freed. Now all that remains is the small matter of the deposit I had to shell out to the contractor for the now unnecessary street works.
Confusion as to whether the statutory undertaker or a private contractor was responsible for the work arose because of rule changes brought in two years ago, rules which neither public nor private sector drainage workers seem to fully understand - with the attendant risk that homeowners are paying for unnecessary repairs that are now the legal responsibility of the private water companies - but who seem rather shy about publicising the fact.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Although I asked him not to laugh, the chap at the till in M&S at Leeds Station apparently couldn't stop himself when I answered his question about my finger. 'I tripped on the stairs', the first part of the answer went OK. But when I followed it up with 'all my weight landed on my right hand and I ended up with a chipped bone in my little finger (not, NHS 111 operator please note, my 'pinky'), the chuckle barrier broke. And when I finished by saying that just about everything in the known universe that I'd encountered since seemed magnetically attracted to the spot, well I don't know if he'll manage to finish his shift.
The break was diagnosed and dealt with by the staff at Calderdale Royal Hospital A&E, a department under threat of closure from shortsighted penny-pinching NHS beancounters. They must be resisted at all costs. Preferably given forced enemas by Linda the capable and friendly nurse practitioner who strapped up my finger hopefully administered in a public place, while an effigy of the excreable Hunt burns slowly in the background.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Earlier this week, apopro nothing at all, Joe Dolce's 1981 novelty one-hit-wonder Shaddap You Face popped up in my mind. Such things happen at my age so I probably parked it somewhere in my cerebral cortex and carried on wondering what I'd gone upstairs for.
Now forward to this afternoon and I'm waiting to pay for petrol when the cashier, a man of my own age - who also happened to be listening to Tony Blackburn on the chart show, doing a rundown of the chart of this week in 1978, as I had before pulling into the petrol station, looks up and says that TB had just said Midge Ure was on record as saying that Brian and Michael's Matchstick Men had kept Ultravox's Vienna off the number one slot.
'er no it didn't' I replied: 'it was Joe Dolce with...', and that's as far as I got-because the cashier finished the line for me by adding 'Shaddup You Face', or maybe he was addressing me directly for daring to contradict that colossus of pop, Tony Blackburn.
I checked when I got home, though. Ultravox didn't release Vienna until 1981 and it was Joe who deprived them of the number one slot, not the cuddly Manchester folkies.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Just heard my son's PE teacher call him by his surname, 'he always does that' my son replied when I asked if that was usual. The boy doesn't mind, but I do. Brought back unpleasant memories of my own school days, when teachers seemed to regard their pupils as lower life forms. Contrary to all expectations when I left school, I am a teacher myself, but I find respect and cooperation get far better results, and make for more harmonious learning environment then the one I was educated in.
Of course, it would have to be a PE teacher that brought this on; the sweaty trainer brigade never were at the forefront of academic life.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
A friend complained that there tumble dryer was packing up after only a coup!e of years' use. When asked if she'd checked the filter she replied 'what filter?'. Can you imagine the sheer joy at peeling away all that compacted lint? Simple pleasures, but probably wasted on the filter ignorant....
15 year-old son's high school has declared that next week is work experience week for Year 10 (14-15 year-olds). In his case, this is to consist of visits to three universities. Parents were asked if they could arrange work placements, but only given a week to do so, and subject to the proviso that they were to take place within the LEA area, to cut down on traveling costs for teachers who needed to conduct risk assessments and supervise activities.
Would have thought uni visits were more appropriate to Years 12 and 13. On present showing, by time we reach that stage they'll tell them to stay home and watch day time TV in mornings in preparation for the real student experience.
Sunday, March 09, 2014
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Checked rents charged for residential property in Bloomsbury yesterday on way back from British Museum. Saw a 'studio' flat (one, not very big, room) for £750.00 per week. Laughed all the way to king's Cross. Who has that sort of cash to play with? Certainly not hotel and shop workers or museum staff which seemed to be only employment on offer. Time for a social housing revolution, methinks.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Reaching some age milestones are accorded special status, the 40th birthday, the joyous 60 year-old, for example. Hitting the half-century, in my case, has brought me into repeated life assurance advert-related contact with Parky himself, courtesy of Google targeted advertising.
Plebs are supposed to stalk celebs, but Parky -in yet another twist to his long and illustrious career - has gone for stalking the great mass of 50 to 80 year olds that he feels are in desperate need of no frills, no questions asked life cover.
Parky, you were the doyen of chat, king of Saturday night TV, the chat show come back kid - hey, you even reversed boomeranged back to the UK after taking Aus by storm. But please, from one Tyke to another, call off the cyber ad blitz. Otherwise I'll be forced to seek out the emu...
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
So, the Anglican bishops chose St Valentine's day to have another go at gays in the church. In what they refer to as a 'pastoral statement' they state that those in same sex marriages can't be ordained and those gay clergy already serving can't enter into same sex marriages. Alright, we know they've got form in this area, but seeing as its now law, wouldn't you have thought the 'established' church (ie the denomination that's headed by the Queen) would accept the law as passed by parliament? Are the bishops so far removed from reality that they believe they can issue a pronouncement from on high that the rest of society will meekly accept?
And they wonder why their pews are getting emptier.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
At times a train manager's lot is not a happy one. Liaquat explained - several times - that the delayed departure of the 17.33 from Birmingham New Street to Oxford was due to a 'driver shortage'. One was finally rounded up and we left Birmingham at just before six. The first stop was Leamington Spa. It was to be the last stop too. On arrival, Liaquat's best oratorical efforts could not detract from the plan and bitter truth: a complete power failure at Banbury meant everyone had to leave the train.
Somewhat shamefaced, I made my way through the throng of disappointed passengers. I'm here for a work-related meeting and was pre-booked into a rather shabby guest house. The Stucco's fine, but in place of Betjeman's oft-quoted chintzy chintzy cheeriness, I'm faced with grungy grungy carpet-stainedness.
Can't help but think that the delayed Brum departure was down to a premonition that had spread amongst the drivers. South of Leamington on this storm-tossed night, lay danger and peril for the traveler.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Defending the Coalition government's decision to remove the clause imposing human rights standards on private care providers from the Care Bill, my local representative of the swivel-eyed loon faction saw this as a victory for cost and complexity reduction.
Ruling out basic standards of human rights for some of the most vulnerable in society, on the ground that it was too complex for the private sector shows just how far the government is prepared to sell its own people short so that it can promote the interest of corporatism. And the patients? Well, my MP felt they were more than adequately protected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the doughty and fearless regulator regularly shown up in the media for its inability to spot dehydration or pressure sores in patients, or even signs of physical abuse.