Sunday, July 28, 2019

Belloc reworked - for paternalistic employers

The great man wrote: 'Always keep ahold of nurse For fear of finding something worse', to which I'd like to add, for those faced with the overbearing attitude of a 'paternalistic' employer: 'If letting go makes nursey glower, that's because she hates the thought of losing power'.

Taking the cure at Fountains Abbey

River Skell seen from Surprise View, quite a climb but worth the effort for the view of the Abbey in the background

The Lake, with Fishing Tabernacles either side of the bridge - the Valley of the Seven Bridges is away
 to the bottom left of the picture

The Watergarden.


 The place is so very special because my Dad took me there as a child. He used to go on holiday to Ripon, where his grandad was a gentlemen's hairdresser (he didn't like the term 'barber'). At one time his three sons - my grandad, his two brothers Arthur and Albert, along with his half-brother Edgar, all worked in the business. Albert was killed at the end of  October 1917 near Ypres, while Arthur was badly wounded in a mine explosion on the Western Front.
He was rescued from the carnage by a German patrol. Taken prisoner, he had to have extensive surgery, which led to him losing over half his stomach. Arthur, who never married, returned home to Ripon, where he took to wandering late in the evening and during the night - Studley and Fountains were his favourite stamping grounds, and I like to think that here he found peace after the horror, loss and suffering of war.

             Cure of Fountains
In the Chapel of the Nine Altars by moonlight
And in the Valley of the Seven Bridges at dusk
Arthur, a man scarred by war and captivity
Chooses to walk alone and in peace

Under the ruins of the great tower
And by the fishing tabernacles
His cares and pain are eased by
The beauty of ancient tranquillity

Here gods and Greeks and Aislabie’s folly temples
Wrestle for attention in the moonlight and cool
Of evening shade
And the curse of war is banished
By Arthur’s nocturnal wanderings.
For more of my family history, the life story of Ripon's oldest Barber and a 100-year-old mystery, read Heirloom.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

It can be murder in Argos...

Called into our local Sainsbury's yesterday to pick up a pair of long-handled shears I'd ordered online from the instore Argos operation. I gave the order details to the guy behind the counter, who disappeared into the back. He returned a couple of minutes later with the shears and hefted them by both handles before putting them on the counter, saying 'they're heavy - you could cut up a body with them'. Feeling the need to reduce the mood of pending homicide that I sensed after his comment, I said I'd bear that in mind but was only planning to use them to trim my lawn edges, at least for the time being. I know retail can be a stressful environment, but left the store wondering if this was some new HR initiative to cut out the need for those signs reminding the more out of control shopper not to be abusive to the staff?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Change for a Fifty?

Welcome as it is that Alan Turing's face is soon to adorn the £50 note, can't help if this is going to prove a 'hidden' honour not at all worthy of the man. After all, when did you last hold a £50? Many shops and pubs refuse to take them: is it just an empty gesture - and one that's far too late? Turing's work is credited as shortening WWII. Think about that for a moment - especially if your dad, grandad or great grandad came back safe. There's countless thousands of us - myself very gratefully included - who a possibly alive today thanks to Alan Turing. Putting his face on a fifty seems rather unambitious. His birthday should be a national holiday; Whitehall should be renamed; and the anniversary of his prosecution should be marked with at least a minute's silence so we can collectively recognise the hero who was persecuted, when he should have been honoured.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Three questions for our time

OK, so these probably just serve to confirm my decent into old fartery, but I have to ask: 1. What's the point of blueberries? They don't taste of anything except sugar and when baked turn into a purple stain; 2. Why do deodorants need a 'safety catch' all of a sudden? When was the last time you accidentally shot yourself in the armpit? 3. Why can't new cars have proper handbrakes? Flipping a little switch doesn't give the same sense of secufryt and driving away with the brake still ostensibly 'on' just feels weird.