Thursday 28 May 2020

SID 71. A Matter of Trust

I've not been in Blogland much for a few days. The garden has needed my time again and it's been a welcome escape from the fact that I've been strangely unsettled. What has unsettled me? Something that I would never have thought would have even made me give it more than a disgusted or disdainful thought. After all I worked with politicians all my working life. I've learned to take their sincerity and their insincerity and treat those two qualities with an equal degree of detachment.

Despite the effect that President Trump is having on the world and it's economy it's not something I can influence so I've ignored it. Living in Scotland we've been fortunate in having a First Minister who has a very high acceptance rating in her dealing with the present Covid-19 pandemic. However our British Prime Minister now has a negative rating. Why? Largely because of his support for and total reliance on his chief special adviser (Dominic Cummings - a political appointee not a civil servant) who has been the architect of Brexit and the Government's response to the pandemic. In this government he is arguably more powerful than the Prime Minister and certainly than any member of the Cabinet. 

Despite the Stay at Home slogan and edict, of which he was the author, DC ignored it and drove, with symptoms of Covid-19, with his wife, who also had symptoms, and their 4 year old son 260 miles to stay in a family home on the family farm "to be near child care if needed". There is a great deal more to it than that, of course. However what is absolutely clear is that he disobeyed the spirit and the letter of the instructions in many ways. He has refused to resign and the PM has refused to sack him and told the public to 'move on'. The furore rumbles on. The whole point that no one at the top seems to grasp is that the author (or approver) of the rules has broken them. It does not matter how small the break. It does not matter that you and I would have been hauled over the coals for doing what he did. It's a matter of trust and credibility.

Regardless of his ability, the ability of the PM and their political colour the sheer arrogance, the sheer treatment of the populace with total contempt is on a scale that I cannot recall in my lifetime. And, let's face it, we've had some pretty significant scandals in that time.

It's unsettled me and made me feel sad for the future. 

However this really was what the sunset from my conservatory looked like at 10.30 pm last Sunday:

So life's pretty good really.

Thursday 21 May 2020

SID 64. Condescension

We all have our personality traits and habits. Some are more annoying than others. Some are annoying even to ourselves.  

I'm not referring to things like picking one's nose in public (although that is both annoying and disgusting to most other people) but more subtle habits or traits. For example one trait I have that I find annoying is that I am often slow in finishing a sentence. Most of my friends, fortunately, now just find that slightly amusing and exasperating and several automatically finish off my sentences for me. This shows that I am also fairly predictable and tolerant of being helped/corrected. 

Possibly one of the things I find most annoying is condescension (an attitude of patronising superiority; disdain).

All of us have strengths and weaknesses. Some have great intellects. Some do not. Some have common sense. Some do not. Some have good dexterity. Some do not. Some have good memories. Some do not.

As a person who was born with an appalling memory (I call it my forgettory), has a modicum of intelligence and manual dexterity and, if I do say so myself (demonstrating my modesty) a good dollop of common sense, I am probably more aware than many of people who are condescending.

I wonder which trait or traits annoy you.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

SID 62. Commercial Loyalty

I have been a customer of  BT (British Telecom) and it's predecessor the General Post Office for the last half century give or take a week or two. They have provided my landline phone service and my broadband. I have very little to complain about these days because the service is pretty good and fairly reliable given the ancient final delivery infrastructure ie the clapped out cables down our road. However they are expensive. 

I have been a customer of Vodafone since 1992 for my cellphone/mobile phone when it was actually difficult to have a contract directly with Vodafone because they marketed through intermediaries. I still have the same base number I was issued with then.

BT have gradually, and sometimes not so gradually, increased what I pay for my service. They keep telling me how good my package is. My package is a landline and broadband. I make no calls on my landline. If I did I would be paying considerably more.

Vodafone, on the other hand, have given me a better deal year on year either increasing what I can use or decreasing what they are charging me.

Vodafone will now provide broadband too over my landline. They will charge me about £30 per month less than BT. 

The contract will start on my birthday. Happy Birthday.

Bye bye BT. 

Friday 15 May 2020

SID 58 The Hippogryph

In February - is it really that long ago? - I posted about my first bike. 

As soon as I could have a driving licence I bought myself a Vespa 90 motor scooter. I named it The Hippogryph. I can't really remember why (after all it was 60 years ago) I gave it that name. Presumably I had visions of it being like the legendary creature which had the front half of an eagle and the hind half of a horse.

I had booked a driving test but the scooter was only delivered the night before so I took my test the next day with one evening and half a morning's practice. I passed. Then I learned to drive!

I had it until I got a car when I was nearly 21. During those years I drove it thousands of miles. I would leave the office at 5 o'clock and get onto my trusty steed and drive to London to stay with friends - a distance of nearly 200 miles. On Sunday night I would drive home. Other weekends I would drive to Wales or The Lake District to climb hills and mountains. Looking back I find it astonishing that I had the stamina to ride such distances on  a 90cc seat on two tiny wheels with virtually no weather protection.

The Hippogryph in The Lake District
The Hippogryph in The Lake District

Sunday 10 May 2020

SID 53. Obsessive Compulsion

This one is for Rhymes With Plague and, of course, everyone else who wishes to read it.

I like order. I dislike disorder.

I like decisions. I dislike procrastination.

I like reasoned argument. I dislike blind adherence to an unreasoned point of view.

I like compliments. I dislike flattery.

I suspect that there is a degree of the obsessive compulsive (OCD) in me.

The problem is that the missing percentage is sometimes 51%.

For example, I cannot cope with people who fill dishwashers at random or don't put things back in their 'proper' place. My reasoning is simple. I do not like losing things nor wasting time trying to find things. So this first picture demonstrates a Good Thing (with apologies to Sellars and Yeatman):

CDs (Bad)

OCDs (Good)