1 EAGLETON NOTES: August 2022



Sunday 28 August 2022

The Clock

 For a long time my natural instinct has been to use the 24 hour clock.

I was recently given an appointment at the dentist for a rather odd time 1435.  [I erroneously said 1535 in the original post] However the receptionist said to me that the appointment was at "25 minutes to 3.'' Writing it in my diary and so as to keep it on the 12 hour clock I said "Right. That's it in at 2.35".  "No" she responded "It's at 25 to 3". I immediately apologised and was just about to erase it and re-write it when it occurred to me that we were just misunderstanding each other's format for the same time. I laughed and, apologised, and asked if we could agree on 1435. Quick as a flash she responded with a smile "Oh heavens, I don't know. I've never managed to use decimalisation for time!".

That's not all though. 1230 can also be "half 12" as in "I'll meet you at half 12" ie at half (an hour) past midday. 

In fact 'a quarter of an hour' 'half an hour' and 'three quarters of an hour" are still in common usage in the UK at least. 

Wednesday 17 August 2022


The problem is that you can't have a discussion with an algorithm. You can't tell it that it doesn't fit your case. Well, that's not strictly true, however if it doesn't fit the algorithm then it will be ignored or spat back at you.

Amazon recently made a rare (in my experience) error. I ordered Bootledrops quantity 150 Price £12. They arrived 18 hours later. Correct product but quantity 50 (usual price £6.20). Presumably either someone had misread a bar code or something had been miscoded.

If this was a human interaction situation one would, for example,  go into the shop, explain that they had given me the correct product but the wrong package size. It would be swapped. One would leave satisfied.

Obviously in this case I would have to return them to Amazon and ask for the correct quantity. However having got as far as the return algorithm the only thing the algorithm would allow me to do in this particular case was 're-order the exact same product' (the assumption being presumably that it was damaged or faulty which didn't fit) or order another product. 

As it so happens in the 24 hours since the transaction only the 150 size was on sale on the Amazon site.

So I filled in the return form and received the appropriate QR code on the email response. 

This morning I went to the dentist. I had an X-Ray during which I had a chat with the dental practitioner who used to be a teenage best buddy of our late son, Andy. That was totally irrelevant but, wotthehellarchiewotthehell. I then went into the post office, gave the lady at the counter the package and showed the QR code.

I arrived home shortly afterwards and received an email saying [actually it wasn't saying anything but it was telling me something] that Amazon had received the item and refunded my Amazon account.  

They had.

Then I ordered the items I wanted direct from the company selling them. 

Sunday 7 August 2022

Celebrating Life

It started with my Maternal Grandmother in 1971 at the age of 93. She died. She sat down, her heart stopped and she died. Rather like Francis Garrood's Ernest, nobody had expected it, least of all my Grandmother. 

Some years before she died she had had influenza. That was in the days when the doctor would come to the house in the middle of the night and pronounce that the climax would be in a few hours and the patient would either die or, if she got through that, the would be fine. Nana had got through it so was invincible. After that she gave instructions that no black was to be worn at her funeral.

In the nearly half a century I've lived on Lewis I have been to a great many funerals. A funeral is a very important occasion and in the earlier days a thousand people could turn up. I still wear a dark suit, black tie and, in winter, the Crombie I bought in George Henry Lee (John Lewis in Liverpool) I bought around 60 years ago. 

At my Grandmother's funeral I wore a tie of red and black tiny diamonds the overall effect of which was a muted red. At the gathering afterwards I was very publicly berated by a relative. Mores hadn't moved forward.

When our son, Andy, died in 2006, he made all the arrangements for his farewell: it was to be a celebration of his life and there was to be no mourning and nothing black. There was a Humanist celebrant: Andy was atheist. The service opened with a song by The Smashing Pumpkins. Apart from that I can recall absolutely nothing whatsoever of the day: not even where we went afterwards. Mind you it was all in London where Andy lived. 

At the beginning of this week an acquaintance of 40 or so years died. The Celebration of Life Service was held in the Salvation Army Hall. Those attending were asked to wear bright colours. Everyone made some effort - even those who probably had nothing even semi-bright in their wardrobe. I wore my bright red waistcoat, a colourful tie and no black whatsoever. She had a wonderful send-off with lots of happy moments recounted. The irony of it was that probably more people were crying than I've ever seen at any Lewis funeral before.

When I go, and like everyone else I surely shall, please make sure you are wearing a bright colour to remember me. If you're wearing black and talking of the things that await me, I shall come back and haunt you.

Monday 1 August 2022

Football Finance

In the past I've made it quite plain that my relationship with football has been a fairly disinterested one over the last half a century.

At school I couldn't play because I had a lung disease. Unfortunately Quarry Bank, alma mater of John Lennon and many Oxbridge scholars, wasn't the sort of school that allowed you to get out of sports just because one had a lung disease and I had no choice but to play. [As an aside they would happily kick me out of lessons because my constant coughing was 'disruptive'] 

After I had had part of my lung removed when I'd left school and was reasonably fit I decided that I would become an amateur game linesman. I did and was thinking of taking my refs ticket when I became disenchanted by the way the amateur game was going.

I also became disenchanted by the way the professional game was going and I have had absolutely nothing to do with football as a sport since it became nothing more than a business (whatever many supporters dream could be otherwise). However, on odd occasions I have watched the women's game. I have been impressed. It reminded me of the football ethos in the Sixties. The game mattered. There was respect. To me the superstar era has meant that the concept of 'sport' has been totally superseded by money pure and simple: ridiculous money for 'superstars' and profits (or tax sinks) for the billionaires who finance them.

Last night's result was wonderful. It will do great things for the women's' game. 

I hope that it doesn't spiral out of control but brings some sense to the finance of sport.