Friday, 28 November 2008

What to do?

Chris has taken himself off to Dublin for an EYP event. That leaves us at home with a whole weekend to do what we want to do. A lie in is called for tomorrow, I think. After that, who knows?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Doing my little bit

My response to the Chancellor's decision to lower the rate of VAT to 15% was that it would not be enough to make a huge difference. I may now have to eat my own words as I have done my little bit to stimulate the economy. I have ordered a new car. It is a Fiat 500 and looks very like the one in the picture. Ours will not have the white stripe, and will have some chrome bits, and has a glass panel in the roof. It is the demonstrator from the Fiat garage in Warwick that we use. We cannot take delivery until the 17th December, but that is not long to wait.

I very much suspect that my contribution will not be the saviour of our economy and it seems apparent that the country is in for some very difficult times. In my own selfish way, I am glad that I do not have to grapple with the economic issues which now face us. I have enormous regard for those politicians, economists and communicators who try to identify the best paths to take and then to explain their choices and decisions to the population at large. I'm sure my brain would explode with the effort involved. The sums of money being mentioned are unimaginable, and I hope that any burden we create now for subsequent generations does not become an intolerable burden for them and their children.

In particular, I wonder what the people of this land make of what is going on. Do the majority of them understand what is being done? I have to say that I doubt that many do. My daily tutorial comes from Robert Peston's Blog on the BBC News website. He has the knack of putting things in words I find easy to understand. His piece I have linked to confirms my suspicion that the Government only has so much power, and that it will be fund managers who finally decide when the banks have enough capital to make them good risks again.

How does that Chinese curse go again...?

"May you live in interesting times"

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Happy Birthday to Me.

Today is my 60th Birthday. Happy Birthday to Me.

My bus pass arrived in the post today yesterday. I may now travel on various buses and trains in the West Midlands Region for nothing. I don't really understand why, but I find myself excited at the prospect. I exercised the pass today when we went to see the German Market in Birmingham. I felt very smug, and as a result, slightly childish.

It is cold and wet and miserable. I want summer to come. Soon.

As I start my 7th decade, there are any number of things to be sorted out, and I start tomorrow with a decision about an annuity.

That's about it for today, I'm off for a lie down.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Reactionary old Git.

The title of this post is the comment I expect my family to make when they've read it.

Like, I suspect, most families, we have a system which is supposed to keep people informed about who is doing what, and when. It consists of a diary in which we write our appointments, or at least we are supposed to. I'm not very good at copying my appointments from my diary to the family one. Last year, I purchased the family diary. It came from Muji which is a Japanese supplier and it had months in numbers. This seemed to confuse everyone. Well, we need to acquire a new diary now, as appointments for 2009 are beginning to appear. The question is, do I purchase a new diary in the hope that I buy something others find acceptable, or do I consult on the matter?

I know Chris hates the whole system and does not use it. The twins are not here most of the time, and tend to go their own way even when they are. Should we just have a big calendar on which we write things?

Perhaps it would be best to see if any of my family read this and invite them to submit suggestions for this problems. Suggestions please - in any way you choose.

There is an item in the news here about harsher fines for drivers who exceed to speed limit by a big margin. Frankly, I'd rather see the authorities deal with these characters by using the charge of Dangerous driving and impose serious sanctions on them that way. If you are doing over 50 in a 30 limit, then that is dangerous, or am I being simple? Certainly two such convictions should mean a ban for at least 18 months, and similarly for driving without insurance. Mr Plod could start by setting up his speed cameras outside our house. the number banned inside a week would be in double figures....

Apparently Prince Charles has intimated that he would like to adopt a presidential style when he becomes King and there is an article in the Independent today which quite nicely sums up my view of the prospect. Heaven help us when this buffoon becomes our monarch.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A Miscellany on arriving Home

Home to find that only a reasonable amount of stuff has been piled up in my study and I have today managed to sort most of it out. I also came home to find that my bedside light has been broken and I fear I must accept some of the responsibility for that as I had left it perched on the top of the bedhead from which it was easily knocked.

Following a trip down to the town today, Jini and I realised that we had forgotten at least two things that we had identified before we set off. This is a sad reflection on our collective memory, and reinforces the need for us to have compile and then take with us, a comprehensive list.

The twins seem to have enjoyed their 21st Birthday, each celebrating in his own way, and there are vague rumours that Chris might be getting paid employment. I do hope this turns out to be true as it will mean he will have to smarten up a bit, I certainly would not pay the scruffy little oik (as he is now) anything at all.

It is hard to conceive that my mother will live much longer. She has weakened to the point where she cannot even support her own head and it pains me deeply to see her in such a state. I can only assume that staying alive is now an act of will, and knowing my mother's will she may live for quite a while yet.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

A wet Cornish Saturday

A number of things here are wet and I'm trying to dry them out. My pullover, the washing and the inside of Granny's car are all wet. In order to dry them, I need the weather to be dry, for crying out loud. A day of unbroken sunshine and a steady wind is what I require.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Get Well Soon, Guys

When your children are ill you worry. When they are ill and away from home the feeling of powerlessness is palpable - well it is for me, anyway. Our two sons at university, one in Durham and one in Warwick (Leamington Spa to be precise) are, or have been, unwell. One is slightly behind the other, but both have been confined to bed and feeling downright rotten. There is nothing I can do to help except speak comforting words over the phone or via Skype. Get Well soon Guys.

My mother will not be getting well. She simply wants to die peacefully and soon. It is a very cruel twist of fate that she lies in her nursing home bed, unable to do anything for herself after living such an active and independent life. It is no wonder that she is depressed and tearful. I feel pretty powerless to help her too.

Lots of Love to Everyone.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Decorating - part 4

The decorating is almost finished. We are down to a few (4 or 5) little jobs. They depend on the arrival of a new mirror and a bespoke glass shelf. These should appear today and then we're done. I had a mild panic yesterday when I thought our shower had expired with the same problem that Chris's had last week, but it seems that this was not the case. I shall have to keep an eye on it.

The swimming pool was pretty empty this morning and so I finished my swim in a double lane all by myself. Being the sole user of a double lane makes me feel important, I don't really understand why, but it does.

The twins are 21 later this week, so I shall have to acquire some cards for them today or tomorrow. I hope they have a great birthday and find a way of celebrating it properly.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remind me, why do I live here?

It is a November Sunday afternoon. It is raining, the wind is blowing quite hard and the leaves are coming off the trees in clouds. It is on days such as this, one looks carefully at the overseas property pages.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

What the Doctor Ordered?

Much to my relief, Barack Obama won the US election. The propect of Sarah Palin being anywhere near the levers of power has been at least deferred.

Today, the interest rate has been cut by 1.5% and it will be intriguing to see what effect that has on the UK economy. Politicians and the media seem to forget that this change means that any prudent souls who have built up a fund of savings will now lose a significant chunk of interest that they may well need to maintain their quality of life. Banks and Building Societies are desperate to attract funds apparently, and let us hope that they do not automatically reduce the rates paid to savers. Sometimes the powers that be need to incentivise the behaviour they wish to encourage in the population, and the spend, spend, spend mentality is largely responsible for getting us into the economic clag.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Oh, the Shame...

The decorating is nearly finished. We are now left with just a few jobs and one of those is to put up the bathroom accessories (towel rail, loo roll holder etc.) which we have yet to purchase.

Yesterday was spent retrieving clothes from various other bedrooms and putting them away. My beloved wife (I think out of a sense of curiosity and anticipated amusement) offered to sort out my shirts. Now, I have quite a few shirts and I didn't really know how many. I do now - the total came to 131, to which have to be added some in Cornwall and some (only two, I think) that are in the wash. Thus we arrive at a total of 136. This is slightly embarrassing. How did I accumulate all these? Out of interest, a count was then made of trousers. The total was 37. This is also embarrassing.

I have enough clothes to see me fully and quite presentably clothed until the end of my days. Expect M&S shares to dip in the next few days.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Old Friends

Today we have had great pleasure in hosting a visit of two old friends. To be strictly accurate, they are not that old, simply that they have been friends for a very long time.

They brought with them, their dogs, who are two Russian terriers. The larger of the two (the male) weighs in at around 64 kilos (10 stone) while his female companion is slightly smaller at around 57 kilos (9 stone). After a late lunch we decided to take the dogs for a short walk. I was entrusted with the male who is slightly better behaved. Throughout our walk, I was very conscious that if Parker decided he was going somewhere then I was going too, or I had to let go. Fortunately he decided that where I wanted to go looked good enough and so I managed to keep control, but I have never been so aware when walking a dog that I was only in control because he was happy that I was.

It is not surprising that the other people and dogs we met were very keen to keep a considerable distance between themselves and our two canine charges.

I like dogs, but I would not want two that big.