Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Price of Gloating

My victory over Chris has exacted a price. I am as stiff as a board and ache everywhere - arms, legs, back... you name a spot and I ache there.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

A small but very satisfying triumph.

Our youngest son is a bit of a sports nut. Some weeks ago he started to play squash and has been pressing me to give him a game. Having had a heart condition, I have been reluctant to yield to his requests, but on the strict understanding that I could stop if I was in any discomfort, I gave in and played him this morning. Somewhat to his surprise (and mine!) I beat him fairly comfortably 5 games to 0. Slight gamesmanship was needed, and once I had identified his weaknesses on the court, I'm afraid I exploited them ruthlessly. He got quite close in one game, but then I was able to concentrate and claw level and then win.

Sometimes these whippersnappers have to be shown that we old buggers know a thing or two and are not completely devoid of talent.

In fairness to him, has played two games of cricket this afternoon, while all I have done is sit in the sun. He is fine, and I am completely knackered.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Welcome back.

Well, here we are back at home. The Land Rover has little or no fuel in it and the battery is flat. The little red Fiat has no fuel in it. Bloody Kids.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Poxy weather

We have been in Cornwall for a week. Now that we have finished the decorating, the weather has turned foul and we are stuck inside. This morning, I got very wet walking 40 yards up the road to return a hammer I had borrowed. When I turned back down the hill, one could not see the sea which is all of 400 yards away. I can now see the sea, but not the horizon. I feel for the families with small children who have come here for the half term holiday.

As for me, I just want to go home.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The Church of England understand it all......

The Leader of the C of E tells the nation that the ritual humiliation of our MPs should stop. Once again the Archbishop of Canterbury shows he understands the feelings of the people! Balls. Frankly some of our elected representatives deserve everything they are getting. Some of course have claimed sensible and it is up to each and everyone of us to research and understand the actions of our own MP, and then vote or protest appropriately.

I do hope Hazel Blears survives because she is the only member of the cabinet who seems to want to talk any sense. If GB sacks her, I shall want to know why Geoff Hoon and James Purnell aren't fired too.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

If you want a job done properly.....

Well, the Scottish Buffoon has gone. Some others have said they will not be standing for election next time. Progress. Now the whole movement has to gether momentum. Let us get these MPs to realise that they need to renew their mandate, they have lost the right to assume that we approve. So, guys and gals, time to lean on GB and tell him that we, the people, demand a chance to express our views.

Frankly Nick Clegg sounds like the most coherent party leader. Our MP - a Liberal Democrat - has used her expenses exactly as they were designed to be used, but it is a shame that she's not the sharpest tool in the box. I'm afraid I want to believe that my MP is smarter than me, and I don't think she is. Trouble is, I don't think the Tory candidate is either. Just maybe, I'll have to stand....?

Monday, 18 May 2009

Have they got the steel?

I have just watched Speaker Martin's statement to the House of Commons. I found it painful to watch, it seems clear that he has no understanding of the depth of feeling about his unsuitability for the role he has. Now will MPs rise up in sufficient numbers to force a debate? Will the Government find the time to schedule one? We really are going to find out if our MPs have the necessary backbone.

We live in interesting times.....

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sunday musings

The weather here in the Midlands has been horrible. Winds and heavy showers mean that doing anything outside is pretty unpleasant. the grass remains unmown and with the boiler on the blink, it gets cold. Chris could not go and play cricket and while we popped out for a while this morning, it has not been a day for doing things.

Tomorrow a few jobs will have to be done regardless of the weather.

When are our spineless MPs going to find some balls and get rid of this buffoon they have as Mr Speaker? It is good to see that Nick Clegg has come out and said he should go, the others must follow suit. Put his head on a spike outside the Houses of Parliament. Now.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Talk about getting what we deserve...

The continuing revelations about MPs and the expenses they have been claiming is now becoming tedious. It is with some relief that I read here that the Metropolitan Police are to investigate some of the claims. I say this because it seems to me that some of the characters must be dismissed and/or prosecuted. That is what would happen to people in other walks of life. My only worry is that the Met are so incompetent that they will probably make a complete lash-up of the enquiry.

There seem to be two cases so far, of MPs claiming expenses for mortgages which have been paid off. Now these have to be straightforward and unarguable cases of fraud, surely? If these people are so unworldly that they cannot remember whether they have a mortgage or not on a particular property, then they are so mentally handicapped that they should not be allowed out on their own, and should certainly not be allowed to stand for election to Parliament.

There are two aspects of the story that make me smile somewhat:- the first is the complete lack of control that the top politicians have over the story and where it goes next. For a control freak like Gordon Brown, this must be the most disturbing aspect of the whole thing. The second is the completely bungling approach of Mr Speaker, the poisonous Michael Martin. He could have avoided nearly all this, but chose to fight the inevitable with the outcome we can now all see. I hope the Honourable Ladies and Gentlement are pleased with their choice of Speaker. The Prat.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Losing it?

There is a story on the news here about Norman Tebbitt calling for voters to avoid major parties and vote for a representative of a smaller party. Now Lord Tebbitt is entitled to his views and he is entitled to play games if he wants to. However, I am concerned if this kind of brain rot sets in universally with advancing age. Will it happen to me? Or does it only happen to aging politicians? Can there be any other reason why he would say such a thing, after working all his political life for the Tory Party. I can't see it.

There are any number of ways to let your MP know how you feel on a particular topic of the day. I like the website. It has certaily worked for me. Why on earth would anyone want to risk electing a UKIP, BNP or Socialist Worker Party representative by voting for one of the smaller parties? The old boy has lost the plot I'm afraid and should go back to sleep.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

A Grand Day Out.

Today I have christened the Land Rover. She is to be known as Ella (as in LR, geddit?) and her baptism was at a "play day" organised by the Midland Rover Owners Club. This is an event where people with a 4x4 can simply turn up, and provided their vehicle is safe, drive round a course with various off road hazards. I stuck primarily to the "easy" path, with a few forays into the more challenging tracks. The baptism took place on one of these more challenging sections where I got completely stuck in some liquid clay and managed to spray a fair amount of said clay down the sides of my Land Rover. Tomorrow, it will have to be taken to a jet wash and have the clay cleaned off.

One of the most enjoyable aspects to these days is the time spent nattering to other enthusiasts. Some of the projects they undertake confirm my view that much of this vehicle related hobby is to get out of the way of spouses. I was also delighted to be driven round the course in a Series II, which was celebrating its 50th birthday. It coped manfully with the terrain, but boy, the difference between that with leaf springs and mine with coil springs was huge. I am now might glad that I bought a vehicle with coil springs. A dozen or so people will be going home with very, very dirty vehicles.

All, in all, a good day out.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Giving ragbags a bad name....

Some weeks ago, I suggested that Hazel Blears had a point when she told her colleagues to "Get a grip". Last week she was in hot water for suggesting that the government has lamentable failed to comprehend the wishes of the people.

This story really does demonstrate that Gordon Brown is not the only one who is out of his depth. Phil Woolas continues to wriggle around after the country has spoken and frankly he deserves to be disemboweled. Get on with it Phil and let them stay. Then get out of office and take the rest of your ragbag colleagues with you.

What a shambles.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Two Business Conundrums

The possible takeover of General Motors' European operations by FIAT and the ongoing debate about the fate of Royal Mail have caused some interesting headlines.

Having worked in commerce for many years, I don't see too many alternatives. the motor industry has had an excess of capacity for years and some sort of shake out is inevitable. Some factories will have to close. The world simply produces too many cars. It will be very sad for the workers affected, but the shakeout needed to happen some years ago. What I don't understand is why FIAT would want to acquire any part of Chrysler which seems to have no future whatsoever. Their cars are awful... why would any company want to take that on?

The Post Office (brand name Royal Mail) is simply not structured (and probably never will be) to cope with a market in which the demand for letter is reducing by 8% or more each year. The only way to cope with such a downturn is to reduce the size of the company (cost base, workforce, overheads etc.) in advance, and with a universal obligation to deliver mail anywhere in the country for the same price, it seems completely impossible that our postal service would ever have been able to do that. So, so other solution is now required. The Government (supported by the Conservatives) is looking for a partner, to inject money and provide management expertise. I would have thought that any company with real expertise would not touch Royal Mail with a bargepole. I know I wouldn't. The the obligations they have, coupled with the constraints of rising prices and the relationship with the Union of Communications Workers, it would be a nightmare.
It seems to me that we voters have to decide whether we are prepared to live with a lower level of service than we have now e.g. deliveries twice a week, or are we prepared to pay an economic cost of postage? It looks very much as though we shall have to choose one or the other, because it seems inconceivable that the taxpayer should continue to subsidise the Post Office as it has been over recent years.

Monday, 4 May 2009

How not to and How to make an impression.

We have returned from Havant and our journey was fine other than a short delay caused by an overturned caravan. Luckly this happened in the vicinity of a junction and we were able (under direction from the police) to go up the exit slip road and then rejoin the A34 by going down the on slip road.

I can't help thinking that the driver must have been doing something daft, and as a result many thousands of us were held up for a while. It was a large caravan lying on its side, the towing vehicle was badly damaged and a holiday weekend comprehensively ruined. It certainly doesn't help the image of caravaners.

We must thank Peter and Ingrid for their hospitality and their food, they certainly have a good collection of friends who came to celebrate Ingrid's birthday.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

A Hedonist's delight

Today has been a delightfully relaxing day. We are visiting Havant and are off to the theatre at Chichester this evening.

Yesterday was spent driving round looking at places that might become our resting place when we are fed up with Solihull. We liked a few and dislikes nearly as many. I'm not sure how we will ever choose.

This morning I was treated to a "Hot Stone" massage which was completely delightful. I could not see what was going on but the sensations of the hot stones being carefully placed and moved around my back was delightful. Lucky me.

Tomorrow is a walk round the Emsworth Arts trail and on Monday we have been invited to a party, before we tackle the journey home.