turning 60

Posted in journal on October 28th, 2009 by george

Big day! An achievement of sorts, I suppose….avoiding one’s demise this long. What if anything does it signify?

If there was ever any doubt, its now clear I am more than half way. Although in these modern times, 60 is not considered old, it is certainly not young. Despite my best efforts, physical powers are dwindling. Aches and pains are daily companions. The need for spectacles grows steadily. And so on… Read more »

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going away

Posted in journal on October 21st, 2009 by george

I am going away for 5 days. As always, the last few days before leaving seem to pass in a frenzy of compiling lists of things to be attended to, and constant re-prioritizing as it becomes clear there is no way everything is even going to get looked at, let alone done. 5 days! Why do I do this? Read more »

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unnatural selection

Posted in opinion, rants on October 18th, 2009 by george

Come what may, some time next year we are going to be asked to elect a new government. It is not an exciting prospect. 

Turnout in general elections went from 78.8% in 1974, to 59.4% in 2001. If from the total number of voters who did turn out you subtracted all the politicians, their staff and party delegates; all the media flunkeys who make a living reporting and commenting on the whole charade; and all the corporate cronies with vested interests in the outcome, how many ‘ordinary citizens’ would remain? Read more »

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cleaning & gardening

Posted in humbug alert, rants on October 13th, 2009 by george

french maidgardenAsked in May to review expenses by Downing Street, Sir Thomas Legg, a former civil servant, has applied new limits to categories like gardening (£1,000 a year) and cleaning (£2,000 a year). Both Gordon Brown, and Nick Clegg have made public their intentions to pay back money claimed for these activities.

Every household in the country would like the services of a cleaner and a gardener. Most of us either pay for these out of our pockets, or do without and do the work ourselves. Yet taxpayers are expected to fork out so Gordon Brown and company can keep the heirlooms dusted and their herbacious borders looking trim? In their second homes? Read more »

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confused.com to the rescue

Posted in humbug alert on October 7th, 2009 by george

logoMy daughter turned 17 on Monday. So, after a bracing cup of cowboy coffee, I finally made the phone call I had been dreading. I wanted to know how much it would cost to insure my daughter to drive my car. Am I nuts? Read more »

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the tax office is away from its desk spending your money

Posted in humbug alert, rants on October 6th, 2009 by george

logo hm rev & customsHere is a sorry tale of modern day ineptitude.

My twin sons in New York bought their younger brother in England a birthday present. In good faith they mailed it to him at our home address. A considerable amount of time passed, after which we received a letter from Parcelforce Worldwide, informing us that HM Revenue & Customs had raised(?) a VAT charge of £18.44 on my son’s parcel. To this Parcelforce had added a Clearance Fee of £8. Delivery of the parcel was subject(?) to payment of charges totalling £26.44.

And so, a 14 year old boy must save up most of his pocket money for 3 weeks in order to receive his birthday present? Read more »

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scraps from the high table dont make it

Posted in humbug alert, opinion, rants on October 5th, 2009 by george

I was browsing comments after watching this moving video clip. Most were full of praise and wonder. One stood out in opposition. The writer claimed global warming was a hoax, suggested the speech and video were part of a sinister political exercise, and most disturbingly, claimed the USA was ‘the most generous nation in the world’.

Quite how he thought that dubious fact countered what the young girl had said is beyond me. But it highlights a flaw in so many of our good intentions. We are confusing donating with sharing. They are not the same. Read more »

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Madge

Posted in humbug alert, rants on October 2nd, 2009 by george

madge_1493828cSo Madonna has told David Letterman and his audience that she doesnt like being called ‘Madge’. She said to Letterman: “You know, that’s one of the reasons I left England, so I don’t have to hear the word ‘Madge’ any more….” Read more »

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