The beginning of a new week and now only four weeks till Christmas. Inevitably, this year will be slightly different from previous years, which I went into some detail about in the blog, previously -.See Christmas 2009 entry). With half of the drawing-room taken up as a bedroom, sadly the atmosphere will not be the same. I’m not even sure yet whether we will be having our Christmas dinner in the dining room as usual, which ‘my lovely’ always makes look very festive, or whether we will be making use of the breakfast room. Sadly the little ones will not be climbing into my four poster bed at 5.30 a.m., itching to open their stockings as they have always done in the past. However, I must accept that I’m lucky to be here at all and still able to enjoy every minute of it.
Wednesday is Budget Day when the Chancellor will give us some idea of his plans for next year which we already know will be pretty tough. As a sweetener this morning he announced an injection of Â£30 billion in public works, sewers, schools etc. in an attempt to kick start the economy, Â£5 billion of which is apparently going to be raised by taxation, the details of which, no doubt, we will be disclosed on Wendesday. Tomorrow being a Tuesday, it is my geriatric golf day, I’m far more interested in a day out than sitting at home listening to the Chancellor dispensing doom and gloom. I have missed the last three weeks due to poor weather and I have a suspicion, backed up by the five-day forecast, that tomorrow will be no better.
On Wednesday, Ba and Rosemary, two of Alice’s old friends, are coming to tea and that’s about the extent of my excitement this week. That sounds very ungrateful as I know they are coming as much as anything to see me which, in fact, I quite enjoy provided they do not stay too long. My problem is after a couple of hours or so of talking, I feel exhausted.
Of course, far more important is the fact that Wednesday is the day scheduled for the general strike of the most of our public servants, schoolteachers; firemen; policeman; librarians; job centre workers; cleaners; road sweepers and the like, are all protesting against the proposed changes in their pension entitlements. I have written about this, over the past three weeks or so, so my readers will know that my view is that public servants should be brought into line with the rest of us and there can be no justification for them retiring seven or eight years earlier on a full pension. The old excuse used to be that they are paid less than the private sector and this was just one of their compensations. That no longer persists today as many of the senior managers in the civil service, for example, certainly get a perfectly good salary and, recently I learned that they also get bonuses! What for? Doing their job? Bonuses are usually given for performance and additional productivity. In the case of public servants it has to be a nonsense to give them a bonus for doing precisely what they are paid for in the first place but then what can you expect from a country who pays some civil servants a bonus for turning up for a certain number of weeks without taking time off sick! I think the point being that all civil servants have a’ sick allowance ‘which I gather they use as an entitlement. In other words they will actually ring up and ask their ‘human resources’ manager (personnel to you and me) how many sick days and they got left this year and then decide whether or not to take one of them.
I don’t think there will be a great deal of sympathy, in this country, for the strikers who will bring business, schools etc to a grinding halt and cause severe disruption on the railways and airlines when it is commonly known that we are sailing very close to the wind financially and it will not take a great deal to push us over the edge. As I have said before it is all about confidence, not only at home but in the way the global financial market sees us. A general strike is certainly not going to improve people’s perception of our workforce or the confidence that the workers themselves are feeling at present. I think they are crazy in not considering the consequences and merely focusing on their own selfish ends. What they don’t seem to realise is that they could be cutting off their own noses to spite their face.
Paul’ the computer’ will be coming on either Friday or Saturday for another session. We’ve gone back a year since I took over the blog entirely from Richard Morris and in my early days I did not always get the blog attachments right, so. Paul is kindly going through and tidying up the old entries. This is important as he has kindly agreed that as and of when I ‘shuffle off my mortal coil’ he will make three DVDs of the actual blog as published, including the interesting or entertaining attachments, at the end of the daily entries. One for each of the children and one for’ my lovely’, although they will already have a paper copy of the blog diary it is not the same as having the published blog itself, not only with the attachments, which in themselves can be pretty amazing ,but also all the various comments and my replies over the past 3 to 4 years. Then, when the blog itself finally disappears from the net, which I imagine it must at some time, we will have our own historic record.
Reverting for the moment to strikes, of all the European nations, France has to be number one, or very close to it.
However, much as we malign the French, they do know how to build trains!
The train from Paris to Avion is fast at 300 km/h, but this new train is in a different league. Built by the Alstom rail group in Belfort, France,Â in testing, the train hit 574.8 Km/h which works out to 357.2 Mph or Mach 0.482…wow !
In particular, watch the people when the train goes under a bridge.Â
This is SERIOUSLY FAST !!and it’s powered by electricity.Â .
Now, click here to watch this incrdable train.