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31 January 2012

Posted by DMC on 1 February 2012 in Diary |

The Eurozone mandarins have won the first round in the battle to control the budgets of the countries within the EU, and in particular those within the Eurozone itself. 25 of the 27 countries involved have signed up to the new regime leaving the UK and the Czech republic outside these controls. (As I understand it what they have signed up to is in effect was to have been the European constitution, which the UK vetoed) The same mandarins are attempting to force Greece to allow an outside body to monitor taxes and outgoings – rather like one’s parent insisting that you wrote down every penny of expenditure from your pocket money each week, when you insisted that it was not enough. Of course, Greece is opposing this sort of control, claiming it is humiliating to suggest they cannot run their own economy effectively, although the evidence over the past few years must be in favour of some form of outside agency. In fact, if Greece wants to have the continued financial support of the Eurozone then they will have no choice, ultimately, but to agree to some form of outside control.

In exercising his veto against the proposed EU constitution, the Prime Minister has made it clear that he will not accept any directive or legislation that restricts the functioning of the UK financial institutions. There was some talk earlier on that, as a tit-for-tat for the UK vetoing the proposed EU constitution, they could somehow move London’s position as one of the leading international financial markets, perhaps to somewhere in the Eurozone, like Frankfurt, and I suppose this was a sort of thing to which the Prime Minister was alluding. Of course, it would be disastrous for this country if that were to happen as I believe the City brings in almost a third of our GDP

Moving closer to home there was another tragic accident on a railway level crossing a couple of days ago this is local to us and then only a few miles away from an earlier accident at Elsenham, where a couple of young girls were killed on a level crossing by a train, 6 years ago. This seems to have been a similar type of accident where a young girl simply did not see or hear the train coming. One suspects that, like so many of the young, she probably had her ears stuffed up with earphone listening to her music.

Whilst being immensely sympathetic with the parents for the loss of their 15-year-old child, one cannot help wondering how anyone could be foolish enough to open the gate at the level crossing when the lights were flashing and the alarm sounding predicting the oncoming train. To say she neither heard nor saw it beggars belief.

What is even more surprising is that the parents, in similar cases have blamed the railway company and it seems from yesterday’s High Court decision (for the Elsenham case) the parents, are going to win (substantial compensation?!) from the rail operators for failing to observe certain safety regulations, to which they have already pleaded guilty.

I have no idea which directives or regulations were infringed (except that the electronic lock was not activated), but for most sensible people. the current arrangement is certainly safe if common sense is used when using the crossing. I suppose the one improvement. which could be made would be an automatic electric lock on the pedestrian gate that operated at the same time that the barrier came down. Whether this would stop youngsters climbing over a locked gate in order to try to catch the train, which is already in the station-which has been observed by one of the rail way regulators-I know not

The other suggestion, that the father of one of the two girls killed on the Elsenham crossing made, was that there should be no level crossings at all. The pedestrians should be able to cross the line either underneath by means a tunnel or over the top, but on a bridge. This is simply not a practical suggestion bearing in mind the number of such crossings (6500) and the phenomenal cost involved.

After all that serious talk. Click here for something entirely frivolous

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1 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 2 February 2012 in Diary |

My old friend Rowan Planterose, from arbitration days, sacrificed the best part of his day to come down yesterday from London to give me lunch. Instead of popping next door to the Cricketers, as it is almost sub-zero outside/, we decided to have a light lunch in the breakfast room and not risk me catching a cold, which, thank heavens, I have avoided so far this winter. I had a small episode last evening, which demonstrated to me the problem I would have with a severe cold. One of my nostrils was blocked and I was having to take in the whole of the air expelled by the respirator through the remaining nostril and this was not a very relaxing thing to have to do. In the end we switched from the ‘ nose only’ respirator to the full nose and mouth one. Certainly more cumbersome and less comfortable than the little one , but at least with a blocked nose, I was able to breathe through my mouth.

Whilst on the mundane. I should mention that the battle of the evening teeth cleaning seems to have resolved itself. Until a month or so ago I could still hold the electric toothbrush supporting my hand by the other. Now my grip has gone completely, and the brush falls out of my hand so’ my lovely’ had to take over. As she is what I have always described as’ a scrubber’, in terms of cleaning her teeth, this really didn’t suit me at all. and although, the dear old thing, tried with the manual brush, she made a pig’s ear of it/, after a certain amount of wrangling, /we agreed a compromise which is to get the night carer, who comes in at 9.30 to add /this to their duties, after all, it only takes 3 min.

Back to matters of more importance. The Prime Minister is having a rough time over exercising his veto on the proposed EU Treaty As I said a couple of days ago, they seem to have ignored this veto and introduced it anyway, but of course it cannot be binding us constitution without without having been approved by parliament. Just how far it can affect us is not clear, but this proved too good an opportunity for the leader of the Labour opposition, Ede Miliband, who felt it incumbent to point out to the House of Commons, what value this Veto? . A veto is not just for Christmas but for life., Milliband said, echoing the message given to parents who buy their children puppies for Christmas. Poor Cameron could only reiterate what he said before, that he would accept nothing that in anyway affected the financial institutions in London, if necessary, he would take the matter to the European courts. I think is a matter of watch this space as this is entirely new ground.

Click here for an appropriate comment on’ spending a penny’!.

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2 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 3 February 2012 in Diary |

Sir Fred Goodwin, the erstwhile boss of the Royal Bank Of Scotland (RSB) has now had his knighthood .annulled (cancelled). No doubt, Mr Goodwin, was awarded this honour for ‘services to banking’, which, in the event, turned out to be presiding over the largest corporate loss ever recorded in this country, something in the order of £23 billion, so it would have been hypocritical to leave him with this honour once this loss had been disclosed. Of course there are some who say that he should never have been given a knighthood in the first place, far too young and not having proved himself etc.

There have been other instances of honours having been cancelled but they were usually where a crime had been committed or the person involved had been struck off their professional register for a serious offence. However, this is apparently the first time that the annulment has taken place effectively for commercial incompetence. There are so many other instances of professional .or commercial incompetence, often with the transgressor walking away with a large compensation packet and a fat pension, one wonders whether this case will create a precedent.

Having said that,, apart from the public humiliation. Mr Goodwin will still enjoy a very handsome pension and the millions he made through share options, etc., whereas all the rest of us, that is the taxpayers, are having 22to bear the losses he incurred. Why is this? Answer, .because of his very tightly drawn contract .Question; why was it drawn so tightly in favour of Goodwin in the first place? Why not provide for loss of pension and
bonuses in the event of poor performance due to incompetence? I agree it might require careful drafting but it doesn’t seem difficult to draft it the other way to ensure that the person concerned receives handsome benefits in the event of some form of success. Do I think it was right to strip him of his knighthood? Certainly I do. He was only given it in the first place for doing a job for which he was employed for and for which he was grotesquely overpaid.

The other issue which has been taking up a lot of media space is the exercise by our Prime Minister on his veto in respect of the proposed EU Treaty. .

As I understand it the treaty was put together with a view to dealing with the default of any member of the Eurozone, but included .elements in it which our Prime Minister considered could damage our financial institutions and for that reason he exercised his veto. In the event, ,this Treaty has been signed by the other 27 members of the EU, clearly not as a Treaty but if not a Treaty then what is it? An informal agreement outside the normal EU directives? If every time one of the founding members exercises its veto against something proposed by the EU and its veto is ignored, then what value the veto? Of course, you can imagine that the Labour Party are making hay out of this situation. Mocking poor Mr Cameron as if the whole fiasco was his fault.

A third big issue currently being lauded about is the potential bonuses to be paid at this time of year to the bankers. Readers will recall me recording the fact that the current chairman of the RSB, after much media pressure., has waived his million pound. Bonus but we do not yet know what level of bonuses will be paid to the thousands of other city employees in the financial sector. They will certainly be considerably less than previous years.. if they .heed     the present government’s warning. How .Ed Milliband has the nerve to stand at the dispatch box and criticise this present government over the size of the current bonuses when he was a member of the Cabinet who signed off last year for £1.3 billion of bonuses to be paid to this select group. beggars belief.

What about the home front? I have sadly come to the conclusion after that one small glass of white wine I had with Rowan yesterday that any alcohol is going to stimulate my sinuses to a point where my breathing under the ”nose only’ respirator can become alarming. Sensibly, then I should become teetotal but it is very hard decision to make. Not that I crave alcohol-I can go two or three weeks without-but I do so enjoy the odd glass of champagne and what will I do when the good doctor arrives here next Tuesday to stay for four days, break the habit of a lifetime ? Or suffer the consequences. A true dilemma.

Click here to see why we all need the right brother-in-law to sort out our problems.

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3 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 4 February 2012 in Diary |

Here we go again with the Dragon people. They now have the audacity to write, two days ago that “Of course. we are glad to hear that Dragon seems to be working better for you at the moment. Please let us know when you have any other issues with Dragon

Heaven knows where they got this information from unless they happen to be reading my blog on one of the days when Dragons seemed to be behaving itself.. There are multiple problems still with Dragon but the tone of their e-mail implies that they have resolved all of the issues. The only thing they have suggested in seven months that we have been trying to sort it out, was recently to create a new user profile, which, following their instructions proved impossible, but when I explained why, they never came back with any alternatives.

My response, do their e-mail, was as follows:

‘I am replying to your e-mail dated. Wednesday, 1 March

I have to say that your programme is no better now than it was seven months ago when we first complained. It is only through an immense amount of patience and work on our part by stripping the laptop, right down to its bare essentials and then reloading all the programmes that I believe we have got it to work at all.

Your service or lack of it, is an absolute disgrace. As I have repeated time and time again. the only way to resolve this is for you to send a technician here to see for himself what are the problems. Your answer to this is that this not the way you do things. How many other customers have you had that have fought like I have s over seven months to resolve your problems?. The key problems are pretty much as fully detailed in my earlier e-mails but to summarise.

Dragon still does not respond to all commands. For example trying to correct ‘wear‘ as the obvious context shows it. It should have been ‘where’ and yet this option does not appear in the correction box.

The correction box is hopeless. It constantly fails to respond both to Windows and to Outlook.

The ‘ Nats Speak Add-In’ frequently comes up in a pop-up box and has to be disabled

Frankly, I am at my wits end to know where to go from here. The Trading Standards people although they agree with me, have no teeth to enforce Dragon to do anything. So far as suing a large corporation in court., I know from my 30 odd years in the business of dispute resolution that that would be madness. I have always advise anyone considering such a step to think again. Usually, the end of the day, the lawyers are the only winners. So although I would like nothing more than to fight my corner in court. I really have not got the resources or the strength to do so and must take note of the good doctors advise that this business is having a serious effect on my health. I shall consider my options over the weekend as it has become quite clear that your organisation is unwilling or incapable of resolving what must be a relatively straightforward matter. What I think is even more disgraceful izzard you have taken no cognizance of the fact that I am severely disabled and that all of this takes a great deal out of me.

Turning to more homely matters, the water tank in our heating system is developed a problem. This at the very worst time of year when we really need are heating. According to the weather people. this is one of the driest and coldest periods for 90 years. Apparently we have had less rainfall , in the last 12 months, in East Anglia, then they have had in Jerusalem

Alice holding our breath for the weather next week in view of her mother’s Memorial Service on Thursday.. It is touch and go as to whether we get the milder weather from the West or a deep freeze and snow currently over Europe, as we are right on the cusp of where these two weather fronts meet.

The snow and icy roads could mean that half the congregation, coming from all parts of the country, could not make it, so Alice and her sister Victoria will have to make a decision as to whether to continue or cancel it, no later than, say, Tuesday next

. Just to show my readers that I’ve not lost my sense of humour. Overall, this catalogue of misery I include a very short video, which I must confess, is a little cheeky, if you will forgive the pun. I just hope it does not shock to many people or be construed as sexist. Click here and you’ll see what I mean.

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4 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 5 February 2012 in Diary |

I haven’t mentioned recently the pain that I was suffering from a night in my joints. Much of it has been alleviated by’ ‘my lovely’ coming down regularly to turn me over and therefore relieve the pressure. However, even with all this special attention . I have had one or two quite miserable nights when my right shoulder and right hip in particular, have been almost unbearable. I’m going to have a nerve block injection from the pain, consultant towards the end of this month that will only sort out my shoulder. It may be that I will have to rely on even stronger painkillers at night, for the other joints, t as there is no way I can have a general anaesthetic and an operation on my knee.

Awoke this morning to a completely carpet of white frost covering the garden. Heavy snow is forecast for tonight, and with the underlay of frozen ground is likely not to thaw out but to leave a dangerous driving surface. A month of freezing Arctic weather has been promised to us. We just hope that a small window appears. next week to allow girls and all the other people to travel to Wales who wish to celebrate the life of my dear mother-in-law.

Regular readers will recall the extensive media cover on the removal of the so-called’ travellers’ from Dale farm at an estimated cost of £18 million., After 10 years of court action. the local council was given permission to remove them which they did however almost immediately they started partking their caravans on the approach road to the farm, which is where 20 or 30 of them remain today and the council faced with further court action in order to get them removed. It really is a nonsense. I cannot imagine any other country in the world, even from the so-called civilised Western bloc, putting up with this sort of nonsense.

The chairman of Basildon Council seems adamant that they are going to make them pay the eviction costs. I know that we have been told that many of them own grand villas in Ireland but it seems that there is some difficulty in matching with properties , Surely this can only mean lack of cooperation from the local authority who must know who are the owners, It will be interesting to see how the council achieved its objective of getting money from these’ travellers’ it’s not as if they have not been offered alternative accommodation or sites-they have, but have always found a good reason for rejecting them. I think the time has come to ignore the humanitarian pleas concerning the children and the old folk and take some positive hard action against these people who, frankly, are being a bloody nuisance.

We have a not dissimilar situation with the ‘ professional’ protesters’ camped around the entrance to St Pauls Cathedral .

In fact, they have established a proper county providing hot drinks meals etc to these protesters Against Capitalism. What I don’t understand is why the authorities have to go court to have these people removed. Surely they’re breaking some by law or other. What surprises me is if I decided to pitch my tent on a pavement in London or on a traffic island somewhere, or perhaps in St James’s Park I’m sure that the police would have powers to come and arrest me and moved my tent as an obstruction. Yet when it comes to protesters such as these have attracted a great deal of media coverage, they tend to’ walk on eggshells’ and go through great contortions in order to remove them. Of course people have the right to make their voice heard by peaceful protesting but not to the point where they are costing the country millions of pounds and causing a great deal of local disruption. I’m not suggesting we get the troops out and know them down as they would be in some Middle East countries that perhaps the odd water cannon in this freezing cold weather might have a salutary effect!

I received a comment yesterday fromone of my readers asking me what I thought about the landlords who were evicting tenants now with a view to letting out their properties during the forthcoming Olympics. This came from America so there must be something in the newspapers there that suggested that this happening. I have neither read nor heard of such a thing happening in this country. What the commentator from America, perhaps does not understand is that it takes a minimum of six months to remove a tenant who refuses to leave. Witness the problems we have had over the Dale farm travellers and the St Paul Cathedral campers. What is more likely to be happening is that anyone, including council tenants, who have a flat or apartment within the Olympic area, will vacate them for a month, probably staying with their in-laws, and make a packet from letting them out for that period. All totally against the terms of their tenancy, of course, but I suspect the authorities will close a blind eye to it., And I certainly wouldn’t object. Good luck to them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make some serious money.

I recently purchased a decent web cam for my mother’s husband, Richard, and last evening with the first time we have got him to use it properly, with Paul’s help we can not only see each other but also hear each other, After a few minutes chatting with Richard, my mother appeared, took one look at me and uttered her first immortal words on this miracle of communication , “You need a haircut.“. That’s another is for you. So much for the joys of seeing each other on Skype!

One of the’ ‘old faithful”, Judith William Powlette, who came to the village almost precisely at the same time as us ,just under 50 years ago, came to see me this morning. Then another’ old faithful’ Jill Simpson pocketed briefly the place was bustling, but the visits were short and sweet and it was nice to see them and keep in touch.

For today’s diversion. I am going to show you a fascinating way of projecting images on the facade of a building,, this one on a store in Berlin. Some of you may recall a similar display on the front of Buckingham Palace, last year sometime for some celebration or other. It is very clever. Click here and see if you agree with me.

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5 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 6 February 2012 in Diary |

One of my regular sources of media material which I include on my blog, is Bob Foraker, who lives in America. I’m extremely grateful to Bob, as he teased me supplied with some wonderful material which I’m then able to share with my readers. However, today he sent me an Alzheimer’s test which presumably if you fail then you are either are already suffering from it likely to suffer from this form of dementia in the near future.. I did not bother to take the quiz on principle.

I think it’s a great pity, in many cases there an elderly parents has to be told that they are suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s. Somebody in their 90s, for example, is far more likely to die of something else before they become a complete nuisance to their loved ones. Admittedly, everyone has a right to know but I think we should all take one step back and think very carefully before we inform our loved one that they are suffering from some form of dementia, which, in many cases, will cause a great deal of anxiety. Whereas to laugh off the odd lapse of short-term memory, citing the problem we all have of getting to the top of the stairs and forgetting why we went up, might be more kindly.

To switch to a topic which has caused me a great deal of anxiety, I can.scarcely believe it but my very long, detailed e-mail to Dragon disenchanting them of their conclusion that they had resolved all of my problems with them, has again, been deleted, unread! What a convenient way of them claiming not to be notified and therefore not taking any action on a complaint. So here I go again, another telephone call to the senior technician, Ruben on Monday morning.

With the opening of the Six Nations Rugby yesterday England were drawn against Scotland, so traditionally, apart from the championship. they were playing for the Calcutta Cup. (It is a very handsome, 12 inches high silver cylindrical, cup stop listening to start a with a decorative lid capped with a little elephant. I was surprised to learn that it had been made entirely from silver rupees, heaven knows how many hundred and to be melted down to get the amount of silver needed to make it).

England were pretty scrappy in the first half and went in at the interval 6-3 down. by virtue of a lucky kick from the Scots, which is very charged down. They then went on to score a try early in the second half. England eventually won 17-6 but it was not an impressive performance. On the other side of the world. England were battling out the last of the cricket matches against Pakistan and, as at the time of writing, were heading for a Pakistan whitewash. I hope they sharpen up their game before they come back to England for the cricket season. here, as I am determined to make two or three of them if I possibly can .

As forecast heavy snow fell overnight and we woke up at fairyland of sparkling white. Great fun for those sitting in the warmth looking through the windows but not so for the poor girls who had to drive from house-to-house to minister to their patients, many of whom were living alone. I must admit, Alice and I were very impressed when I our early morning carers, Carla and Emma arrived pretty much to time they had been parked their cars at their office around the corner and then walked the last hundred yards or so.

Harriet, the boss of Ross Nursing, rang while they were here and said she would pick them up in her much maligned 4×4 and drive them to their patients, who live in. some of their more difficult locations. Where it is unlikely that the roads would have been gritted. At the end of our morning session. Harriet roared in, muffled up to the nines with kisses all-rounder roared out again. She’s like a mother hen with our girls-they are very lucky to have such a caring boss. Now we must hope and pray that this snow disappears before Alice’s journey to Wales for her mother’s memorial service next Wednesday

Speaking of my dear mother-in-law, Click here for today’s joke . Perhaps a little irreverent, but my mother-in-law had a good sense of humour.

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7 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 8 February 2012 in Diary |

After all the high flown language concerning the Queen and her Diamond Jubilee I hate to start this entry on a low note. But having promised my readers that I would be entirely honest about my condition, I have no choice. if I am to honour that promise. Last night was the most painful night I had spent since his condition was diagnosed. I had severe pain in my right shoulder, 10 out of 10 on the pain scale and then, in addition, both hips and both knee joints were painful but less than the shoulder except that for a short period one of the hips reached somewhere in the order of 9/10 on the pain scale. This, despite the significant amount of painkillers I take every night. Fortunately, I have an appointment at the pain clinic in a couple of weeks time. to have a nerve block injection in my shoulder, so hopefully will be able to discuss the other pains at the same time. The odd thing is that the pain in the shoulder could be relieved by being turned so that I am lying on it but the hip and heel pain were only relieved when there was no pressure on them.

Having got that out of the way, I can record that today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dickens. As a young man I was a voracious reader and to my mind Dickens is the greatest writer this country has ever produced. His skill, in a few words, to vividly bring a character to life; his skill in developing a storyline which turn his books into the page turner category and his skill in blending into these gripping tales enough social history to recognise the significant difference between how they live then. and now. Ironically, Dickens was acutely aware of the disparity between the rich and the poor and many of his books have this element woven into the story. Although the conditions in which the poor live today in this country would have exceeded even those of many of the rich in Dickens time, the gap between rich and poor is as wide as ever..

I have always loved Dickens and believe I have read almost everything he has ever written. As a young 15-year-old I spotted a set of his works in a local second-hand bookshop I plucked up my courage and went in and enquired how much they were. After the shopkeeper told me £15 I begged him to keep them for me and I would go and earn sufficient money to buy them. As a result I took on a paper round and a few months later became the proud owner of this wonderful set of books which still grace my bookshelves today..

If I were to be offered the choice of one book that I would be allowed to take on a desert island., other than the Bible and the full works of Shakespeare, I would try to persuade the organisers let me switch to Dickens in instead of Shakespeare, as my book would be the complete Oxford dictionary, all 39 volumes of it! A feast of information.

I have no idea what celebrations have been arranged to mark this auspicious occasion but, despite the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. I trust that our greatest writer will not be overlooked.

Smiler and Kimberly dropped in today for a quick lunch on the way to a funeral for one of the friends with whom Smiler had grown up. A very sad occasion. It’s all about funerals for us at the moment with’ my lovely’ leaving on Thursday morning for the Memorial Service in Wales for her mother. I would like to have attended both funerals but it’s quite impossible for me to travel now unless it’s in an ambulance and then, when I get to the other end without the hoisting equipment and other bits and pieces, it would be impossible.

Paul’ the computer’ came at lunchtime to continue to assist me to overcome my Dragon problems as well, as to set up an infrared control that will allow me to play my music through the Bose speakers and control it from my laptop. He is a clever lad and I’m very fortunate that he is prepared to help me.

With our unemployment figures at a record high level and we must all retain a sense of humour, even in adversity . Click here for a joke entitled Welfare.

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8 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 9 February 2012 in Diary |

It was the coldest night of the year, and one of the coldest on record, something in the order of -12°C around Bedford. Ironically, it was colder here than in Sweden, which was certainly a first for Michael.

On the personal front, I’m glad to say it was almost painless night for me. after the dreadful one yesterday. Dr Michael increased my paracetamol to 2000 m.g and chucked in a cortisone tablet for good measure, that on top of the cocktail of drugs which I already take. The problem is that I rarely have a really bad and painful night so we do not know whether it was the extra drugs which were effective or was just a night when I would have been pain-free anyway.

The main media and news involves the imminent release from prison of Abu Qatada, the self confessed terrorist who was thought to be Al Qaeda’s representative in Europe. Abdul came to this country as a radical preacher openly spreading hatred of the Christians.

He was imprisoned, prior to an attempt to have him deported back to his homeland in Jordan. However, on the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights, we were told we would not be allowed to send him back to Jordan as he was a convicted criminal there and information which had been extracted from him by torture might be used against him in any further trials. This being the case, we have the crazy situation where he openly exposes the murder of Christians and we cannot get rid of him.

Our own courts then intervened and decided that we could not hold him in prison any longer because he had committed no crime in this country (I’m not sure quite how far you could have proved incitement against the Christian society) and the judge ordered him to go under house arrest for three months, whilst trying to sort out the deportation business. He would only be allowed out for two hours a day and was not allowed to use mobile phones or the Internet. He has, however, I understand, being given consent to walk his children to school everyday! I can’t help feeling that if I was a parent at the same school and saw him turning up every morning with the possibility of some madman trying to eliminate him, I might well have second thoughts about keeping my children at that school. If it turns out that we cannot deport him. then, we are faced the ludicrous situation of spending millions of pounds over the years protecting him around the clock and paying sufficient benefit for him to live comfortably with his family as he is clearly unemployable!.

Are we mad or what? No other country in the world would take such a soft line on one of the most dangerous confessed terrorist in the world. This may well be the trigger for us to defy the European Court of Human Rights and start the process of withdrawing control of our legal system from Europe altogether, which is something I have been advocating in this blog for a very long time. Our jurisprudence has been the envy of the world for two or 300 years and why we should suddenly be able to be overruled by disparate mixture of judges, some from the Third World, maybe with an axe to grind,? This is, to my mind sheer lunacy. The electorate no doubt will take note of how well our Prime Minister, Mr Cameron (through our Foreign Minister) deals with this lose/ lose situation.

The funeral that Alice, Miles and Kimberly attended yesterday afternoon, fortunately, went off without a hitch, unaffected by the snow and ice, that we have suffered from over the past two or three days. Apparently there was a very big turnout for this sad business and Smiler, who was a particularly good friend of the deceased, read, the 23rd Psalm. They will all be off again tomorrow, heading for North Wales, for the Memorial Service being held for my dear mother-in-law, where, I trust the atmosphere will be different from yesterday’s funeral in that this can genuinely be a celebration of her life, the actual funeral having taken place earlier.

The good Dr Michael arrived around 7 p.m. last evening from Sweden, having two days earlier been in New York. He will stand in as locus parenti for Alice whilst she is away in Wales. In any event, the normal visits will be made from Ross Nursing, so the babysitting element should not be too onerous. As far as food is concerned, which will be fairly basic. I know Michael to be a reasonable cook so we will not starve.

We have booked to go next door to the Cricketers on Friday but if this sub zero weather continues, we shall probably eat in the breakfast room. Mick has some idea about going to the pub and bringing some food back here to eat – not a bad idea if Trevor Oliver agrees.

As this entry is predominantly about the British approach to life. You might enjoy these British humorous advertisements.. Click here to see them.

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9 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 10 February 2012 in Diary |

I am happy to report yet another painless night, whether as a result of the good doctor’s additional painkillers or not we have still yet to prove. Having said that he reduced the amount of cortisone from 4 to 3 tablets and tonight we will go down to 2 and see what is the effect. In any event, I spent one of the best nights I’ve had for months as I was pretty exhausted by bedtime and was having some breathing difficulties. I really must try to take a rest after lunch, and remember the ‘Spoons full of energy’, test

Alice left in a flurry around 8.30 this morning, gushing out last-minute instructions to the good Dr as if she was to be away for at least a month and we were off to the North Pole! Fortunately the weather prospects of her drive to Wales looks fairly good and she should be able to miss all the snow and ice. Having said that, I’ve no doubt the weather will put off a few potential attendees, so I hope all the girls efforts will pay off. In any event, I shall be glad when it’s all over and possibly my’ lovely’ is back in the fold.

I read something in the Patients like Me, Newsletter, which I thought was a real relevance .Spelling it out in simple language, someone came up with the idea to get across to patientss like me that you start each day with a certain volume or amount of energy. Let us say a jug full. As the day progresses the more you are doing, the more spoon-fulls of energy you use up, until possibly, the jug is empty (which is what I suspect it was last night for me). The sensible thing to do is to keep an eye on the jug and ration, out your efforts retaining the odd spoonful of energy and go to bed with something still left in the jug. Good advice which I must heed.

I was delighted to catch a snippet of news on the radio the other evening, about a primary school somewhere in the south of England, where the head mistress (who I believe I have now to call the head teacher!) was accused of teaching elocution to primary school children. Since it seems that the powers that be decided some time ago that we were a multi cultural society, the BBC and other television programmes have, as a matter of policy, employed continuity staff, with regional accents, which is fine , except that some of them can scarcely pronounce the Queen’s English. I am not advocating going back to the days of the posh BBC language but applaud this head teacher for pointing out to children that the T existed in our alphabet. For example, asked one dear little chap, ,how would he spell ‘think’. ‘F I N k ,Miss’, he replied, and was amazed when the teacher pointed out the correct spelling. What is more, he was even more surprised when she explained that if he could put his tongue forward between his teeth, he could pronounce’ TH’ . He really did not know that such a sound existed.

So we can now expect these children instead of saying ‘be’er’, in future, sounding the ‘t’s’ and saying better. This teacher is to be congratulated. She has improved the employment prospects these children significantly in stroke.

Having written this I became curious as to the origin of the expression ‘ to a T’. I guessed it meant something. precise or accurate. Having searched my book of quotations, the only two I could find that I liked were ; Repetition does not turn I lie into truth -Franklin D Roosevelt and Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune; – Kin Hubbard (1868 – 1930). Well no joy there and none the wiser. I wondered who was this Philistine, Kin Hubbard?

At last I have received my allocation of tickets for the forthcoming cricket season at Lord’s. Whereas over the last 20 or 30 years I have taken up to 14 guests over the season, friends, as well as family, this year, as I am uncertain what state I shall be myself, I’ve cut it down to 6. My oldest friend Geoffrey Hanscombe (94); Steve Harrison; son-in-law, Karl and nephew Tom Grand and introducing my two grandsons Fred and Seb. for the match on 18 August (my 78th birthday -about being a tad optimistic, after all six months can be a lifetime for an MND patient!) Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in the ballot and only got one adult and one juvenile for that day. My best chance now is to obtain the extra tickets under the wheelchair enclosure ballot which I do today.

Now for something quite different. Probably more for the boys than the girls but click here for the unique experience of a ride in the incredible U 2.the.the spy plane.

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10 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 11 February 2012 in Diary |

Alice’s first night away and the good Dr Michael had to take over the ‘turning over’ tasks during the night. He did very well, particularly as I managed to knock the emergency button. a couple of times and had him scurrying back to all the deep minutes after he’d settle down again, so I suspect he did not have a very good night himself. He had reduced even further the additional cortisone and although I was still relatively pain-free, although not quite as good as the night before.

On the whole we managed yesterday pretty well. Michael has observed and remembered most of the little things that’ my lovely’ does to make sure things run smoothly for me. I thought he did very well, although there’s nothing quite like the real thing!

Paula, one of my carers, told us about the scandalous goings-on at the village hall. Bear in mind that this is quiet English village in which anything rarely seems to happen outside closed doors However, on this occasion, a couple of nights ago, the PTA (Parents Teacher Association) for the Local Primary School organised a’ do’, in the village hall. Unbeknownst to most people, other than those involved, it turned out to be a bit of a rave. An evening of strippers and transvestites, certainly not the sort of thing we are used to in this model English village. I have no doubt there will be there will be an emergency meeting of the parish council, to conduct a post-mortem on that event and to ensure it does not happen again.

Tragically, it seems, from what I have been told that there was an accident caused by one of the attendees driving home in her 4×4, crashing into another car and the occupant of which has ended up in hospital.

I heard from’ my lovely’ she and the family have arrived safely and were shortly off to the church to check the final arrangements. So far so good. I just hope the threat of snow in the Midlands does not put too many people off attending the memorial service.

Re the strippers I suppose it is a suitable entry to include another bit of male chauvinism. Click here to  see Husband the Year

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