Friday, 19 August 2011

It's what you know

There are some things The Cat's Mother knows and there are some things that I know.

She knows that, in her absence, the house has gone to rack and ruin, the kitchen is a disaster area, the dishes are still dirty, have become mouldy and are walking around the house by themselves, the rubbish lies scattered around the garden, and there are mountains of unwashed clothes beckoning for her domestic hand.

I know that, in her absence, the house has been quiet, the kitchen is as tidy now as when she left, the dishes are neatly stacked in the dishwasher, the rubbish has been taken out and collected by the bin men, and we've washed the clothes we've worn.

I wonder who's right? We'll find out tomorrow.

Two events have dominated my newspaper reading over the last 48 hours, and caused me to reflect on destiny.

Yesterday the Autonomy Corporation was bought by US technology giant Hewlett Packard for a whopping 10.3 billion dollars. That's a lot of dosh. You may not know Autonomy...and why should you? I only know it because the founder, Mike Lynch attended the same school as me, and as The Boy does now. He's four years younger than me and was always a bright spark, getting there on a scholarship (as indeed did I). Not much more to say other than well done...always good to read about someone you know (of) doing well...and as I understand it, he deserved. I'm not sure what he learnt at school that I didn't, but whatever it was, it's served him well.

The other story is the death and repatriation of Lt Dan Clack in Afghanistan. He was just 24, and a very well liked and respected officer. A man of great potential. He's the first Old Bancroftian to have been killed in action since the second world war, and had been at the school between 1998 and 2005. Lieutenant Clack was killed while leading a ten-man patrol into the village of Dactran to speak to the local nationals and discuss a shura due to take place the next day. Approximately 150 metres from the front gate his patrol was struck by an improvised explosive device, killing him and injuring five other members of his patrol. What a terrible tragedy for him, his family and those close to him. I remember when I was at school one of the things I learnt was that Afghanistan was an unconquerable country that was little more than a waste land. It has a tribal system which suits the place; democracy is not a natural fit. So the other part of the tragedy is that he was fighting an unwinnable war trying to impose an alien political system which has been imposed by western political leaders. If only they'd been in the same history lesson as me.