Thursday 22 March 2012

Park yourself right here

I was surprised, really surprised to see on the BBC that the NHS is the world's third largest employer.  Evidently, by reputation it is the world's largest employer.  I really appreciate what the NHS gives us, but can't quite understand the figures...there are other countries that offer a nationalised health system, but they didn't appear at all on the list.  Is it the way we count?  Is it that the health service is over-staffed?  Is it that we have more sick people than other countries?  Is it because offering 'choice' has created duplication?  Is it because there are too many bureaucrats? Do we include services under the NHS that other countries exclude?  I just don't know and I would like a reasoned and impartial explanation rather than one driven by social or political dogma.  It would help me understand the latest round of NHS reforms- why is it that health, like education is kicked around like a political football by one government after another.  It certainly seems strange that a relatively small country like ours has any organisation in the list of largest employers.

After the church service for the 275th which I mentioned earlier this week, we repaired to the hall of the livery company that supports the school.  It is a very splendid place indeed, full of the pomp and ceremony that shouts 'tradition' from the rooftops.  You may well have seen this place - it was the king's coronation room in The Kings Speech, and previously featured as the the KGB headquarters in one of the James Bond films....for that one the pictures of our monarchs were covered with flags bearing the hammer and sickle.  I wonder how they felt about that.  As we all chatted politely, food was brought out.  Few of us got to try it as the 'scholars' rushed to surround the waiters and waitresses and strip their serving platters of every last crumb, like lions devouring a zebra.  It was quite extraordinary really, and caused more than a few comments.  In my day we would have been respectful enough to have salivated, but held back whilst our elders got first pickings, sure in the knowledge that they would take just a few things before waving the waiting staff on.  It is not as if the kids are not exposed to the right environment...mostly middle-class, they all get fed well at school and should pick up some of the basic rudiments of manners. The subject came up at home, and The Cat rushed to their defence "They were hungry". Yes but manners maketh the man (and woman).  We spent some while talking about it, but perhaps it was a generational thing as neither could see the other's point of view.

How clever am I?  Pretty damned if you ask me.  When I got one of those new-fangled Android smart phones last year I was pretty pleased with it, especially as it had more storage than my iPod so I'd be able to put all my favourite tunes on it. And generally it's all worked pretty well, but for some music it decided that it wouldn't recognise the name of the artist.  So in amongst all my favourites, I've ended up with a whole load of 'unknowns'.  Several hundred of them in fact.  I've searched high and low, but there doesn't seem to be an answer.  Until I worked it out myself.  I simply create a playlist in the name of the artist and add the songs to that.  Perfect.  I'm really very pleased with myself indeed.  How geeky is this paragraph?

I'm rarely accused of being politically of my bugbears is 'disabled parking'. It's not that I'm against it.  Not at all. In fact it seems perfectly reasonable and sensible to me.  But, and this is a big but, we seem to have gone overboard.  Down in Brighton we can spend literally hours searching for a parking spot at home, whilst dozens of disabled bays remain stubbornly empty.  And last weekend we went to Westfield where I took this picture.  As you can see, the standard parking bays are all full, whilst the dozens and dozens of disabled bays remain empty.  It seems in this matter we lack a sense of proportion.  I wonder if I'll feel differently when I'm really old and creaky?