Saturday 4 February 2012

Revenge is a dish best served cold

There appears to be a different value system operating in Government compared to International Football doesn't there?

The pretty objectionable John Terry apparently refused to stand down as England captain because he claims to be innocent.  He'll stand trial after the Euro finals which evidently take place this summer (had you forgotten/don't care/been overwhelmed by the excitement of  of the Olympics).  "Innocent until proven guilty" I hear declared.  It will indeed be several months before we find out whether he can add racism to his list of sins.  It does seem that the Terry family is a pretty awful one, and its probably fortunate that they have a footballing talent otherwise who knows what they'd be doing to terrorise the neighbours. So forced to go he was by the FA, which is hardly renowned for its ability to manage a p*ss up in a brewery.  It took several months for the FA to come to this decision, and until the last few hours their position appeared to be that unless and until he was convicted, he could stay in his elevated role.  By any measure he can't be that good a captain anyway given the amount of silverware on the England dressing room mantlepiece.

By comparison Chris Huhne, who also protests his innocence, has resigned immediately on being charged of getting his (ex) wife to take the points for a motoring offence.  A very middle class crime.  I hear that as a Minister he is pretty good at his job, so you can probably assume that his loss is our loss.  He has consistently proclaimed his innocence and intends to prove it in court.  Or at least prove that he can't be proven guilty.  Government circles, or at least political commentators had made it clear in recent days that should he be charged he would be sacked, so his decision to resign was an astute one.

For different people Huhne and Terry are both role models, and it fascinates me to see how each, and their employers, have responded to their situation.

I wonder how Vicky Price is feeling this evening.  As I understand it, it was her position as spurned wife that started the ball rolling.  She was the one that told the papers that he had asked her to take the points and she had agreed.  We've all been dumped at some stage in our lives, and we've all (well me at least) have thought of revenge as the route to follow.  But generally after a chat with Best Friend down the pub and a few whiskeys we've realised that acting in the heat of the moment is not sensible.  I suspect she is regretting her actions (the big caveat here is that I am assuming that I have understood what she did correctly).  She is being prosecuted for the same crime as her ex-husband - the very serious offence of perverting the course of justice.  If he is convicted then inevitably so will she.  So at that level it may feel that things have backfired.  But if he is found not guilty, she will be viewed in a pretty poor light indeed.  Her stock will have fallen.  For her I just can't see an upside to any of this.  So the moral must be 'Think before you jump'.

Interestingly I read another press article today that suggested that the best revenge for a spurned partner is success...and that's something from personal experience I can whole heartedly agree with that...after The Boy's mother and I divorced, that seemed to spur me on, and my greatest work success was in the years following.  I was never conscious of it, but I guess looking back, subconsciously I was there trying (and succeeding) in proving something.

Friday 3 February 2012

The third way

Wednesday I shirked.  No two ways about it.  I skived.

After riding my motorbike down a narrow, twisting country lane which was more ice than tarmac to the garage that will service and MOT it, The Cat's Mother and I headed down to sunny Brighton.

It wasn't that we had any particular reason to go there, other than water the plants and check that the beach was still there.

And when we arrived, The Cat's Mother cooked some lovely poached eggs on toast (with Gentleman's Relish) whilst I busied myself wiring up the loudspeakers for the new AV amp we'd bought.  After that we wandered into the town centre picked up some bits and bobs before heading to our favourite restaurant - La Cave a Fromage where we sat for a couple of hours chit chatting whilst enjoying the finest cheeses, charcuterie and red wine.

What an utterly extravagant, luxurious and wonderful thing to do.  And it serves to remind me of why I do what I do for a living.  I may not be the best paid, but working for myself I have the opportunity to be utterly indulgent.  I can decide what I'm going to do and when I'm going to do it.  How many people can say that?  I'm so very, very lucky.

Anyway, here's a few photos...January has not been a good month on the picture front

 Just another gorgeous sunset - 2011 was a great year for sunrises and sunsets, and 2012 is looking similar
 Well it's a view of the Olympic park, obviously
 Mathilda - do go and see this if you can!
 They breed strange frogs around here
 Piccadily Circus
 Crab apples on the ground in that right
 The force is with me
Well it's just trees....

Sitting here in my ivory tower, I continue to ponder the concept of Scottish independence. Interestingly, I read that more English are in favour of Scottish independence than the Scots.  Apparently we've got fed up with their whinging and whining.  It seems bizarre to me, but I accept that the Scottish themselves feel they are a breed a part fully deserving and needing their own government.  They may be right, but as I come from a mind set that the lees a government interferes in my life the better, it's hard for me to grasp why.  Down in London, you can feel the groans going on but you don't get a feeling that someone has grasped the nettle and said, OK this is an issue and we need to deal with it.  Instead, like a truculent child the politicians are dragging their feet without really offering whilst Mr Salmon makes the running.  At the moment we (in fact not we...just the Scots) are being offered two alternatives - an independent Scotland or maintain the status quo.  It seems Mr Salmond would like to put 'max devolution' on the table which as I understand it is like having your haggis and eating it..  But what we're talking about here is not just Scottish independence, it's about the break up the the United Kingdom, so it's hard to say it's not an issue for all of us.  So perhaps it's time for Clegg and Cameron to get their act together and look properly at the future of the UK.  Why not throw it all up in the air and go for a whole new approach.  A federal system - regional governments for each of the UK's constituent parts - it works elsewhere and who knows might get rid of that chip on the shoulder that the Scots have as each of the constituent parts would all be equals and responsible for their own destinies.  Anyway, just  a thought.  Grandma in Cyprus I think has had enough of my political chit chat for now!

Thursday 2 February 2012

It's a journey

I'm wondering how Mr Goodwin is feeling at the moment.  Not as bad as I would hope I suspect.  He was a greedy little man with no social or public conscience.  He no doubt gambled that reducing the size of his pension would close the matter and the fact that it didn't he'll just put down to miscalculation.  A small mistake.  Nothing more than that.  It is so interesting that there has been quite a backlash against the removal of his knighthood.  Was he being made a scape goat?  No, but it was certainly a symbolic gesture...and that's something that every person who has lost their livelihood either directly or indirectly needs.  The fact that The City is bleating really only goes to prove how out of touch it is with the world outside its own little bubble and the general sentiment of people who have had to live with the worries of recession for four years now.  I understand an honours system that rewards public service, I almost understand an honours system that rewards for success outside of public service, but anything other than that is beyond me completely.  I'd like to see every honour that's been awarded to a banker in that last ten years reviewed, but that would be too much.  I'd also like to see Mr Goodwin redeem himself and devote the rest of his life to public or charitable service.  But I don't think he will...he's just a greedy little man and I doubt it would occur to him to make that journey.  Interestingly David Cameron is missing a massive trick here - if he was as bright as he thinks he is he could gain much public sympathy by taking it as an opportunity to remind The City that it was in large part their fault that we are all under the economic cosh now, that it needs to be a valuable and supportive part of the wider UK economy as a whole and that he is defending The City from European tax threats.  He'd certainly garner wide spread support.

I was reading today about James Hewitt....I was interested in seeing that Prince Harry says that his Grandmother can't manage without her Prince Charming...and got distracted by Googling 'Prince Harry's Father' when I should have been working.  It was just an idle moment as I don't care one way or the other. Anyway nothing much new on that front, but I did find a quote where Hewitt says "I probably owe my life to my mother".  Really??

I'm a bad man.  Very bad indeed.  Just before Christmas I was approached by the PR folks at Sea-Band who asked if we'd like to test their bands.  These things provide "Effective relief of motion sickness, morning sickness and cancer nausea and vomiting, Sea-Band provides a drug free choice without causing drowsiness or other side effects." They claim.  Now when I was a lad, I had to take a really bitter little pill - I suspect that it worked on the principle that you became so focused on the horrible taste that you forgot about feeling sick.  As a baby, The Boy was terrible - I remember well one journey to Grandma in Cyprus Not in Cyprus when he managed to throw up more than half a dozen times before we'd reached the end of the road.  On another occasion he managed to redecorate the inside of a brand new car (just 12 miles on the clock) which I'd hired for a weekend.  Fortunately we're all over that now, but The Muffins are Puketastic.  They can't even manage a simple tube journey without turning green.  So I took up the offer and then gave them to the girls.  Remarkably they work.  I've no idea how or why, but they do.  We are no longer Vom Central when we travel together and that makes everyone happy bunnies.  It will make us all jolly smiley when we head off skiing in a couple of weeks...and the other passengers around us just won't realise how lucky they are.  I'd completely forgotten about them, so feel a little guilty...but that has nothing to do with me wholeheartedly recommending them for anyone who gets queasy enroute from AtoB.

Tomorrow, The Boy is off on a school trip down to Devon. As usual with school trips we have to be there at a ridiculously early time.  In this case 5.50.  I'll be cold and tired and grumpy.  He'll be all excited and enthusiastic.  Such is the beauty of youth.  Rather than return home, I'll head on into the office.  Around here I'll be lucky to find a coffee shop open at that time, so I expect to be found when everyone else arrives at 9, sound asleep snoring with my head on my desk.

Monday 30 January 2012

The Long View

What a Muppet Mr Hester is.  He has at last decided to give up his million pound bonus, but the damage is already done.  The general population (including myself) is up in  arms about greedy bankers yet again, the politicians have been embarrassed and the bank's reputation has hit the floor again.  By Sunday he would have been better to have decided to stick it out.  When Barclay's Bob Diamond's bonus is announced, his £1 million will look like peanuts.  Better still he should have come out when the controversy first broke and said he will fore go the shares.  He doesn't need the money...his salary alone if £1.2 million, and last year he picked up a cool £2 million bonus.  He will never spend it.  Never.  So it's all about greed. Or willy waving in the company of other bankers who are all over paid.  Pure and simple.  If he can't even figure out that his remuneration will cause a furore then what is he doing in charge of the bank which cost as all a fortune to save?

As a side swipe, I gather the SNP wants the oil, but doesn't want the bank.  You can't have it both ways Alex.

I'm, still resisting the download revolution for my music.  CDs are the thing...and if I had my way, probably still vinyl.  The sound quality is better, and I'm still a fan of a nice album sleeve, particularly if it comes with the lyrics or any other goodies.  I've been eagerly awaiting the album from Lana Del Ray which promptly popped on to the door mat on Saturday, a couple of days before official release day.  Thank you  I'll ignore all the controversy around her - she's not the first and won't be the last 'image enhanced' pop star; it's a very good album.  But a strange thing, if I try and put it on the computer so I can transfer it to my phone, iTunes doesn't give me the name of the songs, the artist or the album title.  Assuming that Apple hasn't taken ag'in' her, I can only assume its because the data doesn't go on to the database until 'official' launch...I wait with baited breath for tomorrow.

It was a busy weekend for the youngsters - they were busy escorting parents and potential pupils around the school on Saturday.  One of the tasks was to help the arrivals park (parents not small children) and it's interesting that even at this stage, the parents were showing signs of stress...hurling abuse at the sixth formers when all the parking spaces were full.  Nice.  It wasn't like that in my day, and I don't think it should be like that now.  Don't you fear for the teachers if these kids get in and then need to be disciplined?

A splendid view across London towards The Shard - standing heads and shoulders above everything else.

Whilst The Boy was at his girlfriend's mother's birthday lunch, we took The Cat for a National Youth Theatre audition down in Dulwich.  I know the area only as a place to pass through (and for a few parties that that are best not mentioned), and had forgotten just how hilly it is.  I thought it was Rome that was built on hills, not London.  Once we'd abandoned The Cat, we headed up a steep slope to go to The Horniman Museum.  And what a splendid place it is...a real mix of stuff.  We had expected to stay for an hour, but I think we left three hours later....stuffed animals, musical instruments and an aquarium had obviously held our attention.  We were the only people without children in had to try and restrain ourselves from barging in front when we wanted a closer view of an exhibit.  It was all very middle class and lovely, but I couldn't help but feel there were whole swathes of kids who would thoroughly enjoy a trip, but will probably never get the chance even though it's all free.

There was a marked contrast between the parents of Dulwich and the parents of Loughton.  Dulwich prefers that carefully contrived look of casualness...jeans, baggy jumpers and no make up, whilst in Loughton parents are lathered in pancake make-up, bleached hair and designer labels on everything.  For the Loughton kids, it's a trip to 'Cakes and Shakes', for the Dulwich kids a trip to the museum.  Different, very different worlds.