Things did start to get better as the next few years progressed. Staff realised that I was not the ‘bossy’ type that the previous occupier of the post.
In 1991 the Government decided to ‘de-criminalise’ parking offences. The Road Traffic Act 1991 (RTA), allowing local authorities to issue parking tickets for contraventions such as: parking on yellow lines, footway parking, not displaying valid pay and display tickets or parking permits within a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). Leeds were now starting to look at the pros and cons of this new legislation. But before that could happen, Leeds needed a new processing system. I was asked, because of my ‘technical knowledge’ to be part of the team that looked at the different systems that were available. Unusually for me, I asked what it was worth? The manager had been expecting this and offered me an upgrade in scale to S5. I remember sitting there pretending to think about and then, even more unusual for me, I countered with ‘”Could you make it S6?” I think he had been expecting this and he agreed, there and then.
There were many trips out to various Local Authorities to see their systems and to talk to users before we settled on ours. One of the the things that kept cropping up, was residential parking, or parking outside your own property. As more and more people had cars, and the cost of parking those cars increased, many drivers took to parking in residential streets, much to the annoyance of the local residents. To try and overcome this problem Local Authorities set up Residents Parking Zones which allowed the residents within that ‘zone’ to obtain a parking permit(s) for themselves and visitors. Leeds were using card permits that were hand written with any required details and they did not look very professional.
The new legislation would give the Council control over the parking in these Residents zones, and it was decided that any new system would have to be able to cope with the issue of more accurate and professional permits. This also meant that jobs and job titles would have to change. Parking Attendants became Civil Enforcement Officers, clerks became Customer Service Officers and a new team called Appeals Officers was created. The new system used mail-merge for the first time to create individual and personalised letters. This meant that we could now send parking permits that were no longer hand written and could not be easily forged. It became one of my jobs to both design and implement these new style permits when we were ready to take on the new service. That new service started in 2005 and things started to get better for everyone.
Well, a couple of rants really. Firstly, this UK Government seems to be obsessed with tax. It’s recently announced that it ‘may’ be looking at a tax on take-away coffee cups and other non-recyclable plastics. Now at first glance, this might seem a good thing. Force manufacturers to abandon non-recyclable plastics in favour of the recyclable types. But wait, this will cost them money to change. It always does. Any change costs. And who do you think will pay this cost? Well it will end up being you and me. The costs will be passed on to the consumer so that the shareholders and the company bosses don’t lose out. It is the same with ‘junk’ food. How do we deal with an increasingly obese nation? The Governments idea is to increase the tax on fast food. That will stop people eating the stuff. Will it? Do they think that by putting an extra 50p on a burger and fries meal will stop people from buying it? To me, a more sensible idea would be to subsidise real fresh food and make that best alternative. The same with non-recyclable plastics. Subsidise the fully recyclable stuff to make that the best option. Once the mindset is changed, then increase the taxes to help with costs.
I said a ‘couple of rants’ and here’s the second one. I’m currently a member of a forum. It is not important to say which forum but just to say, I’m a fairly active member. People post their questions and queries and members of the forum will attempt to answer them, if they can. I’ve done both on occasions and whilst I’m not after praise, a simple thanks would suffice. It winds me up a little when you go the trouble of attempting to answer someone, and they don’t have the decency to answer or even acknowledge the respondent. Make me think twice about answering sometimes.
This is going to get a bit political and may be a little sweary, so be warned!!
Today was going to be the first day of a new life. Today I felt the true effect of this Governments National Health Service decimation! My mitral valve repair/replacement operation was ‘bumped’.
Everything was in place. Respite for R*** had been fixed and the process of getting him used to the idea that his Dad was going into hospital had begun. K***s work arrangements had been sorted. My work arrangements were in place and S**** was on call if needed. K*** had taken me to the hospital. We had had a ‘light lunch’ as advised. I was on the ward and had had my chest X-ray. I had unpacked my bags and even had my slippers on when the surgeon arrived on the ward to tell me the news. He seemed to be quite annoyed that they would normally do four heart operations a day and are now down to five or so a week. It seems, that because of the cut backs imposed by this bunch of c**ts, (sweary bit) who masquerade as a Government, there are insufficient ICU beds available! Just let that sink in …… not enough intensive care unit beds in an NHS hospital because of Government cuts!!!
K*** was quite distraught. It has not been easy for her during the build up to this, what with the planning for R*** and everything else, and for it all to come crashing down was very hard. At the back of my mind was the words that the nurse said last Tuesday, when she said that “…… it could be cancelled ….. even on the day….” How those words come back to mind now.
So where are we now? Well for a start, I have to go to work tomorrow!! K*** has to spend a lot of time trying to realign R***’s care/respite plan, whilst trying to keep her emotions in check. That is not easy, as she had only just got her head around the fact that I was having this done now.
So now I have to ask the question, who is to blame? Here come the political bit! At first I blamed Osborne, that weasely-eyed ‘Hoo Ray Henry’ of a Chancellor. But then I thought, no he’s only doing what his leader tells him. So it’s Cameron’s fault!! Or is it? More thoughts later, and I come to the conclusion that actual fault, for all the problems that people, like me are going through, lies at the feet of one person. CLEGG!! The turncoat. The guy that presented himself to the country as the only one that could keep the Torys in check. How easily we were fooled. However, in the words of The Who … “We Won’t Get Fooled Again!!!”
It looking like it may happen sometime, week beginning the 23rd June. I have no idea now whether I am counting down or up.
When the doctor said that my angiogram appointment would not take long to come through, I was kind of thinking four to six weeks. We all know how the NHS works. Unless it’s an emergency, you wait. Well the doctor was more than right. My appointment is on Wednesday, the 12th of February, which considering that we only talked about it two weeks ago, is a pretty fast move. I’ve told my line manager, my service manager and my former colleague D***, and of course they are all very supportive, but I’m betting they’re more than a little concerned about the timescales. I still have to get some pyjamas!!
It also suddenly hit me that I had not spoken to the two people I supervise. I have been meaning to tell them. I’ve been meaning to get them both together in a room and explain what is happening. I just have not got around to it yet. There always seems to be some
reason excuse why I have not said anything. So I’m going to do it the coward’s way. I shall send them an email. An apologetic email. I shall feel really bad about it (I do already) but I hope they understand the pressure I’m under. You see it’s not the op that I’m worried about. I thought I was worried about the recovery time, but it’s not that either really. No what worries me, is what happens while I’m away. I could be off work for three to five months, and a lot happens in a week these days given what the government is doing to public services. I had to explain to our finance person today. One of the things I have to do is run some nine or ten reports on the 1st of April. There was a problem last year, because D*** forgot to refresh the report (it has to save with data) and the finance person has no faith in D*** being able to do the job. I do have faith in him and I am thinking of emailing his manager to ‘fly the flag’ for him. As in the song ‘… there could be trouble ahead ….’
Now, back to what this thread is about. I don’t really think this has sunk in yet. I will have the angiogram next week and then wait. But for how long? A month? Three months? Or will it be the following week? I cannot really get anything straight in my head yet. I suppose with time it will come and the worries that others seem to have will start to form. Hopefully, this thread will help me.
One of R***’s problems is noise sensitivity. I understand it occurs with many Autistic people. It is not the volume of the noise, more the pitch or tone. He can have his video and computer at the highest volume level and not bother at all, but there are some types of noise that causes him distress. Fireworks are an issue. We think it is the sudden randomness of the noise, rather than the noise itself, but it is a problem for him. This then in turn becomes a big problem for us. You see his frustration turns into anger which turns into aggression. This aggression usually manifests in nipping, biting and what we call ‘chinning’ whereby he will grab an arm/leg/neck and press down with his chin onto that part of your body. When he gets it right, and he invariably does get it right, it can be extremely painful. Then it is time for the medication. To be honest though, he has coped very well with the past few days. The medication did its job.
What I get annoyed about, at this time of the year, and especially this year, is that people ‘extend’ Bonfire Night, beyond the 5th of November. I heard on the TV someone mention, that it is ‘Bonfire Weekend’ !! I also heard, on the radio young kids talk about it being ‘Firework Night’. When they were asked, why we celebrated, they did not have a clue. At the end of the day, what are we celebrating ?? We celebrate an historic event, whereby a group of people, did not agree with the Government of the day. That group of people decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in order to progress their cause. Today, we call that Terrorism !!!
So Wikipedia is having a ‘blackout’ in protest at the SOPA/PIPA. Will it make any difference ? Well I don’t really think so. Not here in Britain anyway. Two people have mentioned it in the office this morning. One thinks it is about ‘getting rid of internet porn’ and the other person thought it was because ‘Wikipedia is having money problems’. There was a brief mention on the BBC news programme at 08:00am, but nobody seems to have much of a clue really.
Does anyone really believe, that the governments, have no control over the internet ??? I only have to offend a public figure on Twitter or post an inflamatory status on Facebook to have the Police knocking on my door. No, in my opinion (and possibly others too) the internet content is already monitored by ‘the authorities’ all over the world.
I wish Wikipedia, and the others that are supporting opposition to this type censorship, all the best luck in the world. However, at the end of the day government, whether in the UK or the US, will not change their policies, just because they may be unpopular.