That time of the year when the Politicos send forth their minions to fill our recycling bins with promises that most have no intention of keeping. Today it was the Green Party, whose candidate claims to be a local person. Last week it was the Conservative Party. Next week we get something from the Liberal Democrats together with some of the more niche or ‘weird’ parties, as I like to call them. If the last local elections are anything to go by, then there will little or even nothing from the local Labour Party.
This time, we have elected to have a postal vote. The polling station will be open but it will be easier to do it by post. I seem to remember reading about a local bye-election early last year where most of the voters had to queue, in the rain for an average of 40 minutes. Anyone I have mentioned this to have asked if I’m not worried about the postal vote. “They might get lost in the post!” was one comment. “How do you know it will get counted?” was another. How does anyone know that their vote at the polling station gets counted? If you’re not doing the counting then you don’t know and have to rely on the integrity of the counter. Then you get the ‘conspiracy theorists’ that warn you that “They will know who you are, where you are and who you voted for!” Do I really care? Not a jot! They have already sent me the voting instructions, so ‘they’ already know who and where I am, and I don’t really care if they know who I voted for.
I gave myself a pat on the back for yesterdays post. Within a few minutes of posting, a message came up informing me that the post had been number 1000.🎉 I knew it was getting close, but I hadn’t looked at my stats page for a while, so it came as a pleasant surprise.
So this becomes the first post of the next 1000. Hope I make it 🤔.
It’s the question I get asked most if the subject of my blog crops up. Well the word “Alfie” isn’t usually part of the quest, although someone did sing that line to me on one occasion. However, it confuses most people when I tell them that it’s “About nothing, but then again about any and everything” And that’s more or less what it’s about. What I want to say and when I want to say it. I don’t have a theme. I tried that when I first started with Blogger and failed, although the “From then to now” posts do have a sort of theme running through them. So this is possibly one of the reasons my posts are more random than some other blogs. Something could affect me today and I’ll post about it and then something else could happen tomorrow and I would post about that. Then it could be a couple of weeks before I’m ready to write again.
It’s funny how politics and scandal seem to invade everyday conversation these days. The subject of Boris and the alleged ‘thigh grab’ came up at work on Monday. My colleague was completely bewildered by why she did not do anything about it at the time. I did try and explain, that 20 years ago someone who is trying to establish themselves and build a career simply did not ‘tell tales’ about an employer. If they did, it could have serious repercussions. It is only since the ‘#me too’ allegations came to the fore, that incidents are now being exposed.
That’s enough ‘politics’ for now. Normal service will be resumed in due course.
I’m referring to the holiday my wife is on at the moment. As I’ve not posted for some time, I’ll get you up to speed. Around the middle of April, K****s sister and daughter, returned from a week away in Gran Canaria. She returned with an offer that K*** should join them on their next trip. There was much discussion about this, with me having a lot of misgivings about the whole thing. Firstly, it’s a ‘beach, bar and pool’ type of holiday, which I understood was not the type of holiday K*** enjoyed. Secondly there was R*** to consider. How would he react, coming home from respite to find his mother not at home, and not going to be home for another 4 days. Then there is the cost. K*** tells me that it’s a ‘one-off’, but isn’t that waste of all the money it cost for a new passport? And what about all the new clothes … more expense. Anyway, she is back on Tuesday. R*** and me will both be pleased, and as I say, it’s been a long week. I had a list of jobs that I wanted to get done, which I managed to do in between the rain and the wind we had here. I suppose the worst part of the experience is the lack of conversation. I went to the pub a couple of evenings, but there is only so much you can chat about with people that you don’t really know. It will be nice to get back to what we call normality.
I’ve been a bit lazy with this blog over the past couple of months. To be honest, I’ve not really had much I wanted to say. I wanted to stay clear of politics as that is all that people have been talking about for the past month. I know from past experience, that it is one way to ‘lose friends and annoy people’. That is something I can do without any external help, thank you very much.
I tend to update this blog in the late evening. I thought, that this retirement (early) would give me lots more time to do things like this blog, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. It still late at night, when K*** and R*** have gone to bed, that I think ”I must do a blog post”, and then I get distracted and end up not doing anything. I was going to look for a part-time job. That’s not happened. I signed up with a recruitment agency, but the jobs they have come up with are never appropriate. I promised myself that I would do more writing, but I don’t seem to have had any ideas that I could write about. I have done a fair bit of knitting though. A three beanie hats, five headbands, a pair of wrist warmers, a couple of scarves and I’m a quarter of the way through a sleeveless jumper. So I’ve not been sitting on my hands, so to speak.
I shall stop now as I don’t want to start rambling on about anything. I think I shall make a mental note to think about updating this effort at least once a week. I’ll put a note in my diary. See if that makes a difference!
Tonight I’ve been part of what I believe is called a “Twitter Storm”. The @NHAParty have been trying to draw peoples attention to the privatisation of the NHS. As part of this campaign the created a hashtag ‘#PublicDuty‘ and invited people to use this in Tweets in order to get the hashtag trending. Being a survivor of major heart surgery, I joined in, and at the last count, it was trending at No 3 in the UK.
I even posted my own tweet as part of the campaign. I do like to ‘retweet’ and quite often post my own comments, but this was a bit more serious than usual. What is happening here, is that the Conservatives, supported by the turncoat Liberal Democrats are trying to finish what Margaret Thatcher started. That is the total elimination of the NHS and in fact the elimination of all public services. It is their belief that these functions would be better served if they were run by the private sector for profit. It is my belief, along with many others that this it wrong and dangerous. It would also be prohibitively expensive. The average cost in the USA would be in the region of $49,000.00. As I understand it (but it is anecdotal) the full amount is not always covered by health insurance.
But it is all academic! The great British public will be fooled again into another 5 years of Tory misrule. Who will support them this time though? Methinks that the ‘turncoats’ Liberal Democrats will not enjoy another term in ‘power’, so it will be up to one of the other minor parties to take up the mantle. The question is which one? With arguments about the televised debates, I think the PM has been trying to cosy up to the Green Party. That would be interesting!
Well I’ve had the new car for just over a week, and it seems to be fine. Acceleration is not as good as the Ford, and handling at 70 mph needs full attention, but I’m quickly getting used to that. What will take a time is what I’ve been told is my ‘heavy clutch foot’. Occasionally, I will come off the clutch too quickly and stall. It has been a small problem, since I learned drive. I even managed to do it on my driving test. I thought i had failed, but I “…responded to the problem, quickly and correctly, so it’s just a minor fault…” or so the tester explained. The comments I have got from people range from “dinky” and “nippy” to “smart” and “economical” and I prefer the latter two. The audio/entertainment system is great. Great as in 500% better that the radio cassette player I had in the other car. It has a USB port, and can play MP3 tracks. So haring along the country lanes, with the window down and Bruno Mars belting out, is quite a new experience.
Long, hard day yesterday. I was decorating the bathroom. Now when I say ‘decorating’ I really mean refreshing the current decoration, as we’ve kept it the same colour scheme. I bought, what I thought was a decent paint-pad tray, but it turned out to be so bad, that I binned it rather than try and clean it (note to self … the stuff from the £ shop works justas well.) Ended up using an old pad for the ceiling, and a largish brush for the walls, so it took a bit longer than expected, but it’s all done now. Saying that, I need to do the ceiling and door frame in the en-suite, when the lighting has been sorted out. Deep joy!
Work continues as only work can continue! The bitching, the back-biting and the internal politics are as ripe as ever. I try not to get embroiled in it all, as I’m not sure who’s side I need to be on yet! And of course, there has to be sides so people have someone to blame when things don’t go right for them! I thought the last review was tough, but this one has yet to get going properly and it ready shows signs of it being a bad experience. At the last team meeting, the Service Manager could give us no “ ……new information on where things stand at the moment…… ” and promised to tell us as soon as she know anything. I took that to mean, tells us “ .. what we need to know, when they think we need to know it …… “. Politics !!!
By the time you read this, 2012 will nearly be over. It’s a year that has had it’s ups and downs and I’m probably glad to see the back of it. Some the downsides have been quite traumatic: finding out that the job you’ve been doing for the past seven years, will no longer exist; Mrs H finding out she had a Melanoma on her arm; coming home to find the Police in the house after R*** had had a melt down; discovering that there was a plan in place to section R*** if needed and that the ‘plan’ had nearly been invoked twice, must all rank at the top of the downers. Then of course there was the uppers: getting a new job; R*** settling in at his new place; R*** taking to his respite without a problem; S**** getting a great review for his part in the local panto; surviving Christmas (still have New Years Eve) are all up there with good times. I also got a new laptop, and I was not sure if it was an upper or a downer. It was struggle to get it to how i wanted it, but when it was all done, it was brilliant!
My writing is coming along. It is a slow progress, because I think in my own mind, that I’m not good enough to do it. I will have days when I will just sit at the keyboard, and do not know what to write. Then on other days, I will hammer out a couple of hundred words. But then i read back what I’ve written, and realise that it is nonsense, and I have to start again. I’m currently writing a story that has a troll involved. I’ve got up to 4000 words, but I don’t know where I am going from here, or even if going to take it any further. I may just use this a practice piece whilst I figure out what I really want to write about. I did start writing a blog for a national magazine and wrote a few posts, about the local area and what was happening, but the stats were very disappointing, with no comments neither good or bad. You do need people to comment. Even if they just tell how bad the piece is, it shows that they have interested enough to read it and offer advice. I gave up after four posts and have not written anything for it since December 2011.
I have recently taken one of the pieces I have written and turned it into a sketch/play. It still needs some work, but with that one, I know what I need to do. I’ve been reading and bought a couple of books about Creative Writing, and am now beginning to understand where I have to start from, and how to develop ideas. It is going to a long process, but as I have indicated to HR at work, I am interested in taking voluntary early retirement in March 2015, I need to get my skates on, so to speak.
I suppose, that the last sentence needs a little more explaining. I work for local government, and without going in to the politics of it (especially my views) a number of staff in the 55 – 65 age bracket, have been asked to consider either early retirement (VER) or voluntary severance (VS). As I fall in to that age category, I decided to apply for VER. I have sufficient service to give me that maximum payout, and although the pension will not be full amount, I would only be eligible for a further £2000.00 a year if a I stayed on until I was 66. It has yet to be passed by management, but at my level, I do not think there will be a problem. It will mean a massive change, and I will need to get some kind of part-time job, to help with the finance situation, but I think it will be okay. So you see, if I can get my head around writing and develop the skills I need to write creatively, the boredom factor that people get when they retire should not creep in. Who knows, I may even make a few pounds from the experience.
Well, I think I have blathered on for long enough. All that is left now is to wish you all a very prosperous and successful new year, and hope that 2013 brings you everything you wish for.
Now the real face of politics will show itself !!! The ‘behind closed doors’ deals will start. All those standards that people voted for, cast aside in the selfish struggle for “power”. Yet again, the public voice of this country will be ignored.
On a more positive note …… Leeds Utd are on their way back to the top! They don’t make it easy though. At one point, I actually thought they were going to lose the damn match. That would have been the finish, I think. All in all, at the end of the day, they won, and that is all there is to it. I have to say though, it is my considered opinion, that ‘Mad’ Max Credal has to go !!! At such an important match, to be sent off for ‘afters’ is totally uncalled for. Simon Grayson must really consider whether Max is right for the team now. After all, it could have been so different.
A big well done to Chelsea. Their result was more a cricket score that a football score. And they did keep the ‘other’ team from the top.