Saturday, 28 January 2017

Towns begin to fade

Today I noticed I do not have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Handy to know. 
Well the weekend is behind us and Michael has had a swim with some very unfriendly sharks off the coast of Cape Town. Angela in Sidney, Robert in California, Mark and Gary in South Africa, Michael soon to be in Sri Lanka and to top it all Susan will be in Japan. All very exiting for them I suppose but it would be nice for all of us just to take a trip to Corfu Castle and have a cream tea.

The weather has taken a turn for the worst and with it we have very dense fog wrapping the street lights in a shroud. Cold but the chill factor is not exaggerated by strong wind, probably why the fog has not cleared in the last three days. They say the sun will shine, when?
Getting back the the abdominal aortic aneurysm, once you turn a certain age, you are invited to go for a abdominal aortic aneurysm scan. Something like checking the fuel pump on an old car, anyway mine has passed its MOT. MOT is a yearly check all car over three years old have in the UK. Making sure they are roadworthy. I am roadworthy and thankfully no parts to be replaced, just yet.

Enough of the pleasantries, the main reason for this blog is to highlight our inability to hold our elected Councillors to account. Poole Borough Council pass new bylaws without thinking of the community they are elected to serve. For example they raising the price of parking and business rates, while ignoring the fact that this is a major contribution to businesses closing in the town centre.
If you talk to anyone who works for the council you find they are constantly complaining. Get them talking and you realise they are more often guided by hesitation and insecurity, and that is often a reflection of themselves.
The Councils are inadequate and ineffective because the members are driven by either desire or fear. Desire to be seen to be serving the ward they represent, when in fact they are serving just a vocal few. They are driven by fear of not been re elected, so will tend to mediocrity, upsetting as few as possible but also achieving very little. 
Far better to be motivated by a sense of purpose than to be dulled in their senses by the desire to undertake only what’s manageable.

We do not take delight in our towns wonder but in the answers it gives to our questions. Towns begin to fade when we do not ask questions of how better to live together.

Today I noticed Sam did not scratch at the door.

No longer am I being asked to take him for a walk, be let out or serve up his dinner. That annoying nudge when I am working has gone and I can only say it is now missed.  He use to nudge my hand as I worked on my computer, quite persistently, his way of getting me up and off for a walk. Now as I standup from the desk I look to see if he is looking my way, just seeing what I am up too, but he is now only in my head. He is been sorely missed and it will be a while before I am able to walk without looking down for fear of standing on his tail, paw or head. Where ever you are, I know you will make friends with the postman and ignore the cats. 
His passing was as gentle as his living and he just closed his eyes and went to sleep. We were all with him and this was a comfort to us and I am sure to him. Sleep well Samuel Baxter B Jones of Dorset II, when I am next at the farm, I will pop around and have a chat to you, just need to be a little stronger. Your passing has left me a little battered and bruised.
As I always said to you, you only a dog, but never has a friend been truer than you. Your passing made me realise that often my sunshine did not come from the skies but from your eyes. 

Looking to the future, Michael put it in a nutshell. ' I am going to live the rest of my life as Sam did, always eat good food and take as long as I can to leave the beach.'

Lady Alexandra of Eaton Manor

The rain is cold today and the birds are frantically eating while they have a chance before the storm. Cold, blue winter sky slowly ushering in the dark clouds that bear rain and come with the wind. 
Had a meeting with Lady Alexandra of Eaton Manor and decided to take her to the Sandbanks Cafe. Sandbanks is posh, I mean really posh, so the perfect venue for our catch up meeting. We work together on a few projects. All extremely important and it is good to have on my CV.
Lord Nigel of Eaton Manor was in London at a parliamentary hearing on the restoration of Westminster.
Lady Alexandra arrived almost on time, looking lovely in her characteristic boots and accompanying Gucci handbag. Lady Alexandra decided she was not having a large meal as she was in training for Lord Nigel. I ordered the panini and chips while Lady Alexandra ordered the spice butternut soup. 
You know how it is, one gets complacent and not thinking I asked for tomato sauce with my panini, that is where I went wrong. It turns out that tomato sauce is a definite no, no. Honest mistake on my part but not good. Bear with me, It gets better.
We sat and chatted while we ate and then the thing happened, Lady Alexandra asked if she could have a few of my chips. What happened next is not to be spoken about, ever, she dipped them in the tomato sauce. Yes, in tomato sauce. It turns out Lady Alexandra went to a private school run by nuns, you know the type of nuns that should not be allowed near young boys. 
Just to let you know, no nuns were harmed in the making of this blog, but hopefully it will bring back a few pleasant memories for them. Back to Lady Alexandra, she had never been allowed tomato sauce while growing up. Well the posh do live on another plane to us mere workers. Actually a lovely person and we had a productive meeting.
Told Susan what happened, Susan said I should have taken Lady Alexandra to Rick Stein's restaurant, that's the restaurant where you pay £48 for a salmon fillet. Rick Stein says the price of fish is very high, maybe I should let him know that 2 salmon fillets are only £2.99 at Aldi.  Well I can only learn through time. I must concede, I did not think of Rick Stein's restaurant. Maybe next time.

Today I noticed that Sam was not scratching at the door to be let in. Where has the time gone. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Prospect of Change

Change is inevitable i.e. Susan and I have been discussing the prospect of moving. Somewhere that is important to us, a place to make ours. For too long we have merely existed in the houses we have stayed in. We must build into this house, where we live, the values that are the most precious to us, not merely those helping us to survive. In effect, a home, becomes the symbol of how we see our future or it will linger on as symbol of endless compromise.


This leads me on to the present government. I believe the clear majority of politicians start out with very noble goals, something like a child going to school and being systematically taught not to dream, the politician enters parliament, where politics becomes the prime example of managing expectations, the main goal becomes keeping the peace and getting re-elected instead of building a dynamic, forward thinking strategy, that will bring prosperity and growth to this planet.

I would like a house in the country but that is not feasibly, day to day commuting becomes a task instead of a mere drive, but the most important issue is getting a fast-broadband connection. Most of the rural area is served by BT and they use a landline. I can understand the financial constraints serving so few clients over a large area. No I am afraid it must be in town, maybe a small town close to Poole. Somewhere you can see further than your garden wall, a field or hill to rest your eyes on.

Talking of politicians reminds me that Robert has been setting out his goals for the next few years. He has an ambitious agenda, sees a future in the legal profession, so want to look at adding a law degree to his studies and is also interested in learning to speak Danish. This is part of his vision to work for the Danish Foreign Service. As he rightly points out, no one is bombing the Danes, so the future does look bright. Just to let you know Robert, Danish women can’t flirt and it is no good trying to flirt with them either, attraction is essentially like a big on/off switch. When she does like you, she’ll want to know everything about you in ten minutes. She’ll also tell you about herself including her ambitions, fears, and achievements.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Reflections of a year gone bye.

January saw the Fiat Panda leaving us and a new Volkswagen Polo gracing the driveway.  I am happy to say this new addition has served her well. Talking of Susan, I remember February and Susan muttering to herself on the 29th Feb. “I really do hope none of the boys were proposed too.” Can only be Robert that is worrying her.
Feb flowed into March and chubby became the official word for fat. people are still fat, a year later but cubby is in fashion now and we have reinforced the pavements and printed ‘Abnormal Load’ sticker for their cars. Maybe we should print a disclaimer saying “Many animals were harmed in the making of this product.”
New Golf for me and then we were waving goodbye to Robert, California braced itself and he has loved his time there. Is now sporting a man’s bun, as Claudia so rightly called it, very knowledgeable young man now and does not suffer fools gladly. He is back for 4 weeks over the festive season and I am happy to say he is still using the house as his wardrobe. Somethings never change.
Somewhere in this muddled year Gary bought Claudia a Audi Q7. I could be mistaken but did they not move house as well or was that Mark?
Susan did a few trips to Dubai, Japan and Westbourne. Such a seasoned traveller now.
Angela and Matthew have relocated to Sydney, onwards and upwards a good sign.
The year has seen a significant shift in global opinions, Brexit and Donald Trump to name just two examples. “Countries have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” Jane Jacobs. But what happens if a good portion of the population has no interest in creating but merely taking from the benefits a country offers? Should this number reach a critical mass, then community begins to die and most times isn’t aware of it. This I believe is the concern of many and they have voted accordingly. I do not think they are anti-establishment, but they have lost faith and hope that the radical changes will clean out the dead wood and restore their trust again.
Susan and Robert - Banbury Rings
Michael set off for his world travels on the 3rd Dec and then it was Christmas. Took us 5 hours to tidy his bedroom and the rest of the house with all his discarded clothes, surfboards, wetsuits and general rubbish. Looks much better for the moment until Robert puts his stamp on everything.
The year seems to have gone by very quickly, more did happen I just cannot think of any at the minute.
Just something I recently discovered, Agatha Christie became skilled at body-boarding in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and in Hawaii, she learned to ride the waves while standing on the board. This in 1926.
New Year and a new look, what do you think? Happy New Year.




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