Thursday, 19 April 2018

Managing without Television



The television set in my dining room, which is the set I watch most, recently stopped showing pictures, though it still relays sound, so I can use it to listen to radio broadcasts. I find I can also follow television news programmes quite well even without the picture. However it's no use for detective stories or murders.

An advantage  of this is that I eat rather less. I'd been spending much of the evening watching the television, and eating snacks or sweets. Now I potter around the Internet, and manage without the snacks and sweets, which helps my campaign to lose weight. I'm therefore not in a great hurry to replace the television.


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Three Signs of Spring


Today, for the first time this year, I walked to the shops without an overcoat, I dried washing outside on the washing line, and I sat in the garden drinking a cup of tea and reading The Economist.


Thursday, 12 April 2018

A Misleading Statistic



Half appeals against Home Office decisions to deny people permission to live in Britain are successful. My initial reaction to that news was to wonder what was wrong with the Home Office, but on reflection I think that the proportion may be about right. It is not half of all decisions that are being overturned, but just half those that go to an appeals tribunal.

I should expect those to be cases where both the person appealing, and the Home Office officials consider they have a good case. If both sides exercise good judgement we might expect the result to be a draw, with each side winning about half the time.



Monday, 9 April 2018

Confessions of an Unwashed Ancient.


I'm just recovering from a rather bad cold. When it was at its worst, just over a week ago, I went without a bath for four days. I just couldn't face the prospect of getting wet all over.

I seem to have survived the period of uncleanliness unscathed. In my youth, when there was no heating in the bathroom, a weekly bath sufficed.  I suspect that these days we spend for too much time washing ourselves and our clothes.


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The End of a Grim Story


When I learned of the death of Winnie Mandela, my only thought was of the 'necklace killings' of which she boasted so proudly.

Tires were fastened around the necks of victims and set on fire, so the victims died slowly and horribly. Sometimes the victims' relatives were encouraged to try to rescue them. As the burning tire welded to the victims neck, attempted rescue just pulled the victim to pieces, doubtless to the amusement of Ms Mandela and her followers.


Saturday, 24 March 2018

The Irish Border



Free movement of people and goods across the border between North and South Ireland is important to all who live in Ireland. Free movement of people has been allowed ever since Southern Ireland became the Irish Republic, and Irish people have always been allowed to settle in Britain and vote in elections here.

I remember going on holiday to the Irish Republic with my parents in the 1950's. No passports were required and I was intrigued to notice that Irish banknotes were guaranteed by the Bank of England.

Understandably people worry about the inconvenience of imposing border controls between North and Sough after Britain leaves the EU.

One solution would be for Ireland to be reunited with Britain, but that would offend the pride of citizens of the Irish Republic. An alternative would be for Britain to join a Greater Ireland, which could then hold another referendum on whether or not to be part of the EU.


Friday, 23 March 2018

Enlivened by the Spring


For the last few weeks I've been distressingly lazy, neglecting both blog and web site, instead messing about reading inconsequential odds and ends on the Internet, and gossiping with the cat - who is deaf and may well not be able to lip read.

Once the snow had melted in the Spring sunshine, I've been like a man reborn. I've walked all the way through the park, have planted by tomato seeds and replanted the camellia seedlings, and today I made a batch of lime marmalade, despite a power cut in the middle of the process. Allegedly a nearby substation caught fire.



Thursday, 22 March 2018

A Paucity of Pedestrians.


It recently struck me how few people I encounter walking along the street, and how few people I see walking past my house.

I live in walking distance of the shopping centre and walk there and back almost every day, but I see very few other people similarly occupied.

I fear that many people walk no further than their cars which they use even for quite short journeys.



Thursday, 8 March 2018

An Undiplomatic Diplomat


It was most unwise of our Foreign Secretary to hint in public that the recent use of nerve agents may be the responsibility of the Russian Government.

That possibility may have occurred to many of us, but official pronouncements on the question should await the collection of evidence. If the responsibility eventually turns out to lie elsewhere Mr. Johnson's remarks will be a great embarrassment. If investigations do reveal Russian involvement, the Foreign Secretary's premature comments will make it easier for the Russians to dismiss evidence by saying that we intended to blame them all along and manufactured evidence accordingly.



Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Expensive Tickets


From time to time there are media reports of high prices charged for tickets to sporting events and concerts.

The organisers appear to sell all their tickets rather quickly, but tickets are still offered for sale by secondary suppliers that charge much more than the nominal charge.

That suggests to me that the organisers of the events do not charge enough in the first place. Raise the official prices and the 'tickets touts' and internet re-sellers would no longer flourish.



Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Neglected Lavatories in Newham


A few days ago there were news reports that Newham Council had appealed to shopkeepers not to sell corrosive materials such as lavatory cleaners to anyone younger than 21.

The lower age limit for marriage is 16, so I imagine Newham has married couples both younger than 21, and some of those may have their own accommodation. There may be other households in which someone younger than 21 does the shopping for relatives too dilapidated to shop for themselves.

I do not envy them their unclean lavatories!



Friday, 23 February 2018

Making Education Fun ???



I note that the President of the USA considers arming teachers so that they can defend their pupils against armed attack.

How would the president respond if some teacher, infuriated by a disorderly class, shot them all?

Perhaps children would then be armed so they could protect themselves against berserk teachers.

Schools might then be as exciting as those computer games in which players try to shoot as many individuals as they can, and children could be judged by the number of their kills.