Thursday, 23 August 2012

Baby Fish and Exam Results: Celebrations All Round

Some great news from the garden. Our goldfish have had more babies. Not sure how many, but at last count there are at least seven wee black bairns in there (each about 1cm long). There may be more under the lily pads.

The 'older babies' (if that makes sense) are now about 3 - 4cm long, still black but eating the floating pond sticks that we feed the "grown ups" with.

It's great that we're now getting our own fish. And not a penny given to the big chain pet shops! Yippee.

I've also seen at least 3 grown-up frogs in the pond, so I suppose they'll be having their own babies soon enough... be great not to have to catch tadpoles from old quarries and have to "bring them home" next year.

We had a good crop of peas this year, though towards the end the slugs and snails went a bit bonkers on them. After a slow start the potatoes shot up too, so I think I'll be digging them up any day as they're just starting to wilt. The weather really hasn't helped this year.

So I suppose that's the garden up to date.

This last week or so we had happy news, with the AS and GCSE results in. Our eldest got an A in AS History which is what he plans to do in uni, and our second born got an A in GCSE Geography which is what he's going to college to do at A Level, so both did well and seem to know what they want to do...

What with O Levels becoming GCSEs and now the media saying the children get lower grades for the same percentages... I just wish the government(s) would stop fiddling with the exams so we could just know what the children get, they earn -- and can be compared like for like, year on year. But hey, what do I know?

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Time to Respect the Elderly

Years ago I used to walk to work with an old man called Tom Dance. He would always tell me his stories of his service in the Navy in WW2 and of his time in the steelworks in Cardiff.

Remembering all the stories we shared and the laughs we had, I thought I should write something:

When you see an old man, what do you see?

Someone to be robbed of his money? Shame on you mugger or utilities executive!

Someone who gets in the way? Shame on you rushing commuter or NHS manager!

Someone who "goes on" about 'the good old days' and despairs of the modern age? Shame on you disinterested cold caller or politician feining interest!

Someone who's home should be taken from them to pay bills or home others? Shame on you government, local council or healthcare supremo!

Someone who's wrinkles make him unattractive? Shame on you fashion mag editor or botox laden wannabe model!

Someone who doesn't spend enough on useless trinkets and so doesn't exist? Shame on you trendy shop owner or advertising executive!

Someone who is past his best, an inconvenience who should be 'allowed' to choose death? Shame on you money-grubbing relative or euthanasia-rights activist!

Or do you see a man who has worked, paid his dues, deserves the best, has cherished memories in his home and should be entitled to have enough to heat and eat, to potter as he sees fit and get the very best in public services?

How we treat the elderly says much about us as a society.

If we mistreat the aged, we shouldn't be surprised when others get mistreated.

We should cherish life, from conception to natural death. No money, fashion, profits, taxes, lifestyles or politics is worth the suffering, poverty, pain or lonliness of the elderly.

It's time we, as a society, really decided what is important.

Most if us will be old one day. It is short-sighted and foolish (not to mention morally wrong) to treat the aged with disdain.

In memory of all the wonderful elderly men and women, relatives and friends, I have loved over the years, especially my grandparents. RIP.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Big Business Call Centres

If my call is so VERY important to you - how about answering it?

If you experience a high volume of calls so regularly (like 99% of the times I call) why not employ a few more people?

If you must make me go through 1001 options and permutations before -- eventually -- answering, why am I them so regularly redirected to another office who then tell me that I've come through to the wrong place?

And if you make me key in or (even worse) pronounce my details to a machine that only seems to recognise American accents, why when I reach a human being (after 2 months waiting) usually called Keith or Susan, yet with a suspiciously Asian accent, is the first thing they ask me for the very thing I just spent 48 hours tapping in or shouting at the phone?


'I am not a number. I am a free man.'