Monthly Archives: May 2013

Money

Can anyone explain why when you have no money you see loads of things you’d like, but when you have some money available to spend, you don’t see anything you like at all?  I suppose that’s why banks do savings accounts then.

Waiting

This one is dedicated to Kelly….

Why is it that when you really want to do something pleasant but you can’t until something else has happened, that ‘something else’ takes forever? It’s that old adage ‘a watched pot never boils’ isn’t it? Like when you want to go to bed but have to wait until the washer is finished so you can switch it off. (I never go to bed and leave the washer or tumble drier on……I’ve seen so many cases of fires breaking out.)  Or it might be that you are waiting for an important call and the phone on the table in front of you just doesn’t spring into life no matter how hard you stare at it? I actually don’t find it easy to wait for things. Once I have decided to do something, I need to get on with it straightaway. Waiting for the postman (or should that now be ‘postperson’?) when you are expecting an important letter, waiting for BT to actually put a phone line in for you, waiting for the item you ordered online which then turns out to be out of stock and not available for five weeks – these are all enough to make my blood boil.

Some types of waiting really don’t annoy me though. Waiting for a doctor or to see a consultant is one example. I regularly attend a rheumatology clinic where the doctor is always over-running. People in the waiting room groan and grumble and are sometimes downright rude. The thing is, she is a good doctor. She gives each patient the time they need to fully discuss their problems. She doesn’t adhere to the strict time schedule that some guy in a crisp suit, sitting behind a leather-topped desk has organised for her. I know that when I finally get in to see her, she will give me whatever time I need – that may be thirty seconds or it may be twenty minutes. Because of that, I am happy to wait (and have waited over two hours before) because she cares about her patients.

That sort of waiting is a good sort. Which type of ‘waiting’ gets you annoyed then?

Hosepipes

Has anyone got a hosepipe that actually works? They are one of the most annoying things on the planet (apart from clothes hangers).  First of all, they need the right fittings for your tap. This could be an adapter thingy, a screw on thingy or a push on thingy with a jubilee clip.  Chances are that no matter what you do, as soon as you turn on the tap, it will still leak out of some tiny gap.

Next we have the hosepipe itself. It might be thin plastic, thick plastic or one of those nylon fibre flat ones. Depending on the type, you might have to unreel it completely before use. Even at this point, it can kink, stopping all water flowing through it until you retrace your steps to find the offending bend that shouldn’t be there. Don’t dare look down the end of the nozzle though to see where the water has gone.

Your next issue will be length. Will it actually go from the tap at the back of your house right round to the bay window at the front to water your hanging baskets? You may have to join two lengths. You will need a male part and a female part. Try as you might, however you introduce the two, they will disagree and send squirts of water all over you. When you give the hosepipe just one little tug to make it reach where you want to be, you can be sure that the two parts of hose will separate and shower you with freezing cold water.

Finally, you have to wind it all in, full of water. It is probably covered in slimy mud. It is stiff with the cold. Your fingers are numb. The hosepipe has become your enemy and you must defeat it and show it who is boss! In the winter it needs nurturing in case it freezes and once it has wheedled its way into your life it will demand all manner of widgets to make it happy – a sprinkler, a long extension rod for high up squirting, a brush for car washing, a jet nozzle for blasting dirt away.

Yet, we like nothing better on a summer’s day than standing in our verdant paradise, hosepipe in hand, watching the pretty flowers get drenched and seeing rainbows in the jet of water.

Eurovision

Hmmmm. Where do I start this one? It’s the programme you either hate or love. But love it or hate it, you can’t resist taking a little peek and then get hooked. There’s something about the ridiculousness of it all. I never know whether to take it seriously or not.

I do have friends (well, one of them) who absolutely adore it and hold Eurovision parties. In fact, this particular friend has actually gone to Malmo this year to see it live. I sincerely hope she is having a whale of a time – I’m sure she is. ‘Hi, Anna! I’m waving at you’. Personally, I can take it or leave it. I’m watching tonight as I’m ironing upstairs with the telly that only has Freeview. My preferred channel would be ‘Home’ – My Flat-Pack Home but that’s not available on Freeview so the choice was some films which had already started, Eurovision or Embarrassing Teenage Bodies. Hobson’s Choice really.

So, I wonder how the voting will go this year – the year when our government have made it clear that they want to be different to the rest of Europe and maybe not even part of Europe at all. I’m sure that this won’t stop the people of Europe voting for us. No, really, it won’t ….will it?

Little Boys

I am the proud grandma of two gorgeous, little boys. I would walk on hot coals for them. I’d sacrifice my life for them. They are the two most amazing, little human beings. But they are also a revelation after having two daughters.

Little girls seem so easy by comparison. They sit nicely and play quietly. They don’t like getting dirty. But boys…..oh my. The first thing you notice with boys is their noise level. Everything is accompanied by noise – bang, boom, smash, crash – as they race around at a mad rate being Ben 10, Transformers, Lightning McQueen or – the latest obsession – Banana Man. Next is their obsession with bodily functions. Sentences end in ‘poo pants’ or ‘wee wee’. They furtively poke their noses and then eat the resulting produce. They can’t resist having a bit of a fumble with their tackle. But of all the things that make them different, it’s the violence and aggression that surprise me most. My daughter and I both have a hatred of guns and vowed that the children would not be given toy guns in any form. Well, that was a waste of time. They make Lego guns, swords and missiles. They can convert a cardboard tube from the centre of a kitchen roll into a weapon of mass destruction. They can’t resist kicking and punching things – and this sometimes includes each other.

Now I don’t want you to think that my grandchildren are out of control and utterly mad. This is certainly not the case. I regularly get little notes with ‘I luv you’ written on and get the most amazing cuddles. They are so loving and say the most beautiful things. They are clever and wise beyond their years. But the point I’m making is that boys are most definitely different to girls. 

My experience may not be the same as yours. I am sure that there are boys out there who do not seem to have these traits and some of you might have girls who are noisy and boisterous. It does make me question nature / nurture theories though. Is it possible that boys are just born with the need to pick their noses, not flush the toilet and call their friends ‘Poo Pants’?

Loans

It can’t have escaped your notice that there are so many so-called ‘Pay Day Loan’ companies around at the moment. I have been lucky throughout my life that I have never had to turn to a company like this and feel terribly sorry for anyone who finds themselves in that position. I can’t help feeling that there must be a better solution than borrowing from a company which charges an APR of 4214% (Wonga), 1940% (Liquid Loans), or 1734% (Quick Quid).

Even more annoying, I object to football clubs allowing sponsorship from these companies and gambling companies. I spent a substantial part of my teaching time trying to help young people understand how to manage their money. They then go to a match to see blatant recommendation of such businesses. 

I understand that the draw of sponsorship from such companies must be huge, but sometimes I think we just have to say ‘No’ to make the point that we think it unacceptable.

I am proud to say that one of my twitter friends was approached by such a company yesterday and did say ‘no’ even though it lost him one project. It takes guts to do such a thing but my respect for him (which was high on the scale anyway) was boosted even further by his refusal to take on that job. In my eyes, he is a hero and I’d be much more likely to use his company knowing that he did.

 

Weather

As British people, we always whinge about the weather. Because our climate is so unpredictable it isn’t difficult to complain about it. It is always too windy, too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry for some people.

I often think that I should have been born in the Mediterranean. I love the climate and it is so beneficial to my arthritis.  I love the fact that day times there are warm, dry and sunny and that rain falls at night, keeping everything lush and green. When on holiday somewhere warm and sunny, I am more positive and eat more healthily. I am more likely to be outside and active. All in all, I generally come back home fitter and healthier. 

I think back to my days at school and it seemed that summers were warm and sunny and winters were cold and snowy. Was it really like that or does a child see things more idealistically? I’m not sure. But our climate is certainly changing. The seasons seem confused and blurred. Last May, it was scorching and the children played outside in a giant paddling pool. This May it is cold, wet and windy and I swear I saw odd flakes of snow coming down in the driving rain this morning.

We have had a prolonged dry (but cold) spell and quite honestly, the garden needed this rain. The fact that I was part-way through taking some turf up in said garden to create a decking pathway is an annoyance as work will now have to stop until things dry out. I hate a job unfinished. But this just goes to show that we can’t actually plan anything that relies on the weather in the UK. 

Consequently, we do whinge about it constantly.

 

Forgetfulness

Apologies, dear readers. For the first time, I forgot to post a whinge yesterday. Maybe this is a sign of getting old.

I do often go to the kitchen to get something and then forget what I went for. Or sometimes I memorise a shopping list only to get to the store and find myself pondering what the items were I needed.  Occasionally, I think of an event or a person from the past and then spend ages trying to remember what their name was. This is all a sign of the ageing process I believe, but is still rather disconcerting.

I could make excuses. I had a busy day looking after my grandchildren. I had an arthritis flare-up in the evening and had an early night. But really, I did have opportunities to write my blog and I try to stay focussed on doing so each day as I find it helps keep my brain active. It is also fun and I love it when I get comments and responses on twitter.

So no excuses. Just an apology via a whinge on forgetfulness!

(Incidentally, isn’t WordPress absolutely amazing? I just found a way to change the date for this post to yesterday so that I don’t seem to miss a day. Sshhh! Don’t tell anyone!)

Fakers

I’m sitting here watching a programme about people who fake well-known makes of goods. 

Last year I ordered my grandson a Nintendo DSi from ebay. When it arrived, it looked perfect. I wrapped it for Christmas and put it away for a couple of weeks until Christmas Day. Imagine his disappointment when he opened it, put in his game and found that the sound didn’t work. I advised the seller on ebay who had advertised his business as UK based and discovered that he was actually in China. He refused to accept liability and so I took up the case with ebay and won my full money back. You would think that this would be the end of the matter – but no. The ‘seller’ sent me repeated emails begging me to send my refund money to him as he was a student and his boss would hurt him if he found out. I was shocked to receive such emails and alerted ebay, who then barred him from communicating with me. I then bought my grandson a DSi from a High Street store – it cost me loads more but I had learned my lesson.

This week on twitter, one of my followers has experienced the same thing. One terribly upset little boy with a fake DSi. Horrendous.

Our problems pale into insignificance with the case I’ve just seen on TV though. A lovely little boy on holiday with his Gameboy, forgets to take his charger. Mum pops into a local store to buy a charger and the boy goes to plug it in whilst waiting for dinner. As mum enters the room, she finds him lying on the floor – dead – charger wire in hand. The charger looks genuine, is marked with the Nintendo logo and mum had no reason to suspect it was fake.  I watched this and my blood ran cold. That beautiful little boy was an innocent victim of illegal fakers, out to make a fast buck, regardless of who gets harmed in the process.

My heart goes out to his mother and I realise only too clearly that there but for the grace of God go I.

Politicians

I was never a particularly political person. I would probably describe myself as a bit of a middle-of-the-road sort of person really. But over the years I have found myself becoming increasingly political.

Since the last government got into power, I have watched as good, decent human beings have been trodden into desperation. Nobody seems to listen to those who know best. If you want to know how to change schools for the better, you speak to and listen to teachers. If you want to know how to make the NHS work effectively, you speak to and listen to doctors and nurses. They, after all, do the face-to-face job day after day. They are the experts. They don’t object to change as long as it is change for the better.

I have a very simplistic view of how a country should get out of trouble. In my view, you grow out of it, not shrink out of it. How can making people redundant and forcing them into benefits possibly help the economy? People need to work. They should pay into the system. They need to be self-sufficient and have the pride of a job well done. We need houses. Building houses leads to work for builders, suppliers, DIY stores, curtain makers, flooring companies….the list is enormous.

At the other end of the scale, we need everyone to pay the right amount of tax (no get-out clauses, no offshore bank accounts….) and we need to get rid of the ridiculous massive bonuses paid to people in banks and big businesses who have failed. When did we start rewarding people for failure??

There is no shortage of money. Just a system which has prioritised people in a totally wrong way.

Through all of this, we see our politicians – elected by (some of) us, supposedly our servants, cheating and lying their way through their expense-laden lives, making decisions which they don’t research adequately. They can be seen publicly mud-slinging at other political parties like the naughty children in the class. Just watch any debate in Parliament to see what I mean. Then for good measure, they single out and bad-mouth decent hard-working people on social media, in speeches and on TV oblivious to the way that affects them.

Politicians – you would not be where you are now if it wasn’t for us. Get on and do the job you are paid to do. Listen to people who know what they are talking about and respond to their advice. Stop the slanging matches and calling each other names.

And opposition parties……where are you?

In the words of the football crowd ‘Who are you? Who are you?’ Tell us what you could do and why we should vote for you. People are sick to the back teeth of the current situation. I’m not surprised that they make a protest by voting for the next Monster Raving Looney Party.