Monthly Archives: June 2013

War

War……what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

I have never been able to understand war. In my opinion, there is no problem in the world that can’t be talked through, negotiated, compromises found and settled without dressing people up in uniforms, giving them arms and letting them shoot, bomb and blast each other to death, killing thousands of innocent people in the process. Too simplistic? Possibly.

The most amazing thing is that many of these conflicts are over religion. Now forgive me for simplifying things too much, but religion is generally about loving one another, tolerance, not hurting each other, not stealing each other’s property and turning the other cheek. How does war fit in with those principles then?

I rest my case.

1954

1954 was a good year. Mass vaccinations against Polio began, Elvis recorded his first record and Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ was released. It was the year I was born. It was a time of hope and increasing prosperity, of free health care, decent benefits and social housing for those who needed it thanks to principled and tough-talking people like Aneurin Bevan. I myself started life in a rented property in a ‘new town’ with two hard-working parents.

Unfortunately though, I have become part of an elite set of women who have been cheated out of £33145. I started work on my 21st birthday and for thirty-six years paid tax and National Insurance every month. I contributed to Teacher Pensions, of course and as I started to realise that the pot was actually in danger, decided to leave teaching at fifty-five. I’d be fine, of course, because I’d start state pension at sixty, wouldn’t I?

Ah……enter the man who moved the goalposts. Women born in 1954 would be some of the first in the country to have their pension age brought into line with men. In fact, my husband, born in 1952 gets his (and his bus pass!) on his 65th birthday. I have to wait until I am 65 years, 10 months and 5 days old! 

The reason I am whinging about this is that I am not expecting something for nothing. I paid into the system and just want the benefits back that I was promised on 1st September 1975. I knew that I was going to lose a lot but calculating it this morning has really hit home. £33000 is a lot of money.

On the plus side……at least I have a few years to go until I can be referred to as ‘a pensioner’.

Eye Worm

I know there is such a thing as an ear worm but is there an eye worm? If there is such a thing, then I know where there is one. If I drive into town, I pass a corner shop. This shop proudly proclaims that it sells ‘confectionary’. How I long to go out late one night with some black paint and a ladder to correct that spelling. Each time I pass, it narks me again.

It’s hard being a retired teacher.

Past Participles

It is amazing how many people, even intelligent people, don’t use the correct past participle. It drives me bonkers!

This is the sort of thing I mean: ‘You must have ran all the way’ (even worse….’you must of ran all the way’)

I have to fight the urge to correct people all the time.

 

Conspiracy Theory

Tonight I opened a big bar of Cadbury’s Whole Nut. I thought I’d just have 4 squares. But….. did you know that they now have rows of 5 squares. Now 5 is an odd number and I have a theory. A lot of people (not just strange people with OCD) like even numbers. They don’t like to do odd numbers. So, I hear you say, why not just have 4 squares anyway. How silly you are for even asking that question. If I ate 4, there would be an odd one sticking up out of line, wouldn’t there? So, I’d either have to have 5 or I’d have to eat two rows to get to an even number and leave the bar neat and tidy.

I think Cadbury have done this deliberately!

Gambling

This is a strange one. I am not against gambling per se. If there’s a raffle for a good cause, I will buy a ticket. I even won a stick blender recently. It is in the kitchen drawer, in its box as I already have one. I do take part in the post code lottery and Mr Whinge does get a weekly lottery ticket. What gets to me is the vast number of online gambling facilities. Once upon a time, if you wanted to gamble money away, you had to go into town to the nearest ‘turf accountant’ or similar, or to the local Bingo Hall. Now you have it at your fingertips – on your phone, laptop and TV. There’s nothing more dangerous than the combination of times of austerity and ease of gambling. The adverts for these companies make it colourful, fun, sexy even. I worry that many people turn to it on the off-chance of ‘get-rich-quick’ and in the process squander money that could have bought a nourishing meal. Even worse, many football clubs are happily accepting sponsorship from these companies so that our young people are being drip-fed the message that it’s OK.

Many children, when asked what they will do with their lives, reply that they won’t need a job as they will win the Lottery. Well, kids, you stand more chance of being hit by a piece of space debris apparently. Don’t be fooled by these companies. They are the only people getting rich quick, believe Ava.

Experts

I watched a TV programme tonight that I thought might make me annoyed. It did, to a degree. It left me wondering if I should maybe set up a restaurant. After all, I actually ate in restaurants and make a pretty good beef stew and dumplings. So that must make me qualified, right?

Or…..maybe I might set up a free hospital. I could probably manage a bit of brain surgery or some liposuction. I once had an operation, so that must make me right for the job, surely?

I’m all for people following their hearts as far as careers go. After all, I spent many years telling children that they should. (Mind you, I always told them to have a Plan B and possibly a Plan C too.) So, you’re a TV chef? OK….that makes it fine for you to get involved in schools – you did actually go to one for fourteen years so that makes you qualified. And if you’re a journalist, well, you also went to school and your English must be reasonable so go for it! You’ll be brilliant. Tell you what, why not try teaching in a deprived area where there are three generations who have never had work, 42% of children are in poverty and parents tell them that University isn’t for ‘people like us’.

What? You only have experience of private school? You don’t want those type of children because it will be harder for them to achieve so the results will look bad? You are scared they’ll give you a hard time and there’s nothing you can do about it?

Awww. Shame.

They

I sometimes wonder who the mysterious ‘they’ really are. Whoever ‘they’ are, they are a complete pain in the backside. When my daughter was pregnant, she often told me about what ‘they’ said. Don’t eat unpasteurised cheese. Don’t eat nuts. Don’t lay the baby on his side. Don’t give them solids before 6 months. ‘They’ seemed to say an awful lot. My reaction was to tell her that actually ‘she’ was the expert on her baby and that ‘she’ ought to listen to what ‘they’ said but then to use her own common sense in dealing with her own baby.

Well, this morning, I see that ‘they’ have been at it again. Now we are going to have a whole generation of pregnant ladies not using shower gel, face cream and hand wash, refusing to sit on your sofa because it is new and not eating food from new non-stick pans. For goodness sake! I’ve written about nanny state before but this is just getting ridiculous. The danger to your baby from you walking around with filthy hair and not having had a shower is far greater than using shampoo and shower gel. As is the stress and guilt you feel by using these products in the fear that you may harm your unborn child.

Remember the ‘they’ who told us not to vaccinate our children because of the autism risk? Look where that ended up. Remember Edwina Curry and the eggs? And do you really think that French ladies don’t eat Brie? Are there millions of ill babies born there?

Ladies……..just use your common sense. ‘They’ do not know everything and this type of alarmist reporting is not helpful. We are breeding a generation of children with more asthma, more allergies and more intolerances of particular food groups than ever before. I wonder why?

Things that just don’t work

Isn’t it so annoying when things that should work just don’t? The event that made me ponder on this today was the failure of a simple little wireless doorbell. My dad has the bell push in his room and the bell unit sits in the hall. If he needs anything, he rings so I can go and see what the problem is. It has worked for a while but with the onset of the lovely weather, we have been working in the garden and have taken the bell unit with us in case he needs anything. It has had intermittent problems failing to ring so I replaced the batteries and all seemed well again. Then yesterday it rang when he was nowhere near the button and today stopped working at all. I tried replacing the batteries again with no success and then wondered if it might need ‘pairing’ again. I couldn’t find the original instructions so searched for them online. I went to the company’s website and found the right unit. There was a link to click to get the pairing instructions. I clicked it and guess what? It took me to an error page. I tried an different unit. Error page. Then another…..yes, you guessed it…error page.

The bell unit is going in the bin.

Tomorrow I am off to buy something a bit more reliable.

Retweet if you’re a sheep

There have been some annoying people on twitter lately who ask others to ‘retweet if you’re a teacher’. A year or so ago, I probably would have done so without thinking. After all, it seems a pretty innocuous thing to ask people to do. But someone alerted me to the fact that people do this to earn more kudos points on social networking. Since that time, I have ignored those tweets.

Maybe I have been a bit harsh. I’ve thought carefully about it, weighing up the possibilities. Maybe it is a way to help teachers network with like-minded individuals? But then following a hashtag like #edchat or #SLTchat will do that much better. I can’t think of any other reason to ask people to retweet if they are teachers. It is pointless and it is incredibly annoying.

So……from now on, I have blocked the two people who are leading it and am also now blocking anyone who retweets the message as well. My timeline can do without these messages. This is just another example of self-promotion on twitter and not what I love social networking for at all.