Monthly Archives: September 2007

Chocolate Taliban

We were just watching the 10 o’clock news on BBC 1. There was a story regarding the war in Afghanistan. The latest news is that the gains made in the summer could be lost during the winter offensive by the Taliban. This seems to be a repeat of the scare stories publicised prior to the summer offensive.

The title comes because the reporter said that the British offensive in the summer had centred on the Taliban strongholds in the cultivated areas of the Helmand river valley. In so doing they forced theTaliban forces to melt away as they squeezed them.

This brought laughter from FW who had visions of the Taliban forces turning to liquid chocolate as they were forced into smaller and smaller areas under the hot Afghan sun.

If only war were so simple!

To Tired

My sister has just told us about Shouty Boy’s latest adventure.

He woke up this morning and declared that he wouldn’t be going to school because he was to tired. Sad Sister decided to call his bluff. “Ok, then you need to call Mr Headmaster and tell him that you won’t be coming in then.” So she gave him the number for the school so he could call.

Shortlky thereafter he got dressed and went to school.

Later my sister received a call from the school telling her about a message that had been left on the school answer machine proclaiming that Shouty Boy, from year 2, was too tied to attend today.

Well, would you have expected your 6 y/o to leave such a message? Maybe my sister will learn not to try to bluff ger sons in future.

Changes

Not only am I changing jobs but the guy who owns the house I live in Mon-Thurs has decided to sell up. He has worked out that he doesn’t need it anymore as he is spending more time with his girlfriend and her children than being at home. It will also help him with his second business – he is a partner in a building company in Ireland – he’ll be able to use the money to build 3 houses in Ireland and sell them and create more wealth.

He is a very switched on guy and one of the nicest people you’d ever meet. He is one of the few people I’ve known who has never had a bad word to say about anyone else. I’m going to miss living with Con and his friend Mus. I’ll also miss the Tuesday Meal Night.

Tonight we’re going out to a Topless Bar in Tiddington. It should be a good night.

Crying & Screaming

Today I did something that is very rare for me…. I cried. Yes, that’s right T&E is a MAN but does very occasionally have feelings.

So why did I cry?

Well I was driving to work and was listening to Radio 5Live the BBC’s talk radio news & sport station. Around 11 o’clock they played a tape of a call to the London ambulance service. It contained the journalist Leo Hickman talking to the call centre as his wife was lying on their bedroom floor in the middle of giving birth. They had decided on a home birth tbut the midwives were stuck in traffic and the contractions had started.

With their previous child labour had lasted 45 minutes and they were expecting a similar experience this time. Janet Hickman had had an inkling that this time Leo would be handling the delivery himself but not said anything. The midwives had recommended that they summon an ambulance just in case.

We heard him talking calmly to the operator describing what was happening and she was telling him what to do next. The call had been slightly edited, probably to cut out Janet’s swearing. Yet this was a thoroughly moving conversation. Throughout the call you are on tenderhooks as you don’t know the outcome.

The really shocking part was at the end when you hear that the operator was only 20 years old and this was her first month on the job after training, yet she sounded so calm and professional. At the end she just says: “Congratulations” and ends the call.

The funny thing was that Granny is down stairs with the other 2 kids with the TV turned up loud to drown out the sounds of Jabet’s labour. The first either of the kids knows something is happening is when the 2 ambulance crews yurn up and their are men walking up and down the stairs.

Being the person I am I never expect to go through this personally – well obviously I can’t personally as I’m a man. Having listened to this tape I have a very slight inkling of the pleasures and emotions involved at the end result but still have definitely no desire to go through this with FW.

If you want to hear it go to:

www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/victoriaderbyshire/2007/09/emergency_response.html

It also has a link to Leo’s Guardian article as well.

We saw Leo at Greenbelt 2005 when he was talking about his attempt to live for a year as environmentally friendly as possible.

Poor Steve

I know that it is sometimes hard for English people to understand the world of us “Celts”. I put it in inverted commas because there is no such thing. The Scots, Irish and Welsh are not a single amorphous cultural grouping. Its just something that has arisen in the last 200 years.

Santa was a teenager on the opposing side who insisted on wearing a Santa hat. It was his birthday as well and he wanted to stand out. Wearing it just made him standout. When you see that in frot of you it just gives you a recognisible target to shoot at.

Apologies to Rain but if the Easter Bunny had been there, and on the opposing side, then I’d have shot him as well 🙂

Yesterday saw my first sermon at our new chapel. I must say that I was very nervous and still sore from yesterday’s activities. However it went well, though a few parts drew no reaction. Admittedly it was the wrong audience for a Life of Brian quote and a Daz joke.

They must have enjoyed it because I’ve been told that I will be preaching again.

I Shot Santa

Today I’m feeling my age. Age has definitely caught up with me. I have felt it creeping up before but never like this.

This afternoon I have been moving around a wood near Swansea. I have been both shot at and shooting at others. Today we celebrated various birthdays by shooting paintballs at each other. It’s not the first time I’ve done, or the last.

I have the imprints of various paintball hits in my body. Many of them I didn’t even know about until I saw the marks. Several of these only appeared when I immersed myself in the bath. Now I have aches where I shouldn’t have aches, maybe that’s where I got shot.

In the last but one game I, foolishly, volunteered to be a medic. Why? Medics can’t be killed but can heal those who have been. I didn’t think of the downside… you become a target because of the Hi-Vis waistcoat they give. I took more hits in that one game than all the rest. Man! did they hurt or what?

However earlier I had managed to kill Santa by shooting im in the neck and then later hit his knuckles. He was not amused. Neither was the Marshall/Umpire that I shot 8 times because I mistook him for the opposing medic.

So, it’s my fault that no one will get prezzies this year. Am I sorry? No way. I’d shoot him again any day.

Goodbye Friday

The downside of the new job will be the end of Work From Home Fridays. How will I survive without working in front of the TV once a week? Think of the films I’ll miss and the old Frasier episodes. Maybe I should think again, NOT!!!!

I’m looking forward to visiting Swansea tomorrow. I get to wander around woods shooting FW’s friends. Is there anything more invigorating than that? Mind you I still ahve Sunday’s sermon to finish off yet; it’s 50% done mind.

We have Best Man coming around tonight. We haven’t seen him for a few weeks so it’ll be good to catch. It will be tempting to try to watch Ireland v France in the Rugby World Cup tonight. I’ll be rooting for the Irish mind.

News

I received some bad news today. It appears that I’m not required to attend a 3rd interview. No, I have to go to Bridgend next week to discuss the final terms of my new job.

That’s right people I’m almost FREE!!!!

I’m going to be working nearer to home and be able to eat my wife’s cooking every night. Well every cloud has a grey lining I suppose 😉

News From Beyond The Grave (and Bridgend)

It’s good to see that not even death can prevent people reading and responding to my blog. No, not you Rhys, I’m talking about Jim Callaghan.

I hada message today saying that I’m required to attend interview no. 3 for the new job. At present we aren’t sure whether this will take place this Friday or next Friday. The Regional Director is proving, as they predicted, illusive. Hopefully this will be the end of the saga and I can start soon.

Money Woes

Did you know that I used to work in the financial sector? I have sold insurance schemes, insurance policies, dealt with life and general claims and even done futures trading. And I bet you thought that I only knew about transport or religion or sport!!

For the last few days I have been feeling sorry for the people who saved with the Northern Rock Bank. They have been plagued by rumours that the end was nigh and that their hard earned savings were about to disappear. There was no real worry to concern them, the whole thing could have been damped down very quickly.

The problem is that they were being reassured by politicians and company executives. Neither of these can be called trustworthy or reliable. I mean they either lie for a living or are in the company of those who have been the cause of numerous financial problems in the past.

Does anyone remember Enron, Worldcom, endowment policy and pensions misselling? So can we blame people for panicking and queuing for hours to move their savings elsewhere?

No matter what “experts”, government officials or regulators said, the queues would go on growing, the websites would be choked beyond coping point and the post from postal account holders would keep on mounting.

Things are so bad that it has jammed up the transfer system between banks. Northern Rock can only transfer so much electronically in any one day. They may take £35 from you to pay for a transfer but its not guaranteed to go through if the system is inundated with similar requests.

The panic was caused by them having to turn to the Bank of England, our central bank, for a loan facility in case it was needed. Those who do not understand the way the system works, and this includes many “experts” and journalists, therefore took this to mean that they could not meet their commitments and were in danger of imminent financial meltdown.

No matter what anyone said, Pandora’s Box was believed to be open and the world would now enter a period of finacial collapse and the end of covilisation as we know it. Very few commentators actually took the time to explain how the system works in a way that people could understand. Because of that panic set in.

Unfortunately for Northern Rock this has severly damaged its reputation. We could see it disappear from our High Streets in the next few weeks as someone else swallows it up. This will be seen as an act of mercy and not, in reality, the absorbtion of a profitable instituation that was damaged by media reporting and inefficient government and regulatory action.

To give you an example of media reporting. This was Radio5Live’s discussion yesterday:

Caller: The media has to bear a responsibility because of its reporting of the situation

Presenter: No it doesn’t. The media have just reported the facts. We haven’t been at fault for causing this crisis.

Yet it’s the use of words like “crisis” that cause the panic. However, they can’t see that can they?