Thursday, 22 January 2009

Thursday 22/01/09

Now that everyone is getting out of sterling and the Old Sodbury groat is undergoing inflation of Zimbabwean magnitude (it’s now 6 trillion Old Sodbury groats to one Malmesbury zloty), we’ve decided to introduce a barter system of exchange within the family kampong – we’re now paying Caravan for his eggs with chicken & ham pies. Clive, one of our engineers at work, hails from the Brum area and regularly goes back there to see his family, bringing back with him boxes of the most delicious award-winning chicken & ham and pork pies I’ve ever tasted from a local butcher’s chain. Virtually everyone at work puts in an order for them. Yesterday I brought back 2 chicken and ham pies and a pork pie. Given Hay still owed Caravan for last week’s eggs she decided to offer him a chicken & ham pie in recompense. We’ve have yet to determine the exact exchange rate, but yesterday’s spot market produced one pie for a half dozen eggs, which I think is a bit steep, although a few potatoes were thrown in. The problem is that since the run on sterling, everyone is short-selling potatoes and converting them to pumpkins gilts at the Interbank rate.

Glad to see that the atheist bus campaign has been passed by the Advertising Standards Agency. The next step is to push the boundaries even further with a satanic bus campaign.

Well, Obama has had his first full day as President. Now that the race barrier has fallen I wonder how long it will be before the US is ready to vote for its first atheist President. I guess that will be a long time coming, although Jefferson and Washington were deists (rather than theists), meaning they believed in a ‘Supreme Architect’ but eschewed prophesy, miracles, revelation, the divinity of Jesus and scripture. Deists believed God existed, but not that he interfered in human matters or arbitrarily suspended the laws of physics in answer to prayer. Deism began with the Age of Reason (i.e. doubt) and was the first step on the road to pandeism, agnosticism and atheism. Deism declined mainly due to increased doubt about the first cause argument and the argument from design, for which we can mainly thank Hume and Darwin.

Thank God (in a manner of speaking) that the planned House of Commons vote on preventing the public disclosure of MP’s expenses has been dropped after opposition parties refused to back the government.

The jobless total now stands at a midge’s nudger under 2 million. My heart goes out to those who have been made redundant. I’ve been there twice and I can attest to the fact that it can destroy your confidence and ruin your relationships. Depression sets in and you wonder whether you’ll ever get a job again – and when you do the chances are that you’ll be earning much less than you were previously, especially if you’re fast approaching (or over) 50. My advice is to switch your mortgage to interest-only and get any job you can. Running up a small debt because you can’t pay all your bills is better than running up a massive one because you’re too proud to take on work at less than your market worth. It’s called minimising your losses. I confidently predict the NHS being swamped by people suffering anxiety and depression.

Heard about the new NHS Charter? It sets out the standard of treatment you can expect, as well as your responsibilities as a patient. Basically, unless you’re fit as a fiddle in the first place (in which case you shouldn’t need a doctor) you may just as well bugger off as they won’t treat you.

I currently look like an enraged bull. A blood vessel in the white of my left eye exploded on Tuesday evening leaving me with one almost totally red eye. Haven’t a clue what caused it and it’s just as well I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. It could feasibly be something to do with my blood pressure, although Hay measured it on Tuesday evening and it was registering 140/90, which while admittedly high is not abnormally high for me. You will note I have changed the image at the top of the blog accordingly. These things apparently disappear in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime the white of the eye changes from red to brown to yellow to cream before finally turning back white.

Another observation about the house that was highlighted in Tuesday’s Grand Designs TV programme: the couple who owned the house had decided to build it ‘organically’. By that I mean they didn’t have a set plan and simply dreamt up ideas as they went along. When Hay and I heard this we both looked at each other and shook our heads in disbelief as this is a sure recipe for disaster if you’re trying to stick to a budget. As it transpired, the resulting design worked extremely well, but as expected the build cost went through the roof. Excluding the land, it started at £150k and climbed to over £200k. If you don’t have good idea of a plan then you can’t estimate the cost, so the original estimate carried less weight than a feather cup.

Hay called Alex (our architect) and told him about the programme and how the owners hired the hippy wife of the architect to meditate on the design. He said he was willing to send his wife round to meditate in our field if we want, but he’d have to charge us.

Another mistake with the house was that all the plumbing and electrics were installed at the second fix rather than as part of the first fix. That meant that much of the plumbing had to be bodged by trying to shoe-horn it into the available space.

1 comment:

  1. Bill, I think we have the Satanic Blogger now, with that picture of you with the red-eye!

    My writing on Hope yesterday was more about the capacity to hope, rather than Faith - which I do not indulge in...

    It would appear that the new Pres focused much on Change in his earlier rhetoric, and then refocused on Hope later - Perhaps trying to manage the hopeful expectations of his electorate - It remains to be seen, eh?

    p.s. I think Caravan owes you another half-doz for the pie (depends on how many potatoes were added in really!).