Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Eyes Have It

Something weird is happening to my eyesight – it actually seems to be improving with age. I’ve taken to wearing my new varifocals on the end of my nose for distance viewing as a result, as I can invariably see better without them. Must be a blood pressure thing.

Volvo is to be sold to the Chinese. I guess they’ll all start chucking out shed-loads of black fumes now, come with acres of shiny red plastic for seat material and smell vaguely of 5 spice or MSG. Must get one of those tiny red and gold lanterns to hang from my rear-view mirror.

Our 1,200 vehicle works car park (mainly for AirBus and not the dozen or so assorted scallywags that work at my office) has been closed for several days due to the fact that the build-up of ice on the steeply sloping entrance has rendered the approach a ski slope and you simply can’t get up it. I therefore parked my car in a nearby residential side road having only a slight slope. On approaching the car on Tuesday evening I noticed a thick layer of snow on the windscreen, which was strange as it hadn’t snowed all day. It transpired that a large section of the snow on the roof had slid glacier-like down from the roof and deposited itself on the windscreen during the day.

On the way home I had to brake at a set of traffic lights. Suddenly the remaining snow on the roof phaloomphed off the roof onto the windscreen, completely blocking my vision in the process. Had this occurred with a car in front of me I would definitely have had a disastrous collision of immense and dire proportions. Let this be a lesson to all that you should remove all snow from your car roof, as the migration of heat from the interior will loosen it, making it extremely unstable and a danger not only to you, but also to passing polar bears.

Why are we in England so spectacularly bad at coping with a few inches of snow? Because the cost of 100% preparedness is prohibitive, that’s why. We are affected maybe one winter in three, and then only for a couple of weeks - max. It’s a simple cost versus benefit calculation.

Seems there are benefits to being an old curmudgeon.

In August 2009, David Milliband (the current Foreign Secretary) was a guest on BBC Radio 4's Great Lives programme, choosing South African politician Joe Slovo. Milliband stated during the programme, in a response to a question about terrorism, that, "Yes there are circumstances in which it is justifiable and yes there are circumstances in which it is effective, but it is never effective on its own." These comments attracted considerable censure from senior political figures. I’ll tell you what though, he’s right about it being justifiable in certain circumstances. If not, then the French Resistance and all the other WWII resistance movements were wrong. I guess it’s right if you’re one of the resistance, but wrong if you’re not. A very subjective judgement.

I was listening on the radio to the mother of a soldier who had been killed in Iraq. She was complaining that Milliband had not apologised to her personally for the death of her son. Well, Milliband didn’t kill her son – some Iraqi did. Yes, Milliband may have sent him to Iraq, but her son signed up knowing the risks. In no way can Milliband be held responsible. She said that the war was not worth the death of her son, but then the Falklands war was equally futile and it could be argued that WWII and WWI were not really our affairs either. No war is really justified and is merely, as Clausewitz stated, the continuation of politics by other means. Some people are unfortunate enough to get caught up in the front line, but no-one is forcing them (currently). Mothers and fathers, however, understandably need someone to blame and rage against so as to make sense of the loss. The media knows this and cynically manipulates them.

A sad note on which to end on Christmas Eve.

A parting bit of wisdom: what other people think of you is none of your business.


  1. Wish I could say the same! My eyesight is steadily growning worse! AND I have those stupid varifocals too.

    And the trouble is I feel it IS my business.

    Have a good one xxx

  2. Yeah... it is my business.
    Merry Christmas Mr Chairman!

  3. I was going to send you best wishes for the Christmas season, but due to my deteriorating eyesight and the fact that my memory is off-line at the moment so that I cannot remember where my glasses are, it's going to be difficult!

    Never mind, compliments of the season to you and Hay and I hope that you manage to get some time with the off-springs too.

  4. Jenny & Scarlet: Then you'll only worry over something that won't change, which is futile.