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Sunday, 13 January 2008

Quarterly Report - Second Attempt

This, as the title indicates , is my second attempt to write this post. My first attempt rapidly descended into a trough of negativity sparked by my attempts to describe the political and social climate in England as experienced or viewed by us, after a year here. The sentence alone "after a year here" is significant because it was exactly a year ago, yesterday, that we re-arrived in England. I will re-try to describe the political and social atmosphere, as we experience it, in the following paragraph.


England is not a happy place. It is not a country where emphasis is placed on quality of life for the mass of it's populace, and it is not a place where culture, sports (despite the prevalence of sporting franchises) or arts for the people is either valued or supported by it's Government. The main function of the British Government is managing money : "Of course", you may say, "the economy is the most important thing for any modern government. It is what Government is for." This is true, to an extent, but most other Governments also concern themselves, to differing degrees, with additional matters : the French are protective of their language and culture, the Scandinavians are environmentally active, the Germans, Aussies and Canadians do invest in sports and the Italians spend fortunes on architecture, ancient and modern. Not so with the British Government. Every way I look at the British Government, I am left with the impression that it does not care what happens in this country as long as the money supply is protected, as long as inflation is controlled and as long as the City (Stock Market) is happy and active. Successive British Governments just do not consider the well-being of the society they rule as important - as Margaret Thatcher once famously said "There is no such thing as society".

See, I tried again, with no success, just negativity. This is probably because that reflects my own true feelings about England, and why when you discuss England with either new immigrants or its established denizens, the most common sentiment is "Well I know loads of great people, but this country sucks". I'll leave my inept political commentary there, and just say I agree with that sentiment.

Elsewhere, this is the most recent news round-up:

Toshack and Calli recently went the vets and had some injections and a full health check. The vet commented that Tosh, at nearly eight kilos was the biggest cat she had seen for some time, but not overweight, just naturally big. I mentioned that he's recently come back from some nocturnal adventures showing signs of having been involved in fights and she said she felt sorry for the other cat(s). I'm ashamed to say that my first reaction was to be proud of him for being a tough cookie : "Thats ma' boy!", but immediately I felt bad because I imagined him beating up some other poor little kitty and hurting it. Once he came back with some minor scratches of his own, but with great big clumps of dark fur between his claws - whatever he'd been fighting had definitely been on the receiving end of a beating. Thankfully, the trend has subsided recently - presumably whatever turf war he was involved in has been resolved. In truth, there's nothing we can do about this anyway.

House Purchase:
A total mess at the moment. The sellers are in Florida and have washed their hands of the sale. referring us to their property manager, an odious individual call Mr Gold who neither answers phone calls or e-mails. We think we still have an accepted offer lodged with the seller, but because Gold will not return calls we do not know what the situation is. The tenants are still resident, and for all we know, Gold could have agreed a sale with other people behind our back. Or decided not to sell to us. We may decide to withdraw from the sale, which would loose us a substantial sum of money that we've already had to pay out, but if the current situation continues, we will have no choice.

We both have the same jobs we had last week. We are continually stressed. I get loads of recognition for my work, but no pay rises. Nel's job is the more pressurized because it is much more of a solo enterprise, but mine is more frustrating because of the people I have to work with. Both jobs are very rewarding. These contradictions are intended - in reality we are both doing work that "engages" us, and if we are frustrated/pressured/stressed a lot of the time it is because we are both lucky enough to care about what we do, but we are both effectively newbies and make newbie mistakes : "Oh, you meant do'nt press the red switch labelled 'Launch thermo-nuclear devices'. Sorry, I'll remember for next time." In reality, work is shaping up nicely for both of us to have a rewarding last 20 years of working life.

Later this week, I'll tell you about re-meeting Karl, our friend from Leicester. Suffice to say for now that we've just seen Karl off after an amazing weekend. "Happy Re-union" is an appropriate phrase.


We plan to get out and about more in the forthcoming year. We have fossilized a bit this year, and apart from meeting an Englishman in Hull, have had no social life at all. That, plus some expeditions I have planned, is something that has to change.

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