Busy Weekend

Yup, Have a busy weekend in the offing.

With a fine forecast for Saturday we are having a B-B-Q so it will probably be wild, wet and windy. But never mind I can cope. After all who was it who had a B-B-Q on Boxing Day not so long ago. I can cremate food in almost any weather conditions

On Sunday we are having a bit of a family gathering in Sussex. A little bit like an American Supper but this will be more of an American Lunch. Descending on my aunt’s house, which is around the halfway point between our various homes, we will all be bearing food and drink. So I, with my wife, will get to have a grand old chinwag with my sisters, their partners and of course my aunt who has been elected to make the teas and coffees.

She in turn has also threatened to make a mystery “Lemon Bake”. Something that my youngest sister has warned me off.

We shall see !!!

Weazel – RIP

Stepped out of my front door this morning to be confronted with a corpse, that of a Weazel.

Weazel - Victim of local cat ?

The poor little fellow is probably the latest victim of one of my neighbours cats who have been responsible for other deaths over the last few days.  This is no wild accusation as I observed one of them consuming the remains of a Wood Pigeon at the beginning of the week.

On numerous occasions my neighbour has bemoaned their activities as they seem to like to bring her “presents”. These have variously included slow worms, frogs, rats, mice, squirrels and of course birds. All have been delivered in various phases of dismemberment.

Well here is one she won’t have to deal with.

Bring Back The Death Penalty ?

With the imminent release of Philip Lawrence’s murderer after serving just 12 years in prison I question why we do not have the death penalty.

Gun and Knife legislation has not reduced the number of weapons being carried on our streets. It’s a sad fact that legislation only works on those that are already law-abiding citizens.

The criminal fraternity has already chosen to abandon the rules that bind the majority of us. The psychopaths are busy writing their own rules, making it up as they go along. Then there are the folks who perpetrate outrageous acts in a fit of rage. For all of these people legislation has no meaning. Similarly, the threat of a jail term is not high on their list of concerns.

So why should we have to bear the cost of supporting these people ?

They have opted out of society so shouldn’t they also forfeit the rights that are afforded to those of us that do abide by the rules.

In the case of murderers they have taken a life and in some cases many lives.

Their victims don’t get parole. Nor do the relatives of the victims. Their victims don’t get to continue their lives after serving a minimum jail term.

So why should the murderer ?

It is for these reasons that I believe that we should reintroduce the death penalty. I hear the naysayers, the do-gooders and their cries of rehabilitation, human rights and so forth.  Well I’m afraid it doesn’t wash. We have had many years of doing it their way and the situation across the country has gotten worse.

Perhaps the threat of the ultimate retribution might sink into the minds of  those out their who are carrying knives and guns. Maybe it won’t truly sink home until the first execution is completed but then, just maybe, we will get their attention.

And lets not follow the American model. Lets not sentence the villains to death then leave them on death row for years. Death should mean death and it should happen as soon as is practical.

Bring back the death penalty.

More Power To Teachers

Too little too late.

That’s what I say regarding the governments proposal to put power back in the hands of the teachers and school heads.

I have long been disgusted with the state of our schools and their products, the pupils. I say this not as a casual observer but as a concerned parent then grandparent. Over the last 30 years I have observed the steady decline of  standards and felt a steady rise of frustration at my own inability to do anything about it.

It really began to sink home when for a brief time my wife and I had my granddaughter living with us. We tried to take on the responsibility for keeping her on the straight and narrow despite her best efforts and also those of her mother. She was disruptive at school, frequently getting involved in disputes with the teachers. Very rarely did her homework / coursework. Her attitude towards school and the teachers was pretty much dismissive. Something her mother did little to correct. The school did what they could but the rules didn’t allow them to do what they clearly wanted to do, which was eject her from school. At least one teacher there was working very hard to keep her in school and tried to engage her in the curriculum. I offer her up as an example of the type of pupil that the teachers have to deal with. Without the help of the parents they have no support.

My granddaughter has left school now and although she was always pretty street smart what little attention she gave to schooling did little to prepare her for  “real life”. As a consequence she is, I feel, struggling out there.

Since then a second granddaughter has passed through the school system. She was much better academically and pretty much kept her nose clean. But even she, quite proudly, showed me videos and photos that had been taken on her phone during class time. The teachers at her school quite obviously did not have control of their classrooms.

Most  recently granddaughter number three has been the focus of our attention. She has been the target of bullying which the school has failed to deal with. It’s not all their fault. It’s the bureaucracy that ties their hands preventing them from dealing directly with the ones causing the problem. However, the bullying seems to be subsiding and now we are seeing the pendulum swing the other way and she is becoming disruptive in school and  once again the mobile phone is providing the evidence.

Published on the ubiquitous Facebook was a video starring granddaughter number three. The camera person wasn’t even in her class but outside in the corridor. If this was class time why weren’t the little darlings in their own classes. My granddaughter was well aware of their presence as she was playing to the camera. Not satisfied with filming through the wired glass panel in the door they actually opened the door to the classroom. My granddaughter then removes her overall to prance around again for the camera, I assume they were supposed to be doing art or cookery or some such subject. Where was the teacher ?

Excuse my rambling on and back to the subject. It may seem that I’m suggesting that the teachers aren’t doing their job but that is not what I’m trying to show here. What I’m trying to show is that they have there hands full with kids who know that they cannot be touched, who know that their parents will take their side before considering what the staff have to put up with.

The new rules will mean that teachers and heads will be able to search pupils, and confiscate items which have no place in school or the classroom, even without their permission.

Great, the first step must be to ban mobile phones from the school premises. Kids do not need to be in contact with anyone outside of the school grounds during school time. They certainly don’t need to be able to send text messages or publish their “status” on Facebook during school time. All of the these things my granddaughter has been doing. If the kids can’t be trusted to control themselves then the discipline has to be handed down forcibly.

The new rules will mean that teachers and heads will be able to remove disruptive pupils. Great, just one problem though. Have you seen the size of some of the kids that they have to deal with. It happened when I was at school. One of the pupils in the fourth year punched a teacher. That was a rare event for over forty years ago. These days the kids know you can’t touch them and they only have to say its the teacher that was bullying them and we all know where the focus of attention will turn.

Fine the new rules state that any teacher so accused will remain anonymous and rightly so. But where is the support for teachers who are alone in a classroom with disruptive pupils. Do schools have security on site. I have first hand knowledge of a friend’s daughter who was attached by fellow pupils while under the protection of a teacher who had locked the classroom door. The pupils just broke in anyway.

Somewhere along the way we have lost sight of the standards that I and my generation grew up with. We are too politically correct, too bothered about people’s feelings and no longer bothered about what is right. Somewhere along the way we took the authority away from the schools and their staff and some how we gave the power to the pupils.

I think the new rules are something to nurture but I believe it is going to take a long time for the effects to make a real difference.

Pope To Visit UK – Let The Vatican Pay

OK so the Pope is coming to the UK.

Why is it going to cost the British Tax Payer an estimated £12 million ? And apparently that doesn’t include the policing bill.

If he wants to come over to visit let the Vatican and the Catholic church pay. After all they can afford it even if they have to sell an artifact or two.

The papers are full of news about the swingeing cuts that we are having to make so that Britain can become solvent again. Well here is an expense that is not needed by the general populace.

So I say again, Let The Vatican Pay

Since I first posted this there have been many articles in the press and the latest shows that following on from a survey more than three quarters of  Britons believe that the tax payer should not foot the bill for this visit. See article ….. HERE

School Sports – Not In The Real World – Why bother ?

It beggars belief that those schools that still have sports days are rewarding all participants, winners and losers. And this helps our children how ?

Note I used the word “loser” because in the world that I was brought up in if you didn’t win then you lost. OK you may have come second or third or even forty-third. The point is you didn’t win. The only awards were for those that won. The only names that went up on the achievements boards in my school were those of the winners. Yes those that came second and third also received certificates but they didn’t win and they knew it.

Just like in the olympics, the world cup, Wimbledon or any other international sporting event there will only ever be one winner.

Just like all those job applicants for the plum post there will only be one winner.

So I say again, how does rewarding all participants help, how does that prepare our children for the real world ?

By rewarding everyone we dilute the achievements of the true winners, we take away the rush that winners feel, we diminish and devalue their efforts.

But the real crime is that we change the expectations of the other participants. Somehow it makes it appear that it doesn’t matter if you don’t win because you will still get a prize. And if it doesn’t matter why should you try ?

And now the government are trying  to reinvent the wheel.  The following is culled from The Daily Mail

“Ministers are launching a new ‘School Olympics’ programme to end the widespread culture of ‘prizes for all’.

The championships are intended to give every child an experience of hard fought competition and prevent schools from refusing to pit youngsters against each other.”

“The new school sports championships are designed to reverse the decline in competitive sport brought about by Left-wing councils that scorned it as ‘elitist’ and insisted on politically correct activities with no winners or losers.

The first championship will take place in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games. They will involve a wide range of sports including football, rugby, netball, golf, cricket, tennis, athletics, judo, gymnastics, swimming, table tennis and volleyball.

Schools will compete against each other in district leagues from 2011 with winning athletes and teams qualifying for as many as 60 finals.

The most talented will then be selected for national finals.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘We need to revive competitive sport in our schools.

‘Fewer than a third of school pupils take part in regular competitive sport within schools and fewer than one in five take part in regular competition between schools.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1291627/Winning-banned-thirds-schools-teachers-reward-ALL-students.html#ixzz0siYe322v

When I was at school we had all this. Where did it all go ?

I didn’t go to a posh school. No, I went to Claverham County Secondary School just outside Battle.  Its where all the kids from the surrounding villages went to school. It’s now a Community College but back in the day the school had 4 houses and we all wore badges to show which we blonged to. There were charts in the “public” areas as well as each of the classes to show which house was leading the points and the sports tables. There was active competition between the houses in everything that we did from sports through all of the academic elements of school.  Furthermore there were county level and national competitions in which the school was an active participant.

So I say three cheers for the new government initiative.

My Resume

  1. My first job was working in an Orange Juice factory, But I got canned. I couldn’t concentrate.
  2. Then I worked in the woods as a Lumberjack, but just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the axe.
  3. After that, I tried being a Tailor, but wasn’t suited for it — mainly because it was a sew-sew job.
  4. Next, I tried working in a Muffler Factory, but that was too exhausting.
  5. Then,  I tried being a Chef–figured it would add a little spice to my life, but just didn’t have the thyme.
  6. Next, I attempted being a Deli Worker, but any way I sliced it.. I couldn’t cut the mustard.
  7. My best job was a Musician, but eventually found I wasn’t noteworthy.
  8. I studied a long time to become a Doctor, but didn’t have any patience.
  9. Next, was a job in a Shoe Factory. I tried hard but just didn’t fit in.
  10. I became a Professional Fisherman, but discovered I couldn’t live on my net income.
  11. Managed to get a good job working for a Pool Maintenance Company, but the work was just too draining.
  12. So then I got a job in a Workout Center, but they said I wasn’t fit for the job.
  13. After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally got a job as a Historian – until I realized there was no future in it.
  14. My last job was working in Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was the same old grind.
  15. So, I tried Retirement and found …. I’M PERFECT FOR THE JOB!

The Return

Have been back a couple of days now having spent a glorious 2 weeks on the island of Minorca and I have to say the return has been a bit of a shock.

First of all what about the weather ? Seems the UK has had generally better weather than we had. Then there is the 1st day back at work. Normally I power on my laptop and plough through hundreds of e-mails. But not this time.

Yup, I turned on my laptop. Remembered my Power On Password, no problemo. Long pause while the laptop blew the dust of all those important files, that no one knows anything about, then started to Windows crank up and asked for the password. One hour later I am still pondering what it was, having already made multiple wrong choices and berating myself for not writing it down. After all didn’t I have the same problem last year ???

Eventually, I struck gold and I was in. After what seemed like another hour while my laptop fired up the wireless connection, fired up AT&T something or other, informed me that there were numerous important Windows updates waiting (aren’t there always) I was finally able to fire up Bloated Goats. Sorry, Lotus Notes. The e-mail tool of choice for our company.

Anyway, I always cringe when I sign back on after a long break. There is usually a tidal wave of e-mails and some kind of panic underway. But not this time. Yes there were loads of e-mails but not the usual deluge. Biggest surprise has to be that there were no panics !!! Well there was one …. remember I had forgotten my Windows password.

So re-entry was relatively calm. Except now I’m becoming paranoid.

Where are all the e-mails. Have all my colleagues, scattered over the globe forgotten me ?

Where are the usual panics ?

I have my suspicions. They have saved them all up for my return as part of a global conspiracy and will unleash them in one huge tsunami.

Or is there really peace on earth ?

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