It’s a small world

Last Friday I visited my sister, who lost her husband on Tuesday 16th October, following an operation for aggressive bladder cancer.

Visiting my sister and going through some personal paperwork it transpired that the surgeon who tried to save her husband was the same man who successfully operated on me almost a year ago.   Clearly I survived my prostate cancer, but sadly Chris was more seriously afflicted and did not.  He was in the High Dependency Unit for some days before finally giving up.

A secondary “small world” connection was discovered   when going through Chris’s address book.  It turns out that an old friend of his in the folk music scene married a chap who was on the same organising committee as I was in a re-enactment society.

We have never been close in a personal sense, but it seems that we were in fact more closely linked than either of us knew.

 

What is Britain coming to?

WARNING.

This post may contain views that are offensive to some readers.

While I have no hostile feelings towards foreigners, having spent over half my working life either negotiating with or supporting the work in an IT system (written in Sweden) of colleagues from probably two dozen nations, deep down I probably subscribe to the sentiments expressed by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann in their “Song of Patriotic Prejudice”:

“The English, the English, the English are best.   I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest.”

But when I see on TV members of the British Border Force encountering suspected illegal workers and gabbling to them their rights at high speed, followed by the question: “Do you understand?” and then the comment from the same officer:  “Probably not.”, then I get very annoyed. 

Surely it is the duty of the arresting officer to ensure that the suspect understands their rights under UK law before making an arrest, even if it involves the additional time and expense of obtaining a translator?

Or have we as a nation slipped so far in our standards that I need to delete Messrs. F & S from my playlist?

Our planet, and how we could lose it.

Global scientists have once again released a report stating that we are destroying the planet.
In fact we are merely rendering it uninhabitable for our species. The planet will simply shrug us off as a temporary parasite.

But, one wonders, what is the point?
On a personal level, nobody to my knowledge has yet come up with an affordable electric car that can reasonably tow a caravan or a horse trailer over any reasonable distance.
Even if they did, what is the comparative climate effect and cost of generating and delivering the electricity, and providing the charging points nationwide?

On a global level, until the USA acknowledges the problem and Russia, China and India, along with a host of smaller  countries, achieve their ambition of catching up with “the West’s” power consumption levels, we are unlikely to make any local effect.

Maybe, having screwed the planet beyond our current abilities, we must either evolve to cope or die out as a species. We won’t be the first to be replaced, even on this planet.

I realise that we are merely the tenants of our environment, and custodians for future generations.  So the best we can hope to do is to limit the impact of the previous 2000 or so generations who had no idea what they were doing.

Anachronisms and organisation

Someone on Channel 5’s “Great British Model Railway Challenge” first episode commented that in the recent film “Dunkirk”, the characters boarded a 1960s train.

Sorry, but that film began to lose me within the first two minutes when our hero walked past an obviously late 20th century building. I think the producers or directors may have been too caught up in the actual location to seek a realistic location.

And today, while clearing up and meticulously filing (yes – I am getting organised) models from my most recent wargame I have “The Cockleshell Heroes” on the TV in the background. A gratuitous and unnecessary* side shot of a German warship clearly bearing a British frigate reference number. Showing the crew wearing German hats a few moments later does not rectify the glaring error.

But while organising my 1:285 and 1:300 scale models I see that I have far too many 1940 Germans representing 1944 types – exactly like most film costume designers.
And I have created Arnhem with British church ruins and Normandy shops. Who am I to criticise?

Incidentally, during a TV advertisement break in the film I was informed that Colgate toothpaste is created by professionals. Well, that’s another worry resolved!

*Gratuitous and unnecessary. Is that tautology? I stand open to correction from fellow pedants.

Arnhem 75th Anniversary.

I am making plans to travel to Arnhem next September for the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden.

My current plan is to camp near Arnhem on a “one man and his dog” basis, from 16th to 23rd September 2019, attending whatever commemorations we can get to and visiting the sites and museums.

But I wonder if any of my blog followers have a similar interest, and would be prepared to share a car and a tent (or even a caravan if finances allow) for a week on a shared cost basis with a curmudgeonly old git and an over-friendly dog.

If interested, please send an e-mail to greywhiskers@me.com with the title Arnhem75, and we can discuss options.

Game of Thrones

While driving around the country yesterday I listened to the first 5 hours of the audiobook “A Song of Ice and Fire”, better known as volume one of “Game of Thrones”.

Today, with a mountain of ironing to process, I watched the beginning of the TV series. I have seen it before, but with the original writing in my head it made much more sense. The production, locations and characters are superb, and as close to the book as one can achieve for an entertaining TV series.

I particularly like the opening sequences (developed as the story progresses) depicting mechanical gearing operation, indicating the background political mechanics, and which is later reflected in the pseudo-mediaeval castle backdrops.

One problem with the audio book is the allocation of British Regional accents to characters, and particularly the lack of consistency. I am not sure that I am in favour of using regional accents to identify characters, even if Westeros has similarities to Britain in its geography. But when a character who speaks with a Lancashire accent for three chapters suddenly becomes Welsh and a scotsman migrates to Yorkshire at the same time I start to question the production values.

Of Agriculture, organisation and old times.

Listening to the Archers recently it appears that Britain’s post-Brexit agricultural economy will be based largely on small scale, local artisan produce.

In my opinion this is no bad thing, but national self-sufficiency wherever possible is still highly important in these days of the increased danger of potential cyber-shutdown of Just-in-Time supply systems.

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I just spent today driving to Wellingborough to collect some generously donated industrial grade shelving from Chris Kemp (blog at http:// notquitemechanised.wordpress.com)

Although I did not have the opportunity to meet Chris, looking around his wargame store room I can testify that he is one of the most organised gamers that I know.  He is also lucky enough to have enough kit that his models don’t need to swap their identities between battles!  I struggle to find enough of the correct models for any given engagement.

On the other hand, Chris seems to be able to concentrate on one campaign at a time, while I flit about like a flittery, fluttery thing.

My workbench…

A23BD0BD-8CB8-4C8F-9419-BDF8378B107AI used to be almost organised before my collection outgrew the walk-in wardrobe in our spare bedroom (see picture below).  Hence the need for shelving for my shed.

61367EF0-2AD1-48E5-BD86-745B95BB02B1

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On the way home I took the opportunity to call in at my old office to meet half a dozen former colleagues and chat about old times.  It seems that the old IT supply and planning system that I used and supported for over 25 years, and due to be phased out in 2014 when I took redudancy and early retirement, is still alive and possibly even kicking.

And from there, the familiar old 70 mile, 2 hour drive home that I used to do every day.

All in all, a tiring but interesting day.