All posts by Stephen Dale

Stephen is Director and founder of Collabor8now Ltd, (http://collabor8now.com) an organization focussed on developing collaborative environments (e.g. Communities of Practice) and the integration of knowledge management tools and processes to support business improvement. He is a certified knowledge manager with the Knowledge Management Institute (KMI) and the author of several published research papers on collaborative behaviours, knowledge management and information technology.

Queen Mary 2 – a taste of luxury

Queen Mary 2

Cruise on the QM2, New York To London, 29th October 2015 to 6th November 2015

 

Lynda (wife) and I made a conscious decision early in our cruising career to opt for smaller ships, e.g. less than 1,500 passengers, because we preferred a more personal experience. I guess the foundation for this ‘cruising template’ was established from our very first cruise, on the Royal Clipper, which had a complement of 227 passengers and 106 crew. Almost a 2:1 ratio of passengers to crew. However, I’ve always wanted to sample the luxury of a Cunard “Queen” cruise, even those these were much bigger ships than we would normally seek out for our holidays. As it happened, Cunard were offering a great deal for their “Festival of Jazz” cruise, sailing from New York to Southhampton on 29th October 2015. There was also the bonus that one of Lynda’s favourite singers and songwriters, Gregory Porter, would be performing  during the cruise. So, decision made, we booked this Festival of Jazz cruise on the Queen Mary 2.

It may seem an odd thing to do, but we flew out to New York on the morning of 29th October, arriving JFK in the afternoon for a transfer to Brooklyn Harbour where the QM2 was berthed, setting sail at 6pm for a 6-day east-bound journey across the Atlantic back to the UK. If nothing else, it made an interesting contrast between the speed and convenience of air travel, with its 3-hour airport security check-in process, plastic meals and variable in-flight entertainment, vs. the relaxed atmosphere on the QM2, 5-star dining every day and a choice of three or four live shows every day. If you’re not in any particular hurry to get anywhere (and we weren’t), then this is surely the way to travel.New York At Night

The first thing that struck us about the QM2 – apart from its luxurious decor and massive open spaces, was that surely there can’t be 2,500 passengers on board. Maybe they didn’t get it fully booked. In actual fact, we learnt that the ship was indeed fully booked and there were no empty cabins. This feeling of space, the lack of queues and absence of crowds, is partly due to the size of the ship (until recently the longest ship in the world) but mainly due to the massive variety of places to eat, drink and relax. In our six days on board we never managed to visit every bar, or every restaurant.  Dining ranged from pub grub (in a facsimile of an English country pub) to pizza and fast-food restaurants, to 7-course fine dining. There was also a choice of several theatres for live shows and lectures. There was even a planetarium!

And so we had a leisurely and luxurious 6-day cruise across the Atlantic, on a liner actually designed and built for transatlantic crossing. Admittedly the weather was pretty good all the way across, but the fact that the liner cut through the waves rather than ride over them made for a very calm journey.  Unless you were actually looking out to sea you would hardly know you were moving, and even more remarkable, we were averaging 28.5 knots for the whole journey (most cruise ships will average about 15 knots – but then again, QM2 is a liner, not a cruise ship).

I won’t go into graphic detail about the daily schedule, the food, the entertainment, the formal evenings, the guest speakers, the Maquarade Ball , the casino, watching the glorious sunrises and sunsets, or the many other things that kept us occupied on our journey. I’ll just note the stand-out events:

  • Seeing New York City all lit up on the first evening as we set sail, with great views of Long Island, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
  • My first view of the magnificent One World Trade Center  (previously known as Freedom Tower), with its silver-mirror-like exterior and close-up views of  the fully illuminated Statue of Liberty.
  • The two lectures from guest speaker Dr Robert Thirsk, Canadian astronaut who spent 6 months on the International Space Station, speaking about the effects that space and lack of gravity have on the human body.
  • The two lectures by retired airline pilot Captain Howard Deck (learning how to fly).
  • The planetarium.
  • An evening of fine dining in the Todd English restaurant.
  • Relaxing on the promenade deck just watching the sea.
  • A very brief glimpse of a whale breaching around 2-3 miles off the starboard bow.
  • The evening jazz performance by Blue Note Jazz and Gregory Porter.
  • Lynda chatting to Gregory Porter and getting his autograph.
  • All of the live shows by the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers.
  • Comedian Rondell Sheridon
  • Big Band night
  • The Galley Tour.
  • The classical concert by international pianist Marco Fatichenti.
  • The Halloween party and Masquarade Ball
  • All of the food
  • The Dixieland jazz band led by Bill Gibson

Overall it was a great way to spend 6 days at sea, in fact it was a shame it had to come to an end when we finally docked at Southampton on the 5th January. We’re still still a bit sceptical about going on large cruise ships, but we’d have no hesitation about going on the QM2 again, or for that matter, the Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth, which all have similar standards. So much to do, so little time to do it!

Photos

[FAG id=175206535]

More Photos on Flickr.

St Barts – Caribbean 2015

St Barts Harbour
St Barts Harbour

Our recent visit to the Caribbean took in the tiny island of St Barthélemy – more commonly known at St Barts. This is the smallest of the fours islands that make up the French West Indies. We arrived at the main town – Gustavia – by tender from our cruise ship early on Sunday morning, 8th February 2015.

The number of large and impressive yachts, some with on-board helicopters, which were in the small harbour, reinforced the travel brochure description of this small island as the “playground of the rich and famous”. The main street was lined with designer shops, with everything from Chanel to Versace. Fortunately for my wallet, they were all closed, much to the dismay of Lynda (my wife).

We continued to explore the deserted streets, small empty of people other than our fellow travellers, and noticed a small, whitewashed church overlooking the harbour. Opposite the Church was an English anchor identified as the type used by British warships from 1700 to 1825. Apparently this ten-ton anchor was unwittingly hauled into Gustavia’s waters by a tugboat.

Ten-ton anchor dredged from St Bart's harbour
Ten-ton anchor dredged from St Bart’s harbour

We realised as we got closer that the morning service was due to start. We weren’t exactly dressed for church, with usual tourist uniform of t-shirt and shorts, but as we prepared to walk by, a smartly dressed man who had just pulled up on his quad-bike invited us to join the service, assuring us that it would be in English, and that we would enjoy the music, provided by a trio of piano, guitar and violin.

So, despite some misgivings about our tourist attire, we entered the church and settled into one of the wooden pews. I guess that being conscious about how we were dressed make me more aware of the designer clothes and expensive perfumes that surrounded us. However, we received a few smile and nods from the regulars and gradually relaxed into the environment.

Sunday Family Service St Barts
Sunday Family Service St Barts

We learnt from the order of service that we were in the St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Episcopal Church. The interior was lined with heavy dark-wood pews leading to a white lace-covered alter. Father Charlie, attired in formal robes over his t-shirt and shorts, led the service.

Hand-sewn (cross-stitch) alter cloth - St Barts
Hand-sewn (cross-stitch) alter cloth – St Barts

It was a joyous “happy-clappy” service, with a mainly sung Eucharist led by the small ‘orchestra’ of piano, guitar and violin. The “peace” seemed to go on forever, though was probably around 10 minutes, with everyone moving around the church and chatting like long-lost friends, though I’m sure most were regular celebrants. Various colourful birds flying in and out of the shuttered windows and landing on the cast iron chandeliers, where they stayed a while to observe all that was below, enhanced the relaxed nature of the service. Overall it was a joyous and refreshing experience, and it was quite sad to think we wouldn’t be back for the next Sunday service….or indeed (dependent on time and money) …ever again? Still, it was something I’m sure we will always remember.

St Bart's Church
St Bart’s Anglican Church

More About St Bart’s (from the tourist brochure)

Sprinkled with red-roofed villas and surrounded by beautiful beaches, tiny Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts or Saint Barth) is the smallest (9 square miles) of the four islands of the French West Indies. Caribbean playground of the rich and famous, you discover fashionable boutiques and an international jet-set atmosphere combined with a sense of French chic. Gustavia is the main town and capital of the island of St. Barts and was named for King Gustav III of Sweden.

Overflowing warehouses once surrounded Gustavia’s harbour that was packed with ships from many nations and a mercantile and architectural tradition was established that is still evident today. Streets that were once busy with merchants and adventurers are now lined with restaurants, boutiques and gift shops and the harbour is now full of impressive yachts. Without doubt this is one of the most chic spots in the Caribbean, however probably also the most expensive! Most of the island’s restaurants are in Gustavia, and French cuisine, particularly seafood, is on a par with some of the world’s best. The climate is tropical with only small variations in temperature and short passages of rain clouds with brief showers of 10 to 15 minutes most days.

Thanks to laws forbidding large resort development, St. Barts remains quaint and unspoilt. The tallest buildings are shorter than the highest Palm trees.

History

St. Barts was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus who named it for his brother Bartolomeo. It was settled by the French in 1648 and later sold to Sweden in exchange for trading rights in Gothenburg, who names the main town after King Gustav III.

During the colonial wars of the 18th century, the island prospered as a trade and supply centre for the various warring factions. After a century of Swedish rule, France repurchased the island in 1878 placing it under the administration of Gaudeloupe and it is now an overseas collectivist of France. Most of the Island’s 8,450 inhabitants are descended in   roads in the town – Rue du C Brittany and Normandy. Since the island is river less and rocky and therefore unsuitable for sugar cultivation, black slaves were ever introduced. An old-fashioned style of French is spoken, with sprinklings of English and Swedish.

St Bart's Anglican Church
St Bart’s Anglican Church

The St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Episcopal Church is an important religious building in the town. Built in 1855 with stones brought from St. Eustatius, the Church is located on one of the most elegant roads in the town – Rue du Centenaire. The Church’s interior is lined with heavy dark-wood pews leading to a white lace-covered alter. Opposite the Church is an English anchor identified as the type used by British warships from 1700 to 1825. This ten-ton anchor was unwittingly hauled into Gustavia’s waters by a tugboat.

More photo’s from St Barts

Welcome to St Barts
Welcome to St Barts
Our cruise ship - the "Azores"
Our cruise ship – the “Azores”
One of the yachts in St Barts.
One of the yachts in St Barts harbour
Beautiful yacht - St Bart's
Beautiful yacht – St Bart’s
St Barts keyside
St Barts keyside
St Barts Anglican Church
St Barts Anglican Church

More Photos from our Caribbean Cruise

Even more more photo’s on Flickr

 

Performance Appraisals and References – some ideas on what to write

cartoon

Stuck for what to write on your employee’s personal appraisal form? Short of ideas on what to write on that reference you were asked for? Here’s a few ideas (with apologies if you happen to have been the recipient of one of these comments!).

“Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.”

“I would not allow this employee to breed.”

“This employee is really not much of a has-been, but more of a definite won’t be.”

“Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.”

“When she opens her mouth, it seems it is only to change feet.”

“He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.”

“This young lady has delusions of adequacy.”

“He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.”

“This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.”

“This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better.”

“Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.”

“A gross ignoramus —144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.”

“He doesn’t have ulcers, but he’s a carrier.”

“I would like to go hunting with him sometime.”

“He’s been working with glue too much.”

“He would argue with a signpost.”

“He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room.”

“When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell.”

“If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he’s the other one.”

“A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.”

“A prime candidate for natural de-selection.”

“Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.”

“Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.”

“He’s got two brains, one is lost and the other is out looking for it”

“If he were any more stupid, he’d have to be watered twice a week.”

“If you gave him a penny for his thoughts, you’d get change.”

“If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean.”

“It’s hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm.”

“One neuron short of a synapse.”

“Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.”

“Takes him 2 hours to watch 60 minutes.”

“The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.”

Share if you find these useful, or amusing even!

Misleading Notices

I guess we’ve all seen them – notices that have used some form of strangled English to convey their message. Some funny, some weird, and some that defy logic. Here’s a selection:

In a Bangkok temple:
“IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN, EVEN A FOREIGNER, IF DRESSED AS A
MAN.”

Cocktail lounge, Norway:
“LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.”

At a Budapest zoo:
“PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD,   GIVE  IT TO  THE GUARD ON DUTY.”

Doctors office, Rome:
“SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Hotel, Acapulco:
“THE MANAGER HAS PERSONALLY PASSED ALL THE WATER SERVED HERE.”

Dry cleaners, Bangkok:
“DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.

In a Nairobi restaurant:
“CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.”

On the grounds of a private school:
“NO TRESPASSING WITHOUT PERMISSION.”

On an Athi River highway:
“TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.”

On a poster at Kencom:
“ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO, WE CAN HELP.”

In a City restaurant:
“OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.

One of the Mathare buildings:
“MENTAL HEALTH PREVENTION CENTRE.”

A sign seen on an automatic restroom hand dryer:
“DO NOT ACTIVATE WITH WET HANDS.”

In a Pumwani maternity ward:
“NO CHILDREN ALLOWED.”

In a cemetery:
“PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.”

Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations:
“GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVI OURS IN BED.”

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
“OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.”

In a Tokyo bar:
“SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS.”

Hotel brochure, Italy:
“THIS HOTEL IS RENOWNED FOR ITS PEACE AND SOLITUDE. IN FACT, CROWDS FROM ALL  OVER THE WORLD FLOCK HERE TO ENJOY ITS SOLITUDE.”

Hotel lobby, Bucharest:
“THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET  THAT  YOU WILL BE UNBEARABLE.”

Hotel elevator, Paris:
“PLEASE LEAVE YOUR VALUES AT THE FRONT DESK.”

Hotel, Yugoslavia:
“THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID.”

Hotel, Japan:
“YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.”

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
“YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN  AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.”

Taken from a menu, Poland:
“SALAD A FIRM’S OWN MAKE; LIMPID RED BEET SOUP WITH CHEESY DUMPLINGS IN THE FORM OF A FINGER; ROASTED DUCK LET LOOSE; BEEF RASHERS BEATEN IN THE  COUNTRY PEOPLE’S FASHION.”

Supermarket, Hong Kong:
“FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, WE RECOMMEND COURTEOUS, EFFICIENT SELF-SERVICE.”

From the “Soviet Weekly”:
“THERE WILL BE A MOSCOW EXHIBITION OF ARTS BY 15,000 SOVIET REPUBLIC PAINTERS AND  SCULPTORS. THESE WERE EXECUTED OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS.”

In an East African newspaper:
“A NEW SWIMMING POOL IS RAPIDLY TAKING SHAPE SINCE THE CONTRACTORS HAVE  THROWN IN THE BULK OF THEIR WORKERS.”

Hotel, Vienna:
“IN CASE OF FIRE , DO YOUR UTMOST TO ALARM THE HOTEL PORTER.”

A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
“IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT  UNLESS  THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.”

Hotel, Zurich:
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE  BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE.”

An advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
“TEETH EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS.”

Tourist agency, Czechoslovakia:
“TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS. WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES.”

Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:
“WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?”

In the window on a Swedish furrier:
“FUR COATS MADE FO R LADIES FROM THEIR OWN SKIN.”

The box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
“GUARANTEED TO WORK THROUGHOUT ITS USEFUL LIFE.”

In a Swiss mountain inn:
“SPECIAL TODAY – NO ICE-CREAM.”

Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:
“WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.”

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
“IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO THE RUSSIA, YOU ARE WELCOME TO IT.”

A laundry in Rome:
“LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.”

A Teacher’s Nightmare

This is  true story!

A class of primary children started a class project to make a plant pot to take home. The teacher wanted to have a plant in it that was easy to take care of, so it was decided to use cactus plants.

The children were given greenware pottery in the style of a clown plant pot. They painted them with glaze and had them professionally fired at a class outing so they could see the process. It was great fun. They planted the cactus seeds in the finished planters and they grew nicely. Unfortunately, however, they were not allowed to take them home. The cactus plants were removed, replaced with a small ivy, and the children were then allowed to take them home. The teacher said cactus seemed like a good idea at the time…

 

Cactus Clowns

 

Caribbean Cruise Jan-Feb 2015

Azores Cruise Ship

Yes, we’re off on our travels again, mainly in the hope of missing the worst of the UK winter, but I know that’s not guaranteed, given we’ve had snow as late as April these past couple of years. This time it’s the Caribbean, and though we’ve been there a few times before, it never loses its appeal, and at this time of the year we should be safe from hurricanes!

We’re cruising on the Azores, a new addition to the Cruise & Maritime fleet. The Azores replaces the Discovery, and meets our preference for smaller ships that offer a more personal cruising experience, with a capacity of 550 passengers.

It seems the Azores has had a bit of a chequered history. According to Wikipedia, in 1956 she (at the time she was named the “Stockholm”) was involved in a collision with the SS Andrea Doria off the coast of Nantucket. Although most passengers and crew survived the collision, the larger Andrea Doria luxury liner capsized and sank the following morning. A number of ships responded and provided assistance, which averted a massive loss of life.

Then on 3 December 2008, the Azores (at that time named the Athena) was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. There were reported to be 29 pirate boats surrounding the ship at one stage until a US Navy maritime patrol aircraft circled above which led some of the pirates to flee. The crew prevented the pirates from boarding by firing high pressure water cannons at them. No one was injured and the ship escaped without damage and continued on her voyage to Australia.

I trust our cruise will be a lot less dramatic ….or traumatic!

The map and schedule has (once again) been created using the new Google Maps features.  Use your mouse to zoom in or out, click on the location tabs to see the schedule.

 

Far East Cruise Nov-Dec 2014

So, we’re off on our travels again, this time a mix of cruise and fly. This is also a first for us in that we have temporarily abandoned the Cruise & Maritime small cruise ships (720 passengers or less) and have booked on the Sapphire Princess, part of the Princess Cruise line, with a complement of 2,670 passengers and 1,100 crew.

The itinerary is as follows:

  • 16th Nov 14 – Depart London Heathrow for Abu Dhabi (Flight EY12)
  • 16 Nov 14 – Depart Abu Dhabi for Hong Kong (Flight EY4122)
  • 17 Nov 14 – Cosmo Hotel, Hong Kong
  • 18 Nov 14 – Leisure day in Hong Kong
  • 19 Nov 2014 – Embark Sapphire Princess
  • 20 Nov 14 – At sea
  • 21 Nov 14 – At sea
  • 22 Nov 14 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • 23 Nov 14 – At Sea
  • 24 Nob 14 – Bangkok
  • 25 Nov 14 – At Sea
  • 26 Nov 14 – At Sea
  • 27 Nov 14 – Singapore. Disembark Sapphire Princess. Hotel Lavender for 1 night.
  • 28 Nov 14 – Singapore to Phuket (Flight 3K535). Accommodation at Best Western Ocean Resort Karon Beach
  • 29 Nov 14 – Phuket (Best Western Ocean Resort)
  • 30 Nov 14 – Phuket (Best Western Ocean Resort)
  • 01 Dec 14 – Phuket (Best Western Ocean Resort)
  • 02 Dec 14 – Phuket to Abu Dhabi (Flight EY431)
  • 03 Dec 14 – Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow (Flight EY11)

So 4th December it’s holiday over and back to the UK winter. I just hope it’s not going to be too much of a shock to the system after the humid heat of the Far East.

The map. Produced using the awesome new Google Maps facility. Move and zoom in/out using your mouse.

Here are the photos:

The Ship: A Eulogy

Tall ShipMy mother-in-law (Jean Mary Ramadhar) sadly passed away on August 15th 2104. It wasn’t entirely unexpected since her health had been gradually deteriorating as a result of a fall two years ago, where she broke her hip. This seemed to exacerbate long-running degenerative problems with her heart, and her final weeks were spent in and out of hospital and long periods where my wife would go and look after her. I had a great relationship with my mother-in-law and miss her terribly, as of course does my wife and two children, Matthew and Rebecca – Jean’s grandchildren. Mum (Jean) was one of the most generous people I’ve known, and despite her diminishing quality of life,  she was always laughing and joking and was the very soul of any gathering of friends and family. Her stoicism in the face of what must have been almost continual pain and the disruption of routine caused by the many hospital visits is something I’ll always remember (especially at the onset of the next bout of man-flu!)

I read the Eulogy at the funeral (stumbling over my words once when the emotions got to me), and asked my son if he would choose something to read at the crematorium. He chose the following, which I believe is attributed to Bishop Brent. I thought it was perfect for the occasion, not least because the words are fairly secular, which was something we had to bear in mind given the mix of religions (or non-religions) represented at the funeral. Whether you’re a Christian or not (I am), and whether or not you believe there is something or some place after death, I think the words impart a sense of hope that when life is ended, something else is just beginning. Since none of us are sure exactly what this will be, let’s just call it “hope”.

The Ship

I am standing upon that foreshore, a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “there! she’s gone!

Gone where?

Gone from my sight, that’s all“, she is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my side; just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “there! she’s gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout….

here she comes!

Letter to Mr Cameron

I received the following via one of those viral/chain emails, that encourage you to forward to several people at the risk of having the Wrath of Kane (or some other curse) upon you if you break the chain. I’m not one for propagating viral emails, so I guess I’m due to reap the consequences! However, I did find the content quite amusing, and being over 50 myself, I thoroughly endorse this manifesto and will do my best to get it in front of David’s policy makers ahead of next year’s elections.  I encourage you to do the same…especially if you fall into the relevant demographic!

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Please find below our suggestion for fixing the UK ‘s economy. Instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them £1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Ten million job openings – unemployment fixed

2) They MUST buy a new British car. Ten million cars ordered – Car Industry fixed

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing  Crisis fixed

4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university – Crime rate fixed

5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week …..

And there’s your money back in duty/tax etc.

It can’t get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances I

Also….

Let’s put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home. This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks. They’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc. and they’d receive money instead of paying it out. They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance. Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them. A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell. They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose. They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education. Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ’s and legal aid would be free, on request. Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens. Each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls. There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.

The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay £600.00 per week and have no hope of ever getting out.

Think about this (more points of contention):

COWS

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Appleby almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the  county of Cumbria? And, they even tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering around our country.

Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

(From a viral email – original author(s) not known).

 

Could we live without polices, rules and regulations?

We live in an increasingly complex world, where our every thought and decision is in some way bounded by protocols, policies, rules and regulations. After all, these have been developed by knowledgable committees and elected representatives, who have the benefit of experience and precedent, lessons learnt and best practice applied, to ensure that the rest of us can live harmonious and fulfilling lives in an almost utopian society. Who needs common sense when we can rely on policies and regulations to guide us?

If only these polices had predated the key moments in our history, such as the Battle Of Trafalgar…..

Nelson falls

Nelson: “Order the signal, Hardy.”

Hardy: “Aye, aye sir.”

Nelson: “Hold on, this isn’t what I dictated to Flags. What’s the meaning of this?”

Hardy: “Sorry sir?”

Nelson (reading aloud): “ England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. ‘What gobbledygook is this for God’s sake?”

Hardy: “Admiralty policy, I’m afraid, sir. We’re an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil’s own job getting ‘ England ’ past the censors, lest it be considered racist.”

Nelson: “Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco.”

Hardy: “Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments.”

Nelson: “In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle.”

Hardy: “The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It’s part of the Government’s policy on binge drinking.”

Nelson: “Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we’d better get on with it, full speed ahead.”

Hardy: “I think you’ll find that there’s a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water. It’s an environment protection initiative.”

Nelson: “Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow’s nest, please.”

Hardy: “That won’t be possible, sir.”

Nelson: “What?”

Hardy: “Health and Safety have closed the crow’s nest, Sir. No harness; and they said that rope ladders don’t meet regulations. They won’t let anyone up there until proper scaffolding can be erected.”

Nelson: “Then get me the ship’s carpenter without delay, Hardy.”

Hardy: “He’s busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral.”

Nelson: “Wheelchair access? I’ve never heard anything so absurd.”

Hardy: “Anti-discrimination requirements, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled…”

Nelson: “Differently abled? I’ve only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn’t rise to the rank of Admiral by playing the disability card.”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.”

Nelson: “Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.”

Hardy: “A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won’t let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don’t want anyone breathing in too much salt; haven’t you seen the adverts?”

Nelson: “I’ve never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy.”

Hardy: “The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.”

Nelson: “What? This is mutiny!”

Hardy: “It’s not that, sir. It’s just that they’re afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There are a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.”

Nelson: “Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, we’re not.”

Nelson: “We’re not?”

Hardy: “No, sir The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn’t even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation.”

Nelson: “But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil”

Hardy: “I wouldn’t let the ship’s diversity coordinator hear you saying that sir. You’ll be up on disciplinary report.”

Nelson: “You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King.”

Hardy: “Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it’s the rules. It could save your life.”

Nelson: “Don’t tell me – health and safety again! Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?”

Hardy: “As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there’s a ban on corporal punishment.”

Nelson: “What about sodomy?”

Hardy: “I believe that is now legal, sir.”

Nelson: “In that case. kiss me, Hardy.”

(I will happily give accreditation for the above if anyone can advise me who the original author was).