Things I disaprove of

Excesses in sport
I know that there will be some who will say that that old idiot is delving into his past, and ranting as usual. This is true, this is true, because I feel that in a lot of cases the aggrandisement of the school or the individual sets precedents over the general good. A young friend of mine was telling me about the conditions at the school her son goes to, where ability in sport is seen to be more advantageous for the individual, than an overall full education. She was describing how her children, while good at sport, and enjoying sport while not training to the excesses which other children were, who were the in the top echelon of sportsmen and sportswomen. She said this was more the case with respect to rugby, than it was to any other type of sport. She pointed out that the time when the school was in serious competition with other schools, the gymnasia, and other sports facilities were taken over by the rugby team, to the detriment of the rest of the school. She further went on to say that the boys who were playing rugby at high-level, were being given high levels of muscle training to enable them to achieve their goal, and she felt that this at that age is both psychologically and physically detrimental to the child’s future. She said they were like grown men rather than schoolboys. In my day, 1920s and 30s, we were hardly trained at all, told a few basics, and then left to get on with the game. As I played rugby at an average level, I was still playing it fairly robustly, with the inevitable bumps and bruises, and my physical modification if any, resulted from the daily period in the gymnasium, with a good shower afterwards, rather than the rugby. Obviously we wanted our school to,win when they played in competition, but I don’t remember us getting into the level of hysteria that seems to follow top sport, even at school level,

Recently I have been watching rugby on television and come to the conclusion that it is no longer a sport, but a business, and sportsmanship as we knew it is sacrificed to winning, and at all costs, I can go back to the end of the war when sport started to emerge once again, as a spectator event, rather than merely for pleasure. But the levels that people attained, or even sought, were well below what people are achieving today, because today the rewards are incredible. Then, footballers were not paid in thousands of pounds a year, or indeed millions, they got a small stipend every week, if they turned up. My father-in-law played for a local team in one of the lower leagues, and the majority of the players were amateurs at a high level.

In so many things we have become Americanised, and the attraction of the almighty dollar I believe is seeping into our country, through the back door which really is just Skye television. Having watched television quite considerably since I was injured, I find their outlook to be rumbustious, extraordinarily crass, noisy and extrovert. If their serious films are to be taken seriously as an indication of their desires and outlook, with copious killings in the first two minuets and every person depicted in the picture, and even the women, capable of throwing a 16 stone man over their shoulder with their knowledge of Kung Fu, I question whether it is only I who wishes to have a reasonable amount of honesty and consistency in a story, rather than some childish make-believe?

I have discovered recently that I am not alone in my criticism, but also many other ordinary people are beginning to question not only their politics, pricing, honestly as a whole, and where all this is leading us in the future, when we will not be picking up the bill, but those who are still at school, unfortunately, will be, in my youth we were able to leave the front door open without any fear. Criminality was at a very low ebb, and rarely within reach of the average citizen. With no television the only advertisements we had were in newspapers, and they were of a very muted type. Today on television people are making extraordinary promises, false statements to the individual, and what I consider to be criminal proposals, , all in the name of commercial expediency. It is not an accident that the television volume goes up to incredible levels every time the advertisements start. It is all to do with our equivalent of the almighty dollar.

Beware of the chasam

There comes a time for all of us, when we will lose someone very dear to us, either through death or separation. It is this condition, which prompts me to mull over the problems that the young people of today are going to be faced with, as a result the current financial problems, and the incredible changes that have been made in society over the recent decade. These young people are having exactly the same problems that we had during WW 2, a lack of finance, a society under serious pressure, and a problematical future.I first met Sophie, my wife, on my 21nd birthday. We would probably not have married as soon as we did, if there had not been the possibility that I would be sent abroad for at least two years, and now, about 68 years later we are separated, because through illness, she is in a care home and I live alone. I’m not complaining, I merely applying my condition to those of the young people who are either married or living together at this time. With separation, one loses friendship, social, tactile, sensory, intellectual relationships, and companionship, which leaves you alone for much of the day and indeed much of the week, and having to rely on your own resources. Living together either married or otherwise, is a condition that requires work from time to time, understanding, and what is more the ability to admit when you’re wrong. The pressures of living, especially in the environment that we have today can produce a situation that can seriously undermine a relationship, if those involved are not prepared to stand back, think carefully, and then come to a fair conclusion.
The period prior to marriage, is a time of pleasure, mutual outings, and a certain amount of euphoria In effect, marriage, to some extent,is a leap in the dark, which time and mutual understanding will help to iron out the bumps. Family and financial problems are often the cause of misunderstandings that can magnify with time, and disrupt a relationship. The fact of being married presents an obstacle to separation, which allows time and probably advice, to bring a more stable viewpoint on the problems. Living together, has not the same beginning, with the wedding, the honeymoon and the fact that there is a legal tie as well, but this fact may not be sufficient to make any difference.With my outlook and history, I appreciate that the younger people have not the same viewpoints as I have, which could well be slightly Victorian, and therefore make what I say redundant.

Real friendship is precious

When you get to my age, you start losing relatives and close friends through illness. Recently, the last of my friends who date back to the 40s, died, and this made me ruminate on what I was missing and indeed, what I have missed over the years. This in turn made me evaluate the sort of friendships that the young people will have today, when you consider all the various influences that they have on their lives.
What happened to my parents, with respect to friends, happened to me, because we were all caught up in wars, that meant you lost touch with the friends that you had made in your school-days. Sophie my wife, had no such impediment, and all her friends that she had had since early childhood, her school days and her university days then became my friends when I married her, and this included husbands where they existed The level of trust and friendship that we had with these people , the help they gave when we were in trouble, and the constant pleasure of their company on holidays, outings, parties, celebrations and year round, was something one cannot buy. To have this level of friendship requires certain conditions. You have to live within easy access, you need to not only enjoy but look for their company, have implicit trust in them under all circumstances, and this ultimately makes them part of your family, although this is never acknowledged
I know of several cases where parents have retired, and gone to live near their children in another part of the country, because there were also the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but in these cases few have been all that successful, firstly because they have now lost friendships that they have had for at least 40 years, and in some cases the children themselves have later moved away, because of changes in their workplace.
There is a some difference between a friendship which is is as a result of mixing on a daily basis, or living next door, compared with those friendships that have come about primarily from school.days. What I say here, does not in any way denigrate those friendships come about by circumstance, or indeed as neighbours or workmates, on the contrary, these too can be long and strong as I have found, but friendship, I believe, has to be maintained, not taken for granted, and is definitely a two-way street. It should be remembered that when you get older friendship becomes even more important, the children have gone, to some extent you are thrown on your own ability to entertain yourself, but this is also a time when old friends help one another.
The young people of today are more prone to go away from home to find work, with the result that the friendships that they made at school while still there, are only serviced when the opportunity and the time allows, in my experience with my grandchildren, these friendships are strong, but when they meet I believe it is a little frenetic, not as relaxed as if they had never left, and while not false, the participants are aware of the clock. Another aspect of this fractured existence, is that the children and grandchildren are not part of that friendship, which they were in my generation, and so I suspect the level of friendship experienced by any one family is more than likely to be very small compared with what we were lucky enough to have.

Predictable stupidity

Predictable stupidity
For some time now, I have been stating in the blog that I could not understand how the government was permitting the legal faction to advertise on television that people could claim if they had an accident. I even cited a case in Belfast, where a flight of steps, which were constructed out of paving slabs, and was part of a parking area, was continually vandalised so that individuals could first damage the steps, then appeared to fall on them, and claim from the local council

It is now coming to the surface that this possibility of obtaining compensation from accident, by taking legal action, is not only spurious, it is being used by criminals to obtain money, in some cases by actually manufacturing a car accident involving two cars. To anybody with any sense this was predictable, and should have been cut off at the very beginning. I was always under the impression that if you had any dealings with a solicitor, you had to pay the solicitor, or even the barrister. These advertisements claim that the recipient will receive the full amount of the compensation without any deduction. I find this totally iniquitous, because those advertisements are not put up without there being some advantage for the professional legal factions obtaining profit. What I don’t understand is where the profit is coming from.

All along I was of the opinion that it was not necessary to bail out the banks, it would have been cheaper and easier in the long term, to allow the individual to transfer his savings from the banks to a central government- instituted bank. The government would then have more finance on which to draw on a short-term basis. I believe if that had been done, and strict measures taken with both the banks and stock exchange, way back when it was obvious that people were gambling, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

For a family to be able to manage their financial affairs, they need to know in long-term, any changes in taxes, the rates, and other large items of their budget, otherwise the whole thing is chaotic. We are now finding that the government is continuously changing the way things are operated, in the case of the changes in electoral boundaries, and at a time financial upheaval, seem to me to be a selfish act which was not done for the sake of the populace, but for some other reason

It would be most interesting if, on the Internet, there was a website where people could write about the matters of government policy which they considered to be totally unnecessary, at this time. My generation had job security, now no such thing exists except possibly in Parliament for five years. If you were a tradesman, which meant that you had a qualification; if you had academic qualification and were in a professional job, then the chances of you getting the sack, would have been minimal, because even in austere times, everybody pulled together, and the bosses took the brunt as well as the staff. Today it is dog eat dog and what it will be like in the future is hard to foretell, because it would appear that greed is God

Communication

Communication
There was a film in which James Stewart played the part of a photographer, who was injured and had to lie in bed. His only viewpoint was through the window of his bedroom, and the film is called Rear Window. Looking out through the window day by day, he became convinced that one of his neighbours in the flat opposite, was going to be murdered. I quote this because I too am in a situation where I see very few people, and rarely go out. My view is the front window, and from time to time, while I’m musing on what I’m going to write, I look out the window, see those passing, and draw conclusions that may or may not be accurate.

At my age, one has a tendency to draw comparisons between one’s own childhood and that of today, and the same with adulthood, and what I find in both cases is that verbal communication is not as prolific as it was in the past. I remember when my grandchild was about four years old, the family were worried because she hardly talked, and her father said this was because everything was done for, and so she had no reason to make demands.

If you read this blog will know that I am particularly worried about the life of children living today. It is only rarely that I see children walking to school and then it is either with a parent, or on their own. My elementary school was about a mile and a half from home, and walking to school, one picked up other children who were going to school, and from then on the conversation rarely stopped. I’m sure that sitting in a car, the child is probably musing, or perhaps not even that. Previously I told the story of my great grandchildren, in one family, where they don’t seem to talk to one another, but they communicate in other ways and work as a team, I found this amazing on the first occasion.

One of the reasons that people don’t talk to one another any more, is because socially we are disparate, you may be lucky enough to know the people in the house next-door, but the chances are they are the only ones you have spoken to in the whole street. In the 40s and 50s it was not like that, but then we didn’t have television, few had the telephone, and computers were space technology. Now people spend their time with an iPod or a phone attached to their ear, which implies that that they only want to speak to close friends and relatives. The drink and drive stricture has reduced those social occasions when you’re invited someone in for a drink and a chat, at the drop of a hat. Now, other than family, the social occasions are reduced, they are on a monthly basis instead of being weakly or sometimes even daily.

I just wonder where this trend will go, and what it will be like in the next 50 years. I have seen such incredible changes, starting with the end of World War II, when I was married, and ever since.

A 60 year regression

Due to the greed of those handing our money, at the banks and the stock exchanges, across the world, coupled with the stupidity of our politicians who could easily have predicted this occasion, my mantra of the majority suffering as a result of the shortcomings of the minorities is yet again justified. Now, 60 years after it was common for people to repair and, mend rather than throw way and buy new, has come to haunt the young people of this generation who have never been trained to live in paucity. My generation, even the boys could darn socks and carry out other repairs right across-the-board, because it was economically essential. These young people today have been born into a throw away society, which should never have been allowed to persist, because of the waste of the world’s resources. It has been another exercise in greed, where the manufacturer would have lost output if the household products were repairable.

I was fortunate to live in those years because during the war I was able to repair my socks and other garments, because all I was earning in those initial months, was 10 shillings a week, out of which I had to buy food because I was hungry. The generous government after almost 6 years of war, threw me out onto the street without a job and little chance of one because I was only one of many thousands in the same situation. However, like most of my generation, I had been taught to use tools, with the result, when my children went to parties with their schoolmates, whose families were better off than ourselves, I was able to make dolls houses, dolls, and wooden jigsaw’s, all unattainable in the shops, to take as presents, as my children would be returning home with any number of presents that they had received at the party.

My generation couldn’t afford to have decorators, gardeners, and rarely electricians at times of serious problems. I now find that people are buying material in order to make clothes, which my wife did, and more of them are doing home decoration. This sudden financial change has been too sudden for the young people to be able to grasp exactly the effects that this is having upon them. The learning curve is too steep, and the old principles too embedded for change to be easy. They will have to learn economy the hard way.

Are you as worried as I am?

I don’t think all the children of today are getting a fair crack of the whip. I’m not talking
metaphorically about corporal punishment, but I think there is a large class of children who are suffering considerably as a result of the credit crunch. Some are the children of single parents, who will inevitably suffer irrespective of what class they are in, I was one, and I know the effects of having a working mother. There is no doubt, from the evidence that I have seen, that the children of today are a lot more sophisticated, and intelligent, than my generation and those that followed. However they do not seem to have the opportunities to enjoy the simple pleasures my generation had. I have said this before in another form, but I believe it is so urgent that repetition can be justified. Not long ago I was quoting an experience I had when several children got off the bus I was on, and immediately took out their mobile phones to talk to somebody, and it isn’t only children who find this need. Now they have introduced cheaper versions of the I pod, that so many children seem to have, and spend so much time at every opportunity, playing with it, and this is not the only the children. Those toys cost upwards of a £180 a year, and for some families this is a big deficit taken on, so the child will not feel disadvantaged, when other children all have one. Not only in the winter evening does one see blue lights in many of the bedroom windows, possibly indicating that children are sitting at computers, long into the night.

When we were young, and my children were young, we used our imaginations to build a world of our own when we played. I asked a young woman of my acquaintance, aged in her early 20s, whether she felt that young people were being sold short because there were not enough play areas. She replied that when she was young she lived near a forest, and they invented games there. I watch young people, and not so young, not so much playing, but running to keep fit, or training for a charity run, endlessly along the same dull roads. There is no visual stimulus, which one would have in a park, or a purposely made sports area. In the latter, the surface would be constructed so that it was more amenable for running, unlike the foot-paths which are a sure route to foot damage.

I get the impression that sport is no longer as important as it was in my day, or there are not the same number of sport teaches. It worries me that the youngsters today are more sedentary than we ever were. This is partly because of the increase in the number of vehicles per family, and the fact that parents are loathe to allow their children to walk unsupervised. It is an absurd situation, and should be remedied urgently. The fact that cities and towns are blocked with traffic because of the Mummy Run is part of the same problem. These young people have nothing like the freedom that we had, probably neither the safety, although I believe that to be overstressed. There is an element within this system which echoes the problems created by health and safety legislation – yet another case of the minority making unnecessary difficulties for the majority. I can not really believe that there is such a high level of criminality, and possibility of child abuse, at midmorning and mid afternoon, as to warrant this high level of supervision. I feel that it is the responsibility of the social services to carry out a nationwide survey of the number of children who are attacked or abused, categorized to give some idea of where the dangers lie, and to what extent they occur

Other speculations

Other speculations The majority of the population understands that supermarkets are steadily taking over the legitimate forms of trading that were previously carried out by individual specialist companies, such as insurance, a floral section, jewellery, and the latest one suggested is of car tyres. I think we have all found that as a result of out-of-town shopping, the quality of the high street has diminished, with some shops closed, and others converted to charity shops. I believe by now the majority of people realize that the low prices offered by the supermarkets, are at the expense of the providers, who are always under the cosh to bring their own prices down. In some cases this has shut the provider down, and put his staff out of work.

I believe that if our manufacturing, call centres, and other services are continued to be sent abroad, while the operators of these British companies are achieving savings, which have not been passed on to the economy of the country, it will have a long-term effect on the number of people unemployed. When you have a one-stop shopping mall, you are denying yourself the opportunity of comparison, knowledgeable assistance, and variety. What is on offer is the choice of the company, and you can either take it or leave it, but if there are no other shops carrying the articles that you are looking for, then your choice is limited to their taste. The one-stop system has also reduced the number of people required to service the customers. The advice you are likely to receive will be minimal and not knowledgeable. Specialized shops have staff trained in the merchandise. From what I have said above, it will be seen that if this policy of out-of-town shopping is perpetuated, we will all be in the hands of the shopping mall, and the level of people required to serve us in the past, will be swelling the ranks of the unemployed. All trading is a matter of competition by providing the best quality, commensurate with the lowest price. Get rid of the specialist shops in the high street, and there will be no competition, but there will also be an increase in the unemployed.

Another criticism When someone is launching a new product for manufacture, the first thing they do is a study of whether the new product will be viable, and have reasonable success in the marketplace. This is done in a number of ways, a questionnaire is carried on in the entrance to a supermarket, and often a small representative number of the general public is invited to a meeting in a hotel to give their views on a mock-up, or prototype of the article. So much today seems to be that someone in authority has an idea, and instead of this being tested, it is implemented whether successful or not, at considerable cost. A prime example occurred in our district, the Council provided us with a little green plastic box, about 10 inches cubed, beautifully made of high quality material, and was intended for people to place their plate scrapings in after meals. Placed in a kitchen, it did not meld either in colour, or because it was so was too large to be accommodated either on the shelving, or in cupboards. The principal was that the council was worried that these little scrapings would induce so much methane, when they rotted down, as to be a dangerous level of CO2. I asked one of my carers her views on the matter, she said that in the 40 homes that she dealt with, only one person was using the box. This is clearly a total waste of money, and with two or three trial runs in different districts, using a total of 36 boxes, this result would never have happened.

Another is this business of changing the electoral boundaries. I don’t think the average citizen could even cite the boundary of his or her electoral area, and what is more, probably doesn’t care. I believe that it is the politicians who are trying to justify their position. Taking the case of the change of the actual bounders, I suspect that this is going to cost a considerable amount of money for very little return, coupled with a vast amount of disruption For a start off, one must assume that the differences in area in many of the electoral areas, causing this change is fairly considerable, to cause this furores. Firstly, maps will have to be redrawn or modified, the routing of staff on the ground will have to be changed, some staff will have to be shifted, reallocated, and learn the problems in the new districts. Paperwork will have to be modified, and reprinted, accommodation for the change in the staff, including furniture and even offices will be affected. All records will have to be revised. The resedents will have to be notified which will be costly, and caused considerable disruption over a period of at least six-months if not a lot longer. The question the populace should be asking is why is this so urgent at a time of financial paucity?

Apology

Apology
Friends and relatives have been telling me that my English, and spelling, in the part 4 and part 5 of ‘Do you realize’ has been a little suspect. Most of my general readers are aware that I will be 90 next year, and am severely handicapped, which tends to make me tired. In consequence, I can be a little forgetful when it comes to checking a post. I put this as a forerunner to my next post which will show how I have young people coming in every day to make sure that I am okay, have not fallen, and to carry out duties that are beyond my capability. These people are not only kind and considerate, but they are also younger than my grandson. My condition has made it impossible for me to drive, and so I am also meeting a vast vumber of taxi drivers of all ages.

Do you realize? Part 8 Prognostication
Prognostication, by its flimsy base, must be seen to be a generality, and in consequence, one must examine each circumstance as to whether it is valid. One person’s experience is not the basis for serious modification, merely one for dialectic consideration.
In the 60s most people would have predicted the social changes that have taken place since then, but I don’t think that they would have expected them to be so deep, so quickly. In talking to young people, and some of the not so young, I find an incredible agreement right across the board, among people’s attitudes at what is happening today, governmentally, socially, and financially. For some time, on this blog, I have been critical in the way the financial system has been conducted, and while it had less efect on me personally, I am very much aware of what it was doing to the young and industry. Consequently I propose to make some prognostications on where I believe these changes are leading.

Marriage
A largenumber of young people that I meet arer living together, often in strange circumstance, because any alternative would be beyond their means. At the end of the last century, the change in the way in which a wedding, and all the peripheral entertainment was couched, rose to an enormously expensive level, and at the same time seemed to be going on rising. I was married 66 years ago, it was a war time wedding, which is described in detail on the blog and is easy to find. We had a service in a church, a meal in a Railway Hotel, and then left by boat and train, for our honeymoon in London. I quote this, because I sincerely believe it is the occasion which is important, not the venue. It is a day for the groom and the bride, and unless they are abnormal, their excitement will be such that the venue has little effect, and they are the people who count, not the relatives and friends, although their contribution more than enhances the proceedings. Young people have said to me that the cost of a girls’ night out, coupled with a stag nights abroad, is bad enough expensively, but to add to that the cost or travelling abroad again for the wedding is a step too far. This was some years ago before the credit crunch.

In the early years of marriage, the fact of being married is a brake on any urge to separate as a result of some strong reaction, which in hindsight, and in a less charged atmosphere, will be seen to be what it was, a reasonable difference of opinion. Young people, I find, are living under very difficult circumstances, in order to be together, which is putting stress on them. In most cases it is as a result of the financial situation. I know a number whose partner, as well as themselves, are both working in shifts, with the result that over some periods of time they see little of one other, except late in the evening or at bedtime. This is no way to live, but these people feel that they have not alternative, because of the financial strictures. I was married in wartime, in 1944, so my home life did not start until 1946. We were in the same situation as the young people of today, and it was not fun. The question then arises as to why we are in this state? It isn’t all that long ago that people had a job for life, but then we were not sending orders for things to be manufactured abroad, or having services positioned abroad

Do you realise, 7

Do you realise? , 6
1935 to 1970
The quality of life which was improving after all that austerity, was brought to a halt in 1939. Children, and in particularly, male children, between the ages of 10 and 25 were about to lose those valuable years between the ages of 15 and 25, if not their life. They were not to know the fun of sports, holidays and courting, in a calm and easy world. They would be shoved from place to place with no say of their own choice, and take their pleasures, if any, on the run. Those early years of the war were duplicated across the world, with Communist Chinese in a civil war, Europe and the Eastern countries in uproar, Japan invading, and America and the Commonwealth brought into the troubles as well.

It therefore took years to bring normality to Britain, we were destitute, owed a fortune to America, the reconstruction of work was enormous, and the changes produced by the men coming back from the war, to find a place within the workforce of the nation was the problem . The government initially made a promise, that anyone who was co-opted or volunteered to serve in the forces, could count on having his job back in peacetime. At the beginning of the war people were saying that it would be over in a short time, which probably accounted for that promise. People like myself who had only started their articles, were still totally untrained in the profession that they had originally chosen, and hence those of us in that condition could not just walk back into a job without additional training, so a lot of us found ourselves on the dole with a family to support, and no house to live in. I was fortunate in that I qualified for a place at a University, what some of the other men would not have done and would have been unfair, but the government had made no provision in this eventuality.

In 1950, while there was still the last areas of cities and towns that were derelict as a result of the bombing, Britain was returning to a level of normality we hadn’t seen in some time. There were job vacancies, a better economy, and manufacturing was widening considerably. In 1960 the number of cars on the road had increased considerably, and shops were stocking a higher range of products from home and around the world. This set the stage for the the period when the morays that we had been taught, were thrown to the winds. Carnaby Street, with its wild coture, was just the start. People dyed there hair, not just one colour, but areas of several colours. Behaviour was more extravagant and what was more, the morals of the past were beginning to be thrown over. People started to take what today are referred to as partners. In the 50s, it was unnecessary to lock your front door as the likelihood of being burgled was very low, it was common for women to go to the shop round the corner without locking the front door. In the 60s we had the Kray Twins, high-profile gangsters, who had their corner of London in their grasp, and were ultimately sent to prison for life. Since then on a steady rising curve, criminality has increased steadily, to the point now, it seems parents can’t leave her children to walk to school, for fear of interference. It was in the 70s that those huge open air concerts became a regular feature, people became more wealthy, started taking holidays abroad as a regular thing, it was also in the 70s that the government miss- managed the economy and there was a tightening of the belts which had severe effects on industry, and the high Street.

It is not my intention to take this revolution which started after the Second World War, and has been going on ever since at an increasing rate, any further, because the majority of people who are reading this are of and age where they have experience the incredible changes over the last 30 years. I don’t think anyone could have forecast the changes in the way the country is run, and the way in which people now live in so much isolation, with the village mentality long gone, and along with it the consideration for others.