Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Makes no census to me.....

My eldest son left for Australia last week. Not permanently, but on a working visa. The return date on his ticket is next January, but he'll be back sooner if the funds dry up, (I know what my money's on)! So it's a bit quiet around here at the moment. Mind you, our laundry basket is still full up with his stuff (how does he manage that from a distance of several thousand miles), and we are still dragging the rubbish out of his room. This is his second trip, after the first one (two years ago), we thought he'd return all self-sufficient and grown up. Nope, not a bit of it, there we were thinking he'd have to fend for himself, and all the while he just manages to talk other people into doing things for him! So we have about nine months to sell the house and move away.........

I've just posted my census form. I expect those of you reading this in the UK have had to do the same. Perhaps it's me, but these things seem to get more and more detailed. Why do they want to know how many cars we have? Or how many hours a week we spend helping elderly family members? Or details of our educational qualifications? We are told that it's to help plan essential services. Poppycock! Since when is anything planned in this country? If a school becomes overcrowded, nothing is done until it becomes blindingly obvious, and then the cheapest solution is picked. The idea that your average Health Authority allocates resources with any regard to information from the census, is laughable. And as for resources for the elderly or vulnerable, well we all know that there are going to be precious few of those in the near future anyway! The census provides our 'leaders' with information, and information is power.

Since Maggie Thatcher's days in office, there has been a price put on everything. This has continued ever since, so now we are lumbered with a political class that knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing!

That feels a little better. You have no idea how hard it is to write all that on one breath, and through gritted teeth. Especially at the speed I type!


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Snow joke you know..........

There appears to be a change in the weather this week. Not so cold, and the mornings are getting lighter. Hopefully, this means we can forget about the s.... word for another year! Oh, that's snow by the way (what were you thinking)?


                           

Snow and ice do funny things to milk floats. On the one hand, they have a low centre of gravity and they are heavy, so they stick to the road relatively well. On the other, the brakes require a certain amount of anticipation (about a fortnight should do), and there is no heater, so when the windscreen ices up you can't see where you are going! Or not, as the case may be. Icy conditions are about the only time when a lack of speed is an advantage. Nobody is going to accuse you of travelling too fast for the conditions in a milk float! And just to add to the joy, we get to do all this in the dark...... Pretty much anybody who drives for a living hates the sight of snow and ice, unfortunately our lot won't close the depot for a bit of snow. Unlike schools of course; cue Monty Python's Four Yorkshire men sketch, ("They dunno they're born these days"....)!

I've got stuck in some 'creative' places before. Oh yes. Not that I need snow or ice for that, a liberal supply of mud should do the trick. Once, when trying to turn around at the end of a track, I managed to get the rear wheels (a Transit this time), on some grass, (it was dark M'lud honest). My attempts to escape, only resulted in me promptly burying the thing up to it's rear axle in mud. I then had a two mile trek to the nearest main road, as the poor sap called out to rescue me would never have found me where I was. He managed to pull the truck free eventually, at some cost to his vehicle - I could still smell his clutch burning two hours later!

Still, all this will be a thing of the past for a while.... after all, we can all rely on The Great British Summer! Can't we?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Bonio, Bonio, wherefore art thou Bonio?

Back to work last week I'm afraid. I spend my time doing other people's rounds, to cover for holidays and sickness. So, I found myself doing a round near Lewes (East Sussex), so the regular milkman (Mick) could have a week off. Mick's been doing the same round for over thirty years, and as you can imagine he's very well known in the local area. Especially by the dogs, who quickly got used to Mick having a supply of dog biscuits with him. Unfortunately for me, he must have run out........

Still, I managed to last the week without being bitten, although one or two enthusiastic dogs tried to get inside the cab and help themselves! And an elderly collie tried every trick in the book, the big brown eyes, the gentle whining, the shifting from foot to foot. If he'd been able to speak, he couldn't have asked any harder!

A former (now retired), colleague told me that when he first did a milk round (in London in the fifties), he used a horse and cart. Apparently, the horses knew the rounds better than the milkmen, so it was almost impossible to 'miss' a call. If a customer went away for a while, the milkman still had to walk up and down the path, because the horse wouldn't move until he had!

Another colleague used to give his sandwiches to the seagulls. His wife made them for him, and he wasn't brave enough to tell her he didn't like them! So, at a certain point on his round, he'd reach out of the window and throw them onto the roof of his float, so the gulls could take them. I was working with him one day, when he happened to mention that he'd forgotten his sandwiches. When we reached the usual 'feeding point', there were several loud thuds, as a gull landed on the roof of the float and hopped around as it discovered the table was bare. It then landed on the road and glared at us! If you don't believe a seagull can glare, you should have been there that day....

You can see all sorts of wildlife early in the morning. Foxes and rabbits are the most common, but I occasionally see deer, badgers, llamas and the odd horse or cow that may have escaped from it's field. A couple of months ago, I saw an owl, caught in the headlights as it flew low across a road. Fantastic! Oh, and increasingly common (particularly at weekends), lesser-spotted drunks.........

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Eternal Mysteries of the Dulux Colour Chart.

Well now what do I write about? Is this the blogging equivalent of The Difficult Second Album? Have I peaked too soon? Well, here goes.........

I had a weeks holiday last week and had our hallway to paint. Come to think of it, what I really mean is I worked all week for nothing! It's now yellow (Lemon Tropic according to Dulux), and will look really cheerful when the sun comes through the windows. Now, all we need is some sunshine.....

Why call a colour Lemon Tropic? What's wrong with yellow,(or primrose if you want to be really picky)? What on earth is Dusted Fondant (mauve), or Tea Infusion (mint green)? Or, the best of the lot, Potter's Wheel (brown)! Who dreams up this stuff? Is there a hippy sitting in an ivory tower somewhere, who thinks up these names, in between washing his/her kaftan and reading Lord Of The Rings? Or (as I suspect is more likely), a marketing executive in an open plan office in Slough, pulls random words out of a dictionary. And they get paid for this!

I feel better for that! I did warn you that I've a tendency to rant, it's good to get these things of my chest before the red (Pink Clematis) mist descends! I'm now off for a lie down in a darkened room, but what colour to choose? Iced Frappé or Sloe Berry..........
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