24 April 2015

Election Fever

Picture courtesy of The Telegraph
Only another two weeks to go and hopefully the election bandwagon will eventually grind to a halt.  I'm sick of live debates, leader interviews, politicians kissing babies, women, or one another. I'm cheesed off with promises, manifestos, smear campaigns and posturing. I suppose it could be much worse -  in the USA  their election is not for another 18 months and already their politicians are taking to centre stage to start their campaigns! At least we can be thankful ours only lasts a month.

But be careful what you wish for. Vote for any of the parties other than the main three and you will end up with seven parties not having a clear majority and each having to do a deal with someone else.  It could look something like this.....

..........and we all  know how that ended!

18 April 2015

The Good and the Bad (with no Ugly)

First the Bad.....

I got an email midweek from a very distant family friend of Greg's who lives in the USA.  I met her once about 12 years ago when she was over in London but we don't even  make contact at Christmas, so my relationship with her since has been virtually non-existent. She did send me an email a few years ago to let me know her father had died, as he had been best man to Greg's father and mother at their wedding, but otherwise little else. The email last week came as a bit of a surprise and even more so when I read she had had to leave America in a hurry and rush to London where her cousin lay seriously ill in hospital with lymphoblastic leukaemia. The hospital were demanding a deposit before they would operate and as she had rushed from home, she had failed to take sufficient means of payment with her, so would I mind lending her the deposit, which she would of course pay me back, as soon as she returned home.

Alarm bells rang with me and just as I was wondering whether to take it seriously or not, Kay rang and I told her. She informed me first that lymphoblastic leukaemia affects children only and, as it is a blood disease, there is no operation involved in its treatment. In any case, I had already worked out that treatment at any NHS hospital would not demand a deposit upfront (if at all, but I'm not certain about whether tourists are expected to pay at some stage). I decided a phone call to Oklahoma would be cheaper than forking out thousands to a scam, so I telephoned the lady in question to discover my suspicions were correct.  Her mail had been hacked into and it was a scam.  What vile people there are in the world to concoct such lies and wrap it up to make it convincing.... or not so convincing in my case.

Then the Good.....

I took my mother to a  large DIY outlet the other day in search of a white washing-up bowl. Her old one was showing signs of old age and she fancied a new one, but it had to be white. The current fashion in washing-up bowls seems to be black or grey or garish red or lime green, but not white. As my aged mother had been unable to walk too far around the store looking for the correct department, I had left her leaning up against a shelf near the entrance while I hot-footed it around the store to check. I had only been gone about 3 minutes, but when I found her again, she was chatting to another customer -a very attractive young black girl, who had seen her struggling to lean against the shelf and had dragged a sun-lounger chair along the aisle over to her to sit her down. It was such a lovely kind thought and we thanked her profusely even though we were now leaving the store empty-handed. I should add that is the second time in a week, a complete stranger has approached my mother and offered to help her. There are good people in the world  and you don't always have to go looking for them.

Certainly a week of contrasts.

11 April 2015

Fit for a Queen?

I was listening to LBC on the car radio over the weekend.  Apparently in a survey 55% of people voted for Camilla not to be Queen when Charles eventually takes to the throne.  The radio presenter seemed surprised and not altogether certain that was a representative figure. Surely people have warmed to Camilla? The phone-in that followed seemed to produce a lot of people who like Camilla and thought the survey unfair.

At the time of Charles' marriage to Camilla ten years ago, the Royal Household put out some sort of compromising pacifier that she would only be referred to as the Princess Consort, when Charles eventually becomes King.  This was because at the time there was still a lot of deep feeling amongst the public about the way Diana had been treated. As Diana had said in that famous TV  interview, there were three of them in the marriage, so Camilla could not be entirely blameless in what then went on to happen to Diana. But I could not help but notice that gradually over the years, the Camilla PR machine has been pounding on to make her look like Mother Teresa. It was inevitable that eventually the Princess Consort thing would gradually morph into Queen, in the hopes that people would forget.

Many argued in the programme I listened to that the past is past, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, Camilla is a decent stick really, the Royal family are only human after all and she should take up her place as Queen, when the time comes. It made me shudder.

I was always a great fan of Diana. Yes, she was young; yes, she may have been a bit of a drama queen when she found out Charles didn't love her, but she could be surely forgiven for that, particularly because her dashing prince was already straying before the wedding ring was on her finger. Camilla was already smirking in the wedding congregation and exchanging texts and gifts to Charles on the sly.  Diana certainly did a hell of lot worldwide for GB Ltd,  for the fashion industry in particular, and for the Royal Household's hitherto rather dowdy image. Not least, she produced two very dashing heirs, whilst at the same time making sure they were fully grounded and in tune with ordinary people around them. The fact that so many people love William now is down to  what Diana made him. She herself was keen to be an ambassador, the Queen of Hearts, someone to care for the downtrodden or poor: to give out the love she never had. Her untimely death was a shock and the nation (if not the whole world) poured out its grief at her funeral. I have never by the way believed her death was an accident. I believe one day the real truth will emerge. It might take a hundred years, but it will come.

If Charles and Camilla had a thing going before Diana came on the scene, they should have taken their opportunity to marry then, before Camilla upped and married someone else.  Charles should have been man enough to stand up and chose the woman he really wanted rather than bow to the pressures of the establishment. He has shown he can stand up to things when he wants to. Talking of the establishment, I always think it's funny how the Queen's sister was not allowed to marry a divorced man, yet three of the Queen's own children ended up divorced.  The couple have now got what they wanted - each other - but it should be at a cost. They can't surely expect to have their cake AND eat it. I would even go as far as to say I would prefer that Charles should not even become King, (let alone Camilla Queen) although constitutionally there is no way round that. So stuck with Charles we are, but Camilla. No way. (In any case, if she were to be made Queen, it would mean The Royal Household had broken the promise they made ten years ago. Not exactly confidence-inspiring or a role model for us lesser mortals).

Like an elephant, there is just no way I can forget.

What do you think?

07 April 2015


What a glorious weekend on all counts. 

First because Kay was home for a few days and I could spoil her. On our first evening together we ended up in one of the many local bars to celebrate her last day of hospital placement EVER as a student. If I wasn't deaf beforehand, I certainly am now. The music they were playing was so loud, my head felt as if it had been inside a spin-dryer. Even the 20-somethings were having difficulty holding a conversation and most were engaged in shouting closely into one another's ears. Fortunately this bar was not serving the cocktails Kay fancied, so we left for another relatively quieter bar, where the only noise was from a group of young men trying to stay upright. The rest of the weekend was spent shopping till we dropped to find a special pair of shoes for an upcoming ball and we had a lovely family roast lunch on Easter Sunday. Sadly Kay had to be back in the North by Sunday evening, so the time just whizzed by.

The weather put on a glorious show and it felt warm and balmy in the sunshine. We even managed  to sit in the garden. Roll on summer.