Archive for July 2011

Can anyone explain?

July 30, 2011

So…yesterday somebody (you know who you are – but I don’t) had a rummage through this entire blog, in the process wildly (why is that word hard for me to type? It took me four tries!) changing the viewing stats – which tells you something about this blog’s viewing stats…

I was very pleased – very. Why? Because not only was it a noce feeling to have someone go to that trouble, but also because it made sense – and for me, lately, so few things about the internet seem to do so! Usually I put my bewilderment down to my undeniable encroaching dinosaur-hood, but on other occasions there seems to be little or no rhyme, reason or even pattern to website viewing numbers.

Yesterday the sudden rash of hits corresponded nicely with the total number of posts I have on here, and I can tell also what has been viewed each day – so at least I could grasp the fact that someone was reading all of my posts (and hopefully enjoying them – I mean otherwise why read something you’re not enjoying)?

But here’s the thing – the numbers of views are totally unpredictable, and that is what has me running my hands through what’s left of my hair on many occasions. I don’t write this blog to make money – in fact as a format it’s not possible to make money from it, but it is nice to feel that someone (even if it’s only one person) has read something I have written, and has enjoyed it.

It’s the same with three of my four other websites – there’s just no apparent way to predict what the traffic flow will be. I can write what I feel is a good piece of work and have very little response, or I may write something that feels very lazy and slapdash, only to have it apparently devoured by my readership (whom I sometimes think is one lonely person shut in a small office and who reads blogs at work due to excessive boredom – no, not you Gary!)…I mean that’s just confusing!

It’s hard to know what people do or don’t like and even harder without feedback or comments, which seems to be the norm these days. Maybe I’ll have a eureka moment one day soon? In the meantime folks, if you haven’t already done so, check out the other websites I am responsible for (dogtastic.net, theoldtown.net, losspreventioninsmallbusiness.com) – and please be assured that I welcome any feedback! I very much hope you enjoy this and any of my work..

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In my alternate universe…

July 26, 2011

I am approximately thirty years old. In my alternate time-twisting and mixing universe. Dammit!

If I were only still thirty years old in THIS universe! Of course, like many people  I’d prefer to be thirty years old with my current forty six years of experience somehow still behind me. Oh the possibilities!

If I was a 46 year old inside a 30 year old body, I’d be a much better rugby player than I ever managed to be in this reality. I’d also be healthier ( not diabetic) and slimmer than I am now…and staying that way…and of course I’d have made some better choices and made them earlier in life than I have managed this time around.

I’d have been far more wise about love many years ago. I’d have allowed myself to have more fun in general. I’d have made different career choices than the ones I have made. I’d have been as blunt as I now wish I had been. Trying to be someone or something I am not is apparently not a map for unlimited success.

I’d have known that religion is a grand illusion a long time before this life taught me that lesson, and I’d have been free from it earlier in my life as a result – something which would have been an enormously liberating feature.

Yes being younger with my current experience of life would be a very interesting way to be. Fun. But…

What other mistakes would I make or have made? Would I have my two wonderful beautiful children? Would I now be so lucky as to be with my lovely wife – my (cliché alert) soul-mate? Would I have lived the life I have known so far? Would I be living in a beautiful – nay stunning – part of the world? Perhaps the answer to each question is ‘No’…or at best ‘Maybe’…and I feel a chill at the prospect.

Yes, I’m 46 years old, but the young man is still alive in my psyche – the young, indestructible, nervous and shy man with his life ahead of him is still there, mildly surprised to find himself at this stage of life. So…perhaps I have the best of both universes? Perhaps I have the chance to benefit from the older and the young – I have after all lived a life outside of the ordinary or mundane – and it is sometimes too easy to forget that.

Perhaps (second cliché alert) the best is yet to come. And I have the young me as my companion – the trick is to allow him to bring his enthusiasm for life back to me, to allow things to be possible, to be ME. Can I unleash ME onto the world again?

The thirty year-old inside the 46 year-old mind says “why the hell not?”.

The Bobbies take it on the chin – again

July 18, 2011

The News International story rages on in the U.K., with resignations of very high ranking Metropolitan Police now taking place. It’s a sad indictment of the Metropolitan force, but as a former UK police officer myself, it comes as no surprise that some members of that much-trumpeted organization have let down  the Metropolitan Police, themselves, and most importantly the public.

The ‘smoke’ is now thick, black and oily. The ‘fire’ is allegations of officers taking payments from the press for information. No surprises. There have been countless news stories over the years which could only have come from information directly from the police – and I have a feeling those guys (or gals) would very likely not have leaked information out of a sense of altruism. Accepting payments as a police officer is a very serious disciplinary offence as well as a criminal offence, and those involved will hopefully be brought to justice swiftly.

In the meantime, every honest and hard-working police officer (which is very definitely the majority) will no doubt be made to shoulder the slur of corruption by ordinary members of the public as well as by the everyday low-lifes and scum they are forced to deal with on behalf of the public. Nobody in public life is more accountable than a UK police officer.

Having been battered over the last year in a very public political game designed to reduce their wages and benefits (an issue that means many of society’s protectors are now facing severe financial hardship and uncertainty about their pensions), the country’s police men and women will now take the slurs on the chin, weather yet another storm, and keep going.

They will maintain the best standards of policing in the world, within what I believe to be the best system in the world. No it’s not perfect, but nothing is. It happens to be the best available, and at the same time, perhaps the least appreciated. Every time a scandal breaks, the actions of  a few are involved, but the repercussions spread across the country in a dismaying wave. Every ‘bobby’ braces for the onslaught of innuendo, lies and accusations as every one is automatically and without any accountability, hurled with venom and bitterness. In this case, even the Home Secretary (a woman seemingly with an agenda to ‘deal’ with “the Police’ as a boundary – free ‘problem’) has very deliberately used the cynically broad brush in parliament when speaking formally about the issue.

I know my former colleagues (I left the police service nine years ago after eighteen years proud duty) will smile balefully (no grinning) and bear it, as always. They always do – we always did. A small number of corrupt idiots have again sullied  the reputation of a large organization – although of course journalists everywhere will sing loud and long that a few corrupt journalists cannot sully the reputation of their profession – oh no, of course not. No doubt every journalist must be assumed to be angelic unless proven otherwise, according to the hypocritical and cynical journalist’s code.

The British public have never appreciated how lucky they are to be policed by such a complete, skilled and balanced group of people. The police are the easiest target for insult, ridicule, and attacks because every loud mouth is always eager to jump on that bandwagon, and there is never a shortage of lies to be told about police behaviour. Despite the inevitable barrage, I know the honest, vocational and principled men and women I served alongside and in some cases trained, will simply carry on doing their best because they value the principles of policing. They value their vocation. They value the public whom they serve.

If only the public valued them.

I hope (because I cannot be sure) that one day they will receive the respect, affection and gratitude that I KNOW they all deserve.

New life.

July 11, 2011

Ove the last three years my life has changed dramatically, going from married family man to separated family man to “Oh my god I’m in love with my teenage sweetheart again’ family man to divorced family man, and now “Oh my god I’m actually married to my teenage sweetheart” blended family man. Over the course of this period of time I have re-appraised my life to a certain extent. My family remains my most important life component and everything revolves around it.

Last year, whilst experiencing significant success at work, I decided after much consideration to give it all up. While I was successful at work I didn’t enjoy the role at all, and really I was operating at less than 50% of my capacity. With the support of my wife-to-be, I resigned from a well-paid job at the age of 45, and began to look at life anew.

Now I’m not talking about a classic throw-it-all-away change, we bought a house near to my former marital home in order to be near to my kids – whose custody I share 50/50 with my ex – we didn’t go off-grid (although it’s an ambition), I haven’t grown dred/dreadlocks (my follicles would no doubt burst out laughing at the thought) or taken to wearing only organic fibres. Come to think of it, the very last point may be one to aspire to, however.

Now, aged 46, I find myself very much in love and in some ways feeling like a teenager again (only hopefully wiser). I am not a new person, in fact in a sense what has happened to me is the emergence of an old version of me, but perhaps with the extremes trimmed away. It’s a version of me I prefer to the previous one – I’m happy, I’m far less stressed and I am able to communicate my love for those close to me in a far more complete way as a result. In the best way for me, it’s a new lease upon life. I need to love, and I need to be loved. My new life provides me with opportunities to fulfill both of those needs in new ways.

I’m looking for new work now, but I’m happy and content – in fact elated and delighted – to be with my wife and to share our blended family. Life continues to provide surprises!

God…evil…really?

July 11, 2011

An online friend of mine has postulated that the existence of free will explains the existence of evil, and that this answers the Epicurean riddle. He also states that his (Christian) God is omnipotent.

I don’t know why his God’s omnipotence doesn’t extend to managing the consequences of acts which perpetrate evil…

News of the World?

July 7, 2011

So it’s just been announced that News International is to close the NoW from this weekend. Big deal. It’s long past time that the British public stopped supporting this crappy lazy style of ‘journalism’. The paper was misnamed – it rarely carried news, specializing as it did in vicious gossip and intrusive vitriol. The fact that it was very popular does not make it right, and for me it’s good riddance to the worst kind of rubbish. TV, radio and other newspaper journalists will now wring their hands over the loss of the tabloid (“in print for 168 years!” – so what?), throwing  around cliches such as “the public interest” and “the public has a right to know”. I also expect to hear about censorship and legitimate journalism. It’s all a smokescreen for a crappy industry within which real non-biased and apolitical news reporting is a rare and wonderful thing.

Because they have a direct line to all the media outlets, journalists will now make a huge fuss and hastily rush to directly or indirectly glorify their profession – something I’ve never understood the baisis for. Why is journalism deemed to be a noble profession? I can see little or no reason for it.

The short, and very blunt answer to the vast majority of controversial issues arising from this kind of ‘news’paper’s activities is that the public has NO right to know about the private lives of other people if they are not engaged in criminal acts. The NoW however, sells itself with countless numbers of these kinds of so-called stories. Such publications are in my opinion immoral, unethical and pander only to the public’s greed for gossip – there is no genuine argument for sustaining this kind of newspaper. I’m very happy to see them squirming right now, but I know the story will end one day, and normal service will be resumed…

I just keep giving…

July 3, 2011

I must be one of the most generous guys around. No, really – I’ve given away so much in the last few days I should be losing weight (and goodness knows I need to). This is because what I’m giving away are my corpuscles – my haemaglobin, my plasma, my blood.

There is a sudden demand for blood around these oarts and it’s a life or death issue. Without the blood thousands or even millions will die or never be born. No we haven’t moved into a war zone – well not a human one anyway…the problem is probosci – specifically those of the mosquito variety. The little bastards just love me!

Perhaps it’s my size (larger than average shall we say) and therefore the amount of carbon dioxide I expel which attracts them, maybe it’s my warm disposition and welcoming nature – or again there is a chance that being diabetic means that I have a different, sweet kind of flavour. No matter – whatever the cause, I am now covered with itchy lumps.

I am fastidiously spraying myself with ‘mozzie spray’ as we call it, I smell of repellent (rather than smelling repellent) all day and yet even seconds after applying the magical substance, I find the evil insects landing on me. The back of the neck, back of the knee, inbetween toes and fingers, wrists, elbows ( I mean really – my elbows?) – there seems no end to their cunning and ability to find the most annoying place to have an itchy bite…

So far this year, aside from the repellent-loving type of mozzie, I have discovered and endured the direct sunlight – loving mozzie, the wind – immune mozzie and the bite-you-through-your-clothes mozzie. Apart from spending the rest of the summer under water, I can’t imagine how I will manage to be itchless…