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We are indeed in the Asylum
And so it has come to pass that today is the last day of my contract, as I mentioned before we were not renewed.
For the last 17 months I have been a Personal Adviser at Job Centre Plus, I hope during that time I have assisted and helped people to the best of my ability and in my own small way made a difference. Unfortunately it is one of those roles that is virtually thankless, if someone gets a job due to your assistance or advice, you seldom ever hear of it, they just stop coming in.
It has certainly opened my eyes to the Public Sector,(the ‘front line’ at least) the majority are good people, trying to do their best with what they are given, trying to fight against a crippling bureaucracy, years of civil service inertia and Party politics.
Unfortunately I have also met those that should never be allowed to meet a member of the public and in any private sector firm would have been shown the door years ago (or not hired in the first place. But you’ve got to meet those ‘quotas’) and those are the ones you hear about.
For those of you that say ‘Hurrah another Public Sector parasite bites the dust’ please remember there are people at the end of it, of the 7 of us leaving tomorrow, one has a months trial at a Recruitment firm lined up, the rest of us nothing and not for want of trying, do you actually think we want to be unemployed.
So it is off out tonight to The Golden Lion, it could get messy, if you’re passing, please drop in. I’m the one that looks like George Clooney [Ed. Well you’ve both got grey hair, apart from that, no you don’t]
All I can hope is it is ‘Good Bye Job Centre’ and not ‘Au Revoir’ I’ve got enough saved for one maybe two months, then we’ll have to see.
It almost passed me by, having other things on my mind, like the first interview I’ve had so far for a new job this morning.
But today [25th May] was Towel Day even then unknowingly I celebrated it, there was a small towel in my briefcase in case of ‘head sweats’
I am indeed ‘a frood who really knows where his towel is’
As is this cat [click the picture for more cats with towels]
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Now there are something's that I believe the local council should provide and Public Lavatories is one of them*, they were one of the first steps towards introduced by our enlightened forefathers towards better Public Health.
Admittedly in latter days, due to cost cutting they are less than salubrious establishments, once they got rid of the attendants. But when one is caught short they are essential.
Are they really sure there was nothing else they couldn’t cut, no outreach workers, no diversity advisers, no ‘Health & Lifestyle depts’
Oh OK then, back to pissing in the streets it is then. (I wonder if you get prosecuted, can you cite as a defence lack of Public Amenities)
However, while the Public Health Act 1936 gives local authorities a power to provide public toilets, it imposes no duty to do so, and this lack of compulsion, together with a perception of nuisance associated with them, has arguably resulted in a steady decline in the provision of public toilets in recent years.
So because they don’t ‘have’ to they can cut them, even though they are Public Toilets funded by the very Public they are meant to serve.
*This also applies to railway companies and anywhere that sells food & drink to eat in.
Outrageous, what are we, living in Victorian times? It’s a perfectly natural thing, I can’t believe this sort of thing still happens in this day and age.
But then I read.on.
The mother, who has volunteered for a breast feeding support group for five years,
Yes she’s a member of an Entitled group, a “Say what you will, I am entitled to do whatever I want, its the law, fuck you and your customers, if I want to whap a tit out in a cafe at 10:30am deal with it you squares. it’s my right innit” group.
Hind sight as they say is 20/20 vision, which is why most ‘predictions’ only become clear after the event or are proved totally wrong. Yet some are so spot on we wonder why we didn’t realise at the time, it is as if the author had a window to the future and was warning of what was to come, we just didn’t listen. 1984 was one, parts of Atlas Shrugged another.
So there I was last night putting together a Prog Rock playlist for the iPod when I really started to listen to the lyrics of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight by Genesis.
It is so prescient it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, did Peter Gabriel have one of those windows into the future. Just exchange McDonalds for Wimpey and Club Card Points for Green Shield Stamps. He even got the bit about Credit Cards and worthless gold right. Spooky
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight by Genesis.
"Can you tell me where my country lies?"
said the unifaun to his true love's eyes.
"It lies with me!" cried the Queen of Maybe
- for her merchandise, he traded in his prize.
"Paper late!" cried a voice in the crowd.
"Old man dies!" The note he left was signed 'Old Father Thames'
- it seems he's drowned;
selling England by the pound.
Citizens of Hope & Glory,
Time goes by - it's "the time of your life".
Easy now, sit you down.
Chewing through your Wimpey dreams,
they eat without a sound;
digesting England by the pound.
Young man says "you are what you eat" - eat well.
Old man says "you are what you wear" - wear well.
You know what you are, you don't give a damn;
bursting your belt that is your homemade sham.
The Captain leads his dance right on through the night
- join the dance...
Follow on! Till the Grail sun sets in the mould.
Follow on! Till the gold is cold.
Dancing out with the moonlit knight,
Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.
There's a fat old lady outside the saloon;
laying out the credit cards she plays Fortune.
The deck is uneven right from the start;
and all of their hands are playing apart.
The Captain leads his dance right on through the night
- join the dance...
Follow on! A Round Table-talking down we go.
You're the show!
Off we go with - You play the hobbyhorse,
I'll play the fool.
We'll tease the bull
ringing round & loud, loud & round.
Follow on! With a twist of the world we go.
Follow on! Till the gold is cold.
Dancing out with the moonlit knight,
Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.
Caveat: Only listen to the video if you really like Prog Rock
It’s been a bit quiet on the animal attacks. Mainly because I expect they are shagging away producing the next crop of animal assassins.
However one should always remember the Lone Wolf or in this case Lone Bunny.
Not taking note of the koala who tried to punch above his weight, this bunny not only got the car to crash, but showing a fiendish intelligence, planned it so it that didn’t finish off the driver, drowning would. What next sharks with frickin lasers on their heads.
A car in a swimming pool
*Yes alright it was in Austria, but alliteration sells the story and she might have been Bavarian
So once again the concerns for a
feckless thieving scumbag, sorry, troubled young man, trump the right not to have your home invaded, your goods ransacked and stolen.
The 20-year-old was allowed to walk free from court after he told a judge he would find jail ‘too traumatic’ because of his obsessive compulsive disorder.
Ah diddums, any thoughts about the ‘trauma’ of those whose homes you invaded……<tumbleweed> No? thought not.
The thief, who has 14 previous convictions for 29 crimes, committed the burglary while on a suspended sentence for robbery and handling stolen goods.
Judge Hawkesworth said: ‘It’s clear to me from the psychological report you have a raft of psychological problems that need addressing.’
Yes he’s a thief, he believes it’s OK to take other peoples stuff. We cure people of that by locking them up. But that’s OK Judge, he doesn’t live anywhere near you does he? or his Defence brief and if he perchance wandered into your leafy suburb I’m sure he’d get his collar felt pretty sharpish by your private security force i.e. The Police.
I’d also like to draw your attention to this bit.
‘She was woken up at 4.20am when she noticed her bedroom door was open. ‘She went on to the landing and noticed a knife from the kitchen and an ornamental saw* had been removed.’
So I am guessing she realised they had been removed because they were in view on the landing.
I am reliably informed by those who know these things, that as you don’t want to get caught carrying a knife with you in a random ‘Police stop’. One of the first things to do in a home invasion is to arm yourself from the kitchen in case the householder wakes up. But that’s just a petty matter and not worthy of consideration that they were prepared to do violence after breaking into the property.
So residents of Cambridge next time he’s looking for a house to rob, you could do worse than put one of these in the window.
It’ll probably be more effective than relying on our Criminal Justice System to keep you from harm.
Cassidy’s accomplice Benjamin Calderwood, 18, of Cambridge, was given a 15-month sentence in a young offenders’ institution. He admitted carrying out a further 23 burglaries between 2005 and 2011 and asked for them to be taken into consideration. Gregory Perrins, defending Calderwood, told the court he wanted to ‘wipe the slate clean’.
Nothing about coughing for a number of ‘unsolved’s’ to get a reduced sentence and get them off the books? Yay for ‘Exceptional Clearance’ trebles all round.
*What’s an ornamental saw? Ornamental sword yes, but saw?
I went out for dinner & drinks on Friday with some ex-work colleagues and some soon to be ex-work colleagues for yet another leaving party [Mines on the 27th, there are 7 of us leaving the same day, Never mind a small gift & a card, I’ll be lucky to get a Kit-Kat and a post-it note, the way the collections are happening almost daily]
Anyway we were having a perfectly nice meal, when I noticed the lovely lady sitting opposite me was, how do we put this politely, ah yes, was ‘glowing’ quite a bit.
Ever the gentleman I asked after her well being, to which she responded that she thought she was having some sort of ‘hot flush’ and wasn’t sure why as she felt perfectly healthy before.
I then enquired what she had ordered, to which she replied “It’s only the Asian salad with Tiger Prawns, it can’t be that.”
So I took a look, well best beloved, it certainly was that, given that she had eaten half the salad already before the picture below was taken. Seeing what chilli remained I would reckon she had eaten a whole chilli by that point, no wonder the poor dear was sweating like a horse. Still the removal of the rest of the chilli, a walk round the paddock and the swift administration of a medicinal pint of 1664 cooled her down swiftly.
This is why salads are bad for you.
or I would imagine ever again.
We’ve all been there after a long flight, the congealed airline chicken gurgling away inside, you need the loo just before you have to belt up ready for landing. You fight your way down the aisle past all the people suddenly deciding to check their carry-on is ready for instant departure, plus the stews trying to sell you some final scratch cards. Only to find the toilets occupied by some stupid bint spending 10 minutes making sure her make-up is perfect for customs. Who hasn’t wanted to scream and bang on the door.
“Jesus Fucking Christ just open up will you, are you going to be all day.”
Add in the fact that.
The 28-year-old, who was heard yelling 'Allahu Akbar', had also only been on three planes in his life and would have been unfamiliar with the layout*
I am also waiting to hear that he ‘got his medication mixed up’ ‘he ‘felt threatened’ he was ‘scared’ he was ‘confused’ [Oh done that one], he was ‘indoctrinated by bad men’
Always remember that how ever this turns out, it will have nothing what so ever to do with the ROP
.*This also happens to me in unfamiliar places and layouts, I was once asked to leave The Albert Hall after running around, banging on doors and screaming “Jesus Fucking Christ will someone show me the way to the toilet.”
I will always be grateful to James Taylor for pausing during ‘Sweet Baby James’ to offer directions. .
Well as we all know that isn’t actually ironic, no matter how often Alanis tries to tell us it is.
But I think this instance is hopefully going to cause a few heads to explode at ASH.
Telling smokers not to light up may increase their desire for nicotine
No smoking signs may be driving more people to light up, a psychological study suggests.Scientists say the messages have an 'ironic effect' on smokers that increases their craving for tobacco.Without being aware of it, they react to the signs by thinking of and wanting cigarettes.
You can imagine the scene at ASH HQ .
“We must have ‘No Smoking’ signs everywhere, these scum must be reminded at every turn that their filthy practice is banned, banned I tell you, remind them at every turn. In fact draw up legislation that even where they wouldn’t smoke anyway, it is the LAW that a ‘No Smoking’ sign be displayed from hospital ward to churches. Throughout the land ‘No Smoking ‘ signs shall be engraved upon the walls as if writ by the finger of God for we do his Holy Healthy work. We shall also make them of a mandatory size and colour and place strict requirements on their display, so they cannot be avoided and we shall bring down our righteous wrath on those who would seek not to display the Holy Scripture ‘No Smoking’”.
“But chief, it now appears that humans are contrary buggers and the more you tell them not to do something, the more they are likely to do it, that’s what the scientists say. So all these ‘No Smoking’ signs are actually self defeating and only make the scum want a smoke more”
“But, but, but …………..” [Head Explodes]
I can’t say for sure that I am affected by the ‘Ironic Effect’. I do know that I am a contrary bugger and tell me often enough not to do something and I will bloody carry on doing it, especially if it is something that was perfectly acceptable and legal to do up until July 2007. and with all your fake statistics you cannot come up with any more convincing reason to me that I should stop smoking than ‘You don’t like the smell’
The signage doesn’t worry me except for it’s all pervasiveness from park bench to indeed churches and hospital wards* I don’t want to light up every time I see a ‘No Smoking’ sign.
I must admit the one that does make we want to spark up as soon as possible is the Airport. You’ve just landed after a 12 hour (non smoking flight) and what’s the first thing you hear over the Tannoy.
No. not ‘Welcome to the United Kingdom’ not ‘Please follow the corridor to Passport Control’ or ‘Please have your documents ready for inspection’
But “Passengers are reminded this is a NON Smoking airport’ [Well good for it] then “ XXXXX Airport is a Non Smoking Airport” or “There is No Smoking anywhere in the Airport”
Every few minutes, “There is No Smoking anywhere in the Airport” all the way from the plane, “XXXXX Airport is a Non Smoking Airport” all the way through passport control, “There is No Smoking anywhere in the Airport” while you’re waiting for your bags, “There is No Smoking anywhere in the Airport” whilst you’re getting your bags through customs, “There is No Smoking anywhere in the Airport” whilst you’re looking for your minicab driver and trying to work out if that is your name spelt freeform or actually someone else. “Passengers are reminded this is a NON Smoking airport’ whilst you’re pushing your trolley past the over priced WH Smiths to the car park.
Well then yes, call it the ‘Ironic Effect’ but then I really do want a cigarette and standing amongst the buses and cars spewing CO, particulates and carcinogens, I go to the designated smoking area and I bloody well have one.
*As recently as 2005, I had to have a spinal operation at the London Spinal Clinic [Ed. well duh, you weren’t there for your piles] (I was covered by BUPA insurance then) As I was doing the check in, you know, the religion, next of kin stuff. The receptionist then asked me if I wanted a smoking or non-smoking room.”Smoking please” Being as I was going to be virtually bedbound for a week. Now banned I would imagine whether they wanted to offer it or not, much like smoking and non smoking hotel rooms.
It’s very strange in the office at the moment. It is hard to explain to anyone who has not been through it or been at a company where there have been forced redundancies and people still have to work their notice.
As I mentioned before, those of us on Fixed Term Agreements were not renewed, a decision not taken at local level or based on need,, purely on the fact that cuts had to be made in the DWP and FTA are the easiest to get rid of, we have no Union support, no recourse to tribunal, just let the contracts run out.
‘Oh look Cleggeron I cut 12,000 from my dept. I got my target, can I have a sweetie?’.
“Well done boy, have a seat in the House of Lords next time if you get voted out”
So there are seventeen (men and women, ignore the title) of us going between now and July, eight of us on May 27th including your humble cat. (Big piss up)
I would just tell them to fuck it, as would the rest but we’ve been saving holiday, so I get the last months money plus 22 days accrued holiday, which should keep me from going back to sign on for a few weeks. (Ah yes, the irony, the Job Centre I work at, is my local Job Centre, I’ve really been there 2 ½ years not 17 months. it is as if I just got a pay rise in 2009 and moved to the other side of the desk*)
Once the announcement was made everyone just carried on as normal, thinking maybe it would be reversed or something (not me, I knew time was up), A couple of people have already gone. But now we are coming into the final countdown and it is obvious we are going.
The normal rank & file I must admit have been lovely, but lovely in the sense of someone finding out you have a terminal illness (Remember most of these people have never been out of work, even though they work in a Job Centre advising [sic] the unemployed, sorry Job Seekers)
It is all “How are you today?”, “How are you bearing up?” “What are we going to do without you?” “It’s wrong, they should get rid of the deadwood first.” [Have to bite tongue on this one, kettle] or the most annoying “Have you found anything yet?”
To which the response is either a) “Do you think I would still be here if I had” or b) “You work in a Job Centre supposedly helping people look for work, doing job searches, what do you think is out there for us? Did you think we had some secret jobs stashed away purely for our benefit, you stupid bint”
No, it’s more the line managers and above and I stress this is not just here or all of them, I have seen it before elsewhere when people are working out their notice, both involuntarily and voluntarily (A manager at a Bank I worked for would not speak to people once they had handed in their notice, I asked once and he said they had betrayed him and the Bank)
Mine has not said more than ‘Good Morning’ to me in 2 weeks. They avoid direct engagement, even eye contact, they don’t ask us to do stuff anymore, we are omitted from consideration in team meetings. If someone mentions “But if I’m doing all this, what’s Pavlov’s Cat doing.?” There’s a silence as if someone just farted during The Lords Prayer, everyone looks at their shoes until the miscreant catches on with an “Oh right, [Looks at me] Sorry”
It as if we have become shades of our former selves, an embarrassment , we should have ‘passed over’ by now and left the living in Peace. We are in ‘The Void’ the space between here and there, shadows of people they once knew, glimpsed out of the corner of the eye and dismissed as a trick of the light or a memory of something once seen.
Still I am a professional and will continue to provide the best service I can, right up until my final day. As I have mentioned in previous posts, it has happened to me before and will no doubt happen again, nothing is certain in these times. So ‘Illegitimi non carborundum’**
As an aside, back in the day when I was providing support services, before IR35, I came across this poem that I thought summed up the life of a contractor.
These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.
Epitaph On An Army Of Mercenaries
*If you are ‘signing on’ the DWP is technically your ‘employer’ and issues your P45 when you sign off, if you sign on over the tax year end 1st April, they’ll also send out a P60. (I had to chase the DWP for my P45 so I could send it to the DWP when I went from unemployed, sorry Job Seeker to working for them.)
**Don’t let the bastards grind you down
So another Bank Holiday dawned, after having wasted the others in sleep or drinking I decided to take the camera for a walk (haven’t done that for too long).
As it was a nice day I thought I’d head to Hall Place, as kids we used to spend days there in the summer, swimming in the river, fishing for sticklebacks, paddling in the river, swinging from ropes and building dams*.
But I’d heard that it has had a bit of a makeover, though the formal gardens were always well cared for.
I have to say, it was really nice, the house is opened up to the public, the gardens are really lovely, There were picnics going on on, groups and families all enjoying the sunshine (some had even brought wind breaks, that’s foresight or familiarity)
There’s now a tea room and the obligatory pub/restaurant, but it is all pretty discreet. The only jarring note is the A2 which runs behind, but really it is so constant after a while you don’t even notice it (your brain ‘tunes it out’).
I will be going back for the rose garden when it flowers.
Here are some pictures, they are not great, I’m really out of practice, was blowing the exposure all over the place, but I hope they give an idea of the place.
*Swimming, paddling, fishing for sticklebacks, swinging from tires is of course strictly VERBOTEN these days
Oh and BTW it’s NO DOGS, it’s surprising though how many people I saw thought that didn’t apply to them.
I know taking shots at The Mail is like shooting fish in a barrel, but this one got my ire up in its pure ignorance.
For a start let’s take ‘BOW’ in capitals. Why? is it ‘Look at the freakish Orientals, they still ‘BOW’ OMG! ‘
Bowing in Japan is traditional, it is the equivalent (and a bit more) of shaking hands, you cannot get through the day without bowing, you even find yourself doing it when talking on the phone. For instance, you know when a car stops at a zebra crossing to let you cross, halfway across you give a little wave to acknowledge the driver to say ‘thanks for stopping’* In Japan, you do a little semi-turn towards the driver and a little bow, in fact I had to train myself out of it when I returned, in case people thought I was being rude and ignoring them. The waitress bows when giving you the bill, you bow when giving her the money, it is politeness and Japan is all about being polite.
The etiquette of bowing is complex, there’s no way a Westerner such as I could understand all the degrees / nuances involved, it can range from about 5 degrees to the full 90 degrees as shown in the picture [more later] and also the length of the bow. A junior will give a deeper, longer bow to a manager when they meet, out of respect for his seniority (but the manager will still bow in response).
At Mitsukoshi in Tokyo (Think Selfridges + Harrods pre-Fayed, but posher) They have two girls in each lift, as you are entering and leaving the lift, one gives a standard bow, the other a deeper bow reserved for high status individuals, that way no-one is unknowingly offended.
Not a ‘Grovel’
How does the dictionary define ‘grovel’
Grovel (third-person singular simple present)
Is that what they did? I don’t think so
The bow of apology is a big thing in Japan. It is an admittance of ‘I /We fucked up and I/we am/are sorry’ and yet I have seen it given for something's that was beyond that individuals control, we were once delayed on a train for 30 mins due a a landslide caused by a Tremor. When we arrived at our destination the entire staff were out front, ticket staff up to senior management all trying to help us get to our onward destinations and up front the Manager of the station doing the big bow, apologising to us for the inconvenience, not his fault, but he still felt he needed as an honourable person to apologise..
Why is it a big deal? Well look at it, you’ve all seen enough Samurai movies
The neck is exposed and the stance says ‘if I have offended you or failed you, my life is yours to take.’
Yes I know that was years ago and the Meiji reformation ended the Samurai, but the traditions of honour and responsibility still remain.
Not one of those men did not understand what they were doing, this was not some half-hearted insincere apology like our Politicians do.
Is that grovelling, I don’t think so .So come on Daily Mail do a bit of research for once, or ask someone who has actually been to the country you are reporting on.
*I still do this, but it appears to be dying out.
Ha, you said it was all just paranoia down the years.
Now it turns out I may have been suffering for PTSD all this time. Not so smug now are you, you right-handers. With your laughing at my setting the table ‘the wrong way’ and inability to cut paper in a straight line or do joined-up writing.
Now that’s settled I demand a Charideee be set up for me.