Still Happy

Back in November 2015 I wrote a post entitled ‘Great Dream’ when I referred to Action for Happiness’ website. The Observer caught up at the weekend when firstly it commented on the recent study showing that we are at our most miserable at 47.2 after which, thankfully, we become more realistic and, in tandem, happier. Then in its Review, it published an interview with the economist, Richard Layard, who argues that politicians should be formally targeting well-being in circumstances where happiness ought to be a key measure of a society’s success.
The Review also prints an extract from Richard Layard’s new book, “Can We Be Happier? Evidence and Ethics,” written with George Ward. In the extract there is an explanation as to why Action for Happiness was founded and how the 10 keys to happier living are listed in the acronym Great Dream, split between five daily actions ( as in GREAT) and five habits of mind summed up by DREAM. Both are explained in the info graphic above and, more importan…

Sharp Practice

I'm checking in to counter any rumours that my previous blog entries have caught up with me. That said and to be perfectly honest I'm a little computered out at present.
A couple of years ago I had a poor experience with a laptop that I had ordered for an organisation I am involved with, when a pre-loaded programme that had been paid for never arrived. Consequently and when seeking out a new desktop, I bore this in mind and decided to order from its rival. That said, it did seem to be a better package, warranty and specification than anything at the same price on any of the other big name providers, so well pleased, I ticked the box, paid the price and waited.
Under promise and over deliver is the mantra for consumer satisfaction, so I was blown away when it arrived within 48 hours and 3-4 days earlier than I had expected. Setting it up was a doddle with all the wizards, although it did require me to use an ethernet cable.
But then the problems began in the form of a mighty heada…

A New P.C.

With Microsoft withdrawing its support for Windows 7 on 14th January, I've decided to take the plunge and replace my desktop which is now nearly 8 years old. I did try a Windows 10 upgrade a few years ago but there were so many technical hitches that I had to uninstall it. Needless to say my workhorse of a PC has served me well and, if it wasn't for Microsoft's decision, I am sure that it could continue to do so for a little longer. However, I do use it constantly for editing photographs and video and without support it really isn't worth the risk of a wholesale crash, especially as it has a tendency already to freeze at inopportune moments.
Like thousands of others across the globe, my machine will, therefore, shortly be heading for that great computer graveyard in the sky or wherever it is that they go. I know that this human waste in electrical goods cannot continue but, unlike my washing machine, this isn't a case where a repair will work. I do feel guilty that …

Little Women

Before she left us after her Christmas visit, the youngest and I went to the cinema to see " Little Women." It was quite beautiful, both cinematographically and emotionally with plenty of  pathos, passion and reflections on empowerment. It is a tale of a time when women clearly sought recognition as an intelligent species in their own right whilst living nonetheless in a world run by men for men.
Plus ├ža change.. you might even be tempted to say.
I have always been renowned for my ability to cry at films. It started in my early years with Bambi, reaching a climax at a special screening of Gone with the Wind that I attended in my 20's. It was a mistake, of course, to have gone to see it in quite so large a group because I struggled for several years afterwards to find anyone willing to accompany me to watch a film. Presumably none of my friends were forward enough thinking to consider taking out shares in Kleenex.
As you can imagine and leaving nothing to chance, we went to …

That Dream Job

According to the newspapers it's reckoned that by 2030 the employment market is going to be brimming with over 65's, if the analysis by the Office of National Statistics of 2019's Labour Force Survey is correct. I wonder what everyone will be doing and will I be in a minority of people of a certain age who have gone down the retirement route instead?
With this in mind I can't help pondering on that advert by Dominic Cummings on his blog. Is now the time to actively seek some work experience to add to my CV before I reach the second half of my 60's?
He suggests that he's looking for "data scientists, project managers, policy experts," and "assorted weirdos and misfits with odd skills." As I have no experience of the first three, I'm going to have to narrow myself down and apply for the fourth. It says apply by letter (one page maximum), so here goes:
Dear Mr Cummings,
I wish to apply for a position as advertised on your website. I note that y…

Tempting Fate

Many moons ago, I took out a life assurance policy. It was intended to ensure that in the event of my premature demise, funds were paid into the family coffers to offset the loss of my earned income. Notwithstanding my retirement and the fact that both the eldest and youngest are now financially independent of us,  I have maintained the premiums assiduously.
The policy has another 3-4 years to run at which point it matures with no refund of premiums or any other benefit to me. I have been conscious that it can, therefore, be viewed as simply paying money into a dark hole from which only the insurance company is likely to gain.
On the other hand, cancelling it has always felt a little like tempting fate. I'd like to think that I'm not particularly superstitious, except regard for Sod's Law suggests that I am, and which, thinking about it, is perhaps the driving force for any insurance policy. Maybe, considering yesterday's post, I've always been a pessimist by nature …

Living in Fear

In retirement I try not to stress, but there are occasions when I have no control over the dilemma presented. Tax Returns are one of my biggest bugbears, although I am relieved to say that I have today completed and submitted that due by 31st January. I don't understand why but, after double and triple checking, I always end up pressing "Send" with a foreboding sense of fear rather than relief. I'm not sure if I'm of a nervous disposition, an eternal pessimist or simply paying for a criminal history in a previous life. Regardless of the reason, my dealings with the Tax Office, which to give it its due is always very polite and helpful, are enough to instil a medieval fear of hellfire and brimstone.
Take for instance last month. At the end of November I received a letter saying that the tax return that I had signed on behalf of the eldest (who still resides in New Zealand) and had submitted in plenty of time for the deadline of 31st October could not be accept…