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Showing posts from January, 2020

A Day of Such Significance

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I cannot allow 31st January 2020 to pass without comment. The date our shameless Prime Minister insists he "got Brexit done;" albeit and to be fair, we are told that tonight's celebrations at Number 10 are to be muted. What about across the land? How are the citizens of our once again sovereign country planning to herald in the new era that begins at 11pm tonight? I've been mulling over this for a couple of hours now and believe that finally I have come up with the obvious solution. When I worked as a family lawyer, December was always dominated by disputes concerning the arrangements for Christmas contact between parents and children. In some instances plans would be made to divide Christmas Day itself; in others to replicate Christmas on various days, sometimes on several days in succession, for the benefit not only of separated parents but also of paternal and maternal grandparents. One of the underlying concerns, of course, was how many Christmas di

Up and Down

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  Langdale Pikes on our Only Blue Sky Day Twice a year, Mister E and I decamp to the Lake District. Last week was one of those occasions and, unlike previous January visits, it was unseasonably mild and, I should add, also muddy and for the most part overcast. It was, however, dry which is rarely ever the case when we visit in the height of summer and we did enjoy a hard frosty day with blue sky at the beginning of our stay. Loughrigg Tarn on that Blue Sky Day  So, we took advantage and wore down the soles of our boots. In fact, I walked so far that I received a notification from the fitness app I use for the gym, to say that I had broken my personal record of miles walked in a week. An impressive feat (even if perhaps the bar was not exeptionally high) when I think that it was just a year ago that I was still ruminating on the fact that I had been struggling with anything beyond 4 miles because of the old knee problems. Less impressive was the fitness app which, notw

Still Happy

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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,

Sharp Practice

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  Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 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

A New P.C.

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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 g

Little Women

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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 c

That Dream Job

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  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 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

Tempting Fate

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  Image by MasterTux from Pixabay 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

Living in Fear

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Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay 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 d

Clueless Progress

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Image by John Hain from Pixabay Since yesterday's entry I have been doing a little self-examination after all. You may recall my desire to rebel against decades moulded by the constraints of legal practice and become a Bohemian spirit in retirement. My self-assessment suggests that I could now be on the road to achieving this, having all but given up two years into the venture . With the intention of pressing on with the proposed transformation, however, I recently identified a new art class to attend. E-mails were exchanged and all seemed fine until it came to paying the deposit by online transfer. You see we unconventional types can be rather vague if not clueless on occasions, especially when it comes to passwords or, in this instance, a 5 digit numerical code. I could remember the numbers (well I've accessed the account often enough) but sadly not their order. Needless to say and after several erroneous attempts I was locked out of online banking. My effor

2020: A Year to Rehydrate

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So the Twenties have arrived; not only a brand new year but also a spanking new decade. A drought of year-ends, suddenly succumbing to rainfall. I have grown accustomed to considering December 31st/January 1st as a time for reflection and resolutions. However, after drenching myself in the contentment of retirement (I appreciate that images of hearths and slippers will be flooding to mind, but it isn't like that at all) I have struggled to make fresh New Year's resolutions for a couple of years and abandoned doing so altogether last year. Since 2018 I have been setting myself specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed challenges. The trouble is that in retirement personal satisfaction becomes a given. Counting is no longer part of your thirst for life meaning that work-based SMART goals are doomed to fail. This time last year when I challenged myself to visit 52 art exhibitions over the course of 2019, adding up must still have been an integral p