Boris Award

We have not awarded a Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson Award for a few months. Remember we set this up to honour the fine body of self deluded, incompetent numpties in our society. Well one chap in the UK is so overdue this award it’s about time he got what he so richly deserves. I give you our much loved Health Secretary – Matt Hancock. This incompetent buffoon is apparently in charge of the NHS.

Photo sourced from Wired

Where do we start with Mr Hancock. He has enough material to write several books. Let’s hope one of those books relates to his trial and imprisonment.

  • In his time in government he has voted against giving health care workers a pay rise. They have basically enjoyed a pay freeze. As a result the pay of groups like Nurses have seen real terms wage cuts of 20% over the last 10 years. Last year he finally got round to awarding them a modest pay award unfortunately he won’t commit to awarding any further increases. His reasoning (you will notice a catalog of self delusion with Matt) that nurses have received very significant pay awards over the last few years).
  • Matt has said he would see about giving nurses another pay rise sometime in the future. However for their brave sacrifices he will give them a special badge. He is also quiet happy to see overseas medical staff who are working so brilliantly in the NHS, having to face increased registration costs due to Brexit……
  • Matt picked a fight with professional footballers. He thought that during the pandemic that they should take a pay cut and donate to charity. He failed to recognise that many do actually give a lot to charities. He also failed to call for many of the much richer backers of his own party to accept a pay cut. Interestingly when asked if Matt would take a pay cut he replied No as he was working very hard.
  • He might be in charge of the NHS but he has spoken previously about the need to sell parts of it off. He has also accepted thousands from a pressure group who wants to privatise the NHS.
  • In March 2020 most of the country looked on in horror as the government allowed one of the biggest sporting events to continue without any virus restrictions. Even though these types of events had already been banned across Europe. So why was Matt so keen for the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival to go ahead. Why was it a good idea (apparently backed by scientific advice) to allow 180000 people to group together during a pandemic. Who can tell. It’s fascinating to note that Matt has strong links with the Horse Racing Industry and has received political donations from them. Sadly links are being established with the festival and the spread of the virus.
  • When Matt was questioned about the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kit for front line health workers he got a bit annoyed. He was being questioned by an MP who is working as an A&E Doctor during the pandemic. Matt told her to watch her tone….
  • Key health workers are having to reuse PPE, use bin liners and basically take risks. Those working in other care settings are doing far worse. Yet Matt proudly boasts that he is sourcing enough kit and actually nurses should start looking after the kit better. Then he made a big announcement that 100,000 items of kit had been sourced from abroad and was arriving in hours. Hours turned into days. When the kit arrived it had to be sent back as it was not fit for purpose. Strangely Matt has glossed over that.
  • Matt told an interview in March that he had been working really hard with the supermarkets to ensure food supplies during the pandemic. That was interesting as that appeared to be news to the supermarkets themselves. The message seemed to be we have not heard anything directly from the government as yet.
  • He likes to brag about meeting his personal target of the country testing 100000 people a day for the virus. What he’s less happy to talk about is the number he uses to meet his target includes missed tests, tests which have failed to be processed, tests mailed out to people (so still in the post and not yet been carried out) and tests which have failed (so need to be repeated). The actual number of daily tests performed are well below his own target.
  • He’s been talking about imposing virus checks at UK airports since March. Finally those checks are starting but not at every airport. Even at airports which will begin screening arrivals, it’s not at every terminal. Not even every plane….
  • Dear old Matt has now claimed that he put in place a protective ring around our Care Homes as soon as this crisis hit. That’s really interesting as the perceived view is rather different. Basically Care Homes have been left with no guidance, no protective kit, no testing, no tracing and no support. Care staff with little medical training and no kit have been trying to treat residents struck down with the virus. People have been dying in their thousands in Care Homes with no help from Matt. Until recently they didn’t even count deaths occurring in the care setting. Currently the estimated coronavirus deaths in UK Care Homes stand at over 11000 (likely to be much higher). That’s some protective ring Matt….

Trust me I could go on and on about Matt…..So Mr Hancock you richly deserve this award. Unfortunately your country and in particular the elderly in our care homes deserve way better than you.

Goodbye

Well it’s almost time to say goodbye to April. Well that was a different type of month. I still can’t believe 2020 has only been going for 4 months. Feels an awful lot longer than that.

Sadly it’s time to say goodbye to a regular friend. This week is the last Terrible Poetry challenge hosted by Chelsea Owen. Thank you Chelsea for the fun. The last challenge is as follows

  1. Topic: A bittersweet farewell to something completely ridiculous.
  2. Length: You choose.
  3. Rhyming: For old time’s sake, rhyme in the worst possible places.
  4. Make it terrible!
  5. Rating: PG or cleaner.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (May 1) to submit a poem to Chelsea.

So here goes with maybe the last bit of poetry on this blog. Let’s make it truly awful. There has been a fairly common theme in many of my terrible poems – someone called Boris. As he is completely ridiculous then let’s finish with him.

Oh Boris isn’t it time you went away

Surely it’s time for another holiday

Its only a few months since your last Caribbean jolly

How you must miss drinking all that expensive bolly

Your country is deep in crisis and finds itself in such a terrible mess

So many mistakes and lapses of judgement, yet you find it impossible to confess

It’s always someone else’s fault and never your own

You haven’t managed this pandemic preferring to blame the Eurozone

You don’t listen to reason, facts are just ignored

But you do listen to Cummings, Britains very own evil Sith Lord

You only had one aim and that was hard Brexit

Your getting your way leaving us deep in the shit

Because of your privileged upbringing you are entitled to rule

You lead by example, bluffing and acting the fool

You like all the trappings which goes with being the top man

Sadly hard work and emergency meetings is not part of your plan

So for the good of your country please take your leave

Go back to your mansion, don’t worry we won’t grieve

So I long for the day when you pack your bags and wish No10 a fond farewell

Go back to your lovely life, do nothing and watch your bank account swell.

The science

Apparently I have to walk or run 50km next week so this chap evolves. Dads do have their uses when it comes to Pokémon Go. That’s probably as far as my usefulness goes. But at least I do recognise my limitations. Sadly sone people have boundless ambition and see no limit to their abilities. That is terrifying.

We foolishly watched the news.

Dad can I ask a silly question. Shouldn’t the science panel advising the Government be made up of scientists.”

Yes you would hope that a panel of scientists is in fact a group of science experts. For months the UK Government has kept going on about how it’s policy on the virus is determined by this secretive science elite. As they are scientists (and clearly they know more than we do) then we should trust Government policy. Ok that sounds like a plan.

He’s not a scientist. He’s that awful man who tells the PM what to do. How come he is on the science panel.”

After months of having to sign up to a science led approach we suddenly find out that the secretive science panel is compromised of some scientists but has key members who are political appointees. Cummings, the key PM adviser is a lead member. This is a man who believes in Eugenics – that is selective breeding and human intervention to improve the human gene pool. This is also a man who apparently thought that high levels of virus deaths was ok as most would be elderly. He’s not alone on the science panel. He has buddies. He is joined by a data specialist who came up with the Government’s online election campaign. He also has some very worrying views on the uses of private data. These two characters drive the science panel while some scientists on the panel can attend but are not allowed to ask questions. These have to be submitted in writing prior to meetings so they can be filtered. Suddenly it’s so much harder to have faith in our science led approach.

But what do I know. I’m only good for evolving pokemon.

Tree

This is a tree we can see from our garden. The walk across the farmers field takes you right beside it. When we first moved here it was so much bigger. Almost symmetrical. Unfortunately countless storms and a couple of lightning strikes have taken their toll. I guess that’s the price you pay for being a big isolated tree on an exposed hill top.

So it finally happened. All the countries schools will close on Friday. A skeleton childcare service will be provided for essential workers and vulnerable kids. Our school is planning to try and run lessons online. It’s an indefinite closure with much talk of this extending into the summer. It will be an interesting trial with homeschooling in mind. Let’s see what works. Let’s see what the optimum learning time is. Let’s see if I can cope. As a single parent, the work shutdown will allow me to fully focus on son and his learning.

Life can often bring much isolation. With the new life motto – ‘Social Distancing’, more are going to have deal with the challenges that it brings. Each one of us has to find our own way of dealing with this. Don’t laugh but walking past this old tree and just giving it a friendly pat can help me. The tree has survived longer and more intense isolation than I ever will. It’s only right that I show solidarity with a fellow survivor.

I went for a walk today and almost didn’t see another soul. Plenty of sheep and crows but so few people. Hardly any cars as well. It just seemed kinda normal. I guess after three years I am getting use to the isolation. Just about. Had to make a few work calls today but that’s going to be it for many weeks now. As people increasingly keep their distance the reality is that the only person I will be physically talking to over the next couple of months will our son. Maybe an occasional telephone call with a sister. That’s why blogging will be so important for me.

I’m someone who has to continually work on my conversation skills these days. Without it I become a gibbering, shy wreck. That’s why I have recently become a crap Dr Doolittle. I am increasingly talking to animals. Not just the mad pets. The birds and squirrels waiting to be fed in the garden. The frog who comes for a warm when the tumble dryer is on. The bee trying to break into the house. The farmers sheep, cows and a grumpy bull. I’m a crap Doolittle as I talk to the poor animals but I still can’t understand what they say back. Probably a good job as I can imagine the responses.

“Will you just sod off”

“Boring, boring”

“Do you mind if I hump your leg”

So on the walk I crouched down to have a chat with a sheep. The local sheep are happy to listen to my waffles as long as I bring some biscuits with me. So I was asking this particular sheep if she ever got bored just walking in the same field and did she like these biscuits . Nearly jumped out of my skin when behind me a booming voice replied.

“If they keep producing the wool for my jumpers I will happily let them eat biscuits. This one likes Digestives, the others are partial to those biscuits .”

I had not heard the farmer sneak up on me. Another day and another …. Oh the shame. But at least I know that I need to bring two types of biscuits on the walks now. All this took place under the a much battered, yet resilient tree.

Dad are you cheating

Dad I hope your not cheating”

No son of course not”

Dad I saw you. You went outside with some bread and seed. You tried to get the birds in next doors garden to move into ours. You also went over to the tree on the road and you tried to tempt the birds onto our lawn”

Yes I did. I was desperate as it was the RSPB Garden Bird survey this weekend. You can only count birds that land in your garden. This weekend even our normal visitors were refusing to land. Yes I know no shame. I did go and try to tempt birds from next doors garden. Yes I did go underneath the trees to try and tempt birds into our garden. Those beaks and eyes looking down at me in the same disdainful way Hitchcock’s Birds looked upon their soon to be victims.

Eventually a few reluctant souls landed but none of the birds I had tried to tempt.

Came across a great poem from Tina (Pippi’s Poetry) that fitted perfectly with the bird count theme. Thanks Tina for letting me share it.

I’m trying to bee more English
As I take my afternoon tea
It’s the simple things that make life sweet
They are perfect gifts that make life complete.

I’m dreaming of an English landscape
Where daffodils seem to grow wild
And a yard is called a garden
As it was in the beginning–before the world went wild!

I’m imagining a pretty country home
Where sheep graze in distant fields
And bird counting is an annual event
For life is short, and joy it can steal.

So I’m trying to bee more English
As my mind buzzes with daffodil daydreams
And of a land I’ve never been nor seen
But for the views I’ve glimpsed through my t.v. screen.

Tina S.W.
January 26, 2020

The birds that did kindly consent to being in my garden count are regular visitors. They don’t bother flying off when we come out now. I know them better than most of the humans in the village. So far in 2020 I’ve spoken to one person from the village. Whisper it quietly I speak to these feathered characters everyday.

Tina in her wonderful poem spoke of the English landscape and daffodils. Today that landscape was cold, grey and bleak. But bleak is good some days.

It matched my mood. Walking through the village which once seemed so full of familiar faces and friends. Now it seems cold and full of strangers. A world I don’t fit anymore. Yet a few strides and I’m back in our garden. Amongst friends again. My world has shrunk but it’s still a world of beauty.

A welcoming party waiting for today’s food offerings.

Dad are you cheating again. I’m not falling for that one.”

Yes I was. Every year we watch the famous Kitzbuhel Skiing Downhill race on telly. Every year we play the who can spot The Terminator first game. The race crowd is full of famous people but the crowning glory is always Arnold Schwarzenegger. This time we recorded the race. My cheating plan was while Son was having a bath I would fast forward through the recording to try and spot him first. I was busted before I could find him. On the actual viewing I lost the game – yet again. Arnie always where’s a warm hat here. No wonder I couldn’t spot him on my fast forward cheat.

Just goes to show cheating doesn’t work.

2003

2003. A time before parenting. A happy dreaming couple. A time when digital photography was still seen as the work of the devil by many. When a mobile phone was just that – a mobile phone – nothing else. My football team was still playing in the European Champions League.

31st May 2003. As the local paper described it. A once in a lifetime opportunity. The chance to see a 90% solar eclipse. Two problems

  • The peak eclipse would happen dead on sunrise. Best viewed from the East Coast.
  • This is Yorkshire.

Yorkshire does many things well. Cricket, Rhubard, Beer, Ferrets, Terriers, Chocolate, Moody Moors. We also do lots of cloud and rain. We don’t really do sun – bit of a bugger when your looking forward to a solar eclipse.

With a wing and a prayer we set off for the coast at 3am. Arriving at Scarborough an hour later. People looking out across the sea. Just before sunrise it’s hard to tell if the clouds have formed.

The first signs of morning and we wait with baited breath. Will the Sun appear.

As the sunrise time came still no sign of the sun. Maybe too much sea mist.

Then at 4.36am a thin red strip of sun appears. The crowd let’s out a huge cheer. Some hardy folk jump into the sea for a swim.

Unbelievably the infamous Yorkshire weather was playing ball today. Not a cloud in the sky.

As the Sun continued to rise a beautiful red then orange water path virtually led the way to the eclipse. Someone had brought a ghetto blaster and almost hypnotic music drifted across the morning air. The dreaming couple talked about an adventure to a far off land to see a full eclipse one day. One day.

17 years later. The Yorkshire weather is certainly not playing ball. I came across these photos looking for my birth certificate. They instantly took me back to that time of dreams and a truly magical partial eclipse.

One more little miracle. A photo involving me. A photo I can sign up to. So to those who have asked for a picture. Ok here it is.. Me back in 2003.

Flick the switch

Ans so the transition begins.

A transition from a happy and relaxed boy to one wracked with doubt and anxiety.

School starts to flick the switch again. How many kids are going through this experience. Far Too Many.

Here the school prison gates open on Monday. Son’s words not mine.

So on this glorious winters day he tries to wade through the homework which was dished out before Christmas. He spent an hour trying to sketch a mirror image of a Scream like skull photo. The fear of picking up a negative for not putting enough effort into the drawing driving him on. Sadly I fear it’s also driving any love he might have for art well and truly out of his system as well.

Once the skull torture was finished. He started work for two upcoming spelling tests. Then time spent on Science, Mathematics and French work. Finally he needed to work hard to complete a writing piece neatly. His teachers words. Whats the point, going to get told that it’s not good enough, I haven’t tried enough and it needs to be done again. Son’s words.

This really can’t go on. Son deserve so much more than this. So many kids deserve better than this. Is it so difficult to make education just a little less daunting and just a little bit more inclusive. What’s the word I’m looking for. Welcoming. Another word. Enriching. Another word. Fun.

Who am I kidding. It will be the same school that he was so pleased to escape from before Christmas. But 2020 feels different this time. This time the prospect of a positive change has dimmed significantly. Our Government is now in place until son will have left secondary school. It is committed to extending the current education philosophy which has already created this hell hole. We are now facing a real risk of son being failed for the entirety of his school life. That’s a sobering thought.

2020 will start with yet another push to deliver any positive change at all. Again school and teachers will be told exactly what actions and support son needs to be put in place to make his schooling work better for him. The dialogue will be constant – certainly from my side. But deep down I know what the likely outcome is. So this year the question is probably more about what it will take for us to flick the switch and turn off this failed schooling nightmare. If we were still a two parent family then the switch would have already been flicked. Homeschooling. With Single Parenting it’s more fraught with logistical and financial issues. So many issues to address. BUT son only gets one childhood. One go at his formative years. Flicking the switch is increasingly looking inevitable.

People of Blyth

It’s Friday the 13th. It feels like a real horror story in Britain today. A new dawn of terror.

People of Blyth I really hope your decision to vote Conservative works out for you. I really hope Boris Johnson follows through on his promises. He gets Brexit done then finds money to cut taxes and spend more on public services like our health service. Although a Bart Simpson quote comes to mind.

You just bought another load of crap from the world’s fattest fertilizer salesman.”

To be fair to Blyth I could have picked a number of Northern English Towns and Cities. That includes my childhood home town – Redcar. Or as Johnson has now called it Bluecar. I hope people remember that Redcar is named after an area of poorly drained land. Kjar (Car) is old Viking word for marsh. Maybe Conservative Blue and poor drainage are a suitable combo.. My old Dad always said he would never ever vote Conservative. He must be turning in his grave at a Conservative MP of Redcar.

So we wake up to Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister. I was careful there not to say our or my PM. He certainly is not my PM. He needs to earn that. If he proves himself capable and trustworthy then I will start to call him MY PM. His remit is to get Brexit done. As far as many are concerned that is the a Brexit debate finished. We are now leaving. Leaving hopefully with the best negotiated terms and relationships possible. Although many of his backers want to have the process fail so they can just crash out of the EU without any constraints. I genuinely think it’s the wrong call but we have lost the argument and IT IS WHAT IT IS. We need to move on.

I’m not going to rant at the majority of people who voted Conservative. Your opinions and values are just as valid and heartfelt as mine. I do shake my head at some of the reasons a worryingly large number of people decided to vote on. Ones I have personally heard include

  • I’m not voting Liberal as the leader is a woman,
  • I’m voting for Boris because he is funny,
  • I’m voting for Labour as Gary Neville (ex Footballer) said he was,
  • I’m not voting Labour as they backed the Terrorist who attacked a London Bridge (a fake news story)
  • I’m voting Conservative as they will teach Europe a lesson because they are to blame for our problems.

Simply staggering….

Our political system is broken – probably beyond repair. Increasingly money buys you power. We have political leaders who openly lie and spread unfounded rumours. We have effectively a state sponsored public broadcaster while the other news outlets are in the hands of a few Conservative supporting billionaires. Media groups who openly flout electoral law and favour the incumbent government. Where opposition parties are scrutinised and vilified while at they same time reporters act as a mouth piece for government propaganda. It’s not even subtle anymore. A BBC News reporter days before the election told viewers that Boris Johnson ‘so deserves’ the victory he is hoping to get.

We have potential Russian meddling in our elections. A crucial report on this was buried by the Government a month before the vote. But let’s be fair to Russia it’s not as if the UK or the US have not also interfered in the the affairs of other nation states as well. If we do it why can’t they.

We have a fragmented opposition where the two main players have lost the plot and would much rather fight each other than actually focus on trying to be a credible government in waiting.

We have a ridiculously out of date electoral system that makes it virtually impossible for parties like the Greens to make any headway. Yet it gives huge majorities to a part that gets less than 50% of the vote.

We have a United Kingdom which is literally falling part. As much as Johnson has denied it his Brexit Plan will split Northern Island off from the rest of Britain with a dedicated border control. Scotland now votes in an entirely different direction than England. Scotland voted against Brexit. Scotland votes SNP. How can calls for independence be denied any longer. It’s probably appealing to Boris as he would get rid of a large and vociferous opposition grouping. Locking in a Conservative Government for a generation.

And then we get back to the good people of Blyth and Redcar. A political system which has for years ignored them and failed them. Now we have a hardcore of disillusioned voters who have little faith in their politicians and leaders. No wonder they see Brexit as a way of bringing change.

So we batten down the hatches. Focus on what is truly important – family and friends. Do whatever we can to protect them while doing our bit for the environment. Completely block out the tainted media groups like the BBC which simply cannot be trusted anymore. Find our own news sources. And we move on hoping that things don’t go as badly wrong as I fear. I really fear for minority groups, those who are sick, those who are on benefits, those who are out of work and I am petrified about what will now happen to our environment and wildlife. So ends the rant and now I get back to being a crap dad trying to cope with whatever life chucks at me. Fingers crossed I don’t need to mention Boris again.

Melodrama

Dad we have an end of term Drama assessment tomorrow. It’s basically a spelling test. Have to learn words like Melodrama, Facial Expressions, Villains, Exaggeration, Storyline, heroic and conclusion. No wonder Im in the bottom set if they only judge kids on spelling.

The ironic thing is that the Dyslexic pupil is getting higher marks than many of the other kids in the test he is being set up to fail in. Plus I’ve said it before – isn’t Drama supposed to be about creativity. What’s creative about spelling Melodrama. Maybe the creativity is finding different ways to misspell words.

MELODRAMA – melonram, meltorama, melodyarm, mouldyfarm, mellowdram

The worlds a melodrama.

A world where a PM driving a forklift truck is deemed more newsworthy than young children spending hours on the floor of

underfunded hospital’s because no beds are available. How a PM can walk past a homeless man sleeping rough and SMILE. So many countries run by liars and self serving buffoons. How a teenager with Aspergers is vilified for standing up for the planet. How so many societies are descending into hatred and violence. Where it’s open season on minority groups.

Photo from Inside Croydon

On days like this part of me is relieved my partner is not hear to see this. To see what has become of our country, our world over the last three years. She would be devastated.

And then your see a beautiful sunset over a little church which has been around for hundreds of years. In those brief moments before the darkness falls you see hope and you see a reason to fight. If enough good people see this then the day of reckoning will soon come for those who abuse their power and abuse their position.

When that day comes the melodrama will centre on the facial expressions of the villains as they are brought to justice. It’s no exaggeration to say that will be a storyline which has taken far too long to come to his heroic conclusion.

**************

This went down a route I wasn’t expecting. Like many people in the UK we are going down with election cabin fever. Clinging to hope yet fearing the upcoming darkness which may befall our country tomorrow night.

Boris Award.

A while back we started the Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson Award for services to numpties and overall nastiness.

We haven’t awarded a Boris in a while. Almost too many candidates to consider but today’s winner just went that little extra mile. Meet Sally Anne Heart the Conservative candidate for Hastings & Rye.

Sally has some interesting views. But just one needs special attention.

Sally believes that Disabled People and People with Learning Disabilities should be paid less money because ‘they Don’t Understand Money’.

Shame on any person from the constituency who votes for this candidate. Shame on Boris Johnson for allowing these views to come from his party. And shame on the media for completely ignoring this.