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Monday 18 October, 2021

I want, I want, I want!

It sort of sums up where the world is headed.

Me, me, me!

Competitiveness over resources is Nature's way to test the fitness of those who prosper and survive.

Survival of the fittest.

However, many species are ‘social animals’ and the human race is one of them. That said, we live in a Big Society which is looking to have become too large to fit into Nature's model of societal self benefiting groups.

Within the society which has brought us wealth and a greater standard of living compared to years gone past, there are mini societies. As they seek to address the various schisms, marketers aim at youth cultures, the pink pound, the grey pound, owners of pets, owners of houses, those who don't own property; the list is long.

The society we think of as being The One is at best, fragmented beyond anything Nature expected. Too big and unwieldy, it barely limps along with a crutch provided by something called legislation. Whereas at one time the rule of law served to maintain class order and social distinction, these days it is beginning to look more and more like a sticking plaster over a society structure beset by decay and disorder.

It is percolating down to such mundane things as road use. Not so many years ago, the rules of the road were intended to help guard against mayhem and chaos which would cause death or injury. These days it is becoming a way to curtail anything which may disrupt traffic flow along routes and byways which are carrying numbers far exceeding anything that may have been planned for when said road was originally built.

The same applies to business. It applies to socialising. Legislation is designed, and now exists, to rein in any behaviour which has the potential to upset the extremely fragile society in which we now live. Future resource shortages; be they water, oil, power, land or anything we tend to buy with money, will become taken rather than bought.

There is no ‘i’ in team, but there is a ‘me’ and there is an 'i’ in ‘society.


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Wednesday 13 October, 2021

The letter ‘H’ was inadvertently conceived by Greek philosophers as they sought to determine the answer to crossing rivers without getting their feet wet.

What we know as a bridge these days was unknown to the people who gave us trigonometry, geometry and bath salts. Crossing bodies of water always involved getting wet unless a boat was used. As flight hadn't been invented, ravines, canyons and hidden dips were impossible to negotiate without employing ropes and pulleys.

Thinkers of the day came up with ways to express the problem so that they could then extrapolate and determine possible solutions. The ‘H’ was eventually born.

Each bank was represented by a single upright line. The greatest minds of the day struggled with working out how to get from the first line to the second.

One day a simple farm boy saw the pair of lines displayed at a market he was attending and asked what it meant. The great thinker displaying the board told him that what it represented was beyond his ability to comprehend, but the boy persevered and insisted that the old man try and explain it to him.

It was while all sorts of mathematic expressions were being scribbled across the diagram as part of the explanation that a single line was drawn between the two upright lines. The boy asked what that meant and the old man’s eyes opened wide as he realised that he had stumbled upon a way from one side to the other as he had tried to provide understanding to the boy.

He immediately ran a bath and undressed before running through the market shouting, “You reek, sir!” to everyone man who obviously hadn't dressed in a fresh toga that morning.

The boy picked up the diagram and thought, “Hmm, clever. That horizontal line bridges the gap between the two upright lines,” before suddenly exclaiming, “I know! I shall call it a bridge!”

Initially the people of Ancient Greece thought him mad. However, the idea caught on and before too long, bridges were everywhere.

Being a mere boy, he didn't think to take out a patent on the idea. Consequently bridges never earned him a penny and he died in poverty and without the fame he deserved.

However, detailed research by me has revealed his name.

Aeferbeen Gullible will always be remembered now that the Oxford English Dictionary has elected to place his surname at the start at the top of the section titled ‘A’ in recognition of what he has given the world.

Tuesday 12 October, 2021

I'm sitting in my car, waiting. It is not worth my while driving home because the person I dropped off will need to be collected and I'd spend more time driving than I would at home. So I am watching the world go by.

There is a cycle way directly in front of me. During the hour I have been here, I have not seen a single bicycle. Mind you, there have been a great number of pedestrians and every so often one of those electric scooters whizzes past.

The town in which the car park is located is part of the nationwide e-scooter trials and so they are a fairly common sight. That same town is criss-crossed with cycle paths because it has always proclaimed to be extremely bicycle friendly.

Which is odd. As far as I and the law is aware, electric scooters are not allowed on said paths but are restricted to the road. In addition, only those hired through one of the trials are legal to use in public. So quite why they are so commonly seen on cycle paths lauded to be for pedestrians and cyclists, I cannot understand. Perhaps it is a question of policing the matter.

And what is this? Yes, it is a pair of police officers! They are slowly travelling along that same cycle path. Pedestrians are giving them a wide berth and the riders of the e-scooters that appeared at the same time as the officers seem to have decided that the road running alongside the pathway is a better route to take.

The dogwalker travelling towards the officers has drawn in their charge and locked the extendable lead so that the dog can stray no farther than arm's length of their master.

Did I mention that the officers were on horseback?

When the sun is shining it is always nice to see horses making their way to wherever their riders point them, no quicker than an amble as they soak up the sun.

There is a clue to the reason for the disquiet I am feeling in the is in the name; cycle way or cycle path - label as you see fit. Quite why two officers needed to be mounted on horses, I cannot imagine. If their radios hailed them, then there is no safe way for them to step up their pace so as to attend an incident. From where they appeared in my sight, there are no contiguous stretches of grass or dirt on which they may travel.

I wouldn't fancy being in charge of a horse in a populated area when sudden changes of direction or speed might be required when tarmac is the only surface upon which I can ride it.

Cycle way. Hmm. Ah, yes! Now I know what it is that bothers me! I know for a fact that the police operating in the town operate bicycles. A bicycle can travel faster than a horse down a cycle path without the constant fear that someone might be seriously injured or killed. And they can be sped up to allow officers to rush to incidents.

The little one walking with their mother who is tightly holding their hand to keep them from wandering into their path is probably saying as they point, “Look, mum, it's a gee-gee!”

Friday 8 October, 2021

Effing and blinding doesn't really help to fill a fuel tank. No matter how loud or inventive one is, a forecourt pump won't deliver the stuff any quicker - no matter how long the queue to the filling station snaked.

When a new school is mooted, locals and parents of would-be pupils tirelessly campaign against opening them anywhere near pubs or other less than salubrious locations, but often filling stations are never mentioned.

With the language I'm hearing of late, I wonder why not!

So why do so many drivers do it?

I suppose the act of having to part with large sums of money only to see it vanish into something that will burn it, would be enough to rile a saint. Add to that the pain of having to queue for quite some time in order to reach the pump in the first place and you create a frustrating situation.

Something will have to give and usually it is the vocabulary of the person wielding the fuel pump nozzle.

But whatever the reason, some of the utterances I have heard of late are definitely not suitable for the ears of our youngsters. That said, it was never that rare to hear a 5-year-old saying eff this and eff that when trying to stand their bicycle against something.

Who am I trying to kid? We all know that 5-year-olds don't stand their bikes up - they just throw them to the ground. But they still eff and blind about it at times. I can only assume that they hear it at home or there is a filling station near their school...