Friday, 25 November 2011

On Winter, Strikers And Indian Talent

I'd like to start today with a thank you to the three kind souls who have "flattrd' the blog to date (giant oaks from little acorns and all that). Your support is appreciated.

As I write, it looks like winter has finally started to head our way and in the past hour the house has been buffeted by gale force winds and hailstones and there's a distinct chill in the air. We're off to Ribchester shortly to visit some friends. It's quite hilly up there but I don't think we need to pack the snow gear yet although it's around this time last year that we awoke on our first morning of retirement to a heavy blizzard in Manchester. We're looking forward to visiting Mark and Nita who run the excellent Workhouse Marketing the best creative marketing agency in the North West.

Last time we got together Mark had a try metal detecting with me and I gave him my old machine. I don't think he's had much success to date. Pretty much like me I suppose. Yesterday I headed up to Cumbria with my detecting pal Ed. We put in about five hours on the fields where I found my Roman gold bracelet link in the summer but all I had to show for it was this small Roman bronze coin. Ed had a similar one. At least we didn't go home completely empty handed but we will have to try and come up with some new places to go when we get out again in 2012. I think I will hang up the detector, spade and wellies for a few months now unless we get a very mild spell.

I don't tend to get political at all on here usually but the impending public sector workers' strike is really getting my back up. It's not because our son and daughter in law are flying back into Heathrow on Wednesday night/Thursday morning having been delayed on their outward flight to a wedding in the USA because of fog and now face more misery on their return. No, it's because I just can't see the point. I know that it's hard to discover that you are going to have to work longer before you get your pension and you may have to contribute more to it but it's something that has been coming for years and successive governments have failed to do anything about it. When most pensions were set up the average life expectancy was much lower. It is now heading towards eighty years which is eight years longer than it was even as recently as the 1970's. It doesn't take a mathematician to work out that a scheme set up to fund a pension for say fifteen years on average will run out of money if it has to pay the pensioners for twenty three. And, as these are public sector pensions, it is the UK tax payers that will have to foot the enormous shortfall. So it is common sense to make pensions kick in at a later age. Marion is one of those unlucky women in their fifties who expected a state pension at sixty and now has to wait another five years but, however much she dislikes it, she understands why it is essential to the economy and someone, somewhere, who is organising this strike should know that public sector workers will have to accept change too (unless they want us to end up like Greece that is).

Sorry about that but I can't see the point of damaging our fragile economy to further personal aims. If they've got a proposal of how it's going to be paid for, I would love to hear it. Rant over. Normal blogging resumes.

It's the X Factor quarter final tomorrow night. We've still got our bets on the two favourites Marcus and Little Mix although Marcus's odds went up the other day and Little Mix are now favourites by some way. Which is strange considering that they have not performed since last weekend. Have I missed something in the press? If both survive this week without being in the final two it should be a certainty that one of them will win (unless Janet, the only other act to escape the sing offs so far is a dark horse). It hasn't been a classic series this one, although it's still pulling in huge audiences - like that other Simon Cowell franchise "....'s Got Talent". I said on here that Britain clearly didn't have talent but has India? Judge for yourself.


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