Saturday, 21 January 2012

Money isn't the route of all evil, oil is!

I commented last year that I believed that much of the involvement in Libya was fuelled by the fact that Libya was an oil producing country. And now we're seeing a former military dictatorship attempting to flex its muscles again.

In 1592, an Englishman by the name of John Davis discovered a group of isolated islands, but it wasn't until 1690 that another Englishman, John Strong, actually explored these islands.

Then, in 1764, these islands were inhabited by a group of French sailors, who established a colony, which lasted until 1766, when the Spanish deposed the French and settled the islands themselves on the east side, not realising that there was already an English colony on the west side that had been established in 1765.

In 1774, the English left the islands, the Spanish also leaving in 1811 and they remained uninhabited until they were colonised by Argentina in 1820, The Argentinians remaining until the British navy recolonised the islands in 1833, sending the Argentinians packing.

And so the Falkland Islands, for that is their correct name as they were named in honour of Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount of Falkland, the man who had financed Strong's expedition in 1690, remained a largely peaceful British Territory.

That is until 1982, when the Argentinian junta, increasingly facing difficulties at home decided to divert attention from domestic matters by launching a full scale invasion of the Islands. Seventy-three days later, the invading force had suffered ignominious defeat and the Argentinian junta, by their actions, was responsible for the deaths of 907 British and Argentinian service personnel.

Now, thirty years later, the sovereignty disagreement is being cranked up a notch again, including the Argentinians burning Union Flags outside the British Consulate in Buenos Aires. Why? I'm sure that it has nothing to do with the fact that it is looking increasingly likely that there is oil in and around the islands!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Let Chaos Reign

One of the changes that are occurring that I failed to mention in my last post is that fact that we are moving. Not far, but moving nonetheless, into a slightly bigger house, and last Saturday saw the start of this process.

One complicating factor has been that although we anticipated moving out of the old house last weekend, we cannot move into the new house until the end of this month. In the meantime, we are staying at m'Julie's Mum's house.

This has meant that we have had to put the majority of our belongings in storage, which has also meant returning to Big Yellow, a place that both me and m'Julie had grown to dread after having to store my stuff there in 2007 for five months before we moved into the last house.

Unfortunately, not everything has gone completely as planned and we have found out that we both have far too much stuff and we need to "downsize" before we move again, particularly as, having booked one room in Big Yellow, we had to book a second room.

The old landlord has also been a bit of a pain, as we had told him that we anticipated moving out by last weekend, even though we are fully paid up until this Thursday. Now he's unhappy because we won't have moved everything out until tomorrow (*Wednesday). It appears that he has new tenants moving in this weekend and is concerned that they won't be able to do so. Personally, I think that he should have anticipated needing more time for the handover.

So now we have ten days of living out of boxes and then the chaos of sorting out a new home, with Maggie and my birthdays in the meantime this weekend. Should be fun!

Monday, 2 January 2012


Having started 2011 full of good intentions about continuing to blog, I got as far as May, and then I'm not quite sure what happened. What didn't happen was my continuing to write this. Having said this, it’s not as if the last seven months of 2011 passed without anything happening.

In August, Drew, my No. 2 Son finally had enough of his mother and chose to move in with me. This did not impress my ex-wife, but as he is now 16 there was very little that she could do about it. The major down side of this has been that once again I have had to have dealings with the genetically challenged employees of the Child Support Agency, and as per usual, they have proved that they remain as incapable as ever.

I initially contacted these morons at the end of August to report the change of circumstances. Having learnt from my previous experience, I informed the cretin with whom I spoke that they had two months, until the end of October, in which to sort out my claim after which time I would have my MP, Greg Clark, sort it out.

Towards the end of October, I again contacted the CSA, who informed me that they hadn't actually managed to do anything due to their utter incompetence, so I was forced to write to Greg Clark. Interestingly, following his intervention, I did receive a letter from the CSA, admittedly one that was full of untruths, but it also moved on my case. To this end I received a letter from these incompetents informing me that I would receive payment in mid-December.

Having received no money, I called the CSA on the 16th, to be informed that the money had left their account and I would receive it within 3-5 working days. I was surprised that this now seemed to be moving on, but m'Julie was more cynical. Unfortunately, she was right! When I contacted another of the morons about this on the 29th December, still having received no money, he informed me that the Agency had put a block on the payment as they weren't sure they had the correct bank account details. This was despite the imbecile I spoke with on the 16th confirming my bank account details! I also have no idea why I wasn't contacted to verify the details.

The upshot is that I should receive the money this week. But I have again informed the latest cretin that I will be reporting this to my MP, and I think that the Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, should also be made aware of this Agency's incompetence. Sadly, he cannot sack them all as every one of the employees is too stupid to find employment elsewhere and would therefore become a huge burden on the state.

Drew did well in his GCSEs and has succeeded in getting a place at the local college to study the computer programming course that he wanted with a view to becoming a games designer.

Another piece of bad news from 2011 was regarding Alec's injury to his ankle. Unfortunately, rather than being just badly sprained, he had torn several of the ligaments and tendons in his right ankle.

As a result of this he has undergone one operation, which was only partially successful, and now has to have a second one.

Following the second surgery, he will be unable to train for about two years, so he will be discharged from the Army once he has had the surgery and had some rehab, although they will keep a place at Sandhurst for him for the next 6 years.

The advantage to this is that he is looking to go to university and get a degree, although had he done it before going to Sandhurst, he would have had sponsorship from the Army, something that he no longer has.

Workwise, I have had the "joy" of moving from the hospital that I was working in to the new, purpose-built one five miles away. An interesting, and at times chaotic, period, but it seems to be settling down. I have been on leave since 22nd December, returning to work tomorrow, and having just checked my pager, it appears that I will have more than 30 emergency calls to follow up. No peace for the wicked!

M'Julie also has the prospect of change, having become very fed up with the dental practice where she is working. As a result of this, she has applied for, and got, a new job in the new hospital.

So it looks as though 2012 is to be a year of change for the whole family. And who knows, I may even carry on with this.