24 March 2013

Welcome to Spring!

Well, I guess that will explain the six inches of snow and freezing easterly winds which arrived on Friday night/Saturday morning. We’ve been there, seen the video and bought the T-shirt – it’s time to move on, please.


So much to get through this week and so little time. Just don’t get me started on this week’s budget by Osborne, the Tit nor on Mr Gove’s latest idiotic proposals.

It’s been all go in the space formerly known as Penelope’s workshop this week. We had the electrician on Thursday and the French door fitters made a start on Friday. The carpet layers are coming this week if everything continues to plan.

As part of the renovations, we’ve had a local builder out to investigate the couple of small leaks we’ve had in the roof. Of course, one never sees the leak itself but rather the evidence of its presence in the stained paintwork. Only when the weather really throws it down do we get the occasional drip but even then, it’s not immediately clear where the leak is as the water runs down the roof in between the tiles and felt. So, the chap comes along, clambers over the roof, finds a couple of broken tiles and some relatively poor lead flashings and announces that he thinks he’s fixed everything. After the next big rain, guess what? Yep, another leak. This time, however, nowhere near where he’s been fixing things. How is that possible? Is it just part of Sod’s law?

I had a small skin lesion removed from my chest a couple of weeks ago. I say “small” as it was indeed quite a small disturbance – what had previously been a small “spot” suddenly erupted a few months ago and became a somewhat larger spot which gave no indication that it would be disappearing or settling down anytime soon. So, off to our local doctor who referred me on to the consultant who confirmed that it needed to come off. Two weeks ago I trotted along to a clinic in Banbury where a very nice doctor excised it by excavating a massive crater in my chest, large enough to conceal a small animal. Earlier this week I received the letter with the biopsy result – Basal Cell Carcinoma (a minor and, in the grand scheme of things, essentially harmless form of skin cancer) which is also, apparently, commonly referred to as a “rodent ulcer.” Naturally, I thought this was perfectly apt as Penelope considers me to be pretty much a rat most of the time.

It’s reassuring and in some sense quite satisfying to see the main stream media catching up with what we’ve covered previously in the Befouled Weakly News. For example, this week I ran across an article in the New York Times, no less, about the government’s proposals for a new citizenship test along with their efforts to dissuade people from emigrating to the UK, topics we’ve covered here before.

I’ve also ranted on in the past about Gove’s education reforms which, with their emphasis on rote learning and the regurgitation of facts without necessarily any understanding or capacity for application, will turn education back twenty or thirty years. This week a group of university professors are saying the same thing in an article in the Guardian.

The Reason for Learning

I wasn’t going to vent about this week’s budget – just two small comments. The day before the budget, the government made a “huge” announcement with loads of fanfare, rather as if they were announcing the engagement of their favourite daughter to an international soccer star. The government proposes to allow working families to claim tax relief up to £1200 for childcare costs.

Credit where credit is due – in principle, it’s a good idea. The cost of childcare is often a significant barrier to those in low-paid work who wish to return to work after the birth of their child – their earnings are often off-set by childcare costs. But see if you can spot what’s wrong with the announcement:

(a) it will not be introduced until after the next election (hence, it’s a meaningless announcement)

(b) It will be for all families including those earning up to £300,000 who, as you might guess, struggle mightily with childcare costs

(c) It isn’t as much as the £1500 tax credit for the low-paid which was cut as soon as Osborne took over the Treasury.

Parents will be disappointed that three years into this government, they will not get any help with childcare costs for another two and a half years. While working parents are promised help tomorrow, this government is only helping millionaires today.

I’m guessing Osborne was keen that the media should concentrate on this “family-friendly” initiative rather than the shambles he has made of the economy. Especially, given the scathing summary of his handling of the economy given by a group of former Bank of England economists who labelled him the “most inept Chancellor in 100 years.”

I received a link to the following last week from a couple of sources, one of which was Pam. (I did check to see if she wanted to include it in her Whiner but she very kindly said that it was perhaps more suited to an “edgier” publication such as the Weakly News). I sent it on to our Nick who, as some of you will know, is now working as a digital media boffin for a paper-based company.

Yes, we all need paper.

Much love to you all,




3 thoughts on “24 March 2013”

  1. I have yet to attempt wiping my arse on my iPad, but if I ever do I’ll let you know how it goes x

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