Monday, 17 November 2014

Chips, Kippers and the Crushinator

The Bairn’s school phones. She’s looking wan. And some other bairns have been sent home feeling sick. Don’t panic! Everything’s under control. Although Wife-features is able to collect our precious potential patient from school I need to head home to be Doctor Dad for the afternoon to allow the missus to make a prior engagement. Pretty quickly the Bairn perks up, asks for chips and laughs out loud while watching Scooby Doo. Hmm. Has she pulled her first sickie?

Musselburgh CAB - which does a grand job in these austere times - has its AGM and out of curiosity I have a peek at its annual report. I’ve met the manager and finance officer so I know roughly the sort of casework they deal with but the annual report really underlines the extent of the chaos being caused by welfare cuts, crap jobs and crap wages. The CAB helped 110 clients over the past year with debts totalling £2.4million. That’s not a typo. Gulp.

When I’m not banging on about bicycles I like a rant about railways. So much so I was recently invited to join the East Lothian Community Rail Partnership. These groups are springing up around the country, linking residents and campaigners with potential pots of money and the railway companies. The idea is for communities to have a greater say in the quality of local stations and services. Ahead of a public event next week I’ve chipped in some idea on connecting bike routes and bus services with East Lothian stations. I note Abellio, soon to take over the Scotrail franchise, is committing to create 10 Bike and Go stations with cycle hire schemes. I’ll be lobbying for one of them to come to East Lothian.

It’s not easy being Green, especially when there’s a first past the post election looming. Today I hear Labour politicians urging punters in Caroline Lucas’ patch to back Miliband, I hear Cameron pleading for Green votes to help him fight off the Kippers and I watch SNP folk congratulate themselves on opening up their candidate selection process to non-members who want to serve under the Nat banner. Call me a dangerous free-thinking radical but I think if you like Green policies and personalities you should vote Green!

Currently tearing up Musselburgh High St
Today I manage to get more details from the council about the imminent arrival of the Crushinator machine in our street. Five nights of road wrecking is indeed on the cards, although jackhammers should cease at 11pm, for which I’m expected to be grateful. Apparently the incessant beeping as lorries manoeuvre will be the main noise during the small hours of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. A health and safety measure. Oh the irony.

To America! Not literally but I read that Obama’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions has prompted real foaming at the mouth by the burgeoning Republican movement over there. Tackling climate change will “crush jobs” they say. Whereas work will be plentiful when we’re fried and flooded?

More important than such fripperies as an ecosystem habitable by humans - scarves! I read in the FT menswear pages (stop sniggering at the back) that a trend is developing - chaps are ditching collar and tie with their suits for a crewneck fine guage pullover with a small scarf adornment. I can only dream of mastering such sophistication. Like most Dads I shun the idea of clothes that stand out, and when quizzed Is That Jacket New tend to reply I Found It In A Bin Bag At A Bus Stop, Honest.

Helping the Bairn with her homework (She’s five! Why does she have homework?) I come across a couple of assumptions worth noting. She’s been set a numbers task - namely to draw on a door our house number, on a shoe her shoe size, and on a car our registration number. We don’t have a car. Wife-features suggests crossing it out and drawing a bus with a 44 or a 26 on it.

And there’s song practice. The “nativity” the P1-3s are doing mostly seems to be about animals but one song refers to Jesus and God, neither of whom get name checked at home. I make a mental note to discuss the topic at the next parents’ night.

My attention is drawn to research by boffins with nothing better to do who have examined hundreds of hours of conversation and compared the words we use now with the words we used in the 1990s. Apparently “fortnight, marmalade and cheerio” are out of fashion (I still use all of these) while references to love have gone from being about people and family to focusing instead on, wait for it… cheese, gardens and clothes.

Frankly, I’ve explained my meh attitude to clothes and I neglect my garden as it is. But loving cheese? What's crackers about that?

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