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Monday, February 28, 2005

 

Watching snowflakes fall

Lovely cosy, lazy day. Walked the dog, didn’t watch TV, listen to the Radio or read a newspaper because I always find something to get wound up about. Some presenter with a presentation reduced IQ or stories warped because quotes have been taken out of context. The greed, vapidity and stupidity of a great many of my fellow humans held up as virtues. Grr.

Today I decided that life is too short to spend in a state of semi-permanent incandescence, so I took the day off. Sat at the back window watching snowflakes slowly drifting down from the sky, drank tea, read a book and walked the dog again. Had a very nice day doing nothing much of anything in particular. Ho hum.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

 

Sudan 1. Be afraid, be very afraid - not.

Day off today. Been relaxing by experimenting in the kitchen and kicking back. Breakfast in bed of coffee, bacon, sausage, scrambled egg and buckwheat pancakes. I had to get out of bed to cook it but what the hell, Mrs Sticker was appreciative.

I’ve had a nice day, It’s been sunny most of the time, if cold and breezy. Even the stepkids have been chilled. Dog managed to get himself muddier than a hippo in its favourite wallow. Took an hour to get him clean (ish) again. Cooked three varieties of chips with Turkey & broccoli for Sunday lunch (Sweet potato, parsnip and potato – kids completely demolished everything.). Of such small things is happiness constructed.

Just to satisfy my curiosity I had a surf, trying to get some facts on this Sudan 1 food scare and dug up the following gems in the Observer, Telegraph and a few other scientific study web sites.

What it all boils down to is;

  1. Sudan 1 is a genotoxic carcinogen, which can permanently alter the DNA in, say, a human liver cell.
  2. The last study linking Sudan 1 to cancerous tumours was done in America 20 years ago.
  3. Rats and mice were fed 30mg of Sudan 1 for each kilogram of their bodyweight every day for two years, the rats underwent changes that indicated they were possibly developing tumours. The mice showed no such pre cancerous changes.
  4. The study has never been replicated because when the International Agency for Research on Cancer looked at the data, it decided it was not ‘robust’ enough to categorise Sudan 1 as a likely cause of cancer.
  5. The risk of getting cancer from Sudan 1 contaminated food products can be likened to smoking one cigarette in your entire lifetime.
  6. If a man weighing 80kg (12½ stone), were to replicate the effects from the amount given to the rats, he would have to consume 2.4 grams of the Sudan 1 dye a day to match the dose. This means he would have to drink around 800 litres of Worcester sauce every day for two years. That's an awful lot of sauce.

Am I scared? Er….. Not really. Acrylamide in fried foods is far more likely to kick off a tumour. Stopped eating chips yet? Oo er, I don’t think so. These food scares are only gimmicks to sell newspapers.

Any old road up. Do you want to live forever?

Saturday, February 26, 2005

 

Fashion statement - oh dearie me.

Went out to get a curry from one of the better Indian restaurants in town and ran across a guy I’ve seen in the audit section of our Council offices. It was him, I know this because he has no twin and has a pretty distinctive voice. Normally he wears a two piece suit, white shirt and very fussily knotted tie. The guy is an accountant for Gods sake!

Imagine my surprise when I hear his voice issuing from the Kebab shop on the corner, using words not normally associated with his work. Out steps the lad in Burberry (I swear it) baseball cap. Dark T-shirt with Nike logo, jogging trousers and trainers with a chunky Argos special 9ct gold chain around his neck. Next follows his wife, effing and blinding like an infantryman. She is bottle blonde and works in Housing. At work neither of them would say boo to the proverbial goose, yet here they are behaving like a couple of irritating street tykes.

To reiterate my point from an earlier post – who in their right mind would want to dress up like the lowest common denominator of humanity? Well now I know.

Friday, February 25, 2005

 

A load of Fox all

Talk in the mess room turned to hunting during lunch break. A lot of the guys in their twenties and thirties seemed to be of the opinion the ban was a good thing and would ‘serve the toffee nosed gits right’. I kept my mouth shut and just read a book listening with a veiled grimace to all the half informed nonsense circling the room. Until that is, one of the younger guys said. “What about you Bill?”
“What?” I said.
“Teach those snobby bastards a thing or two, eh?”
“What snobby bastards?”
“Twats who chase foxes on horseback.”
“Didn’t know foxes rode horses.” Quipped I, in the hope they’d leave me in peace and let me read.
“No, the Hunt. Snobs, all of ‘em.”
“Really?” I put the book I was enjoying down. “What about them?”
“This bans a good thing, yeah?”
“No.” I reply and pick my book up.
“You one of them snobs then?”
“No.” I look straight at my interrogator with the Stickers arched eyebrow. Some of the older guys look over. Hey up. Bill’s going to use some irony, this could be interesting.
“Why?” He is not going to leave well alone. I’m going to have to shoot him down.
“Because I like to fish.”
“That’s not the same!”
“Fishing is just another type of hunting. I used to go rough shooting as a kid. You chase something, you kill it. Same difference. I’m no hypocrite.”
“That’s disgusting! It’s cruel!” Chimes in Manic Mary.
“What?” Say I. “I don’t think so. Cruelty is enjoying the suffering of others. Anything I kill dies quickly doesn’t suffer, so how can that be cruel? Anyhow, what’s in your sandwich? Is it vegetarian?” She blushes. The rest of the pro ban lobby turn away, disgusted that I do not share their lowbrow tabloid view of the world, but not intelligent enough to debate the point properly.

Out on patrol, I run into Wavey Davey, one of the older guys who was listening in on the brief debate. He’s a keen sea fisherman. “Fox hunting’s the thin end of the wedge.” He opines as we wander down the road where our beats merge. “Next Pheasant shooting, then fishing. We’ll all be forced to be vegetarians next.”
“Don’t see what real harm hunting did.” Say I. “I grew up in the country. It was only the incoming townies who ever kicked up about it.”
“Yeah well.” There is a long reflective silence until we see a car sitting on a single yellow some way ahead. We toss a coin. It’s mine this time. Rights or wrongs of a ban notwithstanding, I’ve got restrictions to enforce.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

 

PM says safety comes before civil liberties

Oh dear, here we go. Does anyone else have a really bad feeling about this? This guy has lost the plot big time. The ‘war on terror’ is lost because terrorist objective no 1 has been achieved.

Let me explain: It is a standard dictum that in order to achieve its end of overturning a society and rendering it vulnerable to the terror groups specific objectives, the terrorists must force a government into draconian repression of its population. From the look of slaphead Blairs article in the Torygraph, this will be achieved any day now. We might just as well roll over and play loveable puppy. Freedom in Britain is about to die a lonely and unlovable death. Next stop book burning and the mass slaughter of scapegoat minorities.

The best way to win any ‘war on terror’ is to deprive it of the oxygen of repression. The IRA never really succeeded because successive governments resisted using the full weight of the state against all parties. Instead said governments preferred to leave the general population out of the argument aand deal with specifics. Punishing everyone for the actions of the few by restricting the majorities long held freedoms ranks along with head butting concrete in the intelligence stakes.

Never mind, I'll be okay in my nice smart uniform, obviously on the side of law and order. I might find it hard to learn to goose step though. What the hell, I'm game.
 

Has the BBC sunk so low?

Back from last but two day shift before next days off. With all this sleet and snow there’s not much to do as most of the naughty people have decided to stay home and leave our nice clean double yellows untrammelled by their odious presences.

Meandered through living room in search of a book to read. Wife and youngest have been watching a BBCTV programme about getting Dolphins interested in TV.

The Beeb’s going to have to raise it’s game then. A real Dolphins idea of fun is a few mackerel with the lads by the sandbar and later beating the hell out of those immigrant Harbour Porpoises. Maybe followed by a game of chicken in front of the odd passing Supertanker. Omnibus Eastenders just can’t cut it in comparison. At least in cetacean circles.

Had a look at the Beeb's web site, and found a story about a 'Vicious' Argentinian dinosaur. How do they know? Have there been complaints from the local Hadrosaurs down at the swamp? Maybe a Tyrannosaur has had a run in with them? Or was the claw they found just a super evolved nose picking tool for the Chav of the Late Creataceous?

You wonder what else the Beeb is going to have to do to attract audiences.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

 

HM The Queen & the implications of ‘duty’

There’s a lot of pseudo republican nonsense in the press about HM the Queen ‘snubbing’ her eldest sons second wedding. The tabloid press in particular are full of what can only be briefly described as ‘crap’. You know, the stuff this new labour lot are full of.

Mrs Sticker, a woman of far more intelligence and wit than I could ever hope to find in two lifetimes, pointed out the following;

The Queen, who is, in addition to all her other sterling qualities a woman of great moral stature, cannot attend the civil ceremony because the Church of England’s general synod is against it. It is her Church, and she is both the head of it, and duty bound to support it. There is no ‘snub’, real or implied, as she will attend the service of dedication and is paying for the reception afterwards. QED. Now shut up.

Duty is a very old fashioned concept and one which I have a lot of time for. My own definition is that duty is a voluntary moral contract to perform certain acts because of previous obligations. Ergo; I, as a Traffic Warden, am handing you, the errant motorist, a parking ticket because it is my duty to do so because you have failed in your obligation and responsibility (Implied because you have voluntarily gone through the hoops to get a driving licence) to observe this part of the traffic law.

If I don’t like the law, I campaign with others to parliament to get the law altered. In our democracy, if parliament fails in it’s duty to responsibly represent the voters (Of whom I happen to be an active one), it is parliament which must change.

Lets think about that for a while. Like it or not our lives are a web of duties and obligations, not just ‘rights’ (A ‘right’ does not and cannot exist without attendant responsibilities – no such thing as a free lunch). Doubtless some unctuous weasel of a lawyer could indicate how the same logical path could justify killing another human being (It does in the case of the military – but that’s a dichotomy for another day). However, these are the rules that make it safe to cross the road guys. Enjoy your lives.
 

Ouch

Got sent this link from Dmitri. An archive piece, it comes from the early days of London Traffic Wardens; Is it legal to electrocute Traffic Wardens?

I say it's not (But then I would, wouldn't I?). Any legal eagles out there fancy answering this one?

If you're dumb enough to try it and see what happens;
  1. Health and Safety would take you to the cleaners
  2. You'd get enough tickets to paper your entire bedroom inside a week.

(We're not nice to people who do this sort of thing.)

Sometimes, just sometimes you just want to drop the uniform and punch some small minded little tossers lights out. Yes, I've had a day. Don't ask.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

 

Res ipsa loquitur - in memoriam Hunter S Thompson

I'm a little sad right at this moment. One of the iconic figures of my life managed to shove off this mortal coil by his own hand. Hunter S Thompson, the inventor of 'Gonzo' Journalism, committed suicide on Sunday. No one has guessed why as yet, but maybe he got to the point where he'd done everything that meant anything to him and decided life had no point any more. Maybe he was just fooling around and screwed up, which sounds more like him. I don't know.

Mere words fail me, all I can do is quote the man himself:

"Maybe this is all pure gibberish – a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found out a way to live out there where the real winds blow - to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey and ride fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested…Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll."

Amen to that. There is still a corner of my cynical, abraded soul that still believes it too. Let 'em roll. God speed.

Monday, February 21, 2005

 

Ever had an itch you can't scratch?

You know the feeling, there’s something on the end of your nose and your hands are just too full to do anything? That’s how I felt today. Busy as hell chasing round the streets and car parks in pursuit of the General Dyslexic who, in their turn, were busy creating traffic havoc by parking half on footways, half on the road. I thought my printer was going to pack in at one point. I almost ran out of space in my pocket note book. You’d think people would have got the message by now, but oh no, here we go again and another idiot gets a £60 fine.

Just as it was getting dark we had a snow shower and yours truly did the sensible thing and ducked into a vacant doorway. Right in front of where I stood, a bozo parks his car in the Taxi Rank, saunters off with girlfriend in tow down the other end of the street. I booked his vehicle from the relative dryness of the doorway, only venturing forth to stick the ticket on the windscreen and take photographs for evidence to ironic applause from two annoyed Taxi Drivers whose rank it was.

Bozo and girlfriend return five minutes later to find parking ticket on windscreen. The snow shower over, yours truly is having a chat with one of the Taxi Drivers about other trouble spots. Bozo storms over, places himself no more than six inches in front of my face screaming “What da fook is that!” angrily indicating parking ticket on windscreen. “You fookin’ put that there?!” I find this highly provocative, privately thinking I would delight in head butting bozo as his screwed up red face is precisely in the right place for maximum impact from my forehead. This is very tempting but I must not do this to an obviously fully paid up member of the general dyslexic, instead I keep my mouth shut, look at the parking ticket, pause for effect, before looking him straight back in the eyes and saying “Yes sir.”

Bozo. “Take that fookin thing off my car!”
Me. “I’m not allowed to do that, sir.” With a pause before I reluctantly said ‘sir’. My hand wanders down to my radio and keys the ‘transmit’ button, as this guy is too wound up for me to play verbal games with. He’s also grandstanding for his girlfriend, which is another contra indicator. This guy wants a punch up and I can’t oblige without losing my job.
Bozo. “Take that fookin ticket back!”
Me. “I can’t do that sir.” Damn, he’s left me no room to manoeuvre and I can’t back down as he’ll take it as a sign of weakness and I’ll end up picking my teeth out of the gutter. Lets offer him an exit strategy. “Tell you what I can do though..” I continue. This does not work. Bozo’s reasoning faculties have shut down and will not be opening this side of next Christmas.
Girlfriend. “Leave it Dwayne.” Oh my God it is called Dwayne. I’m trying to keep a straight face. If he calls her Tracey I will lose it completely and burst out laughing.
Bozo (To girlfriend) “Shut up!”
Girlfriend. (Plaintively) “Dwayne!”
Bozo. “You take that ticket back, or..” Here comes the threat. No real Police or CSO’s when you need them. Out of the corner of my eye I can see CCTV’s main camera lock on to my position from across the road. Time to out bid Bozo. He’s right in close now, I can’t focus on his eyes he’s that close.
Me. “Or what, sir?” Deadpan delivery, not smiling. I look past him and gaze directly at CCTV camera and nod once, very deliberately. Classic. Bozo turns to see the CCTV camera pointing at us move very deliberately up and down as if nodding in reply. All of a sudden Bozo is back in his car fumbling with the keys. I step back into doorway, shaking a bit as he quickly drives off. “You get that?” I say to CCTV over the radio.
CCTV “Close call 515. I thought he was going to take a pop at you.” Comes the reply. “Did I do the right thing with the camera?”
Me. “Spot on my old son. He had me worried for a moment there. Where’s all the back up?”
CCTV. “All over the place. None available close enough.”
Manager comes on the air. “You okay 515?” She'd obviously been monitoring the frequency. Bless her.
Me. “Just about. Glad I haven’t got a heart condition.”
Manager. “Come on home and fill in an incident report form. I’ll request the tape from CCTV. Did you get his number?”
Me. “I’d just booked him on a Taxi rank. It’s all in my hand held and note book. His first name’s Dwayne.”
Manager. “Never!”
Me. “Straight up.” She breaks contact to crap herself laughing.

Please note for my Transatlantic viewers, “Dwayne” is almost a generic name for exceptionally stupid and inbred post adolescent males around my part of the sceptred isle of England "Tracey" it's female counterpart.

I get to spend end of shift in warm rest room, filling out incident report form and drinking tea. I've issued enough tickets for one day. Must remember not to push my look quite so hard.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

 

Blogging for freedom?

My Dad used to tell me not to believe everything I read in the newspapers - seems like we shouldn't believe anything we see in the mainstream news media.

Tea break saw me leafing through a pile of tabloids left behind by everyone else. Seems like 'Spin' isn't just confined to the politicians - just about all the large scale newspapers, TV news, radio news put their own editorial slant on everything. We frequently get what for in the local rag, and quite frankly most of it is complete and utter crap. Here's an example; We as Traffic Wardens, were accused, tried, and found guilty of threatening and harassing one citizen of our area by the local press. It's all bollocks - he was the one threatening one of our guys - with a baseball bat no less. We got hauled over the coals by management for it - even though all the evidence showed us to be in the right. W!*k*&s. We'll wait for the heat to die down then he will get targetted.

Just to give you a taste of how warped the mainstream news media can be, in my links I have added a connection to the Biased BBC weblog and Blitheringbunny who seem to be a lot better than I could ever be for media analysis. Check out the Daily Ablution link for Arts media analysis. Adjust your blinkers and see how we all get conned by the very people who are supposed to expose deceit.

Ian Duncan Smith, ex Tory party leader, wrote an interesting piece in the Guardian about bloggers as primary news sources to be something for the media elite to be worried about. I agree. The writing may not yet be on the wall for dishonest and / or lazy journalists, but it's sure as hell on the Internet.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

 

EU Constitution - er, no thanks

Have been trying to read the draft EU constitution. On the face of it this outlines a very worthy set of ideals whereby the 'Union' will ensure the well being of its citizens. Just as a thought experiment, I opened another browser window with the US constitution and did a contrast and compare between the two documents.

Now the US constitution is a lot shorter than the proposed EU constitution and, as might be considered natural for the 18th century, a good deal simpler and to the point. The EU constitution tries to be more in depth and all embracing. The fundamental reason for my entitling this little ramble "EU constitution - er, no thanks" is this; The EU constitution says a great deal about 'The Union' but hang on, where does it say 'The people'? Sorry, all you pro EU people out there, but I am not going to vote for something that effectively muzzles the voice of the individual against political institution. I don't care how it proclaims that my individual rights will not be affected. You may assume that 'The Union' is comprised of the 'people of Europe', but what the EU constitution actually does is concentrate power in the hands of the political elite.

I may be a Traffic Warden who enforces parking restrictions, but it ain't my job, nor anyone else's, to tell others how they should live without their say-so. Rant over.
 

So: Bloggers are journalists now?

Plucked this out of the Wall Street Journal. Interesting point of view from a Ms Noonan. Never thought of it like that. I just write about what impinges on my very small sphere of operations and try not to get fired for posting my opinions. How about the rest of you?

Friday, February 18, 2005

 

Naughty, naughty Mr Worstall

Here we go. In Google, type 'fuckwit' in the search bar and hit 'I feel lucky'. Just do it. I roared with laughter. Send Tim your other nominations. Chortle.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

 

Yours Truly, Confused N10

Sitting in Father in Laws 'office' while stepkids are deciding whether to rouse themselves from their torpor. After long conversation with in-laws, I introduced their silver surfing to a few of may favourite blogs. Father in Law especially taken with 'Nanny knows best' blog.

The title of this entry is taken from a witty little Ray Davis song about a newspaper letter writer who wonders why the world is going to hell in a handbasket whilst government is proclaiming 'all is well'. Now I'm not going to break my anonymity but most of my relatives are in an ethnic minority group loosely described as 'White, lower middle class'. For my own part I describe myself as 'White, upper working class'. As such, most of my nearest and dearest feel that their treatment by elements of the current UK administration is overtly racist.

That's better. I've used the 'R-word' and feel a lot more relaxed about it. For my part I live and work in a racially mixed, fairly cosmopolitan area and get a bit aggrieved when some spawn of a dunghill politician cum lawyer throws out legislation and diktats that load the dice against the ordinary briton. By 'Ordinary Briton' I mean people born in this country whose primary language is English, regardless of their parents genetic heritage. Think about it; if you go back far enough we're all immigrants. All anyone can ask for is fair and equitable treatment under the law, and that's what we are not getting. It's so unnecessary. We don't need positive discrimination or shortlists. If a non ethnic north european can make the grade, good luck to them and I'll be first in the queue to shake them by the hand. Just don't try to replace the old racism with it's mirror image, that's all.

In my working life I've learned one thing; an arsehole is an arsehole regardless of race, creed or colour. On our team at work we have all shades of skin and religious belief. Most of them are okay, and I wouldn't be too fussed if one of my Stepkids wanted to marry one them - so long as my two understood that all except five of our team are already married and bigamy is still an offence in this country.

Rant over. Stepkids have now dragged themselves out of bed and are whining about having to go home so soon. Despite this they are packed and ready to go, as are my earplugs.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

 

Tuesday, Written Wednesday PM: Look, I’m busy – Okay?

Lunchtime. I’m walking my dog along seafront; it’s cold but the sun is shining and dear wife, kids and grandparents are all off in nearest large town shopping. My mobile phone rings and I answer it, thinking it is Mrs S asking me what I’m going to cook this evening. At this point I am feeling pretty relaxed and very off duty. Dog is happy – I think I am.

Rude awakening time. It is not Dear Wife, it is not so dear Line Manager, who has conveniently forgotten the shift patterns and is imperiously demanding to know where I am.
Me (Placating). “Kerry, you know where I am – I’m off shift until Friday lates.”
Line Manager (Officious). “No you’re not. You should be here, it says so in the – oh.” Her tone changes. “Sorry Bill, I’m looking at Harry’s shift pattern.”
Me (Brightly). “I’ve got Harry’s number if you want it.”
Line Manager. “Ah, sorry Bill.” Click.
Me. “Byee.”Christ alone knows what they teach ‘em at these Universities.

In need of moral sustenance, I find a pub that lets you take your dog in. Phone is emphatically switched off. Returning to wife’s parents house three pints of strong ale later I relate story to clan shortly after their return from shops. Stepkids think it’s hilarious. Wife and Mother in law frown disapprovingly. Father in law highly amused and gives me a very large single malt, then another. Following this, the late afternoon and evening are a bit of a blur. I think we ate fish and chips. No, I didn’t cook.
 

Monday Evening: Valentines Day Road Rage report.

Drove to elderly relatives house on the South Devon coast this morning (Miraculously who has operating broadband and lets favourite son in law use it – Ta very muchly.). On the way here we had an interesting experience for a student of human nature such as oneself, appertaining to road rage. My, my. Tsk, tsk. Aren’t there a lot of ill tempered people out there?

Southbound on one stretch of dual carriageway there was a camper van who decided that slowing up traffic in the inside lane was not enough. Without signal or noticeable observation he pulled into the overtaking lane causing Mrs Sticker (Who was driving in the overtaking lane with me in the front passenger seat.) to brake sharply and swear vigorously. Dog and kids very startled.

Indicated my displeasure to the offending driver by gesture, suggesting perchance he was too busy with onanistic pursuits to be able to drive properly. He responded with a like gesture, further embellishing it with another gesture suggesting that he was once a medieval English archer who had never been captured by the French. I responded with an old Italian gesture indicating that said driver should worry about what his partner got up to with various trades people while he wasn’t home. This must have been a gesture too much for him as he made no reply. By this time other drivers behind us were likewise being highly discourteous with horns and headlights, displaying negative opinions on his ill considered manoeuvre. This was enough to indicate that said driver, should he care to ‘Come and have a go’ would be outnumbered and out gunned. He pulled back to the inside lane.

Notwithstanding; we were magnanimous in victory and gave his road rage reddened features a happy little wave as we overtook him. I further wished him a happy Valentines Day and apoplectic attack with a smile. Other drivers behind us were not so generous.
 

Sunday Late morning: Yippee!

Four days off starting Monday. One more evening shift and I’ve got two back to back weekends! Sometimes life is kind. Wife, Kids and Dog are off for a break as it’s the kids half term. Will report back on the Streets when, or if, I’ve got something to say.

Call me if there’s a war.
 

Sunday morning entry: Saturday Night on the town.

There’s an unwritten rule that we only patrol in pairs after six on Saturdays. I’m with Phil again this evening which means the conversation will be scintillating. Not unnaturally, we’re talking about the news. As I no longer watch TV but go to more in depth news sources, this is good for a laugh. Not.

“Not heard anything about that GI in Iraq.” Muses Phil.
“Didn’t you know?” Says I. “It’s a hoax. A GI Joe doll.”
“You’re taking the piss.” Says Phil derisively.
“Nope.” I reply. “It’s a hoax. Look at the picture carefully. It’s a doll.”
“I thought the kit looked wrong.”
“Didn’t you look at the guys expression?” There is a long pause.
“Now you come to mention it – yeah.”
“And the reflection off his forehead – his plastic forehead?”
“Fuckin’ hell.” Phil concludes as realisation dawns.
“They’d better, or I’m not going.”
“Thanks Bill.”
“My pleasure mate.”

Time for an abrupt subject change. “You see about that riot in the IKEA store?” Says Phil.
“Yep.” Says I. “What a thing to riot about – crap flat pack furniture.” We both snigger at the antics of people desperate to have cheap furniture in their des res’s. This is all very well but I’m getting a headache trying to think down to Phil’s level. Nice bloke – shame about the brain. Maybe I’m in the wrong job here.
 

Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible

BT is not the most popular company in my personal FT index right at this moment. Problems with service provider turned my broadband into a narrowband. I could go on but I won't.

Despite the slings and arrows etc. Walking the Streets will be fully back on line by 6pm today. Have several blogs to include from Sunday to Wednesday. We apologise for the reduction in service. Normal services will resume as of this evening.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

 

More bloody drunks

It’s 8pm, I’m out on the street doing evening patrol. I turn a corner to see a gift from the Gods, a line of no less than eight cars sitting cheeky as you please on double yellows with double yellow marks on the kerb indicating ‘no loading at any time’ restrictions.

For the uninitiated this means even the disabled with blue badges can’t park there, and Traffic Wardens can issue ‘immediate’ tickets. If no drivers are present, we don’t have to wait to see if loading or unloading is taking place. We don’t have to watch the vehicles for five minutes. Nada.

I took just under a quarter of an hour to book all eight cars and slap tickets on before giving a location check to CCTV. I’ve just turned the corner on my way back to the van when when three kids arrived, more than slightly the worse for wear and looking for fun. By kids I mean under twenty one, and by fun I mean trouble for yours truly. This is one of the hazards of working weekend evenings.

All you can do is ignore them and get on with what you are doing. Normally they are only trying the game called ‘Looking big in front of my mates’. The best way to deal with them is not to play. The prize for playing their game is a grab bag of either a visit to casualty or being had up on an assault charge so I elect to invoke ‘Bill Sticker’s rules’.

Drunks opening challenge. “You just book them cars?”
My response. Deadpan. “Yes.”
Drunks disbelief. “You really just book them cars?”
My respnse. Again delivered deadpan. “Yes.” Positive monosyllabic answers are one of the ‘cheat codes’ in this particular game.
Drunk. “You can’t do that.” They’re obviously trying to provoke me – dickwits.
Me. “Why not?” This is the kicker, at this point their bravado is demolished because to answer this question, they have to think. If they were real bad guys I wouldn’t have an earthly, but they’re just three pillocks on the piss. These three neanderthalers in front of me begin to look worried as long unused brain cells start to twitch. Their bemused silence means they’ve been out manoeuvred and I deliver the closing “Goodnight guys.” Before heading off to the next trouble spot.

Tonight I’m on night patrol in the van with Phil, an ex squaddie who wishes he hadn’t left the Army. I see the look on his face as I open the van door. He’s obviously disappointed that I didn’t start a barney so he could join in or call for assistance and get the sirens wailing. He thinks I’m soft. I don’t give a monkeys.

Conversation in van:
Me. “Time for tea I think.”
Phil. “How many?”
Me. “Ten tickets; Eight in Short Street.” He nods in approval.
Phil. “What did those three want?”
Me. “They wanted to play silly buggers – I didn’t”
Phil. “Ah.” I am now restored in his estimations. Brains beat booze every time. We go back to the rest room for tea and biscuits.

Friday, February 11, 2005

 

Good on yer Charlie!

Just a quick post before going on evening shift. I'm happy to see that Charles and Camilla are finally tying the knot. Happiness is a scarce commodity in these cheerless New Labour days. It should be grasped greedily and consumed as often as possible, in spite of the politically correct naysayers.

Go for it you two, and stuff all the Republicans who think some oleaginous, unctuous lawyer of a scarberous politician makes a better job as head of state than a person trained for the job from birth. Oh yes, to hell with all the 'Diana was a goddess' clique too. Poor woman's dead. Let her lie.

Life must go on, because it ain't a dress rehearsal and it's the only one you get. I make no apologies for stuffing three cliches into one sentence. Sometimes it's just got to be done.
 

Do's and don'ts for turning out the lights


Especially tempting with early morning disturbance caused by returning teenagers at 3am. Grr.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

 

Rainy Thursdays and Urban Myths

Damp and miserable day. Rain soaking through my alleged ‘Waterproof’ coat, sealing my shirt to my back. Still gave a few naughty people a surprise. Someone had told them we don’t patrol in the rain. That self same someone had not told our line manager, who told us “Not to be such a bunch of wussies.” And get out there. All right for the office wallahs. They should try life at the sharp end every so often. To tell you the truth they do, but you can bet your booties that they pick a nice dry day for it. Probably that kind of thinking that makes you management material.

Of course management diktats like these change the moment half the Traffic Wardens go down with colds and flu, but did I hear the stable door slamming shut? Well maybe.

Keeping your kit dry becomes a real challenge on days like these. You develop the stoop that shades your pocket note book from the rain whilst evidence gathering, preferably under an awning covering the pavement. Your hand held computer is supposed to be relatively damp proof, but just you try working outside in these conditions for long before the touch sensitive screen starts playing up.

In the end I gave up trying to book, and selected a spot out of the worst of the rain to do my ‘high visibility’ routine. This comprises of finding a place where you stick out like a sore thumb to any passing motorist, whilst affording the best possible cover. Result; maximum deterrence combined with a maximum of comfort.

R/T was first to give up the ghost with a prolonged squawk like a dying parrot. Next, my boots started to leak. Finally, I ambled back to the rest room for an early lunch only to find everyone else was back before me.
“There you are 515.” Says line manager. “I’ve been calling you on the radio for the last hour. Where’ve you been? It’s too wet to patrol.” I wanted to swear very much right there and then. Indicating dud radio, I wandered off into changing room and changed into my spare uniform.

When I came out again, the rest of the guys and girls were rattling on about the usual stuff, TV, football, latest gossip. You know the sort of thing. Big Harry, who has been a Local Authority Traffic Warden since they only patrolled car parks, started to tell a few tall stories. His favourite is about the ‘Swingers’ in the camper van having an orgy one early Sunday morning. Being the old cynic that I am, I scoffed at this one, but Harry assured me it was true.

He had been patrolling at the far end of one of the Council car parks when he came across a camper van with the windows completely steamed up. As you do, Harry went to check it out to see if someone was flouting the ‘No overnight camping‘ rule. Getting closer he could see this vehicle rocking on its springs quite alarmingly. He did the usual ‘passing by’ routine where you look for a valid pay and display ticket. No, that was fine. Now he was closer he could hear the noises. Harry being Harry, he stepped off out of earshot and did a call for assistance over the Wardens channel. Ten minutes later the camper is rocking ever more violently and there are now three Traffic Wardens standing there, watching. At the far end of the car park a Police patrol car stops, and out got PC 49, one of our local real Police, wondering what was so fascinating about this camper van to keep three of our number so entranced.

Now PC 49, has an evil streak in his nature. He goes back to his patrol car, quietly drives it to within ten feet of the rear of this rocking, steaming camper van. He winds his window down, then at the first muffled cries of “Yes, yes, YES! YES!” Lets rip with his ‘Blues and two’s’ at close range. Harry said it was amazing there were no heart attacks. Instead, the rear door of the camper bursts open to reveal not two, not four but six naked men and women from thirty to fifty, dicks and tits everywhere, one in fetish gear, another in handcuffs as they spilled, shocked, out of the no longer rocking camper van. Harry and the other two guys gave them a rousing cheer and a round of applause. PC 49 orders them to get dressed before giving them all a stiff talking to.

When I bared my cynicism, Harry simply pulled out his 2002 model camera phone and showed me the photo he’d taken at the time. Pretty poor definition, but you could quite clearly see the rosy glow of embarrassment on all the naked bodies. And here was me thinking that all these tales I’ve heard about the guys surprising couples in the act were all bullshit. I shall never doubt their words again.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

 

Drunks, Beggars and assorted strangeness

During the Cold War there was a contingency plan to arm Traffic Wardens as guards for ‘zombie camps’ of people too badly contaminated to be allowed into ‘safe’ or areas less contaminated by radioactive fallout from nuclear weapon detonations. I occasionally wonder if these contingency plans still exist. If so, my colleagues and I would like to be told before being handed a second hand SLR 4 and told to shoot anyone coming over the wire. Things like “Where’s the ammunition?” or “Where’s the damn safety catch?” or more alarmingly “Which end do the bullets come out of?”. Mary our Manic Meter Maid needs to know this more than any of us – oh I don’t know though, I’d let her guess.

Said plans only applied if there was any ‘safe’ area left. This assumption was and is fatally flawed as most of the nuclear weapons extant at that time were capable of laying waste to the whole of the British Isles and then some. Nothing above ground would have survived. So I think the issues I outline might not have arisen.

I was pondering thusly on my way between restrictions when my Boss came on the air and asked me to do an abrupt volte-face and check out a car park I had been in half an hour before. “Right 515 (Not my real call sign). I want you to have a look for a person of the following description. CCTV has lost him and need someone on the ground to see where he is.” She rattled off a description and I acquiesced and did as she asked.

The car park was virtually empty at that time of the morning, in the hour between rush hour and the shoppers putting in an appearance so it was relatively easy to spot this guy. There he was, completely out of his tree, looking like he’d been dragged through a sewer (and smelling like it), dick hanging out; pissing on the car parks CCTV mast. No wonder they couldn’t see him, he was right under their electronic noses. I relayed this information via R/T to CCTV and began to head back to the job I was supposed to be doing. No such bloody luck.

Chummy mistook my uniform for real Police and stumbled up to me demanding to be arrested. Jesus! The halitosis alone should have been classed as an offensive weapon. Seven hours later my nose has still shut down in protest. Fortunately, CSO’s and real Police turned up and relieved me of the ‘challenge’ of dealing with said person. Apparently he was wanted for a series of offences ranging from indecently exposing himself to children to assaults on people who refused to give him money for meths or whatever he used to anaesthetise himself against his life.

Despite my opinion that anyone shooting him dead might be doing him a very big favour, I spent a good portion of the day between my usual duties wondering what drove him to where he was. Most of us have got seriously pissed at some time or other, or gone on a binge for a couple of days when we are young and stupid enough not to worry about hangovers. But what I can never work out is why people want to live like that; dirty, infested, pathologically unstable and unable to leave the booze alone. Alone because he couldn’t cope with relating to other people above a purely visceral level. Dirty and infested because his self esteem is in a permanent kamikaze-like dive.

Once he must have had a life. I suppose he must have had a life, or am I being naive here? The question that raised itself was this; What was so bad about his life that he wanted to drop out so far that he had to look up to see the floor? In addition, at what point do we as a society say “Sorry pal, you’ve put yourself in this situation.” And let the poor bastard fade away instead of pushing him through expensive social worker ‘support & rehabilitation’ programmes? Will the effort ever justify the expenditure?

From what I heard this afternoon, fade away is exactly what a lot of people would like this particular person to do. No names, no pack-drill.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

 

Daffy thoughts

One of the benefits of working in the great outdoors, despite having to go and tick off naughty people who park where they shouldn't, is you get everything first hand. Well, you get people mouthing off when you book them, but strange to relate, you tend to have more civilised conversations with people (Well I do) than abusive ones.

This afternoon, whilst I was chatting to an elderly couple who wanted directions to somewhere, my eyes wandered to the car park verge and espied a single solitary daffodil blooming in the late winter sun. As I made my way back to base past a row of cars I had checked out earlier, I was surprised by the sheer amount of flowers just on the cusp of blooming. Not only that but crocuses and snowdrops made isloated little solitary blobs of colour on the tired winter turf under semi skeletal branches. Branches which are covered in buds just waiting to split into the green of early spring. You know the kind of green I'm writing about? Not the tired green of winter but the colour of something awaiting its turn to be alive. The promise of an end to dormancy. Never fails to lift my mood. Didn't stop me booking people on double yellows today, but at least they should be happy to note that every ticket I handed out today was done with a song of spring in my heart.

Monday, February 07, 2005

 

Don't let me catch you on these! Blue badges will be checked.
 

Day off

One of the benefits, some would say drawbacks of my job as a Traffic Warden is the 7 day a week rotating shift work that means you work three weekends a month. For my part this means I get the house to myself with only the Dog to disturb me while I meander through some odd jobs.

Have disconnected the TV and shoved it in the spare room with all the other junk. The kids have their own TV's and Mrs Sticker has a small set in the kitchen to watch if she wants. This has the effect of giving me a space for the new turntable I bought for the stereo. Nothing fancy, just something to play my old 12" LP's any time I feel like a wallow in nostalgia. Put on some sounds, made some decent coffee and had a leisurely read of the newspapers, having splurged out on the Torygraph, Grauniad and the Incontinent and only found news items which annoyed me. Decided to take a leaf out of Cass Browns notebook and not take anything very seriously. I really admire Cass's attitude and hope that if I ever had to walk the same path could show as much old fashioned courage as he does. So I read the Rockall Times instead which cheered me up no end.

Still haven't made much progress with the lost comments file, but will keep on badgering support until I get an intelligible answer.

Am just trying out my turntable to play one of my precious 12" vinyls. Oh dear. No wonder I now use a CD player. How did we put up with all those odd little rumbles and hisses? Maybe I should get new vinyl copies or CD's instead. Not today though. Am just about to disappear into a good book chased by a large measure of Jamesons. If the Dog is really unlucky I might let the kids take him for a walk. TTFN.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

 

I'm sorry, I'm so fucking sorry

Slight technical hitch with converting to Haloscan for comments. Backed up all your sage replies to my semi literate drivel, now I'm having trouble recovering the files.

Will remedy the situation in the next 24-48 hours, but until then I'm very, very sorry. Sorry. I apologise. I am truly contrite, penitent, repentant, remorseful and steeped in the tears of my regretfulness. I cannot begin to say how truly devastated I am at the loss.

Thats it. Thats all the apology you're getting. I've said sorry - what more do you want - blood? No more, now fuck off or I'll nick you for parking on a double yellow blog.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

 

Animal rights and wrongs

Small Demo in town today. A dozen animal rights protestors, a few ‘Reclaim the streets’ eccentrics and a lot of hostility.

Since that business where a woman’s remains were dug up because her grandchildren ran a guinea pig farm, the Animal Rights mob have been persona non grata in our neck of the woods. As a protest that stunt had to rank up there with self immolation as a career option. The locals were not at all happy to see them and were beginning to make their voices heard. Just snatches on the refrain from “Grave robbing bastards.” To the more sarcastic “Why don’t you go dig up some old mates?”

Tony, who heroically has declined sick leave after yesterdays kerfuffle, and I were tasked to keep an eye on the traffic flows and play our part keeping the streets clear. The CSO’s and the real Police patrols were highly visible. I really shouldn’t have pissed off the senior management last month over some evidence laid out in my pocket note book – I know they were in the wrong, but they are in a position to put me in situations I’d rather not be in, like this one. We were both rather concerned and ready to leg it if trouble broke out.

To cut a long story short, one of the local retailers, a ‘serial offender’ in Cop-speak, took the opportunity to have a go at Tony while he was booking a Rover 75 with its front wheels on double yellows and rear wheels outside the restriction. No overhang about it, this guy was committing a ‘contravention’ as it is known nowadays. I think it was one of his customers. Said retailer bowls up to Tony and starts giving him serious verbal abuse. A couple of the demonstrators take notice and decide to take issue against an authority figure, just because he’s wearing a uniform and enforcing regulations. I’m on the other side of the street booking a Range Rover in a disabled bay. CSO’s and real Police are too busy with rest of rent-a-mob who are shouting about whatever it is they were shouting about. There’s Tony in the middle of four or five very angry people. I finish booking Range Rover and make my way over the street, logging a call with CCTV to get us some support with the intention of extricating Tony from his predicament with the “Got a moment mate?” gambit.

The “Got a moment mate?” Gambit is a way of getting a mate out of trouble without getting the aggression turned on you. It’s very simple. Circle round incident and get to one side of besieged comrade so he can see you without having to turn his head. Tap him on the shoulder, say “Got a moment mate?” To him, then a brief “excuse me sir – won’t be a moment” to whoever is giving him grief and gently lead him two or three paces away from the scene and away from the cause of the aggro. If aggro follows, use the “With you in a minute sir – shan’t be long.” And ignore any further rantings, thus giving comrade space to finish what he’s doing and get clear.

This was a bad move. Tony gets clear but now I’m in the firing line. Retailer and demonstrators are not willing to be fobbed off. Time for what Mohammed Ali, the boxer called the ‘rope-a-dope’. Again this is very simple. Stand very still. Face cause of aggravation; look into their piggy little eyes and cock head slightly on one side as if hanging on every last syllable. Look carefully at contorted face in front of you and pick a peculiarity, say an unusual muscle twitch, poor dentition, bad skin, etc. Now focus intently upon it and switch off. Nothing they shout should now register except as “BLAH-BLAH-BLAH-LITTLE HITLERS-BLAH-BLAH-YAKKITY-YAKKITY.” Do and say nothing unless their hands come up. Now edge slightly inside their reach. This way, any punch thrown hasn’t had time to pick up full energy and won’t hurt unless assailant is a real Martial Arts expert. Also; edging forward puts would be assailant on back foot, so helping you dominate and defuse the situation. The coup de grace to the ‘rope-a-dope’ is delivered as follows; At the shouted cue “ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME!?” Simply deliver “Beg pardon sir?” with a slight frown, by which time most normal people will have run out of breath and be ready to storm off. Do not smile at any time. Bared teeth originated as a primeval threat gesture and make people think you are taking the piss, which will only make them try haul off and hit you. This is not the object of the exercise.

The problem with the above is that it doesn’t always work. Fortunately, Tony has now slapped a ticket on the offenders windscreen and we are ready to get the hell out of Dodge. He gets me out of the line of fire by tapping me on the shoulder and saying “Scuse me sir – just need to talk to my colleague for a moment.” Which is my cue to give chummy the high shoulder and walk away while seemingly deep in technical conversation with Tony. Said Retailer is having none of this and tries to carry on his tirade. He must be fitter than he looks. CSO’s and real Police are still busy, so no help there. A small crowd has gathered and it is time to beat retreat. We’ve done what we came to do so we turn away with a polite “Good day to you sir.” Not having responded to the anger before strolling around the corner and out of the line of fire. Retailer and demonstrators do not follow. Hallelujah, we are saved. Not.

We get round the corner only to find that one demonstrator has taken tickets off windscreens and throws them at us before legging it to his mates having shown how brave he is. Tony looks at torn up parking tickets on floor, then says “Looks like another incident report form, then.” I nod, pick up shredded tickets and place in nearby litter bin.

We shrugged our shoulders knowing that whoever ripped up those parking tickets has not done the offenders a service. It just means they are unlikely to be able to pay the fine at the discounted rate. We have photographs of said tickets affixed to windscreens in our rinky dinky little hand held computers. We have ticket details in our pocket notebooks. The offenders will receive notification by post within two weeks no matter what happens. CCTV has a record of the whole incident on tape, which covers our arses and stops management kicking us. We could of course reprint the tickets and go round replacing them, but we’re not feeling that brave right now. Besides, it would be a pointless exercise in bravado. The tickets are issued; the process has begun with almost glacial unstoppability until offender coughs up amount of fine. Job done.

Then all we had to remember was exactly what was said then write it all down. That took up the rest of our shift. Turned out okay as it’s been weeing down all afternoon and we’ve been sat in our nice dry rest room filling out these interminable forms. We were tempted to have a damn good whinge about the risks we face in light of the recent pay problems, but decided not to. Why? Well in the words of the three ex squaddies on our team; “If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined.”
 

Another one bites the dust

Sad to note that the very funny and unpolitically correct blog Diplomad is shutting down. Will miss it.

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

Friday, February 04, 2005

 

Shooting people can be fun - Oh yes it can

Shooting people can be fun. Said a US Lieutenant General. I agree. There are sooo many deserving candidates out there. I am compiling a list, including;

The three cowardly sods who attacked one of our guys today. I can't work out why. He wasn't even trying to book their car. One minute he's checking out one of our on street parking meters, the next his hat is in the street and he's being kicked at. Fortunately there was one of our rare local beat coppers who pulled his pepper spray and scattered the assailants. Tony was okay, but we were bloody angry about it happening at all.

Why? Tony is one of the sweetest blokes you would care to meet. He's kind to little old ladies and girls only have to bat their eyelids at him to make the poor lad blush. He hasn't got a mean bone in his body. I know he's a Traffic Warden and enforces the parking restrictions by handing out parking tickets but what gives three guys the right to gang up on him like that? Fortunately he didn't suffer any injury apart from lightly bruised pride and a slightly downtrodden hat.

Tony spent the rest of today filling out forms. Incident report forms. Crime report forms. Commentary forms and his pocket note book. At tea break he was complaining that the writers cramp hurt worse than the bruises he got during the attack. CCTV caught the tail end of the incident and I think at the time of writing "Arrests are imminent". More on this as and when the news breaks. Tony's last complaint as I finished my shift was the pain in his right wrist was ruining his love life - We were all single once.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

 

Bill Sticker's rule of 85%

The general dyslexic have been even more dyslexic than usual. This has led to more tickets being issued than usual. You hear them saying things like "What sign?" and you feel like shouting "THERE! THERE! Right next to your big silly 4x4. It's written in English, thats probably why you can't read it - bozo!" Instead you restrict yourself to a neutral thin lipped expression and point, or turn away sadly shaking your head at the stupidity of many of your fellow humans.

Several years ago I worked out that roughly 75% of the human race are either plain stupid or just not paying attention. Mrs Sticker agrees, and helped modify the criteria so that the rule covers 85% of humans. After much spirited debate I was forced to agree. A proper mathematical analysis would bear this figure out. Think about it. In order for a proportion of the human race to be of average intelligence and above, statistically there has to be a corresponding fraction below those levels. Furthermore intelligence manifests itself in a number of ways. For example a Professor of Mathematics may be highly intelligent in a specific way but be a complete klutz in the kitchen. He / she might be great at advanced calculus but like many humans, reduced to the standard of the average moron when in charge of a car.

It is about the standard of driving as a measure of intelligence that I wish to write. Forget all your fancy IQ and EQ tests, what counts is how you use that intelligence. Driving is a more than adequate measure of those factors which cuts across all social levels. Are you smart enough to pay attention to all the factors you have to take into consideration when driving? Yes? Are you clever enough to realise how your behaviour may put others, both inside and outside your vehicle - at risk? Do you understand the reasoning behind road signs and responsible road use? See where the basis of my argument lies?

Having thought about this for a while, can you discriminate? Do you, above all things pay attention. Good. then you will never get caught by me. You are one of the 15% of humans that actually justify our existance as a species. Well done. Now don't get all smug and superior about it or you will automatically drop into the 85% of idiots.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

 

Going Miffic

I am a miffed Traffic Warden. Tony Blair and his cohorts are the people who have incurred my extreme displeasure, and the displeasure of a lot of other local authority workers. Let me explain;

My colleagues and I were hired to enforce the parking regulations that were taken over by the local authority under decriminalisation. We were hired at a particular rate of pay, which is just about a reasonable working wage.

Today when I walk into the mess room I was handed an envelope by my line manager, detailing the new wage structure as laid down by this bunch of complete fuckwits in government. Like my colleagues, I was pretty pissed off when I read that we were all getting our wages cut. That's right. Cut.

Our Union Shop steward was physically hauled out of the toilets and asked WTF is this? He said "Don't ask me - I'm as fucked off about it you are." We relented and let him regain his dignity and trousers when we found out he had only just been informed of the new pay arrangements. Next we turned out attention to our line manager, who had only just held onto her current wage packet by the skin of her teeth. The word shot up to Senior Management, who immediately came rushing over to see what all the dark mutterings of mutiny and walk outs were about. Senior Management weren't all that impressed with the deal (They had only just found out ten minutes before us) and promised to find out what on earth had possessed Personnel to send out such inflammatory letters. Rockets were sent flying into the bureaucratic ether, promises were exchanged and a wildcat walk out averted.

Turns out this has been going on all over the country in local authorities where parking has been 'Decriminalised' i.e. turned into a civil rather than a criminal offence. Not just parking either but all through local authorities. While the arguments flew between departments a couple of our guys made some calls to mates in other councils. Some had gained, some like us had lost and weren't too damn happy about it. We heard of one poor sod in the midlands who had lost to the tune of a quarter of his salary. All those years of service - sorry mate, doesn't count under the new pay structure. God knows what he did after that. Me, I'd have been going through the phone book for a decent employment lawyer. All the training, all the extra work we've taken on in good faith.

I fucking hate Tony Blair.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

 

Conflict and Aggression - well grr

Consultants. Where do these people get their ideas from? We had two thirtyish female teacher types who were billed as 'Aggression Psycholgists'. If I said money for old rope I wouldn't be far wrong.

Picture this if you can; a room containing eight hardened Traffic Wardens who have been out on the streets enforcing the law, able to cope with many tight situations and walk away unharmed(ish) and these two people who spouted so much jargon in the first half hour that I almost fell asleep with all the excitement of it. For the rest of the morning we were bombarded with statistics, powerpoint presentations and 'factoids'. WTF is a factoid? I asked. I was told with a slight sneer that a factoid 'For the uneducated amongst you' (I may not have a university degree but I resent that) is a small fact. Bollocks! A fact is something true, a factiod is slang for a trivial news item. Was I impressed? Was I buggery. I can't remember when I've been so underwhelmed.

There is a saying. If you can't dazzle them with brilliance - baffle 'em with bullshit. Oh dearie me. I mean call me an old cynic but come on. The best anti aggression training we ever had was an afternooon session at the end of our original on street training course, delivered by an ex traffic cop with real on street experience. Still, this time round the role playing was fun - even if it did get me a telling off for winding up the 'Consultants' by getting mock aggressive with my oppo big Harry. Must have scared eight kinds of shit out of the consultants because I'm not small and big Harry ain't called 'big' for nothing. Six foot four and built like the proverbial brick shithouse. We paired off, with me pretending to be an irate motorist giving Harry serious grief. I snarled at him, he growled back and before you know it we were nose to nose like A New York Baseball Umpire and Team Manager calling each other 'Cocksuckers'. If it hadn't been for our Line Manager (Who knows what a bunch of wind up merchants we are) bursting out laughing - I think the consultants would have called the coppers. Kerry knew the bit out of the Kevin Costner Movie 'Bull Durham' we were re enacting and gave us both a serious public ticking off for the consultants benefit.

It was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dull day. We even had to get our own lunches. Had the office bods been with us we would have been bombarded with snack food. For this I came in on my day off?
 

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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