Holiday time

A great thing about being retired is the freedom of time. As a teacher, my holidays were school holidays. If you wanted to go away, the prices were the highest and availability was limited. I know airlines are not supposed to charge more when it is school holiday time, but they do, and you can’t blame them. Supply and demand, and all that.

Having every day as a holiday means that I can pick times to go away when it is cheaper. I can pick flights at odd times. I am under no pressure to be back.

I was booking for New York City the other day, for next April. I went eighteen months ago and it is a great time to go. As soon as you venture into May, it suddenly becomes more expensive.

And what is even more annoying is that fees, taxes etc take up more than £500 of my total bill.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

Web sites

I do web sites for people. I’m not going to include any links as this is not an advert for my work, or for the people I do it for, and I am not boastful about my efforts. I do the sites for free, for fun, plus they do help the people concerned, and they are happy enough with them.

It’s amazing how many sites you find even now that look very amateurish. Spelling mistakes, broken links, missing graphics, shops or other systems that don’t work, childish fonts, you know the kind of thing. Given that there are so many tools available, like WordPress here that I am using simply to save effort, that can produce a really nice, simple but professional looking site with minimal effort, poor sites are inexcusable.

My pet peeve is keeping it up to date. If someone I know says ‘X is now Y’, and I am really happy to change it. I want to get it right. It’s for you, Mr (or Mrs) Client, it is in your best interest for it to be correct, and I don’t know. I don’t want to be saying to them ‘this has been the same since December 2013. Is it still correct?’ to get a lot of abuse about ‘I’m too busy to correct it right now’.

Sport

I have never really ‘got’ sport. I understand why it appeals. It’s mindless. Some sports ‘allow’ people to be abusive, violent, racist, drunk and it’s an acceptable excuse to do those things.

At school we played rugby something. No-one ever explained the rules, so it’s very hard to enjoy something if you don’t know what is going on. In the summer it was cricket. For a time, when I was maybe 10, I followed football a bit. Scarborough Town. Don’t think they exist any more.

I do understand darts, if you can call that a sport. Throw things at a target and get points. And snooker. Actually, watching snooker on tv used to be great as Ted Lowe had a soothing voice that sent you to sleep, but the current commentators talk all the time and very loudly and say nothing. One snooker ball is much like an other, except for the colour, and it’s all fancy potting and very little of what the game name implies, snookers (ie tactical play). And the current players lack personality. Too much money in the game, I suppose.

I get golf too – hit a ball with the stick.

The worst is formula 1 racing. You’d think it was about drivers driving cars quickly to see who is the fastest, but it now seems to be about the colour of the tyres they have. I know someone who loved it and went whenever she could. More than 15 years ago she was paying nearly £100 per person for the British grand prix. I asked what she saw. The cars zoom past, apparently, but you can watch them on a big screen!

I guess Wimbledon starts soon. There is all the clamour for tickets for the main courts, to see the British player, hey let’s not be jingoist, but then they all go off and the place is empty.

Politics

We in the UK just had a general election. It’s a chance for politicians to give them a job.

It used to be that an election could be called at the whim of the Prime Minister, at least once per five years, but this was changed recently to be five fixed years.

Then David Cameron walked away from the job, Mrs May took it over. People asked her, at least nine times, any snap election coming? No she said, definitely not.

Then suddenly there was a snap election. Why? Because she had a big majority, people loved her (apparently) and she wanted a bigger majority. She wanted to stop on her opposition (of whatever political persuasion).

Because the major opposition party, Labour, was in disarray. Leader Jeremy Corbyn was seen as a weak leader, but an honourable man. He is actually my local MP, gets a huge majority and people like him, because he cares and sticks to his principles. But even his own party didn’t really back him. They were going to lose, bigly. The commentators said, the end of Labour.

But what happened? The Conservative manifesto proposed to introduce a dementia tax. If you needed home care, the government would take all your assets (above £100,000) including your house, to pay for it. You could be out on the streets. Besides, they said, who needs to inherit more than £100,000?

This was so not popular, so they changed it, but flat out lied it had been changed.

Then there was a tv debate. Everyone turned up except Mrs May who said she preferred to talk directly to people, but some say she was simply at home watching tv. Don’t know if that’s true.

In the end, the Conservatives won, but only just. There was a strong vote for Labour/Corbyn. UKIP were squashed, hugely.

It was a night of celebration for non-Conservative supporters, not because Labour had won, but because Mrs May’s arrogance had been stomped on from a great height. And it’s been downhill for her since then.