Clum…seey! Me?

Clumsy

I am clumsy. I’ve only recently come to admit it, but I am clumsy. It’s partly age – after 65 you are bound to be less agile, less dexterous, less flexible – plain clumsy in other words. 

Add to age-related clumsiness, arthritis and subsequent joint replacement operations, plus incipient cataract – my optician says I need it removed – “a mere twenty-minute procedure, a routine op. The eye surgeon does dozens of them every day.” Maybe he does but I don’t!

Once I could sew and knit – not brilliantly but adequately, now I struggle to thread a needle. Once I could write if not beautiful copperplate at least a legible hand. Now I am profoundly grateful  for word processing and spellchecks. How would I have coped if I’d been born fifty years earlier?

I like to think I’ve reached the stage of “knowing my limitations” as our gym teacher used to say. I admire delicate things like Faberge eggs – but from a distance: I don’t pick them up lest I drop them.  I’ve been called “ambi-sinister” the reverse of ambidexterous- and it’s probably correct. 

ESME

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Painted Faces

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/eyes/”>Eyes</a&gt;

This was one I made earlier – much earlier – when I attended a creative writing class at Lancaster university. 

Make your face up,
make up your eyes,
blend the colours,
paint the skies,
gild the lily until it dies.

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Mask with mascara betraying eyes,
lengthen the lashes add to the lies,
brush on the blusher, don the disguise,
put on a brave face, a sage face and wise,
colour the lips but hide the eyes.

Make up stories make up lies
save your face, shut off your eyes.

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Licensed to Extort

Among many other curious customs we have in Britain, is the way we fund our public servth-7ice broadcasting, the B.B.C. (The British Broadcasting Corporation.) There is a levy, a tax if you like, on every household with a television. Yes, that’s right. A one-person household pays the same as a twenty-person household; you pay the same whether you watch B.B.C. programmes all the time or not at all. People who watch only independent television channels or even just use their set to play films and D.V.D.s  are still subject to the same charge. The levy takes no account of how many televisions receivers you have. Think of a family of two adults and two teenage children.  Gone are the days of the whole family clustering round the television in the sitting room to watch the same programme. The children will be likely to have their own tellies in their bedrooms; there may be a set in the kitchen and another in the main living room.

I’m not against public service broadcasting. I think the B.B.C. is a good idea. While I wouldn’t say it is perfect, some sort of news and information service, not directly controlled by the government is necessary. The B.B.C. is claimed to educate, inform and entertain and by and large that is what it does.  The only thing wrong is the archaic system of funding this service.Public service broadcasting should be just that – a public service, like the NHS or the schools, paid for from general taxation and free at the point of use.

The current TV licence costs £145. The collection of it is both costly and complicated with letters and queries to non-licence-payers and television detector-vans roaming the streets to catch the miscreants who haven’t paid their fee.

Now we’re told that from 1st September – less than a month away – we will be required to have a TV licence to look at BBC programmes on a mobile phone or an i-pad. This extra extortion will be impossible to police. How many people own portable pieces of computer equipment that can download broadcasts from BBC i-player? A hell of a lot. How can it make sense to try and check whether little Jimmy is plth-9aying an innocent computer game on his i-pad or breaking the law by watching a BBC news or sports broadcast? How about Mum on her mobile phone? Is she simply emailing a friend (legal) or watching Come Dancing or the Great British Bakeoff? (not allowed) Then there’s the thought that a TV licence as I understand it covers a building not an individual. We found this out when the TV licensing authority sent us a letter telling us in no uncertain terms the we should not allow any of our workforce to watch TV on their computers as we do not have a licence. Since we are two pensioners both retired we do not have a large number of employees. In fact we have none.

Since a TV licence is linked to a building rather than a person someone going into a friend’s house or visiting a pub with Wi-fi could presumably watch TV on a tablet or a laptop to their heart’s content. And the friend, pub or coffee shop owner need not even know.

Yes, of course the TV licence fee should be altered. It is an out-dated and archaic system. The best replacement would be a standard fee for each income-tax or council-tax payer. This should be easy enough to calculate and would remove the chance or people trying to dodge payment. If it is felt necessary the “free” TV licence for the over-75s could remain, as could the similar concession for blind people. (Isn’t it odd that we provide something like TV free for those least able to benefit from it? Deaf people don’t require a radio licence either!) This system would also remove the regular badgering of those of us eccentric enough not to own a television. Just imagine if we received a regular notice saying “our records show that you haven’t got a shotgun license” and demanding that we get one immediatley, even though we don’t own a gun!

I suggest £100 per annum would be a reasonable amount to charge each tax-payer for what is after all a very worth while service. This should be easy to administer. Even the most incompetent of governments should have such basic information as Total population, broken down into those paying income tax or council tax and charge them a fixed sum each. People over 75 could be exempt, if this is felt necessary, as could school-age children. Then all that needs to be done is to bill each individual or household for the appropriate amount.

This would actually cost me and my husband more as we don’t have a TV (or a licence). But the idea of paying for something you don’t immediatley want or need is nothing new.  All taxpayers contribute to the cost of the Health  and Education Services.  We all pay towards the upkeep of our roads, even someone who never leaves their home. Will the government adopt this obvious easy and sensible way to fund public service broadcasting in Britain? NO WAY!!

One extra thought: it seems unfair that the licence fee goes to the B.B.C. and the independent broadcasters get nothing.

ESME

 

 

 

Eighth Deadly Sin

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-eighth-sin/”>The Eighth Sin</a>

An easy one this – the most annoying, inconsiderate and infuriating habit is using a mobile phone or i-pad when in company. At a social event, however informal, maybe just two or three friends having coffee together – you shouldn’t find one of the group ignoring the others and carrying on a conversation or a text messaging session with someone else, probably someone not even known to the rest of the party. It is only polite to say something like “do you mind if I take this call?” and move away from the rest of the group.

You sometimes see people sitting in a cafe or restaurant and communicating with the person sitting next to them by text message for goodness’ sake! I remember years ago in an office we used  to send each other trivial email messages, things like “Going to the pub for lunch in half an hour?” But this was for a a reason, or rather two reasons: 1 some of us were only just starting to use email (I said it was years ago,didn’t I ?) and needed the practice. 2 in a room with other people trying to work it wasn’t fair to yell across the room.

Life Without Computer ?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/life-after-blogs/”>Life After Blogs</a>

I admit I am old enough to remember life B.C. – before computers. I even once wrote an article in my local paper called “No Micros for Me” in which I explained why you really didn’t need to have your very own computer! Incredible isn’t it? A bit like something I read about the really early days of computing when some portentous person said he didn’t think computers would really catch on, but if they did England would need perhaps 4 or 5 machines in the country! Now if you count laptops and i-pads and smart phones I think most households – at least those with children – would be able to come up with 4 or 5 computer-type devices.

But now I really find it difficult to imagine what I would – or more likely could – do without a computer. Writing is the first thing: I can no longer produce legible handwriting.    I do virtually all writing on the screen.  Some time since, quite a long time, if I’m honest, I began to work straight to the screen – and I found I could do it! Easy-peasy. And I can alter and edit and change and correct so much more easily.

But it’s not only writing that I use my computer for. If it were only writing, I could replace my computer with a word processor or an electronic typewriter – with a memory function of course. No, I also use my computer to look things up, check facts, not only stuff like the date of Rabbie Burns’ birth and death, but personal things like details of appointments with my doctor or dentist, family birthdays and contact details for all sorts of people.

If I want to know what tomorrow’s weather will be like, I consult the metrological office website, if I want to go to the theatre or cinema I look for details of what plays or films are on. I can then book tickets online.

I shop online – from the ubiquitous Amazon – but also other places too.  For me email has replaced snailmail whenever possible. Why type or write a letter, print it out, find an envelope and stamp and walk in my case half a mile to the nearest letterbox? I can put my words on screen, edit them and press send and off they fly. The recipient will receive my letter immediately and can read it at their leisure. I even have the advantage of a copy in my “sent” file so I can check what I said and whenI said it.

No life without a computer -now – would be going back to the dark ages.

 

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Unplugged? Unconnected?

Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bloggers-unplugged/”>Bloggers, Unplugged</a>

I don’t have a chance to “make it happen” so I can have a rest from writing – heavens, a rest from writing would be like a break from breathing.

Seriously though, I get enough unscheduled breaks courtesy of my Internet provider. Little billets-doux saying, “You are not connected to the internet” or “Safari can’t find the URL – check your spelling and try again”.

Then of course there are the umpteen other things that need to be done; some of them need to be done at a particular time. Outings and shopping and meetings and rides, not to mention meals and snacks and household chores – washing and ironing, baking and cooking. I’m now retired: how did I ever find time to go to work?

ESME

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Not Being on Facebook

I’ve eventually found out that the only way you can see a page – anyone’s page – on Facebook is if you join. The only way I was able to find this basic bit of information was by asking someone who is on Facebook.

In other words they won’t even tell you that you can’t find out anything unless you sign up! How’s that for secrecy?

It’s as though the WI – or any other membership organisation – were to refuse to tell you anything about the organisation, the meeting times,  venues etc unless and until you had joined and paid your subscription! OK I know Facebook is free to join and “subscribe” doesn’t have quite the same meaning in computer-speak as it does in everyday life. If I subscribe to “The Oldie” magazine or “The Lady” I pay an annual fee and get them posted to my home.

As far as I have been able to find out I would be required to provide my name, email address and date of birth to join Facebook. (Some doubt about whether the date of birth is relevant, they claim it is to prove that you are who you say you are. Can’t see how that works. Adding – or more likely subtracting – 10 years from my age doesn’t really invalidate any other data given.  If I ever did join I’d certainly put my age down as 99 just to see what the system made of it!)

What worries me is that Facebook end up with a massive list of names and email addresses. What do they do with these? What might they do with them? Sell them to retailers? The date of birth will give sellers a good pointer as to what sort of ads to target at an individual.

Quote from Facebook Log in page:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

Perhaps I am being paranoid.  I think not. Anyway I am used to being the odd one out. I don’t have a television either!

 

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