Monday, 16 April 2018

Madness and mayhem and such like stuff!

Well, the mayhem continues. The bombs have been dropped. President Macron of France claims that he guided Trump’s hand, first in maintaining a presence in Syria and secondly in limited the strikes to chemical weapons sites. I suppose everyone wants to appear to be in control, unless they just want to appear to be at least part of the action and not left behind. Which is one way of looking at Mrs May’s situation. And she has two things to give her attention to at the moment: the bombing thing and the offspring of the Windrush immigrants - our very own “dreamers” threatened with being sent back where they came from!!! But it distracts attention from Brexit!

Something I read this morning suggested that the OPCW people were not being given full access to the site of the Douma bombing. And another report suggested that the Russians are suspected of tampering with the site. Oh boy! Chaos continues! Will we ever really know the truth?

So I think I’ll just get on with things and put off worrying about the state of the world until later.

One of this morning’s tasks was wrestling the futon mattress back into its cover, which has been washed. I have been known to moan about the difficulty of getting kingsize duvets into their covers but the futon mattress takes the cake.

Added difficulty comes from its being rather knocked out of shape. We loaned it to our daughter years back and it returned with the mattress stuffing unevenly distributed. It needs a good shake-up, something quite hard to do single handed. Our eldest granddaughter is about to take the futon off our hands to help furnish her newly acquired house. I shall give her instructions as to how she and her boyfriend, both young and strong, can pick the mattress up and give it a good pummelling to get it back into shape.

That’s another problem dealt with.

I came across a little diatribe about the use of language in yesterday’s paper. The writer started off moaning about how coffee, which used to be just black or white, is ordered nowadays in the UK. He had been peeved to find himself in a queue behind a hipster who was ordering a “triple shot skinny macchiato with almond milk” and trying, unsuccessfully I was amused to note, to pay for it with his iPhone! He went on to be astounded at a notice advertising “handcrafted coffee”, which turned out to mean that a human being operated a coffee-making machine! His best find, however, was about museums “deaccessionising their collection as a quick fix for financial trouble”, which translates roughly as selling off items to make some money!

I reflected further on language when I saw a friend’s comment on Facebook about something in the political world that was annoying her. “What a dickheaded thing to do!” she remarked. Now, she is the kind of person who rarely swears or uses profanities in speech. I cannot imagine her actually calling a person a “dickhead” face to face. So did she write this because as a non-native English speaker she doesn’t actually understand the register of language used? (And there is a school of thought that says that swearing in foreign doesn’t really count!) Or is she, like many people who use social media, quite happy to be more aggressive in her written language than in her spoken? 

Elsewhere in the paper I found reactions to Labour’s proposal/promise to offer free bus travel to the under-25s. Some people thought it would be a good way of getting people out of their cars and thus reducing congestion and contamination. Others thought it would make life easier for young people, actually enabling some of them to continue with their studies or get to work without incurring debt. Yet others saw it as a ploy by Labour to bribe young people to vote for them. Polly Toynbee’s was the best, in my opinion anyway:

“It’s still a lot less generous than older people’s travel passes. In London the over-60s get not just free buses but free tubes as well, even for high earners still in work. So no one should begrudge this modest offer to the young.”

 I can use my Greater Manchester bus pass on London buses. I wonder if I will eventually be able to use it on the tube as well. That would be nice!

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