Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Age of Terror

For all sorts of improbably evolutionary reasons, when you're young you think you're a little bit invincible. Rocks will bounce off you. Of course you could hold that collapsing roof up. This flesh is flame-retardant.

Even as a slightly neurotic young chap, I was still quite firm in the belief that if the house was falling down, I'd still have enough time to grab a few of my favourite things before evacuating. I'd probably still grab my bag before leaving the craft, contrary to all sound advice. Of course a car crashing into me wouldn't break anything. I suppose if I didn't I probably wouldn't have left the house very much (thus, of course, contrarily putting myself in more danger).

Watching some of the footage from Japan makes me realise my point of view has changed. I'm a bit older now. I would just grab my loved ones and run and run and run and not stop to look back.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A list of things I don't like about my bank (thrills!)

A couple of weeks ago, my bank did a good thing. Since then, it's done a lot of quite bad things. Bad things it could so easily have not done.

Good thing: My bank phoned me to tell me my debit card details had been found on 'a list' and that they needed to cancel my card. Irritating, but necessary and very helpful of them.

Bad thing one: They couldn't tell me any more information about how my details might have got on this list, where this was found, or how I might stop this happening again.

Bad thing two: It takes 7-10 working days for a replacement card. I mean, really? That long? As a species humanity has put people on our planet's moon, turned sunlight into usable energy* and invented the paperclip. Admittedly, in the cosmic scale of things, these are all quite small achievements. But can it really be that problematic to create a small piece of secure plastic and post it to us? And if it is, explain to me why.

Bad thing three: Not posting it to me. Unlike the normal cards that get sent to my home, because they (not me, they) cancelled this one, I have to sign for it. Ah. So there's no point in sending it to my home. I won't be there. Can you send it to my workplace? No. Oh. WHY?

Bad thing four: Not sending me a letter to say it is ready for collection. Will you? No. because that's, like, really hard. (To be fair, having had customer service letters form my bank before, I'd rather not have another one with typos and grammar errors in. Because they really inspire me with confidence, you know?)

Bad thing five: Sending it to the wrong branch. Okay, so i also accept some fault here. Because when they said, "The branch on X road?" I did not specifically ask if there was more than one branch on that road.

Bad thing six: Open plan style banking branches. I don't want to do my business in front of everyone, thanks.

Bad thing seven: Being able to identify that the card had not arrived (because I was in the wrong branch, of course) but telling me that to find out where it was, I'd have to wait "15-20 minutes" to sit down with someone. Really? At 11am? Really??

The one other slightly good thing: the dude on the phone that said sorry when I phoned to check where it was.

A lot of this comes down to communication. I will put up with quite a lot if people;

1) Explain why something has to happen, straightforwardly and without patronising me.
2) Recognise that things are not going brilliantly, without trying to put the blame for this on me.
3) Say sorry.

It's not difficult. It really isn't.

* Obviously plants got there first with this one, I will admit.

Friday, March 04, 2011

On with the paranoia hat.

Am becoming more and more convinced that the Powers That Be are distracting us from all the more important things that are happening by messing with our minds?

I mean, really??

Bar the odd lucky bugger among us who has their dream job, or those that had a above-and-beyond awful experience at school, how many of us would honestly say our working life is somehow better than our school life.

Really? Do we really want to ruin the early lives of young people even more? Don't they have enough stuff to deal with?

Make work and school more fun, I say.

One day, I'll find the off-switch for this indignation. One day. Maybe.

(I know. Link to the Telegraph. Bite me.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Guv'Nor

We had a school Governors sub-committee meeting last night, of which I am Chair.*

(I know. How do I stand the non-stop excitement that is my kerrr-razy life.)

Always dread the meetings. They stick out in the diary like little clouds of post-work gloom. Commitment made manifest. Last year a friend ran through an exercise with me where you prioritise and rank the things you want to do more of. School Governing came bottom of quite a long list.

But then the meeting was brilliant. We got loads done and it was really energetic. I came away feeling really great and actually useful.

It always happens like this. I really must be less curmudgeonly about my free time.

Still a bit confused as to how I actually became a school governor, not having any of what I imagined to be the normal prerequisites; a child, a severe nervous condition brought on my teaching a small army of 'little darlings' etc. I think I saw it as a way of volunteering.

I'm what they call a community governor (the other kind, aside from parents and teachers, are local authority governors). This means I am supposed to represent the local community, I think.



* The position of Table having already been filled, obviously.