The Grumpy Old Man

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Life is for living; we may be individuals, but we are not alone



Life 19....is current food labelling of allergens and enforcement of regulations adequate?....

....Is current Food labelling and its detailing of allergens legislation adequate and do manufacturers and suppliers of food really understand the full ramifications and dangers associated with these requirements?...

The death of a teenager following a flight from Heathrow to Nice after she had eaten a poorly labelled baguette at Heathrow airport has prompted new legislation to be proposed that tightens up food labelling. The Daily Telegraph reports the teenager's father saying "I think we are moving to a tipping point for things to actually change. So things that have previously been in the dark are now going to come out into the light. And that's really, really important and only good will come from that". These sentiments are laudable .....read more.....




Life 18....The Cost of Ageism in the Workplace....

Ageism is a silent killer, of opportunity, of experience, of ambition, of relationships and, for some, even life itself...

The problem of ageism in the workplace goes much, much further than discussed in earlier grumps which look at the recruitment process and how it effects unemployment in the over Fifties.

Looking at Grumpy's own experience it is clear that a financial time bomb is growing for many over Fifties in addition to the mental and social problems caused by unemployment. It should also be recognised that this time bomb is not restricted to personal finances but goes much further and impinges upon national finances.

But let's look at exactly what is causing this time bomb .....read more.....




Life 17....Age Discrimination in the Workplace Recruitment Process....

...The long term problems of age discrimination in the work place and un-employment for the over fifties...

25 years ago when Grumpy was made redundant he was conscious of a worship of "yoooff" purely for the sake of its age. Frequently, in the employment seeking process he felt that age was the "job offer" decider, rather than the candidates experience or appropriateness for the "job in question".

At age 49, (and a half as Adrian Mole would insist on adding) he remembers thinking "if I don't get a job in the next six months it will be an uphill task". How right he was. As regular readers of his site will know, the number of job applications he made was in thousands.

On an intermittent basis, but with alarming frequency, Grumpy comes across articles bemoaning or talking about how difficult it is for the over 50s to secure employment......read more.....




Life 16....Parts availability for not so old cars....

...The Problems Grumpy Experienced Finding Spare Parts For His Not-So-Old Car...

Regular readers of Grumpy's site will know that he drives a Land Rover Discovery 2. He doesn't consider this car particularly old, certainly not as ancient as he feels on a cold wet morning. He knows by modern standards, the car is certainly not young, having been first registered in 2002. Unlike years ago, Grumpy no longer does a lot of driving consequently the engine has only done 75,000 miles. And he reckons this mileage is genuine.

Living close to the Atlantic ocean, the atmosphere in which the car "lives" is fairly salty, particularly when the gales come in, blowing straight off the ocean, up the road and past Grumpy's house. Yes, lovely in the summer, but it ain't 'arf draughty in the winter!

This sterling British workhorse (the company may have been owned by the Germans, the Americans and now the Indians. But, let's face it, at the end of the day the Land Rover is still and always will be an iconic piece of real British motor engineering of which we should all be rightly proud.) .....read more.....




Life 15....New Computer, More Sharp Business Practice....

...Our new computer seems stuffed with useless (certainly far from free) software!...

Followers of Grumpy will know that a few weeks ago we had a major crash on the old PC running Windows XP and mainly used by Mrs Grumpy. I dare say the pragmatists amongst you would say "if it was still running Windows XP, then it must be almost as old as you Grumpy!" In fact the machine passed on in grand style right in the middle of some of Mrs Grumpy's rather important work.

The upshot was that I had to do a lot of rapid footwork and order a new computer. Discussions with our local computer shop advised that it was perhaps better to stick to window 7 or 8 as Windows 10 was totally different in its presentation and modus operandi. .....read more.....




Life 14....An "Irish" Democracy ?....

...Do Irish politicians understand what democracy is and how it should work?...

Exactly hundred and fifty years ago Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address talked about "....government of the people, by the people for the people". It is interesting to note, that this short description of Democracy can be traced back to a Preface in a version of the Bible believed to be from circa 1384. Some scholars believe that a very similar version of the saying goes back even further.

But you may ask, what in the world is the grumpy old fart wittering on about this for?

What brought it to my attention is the antics of the elected Irish Parliamentary representatives who, for some five weeks after a lacklustre general election campaign are still arguing .....read more.....




Life; 13....The Current Refugee Crisis....

...Causes and Effects of Current Refugee and Economic Migrant Crisis....

Grumpy is very confused about the current "refugee" crisis that is engulfing Europe. As with many of these situations, the crisis is far more extensive and far more serious than people (Joe public) realise, or politicians will admit. I also believe, the current situation is severely exacerbated by the over population of the world in general. Certain students of this subject believe that Homo Sapiens (in comparison with other species) is over populating the world by a factor of six to one. But more on that topic in a separate grump.

Before I go any further, I would like to say that I have every sympathy with the real "refugee" and understand, (although with far less sympathy), the motives.....read more.....




life 12; Would You Be a Junior Coalition Partner in Government?

What happens to a small political party who enters a coalition government arrangement with a larger party?

It is interesting to see at first hand what can happen when a hung parliament is elected. A coalition is usually formed with one party (who have the largest number of seats) being supported by one or two other much smaller parties.

Recent elections that took place in the UK (first past the post system) and in Ireland (which operates a single transferable vote system designed to give a more representative parliament) that provide two examples of what can happen.

In an earlier UK General Election, a government was formed between the Conservatives .....read more.....




Life 11;....Elections, Referenda and Opinion Polls....

...A discussion on opinion polls and their effect on election candidates and the general public...

I had not intended to make any comment on the recent British General Election and Scottish Independence Referendum but when I looked back on them it made me realise that politicians seem to have very short, selective memories or they think the electorate in general has either or both of these afflictions. In addition they show themselves to be gullible and naive, and have the gall to think that the electorate in general is as well.

From last year's Scottish Independence Referendum a number of things spring to mind. One of them being the opinion polls predicting a win for the "yes" or independence camp .....read more.....




Life 10; Observations on Life as an Engineer in the UK

...How do you see an engineer in the UK....

When I left university with a degree in engineering I was looking forward to utilising my newfound knowledge. Previously as a young lad I had always relished making things and like many young lads, taking other things apart to see how they work.

It soon became clear in those heady days of ambition and hope for the future that "the lot" of a UK Engineer was perhaps not what I had anticipated. Being associated with the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers it was soon apparent, not only from other members .....read more.....




Life 9; A "Modern" Christmas

Have we lost sight of what Christmas is all about?

I may be a bit of a grumpy old man but I am no Scrooge and love Christmas, particularly if I am lucky enough to have the family around me. Unfortunately as they have grown up and left the nest many of them are now scattered around the world with their own families making it difficult to see them. Telephone calls on Christmas day have become the norm rather than the exception.

Another thing that saddens me about this festive season is that it seems to have been hijacked by the marketing .....read more.....




Life 8;....Stags and Hens, Aye, there's nowt sa queer as folk!....

...A view of stag and hen parties and how utterly stupid people can be about them....

Life is very peaceful here at the moment, being wintertime as I write, the hotel over the road is closed during the week but I must confess it seems to attract a most strange 'being' at the weekends.

Full loads of these 'beings' usually appear by minibus about the middle of Saturday afternoon. The group will be either all female or all male, certainly not mixed. Most of the female parties will invariably be dressed as Nuns or as Mrs Doyle from the television series "Father Ted". The male parties will all be dressed in their scruffs number one. When we first encountered the arrival of these stag and hen parties (because that's what they are) our hearts were filled with dread as we knew that we were in for a sleepless .....read more.....




Life 7; The Scottish Independence Referendum- A triumph of heart over head, or just common sense?

A look at the recent Scottish Independence Referendum and what it says about politicians, the voting public and Parliamentary Democracy as a whole

The Scottish independence referendum, well what a strange bunfight that turned out to be. As both Mrs Grumpy and I had lived in Edinburgh before we met, we had more than a passing interest in the discussions and the eventual outcome. It was over thirty years ago that we had lived in Scotland but it was fascinating that Scottish independence was being discussed then and the very same arguments discussed now were being bandied around then.

Listening to some of the statements being made by the Scottish politicians .....read more.....




Life 6; Are Mobile Phones really useful?

The mobile phone, a bane, or a boon?

I,ll wager that a large proportion of you are viewing this page on a device that also doubles as your mobile phone. Which is actually not bad for a piece of kit that twenty-five years ago was used predominantly by that pillar of the community, the second-hand car salesman. The first of these devices I ever saw was at a car auction room and it was the size and probably the weight of a concrete building block. It had a Bakelite handset, and an old-fashioned 'finger in the hole' rotary dial mechanism. How technology has advanced since those days! But I ask, .....read more.....




Life 5; Age discrimination is alive, well and still thriving in the Recruitment Market

Does Mature Experience Mean nothing in the Recruitment Market?

I see from a recent issue of the Daily Telegraph that a fifty-one-year-old lady PA in London is having problems securing employment after redundancy. She says she believes part of the problem is age discrimination.

Grumpy hates to point out to her, but age discrimination in the employment market has been rife for many years and in his view, age discrimination is probably the only problem she has. I admire her determination and obvious lateral thinking in securing six or eight column inches in the one newspaper most widely read by people who may be willing .....read more.....


Note:this grump was originally published in May 2017, and updated in November 2018




Life 4; Cheese

I hate it when my cheese goes fousty in the fridge

Cheese, Gordon Bennett, I just love the stuff, the trouble is, there are invariably only two sorts available where we live.

Our local supermarket displays meters of shelves loaded with a plastic concoction that they call cheddar cheese which I find largely inedible. It comes in square blocks, thin slices, grated in packets, sometimes it's called mild, sometimes mature and it even comes in a couple of different colours. I have tried various selections from this huge array of 'stuff' and found all of it without fail uniformly dull, plastic and invariably tasteless. The ones that are called mature .....read more.....




Life 3; Grumpy has lateral views on decision-making.

Do you sometimes find that life presents you with an intractable problem to solve?

Problem-solving and decision-making is never a straightforward task and is frequently fraught with worries as to whether we are doing the right thing. Sometimes, Grumpy has found that it is better to take a step back from the situation and ask yourself, "is now the right time to be taking this decision?"

Grumpy has found that when he is faced with a difficult problem and .....read more.....




Life 2; Now here's a quick thought!

How much do we know as opposed to think we know?

When we are twenty, we think know it all,

When we are fifty, we realise that the only 'all' we know is actually .....read more.....




Life 1; Grumpy is extremely worried about noise

Can't hear the birds singing or staff in shops?

Noise

Gordon Bennett, we don't half generate a lot of it. Why is it that people have got to generate and surround themselves with so much man-made noise? Personally I find the countryside is absolutely fantastic when there is no noise at all intruding into my thoughts. Perhaps the best example is when I get into the mountains. There, the only sound is the wind or the sound of silence. This silence is so complete, it is almost loud.

You don't always have to go to these high places to experience the sound of nature. If you get away from the populated areas, you can hear skylarks singing.....read more.....