When Swiss Bob told me that I had won a prize of a week in JustaBritAbroard’s rather nice apartment in the Algarve for a week by dint of my obscure scribblings, he neglected to inform me that it was a working holiday.
As you can see from the photo (your Lord Protector is top right and his eldest top left), the Protectoral family have been indentured for the week to demolish an old apartment block near the sea. Having been given pneumatic drills and 30 seconds ’instruction, we have to break up the concrete construction bit by bit from the top. We are extremely lucky not to be offered hard hats, safety lines or ear defenders, but must balance on the walls we are demolishing. I was however grateful to be given a high visibility jacket which I’m sure will come in handy when plummeting four stories to earth. At least they didn’t force me to wear my full dress armour in the 28 degree heat for the full 12 hour shift.
The approach to Faro Airport’s runway 10/28 is over the sea and during finals, extensive salt pans are visible on both sides of the aircraft. Faro Airport was completed in 1965 and at this time it is something of a building site with extensive work going on inside to cope with the increasing number of passengers. After picking up the hire care we headed west on the A22 to the area around Praia da Senhora da Rocha. Driving is relatively easy and free of the lunacy you find in other Southern European countries.
Justabritabroad was as promised waiting outside a hotel when we arrived. I would really like to thank him for his generosity on firstly providing the apartment as prizes and also for his time and kindness for accompanying my son on two rounds of golf, which he had teed up and for providing the clubs. The apartment was comfortable, well-appointed and well stocked with a get-you-in package of all the essentials such as wine and beer. Naturally. He’s a gentleman in every sense of the word.
In 1953 Harry Martingale an apprentice plumber was working in the cellar of the Treasurers House in York. The building had been acquired by the National Trust in 1930 and it required extensive restorative work. Harry was working up a ladder, knocking a hole through the ceiling for central heating pipework. He had fixed the ladder in place and was applying a chisel to the ceiling, when he heard a horn sound in the distance.
When I was a young boy, I hated flying. I mean, really hated it. I think it was due to a traumatic flying experience on a transatlantic flight to Florida in a 747, back in the seventies. We were unable to avoid a huge storm cell over the Atlantic and the entire plane was bucking like a feral cat held in a stranger’s cuddle and I could see the forks of lightning from outside the window. People were screaming and crying, the fuselage was twisting, luggage fell indiscriminately from the overhead lockers and I remember looking at my mother, her normal, calm angelic face now glistening in sweat and fear as she spoke in strained words to me that everything would be OK. I smelt the very essence of rancid anxiety and knew this wasn’t quite true. I was gripping the armrests as though I myself were keeping the plane in the air, hoping it would assuage the violent effects of the roller coaster ride of what professional aircrew understate as “mild turbulence”.
This article was inspired by a fellow commenter becoming despondent and stating that Western civilisation is finished, no longer possessing the mettle to survive. It’s not a view I share because we have been here before and come through, although that is no cause for complacency because to come through the present existential challenges facing us, we need to learn some hard lessons and adapt accordingly.
I have always been interested in inflexion points in history, moments where everything seems to change together so what went before seems wholly different to what follows. I’m not talking just about political change, or economic change, but deeper change, the change of peoples or their fundamental beliefs as well as economic and other changes. An example would be the period from circa 450 to 600 AD in Western Europe when languages, culture, peoples, states, economies, religions were all completely transformed over half a dozen generations. Another would be 1450 to 1600 AD, not quite as dramatic, but encompassing the Renaissance, Reformation, the emergence of the nation state from the ruins of medieval monarchy, the Age of World Exploration and trade, and the beginning of the modern era.
“I can’t do it, Seumas,” came the jarring, reedy whine that had come to haunt almost every waking hour of the Labour Party’s strategy and communications director for two long years. “It’s been tampered with by Zionists.”
Seumas Milne sighed but did not look up from the mountain of paperwork haphazardly strewn across his desk in the corner of the Leader of the Opposition’s sprawling office within the Palace of Westminster.
“Try starting with the corners, like we discussed, Jeremy” he said, dismissively.
A pregnant pause filled the cavernous, wood paneled office. Milne continued to thumb wearily through a thick pile of correspondence and briefing notes, awaiting the inevitable.
The inevitable happened within half a minute.
It had been several weeks since I had visited my Uncle Bertie and as I walked down the driveway towards the substantial gothic edifice which loomed out from behind the fir trees bordering the front of the house I wondered, not for the first time, how the old fellow could live all alone in such a gruesome dwelling. All alone, that is, except for the live-in housekeeper, Mrs Trout, who put food on the table but seemingly did little else about the house which had steadfastly remained immune to any noticeable cleaning for the last five years. A gardener, Quint, lived off the estate and to judge by the copious amount of weeds that sprouted through the stones in the driveway had made little or no effort in that direction.
The Northumberland coast is rather wild and windy with relatively few trainers or widescreen TVs to loot. I made a mental note to consider the area a safe space when World’s End begins.
Small children are considerably more interested in sheep shit and bubblegum ice cream than they are in ruined castles and freshly smoked kippers.
They will also swim in sub zero temperatures in the sea whilst adults huddle in alcoves wearing Puffa jackets.
Many of you will have worked, or are still working in a company as permanent staff. For many, this is where you need to be in life, especially if you are bringing up children or busy looking after a loved one, and need the stability of a regular job.
Some permanent staff will have a respect for the skill and expertise that a professional contractor brings, others just dislike them, usually because they tend to earn a lot more money than themselves, sometimes because the contractor is not what I would call a professional.
I appreciate therefore that there will be people reading this, and their piss will be oiling. (H/T Coloniescross and Colliemum)
It is a simple fact that a company will bring in an external contractor to do a specific role and/or task, sometimes because the resources they currently have are tied up with other important work, or maybe they do not (at least yet) have the necessary skill set to do it in-house. In addition, whilst costly, it is a temporary cost to the business, unlike the very long term cost of a full time employee.