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Sepoy Agent brought back to life

I see I haven’t published any posts on this my original blog for a100_1954 good many years.   As I took on more and more subject-specific blogs, websites and Facebook and Twitter accounts I found I just didn’t have time for my own blog.

But every now and then I have wanted to publish something myself and have thought I should come back to Sepoy Agent.   So I’m starting the new year by bringing the blog back to life.   I have stripped out most of the old and no longer relevant posts from the past, and have just left a few.

From now on I will post as and when I have something I want to say, and I look forward to some good stories.

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Blue Babe has gone

Friday was a momentous day!   I changed my car!

Blue Babe had been with me for 17 years and 5 months,136,000 plus miles.   Before him, I used to change the car every three years, but I fell in love with Blue Babe.   Already I am missing his pop-up headlights and his great tilt and slide sunroof which I always have open at this time of year.

But the time had come.   I have spent a lot on Blue Babe in the last couple of years, and now the exhaust needed replacing and there are some strange noises emanating from beneath the bonnet.   Also I’m off to Durham in a week’s time, which will take six hours, and I was nervous about whether Blue Babe would stand up to it.   I think he probably would have done.   And even now I think I probably made a mistake in getting rid of him.   It troubles me to think of him standing outside all by himself at the dealer’s place waiting to be scrapped.

Talking of scrapped, I didn’t get the Government scrappage allowance because I didn’t buy new.   Can’t bear to think of losing so much value the instant a new car is put on the road.

I do  –  I think  –  like my new-to-me car.   Couldn’t get a blue one.   It is dark grey  –  cosmic grey!

But I am still heartbroken at losing Blue Babe.

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Assumed consent will lead to withdrawal of consent

The trouble with this and any Labour government is that it doesn’t allow for people like Mr Womble on Tour and me.

I see the question of “assumed consent” for organ donation is being raised again  –  this time by the Royal College of Nursing.   And that is despite the very clear statement on Mr WoT’s blog that nobody is to assume his consent.

You see that’s the thing about people like me.   I have carried a donor card and been on the central register since the scheme was first set up.   But as soon as the government sticks its great boot in to try to take control over what I’m doing, then I immediately think oh well, I won’t do it then.   I’ll withdraw my donor registration and refuse consent.  

Governments, particularly Labour ones, want sheep who meekly do what they tell them.   But Sepoy and Mr WoT are not like that.   We like to run our own lives, and any move to compulsion or assumed consent has a negative effect.

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Smeaton gets his gallantry medal

Good to see that John Smeaton got his medal from the Queen at Tuesday’s investiture.

He’s the baggage handler at Glasgow Airport who helped a police officer being attacked by a terrorist last June.  A car was driven into the airport building, and John wrestled a suspected terrorist to the ground.

He was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.   He described getting the medal from the Queen as the “proudest moment of his life”. 

We should be proud of him.   He is a hero and thoroughly deserves the medal. 

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Send “gotten” back across the Atlantic

I know I’m boringly pedantic about our beautiful English language, but I’m becoming increasingly irritated at the way Americanisms are becoming the norm.

The latest is “gotten”.   It is frequently heard on radio and television, including from those who should know better.

The past participle of the verb “to get” is “got”.

The Americans can do what they like in their own land.   They’ve already spent centuries mangling English.

Here in England, though, let’s cherish our language, and consign “gotten” to the rubbish bin.

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A grumpy old rant about H

This is a letter from Bernadette Robinson in the paper edition of The Times today:-

‘Could somebody please tell me what has happened to the “H” in our alphabet?   For 60 years I have pronounced it “aitch”.   There is an “H” in my postcode and recently I have been corrected by various customer advisers: “You mean ‘haitch’?”  To make matters worse, today, on the BBC’s programme Cash in the Attic, the presenter referred to Haitch MS Vanguard.   Is this now the standard pronunciation?’

I’ve been meaning for ages to do a post about this.   Every time a TV voice comes out with that haitch, and more and more of them are doing it, I get so angry.   Is it perhaps that these people have been nagged not to drop their aitches, so they are carefully putting one on the word itself?   After all, the word is aitch;  it doesn’t even start with an H.

And another thing, an increasing number of people who are regarded as educated and holding down managerial jobs are pronouncing something and nothing as somethink and nothink.   Where do they get that K from?

L Gibson from Whitley Bay, also in The Times, raises the point again of why so many younger people now speak with a raised inflection at the end of sentences.   This, I’m sure, can be put firmly at the door of Australian soap operas which have for so long been bombarded daily at television audiences in this country.   This leads us to believe that down under every sentence ends with a question.

Finally, in this little diatribe, I thought I had heard it all tonight.   I was watching my favourite ITV3, (you know, all the lovely old dramas and cop shows), and this evening’s episode of The Dorothy L Sayers Mysteries was about to start.   The story was Have His Carcass, but the announcer said it was Have His Car-Case;  yes, pronounced as if it were a portmanteau for putting in a vehicle!

English, (not US English), is a beautiful language.   As Professor Higgins said at great length, “Why can’t the English learn to speak?”

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Sipsip – help, I’m imprisoned in a nightmare

This afternoon I sat in the management committee meeting of a charity, and I couldn’t decide whether I’d gone mad and was in an asylum or was asleep and having a nightmare.

There were 11 perfectly nice people in the room, and they had all talked very sensibly, until we came to the item on funding.   And then it happened.

A torrent of new government initiatives; a cascade of abbreviations and initials; and the confident assertions that each new funding stream had replaced that old one, although probably just a new name and a new committee of people managing it.   There were new “boards” deciding who was to get money.   County council funding had been devolved to these curious “boards” which were populated by young graduates who had gone straight into public service and apparently become instant experts on our town and its people.

The jargon came rolling out, and reached its peak with what sounded like, phonetically, “Sipsip”.   I’m a simple soul.   “What does that mean”, I asked.   I was told it meant Children and Young People Strategic Partnership.   So what are the initials then  –  CYPSP but still pronounced sipsip.

It’s daft, yes, but there’s a bigger underlying concern.   Every time the government tweaks one of these wonderful initiatives of theirs, from New Deals downwards, the whole local government and quasi-government agency structure shakes itself up and restructures, with new committees, new names, new stationery, and all the rest of it.   It costs vast amounts of money and time, both of which would be much better spent in just delivering improvements to the service concerned.