Salad days

23 May 2010

As I type, with some difficulty, I’m swinging back and forth on a hammock on the balcony of my new flat. I guess the annoying thing is the fact that the sunlight streams in at about 3.30-5.30pm. It’s amazing. I love it. Sadly, it’s also while I’m sat in an office with a north facing window. I’d love to be out in the sun. Maybe it can be arranged.

The last few days of brilliant warmth and sunshine have been amazing. I don’t understand how anyone could fail to be affected by the miserable weather that permeates our British lives so often. As soon as the sun comes out I change as a person.

With a balcony that catches the sunlight not only have I planted a small herb garden, there’s also salad on my balcony. Although I’ve realised that growing salad from scratch isn’t always so easy. As lovely as freshly cut salad is it doesn’t have the same tenderness as the prepared babyleaf salads. Still, I’m sure I’ll learn how to grow leaves and love the fact – in time – that what I am eating had been growing seconds before. Albeit on my balcony. Albeit next to a main road. Albeit I have really very little idea what I am doing.

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I recall…

28 April 2010

…once wearing odd shoes on a date. They were both the same colour, but very very different to each other. And I didn’t realise until a couple of hours in.

Can’t be that bad though, maybe it’s a good trick to learn. After all, over five years later we’re still together…


Age Crisis

8 March 2010

Today I am officially old[er]. This scares me.


My Saturday Night

15 March 2009

0903141

(thanks to Rob, who took this picture, and who took plenty of me looking awful)


Valentines Day Economics

15 February 2009

So, Saturday was Valentines day. You know, that day when you spend crazy amounts on overpriced roses, dinner out with other couples all trying to compete as to how in love they are, and then end up too full of food to do anything romantic on arrival home.

Maybe it’s OK to hate Valentines Day, I mean we’re in a CREDIT CRUNCH people! Maybe forget the overpriced flowers (by the way, it’s not the florists fault their suppliers increase prices) and drop a fifty pound note in a card instead.

Or perhaps there’s more to it, a rational approach to Valentines day:

  • The peacock tail effect. Peacocks elaborate tails prove their genetic fitness. Similarly, a man who spends money on Vally day is signalling his ability as a provider: “look, I can offer you so much that I can afford to fritter money away on gestures.”
  • Investment in commitment. Dinner together is an investment in the other person.
  • A man who rejects the social norm of Vally day increases uncertainty about who he is. The partner thinks: “if he rejects this cultural norm, what other norms does he reject. What sort of guy is this?”
  • If your partner is looking for commitment, they’d not want a the kind of guy who is so rational that he’d economically reject Vally day: such a man will leave you the moment a better offer comes along, surely.

Or perhaps, it’s just romantic…

I took my partner to our favourite local tapas bar – somewhere we both like where sharing food (romantic, hint) is part of the deal, but not so overly-candled and over-priced that you’d feel compelled to pull out the diamond ring.

Stuff the ignorant, economic or rational approaches to Valentines day, and go for the romantic – the one you and our partner will love, because you know them and you know what they like… surely that’s the most romantic gesture of all…


Credit Crunch – a father’s view

8 October 2008

My dad and I emailed today about money, savings, Iceland and the credit crunch… I loved his insight, so thought I’d share it:

Money’s funny stuff really…………..it doesn’t exist, unlike things!

The government did the right thing though overall for jumping in and nationalising [Bradford and Bingley], although if they had made the £50,000 offer to savers at that time they would not have needed to nationalise it. That’s what they’re doing with banks now, so that the nationalisation only happens if they reach the payout point (I think).

Really, it’s socialism by default [thelayoftheland note – not everyone agrees], which is excellent really. Now if they can re-nationslise the railways, power, and water, we’ll be laughing!!

Mind you, water is owned by the country…………………………………..but it’s France……..whoops. Le mess.

Vive la France eh?


It’s my duty to vote Tory

4 October 2008

apparently.

Prospective parliamentary candidate Margot James believes the Conservative Party really has changed its attitude to homosexuality… An “astonishing” number of target seats have picked gay candidates, she told a Stonewall fringe meeting at the party conference in Birmingham. “I have yet to meet another (gay) woman I regret to say – but we do have a marvellous number of gay men.”

Going on to talk about how, because gay people are less likely to have children they get less out of the taxes they pay she says we should have angst with Labour’s waste of our taxes. “There is so much wrong with this government’s policy, gay people should not just vote Conservative, they have a duty to vote Conservative”.

How dare this millionaire Tory lesbian, who has been heard saying that she hoped her partner’s name, Jay, would be mistaken for that of a man by reporters, tell me what my duty is. Her party responsible for some of the most homophobic, damaging legislation of recent times, which it can’t quite shake off. But she says they’ve changed. On the face of it they may have. But what of the blue-rinse brigade?

But my anger isn’t just directed to damage her party’s done in the past. It’s the narrow-minded blinkered view that, just because I don’t have children, it’s my duty to vote for a party that would spend my tax more wisely? I’m not going to pretend this thought hasn’t crossed my mind before but there’s something bigger than the individual isn’t there? There’s something more important about all these people on this island living together…

Some important things to consider: This country spends 0.5% of it’s GDP on the under 5’s, half as much as France who spend 1%, and Denmark spend 2% – helping children in their formative years to develop the skills that they’ll need as they go through to school and into work (it’s proven that these years are vital to development) to end cycles of poverty. And it’s not just the under 5’s, it’s wider spending too, schemes helping people get back to work, schemes giving kids something to do and some purpose. And what about Labour’s pledge to end child poverty, which is slowly succeeding?

It has been estimated that the UK Government needs to invest an extra £3bn a year in tax and benefits to meet the 2010 target of halving child poverty. Three billion sounds like a lot, but it is the equivalent of just 0.5% of total Government expenditure. In 2007, City bonuses totalled £14bn; BP made £3.44bn in three months this year while thousands up and down the country are plunged into fuel poverty… It’s not just about morals either. We cannot afford to not make this extra investment. The long-term costs of doing nothing are much greater with the TUC estimating that £40bn a year is wasted on tackling the consequences of child poverty. Child poverty limits children’s future life chances for employment, training, positive family and social relationships, good physical and mental health and longevity and it affects their childhood experiences profoundly.

Does she think this doesn’t affect my life? These are the people around me, these are the people who I share the street with when I walk along, these are the people I will rely on to contribute to society when I’m older, even contribute to my pension. It’ will cost me dearly, and society even more, if I – as a citizen (rather than a gay, childless man) choose to take the same individualistic narrow minded point of view as she does.

It will never be my duty to vote for any party – it will certainly never be my duty to vote for a party because of my sexuality. Especially one that has such a dubious homophobic history and tells me my duty is based on such a narrow minded opinion of life.


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