Saturday, May 03, 2008

DIARY 60 - The responsibility which comes with being free.

David and I were away on holiday a fortnight ago, we had a week in Sheringham. The apartment we stayed in was brilliantly set up, with all the mod cons ,plus a view of the sea from our bedroom. I think we'll be going there again. Once again, as on our Torquay holiday last year, we chose to eat out for breakfast and dinner. We discovered a cafe that does a good veggie fried breakfast, and a superb restaurant called Crofters. So though I was very relaxed and satisfied, I felt almost permanently bloated by it.

The weather was mostly sunshine and showers, so we planned our activities around how the forecast split the day. There were a couple of walks along the coast, to the ruins of Beeston Priory and the Gazebo in Sheringham Park. Otherwise, we took the Guardian and a couple of coffees down onto the beach, or hopped on the PoppyLine for a steam train trip to Holt. That visit to Holt was the only time we got caught in bad weather - a torrential hail storm.

In the evenings, after the meal out, we worked our way through episodes from the second series of Battlestar Galactica. This series is an improvement on the first, but you can't help thinking that they're pushing it to drag this saga out over two series, let alone four. On the Tuesday night we saw the film 'Into The Wild,' directed by Sean Penn, which was showing at The Little Theatre in Sheringham. The movie was an extremely moving true story of a young mans search for freedom, to experience life in a bare pure way, not filtered through a societies conventions. It stirred some quite strong emotional responses of recognition in me. Specifically the aspect of me that feels trapped, like a fly in amber, by the restrictions of earning a living. I felt, uncomfortably, how heavy and stifling a burden this can be for me.

On our last full day in Sheringham, David got a call on his mobile, which was in fact for me. For the second time whilst on holiday, the Personnel department at Windhorse, have tracked me down. They wanted to consult with me. One of my team, who has been having a bit of a tough time lately, was being given extended sick leave. If we got a temp, when would I want them to start next week, once I was back? David and I had done extremely well at putting work related matters out of our minds up until then. The length and quality of my sleep, which had gradually been improving, suddenly returned me to waking up in the middle of the night in states of disquiet. I returned to work knowing I'd got a load of detailed training to do. Fortunately the guy we got, Peter, was quick on the uptake. However, having said at the beginning of this past week that he could stay the full month of May, by Friday he had been offered a full time permanent position, so wasn't going to stay after all. After a bit of heart sinking, another strategy has been formed, which will, hopefully see us through this patch of uncertainty. All the team, including myself, are feeling shifting elements of dissatisfaction, and emotional fragility. I'm realising that the task of transforming the Customer Services Team, to establish it on a more stable maintainable footing, could well take a couple of years. At least ! Part of me still doesn't believe it will ever happen, that containing chaos is somehow an inherent part of Customer Services lot in life.

Woke up today to the disheartening news that Boris Johnson has been voted in as Major of London. It's one of those moments where you shake your head in disbelief - did I really hear that correctly? For many years Ken Livingstone was literally unassailable. So much so the other political parties really didn't put up much of a fight at all, they knew they didn't stand a chance. I suppose originally the idea of putting up Boris was done in the same spirit - he being 'the joke candidate', the 'monster raving loony' from the Tory parties posh wing. His TV celebrity probably swung it for him, plus voter cynicism thinking it a great wheeze to vote for the silly candidate. The media have been giving him a very easy time, so far! Watch out Boris they'll want something from you, a pay back for their passivit, at a later date. Whereas they've been roasting Ken's ass for months leading up to the vote, digging up unsubstantiated petty scandal, after petty scandal. Anyway, London now has its very own lumbering 'buffoon' for Major. This seems similar to electing the entirely unsuited Gaius Baltar as President of the 12 Colonies on Batllestar Galactica, but this one, unfortunately, is all too real. Well, lets give him a few months, and a few gaffs down the road, and see whether he's still good for a few media laughs.

With all the democratic election scandals in Zimbabwe, Kenya & the USA, I really shouldn't complain I suppose. But the turn out in the local elections was extremely low, around 10% of the voting population. How much lower can it go before we are no longer a representative democracy? I believe in voting, however apathetic or cynical I might feel about it. However understandable these feelings might be, to indulge in them is the luxury that only a fully functioning, and wealthy democracy can afford. Seemingly our only concern is for our economic wealth, our ability to consume conspicuously, and buy overpriced homes. We dont have to fight for our basic freedoms, for self determination, for liberation from despotic or corrupt regimes. We are lucky we can be so complacent as to vote for a 'blonde buffoon'.

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