Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Monday, 21 July 2014

Holiday in Cormwall

We've just returned from a couple of weeks in Cornwall. A couple of close friends of ours "emigrated" to Cornwall from Hertfordshire earlier this year in order to be closer to their family and they invited us to join then for a holiday.
The holiday season was starting, and whilst the towns were crowded, the countryside remains quite peaceful once you can get used to the concept of driving down lanes which are little wider than the car! Life runs at a totally different pace; at the local village shop you have to get used to the idea that, however long the queue, a chat at the counter is mandatory. No one seems to mind, it's just part of the way of life. Time seems to be unimportant, nothing happens at, say, three o'clock, it is always "three-ish" which seems to mean sometime between three and four! My friend wants some work done on his patio, and the local builder suggests he will be able to get round to it "October-ish"!

The village has most of the essentials that might be required on a day-to-day basis. Firstly, the shop cum Post Office, which seems to stock a huge number of items in quite a small space. If you are out when the postman tries to deliver a parcel, it is held at the shop for collection, not ten miles away in a sorting office at the post-town. There is a school for the children under eleven, although this was irrelevant to my friends whose youngest granddaughter has just had her 21st birthday. There is also a doctors' surgery, a "branch" of the main one in Truro and a friendly pub which sells decent beers and huge meals (the smaller meals for the "young at heart" were too much for me!). The village has a bus service, but as there are only three or four buses a day, so you have to plan carefully if you are going to use it.
The village church has six bells, and I was welcomed at their weekly practice, but unfortunately was unable to ring for the Sunday Service as we'd been invited to lunch by our friends' daughter-in-law. There are lots of activities in and around the area, indeed there are probably more than we have here as everyone seem to be involved in something or the other.
All this took me back to my childhood days when we lived in a small village in Northamptonshire where my parents had rented a cottage to get away from the bombing in London. I'm sure our friends did the right thing moving to Cornwall, it is nice to be close to one's family. If it wasn't that our own daughters/son-in-laws live and work in the home counties, I think we'd be off like a shot.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Home Office paedophile cover up?

Some 30 years ago, back in 1983, a Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens passed a bundle of papers to the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan containing allegations of paedophiles within Westminster. Lord Brittan has now confirmed he received a 'substantial bundle of papers’ from Mr Dickens when he was Home Secretary in 1983 and passed them to his officials for investigation.
So far, so good, everybody seems to be in agreement that far, but it is what happened after that seems to be a mystery, although the Home Office has now admitted that the Dickens dossier was subsequently destroyed.
These events have all the makings of a good conspiracy story and it has been announced that the Home Office is to appoint a senior legal figure to carry out a fresh review into how it handled a dossier. Other MPs are now demanding an " an overarching inquiry" into how abusers were allowed to operate within the public services in this country.

We seem to love enquiries in this country, all the way from Bloody Sunday to Hillsborough, Phone Hacking, the Iraq War, Jimmy Savile and now this. I'm sure they are all justified, the cost seems to be many billions and at times one wonders if there is not a better way of dealing with these matters.

The Daily Mail has an interesting piece. To me the more interesting part is not the story of  Sir Peter Hayman, but the attitudes of a large number of prominent people and how they "closed ranks" against this "working-class oik from  the North of England". Many are still around today and it is interesting to read what they said 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, I have a question of my own. If I were handing over a bundle of documents to anyone, I'm certain that I would keep photocopies. Surely an MP who had carried out all these investigations would have kept copies of the papers. So where are they now, or were they, too, destroyed by someone when he died?