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Saturday, July 14, 2012

How little times change!


It is clearly unfair to use experience in a single firm dating back some forty years to start pontificating about a present situation.  That, however, will not stop me.

I am relieved that the build up to the opening of the Olympic Games has taken a more traditional form with disaster looming in the shape of the breath-taking incompetence of G4S with regards to the provision of security personnel for the Games.

I do not take the exponentially increasing cost of the Games as anything other than totally normal but at this point, with a couple of weeks to go we are usually being regaled with stories of half-built venues; inadequate competitor accommodation and traffic chaos.  I have been denied most of these traditional horror stories as venues have been built with an indecent amount of time left for them to be tried out.  But that was then and this is now.

A bridge over the M4 dating back to the sixties has developed cracks and is being repaired with “no guarantee” that the closure of lanes between Heathrow and London will be over by Monday when the bulk of athletes arrive.  At an airport where the queues to pass immigration are things of legend.  But the G4S scandal is the cherry on the top of the cake of institutional corruption.

When I was still in school I worked for a firm which demanded that I sign a document which made the official secrets act look like a model of liberality.  I was to reveal nothing about anything while I was working for them and especially after I left. 

So all I can say is that the firm was to do with Security and they were then regarded as part of the core of the industry.  And after seeing how they approached security (I would not have trusted them to deliver a dead slug safely to its destination) I was not surprised that they demanded workers sign a non-disclosure agreement.

However the chances of such an organization still having the paper that I signed is so remote as to be inconceivable, given the slapdash attitude towards security that I witnessed there.

It is therefore not even with a smidgen of surprise that I learned of the crass incompetence of G4S.  Could this be a descendant of the Group 4 organization which was treated with contempt even by the bunch of chancers that I worked for?  God help!  It seems that not much has changed in the decades since I worked for such a bunch of money seeking, tight-fisted, incompetent wasters.

I hope, but do not expect, the government to claim swingeing compensation for this woeful lack of ability to deliver what they have been paid two hundred and thirty million quid to do!

But I do wish the Games well – even though I am shuddering at the thought of the Opening Ceremony and starting to worry now about our winning the single gold that would ensure that we don’t join a Canadian city as being the only host nation not to win a single gold.  And there is the question of the First Day Covers.

The Post Office has stated that each gold won by Britain will be marked by the issue of a special stamp the day after.  I have already authorized the Philatelic Bureau to send me a cover for each gold won.  In the last Olympics I understand we won 19.  That is a lot of first day covers!  I hope!  You see, no matter how sad you think I am, I am indeed sadder!

Toni’s mother continues to cook and we had a delightful Vichyssoise today with Toni sticking to augmented potato salad instead – I think it was the cheese in the mix that he objected to; he missed out on a delicious hot soup.

Tonight as part of the celebrations of Santa Carmen del Mar there are fireworks so yet another attempt on my part to try and capture one decent photo of an exploding structured piece of gunpowder!  I never give up.

Monday is Carmen’s Santo and we are planning to have a mariscada; timing is the problem as there is a concert by Southampton University Student Orchestra which includes Finlandia, Vltava, The Sabre Dance and Land of Hope and Glory – or perhaps I am being unduly snobbish in assuming a popularist programme just from reading the list of composers.  We shall see.

I have now sent off to Amazon (Spain and UK) for the contents of my Retirement Lucky Bag.  Which I surely deserve to enjoy before the austerity days of September hit!

Although, there again, September is the date when we are going to the restaurant in Girona which is one of the best in the world, so it is austerity with a twist!

Everyone has to adjust to poverty in his own way.


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