Monday, October 03, 2022

Another fine mess

 During the summer, the Tory Party conducted a bitter leadership contest between Liz Truss and Richie Sunak. Particularly on economic policy, they were at loggerheads. 

Although the parliamentary party favoured Sunak, the party membership were against him, fired on no doubt by the press who painted Sunak as the snake who'd master minded Johnson's downfall. 

I'm not sure the membership actually wanted Truss – a significant number tried to get Johnson's name onto the voting paper but that was deemed against the rules. So they ended up electing Truss instead.

Truss said all along that she wanted to cut taxes but I don't recall explain how that would be paid for except for some vague notion about stimulating growth. Neither do I recall her saying the cuts would mostly benefit the well off.

Obviously she could not wait to put her ideas into practice so she and her Chancellor came up with a “mini budget”. 

Since it was urgent, there was no time to consult with her Cabinet nor was there time to get the Office for Budget Responsibility to provide a forecast of the effect the tax cuts would have on the economy. 

The result was shocking. What did she expect? Apart from anything else, Truss wanted to borrow money to give the well off a hefty tax relief. Oh and let's not forget there was also a promise to remove the cap on banker's bonuses. Oh how nice it is to be well off in a Truss ruled country. 

To make matters worse, she then hinted that all this would be in future be paid for by cuts in services. The country though would have to wait until the 23rd November to find out exactly what she was planning in that direction. 

Understandably, there was talk of rebellion amongst her MPs who remember did not not want her in the first place. Some were already talking about letters of no confidence and others said they would not go to conference where they would have to pretend to support Truss. 

Then Truss came out and said that cutting the highest rate of tax was her chancellor's idea and without any notice to her ministers has u-turned on the promise.

We wait with baited breath for her speech on Wednesday and even more for the return to parliament. The first prime ministers question time should be interesting!

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Strictly voting

I wanted to make sense of why some of the dancers on Strictly Come Dancing ended up in the dance off when they were in the middle of the leaderboard after the judges scores. 

The final scoring combines the judges decision with the public vote. It seems, the important numbers are the rankings (in this case 1 to15). The rankings of the judges are added to the rankings by the public to give the final ranking and the last two on the list face elimination. 

The public are fickle and will vote on popularity rather than the quality of performance which explains why middle of the list dancers get into the dance off whilst ones at the bottom with the judges survive. 

The other thing I've noticed is the judges scoring. Three of the four judges gave out mostly 6s and 7s this week making the scores close (only 2 points between 10th and 15th places and the bottom 3 on the same score). Only the top 3 received consistent 8s across the board. 

More importantly, apart from one 5 from Shirley Ballas, it was only Craig Revel Horwood that dared to hand out realistic 4s and 5s to those who were off the mark this week. Without Horwood's 4s and 5s there would nothing to separate the bottom five on the leaderboard from the rest in the middle. 

Tony Adams lies in 15th place but will he go? We shall see.

UPDATE

For Tony Adams to avoid the dance off, he must have been placed at most 13th by the public to give him a position above the bottom two. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Gee thanks

Those of us who live in Spain with pensions from the UK are vulnerable to the exchange rate of the pound against the euro. 

When the referendum vote was announced, the pound slumped and was near enough on par. That meant we had one third of our monthly income slashed at a stroke. 

Gradually the pound recovered although not to pre-Brexit valuses. 

With the mini budget that the new PM and Chancellor announced on Friday, the pound has nose dived meaning that we will have to be mindful of spending. Meals out, replacement items and fancy gadgets will be out of the question. 

We have been spared (so far)

 Looking at the weather over the last couple of days, we were placed in the middle between two storms; one to the north that caused severe flooding and one in the south that did the same. 

For example, whilst we had a few millimetres of rain in the night, Javea had 70mm in two hours followed by a further 35 milimetres a few hours later. 

As per normal, the intense rain was localised - some areas were deluged whilst their neighbours were spared.  

There are some horrific videos on Facebook that are reminiscent of  the flooding in September 2019.


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Times they are a changing

 We weren't really fans of Strictly Come Dancing much in the early years. It's only in the last few years that we've become addicts. 

Although we didn't watch the series where Anne Widdecombe clumped around the floor with Anton du Beke, we've seen the videos on YouTube. We did see Ed Balls and particularly laughed at his Gangnam style routine with Katya Jones. 

However, Strictly is supposed to be a dance competition, not a comedy show Ultimately, the best dancers are the ones that should survive to lift the glitterball trophy. 

In these days of inclusion and political correctness, we should expect radical changes to be made and so they have. We've  had dancers with prosthetic legs and then last year Rose Ayling-Ellis, who overcame the fact she could barely hear the music,  went go on and won. 

We've also had single sex couples starting with Nicola Adams and Katya Jones who sadly had to withdraw, then last year, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe who were sensational. 

This year there are two single sex couples; Richie Anderson with Giovanni Pernice and  Jayde Adams   matched with Karen Hauer. From their first performances last night,  Anderson looks like he is set to camp it up and Adams will stomp across the floor in a very wooden style. I can't imagine either of them getting very far. 

The real surprise for us was the inclusion of  paralympian Ellie Simmonds who will dance with Nikita Kuzmin. 

With five gold medals to her name, Simmonds is clearly a determined competitor. However, it is hard to imagine how a couple so mismatched in height will cope with the ballroom dances where being in hold is supposed to be so important. We shall see. 

PS Let's hope Hamza Yassin ties his long mane up otherwise he could whip his partner off the floor with a fast turn!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Coming up


 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Our tribute

 We were only five years old when Princess Elizabeth became our Queen. Since then she has been a guiding light, an example of selfless service to the nation and a constant inspiration to all.

We followed her through Royal Tours, Jubilees and many other memorable occasions.

Through good times and bad, the Queen was always there, offering hope, unswerving love and devotion to her people.

Her infectious smile lightened our days and her mantra of “never explain, never complain” served as a fine example for us to follow.

We count ourselves most fortunate to have lived through the second Elizabethan reign. She will always be in our hearts as we were in hers.

Friday, September 02, 2022

Que pasa

 You may be wondering why I haven't posted anything for awhile. 

We were supposed to be going on a family holiday to Funchal last week. That had to be cancelled though, at least for us. 

Pamela had been experiencing pain and swelling in her left leg for a few weeks. She'd been to the doctor who sent her for an x-ray. The conclusion was that her knees were shot and she needed replacement joints. Thee was no mention of the possibility of thrombosis.  

However, the evening of the concert for San Joaquin we walked down from the Holy Cross to the Town Square and by the time we reached there, Pamela was in agony. It turned out that the concert had been moved to the Park and so she had to walk further provoking even more pain for her.

The next day we went to Urgencias at Vega Baja Hospital where they performed various tests.  The conclusion was that she had deep vein thrombosis in the left leg. Pamela was initially prescribed injections of Clexane (a form of heparin). 

Pamela does not like injections and there was no way she was going to inject herself so I had to do it for her. Of course I am not a doctor and so I did not have the technique to perform the task without hurting her. Over the two weeks though, I have got better at it and mostly the process was pain free. 

Thankfully, the clotting level has now increased to the point where she can just take Sintrom ( a modern form of warfarin). NO MORE INJECTIONS!!

Although the leg is still swollen when she stands on it for too long, it has improved a lot and should continue to improve over the next few months. 

Flying and even driving in the car for any distance are out of the question for Pamela.  We also doubt very much that they will go ahead with the knee surgery until it is clear that the clot has gone but we shall see.