Digest-January 2021

Digest-January 2021


January 2021

At your age people expect you to be calm, dignified and sober – disappoint them!

The Outlook

Altho I wish everyone a Happy New Year I fear it will be a long time coming.  At the moment, ie, early January we have to assume there will be no meetings until we can have one.  This means the February AGM is postponed and Bob and Colin will have wait to give their talks.  We are setting our sights on April but who knows?  A lot will hang on the now national lockdown’s effect on reducing covid cases.  The elephant in the room of course is vaccination.  Personally I question the wisdom of the advertised priorities. I would much rather sit out behind teachers, paramedics and all others having to deal with the sick.  It is these who keep the show on the road.  Without them education goes out of the window, transport and treatment will grind to a halt and it will be a case of ‘bring out the bodies’.  But, who will attend to them??

Vaccination experience

Michael Merriman and his wife Jan has their first instalment of the Pfizer variety in Basildon Hospital.  They were given a date and time to attend.  He chose to cut it fine so as to avoid crowding in the waiting area.  Security was very diligent in checking them in.  Injections were given in cubicles of which there were six.  He was seen to by a named nurse who asked a litany of questions about medication etc but also had time to chat.  She, Helen, was from Broomfield Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.  Whereas the vaccination procedure was calm and efficient she had come from a manic environment.  Also where they are working 12½ hour shifts.  This was more like a day off as front line Hospital staff are running low on gas.  Afterwards one goes into a waiting room for 15 minutes to check on immediate after effects.  There another nurse, Jade, also from Broomfield ICU was there to answer questions.  They are now waiting for the final jab in 12 weeks.

Subs for this year

Most of these are collected at the AGM in February when they become due.  This year this will hold true at whenever the AGM happens. 

Now for your amusement

From Barry Todman at NPC London.

Curtis and Leroy saw an ad in the Herald-Citizen in Cookville Tennessee, and bought a mule for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the mule the next day. The next morning the farmer drove up and said ‘ Sorry fellows, I have some bad news, the mule died last night’. Curtis and Leroy replied, Well then, just give us our money back’. The farmer said ‘Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.’ They said ‘Ok then, just bring us the dead mule’. The farmer asked ‘What in the world ya’ll gonna do with a dead mule’? Curtis said ‘We are going to raffle him off’ The farmer said ‘you can’t raffle a dead mule’. Leroy said ‘We sure can! Heck, we don’t have to tell nobody he’s dead’. A couple of weeks later the farmer ran into C & L in the grocery store and asked ‘What did you fellows do with the dead mule?’ They said ‘We raffled him off like we said we were gonna do’. Leroy said ‘Shucks we sold 1000 tickets and made a profit of $1,998. The farmer said ‘My Lord, didn’t anyone complain?.’ Curtis said ‘Well, the fellow who won got upset so we gave him his two dollars back.’ Curtis and Leroy now work for the Government. They’re overseeing the Vote Count, Bailout and Stimulus Programme. Limit all U.S. Politicians to two terms. One in office, One in Prison

If you think the USA is a world leader consider this.

It’s about the Peace Dollar from 1926 and it’s a coin that shouldn’t really exist.

To understand the significance of this coin and how it came to be, you have to go back to a very buttoned up America of almost 100 years ago.

The Butler Act of 1925 was a Tennessee law passed to prevent teaching Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in schools, only allowing the Biblical account of mankind’s origin to be taught.

The law was challenged later that year when high school teacher John T Scopes was accused of unlawfully teaching human evolution.

The “Scopes Monkey Trial” drew intense national publicity and big-name lawyers agreed to represent each side.

William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes.

Scopes was eventually found guilty and ordered to pay a $100 dollar fine (although this was subsequently overturned on a technicality), but the trial was about so much more than just one teacher.

The trial brought the Fundamentalist–Modernist controversy into the spotlight and was seen both as a theological contest and as a trial on whether modern science should be taught in schools.

Whilst the trial was playing out in the public gaze, an employee at the US Mint took it upon him- or herself to make their feelings known in the debate.

Pick up any 1926 Peace Dollar and you’ll see the word “GOD” from “IN GOD WE TRUST” is far more prominent than any other year.

Without instruction from the powers that be at the US Mint, the employee in the engraving department wanted to emphasise their fundamentalist beliefs and literally emphasise God’s place in America.

More from Barry

Mary and Joseph weren’t able to go to Bethlehem, all virgin flights were cancelled……I’ve not been sleeping properly and have terrible dreams because of the lockdown so I went to the doctor, ‘I said I’ve been having terrible dreams, I keep thinking I am a clock’, he said ‘are you winding me up.

Now we are out

Surely I don’t have to say from where.  One of the persistent sticking points in the years of negotiation was fishing rights.  This really was a case of the tail wagging the dog.  Monetarily fish are 0.1% of our GDP so it had to be a matter of principle.  We’ve had to let them have access for 5 years.  This has produced a howl of anger from Paul Gilson, a local fisherman and chairman of Leigh town council and a big noise in the national federation.  His gripe is that the 12 miles exclusion zone is not in place.  With it we could really manage fish stocks.  I say, keep calm, we are seeing the end of the chaotic EU fishing policy that caused more to be thrown back dead than landed!

Fish are remarkable creatures.  They are nearly immune from gravity as water is 800 times denser than air but otherwise they are at a serious disadvantage.  Water is oxygen impoverished.  Its salt content is either too high as sea water or too low as in fresh water to be readily compatible with life.  Though water neutralises gravity, fish should nevertheless sink under their own weight.

Despite this over the past 400 million years they have diverged into 30,000 species, more than all other vertebrates combined. How they have overcome those problems took 100 years to fathom and are very complicated.  The facts are available in The Oldie magazine January 2021 edition.

Overseas Pensioners

The All-Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into the impact of the Frozen Pensions Policy for many UK pensioners living overseas has now concluded its report. The main recommendation is that the UK Government end the ‘frozen’ pension policy and urges them to seek to provide the UK pensioners living in those countries with their full uprated UK state pension as soon as possible. The NPC had been thanked for submitting evidence to the enquiry. For anyone interested, they can visit the NPC website and access a full copy of the report.

National Service

Last year saw 60 years since its end.  Inevitably those who went thru it are now likely to be pensioners.  I have only fond memories despite the iron discipline involved in initial training.  In retrospect I can see we were first broken down only to turn an eclectic group into a fit bunch of friends.

I would like to hear others experiences so please let me know if you are willing to share.

© JDS/ January 2021.  Tel 01702 472670