Implosion, Invective & Hydrocarbons – Week 20 : 2019

May 24, 2019

After expecting my football team to implode and miss out on promotion, to the Premiership, they did. It was awful to behold the inconsistency of the team and ultimate distress of the fans. In fact the disappointment spread further. I think most fair minded football fans thought it was Leeds’ turn to ascend (along with the media who’d like another big team in the Big Time).

The season ending game, at home was particularly painful. I was in the dark at a Fairport Convention concert (with the venerable Charles Greenwood no less) keeping tabs on the score by phone. On entering the venue we were winning 1-0 (and 2-0 on aggregate). Then they let in four goals.

So did you enjoy the music Tony? Not really the band were fine musicians but sat down throughout reflecting their age (and acceptance thereof); their main passion arose through selling a festival they ran, selling a biography one of them had written and any other merchandise that you could procure near the foyer. More engaging was the folk club banter between songs. Some was amusing but the fiddle player went on one rant about Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. Left of centre political lecturing or comment is typical of many concerts but I still consider it to be inappropriate and an indulgent abuse of a captive audience. If you were paying the plumber to come and do some work and out of the blue he started unloading his views on climate change suggesting that those who disagreed were ‘misogynistic, racist clowns’ and the unattractive vision of a politician’s ‘bulging’ eyes you’d be thinking ‘what is going on?’

Other poor uses of my time occured during the week. As a management consultant I had to measure ‘waste’. That is measure and dissect processes that are wasteful and result in duplication, produce unused or obsolete outcomes, demonstrate poor advance planning, create unnecessary activity to correct mistakes, lead to waiting around etc. It made quite an impact on me and now when I talk to people wrestling with whether to retire, despite being financially secure, I can’t help but reflect on how they are really doing nothing very worthwhile other than collecting a salary.

And so two women from PwC were discussing the audit results on the Pension Scheme account at a Trustee meeting I attended in some posh offices in the centre of Leeds. They had come to explain ‘adverse’ comments they had put in the annual accounts. All agreed there was absolutely no problem in reality and that in fact the monies that they referred to were rather good news. However the large amounts of cash had not been broken down into some detail on the prescribed schedule and as such a few categories seemed unaccounted for. For 30 minutes these sweet ladies gibbered about the analysis of some bloke, back at the mothership, who pronounced on these ‘technical’ matters. We were frustrated and bemused at the woodenness. From here all sorts of cross referencing was discussed to enable a change in the ‘adverse’ comment. I had drifted off by this stage to remember what they agreed but at the end of the day the only reason to give a damn is that someone might, highly unlikely but possibly, check the accounts and challenge our mangement of monies. Later, I imagined both ladies describing their day to loved ones and hoped they might have the good grace to realise that life is short and that they need to get one (albeit one that paid them at least £60k pa with a car allowance).

I’m afraid this isn’t a blog with much upside. The Morgan sprung a leak from a fuel hose and has had to sit in the garage until I can drive it to the local garage for ministrations. Driving it was a 98 Octane experience as I nearly hallucinated on the fumes pouring into the car. A local neighbour and engineer helped me identify the problem. Again, the poor design of the car has lead to a chaffing hose and this problem.

Lastly, I have to mention the untimely passing of a dear lady – Wendy Looker. After fighting Stage 4 breast cancer for over a decade she succumbed at, I think, 50 years old. She was a cherished colleague at Moores. It was some fight where she understood the disease well and the joke was that she attended her consultant appointments with so many questions that the medics had to bring their ‘A Game’ to the meeting. More than that she helped a lot of other cancer sufferers on forums, email, WhatsApp, text, Facebook etc. Strong and selfless. I’ll put a piece, in due course, under ‘Moores’ (see the tool bar above) that arose from a cup of tea I had with her in 2014 where in little less than initial anxiety and then wonderment I describe her and our chat.

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