Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mellowed Out

I know my current bout of time off is having the desired effect as I'm beginning to lose track of what day of the week it is - always a good indication that one is mentally shaking off the regimen of work.  It gave me quite a start to realise yesterday that I was only half way through the first week of my leave, I'd managed to pack in so much frenzied activity, (actually, on Tuesday, it was more frustration than frenzy thanks to traffic congestion and bad drivers).  It's left me so exhausted that I had to take a day off of taking time off today - I stayed close to home and caught up with a few things.  It was far too humid to do anything too strenuous, anyway.  The upshot of all this is that I'm far too mellowed out to rant about anything - not even those bloody cyclists who plague all my attempts to drive anywhere.  Moreover, I'm feeling far less introspective than I did this time last year - I think I got al  out of my system during that first, isolated, week of leave I took.  Now I feel free to enjoy myself, with bracing cliff top and beach walks.

Of course, right now we're well into 'silly season', with the world seemingly on holiday all August, newsworthy content is rare, leaving the mainstream news outlets struggling to fill their pages.  Consequently, even if I had the inclination, there really isn't anything worthwhile in the news to rant about.  Instead we have the usual suspects getting worked up as to whether Jeremy Corbyn could have sat in a seat or not on that train, with the rest of us shrugging and asking, who cares?   Overcrowded trains are nothing new, unfortunately.  I remember from my days as a commuter, (which encompassed both pre amd post privatisation on the Waterloo-Exeter line), frequently having to stand for at least part of the journey at peak hours.  This was generally down to insufficient rolling stock having been provided for the service, usually the result of poor logistic planning.  A lack of investment in new stock was the fundamental problem, both under British Rail and South West Trains, the former because of the Tory government's ideological objections to properly funding public services, the latter because the franchise's owners commitment to maximising profit rather than customer service.  Filming yourself sitting in a vestibule won't solve the problem  Particularly as the Labour party under Corbyn is never going to be in power to change anything about public transport.

Obviously, the Olympics proved a huge boon to the media, particularly the BBC, as it filled up hours of air time and column inches for more than two weeks.  Which is why they've all been so reluctant to let go of the games, even though they ended on Sunday, with wall-to-wall coverage of the plane carrying the UK's athletes back to Britain.  It's landing was even broadcast live, for God's sake.  At the height of the games, even relatively big news stories were being relegated by the BBC to 'below the fold' on their news website and forced well down the running order on TV because of their Olympics coverage.  There were days when you could have been forgiven for thinkinf that nothing else was happening in the world other than the Rio Olympics.  You know, I really miss the good old days of the 'silly season' when, throughout August, we'd be regaled with tales of UFOs, sightings of the Loch Ness Monster and stories of how Hitler was still alive and well and living in Streatham (or Buenos Aires).  All seasoned with tales of naughty vicars holding orgies in the vestry, of course.  It was all so much more entertaining than either the Olympics or the battle of the two bearded bastards (Corbyn and Richard Branson) over train seats.

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