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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Policing in Britain under socialist/liberals

I know a lot of people feel this way about UK policing and justice so I post this with pleasure.

A complaint sent to Devon & Cornwall Police Force in the UK, from an angry member of the public.
A true email sent to the force, lengthy but brilliantly written......

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Dear Sir/Madam/Automated telephone answering service,
Having spent the past twenty minutes waiting for someone at Bodmin police station to pick up a telephone I have decided to abandon the idea and try e-mailing you instead.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to pass this message on to your colleagues in Bodmin, by means of smoke signal, carrier pigeon or Ouija board.

As I'm writing this e-mail there are eleven failed medical experiments (I think you call them youths) in St Mary's Crescent, which is just off St Mary's Road in Bodmin.

Six of them seem happy enough to play a game which involves kicking a football against an iron gate with the force of a meteorite. This causes an earth shattering CLANG! Which rings throughout the entire building.
This game is now in its third week and as I am unsure how the scoring system works, I have no idea if it will end any time soon.

The remaining five failed-abortions are happily rummaging through several bags of rubbish and items of furniture that someone has so thoughtfully dumped beside the wheelie bins. One of them has found a saw and is setting about a discarded chair like a beaver on ecstasy pills.

I fear that it's only a matter of time before they turn their limited attention to the caravan gas bottle that is lying on its side between the two bins.
If they could be relied on to only blow their own arms and legs off then I would happily leave them to it. I would even go so far as to lend them the matches.

Unfortunately they are far more likely to blow up half the street with them and I've just finished decorating the kitchen.

What I suggest is this - after replying to this e-mai l with worthless assurances that the matter is being looked into and will be dealt with, why not leave it until the one night of the year (probably bath night) when there are no mutants around then drive up the street in a Panda car before doing a three point turn and disappearing again. This will of course serve no other purpose than to remind us what policemen actually look like.

I trust that when I take a claw hammer to the skull of one of these throwbacks you'll do me the same courtesy of giving me a four month head start before coming to arrest me.

I remain your obedient servant

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Mr ??????,

I have read your e-mail and understand your frustration at the problems caused by youths playing in the area and the problems you have encountered in trying to contact the police.

As the Community Beat Officer for your street I would like to extend an offer of discussing the matter fully with you.

Should you wish to discuss the matter, please provide contact details (address / telephone number) and when may be suitable.

Regards
PC ???????
Community Beat Officer

----------------------------

Dear PC ?

First of all I would like to thank you for the speedy response to my original e-mail.

16 hours and 38 minutes must be a personal record for Bodmin Police station, and rest assured that I will forward these details to Norris McWhirter for inclusion in his next book.

Secondly I was delighted to hear that our street has its own community beat officer.

May I be the first to congratulate you on your covert skills?

In the five or so years I have lived in St Marys Crescent , I have never seen you.

Do you hide up a tree or have you gone deep undercover and infiltrated the gang itself?

Are you the one with the acne and the moustache on his forehead or the one with a chin like a wash hand basin?

It’s surely only a matter of time before you are headhunted by MI5.

Whilst I realise that there may be far more serious crimes taking place in Bodmin, such as smoking in a public place or being Muslim without due care and attention, is it too much to ask for a policeman to explain (using words of no more than two syllables at a time) to these twats that they might want to play their strange football game elsewhere.

The pitch on Fairpark Road , or the one at Priory Park are both within spitting distance as is the bottom of the Par Dock.

Should you wish to discuss these matters further you should feel free to contact me on If after 25 minutes I have still failed to answer, I’ll buy you a large one in the CAt and Fiddle Pub.

Regards
?

P.S If you think that this is sarcasm, think yourself lucky that you don’t work for the cleansing department, with whom I am also in contact!!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Quiet day at home writing.

Its been a quiet day at home for me. The rest of the crew went walking up a mountain but I declined - a walk in the mountains is something for when I move to Germany and the mountains are less rugged and less dramatic than the one's the guys have gone to walk in. Besides, the damned things are covered in snow where they want to walk.

So I've spent a very productive day writing a couple of chpaters for the book I have been researching and attempting to get moving for some time now. It's called Ego Sum and is based on the life of my name saint, who, as regular readers will be aware, is a hero of mine. It has been a fascinating exrecise, not least for what I have learned about the so-called "dark ages" and the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west. It has also been a bit of a voyage of discovery in exploring the history of those first five centuries of Christianity and the roots and traces that do still exist in Britin despite the attempts of the later monastics - including the Venomous Bede, Augustine of Canterbury's propagandist, to write out of history the early Christian communities who remained active in Britain even after the Saxon Invasions and were there to greet Augustine and his Romanising mission.

What did that early church look like? Probably not far removed from what is today known as the Orthodox Church. The Roman Church that Augustine brought us would have already begun the "westernisation" of the interpretation of much of the Gospel and changes to the liturgies and the worship that Early Church members would hardly have recognised. Certainly one of the most important changes he brought was the centralisation of authority away from congregations to the Bishops and ultimately to Rome. The church in Britain that he came to replace had been separated from Rome and practiced still the concept of the Bishop in Community although monasticism had already, to an extent, taken the gospel into a closed enclave to the exclusion of the non-clergy.

If you would like to see what the story looks like so far, click this link to FanStory for a full list of my writing there.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Weekend in progress

We went to the Bazaar today. It is always an incredible place to visit and we did manage to find and buy what we went for. We also had a tea in a traditional tea house. This one situated below ground in an octagonal room with a domed vault crowned by a simple ventilation turret. The most incredibe chandelier dominated the centre of the room, suspended above a small fountain.

Arranged around the sides of the room were small tables and around the fountain and situated between the large pillars supporting the arches supporting the dome, longer tables provided seating for a larger party such as ours. Tokens were issued at the entrance - paid for in Rials - and these are exchanged at the table for tea, coffee, a meal, or a Hubbly Bubbly pipe loaded with scented fruity essences which are burned on glowing wood coals to make the smoke. No, there is no nicotine, tobacco or hashish involved in the Iranian version. Several members of our party smoked the hookah, which produced a mint flavoured smoke.

A copper frieze around the walls caught my eye. It is a reproduction of the frieze from the palace at Persepolis, the one Persian city Alexander the Great sacked and burned. The frieze is beautifully rendered in a wide copper strip and the whole ambience of the tea house reminded me that this is a very ancient civilisation indeed. I didn't have my camera there, but my companions did and I hope to have some pictures on Saturday.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

It's the weekend in Tehran!

We have two more weeks of this contract to run and then will be flying home again. I have learned that there have been a few problems at home in my absence - like the roof being replaced on my flat and the bathroom refurbishment I had contracted to have done has been botched. The Son discovered this last night and went round to see the man concerned. I gather it will be put riight by the weekend and I don;t think I want to know what level of threat the Son used. I'm pretty sure I can now be certain it will be fixed and it will be right by the time I get home.

And here's a picture of the days activities just in case anyone wondered.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Birthdays....


We attended a birthday party on Sunday night, for the lady that owns and manages the company we are on contract too. It was a fun evening in the basement restuarant chosen for the event. Live music, of the traditional sort and played on instruments that have been around this neck of the woods for probably one, if not two, millenia. Tea, cold drinks, alcohol free beer (Tastes like beer, smells like beer - isn't really!), salad, kebabs and fire grilled fish with rice and ther delicacies made for an amusing evening.
The food was followed by the "Hookah" pipes and orange scented smoke rolloed around the alcove. I should note that these pipes don't use tobacco, it is wood colas and sceneted herbs that are used. The smoke is reportedly cool in the mouth and the scent is pleasant to the taste and the nose. I'll take their word for it. The first teas were served by the gentleman in the fancy waistcoat and moustache in the picture which follows....

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Stunning Shrine


This stunningly beautiful Mosque and Shrine is located in the ancient city of Rey on the South Eastern fringes of Tehran. The brilliant light coming from the portico is created by having tiled the entire ceiling and the upper portion of the walls with cut and shaped mirror tiles. The entire interior ceiling and upper third of the walls is also decorated in this way. Lighting is from chandeliers suspended from the apex of ribbed alcoves and domes and each of the rooms, prayer rooms and the three shrines are lit with chandeliers having different coloured lense bowls housing the lights. The effect is stunning. The next picture gives an idea of he entrance and courtyard approach to the Abdulazim Shrine.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Chickens coming home to roost

Labours chickens are coming home to roost at last. In a brilliant article the Telegraph tells us that there are too many Quangos - state (taxpayer) funded (QuaNGO = Quasi Non Governmental Organisation) which we can no longer afford. We never could afford them, but in typical fashion Labour thought they could create jobs for the boys in all sorts of interesting quasi official organisations, run and staffed of course by their left wing chums and packed with hordes of civil servants.

The example that triggered this -

The UK Film Council, a government-backed agency, the role of which is to ensure that "the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are represented effectively at home and abroad", advertised for a head of diversity.
This, I promise, is not a spoof. The council is looking for an "exceptional individual" to run its diversity department. Yes, department. How many of them are there, for goodness sake? And what do they do? Is the British film industry so riddled with racists, misogynists and homophobes that it needs awareness lessons?

Having picked through the details, I am beginning to appreciate that the implementation of a "diversity strategy" is more complicated than common sense might suggest. According to the council's website, the right candidate will "develop an active dialogue with key groups and opinion formers", "allocate funding to diversity activities" and, naturally, "manage the diversity department team". It's true: there's a team.

Now for the knockout question: what do you think the salary is? Remember, this is a position that is funded by taxpayers, partly in the form of cash from the National Lottery. For context, here is a range of jobs currently on offer elsewhere in the public sector. A crime bureau investigator with Essex Police is paid £16k-£22k. A staff nurse at an acute-care hospital in central London gets £28k-£29k. An Army sergeant can expect £32k-£36k.

No quibbles there: given the demands and social importance of these posts, it seems not unreasonable to assume that those filling them will provide us with value for money. But what about the Film Council's head of diversity? Come on, guess. How much are we paying for someone who can "make things happen" rather than just "talking the talk"? What's the price for "improving diversity", ie lavishing political correctness on a creative industry? £40k? £50k? Keep going. The answer is £70k, plus benefits.

As a Cabinet minister said to me: "Could this task not have been handled by the Film Council's personnel officer?" Given Britain's comprehensive employment legislation, which outlaws any kind of discrimination, what more is there to be done, beyond the pernicious practice of establishing quotas for the Government's preferred groups?


Its unbelievable in any society except the Britain this socialist ideological morass has created that any responsible body would even contemplate advertising such a post. That it has created a Department around this post and no doubt expects the taxpayer to fnd it, beggars belief. If this continues I confidently predict that the Britain of 2050 will be a Third World dup of ghettos and enclaves for the wealthy civil servants, their political masters and a net receiver of Aid. Our manufacturing indiustry has been priced out of business, our education system is now utterly inferior even to that available in most countries the politcal classes like to demonise and the Treasury is bankrupt. Our Armed Forces are woefully reduced to nothing (Be interesting to see what happens now the Argentinians are threatening a new invasion of the Falklands - Labour's Luvvies will sell our people straight down the river of that you may be absolutely sure.) like what is needed and still expected to fight wars we should never have been involved in.

To quote a small part of the article -

One by one, Labour's illusions are being dispelled. We cannot incentivise idleness and expect it to diminish. We cannot spend more than we earn and expect to become richer. We cannot borrow more than is affordable and expect to remain solvent. We cannot import millions of economic migrants and expect higher wages for low-paid workers. We cannot run a non-selective state education system and expect its output to waltz into Oxbridge. We cannot dumb down academic standards and expect employers not to notice. In short, we cannot cheat our way to sustainable prosperity.


What more can I say except, please read the full article and consider carefully what we should do to rid our media, our nation and our politics of this socialist disease. See: Quangos are a luxury we can't afford and certainly don't need...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Shopping day...

Its grocery day again, something I don't enjoy I have to admit. Its a tricky business trying to shop for groceries in a hyperstore where all the labels are in Farsi and you're guessing what it is you're putting in the trolley. Now, is this tomato paste, or is it peels tomatoes? You do get to a stage of "Who cares!" and shove it in anyway.

The other problem is that this store is new, popular and crowded. Steering a trolley in it is worse than driving around Tehran - and that is saying something.

Serious case of the mutters coming on here.....

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Persian art


Traditional Persian painting, probably more properly ink and pen work, is exquisite and I came across this small illustration in a book recently. As I don't have a scanner here I had to try and photograph it and the result is pretty poor. It depicts the Virgin Mary and Christ Child surrounded by angels. I suspect that most Christians in the West would be unaware that Mary is held in high esteem in Islam as the mother of "the last Jewish Prophet".

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

What's a cat to do?

Mausi the cat almost triggered an avalanche yesterday as she examined the possibility of going our into the garden via the upstairs window and roof. The garden currently lies buried beneath almost 40cm of snow and this is far more than Mausi's height, so she has had to remain indoors unless she can make use of the paths her humans clear from time to time. Mostly she stays indoors. Its warmer, her paws don't get iced up and she can sleep....

But yesterday the other Mausi opened a window to take a picture and she saw her chance to test an alternative route to outside. She didn't reckon on the snow moving under her.... The mini-avalanche started as soon as she tried to walk on the slope. Just in time she pulled back, and scampered back inside to complain loudly that her humans should have warned her!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Construction safety?


Holes in the ground often contain interesting surprises, especially holes like this one out of which a man was observed to climb using a knotted rope. Further investigation revealed that there was at least one more of the Afghan workers we are now used to dealing with, at the bottom of the hole. It's a little over ten metres deep by the way and there is no shoring or support for the sides anywhere in evidence.
Now, our team includes one guy who is a specialist in collapsed structures and rescue, so it was obviously of interest to find out what, if any, safety precautions are in force. The discussion with the contractor provided some answers, but there is really only one way to find out for sure. Some photographs were obtained. These are they.



The workers digging this are Afghans. Desperate for work that pays these young men will undertake anything and everything so they can earn enough to send every Rial they earn home to wives, mothers or family members supporting younger siblings. Some of the "men" are little more than teenagers and the conditions they are living in are appalling. In fact the units my colleague and I burn for our courses are better constructed, better furnished and probably healthier that the mud a brick structures in which these boys and young men live.

And in case you were wondering - this is how sewerage is managed and disposed of. These are essentially cesspits. And the excavation has been done entirely by hand, by four men from a region in Afghanistan where the men and boys are renowned for their lack of fear of tunnels and confinement. We are told that many are killed each year .....

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Working through

It's a holiday in Iran, in honour of the prophet's death in 632 AD. I'm not sure which date the Islamic calendars work from, because it is 1388 here in Iran and 1423 in Saudi and other Sunni countries. At a guess I think it explains a lot about the gulf between Western and Islamic cultures.

It's been a quiet day on the teaching front, only our courses in work and we kept it light in honour of the holiday and its subject.Tomorrow is, of course, another day.

Friday, 12 February 2010

End of Weekend

For the Monk, that is. For Mausi it is the end of a tedious week. Getting to the office in the morning proved to be a time consuming adventure each morning. And the tasks that had be done at work were not exactly ripping, either. But Mausi made good progress, eventually, and is now looking forward to a long weekend. Monday will be a holiday for her. It is the day of the big Rose Monday Carnival Parades along the Rhine as in Cologne, Duesseldorf and Mainz.

Mausi plans to embark on a quick shopping expedition tomorrow morning and then make herself comfortable inside the house with Mausi, the Cat. The snow can stay outside and keep piling itself up for all Mausi cares...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Celebrations for everyone?

Again the Monk cannot access his blog and has asked Mausi to step in. These days Iran is celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. It start with fireworks last night. But apparently this is not a reason for jubilation for everyone. The Iranian opposition is demonstrating again against the way the Revolution has turned out and against the way the president has seized power after the last elections. Members of the opposition have been arrested all day and - according to the media - marked for arrest with paintball guns.

At least part of the internet is still running, so Mausi was able to exchange the news of the day with the Monk. Today is the equivalent of Saturday in Teheran and this weekend is not easy for the Monk and his colleagues. They were warned to stay put inside their flats and show a low profile. It is a relief to hear they are not running out of provisions...

Teaching apparently went well last week. The students are eager as always and the Monk was able to take this beautiful picture of a backdraft.


And the Monk has made new friends. This dog is following him around faithfully, wherever he goes on the training grounds.


Mausi is counting the days until the Monk returns.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Rising tensions or media and political hype?

One thing I have learned in the last number of years of travelling to some pretty odd parts of the world is that you can seldom rely on any of the Big News Media channels for a balanced picture of anything or anywhere the left-leaning news editors and presenters project. If I believed the news I get at home, all Iranians are rabid Islamicists hell bent on bombing and burning the west into some sort of Sharia governed slum. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real problem here is the way the west is used as a whipping by and presented by their government as an enemy just looking for an excuse to attack them and rob them of their freedom and their religion.

Its the classic tactic of the dictator, distract the populace from internal problems by blaming the interference of an external "enemy" even when that enemy is trying to engage you in negotiation. That said, I rather think the way the situation is presented in our mass media in the west, and the garbage that is fed by our politicians for their own purposes to the public inflames everything and won't resolve anything. Sadly, the statements made by the Iranina President are ot seen by the western media for what they really are - window dressing for the domestic market. Of course we should be worried by the declarations about nuclear enrichment, but is megaphone politics useful? No. And neither is the constant threat of sanctions, that simply drives people into the defensive laager!

This is the problem, between the media whipping up passions with misinformation, the inevitable fanatics (We have plenty of those in the UK - witness the morons shouting slogans outside the Iraq Enquiry!) and the politicians - is it any wonder we end up fighting wars everywhere?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Freezing in Tehran

Yesterday we woke to a snowfall, lower down in the city, but not up here in Punak, at least, not until we started for the office. Then it began to snow. It didn't last long but it certainly dropped the temperature. So yesterday we were gathered round a fire in a drum watching the students set to work on excavating their scenes. What a contrast to a few days ago.

By evening I was frozen and took a while to warm back up. Today has been a little warmer, but my hands were red and icy by the time we packed up for the day. Tomorrow could be interesting if the weather predictions hold - but then, we're only out there for a part of it anyway.

I need me thermals I think.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

New week and a long day...

It's been a bright, clear day here, but the wind had a sharp edge to it and the moutains a thick layer of snow. The students started their practical exercises and the first bit has gone well. I was glad of my full fire kit though, that wind was a lazy one - didn't bother going round you ....

And so, as Sammy Pepys loved to write - to bed.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Bright and sunny ....

In sharp contrast to yesterday's heavy downpours, today is bright and sunny with a breeze that has a sharp edge to it from the west. With the "celebrations" here of the 31st anniversary of the Revolution, we are staying indoors and out of trouble - or so we are told. I shall take the sun a little later on the roof of the apartment block. There is quite a view from there when the pollution is low and I have a stunning panorama of mountains behind me.

Ce la vie. It pays the bills.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

And the rain came down ...

It has been raining steadily here since early evening yesterday. The long awaited winter rains appear to have arrived and to want to make up for lost time. All things considered, its probably a very good thing too, it may cool tempers in the planned demonstrations we keep hearing about and which have resulted in the cancellation of our intended visit to the Souk today.

The only downside is that the Satellite TV is upset by the rain, it seems to have got into the cable joints, and I can't get the news or a decent signal on anything except the Iranian channels which are OK, but I don't speak Farsi! The upside I guess is that I am spending time writing another book, one I have wanted to write for a couple of years. Now its making progress!

Ah well, silver lining and all that.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

American decline?

President Obama's massive deficit budget, designed by his socialist sycophants toenable him to "spend the country out of recession" contained the usual list of socialist "beneficiaries" and "casualties". For me it spelled out very clearly that the Golden Age of the US as a world power is drawing to a close. Its industrial capacity is being eroded steadily, its banking services now face tough regulation and the constant anti-capitalist propaganda from the socialist left is undermining its ability to operate effectively even if they can weed out the rogues. As for the growing erosion of the Constitution and the burgeoning bureaucracy, well, these are the classic signs of a failing state.

All bureaucracies are corrupt and corrupting. They are parasitic organisaations invariably staffed by nice people who believe that "the rules" must be enforced and imposed at every opportunity. Every new regulation in the UK produces at least a thousand new bureaucrats in the civil service and from what I read, the same is happening on an even grander scale in the US.

For me, however, the single sign that the US is now in decline is the cancellation by the White House of NASA's budgets for the proposed manned missions to the moon. China is now the only horse in the race and will soon be the world's only real super power. Without the moon as a base from which missions to Mars can be launched without the huge expenditure of power needed to brak out of Earth orbit with our present technology, the Mars missions will continue to be unmanned. No territory has ever been successfully explored by robots, to occupy territory a nation must have bodies on the ground. I predict that China will soon have manned missions to the moon and then establish a base there. Mr Obama and his socialist chums hate anything that speaks of success and this programme is merely the first casualty in a campaign which will see all trace of excellence remaining in the US in education, science, innovation or any other sphere of activity, reduced to socialist mediocrity.

As usual the dead hand of socialism will kill the US's Armed Forces in the same way their pals in Westminster and Whiethall have done in the UK. Death by a thousand cuts. Each little cut on its own insignificant but eventually you reach the position where the Armed Forces have been reduced to inability to do more than fulfil a limited role as poor relations to whichever super power is calling the tune.

Here is my prediction for the future.

The US will now enter a period of steady decline, facing increasing unemployment propblems and a rising Social Security and Health Care bill. Rising taxes and declining services from a burgeoning bureaucracy will bring a steady erosion of the military. By the end of this century the US will no longer be the USA, but will have broken up into Hispanic and English speaking sections, possibly even becoming four separate nations. In contrast, China, India and Brazil are likely to become the new Super Economies and Super Powers.

I hope I'm wrong, but history suggests, and Socialists everywhere intend, that I will be proved right.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Interesting times

The snow of the weekend has vanished and the mountain snow seems to have retreated too. This week has seen several other things though, like the opening today of the road tunnel that passes beneath a part of the Tehran CBD and links up the main North-South Expressways. It has had a somewhat troubled construction period since it passes beneath a major road and several buildings and there have been a number of collapses during construction as well, though none affecting the buildings.

Our courses continue and the latest group of students are keen and good fun. It will be a fun course, though I think all the instructors are now tired, homesick and need a long spel at home.

The weekend coming will be interesting. It is the anniversary of the Revolution and already there are posters, flags and decorations going up everywhere. I would say though that I get a feeling that not everyone is keen to celebrate it and we are told there are opposition protests planned for Friday... I think the Monk will be staying at home and watching the jollifications or otherwise on the telly.