The Ex-Files

Although it’s fair to say that the majority of blog feeds I read are technical or Church related – there are one or two that aren’t. Amongst the others is Julia Buckley, a writer, who I added a long while ago when she commented on something on my blog. Anyway, yesterday she posted an item highlighting her latest job, writing the monthly Ex-Files column in the Observer, and asking other bloggers to highlight that she is looking for victims participants to be interviewed for the articles.

The basic concept is that every month the newspaper interviews two people who used to be in a relationship with each other and broke up, about what happened. Since it’s an item in a paper I don’t read, and to some extent the concept of trawling through the debris of an old relationship in a national newspaper seemed maybe a bit odd, yesterday curiosity found me browsing through the previous articles Julia had linked to to see what it was all about.

There is certainly a real mix of people and situations. There are some where you read the articles and get the overwhelming feeling that the relationship was just doomed from the start, others it seems that it was almost bad luck that the relationships floundered. Not surprisingly given the nature of the article there are quite a few where the couple are still close to each other despite what has happened, in several cases even living or working together much to the bemusement of their friends, indeed one where after splitting up the couple have got back together – so it’s not all doom and gloom.

There are others which I’m sure would be quite an eye-opener for the couples involved. Since the two people are interviewed separately there are sometimes quite significant differences in what each believes about what happened and why – there are probably a good few lessons into the importance of communication in all of those.

Anyway, if you are in a position where you and your ex would be willing to discuss your former relationship, Julia I’m sure would love to hear from you. Otherwise if you’re at all curious I can certainly recommend reading some of the previous articles – it really gives you a broad cross-section of the relationships and situations in which people find themselves, and if you’re lucky enough to be in a happy relationship, it certainly leaves you feeling a great sense of appreciation for what you’ve got.

Bad News for Church Schools

Bad news for Church Schools – Ekklesia is highlighting a survey that reveals some worrying large groups concerned about aspects of having Church backed state schools. Almost half of the people questioned said that they believed the entrance policies favoured pupils from better off backgrounds, and similar numbers believed that Church schools would discourage open discussion of important topics, or present skewed information rather than use a balanced approach when talking about other religions. Needless to say the Church of England is putting a positive spin on things

Stephen Fry on Global Warming

Another great “blessay” from Stephen Fry, this time on the topic of Global Warming, inspired by an argument he had with an American on the subject.

Interestingly his take on why we should be behaving as if Global Warming is a reality, essentially the same principle as Pascal’s Wager, is much the same argument that I always come back to – if we behave as if Global Warming is a reality and we’re wrong we’ll all look a bit stupid, but if we act as if Global Warming does not exist, and it does, then the consequences are a lot worse.

Needless to say Stephen Fry puts it a lot more eloquently than me!

Confidence in an Independent Scotland

The news recently has been including a lot of talk about the possibility of Scotland becoming independent, following on in part from the victory of the Scottish National Party in the May elections.

As you may be aware, I did work for what was officially a Scottish Company, Scottish and Southern Energy, which was formed from the merger of Scottish Hydro and Southern Electric. Officially the head office is in Perth in Scotland, although if you look at this map you’ll see that they have operations all over the UK, so Scotland declaring independence could certainly cause some problems.

As a result, it was certainly interesting to hear rumours from friends still at SSE of the company considering relocating their head office back south of the border, possibly to their current London office (the old Southern Electric head office at Littlewick Green being long gone) – certainly if it happens it will be a big indicator of a lack of confidence of cross border businesses in the viability of an independent Scotland, and certainly a significant blow to the Scottish National Party.

A Bill But No Detail

Yesterday I had a decidedly interesting bill from Hertz, the people who we rented a car from on our trip to France in the summer. The bill is for an administration charge, for supplying my details to “the relevant authorityâ€? in Switzerland for a penalty charge. All well and good, but it doesn’t actually say what the penalty is for, aside from “Trafficâ€?, nor where it actually occurred – for that part the bill just quotes the reference number for the penalty notice.

Whilst it’s entirely possible that I may have broken some rule or other, what is slightly suspicious is that we weren’t actually in Switzerland for all that long. We picked the car up at about 3:30pm, and headed straight for the border – we were driving in France literally within minutes of leaving the airport.

Anyway, after exchange the bill is only about half what the rental companies charge over here – at about £20. I’ve sent an e-mail off to Hertz customer service, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have much more detail. I’d only really be bothered (and I suspect will only actually find out what I did when it does) if an actual ticket turns up, and that really depends whether the Swiss signed up to the EU process whereby they can get the DVLA to issue tickets, or whether the Swiss chase up the ticket.

Now I guess it’s just a question of waiting.