A recent meeting at Warwick was held to plan the next three years of the KiDS Foundation and how we can ensure that we arrive at its 21st anniversary fighting fit. The object is to be stronger better organised than ever before, which, if you know my board of trustees, is no mean feat as they are simply exceptional.

Anyway, I digress, at the end of that meeting one of the trustees was looking a little down in the mouth so I enquired what was wrong? She told me that she was a little depressed with “All the news!” Further enquiry elicited the fact that she was concerned for her children having to live in such a terrible world, a world with so many awful things happening not just on a daily but almost hourly basis!

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I’m not sure if I’m in a “Depression”

Has the world gone completely mad? An Australian hiding in an Ecuadorian embassy in London, to avoid the Swedish sending him to America and probably on to a place in a Cuban jail owned by the Yanks, called Guantanamo. While the English also forget momentarily the sovereignty of embassies should be sacrosanct.

Japanese swimmers putting flags on some rocks in the sea, where no one lives, resulting in Chinese riots where it is acceptable to trash police cars, because they are Japanese models.

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Lifestyle for the Over 50s

Life and a decent lifestyle, perhaps the two things we humans must truly desire. Without life and good health, however, no amount of planning, money, luxuries and perceived lifestyle will improve our lot. Good health and actually “being alive” must therefore and without delivering a huge BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious) be the number one objective for us all, despite how poorly we often go about it.

Poor diet and bad habits, smoking and alcohol primarily, are the factors that will either destroy our health or actually kill us off early. But do we listen or take heed, well personally no! I tend to live by the adage that my favourite aunt once mentioned, “if you don’t smoke, drink or have sex you don’t live any longer ….. it just seems like it!”

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RIP The Independent Broker

As the world worries about the extinction of the rhino and all other creatures being devoured by our Asian cousins, it is worth taking a moment to think of another local exotic that is now under threat.

Yes the “Independent Broker”, a brave, determined and industrious creature that has learned to adapt to its changing habitat and surroundings, over many years, but who now appears assailed from all sides. The advice that has been fed to the Minister of Finance and thus the FSB, is such that the independent man is being pushed to the very edges of the reserve as larger creatures, who were no doubt involved in this decision making process, are left to graze the plains alone.

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Age is Relative

Groucho Marx told us that, “A man is only as old as the woman he feels”, well in that case I am a lucky fifty year old with a smashing lady in her forties, although having now mentioned her decade I may be feeling very lonely for a while!

Age is relative, or should I say we all have an “aged relative”. As each day ticks by, weeks and months slip by, years become a moment and strange time warp phenomenon occur. What I mean is this, how come as you approach the end of every decade, especially after forty, the odd mind trick occurs. In that last year of a decade, when we are telling ourselves that we don’t care about reaching that “new” milestone, odd almost “twilight zone” events occur. We see the pictures of sporting stars from when we ourselves were young and virile and these gods look, to be honest, knackered and we get a fright. TV and movie stars release a new production and we scream to our partners “look at such and such, he looks ancient”, then we remember that we haven’t seen them for a decade or even two and it’s nothing other than just life!

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Urban Legends

We are often told stories and or facts that are stated with such clarity and purpose that it is hard not to take them as being 100% true. Over the last few weeks I have been assailed by a number of these tales, that at first I took as being nothing but urban legends, namely tales that have developed and been passed around until it is beautifully rounded, crafted and believable.

On a recent trip to Port Elizabeth I had lunch with a colleague and he told me two super tales of waste and stupidity and he told them with such conviction that I now believe them absolutely. Firstly, that in a city know widely as the “windy city,” a new super port has been built at Coega with cranes imported, at great expense from overseas, that cannot be used in winds over 35 kph, strange but apparently true! Secondly, that there are a large number of new buses sitting in their new colours ready to go and satisfy the needs of the “Rapid Transport System”. There is, however, just one problem, the buses are too wide for the RTS bus stops, so they sit and wait!

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Moveable Feast

The “moveable feast” that is life is both a blessing and a curse. If we know exactly what was going to occur, then life would be rather dull and pedestrian, however it would be rather nice to know and be able to rely upon things that had been supposedly established and committed to.

I am rather a creature of habit, although I like to think of myself as daring and living life in the moment. The truth is that I rather like the predictable, I enjoy knowing what’s going on, I like facts and to be totally honest I hate surprises even on my birthday or Christmas, well ok they are exceptions but up to a point! Just while we are on the birthday and Christmas point, how many husbands and fathers out there have been told by their wives children or parents that “You are so difficult to buy for?” Why? We are just ordinary blokes and very easy to please. We don’t expect to be thrilled or knocked down with surprise in our case it really is just the thought that counts, although socks, underwear, toblerone or vouchers to “Exclusive Books” does show very little effort.

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Go for Gold!

What a difference a Christmas and New Year makes! We ended 2011 with all good news discounted and all bad news amplified. We go away, have some turkey, mince pies and New Year cheer and return with the circumstances reversed.

The general air feels more optimistic, even the Greeks burning down their one tax collection office has not put a damper on things. All I can say is long may it continue and if nothing else a year of relative stability and a lack of extreme volatility would be welcomed with open arms.

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The Economic War of Empires

The quiet unspoken war between the power houses of Europe and the USA continues and we all sit quietly, in our offices and homes and really notice very little other than the radio-active levels of fall out.

Japan appears spent, at least for another five years, China continues to be the main focus of the future hopes of the EU and the USA. Just what would happen to either of these big dogs if China sided with one over the other, answer economic disaster for the losing “empire”!

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Peace in Whose Time?

Following on from the theme of last month’s article, on the division between Europe and the USA and a fight for political turf and economic credibility, it is amazing to look at what is occurring in Europe now and how the situation has such clear parallels with the old Europe, especially the Europe that led us into World War II.

Firstly, however, it may be interesting to note that the greatest fear of many and why they are prepared to fight so hard, in any conflict, may no longer exist in the first world at all. I am referring to the concept of invasion and physical domination. This fear of being occupied and subjected to the humiliation of rule under another nation has reached a point where it is simply not practical, and or affordable, even to the likes of the USA, Russia or China, let alone a single European nation such as Germany, Italy, France or Great Britain.

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