Good morning. What terrible weather we are having. They say it will snow at the end of the week. This is how all English conversations begin.
The worst thing about the first week of January is having to listen to everyone vowing to improve their lives in some worthy way, as if they blew all their credit for a year over the Christmas holiday. So you want to stop smoking; drinking; eating? Go ahead. Do what you like, just don't bore me with your broken promises to yourself. Yule isn't Lent, you know.
They say that the Victorians invented Christmas, but they forget to mention that they destroyed Twelfth Night in the process. Twelve days of mayhem and non-productivity were condensed down into one, and that was immediately followed by a worthy day of charity towards Tradesmen. How utterly middle-class can you get?
Twelfth Night was not the only thing destroyed by the Victorians. Up until them, Christianity contained a healthy measure of Paganism, then the architects arrived and stripped the walls of all the colourful medieval paintings. Did you know that the front of Wells Cathedral was originally as brightly painted as the inside of an Italian church?
Most people who I have met since the end of last year say, "It's good to get back to normal," by which I suppose they mean that it is good not to have to pay out stupid amounts of money for one night, as opposed to the other 364 days of trying to earn it. Things are actually worse now than they were in Victorian times. Politicians and pundits are saying that the only certain way out of the uncertainty caused by our imminent tearing-up of the European Trade Agreement is to increase productivity. Ha Ha!
Ken Wood (of Kenwood food processors) said that his products were appreciated so much because of their durability. They came into their own in the 'make do and mend' austerity of post-war Britain, and I know people who are still using mixers that were built in the late 1950s.
Now, because of the relentless drive for increased productivity, if you don't build-in obsolescence you go out of business - or worse - become non-competetive for many years before going out of business.
It is mad that I can buy a car for £1500 which only a couple of years before sold for £35,000. It means that someone else has subsidised me by being shamed into trading it in for a new model, usually on credit. They are still subsiding me, as I drive their old car into a scrap yard and buy another.
I am blessed by only making things which ordinary people do not need. Any guilt I may fleetingly feel by making my clients wait for the objects of their desire is offset by the knowldge that nobody is physically suffering from the waiting. Not many global pharmecutical companies can say that.
OPEC have responded to the loss of revenue from the drop in the price of oil by reducing production. Gem dealers keep prices high by limiting sales. The rest of us must work harder and increase our productivity. Someone has got to buy all those cars, washing machines, food mixers, etc. etc. and they need to - somehow - find the money to buy them.