Saturday, 18 March 2017

England expects


How brave are you? When I am not being stupidly foolhardy, I am a proper coward.

'Oh well,' they say, 'It cannot be avoided.' Oh yes it can.

Despite my extreme reluctance to make plans for the future, I spend quite a bit of time worrying about it. I spent many months trying to persuade someone to keep me in work for about a year by making 8 months worth of sculpture, and now they have I am worrying about it. Previously I had been worrying about not having enough work.

I told someone about my good fortune, and they said, "Good. All you have to do now is make it." That was when I acquired a brand new set of troubling concerns.

I have been called up - again - for jury service which begins next week. In one way I see it as an interesting diversion from my normal life and a perfect excuse to put off the work, but my immediate concern is to not get lost on the way from the station to the courtroom and be late for my induction. This time it cannot be avoided - a High Court judge has actually ordered me to do it. Last year the central office in London called me to tell me I was excused. That pesky computer has randomly selected me again.

At the outbreak of the Falklands conflict (or Malvinas if you happen to be Argentinian and reading this), I was just on the age borderline for any call-up which might have been sent if the thing dragged on for longer than it did, and I had never signed up to play soldiers in the Territorial Army. I have, since Vietnam, vowed that WW2 would have been the only conflict which I would willingly become recruited, and wondered what all those territorials who spent weekends charging about the British  countryside in expensive hardware thought when they were actually called up to fight in places like Iraq.

How awful it must have been for a man to be handed a white feather in the street by a woman he had never met before, and where/how did they get all those white feathers?

Over the years I have talked my way out of dozens of fights, but now (you would have thought) I am just too old to get involved in any. What I didn't consider is that you are never too old to get hit. I have not yet reached the age when I can legally refuse to do jury service either.

Even as I write this, I am putting off doing the washing-up; putting off showering; putting off shopping - putting off everything. Am I wasting time? Just putting off the innevitable or just plain lazy?


35 comments:

  1. Blimey, apart from the Jury Service bit, that sounds like a description of my life. One of the great merits in life is, having talked yourself into a fight, being able to quickly talk your way out of it, or keep fit enough to be able to out-sprint most people. Like you, as I approach my 70th in a couple of months, I assume that someone I've offended would consider me to old to hit but you can never say never.

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    1. For the last year, a 6' 5", 45 year-old bully has been desperate to hit me. The only thing stopping him is the prospect of being sent back to prison. This is what I mean by never being too old to get hit, but I am too old to get bullied, so I don't.

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  2. I couldn't bear the waiting and wondering with regard to the bully..do you just hope he will forgive and forget? or get locked up again?...and I have never been called up to Jury service and would love to do it!

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    1. As far as possible I ignore him, but it somewhat takes the edge off the relaxing drink after work...

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  3. Terminal ennui? I can do that sometimes, but on the whole life interferes. I have to go to work today (Saturday) because life has kept me from it for most of last week, and there are bill to pay and payroll to write.

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    1. Yes, I would still be active if I didn't need the money, but in a somewhat more relaxed manner. How many times have I heard people of my age saying they intend to slow down to two days a week, then find themselves with continuous fresh deadlines.

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  4. I am foolishly brave yet suffer an anxiety disorder. How's that for cognitive dissonance? Sling a baseball bat over your shoulder when he's lurking about and give him the stink eye. Then, hire a few ruffians to corner him in an alley and put the fear of God into him. He'll avoid you. Is that legal in England?

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    1. Not only is it not legal, but it would make things a lot worse if I missed and gave him the legal excuse of self-defence! Anyway, unlike him, I rarely think in terms of violence solving problems.

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    2. Yes, the bully would love to sue in the US where criminals can sue you if they get hurt burgling your house. Plus, it wouldn't have to resort to violence, just make him think it could if he doesn't back off.

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  5. I'm like Libby; I've always rather fancied doing jury service. I suppose it's my living abroad that prevents it. Shame!

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    1. I'll let you know if you're missing out on something.

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    2. AFTER I have finished, of course.

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    1. That's not the sort of thing you should publicly admit to, Derek, especially to someone who is about to do jury service...

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  7. And the 328 people who have read this post in the last hour and a half?

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  8. I think you'll end up enjoying the jury service.
    Greetings Maria x

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  9. I remember longing for the days when I would no longer be encumbered with deadlines. And now that I have so very few, I find that I need to make them for myself lest I put off whatever I need to do endlessly! I agree with those who think you will enjoy your jury service and hope to hear all about it in future posts.

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    1. Deadlines for me - Get up. Make coffee. Wake up...

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  10. Lazy....naw.............normal more like

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    1. Now you are brave, and a hard worker. We all know that.

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  11. The only time I got called for jury service was for a date which was a week after I was going to be giving birth ! They let me off. A friend was on the jury for a big case at St. Albans Crown Court a few years ago. It was concerned with various body parts that were found scattered around locally. She said it was horrendous!

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    1. I am told the worst cases are corporate fraud

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  12. My brother did jury service a few years ago. He loved every minute of it. I suppose it made a change from farming. He never repeated a word of any of the cases he was involved in, was never rejected for a case or came home early, not required, as many jurors called seem to. They (I don't know who) obviously liked the look of him.

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    1. You can't just go home early! It's a good job he did enjoy it.

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    2. Let's hope you don't get a fraud case lasting months.

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  13. It's built in to our systems, at least some of us, to worry I mean. I too find myself facing yet another day and another without even beginning on that important matter or that urging phonecall or....
    It's not being lazy, I think, it's probably somewhere within, worrying that we are not up to it. A friend of mine said the other day that she mad a "boring and difficult things to do-list" and checked it off, point by point. Juryservice I have never come across, not the army either, but they have now changed the law for both boys and girls and our teenage girls are going haywire....

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    1. The trouble with me is that I don't worry enough about the right things. I tend to live in the present when I should be considering the future. Yes, the laziness being a form of self-doubt is probably true, but I find that as soon as I begin working, the doubt disappears. I tell myself that there is no scope for failure, so there is none.

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    3. Hey, you have forgotten those important words about the birds and the lilys, as I often do as well!! We are not supposed to worry ahead, that is all too large for us anyway. We are to plunge in and do, and when you do, as you have discovered, the doubt goes away. But we must struggle to remember that feeling the next time!!

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  14. Handing out white feathers was a strange phenomenon. I think perhaps women were frustrated by not being able to do more themselves. But anyone who has read Vera Brittens work, 'Sweet Testament Of Youth' might understand the inner conflict that pervaded the population at that time. Yes, every young healthy male should volunteer
    but it didn't hit them until one of their family or crowd paid the price. I find it to be a very powerful piece of writing, especially as she has the guts to say, 'I was wrong'. As for you, I can't believe that you would be intimidated by anyone. But perhaps that's what they said about the volunteers in the Great War.

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    1. They put that pressure on before they realised what a pointless blood-bath it would be. After WW1, so many of the men did not come home that the women turned to spiritualism to try and talk to them, they were that lonely.

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  15. A terrible chapter in our past. What could that 'lost generation' have accomplished? Or would they have just become cannon fodder for the next war?

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