About a week ago Morag was meandering along, minding her own business – well pretty much – when she was reminded once again that there are forces out there just waiting to get you. The past week has been spent in a bit of a daze of snivelling, crying, coughing, clutching of sore ribs and repeating of the litany ‘Oh Lord take me now’. Thank God he knew I didn’t mean it but I must say I don’t remember ever being this sick excluding a time in Mombasa airport that is best left unmentioned. Still not back in fighting form so please excuse the random nature of communiqué. One of the interesting things about being ‘out of it’ is what penetrates your consciousness through the fugue.

FIRST DIBS ON THE EN SUITE – John Reid’s rather bizarre notion that we should send all the naughty people back out into the real world as there is no space for them to stay as a guest of Her Majesty. My first reaction was – no problem, we’ll all just move in with him then! He must have all sorts of protection and security that those of us with regular jobs don’t get. If he thinks that’s the way to solve the issue, okey dokey as long as he plans on making sure me and mine are safe. So I say we all pack an overnight and decamp to his environs. If he wants to put us all in danger then he can damn well protect us. Then today’s story about our child-fiddler, who we’ll keep here indefinitely, made me remember a story I heard in my daze that a really high percentage of people in our prisons are actually foreigners and that if we ‘sent them all back where they come from’ then there would be more room. Now at the risk of sounding a bit too Far Right for comfort – maybe that’s not such a bad idea. I mentioned it to a seriously Leftie friend who started explaining ‘well what about their human rights’ – now correct me if I’m wrong but where were the little girl’s human rights in the scheme of things in this man’s mind when he was fiddling away. Never mind what sort of message does that send out to miscreants from abroad ‘give us your wayward and your deviant…’

AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DEVIL AWAY – How difficult it must be to be of the religious world in this day and age. Do you advertise the church on condom packets or do you stick to the old methods even though they obviously are no longer doing the job. If you take advantage of the new technologies and marketing methods – where do you stop? At one point does it become tacky? Congrats then to the CofE with their new campaign to get people to commit good deeds everyday. I suspect the idea being that when people get the ‘buzz’ of being nice they might just make a habit of it. I think it is a brilliant plan. As a society our morals are in crisis – get people to introduce some sort of moral structure in their lives and the rest will follow. And if you give them the option to participate and choose it will work even better. THEN they will turf up on a Sunday and listen to what is being said and if it is said in a language they can understand we’ve done our job.

DOES ANYONE HERE SPEAK ENGLISH ANYMORE? – When I was in my first flush of youth I wanted nothing more than to live in Paris. I would have left my fancy job and gone to Paris to run a crepes stand. But – I couldn’t speak French, at least not at the appropriate standard. And as the French do have some sense in such matters they do not make a habit of hiring people to deal with the public who errrrm don’t speak French. Why do we not adopt that practice here I wonder? My friend MD*works with social services driving folk from one place to another. Most of the people she drives are non-English speaking. She ferries them from home to doctor’s appointments (while our own older folks are hobbling along on the bus). She ferries the children to school (while our own children are tubing it and bussing it). She tells me stories of going to pick up children from school and a father, driving his own car, coming to drop something off while she ferries the kids – at our expense. While all this is going on – an interpreter has to be present. Even if nothing needs to be said, the rules are such. That is why it was no surprise to hear today (or was it yesterday, sorry) about the millions, upon millions, upon millions that we are spending on translation services. I still do NOT understand why learning English cannot be a requirement for employment. Give jobs ratings to do with public contact – the higher the contact the more the need for functionality in English. Give a proficiency certificate, which must be presented when applying for a job. Maybe I’m just mad that I never ran a crepe stand by the Seine………

I think it’s time to go back to bed now. I’m rambling even more than usual so I must not be as better as I thought L Time for my 436th Maximum Strength Lemsip……….Morag lies weeping (and gagging)………..



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11 responses to “NOTES FROM A NIGHTDRESS

  1. dolbyn

    will ponder your notes , and comment when i am awake, but for now just to say – hope you feel better soon.

  2. Bel

    Oh you poor thing, hope you feel better soon.

  3. You poor love. Have you hooked up with Julia Buckley. She’s in a bit of a two an’ eight as well.

  4. Thanks guys. Got up out of bed today for a few hours…….big mistake. Back under the duvet for me.

  5. Great post but I’m imagining you in a nightdress.

  6. Ahhhh James, as usually you raise a smile. To tell you the truth the title was a nod to my youth when illness was the only reason one donned a nightdress. Sadly it is now a necessity rather than a comfort 😦 – after all one wouldn’t want to frighten the postman!

  7. I’m sorry to hear you have what I am just about getting over. Keep on taking the pills and the hot ‘toddies.’ They do work; eventually!

  8. Joe

    Not sure about advertising on Condom Packets- In my faith we have to pretend we don’t use them.
    Personally I do go to mass most weeks, though I couldn’t tell you what was said half the time, I only awake from reverie for the Creed and Communion. Feel better for doing it though.

  9. Morag, this is my 3rd attempt to post a comment here tonight. I think it’s my browser, not your site. Anyway, hope you feel better soon. I am a French and Italian teacher who would not have moved to another country without fluency in the language as I think that would be rude and pig-headed. But moving to a place is different from a long-term visit and the French are particularly unhelpful to visitors in this respect, shall we say. In my last few years in the UK, I moved into ESOL teaching and I understand what you are saying. Again, to move to a country without fluency in the language is ill-advised, at best, but I do sympathise with those who were genuinely fleeing for their lives and those of their children and who didn’t have the time or possibility to learn English beforehand. What I don’t have sympathy with, however, is an unwillingness to learn once you are in Britain, though you are given every opportunity to do so. One of the problems I encountered with ESOL was that the government sets the same targets as with any other subject, so you find yourself, as a teacher, having to INTERVIEW SOMEONE WITH NO ENGLISH AT ALL as to what their linguistic needs are. This, of course, requires an expensive interpreter in most cases, and for what? So that boxes can be ticked and the form filed away forever. Also, having the interpreter there at the beginning is counter-productive to language learning. There you are – I’ve said my piece, which I’m sure is all you need feeling as you do! Happy lemsipping. Auguri.

  10. Dear WL,

    Thank you for that insight. I definitely do understand people who sometimes end up here without the needed language skills. But yes the unwillingness to learn once here, that’s where it goes wrong for me. I have a neighbour who speaks perfectly competent English – until there is something she doesn’t want to deal with. And when any sort of authority figure arrives she speaks no English whatsoever. It is quite maddening for all concerned – except her of course. Maybe we could have manners classes as well as General Citizenship 😦

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