Posted by: lucylastic | January 28, 2008

Random thoughts for another grey Monday

Immigrants – good or bad?  As the economy here, in the US and in various other markets around the world slow down, should we be looking to take even more immigrants into the country?  Interestingly, Bill gates and a number of other big US corporate citizens say a resounding ‘yes’ and there are echoes of that message closer to home.  Last week’s press carried many articles based on an interview with Sir James Dyson – owner of the company I work for, though I should point out that any opinions here are my own and are not intended to reflect those of that company.  JD (as we affectionately call him) bemoans the lack of engineering graduates in the UK – a few thousand only, and numbers in continuing decline – compared with large increases and substantially more in number in developing economies like India and China.  There is a very clear correlation between the success of industry and the availability of people to drive and direct it – the propensity of school leavers to sign up for Media Studies, various ‘ology’s’ and the like has been visible for many years now – but we seem impotent against it.  Is the pursuit of that 15 minutes of fame still a more powerful driver than the desire to have a long-lasting, hard-working and fulfilling career.  It seems so.  I come into contact with a large number of disaffected youth and they almost all have versions of the same tune readily in their minds – it’s boring, it’s not worth it, there’s nothing to do, there’s no hope for me.  There seems to be no perception that they have to do anything at all in order to be rewarded with a fat pay packet and a happy ever after life.  It’s depressing.  I have absolutely no idea what to suggest as a remedy – but I just wondered whether others feel the same way?  Do let me know! 

On a cheerier note, it will soon be Valentine’s Day and I thought some of you may appreciate learning a bit more about Valentine’s traditions.  I have always urged my (many and various) valentine’s not to buy red roses, as I get exceptionally cross at the mark-up that florists everywhere make on this one day of the year – it’s not necessary and I begrudge it hugely.  I have just spotted an ad for ’12 Red Roses – only £29.99’.  ONLY!!!!!????  What a rip off!!!  Don’t do it anyone.  Think instead of decorating your own wooden ‘love spoon’, (cheap wooden spoons available in Pound Shops everywhere) – hearts, keys and keyholes are the most usual symbols and mean ‘unlock my heart’.  The love spoon tradition is most associated with Wales, but lovers everywhere will be thrilled with your own home-made efforts!  If that seems like a bit too much effort, then think of 5 or 6 names of people you might one day marry, (now this seems a bit random, but stay with me) – as you twist the stem of an apple, (variety not specified), recite the names until the stem comes off.  You will marry the person, (a person) whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.  Promise.  Finally, cut the apple in half when you have finished pulling the stem off it and count the pips inside – this will tell you how many children you will have.  Apparently.   

Well, I hope you are all a tad wiser on just some of the traditions of Valentine’s Day – but what of Valentine himself?  There are varying opinions as to the origin of the day.  Some experts state that it can be attributed to a Roman of the same name who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity.  Valentine died on February 14th, 269AD.  Legend also says that Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter – of whom he had become very fond.  He signed this note, ‘from your Valentine’……….  Other aspects of the story have Valentine as a priest at the temple in the reign of the Emperor Claudius.  Whatever the exact circumstances, it was in 496 AD that Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour the recently canonised St Valentine.  More than you needed to know perhaps.  But fascinating enough for a dull Monday.

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