One month without any posts while enjoying a holiday in the sun. So has anything happened while the keyboards have been silent?
Well last Friday saw the flurry of political activity in London and Brussels linked to the announcement of a major milestone in our attempts to leave the European Union. Every effort has been made since the news broke to make the limited progress made sound like some modern equivalent of the Magna Carta. At this rate Whitehall and Westminster are certain to win another Whitehall Farce Award. Oh what a mess they are creating!
Elsewhere the snowfall over the weekend meant great fun for the grandchildren – at least in some parts of the country. It also was fun for the Grandads remembering how many times the author of Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past has been proved wrong since The Independent published the article some seventeen winters ago.
On the technology front Microsoft gave us all the chance to test our patience again while waiting for Version 1709 of Windows 10 to trundle on – Grandad’s laptop has been downloading and installing for the past six hours. Meanwhile Wikipedia keeps ask us for money to help keep itself afloat. A request that seems a bit rich given that much of their content has been created for free by volunteers – many of whom, like us, have to pay for their Internet access. And worst still there are plenty of US tech companies in such strong financial positions that they could easily fund the entire operation without denting their bottom line.
We can now announce the results of our inaugural Whitehall Farce Award for long-running bungling ineptitude within Whitehall and its offshoots. And in the end the runaway winner was that first nomination – the Proposed EU Referendum. So despite challenges from High Speed Rail 2, Runway 3 Heathrow, Northern Powerhouse and Nuclear Energy there was a clear-cut and undisputed winner.
However our awards ceremony planned for tonight has had to be canceled after our organisers – the events arm of the Grandadz charity – mislaid its funding. There had been rumours circulating for several weeks that there were problems. But the charity’s boss, Carmen Bataneyelid, had reassured us that everything would be fine and all the key figures would be there for a glittering evening of fine dining and entertainment.
Certainly the promises of a five course organic, halal, kosher vegan banquet and a rare live performance by Coldfeet did sound very appealing. But alarm bells should have started to ring when the Royal Albert Hall called to chase a missing booking deposit. However Ms Bataneyelid reassured us and them that this was just a misunderstanding and that an envelope containing the cash would be delivered shortly by a old man in a grey shell suit. We were all very upset to find out later that the old man had been robbed when he stopped in Westminster for a fair trade macchiato. A matter that warm-hearted Ms Bataneyelid did not report to the police to avoid any further distress to the old man and any bad publicity for the charity.
The next day Ms Bataneyelid and three of her assistants had to fly to Zurich to discuss setting up a Swiss branch of Grandadz and to collect some donations from reception at the Hotel Baur au Lac. But it seems that they did not board their flight back to the UK. We have not been able to contact them since. With no venue confirmed and unpaid caterers we decided to cancel the 2015 award ceremony and send the award to the Referendum Office by second class post. Hopefully the 2016 award ceremony will turn out better … and that Ms Bataneyelid and staff are able to return safely very soon.
The struggling and little-known charity Grandadz expects a big boost to its fund raising success following the news that Carmen Bataneyelid is to join as its first multi-cultural ambassador, chief executive and accountant.
In a brief interview Ms Bataneyelid explained that her extensive experience in dealing with senior figures in both government and entertainment will be invaluable. And, based upon past experience, expects to raise millions for the charity in the coming months – from both big business and senior politicians. She also proposes to hold a spectacular fund-raising concert in the grounds of a country house near Aylesbury. One likely to be headlined by a well-known group and be covered by a national broadcaster – then followed up with a series of high-profile arts documentaries.
In a strangely familiar statement Ms Bataneyelid said “My aim for Grandadz is for it to improve the end of life chances for many thousands of high risk, older people through the provision of practical tailored multi-disciplinary interventions. Providing seniors with health, social care, support and education in the third-age. Interventions that will reduce their distress and address the issues causing their risky behaviours and poor qualities of life.”
If these plans succeed this will be a big step up for Grandadz – where charitable donations in 2014-15 only amounted to £3.29. However that was enough to buy a nice cup of coffee for an old man stranded at a motorway service station. Under the new leadership the total donations for 2016-17 are predicted to top £20 million before tax. And the old man at the service station, now a trustee, is hoping to join the Grandadz staff in their new offices on the Cayman Islands once the cheques are cashed.