is it the place or the people?


At the coffee shop the other day two ladies were enthusing about where they worked. It was nice to hear especially as it is so often that people want moan about their employers. Read more…

Is this the right room for an argument?


If it is where I am sitting then yes, it is. Not that I am advocating argument for its own sake, but more that I want people to challenge my opinions. Read more…

the art of handwriting

January 25, 2016 2 comments

To hear that a number of schools are ceasing to teach pupils handwriting saddens me. I understand that the generations coming through make use of portable devices to write upon, but I don’t agree that these things make the art of handwriting redundant.

I am of an age where we were taught to write with pen on paper. Lined pages where we would use two lines for a capital or tall letter and just the lower line for smaller letters, scratching away with a pen and ink as we developed our own styles around the standard form.

As we mastered to letters and how to assemble them into words we began to learn sentences, paragraphs and beyond and we began to understand grammar. There was a lot more to understanding our language than just writing out words, but the ability to write  helped a lot in communicating.

In my early years at work computers we beginning to make an impact. Computers then were big things that we didn’t ever see, but we had to cater for the people who fed the information and for about four years the majority of the writing that I did was to complete forms where there was a space for each letter (or number) and all letters had to be in capitals. When that job came to an end and I moved on to one where I was drafting contracts for one of the ladies in the typing pool to turn into a document that we could send out I had to pretty much teach myself to write all over again for I had not written a sentence let alone a paragraph for so long. It took me almost three months before I could manage legible joined up writing on a consistent basis and since then I have tried to keep up a regular writing regime.

The advent of the word processor was, to some extend, a boon in that it became so easy to redo something that you didn’t like the look of and then the ability to check your spelling and grammar were other benefits, but these things are not fool proof. As we used to say in the early days of computing; garbage in, garbage out and as someone who writes a lot (25,000 words is a slow week) it is easy to miss some of the silly things that can occur. Why else would so many people turn off predictive text?

Language is a living thing and it evolves all of the time. I don’t want to stop that, but if we lose the basic skills of forming letters and words I don’t believe that it is going to help. Over the last thirty years or so I have encountered so many young people coming to work for me who cannot do any basic mathematics because they have used calculators from an early age and have little or no understanding of how numbers work. They trust entirely anything that comes off a spreadsheet even when there is a blatant error. I see the loss of handwriting as bringing the same problems with words and it saddens me.

Change is all around us and it is inevitable, but not everything that we do brings progress. Each generation of children represents the future of our various civilisations and I don’t think that we should deprive them of basic skills. Sooner or later we will regret doing so.

the myth of centralised procurement


The arguments for centralising activity, procurement or otherwise, can be very persuasive, but so many of them are built on selective use of numbers, as may well have been the case in the recent media frenzy for they, too, are only trying to sell you a story. I am not procurement bashing here for I am one of their number, and nor am I media bashing either for I am also one of them in a small way. No, I would like to try and present a balanced view based on what I have seen and experienced over the years. Read more…

musings on leaders


News that a certain sporting manager has been fired amid allegations that he had lost the confidence of his team comes as no surprise; leaders who have no followers are no longer leaders. Read more…

the road to hell


With another working trip coming to an end I find that, yet again, my list of things to do during dead time is pretty much untouched. There were so many things that I was going to write while I had time to myself, but almost nothing got done; so much for good intentions. Read more…

another lesson learned


I am in my sixty fourth year on the planet and so, whilst I’m not planning on departing any time yet, I don’t have as many hours left as I used to. Anything that will save me time is important to me and that is why I have been an ardent user of the internet where I can access information and services pretty much at any hour of the day or night to suit me. Read more…

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