16 September, 2016

More Homework

Nearing 80
I have always believed that age is a state of mind. It is sobering to recall that in my youth I viewed people of my age as ancient.Last Sunday I heard a preacher say that those of my age will be 100 in 2041.That sounds a long way off and I’m not sure I will want to be there!

In 1963 I bought a life assurance policy which required a noting of my retirement year of 2006. This induced spontaneous laughter, it seemed such a distant date.

Monitoring fashionable words and expressions has been a lifetime hobby. I once attended an in-house company conference at which the senior executives spoke. As I noted the most used words, it became apparent they all used the same terms. This is much the same in the wider community. How much is true knowledge and how much pretence?

Think about today’s fashionable words-”sustainable”, “political correctness”, ”digital disruption”, “transition” ”identity politics”, ”innovation”, “data”, ”google”. I wonder what the buzz words will be 2041? Will we be using battery powered driverless cars, centrally owned? What will we do with all the space freed up by the need for many fewer individually owned vehicles? Or does that not follow?

Finding new ways of doing things and predicting the unintended consequences, can be tremendously exciting and those who forecast and position themselves correctly, can gain great economic benefits. I am mindful of the African message -”Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. So it doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”

But, the mind may or may not be willing, and the body will almost certainly be weak!
David Boyd
07.09.16

More Homework For My Writing Course

There Should Have Been …..

I took a week off work and headed bush. I wanted to show my English soldier cousin Michael, on his first visit to Australia, the real thing. He was looking for a cup of coffee before we were over the Blue Mountains! This could be a long trip. The season was good and the country looked great, but I don’t think the Lieutenant Colonel had much appreciation.

We were headed for Walgett-a long drive. We made small talk. I was conscious of my early lessons in stock and station agency-if you had a difficult client take him for a drive to a sheep or cattle sale and get to know him. Years later I added to my collection of maxims; “I don’t like that man, I must get to know him”. We were to stay a night at our mutual cousin’s Walgett station homestead on the banks of the Barwon. We were greeted warmly enough and eventually invited in. Michael seemed uncomfortable and next morning was anxious to get moving.

We were asked to give a neighbour a lift to Tamworth as we headed for the high country at Walcha. The neighbour was a garrulous, extrovert “bushie”, with none of my inhibitions, who had clearly decided that he was going to find out how this “pommy bugger” ticked.

What evolved was quite the most entertaining, interesting drive I have ever experienced. With sustained questioning from our passenger, the Colonel regaled us with a fascinating account of his  war-time experiences. His exploits in North Africa, (for which I subsequently discovered he earned an M.C), his presence at the signing of both the German surrender in Europe and the Japanese surrender, his role in the capture of the German SS Commander General Himmler and the discovery and liberation of the horrific Belsen concentration camp.

There should have been a recording.

David Boyd

14.09.16