A series of exogenous incidents

By Emeritus Professor Verity Bastion


A sting in the tale

Verity discovers that when the wise man points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger.  Thomas, my husband of forty years, has a new project. It keeps him

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Stripped back

Life’s bare necessities are revealed in death to Professor Verity Bastion. Nowadays I attend more funerals than cocktail parties. They can be quite jolly affairs and it is remarkable what

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The ironic lady

How a locked door gave a young Verity a momentary release, but left her trapped under a glass ceiling. Vivaldi had four seasons. In Britain we have five: spring, summer,

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Gone offline

Verity is uncomfortable with prospect of a virtual future for the end-of-life years. This last month has been exciting. Out of the blue, I was invited to give a keynote

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Banging the Qigong

Holistic philosophy of self-care, community and sustainability with razor wire is, it seems, the way forward. Thomas, my beloved husband, is giving me no peace with his chatter about the

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Out of pocket rocket

A tale of the downfall of another powerful predatory male and its aftershocks. So once more I visited the eye-wateringly expensive restaurant, Nobed. It is a haunt of celebrities as

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The nature of the beast

Verity delves into the environmental economics undergrowth.  Our peaceful piece of suburbia is feeling particularly tame at the moment.  A far cry from the perilous encounters to be had in

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Carbon upset

With a revolutionary treatise to write, our good Professor Bastion struggles to warm to green heat. It is chaos here.  It all started when our heating system failed. Now we

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Blade runner 2021

Imaginary friends get real. Things are very exciting in our retirement complex. I had never imagined when Thomas and I moved into this apartment four years ago that we would

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Double parked

Two cars yet nowhere to go. But how did she get where she is? Lockdown has certainly left everyone frazzled.  I have been trying to get on with writing my

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Hip to the beat

Pride after a fall. I am recuperating at home under Thomas’s care. The book I began a few months ago is on hold. I have little to distract me from

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A shocking trolley

A misplaced piece of supermarket equipment starts a dreadful carry on. I was not going to go for the lockdown fad of starting a new project but I have decided

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Isolated incidents

Thomas attempts to go viral as mass infection brings great opportunities.  I am isolating myself. There’s nothing wrong with me, or Thomas, but others around us are dropping like flies. But,

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Round for Dinner

My Christmas card from Esther and Abhijit Circular arguments ensue after a round of experiments. And Thomas’ culinary efforts return to the earth. I must admit that last week was

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Old Wounds

When pride takes a fall it’s the same the world over. After Boris’s election, I caught a little bit of his gung-ho optimism. I began to think it could be

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Home groan

Flourishing fads and price-hiked highs put the spirit into spiritualism. Everyone seems preoccupied with food these days with endless cookery porn, the young constantly posting their meals on social media

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Whiners and losers

Soft cheese, hard Brexit and the joys of talking trade theory. Like most people, I am wearied with this whole Brexit thing. It got particularly bad when Thomas became obsessively

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Digging the commons, man

How Thomas’ inner hippy saved the commons with a spot of help from the high-born Last week I was abruptly awakened by a loud noise. I elbowed my snoring Thomas

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The children are the future

Babysitting comes with great responsibility. Lehman.  I can’t seem to escape the constant harking on the significance of the failure of Lehman. There is even a play about the Lehman

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Basic Instincts

The value of a human life becomes clear. At last my old colleague, Felix Price, deigned to visit me last week after almost two years of retirement.  I have to

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Sustainably Yours

A late charge by Thomas into the green, ends in bloodshed and disappointment. If only they had consulted Professor Bastion. Thomas has gone green. Our dear girl Hermione wasn’t even

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A second brush with royalty

Professor Verity Bastion sees little cause to reflect on economic yester years and encounters a leading light in the black economy. So it looks like we are going to suffer

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Professor Verity Bastion seeks to steady the ship in these turbulent times with some common sense. There is something about Theresa May that reminds me of the Maid of Lorraine.

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Professor Verity Bastion seeks to steady the ship in these turbulent times with some common sense.

There is something about Theresa May that reminds me of the Maid of Lorraine. Perhaps it’s the pageboy haircut. Or maybe it’s because her jewellery looks like chain mail. And there is the occasional religious reference. No. I know, it’s those voices in her head.

There must be voices. Where else would she get her strange ideas? I wasn’t so worried about her plans to try and fund social care. That had to be tackled but her proposal to cap energy prices is clearly economically illiterate. It will just undermine the whole purpose of having competition. Worse still, her idea to require union representation on company boards was totally mad. Maybe some of her voices hark back to the 70s – “you know it makes sense” – they’re probably whispering.

If May wants to help people with their energy bills, all she needs is a good public information campaign on using less and investing in a good cardigan. And if it’s the 70s she’s looking to relive, let’s bring back SOS: Switch Off Something. That got us through the ’73 miners’ overtime ban. That and a three-day week, but now Jeremy has been put back in this box, I don’t suppose we’ll be needing to go there again.

Thankfully now, along with everyone else, her voices seemed to have deserted her. She probably sacked them along with her loyal advisers. At least her Queen’s speech was thankfully shorn of most of their madness.

“Hammond has at last discovered his balls. Sadly they were not in his trousers.”

Jeremy of course doesn’t need anyone else’s voice to be able to channel pure 70s nostalgia. He is the true voice of the 70s. It was extraordinary that people seemed to think the same old tax-and-spend approach was fresh and new. Theresa’s “magic money tree” jibe did seem quite apposite. She must have had at least one sane voice in her head.

And what is it with ancient beardy men and the young? I am sure it won’t last; I blame JK Rowling.

We could actually be seeing some return to sense. I understand from my mates that Dave’s people are back in the ascendency in the Tories. Hammond has at last discovered his balls. Sadly they were not in his trousers. I think we will hear more talk of the real wizardry of markets.

We might even see some sense over Brexit but that maybe is a dream too far. That would require extraordinary magic. Those ghastly European bureaucrats seem to have us over a barrel. They will just love getting their revenge for Crecy, Agincourt, Blenheim, Waterloo and all the other battles that we true Brits won on the continent. Macron is maybe sensible about markets but he is still French at the end of the day.

At least Trump seems to have seen a bit more sense. I am so glad he has some good advisers from Wall Street so stock prices are doing remarkably well. Ultimately of course, he may have to be retired to the tower of twitter.

On the subject of retirement, things are not quite so tranquil close to home. Thomas has become obsessed with his beloved residents committee and his belief that the management are “out to get us”. His voices seem to be the gossips who run the committee.

I had encouraged him to go to the coffee mornings to keep him busy, but hadn’t bargained on him becoming so involved. I hardly see him nowadays.

Extraordinarily the residents have become so power obsessed that they sacked the management company. At this point the management company discovered the residents’ committee had made a mistake in procedure, so democracy was duly dispensed with. Thomas has since been taking his frustrations out by dead-heading roses in the cemetery next door. But let’s be honest: residents clearly should have had no say in management. What were they thinking? Perhaps Theresa’s voices were whispering to them. “Power to the people…”

Anyway – must go. Time for the coffee morning. I don’t want to miss seeing the octogenarian Wolfies and Swampies enjoying themselves being righteously incensed. The revolution won’t last. I am looking forward to the black forest gateau – hmmm! The 70s weren’t all bad, were they?

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