Sunday, 20 October 2013

Got the Hump Again

No, I'm not feeling miserable, I've just got back from town in my little car and feel really glad I haven't got a bad back or something after tackling all the road humps on the way.
   I've always been dubious about the effectiveness of these traffic calming devices and I suppose they do work to some extent, but last weekend I had the luxury of driving around in a newer, sturdier car than my normal little Smart and found I hardly had to slow down at all to negotiate the humps I normally crawl over at about 5 MPH. Yes, FIVE MPH. If I go any faster than that I feel like the suspension will collapse and the tyres burst. The trouble with a very short wheel base car is that no sooner have the front wheels mounted the hump then the back follow. I feel like I need a  rear window sticker apologising to anyone behind me for slowing down so much but it really is necessary if I want to keep my spine intact and all my teeth.
   I try my hardest to stick to speed restrictions. Won't say I always manage but I don't intentionally go out to drive faster than I should. The people who do do that are usually in bigger, faster cars. The sort of cars that can fly over a speed hump at 40 MPH without even noticing there was a hump there.
So what is the point?
   My other concern is the state some of these humps get into. Many seem to lose the white arrows that warn you they are there which can be very dangerous when it is dark and wet. If you don't know the road they suddenly appear before you can slow down. As the humps get older the areas around them seem to get more pot holes and general deterioration than other parts of the road. Just lately new types of humps have appeared near me that are just bolted onto the road surface, or at least that is what it looks like. They are narrow so vans and  buses can pass over them, but they are quite fierce on a small car. More worryingly, I have seem some that look as though they are starting to come away from the road. AND the middles of some seem to have scratch marks which would indicate some cars are not getting a good clearance over them.
   These sort of measures are fine for private drives but it's time they were removed from general use. Regrettably they have been taken up in other countries too. So my search for a hump free route extends even when I go away.
    There must be better ways of slowing traffic. More indication of what the speed limit should be, more of the devices that flash at you if you are going too fast or those that tell you what speed you are doing. Give me a speed camera any day over and above a hump. You only get caught on a camera if you are going too fast. Speed humps are only a problem to anyone who drives a small car or motorbike/scooter.
   Right, now it's time for me to pick my husband up from town. We will be coming back via the scenic route, the one and only way into town without humps.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Is Internet Reliance Leaving Some People Excluded?

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE the internet. I use it all day, every day. Want to know something - google it. Want to buy something, check the net. Whereas some people will trawl the High Street to look, then buy on line, I'm more likely to look on line and pick up from the shop.
    But what about people who don't have internet access? There are some, you know. Not everyone has a Smart phone. They are useless where I live, no signal. Not everyone has a computer. Not everyone can get to a library.
    So should organisations, especially government departments, only be accessible through the internet?
    An elderly gentleman who lives near me wanted to report a water leak. Not in his own house, fortunately, but he was trying to do what he considered a public duty. But when he tried to telephone he was given a web address to contact. This gentleman is in his eighties, can't hear very well and has no interest in using a computer or the internet.
    If you are a business you now have to do all your tax affairs on line.
    Apply for a school place - on line.
    There is not much you can do these days without using a computer or the internet. Are we increasingly excluding a part of society, the poor, the elderly, anyone who hasn't got a computer?
Should we be surprised that the kids of today put technology high on their wish list when schools are asking for homework to be submitted on line?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Waiting...

I'm waiting at the moment...I feel like I've suddenly become invisible. I know other people have troubles, too. Maybe that's part of my problem, I'm too understanding but meanwhile I'm waiting.
   I'm waiting for a CT scan on my jaw to see what the surgeon needs to do about the impacted wisdom tooth that is growing in the wrong direction, then I will be waiting for the operation I know has to follow.
   I'm waiting for someone, ANYONE, to explain to me why my books aren't making it across the pond from Barnes and Noble to Nook UK. Two books made it straight away, yippee, but since then the others haven't. Why? I'm waiting.
   I'm waiting for the software update so that I can use my new super-duper laser printer with my new super-duper Windows tablet. I bought the printer in April, was told that the driver could be downloaded from the manufacturer. It couldn't, it wasn't ready. It should have been ready in July, then August. I'm still waiting for a reply from the company but their website says the software will now be available in September. Do I believe them. Do I heck as like! (I don't have the faintest idea where that last phrase originated but I like it). Luckily I can use the printer with my old laptop, the one Mutley tried to kill by jumping on my lap when the laptop was there. 21 kilos of Staffordshire Bull Terrier with claws didn't go down well with the keyboard!
   I'm not very good at waiting. I'm an instant doer. Ask me to do something and you can consider it done. But all in all I'm getting fed-up with waiting for things to happen.
  Ok. Moan over, I'll get back to my proper job now.
  Watch out for SILENT LOVE, coming soon to an ebook reader near you!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

New Found Delight

I have never been a great buyer of short story anthologies. To me short stories are what you get in magazines, which, as I never buy magazines, I only ever read in waiting rooms and rarely finish because I get called in to see the doctor/dentist, whoever I am waiting to see. The only paperback anthology I've ever bought was A Quiver Full of Arrows, and I'm not sure I read every story.
    I have just finished editing an anthology of short stories and thoroughly enjoyed them. I have always liked short stories, don't get me wrong. It just seemed a hassle carrying them about. Ebooks are the perfect medium for this type of story. You no longer have to carry around a clumsy paperback on the off-chance of getting ten minutes to read something. On your ebook reader any number of anthologies can be waiting for the right moment.
    I am one of those people who can read four different novels at once and not forget where I am in the story. Strangely once I have finished completely I can't remember the name of the main character but I can remember the story.
     But suddenly short stories have my attention. I have several collections on my kindle cloud, books I have bought to support fellow indie authors which I have never opened. My resolution is to download them and enjoy a new story at bedtime. Irish stories from Gerry McCullough, Scottish stories from Brendan Gisby, funny stories from Mike Church and some I have no idea about from Chris Niblock and Michael Brookes to share just a few names.
    So make the most of your ereader and get some short stories for that trip in to work when you don't want to have your novel interrupted by the mundane task of every day life.
    Happy reading.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Wolrd Wide Reach

I've just had a quick look at the stats on this blog to see where my audience is and have come away thinking 'Who the hell do I know in Brazil, Nigeria and RUSSIA.'
Strangely no one in Canada or Australia seems to be looking so maybe this is the wrong place to post this note! Will put it on FB too.
My point is, if there is a point, that when you write a blog or any such thing on the internet you have no idea who will see it or where they are. Maybe I'm stating the obvious, after all that's what we want, isn't it? Global attention. But I think, sometimes, people forget this.
In the meantime, why haven't my followers in Brazil bought any of my books? I know you haven't because there have been no sales showing from Brazil. Only .com, co.uk, .de and .es. thank you whoever you are.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Does Legal = Right?


I admit I have broached this subject before but it hasn’t gone away, so neither will I.
     Yesterday, 29th July 2013, the High Court ruled that the government is not discriminating against disabled people by insisting they be subject to the Bedroom Tax, the unofficial name for having housing benefit withdrawn from people claiming benefit for homes that are too big for them. It may be Legal, but is it morally Right.
     This ruling is likely to affect thousands of claimants and it is totally unfair. Disabled people DO need extra space. They often require room to store special equipment, have spare accommodation for careers who may not live at the property but do stay overnight. This is apart from the fact that their accommodation may have been especially adapted for their  needs.
     There is supposed to be a fund to help such people but it would seem that this is either not enough or not being implemented, otherwise the people who brought this court case would have had no need to bring it.
     So what is behind this bedroom tax?
     The government is concerned that too many people are living in overcrowded conditions, while there are many people living on benefits who have spare rooms.
     The first question that should be asked is why are these  people on benefit in the first place?
     Contrary to popular belief not all claimants are unmarried mothers with loads of children or scroungers who have never done a day’s work in their life. The vast majority are people who have led hard-working lives who have lost their jobs through redundancy, sickness or injury. Many would like to work but just can’t find a job because of age or lack of skills.
     Why are these people living in social housing? Some might have lost their homes because they lost their job and had their home repossessed. Some might have split from their partner because of divorce. For a large number the three bedroom house/flat has been their home for a lifetime. Why should they have to leave just because the children have now grown up and moved away. These are not simply buildings but homes with memories.
     Yes, with an ever growing population  housing is a big problem. But simply denying the people who have homes the means to pay for them  is not the solution. For one thing, there are not enough places to allow people to downsize even if they want to. A dear friend of mine is in this situation and has been told if he wants to move to a smaller flat it will have to be in a different  area and then he will have to bid to get something because there are more people needing smaller places than there are places available. So it’s pay up or live on the streets.
     Why are there so few homes available? Who knows. I put the blame at least partly on the shoulders of the late, supposedly great, Mrs Thatcher who allowed councils to sell off council houses. That would have been a good idea if the councils then built the same number of new homes to replace those sold, but they didn’t.
     And while people are being forced out of their homes against their wishes, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of houses standing empty around the country. If the government is concerned about housing people they should be looking at doing something with these. But somehow I think they are more interested in getting money from people who are struggling to make ends meet because that is what is happening more often than not.
     It would be very interesting to see what has happened since this change in benefits came into effect in April. How many people have actually moved to smaller accommodation? How many people who were living in overcrowded accommodation have now moved into larger homes? How many people have taken the option of paying the extra demanded by the government to stay in their home, putting paying the rent ahead of buying food and paying to heat their homes? Does anyone know?
     I will end this blog post the with same question I opened with. It may be legal but is it morally right? The government is trying to make it seem that the fault lays with the people who live in places with spare rooms, but it is not that simple. Has this country lost its compassion for those less fortunate than the majority?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What Makes Happiness?

 There was a report on the news yesterday saying that a survey showed a worrying percentage of teenagers were unhappy. My first reaction was that the percentage was not worrying, turn the stats around and lots of teenagers were happy. My second reaction, what’s new? My third reaction, when did happiness become ‘a right.’?
    There are certain things in this world that are considered to be ‘a right’. Food, housing, education, safety, health care, these are the sort of things everyone should be able to access in an ideal world. We know there are many places in the world where these things do not exist. But happiness?
    Happiness is an emotion that comes from  within a person’s psyche. The richest person in the world could be unhappy, the poorest, happy. It all depends on how that person views the world around them.
    The thing that galled me most about this report was the teenager the interviewers chose to make a statement. She claimed she was, or had been, unhappy because she never received a Blackberry for a present even though all her friends had one and she really wanted one.
    WHAT?!
    News for this teenager. Having ‘things’ doesn’t guarantee happiness. Ask any number of adults who have raked up debt in the pursuit of ‘things.’
    I know parents’ spend a fortune on trying to give their children things that will make them happy, but when it becomes a case of ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ then it’s time to explain the facts of economic life.
    But back to happiness. Happiness cannot be guaranteed, it cannot be bought, it will never be universal. Contrary to the song you can’t MAKE someone happy. Two people can share the same environment, have the same background and the same prospects. One can be happy, the other sad. There could be factors that make life difficult or distressing. It’s up to the individual to learn to deal with these and find out how to resolve them. That’s part of growing up. The world is not a happy place. Happiness comes from within. The sooner teenagers, and the rest of us, realise this the happier everyone will be.  

Saturday, 6 July 2013

New Outlets

 
 

I'm pleased to announce Shattered Dreams is now available for Nook and Kobo e-readers. Find it at the following links


NOOK


KOBO


APPLE



Enjoy your read and look out for more releases in these stores.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Change - Have We Got What We Asked For?

I was watching a television programme the other evening dedicated to the coronation of the Queen and what the country was like back then.
    There have been many changes to our lives in the last sixty years. We like to think they have been good. We like to think we have progressed, and personally I think we have. But has that progress meant the sacrifice of other things? Are today's problems of debt, high prices and unemployment rooted in some of these changes?
    The first major change has been the role of women in the family. Now I'm not against the idea of women having the opportunity to pursue a career, I definitely think they have the right to have their own bank account and take out their own loans if they can afford to do so. I'm not so sure every woman should be forced to work if she doesn't want to. Maybe that is because I come from the dying breed of women who have been supported by a partner and given the choice to work or not as I feel fit. I have worked, enough to get my pension in a few months time, but we have never depended on my income to pay the essential bills.
    Back in the 1950s married women worked until they had children and then they stopped, at least until the children were old enough to look after themselves. How terrible I hear some people cry. But this actually meant job opportunities for young people coming into the job market. These days instead of twelve or more years being home with the kids, many mothers return within a year which leaves no vacancy for new staff. Just a thought, but maybe unemployment would fall if women were still in a position to stop working for a few years.
    There is currently an outcry over the demise of High Streets around the country. This is not new, it has been happening for a long time because life-styles have changed. Back in the 1950s those mothers who stayed at home with their children went shopping every day because there was no way of keeping food fresh for long periods AND not so much to tempt you into buying more than you need. A shop bought cake was a luxury only for special occasions. I'm hazarding a guess here, but I bet in areas where it is still culturally expected for women to stay home the High Streets are still thriving.
    So are we better off now? Yes, many people have bigger houses, more cars, foreign holidays, houses full of the latest gadgets. But they also have huge debts. We have only ever had a mortgage based on one salary. Once banks started taking two salaries into the equation it tied both partners to a lifelong job. All this has done is put the price of a house up, along with everything else, so no one is really any better off.
    Most of us can live more comfortably than 'in the old days'. We are fitter, living longer, expecting more. But we can't have it both ways. We can't do our shopping in the 'buy it all' supermarkets AND expect the High Streets and village shops to continue to be there for when we feel inclined to pay a visit. Personally I prefer the supermarket where I only have to queue once rather than at half a dozen different shops. And to be totally honest, I prefer to look for things on line instead of searching for something in the High Street.
  

Thursday, 25 April 2013

We Are What We Eat

   An old phrase I know but very true non the less.
   A friend was bemoaning the fact that she had stomach ache the other day after being tempted to eat some fresh bread, thus confirming her gluten allergy. Someone else mentioned that gluten is nothing but a poison and that we shouldn’t be eating it. And yet bread has been the staple diet of mankind for centuries. So why this sudden development of gluten allergies?
   I am not a scientist, biologist or nutritionist; I have no medical training whatsoever only a lifetime of feeding a family, so please feel free to move on and ignore what I am about to say.
   Mild gluten allergy probably affects more people than anyone realises. Most people probably put the symptoms down to eating too much as it tends to make you feel bloated. I know certain foods are harder to digest than others so I avoid them. Do I have an allergy? I don’t know, I’ve never been tested. But my own common sense tells me if something gives me indigestion on a regular basis, don’t eat it. I don’t need to know why.
   Are we noticing it more because more people are going to their doctor asking for diagnosis? Is it because people are living longer than they did when mankind first started growing wheat and using it? In theory humans are natural hunters therefore meat eaters, so it is not natural for us to eat wheat or vegetables. (Don’t show this article to any vegetarians or kids who won’t eat their five a day!)
   So why do we fill our bellies with stuff we don’t need?
   Lactose intolerance is another thing that is common especially amongst the young. When you stop to think about it this is not surprising. Although milk contains lots of good useful ingredients, humans are the only mammals who continue to drink milk after they have been weaned. So maybe we should think twice about that yoghurt for breakfast or pudding.
   The trouble is when we go shopping we are presented with all these wonderful products which tell us how good they are for us. And we believe them. What we need to remember is that all the advertising and pretty packaging is there for one reason only, to make us buy things to make a profit for the food producing company.
   My latest concern is the proliferation of drinks that are full of ‘good bacteria’. In these we are giving our bodies something that most of us do not need. Most people are perfectly healthy without the addition of whatever is in these drinks. If they ARE so important to our health they should be provided on prescription. Ok, that might be a bit drastic and costly, but what I’m trying to say is they should only be taken with medical advice.
   I might be slightly biased here because I tried some once. The result was a belly-ache the like of which I had never known in my life. My own bacteria were raging a war against these invaders resulting in pain I hadn’t known since giving birth. You don’t see that in the adverts! And since then I have been unable to touch any sort of yoghurt on a regular basis without rekindling the war.
   But there is enough of this stuff being sold to make it worthwhile for the company to continue producing it. Even if a customer only ever buys it once, there are enough first time buyers to make a profit. Hook a proportion of those first time buyers into making it a regular part of their diet even if only for one month and the profit increases. And that is what the whole thing is about. Profit. Not making or keeping people fit. If it wasn’t profitable it would quickly disappear from the supermarket shelves.
   So back to the question of food allergies. Some things are truly dangerous. Going into anaphylactic shock after eating something you are really allergic to can be fatal. 
   Other things are merely a nuisance, they might make you ill but won’t kill you. How can we avoid such things? Not sure we can,  but I would suggest being more cautious about what you buy and eat. Yes, we need food to survive. But we don’t necessarily need everything that is on offer. There is no doubt that many people in the developed world eat too much, so when filling your supermarket trolley next time you go shopping stop and think about what you are putting in it. Are you buying it because you need it to keep your body going or because it looks pretty and the TV ads make it sound like you can’t live without it. Or maybe ask yourself, ‘Did my grandparents eat this?’
   Right! Now I’ve finished this I’m off for a cup of tea and a couple of gluten rich biscuits!

Monday, 8 April 2013

New Music Genre

I confess I am a classic music fan. Or maybe that should be orchestral music fan because it's not only music from the past that I enjoy but film scores and any music that has a decent 'tune.' For quite a few years now I have been listening to ClassicFM and have discovered a great many 'new' favourite old composers and styles.
    Last weekend (Easter, in case you are reading this in May) ClassicFM did a run down of the top favourite 300 pieces of classical music. All the normal composers were there, Beethoven had more entries than Mozart for the first time. There were quite a few 'one hit wonders'. And surprisingly up in the top ten were a couple of pieces of music composed for video games.
    This has provoked much debate and some condemnation, but when I heard the music the only reason I knew it was from a video game was because I was told so. These pieces weren't the boom-boom-boom electronic drone that often accompanies video games but 'real' music.
    It has taken a while for film music to be taken seriously, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of today's film composers were a little younger they might well be composing for video games. and who is to say that some of the more famous composers would not have done the same.
    Many classical composers have had their melodies stolen for ring tones and hold music, and have also had pieces featured in films. And many more could be ideal background for a video game.
    I was listening to Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King the other day and thought 'Now there is a piece of video game music.'   It starts quietly and builds to a climax. It has a repetitive theme with little variation. The same goes for Ravel's Bolero.
   The other way round, the first time I heard the piece of music called Romanza, a guitar piece by an anonymous composer, I was playing an arcade game (long, long time ago.)
   So look out for video game music turning up in concerts. Who knows, maybe one day there will even by a Prom concert dedicated to such music.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Welcome to Tory Fool's Day


1st April 2013. The day the government has introduced several new policies which are supposed to improve life and encourage people to get off benefits. Ha!
    Now I’m all for stopping fraudulent claims and putting a stop to people who do not deserve benefits claiming them. But this has always happened. The temptation is too great for some people. The majority of claimants, however, do have genuine need and should not be subjected to the stress of having their benefits taken away. Many people fall on hard times through no fault of their own. In the current economic climate many people who thought they were set for life have found themselves struggling to maintain mortgage payments and have lost their homes.
    So let’s have a look at some of these new reforms. First we have the Bedroom Tax. Not officially called that, of course, but that is what it is. For anyone living on benefits in ‘social housing’ (the latest name for council/housing association accommodation) who has a spare bedroom is having their benefit cut for each spare room PLUS they have to pay for the privilege of staying in their home if they don’t want to move. So if these people want to stay they are being penalised TWICE.
    What is the theory behind this. Well, say the government, there are not enough larger places for the people who need them. Making people move to smaller accommodation will free up these properties.
    Flaw in this argument – IF those tenants wish to move to smaller accommodation there is not very much available. The assumption that they will easily find something suitable is way out of line, especially if you are talking about one bedroom flats.
    The second flaw, many of those affected will simply go without, scrimp and save, to pay the extra money to stay in the place that has been their home for possibly a lifetime. They will go without heat and food to pay the bill rather than give up their HOME. For we are not simply talking about bricks and mortar, we are talking about the place where people have raised their children. They fact that this is rented accommodation does not lessen their rights or attachments to it.
    Who does this affect?
    The couple  who have raised their children who have now left home, who maybe want to sleep in separate rooms for whatever reason, but whom the authorities say should share a room. Once they might have been self-sufficient but due to ill health or loss of job they now have to live on benefits – through no fault of their own.
    People who have split from their partners and have a spare room so that children can come to stay overnight.
    The rules and criteria seem to be interpreted differently by different councils, so that in some places people who should be exempt are being told they will lose benefit and be charged for extra rooms, so people who have a spare room for a carer to help with a disabled member of the family, or where one of a couple is disabled and needs their own room are being told they will lose benefit or have to move.
    Having witnessed the problems of a couple living in a one bedroom bungalow when one of the couple has developed medical problems that have left the other partner sleeping in the kitchen while a carer occupies the sitting room all night, I strongly feel that NO ONE should be made to live in a one bedroom place.
    While I feel sorry for families living in one or two rooms when they need more, how will forcing other people out of their homes solve this problem? It will not. It is not a simple matter of swapping one place for another. All it will do is create more homelessness, especially for those borderline people who aren’t disabled, or have any other thing they can use to stay in their home and cannot afford the extra money it will cost to stay there.
    And on top of this Bedroom Tax, people on benefits will have to start paying Council Tax, so their income is reduced even further.
    If that is not enough to worry about, major changes to the NHS take place on the 1st April.
    A new emergency service is to replace NHS Direct. 111 is supposed to be dealing with non-emergency calls giving help and advice. It is not entirely certain that this system is ready to become operational but despite calls for a delay it is due to go live. Try not to fall ill today!
    And 1st April is the day doctors take charge of the administration of the NHS deciding what services should be prioritised. If that’s not a complete postcode lottery I don’t know what is. Suppose you live in an area where there is a large aging population (my village springs to mind here). Obviously there is a need for a large geriatric care pot, but what about the things that a middle-aged person might need? Will the funding be available?   The idea that everyone will get the same treatment regardless of where they live has always been a dream rather than a reality, but under this new scheme it looks like it will be even less so.

And this is just the beginning.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Super Highway


The Government today announced plans for the second stage of HS2 - the high speed train network that is supposed to link London with the rest of the country. The rest of the country being Birmingham, Manchester, East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds. Ummm. not much help if you live anywhere else. And some of these new stations will be built outside the destination cities, so any time saved in reaching the station will probably be lost getting to the final destination. And all this will take some seventeen years to complete - assuming no delays caused by planning disputes etc, so maybe twenty to twenty-five years might be more realistic. Phase one has already been under discussion for many years without anything actually happening.
    At the same time the country is struggling to keep up with the growing demand placed on it by broadband and internet technology. Keeping in mind lots of things, including things the HMRC wants you to do, need to be and can only be done on line these days. Most broadband, in many parts of the country, still runs off old fashioned copper telephone wires which are not up to providing the speeds that most providers can offer. If you are lucky enough to have a cable connection then faster speeds are available. But if you are in a remote area, or even a small village just of the main cable network, then the cable companies do not want to know you.
    Now, I'm not speaking on behalf of the individuals who might want to play endless games on their computers or watch instantly downloaded films, although these people would benefit. I am speaking on behalf of businesses who want to boost trade, to profit themselves and the country, because, let's be honest, businesses are in existence to make money as well as provide jobs.
    Obviously it would take time and a great deal of money to connect every home and every business to a cable run network of broadband. And money, even government money, is limited. So what makes more economic sense? Building a high speed train line that will connect certain cities in twenty years time or connecting the whole country to the Internet via cable within the next five?
    Who stands to benefit from high speed trains and how?
    The supporters of high speed trains say that business will benefit because people will be able to get to meetings quicker. But the train will only take you from one main line station to another. At each end of the journey you have to get to and from the station which will quite likely negate the time saved by the speed of the train. It still makes a long day travelling with the possibility of overnight stays. And that only helps the people who are actually in the UK to start with. So any benefits are limited to the people who want to go to the Capital.
    Who benefits from a decent Internet service?
    Almost everyone. From businesses who are required to do all their Government related work on line, to anyone who can order their prescriptions from the doctor without making a phone call.
    Businesses benefit because they can operate from anywhere and yet deal with the whole world. There is nothing to stop a pottery firm in Stoke On Trent selling to Australia and South America, having meetings with their representatives all over the world at the same time, with no travel expenses, no loss of time, the most inconvenient thing might be someone has to stay up all night to accommodate the time difference. This not only speeds up business but cuts down on the emissions caused by travelling, hence doing a little to save fuel and the climate.
    This is already happening in some forward thinking companies but there is no reason why it cannot be extended even further. And even if we are not talking about global business, decent Internet means people from different parts of the country can work together without having to travel to meetings.  More people could work from home, cutting out that awful slog to work every day, giving them more time for family or other commitments.
    Already companies are operating where the staff have never actually met face to face and shaken hands. People are getting used to being part of a global community with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Where once upon a time your circle of friends consisted of the people you met at work, school or other local places, we now share our lives with people around the world. Whether they are real 'friends' remains to be seen, but they are contacts who provide opportunities.
    So imagine the possibilities for all businesses, large and small, if they could have reliable Internet connections to the world.
   And surely this would be cheaper than building a new train line, disrupting the lives of the people living on the route. And if the main telephone companies were given the funding to employ and train enough people around the country to accomplish this, it could be done a lot quicker and with less hassle than building a new train line. Plus this would provide employment which equals taxes for the government.
    So please Department of Transport forget HS2. We don't need to travel to do business any more. The technology is available to have all sorts of conference calls and videos meetings. I do believe you can even create virtual people now for those who feel they need a physical presence to make things real. Trains, no matter how passionate you are about them, belong to the 19th century way of doing things. The island of the UK is small, it doesn't have the wide open spaces of Europe and other continents. Bring this country into the 21st century and make sure everyone can get superfast broadband and then we might see this country grow again.