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Read's World

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Its taken us a while but we have finally persuaded former Ed of the old Mellis News, Lawrie Read, to contribute  to the Mellis eNews.  We hope you enjoy the following snippets - food for thought perhaps or maybe even a response to us here at the Mellis eNews. Click HERE to email us

A particular bug-bear of mine 

It’s taken a long time. But I think I’ve finally got my off-spring to take voting seriously.

My view was that if you don’t exercise the right to vote, you don’t live in a democracy and let’s face it, flawed though it is, it’s still probably better than a dictatorship.

I’ve heard all the old arguments – ‘Oh I don’t know who to vote for’, ‘I don’t like to encourage them’, ‘They’re all as bad as each other’, ‘Everyone around here is Labour and I want to vote for someone else, but it’s not worth it ‘cos they won’t get voted in’ etc. etc. 

It took a long time to persuade them that a) they really should vote (as in, if you don’t, you are not part of a democracy), b) that it’s the action of taking part that gives you the right to complain about what politicians do and to voice an opinion when they do something that does not seem right, or is against your views and c) if they really don’t know who to vote for – go and spoil your ballot paper and then, at least, you’re still part of the process. 

It had crossed my mind that compulsory voting could be a good thing. I have not thought through the arguments for or against – I’m hoping that someone else may have some ideas on the subject though? 

It can’t be impossible to implement – after all, 22 countries in the world already have it!

 

I know all about sports cars

Yep, on retiring last year – like a lot of gentlemen of a certain age – I decided to indulge in a sports car. It had to be something out of the ordinary – so no Mazda MX5’s, no MGs, no Porsche’s – no, for me, it had to be a TVR.

Luckily, there’s a garage down in Needham Market who have dealt in TVRs for many years. So, I took myself off to have a look what they had.

Well, there it was, a Chimera in Halcyon Blue and stunning and it had to be mine. Basically, for those people who don’t know, a TVR originally grew out of just being a track-day car, to a GT over the years, but retained track-day ‘features’ – that is, no ABS, no four-wheel drive, no air-bags, no heated seats, no brake assist, no electrically adjusted anything – it’s an engine, with 2 seats attached (oh, and you get a steering wheel) – that’s it. 

That Car

What could go wrong? 

Well, quite a bit actually.

  • Battery problem. Left by the side of the road.
  • Speedo not working. 3 months to get it fixed.
  • Battery problem again. Left by the side of the road – again.
  • Speedo not working – again.
  • Car ‘dies’ a mile down the road. Left by the side of the road.

Summing up a year’s motoring – 200 miles and most of the time it’s been in the garage getting fixed 

I know all about sports cars.

I wouldn’t touch one with a barge-pole (not even your barge-pole)

Reasons to retire

I’ve been considering why I gave up work – I did actually enjoy what I did. There was the usual mish-mash of reasons – one of which I’d been working in computing for 47 years, since I was 16, and let’s face it – after all that time, it was time I tried my hand at something else!

But after thinking about it, there were actually 2 outstanding reasons.

  1. Nothing had changed. Yep, when I started out I was working a 60 hour week. Along came – I think – Raymond Baxter on Tomorrow’s World, telling me that by the year 2000, I’d have so much spare time ‘cos computers were going to be doing everything for me. So, in 2016, I was working a 60 hour week. No change there then.
  2. Computing has come full circle. Bear with me on this – I’ll try not to make it too technical. I started out in 1969 on what they called a mainframe computer. Over the years, this was seen as ‘old-hat’ and along came servers and PCs and laptops and stuff and I was seen as a dinosaur for singing the mainframe’s positives. For at least 40 years now, the industry has been struggling with how to manage this ‘distributed’ environment – until last year. One of my technical strategists sat me down and took me through a wizard new movement in the industry – and proceeded to describe a mainframe.

I quit the following day.

 Lawrie