14 Nov 2019 – From English Jack [Keating]

Reg, As you know by now, Hurricane Dorian decided to take a path that spared us from everything except high winds and a lot of rain. There were a lot of people on the east coast of Florida who let out a combined sigh when it passed us by.

I missed the HMSOldies article about the sad death of Maddie Daynes. It was Ian Webb who inadvertently told me about it. I worked with Maddie for the year I spent in Technical Services. I can only agree with Robert Stutely’s comments about her. She was a nice and kind lady.

I have no real news to impart from our former colony – or very little. I have decided to give up driving (I just reread this and was shocked because I thought I said I have given up drinking!), not because I don’t like it but because of the parsimonious attitude of my employers. I had worked for Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, Infiniti, Mercedes, Nissan and Honda for seven years and in all that time I never got a raise from the nine dollars an hour I received. I pointed out to them that after paying Federal Income Tax, Social Security and Medicare I was left with about seven dollars and eighty cents. When I asked for a raise they said no so I said goodbye and left. I have tried to keep myself busy, or as busy as I like, doing jobs around my house that I had neglected for a few years. I do a great deal of reading, getting through books in about two days. Of course the beautiful sub-tropical weather of Florida helps so I am not stuck indoors.

Who in God’s name thinks up these stupid ideas? I came across this a week ago. “A Long Island football coach has been reprimanded after his team thrashed another high school 61-13 in a game. Plainedge High School’s head coach, Rob Shaver, was suspended for one game after violating the local county ‘lopsided scores policy’. Under the rule, coaches have to explain their winning margin to a committee if it exceeds more than 42 points. The policy has been in place for three years and is intended to prevent poor sportsmanship. Mr. Shaver is reportedly the first to be punished under the unusual rule.”

I think I have also heard that children at school when playing any sport have to draw because they can’t have one side winning and another one losing! I hope none of these children are Norwich City fans! Sorry, I didn’t mean it.

Look after yourself, Reg, and my good wishes to all those who know me over there.
Best wishes, Jack

Hello again Jack. Thank you for your timely message. I was surprised to see just how little they paid you for what I personally consider to be one of the most demanding of jobs: driving on public roads. I personally gave up driving in 1969, months after passing my driving test at the third attempt, when I took my 1959 Ford Zephyr, with passenger Bernard O’Brien, round and round on the black ice on the Brundall–Norwich Road at 2.30 on a January morning, ending up in a ditch. Even stone cold sober I was a thoroughly hopeless driver. Sold the car as scrap for a fiver, bought a celebratory bottle of whiskey, and never drove again. Much more satisfying than giving up drinking. Enough about me: you take care over there, and I will pass on the good word.

From wet, cold and election-stifled UK. Reg.