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Things That Go Beep In The Night

Anyone who has lived opposite a pelican crossing will tell you that the sudden “beep…beep…beep” that indicates that it is safe for a pedestrian to cross the road is highly disruptive to a good night’s sleep. This may be hugely beneficial to those who are blind and want to move safely from one side of the street to the other but this incessant yet erratic alarm pierces the night and pierces the ears.

Even more infuriating is the noise caused by neighbours.

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Do The Shoes Fit

Sooner or later, it happens to us all. You go into a shop, spot a pair of shoes and try them on. They look terrific and feel great. You walk around the store a few times, buy them and take them home. The very first time that you wear them to go out, they prove to be excruciatingly uncomfortable!

In a rage, you throw them into the back of a wardrobe. There they remain, gathering dust until it’s either spring cleaning time or you’re packing up to move. You try them on again, hoping that your feet have changed shape and willing them to be comfortable. They’re not! You toss them back in disgust! If they were a cheap pair of shoes, you realise that you’ve wasted your money: if they were expensive, you realise you’ve wasted a lot of your money.

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Don’t Give Me The Brush Off

It is hard to imagine that 35000 years ago, in caves stretching from Europe to Asia, Paleolithic man was busy painting pictures. The images were mostly of animals and hand prints and were generally created using fingers, sticks and leaves with some outlines scratched into the rock surface with stones. For thousands of years, subsequent generations worked hard adding to these cave paintings and today, the reasons that they were made remains a mystery with endless speculative explanations.

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No More Council Houses

During the Margaret Thatcher era, legislation was introduced that gave secure tenants of council properties, the “right to buy” their homes, often at a significant discount to the market value of up to 50% and sometimes with assisted mortgages. Ironically, the Labour Party had proposed this policy in their Manifesto for the 1959 General Election which they went on to lose. Local councils had always been able to sell properties but after 1980, the right for a tenant to buy a rented home became legally enshrined.

The intention was clearly to remove a burden from local authorities, particularly of maintaining older properties and to allow capital to flow from the state to people who could spread wealth through the generations and through society. If the hope was that local authorities who received a half of all the proceeds could use these funds to invest in new housing, then this aspiration floundered immediately as they were initially required to apply these receipts to reducing their debt.

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In The Frame

You may remember seeing a film clip of a young man running across a road and violently pushing an elderly lady in the back and forcing her to the ground. At first you think she is being mugged but then the camera pans upwards and you see a grand piano falling from a crane. Far from attacking her, the young man is saving her life. Not only does this demonstrate that things are not always what they seem, this is also a clear example of how we want to see the bigger picture beyond the frame. It also gives us the opportunity to highlight specific details.

Much of life today is seen solely within a frame. Pictures, photos and mirrors are obvious examples and televisions, cinema and computer screens, tablets, and smart phones all show us the world within a clearly defined frame. There are now so many instrument panels, dashboards, video entry systems and, of course, cameras that we can barely escape from seeing the world unframed.

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