Saturday 30 June 2018

JWs The Reprise

They come in pax/packs

I have written about Jehovah’s Witnesses before. I know a little about this cult, for cult it is, as I had the unhappy privilege of growing up in a JW household. To say I hold these folks and their so-called doctrines in scant regard is a veritable understatement. I haven’t experienced their baleful knock for a couple of years now. Imagine my surprise when I heard a rat-tat on my door at 11.00am last Monday and was confronted by a well-appointed young man. He smiled the beatific smile of the true believer and opined: “I am a Jehovah witness.” His candid approach threw me off guard for a second as their invariable opening gambit is usually along the lines of: “The world is an evil mess, but do you think it will always be so?” This question is not expected to yield an answer, it is merely a tactic whereby the earnest young man will launch into a well-rehearsed scree about how Jehovah is about to intervene in this wicked world and rid Satan and his evil henchmen from this existence thus heralding in the kingdom of God on earth, but only for those who follow the one true way. Guess what that might be? Anyway, before my protagonist could launch into his script, I asked the delightfully innocent question? “From whence does evil originate?”  Before I continue it should be noted that JWs always travel in pairs, a young fella with an older more experienced colleague. In this regard, I was not to be disappointed. An older gent was clearly visible in the driver seat of the car. He was listening intently to his younger brethren and would surely intervene if his acolyte started to wallow or get out of his depth. The young JW smiled with relish as this was something he could counter with one of his stock replies: “Satan is responsible for the evil in this world. And imperfect humans have the free will to follow Satan’s evil path or follow the good grace of Jehovah.” He had clearly learned this answer by wrote but had not thought it through or had any idea of its devasting implications. The problem of free will is a thorn in the theological hide of any thinking Christian, especially in the light of the conventional view of the Christian God. The attributes of God are not just superlative they are without bounds or limits. This stance causes a lot of inconsistencies which cannot be resolved. I countered, thusly: “How can man have free will if God is aware of all our actions past and present. When we are born we are destined to follow a mapped-out plan of life for which we have no control. If we perform evil it is because we have no choice to do otherwise. Therefore, morally we should receive no opprobrium or admonishment for the evil we do. Similarly, if we perform wholly good deeds we should accrue no praise as we are robots following an unerring script. God is therefore ultimately responsible for all evil in the world and is no different from an evil Demon and therefore not worthy of worship. To think otherwise of your deity invites limitation and the dreaded notation of imperfection.” He looked flustered and turned to the impassive fellow in the car. Without turning his head, the Elder (for it is he) made a terse hand gesture. The Acolyte (who else) made an implausible excuse and left.

Now you may think I scored an easy victory against a young and inexperienced man. But my intent was not humiliation. I was hoping to plant an intellectual seed. It would be foolish of me to think that our brief encounter will bring forth a revolution in this young man’s mind resulting in the eschewing of his religion to which he was born. Mayhap it will make him question some of his deeply indoctrinated beliefs and perhaps read outside the prescribed JW tracts. This seems unlikely but I’m an optimist at heart.

I don’t expect them to come back and was rather surprised that they turned up so soon after we had moved into our retirement abode. A coincidence? I suspect not. They are probably trolling through the real estate listings looking for new meat. Tis a fundamental tenant of the JW doctrine to ‘save’ as many of us poor unredeemed sinners before the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil. On this occasion, they failed. Therefore, I will be denied, ‘paradise on earth’ according to the JW worldview. I must admit their picture of paradise holds no appeal. Heaven or hell is a matter of taste and perspective. I am content with my oblivion, this holds no terrors and no prospect of the worst horrors, eternal boredom. Arse.   

Postscript: My good friend, Dioclese, has admonished me for not posting more frequently since retirement. And, for this, I am guilty as charged. In truth, retiring is bloody hard work and I haven’t had the time to put pen to paper of late. However, don’t despair gentle readers, the flaxen haired one, the man of wondrous physical aspect and proportions, will have more time to spin out his wisdom to the unenlightened masses. Ain’t dat the sad truth?    
Something to look forward to

Saturday 23 June 2018


And so, the deed has been done and the course has been run. I was scheduled to retire on 29th June but after much thought, I decided to take a week’s leave and therefore finished work yesterday. However, I’ll be back next Friday for leaving speech and pressies.

 Interestingly the new property is infested with rabbits. Nearly ran over two on the drive. Looks like I’ll be hunting a few for the pot with the bow. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ferret anymore, so no hunting with ‘good ole Shagger’. Anyway, rabbit meat will make a welcome addition to our menu, especially as it costs nowt and I’m as tight as a gnat’s chuff.

The last two weeks have been absolutely hectic and crazy. Moving house and retiring in a single bang is not to be recommended. But tis all over now, and, I can enter the last stage of my life in the spirit of blissful tranquillity.

On a poignant note. Our beloved dog, Chloe, was buried in our old property where she has lain in restful repose for the last two years. My wife was very close to Chloe and was devastated when she died. She asked if I could dig her up for reinterring at our new place. It wasn’t a job I contemplated with relish and thankfully my son volunteered to lend a hand. Now Chloe has a final resting place in our Rose garden.

As a retired country gentleman, I’ll have more time for blogging. Not every day, but more than I’ve been posting of late. You have been warned.

Friday 15 June 2018

Moving House: A very sensible and brief post

I haven't had much time to blog over the last 2 weeks due to the upheaval associated with relocating our life.

Not been the best of weeks. We officially moved into our new house last Monday. As our stuff was arriving by van on Tuesday morning we spent a night on the bare floor- did wonders for my glass back. Of course, it piddled down for two solid days. Next problem: couldn't get all our stuff in a 60sq metre van and had to hire a small truck to transport the rest. Tis amazing how much crap that can be accumulated considering that when we first arrived in Nuzzieland we had virtually bugger all and had to start from scratch. Enough moaning, otherwise I'll be labelled as the archetypal wingeing Pomm.

So, the worst is over, I suspect. Still, have custody of the old house until Wednesday. At least it will give us the chance to give the place a good clean. I've got 2 more weeks of work and officially retire on June 29th. I suppose this is where life gets interesting. Less stress, no more work and the new house can be organised and sorted, at leisure. It hasn't really struck home that I'm retiring. A complete change and direction in life. Can't wait........

Normal service will be resumed when I can find my medication. Arse.

Thursday 7 June 2018


And so it has come to pass: Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now I need a place to hide away, or at least somewhere to take my medication.

I've handed in my resignation. On the 30th June, I become a man of infinite leisure. A country Lord living a simple life, enjoying simple pleasures. Anyway, I'm going to share with the world my letter of resignation. 

"As one door closes, another falls off its hinges and clouts you on the noggin"   

1st June 2018
Dear Prof. Mugumbo,
I am respectively tendering my resignation as a Senior Scientist positioned in the Institute of Difficult Stuff, Tipton. I understand I’m obliged to render 4 working weeks, as notice. Consequently, the commencement of my notice transpires from Friday the 1st June 2108, to encompass all hitherto days culminating in the demise of service on 29th June 2018. 
I would like it to be known that I’ve enjoyed service under your watch. You have proved to be a most professional of managers and a man worthy of esteem and respect. It is with great sadness that I relinquish employment, but I’m forced to do so under circumstances not completely within my control, but governed by fates, capricious and undiscerning. Indeed, as mortal men, we are just floating jetsam in the great ‘sea’ of change. Tossed and rendered senseless by forces beyond our control- feeble humans, that we are.
As you are no doubt aware, my beloved wife, Mrs. Saxon, has been beleaguered by a thousand furies and assailed by the wrath of rheumatoid arthritis. Tis a malady which waxes and wanes, but to date shows no abate. Consequently, my hand has been forced and I feel obliged to follow. In truth, the laboratory is best served by the recruitment of new, young and fresh-faced staff (nay, vibrant), unsullied by the burden of life’s tribulations. This is a gift I bestow upon the laboratory. Sir, do not squander but apply my selfless beneficence to the greater good. 
Yours Sincerely and with aplomb,
Flaxen Saxon 

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Estate Agents, Bloody Estate Agents

Estate agents get a bad press, right up there with second-hand car salesmen. Selling real estate is not an easy job, but in times of boom, they make a hell of a lot of money. And mayhap the profession attracts those with questionable ethics. Over the years I have bought and sold eight houses both in the UK and New Zealand. On reflection, my dealings with estate agents have been positive and I’ve been impressed by their dedication and professionalism, until now. 

When we bought our retirement property the estate agent involved seemed professionally confident and superficially charming. She told us how she became an estate agent after dealing with a particularly dodgy practitioner. In hindsight, this was an obvious ploy to gain our trust and to lull us into a false sense of security.  

The first warning sign came when we were in the late stages of price negotiation. Eventually, we agreed on a price and everything seemed tickety-boo. When we received the final document an extra $20,000 mysteriously appeared on the contract. When I confronted the agent, she said it was an error. No shit, say, I. But it was going to get worse. 

When we had signed the contract, the estate dealing with our current property asked to look at the contract. She was looking for a certain clause that would be to our detriment and she duly found it. The clause, ‘the 5-day cash out clause’ can be invoked if the vendor receives a better offer even after the signing of the contract. We had the option to withdraw from the agreement within a 5-day period after being served notice.  Alternatively, we could place a 10% deposit and be bound by a 6-week settlement date. At this time, we hadn’t sold our house, which meant we would end up with a bridging loan. We were loath to withdraw our offer, not only had we invested a $1,000 in building reports and legal searches, but the property was a perfect fit for us, in every regard.  Now you could say that we should have read the small print on the contract, and I would agree. And we should have had a solicitor to check over the contract before signing. And again, I would agree. Tis our own fault. That said, after purchasing 4 properties in New Zealand, I have never come across this clause before. And let’s be honest, who reads the fine print, anyway? (Flaxen, that is what you pay solicitors for, you daft sod). It appears to be s new innovation in the NZ house market. Bugger, Say I! I have been a fool (caveat emptor). The difference between being a fool and being stupid is that I don’t intend to ever make the same mistake twice. As I don’t intend to move again, this probably represents a theoretical appreciation. 

Subsequently, we have sold our house and it means that we will incur the financial inconvenience of a 10-day bridging loan- a total cost of about $1,000. But there is hope. It appears that our estate agent is obliged, by law, to inform us of this most majestic and controversial of clauses. This she didn’t do. So, we have grounds to report her to an independent body which investigates complaints against real estate folk. Indeed, just to show what a wretched individual our estate agent turned out to be, we caught her out on two separate occasions, downright lying to us. Double bugger says I! But what do you expect, she’s an estate agent, after all. 

So, gentle readings, is there anyone out there in the firmament, with a similar case of woe whilst selling or buying a property? If so, feel free to share your pain.