Down to earth with a bump

Realising how unimportant you are is painful.

Being in company. Feeling you know your place. Relaxing, which you find difficult, only to realise you mean nothing to people you felt close to only moments earlier. That is painful.

Immediately you feel foolish. It is a reflection on where you stand. Your rank. Possibly you have sacrificed something for those people. You hope that your efforts have been recognised. Worse, perhaps you believe they have been recognised. All those days, nights and weekends spent working. You are shy and you hate to blow your own trumpet. Then, within minutes of being dismissed you realise that your work, your effort, has never even been considered. Others are talking at length about their sacrifice. Their efforts. Yet they all seem to have evenings when they can go to a cinema – when did you last go to see a film? They were away at the weekend. Goodness – even on holiday you were working until 11pm on a Saturday evening. Then they start to laugh at you. Right there, in front of you, they are mocking you. It is a self-congratulatory act by them. At that moment you realise just how foolish you have been.

What was the point of that sacrifice. You turned away from contracts and offers since you had a debt of participation. You stupid, silly fool.

The bubble has burst. You kept your head down and you never commented when, time after time, others did not fulfil their part of the bargain. “People are stressed”. “They have a lot to think about”.

The weight you have put on since you cannot even get time to walk the dog. The fact you are making no profit and cannot repair the house or replace your ageing computer. The fact your accountant earns more from your efforts than you do. It was accepted since you felt part of something. It mattered that you were a part of something.

That was an illusion. It is difficult to handle but it is educational.

Still, it hurts.


I have often wanted to see Coll and the surrounding area from the air – these are the Treshnish Isles from the air. I had little chance to take snaps but I enjoyed the flight (with Hebridean Air).

Gosford slurry

One of my favourite locations for walking and Heron spotting – Gosford House ponds. The water is like pea soup – thick with blue-green algae. There is scum and mould forming islets in the water.

Gallanach, Isle of Coll

The beaches on Coll are clean, clear and the sand is fine. I had the pleasure of swimming in Struan, Toraston and Clabach. This is Gallanach beach – just out of shot are a large number of seals. They are curious creatures which come to “check you out” while you are swimming. They must chuckle at my clumsy attempts as I am splashing around!

The wee window cleaner

The wee window cleaner
spoke to the wee roofer
Wait till the wee chimney sweep comes
then you’ll stop laughing
up there on your wee roof
Whereupon the wee roofer
dropped a wee tile
right on the wee head
of the wee window cleaner
from sheer fright
kept as quiet
as a church mouse


Alfred Brendel
Playing the Human Game


Given a large enough sample of humanity you seem to arrive at the ratio of 52:48

Not just humanity – in non human tests of risk/non-risk averse behaviour in the animal kingdom – the ratio also appears to occur. Risk averse behaviour appears to have 52% of the sample.

Male to female ratio is very close to 52:48

Brexit split 52:48 – admittedly regional variations occurred but the overall figure was close to it.

This concerns me. As an example take Brexit. It might appear to be 48:52 ratio if seen from the perspective of risk aversion. Except in the case of Brexit the status-quo was seen as being the risky option. The public was presented with an overwhelming amount of propaganda which suggested the EU was damaging our society. Immigration, finance, fishing quotas. There were many arguments to suggest that the Leave vote meant security to traditional British values.

Where the ratio concerns me more, however, is not in the Brexit vote. My main concern is for the environment and the politics of greed.

We have to make choices to reverse or improve many of the current “accepted” patterns of behaviour which have proven detrimental or unsustainable. And soon. We must make choices which do not have the easiest short term benefit. Reducing oil consumption, those fishing quotas, providing health services, migration, division of wealth. Many issues across a range of topics will require that we put self-interest behind us.

Conservation in Asia and Africa requires poor nations protecting wildlife and forestry and fauna – more easily treated as commodities than preserved as long-term assets.

And that ratio is always going to pop up.

It might well be that the ratio of 52:48 is what will do for the human race.