Herd we go, herd we go, herd we go…

Airlines once produced adverts extolling their customer service. Those adverts are now very dated and so misogynistic that – in my head – they blend together with memories of “’til death do us part” and “Love thy neighbour”.

A period – as I recollect – of unchallenged bigotry and industrial unrest . And yet I miss something from that time: the notion of the “customer” in the traditional sense. The concept that people aspired to make a product or offer a service which you prized and would pay for.

Halcyon days. Banks had money and Building Societies were building things. Now Bankers have money and Building companies hold society to ransom. We used to travel to buy “things”. Such things as shoes and “records”. Records, it should be remembered, were how music was purchased and shared. Radio played songs which we read about in magazines and purchased in Record shops. All very sentimental. Not “innocent” times, however. The cells of our prisons and some of our graveyards are host to the dirty little men who twiddled those records. Perverted little pedophile Pied Pipers.

It seems nothing was as it seemed. We had anarchists who now sell butter and have property portfolios. We trusted Politicians, more or less. We disagreed with the “other” party depending on whether you were “left” or “right” – socialist or deluded. Authority was maligned but respected.

We are all, continually, moving inexorably towards something worse. Things do improve. Lives often get better. The thing which exercises us, which eclipses aspiration, is the fear of disaster. Impending decline and fall. Similar to what happened to our Empire. Take your eye off the ball for a cup of tea and the next thing you know people are exercising their right to destroy our established way-of-life.

Standards were set during this time. We had travelled from a majority of the nation In Service through National Service and arrived at a nation which provided Services for it’s people. Crucially, equally divided amongst it’s people.

And my – how we appear to hate that. How much the benefactors have been brainwashed into lambasting the very Services which struggled and evolved out of those confusing times.

Nothing is as-it-seems any longer. Television programmes are frequently never watched on a television. Records are not heard – they are broken by Billionaires earning record amounts of cash.

A millionaire is now hardly worth singing about.

And airlines? Well airlines now drag you bodily from their planes and make jokes about cancelling your flights.

That unspoken bond between customer and proprietor? If you are very lucky they might leave a phone number for you to contact them and leave a message. Be careful, however, those calls are charged for and often never answered. It can all add up and “Every Little Helps” them to make even larger profits.

We now count only as a “Herd”. That is how corporations “monetise” us. Income potential per viewer. Number of clicks. We are no longer even measured or valued per-capita. Our heads are no longer of importance – only our clicking fingers count.

At least it saves us from trudging along to those shops. Those shops where we used to buy things. Now we have all the time in the world – time saved not travelling to not buying things. Aren’t we all enjoying our liberation. Aren’t we?

How did this happen? Didn’t we almost have it all?

Nope. Nothing like it.

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.

Gotchas with deploying Grails apps

Some things to check when deploying Grails packages:

Ensure tomcat is stopped if running under Tomcat
Run grails clean – always
Remove $CATALINA_HOME/work/Catalina/localhost/my.website.com directory
Remove $CATALINA_HOME/webapps/ROOT.war
Remove (rm -rf) $CATALINA_HOME/webapps/ROOT/
If necessary – increase cache size in $CATALINA_HOME/conf/context.xml
If deploying to SSL (https) ensure that a valid SSL crtificate is in place – or you will most likely get a Deployment error which is virtually impossible to trace

ALSO: rm /opt/tomcat/webapps/ROOT/WEB-INF/lib/bcprov-jdk14-136.jar

Copy the new package to $CATALINA_HOME/webapps/ as ROOT.war if it is to be a base URL based site

Restart tomcat



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.