Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beer and a book in the garden.

It was a little overcast today in Cardiff but after Faye and David went home, I settled on the bench in our garden with my book and another beer. The pages turned and when I reached the end of another chapter, I paused for thought.

Yesterday afternoon when we came back from the carvery, Gail, mother and I sat in the conservatory whilst dad sat on his own in our garden drinking my beer and reading his newspaper. The conversation flowed very freely between us in the conservatory but dad stayed out on his own, looking very content.

This afternoon the answer struck me as I sat on the bench, enjoying my beer, book and the garden. Mam and Dad live in a flat which is part of a sheltered housing scheme. They have access to a communal garden but the problem is that residents are getting locked outside if the people sat in the lounge complain of a draught and close and lock the patio door. Dad can enjoy our garden and not get locked out!

Dad must have thought how lucky I am to have my own private garden and he was going to make the most of it. Enjoying my beer and book in our garden this afternoon I can understand why dad was so reluctant to move and join in with the conversation!

The freedom to enjoy a beer and a book in your own private garden is a good one. Although some people do like to restrict freedoms and not just drinking beer in private gardens. Something as humble as a mouthwash can be forbidden...

This week attached to our pay slips down on the farm was this notice...

Notice to [redacted] staff

All [redacted] staff have received training on the Alcolock system.

As of today any drivers that use a mouthwash and blow over a zero reading will face disciplinary action.

HR Manager

...Well Stephanie, no driver has ever received training on the Alcolock system. All we were given was a mouthpiece and left to our own common sense to see if we could get a Volvo B9R to start. No instructions were given, we just gave it a go and the rest is history. Being able to install and run a Belkin N150 Enhanced Wireless Router
made the Alcolock system not a problem although most drivers do encounter an "Invalid Specimen 3" error and simply have another go! So the rumour has it that Graham used a mouthwash before blowing into the Alcolock and the coach would not start in Bradford. That is a shame but the fault is yours for treating us like children and not providing training for your device. You like to impress upon us the value of presentation to the passengers and that would include oral hygiene. But you have scored an own goal with your Alcolock system and a ban on mouthwash. What about our human rights in using a dental cleaning product? Disciplinary action or dragon breath, the choice is yours!
Thanks to the anonymous poster who left a comment that does not appear on this blog post but fired an email to me from Blogger. I respect your rights to anonymity and will not publish the comment you made on Monday, 1 August, 2011 10:27

Things written or said to me in confidence are never revealed to anyone and those secrets are taken to my grave.

I will give nothing away about your comments or identity or writing style.
That was me Steve, or at least I sent one around that time but it seemed to dissappear when I pressed "publish your comment" I wondered what happened to it and don't even know how email via blogger.

It was about how HR are pretty but dim and the perils of snogging a heavy drinker. (maybe you had another comment).

Its wasn't meant to be in confidence and you can tell everyone about it, even Stephaine.

John (Did I forget my name last time?)
John: Laughing Out Loud! There was no name at the end of Anonymous comment. I thought that because it was an email from Blogger that the author wanted me to know what they thought but did not want management to know their name. With anonymous comments management may try and discover the author by their "written voice" - something the Police do in crime thrillers. Having known you for about 35 years now, sorry but I did not put the comment down to you. I thought it was someone employed in transport.

Because your comment was written in good faith and we both believe in freedom of association and expression here is the email I received...

[Natural yogurt.] New comment on Beer and a book in the garden. It was a little ov....Monday, 1 August, 2011 10:27
From: "Anonymous"

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Beer and a book in the garden. It was a little ov...":

I have often wondered what the point of HR is. They generally seem to be very pretty ladies with nice names such as Stephanie but lacking common sense.

A few minutes research on the internet before writing a daft notice would reveal to Stephanie that the alcohol in mouthwash is not absorbed into the blood stream since it is rinsed in the mouth and spat out. It needs to be ingested and absorbed either through the stomach/intestine lining or the lungs. If people are drinking the stuff then they have a major problem and hopefully no where near a coach in the first place.

Stephanie is correct that you can fail a breath test immediately after using mouthwash but those who have been trained correctly in such matters (ie the Police and not HR) know that a second test is needed 20 minutes later to compensate for any false readings. Incidentally snogging someone who has been drinking heavily will also give false results. (is Stephanie a boozer ?)

Finally does this daft rule apply to all mouthwashes since many do not even contain alcohol. HR could make up another role for themselves by preparing a list of approved mouthwashes their employees could use, don't suggest it to them since they would probably take it as a serious comment.

Posted by Anonymous to Natural yogurt. at 1 August 2011 09:27
I didn't realize that driving with mouthwash was such a big deal. I mean, the alcohol content is so minute. Maybe I'm missing the point, but doesn't really seem logical.
Tom@Dentist: Thanks for taking the trouble to leave a comment on my blog. The alcolock device is very sensitive and will send a text report immediately to Service Support if the reading is anything above an absolute zero. This protocol is designed to highlight staff who may have an alcohol dependency problem where usually their result is zero but their weekly take of alcohol is relatively high.

Because of this, the "weekly rest period" demanded under legal driving limits is renamed by drivers as the "weekly drinking period".
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