Rules are made to be broken, said Bernard!

D Day CollageAccountants and stocktakers like Jon Rutter will tell you that there are rules for a reason and that they should not be broken. Like making sure that for every credit there is a corresponding entry in the debit column, or something like that. He will tell you that without the rules in place the wheels of a business can quickly fall off.

Sometimes ordinary folk will look at rules as something some “jobsworth” has invented to spoil our fun and restrict our freedom. One of those occasions is the ruling that has put a stop to what has been going on for 900 years – yes, Morris dancing cannot continue from Nottingham to Southwell. The Nottinghamshire County Council traffic manager has said, among other things that“…a need to recognise the complexity of managing old events safely on today’s roads which carry high volumes of fast-moving traffic.” Why they don’t just close the road like they do in Monaco, or on the Isle of Man or in half of France when sporting events happen. But then I don’t suppose Morris dancing brings in as much cash as racing does.

Sometimes the rule breakers just take the view that they’re going to do it anyway and the consequences be damned! Like Bernard Jordan who told the staff at his care home, “I’m going out for a while …” after they told him that he couldn’t go to Normandy for the D-Day memorial events. But he went anyway and those who told him “no” welcomed him back with applause! Bernard’s day out saw him negotiating a bus and ferry trip to pay his respects to those who fell in the events and after D-Day. No regulations and rules were going to stop him – that’s the spirit that won the war! If some of the present day ‘elf-and-safety’ crowd were around in 1944 they’d have had the whole fleet wearing high-vis jackets and “Mae Wests” in case they fell overboard en route to the Continent.

It is also fitting that Mr Jordan hails from Brighton and Hove – the town where Rutters Stocktakers is head-quartered. Mr Jordan was also mayor there once and moves are afoot to have the Freedom of the City bestowed on him. I suppose it was easy for Mr Jordan to sit at the care home and ponder his moves seeing as you can virtually see Normandy from Brighton. Sometimes breaking the dictats of others is a no-brainer.

One wonders what the safety officers will make of the chef in Grantham in Lincolnshire who has invented a curry that is three times hotter than pepper spray. Apparently the customers who want it are made to sign a disclaimer warning of the consequences of eating it. For those hot food aficionados, this brew is 12 million on the Scoville heat measurement scale. What other stocktaker has to include goggles and gloves for the chef and gloves for the customers in his customer’s inventory?

It would be curious to know why people put themselves through that type of heat-experience … but hats off to the chef whose seen ‘an opening‘ in the market for this type of nuclear curry dish, boldly going where no gastronome has been before.

My night before Christmas …


It was the night before Christmas and all through MY house
Nothing was peaceful because of the spouse,
Her  lists they were growing longer and the wishes more trite,
I wondered if I’d ever I’d begin to get things right.
The mission was to hit the shops quite early
But luck would have it that traffic was all churly
The trains were delayed and the storm was a-brewing
There wasn’t a hope I’d achieve what I’d aimed to be doing
And snug back at home the spouse and the kids
Were blissfully unaware of me hitting the skids
“Pick paper, and tape and don’t forget tinsel and lights
And fruit, and butter, and cream, and other delights”
But laden with packets, I toiled through the chaos and noise
To make my way home to peace my home should deploy
But entering in, all burdened and breathless
The kids were all crying and the wife niggly and restless
“How could you?” she said on asking what was ailing
“Did you think Christmas would just be plain sailing?”
She went on to tell me that in spite of all my efforts
She sent me out with the list of only half the presents
So back into the storm with muffler, gloves and a beanie
And the list, now complete, tucked away quite securely
I tarried a while as I passed the local warm pub, I said “GOOD”
And decided I needed something to warm my cold mood
Eventually I made it home with the list, not filled, mind
I ran through my excuses but they were a “blind”
It was still tucked away in my pocket,
And the wife? Well, she gave me a rocket!
But as I settled down by the fire with the family
I was home and safe with the people I love
And Rutters and the team wish the same to you it’s clear
Safety, love, happiness and good health during this time of the year!

(with apologies to Major Henry Livingston Jr. 1748-1828)