Didn’t we used to take our own? Have we given too much away? Isn’t it an important part of being an adult?
The Weatherman (Or Weather-person.) has started to exceed their area of responsibility. When they tell me that there will be showers or wind or rain or even snow in my area, they now go on to suggest that I wear a coat, carry an umbrella, dress up warm or panic-buy sausages.

When I log on to Facebook on my phone, the first thing it tells me is that there are showers forecast for Barnstaple and perhaps I would be wise to choose a waterproof coat and hat if I intent to venture out.

Now, my point is that I am a 56-year-old adult. I brush my own teeth, run my own business and, very often, choose my own bedtime. I do not need to be told to ‘wrap up warm’. But we live in a world where the media, the government, technology and ‘experts’ have decided that they need to take responsibility for our actions and behaviours. Or perhaps rather more wretchedly, we have happily given up responsibility for ourselves to those other agencies.

Call this snow?

I know the weather was pretty severe recently and it did cause a lot of turmoil or worse but I also believe the media were pretty careless with their responsibility and that by hyping up the situation it resulted in a lot of unnecessary disruption.

‘The Beast from the East.’ Really? It was a weather front, not a Russian invasion or a spell cast by Lord Voldemort. And, to be fair, as weather fronts go, I’ve seen better.

In the late 70’s my brother and I were snowed in for over a week while my parents were stuck down in Brighton at SPATEX. It snowed for days and Exmoor was turned into a surreal landscape. High hedgerows caught snow meters deep to seal off the roads and trap us in a world that any schoolchild would give their right arm for and that my Dad had prepared us well for. With the generator chugging away we were able to watch the TV and keep up with events out in the real world and whilst it was bad, I don’t recall the news announcing the end of the world being nigh or a light dusting of snow being photographed at an angle to make it look like people shouldn’t travel.

I think part of the problem is that once, let’s say the BBC, had said that it was unsafe to travel then if they subsequently said that the danger had passed but someone was then involved in an accident… Exactly. Lawyers. And so I was being told to stay at home with my extra milk and hoarded sliced white loaves unless my journey was unavoidable even on the Friday, which was actually a lovely day where we were.

Yellow warnings and ‘best practice’.

We seem to have lost the ability to logically evaluate risk and take responsibility for our own actions. We seem to have lost the ability to assess new situations and opportunities and react to them in a way that is specific to that circumstance.

That’s a rather wordy way of saying that we are, perhaps, no longer a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs.

Would Barnes Wallis, Brunel or Trevor Bayliss have stayed at home because Huw Edwards had told them that weather was too nasty for them to play outside? Would they have agreed with ‘best practice’ and accepted that bombs didn’t bounce, iron didn’t float and radios needed batteries.

I met Trevor Bayliss, creator of the clockwork radio, swimmer for GB, escape artist and long-time member of the wet leisure industry, when I was working with Peter Geekie and was sorry to see that he died earlier this year. Trevor invented hundreds of devices including many to help people with disabilities. He liked to proclaim: “I don’t do things because I want to do good; I do things because I like to show off.”

A new method, idea, product, etc.

I think Golden Coast is based on innovation and I think the best of British business and industry is too, and innovation is about taking risks and thinking differently. Sometimes it’s about being a bit of a maverick; you know, like going out on a windy day without your hat and gloves.

If we become scared to take risks, scared to think differently and choose not to take responsibility for our own decisions then that spirit of invention and entrepreneurship that the British have been justly famous for could become a thing of the past.

I would hate to see that happen.

Make mistakes. Just don’t make the same one twice.

We learn from our mistakes, they say, and I believe that to be true. If we don’t make mistakes we aren’t trying new things and we aren’t pushing hard enough. We need the odd failure in order to learn, we just don’t need to make too many of them.

We can all take responsibility for that, can’t we?