About Simon Perks

Writer, trail runner, hill walker, astronomer, kayaker, paddleboarder, nerd, tea drinker, lover of the sea, labrador wrangler

Balancing the books… and what happens when they don’t

It’s not often that being a chartered accountant is a good thing. We’re always cast as the boring guy in the movies. The beancounter who likes to say ‘no’. Small children snigger at us behind our backs. And we never get invited to the best parties. But it does have its advantages. I don’t panic when the bank calls. I can do my tax return in under fifteen minutes. And I can spot a looming financial car wreck from several miles off.

And, I can tell you, there are a lot of them about.

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Dog chef

My wife, Natalie, and I try to share fairly between us the various chores and activities that come with managing the household. I’m responsible for building maintenance, cars, dog stuff, utilities, bins/recycling, insurance and such like. I also, lest it be said that I just do the ‘man’ stuff, have responsibility for the cleaning, the ironing and the purchasing of ‘storecupboard’ items from the local plastic-free shop.

Natalie, meanwhile, oversees the laundry, the regular food shopping and the organisation of the weekly food plan. We share the cooking between us, depending on (a) our daily schedules and (b) how much of it can be done in the microwave. But we realised the other day that one of my primary roles has hitherto gone sorely unrecognised.

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The mission economy

We all work for capitalism. Our society is driven by the needs of the economy. But it should be the other way around. The economy should be driven by the needs of society. Capitalism should work for us. And so governments around the world need to be much more proactive, and much more confident, in identifying critical social challenges and in bringing the full power of the public, private and community sectors to bear in addressing them.

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A rare moment of calm

It’s very quiet here. I went out earlier with Ozzy (my younger Labrador) for a brisk run around the local countryside. We then came back and collected Molly (my older Labrador) for an hour’s walk at a slightly more sedate pace. Upon our return home, I prepared their dinner and added some microwaved chicken, which always puts them in a good mood. And now I’m back at my desk, while the dogs snooze contentedly.

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Actually, this IS a drill

I think it’s fair to say that power tools and I don’t have the best of working relationships. I don’t like the noise they make, the dust they create or the speed at which they compel me to do things. And my wife isn’t a massive fan of the damage that they cause me to leave in my wake. But of all the power tools, my absolute nemesis has to be the hammer-action drill. Thankfully, I have recently found a way to tame this particular beast. A bit, anyway.

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