Tag Archives: UK

Halloween and stuff

Halloween is a big deal over here. People deck their houses in carved pumpkins, fake cobwebs and all sorts of foolery. Lots of kiddies dress up in silly and totally unscary costumes, students put on Zombie makeup and totter around the streets muttering “Brains, brains.” Are they asking for a donation or lunch? So I thought I’d get into the spirit of things. Join in the fun. For a given value of ‘fun’ (Evil snigger).

This whole trick or treat business however, has always struck me as rather mean spirited. A “Give us sweeties or we’ll kick your bins over, spatter your windows or scratch your car” kind of meanness. Which isn’t really fun at all and simply encourages tooth decay and hyperactivity.

My Halloween tradition circulated around bonfire jumping (Small bonfires), bobbing for apples, pub crawls, cider drinking games and general horseplay between consenting youth. No one went round banging on doors demanding candy with menaces. The older folk were always part of the festivities, but mostly as spectators while the youngsters made bloody idiots of themselves. Those who didn’t want to play stayed home and no one bothered them. Well, apart from drunken singing stumbling past at two in the morning. The only real fallout was massive hangovers and the odd inexplicable bruise the following day. On one rare Halloween when it wasn’t raining, a bunch of us ended up on top of a local hill having a howling contest at the Hunters Moon. No-one called the cops. Although I recall one old farmer type did turn up in his Land Rover with Purdey on the front seat. He took one look at us, muttered something about ‘bloody kids’ before promptly turning round and going home to bed. We got the hint and dispersed. Of course this was a long time ago. Nowadays we’d have a bloody SWAT team round our necks. Which begs the question; when did people become such wussies?

This year my fancy dress is going to be a ‘biohazard’ sign for the front door, hooded painters overalls flecked with a little red, breath mask, face shield or safety glasses. Perhaps Wellingtons or even these to top off the ensemble. Which can all be used if and when I get round to a little DIY, or there really is an Ebola epidemic. So win-win there I think.

Treatment for mild alcoholism

Back in the UK, those wacky proponents of medication at NICE have decided that anyone who imbibes a couple of glasses of wine a day is a ‘mild’ alcoholic. Oddly enough these chaps have the exact pill for this ill. Now chums, isn’t that lucky? Specifically a medication called Selincro or Nalmefene. Which is designed to ‘cure’ you of your need for a nice glass or two of Cabernet Sauvignon, Foche, Pinot Gris, whatever.

Now most astute observers might ask friends over to debate this issue, say over a nice glass of wine or two, and tartly observe the ‘two glasses a day is mild alcoholism’ assertion as one of those ‘pulling spurious figures out of their arses whilst simultaneously using said anatomical feature as cranial storage facility and vocal apparatus’ affairs. Said astute observers might also perform a comparison between the two options.

Side effects of said pharmacological phenomena include;

Headaches, sleepiness, sleeping problems, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, hypertension, acute pulmonary edema and pruritis with possible long term damage to the digestive tract in up to a fifth of patients who should also abstain from driving or operating machinery and spicy foods. Not to mention becoming a total self righteous pain in the arse who doesn’t want anyone else to enjoy themselves.

Side effects of imbibing two glasses of wine include;

Mild fuzzy feeling of well being or intoxication, slight garrulousness, sociability, relaxation and lowered stress levels with a very minor risk of long term liver damage in oo, let’s say seventy years. Do not drive or operate machinery heavier than the remote control ‘off’ button. Spicy foods are encouraged. Sex is not contra-indicated.

Rather puts you off going to see the old Quack doesn’t it? Or maybe, says my more Machiavellian side, that was the intention in the first place. Dee-dah-DAAAH! Costs to ‘wonderful’ NHS cut. Job done.

Childhoods end

Lynsey De Paul dead? Heavy, and above all wistful sigh. That is so sweetly sad, but then that was what I recall of her music. Always left me with a feeling of unrequited longing after dance floor forays. So often the last but one song of the night. Slow dance and, well, whatever before would-be lovers drifted off into the night.

Hey ho. The early 70’s were more innocent times. Lynsey was part of that. I will remember her music with fondness.

Grandeur delusions

Just dropped by the old place for a drive by posting. You know the sort of thing, on automatic, potting at anything in sight. A new set of neighbours have moved in over the way. My workplace window overlooks one of their back yard windows, and….. for the love of God! Put up some curtains! Blinds, anything. Your private life is your own, but please, put up some drapes. There are some things flesh and blood should be spared. Especially when I’m working at half past six in the bloody morning and…. no. I’m not going to go there. I’ve had enough stress to kill a Rhinoceros on amphetamines over the past few months and I don’t need any more.

On a more manageable note, there’s stuff in the media that has long tweaked my nerves, but I’ve not been able to identify a common thread until now. Well I’m not that clever. Maybe. Or maybe I’m smart enough to know I’m not that bright. Which, seen in the right light is a sort of wisdom. Possibly.

Yet every day I see stuff presented in the public domain that makes my small cerebral ability look like the towering intellect worthy of a Zen master who’s just worked out what the Universe actually wants to be. People whose business is make believe, but who are given positions of responsibility for moulding public opinion. Yet those whose work makes them a specialist in a given area are effectively patted on the head and told to go take a powder. Mainly because it doesn’t appear to agree with a narrative that isn’t happening and isn’t likely. Simply because the numbers are all wrong. Unlike actors whose whole raison d’etre is fantasy falsehood, numbers don’t lie. Unless they’ve been turned into statistics and then anything is possible. Especially if politicians get hold of them. Poor things. The numbers that is, not the politicians. Or Actors.

Then there are those who say that an unprovable grope over twenty years ago has ‘ruined their lives’. Well there’s a classic delusion right there. Specifically the ‘Delusion of reference‘, where something insignificant is taken as a major life influence. Newsflash. Most of us mere mortals have been subject to unwanted physical contact by a whole range of people. Yet we’re not dashing to court because we got a little testy at the time, maybe even growled a little, but we got over ourselves. In my case mostly because I was mildly annoyed but actually amazed anyone wanted to run their unwanted digits over my boyish frame. Weirdo’s. Now they’re arresting and jailing elderly ex-celebrities in the UK on evidence flimsier than a whores drawers. Is it just me, or is the whole ‘I was groped thirty years ago and it ruined my life’ business so far over the top that it’s got a full crew of astronauts and getting ready for a landing on Mars? Yew tree if you want to, but quite frankly I think it’s the biggest waste of Police time ever.

Likewise with the ‘biggest threat to humanity’, or ‘the planet’? Specifically the CO2 CAGW business. That’s such patent bollocks only the most credulous or deluded believe in it. Not that all the prognostications of doom have shown any likelihood of turning into reality. Not for the last 18 years anyway. If you feel that humanity is the cause of planet Earth’s impending demise, well, don’t bother me with how you plan to remove yourself from the all the rest of us ‘planet destroyers’, just make the damn gesture and stop whining. No? Really, some people. No consideration.

The people who bang on about such things are probably the self same people who bitch endlessly about man’s pollution and how ‘deniers’ should be jailed, then when some sensible soul makes plans to build a sewage treatment plant for a city which still vents raw sewage into the sea, vote ‘eco-friendly’ politicians into the various municipalities who play politics with workable projects instead of getting on with the job of cleaning up the Juan de Fuca and Straits of Georgia. The fundamental disconnect on their part is quite staggering.

Not that anybody’s reading, but I just felt I had to get that lot off my broad and manly chest.

/rant

Ach, Weel…….

Well hasn’t that been fun?  The referendum on Scottish Independence which promised to be a score draw instead turned into a narrow away win for the ‘No’ faction. So no three points on the pools coupon.  No big payout. Upon sober reflection perhaps a bullet has been dodged, but I rather feel significant opportunities have been missed.

Just think of the jobs that could have been created by the ‘Yes’ voters as they;

  1. Rebuilt Hadrians Wall to keep those English bastards out.
  2. Found real, meaningful jobs for the proposed glut of repatriated Ginger people (Like Chris Evans).
  3. Gone back to the growth industries of cross border cattle and sheep raiding
  4. Created a massive urban renewal programme when they found out there wasn’t enough oil left to keep them in the style to which they wished to become accustomed.
  5. Created a new ‘Auld Alliance’ with that other failing European socialist republic (France)

What the narrow ‘No” vote means is;

Alas, poor Alex Salmond will not be the first Minister of a newly independent Scotland (Shame).

David Camoron keeps his job (Heavy sigh).

The Queen will not have to put Balmoral on the market (Huzzah for Liz).

No inadvertent ‘Brexit’ caused by invalidated EU treaties (Bugger).

No doubt there will be many petty recriminations from disappointed ‘Yes’ voters against those who did not vote or who voted ‘No’ and perhaps many useful construction jobs will created by the resulting riots for Polish tradesmen who actually learned to solder a joint, lay a brick, cut a straight piece of wood, fix a pipe and actually turn up on time for a job.

However, let’s look on the bright side; at least Scottish MP’s may not have to drag their arses down to Wastemonster in future to bother voting on issues that only concern the Sassenachs.  Which means, oh.  Not so good.  Scottish MP’s will have to take a cut in expenses (Shame, boo hiss).  Oh dearie me.  Tsk.

Another random thought on Scottish devolution v1.08 – v1.11 rel 2

Okay, suppose the ‘Yes’ vote does have it, and Alex Salmond leads the Scots towards an oil-funded socialist utopia. Which has worked out really well for the Venezuelans hasn’t it?

Will this mean;

  1. The expulsion of any person with an accent deemed ‘Too English’ or ‘Not Scottish enough’.  Trust me, this does happen.  I have a relative who left Scotland in the early 00’s because he was sick of the prejudice against him (Graffiti on house, social exclusion, overt hostility) because his Dundee University educated accent sounded ‘Too English’
  2. The resumption of cross border cattle (or sheep) raiding as an (Even greater) economic growth area?
  3. Civil unrest when the Scots find out there’s not so much oil to fund their economy and all the real money goes South?
  4. Subsequent forcible repatriation north of the English / Scottish border for anyone who is Ginger?

 

Random thought on Scottish devolution v1.05

Right.

Pre results musing.

If the Scots have voted ‘Yes’ to devolution and the United Kingdom is no longer the UK any more…..

Does this mean;

That all treaties signed on behalf of the UK since the Act of Union in 1707 may now become null and void because the UK will no longer be the same UK as it was when say, the Lisbon and Maastricht treaties etcetera were signed? Those treaties were signed for the UK as England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, not as England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I know it’s a pretty fine hair to split but could these treaties be seen as truly binding should the Scots get independence?

Brexit by cock-up. Now that’s an interesting thought.

Insider info on Scottish Devolution v1.03

Now don’t ask me where I got this as it’s top secret.   In a last minute bid to ‘Save the Union’ David Cameron’s office has sent the following to SNP leader Alex Salmond;

Okay Alex

Here’s my final offer. If the Yes vote wins, please doesn’t secede from the Union, Scotland can;

  1. Keep its Crown Jewels
  2. Have those new powers we talked about and a bigger chunk of the oil revenues

Only one condition; You lot keep Gordon Brown. This is non-negotiable.

Regards, D

Secrets & Lies

Busy reconnecting with estranged family members at present following my Mother’s funeral. The ceremony was a Church do which was well attended. Close on a hundred packed into a small English Parish church for the public goodbye. A day which saw me standing around with siblings doing the duty. Greeting old family friends and occasional relative at the church door on an uncharacteristically sunny English day, wishing protocol allowed sunglasses and a hat. Feeling numb and heavily jet lagged.

Having shed my tears two weeks before, I found myself standing in the front pew at parade rest in my best jacket eyeing the closed coffin bedecked with white roses and lilies, wincing as the organist muffed hymn intro’s and wondering what Mum would be thinking if she could have seen all the fuss. Listening to siblings trying to sing with shaking voices unused to the exercise of a tune. Admiring the architecture of some late medieval robber barons ornate tomb. I think the Ma Sticker I knew would have laughed herself senseless at the irony because we’ve always been such a cheerfully agnostic bunch. However, the local societies wanted to say thanks for all the voluntary work our family and specifically my mother put into the village, so I kept my mouth firmly shut and let priestly platitudes rattle past.

My major issue is there’s a lot of highly personal stuff coming out of my particular woodwork right now making me a deeply unhappy bunny. Why our little clan couldn’t have sat down and talked it all out years ago has left me feeling like Tim Spalls character from Mike Leighs “Secrets and lies“;

There’s been quite a bit of “But we all thought you knew, Bill.” Recently.
Well I didn’t. Much was kept from me by my parents and I am desperately trying not to be very angry with them indeed. Which has taken the edge off my grief. Inheritance isn’t the issue. That’s down to probate and settling the estate. It’s just money. The tax man will no doubt take his bite, but I’m more seriously pissed off at my extended family for keeping me in the dark all these years. I’d suspected of course, but no one took me aside and said; “Bill, there are a few things you should know.” That’s the kind of conversation I’m having with several of my cousins and aunts right now. Clucking bell. First mother in law dies. Next we had to move house and fast. Then my my car gets trashed. Mum dies. My dog dies. Now all this. If I didn’t know better I’d think someone had it in for me. It’s been a tough few months with only a few brief respites.

Notwithstanding, I’m trying very hard to look on the bright side. Be positive. Letters have been written to mend fences. I’m trying to do the right thing and move forward keeping my chin up.

Mrs S and I are back in Canada and heavily jet lagged. Stepkids are good and making their own lives. We have kept nothing from them. My wife still loves me, although sometimes I wonder why. And I’m quite well balanced, insofar as the chips upon both my broad and brawny shoulders are in a state of perfect equilibrium.

The curtains of darkness have been stripped from my past and they have revealed a tangled emotional forest that would give the Brothers Grimm nightmares. One which I have to traverse alone. So I think I’ll be taking a chainsaw with me. With extra gasoline and maybe some Gelignite. Bring it on.

I’ll be back in due course. You know how it is. Dragons to rescue. Damsels to slay. Providing the next media scare story doesn’t get us all first, or stupid EU politicians don’t talk us into a war.

Regards

Bill