Go away

In the middle of a phone call with a family friend this evening I was asked; “Are you going to be switching off all your lights this evening?”
“No.” I rejoindered. “Why should I do that?”
“We had a lecture all about it, you know, Earth hour.”
“When’s that?” I asked.
“No. I’m just ignoring it.”
“But it’s for the Earth.”
“It’s a nonsense. Sorry, but the earnest people coming out with this stuff are just activists. They don’t really know anything.”
“Wish I’d brought my candles.”
“Which will give off more CO2 than the power stations.” I tried to explain (Especially since BC gets most of its power from hydroelectricity). “I won’t be joining you in the darkness. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.” Then the conversation drifted on to more prosaic matters.

I wish those who wished to celebrate such nonsense as ‘Earth Hour’ would just leave the rest of us in peace. If they truly believe that mankind is a blight on the planet, perhaps they should set an example to us all. There are many creative ways this could be achieved, but remember – respect the environment and don’t litter.

Failing that, read Ross McKittrick’s soundly thought out dissent, and have a look at all the reasons why ‘Earth Hour’ is such a waste of time.


Sleepless on Vancouver Island part 4

Yesterday I was bloody exhausted. Too tired even to eat. Flattened, floored, shattered, shagged, and knackered beyond metaphor. I couldn’t remember being this way, ever. This morning, faced with a doorstepping Jesus freak, I couldn’t even be my usual irreverent self.

This morning I saw what Mrs S had written in her care diary, where she logs Mother in Law’s doses, toilet wake-ups and washing, two words; ENOUGH NOW!

Today’s mission young Bill – Respite care. I don’t give a bugger what tantrums I have to face from MiL (Who is convinced she will die if she goes into a care facility). Mrs S and I need the rest as we’re both well into ‘caregiver burnout‘ territory, and need to back out a little to get a good run up to cope with the next sixty or so days. A few hundred dollars for our own psychic survival is a cheap enough price.

What’s surprising is the short length of time it’s taken for us to get to this point. As individuals Mrs S and I are generally both pretty tough cookies. We’re resilient with a high bounceback factor. Yet in just over thirty days we’ve suffered significant debilitation due to sleep disruption / deprivation. No wonder it’s so popular as an interrogation technique. The low level pressure headache is a constant presence. Difficulty concentrating is a given. I have to double check everything I do, because I’m scared of making critical mistakes. My trains of thought are all over the shunting yard, and things which used to raise an ironic smile now just get a disgusted shrug. I’m a zombiform version of my usual self, but without the cannibalistic appetite for brains. Friends are solicitous and kind despite our currently irascible attitudes and we love them all the more for that. Despite that, we’re being ultra-careful not to upset people we like.

Notwithstanding, I’m putting MiL into a care facility for a few nights – damn the cost – damn her tantrums, and damn the judgmental proxy guilt of family who won’t step up to the plate themselves.

Sleepless on Vancouver Island part 3

Our saga continues; sleep is very much a rare and precious commodity at present, and I’m almost pathetically grateful to Mrs S for not waking me last night. A full nights sleep is the only luxury I crave.

At present we’re shuffling painkiller regimens around and trying differing routines just to see if Mother in law will allow us a full nights restorative repose. At present the answer seems to be no. The night before last, all we heard from Mil was whimpering and crying, all night long. She shuts up during the day and just sits there, seemingly barely aware of her surroundings or self. You can’t engage because she simply drifts off while you’re talking, and doesn’t want to talk about family or anything. All we get is this sense that she’s terrified of everything, and by that I do mean everything. All she does is respond like a Hedgehog, rolling into a ball and refusing to move, expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting.

It’s not that she’s starved or mistreated either. Yesterday I was ‘supervising’ a walk from dining area to main room, a distance of some fifty feet, and I caught her as she fell (Or tried to) three times. She’s a healthy 110lbs, which is spot on for her height and build, and there is muscle there, it’s just that they’re all bunched up in this weird mass of irrational anxiety.

Our local Doctor will not prescribe any more heavy duty painkillers. We’re on maximum dosage at it is, but still the nocturnal whimpering and crying. Personally I think she realises she’s dying and is so petrified because she’s never actually lived. Never confronted the universal dilemmas of human existence and made what peace with the cosmos that she could.

This is the issue with dying, and I’ve seen far too much of it for my liking. We all have to go sometime, and I hope when my turn comes I’ll face it with a certain equanimity, and slide into the long night with ironic smile on my face. Most people don’t stare down their own mortality early in life and curse it for the coward dying makes of us all. Most come to the eternal verities too late, spending their last days in paralysed terror, and this is where Mil is. No reassurance will help. No priest can raise the darkness and show the path to the light. That is for everyone to find for themselves. Ironically it seems, Death brings the ultimate freedom. You might not be able to choose the where and the why of your ending, but you can certainly choose the how. With quiet courage, a little dignity and strength, in a sudden confused rush, or rolled into a self tortured ball of pain and fright stricken misery.

Mrs S is carrying the brunt of all this of course, and it’s painful to watch. Because watch is all I can do. I can see that everyone is warm, well fed, and cosy, but I can’t control other people’s self imposed anxieties. She says in her own words that she’s “Annoyed at having her life hijacked.” but what can I do? Apart from simply be there for my wife when she needs me to hold her. As for sleep itself, ours is sporadic and barely sufficient, but it is all we have.

At times like these I revert to my stoic country bred roots, and the philosophy that sustains me. In short; “What cannot be cured must be endured.” or “I live for the better days.” Just over sixty days more.


Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it. – Robert Anson Heinlein


I won’t be in the UK for the Queens Jumble sale, as the event has been marked in our calendar. Nor will I be celebrating the event. Not because I’m a curmudgeonly cove, or that I’m a republican of any stripe; simply because HM has let her Governments sign away the rights of the land of my birth to self determination outside the EU. Any loyalty I might feel is therefore somewhat diluted to the point where the whole event engenders an overwhelming feeling of ‘Meh’.

To reiterate; from a historical, cultural and social perspective I love Europe. The people and places (With the possible exception of bits of Frankfurt, and Dunquerque) From a governmental and administrative standpoint the EU is to be reviled as an undemocratic canker, where the diktats of a few unaccountable bureaucrats are rubber stamped without the merest whiff of democratic scrutiny.

If HM were to come out against the EU, I might be persuaded to change my mind. However, as such an action is unlikely, I will therefore be busy.

Another event likely to have the same effect is Hippies flocking to Pic de Bugarach where apparently some aliens have parked their spacecraft, and on 21st December will whisk all the locals off as the Earth is destroyed. Why said supposedly hyper-intelligent beings would bother with a bunch of crusties is a matter best left for them. Maybe they’re starting an interstellar zoo or something? The ‘Authorities’ are concerned about possible mass suicides, but my attitude is why bother? If the hippies think the world is coming to an end and top themselves, I’m sorry, but I’ve just run out of sympathy. As Niven says; think of it as evolution in action.

A sea change

There is a tide in the affairs of men… goes the quotation from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Well chums, it looks like there’s a political sea change going on right now. The anti-human agenda of the CAGW advocates may just be about to take a massive hit. Why? well, have a look at what is going on in the magical land of Oz right now in Queensland, Australia. What some people are calling an electoral backlash against the Carbon tax.

India are calling time on the EU’s airline cap and trade plans, and China has put $14 Billion worth of Airbus on hold over the same issue, threatening 2000 Airbus related jobs. The Harper Federal Government in Canada has steadfastly refused to sign up to similar legislation, and before long, the USA will find the same issues significantly affecting electoral outcomes. The Green Climate fund is likewise ‘seeking immunity’ from prosecution (Why? Are they feeling guilty about something?).

Methinks the shoe is dropping on this issue. Europe may very well find itself quite alone. Very soon. What will happen when all those bets on taxing CO2 turn into a worthless green fart? Who can say?

If I may be allowed to mix Donne and Shaespeare quotations in a single paragraph; Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee, ding dong bell.

Sleepless on Vancouver Island part 2

You never really appreciate something until that something has gone. A full nights kip is elusive at present because of MiL. Last night she whimpered for three solid hours between two and five, despite all we could do to make her comfortable with as large a dose of painkillers as we dared, and three applications of soothing lotion. Eventually MiL tired of whining and went to sleep, letting Mrs S and I do likewise. Fortunately I’m on a long weekend, so I can chill during the day and don’t have to worry too much about being totally focused and in the moment.

Mrs S and I are both getting some sleep, but we’re both still feeling a bit edgy and less than lean mean and keen. We’re spending half of our awake time looking at online and library references on how to deal with our problem, although in my darker moments the idea of abandonment has raised its scabrous head and given my conscious mind a cheerful diamond edged grin.

Less than seventy days to go now, and I know this seems like wishing my life away, but MiL’s departure cannot come too soon. Roll on the end of May.

Sleepless on Vancouver Island Part 1

Have you ever been so tired you read the word ‘Local’ as ‘Lolcat’? Are your reaction times so slow you make a stoned out hippie look like he’s got the reflexes of a cobra fighting mongoose? Had bags under your eyes so big you feel like Customs, Homeland Security, and the TSA have been rummaging through them? Well that’s how I feel right this minute. My head feels like it’s been stuffed with cotton wool, my fingers are vibrating like quadruple tuning forks, and I swear half the time I’m hallucinating. Mrs S is suffering even more. Stringing two thoughts together has been all but impossible for almost seventy two hours. If it weren’t for the mercy that I got four and a half glorious, continuous hours of unconsciousness last night I’d be even worse.

It’s all down to lack of sleep caused by one thing, and one thing only; my Mother in Law. This is no exaggeration. a few days ago I’d gotten to the point where I actually feared sleep, knowing that my happy repose will be jolted into bleary wakefulness several times during the night by as sound more dread than the pitter of a Tarantula’s tootsies in an arachnaphobe’s mind; a little bell. A wee small tinkling tinny tyranny that shatters somnolence more effectively than a sledgehammer wielding strongman and a very large gong. Every hour and a half, without fail. Christ on a bike, I’m so bloody tired I can’t sleep. This is crazy.

Let me explain; before Christmas my Sister in Law, who lives partly in England decided that it was high time she had a time out from being Mother in Law’s primary carer. So she announced that she was going to the land of Oz, and which one of her other sisters would take on the job for a while. No, Mother in Law was fine, sure she could look after herself most of the time, yes, she’s having a little trouble making herself understood, but otherwise she pleases herself with a little help. She’s no trouble whatsoever. No, she refuses to go into a care home, but that’s not a problem. Honestly.

Yeah, right. Lies, damn lies, statistics and bigger porkies than an entire decades output from the Melton Mowbray pie factory. Much against my wishes and better judgement, Mrs S put up her hand to say of course we’ll look after Mum, it’ll be all right Bill, really. I objected, but had to back down as all the womenfolk on my wife’s side of the family voted against me. I was outnumbered. Being right had nothing to do with it.

The truth is, my ninety plus year old Mother in law is incapable of even going to the toilet without assistance. Even wiping her own bum is a task obviously beyond her. She is effectively deaf, dysphasic and has no, repeat no sense of balance, and a short flight of stairs might as well be a vertical rock face. She has to be dressed, fed, pottied and washed. There is no task of self care that she can perform unaided. Her every need must be catered to, no matter the time of day or we’re left with spreading puddles and the stench of urine all through the house. Hence the bell. We cannot leave her alone because she cannot walk or stand unaided. She’s also a major stroke risk. By stroke I mean Cerebrovascular Accident, and according to prognosis, she’s due for the big one.

This would not be a real problem were she a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, but she’s not. I know my wife and her sisters insist current insurances will cover all eventualities. I, as a humble male, have serious doubts. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to weasel out of coughing up, quoting clauses citing ‘pre-existing conditions’ etc. If Mother in Law dies or worse, becomes even more incapacitated, my concern is that we will get saddled with a bill that may just wipe us out financially speaking. Now every day has me waking after my fitful repose with the following small prayer; “Please. Not today.”

Mrs S and I both work at two jobs apiece. We’re not high fliers, but those jobs swallow up most of our daylight hours, and a few more beside. Up until recently this wasn’t much of a problem. Now it is. A major league problem with little dayglo warning stickers all over it which say; Crisis. This way up. Fragile. Do not bend.

So far it’s been twenty days and twenty of the longest nights I can ever vaguely remember, and that is no small statement. We have seventy more days to go.

Fuck. Fuck. fuckity fuck fuck, arghhhhhhhhh!

Update: The bell has been confiscated, nocturnal nappies have been applied. Nurse has been hired twice a week. Mrs S and I actually got a full nights sleep last night (apart from one alarm around 4am). Now Mother in law has developed Hives. Emotional stress seems to be the most likely cause. She’s stressed? I’m surprised that Mrs S and I aren’t covered head to toe in nasty red welts. Insurance has been notified. Visit to clinic arranged. Ho de doo dah day, wibble my millennial hatstand your worship. Where’d I put my straitjacket?

Update 2
: Oh sod, it’s bloody Shingles. Fortunately I had my dose of Chickenpox when I was five, so my likelihood of developing Shingles late in life is much reduced. Or so says my friend Mister Flibble.

EU Arrest warrants – ease of abuse

Family issues (and lack of sleep) are currently consuming my time, but I picked this one up at Longriders, and subsequently Anna Raccoons; an apparent travesty of the UK courts enforcing an (allegedly incomplete) EU arrest warrant for an alleged murder in Portugal following on from a previous trial at which the defendant in question had been acquitted some years ago, even though the alleged ‘victim’ is not, it seems, dead. Nor that the defendant had been anywhere near.

Having read the accused’s blog, A nasty suspicion arises that some functionary somewhere, thought it was a good idea to shut him up, dug deep into his past, lit the blue legal paper and retired to a safe distance. Of course, that is veering into the abhorrent territory of conspiracy theory, but does raise a disturbing issue; if the UK courts and Police are enforcing said warrants in this fashion this occurrence is at best incompetence, and at worst, malevolent. My vote, as always, veers towards cock-up, but I can be wrong.

A mere rifling

A couple of work buddies and myself are awaiting the final demise of the long gun registry before rejoining the local fish & game club as shooting members. I’m looking at something like a bolt action Browning 30-06 and possibly a pump action 12 gauge for hunting in general. I’d keep them at the club for range practice of course, as the tacit agreement is that we’ll only fit out one of our trucks with a decent lock box for the guns and ammunition.

My general preference is for a bow, but what with it looking like another damp summer in western BC (Although I really hope I’m wrong), bowhunting is no fun with a damp bowstring. That and a halfway decent shotgun and fifty rounds of solid rifled shot costs less than a modest sixty pound draw recurve, twelve arrows and six broadhead tips. Several local friends (All well respected people) have agreed to support my application for a firearms license. Which I think is jolly decent of them. In the meantime, I shall be renewing my salt water fishing license, and going to spend some quality time standing the rocks with my rod in hand, casting my cares upon the waters and watching the Seals, Sea Lions, Otters, and if I’m really lucky, the odd passing Orca or even some Pacific White sided Dolphins passing by. There’s been some rather unpleasant windstorms of late, with trucks and cars almost bisected by falling trees, and I’m getting a bit twitchy for some sunshine.

It’s been a stressful few months, what with visiting family and all making demands on my time, and I really need a decent time out to recharge the old spiritual batteries. Never mind, Spring is almost here, and the buds are beginning to break. I shall feel happier when the Birch and Maple are in full leaf.