Family stuff.

We’ve finally got our Irish drivers licences and will be driving around the county looking at properties now the silly 5km restriction has disappeared. Not that anyone was really paying it any mind out here in the Wilder West of Ireland, we just used the back roads, knowing that the Gard were focussing on the big cities and motorways. They haven’t really the manpower for much else.

Not that the figures really justify lockdowns, it’s just that the politicians are too frightened to let it go. They’ve been got at by activists and lobbyists or in ignorance have succumbed to groupthink. So here we are, making the best of things.

We’ve bought a couple of garden chairs and have a nice sheltered spot in the garden that is also a bit of a sun trap. Which is good. A cup of coffee or tea is so much nicer outdoors on a sunny day. As is a large glass of wine, or large Martini, but we have a self imposed rule of not drinking alcohol before 4pm. I have a whiskey every other night, Mrs S and I like the odd glass of Pinot Noir.

One of the curiosities of Irish rural life is that we keep finding ourselves facing wayward livestock. First thing today it was a Shetland Pony in the yard, trotting around and making a tour of inspection on his own. Colum bought it as a stable mate for one of his breeding horses and it’s smart as they come, having worked out how to lift the latch on a gate, and knowing to stay off the road outside, preferring to visit the collection of ramshackle bans and pens to the rear of our house where its friends are.

Sunday’s escape was four steer calves in our front garden. I was upstairs in my office at the time, until Mrs S shouted “Bill, come and have a look at this!” Dutifully trundling downstairs I looked out of the front window to see four steer calves amiably bumbling around on the grass outside. so I phoned Colum and shooed then back up into the farm entrance where Colum caught them coming the other way. Between us we manoeuvred the errant livestock back into the right pen and safe from the predations of fast moving tin boxes on the road outside. This sort of thing happens at least twice a week. Fortunately mostly during daylight hours.

News from the UK; ‘North’ was crowing a bit about the pubs being open for outdoor drinking in jolly old Londinium. The prodnoses and puritans of course disapprove, and would like to make the pandemic that has passed into a permanent feature of everyone’s life. Over here of course, unless you move in some very select circles, the pubs remain firmly closed and bolted. This is what happens when governments have too much power, they f*ck everything up because all they know are political solutions which don’t translate into the real world.

As for ‘South’, in the fabled land of Oz, she’s bagged herself some reasonable contract work to keep the wolf from the door, and we’re advising from here on the pitfalls and benefits of being self-employed. As for the second Australian contingent; did you know they had snow in Darwin, Australia over the weekend? Hang on a minute! Darwin? Australia? Northern Territory? Officially that’s a Tropical Savanna climate. What the hell is it doing snowing in northern Australia there? Even if the snow didn’t settle. At least according to Australian Sister in law, who lives up there. A brief ‘polar blast’ from Antarctica was apparently to blame.

I mean, hold on a minute, if what all these much vaunted media ‘climate experts’ and people like Extinction Rebellion keep telling us about their ‘sceance’ it should be getting warmer. But no-one either understands nor wants to know is that we’re in the early stages of a Grand Solar Minimum, and it’s going to get colder over the next thirty years or so. Which will lead to local climate shifts, altered wind patterns and thus stormier conditions in some places, Areas which at present can produce arable crops may no longer be able to do so.

Then, providing we don’t trip over a threshold in the Northern hemisphere, it will begin to get warmer again after 2053. Depending upon the shifts in climate we’re seeing, which may be shifting around so that current desert areas that bloomed in prehistory will be crop producers once more. This isn’t a ‘conspiracy theory’, because if you bother to look, you can find the evidence that it’s already happening. Shifting growing zones, cold weather events in the tropics. And none of these climate shifts have anything to do with changes in atmospheric C02. At least there’s been zero correlation with the wild claims of climate doom.

So what did I do? Reader, I ignored all the silly prognostications of disaster, went out and bought my wife a bunch of roses. Because a thoughtful man should surprise his better half every so often. This is a far more worthy thing than protesting about something we have no control over, with far more beneficial results.

…It being a Friday

…A Prince named Phillip died. He was a man notorious for saying what was on his mind and being the only one to make HM Queen giggle. This drove anti-royalist Guardianistas into conniptive fits, which was always fun.

So Mrs S and I toasted his memory in tea and ginger biscuits on an Irish garden afternoon that seemed too sunny for such sad news.

We have steeled ourselves against the coming avalanche of empty platitudes from grandstanding politicians and other such luminaries. One can take solace that Phillip didn’t like them much either. His caustic wit will be missed.

A lesson from history

Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:

  1. Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
  2. Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
  3. Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
  4. Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
  5. Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
  6. Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Who also wrote; “Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

And;

“Politicians are not born; they are excreted.”

Sound familiar?

No wonder he used to be taught as part of a classical education. As well as many other Greek and Roman philosophers. Because they’d seen the same mistakes made two freaking thousand years ago and more.

Citrus

Those of you who bother to read my febrile ravings might have noticed a little mischievousness on my part. It’s sort of an existential protest at WordPress for changing their editor without a bye, leave or thank you. So if you read rude words spelled out down the index, please don’t take it personally. it is not meant for you.

Obviously I direct my rancorous bile toward those who screw around with the lives of others without a thought as to the consequences of their policies. Those who take bad advice and inflict it on others for example. The average modern career politician being a case in point, and aren’t they all just that? Average. Decidedly so and only good at sound bites and getting elected. Some would say by fair means or foul.

So, to the title of this post, Citrus. Well chums, I’m at it again, growing citrus plants from seed. Hopefully this time my little jungle will not be dumped because we’re moving continents yet again. The current count is 100% germination, with two lemon and one grapefruit plant germinated and developing root systems.

Simplicity appears to be the key for germination. My germinator, is a transparent plastic pot which once contained coleslaw, wadded at the bottom with a couple of damp (but not wet) squares of kitchen towel. Yes I know I could just slip out and buy a Citrus plant from a garden centre, but that’s not the point. The idea is to do it from scratch. Like I have just started doing with five navel orange seeds, and will do with limes, when of course I find some grocery store limes with seeds in them.

Essentially, my mindset is one of experimentation. Does it work or doesn’t it? If it does, wonderful, great. If not, back to the drawing board. So it has been with my experiments in growing citrus fruit plants in temperate climes.

Right, so what else? So I cultivate citrus plants, big deal. Well there is a therapeutic motivation. Firstly, growing things, like jigsaws, is good for the soul and keeps the blood pressure in check. Secondly, various fruits have real health benefits. A couple of Pineapple chunks a day, no more, I have found, keep the floaters in my eyes at bay. Something to do with an enzyme called Bromelain, or so I am informed.

Similarly Grapefruit, which is supposedly good for the old ticker, but not if you’re on heavy medications like statins, and can increase the effect of those little rhomboid shaped blue tablets we men occasionally defer to when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. But here’s a thing; I find that regular consumption of grapefruit helps clear the relevant blood vessels and saves having to take those little blue diamonds in the first place, which is nice, as those pills are expensive, and I’ve already sold my shares in Pfizer.

Easter Sunday morning

We’ve seen more lambs over Easter weekend. All twins, lots of sleepless nights for Colum and his family. At times like these its all hands to the pumps, which means everyone works through the night, ensuring these bright little lives slide out into existence with the least possible interference from predators and the normal difficulties of birth.

And yes, we’ve been woken up every so often by the latest plaintive cry of newborns, higher pitched than their mothers, complaining at being shunted out of a nice cosy womb to the scant comfort of a concrete floor and the careful ministrations of businesslike two legs. When it gets busy in the lambing shed across the yard during the wee hours, sleep for us sensitive mortals can get a bit fractured. We just try to roll over and check our earplugs as best we can. My days of being up all hours are long ago, and I don’t think Mrs S has ever stayed up past one am in her entire life.

Now from the lambs point of view being born is a mixed blessing, but at least Mum has milk on tap. But before that then there’s the indignity of being unceremoniously hauled out of the shed by a two leg, carried like a brace of rabbits and dumped into lush green grass to recover, suckle a bit, and try to come to terms with these complicated things at each corner called legs.

Keeping on this rather agricultural topic, now the lambs find other lambs, other mothers who don’t smell like their mum does and there’s a bit of confusion, a bit of argey-bargey while everyone sorts out who belongs to whom and should be sucking on which teat on which Ewe. This life business don’t half get complicated. Especially as yesterdays lambs tell you it’s chillier than yesterday. Isn’t there supposed to be a hot yellow thing in the sky that makes you feel warm? Mum says it comes and goes, so keep hold of that thick woolly coat sonny, never mind that tight lacky band round thee nadgers. They’ll soon drop off. Although I’m not sure of how they castrate the boy lambs. It’s usually done at birth, sometimes with a knife, sometimes with elastic bands around the scrotum.

Easy to see that Boris Unraed (Lit. ‘Boris the badly counselled’ who definitely needs a tight elastic band around his scrotum IMHO) is going to set travel restrictions into law which will hurt our family (For one) a great deal. These ‘vaccine passports’ mean we probably won’t see our daughters in person again. All for a pandemic that has been over for months. For months, you utter bastards. For all the talk of ‘COVID deaths’ our local hospital seems to be quiet and the local funeral directors appear to be doing no more than the usual trade.

Regrettably, given the nature and probable longevity of these travel restrictions, it’s now unlikely that Mrs S and I won’t ever see any grandchildren in person either. This I feel is unforgivable, and my UK postal vote will be going to Reform UK, who seem to be the only people opposed to these unnecessary restrictions. I’d like to point out that any other administration that imposes COVID passports won’t be forgiven either. However, in addition,, apparently now I’m a resident of Ireland, I get a vote over here too. Now I can’t stomach the ultra nationalism of the Irish National party who are one of the most vociferous anti-lockdown campaigners, but do like what I’m hearing from the Irish Freedom party. I also like them because they want out of the EU and aren’t quite so vehemently anti-British as the Nationalists. Although I can’t say I’m impressed with their stance on abortion. That should be a personal choice on the part of the mother, no-one else.

So there will be a reckoning of one sort or another. I don’t know how, I don’t know by whom, but there has to be one. This has to end.

Figures…

While I was watching new born lambs being shuttled into the field next door, I went to YouTube, and at the recommendation of Simon Webb of ‘History Debunked’, and to prove, once and for all that the numbers do not lie, went to the UK’s Office of National Statistics website and pulled their stats for all causes of death for the last ten years.

There I also found the following quotation: The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 19 March 2021 (Week 11) was 10,311; this was 676 fewer deaths than the previous week (Week 10). The all causes death numbers are declining, although there’s a bit of wiggle room as these only refer to registered deaths.

However, he said, grasping his metaphorical lapels. The interesting figures are for all causes deaths for the first week of January. According to the ONS all causes mortality figures the UK is currently well below seasonal death norms. I downloaded the last 10 years direct and found the following; for the first week of the calendar year in 2021, total deaths from all causes are listed at 10,069. For the same week in 2018 it was 12,723. For the first week in 2017 it was 11,991. In 2016; 13,045. 2010 was 12,968, which was close to the average of 12,050 for the previous five years. Similar figures can be seen across the available figures for January and February of each respective year. Death stats for that week, traditionally one of the worst in each calendar year, are down by about 2,000 per week. For the arithmetically challenged or simply lazy, that’s about 285 deaths less per day than usual for that week.

Remember, these are official figures, downloaded directly from the office of national statistics, not something I have played with and mangled. Nothing but a simple like for like, week for week comparison.

So let me posit the question again; Why the increasingly draconian regulations making it an offence even to approach a ferry or airport? Why the vaccine passports, why the threats of jail time? Which is a pretty bloody silly thing to do, throwing someone in prison where they’re more likely to catch something than not. That’s like chucking someone into the sea for suggesting a dip in the local swimming pool.

The COVID-19 debacle is over. reputable scientists say it’s been over for a while, the numbers say it’s been over since last year. Western governments, on the other hand, seem to have other ideas. Someone, somewhere has it badly bass ackwards, and it isn’t me.