Good to go

Have just hit the ‘go’ on the new place, having coughed up the contract deposit. So now we have ‘Sale Agreed’ on the property and will be leaving the rest in the hands of our lawyers while we take a break in Dublin. The money is moving on schedule and we have all the reports in. So far so good.

Of course there are many things that can go TITSUP, but we’ve taken as many precautions as we can, and should be all right. With a big conditional emphasis on ‘should’. We do not want to make a mess of things. So I am taking advice at every step, wherever I can get it, from our brokers and lawyers to the local planning department.

All this and beekeeping courses too. So I’m going to put out the busy signal for the time being. The outside world can go hang, I’m sure the politicians can keep fucking up (COVID, Afghanistan, climate change policy etcetera)without any input from me. Not that anyone really listens. Facts are so unfashionable nowadays.

Gosh is that my cynicism again? It’s such a trip hazard.

Updated blogroll ETC

Have updated my Scriblerus blogroll and added ‘In Memoriam’ to the sidebar for those members no longer with us. This has been a sad task long overdue.

A few are new to the group, others have fallen by the digital wayside, having run out of things they wanted to say. A couple have simply deleted their blogs, leaving no trace of their writings.

On the home front, it’s all “hurry up and wait”. I’m on my online beekeeping course and watching at least two hours of beekeeping videos a day, trying to learn from the mistakes of others before I make them.

Mrs S and I are waiting for reports to come through about the new place, and keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t get ‘Gazumped‘ in the meantime. We’ve arranged for the money to move, and have a decent reserve in case something critical goes pear shaped. We’ve also lined up a full ‘building and contents’ insurance policy ready to go. But it’s the sense of sitting on my hands that abrades my good nature. That and Mrs S repeatedly asking me “Is it done yet?” which I also find a little caustic. However, I just take a deep breath, hunker down and keep banging my head against the wall and say “Yes, dear”. It’s all baby steps. One thing at a time. Of course it could all go FUBAR, but what can you do but hang on in there and put the kettle on when needed?

The graveyard of Empires

So everyone is baling out of Afghanistan. Well not before time. The West has wasted enough blood and treasure on that bleeding piece of Earth. Let the Chinese move in and waste theirs.

I’ve been involved in a YouTube comments spat about whether the Chinese will succeed. Yes the Chinese have a lot of troops and weapons, but so did the Soviet era Russians, and look what happened to them. Ten wasted years. 1989 anybody? Don’t take my word, read what the then Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has to say on the matter.

Let’s face it; as far as the UK is concerned, Afghanistan was another one of Tony Blairs vanity wars. I’ve read various reports and I’m still baffled as to why the Western powers bothered to invade. Maybe the reports of rich mineral deposits blinded them to the long history of other failed occupations.

The Taliban just sauntered into Kabul like they’d never left and laughed in everyone’s face. Which makes me wonder if maybe they are the true face of the Afghan people. I think they always have been. From before the Mughal and later the British Empire, then all the failed modernisations by their own monarchs. They keep reverting to type. Trump was right to talk to the Taliban and stop wasting the lives of western troops.

Here’s a thought. Maybe we should just let the Afghans be until a new generation comes along and gently eases the country out of the 14th century? Until then, leave them be to subsistence agriculture and poverty. If that is what they want. Buy their opium for the pharmaceutical trade and turn a blind eye to the rest. Or let the Chinese buy it for their own abuse.

As for the Chinese ‘moving in’, I say let them and watch them come a cropper. Has no-one else heard of a Pyrrhic victory?

Peak Absurdity

From midsummer. Let’s remember some of the most laughable bollocks put out on the lamestream in dear auld Oireland. Remember Luke O’Neill ph.D in a ‘Zorb’ demonstrating how to socialise while ‘staying safe’? Whadda Maroon.

Or “Handshakes may never return”? Seriously? If someone tries the whole elbow bump crap with me, which ironically requires closer physical proximity than a handshake, I always demur and keep my hand sticking out for them to shake. If they insist I lower my hand, step back and contrive to look annoyed. Even if I am creasing up inside at their discomfiture. Lunatics. As for hugs, eff off you nutters. I will publicly hug any person I hold great affection for and will cheerfully give the finger to any remonstrations.

Can we ever forget ‘COVID Expert’ Luke O’Neill’s advice to freeze your grandparents to death? You’d think after the whole ‘Zorb’ thing he’d shut the hell up, but apparently he’s in love with his own image on the old Boob tube. His opinion of his advice is not widely shared.

As for the already massive additional logistical costs, supposedly to protect politicians from themselves, Jaysus! What’s wrong with wearing a surgical mask all day like the rest of the peasants, eh? I don’t wear a mask at all if I can help it, but then I’ve been taught about the proper use of a surgical mask and where they are actually useful. Besides, given the size of Ireland’s Parliament chamber (Dáil) and the fact that it’s rarely full, the likelihood of catching anything in there is probably not significant.

Then there’s the tale about Armed Gardai (Police) who had to run away from a guy who told them he was COVID positive. Oh for heaven’s sake! For the under 70’s, the chances of catching and suffering serious illness from SARS/COV-2 are currently less than a quarter of ordinary influenza. And have been since at least December 2020, and the morons in power are still talking about a ‘third wave’, which seems to be taking an age to arrive. Wasn’t it due last year sometime?

A personal observation; in my day to day travels I pass two of our local hospitals. The car parks are not full. Ambulances aren’t queueing up, there are no refrigerated containers doubling up as mortuary storage. Frankly they both look under used. Rather like the streets of Localtown, with all their closed down and shuttered businesses.

Just watch the rest of the video and laugh, or cry along for what has been taken from us. Which makes me wonder why we are still taking this whole COVID business seriously.

For myself I’m trying to look on the bright side and take the attitude of Peter Jurasik as Babylon 5’s Londo Mollari; “Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad.

Well, if you turn off the TV and just go about your day to day business it isn’t. It’s only serious in the minds of the mainstream media and politicians. As for ‘vaccine passports’ anyone asking for one simply doesn’t get my custom.

We have hit and surpassed peak absurdity. Gender pronouns, vaccine passports, banned protests, ‘no fun allowed’ all under a ludicrous rainbow banner of diversity and inclusivity. Ah yes, the ‘diversity and inclusivity’ that has divided society more than anything else in living memory.

Additional: from the Daily Sceptic. The average age of death from Covid in England and Wales in the spring epidemic was 80.4 according to the ONS, splitting 78.7 for men and 82.5 for women. The average age of death in the UK is 79.3 for men and 82.9 for women (though note these are modelled estimates of life expectancy at birth based on life tables, not the actual average age of those who die each year). Public Health England has estimated that life expectancy was reduced by 1.3 years for men and 0.9 years for women in 2020 due to the Covid and lockdown death tolls, though these figures are also modelled.

See graph:

Sweet thoughts

About this becoming an Apiarist thing. Now I’ve been researching a bit about what you can do with honey and beeswax from the hives and found there’s a whole unsuspected world out there. All sorts of honey based stuff from simply bottling the raw honeycombs to honey bread. Not to mention Royal Jelly, which can fetch around ten euros plus per shot. And of course Mead.

My preference is for something akin to a Dryish Sherry , White Port or Madiera, only lighter. About 14-18% ABV. For special occasions, maybe a little ‘sparkle’ or carbonation might be required.

Mead has the reputation of being very heavy and sweet, but I’ve come across some very pale and light products, which are very drinkable, so that’s the direction I’m interested in. But in a distilled end product. Which I’m told is very nice.

The thing is; Is there a proper generic name for distilled Mead? I’ve heard the Slavic word ‘Midus’ bandied around because distilled Mead can’t be Honey Brandy, mainly because mead isn’t really a wine, not being a grape based beverage, and officially Brandy can only be distilled from wine, like Whiskey can only be distilled from a grain (Malted barley) type mix and Vodka is mostly grain, although potatoes have been cited as a base, and of course there’s the Italian Grappa. But I think Mead, being a honey base, should have it’s own classification because it’s neither grain nor grape. So what is the right name for distilled Mead?

Now I’ve been haunting the forums, looking for information, and apart from a lot of useful information about Mead brewing and Distilling, haven’t quite found the terminology that I’m looking for.

As an afterthought, I see the Afghans want to revert to their pre-1900 lifestyle having caved in to the Taliban. Why we bothered with the place in the first instance I have no idea. Having a military presence there only seemed to make things worse and provide the locals with target practice. Which begs the question; can you lockdown the borders of an entire country?

Words to inspire

I saw this on Pinterest, and was moved to create my own version. See below.

Happy Friday.

Oh. My. GOD.

I think I may have just bought a house. Well possibly. Maybe. Providing a thousand details don’t go into TITSUP mode and it all falls over.

At the end of the process Mrs S and I hope to be the proud owner of five acres of land and a reasonable house in a nice area. Whether this happens or not is in the lap of the Gods, our Structural Engineer and the conveyancing solicitors. Who are, surprise, surprise, all on feckin holiday.

Now I don’t resent this because we all need a break from what Mrs S refers to as “All this silliness.” Well, she’s a teacher, what do you expect? These holidays delay the process, but fortunately the Irish, being the sensible people they are, take this into account. Money will move, people will do their job and hopefully we’ll all be golden. Hopefully.

The rest of our global family are planning for a large get together when all these ridiculous COVID restrictions are over. We haven’t had a real gathering of the clan since before my father in law died. Happy days. Maybe when the politicians stop panicking maybe the good times will come again.

In the meantime Mrs S has been bombarding me with questions about what we’re going to do with the land (Erm…Dunno) and what are the regulations (Not A Clue) until my head spins. To which my response is; “That’s what I’m going to learn.” It’s all very well to ask all these damn questions, but if you’re not going to help me find the answers, give me a break already. We haven’t even properly bought the bloody place yet.

Notwithstanding. On the quiet, I have a fancy to retire and take up beekeeping. Become an Apiarist. Plant out the bottom acre furthest from the house with Roses and Fuchsias and a couple of types of fruit tree as a ready source of nectar. Stick the beehives in a little clearing in the middle. It might mean having to wear a Hazmat suit when working at that end of the property, but why not? Might even take up brewing Mead. Work it on a batch production system and perhaps sell my produce once a year to a specialist wholesaler. Or mail order only. Save all the fuss of navigating the byzantine health regulations. Mrs S could make candles from the wax, as I know that’s something she’s likes doing. She’s always liked candles. Again. Mail order or via Amazon marketplace. Or eBay.

The hives would act as their own security, and the site I would choose for them is surrounded by Maythorn and Blackthorn trees a good two hundred metres from any road in mostly livestock country. Very little pesticide spraying. Hell, might even go ‘organic’ and charge twice the price.

Well, I can dream can’t I? Might all fall apart, but that’s no reason not to give it the old rugby try. For the first time in a good long age I’m starting to get fired up over an idea. Well I never.

Oooh nooooo!

Ah the gift that never stops on giving, good old man made climate change got a boost from the latest IPCC report which has been touted as ‘code red for humanity’. Now where have I heard that before?


Throughout the 1990’s?

All through the 2000’s?

Since 2010?

And so on, and so on. We had “Ten years to save the Earth” back in 1989. Whatever happened to that ‘tipping point’? There was “A hundred months” . Don’t take my word, here’s an article containing a compendium of these hyperbolic claims.

North pole ice still there? Er….. actually yes. Polar Bears? Doing nicely thank you. Antarctica? Still very cold. No real ice loss. Is Iceberg alley still active between Labrador and Newfoundland? Damn straight it is. Even at midsummer, last time I was up at L’Anse Au Meadow. Bergy bits in the harbour and big flat topped bergs you could land light aircraft on off in the distance. Just in case some of you don’t believe me Here are a few pictures from late June 2017.

My first ever berg sighting, a grounded growler, seen in Ste Genevieve Bay. I was so excited I took a picture of our wing mirror.

Then some ‘Bergy bits’ grounded inside St Anthony’s Harbour, south of L’Anse Au Meadow. The smallest are ten feet across.

Oh, and this fifty metre square specimen grounded berg pictured just outside St Anthony’s on the same day. All of these pictures were taken on and around June 22nd, before we beat a hasty retreat southward.

Now this is a thousand miles south of the arctic circle. In late June. A bumper year for wildfires in BC when we arrived home that August. So when anyone guffs off about the world being doomed and it’s all my fault, I will simply ask them how they account for my first hand observations that I can back up with pictures taken by me at a verifiable location.

By way of an observation, over the last few years I have been hearing of cold weather phenomena, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. Indeed ‘South’ has recently reported temperatures as low as three Celsius in Sydney, Australia. All right, it is Winter down there, but we’re not doing much better here in the wilder west of Ireland. We had a ten day heatwave in July and today our thermometer has struggled to clear sixteen Celsius in early August. To the point where we had to switch the heating on.

So, are we doomed or aren’t we? I don’t think so, because we humans are good at adapting and surviving. We’re even capable of adapting our own environment like building houses to keep us dry and sculpting the landscape to keep us fed. Something the doom addicts don’t seem to be cognisant of. But if they fall for such an obvious con-trick as ‘global warming’ when it’s chucking it down, one might say they deserve all the misery they get. Although I’d rather they simply got on with being unhappy and just left the rest of us well alone.

Or according to Tony Heller of Real Climate Science, quoting Solzhenitsyn.

I love this

AwakenwithJP is a long time favourite satirical YouTube channel.

Today Is Sunday, Watch and Smile.

A thoughtful man

Today I bought Mrs S a bunch of red roses. No reason. I saw a bunch of supermarket blooms on a display and thought to myself “She’ll like those.” So I bought them. For no other reason than I thought it would bring a smile to her face. Her smiles please me. They are high on the list of my favourite things in life.

In these times of digital witch burning otherwise known as ‘cancel culture’, partisan politics, and groupthink, I think we all need a link with our favourite things. At present there is too much negativity flash flooding down the digital and media channels at us. So we must scramble up the banks of sanity using whatever handholds we can find or be swept away on a tide of manufactured mass psychosis. See video below.

For me, the little handholds against falling into a bottomless pit of Menticide are the returns I get from random acts of kindness to those I love. The gift of roses or a bottle of wine. Taking my wife on a day out to places like the Hazel Chocolate Mountain in North Clare. Which, let me add, makes very nice choccies indeed. Giving her a random hug. Telling her I love her.

I give her my time when she wants to vent. Room to dree her own weird when she’s not in the mood for my often lame wisecracks. Jokes like when I saw a sign saying “Sheepdog Demonstrations” which made me ask frivolously ; “What are the Sheepdogs demonstrating for? Larger flocks? Better dog food?” Mrs S didn’t like that one much. My career in stand up is definitely dead in the water.

Yet even that kind of response grounds me. Gives me boundaries. Which I sometimes ignore, just to show there’s still a sarky old Bill Sticker behind the face I normally show to the world. Just to let her know I’m paying attention. Which in turn lets me keep a grip on myself when all the counter intuitive restrictions feel too oppressive to bear. Giving me a place to stand firm in the universe when it seems everything has gone completely AWOL and contradictory. When all the messaging from the mainstream is fear, fear, fear. Yet when I look into the numbers I don’t see the justification for that fear. Just a bunch of people who have totally lost their heads over a virus that has already done it’s worst and is not doing anything like the damage that is too often intimated.

For myself, my main concerns are monetary. What these meddling restrictions will do to the overall economy and in process the resources I’ve been able to squirrel away for a new home and a little investment capital besides. But even then as a thoughtful man, I’m not simply doing this for myself, this is for my family, for those I care about.

I make no claims to infallibility because I’ve been wrong about a few things in the past. Not everything, but a few. However, the knowledge that I’m often just as full of shit as the next guy is no bad thing. It gives me distance. And distance from the current crazy crapshoot is no bad thing.

How’d that work out?

Came up against the silly rule that you have to show a vaccination certificate yesterday. To get a cup of coffee. A freaking cup of coffee and a light lunch for heavens sake! The staff demanded to see them before we would be served. I didn’t have mine with me (Never carry it), so we walked out of the coffee shop .

We might have sat in and had a nice lunch, spending a pleasant hour and spending fifty or so euro’s, paying wages for the staff and keeping the economy rolling. We didn’t.

So we went to a competitor around the corner who offered outdoor space for dining without demanding our papers and spent our money there.

The place where we were refused service unless “Papieren bitte” has earned a scathing review on Tripadvisor and Expedia. I will never knowingly enter the premises of that franchise or any associated business ever again. Ireland used the boycott against bad landlords back in the day, now it’s time to resurrect that tactic.

Yes, they were free to refuse me service because I couldn’t ‘prove’ my vaccination status. However, the menu was rather limited and the fare looked fairly average with nothing out of the obvious to recommend it, so the money walked.

Mrs S is upset at my blunt refusal to carry a vaccination certificate, but I told her archly that “I’ve gone along with this farce for long enough. I’ve had the jabs. Thus far and no further.”

She protested that this “Limited her choices.” To which I responded; “This is a matter of principle. I’ll happily show my certificate when going in for medical treatment, but nowhere else. The coffee shops can fuck off.”

We’ll see who goes broke first.

The politicians don’t follow these rules, so why should we?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

News from down under that Sydney is in lockdown again, further isolating ‘South’ and a need to talk to her whenever she needs to vent. She’s missing her friends terribly poor thing and has even taken to speaking to me directly, not via her Mum to try and keep a grip on things.

From the fabled land of Oz I’ve seen footage of people being ordered off the beach by loudspeaker toting helicopters, being ushered into their houses by the fecking Australian Army for heaven’s sake! Out of the healthy fresh air and back into the bacteria and virus ridden captivity of their houses. For what? 140 positive tests and one attributed death after a positive PCR? That’s just full on, disproportionate, out of your tree batshit crazy.

Going back to my operating theatre training, we had it drilled into us that the average human habitation is a veritable plague pit. Because if you did swab tests of your own living space you would be horrified at the concentration of contagion lurking there. Even if you are incredibly houseproud and everywhere stinks of disinfectant. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and moulds proliferate, and even apparently ‘clean’ surfaces can be as full of spores and lurgi as any outside space. Not a place you want to spend too much time, you old plague carrier you. Because most of the lurgi in the average home has one major source; humans. Sorry. You can’t blame this one on your Dog / Hamster / Goldfish. They get what you got.

As an aside it’s the same for CO2. CO2 levels are much higher within the average building than out. Take a CO2 (Dioxide, not Monoxide) meter and check if you don’t believe me. Then stick it behind your mask. Go on, just do it. Now try it outdoors with your mask off. You might be surprised at the readings.

FYI: A side effect of CO2 in higher concentrations means your cognitive performance can be significantly reduced. Here’s the science. Prolonged exposure to levels over 500ppm means you’re not as quick witted or on your game as you should be. Work in a stuffy office? Check the CO2 levels.

Put simply; wearing a surgical or other mask without additional squirts of oxygen for more than two hours or so increases rebreathing of CO2 to a point where the oxygen content of your blood is reduced. Not to the point of hypoxia, but certainly making you a little more stupid and possibly more compliant than you are naturally.

Ergo, you are safer outdoors taking a brisk healthy walk than lurking indoors with all the sources of infection and increased Carbon Dioxide. Of which you are one. So taking a shower on a regular basis might be a good idea. Some fresh food, a little fruit, and regular time out in the garden or sitting in a open window. Or at work, if you have a regular job, some time away from your desk is a good idea. You are at no more risk at a restriction free workspace than you are at home. Which studies on Supermarket workers from the start of the pandemic have demonstrated.

As for the reduced numbers, my argument for some time has been that we already have herd immunity. The constant reduction of cases, irrespective of vaccine take up and low mortality speaks volumes. The worst has come and gone long since. There is no need for extra vaccines. Only the pantywaist class of professional politician or the under informed think that.

Taking the aforementioned into account, under lockdowns, a strategy last used during medieval times, your risk factor of catching anything indoors is therefore elevated. Like you are more likely to catch the dreaded lurgi in a hospital, because guess what? Hospitals are full of sick people.

This is the simple truth. Not ‘disinformation’. I leave that to the real ‘experts’ in the mainstream of politics and the media. Those with product to sell and for government propaganda to foist on everyone.

In the meantime, my family is shattered. The economy is in tatters, as are our civil rights. I hate it.

A pub lunch

For the first time in eighteen months, Mrs S and I popped out for an indoors lunch in a pub. In Tipperary no less. As we were sitting there, I was treated to a large screen running footage from the ‘Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ live. Yes, I know that sounds bizarre, but then we are living in bizarro-world, so no big deal right?

Actually the games are being held in 2021. Quite frankly I found the spectacle completely weird. Athletes competing in an almost completely empty stadia. Tier after tier of empty seats with no-one but a couple of dozen or so team members and officials to cheer their team mates and champions on to victory. I found the sight somewhat disturbing and remarked upon this observation to Mrs S.

“I know, but it was the only way they could do it.” She replied.

In reply I wrinkled my mouth in disgust. There was a wrongness I could not put words to, but I saw it in the faces of the athletes before their events when a camera was shoved in their faces. Self-consciousness and embarrassment were how I would describe their expressions, like they wished they were elsewhere. After their event, when the adrenalin was still high, the winners looked excited, but even there I saw shadows, such is the penetration of 4K cameras, nothing escapes.

Still, we had a pleasant lunch and will stop at that hostelry again if passing. Decent pub menu and presentation of the food was good. Pity it was raining, but then you can’t have everything.

Afterthought: What’s the point of a ‘Victory lap’ when there’s no-one there to celebrate with?