Well, that’s me at present. Breaking up a large expanse of raised and rotten decking to what Mrs S and I are going to turn into a modest water feature and rose garden. While the mild and dryish weather lasts, that is what is taking up my time.
Most of what we do is adapt what was here before and change it to our liking. The decking and old water feature has become a dangerous eyesore, so it has to go. The old decking, along with the piles of builders rubbish and demolished wall, will form the basis of a wind sheltering berm. The Azaleas will be moved, along with some decorative shrubs into, guess what?
Yes, and it does sometimes feel like I’m trying to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring, or even a well past it’s sell by date kipper. However, matters progress, and I’m all the better for working up a reasonable sweat for at least two hours every day. Who needs a gym, eh?
At present I’m taking no more than a passing interest in the news as I feel no need for any more vindication. Any strange noises I might hear are the mainstream media doing a rather creaky volte face on a whole range of issues. Although I would dearly like them to raise their keyboards against arming a bunch of genuine fascists over the supply of advanced military hardware like Challenger 2’s, Abrams Mk 2’s and Speer Leopards. Honestly I’m surprised that the energy crisis hasn’t been solved by harnessing that generated by all the allied service people who fought in WW2 spinning in their graves. Far more useful than those subsidy mills called wind turbines.
As for being ‘anti-science’ my view is that I’ve gone to the source data on every issue I can think of, from the ONS figures on excess deaths to the basic science of compound molecules, and based on the professional level training I have undertaken, from technical college Engineering courses, through all the medical and IT training I’ve done and latterly University courses on Technical writing and editing, what comes out of many politicians mouths has been so counter-intuitive as to strain credulity well past it’s elastic limit. Frankly chums, I’ve sat with my jaw on the floor sometimes listening to all the guff put out by people like Ardern and Trudeau, thinking that they are so far out of their depth they drowned long ago. And these are people trying to tell us they can ‘save the planet’. Hell, I don’t think they could save two dollars (Canadian, US or NZ) if they tried.
I may not have a University degree, but then I’ve always been too damn busy working or traveling. Maybe If I totted up all my course credits I might qualify, but given that nowadays I might be compelled to do additional courses on nonsensical topics like ‘diversity’ to pass, I can’t be arsed. At my point in life it’s not worth it.
Anyway, it’s time for a refreshing cuppa and settle down with one of Norman Davies interesting histories about vanished kingdoms. One can always find something in these histories to learn from. And learning is a life long process done every day.
Minor local panic. There’s a bunch of ne’er-do-wells currently frequenting our locality who broke into a neighbours house and ransacked their place while they were out. Apparently there’s been an increase in such burglaries / home invasions of late. Make of that what you will.
Personally I think our mini crime wave is a predictable phenomenon derived from the current series of economic and moral crises. Leading to desperate and feckless people doing unpleasant things. As they always have.
In anticipation we have strong doors and high security locks, so said scrotes will give Chez Sticker the go-by as too much trouble. We’re also in a lot more. Add to that there’s often a big guy (me) around the house and yard, or looking out of the window, cars in the driveway and yard. Oh, I’m friendly enough, but life has taught me due caution.
Nevertheless, it gave me an incentive to rig a couple of extra security lights. I’m also looking at putting up some discreet external cameras so we know who is trying to access our domicile. External gates now sport a couple of hefty looking padlocks to deter unwelcome callers, the external boiler house door is now kept locked, as are the sheds, unless we’re outside working.
My security philosophy is all about layers. One closed gate might not stop a thief, but if they have to make a lot of noise to get past more than one barrier, the majority of the morally weak will walk on by. If you have a dog with good territorial instincts, so much the better.
The same with valuables like documents and jewellery. The cheap and not so important you can keep to hand. The nicer stuff goes in a concealed lockbox in a not so obvious location. Or two. Nothing too complicated, just not obvious and awkward to open without demolishing half the house. Just enough to not advertise that you too, like the idols of old, have feet of clay.
Talking about feet of clay. I see that globalist premier of New Zealand has resigned, citing ‘burnout’. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I wish Trudeau would do the same. All the other weak political figures like her are currently at Davos, listening to charlatans spout bullshit about their ‘clever’ solutions. The majority of which have always failed before. They are that clueless and desperate. Rather like our local ne’er-do-wells.
Seems to me that our political classes, in the main, are so scared of losing votes from noisy minority interests they won’t grasp the nettle of economic reality to ultimately benefit the majority. Said reality currently playing out before our eyes. In the meantime we have to securely lock our doors and check the insurance policy.
Mrs S follows the UK Royal news. Every so often she feels compelled to share snippets with me. Like the current furore over a certain ex-prince of the realm who has written a book. Well, not so much a book as a fit of ghost-written pique.
Details of the security procedures meant to protect the monarch are not meant to become public domain, yet he has spilled the beans. Although the security services will no doubt have read the silly whinge-fest and changed their protocols accordingly.
Why this situation was created is purely down to said ex-princes ego. Which needs a bit of a psychic slap. He’s spent too much time in La-La land. And having been resident on Canada’s wet coast, I can vouch for how adrift from reality that can be.
Such a wake up call will not be a pleasant experience for said ex-prince. It will be traumatic and involve a good deal of self reflection. Indeed, the best case scenario for all concerned for him would be to become an outcast somewhere remote for a couple of years on his tod getting his mind right.
Far from the madness of his current existence. No phones, Internet or other modern conveniences, just a year or two of getting his hands dirty and away from the malign influences that have brought him to this circumstance. Maybe his Dad would help by letting him live rough on one of his estates where a man can lose himself for long enough to meet himself coming back, and perhaps learn a little gratitude and humility on the way.
To conclude; that boy needs serious alone time to get his head sorted out. Not that he’ll get it given current circumstances. Although if, as I think is probable given her track record, Sparkly Meg does dump him, as the gossip is that said alleged “Puck bunny” is busy looking for a new sugar daddy, he might just be lucky to become reconciled with his family. Then he might be worth having some sympathy for.
Maybe he could even go and take a job driving a tractor on Clarkson’s farm. While he decides to accept JC’s apology. Stranger things have happened.
Taking a break from painting my own personal Forth Bridge (metaphor for a never ending task) of shed roof patching. The major issue is that there’s so much residual moisture in between the cladding and the internal membrane that it’ll be weeks before I can tell how successful my patching has been.
Progress will be slow while I have no proper light in there, because I’m not stupid enough to do any wiring until I’m confident the shed is reasonably dry and leak resistant.
Major projects remaining are sorting a replacement septic system for the house and getting the gear in for mead brewing. Neither of which can happen for the next two months. Both are mostly weather and light dependent.
As is the patching. I need full daylight so I can see where the holes are, which limits my activity. I could of course get some crawl boards and do any sealing from up on top, but I don’t trust the current roof and rafters to hold up anything heavier than next doors cat. So, there’s another delay. The roof is going to be changed when funds allow to create a properly supported platform floor which can handle a full dance troupe doing a high kick routine. Then there will be a supported roof over that to make a second floor open viewing space. But that’s scheduled for 2024.
Was having a few issues with one app on my TV streaming box when not chasing people for quotes and suchlike, so I went on one of the forums to find out if anyone else had found a fix. Well now, what can i say? There was one guy (On several threads) demanding that an app be shut down and deleted because he / she / it felt that people were (And I joke not) “Being driven to suicide” by the “right wing content”. Well now chums. What can I say? I almost fell off my chair laughing. This was pure Tony Hancock, whose stock in trade was his pompous little man routine.
To put it politely, said complainant had definitely drunk deep of the Kool-aid, as our American cousins like to phrase it. Anyone questioning the mainstream dogmas of man made climate change / Covid / or the Epstein scandal etc was repeating “QAnon conspiracies” and should not be allowed to put their content on any app, anywhere. Yar boo to you.
Now as someone who has, through their own research and consulting the content of properly credentialed and experienced researchers, come to doubt a lot of the mainstream narrative, I can say, hand on heart, that I have never visited any QAnon (or similar) thread. Indeed, I tend to view all such content with a heavily jaundiced eye. Nor would I use anything on that platform as a source or reference. That would be like believing everything on Fox, CNN, BBC, MSNBC etc. While mainstream content (and QAnon) may contain elements of actual events, facts are too often overshadowed by a crowd of baseless assertions , hulking great porky pies and non-sequiturs.
Never been on Reddit either. Although I have had cause to consult various specialist forums for fixes and guidance. Like international tax treaties, legal advice and citizens advice. All of which are accessed and digested with a very healthy metaphorical grain of salt. It’s like getting quotes from tradespeople. You always get what you want nailed down as much as possible. You discuss options, you take advice, you sometimes follow your gut feelings. What some journalist might say in an article can give you an idea, but should rarely be taken as gospel. Their ignorance may be as great or greater than yours.
Personally, I pay attention to the people voicing legitimate concerns who have real world experience, even if they are semi-retired, Like Dr John Campbell, and the immunologists who penned the great Barrington declaration. People who have been doing high level work and teaching all their working lives, not those who are little better than petty bureaucrats, afraid to deviate from an accepted narrative lest they lose their jobs.
That said, one of the things that never fails to pleasantly surprise me is how often when talking to friends and family nowadays, who had previously dismissed my positions on various topics, now agree with me. Totally without prompting. Which feels quite gratifying. When I feel my opinions have been reached reasonably. Reached by pausing and asking questions when all else are hurrying blindly toward a cliff edge. As with people like the recently unjustifiably maligned and sidelined Andrew Bridgen, UK MP for northwest Leicestershire. Falsely accused of ‘anti-Semitism’.
To the vicious person on that (and probably other) forum I would say this; shutting people up for voicing genuine concerns or doubts, is flat out wrong. Even if those voicing the concerns do go off on one. If you don’t like their version there is always the off switch. Contrariwise, blanket dismissal of carefully formulated opinions on various topics as mere ‘conspiracy theories’ is also very closed minded. A tactic that simply marks out the person making said knee jerk statement as ignorant and perhaps even callous.
Does this mean I would like the comments that ‘offended’ me shut down? Far from it. Let them make fools of themselves. Let their overt hatred of ‘the other’ show them up for the blinkered bigots they claim others are. In public, where others can use the Robin Williams defence against rape (“point and laugh”), because by shutting down all other voices but theirs is nothing short of the rape of public discourse. And it’s gotten really obvious.
The only question we need ask when anyone makes a definitive statement of belief is; “How much of what you are telling me is really true? or is this just your opinion?”
Well, that’s only my opinion. But more and more people, with or without reading my commentary, share it.
Leak prevention work proceeds to get my workshop dried out. I keep finding junk left by the previous owners, some of which may be useful, most not. Spent most of today on my back fighting dust and cobwebs while sealing holes in the cladding roof. The things I do just so I can work in the dry and get more done for outside, eh?
One of my worries is always safety, and I go at things slowly and carefully, ensuring nothing can fail and dump me over ten feet to unforgiving concrete, something which might not prove fatal, but more than likely injurious and possibly disabling. So I remind myself daily that I am not twenty three and fit as a butchers dog any more. Getting it right uninjured is more important, no matter that it takes longer.
On the topic of getting things right, I was watching a YouTube video last night about volcanoes and what they do. Well, it’s a hobby. Does anyone recall that big undersea volcano that blew it’s stack about a year ago? The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, supposedly the biggest boom since Krakatoa in 1883?
Direct impingement was a 15 metre (Around fifty feet) high tidal wave which caused damage in places as far from the explosion as Japan, Peru, as well as the more localised Island nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga itself. Fortunately resulting in only three or four deaths.
What also happened was the explosion punching gigatons of water vapour and particulates over fifty kilometres into the upper atmosphere, where the mechanisms of Coriolis and Earth’s natural atmospheric circulation will eventually spread said huge tranche of water vapour, SO2 and particulates all over the globe, where they will persist for years, possibly decades.
Now the political rhetoric said that the Summer heat waves and / or unseasonable cold snaps were all down to humanity being such a wicked organism for driving around, taking nice holidays, eating meat and breathing.
None of which is true, by the way. Indeed, compared to water vapour, the ‘Greenhouse effect’ of atmospheric CO2 is, as I have stated so many times before, a mere bit part player, a brief walk on in Earth’s climate / weather systems. As the aftermath of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai is amply demonstrating.
Did you know that the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption displaced ten cubic kilometres of material under the ocean? No one is quite sure how much water vapour went skywards, but it was a lot. Not millions, but billions of tons. Giga, not Mega. Into the upper atmosphere, where it has been falling to Earth ever since as ash, and much later rain and snow. And also reflecting more sunlight back into space.
The weather patterns following Pinatubo in the 1990’s were very reminiscent of what is currently happening. Alternating hot weather and cold spells caused by the triggering of La Nina and El Nino phenomena, both of which are Pacific Ocean driven. Never mind the normal AMO and PDO climate / weather oscillations.
Then the amount of water vapour and particulates finally cleared and we had that glorious hot Summer of 1998. Not so much as Hunga-Ha’apai will do, because Pinatubo was a more land based eruption and kicked up less water vapour than Hunga-Ha’apai. Which makes Hunga-Ha’apai a different animal altogether. But the effects of said eruption will last just as long, if not longer than Pinatubo, as water vapour stays in the atmosphere far longer than mere particulates. No-one really knows what that will mean, but we do know enough to make educated guesses.
Talking of such guesses, I may be wrong about this, but we may be in for a chillier and wetter, not warmer few years, coupled with a series of deepening solar minimums that are currently kicking into gear. With, as some Solar Physicists have said, around thirty years of less solar energy from the sun than we’ve been used to. So perhaps I’m not that far off track.
So; work on creating a decent greenhouse space will be made a priority once my workshop is waterproof. Then there’s doing a proper job of wiring the sheds once they’re ready, oh yes, moving soil, seeding, planting and nurturing.
The politicians have screwed us all with their focus on chasing the Net Zero bunny down into a corkscrew labyrinth of failure. Renewables will prove to be worthless boondoggles, as one 3MW rated Wind Turbine will only produce 23% of that capacity in optimum conditions. Which don’t happen often. Don’t even get me started on Solar. In Ireland? Don’t be an Eejit.
As for EV’s, we’d need to triple the size of the electrical grid to come even close to powering enough for Ireland’s transport needs. At some stage the politicians will wake up and allow fracking to help power the nation, while a couple of nuclear Small Modular Reactors would bring much needed baseload capacity.
Capacity for the next time dear old mother Earth has a significant burp, which seems to happen every twenty or so years. Three examples spring to mind; El Chichon (1982), Pinatubo (1991), and now Hunga-Ha’apai (2022). Then again, if you look at things globally, there are a lot more reports of eruptive volcanic activity over the last couple of years, from Kiluwea and Mauna Loa to the intensification of activity elsewhere, like Etna and Stromboli in Italy and Iceland.
Some have suggested this uptick in volcanic activity is due to changes in Earth’s core and mantle, triggered in turn by changes in the solar system spanning electromagnetic influence of the sun. Given that the heliopause, or boundary where the sun’s magnetic influence ends, comes way outside the orbit of Pluto, I’d say that the evidence suggests there may be some truth in this.
Another clue comes from Earth’s polar shift which has accelerated to 55 miles per year, moving magnetic north from tootling around Victoria bay in the northern wastes of Canada to almost on top of the geographic north pole at the time of writing.
However, part of said uptick may also be due to crustal flexing caused by Lunar and Solar influences. I just haven’t found any credible research yet. Although given that so much research funding goes to the ” it’s all CO2″ faction, the real truth of what drives our constantly changing climate will come from the fringes, not the seductive blatherings of mere politicians. Who incidentally, have a worse track record than the ‘conspiracy theorists’ they and the other mainstream media bubble inhabitants often rail against.
Well, sort of. Today has seen me temporarily sorting out our septic tank, which needs replacing sometime this year. The problem is that the old system sits in a piece of ground that has become waterlogged, and the old concrete tank has cracked, allowing surface groundwater to leak in.
What this means is that the tank fills up faster than it drains. Which leads to gargling drains every time we take a shower or flush the upstairs toilet and the need for the tank itself to be emptied more often than usual. So I went and talked to one of my neighbours, who suggested a dirty water pump and to dump the grey water (top layer) of water onto an area of our property which was less waterlogged.
Having talked to two septic engineers this week to get quotes for a new tank, I found a piece of ground which passed the necessary soil percolation test and set a pump working. An hour later the tank level was acceptably lower and our drains were running freely. No more gargling toilets. Huzzah!
Given that the piece of ground in question is where the new septic field and tank will be located, hopefully in Spring, clear of all watercourses and groundwater, we can clear the grey water out of the tank once a fortnight with the pump and thus save coughing up two hundred plus euros to have the tank emptied every six weeks. All with a clear environmental conscience.
This is a noisome business and only for those with a strong stomach. Old, and possibly sacrificial clothing should be worn, and a long scrub scheduled afterwards, because no matter how careful you are, the smell sticks like superglue. To the effect that my work coat is currently airing in one of our sheds, as are my work boots and gloves.
However, mission objective has been achieved. Mrs S waved to me with a grin from our bedroom window and announced that we no longer had the effect of someone playing an underwater trombone ten minutes after the toilet was flushed. There is no back pressure in our soil pipes, and the showers drain quick as you like. Which is nice, for a given value of ‘nice’, if you don’t mind your nose shutting down in protest.
It might be said that I have had what could be called a shit day. However, all things considered, it’s been quite a successful one.
I mean come on. Silly masks do next to nothing to stop infection. They may reduce the radius of infection in an operating theatre, but in civilian hands they are effectively useless, Especially at stopping viral spread. The weave is too coarse to stop microdroplets and catches other pathogens for rebreathing.
I don’t give a bugger whether mask mandates are being brought back because they didn’t work last time. Nor did keeping people restricted indoors. Again, because indoors is where people catch most infections. I would argue strongly that the restrictions made things worse. The high excess death figures post pandemic rather proving my point.
Heavy sigh, no doubt we will be treated to ‘health advice’ to wear a mask while swimming FFS! How stupid are the people giving this ‘advice’? And if someone says that they are ‘following the science’ to me I’ll laugh in their face.
All to prevent an infection that is no worse for most then a bad cold. Candidly me deario’s I think these experts and the idiots who believe them are madder that Jock Mcfiddle-Blanchett, a Victorian lunatic who was the only man to invent a Trout powered bicycle and believed that the pixies in his sporran made him walk sideways. He also claimed to be the first Vampire haddock, who turned into a piece of battered fish during the hours of darkness,
People that batshit crazy should be nowhere near anywhere they can influence policy for the rest of us.
How did I spend New Years Day? Easy, Mrs S, ‘North’ and I went for an hour at one of Irelands many sandy beaches. ‘North’, the hardy soul, went for a full blown swim like a bunch of others. Mrs S and I settled for a paddle in near freezing water. Very refreshing. Bloody cold on the old tootsies, but what do you expect?
The little jetty we parked near was fully occupied by many other vehicles carrying sea bathers who had elected to see in the New Year with a dip in the Briny. A few made a fuss, with lots of shrieking as they gallumphed into the sparkling cold blue water. Because it was a sunny lunchtime for a change. We do get sunshine in the wilder west and it sometimes doesn’t last more than a couple of hours, but this part of the world is as nice a place as I would want to spend time in.
However, an hour later the clouds rolled in over the mountains and snow began to fall on the highest peak, but otherwise it was very scenic. Much better than slumping down in front of the idiot box.
Right. That has set the tenor for the year. We’ve survived 2021 and 2022, but now we’re going to make the most of 2023. There may be lots of work to do, but now I’m completely my own boss I will be scheduling regular time outs into my week for a beach day out in the fresh air.