Around our property are a number of Sycamore trees. Last year the amount of winged seeds they produced was immense. Now from what I’ve read, this happens when a given tree or trees is ‘stressed’ by bad weather or damage.

Thinking about it this makes perfect sense. Fruit trees are pruned just enough to stress them into heavier crops than they would ordinarily produce. There’s also enough folklore about a lot of berries presaging a cold or wet winter, despite all the “hottest year evah” wittering from certain parties. And it has been colder and wetter than usual. So maybe the trees have a better handle on what’s happening than we do.

Unfortunately this means I have thousands upon thousands of bloody Sycamore seedlings sprouting all over an acre or so, and it’s a huge drag on my time to hoe them all out and apply the right weed killer. Which, I might add, I do not like having to use. But there you go.

There’s a lot going on in the news, but honestly I can’t be arsed to worry about the insanity, apart from privately working out how to get around the fallout. My cuttings seem to be working, and there’s work for me to do.

So much for all that

Reshaping the grounds continues apace. There’s a new border wall in the grounds (Good grief ‘grounds’ whoever would have thought I’d ever live in a house with ‘grounds’ rather than just a back yard or a garden?) and planting is almost compete for this first batch.

As for the tin foil hat part of the equation, everything we managed to work out for ourselves turns out to be true. From the lab leak theory to the manipulation of data and scare tactics abused by our own governments and media.

‘The Lockdown Files’ are now public domain, and how a massive disinformation campaign by the powers that be is laid bare for all to see. All for hubris and ambition. We the public have been horribly betrayed by all sides of mainstream political life, a few backbenchers being notewothy exceptions.

So much for being a ‘conspiracy theorist’. There has been a conspiracy, and it is one of many to the detriment of the public of many nations, no theory required. Oh yes, and did you ever wonder where the whole ‘transgender’ thing came from?

Jennifer Bilek says “Follow the money trails, they do not lie….”


Busy taking cuttings and setting up fruit bushes for potting out. Mainly Blueberries, as Mrs S and I like Blueberries, but Blackcurrant, Redcurrant bushes and Raspberry canes.

There’s an old gardeners trick to getting cuttings to root which does not involve spending money on rooting hormones and other such aids. What it involves is taking a cutting of green willow, cutting it into one four to ten inch length and a lot of two inch lengths, which are then soaked in a pound size jar water. Known as ‘Willow water‘ it provides certain hormones and acids which help the development of root complexes on other plant cuttings. Some bushes don’t need this as they will quite happily root on their own. For example, I removed a sucker from a Morello Cherry and stuck it in a seven inch diameter pot of compost. It is already in leaf.

On the leaf front it is also full speed ahead, with the buds breaking on everything planted in the last two weeks. The Lemon balm is sprouting, as are my spring greens, which gives the spur to finishing off my new greenhouse.

The greenhouse itself should be operational in a week or so. But there are still a number of things to clear out of the space. Then there’s some old Portuguese Laurels to move. Mrs S wants it all doing yesterday of course, but there are only so many hours in the day and my gardening budget is a mere shoestring, the bulk of our available funds having been spent on the house.

Which means there’s a fair bit of DIY to do in the grounds. Which at least has the promise of success. Unlike certain politically imposed ‘solutions’. See below.


Have you ever contacted your elected representative (Of whatever party) to have your concerns dismissed? Your sources decried as the work of ‘Cranks’ or ‘Deniers’ and ‘Nutters’? No matter how experienced and qualified from reputable sources. Or have said representative outright ignore your concerns?

We’ve seen a lot of this over the past few years. In conversations with true believers, I’ve heard of people like Dr Will Happer and Dr Richard Lindzen described in less than glowing terms despite their credentials. Fun fact; did you know that Dr Lindzen has published around two hundred and fifty scientific papers? A staggering amount of work. Dr Happer is a veteran Physicist and respected adviser who got fired at the behest of failed divinity student Al Gore. Then there is the ‘unpersoning’ of qualified scientists who questioned the mRNA vaccines, citing well founded concerns over the lack of testing and trials, even sinking so low as to indulge in personal attacks on actual victims of the vaccines.

You can call them all the names under the sun for believing (Based on empirical data) that there is no ‘climate catastrophe’, impending or otherwise, but doing so does not invalidate their work, nor make them need ‘re-education’ like the Ontario College tried to do with Dr Jordan B Peterson.

The thing is that academia and science have been taken over by people who are neither proper academics, nor scientists. These Administrators are the ones responsible for the wrecking of careers and an attempted suppression of certain avenues of science. And there has been an explosion in the numbers of said administrators, acting like the notorious (At least in the UK) Doctors receptionists of old.

These are the people causing all the minor disagreements in academia and science to fountain into open sewers of bad information, enforced by these administrators. Then there are the disseminators of ‘malinformation’ or ‘disinformation’ two ugly neologisms that have been pushed into public discourse to cover up the crimes of those pushing progressive political agendas. The mainstream media and politicians of all stripes, with a few notable exceptions, were responsible for the vast majority of bad information, and even helped suppress reports like the one currently coming to light as discussed by John Campbell below.

Alphabet corporation were leaned on by the Biden White House to suppress dissenting voices on Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Not to mention the doctors and nurses from all over the world struck off for daring to challenge the official party line.

Apparently challenging the official line automatically makes you ‘far right’, a term so over-used that it has lost all meaning. But to nick a line from a YouTube comment thread; “You may call me far right, but I think you’ll find I’m often not far wrong.”


We have several uneven spots in our main yard which during wet periods, accumulate water to form puddles. Whenever the rain lets up I often place a seed tray or pot plant that needs watering in them to a) soak up some of the water. b) give my seedlings sufficient water by osmosis without ‘drowning’ them. Then popping them back in the germination shed after a five minute soak.

At present our eclectic collective of puddles are threatening to become one large one covering the entire yard. Because by my and Met Eirann’s observations, it’s a much wetter than average start to the year. Now according to weather lore this should mean a warmer wetter Summer ahead, but not always. Weather lore (by it’s very definition) is not an exact science. One of the things you can rely on is that you can’t rely on folklore alone. And I haven’t been here long enough to get a proper handle on local weather patterns. All I can say is that it’s very Atlantic.

A few notes on vegetarianism

Awakening to a thunderstorm this morning and seeing some of the news from the UK, I see the net zero insanity is accelerating. Certain councils unanimously voting to go vegetarian at all their functions. Which I suppose is one form of cutting costs, or not when the majority is thrown away. Or keeping the naysayers away because they can’t stand the food.

Experience however, has shown that this is a strategy with a very short shelf life. Even over in hippy drippy west coast BC. In the UK – I give it five minutes, no matter how the vote went. Many people will either stop going to council functions, or order in their own sandwiches. The private sector may also restrict it’s engagement with said councils.

Opening declaration; I have no personal issue with vegetarian of vegan food. However, one man’s meat etcetera. Our daughter ‘North’ is a vegetarian, but she’s quite relaxed for me to have a steak at the same table (Which is generous, seeing as it’s my bloody table). She’ll even cook chicken for the family when she takes her turn at the stove face. So no real issues. She’s not intolerant and violently anti-meat, like far too many of her co-dietists. She is also sensible enough to have long time friends in the farming community.

Unfortunately, there is a predominantly female public sector clique, shitting the bed over the climate crisis that will never be, pushing their own vitamin and mineral deficient fad diets on others. I think they must be deficient in certain fatty acids which are vital for full brain tissue function.

Vegetarianism itself is okay as a subsistence diet, but it has been observed that people brought up full time on such a diet never attain the full physical stature of omnivores, This is because such a dietary regimen is deficient in vitamin B(12), vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and zinc. Anaemia is common, as are a number of other diet based deficiency conditions. As for veganism, well, those people need supplements to stay healthy. Unfortunately you will never convince them otherwise as their brains won’t function fully without the full spectrum of proteins, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals in readily digestible forms. Even ‘North’ has fish once a week, which makes up for her abstinence. And she also eats eggs regularly, which helps keep B12 deficiency at bay.

At this point the average vegan activist might point at fast food outlets, claiming that meat is the culprit for all forms of social ills. And it is true that the carbohydrate and sugar rich concoctions served from such establishments are not a ‘healthy option’, as Morgan Spurlock found during his ‘super size me’ experiment back in 2004 where the 32-year-old Spurlock gained 24.5 pounds (11.1 kg) in weight (a 13% body mass increase). Increasing his cholesterol to 230 mg/dL (6.0 mmol/L), also experiencing mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver.

On the other hand, a proper mixed home cooked diet with modest amounts of meat, fish fruit and vegetables is beneficial and less expensive overall than eating out at fast food outlets. Yes it requires a little effort and requires a little in the way of preparation skills, however, such a diet is better for you than either subsisting off fast food or a fully vegetarian diet.

But apparently the activists aren’t getting the message because their neural pathways aren’t running at 100%. However, their influence will only last until the electorate vote in people with the wisdom to allow everyone to eat as they see fit, and not force their fad diets upon everyone else.

It’s electrifying

Or rather not. About those little tin boxes powered by electrickery that the powers that be insist we will all be driving in the next ten years. Err, no. Geoff buys cars explains what is happening to the condition and second hand value of EV’s which aren’t all sparkly and brand new.

The law of unintended consequences is strong here.

My own view of EV’s has not changed since 2016. EV’s have had their day. Back in the early 1900’s.

Update: who would want a vehicle where even a minor shunt, resulting in little damage to the vehicle, is enough for your insurers to write off the entire car? Mostly to do with an increased fire risk.


Money is tight, even for frugal souls like Mrs S and I. However, we’ve surfed the latest set of price fluctuations by halving our electricity bill. Not that this hasn’t had a cost. We’ve spent six figures on gutting our new home and insulating properly, said insulation keeping our energy use within sensible limits. So we haven’t been hit that hard by the sudden rises in energy prices.

Looking at our energy use before the building works and afterward, the difference is quite startling. We currently use one third of the electricity and fuel that we used to before the upgrade. That’s over a sixty percent reduction. Which ain’t too shabby. Our overall cost of living hasn’t risen as much as it has for far too many others during the Government-created crises of COVID and Ukraine.

Given that our joint income has dropped significantly, this is no bad thing. We’re on top of the finances, and watching the next move by the banks like hawks. Three down in the US, with serious ripples running through Europe, Credit Suisse being a case in point. Then there’s another potential 2008 scale property crash on it’s way from the US as two major investors are having serious difficulties. Fortunately we have no exposure in the two mainly affected market sectors, those being property and tech. We’ve even maintained a modest keeping-up-with-inflation growth in our investments.

However, to do this we rely on accurate and timely information. Something which is at a premium nowadays. We shifted our investment portfolio in advance of the Ukraine business, and have long since divested our portfolios of anything pharmacologically related. Because those affected sectors will be the next to take a big hit.

If you listen to the mainstream those naughty Russki’s are taking a pasting. If you find a way of tapping into less available information, you will find statements from the front line where Russians are sending out small ‘sacrificial’ patrols, presumably of the most unpopular squaddies, to locate actively manned Ukrainian positions, and when they are fired upon by the Ukrainians, the Russian heavy mortar teams hand out a lesson on how not to be seen.

Then there is a widely discussed possibility of the Russki’s waiting for the Ukrainians to attack in Spring when the ground dries, before making them pay for every inch in Ukrainian blood and the West’s weaponry in a Verdun-scale set piece of attritional butchery. My sources? Well, Redacted on Rumble do some, then there is the Kyiv Independent, ostensibly an independent English language outlet. This article by retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor might prove eye opening as an informed opinion piece.

Like I’ve said on several occasions, ICC arrest warrants or no, neither the Russkies, the US and their aligned powers, nor the Ukrainians are ‘good’ guys. It’s atrocities all round. Even if over three hundred of the forcibly relocated children have already been returned to Ukraine by the Russians.

And even if the Russians have said they want to talk peace, the current US administration aren’t interested, so the war will go on until there are no more Ukrainians left but those in western asylum accommodation.

That’s a hell of a bill to pay.

Watching the wheels come off

Mrs S and I periodically discuss the wider world over the dinner table, and she often has a slightly different take on things, some of which I agree with, some not. But these sometimes heated discussions clear the air and let each of us know where the other stands. We’re grown up enough to respect the others opinion without it hurting our relationship. Well, it’s worked for the last couple of decades. So far so good.

However, what we both have in common is sympathy for those commentators who initially followed the party line and are having their illusions and cherished beliefs razed to the ground. Two such people, Dr John Campbell and Neil Oliver sometimes have an expression on their faces that they can’t quite believe the words coming out of their own mouths. Or as Mrs S colourfully put it, “Sometimes it’s like watching the clocks in their heads exploding, sending springs and cogwheels all over the place.”

Watch John Campbells expression as he listens to this US congressional evidence.

As for poor old Neil. I’ve watched him eloquently recite his misgivings time and again as the expression on his face clearly says; “I can’t believe I’m saying this!”

I suspect there are a lot of people out there that feel exactly as these two gentlemen do. Myself included. We have been betrayed. Mass murder may have been committed by the very people we pay our taxes for.

Which begs the question; “When are the arrests going to start?” Because there are people whose role in the last three years means that they are well overdue for being thrown under the bus. The evidence is all public domain, and the number of pointing fingers is growing. Now I’m beginning to think that Fauci et al will be hauled off to the jug to save the bacon of their more rich and powerful backers.

There has to be a reckoning. Or else we are faced with the naked truth that the social contract between rulers and ruled lies shattered on the ground like a billion broken windows. Who else feels this way?

Update; and in case you haven’t seen it, there is the latest Andrew Bridgen MP parliamentary question aboutvaccine harms.

For my part, when I heard certain people describe these mRNA vaccines as ‘death jabs’ back in 2021 I was sceptical. The evidence changed my mind. Now, like Andrew Bridgen, I believe the much touted mRNA treatments are a far bigger risk than the disease they are supposed to protect against.

Muck and bullets

Soaked to the skin planting fruit trees yesterday. The fruit bushes will have to wait until dryer weather arrives because there’s too much water in the ground. Then there are the rest of the seeds to finish, but I can do those in pots indoors in the area I’ve set by for germination. Just warm enough, with the temperature above ten Celsius. Not too damp.

So that’s fourteen trees this month, with an option of propagating another three. All fourteen look in good nick, with nice waxy buds filling out ready to break into leaf later in the month. Each of my new fruit trees have been planted in the middle of excavator tyres left behind by the last owner to keep the wildlife at bay. Not that we have many rabbits in the neighbourhood, the ground is too wet and rocky for them.

Then there’s the state of our investments. Fortunately we’ve no exposure in the collapsing part of the banking sector. Unless our broker has done something without telling us. I’ve already had words with my bank and telecoms today, and really don’t want any more fuss. Although with Credit Suisse and several other European banks falling on their arses over the last 24 hours, I’m sure consequences will be coming for those who have racked up large credit card bills and overdrafts. I don’t envy them.

Here at chez sticker we’ve managed to clear all our debts and managed to keep a reasonable cash reserve. Although Mrs S and I are carefully looking at our budgets and setting strict limits upon what we’ll be spending over the next twelve months. We’re not yet up to our necks in muck and bullets, but we can hear the implosions getting closer and are trying to keep well out of it. The credit cards have been put in locked boxes from where they will not emerge for a good while. I’ve even cancelled one, just so that I’m not hit by any unexpected charges.

The people I feel sorry for are the ones who will not only lose the roof over their head, but the shirt off their back and a fair bit of skin beside. But there is nothing we can do for them but keep our own little part of the world ticking over, so that when things do improve, there will be something left. Because despite what is being said in the media, the West is already in a recession and looks like heading into a long cold depression akin to that of the 1930’s.

Of course I could be talking out of an orifice not specifically designed for that purpose, but I’m not the only one who thinks the jig might be up. See this economist interviewed by big Nige over the UK’s latest budget. And you can’t effectively shut down the economies of much of the world for over two years and expect everything to go back to normal in the blink of an eye.

And everything is connected economically, because nothing in financial circles happens in isolation. It’s like that old song, the one I have bowdlerised below.

Dem banks, dem banks, dem broke banks,
Dem banks, dem banks, dem broke banks,
Dem banks, dem banks, dem broke banks,
Now hear the word of the Lord!

Ezekiel cried, “Dem broke banks!
Ezekiel cried, “Dem broke banks!
Ezekiel cried, “Dem broke banks!
Now hear the word of the Lord.

The Dollar connected to the Euro,
The Euro connected to Sterling,
Sterling connected to the Yuan,
The Yuan connected to the Ruble,
The Ruble connected to the Kroner,
The Kroner connected to the Swiss Franc,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

Dem banks, dem banks gonna print the cash
Dem banks, dem banks, gonna print the cash
Dem banks, dem banks, gonna print the cash
Now hear the word of the Lord!

There’s a new garden path to set out and supper to cook. So the current banking crisis will do what the pandemic response did. Disrupt businesses, slow the economy even further, and screw us Peons over whilst protecting those who can afford lobbyists and have the ear of the powers that be. For the rest of us it’s business as usual. Up to our necks in muck and bullets.

Such is life.

A two edged sword

Sunday, and I was kicking back with a glass or two, and just generally mulling the insanity of the Western world, when a YouTube vid about Artificial Intelligence caught my eye. The one below.

Now I’ve heard that there are plans afoot to implement AI systems to manage us mere mortals for things like ‘Social credit’ scores etc. The machines will decide whether what you, a Mark 1 human are allowed to do and believe. Or else. Got that?

Now, some might say, this is all well and good isn’t it? The machines will implement the rules equally and no one will be privileged. All will be fair. Our lives will be governed by machine logic, ushering in a new era of world peace and fairness for all. Well huzzah for that and half hols for everyone, right?

The only problem with that (At least to my free ranging mind) is that our idea of what is ‘fair’ may not appear even handed to any given managing AI. Indeed, a putative AI system governing human conduct will function according to the data inputs from messy old Homo Sapiens (Or Pan Narrans, if you follow the doctrines of St Terry of the Pratchett), and respond accordingly following the rules of machine logic and causality.

Take for example the taxation system. Put an AI in charge of that why don’t we? To which I say oooh yes, let’s do that, pretty please with sugar on it. Pause here and imagine a system where there can be no avoidance or evasion. For anyone. Think about that for a few minutes.

All done?

What would happen to all the millionaires and billionaires whose accountants can no longer dodge and obfuscate? A completely level playing field. The investor class wouldn’t last. They’d be clobbered in ten minutes flat. Whole fortunes wiped out be massive tax bills, issued by the implacable logic of a completely automated system.

What if an AI were to be also put in charge of the economy? Instead of politicians and bankers? Think about how ‘fair’ that system would be, where equality of outcome would be rigidly enforced, or the AI would cut off your account / travel / shopping access for serial infractions. Imagine the world where the politicians and bankers get treated exactly the same as John Q Public?

The politicians might try to give themselves privileges, but the machines would soon close off those loopholes.

With me so far? If you aren’t laughing now you should be, with prescient laughter. The powers that be and those who fancy themselves a cut above mere mortals might want to walk this one back a bit, because they have far more to lose than us proles.

Because AI managed ‘fairness’ is a two edged sword.

Mrs S has been wondering what I’ve been laughing about all morning.

The spike

The rain has set in. So I’ll be kicking my heels for a few days having already started my early spring sowing of vegetable seeds. It’s just a little too cold and wet for outdoor, and all my seeds are either hiding in my two germination beds or sitting in sheds in the shelter and relative warmth to get them going.

The trees and bushes will have to wait until Tuesday before they go in.

I’ve been hearing a lot about spike proteins from SARS/COV-2 and the ‘vaccines’ of late and the potential harms they may be causing. And I have a few questions about how long these things hang around in your cells, or whether they make permanent unpleasant changes to your body. More to the point, how do you get rid of them?

Through the video above I picked up on a scientific study about Bromelain and something called Acetylcystine (Proprietary name BromAc). Not only is this combination readily available (A variant of Acetylcystine is produced by the human Liver in response to a higher protein diet), while Bromelain from pineapples can certainly reduce ‘floaters’ in the eye, it is also reputed to be a tumour reducing chemical. Bromelain certainly has anti-inflammatory properties for the sinuses, and can even be used to relieve osteoarthritis. So a perhaps slice or two a week of Pineapple might well help with my dodgy knee too.

Hmm. There’s a thought; Gammon and pineapple as a treatment for viruses or cancer? Always thought it was an odd combination, but now such a dish seems entirely logical from an epidemiological perspective. Who knew eh?

I won’t be leaving the pineapple slice on my plate as I used to any more, that’s for certain.

Snow watch

I’ve been sitting in my office watching snow fall. Work outside came to a halt because I am my own boss and there’s no imperative to do any planting. According to the local forecast, the next planting window is early next week when local temperatures will have risen to just under ten Celsius.

Can’t do anything about my bees at present, I intend to leave the hives alone until the weather goes above fifteen Celsius. They don’t need feeding at present as there is plenty of Gorse, Heather and Ivy around the area whenever it gets warm enough for them to forage. The meadow is full of dandelions and daisies too, and I’m keeping a weather eye out on how the Yellow Rattle seeds I sowed in November are doing.

Then there are ten silver birch whips to go in, a ‘whip’ being a small tree between two and four feet tall sold as a bare root sapling. As trees go this is the cheapest way to buy them. We shelled out twenty five Euros for this batch, and like our new proto privet hedge, they will be planted by sticking a spade twelve inches vertically into the ground, levering forward, dropping the ‘whip’ in roots first before removing the spade, leaving the soil to close in around the roots. No need to dig holes, all you need do is drop a little soil on top and lightly stamp down before adding water. Watched our landscapers doing this for our new hedge, and they managed a twenty yard stretch at one whip per foot in less than five minutes.

New flower bed in the yard is almost ready for planting. Another two barrowfuls of soil and wood for the base, then cover with about six inches of topsoil and compost mix, and hey presto, we’re ready to transplant some Azaleas which will hide the gas tank. Picked up some bulbs corms and rhizomes yesterday to add a splash of Summer colour to that corner of the premises, so, weather permitting, we’re good to go.

Notwithstanding, all that is for when the weather warms up next week. Hopefully before the March winds start blowing. We were lucky to have a mild February, which allowed us to get ahead of the game in some aspects,

Regarding the ongoing saga of one of our drains, I’ve tracked down a problem and fixed it myself. During our building works last year, the builders went over one of our drainage inspection hatches with their machinery and crushed it, unfortunately their ‘fix’ blocked off a five inch soakaway drain. Something that didn’t become apparent until Winter and Mrs S nearly went arse over tip on a puddle of ice the overflowing drain had caused.

So after the snow stopped I poked and prodded and dug around the hatch, using my mini jackhammer to punch a six inch gap in the concreted in inspection well, thus opening up the drain mouth and restoring it’s proper function. Which means that’s that until the next daft Eejit decides to run heavy machinery across my drain inspection covers. Not that I’m going to let them. There’s an access from the field for any machinery of that type, so that is where they’ll have to get in. However for now, we have no more overflowing soakaway drain. No more long ice skids across the yard in the freezing weather.

All this outside activity means I’m not paying much attention to the news and media apart from a grim satisfaction at being proved right on several key issues. Although I have been watching season 2 of Clarkson’s farm on Amazon Prime, which brought back memories of my own families frustrations dealing with Byzantine planning rules in the UK.

There are, I am sad to say, too many people who live in the British countryside who don’t really belong there. And I’m not talking about Jeremy Clarkson. Rather my observations about the personal vendetta against him being waged using the planning regulations by, we are told, just one person.

Having grown up in the English countryside, I am sad to say that there are some people who have never quite moved on from their urban and suburban hyper competitive mindset. The few whose only interaction with their neighbours are arguments via lawyers over hedges and boundaries. The people I’m talking about are those who rarely frequent the village pubs because they felt the locals were too ‘common’. You know the types, the serial complainers. The NIMBY’s or more entertainingly titled and extreme BANANA’s (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). Those who like to think themselves a cut above ordinary folk and tend to look down their noses at their neighbours. Scorpions in human form. I’ve met a few. Unfortunately. They don’t socialise with their neighbours over the garden fence, they have ‘dinner parties’. Social climbers all, they will not pitch in for their neighbours unless there is something in it for them alone. Never happier than when they have done someone else down, they hide behind high Leylandii hedges and don’t care whose light they block. Sine Nobilitate the lot of them.

This is the kind of person who has it in for Clarkson and his attempts to diversify. But he’s just the most high profile of farmers suffering from the deeply personal ways some people use the planning rules and local politics to interfere and prevent any kind of rural development, thinking that any alteration to anything anywhere near them will devalue their property. They are wrong of course, because if the area becomes depressed because no one is allowed to make any money, then the communities that these people thought they were buying into will gradually die, and the value of their property will likewise suffer.

Clarkson I’ve always had a soft spot for, as he’s an entertaining buffoon who does try to do what he’s told is a good thing. Although I can’t say the same thing for the people trying to take him down. However, they may well succeed if local politics does lead to him selling up and moving out of the district, but theirs will be a Pyrrhic victory. Their loss. No farm shop with really fresh local produce, no good local restaurant where people can dine on locally produced food while enjoying a pleasing Cotswold view.

I’ve heard people argue that such enterprises ‘take trade’ from other local businesses. However, as someone who has watched the decline in rural life from the 1970’s onwards, my own observation is that small local businesses need other businesses to cross pollinate with. One successful business always generates passing trade for it’s neighbours. It’s a simple equation; Increased trade volume=new business=money=jobs=prosperity. Strangle trade and everyone loses eventually. Something the NIMBY’s don’t seem to understand.

Of course Oxfordshire Council are complaining that Clarkson’s Farm series 2 gives a misleading picture of their conduct. From first hand experience with the planners and NIMBY’s, I can tell you that how they are portrayed is not misleading, it’s bang on the money.

Maybe Clarkson made a rod for his own back by just bulling ahead with some schemes to make his farm profitable, but that doesn’t justify the response. UK and Irish Farmers are already under pressure to diversify, and they should be allowed to adapt to circumstances, seek new markets and provide goods and services. Not be hamstrung by rules meant to stop developers covering the countryside in concrete. Which is what will happen when the stewards are finally driven from the land.

Anyway. The mountains have been spectacular today when the snow cleared. I swear I could see the pyramidal peak of Croagh Patrick, the air has been so crystal.

The duty

The sad news is that Elderly friend is no more, having died in her sleep. The Sticker household has by contrast been a-buzz with activity as transatlantic calls have been made to funeral homes, solicitors and care facility, with a torrent of emails clogging up Mrs S’s inbox.

My part in this play is simply that of counsellor and sounding board, general factotum and tea boy. Mrs S is currently quite upset, as she knew Elderly friend from when she was a little girl, so I have to make allowances and let her beat up my ears as we fulfil our daily round.

We have been expecting this of course, but now the legal niceties must be undertaken, and as one set of responsibilities ends, those of power of attorney, those of executor kick into gear. Fortunately we can pass that task on to Elderly friends nearest relative, who will find all the boxes have been ticked in advance, so theirs will be little more than a monitoring task. The whole business, at least in Canada, is pretty streamlined, without six month delays for probate etc. But now we’re passing on the baton. Our part is more or less done.

Thus our duty to Elderly friend has been discharged and our slate with her is clean. Now our only duties are to ourselves, home and garden. Which means it’s time to get me wellies on, pick up my shovel and get digging.

Trees and bushes won’t plant themselves.

A good day

It’s funny how your perspectives shift when you’re working for yourself, developing a place, and doing the hard graft of whipping it into the desired shape. We’ve been doing a lot of that recently. Our old heating oil tank is drained and set up behind my greenhouse to be. Old excavator and tractor tyres left by the previous owners have been shifted to make planters for our fruit trees. Other old tyres, previously used as silage weights will be cut in half, painted and hung on an east facing wall to make planters for herbs. The excavator tyres were bloody heavy, but once I’d levered them upright were easy enough to roll up the track to where the new fruit trees will live.

The idea being to prune the fruit trees into low fan shapes so they can be picked without the need for ladders. This will of course reduce the possible yield, but we’re not doing this as a commercial crop, mostly for personal use and maybe as a sauce base, because I’ve got a dynamite recipe for a spicy hot sauce, which with the Mead products, might prove worthy of a commercial venture.

Where the oil tank was will be a decorative feature of a green screen of Azaleas to hide the new gas tank from public view. Which has entailed a little episode this morning with me, three layers of cinder blocks, and an eight pound sledgehammer. Result: Bill 6, blocks 0. A home win and about two hundredweight (All right, about 100kg plus) of rubble. The rubble will form the infill behind a loose built double wall of cinder block and decorative brick, over which I will dump half a dozen barrowloads of topsoil and drop in some store bought trailing plants over the weekend. Result; instant flower bed to brighten up the main yard.

Then there is the ongoing saga of the drains, which we found this morning were backed up to the closest inspection hatch to the house. So I ended up spending three noisome hours with drain rods and high pressure hose clearing some fifty feet of backed up sewage. Not the nicest job in the world, but the ‘gloop’ when I finally breached the blockage was music to my ears, whilst watching the shit level drop suddenly was a curiously pleasing sight.

My nose had shut down in protest three hours before, so after dosing the freshly cleaned soil pipes with some bicarbonate of soda, I closed up the hatches. For my efforts, Mrs S treated me to a lovely supper of fish, chips and mushy peas that I didn’t have to cook. I also have a cold beer at my elbow, having showered and rid myself of the scent of effluvium. Life could be worse.

It’s funny how a successful days hard graft can be so satisfying. But it is. Especially when the work is for yourself. Even when your hands are cracked and bleeding. Now this is just my opinion, but the pleasure of a successful job completion is hard to beat. You tend to appreciate it more. Even though the rewards may seem small to others. It’s how you feel about them that counts.

All this to the background of a release of ‘the lockdown files’, which simply confirmed what I had been able to surmise for myself over two years ago. Specifically that the UK government, like so many others, hadn’t a bloody clue. The last three years (And probably the next ten) have been a completely government created crisis.

Some might call it being a ‘conspiracy theorist’, but I just look at my ability to extrapolate outcomes as a talent which has served me well, especially when investing. If I get called names because I’m a little ahead of the curve, frankly me deario’s, I don’t care. The name calling of those of us able to assimilate and interpret the data correctly has been wrong in context, subtext and fact. So yar boo sucks to the majority of the mainstream media, whose coverage has been so damaging. So much for ‘disinformation’.

It should give me pleasure to be proved right. Well it does, and then again it doesn’t. But do I really care? Not really, because overall, despite everything, I think I’ve had a really good day.