All posts by Bill Sticker

Expatriate observer of life in the UK and British Columbia, Canada. Politically slightly right of centre with a pro libertarian bias. Writes, publishes and now a lot more relaxed about life in general. Is keeping his British accent for tax purposes.

Parish Notice

Well I’ve had a very successful week despite being chief chauffeur for Eldest while she’s with us, and all the other ructions that come with house guests and not quite enough space. Packed her off to see friends in Vancouver for the weekend on the 7am ferry, so she’ll be partying with pals for the next day or so, while we old codgers back home discuss the revelations she brought over with her.

Right; so what’s this ‘Parish Notice’ malarkey? Okay, I’m finally ditching the gmail address and making a few administrative alterations to my various commenting accounts like Disqus etc. So if anything comes from my old gmail address after tomorrow (Sunday 25th September), it will be fake and can therefore be deleted with impunity. If anyone needs to talk directly, the contact form for this blog will field all new messages to my new mail hosting service. Gravatar is going to be on the casualty list too. I’ve used it for over ten years, but now it’s outworn all utility.

My reasons are quite simple. I’ve long been annoyed at gmail for all their spurious ‘security’ notifications which not only effectively work as a tool for tracking my movements, but suspend the account every time I take a trip up the road until I go through the whole ‘account verification’ circus. Every time I take a week away from my desk (Which is an irregular but not uncommon occurrence) I get half a dozen ‘Is this you?’ service disruptions which are about as amusing as a kick up the bum. In addition, I’d like to state that my motivation for discontinuing gmail is not derived from some paranoid “They’re out to get me” as some might think, but more out of a general “What the f**k’s it got to do with them?” Consider the account dormant.

Sadly, Google, along with Microsoft, Yahoo, Arsebook and Twatter have outgrown their usefulness and sold out to certain interests who have their own agenda. Thus their worth, at least in my eyes, is reduced to the point of near uselessness. WordPress retains utility, so the blog stays. Scriblerus stays. The means adapt. The song remains the same. Take that as you will.

The case for Snowden

Went and saw Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ last weekend. A thought provoking and engrossing movie. While it didn’t tell me anything I’ve not been aware of for some time, it also scared Mrs S into sticking all her electronics in a desk drawer and shutting the door to her office. At least until the following morning. Now she simply leaves everything, including iPad, in her office.

Now I’ve been in the habit of covering my cell phone and both its cameras for some time, and my laptop always has the camera blocked. Same goes for my Samsung tablet when it’s not in use. My phone spends all its time when not in use in a pocket or out of line of sight. What they don’t see they can’t record, right? Now I’ve been criticised by members of my family for this behaviour to the point of being labelled paranoid, but it’s long been my contention that if something is possible, such as remotely switching on your camera without your knowledge, then some smart geek will probably know how to do it. And if they’re working for officialdom, that probability factor shifts swiftly into the ‘almost certain’ range of the intrusiveness bell curve. Because whilst one emotionally stunted geek might spy on the girl / boy next door, he or she does not have the time or resources to scrutinise more than four or five people. However, give that geek the resources of a state security agency and then no-one becomes safe from their gaze. Worse still, without accountability, such an agency can quickly begin to take on a Frankenstein’s monster-like life of their own. In the post 9/11 panic, this is exactly the monster that was unleashed by the Bush presidency, fed and enlarged during Obama’s tenure, despite assurances to the contrary.

So, what documents did Snowden actually pass on? Well, nothing that damaging, only the extent of the internal surveillance on the US and UK population. He released no secret plans (Apart from there being programs of mass surveillance) betrayed no agents in the field and no US or UK intelligence personnel were killed as a result. Did he give vital defence documents to Russia? No. To China? Iran, North Korea, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, Daesh? No. China and Russia already knew, and everybody else with two brain cells to rub together had an inkling but the only pieces of information they lacked were the names of the programs under which this domestic mass surveillance was carried out.

It has been conclusively proven that mass surveillance does not reduce terrorism. Indeed, there is an excellent case to present that mass suspicion, repression, meddling and abuses of power actually result in increased terrorist threats. The greater and more indiscriminate the mass repression, goes one argument, the less freely people associate and they retreat into their own little echo chambers, the greater the threat of political violence becomes. Why? Because shutting down or suppressing open individual dissent simply creates a climate where a simple disagreement can fester into real life physical threats. Our Police and other authorities do not need powers of mass surveillance because the more policing intrudes into everyday lives, especially those not guilty of any crime, the more likely there is to be pushback generated against the host culture from those who are, at least in their beginnings, merely hotheaded and dissatisfied with their lot. Put simply. The more widespread repression, real or implied, the greater the implied justification for violence against the perceived oppressors. And once the violence begins, well, then it’s seen as the only solution to any dispute and everyone’s day gets ruined.

I’ve often heard it said that if you have “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.” This is so far in the direction of wrong it’s not true. The total surveillance by the state was practised in the old Soviet Union, in Nazi Germany, the old GDR with the notorious STASI, the notorious ‘prison state’ of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and under every regime that has ever sought to repress the whole of it’s population with mass surveillance programmes. A great deal of Soviet era Russian humour was based upon this very principle. My all time favourite below;

Prisoner on transport to Gulag: “I’m innocent of any crime. Why am I going to prison? The court wouldn’t tell me. They just sentenced me to twenty five years!”
Kindly Guard on transport; “No idea comrade, but you must have done something. Twenty five years is a pretty stiff sentence. Can’t you think of anything?”
Prisoner (After a thoughtful pause); “After sex the other night I told my wife that I thought the KGB was spying on us.”
Kindly Guard; “Well there you go comrade. Revealing state secrets.”

It seems this is Snowden’s real ‘crime’; revealing, that for a number of years Western ‘intelligence’ agencies have been rifling through innocent people’s private lives without a bye, leave or thank you or even a proper warrant. Yet isn’t that a crime in itself? On those grounds alone, I would strongly argue that Edward Snowden should not only be pardoned but rewarded for his public spirited actions.

Overpriced junk

In the Mall the other day, waiting for Mrs S to come out of one of the stores, I found myself looking across at one of those vehicles powered by electrickery. A few folks were wandering around, giving it the once over, and the charging cable was plugged in. So I relieved the boredom by doing an ad hoc cost benefit analysis of such a vehicle by asking myself certain pertinent questions.

My basic thought process went like this:
Thought 1. Only 200km maximum range? That wouldn’t get me up to Nanaimo (A bi-monthly trip to the next majorish town see elderly friend) and back.
Thought 2. What happens to that 200km ‘maximum’ range on a cold wet day or evening when you have the heaters full blast and all the lights on?
Thought 3. How long does it take to get maximum charge, and how long do the battery packs last at full efficiency? What are the replacement costs?
Thought 4. Who pays for all those public charge points that don’t seem to have a means of payment for the charge?
Thought 5. How much public subsidy is used to pay for these vehicles? In purchase discounts, infrastructure provision and running costs?
Thought 6. What happens to the running costs of such a vehicle when all the public subsidies dry up?

Which are simple, very reasonable concerns when you come to choose a vehicle to cope with our northern, but relatively mild maritime climes. A neighbour has one, but their commute is only downtown and back. For any more serious travelling, I think they have a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek.

Hmm. I think the old conundrum of battery recharge times is going to mitigate against Thought 1. A basic charge takes around two hours to get any measurable benefit. Unless you are lucky enough to find one of the ‘Superfast’ charging stations which can do the job in around 20 minutes.

Thought 2 is a no-brainer. Heating and Aircon push your fuel usage up significantly in an Internal Combustion Engined vehicle. Put on the stereo, the heated seats and lights on a cold rainy day or evening and your fuel use goes way up. So too with electric vehicles. If for example we were to do what we normally do like run up to Nanaimo, one way point to point distance being a shade over 120 kilometres, plus, let’s say, 15 buzzing around town, running errands for elderly friend and taking her to lunch, that makes a grand total for an average round trip of 255km (Usually around 270 if my odometer is any guide), 55km over the maximum range of the vehicle I found myself looking at. Which doesn’t make sense for anyone living outside of 30km from their destination. Even a 60km round commute on a cold wet day will drain the batteries very quickly and costs will vary depending upon whether you can find a free charging station close to your destination, and even if a ‘Superfast’ charger is available, you’re still hanging around for twenty minutes while your batteries top up. Providing your electric vehicle has the ability to accept a fast charge. So you have to plan your journeys around charging stations, and be very mindful of journey’s taken during the hours of low light or darkness.

Thought 3 is an interesting one. The guaranteed life of a battery pack is five years, with a weighty CAD$7,400 (USD$5,633) non-warranty replacement cost (Parts only. Price quoted is without labour, which is currently around CAD$150 an hour by a main dealer) Budget will probably be around four hours per vehicle, so bang on around CAD$600 before adding around 12% tax and environmental to the total. Which ends up being around CAD$9,000 or more. In one bite? Ouch. That’s without the possible cost of having to replace the entire battery management subsystem as with some of the Nissan Leaf models, if you go for the battery pack upgrade option.

Then there’s consumables like tyres, windscreen (oh if you must, windshield) wipers and regular servicing costs. Just like any other vehicle.

Thoughts 4 and 5. Okay, there are ‘free’ public charging points, the installation costs for which were, up to 2013 mostly (75%) paid for out of Federal, Provincial and property taxpayer revenue. So on the surface you might get a free or low cost charge to get you home, but actually you’re paying for your ‘fuel’ via the general tax fund, and depending upon your municipality for everyone else’s electrickery to run their over-hyped golf carts. Even the ‘rates at the pump’ are heavily subsidised. Because BC Hydro, as we are reminded every time our electricity bill comes in, is not a registered charity.

Thought 6. This is the kicker. What does happen when the taxpayer funded subsidies for electric vehicles cease? Because just like what’s beginning to happen with Wind Turbines in Europe and what will happen under a Trump Presidency in the USA (Which is as decent a reason to vote for him as I can think of), public taxpayer funding will at some stage dry up like spit on a hot stove. See the last sentence in my previous paragraph. This is not a sustainable technology unless the purchaser funds the entire life cycle cost of the vehicle. Electrically driven vehicles, while they still rely on battery technology, will always remain little better than a curiosity, an uneconomic technological dead end, just like they were back in the early 1900’s.

Never mind the pollution and other issues associated with Lithium production for the batteries. Whilst a Lithium-Ion battery is fine for your cell phone, tablet or laptop, it’s not a brilliant idea as far as vehicular transport is concerned.

Compared to a vehicle which are their equivalent in performance and utility, even with all the most up to date developments, Electric cars just don’t make economic sense for the average North American, or anyone else for that matter.

Hence the title of this post.

Update:
I have been reminded that I forgot to mention depreciation. Silly me. After a quick search through the motoring press, I was astonished to see depreciation rates of between 39-42% on ‘Plug-in’ vehicles. The only versions to buck this trend are the Tesla and Prius, but neither are really a ‘proper’ electric vehicle, and even then there’s the cost of battery replacement every five years of USD$12,000. You heard me, twelve thousand dollars as of today. Which unless there’s a significant reduction in cost via economies of scale, is going to put a lot of people off. That’s without even touching on the reliability issues known to plague models like the Tesla S.

Just found this story from the UK’s Northern Echo, where a man recently lost Fifteen thousand Quid in eighteen months on a Nissan Leaf. Having read the article I’m inclined to observe that if he’d paid the full price of GBP30,000 without the GBP5,000 Government ‘cashback’ incentive, he’d have lost twenty thousand pounds. Double ouch!

A Saturday Post

Apropos of nothing, a quick rework of an old Moody Blues number for the early 21st century.

I’m just a wandering on the face of this ‘net
Reading ’bout so many people
Who are trying to be free
And while I’m surfing I read so many lies
Language barriers broken
I think we’ve found the key

And if you want the winds of change
To blow through and through
And you’re the only other person to know, please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

A thousand pictures can be drawn from one word
Only who are the artists
We don’t have to agree
Ten thousand miles can lead so many ways
Finding out who is driving
What a help it would be

So if you see this world of ours
And the turns of the screw
And you can see exactly what to do, Please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

How can we understand
Lies by the people for the people
Who want us to enslave ourselves
And you can see the frightened
People who are frightened by the
People who are stealing this world, stealing the Earth.

I’m just a wandering on the face of this ‘Net
Reading so many people
Who are trying to be free
And while I’m surfing I read so many words
Language barriers broken
Now we’ve found the key

And if you want the wind of change
To blow through and through
And you’re the only other person to know, please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

How can we understand
Lies by the people for the people
Who want us to enslave ourselves
And you can see the frightened
People who are frightened by the
People who are stealing this earth, stealing the world.

Words are the travellers crossing our world
Reading so many people who are bridging the seas
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.
We’re just the bloggers in the Scriblerus band.
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band…

I think I got the syllable counts right whilst keeping the spirit of the original alive. Comments, questions, whatever.

Spider season

The first hint of Fall, or Autumn as we expatriates call it, always brings the wolf spiders indoors. A shriek yesterday morning alerted me to the first of these annoying eight legged interlopers when one was found poised perkily on the coverlet. Using the old jar and card trick, which goes like this, to the feminine chorus of “Don’t kill it! Nooo, get rid of it! Bill! Do it now!” Using a piece of card and a sufficiently large jar or glass, put jar over offending creature, slide card underneath affronted arachnid and carry to window or door and eject summarily. I found said dreaded wee beastie’s brother (Or sister, with spiders it’s hard to tell. Is there such a profession as ‘Spider sexer’?) in the tumble drier this morning and decided to deploy the heavy artillery, otherwise known as the vacuum cleaner, which is the nuclear option as far as spiders are concerned. Those that learn to keep out of the way of humans live, those that don’t, die. This is the way of things since Mrs Ug first screamed at Mr Ug to get rid of this horrifying half inch nightmare from their cave. You’d think that after the last couple of hundred thousand years of evolution the spiders would get the hint that humans are bad news, but no. Hi-ho.

Spider season is a little earlier by my reckoning this year and betokens a cold winter even though locally we’re having a run of sunny days with only a few showers. Normally they don’t start infiltrating households in any numbers until October. At least in these latitudes. A couple of our local species are known to pack a nasty nip, so instead of meandering around the office and apartment in bare feet as I usually do, I’ve elected to put my socks on. Just in case.

And speaking of those human web lie-spinners and purveyors of influence, the Clintons, I see the lamestream is finally owning up to the fact that Hilary Clinton is most definitely ill, no it’s not just a temporary sniffle because you don’t ‘fit’ during a faint or bout of pneumonia unless you’ve got something else pretty serious going on. Now here’s an interesting medical fact; the coughing is a known side effect of certain blood pressure medication, which, knowing that she has a family history of strokes and previous TIA‘s, it’s not a total wild guess to say she may be taking something like Ramipril. Which also might account for some of the fainting and spasms observed. She’s had TIA’s before, so I have a strong suspicion that she’s on quite a high dose to prevent another incidence. It would fit in with the prescription of Coumadin she’s been known to be on. Which would account for more or less all of her observed symptoms. The fainting and fitting, ‘zoning out’ and episodes of imbalance, not to mention the coughing fits. An adverse drug reaction would also account for the fast ‘recoveries’ as the dosages are altered. Well done Bill. Mystery solved.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. Eldest is due in under a week, the freezer is full, and we’re turning the apartment upside down in order to rearrange for her coming royal visit before she heads off to Oz. Brother in law is much better, and currently recuperating in France. Despite the spiders, life could be a lot worse.

Site update

In keeping with this sites general tone of irreverence and total disrespect for authority, apart from my wife (Sorry Dear), I’ve elected to properly codify the various recipes that are in use on a day by day basis in the Sticker household. Accessed from the main menu item labelled ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists‘ I’ll be posting useful food related stuff for those of you concerned about the state of the world and wanting to eat well while the powers that be screw everything up.

Whether it’s being bombarded by news of stuff like the state of Hilary Clinton’s obviously failing health, potential election rigging in the US presidential elections, lamestream media bias, the tardiness of implementing the Brexit vote, or the various petulant ‘We didn’t get our way so we’re going to make life difficult for everyone‘ proposed measures against the UK by the EU, and the lame irrational mutterings of retarded social activists and their fantasies. I think we’d all feel much better with a hot, nourishing feed inside of us. Even if the world is, as some would like us to think, going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Well someone’s got to think about the really important stuff like keeping properly fed. Hell, it might even be organic. Vegetarian not so much, but then you can’t have everything.

By the way. First comment moderation is currently on. Any sensible, amusing and on topic comment will be approved within twelve hours or so for you first timers. After that you’ll be free to post all you want. Hate stuff and irritating whining will probably get binned. Comments coming via anonymous proxies may not even get flagged up for moderation, as these are currently being sent straight to cyber-oblivion.

Triumph-ant

Road trip planning again. This time I’ve been reviewing my choice of machine for the trip, a brand new Triumph Trophy SE 1215 (The 2017 version). Now I’ve had an on again and off again love affair with Triumph Motorcycles for some considerable time. From the first time helping a mate rebuild his Triumph Tiger Cub clutch when I was just out of school, to my later trans-European adventures and high mileage high jinks on my old 900ST. In between there’s been a few Hondas and Suzukis, and I’ve test ridden a whole heap of other machines, but in the end my preference all comes down to long distance comfort.

My problem with most new motorcycles is that I’m a big guy. Long in both leg and body. Broad shouldered and heavy built, which is a legacy of hard physical work and extensive weight training regimen which began during my early teens removing tree stumps with axe, pick, shovel and brute force. I’m physically more carthorse than thoroughbred or Shetland pony so most motorcycles aren’t built for people of my size. There’s also the classic North American foot forward riding position and footboards which I don’t much care for. My riding heritage is Northern European where you fit around the very bones of your machine, not just sit in it like it’s a Lay-Z-Boy.

Harley Davidsons and the like were immediately off my buying list because despite their physical size and the reportedly fixed problems with electrics (especially in the wet). The positioning for feet and hands is more for those with short legs. Which came as a bit of a surprise. When I first sat astride one, I got the immediate impression that I would have to ride with my knees around chest level no matter how the seat was adjusted. Then I don’t much care for those heavy V-twins, they’re so agricultural and leave me with the feeling that I’d be better off buying Massey Ferguson or John Deere. Besides, there’s that whole ‘weekend warrior’ vibe which just isn’t me. So, crossed off the list.

Ducati and Moto Guzzi. Same issue. Lovely to look at, great performance, but the short legged peg position and problems with the electrics during wet weather tended to put me off.

Next to be examined were BMW’s. BMW’s, although the footpeg position was good for me, have a tendency to cut the handlebars a little narrower than is comfortable for long journeys. Love the long term reliability of the Boxer engine and the shaft drive…. But. And this is a big ‘but’, unlike mine, which Mrs S likes because of my still ‘high and tight’ buns. Apart from the 1150RT which they don’t make any more, none of the other models in BMW’s range had the feel that I was looking for. So bye-bye BMW.

Suzuki, Kawasaki and KLT? Close but no cigar. There’s a happy place in my heart for the 1200N Bandit and the V-Strom is okay, but Suzuki have long had an issue with finish that degrades a little too quickly for my liking, and Kawasaki tend to build for the smaller rider. KLT aren’t bad, but there’s something not quite right with the machines I’ve tried out. There’s an instinctive knowledge that after a couple of thousand miles my back would start to complain because of that tiny kink in the riding position that is almost, but not quite, right for me.

Honda? Mmm. Sooo close. Wish they still made the ST1100 Pan-European, which is a splendid touring machine, creme de la creme. Love that smooth V-four. After test riding, the ST1300 and Gold Wings are a little too big and heavy to be the kind of fun I look for as a rider. The Bagger ain’t bad, but my pillion has needs too, and she reports that the rear seats get a little uncomfortable after the first fifty miles. Which, if you’re going down the full helmet comms route, would result in a rides enjoyment being curtailed from the whining sound in my helmet earphones.

Now Triumphs. Again, there are a few which immediately get crossed off the list of potential purchases. The Supersports are built for the slighter built rider and relatively short distances. The Tigers are super trailies, but although they’re okay for rider, taking a pillion long distances is likely to cause a high pitched whining in my headsets headphones after a relatively short distance. The Bonneville and similar? Tried one while I was commuting to Bristol and back on a job. Quick and nimble, but the saddle was for shorter distances. Great for a pose down to the pub, but for serious travelling? No. So, this leaves the new Triumph Trophy with that lovely responsive in line triple powerplant and intuitive feeling riding position, comfortable saddle and leisurely pillion position. When you’re after something you can ride all day without a care. then for me, that’s it.

Still debating what we want to do about Southern France, whether we cut across the lower Central Massif and as far south as Carcasonne or stop in Nimes for a week and do day trips North, South East and West. It depends what accommodation is available on AirBnb or VRBO. Italy we’re pretty sure about our destinations, but we’ve yet to examine the options of Austria, the Czech Republic and Western Poland. The discussions continue. When decisions are made, we’ll book.

Family stuff

Busy with organising for extended visit from Eldest on her way to the fabled land of Oz. She’s done her Africa experience, and now is looking to move down under. Her entry and work visa has been approved, flights are paid for, and backup finances put in place. Which may or may not be needed. Hey, she’s still young, so should do these things while she can enjoy them fully. We will assist where we are able while she gets settled in her new life. She’s got friends and family already in country, so she’s not going in completely cold. Hell, she’s even got mates in Vancouver who moved there after University, so no matter where she goes she’ll have a place to crash, as well as with Mrs S and I whilst she’s passing through Canada.

Which is cool. There’s always that sense of inhibition when you visit family, and the old bug-a-boo of things you always wanted to say but felt you couldn’t. Such as; “Why does no one talk about Uncle Henry?” or “Why didn’t Mum and Dad tell me?” This is something Mrs S and I try not to encourage. Because we both know from our own upbringings how toxic that can be. Repression brings nothing but regret and unhappiness, and over the years I’ve formed the opinion that’s way worse than giving an issue a bloody good shake out and airing. No matter how uncomfortable it is at the time. If you can’t talk about an issue, it just goes underground and festers, poisoning relationships and leaving problems unresolved. Which is something the current politically correct climate in academia, politics and media doesn’t help.

You see, I’m aware of all the problems my personal family history has brought and how it has in some cases stopped me from being a better human being. Now I’ve cheerfully accepted that I’m a real bastard son of a bitch, I feel much more relaxed about my life, and have determined not to pass that shit on to the next generation, while trying to improve my own lot. Put it this way, my stepkids do not have either my, or Mrs S’s hang ups and have been set free to make their own way in the world. With a little help from us older folks of course, who in my case is setting a thoroughly bad example, just to show that fun can be had, no matter what age you are.

As well as all the “But you can’t say that!” voices crying out that we should not talk about certain issues, or even allude to said facts existence, there’s a ‘health’ lobby out there determined that we will all end our days restricted to ‘care’ homes, dribbling out our dotage, and subject to naught but pity as the Alzheimers inexorably robs us of our marbles, bowel and bladder control. Me, I know that it’s a short life but a merry one, and that seeing as there’s precious little of it, intend to relax and take what comes, even if my last words are “Shit! The ripcord didn’t work!” or “Just a moment, I’ve had an idea.” or even “Bloody Satnav!” When the book closes on me, there will be no regrets but that which says “I wish I’d had time to do more.”

Life may be a terminal disease, but you only get one, no matter what any priest or politician says when they want you to do what you’re bloody well told, you, you utter peasant, you. My only reply to that is outright contempt, and if this makes me not worth talking to, then it has the upside of freeing me from the interminable blatherings of the dim and depressing.

Anyway, I’ll conclude today’s little missive with a misquote by one of my old boon companions (often falsely attributed to Sir Walter Scott or William Blake). “Better one hour of crowded life, than an eternity without a name.” Although I think his version was actually an improvement on Mordaunt’s original.

Travel insurance

Road trip 2017 planning has slipped over the last week what with my bouts of sleeplessness. However, Mrs S and I are now into the main planning stages plotting not only the general route but the actual where and when prior to booking. The big expense of course is the flights and flying the motorcycle via Air Canada to and from Vancouver, which won’t leave us much change out of CAD$7050 (A shade over 4000 Quid, roughly. Including import taxes and fees etc). After that I’m off oop norf to go see some estranged family (If they’ll talk to me) while Mrs S stays with Youngest down in the smoke. I may be away for three or even five days before limping back down to London and getting ready to take the ferry to France. Overnight around Caen somewhere and thence off on the great trek along through Western France and around towards Provence and the Carmargue. Then down into Italy. Jesus! My course in Italian starts Monday! My how these things sneak up on us.

After that the general plan is to head south through Italy down to see the buried town of Herculaneum near Napoli. At present I’m crunching the numbers. Nothing insuperable, but the trip will be a little more leisurely than our dash around the USA, even if we do end up doing a similar mileage. I reckon about 8,500 miles as a rough guesstimate. I may even book in a service for the half way marker. I’ll have a look at the price quotes and see if there’s any advantage to doing so.

A quick word…

… about the Martin Scriblerus group of bloggers. Can I briefly point out that I am not responsible for the content or conduct of other people’s blogs or associated web sites. Nor is any other member of the group responsible for what I care to write about. Yes, I am aware of their affiliated sites and blogs content, but whether I approve or disapprove of any of them is a matter for my conscience, not anyone else’s.

We are a loose confederation, not some kind of retarded groupthink echo chamber and although we have common approximate areas of belief and opinion, we do not slavishly follow one another like the sheeplike morons with their political hashtags on twatter or arsebook. We all recognise the ultimate stupidity of that, preferring to consider and reflect upon a topic individually than go all Daily Mail on it. Sometimes we co-operate in common cause, more often not. Each blog and it’s audience being as unique as the next. As is each blogger. In the words of Frank Davis;

Scriblerus is maybe akin to a celestial constellation like Orion. It’s a small patch of the sky with links between the stars, some of which might be quite bright, others less, but which form a pattern or shape. Or something along those lines… The constellation actually pre-existed before its name.

For my part I would describe Martin Scriblerus more like cats in a sack than any kind of constellation. Our individuality can thus be seen as both our greatest strength and biggest weakness. If we are conjoined, it is by mutual tolerance and respect for our respective writings, nothing more.

Which is only my opinion of course. The other bloggers in our group may think of it differently. That is their privilege. How I see the group is mine.

The weekend calls. It’s siren song is resonating through my bones and I must follow though hell should bar the way. To conclude; I am not my brothers keeper, even if we were actually related, which we’re not. Pass the whiskey.

TTFN

Bill