Category Archives: Family

Welcome to my nightmare

Well bless my raddled soul. Elder sibling has started his own blog, a chronicle, a mash up of personal experiences and events in the UK. In it he tells of the gripes and tribulations of living in his part of the UK, from supermarket beefs to the media stoked paranoia of certain people he encounters.

Here’s the type of thing he writes;

“I had to attend an outpatient clinic at our local hospital today. To my surprise, it was functioning as normal. No-one was wearing a mask and there were no signs of panic or hysteria.”

This seems to be a common thread. NHS Healthcare staff do not appear to be overstretched and can indulge in behaviours like doing dance routines on Tik tok, or conga lines to ‘celebrate’ an extubation. Look, if it were an all-hands-to-the-pumps situation, would primary healthcare staff have time to indulge themselves thus? Damn straight they wouldn’t.

Then he reports on the fake news items such as;

“Sarah Montague said that all pubs and leisure facilities in cities were closed “for good”.”

No doubt with a good deal of malicious relish on her part.

I have been requested to act as a consultant in this matter to let another frustrated voice into the wild and will be acting as his right hand man on how to handle all the wonders and witlessness of online life. Which could get interesting. At least we have ensured he has a confidential email and a few layers between him and the worst of the Internet. We shall see what we shall see.

No, I’m not going to link to his output, as elder sibling has not asked me to do so. If he does I’ll think about it. Better that he develops his own community.

Yes, he too detests what the BBC has become as I too loathe the fawning arse-licking the Canadian bought and paid for mass media goes in for when it comes to Canada’s glorious leader, that neo fascist Trudeau. Yes Trudeau is a neo-fascist, his government ticks all the boxes but the military one. He cloaks his disdain for all working class northern European descended males in talk of racism and sexism, but those two sins are something Trudeau indulges in all the time. Not sure why. Perhaps he feels threatened and like so many of the middle class, suffers from a deep self-loathing and sense of inadequacy.

Good news from the UK comes via political vlogger Mahyar Tousi. With added steak. Although I think Flat-Iron steaks are much nicer than Rib-Eye. Lovely buttery texture and more flavour.

So, all the accusations leveled against the Brexiteers have come to naught. For now.

Anyway. I’ve done the shopping, fed the hummingbirds and now it’s time to get back to the day job. Sometimes the fun never starts.

The dreadful algebra…

Easter weekend saw us sorting the affairs of Elderly Friend, who has moved into dependent rather than independent care. There’s tax papers to forward, furniture to dispose of. So many things she no longer needs. The care home have been very helpful while we make sure all the bills are paid, even while they’re in lockdown. Elderly Friend has a new room with a view rather than the poky place she’d been consigned to after her last bad fall. She’s happy, and has mostly forgotten about her old apartment. Give her another month or three and she’ll probably have forgotten all about us the way things are going.

Such are the pains of dealing with dementia. It’s like watching a slowly sinking ship. To extend that simile into a conceit, there’s not much else you can do apart from get the survivors off, log the wrecks location and inform Lloyds of London. Which is what we’ve been doing. Handling the details of Elderly Friend’s downsizing (Err, how much was that brand new and now it can only be thrown away?). Ensuring the equations of comfort divided by finance are kept in balance by applying the right kind of fuzzy logic.

Watching someone close to us go under like this is bloody hard on the soul, but absolutely essential work. We could just walk away of course, but that would mean someone else would take up the reins and maybe drive Elderly Friends wagon prematurely off a cliff without meaning to. So this is our burden to bear. As I’ve often said before, we’re paying off a debt of gratitude. Not to mention having to face our own dwindling prospects by reinventing ourselves, yet again. That too is a work in progress.

It’s at times like these I’m reminded of something that has been called ‘the dreadful algebra‘, which aptly describes the hard choices you sometimes have to make. For example where a loving pet has to be put down or a close relative has their life support switched off. Or to amputate a limb, perhaps your own, crushed in a rock fall or trapped in machinery. Symbolised by the mathematical function; Life >(Greater than) Death.

Sometimes it’s about letting go. Sometimes of a friendship or child because they have to walk their own path. However;

The dreadful algebra is always about hard choices.
The dreadful algebra always demands a sacrifice.
The dreadful algebra doesn’t care about your feelings.
The dreadful algebra means no more comfortable illusions.
The dreadful algebra is a calculation, and in extremis, if you guess the wrong answer for the wrong reason, or worse, not make a decision, it will kill you, and possibly a great many more around you.

Weak politicians hate it, because they’re going to have to make a considered decision and stick to it, no matter what. Decisions that may cost them votes in the short term. Decisions that may cost lives short term, but will save far more in the long.

Being a grown up sucks. So suck it up young Bill. Quit whining and get on with it.

I can’t win

It must be cabin fever. Mrs S has received one of those Amazon widgets that does sound and voice control. The kids bought it for her for her birthday. Personally I don’t like them. Won’t have them anywhere near me due to the well documented privacy issues. To me, they are junk that has no real facility. I call them junk because they report to outside entities, rather like Windows 10, which is a shit operating service Microsoft won’t let you control and is full of bloatware. Besides, voice control and recognition has many drawbacks. Did play around with a few voice activation programs a few years ago, but when those report outside of my control, well… ’nuff said.

Today Mrs S waved the uninstalled item at me and said that I “Won’t let her use it.”
To which I had to respond; “Use it if you like, but I want nothing to do with it.” Now guess where I ended up. Go on. Guess. All because I like to keep my personal affairs private.

So the sound on her PC is now ‘inadequate’, because she wants to fill the house with Andre Boccelli singing the Easter Mass, which is my fault apparently. Not Boccelli, but the inadequate sound. If Mrs S wants to install the wretched gadget herself, she can do it.

Not that I care much for opera. The only Opera I’ve got any time for is using it as one of the five web browsers I use on a daily basis. When it comes to some opera I’d rather saw my own head off than be exposed to it any longer than necessary. Opera as an art form is an acquired taste I have chosen not to acquire. Not surprisingly there is no opera in my music collection. There’s classical music, a lot of Prog rock and electric folk, but no opera. Okay, I’d go to a performance if the tickets were free, but only if you didn’t mind tracking where I was in the audience by my snoring.

Add to that I’ve got a minor headache and a seasonal sniffle. A sort of light echo of what Mrs S suffered the day before yesterday and shrugged off in forty eight hours. So today we took a drive out. Unlike in Ontario and New Brunswick, the RCMP here in BC have better things to do with their time than randomly stopping people and demanding to know where they’re going, or if they’ve been buying stuff the prodnoses disapprove of. It was just a nice day for a drive, even if there was nowhere to go.

We have officially been in self imposed lockdown since 10th March. When the panicking is all over I am going to have the mother and father of all timeouts.

Deeply sorry to hear about Tim Brooke Taylor, comic actor who made the nation laugh in shows like I’m sorry I’ll read that again, At last the 1948 show, The Goodies and many more. The man was a national treasure, but now we have to bury him. He’d probably have enjoyed that gag.

Bugger.

Good news

Mrs S was a little unwell yesterday, which gave me cause for concern. A little photophobia, headache and elevated temperature, which has now passed. Being the worry-guts that I am I sat up for quite a while last night before taking to my bed in the spare room. She’s a little tired this morning, so I shall, like the good family guard dog that I am, remain on alert. However, her symptoms have eased. She is feeling much better and currently on a conference call to her sisters and our girls, which is good news.

I hear Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclownish Prime Minister is on the mend. Which is also good news. The Pound is up a couple of points on the news and will grow stronger with him. Not sure whether he’s out of hospital to recuperate at Chequers or not. I think as a whole there will be a large but unheard sigh of relief when he’s well enough to be back at the helm. Bojo is in some ways, whether he likes it or not, a symbol, a symptom even of the UK’s post-Brexit health. He’s pulling through and as he does, so will the UK. This is an unusual phenomenon, but nonetheless a welcome one.

What I find a little hard to fathom is the spite and bile for Bojo’s recovery in the FT’s comments section and elsewhere. People wishing him dead or worse. Banging on about his ‘privilege’ and that he’s been taking up a ventilator that should have been reserved for someone else. Who ‘someone else’ should be these people never specify. But heavens to Murgatroyd me ol’ beauties, he’s the UK’s Prime Minister, with one of the largest parliamentary majorities in living memory. Of course he’s in a ‘privileged position’. Would these people expect their favourite politician to sit in a queue with the rest of us plebs, coughing and choking our way to eternity? Don’t be ridiculous.

If Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan et al (All people who in my view need a personality transplant – only the personality might reject them) were to be so afflicted would I wish them dead or at the back of the queue? No. We should be better than that. Obviously there are those who aren’t. Probably rump remoaners still in denial over Brexit and the inevitable slow motion implosion of the EU.

Like it or not, MP’s have their privileges because they are in a position of responsibility. Their job is to debate and discuss the law under which people live, unless of course local PCC commissioners are making law up on the fly, telling their officers to order people in their own gardens indoors and harassing people who are observing social distancing rules while walking the dog or searching their shopping for ‘non-essentials’.

With the responsibility for the nation as a whole, the job of Prime or government minister comes with a few perks, like getting immediate medical treatment when they need it. So Bojo got rushed into hospital after trying to tough it out. He got oxygen therapy when he needed it. He probably got a secure private room and ICU unit to himself because of all these remoaners wishing him dead. Because it’s not unknown for some crazy to take a dislike to someone over their politics and interfere with their treatment. Why isn’t he in with the general run of patients? Because of the remoaners who are so pissed that they’ve lost the Brexit debate (and their reason) so hard that they would lower themselves to cold blooded murder. As if that would fix anything. Which it wouldn’t.

There are far too many small minds. No wonder most of our little clan left the UK. Personally if I saw someone breaking restrictions, would I rat them out to the cops? Probably not unless they posed a real (Not an imagined or existential) danger to me and mine. If they were having a party I wouldn’t say a dickie bird so long as it shut down by 11pm and allowed everyone else to get some shut eye. If their guests caught the lurgi, that would be a consequence of their actions and nothing to do with me. If they end up on a ventilator, again, not my problem.

The curve of Covid-19 infections is beginning to flatten. Although the grim reapers scythe is swinging with a terrible rhythm of its own and there often seems no rhyme or reason to it. Two more weeks of high death rates are likely. However, I think for the UK the worst has passed. Here in Canada, because of the dithering from Ottawa, our worst is yet to come.

Anyway, the US markets are picking up and I will be checking my financial reports with a less heavy heart than last month. The shares I bought at bargain basement prices have already netted a 25% gain with another 220% to go before they reach their previous median price. So after a few fretful nights I’m feeling a little easier in my mind. We’re not out of the woods yet, but the worst I feel is over.

Hopefully this temporary downturn should begin to resolve shortly, then heads begin to poke out of foxholes and look around at this new world. One less reliant upon the totalitarianism of China. Maybe wondering loudly how necessary the worst aspects of this lockdown are. Like our four legged friend below.

Ants in my pantry

Being a moderate cook I try and keep a pretty tidy kitchen. A place for everything and (Mostly) everything in it’s place. I look at it this way. A kitchen is like a workshop. Keep it tidy and you’ll never lose anything or trip and fall flat on your stupid face. I may have a stupid face, but I do my best not to make it look any more stupid than it can possibly be. So I try and keep work surfaces clear and as clean as is practicable, so no-one gets food poisoning.

So imagine my shock when I picked up a packet of sugar today to make some feed for the Hummingbirds and half a dozen tiny ants dropped off it. Bloody things. I paid for that sugar, these freeloading bastards didn’t, so out comes the ant killer and I busy myself emptying all the cupboards and evicting the squatters. Thoroughly spray empty cupboards and leave the powder down for an hour before hoovering the excess up and giving the cupboards a proper clean with antiseptic wipe downs of everything before the dry goods and cans go back in.

The ants are now history. Until they establish a new run. But I’ll be ready for them.

We currently rent our Canadian domicile, choosing not to buy a house over here, but if it were down to me I would be getting pest control in to fumigate the place while we take a hike out for the week to fresher pastures. Unfortunately due to the current lockdown that isn’t going to happen for a while. So we do the best we can with the resources available.

Frankly the end of this quarantine can’t come too soon as Mrs S has decided I need a haircut. She’s got out my old trimmer kit and has, how can I put this? A slightly malicious twinkle in her eye. I think I should be afraid. Very afraid. I think she’s going to go all Wednesday Addams on me.

No, seriously, despite everything Mrs S and I are still getting on like the proverbial house on fire. You know what I mean; screams, sirens, collapsing buildings and a lot of curious onlookers wondering when the bodies are going to be brought out.

This is my life, such as it is. It’ll have to do until something better comes along.

Happier news

On the line with elder sibling in the UK the other day. We were both having a bitch about this quarantine business and how it has impacted us personally. Our respective pension funds have taken a serious hit, but the markets will bounce back so we’re not panicking. Yet. The travel restrictions are a pain, but fortunately not a game changer for us at present. He reports that there are fewer episodes of the dreadful long running soap operas Eastenders and Coronation Street, also the musical abortion called the Eurovision song contest has been cancelled. Which can only be a good thing for the mental health of all UK residents.

‘South’ a.k.a Eldest and I did some over the phone bonding in one of the longest talks we’ve ever had on Monday. Her Australian permanent residency does not give her access to social funds if she’s laid off, so I offered her a sum of money to tide her over, but bless her cotton socks she demurred. She told me she has saved some money of her own and already has a plan to make a few pennies on the side. She’s hunkering down and has a bolt hole with Brother and sister in law up in Cairns if everything goes further south than at present. So thanks Boss, she reported, but she’s all good.

‘North’ a.k.a. ‘Youngest’ is in a high transmissibility situation down in the Smoke, but she and her flatmates are hunkered down, and she has a solid contract, so her money stream has not been cut off. She’ll be fine. Smart kids. We keep in touch and let them know we will help out if called upon. Even though we’re all thousands of miles apart Mrs S and I can get financial help to them inside twenty four hours. If nothing else, knowing family has your back no matter what gives confidence, which is often of far more use than just money.

Mrs S and I have rebuilt our slightly scorched personal bridges through careful discussion this morning. We’re all good again, Kind of. I acknowledged that she’s not been sleeping as well as necessary and that her job and the Covid-19 lockdown had stressed her out. But I said that I forgave her emotional blowout and hoped that she would forgive my undiscussed investment actions. After I had time to explain why I needed to move as fast as I had, and that maybe she had her head filled with all the issues of her day job too much to appreciate what I thought I’d previously told her, and how my investment would benefit us both, she saw the sense of it. But in the heat of the moment she’d lost track of where she was, and in that lost moment, lashed out at me.

Apologies and explanations have been accepted, hugs have been exchanged and now we’re able to talk reasonably again, sharing affection and having those long rambling philosophical conversations she says keep her alive. Bit touch and go for a moment there, but like I said, we’re all good again. I think. Of course I could have held on to my anger, but anger is destructive, it corrodes the spirit and weakens reason. Blind anger makes people irrational and erodes their decision making faculties. I choose not to be angry if I can possibly help it. Cool heads, I find, tend to prevail in troubled times.

Speaking of which, I was called a ‘raaacist‘ on a YouTube comment thread today, which is an accusation a number of my old workmates and friends would find highly amusing. I had posted a comment critical of Trudeau for trying to buy a seat on the UN Security Council with Canadian taxpayer dollar, which as a Canadian taxpayer (Regardless of my race, religion or social construct) I have severe reservations about. Said lefty nonsense merchant even accused me of having a poorly adjusted tin foil hat. To which I had to respond that he brought race into the argument and that my tin foil hat was perfectly well adjusted thank you, which seemed to anger my correspondent even more, who was too busy spitting venom and projecting his own inner frustrations onto me to notice that he (possibly, but how is one to know anyone’s gender online?) was having the urine royally extracted. People like that are almost too easy to mock. They get so riled up they don’t notice they’ve lost. I could almost hear his arteries hardening. I do so hope he doesn’t suffer from an aneurysm. Not.

Notwithstanding, the peace of our home has been restored, our Irish travel plans are still in place and anger has been banished to the black pit from whence it arose. My little Grapefruit plant is still blossoming and I can breathe again.

Next crisis please. We’re finished with this one.

Time to go

The last few weeks have been a bit frenetic what with one thing or another. Elderly Friend is languishing, saying that she must have done something wicked to have fallen and broken her arm. So this weekend we sped up Highway one to see what we could do. Lighting was adjusted, books provided and instructions given to staff so that she doesn’t regress into the fugue she’s been in. For my part I responded to her repeated moans that she must have done something bad to be sitting up in a cosy bed in a nice safe and warm room with a busted wing thusly; “So you reckon you did something bad. Really? Do tell. Come on, out with your deepest darkest secrets. Spill the beans.” Well, it raised a bit of a smile from her.

Seriously though, Elderly friend is not a secret serial killer or ex-war criminal in hiding, just a lonely centenarian lady we have the dubious privilege of being POA’s for. We do our best, but we have jobs and there are only so many hours in the day. She’s just bored and a bit depressed. So we talked to the staff of the very nice care unit she’s in, told them to leave the doors of her room open so she can see what’s going on outside and laid on some reading material. She never has the TV on because even she is fed up with all the attention seeking doom and gloom that spews out of it nowadays.

On the work front, there’s a reorganisation due. My current contract might not get renewed, so I’m going to get myself on an online book keeping course over this Summer prior to our forthcoming Irish trip. I look at it this way, I have a faculty with numbers, so maybe there is part time work online as a book keeper. Just as a backup. Something to keep the cashflow going. Another string to my bow, so to speak. Things are going to get tougher up here in the not so frozen north, Mrs S has voiced a need to move on, so that is what we are going to do.

We’ve spent our free time making lists of what we’re going to keep, what we’re going to get rid of and who we need to talk to. It’s all tiny stuff. Baby steps. On the plus side I look on our impending move as an opportunity to get rid of stuff we no longer need.

We’re talking about being out of Canada in twelve months time. It’s not the place we thought it would be, too much big government. The encroachments and enforcement of ridiculous hate speech laws. And the worst thing is that there’s not a credible opposition to the paternalistic oppression that benefits a tiny minority. The electorate haven’t got a viable alternative. The Scheer led conservatives pander to the same clique as the Liberals and NDP, and no one apart from grumpy old sods like me will vote for the radical change Canada needs to break out of it’s protectionist bondage. I’ll remain a member of the PPC of course, and keep throwing the odd hundred bucks their way, but I’m feeling rather pessimistic. Canada is potentially a very, very rich country, but it has a problem, a system of government which is too tightly bound to Quebec and Ontario. The Trudeau Liberals being part of the problem. They only care about their petty differences with Quebec and forget that they have an economic powerhouse in the Midwest, one which they seem determined to stifle. Which to me simply does not make sense. Nor does the attitude of the majority of suburban Canadians, who keep voting for dimwits like Trudeau who have about as much economic sense as a stunned chipmunk. Even if he does have nice hair. It’s what’s under it that counts, and that isn’t saying much.

To illustrate the current economic slowdown by observation; driving up and down Highway one the other day, we saw over a dozen big bulk carriers parked in the waters off Victoria, Ladysmith and Nanaimo. Ships which should be actively shifting cargo are simply parked off local harbours racking up the harbour fees. Normally you might see four or five in total if avalanches have shut down the trans Canada transportation routes. And all because the Federal Liberals want to have “A dialogue” with a few professional protesters and a tiny minority of disaffected first nations who are claiming to act for five out of thirteen ‘hereditary’ chiefs, in total disregard of the wishes of the majority of their own ruling band councils. Yet no one is telling these bozo’s to stfu and get with the program. They’re the problem, and if they don’t wise up, all the freebies the first nations get will dry up because if Canada really does get shut down, there won’t be any money left to fund their welfare payments, free University educations and tax exemptions. Before that happens, the Government will have to raise even more taxes on the already hard pressed middle and working classes of Canada. Then that will tip the country into a gravity hole debt spiral which will make a large black hole seem minimalist.

So Mrs S and I are planning to move before the inevitable rain of shit happens. Lock, stock and both smoking barrels. Some will call me a coward, others will accuse me of common sense and foresight, because I know I am in a minority who can see the globalist UN planned endgame for Canada and it ain’t pretty.

Chores

We were planning to go out today, on the first day of sunshine for what felt like Eons. Unfortunately, Elderly Friend has taken a tumble in her care home and been carted off to hospital with a cracked shoulder. There’s no point us roaring up the Island Highway today as we can do everything by phone. Discharge and transport to arrange. Updating the care home instructions and making it all look seamless. Which has eaten a chunk out of our day.

So. This being ‘Family day’ – a public holiday, instead of going out I am busying myself with chores.

It is quite amazing how many little tasks need to be done around the house when some displacement activity is needed. Garbage and recycling to be sorted. Secure documents to shred. Filter on the cooker hood to clean. Kitchen floor to mop. Dishwasher to flush and the bathrooms were only cleaned yesterday. My Bank needed a minor kick up the bum, as will my old PayPal account because I can’t transfer money between them. And so I spent a chunk of my morning sitting in a call centre queue awaiting someone to answer my cri de coeur, listening to mind numbing adverts for services I don’t need, provided by a bank who won’t do what I ask them to do. Unless I sit in a call centre queue, feeling my brain cells commit suicide in existential despair.

Then we have our taxes to do.

Mrs S is hanging on the end of her cell phone awaiting developments. Our plans for a pleasant day out thoroughly shredded.

Or, as I truculently pointed out to Mrs S earlier today. “It looked like such a nice day for someone to ruin.”

Hospital appointments tomorrow. Oh joy.

Getting kitted

Mrs S got me into a store yesterday. I’ve been half heartedly looking for a new raincoat, but some of the prices for what I wanted were somewhat eye-watering. Almost seventeen hundred dollars for a classic Aquascutum? Wowch. So I’d been dodging the issue.

So when she saw the Barbour store on Regents street I was hustled in and forced to act as tailors dummy. They did have a cattlemans full length coat I was a little tempted by, but we decided to postpone a decision for after lunch as they only had it in one rather unpleasant colour. Yes we could have bought online, but that’s not the same experience. So we asked the assistant to put it by and promised to return after a Moroccan style lunch.

The capital streets currently seem calm and busy with tourists, mostly from Europe and South America, at least on the Tube. Piccadilly and environs were their usual self, with little of the outrage and shenanighans we’d been led to expect. As I said to Youngest’s friends over dinner last night, I thought the old place was better than I remembered it from the late 90’s. People politer, air much cleaner but just as rainy. Hence the need for much improved outdoor wear.

After lunch it was back to the store with Youngest as fashion adviser who took one look at proposed purchase and firmly shook her head. “It’s too much” was her judgement. So we cast around for something a little more reasonable and ended up with a slightly more expensive, but equally robust item. Oh, and a heavy felt Trilby. I like hats like Trilby’s or Akubra’s, they give the face a certain framing and keep most of the inclement weather out of your eyes. Also when you’re like me and hairdressers start to charge search fees, they are a comfort. Not to mention having a certain cachet, marking one out as either a gentleman or arrant rascal. Depending upon how it is worn.

Barbour have long held a reputation for being like armour plate. A man’s jacket, for example, takes quite a long time to wear in properly and get that traditional battered look they were famous for, so much so that one impatient fashion victim reputedly got a friend to wrap his brand new Barbour around a Land Rover’s bull bars for a few days heavy off-roading. After which time the garment had gained a little ‘patina’ and the look of a real outdoorsman’s garment (Looking like it had been dragged through blackthorn hedges for years and used as a bed for two incontinent Lurchers and several litters of kittens). Thus adding to the owners street, or should I say field-credibility.

Anyway, the Brexit clock is still ticking because although an extension was requested as required by the Benn act, the EU has yet (At the time of writing) to approve. I think the public mood has been over stimulated with project fear and that the only thing that will mar the air on the day the UK finally leaves is an huge sigh of “About bloody time too.”

Tempus, fugitting

Time is ticking down. Old family friend is declining with them, which means we get phone calls every day accusing the care team at her senior living facility with all kind of wrong doing. So we as powers of attorney have to co-ordinate mental health and her carers to make sure of maximum co-operation and minimum alienation. I think we all know she’s on the home stretch. She’s been working herself into a nervous frazzle and with her damaged heart probably doesn’t have long in this world. So our emergency travel bag sits at the ready because it will be us doing the unpleasant post mortem details like formal identification. Note to self, get funeral clothes out of cold storage. Black shoes, white shirt, formal suit, black tie. There are things which must not only be done properly, but also seen to be done after that fashion. This is the way we in our household prepare for these sad occasions. This is how we say goodbye to an old and highly respected friend. Slow, reluctant walk to the cemetery, brisk walk home. Life will go on and those we hold in our hearts can never die. Not a happy thought, but I can see it’s looming inevitability like an oncoming train.

Fuck. I hate doing this.

However, the other thought occurs that we will have discharged the debt we owed to elderly friend and her late husband, which is as it should be. We can take comfort in that.

We managed to get her on the phone, but if anything, the confusion has worsened. All we can do is make sure we’re ready.

Stuff it. It’s labour day tomorrow and the weather forecast looks half way decent, so I’m off for a good long 200k plus ride to clear my head. Full tank of gas, suited and booted. Let Mrs S have the car to please herself. Not much else I can do.

6th June

Seventy five years ago my father served on D-Day. Just one of the cast of thousands. A nineteen year old ordinary seaman signalman or Bunting Tosser (‘Bunts’ in Navy slang – a Semaphore and radio operator, that sort of thing) on LCT’s (Landing Craft Tank). Second wave, Juno Beach carrying Canadian Armour, thereafter back to blighty to load up again and deliver the next bunch to the Normandy beaches until Antwerp was re-opened to allied shipping later in November 1944. I’d have to pay to get his service record to find out which ship he served on and do a little research on which sectors it served. Might just do that.

Dad always said he enjoyed himself on the day, what with the big rocket barges and all the other Naval ordnance zooming overhead. He liked his time in the Navy as a hostilities only volunteer until demob in 1947, although he was out in Malaya post hostilities helping repatriate Allied POW’s from Japanese POW camps. As a result he hated the Japanese with a venom I couldn’t understand until I learned about what the Japs did to Allied POW’s and Chinese civilians. Dad hated Nazi’s too. Not the pretend kind we are told to hate nowadays, but the real genocidal deal. Because of this deep felt hatred, wouldn’t buy anything German or Japanese and almost had a conniptive fit one day when I rode home on my first ever Japanese motorcycle. That was a day, I can tell you.

Yet the more I learn about those times, the more fortunate I count myself. We have not had to fight a major war in my lifetime, apart from the Cold War, which fortunately never really turned hot. However, a threat to liberty remains, not least from Silicon Valley. Absolute power corrupts anyone?

The major threat now is formed by the globalist authoritarian left. The anti-freedom factions. The EU bureaucracy and their allies. The US Democratic party and RINO Republicans. The Canadian Federal Liberals and to a lesser extent the NDP, Greens, and the Scheer led Progressive Conservatives. The insidious influence of the Chinese government and the bad example set by it’s loathsome ‘social credit’ system. All these people want is more power for themselves, yet call those of us who just want to be left alone to do our own thing ‘fascists’.

Anyone else see the irony?

Polly wanna cracker

I’ve got the house to myself at present. Mrs S has gone up island with her sisters and I can wind down a little. Three sisters with all the decades old interplay of personal baggage of all siblings could be compared to babysitting an erratically ticking emotion bomb. You don’t know how long the fuse is and the bloody thing stops counting down and resets every so often, so there are respites. However, this does not make me feel comfortable. Outnumbered yes, comfortable, no. If ever I enter a walking on eggshells competition, I’ll be in the top five.

Anyway, Mrs S and second sister, visiting from the fabled land of Oz, who I think is actually scared of l’il old me (No idea why- I’m an amiable old bear in real life), will be back next Sunday, whereupon I will treat them to some nice lamb chops for Sunday supper. Which will be nice. Mint sauce being something we don’t get to use that often. However, there will only be three of us, which is easier to cope with. Both on an interpersonal and catering basis. Sister in law from up island is notoriously picky in matters of diet. Which has put the kitchen chez sticker under significant pressure, but the cook has coped. Only one minor hitch when they told me to have a meal ready for six thirty and didn’t roll up until well over an hour later. To which I intoned to Mrs S when she phoned to tell me they were going to be late, an hour after I’d begun cooking. “Yer dinner’ll be in the dog. Or it would be if we still had one.”

On to this posts title. One thing bothering me recently, amongst many others is why a ‘carbon tax’ is being levied all over the planet? The UK is having one imposed by Treason May and her coterie of remainers in the case of a ‘no-deal’ BREXIT, we’ve got a Federal carbon tax pushed on us by Trudeaupe in Canada and attempts elsewhere are going on to a background of the parroted line that *Insert country name here “is warming twice as fast as anywhere else”. Right, how can one place ‘warm twice as fast as everywhere else’ if everywhere on the planet is making the same claim? If, as Trudeaupe claims that Canada is warming twice as fast as anywhere on Earth and the Chinese premier makes the same claim about China, who is telling who the truth? The Chinese premier or Trudeaupe? Or is someone else right? Perhaps the leaders of the first(?) world all turned into parrots? They all sound a lot like “Gwaaarrkk! Polly wanna carbon tax!” What is going on?

Unfortunately for the Federal Liberals, no-one with two fully functioning brain cells believes this widely parroted fiction any more. The political compass is swinging firmly to the right of the political spectrum, conservatives winning first the provinces of Ontario and Quebec then Alberta, and latterly PEI (Marginally). Carbon Dioxide is not at the root of an ever-changing global climate. From a deeper delve into the data I’d say it’s a bit part player at best. Indeed, some serious thinkers have calculated that the ‘warming signal’ of CO2 is completely swamped by ocean evaporation and rainfall. Considering that all the models have failed to reflect reality, that has the highest probability of being true.

As for all this garbage about ‘man made’ climate change or ‘Saving the planet’ you know, it’s funny how the biggest mouthpieces bullshitting about such causes own lavish beach properties and holiday on private islands. If you thought there were going to be massive rises in sea level like they’re always telling us because all the ice is melting, why are they so all-fired keen to live so close to the waters edge? These people talk about ‘science’ but I don’t think these mouthpieces have a clue about what real science entails. They just parrot what they’re told, or what their febrile self loathing demands they say, then get in the politicians faces. From there everything goes into groupthink mode and the politicians end up ripping off the taxpayer, which is what carbon tax is. A complete rip off. There is no reason for a ‘Carbon tax’ apart from to take money out of the ordinary taxpayers back pocket and give it to the politicians favoured cause. That and massively increase the cost of living for billions. Squeezing the productive until the whole system goes haywire, because those pushing the ‘we’re all doomed’ narrative don’t have a clue about economics or atmospheric physics. But seeing as they’re part of the scam machine, they won’t go hungry. All they have to do is keep parroting the same old lies.

Which I’d start being worried about if I were a parrot. These carbon tax pundits might put me out of a job.

“Gwaaarrkk! Polly wanna cracker! Showusyerknickers!”

Oh stuff it. The deck garden is doing well, especially the Pansies. My Lemon Plants are fine and the four Grapefruit seedlings are each almost two inches tall. In other news, it looks like Venezuela could be ditching a bad idea. Good for them. They need a break.

Green shoots

Or as a celebrity gardener was heard to shout as he did a charity parachute jump; “Geraniums!” Bit of a windstorm this morning. Which meant winds of up to sixty miles per hour rattling the eaves. It was that kind of a Saturday. As for the deck garden, despite all the wind, little green shoots are popping up everywhere. And like all plants, they all seem to look the same, rather like most babies look like they’re doing Winston Churchill impersonations. They’re all two tiny oval leaves on top of a needle thin stem.

Spring cleaning this weekend. Bathrooms first, followed by bedrooms, both our offices and the main lounge. This is the first run through as Mrs S’s middle sister arrives from the fabled land of Oz in the last week of April. Youngest sister will be descending upon us from up island. Outnumbered and out-gunned, I shall be keeping my head down, as three sisters together may be a little more than my delicate nerves can stand. God knows my own side of the clan can be enough hard work. But I ration my time with them and an afternoon every two years is more than enough. There’s a lifetime of deferred conversations out there which I don’t think anyone has the courage to address. However, I’ve already made my peace with those I could and the rest will have to miss out. Such is life.

Wife’s sisters will be coming and going for three whole weeks. All this and I’m paying my tax bill on Tuesday. Lord have mercy on my pathetic raddled soul.

On the upside, the mainstream media, who once thought our foppish PM could do no wrong, are turning against him. For example, the cover of Macleans, one of Canada’s top magazines, had him on the front cover with the title “Imposter!” emblazoned in large unfriendly letters and his polling numbers are in the tank. Live by the media, die by the media. Forgive me for sniggering quietly to myself. Or not.

There is an old saying…

… that “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” First coined by an author called Maurice Switzer, not Mark Twain or Franz Kafka. However, according to my loyal team of word jugglers and Thesauri hunting Igors this saying has roots that go back to the Old Testament (Proverbs 15:2 & Solomon 17:28).

Sunday was a very strange day which had Mrs S and I wondering aloud why we actually bother sometimes.

First we went to have lunch with an old family friend to find that enough marbles have rattled out to God knows where to the point that our lunch out didn’t happen. Despite having confirmed our time of arrival over the phone the night before, old family friend had forgotten all about us and buggered off to lunch with someone else without a bye, leave or thank you. So we slipped off and purchased a coffee and cookie type of snack without her. Mrs S was visibly upset as she has known old family friend since she was ten and we have always considered friend as part of our extended family. Yet the person we met today was showing definite signs of cognitive decline, forgetting names, relationships and other things we’ve had in common for years. For my own part I was halfway expecting this, and had steeled myself mentally for the encounter. Many people forget things, but they don’t often repeat themselves four times in a twenty minute conversation. Not unless they’re trying to sell you something.

After that we dropped by at sister in law’s place where the aforementioned proverb was well and truly put through the axiom tester. Brother in law was in full remainer rant mode over BREXIT wanting the overthrow of parliament and the abandonment of democracy. When I politely enquired about what he would put in the place of the UK’s Parliament, he said he didn’t care. If he couldn’t have his way to stay in the slave-state of the European Union, the baby had to be thrown out with the bathwater and fuck the consequences. This is an allegedly educated man with no job and a Bachelor’s degree. Old thickie me, who has two jobs and no degree, begs to differ. I think the benefits of the undemocratic EU superstate have been massively oversold and it’s on the way out. Notwithstanding, we made our excuses and left.

We’re back at home now and Mrs S is soothing her ruffled feathers with a large glass of red and a couple of episodes of CSI, season twelve on Amazon Prime. For my part, having heard his irrational remainer arguments, I need a bloody good shower and need to scrub my skin clean from the inside.

Trying to look on the bright side, a few more seedlings have broken surface in our deck garden and will be providing us with fresh flowers, herbs and vegetables throughout Summer and well into Autumn, before we head on over to jolly old Londinium to see what all the fuss is about.

Oh well, the working week beckons and I need a serious drink.

Power

There is no such thing as power without responsibility. Well you can try, but it always ends in tears. Even when you don’t there are winners and losers. Let me enlarge…

Over the last three weeks we have been busily involved in exercising our legal powers as powers of attorney on behalf of an old family friend. Emphasis on the ‘old’. We’re talking upper nineties here.

Recently our very good friend became ill. For twelve long hours she lingered at death’s door, or should I say dithered indecisively before deciding to stay with what she knew. Which annoyed some people, but less about them later.

Upon hearing the news, we thundered up the Island highway. Made sure all was under control at the hospital, obtained reports, discussed issues with medical staff and care home manager. Then we thundered back down home getting back late and very tired. Daily phone calls to hospital and relatives ensued while juggling new work issues. A disinterested and cynical reader might think we were being a bit over the top, but we reckon we owe our elderly friend a debt of gratitude for the help that she and her late husband gave us when we first landed. That is a debt I will not consider paid until she is gone and her estate settled.

What didn’t help was Hospital staff and Doctors often giving conflicting information. On one occasion within an hour of each other. On the third day one refused to give us any details over the phone because we “Weren’t on the list” which we bloody well most certainly were. Top of the list of contacts as legally registered powers of attorney if you please.

In the middle of this muddle our friend was blithely and obviously non compos mentis so we held all the aces. A terse conversation with hospital administration was had. Apologies were received. “Oops, sorry, that was on another screen.” Yeah, right. A full report was forthcoming. Necessary people were notified and informed, arrangements made, through which our old friend glided sedately as a Swan, while we and others were doing a lot of desperate paddling underneath. Which made some people, how shall I put this delicately, a little defensive.

Let me explain. A lot of West Coast Canadians hate confrontation to the point where it’s almost comic. They cannot negotiate like a European or our Southern cousins will. They either duck the issue and pass the buck like nobody’s business or get all whiny and passive-aggressive. For our part Mrs S and I handle confrontations without all the circumlocution and squirming West Coasters so often go in for. To us a spade is a spade, you use them to dig holes. Or hit people who won’t give you a straight answer. As people we are often direct, concise and to the point. Which makes us unpopular but what the hell. Did I say West coasters hate confrontation? The passive-aggression we occasionally meet is easily deflected by a flash of legal powers. The opposition might know their ‘rights’ but unfortunately for them, so do we.

Notwithstanding, another trip up and down the highway with a two night stay was booked so we could be there for our friends release from hospital into her residential home at the weekend. Then a phone call from the Care Home Manager. Why not from the Hospital? We’re the powers of Attorney, not him. She’s being sent home when? Today? Hells bells! Thanks for letting us know, you utter tossers. Change of booking. Thunder up Island highway again. Negotiate care instructions and agree with fortunately co-operative Manager of Residential home where elderly friend is resident. At least he appreciated our no-nonsense approach.

I’ll say this for this particular care home, it’s very nice, more like an upmarket hotel for Seniors than a UK pattern care facility. Elderly friend’s apartment is compact but more of a studio apartment plus bedroom. It’s roomier too with a full en-suite bathroom. The facility also has it’s own care unit for the less able, which is where elderly friend stayed until she retrieved all her marbles and got reassessed so she can go back to living more independently.

Additional problems arose when a couple of ‘relatives’ decided to turn up out of the blue and foist themselves on our elderly friend. Eating her food, using her facilities, which we, as her powers of attorney thought was a bit of a nerve. Especially when other family members far closer than we would not put them up. Which I found a little odd. When we asked why, no-one wanted to deal honestly. Mrs S and I found it quite comic listening to someone literally squirming on the other end of a phone line. Obviously no love lost there. It was a pity they couldn’t just be honest with us. “No, they’re an utter pain we don’t want as a house guest.” Would have been quite acceptable as a response, but no, we had to listen to fifteen minutes of ever more elaborate excuses. They had their own lives and wanted someone else to make the hard calls while the vultures descended.

My attitude to the vultures is simple; visit by all means, but pay your own way please. Elderly friend gets charged for having guests in her apartment, which even we as her legal guardians are refused access to. Another set of terse phone conversations were had with the care home. Veiled statements of legal intent were issued. Instructions were reiterated. If elderly friends recovery is threatened by these people, out they bloody well go. Do not pass go, do not dip your hand into her wallet. Elderly friend is supposed to be resting after a very life threatening illness, not in need of ‘cheering up’ or ‘taking out of herself’ by mindlessly well-intentioned freeloaders with their piggy little eyes on our old friends money. Have the common decency to wait until she’s dead, you greedy bastards.

That’s one thing about our part of the Sticker clan is our fierce loyalty to close friends. We look after our own and we like our friends alive thank you very much. Now sod off.