Category Archives: Family

Well then.

So. Here it is. 2022. ‘North’ goes back to jolly old Londinium shortly to resume her frenetic pace of life. We hope we haven’t bored her while she’s been with us. She has been spending a good deal of her time asleep. Maybe she’s just playing catch up. I just keep the fires stoked and make sure everyone has a full glass available.

Happy to report that ‘South’ is out of restrictions and back out with her mates again in the fabled land of Oz. During this mornings video conference she looked much happier and not in the least bit snotty. Funny though, she did test positive for the dreaded lurgi despite being double jabbed with a top up.

I’m still on tenterhooks awaiting completion on our new domicile in the next few days. Which is getting far too close to the wire for my liking. If we have to reschedule moving and connections, which will cost me extra money, I will be looking for someone to sue for breach of contract. Or strangle and provide future archaeologists with a little mystery to solve. Either will do.

Anyway, despite all the hype I’m not very impressed with these vaccines. They only give you partial immunity for less than five months from what I can see, which doesn’t sound like they’re much good. And the ‘breakthrough infection’ rate (i.e. getting the disease even after the ‘vaccine’) is far too high for my liking, so what’s the point of these constant top ups? Israel, with one of the highest percentage of vaccinated has been talking about mandating a fourth or even fifth jab. Then there’s the adverse reactions, which though ‘rare’ are still significant.

Considering that Sarf Efrica only had at the last count only 24% of population vaccinated, they didn’t lock down or similar despite being the source for the heavy cold now masquerading as the Moronic Pandemic. Indeed, the chief medical honcho down there has repeatedly said that the Moronic variant is nothing to worry about.

Yet the powers that be this side of the equator and their pet media (or should that be the other way around?) are all losing their collective shit despite a relative lack of people snuffing it, and the complete failure of the Moronic Variant to overwhelm health services all around the world. But no, they keep mandating masks and lockdowns, then when that fails yet again, more masks and lockdowns. It’s like being on some sort of a dystopian merry go round. Frankly me deario’s I think they’d have done less harm if they’d done nothing. Or just issued standard colds and flu advice and put the Army medical corps on standby to staff overflow units like the ‘Nightingale’ hospitals that never really got used.

Across the pond, Florida man (to be more specific his press secretary) is having a giggle over all those privileged New Yawk hypocrites like Occasional Cortex who have left their home city with all it’s curfews and mandatory masks and been seen in various Floridian locations sipping the local beverages, pandering to the only demographic who believe in her.

Likewise a lot of ‘red’ states have simply dispensed with all the Hoo-Haw and simply got on with life as normal. Even that Brandon old fool masquerading as their illustrious leader has thrown up his hands and said that it’s all down to the individual states. Not that he’s really in charge. Any more than Bojo the clown in the UK is. Who they’re in hock to, no one’s quite sure, but they’re not doing sense and logic, that’s for sure. Don’t even mention the fop allegedly in charge of Canada, because it will call you an ‘ist’ if you disagree. There, that’s you told. So there!

Then there have been the protests against all the continual restrictions across Europe, where the politicians keep on doing more of the same to the point where their respective populations are kicking off at various protests. Even normally docile Germans are going off on one. Now they have around twenty million jab refuseniks. Smart people the Germans, pity about the 1930’s and 40’s. And the whole of the 19th and early 20th century. Who do they think they are? English?

Back over here in the Wilder West we’ve not been going out as much as we normally would because everywhere shuts down by gubbermint edict at eight pee em. As if any disease was that time sensitive. Even in daytime nowhere has been very crowded, except Dunnes, the local equivalent of Marcus Expensius in the week before Christmas. The hospitality business must be almost dead on it’s feet.

Strikes me that the lockdown lobby must be stuffed with the ‘no-one must have any fun at any time any where’ faction. I remember people like that from school. They were miserable bossy little tossers back then and I don’t think they’ve changed much since.

Anyway. Here’s hoping for a better year. The wind is howling outside and I hope to lessen my own inner howl by getting extra busy in the next couple of days. Good luck everyone, I have a feeling we’re going to need it.

We need…

After a day at the beach and subsequent discussion session it’s been concluded, we need a dog for new year. Mrs S would like a house dog for company. I would like a companion for when I’m working up the fields and come back to the house knackered. ‘North’ also wants us to have a dog so she has someone else to play with when she comes visiting. Said dog will also occasionally travel with us.

Oh by the way, here’s a picture of our two little fields taken from the back of the house (See below). We’re still waiting on final completion, but we and our money are committed and probably should be, but what the hell, you go nowhere in this life if you don’t take the occasional leap of faith.

My previous pooch was a much loved family member. And I’m not sure who picked whom at the shelter I got him from. All the other dogs didn’t make an impression, but when I first saw him he cocked his head expectantly and looked directly at me as if to say “Is it you?” He’d have loved our new place. A complete slut when it came to fuss and treats, and his loss still grieves me after almost seven years. I’d have loved to have gone straight out and found another to replace him, but circumstances and landlords forbade, so we went dogless. Which has left me feeling a little empty at times.

If there’s one thing that can break my heart, wound me to my very soul, it’s losing a family pet. Because deep down I’m a big old softy. Even if I put on a stern face toward the world and can be quite implacable to humans. Pups and kittens? There lies my Achilles heel. Mrs S knows, ‘North’ and ‘South’ know. Anyone even briefly acquainted with me knows. So now we are putting down roots (Finally!) and have something to put roots into, a dog comes as part of the package.

My own preference is for a modest dog. Not a miniature or ‘toy’, nor a purebreed. A mutt or mongrel is my choice. Spaniel / Collie size. Short haired and under 6 months old. Said pooch will have the run of our 5 acres plot and a loving home. As well as the pick of my leftovers and it’s own specially brewed batches of ‘Stoo‘. No one goes hungry on my watch.

However, lockdowns and fashion have inflated the market for house dogs out of all recognition. No doubt when the fad ends the shelters will be swamped with some animals turfed out simply because they are ‘inconvenient’ or ‘unfashionable’. Which is sad for the dogs. They are pack animals and to simply oust them because they are no longer part of a ‘lifestyle package’ must be like throwing a child out of the family home for no good reason.

Dogs, for all their other faults, are loyal, and a good family pet is just that, an inseparable part of your little tribe. To cast them off like so many are is cruelty personified. At least from the dogs perspective. Abandonment from the pack is worse than death because to canines, that is death. A pack is a voluntary co-operative tied by bloodline and preference. Each member has a purpose and to lose that raison d’etre must be agony for them. It’s bad enough for humans. I speak from experience.

Better not to take them into your home in the first place, because the bond between human and dog should be ‘until death do you part’. But that’s just me. A dog is part of your life, not simply a lifestyle ‘choice’. If all you want something just to cuddle or show off to the neighbours, buy yourself a Teddy bear.

It is said you can always tell the measure of a man (or woman) by the way he or she treats his dog (or cat, or whatever). There the matter stands. I may be a while choosing. So may the dog.

System admin

Okay. Contacts signed. Movers booked. And then there’s Christmas and a brand new business venture, including web sites, business accounts, registrations and suchlike. All the fun of systems admin. Then Mrs S got to badgering me about menu’s for Christmas fortnight when ‘North’ is hopefully going to arrive.

All the fuss and bother is driving yours truly ever so slightly bwanas, so I got a bit grumpy and told her to sort out the menu’s and leave the cook (Me) alone to get on with all his other jobs. Like doing all the other stuff she wants me to do. If I stuck a broom up my arse I could probably clean the floor as I go.

Whether ‘North’ will get here or not will be in the hands of the most blitheringly incompetent bunch of brain dead bozo’s (A.K.A. the collective Governments of the UK, Europe and much of the English speaking world, Yes this especially means you Australia), busy panicking about a bad head cold first identified in Sarf Efrika.

The doctors who identified this new bug are all openly wondering what the fuss is about, as all the data says this ‘variant’ is about as harmful as a six week old kitten.

The brain dead bozo’s, who don’t like to be blamed for anything, even if it is demonstrably their fault, are running around like headless chickens shutting down travel or imposing draconian measures like putting people who might have been close to someone else who had a sniffle in what are, to all intents and purposes, prison camps.

Australian brother and sister in law have gone home to their pleasant little place in Queensland, but as he is now forbidden to go back to work across the territorial border, his company will have to find someone with his very rare (and expensive) skill set already close to their offices, and find them inside a week. Which frankly isn’t going to happen without some serious laws being broken. Brother in law is a key person in the import / export supply chain, and without him or people like him, important things will not happen.

Also in Oz, ‘South’ was hoping to get out for Christmas, which at the moment seems unlikely. Personally I think she’s a bit desperate like so many others, poor lamb. All we can do from our end is send gifts and keep her talking with the promise of better times and a break in the Irish countryside with all her aunts, uncles and sister, all of whom she is missing terribly. It is our turn to host the gathering of the clan and we hope to be ready for it mid 2022.

As for prison camps. Oh boy, that’s going to (and probably has already) make for some serious discontent, and I’m sitting here waiting to see when the first bombs go off. Because unless these restrictions are walked back, that is what is eventually going to happen.

I can see it coming in like an Atlantic rainstorm towards a western beach. Some hothead, sick of being demonised and spat on by politicians, media and other boneheads, will start chucking home made explosives about, mark my words. And I predict said hothead will be that security operatives nightmare, the intelligent ‘clean skin’ with no affiliations or history who has not made an out of line comment on the Interweb but has the nous to use all those clever ‘how to’ video’s on various platforms and effectively cover their tracks.

The only way out of course is for the panicking politicians (as well as everybody else) to calm the f*ck down and take a chill pill. The virus will finish running it’s course regardless of them repeating the same old mistakes in the same old way. So let people have their festive season and civil liberties back or be prepared for trouble.

But then that’s just me stating the bleedin’ obvious. I cite as my example the repeated clamping down on civil rights of Catholics as the main trigger for firstly the 1916 Irish uprising and war of independence, also in the 1960’s the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland resulting in decades of murders and counter-murders, including the assassination of politicians.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned, I’m simply going to plunge on regardless with plans for Christmas in the hopes that sanity will prevail and we can ditch all the worthless masks, travel restrictions and lockdowns to just enjoy what should be a happy time of year. If ‘North’s’ visit happens it will be nice. If not, I’m going to remain very, very angry. Like so many others.

In the meantime. While I’m busy moving multiple domains, creating new e-commerce websites, getting ready to move house and negotiating bustling crowds of Christmas shoppers, here’s a few great oldies from the Moody Blues.

All very apposite, if you care to think about it. Enjoy.

No means No

Rough night last night due to some well past sell be date cheese that was undercooked. My bad. As the cook of the household I will not be repeating that error again. Then again I was the only one who suffered, so, non fit, non injuria, eh?

Regarding our new place, the lawyers plod on with their searches and sundry details, so nothing to report there. I’m forced to sit on my hands and trudge through research topics, most of which are like revision, going over the same old ground in the same old way. There will be no house move until the new year.

As for trudging along the same old path, that is rather how I feel about all the politicians pushing the ‘no jab no job’ button. To which so many workers in the ‘health’ sector (and others) are saying “F**k your lousy job. Now where’s my redundancy money?” Because you can’t fire someone without recompense because you’ve arbitrarily changed their contract of employment. Frankly I’ve lost count of the times I’ve simply dumped a demand to ‘sign here’ in the waste bin and ignored the follow up emails. Retrospectively altering terms and conditions without overt consent of both parties beforehand isn’t exactly safe ground, contractually speaking. They can’t really force you to sign to something you don’t agree with. They can put pressure on you, but that skirts perilously close to ‘constructive dismissal’ territory.

As for a mandated third jab. Look, if the first two didn’t work very well, then what’s the point of a third? It’s just doing the same old thing over and over again in hope of a differing result.

I’ve said my piece on the dreaded lurgi and cross-immunity twice before. SARS/COV-2 is a coronavirus. As are a few variants of the common cold and influenza. Your immune system, if you keep it in good nick with a good mixed diet and moderate exercise in the fresh air, without wearing one of those ridiculous surgical or cloth masks, will, if you’ve already had a coronavirus infection, be ready to pounce on any future interlopers.

I see from my Spectator feed that scientists are suddenly ‘discovering’ cross immunity (Again) and going “Sounds good.” Now forgive me from my simple minded layman’s perspective, but I got taught this basic principle when I was an NHS employee and student over thirty freaking years ago. It’s epidemiology 101 as our transatlantic cousins say. If you get an infection from a specific disease vector, your immune system will be primed to cope with something from the same camp. It will be educated by a previous infection and ready to deal with another, similar infection from the same family of vectors.

So no, I’ve had two jabs, and if they didn’t work then I’m not bothering with a third no matter the sanction. I’ve had my dose of the dreaded lurgi prior to my vaccinations, so I’m immune. A PCR test might find viral fragments in my snotty sinuses, but as for illness, no. Mild food poisoning notwithstanding.

The good news is that ‘North’ is spending the entire festering season with us. We’ll be putting the rest of our disparate clan on our big screen in the front room using screen mirroring via our AppleTV box and Mrs S’s iPad at Solstice, Christmas and New Year. I’ll rig up a stand so her iPad camera is facing in the right direction, and Robert is one’s Father’s sibling. Easy peasy.

The downside is that because ‘North’ is a vegetarian I’m going to have to cook two Christmas dinners simultaneously. However this is not insuperable and is merely, like all cooking conundrums, simple logistics.

Me eeevil plan succeeds!

I was idly scanning through some of the links to this blog yesterday when Mrs S, kibitzing over my shoulder as she is sometimes wont to do, said; “What’s that Bill?”

“Oh, just a piece from Small Dead Animals is Saskatchewan.” I replied, switching tabs to Dr Malcolm Kendricks blog.

“Can you send me some links?” She said. I paused in surprise, but then she’s been complaining a bit recently about the PC bullshit she puts up with in her current online role, from which she is retiring soon.

Maybe she’ll be happier helping me plant and prune at the new place when we finally take possession. Which shouldn’t be too long now. The money sits like a coiled spring, the price is set and all I have to do is trip the trigger to send it winging electronically to the vendors.

“Who’s this?” She pointed at Dr Kendrick’s latest post and I handed my tablet across for her to read. For several minutes she maintained a thoughtful silence. “Have you anything else like this?” She asked.

So I sent her ten links from my sidebar of sundry malcontents and science sources via email. Since then it’s gone dreadfully quiet, apart from the odd chuckle of quiet agreement emanating from the kitchen.

I’ve already infected her with my philosophy on how to invest and grow money, which has paid off moderately well. Now she seems to be absorbing the same data sources. Could my evil plan be set to succeed?

In the meantime…

While waiting for notification that the vendors lawyers are doing their thing, Mrs S and I were talking about the current culture war fallout this morning, where people are being ‘no-platformed’ or ‘cancelled’, and politicians are calling for an end to online anonymity because the Internet is a ‘cesspool’.

“You can’t just shut down debate because a tiny minority of immature people are offended.” I remarked as she listened to a Sam Harris podcast.

“Ironic isn’t it?” She replied. “That the platform so many of these so-called ‘serious’ conversations are being had on, is called Twitter…” Well, it made me smile.

Such exchanges are one of the reasons I married her. And why we stay married.

A watching brief

Mrs S, being more susceptible than I to the constant barrage of propaganda over vaccines, registered for her dose about six weeks ago. Yesterday lunchtime (Saturday) she went for her first AstraZeneca jab. On the other hand, I have neither registered, nor volunteered for what I view as a vast, uncontrolled clinical trial.

Today Mrs S has been running a mild fever with an elevated resting pulse of 88. She also felt sufficiently ill to go to bed at 11:30am where she slept until 3:30pm. No muscle aches or other symptoms have been reported. She appears mildly flushed, but there are no signs of cyanosis and her eyes are clear. She has not complained to me of losing her sense of smell. Just tiredness and a mild pyrexia.

Now I’ve had a whole slew of vaccinations in my life and never had even a mild adverse reaction. I’m also reminded that ‘North’, based in London, experienced more severe flu-like symptoms for a week after her first jab.

Given that people can still suffer symptoms generated by a SARS/COV-2 infection even after having both doses, Also that because the vaccines do not prevent anyone becoming infectious and passing on the dreaded lurgi, I fail to see any good reason to have the jab. Especially as I am not in an elevated risk category. Also the likelihood of me requiring hospital treatment is, at this point, very low.

Yes I know that the recent precipitous drop in ‘cases’ and hospitalisations is being attributed to the vaccine rollouts, but I have what I feel is a reasonable doubt. The drop in infections could as easily be attributed to a normal seasonal fluctuation in respiratory infections. Why? because correlation is not causation.

Now I attribute the low rate of infections / hospitalisations to places like Ireland and the UK having hit ‘herd immunity’ some time last year. The risk of SARS/COV-2 infection for most people is minimal.

Notwithstanding, I will be carefully and discretely monitoring my wife’s condition for the next few days. I have also taken to sitting out in the sunshine at every opportunity and drinking lots of fluids. Can’t hurt to keep the old immune system bolstered, just in case. Can’t have both of us sick at the same time.

Anyway; for the moment the sky at present is a cloudless blue, the farmyard is beset with swooping Swifts and the cooling Western Irish breezes are feather soft. Could be a hell of a lot worse.

Update Monday 26th April: Mild fever, elevated resting pulse. Regular 4-8 hourly doses of paracetamol to control fever. No other symptoms.

…It being a Friday

…A Prince named Phillip died. He was a man notorious for saying what was on his mind and being the only one to make HM Queen giggle. This drove anti-royalist Guardianistas into conniptive fits, which was always fun.

So Mrs S and I toasted his memory in tea and ginger biscuits on an Irish garden afternoon that seemed too sunny for such sad news.

We have steeled ourselves against the coming avalanche of empty platitudes from grandstanding politicians and other such luminaries. One can take solace that Phillip didn’t like them much either. His caustic wit will be missed.

A touch of Atlantic weather

Hail hammering on the windows first thing, followed by patches of squally rain, hail and now bright sunshine. Welcome to the wilder west of Ireland young Bill.

Had an interesting chat with ‘North’ over the phone yesterday. Apparently she had her first SARS/COV-2 vaccination last week. “How did it go? Which one did you have?” I asked.
“The AstraZeneca. The jab was fairly painless.” She replied. “Felt a bit sick afterwards though.”
“Really? What happened?” I probed.
“Started about four hours after I had my injection.” She said. “Began with a really bad headache so I went to bed.”
“Doesn’t sound very nice.” I replied.
“Then I felt nauseous and had muscle cramps and pains for the next two days and my arm ached for a week.”
“Highly unpleasant.” I commented guardedly. Somehow I’m glad I’m at the back of the queue for this particular vaccine.
“Yeah, they’re giving the AstraZeneca to younger people reserving the Pfizer for the over 70’s.”
“But you’re okay now?” I asked.
“A bit grumpy.”
“I can tell. Ready for the pubs re-opening?”
“Managed to book a table. Everywhere is booked solid.” I could hear her anticipatory smile.
“Take an umbrella. I know what London is like at that time of year.” I warned gently. “No sense in getting your drinks diluted by a seasonal shower.” She had the good grace to laugh at my pallid Dad humour, bless her little cotton socks.

Then we changed the subject to other things and rattled for another ten minutes about life in general before I passed her on to Mrs S. I didn’t ask ‘North’ about the Saturday vigil that got baton charged by the Met as she has more sense than to get involved in such things. Well, lot that she tells us about anyway. I’ll be happier when she finally gets out of the UK for an extended visit to us here in the wilder west. ‘South’ is sounding a bit desperate to get back to Europe and catch up with family. Which is understandable. We only get to see each other every other year as it is. So I keep sending them both little video’s of deserted Irish beaches and odd little corners of the Emerald Isle as we discover them. It seems to help. Us as much as them.

All the time the soft squalls rolled in from the Atlantic. The weather is a little restricting at present but finding that our two are doing moderately okay takes the edge off things. There’s a bout of fine weather coming in sometime next week, we hope. Ergo Mrs S and I will be taking visits out to the beaches as and when the sun is shining. Even if the wind is trying to blow our socks off.

Afterthought; Seems like the concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine are spreading. Ireland has just suspended its use after Norway, Iceland and Denmark did over post jab fatalities and concerns about increased blood clotting.

Important Update: France, Italy, Germany and Spain have also suspended AstraZeneca. The Pfizer vaccine is also flagging up similar symptoms to the AstraZeneca. Stats for all vaccine side effects here.

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.


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.