Category Archives: Irish life

The Daffs are out

First spring lambs spotted on the hill overlooking our house this morning. New born twins. We’d talked to Colum when he came to collect the rent money on Sunday, and he reckoned that lambing wasn’t due to start for two to three weeks. The sheep it seems, have other ideas.

The Gardai are all busy chasing teenagers for chucking fireworks at them in Dublin, so any rational person will take advantage of such a situation and grab a break at the seaside, negotiating a maze of back roads to do so. I am a rational person, so I took us out for a sunny day at a very nice beach. Which was good for our sanity. Saw one speed trap on the main drag before we made the turn for home. That was it.

Overall we’re all good. The sun is shining, the daffodils are coming into bloom, we’re currently having what I call a ‘false spring’ which is one of those interludes between patches of wintry weather. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it does help us cope with the news that these stupid, pointless and ineffective lockdowns are likely to continue into June. Yeah, right.

Anyway, Mrs S and I are okay. We have a sunny spot in the garden to take tea while farm work goes on all around. Colum’s dog barking at the Shetland Pony Colum bought recently to keep one of his thoroughbreds company. The pony wasn’t too happy at having an uppity dog think he was an over sized sheep and complained loudly. Colum’s sons chainsawing more wood while I restacked our own log store Canadian style. While things are quiet, the chores have to be done. We just get on with things, ignore all the panic mongering, although I did notice that the radio has switched from all doom, gloom and saccharine ‘stay safe’ propaganda to more hopeful stuff about some businesses that have not gone bankrupt in the last year being ‘allowed’ to re-open.

Unfortunately I’m not so hopeful. These lockdowns aren’t going to end until those deluded souls who support them get a sanity reboot. Not holding my breath for that to happen. Things have become too polarised. Everything is partisan political, and if you aren’t in lockstep, you are the bad guy. The politicians are talking about ‘wealth taxes’, which is just another way of passing the bill for their screw-ups onto John Q Taxpayer. No doubt the well connected will pay no more than the bare minimum while those of us who can only afford to buy one house get asset stripped.

So we’re all still at the mercy of this big government-created crisis as the economy implodes and everybody’s assets are bought up on the cheap by those crony capitalists who can afford clever lobbyists. A case in point being all those wealthy climate change promoters who buy large beachfront properties. Pardon me for noticing, but aren’t these expensive waterfront places supposed to be drowning in the next year or two? Like they were back when the ‘global warming’ bullshit first started in the late 80’s?

One item of note being the wholesale purchase of agricultural lands by some very wealthy people. Almost like they want to corner the food supply, isn’t it? Yet these are the very people who support ideas like the rest of us having to chow down on reconstituted Cockroach. These latter day Henry Ford’s seem to think because they have made a lot of money that makes them fit to tell everyone else how to live. I contend that the Davos Party or World Economic Foundation and suchlike are not fit to govern anybody because these organisations are made up of compulsive meddlers who are philosophically incapable of understanding the multiplicity of subtleties the average human individual is home to, like Ford was.

These techno-geeks think we’re all herd animals to be managed and culled on demand. We’re not, humans are a co-operative tribal apex predator. The sooner the WEF gets that memo and stops interfering, the happier everyone, including them, will be.

Creative solutions

Just witnessed an interesting spectacle. I was at my desk when I heard a loud honking of car horns from close by. No idea what was going on so I looked out of my window. I could hear lots of almost continuous honking but nothing in sight. Walked across to the main bedroom and opened the window. Across the farmyard and down the lane I saw a balloon decked car sitting outside the drive of a neighbour, blocking the lane with a line of cars behind it, all honking like mad.

First thought was “Someone’s being a dick.” Then I looked again and saw that the loud line of cars behind the car blocking the road were likewise decked with balloons and decorations, all frenetically sounding their horns and waving at the house. As I watched, the father, I assume it was Dad, walked over to the stopped car to be handed a package. Words passed with waves and smiles to one of the kids being held up to stand on the garden wall. Then the car blocking the road moved on, to have it’s place taken by the next in line. Gifts were passed on. Thanks exchanged. The little child waved to their line of well-wishers. This carried on for ten minutes. “How cool is that, a COVID compliant birthday party?” was my next follow on thought.

Cars drove up past our drive, turned around and went back past the child on the wall, who showed every sign of enjoying the spectacle enormously, waving with enthusiasm at the passing party cars.

Total time from start to finish? Just over ten minutes, but a ten minutes that will stay with that family for quite some time. They got a little validation. Social distancing was observed and a child got a birthday party. Which left me thinking “What a lovely creative solution to the heartlessness of lockdown.” a jovially extended middle finger against the forces of repression as only the Irish can do. Not allowed to have a birthday party? Well, we’ll soon see about that.

Erin go bragh.

Dear Diary…

…I have things to do which aren’t getting done while the Winter winds howl round the eaves. Mostly because of these pointless COVID restrictions that have no basis in science, unless of course it’s political science. I have conversations which need to be arranged. Tasks performed. Roadblocks circumvented.

Then there’s the news that even with the whole population vaccinated the travel restrictions aren’t likely to be lifted and other such fuckwittery. It seems to me like half the world is scared of it’s own shadow, convinced that we’re all going to be slaughtered in our beds by a virus from befordadawnatime, or some other phantom conjured up by mathematical modelers. Yes, SARS/COV-2 is a nasty bug. As bad as the 1968-9 flu outbreak. And it seems to be hitting ethnic minorities hardest, particularly those with the darkest skins. Vitamin D studies anyone?

Even the normally hyper-sensible Mrs S has caught the worry bug, suggesting to me that maybe we should put our names down for vaccination. I said she was free to make her own decision, but I’m going to wait until May 2021 until I make a move in that direction. I want to see the outcome of this uncontrolled mass clinical trial first. I remember the fallout from the rushed vaccinations for Swine flu in 2009-10, so my caution is a learned response. Debilitating Narcolepsy is one of those conditions I don’t want to put myself at risk of. When I’m happy about the risks, then I’ll roll up my sleeve, not before. I am no anti-vaxxer, just naturally cautious about something so obviously rushed to market. Like with any new technology, I prefer to let the early adopters take the risks.

So I’m going to concentrate on that which can be done, focussing on subverting any restrictions by whatever means are available. To that end I’ve bought a nice big page to a day A4 desk diary, like I used to have when I was a contractor. Bloody useful things. Better than a cell phone because a handwritten diary can’t be accessed by anyone but members of the same household. True, you can’t make phone calls with it, but for at-a-glance accessibility you can’t beat desk diaries. Nothing ends up down an electronic rabbit or memory hole, and it can’t be hacked remotely. Technology has it’s place, but as a cautious man I prefer not to keep all my proverbial eggs in one information basket. You can fill them with doodles as mnemonics, sketches and notes. Whatever you like.

Physical diaries are also useful as an organisational tool that you always have access to, even if the power or Interweb goes out. So long as there’s light to read, you’re still up and running. Win-win.

As for entertainment, I haven’t been happy with TV, or even streaming for some considerable time, and have purchased a batch of 1000 and 1500 piece jigsaws to occupy my mind while I play ‘hurry up and wait’. Mrs S has her books, and we take time out to chat about what she’s read and how far along we are.

This is my life at the moment, and I’m doing the best with it that I can.

Catching up

The phones are back up, which means I can start getting things moving once more. Four days without a landline seemed like an eternity. No-one could dial in. I couldn’t dial out. People were getting fractious, not least of all me. Fortunately there is one silver lining to the louring clouds of lockdown, and that is that everyone’s expectations are significantly lowered.

As for the rest; sometimes the fun never starts. Especially for those living in County Longford.

I am so glad we live where we do.

Downtime

I’m used to living and working online. It is, in some respects, something I’m fairly good at. For other things there is a phone, and as a trained communicator (Two ears, two eyes, two nostrils and one mouth, use in proportion). Unfortunately, when I need to talk to an overseas contact, our landline is down. Like today. So no business gets transacted. People don’t get paid on time and this reduces the sum of human happiness. Not something I like being even partially responsible for.

I could of course, if I had money to burn or an international data package, use my cell phone. But I’d rather put my funds to better use than paying cell phone companies for millivolts and sitting in a call centre queue for an hour or more while my remaining brains trickle out of my ears in tune with the bland awfulness of wait queue Muzak and their interminable adverts.

So what to do? Let my blood pressure be pushed beyond safe limits because the vagaries of fate preclude action? Or do I bugger off and do something slightly more interesting and successful while the phone company fix the lines? Dear reader, I chose the latter. Life, especially under the current pointless restrictions, demands little victories, those micro successes that bolter the shreds your self-esteem can be reduced to when utilities fail, and despite it not being your fault, guess who is first in line to get it in the neck when things aren’t done? Got it in one. Guess whose turn it is to be the office cat? Yours. Enjoy.

Here’s an interesting little life hack; did you know that an air fryer can make toast and fried bread? Well this one can. Saves putting the oven grill on. Don’t have a toaster, and didn’t fancy doing the old skillet toast trick. So my air fryer was put into service. 6 minutes at 200 Celsius lightly browns the bread and makes a nice hot slice to receive marmalade or whatever topping you fancy.

As an FYI; cast iron skillets can make seriously good toast and fried bread, which is where they score over the average toaster. Get the pan good and hot, stick in the bread and frying medium of choice (Olive oil, butter or nothing at all), flip when ready. There are more ways to make top notch toast than are thought of in anyone’s philosophy. All that is needed is a little outside the box culinary thinking and Robert is one’s father’s brother.

You can’t do fried bread in a toaster either. They’re a bit one dimensional as far as kitchen appliances go. Try putting anything but dried bread in them and the next thing you know it’s sparks and flames all round like a fork in a microwave. So I have the more versatile air fryer instead.

Another little culinary parlour trick I have to pass on is to stop your garlic going off. If, like me you don’t use more than a clove every other day, the trick is to peel the individual cloves and drop them into a jar of Olive oil. Result; garlic that doesn’t go off in a week and which keeps fairly well for a month. This also gives you a ready supply of Garlic Olive Oil, which commands a far higher price in the shops than the usual. So it’s a money saver too.

Anyway, supper beckons. Just soup and a small charcuterie and cheese board. There’s probably another glass of Pinot Noir downstairs too. And here’s me with this terrible thirst.

TTFN

How to screw up

Rent day conversation. Landlord likes his rent in cash. Not cheque or money transfer, but in physical Euros, which I have to get from the bank every month. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it gives me an excuse to pass through Gardai checkpoints. Colum (Not his real name) and I enjoy a cordial relationship. We pay him money every month, occasionally shoo wayward livestock back into the sheds and meadows, exchange gifts over Christmas and talk when time allows.

“Morning Colum. How are you coping?” I asked him.
“Fairly well I suppose.” He said with a slightly morose air. He’s an Irish farmer, what can I say? “How’s yourself?”
“Dodging the checkpoints.” I grinned cheerfully. “Otherwise we’re good.”
“Ah yes.” He intoned in his slow Western brogue. “Those people up in Dublin are not handling this Covid thing well are they?” I’m glad he’s not a Cork or Kerry man, they speak too quickly, spilling out words like a river in spate, and even with my trained ear I find them hard to follow sometimes. Their speech is quick and musical, full of reiterations, back eddies and redundancies. Fun to listen to, but hard to understand properly. Colum’s slow western drawl is quite relaxing by comparison.
“Well, they’re politicians.” I replied.
He looked at me gravely and said. “They’ve not got much of a handle on it have they?”
“No. You got that right.” I responded and changed the subject. “Money? Receipt’s made out.” The pleasantries and signing off complete, we bid him farewell and he went back to his work, and we to ours.

He was right of course. The current crop of politicians, Tory, Labour, Limp Dems, Greens, Liberals, Democrats, Fianna whatever label they put upon themselves, are not doing a good job of handling what is in reality, a fairly minor crisis. Yes, people have died, but a good many should not have done. Politics prevented usable anti-viral treatments being applied and thus cost lives, as well as sent infected patients into non-infected environments full of the vulnerable. The grapevine tells me Hospitals aren’t giving anti-virals but using steroids and ventilators instead. Because of politics. Beds have been cut. Because of politics. In short, ignorant politicians panicked and made a mess. And are still panicking because no-one wants to admit they were wrong, or be the first to admit being so.

No government that I’m currently aware of, is applying or recommending known remedies, like improving metabolic health with simple means that work for everyone. This is stuff that was commonly printed in ‘Home doctor’ books available in the 1960’s and before. Even today, Doctors recommend them. Cut sugar intake. Eat a balanced diet. Cut down on Bread and rice. Get out for a walk every day in the fresh air. Do something physical. That way you’ll have what they call better ‘metabolic health’ and so be less likely to suffer the worst of any disease.

Now we’re in this crazy logjam of lockdowns and restrictions, maybe because no country wants to be made a pariah by other nations who will probably use the freedom within a neighbour state as an excuse to have a little trade war, or other such one-uppersonship to curry favour with their respective electorates. No politician wants to be first to ease the lockdowns, because for them the restrictions aren’t an issue. They can get all those little services the general public is denied. Apart from Boris Johnson, do any of these characters look badly groomed?

The thing is, those of us with an operating brain cell have things called memories. We remember previous virus outbreaks. We check our sources. We double check the evidence. Where possible we go to the base stats and don’t trust spin or regurgitated press releases. We also listen to the real world; for example, overheard in a Supermarket yesterday. Woman to checkout operator, “Oh, me Mam had the jab a few weeks ago and she still got Covid.” And that’s not the first time I’ve heard people say similar things within audible range over the last week or two. That’s from a very small sample size. All you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open.

You won’t read much about that in the political or media mainstream. The best they have is “Shut up and do what you’re told.” while people lose their livelihoods and human rights.

I agree with my farmer landlord; the politicians and media have it wrong. This pandemic has been an object lesson in how to screw up. And haven’t they done that in spades?

A handy household tip

We had a bath in one of the downstairs bathrooms at our new Irish domicile. Somewhere previous tenants used to wash their dogs and also two year olds bearing permanent markers as well by the look of things.

The dog thing was easy. Drains were unclogged by removing the circular grid from the plughole and depositing the foetid mass recovered from the U-bend down the toilet. Scuff marks were removed with ordinary bathroom cleaner and lots of elbow grease. The other part proved more difficult. Bleach didn’t even touch the permanent marker artistry, nor did three kinds of disinfectant type cleaner.

Which left only one obvious choice; acetone, like that found in nail polish remover. But I was loathe to use it because acetone does horrible things to resin and many plastics. Fortunately Mrs S suggested her cheap acetone free nail varnish remover in conjunction with make up remover pads, although I’m sure that cotton wool or even paper towels of any kind would have sufficed.

So I applied the acetone-free nail varnish remover with a series of cotton face pads. Fifteen minutes and a lot of squeaking (With the occasional muted sound of amazement) later, the bath was blemish free and ready for use.

Now I don’t know if it was the ethyl acetate or nethyl ethyl keytone ingredient that cut the mustard, but the end result was a bath fit for human use; gleaming and clean. So afterwards I allowed myself the luxury of a good old soak in a solution of scented Epsom salts with a big mug of tea at hand.

End result; now a pale cloud of oil of Eucalyptus and white willow follows my every motion and I am relaxed and clear headed. A once barely useable bathroom is scented with something other than Domestos and more in keeping with our nasal preferences. Domestic equilibrium is restored.

Sometimes I think we could all do with a good old soak in scented water every so often. It’s so very relaxing. So much more so than just a shower. Perhaps that’s why the world seems to be so up it’s own arse all the time. The protagonists don’t spend enough time soaking all their cares away.

By way of an afterthought, candles and wine are permissible, and for Mrs S essential. She has been promised some of the same to help forget about all the self-important drama queens who abrade our sensitivities on a daily basis. I’m just about up to my back teeth with all the hand waving over climate, some virus that has passed it’s worst and who gets to be king of the castle over the water. The markets may dip, but they will recover. It’ll all be the same in a decade or so.

Pass the bath oil.

The year that fun forgot…..

So much for a white Christmas although we had a three degree frost last night. Oh well, it was a long shot anyway. Well chums, hasn’t the last ten months been a real barrel of feckin laughs? Frankly, if 2020 was a person, I’d be tempted to throw it face down in a puddle and firmly plant my boot on the back of it’s neck until the bubbling stopped. Which is roughly how I feel about the people responsible for all the panic mongering over SARS/COV-2.

The terminally terrified, media and panicking politicians have done incredible damage to everyone else, just in case they’d catch a nasty dose of the flu. Yes it’s a nasty bug, yes it is worse than the normal seasonal influenzas, but not by that much. And it has done it’s worst. as I and many others have pointed out before. We effectively have ‘herd immunity’, regardless of new mutations that don’t seem to be doing much. The only thing that made the stats look bad is the misapplied PCR test, which was never intended as a diagnostic tool. The death stats are back to around seasonal norms. But I repeat myself. Yet again.

Update: see screenshot of stats for the UK below.

The renewed lockdowns mean Mrs S is chafing over every tiny detail, getting uptight with me for anything less than perfection. I do not blame her for this. I blame the arseheads responsible for closing everything down, yet again. For so little cause.

On the upside, a BREXIT deal has been agreed, with no serious tariffs between the EU and UK, which will work well for us here in Ireland. Just a little customs paperwork, which will be streamlined over the next few months. The markets like the outcome, and sterling took over a three cent uptick in price when the news hit, which should help any people on pensions and bode a little better for those reliant upon funds from the UK. Some are calling the fisheries part of the deal a ‘sell-out’, but it buys time for the UK to rebuild it’s fishing fleet and set up conservation zones. So it’s not a total shitshow. Silver linings abound. If you know where to look.

Overall 2020 has been a very frustrating year. Complicating for us what should have been a relatively simple move. The constant delays have resulted in our search for a place to refurbish is taking three times as long as it should. Getting out to view properties has been a constant game of sneakaround when no one, least of all the local law, is sure what the damn restrictions are anyway. Hell, we’re on ‘business’ anyway. The business of a little property development. So no-one is going to bother us much.

Originally, we were all told three weeks lockdown to ‘save’ nationalised health services, which turned into three months, and now at the current rate, with vaccines that don’t really give that much immunity, looks like heading into three stuffing years. When does this torture end? When no-one can die of anything any more? Don’t hold your breath for that one. Now the politicians have claimed the power over the minutiae of our lives, they will be loathe to let it go. Which is a very depressing thought.

Apropos of nothing, might I mention in passing that over here in the Wilder West of Ireland, Michael Collins is still a figure of deep reverence, the picture of this legendary guerrilla fighter hanging on many an Irish wall, as well as being portrayed by Liam Neeson in a very watchable feature film. After all, it was Collins who was the key figure in founding the Irish Free state, the birth father of the modern Republic of Ireland.

Even my family, protestants and heretics all, used to speak well of the ‘big fellow’ or ‘big man’ as he was known, despite one of our remote relatives being murdered by republicans back in the early 1900’s. Although fair’s fair, we had distant relatives murdered by both sides in the struggle for Irish independence, like so many others of Irish descent. And I was never a fan of what the paramilitaries did during ‘the troubles’. Neither side. But Collins was a realist and man of his people.

I try to look at it this way, it was all a long time ago and life is too short to hold that kind of grudge. The killers and order givers are all dead and long cold in their graves anyway. The fires of hell have claimed the wicked. Justice of a sort has happened.

Funny thing though, a few days ago between lockdowns, Mrs S and I were sitting in a pub having a quiet drink and I found myself looking up at a picture of Mr Collins in army uniform and wondering; “What would Michael Collins think about these curbs on Irish freedom and hate speech laws?” For a moment all the pub sounds faded into the background and I slipped into a short daydream until Mrs S Prodded me back to reality. Was it my imagination, or had I heard a ghostly chuckle and the double-snick of a well greased rifle bolt? Nah. Probably just my over-active imagination.

Anyway. Happy New Year all. Let’s try not to make a complete 2020 of the new year. Although no doubt the political classes will give it their best try.

Best Regards,

Bill

An alternative Christmas

When it comes to Christmas day, Mrs S and I can hardly be seen as traditional. Seeing as the county borders will be officially closed as of Sunday the 27th, we thought we’d do a little rescheduling while family can’t get to us, and elected to go out for a couple of mini road trips on the 25th and 26th.

No sense just hanging about the house, eating and drinking far too much, Mrs S and I decided; “Hang it all – let’s go touring.” So that is what we did. Up through Galway up to Mayo and Sligo and back on Christmas day. So I loaded up the picnic basket with sandwiches for lunch as we’d had our traditional Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and a present opening via Zoom with the kids first thing. Once you get the hang of them, managing multiple time zones is a snip.

The weather was pretty grey and bleugh most of the time, but overall we had an interesting two trips. For example we were out in what is called ‘Joyces country‘ when the clouds lifted and gave us a view better than Glencoe, which in itself is pretty damn spectacular. On the second (Boxing day) we found ourselves in the grip of something the hand wavers call ‘Storm Velma’ (I think). Okay, it was a bit wet and windy on the coast of north Mayo, but the scenery there was still pretty as we scootled through Ballycroy National Park. Did think briefly about popping over onto Achill Island, but as visibility was less than a kilometre and the rain was having a damn good lash, we ate our sandwiches and drank tea in the safety of our little tin box south of Newport. After that we looped back home, the wheel kicking in my hands a little, but not enough to slow us down. It wasn’t that bad.

We’d already done the Burrens (See a couple of snaps below) on a previous trip, but what I can tell you chums is if you like your scenery in the raw, this is the place.


As you can see, on that day it was much nicer. A tad breezy and chilly, but brilliant sunshine.

As for the usual Christmas events and festivities I don’t generally fuss about them much, apart from organising the catering and stuff for Mrs S and stepkids. There is no turkey, there’s a joint of Pork for Sunday lunch today, cooked to my own recipe.

As for Christmas day itself, I had no presents to unwrap. I look at it this way, my friendship and love are given as I see fit and cannot be bought. They have no price. Well, certainly not less than a hundred thousand dollars, at which point I’m happy to open negotiations. But even then, parameters will be clearly defined in the resulting contracts.

Anyway, hope my last remaining reader had an interesting time too. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we certainly diet.

Only correct?

Sunday, Sunday, can’t trust that day. Well, who and what can you trust? No-one, it would seem. Only your own judgement. Expecting others to act in your interests is too often an exercise in futility, unless you have the buggers wrapped up tight in contracts.

Anyway, the weather’s not been bad (It’s not raining at least) so we pootled off to have a scout around the South and East of county Clare. On that topic, we’ve found that the little service station with all the baked goods, is a lot closer than we thought. Close to the end of the lane we live on in fact. So yippee! go my taste buds. Freshly baked Irish cakes and pastries are less than five minutes away.

However Sunday took us East and South towards the Limerick border to look at furniture, as we are in need of a few sticks. In BC all our cupboards were built in, walk in wardrobes, small rooms and alcoves with hanging and drawer spaces. So we have no wardrobes or chests of drawers to put clothes in. Which can be awkward. So we’re looking for hanging and drawer space so our clothes are not all stored in suitcases until we get round to building anew.

In answer to a question I’ve been asked several times by friends and family; “Why Ireland?” I’ll offer this; Easy access because they’re part of the UK/Ireland CTA (Common travel area) ratified in 2016 (I think) by the Irish Government. It’s a more relaxed place with a great literary culture and deep history. Didn’t want to return to the UK because it’s still under the thrall of Blair-era changes which will hold it back for over a generation.

Rural Ireland has an odd feel to it. Almost like a well worn, and occasionally soggy, warm leather glove wrapping itself around you comfortingly, then giving you a pat on the head to say; “There, there now. Stop being such a feckin eejit and we’ll all be grand. Have some tea.” in a friendly but no-nonsense fashion. We’ve been here before on a previous trip, so knew what to expect. The prices looked right, far better than in BC, so with windows of opportunity closing in, we took the decision to up sticks yet again.

I’d also like to say that this side of the pond you’re not looking over your shoulder half the time to see who you’re offending, because outside of Dublin, no one cares. No-one is ‘offended’, or looking to be. Not like in BC, where it seemed that far too many people are wearing a T-shirt that says; “Everything you say is offensive, and we have hate crime laws. Peasant.” Here in Erin there is a refreshing lack of Kevins and Karens, and still fewer people willing to pander to their ill-natured demands. Here Mrs S and I feel we can be our natural selves. There is a refreshingly significant public protest against the ‘hate crime’ laws that certain members of the Dial have proposed. As we say over here, the politicians may well be told to ‘Feck arf’.

Speaking of Karens and Kevins, I see the ‘fact checkers’ are at it as usual over the US Presidential elections, throwing shade on what looks like blatant electoral fraud with the most overt obfuscations imaginable. Things like security video of poll workers pulling boxes of ‘votes’ out from where they were concealed under a table and claiming the votes thus produced were legit because, because well, reasons. Never mind that most were for Biden. Never mind that the challengers and overseers had been sent home to the assurances that all counts had finished, and would resume again in the morning. Despite all the evidence screaming that something is definitely crook. Yes mate, and shit don’t stink either. Furthermore, what would it be like to live with one of these self-important pedants? ‘Awaken with JP’ explores the topic below. (There’s a longish sponsor ad at the end of each video you may want to skip)

There are now so many of these fake fact checkers out there who only support their own side of the aisle that they’re not worth bothering with. As sources of information I would say all the ‘fact checkers’ are not fit for purpose because they too often rely on what I call ‘lawyer tricks’ and technicalities to warp their version of reality. Watching these social media ‘experts’ cover for wrongdoing is like watching a Bashir or Guru-Murthy interview, everything about them touches off my bullshit alert. The passive-aggressiveness, the insincerity and overall lack of integrity, the shifting of focus onto topics a given interview wasn’t supposed to be about. These are people who will gleefully piss in your face and tell you “Chill dude, it’s raining”.

For my last remaining reader’s edification, may I offer JP on a related topic?

I like him, he’s funny. And very telling.

By the way, pop over to Bitchute for a listen to Dr James Lyons-Weiler. Testing stages skipped? Err, that doesn’t sound good.

Anyway, I’m leaving the last word to JP.

Save the world!

Went out today. Snuck up to Galway, to see if we could get out of the rain, which has been quite persistent. Bought a Tea Brack, which is a tea cake type of halfway house between fruit cake and bread. Very nice too. But oh, the calories, the calories. This is one of those treats that has to be rationed carefully.

Ireland, we are finding, as we sneak around the tiers and lockdowns, is full of tiny places to grab some of the tastiest baked goods it’s ever been my pleasure to get teeth into. Today we stopped at a tiny filling station on the road between Tulla and Ennis. Not much of a shop to look at, but stocking exquisite individual rhubarb crumbles and mince pies, all home baked. Their flaky pastries being crunchy all the way through and cooked perfectly. I’ve had far worse at the much smarter run of cafe.

Unfortunately, according to some people our little pleasurable perambulation contributed to destroying the planet. Supposedly because of that deadly killer carbon dioxide stuff pouring out of our exhaust. We are continually told we must “Save the world” by cutting back on everything we do. No more air travel, nice meals or personal transport, and turn down that thermostat you heretic! Then when the greater number of humanity have died through cold and famine brought on by so-called anti-global warming policies the world will be ‘saved’. Or will it?

Can I ask a few pertinent questions? First; how will anyone know when the world is truly saved? Second; if most of people are dead, who is the world being ‘saved’ for? Furthermore, who gets to decide if the world is ‘saved’ or not if a bloody great asteroid (That might have been averted if there were enough people to fund an asteroid aversion programme) slams into the Earth? These things do happen from Epoch to Eon, and might it be a better idea instead of messing around with atmospheric trace gas levels, if human activity has any effect upon those at all, to ensure the Earth doesn’t get wasted by a rogue chunk of rock from outer space?

Just my ten cents worth of course, but every time you ask these serious questions, all the fanatics can do is splutter and do an impersonation of Donald Sutherland at the end of “Invasion of the body snatchers.”

Which begs the question; does the world need saving from humanity in general, or just saving from the global warming fanatics? I have formed my own opinion, what say the rest of you?

Update: or should we be more worried about the latest asteroid to explode over New York state last Wednesday? It was part of a larger debris field. So don’t say you weren’t told.

Echoes

It’s not so much the hanging around waiting for things to happen that I mind. It’s the uncertainty that nags at my hindbrain. At present we’re still waiting for our worldly goods to arrive, and the person who was supposed to keep us informed has buggered off for a long weekend. The banks are likewise being less than amenable. Which is annoying. Simple things are taking twice as long as they should. Deliveries of goods are all over the bloody place, and a refund is not much good if you’ve been hanging around waiting for a specific item for the last three flaming weeks.

The echoes in our new place tend to get on your tits after a while. Which isn’t a whole lot of fun. Not to mention being in ‘level five’ lockdown. No matter that lockdowns don’t really work, so why despite all the freaking evidence are we still in fcking house arrest? Not to mention the threat of the coppers kicking down doors on Christmas day because someone might have one guest more than some arbitrary figure pulled out of thin fcking air? Whoever thought that was a good idea needs their throat slitting and their dying cadaver nailed upside down to a post by a very large spike through their sexual organs.

Notwithstanding, Police worldwide are traditionally known to dislike intervening in ‘domestics’ as the “He said-she said-they did.” factor is astronomical, and the chance of stray cutlery going where it shouldn’t during such an incident is too high for someone hoping to be around to claim their pension. That sort of officer will have already decided that there will be a large number of NFA’s on Christmas day, if they can’t call in sick or get the day off. However, the newer breed seem to have an unpleasant zeal for ruining other people’s days. A predilection for unwarranted intervention. A lack of live and let live. They’re more like Jackboots than the Police officers I was brought up to respect.

There’s also a suspicion that some unpleasant individuals will rat on their neighbours to get their own back for some slight, either real or imagined. Some might turn anonymous informer simply because they’re having an unhappy time and they don’t see why anyone else should have any fun. There’s a word for that sort of person. It’s a short, pithy, Anglo-Saxon adjective. My last remaining reader will no doubt know exactly what kind of low-life I’m referring to. The poison pen letter writer, the curtain twitcher, the neighbourhood snitch; weak willed, nasty and spiteful.

Fortunately our local Garda don’t seem to be much in evidence and will only make their presence felt if there’s a real problem. We might be supposed to be confined to a 5km radius, but there are enough exceptions for everyone to negotiate their way around and get the necessities of life in without too much legal interference. And no-one in their right mind is even thinking about interfering with Christmas. Besides, we’re building relationships with our close neighbours, making ourselves known, helping out if need be and just being decent human beings. But those are tales for another time and place.

In the meantime at our new domicile it’s all hurry up and wait while the echoes of life amplify every single breath. Is it time to go out? Why yes I think it is.

Could be worse I suppose

When the first lockdown came, because we didn’t know much about SARS/COV-2, I was uncomfortable, but moderately okay with it. Now we’ve got Governments locking down their entire populations on what seems like a whim. The real science just doesn’t support locking down. Professional epidemiologists say it, I, with my hospital training, say it.

Being restricted to within 5km of home doesn’t help. All the closures of retail, religious or sporting facilities doesn’t help. The masks don’t help. The excessive testing doesn’t help. All the fear doesn’t help.

When this thing first hit I thought: “All over by the end of April.” And, yea and verily, the worst was past in April, with the Pandemic effectively over in May. Huzzah! thought I. Health services were ‘saved’, for what I’m not sure, but they had come through intact. Great. Okay, let’s get on with our lives.

Then the lockdowns and restrictions continued all through the Summer, and I couldn’t work out why. The virus had run it’s course and hows about getting back to real life guys? Many epidemiologists and medical professionals say we needed Summer to get our immune systems ready for Winter. Which made perfect sense. The death count for SARS/COV-2 infections during the Summer months was all but zero and we humans need to get out in the fresh air and sunshine to bolster our vitamin D levels ready to fight off all the infections that spread like wildfire in indoor environments during Autumn and Winter.

Unfortunately, the mathematical modelers with the ear of Government kept on with their crazy predictions about infection rates, and thus presumably deaths. The mainstream media, because as I have said too often before, fear sells their product, kept repeating the false predictions like they were fact, stoking the fear factor in the wider public.

Those of us with a working brain cell left can see economic disaster like a looming cliff edge that all the fearmongers are driving us all over. Not to mention all the suffering and death caused by people who can’t access primary health care due to the restrictions. Or the increase in mental health disorders and resultant suicides.

Keeping people indoors doesn’t help either. Cold and flu season happens because people are corralled indoors in close proximity. Those who get out in the fresh air tend to suffer less. So why are people being forced to stay in an environment where disease can run rampant?

That and a lot of people have had their salaries drastically reduced, so they’re spending less and the economy has undergone massive shrinkage. Because although governments are using a magic money tree to pay ‘furloughed’ workers, they’re just storing up real pain for the future.

Why does all this upset me and drive me to drink? Because it’s unnecessary and gets in the way of that little thing we all call living.

Oh yes. The weather has turned and it’s been raining. So I’m sitting in a deserted kitchen railing against the wind via my keyboard.
Heavy sigh… Could be worse of course. We could have moved to Wales.

Pass the Jamesons.

On another topic

Mrs S is relearning how to handle a car with a manual gearbox. So while we’re in yet another pointless bloody lockdown, we’re taking short pootles out half way to LocalTown, well within our 5km radius like the politicians tell us to. I’m sure the old muscle memory will come back rapidly the more she drives, so I just sit in the front passenger seat admiring the scenery and enjoying the ride. As I’ve been doing all the driving for the last seven weeks, it comes as something of a welcome break.

The traffic outside doesn’t seem to be reduced by much. Well, we’re in a rural area and it’s that time of year, so our landlord is busy ferrying cattle and sheep about, either from grazing area to grazing era or what is euphemistically called ‘cropping’ in some circles, in others ‘selling on’ or more honestly, slaughter for meat. He doesn’t tell us, and we don’t ask. Besides, while I’m quite comfortable with field to fork, Mrs S, like most non-rural folk, isn’t.

We have two solid fuel stoves, and as the chillier weather begins to close in, am getting in practice with the dark arts of fire lighting and grate maintenance. Dark as in grubby and arts as in these things can be finicky if you don’t set the dampers and draughts just so. We’re still waiting for our furniture, but we’ve got into a rhythm for the day, taking walks down country lanes and learning to step into the foliage when anything big and agricultural comes rolling down the road. And we’re being blessed with some fine Autumnal weather out here in the wilder west of Ireland at present. Even the rain has the good sense to let up after seven in the morning.

The politicians assure us these lockdowns are meant to ‘rescue’ Christmas, but I’m inclined to disagree. Christmas this year in the British Isles looks like being cancelled and the pollies are going to royally mess up New Year as well. They are succeeding where Cromwell’s Puritans failed. If it’s left to them, no one will be allowed to have any fun at all over the festering season, the miserable bar stewards.

Back in BC, Elderly friend is losing her last marbles, but we keep in touch by phone. She can’t walk any more because her balance has gone AWOL and her care staff report she’s being cantankerous. There’s nothing we or our proxies can do apart from watch and wait. Hell, she’s had a bloody good run at life, and everyone dies sometime. I hope that when my time comes, as it will, I don’t keep everyone hanging around, twiddling their thumbs. For one thing, it’s bad manners to keep people waiting because you can’t make up your silly mind.

On the plus side, the kids are fine in their chosen locales, and they’re even talking to me via email on a regular basis. We’re busy walking and talking. Getting to know the locale, showing our faces, getting mugged by over enthusiastic dogs and suchlike. It’s not all doom and gloom. There is wine, there is food, we’ve discovered the David Tennant / Michael Sheen lockdown series ‘Staged’, which is remarkably good for the chuckle muscles. See below.

Well, Mrs S and I like it.

Oh yes I forgot. It’s spaghetti and meatballs tonight with a nice Chilean red.

The new normal

I was up early, pacing our empty kitchen this morning, worrying. Word is we may even be restricted to travel within 10km of home for the next four weeks. Bound by an insane web of ever changing rules that make the word ‘byzantine’ look like simplicity personified. Masks, no matter how useless they really are at this stage of the game at preventing viral spread, will be required everywhere, perhaps even in your own home. Although there are those who do that already. The insanity is, like the SARS/COV-2 virus, everywhere. It has gone from pandemic to endemic. There’s no escape.

Uncertainty has become the rule under which we live. At this point I don’t even know if our worldly goods will be allowed to be delivered next week. The situation is that unclear. We’ve put a deposit on a suitable car and it’s in the shop having a pre-sale detail and service. Unfortunately, as the car dealership we are buying from is slightly over 10km from our new home we may not even be allowed to pick it up at the end of this week. We have the money to spend, but we don’t know if we’re going to be allowed to spend it.

Insurance for independent expats like us is likewise an issue. Finding someone who will insure without a usable no-claims is a pain. We have full documented no claims in Canada for the last thirteen years and for at least six documented years UK no claims before that, but does any of it count over here? Nah. Only certain countries no-claims, such as some EU states and the UK (But not always) are allowed here in Ireland. We know we’re going to get stung. The only question that remains is ‘how much by’? When it comes to transport, there’s this constant feeling of; “Sticker, see that brick wall? That’s for your head. Off you go.”

However, our woes pale into insignificance if some of the lockdown stories surfacing are any guide. There’s a nasty rumour floating around the Interweb that people have died screaming in agony because they were prevented from getting prompt treatment by the lockdowns. Don’t know if these tales are true or not, but I’m sure that video’s will surface if they are. If this is the new (ab)normal they can keep it.

The truth is like that. It always leaks out. The harsher the censorship by the tech giants, the more things will pop up. The evidence will surface, one way or another. And we know where the blame will lie, as it has lain over the last two decades or more. On those who push the panic button to keep themselves in a job, the powers that be, and those who carry water for them.

Hear what Sargon has to say. They’re cancelling and censoring the White House’s social media accounts? Along with so many others. That’s going to come back to bite silicon valley and some of the big corporates. Especially if Trump wins his second term.

I don’t use social media anyway, having cancelled twatter and Arsebook years ago.

Fortunately our car hire guys have been absolute heroes. Sixt, when it comes down to it, may not be the cheapest, but their customer service is worth every penny. I’ve used them in four countries on three continents so far (Australia, France, UK and Canada) and unlike all the others, have always walked away without a care. There’s never been that WTF! moment when you check your credit card statement after a hire. Our currency brokers have likewise upped their game, as if it needed upping, and come through with some happy news. If you have a legitimate need to shift money from country to country, may I give the gold star of approval to Currencies Direct. Needless to say, Mr Bezo’s boys continually come up trumps. These guys have been life and sanity savers in very difficult times.

Update: Other people are not as fortunate or determined as we, and even children are cracking up under the strain. Watch the video below, read out from a report first penned in May 2020. God alone knows what that poor kid is like now, and he will be only one of thousands. Perhaps even tens of thousands. We can only guess.

These lockdowns are a crime against humanity and the cracks are showing. But I repeat myself. Again and again and a-bloody-gain.

Useful links; as far back as 15th May, 43% of UK Psychiatrists reported an uptick in cases directly attributable to the lockdowns.

At least half a million more people in UK may experience mental ill health as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, says the first forecast from Centre for Mental Health on 15th May. the figures for 1st October predict ten million.

That’s just the mental health side of the coin. The economic damage and attendant fallout promises to be far worse. Now the Welsh assembly thinks it’s lockdown will make any difference. They’re wrong. The real science says they are, but they are politicians who don’t understand what they’re doing or what they’re really dealing with and what actually works.