Category Archives: Musings

Another day out

Good old rainy London. Gave my new raincoat a thorough testing today. Wandered around Covent Garden and environs sampling pleasures and tastes while dodging the drizzle tainted crowds. Mrs S directed our steps into a couple of expensive venues I would normally never go anywhere near. For example one of the top rated patisseries in London.

Well colour me impressed. The coffee was excellent. Heavy on the Italian influence rather than the bitter American. Quiche that was divine, and as for the Sachertorte, that was light and melted in the mouth rather than leave you feeling like you are chewing stodge, as happens with so many mass produced versions. Exquisite. I’d had an indifferent pint of IPA earlier, so perhaps I was ready for some quality.

We’ve had a deal of discussions with family and friends of late where the discussion has centred around quality stuff and why it’s worth the price. Reason one; longevity. A really good pair of boots will last ten times as long as a much cheaper pair. Why a good quality suit is a good investment (Buy two, with extras if you can – looking smart is never a bad idea) Nice cotton shirts feel better and last longer. M & S basics more comfortable than the cheap stuff from Primark. A little more spent on the basics means you can go cheap on the accessories.

Anyway, I’m standing outside one store on the Kings Road and an expensive car snorted past. Then another and another. People were walking past me in expensive clothes and a thought hit me. Rather a large thought about the economics of everyday life. It made perfect sense and for a few seconds all the dots lined up, I saw the entirety of human economic activity in action and why free markets really do work.

Every single one of us is connected by a massive web of transactions, be those social, emotional or financial. From the single jet of a fountain to the massive money machine that is the City of London, which in turn is connected to all the other major centres all over the world.

Let me enlarge. The single fountain jet provides social value because as humans we like to look at flowing water, it calms and stimulates us, therefore it has worth. However the fountain jet needs water and power to create that worth. These are not free, the power to drive the water has value, as has the water itself, it needs to be sourced, transported through a network of pipes with a lot of other water. The pipes through which the water flows need to be manufactured, channels dug through the ground for them, the complex net of pumps and storage to maintain an even pressure. All of these need human effort and intervention.

Then there’s the electricity that powers these networks created by investment in power plants made out of millions of complex components from heat exchangers and steam handling technology to the massive transformers and circuit breakers which manage the power output (For the sake of brevity I’m excluding ‘renewables’ here, just talking about base load generation). All of which has to be funded and made by finance. Money must be made, credit obtained to pay for the intricate web of costs that underlie even the simplest nut and bolt. Part of what I do as an investor is loan money to larger companies so that they may pay for new machinery to build and maintain those power plants and networks of water pipes. Which kind of brings me round in a circle to the pleasing spectacle of the fountain jet.

Therefore I posit that anything in motion consumes and creates energy and energy is a function of life. Likewise the market of life is in constant motion. Each of us, is whether we like it or not, is interconnected through diverse voluntary transactions to everything else in this world. Thousands of times a day. Every time we step out of the door. Every leaf swept, every drop of rain cleared, everything man made has multiple costs from the parts of a leaf blower and the parts needed to make the machines which make parts for leaf blowers. The credit and finance to pay that cost has to be raised by financial institutions which are the money machine we are all part of, from the beggar hunkered down outside the supermarket to the flash git in his Maserati posing down the street. Sometimes the chains are not obvious, but they are there nonetheless.

Isn’t this a fascinating world we live in?

Update: Tearful phone conversation with Eldest who dwells in the fabled land of Oz. Long term boyfriend just walked out on her, the idiot. That is all.

Time out

Right. Fed up with hearing about the Parliamentary antics and have elected to spend tonight at the theatre after a pleasant steak dinner. An online booking, a skip and a jump on the tube and we’re forgetting all our cares for a couple of hours.

It doesn’t help that all the news, both personal and public, has been unpleasant to say the least. From Elderly Friends dementia to the near-equally eccentric behaviour of the UK Speaker of the House of Commons, I am forced to ask myself, is there an epidemic?

It would explain a lot….

Update: well, we had a jolly fine time at the Garrick watching ‘Noises off!’ with some very polished slapstick routines which had the audience roaring.  Recommended.  We even got free ticket upgrades.

Boris Johnson won his vote on the current Brexit deal by a larger margin than predicted and the comments threads in the FT are more full of pro-EU comment trolls than usual.  Including those praising Barnier as the person who has been tasked with ‘repairing’ the relationship between the UK and EU.  Delusional, much?  Hey he’s 68.  It’s a retirement job.  The likelihood of him ‘achieving’ anything are as remote as the nearest quantum black hole.

Tomorrow I am signed up on a short basic butchery class.  Will try not to remove any of my own bodily particles as part of the learning process.

The only blot on the horizon was seeing Trudeau get re-elected.  Although on the bright side he’s only got a minority government so I hope he won’t be able to do too much more damage to the Canadian economy.

Fingers crossed.

Wandering about

Today we’ve been ambling amiably around the V & A, taking tea surrounded by the sumptuous sculptures of tyrants long gone with the epic line of poetry; “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, look on my works ye mighty and despair. Nothing beside remains…” echoing around what passes for my cognitive processes. Was going to spend the day in the National Science Museum, but it was full of kids, it being half term. So I elected to wait until next week for that small pleasure.

Otherwise feeling a little gloomy because no matter what we do or say, Elderly Friend, safely in her upmarket Canadian care home, is convinced we aren’t ever coming back to Canada, claiming we have abandoned her. As the days pass we get reports that she’s getting get worse and worse, with ever more of her brain shutting down on the gradual journey into the long night.

We write postcards every day, we send messages saying; “See you when we get home”, nothing seems to make a difference, Elderly Friends short term memory will not encode new information, no matter how many times she is reminded, or how many messages are glued to her apartment wall. Sometimes we get a small respite, but no doubt our voicemail will be filled with increasingly angry and frustrated messages when we get home. We’ll just have to roll with it as it happens.

It doesn’t help that the people we asked to keep an eye on her just aren’t ready to cope with what we’ve been handling for months. So it’s middle of the night emails disturbing our otherwise blessed repose and Mrs S is showing the strain after only a week. As if they want us to fly all the way back across the Atlantic right now to ride to the rescue. Not gonna happen folks. We’ve earned this break and anyone who wants to sabotage it will find our email firmly switched off. We have done our bit and can do no more.

Nothing beside remains…. Just a case of doing our own thing whilst matters beyond our control progress. Preparations are in place for the worst case scenario, which seems to be approaching with the speed of an express train. All we can do is wait.

Sometimes I catch myself offering up a dark little prayer for her merciful demise. “Please God, give her an easy death. Soon.” The person we loved has already left us and we must steel ourselves for the outpourings we know will come from her relatives when her body shuts down.

At least there’s plenty of London to wander around.

Who told you that?

Which is an exceedingly good question to put to the anxiety prone hand wavers one comes across from time to time. Who, with any real credibility, is saying that the world is going to burn up in eighteen months and what is their agenda. And who says leaving the EU will lead to everything in the UK grinding to a sad and inevitable halt? ‘Activists’ who are all sound and fury, the idiots who have become their own tales, that’s who.

Mrs S and I were discussing this today on a short drive out to the mall. The consensus between us was that all the “We’re all doomed!” faction are a bunch of ignoramuses who believe all the cultish nonsense they’re fed. I believe that no force on earth can stop a man with a true righteous hunger (a.k.a Deus impeditio esuritori nullus), and hunger is what these milquetoast radicals lack. All they have is the vapid echoes of clickbait media releases funded by rich bastards who feed off the stock exchange instabilities the activists create by blocking streets and wasting everybody’s time. The fact that some of these activisty types have been raided by the Met, who have reportedly taken some pink cushions into custody, indicates that these few nonsense merchants have peaked. Especially after that hilariously mismanaged incident with the decommissioned fire engine (See video below).

They’re not only wrong, they’re completely inept as well.

Notwithstanding the above, we were both getting a touch of cabin fever after almost a week without seeing the outside of our little domicile. We also haven’t had a real holiday since last year and need some different air to stay sane. The rain has been enough to keep me out of the saddle and the speed traps have been out in force over this last week. So, instead of picking up speeding tickets, we got out of the house to do a little peoplewatching and see what the rest of humanity in our little corner of BC was up to. To which the answer was, not a lot. Just the usual.

I’m all packed for London and will be making contact with friends and (gasp!) family while I’m there. It’s absolutely true. Two of my family members are actually deigning to travel down to the smoke to see their cousin and sibling (Me). Good gravy, whatever next? What are they really up to? Normally they wouldn’t even cross the road to piss down my throat if my lungs were on fire. Something is up. As in balloon going. I know my clan, to paraphrase the words of Edward Young “They ne’er take tea without a strategem”. I have a suspicion I’ll need my lawyer on speed dial. Might not be such a bad idea to put a London brief on retainer.

Which only leaves me wondering as follows; will BREXIT really happen on time like Bojo the suspiciously unclownish UK Prime Minister says? Or will the Scottish courts go on obstructing, creating legislation on the fly? BTW; Scottish law is slightly, but markedly, different to English law. Which is something the Blair-created ‘supreme court’ seems to be forgetting. Ho hum, less than two weeks to the nineteenth. Tick tock.

As for here across the pond, I think the Canadian populace knows what it needs to do on the 21st, but whether they will kick the corrupt and hypocritical Trudeau and his Liberals far enough out remains to be seen because Scheer, the Tory leader is so damned wet and cut from a similar cloth. Will the conservatives upend the vote, or will the Greens and PPC make inroads? I see few clues. Locally there are few, if any lawn signs on private properties in our neighbourhood and the political doorknockers haven’t yet wheezed up the steep bit of the hill where we live. although my vote is already promised to the local PPC candidate. Can’t speak for Mrs S, she’s always been her own woman, although I suspect she’ll be voting blue.

Boring….

A bit bored at the moment. We’re on the run up to London in just under a month and looking for places to entertain ourselves. I’m rather put out because the weather around here has turned quite damp, so the Mutt is currently snuggled up under cover and I find myself reluctant to look out of the window at the rain. Such are the issues with being a fair weather only rider. I’ve got a hankering to take a run up past Comox (450km there and back, all right, 280miles) or even Campbell River (530km round trip, about 330miles) to clear some accumulated cobwebs.

On the plus side, work is under control and Management are happy with the what’s, why’s and wherefores of my workload, which I can handle without difficulty because I’ve whittled a number of tasks, including my weekly reporting, down to a few mouse clicks. It’s all a question of streamlining and automating the simpler procedures, which I’ve had time to do over the Summer, even with me and the Mutt sneaking out for two or three hundred kilometre long rides while things are slack. The mountain loop round Sooke and up to Port Renfrew, thence over the hump to Duncan via Lake Cowichan and back to the barn is a favourite. The road surface gets a bit rough after China bay and up to Port Renfrew but it’s very scenic. You go from a massive vista over the Pacific, where there’s nothing between you and Japan to nice tightening curves between the hills, dodging the logging trucks as you gain altitude. Snow normally hits the high ground in early November on this particular leg, so this is a Summer only pleasure. The Mutt is going into cold storage in the garage until the end of April 2020, so I’ll be making the most of all the sunshine we have left until October.

I was rather hoping that the warmer weather would continue for a while, but like I said, it’s raining and I’m no longer happy to don waterproofs and duke it out with everything the British and European sky can hand out. Never mind the Canadian weather. Yes, you can call me a wuss, but over the years I’ve ridden in everything from blazing heat waves where the mercury casually blew past the hundred and ten Fahrenheit (Forty three Celsius) marker to thunderstorms, torrential downpours where the rain meets itself coming back up, cannonball pea sized hail and even near whiteout blizzards. I’ve come home soaked to the skin through full waterproofs and on a couple of occasions with my leathers covered in a quarter inch of ice. So. Been there, done that, not dumb enough to want to do it again.

One of the benefits of my current age is experience and what I consider a little hard won wisdom. So there.

Don’t panic

I mean it. My own life has taught me that the biggest killer out there is panic. Flailing or running around and shouting will not help. So don’t do it. Trust me on this. A cool head will get you through more scrapes than being a drama queen and expecting other people to take up the slack. Indeed I have found my own personal policy of walking softly and taking a step back when faced with the unfamiliar and occasionally dangerous has often gotten me out of a tight corner.

In this vein we’re having to think ahead with regard to Elderly Friend. Her rapid slide into dementia has both us and the care home thinking that she’s not long for this world. She may even die while we’re in London. So. Funeral home fees and arrangements have to be checked, funds set aside for end of life care, nursing etc. All that stuff you get the joy of as power of attorney. However, this is the job we signed up for and it has to be done. The grunt work of signing off on those details like funeral services and ensuring the right ashes go in the right urn. Just in case.

However, a little foresight has often proven useful too because it’s of limited use being cooler than liquid Nitrogen if the ground is literally crumbling under your feet. Having a fallback option, just in case, isn’t needed that often, but I like them as they are very reassuring. Doesn’t have to be much, just simple stuff. For example, on road trips, I carry enough first aid stuff to be able to suture moderate wounds and stop bleeds whilst being able to provide some form of pain relief or sluice out a dust afflicted eyeball or contaminated cut. My credit cards are kept separately in case I get my wallet nicked. We always have double travel insurance and I never enter a place unless I already know where the best exit is. Mrs S often jocularly chides what she calls my ‘paranoia’, but despite the odd minor faux pas it’s been a long, long time since I was caught properly left footed.

We’ve gotten lost in the wilds of Ontario with dwindling fuel, but not unrecoverably so. We’ve lost money on investments, I lost five thousand dollars on three particular stocks last year, but more than made it back on others and spent a meagre two fifty on advice of how to set the loss against tax. Then made all my money back and then some on the same stocks by June this year. We try to invest across a wide spread, never put all our fiscal eggs in one basket and try not to panic if there’s a short term drop in the market like over the New Year 2018-9.

Because having at least one alternative is way better than being caught with your financial unmentionables around yer ankles. So it is with a WTO or ‘No deal’ Brexit. Now being a suspicious sort when it comes to news media, reading all the “Noooo! We’re all going to DIE!!” nonsense being peddled even in the FT. I really am thinking of cancelling my subscription. Fortunately I have my own sources. So I did a little digging.

Here’s what I found; imports will not grind to a halt. There are structures already in place to allow imports without delays at all major UK ports. Same for exporters. If you don’t already know, then you haven’t been listening. The tax authorities have been ready for a no deal scenario for over two years. I got that via Pinsent Mason (Major UK law firm who deal in international law by the way). Also from the guy who has just transferred out from being in charge of the port of Dover says they’re ready for ‘No deal’. HMRC have set up 190+ ‘pop up’ customs posts, in addition to the normal ports facilities who deal with clearing import and exports. The only problems will be from EU customs, so you’re more likely to run out of Cheddar at Calais than Brie and Avocados in Birmingham. Besides, where in the EU grows Avocado’s for heaven’s sake? Oh yes, France and Spain. The Netherlands are a major distribution hub and exporter, but don’t actually grow any. The major growers range from Israel to Mexico, New Zealand to Kenya, then there’s Colombia, Morocco, South Africa and the USA. Can’t get your Dutch Avocado? Fine, there are plenty more sources out there with produce to sell. Cut out the EU middle man. Ship direct from the growers, and don’t think there aren’t deals already being cut by the buyers for Messrs Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and Sainsbury.

Even if the EU embargoes all imports to and from the UK, remember this; they need the UK markets more than the UK needs the EU. Never mind not getting a GBP39 billion payday, if they tried cutting UK Plc off without a cent they’d bankrupt a large proportion of their own internal economy. According to a financial report I read 12th September 2019, the European Central Bank is going to cut interest rates and start printing money, a failed policy by the way, which has already hit the Euro. Internally, they are already in trouble.

For expat UK pensioners in European countries (No names, no pack drill) this drop in the Euro means their UK pension will be worth more as the pound sterling will buy more. Expats I know they have been hit badly because of all the Remainer panicmongering driving the value of sterling down at least twelve percent lower than it should be. It would be nice to see them better off.

Me, I don’t put my faith in state pensions, mainly because I like to know where my money is and what it’s up to. As well as the payout of any given state pension being less than likely to support me in the style to which I wish to become accustomed in my forthcoming frail dotage. Also because I don’t trust politicians, any of them, not to plunder public coffers for their own short term gain. They can buy votes with someone else’s dime.

Oh yes, and I’ve finally bowed to Mrs S over buying a new cell phone so she can keep tabs on me, investing in a dual sim Samsung A20 with case and armoured glass.

Looking ever more forward to London, when I will be trying to console those of the Remain faction I encounter by speaking soothingly and gently holding their hands to reassure them.

Why specifically hold their hands? Just to make sure none of the nasty little sods manage to take a swing at me. Like I said, foresight.

Fifty years ago…

July 1969, I was a science fiction loving schoolboy experiencing a feeling I have rarely felt since hearing the words “The Eagle has landed.” All around the world people shared this emotion and danced with joy as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin piloted their Lunar Excursion Module dubbed ‘Eagle’ down from lunar orbit to the regolith of the lunar sea of tranquility.

My Dad and Mum understood my obsession with all things space and allowed me to stay up well past my mandatory bed-time to watch it all happen. From the power and glory of that singular Saturn V launch where the sound was not just heard but felt, listening avidly to each voice only transmission, the TV programme animations and real time images of the command module docking with the LEM, to the disengagement in lunar orbit and down to the moon’s surface. The suspense of being unable to sleep waiting until the following day for Neil Armstrong to step off that ladder and utter those epic words, even if he did fluff his lines a little. Then there was the will they, won’t they suspense of the LEM being able to claw it’s way out of Lunar gravity and orbit for docking and the long journey home to our precious little blue marble. See the documentary below.

Now I come across occasional people who say that they believe the momentous events I was witness to did not happen. They have even gone so far as to publicly harass people who were actually there. However, I’d like to share a little video of what went down when they tried that to an astronauts face (With a few repeats – just for fun) Bless you Dr Aldrin.

No one can convince me that the events of fifty years ago did not occur because I was alive and I watched it all happen in real time. In a time when video fakery was primitive and easily spotted.

Those joyous memories of shared human triumph are etched across my soul as deeply as if carved there. To insist otherwise against all the available and extensive evidence is utterly pathetic. The abject narcissism of such a position is barely worthy of pity.

Excuse me. Now I’m off to have another nice day. I shall shortly be all suited and booted on my own terrestrial rocket ship.

Sorry officer, I was just trying to reach escape velocity.

Update:  or we could just watch the whole Apollo 11 moonwalk.

Remastered footage from the original mission.  thank you NASA.

Raindrops on roses etc

Not much going on chez maison Sticker at present. A series of rainy days mean I haven’t been out riding as much as I’d like. Frankly I’m wondering where summer has gone.

I’ve learned that I’m gainfully employed for another year but to tell you the truth I’m considering jacking it in. That and Mrs S wants to move countries again. If I may be totally candid with you, migration is a tough business and I’m not looking forward to repeating the experience. All the faffing around with paperwork drove me nuts last time around. All the anxiety. The money we spent. All the time and exam passing. Keeping Mrs S on an even keel, not an easy job at the best of times. Chums, It almost broke me.

There’s a point in a man’s life when he just wants to do what he wants to do. Nothing more, nothing less. This isn’t a mid-life crisis, because my whole freaking life has been a crisis on one form or another. Usually caused by other people. Stuff I had no part in breaking, but which have suddenly become my responsibility to fix. So I’ve been doing my own thing.

I see Boris Johnson is now more or less acknowledged heir apparent for the UK Plc’s Prime Monstership. May sounds like she’s trying to sabotage him on her way out by putting avid remainers in key positions before she leaves. Talk about bad faith, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from the remain camp.

Had the 2016 referendum gone the other way by a similar margin, all us peasants would be expected to jolly well shut up and watch our home country strangled to death. However, the remainers don’t really believe in democracy unless the results suit them.

All us thickies who can see the damage the EU is doing get labelled as too stupid to vote. We don’t want to be ruled cradle to grave, having our every waking thought and word dictated by some ivory tower academic. We understand that life is messy and fundamentally organic. There are no clear cut answers and sometimes you just have to wing it. A deal has no clear rules because it’s a negotiation. So there.

Oh and something just dropped into my YouTube subscriptions. “How Norway dealt with Antifa.” Enjoy.

Let the cops off the leash. Let them arrest all the violent. Allow self-defence. Make the courts deal with the violent offenders. Jail time. Short 30 day sentences ramping up like for contempt of court seems to work.

Hey, I’ve just seen the weather forecast and the open road is singing a siren song. Now where did I put the Mutts keys? See ya.

Negative on that negativity, guys

For some time there’s been a growing mood of public mistrust with an overtly partisan media. I think it’s because they seem so out of step with the majority of people outside their bubble reality. You know, the ordinary folk who have actually grown up and just want to bring up their families, continuing the march of the generations. Making a living in our journey from nascence to decease and making sure it wasn’t all for nothing. Looking up at the stars and wondering, “Could we?” then having to turn our attention to whether we can get a parking space at work and dealing with the latest demand for shiny toys from the kids.

Personally I think they’re just prodding the bear to make it look like they’re actually doing something. Creating outrage for outrages sake. Nitpicking all the time like an abusive spouse. And they wonder why their circulation figures are falling off a cliff. To call their output ‘news’ is hyperbole of the highest order.

The real news you have to go digging for with a JCB Backhoe sometimes, and sometimes it just bursts out into the open. Aaand it’s another ‘child grooming / prostitution’ scandal which has been bubbling under for quite some time. This time the stakes are much higher than a Kebab house heroin operation. This time the story is about the rich and powerful abusing underage girls, blackmail, drugs and possibly even disposal of the ‘inconvenient’. Whether of course a prosecution happens is debatable because the chief lynchpin in the greater story is one Jeffrey Epstein, a well connected fixer who has so far escaped full prosecution because he has purportedly some very rich and powerful people going to bat for him, including a previous President of the USA and, some rumours include, his one-time presidential hopeful wife. So many of the wealthy left wing elite all spent time on Epstein’s private island, Little St James’ in the British Virgin Islands. I know, Virgin Isles, sometimes the irony just clangs, doesn’t it? It’s even more interesting that Epstein’s island mansion burned to the ground in 2018 after an earthquake. Convenient, no? Twice, if reports are to be believed.

Even more recently that Epstein’s Wikipedia bio page was heavily edited to remove certain references whilst retaining others and taking a sly sideswipe at the current president. Which is also suspicious. We can also see that the circle of complicity has widened. Daughter of pension fund stripper Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell stands accused of procuring teenage girls for Epstein and friends.

For ordinary working people whose efforts keep the world turning, Trump is not the problem. They are the ones who voted the bad orange man in. The ‘deplorables’ behind ‘populism’. Those sneered at by the very ‘educated’ privileged class that brought forth people like Epstein. The ‘educated’ who gave us hate speech laws and the institutional fraud of ‘Global warming’ and carbon taxation. The ‘educated’ who call those who disagree names, as if that was an effective argument instead of just a cheap way of shutting up dissenters. To quote an old friend who chided me when I was full of myself one day; “You might have been to school, but you haven’t learned much, have you?” Education has it’s place, but is what is being taught really true?

Yet most of the press has ignored or downplayed the other, interconnected stories. We are at a point where the jigsaw puzzle begins to make sense. This isn’t conspiracy theory, the facts are emerging and the picture they reveal isn’t pretty. How power and privilege are too often abused to the detriment of the very people we are told they protect. How someone protesting about rape gangs can be thrown in prison for one thing, yet the paid lapdogs of the ‘official’ media get a pass for exactly the same behaviour at his trial. Indeed the mainstream media seem to be on the side of sex criminals. They seem to like rapists and abusers. Maybe certain of them are involved? Why else would they attack those trying to bring the disinfectant of sunlight to bear?

However, thanks to the free transfer of information over the jolly old Interweb, the villagers have become aware that monsters are in their midst and that the wicked who protect their own only have double standards. All the ordinary folk ever wanted was for the law to be applied consistently. For the sake of a little justice. Power and wealth should be seen as no protection from the law, or what good is that law? The law is either for everyone or it is for no-one.

Justice must be seen to be done or the pitchforks will end up asking the reasons why. Pointedly. I do not wish to see this happen, although if the political classes continue to go against their electorates and abuse their authority, well, it’s not a pretty picture.

Not feeling it

No doubt you’ve heard about the recent California earthquake and all the death and disaster that didn’t happen. Up here in the not so frozen Pacific north west we didn’t feel a thing, yet we too have been having Quakes up to 6.3 Magnitude only the other day. The thing is, all our quakes tend to be old school Canadian and happen hundreds of kilometres offshore so as not to, heavens forfend, disturb anyone.

As a matter of good housekeeping chez maison Sticker we have a fourteen day grab bag set by in case the big one really comes. Usual thing, blankets, fire starter, water, food, first aid kit. Not that we’re likely to need it. My fishing gear sits ready, then there’s my hunting kit. Must replace the arrow shafts and practice my archery skills a little more often, but that’s all. Might even put money by for a decent quality crossbow. My hunting points got lost in a house move, so they’ll need replacing and I have a small boot knife which can double as a butchery / skinning tool, so yes, we’re as prepared as we can be. There’s even a propane barbecue and a butane stove. No eating out of cans for us. Worst case scenario we’re dead and won’t care anyway, otherwise we’ll have food, water, communications and shelter.

Of course the mainstream media have tried to make a drama out of a minor crisis, but what the hey, they’re in showbiz, which is what most news is nowadays. Enough fact mixed in for credibilities sake, but the rest a hodge-podge of poorly informed speculation. The last big quake that hit Vancouver Island was in 1946 there were only two deaths. One from a heart attack and the other drowned when his dinghy got swamped. So colour me an old fogey for not feeling the fear. Whatever happens, we’ll cope.

A picture paints

Watching the news of late I’ve come to the conclusion that if I can’t add anything to the conversation, I won’t bother for the moment. Because reasons, okay? However, it’s occurred to me that I spend a good deal of time talking about my little deck garden but rarely take pictures, so here are a few for the edification of the general populace.

So let’s begin with the South aspect. Right to left beginning with the Lavender, Mint, Lemon tree plant Tea Rose, Geranium, Hosta, Berberis. Now from the back left to the front; Yew, Some form of variegated leaf thing Mrs S bought, a tussock of decorative grass, the Sage and Thyme, tucked down below another Lemon tree plant, up a bit to the Juniper and our other tea rose bush. The new rose at the back has about ten buds, but the older rose only three. The more observant will note a lemon tree plant snuggled between the Hosta, which has two stalks in the process of blossoming and the Berberis.
Note to self; make up a new batch of nectar for the Hummingbird feeder.

Right. So on to the Western railing where the discerning observer can look into the Fuchsia, three Lemon Tree plants which I raised from seed with me very own hands guv’nor, some Carnations, a dwarf Japonica and a decorative bamboo.
The brown box to the left is where we keep some rather straggly looking heather plants to fill a gap. Inside the box is a cushion which stayed dry all through the Winter. Which was a pleasant surprise, considering it was totally buried in snow for over two weeks.

So to the East wall where the barbecue lives. This is my experimental vegetable patch which is also home to the Sunflowers, Cannae Lilies and Lupins. Inset is a close up of our burgeoning Sunflower blossom. The more observant of you will notice a Strawberry plant, Habanero Pepper, Parsley, Kale, Radishes and even some Lettuce seedlings.

What else? Ah yes, the current state of play for my Grapefruit seedlings, three of which are doing fine, the fourth, well I don’t know what happened there. It started tiny and has continued to be so. No idea why. Such are the vagaries of growing things. It was the runt of the litter, but why it has stayed so is anybody’s guess.

In the outside world I see that the UK is still staggering around like a headless chicken because the politic’s don’t want to give up their sinecures. Not doing the value of the pound much good. The problem does not lie with BREXIT so much as the uncertainty of whether it will happen or not. Once that is resolved, matters can stabilise once more. My UK portfolio is taking a hit, but I’m hanging on to my Sterling investments to see what’s going to happen in October / November. What else? Justin Trudeau is still the most embarrassing leader in the world. The Chinese brushed him off at the G20 talks and all the silly clown can do is blather on about being a ‘feminist’. No wonder the rest of the world won’t take us seriously. We’re the only country in the world liable to disintegrate because the Western Provinces are sick of being abused by a bunch of effete urbanites. Plus ca chose, plus ca meme chose.

Well, the sun is shining. It’s Saturday and I’m off for a spin on the Mutt. See ya.

Well done that man

So some Tories (Suspended) actually have balls. Well done Mr Field. Some whiny-arse protester crashes your private function and starts berating everyone over an imaginary ‘crisis’ and gets manhandled for their pains. Boo-freaking-hoo. These crazy morons who think it’s okay to create ructions and disrupt the personal lives of others should get a little of what they’re constantly giving out in return. These annoying little shits commonly use harassment and assault against anyone who disagrees with them because Mummy and Daddy didn’t do the hard work of disciplining their child age three, so now society at large has to deal with these emotional retards, these overgrown toddlers who can’t get past emotional age eleven. Maybe if a few get what they deserve the rest of us wouldn’t have to put up with their narcissistic disruptions.

Sometimes I think Mott the Hoople had the only solution to these self centred shits who can’t show a little decorum and respect a democratic vote.

You wanted equal rights? Ah kiddies, you forget there’s equal wrongs too. Life taught me to never start a fight and (after learning the hard way one time) I never will, but finishing them is another matter.

On the subject of woman trouble, the possible next UK Prime Minister has just had some. Shouting and arguing was heard at the flat Boris Johnson shared with his notoriously green remainer girlfriend, not sure what for, but Bojo probably needs a new place of residence a.s.a.p. Having looked at the situation, frankly it’s better for the country if she was history, influences like that should be nowhere near the seat of UK power in the current climate and I’m sure Boris will find himself someone more amenable. Yes he’s a first class philandering dick from a sexual standpoint, but that doesn’t make him incompetent. All that bumbling amiable bluff and bluster is just a front. Whenever he’s been in a position of power he’s made a reasonable fist of things, unlike his successors. I might be reading this entirely wrong, but I do think he can deliver BREXIT and even possibly save the Tories from total electoral annihilation. Because if there is further delay, they will be toast at the ballot box.

Anyway, October 31st will be the proof and I will be in West London, possibly even mulling matters over in person with Tom Paine, a fellow blogger of long standing who writes The Last Ditch.

On the home front, the Mutt has developed an electrical fault which means the battery drains even when everything is switched off, so back to the shop it goes for a little electrical TLC. I think I know what the answer is, but I’ll leave it to the boys with spanners to confirm my suspicions.

The Deck garden has been too windy to sit out in, which is a shame as otherwise the weather has been quite nice and our new rose bush has a set of burgeoning blossoms which look like they will be adding another splash of colour to the mini-jungle outside our kitchen doors. Our two Sunflowers have passed the metre tall mark and one is already developing a flower head. Which is nice. The Lemon Tree plants are growing new leaves and an accident with a seed packet means the planter that was once graced by the pansies might have anything coming up. We shall see. Life has to have some adventure.

Oh what the hell, it’s the weekend. Mine’s a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Mrs S will enjoy the odd Vodka and Tonic. We at least are civilised folk, well her more than me.

TTFN

One last item, serious props to Donald Trump for not doing the whole ‘Bomb, bomb Iran’ thing. Apparently he pulled back from retaliating for that shot down surveillance drone after asking “How many casualties?” and getting the answer “One hundred and fifty Mr President.” Which would have only escalated the problems in that area. Good. We could do with a whole lot less mindless military retaliation in this world. World wars are not much fun.

On the other hand, if the provocations keep on coming, then the gloves can come off, but not before.

Update: Re the Mutt. My beautiful big blue motorcycle has a duff battery. Which is kind of odd as I asked and paid for a brand new one to be fitted when I bought it. Has someone not been entirely honest with me? Enquiring minds would like to know. Then theres being deprived of riding time. Not impressed. Not impressed at all. Warranty, warranty, who’s got the warranty? Oh yes. Me.

Gestures

When travelling the roads of the world, some of you will notice that many motorcyclists wave to each other as they pass. There are several forms of gesture, from the nod, to the upright hand wave, drop-v and left boot wiggle. What is the significance of these gestures and who does them? Well I don’t think there’s an official version, but the style of gesture, and who uses them varies greatly depending upon who you are and where you’re from.

Mostly these gestures are about recognition of status between bikers. Whenever I’m out and about on the Mutt, I’ve noticed that the gestures are most widespread amongst those riding European style. The observant among you will also register that North American Harley riders for example very rarely acknowledge anyone unless they’re riding another Massey Ferguson Harley Davidson. Even so, the habit is not widespread among them. Some people think there’s a certain cachet to owning a Harley, personally I disagree. Yes, those big old v-twins have lots of low down grunt, but back in the day, some of the guys I knew who bought them said the electrics were worse than Ducatis, Anyway, that’s by the by. Generally speaking, Harley riders rarely salute anyone but other Harley or Indian riders.

To be honest, there’s often a bit of snobbery here. There is a partisan faction that believes Harleys are the only machine worth having and that ‘rice burners’ (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki etc, even BMW’s) are not fit to share the same roads. So, fellas, you’re not Marlon Brando fans then? He rode a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T (Not a Speed Twin – cheers Ripper) in the iconic bike flick ‘The Wild one‘. To which I would also add; screw you, I’ve ridden in every weather condition short of a Tornado for over three freaking decades and I’ll ride what I do because it works for me. Don’t need your permission. Go way son, you’re bothering me.

However, the thought does occur that the feet out high handlebar ‘Easy rider’ style adopted by many big V-Twin riders is not exactly conducive to making hand gestures. Perhaps they don’t gesture because it is too difficult to take one hand off the handlebars while in motion, unlike the European style of machine that is increasingly common over here in BC, which is more stable and allows the rider a free left hand.

The etiquette, if such a word can be applied to rough, tough motorbikey types is that only those who ‘live to ride’ or are serious about their riding tend to give these gestures. Never in town, too many hazards. Generally these gestures are only made while on the open road and in motion. Of course if you’re purely a weekend warrior or the rider of a smaller machine like a Honda cub or similar, no one expects it. Nor is there any acknowledged requirement to do so. It’s just the done thing. A salute, a tip of the hat, the acknowledgement of a kindness, a recognition. That’s mostly all it is. We are simply acknowledging our difference from the common herd.

Because let’s face it, riding a motorcycle and surviving for any length of time, in itself is the mark of an individual cut from less common cloth. More switched on. Motorcyclists have to be vastly more alert than most car drivers because we have to do their observing for them. Don’t argue this point, a rider who is inattentive or careless soon pays the penalty because all those idiots in tin boxes are mostly that, idiots. They fiddle with radios, take cell phone calls without hands free, drink coffee, argue with passengers, don’t bother to look or indicate when turning or changing lanes and all other manner of inattentiveness which is the biggest killer on the road. Forget drunk driving or speeding, the biggest cause of all road casualties is the air between the ears, which motorcycle riders, at a deeply visceral level, understand all too well. Which is why so many of us often acknowledge each other. It’s a badge of pride. Of commonality. A kind of “Well done, you’re still breathing. Keep it up.”

As for the type of gesture, this varies from place to place. I’ve seen everything from a sidelong nod to the very French left boot wiggle, but let’s deal with the main ones;


The standard wave; raised left hand upright, palm forward, fingers closed. This is very old school and the most primitive of gestures in the riders lexicon. It just means “Hi.” between riders. Nothing more.


The low wave; fingers loosely spread, thumb out. A general low energy greeting. Meaning; all is cool from whence I have come.


The drop vee; A very continental European variant. Originally from France and Italy (I think). Sort of an upside down V for Victory with the thumb held wide. A more exuberant version of the low wave. General greeting of coolness. Even Bike cops have been observed making this gesture.

The low thumbs up; No image as this is self explanatory. Thumb up, wrist rotated back. Bit of a Fonzie “Heeeyyy!” gesture. Sort of a “Nice day for riding” gesture.
The low wave repeated as though patting; This does have a specific meaning, it means “Slow down” it warns of a hazard ahead. Might be a speed trap, might be a crack up. Take care.
The left boot wiggle; as is suggested. Left boot off footpeg, leg angled out, foot briefly wiggled. Very Francais this. Tres continental. Means ‘thank you’ or ‘murky buckets’ depending on your native tongue. This gesture is almost universal in France and is given to both other riders and car drivers for giving way or any other courtesy.

Well folks, it’s another nice BC day and I will be taking Mrs S out for a spin later after I’ve watered the plants and had breakfast. If anyone can add to the above, the rest of us await enlightenment.

Small home truths

Barbecued steak day yesterday. I had a nice slab in the freezer and we were tired of chicken, so Mrs S and I dined on flat-iron steak with a nice green salad. Our fifty buck propane barbecue has been doing sterling service, and there’s something of a cachet to cooking outdoors. The steak was ably washed down with a nice 2015 Argentinian Rioja. A little tingly in the mouth, but which slipped down as slickly as silk knickers. Very nice.

While the meat was cooking I dead headed carnations and inspected our other plants. The Pansies I fear, are past their best, but that’s life, isn’t it? The bad news is that my planted Sweet William has been strangled by the Pansies. Well we can’t have that. A trial has been held, guilty verdict returned and sentence carried out. Replanting will be required. May the Lord have mercy on their wretched little souls.

Further on the downside, a nasty shock greeted me in my email inbox this morning. A booking that we made back in February for our forthcoming London visit was arbitrarily cancelled by our hotel booking service. No reason, just a “Your booking has been cancelled” message, which left me struggling for replacement accommodation in the smoke. A family conference was immediately convened and the situation resolved. To be honest, there’s been something nagging at my hindbrain for the last couple of months that was saying “This isn’t Kosher” about that specific booking, so it’s nice to see my instincts vindicated yet again. Anyway, within two hours travel plans were adapted, new accommodation booked and we were back on track for our original dates for Autumn 2019. Might even get to watch the fireworks for Guy Fawkes night before we leave. I may even have saved five hundred bucks, so, swings and roundabouts. We’re all good on that front. Major league kudos incidentally to booking.com.

We’re also being plagued by mystery booming noises. About seven so far this morning. Probably sonic booms from the USAF going supersonic over the Pacific, maybe meteors coming in overhead but definitely not construction, that has a different sound altogether. The low pitched booming noises we’ve been hearing have been quite loud enough to rattle my office windows. So I checked the seismograph feeds, just in case there was an earthquake, but no. Couldn’t be meteors, as the Eta Aquarids were in early May and the Perseids aren’t due until August. So it’s probably some kind of supersonic aircraft out of Puget Sound Naval base. Boom-boom.

What else? Bitchute has been playing up of late. Video’s wouldn’t play and a few people were saying that the platform might be under attack, others that the increased traffic necessitated a major upgrade. Which if true is no surprise. Bitchute is rapidly becoming a refuge for those video creators YouTube don’t want. Or that Alphabet Inc (Owners of Google, YouTube etc) think their advertisers don’t want. The truth is that Alphabet want anodyne. Alphabet want ‘safe’, inoffensive. Funny cat and dog video’s. Which is where they think the money is, but that isn’t the content their market was built on. That was built by the very unsafe citizen journalist vloggers, comedians, gamers and commentators. It’s like watching a company that fires it’s top earning people for no good reason then watch the board stand around wondering where all those lovely profits went.

Although in Alphabet’s defence it’s common knowledge that online platforms, some advertisers and even credit card companies have come under pressure from certain activist media outlets, partially because said media outlets get money for pushing a certain world-view to rid YouTube etc of it’s most engaging voices, partly just to see the world burn. It’s also true that legacy media is increasingly under even more financial pressure from the new media, like the citizen journalists and gamers of YouTube. Now these ‘professional’ media types see all the advertisers paying what they see as their much sought after moolah to a bunch of upstarts who, horror of horrors, never went to journalism school. What must sting even more is legacy media watching advertisers paying these upstarts for poking fun at legacy media misrepresentations, bias and omissions, leaving the mainstreams credibility more full of holes than a good Emmental cheese. All the time the mainstream have been scrabbling for eyeballs they could sell to advertisers whilst watching their ratings sink like a torpedoed cruise liner. So the advertisers have been quietly cutting their legacy media spending, because what’s the point of advertising on a platform whose best days are long behind it? YouTube will follow. Personally, I’d sell my Alphabet Inc stock while the value is still relatively good. The market has peaked. Time for some serious profit taking before the crunch comes.

The penny is currently dropping like a rock that the relentless output of left leaning media, with it’s deranged hatred of all things heterosexual and north European is deeply unattractive to much of the eveyday public. As a result CNN has become a shrinking market. As are most of the main cable and digital news platforms, apart from the much maligned Fox News, who are smart enough to see which way the wind is blowing. For the rest, mass redundancies are becoming the order of the day. Huffington Post, Vox etc are all feeling the pinch.

Tim Pool has an interesting take on what’s going on.

In a bid to kill off the competition in the vain hope those straying consumer eyeballs will somehow come back to them, certain media outlets have resorted to using underhand tactics to silence anyone who isn’t them, because frankly me deario’s, many YouTubers have been effortlessly waxing the bums of the self appointed journalistic classes. People like CNN have been losing viewer ratings big time and desperate money men will have given out orders to shut down these upstart YouTubers by fair means or foul. Since these people don’t really do fairness, they have gone straight for the low foul tackle. Play the man, not the ball. Don’t present evidence or have a debate, that’s boring. Just go for the juicy Ad Hominem. Libel those unable to defend themselves. Sell the drama of Nazi’s behind every bush, which is a strange thing to do because there just aren’t enough real ‘Nazi’s’ to go around. Then apply the tactic of accuse, accuse, accuse, ‘expose’ with no real evidence, ‘out’ or Doxx, making people’s personal lives public so selectively that even Christopher Robin might look like Satan incarnate. Imagine such a headline; “Christopher Robin parties with animals – scandals of the hundred acre wood exposed” with some salacious insinuations about paedophilia, honey pots and bestiality in the first two paragraphs, the clickbait headline of which would be subsequently contradicted in the last lines of the headlined article. Which most people wouldn’t read as far as without suffering a bad attack of WTF! Then the story gets passed on in a game of Chinese whispers which only present the accusations as fact, not the original clickbait titled story in full. So the lie travels and the outrage machine roars into life.

You might think that this all sounds a bit tin foil hat, but I can cite at least six real live people whose well-meaning contact with the mainstream media has seriously screwed with their lives. Ergo, I don’t trust ‘Journalists’. One of the few pieces of wisdom my Dad imparted to me that stuck was “Don’t believe all that you read in the papers”. This would seem to be ever more apt as the blatant spin and news management has even polluted the pages of the Financial Times. Excuse me chums, I pay my FT subscription for hard information, not for some affectioned time-pleasers half baked opinion.

Of course the politicians go along because they need the media mouthpiece to get them votes so they can keep, in the immortal words of Mel Brooks’ corrupt William J LePetomane in Blazing Saddles “Their phoney-baloney jobs.” Which is why left of centre politicians are so keen to shut anyone with a ‘non-mainstream’ viewpoint down. They get their airtime from grateful legacy media platforms. It does not matter that otherwise innocent people end up getting defamed and even thrown in jail for ‘hate speech’ (Which is being defined by some very thin skinned individuals) Who cares? Gimme, gimme, gimme.

Stuff it. It’s too nice a day not to go riding. TTFN

The Motorcycle diet

As my one remaining reader will know, I’m a biker. One who passed his motorcycle test three years before he took and passed his car test. I’ve ridden everything from a beat up Honda 175 to a full sized sports tourer, which is what I have at present. 1261 wonderful cc of genteel fun. It’s a big dog, currently securely chained up in the yard under cover. It gets plenty of exercise and gives me a fair bit too. Which is why I am currently losing weight quite rapidly.

The thing is about riding a motorcycle is that unlike driving a car or truck, it is a dynamic process. Every time you corner for example, your whole body has to be involved, in my case piloting a machine almost two and a half times my current body weight. There’s no power steering, no gadgets (Apart from heated handlebar grips), just bodyweight dynamically managing a heavyweight machine along uneven roads and some fairly tight uncambered bends.

The process of positioning your body correctly for a bend takes effort which is not unlike the philosophy behind ‘hot’ yoga. Even at relatively sedate speeds, shoulders set, knees cuddling the tank, it takes a a fair bit of energy to swoop, apparently effortlessly, through repeated bends. Then there’s the loss of body heat which means you can burn quite a few calories keeping up even within the space of a two hour ride. Think of it this way. What might be a warm day standing still can get decidedly chilly over sixty miles an hour, so even fairly well insulated you can burn up a whole heap of energy simply keeping warm, thus losing weight as your body goes through those calories like a blast furnace.

Add to that a fairly high protein, low carbohydrate way of life and weight loss is guaranteed. I call it ‘the motorcycle diet’. It works. At least for me.

Anything in the news? Not really, just the usual bunch of suspects getting bent out of shape over Trumps state visit to the UK. That idiot Sadiq Khan didn’t attend the state dinner, neither did Corbyn. Jesus H Christ on a moped! Are these people so devoid of intellect and statecraft that they shut themselves out of the party. While Liz and Trump were celebrating the alliance between the UK and the USA and deals were quietly being discussed, a bunch of incompetents were trying to virtue signal that because ‘orange man bad’ this somehow excused them being utterly atrocious at their jobs. Then the credulous morons who can’t be bothered to do their own research and see how well the USA is doing under Trump turn up en masse to complain. These would be the same people who ‘think’ that man made climate change is a physical threat to humanity despite the continual failure of their end of the world prophesies and that Socialism isn’t a bad idea despite a century of failure. Newsflash kiddies; if you believe what the bought and paid for media tell you, that ain’t ‘thinking’.

Oh well, I look at it this way. In order for a certain number of people to be of above average intelligence, there have to be a whole heap who are dumber than a bag of sponge rubber rocks. It’s a simple rule of averages. Like what we have taken to calling ‘Emotional Literacy’, like reading ages, some people only get as far as an emotional age of 11, others make 13, fewer still 17 and the very few emotional maturity.

Mrs S and I had a broad and in depth discussion on an associated topic last night. She came back from a conference at UVIC yesterday and we had an interesting exchange of views about childhood trauma and how it impacts people. “You control your impulses very well, Bill.” She observed. Yes, she knows I’m damaged goods, but I know precisely where and how I’m damaged and try to take a breath before simply reacting. It passes for wisdom sometimes. And that pertikular commodity, me deario’s, is where you finds it.

Is that the sun shining? So it is. Time to shed another pound of two.