Don’t you just love democracy in action……

Especially when it’s not the voice of the majority, just the hypersensitive few. Trigger warningTrigger warning: Twatter, Arsebook and other like campaigners are going to be called names in this post. Offended? You will be. So stop reading now. The blog owners take no responsibility for any offence taken. Furthermore, ‘taking offence’ may lead to a complaint to the Police being laid against the offence takers. Remember, just ‘taking’ is theft and therefore wrong, no matter who does it. Very bad. Consider your wrists slapped and my admonishing finger wagged. Don’t do it again.

The hypersensitive have been running around the Interweb in the aftermath of the South Carolina church shooting in their usual aimless fashion, demanding that all objects bearing the American Civil war confederate battle flag of the 1st Army of Virginia are banned. As usual, the big online retailers, mistaking vociferousness for actual support, are now implementing their own ban on all merchandise carrying said image. Why? Because a mentally ill fruitloop murdered a bunch of nice respectable churchgoing folk in church had such a flag in his possession, having shortly before his heinous act espoused ‘white supremacist’ views. Which he had adopted for no readily apparent reason. Probably because he was mentally unstable? No-one close to him spotted this?

As an aside; being mentally out of whack doesn’t say much for any notion of ‘supremacy’ does it? To be supreme, firstly you have to be better. Which is subjective to say the least. People who are ill cannot be supreme, as illness, by its very definition means that someone is below par. Then there must also be someone to have supremacy over, and killing those considered ‘beneath’ any masters is a bit of an own goal, regardless of symbols. Even if they’re far more humane and less unhinged than you, like the murdered churchgoers. When the subgroup you consider yourself to be ‘master’ of is gone, who’s next? The slightly overweight chap wearing glasses who reads ‘too many’ books? People with ginger hair? (I think a certain Prince of the Realm might have something to say about that). Anyone cleverer than the supremacists? Which isn’t that difficult, from what I’ve seen, people who adopt such views aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the box. I believe the Khmer Rouge tried this idea a while back. Newsflash. It doesn’t work. Sooner or later you run out of ‘others’ to persecute.

What else doesn’t work? Bans. Banning things always has a rebound effect. For example; banning certain music just makes people want to listen to it, just to see what all the fuss is about. Worked for Rock & Roll in the 50’s didn’t it? The bigger the fuss, the larger the rebound. As proof of this principle, sales of the ‘Stars and Bars’ have increased and those who see themselves as part of a loose ‘rebel alliance’ will no doubt already have said emblem prominently on display. As well as watching re-runs of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard‘ and putting Confederate Stars and bars’ back on their models of the ‘General Lee’, from which Warner Brothers are removing them. Banning a symbol which is only loosely connected with the commission of a crime never ends well. I’ll make a bet that sales of the ‘confederate’ flag will slide off eBay, Amazon etc onto Craigslist and Kijiji, to quietly resurface on Amazon and the like when the Twatterati have turned their goldfish level attention spans to something else in three days time. Dukes of Hazzard original memorabilia will shoot up in price because the ban will have automatically created a rarity premium.

Furthermore, those offended by such images are cautioned not to look at the graphic of Confederate battle flags below.
Some battle flags of the Confederate States of America Offended? Really? You can’t say you weren’t warned.

My discerning reader will have noted that at least three Confederate flags bear a striking resemblance to other non-US national symbols. The ‘Navy Jack’ for example looks a lot like the current EU flag. In a poor light, the flag of Polk’s Corps could be mistaken for the Icelandic or Norwegian flags. If I told you the emblem for Hardee’s Corps could easily be mistaken for the flag of the tiny Pacific nation of Palau, I would not be far wrong.

Nevertheless, the people campaigning for such a ban can only be described as brain dead wankers because, as usual, these ladies front bottoms are, as usual, mistaking symbol for deed. Then applying a boneheaded, top-down, one-size-fits-all philosophy. Their crippled intellects have no space for nuance in their reasoning, thus demonstrating an uncanny ability to utilise their rectums simultaneously for both vocal apparatus and cranial storage. Which in an obtuse fashion is quite a feat. A highly stupid demonstration of ventriloquism and contortion, but nonetheless impressive to watch from a safe and hygienic distance. They forget Bans are great for forming a tighter nexus around a rallying point for the people they despise, Polarising otherwise uninvolved communities and turning the unlikeliest people into political allies. The ban the campaigners want would criminalise all sorts of harmless folk, from Civil War re-enactors to collectors of memorabilia and antiques. Pushing them straight into the arms of the real racists. Bang, ow me toes! It really is very sad.

Enough now. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but it’s just such fun watching idiots dig holes to bury them selves in. If these intellectually challenged campaigners really wanted to ‘end racism’, the easiest way would be, as Morgan Freeman once so elegantly put it, to “Stop talking about it” accept other peoples differences and get on with life.

Update: An interesting article on similar ‘Confederate Outrages’ in the National Post.

A small epiphany…

We’ve been watching a few John Cusack movies of late on NetFlix. The Numbers Station is a good one, gritty, suspenseful, and Cusack as an actor is always good value for money. Last nights little enlightening came from High Fidelity where the lead character does one of the movies quirky, direct to camera observations about all the misery that life can inflict on people.

“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”


Good question. Answers on a postcard, or not.

Really bad junk science

Apart from the ‘science’ of Carbon Dioxide caused ‘Man made Climate Change’, there is one area where really bad junky science is trumpeted as ‘TRUTH’, oh-yes-it-is and you’re a filthy ‘denier’ for even doubting it (Or so say those who’ve got lumbered with too many ‘carbon credits’ in their investment portfolios), and that’s in the diet ‘industry’.

Todays little epistle comes from a Skype conversation with Youngest, when she told Mrs S and I that she and her friend had gone to get their ‘Fat indexes’ checked.

Well isn’t that responsible of them? Two young women in their early 20’s keeping an eye on their health, taking responsibility for their dietary choices and keeping well. Both are fitness fanatics who use the gym at least 3 times a week, Youngest runs half Marathons every month or so, runs almost every day. I might also point out that Youngest and friend both have bikini fit bodies with hardly an ounce of additional flesh visible. Having had them as house guests, and been their house guest at various times over the past four years I can personally attest to this, as they were prone to wander mildly hungover through kitchens (My traditional habitat) in their underwear first thing in the morning, and swimsuits later in the day when they’d had an afternoon dip at our old place. Which can do strange (but very pleasant) things to an older mans mind. Subsequent decorous hugs of greeting have confirmed their lack of unwanted body fat. And? I still have a pulse you know.

However, what made me sit up in amazement was Youngest’s announcement that both of them were found to be borderline ‘obese’ with a body fat index of 30. “Seriously?” I guffawed. Ten pounds each lighter and these two girls would be borderline malnourished. Whoever administered the test, I opined, should have gone to SpecSavers. No, I was told; the test was done twice and still arrived at the same result. I asked if the test equipment was faulty. No, I was told, the gyms equipment had been checked the week before. Then perchance had the tester possessed no more than a room temperature IQ with only the haziest notion of how to administer said test? Again, a somewhat indignant ‘no’ came my way. At this point the subject was changed.

Then again this should come as no surprise, having seen the maladministration of ‘dietary science’ on more than one occasion. Examples include those unfortunate people now regularly dosed with Statins, suffering side effects like muscle aches, memory loss and even an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, then finding out that dietary cholesterol does not necessarily equal blood cholesterol (Don’t take my word for all this – look it up yourself). High fibre diets resulting in bowel obstruction / overload, fever and excruciating pain. (I’ve had this happen to me – it’s not very nice.) Nurses giving out enemas and other bowel flushing treatments to patients, even when said treatments are ‘contra-indicated’, for relatively mild constipation. For example, purgatives or enemas should under no circumstances be administered to patients with any type of heart failure or a range of other life threatening conditions. Yet they are. There are no statistics on this, but anecdotal evidence still filters out. Which proves the axiom; Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it don’t happen.

The whole ‘dietary fat is bad for you’ meme has been found not to be as set in stone as once believed. As for the figures re alcohol and vegetables plucked from thin air – see the ‘Five a day’ and ‘no more than 21 units of alcohol a week’ campaigns. Both of which fail to take into account the variability of the human body. For an amusing take on that subject; Richard Hammond, latterly of Top Gear fame has done a series of videos on in this instance, the ‘Drink two litres of water a day’ and ‘Tap water not as good as bottled’ marketing BS. Today is Sunday; Watch and Smile.

Where all this nonsense comes from is so often to be found in the cut and paste Lamestream world of ‘Science Journalism’ (Cough, cough, sardonic laughter) as promoted in ‘Health and Fitness’ magazines and the Sunday supplements. You know the sort of thing ‘Get your fit bikini body for Summer’ (Then complain about all those ‘sexist’ men ogling their newly ‘fit’ bodies – no pleasing some people) ‘Lose twenty pounds on the new miracle diet’ and find out that yo-yo dieting leaves that wonderful ‘orange peel’ effect skin (Cellulite) on the thighs and bum. Which, oddly enough, you can get rid of with the new ‘miracle’ anti-cellulite cream. Of course, much of this so-called ‘science’ often has more to do with press release content than the originating scientific paper. I’m often left wondering how many researchers in every field of scientific endeavour have read the media output on their study and gone “I never said that!” in incredulous tones, then heaved a heavy sigh and plodded on regardless as the lucrative public speaking invitations materialise.

About the Male orgasm

Funny the things you talk about while driving, but it’s why my good lady wife and I enjoy such a strong relationship. We talk about stuff. She’ll put forward a point of view, I’ll put in my ten cents, and more often than not, we end up surprising each other.

I forget how the discussion started, as I was dodging dozy drivers on our way back down to Victoria. Mrs S made some remark about male orgasms not being as intense as the female variety, of which we hear so much, to which I responded; “Not always.”
“Oh come on Bill, that’s nonsense.” My other half mocked. Well thank you ‘Cosmopolitan’.
“Seriously. Sometimes an orgasm can really rip you up, head to toe.” I explained. Which has on occasion been true for me. There have been times when ‘la petit mort‘ has completely shut down my brain functions and sent a massive surge down my spine for a few ecstatically intense moments, my back arching uncontrollably, my toes clenching and the sensation washing through me like a warm tidal wave on steroids, blowing my hindbrain like some whole body tectonic marshmallow detonation which completely drains me.
“Yes, but what about men who point and shoot, then just roll over and head for the shower?” She asked.
“Well, sometimes it’s like that.” I conceded, which is true. “Male orgasms vary in intensity, and you have to really go looking for the big ones, but you really know when they hit.”
“It’s odd you know.” She said. “A female orgasm gives a deep emotional connection, fulfills an intense need for more than mere sexual satisfaction. Male orgasms by comparison seem so, well, superficial.” She enlarged on the topic, leaving me to dodge round a particularly indecisive line of three pickup trucks. While I did, I gave a little thought to the matter. Honestly, I’d never given the subject that much cogitation. Well, you don’t. Not if anyone is listening anyway. It’s about as personal as it gets, and people don’t generally like having their sex lives discussed in front of them. There’s always that sense of attempted humiliation.

“It’s not something we men generally talk about between ourselves.” I pointed out. Which is also true. Men don’t really discuss sex the way women sometimes do. An air of one upmanship almost always rears it’s tiny one eyed head. “Men don’t generally talk about their orgasms because if anyone does, it just sounds like they’re bragging and no-one believes them.” Which is also true. We males are conditioned not to discuss matters sexual because for most of us it’s a famine rather than a feast, but no-one wants to admit they’re starving because everyone else will laugh at them. Even if they themselves are just as hungry.

I thought about that point for a moment and tried to create an analogy. Eventually I ended up comparing one appetite to another and posited thus; in this age of instant gratification; sex, like food, is often gobbled or consumed hurriedly or perfunctorily, like a person with a heavy thirst downing a pint in one. And speaking as a male, I’m often thirsty. Women are choosier, more discriminating, they lack a man’s immediacy, our hard wired hunger. For us males it can be any port in a storm, now. Which kind of explains the social need for prostitution and also why we men bolt our sex hurriedly because we’re secretly afraid it’ll be the last for some time. We always feel we’re on short rations, whether this is actually true or not. Which is why the male orgasm is often such a hurried affair. We consume it like junk food, hurriedly and without savour. We rarely take our time. Too often it’s “Come on darling.” Bang. “Was I really that good?” And the immediate hunger is sated. For the time being.

Nor do we Western men know how to talk about sex the way women do. Because we’re taught from an early age it’s like discussing what your turds look like in the toilet. Peer pressure and parental embarrassment condition us to consider it weird. Outlandish even. The only person we’re likely to have that sort of discussion with is our Doctor when he’s trying to work out what that strange pain is you’ve been getting for the last six months. Which may also explain why men use porn so much. Like a graphic novel it’s exciting and occasionally informative. And if you aren’t able to attract a sexual partner, or have never worked out how to navigate the secret maze from first smile to bedroom. Well, porn is all you got.

Furthermore, most ‘formal’ sex education is done in large groups, which let’s face it, is not an ideal forum. Discussing your most intimate needs is something only to be shared with a select trusted few, not a bunch of strangers, who, human society being what it is, will often point and laugh to shut down a discussion they feel uncomfortable with. Because we’re taught in the outside world that sex is ‘dirty’, not the natural expression of a basic human appetite. The salaciousness of it all gets in the way. It’s so, well, dishonest.

Then there are people who I will simply refer to as ‘vociferous outliers’, who, in order not to feel excluded and sidelined (Which from a psychological point of view is an expression of their own innate sense of inadequacy) will promote their own version of sexual reality as the ‘new normal’. Deliberately shutting those of us whose tastes are less exotic out of any reasoned discussion. Their way is the only way “So shut up you fascist you’re oppressing poor ickle me.” Like a plague carrying fly they land on any related, vaguely sensible discussion and infect it with their own preferences, no matter that they are the minority. Like Internet trolls they want to shut down the topic thread, because they can’t simply walk on by and let the grown ups talk sensibly. They have to leap around like a toddler in a tantrum to get their ‘point’ across. Even if it is only loosely connected with the topic under discussion. Which for most other people acts as a further barrier to modestly intelligent examination of the topic, and leaves the rest of us stuck where we started, hiding behind the metaphorical bike sheds at school, sharing our ignorance.

Rather ironic isn’t it?

Just another day at the office

We’re filling in travel insurance forms today to ensure the paper trail on Mrs S’s injured arm is up to snuff and all treatment gets paid for. Our travel insurance company is coughing up like a good ‘un, but we’re still covering our backs just in case someone, somewhere down the line says; “Oi! Mon-sewer. Vous n’avez pas paid for this!” and sends us a large demand with added Garlic (and Gallic) menaces.

Filling in forms has never been one of my favourite occupations. I always find myself asking the question; “What on Earth do you want my Mother’s old cats maiden name for?” Especially if it’s for a Dog licence. Fortunately the depth of information we’ve been asked for this time round is simply to do with Mrs S’s little tumble and subsequent treatment. We’ve copied all the original treatment documents, which are in French, but easy enough to get the gist of if you’ve spent any time working in and around hospitals. Although having carted all said treatment notes and prescriptions back across the pond, we’re still wondering what to do with the X-rays. No-one here seems to want them, so I toyed out loud with the notion of having them framed. To which Mrs S simply said; “Bill. Get them framed by all means, but I won’t let you hang them on my wall. Or anywhere else in the house.” When she said that, she had that certain, how shall I put it, uncompromising look in her eye which I know of old. So like the wise fool I am, I’ve backed down and squirreled the offending black and whites in our refurbished closet along with all our old photographic negatives.

As she’s having trouble typing, having only one effective hand, the fracture being well up the forearm towards the wrist the cast itself all but immobilises the fine motor movements needed for keyboard work. Seeing as I have no urgent jobs on, this means I’ve become my wife’s ‘Scribe’. Effectively, I sit at her desk and type up whatever reports she tells me to. Which has been an education in Educationalese, and has provided a few moments of innocent merriment as I have been learning to read between the lines. Oh what a tangled web. Then there’s showering, and a host of other little things she needs help with, like getting dressed, putting in ear rings (Which is a pet hate of mine – no idea why) and a whole raft of other personal tasks short of going to the toilet. There’s also been the interrupted sleep when she unconsciously thumps me with her cast clad arm in the wee small hours and around the back of my head. At times like these the night time sofa beckons, as a nights uninterrupted kip is well worth the price of a stiff neck in the morning. It’s better than bruises.

Nevertheless, the tasks aren’t onerous, I’m getting an extra beer ration, so no real complaints. We’re off ‘oop norf’ to our old homestead up island tomorrow to see some friends and make some work related house calls. So probably no posting. Unless something really dramatic happens, in which case I’ll be back nose to keyboard like a flash.

Anything else? Not really. The cast comes off next week, and Mrs S starts physio. We’re planning a cross border road trip to see how our Southern cousins are doing first hand and maybe do a little bit of shopping if the prices are right. The sun is shining, and for the moment we’re still ahead of the game. So, no complaints.

TTFN

Bill Sticker remembers……

……The industrial 1970’s, back when I was but a callow youth. Not a mere stripling, but a fairly average working stiff.

I come from North of Watford gap, amongst other places. And having read the little narrative over at Anna Raccoons about the Miners vs Police fixture back in 1984 being too far back to prosecute wrongdoers, thought I’d put down in a blog post what I can recall from those times.

Here’s some I-was-really-there information. I began my working life on the factory floor as an Engineering apprentice in the mid / late 70’s. We weren’t cheering the miners on. Far from it. Our attitude was more “Oh fkucing hell. Not another bloody strike.” We saw the pointless battles between Management ‘them’ and Union ‘us’, the petty industrial sabotages that along with near continuous industrial action eventually killed whole factories and the communities that depended upon them. We didn’t much care for the notoriously less-than-competent British Management and their cheese-paring old-school-tie ways, but people like Scargill and Red Robbo were even worse.

One of my uncles, a mining explosives specialist by trade and Mine Union rep turned in his union badge and went Tory back in ’79 / 80. He’d seen the writing on the wall and ended up serving as a Conservative District Councillor after years of being a lifelong Socialist. My Uncle Jack thought Scargill and his fellow travellers were idiots for repeatedly calling political strikes. So he got out ahead of the game.

Many of us at the time were pissed off with nothing working. I recall working all through the ‘Winter of discontent‘ helping wire a power station, waiting days for strike delayed supplies, major strikes every week, 90 days to get a phone installed (If you were lucky) by the notoriously semi-retired GPO ‘Engineers’, the threat of fuel rationing, rolling power cuts throughout two very cold winters, having to be in a Union before you were allowed through the gates at most industrial sites. For that job I had to join EEPTU. I was an AUEW member at the time, but apparently that wasn’t good enough, so I had to get nominated for membership by a workmate at the once weekly Union meeting that evening. Had they turned me down I’d have lost the very job I’d just been hired to do the Monday before. As for people I’d never met calling me ‘Brother’ or ‘Comrade’ – that stuck in my craw. Then there was the “Not in the (Insert Union name here) Brother? Sorry, this is a closed shop.” Sometimes even when you were a member of an affiliated Union. Of course if the Union rep and his deputy had bunked off for the day fishing (As was often the case – especially at one of the big sites), you often didn’t get challenged. Other times you did and it was “Sorry comrades.” And out we’d go.

Then there were the times we were sent to a site to begin a job, only to find ourselves facing a ‘secondary picket’. Not necessarily at the factory we had been sent to, but the Union militants didn’t seem to care. Then having to schlep back to base (Having first phoned the boss from a public phone box that had been used as a toilet) via the pub, having lost a days wages. Some months actually went by without a major strike and for once we got some work done. Others didn’t.

I remember the ‘closed shop’ and all the abuses like ‘ghosting’ (Getting a mate to clock you in and out). Blokes who seemed to spend their entire working day in the toilet with the Daily Mirror and a stack of porn magazines. Whole shifts who came in to do night work, then settled down for a nights kip. We’re talking factory workers here, not Firemen waiting for a ‘shout’. Then the Union rep calling everyone out in a wildcat strike when Management finally found out and tried to fire the offenders. For us the Strawbs ironic little number “You don’t get me I’m part of the Union” wasn’t so much a song title as a pain in the arse fact of life. Especially when you were pig sick of doing someone else’s job for them.

Many of us felt nothing but relief when the power of the Unions was finally broken in the mid 1980’s. We’d had it up to our eyebrows, but by then British Industry was too far gone. The 60’s and 70’s had seen to that. So no, we weren’t cheering the miners – we were cursing them. We weren’t cheering on the Coppers either, but that’s another matter.

Old 1970’s / early 80’s joke.
First worker; I see the Daffodils are out.
Second worker; Yeah, Scargill’s just brought the Miners out in sympathy.

Having a nice day

Well, no matter what the doom and gloom in the Lamestream media, it’s a glorious day here in sunny Victoria, British Columbia, and instead of my usual grumpy old guy posts, I thought I’d do one on some of life’s little victories. Our collapsing closet is fixed, so we no longer feel like we’re living in a charity shop. The loo has stopped leaking, Mrs S is healing nicely, she’s had a nice smart hairdo and the sun is shining. Isn’t that nice? We have had a very nice brunch, picked up one of those digital photo display thingies for a relative song, and having downloaded three or four hundred holiday snaps onto it, I’m enjoying a well deserved beer.

So, you might comment; it’s been a nice day so far Bill, now watch some bastard try and ruin it. Well not so fast my fine fetlocked fellows. Despite all the catastrophes we’re constantly told that befall us all if we don’t do exactly what we’re told, I’m feeling optimistic. The whole Global Warming thing continues to fail to happen. Rogue asteroids whizz past as they have done since time immemorial. Massed ranks of Jiahdis have so far failed to invade the downtown core. Was there a tidal wave? Not on my beach. Massive volcanic eruption. Not today. Has the Earth moved for me? Well yes, but only in the nicest way possible. No shark attacks or invasion of creepy crawlies. The zombie apocalypse can be watched downtown first hand as the junkies and beggars wobble their addled brains around for the entertainment of all and sundry. The global financial system is still intact, the powers that be will continue to kick the economic can down the road because they’ve got way more to lose than the rest of us put together. We might lose some of our savings, but we can still work. Their heads have a lot further to fall and they know it. So yes, I’m feeling optimistic, providing I keep my eyes and options open.

The bills are paid, we’re ahead of the game for once, and it is such a nice feeling I think I’ll do it all again tomorrow.

Things that go bump in the night

Stuff that goes bump….Wake you up. In my case wide awake and on my feet and swearing before my brain has twitched a single dendrite. It’s a hell of a way to reset the old jet lag. Not that these things scare me, they’re just annoying and bring Spike Milligan‘s little epigram bounding gleefully into my forebrain.

Things that go bump in the night,
Should not really give one a fright,
It’s the hole in each ear that lets in the fear,
That and the absence of light.

Half past five local time, with my body clock not so much ticking as going ecky-ecky-twang-tock-boing-cuckoo there was a godalmighty thump as the wardrobe rail collapsed in the closet. Clothing all over the place and my Fender Strat, still in it’s gig bag, may need tuning. No other damage apart from to my sense of personal equanimity.

First the toilet starts leaking like a aged dog with incontinence, now this. Mrs S has to go see the quack to let him know she’s broken her arm. Polish Landlady peep will be informed (“The apartments attacking us! Make it stop!”) and hopefully problem will get fixed in double jig time. In the meantime we’re short on closet space, and haven’t got much to go on (Old joke alert).

Oh yes, WordPress have been up to their usual tricks, altering the link text editor function so you can no longer put in the text you want to describe a link. Even in plain HTML. WordPress! STOP FIXING THINGS THAT AIN’T BROKE! It’s very irritating.

Next thing you know there’ll be a self censorship function buried in the text editor which will really piss me off. Write anything even vaguely swearwordish, and no doubt a little window will pop up, ‘correcting’ the text and admonishing the blogger for ‘WrongThink’. In which case I’ll be looking for someone to ‘SwearBlog’ at. And I have a line in Anglo Saxon invective that can strip paint. After that, the prissy little mealy mouths will no doubt take this blog offline for being ‘offensive’. God damn their spavined little souls to the depths of Hades. Bloggers are an indirect source of advertising revenue for WordPress. My advice to WordPress is this; do not piss on the fire that heats your home or the traffic that pays your rent will dry up as people switch blog platforms.

For the record; no one in their right mind likes the silly ‘Beep,beep, boop’ post editor. Now I will be digging out my old HTML5 textbooks and writing the code from scratch, like I used to.

Just another little adventure

Well wasn’t that fun young Bill? Well, sort of. If you’re the kind of person who’s into into applied masochism. You know the sort of thing, whips, barbed wire underpants, nipple clamps and strange, constraining lingerie. Which I’m not incidentally. Sorry chums, but I’m a fairly straight and staid old cove. Such things have never really appealed. Colour me boring.

Holiday snapThe past weekend and a bit has seen broken limbs, interminably long periods hanging around hospitals, fretting over flights and whether they’d actually let my wife on board. Drug reactions (the vomiting was quite spectacular), and the occasional (But rare) nice meal after yet another day straphanging down the noisome Parisian Metro. As for holiday snaps, I never thought we’d end up bringing home copies of X-Rays, both before and after.

Big Kudos to Air Canada staff under difficult circumstances, our French Landlord, French Nurses and Doctors who put up with our still slightly strangulated French, our travel insurance company, the Paramedics of the Sapeurs-Pompiers, and a purple uniformed young lady at Heathrow who got us down to our flight in one of those buzzy little electric truck thingies.

Asshole of the month award is a tie between French SNCF platform staff and Stanley Tucci lookalike waiters in tourist trap bistro’s. Seriously, see a waiter with a shaven head at any Parisian restaurant or even a Starbucks, no matter how hungry or thirsty you are, walk on. The drinking / dining experience will not be a good one. For better food and service, go to one of the less well tourist trafficked areas and you will not be sorry, and neither will your wallet. A few steps extra, turn a corner and it’ll all be there. Good food, discreet service (None of that silly “How is your meal” demands when in mid mouthful.) The rule of thumb being; when in Paris, go where the locals go and ignore the graffiti. The choice is almost staggering. As for SNCF, be on your guard, because these people aren’t. ‘Nuff said.

So now we’re safely back in our little British Columbian domicile. Trying to sleep off the jet lag and clean up an inexplicably leaky toilet (It wasn’t like this when we left), and in my case failing to sleep. Which is why this post is getting written at four in the morning Pacific Standard time, or midday in the UK. It’s lunchtime in Paris, and I’m bloody famished.

All things said and done we’ve had an awesome (but expensive) time. The experiences from which we will take with us on future journeys.

There will be a short break and a word from our sponsors..

…Which I don’t have. Mrs S took a tumble and has broken her arm. Posting will grow more limited for a short while, during which travel must be accomplished with yet more scrap metal to set off airport security devices.

Watch this space. Or don’t. As the mood takes you.

We are celebrating her release from hospital tonight with a nice meal and a couple of glasses of wine before we hit the road tomorrow.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad

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