Tag Archives: Amusement

From the bin

Just found the missive below in my spam bin, ostensibly from that bunch of cnuts at mediamatters, an organisation so polarised that a certain Mr A Hitler has been heard to say; “Mein Gott! Zat’s a bit extreme chaps. Heff you tried a chill pill?”

We at https://www.mediamatters.org/ need your help to stop Evil Musk from taking over twitter. If you don’t help https://www.mediamatters.org/ then we cannot be considered friends. We intend to publish a list of websites who do not respond positively to our request for solidarity, which will not be good for your business. Emboldened by Musk’s Twitter takeover, anti-trans figures are celebrating by breaking the platform’s rules on hateful conduct Join the men & women emboldened by Musk’s Twitter takeover, anti-trans figures are celebrating by breaking the platform’s rules on hateful conduct © 2022 Media Matters for America

Well chums I’ll try and let you down gently but no, I won’t be on your side on this one. And I sure as all shooting don’t want people like you as ‘friends’. I don’t want to be in ‘solidarity’ or even the same room with a bunch of poisonous perversion pushers like you. And I am quite happy for you to publish this website on a ‘list’ as one that ‘will not respond positively’. Then will you please take the time and trouble to fcuk right off.

By the way, if you’d actually bothered to read my ‘about’ page before posting your barely veiled threat you would be fully aware that I consider that men are men and women are women, and “vive la difference!” You can’t rewrite the laws of biology for the mentally ill. And gender dysphoria is officially classified as a mental illness. Only crazy people want to be chemically sterilised and surgically mutilated because they’ve got the notion that they’re the wrong sex. They can’t change their DNA. XX is XX and XY is XY. Biology is biology. That bit of science is settled.

Nor do I consider Elon Musk ‘evil’ for buying out Twatter. The people mediamatters work for on the other hand who indulge in ‘cancelling’ other voices…. Nah, I’ll let you lot ponder that one. If you have even the least shred of self-awareness.

By the way, you can’t do anything which ‘won’t be good for my business’. This blog is a hobby. It is not monetised in any way and I derive no income of any kind from it.

Sheesh. Some people.

Oh this could be…

Fun. Elon Musk has bought 9% of Twitter as everyone knows. Twitter tried to block his attempt to buy them outright by offering him a Directorship, with the proviso that his holding would be capped around 14%. Elon rightly refused as his stated objective is to take Twitter private and reform it to be a free speech platform with clearly defined boundaries. Now he has made a hostile takeover bid of $54.20 per share. Ten points above current market value.

A lot of big financials, and the odd Saudi prince have become nervous as Twitter is their key to the communications kingdom. By controlling what is seen as ‘the public square’ they think they control acceptable public opinion. At least the greater share of it. So the share price is wobbling around the $45 mark (Down from $70 last year) as attempts are made to prevent Musk getting hold of it.

So. What is Musk going to do next? I have no idea.

However…… Anyone remember this scene from the movie ‘A Good Year’?

Honestly, I’m all agog. This could be epic.

Update: Viva Frei explains the outcomes below should Musk dump his 9% share of Twitter. Twitter stock will tank. Shareholders lose massively. Directors sued to bankruptcy by angry investors. Musk can do all this with a single sell order.

Anyone who thinks this doesn’t matter isn’t paying attention. The financial ramifications are enormous. This is a stone in a puddle situation. The ripples will get everywhere.

Mrs S and I are thinking of cashing out of our tech and property stocks, but where to go? That is the question. Finance and energy look like the only reasonable sectors. Maybe not even those.

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Well it had to happen. It was ideal sowing conditions for my wildflower seeds, so off I traipsed to my top meadow, 4kg of seeds in hand to pick out a pattern which should emerge in full bloom throughout the Summer, and should be visible on Google Earth some time whenever they decide to update their satellite imagery.

Seeds sown in the pattern I wanted, I began to make my way back down to the workshop once more. There dear reader I made a grievous error. I forgot to keep to the high ground and put my welly boot on a patch of grass that looked like terra firma.

Well, not so much firma, but definitely terra. Rather glutinous terra at that. Feeling my boot sinking alarmingly I swivelled at the hip and brought the offending piece of footwear clear of the sucking morass. Bugger! The next step had me sinking deeper into a concealed tractor rut left courtesy of the previous owners. Again I managed to get my boot out. The third time I wasn’t fast enough and the twist needed to extricate my boot pitched me onto my hands and knees into soggy ground to a litany of creative cursing, calling myself a few choice epithets for being so careless. My boots twisted free and I managed to stumble to my feet, spattered to my chest in County Mayo’s finest wet topsoil.

I spat some mud out of my mouth, no idea how it got there, and recovered my composure before leaving the seed box in the workshop and locking up.

Reading the aforementioned, a reader might be forgiven for thinking I was discombobulated. Not so. Being the good little boy scout that I was (Until that unfortunate incident with Arkela and the two girl guides) I was prepared. In our spacious farmhouse there is a large downstairs bathroom that I have nicknamed ‘Decon’. Tiled floor to ceiling it’s an ideal place to strip off and get clean after a mucky day grubbing like a peasant. So that’s what I did, depositing my muddy jeans and shirt in the washbasket as I had been instructed some weeks before by Mrs S, then enjoyed a nice hot shower and put on fresh clean clothing. My wellington boots were placed where previously specified to dry off prior to a brush and scrub off for next use. “Are you in the shower Bill?” Asked Mrs S through the door.

“Yeah. Took a tumble and got mucky didn’t I?” I said insouciantly, focussing on getting the correct leg down the right leg of a clean pair of trousers. “All sorted.”

Five minutes later there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from the laundry. “Bill!” Cried Mrs S. “Your jeans! They’re filthy!”

“Yes I know.” Quoth I mildly. “My boots got stuck when I was coming back down the meadow and I fell over. I put them in the basket for washing. Didn’t you see me go down? Must have been quite comical.”

“No?” She said, somewhat alarmed. “You fell over?”

“Yes.” I replied. Look, I’ve already told you this. Snarled my sarcastic subconscious. “I just got a bit mucky, that’s all.” Were the words that diplomatically came out of my mouth. Best to make light of the situation. Bill Stickers rule of all human interactions; do not make it worse.

“But your jeans are filthy!” She complained again. I stayed mute. When people get into an emotional state over ephemera I have found you might as well be talking gobbledegook because they stopped listening five minutes ago. So my mouth should stay firmly clamped shut, as anything I said at this point would be taken in evidence, rephrased, inverted and taken great issue with.

Yes the jeans were filthy, Yes they need cleaning. I am now clean and was not injured. The jeans only need a sluice off in the sink and a quick run through the washing machine. Can we convert this mountain back into a molehill please? I have better things to do. At least that’s what I thought but did not say.

Mud, doncha just gotta love it?

Getting on

Busy in the shed over the last couple of days. We’ve been talking to the builders and have to start moving our kit into storage ready for having new heating, insulation and plumbing put in. Massive disruption of the household means we’re going to have to leave the house for up to six weeks starting in May. So. The shed has to be cleaned and prepared as a secure storage area for our worldly goods while we’re away.

Right. This means sweeping, steam cleaning, hive building and planting so that the decks are cleared for a few months ahead. Then after that there’s the chickens Mrs S will be taking care of, sheds and coops for me to build. I can’t let our chickens go totally free range as a quick examination of some of the local road kill tells me there’s wild Mink in the area, and they’re worse than foxes on chickens. Ah, the joys of country life!

Our closest neighbours know we’re Anglo-Canadian and have taken to being quite sympathetic toward us. “Jaysus that Canada’s in a sorry state.” Commented our postie. “You folks okay now?” To which we replied that we are fine, how’s yourself now and God bless, eh? “Terrible business over there. You got family there still?” Yes we have, but they’re battling on and as soon as the opportunity presents itself may well be bailing out of BC for less oppressive pastures.

Other word from Sister in law is that Western BC’s contribution to the war effort is to take all Russian Vodka off the shelves of liquor stores. Which is a bitter blow for those oppressed souls seeking much needed liquid relief from the nonsensical COVID regulations that will be in force for the next few weeks.

Speaking of which, the mask mandates over here lapsed Monday, and I spent a happy hour in and out of shops without a face covering, just because I could. There’s still too large a proportion of the perennially petrified wandering about still wearing useless surgical masks, but I just smile gently at them as I pass on by. Maybe that way I’ll even convince one or two to take the horrible things off. That’s working on the premise that you catch more wasps with honey than with vinegar.

And also because it’s been a really nice sunny day. Which makes a change. Manchester in the UK is reputed to always be rainy, but that’s not a patch on here in western Ireland. We get our weather fresh off the Atlantic. Which means it’s been howling around the eaves a bit over the last few nights making sleep difficult. However the forecast is for more placid breezes for the next forty eight hours so maybe I’ll catch up on the old Z’s then.

Other than that it’s been a good day. Plumber sorted. Electricity account sorted. Underfloor heating negotiated and going in during the warmer months. Waiting for the window guy to get in touch for a final measure up as our double glazing is in a parlous state. Which reminds me, in my eccentric roundabout way, of an old joke;

Percy the Penguin is driving his automatic (Penguins can’t drive manual gearbox cars- something to do with their big webbed feet) across Death Valley USA when his cars air conditioning goes on the fritz. Fortunately for Percy, he finds an Auto repair shop in the next desert town and puts his car in for repair.

While the mechanic searches for the cause of the malfunction, on this hot Death Valley day with temperatures in the mid forties Celsius, Percy, being an Antarctic species in need of a chill down, finds the local ice cream parlour. The ice cream is so good that he rather forgets himself and totally pigs out on Maple Syrup and Cookie Crunch flavours. As he is submerging his beak into the third helping, his phone goes. The auto shop has found the problem and want him to come over to discuss payment.

Rushing out of the ice cream parlour without bothering to wipe his sticky face and beak he finds the mechanic smiling. “Fixed it” Says the mechanic. “Forty bucks.”

“Gosh. That’s cheap.” Said Percy, handing over his credit card. (All Penguins have credit cards because they never handle cash – it’s the flippers.) The mechanic swipes the card and hands it back. “So what was wrong?” Said Percy, curiously.

“Well.” Says the mechanic. “Looks like you just blew a seal.”

“Oh.” Said Percy, catching a glimpse of his messy beak and face in his reflection and panicking because Penguins are very vain. Something to do with wearing the equivalent of formal attire all the time. “N-no, no really,” Stammers the flummoxed Penguin. “it’s just ice cream.”

I’m here all week.

Settling in

Boxes are unpacked, furniture arranged, at least for the interim. Builders engaged, electrician booked, plumber sorted. Oh yes, and the Tree surgeon has been engaged to remove a couple of old Ash trees that have what is called ‘Ash dieback

In addition I’ve got to get my head around things like water softener maintenance, insulation grants and Irish agricultural regulations. It’s a bit of a steep learning curve. Then there’s also some patching, making do and mend, and removing several 1980’s vintage built in wardrobes have to be removed. The local spiders have formed a protest movement because I keep on removing their hiding places, but my mate Henry deals with them, and they don’t like that because he really sucks.

Today we’re taking the day off, having disposed of three of our built in wardrobes with all their historic leftovers, like someone’s stash of Irish Porn;

We’ve been lucky in that it’s been a mild week and our new homes lack of insulation hasn’t left us with icicles dangling from every exposed appendage. Fortunately the loft insulation goes in next week which should keep the old place a bit warmer. I’ve only got two more built in wardrobes to remove, all sorts of kit will be flying in and out of the door including a washing machine. Which mean no more trips out just to get our smalls done.

The oven is a mess and has to go to the scrap yard, I’ve managed to clean out the dishwasher and we have a propane heater on low upstairs to drive some of the damp out. Seems to be working.

Then there’s the heating, which is an old (and rather noisy and smelly) kerosene fired system. That has to go. It isn’t that it doesn’t work, it just burns through fuel at a frightening rate and will be replaced by a more modern and economical LNG fuelled heating system sometime this spring. LNG prices tend to be more stable, so at least we won’t find ourselves coughing up half as much again some months for five hundred litres.

We hear that all the restrictions are going to be dropped this side of the Irish Sea. No more “Show us yer papers”, every time you want to enter a restaurant, but oddly enough the wearing of masks will persist, which makes shopping a somewhat bizarre experience. Mrs S and I have a standing pre-mask up joke; “Disguises on Mugsy. I’ll get the stuff, you get the cashier.” Well, it amuses us.

Why keep the masks though? They only encourage mouth breathing which bypasses the immune systems primary gateway, the nose. These rules really are nonsensical. At least from a physiological point of view.

We are evolved primarily to breathe in through our noses, which have all sorts of structures inside to catch and deal with all sorts of lurgi before said pathogens get anywhere near our important little places. Those structures in the diagram are loaded with your immune systems heavy mob, who act as doormen, controlling access to the party town of your bodily particles. Breathing through the mouth bypasses this primary line of defence and lets whatever slips through those pointlessly wide mesh paper filters straight into the more lightly defended mucosa of your mouth and bronchus. Which is what you really don’t want to happen.

I’ve said it before and will repeat myself ad nauseum. Masks and lockdowns have extended the pandemic. Outside of a clinical setting, surgical masks are effectively useless. Lockdowns only serve to keep the infected and non-infected closeted more closely together, thus spreading the disease more effectively. Which has been amply demonstrated over the last twenty months.

Not that I’m bothered. There’s too much to do in our new place. We’re just carrying on like nothing else is happening. The apocalypse will have to wait – we’re busy.

Good news for a change

Those who support freedom of speech in the UK got a bit of a boost today. An ex-copper by the name Harry White who was put on the ‘Non crime hate crime’ list for liking a tweet, subsequently investigated by the Twatter squad for thought crime has just won a landmark judgement in the UK High Court. The practice of putting non-crime ‘Hate’ incidents upon a register in the UK must now end and it may well be that the records obtained over the last five or six years under this register now have to be deleted.

Coming on the back of Fraser Nelson’s revelations about policy driving science instead of the other way around, this is more good news. Those who were long derided as mere conspiracy nuts are being vindicated. To borrow a line from “A Knights Tale”

“Days like these are too rare to cheapen with heavy handed words.”

It almost restores my faith in human nature so it does. Fraser Nelson and Harry White should be added to the Queens New Years honours for these two victories alone. For these are knightly deeds and should be recognised as such.

For my own small part, my happy news is that ‘North’ is on her way and we’re going to collect her from the airport. Fingers crossed now. The only possible issue is that she might not be let back into the UK as the eejits are talking about locking down. As if that will do any good.

By George I’ve got it!

I’ve done the whole reductio ad absurdam thing and arrived at the only possible conclusion; all these nonsensical restrictions, the bad science, the control freakery.

There’s only one thing it can be;

Vogons.

Look, it makes perfect sense. They’re the most unpleasant race in the galaxy, mean, officious and bureaucratic, it has to be them behind all these irrational restrictions, overblown tests and nonsensical political shenanigans. There’s nothing else that makes sense.

All our political leaders, SAGE, NPHET and the like must be absolutely crowded with the slimy green sods. I think the whole Dial is infected, as is the UK cabinet. They’re all under the thrall of Vogons. I mean you only have to look at Boris Johnsons lack of a hairdo. Who else in the galaxy would be that untidy on purpose?

Am I right? Have we been invaded and our institutions undermined? Comments below please..

Update: In the dear old Speccie, Fraser Nelson may have just busted the whole thing wide open. Longrider discusses in more detail and provides the link. This twitter exchange between Professor Medley and Fraser shows why policy happens as it does and why the worst case scenario is always the model most touted. (If the Spectator link doesn’t work, try this one for the Daily Sceptic)

If you can’t be bothered to pick your way through the twitter thread, have a listen to Mahyar Tousi’s examination in the video below.

The worst case scenario’s on anything appear to be the only ones the ‘policy directors’ ask for. Ergo that’s what SAGE modellers deliver and what gets into the mainstream. I completely agree with (corrected, my bad) Fraser Reg@ratboy101203. It is ‘fucking scandalous’.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a Vogon in there somewhere though.

Sometimes….

The fun never starts. Which is an ancient Sticker family mantra going back before the dawnatime, or probably a few years ago. Today the source of the ‘fun’ was two of Colum’s horses getting out of their usual meadow and going for a trot up and down the lane. I was busy in the kitchen when I saw both of them heading across the yard into the busy little rat run which passes our front door. By the time I’d got my shoes on, a passing truck had sent them trotting southbound faster than I could run. So I didn’t bother trying.

Next thing, I’m on the front doorstep, having phoned Colum to let him know his horses were out, and a neighbour had found them heading in his direction and had shoed them back north past our front door using his car. I managed to get the side gate to the farmyard open and whistled and shepherded the errant horseflesh back into the yard, closing the gate behind them.

The horses, thinking obviously that this was a grand old game, headed back around the yard and out through to the main gate through which they had first escaped. Fortunately, the neighbour stood his ground and shooed the animals back toward the entrance to Colum’s farmhouse. Unfortunately, Colum’s dog up at the farmhouse decided that these two interlopers needed a telling off and began barking madly, scaring the two horses in exactly the wrong direction and back out toward an exit I hadn’t had time to secure.

Fortunately for Colum and his horses, yours truly took proper riding lessons when he was knee high to a grasshopper, meaning that I know how to sit on a horse so they don’t throw me. How to lead, steer, walk, trot, jump and canter and even get one to walk backwards. How not to spook them so they don’t get upset and try to kick me off this mortal coil, and how to calm them when they’re skittish. As well as learning how to shovel stable shit and comb them down after riding. That and fasten a saddle so I don’t end up upside down underneath the beast with a fractured skull.

A horse, when you know what you’re doing, so I was taught, can be a fairly biddable animal and responds well to soft speech and low whistles, which is what I did. After a few false starts when neighbour tried to shoo them like cattle or sheep, I managed to get the gate to the next door meadow open and steer the errant animals into it before they could make a break past me out to the road again or into our small garden.

Once in the field, they both broke into a happy canter over the fresh new grass and neighbour and I phoned Colum to let him know his livestock were safely confined.

Then I went back indoors to spend the next two hours on the phone to a call centre, trying to get them to understand that yes, we have a moving in date. Yes we would like the service to begin the week before when we take possession of our new house, then phoning the moving company to confirm our New Year move. Am I speaking English here? No, I’m sorry that your computer isn’t working properly too. Fortunately, cool heads prevailed and everything slotted into place, an experience akin to pulling teeth.

At this point I am wont to remark that living next to a livestock farm for the last year or so has been interesting. The bi-monthly chasing around the yard when animals decide to go walkabout onto a road to compete with often fast moving traffic has drawn heavily upon micro-skills obtained during my aggressively rural upbringing, but honestly, bees are more my speed. Bees don’t leave large smelly piles for you to step in, or keep you up all night complaining loudly when they’re feeling a bit rough. They may even sting you when you annoy them, like Jeremy Clarkson found out in his own rural adventure, but on the whole they don’t make a break for it at the first possible opportunity, and providing you inspect the hives properly at the right times in the right manner, stings should be a fairly rare occurrence, but watch me eat my words next September when it’s swarming season. That’s when the fun will really get underway.

Just desserts

Today I’m going to share something culinary. Simple, delicious and cheap. It’s a little bit involved, but it does fit in with the general ethos of ‘cooking for conspiracy theorists’. However, the results are very comestible. I would have taken some pictures but the produced desserts disappeared before I got round to picking up my camera.

Notwithstanding; here are a couple of sweet recipes which will grace the taste buds with a caress as soft as a lovers sigh, melting like snow in a rainstorm upon the palate. In short, they’re just too yummy.

Now these two dishes share a cheesecake style filling, so you can make up a batch and lob it in the fridge while you decide on how to put it all together.

Sweet chocolate roulade and Ginger chocolate cheesecake.

You will need the following for both recipes; 8oz of Mascarpone cheese. A small pot of whipping cream. The juice of a lemon. Two dessert spoons of granulated sugar. Two dessert spoons of drinking chocolate. Some form of whisk and two mixing bowls. 1 Cup plain flour. 1 medium egg and 1 cup whole milk. Also about 1 cup of crushed ginger biscuits. 3oz of butter. 1 full size frying pan.

Step one; The pancake. This is easy, throw plain flour into a mixing bowl, whisk in egg and add milk. Whisk until smooth. Put pan on med to high heat. Give a swift wipe with a small knob of butter. When pan is hot, add about half the mix and let it solidify. When it starts to brown on the underside, flip it and let that brown a bit. When cooked through, remove pan from heat, or make another pancake. Whatever you choose to do, put them aside to cool.

Step two; the filling. Also easy. Put whipping cream in bowl, whip until stiff (Peaks stay where you put them sort of thing.) Add mascarpone and mix together. Add lemon juice and sugar. Mix. Add drinking chocolate. Mix. You can either choose to stir into a uniform creamy brown, or a white streaked solid (ish) mix. Whatever floats your boat.

Put mix in fridge for half an hour of so. Go play a video game, watch a couple of funny YouTube videos. Do not listen to the news, it’s all drama anyway and is designed to interfere with your karmic self.

Step three; upon your return, crush about half a pack of ginger biscuits (Ginger nuts – English style. Anything else won’t work.) Melt the remaining butter, using some to paint your cooling pancakes. This is to make them supple and prevent them drying out.

Step four; mix the rest of the butter into the crushed ginger nuts and put into a suitable container. I use one of those plastic things the takeaways put your curry in. Washed properly they make very good fridge containers for leftovers. Line container with baking parchment or foil. Press butter and ginger nut mix into a flat even layer on the bottom of whatever container you choose. Put in fridge to cool while you do the next step.

Step five; using a small spatula / spreader / knife spread the mascarpone / whipped cream chocolate mix about a quarter of an inch thick onto the pancakes. Roll tightly (But not too tightly!) so they form a roulade and none of the mix oozes out. If it does, your mix was too runny – too much cream or not whisked enough. Put in fridge to cool.

Step six; get hold of container with layer of crushed ginger nuts and butter in the bottom. Fill with remaining mix. Smooth off top. Put back in fridge.

Wait for it…. About an hour will do. Cut pancake roulades into inch thick slices and serve chilled. These will not last long.

You can keep the Ginger chocolate cheesecake for forty eight hours in the fridge if you cover it with foil. If it lasts that long. This recipe has a habit of suspiciously vanishing very rapidly. Maybe it evaporates. But I’ve never seen anything evaporate in slices before. Or leave crumbs. Should I be worried?

Any old road up. Eat drink and be merry. For tomorrow we may have to diet.

This is precious..

Apparently, arch-lefty Russell Brand has been branded a ‘Right wing conspiracy theorist’ by certain sections of the media.

All I can say is; welcome to the dark side young Skywalker….

This is sooo precious….

A celebration of failure

In the rat infested streets of Glasgow, politicians and activists, in an hubristic attempt to make themselves look relevant, instead of just a flaming nuisance, will gather shortly to ‘save the planet’. We are not directly told from whom, all we’re told is that we peons have to change our ways, not the politicians and activists of course, because they are far too important and need their five star hotels and business class travel to zip across the world being insufferable bossy boots.

Fortunately for us, but maybe not, because according to some sources the talks have already ‘failed’. Because the Chinese and Russians aren’t on board. One can almost hear the giggling from Moscow and Beijing.

To save you the brain damage of actually watching any of the COP26 speeches and presentations I’ve summarised a typical conference speech below;

Non binary gentlepersons, we are here today on trample on the natural rights of everyone but us… blather… blah blah blah (repeat as below)

Build back better, (pause to do some pointless virtue signalling) ten years to save the planet and other such bollocks. We must act now and follow the science, blah, pointless blather, obfuscate, tell blatant lies and deny that the science is still hotly debated where debate still is allowed to happen, despite the much vaunted climate models being inaccurate to the point of worthlessness. Bullshit, more blather, we’re all wonderful and the peasants have to be locked down forever more. Blah blah, blah. Utter cobblers. More lies and “look! over there! an Aardvark!” and anyone who disagrees should be sent to the gulag, their property stolen and we’re doing this not to line our pockets but to save the Earth. Honestly guv’nor. I’m cutting me own froat and the cheque is in the post and of course I’ll respect you in the morning…. Thank you and where’s my over inflated speaking fee?

To quote Dale Arden from Flash Gordon;

“Flash! I love you, but we’ve only got fourteen hours to save the Earth!”

Afterthought. Wouldn’t it be a pity, a humungous crying shame if there was a huge outbreak of Leptospirosis (an endemic rat borne disease) amongst the COP 26 delegates? Couldn’t happen to a bunch of nicer people.

Alternatively, you could listen to Dr Ross McKittrick for a more reasoned perspective.

Doesn’t matter

Apparently arsebook is undergoing a ‘transformation’ to be rebranded with the infinity symbol. Makes no odds to me, I won’t be using the platform. Zuckerberg et al can f**k right off.

In the real world, Mrs S and I stopped off for a light lunch at a café in Galway and overheard the following exchange at the next door table. A well travelled couple were regaling their friends with stories about a Journey through South America and how much they had enjoyed themselves.

“You should put that on Facebook.” Said one of their friends. This statement was met with a mildly derisive chuckle. “Or Twitter.” The chuckle turned into laughter.

The reply came back. “Not on Twitter or Facebook. I have better things to do.”

Yet some people allow some cretins on anti-social media to disrupt their lives because someone posted something they didn’t like? Only one way to play that game is not to play and get on with real life.

The last James Bond

Went to the movies on Monday. Overall I’d describe it as a bittersweet experience. Apart from the still-bizarre experience of having to prove one has had the double jab to go see a film in a deserted (Apart from Mrs S and I) auditorium. The popcorn machine was down too.

Now I grew up watching Bond movies, from the dire (Woody Allen’s Casino Royale) from Sean Connery in Dr No and Roger Moore through George Lazenby, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton to the latest and (I think) best Bond, Daniel Craig.

If you go to see No time to Die you will note there’s a strong connection with the Lazenby film, from the premise (Megalomaniacal nutcase intent on poisoning the world) to some of the sound track, featuring good old Satchmo himself, Louis Armstrong. The poison garden idea is a direct steal from Fleming’s book (But not the movie) ‘You only live twice’ but overall I found it a good, well put together movie, well paced and entertaining. One for the video collection. I’ll happily watch it several times. Your 167 minutes will not feel like a waste of time or money.

The introduction of a black female 007, which some have taken as a tokenistic affront to the franchise, I consider a mere bagatelle. The actress concerned, Lashana Lynch, put in a workmanlike performance but was always going to be overshadowed.

Is it a good movie? All I’ll tell you is this; I left the movie theatre with a profound sense of sadness. Do I regret going to see it? Definitely not. Would I recommend it? Oh yes. From my point of view I’d give it two thumbs up. However, it is the last of a venerable line of action thrillers.

Even before entering the theatre I knew this movie was going to be a franchise killer. The last ever Bond movie, which incidentally, goes out with a serious bang, but apart from that I’m not giving anything away. You’ll have to watch it to find out the ending. No spoilers here.

I have the sense that I’ve just witnessed the end of an era.

Energy

Still in ‘hurry up and wait’ mode and can’t be bothered any more to comment much on the COVID idiocy that Boris the henpecked clown and cohorts are inflicting on the UK. It’s just a shame there’s no opposition worthy of the name. Labour are so wokely unelectable it’s untrue, and the flaccid Limp Dems and Greens just as bad. Across the political spectrum they’re all heavily invested in the “Carbon Dioxide is evil” meme. Dozy lot.

While we’re waiting for the go from the lawyers, I took some time out to think about heating and lighting, two things I am very much in favour of, having grown up in a series of cold and draughty building sites my parents chose as homes. Ever woken up with ice cubes in your beard? I bloody well have and I’m not in favour of it. Building regs be damned.

It has always created a sense of slack jawed amazement in yours truly about electrickery and the cognitive dissonance surrounding energy policies from all mainstream political factions. The end result of decades of muddled ‘green’ thinking has led to an energy crisis in the offing. Across continental and island Europe (Including Ireland and the UK) we are going to run short of electrickery because we’ll be relying upon big silly propeller driven generators to provide all our energy needs, all the while shutting down working power stations, which will be a bit of an own goal when the wind stops blowing, as it has been known to do during the coldest months of the year. The Russians haven’t stopped laughing at us since 2010.

Frankly, with huge, energy gobbling data centres being planned across the Emerald Isle, this situation promises to create interesting* power shortages, because no-one seems to have done some fairly simple sums or bothered to ask some basic but pertinent questions about power supply.

Here’s a couple of interesting topics to look up; fracking and Small Modular Reactors.

Fracking could provide a quick and dirty interim solution because an area called the Northwest Ireland Carboniferous Basin has been identified as shale rich, this comprises parts of Fermanagh, Cavan, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Roscommon. There are also deposits in the West Limerick and North Kerry areas.

However, the Eejits who think we’ll all burn alive if anyone so much as lights a cigarette have the people in power by the lugholes. Ergo, fracking is currently banned in Ireland.

Small Modular Reactors are based on a simple and very safe nuclear technology, proven in nuclear powered ships for over forty years, which would supply serious baseload electricity supply. Rolls Royce do a good series. Yes, series. Not just one type but several. Not to mention the major players in the global market like NuScale Power (US), Westinghouse Electric (US), General Electric-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (US), Terrestial Energy (Canada), and Moltex Energy (Canada). The projected footprint for such sites is no more than twenty five acres. About half the size of a small family farm. Yet such a reactors output can be as much as the plated capacity of a hundred and fifty 2MW wind turbines, each of which needs 40 to 70 acres of land each. Nor do SMR’s hold any risk for wildlife, unlike wind farms, which are known to kill bats (Many of which are endangered species) and birds (Specifically Hawks and Eagles) alike.

Now consider this; each wind turbine averages an output of between 20-25% of plated capacity output at peak efficiency. So that means for example that a V120 2.2 Megawatt turbine actually outputs around 400 Kilowatts. From over twice the acreage as required for a single SMR that can put out a steady 300 lovely cosy Megawatts. For the hard of arithmetic among you, that’s 750 times more, I repeat, seven hundred and fifty (Thanks Mick) so you will need 750 wind turbines covering 56,250 acres to equal the output of one Small Modular reactor. Erratically. Intermittently. That’s more than 227 Square kilometres. Enough to wipe out several of Ireland’s larger National Parks.

An SMR can generate a steady 300MW for ten years without reload. With a considerably lower environmental footprint one might add, both in terms of materials and local ecological impacts. Zero emissions, steady output of clean baseload supply. Maybe even enough to power all those electrical fantasy batterymobiles the politicians tell us we all have to purchase by 2030, or is that 2040? What we’re going to buy these things with I have no idea as they’re several times the price of cheap and dependable ICE technology.

Then there is the option of Thorium molten salt reactors, in reality actually Uranium 233, a shorter-lived and less dangerous form of Uranium than Uranium-235. Which has been a workable but neglected technology since the 1960’s. Such power generators have two main advantages. First; they cannot be used to create weapons grade fissile material. Second; any shutdown or system failure carries little or no risk of contamination outside of the reactor vessels. They also produce much less toxic waste, and can, I am informed, burn the fuel from older and more toxic leftovers from older generation nuclear power stations such as the old Magnox power plants.

As for fracking, the claimed environmental hazards of this method, contamination of water table etc aren’t real. A properly sleeved bore means that gas cannot leak into the water table and thus any potable aquifer. The only real ‘evidence’ against fracking was highly localised phenomena where gas naturally leaking from the strata in certain areas of Wyoming, Texas and I believe Louisiana had contaminated the local water supply long before any actual fracking took place. As for the claimed risk of ‘Earthquakes’, the worst attributed to fracking so far have been around 2.1-2.3, which are all but invisible except to seismometers.

As for other means of staying warm in the chill of Winter, regrettably, Fusion power will always be twenty years in the future while the current models of reactor are being used. Even the giant ITER under construction in Southern France will never output the promised power. Why? Because it’s a Tokamak, and like so many other methods of nuclear fusion, the physical design of Tokamaks mean they can only ever produce a ‘bang in a bottle’. I would be delighted to be proven wrong, but I won’t be.

Of course when the idiots in power finally get the memo a good many of the population this side of the Irish sea will have gone back to burning dried peat for heating. Because no-one wants to be wet and cold all the time. Maybe all those currently employed as COVID inspectors will find new ways of making people’s lives miserable by being retasked as smoke spotters. Who knows?

When the power outages hit this January and February coming, just think; when you wake up with ice on your lips and that fancy air source heat pump gives out less heat than a wet fart. Then look at your electrickery bill and wonder who will let you take out a third mortgage to pay it. Consider thus; you could have had warmth and light in abundance. Could have had fracked gas. Could have had small nuclear. Might not be scrabbling down the back of the sofa for coins for the leccy meter.

Here’s an energy spokesperson on the matter.

Oh well, I’m off to buy some shares in the companies that produce thermal underwear. If the prognostications are any guide, it’s going to be a cold Winter. Don’t forget to wrap up warm now. I bloody well will do.

*Interesting as in having to warm one’s hands over a candle during the depths of winter. If of course, candles are still ‘allowed’.

From an ancient text

I’ve been digging through my ancestral archives recently, and along the lines of ‘some things never change’ thought I would present the following, adapted for the present day;

Noah in the 2020’s : Ye Grate Fludde.

In the years of pestilence; The Lord came unto Noah, now living in Kidderminster, England and spake thusly; “Once again Noah the earth and all the people therein have become wicked and sinful and it is time to purge the face of my creation, save two of every species of creature and a few virtuous humans, including thyself.” The Lord emailed the CAD drawings to Noah, saying; “Thou hast a year to build this great Ark before I send a grate fludde of forty days and forty nights to purge the world. Now get cracking our kid.”

At the end of twelve months, under darkened skies, The Lord looked down to see Noah in his back yard. There was no great ark, no two of every species, just Noah, weeping. “Noah!” Roared The Lord. “Where is my ark! Where are the two of every species! Come on mate, I’m about to kick off here. I’ve got storms queueing up like Friday afternoon traffic on the M6.”

“Forgive me Lord.” Begged Noah. “But things down here on Earth have changed. Because of COVID there’s no hardwoods to build the hull and I’ve been told by the council that I’ll need planning permission, even though I told them it’s within the regulations for temporary structures. So they forwarded the decision to the secretary of state, so you’ll appreciate the length of time that’s going to take. I was going to cut down a few trees instead and got a permit for that, but then a local environmental group kicked off on FaceBook and now there’s a thousand people chaining themselves to trees. Then there’s building regulations approval and the Fire Brigade Inspector has demanded smoke detectors in all the cabins as well as a sprinkler system. The department of transport have demanded a bond for temporary re-routing of power lines and an excessive load. I’m also in trouble with the Animal Rights activists for imprisoning animals against their will. I said I was gathering the animals to save them, but they said; ho-ho pull the other one chummy and reported me to the RSPCA, who told me the accommodation is too restrictive, then they in turn reported me to DEFRA, who demanded animal movement permits for such a large menagerie. Then the County Council got involved along with the Environment Agency, and Rivers and Waterways Authority who ruled that I couldn’t build the ark until they’d conducted environment impact reports on the forthcoming flood. Not to mention a full risk assessment on shipping movements through built up areas. I’ve also got a diversity team from the Department of Work and pensions who tell me my family is all too Jewish and we have to recruit a more ethnically mixed crew or be in contravention of employment legislation. Not to mention I’m having to wait to get my Masters certificate to pilot the vessel. The Unions are threatening to picket, saying using my sons to build the ark is taking jobs away from skilled ship builders and have reported me to the Health and Safety Inspectorate. Last week border services came calling and rounded up all my animals, saying that I was potentially in breach of the live export regulations. Then Customs and Excise froze all my bank accounts because they thought I was going to leave the country illegally as part of a massive money laundering scam, and the Police broke down my door because they’d had a tip off that I had more than the permitted number of people at my house in breach of the COVID regulations.”

“So forgive me, Lord God, I’m a bit up against it here, and it looks like I’ll need another twenty five years to finish the Ark.” Sniffed Noah, cowering in response to an expected smiting.

Instead the leaden clouds suddenly cleared. A wonderful triple rainbow spanned the sky and the birds all began singing again. Noah looked up in open mouthed wonder. “Does this mean there will be no Grate Fludde of forty days and forty nights and you’re not going to destroy the world oh Lord?” He said.

“No.” Said the Lord God. “The government beat me to it.”