Tag Archives: Amusement

Of such small things…

Goes the saying; “Of such small things is happiness constructed” and thus I have found a small slice of happiness in this vale of tears. My wife is happily chattering with her sisters, who flew from the other side of the world to be here. Both our kids are cooking Sunday supper, and I sit triumphant because I have finally won a small battle with our eccentric septic system.

There is a beer on my right hand with the promise of more, my other half got the most wonderful surprise when she was greeted by both her sisters and her children at the airport, believing that only two would arrive. My shrivelled black heart was lightened by the sight of her tears of joy. Even if she did give me grief about my navigation on the way home.

Upon our arrival at home I found that the drains were beginning to back up. We had this once before. One of the septic drains was built with too shallow a slope and a strategic U-trap had become partially blocked with builders waste, leaf compost and moss while no-one was living here, leading to low flows and human waste building up in the downstream drain. So we had to spend cash on getting a septic service in to suck out the worst of it.

Today I finally worked out where the problem lay and flushed it clean. All the stagnating waste has been hosed into the main tank and the offending blockages cleared. All it took was a little thought and a strategically deployed hosepipe. Job done.

Those drains have been the bane of our lives, downspouts leaking across the yard and becoming easily blocked in heavy rainfall. Now they run as they are supposed to. Fast and clear. It’s not a big thing, but it counts as a major tick in the box of our refurbishment, meaning we don’t have to spend money on a new septic system or tank cleaning. Hell, the money will no doubt go on soaring electrickery bills, but everything counts.

Now we have a full house. Albeit of all females with the notable exception of my good self and there is a properly working septic system. For the moment God is in his heaven and I have had two glorious peaceful hours watching a silly movie on TV. For once, Sunday has lived up to it’s promise.

I find myself no longer caring that the US has a senile old paedophile as figurehead. Or that a corrupt Russian regime has been fighting a war against an equally corrupt Ukraine and NATO. Or that energy prices are going to drive the world into a depression of unheard of proportions. But I console myself thus; the WEF’s plan to ‘reset’ the world will fail. The ultra-wealthy will fall because they will find that they need the rest of humanity whether they like it or not. The current Chinese regime will crumble because it is too corrupt to stand. No one will come out of the current crisis unscathed. Not even me.

But for the moment I do not care. Those I love are gracing my household with their presence, and no matter what the future holds, we will have had this moment together. We have these few days before the future arrives, and we will survive, because we are survivors. And for the moment I am happy.

Doesn’t happen often. We occasionally get these moments in the battles of our lives and I am learning to cherish them. They give us hope that the world doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

Dear reader, may I hope that you too will have such moments.

Cheers.

Bill

A

New name for an identifiable condition has been publicly called for. The condition in question is a low- to medium-grade anxiety disorder caused by the realization that the bureaucrats and politicians who are nominally in charge do not really know what they’re doing, cannot read or understand data, and will not course correct in response to new information.

It’ s caused by a grinding disillusionment and realization that the people in charge (including the people writing about the people in charge) are, if not quite idiots, not nearly as smart as they think they are and everyone is going to have to fight like mad to keep things from getting worse. Regrettably I can confirm that I am a terminal sufferer.

Lead suggestion is Scranton Syndrome.

Any others?

From the Daily Sceptic.

A proposed modest solution to the coming food crisis

With those who fancy themselves our lords and masters telling us that an ‘insect based diet’ is really healthy and infinitely preferable to any form of animal protein, I find myself less than convinced. Are these people willing to put their stomachs and digestion on the line? Oh my goodness me, don’t be silly. They will have the best animal protein all to themselves while most farms and farmers go to desolation and waste, and livestock, ever a component of a healthy ecosystem, is confined to the plates of a select few and their hangers on.

Do you think the senior members of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. are going to give up their Chateaubriands to ‘save the planet’? If you do, I have a really excellent bridge to sell you. Absolute bargain. A never to be missed opportunity.

There is a food crisis coming down the tracks for those who will not or cannot take a few simple precautions. The global supply chains are not recovering fast enough after the COVID debacle and there are even people out there actively involved in trying to shut key elements down, usually ‘environmental’ protesters. Who seem to get gentler treatment from the farces of law and disorder than anyone else. Which, given the later content of this blog post, may not be such a bad thing.

Now, given that a crisis (Oh blood and sand, not another one!) is heading toward us at a high rate of knots, there is time to take action and make preparations. Imagine a scenario….

A senior member of the ‘Insulate Britain’ group is taking an early morning jog on a sunny morning, earbuds in, listening to sounds and generally having a pleasant interlude while plotting spreading misery to the rest of the travelling public. Another day, another protest. Not long now, capitalism is almost crushed.

To the background of pleasant morning birdsong, they turn into their privet lined middle class haven, passing a plain white delivery van with an open side door. As they pod alongside there is a swish of cloth followed by a short melange of sounds, a brief scrabble of trainer clad feet and a noise like someone hitting a melon with a hammer, followed by the metallic rumble of a van door closing. The birds keep singing. After a few moments the electric van whirrs away from the kerb. The joggers cellphone and earbuds are tossed into a well clipped hedge at the end of the street. The anonymous van turns left and disappears from sight.

A few short minutes later, in the concrete anonymity of a run down industrial estate, the same white van drops a black sack, quite heavy for its size, onto a pallet at the back door of an industrial kitchen. A steel roller shutter door rattles open. A bored forklift driver emerges and uses his machine to move the new arrival onto a belt of steel rollers. The forklift retreats inside, the van drives away and the roller shutter door rattles closed. From inside comes the buzzing whine of a bandsaw.

A while later a whiff of cooking heavily spiced pork drifts across the yard to a small group of vagrants who glance up expectantly. One grimaces. “Bloody hell, they’re going to feed us pork curry again.” His fellow down and outs berate him for his ingratitude. It’s meat, a rare treat in this day and age.

“I remember when there was beef, lamb, chicken and even goat. Kebabs even.” He comments sourly. “Now it’s either ground up tasteless insects or bloody Pork.”

“What would you rather have?” Snaps one of his fellows. “We all remember proper meat from before the crash. I think we’re lucky to have found this soup kitchen. We can’t afford to live, so we have to eat where we can. I’ll settle for this places dodgy pork curries and rice any day of the week. Stop your grousing or sod off.”

“I only meant I’d like something other than curried pork.” He mutters darkly.

“Beggars can’t be choosers mate, and guess what we are.” Says a sour faced woman to his left. “Come on. let’s get in the queue before it’s all gone.” She rises to her feet and begins to walk around the side of the building to join the early morning charity breadline. The others follow. One leading a scrawny dog, yawning mouth exposing it’s slack dripping tongue, canine eyes expectant. They join the already hundred metre queue for the long shuffle for their one meal of the day, not caring where it came from, only that their ever present hunger is appeased.

Okay, that’s just a fantasy. However the above scenario may yet be seen in the urban centres of dear old blighty. Seemingly random people kidnapped from the street, their bodies used to feed the victims of economic fallout from a crash engineered by those behind the ‘great reset’. There’s a form of poetic justice in my version though.

Yes my friends, if Schwab and his acolytes get their way, like those down and outs in my little vignette, there may well come a time when you will be grateful to eat your Greens. As most of them have never really worked for a living, they’re tender and juicy, and probably better for you than starvation.

Just a thought….

In other news….

Bill Sticker went to the Electric Chair this evening.

Hey, hang on? What!?

I know he’s a bit of a dicey cove but seriously? He’s not even based in the USA. Did the yanks reel him in with that Assange guy they’ve been gunning for?

Sorry. Ahem. No, no, no, not that kind of electric chair but this kind.

He’ll be back when he’s untied all the knots and strains in his back. This may take some time….

For those of you thinking “About time too – the swine...” Har, har, har.

For your amusement…

While I’m busy with the house and the business, American comedian Jim Breuer totally nails the last two years….

Well it made oi larf…. Pass it on.

H/T Ivor Cummins.

Quote of the day

I was talking to a neighbour and the topic of carbon mitigation came up, because that’s something the politicians are very keen on. Neighbour vouchsafed;

“Ach, these politicians trying to tell us they can control the weather. They can’t control the contents of their own trousers now, can they?”

I almost fell off the wall laughing.

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.