Tag Archives: Family

We didn’t mean to, but….

The other day we went out and bought Mrs S a car. An MPV that came at a good price from a trusted dealer. So now we are both independent of each other as far as transport is concerned, and have a fallback option in case our other car becomes hors de combat for whatever reason. Or if we have two batches of visitors to collect from differing air or ferry terminals.

Of course shelling out for a new wagon means I have less ready money at present than I’m comfortable with, what with the house and all coming up, but we can afford it, and it’s a nice to have in case one of us has to zip off somewhere at short notice. Public transport is all very well, but it takes an age to get anywhere and you’re crammed in with the coughing and spluttering masses. I need the off road capability of the SUV and Mrs S doesn’t, preferring never to drive down anything less than a Motorway or N-Route. I’ll get her registered with a toll card account so the doesn’t have to fuss with all the loose change.

With the easing of restrictions now that the Pandemic is almost (But not quite) officially over, ‘South’ has been let out of her home to picnic on the beach with friends down in the fabled land of Oz, and is talking excitedly about coming over for an extended visit. Indeed as are most of our extended family. For some reason they’re all very interested in visiting our new place. Hopefully we’ll have the decorating done in time for the festering season and any visitors that come our way.

I know Boris the Henpecked over in the UK is not letting go of the petty powers he put in place that have made life so miserable for most of us, but things are turning out all right. Decisions have been made, life changes planned and the next few years promise to be very interesting indeed, but in a good way.

Winter for example promises to be full speed ahead and bugger the politicians. I’ve never had this much land to play with before, but we’re planning our planting and rearing around a nine month active year with three months downtime when we will take extended breaks with family overseas, which suits our temperaments very nicely. This first year I shall be busy putting my ‘O’ level woodwork skills to work on building raised vegetable beds and beehives ready for Spring. There’s agricultural contractors to organise and a fox to get rid of, so I won’t be going anywhere for 2021-22.

I’m quite giddy with anticipation. Sod the ‘carbon footprint’.

A good week

Excuse the blogging absence, but we’ve been hosting ‘North’ for the last week and a bit. Our youngest daughter has been with us here in the wilder west of Ireland, putting a smile on our faces and forcing the household to go vegetarian for a week, but that’s no bother as she does eat fish. So it wasn’t really an issue, although I must confess to being all Salmoned out.

There have been times over the last pointless eighteen months when we despaired of ever seeing her again, but the simple joy of her saying “Gimme a hug” at the airport lifted a huge weight from our shoulders.

To hell with the politicians and their silly lockdowns, masks and ‘vaccine passports’. If ever introduced to one such, I will ask them pointedly if they were for or against lockdowns. If against, they will receive a handshake and me saying; “So why did you not speak out more loudly?” If for, then I will withhold my hand and spit in their foetid, narrow minded eyes before walking away.

What I have loved about the last week is that we got to greet a much loved family member in person. You simply cannot put a price on such events. However, I will never forgive those who have repeatedly extended lockdowns and mask mandates for the damage they have done. I may run out of spit.

Notwithstanding, last night ‘North’ went back to her London flat, much to our regret. She filled out all the right forms, went through all the pointless motions and walked away from us into a near-deserted airport.

An empty airport is a strange thing to see. Like some huge, lonely creature staring aimlessly out across the landscape, mourning the life and human activity that it is denied. Despite all the mock-cheerful “Glad to see you back!” and “Welcome!” billboards, there is still a long, low sadness that hangs over such places like bad weather. Airports, in spite of what anyone might think of the security theatre and interminable queues, are still a place for human interaction, of greetings and goodbyes, no matter how brief. A place of living, not as at present, of a kind of living death.

We’re a global family. Spread all over the world from England to Australia. Wrested asunder on the flimsiest and most overblown of pretexts. First a virus with less than a 1% mortality rate, and now ‘global warming’ (Again). Neither of which are valid reasons, even if the latter is patently false. All of these doomsday predictions come from a faction of mathematical modellers who aren’t fit to compile a basic spreadsheet. People who seem never to set foot outside of their centrally heated offices, or they would have noticed how brief Summers are becoming.

Unfortunately now the principle has been established, only the privileged will be allowed to travel freely, the rest of us will be discouraged from doing so.

So ‘North’ has gone home. The upside of which means steak is back on the menu as of today. Pass the Dijon mustard. I’ve had a bloody good week.

Oh. My. GOD.

I think I may have just bought a house. Well possibly. Maybe. Providing a thousand details don’t go into TITSUP mode and it all falls over.

At the end of the process Mrs S and I hope to be the proud owner of five acres of land and a reasonable house in a nice area. Whether this happens or not is in the lap of the Gods, our Structural Engineer and the conveyancing solicitors. Who are, surprise, surprise, all on feckin holiday.

Now I don’t resent this because we all need a break from what Mrs S refers to as “All this silliness.” Well, she’s a teacher, what do you expect? These holidays delay the process, but fortunately the Irish, being the sensible people they are, take this into account. Money will move, people will do their job and hopefully we’ll all be golden. Hopefully.

The rest of our global family are planning for a large get together when all these ridiculous COVID restrictions are over. We haven’t had a real gathering of the clan since before my father in law died. Happy days. Maybe when the politicians stop panicking maybe the good times will come again.

In the meantime Mrs S has been bombarding me with questions about what we’re going to do with the land (Erm…Dunno) and what are the regulations (Not A Clue) until my head spins. To which my response is; “That’s what I’m going to learn.” It’s all very well to ask all these damn questions, but if you’re not going to help me find the answers, give me a break already. We haven’t even properly bought the bloody place yet.

Notwithstanding. On the quiet, I have a fancy to retire and take up beekeeping. Become an Apiarist. Plant out the bottom acre furthest from the house with Roses and Fuchsias and a couple of types of fruit tree as a ready source of nectar. Stick the beehives in a little clearing in the middle. It might mean having to wear a Hazmat suit when working at that end of the property, but why not? Might even take up brewing Mead. Work it on a batch production system and perhaps sell my produce once a year to a specialist wholesaler. Or mail order only. Save all the fuss of navigating the byzantine health regulations. Mrs S could make candles from the wax, as I know that’s something she’s likes doing. She’s always liked candles. Again. Mail order or via Amazon marketplace. Or eBay.

The hives would act as their own security, and the site I would choose for them is surrounded by Maythorn and Blackthorn trees a good two hundred metres from any road in mostly livestock country. Very little pesticide spraying. Hell, might even go ‘organic’ and charge twice the price.

Well, I can dream can’t I? Might all fall apart, but that’s no reason not to give it the old rugby try. For the first time in a good long age I’m starting to get fired up over an idea. Well I never.

A thoughtful man

Today I bought Mrs S a bunch of red roses. No reason. I saw a bunch of supermarket blooms on a display and thought to myself “She’ll like those.” So I bought them. For no other reason than I thought it would bring a smile to her face. Her smiles please me. They are high on the list of my favourite things in life.

In these times of digital witch burning otherwise known as ‘cancel culture’, partisan politics, and groupthink, I think we all need a link with our favourite things. At present there is too much negativity flash flooding down the digital and media channels at us. So we must scramble up the banks of sanity using whatever handholds we can find or be swept away on a tide of manufactured mass psychosis. See video below.

For me, the little handholds against falling into a bottomless pit of Menticide are the returns I get from random acts of kindness to those I love. The gift of roses or a bottle of wine. Taking my wife on a day out to places like the Hazel Chocolate Mountain in North Clare. Which, let me add, makes very nice choccies indeed. Giving her a random hug. Telling her I love her.

I give her my time when she wants to vent. Room to dree her own weird when she’s not in the mood for my often lame wisecracks. Jokes like when I saw a sign saying “Sheepdog Demonstrations” which made me ask frivolously ; “What are the Sheepdogs demonstrating for? Larger flocks? Better dog food?” Mrs S didn’t like that one much. My career in stand up is definitely dead in the water.

Yet even that kind of response grounds me. Gives me boundaries. Which I sometimes ignore, just to show there’s still a sarky old Bill Sticker behind the face I normally show to the world. Just to let her know I’m paying attention. Which in turn lets me keep a grip on myself when all the counter intuitive restrictions feel too oppressive to bear. Giving me a place to stand firm in the universe when it seems everything has gone completely AWOL and contradictory. When all the messaging from the mainstream is fear, fear, fear. Yet when I look into the numbers I don’t see the justification for that fear. Just a bunch of people who have totally lost their heads over a virus that has already done it’s worst and is not doing anything like the damage that is too often intimated.

For myself, my main concerns are monetary. What these meddling restrictions will do to the overall economy and in process the resources I’ve been able to squirrel away for a new home and a little investment capital besides. But even then as a thoughtful man, I’m not simply doing this for myself, this is for my family, for those I care about.

I make no claims to infallibility because I’ve been wrong about a few things in the past. Not everything, but a few. However, the knowledge that I’m often just as full of shit as the next guy is no bad thing. It gives me distance. And distance from the current crazy crapshoot is no bad thing.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

News from down under that Sydney is in lockdown again, further isolating ‘South’ and a need to talk to her whenever she needs to vent. She’s missing her friends terribly poor thing and has even taken to speaking to me directly, not via her Mum to try and keep a grip on things.

From the fabled land of Oz I’ve seen footage of people being ordered off the beach by loudspeaker toting helicopters, being ushered into their houses by the fecking Australian Army for heaven’s sake! Out of the healthy fresh air and back into the bacteria and virus ridden captivity of their houses. For what? 140 positive tests and one attributed death after a positive PCR? That’s just full on, disproportionate, out of your tree batshit crazy.

Going back to my operating theatre training, we had it drilled into us that the average human habitation is a veritable plague pit. Because if you did swab tests of your own living space you would be horrified at the concentration of contagion lurking there. Even if you are incredibly houseproud and everywhere stinks of disinfectant. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and moulds proliferate, and even apparently ‘clean’ surfaces can be as full of spores and lurgi as any outside space. Not a place you want to spend too much time, you old plague carrier you. Because most of the lurgi in the average home has one major source; humans. Sorry. You can’t blame this one on your Dog / Hamster / Goldfish. They get what you got.

As an aside it’s the same for CO2. CO2 levels are much higher within the average building than out. Take a CO2 (Dioxide, not Monoxide) meter and check if you don’t believe me. Then stick it behind your mask. Go on, just do it. Now try it outdoors with your mask off. You might be surprised at the readings.

FYI: A side effect of CO2 in higher concentrations means your cognitive performance can be significantly reduced. Here’s the science. Prolonged exposure to levels over 500ppm means you’re not as quick witted or on your game as you should be. Work in a stuffy office? Check the CO2 levels.

Put simply; wearing a surgical or other mask without additional squirts of oxygen for more than two hours or so increases rebreathing of CO2 to a point where the oxygen content of your blood is reduced. Not to the point of hypoxia, but certainly making you a little more stupid and possibly more compliant than you are naturally.

Ergo, you are safer outdoors taking a brisk healthy walk than lurking indoors with all the sources of infection and increased Carbon Dioxide. Of which you are one. So taking a shower on a regular basis might be a good idea. Some fresh food, a little fruit, and regular time out in the garden or sitting in a open window. Or at work, if you have a regular job, some time away from your desk is a good idea. You are at no more risk at a restriction free workspace than you are at home. Which studies on Supermarket workers from the start of the pandemic have demonstrated.

As for the reduced numbers, my argument for some time has been that we already have herd immunity. The constant reduction of cases, irrespective of vaccine take up and low mortality speaks volumes. The worst has come and gone long since. There is no need for extra vaccines. Only the pantywaist class of professional politician or the under informed think that.

Taking the aforementioned into account, under lockdowns, a strategy last used during medieval times, your risk factor of catching anything indoors is therefore elevated. Like you are more likely to catch the dreaded lurgi in a hospital, because guess what? Hospitals are full of sick people.

This is the simple truth. Not ‘disinformation’. I leave that to the real ‘experts’ in the mainstream of politics and the media. Those with product to sell and for government propaganda to foist on everyone.

In the meantime, my family is shattered. The economy is in tatters, as are our civil rights. I hate it.

Yeats country

We’re buzzing around Sligo at the moment, passing a pleasant break in Sligo itself. Unpleasant name, very tidy university town in ‘Yeats Country’, even though W B Yeats was part educated at the Godolphin School, Slough, England.

Then I got an email. From a no-reply Health.gov.ie address.

Well now chaps, apparently I’m now one of the ‘privileged’ who is ‘allowed’ to travel or access certain services. Which bothers me.

Medical apartheid is here folks, in all it’s ugly glory. I got nagged into getting the jabs, but now I have to provide proof within the borders of the country I live in, for such simple things as visits to hostelries or theatres. Which makes me angry and prepping the excuse that “I left the bloody thing at home. Now do you want my feckin money or what?” I’ve got a ‘Covid passport’, but I’m disinclined to carry the freaking thing around for every Jaysus Joseph and Mary-Ann who asks “Papieren bitte.”. I will be giving anyone who asks a hard time. Expect withering (As in ‘withering fire’ ) sarcasm on a scale as yet unvisaged.

Mrs S by contrast is quite miffed, as she has not had hers yet. Ironic that. I got mine first and am going to resist using it, and she, who desperately wanted one so she can go to London to see Youngest, despite having both jabs before me.

What Yeats would have thought of this state of affairs I have no idea, but as he was by politics an Irish Nationalist, I have the feeling he might have penned some pointed anti-medical apartheid lines woven into a tapestry of magical symbolism.

While we’re in town I’ll raid a few bookshops and busy myself with a little study. Something for the bookcase and maybe the odd quotation.

Update: Mrs S just checked her spam filter and she how has her very own “papieren” for the enforcers of this offensive idiocy. We are now both ‘privileged’, whatever use that is going to be.

Has no one heard of…

Mowing the lawn today I was mulling over the extensions to lockdowns that have recently been announced and find myself wondering “Why FFS?” The most vulnerable parts of the population have been vaccinated and then, like a closet Nazi’s wet dream comes the ‘Delta’ variant of the not so dreaded SARS/COV-2 virus. Followed by a renewal of the restrictions for another four weeks, and then some. Sorry was that my cynicism? I knew I’d put it somewhere.

Now those who have been driven to the brink of bankruptcy by these unnecessary restrictions that do little to curb the spread of a disease, any disease, will be teetering on the edge of financial oblivion these Government restrictions have driven everyone to, and I can’t help but ask; “Has no-one ever heard of cross-immunity?”

Put simply, if you were exposed to a form of the SARS virus, even as far back as 2003, your immune system will probably already be programmed to resist the Johnny come lately SARS/COV-2, as it is a similar coronavirus with similar spike proteins. Even without vaccination, ‘Delta’ variant or no.

The problem being is that no-one in any position of authority seems to understand this simple immunological principle. Which means far more of us are immune than the PCR ‘cases’ would imply.

Incidentally, I find the ‘asymptomatic spread’ meme highly suspect. If you are infected your bodily secretions (Snot, saliva etc) are likely to carry virus during the infectious phase of the disease. The whole ‘asymptomatic’ thing is a misnomer as no disease is completely asymptomatic. A sufferer might have low level symptoms, like a runny nose or a mild tickle, but how many of us pay attention to that? Yet such things do count as symptoms.

Fortunately, in the real world, asymptomatic spread is rarer than we have been led to believe. The real life asymptomatic spreaders are like the notorious ‘Typhoid Mary‘, the exception rather than the rule. Indeed, ‘asymptomatic’, or more accurately, pre-symptomatic spread is thought to occur in a maximum of 20%, of which just under half actually develop symptoms. Don’t believe me? Read this article from the British Medical Journal.

As for the deleterious effects of lockdowns, conversation with ‘South’ this morning. She had a piece of bad news, news that most people (Including her) would brush off with an “Oh that’s awful.”. Instead she had such a bad anxiety episode, she basically imploded and had to take a day off.

Normally robust people are cracking up under the strain of the restrictions. Society has not only lost it’s sanity, it has lost the box it came in. This is a massive crisis in the making, and one whose effects are only just beginning to bear a particularly bitter and putrid fruit.

A watching brief

Mrs S, being more susceptible than I to the constant barrage of propaganda over vaccines, registered for her dose about six weeks ago. Yesterday lunchtime (Saturday) she went for her first AstraZeneca jab. On the other hand, I have neither registered, nor volunteered for what I view as a vast, uncontrolled clinical trial.

Today Mrs S has been running a mild fever with an elevated resting pulse of 88. She also felt sufficiently ill to go to bed at 11:30am where she slept until 3:30pm. No muscle aches or other symptoms have been reported. She appears mildly flushed, but there are no signs of cyanosis and her eyes are clear. She has not complained to me of losing her sense of smell. Just tiredness and a mild pyrexia.

Now I’ve had a whole slew of vaccinations in my life and never had even a mild adverse reaction. I’m also reminded that ‘North’, based in London, experienced more severe flu-like symptoms for a week after her first jab.

Given that people can still suffer symptoms generated by a SARS/COV-2 infection even after having both doses, Also that because the vaccines do not prevent anyone becoming infectious and passing on the dreaded lurgi, I fail to see any good reason to have the jab. Especially as I am not in an elevated risk category. Also the likelihood of me requiring hospital treatment is, at this point, very low.

Yes I know that the recent precipitous drop in ‘cases’ and hospitalisations is being attributed to the vaccine rollouts, but I have what I feel is a reasonable doubt. The drop in infections could as easily be attributed to a normal seasonal fluctuation in respiratory infections. Why? because correlation is not causation.

Now I attribute the low rate of infections / hospitalisations to places like Ireland and the UK having hit ‘herd immunity’ some time last year. The risk of SARS/COV-2 infection for most people is minimal.

Notwithstanding, I will be carefully and discretely monitoring my wife’s condition for the next few days. I have also taken to sitting out in the sunshine at every opportunity and drinking lots of fluids. Can’t hurt to keep the old immune system bolstered, just in case. Can’t have both of us sick at the same time.

Anyway; for the moment the sky at present is a cloudless blue, the farmyard is beset with swooping Swifts and the cooling Western Irish breezes are feather soft. Could be a hell of a lot worse.

Update Monday 26th April: Mild fever, elevated resting pulse. Regular 4-8 hourly doses of paracetamol to control fever. No other symptoms.

Family stuff.

We’ve finally got our Irish drivers licences and will be driving around the county looking at properties now the silly 5km restriction has disappeared. Not that anyone was really paying it any mind out here in the Wilder West of Ireland, we just used the back roads, knowing that the Gard were focussing on the big cities and motorways. They haven’t really the manpower for much else.

Not that the figures really justify lockdowns, it’s just that the politicians are too frightened to let it go. They’ve been got at by activists and lobbyists or in ignorance have succumbed to groupthink. So here we are, making the best of things.

We’ve bought a couple of garden chairs and have a nice sheltered spot in the garden that is also a bit of a sun trap. Which is good. A cup of coffee or tea is so much nicer outdoors on a sunny day. As is a large glass of wine, or large Martini, but we have a self imposed rule of not drinking alcohol before 4pm. I have a whiskey every other night, Mrs S and I like the odd glass of Pinot Noir.

One of the curiosities of Irish rural life is that we keep finding ourselves facing wayward livestock. First thing today it was a Shetland Pony in the yard, trotting around and making a tour of inspection on his own. Colum bought it as a stable mate for one of his breeding horses and it’s smart as they come, having worked out how to lift the latch on a gate, and knowing to stay off the road outside, preferring to visit the collection of ramshackle bans and pens to the rear of our house where its friends are.

Sunday’s escape was four steer calves in our front garden. I was upstairs in my office at the time, until Mrs S shouted “Bill, come and have a look at this!” Dutifully trundling downstairs I looked out of the front window to see four steer calves amiably bumbling around on the grass outside. so I phoned Colum and shooed then back up into the farm entrance where Colum caught them coming the other way. Between us we manoeuvred the errant livestock back into the right pen and safe from the predations of fast moving tin boxes on the road outside. This sort of thing happens at least twice a week. Fortunately mostly during daylight hours.

News from the UK; ‘North’ was crowing a bit about the pubs being open for outdoor drinking in jolly old Londinium. The prodnoses and puritans of course disapprove, and would like to make the pandemic that has passed into a permanent feature of everyone’s life. Over here of course, unless you move in some very select circles, the pubs remain firmly closed and bolted. This is what happens when governments have too much power, they f*ck everything up because all they know are political solutions which don’t translate into the real world.

As for ‘South’, in the fabled land of Oz, she’s bagged herself some reasonable contract work to keep the wolf from the door, and we’re advising from here on the pitfalls and benefits of being self-employed. As for the second Australian contingent; did you know they had snow in Darwin, Australia over the weekend? Hang on a minute! Darwin? Australia? Northern Territory? Officially that’s a Tropical Savanna climate. What the hell is it doing snowing in northern Australia there? Even if the snow didn’t settle. At least according to Australian Sister in law, who lives up there. A brief ‘polar blast’ from Antarctica was apparently to blame.

I mean, hold on a minute, if what all these much vaunted media ‘climate experts’ and people like Extinction Rebellion keep telling us about their ‘sceance’ it should be getting warmer. But no-one either understands nor wants to know is that we’re in the early stages of a Grand Solar Minimum, and it’s going to get colder over the next thirty years or so. Which will lead to local climate shifts, altered wind patterns and thus stormier conditions in some places, Areas which at present can produce arable crops may no longer be able to do so.

Then, providing we don’t trip over a threshold in the Northern hemisphere, it will begin to get warmer again after 2053. Depending upon the shifts in climate we’re seeing, which may be shifting around so that current desert areas that bloomed in prehistory will be crop producers once more. This isn’t a ‘conspiracy theory’, because if you bother to look, you can find the evidence that it’s already happening. Shifting growing zones, cold weather events in the tropics. And none of these climate shifts have anything to do with changes in atmospheric C02. At least there’s been zero correlation with the wild claims of climate doom.

So what did I do? Reader, I ignored all the silly prognostications of disaster, went out and bought my wife a bunch of roses. Because a thoughtful man should surprise his better half every so often. This is a far more worthy thing than protesting about something we have no control over, with far more beneficial results.

What upsets me most

Is the uncertainty of all these restrictions. Constantly moving goalposts make it hard to plan and execute those plans, be they business or family. None of this makes any sense from the travel restrictions through all the bureaucratic pettifoggery.

We’re told that government advisers are pushing for ‘Zero COVID’, thinking they can do to SARS/COV-2 what happened to Smallpox. Not going to happen. Smallpox is transmitted by physical contact and close proximity droplet transmission. That and there’s an effective vaccine. Also Smallpox was kept at bay by treatment in specialist isolation hospitals. Historical note; the last Smallpox hospital in the UK was demolished in 1974. I think.

The SARS/COV-2 coronavirus by contrast, is respiratory and airborne micro droplet, and the vaccines, we are told, only provide partial immunity. The only way to be sure you won’t catch it are to wear full Hazmat in a sterile, atmosphere controlled environment, all the time.

Surgical masks haven’t stopped it, the SARS/COV-2 virus, harmless to most under 60’s, passes around as though they weren’t in the way. Lockdowns won’t stop this virus simply because they keep people in their own homes, which is where most disease transmission occurs.

Another historical note; the black death probably killed more people than it should because of the common tactic of incarcerating whole households together when one person caught the disease, thus leading to an exponential increase in mortality where whole families could be wiped out.

As for our little lot, we’re hanging in there, but only just. If it were just me I could cope, but it’s not. ‘South’ is going to a therapist. ‘North’ is just throwing herself into her work and looking forward to the pubs opening, even if it rains. She tells us all the pubs in London are booked solid, so if you haven’t got a table by now, forget it.

Mrs S is struggling, and even though we’ve never exactly been very social people, these masks, the constant threat of sanction is taking its toll. Having to have a ready excuse for travel if stopped by the Gardai (Police) puts unnecessary stress on a simple drive to the shops. It’s the sense of having to look over your shoulder all the time that drags at the senses. Even out here in the wilder west of Ireland. Glad we don’t live where there are active curtain twitchers and snitches. Whoever dreamed up that poisonous idea has a case to answer for.

On the upside, no-one’s broken by any manner of means, but the timbers on this old ship are creaking a bit. I’m sure there are many who have already gone under on the quiet. Small lives breaking up and sinking to the bottom unnoticed and unremarked.

As an aside; doesn’t Boris Johnson look stressed out? He looks beaten down, apathetic. At least in the most recent interviews. There’s none of the old bounciness in him. BREXIT in itself must be stressful enough, but all these restrictions and the bad advice he’s been getting? Turn him over folks, that sides done.

Here in the Emerald Isle we’re told that restrictions may be ‘reviewed’ on April 5th, but I’m not holding my breath. Society has morphed into a ‘one rule for thee, but not for me’ dichotomy. The politicians have booked their Summer Holidays, but apparently the rest of the populace isn’t ‘responsible’ enough. The politicians and privileged are getting their beach breaks this year to frolic in the surf.

Hope there’s a tidal wave and the miserable feckers all drown.

Update: For all you folk in the UK, sod the Government, hug a friend.

A touch of Atlantic weather

Hail hammering on the windows first thing, followed by patches of squally rain, hail and now bright sunshine. Welcome to the wilder west of Ireland young Bill.

Had an interesting chat with ‘North’ over the phone yesterday. Apparently she had her first SARS/COV-2 vaccination last week. “How did it go? Which one did you have?” I asked.
“The AstraZeneca. The jab was fairly painless.” She replied. “Felt a bit sick afterwards though.”
“Really? What happened?” I probed.
“Started about four hours after I had my injection.” She said. “Began with a really bad headache so I went to bed.”
“Doesn’t sound very nice.” I replied.
“Then I felt nauseous and had muscle cramps and pains for the next two days and my arm ached for a week.”
“Highly unpleasant.” I commented guardedly. Somehow I’m glad I’m at the back of the queue for this particular vaccine.
“Yeah, they’re giving the AstraZeneca to younger people reserving the Pfizer for the over 70’s.”
“But you’re okay now?” I asked.
“A bit grumpy.”
“I can tell. Ready for the pubs re-opening?”
“Managed to book a table. Everywhere is booked solid.” I could hear her anticipatory smile.
“Take an umbrella. I know what London is like at that time of year.” I warned gently. “No sense in getting your drinks diluted by a seasonal shower.” She had the good grace to laugh at my pallid Dad humour, bless her little cotton socks.

Then we changed the subject to other things and rattled for another ten minutes about life in general before I passed her on to Mrs S. I didn’t ask ‘North’ about the Saturday vigil that got baton charged by the Met as she has more sense than to get involved in such things. Well, lot that she tells us about anyway. I’ll be happier when she finally gets out of the UK for an extended visit to us here in the wilder west. ‘South’ is sounding a bit desperate to get back to Europe and catch up with family. Which is understandable. We only get to see each other every other year as it is. So I keep sending them both little video’s of deserted Irish beaches and odd little corners of the Emerald Isle as we discover them. It seems to help. Us as much as them.

All the time the soft squalls rolled in from the Atlantic. The weather is a little restricting at present but finding that our two are doing moderately okay takes the edge off things. There’s a bout of fine weather coming in sometime next week, we hope. Ergo Mrs S and I will be taking visits out to the beaches as and when the sun is shining. Even if the wind is trying to blow our socks off.

Afterthought; Seems like the concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine are spreading. Ireland has just suspended its use after Norway, Iceland and Denmark did over post jab fatalities and concerns about increased blood clotting.

Important Update: France, Italy, Germany and Spain have also suspended AstraZeneca. The Pfizer vaccine is also flagging up similar symptoms to the AstraZeneca. Stats for all vaccine side effects here.

What about…

…Florida. Apparently direct comparison of mortality and cases between Florida, a US state that dropped all lockdown measures last year, has an infection / mortality curve significantly lower than ‘hard lockdown’ states like New York and California.

Watch, share, then cry a little for all those who didn’t get their serious health problems treated because all the hospital systems were fixated on SARS/COV-2. For all those who lost hope because of lockdowns and took a step off this mortal coil.

For my part, I’ve been trying to keep our household and that of ‘South’ (Via video message) jollied along. Which has been a trying task. My normally genial disposition has almost gone into acute failure mode on at least thirty occasions in the last twelve months alone. You see the despair of those you love and it twists a knife in your guts because they are trapped far away, and you are precluded from visiting them to offer succour.

The real world data does not lie. You can talk up ‘R’ numbers and ‘cases’ all you like, but the corollary evidence that lockdowns do more harm than good is all out there. In the real world, not in the shonky mathematical models coming out of places like Imperial College.

Maybe Boris Johnson will hear of this, sack the current bunch of time pleasers in SAGE and decide to lift the UK lockdowns. If he does, other nations will follow. And the more quickly the better. The world, social, economic and scientific needs to heal from this Lysenkoist Government-induced disaster.

A great reset needs to happen, but not the one the World Economic Forum want. We need a great reset where people are free to go about their everyday lives. Free to trade, create, live, love and work again. That, as the data coming out of Florida tells us, is what will fix everything, not some neo-fascist totalitarian nightmare pushed by the mega-rich, who it seems don’t have enough so they want everybody else’s money and possessions.

I’d like to believe that there is a light ahead in the darkness of lockdown, but my native cynicism tells me this may yet be another false dawn. Please let me be wrong on this specific point.

One thing we need to be reassured about though, is that lockdowns are never, ever used again. For any reason whatsoever.

Nothing new

News from ‘North’ in London. She’s a bit gloomy, even though she’s still in a job. London, she tells us, is a bit like a ghost town.

It’s the same all over. Quebec for example is under curfew. No doubt the Quebecois political class is ‘exempt’, but hear what Viva Frei has to say about the nonsensical restrictions. As if the virus looks at it’s watch and goes; “After hours huh? Time to get moving.”

Fortunately, out here in the wilder west of Ireland, we don’t have such panic stricken nonsense. Similarly ‘South’ in the fabled land of Oz, reports she’s doing long walks to keep the lockdown blues at bay. Personally I think we’re more at risk from the fear and over-reaction than the actual virus itself.

Here we go again…

Well, it’s 2021 chums! Aaaand here we go again. More useless, futile lockdowns following all the other futile and useless lockdowns which didn’t work throughout 2020. Frankly I’m amazed, not at the obvious lack of intelligence on display, but at the sheer lack of imagination. Hey! Let’s do the same thing which didn’t work last time around, just change the name. Genius, eh? No.

I’ve noticed there’s a lot of pressure from public sector unions, which I know from experience form the least productive part of the economy. Frankly, if you shut all the daycare centres masquerading as the state sector education system, and maybe all those pressuring for the additional lockdowns should have their salaries cut by 50%+ during the next ‘wave’ or ‘spike’ or whatever excuse the powers that be are using, like the few private sector workers currently being ‘furloughed’ into penury. But maybe the UK public sector is indulging in a little sabotage, having been told their wages will be frozen for the next three years they’ve decided to watch it all burn to the ground.

Personally, if a union is one of those pressuring the government to shut down schools, then maybe the union’s members should be sent home on the quarter pay pittance offered to those not on the public dime. Like the teachers unions. What are they going to do when the schools are shut anyway? Go on strike? Who would notice? In the meantime, just like in the early 1970’s, UK education, politically correct mish mash that it appears to be, of the next generation suffers.

Yep. It’s a crazy old world out there and no mistake. My current major issue is the banking system, and shifting funds from Canada back into Europe and the UK keeps my head slamming into the nearest wall. Mrs S and I had a bit of a row over it. She had a go at me for no good reason twice in the same day. Which almost made me lose my temper, which for me is an event akin to finding the manure pile in a rocking horse stable. I was rather annoyed though. I’m not a bloody doormat and get really pissed off when my good nature is mistaken for me being anyone’s bitch.

However, sanity has prevailed, we’ve talked things through, and we’re back to our more usual selves, although after a particularly stressful session with a not so helpful help desk today, my rabid Donald Duck impression as I walked downstairs made her jump, then she burst out laughing. So we’re all good again. Life is too short not to see the ridiculous side. Even if the continual repetition of stupidity gets right on my tits.

Now I need a drink.

Update. By the way; for those of you thinking I may be full of it. Have a look at the analysis below. No ‘denial of science’, no propaganda, just the numbers and nothing but the numbers. In context. Like being compared to like. Peer reviewed studies and information derived from proper, reputable scientific publications.

Now would anyone carefully explain to me, using proper science and without resorting to the pejorative, why the hell we’re still doing lockdowns?

Bored with tiers

So Cromwell Johnson has cancelled Christmas, as we suspected he would. The git. Well imagine my shock. As UK PM he’s turned out to be one big disappointment after another.

Over here in slightly more sensible Ireland, we’re being allowed (Allowed! Hah!) to cross county borders and go pootle around the neighbouring countryside, and (Gasp!) be allowed to celebrate Christmas. How very fucking generous of our political class. Bunch of Cnuts. Unlike you poor buggers in the UK, for whom tier 3 was not enough. Now there’s an ultra scary new bug which means everyone is back under house arrest (Actually one of just under 13,000 new strains of SARS/COV-2). Said bug is supposed to be highly virulent, but the stats show no uptick in deaths outside of the seasonal norms. Although, according to one specialist;

Dr Maria van Kerkhove, the technical lead of COVID-19 response and the Head of Emerging Diseases and Zoonosis Unit at WHO, has also confirmed that the strain involved has been circulating for many months, though she referred to it as N501Y.

So this ‘new, virulent strain’ we’re all supposed to be hiding under the blankets about has been around for ages. It’s not new. The death count hasn’t deviated outside seasonal norms. So that kind of shoots the whole need for ‘tier 4′ restrictions down in flames doesn’t it? The only conclusion any sensible person can draw from this is that the politicians don’t have the first feckin’ clue what they’re on about.

Not to mention the ‘advisory groups’ like SAGE and NPHET claiming to be ‘experts’ when it turns out there are few real scientists amongst them, mainly mathematical modellers and ‘social psychologists’ from all accounts. We need proper epidemiologists and virologists on these advisory boards. One decent economist who understands how small businesses power an economy would be good too, rather than the current bunch of affectioned time-pleasers.

Mrs S and I increasingly find ourselves wondering openly and in public why this is. Politicians are faking having had the vaccine in order to persuade the rest of it that a vaccine is warranted. Which under the current circumstances is not the case. The ‘cases’ being no more than detections of (live or dead – doesn’t matter to the test) viral fragments because the PCR test is not fit for this specific use.

For my part, I try (as always) to find a little light in the darkness, a silver lining to the storm clouds. And I find it in family. ‘North’ is closeted in London with serious boyfriend, both of them, unlike so many, are finding ways to keep the metaphorical wolf from the door while building a possible future together. I look at it this way; if their relationship can blossom and flourish despite the lockdowns and stresses of the UK’s crapital, the Sticker clan may start a new expansionary phase some time in 2021. Providing the lockdowns end in 2021. Which at this rate doesn’t seem likely. We can always offer them safe haven and a fast Broadband connection over here if the UK goes into TITSUP mode.

One lives in hope that London based stepdaughter can find a little happiness amongst the shitshow currently being pushed on us by panicky and clueless politicians. ‘South’ based in Sydney Australia has been struggling a bit, but with a little judicious subbing out, is still up, running and socialising enough to keep her sanity, which is important.

Of course, Mrs S and I are being careful not to spoil either of our two girls, and bless the pair of them, they’ve always demurred when financial help has been offered. However, there is a pot of money marked “For dire emergencies only” just in case. It’s at times like these you earn your corn as a parent of grown-ups.

On that topic, today I have a Lamb and Vegetable soup fragranced with a little Rosemary brewing on the stove. To be served with cucumber sandwiches and a few other oddments. Cucumber Sandwiches Bill? How quaint! How, oh never mind. Don’t worry, I’m not becoming decadent, we’re not cutting the crusts off. Chill. Relax and enjoy the Christmas that never was.

I’ll try and be a bit more cheerful in the next post or two.