Tag Archives: Local stuff

Toilet troubles

Aaand as the Policeman said, to paraphrase an old joke, we’ve less to go on. One of our toilets is missing. Fortunately we have two bathrooms, but what this does is put one bathroom completely out of order. Specifically Mrs S’s domain. A matter that has led to some mild domestic friction.

As we currently live in rented accommodation, maintenance is our landlords issue to deal with. While the outside world appears locked down or subject to rioting and cities burn, more practical matters colour our days. Specifically being the minor inconvenience of being restricted to one bathroom. These frame built houses are warm and well insulated enough, but if you get a leak anywhere, it can be a real detective story to find where all the trickles come from.

The issues are that this; we live in a 1980’s built apartment where the wiring and plumbing don’t match the plans. For example, the shower pipework in one bathroom was never secured properly and has a habit of flexing slightly every time it is used. Now we find that there are two long term leaks in the second bathroom and utility room. Nothing major, little more than sweating from the joints.

The original build was bodged a little, presumably to keep things within schedule and price, as these things so often are.

The bathroom leak is from the wax sealing ring between the toilet and what is tweely referred to as the ‘black water’ outlet set in the floor. Meaning every time we flushed a droplet or two escaped from between the sealing ring and pipe into the surrounding floor. Over time this has caused a wet patch to lurk unseen between pedestal and floor, resulting in a small amount of staining in the apartment below.

So, the toilet has been disconnected and the floor is currently drying out. Which gives the guest bathroom a slightly surreal, but fortunately not too noisome, air. All the bathroom bits are sitting in the shower and the throne, so to speak, is sitting in a plastic tub like a rather unusual beige footstool.

The second leak is from where our washing machine overflow is plumbed into the wall. When the last washing machine was fitted, the overflow was bodged in and at the top end of the pipe, the wall fitting became slightly disconnected from the down pipe, only by a crack, but enough when the washing machine is spin drying that when the overflow backs up, a thimbleful of water sloshes out to trickle down the exterior of the pipe. Again, this gets between the studding and eventually stains the wall downstairs.

Christ alone knows what the wiring actually looks like behind the plasterboard. No wonder only a couple of the kitchen outlets can handle a microwave.

However, that’s a minor inconvenience as we’re heading out of Canada. My non-working days are currently filled collating quotes from movers, arranging cleaners for when we move out in September and all the sundry tasks associated with such a shift. Paperwork is the biggest burden. However, we are getting all our financial and legal ducks in a row and, toilet troubles notwithstanding, will be leaving Trudeaupia for good this year and the clock is ticking.

It’s been an interesting decade or so. Now it’s time to move on as things this side of the 49th are heading downhill with no likely hope of return. It’s only a matter of time before Ottawa and the provinces work out how to implement ‘social credit’ scores on the population using Covid-19 as an excuse. So we’re getting out to somewhere within reach of civilisation whilst we still have relative freedom of movement.

Ghost town

A short musical (?) interlude. A blast from the 1980’s. Never liked it myself, and I never liked Coventry much, or the Specials, but having taken a perambulate around the malls and deep into downtown this morning, I think it’s appropriate.

Downtown Victoria BC, a normally slow Sunday bustle has everything but tumbleweed, and the only reason we didn’t see any of that was that we didn’t stay very long. Most of the stores are closed with only a few fast food places offering take-outs. Further out, malls are guarded by single worried looking security guards who apologetically tell any visitors that the stores are mostly closed.

This is a government created economic depression. No lives have been ‘saved’ from the coronavirus. Indeed a number will have been lost as the direct effect of an imposed lockdown which should have lasted three weeks at the most, then the restrictions lifted everywhere but care homes for the elderly and vulnerable with existing pre-conditions.

I haven’t reckoned the total damage to my investment portfolio yet, but between Mrs S and I we think we took a hit of forty to fifty thousand dollars. And we got off lightly.

A testing time

Went for my Covid-19 swab today because I’d been feeling a bit tight in the old tubes and coughing more than I should. Also because I was a little curious. In retrospect this was a bad decision, but we can all be wise after the event, can’t we? Remind me never to go to a hospital again unless I really, really need to. Those people really scroll my knurd. They don’t seem to be able to take ‘No’ for an answer, which at one point began to seriously irritate.

Arriving at the testing centre a little later than my specified appointment time, I was requested to remain in my car and drive into a barnlike plastic canvas shed twelve feet or so high and ten wide staffed by three nurses in various forms of PPE. One in full PPE, the whole deal, plastic apron, surgical mask (Not an N95) and full plastic face shield, transparent arm length gloves, had a swab test ready. Another, a staff nurse or sister by the look of things wearing ordinary blue scrubs busily typed my details into a portable computer terminal. A third nurse sat in a chair some twelve feet away looking bored.

At no time did another vehicle arrive with anyone else for testing in the twelve minutes while I was there. I was the only one in the queue.

“Hi. Sorry I’m late. Took a wrong turn” I said and identified myself.
“That’s okay.” The girl in full PPE handed me a surgical mask. “Can you put this on?” So I did. “Can you describe your symptoms?” She asked, so I gave a brief rundown of my fairly mild symptoms which were easing. Hey, it was a sunny day and an excuse to get away from my desk, so why not?
“Can we do your blood gases?” Which was an odd request, but I said okay and they stuck that little gadget for measuring blood O2 levels on my finger. It came up within normal range. She asked me about my symptoms again and I spent the next five minutes explaining that no, I didn’t need to see a doctor, my symptoms were mild but easing. No, I’d spent far too much time indoors and probably needed more fresh air and exercise than anything else. And what I was suffering from was bronchial irritation, not chest pain.

It’s like I was speaking in another language, as she insisted on referring to a mild but receding discomfort and bronchial congestion as ‘pain’. No I didn’t feel feverish, no the condition did not ‘come and go’ nor the ‘pain’ radiate. I began to feel like these guys were seriously bored and wanted to talk me into a set of cardiac tests which were neither needed or wanted. Perhaps they were looking for something, anything to break the monotony. Besides, I had the full range of cardiac blood tests done last year and they all came up fine. Haematocrits well within range, platelets a little low, but that’s no bad thing. White cell count fine. Haemo goblins all happily wending their way through my arteries and veins. Heart problems flag up in those values long before they start causing infarctions (Heart attacks), this is basic diagnostics. Had the same conversation with a heart surgeon on this topic under 12 months ago and he confirmed that Bill Sticker’s ticker is tickety-boo. As did my GP on the follow up.

Finally, after me refusing for the third time to go for cardiac tests, the girl in full PPE announced that she was going to do the Covid-19 test. Which is the only reason I had attended in the first freaking place. So I closed my eyes and let her stick an oversize cotton bud up my nose and into my sinuses, which was more uncomfortable than the coughing and spluttering I’d been suffering from. Then she handed me a two page leaflet telling me what to do in terms of social distancing etc for every eventuality short of a meteor strike while I waited for my test results. After that exchange, somewhat reluctantly, they let me go and I took the pretty way home. Like I said. Maybe they were just bored.

This experience has reinforced the notion that this whole Covid-19 business is way overblown. The tests do little but find current infection. They do not either tell you at what stage of the infection you are at or track the more important immune response. If they’d just done the swab I could have been in and out inside three minutes. Hell, a simple blood test could have been done in that time.

Hey ho

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

Well I’m going in to be tested for Covid-19. To have a naso-pharangeal swab sloshed around me sinuses and sent to stand on the naughty step for forty eight hours afterward to wait for my results to come in. To which Mrs S retorted. “Well Bill, what hast thou wrought?”

We’d discussed the possibility last week while I was feeling a few sparkles less than my usual glitter. I’ve had a little tight feeling in the tubes and a morning cough that seems to have a will of its own, so I thought “Why not? I might find out whether or not I’ve had the wretched disease so I can move on with my life.”

So this morning I made the call to my Doctors office, saying I’d like to be tested. Just in case. They said they’d give me a call back. Five minutes later I got a call from a call centre worker, to whom I recounted my rather mild symptoms. She said she’d get back to me. Another five minutes late the phone rang. It was the call centre person again, who gave me an approximate testing date. Tomorrow. Late morning. To which I said “Fine. I’ll be there.” I looked up the site online and this was followed ten minutes later by another incoming call. From the same call centre worker. “I’ll get the nurse to call you.” A nurse has time to call me? Okay. Two more brief calls from a nurse, who took a short medical history from me to confirm what I had on my records matched hers and we arranged the time. With detailed instructions on where to go, who to talk to and what to do.

But not so fast Mr Sticker. During the calls I established that the local health bods are only checking for if you’ve got the wretched Chicom Disease in the here and now, not running blood tests for antibodies so they can get a picture of the Provinces immunity. Which would be a far more useful picture to have, as, if as I strongly suspect, that immunity to this nasty bug is a lot more widespread than the politicians and media might think. Wouldn’t that be more useful to know? Track the immune response within a population rather than trash the economy by locking it down forever and ever? Or does no one have a cheap and reliable blood test for the two main types of antibodies? Or are the public to wait forever for a vaccine? Which won’t do anyone much good if they’ve already had a bout of a disease and their white blood cells have already been programmed to produce antibodies when a particular infection occurs. Because that’s the simple model of how your immune system works. Infection / exposure, recovery, immunity.

Yes I’m aware of what some of the ‘experts’ have been saying, and some of it doesn’t make sense. My training is thirty plus years out of date. But I can remember enough to get by, and what I don’t know, I know where to look and who to listen to. The thing is that there’s a whole heap of plain, unadulterated bollocks being talked by otherwise educated people. Like about disease spread and how immunity is generated.

Now I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, so I looked it up that you can have innate (Natural or Nonspecific) immunity, which may be hereditary, natural, species, racial or individual. Acquired (Specific, Adaptive or Memory) immunity like from being vaccinated. Or finally an active or passive immune response. For a more in depth description, follow this link. All biological pathogens follow this response. This is the state of our knowledge. Immunity 101 for dummies. All else is wild speculation.

If I have managed to catch a bout of the dreaded lurgi, it may mean even more time sitting alone in my office with just four screens for company. But I’ve managed almost nine weeks so far since March 10th. Nine bloody weeks.

At least there are some reasonable buds on the roses. Hey ho.

Coping

Working from home as we do, Mrs S and I are naturally immune from the worst effects of lockdown. We are used to being isolated from direct human contact because of the very nature of our online life. Although normally we get out once a week for a meal or a drink, just to remind ourselves of the general idiocy of the general dyslexic. Which, when we get to do, is oddly reassuring. However there comes a point where even we get stressed. Eight weeks without a timeout is rather extreme, so a much overdue break would be nice.

The golf courses locally have been open for over a week, but nowhere to go afterward, or we’d be cadging invitations to the nineteenth hole, even though both of us detest the silly game.

On the plus side Mrs S is finally discovering the worth of my somewhat eccentric sense of humour and is applying it to herself. She is finding my twisted punsterism somewhat therapeutic, as I do. It’s a useful coping strategy. We have to find our fun where we may. Just to lighten the load.

I’m sure there are many scientific papers written on coping mechanisms in solitary and not so solitary confinement, perhaps even those on the negative social and psychological effects of enforced indolence. And I’m still of the opinion that all the fines issued by the Police should be cancelled / thrown out by the courts.

On the topic of fun. Mr generally annoyingly smug Vietch has an obtuse but highly entertaining sense of it. Plus an excellent prop. See below;

Well it brought a smile to my face.

Oh no!

Glanced at my stalker counter Saturday and noticed that it was showing the dreaded number ‘666’. Does this mean this blog is now demonically possessed? Oo-er matron. Or even repossessed, but we’re not there by a long chalk. We’re still working. Money is still coming in to cover the bills and we’re beholden to no-one.

Got a surprise call from my Doctors surgery to tell me that my GP has retired (Decent old boy, a bit old school, but a very good GP) and the surgery was just checking up to see if I was still breathing as according to their records I hadn’t been in for the last two years or so, which is par for the course for my family. We don’t seek help until we need it. And don’t need it very often, if at all. As evidenced by a favourite hospital anecdote of my Mother’s which I shall recount below.

My late Mother (Six years gone now, how time flies) at age 95 went to a hospital out patient appointment for cataracts. Upon arrival she was interviewed by a clipboard wielding nurse.
Nurse with Clipboard: “Can you tell me what medications you take regularly?”
Ma Sticker: “None.”
Nurse with Clipboard: “I don’t think you understand me dear. I mean’t what pills do you take every day.”
Ma Sticker: “I understood you perfectly the first time. I have no prescription medication. No regular medication.”

Good old Ma, sharp as a tack to the end when faced with condescension. We Stickers are born members of the awkward squad. Generations of us. We take nothing at face value, especially if it comes from some authority figure. No reason, apart from that they will always have an agenda we don’t share and is probably not to our benefit.

Anything else to report? Not really. Mrs S has been on a conference video calls to the distaff side of the clan talking about introversion and such. I’m writing. Just a usual weekend in fact. We even took a stroll out to a windy downtown and meandered around an almost deserted park admiring blowsy Cherry trees shaking their booty of blossom. The Cafes and restaurants that are open are all doing take-outs. We walked and talked, enjoying the sunshine and remarking what a shame it is that Canada is economically fucked. And will remain so as long as wet lefties are in power.

Maybe in contrast, demonic possession doesn’t sound so bad.

Update:
Bojo has flubbed it.

Monday is coming…

Mrs S and I were discussing this on the journey out to the accountants today. For the UK I think that the lockdown will shortly be coming to an end. Our reasons for thinking this? Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclownish PM is back in the saddle on Monday morning. He has to make a show that he is back in control and what better way than to take advantage of the shrinking death rate by beginning to lift the ‘stay at home’ restrictions and let certain businesses open, declaring that “Britain is back in business.”

He’s had time away from the political firing line to gather his thoughts. He’s had time to risk assess, to consider. Now he has a very small window in which to react. Seven days, tops.

If the NHS is anything like over here it’s understressed. Which is quite likely given the reports of primary health workers, including Doctors and Nurses, having time to rehearse dance routines for Tik Tok.

According to this web site, we on Vancouver Island (at the time of writing) only have one person in ICU and five hospitalised with the dreaded lurgi. Seventy one cases (81%)have registered as recovered. For the more densely populated Metro Vancouver, they have fifty in hospital and eighteen in ICU. Out of a population of two and a half million. The worst is past. See screen shot below.

He should also really let Ms Patel off the leash to discipline those Police Commissioners forcing the UK Police to do all the cringeworthy stuff they’ve been observed doing during the lockdown. Not to mention direct the courts to strike down all those quarantine tickets that were, in my view, highly counter intuitive.

We could do with something similar on this side of the pond. Break time is over. Time to get back to work. Oh, and to stop buying cheap stuff from China.

Update: Watch the video below. Yes it’s long, and Ferguson was wrong about BREXIT, something he later conceded he was wrong about. But, on this occasion I think they’re right, the sluggish big state got us into this mess, but it’s individuals and smaller, private groups that can get us out.

I disagree on how to handle ‘climate change’, but that’s another discussion.

Ants in my pantry

Being a moderate cook I try and keep a pretty tidy kitchen. A place for everything and (Mostly) everything in it’s place. I look at it this way. A kitchen is like a workshop. Keep it tidy and you’ll never lose anything or trip and fall flat on your stupid face. I may have a stupid face, but I do my best not to make it look any more stupid than it can possibly be. So I try and keep work surfaces clear and as clean as is practicable, so no-one gets food poisoning.

So imagine my shock when I picked up a packet of sugar today to make some feed for the Hummingbirds and half a dozen tiny ants dropped off it. Bloody things. I paid for that sugar, these freeloading bastards didn’t, so out comes the ant killer and I busy myself emptying all the cupboards and evicting the squatters. Thoroughly spray empty cupboards and leave the powder down for an hour before hoovering the excess up and giving the cupboards a proper clean with antiseptic wipe downs of everything before the dry goods and cans go back in.

The ants are now history. Until they establish a new run. But I’ll be ready for them.

We currently rent our Canadian domicile, choosing not to buy a house over here, but if it were down to me I would be getting pest control in to fumigate the place while we take a hike out for the week to fresher pastures. Unfortunately due to the current lockdown that isn’t going to happen for a while. So we do the best we can with the resources available.

Frankly the end of this quarantine can’t come too soon as Mrs S has decided I need a haircut. She’s got out my old trimmer kit and has, how can I put this? A slightly malicious twinkle in her eye. I think I should be afraid. Very afraid. I think she’s going to go all Wednesday Addams on me.

No, seriously, despite everything Mrs S and I are still getting on like the proverbial house on fire. You know what I mean; screams, sirens, collapsing buildings and a lot of curious onlookers wondering when the bodies are going to be brought out.

This is my life, such as it is. It’ll have to do until something better comes along.

Ask not….

5d6855908ac2ce910fd91a63186d10dafa7708b7fa34298a0f1988c31ac045a8
Updated 15th March. The funniest thing I’ve seen in this whole Covid19 business was found on a Tim Pool comment thread. So I ‘borrowed’ it.

But seriously, what is the deal with toilet roll, bathroom tissue a.k.a the humble bog roll? It is most definitely a female thing because even though I told Mrs S that we have at least a months supply as I tend to buy one jumbo pack every three months, she was still asking me about it during Friday’s afternoon foray into the stores.

She was the one who wanted to venture out on Friday. I’d already done my thing shopping wise, and the stores will be restocked next week. There might be stocking problems because grocery store sales volumes are most definitely up, but when the initial panic is over next week, things will be much easier.

Even if the Sticker clans current Canadian domicile get hit by a nasty bout of gastric flu we won’t run out for over a month, yet the shelves were being stripped of paper goods. As well as canned vegetables and suchlike, which I won’t use because with the possible exception of sweetcorn they are uniformly vile. BTW; Baked beans are not, at least in my culinary milieu, counted as a vegetable.

As far as entertainment goes; the news is all doom and gloom, so I’ve switched off and am following my own advice this weekend. I hear other people are doing the same. For example, I heard several people while we were out and about yesterday say they were turning off the news channels because they were heartily sick of hearing gleeful news anchors claim this mess is all Trumps fault.

Similarly in the UK, during a transatlantic Whatsapp conversation ‘North’ was blaming Bojo for not doing more, to which I responded that I thought the UK government response had been very measured. Locking down the whole country at this juncture is rather like locking up the henhouse after the fox has gotten in. This virulent disease is already within the UK’s, indeed everyone’s borders and all anyone can do is take sensible precautions. Containment will be very much down to the individual.

Which leads me to the reflection that when there’s nothing you can do, perhaps the best you can do is nothing. Read a book. Plan a holiday for when this is all over. Take a walk around the house. Do some neglected chores like clean the garage or check the car. Stay away from the TV. Phone a friend. Which is what we’re doing. Filling the unforgiving minute.

Outside life hasn’t completely ground to a halt. Cars pass by. There’s still shipping in the Juan De Fuca heading out into and back from, the broad Pacific. Buses, albeit with very few onboard, grumble up and downhill. This is a hiatus, nothing more. The rent is paid. There’s money in the bank, spare cash, gas in the tank. We’ll be fine, providing big government doesn’t put it’s foot in it, although I’m told all the local facilities, schools, libraries etc are shutting down for the duration. Maybe if the politicians go into hiding it might not be so bad.

In the midst of the slow-motion horror of a world wide pandemic a happier thought does occur. Following Remainer / rejoiner gloating about Covid19 killing off Brexiteers as they’re all old farts don’cha know, everyone with an active brain cell knows that disease is no respecter of political opinion. Maybe Greta whatserface will catch a dose and spread it all through the UN and those clowns of Extinction Rebellion. Perhaps she already has and the viral timebomb is already ticking amongst their ranks like with the Ayatollahs in Iran. Over here it’s already gotten to Trudeau, so maybe he’ll learn the signal lesson that there are greater threats out there other than the largely imaginary man made climate change and hurt feelings.

One thing we’re not told is what particular demographics are being the hardest hit. Men certainly. But what men? Does ones genetic inheritance give one a greater or lesser immunity to this nasty bug? Geographically speaking the Mediterranean basin and Middle East seem to be taking a pounding. Maybe the 7% death rate in Northern Italy has a cultural component? I can hear the pens of academics scratching even now.

By way of a metaphor, one one of my desks there is a little travel alarm, which has been dumped there for no other reason than that it has a loud and annoying tick. In the silence of my little workplace sounding preternaturally loud. Even ominous. For me it is just counting off the seconds until this whole charade ends.

There’s a lot of political capital being made by certain political factions, but I would say this to them when they breathlessly announce that the Pandemic clock is ticking and they wish the worst effects on their opponents;

Ask not for whom the clock ticks; it ticks for thee.

On the wagon

I’ve given up alcohol for a while. I’m on the wagon, but will be skipping merrily off it at a juncture of my own choosing. Not because I’ve been hectored into it by any campaign or other, but just because I wanted to. Just to make sure I’m seeing the world as it is without any chemicals fogging things up and to give my taste buds a time out. After four more weeks, perhaps less, I will resume my habitual imbibing of a modest whiskey every other evening or perchance a glass or two of Malbec, Carmenere or Cabernet Sauvignon to end the working day.

Which might beg the question do I want to live forever? To which I would answer, no, I’d only get bored. Variety is life’s spice, and drinking all the time is like permanent sobriety, it’s okay, but gets a bit tedious after a while. A little wine is good for you anyway, and permanent sobriety has been proven not. Alcofrolic beverages might not be the elixir of immortality, but a glass of three don’t half take the edge off the worst that living can throw your way.

What else? Lemon Tree plants looking good, the tallest has just topped thirty inches tall with lovely green waxy leaves. Mrs S and I are going to Ireland this September for a while and are busily booking our big time out. Our tax advisers are discussing possible tax exile with us and stepkids are making plans to come stay whilst we’re in the emerald isle. Things proceed.

Our festive season was relatively quiet, with only the existential sound of elderly friends marbles slowly continuing their rattle out of her head. Poor old thing has now completely lost track of what day it is and has taken to phoning us at all hours because she’s not even sure of what time of the day it is, or even that we live over a hundred kilometres away and not on the next floor down in her care home, which we will never be. Which can get a bit disconcerting. She’s not how she used to be and we’re getting resigned to the probability that she won’t see out the year. Such is life. Sure as it begins, thus it must end.

On that topic of lives ending, am watching how the big man down south is handling the ever-present irritation of Iranian sponsored terrorism. The news that he’d had the head of yet another terrorist organisation droned brought a grim smile to my face and the word “Good.” Popped into my forebrain. Mrs S of course, was concerned with the inevitable terrorist backlash. However, a head has been cut off the Hydra. No doubt it will regrow at some stage, weaker, but still there. It took Solemani from 1988 to build up his current network of militias. That’s right, over thirty years of misery for the Iranians and their neighbours at his hands.

This is why we put mad dogs down. They can’t bite any more when they’re dead. His owners might be all of a lather and threatening dire things, now their attack dogs pack leader has been put down I have a sense that a cold wind is blowing through their spavined souls. Trump has drawn his line in the sand. The attack on the US Embassy in Iraq was the impetus. It was a direct assault on US territory under international law, and the Iranian organisers therefore put themselves at direct hazard. Not that they’re all that popular in Iran.

There are rumours circulating from Iran of brutally suppressed protests and internal economic woes that are nothing to do with the USA and more to the fact that the current ruling elite of Iran aren’t as clever as they might think. That and it should be plain to them that they’re not dealing with Obama now. No more Danegeld. No more payoffs. Hunker in your bunker boys, because you just stepped over the line.

This version of ‘The Great Satan’ has decided to react to the Iranian regimes serial provocations, regardless of the fact that Russia and China say they have Iran’s back. They know the Iranians have gone too far, but will be content to sell them the arms while quietly backing away into the shadows. Say what you like about the Russians and Chinese, but they are not stupid. It doesn’t matter how many cocaine-addled celebrities want to ‘apologise’ to the Iranians. World War Three isn’t going to happen because the casus belli isn’t strong enough.

There might be a stand off, but Trump’s a savvy negotiator and I don’t think will blindly send more US forces into harms way without good reason. He’ll target the top dogs and send over a few GBU-57A/B‘s. There aren’t that many of these bunker busters in the US stockpile so I’m told, but it won’t take many. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t three or four already in theatre ready for a decapitation strike if necessary. Then there are the drones like the one that took out Solemani. Yet the average Iranian (or Iraqi, or whatever) in the street is not the enemy. It’s the extreme regimes. Get rid of them and the conflict goes away, kind of. Although as Mahyar Tousi points out, it’s not all black and white.

Still watching the Brexit situation from afar, and I still think no-deal is the default. The EU have faffed and fumed pointlessly while Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclowninsh Prime Monster holidayed on the Caribbean Island of Mustique, once favourite haunt of the late Princess Margaret and other celebrities. I think he’s going to sit on his hands and go full WTO at the end of January so the EU will lose that billion a month of taxpayer pound sterling they’ve been hoovering up so happily. Someone, somewhere in the EU infrastructure is going to have to think about reigning in their expense accounts. Having watched their privileged antics from the sidelines in Paris and elsewhere, I can’t help thinking that the EU pigs are watching the trough dry up and are panicking a little.

Terrorist leaders waxed? BREXIT happens? I’m beginning to like 2020 already.

Boring….

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

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

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

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

Raindrops on roses etc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not feeling it

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

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

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

Back in the saddle

While the weather is nice I’ve been spending far less time at my desk and more time out on the road. Nothing much, just a gentle scootle around on the big blue mutt. No more than fifty kilometres a time, taking it easy and enjoying the wind in my face, the extra air that riding allows. Even got Mrs S on the back today for a short trundle out to get some coffee and buns for breakfast. As a pillion passenger she needs to re-learn a few things, but I’ll make sure she gets the practice.

How the old habits come back. Watching at least five cars ahead, upper middle gears through town with the revs around three thousand, ready to pull a quick stop or give it a fistful and speed my way out of trouble. Giving the odd drop V or acknowledgement to the other Sunday riders. Slipping easily into the bends and gently accelerating out. My internal soundtrack playing the Runaways “Cherry Bomb” as we gently tootled our way back to the barn.

If this is ‘toxic masculinity’ I’m all for it. Screw the angsty soyboys and lemon sucking feminista’s. They might think they’ll live longer but they won’t. In prisons of their own making their politically correct lives will be joyless greyness, punctuated by saccharine faux-laughter and massive student debt before the final hammer falls. All they will know is empty noise devoid of real emotion. My experience is that the lottery of life deals out the good and bad completely at random and the best you can do is have decent insurance for when things go wrong. As they will. As for the rest, well, I’ll leave you with this bit of Irish folk wisdom adapted from an old song called “The Moonshiner”.

I’m a rambler I’m a gambler I’m a long way from home
and if you don’t like me then leave me alone
I’ll eat when I’m hungry and I’ll drink when I’m dry
and if this one don’t kill me I’ll live till I die

That’s enough for now, our deck garden needs a little water and the essays of Montaigne await. The carnations are flowering like they’re on steroids and my two sunflowers are growing at something around two inches as day. I won’t tell you what the pansies are up to, but I’m sure you can guess.

Digging my way out

Snow shifting over the last two days. Two 10kg bags of snow melt and a kilo of salt later and last night there was still a big lump of packed snow and ice on the drive. Then I found out that there’s another tranche incoming of up to six inches overnight. Bloody hell. I’d only just dug us out of the last lot. This is Victoria in British Columbia for heavens sake, not Nunavut above the Arctic circle, reputedly the place where Canadian brass monkeys come from. Fortunately it’s only a Summery two Celsius outside my window at the moment, I can tell because our Hummingbird feeders are no longer frozen. After getting rid of half the two foot deep berm of snow on our deck I’ve elected to leave our deck garden covered because the snow acts as an insulator and stops our delicate little plants freezing completely. It’s even worse at the Great lakes, we’re talking 49.3% ice coverage with Ontario completely frozen, which is not unusual, but the historical data for the last 3 years says we’re in a cold spell as of 2018 & 2019. See Screengrabs below.

Fortunately my best Lemon Tree plants are sitting aloof from all the white stuff on a nice warm window ledge indoors. They will survive. I’m not too sure about the other plants we left outside. Our Hummingbird feeders are being visited by some copper throated and green backed species, so they’re all right.

Back in the old country I see Theresa May has snatched defeat from the slavering jaws of victory, yet again. My wife thinks she’s being very clever and manipulative. I disagree. She’s clearly out of her depth. Her prevarication have cost the UK dearly due to the uncertainty her government has created. Had they just said to the EU “Bye chaps, we’re off at the end of March 2019, toodle pip. Thirty nine billion you say? Don’t hold your breath.” everyone in business would have known where they stood and made provision accordingly. Instead May and cohorts tried to do what their sponsors and lobbyists told them, which was betray the spirit of a democratic vote. She’s still trying to get a last minute deal when that time is long past. The EU wants what it wants and boo sucks to everyone else. Which will be it’s ultimate downfall. The French protests continue, with their ‘leader’ on trial for ‘carrying a stick’ at one of the protest flashpoints. Over in Germany, the AfD are gaining ground. Hungary is still being a real dog in the EU’s manger and let’s just not talk about Italy. Overall, things do not look good for the EU. When the UK leaves, the implosion of the EU will accelerate. Trade will continue and the world will still turn. A lot of worthless mouths will have to relearn some job skills. Or starve.

Youngest reports that it’s been snowing in the great metrollops, but not much else. She’s too busy sorting the legal fallout from other people’s foolishness. Oh well, all makes work for the working lawyer to do I suppose. She’ll never be short of remuneration.

Then there are the reported five thousand children who went ‘on strike’ to ‘save the planet’. Manipulated by activist teachers no doubt. In reality their ‘strike’ probably increased emissions by forcing the held up traffic they created to idle their engines. This is why the voting age should not be lowered. Children should be allowed their childhood, not used as pawns for the ideologically blinkered and fanatic.

Not that the activists actually look at what’s really happening in the big wild world (See above screengrabs). They live in their own bubble realities of victimhood and delusion and when the worst happens are not equipped to survive. Those of us who pay attention simply douse the outside lights, barricade our doors and ensure the larder is full. The howling activist mobs can freeze and starve. They are the authors of their own undoing.