Tag Archives: Local stuff


We have several uneven spots in our main yard which during wet periods, accumulate water to form puddles. Whenever the rain lets up I often place a seed tray or pot plant that needs watering in them to a) soak up some of the water. b) give my seedlings sufficient water by osmosis without ‘drowning’ them. Then popping them back in the germination shed after a five minute soak.

At present our eclectic collective of puddles are threatening to become one large one covering the entire yard. Because by my and Met Eirann’s observations, it’s a much wetter than average start to the year. Now according to weather lore this should mean a warmer wetter Summer ahead, but not always. Weather lore (by it’s very definition) is not an exact science. One of the things you can rely on is that you can’t rely on folklore alone. And I haven’t been here long enough to get a proper handle on local weather patterns. All I can say is that it’s very Atlantic.

Snow watch

I’ve been sitting in my office watching snow fall. Work outside came to a halt because I am my own boss and there’s no imperative to do any planting. According to the local forecast, the next planting window is early next week when local temperatures will have risen to just under ten Celsius.

Can’t do anything about my bees at present, I intend to leave the hives alone until the weather goes above fifteen Celsius. They don’t need feeding at present as there is plenty of Gorse, Heather and Ivy around the area whenever it gets warm enough for them to forage. The meadow is full of dandelions and daisies too, and I’m keeping a weather eye out on how the Yellow Rattle seeds I sowed in November are doing.

Then there are ten silver birch whips to go in, a ‘whip’ being a small tree between two and four feet tall sold as a bare root sapling. As trees go this is the cheapest way to buy them. We shelled out twenty five Euros for this batch, and like our new proto privet hedge, they will be planted by sticking a spade twelve inches vertically into the ground, levering forward, dropping the ‘whip’ in roots first before removing the spade, leaving the soil to close in around the roots. No need to dig holes, all you need do is drop a little soil on top and lightly stamp down before adding water. Watched our landscapers doing this for our new hedge, and they managed a twenty yard stretch at one whip per foot in less than five minutes.

New flower bed in the yard is almost ready for planting. Another two barrowfuls of soil and wood for the base, then cover with about six inches of topsoil and compost mix, and hey presto, we’re ready to transplant some Azaleas which will hide the gas tank. Picked up some bulbs corms and rhizomes yesterday to add a splash of Summer colour to that corner of the premises, so, weather permitting, we’re good to go.

Notwithstanding, all that is for when the weather warms up next week. Hopefully before the March winds start blowing. We were lucky to have a mild February, which allowed us to get ahead of the game in some aspects,

Regarding the ongoing saga of one of our drains, I’ve tracked down a problem and fixed it myself. During our building works last year, the builders went over one of our drainage inspection hatches with their machinery and crushed it, unfortunately their ‘fix’ blocked off a five inch soakaway drain. Something that didn’t become apparent until Winter and Mrs S nearly went arse over tip on a puddle of ice the overflowing drain had caused.

So after the snow stopped I poked and prodded and dug around the hatch, using my mini jackhammer to punch a six inch gap in the concreted in inspection well, thus opening up the drain mouth and restoring it’s proper function. Which means that’s that until the next daft Eejit decides to run heavy machinery across my drain inspection covers. Not that I’m going to let them. There’s an access from the field for any machinery of that type, so that is where they’ll have to get in. However for now, we have no more overflowing soakaway drain. No more long ice skids across the yard in the freezing weather.

All this outside activity means I’m not paying much attention to the news and media apart from a grim satisfaction at being proved right on several key issues. Although I have been watching season 2 of Clarkson’s farm on Amazon Prime, which brought back memories of my own families frustrations dealing with Byzantine planning rules in the UK.

There are, I am sad to say, too many people who live in the British countryside who don’t really belong there. And I’m not talking about Jeremy Clarkson. Rather my observations about the personal vendetta against him being waged using the planning regulations by, we are told, just one person.

Having grown up in the English countryside, I am sad to say that there are some people who have never quite moved on from their urban and suburban hyper competitive mindset. The few whose only interaction with their neighbours are arguments via lawyers over hedges and boundaries. The people I’m talking about are those who rarely frequent the village pubs because they felt the locals were too ‘common’. You know the types, the serial complainers. The NIMBY’s or more entertainingly titled and extreme BANANA’s (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). Those who like to think themselves a cut above ordinary folk and tend to look down their noses at their neighbours. Scorpions in human form. I’ve met a few. Unfortunately. They don’t socialise with their neighbours over the garden fence, they have ‘dinner parties’. Social climbers all, they will not pitch in for their neighbours unless there is something in it for them alone. Never happier than when they have done someone else down, they hide behind high Leylandii hedges and don’t care whose light they block. Sine Nobilitate the lot of them.

This is the kind of person who has it in for Clarkson and his attempts to diversify. But he’s just the most high profile of farmers suffering from the deeply personal ways some people use the planning rules and local politics to interfere and prevent any kind of rural development, thinking that any alteration to anything anywhere near them will devalue their property. They are wrong of course, because if the area becomes depressed because no one is allowed to make any money, then the communities that these people thought they were buying into will gradually die, and the value of their property will likewise suffer.

Clarkson I’ve always had a soft spot for, as he’s an entertaining buffoon who does try to do what he’s told is a good thing. Although I can’t say the same thing for the people trying to take him down. However, they may well succeed if local politics does lead to him selling up and moving out of the district, but theirs will be a Pyrrhic victory. Their loss. No farm shop with really fresh local produce, no good local restaurant where people can dine on locally produced food while enjoying a pleasing Cotswold view.

I’ve heard people argue that such enterprises ‘take trade’ from other local businesses. However, as someone who has watched the decline in rural life from the 1970’s onwards, my own observation is that small local businesses need other businesses to cross pollinate with. One successful business always generates passing trade for it’s neighbours. It’s a simple equation; Increased trade volume=new business=money=jobs=prosperity. Strangle trade and everyone loses eventually. Something the NIMBY’s don’t seem to understand.

Of course Oxfordshire Council are complaining that Clarkson’s Farm series 2 gives a misleading picture of their conduct. From first hand experience with the planners and NIMBY’s, I can tell you that how they are portrayed is not misleading, it’s bang on the money.

Maybe Clarkson made a rod for his own back by just bulling ahead with some schemes to make his farm profitable, but that doesn’t justify the response. UK and Irish Farmers are already under pressure to diversify, and they should be allowed to adapt to circumstances, seek new markets and provide goods and services. Not be hamstrung by rules meant to stop developers covering the countryside in concrete. Which is what will happen when the stewards are finally driven from the land.

Anyway. The mountains have been spectacular today when the snow cleared. I swear I could see the pyramidal peak of Croagh Patrick, the air has been so crystal.

Another day…

And a bit of good news. Both my colonies of bees have survived the cold weather and have been foraging in the gorse and heather in the garden and hedgerows. Work has started on the greenhouse project and we’ve chopped most of the bloody Ivy down.

Elsewhere the globalist projects of unchecked illegal immigration and ‘fifteen minute cities’ are under pressure with protests popping up all over Ireland. The ordinary people are getting upset. Not the media myth of the ‘far right’, but everyday, ordinary people without a political thought in their head. Until now.

That’s right. Ordinary people watching familiar streets being invaded by outsiders at a faster rate than the outsiders can be comfortably assimilated. As an outsider myself, I’m always at pains to observe the social norms of anywhere I happen to end up. Within reason.

Like with the wilder west of Ireland. I’m not a Catholic, but many of my new friends and neighbours are, so you respect that.

However, for the people who do not respect our ways of life, there is a way to at least make your voice heard, at least in the UK, See below for pushback strategies on three critical ‘consultation documents’,

If you can’t be arsed, then don’t whine about it later. The path is lit but requires a little effort. On the other hand, if you don’t want your liberty, all you have to do is stay quiet, like a good little citizen in your pod. Owning nothing and unable to take a shit without permission.

To those that argue “They wouldn’t do that, would they?” I would reply “Oh yes ‘they’ bloody well will. Because ‘they’ can if you let them.”

Feet of clay

Minor local panic. There’s a bunch of ne’er-do-wells currently frequenting our locality who broke into a neighbours house and ransacked their place while they were out. Apparently there’s been an increase in such burglaries / home invasions of late. Make of that what you will.

Personally I think our mini crime wave is a predictable phenomenon derived from the current series of economic and moral crises. Leading to desperate and feckless people doing unpleasant things. As they always have.

In anticipation we have strong doors and high security locks, so said scrotes will give Chez Sticker the go-by as too much trouble. We’re also in a lot more. Add to that there’s often a big guy (me) around the house and yard, or looking out of the window, cars in the driveway and yard. Oh, I’m friendly enough, but life has taught me due caution.

Nevertheless, it gave me an incentive to rig a couple of extra security lights. I’m also looking at putting up some discreet external cameras so we know who is trying to access our domicile. External gates now sport a couple of hefty looking padlocks to deter unwelcome callers, the external boiler house door is now kept locked, as are the sheds, unless we’re outside working.

My security philosophy is all about layers. One closed gate might not stop a thief, but if they have to make a lot of noise to get past more than one barrier, the majority of the morally weak will walk on by. If you have a dog with good territorial instincts, so much the better.

The same with valuables like documents and jewellery. The cheap and not so important you can keep to hand. The nicer stuff goes in a concealed lockbox in a not so obvious location. Or two. Nothing too complicated, just not obvious and awkward to open without demolishing half the house. Just enough to not advertise that you too, like the idols of old, have feet of clay.

Talking about feet of clay. I see that globalist premier of New Zealand has resigned, citing ‘burnout’. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I wish Trudeau would do the same. All the other weak political figures like her are currently at Davos, listening to charlatans spout bullshit about their ‘clever’ solutions. The majority of which have always failed before. They are that clueless and desperate. Rather like our local ne’er-do-wells.

Seems to me that our political classes, in the main, are so scared of losing votes from noisy minority interests they won’t grasp the nettle of economic reality to ultimately benefit the majority. Said reality currently playing out before our eyes. In the meantime we have to securely lock our doors and check the insurance policy.

Had to happen

Heating is finally fixed. The main fault was a faulty regulator on the tank which was replaced during one of the heaviest frosts of the year so far. A bout of light snow is prophesied tonight and again at times over the weekend, but at the moment out in the wilder west of Ireland, it’s just plain chilly. Compared to BC this is child’s play -2 Celsius here as opposed to -10 in BC. What I’d call ‘brisk’. Still, outdoors is rimed in white. Very scenic.

The weekends jobs are some indoors painting and outdoors building some of the frames for converting our open sided shed into a greenhouse. Then refining beeswax. There’s not much of it, as I left the majority in the hives to let my bees successfully overwinter. Looks like my insect workforce are going to need all the help they can get. I’ve done what I can and I’m leaving them alone until the temperature hits 15 Celsius in late March / early April. Still, if we get a few warm Winter spells in January, there’s plenty of Gorse flower around for the foragers.

It wasn’t that great a Summer, as my honey crop will attest, so what are all these ‘Just stop oil’ lunatics blathering on about? Are they out and protesting with their insane rubbish about the planet burning up. No, they’ll all be hiding indoors in their centrally heated homes waiting for the first mild day to come out and make everyone else’s life a misery. If they tried that nonsense over here, one or more of my neighbours would fill up a shit spreader and there would be an unfortunate discharge and a lot of quietly mocking laughter.

On a more serious note the Teagasc are trying to push ahead with a large scale cull of cattle. Irish beef is big business, and over here is reasonably inexpensive, for the moment. It’s also very tasty. Some of the nicest prime beef I’ve had the pleasure of consuming. Lamb is the most expensive meat, with beef coming in at about two thirds the price.

This is all due to the ‘Net Zero’ insanity being pushed by major governments. Indeed, the current economic crisis is all due to government interventions. Governments are mostly run by urban ‘elites’ who have as much idea of economics as they do about quantum physics, flailing about, chasing the ‘woke’ insanity, and causing more trouble than they fix.

On the topic of ‘woke’, the Russians are busy laughing at us re the latest hostage exchange. And I think rightly so. The powers that be have gone mad.

Oh well, it’s a frosty morning. Our potted Christmas tree has arrived, and I have work to do. TTFN.

Next step

My sinuses are smarting a bit as we’ve just had our septic tank cleaned out. This is one of the eccentricities of living out in the sticks and not being connected to mains sewerage. Fortunately, in normal operation these things are so odourless you don’t notice, but every time they need cleaning, WOW! The smell of semi digested sewerage scours your nasal passages quicker than a triple dose of decongestant. Maybe because your body dumps all the existing mucus in a effort to be rid of the stench.

We were also steeling ourselves for the next nasty surprise of our electrickery bill, but all our investment in low energy lights, appliances and extra insulation seems to be paying off, as the bills are proving elevated but manageable. So Mrs S and I were looking at the latest missive from our supplier with an air of “Phew. Got away with that one.”

No matter. The work is done and our bills paid. Mrs S has been busily emptying cans of air freshener to rid the rear of the house of the smell, and we’re unpacking the last of our personal effects for arranging on walls etc.

Like my old competition bow. Not much good for over 80 metres, but I’ve won a few medals with it. Not quite as much fun as my little 50lb short recurve (Horse bow), which shoots very flat and packs a hell of a punch at anything up to a hundred plus, and is far better for instinct shooting. Not as accurate as the competition bow, but I still love it. Must get some new shafts. Still got my old arrow fletching kit, and what’s best of all, could have my own personal archery range. Or it will be when I’m done next spring. As there’s rushes to clear and groundwork to do.

Then next week I’m off to the brewery suppliers to buy equipment and ingredients, and the month after a still and oak barrels for ageing. My first honey harvest will form the major component of my first Mead experiments, and when I’m ready to go commercial I’ll get my permits. Of course there will be a few pounds of the sweet stuff for my neighbours as gifts for their many kindnesses, but there’ll be more than enough to put in my morning coffee and the odd dessert recipe until the next nectar flow around April / May 2023. By then I’ll have two more colonies and things will finally start to take off.

Then there’s Christmas family visits. ‘North’ is joining us, and I’m trying to work out the logistics of giving her a reasonable vegetarian menu while allowing me the odd steak or two. Have to give that matter some serious thought. I’ve got some recipes and have worked out how to make some pretty decent vegetable dishes which I will happily eat. So maybe that won’t be so hard after all.

So, we’re not doing too badly, and counting our blessings in that it could be a hell of a lot worse. So long as the powers that be don’t have another brain fart and this time decide that bees emit some form of ‘greenhouse gas’ and decide that eye-watering levels of tax need to be levied on my Queens and their consorts. Haven’t talked to my neighbours about it yet, but we’re all little guys out here, and don’t get caught quite so much as the big concerns.

Personally I think these politicians know bugger all about sod all and damned little about that. Especially about agriculture, but very probably about anything else but getting elected.

The benefit of foresight…

In light of the news that Vancouver, and more particularly, Vancouver Island, until 2020 where Mrs S and I made our home base, is now cut off from Canada and possibly the rest of the world, I’m awaiting a call from sister in law to ask for asylum over here in the Emerald Isle. She and eccentric brother in law are stuck in the mid island, with only one route out; the local airport, thence to Vancouver airport.

And the border to the USA is also closed. Or rather more accurately if you leave, you can’t come back into Canada without a ‘clean’ COVID test Which you pay for. Wonder if that applies to the migrants getting their bags carried for them by the Mounties in Ontario?

Flights from Vancouver seem to be little affected. According to the departure board, all the major airlines are getting off on schedule. However, now the local politicians are panicking, anything can happen in the next half hour.

The main Coquihalla (Pronounced coke-i-hal-la) highway down to Vancouver is washed out about forty miles east of the Vancouver suburbs near a place ironically named ‘Hope’, I kid you not. It’s like losing a chunk of the M40. I’ve stopped in that town on a few occasions dodging back and forth up the trans-Canada, and trust me, Hope is not as Hope hopes.

Mrs S and I are enjoying a quiet bit of smugness over our decision to leave BC when we did. We know it gets wet, and ferry shutdowns are a regular facet of life on the island, which is overall about the same landmass as mainland England with a 60th of the population.

Vancouver Island is not a bad place to live in terms of views and space, but too heavily infected with the PC virus for our tastes. Too suburban and self involved for our tastes. Too easily ‘offended’. That they are getting a thorough soaking by the weather however, does not mean that they will be any more or less wet.

They’ll still blame ‘man made global warming’ though. Even though the storms are more likely a symptom of cooling.

Seen in a window

Pleasant restaurant lunch in LocalTown today only marred by people insisting on wearing masks whilst seated at their tables. The thought occurs that if they’re really so frightened of a disease, why don’t they go hide under the bedclothes at home?

On the drive home we observed these signs in a window facing the main drag.

Turn off your TV and the virus disappears


More than forty PCR cycles is fraud

Nice to see that there are some people getting the memo.

A little local geology

In the car today, scootling around back roads on a grey Irish day and looking at the landscape, I was struck by the difference in terrain north and south of the Burren.

The Burren, if you can’t be bothered to follow the link, is a range of spectacular low grey limestone mountains in the north west of county Clare. Stripped down to the bedrock during the last glaciation and washed clean by north Atlantic weather ever since. Okay, there is some grazing up there, but not much. But it is an incredible place to visit and walk. Or just to stare at in case it does something odd and very western Irish, like break into song or say “How are ye? Just visitin ye say?”. Because the landscape does look like it’s capable of speech. Eloquently heavy on the wow factor.

I thought the mountains in BC were something else, but the sense of nakedness these hills convey is far greater. The Rockies and coastal ranges are huge and covered in thousands of square kilometres of dark green coniferous gloom, yet even above the treeline, there’s none of that sense of barrenness that you find here.

The Wilder West of Ireland is very much a post glacial landscape. From the wide open flatness of South east Galway and Northeast Clare where massive rivers of ice once scoured the land down to its bones, south to what I’m beginning to think of as the calving grounds, where huge bergs melted as they clove off the ice sheet, dropping their burden of ice-scoured rock into undersea piles, which in the wake of receding sea created the tightly packed rolling land of east Clare down past Limerick and south to Cork. The grassed over terminal moraines giving a rough poetry to this landscape with it’s flowing river valleys and tightly rounded little hills.

Compared to the gentle rolling hills of my birth, this part of Ireland looks a hard place to scratch a living from the soil. It’s marginal, the bogs providing little good grazing and the grassland not really suitable for large scale growing of arable crops. The many large rocks in the soil pose a hazard to ploughing. We’re talking quarter ton lumps of stone here. Then there are the Turloughs, seasonal lakes, saucer shaped depressions which flood in Autumn and Winter, disappearing altogether in late Spring and throughout the hazy days of Summer.

The Wilder West of Ireland takes you like that, forces you to slow down and breathe, walk wide open, near deserted beaches to stare across untrammelled surf out into the Atlantic. Make you take time to watch the ever shifting colours of the sea and listen to the booming of waves striking high limestone cliffs.

It’s often quieter than a library after closing time with only the cawing of crows and the soft ruffling wind to hone the senses on out here. There are roads where cars and tractors only pass on an hourly basis. The silences can be oddly liberating and disquieting. It makes a man think, so it does.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Well, we’re having a nice bout of sunny weather here in the wilder west of the Emerald Isle. Spring is here and I’m spending as much time out of the house as possible while Mrs S incorporates her Jungian ‘shadow’. There’s a new born calf in the upper meadow, triplets and twins in the lambing pen, and the wayward Shetland Pony has been confined to barracks. So on the domestic front at least, we’re all under control. I hope.

However, ealier today I was reminded of the Latin description of a classic logical fallacy, specifically POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC which is the act of drawing a conclusion by mistakenly attributing causal connection without real evidence. It’s actually quite common and appears in the media far more option that you’d think.

A prime example; Boris Johnson’s recent assertion that lockdowns are the principle reason why COVID-19 cases have been dropping off a cliff is one such. The only problem being with this statement is that the numbers don’t exactly back it up. Deaths and hospitalisations for all causes were already well below normal in the first week in 2021. So says the UK’s Office of National Statistics. Their numbers don’t lie.

Then if we go looking for the data to support the mask mandate and other intrusions, one only has to look at the timeline of the base data. What you will find is that, allowing for incubation periods from probable time of infection, the claims that masks plus lockdowns equals fewer cases doesn’t hold water.

Do we assume that because vaccines, which we are told take several weeks to work and are now widespread, are responsible? Does the timeline support this assertion? Go on, guess. The data and the claim don’t match up. Deaths and hospitalisations were already dropping rapidly. Do not, under any circumstances take my word for this, the numbers are all public domain.

All I ask is that the following is taken into account; that another hypothesis is possible. Specifically that ‘herd immunity was reached some time ago. Do the numbers support this? Well, possibly. They certainly don’t rule it out.

For all other hypotheses, including the crazier ones saying that COVID-19 is somehow linked to man made climate change, there is no viable or conclusive evidence. Those can be dismissed out of hand as ‘conspiracy theories’, especially if ‘big oil’ is somehow to blame, when both the mechanism of that change and the base premise are unproven. Don’t believe me? Go looking for the definitive evidence. Not just what is reported in the media or by politicians.

Under these circumstances, what we can do is look at the behaviour of those keeping lockdowns and masks going. Specifically that they keep on adding bells and whistles to the restrictions laid upon the general public. From vaccination passports, which won’t contain a disease which has done it’s worst and is now receding in the rear view mirror, despite the best efforts of some people to keep it in the drivers seat.

Comparison of numbers reported in the media, particularly the BBC, have been often at odds with the data. Like all they’re doing is regurgitating press releases and misleading sound bites rather than do a little research. Which is supposed to be their job, for heavens sake.

Knowing this, what are we to think? Are we to believe all that we are spoon fed, or do our own research? Because the facts, as are available from publicly available sources, tell us that the pandemic is over. So, for what seems like the hundredth time; why are we still having to cope with these restrictions?

For my own part I am but a man with a blog and a keyboard, nothing more. I can only say as I see. But what I see is giving me a bad case of “WTF!?”

Easter Sunday morning

We’ve seen more lambs over Easter weekend. All twins, lots of sleepless nights for Colum and his family. At times like these its all hands to the pumps, which means everyone works through the night, ensuring these bright little lives slide out into existence with the least possible interference from predators and the normal difficulties of birth.

And yes, we’ve been woken up every so often by the latest plaintive cry of newborns, higher pitched than their mothers, complaining at being shunted out of a nice cosy womb to the scant comfort of a concrete floor and the careful ministrations of businesslike two legs. When it gets busy in the lambing shed across the yard during the wee hours, sleep for us sensitive mortals can get a bit fractured. We just try to roll over and check our earplugs as best we can. My days of being up all hours are long ago, and I don’t think Mrs S has ever stayed up past one am in her entire life.

Now from the lambs point of view being born is a mixed blessing, but at least Mum has milk on tap. But before that then there’s the indignity of being unceremoniously hauled out of the shed by a two leg, carried like a brace of rabbits and dumped into lush green grass to recover, suckle a bit, and try to come to terms with these complicated things at each corner called legs.

Keeping on this rather agricultural topic, now the lambs find other lambs, other mothers who don’t smell like their mum does and there’s a bit of confusion, a bit of argey-bargey while everyone sorts out who belongs to whom and should be sucking on which teat on which Ewe. This life business don’t half get complicated. Especially as yesterdays lambs tell you it’s chillier than yesterday. Isn’t there supposed to be a hot yellow thing in the sky that makes you feel warm? Mum says it comes and goes, so keep hold of that thick woolly coat sonny, never mind that tight lacky band round thee nadgers. They’ll soon drop off. Although I’m not sure of how they castrate the boy lambs. It’s usually done at birth, sometimes with a knife, sometimes with elastic bands around the scrotum.

Easy to see that Boris Unraed (Lit. ‘Boris the badly counselled’ who definitely needs a tight elastic band around his scrotum IMHO) is going to set travel restrictions into law which will hurt our family (For one) a great deal. These ‘vaccine passports’ mean we probably won’t see our daughters in person again. All for a pandemic that has been over for months. For months, you utter bastards. For all the talk of ‘COVID deaths’ our local hospital seems to be quiet and the local funeral directors appear to be doing no more than the usual trade.

Regrettably, given the nature and probable longevity of these travel restrictions, it’s now unlikely that Mrs S and I won’t ever see any grandchildren in person either. This I feel is unforgivable, and my UK postal vote will be going to Reform UK, who seem to be the only people opposed to these unnecessary restrictions. I’d like to point out that any other administration that imposes COVID passports won’t be forgiven either. However, in addition,, apparently now I’m a resident of Ireland, I get a vote over here too. Now I can’t stomach the ultra nationalism of the Irish National party who are one of the most vociferous anti-lockdown campaigners, but do like what I’m hearing from the Irish Freedom party. I also like them because they want out of the EU and aren’t quite so vehemently anti-British as the Nationalists. Although I can’t say I’m impressed with their stance on abortion. That should be a personal choice on the part of the mother, no-one else.

So there will be a reckoning of one sort or another. I don’t know how, I don’t know by whom, but there has to be one. This has to end.

Going through the motions

At present there’s not much happening. Mrs S and I have been sloping off to the beach every day when the sun shines, taking the back roads to avoid the mercifully rare Gardai checkpoints. We’re not stopping and talking to people at length, so we’re hardly likely to catch anything or pass it on. There’s supposed to be a video, but for some reason it’s still being ‘processed’. At least on Bitchute, so here’s the Rumble version.

The only problem we have is having to wait another month before the restrictions are supposed to be lifted. (Yeah, right) That and the seasonal spraying of manure to improve the grazing on the meadow overlooking our little domicile. Boy, doesn’t that just clear the old sinuses. I’m told there’s some rain forecast, sometime. Can’t come soon enough.

In the meantime I’ve been spending some time reading up on the factors that drove some of my ancestors out of Ireland in 1843.

There’s a body of opinion that solely blames ‘the English’ for all Ireland’s problems during those times. Yet the facts, as presented, tell a more nuanced story of the great outflow of Irish people that happened in the 1840’s, of which my ancestors were a part.

One of the points that sticks in my mind from the video is the disparity between the rents paid, and what those nasty bloated plutocrats of English landlords received. Say a rent was forty shillings a year, the land owner only got three. So that’s thirty seven shillings going to the land agents and other middlemen. The system had become financially over balanced. So much so that when the hard times hit, the poor buggers at the bottom of the pile had nothing left, and the top people had no reserves, while the middlemen were sitting pretty, trousering the greater percentage of the rents.

The great potato famine wasn’t the only one to hit the Emerald Isle, but it was as they say, the last straw, the final blow. It was a real tipping point, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands from disease and starvation.

Now this is just an observation on my part, but I have the distinct impression that you poor buggers across the Irish sea are headed for a similar crisis as the EU steps up it’s trade war, and your own government has deemed it illegal for you to leave. Hard times are a-comin’ folks, and if you think Bojo the moron’s half-baked draconian regulations will keep you ‘safe’, think again. The pandemic has been over since last May and they’re still going to keep you locked down until September. At least.

You think not? Then why has ‘furlough (a.k.a. unemployment payment) been extended to September 2021 and people forbidden to leave on holiday? Answer me that. All the time illegal, and possibly infectious, immigrants are being let in on the grounds that they will form a pool of cheap labour and keep demand for pay rises low.

I mean, our current crop of Irish politicians aren’t much to write home about, but at least the Gard don’t come round kicking in your door because you’ve had more than the regulation number of friends round for drinks. There aren’t enough Gardai for starters. Besides, we still have policing by consent over here in the civilised wilder west of Ireland.

No I’m not gloating, just amazed that no-one in the UK is currently rioting, chucking rocks at Tory Ministers or the Stasi currently masquerading as the UK’s Police Service. Like the Danes are, like the Dutch are. And the French. And the Germans and Italians.

At least nothing is flagging up in my news feeds. If anyone has any primary sources, I think we’d all like a heads up.

Catching up

The phones are back up, which means I can start getting things moving once more. Four days without a landline seemed like an eternity. No-one could dial in. I couldn’t dial out. People were getting fractious, not least of all me. Fortunately there is one silver lining to the louring clouds of lockdown, and that is that everyone’s expectations are significantly lowered.

As for the rest; sometimes the fun never starts. Especially for those living in County Longford.

I am so glad we live where we do.

How to screw up

Rent day conversation. Landlord likes his rent in cash. Not cheque or money transfer, but in physical Euros, which I have to get from the bank every month. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it gives me an excuse to pass through Gardai checkpoints. Colum (Not his real name) and I enjoy a cordial relationship. We pay him money every month, occasionally shoo wayward livestock back into the sheds and meadows, exchange gifts over Christmas and talk when time allows.

“Morning Colum. How are you coping?” I asked him.
“Fairly well I suppose.” He said with a slightly morose air. He’s an Irish farmer, what can I say? “How’s yourself?”
“Dodging the checkpoints.” I grinned cheerfully. “Otherwise we’re good.”
“Ah yes.” He intoned in his slow Western brogue. “Those people up in Dublin are not handling this Covid thing well are they?” I’m glad he’s not a Cork or Kerry man, they speak too quickly, spilling out words like a river in spate, and even with my trained ear I find them hard to follow sometimes. Their speech is quick and musical, full of reiterations, back eddies and redundancies. Fun to listen to, but hard to understand properly. Colum’s slow western drawl is quite relaxing by comparison.
“Well, they’re politicians.” I replied.
He looked at me gravely and said. “They’ve not got much of a handle on it have they?”
“No. You got that right.” I responded and changed the subject. “Money? Receipt’s made out.” The pleasantries and signing off complete, we bid him farewell and he went back to his work, and we to ours.

He was right of course. The current crop of politicians, Tory, Labour, Limp Dems, Greens, Liberals, Democrats, Fianna whatever label they put upon themselves, are not doing a good job of handling what is in reality, a fairly minor crisis. Yes, people have died, but a good many should not have done. Politics prevented usable anti-viral treatments being applied and thus cost lives, as well as sent infected patients into non-infected environments full of the vulnerable. The grapevine tells me Hospitals aren’t giving anti-virals but using steroids and ventilators instead. Because of politics. Beds have been cut. Because of politics. In short, ignorant politicians panicked and made a mess. And are still panicking because no-one wants to admit they were wrong, or be the first to admit being so.

No government that I’m currently aware of, is applying or recommending known remedies, like improving metabolic health with simple means that work for everyone. This is stuff that was commonly printed in ‘Home doctor’ books available in the 1960’s and before. Even today, Doctors recommend them. Cut sugar intake. Eat a balanced diet. Cut down on Bread and rice. Get out for a walk every day in the fresh air. Do something physical. That way you’ll have what they call better ‘metabolic health’ and so be less likely to suffer the worst of any disease.

Now we’re in this crazy logjam of lockdowns and restrictions, maybe because no country wants to be made a pariah by other nations who will probably use the freedom within a neighbour state as an excuse to have a little trade war, or other such one-uppersonship to curry favour with their respective electorates. No politician wants to be first to ease the lockdowns, because for them the restrictions aren’t an issue. They can get all those little services the general public is denied. Apart from Boris Johnson, do any of these characters look badly groomed?

The thing is, those of us with an operating brain cell have things called memories. We remember previous virus outbreaks. We check our sources. We double check the evidence. Where possible we go to the base stats and don’t trust spin or regurgitated press releases. We also listen to the real world; for example, overheard in a Supermarket yesterday. Woman to checkout operator, “Oh, me Mam had the jab a few weeks ago and she still got Covid.” And that’s not the first time I’ve heard people say similar things within audible range over the last week or two. That’s from a very small sample size. All you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open.

You won’t read much about that in the political or media mainstream. The best they have is “Shut up and do what you’re told.” while people lose their livelihoods and human rights.

I agree with my farmer landlord; the politicians and media have it wrong. This pandemic has been an object lesson in how to screw up. And haven’t they done that in spades?

So here we go

Here we go for WTO BREXIT. Amazon sent me an email the other day saying that anything ordered from their UK site (There isn’t an Amazon.ie) may be subject to extra duties, so they’re ready. The main UK ports have been ready for several years, with ‘pop-up’ customs posts ready to clear lorry loads of merchandise as they come in and go out of the UK. A good thing (for me) is the pound losing five points almost overnight against the Canadian Dollar a couple of nights ago, which made it a good idea to buy sterling. No idea why the markets react in this way. The UK is ready, customs posts set up, exporters informed and the RN getting set to arrest and detain fishing boats without proper licenses in UK waters. The only people who seem ill-prepared, bent over a chair with their trousers around their knees are the EU states.

Out here in the wilder west of Ireland, all these COVID restrictions are starting to be ignored. Dropped by my local butchers to make my Christmas order today. No masks, seasons greetings, all very civilised. The local supermarket still enforces the anti-social distancing and masks bullshit, but other people are starting to not bother.

No idea what’s going on in the US. Obvious vote rigging and dismissal of legal challenges, probably dismissed on technicalities, evidence of, but not court admissible proof. As for Biden, it’s well known he’s pro-EU, anti-BREXIT, but that’s okay because with congress and the senate on the flip side of the coin, he’s going to be in a lame duck administration. One hopes.

There’s a reported problem with the voting machines ‘flipping’ votes and all sorts of other dodgy things going on. Nothing that constitutes definitive proof, but man, I would be asking for a thorough review and re-run of the elections right now, without the voting machines, with proper oversight, with voter ID and the absolute minimum of postal voting. But that’s just me. At least an obviously fair vote would shut up all the dissenting parties and give them less to kick off about.

Up in the not so great not so white as you think it is North, there’s Trudeau allowing Chinese troops to ‘train’ on Canadian soil. Does that corrupt little toe-rag not trust his own military? How long before those exercises allow Chinese troops to ‘assist’ the Canadian armed forces against their own people? Say those uppity Midwesterners in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan? No idea. We’re out of there and our investment money is following us.

For us the aforementioned is now rather academic. We’re hunkered down in the wilder west of Ireland. All our Christmas shopping is done. We have found out where to get some superb mini-rhubarb tarts and some of the finest Mince Pies known to man fresh on most weekdays. Right on our doorstep. Our accounts are well in the black and all credit cards fully paid off. The halls are decked etc and there’s food in the larder to see us clear through to February, and a suitably fiendish 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table to stretch our pattern recognition software. I might get another, just in case we get a bit too clever and finish it before Christmas. There’s Oak logs drying ready for the stoves. The kids may be with us some time in January. Fingers crossed. We’re going to be okay. Hope you will be too.

Like a lot of people I won’t be staying up for the latest end of the world show on the 21st December when an optical illusion makes it look like Saturn and Jupiter are going to collide. I’ll be hitting the ‘snooze’ button for that one. If these people are that keen to see the end of the world, I’m sure there’s a high cliff they can jump off and stop mithering the rest of us with their ridiculous utterances. All the hand-waving man made climate change panic mongers can follow them for all I care. They’re all busy telling the rest of us how to live while ignoring their own rules, buying waterfront property and jetting off to conferences all over the planet. If they didn’t clock in tomorrow on account of being too dead to work, would anybody really care?

Hope my last reader can stand the suspense.

Merry Christmas, Yuletide Greetings and all that Jazz.

Warmest regards