Tag Archives: Local stuff

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

Bill

Save the world!

Went out today. Snuck up to Galway, to see if we could get out of the rain, which has been quite persistent. Bought a Tea Brack, which is a tea cake type of halfway house between fruit cake and bread. Very nice too. But oh, the calories, the calories. This is one of those treats that has to be rationed carefully.

Ireland, we are finding, as we sneak around the tiers and lockdowns, is full of tiny places to grab some of the tastiest baked goods it’s ever been my pleasure to get teeth into. Today we stopped at a tiny filling station on the road between Tulla and Ennis. Not much of a shop to look at, but stocking exquisite individual rhubarb crumbles and mince pies, all home baked. Their flaky pastries being crunchy all the way through and cooked perfectly. I’ve had far worse at the much smarter run of cafe.

Unfortunately, according to some people our little pleasurable perambulation contributed to destroying the planet. Supposedly because of that deadly killer carbon dioxide stuff pouring out of our exhaust. We are continually told we must “Save the world” by cutting back on everything we do. No more air travel, nice meals or personal transport, and turn down that thermostat you heretic! Then when the greater number of humanity have died through cold and famine brought on by so-called anti-global warming policies the world will be ‘saved’. Or will it?

Can I ask a few pertinent questions? First; how will anyone know when the world is truly saved? Second; if most of people are dead, who is the world being ‘saved’ for? Furthermore, who gets to decide if the world is ‘saved’ or not if a bloody great asteroid (That might have been averted if there were enough people to fund an asteroid aversion programme) slams into the Earth? These things do happen from Epoch to Eon, and might it be a better idea instead of messing around with atmospheric trace gas levels, if human activity has any effect upon those at all, to ensure the Earth doesn’t get wasted by a rogue chunk of rock from outer space?

Just my ten cents worth of course, but every time you ask these serious questions, all the fanatics can do is splutter and do an impersonation of Donald Sutherland at the end of “Invasion of the body snatchers.”

Which begs the question; does the world need saving from humanity in general, or just saving from the global warming fanatics? I have formed my own opinion, what say the rest of you?

Update: or should we be more worried about the latest asteroid to explode over New York state last Wednesday? It was part of a larger debris field. So don’t say you weren’t told.

Dead Horse theory

Saw this on Pinterest today and it made perfect sense. These gross interferences in our human rights that Government is responsible for in the name of some perverse form of ‘safety’ fit the bill. COVID-19 / SARS/COV-2 is a dead horse. Not a ‘conspiracy theory’ but simple common sense.

Dr Mike Yeadon, ex head of Pfizer R & D surmises that the pandemic has been over for months because most of the population is now immune. The pandemic is over, as is the emergency. A simple test using the law of diminishing returns means this logically has to be the case. The disease has already done it’s worst with the vulnerable population.

Yet still various governments are talking about cancelling Christmas. I say to the politicians, put your hands up, admit it’s been a major over reaction and lift the restrictions. You will be forgiven if you are honest. However, that window is rapidly closing. Time to ‘fess up and play fair boys. All the talk of mandatory vaccinations is not a good idea as the worst has been past for ages. The pandemic is fizzling out as they all do. It’s running out of people to infect.

Small aside; in the grocery store around lunchtime I turned around to see a tall girl in her early 20’s standing waiting for her turn with the cashier. She was terrified. The look in the poor girls eyes was of full on rabbit in the headlight paralysing fear. Now I’m not that scary looking a person, and I don’t think her expression had anything to do with me. However, she was almost paralysed with fright, twitching at every little thing or if anyone came within six feet. As I left the store, I found myself wondering if she would be one of the first in line for vaccination and if the vaccine is not as safe as claimed, run the risk of health damaging side effects. For one so young at the very start of her adult life, that would be an unnecessary tragedy. Even so, the fear being pumped out at the vulnerable will have repercussions for years, not merely economically, but socially and emotionally, scarring a whole generation.

Quick statement of interest here; I normally have no problems with vaccinations. I’ve had the set, from TB, MMR, Polio, Diptheria and half a dozen others. And if I’m off anywhere where some nasty bug is endemic, normally roll my sleeve up with a grin. With one particular exception; Influenza. Historically on the three occasions I’ve actually submitted myself to a flu jab, I’ve always been ill for three or four days forty eight hours afterwards, so nowadays I tend to ignore all the wheedling from GP’s and Pharmacists to bare my arm. If forced to, I’ll take a discreet place at the extreme rear of the queue and go “Oh dear, what a shame. You’ve run out of vaccine? Well I’ll be off then. No need to fuss, you did your best. Byee…” And wait for the ones before me in the queue to fall over, or not, as the case may be. If experience teaches you that something is likely to make you ill, doesn’t it make sense to avoid it?

I’d also like to introduce anyone passing who reads this far down my febrile drivel to the ten commandments of logic. Always a handy list to have lying around. Just as a reminder for when the levels of media and political bullshit rise above waist level, like now.
Ten commandments of logic

Update: Interesting reports coming out of Milan, Italy. Apparently patients in a lung cancer trial were found to test positive for SARS/COV-2 as early as September 2019. Now Mrs S and I suffered from a very strange bout of an influenza type illness I called ‘The London Cough‘ in November 2019. If the bug was active in Milan, in September 2019, it is not a massive conclusion jump to conclude that we may have already been infected and recovered. If this is true we’re already immune to the bug, not likely to catch it or pass it on and therefore do not need to self-isolate, or wear a mask. We are safe from the world, and the world is safe from us. Isn’t that nice?

Echoes

It’s not so much the hanging around waiting for things to happen that I mind. It’s the uncertainty that nags at my hindbrain. At present we’re still waiting for our worldly goods to arrive, and the person who was supposed to keep us informed has buggered off for a long weekend. The banks are likewise being less than amenable. Which is annoying. Simple things are taking twice as long as they should. Deliveries of goods are all over the bloody place, and a refund is not much good if you’ve been hanging around waiting for a specific item for the last three flaming weeks.

The echoes in our new place tend to get on your tits after a while. Which isn’t a whole lot of fun. Not to mention being in ‘level five’ lockdown. No matter that lockdowns don’t really work, so why despite all the freaking evidence are we still in fcking house arrest? Not to mention the threat of the coppers kicking down doors on Christmas day because someone might have one guest more than some arbitrary figure pulled out of thin fcking air? Whoever thought that was a good idea needs their throat slitting and their dying cadaver nailed upside down to a post by a very large spike through their sexual organs.

Notwithstanding, Police worldwide are traditionally known to dislike intervening in ‘domestics’ as the “He said-she said-they did.” factor is astronomical, and the chance of stray cutlery going where it shouldn’t during such an incident is too high for someone hoping to be around to claim their pension. That sort of officer will have already decided that there will be a large number of NFA’s on Christmas day, if they can’t call in sick or get the day off. However, the newer breed seem to have an unpleasant zeal for ruining other people’s days. A predilection for unwarranted intervention. A lack of live and let live. They’re more like Jackboots than the Police officers I was brought up to respect.

There’s also a suspicion that some unpleasant individuals will rat on their neighbours to get their own back for some slight, either real or imagined. Some might turn anonymous informer simply because they’re having an unhappy time and they don’t see why anyone else should have any fun. There’s a word for that sort of person. It’s a short, pithy, Anglo-Saxon adjective. My last remaining reader will no doubt know exactly what kind of low-life I’m referring to. The poison pen letter writer, the curtain twitcher, the neighbourhood snitch; weak willed, nasty and spiteful.

Fortunately our local Garda don’t seem to be much in evidence and will only make their presence felt if there’s a real problem. We might be supposed to be confined to a 5km radius, but there are enough exceptions for everyone to negotiate their way around and get the necessities of life in without too much legal interference. And no-one in their right mind is even thinking about interfering with Christmas. Besides, we’re building relationships with our close neighbours, making ourselves known, helping out if need be and just being decent human beings. But those are tales for another time and place.

In the meantime at our new domicile it’s all hurry up and wait while the echoes of life amplify every single breath. Is it time to go out? Why yes I think it is.

A sense of proportion

Great news! our worldlies have hit customs and we’re talking delivery dates after rattling around a near-empty house for the last week. Has it only been a week? Christ on a bike it seems like months.

Add to that I hit a bit of an emotional wall last night and slept for almost a solid thirteen hours. Some people have meltdowns, I just crash. Boom! Out like a light at twenty to nine last night and Mrs S said she couldn’t wake me until well past nine this morning.

Hardly surprising. The emotional weight of this entire move has been on my shoulders and it’s not been an easy ride. From planning and execution through all the frustrations with Banks and logistics companies, I’ve been doing most of the heavy lifting, then having to deal with the emotional backlash from my other half when she gets frustrated. Then there have been all the last minute changes, coping with sudden changes in COVID-19 restrictions, Gardai checkpoints and doing all the driving. If I said it’s been pretty intense and relentless I wouldn’t be exaggerating.

So today I need a day off. A time out to regain my sense of proportion. Tomorrow I will need the tatters of my emotional energy to go and shout at a few people for not doing their jobs. Work which they were paid to do. And this is from a man who does not really like to raise his voice. Except in celebration with friends.

As for the restrictions, the papers are all breathlessly reporting that County Cavan has gone into level four restrictions, which means you have to limit the number of guests at a wedding or funeral and that certain sports aren’t allowed as well as a few other things. Although no-one seems to have explained this to the locals who are all rolling their eyes and going about their business as usual. The local Gardai must be busy elsewhere, because despite the local station being just up the way, we haven’t seen any for days.

Now to me the reasoning behind these restrictions seems a little odd. Yes, there are more ‘cases’, but what constitutes a ‘case’? Is it a positive PCR test? A test that was never meant to be used as a diagnostic? Actual symptoms, no matter how mild? Actual hospitalisations or deaths? I know the death count for the entire country is around the seasonal norm. Masks don’t seem to have any real effect, apart from as a placebo. And if you’re wearing a mask in your street clothes, you might as well not be wearing a mask at all. Seriously, it’s all so disproportionate.

My main fear is not any virus, but the effects of Government lockdowns. I’m more worried about getting informed on and the COVID Police kicking down my door than about the virus itself. Not that any of the locals are of the snitching kind. This isn’t suburbia where they’ve go nothing better to do.

Fuck it, there’s a couch under the stairs, where I intend to lounge for the rest of the day. Mrs S has disappeared off to her makeshift office with a mug of tea and a whole packet of Ginger biscuits. There’s a network printer to connect, but nothing needs to be printed this week, so it can bloody well stay disconnected. We’ve got Mr Amazon delivering a bunch of stuff next week, but that’s more or less it.

Fuck ’em all. Come hell or high water I am going to keep my sense of proportion. Unlike the mainstream media.

Travel tribulations

Ireland just went to “Is your journey really necessary” restrictions to which my answer will always be “Yes.” The Gardai (Police) are requesting definitive guidance on how to Police this, which knowing the current crop of fearful vacillating political class, will take at least a month to draft. Which is to our benefit. Here the Police say they prefer to use the old Peelian model of co-operation with the public, which is good. Not like the UK where the idiots are known to kick down doors because someone had the TV on too loud.

Mrs S is fretting, because we have to get out of our current holiday let this weekend and drive our next stop. She’s worried about the travel restrictions and insists I go shopping today and buy lots of canned and dry goods in case we go into level five, which is complete lockdown of the entire fecking country. The ‘experts’ say level five is essential, but for once the politicians kept their nerve, or were more frightened of widespread civil disobedience and said level three, no more.

I’m going to hold back on doing a large shop of canned stuff until Wednesday. By which time our new bank account will be live so I can start moving money around. Once that’s started we’ll be able to get cracking properly. We’ll get the first tranches of capital over and the great work can begin in earnest.

At least the cops over here don’t make unpleasant little rap video’s telling the public that “We’re comin’ to get yer.” Whoever thought that was a good idea needs their head examined. Same for chasing people indoors, when outdoors was the safest place to be.

Overall there’s little of the heavy handed approach here than I’ve seen in the UK. The public are trusted to get on with their lives, and that will be to Ireland’s benefit. It will come out of this with trust in law enforcement more or less intact. And trust is crucial in matters of Policing. Without it you have coppers being run ragged and coming down heavy handed on the very people they are supposed to protect. With the result that more serious crime will skyrocket and public order will be seriously, if not irrevocably impaired.

Might does not make right, it just makes enemies of those authorities that ordinary people need to trust to keep things ticking over nicely. From my reading of Irish history so far, it was the “I say you peasant! Do what you’re bally well told!” attitude on the part of the English that led to constant Irish rebellion and finally the war of independence.

In short this boils down to ‘treat people like shit and they’ll give it right back’. In millions of tiny ways that damage and erode confidence, which was always the plague of management relations in the UK.

On the home front our new house isn’t fully ready for habitation at the moment. Our furniture won’t arrive for three weeks, and there’s decoration to be done. Lampshades, artwork and the like. Then there’s some conversion work to be done on the electronics like the TV and Computers. Replacement power supplies, that sort of thing. Which means Mr Amazon will be a regular caller on our doorstep for a while. Overall, I think we’ve fallen on our feet, which will prove a solid grounding for the next steps forward.

Hiatus

Downtown and chilling before we leave Canada’s shores for good. This means a total shift in pace. Afternoon beers, dodging Victoria’s notoriously passive-aggressive cyclists, quietly making fun of all the ‘Mumsies’ (Masked up morons) and generally shoe-horning what enjoyment we can while waiting for other people to do their appointed tasks.

In our hotel lobby there is one of those leaflet holders. It is full of whale watching brochures. A couple for air tours, but the vast majority are for whale watching tours. Nothing else. Which begs the question, why only whale watching? Do the the whales being watched actually like overfed tourists gurning at them from annoyingly fast boats? Where are the tours for whales to come and see the humans? Where is the parity here? Enquiring minds would like to know.

The price of a pint in a pub is also somewhat mind strangling. You can pay almost ten bucks (GBP 6) for a basic brew downtown. Which is a piss take. Most of the cost being tax. But then what’s new? Tax takes a massive bite out of anything remotely enjoyable. Regressive Sin taxes, don’t work and harm the very people they are meant to ‘protect’. Like so many other governmental interventions.

There is a significant case for considerable governmental shrinkage across the west. Unfortunately there seems to be a pathetic belief in some quarters that Governments are somehow infallible, which isn’t true because they’re all made up of Mk1 Humans, some of whom lack the emotional and rational faculties of an off colour chimpanzee on methamphetamine. The sayings “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” and “Be careful what you wish for” are most apposite. When politicians offer free stuff, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself “Who is going to pay for this and how badly is it needed?” Also “Who is going to clear up this mess?”

This is not to say that Governments are unnecessary. Far from it. Governments provide infrastructure like the legal enforcement mechanisms of the civil and criminal courts. Which should be kept as free as possible from political interference. Governments do well at big, one size fits all stuff like roads, power supply and similar. Everything else has the potential for a big FAIL.

Regarding our current plans, the only glitch was my passport wallet disappearing down between the hotel bedside table and bed, which resulted in a minor fit of the vapours on my part until the reprehensible object of my frantic search was located. Mrs S has reprimanded me for being so careless as to lose track of such important documents but we both acknowledged that better a panic now than a panic on the morning of our flight.

I needed a shower after that.

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.