Tag Archives: Local stuff

More of the same

Things trundle on. More forms to complete, and I had to mess around with my handy dandy Printer / Fax to get necessary details off to the UK last night without getting charged an upper and larger extremity on courier fees. Seriously, these guys charge like a Rhino with a migraine then still don’t get the bloody thing there on time because of a lick of snow that they wouldn’t even notice over in Calgary, so it’s worth lugging the fax into the front room where the phone line connection is and spending ten minutes messing around with RJ11s and the like.

bills-weather-rockOn the subject of weather, I was checking my blogs history for ad hoc local observations on the weather, and noticed that we seem to get a serious dash of ice and snow here every two years, with more snow and ice than usual every three. Summer temperatures can end up in the low to mid thirties Celsius (Centigrade, whatever), which is nothing unusual, given that we’re on the same latitude as mid-France, so when someone blarts out that it’s the “Hottest year, EVAH!” I do have to suppress a chortle. I think these prognostications of media doom are simply cries for more funding. My Weather Rock, however, remains unconvinced, and has taken to lurking indoors on a nice cosy windowsill in the kitchen, hogging the view. It’s probably sniggering at all the other weather rocks forced to shiver outdoors, but it’s very hard to tell with rocks.

Anyway, it’s good that we have an AWD with decent all-weather tyres because I have to get Mrs S to a conference downtown today. Which means an early start allowing a bit of extra time for the inevitable dickhead faction out on the roads. Then I may amble into the downtown core for an hour to check something out before heading back to the barn and getting a nice hot feed set up for her ladyship when I go to pick her up around four. I hope to perform this task without any additional drama. Although I can hear the local snowplough already trolling up and down roads, so by the time we set off, our hill will be cleared.

On the drama front, we’ve finally stopped watching Canadian Netflix because it’s become so crap. Seriously, as a streaming service it’s really gone downmarket. Not that it was ever brilliant, but it was better than the alternatives. All there seem to be are tenth rate ‘documentaries’ with the odd watchable feature film and a host of what used to be called ‘B’ movies and teen series. Honestly, it’s like the PC Police have decided you can’t watch programmes which don’t comply with certain nauseatingly touchy-feely guidelines, which may ultimately prove their downfall. So we’ve signed up for a CraveTV account which gives us some reasonable HBO and Showtime series for the same price. The other choice, Cable, is terrible, chock full of adverts and not worth the fifty bucks a month our service provider charges for the ‘basic’ package. To which I am moved to retort; if I wanted propaganda, there’s plenty on YouTube for free.

One of the things I have noticed over the past 12 months is a serious decline in the overall quality of TV and Movie entertainment. To which I’m inclined to hypothesise that maybe all the slebs and half way decent writers have been so busy fundraising for the Clintons, protesting and electioneering that they stopped doing their jobs as entertainers. Don’t even get me started on the patronising crap about to be foisted on Netflix viewers like ‘Dear white people’, which is such a dire idea and so poisonous to race relations that it defies rational comment.

Snow more no

Well, that was quick. The snow and ice outside has gone, washed into the gutters by a more seasonal rain. Last night was a bit wild and woolly, with wind and rain rattling the gutters and whistling around the eaves, but nothing we haven’t had before.

Various sagas trickle on in the background. Nothing all good, but nothing all bad either. I’m planning fallback measures for as many eventualities as I can against the constant background motion of moving goalposts trying to open a Sterling bank account from Canada. Oh what a complete mess of spaghetti it all is. As soon as one form is correctly filled in, some functionary comes back with “Errr, this wasn’t on the form, but…” Which leaves me hurriedly scrambling around, begging obscure answers off people who send me up a blind alley of ‘confidentiality’. It almost seems like some factions are trying to turn the administrative clock back to the early 1950’s when nationalisation was all the rage. Like they want to outlaw the individual choice that drives successful economies back into the financial dark ages. No matter. Nothing is impossible and I console myself thus; if it were that straightforward, everyone would be doing it.

Down in the Juan De Fuca I’ve noticed a lot of Canadian Naval activity of late. Today was a Frigate, some kind of Corvette / Minesweeper and a diesel powered Submarine with a smoking exhaust. They’re either on exercise or trying to stop all the anti-Trumpettes attempting a very chilly 18 kilometre swim to Canada. Not that Bryan Cranston, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Barbara Streisand, Miley Cyrus, Raven-Symone, Neve Campbell and Chloe Sevigny have actually done so. Whether the aforementioned are part of the 28 (!) people from the US who have filed for refugee status with Canadian immigration I am unable to say. Although perhaps the hypocrisy is strong with them. anti-trump-refugees-fleeing-to-canadaSo maybe the patrols are working as a deterrent or the colder Winter weather here on the Canadian Riviera has something to do with it. Perhaps trying the old Jedi mind trick at the 49th parallel wasn’t such a super wheeze?

Who knew, eh?

Snow ho bloody ho

Just looked out of the kitchen window and it’s snowing for the second time in four days. WTF is going on? This is Victoria for heavens sake. It’s not supposed to snow in this part of BC. The road out front is pretty much clear, but as I don’t have to commute, that’s not much of a problem.

Still packing and wondering where the hell did I buy this? Every so often. And more to the point, why? As far as the festering season is concerned Mrs S and I will be on a pretty tight schedule, bouncing back up and down Island like we’re riding a Yo-yo on bad knicker elastic. Shopping is done. Cards sent. Presents bought. I think we may be ahead of the curve. However, it looks like a busy Yuletide.

One of the associated exercises to do with moving is that you have to run down the amount of stuff in the freezer. Which often gives up pleasant surprises, but also the occasional booby prize. Nice surprise of the day was a Liver and Bacon Stew, which will be served with mustard dumplings, a little mashed potato and cut green beans. Culinary disaster lurking at the back was my attempt to do something spicy with cauliflower that ended up having the effect of paint stripper on the palate. Well, we’re moving, so the cauliflower will join a couple of other pots in the recycle bin. Reminder to self, cayenne pepper has to be used very sparingly. Anyway, I’ll stick the recipe for mustard dumplings on the ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists’ pages as it comes under the heading of tried and proven.

Sooo. What’s going on in the big wide world out there? Apart from the snow, which has now stopped after leaving an inch or so on the ground, further startling the locals, bringing the comment from some of the perpetually offended that the whiteness of snow is part of the ‘racist patriarchy’ (Derisive snort).

In the headlines the F-35A debacle took yet another blow in the shape of President-Elect Trumps disapproval which has made Lockheed-Martins share price nosedive. Frankly, I’m not surprised. The F-35A is five years overdue and counting. So why aren’t the orders being cancelled? Or doesn’t it count because it’s only taxpayers money? I think that the F-35A’s major problem is that it tries to be all things to all men and fails.

Then there’s the whole transgender fad sweeping through university campuses and educationalist circles. Oh well, it’s a fashion, and will die when the penny finally drops, along with the removal of funding for Gender Studies courses and various worthless NGO’s. Somehow I get the feeling that some very convincing schizophrenics are embedded within academia, at least judging from the flood of neologisms and other strangeness bubbling therefrom. Please note; Coining Neologisms is one of the symptoms of Hebephrenia, part of the grab bag of behaviours indicating disorganised schizophrenia. Inventing new ‘gender pronouns’ for the sake of it certainly raises psychiatric red flags about the mental stability of the inventors. Insisting that everybody else use them also has that certain ring of ‘the lunatics are running the asylum’. To which I would respond; “if only they could be persuaded to stay there and leave the rest of us alone.” (Heavy sigh)

Newsflash! (Or rather not) If anyone wants a decent job when graduating, a ‘Gender Studies’ (Or similar) degree is going to be worth less than used toilet paper. I’d also add that if anyone tries to address me as ‘Ze‘, there will be ructions. And vitriol. Possibly even legal action, because referring to people by the incorrect gender pronoun may soon be an official ‘Hate crime’ in Canada. Which is absurd. But then George Orwell distilled my thinking on this topic when writing his essay Notes on Nationalism (1945);

“One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

I know he was talking about academics voicing the belief that American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution during the early to mid 1940’s. However, it’s a damn good quote and illustrates that even if someone can wallpaper their walls with University degrees, it does not automatically follow that they know everything about anything. Only that they know a lot about a little. A sentiment which was later echoed by Bertrand Russell in ‘My Philosophical Development‘ (1959) as “This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.”
Not: “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” For heavens sake, if you’re going to quote someone, at least take ten minutes to check the bloody attribution. To find that the usually trustworthy Goodreads gets it badly wrong is somewhat galling and devalues their brand.

Anyway; back in the real world, the snow has stopped and the outlook is for five days of sunny but cold weather. Which means black ice and watching obvious newcomers slipping and sliding all over the place. To which I have been known to comment; “Welcome to Canada.” However, it’s all part of the learning curve of immigration and learning that what’s really great about this cold weather is being able to watch it from inside a nice warm living room. TTFN.

Apologies

It’s a wet wintry Saturday, and I’m fed up with the usual seasonal shopping. I make no apology for this. Two weeks to go before Christmas and I’m dreading it. Having outlined outlined my reasons several times before. It’s not that I’m a complete anti seasons greeting curmudgeon, just that I can’t really get behind the whole Secret Santa-Office party-you-vill-be-jolly-or-ve-vill-heff-you-disciplined-boi-cracky. If you didn’t quite understand that last phrase, just read it out aloud in a Herr Flick accent with the last two words in a yokelish drawl. Trust me, it will make perfect sense. Again, no apology should be implied or construed in any way shape or form. I’m not sorry and here’s the kicker; you can’t make me.

The only time I’ll apologise is if I’m proven wrong. In addition I won’t apologise if someone is ‘offended’ by the way I walk or talk, or mind my own damn business. Nor for being born into the skin I’m in, being an ‘unreconstructed male’, nor the years I’ve survived on this planet. I also won’t apologise for thinking Brexit, Trump’s election as US President and the impending implosion of the European Union are good things. For a given value of ‘good’. Nor do I apologise for my scepticism over man made climate change, or thinking Jimmy Savile might have actually been innocent, or that the lamestream media just makes shit up a lot of the time. Nor do I apologise for thinking that Justin Trudeau is promoted way above his pay grade or that bill C-16 outlawing ‘hate speech’ against transgenders is a truly, epically bad idea. It won’t stop them offing themselves. Nor do I think that the current increase of drug abuser deaths is a bad thing either. Think of it as evolution in action. I’m not unsympathetic, I just think we shouldn’t enable the worst excesses of being homeless, that’s all. There are better ways to help homeless people than simply chasing down the drug dealers. For this, I also make no apology.

Seriously, I’m rather overcome with apology fatigue. Fed up of having to apologise when the fault is not mine, or words are twisted by the unprincipled into something that was never intended. In short there’s far too much apologising, and not enough cheerful “Go fuck yourself.” Especially when the demands for apologies are almost invariably insincere and used as weapons to cow the strong into submission by noisy cry-bullies. Fuck them all, or rather not, the bastards would only breed, and there are far too many as it is.

Sod it. Time for pancakes and honey.

What is ‘fake’ news?

Taking a short break from packing to watch the snow and ice outside, its quite bright today after a day or so of snow, hail and sub zero temperatures so the view is quite picturesque with more of the white stuff to come possibly tonight and tomorrow. Today’s interest was piqued by the current row about so-called ‘fake’ news and I was moved to wonder what makes some news ‘fake’ and who can be trusted to tell stuff like it is without so much spin it makes you dizzy reading the news, online or off.

On careful reflection I’d say that there is a Pacific Ocean of fake out there, especially from the big news outlets, who have repeatedly diluted their product by for example, uncritically publishing activist press releases as factual. Something comes in via Reuters and many news outlets publish it almost verbatim with very little fact checking when even a simple Internet search would demolish the contents blandly formatted assertions. Indeed, a new verb has been invented – to Fisk, which is a line by line refutation, with citations, of any given news article. How Reuters select their content and where they source it is down to them, but it does devalue their usefulness as primary source material. Yes, Dorothy, there is fake news and it’s endemic to the mainstream media.

Let’s take as our example the stories surrounding the recent US Presidential election. While on the road across the USA earlier this year Mrs S and I visited 24 States in six weeks. In our ten thousand mile adventure we listened to the news, spoke to people and used our eyes and ears. We noted the visible support for each candidate in a wide variety of neighbourhoods. The most visible support in terms of lawn signs and window posters were for Bernie Saunders. Second place went to Donald Trump. Yet we saw none for Hilary Clinton. In ten thousand miles of travel, not one lawn sign or window poster. With only one recorded Clinton bumper sticker out of thousands for the other candidates. Yet who got most of the positive coverage? I have sat and watched the raw footage and livestreams of Trump and Clinton speeches (The sacrifices I make, eh?) then watched slack jawed as newsreaders on the BBC, France24 and CNN cover a related story then try to tell me that black is white and down is sideways. To which I would respond vehemently;

Now President-elect Donald J Trump has been repeatedly demonised by mainstream newsreaders and pundits for being ‘racist’, ‘mysoginist’ and just about every ‘ist’ and ‘ism’ including committing multiple instances of ‘hate speech’. Yet if you bother to watch his speeches; yes his campaign speech style has been bombastic and repetitious, but all he’s said has been a railing against the corruption in Washington DC (Drain the swamp), illegal immigration as opposed to legal immigration (Build the wall) and telling other countries to pay for their own defence. He also went out and got his hands dirty, even assisting with the loading and unloading of supplies during the 2016 Louisiana floods. Clinton’s speeches, though neatly spun and well written lacked power and carried the reek of continued Neocon interventionism that has turned most of the Middle East into a near perpetual war zone, and been the source of a refugee crisis which threatens to undermine the native culture of Europe. Her absence from crisis hit places (even for a cheap photo-op) in the US and her invisibility during the later weeks of her campaigns also spoke volumes. There has also been the big question mark over her health coupled with various scandals (Email, Haiti, Foreign Campaign Contributions) that dogged her campaign. Which most of the media and associated punditry seemed to ignore and even in some cases actively deny despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary from sources like Wikileaks, who have carried on despite a well funded smear campaign against Julian Assange. (Link to Podesta and DNC Emails here. No it’s not illegal to look at them)

I’d also like to point out that the mainstream news media (Including Fox) have indulged in what is known as ‘churnalism‘ for years. Which makes me think TV news media is little more than a game of Chinese Whispers. A process which can be defined by the acronym LILO (Lies in-Lies out). Because unless there’s some real investigation and fact checking going on at each level, what’s the bloody point? It seems from this bloggers perspective that all the main media outlets do is give you their dramatised opinion of events, not what actually happened. Unfortunately, because of modern media marketing practice, spin, half truths and outright lies have become the norm in modern editorial policy. Only challenged by some of those sites now branded ‘fake’. Does anyone else see the irony?

When I was growing up in the UK, it used to be that the more sober broadsheets could be trusted to a degree because they spent money on correspondents and freelancers out in the field. Also, anyone with an ounce of news-savvy in pre-Internet days used to read both the Telegraph and the Guardian in the UK, because the respective editorial policies were in direct opposition, and the half truths and spin could be winnowed out in a kind of contrast and compare exercise. Personally I still read the UK’s Financial Times because the real stories are all about where the money goes. The Pink sheets are still fairly trustworthy because if they get it wrong, the City of London doesn’t like it. As they say in less refined financial service circles; “Money talks, bullshit walks.” Even so, I’ve learned to treat their Op-eds with caution, and where something sounds a little off, gone fact checking all on my own. I’ve also developed a healthy caution regarding media cited ‘Experts’.

In the UK there used to be a body called the press complaints commission up until 2014 which dealt with complaints where a media outlet was thought to have harrassed, misrepresented, faked content or grossly distorted a given story. It has been superceded by another watchdog-like body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, where reporting that harms people can be complained about here. The Media Council in Canada here. Australia here. And New Zealand here. For Europe generally, try here. The USA does not have such a body. All complaints have to be pursued separately by complainants via the court system.

Honestly? I don’t think there is any one definitive and completely trustworthy source of news. Looking for honest reportage nowadays is like prospecting for gold. Similarly, facts are rare and only found in small nuggets or grains, and you almost always have to go looking for it yourself. Or for a more scientific metaphor, you have to sift through a lot of Pitchblende to find a little Radium.

There are calls for some overarching authority to control the worst excesses of ‘fake’ news, not only in the mainstream, but also in the emergent media. Yet what paragons of even handedness are to be elevated to this positions of ultimate media arbitration? Do such people even exist? Who would appoint them and why? I would posit that the best solution lies with the feet on the street and that is to stop feeding the media beast. Unsubscribe, walk away, learn to research, and look after those closest to you. To get a little biblical (Psalm 146 Verse 5); Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Or to put it another way;

And here’s Ezra Levant reporting on a classic example of the CBC and associated media fakery of a 3000 strong protest of unemployed Alberta Oil patch workers, small family farm owners and First Nations against the proposed Carbon Tax;

The media people referred to the protesters as ‘pigs’ and ‘deplorables’ just because of 20 second bit of crowd-mockery. At least those peaceful protesters now know whose side the CBC and like minded media is on, and it isn’t the side of the ordinary Canadian.

Ciao Italia

Well that was a busy Monday morning. A business deal was concluded before 8am and we had the movers in to take our first tranche of kit into storage. So I’ve been busier than a metaphor with two adjectives moving very quickly indeed.

Did I mention we had a little snow this morning in Victoria? Nothing much, hardly enough to wet the ground, but it’s still colder than usual for December, but fits in with the local cycles of warm and cold Winters we’ve experienced so far. All weather tyres on the car, check. The only thing I might need is a replacement battery for the old Satnag. Well, the car is hitting its sixth birthday, but still goes up hill and down dale without missing a beat.

Over the weekend I’ve been watching with amusement the next crack on the shins for the bureaucracy that should have been just a free trade zone, the EU. You know, with all the snappy terms for leaving the EU bouncing around like Brexit and Frexit, no one gave thought to the Italians, whose referendum on ‘reform’ came up with a big fat NO, with huge political gains made by the anti-EU faction. The obvious next contender for media neologism is “Ixit”, or even “Italexit”, which somehow lacks the big ‘E’, but as the Italians aren’t net contributors to the EU budget, any “Ixit” would not be as much of a blow to the EU as when Britain finally leaves or possibly even when France bails out.

Any vecchia strada su, we have our travel plans for Italy 2017 firmly in place and it doesn’t matter which way the votes go because we’re planning to insure ourselves up the wazoo so that no matter what happens, we go five star.

That’s all for now. Cleaners are arriving for the first stage of wrapping up this apartment this afternoon and there is more packing to organise. TTFN.

Update: It’s not ‘Ixit’ or ‘Italexit’, but the far more elegant ‘Uscitalia’.  Thank you Peter.

Sent packing

Posting will be patchy for the next month or so. Sometimes you make a decision because you’re pushed into it and have to move fast and follow through then have to deal with the fallout. Today all sorts of things have come to a head and up until last night was feeling several glitters short of a Sparkle after last weeks scan. Add to that our current domicile being totally upended, with movers and deliveries arriving at the same time. Old sofabed has been disposed of with minimum disruption to the core business function of the household and a new King size (Wonderful) bed built and now in use. Despite recent recurrences of fever incurred insomnia.

The lounge is full of boxes as yet unfilled and all our books are in boxes. The kitchen, well, let’s just not go there. The whole apartment looks like it’s been bombed with cardboard cluster munitions. Because of my current illness I’m feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck and yet busy as a nut hunting squirrel letter writing to relatives and friends to let them know where we’re going and when. It will all come good. The trick is not to stop half way.

Notwithstanding, despite current illness, which is not what the Doctor and I thought it was, but a genetic condition which won’t actually kill me, but will intrude unpleasantly from time to time, I’m pretty good.  Currently having a few days off in Vancouver and catching up on sleep.  For the first time in months I’m feeling relaxed and totally centred, which is nice.  There’s a sensation of having turned a corner, despite tripping over noisy demonstrators and the occasional beggar who can’t keep his nose out of my business.  Apparently because I didn’t want his ‘help’, which I didn’t ask for, I’m a “Cruel and bombastic person.”  Well, yes and no.  Cruel in that I don’t care about the rude whining of other people when they try to butt into my business uninvited, and bombastic in that I didn’t ask for something, now bugger off and let me get on with things in my own way.  Which was visit a motorcycle dealership to check out the kit and make some informed decisions about protective clothing for next year.  Task accomplished and decisions have been made with a clear head.

If there’s one thing that does annoy the fuck out of me about life on the wet coast is random strangers talking at me without invitation or an “Excuse me.”, like they’re the fount of all fricking wisdom.  I like my own space, and while not a total misanthrope, can see the appeal of such a lifestyle.

Any old road up.  I see things are business as usual in the old country. Cracking down on ‘porn’ and increasing the snooping laws when the economy is the thing that matters. I think Trump has it right. It doesn’t matter what you are and what you think so long as you’re getting on with stuff and adding value.

The ‘experts’ (funny how they’re so often wrong, mm?) allegedly want us to live forever (Until we are no longer useful and can be disposed of neatly so as not to be a ‘nuisance’ in our dribbling dotages) on a meat-free, smoke free, sugar free diet while all our real freedoms fade.

There is a thing called ‘quality of life’ which is represented by a triangle of mental, physical, and spiritual parts of our being.  The overarching glue linking all three is the freedom to choose.  Take away that freedom, and quality of life suffers.  Which is something the busybodies and puritans are incapable of understanding.

That was fun… not

Wednesday was a bit of a day all things considered. Kind of a good news / bad news day. There used to be a pub game where you had to take an item of news and spin it to either be good or bad. I think the gag has fallen into disuse since the 1970’s, but I’d like to dust this old joke off just for todays post.

First, the bad news; our current landlady refused to give us a reference. (You can boo now)
Now the good news; our new landlord accepted a reference from the bank! (Cheer wildly)
Ah, the bad news; we’ve got to change our address. (Boo, hiss)
Now the good news; to a much bigger apartment! (Yay!)
The bad news; the new apartment needs redecoration. (Euw!)
The good news; new landlord has offered to pay for the paint. (Cool!)

And so on. Okay, we’ve shelled out half the damage deposit already (No need to boo, joke’s over) but that’s secured our new tenancy for January 1st by which time all our kit will be undercover in the new place, and we’ll be painting over the current hideous colour scheme. Opening the doors to let in a bright sparkly 2017 and letting out tired old 2016 and a whole lot of paint fumes. Yes we’ll be paying more rent, but it won’t break the bank.

Now this will inevitably result in complications over the festering season, but complications and challenges are a piece of store bought Christmas cake with fondant icing on top. At least to us.

First complication is new furniture arriving tomorrow with Mrs S due to disappear for the weekend while I deal with the first practicalities. I’m a bloke, so this is my part of the ship. With Mrs S out of the way I can begin packing without interruption. All I need is enough packing tape as we already have boxes galore flat packed and ready for action. No doubt it’ll keep me out of trouble until she arrives back on Sunday. Another complication will be youngest arriving on the 20th of December for a week or so, but I have a cunning plan to have the majority of non-essentials packed and good to go long before then. After which she has decided she wants to stay with sister-in-law mid island. As far as decor is concerned, we can cover any gaps with tinsel and decorations until move out time. This may put me to some minor inconvenience, but what the hell, I’ve probably coped with worse. The decorations will have to come down a few days before 12th Night, but that’s no biggie. Rather reminds me of our first ever move within BC. That happened at New Year as well. Which I did with minimal help. Again from a small suite to a much bigger apartment. When we moved to Victoria in June 2014, we were downsizing. Now we need more space so we can work better.

Regarding the refused reference; no, we haven’t trashed the apartment. Even before packing it’s probably cleaner than when we first moved in, and I’m stone cold certain it will be abso-fucking-lutely sparkling when we move out. Because that’s what we do. You know why our landlady actually refused? Because we’re good tenants and she doesn’t want us to leave. Seriously. Which in an odd sort of way is rather sweet.

Funny old business, life.

Apartment hunting

Mister Sticker, your mission, should you choose to accept it is to find a new apartment with three bedrooms and a den in a specific area of Greater Victoria. Off you go my son. That was a year ago. I think we’ve found a new place on the other side of Langford, subject to acceptance of references. More space. Better view (Sea and Mountains!), and a little further out from downtown. Not that we’re downtown all that often. Barely three times a month now. Unless we have visitors.

Tomorrow we find out whether all the people who have said nice things about Mrs S and I have done the trick. Because despite this blogs frequent irascibility and sarcasm, we’re pretty decent people who just like people to be businesslike and efficient. No fuss, no bother. Just getting on with our lives. Because we’re both pretty average. Mostly. If not, then at least I hope we’re setting an example. What of I’m not sure, but what the hell, we’re doing what we do and that’s our choice.

The new place, if we get it, will give us two proper sized offices where we can vent a bit without impinging on each other’s concentration. There’s a walk in wardrobe or two and a proper garage for our vehicles plus a spare bedroom and a spare double space on the bed couch. My only beef is the decor, which is in serious need of a repaint because previous tenants colour choices have been, now let’s be charitable here, a little eccentric. Bright green and yellow, with one room purple with beige doors were cited to us by our possible new landlord. Even now the main bedroom is in dire need of two coats of white emulsion, as is the kitchen. The current colour scheme is a sort of pastel vomit green. As colours go it’s one of those ‘last one in the showroom’ tints, which has got to go.

One note of sadness for the day; Anna Raccoon has closed her blog. This time (it is said) for the very last time. Anna has been fighting cancer with a vim and verve one can only wonder at. The Raccoon Arms was a host to some particularly fine, whimsical, well researched and above all amusing writing. Now trying to link to the site, like with Counting Cats, throws up a ‘database error’. Which means the blog has been wiped, or is otherwise inaccessible. I will take them off the sidebar after New Year if there is no sign of a return. Guys, if you’re still breathing and have time to drop by, remember that your courage, integrity and skill with words has always been viewed (at least by me) with nothing but admiration. Ave atque vale.

Update. Anna has made one last post which will be available here as a Parish Notice. On January 30 2017, the blog is primed to disappear.

Vices in mundo and we must turn with it.

Somethings burning…

…And I think it’s my candle at both ends. Failing that or I’ve got psychic jet lag, or should that be that I’m out of phase with my astral plane? At present I’m up at all hours of the night, from 3:30ish onward, which is 11:30am UK time. No idea why, but I seem to have developed a prescient early warning system that tells me when there’s something challenging going on across the pond.

The early hours went like this; wake up feeling totally wired and with all my brain cells buzzing. Go into office, which is out of earshot of our bedroom. Switch on ‘pooter. Check email. Sure enough there’s an ‘urgent’, highest priority panic now item squatting in my inbox like a squashed frog. Bugger. What have they got their panties in a bunch over this bloody time? Reply to email. That takes half an hour. Fidget. Play a game of Spider Solitaire. Forty five more minutes and Bong! Another response to my carefully worded missive. Reply with clarification. Well, there’s forty five minutes of my life I’m not getting back. Oh Jesus H Christ on a frigging Bike! Can’t people read? Am I teaching a sodding TESOL class? Notify lawyers. They respond in real time. At least they’re awake and on the ball. Remind others that if they had taken my advice two whole years ago we wouldn’t be having these issues. Still, can’t be helped. Make tea. Watch a little YouTube. Another hour and a half rolls by with the email chain growing ever longer until finally it’s 9am Pacific, 5pm across the pond and everyone stops wasting my bloody time and decides to shut up shop for the day. Hopefully that will close the door on this particular conversation. Oh well, it saves having to drag the whole sorry business over into tomorrow. I’ve gotten an answer, not quite the one I wanted, but close enough, and despite the insomnia, sometimes that’s all you need.

Sod it. Is it only 9am? Set up percolator, make and consume a pint of hot black coffee. Feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and I’ve got two critical meetings this afternoon. They say tax shouldn’t be taxing, but getting your finances just right so as not to overpay can be a headache. Protect the capital, manage the expenditure. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Find several day old news item on economic suicide note as announced by the Trudeau boy. Carbon taxes. Wealth redistribution. Yeah, redistributed out of my pocket into some politicians boondoggle. Good luck with that because it’s not going to happen. I have recruited a decent team of advisers over this side of the world. British expats all and they’re pretty lean, mean and keen.

References off to potential new landlord. Decision meeting on Wednesday. Bloody hell is it only 10am? Try to sleep for an hour. No good, I’m too wired. Shower, shave, dress smartly, check notes. I lose an hour somewhere along the line and Mrs S is telling me it’s time to get moving. Come 2pm local time we’ve signed on the dotted and all our local money has been secured before the next tranche arrives and we get to discuss how to maximise our investment yields. In conversation I remark to my finance guy; “I’ve learned two major lessons over the past two years. Trust nobody, and make sure your insurance is good.”
“I’ll have to remember that one.” He replies. Mrs S smiles. She remembers Paris. As do I. Must do it again some time when all the shouting has died down. This time without the untimely injuries.

Now it’s 6pm and I know I’ll pay for missing half a nights sleep this time tomorrow. I’ve got a scan in the afternoon, and my ‘bloods’ will be all over the place. Which may not be such a bad thing if it makes me look more unwell than I actually feel. Might bump me up the long, long waiting list.

This is weird. Why don’t I feel tired?