Tag Archives: New beginnings

Gated

Back at the house the new floors are in and curing. The last of the insulation is going in this week and our house is starting to resemble one again. As the wall insulation goes in the noise level from the road has dropped significantly and there are no more cold spots. Unfortunately for me, things aren’t happening fast enough for Mrs S and she has begun to fuss.

Any married man knows this; nothing is ever enough and even a minor delay is cause for a fit of the vapours (Intensity varies). This is where I have been for a couple of months now. It’s very stressful. More stressful than it should be. To the point where I have almost been driven to tears on one occasion. My comments about house renovations leading to divorce still stand. The actual statistic is that 12.5% of all couples will divorce after or during a project of this scale. Not a happy outcome, for anybody.

The one thing I have done recently is successfully hang a double gate for the main working yard. Never done it before, but with a bit of ingenuity and flexible thinking we are now securely gated. There were all sorts of issues like no-one had the right gate of the right width for the opening, but those were solved without breaking the budget by purchasing two gates of the same style but unequal size.

We were also looking for a throw over gate latch, but for some reason nylon string is the preferred way of securing double (or any) farm gates in Ireland, so our local agricultural supplier doesn’t stock them. Ergo, Mr Bezo’s boys will be called upon to provide for under twenty Euro’s. Providing Irish customs will let it through during the current bout of EU petulance.

As an aside; still seeing a lot of people about wearing those useless scraps of paper or cloth over their faces in vain hope of avoiding the dreaded COVID lurgi. Perhaps they should listen to a real live certified expert on the topic of health and safety like Stephen Petty, rather than some know-nothing media talking head?

I think perhaps that the truth of the matter has been so abused that no-one knows what to believe any more, so we’ll be stuck with the fallout from the last two years of Government-instigated insanity for years to come. So much for “three weeks to flatten the curve”, more like two years to screw over the peasants like you and me.

Now all these so-called ‘experts’ like Neil Ferguson are changing their tune. A bit late for that now they’ve f*cked us all, isn’t it?

Now I’m off to lock up after the builders. Hasta luego.

Matters in motion

Oh what fun! Is this fun? I’m not sure. The technician is coming next Wednesday to reconnect the Interwebs at the house. Hopefully the sparkys will have at least got some form of power up by then. Even if it’s just the main distribution board with a partial ring main segment. I’ll do my own thing in my sheds with a proper five bay distribution board running proper lighting and ring main circuits. Not the slightly unsafe mixture of wiring that’s in there now. And it will be done properly. To code.

Such are the joys of ownership. However, I look at it this way; the house will look stunning when it’s done. We’ll have lowered our heating needs to the point where we can heat the house with a hairdryer, figuratively speaking, started growing our own and still have extra for family and friends. It’s the getting started that is the steepest part of the curve.

In the meantime I’m building beehives. Almost (but not quite, situation was recovered) cocked up the first, but now I know what I’m doing, the other two will be easy and be ready for the first colonies the week after Easter. I hope.

My original schedule is all to cock because of delay after delay and unexpected turns of events. Supply chain issues and the artificially inflated costs of Diesel, in turn caused by lockdowns that went on twenty one months longer than absolutely necessary. Not just the Western political farting around that led the Russkies to go all crazy and chuck green conscripts against a determined guerrilla opposition.

This isn’t grown up politics, this is bananas. Does no one understand that stout fences make good neighbours any more? Now we have a massive disruption caused by NATO and EU encroachment on the buffer zone between Russia and Western Europe. To illustrate by analogy, there is a Canadian saying; “Don’t prod the bear.” But isn’t that what EU expansionism has been doing? Pushing those boundaries?

As for skyrocketing energy bills, that’s partly down to believing an atmospheric trace gas controls the climate, which is daft. The physics behind said idea is sketchy at best, and when factored in against all the other influences, CO2 is a mere bit part player. A very small voice in a very large chorus. Because while atmospheric CO2 acts as part of the atmospheric insulation (The term ‘greenhouse effect’ is a massive over-simplification and only ‘works’ during the brightest daylight hours) of our little cosmic ball of rock, the whole ‘back radiation’ thing only exists in mathematical models. And the past two years should have taught everyone how accurate those are. Should have. Yeah.

But this man made climate change is an idea pushed as fact when it’s not, leading to frightened people blockading fuel depots, further pushing the costs of energy production and distribution up, with ‘Green’ levies and ‘carbon taxes’ forming almost 10% on top of an already over-inflated price. Which is crazy.

In response to the current insanity, one of the things I will be doing this long weekend is making things. A smart new wooden bench for our revamped laundry / utility room. Finishing off all the hives. Making stands for them and getting the sites ready while the builders and sparkys do their thing next week.

Whether I can get three bee colonies this year is also looking a bit iffy. It’s not like going to the shops to buy a Nuc (Five frame container) of (40,000 plus Queen) bees. There is a season for buying (Mid April to late May) and you have to wait your turn.

Once I have my colonies of course, things get a little easier. I can do my own bee breeding and expand the Apiary that way. New hives every season. Sell on the odd surplus colony to fund a new hive box. Get registered as a retailer of honey products, get my brewing licence. Experiment and perfect. All takes time.

Matters may be in motion, but I can’t describe the process as fun right now. I’m reading the Farmers Journal, and although the ban on selling turf (Peat) from September 2022 doesn’t affect me, the news that the EU Commission are pushing for a shift to ‘healthier’ (Yeah, right) ‘plant based diets’ annoys. Don’t these eejits understand that only a small proportion of land (Especially in Ireland) is really suitable for arable crops. The rest is best used for grazing and maintaining a healthy biodiversity.

For the record, your diet is what you have adapted to eat, which in turn is based upon what your parents ate, and their parents before them unto the nth generation. A ‘plant based’ diet alone does not supply all the nutrients necessary for good health. A broad mixed diet does. This is because humans evolved as opportunistic feeders and our digestive systems and dentition reflect this. Like with the whole ‘trans’ farrago (which is little more than a licence for perverts), simply because an agenda is being pushed by politicians, it doesn’t mean it reflects reality.

Speaking of reality, does anyone else get the impression that half the population is suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome? You know, the ones who step off the sidewalk or seem to jump three feet sideways if they so much as see anyone not wearing a surgical mask? I do try to be kind and gently smile at them, but that only seems to make matters worse.

Oh well, best to plough my own furrow and get on with things. Now where did I put my little hammer?

Oh, what is it now?

In my workshop yesterday after a day planting Heather, Willow, Wildflowers and Clover in the top meadow. Jaysus but it was cold. The wind didn’t bother going around me, it just moseyed on through like I wasn’t in the way. And it was a damp, bitter wind. The kind that strips the warmth from your bones worse than twenty below. However, the planting got done and I clambered back into the car and slithered back to the house.

Ah yes, the house. Not so much a house as a husk at the moment. No power, no life. A mere gummy shell of a building. Now I find the builders in their enthusiasm, have trashed my Internet connection, leaving me with a stripped fibre connection hanging forlornly over freshly poured concrete. I specifically told them not to play with the connectors, but something got lost in translation and they ripped the box off the wire. Words have been had.

It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a little blackmail, but I was careful to instruct them to protect it, and Mrs S has been on the phone to them because I was likely to throw a major wobbler at them. And when I wobble, the object of my ire knows that they have been wobbled at. However, apologies have been made, along with offers of restitution, but it’s still extra money that I will end up paying to get reconnected. Never mind the downtime and delay of getting a Technician to come and do the honours. Our Electrician does a lot of stuff, but I don’t think he’s got the kit for RJ45 Cat 6 cabling or making off the ends of Fibre optics.

What I am going to do is treat this misfortune as an opportunity to get my router relocated properly to a more central location in the house so that the Wi-fi signal can reach everywhere within the building at a reasonable signal strength. Then I’ll connect up a wireless bridge to the sheds so I can enjoy high speed Interwebs without having to traipse across the yard every time I need to check my email.

Might even be fast enough for watching instructional videos and Zoom calls without too much buffering. How cool would that be? I have a spare laptop and MIMO router, so maybe I can configure that with my range extender to give me a reasonable bandwidth out there without too much effort. See if I can remember enough from my old Cisco router training. Although modern software interfaces are a lot less user fiendish than back in ’05 when I passed my course. As for full bandwidth Interwebs out in the garden? I like it. I can do a lot with that.

So maybe it is a blessing in disguise that the builders trashed my Interwebbery. It also means that they owe me a big favour. Now that to me is a harder currency than any other.

Windows

No, not the constant nagging of Microsoft to ‘upgrade’ to Windows 11, but the glass things covering holes in walls that you can see through. Specifically how to get them out intact. My builders, despite entreaties to keep the old units intact, have managed to smash all but one of the four they have taken out so far. Not by malice, but simple lack of technique.

So on Saturday I took a time out with specialist saw blade and chisel to extract the double glazed glass from the frame, which was surprisingly easy. Put a 10mm cut over one of the bevelled seams, then put a chisel in the gap to lever the bevelled section off the frame all around the glass before gently easing the heavy double glazed section out of the frame.

Took me all of half an hour to figure out and ten minutes per glazed unit to do. I’ll finish the rest by Tuesday. Will probably have to adapt the technique to take the upper storey units from the frames from the inside while the builders are smashing up the ground floor prior to the first concrete pour later next week.

So a conversation will be had with my builders on Monday to let me remove all the rest of the glazing before they have at the frames with jackhammers, as they are wont to do. This means I will have the glazed units for an improvement on two of my sheds and some for cold frames or perhaps even a greenhouse. More light in, protecting delicate flowers and veg from late frost, what’s not to like?

The first of the raised beds is also in situ, built from two leftover pallets treated with fence post preserver. I have a couple of tonnes of woodchip mulch with a promise of more to come for free. The plan is to half fill the raised beds with old logs and mulch before any soil goes in. I believe the Germans have a word for it; Hugelkultur.

By contrast, during my off site time, I got into a YouTube comments spat over anti-Semitism. Having known a few Jews and Zionists in my time, I’ve always wondered about why certain people hate them so much. Is it because Jews control the financial sector? No, because for every Jewish owned company there’s ten owned by non-Jews. But Jewish descended people do seem to be prominent in law, medicine, media and entertainment, especially in the USA, and I, with my limited intellect, have worked out why this is.

Family. It’s that simple. Jewish people have a strong familial tradition where children are trained, not just dumped in front of a TV for their forebrains to fester. In Jewish society, the tendency is to involve their children in a process, where they learn skills, be that in trade, the arts or finance. In the more ultra-orthodox Hassidic communities I’m told a boy is expected to become a grown man at fourteen, recite passages from the Torah (I think) and taught how to be. Be that lawyer, tradesman or merchant. Which I think is quite admirable. It’s a recipe for success in life.

Yet why are the Jews hated so much? From my perspective, I think this is down to the personal inadequacies of those peddling the hate. Those peddling anti-Semitic hate, be they Communist or Fascist (Two sides of the same vile totalitarian coin), hate because they feel themselves to be inferior, or that the continued success of a persecuted class despite centuries of murder and repression, is some sort of slight or adverse reflection upon those peddling anti-Jewish hatred. Which, virus-like, mutates and is passed on. My parents were both sufferers while I have largely remained immune.

Those peddling the hate know their statist, top down cultures are structurally inferior to the more tribal, family oriented bottom up approach. So when in or seeking power, their instinct is to point at the successful and use the rather flaccid argument that the hatemongers disciples are poor and downtrodden because those eeevil outsiders are hoovering up all of the resources, when the reality is that the familial structure of training children to be grown ups and passing on wealth works. And the Jews and Zionists prove it works. Not for them the perversion of teaching six year olds about outlier sexuality. Now there’s a Darwin Award in the making.

Well that’s just my view, reached independently by simple observation without doctrine or dogma. All while I was working out how to fix another issue and save money. Which I have. Which was nice.

By such little increments do we move forward.

Because I can

Every day I go to our house to let the builders in while they demolish the ground floor ready for the concrete base which will form the base for the underfloor heating system. All the studding and framing upstairs is almost done, and the sparky has given us a temporary power supply.

Normally I have things to do in my workshop while being on site to answer questions like “Where d’ye want this then?” Unfortunately there’s no electricity so I can’t do much more than rescue materials and spend hours pulling nails. Using my electric saw and sander is not possible. So that slows things like building the raised beds. Fortunately I have made four panels and will have power to my workshop tomorrow.

On a short foray into town I was surprised by the number of people still wearing surgical masks. As I don’t follow the fear porn media, I’m not worried about what is now a moderate cold. No-one challenged me (Well, I’m a big guy) so I just got on with things, ran my errands etc.

Personal anecdote re masks; while the mask mandates were enforced, I regularly felt like I’d got a permanent case of strep throat. Now I no longer bother with a mask, the tightness and other symptoms have disappeared, while many of the the mask wearers seemed to have a cough or a permanent sniffle. Hmmm.

But today the wind has been howling in from the Atlantic, making sitting and sanding in the north facing doorway of my workshop uncomfortable. At our surrogate address, Mrs S is hunkered down and waiting for the winds to pass. Me, I have to make busy and wait until the guys finish at just before five.

However, I count ‘hunkered down’ to include the interior of my SUV (Yes, I drive an SUV, watch those emissions climb – Har, har, har!) So while in the cosy interior of my car, took a bimble around my two fields. It was tremendous fun, skidding and sliding across the damp grass doing broadslide turns and bumping over tussocky patches. Just enjoying myself burning up (almost) two euro a litre diesel. Wonder if I can get the SUV reclassified as a farm vehicle and use a cheaper grade?

Why? Because it’s my land and because I bloody well can.

I stand alone

Well sort of. Mrs S is around keeping me on be best behaviour, but when it comes to where I stand on any given issue, my opinions are my own, arrived at independently, or as independently as possible. Because I’ve always been an ornery cuss who likes going his own way. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes wrong, but always definitively, incontrovertibly, singular. I claim the right to be an individual.

“Yeah but Bill?” One of the less independently minded people out there might argue (Interminably) “No man is an Island. You know that.” A Donneish cod-aphorism I have learned to dislike intensely. In the end analysis we are all alone. We are born alone. We deal with the confused shitshow of life from our own singular perspective. The bad news is that no-one else is going to do the heavy lifting for you. See below;

No matter what sort of society we live in. We all die alone because no-one can do the dying for us. The space in our heads is our own and no one else’s. Oh we might share ideas and concepts with others, some are common to most, but there is no ‘collective’. Everyone is different, and should be (Reasonably) celebrated for their own uniqueness, but not to the point where it gets tacky.

There’s a lot of virtue signalling in Dysfunctional Social Medialand with people posting “I stand with Ukraine” everywhere and locally one of my neighbours has even put up a Ukrainian flag. Alternatively the virtue obsessed will post a rainbow flag, or some other rag they have no real connection with. Or say that Ireland can handle 200,000 extra mouths who have not paid (And probably will never pay) into the system. All for some f*ckw!t politicians ego. Because that’s what too much of this is all about, ego.

We here at Maison Sticker do not feel the need to ‘stand with’ anyone, because I know from long experience that if the shit really did hit the fan, all these virtue signallers would be long gone, saying “Who me guv? Nah, you’re thinking of somebody else.” as they emerge from their places of hiding. Whereupon one might be justified in applying the option of remonstration with a crowbar or nearest lump of scrap metal. Comedian Mike Harding had a solution for those who hide in fallout shelters after starting a war, which paraphrases to; “Weld the freaking shelter doors shut” Which I am fully in agreement with.

As for consequences, I say to these virtue signallers; you put those refugees up that you’re so damned keen on. You who are so keen to see Europe and the world thrown into a war. All for your pre-programmed posturing platitudes. If you switched off the television for a week or three, maybe your brains would start to work and you’d see that there are only bad guys in this Ukraine business. I include the current US, Canadian and UK administrations in that devils choir. The Russian and the Chinese governments too.

As for that dick Zelensky. If he’d laid off shelling Donbas and Luhansk, the Russki’s wouldn’t have had their excuse for invasion. Doesn’t matter that Vlad’s army doesn’t seem to be doing so well. Putin was put into a position where he had to do something, or be thought of as weak. Which would certainly lead to his political, and possibly physical, demise.

As for Zelensky saying Ireland was lagging in it’s support for Ukraine, he can criticise Ireland all he wants. Ireland is a neutral country, we aren’t in NATO, so have no treaty obligations toward Ukraine, and long may it stay that way.

Not that I’m expecting any of these virtue signallers to shut down the flow of war-porn propaganda, that would be too much to hope for. They just love the drama too much. Maybe they need to see some footage of what a nuclear bomb strike actually does. Then point out what would happen in a Nuclear exchange between the US and Russia.

Ever heard the term ‘nuclear winter’? A 10-20 degree Celsius drop in global average temperature after a major exchange? Or a 3-5 degree drop for a ‘limited’ nuclear war? We’re talking 536AD bad here. No summer for two years, no crops, little food. Mass starvation. And that’s the soft option without radiation poisoning for over half the world’s population. Klaus Schwab and all the other fans of Eugenics in the Weird Eejits Foundation would be delighted. Well, so long as their supplies lasted, or the cannibal zombies held at bay.

Possible nuclear war notwithstanding, I have to finish moving house this week to make way for the builders. That and having to open up every day for them. There may be radio silence for a while. There may not. In the meantime, enjoy this little number that dropped into my feed.

Well I liked it.

Beer and pizza

To celebrate the removal of a large tree in the yard and successful demolition of a problematic wall ready for the builders next week, I took a short trip out to get some beer and pizza.

The place was full of high school kids and families coming for a Friday night treat. I just kicked back and waited for my order to be processed. To be in this mini-flood of humanity after all the artificial isolation of the last two years was a curiously pleasant experience. Everyone was polite and there was no drama.

Normally I’m not someone who likes crowds all that much. I get defensive and grouchy really quickly if I’m bumping elbows for two long, but after two long years of pointless and damaging lockdowns and mandates, for some reason I just felt really comfortable.

It helps of course that I now have my own house and land to sit out on a sunny evening, glass of beer in hand after a feed of double pepperoni. Enjoying the smell of freshly turned Earth and evening birdsong.

Being in a crowd is fine, but it is also oh so nice just to sit out and watch the bees and birds forage.

Blood, tears, toil and sweat.

Well only a minor scrape, demolition dust bringing tears to my eyes, the creaking sensation from under utilised muscle being given the treatment and a significant trickle of moisture down my back in a surprisingly warm Springtime Mayo sun.

Wall one is proving a tough nut to crack because someone used a 1:1 mix of sand and cement for the mortar instead of the more traditional 4 sand and 1 cement mix for block work. This has cured into a substance tougher than the breezeblocks it was used to bind together. And when you’re trying to take a wall down block by block, it makes for hard work, even with a Bosch SDS hammer drill, lump hammer and brickies chisel. Even with drilling holes in the joint and dumping White Vinegar or Muriatic acid down the holes to weaken the mortar. See story so far in pictures below.

It just makes for slow going, that’s all. If I had a 5 kilo sledgehammer and a Hilti breaker I dare say I’d be moving much faster, but I don’t have either of those so I’m not. Although I do have a 115mm stone cutter disc in my box of tricks. Will try that out this afternoon. Cut, not drill or chisel.

Anyway, in parting I’d like to share an old bit of ‘nonsense’ poetry from the late great Spike Milligan. It nails a certain mindset perfectly.

Dr David Mantle

Dr David Mantle went to Bintle Bontle Boo,

To see the tonsils of a man he hardly even knew,

Dr David Mantle got to Bintle Bontle Boo,

And the man with tonsils said, “How do you do you do?

Say “Ah!” said Dr Mantle then “I can’t believe it’s true!”

“You have three tonsils hanging where there should be only two!”

“Only three!” The patient cried, “Oh my, what shall I do?”

“There should be fifty hanging there! Oh dear, tut-tut boo hoo!”

Doctor David Mantle fled from Bintle Bontle Boo

“I think that man was mad.” He said.

And I agree. Do you?

Guesses in the comments as to whom I am referring, or what.

Purposefully repurposing

One of the things I like doing is saving money. Specifically not spending it on stuff I already have that just needs a bit of tidying up or using for a different purpose than intended.

On a property such as ours this is not difficult as we have a small plague of worn out tractor tyres and all sorts of other stuff currently covered in muck that needs to be got rid of or creatively re-used.

Disposing of the tractor tyres alone are a nightmare of recycling fees. However, for all their bulk they can be re-purposed as tree planters or circular raised flower beds with seating. It’s just a question of when and how they get shifted from their current dumping ground.

For this I have an answer; we need some ground clearing once we’ve had a few trees felled and the stumps removed, so down along the westerly side of our most northerly shed is an area that, once opened up, will form an enlarged outdoor patio space should be pleasant and sheltered to spend time outdoors in.

So no matter which side the wind blows from, one can sit outdoors and read without having one’s remaining hair blown all over the place.

The plan is to hire an excavator to clear and landscape about 200 square metres of rough ground, and while the driver is here, he can shift the big tyres into place and drop in a couple of land drains for us. After that I’ll order in a couple of truckloads of shale and gravel to form the basis of a sort of sheltered Zen garden, then we can plant the trees and while the builders are busy with the house, rewire the sheds properly. An old mate who was a chargehand sparky back in the day would have a nervous breakdown if he saw our current setup. It makes me wonder why the whole place hasn’t suffered multiple electrical fires. All to save some pennies on junction boxes and properly laid out cable runs.

Then we’re saving even more cash cleaning off some old (and once probably very expensive) folding teak garden chairs the previous owners left behind. To make said seating fit for use in the dining room, all we’ll need for that is my belt sander, finishing sandpaper, teak oil, beeswax polish and some elbow grease.

We’re also ripping out the current oil fired heating system and going for gas. This whole fad over the great ‘green’ nightmare are the pipe dreams of people who don’t understand that the current grid (or even an updated version) won’t be able to sustain all those fancy electric cars and heat pumps various governments want us all to have by 2030. The issues over electric cars are well known and when it’s chilly there’s not really enough energy in the air to make an air source heat pump economical. Ground source heat pumps are the only ones really worth having.

Don’t know who is ‘advising’ these governments, but I think it’s a crack smoking meth-head who failed physics and arithmetic at school. The decision making behind the ‘green’ agenda has all the hallmarks of a harassed husband flinging up his hands and saying “All right. We’ll stop using stuff that actually works at some arbitrary date with no real idea if it’s even feasible!” The entire green agenda is an idea thought up by ignorant people with nothing constructive to do working off bad data. Our politicians, faced with a non-existent ‘climate crisis’ have elected to placate a bunch of nagging pantywaist activists who carry complete apiaries in their capacious, but largely empty, bonnets. All the time, the elderly poor freeze and people need a second mortgage to drive to work when the energy they need is right under their feet.

My chief beef over the whole ‘green’ thing is that no-one seems to be doing any proper joined up thinking. Making sweeping grandiose statements for unworkable boondoggles which will be laid at the future taxpayers door when the politicians in question have buggered off to some tax haven, or died. Or maybe, my more cynical self chimes in, that this is part of a ‘leech off the taxpayers’ scheme to make some very rich people even more pointlessly wealthy than they were before. In the financial sector this would be called fraud. But in politics, it’s business as usual.

With regard to being environmentally responsible, all I’m saying is that all we need to be doing is to make better use of what we have. Simply off-shoring manufacturing and energy production isn’t a viable answer. As the current economic mess is clearly demonstrating. Globalisation is currently failing and the global supply chains are strained to breaking point.

Back in reality, the final items in our catalogue of re-purposing are the demolition of three garden walls which will form part of the bases for a new propane tank and some other raised garden beds. And if there’s a hundred or so litres of kerosene left in our old oil tank when it comes to strip out time, I’ll trade it to one of my neighbours for some hedge management and meadow cutting. Win-win.

What the hell, we’re going our own way, flying under the radar of officialdom, making do and mend, and we’re far enough from the maddened crowd for it not to matter.

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Well it had to happen. It was ideal sowing conditions for my wildflower seeds, so off I traipsed to my top meadow, 4kg of seeds in hand to pick out a pattern which should emerge in full bloom throughout the Summer, and should be visible on Google Earth some time whenever they decide to update their satellite imagery.

Seeds sown in the pattern I wanted, I began to make my way back down to the workshop once more. There dear reader I made a grievous error. I forgot to keep to the high ground and put my welly boot on a patch of grass that looked like terra firma.

Well, not so much firma, but definitely terra. Rather glutinous terra at that. Feeling my boot sinking alarmingly I swivelled at the hip and brought the offending piece of footwear clear of the sucking morass. Bugger! The next step had me sinking deeper into a concealed tractor rut left courtesy of the previous owners. Again I managed to get my boot out. The third time I wasn’t fast enough and the twist needed to extricate my boot pitched me onto my hands and knees into soggy ground to a litany of creative cursing, calling myself a few choice epithets for being so careless. My boots twisted free and I managed to stumble to my feet, spattered to my chest in County Mayo’s finest wet topsoil.

I spat some mud out of my mouth, no idea how it got there, and recovered my composure before leaving the seed box in the workshop and locking up.

Reading the aforementioned, a reader might be forgiven for thinking I was discombobulated. Not so. Being the good little boy scout that I was (Until that unfortunate incident with Arkela and the two girl guides) I was prepared. In our spacious farmhouse there is a large downstairs bathroom that I have nicknamed ‘Decon’. Tiled floor to ceiling it’s an ideal place to strip off and get clean after a mucky day grubbing like a peasant. So that’s what I did, depositing my muddy jeans and shirt in the washbasket as I had been instructed some weeks before by Mrs S, then enjoyed a nice hot shower and put on fresh clean clothing. My wellington boots were placed where previously specified to dry off prior to a brush and scrub off for next use. “Are you in the shower Bill?” Asked Mrs S through the door.

“Yeah. Took a tumble and got mucky didn’t I?” I said insouciantly, focussing on getting the correct leg down the right leg of a clean pair of trousers. “All sorted.”

Five minutes later there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from the laundry. “Bill!” Cried Mrs S. “Your jeans! They’re filthy!”

“Yes I know.” Quoth I mildly. “My boots got stuck when I was coming back down the meadow and I fell over. I put them in the basket for washing. Didn’t you see me go down? Must have been quite comical.”

“No?” She said, somewhat alarmed. “You fell over?”

“Yes.” I replied. Look, I’ve already told you this. Snarled my sarcastic subconscious. “I just got a bit mucky, that’s all.” Were the words that diplomatically came out of my mouth. Best to make light of the situation. Bill Stickers rule of all human interactions; do not make it worse.

“But your jeans are filthy!” She complained again. I stayed mute. When people get into an emotional state over ephemera I have found you might as well be talking gobbledegook because they stopped listening five minutes ago. So my mouth should stay firmly clamped shut, as anything I said at this point would be taken in evidence, rephrased, inverted and taken great issue with.

Yes the jeans were filthy, Yes they need cleaning. I am now clean and was not injured. The jeans only need a sluice off in the sink and a quick run through the washing machine. Can we convert this mountain back into a molehill please? I have better things to do. At least that’s what I thought but did not say.

Mud, doncha just gotta love it?

Sheds

Apropos of nothing, sheds are something I’m heavily involved in dealing with right now. Fixing sheds, cleaning sheds, clearing sheds and preparing sheds.

I have four sheds. This is more than I’ve ever had to play with before, but this is a smallholding, so sheds are necessary. The last few days have been spent working away at getting our sheds ready for the next phase of our great experiment. While Mrs S fusses over fixtures and fittings for our new and refurbished bathrooms, I’ve got my overalls and boots on and am spending time humping, shifting and cleaning.

Shed one was cleared and tidied as much as practical, then the contents of shed two were moved across the yard and stacked as neatly as practical in as small a space as possible in shed one. Shed two is cleared of all the crap that was in it, swept and cleaned out and ready to store our furniture in for the duration of the building works.

The local spiders are furious at being evicted and are getting up a petition. In response I have sent Henry in to stem the protests.

Shed three has been cleared out and steam cleaned. It will also be my workplace while the builders do their thing over the next few months. It’s where all my clean timber and board is. Then when our worldly goods go back into the house around midsummer, I will start to strip out and replace all the shonky electrics, fix roofs, spray and dry line walls, replace the doors, re-screed the floors or perhaps put in recycled plastic decking material as a floor. It’s cheap, doesn’t rot, easy to work, so yes, why not?

Shed four, a mere lean to half-open to the elements, has been readied for when the tree surgeons arrive next week to mulch all of our cuttings and cut down two of our trees. The mulch will go into shed four, as will two eight foot long sections of trunk, which will be left to season over the next couple of years before being converted into board.

Shed two is the driest, so that will house our furniture while the house is having the new heating system (Underfloor heating, Yay! No more cold feet!) and internal wall insulation. Sheds one and three have enough room for all the old glazing units which will be used to build mini greenhouses later this year before peak nectar flow in midsummer. Shed three, which is a bit leaky, will gradually be refitted and upgraded as my workshop facilities mutate.

This is a process that will take two years in total, but at the end of that I will have a modest working kitchen garden, Apiary, wildflower meadow, honey processing facilities and a temperature controlled environment for test brewing and distilling. I’ve also got trees to plant in the next couple of months.

Don’t even get me started on the chickens. There’s a lot to be done.

The price of diesel has gone above two euros a litre. Well, pissing off the people you buy all your petrol and diesel from while at the same time as pointlessly virtue signalling over locally produced energy sources and shutting them down has been a feckin’ great policy now, hasn’t it?

Politicians cannot ‘save’ the planet. Contrariwise I would argue that the planet and humanity in general needs saving from the our current clique of politicians and activists. The only ‘crisis’ is the mess created by said politicians and activists.

Don’t know how we’re going to fix all the damage our political classes have wrought over the last couple of years. Or even if the societal and economic damage can be fixed. Hells bells, I often can’t make sense of all the ridiculous things they’ve done that have got us into this mess. These are matters I would rather not have to deal with. I’m too busy with life.

However, if you need me, you know where I’ll be. In my sheds.

Just thinking…

Staying away from the fakery in the news because I’ve got better things to do. Mrs S is spending more of our capital on the house than I’m happy with, but it’s either that or have it hanging around in a bank account waiting to be looted to pay for the politicians mistakes.

At least if we give it to the builders, sparkys and plumbers, they make an honest buck or five and we will get a nice snug and cosy home out of it. Big ticket items are the internal insulation, new bathroom, replacement windows and gas heating system with a years gas supply thrown in for swapping out our old kerosene based system. Good deal.

Talking of gas, I’m told we’re not far from some possible fracking potential. If that were true I’d be making the call and hosting the rig up in my top field, charging top dollar for the privilege. Sod the farcical warble gloaming that never seems to happen. Screw the idiot demonstrators too. Hope some of them catch a well deserved kicking this April 11th.

Anyway. Biggest guffaw is dedicated to Trudy Blackface talking about freedom being important. Well, apart from for Canadians that is. Civil rights for Indian workers and the Ukrainians, but if you aren’t a member of the ruling party Mac, you’re SOL. No wonder he got booed out of London UK.

Bad news for me is that I still have to file taxes on Canadian income in Canada, despite having filled out all the right forms to say we’ve gone for good. In order to be free of the CRA, I have to get rid of all Canadian income and investments, and by the look of things, ditch my passport and lose one of my pensions as well. So, two sets of accountancy fees every year. If I’d have known how tough it is to leave Canada, I’d have said ‘No’ to going there in the first bloody place. Talk about the ‘Hotel California’.

Still somewhat bemused about all the nutters banning Russian cats and taking vodka off the shelves, you idiots do know that Smirnoff is a UK owned brand, although I wish I’d had the presence of mind to snag a few litres of Russian Standard, those are going to be collectors items, changing hands in shadowy circles for fifty times the purchase price at least. As for bankrupting Chelsea FC because the owner is Russian born. Oh for heavens sake! You’re not at war yet. Although some people desperately seem to want a war.

Personally I don’t, but the media and politicians seem to be dead set on talking our way into one. Maybe they want to deflect from the COVID debacle, where a) they shut whole economies down for something akin to the 1957 Asian Flu and b) the vaccines were very little use and were promoted even though serious side effects were known about at the time. Look up that Pfizer report. 8 pages of possible side effects. Holy smokes!

Anyway. Today I spent a few hours in the top meadow working out the best location for my beehives and trees. I’m seeding the area this weekend with 8kg of wildflower seeds and preparing half a dozen fence posts for a windbreak.

Perhaps I will plant the words “Feckin eejits” or something suitably obscene in floral form to demonstrate my disdain for the current insanity, so some satellite photographer can have a giggle. Or a fit of the vapours. I’ll see how I feel on Saturday.

Glad we’re here

Cleared all the garden borders today. Builders quotes are in and we’ve got the money on hand. So works are being scheduled and we’ll be out for ten to twelve weeks while the floors are torn up and a totally new heating system put in. We’re spending the bulk of our pennies on insulation, the hope being that by the time we’re done we’ll be able to stay warm and toasty with the equivalent of a heavy duty hair dryer.

So we have to pack up our lives once more while the builders do their stuff. Fortunately we have the storage on site and somewhere to stay is being organised.

Speaking of borders, if you’re Canadian, this might give you pause for thought. People associated with the recent Canadian truckers freedom convoy may lose the ability to have a passport. Watch the whole video below.

Seems to me the bar for ‘terrorist’ in Canada just got so low even a limbo dancer couldn’t get under it. I have Canadian citizenship but bloody hell. Talk about overreach. And my fellow Canadians are stuck with this situation until 2025 unless the people supporting the minority Liberal government stop. Not that they will, they’re all part of the same gang.

I knew Trudeau was going to be bad news when he won the election in 2015, but this latest goes well beyond my powers of extrapolation. Canadians are great travellers, mostly into the US and back, many with family members on both sides of the border. It used to be (as recently as 2012) that they only needed valid photo-ID like an enhanced drivers licence to get into the USA. Now you can be banned from travel because you gave to the truckers?

This is not going to end well. This is going to take a war and several years to sort out. Ah, Mr Putin, there you are.

The mainstream go on about Putin being some kind of supervillain, but I think they’ve got the wrong guy. The real anti-freedom villains of the piece are the globalists, of whom Trudeau is a favoured member. Under that lovely floppy hairdo and iconic socks dwells a heart as black and sociopathic as they come. Putin’s an amateur by comparison.

We’re just glad we got out of Canada when we did.

I think it’s fishy too

Turning off the news is bloody good idea. Those big corporate media people are only telling you what they are thinking, and what they think you should be thinking, According to their world view. Which is often derived from a surprisingly small bubble.

Funny how the guy who has openly confessed to hacking the GiveSendGo site and giving out the Freedom Convoy donors personal details to the Government and media is not under arrest for what is, according to Canadian and US legislation, a crime which would get anyone else jail time and a ban from having an Interweb connection forever and ever amen. As would happen to anyone else but a paid criminal informant. Which is what he freely brags about being.

Also funny how giving money to send gung-ho idiots over to give the Russkis a bit of target practice is okay. But not to put food in the mouths of those peacefully advocating for their civil rights, or put gas in their tanks and help pay the bills.

We’re being conned. By our own Governments. By a freely co-operating corporate media. Conned into thinking that Government can give you everything. The trouble with that idea is that in order to make it work, the Government and their cronies will take everything from everyone, and they’ll leave you on starvation money if you complain.

Then there’s the whole ‘woke’ and green movements, which in the eyes of the Russki’s and Chinese, makes the West look weak and frankly more than a bit weird. Degenerate. Self obsessed. Hey, but they play along despite their own baked-in societal problems, while the Western world devolves away from the rule of law into political oligarchies where your rights are subject to whether you hold the right opinion or not.

Sod it. All a man can do is build his own little haven as a buttress against the worst of the world. I cleared twenty plus yards of overgrown Ivy, Holly and Rhododendron hedge yesterday with another seven done already today. I’ve put weed killer on the stumps to try and finish them off as recommended here. Mrs S has been hacking at the Azaleas. We’re getting there slowly.

All this work has to be done before the hives go in because nectar Bees harvest from Rhododendron flowers can turn into ‘Mad Honey‘, low doses of which can cause euphoria and lightheadedness, while high doses cause hallucinations and, in extremely rare cases, death. And no-one needs that. Especially if part of your medium term business plan is to brew and distil Mead.

Yes, okay, I know the risk is low unless the bees are exclusively gorging on Rhododendron nectar, but I’d rather not run the risk. The last thing I want is poisoned customers. Even if there is a claimed aphrodisiac effect.

While ordinary Honey is often reputed to put lead in one’s metaphorical pencil, ‘Mad Honey’ has also sometimes been used to ensure that one always has someone to write to. Be it a full essay, short sonnet or just a quick scribble. If you catch my meaning.

Getting on

Busy in the shed over the last couple of days. We’ve been talking to the builders and have to start moving our kit into storage ready for having new heating, insulation and plumbing put in. Massive disruption of the household means we’re going to have to leave the house for up to six weeks starting in May. So. The shed has to be cleaned and prepared as a secure storage area for our worldly goods while we’re away.

Right. This means sweeping, steam cleaning, hive building and planting so that the decks are cleared for a few months ahead. Then after that there’s the chickens Mrs S will be taking care of, sheds and coops for me to build. I can’t let our chickens go totally free range as a quick examination of some of the local road kill tells me there’s wild Mink in the area, and they’re worse than foxes on chickens. Ah, the joys of country life!

Our closest neighbours know we’re Anglo-Canadian and have taken to being quite sympathetic toward us. “Jaysus that Canada’s in a sorry state.” Commented our postie. “You folks okay now?” To which we replied that we are fine, how’s yourself now and God bless, eh? “Terrible business over there. You got family there still?” Yes we have, but they’re battling on and as soon as the opportunity presents itself may well be bailing out of BC for less oppressive pastures.

Other word from Sister in law is that Western BC’s contribution to the war effort is to take all Russian Vodka off the shelves of liquor stores. Which is a bitter blow for those oppressed souls seeking much needed liquid relief from the nonsensical COVID regulations that will be in force for the next few weeks.

Speaking of which, the mask mandates over here lapsed Monday, and I spent a happy hour in and out of shops without a face covering, just because I could. There’s still too large a proportion of the perennially petrified wandering about still wearing useless surgical masks, but I just smile gently at them as I pass on by. Maybe that way I’ll even convince one or two to take the horrible things off. That’s working on the premise that you catch more wasps with honey than with vinegar.

And also because it’s been a really nice sunny day. Which makes a change. Manchester in the UK is reputed to always be rainy, but that’s not a patch on here in western Ireland. We get our weather fresh off the Atlantic. Which means it’s been howling around the eaves a bit over the last few nights making sleep difficult. However the forecast is for more placid breezes for the next forty eight hours so maybe I’ll catch up on the old Z’s then.

Other than that it’s been a good day. Plumber sorted. Electricity account sorted. Underfloor heating negotiated and going in during the warmer months. Waiting for the window guy to get in touch for a final measure up as our double glazing is in a parlous state. Which reminds me, in my eccentric roundabout way, of an old joke;

Percy the Penguin is driving his automatic (Penguins can’t drive manual gearbox cars- something to do with their big webbed feet) across Death Valley USA when his cars air conditioning goes on the fritz. Fortunately for Percy, he finds an Auto repair shop in the next desert town and puts his car in for repair.

While the mechanic searches for the cause of the malfunction, on this hot Death Valley day with temperatures in the mid forties Celsius, Percy, being an Antarctic species in need of a chill down, finds the local ice cream parlour. The ice cream is so good that he rather forgets himself and totally pigs out on Maple Syrup and Cookie Crunch flavours. As he is submerging his beak into the third helping, his phone goes. The auto shop has found the problem and want him to come over to discuss payment.

Rushing out of the ice cream parlour without bothering to wipe his sticky face and beak he finds the mechanic smiling. “Fixed it” Says the mechanic. “Forty bucks.”

“Gosh. That’s cheap.” Said Percy, handing over his credit card. (All Penguins have credit cards because they never handle cash – it’s the flippers.) The mechanic swipes the card and hands it back. “So what was wrong?” Said Percy, curiously.

“Well.” Says the mechanic. “Looks like you just blew a seal.”

“Oh.” Said Percy, catching a glimpse of his messy beak and face in his reflection and panicking because Penguins are very vain. Something to do with wearing the equivalent of formal attire all the time. “N-no, no really,” Stammers the flummoxed Penguin. “it’s just ice cream.”

I’m here all week.