Tag Archives: New beginnings

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.

Creative solutions

Just witnessed an interesting spectacle. I was at my desk when I heard a loud honking of car horns from close by. No idea what was going on so I looked out of my window. I could hear lots of almost continuous honking but nothing in sight. Walked across to the main bedroom and opened the window. Across the farmyard and down the lane I saw a balloon decked car sitting outside the drive of a neighbour, blocking the lane with a line of cars behind it, all honking like mad.

First thought was “Someone’s being a dick.” Then I looked again and saw that the loud line of cars behind the car blocking the road were likewise decked with balloons and decorations, all frenetically sounding their horns and waving at the house. As I watched, the father, I assume it was Dad, walked over to the stopped car to be handed a package. Words passed with waves and smiles to one of the kids being held up to stand on the garden wall. Then the car blocking the road moved on, to have it’s place taken by the next in line. Gifts were passed on. Thanks exchanged. The little child waved to their line of well-wishers. This carried on for ten minutes. “How cool is that, a COVID compliant birthday party?” was my next follow on thought.

Cars drove up past our drive, turned around and went back past the child on the wall, who showed every sign of enjoying the spectacle enormously, waving with enthusiasm at the passing party cars.

Total time from start to finish? Just over ten minutes, but a ten minutes that will stay with that family for quite some time. They got a little validation. Social distancing was observed and a child got a birthday party. Which left me thinking “What a lovely creative solution to the heartlessness of lockdown.” a jovially extended middle finger against the forces of repression as only the Irish can do. Not allowed to have a birthday party? Well, we’ll soon see about that.

Erin go bragh.

Ennui in D minor

Busy doing nothing effective and getting rather fed up. It’s like the whole business world has dozed off. Emails don’t get answered.
Voicemail boxes are full. Enforced inactivity is fine for a few days, but for the best part of a year? For a virus that has a mortality rate not much higher than seasonal Influenza and can be killed by soapy water (Amongst other things)?

That and nearly half the population seems to have lost their reason. I need at least another two very fiendish Jigsaw puzzles to tide me over this lot, as it doesn’t seem likely that we’re getting out of this nutty lockdown situation anywhere soon. For light relief I shall be playing a little Johannes Sebastian Bach in the background. Ignore the flailing hands, I’m probably miming to “Toccata in Fugue” on the headphones, again. If I’m swaying from side to side it’s Brandenberg concerto no 3 allegro moderato.

Outside it’s been snowing, landlords kids have been out snowballing and tobogganing and I’m wondering when all the global warming we keep getting promised is going to turn up. All that job lot of sun cream I bought as an investment is starting to go off.

Numbers don’t lie

The mainstream media over here in Ireland have picked up on the ‘Numbers don’t lie’ theme and are abusing it by misrepresenting the data on their front pages, by posting overall death stats without context, or how they fit in with the seasonal norms. Mr Cummins, see below, gives the context the mainstream media and politicians won’t, or can’t provide. He points out that overall mortality (All deaths) is down on 2015, 2016 & 2019 according to the Euromomo all cause mortality stats. To clarify, overall mortality, not just deaths attributable to SARS/COV-2 is less than ‘normal’, (albeit marginally) despite an increasing population and the spike of deaths in March and April 2020.

Derived from the statistical analysis, a great deal of the ‘cases’ appear to be nosocomial (Hospital originating) infections, meaning that if you didn’t have the infection when you went in to hospital, there is a better than average chance you would catch a dose whilst a patient or visitor. Outside, not so much. Hospitals appear to be the sinks of infection, so therefore the only people who should have to be covered by the mask and lockdown regulations are patients, visitors, health care workers and support staff. The rest of the public should be able to go about their business in the world outside the hospital system with minimal risk. The numbers, taken in context, don’t lie. Only those seeking to profit from an unjustified public panic would say otherwise by presenting seasonal norms as something new and outlandish.

So, no need for mask wearing and lockdowns in the general population. Only at hospitals and medical facilities. This is where the effort to contain the spread of any bug is most effective, by improving disease control measures where they can do the most good. Where the sinks of infection are. Which is infection control 101. Control the source, contain the disease.

As for those of you thinking a mask does any good, try the following bit of real experimental science you can do at home. No tricks, no unpleasant bending. Put on a dark coloured jumper. Charcoal or dark blue is best. Being careful not to get talc anywhere else, lightly (lightly! not throw it all over the flaming place!) dust a surgical or cloth mask with ordinary talcum powder on the outside only. Now carefully put on your mask, having first wiped your face with a wet wipe. After that, simply go around the house, doing normal chores for half an hour or so. Now stop. Take a careful look in the mirror. Where is the talc residue on your chest and shoulders? Wipe your face again. Do you find any traces of talcum powder and where do you find them? Around your mouth and nostrils or on the inside of your mask? On your hands? Did you find yourself wanting to sneeze or cough more or less than usual whilst wearing your mask? Look around the house where you’ve been lounging / working / whatever. Where do you find traces of talc? That is where all the germs and viruses go. All over the smegging place. Mask or no.

This is how good a surgical mask is at stopping disease spread in an uncontrolled atmosphere (Your home) whilst you are wearing street clothes. This is why surgical masks work best as part of a structured regimen of disease control. Specifically wearing a disposable apron over freshly laundered scrubs in conjunction with a surgical cap or hood in a controlled atmosphere and regularly disinfectant-treated surfaces, they work just fine at helping reduce the spread of a given pathogen.

This is not to say people aren’t dying from SARS/COV-2 infections, just that as far as a cause of death is concerned, it’s even taken the place of the seasonal influenza toll in parts of the Southern Hemisphere, no idea why that is. Maybe SARS/COV-2 is simply scything down those who would otherwise have been offed by a milder and less infectious, but equally lethal to those with compromised immune systems, seasonal influenza. Which is good, for a given value of ‘good’ because by reducing the numbers of those who are infected with flu, it means those strains of coronavirus caused influenzas may well die out altogether. Why? Because no hosts mean no disease. Viruses, to the best of my knowledge do not multiply without a host, i.e. you or another living creature. Including plants. Funny old thing life, isn’t it?

As for Mrs S and I, we’re healthy and doing very well, having received unexpected gifts and some excellent personal news over the last three days. All we really need to get going properly with the next phase of our grand adventure is for these pointless lockdowns to be removed and we’ll be verily flashing along like greased lightning. As will everyone else. Speed the day that sanity returns.

Now I need a nice hot mug of tea.

An alternative Christmas

When it comes to Christmas day, Mrs S and I can hardly be seen as traditional. Seeing as the county borders will be officially closed as of Sunday the 27th, we thought we’d do a little rescheduling while family can’t get to us, and elected to go out for a couple of mini road trips on the 25th and 26th.

No sense just hanging about the house, eating and drinking far too much, Mrs S and I decided; “Hang it all – let’s go touring.” So that is what we did. Up through Galway up to Mayo and Sligo and back on Christmas day. So I loaded up the picnic basket with sandwiches for lunch as we’d had our traditional Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and a present opening via Zoom with the kids first thing. Once you get the hang of them, managing multiple time zones is a snip.

The weather was pretty grey and bleugh most of the time, but overall we had an interesting two trips. For example we were out in what is called ‘Joyces country‘ when the clouds lifted and gave us a view better than Glencoe, which in itself is pretty damn spectacular. On the second (Boxing day) we found ourselves in the grip of something the hand wavers call ‘Storm Velma’ (I think). Okay, it was a bit wet and windy on the coast of north Mayo, but the scenery there was still pretty as we scootled through Ballycroy National Park. Did think briefly about popping over onto Achill Island, but as visibility was less than a kilometre and the rain was having a damn good lash, we ate our sandwiches and drank tea in the safety of our little tin box south of Newport. After that we looped back home, the wheel kicking in my hands a little, but not enough to slow us down. It wasn’t that bad.

We’d already done the Burrens (See a couple of snaps below) on a previous trip, but what I can tell you chums is if you like your scenery in the raw, this is the place.


As you can see, on that day it was much nicer. A tad breezy and chilly, but brilliant sunshine.

As for the usual Christmas events and festivities I don’t generally fuss about them much, apart from organising the catering and stuff for Mrs S and stepkids. There is no turkey, there’s a joint of Pork for Sunday lunch today, cooked to my own recipe.

As for Christmas day itself, I had no presents to unwrap. I look at it this way, my friendship and love are given as I see fit and cannot be bought. They have no price. Well, certainly not less than a hundred thousand dollars, at which point I’m happy to open negotiations. But even then, parameters will be clearly defined in the resulting contracts.

Anyway, hope my last remaining reader had an interesting time too. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we certainly diet.

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

Hunkering down some more

It’s amazing the difference a lick of paint makes. The solid fuel stove in what we’re now calling our library, because that’s where most of our books are, has had a fresh coat of matt black heat proof paint and looks just the business. We’ve also laid in six months plus supply of Yorkshire tea. So no need to pop out to the shops quite so often. Not that there’s anywhere to go because everything’s bloody well shut. So I busy myself as best I can.

Mrs S this morning came across this guy. Theodore Zeldin, philosopher. He’s very interesting. Hint; the title is deceptive.

In a time where people seem to be so angry and intent on imposing their vision on the rest of us, whether we like it all not, Zeldin is pointing in the general direction of a door to the future. Where that door will take us, no one can say. He says that we no longer listen to each other or have proper, in depth conversations without all the mud slinging and tantrums. Which I feel is where the core of all our modern day issues lie.

Anyway. As always; don’t take my word for it; listen, consider and above all, think. I think I’ll be adding his works to our library, where they will rapidly become dog eared from use, as all the best books should.

Keeping up to date

Rainy day today, sitting in my office idly listening to the rattle of water on the skylights. Our worldly goods have arrived, been unpacked and set in place. I’m doing so many Amazon deliveries that I’m on first name terms with the postman. A few things to come, and Mrs S and I are getting a bit twitchy, having been forced by the lockdowns to sit on our hands when we should be up and moving forward.

Back at our old domicile I’m told they’ve already had their first snowfall of the year. Which is odd, as Victoria BC is supposed to be one of the most snow-free parts of Canada. They’ve even had November frosts. So much for that much-vaunted ‘man made global warming’ eh? Last Winter we had four snowfall episodes, when in most years up until 2008 the snowfall count was zero. Over here in the wilder west of Ireland, we’re told we might get snow once every ten years. I have a seeming that record is going to get ever so slightly dented this year. We’ve already had one unseasonable frost at the end of October and I think we might have to be out getting the cattle and sheep indoors over Christmas. We’re in the middle of a cooling event that has bugger all to do with carbon dioxide.

Did have a nose at the cold weather events from North America. Serious snow. Cold that is making brass monkeys audition as sopranos and Greenland gain ice hand over fist. Have a look at this web site for real time temperature and rainfall stats. Word to the wise; the clever money is on a thirty year cooling trend.

On the other hand, the dopes of organisations like Extinction Rebellion, who choose to disrespect science and the rest of humanity, still believe in an outdated body of knowledge. Which leads me to wonder, if such people want to believe that humanity is a cancer, why do they choose to carry on living? Go on guys. Depopulation has to start somewhere. Or is it just us plebs who have to pay for your delusions? Thought so.

As for these pointless lockdowns, Ivor Cummins (see below) runs the numbers and find that they don’t support the restrictions. Likewise the real science. By ‘real science’ I mean the real world stats and studies, not the shonky Imperial college data models used by SAGE and NPHET. Tell me again, why are these obvious incompetents still in a job?

Regarding the enforcement of lockdown out here in the wilder west of the Emerald Isle, the most I’ve seen on a visit to Ennis the other day, was a couple of Gard, or should that be Gardai, haven’t got the knack of the terminology yet, talking to two women whose ‘crime’ was sitting together on a car park bench, having a quiet natter over Coffee. If the Irish government were to stipulate draconian lockdown enforcement like in parts of the UK, there just aren’t enough coppers to do the job. As for previous (and red faced climbdowns from) various UK Police forces threats that they would be breaking down people’s doors on Christmas effing day, that has hurt the UK Police services effectiveness and may move enforcement into the hands of ‘private individuals’ (hem-hem) who might not have so many scruples over what happens to your friendly neighbourhood burglar. Which is a bad thing for the rule of law. Worse for the criminals of course, but also really, really bad for good governance.

The lockdown enforcement over in the UK does seem to be very uneven, with certain political groups being given free rein to congregate, but those protesting the lockdown restrictions get the heavy handed treatment.

As for further lockdowns, I don’t see how, given the evidence, that they do any good. Or that they can be imposed, yet again, without serious civil unrest from the general population. As for possible mass mandatory vaccinations, there are laws against that sort of thing from the 1940’s. Laws created because of the medical atrocities committed by the fascist regimes of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In most, if not all Western nations, the powers that be can ask people for their consent to be vaccinated, they can try to persuade, but cannot use any form of coercion, threat of job loss or other legal or extra-legal sanction. That is unlawful, both in international and domestic jurisdictions in most culturally western countries. This goes for any employer. Consent is paramount and the powers that be know it. If they have forgotten, then they need to be reminded. Because no-one in their right mind wants a re-run of those events from the 1930’s and 40’s.

One thing I’ve noticed from the stats is the low level of demographic information, where we don’t know the sex or ethnic heritage of the deceased. I have heard it rumoured, that those of a darker skin colour, or who practice whole body covering without increasing their vitamin D intake, tend to be at a higher risk of becoming a SARS/COV-2 statistic. Now if that information was publicly available; perhaps, he said naively, that lives could be saved. However it is not, so we are left with rumour and surmise as our only analytical tools. Or plucking numbers out of thin air, as so many ‘government advisers’ seem to do.

As for me, the rain continues to fall and I will be playing with a new kitchen gadget today. In these testing times we must find our satisfactions where we can.

Numbers don’t lie

Here’s an interesting little snippet. You know those ‘674 excess deaths’ we’re supposed to be hiding our heads under the blankets over? I was watching the analysis to the base data by Mr Cummins below. Of those 674 excess deaths, 638 were in their own homes, 67 in care homes, and only 15, that’s right, fifteen directly attributable COVID-19 deaths throughout the whole of the UK in hospital. The NHS was never over stressed.  (Hang on.  638 + 67 = 705?  Umm…. Thanks Ripper. Good catch.)

80% of COVID deaths occur in hospital. So that would make about 18 in total down to COVID-19. Fifteen of whom died in hospital from SARS/COV-2? (Corrected) Is that all? The rest of the ‘excess deaths’ are down to untreated heart attacks, strokes and cancers etc. But then take a look at the stats overall. Overall deaths are below normal for the year. Suicides, on the other hand, are way up.

Therefore, it is not unreasonable to state that lockdowns are not only ineffectual, but actively harmful. The numbers don’t lie. However, SAGE and the Government are lying. The drip-drip of lies via the mainstream media. And they’re killing people. Blood is on the pro-lockdown faction. The Police who suppress peaceful protests. Blood on their hands. Those calling for the Army to be put on the streets. Blood on their hands. Those who ‘double counted’ positive SARS/COV-2 infections, amplifying the ‘casedemic’. Blood on their hands. Those making money on the pandemic. Those who advocate waiting for a vaccine. Blood on their hands.

The pandemic is quite clearly over. It’s been over for months. Why aren’t the lockdowns? Listen to Dr Carl Heneghan, interviewed on Talk Radio 2nd November.

On the personal front, our furniture has arrived and we’re busily unpacking. Mr Bezo’s boys, no matter whether you like him or not, have been doing us proud. We can get stuff from them we can’t source out here in Ireland’s wilder west.

The echoing vastness of our new home no longer echoes quite so much. My bookcases are full. There’s streaming video on the TV via a gigabyte connection, chairs to sit on, and joy or joys, a proper table to dine at. Mrs S has been lighting candles. I have my cookbooks. No-one’s going to starve. The sun even shines occasionally.

Misery and stress

Not feeling too good at the moment. Sleep is a shattered mess with lots of staring at midnight ceilings, head buzzing and I’m noticing the little ‘tells’ that let me know I need to reduce my stress levels. Like now. A nervous tremor here, a tendency to spook easily, and a sense I’m flooded with adrenalin. I know my blood pressure is through the roof without even having to check and there’s bugger all I can do about much of it.

This is very unhealthy. I’m also getting angry far too easily, which can be less than healthy for those around me. My head readily fills with dark fantasies of mayhem. This is bad because I, despite advancing years, am still physically strong and have a good deal of knowledge about the human body (amongst other things) and might, although this is a very remote might, under pressure may end up doing something that I will certainly regret and other people may not have the subsequent luxury of doing so.

I’m not quite at the point where I can’t be trusted with sharp objects, but I can see where that point is and it’s too damn close for my liking. I need to do something about this, soonish.

Regrettably, all the things I usually do to reduce stress, like socialising, long distance travel, and weekends away, are now officially Verboten. I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of other people. Writing about what stresses me out helps a little, but there’s too much negative energy pushing from the wrong direction. Changing continents is stressful enough, like selling a house in the UK. It’s the uncertainty that chews at you. Will things turn up on time or are they stuck somewhere? I’m trying to be patient, but that patience is wearing wafer thin.

The echoes of an empty house don’t help. Our worldly goods were supposed to dock a week ago and we’ve heard absolutely nothing from the movers. Deliveries are getting later and later and the restrictions mean that doing anything takes five times as long as they should. Which also mean I can’t get on with things. I’m left sitting on my hands writing angry blog posts. Many of which never see the light of day. A number of which should be buried at a midnight crossroads after being digitally burned and boiled in acid.

What bothers me is the sense that we’re being tortured here. By the very institutions meant to protect us. And for no good reason. We’re in a hot mess caused by bad computer models, a fear-stoking media and clueless politicians. I’d spit in their eyes if I came across any of them. All of them. I never thought I’d hate anybody this much, because in real life I’m normally such an affable easy going sort, but here we are.

All this misery and stress comes from one source; officialdom. Bone headed, boorish, control-freak officialdom that has not an ounce of good faith or friendliness. An officialdom that cannot admit it’s got things catastrophically wrong. An officialdom whose first instincts are to repress. To leave uncaring misery in it’s wake. An officialdom insulated from the pain it inflicts upon others. Perhaps if officialdom learned a little about the pain it inflicts it might have the sense to back off a little. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Christmas is going to be cancelled. Our Christmas is and I know exactly where the blame lies. This will not be forgotten or forgiven.

Could be worse I suppose

When the first lockdown came, because we didn’t know much about SARS/COV-2, I was uncomfortable, but moderately okay with it. Now we’ve got Governments locking down their entire populations on what seems like a whim. The real science just doesn’t support locking down. Professional epidemiologists say it, I, with my hospital training, say it.

Being restricted to within 5km of home doesn’t help. All the closures of retail, religious or sporting facilities doesn’t help. The masks don’t help. The excessive testing doesn’t help. All the fear doesn’t help.

When this thing first hit I thought: “All over by the end of April.” And, yea and verily, the worst was past in April, with the Pandemic effectively over in May. Huzzah! thought I. Health services were ‘saved’, for what I’m not sure, but they had come through intact. Great. Okay, let’s get on with our lives.

Then the lockdowns and restrictions continued all through the Summer, and I couldn’t work out why. The virus had run it’s course and hows about getting back to real life guys? Many epidemiologists and medical professionals say we needed Summer to get our immune systems ready for Winter. Which made perfect sense. The death count for SARS/COV-2 infections during the Summer months was all but zero and we humans need to get out in the fresh air and sunshine to bolster our vitamin D levels ready to fight off all the infections that spread like wildfire in indoor environments during Autumn and Winter.

Unfortunately, the mathematical modelers with the ear of Government kept on with their crazy predictions about infection rates, and thus presumably deaths. The mainstream media, because as I have said too often before, fear sells their product, kept repeating the false predictions like they were fact, stoking the fear factor in the wider public.

Those of us with a working brain cell left can see economic disaster like a looming cliff edge that all the fearmongers are driving us all over. Not to mention all the suffering and death caused by people who can’t access primary health care due to the restrictions. Or the increase in mental health disorders and resultant suicides.

Keeping people indoors doesn’t help either. Cold and flu season happens because people are corralled indoors in close proximity. Those who get out in the fresh air tend to suffer less. So why are people being forced to stay in an environment where disease can run rampant?

That and a lot of people have had their salaries drastically reduced, so they’re spending less and the economy has undergone massive shrinkage. Because although governments are using a magic money tree to pay ‘furloughed’ workers, they’re just storing up real pain for the future.

Why does all this upset me and drive me to drink? Because it’s unnecessary and gets in the way of that little thing we all call living.

Oh yes. The weather has turned and it’s been raining. So I’m sitting in a deserted kitchen railing against the wind via my keyboard.
Heavy sigh… Could be worse of course. We could have moved to Wales.

Pass the Jamesons.

On another topic

Mrs S is relearning how to handle a car with a manual gearbox. So while we’re in yet another pointless bloody lockdown, we’re taking short pootles out half way to LocalTown, well within our 5km radius like the politicians tell us to. I’m sure the old muscle memory will come back rapidly the more she drives, so I just sit in the front passenger seat admiring the scenery and enjoying the ride. As I’ve been doing all the driving for the last seven weeks, it comes as something of a welcome break.

The traffic outside doesn’t seem to be reduced by much. Well, we’re in a rural area and it’s that time of year, so our landlord is busy ferrying cattle and sheep about, either from grazing area to grazing era or what is euphemistically called ‘cropping’ in some circles, in others ‘selling on’ or more honestly, slaughter for meat. He doesn’t tell us, and we don’t ask. Besides, while I’m quite comfortable with field to fork, Mrs S, like most non-rural folk, isn’t.

We have two solid fuel stoves, and as the chillier weather begins to close in, am getting in practice with the dark arts of fire lighting and grate maintenance. Dark as in grubby and arts as in these things can be finicky if you don’t set the dampers and draughts just so. We’re still waiting for our furniture, but we’ve got into a rhythm for the day, taking walks down country lanes and learning to step into the foliage when anything big and agricultural comes rolling down the road. And we’re being blessed with some fine Autumnal weather out here in the wilder west of Ireland at present. Even the rain has the good sense to let up after seven in the morning.

The politicians assure us these lockdowns are meant to ‘rescue’ Christmas, but I’m inclined to disagree. Christmas this year in the British Isles looks like being cancelled and the pollies are going to royally mess up New Year as well. They are succeeding where Cromwell’s Puritans failed. If it’s left to them, no one will be allowed to have any fun at all over the festering season, the miserable bar stewards.

Back in BC, Elderly friend is losing her last marbles, but we keep in touch by phone. She can’t walk any more because her balance has gone AWOL and her care staff report she’s being cantankerous. There’s nothing we or our proxies can do apart from watch and wait. Hell, she’s had a bloody good run at life, and everyone dies sometime. I hope that when my time comes, as it will, I don’t keep everyone hanging around, twiddling their thumbs. For one thing, it’s bad manners to keep people waiting because you can’t make up your silly mind.

On the plus side, the kids are fine in their chosen locales, and they’re even talking to me via email on a regular basis. We’re busy walking and talking. Getting to know the locale, showing our faces, getting mugged by over enthusiastic dogs and suchlike. It’s not all doom and gloom. There is wine, there is food, we’ve discovered the David Tennant / Michael Sheen lockdown series ‘Staged’, which is remarkably good for the chuckle muscles. See below.

Well, Mrs S and I like it.

Oh yes I forgot. It’s spaghetti and meatballs tonight with a nice Chilean red.

The new normal

I was up early, pacing our empty kitchen this morning, worrying. Word is we may even be restricted to travel within 10km of home for the next four weeks. Bound by an insane web of ever changing rules that make the word ‘byzantine’ look like simplicity personified. Masks, no matter how useless they really are at this stage of the game at preventing viral spread, will be required everywhere, perhaps even in your own home. Although there are those who do that already. The insanity is, like the SARS/COV-2 virus, everywhere. It has gone from pandemic to endemic. There’s no escape.

Uncertainty has become the rule under which we live. At this point I don’t even know if our worldly goods will be allowed to be delivered next week. The situation is that unclear. We’ve put a deposit on a suitable car and it’s in the shop having a pre-sale detail and service. Unfortunately, as the car dealership we are buying from is slightly over 10km from our new home we may not even be allowed to pick it up at the end of this week. We have the money to spend, but we don’t know if we’re going to be allowed to spend it.

Insurance for independent expats like us is likewise an issue. Finding someone who will insure without a usable no-claims is a pain. We have full documented no claims in Canada for the last thirteen years and for at least six documented years UK no claims before that, but does any of it count over here? Nah. Only certain countries no-claims, such as some EU states and the UK (But not always) are allowed here in Ireland. We know we’re going to get stung. The only question that remains is ‘how much by’? When it comes to transport, there’s this constant feeling of; “Sticker, see that brick wall? That’s for your head. Off you go.”

However, our woes pale into insignificance if some of the lockdown stories surfacing are any guide. There’s a nasty rumour floating around the Interweb that people have died screaming in agony because they were prevented from getting prompt treatment by the lockdowns. Don’t know if these tales are true or not, but I’m sure that video’s will surface if they are. If this is the new (ab)normal they can keep it.

The truth is like that. It always leaks out. The harsher the censorship by the tech giants, the more things will pop up. The evidence will surface, one way or another. And we know where the blame will lie, as it has lain over the last two decades or more. On those who push the panic button to keep themselves in a job, the powers that be, and those who carry water for them.

Hear what Sargon has to say. They’re cancelling and censoring the White House’s social media accounts? Along with so many others. That’s going to come back to bite silicon valley and some of the big corporates. Especially if Trump wins his second term.

I don’t use social media anyway, having cancelled twatter and Arsebook years ago.

Fortunately our car hire guys have been absolute heroes. Sixt, when it comes down to it, may not be the cheapest, but their customer service is worth every penny. I’ve used them in four countries on three continents so far (Australia, France, UK and Canada) and unlike all the others, have always walked away without a care. There’s never been that WTF! moment when you check your credit card statement after a hire. Our currency brokers have likewise upped their game, as if it needed upping, and come through with some happy news. If you have a legitimate need to shift money from country to country, may I give the gold star of approval to Currencies Direct. Needless to say, Mr Bezo’s boys continually come up trumps. These guys have been life and sanity savers in very difficult times.

Update: Other people are not as fortunate or determined as we, and even children are cracking up under the strain. Watch the video below, read out from a report first penned in May 2020. God alone knows what that poor kid is like now, and he will be only one of thousands. Perhaps even tens of thousands. We can only guess.

These lockdowns are a crime against humanity and the cracks are showing. But I repeat myself. Again and again and a-bloody-gain.

Useful links; as far back as 15th May, 43% of UK Psychiatrists reported an uptick in cases directly attributable to the lockdowns.

At least half a million more people in UK may experience mental ill health as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, says the first forecast from Centre for Mental Health on 15th May. the figures for 1st October predict ten million.

That’s just the mental health side of the coin. The economic damage and attendant fallout promises to be far worse. Now the Welsh assembly thinks it’s lockdown will make any difference. They’re wrong. The real science says they are, but they are politicians who don’t understand what they’re doing or what they’re really dealing with and what actually works.

So be it..

Had a bit of a scare today. Mrs S has been fussing about the last few in the plague of flies that afflicted our new home over the last week or so. Still can’t get over the fact that we’ve only been here just over a week. Anyway, she carried on so that I grumpily borrowed a stepladder from the farm and proceeded to check gutters for various carrion that the flies might be breeding in.

The gutters were clear, but while checking the section next to the most afflicted window, the stepladder suddenly canted almost twenty degrees sideways from vertical. Only some fairly swift and terrified gymnastics on my part stopped this being an incident where the unstable steps dropped me onto the bonnet of our expensive hired car, which only I am currently registered to drive.

Heart in mouth, I carefully balanced myself so I could get to the ground intact without either damaging myself or the car, then made my way to terra firma. Had I actually fallen, the inevitable damage to myself and the car would have been expensive. Or, as I tetchily remarked to Mrs S in the safety of our kitchen; “Don’t ask me to do that again. I almost became a COVID-19 statistic.”

Had the fall proven fatal, an outside but distinct possibility if the ironies of fate are taken into account, my death would no doubt be logged as a fatal COVID-19 ‘case’ when my post mortem PCR test came back positive. Regardless of whether I was suffering any symptoms of anything at all. That’s one of the reasons why ‘experts’ who can only see one side of the story are fucking up the lives of entire countries. They equate test results with actual infections and use their flaky Imperial College computer models to hold us all to ransom. Just like with HIV, BSE, Foot and Mouth, Swine and Avian Flu. I mean come on. How many more times do SAGE or NPHET have to be wrong before those eejits get fired for serial incompetence?

I may have a key fob that says ‘feckin eejit’, but even I’m not that stupid.

On the upside, we’ve found a suitable car. A little SUV with enough luggage space and then some for a few crates of wine, when booze cruises are possible once more. Colour isn’t great and it’s got a minor scrape but the price isn’t bad. Now all we have to do is get insurance. This is the mountain Mrs S and I now have to climb. Life seems to be full of these at the moment, but we’re managing to clamber to the top of each, only to take a breath and go “Oh right. There’s another one. Bugger.” When we see the next one looming on the horizon. So we sigh heavily, gird our rhetorical loins and pick up our metaphorical backpacks before embarking on the next part of the journey.

The secret about all this, if secret there is, is not to stop. Seriously. We’re not hungry or starving, we’ve been careful to do our homework so we can continue our journey. We have objectives. We have money set aside to pay for these things having sold up in Canada to afford this move, this great gamble. One by one, we’re hammering the pieces of our jigsaws into place, making the pieces fit and decorating our new landscape, taking each new hurdle with a deep breath and a sotto voce “So be it”.

Conspiracy theories.

I try not to deal in conspiracy theories, only in that which can be independently verified. The numbers contain truth, only people lie. So it is with COVID-19. I’ve been called an ‘arrogant conspiracy theorist’ for saying that the worst was over in May, when the numbers clearly support my view. However, there are those so entrenched in their world view, so poisoned with fear that they have nothing left but insult and denigration in their playbook. They will never be convinced. I say let them hide behind closed windows and curtains for the rest of their days if they so choose. At least let the rest of us get on with our lives. SARS/COV-2 is endemic within the population now.

I wish the idiocacy of the mainstream media would stop trying to sell the same tired old disaster narrative, which is, like the motivation for the second Iraq war, a conspiracy theory based on the notorious ‘dodgy dossier’. But no, the current crop of talking heads drone on with the same old tosh.

On the other hand, ‘awaken with JP’ nails it. The media deals in conspiracy theories better than real conspiracy theorists. Who knew?

Watch and laugh, then cry a little for all the harm that is being done in the name of fear.

Today I have to snarl at a few people. Something that never sits well with me. The dragons scales must flash a little. Not much, just enough to let the subjects of my displeasure know that they have erred. Then I can get on with moving some money around.