Tag Archives: New beginnings

A sense of proportion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was easy

Since we are no longer going to Galway, we’re now in our slightly echoing new domicile having run the gauntlet of Gardai checkpoints, which was a bit of an anticlimax. “Is your journey necessary?” Asked a young lady brightly, shivering in hi-viz.
“Er, yes.” I replied, fumbling with my mask while Mrs S glowered at me for letting the side down.
“Thank you. Off you go.”

And that was it. No “Where are you really going sunshine?” or “A likely story, chummy. Pull the other one” I must have an honest face or something.

I suppose they were a bit bored because there wasn’t much traffic about. Seriously, on our way north from Limerick the only traffic was the occasional truck and very few private cars. Nothing like the normal volume. There were times when we felt quite alone. Reminded me of certain parts of Devon and Cornwall in the off season. Like on a sunny December day. Even saw a rainbow.

Dropping in at local shop for provisions, checkout girl vouchsafed that the whole situation was ‘scary’. I was inclined to agree. If the only sources of information you have are feeding off the fear, of course it is reasonable to be afraid. Personally I switch them all off and just keep going. Life’s less stressful that way.

Travel tribulations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Settling in

Well, that’s the new place up and running, even though we have still have four weeks left on our holiday lets. Gigabyte (A whole Gig!) Fibre Internet connection is in and running. Phone is working. Extender network installed. Plague of flies battled. Heating fuel in and rent paid. Bank account should be ready to take first tranche of deposit money shortly and car insurance quote is on the way. We’ve been busy bunnies.

Tip for the interested; if like me you were doubtful about the efficacy of ‘essential oils’, note that Rosemary, Peppermint, Lemongrass or Lavender oil dropped (Just one, not all) onto the surface of half a jug of water repels flies while making your house smell of something that isn’t chemical and has none of the cloying overtones of supermarket air fresheners or aromatic candles. It’s probably cheaper long term too. We have a gallon jug of Rosemary oil treated water sitting upstairs and one with Lemongrass oil downstairs. They’re a little pungent at first, but the flies don’t like it at all. If the strategy is as successful as first attempts indicate, I’ll be buying those four on a semi-regular basis. Fly repellent and air freshener? Sounds good to me.

The whole mask thing is still a big deal in Closetown, but if like me you enjoy inhabiting the many coffee and tea venues, once you’re in a given set of premises you’re breathing the same air and you can’t wear a face nappy while you’re eating or drinking, can you? It’s also rather comical to watch people untrained in aseptic techniques get it wrong. Wear disposable mask, check. Wear disposable gloves, check. Wearing street clothes, whoops, you’ve just rendered the gloves and masks useless. It’s all a game of snakes and ladders from an epidemiological standpoint. Get one thing wrong and you might as well not be doing it at all.

Not that these masks do any real good at this stage of the game. They’re just a distraction from the wholesale removal of civil liberties. I predict that at some point there will be a massive pushback. An official will massively overstep the mark and it will all go viral. A child will be snatched and harmed and a parent will fight back and get badly hurt. Or something of that nature. The information will go public. It’s only a matter of time, then these ‘COVID Marshalls’ will find themselves with massive invisible targets painted on their backs. As will the politicians who forced this on everyone, regardless of individual culpability.

The UK Police have hardly covered themselves in glory with all the “We’re gonna get yer” Video’s and steaming crowds of non-violent protesters with batons while kneeling to every two-bit cadre of Marxist rioters. That’s coming back to bite them. In spades. Public trust, once lost, is a bloody hard thing to win back. Whoever is giving them their orders is both short sighted and incompetent.

Which convinces me further that the current crop of politicians, both in the UK and across Europe are only good at one thing; getting elected. At everything else they are about as inept as it’s possible to get. Boris Johnson in particular is only marginally better than Cameron and May, and that’s only by a pretty slim margin. He may be getting BREXIT done, but that will be no bloody good if the economy is a total smoking wreck caused by his cabinet’s incompetence.

As for even suggesting putting the Army on the streets to ‘enforce COVID restrictions’? Whoever came up with that suggestion needs to be defenestrated out of the forty fifth floor of Canary wharf. The only time the Army did street service in any kind of civil capacity on English streets was during the 1977 fireman’s strike. And then they were unarmed.

Armed troops should not be used in support of the Police like in Northern Ireland back in 1969. That just made a bad situation worse. As would deploying the Army in that capacity now. Stupid, stupid, stupid. ‘Putting in the Army’ is a hallmark of weak and ineffectual Government. Wilson and his cohorts sent in the Army to Ulster and that policy disaster helped expand what was originally a set of civil rights protests into ‘the troubles’, over three decades of murder and mayhem, including political assassinations, until people started to wind their necks in. Even in 2020, the conflict continues.

COVID-19 is no longer a threat. It does not justify the repressive measures and they should be ended. I say that as a member of one of the higher risk age groups. We need to get back to normal economic activity or we are all royally fucked. The news tonight from the Dail saying they wouldn’t lock down the country like the ‘experts’ wanted comes as some small relief. Our current rental runs out on Friday and we have to be on the move to our next destination. The last thing I want to do is waste time bluffing my way around road blocks.

Did I just repeat myself there? Well so I did.

Update: Ireland just went into “Is your journey necessary sir?” For the next three weeks.
My answer is “Yes officer. Because I want to sleep in a bed tonight.”
Rinse, repeat as necessary.

Bloody ‘experts’. Counting ‘cases’ which aren’t really ‘cases’ but ‘detections’. Those with symptoms are not even ten percent of the count and even the padded ‘death count’ is lower than seasonal flu. Some say it’s less than a quarter. One day Historians will look at this period of spineless insanity for a giggle and for examples of how to get handling a pandemic (That was over in May) so very, very wrong.

Moving on…

Despite all the lockdowns, Mrs S and I are busy dodging about, doing our thing and ensuring that we’re all stocked up and clean for when our worldly goods arrive later this month. It’s a bit of an odd sensation, but we’ve access to hot water, beds to sleep in and a reasonable food supply. Even some quite excellent traditional dry cure bacon. Give me the flour and there will be bread too.

I see old Donald J and his wife have caught the dreaded lurgi, or at least been tested positive for it. Their symptoms, it is reported, are very mild, so that will enrage the anti-Trump camp even more, if that is at all possible. If the first couple sail through with barely a cough, I won’t be surprised. Firstly they have the best healthcare available in the USA, secondly because although the Donald is in the higher risk category, he has no known underlying conditions which the virus can piggyback off and cause a more severe illness.

For those of you worrying about ‘second spikes’, may I refer you to the excellent Ivor Cummins succinct two minute predictions. It does put the drip-drip of mainstream media propaganda and misinformation nicely in perspective.

Doesn’t look so bleak now, does it? All those ‘cases’ with barely a sniffle. I’m tempted to ask; “what’s all the fuss about?”

Over at the source of SARS/COV-2, the Chinese are is serious economic trouble. The massive floods of September along with locust plagues and typhoons have seriously damaged their food supply chain. The giant Three Gorges Dam may have survived, but deliberate flooding measures intended to save it have seriously degraded agricultural output. Official CCP sources say all is well, but then they would, wouldn’t they? Less official sources closer to the ground paint a bleaker picture. New York based media output (See below) from NTD’s ‘Chna in Focus’ reports.

For our part we have diversified our small income streams so that if one goes belly-up we’re still going to be able to make the rent and keep the larder full. It’s the travel restrictions that bite because it interferes with our global family life. All of us have a touch of the gypsy in us, and this artificial confinement grates on the soul. Not to mention being far too much, too late.

We all want to be out there, generating income for travel companies with all the byblows of job creation and microtransactions that we shape with our lives. This Government-created economic inertia helps no-one and harms far too many.

Not the end of the world

Moving forward into our new place and getting stuff organised. There’s a lot of detail to go through and I’m busier than a bee on amphetamines. However, each step forward brings us closer to getting sorted. It’s just time and effort. Mrs S is up to her neck in her own affairs, so it falls to me to ensure things happen in their proper order. Fortunately we agreed a division of labour for this move and we’re all good. Money is coming in and we’re actually paying less in terms of rent and utilities for a similar size property than we were in BC. All we have to do is ensure the cash goes to the right places. Such is the life of a permanent expat. Not that I mind, it’s actually fun if you have the right attitude.

As for all the COVID-19 restrictions, apart from masking up to go into shops when we’re in town they’re no big deal. The people who are suffering the most are the urbanites and students under house arrest, particularly if they’re living on campus.

Not that the people who impose these rules are following them, the hypocrites. They still get to go to dinner parties of more than six people any time it suits them. And their bars don’t have to shut at 10pm. I also bet no-one goes peering through their letterboxes.

One rule for us plebs and divine privilege for them. Don’t they understand that we’ve chopped the heads off royalty over divine rights and exclusive privilege? I bet that Charles 1st was thinking as he was being led to the block for a quick bit off the top “I wish I’d told everyone that one rule should be for all, not just the privileged few.” Foolish man. Took thirteen years to get back to somewhere near normal after three civil wars in the 1640’s. What? You thought there was only one? There possibly was one period of civil war, but there were actually three English civil wars where there was actual fighting if you take the time to read the History properly. Charlie boy lost all three. And his head because the silly bugger couldn’t take the hint. Dozy eejit.

Perhaps the current powers that be might benefit from reading their history a little more closely. Because this whole SARS/COV-2 business isn’t the end of the world. If people paid attention it might just be the beginning of a much better one. Which is why the current draconian restrictions are proving counter-productive, but who listens to me? I’m just a blogger with a lifetime of world-experience. They’re just chickens with their heads cut off wearing their face masks wrong. See inset picture and click to enlarge for a giggle.

And I’ve got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.

Anyway, it’s not the end of the world, even if all the over privileged drama queens want it to look like it is. It’s effectively a lot of fuss about what we can clearly see now is a comparatively low risk. The worst is past. Time to move on. I’m sick of writing about it, and I bet my last remaining reader, if they’re still here, is pig sick of hearing the fear-porn about COVID-19 as well.

Eleanor Rigby redux

All the frightened people, where do they all come from? All the frightened people, where do they all belong? To bowdlerise the chorus rhyme scheme of the old Beatles number ‘Eleanor Rigby’ which I have reworded for 2020 below.

Ah, look at all the frightened people!
Ah, look at all the frightened people!

Eleanor Rigby
Watches the news on the box for all the fear stats
Maybe she’s bats
Watches the Telly
Hiding her face with a mask from behind her closed door
What is it for?

All the frightened people
Where do they all come from?
All the frightened people
Where do they all belong?

Doctor McKenzie
Writing the words of a lecture that no one will hear
No one comes near
Look at him working
Writing his blog in the night when there’s nobody there
Why does he care?

All the frightened people
Where do they all come from?
All the frightened people
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the frightened people!
Ah, look at all the frightened people!

Eleanor Rigby
Died all alone and cremated along with her name
Nobody came
Doctor McKenzie
Hand sanitising out in the ward but there’s no-one to heal
Thinks it’s unreal

All the frightened people (Ah, look at all the frightened people!)
Where do they all come from?
All the frightened people (Ah, look at all the frightened people!)
Where do they all belong?

Original sequence from Yellow Submarine, the Beatles movie (I have a DVD copy) in YT video below. Tell me it’s not bang on the money.

Mrs S and I are hunkering down at our new place away from all the insanity. Heating and insurances have been organised, rent paid in advance and we’re sorting out our Interweb connection ahead of moving in our worldly goods. It’s a bit echoey at the moment and we’re subsisting off mobile data, which is okay, but sometimes the connection can get a bit hokey, which is par for the course. Then there’s just the business of our driving licences and getting our clean driving records acknowledged by the insurance brokers.

On the upside, a turn around the streets of our closest new town shows all the symbols of people getting pissed off with the lockdowns. “Free the streets” placards in business windows, people paying lip service to the restrictions, wearing masks with nose and even mouth exposed just so they can breathe properly. No-one getting really upset just yet, although I’m waiting for some kind of anti-lockdown protest to snowball from students under house arrest in their halls of residence. Maybe they could have a ‘sneeze in’ over the security who are forcing them to stay in their rooms during ‘Freshers week’? Or more appropriately all over the pro-lockdown politicians. That could be fun.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…we’re plodding away, trying to find out how to get car and health insurance over here in Ireland. What I find strange is that the Insurance brokers don’t list Canada as a country they will accept driver’s licences from. We’ve got our old UK license numbers, but as for the rest, I have the feeling it’s going to get difficult and more expensive than necessary. Hi ho. This is what we’ve saved some of our money to do, and as I’ve said before, it’s not our first transcontinental rodeo.

This SARS/COV-2 thing is still a nuisance rather than a showstopper. Electrical stores are having stocking problems, printers especially. We bought the last one in a major retail outlet, or as the sales assistant said, probably the whole County. Web sites, even Amazon, are running out of stock. However, the food stores are okay. Fortunately this Government created crisis has allowed that part of the supply chain to keep functioning. No-one will starve. Well, at least no-one who has been lucky enough to keep their livelihood.

Besides, the whole COVID-19 is a molehill now. Word from the front lines say that specialist units have only a trickle, or often no patients. The politicians and their ‘experts’ have it wrong. About as wrong as it’s impossible to be. Indeed the fear of COVID-19 has been magnitudes greater than the actual viral infection itself. Deaths have been in the single digits, often zero, for months now. True, a few thousand, mostly the very sick already, died at the peak of the pandemic in March and April. It was a nasty bug. Was, past tense.

This mass experimental lockdown has done infinitely more harm than good. Anyway, I repeat myself.

Our issues are created by things which previously took hours to organise now taking a week or more. Which leads to Mrs S is getting on my case about stuff which I have no control over, like people not calling back when they said they would. Which further leads to me raising my voice to her, something I do not like doing and feels like I have failed to communicate clearly in some way, but the frustration felt over the byblow of these pointless bloody restrictions has no other venting point.

I wonder how many divorces are in the offing over this?

Can they cite these pro-lockdown people as co respondents?

Unfortunately we’re probably stuck with these silly bloody restrictions for years to come. As Simon Webb points succinctly points out in the video below.

So far so, oh.

Right. We’ve got our permanent address here in Ireland. A little further west than anticipated, but not out of reach of Dublin, when of course it comes out of the latest lockdown. We’ve finished our mandatory self-isolation now and are free to mix with the natives as we are considered as low risk as everyone else. We caught nothing on the plane over and after two weeks are no longer considered ‘unclean’. I’ve even organised a local bank account and as soon as we get the official card I’ll start moving money.

Trying to get people to answer email over here is a hassle. I’ve lost count of the emailed enquiries I’ve made to insurance companies and the like. All we get is radio silence. You’d think in these straitened times that people would be taking the arm off us to get at least some turnover, but no, they don’t seem that eager. So I’ll keep on plugging away until I find someone who is at the very least awake and breathing.

Over the water, Bojo, the frightened UK Prime Minister continues to disappoint with his lack of balls over this SARS/COV-2 virus. He’s listening to ‘experts’ who quite frankly like their sinecures and are pumping out the fear porn via a complicit media to a gullible public, just to make it look like they know more than anyone else. Which of course is complete bullshit. I try not to listen to them, but if asked to wear a mask for a few minutes will do so for the sake of a quiet life. However, when no-one is looking…

Anyway, we’re out today around Limerick and stocking up for our new place with necessary stuff like cleaning materials and small appliances like a Microwave, kettle and similar. Ikea are due an order from us as our new home is at least as big as our old place in BC, which means room for visitors to stay. We binned a lot of accumulated crap when we moved, and will be buying only basic white crockery and a few chairs for our dining table. For when these bullshit lockdowns end and we can finally have guests in. Not that Mrs S and I have ever been manic socialisers, we’re too picky for that, but we do have good friends I’ll more than happily put my cooks apron on for.

When these lockdowns end. Whenever that is going to be.

A dose of the Leprechauns

Ach, Jaysus! Where’s it sending us now? I might have said if I was a local. But I’m not. Went out in the car to pick up some online ordered shopping from a store beginning with T (To find that they had ‘substituted’ almost a third of my order – Natch) Well, that was the plan.

So, using my handy dandy little cell phone with heavy duty data plan I punched in the co-ordinates. So far so good. The inbuilt Satnag fired up and took us out up the road. Left turn, right turn, gosh this road’s a bit narrow isn’t it? Okay. Ten kilometres later, lovely hedgerows aren’t they? Go right into an even narrower road. Hang on a minute! This isn’t a road it’s a farm track isn’t it? Through a Sitka Spruce plantation. Are we sure we want to go this way? Satnag says yes and I don’t know the area so we carry on in the hope of being directed onto a wider road. Right out onto a wider country lane blocked with around fifty guys walking in loose formations, they wave us past.

Heading toward sunset we are finally directed onto a main road. There is a massive sigh of relief from Mrs S in the passenger seat. This is better. Then five kilometres further on to cries of “What?” we are directed to go right onto a side road and yet more lanes. Sounds of exasperation rattle my ears from the co-pilots position. Down through a series of tight S-bends and right again. My sense of direction is scrambled and I have no effing idea if we’re on the right road or not.

Out onto a half familiar road. I recall being here once before a few years ago on our last Irish trip. Okay. I’m getting annoyed now. I’m a patient man but I’m pretty sure we’re being taken the pretty way, not the most direct route as requested. “I think.” I vouchsafed cautiously. “That my phone has caught a dose of the leprechauns.” Mrs S does not deign to reply, but I can tell from the way she’s breathing that this is all my fault and I will be made to pay. All the warning signs are there.

We finally locate the store and pull in a good three quarters of an hour later than planned. Dusk is with us now, shading the light and making me search for how to get back to the barn via some easier to navigate main roads. Order is loaded. I’m not going to argue about the substituted items, it’s too late in the day and I’m getting tired, a hangover from the jet lag.

It’s worth noting at this point that I’m the only one named on the car rental agreement, so Mrs S is relegated to being my co-pilot and chief critic while I rediscover my manual gear change technique. So I want to get back without too much hassle in the evening along narrow and very unfamiliar roads. After half a dozen false starts, with Mrs S having finally lost patience with the hire cars onboard satnag and directing us along the main N and M roads, we finally turn into our temporary home, startling the farmyard cats, who have come to get a good look at the new kids in town.

My sigh of relief is looked askance at but not commented upon. Well, not verbally. We are both hungry and thirsty. There is food. There is much needed alcohol. It will do for now.

How fragile we’re not

Well we’re here. We have survived jet lag, some of the worst airline food it’s ever been my displeasure to encounter and successfully negotiated the supposedly byzantine ways of quarantine and immigration. I’ve just managed to get my first decent nights sleep in over a week. We have food, we have shelter. We have transport and fast Internet. We have COFFEE! (Good stuff too)

And it hasn’t been that hard so far. Of course there have been a couple of glitches. Money needs to be applied as a salve in a couple of cases, but on the whole Mrs S and I did like I said; moved purposefully with the right forms filled in and slipped through all the barriers like shit through a goose. In record time I might add. Even baggage claim was a snip. All you need to do is ask the right questions and keep a cool, polite manner.

So where are we? To announce the winner of the migration sweepstake; Glyn Palmer. Well done smartarse, the prize of absolutely naff all is heading your way because a sweepstake needs punters. No-one ponyed up any cash so, sorry, you’re SOL as they say in jolly old Interwebland.

For the rest of you that haven’t been following our little saga; Begorrah. We’re in rural Southern Ireland.

Bill, you bastard. Well yes, of course. I’m a bastard son of a bitch. Literally. An Irishman’s bastard son of a bitch to boot. Although you wouldn’t think it to hear me speak. I have an accent that contains elements of home counties England with a slight north midlands twang, overlaid with all sorts of other anglophone influences, from Australia to Canada. But not Ireland. However, I tend to adopt accents by osmosis, so this situation may well change.

Mrs S and I are currently finding our way around, despite my phones copy of Google maps getting infested with a dose of Leprechauns and sending us down tiny lanes through the back end of nowhere. We’ve successfully navigated our way out of Dublin past groups of up to ten Hi-Viz clad Gardai (Police) in the middle of O’Connell Street, looking for all the world like clumps of late daffodils. Been driven nuts by near constant electronic admonitions from our hire car all the two hour drive to our temporary home and then successfully stared down a bunch of farmyard cats.

From our bedroom window we can see a massive country house across the valley and the hilltop remains of a castle. There are trees other than endless conifers and then there’s Ireland’s boasted ‘forty shades of green’ bathing us in it’s munificent balm. The motorway network reminds me of Southern France. Similar construction methods and accessories. Switch sides of the road and you’d hardly notice the difference, short of the bilingual road signage and Celtic alphabet.

Out here the country folk have accents thicker than a doorstep Cheese butty with extra pickles. Their voices wrap themselves around you like creamy Irish butter, which is exceptionally good let me tell you. So far we have found them robust and easy going.

We will be ‘officially’ self isolating for twelve more days before being admitted to polite society. To be honest we’re not bothered. The dreaded lurgi has come and gone. All else is propaganda and scaremongering. No second spike or wave. No need to be afraid. And I have a bottle of Jamesons. There is bacon.

Despite the restrictions imposed by badly advised and panicking politicians, the panic is over. Which tells us this; we humans are robust, not fragile. We are descended from generations of survivors. The rest is bollocks. Modern humanity is stronger than the media and political pantywaisters aver. So I choose not to listen to their cultish canting. On that topic, our accommodation has two televisions. They will not be switched on for the duration of our stay. At least not by me.

Anyway. I look on the bright side; there are huge Irish beaches to explore which will be emptier than usual as the terrified classes won’t go anywhere near them. All the more for us (Snigger).

Where’d you hear that then?

Another few days before our flight leaves. I’m still a bit keyed up and sleeping badly, getting by on a less than healthy four to five hours a night. Avoiding watching the news because most of it’s total crap and speculative churnalism. Our airline keeps us up to date via email with all the restrictions and we’ll just have to wait until we’re airborne before I relax a little. At the moment I’m contemplating the use of chemical assistance to get a good night’s repose tonight because all the insomnia is doing me no good at all.

We have cable TV at our hotel. Three hundred channels of absolute crap, with five minutes of adverts every twelve minutes, which means Mrs S and I find ourselves watching Amazon Prime movies and TV seasons on my laptop in the late evening when we tire of downtown’s highly restricted pleasures. The mainstream news is currently little better than clickbait and propaganda. So we don’t bother with it.

It’s not the pandemic costing me sleep, which has turned out to be rather a damp squib, comparatively speaking. The figures overstated by slaveringly enthusiastic mass media, gleefully pushing a narrative that has little to do with reality. My sleeplessness is primarily down to worrying about what the panicking fearmongers will do. Getting a bout of SARS/COV-2 itself seems child’s play in comparison. Yes it’s a nasty bug, but nowhere near as bad as advertised. But I repeat myself. See Tony Heller’s video below. It’s the craziness of those in authority which has me sweating, not the virus.

What else? Oh yes. Apparently this blog is all WRONG!!!!!!! According to some drone who failed to read the notes above my ‘contact me’ form that is. Well bless my raddled soul. I never knew. Swelp me sideways guv, there’s a turn up for the books and no mistake. I’m wrong. As wrong as wrong can be. Well, fancy that. According to whom, might one enquire?

Whenever I find myself faced with a drone or NPC type spouting what can only be described as information-lite propaganda, I have a little saying; “Where’d you hear that then?” occasionally followed by “CNN?” or some other discredited mainstream news source, delivered with a mocking grin.

For example; when someone declaims “But it’s science, innit?”
I generally reply “Which science is that? Please be specific.” Which they never can, they just say everyone else thinks so, or regurgitate some rather fanciful press release, which is enough to convince them. Which is odd because ‘science’ is the process of investigation to add to our body of knowledge, not the body of knowledge itself. It’s a fine, but highly valid distinction.

Gods but I can be really annoying (He said gleefully). This stance can be quite a lot of fun, especially when a froth mouthed opponent looks up into my gently mocking smile and realises that if they escalate they will be in deep, deep doo-doo. They will generally have to look up, because I’m a big guy. Which can put a potential assailant off their game. Then there’s the Ju-jitsu if push comes to shove. Because it’s much easier to defend than attack if you know how.

Regardless, when it comes to information, I like to go to primary source material wherever possible. Not secondhand accounts like newspapers. Failing that, I read the financial pages, because that’s where all the real news is. The Brownian motion of stocks and shares. Market trends. Restructurings. In the UK it’s the Financial Times. In Canada the rather milquetoast Financial Post. None of the other newspapers give you any information worth spit. All else, I have found, is mostly mere speculation, op-eds, Fark, Churnalism and outrage bait.

My new found pleasure in numbers comes from their propensity for blunt and unabashed honesty. As I have explained to my broker on several occasions, “People lie. Numbers generally don’t.” Apart from statistical models, which I find are less use at making worthwhile predictions than Mystic Smeg, famed newspaper astrologer and alcoholic. Like epidemics, pandemics and all other prophesies of doom which have either failed to happen or been turned into a total shitshow because the response relied on incomplete or faulty mathematical modelling.

I put my faith in no one else’s God, no spirit (Unless it’s a decent single malt) and definitely no politicians, the slippery bastards.

If I have any belief, it is this; I believe in life. Or if anyone is familiar with a play called ‘The Sea’, a comedy by Edward Bond, I refer to a set speech which is an audition text in the ‘Audition book for men’ published by Methuen. Specifically a speech by one of the characters called ‘Evens’ who is trying to comfort a grieving friend where he says; “I believe in sand and stone and water because the wind stirs them into a dirty sea and gives birth to living things. The Universe lives, it teems with life”. Failing that, the words in the left hand sidebar of this blog form another branch of my guiding principles. ‘Do not believe’.

Hiatus

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

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

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

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

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

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

I needed a shower after that.

Downsizing rapidly

Wow. Have we only a month or so to go before our flight leaves? How these things creep up on us. Fortunately we’re keeping to schedule, and despite mildly bizarre happenstances like having masked people turn up at your door to buy stuff off you, oh and disturbing a rather large wolf spider, about five inches span, which somehow had hitched a lift indoors last night, all is moving along nice and steadily. So far so good.

Masked people have come and gone. Spider was dealt with and this week sees us passing our power of attorney on to our deputy along with all the paperwork that entails; bank accounts, wills, DNR’s and all the rest of it. A trip up island is planned to visit Elderly Friend and relatives who are taking over from us. A time for everything and everything in it’s time sets the order for the day. All we can do is grit our teeth and hope we don’t have too many more curve balls to deal with.

At least locally our parks are open again and a few families are venturing up to our local lake for a dip when it gets a bit too warm. Apart from the malls and stores where all the silly restrictions are in place, life trundles on.

Today I have car hire to organise and the last of our stuff to put up for sale. Our apartment grows more echoey by the day.

Incoming

Gordon Bennett! It’s been a bit of a stormy few days with stuff flying in from all directions. First was yet another change to our bloody flights. Because of ‘Government policy’ the airline changed our flight date. Which means I had to go chasing around, changing hotel bookings on the fly, ensuring that the fragile procedural strings binding our whole move together remained intact. If I can’t blag an upgrade to Business Class out of this, I’ll feel I’ll be letting the side down.

Fortunately we’re using Bookings.com which allows me to make changes and find alternatives in short order, so changing our existing bookings wasn’t too onerous. Just another dose of “WTF!” to enliven the day. A shower of emails currently passes through my inbox regarding all the minutiae of travel nowadays. Transfer of residence forms, waiting for hours in booking call centre queues, conversations over moving out details with landlord, all the fun of the fair. Although in these instances the ‘fair’ concerned isn’t very fair at all and appears to have been designed by the Marquis De Sade with a bad migraine. Not my idea of fun but some thrive on it.

So, the rollercoaster of life continues unabated with few bright spots apart from ‘North’ calling in to tell us she’s blagged a new job with much more money in a far bigger practice of solicitors. ‘South’ is snuggled down in Cairns with in-laws, so physically they’re both okay, which is always good to hear. Especially when so many are struggling in this Government-created crisis.

On a personal note our tally of worldly goods continues to shrink to a more reasonable level. With just over a month to go we think we’ve found a buyer for the car with another interested party on hold. And an interested dealership if those options go south.

As for our apartment, we’re working with our landlord to ensure all is in apple pie order for the handover, things like filling in tiny holes in the drywall where mirrors and pictures were hung and ensuring paintwork is up to snuff. We’ve already asked for a written reference and it never hurts to show willing. He’s sorry to see us go, so he says, but I’d like that in writing to be on the safe side when our boots hit the ground and we need some proof of character. A good reference can be worth a hundred times its weight in gold, so we try to keep on our landlord’s good side. Can’t hurt.

As for what’s going on over here with supplies being bought for mass vaccinations; I’m suspicious. This whole vaccine thing is being rushed, and what’s the saying? “You can have it quick or you can have it good.”

Besides, some random bugger comes at me with a shonky Chinese made needle and I’ll be asking some pointed questions beginning with “Are you aware you’re violating my charter rights?” followed by “What training have you had?” then summed up with “I’ll get mine from my local nurse when she tells me it’s safe. She has a proper license.” and perhaps a tart “I want your name and your supervisors name so I know who to send my lawyers after if I suffer any ill effects.” if forced to comply.

We’re in this mess because panicking politicians and drama obsessed mass media, faced with a disease most have some form of immunity by now, are still running around like chickens with their arses on fire. Doesn’t matter that a mask is currently less use than a chocolate teapot. Doesn’t matter that infection and death rates are way down despite a massive increase in testing. The political class have decided to send us down the road to hell. So Mrs S and I are trying to dive under the wire whilst also ensuring our little clan are safe.

All the mandatory masks and talk of mass vaccination is just lip service to convince the rest of us peons that our political class actually know what they’re doing. Which I am ever more convinced that they don’t and leads to the truth that the mass media and politicians always lie, but, as I am ever ready to observe, the real numbers don’t.