Tag Archives: Travel

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.

A business opportunity

Having had a look at some of the ‘Vaccination’ cards supposedly to be used as ID, I’m amazed at how easy to fake they will be. A picture of both sides of the card, fake batch number and appointment date and Robert, as they say, will be one’s fathers brother. Any modest home office could turn out hundreds. A photo printer could probably print out better looking copies. I believe there are even pre-cut ID card templates on sale via stationery stores.

No doubt this has occurred to everyone with a working brain cell, but a combo scanner / fax / printer, scissors, card and glue with a small home pouch laminator and you have all you need to charge ten quid a pop. Flash one of these at the average security guard (or below average if you’re talking about ‘COVID Marshalls’) and all of a sudden you’re a solid vaccinated citizen. Keep a few spares in your wallet to sell to friends. Charge your enemies ten times more.

No doubt certain enterprising gentlemen in the illegal intoxicants trade already have copies rolling off backstreet printing presses, out of the back door and via their distribution networks. Soon to appear on every dodgy mobile phone cracking market stall or via some slightly shady home delivery service.

Don’t you just love private enterprise?

Did say this whole COVID restriction business was as flawed as the idea of Prohibition. All you need is a plausible copy of a ‘vaccination’ card and you’re in to whatever gig / pub / club you want to, no dodgy jab necessary.

Only Governments can cock up like this.

Talk about depressing

Looks like being a lonely festive season here at Maison Sticker. We were looking forward to having family over from the UK and Canada. Possibly even from the fabled land of Oz. Now we’re told; “Sorry- tiers and levels.” from the bullshit merchants currently occupying seats of authority. “No vaccine – no travel.” We’re told. WTF? Did I move to communist freaking China last week and completely miss the memo?

All the talk of getting Christmas off from these godawful f*ckwitted lockdowns turns out to have been a lie. Our civil liberties have been trashed. For what? Do we have a real problem at this point in time? While the WHO’s own web site contains huge amounts of scary details, as Ivor Cummins points out below, the science and base numbers do not support lockdowns. Nor do the previous WHO 2019 health guidelines. As Mr Cummins rightly points out, how come the Japanese, Norwegians and Finns got off so lightly? Healthy vitamin D serum levels perhaps?

Which is why I take 2000UI of D3 (50mcg) daily. No side effects. I’ve been on this dose for the last year and intend to keep it up as I’m quite enjoying all the usual sniffles giving me the go-by. The much vaunted potential kidney problems don’t kick in until much higher doses. Besides, if your diet lacks vitamin D and you live above the 50th parallel, a little extra will do you no harm whatsoever. As an aside; I can still recall children in the UK being born with Rickets, a classic vitamin D deficiency disease. Even in adults. However, Rickets has made a comeback in recent years, partly due to a change in the ethnic mix of the UK, and partly because of dietary and behavioural changes. Not enough time out in the fresh air for example. Something my old school GP used to be quite enthusiastic about.

What I find truly depressing is that the precedent has been set. Everyone’s basic human rights can now be set aside for a disease that mostly damages those only with serious pre-existing chronic illnesses. The rest of us get a sniffle or mild flu-like illness.

Then there’s mandatory vaccinations without consent? Tell me, when was that last legal? Yeah, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan where POW’s and civilians alike were treated as human guinea pigs. Hands up who wants to go back there? Seriously?

What is even worse is that there is no liability for any damage caused by these measures. No one who can be held to account because governments have given themselves and the pharmaceutical companies a massive ‘get out of jail free’ card. No legal redress for the victims of what is proposed being a large scale, uncontrolled clinical trial. If the jab does make people sick, say from an autoimmune reaction, there’s no compensation, no legal redress.

However, those responsible for the blatant misinformation and any resulting damage shouldn’t think the Nuremberg defence will work when the chips are down. “Only obeying orders.” eh? There’s a price for that. A very high price indeed. A six and a half feet drop attached to a safety rope around the neck used to be quite highly favoured.

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.

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).

Up, up and away

A blast from the airborne past

Or more realistically;

and;

Catch you on the flip side….

See y’all later.

COVID-19 WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW? PART Four

Smokey skies from forest fires in the USA on our penultimate day in Canada. A change in the wind has pushed all the smoke north of the border to choke the air and turn the skies a dusky pink first thing. The smell is still outdoors, but mid morning the skies are clearing as I begin the final packing of my suitcase and hand baggage.

Forms requested by authorities and airlines have been imperfectly filled in, my excuse is that I did it on my wife’s iPad, so we’re pretty much good to go tomorrow. No-one has been back to us demanding that we resubmit, so I suppose there’s no obvious problem. We’ll see when we hit dirtside. The family are concerned that we’re going to be detained in some concentration camp for daring to get on a flight, but honestly, we have all the right forms filled in and have cash for contingencies, so let the cards fall as they may.

Right; this SARS/COV-2 malarkey. There seems to be a fundamental lack of knowledge about how viruses and bacteria cause the various collections of symptoms that we call diseases. Disease 101, aka the simple version goes like this;

Viruses use your own body cells as a nursery to breed. A particular virus will bind to a receptor on a cell and inject a part of itself into that blood cell which will replicate inside until the cell literally bursts and spreads a lot of baby viruses around to infect your other cells. They literally hijack your own cells. Different viruses use different host cells to breed. But that’s it in the proverbial nutshell. All your symptoms are caused either by the virus’ replication interfering with your bodily particles and organs, or by your bodies immune system trying to make life difficult for a given bacterium or virus.

Symptoms can be loosely grouped as follows. Remember that for the sake of brevity this is a very broad brushstroke we’re using here and more informed reading is required from proper medical textbooks to get a more precise picture.

A pyrexia or fever is the body trying to raise it’s temperature to a point where it interferes with virus replication.
A cough or sneeze is the bodies attempt to get rid of excess catarrh to keep your airways clear. Your body produces catarrh as part of your immune response to a viral or bacterial infection.
A cyst is where the white cells have ganged up on all the viruses or germs and taken mass casualties. The yellowness of pus for example is mainly dead white cells that have done a kamikaze attack on a given infection.
Diarrhea is the body purging the gut of an infection that is irritating your intestines.

And so on. The cast and script change, but it’s all the same theatre.

SARS/COV-2 is primarily a respiratory virus, ergo it tries to use your airways as a breeding ground. Hence the cough and excess snot which end up blocking the air / blood interfaces in your lungs called alveoli. If too many of these get blocked there’s not enough oxygen from the air into the bloodstream, oxygen is needed for cells to function. No oxygen. No life. Simple.

However, immune function varies greatly from person to person and environment governs transmissibility. Airborne respiratory viruses spread less in warmer climes than in cooler. Those with a healthy immune system can shrug off a given infection with alacrity. Those under extreme stress or otherwise immunocompromised will catch just about everything going. The SARS/COV-2 (COVID-19) figures indicate that about 20% or a fifth of the population is liable to catch a dose. 80% will shrug it off with barely a sniffle. Three or four percent of the infected will need hospital treatment. A fraction of a percent who catch it may die without proper treatment.

So tell me again; why this silly bloody lockdown? It’s too extreme a response.

Oh by the way.  When I say that the numbers do not lie?  Watch the video below.

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.

On the road again

Okay. I’m officially homeless. The apartment is closed up cleaned up and signed off. The movers have come and gone with all our worldly goods in a shipping container and Mrs S and I are currently enjoying a hiatus in a nice hotel while we let the hamster wheels in our heads slow down a little.

Upside; we’ve got a warm bed, good food and all the somewhat restricted delights of downtown. Nice coffee.

Downside; Elderly Friend is on the way out and will need increasing levels of care as she slowly saunters off into the long night, pausing every few hours to fall and hurt herself yet further. We can do nothing for her except ensure her care levels are adequate by liaising with the care home staff and as Powers of Attorney making sure the money is there to pay for her care. Funeral is paid for. Not much else we can do but wait for the inevitable. The person we knew has gone, leaving a confused husk of habits and discontinuous memories.

On the streets of downtown Victoria the face nappy wearers are much in evidence. I keep a surgical mask in my pocket just in case someone absolutely insists I have to wear one, but so far it has remained unused. And I’m not much of a social person anyway.

The whole anti-social distancing thing is inconvenient, even ignored upon occasion. However, SARS/COV-2 has passed over us, like 80% of the population, with barely a ripple. The death count is nearly zero, even though increased testing has detected more people who have brushed the virus off as a mere inconvenience.

The only people truly frightened of this bug are the media and politicians, who know, deep in their spavined little souls that they are going to hell and want to put the whole eternal damnation experience off, just in case they are sent untimely coughing into oblivion or painful retribution for all the harms they have caused. Satan, Lord of Hell, is complaining that business has dropped right off and is going to have to rethink his marketing strategy.

More mundanely, regarding social distancing; I find it keeps the intrusive at bay, which I’m developing an enduring affection for. Now no one gets in your face and the nutters on the bus are too frightened of getting the dreaded lurgi to sit near anyone. See the highly entertaining Jasper Carrott sketch below.

Which I suppose is a compensation of sorts.

Time for breakfast.

Post breakfast update: The homeless encampment behind Victoria BC’s city hall has been shifted and the area given a sluicing down with disinfectant. There were a bunch of tents there last night. Now just rapidly drying puddles of disinfectant laced water ringed with yellow tape.

Ch-ch-ch changes

Today’s bitch is about being at the beck and call it seems of everyone but us. We’re trying to arrange visitors for Elderly Friend, who is ever more confused and vulnerable. She is well cared for, but we’re constrained by this godawful lockdown and our own moving schedule, yet those who have leisure time to assist, well, ‘crickets’ from them.

Landlord is popping in and out doing minor bits of maintenance for the next tenants and caught me with my head and shoulders inside the oven. Being an expat Brit, he made the traditional joke “Don’t do it Bill!” as he passed by. It’s not even a gas oven, but someone has to clean it, and guess whose turn it is in the barrel? Got it in one.

Then our logistics company called and asked if the export packing crew could arrive early, one extra day early in fact. Which means we’re going to be sitting on boxes in an empty house watching Amazon Prime on our computers for twenty four hours longer than necessary. However, if the kit gets shifted early I’m okay with that. It won’t affect what we’re paying as they’ve told us not to downsize any more because there’s no further cost benefit to be had. We’ve also still got some old stuff to shift, but most of that will go to the charity stores on Wednesday or Friday after the shifting crew has gone.

In the latest development over these lockdowns I see that the CCP is ‘vaccinating’ their citizens without the completion of proper clinical trials. Which is rather a cynical mass experiment the Chinese may well pay for. The H1N1 vaccine was rushed out like this to health service workers, resulting in a number of issues like Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Short to medium term respiratory disease vs long-term neurological illness? Dealers choice. I don’t want to be a guinea pig.

Coronaviruses like influenza seem to have a similar mortality to SARS?COV-2. Which is not surprising, they’re all from the same family. That said, the mortality figures for this novel coronavirus are slightly higher than common seasonal influenza, but not by much. This is not the black death, as I have said several times. It’s more like the Hong Kong flu of 1969 or the Asian flu of 1957, or of the 2010 ‘Swine Flu’ which we never shut our economies down for. My major concern is that some moronic panicking politician will lock us down yet again before we can get to the bloody airport. As for making a half-ready ‘vaccine’ mandatory? I say; fuck off and let those who want to get back to their lives.

I’ll breathe properly again when we hit dirtside at our destination.

Unafraid

Thinking about what I’m about to do in the next few weeks, specifically change continents for the second time in a lifetime, I must confess to being a little stressed, but that stress is all about the small stuff. Things like; can I get to the airport on time, have I packed enough stuff in my carry on for comfort during travel, have I remembered to keep the myriad details of my life up to date so that we can pass untroubled? Is the last meter reading correct? Is the gas off? Are all the forms filled in properly? Hundreds of tiny details. But I’m not stressed about our destination or what we’ll be doing when we get there because we have a plan. A good plan. A workable plan. And I am not afraid.

I’m not afraid of this Pandemic nor of of man made climate change, or any of the other imagined crises the mass media likes to afflict us with. They’re coming across more like conspiracy theorists than the stereotypical tinfoil hat wearer bundled up in a slept-in parka raving about 5G and Chemtrails. Much of the mainstream news, with a little simple research, can be dismissed wholesale. Especially the more notoriously partisan outlets. I say; if the money ain’t moving it probably isn’t anything to fret about. It’s just drama for drama’s sake.

As for Neil Ferguson, the progenitor of the worst possible case pandemic scenario, a little bird tells me that he is heavily invested in one of the companies in the rush to produce a ‘vaccine’ for SARS/COV-2. Mm-hm, money followed and look where it leads.

Yes there are potential risks to our venture, but most of those come from over-zealous enforcement of rules made by badly advised and panicking politicians. I can deal with those by moving purposefully with the right papers in hand, having my lawyers on speed dial and paying the barest lip service to the many counter-intuitive restrictions. So I’m not scared. Exasperated probably, annoyed possibly, mildly worried, frustrated and even angry about the lack of cognition among the greater public perhaps, but frightened? Nah.

Yet I’m definitely not fearless. I actually like and respect fear. Fear is useful because the experience gives you options. It can also be a spur to action rather than make you freeze like a rabbit in the headlights. However, caution is usually a good idea when dealing with the unknown. Now the evidence is out there that this virus is a known risk and the raw numbers say it is a minuscule risk. Ergo fear at this juncture is not warranted.

I’m not afraid because I have learned that fear always makes things worse. All that screaming and shouting is so counter-productive when actions are more important. I swear, my last words on this earth will probably be something like “Oh fuck.” cursing myself for not being vigilant enough. Besides, I’ve spent a good deal of my existence fixing other people’s screw ups, as well as a number of my own. So being familiar with various minor disasters, conflict resolution gets to be second nature and all the drama others like to generate around their pointless little lives just triggers my eye-rolling reflex. Calm, I have learned, can fix almost anything. Calm lets you think, assess the true risks while everyone else is running about like headless chickens getting in the way. Panic makes you witless and prone to screwing up even further. Yes, I’m a member of the awkward squad, so what?

By way of illustration about my membership of the awkward squad, may I recite the following anecdotes; I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts and much to my families endless entertainment and embarrassment, Kindergarten. Bill, you got kicked out of kindergarten? Yes I did because someone’s little darling tried to push me around and I wasn’t in the mood. On my second day no less. Ma turned up and was visibly upset at me being asked to leave. I think there was something about a bloody nose somewhere in the mix, but it’s too long ago and I don’t remember. Honestly officer, I din’t do nuffin.

And I’m willing to bet there are a whole lot of other people out there who aren’t really afraid of this stupid mass panic either. They’re confused by all the craziness pushed by the dramatising, click hungry media, angry even, as am I. But afraid? No.

It’s not difficult to be unafraid. All you have to do is adjust your attitude to risk. Not to be fearful simply because someone tells you to be. Learn to accept the inevitability of pain, which is rarely so bad as imagined. I have old injuries that hurt all the time and slow me down a bit. However I have learned that fear only makes pain seem worse. Physical pain is a whole lot easier to handle than fear. I speak from raw experience.

The people pushing this endless fear need a good stinging slap in the face or two, just to let them know. Yes, you Piers Morgan, you media whore, we’re looking at you. Go to the top of the class and do a header into the playground. I promise not to cheer, much.

Crazy

Okay, that’s the car sold. Yes, our beloved little Subaru is going to a new home up island. I didn’t want to sell Thumper, but the shipping fees would have been half the value of our versatile little SUV and there was also the nuisance of re-registering to look forward to, so we have elected to sell. Got a reasonable price, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to a good home so what can I say. Like with the Mutt, it’s a bit of a wrench but we’ll survive. We will remember the miles we travelled (Twice across North America and back, provincial road trips and sojourns to Oregon and California) with great fondness.

As for how our car got it’s name? Hey, who can forget this moment of movie magic at about 1:01. “Hey Bambi, look what I can do!” Shouts Thumper the Snowshoe rabbit (Voiced by then young actor Peter Behn). Let me enlarge. Shortly after we bought it there was a series of heavy snowfalls and a cold snap which it sailed through while we saw vans and 4×4’s up ended in drifts and ditches. Thus ‘Thumper’ was christened. It will be a long while until I can score another car that sure footed in all weathers. I’ve looked at subsequent models, but they’re all gadget heavy and are nowhere near as much fun to drive, so we were never tempted to upgrade.

The craziness in the outside world continues unabated, from an anti-lockdown party in Ontario being attacked by two chainsaw toting nutcases, political rioting south of the border, and other stupid frightened people doing all kinds of unhinged shit because the media and politicians have scared them out of what little wits they have. They think wearing a cloth mask that is not regularly cleaned reduces their chance of getting sick. It doesn’t. Sorry kids. Even a properly made surgical mask cannot prevent you inhaling infected droplets. The only way of being completely ‘safe’ is by wearing a hermetically sealed Level A Hazmat suit like one of these with it’s own dedicated oxygen supply. Even then, that will need to be thoroughly cleaned between uses.

The best way to avoid getting ill is to keep your immune system topped up with a decent mixed diet, fresh air, moderate exercise and some sunshine. Friendly human contact helps too as it reduces stress which might act as a suppressant to your immune system.

Yes I know I keep repeating the above, but it’s my way of inoculating myself against all the crazy shit being pumped out by politicians and the majority of the mass media.

As for stress, I’ve got quite enough of that and more to come until at least the middle of next year and don’t need any more thank you so very much. Due to yet another Canadian ‘Government advisory’ we’ve had our booking changed yet-a-bloody-gain this morning.

What is it with these idiotic ‘government advisories’. Do the Canadian authorities think that by keeping changing people’s flight arrangements they’ll put them off flying? Don’t hold your breath baby (On second thoughts please do, oh yes, please, please hold your fucking breath). Because to paraphrase the famous words of St Anne of Widdecombe, we’re going, and ever more glad to be going. We’re off.

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.

Playing the game

Mrs S and I were taking advantage of the weather this morning, sitting on the deck, drinking coffee and enjoying the view under cloudy skies. Observing differences in the weather from Thursday evening. Last night was quite the sight. A huge weather system dominating the whole sky was drifting in from the Pacific like a whirlpool galaxy made up of streaks of scudding cloudlets lit by a gibbous moon. Quite spectacular.

I’d been up since five, filling in forms, valuing goods and responding to a flurry of emails from our logistics company. I swear we never had this when we moved to Canada from the UK. Still, it is what it is and as Mrs S remarked, we’re still in the game and playing hard. Because moving continents is a game. A game played by at least four sides with rules changing by the minute. Especially at present, when panicking Western politicians without a clue about epidemiology are fussing with rules made to make them look as though they know what they’re doing (Clue; they don’t). Which means I’m currently ‘sleeping’ with one eye open and my keyboard to hand. Which is not very much at all.

When I put ‘sleeping’ in inverted commas, I mean napping fitfully waiting for the next curve ball to come flying at me. This morning was the threat of our first accommodation booking going AWOL on us, which would have required some very fancy footwork on my part. Three transatlantic phone calls later it was all sorted and payment accepted. Then there’s the customs people, who seem to want everything but my Grandfathers inside leg measurement to pre-clear our goods and chattels even before they’re loaded.

By nine am I’m normally done for the day, having done everything required of me. Just a couple of calls today to tidy stuff up and I’ll be finished. Except for one final form. Well, not final, I’ve still got the insurance documentation to complete, but that I can take my time over. We’ve got a month to go yet.

Mrs S has gratefully taken a back seat to all these shenanigans, happy to leave me in control. There are things to be done, money to be shuffled about but that side of things is mostly okay and all I have to do is keep on top of it, paying by due date, making sure all the necessaries are done to schedule. Despite the fact that my final paycheck from the job that recently went belly up is going to be late. Heavy sigh.

No matter, all I have to do is keep my own personal money-go-round moving and we’ll all be golden.

Until the next idiocy comes flying at me like a rabid raccoon on acid.

Update:
Okay, paid a brief visit to the mailbox of the company that just let me go. There was nothing for me to do but it was full of increasingly shrill “Where are you?” Emails. I guess someone didn’t get the memo then.

Also. I forgot. It’s a long holiday weekend! I won’t have any middle-of-the-night-must be-done stuff for three whole freakin days! What am I going to do……… ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ (Snore)