Tag Archives: Travel

We didn’t mean to, but….

The other day we went out and bought Mrs S a car. An MPV that came at a good price from a trusted dealer. So now we are both independent of each other as far as transport is concerned, and have a fallback option in case our other car becomes hors de combat for whatever reason. Or if we have two batches of visitors to collect from differing air or ferry terminals.

Of course shelling out for a new wagon means I have less ready money at present than I’m comfortable with, what with the house and all coming up, but we can afford it, and it’s a nice to have in case one of us has to zip off somewhere at short notice. Public transport is all very well, but it takes an age to get anywhere and you’re crammed in with the coughing and spluttering masses. I need the off road capability of the SUV and Mrs S doesn’t, preferring never to drive down anything less than a Motorway or N-Route. I’ll get her registered with a toll card account so the doesn’t have to fuss with all the loose change.

With the easing of restrictions now that the Pandemic is almost (But not quite) officially over, ‘South’ has been let out of her home to picnic on the beach with friends down in the fabled land of Oz, and is talking excitedly about coming over for an extended visit. Indeed as are most of our extended family. For some reason they’re all very interested in visiting our new place. Hopefully we’ll have the decorating done in time for the festering season and any visitors that come our way.

I know Boris the Henpecked over in the UK is not letting go of the petty powers he put in place that have made life so miserable for most of us, but things are turning out all right. Decisions have been made, life changes planned and the next few years promise to be very interesting indeed, but in a good way.

Winter for example promises to be full speed ahead and bugger the politicians. I’ve never had this much land to play with before, but we’re planning our planting and rearing around a nine month active year with three months downtime when we will take extended breaks with family overseas, which suits our temperaments very nicely. This first year I shall be busy putting my ‘O’ level woodwork skills to work on building raised vegetable beds and beehives ready for Spring. There’s agricultural contractors to organise and a fox to get rid of, so I won’t be going anywhere for 2021-22.

I’m quite giddy with anticipation. Sod the ‘carbon footprint’.

A good week

Excuse the blogging absence, but we’ve been hosting ‘North’ for the last week and a bit. Our youngest daughter has been with us here in the wilder west of Ireland, putting a smile on our faces and forcing the household to go vegetarian for a week, but that’s no bother as she does eat fish. So it wasn’t really an issue, although I must confess to being all Salmoned out.

There have been times over the last pointless eighteen months when we despaired of ever seeing her again, but the simple joy of her saying “Gimme a hug” at the airport lifted a huge weight from our shoulders.

To hell with the politicians and their silly lockdowns, masks and ‘vaccine passports’. If ever introduced to one such, I will ask them pointedly if they were for or against lockdowns. If against, they will receive a handshake and me saying; “So why did you not speak out more loudly?” If for, then I will withhold my hand and spit in their foetid, narrow minded eyes before walking away.

What I have loved about the last week is that we got to greet a much loved family member in person. You simply cannot put a price on such events. However, I will never forgive those who have repeatedly extended lockdowns and mask mandates for the damage they have done. I may run out of spit.

Notwithstanding, last night ‘North’ went back to her London flat, much to our regret. She filled out all the right forms, went through all the pointless motions and walked away from us into a near-deserted airport.

An empty airport is a strange thing to see. Like some huge, lonely creature staring aimlessly out across the landscape, mourning the life and human activity that it is denied. Despite all the mock-cheerful “Glad to see you back!” and “Welcome!” billboards, there is still a long, low sadness that hangs over such places like bad weather. Airports, in spite of what anyone might think of the security theatre and interminable queues, are still a place for human interaction, of greetings and goodbyes, no matter how brief. A place of living, not as at present, of a kind of living death.

We’re a global family. Spread all over the world from England to Australia. Wrested asunder on the flimsiest and most overblown of pretexts. First a virus with less than a 1% mortality rate, and now ‘global warming’ (Again). Neither of which are valid reasons, even if the latter is patently false. All of these doomsday predictions come from a faction of mathematical modellers who aren’t fit to compile a basic spreadsheet. People who seem never to set foot outside of their centrally heated offices, or they would have noticed how brief Summers are becoming.

Unfortunately now the principle has been established, only the privileged will be allowed to travel freely, the rest of us will be discouraged from doing so.

So ‘North’ has gone home. The upside of which means steak is back on the menu as of today. Pass the Dijon mustard. I’ve had a bloody good week.

A pub lunch

For the first time in eighteen months, Mrs S and I popped out for an indoors lunch in a pub. In Tipperary no less. As we were sitting there, I was treated to a large screen running footage from the ‘Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ live. Yes, I know that sounds bizarre, but then we are living in bizarro-world, so no big deal right?

Actually the games are being held in 2021. Quite frankly I found the spectacle completely weird. Athletes competing in an almost completely empty stadia. Tier after tier of empty seats with no-one but a couple of dozen or so team members and officials to cheer their team mates and champions on to victory. I found the sight somewhat disturbing and remarked upon this observation to Mrs S.

“I know, but it was the only way they could do it.” She replied.

In reply I wrinkled my mouth in disgust. There was a wrongness I could not put words to, but I saw it in the faces of the athletes before their events when a camera was shoved in their faces. Self-consciousness and embarrassment were how I would describe their expressions, like they wished they were elsewhere. After their event, when the adrenalin was still high, the winners looked excited, but even there I saw shadows, such is the penetration of 4K cameras, nothing escapes.

Still, we had a pleasant lunch and will stop at that hostelry again if passing. Decent pub menu and presentation of the food was good. Pity it was raining, but then you can’t have everything.

Afterthought: What’s the point of a ‘Victory lap’ when there’s no-one there to celebrate with?

Off the beaten track

Off into the Wilder West of County Clare today looking at houses. Successfully finding a place to buy with all the things you need is a protracted process and needs a lot of serendipity. Failing that, a great deal of persistence and sheer bloody mindedness. Relying on sites like Property.ie and Daft.ie only gives you a part of the story.

Fortunately I have a great deal of bloody minded persistence in my DNA. So the hunt will continue, down leafy Irish lanes, dodging the tractors along tiny boreens and up farm tracks, thankful for decent SUV suspension. Might even book an outdoor table for lunch in Localtown tomorrow. We have errands there, so why not?

Work is slack at the moment, so this means both Mrs S and I have plenty of spare time for reading and research. And I was considering investing in a ground source heat pump, when of course we do find our new building project. However, some fairly reputable sources are making me question this aspiration.

Yes, I know he’s (only) a tradesman and not some highly qualified academic who publishes highbrow papers, but when push comes to shove, he’s got nothing to gain, loads (Over ten years) of hands on experience, and as he states in his video, particularly with regard to Air Heat pumps, there’s a burgeoning legal mis-selling culture. Don’t know about ground source. But I do know that Air Heat pumps do surge at startup, which may mean that any ‘savings’ aren’t worth the candle. I’ll do the sums and see if it has a significant payback between 3-5 years. If not then I think my interest might exhibit significant wane-fall. However, we live and learn.

Certainly I’ve lived in a house with an air heat pump in Canada and wasn’t too happy at being awoken in the middle of the night by the noisy monster. New ones may be quieter, but after four or five years? Experience tells me there’s potentially a big downside.

Maybe if we end up out in the sticks as seems likely, we should invest in a methane digester as backup to a more traditional hot water / heating gas boiler setup. Spend our money on top notch insulation instead. Go for the passive solar option. Keep the heating bills down that way.

Yeats country

We’re buzzing around Sligo at the moment, passing a pleasant break in Sligo itself. Unpleasant name, very tidy university town in ‘Yeats Country’, even though W B Yeats was part educated at the Godolphin School, Slough, England.

Then I got an email. From a no-reply Health.gov.ie address.

Well now chaps, apparently I’m now one of the ‘privileged’ who is ‘allowed’ to travel or access certain services. Which bothers me.

Medical apartheid is here folks, in all it’s ugly glory. I got nagged into getting the jabs, but now I have to provide proof within the borders of the country I live in, for such simple things as visits to hostelries or theatres. Which makes me angry and prepping the excuse that “I left the bloody thing at home. Now do you want my feckin money or what?” I’ve got a ‘Covid passport’, but I’m disinclined to carry the freaking thing around for every Jaysus Joseph and Mary-Ann who asks “Papieren bitte.”. I will be giving anyone who asks a hard time. Expect withering (As in ‘withering fire’ ) sarcasm on a scale as yet unvisaged.

Mrs S by contrast is quite miffed, as she has not had hers yet. Ironic that. I got mine first and am going to resist using it, and she, who desperately wanted one so she can go to London to see Youngest, despite having both jabs before me.

What Yeats would have thought of this state of affairs I have no idea, but as he was by politics an Irish Nationalist, I have the feeling he might have penned some pointed anti-medical apartheid lines woven into a tapestry of magical symbolism.

While we’re in town I’ll raid a few bookshops and busy myself with a little study. Something for the bookcase and maybe the odd quotation.

Update: Mrs S just checked her spam filter and she how has her very own “papieren” for the enforcers of this offensive idiocy. We are now both ‘privileged’, whatever use that is going to be.

Bored now

Will the UK finally lift its restrictions 19th July? Will the EU stop playing silly political games to try and regain control of it’s major cash cow? (The UK)

Don’t care. I’ve got a midweek break booked into a nice hotel with a restaurant and a bar while we go and size up a property to buy. I intend to have my conversations with Auctioneers and Surveyors before disappearing into a quiet corner, sinking a few pints of recycled Liffey water while Mrs S indulges herself in a few Gin and tonics.

It’s raining (Of course it’s bloody raining-this is July in Ireland) so all the outdoor drinkers will be inside regardless of whether the rules say you can or not.

In the meantime, cheers. Oh, and here’s an appropriate blast from the 1980’s from Tear for Fears.

On the road

In West Clare and Galway. Just some of my personal footage set to some restful music. Well mostly.

If this cheers you up, you’re probably as daft as I am. Welcome to the asylum.

Road trips

Currently trying to ignore the discomfort from my old back injuries and doing the odd road trip around the Wilder West of Ireland, from Sligo and Galway down through Clare and Limerick into Kerry and Cork. I’ve just finished reading ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’, Orwell’s chronicle of his journey through working class Britain in the 1920’s and 30’s following on from his personal tales of poverty documented in ‘Down and out in Paris and London‘ .

Chapter 9 is particularly telling as it is easy to draw parallels between the fear and loathing of the petit-bourgeois middle classes of the working class during the 1920’s and 30’s. Attitudes which are still pretty common in the early 21st century.

From what Orwell writes, one can see very similar social forces at work sans-Interweb prior to World War Two emanating from very similar sources. The same predilection for totalitarianism loosely wrapped in a muddle of semi-digested Socialism. Chapter 9 is particularly telling in it’s examples of class and race-hatred that can be still seen to exist when compared to Orwell’s highly incisive first person mid-20th century perspective.

Likewise, 21st Century ‘Woke’ culture can likewise be viewed as an example of middle class hatred and fear of the working class despite protestations to the contrary. “No!”, claim the lefty elitists, “We really luurve the proletariat! We only want what’s best for them!” but even the most cursory evaluation exposes this as a scorpion love with a nasty control freak sting in the tail. And it is endemic throughout the Western political spectrum. From the Champagne Socialists of Islington to much of the metropolitan Conservative party. Or the Democrats in the USA to much of the Urban RINO Republicans. It is why they all have so much in common. Their social racism is firmly encoded in their DNA.

Belief in the pseudosciences, like in the 1920’s and 30’s, is also widespread, and any serious challenge from the ‘lower orders’ such as the election of Trump or the BREXIT referendum sparks a massive counter reaction. Questioning the ‘science’ of SARS/COV-2 and ‘man made climate change’ likewise. These are canon to the ‘sophisticated’ urban middle classes and any gainsaying, no matter how well founded, is seen as overt defiance against the middle class wannabe rulers and are to be silenced for their wrongthink. “How could they not believe as we do?” is the quavering cry. Like in the 1930’s, these are predominantly class based belief systems.

Anything that allows easy social mobility is likewise attacked by measures designed to make everyone an employee, and thus controllable, like IR35. Yet at the same time being in favour of importing large populations that do not share the basic values of the country they are being invited into. Mainly to keep wages down and property values up. Both of which disadvantage the native working and young person in the early stages of their career.

By way of a deconstruction of the kind of propaganda we have been bombarded with, to keep those pesky peons in their place; Ivor Cummins runs the numbers and calculates the real risk factors for SARS/COV-2 in the video below. All using approved official sources. Yet the terrified middle orders still pressurise government to keep the restrictions in place, no matter that their ‘sceance’ is patently flawed.

Anyway, that’s enough now. I shall shortly be posting some of the ‘on the road’ footage I’ve taken on our road trips online, just to show my reader what it’s like pootling down secondary Western Irish R roads. See you shortly. Pubs and outdoor dining is opening next week and Jaysus but I’ve got a powerful thirst on me.

Storm in a teacup

And we know a song about that, don’t we? Well, Lynsey De Paul did. The public response to a nasty respiratory bug has been way overblown and driven by weak politicians, propaganda, profit and bad information. But the more sagacious amongst us knew this all along.

The guys at Spiked-Online interview Luke Johnson on the topic.

Road trip planning today for Tipperary and points South and east for Monday.

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.