Tag Archives: Travel

Patterns

Still busy clearing house for the big move. Movers are contracted and deposits paid. Paperwork is in order (So far!) and we’re hammering out the fine details. The pieces are falling into place and I find myself on first name terms with the guys at the recycle yard. Oh yes, and a big milestone. We finished disposing of all our unwanted documents yesterday! All the pulping is done. Yay! Everything we need recorded is now in electronic format and can be accessed from backup at a whim. And I have multiple backups and a disaster recovery plan.

As someone who watches markets, I’m always on the lookout for patterns which might indicate where the money is going and what it is doing once it gets there. One of the other things you get used to doing is what the conspiracy theorists do, find coincidences which might indicate that someone in a position of power and privilege is playing fast and loose with what is not rightfully theirs and behaving in a reprehensible manner.

Like with this Covid-19 business. The actual figures indicate this ‘pandemic’ is now endemic in the population. Those who are going to die have mostly died. All else is politics. So there is no sound epidemiological reason to wear a mask any more. Although I was chatting with one of our contacts, who said that masks were like little totems, fetish items, something to hang on to when a complacent belief system is challenged. People are being terrorised by all the conflicted hyperbole out there, and so are using face masks as a statement of compliance. Even if they do look rather ridiculous wearing surgical masks whilst driving along the highway with all the windows closed.

The most interesting series of events are those surrounding the Epstein case. It is becoming more readily apparent that there really is no smoke without fire, and certain ruthless people with political power and privilege have been abusing not only their power, but also those too young to make informed sexual decisions.

Jeffrey Epstein was (is? some say his death was too convenient, perhaps even staged) a billionaire who was (so it has been widely reported) no great shakes as a Wall Street trader, but a hell of a panderer and blackmailer. Which is how he is alleged to have made his fortune. His parties were notorious events where he would attempt to ensnare the wealthy and connected in a web of sexual corruption, trading the sexual favours of under aged girls for insider information and being sold properties and securities at under market value to sell at a profit later. However, now he is ‘dead’ he is no longer available to incriminate others. No doubt a similar fate awaits Ghislaine Maxwell. Although Epstein probably kept direct knowledge of those he was blackmailing or being blackmailed by away from her, so she could be thrown to the dogs as and when needed. From what I have seen of Ms Maxwell, this has a high likelihood of being true.

Tim Pool has some interesting reportage on the continuing scandal involving the Clintons. But not Trump, despite all the media twatter squawking.

Now I think Epstein was a catspaw, someone who was used in turn as a means of securing soft power over greedy and sexually depraved people. He had a network of people indebted to him and those rich and politically powerful people who in turn he owed his continued existence and wealth to. Anyone who poses a threat to the network of the rich and politically connected perverts he served is still very much likely to be at threat to their life.

What is obvious is that the depraved rich play for keeps, as demonstrated by the recent assassination of a Federal Court Justices son and wounding of her husband after she was assigned a case related to the Epstein farrago. This killing demonstrates that the nerve of the depraved is beginning to break. The alleged gunman is dead, so supposedly cannot point to another link in the chain of evidence. If of course the real gunman did die and not some patsy.

However, with a media, large sections of whom seem determined to run interference for the depraved and politically connected, there seems no way that these high powered criminals will ever be brought to account. The very media appear ideological allies of a political Mafia, loosely affiliated crime family or political Cosa Nostra whose tendrils reach all the way into the depths of world governments and the United Nations.

It is worth noting that these are often the very same people currently telling everyone else what is moral and how to live via their networks. Forever dividing us with their talk of ‘diversity’ and endless race-baiting. Weaponising the deluded. Forever throwing up hobgoblins and bogeymen to keep the majority bamboozled and confused, ensuring they do not realise that they are being lied to. The globalists who want power for power’s sake and if a few individuals get used and abused, hey, they can be bought off, bullied to silence or in extremis disposed of.

This is what I see as the patterns emerge. Too many convergent lines where the hidden stories, like arcane monsters from the deep give notice of where and what they are with a swirl in the news cycle that arises then disappears. Then there are too many people who have been telling us not to see the evidence of our own eyes. Using our own institutions against us. Telling us that criticism of their ‘truth’ is ‘hate speech’. Well, the patterns are there and there are now too many to disavow their existence.

What happens next is going to get really interesting.

I’m not paranoid, but…

I do worry about ID theft. So Mrs S and I are busy destroying documents prior to our departure from Canada. It’s amazing how much paperwork you accumulate in thirteen years. Powers of attorney, copies of this, copies of that and so forth.

So much paper, particularly legal documents, have to be disposed of. So we’re doing what Embassies do when they need to get rid of documents. We pulp.

Pulp old documents you no longer need? Isn’t that a bit extreme Bill? Well yes and no. We scanned all the important stuff and will be putting less replaceable items like birth certificates, originals of legal documents such as SIN cards, Citizenship certificates and so on in our personal baggage, securely packed and labelled. A customs agent will know not to bother with these things if our baggage gets selected for search as sometimes happens. They are looking for contraband, not documents, so we’re on safe ground as close to ‘safe’ as can be done.

Yes, I know our plane could fall from the sky, and as I posted previously there is so much else to go AWOL, but honestly if things get that bad we’re all dead anyway. Then our wills kick in and that’s all taken care of except for funerals for our shattered remains, so, there you go.

So why are we pulping instead of shredding? Good question. Well, (Coughs in a faintly embarrassed manner) I managed to blow up the shredder. My bad. Our hitherto reliable shredder just gave up the ghost one morning when I was feeding paper into it’s noisy maw. A cog was stripped, smoke was coming from the motor, so that was that. Past economic repair. We thought about replacing it, but thought “Two hundred dollars for something we only need for a month or so?” and “That’s a lot of money to shred paper of limited value.” when we looked at the opition of sending it to be shredded by someone else. As for incineration, this is BC, getting a burn permit would have us besieged by the Green party and every eco whack-a-loon in the district until we ran out of money to pay lawyers.

Thus we set up a simple process. Soaking tank, pulping machine and drainage. For a tank we set up one of those heavy duty plastic boxes and filled it half way with a 5% solution of bleach and white vinegar to help the paper break down, then ripped the documents we wanted to shred into strips and threw them into the solution. Every day for the last two weeks I’ve been taking the solution soaked paper strips and chucking them in an old food processor for about sixty seconds and change to turn the wet paper into a rather disgusting looking grey porridge. Then dropping the pulp into a sieve over a bucket to drain for a few hours before dumping the damp pulp into a bin bag and our bin for disposal.

Old bank, credit cards and VPN tabs got cut up, partially burned and the bits thrown into different bin bags just to make life ultra difficult for anyone who wanted to get their hands on our account details and any written down passwords. As the job that I recently lost involved dealing with financial matters and gave me control of two corporate credit cards and a few other bits and pieces, we did a number on them so any person wishing to get hold of those details would need more resources available than the average ID thief. Bar codes, chips, mag stripes all got seared with a lighter and chopped into small, heat distorted pieces to prevent any form of reconstruction.

I suppose we could have put all these records in a box and dragged them behind us, but frankly there’s no need of them where we’re going and all the records can be accessed elsewhere. Then all the paper would be an extra cost on the moving bill and we have striven mightily to pare that down to the minimum necessary.

Yes I know it all sounds a little extreme, but I like to think of it this way; if you have just enough paranoia, you don’t get any nasty surprises.

Selling up and out

July and the living has slowed down. Elderly friend showed a new symptom recently to go with confusion and breathlessness. Slurred speech and pain down one side which indicates a recent Hemiparesis or form of Transient Ischaemic Attack, otherwise known as a mini-stroke. We’re handing on our duties as powers of attorney to one of her nephews. The whole business has the feel of closing the book as we come to the last chapter. We know the outcome, just not the exact timescale. Five years to death from first TIA onset is the usual prognosis.

Chez maison Sticker, we’re busy selling that which we can sell. The Mutt, my motorcycle, went last weekend and I’m putting the car up for sale next week once it’s had a thorough wash and brush up for the camera. Good pictures sell, and it’s been a marvelous car. Mileage is slightly below book for the year and our model of Subaru, I’m told, is much sought after. The all wheel drive has kept us on the road in conditions from near whiteout over packed ice in BC to blazing hot forty five plus degrees Celsius crossing Death Valley with only a couple of flat tyres and brake replacements. Not bad for a ten year old car that we’ve had from new. I’ll be sorry to see it go, but Tout passe.

Then there’s all the household stuff we’re not taking with us. Some furniture, odds and ends that can easily be replaced on the other side of the water has been sold with some still to go. Electronics have mostly been disposed of because we’re migrating to a different voltage standard. No sense in taking kitchen widgets like mixers, microwaves or coffee machines that only work at 110v. They weren’t that expensive anyway.

Frankly I’m amazed at the amount of stuff we’ve gotten rid of. All the fripperies of day to day living that turn out to be pretty irrelevant. Yes they’re useful, but are easily replaceable. If you saw some of the estimates for the move that we’d been given, you’d understand why. To give anyone interested a clue, we’ve been able to reduce our moving bill from five down to four figures (Just). Moving continents is a pricey business.

Then there’s the social side, or rather lack thereof. We’ve not made much in the way of social connections, partly because neither of us are great socialisers, but also because we feel so at odds with the blinkered nature of things over here. From some perspectives it’s been like living in the Kingdom of the Lotus Eaters. Too much complacency. Too much magical thinking. Anti-prosperity attitudes are so entrenched in the politics of BC there’s no making a dent in them, so why even try? So. Time to move on. We’re done with Canada.

In the meantime my little deck garden, sadly neglected while we’ve been getting ready to up sticks, is all going to recycle. My Citrus plants, once green and thriving are now dried up and brown, the bottom of the pots sucked dry by thirsty roots that formed deep knots of tendrils groping for the last moisture at the bottom of the pot. Which makes me want to set up a self watering greenhouse when we build our new home. There will be all forms of fruit now I know how to germinate and nurture them to maturity.

Oh, by the by. Have started watching this channel on Youtube, which may disappear when some ‘moderator’ decides it’s not PC enough. This one on slavery through the ages is very interesting.

Makes intriguing watching. So far from the narrative being pushed by under educated talking heads isn’t it?

What could possibly go wrong?

Regarding our forthcoming move Mrs S vouchsafed the following this morning, “what could possibly go wrong?” I’ve got an answer for that. Oh, lots. Huge amounts. Governments clamping down on travel because they’re frightened. Someone discovering the link between the real me and this blog to try to get me arrested for some sort of historical ‘Hate speech’. Rioters could try and prevent us leaving, the ship carrying our belongings could sink. We might not be able to get a reasonable rental in time. We might get put in quarantine and a giant purple people eater might gobble up the solar system. Or a world war might break out, or, or a big, planet killing meteorite could hit our plane while in flight…. and, and, and…..

There comes a point of risk which you can plan for past which there is no planning. We have three, no sorry, four insurance policies covering credit cards, travel insurance including trip cancellation / disruption, emergency medical care and all points south with the usual act of god exemptions, in which case we’re all bloody well dead anyway. We also have a reserve of cash and investments to tide us over in case of trouble. We have credit cards, travel documents and passports. All else I leave to the whims of an erratic world and my own skill at bluffing my way past obstacles.

Meetings have been had with brokers and lawyers to smooth our path and if that is not enough then nothing will be. My metaphorical ducks, such as they are, are standing in neat rows awaiting each ticked box. I’m not saying that it isn’t stressful, but it’s also an exercise in applied patience. Especially when every western politician under the sun appears afraid of their own shadow even though the worst of this pandemic is long past.

To tell you the truth all this panicky hand waving has me wanting to make sheep noises at anyone wearing a mask. At this point of the season, fabric masks not regularly sterilised or changed at least once every six hours become a health hazard and sink of respiratory infections far greater than the original virus. If you aren’t coughing and spluttering then you don’t need a mask.

Cloth masks are as much use as a chocolate teapot at preventing the spread of infection. Primarily because they only reduce the radius of infection but aren’t much good at stopping fine particulates.

Besides, if most people actually thought about the host of bacteria, funghi and viruses their upper respiratory tract and sinuses are ordinarily host to, they’d want to rip that cloth mask off their face and never wear one ever again. Because that’s what those cloth masks keep in and concentrate. The ordinary microbiota of the sinuses and upper respiratory tract. Cloth masks can rapidly become like shoving ones nose into a petri dish in fairly short order. Unless the cloth masks are regularly sterilised (or put through a hot wash cycle between uses). They were only ever meant for an any port-in-a-storm get-you-home one off use, not as regular day wear.

I’m just keeping my head down and plodding ever onwards. You’ll know where I am from the heavy sighs emanating from me as I encounter the massed ranks of ill-informed idiocy. Lawks.

Confirming my bias

What second wave? Protests have not led to massive increases in Covid-19 cases. It’s bollocks. Complete and utter bollocks. Just as anyone with more than two active brain cells to rub together will understand. The time for masks and lockdowns has passed. It passed in the second week of April. We are well past peak infection and despite raised testing numbers, cases are declining by the day.

I ask again; what second freaking wave all you brain dead mask wearing doomsayers? There may be a small blip in care home fatalities as places open up, but the rest of the population have brushed Covid-19 off like an errant fly. According to the more reputable figures, only 20% of the population have shown symptoms past a sniffle. It’s over.

The case to answer is for politicians who ordered convalescing patients into care home facilities, thus effectively murdering thousands. Yes, murdering. That and through bad advice and panic western politicians have wiped out whole swathes of the global economy for no good cause.

Back at Chez Sticker, the place is starting to echo a bit as we downsize ready for the big move in September. We’re offering moral support to the kids as best we can over the jolly old Interweb, and watching with interest as another Maxwell sinks without trace. Anyone taking bets on an early suicide?

Our own clock is ticking down and we’re just biting our lips and hoping the politicians don’t go and do anything silly to royally screw us over. I’m watching share values and will be cashing up a five figure sum to keep us solvent over the next year, Things may get a little dodgy for a while, but we console ourselves that we won’t be in China.

God really is taking it out on the Middle Kingdom isn’t he? All those shonky buildings falling into the Yangtze with the Three Gorges Dam looking ever more like it will break and send a tsunami of debris and silt laden water all the way down over Wuhan and Shanghai. With yet more rain prophesied. The Yuan is looking ever more dodgy by the day and I’m hoping that none of my investments in that region are over-exposed to the Chinese market. Trump doesn’t have to life a finger. Between economic collapse and ecological disaster, the mainland Chinese look like they need to evolve webbed feet pronto. See video below.

I’m also told that according to a new Chinese security law it is now illegal to criticize the Chinese Communist Party, anywhere, no matter what nationality you are. Good luck with that, the CCP forces have just caught a spanking from India, and the Russians aren’t too chuffed with them either. The whole edifice is incompatible with the rest of the moderately civilized world and looks like it’s in for a mighty fall. They’re panicking too, thinking that main force is enough to keep the current regime in place. It isn’t. They haven’t managed it in Hong Kong and they’ll soon have their hands too full to cope.

I will watch their fate develop with interest. Yes I’m biased, but it looks like my biases will be confirmed.

What the hell?

One of my income streams has just gone belly up. It wasn’t a big one and I had an inkling it was coming so it’s no big deal, just a minor irritation. What made me go into ‘WTF!’ mode was the way in which it was done. “Hey, we want to talk about your contract…” then to be told there was no new contract. Oh well, what the hell, those people were insufferable anyway and deserve the fate that is coming their way next year when their funding is cut completely. At the end of the bad news delivery I was asked to “Have a nice day.” The irony was not lost on me, but I didn’t much feel like laughing.

From my perspective, that income stream had become uneconomical, often taking up way more time than I was being paid for without a bye, leave or thank you. You know the saying, “If you want something doing, give it to a busy man”? Well I was the busy man who kept finding more and more of his day being eaten up without being paid any extra money for more work. So, no great loss. I need the time for another major project anyway. More news about that later in August.

In the interim I’m looking at my share portfolio and am seriously thinking about cashing up. This prolonged lockdown has hit market confidence badly, leaving me thinking that any market bounceback that could have occurred won’t happen. This isn’t to say that some of our investments haven’t made money, just that others have made larger losses. So financially speaking we’re back to square one. As I’ve said before, this whole lockdown business has been badly mismanaged and the economic fallout looming just over the horizon ain’t gonna be fun for a lot of people. The ‘cure’ is going to be much worse than the disease.

The major problem with pandemics is infectivity. A pathogen (Virus, bacterium etc) can only thrive in conditions where it is freely transmissible and a lot of potential hosts are tightly grouped together in unsanitary conditions. Say a block of flats or apartments in the low rent sector, or where the standard of cleanliness is less than reasonable. Or like in facilities where the inmates don’t or can’t observe such rigorous hygiene standards, such as in cheaper care homes or prisons. On the other hand, in single family homes and out in the ‘burbs, the rate of spread slows to a complete halt.

This is why China has had multiple reinfections, housing is mostly cramped and unsanitary compared to Western standards and keeping housing clean enough to eliminate any pools of infections becomes nigh on impossible. Masks won’t help at this stage either, because as has been noted, the closer you are to high concentrations of infectious material, the greater the likelihood of rapid spread. Masks can only reduce the radius of infection. Oh, and stay out of air conditioned buildings if you can. I worked for an air conditioning company for a couple of years and learned about what happens if the maintenance schedules are not rigorously applied or the cooling coil drains get blocked or iced up.

Remember the fuss over Legionnaires Disease? Trust me. The great outdoors is far safer. Bugs like droplets to ride on.

Which makes me wonder at the advice to shut down outdoor facilities like the garden of a pub. We were at a Tim Hortons the other day and they’d shut down the outdoor seating so everyone had to either sit in their cars and drink their coffee, or do so in the epidemiologically speaking far more dangerous environment of the coffee bar.

There’s so much counter intuitive information going around that it’s a wonder people are still venturing outdoors. Although some aren’t. Poor darlings have been terrorised by all the scaremongering being trotted out in the mainstream and all the sensational clickbait headlines. What no-one seems to be saying is that the worst is past.

Likewise, the time for masks has passed, and the only halfway safe ones were the disposable surgical type, as those might not have stopped every bug, but reduced the radius of infection, and being disposable after each use, don’t act as a reservoir of infection like the worthless but rather stylish non-disposables I see so many sporting. First these home made things need boil washing or thoroughly nuking in a microwave after every single use. Second, cloth masks are way more porous than a surgical or N95 mask and thus stop less infectious material. An N95, as Ripper will no doubt remind me, is better at stopping infected droplets than a surgical mask, but still has to be disposed of after each use. These cloth things are better than nothing, but often more use in an armed robbery than against the spread of a virus.

However, from our perspective, no matter what happens the Sticker household is going to be okay. Not rich, but well off enough to put our money into building a decent house and keeping the bills paid with a little aside for travel.

The plan is this; Mrs S watches the finances and I go do. We consult, pay for land, planning and architects. Then when we’ve got all our ducks in a row, I go do some of the low level work, building, logistics, labouring, ring mains, lighting, a little plumbing and non-specialist decorating. Oh yes, and the day to day project management of telling suppliers that if they don’t deliver on time they won’t get paid on time either. Her job is to watch the budgets while I get to do the old walk and talk, set up accounts, negotiate discounts and delivery schedules etc. Which is part of what I did for the people who just dispensed with my services.

Round and round we go, but the pace rarely lets up.

Update: This article in the Times makes for interesting reading and confirms much of what I understood to be true about the origins of the embuggerance known as SARS-Covid19. Yes, it is very likely that the original virus came from bats, but the Covid-19 variant is highly probably derivative from the original found in bat faeces at a copper mining site. It’s a lab grown variant which was accidentally released into the wild. The seven year timeline sounds about right, too. A good piece of work.

What I want… (The simple desires of a complicated man)

A place to live,
Someone I love,
Somewhere to strive,
Maybe a dog,
A beach to walk,
That way I’ll thrive.

We’re heading off on the next great adventure. Family have been informed, with predictably mixed reactions. At least all the toilets are now working or we’d have nothing to go on.

Fuck it. Whose life is it anyway?

Regards,

Bill

Time to go

The last few weeks have been a bit frenetic what with one thing or another. Elderly Friend is languishing, saying that she must have done something wicked to have fallen and broken her arm. So this weekend we sped up Highway one to see what we could do. Lighting was adjusted, books provided and instructions given to staff so that she doesn’t regress into the fugue she’s been in. For my part I responded to her repeated moans that she must have done something bad to be sitting up in a cosy bed in a nice safe and warm room with a busted wing thusly; “So you reckon you did something bad. Really? Do tell. Come on, out with your deepest darkest secrets. Spill the beans.” Well, it raised a bit of a smile from her.

Seriously though, Elderly friend is not a secret serial killer or ex-war criminal in hiding, just a lonely centenarian lady we have the dubious privilege of being POA’s for. We do our best, but we have jobs and there are only so many hours in the day. She’s just bored and a bit depressed. So we talked to the staff of the very nice care unit she’s in, told them to leave the doors of her room open so she can see what’s going on outside and laid on some reading material. She never has the TV on because even she is fed up with all the attention seeking doom and gloom that spews out of it nowadays.

On the work front, there’s a reorganisation due. My current contract might not get renewed, so I’m going to get myself on an online book keeping course over this Summer prior to our forthcoming Irish trip. I look at it this way, I have a faculty with numbers, so maybe there is part time work online as a book keeper. Just as a backup. Something to keep the cashflow going. Another string to my bow, so to speak. Things are going to get tougher up here in the not so frozen north, Mrs S has voiced a need to move on, so that is what we are going to do.

We’ve spent our free time making lists of what we’re going to keep, what we’re going to get rid of and who we need to talk to. It’s all tiny stuff. Baby steps. On the plus side I look on our impending move as an opportunity to get rid of stuff we no longer need.

We’re talking about being out of Canada in twelve months time. It’s not the place we thought it would be, too much big government. The encroachments and enforcement of ridiculous hate speech laws. And the worst thing is that there’s not a credible opposition to the paternalistic oppression that benefits a tiny minority. The electorate haven’t got a viable alternative. The Scheer led conservatives pander to the same clique as the Liberals and NDP, and no one apart from grumpy old sods like me will vote for the radical change Canada needs to break out of it’s protectionist bondage. I’ll remain a member of the PPC of course, and keep throwing the odd hundred bucks their way, but I’m feeling rather pessimistic. Canada is potentially a very, very rich country, but it has a problem, a system of government which is too tightly bound to Quebec and Ontario. The Trudeau Liberals being part of the problem. They only care about their petty differences with Quebec and forget that they have an economic powerhouse in the Midwest, one which they seem determined to stifle. Which to me simply does not make sense. Nor does the attitude of the majority of suburban Canadians, who keep voting for dimwits like Trudeau who have about as much economic sense as a stunned chipmunk. Even if he does have nice hair. It’s what’s under it that counts, and that isn’t saying much.

To illustrate the current economic slowdown by observation; driving up and down Highway one the other day, we saw over a dozen big bulk carriers parked in the waters off Victoria, Ladysmith and Nanaimo. Ships which should be actively shifting cargo are simply parked off local harbours racking up the harbour fees. Normally you might see four or five in total if avalanches have shut down the trans Canada transportation routes. And all because the Federal Liberals want to have “A dialogue” with a few professional protesters and a tiny minority of disaffected first nations who are claiming to act for five out of thirteen ‘hereditary’ chiefs, in total disregard of the wishes of the majority of their own ruling band councils. Yet no one is telling these bozo’s to stfu and get with the program. They’re the problem, and if they don’t wise up, all the freebies the first nations get will dry up because if Canada really does get shut down, there won’t be any money left to fund their welfare payments, free University educations and tax exemptions. Before that happens, the Government will have to raise even more taxes on the already hard pressed middle and working classes of Canada. Then that will tip the country into a gravity hole debt spiral which will make a large black hole seem minimalist.

So Mrs S and I are planning to move before the inevitable rain of shit happens. Lock, stock and both smoking barrels. Some will call me a coward, others will accuse me of common sense and foresight, because I know I am in a minority who can see the globalist UN planned endgame for Canada and it ain’t pretty.

All for vanity

Canada’s Prime Minister has just returned from swanning around Africa, brown nosing for votes to give Canada one of the currently vacant seats on the UN’s insecurity council. This is nothing more than a vanity project, especially when Canada is being brought to a grinding halt by little more than a handful of Tides-funded fake nations protesters. Now he wants to engage in a dialogue? Do I hear someone laughing? Soros, is that you? Again.

The majority of real first nations are standing on the sidelines going “WTF?” They want pipelines. They want prosperity. I get the sense that they’re very pissed off about these fake nations taking their name in vain.

The Police appear to have been given stand down orders because they do nothing when main highways and rail lines are blockaded, yet will arrest any public spirited citizens who attempt to clear up the mess. Then there are the handful of activists who blocked the Legislature in downtown Victoria. Not sure if they’re still there. Perhaps they’re lecture dodging.

Protests are fine, but physical blockades? No, that’s a step on the road to anarchy. Not acceptable. It could even be described as terrorism. Not that there’s any terror involved for anyone above the level of total wuss.

There’s something going on beneath the surface because even the politicians are getting harassed yet the RCMP and local cops are doing nothing apart from jumping on any people who object to the blockades. Or are the Canadian Police simply doing this in mute protest at being given a big ‘hands off’ by their superiors when it comes to these blockades? By their forced inaction are the lower ranks making a political statement about enforcement? As political as they are allowed to be that is. Maybe they’re so fed up that they’re going to let things go down to the wire. Or are their upper echelons so subsumed by PC culture that the rank and file are ordered not to intervene? I have no idea.

As far as the first nations are concerned, the RCMP are damned if they do and damned if they don’t so maybe they’re simply choosing the least worst option, at least as far as they are concerned. If the country’s economy is heading toward lockdown, they don’t care. Or at least they’re not being allowed to care.

All the time the Federal Government refuse to allow the Police to do their job. All because the vanity of Trudeau wants a seat on the UN Security council, thinking that a worthwhile achievement. Even if the country he is supposed to be head of is slipping into deeper economic trouble. Even if Trudeau’s mate and sponsor George says things will be fine. Well, perhaps fine for someone who profits from the economic chaos engendered by the many NGO’s his Tides foundation gives money to, but not so good for the ordinary Canadian in the street.

I know it’s not all Tides, there’s the Rockefeller foundation and a few others as well as the Saudi’s funding these anti-oil NGO’s. The Saudi’s because they want to keep selling their oil to Canada, Rockefeller and similar US interests because the oil sands directly compete with their interests. Funding these NGO’s is just business, even if it does sabotage Alberta, and by proxy the rest of Canada.

For an informed commentary of what is currently going on, see video below. Max Bernier is right. It is a circus, and all for vanity.

On a personal front, life and work trundle on. These blockades will have little direct effect on me personally because my commute to work measures under ten metres to my windows on the world of finance and business. Which as far as Canada is concerned, look a bit sick. The Trump inspired USA continues to boom with no underlying issues that might cause a step change in the markets. Which is good for me because most of the companies I invest in have significant cross border interests.

The pound is stable, trading up on it’s pre-January 31st value despite the failure of the EU to be even remotely sensible when trying to strike a post Brexit trade deal. The EU want it all their own way and have no real idea about how to handle a proper negotiation. They want something but don’t seem to want to give anything substantial in return. Which will be the EU’s downfall. The UK holds all the aces. Links to global markets, restored fisheries, a veritable queue of negotiating teams including the USA lining up at the door. The EU is still working on the failed model of central banks, imploding economies and quantitative easing.

The only thing that can go wrong for the UK is if Bojo embraces the Green policies being discussed and sends the UK down a fiscal rabbit hole. HS2? Rail links? How very 19th Century. Never mind trying to power them with more wind farms and (derisive snort) solar farms in a cooling climatic phase. Better by far to go down the route of small scale nuclear and hydro than ‘renewables’.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that Hydro power on a small scale can have the secondary benefit of local flood management whilst churning out stable base load, as well as being able to react quickly to upticks in demand. There are quite a few old UK mill sites that could have their networks of sluices and ponds rebuilt and a modest turbine installed. There’s also the possible added benefit of running trout farms in the mill ponds. Food and power together? Now there’s a project worth considering.

Trying to run a nation on whizzy little battery cars powered by wind and solar ‘renewables’ won’t do any good. Renewables are simply inadequate for farming or industrial use, apart from for subsidy farming. For useful power generation there’s just not enough energy density, even with the up and coming generation of battery technology. Better, and much cheaper to invest in Internet bandwidth, cabling and local distribution hubs. Now there’s an enabling 21st century technology that works. And it’s relatively cheap and flexible compared to building and maintaining railways.

If like me, your desk is at home, all you need to do is log on, hook up your comms and you’re away. Which is what I do. No scabby trains or traffic jams. No aggravation from thoughtless soccer moms or texting titheads. Add to that the advantage of not having to share an office with people I don’t really like or trust. Win-win I think.

Travel plans for 2020 are Southern Ireland this Autumn for a couple of months where we have rented a cottage in the South so that friends and family can pop over for a visit. The flights and accommodation are all now paid for, with a short hotel stay in Dublin for when we stumble thoroughly jet lagged off the plane yet to be organised. Oh my aching wallet. Car hire has yet to be booked and I’m not sure what will happen to my Lemon tree plants while we’re away, but I’m sure they’ll cope.

So, the game’s afoot and we will be gracing the Emerald Isle with out dubious presence this year.

Could be interesting.

Coronovirus 2019 nCoV

Right. Have been trying to keep up with the news from China etc regarding this new end of the world scenario. This time in the form of a possible lab mutated Flu virus. Among all the fake news and conspiracy theory stuff there is so much conflicting information. We have confirmed cases in Toronto and Vancouver, some have been reported from the US. And almost every seasonal cough and sneeze seems to be attributed to it. This is a happy time for hypochondriacs. For a slightly more downbeat report, see below.

This is not to downplay the situation. This is a nasty bug with a reported 2% mortality rate. Compare that against 80,000 deaths in the USA alone during cold and flu season 2017-18. Not to mention the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and the fuss over SARS. Again from the far east, the ‘bird flu’ and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV, another Coronovirus) pandemics were considered serious threats which then burned out.

Out here on the Pacific rim we’ve got a big Chinese community and lots of active links direct into Vancouver from Beijing and environs. Chinese New Year events are being cancelled over here. West Vancouver won’t happen. Distribution of Chinese movies has been affected. So if you’re a fan of far east action flicks, you might have a bit of a wait. Hong Kong Chinese New Year celebrations have been cancelled, partly because of the continuing protests, now with the added impetus of infection. Looks like the year of the rat will be sneaking in very quietly.

For myself I’m not worried. My antibodies should be active enough as Mrs S and I had a nasty Coronovirus flu type infection in November 2019, so are less likely to contract a variant. This not to say we won’t catch it, but our respective immune systems should have enough active antibodies to successfully fight it off.

We also have no plans for transatlantic travel until September this year. So no infection risk from being crammed in an alloy tube for ten hours with another 2-300 people breathing their contagions into a semi closed cycle air conditioning system. However, a prolonged trip to Ireland for September / October is in train and we’re going to book our flights this week. We’re also looking at long term car hire in the Emerald Isle for around two months. So if anyone has any suggestions, we’ll be glad to hear them.

Update: There’s a lot of conflicting information coming out and very little clarity. The updated death rate has gone up to 4% in Wuhan, but from what I gather about the seat of infection, the whole release was a massive cock-up on the part of the lab where the Viral agent was being studied. Now of course it’s in the wild, what happens next is anyone’s guess. Canada doesn’t seem too concerned as screening appears minimal. Hong Kong on the other hand has shut down all train travel between it and the rest of China.

See below for a peculiarly Canadian take on this issue. Amongst others.

On the wagon

I’ve given up alcohol for a while. I’m on the wagon, but will be skipping merrily off it at a juncture of my own choosing. Not because I’ve been hectored into it by any campaign or other, but just because I wanted to. Just to make sure I’m seeing the world as it is without any chemicals fogging things up and to give my taste buds a time out. After four more weeks, perhaps less, I will resume my habitual imbibing of a modest whiskey every other evening or perchance a glass or two of Malbec, Carmenere or Cabernet Sauvignon to end the working day.

Which might beg the question do I want to live forever? To which I would answer, no, I’d only get bored. Variety is life’s spice, and drinking all the time is like permanent sobriety, it’s okay, but gets a bit tedious after a while. A little wine is good for you anyway, and permanent sobriety has been proven not. Alcofrolic beverages might not be the elixir of immortality, but a glass of three don’t half take the edge off the worst that living can throw your way.

What else? Lemon Tree plants looking good, the tallest has just topped thirty inches tall with lovely green waxy leaves. Mrs S and I are going to Ireland this September for a while and are busily booking our big time out. Our tax advisers are discussing possible tax exile with us and stepkids are making plans to come stay whilst we’re in the emerald isle. Things proceed.

Our festive season was relatively quiet, with only the existential sound of elderly friends marbles slowly continuing their rattle out of her head. Poor old thing has now completely lost track of what day it is and has taken to phoning us at all hours because she’s not even sure of what time of the day it is, or even that we live over a hundred kilometres away and not on the next floor down in her care home, which we will never be. Which can get a bit disconcerting. She’s not how she used to be and we’re getting resigned to the probability that she won’t see out the year. Such is life. Sure as it begins, thus it must end.

On that topic of lives ending, am watching how the big man down south is handling the ever-present irritation of Iranian sponsored terrorism. The news that he’d had the head of yet another terrorist organisation droned brought a grim smile to my face and the word “Good.” Popped into my forebrain. Mrs S of course, was concerned with the inevitable terrorist backlash. However, a head has been cut off the Hydra. No doubt it will regrow at some stage, weaker, but still there. It took Solemani from 1988 to build up his current network of militias. That’s right, over thirty years of misery for the Iranians and their neighbours at his hands.

This is why we put mad dogs down. They can’t bite any more when they’re dead. His owners might be all of a lather and threatening dire things, now their attack dogs pack leader has been put down I have a sense that a cold wind is blowing through their spavined souls. Trump has drawn his line in the sand. The attack on the US Embassy in Iraq was the impetus. It was a direct assault on US territory under international law, and the Iranian organisers therefore put themselves at direct hazard. Not that they’re all that popular in Iran.

There are rumours circulating from Iran of brutally suppressed protests and internal economic woes that are nothing to do with the USA and more to the fact that the current ruling elite of Iran aren’t as clever as they might think. That and it should be plain to them that they’re not dealing with Obama now. No more Danegeld. No more payoffs. Hunker in your bunker boys, because you just stepped over the line.

This version of ‘The Great Satan’ has decided to react to the Iranian regimes serial provocations, regardless of the fact that Russia and China say they have Iran’s back. They know the Iranians have gone too far, but will be content to sell them the arms while quietly backing away into the shadows. Say what you like about the Russians and Chinese, but they are not stupid. It doesn’t matter how many cocaine-addled celebrities want to ‘apologise’ to the Iranians. World War Three isn’t going to happen because the casus belli isn’t strong enough.

There might be a stand off, but Trump’s a savvy negotiator and I don’t think will blindly send more US forces into harms way without good reason. He’ll target the top dogs and send over a few GBU-57A/B‘s. There aren’t that many of these bunker busters in the US stockpile so I’m told, but it won’t take many. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t three or four already in theatre ready for a decapitation strike if necessary. Then there are the drones like the one that took out Solemani. Yet the average Iranian (or Iraqi, or whatever) in the street is not the enemy. It’s the extreme regimes. Get rid of them and the conflict goes away, kind of. Although as Mahyar Tousi points out, it’s not all black and white.

Still watching the Brexit situation from afar, and I still think no-deal is the default. The EU have faffed and fumed pointlessly while Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclowninsh Prime Monster holidayed on the Caribbean Island of Mustique, once favourite haunt of the late Princess Margaret and other celebrities. I think he’s going to sit on his hands and go full WTO at the end of January so the EU will lose that billion a month of taxpayer pound sterling they’ve been hoovering up so happily. Someone, somewhere in the EU infrastructure is going to have to think about reigning in their expense accounts. Having watched their privileged antics from the sidelines in Paris and elsewhere, I can’t help thinking that the EU pigs are watching the trough dry up and are panicking a little.

Terrorist leaders waxed? BREXIT happens? I’m beginning to like 2020 already.

The London Cough

Excuse me, I will be brief. Am currently suffering from what I am calling ‘The London Cough’, an unspecified ailment caused by excessive catarrh build up at the back of the throat. It begins with a rather unpleasant hacking cough, accompanied by repeated feverish episodes that doesn’t follow the normal pattern of a seasonal cold. Usual cold and cough medication barely touches it. Just when You’ve got to feeling somewhere near normal and you’re no longer coughing up dark green chunks, along comes another bout. Not to mention the disruption of sleep which is further debilitating to the point where only repeated naps of up to two hours each are possible. Five days of this so far (Add on top of normal sleep deprivation from jet lag as we’re back in BC now) leading to an overall malaise that makes you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck.

This malady is not quite Flu, as there are no real aches, and the fever comes in short bouts, just like having one cold after another. Very curious, but also debilitating. Mrs S was first to catch it, four days before we were due to fly out and I two days after. Thus our flight back to BC was punctuated by hacking from others so afflicted. Wonderful in flight entertainment, not. Or should that be snot?

See you when I’m feeling human once more.

Steak!

I love a good steak. Which is great because steak restaurants are big in London right now. All sorts of ‘Gaucho’ type restaurants are in vogue, some where they give you a large chunk of hot stone upon which you can literally cook your own piece of beef to your idea of perfection and others where they serve a particular cut, medium rare, or should that be medium raw.

Notwithstanding, the customer service I have experienced in all of these has been little short of excellent. The quality of beef though, perhaps not as great as I’d hoped. Living in Canada as I do, the quality of steak cuisine is very good, from the on-a-budget version at a Denny’s roadside eatery to more upmarket fare, I have rarely been disappointed but for one thing, there is a cut of beef that knocks every other for six no matter how barely it is cooked. It is not often served on our side of the pond and unlike cuts I have now come to regard as inferior, can be had at a lower price. Possibly because your average Canadian consumer has yet to recognise true quality of this ‘butchers cut’. They’ll happily sink their teeth into the much chewier Rib-eye, but offer them the piece of flesh I refer to and like as not they’ll turn their noses up at it.

The piece of meat I refer to is called a ‘Flat iron’ steak and I have yet to eat its peer from any breed of cattle. Cut from the inside of the shoulder blade on a forequarter, this particular bit of muscle has an entirely different texture and flavour to any other. Firstly, texture. A flat iron steak has an almost buttery feel in the mouth, it almost melts, even when almost tartare. The grain of the meat runs longditudinally from end to end, not cross grained as with most other cuts. Properly butchered there will be no tough membranous tissue which sometimes mars the wonderful saliva inducing mellowness of this cut. Next, flavour. Mass market beef can be a bit of a flavour desert, not so the flat iron. It has a more pronounced beefiness combined with it’s splendid texture, a taste that might have you wondering why the hell you’d want to eat any other part of a steer.

The best news of all is that there is a chain of restaurants in London which specialise in this cut, serving it a little too rare for my liking, but the butchery was good and despite the redness of the meat, slipped down a treat. Did I also mention that they’re also not as expensive as most of the ‘Gaucho’ style steak houses? A full flat iron steak will feed two hungry meat lovers, even if I would have liked a little larger portion (and hotter) of their Horseradish sauce. Their creamed spinach too is enough to restore a badly Bluto battered Popeye and put a twinkle in his eye that his paramour, Olive Oyle, could not mistake.

Now I don’t do shout outs like this often, if at all, but if you want to get away from the fancy stuff masquerading as food whilst in the UK’s capital, you could do worse than visit one of the nine (At the time of writing) “Flat Iron” franchises dotted around town. First come first served. Expect to queue. Don’t forget your dessert. (Oh, the calories, the calories!)

Unless of course you have the misfortune to be a vegetarian, or worse still, vegan. Then I am afraid there is no hope for you. You poor thing.

BTW: No one really ‘hates’ vegans, vegetarians or other diet obsessives as claimed in the Grauniad.  The rest of us find the endless proselytising somewhat tiresome, even annoying, but no-one really hates them.  For example, one of my stepdaughters is a ‘fish vegetarian’ (Won’t eat meat but will eat eggs and fish).  Which I find curious but hardly a Casus belli.  To truly hate someone over their chosen diet would be to say that the matter was worth taking seriously.  Chacun a son gout.

Another day out

Good old rainy London. Gave my new raincoat a thorough testing today. Wandered around Covent Garden and environs sampling pleasures and tastes while dodging the drizzle tainted crowds. Mrs S directed our steps into a couple of expensive venues I would normally never go anywhere near. For example one of the top rated patisseries in London.

Well colour me impressed. The coffee was excellent. Heavy on the Italian influence rather than the bitter American. Quiche that was divine, and as for the Sachertorte, that was light and melted in the mouth rather than leave you feeling like you are chewing stodge, as happens with so many mass produced versions. Exquisite. I’d had an indifferent pint of IPA earlier, so perhaps I was ready for some quality.

We’ve had a deal of discussions with family and friends of late where the discussion has centred around quality stuff and why it’s worth the price. Reason one; longevity. A really good pair of boots will last ten times as long as a much cheaper pair. Why a good quality suit is a good investment (Buy two, with extras if you can – looking smart is never a bad idea) Nice cotton shirts feel better and last longer. M & S basics more comfortable than the cheap stuff from Primark. A little more spent on the basics means you can go cheap on the accessories.

Anyway, I’m standing outside one store on the Kings Road and an expensive car snorted past. Then another and another. People were walking past me in expensive clothes and a thought hit me. Rather a large thought about the economics of everyday life. It made perfect sense and for a few seconds all the dots lined up, I saw the entirety of human economic activity in action and why free markets really do work.

Every single one of us is connected by a massive web of transactions, be those social, emotional or financial. From the single jet of a fountain to the massive money machine that is the City of London, which in turn is connected to all the other major centres all over the world.

Let me enlarge. The single fountain jet provides social value because as humans we like to look at flowing water, it calms and stimulates us, therefore it has worth. However the fountain jet needs water and power to create that worth. These are not free, the power to drive the water has value, as has the water itself, it needs to be sourced, transported through a network of pipes with a lot of other water. The pipes through which the water flows need to be manufactured, channels dug through the ground for them, the complex net of pumps and storage to maintain an even pressure. All of these need human effort and intervention.

Then there’s the electricity that powers these networks created by investment in power plants made out of millions of complex components from heat exchangers and steam handling technology to the massive transformers and circuit breakers which manage the power output (For the sake of brevity I’m excluding ‘renewables’ here, just talking about base load generation). All of which has to be funded and made by finance. Money must be made, credit obtained to pay for the intricate web of costs that underlie even the simplest nut and bolt. Part of what I do as an investor is loan money to larger companies so that they may pay for new machinery to build and maintain those power plants and networks of water pipes. Which kind of brings me round in a circle to the pleasing spectacle of the fountain jet.

Therefore I posit that anything in motion consumes and creates energy and energy is a function of life. Likewise the market of life is in constant motion. Each of us, is whether we like it or not, is interconnected through diverse voluntary transactions to everything else in this world. Thousands of times a day. Every time we step out of the door. Every leaf swept, every drop of rain cleared, everything man made has multiple costs from the parts of a leaf blower and the parts needed to make the machines which make parts for leaf blowers. The credit and finance to pay that cost has to be raised by financial institutions which are the money machine we are all part of, from the beggar hunkered down outside the supermarket to the flash git in his Maserati posing down the street. Sometimes the chains are not obvious, but they are there nonetheless.

Isn’t this a fascinating world we live in?

Update: Tearful phone conversation with Eldest who dwells in the fabled land of Oz. Long term boyfriend just walked out on her, the idiot. That is all.

Getting kitted

Mrs S got me into a store yesterday. I’ve been half heartedly looking for a new raincoat, but some of the prices for what I wanted were somewhat eye-watering. Almost seventeen hundred dollars for a classic Aquascutum? Wowch. So I’d been dodging the issue.

So when she saw the Barbour store on Regents street I was hustled in and forced to act as tailors dummy. They did have a cattlemans full length coat I was a little tempted by, but we decided to postpone a decision for after lunch as they only had it in one rather unpleasant colour. Yes we could have bought online, but that’s not the same experience. So we asked the assistant to put it by and promised to return after a Moroccan style lunch.

The capital streets currently seem calm and busy with tourists, mostly from Europe and South America, at least on the Tube. Piccadilly and environs were their usual self, with little of the outrage and shenanighans we’d been led to expect. As I said to Youngest’s friends over dinner last night, I thought the old place was better than I remembered it from the late 90’s. People politer, air much cleaner but just as rainy. Hence the need for much improved outdoor wear.

After lunch it was back to the store with Youngest as fashion adviser who took one look at proposed purchase and firmly shook her head. “It’s too much” was her judgement. So we cast around for something a little more reasonable and ended up with a slightly more expensive, but equally robust item. Oh, and a heavy felt Trilby. I like hats like Trilby’s or Akubra’s, they give the face a certain framing and keep most of the inclement weather out of your eyes. Also when you’re like me and hairdressers start to charge search fees, they are a comfort. Not to mention having a certain cachet, marking one out as either a gentleman or arrant rascal. Depending upon how it is worn.

Barbour have long held a reputation for being like armour plate. A man’s jacket, for example, takes quite a long time to wear in properly and get that traditional battered look they were famous for, so much so that one impatient fashion victim reputedly got a friend to wrap his brand new Barbour around a Land Rover’s bull bars for a few days heavy off-roading. After which time the garment had gained a little ‘patina’ and the look of a real outdoorsman’s garment (Looking like it had been dragged through blackthorn hedges for years and used as a bed for two incontinent Lurchers and several litters of kittens). Thus adding to the owners street, or should I say field-credibility.

Anyway, the Brexit clock is still ticking because although an extension was requested as required by the Benn act, the EU has yet (At the time of writing) to approve. I think the public mood has been over stimulated with project fear and that the only thing that will mar the air on the day the UK finally leaves is an huge sigh of “About bloody time too.”