Tag Archives: UK

Deranged hatred

Having been woken up by spewing drunks trying to force their way into our rented Copenhagen apartment in the wee hours, I made the mistake of going online to see the news. Bad mistake. I should have hosed all the vomit from the stairwell first. But not only have I had to clean a startling display of projectile vomiting off a full flight of stairs and wall because no-one else would, but I have to listen to the unhinged ravings about Trump’s visit to the UK. A good deal of which is coming from official media sources.

I keep on hearing all the empty anti-Trump rhetoric and can’t help being bemused by the display of frothing anger. All the bad things he’s being accused of, Obama, Bush and Clinton did in spades.  Indeed Trump may be a bullshitter, but the hatred of him is so over the top even my wife and daughter, not the most political of animals, are looking askance at all the screaming nutcasery and going “Oh for heavens sake!”

Would someone please explain to li’l old thickie me, so everyone else can understand too; exactly what is so bad about what he is doing? Spare me the empty rhetoric, I want logic and reason, facts and figures. I understand this may cause unwarranted strain on certain people’s neurons.

For those expecting automatic slapdowns fear not, this is a serious request for information and I will engage with any rational and pertinent arguments. However, if I do not respond immediately, please be patient because I am travelling. For those who simply want to repeat meaningless mantra’s, my time is my own, not to be spent in fruitless arguments over whose dogma is being allowed to crap over whose lawn. Vomiting drunks notwithstanding.

Final note about the US President. Although I do not care for his style, I will confess to liking what Trump is doing for one reason only; he’s annoying all the right people. If this drives you to fits of incandescent rage, have you ever thought that most of the real problem lies between your own ears?

Update: Psychologist and Author Dr Jordan Peterson seems to have it nailed about Trump the man and President in the video below.

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The big state is nobody’s friend…

When a parent can be jailed for temporarily leaving their child in a ‘safe’ location, then that child’s life destroyed by whisking it away into ‘care’, what kind of world do we live in? It seems that no-one cares. At least as far as an impromptu straw poll of Danish Museum visitors is concerned.

Went on a tour of the Danish National Museum yesterday, trailing dutifully after our tour guide. A fresh faced girl barely out of her teens who was waxing lyrical about the benefits of the big state. I got a little annoyed at her drivel, which had little to do with the exhibits, so slunk off for what North Americans tweely refer to as a ‘comfort break’. I came back to find Mrs S seated with a dark expression on her face. “What’s up love?” I asked.
“Let’s leave this group.” She said.
“Okay?” I was a bit puzzled but agreed. It was a little warm and I was looking for a place to cool off.

What my wife then recounted from the tour guides spiel actually shocked me. She told me that the tour guide had spoken approvingly of a woman being jailed for leaving her baby outside a store. Jail time? For thoughtlessness? I thought. That’s a bit excessive isn’t it? The baby was then taken away from her mother, permanently. Something, Mrs S said darkly, which met with our guides whole hearted approval.

“You know what bothers me most Bill?” My wife said as the rest of the tour group moved on.
“What?” I knew where this was going.
“No-one challenged her. No one at all.” Mrs S is a fine and expert teacher who cares deeply about her charges. She’s seen first hand the damage ‘social services’ do when families have been broken up for seemingly trivial reasons. I get that children with abusive parents need to be taken into the care system, but not for a single instance of foolishness. Besides, when I was a tiny tot it was customary for my mother to leave me outside a shop in my pram or baby carriage. In the middle of our local High Street no less. She could see me from inside the shop, and the only risk I ran was from elderly childless spinsters occasionally pausing to coo dribble all over me. Maybe times have changed, but jailing a Mother for something so frivolous? Now there’s a scandal.

As for taking the child away from it’s Mother permanently, in the UK there has been a longstanding scandal about forced adoptions as documented by Daily Telegraph Journalist Christopher Booker. Turns out there’s an adoption racket going on which the Family Court system are unwilling to address because they form part of the problem.

Yet stupid people like our tour guide wax lyrical about big state intervention at every level of life. Giving her ‘free stuff’ without a thought about where the original resource came from. Or how much this additional resource grabbing inflates the cost of the stuff she is ‘given’. Perhaps she will think differently when a moments thoughtlessness puts her in jail. But by then of course it will be too late.

Only then will she learn that the big state is nobody’s friend.

I’m a tourist get me out of here part two

Packing today. The litany of lists and suitcases with a smidgeon of “Why the hell do we need to pack that?” Thrown in. Trying to get our single suitcase down to below the 23kg airline limit. This is not an easy task and requires a few sacrifices. Fortunately we’re going premium economy most of the way which means slightly looser baggage allowances. We might also invest in a small to medium suitcase for Mrs S, despite my misgivings after she tried to shift a bag that was way too heavy for her in Paris and ended up breaking her wrist.

We’ve only a few days to go before we step onto the plane headed east and I’m starting to have strong misgivings about the ‘family’ part of the trip. Phone calls to relatives have not exactly been encouraging. Indeed I feel they were a bit ‘off’ with me. There’s no apparent enthusiasm for any meeting and even a whiff of burned bridges in the air. Well this was what I was going to find out but all the clues so far are not that positive, so this looks like being a one time thing for me. As I’ve written about previously. We live and we learn, eh?

Otherwise, we’re just living out of the fridge and making sure there are no leftovers that have been left alone so long that they have spawned strange new lifeforms and evolved into tiny, highly specialised civilisations. Then there’s the final cleaning so we come back to a sweet smelling and comfortable apartment.

Frankly, I’ll be happier when next week is over.

I’m a tourist, get me out of here….

The news that US President Donald J Trump is to visit the UK at the same time as Mrs S and I has come as a bit of a shock. We book our tickets six months ahead and just when we’re due to arrive the UK political left decides to have a collective hissy fit, with planned riots (Not demonstrations-riots, these anti-Trump people are frothingly insane) and tube strikes (Why? Is he going to use the London Underground? I don’t think so). Flying facile inflatables above Parliament and other idiocy. Just because they don’t like him. And they think this is somehow moral, somehow justified? Dozy lot. That’s like burning down your own garden shed just to spite the guy with the mansion at the end of the street.

Personally I don’t get all the ‘Trump is Hitler’ bullshit. And it is bullshit. He’s doing no worse, and some would say far better, for the USA than any previous president. I’m just happy he’s diverting media attention from the most embarrassing Canadian Prime Minister ever. At least this way I can safely wear a Maple Leaf badge on my lapel in public.

If, as the flappy-hand pantywaisters contend, Donald J Trump is ‘literally Hitler’ he’s going about creating a Fascist state entirely the wrong way. True, he bullshits a lot and comes across as blunt, nationalistic and simplistic but; he’s presiding over a shrinking state, pro-business, pro-employment environment. Oh, and reducing the threat of Nuclear war. Unlike his predecessor, who with the previous three (Four?) presidents got the world into the tangled mess we’re in. There’s also the thought that if Trump were ‘literally Hitler’ he’d be increasing the state, controlling business, increasing legislation and telling people where they had to work, who for and for how many hours. And I get the impression he’s more an old fashioned jingoistic patriot than an overt nationalist. That may be hair-splitting on my part but it has the ring of truth. He’s not particularly bothered about what skin colour you are or what your sexual preference is either. And despite all the bloviating to the contrary he’s not anti-immigration. Just anti-illegal immigration. So why the two minute hate every time his name is so much as mentioned in conversation? Apart from a reflexive anti-Americanism. Honestly, even the mildest praise of what he’s doing is often responded to with a gnashing hysteria more often associated with some form of violent psychosis. It’s so, well, disproportionate. So unhinged. So, pointless.

Fortunately we will probably miss most of the surrounding security circus as we’re heading off to Copenhagen for most of the time he’s in the UK, so if he wants to drop by and say “Hi Bill” We’ll be elsewhere. In a Copenhagen bar drinking over-taxed beer. Drinking coffee. Sightseeing. Wandering around town or maybe taking day trips. I will not be paying any attention to any of the histrionics surrounding his visit apart from viewing the possible damage with a jaundiced eye and thinking “You did all this to yourselves. Just because you didn’t like someone paying you a visit? In-fucking-sane.”

Have you seen this, Bill?

Sometimes you wonder where all the bullshit comes from. Seventy four years ago on the 6th of June and for the next few weeks, my Dad was having a whale of a time (He told me he actually enjoyed being under fire during his wartime service on Minesweepers and Landing ships) as an Ordinary Seaman Signals on the run in on the second wave of D-Day to a place called Juno Beach, Normandy. Today Mrs S sent me the link to this document on agriculture which is a BREXIT consultation paper doing the rounds in Wastemonster. My response; well, fuck me rigid. Are these people proposing what I think they are?

1. Once the UK leaves the EU, the Government plans to incentivise methods of farming that create new habitats for wildlife, increase biodiversity, reduce flood risk, better mitigate climate change and improve air quality by reducing agricultural emissions.1 It intends to do this by leaving the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and implementing a new system based on paying public money for public goods.

I read the first paragraph with a massive WTF? “implementing a new system based on paying public money for public goods” (sic) Like the old and failed milk, egg and potato marketing boards? Not to mention the clusterfuck of the Department for the Elimination of Farming and Rural Affairs, as DEFRA is known in fishing and farming circles (And Private Eye).

I look at this proposal this way; if the Eurocrats put the screws on, as those bitter petty tyrants are likely to do as the UK exits the EU, dear old blighty will need to ‘dig for victory’ in every square inch of their back yards. Because despite all the media hoo-hah about ‘climate change’ (a.k.a. the mythical man made global warming) the astrophysicists are pointing at a deepening solar minimum, reduced magnetosphere, increased cosmic ray radiation in the upper atmosphere resulting in increased cloud cover and albedo. And an overall global climatic shift and cooling. At least if you think that Henrik Svensmark has gotten his sums right.

Now if the folk pointing at a cooling phase of the global climate are right, productive growing areas will shrink and there will be less food overall for UK government policies to create famines from. On the upside this will mean be more marginal land for grazing, so more Lamb, Pork and Beef can be raised. More hedgerows for fences, so more havens for wildlife in the cold times. Which might be no bad thing.

Now I, as my one remaining reader will attest, grew up on home grown food with all it’s benefits and drawbacks. At school we learned about how to grow stuff. Indeed I began learning at my Mother’s knee because she was a born a farm girl and even if you’re a Jazz piano player at heart, you never lose the earth under your finger nails.

The other shocker is that from 30th March 2019 all the EU regs on UK airlines cut off. Which means flying a UK airline or with UK licensed pilots or aircraft might just get a bit problematic. If a flight, pilot, airline or aircraft is only certified in the UK then it can’t enter European airspace. No doubt all the major airlines already have plans in place to get dual certification. Unfortunately this state of affairs, if push comes to shove, may result in a tit for tat where transatlantic aircraft originating in Europe are refused entry to UK airspace. Which will be awkward for all those long distance flights into Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt, requiring extra fuel loads or Icelandic layovers. Just watch the video below of flight paths and take a look at how all the most economical flights to and from the US and Canada to Europe cross UK airspace.

This could be fun to watch.

Busy doing nothing

…Working the whole day through,
Trying to find lots of things not to do,

Well not quite, but not as busy as I have been. Due to a plethora of good planning and foresight we’re on the wind-down to our Summer European trip. Not that anyone’s really interested. My only concern is making sure our little deck garden is properly watered and taken care of while we’re away. I don’t want to come home to a bunch of wilted stems like with my Tomato plants over Christmas.

For my one remaining non-comatose reader the Lemon seedlings are looking good following last weeks potting out. Ten Eleven out of the original thirteen have popped tiny glossy little leaves above the soil so far and have been put out in a sunny position during the day as the night time temperatures are still not conducive to plant health. Although the rose, Indonesian Lime and all our perennials are doing fine. The rose has three dark bloody blooms gracing its stems with four more to come. The Fuchsia has recovered from the travails of Winter and should give a display some time in late August / early September. The Nasturtiums and Sweet Peas aren’t so cheerful from overnight near-zero temperatures, but now the warmer Summerish weather is here they should recover. As for the herbs, no issues. By the time we return from Europe they should be ready for the kitchen all the way through to October / November.

Did I mention that I went to see Deadpool 2 last week? Must have done. Great dirty fun. Go see it. I’m going to add a hard copy to the video collection. Also to add will be Stallone’s ‘Demolition Man’ and a few others, which I’ll do when I get to a certain secondhand music store up island. I’ll see if I can get a copy of the first ‘Incredibles’ movie in North American format too before going to see the sequel on Friday as it has just opened here. The only trouble is I’ve seen so many damn trailers and clips it may just take the edge off my viewing pleasure, although that didn’t seem to matter for Deadpool 2. There was more than enough story and flash-bang for my buck to warrant a second viewing.

That leads to another thought; When life gives you lemons, don’t just make lemonade – enjoy the Gin and Tonic (Jinnan T’Onnix, whatever). Or Gin fizz. Or Vodka Tonic. Or even sell any subsequent Lemons on with an ‘organic’ tag at twice what you paid for the original lemon you got the seeds from. What a staggeringly good idea.

Must dash, well, maybe not so much. The sun is shining, Justin Trudeau is still an idiot for picking a trade war Canada can’t possibly win, the silly, virtue signalling half-wit. When we get to Europe I’m going to use my UK passport because I’ll be too embarrassed to use my Canadian ID. Poor ickle Justine can blither on endlessly about what he thinks ‘Canadian values’ are, but he never knew what they really were in the first place. Mr fake eyebrows speaks for no-one but himself.

All things bright and, oh, see for yourself

Germination proceeds. Out of thirteen Lemon seeds originally taken from a supermarket lemon, eight now have roots sprouting from two to ten millimetres long. Three others seem to be in various stages of life. All I did was take them out of the lemon, soak them overnight in water, then stick in a handy zip up freezer bag on a damp piece of kitchen towel and wait. My Avocado seed too is showing signs of root development with a gravid little bulge about three millimetres across and high forming on the bottom. All I did was set the seed up using four cocktail sticks and a glass full of water. Grade 5 level stuff like the old growing Cress thing we used to do in Junior School, before doing simple stuff that worked was replaced by ideologically driven rubbish like Man Made Global Warming and Gender studies. Neither of which have half the fun and frolics of playing with copper sulphate crystals or dissecting frogs.

Out on the deck our rose bush looks like it will burst into blossom within the next two or three days. The hummingbirds have been busy at our feeder. They are quite magical little creatures. At one point on Sunday evening, after a quick peruse of the cruise ships plying the Juan De Fuca I was examining the biggest rose bud and one of our two pairs of regulars stops at the feeder less than three feet away. I gently turn my head and it pulls back from the feeder perch. I turn my head gently and the little sucker decides it’s time to give the big slow motion statue (me) the once over, stopping in mid air for two whole delightful seconds less than a foot in front of my face, tiny dark eyes watchful, ready to disappear at the fist sign of hostility. I move gently backwards and zip! She’s gone like a little green bullet only to return to the feeder when I’ve retreated indoors. See some of her antics in the video below.

One of the things I hear from the UK ahead of our visit next month is the ridiculae from a retiring Judge and London’s Mayor that kitchen knives should have their points filed off because these things are being used by gang members for murder. God knows what these people would think if they saw even my modest collection of cutting implements. My particular favourites (and most used) are the heavy bladed Sabatier K’s with Teak handles on the right, the bigger one routinely slices through frozen chicken and has a lovely balance in the hand. Might have to replace my filleting knife as the serrated ‘Miracle blade’ is hard to keep sharp enough for filleting. As for their size and variety, they’re working tools in a working kitchen. Their forms reflect their specific functions. Which is something someone who has never prepared food (Only peons do that) is incapable of understanding. These bansturbators are retards who blame the tool, not the perpetrator. Which is why all their bans and meddling will achieve nothing but piss the rest of the population off. Maybe if they and those before them focussed on root causes rather than the fallout, there might be less blood staining the UK’s streets.

But that wouldn’t have been very progressive now, would it?

Odd stuff

I’m quite chuffed with the way our little deck garden in developing. At present just over three quarters of the seed we planted a few weeks ago has muscled it’s way out blinking into the sunlight. Even one of my attempts of germinating Lemon seed is showing the first signs of green after only a week. My Avocado seed is still just sitting in my office, but that’s only eight days into the long wait for anything to happen. It may rot, it may germinate, who knows?

Yet my old third form biology teacher would be quite pleased I’m sure. I went to a rural high school and agriculture and horticulture ranked high on the curriculum. As for sex, well, we knew what bits went where by age twelve, especially as most of us boys knew our way around a farmyard and saw what animals got up to. As for the girls, well, they were well ahead of us. Half the third (Grade 8) form girls hanging around with a crowd of us fifth form boys (Grade 10) to indulge in some light sexual horseplay in which much elastic got twanged. Nothing backward in our little corner of the shires.

Nor was there any of this “He abused me!” victim stuff. At least not to date. Perhaps we were made of sterner stuff than later generations. Despite being part of the late ‘baby boom’ generation, I don’t recall any of us having anything handed to us on a plate. You finished school, you got a job. You went to work. Period. Christ on a bike! I hate the term ‘Baby Boomer’ (Or worse, the cringeworthy ‘Zoomer’). It’s a cheap little whiners term used to denigrate and diminish people, just because they were born in a particular set of years. I bet there’s a serious tranche of people who hate being tarred with the ‘Generation X, Y Z’ tags. Jesu! These cheap little labels for the hard of thinking are worse than fucking Astrology and way less accurate!

Notwithstanding, it’s been a statutory holiday today, so I’ve officially not been working (All right, I worked a bit because I was bored, okay?). The only item worthy of note was a low flying military aircraft (A CF-188) buzzed our end of Victoria this morning heading what looked like straight at the US border. I’m pretty sure it was an RCAF plane, didn’t get the number, but it was the right shade of blue. Didn’t see it turn after crossing over the Juan De Fuca, just watched it pootle on over towards the USA until it disappeared behind the leaves of next doors Cherry tree. Maybe the pilot was looking for cheaper aviation fuel south of the border where they don’t lump so much in the way of ‘carbon taxation’ on. Who knows?

What with the inter province spat over the Kinder Morgan Pipeline upgrade and BC’s ‘carbon tax’ the Summer price of gasoline is way up above 2013 levels, hitting more and more Canadians in their wage packets. Not so much us. We’re not planning any more transcontinental road trips and don’t need to commute, so our trusty little Subaru isn’t going to get as much use as it has over the last three years. Although Gasoline prices south of the border are just under a Canadian Dollar a litre at the time of writing, which is pretty good. If we lived in somewhere like White Rock, Langley or Abbotsford it would be worth popping over the border just to fill up. No doubt some of the locals do exactly that. Don’t blame them either. This farcical idea that Canadians driving less will somehow ‘save the planet’ is long past it’s sell-by date. Anyone who still believes that needs to read a bit more and not swallow everything they get told via the idiot box.

On the oil front, I see the Venezuelans have re-elected Maduro. Well, the ones who voted anyway. He’ll be the only fat man left in Venezuela at this rate. Until someone does the Venezuelans a favour and gets rid of his administration by other means. From my point of view it’s just another failure of socialist style politics. Doesn’t help hungry Venezuelans much, or their rapidly increasing diaspora, poor bastards. What actually makes me laugh (although not very much as I’m not completely heartless) is UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn pointing to what could be a wealthy country in an economic nosedive as a ‘success’ of socialist economics. Shows how much he knows. About as much as a failed divinity student turned politician knows about climate science. At least you know Al Gore doesn’t really believe his own bullshit (He wouldn’t own so much beachfront property if he did). Corbyn does.

Gardening leave

Not much happening right now. Well not here, apart from an increase in personal gardening activity. A new Rose bush, Lilies, Honeysuckle, Junipers, Indonesian Lime, germinating Sweet peas and casting Nasturtiums hither and thither. I’m even having a go at germinating Avocado, Lemon and Orange seeds.

Anything really new? Well, Justin Trudeau is still the most cringeworthy Canadian Prime Minister ever. So no change there. Apparently that darling mop top is rather upset about all the mean (and well-deserved) comments coming his way. Although I’m sure some fuckwit might construe saying that as a ‘Hate Crime’. No idea why, but that’s their problem, not mine.

What else? We at Maison Sticker are keeping a weather eye on the Hawaiian situation. An explosive steam event is on the horizon, although how big that will be is anybody’s guess. Am checking in on the USGS pages for Kīlauea and half way listening for a far off low grumble that means Oahu has gone up in smoke and a big Tsunami is on its way. But that’s a few days away if it happens at all. Besides, even a ‘mega Tsunami’ caused by a massive Hawaiian land slip won’t touch us, we’re too high up and looking down on the rest of the neigbourhood (Damning the rest with faint praise and patronising the remainder.) Besides, the possible slip zone points are South and east of Oahu.  Meaning the focus of any Tsunami will be pointing right at Cali-forn-aye-a.  So much for beachfront property eh?

Liking what Sargon and friends are up to re free speech in the UK. I’m actually hoping that we’ve reached peak PC and some sort of grand ‘oops’ moment will cause various Governments to scale back on the current tidal wave of repressive legislation. Not that either the EU or the UK seem to be free of the insanity. The UK is considering jailing people for up to six years for ‘hate crime’. six years? You don’t get that for manslaughter FFS! (Current guidelines for an unlawful killing are 2-10 years) Saying something critical of the Religion of being blown to pieces can get you jail time? That is so coming back to bite the pollies who put and let these things stay on the statute books. Apart from being a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Which will create deeper and more permanent cultural divides. This is notwithstanding the EU’s latest directive on the topic. Dissent has, like in the old Soviet Union and other Communist and other extreme right and left regimes, become a crime, threatening to drive millions of otherwise moderate citizens right into the political arms of some destructive reboot of Fascism. Especially as voicing or publishing a dissenting point of view is now a ‘hate crime’. Unless, according to the latest proposed EU guidelines, you’re a service provider.

Wonder what happened to ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me‘? Gone the way of all flesh it seems. Every privileged minority seems determined to find something somewhere to get excited about. The rest of us look on at their antics with a certain astonishment. Especially when the perpetually offended get all vocal about a cause they aren’t directly affected by.

For my part I consider myself on unofficial gardening leave because work has tailed off and there’s bugger all to do apart from write and run errands. I’m still getting paid, so what the hell. Serves me right for being so efficient over the last few months.

After we get back from Europe in August, think I’ll join one of the local archery clubs so I can use their shooting range and get some new shafts made. Might be worthwhile keeping my eye in, just in case I get an invite to go bowhunting up country again. In the meantime, my roses are budding, Lilies trumpeting their heavy pollen to the skies and multiple seedlings straining to be set free from the confinement of the soil. Could be worse.

That’s interesting….

Reported in Liberty about mass surveillance in the UK. Headline reads.. “Court of Appeal rules Government surveillance regime IS unlawful” According to Martha Spurrier, Liberty’s Director:

“Yet again a UK court has ruled the Government’s extreme mass surveillance regime unlawful. This judgment tells ministers in crystal clear terms that they are breaching the public’s human rights. The latest incarnation of the Snoopers’ Charter, the Investigatory Powers Act, must be changed.

“No politician is above the law. When will the Government stop bartering with judges and start drawing up a surveillance law that upholds our democratic freedoms?”

Well, that will put a few noses out of joint. Kudos to UK MP Tom Watson for following through.

Meantime, many UK porn sites have been pushed by new laws into creating a registration scheme for users. Although this only affects UK (ab)users from April onwards. But not those with a VPN. Or accessing the web via an offshore proxy. Stuff many tech-savvy teenage boys can do without even bending a neuron.

On being an Expat

Apropos yesterdays post. Another in-car conversation on life, the Universe and everything found Mrs S and I discussing our lives. Why we keep so few real friends, which is more an act of personal preference than anything else. Neither of us have ever been manic socialisers. Although we are decent enough folk, well, we like to think so, we find that there’s little point getting involved as everyone else has stuff to do and so have we. So dinner parties are rare events as neither of us is that keen on small talk and always find ourselves at odds with some of the regurgitated media talking points certain people call their opinions.

There are sayings that “You can never go home again.” or “You can’t cross the same river twice.” and now ten years after Mrs S and I began our Canadian adventure I find there is much truth in them. Having gone back to blighty on five separate occasions, visiting places where I grew up only to find a chilly welcome and a “Oh, what’re you doing back here?” No one wants to know you. Old work mates make repeated excuses to not have a beer and a chin wag like you used to, even when you’ve spent thousands to go and see them. When you meet people you thought were good friends it’s a little spooky to watch their faces close down when you say “Hi.” Like while you’ve been living and working overseas you’ve been doing something they’re ashamed of, but it’s not simply that. There’s often a mix of jealousy and disconnection which gives you the sense of being a stranger in your old home town. A feeling of isolation within familiar spaces. Like you’re just a tourist. Which feels like truth. Because it’s not your home any more. You moved on, they stayed. You’re now an outsider, an exile, who shouldn’t ever have come back. This is not your tribe.

There’s a century old story about a man who went to Australia and made his fortune. I think it was told as an anecdote in one Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Novels, not sure which. (Correction: From Laurie Lee’s classic “Cider with Rosie” – A staple of my Senior School English Literature classes – Thank you to the commenters for this correction)  Now the story goes that this newly enriched Australian came back to visit the English village he’d grown up in but left twenty years before. While he’s there he shares his good fortune with old friends and neighbours. Even spending one evening in the village pub buying drinks for everyone. Yet on his way back to his lodgings he was beaten up and robbed by some of the very people he’d once called friend. The very people he’d tried to share his good fortune with.

Life is a river, and like water, time flows in only one direction, unless you’re a very advanced physicist. Sometimes it pools, other times it bounds along, effortlessly carving its own way through solid rock. But always onwards, down to an estuarine end, or abruptly off a cliff or down a hole. So it is with old friendships and family. Those who stay still get left behind. This can breed resentment within them because perhaps they did not really want to stay, but somehow lacked the impetus, like me, to begin new lives for themselves in a different land, or even wonder, and feel a little betrayed by, my need to do so. In their minds, I left them. Which may have bred ill-feeling.

Which leaves me in a dilemma. I have to visit the UK next year anyway, but knowing what I do now, do I go visit and try to reconnect, or just accept what I’ve been told at face value and forever suffer a small nagging doubt? Considering my family history, or rather lack thereof, it has been characterised by a certain; “You don’t need to know that.” feeling. Indeed, trying to track my own Mother’s side of the family has proven interesting* because I was always shut out of the conversation because my very existence (Well I am a bastard from a time when this was frowned upon) is a source of embarrassment. Very few will even acknowledge that I am a blood relative. That and my Mother’s tendency to ‘re-invent’ herself every twenty years or so has not helped.

Oh bugger it, I’ll go and knock on some doors while I’m back in the UK. What can my relatives really do apart from tell me to sod off?

Update: There is also the thought that if we were such great friends and family, all my emails and letters would have been answered. But instead responses dried up fairly quickly, so maybe my erstwhile family and friends don’t really want to know at all. Heart says go and see, head says that they haven’t been in touch because they don’t want to be. Rather like an old mate who broke surface only to disappear into the mists of the Interweb. I offered to come over next time I was in the UK and have a chat over old times and where our lives had taken us. Result; complete radio silence. I’ll take my Aunt and her son out for dinner next time I’m in Blighty, but as for the rest, yes, well. Their lack of interest has been duly noted. Moving on…

* “Interesting” in like pulling a Bull’s teeth without anaesthesia.

Best Christmas message ever

Got a letter today. An old fashioned honest to goodness handwritten letter on ten pages of paper written in real pen from one of my two surviving Aunts. It absolutely has made my entire Christmas because it’s helped me reconnect with people who I didn’t think cared I still existed. My extended family. The pages repeatedly scanned today could not have been more precious if they were written in diamond on 24 carat solid platinum sheets. All right, my Aunt hand wrote the letter because her printer ran out of ink and my cousins won’t be visiting until next weekend to buy and fit a new cartridge for her, but as I read my crusty old eyes were almost moved to sentimental tears. Even if she hadn’t sent a Christmas card, this was far better.

I say better because all the sentiment within was genuine, not forced or the grisly secondhand saccharine sloppiness or ghastly lame humour of the usual run of Christmas cards. The letter was chock full of the dark humour typical of my clan, stuffed with information on a branch of the family who I thought had forgotten all about yours truly decades ago. Some of the news was sad, about a distant aunt and uncle who have left this world, but more was happy because people I used to love and trust, and think I still do, are still around and sinning despite all life’s vicissitudes. No, none of us do ‘Social media’, we have real lives. We connect in four dimensions not the two of Farcebook or Twatter.

Which gladdens my scabby blackened old heart. As my good lady wife observed having noticed my smile; “Well, something undid a twist in your soul Bill.” With which I agree, because I feel part of my own special river of humanity again. Connected. No longer as distant or excluded. And you know what? It feels good and it’s the best Christmas present I’ve had for decades. Possibly the best seasonal missive I’ve ever had.

Honestly, I’ve come over all North Brummagem.

I’ve been told that some of our lot are visiting Oz at the same time Mrs S and I are. It would be interesting to run into them and see what they’re really like, or if we’ll even recognise each other after so much time estranged. Family, eh? Who knew?

Another day

….another bomb on the London Tube. Woke up early to the news. First response is to try and raise Youngest on the blower, but she’s at work and not answering. I saw pictures of one woman with extensive burns to her legs being carted off to hospital, but I don’t think it was our girl. No deaths, so that’s a mercy. Doesn’t make you not worry though. You never really stop being a parent.

This is just five am me anyway. That part is and always has been an old worry guts. Although I’ve heard it said that pessimists get fewer nasty surprises, I’m not so much of a pessimist any more. More to lose.

My one hope is that they catch the amateur who made the device before they get better at it, and that said amateur learns the hard lesson of why they shouldn’t bend down to pick up the soap in the prison showers. Maybe we should be rethinking the prison system for terrorist offences. A secure basement somewhere soundproof where the guilty can be kept in solitary for up to thirty days at a time. No entertainments, no books, no conversation, just pictures of the casualties on a screen showing them the reality of what they did and who they hurt. If the injured or dead include those of their own belief system, so much the better. Shine a searchlight on their own petty hypocrisies and thus undermine them from within. Then before going back out to the general prison population for the rest of their sentence they get psychiatric treatment to ‘recover’ from the solitary. Prison on it’s own isn’t the answer.

As for the device, from what I’ve seen in the news it was a poorly made thing, as all the current bomb attacks seem to be, that blew off in a fireball rather than exploded. More incendiary than a proper bomb like the IRA used to salt around the place back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Update: Youngest is fine. She was on an different train. A small part of me just came back to life.

Never work

Well there’s a probability that I will be dead before this piece of idiocy comes to pass and just as well. A proposed UK 2040 ban on sales of all Diesel and Petrol engined vehicles. Oh dear, there are so many things wrong with this proposal that I’m having trouble enumerating them all.

Now Diesel, yes, I can see the utility from that, given the ‘known’ link between Diesel fumes and cancer. Well, at least according to the most recent IARC report. Worse than smoking, by all accounts. But that’s by the by. But petrol and diesel? Hmm.

The problems with the proposed ban on internal combustion engines begins, as the source article says, with the necessary upgrades in generating capacity that going over to a predominantly ‘renewables’ based power grid as mandated by legislation will entail. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine there won’t be enough batteries in all creation to power the UK’s energy needs, especially if millions of electric vehicles are all plugged into the grid. Even if every spare hillside is covered in bird killing wind turbines. So investment in Nuclear seems like the obvious solution. Thorium seems the safest option, as the end product can’t be used for bombs. However, that technology need to mature. As for fusion? Well given the current rate of progress, that is at least fifty years away. Especially if the focus remains on the ‘bang in a bottle’ Tokamak based designs. Research has been focusing on that branch of technology since the 1960’s to my recollection, but the goal of sustainable nuclear fusion reactions remain just as far away.

The next issue is grid capacity. I haven’t actually done the sums but even a back of a fag packet guesstimate means that the UK grid will need at the very least triple the current infrastructure. Given twenty plus years, this isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility, however, expect lots of brown outs and power rationing. Then you can triple the number of pylons marching across the landscape. All the scenic views will be interrupted by cables and wind turbines. Don’t even mention hundreds of thousands of substation upgrades, and extra diesel powered backups. No, sorry, no more diesel backups. Everyone’s electrickery bill will be through the roof. Not to mention the price of everything because transport costs will rise as all those Diesel powered trucks which tow containers of food to supermarkets will go out of style.

Here’s my argument; there will be around 75-80 million people in the UK. This estimate is based on the demographic boomer dieback that is in progress. Yes, all those post 1940’s and 50’s born folk will be going away leaving fewer descendants and many more immigrants to pick up the slack. Incidentally, all that finger pointing and blame attribution (“It’s all the boomers fault!”) won’t do a spit of good when the following generations haven’t picked up the slack. So, a less productive population demanding more from Government and services. Including electricity. Which is going to be a bit of a bugger when Winter comes. Considering a lot of solar physicists are predicting global cooling from around 2030. There’s also a possibility that coal and wood stoves will get banned along with the ICE. People are going to have to learn to wrap up warm. Just like I had to do as a boy. And get used to walking a lot more. Used to do a lot of that, too.

As for all of the UK owning electric vehicles? Never work. Even an enhanced grid couldn’t take the strain of thirty plus million vehicles (Number of vehicles currently using UK roads) probably fifty by 2040, slurping an average of 17.6 kWh (Average) each for a 62 mile journey from the grid, every night. More if the daily commute is over 40 miles each way. More if owners (As they are wont to do) leave all their vehicles on charge when not in use. Even more if someone can make battery technology work for trucks. Although some form of diesel electric would work. Diesel running at peak efficiency to power generator and thus drive electric motors, like one of these. Although if you scroll down and read, the uphill and top speeds are hardly on a par with modern Diesel trucks. Very stylish though. But if diesels do get banned, what then?

I’m all for cleaner air, but you can’t eat it and it won’t keep you warm in Winter. Anyone got any better ideas than a ban?

Update: It seems that there are few good solutions to the particulates issue, although there are some interesting but economically non-viable Electric power devices being mooted.  The electric vehicles Achilles heel remains, after over a century of development and taxpayer dollar being thrown at it, range and refuel times.  Not to mention the generation capacity and infrastructure resilience of the supporting electricity grid.  No, I think the EV is doomed to remain little better economically speaking, than Lohner-Porsche’s 1900 model, The Baker 1901, Anderson’s models from 1907 and Edison’s 1912 attempt.  Source here.   Yes, the Hybrid concept goes back to the early 1900’s.

As for banning ICE powered vehicles; there is an idea that will be quietly dropped when EV’s fail, as they did around a century ago, to provide a viable alternative.

Corbyn is a moron

Winnipeg today. Just passing through and trying not to break our suspension. Only a relatively short hop, which means that I have the opportunity to catch up on what is going on in the old country. At least in terms of politics. I’ve been amused at the antics of the current Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and having watched his performances on TV and elsewhere have come to the following considered conclusion; he’s a fucking moron.

Whilst his ability to hang on as Labour leader inspires, if not wonder, then at least a kind of awe, Jeremy Corbyn does not come across as all that bright. Certainly from a Historical and Economic standpoint. Nor do those who think he’s some kind of towering intellect. Particularly as he seems determined to crash and burn the entire UK Labour party. Especially as he’s probably going to try and ‘purge’ Labour of the ideologically impure by insisting on mandatory reselection. A process which will allow embedded party activists to get rid of troublesome backbenchers who can’t be trusted to vote the party line and instead, the bastards, defy the sainted St Jeremy by voting against it. Those class traitors who have even talked of walking away and forming a new political party. Christ on a unicycle and juggling! It’s like listening to one of those room temperature IQ’s that make up the Socialist Worker’s Party.

Unilateral disarmament? When did Britain last try that? Me, sir, me sir, I know! I know! The 1930’s. Allowing the military build ups that led to World War Two. Peace in our time? Like hell.

All of the hard left policies he’s proposing are left wing failures dug up from a political time capsule from the 1940’s 60’s and 70’s. Nationalisation for one. What happened there? British Rail was a joke and a very bad one. British Coal and British Steel died long and painful deaths, sinking without trace (Apart from the name, British Steel, which has been reborn as a private concern) Oh and British Telecom, previously part of the GPO? We used to joke that their technicians retired the moment they qualified. 90 Day waiting lists to get a new phone put in were the industry standard in the 60’s and 70’s. That’s right, ninety days. Almost three months. British Leyland, later Rover? National Freight Corporation? Every single nationalised industry; fail, dead, fail, fail, dead. Mortis portalis tintaculum every single one. At least until sold off, restructured and recapitalised to emerge blinking and stammering into viable commercial life. Agriculture wasn’t nationalised because even Socialists can remember what happened to the Ukraine in the 1930’s.

Ah, then there’s ‘Soak the rich’ (Actually ‘tax the rich until the pips squeak’-aimed at those who speculated in property) a Labour policy that lasted less than a week after being announced in 1976. In the USA it was tried back in 1935, reinforced in 1937 due to tax evasion, but quietly dropped when all the smart money simply vanished from the US economy and went off to play where it was more welcome. Some of which almost certainly financed the rise of Fascist regimes during that time as a counterbalance to Bolshevism.

What lefties like Corbyn don’t seem to be capable of understanding is this simple truth; money is not a thing, it’s a process, the means of exchange, the very gasoline for the many everyday economic engines that keep people fed and paid. Simply confiscating it and spending it on non-functional unproductive parts of society is like cutting the fuel line of said metaphorical engines or draining their tanks. As the Venezuelans are finding, eventually the economy stops running, splutters, dies and you get riots in the streets. Money must flow to power the working economy. That is its function. I’m no towering intellect and even I understand this simple principle.

As Corbyn doesn’t understand any of the above, there is only one possible conclusion; he must be a moron. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. I rest my case, M’lud. Take away the fool, gentlemen. Or go with him to the garbage can of political history.