Tag Archives: UK

New growth

Spring arrived somewhat suddenly this year. Normally we simply ease very slowly out of BC’s habitual drizzle, but on the 18th temperatures went from night time temperatures of almost double digit sub zero to a more usual five Celsius. This came as a pleasant surprise as it meant Mrs S and I could take tea on the deck without being chilled to the bone. It’s been a long Winter here and I’m glad to see the warmer weather at last. Oh green, how I have missed thee.

Our modest deck garden improves. Latest acquisition were some dwarf Narcissi and Mrs S said she fancied some Pansies. Well, each to their own. Just to keep the meme theme going I added some Sweet William seeds to their pot after planting out a few corms and rhizomes with a few Delphinium and Lupin seeds, which should cheer things up in a couple of weeks time.

One thing I was delighted by and let’s face it, what with Theresa May cocking up BREXIT and Justine Trudeau cocking up Canada’s economy (Whatever happened to “The budget will balance itself”- yeah, right) we all need something to put a positive spin on the day; my two Avocado seeds have begun to sprout. Only tiny pinpricks of green, but definite signs of life. My previous attempts just sat there and rotted, however this time we have green, which is good. Then there’s the success story of my Grapefruit seeds. Five out of six are definitely developing roots and will be ready for potting out next week or the first full week of April. As for my Lemon Tree plants, six are doing well, having taken up residence in the sunniest part of the kitchen and the four I left outdoors over Winter aren’t actually dead. The root systems are still good, even if the above ground portions are looking kind of sorry for themselves. Like my Indonesian Lime, I was about to consign them to the recycle bin when I noticed that the root systems still looked good. I may need considerably bigger pots.

Then there’s the burgeoning vegetable trays. I bought a batch of seeds yesterday and have planted a few out to see how they do. It’s an eclectic mix of Kale, Broccoli, Spring Onions, Beetroot and Radishes. I’ve also added some tomato plants seeds, which I hope will do better now that I’m planting them earlier and deeper. Decided to try out some strawberry plants as well, so in they’ve gone. Results will be posted as new growth occurs.

Despite the poor political news and the virulent attacks on freedom of expression online, I’m feeling decidedly optimistic.

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Lucky for me….

…I never signed up for one of those fancy tax shelter loan remuneration schemes when I was a contractor. Turns out that HMRC in the UK has begun a draconian enforcement of a law passed in 2017 which allows them to charge for taxes they say are owed as far back as twenty years ago. Even if the arrangements were considered legal up until 2017. The UK tax grubbers want their pound of flesh and they want it now. According to the FT HMRC even sent out letters telling fifty thousand people that they should go into debt to pay the back taxes (a.k.a. ‘The loan charge’) being demanded.

Although I’m not affected, this news has made me very angry. Chasing debts for a legal exemption up to twenty years old? During a time when these schemes were not legally proscribed? Who keeps tax records for twenty years outside of the corporate sphere? Judas Fucking Priest! The backdated legislation behind this is heartless, dishonest and unnecessarily draconian. Not to mention that those affected are Doctors, Nurses, IT Contractors and even Social Workers. Back dated and estimated tax bills of up to a hundred thousand pounds have been sent out to the affected. Bills they have to pay or go to jail for tax evasion. Even if they weren’t evading tax at the time, merely using a legal loophole. If found guilty of tax evasion, or bankruptcy, all these people will be, in the case of Doctors, Nurses and Social Workers, disbarred from their professions and forced to take jobs far below their competence to make even a modest living.

One suicide has been recorded so far. There will be more as people are asset stripped, their houses sold to pay the bills and pension funds drained. Thus creating yet more poor people who need to subsist off the public purse.

Let me explain my anger; back in the day when I was an independent contractor I paid my taxes (Income and corporation thank you). Employers and employees NI contributions too. Until IR35 came into force and I reluctantly rolled up what had been a very enjoyable way of life before going back to being a wage slave. Which I hated. Because there’s nothing quite like running your own life to your own timetable. You may end up working fifty to sixty plus hour weeks, but at least you know who you are working for. All your profits go to you. And I’ll tell you this, I loved being my own boss, even if it meant working four extra hours at the end of each week to see my finances and tax affairs were in apple pie order.

When you work for yourself there’s a sense of freedom you can’t get anywhere else, even when you’re working twice as hard as you would if you were an ordinary employee. The lack of office politics was also refreshing. There’s a pride in being an independent too. You might have had to work a crap contract occasionally, but at the end of the day it was a lot easier to quit and find new work than if you just had a job as a full time wage slave. Losing that feeling was the worst. HR had no hold over my life outside of what I did for a company. For example, they couldn’t fire me for having a wrong opinion or looking the wrong way at someone outside of work. Or even being falsely accused of doing so. Or the hundred other excuses HR can screw with your life outside of work. In short, I loved, and still do love being my own boss. Even when times are hard there’s nothing quite like it. And there are always hard times to endure. Self employed or not.

The only real problem I had with being my own boss was the petty jealousy of the employed. The whiny crab-bucket bitches who saw what you got paid but never understood that you often paid more tax than they did. You organised your own taxes, paid accountants and book-keepers, paid extra health and professional liability insurance, the rent on office space and all the hundreds of details the self employed individual or company director deals (Or employs people to deal) with as a matter of routine.

Despite this, some wage slaves are unhappy at not being free and hate the merest thought of anyone else being happy or even moderately prosperous. I see these small minded curtain-twitchers, who decry any form of legal tax avoidance as ‘tax dodging’ or ‘not paying your fair share’, as those who would cheer at an execution without realising that their feet are also on the steps of the scaffold. None of us knows when it is our time to be strung up by the tax man, we can only take precautions, knowing that our date with the tax inspector is only a twist of fate away. There will be no sympathy, because in the tax authorities eyes, none are virtuous. Now HMRC can go back over your affairs for the last twenty years? Clucking bell. This is a truly dangerous precedent.

The main issue is that UK tax law is now so complicated, with so many exemptions and even contradictions that it is hard, even for accountants and other financial professionals, to know what is ‘legal’ and what is not.

New Labour (Blair & Brown) started this tax snatching trend and Blue Labour (Cameron & May) continued it, slicing the economic pie ever smaller instead of encouraging the production of more for everyone. All I can offer is my heartfelt sympathy to their victims. There by the grace of God go we all.

At least the Lemon Trees are doing well

January has come and gone and my Lemon tree plants are sprouting new leaves on the windowsill of my office. What else? I’ve also just spent my yearly holiday allowance on a trip to Londinium this Autumn. Mrs S and I want to see all the non-events that will characterise the UK leaving the EU.

Otherwise life at Chez Sticker is plagued by glitches. A whole shedload of the wretched things. Nothing insuperable, just minor bits of grit in life’s ointment. Banks that won’t do what they’re told. Stuff which should happen in forty eight hours takes a week to ten days to set up. Which is a bit tricky when you’re under the gun and on a tight deadline. I’m having to postpone investments because of them. Which is a pain. I was hoping to get a tranche of cash moved to invest before the stock market rose too high. The Canadian tax man (Nice chaps – when you have good accountants) you see has given me a more generous allowance for investments for last year and this and I want to take advantage of the loophole before March 1st when the opportunity disappears. Then there’s the extra payments to HMRC to ensure my UK pension is nicely topped up.

One minor irritation is having to postpone closing an offshore account because of a policy rule change. A complication because the money sent to HMRC from that account has to clear before I can do the necessary. This is mildly annoying. Of course any differential will only be pennies, but nurtured carefully how those pennies mount up.

Turns out I have a knack for shifting money around. Who knew? All those years working my arse off for a living when I should have followed my true calling in international finance. Although my calculus is sometimes questionable, I can usually convert between currencies in my head pretty well and I’m making a more than modest amount each year off my stocks and shares. Better than all the pension funds and other investment vehicles I’ve put money into over the years. Nothing spectacular, just solid, steady tax-sheltered growth over the medium to long term. All nice and legal. Even if it is hard work from time to time. I could retire tomorrow but I’m not going to. Deferring payment means a better hedge against inflation and besides, I’d only get bored.

On the BREXIT front The Financial Times is still very Remoaner and becoming rather irritating to the point where I may well be cancelling my subscription. I want news, information, not opinion dressed up as so-called ‘facts’ to support a pro-EU aganda. My increasing infuriation is driven by the imperative that in investment, good and timely information is everything. Without that information the news media has no real facility.

So what’s going on out in Interwebland? Lots of interesting stuff. As my last remaining reader is probably aware, there’s been a lot of screaming and yelling over ‘Fake news’ over the last three years. Then, more recently there’s been a lot of tearing of hair and sackcloth and ashes over ‘journalists’ being fired from various left of centre media outlets. Now these two phenomena might seem unconnected, but what might have slipped under the radar is the cessation of funding to counter ‘foreign propaganda’ begun during the Obama administration under the Portman-Murphy sponsored ‘Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act’. Like with Trudeau’s extra funding for CBC and other like minded media outlets introduced in 2018. All the money under the respective legislation has been strongly suspected of going to media outlets that toe a specific party line. Or in the case of the USA, did go.

Listen to a more well-informed commentator’s view below explaining the ‘Learn to code‘ meme doing the rounds, where alphabet soup commentators have been paid very well while spreading misinformation to support their ’cause’. All the time insinuating that right of centre and centrist Youtubers and bloggers are little better than pro-Russian propaganda ‘bots. Let me explain; for years, said journo’s have slyly mocked ordinary working people who lost their jobs. Now the boot is on the other foot.

Mass media redundancies? Couldn’t happen to nicer people.

Only a couple more months to Spring. I have the feeling April 1st is going to be really interesting this year. At least for all the prophets of doom.

Update:  Speaking of doom, is it finally ‘game over’ for the Maduro regime in Venezuela?  If so, what will replace it?  All rather academic as the answers to those questions are for the Venezuelan people and no-one else.

Have I missed anything?

Apologies to my last remaining reader. It’s been a rather busy time what with the jobs, the end of the tax year over here and forthcoming pensions. You might think not having any money is problematic, but looking after your carefully garnered wonga, nurturing it, making it grow and blossom on the run up to retirement is even trickier. It’s probably why so few people are rich, or even modestly well off like Mrs S and I. Money is hard work, juggling four pension funds and a growing investment portfolio is massively time consuming. Regular meetings with lawyers, accountants and financial advisers, all of whom are having fits of the vapours over BREXIT. It’s a lot of hard work. As well as being powers of attorney for an elderly friend whose marbles are starting to rattle more and more with every passing month. The phone hardly stops ringing. Blogging has had to take a back seat with it’s figurative wrists shackled and mouth firmly duct taped shut.

So, BREXIT. Does anybody else get the sense that this is gearing up to be a massive non-event? I’m hearing whispers that the key players, at least those with any brains, have had two years to prepare for the exit and everyone will wake up to a big non event on the day, deal or no. The sun will still rise over the jolly old no BREXIT deal UK, the birds will sing, the rain will fall and people will still be busy working away at their jobs apart from a bunch of now surplus to requirements eureaucrats and sundry affected time-pleasers. Remember Y2K? I was in IT at the time, coining it from all the replacement of old Windows 3.1.1 and 95 desktops. All those rolling upgrades. All that money. All the travel to exotic locales like Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham (Sometimes on the same day). What a shame it came to an end. Hi ho.

One of the things I will be doing this year is changing my passport from the horrible maroon (All right, ‘burgundy’) EU thing I currently have as a dual national of Canada and the UK to one of the smart new stiff upper lip covers that can double as body armour, the cardboard covers are so solid. Judging from the sour grapes being exhibited from some of the rabid remoaners, I may need it. To those remoaners I would say, come on chaps, get a passport why don’t you? Travel a little, see the world, broaden your horizons. The UK has been a global trading entity since Phoenician times and earlier. Why should it shackle itself to the restrictions of the turgid old European Union which is just greater Germany? There’s a whole world out here. You want to know why so many North Americans don’t travel? They don’t need to! Admittedly there’s a lot of sheer fuck-all over here, a good deal of it between Justin Trudeau’s ears and they all talk funny, but that’s half the fun.

One thing we need to stop fussing about too is the whole alphabet soup ‘offence’ industry who have conniptive fits over what sex they are, as if anyone else out of a tiny subgroup cares. The last time I came across a genuine transgender / transexual he / she / whatever was off to get a pint with her / his / its mates. That was over ten years ago. I think he / she is dead now. Drug overdose I believe. This whole pronoun business is just bunk and helps no-one. As is sexualising underage children, which is plain and simple institutionalised child abuse. Not that I’m about to insult anyone simply because they are on a different part of the sexual spectrum to me, far from it, life is too short. I just walk on by. The whole grievance thing is just the terminally self-aggrandising out to bolster their petty little ego’s and stave off their own sense of worthlessness. The politicians who cave into them mere panderers who have a pre-booked place in the eighth circle of Hell, at least if Dante is to be believed, forced to eternally trudge around a shitty circular ditch while demons flay the skin off their backs. Must be getting quite crowded by now.

Anyway, I refuse to be bothered by all the harbingers of doom, be it increasingly farcical claims that humans are ruining the planet or all the economic Cassandra’s in the FT. It might get a bit sticky for a while but I’m confident of one thing; we’ll all muddle through somehow. Even if the daft and deluded manage to get Corbyn elected. Which is not a happy thought. Britain has had it’s brush with the idiocy of Socialist economic theory and it took a Thatcher to drag the country back into the light of economic recovery. Now it has the chance to be free of the would be globalist elite and regain it’s rightful place in the world as a trading hub for the globe. Although I’d increase the defence budget, just in case the Eurocrats do get their act together and produce a real army.

May, you leave?

Excuse the comma, but Madame Tracey, UK Prime Monster really has got to go. A vote of no confidence from her own party is needed and then she should step aside to let someone who can deliver BREXIT, not the abortion currently referred to as the ‘Chequers deal’. Even the EU is offering a Canada-style (a.k.a. Canada-plus) free trade deal which would allow the UK to negotiate outside of its auspices, so why the focus on Chequers when nobody likes it? As David Davies points out in the Sunday Times this week (Paywalled), the public does not like Chequers, Parliament doesn’t like it, nor does the EU. So why on Earth is Theresa May so damned keen on pushing this dead donkey up a hill? Despite what the big corporates think, no deal is way better than chequers. Oh and by the way, weren’t they part of the cabal that got the UK into this mess?

I’m just old enough to recall all the propaganda surrounding joining the then European Economic Community, how big business promised more car sales, more sales of everything to this wonderful ‘common market’. What happened to the UK’s automotive sector? Leyland/Rover got flushed down the pan. Land Rover and Jaguar are still going (now owned by Indian conglomerate Tata). But the big Longbridge site I was once familiar with is long gone. Remember Rover?

What the propagandists also forgot to mention was how over three decades the EU would morph into a bureaucratic monster. Even though that was in the game plan all along. A European Superstate run by the self-selected ‘elite’ few. Democracy to be quietly sidelined for the convenience of bureaucrats. But you knew all this didn’t you? Because all the relevant information was openly posted on the EU’s own web sites. Go and look. Don’t just take my word for it.

Yet despite assurances the UK’s sovereignty has been repeatedly sold down the river. First by Heath, then John Major with Maastricht, then Gordon Brown effectively committing Treason when he slunk off to ratify the latest Lisbon treaty salami slice without a mandate. May on the other hand has a mandate and furthermore has reiterated that BREXIT means BREXIT.

One could say, well article 50 has been triggered.  Northern Ireland has a border which may need extra customs officers, but so what?  Why the prevarications?  Well, one answer may be that May is a known Remainer who appears to be doing a bad job in the hope BREXIT will all go pear shaped so that the UK stays within the oleaginous grasp of the EU. Another explanation might be that she lost her nerve early on and is trying to please everyone but ending up pleasing no-one. Which is one good reason why a vote of no confidence and a short sharp leadership contest might not be such a bad idea.

What May come?

What was British PM Theresa May up to in South Africa, apart from proving she dances like a tailors dummy with arthritis? If any arthritic tailors dummies are offended by that last sentence – tough. You’re not covered by any hate crime laws (yet), so I can say what I damn well like about you. Which does not answer the question that has been meandering around in my head over the long weekend.

That question is; what is the British Prime Minister doing, cosying up to the ANC on the run up to the proposed mass land grab? Is this some belated retribution against latter-day white Afrikaners for the Boer Wars? Or is there a new ‘scramble for Africa‘ going on like in the late 1800’s?

On that topic, I know the Chinese are lending money left right and centre to a lot of African countries and have been doing for some considerable time to buy their way in. Contrariwise, as our cousins south of the 49th parallel would say, Britain’s influence has been in steep decline since the mid 1900’s so why the sudden interest? Is May going to offer asylum to those farmers threatened with penury when land they have been the stewards of since the late 1700’s is whipped from under their feet without recompense, leaving them at the mercy of the Banks, who will still want their payments and the murderous intent of the Communist EFF? Bet you she won’t.

Unlike the Russians or Australians, who have land they would like to see put to productive use and are offering refuge to the soon-to-be dispossessed. Or the Zimbabweans, who having seen the errors of their ways are actively welcoming back those nasty old white farmers Mugabe summarily asset stripped. Because the new regime realised that the so-called ‘bad guys’ had the work ethic, management and agricultural skills to make commercial farms pay. Unlike the people the land was given to by the Mugabe regime, who basically didn’t have a clue and weren’t interested in anything but the money. Which ran out very quickly indeed.

South Africa will suffer just like Zimbabwe did for this racist policy. Their economy is already in bad shape, with the Rand on an ever-downward path. Now they’re getting ready for the ethnic cleansing that will make them unable to feed their country. This is not ‘Land reform’. This is not ‘fairness’. This is economic suicide.

Why May should want to hitch Britain’s coat tails to such a regime is, on the surface, quite baffling. Unless you know some of the expat community who have spent time in other parts of Africa.
There’s a government enforced policy in certain African states which dictates that the CEO of a company has to be a local. Can’t be ‘white’ or Asian locals either. So what outside funded multinationals do is recruit an ethnic local, load him with all the trappings, but give the important functional work, and thus the real power to hand picked and motivated people who are either trained and steeped in the productive ethos, or Expat Europeans or Asians brought in to keep things moving. Otherwise little happens.

As a rather cynical Expat, an old ‘Africa hand’ said to me when I expressed surprise at this state of affairs many years ago. “TIA.” or “This is Africa.”

Personally, I think Theresa May has been laying the political groundwork for another type of hostile takeover after the South African land reforms fall over, as they will, because land only has value to those who know what to do with it. Especially when those who take up the seized properties find out how much hard bloody work commercial farming actually is, British based multinationals will be politically placed to move in and buy up the productive land. A local will be selected as the front man and like elsewhere, Expat Europeans, Lebanese and Asians brought in to actually run the show. Possibly even the people whose farm was seized in the first place. Why? Because they have the experience to cope with all the poorly managed infrastructure, shortage of good roads and general levels of corruption endemic to the continent.

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.

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.