I must admit I woke with worries about the Cats of Salmon Brook Farm. I know they were packed and ready to move as the fires advanced, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them all. Ideally the fires will magically die out as they get closer to the farm but I fear this may not be the case.
Julia had set her clock for 6.30 and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep, which allowed me more time to listen to the news. It seems that this country has sunk so low that even American politicians feel able to take the moral high ground from us.
I Googled “honest politician” and did find this man, so all is not yet lost. I do love this quote:
“People of Kentucky, you deserve complete honesty, so here it is. I don’t care about you. Unless you are a donor, a lobbyist who can write a big fat check, the result that you get from voting for me is negligible.”
If the Americans don’t want him, can we have him for the UK. I’d happily vote for him. As for the rest of them, I’m seriously thinking of giving up voting as it only encourages them.
We sold one thing overnight on eBay and another during the day, the second day in a row this has happened. It’s not good. We also got two stupid offers from people. I was on my best behaviour when I declined them, even though they were just wasting my time.
I then went shopping, ate chips, fell asleep in the chair and woke up just in time to post.
I suppose I should start with an apology to my American readers for my poor taste, and an explanation to my British readers – johnson is American slang for penis. If you know my views on the Prime Minister and the way my minds works, I’m sure you can see what direction this post is moving in.
Last night I was musing on the chain of circumstances which, if applied to Stanley Johnson, might result in the non-birth of Bungling Boris. As you may have gathered from yesterday’s post, I am not a fan.
Mumps or measles would have done the trick, as would an unfortunate rugby injury. It’s less likely that I could have invented a time travelling burdizzo, despite the obvious attraction of such a direct and effective method. Then I thought of radiation. Would it be possible to travel back in time with a microwave and secure the required result. I’m not quite clear on the use of radiation, which seems to have variable effects. Doctor Bruce Banner seems to have swollen up and turned green as a result of exposure to radiation while Peter Parker assumed many of the characteristics of a spider.
I may have to drop the idea of irradiation, due to the side effects.
Anyway, if one of the Johnsons was to become a Marvel Superhero it would have to be Boris’s younger brother Jo Johnson. Marvel superheroes have alliterative names so there is no other choice. And why, you ask, do they have alliterative names? Because Stan Lee had a bad memory and it helped him remember them. Sounds slightly unlikely, but that’s what it says on Wikipedia.
Due to this I am going to abandon the idea of irradiating Stanley, as it might turn him into a giant, and nobody would want a fifty foot Johnson. Let’s face it, nobody actually wants a six foot Johnson.
I was thinking of other alliterative terms too, but good taste prevents me from using them.
The long-awaited speech from the Prime Minister on TV tonight turned out, after two days of leaked snippets, to be pretty much useless. It wasn’t so much a speech as a succession of vague mumblings, and very short on detail. It did verge on the Shakespearean in being told by an idiot and signifying nothing, but there was a sad lack of sound and fury.
Shakespeare – British Library
As a result, I am none the wiser about the way forward, but I do have a feeling of deep gloom. I didn’t have much confidence in the Government before lockdown, and I have less now. The only time I’ve been reasonably happy with the conduct of the Government coincided with the period the Prime Minister spent in hospital.
We don’t have a plan, it seems, just ‘the shape of a plan’.
It reminds me of Churchill – ‘ this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’
It is not a plan. It is not even the beginning of a plan. It is the shape of a plan.
Sadly, Boris Johnson, in addition to being no Shakespeare, is no Churchill.
Forgive my underwhelming response, but I now have to plan for going back to work.
This starts tomorrow, or Wednesday, or the first week in June. It’s even more non-specific if you work in a pub or restaurant.
They would like me to walk, cycle or use my car because public transport is going to be limited due to the need for social distancing. That should quickly undo all the gains we made by staying at home for six weeks.
And there was no mention of masks.
Although we are allowed to do a bit more mixing they are going to beef up the police powers by doubling the fines for breaches of the regulations. If severe punishments worked I’m sure we’d still be hanging people for stealing handkerchiefs, but try telling a politician that.
That never looks correct in writing, but I checked it up and dictionaries seem happy with either handkerchiefs or handkerchieves. The spellchecker isn’t, but that’s life. The strange thing is that I pronounce it handkerchieves, but spell it handkerchiefs.
I’m just watching a programme about Ladybird books, which is why I’ve missed my deadline. It seems that a child only needs a vocabulary of 12 words to start reading. One of them appears to be ‘dog’ but ‘cat’, it seems, is not necessary. Adults, they claim, have a vocabulary of 20,000 words. I am dubious about that. I honestly doubt that I use 1,000, but I really can’t be bothered to count them. I do know it’s possible to get by with eight words on my drive to work. These eight don’t feature either ‘cat’ or ‘dog’.
I just went looking for a vocabulary test to see how large my vocabulary is. Instead, I started to do a quiz about how long I’m going to live. Based on diet, lifestyle and various other quasi-scientific mumbo-jumbo I have 6 years 293 days and 32 minutes. That’s a bit less than I calculated in a previous post. (2,483 compared to the previous calculation of 2,920). That’s a nuisance as I was planning on using those 500 days to write my memoirs.
No, not the film, though it is an excellent film. If you like violence and black comedy.
I am, after a recent post, and some associated comments, thinking of starting a serious political movement to integrate the UK into the USA.
Ideally I would incorporate the USA into the UK as “British Empire 2.0” but I can see that there are slightly more problems that way. I’m not sure, for instance, how keen Americans would be on the idea of reintroducing tea as the national drink, and I’m also looking for a way to get rid of the royal family that doesn’t involve the Romanov Solution. All in all, the 51st State solution may be the way forward.
It may be 52nd or even 53rd by the time we get round to it, but the idea will be the same.
Part One is to establish a political career for myself based on one big idea. It worked for Nigel Farage so it can definitely be done. Let’s face it, many recent politicians have functioned perfectly well without even one idea.
The quickest option would probably be to find a gullible American tourist and sell them the country. There is precedent for this, which is how Louisiana and Alaska both found themselves in the USA. Anyone who can offer me enough cash can have it. We’ll have to hammer out a few details but if I could have a $5,000,000 deposit I’ll get back to you from my newly registered office in a country I have yet to select. I have a list of likely destinations here. Some, to be honest, are better than others.
If not, there’s the political option. It might take some time, but look at all the problems we could solve. We could be a state, Scotland could be a separate one and North and South Ireland (like the Dakotas or the Carolinas) could also be states. Wales could even have a go at independence within a federal framework. At one stroke we get rid of the Royal Family and loads of political problems.
I don’t really have any pictures to go with this one – I can’t find the one with pigs with their snouts in the trough, which always reminds me of Westminster for some reason.
I will try my best. Something seasonal, but no Robins.
After several abortive attempts at writing today’s post I decided it wasn’t depression or politics, or even the crush of ideas and bitterness that was preventing me writing – it was trying to use the netbook on my knee while I sat by the fire.
Just after 10.30 I stepped through to the dining room with the intention of sitting down and sorting myself out.
It didn’t happen -there were comments to read and reply to and sandwiches to make for tomorrow. Finally there was washing up. Yes, washing up seemed preferable to sitting down and blogging.
I now have around 20 minutes to post and keep to my target of daily posting. I’m now limited by the time, and by the fact that I am slowly getting colder. Eventually, based on past experience, I will get so cold that I stop thinking. This is’t a bad thing because since the election I’ve mainly been thinking that everything is a complete mess. I have had to discard several posts because they were a bit too serious, and probably a bit too libellous. It’s one thing saying something to Julia, or shouting it at the TV, but once you write it down you have to prove it.
We had Hasselback potatoes again today. I was a little more relaxed with the cutting, and it did not go as well as the first lot. This is often the way with the second in a series. I tried the stir fried sprouts again too, this time with added chestnuts. I’m intending to have it at Christmas. We have settled on turkey for Christmas this year (as we have done for about the last fifteen years). We will also have roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing, bread sauce, redcurrant jelly and Yorkshire puddings.
I just noticed it’s gone midnight…
I know Yorkshire puddings aren’t traditional but Julia likes them so they are traditional for us. Personally, I’d rather have beef, pork or gammon. If anyone had suggested a nut roast I’d probably have gone for that. Even a goose. They are greasy but traditional.
It was the kids who got us back onto turkey – we’d been having beef or pork for years but they started to ask for turkey because all their friends had turkey. Now it’s become a habit. It’s not so bad now that you can buy a small crown roast – enough for a meal and a few sandwiches. Much better than the days of turkey curry, turkey stir fry and, finally, turkey soup.
I’ve started the Christmas shopping list and tomorrow I start the shopping. I’ll probably also start moaning about Christmas tomorrow.
Strictly speaking, our Christmas starts when I buy the cheese footballs. This is normally when they first appear in the Shops in Autumn, as it can be touch and go nearer to the day. I’m surprised, on looking for links, that I only seem to have mentioned them twice over the years as they are an important part of Christmas.
First the cheese footballs, then the ancient Santa card I bought Julia for our first Christmas. (I’ve also bought her one every year since, in case you are wondering), then the shopping.
The two pictures from the archives sum up the full horror of the forced jollity of Christmas, and the silent fury of a man who, having realised that he has wasted his life on trivia, will never break the bank at Monte Carlo, win a Nobel prize or, in all probability, look down and see his feet again.
Time, I think, in my tour of British poets, to turn to Dylan Thomas. I’m sure you know the one I’m thinking of. I am, after all, a man of habit and small learning.
This is, I suppose, the sort of day that differentiates a blogger from a diarist. A diarist would examine the ins and outs of the election results, give a few opinions and generally squirrel away a bit of archival material for future generations. A blogger would merely write about potatoes and similar trivia.
A diarist might try to pass opinions on what has happened, but they might turn bitter and after half an hour of bitterness he might get fed up with it all and turn back into a blogger.
That way I can suggest that the political life of this country may well be improved if we cut Scotland loose, literally, and floated it off to Europe. Then we could give Ulster to the Republic of Ireland, dig a moat along the Welsh border and settle down to running our own country properly.
While we are all breaking up I might also declare my house and garden to be independent, add a sentry box to the front garden, put one of those stripey poles across the entrance to the drive, call it Checkpoint Charles.
It will be a small country but every bit as useful and relevant to world politics as Wales or Scotland or any of the other ambitious but useless tiny countries that clutter the UN up.
I will, I think, be in a stronger position than many of these countries as I’m going to offer Amazon the use of my shed for “accounting purposes” and operate an “offshore” financial institution from the coalshed. The garage is already spoken for – it’s going to be the official mint of Quercusonia and we’ll be knocking out coins, banknotes and stamps for collectors, just like Tristan da Cunha I might even start my own internet domain, as there are plenty of q’s left – the only current one being Qatar. Quercuscommunity.qs sounds quite good.
Coin of Cabinda
Coin of Cabinda
Coin of Cabinda
The coins are from Cabinda. I bet most of you are thinking “Where?” I think there’s a bright future ahead for us smaller countries.
We will, of course, be happy to take part in UN Peacekeeping missions, preferably for two weeks at a time and in Cyprus, or another holiday destination, though we don’t really have the manpower for full-scale military operations. More to the point – we don’t have a gun.
I’m not sure whether to be a Republic, a Monarchy or a Soviet, or merely continue with our current system of benign despotism, where Julia orders me around most of the time but also brings me cakes when she comes home from work. It has worked for 30 years, which is more than some countries manage, and as you can see from the header picture, she is among the better looking world leaders. We had Belgian Buns tonight. If you look at the link you will see they are mentioned along with something Swiss, and Danish pastries. If cakes can be international and get on with each other, why can’t humans?
I had a great idea for a post this afternoon. Unfortunately I forgot to bring the camera home so I can’t do that one as it needs photos.
Not all is lost. I Googled something this morning after Julia told me about it. If you go to this link you will find a story with military and political interest. Johno used to keep poultry and do various other things on the farm when we were there. He was the one who was told that he couldn’t have a blue badge for disabled parking as young people often recovered and didn’t need one. If you have read the link you will be able to join me in a wry chuckle. If not, read this.
The only other thing of note was that the shop was cold and the rain hammered on the roof all day. That’s what happens when you work in a lean-to.
It’s better in the front of the shop because there’s a flat on top of it and it has windows so you see daylight. And it has a heater.
The day has gone so fast, as have my good intentions.
Despite this, it’s been a pleasant day. We had butterflies in the garden all day and the goldfinch on the TV aerial keeps singing. We’ve lived here 30 years and we’ve never had such a good butterfly year, or a singing goldfinch. Things aren’t all bad, despite the weather, the politics and the slide into old age.
The plan had been to get up early, for instance, but at seven this morning it underwent alteration, and I went back to bed. It’s been a bit nippy over the last few days and bed seemed such a nice warm idea.
From there the deviation from plan just seemed to snowball, and now, with an hour before midnight, I need to blog, make sandwiches sort my stuff for tomorrow and get to bed. Six am start tomorrow, ready for another blood test.
So many blood tests…
Ten years ago “phlebotomy” was an interesting new word, a couple of years ago I still couldn’t spell it properly, and today it is woven into the very fabric of my life. I say woven, but embroidered might be more accurate. Which, of course, allows me to use the word “needlepoint”.
At times like this it’s probably good to spend a few minutes thinking about how lucky I am compared to some other people. I have a bed to get back into, for instance, and a medical system that cares enough about me to stab me in the arm on a regular basis without charge.
Of course, this may change once we leave the EU. If we ever do.
I have a waking nightmare, which is becoming more real as time moves on. It isn’t about shortages, or poor quality food. It’s not even about the economy or that blonde buffoon being in power. I’m simply afraid that, like a hamster, we are all trapped in a wheel and no matter how fast we run we won’t be able to break free from the current cycle of politics, with its lies and low-quality leadership.
I actually saw a car on the road today with hand-written posters detailing how the European Union had been formed by the CIA as part of America’s plot to control the world.
This is what happens when you let idiots have an opinion. First you have to listen to them talking rubbish, then you have to leave Europe, and now we have to read posters about the CIA and world domination.
I was about to suggest that the CIA, from some of the things I’ve read over the years, would probably have trouble tying its own shoelaces, let alone dominating the world, when I found this site.
It has always been my intention never to swear on this blog, and never to engage in politics. I’ve also always thought it impolite to comment on heads of state and various laws that strike me as ill-advised. After all, if a nation votes for someone, and their legislature passes laws, who am I to disagree?
Despite the temptation, I am not going to let myself deviate from my personal code.
Elect who you like, and have as many guns as you like, though I would be grateful if you’d keep them at home.
However, I would like to point out that I do not carry a knife when I leave the house. Nor have I ever seen a hospital floor covered in blood or noticed myself living in a war zone.
In the UK we have fewer murders per year than the city of Chicago. We also have fewer snowploughs, though I’m not sure there’s any link between the two statistics.
We haven’t had a school shooting since 1996 when we took decisive action to stop them. In fact I think we’ve only ever had one school shooting. We have 80 massacres recorded in the UK according to Wikipedia, including two civil wars, a thirty year bombing campaign and the Romans, who make the first entry on the list in 61 AD when they slaughtered the Druids on Anglesey.
If anyone wants to do the research for America I doubt you’ll need to go back that far.
However, that’s getting a little close to criticism, so I’ll leave it there. I just wanted to emphasise that we aren’t all knife-wielding thugs wading through pools of blood as our society slides into a murderous abyss.
We’re actually quite peaceful though if we do take offence at a head of state we have been known to chop their heads off. Sic semper tyrannis, as they say.
The forthcoming State Visit is going to be interesting.