Monday, September 22, 2014

Feeling somewhat tired and out of sorts I booked a day off from work today. Despite an early night and sleeping right through until after 7 am I felt exhausted. Apart from a couple of jobs lined up for the day I intend to do as little as possible. A leisurely breakfast after walking the dog and a pot of freshly ground and brewed coffee appears to have restored some equilibrium. I will take a leaf from Sherlock's book and emulate him in the photo below. He has the habit of sleeping in the oddest places but when he sleeps on the sofa he has to stretch out and take up all available space.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

What an eventful week it has been, both nationally (Internationally?) and personally. I wonder how many Scots recognise this flag...

... as well as consider the Darien Scheme as a major contributor to the union over 300 years ago. After the Noes having it we are left with a tangled mess which will unravel and make British politics become increasingly English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish politics. It feels almost inevitable, with the loss of empire, post industrialisation and EU gerrymandering but, it isn't inevitable. The idiots, scoundrels and psychopaths of both main parties over the last twenty years have brought this situation about. We debated it at work and, despite some differences of opinion, we all agreed that something has now broken and the political and social spheres will become very interesting. With talk of excluding Scottish MP's from voting on English matters, an English parliament, excited chatter about regional assemblies and what will the Welsh do, we are entering uncharted territories. In the background we have the TTIP ( Link 2 Link 3 Link 4 Well worth reading this Link! ) which will have a profound impact upon all of us as multinational corporations will own us lock, stock and barrel. So on the one hand we have people getting excited about nationality and independence whilst quietly beavering away the huge corporations make such excitement as relevant as flying a kite to catch a cloud. Crazy world...

Earlier this week my son came off his bike and had a nasty tumble. Happily, apart from some bruises, shock and a couple of scrapes he escaped injury and the bike is ok apart from some minor repairs. Without his helmet it would have been a different matter because he went head first into the road so he is indeed very lucky. We're all hugely relieved but Mrs C is now having kittens at the thought of two of us riding bikes as I have been havering after one for some time now. I have my heart taken by this beauty

but my head, thinking about work transport, England's default weather setting and my desire for comfort now I'm comfortably middle aged, is taken by the Scooter pictured below.

We shall see...


Sunday, September 14, 2014

The new house build out back has reduced the lighting from 'Good grief, is that a spacecraft landing' to just about bearable.  Someone else got to the developer first. I will post a picture at a future date of the new development but the above picture gives you an imaginative facsimile.
I tackled the garden yesterday and took some time out to lie back in a deck chair and soak up the sun. Given my chequered history with flying / crawling bitey things I stayed wrapped up. The spider bite on my arse has now had liberal amounts of hydro cortisone cream applied and the bite on my left foot similarly treated. How the hell did something bite me on the arse? I had layers on...
The chap popped around and fixed the guttering, securing a replacement part in place. Much to my surprise because I had assumed he would also replace the fascia but apparently the rest of it is fine . I don't mind because it has dealt with what was a slow leak of water and saved me money. I'll look at possibly replacing the fascia next year. It's added to the list  of works to the house I would like to have done.
I also received some interesting news about some very well paid extra work which I could do alongside my regular work. It could potentially result in me paying off the mortgage earlier than anticipated and escaping to semi-retirement all the more quickly. It will involve an extra several hours work per week so I will be making enquiries next week about it. Mrs C is pricing up those house improvements and adding them to that list! I realise that I am lucky in that I can escape the drudgery of the 9 - 5, Mon- Friday job whereas so many people can't. Although 'lucky' perhaps isn't the correct word. For many years I earned very poor wages, endured a lot of shit and stress and, there were times when the coffers were empty and we lived on basics until pay day came around. There were times when I was reduced to selling my belongings to pawnbrokers on occasion to ensure food was on the table or the bills were paid. However, I believe we make our own luck and I chose what, for many years, was a safe job, regular employment with demand for nurses always present and a good pension scheme. Sadly, I can see the toll stress has taken on some of my colleagues who are unable to escape and may have to endure the drudgery for the next twenty odd years.  That's when I count myself lucky.


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sacré Bleu!  Zut Alors!  Plus other assorted French clichés...

It's the WHO (Which doctor?) pontificating about e cigarettes and claiming they kill children, ladies of a certain age and passing bicycling parsons on their way to Evensong. I'm a bit late to this palaver but I usually catch up with t'internet news at weekends. I don't smoke although I used to and my fag of choice was that shown above. As a teenager I thought they were cool, I loved the smell and strangely enough few people accepted an offer of a second one when it came to 'flash the ash' around the inevitable pub table. I enjoyed smoking them and when I finally quit smoking back in 1985 these were the cigarettes I missed. Drum rolling tobacco came a close second but the scent of a proper Gauloises still smells sweet to me. My OH smokes and she does smoke indoors albeit in the 'Smoking Room'. She smokes roll ups, 'Amber Leaf'', which is her preferred smoke and because I like the scent of rolling tobacco it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Once a year on National No Smoking day I will roll a fag and smoke it because I can and it makes me happy giving the finger to health fascists. "Why are you not instantly addicted?" I can hear you cry. I'm not... my addictions tend to focus around food as my rotund shape evidently shows. I just do it once a year and I am not interested in smoking anything at any other time.  I am a great believer in people having a choice and making their own decisions as to what they want to do with their bodies. If they are informed and aware of potential consequences let 'em do it. This applies to smoking as well as to sky diving, snorkelling, attending the religious institution of choice or sailing out to sea on a pea green boat.
The reason for this post? I bought a lottery ticket today at the local supermercado and the elderly woman in front of me bought some Silk Cut Super Slims. After the inevitable sliding back and forth of the doors and the search for the treasure therein hidden from the eyes of children and the feeble minded the shop assistant found them. What nonsense... Put them on show. What next... Sweets hidden from view, increased taxes on cakes which are hidden from view? What a grey, monotone joyless existence these people wish to impose upon an increasingly infantilised population.
 As I walk around town and view the inevitable slow decline of of both the physical and social structures, past diesels pumping out smoke, littered streets and feral youths intimidating others. Where the police are rarer than gold paved stones and people now have to solve their own crimes, passing boarded up empty buildings whilst there are increasing amounts of homeless people... The politicians, bureaucrats and paid state acolytes are focusing upon tobacco, alcohol, fatty foods and salt. This is truly a society gone mad. The Roman empire circa 400 AD must have had a similar feel to it.

Pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine or lemonade, smoke or don't smoke... It's up to you. We'll toast the decline as the government increasingly criminalise us ordinary people but allow criminals to do what they like.
We live in interesting times... TTFN.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Summer is certainly over with the leaves turning, darker evenings and the cold creeping in along with the fogs. The latter we see a lot of being situated by the mouth of the river Humber. The central heating is on today with cats clinging to them and soaking up the heat. The kids have also returned to school this week and someone in the office has asked for suggestions for a suitable venue for the Christmas meal. Notwithstanding all of that I picked a bumper crop of chillies this week and there are still plenty of tomatoes each week. But it has to be said, summer is over although I am still hoping for a late Indian summer. The local BBC radio station had a weather lore chap on who has predicted a harsh and very cold winter. He cited berries, plant growth, birds, etc... all indicating cold weather ahead. Perhaps he is right but we'll see if his predictions prove correct. I have managed to avoid being bitten by any insects all summer and yesterday I discovered several bites to my arm, legs and face. It could be mozzies but the garden is full of spiders and I was rummaging around various plants on Wednesday evening. Anti-histamines taken and hydro cortisone cream applied although my left arm has a very nasty red rash along it.
It's been nearly three months since I started my new job and the time has flown by. Lots of changes locally compared with my working here thirteen years ago. But the work is generally enjoyable and I am saving so as to pay off my mortgage and hopefully retire on a part time basis. It's not helped when bits of the house insist on falling off. Part of the fascia and a soffit fell off t'other week and crashed just in front of the front door. Luckily no one was near it but it certainly landed with a bang. I've made enquiries and am awaiting a builder to have a look and offer us a quote for the replacement. I'll have to ask for a new guttering as well because the small hole in the guttering is the reason the wood rotted and caused it to fall off. It had to be guttering and water trouble yet again! Interestingly, my neighbour had a builder in over the summer and we had asked him to look at it. He glanced up and said it looked alright....  Yeeeesssssss, don't call us, we'll not be calling you. I guess that's the problem with old houses but I prefer old houses to the new little boxes being built these days.