Sunday, August 13, 2017

The latest in 'political correctness' gone mad

After years of neglect, County Councils local to us are now busily 'surface dressing' roads.

That is to say, shutting roads for a day or two days (at what seems less than the statutory road closure notice period), and throwing down some rocks, stuck down with a thin skim of tar, and waiting for the traffic to roll the rocks into the previous surface.

The cheapest contractor tendering gets the job, and the Councils' Legal Departments have already written the reply letters denying any responsibility for the inevitable broken windscreens. 'Act of God', not 'Act of Council'.

In the last couple of days we've noticed temporary yellow signs proclaiming, "Road studs removed".

After a couple of minutes of thought we have come to the conclusion that either,

(1) cat welfare charities have complained about the use of the phrase "cat's eyes" in this context,


(2) there are now so many 'migrant workers' around here that someone has decreed that the phrase "cat's eyes removed" will cause confusion,


(3) the term "cat's eyes removed" will give local yobs even more ideas for mischief,


(4) the person making the signs couldn't decide where the apostrophe was correctly placed (and, I would have placed it differently, were it not for this: surely it is 'the eyes of cats' (therefore apostrophe after the plural) not the 'eyes of a cat' (so apostrophe after the singular) as one cat has only two eyes and there are thousands along a stretch of road?)

Whichever, Percy Shaw must be turning in his grave.

But, they are all being replaced, apparently.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The true cost

How much has this election cost the taxpayer?

How much will the pay-offs to deposed MPs and their staff cost the taxpayer? (hint)

Does anyone know?


Friday, June 9, 2017

I didn't mean to do a Rainbow Spell, honest...

Ah, the power of financial carrots being given to the young or taken away from the old is oh so clear this morning.

And also, how, in our consituency, where the incumbent retired after decades, the old saying about some areas being so blue that even a pig with a rosette stuck on it would get elected has proved to be true.

A 69% turnout, the highest since 1997... British politics has returned to a two-party system on the greatest scale since the 1970s... but why did Mrs Me (*nods down*) wear red last night?

It's the 1970s all over again I tell you. So many parallels. At least we'll get some decent music for a change.

Posted at 10:00 AM | Comments (1)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Vote, if only to honour the suffragettes

Now, Comrade Cor-bin of the 80s Workers' Rights' Party, or Mrs Me and the Toresa Party?

Whichever, I fear the country is in for a shock sometime in the early hours of Friday morning (or maybe at 10.01pm this evening, if the exit polls are as accurate as they were last time).

The ballot papers are now designed to have no room at the bottom to add a 'none of the above' box.

I have never not voted in a general or local election.

But, this time, I feel like getting my ballot paper, ripping it into teeny tiny pieces and then putting them one by one into the ballot box, to create maximum mess when it is opened. Because, whichever colour is in power tomorrow morning, it isn't going to get any better any time soon: largely because it isn't politiicians who run the country.

Who runs any given country at any time depends on what stage in a (predictable and repeating) timeline the country is at.

Currently ours is still run by Big Banks, Big Old Money, Big Pharma, and Big Media (with social media providing new impetus and new uncritical group think to that), and, increasingly, Big Terror and Big New Money.

No political party has the answer.

This time we can be grateful that we only had seven weeks of 'campaigning' which, together with two terror attacks on our shores, largely obliterated reporting of Donald the Elephant's shenanigans on another continent.

But, that 'seven weeks in social media' has caused even more division in Britain that any political party ever could. Although (this declining blog aside) I don't use any social media, I do look at some of it occasionally, and what I have seen recently has shocked me to the core. Such venom, nastiness, division, and jealousy.

Taken as an 'evidence base', the professional in me can explain all of it away in psychological and sociological terms that follow established theories. But, on a personal level, it just makes me glad that I don't engage in that chaotic non-stop world of wooly and uninformed thinking, fuelled by group / peer pressure and one-upmanship.

Social media at its worst is just one small step away from terrorism. The driving forces, analysed to their purest (or do I mean 'basest') level, are almost identical.

The future isn't bright, whatever colour it may be this time tomorrow.

Posted at 10:32 AM | Comments (3)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Challenging Times

Larger version.

Cyber attack on the NHS predicted by a 3-part play on R4 last autumn (one of the most disturbing plays I have ever heard, that I thought at the time probably wasn't too far away - sadly not currently available to listen again).

(from Private Eye)

I'm finding it very hard not to challenge every single political statement made within my hearing with the phrase, "Do you have a source for that assertion?". When they do it tends to be 'Facebook' or 'The Daily Mail' or 'What someone said to me'.

Critical thinking is a dying dead concept. Discuss.

Posted at 12:34 PM | Comments (1)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 6ee:

On apple blossom (well, it was on Friday afternoon, it's too cold today):

Easter 6eekeeper (spot the 6ee - clue: it's on the RHS):

Easter eggs (I knew the cheese wasn't enough for the Easter 6eekeeper):

Whoever decided on R4's programming today must have been in a strange mood: this morning, punk women (and how that time feels as if it is being re-run right now), at lunchtime, how members of the Church of England caused Brexit. Holy god, the timing, what were they thinking? I think Feedback is off the air for a while... pity, it would have made for interesting listening... or maybe the editor was hoping they were all in church...

We had a little rain on Friday night. The first since we got back from SA nearly 4 weeks ago. None today. It is so dry it is scary. And yet - the three district councils on whose borders we sit are beween them planning to build 22,000 new houses within a 5 mile radius of here in the next 17 years. Madness.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter worship

He has risen:

From Bodmin to The Coven via Exeter and Tamworth, in 17 hours.
Logistics at their best (although going to Tamworth seems a bit off-route, they are my favourite breed of pig).

My favourite cheese (and the garlic wrapped one is totally different to the nettle covered original).
Who needs chocolate?


Tuesday, April 11, 2017


So, March disappeared.

I've fallen out of love with the internet.

A lot of the email that people send to me is bouncing. While that is a great advantage for the hundreds of unwanted emails I get each month from companies that I've bought from before, it is a huge problem for people who only know only one e-address for me.

Because I hate Google (and everything connected to it, including gmail), I use a couple of domains, that I've owned for almost 20 years, for email forwarding to a catch-all mailbox from whatever ISP I am using at any time. It saves having to change emails each time I change ISPs.

But, apparently some Russian spammers have been sending emails using adddresses from both of these domains as an alias (so, not sending it from them, but putting them in the 'sender' field to make it look as if their emails come from me). This has led to recipients marking them as spam, and some ISPs and some individual's adaptive spam filters then blocking/bouncing my emails.

Some email programmes don't have a 'whitelist' facility. I use Thunderbird and its 'adaptive spam filter' is switched on by default, and turning it off (which involves a great deal of searching in its bowels) seems to be the nearest I can get to fixing it.

But, if I don't know someone is having bouncing email problems, as they aren't able to tell me, I can't tell them to add me to their whitelist in order for it not to happen. If anyone has sent me email recently that hasn't elicited a response, please add me to you whitelist (or whatever your email client calls it) then try to resend. The address in the sidebar (*nods right*) shouldn't be affected, as (to the best of my knowledge) that hasn't yet been abused by those with no morality or scruples who can't be bothered to get a proper job. Tempting fate there, of course...

It makes me feel like just giving up email... and the internet... and I've been using the internet since it was invented. It just feels like a horrible exploitative place now.

I've found a new way of making money by the way.

Given that banks and building societies recent interest rate cuts (particularly on regular savings and interest on current accounts) have cost us nearly £1,000 per year in lost bonuses, I have to find something, particularly given that the latest estimates are that inflation will hit 2.4% by the year's end..

In Small Local Town's out-of-town shopping park, there is an area that has a B&Q, a Halfords, a Pets at Home, and an M&S Simply Food. Parking is always very tight, so one can rarely park near to the shop one wants to visit.

I've discovered that people going to M&S to buy their overly priced, non-clean food (another current Term of Hate for me) ready-meals, or ready-peeled vegetables, are far too lazy to take their trolley back to the only M&S trolley park, so, they just leave them at whichever trolley return point is nearest to where their gas-guzzling-tank is parked. Clearly they are prepared to leave a pound in the trolley slot rather than walk 30 metres more to return it to the place where they could get a refund. I guess it's the 'what is the lowest value coin that you will bend down to pick up' test for the overly-monied of the area.

Quite by accident (I was spending the huge quantity of Pets at Home vouchers that I'd accumulated - their vouchers nest, so I got product worth over £70 for less than £30) I've made £4 in the past week just by noticing pounds in slots, plugging trolleys into each other and pushing them 30 metres. It isn't going to pay for the next trip to SA of course, but, every penny counts (if only I could get the coffee-slurping, eating-out, spend everything you earn and more, generation to understand that)...

I read with horror recently that only 10% of meals are now prepared from scratch in-home, that the average new garment is only worn five times, and that only half the adult population in England have more than £3,000 in savings. Always save at least 10% of your income I say, I've always said, and I still do. It gives you choices when you are older.

Here's a cat picture, from the kitchen window:

Or maybe that should be a 'spot the cat' picture. There are two of them actually.
Oh, OK, here's a closer view:

And we have eight new children. 2 white, 4 brown, and 2 brown, beige, and grey. That brings that total back to 18. We didn't get any new ones last year, and with most of the rest now 5 or 6, it was necessary if we wanted eggs after Easter.