DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 24th October - Thursday 30th October, 2014
Harvest Festival produce at Lincoln Cathedral.
"The Chancellor said: 'Today's strong growth figures show that the UK continues to lead the pack in an increasingly uncertain global economy. With all the main sectors of the economy growing it's clear that our recovery is broadly based.'"
The joke of the year, Sadly, it will have become a very sick joke by this time next year.
FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER
During the hedge cutting earlier in the week, I somehow strained a muscle, or possibly tore a tendon, when moving a heavy extending ladder, ending up with awful pain. It was so bad today that I bought an arm sling, finding that this somewhat helped to reduce the pain. However, it was just as bad in the evening when I was sitting by the fire. I therefore applied the TENS machine, which I have found to be useful in the past, but on this occasion it did not seem to do much good.
In bed I could not get to sleep because of the pain, but on taking a couple of Zapain tablets that I take for arthritis, made up of 30 mg codeine sulphate and 500 mg paraecetemol, this greatly helped, and although I had to take a further couple of the tablets some two hours later, I eventually managed to get to sleep. Fortunately, the pain had eased off this morning when I got up, but I am still wearing the sling. Oh, the agonies of old age. Rather like quantitative easing when applied to an ailing economy, the tablets do not cure the problem, merely lessen it.
On the news summary on Radio 3 at 8 o'clock, I heard that the European Union was demanding an additional £1.7 bn from us for our contribution. Mr. Cameron is refusing to pay it, facing a fine of £42.5m a month if not paid by the 1st December. Of course, this is all probably stage-managed, with an agreement behind the scenes that we will pay about half that amount, thereby enabling Mr. Cameron to say that he has courageously saved the country millions of pounds with his firm and decisive leadership, politics being all fiddling and fudge. Nevertheless the sooner we leave that circus of the European Union the better, for we gain absolutely nothing from it.
The only trouble is that 50% of our exports go to Europe, so the Union will probably be a bit difficult, imposing penalties and tariffs on us if we have the good sense to take our bat home. Meanwhile, Mrs. Merkel, the German Chancellor, has threatened to boycott our proposal to restrict immigration from the EU countries. When I think that during my lifetime we were bombing the Germans, whereas today they are the leaders in Europe, telling us what we will do and not do. Surely the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Belatedly, I saw in yesterday's "Times" a report that the minutes of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee had recorded that the UK economy "was beginning to slow". There was also a report amidst all the grim economic news that there "had been a sharp fall in export orders taking the steam out of the manufacturing sector's recovery". For the three months to October export orders fell to the lowest level since January 2013.
Although Mrs. Copeland tells me that all the details in this diary about the ailing British economy are very boring, I find them fascinating, as I mentioned last week, now following the various stages that are taking us back into recession. As we all know, the so-called recovery was artificially stimulated by a rampant housing market, prices rising dramatically as a result of the Government's interference in the market by helping first time buyers. Now, alas, the housing market has stalled, even in London where the greatest price surge took place.
The various stages towards recession are easy to follow. To begin with the housing market, which has been the basis of the so-called recovery, has stalled, a report in today's "Times" saying that "mortgage lending tumbled by 10% in the year to September as the housing market continues to cool." Part of the fall can be attributed to tougher mortgage arrangements, while first-time buyers began to find that they could not afford to get onto the housing market ladder, having consequences further up.
As house prices fall, consumer expenditure also falls as money cannot be borrowed on rising equity - a consideration we saw last month when there was a 0.3% fall last month, Falling consumer expenditure ultimately leads to falls in the manufacturing and service sectors, causing rising unemployment, possibly with a six-month gap.
This is turn leads to lower taxation revenues for the Government, and a renewed austerity programme has to be introduced to balance the unhealthy books. This cutback in Government spending eventually sees further falls in consumer expenditure and the consequent rise in unemployment. Whereas Keynes developed the "multiplier effect" for stimulating an economy with Government funding, we are now seeing the reverse, what might be called "Negatavisin effect", seeing a vicious downward spiralling circle, possibly about to witness the descent into deflation, as is now happening in the eurozone.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no way out of this vicious circle. Interest rates are already at an absurdly low level, and any lowering will do little to stimulate the economy. Furthermore, quantitative easing solves no problems in a massively indebted economy as we have seen in recent times. And underlying all these problems there is the lack of a sound manufacturing base; poor education that does not provide the necessary skills; and a society troubled by the widening gap between rich and poor, leading to social instability. When all these issues are taken into account, it seems that the end of 2015 will see the country going into a renewed recession that will become steadily worse in 2016.
There was even the news today that the estate agents Foxtons had seen its shares plunge after " a shock profit warning." Last week I suggested that it would soon be time to reinstate FODEA (Friends of Distressed Estate Agents), so once again you read it here first. Perhaps in sending out our requests for donations, we could have one of those questionnaires that ask in the manner of charity appeals:
"1. Did you know that estate agents are hated even more than small-town solicitors and social workers? 2. Did you know that estate agents have suffered very badly in the past, having experienced very bumpy rides? and 3. Would you be prepared to help the agents in their hour of need? £10 will buy a chicken and a half bottle of wine; £25 would provide a turkey and trimmings, while £50 would provide for a really happy Christmas dinner."
Also in yesterday's "Times" there was an article by David Aeronovitch, incredibly telling us that "immigration has been good for us." Oh, dear oh dear - he would say that, wouldn't he!. Can he really believe this? Can he believe it is right that the hard-working immigrants will do all the unpleasant jobs while the natives rest on the dole? Wouldn't it be better if the natives were made to work, and might it not be an improvement if we trained our own doctors and dentists, putting on suitable courses at our universities instead of having Mickey Mouse degrees in Jazz and Media Studies, thereby not having to rely on immigrants, some of whom have little understanding of the English language?
I was hearing today that two villagers were having wood-burning stoves installed, giving up their open fire. It made me wonder yet again whether I ought to have one of these stoves, for they are said to involve far less work and are more efficient, as well as being "kept in". On a recent O & M survey that I conducted I found that it takes me 20 minutes every day to clear out and relay the living fire we have in the parlour. With the arthritis in my knees I am finding it more and more difficult to hump in the coal and logs.
Although I so enjoy seeing the logs burning in the dog-grate, it nevertheless seems wise to have an efficient, less labour-intensive appliance, even though Mrs. Copeland says that I will never have one, not wanting to spend the money, costing between £2,500 - £3,000. As might be expected, I have been advised at all costs to ensure that I have a British product, avoiding a Chinese one, most of which have thin metal - not that I need any prompting about not buying the junk that comes from that hateful Communist country. I am therefore still pondering. Maybe I will last out one more year with the living fire, though with my physical decline, getting into a worse position than the UK economy, I am not sure I can last out that long. A difficult issue.
"Seagull, seagull, stay on the sand. It's bad weather when you're inland."
To town after breakfast to go to the market for eggs, and to the family butcher for rump steak for the weekend. I also had to withdraw some money from the bank. About 4 p.m. Mrs. Copeland's elder brother Andrew, and his wife, Pat, arrived to spend the weekend with us. In the evening, daughter Caroline and her husband Phil joined us for supper, making for a most enjoyable occasion.
SATURDAY 25 OCTOBER
A lady correspondent from Alberta said in an e-mail that she was very upset about my comment last week that I attributed the break-up of traditional family life to "the rise of feminism and female independence, the latter possibly explaining why there are now so many divorces and separations in a society that is ill at ease with itself." The point was made that there were "several other causes of divorce and separation caused by men who go to the bar/pub/club instead of going home after work."
Women were therefore left holding the baby while men enjoyed themselves. Consequently, "marriages do not last long in this part of the world because of the ever-encouraged attitude that looking after children is solely the wife's responsibility and also the heavy drinking and irresponsibility of men on and off the job." I suppose I can understand this lament, for there is no doubt that it was certainly the fate of women in my generation, all part of the biological imbalance. Maybe the answer is not to have children, thereby avoiding the problem of the division of labour.
I have an intense dislike for feminism, for I take the view that it destroys the charming female characteristics in trying to make women more like a man, as wrongly recommended by Professor Higgins. Long live the difference, say I, instead of making women into little harridans.
Another correspondent commented on my liking for the comedy series "Till Death Us do Part", saying that he also enjoyed the series - "The politically-correct atmosphere of our current society means that neither series will ever be shown on television because the broadcaster would be accused of promoting racism and homophobia. This just proves how unintelligent these do-gooders are because if they took the time and trouble to watch the programmes they would see that so much of what Alf Garnett said has come true, rather like the views of the late Enoch Powell."
There was the announcement today from the World Health Organisation that there were now 10,000 reported cases of ebola. Somewhat frightening, though there has not yet been a case reported in this country, presumably only a matter of time before the plague sweeps some of us away here.
During the day I read that there had been a 28.5% fall in the rate of growth for GDP in the second quarter compared with the first, largely as a result of the extensive fall in industrial output. I must admit that this sharp fall took me by surprise, for I had thought that the fall would not be apparent until the third quarter, so I was badly wrong, whereas I pride myself in economic soothsaying. The worry is that this early fall is going to mean even bigger falls along the line. Alas, there be dragons ahead, but then who could ever believe that the UK was seeing substantial growth when the rest of the world, especially Europe, was in such a parlous state. It made no sense at all.
Apparently the latest GDP figure now includes prostitution and drug dealer, which might seem an unusual inclusion, but no doubt it all helps GDP. Even so, it is surprising that the level fell in the second quarter, for this is the summer season when there is all manner of additional labour and activity in the market.
I was surprised to learn that Amazon, from whom I buy most of my books and all DVDs, lost $437m in the third quarter, whereas in the same period last year the loss was a mere $41m.
Mrs. Copeland's elder brother, Andrew, and his wife, Pat, went Christmas shopping in Lincoln during the morning. They travel up from Essex each October to buy the presents in Lincoln, finding that it is much easier and less crowded to shop in Lincoln, Essex becoming more and more overcrowded, becoming a hell on earth. I have to admire Andrew for going on these expeditions - something I would never do, however severe the punishment.
We met them for a light lunch and alcohol at "Widow Cullen's Well" in Lincoln, where I used to meet my friends on a Saturday morning. Originally, there were nine of us, but as we are down to three, one of the survivors being confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak following a stroke, we no longer meet. Times change, and we change with them.
In the evening we met up at "The Pyewipe Inn" by the side of the Fossdyke Canal that was built by the Romans, daughter Kate and her husband Steve joining us. I had rump steak with sautéed mushrooms and beer battered onion rings, the cost being £14.95. For an extra £2, I could have had "peppercorn, stilton or red wine sauce", but this is the last thing I want, the sauce completely destroying the taste of the steak. I asked for chips. Chips are an assessment of a pub/restaurant, few establishments managing to get them just right. If the place does not serve chips avoid it like the plague or a female politician, for they will be poncy places, swarming with Johnny-Come-Latelies in their BMWs.
Without any prompting from me, Andrew was saying that the UK will be in recession in 2016. Bearing in mind that I predicted that the recession would start towards the end of 2015, we are therefore virtually in agreement. The real worry is that, having exhausted quantitative easing and being unable to lower interest rates any more, the politicians have virtually no remedy for an ever declining economy. Not there was any evidence of hardship this evening, the restaurant being packed out. Perhaps everybody is abiding by that old adage: "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come."
I was amazed to see so many of the diners this evening playing with their mobile telephones, some couples barely speaking to one another. It really does seem a strange development, these toys having become so important in the life of some people. The rude and appalling behaviour, staring at a screen all the evening, reminded me of Marshall McLuhan's observation: "The medium is the message."
During the meal Kate was telling me about a man she had seen yesterday stretched out on the ground, two paramedics giving him treatment, while relatives by his side were crying. It seemed that the elderly man had suffered a heart attack, yet there were ghouls standing nearby watching the scene. What horrible people they are, just loving to see an accident or some serious mishap.
The "Pyewipe Inn", where we had a meal this evening.
Pat and Andrew are staying overnight at a nearby hotel, which seems a far better arrangement, giving them far more freedom. I always loathe staying in other people's houses, feeling as if I am trapped, having to be pleasant all the time, which I usually find extremely difficult.
Before going to bed I put about 20 clocks back an hour, British Summertime having ended tomorrow at 2 a.m. Why, oh why, don't our politicians just leave things alone, especially as they bugger up everything they touch.
SUNDAY 26 OCTOBER
With sister-in-law Pat I went to the Cathedral for the Eucharist service at 9.30 a.m. The resident choir was on half-term holiday, its place being taken by a visiting choir, which I believe was called the Oakville Choir. The choir was unbelievably wonderful, especially the lovely voice of a soprano. I do not usually much care the sound of women singing, often regarding it as a form of screeching, but this young lady had a voice that would charm the birds off the trees. A really lovely voice, and she looked a very jolly lady, having that hint of something.
Although I find it difficult and painful, I managed to bob up and down at the appropriate times, noting that one of the prayers said we were miserable sinners "in thought, word and deed", which doesn't give much of a let-out. I like to believe, however, that I am not a miserable sinner, Mrs. Copeland ensuring that I keep on the straight and narrow path, not that you can get up to much mischief when you are 80. On the other hand, it is still possible to have some lascivious thoughts, even if they have no implementation.
I thought the sermon was rather muddled, going round and round about the houses, saying that the first Commandment laid down by God was to honour and obey him, while the second was to try and get on with the neighbours. All this could have been said in a few words, yet it all went on for about 20 minutes or so, or what seemed like 20 minutes.
Next to us was a very devout lady, who told us that she attended the services every week. She crossed herself at all the right times, and sometimes knelt down for additional prayers. It made me wonder why somebody like that became so religious, presumably seeking succour and saving. Could it have been that there was some tragedy in her life that subsequently brought about this excessive devotion. I suppose she would argue that God has sent ebola because we have multiplied too quickly, but it is sad that the Africans are always the first to cop it.
It seems unbelievable that the Cathedral was built in the 12th century, no doubt involving scores of deaths and accidents, not that people lived all that long in those faraway days. There is a wonderful feeling of peace within the precincts, the politicians and all the worries about our declining economy seeming far away.
After the service, Pat and I met Mrs. C and Andrew at "The Wig & Mitre" for coffee, Mrs. C and Andrew having been out walking. Afterwards, we drove our guests back to the hotel, from where they departed for the 135-mile journey back home in Essex. I felt quite sad to see them go, for it had been a very enjoyable time with them.
Despite having 12 pints of full-cream milk delivered during the week, we found that we had run out, necessitating a journey in to Lincoln. I was amazed to see at the shop that there were only two bottles of the proper milk on the shelves, whereas there was a great quantity of the semi-skimmed rubbish that has had all the goodness taken out of it. Mrs. Copeland told me that there was also a shortage of the full-cream milk at Waitrose yesterday.
Recently, one of my sons-in-law had shown me an article saying that there were no benefits whatsoever in having the semi-skimmed milk; indeed, there were indications that it could be harmful. I gather that this was widely reported in the press, presumably meaning that the frightened public have now switched back to the full-cream milk, explaining the shortage. It all seems so utterly ridiculous, for we have been told for years that full-cream milk was harmful, whereas now it is all right.
The same was true of that dreadful substitute butter that tastes and looks like Castrol XL oil. We were assured that this was far better for our health than butter, whereas there was a front-page warning in "The Daily Express" on the 6th February 2013 hat it could "trigger a heart attack," making me so thankful that we had not ever touched the dangerous stuff that is full of vegetable oil that the body finds difficult to digest. Presumably all these changes of mind indicate that the medicine men have no idea what is good and bad for the body, coming up with all manner of fanciful idea that are subsequently found to be completely wrong. Eggs are another example: once they were bad for us, now they are good for us.
One of the streets in Limcoln, where so many shop are now empty. The recession really took its toll in these parts, and still continues.
As always, we went to the local Club at 3.30 p.m, talking to a couple who had recently been on a tour in America, both husband and wife arriving home with nasty colds. The husband was telling me that he had not realised the extent to which the Americans were a very mixed population. He thought that New York was a grim city, the skyscrapers allowing little sunshine into the streets, whereas he greatly liked Boston.
One of the young female members said to us: "Meet my new boyfriend". Later on we saw them kissing and cuddling at the bar, whereupon I said to Mrs. Copeland: "Isn't it wonderful to see young couples in love," to which she replied: "Lust you mean!" When I suggested that such feelings were neither possible nor appropriate to our age, making me wonder what any feelings might be called, one of the wives said: "Rust!" which did not seem to be very kind.
I had rather a lot to drink, which meant an early bedtime - the usual way to end the Sabbath Day.
MONDAY 27 OCTOBER
To town after breakfast to purchase a "Times" and some mortar mix, the latter to be used to repair the hearth of the living fire, filling in some of the gaps between the slabs. In the newspaper I saw that we were humiliatingly withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan, the foreign foray having been another disaster, and one that has cost 453 lives of our troops, as well as wasting billions of pounds that could have been spent on new roads and improvements to our hospitals and schools. However indebted we are and however chaotic our public services, there is always money to be found to attack other countries.
Yet all these attacks - every one of them - have been unsuccessful, in Vietnam where the Americans came a right cropper, in Iraq where fighting has returned, in Syria that is now in a bigger mess than under Gadaffi, and now Afghanistan, where the Taliban has been victorious. In terms of the involvement of this country we have fought 3 wars, lost 3, won 0 and drawn 0. Mercifully, with the cuts to the British Army. we will never again be sending our troops to fight overseas, though by way of pretending we are a great power we will no doubt continue hanging onto the coattails of the Americans in the weird belief that we are still a world power.
It amused me to read that the Defence secretary, Michael Fallon, was in trouble for daring to say what we are all thinking - namely that we are being swamped by immigrants, and will be even more swamped if the EU rules and regulations regarding immigration are not changed. The problem with our weak and spineless Prime Minister is that he does not want to upset leading businessmen and other powerful chums, probably financial supporters of the Party, who see immigrants as cheap labour, working much harder than the indolent natives. Instead, we have to pretend that we live in a happy and harmonious multicultural society in which we welcome ever more immigrants coming in, even if they totally destroy our Englishness.
There was also the news that the Prime Minister is under extreme pressure from some Tory M.Ps who continue to be worried about some of our cities being dominated by immigrants, most of whom, especially the Muslim contingent, never integrate with the community Sadly, it seems that the "Times" writer with a foreign-sounding name who ridiculously said that we benefited from immigration, just does not understand these issues. What is so worrying is that with a return to recession late next year, resulting in rising unemployment, there is even less reason for allowing more immigrants into the country.
It is going to be interesting to see the outcome of the Rochester by-election next month, the political commentators all expecting another dramatic win for Ukip. The Labour Party is fielding a woman of Indian extraction, born and brought up in the Medway area. According to a report in today's "Times", when asked about immigration she "conceded that immigration was an issue raised frequently by voters, but said that it was often a shorthand for other problems, such as pressure on public services."
Amongst the grim news on the economy there was a report on the BBC business website that, "Profit warnings by UK-listed firms have risen to their highest summer level in six years, according to a new report. The report, by the consultancy firm EY, said quoted firms issued 69 profit warnings in the third quarter of 2014, up from 56 in the same period in 2013. It is the highest level for the three-month period to 30 September since 2008, the forecaster added."
There was also the news that, "A record five million UK workers are now in low-paid jobs, research from a think tank suggests. Those earning less than two thirds of median hourly pay - equivalent to £7.69 an hour - rose by 250,000 to 5.2m last year, the Resolution Foundation said." So much for the pretence of a recovery! As Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary, has indicated "Many jobs created since the crash are very much of the low-paid, casual and zero-hours variety". Presumably immigrants fill many of these jobs, employers knowing that they can pay them lower wages and make them work longer hours.
Amongst the day's post, which included two mail-order catalogues and surprisingly only one charity appeal - all of which went straight into the recycling bin, there was a communication from my bank headed "Annual summary of your account charges", showing that I incurred no charges at all during the past twelve months, having totally free banking. Although I know that it sounds boastful when so many people have been forced into these hateful financial transaction, I nevertheless take great pride that I have still managed to avoid those diabolical direct debits, whereby you totally lose control of your banking account.
One of the reasons I only have mobile broadband, paying £10 a month, is that most broadband companies insist on direct debits, which I will never have. I suppose, though, it would be possible to pay for a whole year of charges in advance, thereby avoiding a DDD.
The annual summary showed that I have remained in credit throughout the year, though I can see that it is going to be more difficult in 2015, when we will see an austerity, probably the worst ever. Taxes will have to be raised, and I am convinced that I will lose the winter heating allowance and the free television licence facility, which together amount to £29 a month. My present reckoning is that I will be worse off in 2015 by £60 a month. One economy may be to give up my mobile telephone, which I seldom use. This would save £14.27 a month. There is no doubt that it is going to be a tough, rough year, in all probability seeing rioting in the streets and extensive racial troubles.
In order to lessen the pain in my right arm, still very troublesome, I have been advised to take Ibuprofen, and I therefore bought a packet today of the 400mg pills. Unfortunately and extremely carelessly, I took two of the tablets, which gave me an awful stomach ache for the rest of the evening. All very careless. I suppose that I am so accustomed to taking two tablets at a time that I quite forgot about the strength of these tablets. Oh dear: old age!
In the evening, sitting by the log-burning fireside, I finished reading "Agent Storm - My life with al-Qaeda", the story of a double-agent who, having initially turned to Islam, subsequently became an agent of the American, Dutch and English security services. A fascinating book. I made a start on "Disobeying Hitler - German resistance in the last year of WWII" by Randall Hansen, but after 50 pages I found it so utterly boring that I gave it up. It is always disappointing to have purchased a book I subsequently do not like. More care is obviously needed in the selection.
Instead I started reading "Dunkirk - From disaster to deliverance - testimonies of the last survivors" by Sinclair McKay", published this year by Aurum Press at £20. Fortunately, I think I will enjoy this well-written book.
I discovered later in the evening that the "3", the mobile broadband that I use wasn't working on my computer. It was not working on Mrs. Copeland's computer either, so I am hoping that it was a fault "their end". On the other hand, it could be a fault on the dongle. I will have to try again in the morning. If it still doesn't work presumably it must be a dongle fault.
TUESDAY 28 OCTOBER
As I could not access the "3" mobile broadband when I switched on the computer early this morning, I telephoned the local 3 shop in Lincoln at 9.05 a.m., being told by a very helpful assistant that a mast was down, and there was therefore no reception. Engineers were at the site now, but it could take several hours before the service was resumed. At least it was a relief that the fault was not my end, meaning that I wasted about four hours or more late last night trying to fix what I thought was a fault on my computer.
I checked "3" at lunchtime, finding that it was still not working, and again at 6 p.m., but it was still not working, presumably meaning that it has completely failed. I begin to feel as if I want to give up computing altogether, leading a far more relaxing life, not having to contend with all the miseries of computing, though I can still use dial-up, which has never let me down. Maybe it is therefore time to give up this diary, especially as the number of hits is falling faster than the Government's electoral popularity.
My late mother's birthday today; she would have been 98. The loss of a mother is always one of the great sadnesses in life, sadness that seems to wipe out childhood. During the morning I went to the Cathedral to light a candle for her, sitting by the lighted candles, saying a prayer for her. I greatly enjoy the Cathedral, finding it so peaceful and restful the politicians and all the woes of the country seeming to be far away.
On the news-stand I saw in "The Daily Mail" the headline saying that Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, agreed that some parts of the UK were swamped with immigrants, thereby agreeing with Michael Fallon who was recently reprimanded by the Prime Minister for saying some of our cities are and could be further inundated with immigrants. And the "i" had a headline: "Support for Ukip soars to record level."
Such headlines indicate the tremendous worries that we, as Englishmen, have for our country and for our Englishness, being swamped by these newcomers, making us wonder why Germany and France do not take some of them. The concern cannot be deflected by calling us racist, for this appellation is totally offensive and irrelevant, and it is offensive for David Aeronovitch, mentioned earlier, to say ridiculously that immigration is good for the country. Sadly, it seems that he just not understand the issues, which is very worrying when a columnist has the respectability of writing for "The Times".
Maybe I should not criticise him for his lack of understanding, for I begin to fear that I could have the onset of dementia. Today, when reading Andy McNab's latest novel - "Fortress" before getting up, I found that I could not understand the story, losing touch with all manner of characters being introduced in the plot. With so many different strands running in the story, I became quite lost. I also find that I cannot understand Government economic policy, and I do not just mean the joke about the UK having the fastest economic growth of the G7 nations. I find this loss of memory, especially short-term memory, starting to worry me, though Mrs. C. says this happens to all old people who are playing in extra Biblical time.
There are times, relating to this confusion, when I feel that I want to bury my head in the sand, not wanting to see the relentless decline of my country. I just cannot understand how our Home Secretary is reducing police forces, no longer replacing those who are leaving, at a time of ever rising crime. And I cannot understand how we always find money to bomb other countries when our National Health Service in £1.6bn in debt. Obviously I need to go to see the doctor or a counsellor..
Today being my late mother's birthday, I lit a candle for her in Lincoln Cathedral.
There was a report of a Canadian survey showing that prostate cancer tests do more harm than good, it being warned that the test "should not be offered as a cancer screening measure.... Between 15% and 19% of men told that they had prostate cancer after PSA screening would not have it at all. Between 40% and 56% of men would be overdiagnosed, meaning that men are told they have the disease when it would never cause them symptoms or an early death. I know of a fellow who had a biopsy that subsequently went septic, causing him agony for a long time, only to be told he was all right. Moral: Keep away from the medicine men.
One of my friends in the village has recently had a wood-burning stove installed, and this afternoon he invited me to see it in action. I was most impressed, for it looks good and is easy to keep burning, various adjustments controlling the heat output. And it can be kept in overnight, being able to continue burning into the day. I really must do some more pondering. Whether it will save me much work is not altogether clear, but it is more efficient and certainly does not make so much mess as my living fire.
On trying to get my mobile "3" mobile broadband to work, having been told that the service was back to normal. I found that the programme was not functioning. I spent the entire evening trying to get it to work, but with no success, eventually ending up deleting the programme, finding that I did not know how to get it back, despite several attempts. I will have to telephone the "3" shop in Lincoln tomorrow. All very frustrating, not to say downright annoying. I went to bed feeling very fed up with life.
WEDNESDAY 29 OCTOBER
I telephoned the "3" shop in the morning, only to be told by the assistant that he had no technical knowledge and therefore could not help me. I found this rather surprising, for I would have thought that the staff, especially the manager, would have a technical knowledge of the appliances being sold. That, though, is a very old-fashioned idea, typical of the silly sentiments of my generation. I was given a technical helpline, but I was not anxious to use this as it was an expensive number, and you can run up a very large bill, especially if there is a foreign call centre where English is spoken with difficulty.
I therefore had one more attempt at putting in the programme, having thought of a way in bed last night - and this worked, much to my amazement,, having to click on the "C" drive, and that came up with the "3" icon, giving a list of the items. I had next to select autorun, which brought up the install Wizard and all was well, except that the shortcut did not work, but that did not matter as I could go to the maim setting. So all was well after about six hours.
Later in the morning I went to the "3" shop to top-up my £10 monthly allowance. However, I decided not to mention to problems I had experienced with "3". Best forgotten, there being no sense in making a fuss. Samuel Smiles would have been proud of my self-help initiative.
Granddaughter moved into a rented flat in the middle of August, spending quite a lot of money setting it up. Yesterday she heard that the woman owner, who lives in America, wants to sell the property, so Chloe will have to move out. Understandably she was so upset. What a country! Goodness knows what it will be like when Chloe is in her 50s, obviously even more rundown than it is now, having the IMF, Germany and France propping us up with financial help while there is extensive racial rioting in the streets of the large cities. It is not too difficult to write the history.
The excellent Royal William IV pub we go to after leaving the cinema. We went there at 10 o'clock this evening, but it was closed, alas.
It amazed me to read that the Confederation of What's Left of British Industry is in a Passglossian mode, believing that although the economy slowed last month, with manufacturing suffering a substantial fall along with exports, the economy will grow even faster in the 3rd quarter. Perchance to dream. I have put the prediction in my scrapbook of cuttings, to look at when the actual figure is announced in December, no doubt seeing it well down. When the rest of the world, especially the eurozone, is in such a muddle, how on earth can Britain be booming? It makes no sense, other than the country getting into further debt.
Not surprisingly, the anger over the immigration issue is not going away, despite Mr. David Aeronovitch telling us that it was good for us. Today "The Times" had a headline saying "Calais goes to war over soft touch UK benefits, the mayor of Calais having said yesterday that "Britain's welfare system is so generous that migrants are willing to risk death to benefit from it," adding that they could easily find illegal work.
Meanwhile our indolent Prime Minister does nothing, which is not surprising as he is the Do NOTHING Prime Minister, probably agreeing with J.S. Mill who said "that governs best which governs least.". We are still awaiting the outcome of his refusal to pay the £1.7bn extra charge from the European Union. The odds are probably 1/25 that he will give in, or pay half the amount.
Mr. Matthew Parris goes on again about immigration in his column in the newspaper, saying that when we served under Mrs. Thatcher he was swamped with "racial abuse", and he accuses Michael Fallon, who recently said what we all thinking about the problems caused by mass immigration, of being racist. Come on, our Matt: you are an excellent writer, so stop writing this silly stuff to appeal to the bleeding heart contingent. Visit some of the less salubrious parts of London, and then go oop north to see the conditions in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. Then, if you return and say that you saw hardly any immigrants, we will try to forgive you for calling us racist.
There was also a report of a survey that has found that if a man has sexual intercourse with 21 women, he stands a reduced chance (28%) of getting prostate cancer. I can just imagine a man having finished with the 20th woman, saying gleefully: "One more and I'm free of the dreaded disease." Unfortunately, I have left it far too late, and besides, Mrs. C. would never allow it.
On the cover of the main section of the newspaper there was a photograph of the young lad aged 5 who was attending the funeral of his father who was shot dead by a insurgent while guarding Canada's national memorial in Ottawa. Why is it necessary to intrude upon other's grief? I find it horrible stuff, so crude, so unnecessary, but then that is the press whose main intention is causing mayhem and mischief.
The cover of "Times2" had a photograph of a scantily clad female, showing her lovely bare long legs, her breasts just peeking out. We men are accused of treating women as sex objects, yet it might be a good idea if women did not dress, or rather undress, themselves in this provocative manner. We might then hold them in higher regard. As it is, I like to see long legs, whereas oversized breasts hanging out, as on the front page of a gutter publication today, look so awful, almost deformed.
Mrs. Copeland went with neighbours to meet a retired couple who used to live nearby, but now live in the cold land of Yorkshire. I am not interested in retaining links with people who move away, so I stayed at home to do some carpet cleaning.
In the evening, Mrs. Copeland and I made one of our rare visits to the Lincoln Odeon to see the film "Fury". I greatly enjoyed the film, though perhaps a war film was not exactly Mrs. Copeland's choice. The battle scenes were superb, and Brad Pitt was excellent playing the leading role. As with all Hollywood films, there has to be females included in the story, and we therefore had to endure a somewhat nauseating scene in which the tank crew have a meal in the flat of two German women. It must have cost a fortune to make the film, and it made me wonder how and where they found the tanks. Presumably they were not models.
There was a young couple sitting next to me who munched sweets throughout the performance and slurped drinks, putting their feet on the seats in front. The lad was playing with his mobile much of the time, as most youngsters do these days. I suppose values change, making me wonder whether we were as badly behaved and as inconsiderate when we were in the Young Conservatives. Fortunately in those far away days we did not have those horrible mobile telephones, so life was more pleasant, more directly involved with other people.
Afterwards, we went to the Royal William IV for a drink, as we always do on leaving the cinema, only to find that it was closed. What a country!
THURSDAY 30 OCTOBER
I was interested to read that the Governor of the Bank of England had been very worried about consumer indebtedness becoming far too large as a result of the booming housing market. Fortunately, his fears were unfounded as mortgage approvals fell sharply last month, confounding the experts, not that that is unusual. We should now see an acceleration in the rate of the decline of the economy as the housing market starts to fall, and as manufacturing continue so fall. Not the happiest of scenarios, you might say.
I went in to Lincoln to the bank this money to pay in some money, and then did some shopping, including taking one of Mrs. Copeland's watches in for a new battery. Back home, I cut back ivy on the front wall of the house. I was amazed to see the damage that the plant had been causing to the stonework, really eating into it.
Item sent to me by a reader.
Today's "Daily Mail" had a headline saying that schools, according to comments made yesterday by the Head of Ofsted, "are struggling with an influx of immigrants." Similar considerations apply to the National Health Service, yet Mr. Aeronovitch tells us that immigration is good for us! The problem is that we are already grossly overpopulated, unable to maintain our public services, and it is this uncontrolled massive immigration that adds to the immense difficulties. We are full up.
The headline in "The Times" was "Cutting taxes a moral duty, Says Cameron." Maybe this is true is some instances, but not when an incoming Government of whatever party will have to slash public expenditure next year to balance the heavily indebted books, having to impose extensive austerity throughout the land. Many taxpayers would probably be willing to pay higher taxes in order to have better schools and hospitals, but then this is not part of the mantra of the Cameroons, especially among the contingent who can afford private medicine (awful though it is) and public school education.
I was surprised that in an extensive supplement in "The Times" on wristwatches there was no mention whatsoever of the radio-controlled models that are accurate to a second all the year round and every year. I have a Casio "Wave Interceptor" radio-controlled watch (£120) that has an inset giving the day and date, instead of those ghastly separate dials that make the watches look so ugly. A better watch could not be imagined. I therefore cannot undertand how anybody would not want a r/c watch. As it is, I am gradually replacing all the wallclocks to radio-controlled models.
After a relaxing afternoon, I will be showing the DVD of the film "The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared", described on the cover as "Explosively funny- TV Times". That worries me!
Lincolnshire 30th October, 2014
Diary of a Septuagenarian
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