DIARY OF A SEPTUAGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 29nd November - Thursday 5th December, 2013
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in."
Greek Proverb. Here in Lax Britannica, the trees would be felled for new housing developments.
FRIDAY 29 NOVEMBER
Mrs. Copeland and I had a most enjoyable luncheon with her cousin and husband at "Uncle Henry's" near Kirton Lindsey here in Lincolnshire. The food was excellent, and I was able to some "Bomber County" ale from Tom Woods. The place was full of merchandise for Christmas - an incredible stock, reminding me of the comments that Socrates made long ago: "I am always amazed about the number of things I can do without". My sentiments precisely, though I bought a couple of bottles of beer to take home.
During our discussions the subject of old age was inevitably mentioned, the point being made that in our geriatric days we tend to worry more about things. It might be thought that age would bring experience, thereby enabling problems to be solved more easily, yet this is outflanked by being more aware of dangers that younger people may not see - or even worry about. My main worry at the moment is money, finding that I am becoming more and more concerned about the raging inflation, the true rate for essential household items being about 8.5%.
With my two sons-in-law and an elderly neighbour we watched the documentary film "McCullin" about the life of the eponymous war photographer who spent his days photographing the ravages of war in various parts of the world, filming men being executed. Although it might be regarded as a goulish kind of job, it was nevertheless an interesting film that we all enjoyed.
The insurance for my Scorpio, due for renewal with Saga next month, has risen from £260 to £302, despite not having made a claim, an increase of 16%. I contacted two other insurers, but the cheapest alternative quotation was £420, so I will stay with Saga, which is an excellent firm, having none of those dreadful menu options when telephoning. Every week sees increased prices for food at the supermarket. Coal has gone up £1.50 a hundredweight.
Admittedly, the price of petrol and oil has gone down, but not much else. House prices are said to have risen 6.5% over the year, making it more difficult for young couples to get onto the housing ladder. The Government has arranged for 95% mortgages, but this has resulted in this price increase, putting first-time buyers back to square one. Such is the meddling of politicians.
This strange Government of ours has brought in a new measure to add enormously to the costs of a firm by giving fathers the right to have a year's leave to care for the new baby, swopping over with their wife, a measure that has rightly been described by one firm as a "nightmare". Under the diabolical scheme fathers are to be given the same rights as mothers to take "up to a year off work to look after new-born babies.
For local authorities and other organisations that are grossly overstaffed, this daft measure will cause no problems, but it could put a small firm out of business. Ironically, the new measure will act against women, for henceforth firms will recruit women who are not of childbearing age, and who can blame them.
In the "i" I read that Npower is to move 1,400 jobs to India, meaning that when customers telephone to make a complaint, the Indian man or woman will not understand a word that is being said, and in desperation, not being able to understand what the Indians are saying either, callers will ring off in frustration, so the company will not have to deal with the account. For the company, having a much cheaper wage bill, it makes a lot of sense, never having to deal with any problems.
Yesterday before going off to the restaurant, I contacted the computer firm I now go to, and was told that the "threat" that had come up on the anti-virus programme was actually not a virus, but part of the operating system, the programme obviously having made a mistake. I was warned "Whatever you do, don't delete the item, for you will completely knock out your computer."
A lucky escape indeed, one worry off the list, not that I would have known how to delete the item. It just goes to show how careful you have to be, having been told by the anti-virus people that it would cost me $99 to have the item examined., which would have been money down the drain, a totally unnecessary expenditure.
Perhaps rather ironically, having contacted the help section of the anti-virus programme by telephone, I was subsequently asked to fill in a customer satisfaction survey. I gave the lowest marks possible, adding the comments that I was disappointed that any virus which could not be removed by the programme would cost £99 to be removed by a technician. In the event, it was not a virus, and had it been deleted it would really have messed up my computer. A dissatisfied customer indeed.
These "how-did-we-do?" questionnaires have nothing to do with improving the service of the firm, but everything to do with getting customers to submit their personal details so that they can be flooded with newsletters and other such nonsense. This is particularly true of those questionnaires we are asked to complete on registering the guarantee of an electrical or other such product, numerous questions being asked about insurances being due, which newspapers you take, and what holidays you have, the intention being to flood you with junk mail. Advice: Never complete those questionnaires, keeping only the invoice for the product,
A mains sewer is now being installed in the village, deep holes, about six feet in depth, being dug at intervals along the road.
Mrs. Copeland has been having trouble with her computer, a message coming up when switching on "No Signal". It seems to be an intermittent fault, probably involving a loose wire somewhere. I have not been able to trace the fault, so I asked the computer engineer I use to come out and sort out the trouble. He was to have come this morning, but was prevented from doing so as the workmen putting in the mains sewer in the village had closed the road to traffic. He therefore said he would come late in the afternoon, but did not turn up. Such is life in this country. I dread anything going wrong.
I went in to town to buy some bread "Warburton's excellent Farmhouse (£175 at the expensive Co-op and £1.20 at Waitrose), some potatoes from the market, and rump steak from the family butcher. Alas, the butcher has found his trade going down sharply in recent months, presumably because of competition from the supermarkets and all the press-related nonsense about the harm of red meat - a complete myth, as are nearly all the food frighteners.
The evening was spent by the fireside reading some more of the book on the terrible and disastrous days of Mao, surely the world's worst leader, even worse than Hitler or Stalin in the famine and massive executions that he promoted. Much to my relief, Mrs. Copeland was saying today that she does not feel like turning out in these cold evenings.
SATURDAY 30 NOVEMBER
Next week sees the misery of the Christmas Market in Lincoln - an almighty and overcrowded jamboree that causes immense problems for residents living in the area and to many others as a result of the extensive road closures. In past years the City Council has lost thousands of pounds on the event, and many service shops such as hairdressers and barbers have had to close because of the lack of custom, Lincoln being a no-go area for those of us living outside the city for the four days. I will certainly not be going into Lincoln from next Wednesday until the following Monday, stocking up in advance.
I read today that people in this country have now recorded the greatest ever debt, giving rise to the extraordinary belief that the recession is over and that we have the strongest economic growth of any European country. What this debt means is that an increasing number of householders are now having to borrow money to meet the ever rising cost of living. Although I will certainly not be borrowing, there is no doubt that I am finding it more and more difficult to balance the household books, especially with the sharp rise in the cost of food.
What has to be avoided is dipping into capital, for that is the road to financial misery. Although I have cut down on book purchases, buying no more books until January, there is no doubt that we will have to make several other economies. No eating out can be one cutback, and buying the "i" at 20p a day (30p on Saturdays) instead of the £1 "Times" is another Even so, with inflation devaluing my pension by about £45 a month further cutbacks will be necessary. We will certainly be cutting back on Christmas.
I gather that yesterday was known as "Black Friday", when retailers sell over-ordered stock at knockdown prices, causing fighting in the shops as Lax Britannicans squabble over the offers, a large number of shoppers being hurt in yesterday's scrum. This is the hateful commercialisation of Christmas that I loathe so much, there seldom being any mention that it is a religious festival.
I went in to town this morning to purchase some antifreeze for the Scorpio, having found that it needed topping up. The town was a living hell, and even on my scooter I could not get past the gridlocked traffic. Why do people go so mad at this time of year, wasting pounds on gifts that people do not want. And as for some of those dreadful Christmas cards, especially the appalling ones from charities that show no artistic skill, they are almost an affront to send to anybody,
Littlegame hunter in the village today with his popgun. How can any cultured and civilised man enjoy such slaughter?
I mentioned in the diary last week that it seemed strange that the UK, being more indebted than Greece or Spain, was not also receiving help from the IMF and Germany. A correspondent wrote: "There are a number of reasons for this.
1) Britain has never defaulted on a debt, so investors are confident they will get their money back.
2) Britain's debt is long-term and is not due to be paid for 15 years whereas Greece's debt is mostly short-term, so Britain has time to change its policies if necessary (not that George Osborne seems to have learned anything at all from the financial crash, still busy inflating another housing and credit bubble, still ignoring manufacturing).
3) 85% of Britain's debt is held by domestic investors whereas most of Greece's debt is owed to foreigners. Because Britain's debt is held internally it means that one group of Britons owes money to another group so the debt-money continues to circulate within the British economy. In Greece's case, it is the creditor nations that benefit, i.e. mainly Germany.
4) Most important, as long as a country has its own currency it cannot go bankrupt because it can print more money. Thanks to two now unregarded politicians, John Major and Gordon Brown, Britain still has that ability but Greece hasn't, a lesson the Eurofanatics still have not learned. It is also worth noting that whenever the Bank of England sells debt, the issue is always over-subscribed, which is a sure sign of confidence.
Whilst this is understandable, the worry is in item 2, saying that "Not that George Osborne seems to have learned anything at all from the financial crash, still busy inflating another housing and credit bubble, still ignoring manufacturing)." It therefore seems, as I tiresomely point out each week, that we are going up the same garden path that brought us the credit crunch.
Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that the creation of a housing bubble is politically advantageous, especially as the middle classes at their dinner parties can say that their house went up £2,000 last month and is still rising faster than at any time in the past three years. The policy, giving rise to a pretended recovery, also puts Miliband and his men onto the back foot, not knowing how to respond. In terms of economics, though, it is a disastrous and irresponsible policy, but then whenever were politicians considering the needs of the country rather than the outcome of the next general election.
The littlegame hunters were out in the village, seeing them in one of the fields. I stopped to take a photograph of the shooters, whereupon an elderly fellow watching (or supervising) the scene asked me whether I was an "anti". Not wanting to have an argument, I replied "No way", muttering under my breath: "You cruel buggers." No point in causing trouble when you are out-gunned.
As I tiresomely mention nearly every week, I cannot understand how any man of culture and civilisation can enjoy this barbaric sport that involves money but no skill. What a shame it is that the pheasants cannot shoot back. That would make for a far more interesting sport, seeing a shot littlegame hunter howling with pain on the ground. How we would then laugh, finding that our mobile telephone was not working to call for medical aid.
For many years a neighbour has handed me on the fortnightly issue of "Private Eye". I used to enjoy the publication immensely, but nowadays it seems to have lost all its humour - or could it be that I have lost mine. The current issue has a caption heading "The Eye's Heartwarming Christmas Advert" showing a bear sitting in the snow while nearby are dead animals and a broken tree, the caption reading: "I told you not to wake me up." How is that funny? Presumably it relates to an advertisement on the lantern.
Presumably you could say that a country such as ours in deep recession does not bring forth much humour, everybody being so utterly miserable, weighed down with debt and nothing to look forward to. Perhaps this is why there are no longer any comedy programmes on the idiot's lantern, most of the programmes being about cooking or holidays.
Where, for example, are series such as "The Two Ronnies"; "The Morecambe and Wise Show" "Till Death Do Us Part", and "Dad's Army"?
Back home from shopping - and oh the relief to be out of that hateful scrum, I did some more leaf clearance, which is always good exercise, far better than spending money to go on a treadmill in a health club. After lunch, having Lincolnshire sausages that have gone up by 3p for four, I had a long siesta, feeling that I have been over doing things lately, certainly having a lot of worries with things having gone wrong ,likely to have some stress if I do not ease up.
Mrs. Copeland went to the monthly quiz at the local Club this evening, but I stayed at home. not wanting to venture out on these cold and frosty evenings. In any event, I cannot abide quizzes, possibly because I have no idea of the ;latest offering of the Arctic Monkeys or in which century the English football team won the world cup. As many of the questions relate to programmes on the lantern, I am also at a great disadvantage, not having a clue about the latest celebrities. I therefore sat by the fireside all the evening, reading some more about the madness of Mao.
he "hit rate" on this diary continues to go down, even faster than the recession in this country, now down to 302. I can understand this, knowing that I say the same things every week - criticising working mothers; saying that the recession is, in reality, ever deepening; and complaining about all manner of things, Come the 31st December it may be time to go home, as Andy Pandy would have said..
SUNDAY 1 DECEMBER
I am enjoying "Tornado Down", describing two British pilots who were shot down during the liberation of Iraq, subsequently suffering immense cruelty as prisoners. Yet when one of our Marines shoots a Taliban prisoner who has probably helped to kill British soldiers in a cowardly attack, he is likely to be sentenced to a long period in prison. I suppose that makes sense to some people, probably showing that we have higher values.
I hope that December is going to be a better month for us, November having brought an awful time. We had a water leak our side of the boundary, for which I had to pay a £100 excess on my buildings insurance; yobs threw a stone at a rear window of Mrs. Copeland's new car, costing £75 for the replacement; the wine cooler packed up, costing £107 to be renewed; the hard drive failed on my laptop, necessitating a new one at £50; the personal scales would no longer work - but they were replaced free on the 15-year guarantee; and Mrs. Copeland's computer would not boot up. It is a wonder I remained so cheerful.
Amazingly, Mrs. Copeland's computer seems to be working again, so it was just as well that the computer engineer did not turn up on the appointed day, bad manners though that was. Some things, but not ,many, work out for the best.
Looking through my personal diary, which I keep in addition to this Internet one, I saw that I had submitted a statement back on the 20th August to the Inspectorate opposing the development of a modern building in our historic area, yet the issue has still not been decided. It seems a disgraceful length of time, taking nearly 4 months before a decision is reached, and causing the proposers a lot of unnecessary anxiety.
As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, the proposed house is a fine example of modern architecture with its clean lines and eco-efficiency, but as residents we unanimously regard the development as not being suitable for our back yard. All we ask is that there should be a house that is more in keeping and character with our unique surroundings.
It is nevertheless a difficult issue. Should we continue copying the old, or should we break out from these traditional restraints to present modern interpretations? I take the view that we should follow the pious examples of most European countries in protecting a historic area, insisting that any new development should blend in, whereas in a completely new development the modern should prevail. The worst period of all in this country was the 1960s, whose ghastly houses are still with us.
The new house proposed for our histroic area. We are now awaiting the result of the appeal made to the Inspectorate after the plan was unanimously rejcted by the Planning Committee of the local district council.
After breakfast an hour or so was spent on the computer, sending and reply to e-mails and sorting out some photographs for this week's diary entries. As I do not go very far these days, being too old to venture far from home, it is difficult to find sufficient photographs each week, often having to take photographs of the homestead and its surrounds.
I also spent some time checking the bank current account, finding that I had ended the month with just £36 credit, the lowest figure I have had for many years. Although the balance still represents Mr. Micawber's definition of financial happiness, there is no doubt that, as mentioned earlier, the galloping inflation is really beginning to affect me, necessitating further economies. The worst possible measure is to start withdrawing money from capital, which is really the slippery slope to financial disaster.
The Prime Minister has received criticism from the European Union over his plans to stop immigrants from receiving benefits as soon as they reach this country, the critics saying that this restriction will prevent mobility within the Union. Mr. Cameron is also receiving criticism from his own party in allowing so many Bulgarians and Romanians to come into this country, arguing that they should be kept out..
This massive and unchecked immigration and the ever rising cost of energy will undoubtedly be the two main issues at the general election in May of 2015, the Cameroons not having a very good record on either account. I have certainly changed my mind about the EU, for as Lord Keynes once said: "When circumstances change I change my mind. What do you do?" Having initially been a keen supporter, I now take the view that we should come out of the Union, principally to stop the endless immigration, and to avoid all the nonsense about human rights.
Labour does not seem to have any idea about immigration, and Miliband has stupidly said that he will put a freeze on energy prices for 20 months, which will mean massive increases on the 21st month, apparently you cannot legislate for an international market. Similarly, Labour does not seem to have any ideas about the economy, other than to spend lavishly.
To the Club at 3.30 p.m. for the usual Sabbath Day tipple. One of the members had left behind a copy of "The Sunday Telegraph", and looking at the business section - the only section of a newspaper that I ever look at - I saw that the Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting a 1,4% economic growth this year, while debt as a percentage of GDP will rise from 74.7% to 75.6% this year. This is rather like saying that a man spending more on his credit card is becoming wealthier. As it is, the Office has an appalling record for predicting economic growth, always over-estimating it.
The question that has to be asked about this supposed 1.4% growth is "What is it due to?" at a time when industrial production has risen only very slightly from a lowly base, while exports have fallen significantly. Presumably the answer is the housing bubble, now reaching alarming proportions, and taking us round the same vicious circle that led to the recent credit crunch. At the same time, it would be amazing if there was not some kind of stimulus to economic growth after the Bank of England has spend billions in quantitative easy (printing money) and having absurdly low interest rates.
This massive stimulus can be likening to push-starting a car that will not start on the battery. The vehicle is given a decisive push by friends as you sit inside, and after several yards of pushing the engine bursts into life, and you wave goodbye to your helping pushers, believing that all is well as you purr down the road shouting out "Toot! Toot" like Mr. Toad, when all of a sudden, a mile down the road, the car conks out completely, when you have to call out the AA, the economic equivalent of calling out the IMF and Angela Merkel for help when our economy runs into further trouble, probably in 2016.
Come 2015, when interest rates will have to be raised to burst the housing bubble, and to continue with the motor car analogy will be likened to a car whose head gasket has gone, meaning investment in a new vehicle.
After dinner, having enjoyed magnificent rump steak with a bottle of wine, the evening was spent reading some more of the book on that terrible man Mao Zedong who created such chaos with his hateful Communism. It is amazing that China ever managed to recover, yet today it is about to send a rocket into space..
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER
I was rather alarmed to read on the BBC News website that "Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, is testing unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos says. " Although it will probably speed up delivery, eliminating the snail-mail of Royal Mail, I cannot say I want drones landing in the back garden. Presumably they fly off again after tipping the books onto the grass.
As it is, I have decided not to buy any further books from Amazon, in future obtaining them from Waterstone's in Lincoln where the staff are very pleasant and helpful. I find it helpful to quickly look at a book when purchasing, something I cannot do with Amazon. Most of the poor books I have bought would have been quickly eliminated if I had seen them in advance. Besides, I think we should support local firms.
Surprise, surprise! There are now frightful worries that the housing bubble has become so big that it is completely out of control. What has happened is that the politicians have interfered in the property market, giving first-time buyers all manner of benefits, the result being that house prices have soared 6% this year, making these buyers worse off than ever. Do we laugh or do we cry, finding that everything the politicians touch, whether pensions, higher education, farming and welfare benefits they completely screw up. As my old grandfather used to say, the politicians bugger up everything they touch, and that statement is even truer today.
On the other hand, maybe it has to be admitted that the politicians are not completely bonkers, for there was a report in the newspapers today that they have raised the level of fuel poverty, thereby taking 800,000 out of the classification. Clever stuff, rather like the schools lowering their standards and then proclaiming that standards have greatly improved.
How wonderful it would be if the politicians and their civil servants all went off for a year, leaving us to our own devices. Within a few months economic growth would soar and we would all be better off, not having to succumb to loads of new and worthless legislation. It might even be said that a state of anarchy would be better than all the nonsense we have to endure from Parliament.
I am becoming increasingly concerned about a mole who is steadily tunnelling through our garden, making it look like an enactment of the First World War. He really is causing a lot of damage, but somehow I do not like to kill him, not having the enthusiasm of the littlegame hunters for slaughtering living things. Does anybody know how I can detract him, possibly pointing to the next-door garden?
Frost in the field behind our house.
During the morning I went to the bank to top up my current account, fearing that it was, as mentioned earlier, becoming rather low. In nearly 80 years I have never been in debt, except for a mortgage, and I do not intend to start borrowing now, such borrowing being a fool's paradise, as we are seeing with the UK economy. As I expected, the town was crowded with shoppers, presumably having a bonanza on their credit cards.
A supply of heating oil was delivered this afternoon, and on Wednesday I will be having a further supply of coal, as well as ordering another load of logs. The oil, coal and logs should therefore see me through the coming winter. The "Daily Express" in its traditional worthless weather forecasts, has predicted that we are in for a very severe winter, which means a remarkably mild one. Nevertheless, it is as well to be stocked up, just in case the newspaper in right, bearing in mind that a stopped clock is right twice a day.
A siesta in the afternoon, and then in the evening I read some more of "The Tragedy of Liberation", dealing with the Communist horrors of Mao Zedong. It makes grim reading, but maybe indicates the dangers we face today in dealing with such an unpleasant country that has no regard for the interests of its citizens. Mr. Cameron is, alas, wasting his time, in visiting and dealing with such horrible people.
TUESDAY 3 DECEMBER
I finished read "Tornado Down" yesterday, thoroughly enjoying the well-written book by the pilot and navigator who were shot down during the Iraqi war, subsequently facing brutal and cruel captivity. It is a wonder that they ever recovered from such severe and continued beatings, yet following their freedom they were flying again.
I have now started reading "The Good Soldiers" by the journalist David Finkel, published 2009 by Sarah Crichton books, regarded as being one of the best accounts of the Iraqi war. Initially, seeing that no hardback was available from Amazon, I bought the paperback, but the print was unbelievably tiny, horrible to read, that I asked Amazon to take it back. They refunded the money, telling me not to bother to send the book back.
Subsequently I found an American bookshop that had the hardback, so I duly wrote off for a second-hand copy, which arrived from the States in excellent condition, the cost being about £25. I always try to avoid paperbacks, finding them so unpleasant to read.
Residents in the area covered by the Christmas Market have no doubt been praying for heavy snow that cancelled the jamboree a few years back, but they will be unlucky, no snow being forecast for this week. However, their prayers may be answered by 70 mph gales that are forecast for this area with snow on Thursday and Friday, probably seeing tents flying in the wind, people singing: "I saw three tents go sailing by on Thursday night at the market."
Today's "Daily Express" warned that the gales would reach 90 mph. Maybe, though, this criticism of the market is a bit unkind, for women and children love the magic of the market. Such events are not for the likes of curmudgeonly old men, and surely we can put up with the no-go area for just four days a year.
No Premium Bond prize this month. If memory and my records serve me correctly, I have never won in December. It means that , I will have ended the year £35 lower than the top rate of a building society interest, only the second year in over twenty that this has happened. As I have found over the years, it is necessary to take the bonds out after 5 years, for they never seem to win after that period, whereas putting in the investment again brings immediate returns.
I decided today that I am going to enquire about having a log-burning stove put in instead of the living fire. With the arthritis in my knees, and the trouble with my spine and disc problems, I am finding it too much to hump in all the coal as well as the logs each day, whereas a log-burner would enable me to keep the fire in overnight, coming down to a warm room in the morning, instead of having a bitterly cold room that resembles a public school. My guess is that it will cost about £4,000. I will not recover this cost in my limited lifetime, but life will be a bit easier.
Back in September, my German owned electricity company, E-On (sometimes referred to E-Off during power cuts) installed one of the new smart meters. This meter tells me the daily and weekly consumption of electricity, but I cannot work out, unless I record each week, how much the quarterly bill will come to. In the past I only had to look at the readings on the meter. I gather that these meters are principally for the benefit of the company, for they give a transmitted reading from which the bill can be worked out. Advice: don't have one installed.
Autumn in the avenue of oaks at the bottom of our garden
I was alarmed to see the headline in today's "i" saying: "Full steam ahead: China to help UK build HS2." Dear, oh bloody dear! What an indignity, having to go cap-in-hand to a Communist country to ask them to make us a train. That, surely than anything, illustrates the decline of this country. As it is, I might be better if the billions developing the new network were spent on improving our roads, schools and hospitals before wasting on a project that few people will benefit from.
To add to our indignity, it seems, though, that the Chinese children are better at writing and arithmetic than those in this country, for according to the latest statistics presented on the BBC News website, "The UK fails to make the top 20 in any subject in international tests taken by 15-year-olds while Shanghai in China tops the league." The problem of schooling in this country is that there is insufficient quality control in our classrooms, not helped by irresponsible unions rejecting any kind of testing, even opposing the league tables that show under-performing schools. And we do not get rid of bad teachers, who can do immense harm to a child's learning
Apart from a brief visit to purchase petrol for the Scorpio and stocking up on items as I will not be able to go into Lincoln for four days from Thursday because of the nauseating Christmas Market, it was a day at home, cleaning carpets and doing some more leaf clearance, this time in front of the house. Most of the leaves are now off the trees, except for the oaks.
A siesta after lunch, and in the evening I read some more of "The Tragedy of Liberation". Not the most exciting of days, you might say, but I remain relatively cheerful, accepting that the fun and stimulus has gone out of retirement. giving way to a peaceful contentment. Nevertheless, there are times when I wish that something exciting and very pleasant could happen, though I have largely forgotten what exciting things are.
WEDNESDAY 4 DECEMBER
One of my friends sent me an e-mail today, purporting to come from Nigel Farage, the Ukip chappie. The rant, always supposing it is not a spoof, goes on for three pages, but among the highlights his belief "I believe in God and the freedom of religion, but I don't push it on others.
He also believes in British products, buying them whenever he can, presumably assuming they are available, and he tells is "This is ENGLAND.....We like it the way it is and even more so the way it was So stop trying to change it to look like some other socialist country!"
He gives the following advice to immigrants: "If you were born or legally migrated here and don't like it... You are free to move To any Socialist country that will have you.....We want our country back!.... I'm taking a stand. I'm standing up because of the millions who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the British flag."
He goes on: "Britons, stop giving away Your RIGHTS ! THIS IS OUR COUNTRY! This statement DOES NOT mean I'm against immigration ! YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legally:
1. Get a sponsor !
2. Learn the LANGUAGE, as immigrants have in the past!
3. Live by OUR rules ! Dress as we Britons Do
4. Get a job !
5. Pay YOUR Taxes !
6. No Social Security until you have earned it and paid for it !
7. Find a place to lay your head !"
I tend to agree with nearly every word, suggesting that I ought to vote for UKIP, though the party it has no chance of ever forming a Government, and is more than likely to split the Conservative vote with the result that we will end up with a Labour government. In any event it looks as if the Cameroons are committing political kamikaze by refusing to cut back the immoral earnings of the bankers, bonuses even being paid when there have been losses, and doing little to prevent the continuing rise of energy prices. Increasingly, they are being seen as the party of and for the rich, having no concern for the rest of the country.
At least it is good to see that the Christmas stamps this year have pictures of a mother and child, suggesting Mary with Jesus. Amazingly, the stamps have obviously been approved by the Muslim community, and we can be grateful that Mary is not coloured. Apparently, there are some Mickey Mouse stamps for other people.
I went to town to purchase the latest helicopter from the "Helicopter Magazine", now having to purchase the two models a month from W.H.Smith as the postal subscription was so utterly awful, still missing numbers 26 and 27. The models are superb representations, and make an interesting collection. The latest one - a Russian Kamov "Helix"- has six rotors, and these were exceedingly difficult to fix on. Spending about half an hour trying to fix them, I inadvertently knocked off the rocket launcher at the front, having to think how to replace it on a smooth service.
Eventually I used Isopan B38, propping up the very thin spindle to glue it in position, which was quite a difficult task. Nevertheless I greatly enjoy the challenge of these splendid models, for they are not easy to put together.
The latest model helicopter from "The Helicopter Magazine" - a Rusian Kamov Helix.
Over lunch Mrs. Copeland, who is about to start writing Christmas cards, was saying that the cards will probably die out when our generation has passed away, people henceforth using their iPads and other such devices to send the seasonal greetings, saving an immense amount in cards and stamps. Last year I sent some cards by e-mail, to I am already in the advance guard, so it seems.
It begins to look as if we are going to escape the 90 mph gales forecast for tomorrow by the Daily Express, which is usually wrong about everything, thank heavens, rather like the dreaded Daily Mail for the riffraff. It would not surprise me if newspapers also become a thing of the past, all the news, and up to date, being readily available on mobile telephones and iPads. Seeing the demise of national and local newspapers will be no great loss.
I finished reading "The Tragedy of Liberation" in the evening, having thoroughly enjoyed a splendidly written book about the horrors of Mao's hateful Communism in which everything and everybody was dragged down to the lowest common denominator - a leader who was probably even worse than Hitler and Stalin in the chaos and misery he caused. A start has been made on "Uncle Bill - the authorised biography of Field Marshal Viscount Slim" by Russell Miller, published this year by Weidenfeld & Nicolson at £25. Slim was probably the most loved and respected general in the British Army, there not being much love for the rest of them.
THURSDAY 5 DECEMBER
On the BBC News website I saw that, "The attorney general is to publish guidance on Twitter to help prevent social media users from committing a contempt of court by commenting inappropriately on criminal cases." In other words, more restrictions on free speech in this country. Meanwhile, in a further restriction, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, is about to rule that "people who attempt to spread extremist views should be treated like those who indulge in antisocial behaviour." Take care, Mr. Farage! With your views, not recognising that we are a happy and harmonious multicultural society and that immigrants are actually good for us, you could soon end up behind bars.
I am becoming more and more concerned about writing this diary, fearing expressing various opinions on current affairs, for it is now increasingly dangerous to present any opinion now that freedom of speech is being steadily eroded in this insignificant little country, any view running the danger of accusations of sexism, racism, ageism and any other "ism" the authorities can dream up. At my advanced age I cannot afford a hefty fine or imprisonment; it just isn't wroth the candle. It is all very frightening as we become a more intolerant nation in relentless decline.
I am therefore planning to have a break from the diary for the next three weeks, only putting in a weekly summary. This may be a prelude to giving up the diary completely in the New Year, not only on account of the dangers, but also because I am becoming tired of saying the same thing every week - and obviously readers are, too, the "hot-rate" now falling every week.
One of the old ladies in a retirement home that Mrs. Copeland visits each week gave her a little plastic card this week, headed "Life is not easy", saying that although troubles "keep on rushing in" [and how I realise that with all the troubles I had last month], "God is always there beside you...So put your hands in Gods [sic] hand, for He will help you through. He understands, loves and really cares about your life and you."
I wish so much that I could have such faith, for it must be very comforting, yet however hard I try I cannot accept the concept of a caring God, and I do not therefore believe in prayer. I do not mock in any way the people who have such faith; instead, I envy them, while fearing that when religion gets to this stage it loses touch with reality, becoming wishful thinking. I like to believe that I am a religious man, but there are limits to my belief, even doubting the wonderful story of Christmas.
The Chancellor announced today that the retirement age is going up to 68 years, and that those children now in school wilt have to work until they are seventy, all on account of the expense of keeping an ageing population. It is a misguided policy, resulting in fewer jobs being available for youngsters, and the dangers of keeping old people, long past their best, in some professions, especially doctors and consultants. Old people, subject to all manner of infirmities, make far too many mistakes, as this diary indicates so cogently.
Mist in the valley
There was a strong wind today, with some fierce bursts, but not nearly as bad as the gale force winds that were forecast for the Midlands, and than heavens for that. I gather, though, that Scotland had severe gales.
With neighbours, Mrs. Copeland was to have gone to meet a northern couple who lived in our community many years ago, having lunch with them at a pub in Doncaster. However, on account of the strong winds it was decided to cancel the meeting. As a result of the changed luncheon arrangements, I had to go in to Lincoln to purchase some ham, venturing out on the scooter, which proved to be a hair-raising experience, certainly with a good deal of turbulence that nearly knocked me across the road at one point.
Although the Christmas Market does not start until noon, there were scores of stewards in their yellow jackets all over the streets, their principal well-paid job being to guide the crowds and prevent motorists from going anywhere near the market. In the past, many of these stewards, enjoying their brief reign of power, have been most rude and unpleasant. No wonder the City Council loses money most years.
Belatedly reading our local newspaper yesterday evening, Mrs. Copeland saw an article headed "Thirty years of magical market is the envy of the world". How we laughed, for the Market is never mentioned in any of the recommendations in the national newspapers.
A load of coal was delivered this morning, With the oil delivered earlier in the week and another supply of logs that I will be ordering tomorrow, we should be fully set up on heating for the winter - at enormous cost.
This evening will be spent by the fireside, this having been a quiet week, not that I mind the peace and tranquillity at home at this time of year when the pubs and restaurants are full of workers celebrating the office party, wearing silly hats and blowing little bugles, a total madhouse. And everywhere is so crowded. How I wish that I could hibernate until about the 2nd January when the season of goodwill has to end.
Lincolnshire 5th December, 2013
Diary of a Septuagenarian
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