DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 14th October - Thursday 20th October, 2016
Logs burning and reading by the fireside, and a bottle of wine to hand - surely the height of all earthly felicity. How awful it must be to live in one of those eco houses, about as cosy and welcoming as a prison cell.
"Almost four in five people do not sit at a table for a meal every day".
Report in the current Waitrose weekly Newsletter, indicating the sad breakup of modern family life.
FRIDAY 14 OCTOBER
With a neighbour I greatly enjoyed watching two further episodes of "House of Cards". Afterwards we watched two episodes of "Till Death Do Us Part", and what a wonderful series that was full of home-grown truths, days when there were no restrictions on free speech that we now have to endure in our politically correct society in which no man can so much as dare to look at a woman for fear of bringing forth accusations of sexism. Not a very nice world these days, you might say.
Mrs. Copeland, down in Essex with her mother for a couple of days, had to watch the idiot's lantern with her yesterday evening. Oh, the misery of television, all the programmes dumbed down for an unintelligent audience - programmes such as baking cakes and strict dancing, not to mention that sleazy and abhorrent "Big Brother" on the workers' channel - absolute rubbish. What always amazes me is how anybody, even the daftest uncultured individual, can watch commercial television, all the programmes being broken up every 15 minutes or so by nauseating advertisements that seem to be aimed at putting you off the product. Watching any film or play is ruined by these intrusive and intensive, all-too frequent advertisements.
I cannot begin to express how much I loathe television, making me so thankful that, being over the age of 75 years, I do not have to pay the £146 licence to watch all the rubbish. I only need to look at the programme schedules each day to see all the dreadful stuff that is being presented. If I had to pay the licence I would give the lantern to charity, buying home cinema equipment instead.
The island of La Gomera, where daughter Caroline and her husband have been on holiday. My days of travelling abroad have ended, my passport now expired, meaning that I will never again have to go on those ghastly cruises.
More women have come forth to say that Mr. Trump had fondled them, one beauty queen contestant shown in a photograph in a swimming costume (and how undignified is that for a woman, presenting themselves as a sex object?) saying that he "continuously grabbed my ass", which presumably must have made walking somewhat difficult for her. The question might possibly be asked why these women, some of them possibly a little bit loose and having egged him on at the time, did not make complaints at the time of the alleged offences.
If he had raped the women it would be a very serious business indeed, but I cannot believe he is the first man to have groped a woman, even though it is a silly thing to do, never knowing where they have been. In my days a sharp slap would have been administered, not dragging up the issue 15 years later. But then the sexual climate has drastically changed over the years. women nowadays singing from a very different hymnbook. Consequently, a man who gives a woman an appreciative wolf whistle can be in real trouble with accusations of sexism.
My doctor had arranged a further session at the Physiotherapy Department at the County Hospital, and today at 10 a.m. I duly attended the session. The very helpful female physiotherapist examined my two arthritic knees, and paid special attention to my still swollen right leg. She said there was evidence of muscle weakness, but she was more concerned about the extensive veins at the back of the leg, saying that I ought to have a scan, which I would have to arrange with my doctor. Oh, dear: the agonies of old age. They keep us old codgers alive, but most of us are not firing on all four cylinders. In this latest problem there are worries about a blood clot developing, which could finish me off. As they say, old age is not for sissies.
As Mrs. Copeland was not scheduled to arrive home until 5.15 p.m., I decided I would meet daughter Kate on my own at a cafe during her lunch break (Mrs. C usually comes with me), which I duly did, having a pleasant time in a cafe, though the menu is somewhat limited, meaning that I had two rounds of toast. Sadly the cafe was not licensed, so I went without drink, not being able to stand lemonade.
The new restrictive laws on contributions to the Internet, involving Facebooks, Twitter, blogs and diaries, which came into effect on the 10th October this year, had Mrs. Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, saying as quoted on the BBC news website: "The Internet's not an anonymous place where people can post without any consequences. People should think about their own conduct. If you are grossly abusive to people, if you are bullying or harassing people online, then we will prosecute in the same way as if you did it offline."
I gather that Boris Johnson, having been Foreign Secretary for only a few months, has already managed to upset the Russians who are supporting Assad as the official leader of Syria, whereas we and the Americans are apparently supporting the insurgents, including a large contingent of Isis. Our Boris, very unwisely and shamefully, not to say childishly, has advised people to protest outside the Russian Embassy in London about the Russian bombing of Aleppo. I really thought that our Boris would behave more responsibly in his new post, for he is a clever man.
Mrs. Copeland arrived home about 5.30 p.m. Then, in the evening she went with an elderly female neighbour to a ballet production in Lincoln. I am not at all keen on such events, not enjoying seeing men throwing women up the air, though I suppose Mr. Trump would like that kind of thing. As it was, this was a performance of modern dance, described in a write-up as "Developed with Martial arts experts and contemporary dancers in China, 'A Thread' brings to life the geometry of the physicality of the performance." You cannot get more pseudish than that, and not surprisingly Mrs. C. could not make head nor tail of the odd performance, but then that was the intention.
I heard on a news bulletin during the day that Calamity Carney, the much-criticised Governor of the Bank of England, especially for his political bias during the referendum, has warned that the plummeting £ will cause inflation. Well I never did: who would ever have thought of that, as my old granny would have said. Perhaps the Governor will also eventually realise that his intention to lower interest rates even forcing them close to zero, will cause even more inflation with his deliberate devaluation. Dear, oh dear! It could be said that it was a terrible mistake to create an independent central bank, divorcing it from the Government's economic policies.
To be fair, though, the Governor is in a hopeless position with our unbalanced and unhealthy economy. If he lowers interest rates the £ will fall continue to fall sharply, while indebted consumerism and the property market will spiral out of control. If, on the other hand, he raises interest rates, thereby strengthening the £ and cutting down on a debt-ridden economy, he will eclipse our export trade. A no-win situation, you might say. The overall need in this country is to improve the appalling productivity, rather than fiddle around with interest rates, but then how do you do that with such a lazy workforce, only the immigrants being willing to work hard for knockdown wages?
SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER
Tom Winnifrith in his latest column entry assures us that "Hilary Clinton's lead is tiny and shrinking - the polls are just wrong...It is still very much a contest which Trump can still win". Right from the start of the campaign Mr. Winnifrith has predicted that Mr. Trump would win. Meanwhile, the BBC, which at times is accused of left-wing bias, seems to be greatly in favour of that woman in the Presidential campaign, saying that Mr. Trump's election campaign has "gone down the drain," principally on account of the problems he has had (and probably still has) with women, not showing them the necessary respect.
In today's "i" there was an extremely offensive article by Janet Street-Porter, saying that the escaped gorilla from the London Zoo was recaptured, but Mr. Trump is still at large. A somewhat silly and highly offensive, juvenile polemic, the kind of things teenagers say, believing they are clever and funny.
Instead of concentrating on Mr. Trump's sexual shenanigans 16 years ago, it might be better if his critics, especially Ms Porter, examined the respective economic and foreign policies of the two Presidential candidates: one who aims to improve the US economy and establish cordial relations with America and this country while rightly backing Assad in Syria; and the other with an appalling foreign policy record who is opposed to Russia and the UK, disgracefully warning us when crudely meddling in the referendum debate that we would go to the back of the trade queue if we leave the EU.
The excellent Patrick Cockburn, one of the few journalists left "on the ground" who understands the problems in the Middle East, has his "Diplomacy" column in today's "i" headed "US allies are funding Isis - and Hillary Clinton knew it", the point being made that she would not admit in a destroyed memo that the US government knew "Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies were supporting Isis and al-Quaeda movements", the US not wanting to upset Saudi Arabia. America certainly seems to be a very strange country
Although Ms. Porter's views could be seen as being very offensive, juvenile and misguided, it seems that some men can be equally ill-informed. In today's "Times" Matthew Parris suggests in his over-the-top analysis that the decision to leave the European Union must rank as "the biggest mistake since Suez". The fact is that it is far too early to make any such premature judgements about Brexit; indeed, such a decision cannot be made until this time next year, when we will see the level of economic growth and the state of £, and how exports and consumer indebtedness are faring.
Unfortunately. it seems that there is no understanding among the Remoaners that the British people voted by a decent margin of 4% to leave an undemocratic Union, "fed up" with being dominated by a country we had to fight against twice in the last century; tired of being forced to accept useless and restrictive legislative measures from Brussels that made our lives - and our industries - very difficult; and not wanting to have our cities flooded with uncontrolled numbers of immigrants. We wanted to decide our own affairs, not having to kow-tow to Mrs. Merkel and that man Hollande, the 23rd June henceforth being known as "Independence Day" in this freed country.
Meanwhile, it was reported in today's "i", contradicting the nonsense of the Remoaners, that "One of the world's biggest banks [the Dutch banking giant ING] is moving traders from Europe to London in a huge vote of confidence in the City and the wider UK economy". So much for all that Reomoaning nonsense that all our banks would move to Europe after Brexit. When will the Remoaners stop being such bad losers. That kind of miserable behaviour is very un-British.
Splendid building along Steep Hill, Lincoln. The City has many architectural gems, but thankfully the national press knows nothing about them.
Although I stayed at home all day, Saturdays not being a time for gentle geriatric folk to be out, Mrs. Copeland went to Waitrose for the week's provisions, though she went to Aldi for the wine, the wine being so expensive at Waitrose unless on offer. Much to my delight she managed to buy some more bottles of the superb South Eastern Australian Chadonnay "Kooliburra Reserve" 13% volume, obtainable from Aldi at £3.89. It is one of the best wines I have had for a long time, and I can thoroughly recommend it.
The littlegame hunters were out in the village this morning with their popguns, taking such pleasure in murdering defenceless creatures. How I wish the pheasants could shoot back, for that really would be a fine sport, seeing the blood-sportsmen writhing in pain on the ground, being picked up by one of their doggies.
Somehow I do not think I am a true countryman, essentially being a townie at heart. With the hunting, fishing, shooting and snaring, all undertaken in the name of fun, I find it difficult to accept the cruelty, especially as the Countryside Alliance apparently believes in its feudal mantra that being cruel to animals is a countryside right. It isn't in my book.
Unfortunately, Mrs. May, who seems to becoming Mrs. Maynot, as hesitant as the previous occupant of No. 10, is about to allow a free vote in Parliament on the hunting with hounds legislation that now mercifully bans the savage cruelty of persecuting a fox for hours, not that many of the redcoated rascals take any notice of the ban, believing they are above the law, being backed up by friendly magistrates in rare cases of being brought to court "You really ought to stop all that huntin' foxes, Rodders. I can't keep bailing you out".
The Parliamentary debate on the bloodsport seems to be a vitally important subject in this country, in all probability taking precedence over one on the state of the economy or the NHS. Fortunately, the Labour Party, the SNP and the more intelligent Conservative M.Ps. will ensure that there is no repeal of the legislation.
I also begin to worry whether Mrs. May will actually take us fully out of Europe, obviously worried about the divisive ranks in her troubled party. The sensible thing to do would be to have a general election, especially now that Labour is in a really fine mess, having become totally unelectable, some of the latest members of the Shadow Cabinet hardly appealing to the British electorate.
There has been an uproar, principally from "Women's groups", about a footballer having been acquitted of raping a woman in a hotel bedroom. According to press reports, the court took the unusual step of allowing the woman's previous sexual escapades to be presented in evidence by the defence. As with court cases of robbery, previous convictions are not usually allowed as such evidence. Call me old fashioned, but I find this difficult to accept, for surely previous convictions and behaviour are very relevant to the present case, but then there are probably issues I do not understand, indeed, I have never been able to understand English law that seems to be based largely on the quality of one's coat.
Apart from doing some carpet cleaning and polishing the Scorpio, it was a fairly relaxed day, my productivity being almost as low as that of a British worker. I am beginning to consider the possibility of disposing of the Scorpio, for the cost no longer seems to make any kind of sense, especially as I only travelled 386 miles during the past 12 months. The insurance is due at the end of December, likely to be about £320; the Road Fund licence is £235; and the MOT £55; the total cost amounting to £610. I think I may keep it just one more year. Meanwhile, I have been offered £1,000, well above the market value. I gather that the 2,300 cc Cotsworth engine is regarded quite highly for fitting into hotted up cars that boyracers like.
In a magazine I was reading about the nonsense that nutritionists and dieticians peddle - men and women who pontificate upon what we should eat and not eat, yet few of them seem to have any medical training, anybody being able to set up as a dietician or nutritionist. According to one of the fraternity breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and something more substantial than a banana should be gobbled up. When eating out, there is a need to opt for less fat, more vegetables, pulses and lentils and watch the calories. You also need more fruit, dairy and fluids (six to eight glasses)".
What an utter load of cobblers, not having an ounce of medical evidence or back-up. Indeed, some of the recommended diets have been judged to be harmful, making the food intake unbalanced and unhealthy. All that needs to be done is to eat in moderation what you like, having regular meals, preferably at the table with the rest of the family, instead of snacking, cutting down on food intake when you need to lose weight.
The evening was spent by the wonderful fireside, reading some more of the book "Hitler's Compromises". In one of the chapters the author maintains that the German Protestant Church readily accepted the Nazi regime, whereas some of the brave Catholic bishops mounted a protest against the terrible party, only for some of them to end in prison, put there by the Gestapo. We should perhaps remember that most Germans fully supported Hitler in the early stages, applauding his military victories, though in 1945 they were not quite so keen.
I found it interesting that yet another episode of "Dad's Army" was shown on BBC2 at the peak period of 8.30 this evening on the idiot's lantern, obviously reflecting the complete lack of humour these days, all the old comedy programmes having to be endlessly repeated. I suppose the answer is that the lantern has seen better days, and will probably not be watched at all by future generations who will prefer playing on the mobile telephones and iPads, and who can blame them.
SUNDAY 16 OCTOBER
It was pouring with rain yet again today, not unlike a monsoon, the temperature only 10 C, and goodness knows what it was in Scotland. We may be short of money and manufacturing output in this country, but we have enough water to supply half of Europe if we set up another Pluto. I had intended sweeping up the leaves in the garden, but thankfully this foul weather stopped that tiresome activity. Because of my ever worsening arthritis, not to mention my swollen right leg, I will be employing the services of a gardener for leaf clearance in the weeks ahead,
It saddens me that I am now unable to undertake any manual/physical work these days, ending up with awful pain in my arthritic knees if I do any such work. I suppose, though, that I should be thankful that I am still here at the age of 82 years. So many of my friends, especially those who ate so-called healthy food and exercised every day, departed around the age of 75, which seems to be the high tide. If you survive that age , you can expect to go on living into the 80s, always providing you take no heed of those dieticians and nutritionists.
I spent much of the morning setting up the web editor for this week's diary. One of the problems I have, not going very far these days, is finding 8 photographs each week for the diary, meaning that I put in far too many of the avenue of oaks and the horrible eco house in our spoilt community. As one reader commented: "Splendid photographs; pity about the text". Fortuitously, daughter Caroline sent me some photographs of the island of La Gomera, where she is now on holiday with her husband, and readers have sent me old photographs to brighten up the diary entries, which I greatly appreciate.
The last known photograph of Hitler. Photograph sent to me by a reader.
At 4 o'clock Mrs. C and I went to the local Club for the Sabbath Day alcoholic refreshment. Last week at the Club there was an unpleasant altercation in which an elderly lady member angrily complained to parents who were allowing their three young children, all under the age of 10 years, to run around the tables and rushing in and out of the door, the parents presumably making no attempt to control their understandable boisterous behaviour. I readily backed up the angry lady, saying she was fully justified in her complaint, and I subsequently wrote to the Club Secretary to ask that the offending parents be politely asked to control their children in future. I did not think this was unreasonable. It is said, though sometimes denied, that Sartre pointed out that "Hell is other people". He should have said: "Hell is other people's young children (and other people's holiday snaps)."
When we went to the Club this afternoon I wondered whether the aforesaid parents would come in with their children. Indeed, I had a bet for £1 with Mrs. C. who wagered that they would not come, whereas I believed that pride would understandably have them returning. In the event I won the bet. The parents came in with the husband's mother, no doubt known as "Nanna", who took the three children to a far corner of the room and looked after them, ensuring that they behaved throughout the session. This was an ideal arrangement, obviously showing concern for other members, and I appreciated this after last week's rumpus.
The affair, not surprisingly, has somewhat polarised opinions in the Club. Younger members who have probably read child-guidance books and who know something about Cognitive Growth Syndrome (CGS) in the quackery of psychology - that children as they get older get bigger, believe that there is nothing wrong with free-range children, thereby enabling them to express themselves , whereas my generation, having had discipline and been taught to consider other people - something known as manners, believe that children should be controlled - "seen and not heard", especially in public.
hildren under the age of 14 years were not allowed in licensed clubs and pubs in my days, and in the early days of the Club, when it was a true Working Men's Club, enabling the farm workers on the estate to escape from domesticity after the long hours of work, women were not encouraged, only being allowed in with their husbands, and were not allowed to vote at any of the meetings. How social conditions have changed over the years, now having women bringing in their children to the sessions.
The problem today is that so many children know no discipline at home, many of the toddlers and infants being dumped all day in bootie camps, something known as nurseries. Invariably and not surprisingly, these free-range children, allowed to do as they please, are often badly behaved in school, making life impossibly difficult for teachers in the classroom, there being no punishments that can be enforced in today's excessively liberal society. "Spare the rod and spoil the child" was the wise mantra in my young days, and at that time the public schools whipped their charges without mercy, bringing young men up to love the empire and respect the monarchy, as well as the police, possibly God as well.
Much to my disappointment, I do not enjoy going to the Club so much these days, finding that it is not the welcoming and friendly place it has been in the past, even more socially divisive with the young contingent at one end of the bar, and the oldies, including me, at the other. There is no doubt that the fracas on that Sunday, when parents were reprimanded for not controlling their children, quite upset me, the Club seeming as if it is becoming a glorified crèche. I realise, of course, that I am at fault: that my grumpy geriatric generation is not all that keen on other people's children, and that the Club is quite right in attracting young families as they represent the continuation and future of the Club.
I suppose it is a realisation that my generation is on the way out, and that there are few people of my old age to talk to. I begin to think, therefore, that I will not go so much in future: "To all things there is a season....." spending Sunday afternoons making up a kit of a Lancaster bomber that I intend to order from Amazon, though Mrs. C. will probably continue to go on her own. All a bit sad in a way.
Yesterday about noon I ordered two further "Till Death Us Do Part" DVDs from Amazon, a neighbour and I thoroughly enjoying the series during our Thursday film evenings. To my amazement, the DVDs were delivered by a courier at 2 p.m. today. A wonderful service that knocks Royal Mail into a cocked hat, but then the Mail mainly delivers mail-order catalogues and charity appeals, all of which go straight into the recycling bin at our house.
What I can never understand - not that I can comprehend much these days, is that Amazon can offer a free next-day service, whereas those mail-order firms say "allow 28 days for delivery", and you pay a fortune in postage. I never use the mail-order firms now, having found in the past that so many of them sell useless and badly made Chinese manufactured items, most of which have to be returned.
I was not surprised to read in the latest weekly Waitrose "Weekend" that "four in five people do not sit at a table for a meal every day". This, of course, is all part of the break-up of modern family life. In earlier times, parents and their children having a meal together was a civilised time, reinforcing family values, but such pleasantries are no longer accepted, the words "thank you" and "excuse me" seldom being heard nowadays. I even understand that some of the lower orders watch the idiot's lantern while having a meal - a most disgusting practice.
The Club is having an "Halloween Disco", complete with pumpkins, toffee apples, and pop music on the 29th October, encouraging children to attend the juvenile proceedings. Much to my relief, Mrs. Copeland and some female neighbours will be going to the Venue cinema that evening to see the film about somebody's baby - the sort of subject women like, so I will not therefore be pressurised into going to the noisy event that would be most unsuitable for a grumbling geriatric graduate. Sometimes I think that I lead a charmed life, not even having to go on cruises. It is nevertheless good to see that these monthly events are being organised, for they represent the backbone of the Club's finances, the Club's Management Committee working hard to restore the Club to a firm financial footing.
The Club, having mended a broken projector system, will be starting to show films again, "Blind Side" being put on this coming Saturday. The chairman has said that he wants films of universal appeal so that children can also attend, not having the grim, thought-provoking films I showed years ago when I ran the Film Society. My tastes are obviously not those of a younger generation, which hardly seems surprising. Ne'rtheless, I wish the showings well, even though I would not want to attend films when there are children present, not liking films with the "U" classification.
After a dinner of duck, we sat by the wonderful fireside in the evening, but I fell fast asleep, possibly having had rather too many glasses of wine at the Club. It was not until about 10.30 p.m that I woke up and started reading some more of the complicated book "Hitler's Compromises", finding it a bit hard going and somewhat repetitive at times.
In one of the chapters the author mentions that Hitler's aversion to conscripting women into the armed forces was based on his ideology that "the woman's place was in the home as a mother and provider of stable shelter and for the recovery for her husband." What an old-fashioned concept that seems today, when our broken and disruptive families do not even have meals together, not to mention all the divorces that do so much harm to children.
MONDAY 17 OCTOBER
On the BBC news website I saw that Mrs. Clinton's lead in a latest opinion poll had fallen from 11% to 8%, so there is still the likelihood that she will be defeated, as Mr. Tom Winnifrith has repeatedly predicted in his fascinating column. Right from the start our Tom has predicted that Clinton would not win, and I cannot believe he can be so wrong, but then maybe that is wishful thinking on my part. It would not surprise me if, during the next fortnight, there is some dramatic happening or revelation that will sink the Democratic campaign without trace, though maybe that is wishful thinking on my part.
liked the e-mail I received today - one of the delights I have in writing this lugubrious diary. The quick quips of the English can never be beaten:
In a train from London to Manchester, an American was berating the Englishman sitting across from him in the compartment about Britain leaving Europe.
"The trouble with you English is that you are too stuffy. You set yourselves apart too much and it is going to be worse now you are leaving the EU. You think your stiff upper lip makes you above the rest of us.
Look at me . . . . . I'm an 'all round' me! I have a little Italian in me, a bit of Greek blood, a little Irish and some Spanish blood. What do you say to that?"
The Englishman lowered his newspaper, looks over his glasses and replied: "How terribly sporting of your mother!"
Hitler inspecting the massive 800mm “Schwerer Gustav” railway gun –the largest-caliber rifled weapon ever used in combat (1942).
I was saddened to read in today's "i" the comments of the Chief Inspector of Schools who, in what would appear to be a possible left-wing bias, has opposed Mrs. May's decision to bring back grammar schools, arguing that they are "socially divisive." Of course they are, just as all of us are socially divided on account of varying degrees of intelligence, birth, aspirations and jobs.
He also argues that grammar schools "will lower standards", which is a proven nonsense, the grammar schools representing our one and only hope of forcing our schools, now well down in the international league, up to a reasonable standard. Middle class parents with aspirations for their children will no doubt welcome the new grammar schools, though maybe some may not be so pleased if their boy (or girl, as we have to add these days), who was hoping to be brain surgeon, isn't accepted. Although there are some excellent comprehensive schools, some of the sink ones drag everybody down to the lowest common denominator, are a hallowed policy of Labour that hates anything to do with excellence and elitism.
When I had a physiotherapy session last Friday, the excellent and caring physiotherapist indicated that I might have vein problems in my swollen right leg, possibly having a risk of a blot clot. She therefore suggested that I should contact my doctor with a view to arranging a scan. I duly went in to the surgery, but was told that the earliest appointment I could have would be the 26th October, though I was told that if I telephoned between 8-9 a.m. on Monday, an earlier appointment might be made.
Alas, when I telephoned about 8.30 this morning I could not get through, despite having tried several times, on each occasion hearing a recorded message saying that another patient was being attended to. I therefore sent a fax, fortunately still having this useful facility. As I so frequently mention, the telephone seems to be no longer any use for contacting big business, local authorities, the banks and doctors, the lines either engaged or you have to go through endless menus, especially with BT, having to write instead. Fortunately, the surgery telephoned me about 5 p.m. to make an earlier appointment.
During the morning I went in to town to withdraw some money from the bank. On the way home on the scooter I saw a notice in the rear window of a car saying: "Cheeky monkeys on board". Presumably this is to warn other road users that the driver is of limited intelligence, probably also having one of those dollies hanging on the rear mirror, so beloved by the hoi polloi.
An elderly neighbouring couple are leaving us next month, and there is always the fear that the charming couple will be replaced by an uneducated and unpleasant couple owning a campervan,a massive idiot's lantern and a fierce and dangerous Alsation dog as well - the kind of neighbours everybody dreads.
After lunch I began by making a start on clearing the fallen beech nuts and leaves in the garden , soon finding that the exercise was immensely painful for the arthritis I have in both knees - and for the swollen leg. There is no doubt that I will have to employ a gardener in future who charges a very reasonable £10 an hour plus VAT (Vino Added Tax). Mercifully my labours were interrupted by the return of the monsoon that brings heavy rain every day, giving me a 15-minute break. What a miserable climate - having become so much worse with Brexit, the Removers no doubt telling us that it is likely to become even worse if we really do fully leave the circus.
Fortunately, I was able to put my aching feet up in the evening, sitting by the splendid fireside - and what a delight that is. I finished reading "Hitler's Compromises", in which the author makes the point that the RAF and American Air Force bombing caused immense disruption and distress to civilians, having their homes destroyed and venting their homeless anger against Hitler for being unable to defend them. The point is made by other modern historians that Germany had to deploy massive resources to defend the aerial attacks - resources that could have been used at the troubled Russian front.
In the past many historians, pointing to Germany having managed to maintain armament production, even increasing it at the height of the bombing, have argued that "Bomber" Harris did not achieve very much, but now modern historians are gradually realising the effectiveness of the bombing in which 55,000 of our aircrew died - brave men who deaths were not in vain.
I have made a start on "Lusitania - The cultural history of a catastrophe" by Willi Jasper, published this year by Yale University Press. The author, in writing about the cultural backgrounds of the respective warring nations, Germany believing in the Prussian concept of the glories of warfare , while the British supposing to have higher moral vales, even though they were deplored as a "nation of shopkeepers".
The point is made that "It is no less true of the First World War in general that history is always viewed from the standpoint of the present. Our perception and assessment of historical events are a rule coloured by national beliefs." I suppose he could also argued that history is always written by the victors, making me wonder how the Germans review their 20th century history.
TUESDAY 18 OCTOBER
At 12.15 p.m. I set off on the scooter, the early morning monsoon having stopped, to join the Retired Gentlemen's Club at the delightful pub "The Dambusters" in the village of Scampton, from where the famed "Dambusters" raided German dams, sadly losing many lives and Lancasters in the raid, and that although successfully breaking one of the dams, it was quickly repaired by the Germans using slave labour.
The gathering, which had only six members of the Club present, was most en enjoyable, six being about the right number as we could all talk together, instead of breaking up into groups with a larger number. As there was a retired consultant and doctor present, I asked them about the defribillator that the Parish Council was proposing to purchase and put on a wall outside the local Club for the benefit of the villagers who suffered heart attacks. I was told in no uncertain times that the time elapse between the apparatus and its usage would be too excessive, not to exceed 4 minutes, making the appliance useless. It would only be beneficial to members present inside the Club, though of course that could be an advantage.
At the gathering I was told by one of the members that our local Club had apparently decided that the Sunday afternoon session that Mrs. Copeland and I attend was to become a "family session", when families with their young children would be invited to come to the Club. As mentioned earlier, I can see that this makes sense, thereby ensuring the future of the Club, but it is not a session for me and I will not be attending any more. One of the men present at our gathering said he had similar views, apparently not wanting to attend a glorified Crete.
As in the past, we decided not to have a session with the ladies as a Christmas gathering, There would be all manner of complaints about the food, the setting, and the conversation, so it is better than we remain on our own. The motion to have a ladies session was encouragingly defeated by 4 votes to 1 and 1 abstention. Oh, that the American Presidential election could be so decided.
During the session I mentioned to the gathering that there was likely to be a vacancy on the Parish Council in the near future. To my delight, one of the highly intelligent and cultured members said that he would be willing to join, so we may be able to co-opt him The worry is that a very uncouth and unpleasant, loudmouthed individual is also interested in joining the Council, and his presence at the meetings would be a disaster.
The Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife on the day they were murdered by Gavrilo Princip, the assassination starting the First World War.
A siesta on returning home, and in the evening, sitting by the fireside, I read some more of the sinking of the Lusitania. A grim business, the U-boat commander responsible for the massive loss of lives expressing no regret. Maybe, though, it should be remembered that Paul Tebbits, the pilot of "Enola Gay" that dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, is reputed to have said in his retirement that he had no regrets; indeed, he would be prepared to go back again. That's dedication for you!
Before going to bed I saw on the excellent BBC news website that Mrs. May may allow a vote on Brexit after all: "Downing Street has said it is very likely MPs will be able to vote on the final Brexit agreement reached between the UK and the European Union." Last month Mrs. May was insisting that there would be no vote, now there is to be one. Alas, I really thought that Mrs. May was a tough lady, but alas she seems to becoming Mrs. Maynot. I often wonder about female leading politicians. especially when I thing of Thatcther the Terrible, Mrs. Merkel, and that woman in America, but then perhaps this is male prejudice, bitter that men have become emasculated in recent years.
WEDNESDAY 19 OCTOBER
Mrs. Copeland went to the Village Ladies Luncheon Club this morning, while I invited a friend to join me for a baguette and wine, the bread being obtained on a visit to Waitrose (most of the tills were "down", having a technical fault), making for a pleasant occasion when we disagreed on nearly everything, reminding me of Dr. Johnson's comment: "When Garrick agrees with me I feel I must be wrong."
It seems that Mr. Tom Winnifrith, whose Internet column I greatly enjoy, is going to be totally wrong about his assurance that Mr. Trump would win the Presidential election, the press here and in America now saying that he stands a cat in hell's chance of becoming President, all as a result of sexual groping a decade or so ago.
Meanwhile, it was reported in today's "i" that Mra. Clinton has been in further trouble relating to sensitive e-mails she tried to conceal during her period as Secretary of State. In this latest instance she is accused of trying to hide a "sensitive a -mail related to an attack on the US compound in Benghazi , Libya, in 2012." Then on an Internet sitehttp://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-17/hillarys-war-drums-confirm-putins-fears-world-rushing-irreversibly-towards-nuclear-s there is a warning, albeit somewhat exaggerated perhaps, that her bitter relations with Russia could start a serious conflict.
The real worry is that that woman, having absolutely no understanding of foreign affairs, as she cogently and clearly showed in Libya and Syria, backing the wrong horses, could lead to serious trouble with Russia, Mr. Putin being able to make rings round her. At least Mr. Trump for all his groping, wants to establish friendly relations with Russia, and has said that he will welcome trade with this country.
On the BBC News website I saw that Mrs. May has fudged another decision, this time on the Heathrow airport, kicking a decision into the long grass. Oh dear: what a disappointment she is becoming.
To my disgust, I also saw that magistrates were criticised for being "too old and white", but then under the new terms of restriction of free speech on the Internet I must not comment on such an issue, my thoughts obviously being far too old fashioned and out of alignment in our happy and harmonious multicultural society. All I can say is that the main criticism of magistrates that I have is that they are far too soft on sentencing criminals. It might not be a bad idea to bring back the stocks in the High Street, and just think how well public hangings would go down on the idiot's lantern, even more popular than the moronic "Big Brother" .
I was delighted to read in the "i" this week a news item saying: "Forget e-readers, books are back. High Street Stalwart W.H.Smith is expecting a strong Christmas for book sales as customers continue to turn their backs o e-readers." Can you imagine anything more awful, other than uncontrolled children rushing around a room, than sitting by a log-burning fireside reading one of those ghastly appliances. They make a mockery of the delights of reading a virgin hardback.
SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. With Mrs. Copeland I went to the excellent "Venue" to see the film "Anthropoid", based on the assassination of Heydrich on the 27th May, 1942.
In the evening Mrs. Copeland and I went to the excellent "Venue" in Lincoln to see the film "Anthropoid" that deals with the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the brutal SS leader who enthusiastically carried out Hitler's mission to rid Germany of Jews. I was rather worried that the film would have subtitles, which I cannot abide; indeed, I do not want to go to films with such impediments. Much to my relief and joy it is in English, so we will be able to go and see the film at the t Venue, where we can have wine before the start of the film - a greatly appreciated facility. There is also free parking, and the tiered seats are far better and more comfortable than those at the Odeon.
As a child, Reinhard Heydrich lived in a cultured environment. His father was a composer of music, while his mother gave piano lessons. Despite living in such an agreeable middle-class family setting, Heydrich turned extremely nasty in his adult days, enthusiastically carrying out Hitler's mission to rid Germany of Jews as a leading SS officer. The film deals with the story of "Operation Anthropoid", the WWII mission to assassinate him on the 27th May 1942.
The assassination, which was almost bungled, resulted in ruthless reprisals in the village of Lidice that was destroyed, all the males 16 years old and older being shot, children gassed to death, and women sent to camps. It makes you wonder whether the assassination was worth it, especially as there were scores of other brutal Nazis who could and would have willingly replaced Heydrich.
The film makes you realise what a cruel and brutal race the Germans have been, despite being a very cultured nation. This is why so many of us voted to leave the European Union, not wanting to be dominated by Germany or the perfidious French - and that is not racism on our part, but wanting to control our own affairs, not being weighed down by all that senseless legislation from Brussels. I therefore just hope that I live to see our complete withdrawal in 2019, when there will be street parties and celebratory bonfires all around the country to celebrate our freedom.
We have the inventive genius and technical know-how in this country, and providing we can persuade our captains of industry to invest in their undertakings instead of giving themselves enormous bonuses for inefficiency, and make the workers work harder, we could put the Great back into Britain. "Hopefully", Mr. Carney will eventually realise the error of his interest rate policies and the failure of quantitative easing, most of it ending up in the pockets of speculators.
THURSDAY 20 OCTOBER
After breakfast I watched video clips on the BBC News website of the third debate between the two appalling Presidential candidates, and what a dreadful juvenile debate it was, more of a slanging match among two thickheads than a discussion on the serious issues facing America.
As I keep repeating, the worry with that horrible woman, whose family is not exactly an example of moral rectitude, her husband understandably seeking the succour of other women, is that she has absolutely no understanding of foreign policy, likely to see even more estranged relations with Russia, while being no friend of this country she has threatened that she will send our trade to the back of the queue. God help America whoever wins, especially that woman.
At 10 a.m. I attended a scheduled appointment with my doctor - a young and attractive Indian lady, who examined my swollen leg, saying that it was the knee that was mainly swollen. She said that she would arrange for a scan. I was so thankful that she did not say that I needed a blood test, for I loathe those tests, refusing to have them as they would at my advanced age only find all manner of things wrong, most of which could not be cured, making me feel even more depressed than if that woman becomes President, which now sadly looks increasingly likely.
I heard today of another failure with a Direct Debit, money having been taken out of an account three days before the scheduled date, putting the person's bank account into the red with the consequent financial penalty. I have always resolved never to have these Diabolical Direct Debits, but I was forced to have one for the Galaxy A3 that I had to upgrade from the Galaxy Ace 2 when I was given a Smart watch The former Ace 2 was so much better than the upgrade, and not surprisingly I learnt that the latest model has had to be withdrawn because it catches fire. I will never upgrade again. As Voltaire said: "Be content with things that work moderately well." It is good advice.
I have also heard that the steward at our local Club has given in his notice, apparently because he found some of the sessions, when only 2 or 3 people turned up during the entire evening, extremely boring. I gather that he has now obtained a full-time job some way away.
The problem with the appointment of a steward/ess is that there are only limited sessions - on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, s and Sunday lunchtime. It means that there are not enough hours and consequently insufficient remuneration to make the job financially worthwhile, and there is also the problem of needing transport.
Although in the past there have been plenty of applications for the post, Lincoln and district having a great deal of unemployment, few of the applicants are suitable, many of them students, not the most reliable of people these days.
It will be sad if the Club eventually has to close, no longer being financially viable, for it has been a splendid facility in the past that Mrs. C. and I have enjoyed for 40 years. To some extent this maybe reflects social changes in recent years, in which wives want to go with their husband and family to somewhere more salubrious on a Saturday evening, rather than to a former working men's club. Indeed, with the increasingly fierce laws on drinking and driving, the days of pubs and clubs seem to be coming to an end, the presence of families and their children not helping the demand. Sometimes it sees that everything is closing down in this country - all to do with Brexit, of course, even the bad weather.
The American plane that dropped the atmomic bombs on Japan. Truman was surely fully justified in having the bomb dropped, thereby saving an enormous number of lives as Japan would never have surrendered, surrender being a disgrace in that culture.
At least it was good to see the headline in today's "Daily Express" saying: "May: No going back on EU exit. PM gets tough with Brussels", so maybe my earlier expressed fears that our Prime Minister might be about to give in somewhat to the Remoaners were unfounded. So that is a relief.
There was also the splendid news that the Conservatives now have an 18-point lead over the Labour Party that is steadily falling apart under Corbyn - a nice man, but out of his depth and away with the fairies.
I ordered the Revell kit of a Lancaster bomber yesterday from Amazon, and it arrived at 11 a.m. As I have remarked earlier, it really is a wonderful service. Why can't those dreadful mail-order firms be as good? I intend to make the model, said to be the highest grade 5 to make, on Sunday afternoons instead of going to the local Club.
Granddaughter Chloe came to lunch, making for a pleasant occasion, especially as I greatly enjoy talking to young people - albeit over the age of 21 years. It is refreshing to hear their excitement about life, indicating that all is not lost in this country. Indeed. I tend to the view that intelligent young people today are far better than my generation, not so hidebound with racial prejudice, not believing that a woman's place is in the home looking after the family, and generally expressing a Panglossian enthusiasm about life. Reality and disillusionment is yet to creep in.
This evening, after a fairly easygoing day I will be watching with a male neighbour some more episodes of "House of Cards" and "Till Death Do Us Part."
Much to my annoyance I saw that the word processor that I use - Lotus - had not separated the paragraphs, meaning that I had to go through all the entries again to make the separation. I am beginning to think that I am too old to be writing this diary, and the chances of my reaching the 1,000th mark being about as likely as Labour winning the next election. As they say, old age is not for sissies, and I am beginning to feel that I am coming to the end, especially as I now find it so difficult to type the entries, every sentence having to be corrected by the spellchecker. Goodness knows what I will feel like if that woman wins the Presidential election next month, possibly having post traumatic stress disorder.
Lincolnshire 20th October, 2016
Only 27 more issues to go.
Diary of an Octogenarian
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