DIARY OF A SEPTUAGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 28th February - Thursday 6th March, 2014
Sunset at the avenue of oaks at the bottom of our garden.
"Pupils should act out scenes involving gay characters and discuss pornography in class, new sex education guidance for schools says."
Life in Lax Britannica today: news item in "The Times" 1 March, 2014, making me fear that this country has gone barking mad in its relentless decline
FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY
I was hearing today that postmen are no longer to be allowed to ride their traditional red bicycles because of health & safety issues. As the weeks go by I become more and more convinced that this country has gone barking mad, presumably all part of a nation in terminal decline with its monthly food frighteners and these safety regulations that will soon make it too dangerous for us to get out of the bed in the morning. Yet why do we allow all this nonsense; why don't we scrap the Health & Safety Executive and the Food Standards Agency, thereby getting on with our lives untroubled and untouched by such nannying nonsense? We might even have some economic growth.
Consider also all the nonsense about prosecuting men who allegedly committed sexual offences nearly a half century ago, indulging in an almighty witch hunt that is all very redolent of the 16th and 17th century persecuting days of the ducking stool, when witches and others accused of dubious practices were dipped in the local river. We seem to have become a horribly nasty, intolerant, narrow-minded and petty Puritanical society.
I also heard about a couple we know with young children who were divorcing. What is it about youngsters these days that they cannot remain married, apparently splitting up as soon as there is any trouble? Is it because my generation protected our children too much, not subjecting them to any danger or hardship, so that as adults they immediately divorced or separated when their marriage encountered any kind of hiccup, going off with stress when there was any problem at work. Nowadays, at the first sign of a snowflake, schools are closed, and children are hardly allowed out for fear of paedophiles around the corner.
Signs of Spring in the garden.
I went to have my hair cut at 10 o'clock, being served right away as there was no other customer in the barber's shop. As always, my hair was cut by the attractive young lass, who always does an excellent job of the cutting. In years gone by I went to a male barber who could only do short back & sides, making me look as if I had just joined the Army. Some things get better, if not many. The charge for old blighters is only £6.50, but in my generosity I give £10, which seems a fair price as my hair gets rather long, taking a while to cut.
The March edition of the excellent "Literary Review" arrived in the post this morning, from which I ordered just two books, having had to reduce my usual monthly book-purchasing from 4 hardbacks to 2 as a result of the ever raging inflation (my buildings insurance has gone up about 27%!): "Dreams of the Good Life: The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Larkrise to Candleford" (country life in the good old days!); and "The Ministry of Guidance Invites You Not to Stay: An American Family in Iran".
In the review of a novel - and nearly all novels seem to be written by women these days - there is the quotation: "Men are not trapped inside their sex. Women are". This is one of the best descriptions I have seen about the differences between men and women, probably explaining why feminists, despite all their ranting and raving, are never successful in their mean-spirited objectives. Maybe the quotation even explains all the sexual shenanigans we are now hearing about, and why so many advertisements play upon sex. The theory may also explain women's obsession with appearance and clothes, whereas such matters do not bother the average man.
In the post we also received a notice of a meeting to be held at our local Club on the 18th March to discuss the massive solar farm planned for the village in fields owned by a local farmer. The firm undertaking the development, AEE Renewables , has sent a letter to all households in the village, saying that they were "one of the UK's leading solar developers and have been searching for potential sites in the Lincolnshire area to help reach the Government's 2020 renewable energy targets". I gather that many villagers are bitterly opposed to the development, arguing that it will cause immense harm to the environment.
I was hearing again today that these extensive solar panels could dazzle the "Red Arrows" as they go round and round the bailiwick all day. If this is true - and I doubt it - it would be splendid news, especially if we could additionally have a string of wind turbines along the village to prevent the noise and pollution of this dangerous low level, close-formation flying and other antics that we have to endure nearly ever day of the team's winter training programme. It could be argued that this flying circus causes us more trouble and unpleasantness in the parish than any number of solar farms. What worries me so much is that another accident could result in the loss of life on the ground.
On the BBC News website I saw that "the price of a first-class stamp is to increase by 2p to 62p while a second-class stamp will go up 3p to 53p." Fortunately, I seldom use Royal Mail these days, letters going by e-mail and bills being paid on the Internet, so that a book of 12 first or second class stamps lasts me well over six months. Presumably it will not be long now before the botched privatisation of Royal Mail is be sold off cheaply to the Germans, having the delightful Angela Merkel, now visiting this country, on the stamps.
The evening was spent by the fireside reading some more of the book about the work and capture of the Kommandant of Auschwitz - a work I am enjoying, despite the grim contents. Unfortunately, today was one of my "Black Dog" days when I felt very depressed, wondering what point and purpose there was in a retired life at my great age, the best before date long since having been passed. As it says in the Bible: "The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years: yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone."
It remains my belief that the design life of the body is 70 years. Up to that age I was fit and well, but thereafter the arthritis set in with gathering severity and pain, and I now have the spinal problems, making it difficult to walk. Indeed, there are times when I fear that I am deteriorating faster than the UK economy, it not being long now before I am in a retirement home, watching the lantern all day and wondering when Mrs. Thatcher is coming back to rescue us.
SATURDAY 1 MARCH
As my morning book I am reading "Operation Unthinkable - The Third World War; British plans to attack the Soviet Empire 1945". It now seems incredible that Churchill really believed that he could stop the territorial designs of Stalin by attacking him, possibly without even the support of the Americans. Presumably Stalin could have been threatened with atomic bombs, Russia not having any at the time, but any conventional war would have been quite disastrous. It is often said that Churchill lost the plot at the closing stages of the war, when he was sidelined by Stalin and Roosevelt.
It seems today that Roosevelt was a strange man. On the one hand he supported this country in the early stages of the Second World War despite the isolationist beliefs of the Republicans, and later, following Pearl Harbor, he joined us in the battle against Germany, but all the time he was opposed to supporting the British Empire, believing that the countries marked red on the maps should have their independence from the British. One of the worrying features about him was that he was completely hoodwinked by Stalin, believing that he could easily manage the ruthless dictator. Fortunately, Truman was made of sterner stuff, suspecting Stalin of duplicity right from the start.
I had an e-mail from a correspondent in Dallas concerning the proposed solar farm in fields surrounding our village, saying: "The solar-panel arrays that threaten your town wouldn't be the only blight on the landscape; the infrastructure carrying the power from the panels to the power grid could be even more of an eyesore. Unless in England, such wiring is placed underground. In the States, we put up giant towers that cut through residential neighbourhoods and farms.
"The radiation from these highlines, which carry upward of 100,000 volts dc, is widely held to be unsafe to those living nearby. The infrastructure needed to carry away the output of some solar panels might be much less obvious and dangerous." All very worrying, even if the panels will stop the flights of the "Red Arrows".
The late Widow Nell, one of my great friends whom I now dearly miss in my increasing isolation.
A quiet day at home, weekends not being a time for geriatric gentlefolk to venture outside on account of the Great Unwashed massing in towns, though Mrs. C. went to Waitrose for the week's provisions, going today rather than tomorrow when we will be going out to lunch with friends before they depart for six weeks to their cottage in Cyprus. When Mrs. C visits the supermarket, I ask her to park the car as far away from other cars as possible, for supermarket carparks are notorious for vehicles getting badly scratched.
I gather that this is largely due to women car-drivers over the age of 60 years tending to aim rather than steer their cars, being unable to judge distances. You only have to see them trying to back into a space to realise the extent of the driving impairment. On the other hand, the ladies do not have such serious accidents as the Clarkson boyracers, though it is always as well to get out of the way of a young woman in one of those beastly BMWs.
Mrs. C. brought home from Waitrose a copy of today's "Times", free when you spend over £5. In the "Weekend" supplement, there was a banner on the front page: "Naughty, forty and divorced - Meet the new tribe of female hedonists." What a pathetic bunch they are, mutton dressed up as lamb, obviously having rejected any stable family commitment in the interests of their own contentment and career, subsequently spending their days desperately trying to remove their biological boundaries, wanting to be like men.
If this is the modern version of woman in her 40s, all men would be well advised to stay well away from the sad and pathetic cast-off creatures. Having grown up as youngsters during the terrible days of Thatcher the Great Destroyer, taught to be selfish and greedy and to think only of themselves, I wonder whether they ever think of the interests of their young children. Probably not, a happy childhood being a minor consideration in today's values, probably explaining why there are so many disruptive children in schools these days, lacking security and parental time.
In "The Times" there was a news item saying that thousands of children with mental troubles were unable to see psychologists or psychiatrists, those charlatans with their pseudo-science that can provide only worthless remedies, including damaging drugs. Why we waste money in the National Health on these worthless practitioners is something that I will never be able to understand.
At a time when it is reported that half a million mortgagees are already in negative equity, there was a warning from the chief executive of a leading building society that "More than a million borrowers are living in a fool's paradise and will be in trouble when interest rates rise" - as they surely will be raised after the general election next May, which ever party wins.
For those of us interested in economics, it is fascinating to speculate when the housing bubble, the basis of our unbalanced, unsustainable and unbelievable economic recovery , will burst. My guess it will be early in 2015, but since there are so many imponderables in an international economy, it is difficult to determine a collapse that will probably be even worse than the recent credit crunch,
During the morning I repaired the hot tap on the bathroom basin, having found that it was sticking and not turning off properly, presumably as a result of corrosion by the hard water in these parts. I regret to say that Mrs. Copeland has absolutely no faith in my plumbing skills, fearing that we would end up having to call out a professional plumber as a result of me buggering up the tap. Oh she of little faith!
Fortunately, all was well. I drained the system and then took the tap apart, squirting WD-40 on the spindle, managing to put it together again without too much trouble, and all was well. Mission accomplished, which is a rare thing to say these days. I probably saved £50 by not having to call out a plumber, probably not managing to get the services of one until about next Thursday, so that was to be welcomed, and I just hope that Mrs. C. was duly grateful.
In days gone by I used to meet a group of friends on a Saturday morning to have a drink at a pub in Lincoln, about 9 of us in all. Now there are only three of us left, one having had a severe stroke leaving him paralysed, and the other one not too well either, so we no longer meet. I greatly miss the gatherings, for there was a splendid conversation, my friends being highly intelligent men who were not interested in home improvements, holidays, shopping, and other such interests of women,
It was the late Widow Nell who said that the world closes in on you in old age, finding yourself on your own as friends depart this life. I suppose it is this consideration that tends to make me feel so unhappy these days, no longer having the social gatherings of the past. As I remarked yesterday, it makes me wonder about the purpose and point of living into the 80s, probably ending up in a retirement home as a result of healthy eating and exercise.
I have now started reading "The Perfect Nazis - Uncovering my SS grandfather's secret past and how Hitler seduced a generation." Although the book was published in 2010, I only heard about the book a few months ago, managing to purchase it in excellent condition from one of the booksllers associated with Amazon.
SUNDAY 2 MARCH
I am enjoying the book on Churchill's plans to have a war with Russia following the end of the Second World War, our Prime Minister, tired and worn out by his five years in office during the war, apparently living in cloud cuckoo land, having lost the plot and predominance. There is, unfortunately, no doubt that Stalin was a master at deception, successfully managing to hoodwink the ailing Roosevelt. It was probably only Truman's wise decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan that subsequently prevented further territorial aggression by Uncle Joe.
Subsequently, indicating that they have their entrances and their exits, Russia fell apart, bankrupting itself in trying to keep up with American rearmament, and is now desperately trying to salvage what is left of a corrupt and callous country by putting troops into the Ukraine to prevent further dismemberment, knowing that the West, especially the weak and spineless American President, will do nothing to stop the invasion, not that there is much that can be done other than armed conflict. It could all become very nasty indeed.
Harbour City, Burton Waters, a Chinese restaurant where we had an excellent luncheon with friends today.
At 12.30 p.m. we met friends for luncheon at "Harbour City", a Chinese restaurant in the village estate. The husband was a former banker, and his attractive wife comes from Belarus. Inevitably, we talked about the present Potemkin economic recovery in this country, the general view being that it was largely smoke and mirrors.
Our friends are about to depart for six weeks to their cottage in Cyprus, where no doubt they will enjoy and relax in hours of gloriously warm sunshine, escaping the bitter winds that prevail in these parts in March, stirring the dancing daffodils. It made me wonder whether I would like to go abroad to a cottage for several weeks, getting away from all the pretence of our economic recovery. In some ways it would make a decisive change, though I am aware of that old comment that "A man can get away from his own kind, but not himself." No doubt I would find all manner of problems in a different setting.
I gather, for instance, that the "Red Arrows" go to Cyprus for several weeks as part of their training, and I can just imagine my luck, sitting in the sunshine in the garden of a cottage in Cyprus, only to have the flying circus come roaring over the chimneypots. Maybe there is no escape.
I was interested that our friend's wife from Belarus considered that the Ukraine should still be considered as part of Russia, which presumably is not Mr,. Obama's considered opinion, or that of Mr Hague, our Foreign Secretary who is well and truly out of his depth, apparently now in Kiev trying to meddle with the arrangements, obviously knowing that there is absolutely nothing that he can do about the developing situation. The conflict reminded me of Scotland now pressing for independence. Could it be that Mr, Hague will send in the tanks to stop the detachment? Come to think of it: have we any tanks left?
After the meeting, Mrs. Copeland and I went to the local Club at 3.30 p.m. As there is hardly anybody willing to stand for the Club's committee, which has to be re-elected at the AGM next Sunday afternoon, I had suggested to Mrs. Copeland that I should put my name forward, having served on the committee long years ago. But my spouse was firmly opposed to the idea, saying that I would only upset people, so in the interests of connubial felicity, not wanting to knock the marital boat, I did not put my name forward, peace at home being far more important than anything else.
The evening was spent by the fireside reading some more of "The Perfect Nazi" - a first-rate book.
MONDAY 3 MARCH
Before getting up in the morning I have now started reading "The Nazi and the Psychiatrist - Hermann Goring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelly and a fatal meeting of minds at the end of WW11" by Jack El-Hart, published in America by Public Affairs New York in 2013.
Were a psychiatrist to examine the reasons for my absorbing interest in Hitler and the Second World War, he would probably say that my mother was frightened by a German when I was in the pram. Or, more realistically, he would hear about my having been machined-gunned by a Messerschmidt 209 fighter when my mother was walking with me and my sister along a street in Colchester, the fighter swooping down at a very low level, firing furiously. My mother managed to push us into a gateway, and the pilot missed.
I can still remember that frightening incident today, some 72 years later, and when on rare occasions I hear the display of a surviving Spitfire I momentarily feel quite frightened. The psychiatrist would therefore say that the firing was an Ingrained Incident Situation (IIS), explaining my wanting to return to the days of the War - or other such nonsense.
During my days as a Divisional Education Officer I worked with a psychiatrist who dealt with problem children, and he was totally mad. On one occasion he recommended that the authority should built a separate wing on a council house to provide more space for a troubled child. I still have that report amongst the papers I kept on leaving office. I also worked with a woman psychologist, and she didn't give the impression of having all her buttons sewn on. Both of them were totally useless in dealing with the disruptive children, and today there are far more of these troubled youngsters who have been dumped at an early age in bootie camps.
I heard this morning that '12 Years A Slave" had won the Oscar Award, along with "Gravity". I was not all that impressed with the former, regarding it as a good film but not memorable. There seems to be a current fashion for expressing guilt about the horrors of slavery, so maybe this helped the film to win the coveted award. We did not see "Gravity", having heard from several people that it was graphically excellent, but had a dreary storyline.
My two choices would have been "Captain Phillips" and "Nebraska," with "Le Weekend" as a close consideration.
At 11.15 a.m I met a lady friend - my longest surviving friend - for coffee (or rather wine for me) at a hotel in Lincoln. We meet during the first week each month, when I always enjoy the sessions, even if they tend to be reminiscences of times past, in more exciting days. The rest of the day was spent quietly at home.
I was interested and somewhat surprised to hear my friend saying that if she were an employer she would never appoint women of childbearing age, regarding them as far too emotional and having too many days off to look after sick children, not to mention all the nonsense of maternity and paternity allowances that weigh so adversely and heavily on small firms. This is certainly my viewpoint, even though I hardly dare present the thesis in a time of overriding political correctness.
One of our neighbours, a fellow of my own age, goes off fly fishing by a lake several times a week. Hours are spent dangling the rod in and out of the water, and when eventually a fish is caught it is thrown back. It seems a strange sport, but then I suppose it is no funnier than the "Red Arrows" going round and round the village for several hours a day, giving the impression that it is some kind of punishment for the pilots.
Bachelor days, when I had a thatched cottage, a sports car, and several girlfriends. Times change.
In my old age, probably having what the trick-cyclists would call a near-end- of-life crisis, I seem to become more and more aware with my pains and problems that I really am an old man, not much longer now to go. I appear to be what might be called that Shakespearean sonnet mode - "When to the sessions of sweet silent thought/I summon up remembrance of things past", recalling days of long ago when life, no doubt strictly edited, seemed to be more purposeful and exciting, certainly more variable than in the doldrums of retirement. Rather in the manner of quantitative easing, I find myself drinking more heavily these days
Presumably this is the stance of all old men, looking back over their lives and wondering what it has all been about. Maybe I need counselling to take me out of these Dog Days mood, seeing them as sadness rather than melancholy. Possibly I will feel happier when these dark and dreary days of seemingly endless winter are replaced by the joys of Spring.
Of course, there is a lot to laugh about as the country falls steadily apart, including Government economic policy with its housing bubble, and all the monthly food frighteners with their nonsense about healthy living, not to mention the recent laughter of our Prime Minister playing the part of Canute in stemming the flood waters in the south-east of the land, promising free sandbags in future.
Then there is little Clegg who is as lost as Bo Peep's sheep, not knowing which party bandwaggon to jump on, and there is also our Foreign secretary with his funny voice, trying to believe he is another Disraeli in settling the affairs of a troubled world, even though we have no gunboats left as a result of the defence cuts. How you have to laugh!
The professional window cleaners arrived at 2.30 p.m. I had to tell them that the cleaning was not done all that well last time - a difficult thing to have to say, but the men seemed to take it in good grace, doing a far better job this time. There is always a reluctance in this country to complain about poor service, though this reluctance is something I have never accepted, even if it lands me in a spot of trouble from time to time.
Now that the sun is gathering strength, I am able to have a siesta in the conservatory after lunch. It only takes a few hours of sunshine at this time of year to heat up the room, making me realise that the conservatory was one of the best investments that we ever made. Within the next few weeks we will be moving from the living fire of the parlour into the quarters of the conservatory, saving me 20 minutes every day of having to clear out and re-lay the fire. The good days are coming, and in my final years I must make the ,most of them, drinking heavily and taking no heed of the monthly food frighteners.
With the movement to the conservatory not yet scheduled, the evening was spent by the log-burning fireside, reading some more of "The Perfect Nazi" - a fascinating and well-written book. Unfortunately I did not feel all that well, fearing that I was going to pass out at one stage. Mrs. Copeland said I must have fallen asleep and then woken up with a start - something like that.
On the news this morning I heard that latest research had shown that people who get very angry risk having a heart attack or a stroke. Well I never did, as my old granny would have said: who would ever have thought of that. However, it is a warning to me, for I must not get so angry every time the "Red Arrows Flying Circus" comes swooping over my chimneys, wasting thousands of pounds, blocking out the singing of birds, and causing an immense amount of pollution. The circus was going round and round the village all day yet again, but I tried not to get angry, instead pitying the pilots for their miserable activity.
As mentioned earlier, I am told that if the solar farm goes ahead, sunlight on the massive array of panels will dazzle the aerial acrobats, the pilots not knowing where they are,. As we all know, the proposed development will go through, no doubt being allowed on appeal, after being rejected by the Parish Council and the Planning Committee of the District Council, having had the full support of our two ward councillors in opposing the plan.
An appeal will probably say that we need more electricity for the thousands of immigrants who crowd into the country every month, which is presumably why the Inspectorate appear to have no regard for planning rules and regulations, as indeed we saw in the successful appeal for the horrible house that will stand out as a sore thumb in our historic community. I gather that an unsuitable housing plan in nearby village, firmly opposed by the District Council, was allowed on appeal, everything being allowed on appeal these days, making me wonder what the point is in having a Planning Committee that is always ignored.
At 9.30 I had a second session at the Physiotherapy Department at the County Hospital. Having been undertaking the exercises that were recommended at the first session. going down on all fours and lowering my back up and down without bending my arms, there seems to have been some abatement of the pain, if not a cure.
The sessions, which last for about 20 minutes, are undertaken at the appointed time, emphasising yet again the excellence of our National Service that the Cameroons are determined to destroy, at least handing over profitable parts to wealthy chums to exploit. Another five years of this Etonian-led Government and the NHS will probably be no more, certainly surviving in a very attenuated form, or sold off abroad for a song, just like Royal Mail, which has not been slow to put up its prices under privatisation.
For this latest session I saw a young fellow instead of the lass I had seen at the first session, and he gave me a whole lot more exercises to do, on my back, on my front, sitting up and bending down to touch my toes (an impossible stance), going back in a month's time. My troubles seem to have become somewhat better during the day, but worse in bed when I have such pain, keeping me awake.
TUESDAY 4 MARCH
Northern lights. Photograph sent to me by a relative in Scotland.
Back home, having bought "The Times" (the only national newspaper worth having), I saw in the Business section that, "Kodak is to close its factory in Leeds in favour of investing in Germany, laying off 200 skilled workers." As more and more manufacturing firms move out of this country, our economy becomes more and more reliant on the vulnerable service sector, especially finance and banking that landed us with such a problem earlier, and will no doubt do so again.
As always, there was the usual nonsense in the newspaper, including a report prepared for the Government that suggested that "headhunters should put forward at least one 'strongly" recommended woman on the shortlist for board appointments to increase the number of senior women at the top of Britain's big companies." What rubbish: appointments should be made on the best candidate without any consideration for a woman being compulsorily included in a shortlist.
Throughout my working life I dreaded the possibility of having to work under a woman. Fortunately, the gods were kind, and this never happened in those far away days. There was only one woman within the senior management, and she goofed everything up and had to leave - I took over her post.
I heard today that there is to be an application to fell a splendid willow tree, a prominent feature in the garden of a village property, in order to build a garage for a collection of cars. This follows on from an application considered at the Parish Council last week for felling a wonderful Indian bean tree, and within the next few weeks a rare tulip tree will be coming down to start work on the horrible house proposed for our little community.
Elsewhere in the village numerous other trees have come down, even when there was a Tree Preservation Order. Alas, it seems that the days when these trees were resolutely protected have gone down, the impression now being that you can take down any tree you want to remove. In 20 years from now, when Lincoln City expands into our village, the avenue of oaks at the bottom of our garden will be coming down for an estate, possibly to house immigrants. Eventually, there will be hardly a tree left, but mercifully I will also be gone by then
I went to take wine with a neighbouring couple at 4 p.m., enjoying a pleasant session with them. I was hearing that they have a water leak, only recently discovered, and as they made the dreadful mistake of going onto a water meter,. they are now faced with a bill for about three years of usage. There are not many things I get right in my old age, steadily going downhill, but at least I have been determined to avoid a water meter because of leaks from the old pipes that supply water to our houses. Not only that: according to the chart on the Anglian Water website from which you can calculate usage, I would be paying another £35 a year.
Of course, we all know that the day will come when meters will be compulsory, principally as this leads to a reduction in water usage, meaning that the companies do not have to invest large sums of money in providing additional supplies as the immigrants flood in.
This being Shrove Tuesday, Mrs. Copeland made pancakes for our high tea, our main meal being at lunchtine - a far healthier time to have the main meal of the day. I like to have them with lemon juice and plenty of sugar, nothing else. It made me wonder how many modern women will have celebrated the occasion, no doubt being far too stressed out on coming home from work. And how many of them will know about the significance of the date: that the tradition of eating pancakes dates back many centuries, thought to derive from a kind of Pancake Feast preceding Lent in the Greek Church.
With today's break-up of family life, mummy being at work and the children with their iPads, these various traditions will gradually die out, no longer having any meaning in a strictly secular and urbanised society. All very sad, but at least some of us continue to maintain the traditions, obviously recognising that we are a dying breed.
Another evening by the fireside reading some more of "The Perfect Nazi.". Reading yet again about the appalling conditions in Germany in the 1930s, when hyperinflation was destroying savings. Before the War, the exchange rate was 4 marks to the dollar; by November 1923 the rate was "four trillion marks". At the same time there was a massive increase in unemployment; in Berlin alone the figure had reached 323,000 in September of 1931, causing immense resentment.
In his early years, Hitler could be regarded as a splendid economist, managing to curb inflation and reduce unemployment, building autobahns and the people's car, Keynesian economics predominant, even if it meant extensive foreign borrowing. No wonder the Germans had such faith in him, the middle classes, among his most fervent supporters, believing that they could tame his wilder fantasies - and how wrong they were.
WEDNESDAY 5 MARCH
One of my friends send me an article from an American organisation calling itself "The Trading Report", dealing with the problems in Ukraine, saying: "So much for "isolating" Russia. The Chinese government is publicly siding with Russia on the crisis in Ukraine, and that is very bad news for the United States.
"Not only does it mean that the U.S. is essentially powerless to do anything about the situation in Ukraine, it also means that Russia and China are starting to understand how much economic leverage that they really have. Yes, the Obama administration can threaten to slap "sanctions" on Russia or threaten to kick Russia "out of the G8", but those actions would not actually hurt too much.
"On the other hand, Russia and China hold approximately 25 percent of all foreign-owned U.S. debt, and if they started massively dumping U.S. debt it could rapidly create a nightmare scenario.
"Does the Obama administration really want to start an "economic war" with Russia and potentially against China as well?"
The incident will probably blow over, yet is a cogent reminder of the continuing troubles in the world. I would still put my money on America to win any conflict - a great country that makes Russia and China look like a peasant economy.
The latest and last of the helicopter in the "Helicopter Magazine" collection - a Sikorskky CH-53/MH-53.
To town after breakfast to collect from W.H.Smith the latest helicopter in the "Helicopter Magazine" series, having the models reserved for me, The latest one is of a Sikorsky CH-53/MH-53. As there was no mention of any further models in the covering magazine, I telephoned the company's Customer Care to enquire whether this was the last one in the collection.
Alas, all I heard after being asked to press 1 to speak to Customer Services was a recorded announcement saying: "Your call is very important to us. Please hold on and your call will be answered as soon as possible.," followed by an announcement: "You are at position 25". This would probably have meant a half-hour wait on an expensive number, so I gave up. Unfortunately, the firm never answers e-mails or letters.
It has been an interesting experience collecting the 40 models. With nearly every model, available at fortnightly intervals, I had difficulty fixing the rotor blades onto the spindle, frequently having to glue the blades with Isopon P38, making a mount to hold them in position while the glue set. On other occasions, the stand would not fit into the model, again necessitating the use of glue. Although the blades went on easily today by way of a refreshing change, the stand would not fit, again needing glue. My guess is that the 25 people who had called Customer Services today were complaining about this problem.
More frighteners today, following on from yesterday's in which there was a warning that getting angry can give you a heart attack or a stroke, this one saying that "Exposure to passive smoking in childhood causes lasting damage to the structure of children's arteries, say researchers." There was also a warning saying that eating too much protein can be even more harmful than smoking.
With all these warnings it is a wonder that anybody ever manages to survive, but then thankfully nobody ever takes any notice of the worthless research. The reality, of course, is there is not a clue what is good and bad for us, hence all this grasping around with all manner of crazy warnings. We are living in an age of neurosis, having too much leisure and too much money, and so think obsessively about ourselves. The answer is to eat in moderation, drink no more than a bottle of wine a day; and be as merry as you can at this difficult time of decline and decay.
In today's "Times" there was a report that prices in the shops are falling at their fastest levels for many years. This could mean that we are about to go through a time of deflation, as happened after the Great Crash in 1929.
After a fairly relaxed morning and afternoon, Mrs Copeland and I went with friends in the village to see the film "The Book Thief" at the Odeon, attending the 5.20 p.m. performance to avoid the badly behaved popcorners. Mrs. C and I had both read and enjoyed the book, but the film had mixed reviews, the main complaint being that it did not emphasise the harshness of the Nazi regime. We all found this review totally worthless, thoroughly enjoying the film. I suppose it is yet another instance of taking no notice of reviews, all of them very subjective, often written by men and women who did not make the grade in journalism.
We therefore take no notice of the BAFTA and Oscar Awards, knowing that the chosen films will not be to our liking. Of the films we have seen during the past year, the ones I would select as the best were "Nebraska"; "Le Weekend", "The Railway Man" and especially "Lone Survivor". As might be expected, none of these films won an award, thank heavens.
I was horrified to learn today that "BBC Three to become online-only channel available through iPlayer". I Initially thought that it meant that Radio 3, the only channel that I ever listen to, was about to go onto the Internet, meaning that I would no longer be able to access it. Imagine my relief when I subsequently learnt that it was a BBC television channel that nobody ever looks at. Whew! What a frightener.
THURSDAY 6 MARCH
I am enjoying "The Nazi and the Psychiatrist", principally because it amuses me immensely to read all the nonsense bout the pseudo science, learning about the "Inkblot Test" introduced by the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach and the study of "general semantics", all a load of cobblers. A century from now people will be wondering why we could send a rocket to the moon, yet had no understanding whatsoever of the workings of the mind, not having much idea either what was good and bad for the body to digest. Meanwhile, we have to ensure all this psychobabble that does absolutely nothing to help the mentally ill; indeed, sometimes it seems to make them worse.
On the BBC News website I saw that yet another manufacturing firm in Lincoln making specialist equipment for the telecommunications industry was closing down, production being transferred overseas. This is happening more and more throughout the country, making us ever more dependent upon the vulnerable banking sector that gets us in a muddle every few years. Goodness knows what this country will be like in twenty years from now, no doubt propped by loans from the IMF and Germany and France. Thank heavens I will not be here to see the final collapse.
On the website there was also the dismal news that "House prices are continuing to accelerate across the UK, according to the latest snapshot from the Halifax mortgage lender. Its latest survey, for February, shows that prices rose by 2.4% last month, leaving them 7.9% higher than a year ago." It is a fine example of politicians interfering in the market, messing everything up as they always do. Oh that Parliament and all its civil servants could g away for a year, allowing us to run our own lives. We might even have some real economic growth.
Stag in the wilds of Scotland. It seems incredible that the cruel littlegame hunters can take pleasure in killing these splendid animals. Photograph sent to me by a reader.
Mrs. Copeland went with neighbours to a village near Doncaster to have lunch with a couple who used to live nearby. I am not all that keen on such gatherings so I stayed behind, visiting a friend who used to live in the village for wine and a baguette. Earlier I had gone to Waitrose for the baguette, seeing on the news-stand the latest issue of our local weekly newspaper, which had the unpleasant headline on the front page: "My ex should have gone to prison for sexually assaulting my dog." Is this the nadir to which a local newspaper can fall, having to rely on sexual shenanigans to sell a copy at a £1 a time? Yesterday at a newsagent I saw large piles of the unsold copies of last week's edition, seeming to suggest that, with the Internet for local news and advertising, especially houses, the days of local newspapers are coming to an end. If this is the best they can do by way of news, perhaps their demise will not only not be missed but also welcomed.
This evening will be spent by the fireside, reading some more of "The Perfect Nazi" - a most fascinating book, especially in its vivid descriptions of the terrible conditions in Germany during the years that Hitler came to power.
I liked the following e-mail that I received:
APROSDOKIANS are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous. Winston Churchill loved them.
1. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
2. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
3. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
4. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
5. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
6. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
7. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
8. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
9. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
10. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
11. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.
12. You're never too old to learn something stupid.
13. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
14. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now.
Lincolnshire 6th March, 2014
Diary of a Septuagenarian
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