DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Lincoln Cathedral at dawn. Photograph by granddaughter Chloe.
"The BBC has installed gender-neutral lavatories in all its buildings and offices, and granted paid leave to staff changing gender in an attempt to be more welcoming to transgender people".
"The Times", 13th June, 2018. Changing times indeed, and how easy it is for the BBC to waste our money for a few people changing sex. What a crazy world we have become, especially with all the "gender-diversity" nonsense that, in the emasculation of men, seeks to have no regard to ability. Why have today's young men become so spineless, so gullible, putting up with all this petticoat pettiness?
President Trump, whom I get to like and respect more every week. Just the leader America needs after the laid-back years of the Obama administrations.
As reported in the press at the start of the month, there was another nasty outbreak of feminism involving an appointment to the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. From a short-list of 4 women and 1 man, a panel made up of 2 women and 1 man appointed the man, bringing howls of anguish from the feminists who complained about the lack of diversity, saying a woman should have been appointed, sex rather than suitability being their criterion.
Not unexpectedly, Nicky Morgan came trotting into the act, saying that she was terribly disappointed, while a women's group could not contain their anger. Yet surely there was every fairness in 4 women being on the short list, and that the two women on the panel made the decision to have a man. The best person was selected. What is the matter with these wonky women?
A woman from some kind of Girls' Schools Trust also came trotting into the sex debate by saying that "Men in the boardroom must stop seeing themselves as Colosseum gladiators", and that leadership should be a "gender-diverse concept", presumably taking no account of ability, serving to emasculate men even more, making them pathetic creatures. Why do we not stand up against all this political correctness nonsense, recognising and valuing the differing qualities and abilities of the sexes, to each his/her own? Diversity" is defined in the Oxford English dictionary as "a range of different things", surely meaning the differences between the sexes, something the feminists are trying to conceal, ignoring biology with their unbalanced, laughable demands.
Thank heavens there was the report on the BBC news website that "A campaigner has lost a High Court challenge calling on the government to provide gender-neutral passports." At least the judiciary still maintains a sense of reason in this country. It is time these interfering people went onto the back burner, not troubling us so much with their unreasonable demands.
Valeriana flower in the garden, giving a wonderful scent in the evenings.
Another rumpus, exciting a great deal of anger and anguish, was President Trump imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminium from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, including the UK. including massive tariffs on a wide range of Chinese imports. An outraged Juncker, not that it takes much for that little man to fly into a rage, said that the EU would impose high tariffs on American Bourbon and orange juice. How you have to laugh, further indicating that we really must get away from those nasty, belligerent and pathetic people in Europe. The President, in placing 25% tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods, wants to stop that hateful Communist country from cribbing American technology, as happens all the time. And in a response to the pathetic EU tariffs, he further responded by threatening to place a 25% duty on the import of EU cars. Score 2-0 to the President, and good for him.
The tariffs presumably indicate that the President is a believer in autarky, knowing that he can easily win a trade battle, hence the fears in the EU. It makes me wish that we could impose similar tariffs on all the badly made rubbish that comes into our country from China. For example, about 3 months ago I bought a Chinese-made cascading water-feature for Mrs. Copeland, only to find during this month that it has stopped working, as is the case with all products from that horrible country that sticks on a label marked "Passed" in place of the non-existent quality control. Buy Chinese, buy rubbish, but better not to buy at all when you see those dreaded and frightening words and letters "Made in China" and "Made in PRC".
We are now being warned that the President's tariffs will promote a trade war, whereas there has been a trade war, especially between America and China, with no concept of free trade, for the past twenty years as cheap and badly made Chinese products, made by exploited and poorly paid labour, have flooded into America, the American manufacturing industries being unable to compete with a hateful Communist country that has about as much regard for human rights as it has for quality control. The American trade deficit with China currently amounts to $375 billion.
The President is also in trouble with the G7 contingent. The G7 membership must be the most unusual and remarkable diversity that has even been seen - Canada, France. Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and America, the countries having nothing in common with one another, several of them having fought one another during the Second World War. What an assortment! Apparently, President Trump signed an end of session accord at the recent gathering, and then backed out of it, obviously having changed his mind, his aides having belatedly pointed out that America had been cheated. At the conference he sensibly advocated the return of Russia to the G7 gang, but it was rejected.
Amazingly, the pygmy politicians in this country were alarmed when it was announced that the President would be meeting Putin during the President's visit to Europe next month, a front-page report in "The Times" for the 21st June saying: "President Trump and Vladimir Putin are proposing to meet during the US President's visit to Europe next month in a move that is causing alarm in Whitehall." Why the alarm? - surely it is better to seek accord with Russia than have the Cold War that Obama believed in? I just hope the President does not come to visit this badly behaved country where the yobs and malcontents will shamefully and rudely boo him.
It seems, though, that the visit will take place on Friday 13th July. According to a report in the "i" for the 28th, a very unpleasant and thoroughly nasty bunch of malcontents, probably all "Guardian" readers and encouraged by the meddlesome Muslim Mayor of London, have ridiculously raised £8,000 to pay for a helium balloon to fly over Parliament Square in Westminster during the President's visit, depicting the President as a baby, the juvenile protesters saying that the President is "a big angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands."
Oh, dear, what will the President, whom I admire more and more as the weeks go by, think of these sick and sadly misguided silly people, making us hope that he does not think all Englishmen are as childish and stupid as this ignorant and ill-mannered malcontented bunch, the protests no doubt seeing shop windows being smashed and cars set on fire. We can but hope that a true Englishman, one whose family has been here for the past four generations or more, will shoot down the offensive balloon. How can the police allow such an offensive token, one that puts shame and disgrace on our country, even if we are a rundown yobbo nation?
This angry and pathetic bolshie brigade of protesters who will never consider any opinion other than their narrow-minded and selfish, ready potted beliefs, is similar to university students who shout down and refuse to listen to a speaker who does not accord with their ignorant views, representing a travesty of higher education.
Although I fully realise that it will never reach him, I nevertheless sent a letter by airmail to the President, saying that the protesters were not representative of the British people, and I therefore hoped he would take no heed of the silly people. I added that I fully supported his policies, and wished him every success in the future, hoping that he will win a well deserved second term in office.
It was certainly good on the 27th to read in the "i" that "The US Supreme Court has upheld Donald Trump's ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries - rejecting a challenge that it discriminated against Muslims or exceeded Presidential authority." Gradually, the excellent President is putting right the mess that the laid-back Obama left, but it is going to be a hard struggle, having to endure the abuse of the malcontents and indolent community that wants to return to the easy, do-nothing days of Obama that took no heed of the country going to the dogs..
Peony in the garden. A splendid flower, but it does not last long.
Meanwhile, on Saturday 2nd June, "The Times" reported that thousands of new jobs had been created in America, indicating that "President Trump's economic policies were working." And on the 14th the "Financial Times" reported that "Hawkish Fed lifts rates as Trump tax cuts fuel economic expansion." However, the greatest achievement of the President was in a signed agreement with North Korea for its complete dismantling of nuclear weapons. No doubt there is a long way to go before there is the promised peace, but President Trump has made a great start - something that the do-nothing Obama never achieved with all his precious speeches, fine words buttering no parsnips, as my old granny used to say. And the President was right in cancelling the war games in South Korea, surely eliminating the provocation.
Of course, the mischief-making and mud-raking press and the Democrats have tried with their usual spitefulness and ignominy to discredit the President's massive achievement, saying he has made an agreement with a country that has no regard for human rights. That was not the purpose of the meeting; instead, it was about dismantling Korea's nuclear capacity. It is also being said that Kim will renege on the deal, but it is surely not in his interests to back out, having won several concessions from the Americans. Always look for the motivation. It will nevertheless be a long haul, and meanwhile American sanctions remain on North Korea.
The British newspapers such as the left-wing "Guardian" and the "i" were no doubt desperately hoping that the North Korean talks would fail so that they could write lurid headlines "Talks end in utter chaos", and "Trump goes home a beaten man", the unpleasant columnists chanting "told you so!" but it was not to be. As it was, "The Times", one of the few national newspapers to present issues fairly, headed its editorial on the 13th: "Behind the theatrics, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have established a personal relationship that might just pave the way for change in North Korea." I just hope that the President and Kim jointly receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
I actually switched on the television, not having done so for many months, to watch the peace deal being made in Singapore, having been advised by a friend that the news presentation on Sky was far better than on the BBC. Alas, not having used the set for many months, I had to re-tune to receive Sky, thereby wasting time and losing some of the scenes of the President with Kim.
Lupins in the garden
During the month the President very wisely said that he was not going to allow America to become a migrant camp, as has happened in Europe. Writing about the President, an American correspondent whose mature views I greatly respect, made the following comment in an e-mail to me: "I approve of his job performance, overall. While he is not a person I would invite into my home, he is what this country needs at this time a president who will think of his people first and foremost, and not looking for a foreign ass to kiss (pardon the French), as his predecessor was so keen on doing. I think his successes are slowly leaking out to the public (in spite of the major media efforts to NOT get the word out) and that by the time the next election rolls around he will be re-elected."
I agree, and I also agree with Boris Johnson's comment that we need a President Trump to get us out of the mess that Mrs. May has got us into with the Brexit negotiations, The US ambassador in this country has wisely and courageously said that "the UK needs to shed its defeatist attitude to leaving the EU. Woody Johnson also told a Channel 4 documentary he was very confident about Britain's future after Brexit." Sadly, Mrs. May is too weak, allowing Juncker and Barnier to make rings round her, having her sell us down the Rhine to be under the dictates of Frau Merke. paying out billions in the divorce settlement.
The Remoaners are currently complaining that the Russians interfered with the Referendum, but have we forgotten that President Obama, no friend of this country as he is still bitter about the way his family was treated during the days of the British Empire, threatened that the UK would go to the back of the trade queue if we came out of the Union? Was that not political interference of the highest order, yet nothing is said about that. Oh, the terrible bias of the commentators and columnists, few worth listening to or reading their nasty one-sided comments.
Fortunately, despite the treachery of Kenneth Clarke and other rebels, the Government managed to survive the votes on overturning the measures of the House of Lords that is trying to prevent us from leaving the EU, the miserable rebels who want to thwart the will of the people having been unsuccessful. I am therefore so pleased that the excellent Member of Parliament for our constituency, the wise Sir Edward Leigh, is a firm supporter of the Government and Brexit. When highly intelligent men like that, who genuinely care for their country, fully support Brexit, I know that I was right in voting to leave the unpleasant and overgrown Union, not wanting to be swamped with immigration and being under the dictates of Mrs. Merkel..
The miserable negotiations with Juncker and Barnier presumably indicate the weakness of my country that is no longer a world power. In the days of Disraeli, when we had the finest empire upon which the sun never set, bringing law and order to so many primitive countries, we would never have been treated in this shabby manner, a gunboat probably being sent round to sort out the opposition. "Storm in the English Channel, continent isolated", they used to say, whereas now we have to go camp in hand to Europe. For my generation it is so depressing, especially when it is remembered that we fought Germany 74 years ago, now finding that she is the master in Europe. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, indeed!
Towards the end of the month, there was the encouraging news that 60 Members of Parliament demanded that we should end our departure from the EU with a no-deal, not paying so much as a penny in a divorce settlement. That is the withdrawal result that I want to see, taking the view that we have been ripped off for so many years by the extravagant and undemocratic European Union, gaining very little in return. If the EU was so wonderful why did we wisely not join the euro?
Sadly, Mrs. May, totally out of her depth over Brexit, is far too weak in the negotiations, likely to end up with a shabby deal, probably costing us £39 billions or even more. Why didn't we just leave, switching off the lights and going home, having no more to do with that undemocratic Union that wastes money bailing out incompetent countries like Greece. If there are trade barriers, the EU countries will be the losers as they export far more to us than we export to them.
Airbus and BMW have threatened to leave the UK if we depart from the Customs Union, but we all know that this is an idle threat, that come what may they will remain here, not wanting to deprive themselves of an extensive market. The intention meanwhile is to try and frighten the Government to conform with their wishes, staying within the customs union that would defeat the whole purpose of us leaving the circus. We used to hear these threats from so-called celebrities who said they would leave the country if a Labour Government was elected, but none of them ever left.
I liked the comments of Austin Mitchell who said in an article in "The Daily Mail" during the month: "Why I loathe Brussels: They steal our fish, squander our cash and treat our views with contempt". Amen to those sound comments.
Runner beans around the door.
Meanwhile, the buoyant state of the American economy is in sharp contrast with the ailing British economy with its stagflation, each month seeing a lowering of economic growth. Not surprisingly, the Remoaners are blaming our poor economic performance on Brexit, yet the real issue is our lack of a powerful manufacturing base; and low interest rates that have led to excessive consumer borrowing and a rampant housing market (though now coming to an end) under the low-interest rate policies of Calamity Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, who goes back to Canada in June of next year, being disliked in the City.
At a time when the country is going into recession, exports having fallen for the fifth successive month last month, and the service sector also falling significantly along with the housing market, Carney is proposing to put up interest rates, which makes no kind of sense. As one economist remarked on Carney's earlier failure to increase interest rates - something that was necessary to prevent the spiralling indebtedness and the rampant housing market: "Every time the possibility has arisen, he has backed away from it." Is it because he has been too political, as was shown in his biased approach to the referendum, now not wanting the Government to suffer because higher interest rates mean a greater burden on the mortgage? Perhaps something along those lines.
Not surprisingly, the month saw more and more high street stores closing, among them the House of Fraser branch in Lincoln that I have used on several occasions for buying clothes. Has this anything to do with the floundering Brexit negotiations? The more likely answer is that, apart from declining consumer expenditure, these firms have not adapted to change, so many of them offer a poor service, being badly stocked, not bothering to meet customer needs, being overtaken by the success of the Internet. It is also interesting to see that the mail-order catalogues, having increasing trouble selling their worthless and unnecessary products, are now offering free postage - a sure sign they are in trouble.
I had an example of firms not bothering when a Sym scooter firm in Grantham said they would speak to the agent about a new exhaust for my scooter, undertaking to telephone me back, but despite two promptings they did not do so. So many firms these days just do not want the work. Consequently, you have to plead with them to do a job for you. What a country! Fortunately, I eventually managed to contact an excellent firm in Manchester who said that a new exhaust would cost with VAT, carriage and installation, about £700.
An outrageous amount, indicating how we are ripped off by foreign firms now that we make hardly anything. The present exhaust, which is showing signs of failing, may possibility last a few more months, so when it eventually fails I fear that I will have to buy a new scooter costing £4,300, my present scooter being worth hardly anything, even if I could sell it at all. I so enjoy being on two wheels, delighting in the wonderful freedom, being able to park anywhere and overtaking long lines of tailbacked vehicles. I had thought of buying a 50 cc as I find the 125cc present scooter very heavy to put away, but the thought of a boy's bicycle puts me off..
Cornhill development in Lincoln. At a time when restaurants and shops are closing down, this development is bringing more restaurants and shops.
One of the books that I ead during the month was McEwan's "On Chesel Beach", now having been made into a film, dealing with a young woman who did not want sex on the night of her marriage, "penetration" for her being a most terrible and unwanted event. A fine novel; indeed, I have enjoyed all the novels of this fine author.
Itn one of the scenes, when the couple eventually go to bed, the bride touches the fellow's testicles, causing him to ejaculate all over her body. This appals and frightens her so much that she rushes out of the room and goes to the beach, marking the end of their marriage. We enjoyed the film at the Venue on the 28th., despite the critics having not been impressed.
Later on I read Peter Hart's "The Last Battle - Endgame on the Western Front, 1918." The book actually describes four battles in endless detail, with quotations from the men who took part in the terrible conflict. Unfortunately, one battle seems very like any other, and there are times when the endless details become somewhat tedious. Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed the long book, especially the troublesome peace negotiations and the ensuing chaos in Germany at the end of the war.
Additionally, I read a novel that Mrs. Copeland had enjoyed: "The Madonna of the Mountains" by Elise Valmorbide, published this year by Faber & Faber at £14.99. I like the modern novel, and I enjoyed this one dealing with the harsh conditions in Italy during and after the Second World War. It seems awful at that time it was considered quite normal for a husband to beat his wife, and it is amazing that the people in the countryside were so deeply religious, never missing Mass - yet this worship seemed to do them no good at all, certainly not lessening their harsh poverty.
I also read "The Death of Democracy" in which the author answers the question why a civilised nation, noted for its science and arts, should descend into the utmost brutality and chaos under Hitler. Much of the blame is attached to the First World War and to the Treaty of Versailles that the Germans, despite having behaved so badly during the war, considered to be so unfair. In one chapter the author writes about the conflict between Berlin and the rural areas:-
"Disapproval of big city sexual mores and experimentation took up a lot of space in rural and Church criticisms of Berlin. This was not just prudishness. There was something deeper at work. For German Protestants [among supporters of Hitler] , the male-centred family was the core of the social order. Fathers should rule just not at home, but in politics and economic life as well. This meant that all different arrangements of sexual relations or family structure were a direct threat to fundamental political and social power." We have come a long way since those days, for better or for worse.
Finally, I made a start on "Haig's Enemy - Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany's War on the Western Front. Altogether a fine set of books.
Books waiting to be read - mainly on war.
During the month I greatly enjoyed reading "Soldat - Reflections of a German Soldier 1936-1946", written by Siegfried Knapp (with the assistance of Ted Brusaw), finding it interesting to read the comments of a German soldier actually in the front-line during the Second World War. Like all the Germans, he liked and supported Hitler during the Fuhrer's early days, praising him for having sorted out the economy and bringing prosperity after the chaos of the Weimar Republic, even insisting that he knew nothing at the time about the concentration camps and the terrible murder of millions of Jews. His war experiences ended up in a Russian prison camp, from which he was eventually freed. The splendid book had been recommended to me by a correspondent, and I thank him.
I also read a recent biography of that "Welsh goat" - "Lloyd George: Statesman or Scoundrel?" by Richard Wilkinson, published this year by I.B. Tauri 1993, printed and bound in Spain. As our economy falls steadily apart, more and more books are now being made abroad. According to his private secretary, Lloyd George "was born with the biggest organ I have ever seen. No wonder the women were always after him, and he for them". Oh dear, what trouble he would be in today with the narrow-minded and pathetic fierce feminists who loathe anything to do with men and sex. In those good old days women were women, not some of the young snivelling, spiteful fierce feminists we increasingly hear about today.
In the Lloyd George biography the author sets out the massive opposition that the House of Lords mounted against his "People's Budget" of 1909 that "achieved the modernisation of the British system of taxation", bringing in National Insurance with unemployment benefit and pensions. Yet the hatefully feudal House of Lords, made up of hereditary old fools and failed politicians, bitterly opposed all the measures that were eventually to bring about a fairer social structure, though we are now seeing a return to the greater divide between rich and poor under Mrs May's excessively right-wing Government. The horrible House had earlier opposed the abolition of slavery - a terrible history of supporting social injustice. Shamefully, Tony Blair did not have the courage to remove this unwanted, undemocratic and unpleasant institution, or at least making it a wholly elected assembly.
The author argues that Lloyd George did not have the courage to sack Haigh who made such a hopeless mess of the battlefields in the First World War, especially the muddy chaos at Paschendaele, never having visited the appalling muddy conditions at the front. It is therefore argued that Lloyd George, presumably fearing that Haigh's removal would promote a political crisis during the war, took no action to replace him. On the other hand, there are some modern historians who praise Haigh, arguing that although he was apparently not in the least bit concerned about losing thousands of his men, he realised that it was a war of attrition, only to be won when the Americans saved his bacon - and ours, as they were also to do in the Second World War.
I was surprised to learn from the book that French women did not have the vote until 1945, the argument having been that the Catholic priests would persuade women to vote for right-wing candidates, which seems a bit far fetched.
Buttercupts in the garden - a magnificent showing this year.
Books are one of my remaining delights in old age, so many other pleasures having vanished into the past, though not always forgotten, even if it says "surrender gracefully the things that belong to youth". I so enjoy buying a hardback (never a paperback), delighting in handling a virgin book, and spending many hours in the evening reading by the fireside in winter and the conservatory during the rain-soaked months we call the summer. How I loathe television; indeed, I hate the medium so much that I have had a cover made over the set.
How any intelligent man or woman can spend an evening watching all the rubbish on the idiot's lantern, especially enduring all those terrible advertisements on the commercial stations that ruin continuity, amazes me when so many splendid books are now being published. I suppose, though, that lantern watching is a form of laziness, enjoying all the quizzes and programmes on holidays and cookery after a what is believed to be a hard day's work.
I dislike the idiot's lantern almost as much as I loathe holidays, so thankful that my passport has now expired, joyfully meaning that I will never be going abroad again. In the past I greatly enjoyed holidays, especially during my early retirement in my late 50s, visiting India, Egypt, seeing the tomb of Tutankhamen, and the Pyramids, Nepal, Jerusalem, Bangkok, Paris, Hidelberg, flying over Everest, and especially the family holidays in Mijas in Spain.
In Spain I particularly enjoyed the wonderful sunshine, being able to sit outside drinking until midnight, whereas in this country you end up with hypothermia after about 8 p.m. But now the security arrangements at the airports are impossible, especially for the elderly, and there are a lot of riffraff on the planes these days, many of them drunk, making for unpleasant journeys. Better to stay at home where peace really does come dropping slow, as Mr. Yeates would say.
A cover I have had made for the idiot's lantern, loating televison so much.
Amazingly, inflation for May, measured by the ridiculous and meaningless CPI, was static at 2.4%, despite petrol having risen by 4 pence a litre during May and a 4.5% hike in energy prices during the month, petrol rising to £1.28 here in Lincoln at the end of June, suggesting a further reduction in the CPI this month. A report in the "i" said that these increases in petrol and energy prices were offset by a reduction in the price of computer games. Have you heard anything quite so ridiculous? When did most adults of any intelligence buy a computer game? As I have said before, the true inflation rate for essential household expenses, can be found by doubling the official CPI rate and adding 1, so that works out at 5.8%, which is probably a little on the low side, probably actually 6.2%.
On the 28th June I had a communication from the German-owned E-On, sometimes known as E-Off when we have power cuts, saying that electricity prices would be increased from the 18th August. My total bill for the year would be increased from £923.54 to £982.51, an increase of 6.25%, somewhat in excess of the corrected CPI measure at x2 the stated rate + 1 = 5.8%. The substantial increase in August will no doubt be offset in the CPI by a reduction in the price of babies' nappies.
This right-wing Government of ours, that refuses to have income tax increases to pay for the NHS and defence, said that it would cap energy prices, but as my old grandfather would have said, Mrs. May is all "piss and wind", unlike President Trump who carries out his promises. However, to get rid of the present abysmal lot we would end up with a communist Government under the deceitful, facing both ways Corbyn. We are therefore are stuck with the present pygmies.
Under privatisation, when all our utilities were sold off abroad, the foreign-owned companies can do just as they wish, knowing that they have no fear from a hopeless regulator or from a spineless Government. .
Rutland Water. Photograph by granddaughter Chloe
As part of our policy of having lunch out on a Friday, Mrs. Copeland and I enjoyed a visit to the " Cosy Club" in Lincoln on the first of the month, having a pleasant meal with friends in the magnificent refurbished Corn Exchange, a massive and most impressive edifice that was only spoilt to some extent by the dreadfully loud and unpleasant dominating musak. With this noise and the chatter of about 100 customers, it was not exactly a quiet place to take your wife or somebody else's wife; better to go with a group.
Why is it that restaurants and pubs, especially those catering for the multitude, feel that it is so necessary to have this intrusive musak? Here in our village "The Woodcocks" offers excellent meals at very reasonable prices, the beer always in good condition, but we have to endure the horrible musak, often screaming women who sound as if they have caught their mammary glands in the mangle. It is such a shame, and so unnecessary.
We went again to the "Cosy Club" on Father's Day with Caroline and Kate, son-in-law Steve, granddaughter Chloe and her male friend treating me to what I regard as an English breakfast (are we allowed to say "English"?), making for a very pleasant time. Additionally, Caroline gave me a bottle of white New Zealand wine, New Zealand white wine now being recognised to be the best in the world, having knocked the French whites into the shade, and a splendid bookmark.
Kate gave me another Terramundi money pot, shown in the photograph above, having given me one last year that is now almost full of £1 coins, probably amounting to £400. The idea is to put a card into the pot with a wish on starting the collection, and then smash it open when full. I suppose my main wish is that we will come out of the European Union with no deal, but maybe that cannot be included in the wishes, needing to be more personal.
A family gathering at The Cosy Club to celebrate Father's Day.
We greatly enjoyed a meeting on the 8th with Mrs. C's relations - a couple whose husband is a retired vicar, the wife a retired nurse, at "The King's Head" Tealby, a splendid thatched pub said to date from the 14th century, where we had an excellent meal, albeit somewhat expensive at £60 a couple. A meal was also enjoyed at "The Royal William IV" by the Brayford Pool in Lincoln. Our earlier visit had not been successful, the steak being overdone and poor, so I wrote a letter of complaint to the manager, receiving vouchers for this other meal, which was fine. A pity we could not sit outside overlooking the Brayford Pool, but the weather at the time was not warm enough, the temperature only 14 C
We had lunch at "The Woodcocks" in the village on the 15th, when I enjoyed a splendid sirloin steak. The day was "National Beer Day", so I duly celebrated with a beer, only to find that it was in a poor condition, possibly the end of the barrel. Fortunately, it was readily exchanged for another bitter, which was fine. As always, we saw men and women at a nearby table playing on their mobile telephones, hardly speaking to one another. Mobile telephones, apart from being used for an emergency, must be the curse of the age, young people's lives being dominated by these ubiquitous toys.
On Friday 22nd we had an excellent meal at the "Greek2Me restaurant on the massive housing estate on the western boundary of our village. The excellent waiter comes from Hungary, and finally we had another meal at "The Woodocks" with a couple who used to live next door, having moved to a more suitable house as the husband is confined to a wheelchair.
On a one-night sleep-over, Mrs. Copeland drove down to see her 100-year-old mother in Essex on the 26th, returning at teatime the following day. During her stay she had to watch the idiot's lantern, seeing the most awful programmes. However, television virtually
closes down during the summer months except for sporting fixtures, showing mainly repeats. Thanks heavens I do not have to pay the £150 licence for the rubbish, being over 75 years of age.
While Mrs. C was away I went with a widowed neighbour to have supper at "Greek2Me", now my favourite restaurant as "The Barge" anchored on the Brayford Pool has now closed down. Such a shame for it was a wonderful place, having fine views over the Pool. Amazingly, we were able to sit outside at the Greek restaurant, the evening being wonderfully warm. We could have been in Spain. If this is global warming, we can but hope we will have more of it..
I suppose it is a Good Thing for a couple to have a break from one another for a few days, but being on my own is a reminder of how awful life would be for me if I am left on my own. Mrs. Copeland is 7 years younger than I am, so I just hope that I go first. It seems that few men can successfully manage on their own if their wife dies, many quickly marrying again for lunch.
The "King's Head" at Tealby, where we had lunch with Mrs. Copeland's relations. The pub is said to date from the 14th century.
Each Monday the "i" has a recipe for those vegetarians, one of the dreadful meals being shown in the photograph above - a horribly unbalanced meal that dangerously and unwisely lacks any form of protein or carbohydrates, and which Mrs. Copeland told me would take ages to prepare, yet you would not want to give such an unpleasant meal to a hungry dog. I worry about vegetarians, and especially those vegans who really seem to have tipped over into absurdity, incredibly believing that animals have rights. I suppose the pheasant I feed each day has some of these rights, including waking me up at 5 a.m. for feeding.
As always for a month noted for a dripping June keeping everything in tune, the month saw variable weather. The first two days of the month brought 25mm of rain, swamping our lawn, ending up looking like an Irish bog ,seeing heavy and continuous rain overnight on the 7th. This was followed by ten days with only occasional sunshine, the temperature seldom rising above 17 C, lowered by the prevailing wind, the ghastly "Miseria". It was not until the last week of the month that we saw a real summer, the temperature going up to 25 C on what were perfect days. When there is a fine summer's day in this country there is no climate in the world to equal it, but such days are oh so rare, possibly why we appreciate them so much.
I usually look at the Meteorological Office website on the Internet for the weather forecasts, and on one occasion during the month comments in "Twitter" surprisingly and unsolicitedly came up, showing really abusive and juvenile messages, using hateful expletives in complaining about the forecasters having got their forecasts wrong. Admittedly, there were a few occasions when the forecast rain did not arrive, and when temperatures were lower than forecast, but weather-forecasting is hardly a science, and there is no need for this abuse.
The comments made me realise that the aptly named "Twitter", which I saw for the first time with theses weather comments, is a thoroughly nasty and spiteful medium, almost as bad as Facebooks. I certainly do not want to see any further contributions, and I am so thankful that granddaughter Chloe has managed to completely cancel the Facebook that she set up for me some years ago, a total waste of time with the trite responses, no serious argument being possible. The main criticism I have of President Trump, apart from putting the US embassy in Jerusalem, is that he uses Twitter to relay policies from the White House. It demeans the man, as it demeans everybody else who contributes to the nonsense Even the working-class comments on those ghastly "Phone-Ins" on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, on which it is folly to be wise, are not as bad as that.
One of the great things about our stone-built house dating from 1801, the walls 3 feet thick, is that it is wonderfully cool in summer, even on the hottest day. It is my contention that the
modern craze for insulation makes a house horribly stuffy, and I am so thankful we have not even had insulation in the roof, believing that the house should "breathe."
A ghastly meal for a vegetarian, so unhealthy with its lack of protein.
No diary would be complete without an "organ recital", dealing with the agonies and anguish of ill health in old age. In terms of being on the fringe of Diabetes, my blood-sugar level 2 hours after a meal, measured by my Accu-Chek monitor, averaged 5.6 - 6.4 mmoL/L, which seems to be all right as the maximum should be under 7.5. Alas, much to my alarm, I received on the 7th June a letter from Boots, from whom I obtain the test strips, saying that Roche (the manufacturer) had found that "some of the strips could produce a biased result i.e. a falsely too high or too low value". The faulty strips were identified by a number, and it was just my luck to have the faulty number, meaning that all the readings I had taken over the fortnight could have been wrong.
I took the faulty test strips back to Boots in Lincoln that afternoon, and they ordered a replacement, which I collected on the 9th June, subsequently using these corrected ones in future, finding to my relief that the specified level after two hours following a meal still came out at under 7.5 mmoL/L, which is obviously all right. Panic over, but I begin to wonder how reliable this appliance is.
Meanwhile, a very helpful correspondent, telling me that he was diagnosed with Diabetes II back in 1992, sent me an e-mail to say that there is now a Diabetics U.K. forum on whch newly diagnosed and long-term diabetics discuss the problems and some of the answers to them, including a revised diet. I certainly had a look at the recommended diet, but somehow I could not face reading such a forum. When I was diagnosed with fringe diabetes I was advised to join a discussion group, but there was 'no way' that I could ever sit with a group of sick people moaning about their illness, and similarly I feel that a forum would make me feel equally depressed, not that it takes much to make me feel depressed these days.
One thing is certain - something that I have mentioned many times before: I just cannot digest brown bread recommended in the revised suggested Diabetes diet. A fortnight or so ago I bought a brown loaf from a baker in Lincoln, being determined to eat the stuff rather than Warburton's "Farmhouse" that I enjoy so much - the best white bread on the market, but I had to throw it out to the birds, finding I could not digest it, discovering that the birds would not eat it either. I am told that swans will also not eat the brown bread, which does not surprise me in the least.
I find that today's brown bread reminds me of the terrible stuff that I had as a child during the Second World War. Indeed, I believe that brown bread, having so much fibre, clogs up the body, forming a solid substance in the stomach, and is therefore bad for us. It would not surprise me in the least if a food frightener soon says that brown bread is harmful. Just you wait and see.
Fortunately, the relatively high blood pressure level has been brought down by the daily intake of 2.5mg Ramipril tablets, now down from 169/98 to 132/78, so that is a "Good Thing" as Pooh would say. My Indian female doctor who initially prescribed these tablets, told me that a scan had shown I was very deficient in vitamin D, needing to take supplements, the consultant earlier having said that it seemed as if I had been going round in a burka.
Unfortunately, I unwisely responded to the Indian lady doctor by saying that I "ought to live in your country", whereas I suddenly realised that she considers England to be her country now. Basil Fawlty-style I think I "got away with it", but I must be more careful in future. Not so long ago I asked a black female dentist where she came from, to which she replied "Grimsby". How careful you have to be in these happy and harmonious multicultural days, even if the immigrants seldom integrate.
When I next see the doctor I know that I will be asked how I am faring with the revised diet for my Diabetes, which is going to be difficult to answer. I have started eating some vegetables and fruit, have switched to semi-skimmed milk from the full-cream, but have not cut back enough on alcohol. I think I shall have to reply in terms of diet following, "As it says in 'Scoop': "Up to a point, Lord Copper."
Annoyingly, the "normal" blood pressure reading has been amended from 140/90 to 130/80, which is obviously going to promote more anxiety and neurosis, but then perhaps this is the intention, doctors said to receive a cash reward for referrals. "Ay thang yew" as Arthur Askey used to say. Even so, I will keep to the old measure, which worked perfectly well for several generations.
The Burma Star rose in the garden at our local Club. One of our neighbours, now long since gone, served in the Burma campaign.
On the recommendation of a neighbour I have started having Quaker porridge oats for breakfast, using "Oats so Simple" in which the oats are placed in a bowl, measured milk added, and the mixture then microwaved for 2 minutes, adding more milk on completion and Lyle's Golden Syrup, making for a splendid meal. The package says that the oats "reduce cholesterol", which is my case, at about 6.2, is very necessary.
Each month our local Club has a quiz evening, various members presenting the questions. Carelessly, a retired rocket scientist and myself somehow were inveigled into jointly presenting a quiz on the 2nd June, each of us doing two sets of questions, ending with me playing tunes on the piano for people to recognise, all the music dating from the 1950s, none of that hateful and monotonous rapper rubbish we hear so unpleasantly and monotonously today. Understandably, we had no questions on sport, as I loathe all sport, and none on television programmes.
Thirteen members attended the quiz, all over the age of 60, none of the younger members being present, not that they would have been able to answer any of the questions on history and literature, never being taught at school about such subjects. This demographic division in the Club also emphasises the extensive social divide between the young and old, and ne'er the twain shall meet. Nevertheless, despite having been without a secretary for several weeks, it is still an excellent Club. Mrs. Copeland and I particularly enjoy Sunday afternoon sessions, especially in the summer days when we can sit outside in the garden with several other members around one of the large picnic tables in the garden,
The garden at our local Club. Mrs. Copeland has resumed looking after the garden as nobody wanted to undertake the work when she retired last year.
On the 16th June there was a barbecue at the Club, attended by some 65 people, thereby helping the Club's finances. I cannot say, though, that I like over-cooked sausages and other such offerings that resemble charcoal Nevertheless, I enjoy the delightful smell of a barbecue using charcoal instead of a gas appliance, the former being redolent of days sunshine days abroad. It is a tradition of barbecues that the men do the cooking, but as might be expected the women have to do all the preparation and clearing up. Much to my relief, the food was excellent, on this occasion, especially the sausages. I did not have any of the salads, loathing that rabbit food.
The barbecue had a band playing jazz and blues music, which I find difficult to accept as all the tunes seem to me to be the same with the relentless similar drum beat. Hitler banned jazz, describing it by the "N" word that we must not use today Still it seems that most of the people enjoyed the music, saying that it was well played. One of the musicians, probably approaching his 60s, had great long grey and lanky hair. I suppose that is to add character.
Alarmingly, we heard when at the Club on Sunday 17th that a car parked on the road outside the Club overnight had been damaged. A fortnight earlier another car had been damaged, a key having been used to scratch it, the windscreen wipers having been twisted and the windscreen smashed.
It seemed strange that this vandalism had occurred on two occasions, suggesting that there was a degree of malice from person or persons unknown, possibly even a youngster locally. All very worrying, there being no chance of catching the vandals, especially as a result of Mrs. May as a disastrous Home Secretary having cut police forces around the country by 20,000. At a time of rising crime, this probably made some kind of sense to her in her distorted logic that we are now seeing with Brexit,.
Bench seat in the garden of our local Club, which i revarnished during the month. Back in 2002/3 the bench was donated by Anglian Water following new pipes being put in the village.
At the Club there is a wooden bench seat that was donated by Anglian Water back in 2003 when new water pipes were put in the village. It is a very fine seat, possibly costing about £700 today, being very well made - and amazingly made in this country. Unfortunately, the varnish has become patchy, so I spent a couple of days re-varnishing it and painting the sides, though I had to ask somebody else to paint the number 2003, my hand being far too wobbly. Meanwhile, Mrs. Copeland has resumed looking after the garden, having resigned last year after about 10 years. Not surprisingly nobody wanted to take over from her, so she has had to resume duties. I sometimes wonder what this country will be like when our generation has departed.
During the month there was a review of the Yorkshire accent, the "Daily Telegraph" having a report suggesting that a German tennis star had said that the Yorkshire accent "is marvellous", while a woman correspondent, obviously from oop north, commented that "I hope, if the Yorkshire accent is coming into its own, it's about bloody time. Be loud, be proud, be short-vowelled." Yet the article makes the very correct comment that "The values we associate with accents are class-based", most Southerners believing that those with a Northern accent are "thick, uneducated or simply 'sound dreadful'", a far cry from "British Received Pronunciation", sometimes formerly known as "BBC English".
I lived and worked in York for three horrible years, loathing the accent and finding it difficult to accept people who said "dook" for "duck", and "cassle" for castle. Lincolnshire accent, although similarly having the short "a", is not quite so bad, many of the better educated residents speaking properly. They say, with considerable justification, that "You can always tell a Yorkshireman, but not much", and that Yorkshire is "God's own county", possibly suggesting that the Almighty cannot have travelled around all that much in this little island. Suffolk, with its better climate and gentler, more attractive landscape, should have the Divine accolade.
Because of surrounding trees, our lawn is mainly moss, looking very fine and a delight to walk on.
I managed to win a pathetic £25 in June as a Premium Bond prize. With 4 wins at £25 so far this year, I am currently down -£96 on the top Building Society interest rate, though there are obviously another six months to go. What continues to surprise me, as I have mentioned so many times in the past, is that all the people I know who have had premium bonds over many years - and I know a great many of such folk - have never won anything more than a £25 prize. Where, I wonder do all the big prizes go? In June, the two £1m winners had £27,500 and £50,000 invested. I only have £23,450 so it may seem that I have far to go to win a big prize.
Over the past 25 years I have withdrawn the entire holding if I do not win after 5 years, and then reinvested, finding on every occasion that I start winning again after the regulation first month. Whatever NSI may say, and however much they may understandably deny it, it seems beyond much doubt, certainly from my experience over all those years, that Ernie gives preference to newly invested bonds.
The pheasant I have been feeding each day, sometimes coming with his hen, though she was absent at the end of the month, presumably nesting.
continued feeding the cock pheasant each day, the bird becoming quite tame, even coming to meet me up the steps leading from the parlour into the back garden. He was often accompanied by a hen, though towards the end of the month she was absent for a few weeks, suggesting that she was at home on the nest, looking after the newly hatched babies, indicating that the ornithological world at least has correct child-rearing. At times, the pheasant shared the food with a raven, presumably a fine example of diversity in the feathered world, representing peaceful coexistence.
On the 26th the pheasant had a fight with another cock pheasant when the intruder tried to have it away with his hen Oh, the trouble that women cause, as also happens in our human world now that men and women seem to be totally unsuited to one another, women understandably not being the happiest of creatures these days, weighed down with full-time jobs and having to look after a family. According to a survey by Public Health England", "almost half of women aged 25-34 do not have an enjoyable sex life." My advice to young men would be to leave women alone until in your early 30s, go out with your mates instead, having a far better time.
I still find it utterly incredible that any man can enjoy killing such a splendid creature in cold blood, but then the "Barmy Bumpkins' Association" believes that cruelty to animals is a countryside right, certainly a squire's right. I suppose, though, it has to be accepted that all country pursuits are cruel - shooting, snaring, hunting and fishing, delighting in persecuting and murdering what the downright daft Animal Rights crackpots call "innocent creatures". Come the start of the shooting slaughtering season in the autumn, my pheasant will no doubt be murdered by the littlegame hunters, but then that is countryfolk fun.
In terms of gardening I strimmed down the plentiful cow-parsley during the month that Mrs. Copeland does not like all that much, complaining that it is continually encroaching upon the rest of the garden. I nevertheless like it, along with the delightful Bellis Perennis on the lawn, giving a countryside feel to the garden, so much better than those immaculate gardens, everything in a row , in suburban executive-style gardens, not a weed to be seen, not even any buttercups that have been so splendid this year.
Cattle in the avenue of oaks at the bottom of our garden. A wonderful place to live, only 1 mile from the Lincoln city northern boundary.
I alternated between buying the 60p "i" and £1.60 The Times" during the month. I like the "i" with its colourful layout, but some of the letters upset me, so many of them indicating a nasty left-wing bias. For example, a really silly woman wrote on the 6th June: "I have a major decision: should I join the protest against Donald Trump's visit, which might be misrepresented as welcoming him, or should I stay away to decrease the numbers and not boost his ego?"
The answer is that we should all loudly cheer his arrival if he is daft enough to come to this angry land, welcoming a President who has at last woken up his country after the lethargic Obama years; has created thousands of new jobs; has realised Iran is conning the West over its nuclear capacity; and has done something about North Korea. Additionally, he is expressing a few home truths that others do not like, pointing out the worthlessness of NATO and the muddled G7 nations.
Were I a younger man I would be in a street in London during the visit, waving the American flag, cheering President Trump at the top of my voice, shouting against the indolent malcontents and layabouts who will rudely be jeering him with their potted propaganda gleaned unthinkingly straight from the pages of the "Guardian" and possibly the left-wing "i".
I was surprised when attending a Sunday afternoon session at the Club that there was such extensive criticism, amounting to a severe hatred, of President Trump, arguing that he was mentally sick and totally unsuited to being the most powerful man in the world. A lot of this hateful criticism comes from the British muck-raking and mischief-making media that refuses to give the President any credit. Although I realise that he is not a very pleasant man, I sometimes wish, as Boris Johnson suggested, that we had somebody who stood up for this country instead of selling us down the Rhine.
A Terramundi money pot that daughter Kate gave me for Father's Day. Kate had earlier given me another pot which is almost full, probably cointaining £400 in £1 coins. The pots are supposed to bring luck, certainly needed in this rundown country.
I had hoped that we had managed to avoid all those criminal scam telephone calls, but during the first week in June we had 9, and although lower than for the rest of the month, there was still a total of 21. On a few occasions I answered some of them to see what they were about, finding that they were offering me cheaper gas and electricity. Oh, yeah? Another one that I answered came up with "International - 015862646653" on the caller-display unit, a male foreign-sounding voice saying he was from Windows and that a virus had been found on my computer.
I have had this virus scam many times in the past, fortunately knowing that it was a criminal scam that asks you to switch on your computer and to follow the directions that are given. These directions actually allow the criminal caller to gain access to your computer, subsequently allowing a virus to be inserted, a charge (I believe about £65) having to be made to remove it. I have to admit that I used some rather nasty expletives to tell this little crook where he could go and what he was. I later dialled the number finding, as I expected, that it was not in existence.
Another scam, on the 28th, which I unfortunately answered as it came up with the number 01474832909 that I thought was a recognisable local number, had a recorded voice saying that my Internet connection had been compromised, and that I had to contact a telephone number to change my ID, otherwise the service would be terminated within 24 hours. The change would enable to scammer to be able to access the Internet connection. A neighbour also had the message earlier in the week. We both ignored the criminal scam. On dialling the number on the caller display unit (I have a separate one) I found it to be false, as I expected. Thanks heavens for a caller-display unit.
In former days I had a competition with a correspondent to see who could string these virus scammers along for the longest time, pretending we were following the instructions on our computer. I managed 9-and-a-half minutes, but my competitor scored just over 10 minutes, which is probably the record. Nasty stuff, no doubt many "innocent" people being caught by the crooked caller pretending to be from Windows.
A report during the month indicated that "the over 65s are three times more likely to lose money to fraudsters than to be burgled." The answer, of course, is never to have anything to do with these unsolicited and criminal calls, though with the scammers using numbers similar to local ones, it is often difficult to reject all of them. At least you can tell the callers where to go and what they are, calling them all manner of offensive names. On occasions, I quite enjoy that. A bank or building society would never telephone a customer.
By the Welsh seaside. Photograph by daughter Caroline.
A neighbouring couple, somewhat younger than the rest of us in our small community, are having a hot-tub supplied and fitted in their garden, the cost probably being in the region of £7,000, which seems a lot of money for having a bath outside in our miserable climate. I cannot think of anything that I would less like to have, other than a football season ticket, or even worse, a season ticket for those thugby matches involving all brawn and no brain. The tub, which can apparently hold 5 people (3 British) , is being placed into the ground, involving the extraction of an enormous amount of soil.
But as Mrs. Copeland keeps telling me, each to his own, my cherished ideas and values not necessarily being the correct, definitive ones, especially as they are so out-dated, no longer in fashion. I suppose we will be hearing a lot of screaming and shouting from the hot-tub, which is not going to be pleasant, though it would not surprise me if they end up catching their death of colds. Doctors have warned that the tubs with their warm water, which cost a fortune to heat up, are breeding grounds for all manner of germs, especially skin complaints.
The "i" for the 7th June had a headline expressing student dissatisfaction with their university education, wanting more lectures. There is no doubt that the universities in this country are in a hopeless mess, Vice-Chancellors paying themselves enormous salaries, and the teaching year only amounting to 26 weeks. Early next month the universities will be closing down until the beginning of October, meaning that highly expensive equipment stands idle while the lecturers swan off to their cottages in France.
University lecturing must therefore be the closest that you can get to retirement. The answer, of course, would be to lengthen the academic year to 40 weeks, probably meaning that a 3-year degree course could be taken in two years, saving a lot of money on student loans. Somehow, though, with so many vested interests and a hopeless Government, I cannot see this necessary reform being made.
Dambuster poster that I bought from "The Daily Mail". A splendid and courageous raid, though the damaged dams were soon repaired by the Germans.
From an issue of "The Daily Mail", I bought a magnificent poster depicting the Dambuster raid, framing the picture in the parlour, as shown in the above photograph. The raid was a propaganda success rather than any real damage being done to the German economy, the dams being rebuilt and back in working order within six months. Thousands of foreign workers, employed under slave conditions of the Nazis, died in the extensive flooding. But they were brave men who went on the raid, many of then never to return. If nothing else, it was a magnificent symbol, however ineffective, of our refusal to accept Nazi domination.
A modern, immaculate parlour, so different from our cluttered home shown in the following photograph
Our cluttered parlour, having 2,500 books and models of planes and tanks.
The husband of an elderly neighbouring couple who are trying to sell their house, albeit for a greatly inflated price, was telling me that the well-known national firm of estate agents they employed was totally useless. So many of the photographs were dreadful, having to be taken again. One of the photographs showed a bedroom from the doorway, looking as if you went smack into a wardrobe. Many of the derails about the property were hoplessly wrong.
Nevertheless, the photographs (as the one above) showed that the house was in an immaculate condition, not a sign of a book or any model aeroplanes, a veritable shrine, quite frightening with its tyranny of tidiness, making me so thankful that Mrs. Copeland is not so house-proud. As Mrs. Ogmore Pritchard would say, even "the sun has to wipe its feet". It is said that excessively tidy people are uncreative people, and this seems to be the case with people I know, untidy people being far more easy going and loveable, rather like people who are owls rather than those tiresome early morning larks.
Our village used to be a "much sought after village", but is no longer in that category, thank heavens. Most of the properties are old and many of them have extremely large gardens, and young families these days want all mod-cons with en-suit bedoom/bathroom, and certainly do not want a garden more than two-barrows in length. There is no school in the village, no shops, and no medical facilities, not even a gas supply, and in our part of the village the Internet reception is appalling, one bar at best.
The husband was telling me that with the outrageous fees of estate agents and small-town solicitors, stamp duty, and removal costs, the total cost would come to about £10,000. Even though they are both old, the couple want to live out in the wilds in a Lincolnshire village called Tealby, probably 20 miles or more from Lincoln County Hospital. As the old saying has it, "If you have one foot in the grave, it is advisable to have the other on a 'bus stop for the hospital."
By way of contrast, our house would be an estate agent's nightmare to sell - books all round the parlour and on every other available space, and lots of model aeroplanes and tanks. People do not want that kind of thing these days, as is illustrated in those unbelievably awful Homes & Gardens magazines that have houses that do not appear to be lived in. I just hope that the day doesn't come when we have to move because of my ever worsening arthritis. Inevitably one of us will be left alone, something that every married couple dreads. I would certainly find it difficult to live on my own, not wanting to do or be able to do any cooking.
One of the other problems in our house is that everything is old, including the owners, items constantly needing replacement, large and small. Although only a minor incident, the plug chain broke off the bath during the month, meaning I had to buy and fit a replacement - something a woman would never do, not having a clue how to fit it, but then I haven't a clue about cooking. As remarked earlier, long live the essential biological differences that those fierce feminists will mercifully never manage to eradicate
The good news in the housing market is that there is a new type of estate agent calling itself "Purple Bricks" which, so I am told, charges a registration fee of £500 for selling a property, but no other charges, the money being lost if the property is not sold. During the past few months I have seen a large number of these "Purple Bricks" sale boards in Lincoln, many of them displaying "sold", obviously having become a very successful organisation, no doubt putting many of the estate agents in the shade. It is a pity that there is not a "Purple Deals" charging just £500 for conveyancing, instead of the rip-off fees by small-town solicitors..
Not surprisingly in these troubled times in the property market, it was reported towards the end of the month that shares in Countrywide, the UK's largest estate agent group, have fallen more than 20% after it issued its second profit warning this year. The estate agent, which has brands including Bairstow Eves and Gascoigne, said it expected first-half earnings to be about £20m lower than last year, warning that ""We do not expect this shortfall to be recovered in the second half,. Conditions in the housing market continued to be 'subdued' and deals were taking longer to complete" the firm being hit by a slowdown in the housing market, as well as the rise of online agents such as Purple Bricks. Reason and sense seems to be returning to what has been a grossly inflated property market.
There was also the good news that the District Council had turned down an application from developers for 7 houses in the field of the avenue of oaks, saying that only 4 would be permitted, which will prompt a revised application, the developers never giving up. Even so, four rather than 7 houses will be less of an eyesore, though there is still some hope that the damaging and unwanted development will be ultimately be refused. We can but hope that this will happen, the worry being that when the plans will eventually go to appeal, the Inspectors, appearing to have no concern for the environment, and giving approval for anything these days, presumably on the grounds that we need more houses to accommodate the immigrants, will readily grant approval.
I suppose we should be thankful that we live in the backwater of Lincolnshire where some of the old values are still upheld and where property prices are not as excessive as in the south, whereas a report in the "i" for the 19th said that "some public sector workers are spending more than half their wages in rent. In London a teaching assistant would have to spend 78% of their take-home pay on a one-bedroom property." What an utter hell it must be to live in London, making us so lucky we live in a peaceful county that nobody has ever heard of, let alone visited. A pity about the economy, though.
It always amazes me that another retired couple we know, having a wonderful house and extensive garden in the village, spend several fortnights during the year travelling around gypsy-style in their caravan, which we refer to as their "tin can", enduring those camp sites with screaming children and having to be gregarious and join in the slop-bucket races. How can anybody make their lives so miserable? They also enjoy cruises, which I regard as a hell on the seas, veritable prisons with the added risk of getting drowned, as Dr. Johnson would have said. But then we are all different, probably a good thing.
Honeysuckle in the garden.
For the first time in about 20 years, possibly longer, I switched on the idiot's lantern to watch a sporting event - the England football team playing Tunisia in the World Cup, being staged in Russia. I was nevertheless genuinely astounded on seeing that five of the eleven players in the England team were black, confusing me into thinking I had switched on the wrong game, seeing two African sides. How things have changed in all those years. Presumably the England cricket team has a similar composition.
To my generation, still remembering younger times watching Stanley Matthews play during the days when footballers were not paid thousands of pounds a week, today's "diverse" team hardly seems like an England team, and do not let some silly sod tell me this is racism on my part. It is an indication of the immense social changes in this ailing land, something that I now have to accept along with our loss of Englishness.
It also surprised me that football has become such a rough, dirty game with so many penalties and injuries, almost as bad as a thugby match. Amazingly, we won the match 2-1, and on 24th we watched the match between England and Panama on the large screen at the Club, our boys winning 6-1. For better or for worse, England is in the group where all the third-rate teams are to be found, so our boys winning is not necessarily an indication of their further progress in the tournament.
The real and only test came when they played Belgium on the 28th, when our boys lost. I could not watch the game as we went to see a film at the Venue. However, I think I have had enough football for this year, and will not watch any of the other matches
Although I obviously know very little about football, it really does seem that at international level it is a very skilful game, so much better than that hateful thugby in which the players jump on one another, the sport having about as much skill as Snakes & Ladders.
The lantern was also switched on to watch DVDs, having resumed the fortnightly Thursday evening showings I have with an elderly male neighbour - the one who now has his house on the market. On one occasion we watched "Churchill: The Darkest Hour", a truly excellent film that rightly gained an Oscar, and on another a 5-star rated film about the First World War - "Journey's End" that we both thought was unbelievably awful, disjointed with no concept of the physical horrors of the battleground. Yet it had received all these accolades from nearly every newspaper. Somehow it is unwise to take any notice of reviewers, other than to take the opposite approach.
To cheer us up after watching that dreadful film we watched three episodes of "Till Death Do Us Part", featuring the wonderful Alf Garnet, who uses names to describe our Empire friends that are now banned in our tyrannical society of censorship, having cogent laws against racism that, far from bringing about a more enlightened and tolerant multicultural society, leads to an even greater gulf and bitterness between the races. Our splendid Alf utters some of the values of my generation when he tells his wife that the place of a woman is in the home - obvious innit? and wisely he has some very severe comments about Socialism- "its that 'Arold Wilson".
According to press reports that I belatedly read, Lord Sugar made some adverse comments about the black players in the England football team, apparently likening them to vendors selling trinkets on a tourist beach in Marbella, bringing about a storm of protests about his alleged racism. The irony is that this endless criticism and punishment of racism, already deeply embedded in English society, as in America, only makes the divisions worse, whereas it would be far better to let the comments go unheeded. Giles Coran, who likes to believe he is amusing, suggested that we should "kick Old People Off the Internet, " elderly people likely to be racist. It might be better, certainly in terms of civilised and intelligent comments, if we kicked silly and humourless columnists off our newspapers, though in their defence they are only trying very hard to be funny.
During the month we saw three films at the Venue, avoiding the Lincoln Odeon that becomes a children's and teenagers' cinema during the summer months, showing science fiction and horror films. The Venue films were "The Leisure Seekers", which dealt with a terminally ill couple who went on a last journey in their campervan. The husband had advanced dementia, not knowing which day of the week it is, yet he could drive a large vehicle along busy American motorways. This didn't make much sense. Not much better was "Entebbe", which was very disjointed. Fortunately, we greatly enjoyed "Chesil l Beach", taking a neighbour with us, though I loathed the background music.
A large branch that fell acorss our drive during the month.
Michael Gove, the Environmental Secretary, is trying to reduce pollution in this ailing land by banning coal fires, yet what does the Government do to undermine all his efforts? - our pygmy politicians, who have about as much consistency as the English weather, have allowed a third runway at Heathrow, causing massive pollution, equivalent to thousands of coal fires, as well as bringing misery to nearby villagers. But we are told the additional runway is needed to stimulate the economy. Oh, yeah?
On the 21st I invited the vicar and his wife to come to my house to talk about religion and my declining faith. I raised the issue of the Church of England following social pressures rather than abiding by the tenets of the Bible, as for instance its support for gay marriages and having women priests, both representing anathema to the Catholic Church that remains true to the Bible. I found it a fascinating discussion, and it pleased me that we had wine instead of those dreaded cups of coffee. After all, Jesus had wine, even making some when they ran out at a gathering.
I had my hair cut on the 27th, the cutting being undertaken very successfully by a young lady. Years ago I went to a male barber who only did short back and sides, his salon not being all that clean or tidy. The lass is so much better, taking far more care, suggesting yet again that in so many walks of life women are better than men - but not in the political arena where I will always believe they are not suitable. The only drawback was that I had to listen to "Lincs FM", hearing a rapper rambling on in a most unpleasant manner. Can anybody enjoy such nonsense?
A correspondent has sent me an e-mail recommending me to look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywbaPKFaR2k, dealing with Hitler ranting about the Germans having been knocked out of the world cup. It really is splendid, well worth looking at, though in terms of our tyrannical censorship it will probably be banned and taken off as being racist, so it would be as well to look at it as soon as possible.
I was delighted to learn during the month that France is to bring back National Service. What a splendid idea, one that should readily be adopted in this country to provide discipline to a generation of youngsters who have known no kind of discipline in the home or in the school. A tough physical and demanding regime for two hard years would bring enormous benefits, reducing the teenage crime that is so rampant in this country
As I am becoming more and more and frightened about the excessive restrictions on free speech in this country, especially in regard to any controversial views on racism, I have decided that from next month I will only be putting in photographs with brief captions in the diary. With all the fearful legislation against sexism, racism and any other ;is" the Thought Police can think up, we are verging towards the system in Nazi Germany during which it was very dangerous and unwise to present a controversial issue that did not accord with the prescribed propaganda, people being encouraged to rat upon one another..
I could risk a prison sentence for not welcoming the 330,000 immigrants who came in unchecked in 2015, and I must accept that same-sex marriages are a Good Thing. To resist is not worth the candle, so I am taking the necessary evasive action to accept the censorship. Presumably the day is not very far away when Internet diaries and blogs are duly stamped "Censored". It is all very sad, seeing the censorship as an indication of a country I once loved and respected now in terminal decline.
After a few days of hot weather - and long may it last, there are warnings from the water companies that we must be careful with the use of water, having a shower instead of a bath. As Bill Bryson wryly remarked: "England is the ony country in the world where it rains nearly every day and they have a hosepipe ban.". It is all to do with the lack of water provision under privatisation, though out local suppliers, Anglian Water, is probably one of the better companies.
Lincolnshire 30th June, 2018
Diary of an Octogenarian
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