DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN

- John Copeland -


NOVEMBER 2019


Avenue

The avenue of oaks at the bottom of the garden on a foggy day in November. I clear up the leaves each day, weather permitting, as part of my quotidian exercise, far better than a Silly Walk.


"No sun - no moon! No morn - no noon. No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day. No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease. No comfortable feel in any member - No shade , no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds - November!

Thomas Hood (1799-1845): "Ode: Autumn".


Home sweet home

Home sweet home. Because of the advanced arthritis in both knees, I only light the fire Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, finding the labour of bringing in the coal and logs very difficult and painful. There is no doubt that a living fire is by far the best form of heating, providing the necessary ventilation, but the fires involve a lot of work, taking me 25 minutes in clearing out the ashes and relaying.

The month began badly when we had a leak in the washing machine, necessitating a call-out repair under the guarantee.. Fortunately, a neighbour allowed Mrs. Copeland to use her washing machine, so that was helpful. In the personal diary I keep each day I think I will now have a section marked:: "What went wrong today," hardly a day going by without some new trouble and fault arising, making our already difficult lives even more troublesome. When Mrs. Copeland telephoned to activate the 5-year guarantee (the machine is four-years-old), she was told that an engineer could not come out until the 13th November. a fortnight away, not the best of services, but at least the repair is free..

Trying not to be upset by all this inconvenience, I tend to regard life's problems and troubles under two headings: 1. Those relating to health, which can be life threatening and sometimes having no cure, as with dementia and Parkinson's disease, others lingering on while you wait weeks to see a doctor in this country. and 2. those problems that can be solved with money, albeit with inconvenience, such as waiting for a repair, trying to persuade somebody to come out to fix an appliance.

Long years ago I still remember a girl friend who, before she died of cancer at an unacceptably young age, told me: "If you have your health, John, you can battle with life.." It is good expression of life, and when I have great anger that yet another appliance has packed up, or when there is inevitably some fault with my computer, I must try to abide by the recommendation, frustrating as it is, life seeming to be even more difficult in old age as you fight against memory loss, the death of friends, and a Parliament that has become an unstable and unworkable bear garden, all part of the endless economic and social decline of this country..


Washing

Washing on the Nile - a scene we saw long ago during a Nile cruise


Although, as mentioned, a neighbour kindly allowed Mrs. Copeland to use her washing machine for many of our items, I nevertheless washed some of my own garments, including pants, pyjamas and shirts, all by hand, the first time that I have ever done that.. Much to my surprise, understandably never receiving many accolades these days, Mrs. Copeland said that my hand-washed pyjamas came out just as good with the washing machine. I was reminded of the days long ago when my mother had a copper boiler in the. garage, involving a fire that had to be lit underneath, the smoke going up a chimney, making for a most pleasant odour on a Monday morning, the traditional wash day. Mother, I recall, used "Robin" starch, and the clothes came out gleamingly clean, nothing ever going wrong..

I continued with the hand-wash for several days. On one occasion, when I was busily rubbing away, Mrs. Copeland went off to a meeting of the geriatric gang known as "The University of the Third Age", saying as she departed: "Our roles seem to have been reversed." Eventually, the repair was duly undertaken on the 13th November, the fault being a leaking pipe within the machine. The engineer said that it could have been caused by a small screw left in the pocket of a pair of trousers, so presumably I was guilty. The engineer was a most pleasant fellow, obviously knowing what he was doing - a rare phenomenon these days. He had to use his mobile telephone to take photographs of the repair, heath & safety and accountability being foremost in these frightening days..

We had an eve worse incident towards the end of the month when the kitchen sink drain was blocked. with my crippling arthritis, it was agony having to bend down over the drain and free an almighty amount of goo - a horrible, smelly and unhealthy job, but with Mrs. Copeland's help I managed to free the blockage. At one stage I thought I would have to call out a drain company, possibly at a cost of 100, but after an awful amount of swearing the blockage was cleared.


Scrabble

We stopped playing Scrabble on the 18th November as I came to dislke the game, even though my performance improved.


Since the 21st June of this year Mrs. Copeland and I have played 2 games of Scrabble on Monday evenings, a total of 44 to the 18th November... I began the game as a novice, whereas Mrs. C. had regularly played the game with her mother over several years. Initially I lost so many games, several very badly with only a score of a pathetic 79, but over the months I showed a considerable improvement, even managing to win several games, while in the first of the two games played on he 18th November we amazingly drew 216/216, When the last 18 games are considered I won 9 and Mrs. C. 10, the apparent Diane Abbott sum discrepancy being due to off-said drawn game..

Unfortunately, in the second of the two games we played on the 18th November I was winning nearly all the way through, but towards the end I drew out two high scoring letters - a "Z" (10 points) and a "Q" (also 10 points) that I could not put down, whereas Mrs. Copeland drew out some good letters, thereby managing to go out. I therefore had to deduct my remaining letters, amounting to 20, and add them onto Mrs. C's score, resulting in her narrowly winning the game, 145/137. I felt so disappointed, regarding the game as being 60% luck (or bad luck in my case) and only 40% acquired skill, that I felt I never wanted to play again..

Surprisingly, especially as I somewhat improved my performance, I came to dislike the game, regarding it as being so very dependent upon letters drawn out of the bag. I suppose it has to be admitted that I lack the necessary patience, becoming annoyed when Mrs. C. spent ages before playing her hand, and even more bad tempered when she went into a place on the board that I had planed to use - something that happened time and time again. Nevertheless, as we had drawn level towards the end, it was a good time to stop, so the game was put away, never to come out again. Enough was enough, making me feel it was a Big Girls' Game.


Autumn

The magnificent colours of Autumn - bushes in the garden


At least there was the good news that Mrs. Copeland's Peugeot 208 had been excellently repaired by Bowman's, a first-rate, long established family firm in Lincoln. This was the firm that did an excellent job on my Ford Scorpio when somebody crashed into the back of the parked car. As yet we are still undecided what to do about changing tMrs. Copeland's car: whether to change it for a new one (or pre-registered) next April, or wait another two years. Whatever we do, it is going to cost us a lot of money. Meanwhile, I wrote to Bowman's to thank them for an excellent service.
Trump

The spiteful Democrats are now wasting their time in a public hearing that is trying to impeach President Trump, The Republican-controlled Senate will never impeach him.


The bitter Democrats, still sulking because they overwhelmingly lost the Presidential election (Clinton 232 and Trump 306 in the Electoral College), have started the impeachment proceedings, now being relayed live on television, a pantomime of a spectacle that will get nowhere. I was therefore glad to receive an e-mail from an American correspondent, an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam, and whose political judgement I greatly value ,who commented:

"I don't think President Trump has anything to worry about; while the media is solidly against him, the people are not. Every public appearance of the President is swamped. always as a full venue. He is popular with the people who recognize the increased prosperity that his administration has brought about and with those who want to work and keep what they earn, thereby still outnumbering those who want a free ride, no matter what it costs the country.".

There was additional condemnation of the impeachment in "The Times" for the 31st October, 2019: : "There is at present nothing like enough opposition to Mr. Trump to deliver the two-thirds Senate majority required to convict him.". It is recognised that the impeachment proceedings could initially do the President a lot of harm, but all this nonsense will be long forgotten and forgiven by a fickle electorate in November of 2020.. As might be expected, the left-wing Democrats have completely misjudged the timing of impeachment..

In her column in "The Times" for the 26th November Melanie Phillips, by far the best columnist in the paper, commented that Trump was right about the hateful Islamic regime in Iran. The European Union, and especially this country, were all completely hoodwinked by the regime, incredibly supporting it.

Map

Electoral map of this country, blue everywhere, yet Labour can still win in our confusing electoral system.


As might be expected, the election campaigns of the two main parties in this country became ever more ridiculous and expensive, each party promising to get the country into ever more debt, as if that is a Good Thing. The cost of the outrageous promisees would be enormous and unmanageable, but they are only pipe dreams, not to be taken seriously, promises of politicians having about as much validity as a guarantee of a second-hand car salesman. Worringly, the opinion polls at the end of the month predicted a 68 overall majority for the Conservatives. Alas, bearing in mind the opinion polls forecast that Mrs, May on re-election would have a majority of 100 seats, she actually ended up having to pay a bribe of 1bn for the support of an Old Testament Irish Group to remain in office. The polls also thought that that horrible Clinton woman would win the Presidential election last time round..

In his design for a Stalin-style Workers' Paradise, wanting to penalise the enterprising and industrious, all those who work hard, with massive taxation increases and planning to reduce everything and everybody to the lowest common denominator, essentially a formula for communism, Marxist Comrade Corbyn is even proposing to move the south to the north, along with all the financial concerns, wanting to abolish capitalism. In its irresponsible, fantasy budgeting, described as "the greatest suicide note in history." .The Labour Party is even proposing that, at a time of ever increasing, demand, the National Health Service staff will have their working week reduced to 4 days, along with all other workers. . Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous, totally unrealistic, even dafter than the massive expense of allowing free tuition for university students

On the 26th of the month "The Times" carried the headline: "Corbyn not fit for high office, says chief rabbi. Labour antisemitism sanctioned from the top". Presumably this extensive anti-semitism in the party relates principally to the appalling treatment of the Jews in Israel, forcing Palestinians off their land to build houses for further Jewish settlements. It should also be mentioned that a former member of MI6 said that Corbyn was a security risk in his support of troublesome foreign governments who were opposed to this country.

Sadly and disgracefully, there has always been extensive anti-semitism in this country. For reasons that I could never understand, my parents loathed the Jews, offensively calling them "Jewboys", not to be trusted in business. I suppose the problem is that the Jews are a very clever and cultured race, and work hard, there being widespread envy of their justifiable success. In all probability, Comrade Corbyn refusing to apologies for the widespread anti-semitism in his party will not do him any electoral harm, many people unfortunately agreeing with him.

Not to be outdone, the Muslim Council of Britain accused the Tories of having a 'blind spot' over Islamophobia." Presumably much of this Islamophobia reltes to the appalling Islamic regime in Iran, where there are now demands for democratic change, not likely to succeed.

At the end of month the polls, for the little they are worth, were nevertheless showing a narrowing of the Conservative lead, down to 9% from 15%., the fear being that there could be a hung Parliament, meaning that Brexit would be no more. To have a Labour government, especially with the communist-led leader who is proposing a massive overhaul of our social and economic structure, would be a disaster of the highest magnitude, bankrupting the country with the party's bitter hatred of capitalism, penalising the enterprising and hardworking, and supporting the layabouts.

It is probably not an exaggeration to say that the prospect of a .Labour Government is the greatest threat that our country has faced in recent times, effectively destroying capitalism upon which any nation's prosperity depends, replacing it with what amounts to a communist state, a Workers' Paradise in which the enterprising and hardworking would be severely punished by crippling taxation, the economy bankrupt within three years.

Comrade Corbyn, realising that he will never be Prime Minister, started making absurd claims at the end of the month, even saying that he had evidence that the Tories were going to sell off the National Health Service to the Americans, as if President Trump would want to buy a bankrupt service. Worryingly, we are likelyto see a great deal of nastiness from Comrade Corbyn as the polls show an increasing Conservative lead, not that it is to be believed.

It is difficult not to see Comrase Corbyn as a horribly bitter and spiteful man.. He is anti-British, anti-monanarchy, anti-grammar schools, and anti anything to do with excellence. Sadly, he does not understand that it is not a simple matter of pouring ever more money into the NHS. The wasteful Service that unnecessarily spends thousands of pounds on those useless management consultants, is administraitively top heavy, and needs to be completely overhauled.. No government has yet had the courage to do this.

Lib-Dim leader

Jo Swinson, the unbelievably awful leader of the hopeless Lib-Dims. Don't you just love women in politics - and what about that awful Sturgeon woman whose accent I find so unpleasant?

Meanwhile, the Lib-Dims under the thoroughly unpleasant Jo Swinson: the goofy Greens who would have us all living in mud huts;:and the pathetic Plaid Cymru have formed an alliance to fight the general election and thwart the massive 1.3 million leave majority in the referendum, wanting to have a second referendum, apparently not realising that this is totally and shamefully undemocratic in demanding a second referendum.. If you do not agree with the result, have another one, as they do in Russia and the banana republics...

A woman columnist in "The Times" for the 5th November complained that: "The Parliamentary Party that returns to the Commons after the election will be very different: more right-wing, more hard-line Eurosceptic and quite possibly more male". So what is wrong with all that? We need a right-wing Government to toughen up the country, especially in melting all the snowflakes, concentrating more on human responsibilities instead of human rights.

Furthermore we need to stop all that silly nonsense about political correctness, and prevent police having to waste their time having to investigate a woman having complained that her thigh was touched under the table some 20 years ago, possibly a Wednesday. . Additionally we need to abolish all those ridiculous health & safety rules and regulations that are making it almost too dangerous to get out of bed in the morning.

The real worry in the election is that many women, characteristically motivated by emotion rather than reason in their dislike of Johnson, along with the immaturity and gullibility of young voters lacking experience, could all vote for the dreeamworld of Labour. with its unrealistic policies, such as free tuition that could never be afforded.. I am reminded of Geroge Bernard Shaw saying something along the lines that if you were a Tory at 20 you needed your heart examined; if you were a Socialist at 40 you needed your head examined.

Even so, despite having voted Conservative all my life, I have to admit that I find it very difficult to support the recent Conservatives, knowing that under Cameron, one of the worst male Prime Ministers we have had, and the hopeless Mrs. May, they have been a poor party, worsening social conditions and doing nothing about improving our abysmal economic condition. The gulf between rich and poor has become far too wide, almost going back to Edwardian days, and it is wrong that executives can pay themselves millions in bonuses, even when the company is heading for the rocks, as with Thomas Cook going into administration. On the other hand, as indicated earlier, I would rather have all this grasping greed and selfishness, than live under Comrade Corbyn's communism, everything dragged down to the lowest common denominator.


Labour

Item sent to me by a reader, explaining the awfulness of the Labour Party - no defence, and Comrade Corbyn cannot make up his mind about Brexit.


Making an unwise departure from my resolution never to watch the awfulness of the idiot's lantern with its emphasis on panem et circenses, the television never going on, I stupidly switched on to watch the first of the debates between Johnson and Corbyn. As I expected, it was unbelievably awful, the dreadful woman chairing the debate, obviously wanting to impose law and order, hardly allowed the two combatants to say more than a few sentences, cutting them both off when they were developing a theme.

It was all nonsensical, achieving absolutely nothing, all a lot of political hot air. . After half an hour of the hour's debate, I could stand no more and switched off, but even in that time it was clearly obvious that Johnson won the debate, looking intelligent, forward-looking and inspiring, wanting to maintain capitalism on which a country's economy depends, good humoured and relaxed., while for his part the bearded and bespectacled Corbyn, the Ghost of Christmas Past, not the most pleasant looking of men, was clearly muddled about his policies, seeming angry and nasty, even refusing to answer some of the questions.

The questioners seemed to be a grim lot, inevitably including a black man (as necessary and demanded in nearly every advertisement these days) and there was somebody on benefits, while most of the others looked as if they had come in from a long spell of gardening, not the brightest buttons in the box, you might say. What is so worrying in this election, as mentioned earlier is that the young, inexperienced and the very gullible, will fall for Comrade Corby's fantasy policies, especially over the promise of free tuition, serving as a reminder that it would be far better and more sensible if the voting age was raised to 25.

As might be expected, there were very different opinions in the press about the televised debate. "The Daily Mail" had a headline "Laughable Corbyn", while the miserable left-wing "Guardian " told its readers that "Mr. Cirbyn successfully attacked the Prime Minister over the NHS". An opinion poll, for what they are worth (not much) found that "54% thought that Mr. Johnson came across as more prime ministerial , compared with 29% for Mr. Coybyn" - surely a vital consideration. There were ridiculous descriptions of leadership, Comrade Corbyn saying that a Prime Minister always had to consider and abide by the ideas of the people. What utter nonsense 85% of the population not having a clue about anything, other than football.. A leader has to lead, not bow to the whims and fancies of an ignorant electorate.

With only a fortnight to go at the end of the month, I became convinced that we will end up with a hung Parliament, but with the Conservatives in power, albeit very much reduced in power, at least we will not be having that mis-named "Workers' Paradise" that would destroy so many of the things that we love, cherish and honour..

Bearing in mind the worthlessness of the opinion polls, always completely wrong, it is worrying that "TheTimes" on the 28th November had a front-page headline: "Johnson head for big majority". On previous experience, this certainy means a hung Parliament rather than the predicted 60 seat Conservative majority.

One of the few politicians I like, other than the delightful Boris Johnson, is Rees-Mogg for his fine wit and abservance of old-fashioned values. A clever man, but the Conservatives have sidelined him during the election as he made an unfortunate comment about the fire in the London tower block.

Scorpio engine

The engine of my Ford Scorpio, still having done only 36,560 miles


I am still having difficulty in deciding whether to keep my 22-year-old 2 litre. Ford Scrpio, the vehicle having only done 36,560 miles. The insurance is dure next month, possibly costing with the usual annual increase about 260, costing me about 10 a week, only doing about 120 miles each year, the car now under battery trickle-charger. for the winter month, only taken out in good weather. It makes financial sense to sell the car, having been offered 1,000 by a local villager, yet somehow I cannot bear to part with it, for it is such a splendid car, automatic and so quiet. The prospective buyer wants to take out the engine, which seems a cruel ending. My guess is that I will keep it, being far too sentimental about such issues. It is a pity I didn't go to public school where all sentimentality is knocked out of the beaten pupils.

Thankfully, the insurance on the Scorpio with the first-rate Saga company has only risen this year from 264.23 to 277.27, an increase of only 17, despite inflation raging at around 6%, so that was a relief. Rias told me that they do not insure cars over 20 years of age....

There is increasing concern about those demented vegans with their advanced anthropomorphism, their obsession with animal welfare giving the impression of having developed into mental instability. According to a report in "The Times" during the month, a blonde woman entered a restaurant, loudly shouting that meat should be taken off the menu. As the silly women was upsetting children, a man punched her in the face, which seems to be the only way to deal with these demented women. Subsequently, fellow crazy activists, associated with the violent "Direct Action Everywhere", joined in the fracas, shouting "it's not food, it's violence."

They really are daft people, believing that if they live on rabbit food they will live much longer, whereas it will only seem much longer, there not being a shred of medical or scientific evidence that veganism is good for the body; indeed, with the abysmal lack of protein the craze is possibly quite harmful and dangerous, not to say thoroughly unpleasant.. The fact is that in any considerations of health many additional issues have to be considered, such as inherited genes, work, environment, and mental health. The police, already with enough to deal with, will have to control these nut-cases in order to impose law and order, enabling diners to have a peaceful meal instead of having these crazy people shouting silly slogans at them..


Joke

Confusing times. Item sent to me by a reader.


During the month I heard that schools are no longer allowed to present nativity scenes on account of not wanting to upset the sensibilities of the immigrants in our midst. Maybe it should be recognised that this is our country, our England - or used to be - and immigrants coming here, many of them to do the dirty jobs and work in the hospitals, should abide by our customs and traditions instead of demanding separate laws and customs, never integrating.

In some of the loony Labour-controlled cities the use of the word "Christmas" is banned, indicating that political correctness has gone quite barmy, all concepts of Englishness having sadly gone for ever, there even being "Diversity" courses at some of the lesser universities to stamp out any mention of our former Englishness. now that we are a happy and harmonious multicultural society, England is therefore no longer the country of and for the English, and if you are completely black it has to be accepted that you can call yourself English if born in this country. On no account must we ever upset the immigrants, allowing them to freely flood into our country, and we must accept the values of the Muslims, even if they reject our culture, such as it is, wanting to remain in separate areas with special schools for their young.

There was the unpleasant news on the 25th that a black player in the England Cricket Team, now touring in New Zealand and following the tradition of losing all games, had been subjected to racial abuse , just as coloured football players in teams representing this country are racially abused. Here, and especially in the United States, there is a shameful degree of racial abuse, becoming worse all the time. I suppose I find it somewhat strange that there is a black man in the England cricket team, but this is something that has to be accepted in the greatly changed times, so different from my early days.


Bread

Warburton's "Old English white bread". I am surprised they are allowed to refer to the bread as English, for we must never upset the immigrants in our midst. The small loaf costs 1.65 as opposed to a large loaf at 1.35, but it is really delicious, well worth the enhanced price.


In these hateful days of political corruptness and .severe punishments for racial offences, I was rather surprised to see that Mrs. Copeland has discovered a truly splendid white bread by Warburton's called "Old English White", which will surely offend the immigrants, especially the Muslims in our midst. I always eat white bread, loathing the sight and taste of brown bread which reminds me of my childhood days in the 1940s when only a horrible brown bread was available.

There was a damning review of the recently published "May at No 10" by Anthony Seldon and Raymond Newell, published by Biteback at 25, amounting to 602 pages, the point being made that "the book reminds you of a time when Downing Street was paralysed by self-doubt. You feel almost dirty reading of so much failure, yet relief that she has gone.". This would seem to back up my oft-repeated contention, sexist though it will be said to be, that women do not have the right characteristic and temperament to be good politicians in what is still essentially a men's Club. Somehow I do not think I will purchase the book, not wanting to read 602 pages of massive political failure.

I was hearing that Diane Abbott performed abysmally in an interview with Andrew Marr, not having a clue about anything, completely unable to do any sums, yet in a Labour Government, God forbid, she would be Home Secretary. Anything more ridiculous is difficult to imagine, other than that dreadful Lib-Dim woman becoming Prime Minister, as likely as the England football team winning the World Cup.


Joke

How I dislike those mobile telephones, having destroyed conversation.


I was pleased that "Bonfire Night", commemorating Guy Fawkes & Co. trying to blow up Parliament, has become an event of the past. In former years we would hear the ghastly noise of fireworks for several days before, during and after the 5th November, but health & safety regulations now ban all manner of firework displays, while the fireworks have become too expensive for the average family. This year we just heard a few bangs in the village, nothing more, though I gather some villages still have the allowable controlled public displays.

As a councillor, now on my second term, I attended the Parish Council meeting on the 12th November. Not having attended the previous meeting in September, I saw on the minutes of that meeting that "The Usher Gallery has proved too expensive. The art works will be shown at different places".. The splendid Usher Gallery was gifted to the City by James Ward Usher in 1929, but the unloved County Council - "What has the County Council ever done for us?" - might be able to afford save the museum if so many officers were not on 6-figure salaries. Fortunately, I learnt during the month that private benefactors have saved the gallery.

Our local District council is well organised, now having "a healthy budget situation" , but the same cannot be said of the bureaucratic County Council. Its Highways Department never answers communications and has made a mess of filling in potholes in the village road; all the best schools have fled the dead-hand of the authority; and the Social Services Department is a joke, unable to cope. When the Conservatives return to office next month they need to have a complete reform of local government, bringing in unitary authorities that would avoid the waste and duplication of the present wasteful and uncoordinated set-up, possibly saving the average council taxpayer about 200a year while providing a better service.


Wine

The Beaujolais Nouveau Evening at our local Club on the 21st November. 34 people attended, down from 40 last year, but it was a successful event.


Mrs. Copeland and I continued going to our local Club on Sunday afternoons, 4-6 p.m., when the men and women split up into their separate groups, meaning that I can talk to a small group of men about politics and the economy. On the 12th November we enjoyed a eau Beaujolais Nouveaux Evening when we tasted the new wine. Some years it tastes like paint-striper, but this year it was reasonably good. 34 people attended the event, down somewhat from the 40 last year. Unfortunately, I ran out of conversation after about two hours, just like Oscar Wilde's Selfish Giant who had to leave his friend's house and go home because he couldn't think of anything more to say. I fell fast asleep.

During the month I had several discussions on how this country has changed over the past ten years, the nation having become extremely nasty and unpleasant. Not only has our Parliament, once the Mother of all Parliaments, lost all concept of democracy, the Members of all parties being an "absolute shower", as Terry Thomas would have said. Sadly we seem to have an ever increasing population that has become increasingly materialistic, greedy and selfish, little concerned in its nastiness about other people.

It was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) who said that the life of man was "solitary, poor, brutish and short", the only difference today being that life goes on considerably longer. One reason for our present failures is that our country is facing relentless economic decline, soon to go into a deep and lasting recession, already having stagflation as we have the lowest productivity of any G7 nation. The creed, especially under the Conservatives, has become the survival of the slickest.

The significant changes are seen particularly in a society that has blatantly and grossly become more intolerant, the very terms "political correctness", "racism" and "sexism" indicating intolerance in full measure. In my younger days we could enjoy the wonderful episodes of "Till Death Us Do Part", "n****s" and "C**ns" being mentioned, causing us no offence, just laughable. Now, in our narrow-minded and Puritanical age, such comedy programmes are banned. At universities, students howl out or ban outright any speaker they do not agree with, their stance being the very negation of the purpose of a university education.

Then we have all those alleged sexual offences that supposedly occurred 20 years ago, Boris Johnson being accused of having touched a woman's thigh under the table ten or more years ago, no complaint being made at the time (oh yes: women didn't dare complain back in those days). . Chief executives can be sacked on the whim of a revengeful woman, no evidence needing o be submitted, while sending the wrong kind of text message can invite a dawn raid of the police. In today's hateful intolerance we seem to be going back to the days of Goebbels when people ratted on their neighbour, especially when they had a grudge.

There is even the consideration that there seems to be a large amount of mental illness among the young. Perhaps it is understandable when they are mollycoddled as children, never having faced any kind of danger or stress, finding life impossible when they go to university, having to fend for themselves, and I suppose it is not too difficult to understand why their marriages fail at the first hurdle.

Maybe the trouble is that the values and mores of my generation are so different to the catechism of today's young. We believed in the valued stability of the family, when mothers stayed at home to care for their young, whereas today's families are broken with divorce, little regard being had to the interests of the children.. We lived within our means, instead of getting into debt as youngsters do today. We had security of employment, at least for the best part of our working lives, whereas today the working contingent does not know from one day to the next whether they will retain their job.


Autumnal fruit

Autumn fruit at a farm shop in Essex we visited during the month


Mrs. Copeland and I continued having luncheon at a restaurant/pub each Friday. On the first Friday in the month, instead of a luncheon, we went to a Fish & Chip Evening at our local Club, which we both enjoyed. On the second Friday we went to the local pub "The Woodcocks" where we sat near an unruly group of extremely loudmouthed uneducated and uncouth young people, one of the men with a shaven head, looking a right thug, and the other full of tattoos, while the women, one with a howling baby, were fully engaged on their telephone toys, They made such an unruly noise, showing no consideration for other people, that we moved to a table in another room. Seeing this grim and uncouth contingent sadly reminded me that they had a vote. Somehow I find it difficult to believe in universal franchise.

On the 15th November we had lunch at "The Tower Hotel" in Lincoln, where I had a most agreeable ribeye steak and some excellent London Pride pints. Apart from two other men in the bar, we were the only people present. Now that people supposedly work so hard in this country they presumably cannot spare the time to have a break for lunch, whereas during my working days in Lincoln long ago I went home to lunch for a one-and-a-half hour's break. Civilised times. Because of the ever rising expense of meals as inflation continues to rage ahead, making a nonsense of the monthly CPI measures (now ridiculously and offensively said to be down to 1.5%t), it seems that even retired old-timers cannot, or do not want, to afford to have lunch out...

In a slight change of arrangements, we went to the Spanish tapas bar "Ole Ole" in Lincoln, Mrs. Copeland's younger brother, his wife and one of their adult daughters coming up from Essex to join us and our family for a most agreeable time. The daughter is a very clever lass who works as a lawyer in the City, having a top job. Finally, on the 29th of the month we went to Wig & Mitre" in Lincoln, going beforehand to the Cathedral shop for some Christmas cards..

Unfortunately, most of those present at the "Ole Ole" session, including Mrs. Copeland, went down with a very nasty sickness bug, possibly the "Cruise Ship Sickness", sometimes known as Norovirus, that painfully lasted 2-3 days., Mrs. C. .having to go to bed one afternoon, something she has rarely done.. Mercifully and amazingly I escaped, in all probability on account of having partaken of several glasses of wine during the meal, having always believed that wine is so beneficial, keeping the body from harm, rather like red meat, recently shown to have no harm whatsoever..


Ethan's

The village's Retired Gentlemen's Club visited Ethan's during the month. Unfortunately I did not like the food, leaving most of it. My fault, not the restaurant's


For its monthly luncheon outing, our local Retired Gentlemen's Club went to the Japanese steak house - "Ethan's" on the outer edge of Lincoln. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the food, not even the sliced steak, leaving most of the food, but this was my fault as I cannot abide foreign food, taking the realistic view that English fare is by far the finest in the world, not spoilt by ghastly garlic and all manner of sauces that eliminate the actual taste of the product. Still, I enjoyed the conversation with intelligent men, meaning that we could talk about politics and economics as there were no women present.. Sadly, as a result of people moving away and death, we are now down to 6, usually having 5 in attendance on any one gathering.

On the weekend of the 9th/10th, we had a two night stay with mother-in-law down in Essex. During the enjoyable visit we went to a Farm Shop in Wickham St. Paul's where I bought some greeting cards from their excellent and extensive collection , the best collection, mainly depicting country life, that I have ever seen. We had lunch at "The Bell" in Castle Hedingham, possibly the most attractive and least spoilt Essex village, and there was an evening visit to a niece's house where other members of Mrs. C.'s family joined us. We travelled home, Mrs. Copeland driving all the time, as she does nowadays, on the following Monday, stopping for lunch at the delightful "Olive Branch" where we enjoyed the splendid old-fashioned standards, so seldom seen these days in this rundown country.

Not surprisingly, economic growth in the third quarter only came out at 0.3%, meaning that on a year's basis economic growth only amounted to pathetic 1%, far lower than most countries. This, it has to be admitted, is all very worrying, especially as we have lost most of our manufacturing industries, though British Steel was saved by Chinese investment, not always desirable..

Books

The two books read during the month. I had not finished the 626 pages of the book on Churchill and Attlee at the end of the month. Somehow, I do not seem to read so much in the evenings, often dozing off.


I read two books during the month: "First to Fight - The Polish War 1939" by Roger Moorhouse, and "Attlee and Churchill" by Leo McKinsky (636 pages of text). The book on the Polish War detailed the cruel and murderous behaviour of the invading Germans, men, women and children being shot in their thousands, especially the Jews. Can we ever forgive the Germans, bearing in mind the Biblical catechism of the "sins of the fathers"? The Japanese were even worse in other theatres of war.

I particularly enjoyed the excellent book on Attlee and Churchill. In one of the early chapters dealing with the 1930s the author recounts how Attllee, a determined pacifist, despite a worthy army record, including front-line fighting in the Dardenelles, bitterly opposed rearmament, voting against any increase in the RAF. It was not until the Munich crisis and the German invasion of Poland that he belatedly realised the error of his ways. Even then the Labour Party was opposed to increasing expenditure on the armed forces. If Labour had been in power at the time, we would have significantly lost the Battle of Britain, meaning a successful German invasion. Excellent in peacetime, bringing in the welfare state, Attlee was hopeless on foreign affairs.

Today, the Labour Party is still opposed to having the expenditure of extensive military forces, wanting more money being spent on welfare benefits, not that the Party is ever likely to be elected under the Marxist Comrade Corbyn. so we do not need to worry.

As a splendid Prime Minister during the Second World War, the right man in the right place instead of the feeble and worthless Chamberlain and the mean-minded Lord Halifax, Churchill had to face the endless opposition of the utterly horrible Morrison and the communist supporting Cripps, really nasty men concerned only with their own interests and glory, forever opposing Churchill and making life difficult for him. Nye Bevan was not much better, an ignorant trade union man, while the mercurial and unreliable Beaverbrook was often troublesome.

I bought three books during the month: "Nazi Wives - The Women at the top of Hitler's Germany" by James Wyllie; "The Gravediggers - The Last Winter of the Weimher Republic" by Rudiger Barth and Hauke Friederichs"; and "Happiness and Tears - The Ken Dodd story" by Louis Barfe. I liked one of Doddy's quotes: "What a beautiful day for standing on the steps of the TUC headquarters and shouting a four-letter word. 'Work'". That just about sums up our workshy Labour Party.

I now buy all my books from Waterstone's in Lincoln, not wanting to be put on Amazon's "Prime", charged 7.99 for a service that I do not want, it being cheaper to pay the postage on the few items I buy from Amazon. I greatly enjoy Waterstone's, finding the staff very pleasant and it is obvious that the customers are civilised middle-class people. When I was in the shop on the 21st a woman said to me: "You look just like Boris Johnson." The election must have put n more years on Boris if he looks like me,


Card

The personalised Christms card I will be sending this year, showing the avenue of oaks under snow. These days you have to be careful how you address an envelope to a married couple, it being wrong now to write Mr. & Mrs. John Smith. It has to be Mr John Smith and Mrs. Ann Smith. What nonsense!


Our first-rate rector of Indian descent, Father Matapally who changed from Catholicism to the dear old Church of England, probably the most intelligent vicar we have ever had, has a regular surgery, visiting worshippers in their homes during selected months. November was the time for him to come to our village. so he came to my house with his charming wife on the 14th. enjoying a glass of wine in the heated conservatory. Our discussions ranged from my problem in not being able to believe in a caring God, and the present dire social and economic state of the country. A most pleasant one-and-a-half hours, Mrs. C. joining us


Drinks

The Laphroaig Islay whisky and the Jim Beam Bourbon that I have expensively come to enjoy, helping me to sleep at night.


As I mentioned last month, I have a new craze for Laphroaig Islay peat whisky, and Jim Beam honey Bourbon, making for a somewhat expensive addition to the housekeeping. I find, though, that the drinks help me to get to sleep, which is surely better than the Phenergan sleeping tablets I have taken in the past, making me feel rather woozy on waking up, almost as if I have just come out of a Parish Council meeting..

Having become rather concerned that I have been drinking far too much, enjoying a bottle of white wine each day, half at lunchtime and the other after 9 p.m., I fear that I am far exceeding the recommended alcoholic level. From the second half of the month I tried keeping to one glass of white wine at lunchtime, mercifully our main meal of the day, and one glass after 9 p.m., finishing up with a good dose of Laphroaig or the honey whisky. Alas, the revised policy did not last long, but what the hell. I am 85 years of age, not having long to go, so I might as well enjoy myself with an excessive alcoholic consumption, having lost most of my other pleasures, including the loss of friends, especially those who ate the recommended food and exercised regularly.

Having run out of the Jim Beam Bourbon, I went to the local branch of Tesco on the 17th,, Waitrose unfortunately not stocking the brand, so I only go to Tesco for this Bourbon, finding that the shoppers are in a very different social class to those in Waitrose. Waitrose seems to cater for the middle classes, especially retired folk, whereas Tesco, although offering cheaper prices on a wide range of goods, seems to be more for the common man. When at Tesco that Sunday I was amazed by the massive amount of goods that so many people were loading up, so many of the items that we would never buy, including processed products. .

So Mrs. Copeland continues to shop at Waitrose for the week's provisions, probably paying about 20 more a week than if she shopped at Waitrose, splendidly recently revamped. Rather annoyingly, though, the local store has stopped stocking various items that Mrs. Copeland has bought in the past, including a brand of loose-leaf tea (nobody who loaves tea buys tea bags made up of all the rejected leaves), and small sprouts that have been in popular demand, so much better, far tastier than the larger versions. Sprouts and home-grown runner beans are the only vegetables I can or will ever eat


Waitrose

The refurbished Lincoln branch of Waitrose, a great improvement, though some of the items Mrs. Copeland has regularly purchased are no longer available.


Although as mentioned earlier I have no faith whatsoever in opinion polls, \i was nevertheless pleased that a recent poll showed that "79% of people believed the Hunting Act should be amended to ensure foxes are not killed by hunts claiming to be following trails. The position is backed by 89% of people intending to vote Labour, 82% of those voting Liberal Democrat and 68% of those backing Conservatives."

I loathe the cruel and sadistic bloodsport, not understanding how any civilised and cultured man or woman can enjoy persecuting a defenceless animal, even delighting in seeing it being torn apart by hounds. Admittedly, there is an element of cruelty in all of us, but the obsession with hunting surely indicates a distorted mental attitude. As children, these nasty people probably pulled the legs off spiders for fun.

I find it somewhat surprising that people rattling charity tins in the streets, along with others soliciting comments and offering leaflets for passers-by, never approach me. Perhaps I am too old, or looking too grumpy, there being a lot to be grumpy about in these depressing and chaotic days when our country, certainly Lincoln, seems to be closing down..



Flood

Our flooded lawn after the enormous amount of rain we have had this month, amounting to 88 mm. In all the 49 years we have lived in the village, the lawn has never had such extensive flooding.


It was a terrible month for weather, day after day seeing rain that caused extensive flooding in many parts of the country, including Lincolnshire. We had what we graciously call our wine cellar under the conservatory flooded to a depth of about 2 inches, which took a long time to drain away. Unfortunately, it is not very good as a wine cellar, as the dampness means the labels come off all the bottles, necessitating wine recognition. In total we had 88 mm of rain, flooding the lawn. In all the 49 years we have lived in the village, there has never been such flooding. I suppose this endless rain is all part of climate change when we are being told that the world is becoming warmer - yet there is a forecast that this coming winter is going to be a very severe one in this country.

Although I seem to get mixed up with climate change and global warming, any changes in the weather are surely down to excessive consumption in many prosperous parts of the world. When I see the overloaded trolleys in the supermarkets I realise that we will never prevent climate change as nobody wants austerity. As China, America and Poland, the biggest offenders, take not the slightest notice of limiting fossil fuels, it therefore seems to me that all those cranky protesters demanding more attempts to control climate change are mere dreamers.

We certainly had more rain during te month, some 90mm, than we have had in all the 49 years that we have lived in the village, the lawn looking like an Irish bog, presumably all part of climate change. In an article in "Times2", the supplement for women, there was an article headed "How to cut out red meat and what to eat instead", thereby saving the planet, cattle breaking wind causing immense pollution. How daft can these fanatical climate changers become?

Apparently, instead of eating a really delicious steak with all its protein, iron and other essential nutrients, we should gobble down "oysters for zinc"; "cheese for selenium"; "milk for vitamin B12" (not, though, for those barmy vegans); and "salmon for vitamin B3 (niacin". In other words, all the pleasures of eating have to be discarded with the added risk of becoming anaemic. I will be having a steak every week until the end of my days, taking the view that such eating is immensely beneficial to the body.

I take the view that the Prime Minister was right in not attending a forum on Channel Four to discuss climate change, knowing that they will, so to speak, be talking a lot of hot air. Meanwhile, 50 scientists have told the United Nations that there is "no climate emergency", bringing forth the comment that "the sola system will decide the future of the world's climate without interference from the likes of 'Extinction Rebellion' protesters, the Green lobby and the politicians.".

Stir-up Sunday

Mrs. Copeland following the tradition of "Stir-up Sunday" on the 24th November.


According to tradition, Mrs. Copeland made the Christmas puddings on the 24th of November, the event known as "Stir-up Sunday", celebrated as an informal term in Anglican churches for the last Sunday before the season of advent. It gets its name from the beginning of the collect for the day in the Book of common Prayer, which begins with the words: "Stir up, we beseech thee O Lord, the wills of they faithful people." Lucky is the husband who follows such traditions, as well as making cakes and home-made jam. Today, young wives are far too busy with their full-time working to concern themselves with such forgotten traditions..

Early next month sees the ghastly Christmas Market in Lincoln, causing considerable disruption, many road within the city being closed and inaccessible. Not surprisingly, the Labour-controlled City Council loses thousands of pounds on the event, and local shops have to be wary of the light-fingered fraternity, only the pubs doing much business. The Market, all trinkets and tat, has become unpleasantly large, having overgrown itself to become a menace to so many of Lincoln's residents . I stay well away, not wanting to get mixed up with that crowded mob.

Although there have been many changes of plan about this diary in the past, I have finally decided to finish it with next month's issue. It has not been a great success changing from a weekly presentation to a monthly basis, now receiving hardly any e-mails. I have found composing and setting up the diary an unpleasant chore, no longer enjoying its compilation. It is therefore time to go. As it says in Ecclesiastes: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up which is planted." Time to pluck up. I know I will miss the diary, but I have become too old to continue with it.

At the very end of the month I felt very depressed about the possibility of a Labour victory in the election, the Conservative lead narrowing each day. In my old age, in my final days, it would be so awful to have a Labiur Government, destroyig the foundations of our social and ecomnomic existence for a mis-named "Workers' Paradise". Perhaps it will not happen, yet a poll in "The Daily Telegraph" on the last day of the month showed that the Conservative lead had, within a week, fallen from an 80 majority for the Conservatives to 12, meaning a hung Parliament. With 12 days to go it could even mean, God forbid, a Comrade Corbyn victory, a terrible fate for our country.

What upsets me so much is that the layabouts whom Labour feels sorry for do no work at school, not bothering to do anything to improve their lives, and then feel upset when they have a lowly, poorly-paid job or no job at all, turning to Comrade Corbyn for support, who then taxes the enterprising and hardworking to pay for the welfare benefits.


Snowdrops

Snowdrop shoots appearing in the garden, several weeks earlier than usual. Plants must get a bit muddled up with all this climate changing.


Comments welcome - especially critical
e-mail: johncopeland@clara.net.
Lincolnshire 30th November,, 2019
No.1061





Diary of an Octogenarian<BR>



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