DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 19th August - Thursday 25th August, 2016
Signs of Autumn
"In another bad day for embittered Remain campaigners signs emerged that our post-Brexit future may be far brighter than doom-mongers would have us believe. The UK jobless fell to an 8-year low. Retail spending rose and Amazon and Lidl are creating thousands of new jobs. By continuing to fret and carp about the referendum result, Remain campaigners are actively damaging their own as well as the British financial prospects. We will weather difficult times ahead much more successfully if the country rolls up its sleeves."
Editorial comment on the Remoaners in "The Daily Mail", 19th August, 2016.
FRIDAY 19 AUGUST
Although I had seen the film "Eye in the Sky" before, I enjoyed seeing it again on a DVD yesterday evening with a neighbour. Indeed, I would rate it as the best film I have seen so far this year. The film, dealing with a drone attack on a group of insurgents who were planning suicide bombings, had a dreadful woman Government Minister who reacted emotionally rather than rationally to the concept of the attack. At the end of the film this bloody awful woman tells the general who carried out the attack that his action in killing people was disgraceful, to which he replied with a wonderful put-down: "Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war."
A really fine film. showing the devious nature of politicians who will always shy away from making a decision, wanting to kick the decision upstairs. Several people I know have not liked the film, but I think the problem may have been that they did not really understand the issues.
Afterwards we watched an episode of "Till Death Us to Part", laughing out loud at this splendid series that could never be shown today, especially as there are some very unacceptable terms that are used to describe our black Commonwealth friends, as well as the Irish.
It is a sad reminder that we have become a far more intolerant and embittered society, in which the frequent use of political correctness, racism and sexism, far from bringing about greater respect and understanding, have become devices for preventing discussion of contentious issues. Dare to say that Israel treats the Palestinians as a brutal occupying power, and you could be in real trouble, inviting a dawn raid by the Thought Police.
With my neighbour I have a wager in which he says - and continues to say - that Donald Trump will most certainly win the American Presidential election, principally because of the loathing for Crooked Clinton. The bet is for a fine bottle of white wine - anything except French. According to the latest poll, Crooked Clinton is on 44% and Mr. Trump on 43.4%, the trend showing that Trump is gaining more support. I can readily appreciate what an awful choice it is for the Americans, but I still believe that Clinton should go to prison rather than the White House - though she will be fully exonerated, of course.
Raspberry jam that Mrs. Copeland was making today.
Yesterday Mrs. Copeland went off to a farm to pick raspberries, and on returning home made them into jam. Whilst cooking there was the most wonderful aroma in the house, just as there is a splendid scent from making bread. It made me realise how lucky I am to have a wife who makes jam, the raspberry and strawberry offerings being so much better than the commercial products. Nevertheless, I wonder how many young wives make jam these days? Probably not many, and besides, jam is no doubt very bad for you, having far too many calories and sugar. What a serious malady Nutritional Neurosis (NSS) has become, there being no known cure, at least not yet.
Shortly after breakfast I managed to cut part of the lawn, the pain in my hip, although still being very obvious, was not quite so bad today. Alas, the cutting had to be suspended as it started to rain, so that was the end of that activity, not that I was all that sorry. Instead, I went in to town to purchase an "i". It is a great shame that we no longer have a newspaper delivery in the village. In the good old days a young lad brought the paper to us about 7.30 each morning, and I was able to read the paper before getting up - such civilisation. But now nobody, least of all the youngsters, wants to work, and although we have a few immigrants in the village - mainly Muslims who have nothing to do with the rest of the community, I suppose their sons and daughters are not allowed to touch Western newspapers.
Today's item in the "i", proving that the referendum frighteners from the Remoaners were totally unjustified, not having a fig of substance, read: "The shopping specialist Capital and Regional said leasing demand from retail tenants remained strong after the Brexit vote." Oh, the nonsense that we had to endure from those misguided people who wanted to remain in the circus of the European Union. Now, not surprisingly, they are in sulking mode, referred to as "Remoaners", yet still not admitting they were so wrong. The worry is that this deceitful Government will try very hard not to leave.
We have been surprisingly free of telephone scams this week, though today we had two, one of them purporting to come from Windows, saying that a virus had been identified on my computer. I have had this extremely nasty scam on several previous occasions, the scam involving putting a virus on your computer by following various instructions that you are given to tap into the computer, being charged £60 or so to remove it, bank details presumably having to be given.
On several previous occasions having had this scam I have pretended to be on the computer, seeing how long I could fool the scammer, my record being 8.5 minutes, but a correspondent holds the record at 9.5 minutes. However, today I used the buzzer instead of going along with the scammer's instructions. The buzzer, as I mentioned recently, is a toy that makes a very loud buzzing noise when shaken. and the plan is to shake it by the telephone mouthpiece, making an awful noise.
Much to my amazement, today's scammer listened for quite a long time before the line went dead. Afterwards I dialled the number that came up on the caller display - 012028032098, seeing that, as I expected, it was a false number. The little Indian fellow must have been immensely puzzled, wondering what on earth the noise was all about. Even so, I wonder how many people they catch with this hateful scam. Most of the telephone scams involve asking for personal details, which are then sent on to marketing firms, resulting in the receipt of a lot of junk mail, but this one is extremely nasty.
I ought to market the buzzer appliance for use with scammers, calling it "Buzz Off". I could be on a winner, scams becoming a thing of the past.
I telephoned the doctors' surgery in the afternoon, being told that the X-ray had identified osteoarthritis in both hips and with the sacroiliac bone, which I think I knew already, but I suppose it depends on how bad the deterioration has become - something I will know when I see the doctor next Wednesday morning. I just hope that I can have some physiotherapy or an injection, rather than having a hip replacement. Alas, as the old saying has it: "Old age is not for sissies." They keep us old blighters alive, but most of us are in some kind of pain or deterioration, yet the food fanatics think they will live for ever with their daft diets.
I will find it surprising if I have to have a hip replacement. I have never done any jogging, and I am not a vegetarian or a vegan, not one of those sad people who have to expect to need joint replacements because of their protein deficiency, and I have always eaten proper food, so goodness knows what has gone wrong. I expect it is just old age, the body wearing out, having lived beyond the threescore years and ten of the design life of the body, as specified in the Bible.
I heard on the news that a 3-year-old boy living in Halstead, where mother-in-law resides, had died after being attacked by an American bulldog. It amazes me that people are allowed to keep these dangerous dog. If I had my way, having a great hatred for dogs of any kind, much preferring cats as most gentlefolk tend to do, I would only allow the use of guide dogs and for the police, nobody else allowed to keep one. Horrible smelly things, said to cost on average £650 for their useless and worthless existence.
The evening was spent in the conservatory, reading some more of the biography of the poet A.E. Housman, principally remembered for his poem "A Shropshire Lad" depicting the glories of the English countryside and the quality of "Englishness", now largely forgotten and put aside in many of our large cities dominated by immigration.
Housman was, as my old grandfather would have said, "as queer as a coot", but we must not use such pejorative terms in these more enlightened days. Instead we must say "gay", thereby totally destroying the original intention of that innocent word. I therefore refuse to use it. In a way I cannot understand why I am reading the book as I loathe poetry, albeit with the possible exception of John Betjeman's poems and those of John Clare.
As mentioned, the author basis much of the biography on Housman in a depiction of the glories of "Englishness", which is turn is based on the glories of the English countryside, so much of his melancholic poems being a regret of the passing of the rural past, of the "land of lost content". A total myth, of course, for the past he loves so much was a dreadful period that included the agricultural riots of the 1840s and the bitter divide between farmer and exploited worker in a very unequal society. Housman was born in 1859 and died 73 years later..
I suppose it raises the question whether there is such a thing as a national character. Maybe there is, for in the past it can have been observed in Germany, especially in the overwhelming military aspirations of the Prussians, while even today there is the effeminate characteristic of the French with their old-womanly language that I loathe so much, hardly bearing to hear it spoken. There are also the squabbling characteristics of the Irish, but then I suppose we are not allowed to say such things on account of possible accusations of racism.
SATURDAY 20 AUGUST
On the BBC News website I saw this morning that " The number of blue badges for disabled drivers stolen in England has more than trebled in three years, according to the Local Government Association. The LAG said there were 2,056 cases of theft recorded in 2015 compared with 1,756 in 2014 and 656 in 2013." I would be totally lost without my badge, being unable to walk very far as a result of my extensive osteorarthritis. I gather that the badges are worth quite a lot when stolen.
A correspondent has sent me an e-mail saying: "This week, the UK debated whether to remove the Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population". This removal has not yet happened, but it is nevertheless an indication of the nonsense that we have to endure these days, having become such an intolerant and sickening nation. Apparently, the little Hitlers who want this historical banning have also demanded that the history of the British Empire should be removed from the school curriculum. How barmy can they get in their sterilised world that wants to forget the past?
It seems awful that the legal authorities have said that Crooked Clinton does not have to appear in court to answer charges of failing to deal properly with sensitive national e-mails while she was in office as Secretary of State. Instead, she can submit a written testimony. I wonder what would have happened if Mr. Trump had been on such charges? Nasty stuff, but there is still a hope that she will be defeated in the Presidential election, bringing in the erratic Donald. It should be an interesting 4 years in the White House if he wins.
After breakfast I rode in to town on the scooter to purchase some rump steak for Sunday's lunch from the family butcher who provides excellent meat at all times. It makes me so thankful I am not a vegetarian, not being able to enjoy such wonderful food, eating instead unwholesome pastas, raw carrots and lettuce leaves all the time.
The rest of the day was spent at home, finishing cutting the grass, and hosing down all the mud under the Scorpio mudguards in preparation for its annual MOT test next Monday, not that this will make the slightest difference to the outcome of the test. Even so, the car should look presentable when being presented for the test.
As I mentioned earlier, I am dreading the result of the test, fearing that it will cost me quite a lot of money I have therefore allowed £500, which seems like money down the drain as I so seldom use the car. It would, of course, make economic sense to get rid of it, but somehow I cannot face doing that. Even if I have to stop using the vehicle, I will still keep it.
Mrs. Copeland had some more scratches on her Peugeot 208, presumably done whilst she was in the carpark at Waitrose this morning, no note being left from the offender. It is said that the most likely place for cars to be scratched and dented is in supermarket carparks, where there is usually a predominance of women drivers. The worst offenders are those horrible yummy mummies in their 4-tracks, hardly able to see over the dashboard in their over-sized vehicle.
The Peugeot is going in for the repair next Tuesday for the removal of some extensive scratches that the car suffered a month or so ago, presumably also at Waitrose, costing £200 (The insurance excess is £150, so it is not worth claiming), but we will have to leave these latest scratches. I am just thankful that the car is not brand new; indeed, I begin to think we will keep the car, not changing it as we had intended doing in September of next year. It is now 3 years old, and has only done 24,500 miles.
Bridge over a level crossing in Lincoln, said to have cost £12m. Because of the monumental number of steps, the train would have gone by the time the bridge was crossed. What a waste!
I had an e-mail from a correspondent commenting on my entry last week that the "Daily Express" had reported that "there were 2.2 million immigrants working in Britain." He wrote: "It's a good job somebody does! It took me months to find someone who could replace two hinges on a kitchen cabinet and then align it correctly. He wasn't an immigrant but he was a Yorkshireman and he told me it was almost impossible to find a competent young person to help him in his business."
There is no doubt that there is a lot of truth in that statement, for it seems that the British worker is not given to intensive labour these days, our productivity being the lowest in the G7 nations, and no youngster wants to go into a hazardous or demanding occupation, whereas the immigrants generally work harder, are better disciplined, and better educated.
A sad state of affairs. It has to be admitted that if we did not have immigration we would not be able to run the National Health Service and dentistry, not even the messy jobs. Yet having more and more immigrants coming in makes an already overcrowded country even more overpopulated. It is certainly a dilemma. The irony is that the more newcomers we have in, the less the natives will work.
At least there was the good news in today's "Daily Express" with the headline: "EU exit plan is under way - New talks put Britain on the fast track to ditch Brussels." Stirring stuff, meaning that it will not be long before we can manage our own affairs, freed from all the legislative nonsense from Brussels that has done so much to harm our way of life. Henceforth the 23rd June will be "Independence Day", possibly celebrated with a Bank Holiday, though we probably have enough of those events already. I just hope that the "Express" is not being too optimistic, especially with the devious Government we have now.
The frontpage of today's "Times" had a headline: "Outpouring of extreme hate videos on YouTube." I have never seen this Internet facility, nor have I ever accessed Twitter. In the past, though, I have had a Facebook, but I found that there one or two very unpleasant trolls who put on some unpleasant messages.
Ultimately, I decided to close down the Facebook, concentrating on this diary instead, on which nobody can make and direct comments, having to use an e-mail. In the past some of these e-mails were abusive, and I replied to them by correcting the grammar, which I thought might be helpful, though no gratitude was ever expressed. Fortunately, I seldom have any abuse these days, now greatly enjoying e-mail discussions on issues raised in the diary with several intelligent and courteous readers. For me, this makes writing the diary worthwhile.
As Dr. Johnson said: "That is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm quiet interchange of sentiments." Sadly, the Internet, wonderful though it is, serves as a reminder that there are some particularly nasty people out there, many of them severely brain damaged.
The great advantage of "The Times" on a Saturday (Mrs. C. has it free from Waitrose) is that the Sports section can be thrown out and placed directly into the recycling bin. The other Good Thing is that there is a splendid column in the Magazine supplement by Melanie Reid, a tretraplegic after breaking her neck in a horse riding accident, her excellent writing and comments. This column makes up for the unbelievably silly column by Caitlin Moran, presumably for culturally-challenged teenagers and the twenties fraternity, not intended for mature geriatrics such as myself.
In her latest offering, Melanie heads her column: "I'm rocking towards old age [even if only in her 60s]. Why did no one warn me? Here's what I wish had I known at 20". The list includes looking after your teeth to avoid the horrors of dentures; "Don't rush your food. Ditto life. Because if you gobble everything up, constantly rushing you onto the next thing, you forget to live in the moment; write with a fountain pen. Or a biro or a felt tip...Or one day no one will be able to write without a keyboard. Personal notes remain the the most potent gift; learn how to fix things; and print off your favourite pictures...the laptop is the graveyard of precious images." I think I would endorse all of those aspirations, possibly adding that books should be read instead of wasting time watching the dumbed-down programmes on the idiot's lantern.
In the evening I read some more of the biography of Housman. He and his manifold friends were an oddball lot, dreamers all. The only one of the poems in "A Shropshire Lad" that I like and enjoy is the one about the lovely cherry tree: "Now of my threescore years and ten/Twenty will not come again." I have some sympathy with that reckoning.
The rest of the poems, many associated with the homosexuality of the author, seem so utterly miserable, involving young men being hanged for various offences; soldiers shot in battle; and most of the poems look back to "a land of lost content". Housman is described as very lugubrious man who never wanted to discuss any of his poems (and who could blame him?), and was seldom pleasant to anybody other than his homosexual friends. It I seems to have been a life of unmitigated gloom and doom.
What is so upsetting is that our Alfred apparently did not have an ounce of humour, certainly not in "A Shropshire Lad". Yet the "Lad" had such enormous fame in its day, and is still renowned as a fine piece of poetry. Even so, what do the following lines really mean:-
"And the feather pate of folly/Bears the falling sky"
Or take this one: "The still air of the speechless night,/Where lovers crown their vows".
I suppose it could be argued that I am not intelligent and cultured enough to understand such esoteric poetry. Nevertheless, there are times when I wonder whether "high culture" is something of a confidence trick: esoteric nonsense wrapped up in an incomprehensible culture. Give me John Betjeman any day, especially the poem about the vicar:-
"When things go wrong it's rather tame/To find we are ourselves to blame,/It gets the trouble over quicker/To go and blame things on the vicar." And then there is that highly amusing and enjoyable poem about "The Porkers", those cruel men who love shooting dickies.
Sitting in the conservatory with a book and a bottle of wine this evening made me realise how fortunate I was in not being in a restaurant on a Saturday evening, that hellish time when the places are so crowded and so horribly noisy with the riffraff. Saturday evenings are a time for geriatric gentlefolk to stay at home, away from this uncivilised disorder.
SUNDAY 21 AUGUST
There was a terrible screeching and screaming in the night, sounding as if an animal was in terrible pain; a really horrible, eerie sound that went on for several minutes before suddenly stopping. This morning there was no evidence of any dead animal, so goodness knows what it was all about. One of the neighbours suggested it was a fox calling its mate. Thank heavens Young Conservatives don't make such a noise.
Much of the morning was spent continuing preparing the Scorpio for the MOT test tomorrow: topping up the battery; pumping up the tyres; and vacuum cleaning the inside. At least it will go to its fate clean and tidy looking as if it has been cared for by a loving owner. There is no doubt that I will be broken-hearted if it will cost too much to put right.
On the other hand, I will be so truly thankful when the Olympic Games come to an end today. Over the past three weeks the events have dominated the news bulletins and the newspapers, but then this could be because August is the "silly month" for the media, the politicians thankfully being away on their holidays. Thank heavens, therefore, to get back to normal, hearing more extensive reporting on all the many good things about Brexit. As mentioned earlier, the "Express" reported that the breakaway had started, but I would not be so sure, especially as there are said to be a hundred M.Ps who want to remain in the circus, presumably because of some financial benefits for the Tories and the rights for workers that Labour wants to retain to ensure that the natives do not have to work over much.
One of the contenders for the Ukip leadership now that Mr. Farage has left the scene. They have their entrances and their exits, all political offices ending in tears.
Mrs. C. and I went to the Club at 4 p.m. for the usual Sabbath Day alcoholic refreshment. Under the new chairman the Club seems to be making its way financially, having had a good summer of events, but there is obviously concern about the winter months ahead. I have said that I would start the Film Society in October. One of the members, a church warden, gave me a leaflet in which it argues that many scientists argue that there is very real evidence that there is a God.
I do not dispute this, even though different religions have differing Creators. However, I find it difficult to accept that there is such a deity a caring God, my view being that the Creator gives us free-will to get on with our own lives, there being no point in prayers.
Back home I enjoyed a delicious dish of rump steak, making me feel so sorry for those vegetarians with their rabbit food. Were I to run a restaurant I would have a notice on the door saying "No Vegetarians at any time", but I suppose this would land me in trouble with the liberal fraternity.
Later, I read some more of the Housman biography, finishing the 157-page chapter headed "The Man and the Book" In this excellent chapter the author recounts E.M.Forester's scathing comments on public schools, saying that they "go forth into the world with developed bodies, fairly developed minds, and undeveloped hearts that cause Englishmen difficulties.. It is not that Englishmen can't feel - it is that he is afraid to feel. He has been taught at his public school that feeling is bad form. He must not express great joy or sorrow."
Although it will no doubt be argued by those charlatans called psychologists that, having been to a Grammar school (even though quite a good one at that - Colchester Royal Grammar School), I have an inferiority complex chip on both soldiers. about public schools Maybe this is so, but I would never have sent my two daughters to public school, even if I had a great deal of money, for I continue to maintain that in their repression of feelings, and the absolute nonsense of training for leadership, they have done, and still do, an immense amount of harm both to society and to the individual.
Unfortunately, subsequent chapters deal with the impact of the English countryside, music and war on Housman's writings, but skimming through these I saw that they were very boring, adding nothing to the life of the man. My guess is that as he was a very insular man, not a lot being known about his sad life. It therefore seems that the author has had to pad out the book with these somewhat irrelevant chapters. What is also regrettable is that there are no illustrations in the book, not even a photograph of Housman. For a book costing £25 that seems to be rather poor and inadequate. I therefore decided to put the book on the shelves.
I have now made a start on "The House of the Dead - Siberian exiles under the Tsars" by Daniel Beer, published this year by Allen Lane at £30. A grim book, but then I like melancholy books. Cheerful books with happy endings seem so unrealistic.
MONDAY 22 AUGUST
I took my Scorpio in to the garage in Lincoln at 9.30 a.m., Mrs. C following behind to take me home. Later in the day I was told that the vehicle had passed without any troubles at all. I was absolutely thrilled, especially as I was dealing with an honest motor engineer - and how rare those are in these greedy days. It has been a really wonderful car, but that man Jeremy Clarkson denigrated the Scorpio, saying it was one of the worst cars of all times. At least my Scorpio is still going, which is more than can be said for Mr. Clarkson who has had his comeuppance regarding the television programme he had on the idiot's lantern. A wonderfully amusing fellow, but I am told that he did not know much about the working of cars., having only a superficial analysis
Mrs. C. took me to collect the car at 3 o'clock, only for us to end up in a terrible traffic jam in the city, the traffic not moving for several minutes. I was told that part of the trouble stems from a new road that has been constructed in the city which, so far from easing the traffic problems, has made them far worse. What with the waste of £12m on a bridge over a level crossing in the city and this new road, it seems that the planners have not been all that clever. I gather that there is to be a revamped 'bus station in the city, causing massive traffic disruption for 18 months. In Germany or America such work would be done in about 6 months.
I liked an explanation I received by e-mail on why we had to leave the muddle of the European Union, which explains everything, the best analysis I have read so far:-
"Imagine having a partner, who doesn't really like you, but is controlling, condescending and happy to take your money. They tell you what you can and cannot do, what you can buy and who from. They are also happy to let strangers come into your house who use your stuff and also spend your money. Some of them do useful stuff, but others just sponge off you. Ultimately, there isn't enough room, but your partner insists that you let more people in. Finally, despite some very serious threats, you prove that you have the strength to leave your partner and set this in motion.
"Your partner is hurt and angry and promises that they will make the break up as difficult and painful as possible; make an example of you. Still, you've made the decision and are looking forward to a fresh start. Unfortunately, your partner left you with his flea-ridden, smelly mongrel dog, called 'Scotland'. Scotland hates you and sits in the corner of your lounge, growling at you, but is happy for you to feed him and pay his vet's bills. You hope that
"Scotland will finally stop sponging off you and piss off back to your ex-partner. You're happy to keep your ex's cat called Wales though, as Wales helped you leave your partner and has lovely fur. Your partner's rabbit, which they left out in the back yard, called 'Northern Ireland' has schizophrenia, caused by years of being savaged by the neighbour's rabid dog, called 'ROI'. As it betrayed you, and unless it can sort out its multitude of problems, it probably needs to have a serious word with itself, or be eaten by ROI.
"The septic tank under the back garden, which your partner nicknamed 'London' has been full for years and has been backing up, causing problems in the rest of the house. It almost made you stay with your partner, as you hoped they would eventually sort it out. Still, things are looking up and hopefully, once all the vitriol and recriminations are out of the way, the future will be bright."
Although I obviously applaud Britain coming third in the overall league table in the Olympic Games, I am, as mentioned earlier, so thankful that the Games are over, having dominated news bulletins and newspapers for the past three week. Once we have the schools returning we can get back to what passes for normality in this country. I suppose my trouble is that I am not the slightest bit interested in sport, having loathed it during my schooldays, especially that thick and vicious thugby.
My Ford Scorpio, which had its annual MOT test today, passing without any problems. The vehicle, now 18 years old, has only done 35,956 miles, so it should see me out.
For reasons that I cannot quite fathom, I felt immensely annoyed that the Muslim Mayor of London was entering into the discussion on the election of the Labour Leader, apparently backing Mr. Smith who has not a cat in hell's chance of ever becoming Prime Minister with his near Communist policies, wanting to "soak the rich" for the benefit of the layabouts. Maybe the reason the Mayor supports Mr. Smiff is that the leadership contender believes in sitting down with Isis to have a friendly chat in order to stop their belligerency, jaw, jaw being better than war, war, as Churchill suggested.
The reality, though, is that there can never be any negotiations with these religious fanatics who have about as much idea of honour as they have of women's rights. The only way to deal with them is to bomb them into destruction, for they would never take any notice of a peace formula, never honouring it for more than a couple of hours. This is why Russia is so right in supporting Assad, instead of Crooked Clinton's support for the insurgents, many of whom belong to Isis.
I can understand that Mr. Corbyn is not exactly a decisive and dramatic leader, having hidden under the bedclothes during the referendum, but he is infinitely better than Mr. Smiff with his tried and failed Old Labour policies. Fortunately, it looks almost certain that Corbyn, lightweight though he is, will win, not that it probably matters who wins in this defunct political party.
Inevitably, my generation finds it surprising that London now has a Muslim Mayor. Maybe we also find it surprising that the winning Olympic Games black runner is said to be British, but these are old fashioned ideas, thankfully out of date now that there is not the same ruthless racial prejudice that marked and marred my generation Today we live in what is described as a happy multicultural society. Some things have got better, even if in so many respects we have elsewhere become such an intolerant and insensitive society.
Following the tragic death of a 3-year-old boy who was bitten by an American bulldog, a letter in today's "i" suggested that the Government should bring back dog licences, possibly £50 a year, which might deter some riffraff from owning these hateful and animals. £100 would be a better fee, if you ask me.
Following the gale force winds on Saturday, there was torrential rain last night, bringing down a lot of leaves and twigs on the lawn. I therefore spent some time clearing up the mess during the morning, helped by Mrs. Copeland. It seems awful to think that it will not be long before I am gathering up fallen leaves again, though because of my arthritis I may have to employ somebody to undertake the work.
During lunch (our main meal of the day, which is far healthier than eating in the evening) we had a scam telephone call. Unfortunately, I did not have my buzzer with me at the table, but I managed to keep the fellow talking while I went upstairs to get the appliance, then buzzing in front of the mouthpiece. "Is that you, Mr. Salmond?" the little fellow kept asking (I always have the calls as Mr. Salmond, the false name I gave on a product registration card). To which I rattled the appliance - buzz, buzz, bringing forth another "Are you there Mr. Salmond?" Buzz, buzz. I haven't laughed so much since I heard the frighteners of the referendum remain group. Buzz, buzz.
On the quotidian Brexit good news front there was the announcement from a leading estate agent that house prices are expected to fall to + 2.5% this year, and decline by -1% next year. Bearing in mind that the housing market is grossly over-valued, this must be good news, not only for the economy but also for young couples wanting to get onto the housing market.
The evening was spent reading some more of the book on the Siberian evictions. The book makes you realise why they had a revolution in Russia, the Tsars behaving with extreme cruelty and ruthlessness, anybody who opposed the hateful regime being sent to Siberia, usually to die on the way.
It could, of course, be argued that under the Cameron Government the gulf between rich and poor was becoming ever wider, and maybe that if these ex-Bullingdon Club boys remained in office much longer, handing out largess to the rich and taking away and reducing welfare benefits to the poor, there could have been rising anger in this country resulting in social disturbances and disobedience.
Possibly the greatest benefit of Brexit among the manifold blessings now becoming apparent, one that seems to have been largely ignored, is the change in the composition of the Government, the Old Guard having been disposed. Future historians will probably make quite a lot of this renaissance and reformation, arguing that the May Government prevented a revolt and revolution against inequality.
TUESDAY 23 AUGUST
Up early this morning as Mrs. Copeland had to take her Peugeot 208 to a bodywork shop to have a large section of scratches on the front offside panel removed, presumably damaged by a yummy mummy in a supermarket car park. I had to follow in the Scorpio to take her back home.
I was reading recently that there are now "cyberpsychologists". Oh, dear: what crazy world we live in, these latest charlatans telling us that we are living in a rapidly changing world situation, and that our social mores are consequently altering drastically, especially with those ghastly mobile telephones and iPads that destroy gave-to-face conversation. Presumably the cyberpsychologists will also telling us that we are now rearing a generation of zombie children who will never experience the delights of literature, and probably seldom write anything. At least these toys keep them quiet, so there is a Some Benefit Situation.
Amongst the e-mails today I had one from an organisation calling itself "Netflix", asking me to update my "payment method.....we are having trouble authorising your credit card". I was told to visit the Netflix site and "enter your payment information". Presumably a scam, so I deleted it.
About a month ago I wrote to the Area Development Officer of our local District Council to ask whether the landlord who owns the avenue of oaks at the bottom of my garden could be made to replace the oak tree that fell down in July. Accordingly, the very helpful officer wrote to the landlord's agents to ask whether a replacement tree would be provided, but the agents have ignored the letter.
I can understand that the high cost involved in maintaining and looking after the trees is too expensive, nothing having been done to care for the trees in the 45 years I have lived in the village, but I would have thought that, as a measure of goodwill and a concern for the environment, the landlord might pay the small cost of providing and planting a replacement tree. Oh, dear: how naive I am in old age, the reality being that there is no consideration whatsoever for the environment in this country.
I wrote to the agents today to express my disappointment with their apparent discourtesy and lack of concern, asking whether a replacement oak tree could be planted, saying that I was willing to undertake this work if necessary. I therefore await the reply.
Apart from a ride in to town on a splendidly warm day to purchase an "i" and look at the latest books in Waterstone's, it was a day spent at home. The traffic in the city was again unbelievably awful, long lines of stationary tail-backed vehicles. I could not even get by on my scooter, as I usually do in dense traffic. I was therefore so thankful to get home. Daughter Kate and granddaughter Chloe came to lunch, so that made a pleasant interlude in what might have been a rather dull day.
The jungle of a garden at "The Shed", the eco house in our community, still in such a mess after the residents moved in last December. It is all very disappointing, especially as it presents such an eyesore to the approach of our community.
In today's "i" there was a report saying that "Women who give up work to start a family pay a high price when they return." A study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that "time taken off and part-time working could mean that mothers miss out on promotion, experience and incur 'wage penalty'". Care has to be taken when commenting on this issue, yet surely a woman going off for several months on maternity leave, her job having to be kept open for her if and when she returns to work, can cause immense problems particularly for a small firm.
However much abuse and opposition I may receive, and however politically incorrect and sexist my remarks may be, I still believe that a mother should stay at home to look after her children until they reach the age of 5 years. In Lincoln today I saw a banner across one of the streets saying: "Has your child just turned 2? Then you could be entitled up to 15 hours free childcare."
My generation, old fashioned and over the hill, not appreciating the glories of the modern family, continues to find this dumping of young children into nurseries while mummy goes off to work as being totally unacceptable. Indeed, the resulting insecurity may well explain the high incidence of child misbehaviour in our schools, even at the primary school level.
The photograph above from the "i" shows a working mummy, and not surprisingly the young child looks thoroughly miserable, presumably about to be dumped in a bootie camp, sometimes known as nurseries.
On a wonderfully warm evening - and how rare they are in this country, we sat outside drinking wine with the neighbours until about 10.30 p.m., making me realise what a splendid community I live in and in a wonderful environment that is off the beaten track. It is so pleasant that we all get on so well together, except for the couple at "The Shed" with whom we have no truck, not that they want any with us, being of a very different class. It might nevertheless help relationships if they did something to tidy up the appalling jungle of their garden.
WEDNESDAY 24 AUGUST
On the BBC News website I saw the appalling news that "Owen Smith has said he will try to stop Theresa May triggering official EU exit talks unless she offers a referendum on the final Brexit deal or agrees to call a general election to approve it. The Labour leadership challenger said if he is elected, the party will oppose triggering Article 50 until the government commits to a second vote."
I just cannot believe that this man is so incredibly stupid, presumably Labour's answer to Donald Trump. Thankfully, it is most unlikely that Mr. Smiff will be elected, so it would seem that all these issues are merely academic. If he does win, it will be the end of the Labour Party, which is a bad thing for democracy. Sadly, it seems that the Party has just lost its way, not knowing what to do about the economy, its only policy being to soak the rich for the benefit of the indolent. Any idea of measuring people up is totally alien to the party, everything having to be taken down to the lowest common denominator.
When Corbyn wins, I just hope that he will smarten himself up instead of being so scruffy, looking like an out-of-work welfare claimant, but then I suppose scruffiness, involving the rejection of any sartorial standards, is deeply ingrained in the Socialist mantra. Presumably we now live in an age of pygmy politicians, blindly leading us to the rocks. The real test of Mrs. May will be whether she has the courage and sense to stop that unwanted and unnecessary nuclear power station in Somerset, in which the Chinese and the French have their fingers in the pie. If she fluffs this, then we will know that she is no good; that we will merely have more of the same.
Today's news of the immense benefits of leaving the ghastly European Union that is now steadily falling apart, overloaded with immigrants and bailing out failed nations, all the while threatened with terrorism, was in the announcement in the "i" that "Britain's manufacturers have enjoyed a surge in exports thanks to the plunge in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote." This is just what the economy needed, now also being helped by the housing market having stalled and likely to fall during the forthcoming months.
If Calamity Carney can be persuaded not to fiddle around any more with interest rates, there is a very real hope that the recession next year may not be as bad as feared, certainly not as bad as I had reckoned. The main worry is consumer expenditure, which ought to be held in check by increased taxation, not by lowering interest rates as the muddled Governor of the Bank of England believes. There is now not the slightest doubt that the referendum result will do this country an immense amount of good, and not only for getting rid of the Old Guard. A 4% victory over the Remoaners is good enough by any measure. Any political party winning by such a margin in a general election would be well pleased and satisfied ith the result.
Modern family life. No wonder the infant looks so miserable, probably about to be taken to a bootie camp.
I attended the 9.40 a.m. appointment at the doctor's this morning, seeing an Indian lady. Until recently, I had the excellent services of an English doctor. However, he has now retired, and the five remaining doctors are all from abroad - Chinese and Indian. I was shown my X-ray result, indicating that "there was mild-moderate degenerative OA changes are seen in the left hip with loss of superior - lateral and medial acetabular joint space, increased scierosis and marginal osteophytic lippping. Similar mild degenerative OA changes are seen in the right hip....No significant change in appearance since the previous examination of 15 October 2013"
I looked at the October 2013 report, seeing that there were similar comments. The doctor therefore did not recommend hip replacement, saying that if I could walk around and go to the toilet without any difficulty there was no need for a replacement, and besides a general anaetsthetic at the age of 82 years was not recommended, being far too dangerous. I was therefore advised to keep taking the Zapain tablets, and an appointment would be made for me to attend the Physiotherapy Department at the County Hospital, which I found to be very helpful in the past. Overall, I was so greatly relieved that I would not need a hip replacement.
The service I received regarding the hip problem has been excellent, serving as a cogent reminder of our splendid National Health Service, even though it suffers from ever increasing pressures as the immigrants flood in. Having had this examination privately would have cost me a lot of money, and in all probability because private medicine is essentially a money-making business, I would have been told that a hip replacement was essential. Amazingly, some people pay hundreds of pounds a month for the inferior service of private medicine. It really is amazing that some silly people can waste their money that way.
While I was at the surgery there was a scam telephone call at home, which Mrs. Copeland answered, only to find it was an Indian, thereby a scam. I later looked at the caller display unit, seeing that the call came from 0199999999. Because of the blocking arrangements, the scammers now have to put in false numbers so that their calls can go through. They at least might have thought of a more realistic number. I was disappointed that I missed the call as I could have used the buzzer again.
For the second day running the temperature reached 25 C. Inside our stone-built house, dating from 1801 with its three feet solid walls, it was wonderfully cool, whereas I was hearing that the temperature in an eco house was unbearable. It seems that these horrible houses, unfit for human habitation, are good at retaining heat, but obviously too retentive on a hot summer's day. I still cannot understand why anybody would want to live in such awful edifices, though I gather that they are cheap to run.
I had a response from the agents today regarding the replanting of an oak tree in the avenue of oaks behind my house, saying that because of the substantial size of the estate, a tree could not be replanted. My offer to pay for the work was met with the comment: "We are very grateful for your kind offer, but I am unable to accept this on behalf of the Estate as the tree would then fall [!] within the Estate's remit and it is not currently factored in this year's tree management planning strategy. However, I will add this to the list of tree works and perhaps in the future we will be able to address a replacement."
I felt very disappointed about this and thought about writing an angry reply, but Bernard Shaw advised that anger is a bad counsellor, nothing being achieved. It is therefore better to sleep on it oe'r-night and see how feelings transpire on the morrow, usually indicating a calming down situation.
After a restful afternoon we met daughter Kate and her husband and granddaughter Chloe at 7 o'clock for a drink by the Brayford Pool in Lincoln - an enchanting area, though gradually being spoilt by the councillors of the City Council who believe that economic growth is maintained by building more restaurants in the area while others close down. But then we do not expect any intelligence in a Labour-controlled authority. Most considerately, Mrs. C drank no alcohol and undertook the driving, thereby enabling me to have a little something.
We were able to sit outside for an hour or so, looking over the waters of the Brayford, but we had to move inside the pub for further drinks as it became quite chilly. There are not many evenings in this country when you can sit outside until 10 o'clock in the evening.
THURSDAY 25 AUGUST
Having slept on a reply, I wrote to the agents today saying: "Although I appreciate that you cannot consider the replanting of a tree this year, I venture to enquire whether the Estate would pay the cost of a contractor to remove the fallen tree, shown in the attached photograph. In the interests of my concern for the environment, I would be prepared to make a contribution towards the cost." I received a reply saying: "I will forward this on to our tree manager and see what he recommends", so maybe this is helpful. The fallen tree looks so awful, indicating a lack of care for the environment, but then nationally there is precious little evidence of this regard.
After breakfast I collected a 30" x 20" photograph enlargement from "Snappy Snaps" in Silver Street in Lincoln. The firm offers a really splendid service with the courteous and helpful staff, every care being taken with the presentation of the photographs. It is certainly very good to have such a rare excellent service in these difficult times. Back home, I put the photograph of Mijas (where we went on holiday last July - my last ever holiday) above the fireplace, changing the picture from time to time. Possibly somewhat vaingloriously, I prefer to have my own photographs framed around the house, rather than having commercial representations.
My latest artisitc offering, which I call "Shattered Dreams". The white blobs reprersent the initial hopes, while the black section in the middle articulates the sad repression situation. The work could make me a fortune.
This evening I will be watching further episodes of "The House of Cards" with a male neighbour - sessions that we always enjoy.
Lincolnshire 25th August, 2016
Diary of an Octogenarian
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