Monday, 17 February 2020

Don't let things get in your way. Or maybe you should.



How many of us have had a great idea, only to be stopped in our tracks by an immovable object?

I think I mentioned once that when I first arrived out here, my aim had been to run a Gite for painters. Not a painting school as such, but somewhere where 'artists' could be based, use studio facilities, and maybe have a joint evening crit', with like-minded people, over a glass of wine or two before supper.

We advertised in The Times, and were soon inundated with enquiries. Unfortunately (and here's the immovable object) my advert' seemed to have been read by most of London's Psychiatrists, who wished to be shot of their most difficult patients for a week or two. We ended-up hosting a succession of extremely difficult, and odd, people; one at least of whom we considered quite dangerous. He had a large sword in his car, and was continuously asking Lady Magnon to pray with him! 

With two small children in the house, I soon reluctantly decided to abandon the business, and I took to stone cutting instead.

In fact the peace and tranquility that we gained by stopping, far outweighed any financial advantages that we might have had by continuing.

 Most things happen for the best, even if at the time it looks otherwise.


Sunday, 16 February 2020

Terms & Conditions.



As most people are aware, I'm a rather ordinary, bucolic, 'middle of the Road', law-abiding, liberal thinker, and as such I have very few 'rules' as to who I allow to comment on this page; or even what I find acceptable.

I don't tolerate abusive or insulting language, either aimed at myself, or between visiting commentators. Such people will be deleted at once.

I don't care for radical born-again religious fundamentalists, nor do I allow extreme political views from either the right or the left.

With the left having experienced such a trouncing in the recent UK general election, I've noticed that recently their supporters have begun leaving irrational, extreme, and unacceptably disturbing comments. They too will be deleted. Sadly we are witnessing a massive rise in such radicalism across the UK and elsewhere, and it worries me.

My third criteria has always been to eliminate 'trolls'; those who visit simply to be abusive and contrary. I have no time for them.

As for the Snake oil salesmen, Witch doctors, ATM scammers, and the so-called Illuminati, they are simply puerile, and their posts will be sent directly to my spam folder.

It's not a pleasant thing to do, but occasionally I do find it obligatory to 'un-follow' certain bloggers. This is not because I wish to stop free-speech, but because occasionally certain people become ever more extreme and abusive; almost because it's expected of them. No doubt alcohol plays a big part in such outbursts, so some leeway has previously been offered.

Some may remember a blogger who become totally obsessed by religion; his page continues, but he now has no visitors.

'Un-following' may also give them the opportunity to reflect on their beliefs or behaviour, although it appears that some are so entrenched in their radicalism, that I fear this is no more than wishful thinking.

Otherwise, all other comments are extremely welcome.


Saturday, 15 February 2020

A Bigger Train Set.



It might sound like a simple solution to have rescheduled all meetings in London or Birmingham by 20 minutes (and for Leeds or Manchester a tiny bit longer), but to genuinely integrate 'The Northern Powerhouse' with the UK's business hub (which is London) the country does need the best road/rail communications possible. The North/South divide has existed for too long.

There are people out there who think that spending this £100 Billion is money down the drain (Originally I wasn't keen on the whole project), but we need to think of it as the old Socialist war cry of  'redistribution of wealth'. The money doesn't just disappear; it becomes liberally spread around. From the simple pickaxe and shovel wielding navvy, to the most sophisticated technicians, all will be taking home their fat pay packets over the next ten years or more. Steel works will remain open, ready-mix providers will be assured their employment, and even the police will earn 'overtime' dealing with tree-hugging protestors.

I have often stated that my least-liked human quality is hypocrisy, but just watch as those who have been demonstrating against the government's policy of austerity, now begin to demonstrate against their excessiveness. Where once they demanded more spending, they are now moaning about the high cost of new infrastructure and communications. 

OK, many of us were unhappy about HS2, but let's now get it done. Employ all those extra workers, enhance the economy of the Midlands/North, and make the travel time between London and the North just that teeny bit quicker.

p.s. While we're on the subject of spending large amounts of public money; when comparing the cost of HS2, to that of Gordon Brown's outrageous NHS privatisations (£300 Billion), I suppose it seems like quite a bargain. 



Friday, 14 February 2020

The next Mayor of London?



The race is on for a new Mayor of London, and Rory Stewart (above) has thrown his hat into the ring.

Electioneering takes many strange forms, but Rory's must be one of the strangest. He has asked ordinary people from each of London's 32 boroughs to invite him to stay with them overnight; he promises to bring his own sleeping bag and toothbrush. 

He wants to meet 'ordinary Londoners' in their own homes, to discuss their concerns.

By contrast, if he was simply to visit each of the boroughs for half a day, he could get round all of them in a couple of weeks. Talking to people as they go about their daily business might be more informative than staying overnight in someone's flat. But maybe Rory has some alterior motive up his kilt.

There is no question that ex-MP Rory is a highly intelligent man, some may say on a par with Boris; but high intellect is not the only attribute required to be Mayor of one of the world's greatest cities.

He needs a working knowledge of roads, traffic, infrastructure, taxis, busses, the tube, housing, rich areas, poor areas, parks, monuments, and just about everything else that makes London tick.

I don't know who his rivals are for the job, but he'd probably have my vote. His CV must be one of the most impressive in the whole of the UK. 

Yup; I think he'd make a good Mayor; just ditch the idea of the sofa-surfing! 


Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Decline and Fall.



There is no question that Labour, and their policies, are outdated and need a re-think; their few remaining supporters are becoming desperate to find anti-Tory slurs, always a sign of panic.. Everyone in the Labour party agrees, even with a new leader they will struggle to achieve power within the next 10 years, or even more, unless something very extraordinary happens.

Labour needs to come politically much closer to the Tories (Blair understood this); the Marxist policies of Corbyn, Long-Bailey, and McCluskey are from a bygone age. The UK needs a middle-right, and a middle-left; extremes have no place in adult Western politics. We need policies which put the country first, not some Marxist ideals.

Many in the Labour party are now saying that they need another Blair; but even he was a total disaster. Apart from being personally responsible for most of the unrest in the Middle East (and on our own doorsteps) he also managed to do what all Socialist governments do; create unemployment amongst the very people who voted for them. He was also responsible for mass deportation; 29,040 in 2006 alone.

When 'call me Tony' took power in 1997, unemployment was at 2 Million, by the time he left office in 2007 it was at 2.5 Million; an extra 500,000 on the dole.

Things don't bode well for Labour, but they still attract their handful of followers. Even knowing full well that their party always causes both economic and employment disaster, the people that it affects the most still vote for them.

There will always be a few Lemmings out there; rushing blindly for the precipice. The sad part is; they think they're acting on behalf of  'the working man'. One thing is certain; as Scargill showed the world, they ain't.


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Haddock's Feb 2020.



Everything that needed to be dug over, has been. Now only a few bits of late greenery remain.

Still plenty of Cavolo Nero, a row of Perpetual Spinach, and a few lettuces under plastic.


Having said that, it's now when I begin to harvest one of my favourite crops; the flowery sproutings that erupt from all over my Winter Greens.

With the Cavolo Nero (above), I first cut the tops, then I let more sprouts develop all the way down the stems (we ate the ones above last night).

It's like a bonus crop that many veg' growers miss; having taken out all their old plants far too early.

Make a note; don't be in a rush to take out all those old stems, be patient and they'll give you another delicious crop.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Buy these; not those!



On my yesterday's shopping list were 'Prunes'; I usually eat a couple every day, they quosh any desire for sweets.

At Leclerc, I was just grabbing my usual packet, when a man said to me "Why not buy these instead"; holding up the packet above.

I had a look at the pack, and it seemed to offer all my criteria, so I had a chat with him. He told me that they were totally natural, stoned by hand, traditionally dried in the farm's ovens, and were mi-cuits (semi dried). Perfect.

I do like to buy artisanal products wherever possible; especially when it comes to food. I tasted them as soon as I got home; they were really excellent.

When I took the pack from the man; he pointed at it and said "That's me on the front", and of course I instantly recognised him.

What a nice person. He's from very nearby, he's passionate about what he produces, and he even mentions his children Christelle and Sebastien on the packet. Well done M Salliot.

If only all products were thus.

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