DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 22nd July - Thursday 28th July, 2016
What a contrast with the pygmy politicians we have today.
"To prove her commitment to ending privilege, Mrs. May made Boris Johnson Foreign Secretary."
Mark Steel's column in the "i" for the 22nd July, 2016
FRIDAY 22 JULY
Yesterday evening, with a neighbour I watched a DVD of the film "Son of Saul", dealing with the Holocaust. The film had received rave reviews, yet we both found it to be a dreary, dreadful film in which there was endless walking of the victims towards their deadly fate. Indeed, it was so bad that after about 40 minutes of watching the dull dialogue in subtitles I fell fast asleep, waking up just before the end. I just cannot believe that we found a film that has received 5-stars all round to be so awful, and not just because of the harrowing content. Perhaps we were not bright enough to understand the issues, yet I have read many books about the Holocaust.
The film is to be shown in the 2016/17 season of the Lincoln Film Society, which should have been a sufficient warning not to see the film. And there is no doubt that I should have kept to my earlier resolution not to see any film with subtitles as I never enjoy them. So in my old age I really must be more resolute, keeping to firm decisions. Therefore the new resolution is: On no account and at no time will I ever watch a foreign film with subtitles.
During the past week we have received 11 scam telephone calls, mainly from Indians who ask me if I am Mr. Salmond - the false name I gave on a product registration card some years ago to see whether details were sold on, and sure enough, as I suspected, they were. Although it is easy to delete these nasty calls when "International " comes up on the caller display, lifting the receiver and then putting it sharply down again, knowing that it is a scam, it is nevertheless annoying that when you are out in the garden or up a tree when the telephone rings, only to find after rushing indoors that it is a scam call from those blasted Indians.
I was thinking today how unbelievably miserable it must be to travel abroad in August when the schools are on holiday, the airports jammed full of the most awful riffraff with their badly behaved offspring, a version surely of Dante's Inferno. No wonder a holiday abroad in August is described as an ASBO (August's So Bloody 'Orrible). It makes me so thankful and so fortunate that we went to Mijas in Spain in June before the travelling hordes descended upon the airports.
During the day I was hearing about a very unpleasant couple we know who had taken their young children on holiday in a clapped out campervan, driving all the way to Portugal. For the youngsters, cooped up in a small vehicle in the heat for mile after mile, it must be a miserable experience, the old vehicle likely to have a breakdown at any moment. Low-budget holidays are a creation of the Devil, the rule being that if you cannot afford a properly financed holiday, stay at home.
Apparently, there have been widespread complaints that there are not enough holiday places in bootie camps, sometimes known as nurseries, in which working mummies dump their children during August, the lack of places making their work commitments difficult. It reminded me of Mrs. Leadsom, the Tory woman who withdrew from the Tory leadership contest, saying that mothers with young children should stay at home to look after them, instead of going out to work. What a wicked thing to say; no wonder she had to withdraw from the contest with such old fashioned values and views.
Just to add to our woes in which every household item seems to be going wrong, the fluorescent light in the kitchen started to flicker. I got out a step-ladder and put in a replacement starter motor, but this made no difference, so the tube was obviously at fault. But with my sciatica there was no way that I could put in a new tube, not being able to balance on the stepladder. Thankfully, on contacting son-in-law Phil who helps us old folk so much, he said that he was in Lincoln and would come to fix it, which he did. Oh to be young, whereas in my old age I become more and more of a cripple, hardly able to do anything. It is so depressing.
How wonderful it would be if we could have just one week when nothing went wrong, but with so much ageing equipment, I fear that such a grace is not likely.
It seems that there is a shortage of food frighteners, for today in the "i" there was an alarming front-page report saying: "Proof: drinking alcohol causes cancer. No safe level of drinking - Medics call on Government to put cancer warning labels on bottles." We have had this warning before, so in the absence of any other unused frighteners it has had to be brought out again, and what a nonsense it is. If there was any truth in it, about three-quarters of the adult population would have cancer, whereas the reality is that it is a nonsense to present a single cause of cancer.
Other considerations that have to be taken into account are overall health; working conditions; the environment; and genes and inheritance. The trouble is that the medicine men just do not know what causes cancer, hence all these absurd frighteners in our nannying state. I suppose, though, that it is difficult for the doctors to admit that they do not know much about the body, yet such honesty would be welcome in a profession that is essentially an art, subject to all manner of different interpretations, certainly not a science.
As I have said so often, there are three distinct phases of medicine. The first, from earliest times to about 1950, meant that there was no diagnosis and no cure. For instance, it took years before they realised the fatal consequences of foul water. Secondly, from 1950 up to the present day there is diagnosis but invariably no cure (my present sciatica, for instance); and then the final stage, probably from 2080 onwards when there will be diagnosis and cure.
As always, I greatly enjoyed Mark Steel's column in today's "i", laughing out loud at some of the comments. With the wit of Jonathan Swift, he is undoubtedly the most amusing journalist today:-
"Everyone loves Theresa May. Because she's new and fresh and untainted by the attitudes of the previous government as she had nothing to do with it except for the minor role of Home Secretary, which only involved popping in on a Tuesday to feed the cat, so it's all different now because she loves the common person, which we know must be true because she said so."
Mrs. Copeland on her 75th birthday today.
It was Mrs. Copeland's 75th birthday today, a time for celebrations with the neighbours and the family. At 12.30 p.m we invited the neighbours in for drinks and light refreshments, which proved to be a pleasant occasion in this splendid community in which we all get on so well with one another - except, of course, for the residents of the wooden shack we call "The Shed" who are persona non grata, and will never be accepted on account of putting up that ugly wooden shack, already weathering badly, in our community.
At 7.30 p.m. we motored to Caroline and Phil's house in a village some 8 miles north of our village, where we joined with the rest of the family in a further birthday celebration, having a splendid meal outside on a wonderfully warm evening - one of those rare evenings when you can sit outside until 10 p.m. without having hypothermia. Later on, the chimenea was lit, and we sat around it, rather in the manner of a camp fire. A delightful time, one of the those events that we will joyfully recall when we are sitting around the fireside at Christmas.
Fortunately, one member of the family did not drink during the evening, so we were able to travel home with him, leaving our car behind to be collected tomorrow.
SATURDAY 23 JULY
A correspondent, with whom I regularly exchange comments on items in this diary, often on economics and politics, made the comment in his latest e-mail: "Meanwhile, in the first survey of business confidence and activity since the EU referendum, Markit's composite index reported that as a result of the vote to leave the European Union the UK economy shrank at its fastest rate since the financial crisis of seven years ago. The report said 'The downturn, whether manifesting itself in order book cancellations, a lack of new orders or the postponement or halting of projects, was most commonly attributed in one way or another to Brexit.'"
This would appear to contradict the report in "The Times" for last Thursday, saying: "Britain's firms have taken the Brexit vote in their stride and there are no signs of a sharp economic downturn, the Bank of England said yesterday". Amazingly, it seems that Calamity Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, having warned during the referendum campaign that a vote to leave would have disastrous consequences for the UK economy, is now Cheerful Carney, saying that all is well after all. There are times when I worry about that man.
Furthermore, reports in yesterday's "i" indicated that "jobless rate drops below 5% for the first time since 2005", and that "Government borrowing down despite Brexit vote." When these items are considered, along with Cheerful Carney saying that all was well, his earlier fears and warning having been totally unfounded, it does not seem to suggest that the UK economy has shrunk as a result of our wisdom to leave the EU circus.
Nevertheless, numerous business organisations that enthusiastically supported the Remain campaign are now desperately grubbing around trying to justify having backed the wrong horse. Already we have heard the sounding quoted above, and during the course of the next few weeks we will be subjected to all manner of gloom and doom, even though so many of their soothsayings were utterly wrong.
For example, they were telling us that major firms would leave the UK if we voted to leave, whereas today's "i" reports that "Rolls-Royce [owned by the German BMW] to stay in Britain despite Brexit warning", and so doubt we will be hearing further reports that firms are staying. Oh the terrible frighteners those Remain people told us, now having egg all over their faces, and not liking it, having been shown to be so wrong.
As it is, you only have to think of that awful Frau Merkel, the EU leader, along with that dreadful man Hollande, to realise that the leave vote was so wise, the 23rd June henceforth being celebrated every year as "Independence Day". Trebles all round.
Hog Roast in the village. Not a sight for vegetarians - and how I pity them for their affliction.
During the morning I repaired a leaking hose that we use for watering the garden - something else that had gone wrong during the week, one woe treading upon another's heel.
At 4 o'clock I went with Mrs. Copeland to the Hog Roast at our local Club. I would much rather have stayed at home, reading a book, but Mrs. C. enjoys socialising far more than I do, so in the interests of continuing connubial felicity I go along with her wishes. Usually events that I dread subsequently turn out quite well, all being well that ends well.
Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed the event, which was held in the Club's garden on yet another gloriously warm and sunny day, the event being well supported by members. This is certainly proving to be a wonderful spell, day after day seeing glorious sunshine - and how rare that has been recently. Indeed, farmers at the Club yesterday were telling me that it is going to be a poor grain harvest on account of the appallingly wet conditions in June, when we had rain nearly every day, thereby lowering the quality. I suppose this is why my runner beans in the garden have been so poor this year, having hardly any flowers.
According to a press report today, we are being advised to take Vitamin D tablets as there is not enough sunshine in our climate. That advice, possibly totally unnecessary, will send the cost of the pills soaring. At my advanced age, having got this far without the supplement, I will certainly not bother about taking the pills.
SUNDAY 24 JULY
There was a power cut during the night. We have the supplier E-On, which we often refer to as E-Off. I believe it is owned by the Germans, nearly all our public utilities having been sold off abroad along with the rest of the family silver. The failure knocked out the mains clocks and my fax machine, all of which I had to set up again. On a bedside clock I could not click on the correct time, spending ages before eventually getting it to work. I was dreading that this was going to be another week when everything breaks down, having to purchase a replacement clock, meaning yet more expense.
I was hearing on the news this morning that the massive number of holidaymakers were having to sleep overnight in their cars at Dover as a result of the French border controls being "seriously under-staffed". What an absolute shower the French are! If they are not on strike they are badly organised, and then there is that ghastly, old-womanly language. Thank heavens we are about to get away from them in leaving the rotten EU.
Later in the morning I sat in the conservatory with a bottle of wine and a book, thinking about those miserable holidaymakers who were enduring all manner of hold-ups at Dover. How lucky I am in living in such splendid surroundings, enjoying peace 'n' quiet and civilisation, far away from all that chaos. Although I greatly enjoyed our recent family holiday in Mijas in Spain, I do not want to go abroad ever again, much preferring to stay in the comfort and enjoyment of home.
Yet another of the manifold reasons for leaving the circus of the European Union is that we are finding that our public services are becoming seriously overloaded as a result of 330,000 immigrants flooding into the country last year and possibly every year before that. A news item on the Internet today said that "Millions of patients are being denied medical care after being shut out of overcrowded GP surgeries in what doctors say is a clear threat to patient safety. People went without help almost ten million times last year, with the number failing to get an appointment rising by 40 per cent in four years."
There are similar problems in our schools, especially in areas where immigrants have flooded in, often with young children, there being an insufficient number of places to cope with the ever growing intake of pupils. This massive influx of immigrants into this country was presumably one of the main reasons why the electorate voted to leave in the referendum, knowing that we could no longer cope with this population increase in an already grossly overpopulated country.
Obviously big business wanted the immigrants as cheap and reliable labour, but the so-called captains of industry took no account of the provisional need of such an influx. The worry is that Mrs. May, who wanted us to stay in the EU, will drag her feet on the immigration issue, just as she did when at the Home Office, understandably not wanting to upset big business, many firms contributing to Conservative Party coffers. The further problem is that there is no effective Opposition, Corbyn being dead in the water: a caring man without a policy, so we now have a one-party state, which is not good for democracy.
During the day I used the hose to water the garden, now becoming very dried up as a result of the hot weather that has gone on for well over a week - a rare phenomenon indeed. Yesterday I repaired a leak in the hose, putting on a filler and then binding with plenty of tape, only to find today that it still leaked. I couldn't believe it. However, the leak was only a couple of feet to the hose reel, so I cut it off and then all was well. I should have done that in the first place. As Oscar Wilde said: "Experience - the name men give to their mistakes."
Sitting in the conservatory with a book and a bottle of wine, far away from the chaotic holidaymakers and all the misery they are enduring at Dover.
Mrs. C. and I went to the Club at 4 p.m., sitting with a group of people around a picnic table in the Club's gardens. I gather that the Hog Roast yesterday was very successful, bringing in good deal of money, which will certainly help the Club's finances, which were not all that good last year. Back home, after a dinner of duck, I sat in the conservatory with Mrs. Copeland. I read some more of the book on the country house weekend, which I am enjoying, even if Mrs. Copeland describes it as a coffee-table book.
MONDAY 25 JULY
As my "Morning Book" afore getting up in the morning, usually about 8 a.m., I am reading "War and Turpentine" by Stefan Hertmans, published this year by Harvill Secker. The book is beautifully written, having some interesting views on life. In terms of describing his old, long-lamented grandfather, the author writes: "such outdated personalities that could no longer exist, we tell ourselves, because life has lost the spartan sobriety that allowed their temperaments to ripen and flourish."
Although I realise that my own literary style is not up to much, I can nevertheless enjoy the delights of well-written literature, which I suppose is the next best thing to not having the craft myself. It is a reminder that a book is worth a hundred programmes on the idiot's lantern, most of the programmes nowadays dumbed down to a poorly educated populace. It makes me so thankful that our television never goes on, Mrs. C. disliking it as much as I do. It is really for sport and old people in retirement homes who have forgotten that the programme is yet another repeat.
I telephoned the doctor this morning, having been told to contact her if the trouble with my swollen right leg and painful lower back had not cleared up since my visit. The swelling has gone down, but the pain in my lower back has moved down to my left hip and then down my leg. As I had earlier diagnosed, the doctor said this was most likely to be sciatica, but if it had not lessened during the next fortnight I would need to have an MRI scan at the county hospital.
I mentioned last week that I had trouble with my web editor, finding to my horror that it had somehow been deleted from the computer. Fortunately, I managed to put in a copy, and all was eventually well after setting it all up again, only to find this morning on switching on the programme that all the settings for this week had gone. I suppose the answer is that the computer, rather like its owner, is over the hill and past it. I therefore had to spend about an hour putting back all the entries, still not knowing what had gone wrong.
Haymaking in the village
I saw on the BBC News website that holidaymakers were stuck for 16 hours in traffic whilst waiting to board a ferry at Dover. As mentioned earlier: Oh, the miseries of holidays, yet why do people behave like lemmings, always wanting to subject themselves to this expected misery? It makes me so lucky that I will never again have a holiday abroad - or any holiday for that matter, retirement being one long holiday in which you can watch in comfort as the country falls steadily apart.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday with the family in Mijas last month (before the riffraff hordes went on their vacation), I cannot help thinking that holidays are a total waste of money. A brief, expensive sojourn abroad, and then only the memories and a few badly taken photographs are left to remind you of the event. If you have a good home in a pleasant environment, as I have, then stay at home.
It made me wonder what happened about toilet facilities when holidaymakers were stuck in their car for 16 hours. What happened about young children? Oh, the abject misery! Perhaps not surprisingly, whenever I hear the word "holidays" I have paroxysms of despair, feeling so sorry for the people who are wasting their money on such events. Even worse, I cannot bear to see those holiday catalogues, wanting to throw them straight into the recycling bin.
To an extent I suppose this view is conditioned largely by old age, not wanting to go very far in the declining years. At least I enjoyed holidays in the past, visiting the Taj Mahal; flying over Mount Everest when visiting Nepal; seeing the floating markets in Bangkok and the Red Light district; seeing the Pyramids and the tomb of Tutankhamen ; going along the Via Delorosa and visiting Bethlehem; a holiday Majorca, and of course seeing Paris and Germany, and the recent week in Mijas (the third visit). Somehow I have never wanted to go West.
It has been suggested by the cynics that the hateful man Hollande deliberately instituted these delays at Dover by not putting enough staff in at the border controls, part of his revenge for us wanting to leave the circus of the EU. I think this is rather fanciful, for he is not as bright as that. On the other hand there is no doubt that he will try to upset our trade with the EU. If that happens, we only have to ban the import of French wine, which I do not like anyway, regarding the New World offerings as being so much better.
In a way it seems somewhat sad that we have such bad relations with the French, most Englishmen, myself amongst them, loathing them, seeing them as our natural enemies who, despite having been recused by us on two occasions during the last century, show no gratitude for their deliverance from the Nazis. And as I keep saying, I cannot stand that ghastly old-womanly language; indeed, whenever I hear it being spoken on the radio I have to switch off the set.
I went in to town in the morning, going in at 10.30 a.m. in the hope of avoiding all the crowds now that the schools are on holiday, not wanting to get mixed up in the throng of parents and children wandering round the town all day, not knowing what to do. Until the school holidays end, I will try to go into Lincoln only early on a Monday as it is a hell on earth during the rest of the week. As it was, the town was already crowded, screaming children everywhere, but at least I managed to get to Waterstone's to buy a copy of "Fighting Isis" by Tim Locks. It will be the last book I buy until the beginning of September, having spent far too much money on books so far this year.
I liked an e-mail I received this morning:-
Trump opened a letter he had received, which appeared to contain a single line coded message
Trump was baffled, so he e-mailed it to Vanessa Trump and his children. Vanessa Trump and the children had no clue either, so they sent it to the FBI. No one could solve it at the FBI, CIA or NASA. They eventually asked Britain's MI6 for help. Within minutes, MI6 cabled this reply: "Tell Mr Trump that he is holding the message upside down."
During a relaxed afternoon I read some more of "The Long Weekend", detailing the days of the country houses of the wealthy between the two World Wars. The disparity of wealth at that time between the wars was quite frightening, making us at least thankful that Socialism in the past has brought about a fairer society, albeit helped principally by the Wars. Until recently we were beginning to see the return to the old order, but incredibly Brexit removed the Eton-educated fraternity, for which we must be truly thankful, one of the many blessing in leaving the circus of the European Union.
The first half of the book is rather dull, giving endless details of modifications to numerous country houses between the wars, some being pulled down and rebuilt, not always tastefully, others being extended. Fortunately, the second half, detailing the life of the wealthy residents, is more interesting, showing their life of Reilly with the various seasons - The London Season, Cowes Week, Grouse Moors, the Hunting Season, and travelling to the Riviera in their massive and highly expensive yachts with a great army of servants: "You never had to worry about anything ," the Duchess of Westminster recalled, "and never saw a ticket." How different travelling is today! No endless security checks in those halcyon days.
TUESDAY 26 JULY
This morning the teasmade that Mrs. Copeland likes to have for making a pot of tea before we get up in the morning actually blew up with a loud bang, meaning that something else has broken in this season of Everything Going Wrong, meaning more expense. I just cannot believe how many things have failed during the past month. It is my reckoning that the computer will be the next to blow up, and that will be the end of this diary - not before it's time, some people will say.
I saw that the teasmade was bought on the 29th January, 2009, so I suppose it does not owe us anything, as they say. Even so, it is annoying that everything seems to be breaking down, along with myself. I allow a £100 a month for breakages and repairs, but do not carry any unspent sum forward, which I suppose I should do. I begin to think I will have to have an entry in my personal diary each day saying: "Item that broke down today." According to Currys Internet site, a replacement teasmade, a Swan, will cost £59.
Mrs. Copeland went to the local Currys store in Lincoln after lunch, only to be told that they did not stock the appliance anymore. I therefore had to order the appliance on Currys on-line site, having it delivered tomorrow with a total cost of £62.46, including £3.95 next day delivery. Nowadays it seems that everything has to be bought on-line, the local stores being quite useless.
Daughter Kate, who knows a thing or two about body massage, came at noon to massage my left shoulder that I had somehow managed to wrench while sitting in a garden chair outside and falling fast asleep, subsequently having a lot of pain in addition to my sciatica. Kate managed my entire back whilst I was sitting relaxed in a chair, my shirt off. When she massaged the spot where the pain was located it was immensely painful but this subsided after a while, and afterwards I felt so much better. Kate stayed for lunch, making for a pleasant occasion.
One of my elderly friends, alas now departed, had similar troubles and went to a chiropractor, spending about £250 on what proved to be completely worthless treatment. I gather that these chiropractors are not recognised by the National Health Service, which doesn't surprise me. It is a pity the NHS does not recognise psychiatrists and psychologists, for as I found during my working days, they were totally useless when disruptive and disturbed children were referred to them.
Summer evening sky
I gather that the Democrat campaign is having problems in America, which will come as no great surprise. It is alleged that some of the Democrats tried to stop Sanders from being elected, and that this has apparently and rightly rebounded on them. According to a report on the BBC News site, "Earlier in the evening, Mr Sanders' fans had booed any mention of Mrs Clinton, who will accept the party's presidential nomination on Thursday." All this should ensure that Mr. Trump becomes President in November, the Americans loathing that bloody difficult woman. At the Republican convention supporters held up placards saying that Clinton should go to prison, rather than the White House, for her mishandling of state e-mails.
What should help Mr. Trump is the concern that Americans now have about Isis attacks, seeing him as a strong man who will take no notice, whereas all history shows, Mrs. Clinton fudges and fiddles over matters of foreign policy. Certainly firm leadership is needed, and I cannot see Mrs. Clinton providing the necessary lead at a difficult time. I suppose there is always the danger that Mr. Trump will "go over the top", but maybe that is better than weakness.
I find it incredible, absolutely appalling, that Mr. Carney is thinking about lowering interest rates to zero, or even below zero, which would mean that banks would actually charge for savings accounts instead of providing any interest. Zero interest rates were proposed in Japan, proving to be totally ineffective, as they will be in this country, merely encouraging more and more people to get into debt by excessive borrowing, and boosting an already overheated property market. We already have the greatest indebtedness of any of the G7 nations, and it is sheer madness to encourage more borrowing. What on earth is the fellow thinking about?
What should be happening at this time of ever increasing indebtedness is to raise income tax all round, instead of fiddling around with ineffective interest rates. We are living beyond our means, and lowering interest rates is tantamount to increasing the limit on a credit card.
According to today's "Daily Express" "98% say no to EU deal - Forget talk with Brussels and quit now urges poll". This reflects the worry that Mrs. May, who wanted to remain in the EU, will drag her feet on getting us out of the circus, saying that there is no hurry while lawyers are employed at £5,000 a day to fiddle and fumble around. With no effective Opposition, the Labour Party being far too busy tearing itself apart to worry about the Government, Mrs. May could get away with this delay.
What I find surprising is that nearly everybody I speak to hereabout voted to leave, which might suggest that the result should have been very much firmer to leave. It seems, though, that there was a north/south divide, in which the bankers and other spivs in suits voted to remain in terms of their vested business interests, whereas the redundant north, seeing no advantages in remaining in the circus, voted overwhelmingly to leave.
At least the politicians are now going away on their holidays for the next 10 weeks, so we will not be bothered with them or by them for a considerable amount of time. On the other hand it seems so awful and so wasteful that the universities are now closed down until the middle of September, millions of pounds worth of equipment standing idle for all that period. It is really is time that the Government sorted out the universities, insisting that the lecturers should work for a 45-hour week. With this imposition, a 3-year degree could be completed in two years, saving a lot of student debt.
A quiet afternoon, and then in the evening I finished reading "The Long Weekend". A magnificent scholarly work and beautifully illustrated. In one of the chapters the author describes how some homosexuals were allowed to attend some of the weekends, but others were frowned upon. In another chapter - "The House Party", there is the comment that there was much sexual activity during the weekends at many of the country houses:-
"The great nocturnal pastime of the country house party was sex....In the early hours, the bedroom corridors of England's stately homes were apparently filled with house guests paddling along in their dressing gowns, intent on committing some act of adultery or fornication or betrayal." In another section there is an episode when a young duchess found that the man sitting next to her at dinner was putting his hand up her frock, whereupon she grabbed out the hand, saying to the assembled company: "Look what I've found in my lap!"
WEDNESDAY 27 JULY
A new kind of scam at 9.03 this morning. Without looking at the caller display I answered the call, hearing a squeaky little woman, presumably from the Orient, telling me that "Your Internet connection is going to be cut off in half an hour." To which I replied, giving the usual wrong information that we all give to opinion pollsters, "I don't have an Internet connection", to which Squeaky merely said: "O.K" and ended the call.
In a way I wish that I had gone along with the call, for it would have been interesting to learn what the scam was all about. My guess is that it involved having to send money to have the supposed line restored. Nasty stuff, but if you have a few free minutes it is great fun to give the scammers totally wrong information,
As I have mentioned several times, about every three months or so I receive a call purporting to come from Windows, saying that a virus has been identified on my computer. The game is to see how long you can go along with all the instructions, pretending to be on the computer before the scammer realises he/she is being taken for a ride. I have managed 8.5 minutes, but a correspondent has reached the record of 9 minutes 27 seconds. Somehow I do not think I will be able to beat that.
Mention of opinion polls reminds me that in the "i" yesterday there was the news item saying that Mr. Trump has a six-point lead over Mrs. Clinton, which I regard as good news, believing that the country I respect so much would go steadily downhill with that untrustworthy woman. The country needs a strong, decisive man, and I reckon that his chances of becoming President are being steadily enhanced by all Isis troubles in Europe. He wants to keep Muslims out of America, which is surely an understandable policy under the present circumstances.
On the BBC news website I saw this morning that Mr. Clinton says he is going to support his wife to become President, saying that she was his "best friend". I doubt he thought that when he was giving a blow-job by a female member of staff. Still, at least she has one supporter. I was rather surprised that the report showed that white university graduates were more likely to vote for Mrs. Clinton, when it might be expected that they would have the good sense to vote for Trump.
Another item on the news website said: "The UK economy grew by 0.6% in the three months to the end of June, as economic growth accelerated in the run-up to the vote to leave the EU. Second-quarter gross domestic product grew faster than expected, up from 0.4% growth in the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics said. Any uncertainty ahead of last month's referendum seemed limited, ONS said".
So yet again the nonsense that the ridiculous Remain contingent told us has been shown to be unfounded, making us so thankful that the better educated populace voted to come out.
There is therefore absolutely no need for Governor Carney to lower interest rates to zero. If only he would leave things alone with his muddled interest rate policy, all would be well. What a terrible mistake it was to create an independent Central Bank.
However, I suppose in his defence it could be argued that he has only limited powers, principally interest rate manipulation, and quantitative easing that ends up in the pockets of speculators, having no impact on stimulating an economy.
Perhaps not surprisingly an item in today's "i" said that 60% of voters over the age of 60 voted to leave the EU, which obviously indicates that the elders obviously had a better understanding of the complex issues, remembering the past and the troubles that endless conflicts in Europe have brought. Meanwhile, it was also reported that, despite the crazy frighteners put out by the Remain contingent that all major firms would leave this country or stop investing in it, GKS announced yesterday that it would be investing millions in this country on account of the skilled workforce.
Valeriam in the garden, giving out a wonderful scent in the evening.
One of my friends, having a Casio radio-controlled watch similar to the one that I have, said that his watch, although showing the digital time, was no longer recording the analogue time. I therefore suggested he should come to my house today in which, over a little something, we would try to correct it. He therefore came at the appointed time of 11.30 a.m., and after a lot of fiddling around, following the instruction manual in hopelessly small print, we eventually managed to get it to work, so that was a blessing. So all was well, though my friend very wisely said he did not like drinking alcohol so early in the day, not that this resolution affected me.
One of my correspondents, responding to my problem in having so many scam telephone calls during the day, suggested that I should put on the answerphone during the time I am at home saying that: "This line does not accept scam calls with false numbers. You are therefore being disconnected". I took this advice, and to my joy it worked, stopping three scams later in the day.
We ordered a Swan Teasmade on-line yesterday, costing £62.46 with delivery, and it duly arrived at 2.50 p.m. this afternoon - a truly excellent service, explaining why shops are going out of business, it being so much easier to order on the Internet -no hassle, no parking problems, and a prompt home delivery. I find the demise of the high streets sad in a way, but then that is the way the world is moving. Ten years from now all the shops in the High Street will probably be charity shops and estate agents, no retailing units.
It amused me to see on the package a message saying: "Did you know components for the Swan Teasmade were still being made at the original Bullpitt & Sons factory in Camden Street Birmingham as recently as 2006?" On another side of the package were those grim words "Made in China".
Much to my surprise, the instruction manual said "Put teabags into the empty jug". Dear, oh dear! Gentlefolk never use teabags, for they contain the most inferior, rejected tea, which no tea-enthusiast would ever use. Not so surprising was the incorrect use of "it's" in the sentence: "Place the ceramic jog back on it's stand". Oh the trouble the difference between the possessive "its" and the abbreviation "it's" causes.
A relaxed afternoon, and in the evening I finished reading "The Week End", which I enjoyed once the author started dealing in the second half of the book on what went on inside the gracious country houses. In one of the chapters he mentions that the 1931 Census showed "that out of a working population of 18.8 million people, 1.4 million people were indoor domestic servants, of whom 1.2 million were in private households. This made servants one of the biggest occupational groups in the country. Nearly one in twenty of all families employed at least one servant." For these servants there was a life of drudgery, waiting upon the pompous wealthy hand and foot, having little leisure time and being poorly paid, sometimes dismissed on a whim
Subsequently, I made a start on "Christmas Truce - The Western front December 1914" by Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton. As the blurb on the back of the cover says: "A moment of humanity in a time of carnage."
The truce between the opposing forces surely indicated the futility of war: that soldiers on both sides did not really hate one another and would much rather have preferred to go home. Yet a few crazy politicians manage to start a war, involving entire nations. Oh, how I wish that we could do without politicians, all of whom, without exception, bugger up our lives.
In the past I have always enjoyed listening to "The World Tonight" on Radio 4 at 10 p.m, but it has now changed, sadly dumbed down and is not worth switching on. Among the annoying features is to intersperse the headlines with comments, which I find quite infuriating. A far better radio news bulletin is on Radio 4 at 6 p.m.
THURSDAY 28 JULY
I was hearing this week that the cost of the most basic, cheapest funeral was £5,000. What an incredible rip-off, the profit being an easy £1,000 a time. How we are cheated these days, especially by those small-town solicitors, spivs in suits, who charge £120 per hour or more for their useless services, especially for house conveyances that probably only take an hour or so on a computer, yet are charged at thousands of pounds. Then there are the privatised, power companies, all foreign owned having been sold off cheaply abroad, who overcharge us all the time, the Regulators apparently impotent.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that these are the best of times for the happiness of the greatest number, as Mr. Bentham would have it. It consequently makes me realise that if I was of working age in earlier times, having had no real education, I would probably be serving as an under-gardener at The Hall, having to touch my forelock when the lord and lady passed by in their carriage, having to accept all the falsehood and indignity of noblesse oblige.
Apparently, the French, following the murder of an elderly priest earlier this week, are going to strengthen their security at churches, What on earth does this mean? Are they going to have an armed policeman at every church in the country? The fact is that there is very little, if any, defence against these religious bigots. Even so, it might have helped if the Western Allies had not deposed Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi, for those countries are now in an even bigger muddle that when ruled over by these tyrants, who did at least keep law and order, however cruel and merciless it may have been. Now, as a result of our interference, Iraq is gradually being taken over by Isis in the resulting vacuum. Similar conditions apply in Libya.
When are we ever going to learn that such countries have no concept or liking for democracy, having about as much regard for it as they have for hygiene? This also applies to Syria, where the West should be backing Assad instead of assisting the insurgents, many of them from the Isis brigade. There will never be peace in such countries, and they are best left alone, especially Afghanistan where the Taliban is now victorious. I suppose the worry in the West is that Isis could take over the oil supplies in the Middle East.
Lily in the garden
Today granddaughter Chloe treated Mrs. Copeland to a day out as a belated birthday present. They had originally intended visiting Chatsworth, but decided it would be very crowded with families with their badly behaved children at this school holiday time of year, so they went instead to "The George" at Stamford, a most civilised eating place. It meant that I was left alone all day, not that I mind this occasionally.
Much of the morning was spent setting up this diary on the web-editor, which still doesn't seem to be working properly, making me wonder if it will upload this afternoon. Then at 12.45 p.m. I went in to Lincoln to purchase fish and chips, not wanting to cook at home - an activity I loathe and will never do. To spend a long time preparing and cooking a meal, and then sitting down afterwards on your own to eat it, seems so awful. If ever I am left on my own I will have fish and chips once a week, and then go to a pub for the rest of the week, except on a Sunday when families with uncontrolled children dominate the place. On the Sabbath Day I will have to buy in ham and bread rolls on a Saturday to cover for Sunday's meal.
Looking back on the past week I find it interesting that all the frighteners of the Remain campaign have been shown to be utterly wrong. Firms have not fled abroad as a result of the referendum; firms are continuing to invest in this country on account of the skilled workers; more people are in employment than ever before; the stock market is booming, up over 700 points the day before the referendum; house prices continue to rise; the £ is gradually recovering (not too much, we must hope); and there has not been an outbreak of World War III. Oh, the nonsense we had to listen to from that Remainers who have become such bad losers.
I was saddened to read in today's "i" that Own Smith, the contender for the Labour leadership, has said that he "would soak the rich to end UK austerity". This is a foolish remark, born of the class bitterness of failed Old Labour, rather than any sound economic policy. The problem for Mr. Smith is that, through absolutely no fault of his own, he does not look the part of a world statesman, looking more like a 'bus inspector, or even worse - an accountant. In a media age, appearance is so important.
Even scruffy old Corbyn, everybody's favourite kindly old uncle, is better than that, not given to the dreadful gaffe that Smithy made yesterday when he childishly and stupidly said that "Labour should take on Mrs. May and smash her back on her high heels." This is dreadful sexist language, the like of which we should not have to hear in these enlightened days.
It is sad that Labour is in such disarray, especially now the Lib-Dems have disappeared without any trace. It is bad for democracy when there is a one-party state, yet it looks as if this is what we are going to have for the next ten years.
This evening I will be watching the first series of "Game of Cards" with an elderly male neighbour, the set having been given to me as a birthday present by daughter Kate. It will be an occasion for a little something, Mrs. Copeland joining us at the end of the film. I always enjoy these sessions, even though there are occasions when the film proves to be disappointing, a notable example being "Son of Saul" which we viewed last week, which was so dreadfully dull and awful.
Lincoln 28th July, 2016
Diary of an Octogenarian
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