DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN

- John Copeland -


Friday 15th September - Thursday 21st September, 2017


Seaside

By the sea in Spain, enjoying sunshine. Photograph by granddaughter Chloe who had a 3-day break with her mother in the seaside resort of Fuengerola last week


"With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

Part of a Desiderata, reputed to have come from a church in Baltimore, dating from the 18th century. The full version is still avialble in various forms from the splendid services of Amazon.


FRIDAY 15 SEPTEMBER

In yesterday's "i" there was an article about Nick Clegg's young son having lymphoma cancer, the dreaded cancer for which I have been receiving treatment, the last of 8 chemotherapy sessions taking place next Thursday. In the article the point is made that: "Although medical science has made huge advances in recent years, chemotherapy remains a brutal treatment; poisoning the body with immensely powerful drugs to kill the cancerous cells." The son had to take 20 tablets per day, suffering from hair loss, vomiting and extreme tiredness."

I certainly found the after-effects of the chemotherapy sessions very unpleasant, though I did not have vomiting and tiredness. Instead, I had an awful feeling of malaise, my whole body aching, feeling really out of order, though instead of tiredness I found it extremely difficult to get to sleep at night, needing prescribed sleeping tablets. Furthermore, I have the awful blood clot in my left leg, now having moved to my swollen ankle and foot, causing me a great deal of pain, especially when I get up in the morning. . The reactions from the chemotherapy sessions usually come after the 5th day, lasting about a week, sometimes longer.

Yesterday brought an announcement from the Governor of the Bank of England who, having belatedly realised that inflation is racing ahead, has admitted that interest rates may have to be raised after all, Consequently, the City is expecting a 0.25% increase in November. This increase will inevitably have to be followed by further increases, taking the small increases each time eventually to 1%. The only alternative is to raise income tax, but Mrs. May in her usual inefficient way, has painted herself into a corner by promising not to increase taxes during her period of office - the same mistake that was made by Cameron. For several months I have been saying in this diary that interest rates had to be raised, so once again you read it here first.

Our worthy local District Council has an amusingly-called "Prosperous Communities Committee", which has recommended that as we are so prosperous and the authority so hard up, the waste garden bins (the green bins), currently free of charge, should in future be charged for. Apparently, there is to be a public consultation on the issue, but we all know that this is a mere sop to democracy, and that come what may, however many objections are made, the charges will still go ahead, public consultation being a meaningless charade, as we found with the Lincolnshire Local Plan.

Under the present arrangements the free bin service ridiculously ends in October at the very time we need the bins to gather up the fallen leaves. Perhaps one arrangement would therefore be for charges to be made, but having the service throughout the year, as in Lincoln. If this is not possible, maybe the service could continue from October until Father Christmas arrives. However, as I say, I have no doubt that no notice will be taken of this or any other suggestion.

Mijas

Street in Mijas, Spain. Photograph by granddaughter Chloe taken when on holiday last week.


The crazy Kim Wrong-Un has fired another missile over Japan, prompting a further worthless meeting of the Security Council that will huff and puff but not blow the madman's house down. The hateful communist China could resolve the crisis by cutting off oil exports to North Korea, but China, which has no respect for human rights, will never want to upset a fellow police state communist country.

Meanwhile, President Trump makes all manner of threatening noises, saying he is going to blast the Silly Billy to kingdom come, but he does nothing, just as Obama did nothing about the mad Kim by sweeping the issue under the White House carpet during his period of office. It seems, therefore, that no action will be taken against the maverick country, the sanctions said to be worthless, having little effect.

Nevertheless, there are two main hopes for dealing with the mad Kim Wrong-Un: (1) that he will eventually blow himself up - something that is very likely as all the information on nuclear science is cribbed, and (2) the group that has been set up in South Korea to take him out may be successful, bringing about regime change that will be wildly cheered and approved by the oppressed populace, all of them living under constant fear.

Meanwhile, there is no possibility of any dialogue with a crazy man who can have members of his own family murdered, and even if there is a dialogue he will demand the removal of all American troops from South Korea and Gaum - something the Americans would wisely never accept, leaving the madman free to attack South Korea.

We had a power cut during the day, meaning that I had to reset the electric clocks and the one on the oven, as well as the time and date on the fax machine. Fortunately, we have not had so many cuts lately, but in former times when every month seemed to bring a cut, we referred to E-On, our supplier, as E-Off.

There was an explosion in an Underground train in London today, but the terrorist device mercifully was not fully effective, nobody being killed, though several were hurt. What on earth do these murderous insurgents hope to achieve by this random bombing that only makes Muslims generally unfairly being hated? The problem is that there is no defence against these cowardly attacks, the terrorists, nearly always being unknown, able to strike where and when they like. Perhaps this country should not have been involved in those wars overseas, especially as none of them was successful.

Not the best of days. Mrs. Copeland wanted a toilet seat changed, so I went to B & Q to purchase one that closes gently, reduced from 32 to 17. Unfortunately, I could not fit the poorly made appliance, and fearing it was faulty I took it back, having an immediate exchange, the female assistant being very helpful. After a lot of swearing and cursing, I eventually managed to get the replacement fixed, but it is a poor thing As might be expected, the lousy product was made in China where all the rubbish comes from. Another similar seat we have on another toilet was made in Germany, and works splendidly, but this one is awful, so shoddily made.

At least a new iron that Mrs. Copeland bought recently - a Tefal - is working well, the previous one having exploded. The appliance is made in France, so there were not those dreaded words "Made in China" or "Made in PRC", which presumably stands for "Poor Rubbish from China".

Much to my horror, adding to the day's woes, one treading upon another's heel, I backed the Scorpio into a wall when making way for another driver, slightly cracking the bumper and causing some scratches that I was not able to remove, despite spending a long time with T-Cut and painting. A great shame, for there are hardly any other marks on the car. Not a good day. I think I will put a Union Jack sticker over the crack and scratches.

It was not a good day for Mrs. Copeland either. At 2 p.m. she set off in her Peugeot 208 to motor down to Essex to spend the weekend with her 100-year-old mother. The journey, with the 15-minute stop we usually have, normally takes 3 hours for the 136-mile journey, but today Mrs. C, was stuck in a traffic jam for over an hour as a result of a lorry breakdown, no doubt a foreign one. The journey therefore took well over four hours, motoring being a sheer misery in this country. She eventually sent me a text saying she had arrived at her mother's apartment.

During the afternoon, when it was raining yet again, preventing any gardening, I put my feet up in the conservatory, reading some more of "Unwinnable - Britain's Wars in Afghanistan 2001-2014." In the opening chapters the author has some interesting details: "Al-Qaeda was formed in 1988 in the city Peshawar on the western frontier of Pakistan by a small group of Arabs who had fought in Afghanistan", and "The Taliban originated from Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan and had grown out of the Soviet War of the 1980s." A fascinating book.

At 9.30 p.m a neighbour, who had been to see what she described as "a meaningless film" at the Lincoln Film Society, surprisingly not subtitled, came to see me, and together we had a bottle of wine, discussing many interesting topics. Among them was the issue I often raise about Premium Bonds, namely that I know scores of people who have the Bonds, here in Lincolnshire and other counties, yet nobody I know has won more than a 25 prize. It seems all very strange. Not in bed until 12.45 a.m., but this is not unusual. If I go to bed any earlier I cannot sleep.

SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER

During yesterday's evening meeting with a neighbour , the film "Duel" was mentioned, depicting a driver who is persecuted by a demented lorry-driver, the film being directed by the splendid Steven Speilberg. It is an old film, probably dating back to the 1970s, but we both remembered enjoying the thriller and would like to see it again. I therefore ordered it from Amazon today, costing 7.96 with postage. Excellent value, and a wonderful service, the DVD being delivered within a couple of days.

Not surprisingly, having shared a bottle of Chadonnay with my neighbour yesterday evening, I woke up with a headache, but it quickly cleared up and I rode in to Lincoln to purchase a "Times". Mrs. C normally has the newspaper free of charge with her provisions at Waitrose on a Saturday, but she is now far away down in Essex, a horribly overcrowded county that makes me so thankful that I moved away to this wonderful backwater of Lincolnshire, where peace really does come dropping slow. I also bought a book from Waterstone's on the fateful division of India, the book costing 25.

After buying the book I went on to "The Works" that deals largely with remaindered books. However, I saw that the book was on sale at 7, despite having been published this year. I felt somewhat annoyed about this, but there is nothing I can do about it. As Oscar Wilde said: "Experience - the name men give to their mistakes."

"The Times" had a review relating to the published diaries of David Laws, the former Liberal Democrat Minister in the Coalition Government, who records how several senior Tory Ministers attacked the hopeless Mrs.. May when she was serving as the disastrous Home Secretary, allowing thousands of immigrants to enter the country without restraint or control: "Theresa stuttered and stumbled and looked desperately through her briefing notes for the answers that she needed - but without finding any". She was totally out of her depth as Home Secretary, as she is now, even more so as Prime Minister, every week seeing yet another U-turn, the latest one being the "ditching of plans to let UK workers jump jobs queue."

The problem for the bitterly divided Conservative Party is that there is no obvious contender. The court jester, Boris Johnson, is just a joke, not to be taken seriously, though he is a clever man; and Rees-Mogg, who is still in the Victorian era, disapproving of abortion and same-sex marriages, will hardly enhance the party's image. This only leaves David Davies, but he does not have enough support in the party, being far too clever. Yet if she stays as Prime Minister into next year, Mrs. May will destroy the Conservatives with her incompetence, thereby bringing in Mr. Corbyn and his gang who will quickly spend what money we have left, bankrupting the country. It really does seem that we are doomed.

In the "Weekend" supplement of "The Times" there was yet another article on the sexual problems of marriage, headed: "Affairs and the modern marriage", asking whether a marriage can survive an affair. How tedious these article are, often written by a psychologist, most of whom are completely mad.. Fortunately, one of the few advantages of old age - that is to say, over 75 years - is that sex, seen as a messy and inordinately troublesome procedure, is no longer important, marriage subsequently becoming a friendship providing tender loving care in which the couple hold hands to prevent one another from falling over.

Muddled May

Our Prime Minister, disliked by most of her Party and the populace, having lost all authority among her ministers, yet she still remains in office, likely to destroy the Conservatives if she remains much longer.


A light lunch on my own, having soup and bread rolls with a couple of glasses of non-alcoholic wine. Afterwards I at last managed to sweep up the leaves brought down by the recent gale, making the clearance between yet more rain. Without any doubt this has been a terrible summer.

I have kept daily records of the weather in a personal diary since 1970, and there has never been such a miserably cold and wet summer as this one during those years. Thankfully, the predicted 75 mph gusts did not arrive here in Lincoln, for which we are truly thankful. The winds probably did not exceed more than 40 mph, and did not even bring down any branches from the trees - only the leaves that were about to fall anyway.

I rather fear, though, that I will have to employ somebody when the leaves begin to fall in earnest, for I nowadays find with my arthritis in both knees is too painful to make a substantial clearance. It means another expense at a time when inflation is rising rapidly ,the true CPI rate being 6.8% (multiply the official 2.9% CPI rate by 2 and add 1).

At 5.15 p.m. I went with a neighbour to have a meal at "The Woodocks", a pub/restaurant in the village that offers meals "two for the price of one", and the beer is always in excellent condition. The only thing that spoils things is the utterly horrible musak that consists mainly of wailing women, a really horrible sound. If there has to be music, and it seems that we have to suffer with this noise, why not have some decent recognisable tunes?

Earlier, I had tried to make a table booking, but was told in a somewhat unpleasant and ungracious manner that no further bookings could be made - "You will have to wait your turn". Ah, well: this is England, where you do not expect any civilised service.

Nevertheless, the sirloin steak I had was excellent, as was the Chardonnay, but our enjoyment was somewhat spoilt by a yelling baby at a nearby table, the mother having to jog it up and down in an unsuccessful effort to stop it bawling, the child obviously needing to be at home and in bed. Why is it that such mothers are so selfish, so inconsiderate of other people, presumably too lazy to cook at home? Similar circumstances occur when parents drag very young children abroad on holiday, causing problems for other passengers in the aircraft.

Back home, I spent the evening on my own reading the book - "Unwinnable" on the horrors of the British wars in Afghanistan, all of which ended in tears, having cost billions that could and should have been spent on the NHS, but then there is always money for wars, however hard up we are.

In one chapter the author records a peace settlement meeting between the Taliban Minister of Defence, Mullah Obaidullah, and Karzai as the recognised President of the country, during which "both sides sat down for a meal together, breaking bread with someone is a customary way of sealing a deal in Afghanistan". Quite a civilised practice, even though the peace seldom holds,

As might be expected, yesterday's meeting of the hopeless Security Council was a complete waste of time, no further sanctions being imposed on the totally mad Kim Wrong-Un. This is the United Nations that has done nothing to prevent wars since 1945. How that crazy Kim must be laughing, nobody doing anything to stop him playing with his fireworks.

SUNDAY 17 SEPTEMBER

Not in bed until 12.45 a.m., I was not up until 9 a.m., for once having had a good night's sleep, Unfortunately, I am in agony with pain in my left leg on waking up, presumably a consequence of the still evident blood clot. A female doctor whom I saw when my consultant was away on holiday told me that a vein in the leg had probably been permanently damaged, beyond repair. Walking is consequently becoming more and more difficult, especially when going upstairs, suggesting that I will have to have a chair lift installed, more blasted expense.
I never thought I would end up like this, though my mother ended her 79 years in a wheelchair, crippled with arthritis, so it looks as if I am going the same way, there being no cure for arthritis, though the Zapain tablets I regularly take, 30mg codeine phosphate and 500 mg paracetemol tablets, help to ease the pain for about two hours.

I read an article in a newspaper last week in which a woman suffering from breast cancer said that she regretted the loss of all her hair far more than losing a breast. I can understand this disappointment with hair loss, for it also upsets me immensely, making me look even uglier than ever. My almost completely bald head now feels cold, there being the odd feeling of raindrops falling on my head. I have also lost eyelashes and eyebrows, and all the hair on my body, though I am told that these will all return several weeks after the last chemotherapy session, though the hair may be of a different colour and curly. I won't know what to do with it!

We had 5 scam telephone calls during the week, having had 14 or more before we joined the excellent BT Call Protect service. Although it is possible to add a scammer's telephone number to a "personal list", the scammers often change their false number, meaning that the call still comes through. However, whenever we see an unlikely number on the caller display (an essential piece of equipment these days) I merely lift the receiver and put it down again, resulting in the scammer wasting his or her time.

The calls should never be answered, for they are all as crooked as a donkey's hind leg. I have lost count of the number of times I have had the call purporting to come from Windows, saying that a virus has been detected on my computer, a virus then being put on for a removal charge said to be in the region of 60. In the past I have pretended I was on the computer when the instructions were given, managing 8.5 minutes, but I have tired of this game. Even so, I gather that many people are caught.

Oaks

Avenue of oaks in mid-September. Mercifully, they were not damaged by the recent gale. They date from 1801, some having been replaced over the years.


On the news today I heard that Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, had fallen out with Mrs. May over Brexit. What a political pantomime it has become, causing us immense merriment every day as the Government falls steadily apart, though this is hardly good for the country. Mrs. May continues to be utterly hopeless, not having a clue what she is doing, the worry being that she is going to be completely outwitted by that nasty man Jean-Claude Juncker and his cohorts, ending up us paying billions of pounds to leave the circus of the EU. She really has to go, spending more time with her husband in the garden before she causes even more harm to this country.

I cannot understand why we just cannot leave and say to hell with any compensatory repayments. Mrs. Merkel would understand, for Germany never fully met its reparation payments at the end of the Second World War.

During the morning I spent some time "on" the computer, answering e-mails and writing letters, subsequently sitting in the conservatory reading the book on the disastrous British involvement in Afghanistan.

Mrs. Copeland arrived home about 4.15 p.m, and after she had unloaded and changed we went to the local Club where I had some white wine, ignoring the non-alcoholic offerings that I have had to have over the past 12 weeks during the cancer treatment. After dinner I read some more of "Unwinnable", learning about the cock-ups of the Americans and British in Afghanistan, being outwitted by the Taliban.

MONDAY 18 SEPTEMBER

I enjoyed the following e-mail that was sent to me today:

4 MUSLIMS IN A ROWBOAT

The Captain gets on the loudspeaker and shouts, "Ahoy, small craft. Where are you headed?"

One of the Muslims puts down his oar, stands up, and shouts,

"We are invading Britain"

The entire crew on the destroyer doubles over in laughter.

When the Captain finally catches his breath, he gets back on the loudspeaker and asks, "Just the four of you?"

The same Muslim stands up again and shouts, "No, we're the last four. The other three million are already there!"

Nobody on the destroyer laughed.

Another correspondent, commenting on Mrs. Copeland's cholesterol having been recently assessed at 5.1 with her doctor's recommendation that she should go onto statins, said that this level "was nothing". He went on to say that statins "increase the risk of getting Parkinson's Disease, probably, it's believed, because cholesterol is neuro protective." I have always shunned statins, believing that in some cases they can be harmful, and that the fewer pills and potions that are taken each day the better.

There was a photograph in "The Times" of Mr. and Mrs. May shabbily dressed when attending a church service last Sunday, Mr. May looking as if he had just come out from gardening, not even wearing a tie, while his wife did not wear a hat, presumably representing the lowly sartorial standards in this country. No pride, no shame, no consideration, such rotten behaviour. If I had been the vicar I would have told both of them to go home and come back properly dressed.

On the issue of falling standards, I was not surprised to hear recently that the BBC was lamenting that its programmes were too dominated by the middle classes. That is to say, there were people who spoke good English and knew their grammar, which will never do in a country that is so poorly educated, our standards being well down in the international league. Everything these days has to be dragged down to the lowest common denominator, hardly any man wearing a tie, not even for formal occasions, though I see that all the male Members of Parliament wear them.

Owl

Looking through some old photographs I had taken, I came across this one of a young owl. I greatly enjoy hearing the owls hereabouts at night - a wonderful nocturnal sound.


To town after breakfast to purchase some petrol for the Scorpio; some Duracell AA batteries seem to use so many of these batteries during the course of a month): an "i"; and a chamois leather, my present one having fallen to pieces, rather like the Government. I also had to post a broken weatherstation back to the suppliers. The rest of the day was spent at home, generally pottering around during the rest of the morning; having a siesta after lunch, and reading some more of "Unwinnable" in the evening. Of late I seem to have nodded off when reading in the evening.

One of the chapters deals Prime Minister Blair wanting to spend billions of our money on aid to struggling countries, such as Afghanistan, albeit subsequently to no effect. And despite mass protests and the opposition of many within his party, he took us to the war in Iraq, squandering billions and leading to the death of hundreds of our troops and thousands of Iraqis caught up in the conflict. Yet the 10m or more Chilcott Report virtually whitewashed him, and with one bound he was free, instead of being locked up, still making silly remarks. Whatever is the point of these massively expensive Inquiries, nearly always leading to whitewashing?

The book makes grim reading, and not just for the dreadful mistakes of misguided Blair. The British Army, funded by the mean-minded Treasury, was hastily removed from the chaos in Iraq and sent to Helmand Province, under-funded and lacking the necessary equipment, being especially short of helicopters. Little wonder the British Army had to leave, the Americans taking over.

As my contract with O2 for my mobile telephone is nearing completion, I keep having messages on the 'phone saying that I can now upgrade if I pay off the 28 repayments for the device. An upgrade, which can cost me twice the amount I am now paying, is obviously not worthwhile as I seldom use the 'phone.

My present Samsung Galaxy A3 does all I want and more besides, seldom using all the 500 mb allowance; indeed, this month, which ends on the 21st September, I have 458 mb of the 500 mb allowance left, mainly using it for telephone calls when I am out and about. In many ways it would be sensible to switch to pay-as-you-go, though that would mean the tiresome business of having a different telephone number.

TUESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER

Early this morning Mrs. Copeland had an appointment with her doctor regarding her supposedly high cholesterol level at 5.1 and the possibility of going onto statins. Although, as mentioned earlier, I am firmly against statins, an elderly couple in the village were telling us recently that they have been on statins for 12 years with no ill-effects, whereas e-mails I have received have pointed out the dangers, one of them referring me to an Internet site showing that there is a link between statins and Parkinson's Disease.

Luckily, the doctor made no attempt to persuade her to take the dreaded pills, saying that she could lower her cholesterol level through diet.. He mentioned that in America there was the belief that if you have reached the age of 75 years, which Mrs. C. has, and there has been no trouble, statins should not be taken, and that seems to be an immensely sensible policy. If it ain't broke, don't take pills.

At 10.45 a.m. I had an appointment at the County Hospital for another dreaded blood test, seeing the consultant about half an hour later when the results were with him. Subsequently, I was told by the consultant, much to my relief, that the blood test showed that everything was back to normal The only remaining problem was a shortage of vitamin D in my body, quite a serious deficiency, , and I would therefore need to see my GP regarding an appropriate course of tablets and dietary requirements.

I was told that this country had less sunshine than Scandinavia, and that 85% of us, lacking the necessary sunshine, should take vitamin D pills. It has certainly been a sunless summer this year; indeed, I have hardly sat outside since June when we did have a few decent sunny days.

During the session with the consultant I was told that all was well generally When I mentioned the problem I was having with the swollen left ankle and foot, which was so painful on getting up in the morning, I was told that the swelling would eventually go down after several months. On the other hand, it was likely that a vein had been damaged during the treatment, meaning that I would always have some trouble with the swelling. I suppose that is not too serious at my age as I have always loathed walking.

Although I am likely to continue to have low grade lymphoma, having had the low and the high, the consultant said that the low grade cancer was only going to be of minuscule proportions for the ensuing years, and was therefore nothing to worry about,

In seven weeks from now, after having a PET scan, I will be having a further blood test and then seeing the consultant for the results, learning how successful the treatment has been and whether there is any lurking cancer. So although I have the last chemotherapy session next Thursday, it is not yet a time to celebrate. One thing is certain: if there is anything wrong I could never face going through this chemotherapy treatment all over again. As the consultant said today: "You've had a rough ride." Amen to that.

Lily

Last of the lilies. Such a splendid flower, but so soon gone. "Gather ye rosebuds" and all that stuff.


After the hospital visit, Mrs. Copeland, having taken me there, went with me to have lunch at "The Woodcocks" pub/restaurant. Amazingly, on a rare fine and sunny day, we were able to sit outside, watching the nearby building works. A new and rather dominant hotel is now being built in the grounds, taking up a lot of car-parking space, which is going to cause trouble at very busy times. I think it is a pity that the hotel has been built, for it tends to "hem in" the site.

Back home, I saw in the "i" that Lord Hague has joined in the widespread criticism and condemnation of the hopeless Mrs. May, saying that she must unite the party on Brexit or lose the election. This brought her response that she is now leading from the front in the negotiations, which is the very thing the Conservatives are worried about, fearing that she will end up paying the Danegeld of billions of pounds to leave the EU.

I gather from press reports that there are going to be massive demonstrations against her outside the Conference hall, which is presumably why she hastily granted the police an increase in salaries.

Today's "Guardian" had a report that "Watchdog urges action as millions of households rack up mounting debts", 8 million said to be struggling with excessive debts. Presumably this is a problem for the Governor of the Bank of England, knowing that the very necessary need to raise interest rates will cause further problems for these indebted people, as well as those having huge mortgages. At a time when the Conservatives are hated throughout the country, raising interest rates will be politically very unpopular. Another fine mess.

Meanwhile there has been the hope that the unloved Mrs. Merkel, who made such a hash of immigration in Germany, causing long-term problems for the nation, would face defeat in the forthcoming election, but it seems that the opposition parties are unlikely to unseat her. Nevertheless, a resulting coalition should prevent and control her wilder excesses.

After a rest in the afternoon, the evening was spent in reading some more of "Unwinnable" With all the endless acronyms and the numerous parade of characters, I find the account difficult to understand and follow. Sadly, it becomes increasingly apparent that the British Army (BA) was hopelessly outgunned and outwitted by the victorious Taliban. Indeed, the more I read about the British Army, the more it seems that it has never been much good: the chaos at Antwerp; "Market Garden", Singapore; and it was only by Montgomery having overwhelming forces that he managed eventually to beat Rommel whose supplies had been cut off by the British Navy.

The Army's ridiculous "Rules of Engagement", having to wait until the enemy fired first, caused immense problems, our troops having one hand tied behind their back, The Americans wisely did not take any notice of the senseless requirement.

WEDNESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER

It amused me that President Trunp, having earlier rightly said that the United Nations was a complete waste of time, was saying today in an address to the hopeless organisation that it needed to be more effective, and far less bureauctric, and so say all of us. What has the UN ever done for us, certainly having failed to stop wars around the world, only spending billions on foreign aid that, in many instances, has gone straight into the back pockets of corrupt politicians, as in Afghanistan.

President Trump rightly said that North Korea would cease to exist if Kim Wrong-Un attacked America - "Rocket man's suicide mission", and he also pointed out a "small group of rogue regimes", including Iran and Venezuela. I listened to the fine speech on a video recording on the excellent BBC news website, rejoicing that there was now a President in America who stood up for his country and was not prepared to be weighed down by violent countries, calling a spade a spade in place of all the wishy-washy words usually used at that useless forum.

The success of the speech can be gauged by the condemned countries stupidly saying that it was "An ignorant hate speech that belongs in medieval times-not the 21st Century UN." Maybe they weren't so spineless and fickle in medieval times.

To Waitrose after breakfast as I am inviting a friend to join me for bread and wine at 12.30 p.m. while Mrs. Copeland is out with the village Ladies Luncheon Club. I also bought a "Times". In the store I saw a villager, a retired consultant, Waitrose being that kind of middle class store - I would never want to go to any other supermarket - who commented "I can't believe that you look so well!" I suppose I feel somewhat better now, but I must not let the gods hear this expression of hubris for they will whack me down again.

Whilst out, I went to a Post Office to pay the 134.75 half-year Vehicle Tax for the Scorpio, the full year costing 245. As I am never sure how long the vehicle in going to last, or whether I am going to keep it, I chose the expense of only taxing for a half year. It seems an awful amount of money, especially as Mrs. Copeland's Peugeot 208 only costs a few pounds in tax. Obviously I should not have an elderly 2.3 litre car dating from 1997. However, at least I can pay by cheque, as I do most payments these days, but I wonder for how much longer?

Books

Books waiting to be read. How can anybody watch the rubbish on the idiot's lantern when such fine books are being published?


At its meeting on the 3rd October, our local Parish Council will be considering the proposal to finance a 'bus shelter at the local housing estate from the Council's funds. I am opposed to this provision on the grounds that the developers should pay for it, especially as it will be for the sole use of the residents of the gated community. Furthermore, in any consideration I take the view that a study should be made of the 'bus schedule and its usage before any commitment is made. Unfortunately, because I will be suffering from the unpleasant after-effects during the week commencing 2nd October, I will be unable to attend the meeting, but I have asked for my view to be recorded in the minutes.

I was not surprised to read in "The Times" that "The number of teenagers who play outside, read books, or get enough sleep has dropped dramatically a survey has shown. What a contrast with my young days when we spent most of our time playing outside, going off on our bicycles far away, not having to worry about a peadophile lurking around every corner, and before the days of telephone toys we delighted in reading books, and always went to bed at a civilised hour. Now the youngsters play on those toys all the time, never venturing outside. I really did live in the best of times, before family life fell apart.

The afternoon was spent pleasantly pottering around, and in the evening I read some more of "Unwinnable", finding it hard going, as our troops did in Afghanistan.

Tomorrow I have the last of the chemotherapy sessions. Apart from my dreading of the cannula being inserted in one of my hands, the rest is merely having to wait while the drug drips in, fortunately only 2.5 hours tomorrow, whereas former sessions have been six hours. I will again be watching a film on the portable DVD player that my daughters and granddaughter kindly bought for me - and what a joy that has been. Tomorrow I intend to watch the film "Brassed Off" dealing with the horrors of Thatcher the Terrible spitefully closing the mines in this country.

THURSDAY 21 SEPTEMBER

I was not in bed until well after midnight, reading some more of "Unwinnable", which makes such depressing reading in terms of the hopelessness of the British Army. Much of the trouble related to the politicians having no real strategy for deploying the Army in Afghanistan, one minute having the troops firing to eliminate the Taliban; at other times trying to win the hearts and minds of the residents with promises of schools, fresh water, and other facilities, all of which had no effect, residents fearing that acceptance would mean reprisals from the Taliban.

What I found so very regrettable was the Taliban saying that they were not at all frightened by the British Army; the troops who they were so frightened of were the American Marines who shot everything and everybody up and asked questions afterwards, not worrying the least bit about ROE. That's the war to fight wars, not the pussy-footing around of our men who are constantly being buggered up by hopeless politicians, Blair among them, and severely limited by ROE No wonder we had to leave, tail between our legs.

Yet again it was raining. We had about 6 hot and sunny days in early June and that was our summer, the rest of the days being cloudy, dull, the temperature never reaching more than 20 C in the worst summer for many decades. We are short of intelligent politicians in this country, but not water, having enough to additionally supply half of Europe, not that we want to now that we are coming out - maybe.

Religion

The horrors of religion


I had an appointment at the County Hospital at 9.30 a.m. for my last (8th) session of chemotherapy, having just one drug dripped in. Somehow there seemed to be a long delay, not being called in until 10 a.m., and I was not out until 2 o'clock, but all went well, there being no trouble with the cannula this time, thankfully.

Much to my surprise, instead of feeling joyful and relieved that this was the end of the 24-week treatment that has been so intensive and obtrusive, making me feel so poorly at times, including all those dreaded stomach injections, I felt thoroughly depressed when I arrived home. Maybe it has something to do with a feeling of ant-climax, or I am just odd, Mrs Copeland being in favour of the latter diagnosis.

I will, however order a couple of books from Amazon by way of a belated celebration: "Air Force Blue - The RAF in World War Two", and "The Cold War - A world history".

This evening, after a doze, feeling a bit worn out, I will be reading come more of "Unwinnable". .

Old

E-mail: johncopeland@clara.net
Comments welcomed
Lincolnshire 21st September, 2017
No. 1,021




Diary of an Octogenarian<BR>



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