DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
The avenue of oaks on the 1st day of September. On the 7th a large branch came crashing down in a gale, narrowly avoiding some cattle (see later photograph)
"If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea" - Winston Churchill
Autumn - Photograph by Deborah Lisseman.
The 1st September marks the beginning of the meterological Autumn - a season that I have never liked, despite its mellow fruitfulness. For me it is a time of decline and decay, of darkening evenings, a reminder that the horrors of Christmas are not so very far away. At least there are the joys of sitting beside a log fire burning merrily away on a cold and frosty evening, but this year, because of advancing and continually painful arthritis in my knees, having difficulty humping the coal and logs up steps from the bunker, we are planning to restrict the living fire to weekends, using a flame-effect electric fire that we bought during the month for use in the conservatory at other times.
A coal delivery was made on the 26th, having gone up a £1 from last year, and I was told that it would be going up a further £1 next month. The coal comes from Columbia, yet there is a coal-mine up the road in Yorkshire that has plenty of coal, but because of the hatred of the Tories for the miners it has been closed, relying instead on expensive imports. I suppose that makes some kind of sense to our pygmy politicians. Fortunately, we will not be needing so much coal in future, only having a living fire at weekends, through the rip-off electricity account will go up.
The Piaggio 125 cc "Liberty" scooter that I bought during the month, selling my Sym. I loathe the new scooter, finding it uncomfortable and unstables to ride, but I am now stuck with it.
The changed heating arrangements for the living fire are a reminder of my relentless physical decline in old age, depressingly having to give up one thing after another as the years go by so quickly. A further example of this physical decline was having to purchase a much smaller scooter during the month, a girlie scooter shown in the photograph above, which was delivered on the 19th - a Piaggio "Liberty" 125 cc. . It was to have been delivered on the 18th September, but as the national registration computer was down - as computers usually are - it was not delivered until the morrow, What a country, everything breaking down, falling apart, or closing down.
At the age of nearly 85 years I was finding my existing Sym 125 cc scooter far too heavy, especially when putting it away. Unfortunately, the Sym needed a new exhaust costing £720 + £50 fitting, a replacement speedometer cable £175 fitted, and a new front tyre £80, so it was not worth spending at least £1,000 on a five-year old scooter.
My granddaughter advertised the Sym scooter, with due warnings about the exhaust, etc. on a facility on Facebook, the price £200. An offer for £150 was presented, which I accepted, the fellow - a Pole , so I believe - saying that he would collect the scooter on Wednesday 12th September, but he did not turn up - not that I find this surprising. Indeed, the less I have to do with Facebooks the better, having cancelled the one my granddaughter set up for me several years ago. Fortunately, the engineer who has serviced the scooter over the years agreed to take it for £100. So farewell to that machine I enjoyed so much, everything I enjoy coming to an end -except books and wine.
I rode the new scooter for the first time on the 20th, the morning being fine (the weather forecast, wrong yet again, saying it was going to rain all day). Although I realise it is unfair to compare it with a new Sym costing £1,500 more than the Piaggio, the "Liberty" is a poor machine, cheaply made, obviously cut down to price. There is no side stand; no sound on the indicators, only flashing on the screen; it is difficult to put the bike on its stand; the compartment under the seat is too small for a helmet; it only does 50 miles-to-the-gallon, whereas the heavier and better-made Sym did 85 mpg; and it is not nearly so pleasant to ride, feeling very cramped and squashed, the larger wheels than those of the Sym making for a more wobbly ride. Indeed, I would not want to ride it on a wet road surface.
I am therefore very disappointed with the Piaggio, regarding it merely as a very basic form of transport, not enjoyable to ride, though I suppose I have to admit that I always have difficulty with change. It is obvious down-sizing, rather like down-sizing from a large house to a smaller, cramped one, taking some getting used to. I am stuck with it. though maybe I should be grateful that I am still riding a scooter as I approach the age of 85 years, not many people being able to say that. It is certainly essential to have a scooter, for parking is a nightmare in Lincoln, the charges excessive, and the traffic is so often gridlocked, Lincoln said to be one of the most jammed cities in England. On two wheels I can always overtake the long lines of jammed vehicles, something I do with great delight. At least the new scooter is much quieter than the Sym.
When riding it on the third day, I was overtaking a cyclist who suddenly veered without any warning to the right, missing him by inches. These cyclists really are a bloody nuisance on the roads. Many of them are killed or seriously injured, which presumably helps to cull their numbers somewhat.
My girlie scooter among the big boys. I have not passed the test, wanting to keep the "L" plates on as some motorists take more care on overtaking
The nannying busybodies were out in force during the month, insisting that we should have two alcohol-free days each week. Since having lymphoma cancer, I have cut down my consumption from a bottle of white wine a day to two glasses at lunchtime (fortunately our main meal of the day) and two at bedtime, plus a tot or two of limoncello that I enjoy so much, and which helps me to sleep. I was assured by the consultant that my lymphoma cancer was not caused by my earlier excessive drinking, and I think I would rather take his word rather than that of the nannies.
One of the meddling studies indicated that having a large glass of wine every day meant a 63 in 100,000 chance of developing a serious illness, the chances subsequently being increased to 338 in 100,000. Are these people being serious with such ridiculous odds? At least it was good that yet another survey had shown that full-cream milk was good for us - something that I have always believed in. Yet these surveys seem to change every few years - first something is very bad for us, and then it is very good for us. How you have to laugh!
The obvious conclusion is that these surveys are what might be called "Single Issue Surveys" [SIS] that take no account of the manifold considerations that affect our health - genes, heredity, work, environment and mental attitude. They ought to be banned, being totally worthless, though at least they make us laugh with their ever changing advice.
Nevertheless, all the warnings about alcohol seem to have taken effect, a recent survey showing that there was now a great demand for non-alcoholic beer. What misery future generations will be facing. Not allowed to drink alcohol, never knowing the delights of a steak, and using their telephone toys to indirectly communicate with one another, seldom speaking and visiting face-to-face. Probably sex will be bad for them. Thanks heavens I will be out of this purgatory, having lived in the best of all possible worlds.
Another worthless survey said that a Mediterranean diet helped to avoid depression, presumably meaning you do not feel upset and in despair when you hear what Commy Corbyn and his thoroughly nasty left-wing gang are proposing to do to the economy.
Further nannying was provided by the "Association of Educational Psychologists" who tabled a ridiculous motion at the TUC Conference calling for physical punishment to be banned. In other words, there will be no punishment of children whatsoever, either in the home or the school, giving them complete free-ranging freedom to behave as badly as they wish. A smacked bottom never did any harm to a child; it was a quick and effective punishment, but not recommended by today's mollycoddling generation.
If I could introduce one element of legislation I would ban all psychiatrists and psychologists, most of whom are completely mad. I worked with a psychologist during my days as a Divisional Education Officer, and he was completely mad. as was another one I knew. You only have to read Freud to know that psychology is all a load of codswhallop, especially all that nonsense about stress - what we used to call more precisely "nervous breakdowns", usually due to inadequacy at work.
Modern macho man, but does any man really want to look like Stoneage Man?
I felt so sorry for teachers going back to school this month, having to contend with unruly pupils for whom there are no disciplinary measures, and in most instances little support from parents, all too busily working to care for their offspring, Teaching in a comprehensive school in an inner city full of immigrants, most of them unable to speak English (not that some of the natives can) must be a hell on earth. Not surprisingly, hundreds of teachers leave the terrible profession every month, unable to withstand the chaos, much of it very frightening when being threatened by thuggish pupils. I would rather be a coal-miner than a teacher these days.
Vested interests among the Remoaners. I put tihs in last month's diary, but it is worth putting it in again.
Not surprisingly, bearing in mind the impossibility in dealing with the EU negotiators who want to screw us for every £, Mrs. May's cherished "Chequers Agreement" was thrown out on the 20th, raising our hopes that there will now be the No Deal that we have wanted, leaving that muddled Union that has about as much democracy as a banana republic, and saying to hell with them. At least Mrs. May, though has at last shown some steel and resolution, not bending to the likes of the horrible Tusk.
Nevertheless, with the thoroughly nasty Tusk, Barnier and Juncker, there was never going to be any agreement with those horrible people, and the sooner we get away from them the better. We will initially find it difficult to be on our own, our lazy workforce having to work a great deal harder, but we will ultimately survive.
A letter in "The Times" wisely commented: "Maybe we should conclude that a union of 27 nations is just unworkable and walk away, taking our budget contributions with us." If the Union had only be made of Germany, France, Spain and ourselves, concentrating solely on trade, instead of social and judicial matters, it would have worked, but it is now too big, too overblown, too bureaucratic and not worth being in, paying out more than we received in return. If the Union was so wonderful, why did we not join the euro?
I liked the comments of Melanie Phillips in her column in "The Times" on the 18th September, writing about the hateful, selfish domination of the "metropolitan classes" who are "conditioned by a self-referential way of thinking. Well-heeled, well-educated people committed to multiculturalism, globalisation and other progressive causes tend to mix only with people such as themselves.
"This is insulates them so completely they didn't see Brexit coming. Now they seek to explain it away by damning leave voters as stupid or bigoted. The suggestion that they were voting for anything sensible or decent, such as independent self-government or democracy, is dismissed out of hand." It is the best analysis yet I have read about the Remoaners who want us to stay in the chaotic, undemocratic and bureaucratic Union, dominated by Brussels and the Germans. People I now speak to, admittedly mainly in the older age group, would vote even more decisively to leave the circus.
The spare bedroom we have made into an office, where I write this lugubrious diary each month.
Not surprisingly, we continue to hear all manner of dire warnings from the Remoaners if we leave the EU circus, especially that thousands of jobs will be lost. I continue to believe that leaving the EU with a much-wanted No Deal will not make the slightest difference to a country in relentless decline and fall, merely accelerating the decline Nobody cares a bugger; nobody works, and everything is either broken down or closed down. the very heart having gone out of the country to become a miserable, unpleasant little island with far too many immigrants.
Those of us who insist on leaving the EU, wanting to stop the massive immigration into this country (330,000 in 2015, four times the size of Lincoln every year), will have been heartened by an unbiased and intelligent letter from the Oxford University Professor of Demography in "The Times" for the 20th September: "A recent report by Migration Watch concluded that more than 80% of recent UK population growth rose directly and indirectly (through children) from international migration. Most (more than 60%) of recent additional households have been headed from people outside the UK There are no benefits to that growth."
The excellent letter (and what a difference from those dreadful short letters in the left-wing "i) went on to say that "Easy access to labour distorts the economy and creates dependency. Employers have used the great pool of willing labour from Eastern Europe to create and expand low-wage, low productivity activities to the detriment of UK productivity, innovation and training. That is short-sighted."
The letter therefore fully explains why the Remoaners, among them the great bulk of firms employing low-wage labour, want us to remain in the EU, the larger interests of the nation being the last thing that they consider, though we have to understand their motives, not wanting to pay decent wages to the natives. Were I a farmer, I would want the cheap labour exploited by Gang Masters - and you can see their exploited workers busy in the fields in Lincolnshire, paid a pittance with abysmal accommodation.
I suppose it has to be recognised that the real reason for all the unpleasantness and unhelpfulness of Tusk, Barner and Juncker is that they are worried that our departure will subsequently be followed by Spain and Italy, possibly even France, the Union falling totally apart. What a wonderful thing that would be, cheering us all up.
There was the grim announcement during the month that Calamity Carney, who showed such political bias during the Referendum, telling us we must stay in the circus, otherwise we would all starve and there would be no work, is to remain in office until 2020 in order to oversee Brexit. This is the last person we need to deal with any further negotiations, for not only is he politically very biased, but also generally regarded in the City as having been a poor Governor. His predecessor, Mervyn King, was a splendid Governor, an avuncular figure whom everybody liked for his efficiency and common-sense. Why is it that everything has to worsen? Is this what we mean by change?
As was expected, Calamity Carney was very quickly up to his old Remoaning tricks after his extended appointment, ridiculously saying by way of trying to frighten us that house prices will plummet by a third if there is no deal, apparently having no understanding that this is one of the best things that could possibly happen to the existing grossly overheated housing market. The only people who gain from ever rising house prices are householders who downsize in their old age, along with estate agents, solicitors, surveyors and other nasty spivs in suits. A much needed correction of a third would be most desirable in which youngsters could at last enter the market.
Back to living fires, but we are now only having it at weekends, having a flame-effect electic fire in the conservatory for the weekdays - all very sad.
Whilst I generally greatly enjoy the splendid letters in "The Times", so much better than the short, juvenile ones in the left-wing "i" that I no longer take, it annoyed me to read one on the 20th September saying that the over 60s "need to do more to help the younger generation." Oh yeah? when young people generally have not the slightest idea of saving for the future, certainly not for their pensions, preferring immediate enjoyment on the Never-Never, paying £60 a month and more for those mobile telephone toys. Thrift is an unknown word, immediate enjoyment being the essential creed. They are the last people I want to help, even less than countries in crisis overseas.
Flowers in the garden.
As might be expected, a report in "The Times" for the 11th September showed that in the second quarter to July 2018 economic growth in the UK had only increased to a pathetic 0.4%, construction and the service industries showing some growth, though as the report indicated: "Britain is still lagging behind other advanced nations....Manufacturing remained in recession, shrinking by 0.1% over the three months." The decline in manufacturing is worrying, for all wealthy countries have powerful manufacturing industries, China and Germany being notable examples.
Further grim news came in "The Times" for the 22nd September: "Britain registered the largest budget deficit for two years last month, driven by lower tax receipts, higher government spending and a larger contribution to the European Union budget. The deficit was £6.7 billion, compared with £3.4 billion in August last year." Not what Mr. Micawber would call financial happiness.
Although I never watch or listen to the last night of the Promenade concerts with their splendid patriotic display, I was appalled by a report in "The Times" on the 10th that a group of goofy looking Remoaners, obviously for selfish reasons, wanting us to continue to be dominated and controlled by Mrs. Merkeyl, handed out caps to the promenaders showing support for the EU circus. A hateful and inappropriate occasion, but then these nasty people in their selfish interests know no bounds.
Women now seem to be taking over the country, even "Dr. Who" being played by Jodie Whttaker who poses in this provocative Christian Keller-style photograph in the magazine of "The Times" on the 8th September.
One way and another it seems that the country is being taken over by women - a female Prime Minister, a Queen, and even the television series "Dr. Who" will now have a woman in the title role, played by Jodie Whittacker, whom I greatly liked in the splendid film "Venus". Somewhat provocatively, she was shown in an article in the Magazine section of "The Times" on the 8th in a Christian Keeler chair pose, shown in the photograph above.
Modern women seem to like exploiting their sexual characteristics, but the moment a man looks at them they now run to the police, even wolf whistling about to become a hate crime. Oh what nonsense.
It was a month when so many things went wrong for me, and not surprisingly there were a number of times - "Dog Days" - when I felt so depressed, feeling as if I had had enough of my empty life- no stimulus, no involvement, no excitement, no proper kind of life. (After Thomas Hood's "No" poem). To make life difficult, so much of our equipment is like its owners - old and long past its best before date. I suppose we should have replaced old items long ago, but it is all a question of finance, the worry these days being that inflation is rapidly increasing every month, rising to 2.7% in August, meaning that in terms of the corrected CPI =x2 official rate + 1 = 6.4%. It will probably be 8% by Christmas.
We have these periods when everything seems to go wrong, usually in 3s. As Shakespeare said: "One woe doth tread upon another's heel", and there was something along the lines that troubles come not in spies but in battalions, obviously indicating that he has somewhat similar problems during his lifetime..
I suppose there is the thought that I am old and past it, shunted up a branch line to rust away. The thought of winter on the horizon also serves to depress me: as Shakespeare said: "The bright days are done, and we are for the dark." The sadness is that these periods of melancholy, and perhaps melancholy is a better and more appropriate word than depression, seem to come more and more and last longer, one day's melancholy stepping into another. A further consideration during the month is that I felt very run down, as if my batteries needed recharging, having awful feelings of nausea in this land of lost content.
Dr. Johnson, whose observations of life are still true today, perhaps even more so.
The trouble with retirement, all the hours being your own with nothing to do, ,is that you have too much time to think, too much time to worry about yourself, especially your health, the anxiety inevitably aided by the mischief making press carrying surveys that so many items of food, especially those we like and enjoy, are going to kill us off before next Michaelmas. Maybe it was Dr. Johnson who provided the answer: "If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle."
A successful cutting i made from a rubber plant. A lady reader of this diary told me how to make a cutting, and I thank her.
I also had a problem with the 50-year-old rubber plant that Mrs. Copeland gave me on our wedding day. Having feared that the rubber plant was on its way out, I took a cutting from one of the plants, following the very helpful advice that a lady reader of this diary gave me, everything for once working splendidly, as the photograph above shows. Regrettably, I did not keep her e-mail, but if she still reads this lugubrious diary I'd be pleased to hear from her again so that I can thank her for the excellent advice.
Two grapevine in the conservatory, but the leaves are dying on ne of them - see following photograph.
Fallen leaf of one of the grapevines. Most of them are now falling on one of the plants.
Fearing that the rubber plants were on the way out, and that it would take a long time for the cutting to grow, I bought a couple of grapevine plants, and these have grown magnificently. As Sod's Law would have it, though, the rubber plant revived, showing extensive new growth. Unfortunately, I am not all that sure about how to look after the vines during the winter months. Presumably there is a site on the Internet giving the required information.
Wet-wood that I had delivered duiring the month, beating the ban that now will allow only kiln-dried wood
One good thing is that I managed to circumvent the new legislation banning the sale of wet-wood logs, only kiln-dried logs being allowed henceforth, buying a load of the wet wood before it went off the market, the load likely to last me all the winter. The crazy ban, supposedly made to reduce pollution, applies to log-burning stoves, and there are to be restrictions on the sale of coal, all part of our nannying society. Why don't the politicians just leave us alone, leaving us to manage our own affairs? As my old grandfather used to say, the politicians bugger up everything they touch, and this is even truer today, certainly in terms of Brexit.
We did not do so well in stopping criminal scam telephone calls this month, having had 30 during the month, the week commencing 10th September bringing 14, 4 of which came up with "Private" on the separate caller-display unit that we essentially have. Mistakenly, I answered these calls, only to hear a nasty Indian voice saying that he was from BT, and that my Internet connection had been compromised, my ID needing to be reset. I have had this nasty call several times before, as has one of my neighbours. Annoyed at having mistakenly answered the call, I called the Indian some very nasty Alf Garnett names, telling him to go back up his tree. They really are nasty calls, no doubt many people being caught out in changing their ID, the scammer subsequently being able to use the information to his cheating advantage.
Some of the books I bought during the month - all on Hitler
In addition to buying a book on "The British in India", I bought two books on Hitler during the month, adding to two others waiting to be read. I find it amazing that books on Hitler continue to be published, obviously having a ready market. Alas, the new season of books is showing a sharp price rise, a £20 book now £25, and the £25 at £30. Not that this is surprising, everything rising rapidly in price as a result of the continuing high inflation, petrol having gone up by 2 pence during the month to £1.28 a litre. not that it has any impact on the 640-database of the CPI. Heating oil has risen by 36% since September of last year, not being reflected in the CPI either.
During the first week of the month I finished reading "Hitler's British Isles - The real story of the occupied Channel Islands." The last commander of the German forces was a real brute of a man, a marked departure from an earlier more liberal Commander. He fully believed in Hitler, raising his arm in the Fuhrer salute on every occasion, and even when Hitler killed himself he continued to believe that the Channel Islands could be defended. The Island nearly came to starvation when "Operation Overlord" was mounted, food supplies no longer being available from France. To their credit, the German forces seldom, if ever, appropriated the Red Cross parcels intended for the islanders,
I went on to read "Indianapolis - The true story of the greatest naval disaster in US history", and the fifty-year fight to exonerate an innocent Captain, written by two women. Alas, the book was written in a very syrupy style, almost like a romantic novel. as for instance the following description of the construction of the giant battleship: "...She rose amid clang and clamour and showering sparks, unfolding bow to stern in 147 bands of high-strength steel, her superstructure climbing towards the sun until in 1932, she parted water for the first time and was christened 'Indianapolis.'"
Another sentence reads: "Indie [the abbreviation for the cruiser] rolled forward, hurtling over the wave tops and shouldering through the troughs, her hull swelling with slow, deep breaths like the flanks of a galloping horse." A more unsuitable and ridiculous analogy between a cruiser and a horse would be difficult to imagine. At least the women graphically illustrate the survivors of the sunken ship who floundered in the water for several days, having to fight off shoals of attacking sharks, some of whom would snatch a man from a raft and carry him away, dragging him down into the depths. What a terrible death that must be.
I went on to read "The 21 Escapes of Lt. Alistair Cram," reading about the appalling manner in which the Germans shamefully and brutally treated POWs and downed RAF fliers. Maybe it is a fault of my generation that still remembers the Second World War, albeit as a child, that I will never forgive nor forget the Germans for their brutality..."Exodus 20.5: "The sins of the fathers...." Neither will I forgive the cowardly French who ran away from the Germans, subsequently expressing no gratitude for us rescuing them, de Gaulle being a most unpleasant character, a real menace to Churchill, subsequently supposedly rescuing France on his own.
Mid month I read "The Race to Save the Romanovs" by Helen Rappaport, a somewhat misnamed title as no country wanted to help the Romanovs, least of all the cowardly George V who worried that bringing the family to England would cause political troubles for him, the rising Labour Party being very much in favour of the brutal revolution, as might be expected.
That odious and most hateful of all men, the utterly horrible Lenin with his crazy communist creed, was largely responsible for the bungled murder of the family, the Bolsheviks trying for many years afterwards to conceal the murder. His cruelty and crazy political creed was only surpassed by the murderous Stalin, far worse than Hitler.
In one graphic account the author describes the murder of the family by the incompetent firing squad: "When Uurovsky gave the order to open fire [they] launched into a frenzy of wildly inaccurate shooting, the victims who survived this initial shooting subsequently having to be bayoneted to death. One thing is clear: the Romanov family and their servants met their deaths to the most brutal, bloody and merciless way." Other victims were thrown alive down a deep mine shaft, grenades thrown down, leaving them to die a terrible and merciless lingering death. Russia has always been a terrible country, having a thoroughly nasty history, and even today, although its GDP is not equivalent to that of California, it still causes us trouble with the treacherous Putin.
Another book read during the month was "Memoirs of a Wartime Interpreter - From the battle for Moscow to Hitler's Bunker", by Yelena Rzevskaya, published this year by Greenhill Books at £24.99 (would have been £18.99 earlier this year.) The book is splendidly written, a most graphic account of the terrible Russian front during the Second World War" .In one of the gruesome chapters, the author records how, in the heat of battle, a mother lost her 5-year-old child, never to find him. What a terrible loss; tears came to my eyes at the thought of such a terrible happening.
Although the book is interesting in describing the terrible battles during the German invasion of Russia, the later chapters in which the author deals with her accompanying Russian troops into Berlin are immensely tedious, page after page deciding whether Hitler is really dead. In the last chapter the author, who died in 2017, makes the point that: "The Red Army saved the world...That meant we rescued London," It is certainly true that Russia won the war, suffering far more casualties than the Allies, but it might have been mentioned that the thoroughly nasty Stalin, who won the war and lost the peace with his brutal administration and occupation, received massive equipment support from America, without which the war would not have been won.
Towards the end of the month I made a start on reading "The Other Battle of Britain - 1940 Bomber Command's forgotten summer" by Paul Tweddle, published this year by the History Society at £25. The unbelievably dull and dreary book consists of one operational flight after another, seldom hitting anything within 5 miles of the target, suffering immense losses, the details obviously copied from log books, making it the worst book I have ever read about the Second World War. In the opening chapter the schoolteacher author says that no aircraft were sent to relieve France during their surrender to the Germans. I do not believe that is true, some having been sent, most of which were shot down.
After reading 116 dreary pages I could tolerate no more, unable to face another 174 pages of the tedious account. Even the title "The Other Battle of Britain" seems to be wrong; it should read "The Other Battle of Germany". Having put the book away, I made a start on the 2nd episode of the West Country trilogy - "The Wanderers" by Tim Pears, having thoroughly enjoyed the first volume. The flysheet of the 2nd volume describes the book as "a delicately wrought tale of longing, loneliness and love."
At the end of the month I bought a biography of Churchil by Andrew Roberts, one of my favourite historical authors. The book amounts to 1,000 pages, and cost £35. As inflation rages, books are becoming very expensive.
Last of the summer flowers.
On the health front I still had very cold feet, a consequence of my chemotherapy, especially in the evenings, nothing seeming to get them warm, and I had some nights when I had great difficulty in getting to sleep, insomnia always upsetting me. Having been diagnosed as being on the onset of Diabetes II (as had everybody of my age), I received on the 15th a letter from the Lincolnshire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme, making an appointment for me on the 11th October for the screening, eye drops to be inserted, and a warning that "your eyes may be sensitive to light following screening, and that the eye drops will affect your vision, " albeit temporally.
I just do not like the concept of bright lights being shone into my eyes, believing that it is harmful, and I do not even like the test involving photographing the back of the eyes, preferring to have the normal sight test, which is next due on the 30th January, 2019. My diabetes is only at a very initial stage, and I just do not want to be messed about, especially as there are not many cures, only the worry of the test result. I have been told that doctors receive payment for every diabetes case they refer, perhaps explaining their enthusiasm for diagnosis, but I do not know how true this is.
On the 17th of the month I had a medical review with a very pleasant and helpful young nurse at the changed medical practice with whom I had to register as my previous practice, with whom I had been ever since coming to Lincoln in 1970, threw me out because of the excessive number of immigrants entering the area, something that did not please me all that much. But that is the way it is these days as we increasingly lose our Englishness. I had to provide a urine sample that showed an excessive number of white cells, but my blood pressure was a splendid 135/71, pulse rate 83. Presumably as a result of taking Ramipril tablets each day the once high level has been lowered.
Inevitably, I was asked about my alcoholic consumption, to which I replied that I usually had two glasses of white wine at lunchtime, our main meal of the day, and two late in the evening. This, however, was judged to be far too high, well above the ever lowered limit of 14 units a week for men. But sod it, as already stated several times in this diary, I am not going to give up drinking, however much over the top of a pathetic allowance. I have reached 84 years and am still here, so I am not giving up one of my few lasting pleasures. Life has to have some meaning, some delights, even if all joys are harmful, so the nannies tell us. I suppose if I reach the age of 90 years, people will say I knew that alcohol would kill him.
I had to make an appointment to see the practice's Pharmacist (11th October) to review the medication I am taking. The receptionist, a middle-age woman, was sitting behind a computer at the back of a fairly large room, and I had to shout out details to her, subsequently finding that she spent ages accessing an appointment date, obviously not well versed with computers. I found this very rude, and in a review I joined with other critical patients who complained about the rudeness and unhelpful manner of the receptionists - something that needs improvement. Receptionists should come to the counter to attend to patients, not remain sitting behind a computer, but then I suppose there are different values today, far removed from those of my earlier days.
Of course, it is worthless formulating a review to any firm or organisation. The only reason that you are asked for comments is so that personal details, including e-mails, are available for you to be subsequently be bombarded with junk mail Unless very disappointed, never submit these reviews, there being no such thing as data protection. The average clever teenager could easily log onto my banking account without any trouble at all.
Whilst waiting for my appointment - a 20-minute wait, which is not too bad these days, I saw two people I knew, the practice being in a middle class area of the city, whereas my previous practice was in a downtown area, the worst in Lincoln. So the move was probably for the best in the end.
The fallen branch in the venue of oaks, brought down in a gale during the month. Nobody will probably clear it away, nobody bothering these days.
At least it was good to read that the worthy President Trump, whom I like and respect more every month, has cancelled all military aid to Pakistan, obviously knowing that the hateful country fully supports Islam. It was also good to read that he has imposed massive tariffs on Chinese imports, that thoroughly nasty Communist country cheating on financial matters and pinching US technology. It was really cheering to read that a "Gallup poll out this week puts the Republicans favourability rating on 45% compared to the Dems on 44%"., so there being every chance that the divided and divisive Democrats will lose. Treble all round.
It was also consoling that America has rightly refused to accept the judgement of the busybody International Criminal Court that alleged during the month that American soldiers had committed crimes in Afghanistan, wanting to haul them before the court. The Taliban can commit all manner of atrocities and walk away free, but if an American soldier kills a Taliban thug he is very quickly charged with murder. What a mad, mad world it has become, no doubt explaining why Sweden in a recent election showed increasing gains for the far-right, obviously wanting to put life in a more decent perspective. All over Europe the residents are becoming heartily tired of all the political correctness and mollycoddling.
Thank heavens, therefore, that America now has a strong leader who stands up for the country, warning that he will impose sanctions on the meddling Court if any American soldiers are charged. Had Obama been in power the matter would have been swept under the White House carpet where all the other foreign policy ended up, Obama not wanting any trouble, even if it meant that America went steadily downhill, the mockery of the world. .
An American correspondent, whose views I greatly respect, answered my question on who was to win the November elections: "November elections? I think it will be a sweep for the Republicans. While the press is doing their best to demonize the pPresident (and his party), the average American is doing better than he was under obama [no capital used!], unemployment is down, and the rest of the world has been put on notice that we are not their piggy bank (source of unlimited grants, fifts, and never-to-be-repaid loans). I realize that this will not be a presidential year, but the party of the president looms large in every election." Amen to this sentiments, makng us hope that America does not end up with the awful Democrats, just as we dread having Corbyn's mob in government.
When addressing the totally worthless United Nations that is as useless as the League of Nations that Hitler had the good sense to leave, President Trump so rightly said that globalisation was a waste of time. Indeed, he could have said that the UN is a total waste of time, for what has it ever done to prevent wars? In all probability much of the foreign aid to depressed countries probably ends up in the pockets of bandits or corrupt politicians. How the liberal fraternity loathing the President speaking some home truths! What has the UN ever done for us?
I aked an American correspondent, whose views I greatly value, who would win the November elections, to which he replied: "November elections? I think it will be a sweep for the Republicans. While the press is doing their best to demonize the president (and his party), the average American is doing better than he was under obama, unemployment is down, and the rest of the world has been put on notice that we are not their piggy bank (source of unlimited grants, gifts, and never-to-be-paid loans). I realize this will not be a presedential election year, but the party of the president looms large in every election." I so hope he is right - trebles all round.
I just wish that we had a President Trump in our country, for he would never have weakly bowed down to the hateful likes of Tusk, Barnier and Juncker, soon sorting them out, not putting up with their endless delaying tactics. My generation finds our weakness so appalling, having lost all power in the world, and Europe in particular. One of the members of the local Club was saying that he believed there will be extreme civic unrest, involving fighting in the streets, if we do not have a No Deal, and I readily agree with him.
On the 3rd November I am organising a "Politically Incorrect Evening" at a our local Club, showing two episodes of "Till Death Us Do Part" - "The Pigeon Fancier" and "Holiday in Bournemouth", and an episode of "Fawlty Towers" - don't mention the war. We really must fight against this politically correct nonsense, for it does so much harm. Far from promoting sweetness and light, it divides and angers the nation with all its stupidity and lack of reasoning, obviously favoured in Labour Party circles.
The month brought the usual nonsense about sexuality. At the beginning of the month a plaque in York, supposedly honouring a "woman described as the first modern lesbian" - presumably something to celebrate - had to be changed because whining female protesters complained that the term "gender-nonconformity had nothing to do with sexuality". Presumably the revised description should say that she was among the first modern biologically and Biblically muddled women.
Legislation was brought in during the month to make misogamy a hate crime. What an utter nonsense. Does it mean that all men who loathe women are suddenly going to love them, and how is the unreasonable infringement to be defined? It would be far better if same-sex marriages were banned in terms of biological and Biblical considerations. What a daft age I now live in, all manner of legislation being brought in to promote a more harmonious society, whereas the laws only enforce the bitterness, rather like all the nonsense about racism. There was even a case in America of a Senator who had been accused of molesting a woman when they were at school together 35 years ago. How silly can they get- the spiteful woman should be locked up.
The excellent Melanie Phillips, possibly the best of all newspaper columnists, rightly suggested in her column in the Saturday "Times" that: " Far from creating a more decent , civilised society, existing hate crimes have helped promote a climate of intolerance, bullying and social division based on suspicion, recrimination and blame." The point is also made that there should also be a hate crime for misandry - the hateful creed of those miserable men-hating feminists who cannot establish a successful relationship with a member of the opposite sex.
The tyranny of political correctness continues to dominate our lives, becoming more intrusive and silly every week. There was even an occasion during the month when a London police constable was in serious trouble, being suspended from duty, for saying "whiter than white". I suppose this is all to do with not offending the massive number of immigrants in our society, strict measures being taken to protect them from racist or sexist matters. Sadly, England no longer being for the English.
We had the chimney sweep during the month (£35). There was a lot of soot. Our coal now comes from Columbia, whereas there is now a closed pit a few miles up the road in Yokshire that still has plenty of coal, the closure due to the vindictiveness of the Tory Party towards the miners.
The chimney was swept on the 7th September, the sweep saying that there was a tremendous amount of soot, said to be due to the poor quality coal that is now imported from Columbia.. Our former excellent coal came from a pit in Yorkshire, not so very far away. The pit still has plenty of coal, but our pygmy politicians, wanting to teach the miners a lesson, closed it and imported from abroad, adding to our appalling trade deficit. I suppose this makes some kind of sense to our useless politicians, this being the worst Government we have seen for many years, and that's saying something when we think of the days of Blair.
Part of my collection of World War II aircraft, all to the scale of 1:72.
September is the season of Conferences, beginning with the Trade Union gathering during which there was a demand for more workers' rights, presumably by way of making us even less competitive in the world market. Sadly, it has not yet dawned upon these dreamers that people in this country are going to have to work a damned sight harder when we leave the circus of the EU, giving them a really nasty shock. Then there was the Conference of the Lib-Dims, which nobody bothered about, a forgotten party, the press hardly mentioning a party that is as dead as Old Marley.
The Labour Party Conference brought the usual laughs, a world of dreams and sandcastles, soaking the energetic and enterprising for the benefits of the layabouts, a party of envy and downgrading, nationalising water and railways without a thought for the cost involved. Commie Corbyn, the loss leader, said that if elected he would have another referendum, thereby abrogating the original referendum. Most of his supporters could probably not be able to spell referendum, let alone understand it.
Not that the Tory Party is any better on Brexit, it being reported that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has disgracefully and shamefully wanted a limitless access for EU citizens, the very negation of what those of us wanting to leave the EU had voted for in the referendum. Mr. Javid comes from Pakistani stock, his father a 'bus driver, so I suppose it is understandable that he does not want to limit immigration.
The pie-in-the-sky Labour Party wants to force firms to give workers shares in the company, which is a total nonsense, the shares being sold off as soon as they are received, most of them not having a clue how to run an organisation, certainly not with their trade union sympathies that destroys all initiative and enterprise.
Although I loathe all politicians, knowing that they all make our lives worse, whatever the party, I dread the prospect of a Labour Government, especially as the party now increasingly verges to communism, having some very nasty people who would quickly bankrupt the country. Anything to do with excellence is hated, everything being dragged down to the lowest common denominator. The Tories are hopeless, but at least they have a better financial understanding of running the country, and do not penalise and punish the energetic people who help to improve the economy, not taking us towards the frightening concept of a Workers' paradise.
The very left-wing "i" had a joyful front-page headline on the 27th September: "Corbyn: I'm ready for office." What a frightening headline, it being very evident that a Labour Government would put this country back 50 years, its main themes being Devaluation and Destruction. Not that we need to fear, for the Party will never come into office, the electorate in their wisdom not wanting a political creed bordering on communism.
It is a great shame that the Liberal Democrats are not supported, now having almost disappeared off the radar, for they had some good ideas, especially in raising taxation to pay for a better National Health Service. Raising taxation is the last thing that the Tories would ever do with their greed and selfishness.
I am certainly lookin forward to the Conservative Party Conference that started at the end of the month. Although bitterly divided, with open war between our Boris and the hopeless Mrs. May, the delegates will no doubt paper over the cracks of a bitterly divided party, sweetness and light prevailing, the knives put away during the week.
In the interests of diversity, Mr. Corbyn wants more women in his next Government, the Cabinet probably looking like a branch of the Women's Institute. I continue to believe that while women are excellent in the caring professions, they are not suited to politics.
There was a truly frightening photograph in "The Times" on the 13th September, showing all the women Mr. Corbyn will have in his government in the most unlikely event of him ever being elected. Apparently, the anti-semitic leader wants more "diversity" (oh, that dreaded word!) in his government, making it look like a branch of the Women's Institute. God forbid that he and his ladies ever come into power. We have a terrible bunch in Government now, making a mess of everything, but a Labour Government would undoubtedly bankrupt this country, assuming we have any money left if we have to pay the circus billions in a divorce settlement.
I won a £25 Premium Bond prize during the month, meaning that so far this year I have won more in prizes than the top rate of a building society, not that anybody with any sense invests in a building society, receiving about 0.5% interest when inflation is at 2.4% (realistically over 6%). I have to accept that with only £21,600 invested I am never going to win a big prize, but the £25 prizes most months nevertheless help somewhat. Although I know of scores of people with the bonds, I know nobody who has ever won more than £100, so goodness knows where the other prizes go to. It makes you wonder, but perhaps we shouldn't.
I had an e-mail from "PayPal", saying that my account would be terminated unless I immediately updated my financial details. I have never had a PayPal account and never want one, so I presume this was a scam, and therefore deleted the unwanted communication. Just to add to my annoyance I bought an item on eBay during the month, receiving 2 items instead of the one ordered. To obtain a refund I had to set up an account on eBay, and I do not want to do that, so I wrote off the items. In any event the return postage cost almost as much as the product. I have never been very keen on eBay and will never use it again.
Mrs. Copeland bought some items on Amazon during the month, seeing that the items were listed as being postage free, but when she came to place the orders, postage was still charged, there being no way this can be changed. It is easier to contact the Captain of the "Mary Celeste" than Amazon's Customer Services. I have long since given up my Amazon account.
A perfect day, one to remember, that I had with the family in Majorca long ago. The family had gone off swimming, and I sat by the water with a book and a bottle of wine. Perfection!
A perfect day long ago when I was on holiday in Majorca with the family. The family went off swimming, while I sat overlooking this splendid bay, enjoying a book and a bottle of wine, not a soul in sight. Perfection, a day to remember in the annals of a long history. The photograph has become a bit faded, but not the memory.
Last of the summer roses
On the 18th there was a meeting of the local Parish Council, on which I am a councillor, now in my final 4-year period, not seeking re-election next May on account of being too old. We have an excellent lady chairman who usually completes the meetings within an hour, as all meetings should, stopping those from rabbiting on, loving the sound of their own voice. The meetings also start on time, any meeting that does not invariably being undisciplined.
During the month I heard that the Leader of our unloved County Council had gone on television saying that, as a result of further Government grant cuts to local authorities, numerous cuts in services would have to be made, including pot-holes not being filled in. They are not filled in now, the roads in and around Lincoln being in an appalling condition, so we will presumably not notice that cut.
What needs to be done is to reduce the excessive remuneration of the officers and councillors. In the financial year 2017/18 the Leader of the Council was paid an outrageous £33,361, the Deputy Leader £21,893, both also having the basic allowance of £9,476, while Members of the Executive received £18,765, again plus the basic allowance. Nice little earners, the Chief Executive being paid even more than the Prime Minister. And then the Leader of the Council wonders why they have no money left after this unjustifiable largesse for a few hours of work each week, mainly attending useless committees, many of them not having a clue what they are doing. .
If cuts need to be made - and thank heavens the Government has the good sense to cut back on these profligate county councils, there needs to be a compete reformation of local government. What we need is a unitary authority to eliminate all the waste.
Autumn berries in the garden
I was amazed to read on the 11th September in "The Times" that a poll found that almost a quarter of women in their thirties and one in five in their forties checked their mobile phone about 200 times a day. What on earth do they do each time so many times? It really does seem as if social media has become an obsessive illness, for which as yet there is no cure. I switch my mobile on when getting up, then switch it off until about 10 p.m. when I look at the weather forecast, usually wrong.
In "The Times " for the following day there was a report that the BBC, henceforth to be responsible for all its financing of the £150.50 annual licence fee, is proposing within the next two years to make people over 75 years of age pay for all the rubbish, many of the better programmes having gone to the commercial stations. I never ever watch the idiot's lantern, and would so begrudge having to pay for the grossly overpaid news-readers and so-called stars who are about as amusing as a Methodist service.
I will never, ever pay the licence for all that dumbed-down, working class rubbish, and will therefore give the television set to charity. Accordingly, I will have to watch DVD films on my computer. Why don't the BBC resort to advertisements, some of them making a pleasant break from the dreary programmes, instead of trying to fleece the elderly?.
A mass of berries on a bush in the village, portending a severe winter according to the old countrymen.
The days are steadily shortening now, Autumn being well upon us. There are a lot of berries on the trees and shrubs this year, the old countrymen saying that this suggests a very bad winter, which would not surprise me. Even with a half inch of snow the country comes to a standstill, no preparation being made for bad weather, maybe even a white Christmas. Even so, a report in the "Sun" newspaper said that the long-range forecast indicated a very severe winter, the worst for a decade, bringing four months of snow. This probably means it is going to be a very mild, wet winter, the default setting these days.
In the last week of the month we had the most incredible sunny weather, the temperature in the 20s, what is called an "Indian Summer". If this is global warming, the more we have of the splendid sunshine the better, though the climatologists change their mind every third Tuesday, next week professing a new Ice Age
Although I always enjoy Christmas Day with the family, I loathe the season of goodwill - must end 6th January.. The commercialisation seems so hateful, along with the immense amount of money being spent, children being swamped with toys, most of which will never be used - or broken if they are made in China.
We had an enjoyable family gathering at "The Wig & Mitre", having a separate room to celebrate daughter Caroline's 50th birthday on the 6th September - a most enjoyable occasion. Mrs. C and I continued our Friday luncheon arrangements, enjoying "The Woodcocks" (the local pub and restaurant), "The Cosy Club with Mrs. C's relatives, the husband a former vicar and the wife a nurse, having a splendid time with them. And finally, on the 28th we went to "Greek2me", which is rumoured to close down - a great shame, but then everything I like goes.
During the month we resurrected the village's Retired Gentlemen's Club, not having met for a couple of months as the former chairman who organised all the luncheons departed to far away Bristol for his wife and himself to be near relatives. We had a gathering of six at "The Horse & Groom" near the Brayford in Lincoln, proving to be a most enjoyable and successful gathering, making me so glad we continued with the Club. Interestingly, 2 were in favour of leaving the EU, 2 wanting to remain, and 2 not caring a bugger either way.
On the 23rd Mrs. Copeland went with daughter Caroline and her husband to visit her mother for an overnight stay, , Caroline driving in her car. I stayed behind, feeling all very lonely until I went to have supper with daughter Kate at 5 p.m., granddaughter Chloe and her partner joining us, making for a very pleasant time. I always like having meals prepared by Kate as she cooks English meals, none of that pretentious foreign rubbish. Back home about 7.30 p.m. I sat in the conservatory on my own, making me realise what it would be like if I am ever permanently left on my own. As it is, I am going steadily downhill, likely to go first, but you never know, life being very cruel and unpredictable.
We only saw one film during the month - "The Children Act" at the Venue in Lincoln - a delightful civilised cinema, part of the Bishop Grossteste University, formerly a Teachers' Training College, where there are no popcorners, and where we can even have free parking enjoying a glass of wine in the reception area before the film starts. We were going to see "The Reformed", about a reformed vicar, but the film was well-written up in "The Guardian, so we did not go.
With Mrs. Copeland I have been enjoying the excellent series "The Crown", one of the episodes dealing with the abdication of Edward VIII because he wanted to marry a divorced American lady. Princess Margaret also had to forgo a marriage with Peter Townsend because he was divorced. Today anything goes, even to the extent that a Prince marries a divorced coloured American lady, reminding us of Dr. Johnson's comment that second marriages are "a triumph of hope over experience". I continue to believe that the old system was better, bringing discipline and order.
I have been appointed "Keeper of the Parish Council notice board" - a big responsibility.
The weather turned much cooler during the month, the joyful heat of the splendid summer a thing to remember. As Shakespeare said: "Summer's lease hath all too short a date", and how right he was, as always. I am subscribed to the Meteorological Office newsletter, receiving a message on the 14th: "Tropical Storm Helene, which is currently in the mid-Atlantic, is expected to track towards the UK over the next few days bringing a spell of windy weather to many of us at the start of next wee [sic]." A bit worrying.
There was certainly a fearful gale on the 19th/20th, really shaking the roof of the conservatory, several large branches coming down in the garden, but it was not as bad as the 80 mph predicted. I believe that the Meteorological Office likes to frighten us, as well as overstating weather to protect themselves, having had trouble many years ago when Mr. Fish said there wasn't going to be a massive gale. According to a frightener in the "Sun" newspaper during the month we are in for the severest winter for a decade, bringing four months of snow, according to a long-term weather forecast. In all probability this means a mild and wet winter. It is always well to take the opposite forecast.
Having set up the web-editor for the diary this month, having put in all the text and photographs, I somehow failed to save the entries, having to set it all up again, taking me at least two hours. I begin to think that I am too old for this caper. The diary is far too long and repetitive, but somehow I cannot reduce the prolixity. I should have stopped at the 1,000th edition, as I originally intended.
I was horrified to read in "The Times" for the 29th September that "Figures published yesterday show that 49.8% of 18-30-year-olds have attended or are likely to go University", thereby fulfilling Blair's aim. The reality is that iy had everything to do with reducing the massive number of unemployed yougsters in the age group, rather than any benefit for university education.
Perhaps, though, it is better to have a multitude of youngsters studyig Mickey Mouse degrees that lead strsight to supermarket shelf-filling than having them wander round the treets. National Servie would be a far better option. In my university days, about 15% of the age goup went to university, and that was about the right percentage, but those were the days of proper degrees that you actually had to study for.
Waterstone's, which I now use instead of Amazon for books, has changed its point system whereby you have one point for every £10 spent, 10 points giving you an allowance of £10 to reduce from your account. In the past there was a card system that was stamped when you purchased a book, but it has now been computerised. When I went in on the 30th September to the shop I as told that my card had not been activated, yet I received an e-mail on the 28th August saying ithe card had been acitivated. Obviously the new system does not work, so why did they change an excellent stamped card syste? I think I will go back to Amazon, where I could have obtained the £35 book for £22.75, a consierable saving..
Our local church has a monthly newsletter that Mrs. Copeland and ther ladies in the village deliver. Previously, our church has combined with other parishes to have a combined "Village Venture". Sadly, this excellent publication, which had useful advertisements in it, ended this month, and it seems uncrtain what future form the Newsleter will take, if any. Nobody these days wants to do any volutnary work, so its future may be in some doubt. Nevertheless, it will be sad to see it close down, as everything else seems to be closing down in this ailing land.
Lincolnshire 30th September, 2019
Diary of an Octogenarian
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