DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN

- John Copeland -


Friday 10th February - Thursday 16th February, 2017


Snow

Only a very slight covering of snow this week. It seems that the old countrymen's saying that if there is no snow before the 15th January, there will be no significant fall thereafter, is coming true, as it was last year.


"Far from being over the hill sexually, octogenarians may be having far more satisfying sex than younger generations, research suggests"

Report in the "i" 14th February, 2017. My generation does most things better.


FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY

I have finally decided after a great deal of consideration that I want to give up this diary completely when and if I reach the 1,000th edition on the 27th April, 2017. At one stage I had thought of putting in a 500-word summary on a Saturday evening as a substitute continuation of this diary, but I have now decided against this. No longer being able to type in my old age, and finding it impossible to deal with all the horrors of the Internet, as well as the severe restrictions and punishments on the exercise of free speech, I want to go back to the simple life, Thoreau-style, though I will stay at home rather than go to live in the woods, and I will still pay my outrageous council tax.

I even think that when I hear about the impossible tasks that President Trump is having in trying to restore America to a sense of its former greatness while securing its safety after the inept years of the Obama administration, facing all manner of selfish interests, just as the problems Mrs. May is having in freeing us from the control of the Germans in the European Union, I no longer want to listen or hear the news.

In giving up the diary I will certainly miss the e-mails that I receive commenting on various items raised in the diary. Today, for instance, I had the following one that made me laugh: "In one paragraph of this week's diary you wrote about the potholes in Longdales Road and how nothing has been done about them by the Highways Agency, despite your letter of complaint. You may be pleased to know there is a simple solution. There is a chap going by the nickname of 'Wanksy', a name that is a play on the nickname of "Banksy", the famous street 'artist'.
"Wansky, and no doubt copycat versions of him, spray-paint cartoon penises and testicles around potholes. This, of course, leads to complaints to the local authority and, as if by magic, the offending pothole and its accompanying phallic symbol is soon repaired. If you make a search on the Internet for "Wanksy" you will see some of his "art". (And, in a schoolboy-humour way, very funny it is too!)".

I received a letter from my bank yesterday saying that " We periodically review our products and services [presumably to make them ever worse for customers , despite the enormous profits] and as a result we've taken the decision to withdraw our Closed Safe Keeping service which includes items such as deed boxes, sealed envelopes and parcels". In order to make an appointment to receive the items that we have with this facility, namely the house deed that I and Mrs. Copeland have for our house, I telephoned the number to make an appointment to collect the item.

Alas, when the call was connected I had to hear a recorded announcement saying that "We are currently receiving a high call volume at the moment, and customers are having to wait in excess of 6 minutes". Not wanting to incur the expense of this long wait at a premium call-rate, I tried again this morning, eventually managing to get through after endless menu options. The call was answered by a woman who told me she was in the Philippines, but I could not understand her at first, having to ask her to speak slower, which she did, and that was better. An appointment was made for next Monday afternoon at 3.30 p.m..

It seems that bank services are either being withdrawn or additional charges imposed and increased in the greed that usually results in a fine financial mess every few years, nothing being done by the Government to stop the abuse. To think that in the good old days I could just go into the local bank and make an appointment for most services, even being able to speak to a manager. Today it is not possible to telephone a local bank, and the managers have all gone. So much for progress, everything having to be done "on-line".

Bread

A loaf of bread that Mrs. Copeland made in a breadmaking machine today. It was truly wonderful, a delight to eat when thickly buttered (real butter, not the rubbishy substitutes) and with homemade raspberry jam.


like carrying a load of live frogs in a wheelbarrow, is having to make changes to the Shadow Cabinet as a result of the resignation of a Minister who did not want to follow the people's and Parliament's will in leaving the ghastly European Union. Although Corbyn is undoubtedly weak, the bigger trouble is with his bitterly divided party in which the extreme left-wing views of Harriet Harman and Diane Abbott, not many steps away from communism, make it impossible for the party to ever be elected. If Mrs. May has the good sense to have a general election in May, Labour will be virtually finished. Perhaps something could be done about that Sturgeon woman at the same time, a right menace.

In terms of the upgrading of my work pension, I had a notification today saying that I will be receiving an additional 2 pence from the 1st April, the CPI and RPI indices having been in negative territory last September when the upgrading is calculated. Still, this is better than a reduction, yet it is obvious that in the next Budget taxes will have to rise substantially if we are to pay for the ailing National Health Service.

The standard rate of income tax will have to increase by 2 pence, and the higher rate by 5 pence, and something will also have to be done about the immense waste of overseas aid, amounting to £12 billion a year, the money invariably going into the back pockets of corrupt politicians and bandits. Taxation increases are an anathema to a Conservative government, but bearing in mind the hopeless mess that Osborne made of the economy, getting us further into debt, there is no alternative.

According to reports in the press today, Council Taxes are to rise substantially on the 1st April. While our local District Council is excellent, providing first-rate services, the County Council is a nightmare, badly managed and wasteful, its services either not being carried out, cancelled or increased in price. The roads are hopelessly potholed, as I mentioned earlier, the social services are in chaos, unable to cope with the demand, and every attempt has been made to close libraries. If the County Council disappeared tomorrow, it would be Christmas before we realised it had gone. What is needed are unitary authorities, probably saving about £200 a year on a band C house.

As our usual Friday assignment, we met daughter Kate at "The Birdcage" at 1 p.m. for lunch and drinks, always a pleasant occasion in a delightful pub where the beer is in first-rate condition, the lady proprietor friendly and pleasant. Afterwards we went to the Lincoln branch of Currys to purchase a new cooker - a Hotpoint, apparently made in Turkey, not that we make anything any more in this country. It will be delivered next Thursday and the old one taken away. I did not much care for the supercilious attitude of the male assistant, and I will mention this if I have to complete one of those ubiquitous customer satisfaction surveys.

This acquisition is part of our Household Equipment Renewal policy, so much of our present equipment being old and worn out, a bit like me. A further acquisition, possibly next month, will be a refrigerator. Mercifully, Mrs. Copeland does not need a new kitchen. How I would hate to have a wife who wanted a new kitchen every few years because of changing fashions. I would loathe, too, a wife who was horribly house proud, treating the house like a shrine. A degree of untidiness represents a happy home, books and model aeroplanes everywhere. To be featured in one of those beautiful homes magazines must be the final indignity.

I am thankful that we have decided to keep Mrs. Copeland's Peugeot 208, having originally planned to change it for a new one in September. The car has only done 28,000 miles, and it seems senseless to spend so much money on a new car, only for a yummy mummy in a 4 x 4, barely able to see over the dashboard, scratching it from end to end in a supermarket carpark.

I had another of those telephone scams in which an Indian-sounding chappie, purporting to come from BT, said that there is a fault on my BT Internet connection. I gather that the intention is to change my password, thereby giving the scammer access to my account. I told him in no uncertain terms where he could go. The nonsense was that the number on the caller-display unit came up with 0000000000, which BT would never use. These scammers really ought to think up a better false number, and it would be help their crookedness if they could employ somebody with an English-sounding voice. Whenever there is an Indian-style voice you know it is a scam, as with "International" or "Out of Area" coming up on the caller-display.

The evening was spent by the fireside, reading some more of the book on Churchill's foreign forays during his early career when he was trying to make a name for himself. Unfortunately, I soon dozed off, only managing to read a few pages.

SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY

There was the splendid news this morning that, despite Judges banning President Trump's immigration policies, immigration officers have been enthusiastically carrying out his policy, rounding up scores of illegal immigrants and stopping others coming into the country. The officers obviously believe in the President's immigration policy, as no doubt do about 85% of thinking middle class Americans, not wanting to have another twin-tower disaster.

Indeed, according to a report on the excellent BBC news website, "Donald Trump's travel ban against immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries has caused controversy around the world - but one poll shows a majority of Americans support the move. They certainly agree with Trump's stance in the state of Montana, where officials and residents have fought against efforts to resettle refugees."

Obviously the President, who says he will issue a new travel ban next week, is not giving up on his policy to protect the security of America, not being deterred by those vociferous loudmouthed lily-livered fraternity who know no kind of patriotism. Maybe in my old age I am becoming too right wing, even though this is a healthy characteristic, all youthful Panglossian views of the world being seen in old age as being utterly hopeless. Mrs. Copeland says I have been watching too much of Alf Garnett, yet it seems to me that he represented a rather better view of the world.

A morning and afternoon at home, not wanting to go into Lincoln on a Saturday when the riffraff are in full swing, serving as a reminder of how this country, along with America, has fallen into the inevitable decline and fall. Various household tasks were undertaken, and I spent a happy hour or so on the Flying Fortress model, now nearing completion.

Thugby

The skill of thugby, about as clever as a game of Snakes and Ladders, involving a barbaric and brutal, dangerous game for big burly men.


Yet again I had the scam telephone call purporting to come from "Windows", an Indian-sounding little fellow asking if I was Mr. Robert Salmond (the false name I had give long ago on a product registration card), saying that a fault had been identified on my computer. I have a competition with a correspondent to see who can go the longest in pretending to be on the computer and carrying out the instructions, my competitor holding the record at 9-and-a-half minutes.

Having a lot of free time, I went along with the competition this morning, being asked to hold down the "Windows" key and the letter "R", which I pretended to do. Alas, I only managed just under 6 minutes, which is a very poor performance. I just cannot understand how the record can be 9.5 minutes, for that is a long fooling time. At least the scammer today gave a more presentable false number as 07704451311. (I dialled it later, hearing the recorded message: "The number you have dialled has not been recognised."). However, I must keep trying. I gather that today's scam had something to do with the latest version of "Windows". We have had 6 scams this week, suggesting that scamming must be an enormous industry in India.

As always, Mrs. Copeland brought home a free copy of "The Times" when she went for the week's provision at Waitrose. The "Magazine" is the worst section, indicating all the frenzied vulgarity and materialism of Western society that the Muslims understandably loathe and despise. On the cover there is a photograph of a long-legged grumpy-looking woman who was boasting about her sexual conquests, the photograph having the caption: "Sex and the single millennial - Love in the time of Tinder".

What the silly little woman does not seem to realise is that her sexual attraction may well initially captivate a fawning man, but once he has had his wicked way he will kick her out of bed like a cold water bottle, regarding her as a mere sex object. There are other occasions when a woman can wear alluring clothes to attract a man, but on a successful catch there are agonised cries of rape. Thankfully, in old age you no longer are bothered about such matters, much preferring a good book and a bottle of wine that cause far less trouble.

In her weekly column, Caitlin Moran heads her ever so funny piece: "Pete proposed at sunset while I was attending to nature's business behind an oak" [presumably a tree, not a wooden cupboard]. Apparently she is the "Columnist of the Year", whereas it could possibly be suggested that the title should have gone to Melanie Reid, crippled by a horse accident, whose column in the same magazine is for adults, raising some serious and interesting comments about life.

I find it sad that Matthew Parris, who used to be such an excellent columnist, witty and commanding a splendid style of English, seems to have become extremely silly and spiteful in his latest polemics, expressing very unpleasant hatred. In today's column, for example, he heads his column: "How the winds of Brexit could shipwreck May." Our Matt, a confirmed Europhile, just cannot accept that the people voted to come out of a Union they loathe and despise, an empire-building Union that fleeces us for billions of pounds every year, money that would be better spent on our National Health Service.

When this bias and bitterness overtake reason and logic, there is little point in reading such polemics. Perhaps when we eventually come out of the Union. having the 23rd June each year as "Independence Day", he will cheer up and learn to accept reality - and democracy.

The headline on the front page of "The Times" read: "Hospitals pay locums £4,000 for day's work." Bearing in mind that the medicine men can cure hardly anything, even £400 a day would seem to be excessive. Maybe we need a Mr, Trump in this country to sort things out, for it is only by dictatorial decree that anything is ever achieved in a democracy, as President Trump is now belatedly discovering.

I have decided that I am not going to see a doctor any more, knowing that it will be a complete waste of time; that I might just as well put a note out to the fairies at the bottom of the garden. If there is a minor malady I will go to a pharmacist, most of whom have a much better understanding of drugs; if it is something serious I will know that it cannot be cured and will just have to accept it. Admittedly, surgery has made great steps forward, as has eye surgery, but the rest is little better than the days of the witch doctor, twopennyworth of faith being all important.

The Sports section inside "The Times", which I take out and throw into the recycling bin, today had a photograph of a game of thugby, presumably relating to a game of this brutal and barbaric sport with about as much skill as "Snakes & Ladders" this afternoon when England play Wales. I was interested to hear daughter Kate saying that she no longer enjoys watching the sport, not liking to see men jumping on one another.

I gather the dreadful game causes more serious accidents than any other sport, the players being able to punch, kick and tear one another's clothing, all part of the skill. It makes me so thankful that I managed every winter's afternoon when at school to dodge playing the game. We had to register at the school, and then walk to the field, and en route was my parent's house, into which I quickly slipped. Nobody ever ratted on me. That really was a skill.

Today's "i" reported that "more evidence of the UK's post Brexit resistance piled up yesterday as manufacturers and builders thrived and the nation's trade gap narrowed in December". So much for the dire warnings of Calamity Carney, a Governor who has lost all credibility. I just cannot understand why Mrs. May renewed his contract recently, especially as he has been totally and arrogantly uncooperative with the Government's economic policy.

It was certainly good to read that the £60m Iraq inquiry has been shut down. It really does seem that Mrs. May is sorting out all the mess that Cameron left behind, just as President Trump is having to sort out the Obama muddles. We train our soldiers to kill, and when they do so in a war they end up in prison. What kind of madness is this? It's a good job the present politicians were not around during the Second World War, for half the British Army would have ended up in prison.

At 7 o'clock I went with Mrs. Copeland to a neighbour's 82nd birthday party, along with other neighbours. It is a reminder that it is a delightful community in which we all get on so well with one another except, of course, for the residents of "The Shed" with whom we sadly have no contact and never will after their unpleasant refusal to accept a peace offering.

SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY

I was not surprised to read that President Trump will ignore Parliament when he comes to this country on a state visit later this year. Bearing in mind the ill-mannered, loutish and biased comments of Speaker Bercow, refusing to sanction the visit to Parliament, the President was wise to say that he wants nothing to do with Parliament that is doing so much harm to Anglo-American relations.

Apparently the Speaker again breached the neutrality of his office by recommending and voting in the referendum that we should remain in the European Union, Still, no matter: he will be gone at the next general election, soon forgotten, even for his endless gaffes. In all probability the young Rees-Mogg will become speaker, coming from a good class that knows how to behave itself.

On the excellent BBC news website there is a feature showing the front pages of the national press, and today "The Sunday Telegraph" had a headline saying that the Labour Party is having secret meetings to depose Corbyn. The problem with the Labour Party is that there is nobody of any calibre to replace him. Harriet Harman and Diane Abbot, with their views of a Workers' Paradise, would kill the party for all time. Somehow, therefore, I cannot see Corbyn being replaced. He is at least a gentle and avuncular figure, not like some of the mindless hotheads that would welcome a state-controlled country full of political correctness.

In "The Observer", a newspaper I find difficult to accept with its far-left political views, there was a headline: "Church faces new split over attitude to gay relationships". If the Church is to have any meaning and value, presumably it has to have regard to Biblical tenets, including the issue of homosexual issues (how I hate the word "gay") there should be a regard to Leviticus, the Church not being able to leave out the issues it finds contentious or difficult to accept.

Although as good Christians we must love everybody, even those we cannot stand the sight of, it is surely a religious offensiveness to marry same-sex couples. This is not homophobia on my part; instead it is a Biblical as well as a biological fact that a marriage is between a man and a women, and always will be. Let there be a partnership, with all the rights of a married couple, but not a marriage ceremony performed in a church.

I also read that that silly little Kim Jong-Un, who might be better called Kim Wrong-Un, has let off another ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan, amazingly going quite a distance, which is most unusual, most of the missiles only going a few feet off the ground. Were I in his shoes I would stop playing with these rockets, for President Trump will come down on him with an extremely heavy hand, properly sorting him out.

Of course, Kim Wrong-Un's rotten behaviour, known as a "displacement activity" by psychologists, is an attempt to take the people's minds off the appalling conditions in his near starvation and bankrupt country. North and South Korea are a fine example of the horrors of communism and the splendours of capitalism, the one having to be repressed by brutal police in a poor peasant society, any enterprise or initiative being brutally stamped out; and the other a free society where enterprise flourishes, giving rise to massive exporting industries and a high standard of living. I know where I would rather live.

It seems awful that one man can alone cause so much trouble, as former tyrants have done down the centuries, including Napoleon, Hitler, and Mussolini, all coming to a grim ending, as we must hope Kim Jong-Un will eventually face.

Fortress

The "Flying Fortress" that I have been making from a kit, now nearing completition.


More rain today. Although we have escaped snow, it has been a thoroughly wet and miserable winter with all its dark and sodden days, hardly a sign of the sun, but no doubt it will be labelled as one of the warmest winters on record. I just long for the Spring, though that season is often not much better. No wonder ambassadors to this country dread an England appointment, having to leave the sunshine behind for endless rain.

Despite the rain, seeing that the weather forecast speaks of rain for much of next week, I cleaned Mrs. Copeland's car that was covered with mud along the sides. I can never understand why car manufacturers do not fit mudflaps, for the cost would be minimal, and much of this mess would be prevented. I suppose it is an instance of accountants now rule the roost, concerned about every penny. I went indoors on completion of the cleaning, frozen with cold.

Mrs. Copeland and I went to the local Club at 4 p.m. A retired couple were telling me that they are off to Sorrento for a month next Thursday, staying at an hotel for all that time, thereby escaping our utterly miserable and depressing climate. Although I would be attracted by a month of wonderful sunshine instead of incessant rain, I am not sure that I would want to be away from home for a full month. That is a long time, probably finding on coming home that burglars have emptied the house.

The evening was spent by the fireside reading and dozing off. These evenings I can hardly keep awake, meaning that I only manage to read a few pages, but it at least saves on book expenditure.

MONDAY 13 FEBRUARY

One of the big advantages of a Parish Council, even though the meetings are a total waste of time, is that we have advance warning of the harm that developers are about to do to the village, and news of further cutbacks from our appalling County Council. This morning I heard that developers are proposing to build in the parkland at the bottom of my garden in the field of the avenue of oaks, wanting to build ten houses, some of them for "social housing".

We can hope that the Planning Committee of the District Council, having an excellent record in protecting the village and its environment (they tried very hard to prevent "The Shed" from being built), will throw out a development that would destroy an attractive part of the village, but there is no doubt that the plans will be allowed on appeal, the Inspectors approving everything. Every field, every green space, now seems to be being built on, presumably understandably to accommodate some of the 330,00 immigrants who came into the country last year, uncontrolled by Mrs May as Home Secretary.

The developers have asked to come to the Parish Council meeting next March, but I have oppose this arrangement, knowing full well that the intention is to soften us up. Had I been chairman of the Parish Council, as I was for ten years in the 1990s, before we had the massive housing estate in the village that causes all manner of problems, I would never have allowed developers to have their persuasive wicked way.

Instead, I have argued that we should keep to the usual planning procedures, whereby the plans are submitted to the District Council and then sent to the Parish Council for comments before being reviewed by the Planning Committee. However, I have been told by fellow councillors that I am being "naive". I have nevertheless asked the Clerk to record my opposing views, and I will not be attending the meeting by way of protest. I suppose, though, all things considered, it does not matter one way or the other, for a parish council has no powers to influence the planning decision, the meetings being so much hot air - something we call democracy.

In opposing the soften-up meeting of the developers, I have been accused by fellow counsellors of naiveté, but at least I have not been charged with nepotism, which is probably some relief.

My guess is that few villagers will bother to attend the proposed meeting with the developers, there being a general resignation throughout the land that developers can now build wherever they like, whatever they like, and whenever they like, there being a recognition that Inspectors, driven by the Government's need to create more housing for the immigrants, have no concern whatsoever for the environment, as we saw with the appeal approval of "The Shed".

The developers have understandably indicated that part of the housing will be for "social housing", an important consideration these days, especially for an Inspector considering an appeal. Put in a planning application for social housing or an eco house, and it will readily be approved on appeal. It reminds me of a very severe elderly lady in the village who long ago, when hearing that there was a proposal to have some "social housing", commented: "At least we will be able to get some cleaners."

The real worry about this latest planning application is that, when approved by an Inspector, it will set a precedent, all subsequent planning applications taking away the rest of the parkland, including the avenue of oaks that I enjoy so much, the point being made that they are old and dangerous, and must therefore be felled on account of health & safety. You can almost write the script, seeing an "Oaklands" estate being built, complete with a McDonalds. Mercifully, I will be gone before such a drastic development takes place, indicating that I really did live in the best of times.

I suppose the trouble in my old age is that I cannot accept that a new generation has very different values and mores to the ones I was brought up to believe in. We believed in good manners; protecting our environment at the risk of being called a "Nimby", long before the days when developers had a free hand to ruin our countryside; and when we amazingly believed that this country was for the English.

Such extraordinary views now receive the condemnation of political incorrectness and accusations of sexism and racism in the tyranny of preventing free speech. A view that is not agreed with is immediately labelled as racist or sexist, thereby preventing any further discussion on an issue. This is among the reasons for giving up this diary, knowing that it could land me in a great deal of trouble, already having had one visit from the police on account of somebody complaining about my old fashioned views. I have to accept that the days of free speech are rapidly disappearing.

As mentioned earlier, I just feel that I want to withdraw into my shell, dreaming of the old days and not knowing what is going on today in the relentless decline and fall of a country I once loved and respected. Come May 1st, when I will have given up this diary and not wanting to know what is going on in the world, I will regard it as "Liberation Day".

There was further bad news that father-in-law of one of my daughters has had a stroke, and I had a telephone call from a fellow I was at school with who told me that his wife had a brain tumour, the severity of which was not yet known, but it no doubt means a serious operation. Oh dear: as they say, old age is not for cissies, you never knowing from one week to the next when it is your turn to fall off the perch. I just hope that if I take no exercise and take no notice of the monthly food frighteners, instead eating plenty of red meat and lots of white wine (I believe red is harmful) I might live another five years.

Housing

A planning application is about to be submitted for 10 houses, some of them for "social husing", on the field of the avenue of oaks, part of the parkland of the village that is such an important feature. The avene of oaks can be seen in the distance. Even if the Planning Committee of the District Council, always concerned about the environment, turns down the plans, an Inspector will readily uphold the development. Mention "social housing" or an "eco house", and every appeal will be instantly granted.


Unwisely, I went in to Lincoln to obtain various items this morning, having forgotten that it was half-term in the schools. There were children everywhere, and in one shop I saw a young child pulling items off a shelf, his mother doing nothing to stop him. It made me realise how teachers these days have an impossible job trying to control these free-range children, there being no effective punishments to stop their unruly, free-ranging behaviour.

Indeed, if a child is reprimanded the parents will be round to the school like a shot to abuse the teacher. Bringing back the cane would have immense and immediate benefits for class discipline, but no teacher must ever touch the little darlings. And all the time the chidden must be allowed to play on their mobile telephone ad iPhone toys, which at least prevents disruption.

At 3.30 p,m. Mrs. Copeland and I went to the bank to collect the two items we had there for safekeeping, mainly the deeds to our house. At a time when the banks make ever higher profits, they are ending this facility. There are times when I wonder if the day will arrive when banks no longer have any local branches, everything having to be done on-line. Indeed, we are not far from that situation already, any concept of service to the customers being quite alien. How times change. I have bought a fireproof box from Amazon to keep the documents in. which cost £28. The annual charges for the safekeeping were £18.80, so I will save this amount in future.

The evening was spent by the fireside, reading the book "Hero of the Empire - The making of Winston Churchill". I do not like the female author's style all that much, and it can hardly be called a scholarly work, the sort of account to be seen on the idiot's lantern, but I suppose it is enjoyable enough.

TUESDAY 14 FEBRUARY

That thoroughly nasty man, Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that "The UK should not try to play different EU states off against each other or pursue special discussions in key areas". No doubt Mrs. May will tell him where to get off, reminding him that we will arrange trade deals with whomsoever we choose. Such threats are a further indication that we need to get well away from those awful people and a Union that is steadily falling apart, probably gone within 10 years.

It was also announced that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump have vowed to work together to provide growth and jobs for both countries. There is therefore the hope that a similar arrangement will be achieved between us and the Americans, always providing that the President takes no heed of the offensive and downright silly comments of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Fighting

Cock fighting. In the good old days it was a sport, along with hunting.


St. Valentine's Day today, but Mrs. C and I, married for 49 years on the 23rd of this month, do not bother much about it. In medieval days it was believed that birds began to pair on this day, "which is the origin of the custom of sending Valentines." There wasn't much ornithological activity in the garden this morning, but I suppose it was a bit cold.

There was the splendid news this morning on the BBC highly recommended news website, far better than any newspaper, making me wonder why I buy a paper Monday-Friday, saying that: "The UK government has rejected a petition calling for Donald Trump's state visit invitation to be withdrawn.

It said it recognised the 'strong views' expressed but looked forward to welcoming the US President once details have been arranged. More than 1.8 million people signed the petition, which said a state visit would cause the Queen 'embarrassment. A counter petition calling for the visit to go ahead attracted more than 309,000 signatures," presumably meaning that there are a good number of intelligent people who realise we need to establish good relations with the Americans, especially over trade.

I am beginning to admire Mrs. May for her strength and determination, standing up against those lily-livered readers who appear not to have the interests of the country at heart. In their ill-mannered, left-wing rabble-roused opposition to the President's visit, they are the ones who have made it difficult for Her Majesty the Queen, ironically most of them having no liking for the monarchy anyway. In their stupidity, behaving like little Hitler's in trying to prevent free speech, they just do not understand that we need and are dependent on the President's support, especially now we are coming out of the European Union.

Further good news had the "Daily Express" reporting that "Even EU bosses say UK's future is brighter" since Brexit. We really must celebrate the 23rd June each year - the day the people of this country voted to leave the hateful Union, as "Independence Day", having parties and dancing in the streets to celebrate our freedom from a Union that has done so much harm to our country with its endless laws and financial fleecing.

During the day I had yet another telephone scam, coming up with the false number of International 02556747678 on the caller display, regarding my BT Internet connection saying that a fault had been identified, a scam which seems to be all the rage these days. As always, I was asked if I was "Mr. Robert Salmond" and when I said no, that they had the wrong telephone number, the line went dead.

This is the way to deal with these scammers. I have not yet been fooled by any of them, which is probably more than most people can say. The best course of action is to ignore them whenever the call comes up with "International" telling them to bugger off, but on occasions I so enjoy fooling them.

As I am attending a luncheon meeting tomorrow of retired headteachers I worked with during my day as a Divisional Education Officer, I checked over the Scorpio that I will be using to drive to the pub about 7 miles north of our village. It is a splendid group of men, all of whom wear ties or the meetings. There were standards in those days, when teaching was not such a miserable and impossibly difficult profession.

Some more "work" (or "playing" as Mrs. Copeland calls it) on the Flying Fortress, which is now almost completed except for a few transfers. I am next proposing to make a kit of a "Tiger Moth", and then I may buy a "Super Fortress" kit. The evening was spent by the fireside reading some more of the early years of Churchill as a wartime correspondent.

WEDNESDAY 15 FEBRUARY

There have been many reports in the national press about the ailing National Health Service, having a shortage of beds, doctors and nurses, some hospitals in a state of chaos, 19 hospitals said to close, along with A & E departments. The real issue, of course, is that taxation needs to be substantially increased to pay for what has been an excellent service in the past, now unable to cope because of an ageing population and 330,000 immigrants coming into the country, many of them understandably using the facilities.

Unfortunately, our selfish society wants the full range of services, expecting an immediate operation for granny's hip operation, but does not want to pay for them. They will pay for expensive holidays, such as the one mentioned in the "Holiday Doctor" in Saturday's "Times" in which a couple wanting to celebrate their 40th birthdays in style, saying they had £6,000, possibly more, for a five-day holiday. At a time when more money is wanted for the NHS, this extravagance seems little short of being immoral and indecent.

To my horror I read in today's "i" that the NHS paid £18 million to management consultants. These are the men and women who have failed in industry and who have studied for a B.A in Business Studies, and then believe that the same prescription serves all industries and organisations. We pay 6-figure salaries to the Managers in the NHS, men and women who have experience in the service, yet pay these outsiders enormous sums when they know nothing whatsoever about the National Health Service. It really is a nonsense.

It has been reported that most police forces in England and Wales saw record levels of hate crimes in the first full three months following the EU referendum. More than 14,000 hate crimes were recorded between July and September. This dreadful figure suggests either that "hate crime" is either too widely defined, or that we are living in an angry society that feels it is being threatened by an excessive amount of immigration.

As I have remarked earlier, the worry in this country is that views that are not agreed with are immediately labelled as racist or guilty of sexism. It is a denial of free speech, as we saw in the shameful words of the Speaker who wanted to stop President Trump from addressing Parliament during his state visit, saying that the President was racist and sexist, not sharing our views, whatever they are. Those of us who voted to come out of the EU were also accused of being racist, which is nonsense. Presumably these accusations represent a hate crime, though Becow has Parliamentary Privilege, able to say any daft thing he likes without any action being taken against him.

Nevertheless what a nonsense it all is, especially Diane Abbott branding the Brexit Secretary David Davis as "sexist" for reportedly sending a text saying he would not hug her because he was "not blind". Dear, oh bloody dear! Is this innocent and supposedly humorous remark, albeit not exactly kind, what we mean as sexism? In bygone days mature women would have just laughed this off this snide comment, making some jolly remark by way of response, or a slapped face for any really nasty comment.

What has gone so badly wrong with people that they make such silly accusations, apparently having lost all sense of reason and proportion, indicating a total lack of humour and a dreadful sense of self-importance? This was the woman who wailed that women may be deterred from entering politics because of abuse suffered by female M.Ps Is there any wonder when they behave in this churlish and childish manner? "Please teacher - he's been rude to me."

Snowdrops

Snowdrops in the garden


At 11.45 a.m. I drove in the Scorpio to the monthly luncheon gathering of retired headteachers, men I worked with during my days as a Divisional Education Officer. It is a delightful gathering, enabling us to discuss serious subjects, and significantly all of us say that we are so thankful that we are no longer employed in the education service. Interestingly, every member wears a tie, indicating that there were standards in those days long ago.

The members sitting near me were saying that they "found themselves agreeing with most of the things that Mr. Trump says", and I am sure that this is true of a great number of people who dare not say they agree with him for being branded as racist and sexist. Having spoken to a lot of people in my circle of friends and acquaintances, and people in trade, I have only heard 2 people opposing his views.

One of the members, a computer wizard, told me that when scammers ask for the windows icon to be pressed along with the letter "R", the scammers then have access to your computer, and can then put in all manner of items to your detriment. Nasty stuff, but there seems to be no way of preventing it.

After a restful afternoon, the evening was spent by the fireside, reading some more of the book on Churchill's early days. Although the style is somewhat syrupy, it is nevertheless quite interesting.

THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY

Our Parish Council has been asked to comment on modifications that have been made to the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan, now out for general discussion. I wish I had more faith in these consultations, for it would appear that they are a sham expression of democracy, most of us knowing from previous experience that not the slightest notice is taken of any parish council, let alone members of the public.

We all know that the Government is insisting that thousands more houses must be built in every country throughout the land to house the ever rising population, and to that effect Lincolnshire has to take its share of thousands of houses. Yet Lincolnshire, a delightful backwater, has no proper infrastructure, no jobs, and abysmal communications, meaning that virtual slums will be created.

Every piece of land is now being built on, and soon there will hardly be a green field anywhere to be seen, especially in the southern part of the country that attracts the 330,000 immigrants who came in last year. As I frequently and tiresomely mention, there is no concern whatsoever for the environment in this country, developers even being allowed to build on Green Field sites. This is the reality, and we all have to accept the changed conditions. At least us old-tiers can dream of better times, when we could move on the roads, the AA man saluting us from his motor-cycle with a side car, and when we could enjoy fields.

Cartoon

Item sent to me by a reader. I have greatly appreciated these contributions that have helped to lighten this lugubrious diary. Nvertheless, the diary will come to a complete end on the 1,000th edition on the 27th April, 2017. Thereafter I am going to give up computing, finding that I am now far too old . " To everything there is a season......"


Although it is dangerous and possibly unwise to challenge modern view on race and sex, giving rise to accusations of racism and homophobia, I was pleased the Bishops of the dear old C. of E. presented a report to the Synod yesterday that same-sex marriages should not be blessed in church. As might expected of a Church that has little regard to Biblical tenets, this was rejected by the clergy, so the endless debate continues.

I cannot understand why there is the insistence on the part of these same-sex couples to be married in a church. Why cannot they just accept their association as a civil partnership, having all the legal rights of a married couple. Nobody would disagree with that, whereas I find it a Biblical and a biological nonsense for a same-sex "marriage" to take place in a church, making a nonsense of religious teaching, even in the pick 'n' mix morality of the Church of England.

Were I a religious C. of E. man, I think I would transfer to the Catholic Church which still has a regard for the Bible, even not accepting women priests.

I suppose the trouble in my old age, long since my best before date, is that I find it so difficult to accept modern manners and mores, all my old-fashioned views being out of kilter, as they say in Scotland. It reminds me of a primitive tribe I read about some years ago who would deal with one of its old members who was no longer any use, becoming an embarrassment. With due ceremony, they would carry him to a faraway hill, leaving him there to chant memories of the good old days. Maybe the time has come for me t be so carried away.

We had a new cooker delivered this morning from Currys. Shortly before it was delivered, Mrs. Copeland noticed that the wrong address had been given on the receipt, so we had to get through to Currys, having to go through umpteen menus, having to listen to pop music, before eventually getting through to have the correct address entered. How difficult life is today, made so difficult by everything being done on a computer.

When the cooker was delivered, we were told by the workmen that the cooker could not be installed because we did not have a "RCD" whatever that is, so I cancelled the order, asking for my £544 to be refunded. So we will forget about a new cooker, saving me £544, making do with the existing one. .

Presumably there is a new regulation from Brussels saying that all households must have a RCD. It makes me so thankful that in my old age I do not have another 40 years of all this nonsense, life now becoming increasingly difficult as those legislators in Brussels try every. day to make our lives so impossible. How fortunate I was to live in a more gracious, reasonable age.

This evening I will be watching two further episodes of "House of Cards". We are now up to episode 50, so there are only 4 more to go before the series ends. It has been a wonderful series, so much better than "Game of Thrones".

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E-mail: johncopeland@clara.net
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Lincolnshire 16th February, 2017
No. 990




Diary of an Octogenarian<BR>



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