DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN

- John Copeland -


APRIL 2018


Avenue

Avenue of oaks at the bottom of our graden on the 1st day of April, 2018.

"Schools are removing clocks with hands and numbers from exam halls and replacing them with digital versions because pupils have lost the art of telling the time, teachers say".

Report in "The Times" 25th April, explaining our pathetic schools with a molly-coddled generation who must not have anything difficult in the curriculum - no maths, no physics, no Shakespeare, no kind of education.


HEALTH WARNING; The first two pages relate to health issues, an "Organ Recital". Go to page 3 to avoid these grim geriatric laments.

Sadly, it has not been a good month for my health, being told on a visit to my Indian female doctor that I had the onset of diabetes, necessitating a change in diet that says "if you enjoy it, give it up!" . I also developed high blood pressure, having a reading of 177/95, and on Saturday 7th I had a further urinary tract infection, the 5th since Christmas Day. Occurring on a Saturday, the doctor's surgery closed and the Walk-In Centre in Lincoln shamefully shut down meaning additional pressures on A & E., feeling so ill I had to ask Mrs. Copeland to telephone the 111 NHS Service, the call being answered by a rather dozey woman who said that I would have to go to the A & E Department, something I could not do as I had to urinate every 4 or 5 minutes.

Instead, we were told that an out-of hours doctor would come to my home within 3-6 hours, and in the event two very pleasant nurses arrived within about 3 hours, taking my blood pressure (179/98) and various soundings of my body, telling me that I had a urinary tract infection, with blood in the urine indicated by the sample that I had supplied. They were unable to give me a prescription for Neofurantoin 100mg tablets that I have taken previously, but luckily I had persuaded my doctor to give me a reserve supply, just in case I had another bout during the closed down weekend.

Without this reserve supply I would have been stuck, having to wait until Monday when the doctor's surgery reopened. With the use of the reserve tablets the trouble started clearing up after 3 days. Because of the frequency of these UTIs, arrangements have been made for me to see a urologist on the 2nd July at the County Hospital. It seems absurd that highly qualified nurses cannot give a prescription. What is their purpose in coming out to a patient?

In terms of the diabetes, I was given a booklet "Diabetes UK", which frighteningly described diabetes as a very serious long-lasting, life-threatening condition, the subsequent pages saying that I could end up have my feet amputated; lose my eyesight; no longer wanting sex; likely to have kidney failure; and probably unable to keep a job. It was so frightening that I eventually threw it away.

weight

A chart showing that I have to lose a few lbs to be in the green belt.


I realised, of course, that I would have to lose weight, being shown in one of the endless graphs in the booklet that I was within the pink sector rather than the recommended green, having to go on a more restricted diet. This I did to some extent, having semi-skimmed milk instead of full-cream; tried to eat more vegetables, even though they were always regarded as a punishment for children ("eat up your greens or you will not have your pudding!"), and cutting back on the week's alcoholic provisions shown in the following photograph. However, I could not eat brown bread, reminding me of the awful bread I had as a child during the Second World War. Wisely, the birds will not eat it either.

Provisions

The week's alcoholic provision for Mrs. Copeland and myself. Because of diabetes I am having to cut down on the beer, possibly only one bottle a week. Oh, the misery!

Having been diagnosed with high blood pressure (161/89. Should be no more than 140/80), I was subsequently put on Ramipril, 2.5 mg. After fortnight this dosage had not brought down the level, so the Ramipril was increased to 5 mg

What upset me so much in this recommended dieting is that I could end up like one of those anthropomorphic, bunny-hugging vegans who believe that animals have rights. In one of supplements on food in a Saturday issue of "The Times" there was a feature on vegan meals, indicating just how awful they are. One of the accompanying photographs is shown below, indicated the miserable and unpalatable food the vegans have to endure. Do we feel sorry for these pitiful eaters, denying themselves all the delights of food, or do we mock them for their incredible animal sentimentality?

Vegans

The terrible food that vegans have to eat. Do we feel sorry for them, or laugh at their ridiculous affliction?

The fact remains that veganism is spreading widely in the country, many restaurants now existing for for their very limited needs, even Lincoln having one of the ghastly places. I suppose it is all to do with the silly fears about eating red meat, and the belief that it is wrong to eat animals. I just hope that I never have that dreadrful affliction.


Water

The lovely water feature I bought Mrs. Copeland for Easter. Made in China, at first it did not work.


Because of this diet regimentation, I had to forgo Easter eggs - well, nearly so, as they contained far too much sugar, so Mrs. Copeland and I did not swap eggs as we have done in the past. Instead, I bought Mrs. C. a really lovely small cascading water feature from "The Works" in Lincoln. Unfortunately, after setting it up, the instructions being worthless, as are most instructions, the feature worked for about 3 minutes and then stopped. I put in new batteries, but it would still not work at all.

Feeling very annoyed I looked on the package, seeing those dreaded words "Made in China", which explained everything, also indicating how right President Trump has been in putting tariffs on the rubbish that comes from that nasty communist country that has no regard for human rights. I took the water feature back to the shop after the endless Easter holidays eventually ended, and it was readily replaced without any hassle, and the new one seems to work.


Books

Books read during the month.


Before I get up in the morning, usually about 8.30 a.m during the winter and early Spring months, I read for about half an hour in bed. Even with all its aches and pains, it is an extremely civilised way of life, getting up early being one of the great and unacceptable miseries of working life. Yet amazingly some retirees even continue the hateful practice, getting up at the ungodly hour of 6.30 a.m. and consequently having to go to bed early in the evening. I usually stay up until midnight at least, usually 12.30 a.m. before I am a-bed. I cannot sleep if I go any earlier, sometimes drinking wine instead into the late hours with Mrs, Copeland - and what a delight that is.

Dr, Johnson, my great idol, and role model, also said that anybody who went to bed before midnight was a scoundrel, and I am much of that opinion, finding that I nearly always get on better with men who are owls rather than larks, late nighters invariably being far more interesting people, not living by that ridiculous self-righteous creed of early to bed making a man fit healthy and wise. Makes him more dull, if you ask me.

Inevitably there were the usual health frighteners during the month, one saying that people who went to bed early and rose early lived longer than those who stayed in bed. What nonsense: early rising just makes life seem longer. There was also the nonsense about wine: that just a "couple of glasses a night shortens life by two years." Both frighteners are what might be called "single issue surveys", taking only a single issue of health into account, instead of the necessary wider application of general health, age, environment, work, genes and inheritance. Such surveys would only have any real relevance if the medicine men knew how long the people would have lived without wine - something that is not discernible.

At least the surveys make us laugh, usually being changed within a few years. Not so long ago wine, especially red wine, prevented heart attacks, now this is no longer true. And all manner of foods have changed status, some that were bad now being very good, and there are even dangers of drinking too much water each day. What it all means is that the medicine men have no real understanding of what is good for the body, just as they have no idea what causes cancer. Hence all the grabbing around for straws, more and more things said to be bad for us, especially if we enjoy them.

At the start of the month I read "Hired - Six months undercover in low-wage Britain" by James Bloodworth, published by Atlantic Books this year at 12.99, sadly a paperback but in a reasonable format. One of the four parts of the fascinating account deals with the appalling working conditions in Amazon in which the workers, mainly Rumanians, are subjected to excessive discipline, money being deducted for the most minor and trivial offences, no wages being paid for sickness under the zero hour contracts - not that the employees are ever given a contract.

We are told that few of the workers can stand the appalling conditions for any length of time, more like a prison camp than a workplace, many of them, according to the author who actually spent time working for Amazon, finding that they are underpaid each time by "Transline", money being deducted for all manner of spurious reasons. The author also explains that in some shifts at Amazon he ended up walking 10 or even 12 miles in the warehouse, his feet aching as he goes home after a long and punishing day, work having been enforced by brutal guards. If it is all true - and there is no reason to suppose it isn't, I feel that I never want to place an order again with Amazon. The book is highly recommended.

On finishing the book I made a start on "The Course of History - Ten meals that changed the world" by Struan Stevenson, with recipes by Tony Singh, published by Berlinn at 16.99 in 2017, printed in Malta. One of the chapters deals with the military incompetence of General Braddock who was to lose us America. I also read some more of the first of three lengthy volumes of a biography of that monster Stalin, written by Stephen Kothin (771 pages of small text) who detailed the ruination and starvation that Stalin, a tyrant far worse than Hitler, was to bring to Russia for his crazy communist policies that never worked.

During the month I also read "Escaping Hitler - Stories of courage and endurance on the freedom trails"" by Monty Hall, published last year by Sidgwick & Jackson at 20, and finally, "The Last Battle - Endgame on the Western Front, 1918, published by Profile books this year at 25, enjoying all the books after an earlier rather disastrous choice. "Escaping Hitler" had some interesting details of the monotony and utter boredom of being a prisoner of war in a German and Italian camp, life having no purpose - "tempus edax rerum" (Ovid: "Time devours everything").

The author adds: "Something else made life in the camps disagreeable. Eric Newby has pointed out that officer POWs still came largely from middle and upper-class public school backgrounds, and tended to look down on everyone else regardless of intelligence or ability." It is yet another example of the horrors of these public schools that over the years have done so much harm to the social and economic framework of the country, no doubt explaining why the British Army, lions led by donkeys, never managed to win a battle unless, as in the desert during the Second World War, they had overwhelming forces. Even more recently, the British Army, poorly equipped and led, had to withdraw and have the Americans take over in Helmund Province in Afghanistan.

In one of the chapters in "Escaping Hitler", the author indicates the barbarity of the Germans, especially at the Italian village of Vinca, exacting retribution for various acts of resistance and sabotage by local partisans: "They shot a two-day-old baby by throwing it in the air as the mother watched. They cut the stomach of a pregnant woman, eight months passed, and tore her child out. They shot an eighty-five year-old. They tied the old men to wagon wheels and shot them in the legs so their own weight strangled them. They played music as they did this, and had a party when the massacre was done."

How can my generation, although only children during the Second World War, ever forgive the Germans for these and countless other barbaric acts, some of the cruellest people in the world after the Japanese. Yet now the Germans our masters of Europe, something that Hitler only managed to achieve for a few years, and we have to bow and scrape to their every measure in the European Union, unless we manage to escape from that circus. If anybody needs to apologise it is the Germans, along with the Japanese. And to think that the Germans never paid the full reparations after the War. Perhaps we should not bother about any divorce settlement in escaping from the EU.

During the last week of the month I read "The Work I Did" - A memoir of the secretary to Goebbels" by Brunhilde Pomsel, published in this country in 2018 by Bloomsbury at 16.99. The author argues that she was not interested in politics, and knew nothing about the murder of the Jews, but then she would say that, wouldn't she, just as the majority of Germans cheered Hitler during his winning streak, but changed horses, saying they knew nothing about the atrocities, when he started losing.

At the end of this dreadful book there is an assessment by a very biased writer, obviously with a very left-wing slant, saying that we need to check the right-wing tendencies that are now developing in Europe, yet he says that democracy has not worked, leading to this fascist extremism. So how do we cope? When bias ovetakes reason it is not worth reading.

I now buy all my books from Waterstone's in Lincoln, which provides an excellent and friendly service, having closed my account with Amazon after reading about the appalling treatment of staff. The great advantage of buying locally is that I can see most of the books in advance. I have also closed my Facebook account, no longer wanting to have anything more to do with all that juvenile, trite nonsense, and I am thinking of giving up my mobile telephone, never using it, saving 14.02 a month at a time of rapidly rising realistic inflation.

Pheasant

The pheasant I have been feeding, with his latest catch. He stood guard, not eating anything, while the hen fed. A noble male gesture.


I mentioned last month that I now feed a tame pheasant each day. At about 7 o'clock each morning (about 10 a.m. if wet) there is an almighty cackling outside to announce his arrival, time for breakfast. I then, in pyjamas, go out to feed him and then return to bed. Dinner is about 4.30 p.m. each day, when he often brings a hen with him, though the females are very shy, soon scampering off at the slightest sound or movement, not like today's women.

He really is a lovely bird, so brightly coloured, whereas the hen is very dull and uninspiring. Eventually, of course, he will be murdered by the littlegame hunters who boast about their day's "bag", subsequently having him thrown into a ditch because the fashion for pheasant dinners has long since passed. How can anybody, even the daftest member of that feudal Barmy Bumpkins Society, enjoy killing such a splendid creature, and all in the interests of fun?

But then all country sports are cruel, the countryside being one big killing ground - fat old men who, before the necessary and welcome hunting banning act, dressed up in funny clothes, blew little bugles and shouted out "tally ho" as they chased after foxes for hour after hour, now having to resort to drag hunting, probably using tenants who have not paid their rent. Catching fish and then throwing them back, seems to be another unpleasant and pointless sport; along with stag hunting and snaring all manner of creatures, all in the interests of fun for a bunch of sadistic men who could quite easily form a latterday Schutzstaffer.


Church

Our local Church. Mrs. Copeland went to a service on Easter Day, but I stayed at home, not beng much of a believer.


Mrs. Copeland went to the communion service at the local church on Easter Sunday, but as I cannot abide all that meaningless mumbo-jumbo, the concept of a caring God seeming to me to represent a triumph of hope over experience, I stayed at home. On her return Mrs. C .told me that the vicar, who comes from India and is very High Church, formerly a Catholic, having married a former nun, had one of the Church Wardens hold up the Paschal Candle, into which the vicar stuck several drawing pins to indicate the wounds of Jesus. The vicar then sprinkled Holy Water over the congregation, which cannot have pleased women who had just done their hair, going home soaking wet.

The actual communion service, as the vicar prepares the wine, is a horribly long-winded affair, totally meaningless and so utterly boring. On the few occasions when I have attended a communion service, I have had a blessing instead of taking the wine, not wanting to drink from a communal cup, not knowing where the worshippers have been or what they have got in terms of medical problems.

I suppose the whole emphasis of the Church of England is to be miserable and joyless, everything gloom and doom, all of us likely to receive divine retribution and punishment, presumably as a result of being miserable sinners. The Methodists can really do misery, denying themselves all the joys of life, alcohol being very wicked indeed, and sex not being much better unless for deliberate conception.

I will say one thing for the local Church: they present a splendid service sheet, complete with delightful drawings, which is so much better than those dreary hymn and prayer books, the hymns nearly all by Charles Wesley who wrote one hymn fifteen or more times. I just wish, as I have said so many times, that I could be a believer. Maybe I ought to ask the vicar to come and see me to restore my faith, helping me to believe in the care and love of Jesus.

Although country folk-law associated April with showers that brought May flowers, the modern version might say April floods, bring forth May buds, This year Easter and the first half of the month were a miserable, sunless wash-out, the days so horribly cold. On Easter Monday it rained all day long, as it usually does on a Bank Holiday, our lawn being covered with water, resembling an Irish bog, never having seen it like that before in all the 47 years we have lived in the village.

Conservatory

We have now moved into the conservatory until late September, though On Sunday 29th it was so cold at 8 C at noon that we lit the fire in the evening, April, apart from two hot days, has been terribly wet and chilly month..


Mercifully, the weather greatly improved from the 18th, when the temperature reached a wonderful 25 C, prompting the press to proclaim that it was "the hottest April ever", when they really meant that the month had some record hot days, I sat in the conservatory during the warm afternoons, having moved into the conservatory from the parlour on the 17th. With the doors open looking out on the avenue of oaks that are slowly coming into leaf; the "Red Arrows Flying Circus" nowhere to be seen or heard, obviously annoying people somewhere else; and nobody around; it was a delight hearing the singing of the birds - a wonderful Spring day in this civilised environment, well away from the riffraff and immigrant dominated cities, still enjoying the rare delights of Englishness.

On the 18th we had the first wine gathering outside with the neighbours, , indicating what a wonderful place it is to live. Sadly, though, the numbers in our community of four houses have somewhat diminished in recent years. Two of the men have died, leaving widows, and our immediate neighbours have the terrible social affliction of being teetotallers, meaning their never join us for the wine, not even going to the local Club. They are now planning to move, and we therefore hope that we will have more sociable neighbours to take their place. Another neighbout, a widow wh finds her house too large, may also be moving, so it will be all change in our community of four houses..

The worry is that the new neighbours could have a dog (and how I hate dogs, yet more and more people in the village have these awful animals, presumably for barking security purposes) and/or have young children, destroying our peave 'n' quiet for ever. It is a great worry. To have neighours with no understanding of the subjunctive would be so awful.

Alas, the warm spell did not last long. On the 23rd, St. George's Day when I put out the flag, the horrible prevailing wind, the "Miseria", returned, dragging the temperature down to 14 C, and ultimately in the last days of the month to 10 C, prompting us to put the central heating back on. So much for the hottest April ever, more likely one of the wettest ever. It was so cold on Sunday 29th that we lit the fire in the evening, the temperature at noon at 8 C.

On the rare occasions when the weather is warm and sunny in this country there is meteorological perfection, no other climate in the world to match it, but after a few days rain always follows in the default setting. Sadly, though, the last week saw the default weather conditions, the temperature on one occasion going down to 12 C, hardly hot for April, but then the press loves to exaggerate in order to boost sales, truth being of minor importance.

The move into the conservatory meant that I no longer had the quotidian labour of clearing out and relaying the living fire, a labour that takes me 20 minutes each day. Over the course of the season I probably shift a ton-and-a-half of coal, plus having to bring in the logs. Mrs. C and I nevertheless love the living fire in winter, by far the best form of heating, though it obviously involves a lot of work. As I get older and more infirm I begin to wonder how much longer I will be able to have the fire.


flower

Delicate Spring flower in the garden.


During the month we had a family gathering to celebrate granddaughter Chloe's 26th birthday, having a meal at the splendid Spanish "Ole Ole" restaurant in Lincoln. I always greatly enjoy these family gatherings, thankful that our daughters and granddaughter live within a few miles, enabling us frequently to see one another. Not for us the sad goodbyes when the offspring live over the hills and far away, sometimes in another country. That must be so sad.

Mrs. Copeland and I continued our policy of having lunch out on a Friday during the month, , going to "The Birdcage" in Lincoln, where there was a new chef; another visit to "Greek2Me", an excellent restaurant where I had a really pleasant steak; going to "The Woodocks" where we sat outside on the 20th; and to "Greek2Me" again at the end of the month. Mrs. Copeland has calculated that these weekly meals out cost an annual 1,700, but what the hell. The expenditure is surely better than wasting money on foreign holidays, especially those overcrowded cruise ships, a prison on the ocean waves.

Unfortunately, several more restaurants closed in Lincoln during the month - Prezzo, Chimichanga and the French Cote Brassarie that we liked. According to a press report during the month, 650 shops and restaurants had closed in the country since the start of the year. Yet here in Lincoln a new development, possibly the biggest white elephant of all time, has several more restaurants. Gone are the delightful small shops, replaced by national chains, one of which has already issued a profit warning. A sad development.

We continued going to our local Club on a Sunday afternoon for the alcoholic refreshment. On the 22nd we went to the St. George's quiz. Although I usually loathe quizzes, this one was well presented by one of our neighbours having a B.A. degree in French and music - an interesting and intelligent quiz, as might be expected. One of the questions was: "Who is the Deputy Prime Minister?" which puzzled me as I could not think of anybody, so I wrote down NONE, and this was the right answer. I suppose the Foreign Secretary, being the next in line, would fill Mrs. May's place if she is away.

More than anything, these quizzes emphasise the social and intellectual divide among the Club members. The quizzes are organised and run by the professional/graduate group, none of the artisan contingent ever attending, That is not to say that the former group are superior; instead, there is a pleasant mix of professional and working class members, both groups important, not that they have much to do with one another. On the Sunday afternoon sessions the men and women invariably separate into their separate groups, thereby enabling the men to talk about politics and economics, instead of holidays and the local gossip. Long live the difference, making life far more pleasant.

For about 10 years Mrs. Copeland looked after the garden at the Club, but last year, finding it somewhat of a strain as she was getting older, she gave up the cultivation, hoping that somebody else would take over, but as might be expected nobody volunteered, and the garden became overgrown and uncared for. Mrs. C. not wanting to see her work of many years ruined, started looking after it again, albeit not to the same extent.

The real problem in this country about Brexit is that we are the laziest nation in Europe, having the worst productivity of any of the G7 nation, nobody, especially the youngsters, not wanting to work, certainly not if it involves getting their hands dirty. This is why we have come to rely on immigrants, without them the country probably falling apart, yet we are grossly overpopulated to accept 330,000 coming here in 2015, , four times the size of a city such as Lincoln every year.

On the economic front there was the grim news during the month that although Government borrowing had been reduced, "public total debt as a percentage of GDP edged up to 86.3% , up from 85.3% the year before. In cash terms it stands at 1.798 trillion." Calamity Carney's policy of absurdly low interests, harming lenders, has brought about a credit bonanza that shows no signs of diminishing. With the local elections coming up next month, the Government does not want to see interest rates raised, certainly not for mortgagees.

Talking to an interesting member of the Club one Sunday, he suggested that the economic decline was now "all coming together" - the poor productivity, the decline in the high street,and the cutback in personal expenditure, not to mention the political chaos over Brexit, the country in "a right muddle". . Recession here we come

Perhaps understandably, I now receive very few comments on the revised monthly edition of this diary, obviously indicating it has not been a great success, not nearly as acceptable as the earlier weekly edition. I suppose it is going to mean that I will soon have to give it up, its days done, rather like the diarist. At least I received one amusing e-mail: "A man is invited to a party and when he arrives he finds that he does not know anyone there but he does know there's a feminist, an atheist and a vegan among the guests. How does he know which ones they are? He doesn't have to. They'll tell him all about it soon enough."

I also liked one of the few e-mails I received:-

Snow Person
It's been snowing all night. So ....
8:00 I made a snowman.
8:10 A feminist passed by and asked me why I didn't make a snow woman.
8:15 So, I made a snow woman
8:17 My feminist neighbour complained about the snow woman's voluptuous chest saying it objectified snow women everywhere
8:20 The gay couple living nearby threw a hissy fit and moaned it should have been two snowmen instead
8:22 The transgender ma..wom...person asked why I didn't just make one snow person with detachable parts
8:25 The vegans at the end of the lane complained about the carrot noses, as veggies are food and not to decorate snow figures with.
8:28 I am being called a racist because the snow couple is white.....
8:31 The Muslim gent across the road demands the snow woman must wear a burqa
8:40 Three Police cars arrive saying someone has been offended
8:42 The feminist neighbour complained again that the broomstick of the snow woman needs to be removed because it depicts women in a domestic role
8:43 The council equalities officer arrived and threatened me with prosecution
8:45 TV news crew from the BBC shows up. I am asked if I know the difference between snowmen and snowwomen? I reply, "Snowballs" and am called a sexist.
9:00 I'm on the News as a suspected terrorist, pervert, racist, homophobic sensibility offender bent on stirring up trouble during difficult weather.
9:10 I am asked if I have any accomplices... my children are taken away by social services
9:29 Far left protesters offended by everything are marching down the Street demanding for me to be beheaded
Moral: There is no moral to this story. It's just the world in which we live today!
By way of making me laugh I also read that boys at a major public school are to be allowed to wear skirts, proving yet again that this country has gone barmy. Further proof of the madness was provided by a baker's shop in Lincoln displaying gingerbread persons. Sometimes I fear that there is no hope for us any more.

Flowers

Flowers in the garden.


And it made me laugh to read about our local authority department giving itself such a high sounding testimony. The Lincolnshire Waste Partnership (LWP) has a Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy (JMWMS) whose aim is "To seek the best environmental option to provide innovative, customer-friendly waste management solutions that give value for money to Lincolnshire". How you have to laugh.

In the good old days they merely had a supervisor and a band of cheerful dustmen, just getting on with emptying dustbins ("My old man's a dustman, he lives in a council flat"). Now we have to have all this highfalutin nonsense, but at least these organisations keep people employed, even if they provide a fifth wheel to the coach, adding to our substantial council-tax burden.

Mrs. Copeland, who is far more gregarious than I am, is a member of the "The University of the Third Age", obviously intended for people in that last scene of all, who find themselves lonely and without any sense of purpose as a result of the stimulus and companionship of work having been given up. However, I am not a clubable man, loathing such groups, just as I hate any form of counselling, much preferring to be on my own. Indeed, in my old age I increasingly dislike the madding crowds, relishing and appreciating instead the civilisation and peace on earth at home. To each his own.


House

A planning application has been submitted for a large house on this land in the village that will totally dominate the nearby cottages. The Planning Committee had a site meeting during the month, but their decision has not yet been published. We are hoping for refusal.


As I mentioned last month, the village is again under assault from developers, which is probably true of most villages and towns in the country, the Government's Housing Minister having told local authorities that they must build more houses, even on Green Fields, presumably on account of the immigrants continuing to flood into the country. One of the unpleasant proposed developments is for a substantial house beside attractive old-world cottages that will totally dominate and spoil the view of one of them, the proposed property looking totally out of place.

On reviewing the plans, the Planning Committee of the District Council decided to have a site meeting at which villagers were allowed to attend, but not to speak. Such is democracy in this country in which an Inspector living far away in Bristol, never having to live with his decisions, can overrule all the combined objections of the residents, the Parish Council, and the unanimous rejection by a Planning Committee.

So often an appeal succeeds, as we have seen in our community. Everything seems to be weighted in favour of the "Developers' Charter". The other rash assault, probably the worst housing development the old part of the village has faced, is for 5 extremely large houses, one with 6 bedrooms, plus two "affordable houses". The plans, seeking "outline planning application to erect 7 no. dwellings - access to be considered and not reserved for subsequent applications.", went to the District Council during the month, and are now open to consultation, but what good will that do, I wonder, however much residents and the Parish Council oppose the unwanted and unnecessary development.

Nevertheless, we are hoping that the development will be thrown out on account of being in an established Conservation Area, the planned houses being on "green fields" where cattle graze in the summertime, a wonderful area within the village. Unfortunately, Conservation Areas do not have much protection these days, even Green Belts being under pressure for development as our population continues to increase at a furious rate each yea, substantiated by immigrants continue to flood into the country.

Within the latest Local Plan, there is a policy under LP4 that stimulates that no single development in a small village should be more than 4 houses, whereas the present plans are for 7 houses. Our village constitutes a small village, and we are therefore hoping that this will be followed, but you can never be sure these days, certainly not in planning, especially as developers nearly always win on appeal, the Inspectors seeming to have no regard whatsoever for the environment, not that the Government has much either, demanding that local authorities allow ever more housing.

Worringly, the planners at the District Council, who seem to change every few months, invariably agree with a planning application, as they did for the modern house in our community, Fortunately wiser counsels prevail among the councillors, especially our two excellent ward members who make every effort to prevent unnecessary and unwanted development in the village, displaying a notable concern about the environment that seems lacking elsewhere.

The Parish Council will be submitting a rejection of the proposed development, but as a private individual I will additionally be sending in a letter opposing the unnecessary and unwanted plan in a greenfield parkland setting in a well established attractive Conservation Area. These submissions need to be brief and to brief, succinct and to the point, not exceeding one-and-a half pages of A4. Understandably, the planners are not going to wade through pages of verbiage. Which reminds me of a chemistry school report long ago: "Too verbose and not enough matter". This no doubt also applies to the prolixity of this diary.

Mrs. Copeland went down to Essex to see her 100-year old mother during the middle of the month - a one- night sleepover as she does not like to leave me alone for too long, not in my present unhealthy state. Before going on the 136-mile journey we had the Peugeot 208 checked at the independent garage we now always use, avoiding the costly main dealers. The main dealers would no doubt have cost us a fortune, all manner of parts needing replacement. We had been somewhat worried that there was an oil leak, but all was well, a nut having been tightened - no charge. In the past we have always changed our main car every three years, buying new, but with the ever rising inflation with the falling , making new cars so expensive, we may keep it for one more year, by which time it will be five years old, not worth a penny.


Daffodils

Daffodils in the garden. They were nearly all over at the end of the month. I used to know a fellow who was always sad when the daffodils had gone, believing the best of the Spring was over.


The month, despite half of it having seen such awful weather, brought the usual wonderful Spring flowers - the daffodils in full array; the hyacinth; the tree blossoms; and the magnificent camellia that does so well in our garden. Even with the improvement in the weather during the second half of the month, gardeners are saying that they are three weeks behind, and the farmers have had problems with the Spring sowing.

My quarterly telephone bill with BT for our landline came to 162.45. which is about the usual amount. I obviously realise that I could almost halve this bill by joining one of the other telephone companies, but I like BT, never having had any problems, and there is the real advantage that I can pay by cheque each quarter. This is also true of my account with Anglian Water, for which I paid a cheque for 268.80 for the half-year. We are indeed very fortunate that we are not on a water meter which, according to a chart given by the company would mean my paying another 28 a year, having to worry about the cost every time we turned on a tap.

Many people having water meters say that they have substantially lowered their bills, but they probably mean they only have a bath once a week instead of daily; put a big brick in the lavatory cistern, and never water the flowers, worried about every drop they use. Eventually, we will all be forced to go onto water meters to prevent the water companies having to undertake additional investment, but meanwhile we can enjoy the freedom and joys of an unmetered supply.

Camellia

amellia in the garden. The flowers have been splendid this year, but they do not last long.


One way and another it was therefore an expensive month. The first of ten instalments for the council tax came to 150.69, and the scooter insurance was 126.84, up from 115.55 last year, an increase of 9.5%, somewhat higher than the real CPI rate at 6.4% (official rate , which went down last month from 2.7% to 2,5% x2 + 1 for household expenses)..

As might be expected, this oil item is not included in the CPI of inflation, explaining why it always comes out at such a low level. Even so, petrol at the pumps went up by 4 pence a litre during the month, rising to 1.20 a litre, significantly adding to motorists' expenses, but this increase will not be shown in the Mach CPI, probably being cancelled out by cheaper airfares to Australia or by reduction in price of babies nappies What a farce, the index bearing no relation to household expenses.

In paying all these bills by cheque, the safest and most reliable of all financial transaction, I was able to avoid the dreaded and diabolical Direct Debits, only having one that was forced upon me by the O2 mobile telephone company (14.02 a month). Nevertheless, when my generation has departed this life, having tried to uphold decent and civilised measures such as stable marriages and mothers looking after their children at home instead of putting them in bootie camps, cheques will be abolished, everything paid on-line and by direct debit. Thank heavens I will have escaped such dreadful days, pulling up the daisies in the graveyard of the newly formed mosque in the greatly enlarged village.


Yew

The section of the yew hedge in the village that was cut right back to the wall. After two years it has still not grown back, despite assurances that it would. So much for experts!

In January of 2016 we had an enormous battle with the Highways Department of the County Council who wanted to have the splendid and extensive yew hedges in the village cut right back to the wall in the interests of Health & Safety. As protesters we regarded this as environmental vandalism that would have killed the century-old hedges that are such a prominent feature in our village, but one of the highly intelligent ladies in the village with a M.Sc. degree, mounted an extensive media campaign that successfully supported us in preventing the destruction of the hedge. The issue made national news, though as might be expected we were not supported by one of those dreadfully ignorant "phone-ins" on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. Can anybody listen to such rubbish?

We won the battle, resulting in only a very small part of the hedge being cut back to the wall on a corner, being assured by so-called experts that it would grow back within a couple of years, which we knew was nonsense. I took a photograph during the month of this section, showing that there is still no sign of any growth. If the officers of the Highways Department had their way, with whom there was no argument in their determination to cut back the hedges, their entire length would have looked like this. Moral: sometimes you can win a battle with a local authority, but never take any notice of so-called experts. Ask an old countrymen instead about such issues.

In the middle of the month, on the 10th and 11th, the Syrian crisis became extremely dangerous following Assad allegedly using chemical weapons again. Trump, with his usual forceful manner, warned Putin in one of his tweets that missiles (Americans pronounce them as missels") would be used against Assad: "Get ready, Russia because they will be coming nice and new and smart". Putin responded by saying that he would shoot them down, but of course he didn't, knowing that it would not be the interests of his near bankrupt country, California not surprisingly having a higher GDP than the whole of Russia.

President Trump, a man who keeps his word, unlike Obama who swept any foreign troubles under the White House carpet, duly had missiles launched into Syrian chemical sites, backed up by fighter planes of the RAF and military forces from France. Very wisely and courageously, our Prime Minister readily joined with America, taking no notice of Corbyn's nonsense that she should have Parliamentary approval before committing us to any military engagement. My respect for Mrs. May, not very good in the past over her muddles with Brexit, has therefore shot up, and my views on Labour have sunk to a new low level, a hopeless party that lives in the world of make-believe and dreams.

Assad will not be mounting any more chemical attacks, so yet again President Trump showed himself to be a real and decisive leader. During the month it was announced by Kim.Wrong-Un that he would not be launching any more missiles, and there are proposals for the President to meet him in the near future - yet another brilliant success for the President, for which he gets no praise. Instead, shamefully, the FBI, presumably politically motivated, raided the offices of President Trump's lawyer, taking away files alleging his affair with a prostitute.

This is the kind of raid that was seen in Hitler's Gestapo days. And what does it matter if he had a prostitute, hardly a heinous crime? At least the impeachment proceedings seem to have been dropped, despite the Democrats doing everything to bring Trump down. The Americans should thank their lucky stars and their belief in God that they did not get that awful woman, knowing nothing about foreign affairs or economics, as President.

In this country all the UK newspapers praised Trump's initiative, except the hatefully left-wing "Observer" that loves to run down the country with its fairytale Socialism, ridiculously saying that Corbyn and Co. were right in demanding the recall of Parliament to give approval for our participation in the strike. What utter nonsense, giving the enemy details of a proposed attack.

The utter hopelessness of the Labour Party was demonstrated in a video that I watched on the 13th of the month, showing Nick Robinson interviewing the hopeless Diane Abbott on her views on the Syrian crisis. She, along with her party, have no policy for dealing with the crisis, only repeatedly saying that there must be dialogue, despite every resolution and possible settlement in the Security Council having been vetoed by Russia. When asked whether she believed that there could be an occasion for the use of military force, she merely weakly again said there must be discussion.

In an earlier interview she got all her sums wrong, making us so truly thankful her party is not in power with her as Home Secretary, now seeing the Conservatives a clear 5% ahead in the opinion polls, not that they mean much.. Still, it is good to have Corbyn at the head of the Labour Party, for as long as he remains the party will never be elected, thank heavens. Pathetically, his latest policy is to give free 'bus travel for the under 25s - a group of people who try to avoid the busses.

Sadly, it begins to look as if Corbyn has gone completely off the rails. After the general election I thought he offered some hope, balancing a very right-wing Government, but he has subsequently destroyed the party beyond recovery. It is a great shame, for a democracy needs a powerful opposition, not this dreamer who appears to live in a make-believe world.

It seems,though, that Corbyn is being blamed unfairly for anti-semitism in his party, for surely anti-semitism is rife throughout this country, mainly on account of the appalling behaviour of the Jews in Israel forcing Palestinians off their land to build houses for the Jews, taking no heed of world opinon, international law or any regard for humanity.

I find it strange that the Jews have been hounded wherever they have settled, presumably because they are clever, industrious people who invariably hold the purse-strings in a country. My parents hated them, calling them "Jewboys", regarding them as rughless employers.


Hyacinth

Hyacinth in the garden

As expected, the Brexit negotiations dragged on and on, getting nowhere; indeed, they went into reverse when the unelected House of Lords, made up of old hereditary peers and failed politicians, rejected Mrs. May's wise proposal to come out of the Customs Union, the failure meaning a backdoor way of allowing immigrants to continue coming into this country and being dominated by EU rules and regulations. At least Mrs. May had the courage to say that she was determined to leave the Customs Union, and good for her, showing the necessary steel. Thank heavens Labour is not in office, not having a clue what to do.

Indeed, the whole purpose of coming out of that quarrelsome circus will have been lost, still having to pay an estimated 35bn - 39 bn - in a divorce settlement - money we could have better spent on the National Health Service. Why ever did we get mixed up with those awful people who spent the last two centuries fighting one another, and with whom we have nothing in common, not even a language? Presumably most people in this country have now lost all interest in the hopeless proceedings, just hoping we will eventually escape. Meanwhile, the late Edward Heath has a lot to answer for.

The main opposition to Brexit now comes from within the Conservative Party, Labour having fallen completely apart, not having a clue what to do about the issue. These opponents are the Remoaners in the Conservative Party who, in their own selfish interests, what the cheap and exploited immigrant labour to continue.


Carrier

An American aircraft carrier on its way to Syria following the chemical assault by Assam's forces. Fortunately, the matter seems to have been resolved by President Trump, for which he gets no credit.


By way of further indicating how daft the Labour Party has become, the Shadow Foreign Secretary (a woman, as might be expected), has demanded that the Prime Minister should apologise to our ex-colonies. What a crazy thing to suggest. Does the mistaken woman really believe that Pakistan is better following its separation from India under the days of our empire rule, or that Mr, Mugabe's country has improved in its independence, along with that other African country that kidnaps young girls for sex slavery? And what is the utter purpose of apologising, this silly woman apparently believing that the course of history can be eradicated?

Even dafter was the peer who complained that the BBC was going to broadcast Enoch's Powells" "Rivers of blood" speech to mark the 50th anniversary - a speech that I would very much like to hear again in full, especially as it has become so true in this racist country, so far from the concept of a happy and harmonious multicultural society. Do these demented people really believe that you can undo history, rather like hooligans in America pulling down statutes of military leaders of the Civil War? Instead of trying to eradicate history, we need to learn the lessons from it. I believe there is an old saying that those who ignore the lessons of history are bound to repeat it.

An excellent letter in "The Times" on the 14th March put the issue in the correct perspective - and how much better are the letters in "The Times" than those juvenile ones on the "i", asking where the apologies will end - "Will we be asking Italy to apologise for our conquest by the Roman empire, or Scandinavia for the Viking invasion? We cannot judge the past by today's standards. If we accept people were less informed than we are, we should understand they operated in a different world, not make empty gestures on their behalf." That says it all, especially the last two sentences.

Fires

Pollution with coal fires. Mr. Gove planned to abolish coal fires, but nothing has happened yet.


The other latest craze, following on from a condemnation of diesel cars that not so long ago were being recommended, was Mr. Gove saying that plastic straws and cotton buds (they have plastic stems) are to be banned. Oh, what nonsense. I use the cotton buds quite a lot, not just for poking wax out of my ears, but also using them for various cleaning purposes. I therefore went to a store that day and bought a couple of packets of the cotton buds. I already have one nearly full packet, so this latest addition will see me out, managing to circumvent yet another daft Government proposal.

Mr. Gove, as Environmental Secretary, had earlier wanted to ban coal fires, saying that they created enormous pollution, but nothing further has been seen or heard of this daft proposal. Fortunately, our Mr. Gove, although formerly an excellent Education Secretary, now seems to be all wind and woffle, so we do not need to worry about his proposals.

Most of the time during the month I bought the 60 pence "i", though it saddens me that it seems to have become very left-wing, even more so than the dreadful "Guardian", opposed to the monarchy, against grammar schools, ashamed of our once glorious empire; and loathing anything to do with excellence and elitism. The letters colunn is unbelievably awful, even worse than the columnists, one badly written one on the 10th April from a woman knocking Churchill, saying:-

"I have been against Winston Churchill since the 1950s because my parents were (and one has to be loyal to one's parents) and because it seemed to me that the people of England were, on the whole, not convinced about him - him being a toff and all. Today we can only judge him second-hand from words written by films, ditto, and the politicians who keep his bust in their office or his picture on the walls - Trump, Thatcher. Personally, I wish Gary Oldman hadn't portrayed him in "Darkest Hour". I admire Oldman and thought he was one of us."

It might be difficult to imagine dafter, more irresponsible comments, totally out of order, Had it not been for Churchill, refusing to give into the appeasement demanded by Halifax and the odious and weak Butler, this woman would now be living under German dictatorship. Mind you, she might be somewhat better, not being allowed to write such drivel. Subsequently I gave up buying the "i", going back to the more unbiased and intelligent "Times". You get what you pay for in this life. When I think of the "i's" values, I begin to hate democracy and universal franchise, not to mention the fairy-tales of Socialism!

We had trouble during the month with the wireless router, showing only 1 bar instead of the usual 3 indicating full strength. Mrs. C. took it back to the 3 shop in Lincoln where a very helpful male assistant changed the SIM card without charge , and back home it improved to 2 bars, occasionally 3 bars, so that was helpful. I think we will leave it at that, for it works with 2 bars most of the time. As Voltaire said: "Be content with things that work moderately well", which remains a moral in these difficult and declining times.

Each week when Mrs. Copeland goes to Waitrose for the week's provisions, where she enjoys a free cup of coffee in a plastic cup, having spent the required amount of money (also having a free copy of "The Times"). The supermarket has now abolished the cup, and customers have to bring their own, or pay 3 for one at the supermarket. This is supposedly in the interests of the environment, presumably having nothing to do with lowering costs in the interests of profit margins.


Native

Going native.


One of my neighbours goes to the same doctors' surgery in Lincoln that I attend, the elderly widow having been with the practice for the past 55 years. Shamefully, she has now received a letter saying that as her village is out of the area, she must register with another practice. Of course, it is not too difficult to understand the reason for this disgraceful order. Every time I go to the practice the waiting room is more than 60% filled with immigrants, all babbling away in a variety of languages, and under Government proposals these immigrants have to be given priority above the natives.

The surrounding area of the practice, one of the poorest streets in Lincoln, is dominated by immigrants and drug addicts - and that is a fact that I can easily verify, so don't let some silly sod tell me that I am expressing racism. However much the do-gooders and the mealy-mouthed may argue, the flood of immigrants into our communities has created massive additional pressures on our health services, as well as schools and housing. This is one of the reasons why I voted for Brexit, hoping that we could stop much of this immigration in an already grossly overpopulated country - and what a hopeless belief that was.

Mrs. Rudd, the Home Secretary, was in trouble during the end of the month over the "Empress Windrush" immigrtion issue, getting in a hopeless muddle about sending them back home targets Having said that she was not going to resign - which is a sigmal that she will soon be going, she went on the 29th.

The real culptit is Mrs.May when she was Home Secretary, doing virtually nothing about stopping immigration, which is one of the reasons why people voted to leave Europe. Don't you just love politicians, prepared to knife one another in the back. Some nasty right-wing people would suggest that the "Empire Windrush" shoud have been turned round and sent back home. stopping the subsequent flood of immigration into this already overcrowded land, but that is hardly a sensible sentiment

Why is it that women, so wonderful in the caring professions, making better doctors and dentists than the men, are so out of their depth in the political arena? Admittedly, there have been some awful male politicians, Blair, Brown and Cameron among them, but there has not yet been a sucessful woman politician. Just think of the awfulness of Thatcher (who had to be booted out of office,) Mrs. Merkel (who made such a muddle over immigration, Diane Abbott (who cannot do her sums, Mrs. May (brave about Syria, but not having a clue wbout Brexit, and now Mrs. Rudd in a complete muddl, not likMrs. Clinton who had no understanding of foreign affairs or business, and now Mrs. Rudd whio is not likely to surive much longer. Don't let some silly sod say I am being sexist: these considerations are a fact.

I suppose the question is "Why are these women so poor in politics?" Is it because they are too emotiona, or try too had to be like men, or is it that they have yet to find their feet in a male-dominated club?

As might be expected, the left-wing Muslim Mayor of London could not resist entering the acrimonious "Windrush" debate, his parents having come to this country from Pakistan, saying that under the target paolicy of removing immigrants he could have been sent home. Er - better not comment on that.

Despite joining BT's "Call Protect" facility, trying to stop the scam calls, most of them from India, we nevertheless had a a total of 22 during the month, most of them asking if I was "Mr. Robert Salmond" - the false name I had given in a product registration form long ago. For most of them I lifted the receiver and put it quickly down again when I saw "International" or some obviously false number on the caller display, but to one or two I gave the rattle treatment, which no doubt startled the nasty little crooks. The problem with the BT Call Protect, in which you ask to block a number, is that the scammers change their false numbers each time. Even so, the number is going down ech month, so that is to be welcomed.

One very nasty call on the 14th came up as "International" on the caller display, obviously indicating it was a criminal scam. I had intended to apply the rattle treatment, so on answering the call I heard a recorded message saying that my BT Internet connection had been compromised in California, and I must dial 1 to connect to an engineer, otherwise my Internet connection would be immediately terminated.

I ignored it, of course, not having BT Internet, only to have a another such call the following day, with the number 02031130780 coming up on the caller display, which I thought might be a genuine number. I later dialled the number, finding that it was false. Nasty stuff, for no doubt many people get caught, having to pay money to these hateful little crooks.

During my working days I was a member of NALGO (National Association of Local Government Officers), and on retiring 29 years ago I became a life member, receiving the regular publications and news bulletins, although I disagree with nearly everything this excessive left-wing union has become. In the latest Spring issue there is an article about the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kham. Khan's working-class parents moved to Pakistan following the division of India, coming to this country in 1968, Khan being born in London shortly after they arrived.

In the article Khan is quoted as saying: "What we have to realise is the huge benefits that migration has brought to our city and our country. We need this talent to continue to come here." He would say that, wouldn't he, not acknowledging the tremendous population pressures the massive influx of immigrants (330,00 in 2015) has caused to our health and education services, not to mention the loss of Englishness, not that we are allowed to say that. Obviously the immigrants are needed in the NHS and to do all the dirty jobs the natives will not do, but the population pressure obviates these advantages.

The article mourns the financial failures of Northamptonshire County Council that went bankrupt, the point being made that "What's happened in Northamtonshire will hopefully at least make people aware of the battering that local councils have endured thanks to the reckless actions of Westminster governments since 2010." As might be expected, there is no recognition of the excessive payments to officers, many of the chief executives of county councils earning more that the Prime Minister, while most of the heads of departments are on 6-figure salaries, with enormous payments to councillors.

Here in Lincolnshire the Leader of the Council received an annual remuneration of 32,704 in 2016, and for a few days of work a week councillors were paid 10,322 for the basic allowance, on top of which there were large payments for chairmanship of committees. And then local governments wonders why they haven't got any money. Our local District Council is well organised, offering excellent services, but the County Council is a gigantic empire that we would probably not miss. Sadly, there is no overall control of local government expenditure. When in a financial muddle, put up the council tax.

On the 17th we had a luncheon gathering of the Village's Retired Gentlemen's Club at the Stokes Restaurant at The Lawn in Lincoln. The company was excellent, but the food was poor, the fish & chips that I had having seen better days. The Spanish waitress was first rate, but I would not nevertheless want to take Mrs. Copeland there. "The Lawn" was formerly a lunatic asylum, and the separate room we were in today seemed to be like one of the cells. Having only recently started up, maybe the food wil get better.

There was an item in "The Times" for the 16th saying that patients suffering from mental health problems, including dementia and physical and mental learning disabilities, will be given a sum of money from the NHS to spend how they choose. I found this difficult to accept. If they have mental problems, how can they make a choice? Politicians: don't you just love them? As my old grandfather used to say - something that is even truer today: they f**k up everything they touch." A state of anarchy might be an improvement in this country.



Vine

I bought a grape-vine from a mail-order firm, only to find on delivery that the top had been cut off, as shown in the photograph, totally spoiling the plant. What a nightmare mail-order can be!


I mentioned last month that the rubber plant that Mrs. C. gave me on our wedding day is dying, along with the two cuttings I subsequently made. All very sad, but in order to replace them - for they will obviously have to be thrown out, all the leaves having gone yellow and falling off, I bought a grape-vine from "Crocus", which arrived by courier on the 21st. I noticed, though, that the top had been cut off, but presumably this was in order to promote side growths. I sent an e-mail to the firm, asking whether it was normal to cut the top off, the reply saying that they cut off the tops to assist delivery. Seems somewhat strange.. surely spoiling the plant.

Fearing that coming across "Gardens4you", but although they had some suitable grapevine plants, payment had to be made by WorldPay, but never having heard of this payment I decided not to give my bank details, so I did not go ahead with the order. I gather that the plants come from Holland..

We saw two films during the month: "The Mercy", elating to an amateur yachtsman who foolishly tried to travel round the world, consequently with disastrous results, and the charming "Guensey Literary and Potto Pel and Pie Society", once again proving that Britih films are the finest in the world, nothing to touch them.

In "The Times" (which I now take each day rather than the left-wing "i"), there was a report saying that British adults "spend an average of one day a week online." I spend about 15 minutes a day, principally answering and writing e-mails, nd looking at the excellent BBC news website. Nothing more. Mercifully, the idiot's lanter never goes on, and thankfullyI do not have to pay the 146 licence for all the tired out rubbish, meaning over 75 years of age.

Another report on the same day said that "Glad to be grey: older people are happiest, though there was the importsnt and dominating caveat that they were the most worried about health. There is "freedom from" and "freedom to", the former meaning we do not have to worry about mortgages and child-rearing, and are virtually free from the politicians making everything worse, but there are not so many things that we can do, ageing bones removing many of the former joys of life as we are weighoed don with old bones and illnesses.

It was good to hear towards the end of the month that there has been a peace-settlement between North and South Korea, obviously engendered by Prresident Trump, not that he will get any credit for the settlement. It is said that the President will be coming to London in July, no doubt bringing out the uncouth rabble to hurl abuse at him in the streets, in all probability encouraged by the Muslim Mayor of London and editorials in left-wing newspapers, making me feel ashamed of this yobbish and broken-down country of ours.

At the end of the month it was announced that "The UK grew at its slowest rate since 2012 in the first quarter of the year, the Ofice for National Statistics (ONS) has said. GDP growth was 0.1%, down from 0.4% in the previous quarter, driven by a shap fall in construction output and a sluggish manufacturing sector."

The problem, as always, was our appallling productvity, the worst in any of the G7 nations. We are a lazy people, increasingly dependent on immigrant labour, but we are already grossly overpopulated. A real Catch 22 dilemma. Maybe it would help if we cut down the number of Bank Holidays, especially the shameful 10-day shutdown at Christmas.

It was so cold on Sunday 29th, the temperautre at noon just 8 C, that we lit the living fire in the evening. There have not been many Aprils when we have had to do that. To add to the weather misery, there is heavy rain frecast for the first week in May, somehing to look foward to in this miserable climate. How I wish I had emigrated to Spain when I retired all those years ago, escaping this broken-down, yobbo country.

Living fire

It was so cold at the end of the month that we lit the fire on Sunday 29th. Apart from two record hot days, it has been a terrible month, the temperature averaging about 12 C each day with incredible amounts of rain. The farmers are about three weeks to a month behind, meaning that food prices are going to shoot up, adding to the already high inflation.


Old

E-mail: johncopeland@clara.net
Lincolnshire 30th April, 2018
No. 1042




Diary of an Octogenarian<BR>



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