DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 12th September - Thursday 18th September, 2014
"Schools turn out teenagers who are 'sloppy, lazy and not up to the job. Too many teenagers leave school without having learnt how to dress smartly, speak politely and turn up for work on time, Ofsted's chief inspector said yesterday."
Life in the not so United Kingdom. Report in "The Times" 11th September, 2014. Perhaps this is not unduly surprising when you see and hear the teachers' union members at their Easter Conferences.
FRIDAY 12 SEPTEMBER
Much to my disappointment, work is about to commence on the unbelievably unsuitable house that was approved on appeal for our historic community. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, the building, which looks like a glorified warehouse, nevertheless no doubt a fine example of modern architecture, was opposed by all the neighbouring householders, rejected by the Parish Council; unanimously opposed by the Planning Committee of the District Council after a site visit; but was approved on appeal by one Inspector who gave to impression of having no regard whatsoever to the historic nature of our unique community dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, or to the Local Plan or any planning rules and regulations. One man therefore decided the outcome.
Fortunately, I own a plot of land on which large mature lime trees will thankfully obscure the view of the house from our community, and I suppose it can be argued that we will never have anything to do with the new residents, especially as they have been very unpleasant and aggressive towards us, The site has trees on other sides of the property, making it dark and depressing, and I was told by an officer of Anglian Water that it was a very wet site. Not the best location, you might say.
Even so, building such an out-of-character house in a unique historic community would seem to be yet another example of the total lack of concern for the environment in this country - a state of affairs that would never occur in most other European community, as we recently saw in Mijas, and as Mrs Copeland witnessed at Lake Garda, where every effort was made to blend in new houses with existing ones. Here, anything goes, so it seems. It makes me feel so sad that our unique environment is about to be ruined by this insensitive and uninspiring building, but I suppose I should be thankful that I have greatly enjoyed the unspoilt environment for nearly 45 years. Who can ask anything more than that in this tumbling down country of ours?
As I mentioned last week, the social character of the village is changing. Instead of the professional people we had in the past, including doctors, dentists and lawyers, we now have a very mixed bunch, including some hoi poloi. Maybe it can be argued that the young newcomers bring with them children, thereby assuring the continuation of the village, but few of them take any part in the social life of the community. Ten years from now the Club will probably be closed, and if not made into a mosque, the local church will suffer a similar fate. Change is inevitable, says one of my friends, but maybe not always for the better.
I saw on the BBC website that 3,700 new houses were proposed for the town of Grantham, no doubt totally destroying the environment, in a similar manner to the 230 houses that are proposed for the nearby village of Saxilby. Residents have bitterly complained about this unnecessary development at a time when there are more than enough houses in the declining county of Lincolnshire, but the Inspectorate will no doubt argue, as the fawning servant of the Government, that the houses are needed for the immigrants who flood in unchecked in their thousands every month, all the protests being rejected. The south-east is nearly full up, so a movement north now has to take place to provide the additional accommodation for the newcomers.
Democracy, along with freedom of speech, departed long ago in this country, probably explaining why Scotland wants independence -and good luck to the Scots in moving away from this nasty little bankrupt and broken down country. Sadly, all the latest opinion polls indicate a marginal NO vote for Independence, meaning that the Scots will have lost a fine opportunity to escape from the miseries of this indebted and out-of-control country.
Granddaughter has dropped her mobile telephone, smashing the screen. Fortunately, she has it on insurance but when making a claim yesterday for its repair she spoke to an Indian lady who obviously had a very limited understanding of the English language, not understanding what was being said or claimed. Presumably firms in this country use these Indian centres for cheapness, but it is invariably an unbelievably awful service, taking a long time to resolve any issue, as I have found on so many occasions.
I see that Anglia Water has a notice on its invoices saying "UK based call centre", showing a photograph of a cheerful English maiden, obviously insisting that there was unlikely to be any language problem. Complaining about the Indians is not racism on my part, whatever the nasty Little People may believe; instead it is a question of efficiency and companies paying a decent wage.
Amazingly, today's "Times" had an item saying: "Making fat people feel bad about their weight only makes them heavier according to researchers who say that weight discrimination should be treated like sexism or racism". Furthermore, "Overweight people who felt discriminated against put on almost 1 kg (2.2 lbs) over four years." When Mrs. Copeland and I read this we both laughed out loud, believing it was a spoof. Fat people can do something about their weight, whereas racism is a very different kettle of fish. So in addition to racism, sexism, and ageism we now have weightism. I remain convinced that this country has gone barking mad in its relentless economic and social decline.
The ultramodern house about to be built in our historic community. I still cannot believe that the Inspectorate allowed this fine example of modern architecture on appeal.
The area in which the modern house will be built, the stone buildings dating back to 1901, originally the stables for the nearby Hall.
It made me laugh that the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, announced that we would not be bombing Iraq by way of dealing with the latest insurgents. Whereupon Mr. Cameron shouted out: "Oh yes we are!" What a pantomime, and to think that these clowns rule over us. It really is frightening. Yet again, there is no wonder the Scots want to retreat behind Hadian's Wall.
I read some more of "Operation Sealion" in the evening. The author makes the point that Hitler was never really keen on, never convinced, about the invasion of England. He therefore turned to Russia in the apparent belief that he could finish off England after victory in the east. The point is also made that during the Battle of Britain Bomber Command bombed Germany extensively, losing 718 men, which was higher than the death toll of 544 for Fighter Command. There is even the claim that during the Battle of Britain, "The idea that the RAF crews were mostly dashing young products of the public schools is another myth. In fact, the majority were hardened professionals who had joined up before the war and had already seen action in France and over the Channel."
Each month I meet my only remaining long-term friend for coffee (or rather wine in my instance) at a hotel in Lincoln, a time to talk about times past and present, usually with a chronicle of our current ills, what we call an "organ recital." At least we are still here, not having taken the slightest notice of the food frighteners, which is something to be thankful for.
The Scottish referendum is becoming decidedly nasty now with all manner of threats from leading businesses saying that they will leave Scotland and base their headquarters in London. The Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, has said it will leave, probably making the Scots wonder whether this is a threat or a promise, bearing in mind that the bank had to be bailed out with millions of pounds of taxpayers' money. Sadly, according to the polls it begins to look as if there will be an overwhelming NO vote. We can but hope that these soothsayers are wrong. They usually are.
An American correspondent sent me an e-mail saying: "You just wrote about some immigrants fighting to get in to your country, I find this incredible, why doesn't England stop them or maybe they are stopped ? Most countries that have a good economy face the same problem, but it isn't wise to allow so many unqualified migrants coming to look for work. Are you affected by this in your location ? "
I replied that, under our present appallingly weak Government, there were no restrictions whatsoever on immigrants coming into this country, the Cameroons apparently being unwilling or unable to stop the present massive influx of thousands every month. This is why the electorate is turning in desperation to Ukip in the hope the numbers can be controlled and checked, for we are far too overpopulated already without having these additional numbers. Part of the problem is that the Confederation of What's Left of British Industry sees the immigrants as a form of cheap labour, as well as being well disciplined and better educated than the natives.
SATURDAY 13 SEPTEMBER
Mrs. Copeland and I sent off in the Peugeot 208 at 10 a.m. to journey down to Essex, where we will be spending until Monday morning with mother-in-law. Part of the weekend's arrangements involve attending a 40th birthday celebration of a niece, who has invited us to a celebratory luncheon with other members of her family, involving a great horde of young children.
In my old age I cannot abide noisy young children, especially as they nowadays seem to dominate the family with their endless requirements, representing a far cry from the good old days of my generation when they were thankfully seen and not heard. I therefore refused to attend the menagerie, not being able to tolerate that congregation of all those children and women, so I stayed behind in mother-in-law's retirement flat while Mrs. C went off to the gathering, not very pleased, no doubt deducting several points.
Admittedly, the children over the age of 5 years will be on their iPads, not speaking to anybody, so I suppose it could be argued that they are no trouble, but husbands will be looking after the babies and infants, bobbing them up and down on their laps, while the women drink wine. No wonder husbands, in order to avoid the horrors of modern family life, stay at the office late into the evening, pretending they have a lot of extra work to do.
To me, the modern family seems to represent a topsy-turvy world, a far cry from my generation in which fathers had very little to do with the children, not even pushing the trolley round the supermarket - though maybe they did not have those horrible institutions in my young days. No doubt this changed world is all part of women having gained their financial independence in recent years, though whether they are any happier with the extensive divorces and separations is possibly another consideration.
Autumn berries. There are many this year, indicating a severe winter according to the folklore of the Mark 1 Countrymen
While Mrs. C went off the party, I unwisely looked at Caitlin Moran's column in the dreadful "Magazine" section of today's "Times", reading under the title of "It's only fair to share my beauty philosophy: everyone looks their best ten minutes after sex." According to one of the listed items, ""Small yet regular outbreaks of adult acne simply mean you're more sexual than 'normal' people. " Appalled though I am by such literary standards with their teenage obsession with sex, recognising that Ms Moran is writing for a young readership, not curmudgeonly geriatrics, it might be argued that such writing does little to enhance the image of modern young women.
There is no doubt that I must stop reading the column in future, for it upsets me so much, making me realise that today's manners and mores are not those of my generation, everything having changed so much, For example, I cannot believe that such contributions would have appeared in "The Times" twenty or more years ago, when the newspaper was a dignified journal, the newspaper of record. Times change, but those of us in old age do not have to accept the debasement, preferring to hold to the tenets of a better age.
I had an e-mail from a doctor in Manchester, commenting on my entry last week saying that 230 new houses in a nearby village probably represented the need "to provide accommodation for the huge influx of immigrants". To which he replied: "Actually the numbers of migrants is considerably lower due to the fact that many return home. In 2011 a cross sample was taken of those who become resident and those that return home proves this fact. Migration of different groups across Europe has always taken place, and is a natural expansion between the ethnic people."
In my reply, I wrote: "Obviously I have to accept that there has always been immigration into this country, especially the Irish into Manchester, and no doubt some of them return home. Nevertheless, all the latest population figures show that immigration now forms a significant part of our population increase, and that young female immigrants represent a substantial part of the number of births. My contention, far from being racist, is that we are already grossly overpopulated in this country, unable to properly finance our public services, and that it is neither in the interests of the newcomers nor the natives to have a further substantial increase in population. Why do you think that there is now so much support for Ukip? Pure ignorance!' as Dr. Johnson might have said?"
Every day brings yet another instance of sexual abuse many years ago, the latest being an actress whom I have never heard of in my old age, not that I know of many celebrities, especially those appearing on the idiot's lantern. Apparently the actress claims that "she was sexually abused by two residential care workers while in a children's home in Nottingham as a teenager." Is it not time we put an embargo on all these long-ago allegations, insisting that any sexual abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago can no longer be considered?
With Mrs. C and her elder brother and his wife and sister, we went to have a meal at "The King's Head" at Gosfield, making for a most enjoyable occasion. Mrs. C's mother used to join us for these suppers, but now, at the age of 97, she prefers to stay a home. The service at the pub was excellent with cheerful young waitresses, and I greatly enjoyed the steak that I ordered.
SUNDAY 14 SEPTEMBER
After Mrs. C and her mother had visited the family grave in Braintree to tidy up the ground, we drove to "The Bull" at Blackmore End - an old pub that has recently been magnificently restored, obviously having cost of a great deal of money, inside and outside having been tastefully totally renovated. We had drinks while sitting outside in the warm sunshine, and then drove on to Finchingfield to have a light lunch and drinks sitting outside "The Fox", seeing the great congregation of motorcyclists, the attractive village being a popular meeting place for this leathered fraternity. I found it interesting seeing some of the massive, powerful machines, making me wish I had managed to acquire one in earlier years. However, the scooter is adequate for me, getting up to 60 mph with a following wind,
We had afternoon tea later in the day at the house of Mrs. C's elder brother and his wife Pat, being joined by sister Fiona and the younger brother for wine and sandwiches, sitting outside in the extensive garden for a couple of hours before it became too cold, thereby adjourning inside.
Finchingfield, where we had lunch today. The attractive village is a favourite meeting place for hordes of motorcyclists.
Back at the apartment, Mrs. Copeland and her mother watched the idiot's lantern, looking at a scripted programme called "The Antiques Road Show." As I have mentioned on far too many occasions, I cannot abide television, taking the view that it has seen its day, now an outdated institution watched only by the elderly, most of whom probably forget they have earlier seen the endless repeated programmes.
Instead of watching the nonsense, I finished reading "Hitler: Dictator or Prophet" in the evening, enjoying the book, even though I found some of the theories a bit fetched, it being argued by psychiatrists after the war that the Fuhrer suffered from advanced schizophrenia with the associated symptom of hearing voices - "Command Hallucinations", which he always obeyed. It is also said that he visited Liverpool in his early days having a look round London, which seems to be very dubious, if not downright wrong.
However, the author makes the valid point that initially Hitler wanted to come to an agreement with this country, having a great respect for such a small nation being able to control a massive empire. If Britain allowed him a free hand in Europe, he would honour the British Empire.
Some of the politicians in this country, among them Lord Halifax and R.A.Butler, believed that such an arrangement would have been possible, preventing a devastating war, yet it is doubtful whether Hitler was ever able to keep his word. Nevertheless, if he had confined his territorial acquisition to Austria and Czechoslavakia, concentrating on economic warfare instead, his Germany would no doubt have ended up as the most powerful nation in Europe, as it is now, while we languish on the sidelines, pretending we have come out of recession.
I made a start on "Storming the Eagle's Nest - Hitler's War in the Alps" by Jim Ring, published by faber & faber. Hitler's Alpine retreat - the "Berghof" in Berchtesgaden, must have a been a splendid edifice, "garnished with the most expensive materials, having a conference room with a huge picture window - twenty-five feet by twelve opening onto the Alps." The building ended its life being bombed by the Allies, (one account I read said by the RAF, another by the Americans. You might think the historians could get this right) not wishing it to become a shrine, though the nearby tea-room with its long lift cut into the rocks by slave labour, built as a present from Borman, still survives. I would dearly like to visit it, being part of my "bucket list", but I fear I am too old for such an excursion now.
MONDAY 15 SEPTEMBER
It begins to look as if the NO vote will win the day in the Scottish referendum, making me feel so sad, for as mentioned earlier it was a wonderful opportunity for Scotland to escape from a country in terminal decline - a country that prefers to bomb other countries rather than invest in its public services; that has no concern whatsoever for the environment, meaning that a YES vote could escape the horrors of the Inspectorate seeming to allow every appeal; free itself from a grossly overpopulated England as the immigrants flow in unchecked; and which is getting more and more into debt, the most indebted nation in the G7 group; and which believes that ever rising debt means economic growth. Scotland would even be able to escape from those quotidian sexual cases in which a man is in court for nipping a woman's bottom sixty years ago.
What an opportunity to get away from all these horrors, as well as being able to escape from the circus of the European Union whose unrestrained bureaucrats make life increasingly difficult for us with their ridiculous legislation. Admittedly, Scotland might suffer a few years of financial problems, but Mr. Salmond has said that an independent Scotland would no longer be responsible for England's national debts, which would be a big consideration. Were it not for the dismal climate and the difficulty of understanding the Scots, I would like to live in an independent Scotland, but like most things I suppose it is too late for me to move at my time of life.
The delightful "Sibson Inn Hotel" on the A1, where we have a pit-stop for drinks on the way home to Lincolnshire.
We set off back to Lincolnshire about 10 a.m., having a reasonable journey with a stop at the delightful "Sibson Inn Hotel", whose bar has mercifully not been changed at all. The young waiter is a delight - courteous and cheerful, which is a rare phenomenon indeed in this country. Instead of going straight home, we went to our local pub/restaurant "Woodocks" to have lunch. As always I had rump steak, which was rather overdone, despite asking for medium, but otherwise it was all right. Mrs. C. had some weird kind of ploughmen's lunch called "Ploughman's Tart", though whether this referred to the food or a person was not clear.
With a round of drinks the bill came to £20 - excellent value, no doubt explaining why the place is always packed. A pity, though, about the horrible youth club-style music, though today it was not too obtrusive. Arriving home we found that all was well, not having been burgled, and after tea I read some more of "Storming the Eagle's Nest" - yet another book on Hitler!
Today was "Battle of Britain Day", commemorating the defeat of the Luftwaffe - a defeat that was to mean that Hitler would subsequently be fighting on his dreaded two fronts, unable to win the war.
TUESDAY 16 SEPTEMBER
I finished reading Andy McNab's "Brute Force" yesterday, finding it rather difficult to follow with all the international intrigue, and have now started on "The Zone of Interest", the latest novel from Martin Amis, published this year by Jonathan Cape at £18.99. Alas, it was not until I had read 15 pages that I realised that the story was set in a Nazi concentration camp. There is no doubt that I am beginning to "lose it", though I suppose this is inevitable at the age of 80, something that I have to accept, being grateful that I am still here, having always had plenty of salt and never eating any vegetables (other than home-grown runner beans).
An e-mail this morning from a highly respected correspondent, saying: "Sugar - not salt - is to blame for high blood pressure, US researchers claim. They argue that high sugar levels affect a key area of the brain which causes the heart rate to quicken and blood pressure to rise. The scientists from New York and Kansas also highlight a recent study of 8,670 French adults which found no link between salt and high blood pressure. "
In this diary I have repeatedly said that there was no harm whatsoever in having copious quantities of salt, so once again you read it here first. Nevertheless, it is annoying that all these food frighteners issued by the Food Standards Authority are subsequently proved to be completely wrong. It really is time that that scare-mongering organisation was closed down, along with the Elf & Safety Executive whose nonsense probably knocks 0.2% off economic growth, not that we have any growth anyway, other than the inflated prices of the housing market in London and the south-east.
Meanwhile, there was the news that "The target to reduce sugar consumption should be much more ambitious, health experts say." Sugar is now the biggest threat, though no doubt in two years from now there will be a survey showing that it has no harmful effects at all. In other words, the so-called experts, especially the medicine men, have not a clue what is good and bad for the body, nowadays merely clutching at straws in their ignorance. Thankfully, few people take any notice of the nonsense.
Yet another instance of the nonsense of the food fanatics came in an announcement today that "high fat dairy products can reduce diabetes risk." Not so long ago, full-cream milk and butter were on the risk list, but now, in the ever changing idea, the milk and the butter are good for you, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk being worthless. Do we laugh or do we cry at all this stupidity?
There was also a report that "Britain is puling away from the rest of the world's advanced economies , underlining the strength of recovery, according to a global think tank." On what, I wonder, is this claim made when Britain is seeing a fall in exports, a decline in manufacturing, and even seeing the housing market stalling beyond Watford? In other words, it is a nonsense, due entirely to the country getting further into debt, kidding itself and others that we are recovering from the recession. I wonder what they will be saying this time next year when interest rates will have probably been raised by a full 1% to check the ever growing indebtedness?
Another e-mail this morning from a correspondent brought an article from today's "Daily Mail" quoting comments about England from a Portuguese professor who had lived here for the past 25 years: "Of course I love England! Why else would I have spent 25 years here? I also hate it, but that's often part of love, isn't it?' he said
"From a class structure that is one of the most rigid and antiquated in the world, to the unreconstructed colonial snobbery, passing by self-declared racism and self-destructive xenophobia, Britain has almost medieval peculiarities, turning it into a society in decomposition,' he writes.
"For although the educated elite turn the other cheek to loutish behaviour, Magueijo believes our working classes tend to respond in the opposite fashion. 'I never met such a group of animals,' he writes. 'English culture is pathologically violent. The English are unrestrained wild beasts and totally out of control.'
"By way of an example, he cites a visit to an A&E department in Blackpool one Sunday afternoon. There he came face to face, during a four-hour wait for treatment, with the results of street culture. 'It looked like a field hospital after a battle.'
"He further describes the local beach as a hotspot for 'human whales', and adds: 'People in the North are incredibly obese, men and women with three-metre waists made of fat and lard . . . They say: "It's grim up north", and now I see why.'
"Another visit to the British seaside took him south, to Margate, which he describes as unremittingly 'foul'. 'Everything is full of garbage and vomit, along with the remains of fish and chips, and last night's session in the pub.'
My correspondent ended the quotation by saying: "Well, it's no wonder the Scots want to get away...!" These are precisely my views. Come on Scotland: come to your senses and grasp this wonderful opportunity to get away from this chaos. Here in England we are in terminal decline, so get away while you can before the final crunch when Germany and the IMF bail us out.
I saw on the BBC News website that our weak prime Minister - all set to bomb Iraq to take the electorate's mind off the chaos at home - is pathetically pleading to the Scots to make a decisive NO vote in Thursday's referendum, obviously knowing that it will look very bad internationally if Scotland has the good sense to leave us, giving further evidence that that this country is falling steadily apart. He is promising to devolve more powers if the Scots are daft enough to say YES. It makes us realise the problems Russia is having with Ukraine, though presumably we will not be sending in the tanks (if we have any left after the Defence cuts) across the border if there is a YES vote.
Were I a religious man, saying my prayers at night, I would pray for an overwhelming YES vote, enabling the Scots to move away form an increasingly very nasty little country. Mother-in-law is convinced that it will be a YES vote, but I do not share this soothsaying, fearing that a wonderful escape opportunity will be lost.
As the Cameroons become ever more desperate to prevent the kingdom falling apart, they are saying that an independent Scotland would not have an adequate defence against terrorism. To which it might be said that if an independent Scotland to relish bombing and interfering in the affairs of other nations instead of spending money on ailing public services, the country would not have to face reprisal attacks.
Just to add to my problems, a lavatory cistern has started to leak from a retaining screw, Mrs. Copeland accusing me of having missed the pan, which rather annoyed me. So the plumber came to fix it this morning, finding difficulty in obtaining a suitable replacement washer, He told me that most of the parts are made abroad - no doubt in China from whence comes all the badly made rubbish, and do not always fit. Life, alas, doesn't seem to become any easier. Fortunately, he is an excellent plumber and was able to effect a repair, albeit after some difficulty. More expense, meaning I will never be rich.
Today I renewed my road fund licence for the Scorpio, which costs £250 for a full year, whereas Mrs. Copeland with her new Peugeot 208 only has to pay £20. However, bearing in mind that I have not long to live, I decided that it would be better to licence the vehicle for the alternative of six months. It would be awkward for Mrs. C to have to claim a refunds on account of my demise. These are the things you have to think of when you are old and over the hill, like the country having seen better times.
Even with the reduced licence of £126.50, it is an expense I have to contend with, not wanting to dispose of the vehicle that has only done 35,165 miles, only 542 in the past year. The cost per mile with the £250 insurance and the rising cost of petrol must be phenomenal, but there you go.
The tastefully and extensively restored and refurbished pub "The Bull" at Blackmore End in Essex, where we had a drink yesterday.
At 1.22 p.m. today, when Mrs. Copeland and I were having lunch after she had been visiting the sick and the poor during the morning, Tuesdays being her social worker day, a single aeroplane of the "Red Arrows Flying Circus" roared over the house at an altitude probably no more than 200 feet, making the whole house shake. In the past I have complained about this unacceptable low-altitude flying, invariably receiving an anodyne reply that every effort was made regarding safety.
While this may be true, I continue to believe that within the next two years there will be an almighty crash, probably involving death on the ground, Then, and only then, will this flying that costs the taxpayer £20m a year, excluding the capital cost of crashes, be suspended,. It could be argued that the money would be much better spent on the Air Ambulance Service, the money going towards something useful.
During the day we had yet another scam, but I had put on the answer machine, so we were not bothered about the intrusion while having lunch. It is only recently that I have thought of putting on the answering machine to stop these daily scams, but the system obviously works. Every action has a reaction, so we are told, and it is obviously true in this instance. The point is that the answering machine should be put on at lunchtime - say 12.30 p.m. to 2 p.m., and again between 5.50 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. when dinner is being served.
It made me laugh out loud (LOL as they say on the Internet), that players of thugby, that game for thickies that involves even less skill than Snakes & Ladders, involving jumping on opposing players, have been advised to bathe separately in order to avoid "a serious infection which usually causes boils, abscesses, and carbuncles" in crowded changing rooms.
Apparently, the "close contact in rugby, coupled with turf burns from artificial grass which allows bacteria to enter the body, means that it is a known hotbed for infection." In other words, even if you manage to avoid a broken leg or the loss of an eye, you could still end up with a nasty looking carbuncle. When, oh when, are they going to ban that barbaric and silly game?
It also made me laugh - what a day this has been for mirth - to read in the paper that the Spaniards had named a Plaza "Margaret Thatcher." Presumably it was a rundown plaza that had not seen any investment for donkey's years, falling steadily into decay. How you have to laugh, that terrible woman having done so much harm to this country, directly responsible for the credit crunch following her freeing of the financial markets from any restraint. And we are still suffering from her lack of investment in the public services, as well as her blinkered little shopkeeper belief that the service industries were more important than manufacturing
I cut the grass during the day, and watered the spinach that I am trying to grow at this time of year, not wanting to have any of the polluted commercial varieties. After lunch it was a siesta while Mrs. C went off on more social worker activities, and in the evening I read some more of "Storming the Eagle's Nest" - a book I am greatly enjoying,
WEDNESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER
I have several e-mails saying how wrong I am in fully supporting Scottish independence, some very nasty things being said about Mr. Salmond. Even Mrs. Copeland has queried my independence stance, and when asked why I said I thought that a YES vote was beneficial to Scotland. Whereupon she exclaimed: "You're not usually so altruistic. What's happened?"
The question I ask in this endless debate is "Why are the Cameroons going cap in hand to Scotland to plead with them to stay with us?" Doesn't this suggest that we have more to lose with a YES vote than Scotland may have? Nevertheless, I keep to my overwhelming support for Scotland to have the good sense to get away from this country, if only to free itself from the Inspectorate, the European Union, Nato, and probably the worthless United Nations. The Scots will save a lot of money by not being associated with those organisations that have never brought us any benefits.
Much to my surprise, nearly all my correspondents expressing views on this subject believe that there will be a YES vote, whereas I am convinced that it will narrowly be NO. But then, although I pride myself on economic soothsaying, I am usually hopelessly wrong about psephology.
After a visit to town shortly after breakfast, I had a friend join me here for a baguette and wine at 12.45 p.m., Mrs. Copeland having gone to a meeting of the Village Ladies' Luncheon Club. A pleasant inerval during which we had some wide-ranging discussions, disagreeing about most subjects - something I always enjoy, fearing that when people agree with me I must be wrong.
Item sent to me by a reader, which measures my full support for Scottish independence.
There was the good news this morning that Ofsted has said there would be 40 no-warning inspections of schools this month, with more to follow. In the past, schools have had several months' notice of an intended visit, which made a nonsense of any inspection. As might be expected, the teachers' unions have bitterly attacked the idea, saying that the inspectors are treating staff like naughty children. A firm rule is that any measure the unions oppose is decidedly in the interests of children.
During the afternoon I received a text message from my dental practice, telling me that the annual inspection was now due, and would I make an appointment. I therefore duly telephoned, only to find on several occasions that the line was busy, having to listen to a long recorded diatribe about the facilities that were offered, ending up being told that I was in a queue - you are at number 6. After several attempt I gave up, and wrote a letter instead.
It now seems that it is no longer possible to telephone any firm, organisation or local government, the lines all being busy as staff are cut back and the immigrants flood in. It is therefore obvious that the telephone is nowadays only useful for personal calls, all business communications having to be made by letter, or by e-mail if there is such an address - not that there was with my dentists.
I gather that, as a National Health patient, I will be struck off if I do not have this costly and often unnecessary annual assessment, a further indication of how we are ripped off by dentists. Nevertheless, I think I will switch to a private dentist, not having to put up with this NHS dentistry chaos, even if it means being ripped off even more.
In the evening Mrs. Copeland and I went to the excellent "Venue" in Lincoln to see the film "Mr. Morgan's Last Love", which we both enjoyed. We no longer go to the Odeon, being unable to tolerate all the talking, giggling, feet on the chairs in front, popcorn-eating, and playing with mobiles of a large section of the audience. All the better films come to the Venue, so we prefer to see them there, being able to have an alcoholic drink before the start of the film - all very civilised, and the audience is far more mature and well behaved, as behoves a more elderly assembly.
It rather upset me, though, to see in the forthcoming programme that the "Venue" was including some mainstream films, including such horrors as "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" - children's films that were shown at the Lincoln Odeon. I cannot therefore understand why they are being shown again, but then in my old age I cannot understand many aspects of modern life. I suppose the trouble is that Lincoln is not noted as a cultural city, its university students, most of whom do not have to study in the evenings as I had to do as an undergraduate many years ago, preferring pubs to culture. There is therefore precious little demand for the more intelligent and thought-provoking films. Never mind: I can always buy them on DVD from Amazon.
THURSDAY 18 SEPTEMBER
One of my nephews recently moved to Scotland from Lincoln as a result of a job change. As he was a man on the spot, I asked him about the referendum, receiving a reply that the more intelligent people seemed to be voting NO, whereas the riffraff, who were tearing down the NO posters, were firmly in the YES camp. As I mentioned earlier, I am firmly in favour of the YES vote, so I do not know where that leaves me. However, I am convinced it will be a decisive NO vote, which will mean that for the first time ever I will have been right about psephology.
During the morning I was looking at the new season for the Lincoln Film Society, seeing that we had seen many of the offerings, including "Exhibition", which I had watched some months ago with my two sons-in-law and an elderly male neighbour as part of our fortnightly DVD film gathering. In the leaflet the film is described as "A fascinating film about art and artists, their relationships to one another and the world." Alas, it was the second worst film we had ever seen, the very worst one being "Lebanon" about an Israeli tank crew having broken down. After about 15 minutes we could stand no more, and switched it off, showing another film. To be fair, the film showed the unbelievably awful world these artists live in, a rarefied world of pretentious make-believe that knows no boundaries and no discipline - a ghastly scruffy environment and a horrible people.
Planes engaged in the Battle of Britain, which is celebrated on the 15th September each year. The Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 and the Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1
To town in the morning to purchase eggs from the Market, only to find that the extra large free-range eggs that we purchase had not come in today, so I had to have some alternatives. What a country; it really is falling apart, yet the Scots seem about to fluff their wonderful opportunity to get the hell out of a broken down and indebted country. Interestingly, many of the people to whom I have spoken about the vote - all Englishmen, obviously, have invariably said that they are not the slightest bit interested in the referendum, one telling me: "I can't stand the Scots!" I have no such dislike, not even for the Welsh. It's the French, a horribly perfidious nation with its old woman language that, like most Englishmen, I cannot abide, especially when I think of their cowardly conduct during the Second World War.
When in town I saw a villager, a fellow in his early 60s, who had recently had a knee replacement, now hobbling round on two sticks, telling me that it was initially very painful, "but I'm now getting there." Unfortunately, the pain killing tablets mean that he cannot drink alcohol, which must be a real misery. Not so long ago my doctor advised me to have a knee replacement on account of the arthritis that is getting steadily worse. However, I believe that it very unwise for anybody over the age of 65 years to have an operation, so I will therefore have to face the pain. I gather that there is about a 12-week full recovery period, which is something else that I could not accept, not being able to go out on the scooter or drive the car.
It was really wonderful being on the scooter in the warm sunshine - the temperature up to 22 C, so much better than even an open-topped sports car. I am therefore so glad that I replaced the scooter in March of 2013. If I am still here in two years from now, I will probably replace the scooter for another new one, though it could be a handicapped scooter.
Back home I transplanted the spinach seedlings, hoping that I would be able to grow them, despite this being quite the wrong season. Along with home-grown runner beans, I like spinach, which in the past we have had from relatives. As I will not be having them under glass, not having a greenhouse, I suppose the frost will kill them, but never mind. It is worth a try, and gives me something to do in the rusting away years of retirement.
In the afternoon post, previously the morning post before privatisation, we had just three mail order catalogues, all of which went straight into the recycling bin without being opened.. One of my friends tells me that change is "inevitable", and maybe it is, for there has been a big change in postal deliveries, In bygone times, I would look forward to the postman coming, receiving letters from friends and books from Amazon, but nowadays people send texts and e-mails instead, while Amazon has recently moved over to private couriers, offering a splendid service, even sending an e-mail saying when the items are to be delivered.
It seems such a shame that the postman cannot be persuaded to put the day's mail straight into the recycling bin, thereby saving a lot of bother, but I suppose it takes only a few minutes to gather up the mail-order catalogues and the charity appeals to put them in the bin.
This evening I will be seeing a DVD film with my two sons-in-law and an elderly male neighbour - gathering that I always enjoy, especially as the sessions enable us to enjoy some alcohol.
Lincolnshire 18th September, 2014
Diary of a Septuagenarian
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