DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN

- John Copeland -


Friday 14th July - Thursday 20th July, 2017


Autumn

Shades of Autumn, "summer's lease hath all too short a date." Soon there will be those dreaded notices in pubs and restaurants: "Book now for Christmas".


"A man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat and to drink and to be merry".

Ecclesiastes, 8:15


FRIDAY 14 JULY

Yesterday evening I greatly enjoyed reading the second volume of James Holland's "The War in the West", covering the period 1941-1943 when the Allies started fighting back. In commenting on Rommel, the author makes the point that "One of Rommel's failings was that he never got to grips with the operational act of war - logistics and supplies were, to his mind, someone else's problem - nor did he understand air power." Lacking his supplies for the Desert battles that were destroyed en route by the Royal Navy, he was unable to beat the ever overcautious Montgomery with his overwhelming army.

It begins to look as if my laptop, nearly 9 years of age, is in its dying throes. Booting up takes 5 minutes 2 seconds; closing down 7 minutes 1 second; printing this diary 10 minutes (presumably understandable with the prolixity of the entries); and bringing up a programme such as Lotus I use for this diary, takes all of 3 minutes and seven seconds. Every day, sometimes twice a day, the Blue Screen of Death comes up as if a forthcoming obituary. Nevertheless, I will plod on for a little longer, but when I finally have to discard the laptop I will give up computing altogether, being sick 'n' tired of crashes, viruses, e-mailed advertisements, and the computer working slower than an English worker.

One of the many advantages of giving up computing is that I will no longer have to pay the rip-off prices of the printer cartridges. The 62 HP pack of black and colour costs 31.99 , and lasts just three weeks. Even allowing for the printer having to cope with the 8 colour photographs and long-winded entries, this seems an unreasonable expense, especially as the cartridges are no doubt cheaply made in Hergestellt, which sounds like somewhere in Mrs. Merkel's country.

On the other hand I know that I would greatly miss the e-mails from readers that I receive each day. There was one today from a lady in Canada who commented: ""I must protest your gloomy diary this week...Yes, your immune system is compromised but your cancer has been beaten. Believe me, an eye infection is not to be compared with cancer spreading rampant through your body.. So, John, count your blessings - the rest of the treatments will go quickly and you will be back in full health - also your hair will grow back."

Very sensible advice, and I must take it on board, regarding the big picture instead of a particular development. There is no doubt the immense pain I was in with the eye infection, now gradually easing, made me feel very depressed about the treatment, thereby failing to get things into perspective, rather like Muddling May. I have the 5th chemotherapy session on Thursday, another 6 hours of drugs being pumped into my body, after which I will no doubt feel as if I have just come out of a parish council meeting,

One of our lady villagers has died recently, and with Mrs. Copeland and a neighbour I wrote out an obituary for inclusion in the monthly Church Newsletter. Both she and her husband were great characters and splendid hosts living in a ramshackle farm where geese, chickens, horses and dogs enjoyed free-ranging freedom. With two friends, I would mow their extensive lawns with sit-on mowers, afterwards having a little something. Good old days, now gone for ever, being replaced by a more neurotic and sterile world full of political correctness and silly Billies terribly upset because a Member of Parliament innocently mentioned "niggers in the woodpile." I suppose we have to feel sorry for the pathetic complainants.

This nonsense is probably a reflection of a country in decline, socially horribly debased with an immigrant level that is destroying Englishness, and an economy in relentless recession as a result of a poor manufacturing base and the British worker not working hard enough. In my working days, our productivity was far greater than today but then we did not have the curse of computers that have workers staring at a screen all day instead of talking to people.

We even had a civilised one-and-a-half hours for lunch, going home to a meal cooked by waiting Mrs. Copeland. Good old days, and far better ones than the neurosis of today when the workers no longer have a decent lunchbreak, obviously explaining all the errors they make, becoming overtired.

Hosta

Hosta in the garden


Mrs. Copeland went off at 10.10 a.m. to drive down to Essex (136 miles) to have an overnight stay with her mother (100 years of age next month), returning about 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon. I always worry about her travelling south where the roads are crowded and with unpleasant and impatient drivers, nobody taking the slightest notice of the speed limits, road rage everywhere as a result of the frustration. In Essex the chances of exceeding 30 mph are in any event strictly limited, what is known as a "third gear county" Roads down there are very overcrowded, making me so thankful that I live in the backwater of Lincolnshire "where peace comes dropping slow."

Mrs. C. sent me a text message at 1.54 p.m. saying that she had arrived safely at her mother's apartment, but the traffic was exceedingly heavy, no doubt on account of British workers finishing early on a Friday in preparation for the long and sacred weekend. Presumably there was also some holiday traffic bound for the misery of the airports. How fortunate I am that I will never have to go abroad again, not going again in an aeroplane, now being petrified of flying in the belief that the planes are overused.

During the morning I went in to town to buy an "i" and a package of Phenergan tablets that I find helpful in getting me to sleep. The tablets cost 7.99, which I thought was excessive, but then the pharmaceutical companies charge more than plumbers and small-town solicitors.

It made me laugh to see in the "i" a photograph of President Trump with the Boy Macron in Paris, the diminutive lad looking as if he had just come out of short trousers and from school. There is no doubt that height, being over 6 feet tall, gives a tremendous advantage to a man, making them "look the part" of senior office. In my younger days I was 5'10", but have now shrunk to 5'9", an insignificant height for a man.

Apparently President Trump is in that ghastly country to celebrate the anniversary of the Americans entering the Second World War to rescue the perfidious French who had run away from the Germans. Like many Englishmen, I do not much care for the French, seeing them as a spineless lot with their old womanly language that I cannot bear to hear spoken.

Also in today's "i" was a news item that "the Scots and Welsh threaten to block May's flagship Brexit legislation." What a fine mess Muddling May is getting into, not having a clue what she is doing, a busker with a bad act. The main hope is that she will go at or soon after the Party Conference, David Davis, the only suitable contender, taking her place; indeed, according today's "Times", a group of Conservative M.Ps are proposing to oust her the week after the Conference, with every chance of success. What is for certain is that the Government cannot go on in this hopeless mess under her appalling leadership, having about as much understanding of Brexit as she has of nuclear physics. I believe she had a geography degree, the easiest degree after psychology.

Just after 1 o'clock I had lunch on my own, consisting of soup, buttered bread rolls, followed by strawberries and cream, having some non-alcoholic wine. At 6.15 p.m granddaughter Chloe arrived, and together we journeyed down to "The Woodcocks" in the village for supper. It is good to be with the young, all of whom hate Muddling May, which gives real hope for the future.

Afterwards, at 7.45 p.m. I collected a neighbour and drove in the Scorpio to Caroline and Phil's house, some eight miles north of our village, to watch some further episodes of the splendid "House of Cards", which is almost a re-enactment of the Trump administration. Although I found it rather difficult to follow, I greatly enjoyed the two episodes that we watched during the evening.

I was hearing that the temperature had reached nearly 40 C in parts of Spain, not surprisingly a record temperature, but what misery it must bring, suggesting that the temperate rain-soaked weather of the UK is not so bad after all, though how wonderful it would be if in July or August we could have a fortnight of sunny weather, the temperature at 25 C.

Presumably the point has to be made that anybody from this country goes on holiday to mainland Europe after the 7th July is mad, the weather always being too hot and conditions unbearable. After the 20th July, when the schools are on holiday, conditions are made even worse by unruly passengers in the aircraft, making for a miserable journey with the riffraff

During the evening I thought of Mrs. Copeland having to watch the tennis with her mother. Fortunately, being hard of hearing, her mother has the sound off with subtitles, so Mrs. C may be able to read a book, thereby not seeing the tantrums of the players, and not hearing all the screaming and shouting after every stroke,

SATURDAY 15 JULY

I was reading on the BBC news website that there had been a further acid attack in London by two youngsters aged 15 and 16, their nationality not stated though we might hazard a guess. who were subsequently arrested, five men having been attacked, one suffering serious injuries that could cause blindness for life. What a terrible business. You do not need to be one of those crazy psychologists to know the causes of these crimes. To begin with there is an immense amount of unemployment and poverty among the 15-25 age group, especially in the large cities dominated by immigration.

Secondly, there is the break-up of the family through divorce, separation and neglect, as well as mothers working, dumping their infants and young children in bootie camps, sometimes called nurseries, all day, the abandoned children having no security as so many studies have shown. And thirdly, there is a lack of discipline in the home and at school, the lily-livered brigade having managed to abolish all forms of punishment so that a parent can now suffer penalties if a smack is administered. Teachers have no means of punishment at all, meaning that children can run riot in the classroom.

The answer, of course, is to bring back National Service for two years, making the recruits work to tidy up the streets and undertake many other unpleasant menial tasks, rather than teaching them to become more violent as soldiers. Money can always be found for wars, and Muddling May had no problem in handing out 1 billion of our money to a bunch of paramilitary Irish religious clowns. Such Service would bring about wonders, getting the yobs off the streets and probably giving them lessons on inter-racial relationships, learning to tolerate Muslims

I also read that Blair was pathetically still trying to make a comeback from the political desert when it might be thought that he would be hiding in the hills, having recently been further criticised by the Chilot chappie, suggesting that "Some EU leaders may be prepared to be flexible on the free movement of people to help Britain stay in the single market". Why doesn't that disliked man just keep quiet, realising that his days in power and any influence he might have had in the past having long since gone, now a nobody. Fortunately, nobody takes the slightest notice of him.

There was also a report that two men have been charged with criminal damage after a knight sculpture was thrown into a Lincoln river. This Lincoln Knights' Trail consists of 36 sculptures and marks the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln. Sheer vandalism, the arrested culprits being 20 and 26 years of age. What motivates these dreadful people to create such pointless vandalism, drink probably being one of the causes.

After a late start to the day, not getting up until 8.45 a.m. - and what a delight it is in retirement not to have to get up early, not like those with menial job, I wiped down the Scorpio and scooter after the rain yesterday evening. The vehicles were covered with a brown sediment, presumably reflecting the dreadful pollution in these parts, even though it is a largely rural county. What must be it be like in the horrors of London? Later on I undertook some household tasks in preparation for Mrs. Copeland returning at about 3,30 p.m. this afternoon, and then spent an hour or so on a miserably cold day (temperature 16 C) in the conservatory reading "The War in the West".

During the evening I spent more time reading "The War in the West". In detailing with the war in the desert, the author makes the point that it was the poor British commanders, namely Ritchie and Auchinleck, who were at fault, rather than the soldiers. "Fear of failure was leading to caution and indecision , which was, of course, leading to failure."

Rolls Royce

A 1928 Rolls Royce Piccadilly - P1 that an owner used for 82 years as his only car, driving it throughout his life, the car having been given as a graduation present by his father. Not many modern cars would last that long, not that you would probably want them to.


During the morning one of my neighbours called in to see whether I was all right after having been left alone overnight. I greatly appreciated that kind gesture, serving as a reminder of what a splendid community I live in, having the best view of the village with the avenue of oaks. Were it not for this cursed cancer I would be fine, but then that is like saying you could see to Bethnal Green were it not for the houses in between.

Much to my amazement, the Blue Screen of Death did not come up today, despite going onto the Internet several times and writing entries for this long-winded diary. Perhaps like the rest of the country it doesn't work weekends.

Mrs. Copeland arrived home at 3.15 p.m., having had a good journey from Essex, there being hardly any traffic on the road, presumably on account of the miserable cloudy weather, so that was a relief.

After dinner, the evening was spent reading more of "The War in the West". It is an excellent analytical account of the war, unlike some of the earlier histories who were mainly descriptive.

SUNDAY 16 JULY

The blood clot in my left leg is now causing me so much pain that I can barely walk. Obviously this is something that I will have to discuss with the consultant when I see him this coming Tuesday, for I cannot go on like this, in agonising pain all the time. Not surprisingly, I am dreading the 5th chemotherapy next Thursday, wondering what unpleasant and painful reaction that will bring, probably having earache.

I was interested to see on the BBC news website that "there are places where the surge of global tourism is starting to feel like a tidal wave. Ancient cities around the shores of the Mediterranean and Adriatic are on the front line, their stone streets squeezed full of summer visitors as budget airlines and giant cruise ships unload ever-growing armies of tourists" In the Croatian city of Dubrovnik around 1,500 people live within the walls of its Old City, but on a busy day three modern cruise ships, each one the size of a floating apartment building, can disgorge five or six times that number of people into the city.

The "Harmony of the Seas" has a capacity of 5,470 passengers, and just imagine that number descending on a port, travelling inland to some tourist attraction. The mind boggles, indicating the horrors of cruising that has grown out of all proportion. When Mrs. Copeland and I went on cruises in the 1970s the ships had about 500 passengers, and that made for a pleasant cruise, a marked contrast to the cattle-herding of today's massive ships.

It is so sad to see so many wonderful places being besieged with these horrible hordes of holidaymakers, totally destroying them, while many an attractive fishing village in Spain is now dominated by massive tower blocks. Nevertheless, at the moment I know of several people currently abroad - one in Normandy, a couple having just come home from the unendurable heat of Spain, and another couple going off today on a highly expensive cruise to the Baltic.

It seems that holidays, usually two or more a year, have become essential for so many people in retirement, supposedly preventing them from looking into the abyss of their empty lives, the trouble coming especially when the husband has no interests in the season of superannuation.

It makes me so thankful that I never feel bored at home, finding plenty to do all day, and am therefore truly thankful that I will never again set foot in the miseries of an airport or on board one of those horribly massive cruise ships. Home sweet home for me, enjoying the peace and quiet and the civilisation of living in a pleasant middle-class area. In my younger days I enjoyed visits to Bangkok, Nepal (flying over Everest) , Rhodes, India (seeing the Taj Mahal), Paris and Germany, but I am too old now for travelling abroad at the age of 83. Indeed, I think that passports should be taken away after the age of 80.

The essence of a happy and successful retirement is good health and a sufficient pension, but also important is having something to stimulate the brain, something that hitting a little white ball around a field never achieves, while watching the idiot's lantern is likely to pickle the brain. It is often said that "every man should have a shed", not only to escape from crippling domesticity, but also to have some interest.

Planes

My collection of diecast planes of the Second World War. The Messerschmitt 109 was given to me for my birthday by my two daughters. The planes are all to the scale 1:72.


Mrs. Copeland went off after breakfast for the week's provisions at Waitrose, bringing home a free copy of "The Sunday Times" with the goodies. It is a completely worthless newspaper, full of absolute nonsense and drivel that I would never buy, not wanting to waste 2.50 on the rehashed news of the week, together with all manner of opinionated columnists who predict the future, usually completely wrongly. At least it was realised in today's issue that the Government is in a hopeless mess under Muddled May, one columnist making the point that "as party discipline crumbles, three senior Tories have fired the first shots in a battle that could tear the government apart."

Luckily, Parliament goes off for its nearly 3-month holiday next week , so we then will have seen the last of Muddled May in the Commons this week if they successfully get rid of her in mid October, David Davis being the only likely contender to take her place. They certainly have to throw her out, for she has no understanding of politics, becoming more and more of an embarrassment, and not just in her arrogance in wanting to hold onto power at all costs. Undoubtedly, she is the worst Prime Minister this country has seen since 1945, even worse than Thatcher the Terrible.

How wonderful it would be if the politicians stayed away after their holidays, not coming back to bugger everything up, a state of anarchy in this country being a distinct improvement. Everything they touch, whether it is Brexit, Higher Education, Pensions and the NHS, they make far worse, especially as they cannot stop interfering, one measure after another failing.

Rather surprisingly the Chancellor is quoted as saying that people in the public sector are overpaid. I suppose there is some truth in this, especially when it is considered that the Chief Clerk of the Lincolnshire County Council earns more than the Prime Minister, and that there are many departmental heads (called Director to make them sound important) who "earn" 6-figure salaries in a glorified toy town authority that we would not miss if it were to be abolished.

At 4 o'clock we went to the local Club, where we sat outside with an interesting group of people. I have to drink non-alcoholic lager or non-alcoholic beer for some of the days of my treatment, which is just about presentable - beer for men, lager for boys. During the session we heard that a fellow in the village had damaged the fingers on his left hand in a machinery accident, having gone to the Lincoln County Hospital on Friday afternoon, only to be told that they could not deal with it - he would have to go to the specialist unit in Derby, but they were closed until Monday. It seems incredible that the NHS, despite having been said during the week to be the finest medical service in the world, only works Monday-Fridays.

But then this is true of nearly every service in this country, everything except the shops closing down at the weekend. Although possibly the most irreligious country in the world, weekends are sacred in this country. It always amazes me that the lights are on over the weekend, but then I suppose immigrants are keeping the home fires burning. We moan about their numbers coming into the country, but everything would close down for the entire week if they were not here, being better educated and disciplined with higher standards of work.

Amazingly, I did not have the Blue Screen of Death for the second day running, but then this is a weekend and I suppose the BSD was not working either - back on Monday.

Back home we had some splendid sirloin steak from Waitrose, really wonderful meat, making me so thankful that I am not a vegetarian or a vegan who live on rabbit food. The evening was spent reading some more of "The War in the West".

MONDAY 17 JULY

On the news I heard that David Davies was continuing with the Brexit negotiations, no doubt getting nowhere as the negotiations go on for year after year. It will be outrageous if we have to pay billions to depart; indeed, the thought of paying Mrs. Merkel and her gang the money is so awful, and we can hope that our Boris is right when he says the EU "can whistle" for any money.

What will Merkel & Co. do if we refuse to pay anything, especially bearing in mind that Germany never paid the full reparations after the Second world War - take us to the European Court whose jurisdiction we will no longer recognise? In our fefault we will probably be helped by President Trump who, quite rightly has no respect or liking for the EU, certainly not their toy town Army.

In the "i" there was a report of the loathed Blair saying from the far-flung political desert that "it's imperative that Brexit never happens." For once in his life he may be right, but then a stopped clock is right twice a day. I liked the remarks of one political commentator saying that if Blair was photographed with fluffy kittens people would start to loathe cats.

Another report in the "i" referred to "senior German politicians have repeatedly launched a scathing attack on their British counterparts calling them 'a disgrace'". Maybe we do not need to take much notice of a country that caused two World Wars in the 20th century with its terrible history of the treatment of the Jews under the Nazis, something that should never be forgotten, especially by my generation that lived through the Second World War.

Knight

The Knights Trail in Lincoln, one of the 36 sculptures marking the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln having been thrown into the river by vandals.


On a fine and warm, sunny day, I rode in to Lincoln to purchase various items. When the weather is fine it is a real joy to be on two wheels, far better than the most expensive open-topped car, having a wonderful sense of freedom, as well as being able to park anywhere - an important consideration since the Labour-controlled City Council has built on some of the car-parks, presumably in an effort to drive traffic and trade away from the city.

From the draft minutes of the local Parish Council I saw that only 3 of the 7 councillors turned up for the meeting on the 11th July. I am excused from attendance until the end of my treatment. As I so often say, although parish councils are merely a talking shop, having no powers or influence, they are still important as we have advanced warning of the approach of the dreaded developers, and hear what further harm the odious County Council is going to do to us.

In the "i" I read that contracts amounting to 6.6bn had been awarded for the unwanted HS2 railway between London and Manchester/Leeds. What an incredible waste of money, for whoever wants to go to Manchester and Leeds from London? It would have been far better for the money to have been allocated to the ailing NHS. On the other hand I suppose we have to accept progress, otherwise we would still be travelling around in the "Rocket".

In today's "i" I also saw that "As airports gear up for their busiest summer, the worst day of the week is Friday. At Heathrow, the forecast for the busiest day in the summer holiday season is Friday 6 August with 257,893 passengers" Other than being in a NHS ward with patients yelling into their mobile telephones, can anybody imagine a greater hell on earth, sheer unadulterated misery with screaming children with their tattooed, loudmouthed parents?

It is the season of the hoi polloi who probably live in terrible housing accommodation, anxious at all costs to get away, despite the very real risk of being toasted in some overcrowded resort of concrete tower blocks. There is "no way" that I could face that incredible hardship of that cattle market More often than not, this downmarket contingent causes trouble abroad, giving this country an even worse name..

Apart from the visit to town, it was mercifully a quiet day at home, already starting to dread having yet another blood test tomorrow. However many I have - and my guess is that they have already taken an arm-full, I will never stop dreading them. The thought of the 6-hour chemotherapy on Thursday is not much better, having had immensely cold feet at the 4th session, feeling as if I were about to get frostbite. The treatment seems never ending, bringing some new pain after each chemotherapy session when my immune system is taken down, making me vulnerable to any infection.

Amazingly, I did not have the Blue Screen of Death on the computer for the third day running, so that was a good thing, and we only had one scam call asking for Mr. Salmond - the false name I gave some years ago on a product registration form.

A pottering around day - days that I quite enjoy. In the early evening we had another gathering outside with one of the neighbours, enjoying the wonderful sunshine while listening to Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto with the neighbour's wireless - a magnificent performance of this sad, sad music. Later in the evening I read some more of the second volume of "The War in the West.".

TUESDAY 18 JULY

To the County Hospital at 10.30 a.m., the session beginning with the traditional blood test, which on this occasion seemed to go on for ages. Then, after a fairly long wait, I saw the consultant, Mrs. C coming in with me for the discussion. The consultant said that my progress was excellent relating to the treatment of the lymphoma, saying: "It gives me great
pleasure as a doctor to see a patient making such excellent progress, " he told me.

The only problem is with the blood clot in the painful leg, for which the consultant has increased the evening injection dosage, telling me that if it does not clear up I may need injections for three months after the treatment has ended. Meanwhile, I have to keep the leg raised "at least above the level of my thigh". So if the leg problem can be cured I am all right, my earlier Eeyore worries having been somewhat unfounded. The consultant will be on holiday at my next visit, telling me that he was motoring abroad with his wife.

The general verdict was that I was in remarkably good health, my heart in excellent condition, as are my liver and kidneys, the liver obviously having been trained to accept alcohol. Some surprise is expressed at this good health as I never exercise, believing in Billy Butlin saying that whenever he needed exercise he went to have a rest, and I never eat five-a-day as I firmly believe that vegetables are the killers, except for potatoes. Health depends far more upon inherited genes and the attitude to life and the environment, having nothing to do with what we eat and exercise.

After the session had ended at the Hospital, Mrs. C. and I went to have lunch at "The Woodcocks" in the village, sitting outside on a wonderfully warn and sunny day with a pleasant breeze that kept the temperature around 22 C. Outside we manage to escape the hateful musak that never fails to annoy me, quite destroying the otherwise pleasant ambience. Back home I went to bed for an hour or so to rest the leg, something that seems to help.

I mentioned on Sunday in an entry that one of the fellows in the village had damaged the fingers on one of his hands in a machinery accident, being told last Friday to go to the specialist department in Derby on Monday (shut over the weekend) as there were not the facilities at the Lincoln County Hospital. He duly went to Derby yesterday for the appointment, only to be told that there has been an emergency and he would have to come back on Wednesday,

This really is an utter disgrace, meaning that he will probably lose one or both his fingers as a result of this shabby arrangement, the NHS at its very worst,. The impression is given that the Service only works from Monday to Friday, the weekends being sacrosanct in this irreligious and indolent land that has the lowest man-hour productivity of any industrialised nation. In my younger days we even had a doctor who would come out in the evenings and at weekends. How old fashioned we were in those days!

Flowers

Summertime flowers in the garden


At least it made me laugh that the Advertising Standards Authority is in anti-biology mode, having ruled that women must not be seen in advertisements doing the washing up and the ironing. Although this is the natural order of things, or was when we enjoyed proper family life before mothers with babies and infants starting to go out to work full-time, dumping their young ones in bootie camps, such depiction is now shamefully regarded as sexual stereotyping.

Furthermore, in yesterday's "i" I read the madness that "further education staff in Wales should be given more training on gender diversity", a teacher's trade union official saying that "lecturers could be put in quite an embarrassing position if they address someone as he who is a she or who is neither he nor a she", presumably having to be called an "it" for the biological bending.

The world, and this country in particular seems, to have gone barking mad about these sexual issues a, becoming hypersensitive and totally neurotic. A few days ago a woman Member of Parliament was shamefully suspended for saying the very innocent "nigger in the wood pile" term, the press coyly referring to the terrible utterance as the "use of the 'n' word". How crazy can we get? Is it a reflection of a country in relentless decline, trying to hide the dreadful decline with what the psychologists call a "displacement activity"?

There is also the nonsense that the latest Dr. Who actor is a woman, no doubt making mockery of the series, something that we have to accept in this demented country. It cannot be long before the Church of England announces that Jesus was actually a woman, as were all the disciples.

We had another assembly of neighbours in the early evening when I drank the usual non-alcoholic wine, a real sign of the times, though I quite enjoy it, being able to drink to my heart's content. One of the neighbours had recently returned from a 10-day holiday in Normandy, but obviously did not enjoy it all that much as it was so hot and humid, the temperature above 30 C, which is always unpleasant, especially when accompanied by high humidity. One of the problems for the English is that the French have a dreadful inferiority complex, presumably on account of us having had to rescue them from the Germans twice in the last century, and with not much gratitude.

My reckoning is that only about 45% of holidaymakers, if they are honest, actually enjoy their holidays, often finding the accommodation poor, the food inedible, and the heat horrible, not to mention the massive expense now that the has plummeted, albeit to a reasonable level. People on cruises, especially on those gross cattle ships, invariably come home with some illness, yet like lemmings they continue to face the misery. It is a most remarkable phenomenon.

Later in the evening we listened to the Promenade concert playing Shostakovich's "October" violin concerto on the Promenade concerts. Along with Mahler and Brucker, I like the works of Shostakovich, especially his symphonies, Shostakovich being the last composer who had some excellent tunes before music went quite silly with bangs and squeaking, rather like the nonsense of modern paintings.

WEDNESDAY 19 JULY

On account of my indisposition, I am now getting up later in the day, usually at 9 a.m. instead of about 8.15 a.m., which helps to rest my poorly leg for a little longer.

Even so, I am still in a lot of pain with this badly swollen left leg, making walking difficult. However, I went to Waitrose in the morning to purchase a baguette as a friend was joining me at 12.30 p.m while Mrs. Copeland was with the village Ladies Luncheon Club, making for a pleasant interlude to the day.

On the way to Waitrose I saw that yet another road in the city was to be closed, joining many others. No doubt we should be pleased that the appalling roads are being repaired, but the repairs take weeks and weeks to be completed, whereas in Germany and America they would be done in a few days. Presumably it is yet another reflection of the poor productivity in this indolent and indebted island. On other occasions the roads are closed for cycle and running races and Santa runs.

Jap

The Japanese "Zero" that was initially so successful against the American planes at the Battle of Midway. Having decided to continue making models, I bought a kit from Amazon that was delivered this week by that excellent courier service.


Today the BBC revealed the ridiculous and immoral salaries paid to their so-called top performers, most of them men, all being paid far more than the office of Prime Minister (we had better forget about Muddling May who will be gone immediately after the Tory Conference - or so we all hope regarding this disgrace, damaged and disliked women who is making such a muddle of Brexit).

When you think of the awful programmes on the idiot's lantern, , not one of them equivalent to television and radio offerings in the 1970s, the so-called stars are not worth the amount in pennies. The Bloated Broadcasting Service, but at least it is better than the pathetic and downmarket offerings from commercial television with advertisements every few minutes that make watching a film quite intolerable.

After a relaxed afternoon I listened to the Promenade concert in the evening, but hastily switched off "Outscape by Pascal Dusapin, unable to tolerate all the banging and squeaking so typical of modern music, making me wonder if I could compose new symphony. However, I listened to real music - Berlioz "Symphonie Fantastique". Afterwards I read some more of "The War in the West", beginning to wonder whether I will ever finish the 650-page book, especially as I read only about 60 pages of an evening, instead of over 100 in better times.

As with many modern war historians, the author has severe criticisms about Montgomery, arguing that his weaknesses were twofold - 1. Petty jealousies and inherent insecurity complex made him intolerant of any questioning of his orders or of his approach to war; he was also, in modern parlance, a control freak - he had to be always in control, and 2. Not being a general of tactical flair, Alamein battle was a "truly terrible fire plan." in which he showed a lack of imagination and flair, failing to pursue a battle when victory was in sight because of his timidity.

THURSDAY 20 JULY

Another dreaded chemotherapy session - the 5th of 8, having to be at the County Hospital at 9 o'clock, which meant leaving the house at 8.15 a.m because of the crawl-hour traffic. This time one of the four drugs was speeded up, so the session lasted 5 hours instead of 6 hours, so that was a relief. On the 4th chemotherapy session my feet became so cold that I thought that I was about to get frostbite, but on this occasion my granddaughter Chloe kindly bought me some fleece-lined socks, and they did the trick, the session going without any trouble - only 3 more sessions to go.

During the session I watched on the portable DVD player that my family had bought for me more episodes of "The World at War" - a splendid series, as well as some Sergeant Bilk DVDs that had me laughing, making other nearby patients wondering what was a matter with me,


Cage

In addition to the diecast model of the Messerschmitt 109 that my two daughters gave me for my birthday, they also gave me a birdcage. I subsequently bought a singing bird from Amazon that came from China. I loathe to see birds and animals in cages, regarding their imprisonment as a travesty of Nature. I will have to let the bird out from time to time.


Back home, although feeling a bit wobbly, I completed the entry for Thursday of this diary and then uploaded it, not wanting to give up. Later on I saw on the Internet the "Lincolnlite" that is so much better than our weekly newspaper that is really a muddled and badly presented advertising journal, that "Lincoln woman convicted after defrauding elderly customers out of over 1.5m relating to false repairs of a vacuum cleaner. The woman is one of our neighbours, indicating that we now live in a criminal area. She is to be sentenced next month.

After a rest the evening was spent reading more of "The War in the West", so thankful that another chemotherapy session was over.
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E-mail: johncopeland@clara.net
Comments welcomed
Lincolnshire 20th July, 2017
No. 1,012





Diary of an Octogenarian<BR>



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