Saturday, 25 June 2016

Post Brexit

It's a tired subject now. the EU referendum and the result. Friday was the panic day for many, (even those who voted out). Glued as we were to the BBC and other news services doing comparative analysis of the narratives being presented, trying to find the truth somewhere between the extremes of opinion.

It's Saturday, the weekend. There'll be some hand wringing and worrying going on, and then on Monday people will go back to work, in modern offices suites in the City of London, and elsewhere. And the money making strategies that have been the source of many tedious meetings since January 2013 will suddenly bear fruit. Business will adapt, there will be a prepared for pause. A new normal will form, and if we are lucky the process going forward will be necessarily thoughtful, deliberate and still conceived for the greater good of all. But why?


The EEC was a good idea, European unity after centuries of war, border changes, annexations, liberations, revolts, and renaissances. After the Great War and the Second World war (just consider that a moment, every continent and almost every country on every continent gave up peace to kill 122,000,0000 people – civilian and military approximately, `One Hundred and Twenty Two Million’ (I haven’t bothered with a figure for wounded). In the European area where this insanity started it was decided finally, to bury the hatchet and devote seventy years to peace and in the main prosperity, growth, technological advancement, longer life, science and so forth (I’m expeditiously ignoring the fact that in the wake of this peace and prosperity, that the west decided to have a cold war, destabilised the Middle East and abandoned Africa and the Indian sub-continent and others).

Unity and peace are great ideals, but you can legislate for them only so far, and then you have to let the peace habit work for itself. The matter of free trade seems to me to be intrinsic to the concept of wider peace. Why should there be trade barriers between peaceful nations? After all we are a global community, never mind our immediate continental neighbours … one day regardless of race religion colour or creed we will just be one world.

There are many areas that aren’t quite up to speed on the notion that peace and prosperity are better than intolerance and destruction, and the notion won’t be universal for centuries more (in my humble opinion). And the bigots and racists within our own country will delude themselves for a while longer that at least 50% of the UK population is as racist as themselves. We aren’t, you’re retarded, you’ll never read this, three or four lines of a Facebook meme is about as intellectual as you get. The xenophobes can sit back and bask in the sense of isolation, and the rest of the Brexiters can enjoy the sense of independence, that being self-determining brings - setbacks and all. All balanced by nearly 50% of the UK that was happy with the EU/UK status quo, and will still be a voice for balance in the years ahead.

Britain now stands aside from the EU, but we are linked and will always be linked. What we’ve done is say to the rest of the union that we can be self-determining peaceful, productive, without the stifling oppressive over regulation of everything we say and do. Without being a party to `positive discrimination on a continental scale’. We can trade on our local continental plate, and freely with the rest of the world, we won’t war with our nearest neighbours and I’m fairly sure we wouldn’t war elsewhere if it could be helped. We will come to your aid in times of disaster as we do all over the world. We are a mature country, a mature economy (maybe a little spoilt and islandic). We are reliable, pragmatic and interested, why would you not want to trade with the UK, why would you not want us as visitors (football hooligan twats aside).
I look forward to a time (beyond my life span no doubt), where to the rest of continental Europe, the EU is just a background admin office, not trying to shoehorn it’s one size fits all bureaucracy into every nook and cranny, and failing miserably because such a management task is way beyond the whit of even a huge number of individuals.

One day all of Europe will stand on an equal egalitarian footing … like the Federation in Star Trek, or Ian M Banks Culture. That has to be the aim. Parents as a general rule want their offspring to fledge and fly free. The European Union should be there as a support tool to allow partners of unequal size, to foster trade and peace and when those countries feel the need to go their own way either in a big way or as a parallel to the union they should not be impeded or vetoed by their nearest neighbours, because those neighbours feel that they didn’t get a slice of the pie, even though they didn’t provide the flour, butter, eggs or pie filling or any of the facilities to create said pie (maybe I’m naïve). But from where I’ve watched the EU develop over the nearly three decades I’ve had a side interest in politics, having a job, paying a mortgage, there seems to have been compromise after compromise to what seems like no ones best interest, unless they were a speculator sitting on the fringes eking out miniscule margins but across a global spread, hedging their bets and staying rich regardless of the crash. And while the Union fell over its own rules, argued the toss amongst itself, and created the Euro, it sat in ignorance of exactly how extreme a problem was developing in the `globalised private sector … banking system’ that all its regulating and oversight had failed to see coming. And then when it fell to pieces we the grey collar and blue collar workers paid the price in jobs, pensions and rights. Rights that the EU allegedly enshrined, but were in fact hijacked by the wealthiest, using free movement to ensure that wages have been held (for the poorest) in practical limbo for nearly a decade.

Project fear was the final ranting scare mongering, bullying drivel trotted out to terrify the people of Britain into staying in the EU, and I’m sure if you could actually pin down the Remainers reasons for remaining in the EU, it’s the fear of the unknown and only that, that made them vote remain in the EU. Lets just note that while President Obama sounded off that the UK would be better off in the EU than out, that for most of his first term he was only really interested in the tiger economies of the Far east. I’m also sure that if beyond all the utter shite that was trotted out by both sides you actually nurtured the notion that history will record a blip in our fortunes, the majority voting leave would have been even greater. I’m sure that the UKs recovery from last Thursday will be rapid. I also think that the businesses that upsticks to other parts of Europe will spread their particular employment toxicity to those countries and that their diminished influence in our country will in the long term benefit us, whilst proving that the European Project has been fundamentally undermined and hijacked by the banks, and by huge business cartels.

Why as a big business would you not want access to 500 million potential employees in one of the most stable and wealthy parts of the world. 500 million … half a billion people all looking to earn a living, in an economic area where the playing field is regulated by an unelected political elite, that meets only with itself and the business leaders that want access to that pool of employees at the best price for their own interests. The phrase conflict of interest doesn’t even come close to describing the situation.

I’m glad we are out, the recriminations will carry on for decades, as have the recriminations since 1973, when we first joined the EEC. The little people have had a revolution, a revolution that proves the pen is mightier than the sword or the guillotine. Britain has demonstrated that it and therefore any country that wants to peacefully demonstrate its dissatisfaction can do so through debate and the ballot box and force change. But I bet that that particular lesson won’t be realised or seen except through the lens of history, when I and all those who voted on Thursday are dead and gone by decades.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

#Brexit #Voteleave

I'm Vote Leave because I spent several months travelling the dark corners of Europe, and except for Germany universally the EU has been a giant cluster fuck for the sole trader and small business.

You know the Tesco put's small shops out of business and everyone gets up in arms about it scenario. Well that's the eurozone for small traders everywhere, but you have to see it and hear from the horses mouth to be truly informed about the plight of small business and the Europoor in their millions.

The Eurozone is great for big companies that can squeeze small people in the same way across open borders. One size fits all policies, ignorant of local, ethic, culture, tradition, economy ect ect ect. Entire small business ecosystems wiped out and subsumed by big chains, ensnaring now out of business or out of work locals for minimum wage.

Yup that's the European Union I want to be in. Not.

I'll informed is getting your information from the media, on either side. See the forgotten poor, boarded up or abandoned villages and small town streets. Have a sobering look at exactly how far ahead we are and how long it's going to take to drag the rest of Europe into the 20th never mind the 21st century, and all that at the expense of all the poor fuckers in this country now scrabbling around for the same minimum slave wage, because face it if it wasn't so great here there would be no migration (it's not racist to say we are swamped because we are great).

The word UNION in this context has been hijacked. It's not a union like the ones that we remember fighting for workers rights. It's a union driven by commercial interests alone, and when it come down to it shareholders and CEO trump workers rights every time.

If you want your your politicians accountable, if you want to be able to hold business's to account and make them live up to their HR policies and `Mission Statements' Equality ect. Then don't give them the excuse that policy has been set by someone in Brussels or (for four days a month) Strasbourg. If you want to be in a union, join a trade union, just don't be a wanker once you're in.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Where does one begin? … Again.


It’s a been a few weeks since the last post below. The epitaph to the `Old Man’. A few words on that and then we’ll move on. Death it’s not an easy thing to explain, or to accommodate. It is very final. There have been dozens of time in the last few weeks when I’ve thought `I know I’ll ask the Old Man’ or `The Old Man’s going to love this’, followed very rapidly by `Oh yes he’d dead’. I don’t say to myself gone or passed over, you need to be frank with yourself, not brutal, but know it and name it for what it is. While thinking out into the eather, opening your inner eye to remote viewing from the quantum realm and consoling yourself, that maybe just maybe there is coherent energy after death looking over your shoulder when invited to … it gets me by.



The above said, sometimes you just can’t get past it, and your day will be ruined end to end.



Now to business. We have set ourselves a bit of a challenge this year. The challenge is to visit all the places on the national trust calendar that I was given for Christmas. So far we have been just east of Plymouth to Wembury Point and had a short walk along an extremely muddy path Easting: 251777 Northing: 048498 (grid reference cribbed from here: ttp://www.gridreferencefinder.com/ ). From the beach you can see the Great Mewstone, and a way beyond that, Eddystone Lighthouse (which for information only; I have dived at the foot of to a depth of around 25mtrs, at least 25yrs ago, and watched possibly hundreds of Spider Crabs march across the rocky seabed, going about Spider Crab business).




Of all the jaunts we’ve planned for this year, Wembury is probably the shortest. So it was quite a useful warmup. Our next jaunt will be to the Peak District sometime this month, and in March we have a trip to county Antrim and the Nine Glens Road to manage in. The Peak District should be relatively easy in the camper. We’ll do a Friday night drive, Saturday visit with a return Sunday, brief and to the point unless we can get a day off booked in. Antrim will be a little more tricky, but we have the Easter week booked off, so the biggest expense will be the crossing, and the biggest aggravation: the lack of open campsites. However a plan B, might be to roll the Peak District and Antrim into one road trip, to overcome the campsites issue (CS sites would probably be open, but for a seven dayer you’re going to want full facilities at least twice … unless you can find your way to a municipal swimming pool).




Wembury Point. I don’t have a huge amount to say other than I’d love to go back during the summer. The water had a blueness to it that you don’t get on the north-southwest coast until you’re well past Minehead, the soil is red and the water is between 12° and 15° as attested by the surfers who were on the surf. There’s a small café, but we didn’t use it because we brought lunch.

Wow what an anticlimactic blog. Enjoy the pictures.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

In Memoriam Roland Charles Day (Pa).

Death

Turning ones toes up, kicking the bucket, shucking off one’s mortal coil and joining the choir invisible, to mix some metaphors. My dad did this at 11.15am on Tuesday the 10th of November 2015 after what can be described as a short illness, preceded by a number of other illnesses, associated with smoking, being a coeliac, burning the proverbial candle at both ends for too long, double knee transplants, deep bone infection, a blood clot, and an alluded to cyst on the liver all in in parallel with ignoring doctors’ advice, ignoring my mother’s advice, ignoring the advice passed via my mother from various people she told about my dad’s various conditions in the hope that the stubborn old bugger may find a gem of wisdom, which would create an epiphanous state in the aforementioned stubborn old bugger; inducing a life prolonging adherence to sagely advice offered by numerous medical professionals and concerned parties familial and otherwise. Did it bollocks. As my elder brother said, he lived by his own rules, not that these contradicted any laws or statutes (sound medical advice withstanding) or brought harm to any person or animals in the making of his life … except some ants he once incinerated for his children’s amusement using Humbrol Thinners as an accelerant and a match.

Death is very final, very definite, the end. No more questions, no more worries about things you said, didn’t say, did or didn’t do.
It is a most levelling experience for those of us that go forward from that point … relay runners carrying a baton, or maybe more poetic; torch bearers carrying the flame forth through the allotted time we have, before we also, end. From the bio-electrical spark of sperm and egg to the final discharge of life's battery. 

You suddenly deduct your age from the age of your nearest and dearest and run a mean time on how much time you may have left of life, and realise time is short. Don’t waste it.

Grief

Grief is the hangover experienced by the departed's nearest and dearest in the immediate and long term aftermath of the deceased’s deceasing. And I guess this is more about grief than it is about Pa (as the deceased shall now be referred to from hence forth) passing ... there is very little he can do about it. I've been around some deaths leading up to this one (sort of warm up deaths in readiness for a main sequence death). As time goes by, as your elders get even elder, you turn your thoughts to their demise and hope that you can live up to their expectations of you in the immediate aftermath; things like be sad that's ok, but don't be an utter bellend and collapse into yourself like you died too. With respect; that is probably an outcome for many, and in the wake (see what I did there?) of Pa's passing I can see how crushing a parent, a child’s, a life partners death can be, but to let that experience destroy you dishonours those that went before. Life we realise above (and hopefully in time) is shorter than you think … `It’s Later Than You Think’.

For what can only be described as `most of the time' I'm OK, even though it was only fourteen days ago that Pa breathed his last; frail looking, yellow white, waxen and riven with blue veins as the hospital cooled and piloted his systems manually for the last forty-eight hours of his mortality. Not the greatest last mental image, but a certain knowledge that laying there, he was already beyond pain lends a certain cold comfort.

By the time Amanda and I arrived to see him on the evening of the 9th of November, the only thing keeping a little warmth in his shoulders and some bio-electrical activity in his nervous system was the constant busying of the little Indian nurse making adjustments to fourteen or fifteen machines that go ping, and the associated pipes and cannulas. A part of me imagined the old man `Pa' holding one hand in the corporeal while looking to the light of the quantum realm just waiting for all the nearest and dearest to acknowledge that the carriage was worn out, and that he should go explore the space between the spaces, unencumbered by the vessel he had wilfully wrecked in the pursuit of not letting `the' bastards grind him down.

I, We were the last to arrive, I hadn’t visited in the two days before when Pa had been initially admitted with some insistent internal pain, he usually bounced back. But then he had collapsed in hospital, and had lain unbreathing for an unspecified amount of time, ticker ticking but clearly somewhat oxygen starved, that was the prelude to the end. When my sister called me to say matters had become more urgent than usual, a part of my deepest id suggested that not making the journey would leave me bereft of a last chance, to say something to the old man (however unheard that last something may have been) a last rite a silent goodbye, a knowledge you'd rather be without, but have to have the stones to see it for what it is and know there is nothing anyone can do about it except make it easy for the departing. Amanda and I left Pa’s bedside around 9pm on the 9th of November, and popped in to see my mother, then drove back to Somerset. Fourteen or so hours later I was very glad we’d made the trip.

It's these thoughts that reduce a man to tears. It's looking at Brent Knoll and thinking I would have carried that obstinate bastid up it if only he’d survived until spring and the much talked about visit to us in Somerset. Pa never came here, 2014 came and went in a flash of sorts, and then this year he’d just waged war against ill health starting with getting an infection above one of his robo-knees (in his thigh bone). This saw him fitted with a spacer where a knee was previously; basically a bar full of medication to keep the leg the right length until a new knee could be installed, or the leg was amputated (those were the options at one point). So no more walking at all by the man that made all his children quick steppers. Subsequently he had blood clot above the knee, plus a surgery to put a new knee in down the line, and suddenly my morbid expectation that he would never see our home or surroundings here in Somerset becomes less negativity, and more like a pragmatism borne of some internal algorithmic probability engine. Being right can be a bugger, but just seven days before Pa’s passing we spoke about when he and Ma would come down, see the garden and get the grand tour of Somerset. He didn’t give up, death cold cocked him in dark ally.

You imagine that you’ll be an utter wreck or a stoic brick, Vulcan like in your stiff upper lip’edness. But the truth is you are neither. You are you. You are you, right up until a sight on a misty morning pink tinged hills, diamond set grass and reeds, a blackbirds shrieked flight from a hedge, or a tune that’s always tugged your heart strings, tugs your heartstrings. And then you are neither wreck nor stoic, you are just untethered and lost, floundering for what you feel should be dignified and respectful missing of ones kin, without the undignified eye watery nonsense that changes nothing. And yet it comes ... it's a funny business.

Any questions you had, save them in case you get to pose them in the event that quantum consciousness exists, and isn’t some new balm for the atheist soul who still really really doesn’t want the end to be the end if at all possible.

Failing the unlikely event of the consciousness staying as a coherent form after death, all those questions you had will now and forever remain unanswered except anecdotally by the deceased’s survivors. Anything you wanted to say, too late. There will be no more moments. There will be no more picking up the phone rather than picking up your twenty year old copy of the `Readers Digest Encyclopaedia of DIY’. There is an absence, a void an almost quiet part in your own head where once someone’s voice had a corner.
The collected sounds of forty-eight and bit years shared on the same planet, twenty one of which in the same house. Memories of that voice are not the same as that voice being part of your internal background chatter. A reference point, an anchor, a light in the dark when all other lights have failed. Wherever your parents are you have a home, and suddenly you understand that at some point the only home you’ll have in the future is the home you make for yourself, and that at best you’ll willingly serve the same purpose for your own children. It’s the final part of becoming a grown up in your own right. The ethers umbilical’s are cut, you are more your own than ever before, and while in one sense you are finally nearly just your own, you are less also.

You … I, gather strands of memory like wisps of smoke and plait them together, to create some blanket of cold comfort, a sack of received wisdom you need to sort through ensuring that nothing is lost, but the fact is, that you’re looking for more than wisdom, you’re looking for the opportunity to ask those questions you’ll never ask, or say those things you’ll never say, or drag that old mans arse up to the top of Brent Knoll or Crook Peak so he can see the view you’ve come to love, to walk the beach at Kilve and marvel at the North Jurassic coast, or any of the other sights we’ve seen this last year and a half, never mind going through the hundreds of as yet unseen pictures our recent travels. You’ll never share the knowledge that you think you made the right choice moving west, or that he’d be happy going to his rest, knowing you had made the right choice.

And now the twist, the irreverent humour that we the children of Roland Charles Day shared in the wake of his passing. He died on the 10th of November 2015 and started work again the following Monday 16th of November as a professional dead person at Kings College Hospital. He left his mortal remains to science for the furthering of medicine. In one to three years we will share a sombre day of memory as his cremated remains are returned to us and his journey on Earth finally ends as heat vapour and ashes, Fire, Earth, Air and Water, the stuff of the Universe, of stars and planets.

Memories fade, but energy is never destroyed, just redistributed.


Hasta la vista Pa, I didn’t realise how much learning you’d imparted until you’d left the building. Thanks.


Monday, 19 October 2015

Still Here

There no reasons for me to excuse our absence from the blog since May. And I’m not going to, I am instead going to offer some reasons in brief.

We haven’t really done much all summer. Amanda has used Moho once for a one night stopover in a place called Pool Bridge out on Exmoor, and I think we stayed one night on our friends drive earlier this summer for a party.

And that is the extent of our moho travels this summer. The reasons for this have been mostly financial, we’ve been skint `again’, due to the difficulty I had getting a job locally (I really did think with my background in the city that I’d fall into job, how wrong I was).

I worked a literal, three back breaking months in a garden centre, Wyevale Group as a wage slave. My opinion of Wyevale is such that I will never spend a penny in one of their premises ever again. If you haven’t worked in retail on minimum wage, then you cannot possibly understand why the working poor exist, and like me prior to the experience, you probably think the working poor are poor because they can’t be arsed to do better. How wrong that perception is.
 


I’ll have moments digression on their behalf. You came into work in a recession, you did two years college or maybe even university. At the two year point you had to get a vocational placement or your studies couldn’t continue. There was a recession, there were no placements available, you had no income to support yourself and you couldn’t continue with your studies, so you took on a job, any job just to stay afloat. And three, four, five years later you’re still there. Because you only earn £6.50 an hour, some weeks you only get your minimum hours (circa 16 so the company doesn’t have a National Insurance bill), and if things are really slow you get banked. I can’t imagine how tough it is in zero hours where a guaranteed 16 hours would be manna from heaven. Now the economy is in growth, you can’t get further borrowing because you don’t earn enough and or don't have a guaranteed level of income and or you’re excluded because modern apprenticeships pay less than half of minimum wage https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage/who-gets-the-minimum-wage for the first year of the apprenticeship (read all about it from the link). 


Paraphrase the above, for those that were made redundant because of the recession. And then find a percentage of people with moderate learning difficulties to tick the disability box, and some lovely old ladies earning pin money (though it’s nowhere near as nice as it was when it was an independent, and they’ve made us all change our hours or we’ll be out of a job, and I only used to come in for a bit to help with my pension and some company/banter since I retired from full-time work ...), and you have a garden centre. And sitting on top of this festering exploitation dung heap you have a board of directors http://www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/about-us/board-of-directors all wanking their egos trying to grow a business (using the homogensing one size fits all stack em high sell em cheap technique ... well not really cheap, well in actual fact really quite expensive) all on the backs of some of the most unfortunate people I have ever worked with or known in work.




Having been through this particular whringer for a few months, having been taken on permanently (allegedly), only to find out when my contract arrived that the centre manager decided to change the terms of the employment offer after the fact; to a seasonal role (yup an absolute and total disregard for the terms of offer of employment or contract ... if you don’t like it you can always leave). I have joined a small IBM outfit a mile from home. As they are my current employer I am going to be expedient with my feelings about the overall conditions and the working environment. But I will say, IBM has some way to go before it meets it’s own expectations of itself. It is better than than the garden centre by many country miles, but I think it falls way short of the standards IBM touts on its corporate website.

Back to the main thrust, though I think I may have hijacked myself above. In the absence of travel, we have concentrated on getting back in the black and then skidding along the black, doing jobs that required very little money, like digging gardens and stripping walls, all stuff we have blogged before and had no intention of boring people with again, but in another house.

Today as I write, I’ve been at IBM for three months and a bit, Amanda has been at a Solicitors in Bridgwater for six months. I’ve spent twelve of fourteen weeks decorating the hall and stairs (proper money helps with these projects). We couldn’t get finance together for a skim, so I did a lot of fill and paint, fill and paint, so much so that I have tennis elbow, which I can assure the reader is a proper aggravation and very painful  when it wants to be. I’ve 90% finished the back bedroom, we just need to find some nice curtains and hang some pictures. Three weeks ago we had a multi fuel stove installed this was the one really big ticket item we wanted done before the winter. It only took two days to install, but in a mid-terrace house without a chimney breast of any description in the original build, things get a little complicated and quite expensive (though not prohibitively so).

I’ll post some pictures of the process another day, I will also post some pictures of the odds and end we have done this year, a montage. I’m aware that I’ve made the year sound terrible, but the truth is as I sit and scribble,that aside from the decorating, we have in no particular order been:

Back to Kilve, to Tarr Steps, Salcombe for the fireworks, out murmuration hunting on Shapwick Heath, up Burrow Mump, dug a pond, planted a tonne of plants rescued from the garden centre skip, up West Quantocks head, Yomped around an ancient lead mine in Shropshire, visited Iron Bridge, walking on our local beach, out around the confluence of the three river mouths on our doorstep and a load of other stuff that escapes my mind, and the year isn’t over just yet.


So that’s that, the Twitter feed down the side proves we’re alive. And hopefully we’ll be back on the bounce next year when projects drop below £500 a month, and can be done in the evenings, leaving those important weekends free. 

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