More November Sunday Musings

This past week has been dominated by the weather. To be specific, rain. Relentless rain, day and night for days on end. I wrote about it on a blog post, and despite a dry day on Saturday, it started again overnight. As well as being unpleasant and affecting my mood, it has caused chaos further north, with flooding in Eastern Scotland causing the death of a woman who was swept into a river in Aberdeenshire. I really don’t want to hear one more person say, “It’s good for the garden”.


Otherwise, it has been an unremarkable week in Beetley. I have stuck to my routine, and so has Ollie.


There was a government ‘Financial Statement’ during the week that basically announced tax rises for everyone, and a windfall tax on some oil companies. We were told to expect austerity and slow growth, and some ‘difficult decisions’ to come until the next election. This from a Prime Minister with a personal fortune exceeding £30 million, five houses, a bilionare wife, and a salary of £162,000 that he should really give away to charity, as he doesn’t need it. And from his sidekick Chancellor, a man on a salary of £153,000, plus expenses up to £200,000 in addition to that. Austerity is not something those people will ever comprehend.


Julie has been baking, making Bread Pudding. It is delicious. Readers outside of the UK may never have heard of this cheap-to-make cake, so here is what it looks like, with a recipe.


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope you have a very enjoyable Sunday.


Weather Warning!

As most people know, the English love to talk about the weather. It is a conversation starter between strangers, and most people I know follow the weather forecasts on the news with a religious fervour.

Now we really do have something to talk about, as we face the hottest temperature EVER recorded in Britain.

On Monday and Tuesday, temperatures in parts of England are set to reach a possible 41C. That is almost 106F, a heat unheard of in this country and never recorded previously. In the area around Beetley, we are being forecast 39-40C on both days. The last day when it got anywhere near that was on the 17th of June, when we saw 33C in Norfolk.

News reports and weather forecasts are full of dire warnings. They are expecting that thousands of people with underlying health conditions will simply die from the heat. The government has issued a ‘RED ALERT‘ weather warning for the first time in our history, and it comes with a lot of advice on how to ‘survive the heat’.

*Pets should be kept in, and dogs walked before sunrise or after sunset.

*People should make alternative working arrangements to avoid going outside.

*Rail travel will be badly affected as rails will buckle in the heat next week.

*Everyone should drink lots of water, and stay inside if possible.

*Do not wear dark colours, or restrictive clothing.

*Windows and curtains/blinds should be kept closed, to stop sunshine heating up rooms and hot air coming inside the house.

*We should avoid using cars as they will overheat in traffic, as will their drivers.

*Look out for signs of heatstroke if you have to go outside.

*Do not swim in cold lakes or rivers as the change in body temperature could be dangerous.

*Some schools will be either closing during the heatwave, or sending pupils home early.

For those of you who live in countries where such Summer temperatures are normal, you might wonder what all the fuss is about, I understand that.

But you have to consider that Britain is generally geared up for ten months of winter. As a result, houses are mainly brick built, with insulation in the walls and roof spaces. Most of us have carpeted floors, and many of us (me included) do not have airconditioning in the house, or in our cars. Few houses have very large windows to open, and fewer have shutters on the outside to stop the heat from the sun.

Britain was a cold country, and still is for much of the year. If it gets to 25C here (77F) we think it is a ‘hot summer’. Now temperatures are on the rise in summer months, and even winters are slightly warmer. We have not planned ahead. Houses are still being built in the same way, and transport systems have hardly changed in fifty years.

People get so excited by a hot summer that they rush outside to sunbathe on beaches or have barbecues, only to get badly sunburnt.

So the government advice sounds very strange to us. And what of the people who have no choice but to go out? Shop-workers, emergency workers, self-employed trades with jobs booked. My wife has to go to work on both days, as she works for a Doctors’ practice. She cannot do her job from home, or make ‘alternative working arrangements’.

There is going to have to be some future planning to cope with the ever-increasing heat in Summers to come. However, I have not yet heard a single politician coming up with any plan that includes that.

So we will have to see what happens on Monday and Tuesday next week.


I have to -sort of, but not really- apologise in advance for what follows, because I am angry. Very angry.

And if you have ever voted Conservative in the UK, best look away now.

I worked hard for all of my life, most of that in public service in stressful and sometimes dangerous jobs. I was trying to do some good for society, and certainly didn’t do those jobs for the money, which was below average for London. But I didn’t mind, because I wanted to do something good, not make profits for huge corporations.

I paid into two workplace pensions, and paid my National Insurance to receive my State Pension at the age of 65. When I retired at 60 and moved to Norfolk, I expected to live a reasonable life. Not affluent, far from that, but hopefully free from worry. I certainly never expected to end up in 2022 to find this country run by a gang of ‘Entitled’ pigs who cared nothing whatsoever for the people of Britain.

I really didn’t.

But that’s where we are. A gang of rich buffoons who have mega-rich friends, and a huge parliamentary majority. A Prime Minister who is an embarrassment to this country, surrounded by politicians and old friends who have got rich, and then richer, on the hard work of ordinary people. Members of Parliament on salaries of £84,000 a year, plus expenses of up to £200,000, telling ordinary people to ‘work harder’, or ‘do two jobs’ as they laugh at us in the subsidised bar of the House of Commons. A country saturated with ridiculous echoes of a long-gone empire, and fawning over a Royal Family that includes some of the richest people in the world, as well as hangers-on and paedophiles.

Fuel increases have been blamed on the war in Ukraine. That is a lie. The UK imports very little oil from Ukraine or Russia, and Shell and BP have made never before seen profits since the Russian invasion. WHY? Because they can, because the government lets them. Because they have friends who are shareholders in those companies.

Now the price cap on electricity and gas is set to rise to record levels. The members of parliament don’t care, because their energy bills are claimed on those ‘expenses’. But most people are set to see a 120% increase in their fuel bills in one year. More profits for the utility companies, engineered by their friends in government. They seek to distract us with ‘Platinum Jubilee’ celebrations, and an extra bank holiday. Yes, let’s all celebrate the Queen, who is one of the richest women on Earth, and doesn’t even need the taxpayer’s money that is pumped into her and her family so she can pay a woman £12,000,000 to drop a case against her sexual abuser son.

Meanwhile, hard-working people are becoming overwhelmed by utilty increases that may put their everyday lives in complete jeopardy. Someone as well-prepared for retirement as me (at least I thought so) has to think twice about using a car, as it costs me £105 to fill it up with diesel. And I have to shop ‘carefully’, for the first time in my life, because food price increases are blamed on higher transport costs, and that war in Ukraine.

If there had been no war in Ukraine, I wonder what they would have blamed it on? They would have found something, I’m sure.

So here I am at 70, after a relatively hard life. Suddenly worrying about everything, for the first time ever. Thanks to the Tory scum that run this country, and laugh about those foolish enough to vote for them. Like sheep volunteering to be the first one in the slaughterhouse.

Why did you vote for them? I would love to know. Working class people all across Britain, especially in the North, and the Home Counties, voted for them. Middle-class people voted for them, perhaps out of habit. Upper class people voted for them for obvious reasons, and so they could become multi-millionaires.

Did you really think they cared about you? Did you really think they believe you are the same as them? If so, you are not only ignorant, not only politically ignorant, but deluded and cretinous in every way imaginable.

You betrayed me, and every person who genuinely worked hard for this country.

This is no longer my country, it is a disgusting sham. Because of you.

I am not just angry, I hate you all. I will hate you with a spiteful vengeance until my dying day. Which should not be too far in the future.

If anyone doesn’t like this post, please feel free to unfollow me. I am probably better off without you.

Passports And Driving Licences: Follow The Money

Following the recent debacle over renewal of driving licences that I have written about extensively on this blog, Britain now faces a new ‘delay scandal’.

Tens of thousands of people are unable to travel abroad, and have had to forfeit holidays they had booked. This is because the Passport Office has ‘untold delays’ in issuing new and renewed passports.

The reasons given are the same as with the Driving Licences.

They ‘didn’t expect’ so many people to want to go on holiday once all the restrictions were lifted.
They ‘didn’t expect’ so many people to want to renew expired passports in 2022.
So many staff were working from home because of Covid-19, and they didn’t have ‘full access’ to the systems required.
Postal applications mounted up after Post Office delays saw them being delivered in bulk.

Strange how two huge government organisations like the DVLA and The Passport Office had all these issues during the pandemic, don’t you think?

Or maybe it is not so strange.

Yesterday, government ministers announced that the Passport Office is going to be privatised, to make it ‘more efficient’. Something similar is also being mentioned regarding the DVLA, to make the issuing of driving licences run more smoothly.

Let’s see how that works.

*Create a bureaucratic nightmare. Send home staff during the pandemic, making sure they have no access to the system that allows them to do their jobs.

*Once the scandal erupts, and public outrage is reported in the media, you can ‘justify’ selling off the organistations concerned.

Who would buy them? Well existing ‘logistics’ companies, owned by friends or relatives of government ministers of course. The contracts will be huge, lucrative, and long-lasting. That will insure the move is not overturned if a different government comes to power in 2024.

Will the passports and driving licences arrive faster when that happens? Probably not. There will of course be a ‘transition’ to the new owners, one that will likely see tens of thousands of applications get lost in the system forever. Existing staff will be disposed of, and new staff on lower salaries and insecure contracts will be employed, using the ‘call-centre model’.

You can be sure of something else too. Passports and Driving Licences will cost a great deal more than they do now.

If you ever want to know the answer to anything going on in this country, follow the money.

Thinking Aloud On A Sunday

Coronavirus: The Other View

After some email exchanges with a friend last week, I woke up thinking about the other side of the current pandemic. This only applies to the situation in Britain, as I am not writing about any other country here.

For every scientific opinion that warns about the dangers of the virus, there seems to be another that claims it is not as bad as any other seasonal illness. For every ‘solid evidence’ that masks reduce contamination, there is alternative evidence that they do not.

Government lockdowns and other restrictions like curfews did not work in stopping the spread, and mainly seem to serve the purpose of controlling the movement of ‘ordinary’ people. Influential people, rich people, and privileged people have blatantly moved around at will; without facing prosecution, and with none of them actually dying from the virus.

The mass unemployment caused by those same lockdowns has actually served the purpose of our right-wing government and big business. It has done this by creating a large pool of unemployed people willing to take almost any job at the minimum wage, with no real contract or the usual employment benefits. We only have to use one example, Amazon, to see how big business has been making untold extra millions because of people being forced to stay at home.

Yes, tens of thousands of small businesses have had to close for good, but big business never cared about its competition, did it? And who supplies most of the donations and funding to the party currently in power?

Then when the financial crisis hits hard next year, the government can blame the supposed debt for policies like cutting benefits, delaying pension payments, and any other ‘austerity’ measures they see fit to introduce. None of this will affect the rich of course.

Former colleagues of mine still working in the Ambulance Service report that they have not actually dealt with a single confirmed case of coronavirus, despite the 40,000+ reported deaths here. Those same reported deaths include anyone who ‘tested positive’ for Covid-19 up to 28 days before they died. Then if they died in a car accident, or from terminal cancer, or because of a heart condition or stroke, they were ‘included’ in the numbers of Covid-related deaths for that period. Even if they did not have a single symptom associated with the virus.

Meanwhile, deaths from ‘treatable’ illnesses have rocketed, because they have suspended medical treatment and surgical procedures that might have saved those people. They have done this because of the need to save beds for C-19 patients, and it has caused far more than 40,000 unnecessary deaths.

These are not the findings of mask-haters, or lockdown rebels. They are the opnions of sensible, hard-working people who work for the Police, and the NHS.

They are not my own opinons, just so you know. But I felt it was time to present an alternative view of the current crisis.

Energy saving my arse

As promised, this is my take on the subject of so-called energy saving light bulbs, and the issues of light pollution in our cities.

It is just not true that the old type of light bulbs do not work well, and would often blow. I once had a 60 watt bulb in a light fitting in a hallway, that cost about 20p to buy, and lasted for over ten years. Even in lights or lamps that were used for long periods, like those in a living room, you would still get  through only one or two bulbs in a year. Of greater importance, is the fact that they actually gave enough light to be able to see properly; to read by, or to be able to do hobbies comfortably. They also provided instant illumination, without having to wait for them to glow first, before reaching maximum output; particularly useful in a bathroom, or if just popping into a room briefly, to collect something.

The along comes the Government, or an EU directive, and we are told that the new energy saving bulbs are the way forward. They will be more efficient, use less energy, and save the planet. It doesn’t matter that they don’t fit the lamps properly, or hang clumsily below all the shades we already have, presumably these will all have to be replaced; as well as all the types of bulbs in smaller sizes that will no longer be available, meaning that we will have to throw away thousands of perfectly serviceable smaller light fittings and feature lights. Also disregarded, is the simple fact that we will not have enough light to read by, sew by, knit by, make models by, and our kids will not be able to study, or play, unless in a gloomy haze. Then we discover that the price of these replacement bulbs is laughably astronomical. Only last month, in search of a new bulb for a lamp, I was quoted £14 for one light bulb! The salesman assured me that this was because it was ‘guaranteed’ for ten years, and cost less than an old-fashioned bulb to run. You will be happy to hear that I did not buy it.  Look around hard enough, and you will still be able to get ‘proper’ bulbs in most shops, and they will not cost £14 each. Don’t believe the hype and propaganda, see it for what it is. A whole new market of captive buyers, forced by law, to replace millions of perfectly good bulbs, and tens of thousands of working lamps, and have to buy all new items, at huge cost. Use your commonsense. If they work so well, and they are so efficient, surely they must be cheaper, not more expensive? The estimated savings in the use of electricity have already been overwhelmed by price rises since 2009, and they are set to rise again substantially this year. They are just having us on, as everything called ‘Green’ must be good. The modern mantra.

I have worked in many Government buildings since 2001. None of these have the dim new bulbs; not for them the curly cones of gloom, oh no. They are lit like stadia at night, with thousands of strip lights, multi-bulb fittings, and recessed spotlights. I doubt that you will see the new style bulbs in the homes of the rich or privileged either, they would not fit in their huge chandeliers. It is just for the drones, the workers, the environmentally concerned sheep. We can rest in the dull glow, while the others laugh at us from behind their beautifully bright reading lamps. And it doesn’t end there. As ministers and the EU debate the enforced end of standby facilities on electrical goods, and reductions in the output of the new bulbs (40 watt will do them, let them have gloom), Government buildings, and the office blocks of big companies, are left to blaze all night, radiating light like giant beacons on the cityscape. Even at weekends, when they are mostly unoccupied, they continue to be fully lit, day and night. All the computer terminals, tens of thousands of them, can be clearly seen through the windows. They are all left on. Yet they will enforce the buying of products that stop us leaving anything on standby, and will turn out street lights in dangerous urban areas, all in the name of environmental conscience, and economic cutbacks. Giving us the ultimate two-fingered salute, by leaving all their stuff on, whilst making us turn everything off; turning back the clock in the streets of major cities, returning them to the dangerous darkness of the Dickensian age.

And so, I arrive at light pollution. This is one of the reasons given for many of these measures, especially where it concerns turning off lights on dangerous stretches of urban motorways, and in some city centres. If they really want to tackle light pollution, turn off all the office lights, and the lights in the Council, and Government buildings; that would be a start. I do have an axe to grind here. I like living in the dark countryside; I sleep better, and I can see the stars. However, I am not so sure that I would be so happy with darkness in a big city like London though, as I am certain that the crime rate will rocket, as well as road accidents increase.

At the core of it all, is the ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’ philosophy of modern Government. If we won’t do what they say is best for us, they will legislate us into it. At the same time, they will blatantly continue to do it themselves, more or less laughing in our faces. Stop co-operating, fight back, tell them that you know they are lying.