Posted in Life and Family, Political and Social Issues, Rants

Soapy Satsumas

I wash groceries ordered from the local supermarket but don’t know why I bothered soaping these satsumas. These are the type everyone would leave on the shelf if they were in the store and saw them. Green, yellow, bruised and yet not old. I don’t blame the supermarket itself for sending us these, but the individuals who picked them out showed serious lack of judgement. I tried one and it tasted as pale as it looked — had to be discarded. Mum shrugged and said it’s the risk we take.

Another thing that annoys me is the charge for the plastic bags used by the supermarket for our deliveries. There’s no option other than to find another outlet that doesn’t use plastic bags when delivering to us. I thought the main point of this type of tax was to put people off obtaining plastic bags, not to gouge those who aren’t given another option… a captive clientele.

I sound in a worse mood than I actually am but when I got into writing this my irritation resurfaced! Actually, it’s a bit worse than irritation, more like fury.

Today was very rainy but we had coffee in the garden… in the new gazebo Mum bought. One of the cats sat in there with us while the clouds burst all around. A neighbour dripped up his driveway and didn’t see us, though I waved through the gazebo window. He had no idea we were there.

The whole thing is surreal. In normal times we wouldn’t have thought of buying a tent and sitting in our garden in the rain, but the cat seemed to think it was a fine idea, if a bit weird.

Haven’t been in a shop since early March, with the single exception of a garden centre. Am starting to remember certain places very close to us as though they were in my distant past. I look at the cash in my bag and worry that it might be out of date and unusable now. I don’t like paying by card as I can never remember the code, and I don’t like shopping online in case of fraud… if this becomes a cashless society, that will be a nightmare.

I don’t know, is there anything else to talk about other than the current situation? Even the peely-wally satsumas are connected.

Another blogger was recently writing about being unable to focus on anything, even his books. In the comments someone said many people are feeling this ‘malaise’, and I thought “that’s exactly the right word! Malaise!”

It’s more than cabin fever; it’s frustration with everything that’s wrong while impacting us a lot. You start to wonder if anything is worth doing any more.

Posted in Health Issues, Life and Family, Political and Social Issues

Coffee in a Social Bubble

Was thinking about the Scottish Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. I wondered if I was imagining things that we were closely shadowing the UK government’s moves but then going further in every instance… tighter regulations for longer. Just after I was thinking this, the UK Government brought in a new rule that pubs (in England) should close at 10 p.m. Meanwhile in Scotland we have that new rule too, but in addition there is to be no further mingling of private households, though there is a ‘rule of six’ which means we can meet friends from only one other household outdoors or in indoors public spaces (like restaurants). Extended households can continue to mingle indoors, but I have a feeling there are going to be arguments on the ground about what counts as an extended household.

People living alone (or alone with children) or who need care can be part of an extended household with another person or group — their ‘social bubble’. As far as I’m aware, that doesn’t change.

We watched the speeches on TV.

“And though it doesn’t feel like it now,” said Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland’s First Minister), “this virrrus will pass. It won’t last furrever, and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.”

I’m pretty sure that’s what she said in the speech as I had a fit of the giggles, so when I went to check it just now, was confused to find a slightly different version in other sources. “This pandemic will pass,” they quoted. No, I’m sure she said ‘virus’. The TV captioning said ‘virus’. I’m not sure what happened there.

In the summer it wasn’t hard to have coffee in the garden, but this is a cold country now heading towards winter. The weather is often grey and rainy. Sunny blue-sky days are becoming rarer, though with brisk, soaring autumnal breezes. The whole town has been contemplating coffee in the garden while dark gold leaves fall around and aroma of mushroom rises from the dewy grass. Later still we could have coffee (and muttered conversations about the worse-than-useless local council) in rain and snow. I said I wondered if we could set up a shelter of some kind, though not a tent, as I figured that would defeat the purpose of sitting outside in the slightly-too-fresh air. It turned out that Mum and my sister had already been discussing it — maybe tarpaulin or something draped over a trellis as a makeshift roof? Apparently the local ladies have all had the same idea and are snapping up gazebos, garden tents and chimineas. Doubtless when we shuffle up looking for ours, the shelves will be bare.

“Toady town ladies,” I grumbled. “Oh wait! We’re town ladies too.”

I said lots of us will be wishing we had verandahs in this country, and Mum said verandahs are cold places. At least a verandah would be shelter from the rain, I said. We would need duvets to keep us warm, said Mum, and my sister said she had old duvets we could use.

In the cold weather coming up we could be sitting outdoors wrapped in these duvets, possibly under some kind of trellis roof (if we’re lucky). The cats will absolutely love that. I suggested history books of the future will say, “…and it was then that people started spending a lot more time outdoors.” All for the sake of continued chat and coffee.

Posted in Books, Political and Social Issues, Quotations, Reluctant Landlord

Reflected in Books

Written in April 2020 but not published till now.

‘Write about the three objects, books, songs, people, or places that best tell the story of the past year in your life.’

That Discover prompt jumped out at me. Songs can be twisted to mean anything about any part of your life, but I wonder about books. I’m only just getting back to reading now, so am trying to remember what books were on my radar before the virus struck.

(1) Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (Jung Chang). I took it into my head to re-read this at the start of the year. There it was in my Kindle and I wanted to refresh my memory of it. On 13 January I wrote in an email to a friend: “Reading Wild Swans just now… I read it before years ago, and I’m amazed how little of it I remember. Landlords are mentioned a lot… they were hugely unpopular in China, and they and their families ended up at the bottom of the list for rations in the famine.”

The British Government knew about the coronavirus in China ten days before I wrote that, but I didn’t hear about it till later.

What has happened since then? Disease, death, lockdown. Suspension of industry. Hunger in some places because of job loss, shortages and disruption of food supply chain. Everybody rushing to the support of everybody else, but some in Britain suggested ‘fat cat’ landlords should absorb the loss of rent and expect no renumeration. That’s scary, especially for the ‘poor pensioner’ type of landlord who depends on the rent to get by. Some have been living this way since the credit crunch.

I’m worried by moves to paint some sectors as good or deserving and others as selfish or pointless. For a while at least, one shop reportedly kept certain items at the back and only sold them to ‘the elderly and vulnerable.’ I can understand why, but my sister’s neighbour said ruefully that though she’s immunocompromised and qualifies as ‘vulnerable’, she looks in very good health. If she went into that shop and asked for these things, they possibly wouldn’t sell them to her. No matter how well-meaning such actions are, I remember the Chinese landlords. When you are always at the back of the queue, the shelves will always be bare when you get there.

(2) A Winter Book (Tove Jansson). Went on to read this after Wild Swans. Read it twice before but was in need of comfort. At this time of year it was the perfect choice but I abandoned it halfway through and have only just got back. There was a post on Facebook yesterday that asked a random question… if you had to do the job of the main character of the last book you read, what would it be? Writer and artist who lives alone on an island — sounds perfect to me. 🙂 In the chapter where I abandoned the book, she is worrying about the arrival of a squirrel on her island. It just floated up one day, and because it returned to sit on the jetty, she’s afraid it’s disappointed and intends to leave the same way it came. That’s like me with my blog, perhaps… scattering breadcrumbs in a hope to draw like minds, but, oh look — they might leave!

When I started reading it again, I immediately thought of the lockdown. Anyone who’s lived on one of these islands must laugh. I’ve no experience of it myself, but I imagine you would need to keep good stocks. You can’t just leap in your boat and go shopping at a whim, especially when there’s a storm. You would need to think ahead and obtain all kinds of things for emergencies, repair and maintenance as well as food. You need your comfort items to keep yourself happy, so books, games and sweets are as essential as anything else. You would be by yourself or with your family, and there are certain things it’s only polite to do if visiting someone else’s island.

Listen to me rabbiting on! I don’t know about any of this, but a lockdown must seem like nothing new if you’re used to living this kind of life, especially when a storm hits.

(3) Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality (Theodore Dalrymple). I read this before the other two books, and absolutely loved it. It fits in beautifully with my own feelings about things, especially concerning recent events. I could quote bits of it and never have enough, but all I can say is, ‘read it for yourself’. It finishes with the following line from Pascal:

Travaillons donc a bien penser. Voila le principe de la morale.
‘Let us labour, therefore, to think well. That is the principle of morality.’

Posted in Health Issues, Life and Family, Political and Social Issues

Lockdown Blues

Three weeks of lockdown in Scotland have passed by. Three more weeks lie ahead.

I’m more used to staying at home and keeping to myself than many others in the wider population, but their distress disturbs me. It’s reassuring when I see that people have the same thoughts and the same struggles, but this situation is different. A couple of people have said on TV and social media, “You know, this is what our lives have always been like,” and I guess I feel that too.

That doesn’t mean I have no frustrations and fears about the lockdown; I have plenty.

I’m lucky in many ways, really. For instance, I’m not alone in the house. I’m not in one of the most vulnerable groups health-wise, but can’t go out in case I bring the virus home to my mother. We stay in isolation and my sister brings shopping. The rest of the time we get deliveries. People are having trouble obtaining delivery slots from local supermarkets, so I haven’t even tried — we get ours from local shops and Amazon.

I’m careful to space out deliveries because banks have been freezing the cards of people who’ve never shopped online before. I’m not in that bracket but am careful not to order from too many different places all at once. The last thing I need in the middle of a lockdown is for my card to be frozen! Others can unfreeze their cards by picking up the phone but I can’t do that.

Apparently the supermarket shelves are less bare than they were, though still have their moments. I really miss being able to look for things myself. I love impulse buys and being able to choose between one product and another. These days you have to take whatever’s available. I write a list for one shop by email, for example: 1x bacon, 1x apple juice, 1x Earl Grey Teabags, 1x veg box. I don’t specify brands or weights for fear of not getting things at all.

If I went out, though, I’d need to stand in spaced-out supermarket queues. My sister took a photo of one winding round the car park. Anyone following my ‘panic attack’ adventures would know I’m practically allergic to queues. Also I believe people should be wearing masks in public spaces, but here in the UK we are discouraged from doing so. In some sense I’m waiting for authorities to accept that wearing masks is a better idea than not. I was joking in an email that I would choose a black scarf to wind round my mouth as it’s a nice respectable colour, but I don’t think I have one. It would have to be white with teddy bears. “Very you,” commented the neighbour.

There was a bin disruption… the council decided they were going to pick up certain bins and not others. Now they’ve decided to start picking it up again, but we have to keep checking the bin calendar because they change the rota every week. The bins aren’t the worst of our worries, though; that’s just a minor issue. One of the side effects of lockdown.

Facebook has become hard to bear. People and groups who were on your side all through the Brexit era are suddenly voicing opinions you don’t agree with. Most of the time I absorb different opinions, try to make sense of things and say nothing… but there’s so much unkindness. They say these are times that bring out both the best and the worst in people, but I’m not sure I see any difference. The best and the worst have always been there. Often the best is more subtle. The silent majority; the person who takes a little time to be kind; those who have the patience to stick around; those who work responsibly and without fanfare. Also kindness begets kindness — it’s easier to be kind and accepting when others are less acerbic and judgemental.

A queen wasp came into the kitchen and prodded the ceiling thoughtfully. She said if only there were chinks between the panels there might have been a nice little cave behind for wasps to lock themselves down in. I opened the back door to let her out, and forgot all about the incident till a few days later she came back for a second viewing. Why us?? Hasn’t she found anywhere she likes yet?

My hands are so dry… not just from hand-washing but from washing everything else more than usual. Soaping all the milk bottles and groceries and keeping handles clean. I’m glad we have plenty of hand cream. I found a huge pot of E45 sitting around that I bought years ago.

Non-perishable groceries are left aside for a few days before we put them away. I ordered a parcel from Amazon and left it in a cupboard weeks ago. If there was any virus on it, it’s died a thousand deaths by now, but I still haven’t gone in to open it. It’s a batch of kitchen rolls. I offered some to the neighbours, who politely said they have plenty, thanks, and suddenly the parcel seemed a little less shiny and exciting.

Mum squirts our letters with anti-bacterial spray, though I don’t think it kills viruses. Things drop through the letterbox, get a soaking, then are left for a couple of days before being picked up. They are statements and bills with the odd pizza circular.

Boris Johnson wrote us all a letter and told us in advance he was sending it. He posted a copy on his Facebook page but I didn’t read it, as that would have spoiled it for me. For ages mine didn’t turn up. I started to lose hope, thinking someone in Royal Mail might have been anti-Boris and threw it in the burn, but it eventually turned up… only to be squirted by Mum and her bottle of anti-bacterial fluid. Now it looks pimply, but not too bad… my letter from Boris!

Oh, but the days he landed in hospital were the worst. The majority of people were shocked and upset, and I could barely speak. I’ve been reading that the U.S. and even China tried to save his life by offering drugs, so perhaps they were upset too. I felt annoyed every time someone began their commiserations with “Whatever you may think of his politics…” it’s such a grudging remark, as though he’s not their Prime Minister, only ours. I’m glad he’s recovering now, but he’s greatly missed.

The song going round my head over the last few days is The Old Rugged Cross. I didn’t think about it till now, but it must be because of pictures I saw over Easter.

People talk about what they do at home; they connect online or read books or tidy their gardens. I envy them because I can’t concentrate on reading; I can’t relax enough to watch a film or a drama or to listen to music, paint or do anything pleasant. I’m not sure why. I seem to be looking for something — perhaps better news. Like some kind of batwoman I crouch on a ledge and wait, surveying the empty streets below.

Metaphorically, of course. 🙂

Posted in Political and Social Issues, Videos

As I Lay Sleeping

Monday 7 October 2019

Sat up at 5 to watch a video in Youtube (‘A Message to the United Nations from a little old lady‘), then got up. Initially I was in the mood to clean, but felt so sleepy all of a sudden that I fell asleep on the sofa. It was cold and dark, raining hard. The clouds were leaden grey, though I woke eventually around 12 and bright sun had appeared.

Good news: a court in Edinburgh ruled that it’s unnecessary as well as inappropriate to force Boris Johnson to ask the EU for an extension. However, the following from The Spectator is the best thing I read all day: ‘How Number 10 view the state of the negotiations‘ (James Forsyth).

It was jaw-dropping to read, and I was thinking “we would never have got such a frank response from Number 10 while Theresa May was in charge.” I was also wondering who the contact was who had written this (though possibly the words weren’t written by the contact but supplied by someone else). There was a whiplash sense of humour in there, but no bad language, though if there had been, it would have been edited out. I decided it wasn’t Mark Francois, because (swearing or lack of it aside) the punctuation was better. He puts too many commas in. It could have been JRM, but I don’t think so — not sure the type of humour matches up. Boris could have written it himself, and there’s something of him in it. Dominic Cummings is my main suspect, however — I think he’s capable of that kind of openness and tended to be a bit sparse with punctuation (if I remember right).

Of course, it didn’t have to be from anyone in the public eye; could have been from someone lesser known or not known at all.

I suppose it doesn’t matter who wrote it, but it was so unusual. This isn’t a formal speech or a non-committal response… it was a direct communication. I found myself wondering if Boris and his team have been watching how Trump, Farage and others talk directly to people and how that works so well for them. It’s the politics of the future. May didn’t do it, though she made an attempt at it one night, doing a formal, rather stiff video from her sofa. Direct communication doesn’t work well only for the leaders, of course; it works for all of us. This is where honesty and full information can be found, because if the speaker is lying, or manipulating people against their own interests, that will quickly become apparent.

“We are winning” is another thought that went through my mind. Are we? It’s been such an uphill battle, and I worry about Boris. I hope he will not be made ill by the stress and bad treatment he’s had. I know that the EU is determined not to lose their grip on power, and that’s why I fear we might still lose.

What effect has the diary (or template) had on me today?: I’m thinking of giving it up again. I need and desire to write, yet feel resistance against writing. The thought that annoys me the most every time is having to type the date in manually!

On Facebook and in videos I keep seeing it said that we have to show happiness even when we don’t feel it… there are good reasons; it helps us and not just others. I was amused at one video yesterday: ‘Nigel Farage Meets Rod Liddle‘. Rod was starting to slide into self pity, then caught himself and said he didn’t want to be that person, and Farage was laughing openly… well, it was funny. I have to say I agree. I used not to; I considered if people felt sad or annoyed they had to tell others, but now I don’t know. Anyway, it leaves me with the dilemma of how to write future blog posts.

Fell asleep on the sofa at least three more times before bedtime. Was nodding off from time to time during something on TV about fake news by that fellow whose name I can never remember. Ian Hislop, that’s it. I found it interesting, though, so managed not to sleep too long! I would close my eyes for about four seconds then suddenly open them and suspect it was more like eight seconds, as a whole chunk of the talk would have gone by.

Diary written anyway… time to sleep properly.

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, Political and Social Issues

Eyeball to Eyeball With the Rest of the World

I dreamed I was working for Donald Trump. I was suddenly sacked, and at the end of that terrible, horrible, no good day, Donald Trump walked in, sat down next to me on a plain wooden chair, and explained he’d fired me himself because I had the perfect skills for another vacancy he had. He would be pleased if I would turn up for the mystery job on Monday, 9 a.m. sharp, in the Trump Tower adjacent.

As you can see, I’ve been too focused on all the political noise recently. I wasn’t particularly enjoying Facebook till I discovered political groups and pages, and I don’t know if this is a good thing or not!

The Good:

(1) There are knowledgeable lawyerly and political types who do a great job of managing expectations and beliefs, steering us clear of murky waters while clarifying certain issues. The lawyers in particular have the humbling effect of making me realize there are a lot of things I’ll never fully follow. It makes me want to erase all our laws and start again from a blank slate — keeping it simple, and not writing much at all! What was that that Bill and Ted used to say? “Be excellent to each other.” That’s all we need.

(2) These groups are a useful steam valve. People to actually talk politics with! Yay.

(3) Am made aware of political events as they unfold — such as who voted for what in the House of Commons 11 minutes ago, or who’s being interviewed on TV right now.

(4) I love political cartoons! They brighten up my feed regularly.

The Bad:

(1) Shouters and droners, no matter which side they’re on! Some are so busy venting or writing the same thing over and over that they don’t absorb the finer nuances of what was said or what’s going on. It doesn’t take much for someone to be rude to someone else for the wrong reasons.

(2) My favourite political groups on Facebook just happen to be open, not closed. Facebook friends and family can no doubt see what I’m writing there, so I need to keep such interactions to a bare minimum. I feel restricted and frustrated by this, but have no way of keeping these worlds separate.

(3) Now that Facebook has started to blow up and destroy itself with privacy issues, censorship and such-like, I’ve finally got addicted to it… a decade behind everybody else. I don’t WANT to be addicted! Black depression descends when there’s nothing going on in the political arena, and nobody saying anything… or at least nothing strong and positive.

Facebook is supposed to draw people closer together, promoting greater understanding of the rest of the world, but you don’t want to be close to absolutely everyone. Things get distorted and aren’t explained well, and snag your attention when it would have been better not to notice. “X doesn’t really believe that, does she?? That’s too disingenuous!! But it wasn’t meant for me; this was on a newspaper.” On my MP’s page I read comments that made me hate my own community, and it took me a few days to shake the feeling off. It can be truly alienating. On the whole it’s better to forgive people, ignore everything that annoys you and pass silently on…

I still believe Facebook is a dangerous place. The more I’m drawn into it, the messier my life is liable to get. Eyeball to eyeball with the rest of the world, I risk falling out with it en masse! It might be good for my health and sanity to deactivate my account after Brexit, but when will that be…?

—————

I keep writing blog posts but not getting round to posting them — mostly because I don’t trust the iPad any more, while the desktop computer has been off a lot (I was meaning to blog from there). This post was written maybe a week ago. Another one after this is waiting to be copied out.

Posted in Political and Social Issues, Rants, Technology and Software

Lost in Gmail

Me in Gmail:

“Where’s the ‘reply’ button? Not this. Not that one either. Daren’t press the other one ‘cos I’m worried it will open the garbage chute or share everything far and wide.” (Looks helplessly around). “What are these promising dots in the corner? Oh, got it.”

(Starts replying to long-lost buddy in the U.S).

The next Gmail-related quandary was, “How do I save this as a draft?” On an iPad you can’t hover over things to check them out before committing, as there’s no mouse.

“What’s that symbol?… Nope, no drafts in there. That? Don’t touch it… it looks suspiciously like SEND, and I’m not ready. So what’s that arrow in the other corner? What if that’s SEND as well?”

(Considers doubtfully for a minute).

“On the other hand, the arrow could be the back button. I might as well risk it, but I’ll copy the entire post first in case I need to paste it back in.”

Fortunately, hitting the back button does save it as a draft, but once upon a time you would never have had to make such a leap of faith. Is it just that I’ve come from an environment where you had to save every document manually before you left it, and now we’re supposed to trust in our devices to do it automatically? I used to save every five minutes or less. It wasn’t an annoyance; it was reflex self-assurance, like touching worry beads round my neck and finding safety.

I was watching something a day ago in which a guy was complaining how Google turned Gmail into something unpleasant and confusing to use. His main subject was Google’s leaked briefing ‘The Good Censor‘. By voting for Trump, Brexit and the AfD, it seems we proved to Big Tech that we can’t be trusted to roam the internet on our own. Google said the briefing was internal research only, not company policy, but it’s suspicious they should see it as a ‘problem’ that’s theirs to solve.

That long-lost buddy is a fellow Facebook-hater, and mentioned something called MeWe. I hadn’t heard of it till then, but as I don’t like Facebook-type sites anyway, I’m not sure it’s for me. I was reading about it, and it looks as though you can keep groups of people separate from each other and not have all your friends, family and colleagues jostling elbows in one big viewable list.

That’s what Facebook should have been from the start. I wonder, will we be hearing more about MeWe from now on?

Posted in Political and Social Issues, Rants, Technology and Software

Here’s What I Think…

First off, I deleted my WordPress app because it was no longer working on my iPad. The last two updates caused it to crash when I try to open it. I figured my iPad 4 is too old, but updates are not supposed to be offered to me if they’re incompatible. We used to be able to roll back to older apps via the iTunes backup, but Apple changed it a while ago so that we can’t do that any more. This is precisely the sort of controlling, limiting, dumbing-down kind of behaviour from Apple (and other tech companies) that makes me absolutely livid.

Banning people and sites is measly behaviour too, of course… and it seems Trump has finally tweeted his views on the subject. Good. 🙂 I said to my mother a while ago that it blew my mind that the big companies can do this sort of thing and imagine they won’t get their tails caught in the cat-flap.

For some reason I was particularly angry at Pinterest banning Alex Jones. I never liked Facebook et al, but Pinterest is something else. I always had a soft spot for it, and it’s not a place I think of as political. Perhaps it depends what people use it for, but for me it’s always been for art, journalling, storage, organization, Christmas decorations, fairy houses… I mean, I had no idea Alex Jones was on it. I never looked!

I knew he was on YouTube but didn’t watch his videos very much, but after his banning, I watched anything that showed his face, because I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted his views as well as other people’s. I seem to remember he said on one video that he kept apologizing about the Sandy Hook thing, but the media never published his apologies. That channel got taken down pretty quickly, so I can’t point to it.

I feel the wind picking up… things are about to happen to change this scene, so there’s no point my going on about it.

Where WordPress is concerned, I don’t have my app any more so am using the mobile browser version. I might be slower to answer things or read other people’s posts. I’m in a confused frame of mind, which doesn’t help. It’s as though I’m walking along and there’s a multitude of little trails and footpaths and roads and byways all branching off in different directions. I want to go down all of them, but if I start off down one, I will forfeit the chance to go down any of the others. I could always come back and try different routes, but I’ll get tired eventually, and time is wearing on.

I would like to have the horse who can gallop in all directions at once. If he’s for sale, please let me know. 🙂

Posted in Hearing Loss, Political and Social Issues

Confuddled By Our Politicians

18 July 2018

I went to sleep after reading news last night, then woke up abruptly and couldn’t go back to sleep again. I felt anxious because I hadn’t understood what they were voting about in the Commons and what the uproar was all about.

Sat up and read several news articles, realizing that some of them were really bad at explaining it; even misleading — not deliberately, I don’t think; just sloppy writing or poor-quality summarizing. Finally I got the idea… unless I misunderstood, the story appears to be that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his band won a couple of damage-limitation amendments, then voted to pass the bill, whereas Stephen Hammond, Anna Soubry et al were furious about these amendments and tried to vote it down. They were very narrowly defeated. One of the amendments the Remainers wanted to pass was an attempt to force the UK to stay in the Customs Union if the negotiators hadn’t arranged a ‘frictionless border for trade’ by early next year.

At least I think that’s the story, as I had to piece it together from different accounts.

It seems the Remainers think the Brexiteers are trying to scupper the Chequers plan by pushing amendment changes that will probably cause the EU to reject the deal, though it looks very much as though the EU will reject it anyway.

I’m not the only confused one!

Boris Johnson reminds everyone why we voted leave — I liked his speech better than his article in the Telegraph. He said he disagreed with those who thought we could ‘limp over the line’ with an unsatisfactory Brexit deal then ‘rebreak’ it later to reset the bone. It won’t happen.

24 July 2018

I started telling M what my book said:

“…ever since Cromwell, Parliament has held absolute power and no court in the land can overturn it. So ‘England’ has been living under the tyranny of ‘lex regia’ ever since — not ‘the law of the land’.”

M said, “Do we not need a parliament?”

“I think previously courts could overturn rules that went against the law of the land. Now they can’t.”

“To be fair, there were an awful lot of stupid laws.”

“There still are!”

I switched off the Kindle and said, “I can only read so much of the book at a time — it’s like waking up and discovering we live in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”

Three videos I liked:

David Wimble — Deaf Photographer Shares His Story

He’s witty, and his photos are stunning.

[ASL] Montigo — When Hearing People Look at You Differently

Even wittier.

Artie McWilliams — Deaf Anxiety

The first part of ‘Deaf Anxiety’ is what I do… the room-scanning thing! It’s the first time I’ve seen anybody else say they do that as well, so I’m quite pleased. The more crowded the place is, the more on edge I am, because I need to stay aware of who might be around me.

NB: I’m having doubts now about transferring bits of my private diary to my blog… I start fighting with myself about what to include, so I maybe I’ll go back to writing directly for the blog. Plundering my diary is a lazy method.

I need coffee…

Posted in Life and Family, Lost in Thought, Political and Social Issues

Everything Falls Short This Summer

2 July 2018

Went shopping for clothes, but most were really ugly. Big floral designs, material too skimpy. I said to M they were all more like the kind of garments you wear over swimsuits. She said maybe they were. My question is, why should everything in the shop be like that?

3 July 2018

Watched a Ted Talk: Useful Journaling

What he says about the uses of journalling is very true and I’ve experienced it myself. It’s why I still write, though, as he says, there are times you give up for a while… yet always pick it up again.

That Ted Talk was immediately followed by: Want to learn better? Start mind-mapping

It got me thinking at the end about how it could be used to tease through something that’s confusing to understand or discuss adequately. I get so confused about what people mean, what they say, what they want, what they know, and whether all of this fits together or not, that eventually I give up trying to figure it out. Perhaps this would be a tool that helps us find our way through the brain fog!

8 July 2018

I came across this in the Apple News app:

May’s Brexit plans ‘unworkable’ and a ‘fudge’, Sir Keir Starmer says. The shadow Brexit secretary said: “I’m afraid it’s got fudge written all over it.”

“Ah,” I said in surprise, “Finally we AGREE on something!”

This Chris Riddell political caricature in The Guardian was amusing, though I wondered why it was a swivelly unicorn instead of a cowardly lion.

13 July 2018

For three or four days I had hot chocolate with the 100% cacao I got from M&S, and some whipped cream to put on the top. I’m not very good at making real hot chocolate, even when I make a better fist of not allowing the chocolate to curdle in the milk. My current method is to melt a square of the chocolate directly in the mug, sitting in a pan of recently boiled water. It melts well, and I leave it sitting in the hot water when I put the heated milk in gradually, stirring it to mix with the melted chocolate. Then I put a dollop of whipped cream on top. It seems to work well, and tastes OK, then I reach clumps of resolidified chocolate at the bottom, and that spoils the drink. I don’t know how to get over that hurdle.

Was stressed this morning because internet wasn’t working and yet the router’s light was still green. I gave it time and it still refused to work. Eventually I unplugged the router, left it a few minutes, plugged it in again, and at last it worked! I hate it when it blocks me; it makes me wonder what I did to offend the gods of the internet.

Quite liked this video in YouTube:

President Trump Arrives at Blenheim Palace as He Visits the UK, the PM and the Queen

Was awestruck by the quiet, purring power of the Americans. There was something so strange about seeing a little bit of America here in Britain, as though they had driven over the hill from a neighbouring castle! I watched with the sound off (as usual) so our own pomp and circumstance passed me by somewhat.