Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Shopping rant.

Let me just say I have no problem at all with the new rules regarding the wearing of masksnone at all.

Like others, I have been known to wonder why HMG did not impose the rule earlier, but as masks could not be had for love nor money at the outset, I have not voiced that thought. As soon as masks became more widely available we bought some and I have now worn a mask in shops for several weeks already.

Screenshot 2020-07-25 at 12.54.17

Click image for link

Nevertheless, what is it about the new requirement to wear masks that makes everyone think that they can shop as a family group again?

I’ve just been to Aldi and although the tills were quiet (unnervingly quiet), the store was packed with family groups hogging the aisles and crowding around their trollies to chat with other families they chanced to meet (blocking the aisle EVEN more). And don’t start me on the non-evident social distancing.

106443886-1584197646729gettyimages-1206987853

Generic image of shoppers – not local Aldi

We have had four glorious months where only one person per trolley was allowed in the store (the rule was much the same in other stores too).  So, each household had a nominated shopper who, if deliveries from larger stores could not be arranged, would take their list and strategically shop for JUST what they needed. The nominated shopper would clinically plan their route around the store (using the one-way system), would precisely locate what it was they needed to buy and be in and out of the store almost as quickly as the tills allowed. It was absolute bliss.

Now, although there is a traffic-light system to enter our Aldi, there is no ‘number-of-people’ per trolley counter. It makes shopping by the (still) nominated shopper (me) immensely frustrating.

[I do understand that some people need help with their shopping. I have no problem with that, but when ‘hubby’ comes along to JUST push the trolley and the tribe of kids, of all ages join in the fun, it is annoying. Rant over]

Sharon and I have coped fairly well with the lockdown. [Quite a bit of this post was seen in an earlier post]

I think that the U.K. lockdown was enforced at least a week to ten days late, but never mind, WE have both managed. Yet, many thousands of others haven’t.

As I write this, the numbers of people catching the virus (at least across Europe) are decreasing, as is the number of people dying from Covid-19. Therefore, the government are allowing pubs to open from this weekend and social-distances to be reduced. People are also going back to work, which is a good thing, if it is safe to do so. Sadly, many others will find that their jobs no longer exist post-furlough, which is not a good thing.

This virus is affecting many people in many ways.

What we still do not know though, is how many preventable deaths and serious illnesses have been hastened by the scarcity of medical interventions brought about by the pandemic, or the silent but deadly increase of serious mental health issues which lockdown has been (and is still being) allowed to breed.

Olwyn and Albert

The point in question?  My dad. He’s 93 years old later this year and has completely failed to comprehend the enormity of the situation. Bear in mind that my mum, his wife, has been in a care home (she has Alzheimer’s – see) for over two years and that until lockdown, he had never missed visiting her at least twice a week.

On March 16th, I phoned dad to tell him that mum’s Care Home had decided to stop allowing visitors (incidentally – this early action meant that the Care Home managed to keep a clean Covid-19 sheet throughout) and that he therefore could no longer visit mum. He thought it was only for a week (I read his diary today) but I did tell him that it was for at least a week and possibly more (build him up, let him down gently).

Unlike me, dad is an avid news-watcher and Boris-lover, so I’d expected him to understand more of the nuances of lockdown (self-isolation, shielding etc.) than he actually did.

Because Sharon needed to be involved in the activities surrounding the, then imminent, birth of Betony’s second son in April, we were being especially isolated and I’d told dad that unless he stopped using public transport, I couldn’t see him.  Now, that in itself was a problem, because he is half-deaf.  He has had hearing difficulties all of my life but his hearing aids have disguised this disability quite well.  However, as he has aged, he has become more prone to ‘making do’.  He’s fine if he can see you, but because he ‘repairs’ his own hearing aids (Blue-Tac, solder, elastic bands etc.) it has become much harder to communicate with him via telephone.  As a result, we have been unable to make him fully understand the Covid-19 dangers and he has become more and more depressed.

All of his hospital appointments (one for hearing, which they are now trying to arrange ‘over the telephone’!!!) have been cancelled over the months of lockdown. He must have felt especially abandoned.  Now, after at least one attempt at taking his own life, he has just been discharged from hospital following a stay (for assessment) of over three weeks. He is beginning life in the same care home as my mum.

I’m told that he’s not coping well.

So, that’s another life blighted by this fucking virus.

Just for perspective.

My Grandma (mum’s mum) was born on February 10th, 1900.

Imagine the life she led.

She was named for a distant relative who was wounded in the Boer War11, which ended when she was only two years old.  She was still a toddler when the Wright Brothers made their first controlled, powered flight1; but before she died, Concorde had made supersonic passenger flights possible2 and Neil Armstrong had walked on the moon3.

concorde-02

Born in a grimy mill town, she would have been forced into work just as ‘The Great War’ began and all the young men went off to the trenches. By the time that war ended, she was eighteen and had then to survive the Spanish Flu pandemic4.

Edwardian-1905-Market-Square-Huddersfield-PostcardShe was married and had borne two children by the time the Great Depression hit the U.K. in 1929/305. Unemployment in some parts of the north reached up to 70% and I can only assume that she and her young family survived because mills were (presumably) less affected than heavy industry and mining.

Next came the second World War, which saw her son enlisted in the Royal Navy; he served in the Far East. Once again, she will have had to work in the filthy, noisy mills to survive. I never really knew what my grandad did, other than ‘work with horses’. He died while I was still very young. Then, along with a variety of international conflicts which involved young British conscripts6, and two other significant wars in the far east, she saw the Iron Curtain come down and lived the rest of her life under threat of nuclear annihilation. She didn’t live to see the Berlin Wall come down, but she did read of its erection in those early days of the cold war.

1432781349

She witnessed the final throes of the British Empire7, the birth of the NHS8, colour T.V., mini-skirts9, Teddy Boys10 and fighting on the south coast12. During the 1960’s she even experienced and enjoyed holidays in Spain – having (I seem to remember) been driven there with my uncle’s family. I’d love to have seen Spain then, or even when my own parents flew there with my younger brothers in the 1970s.

I think my grandma (mam) had a remarkable life, living through most of a century of change and turmoil.

She died in 1973.

1 – http://firstflight.open.ac.uk/index.php

2 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde

3 – https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/first-person-on-moon.html

4 – https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html

5 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression_in_the_United_Kingdom

6 – https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/20/national-service-consctiption-britain-richard-vinen-review

7 – https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/india-and-pakistan-win-independence

8 – https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/health-and-social-care-explained/the-history-of-the-nhs/

9 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960s_in_fashion

10 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_Boy

11 – https://www.britannica.com/event/South-African-War

12 – https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20140515-when-two-tribes-went-to-war?ocid=global_culture_rss&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

Thanks to all original owners of photographs – none are my own.

Lockdown

Introduction.

I recently volunteered to fill in a survey by staff at Manchester Metropolitan – the basic question was ‘How do I feel about the current lockdown situation’. There were questions about home, community, relationships, health and activities included in the survey. The purpose was to create a record of the lockdown from a human, nationwide perspective. I thought it would be good for me too, to record these things for later, so that when I look back, I might remember and understand what I was thinking, doing and experiencing during these unusual times.

I have therefore saved the answers I provided for the survey and have now edited and arranged them here, for my blog.

The lockdown has changed the way we live, at least temporarily. There is much talk of a ‘new normal’ just now, but what that new normal is, remains to be seen. Only time will tell.

The virus.

The virus crept up on us very slowly – at first it was ‘just’ another thing that was infecting China, and then a wider area of S.E. Asia. By the time it reached Europe and Italy decided to lockdown, we began to see unimaginable numbers of people infected and increasing death counts. Sharon and I were in Spain as this began to unfold, but we were lucky enough to have planned our return to the U.K. before Spain was put into emergency measures.

We noticed very quickly that some early measures were being put in place: e.g. on a visit to a consultant in Rochdale in late February, I was asked if I had come back from Europe within the last 14 days. I had, but Spain was (apparently, at that time) okay. My mother is in a care home suffering from dementia and luckily, they saw the potential for disaster quite some time before our government’s isolation measures were introduced and they banned all visits to the care home at least one week before the U.K. was put into lockdown.

Lockdown.

Sharon and I started to self-isolate a week early because we had been with a group of friends’ mid-March and because Betony was due to give birth imminently.

The lockdown, and the fear that came with it (by now the news media had ramped up their facts, figures and warnings) changed life considerably. If we were regarded as vulnerable, over 70 or simply scared, we were not to leave the house for 12 weeks. Others should self-isolate and, if they had symptoms, they should stay inside for 14 days. As I write this early in June, I have friends who, because they fit the vulnerable or over-70 categories, haven’t left their homes for over 11 weeks.

At this point I stopped using public transport and used my once-a-day exercise period to explore the local countryside. Sharon rarely left the house as Betony was expecting her second child at any time (he was eventually born 14th April) and didn’t want to get infected as she was to be the carer for Chester (#1 child) while Betony was confined.  This itself was different to any time prior. Previously, it would have been a grand family occasion and the father could have stayed with his wife throughout – but not this time, Josh had to wait in a car park (around midnight) until called. He only just made it back inside to be there when Hunter was born. He’s now over six weeks old and thriving.

Because of the self-isolation none of us were able to visit family. This has been especially difficult for my 92-year-old father. His inability to see his wife, my mum, in the care home has led to his complete mental breakdown.  He used to visit her twice a week but now cannot. He has said that it is much harder for him to accept than if she had died. He has had tremendous difficulty with accepting or understanding the situation that the country is in. For example, he was very surprised to find, during week nine of the lockdown, that his doctors were closed and that he could not enter the surgery. He phoned to tell me this and I had to remind him that most shops were also closed as well as all the pubs and all the cafes he might normally visit.

Community.

The small town I live in is usually a bustling, busy semi-industrial place that we call a village and during the first months of lockdown it became a wonderfully quiet place to live. The six or so real-ale pubs, the six or so coffee-bar/cafes and two Indian restaurants all closed. All the take-away shops stayed open but other than those, the hub of the village became a well-placed Aldi and the village Co-op. People queued around Aldi and along the road from the Co-op patiently, waiting for their time to be allowed entry. Two metres (or six feet) apart became the norm and even now, after eleven weeks, this distance is fairly well, but not universally, observed. Numbers inside the shops were limited too, something which even the take away shops adhered to.

During the last three to four weeks, the roads in and around the village have become much busier. Some shops have begun to re-open; one Indian Restaurant has opened for take away meals (although there are three other Indian take away’s in the village), the burger shop has re-opened and does deliveries now. More and more people are using the chance to buy hot cooked food and have begun to enjoy eating it al fresco along the canal side** and on other grassy areas roundabouts.

Locale.

We live in West Yorkshire, in a village nestled into the eastern Pennines. The countryside around us is beautiful, especially during this magnificent springtime. It has been a delight to watch the trees unfold, the meadows to bloom and the blossom to come and go. There are signs just now of summer; the brighter colours of spring are now beginning to turn to deeper shades. Our village is in a valley, so there are hills all around. What’s more, it is an old industrial mill-town through which both railway and Industrial Revolution canal pass.

The canal has become a pedestrian walking/cycling motorway over the weeks of lockdown, especially during the many bank holidays we seem to have had.

Home life.

At home, very little has changed. Sharon’s work has become more intense but as she works from home, online, over 22 hours per week, she has been able to spread much of that work out. She is the course manager for a company offering online Access Courses.  Much of her normal work has had to be postponed because of the changes required by awarding bodies, for those wanting to start university this autumn. My own (average 1hr per day) online work has been furloughed until the end of June. We have both been fine.

57290d15e1e02f6087e1c2bb1aa9206d

Not being able to see my father has led to problems, but my mother remains well cared for as before. I’ve kept in telephone contact with my own grown up children but still have Easter gifts we were unable to deliver for my grandchildren. I’ve made a point of calling retired or furloughed friends on the phone to see how they are doing, or passing by the end of their garden for a socially distanced chat. Other friends and I have regularly exchanged funny pictures, jokes and videos – all have helped me to stay sane.

Typical day.

There hasn’t really been a typical day in lockdown – perhaps a series of ‘differently’ typical days. One day for example, I started making a loaf of bread* at 07:00am and while that was proving I completed my ablutions before going to Aldi for some essentials. After that and while the bread baked, I read a little, did some quizzes and games (brain games) on my iPad, checked my emails and looked on Facebook. I am also following a Duolingo course, learning Spanish – it only takes up 15-20 minutes a day and my progress is slow, but I am enjoying it.

Lunch that day was a sandwich made with two slices of the newly baked bread and some left-over chicken pate. After lunch, I got out my jigsaw board and spent an hour or so working on that. About 15:00pm Sharon and I went out for a walk. The weather was gorgeous and we set off along the canal westwards, before heading up the hill (right up), and back around the other side of the village. We were out maybe 75-90 minutes. When we got back I made some fresh pasta (110g strong flour, 1 egg and a dessert spoon of pesto) for tea. To go with this, I’d defrosted some spicy tomato sauce which I’d made earlier in lockdown.

After our evening meal, as it was Saturday, we logged on to a Zoom-quiz hosted by a friend at 20:00pm.  He has up to 16 participants each week from all over the world. I also host a quiz for friends on Wednesday evenings – just six couples (which means we have to have 2 x Zoom sessions to overcome their 40-minute limit on free accounts).

* I suppose these activities haven’t really been new. Baking bread for example, I’ve done it before, but as we’re blessed locally with a superb artisan bakery I haven’t needed to bake for years. During lockdown however, I have perfected both my white and my brown bread skills. I thoroughly enjoy the kneading, the proving and the baking – it’s so rewarding. To do this I had to buy 16k of flour online as all the supermarkets were sold out. I’ve also spent the odd day bulk cooking, for the freezer, so that more of the other days can be enjoyed, rather than be spent preparing meals. Finding yeast became an issue, but I found some at a local farm shop.

Entertainment.

At other times, we’ve spent the evenings watching some of the theatre productions put out by various companies: Andrew Lloyd Weber, The National Theatre etc. YouTube has been a revelation! We’ve also started (and are presently 3/10ths of the way though) the entire series of Friends. We now have a login to Disney and have begun to watch the Star Wars films in order as well as The Marvel series (in some kind of order). We’ve finished watching the most recent series of Bosch and Outlander on Prime and the occasional film on Netflix.

Health.

I see myself as healthy, for my age (68). I am fairly fit, my walks involve distance (although not as far as pre-lockdown, because of the necessary solitariness), hill climbs (which have improved my recovery time) and regularity. I now walk more miles per week than pre-lockdown. I stopped eating fatty snacks EVERY day after a few weeks of lockdown and feel better for that. My own treatments have not been affected but those of my father have been.

Just before lockdown I went with him (he’s 92), to his doctors, and two hospital appointments were made as a result. One was exploratory and the other was to update his hearing aids as he is quite deaf.  Both were cancelled, so now over three months later, he still cannot hear and has still not been diagnosed.              

A3C51C2B-1E3C-4D05-8855-A2FDD7465BA0

**

Remembering lockdown.

The thing I hope to remember the lockdown by will be the wonderful weather we have experienced. The trees going through their leaf-growing process during April, their unfurled colours in May, along with the spring flowers burgeoning throughout. And all the walks. Wonderful.

The thing I want to forget. My father’s suicidal deterioration.

 

Picture Credit. Not sure to whom the b/w photo belongs. All credit to them for that. Others, my own.

IMG_3403This lockdown is certainly stifling the more usual good life. It causes problems, but then it also offers opportunities.

This week, Sharon cut my hair for the second time in six weeks.  She went much deeper and shorter this time, and it looks fine. Good work for a non-hairdresser. Had this occurred pre-Covid*, I may have shown my appreciation by booking a meal in a restaurant somewhere. I may even have asked a couple of friends to join us. However, all restaurants are shut tight and we have to stay away from friends. Quite rightly, given the seriousness of the virus.

IMG_3400

So, tonight Sharon has been invited to a special little restaurant in Slaithwaite, just two covers, but with all the care and attention I expect from exceptional restaurateurs. We will be opening her favourite white wine, the last of our Vouvray collection bought when we were last in Vouvray itself.

IMG_3402

A selection of Euro-themed hors o’euvres will be followed by chicken and ham tagliatelle, all home-made, including the basil infused pasta. Pudding has yet to be decided as the chef is a bit slack when it comes to puddings, but there will be pudding! The two cheeses offered at the outset are from Spain (actually from the Basque region of Spain, so the producers probably don’t see it as Spanish) and Italy – a delightful blue cheese. They may also be served post postres. The tomatoes are infused with basil, olive oil and garlic.

We may have a ‘proper’ version of Carmen playing on the T.V. at the same time – the last Carmen we attempted to watch on YouTube was awful – far too much thought had gone into making it awful too. Fancy going all the way to the Opera House in Madrid and being faced with interpretive dancing!!!

That’s it. Need to lay the table 😉

*This would never have occurred pre-Covid, my hair hasn’t been subject to wifely attentions in almost 40 years.

Strange Times

We’re coming towards the end of the U.K.’s official Week #2 of self-isolation/lock-down. This period follows a previous week of phoney-war-type self-isolation that I like to call ‘the ACTUAL first week’.

Everyone over the age of 70 and those who are deemed to be vulnerable (diabetics, pregnant women, COPD patients etc.) are required to ‘stay-in’ and to avoid all contact with others – anyone! Everyone else should work from home where possible, and where not possible, must keep themselves 2 metres away from everyone else.

Nevertheless, we’re both ok just now, we’re keeping well, we’re keeping busy (ish) and we’re not killing each other – or anyone else, yet. It helps that we’re able to go out for a spot of exercise each day or to shop for essential items (no one has said exactly what is essential – we assume foodstuffs etc.) but then, we don’t fit into any of those ‘must stay at home’ classifications above. Those folks must be bored stiff, albeit they must surely have a better chance of remaining healthy and ultimately alive.

IMG_8766

A hopeful picture, of a summer to come.

As the News Reports ramp up day after day, it becomes more and more obvious that, no matter who you believe, or which political party you support, we were simply not ready for Covid-19 in the U.K. Nor it seems, were many other countries. However, it is interesting to see how each one is dealing with the virus differently – with no real impact on the death count, which continues to rise and as yet, shows no sign of abating.  Here, after weeks of panic buying (toilet rolls and pasta? fgs! ) the supermarkets have introduced limits to what can be bought (e.g. Co-op 1x per item, Tesco 3x per item and Aldi 4x), how many people can be in their shop at any one time, and they have started asking folks to queue outside, each person to be 2 metres away from the other. Some of the queues outside Aldi are to be seen to be believed. But, at least everyone is trying to keep safe and the food stocks have returned to normal (ish) now.

Pandemics can never come at a good time. The last big global one (i.e. the one that killed c36 million people – HIV/AIDS) couldn’t really be caught in the same way as Covid-19; that pandemic was sexually transmitted and resulted in a much greater use of condoms. Nevertheless, HIV still casts a shadow over the world.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/history-of-pandemics-deadliest/

The Covid-19, Corona Virus pandemic comes at an especially troubling time for us. My mum, 90, is in a care home and we are unable now to visit her. The likelihood is that I may never see her again, although to be fair she does have a very strong life ethic, and I’ve wondered how long she can last for the last 18 months, bless her. My Dad is 92 and, although VERY independent and strong willed, is slowly failing. Nevertheless, despite all advice, he goes out every day and buys his paper, his milk, his whatever. He refuses to ask either of his boys to shop for him. I speak with him a couple of times per week whenever he rings me, but I cannot ring him because he doesn’t hear the phone; all of his incoming calls are diverted to me anyway.

Fingers crossed – we hope for the best.

Links:

https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/health-and-well-being/coronavirus.aspx

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

Hard Rock Cafe

I have some experience of Hard Rock Cafés; when Alison and I were in India, it was an oasis of non-spicy food (a relief when breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotels are ‘spicy’). Whilst there, in Bangalore (Bengaluru) I bought t-shirts for Sharon and myself. They were not cheap, but the quality was good – so good that I bought Sharon a second t-shirt during my second visit to India.

29069276044_f1b6b7dce5_cThen, some years later, we were both in Seville and popped in to the Hard Rock Café as we were passing, partly for the air-conditioning and partly to see if the merchandise was as good as it was in India. It was, the cotton quality of the t-shirts was excellent although still a little expensive.

So, we were now owners of Hard Rock merchandise from Bengaluru and from Seville.

 

Time passed again and last December, whilst in Malaga, we decided to check out the newly opened Hard Rock Café on the port. Things have certainly changed!  The clothing is MUCH more expensive than it had been and the quality has deteriorated greatly with thin (cheap-feeling) cotton and poor print design. Is it me? Or has HRC decided to go down market with their merchandise and up market with the costs?

We didn’t eat at either café in Spain. Why would we?

14222993555_8360f79799_c

My non-spicy burger in Bengaluru

 

Moving on

indexWe Spent a couple of weeks in Spain, early in December before returning home on the 19th.  Because of this we’d used postal votes in the election for what good they eventually did.

I may well reflect on the election result and what that may mean later.

This year, we stayed at home to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with family and friends. It is the first time in many a year that we have been home at that time of year. But, it was very enjoyable.

We spent Christmas Day ay Betony and Josh’s.  I think that I believed Betony’s invite to be along the lines of come along and I’ll do Christmas dinner but I was mistaken. I spent a fair bit of Christmas Eve doing food preparation for the day (making soup, cooking ham, peeling vegetables, preparing stuffing etc.) and then Sharon went along on the day to ‘help’ do the cooking.  The meal was great, the company was great and it was a pleasure to be cooked for on the day.

80408422_2862447623982346_4738623334479036416_n

Following that, we went up to Carol’s on Boxing Day to join her and Mick for what turned out to be a meal. Others had been invited too, but apart from Joanne and family, they had been and gone by the time we got there.  So, we all played cards with Florence, while Carol and Joanne finished off in the kitchen.  Another really enjoyable day.

On the 28th, we went up to Emma’s for tea. We took Chester with us too as Betony was a bit poorly and tired (she’s pregnant too).  It was great to see the girls again. We’d been up at the beginning of December for Amy’s birthday but that was a school night, so we didn’t see much of them. Today’s meal was great too, two kinds of pork from the local butcher’s https://www.jbrindonaddy.co.uk/ – Thank you Emma, another lovely day.

For several years prior to us wintering in Spain, Sharon and I had alternated New Year’s Eves entertaining or being entertained by Tony and Gill.  Having decided to spend late December in the U.K. this year we were able to recommence this arrangement. We invited David and Gail to join us and a jolly time was had by all.  We had –

Parsnip and Ginger Soup;

Cod wrapped in Serrano Ham, baked and served with mustard sauce;

Carrillada with creamed potatoes and broccoli,

Chocolate Pudding and…

Cheese.

We arrived in Spain late on the 3rd January 2020 and I’ll pick up the story now, over on the holiday weblog.

It’s come to this then. A General Election.

You have to admire Boris Johnson, who by some fluke (or subterfuge) is now our Prime Minister; despite (or because of) his downright shamelessness.

His lies (to parliament, to the Queen, to the population at large), his misdirection’s, his sheer gall when dealing with the thorny Brexit problem and his two-facedness have now resulted in a General Election.

Screenshot 2019-11-02 at 14.36.20

This will be first General Election to be held in December for almost a hundred years.

And, the Tories will win.

In reality, this General Election has been called because Johnson leads a minority government.

It has not been called to sort out our relationship with the EU, although that is the bluster Johnson has used.  There are enough ‘single-issue’ Brexit supporters in the country to believe that this is the only thing that matters. 

Screenshot 2019-11-06 at 09.47.54Johnson eventually managed to present parliament with a ‘deal’ that they really could not deny, given that their previous (many) denials were because of the Irish Backstop

All he had to do was move the border from where it used to be (from Lough Foyle in the north of Ireland to Carlingford Lough in the northeast [1]) and into the middle of the Irish Sea.

I’m not sure what the Irish government think of that – or, in the long run what the inhabitants of Ulster think.

The Tories will, for the first time in two years, govern with a comfortable majority.  By the time this term is finished, we will have had a Conservative government for the best part of fifteen years (although it was initially bolstered by the Liberal party, who jumped at the chance of being in power for a while). My friend Jim Scott used to say “scratch a Liberal, find a Tory”.

Screenshot 2019-11-01 at 00.12.43Economy
So, despite ten years of austerity caused by the crash/recession of the late noughties and despite the ensuing (many) redundancies and bankruptcies, there still seems to be a feeling amongst the general public that the Tories have been good for the economy over those ten years. 

They have not!Screenshot 2019-11-06 at 14.35.45Despite all the most painful government cutbacks, the national debt has almost doubled since 2010.  The UK National Debt went over £1 trillion in 2011 and by budget time in March 2020 it is estimated to be £1.84 trillion [2]

The public has have been so misinformed by the popular press over the last four years, that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, has been demonised beyond redemption. Despite his party’s successes in the 2017 General Election, he is still thought by many to be a terrorist sympathiser, an extreme left-wing ‘communist’ and a downright baddy.  And, because of that, many say they will not vote Labour.  That is like turkeys denying that Christmas is coming.

One man is not his party.  Which is something we should remember when ‘we’ think that Boris Johnson is a lovable old rogue.

Screenshot 2019-11-05 at 16.41.06

The Liberal Party say that they will ‘Revoke Article 50’, which, if this were a normal General election, would make no sense on its own, but as many voters think that Brexit is the one single issue, they (the Liberals), may well pick up some votes.  However, I wouldn’t trust a word the Liberals say in their as yet to be seen manifesto, because in 2010 they said they would not implement university fees and they said they would fight for proportional representation, amongst other things. Yet none of these promises were fulfilled once they had snuggled up with the Tories.

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 17.54.39

The NHS
The NHS has been under funded and under scrutiny for many years now.  I know that the initial bids for private tender were first allowed back in the 1980’s – but this has continued to increase exponentially over the last ten years.

‘There are clearly different ways of calculating how much NHS money is spent on NHS services provided by private companies. However, the bottom line is that – however the figures are arrived at – healthcare in England is now much less directly provided by the NHS than most people think.’

Also

‘There are also concerns about whether or not private companies are avoiding paying tax on their profits. For example, Virgin Care pays no tax in the UK: it’s parent company is registered in the British Virgin Islands.’

http://www.patients4nhs.org.uk/private-companies-involvement-in-the-nhs/

Screenshot 2019-11-02 at 08.43.16

Hospitals up and down the country are also under threat of closure, e.g.

and yet, we see stories of a future Tory government issuing more contracts to private companies, including drug companies based in the USA. The Conservative party really couldn’t care less about the NHS.

Screenshot 2019-10-30 at 15.49.13I know that this has been a fairly long rant, but I had to get it off my chest. I still have lots of thoughts about how the future will affect me personally, but I worry much more about the future for younger generations. If zero-hour contracts are allowed to flourish, how will young families ever afford to make their way in an increasingly ‘dog-eat-dog’ world? Since the Tories took over, the education system has become one that teaches young people to ‘pass the test’, rather than ‘how to think’. Perhaps that is because ‘the elite’ don’t want to have a well educated ‘under class’?  Who knows. Perhaps I don’t and never will, but I do feel much better for having had this rant.

I know that many will have differing views to me and I respect that. Please respect mine.


Previous election rants.

https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/feeling-disenfranchised/

https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/come-what-may/

https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/staying-in/


Like I said:

Is this still available? Why do people ask that of online sellers and then not pursue the inquiry?

Because we have recently been clearing out what was our old house, now vacated by Betony and family, we have had quite a few things to get rid of.  We’ve made several trips to  charity shops (and the tip) but some items are simply too valuable to go via that route.

68525496_10156183859621109_6460418810833797120_n

So, as it’s worked for us before, I have been listing quite a few items on Facebook’s Market Place.  These are then shared with various other Facebook Groups to widen and localise the spread.

However, I’ve had an uncounted number of “Is this still available?” messages, all of which I have replied to.  At first, I would give them my phone number and ask for them to text me (or send a direct message; DM), to discuss the need for further contact details – I now simply say ‘Yes – are you still interested?”. 9.5 times out of ten there is no answer.  At all.  Why?

Where a sale has been agreed, the sale has gone off without a hitch and some things have ‘gone’.  However, we do still have a number of things that really need re-homing soon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Local Charities:

https://www.kirkwoodhospice.co.uk/

https://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/our-shops

70929859_10220999118794126_9030041522908692480_o

All credit to artist – stolen by me from FB