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Month: August, 2020

Here I stand head in hand

Wow, what a weekend, travelled to London and the hotel I thought I’d booked (I was on the hotel web site through Mercure) turned out not to be the one with the booking. It was four miles away and further away from the Warner Bros Studio Tour that we were doing on Monday 24 August 2020 (four days after said tour was re-opening it’s doors following the UK lockdown easing). We went to the other hotel but didn’t like the outside look of it so we went in and cancelled our booking but were told that we would have to try and cancel online through (I couldn’t make out why to cancel there when it wasn’t booked through them).

Anyway, back to the hotel we originally tried to get into, the one I thought I had booked, so I rang them and paid again for a 2 night stay. I didn’t want to do that without any assurance that we would get a refund but I wouldn’t be able to check until I arrived home. All sorted back we went to the Hunton Park hotel and checked in. When we got to the room it was a little small but since we weren’t going to be spending a lot of time there that wasn’t going to be a problem. We went downstairs to find the restaurant closed but were told we could order food in the bar and sit in or take it to our room. As the eating tables (and the bar itself) were deserted we decided to eat upstairs at a table.

The food was absolutely divine and we were both exhausted after the long drive down to Watford. However, we wanted to explore the grounds while we had the chance so outside we went and the grounds were amazing. We spent a little while walking round and then sat on a bench when we arrived at a dead end, the silence was amazing, the trees killed the traffic noise and you would never believe Greater London could be this quiet, ever.

When the sun went behind the trees we decided to return to the room and chill ahead of Harry Potter the following day. Once up in the room, I lay down and went straight off to sleep, only to wake up a few hours later with a headache and a stiff neck. My wife was asleep but woke up when I climbed back into bed some 10 minutes later after rubbing my neck. If we had any sleep at all that night it wasn’t long.

Anyway, Monday morning we woke up at 9 and started getting ready to leave for Warner’s The Making of Harry Potter. My wife had been twice before but this was only my second visit. We were going to walk but took a wrong turn and so returned for the car to drive there. Arriving at the entrance to the car park was a sign of things to come, the drive in was one way and we were told that we had to follow instructions from the attendants who would tell us where to park, there were limited spaces and hardly any crowds there. A huge change from my last visit and the front was open which was different than my wife’s last visit.

To be continued…

A Netflix Original: The Umbrella Academy

I’m not sure if anyone else has been watching this, it only recently came back with Season 2, I had not seen Season 1 and my wife told me that it was more my thing than hers so I settled down to watch the first episode and thoroughly enjoyed it. I binged Season 1 which, as expected, finished on a cliff hanger with the children going back in time to escape the apocalypse of 2019. Then Season 2 started with them arriving in Dallas at different times while the apocalypse followed them back and was again witnessed by 5.

This is a drug fuelled fantasy, with nothing really going for it except the characters (weird as it may seem they are all believably portrayed by the actors, the main antagonist is a woman and the one pursuing them is also a woman. Very strong roles for women in this series and it’s not just white women either, there is a strong black woman, a psychopathic latino man who does marvellous things with a knife. His love interest was killed by two assassins sent through from the Commission who kill anyone threatening the time line but don’t worry about collateral damage.

Even though Lucy is back for a 6th season I haven’t started watching that again because I am so engrossed in this series. I really enjoyed the first 4 seasons but the fifth left me lost, it was only 10 episodes instead of the 20 we usually get from the USA, but he returned to Hell at the end which he said he would never do. I have been looking forward to the return for ages but have become so involved in the Umbrella Academy I want to finish that before starting fresh with something new. Even if it is new/old and I like all the main characters in it.

There’s none so blind

Why don’t people wake up to the destruction all around them today? Is it because they don’t care about the planet, other people, and animals we share with everyone here? People power is still a thing today as we have shown so often since the beginning of the current pandemic, however, it is always the same people who shout the loudest against injustices being done in the name of Fascist Governments at home and abroad.

If we dare to criticise our Government for their policies then we are told to “get over it” because they won and we lost, but what they fail to acknowledge is that they only won by cheating and didn’t win fairly, in fact if it wasn’t for the involvement of the Russian Government they would have lost, and the loss would have been total annihilation for those behind the scenes. The Manafort’s, Kushner’s and Cummings who were behind the tRump campaign and the Brexit referendum. Both countries have published reports into Russian involvement which both Governments have tried to bury, the tRumpster successfully so far, the Tories failed miserably.

When the masses wake up to the fact that we have lost everything (and I do mean everything) they will start to complain about the no deal Brexit the politicians are going to deliver. Once we leave fully at the end of this year that means the booze cruises stop, the cost of travel to Europe increases and there will be tax to pay on everything over the limit we bring in after a holiday. No longer will we be able to bring as much booze and tobacco products into the country tax free. This means that prices in the shops will go up and the criminals will be taking more chances to bring bootleg booze and tobacco over from the continent, but the police will be cracking down on this trade. No longer will they be able to say they are carrying so much for their own personal consumption because duty will have to be paid.

What is going to happen to the masses then, when they are losing jobs because companies here with an opening into Europe’s markets will be leaving for France, Spain or Germany? The money markets have already closed their London HQ’s and moved to Frankfurt, Berlin and Paris, putting thousands in the dilemma of what to do now their jobs are moving. Go with them or go on the dole? Benefits are going to be further squeezed once the total cost of Brexit is known, people will become homeless because they can’t pay rent and mortgages. The Government don’t care as long as they are keeping more and more money in offshore accounts depressing the economy alongside their chums who have billions lying in offshore accounts where they don’t pay any tax on the interest, unlike British Banks who have to charge depositors for interest paid on the money with them. Most of this money goes to those billionaires in cheap loans because they would lose out by using their own billions.

There really are none so blind as those who refuse to see what is happening all around them, the anarchy which is coming is exactly what Cummings has been pushing for and why Cameron sacked him, why May refused to re-instate him but Johnson welcomed him with open arms because his anarchy pledged to make rich men richer. Is it any wonder that the only people to benefit from the pandemic have been the 1%? Those billionaires who could most afford to keep the country and social services running. They refuse to pay tax yet will accept tax rebates, and they don’t care if the NHS is fully privatised taking it out of the reach of most people in this country. That is going to be another effect of Brexit they didn’t make clear.

Growing old is inevitable, Growing up is optional

Please don’t tell me to act my age because I’ve never been this age before today. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught me it’s to take care of others in ways that they may never appreciate or know. I’ve seen people complaining about having to wear masks because they offer “me” no protection. While that is true, there is another fact, not wearing one puts everyone you come in contact with at risk because this virus is still transmissible before the symptoms show. Wearing a face covering should be worn properly otherwise there isn’t any point in wearing one.

I do go out more frequently than I used to and some people criticise me for wearing a mask when I’m alone, but it is done to protect them, just in case I have contracted the virus so they don’t catch it from me. What can we do to educate stupid? Absolutely nothing because stupid is as stupid does. The problem today is there are so many out there who can’t see the evil when it’s right in front of them. If we don’t do anything now to control the spread of this virus then it will end up decimating the human race, because of all the wrong we have done as a species to this planet we call home.

Okay, there are quite a few things circulating on Twitter today, including a critique of Gove’s wife who tweeted that Johnson should not have gone on holiday, but he never does any work when he’s not on holiday so what difference does it make now he’s made it clear he is not working?

If we were to get promoted into a position we were unfit to occupy in these days we’d soon find ourselves out of a job. In the past people used to joke that civil servants were promoted as high as they were until they could not do the job. While this was certainly true of a lot of top civil servants back in the day, most of them actually learned how to do their job quite quickly because they were in the public spotlight by having the ears of ministers and giving them answers to Parliamentary Questions. I was once in the position of providing statistics to answer some of these questions, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. When giving my superiors the statistics they asked for I provided them with the qualification for vast changes in them. These were not always provided to the minister being tasked with the answer.

That is why statistics have such a bad press, if you don’t qualify the data then it means nothing. Unless it is like for like it just doesn’t add up. For example, if the total size of the Civil Service came into question and was found to be, for example, 1.5m people and the minister said it had to be reduced by 50% and there were 750,000 people being counted although, technically, not Civil Servants because they worked for an external body, cutting this number out of the reckoning would meet the target reduction without anyone being sacked or made redundant. (This is not based on fact but it is the way statistics can be manipulated to show anything we like).

Beware The Thoughts That Linger

I was listening once again to George Harrison’s third solo album “All Things Must Pass” and this song struck a chord with me and started me thinking about the Beatles, youth, climate crisis and what I can do to bring about a change. I know better than most that my voice alone isn’t going to carry any weight with the powers that be, however, by adding my voice to that of others who also see the chaos and want to stop the madness we can do it together.

I know this is a cliché but that’s got to be worth a try (again) hasn’t it? There is so much injustice in the world today so where do we start? Since the beginning of the year there have been winners and losers to Covid-19, the top 1% have been huge winners amassing even bigger fortunes for providing the British Government with nothing. Cummings wife owns a company which has no assets and exists as a holding company with no subsidiaries, yet she won an uncontested franchise to provide the Government with PPE for those on the front-line. The PPE they provided were all out of date and could not be used.

Then she was awarded another multi-million-pound contract for a track and trace app, even though this was offered FREE by the German Government to Johnson, she again failed to deliver but has never once been asked to repay the Government money she was given. This money has come from the tax payer and should not have been wasted in this manner. Any Government giving money to it’s chums would, normally, be held to account by the opposition but the opposition right now is Tory-Lite who have refused to back anyone criticising the Government.

We used to have a Parliament with checks and balances but since 2010 we have had Government taking money away from those who need it in order to give it to the rich and it’s about time we started reversing this, taking money from those with the most to share the wealth around and fund central funding of necessary services the way it used to be in the days before Thatcher. I remember there were problems with the Railway, but not as many as we have today, when it was owned by everyone. Similarly, every other public service which has been sold off is no longer operating to serve the country but to serve the wealthy. As long as we have a system which favours the rich and allows them to commit crimes openly without holding them to account then we have lost our Democracy just the same as the USA have. Both countries have been bought by Putin’s oligarchy in Russia who helped to pervert the course of the referendum in 2016, two General Elections in 2017 and 2019 and a presidential election in 2016. They have also been given a green light by tRump to interfere in the Presidential Elections in 2020, to this end he is breaking up the USPS to stop postal votes getting through.

We are living through more dangerous times than we ever were during the Cold War, Putin used to be KGB under the USSR, as were most of the oligarch’s currently running Russia. He is seeking to rebuild the Soviet Union under his control, not working for everyone but working only for him. Just the way a lot of the old Soviet Commissars used to run it, for their own benefit at the expense of those at the bottom of the pile. The USSR was originally devised (by Karl Marx) as a Socialist State, with everything under State Control and the State fixing everything from wages to prices for everything. Just like George Orwell’s Animal Farm though, those in charge became corrupted by their power and the whole came down around their ears when there came one who had never lost sight of a Government for the people by the people.

If we continue to be Governed by the few then the many will fall further and further behind. After all, when the many are being disenfranchised by the few and believe that the blame lies with a minority of the many (causing them to become fragmented and fighting among themselves) there will be no change to the status quo. If we want a change then we have to make this happen ourselves. I refuse to believe that the EU were refusing to negotiate when Johnson wanted to leave the EU without any deal and that is exactly what he is going to do. His Government are also blaming migrants for the long waiting lists at the NHS hospitals, the truth is that underfunding and getting rid of so many doctors and nurses has caused these congested lists. The majority of the refugees coming here are escaping a war started by Blair and further promoted by Cameron since 2010 (and May from 2016, with Johnson not stopping it and spending more on bombing campaigns since 2019).

Because of all this ineptitude by successive Tory PM’s we are becoming the laughing stock of the world, taking over from tRump, after all, how many other countries would cut their own throats to make a political statement? The European Union is the biggest, peaceful bloc of countries since the end of World War II. If we don’t rejoin once the true cost of Brexit (job losses and unemployment over 5million souls) following on from Covid-19 economic disaster then I forecast more riots taking place in the country, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland declaring themselves independent and asking to rejoin the EU in their own right. Where will that leave the tRump/Johnson trade negotiations? After all tRump wants the NHS for himself to tear it apart, including the other 3 nations, and he wants part of Scotland and Wales included in his private deal. However, if they declare independence and rejoin the EU that will leave him with egg on his face (again).

How many seas must a white dove sail

Before she can sleep in the sand, the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind. An oldie but still asking the same questions we have never been able to answer. There are so many questions without answers today, for example why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves? Why do they call people stupid for questioning everything when the answers bring wisdom.

It seems that the mass media are still doing a terrific job in the UK, forget all the lies and lucrative Government contracts to provide essential equipment which is, to quote Johnson, “Spaffed up the wall” because the equipment either never materialises or else it is totally unfit for purpose. But don’t hold the Government to account for paying it’s supporters and friends, as well as spouses, billions of tax payers money with nothing to show for it. No concentrate instead on the rubber dinghy’s coming ashore in the South, with people from Syria escaping a war that was funded by this same Government way back in 2010.

The fact that so many in this country can’t see what is right in front of their faces, and when we ask them to wake up we are called for everything that they, in their sleeping state can’t see. That is why good men like Jeremy Corbyn, who cares about everyone and is labelled as “Dangerous and crazy” is thrown to the wolves, while the crazy and dangerous Johnson is elected to a position he has no hope of being good at. He liked the idea of being Prime Minister and he will relish the fact of being an ex-PM it’s just the job itself he is incapable of doing.

I Thank you so much

Well, today is my daughter’s 46th birthday and I haven’t seen her in 23 years, so half her life. We had a falling out which I was unaware of until I attempted to contact her in 2000, she really tore me a new one with her reply. Four years later my dad said she wanted to get in touch and had given him her email and postal address as well as her phone number to pass on to me. I contacted her again and once again I got a stinking letter back from her and that was also the last time she was in touch with her grandad.

I found out from one of my neices that her marriage had ended and she was seeing someone else, but haven’t been able to find out where she is living or what her name is now. Whether she still has mine, has kept her married name or has remarried because I think when she was told that I had been informed of her situation and wanted her to contact me she stopped speaking to my niece.

Nothing hurts as much as family, nothing ever cuts as deep as a child who doesn’t want to see you or talk to you. Even when you did what you thought was right at the time. I had been evicted, no one was willing to put me and my third wife and her son up as a family except her dad who was living in Sunderland, in a 2 bed property, so the three of us shared the same room. My daughter was livid that I had moved away without telling her, because she would have gone with me and that hurt her too much. Because I didn’t know what we were getting into or how long it would take to get something affordable to call our own I didn’t get in touch. Within two months we had a place, I was working and I wanted to get in touch with Sara but the letter I wrote to her in 1997 came back as not known at this address. She had moved and it took me until 2001 to track her down. By that time I had become a father again, with her half brother to go with her half sister from her mum.

I was also with another woman, having separated from wife #3 because of her cruelty, physical and mental, towards me. As soon as I left her to go and live somewhere on my own, she stopped paying the rent (the tenancy was in joint names) and eventually moved back down to Basingstoke where her family were living. Before I could be considered for a council house (which there still were at that time) I had to clear her rent arrears up which amounted to just over £300, she had moved out 2 months after I left but had kept the tenancy going until she moved back to Basingstoke. Apparently she had told a woman’s refuge that I had been cruel to her and she had to escape while I was at work, moving in there she left everything behind in the house but cleaned it out before heading back to Basingstoke, giving me a rental tv and telling me I should get in touch with Radio Rentals to see what they wanted to do about it.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, she left Newcastle, taking my son and hers with her. For a couple of months I could call and speak to the boys to see how they were and had agreed to take them for 2 weeks over the summer. When I went down to pick them up she told me Jason was going to his dad’s for a month so I would only have Michael, that suited me fine and we had a whale of a time that summer. His mum not so much, Jason was dropped back off at his mum’s two days after his dad picked him up because his dad was going to Reading for the Festival and didn’t have a ticket for Jason.

Anyway, when I heard that I was very sorrowful on the phone to my ex-wife, still don’t know how I managed to keep the laughter in until I was able to end the call. She had expected to have wild parties every night and get laid for two whole weeks, two days later that came crashing down. Which has absolutely nothing to do with my daughter but I still miss talking to her and finding out what she was up to. We used to have a really great relationship and talked about anything and everything. That made it so much harder when I was enjoying myself because I wanted to tell her and let her know I was still thinking of her. I would have also liked to hear how she was doing if she’d started making good choices in her men or if they were still wrong ‘uns.

The men don’t know, but the little girls understand

A brief moan and groan but this won’t take up much today, let me know if you’d prefer this section at the end or if it’s ok here at the front. There is an MP sitting on the Government back benches who disagreed in public with Johnson so had the whip removed. Discretion of the PM whether or not to withdraw the whip you may think and you’d be right. However, another MP has been accused of sexual misconduct by an intern working for the government benches. He has not been suspended, still has the whip and sees his accuser every weekday he attends the House of Commons. What message does that send out to the country?

Anyway, enough whingeing for this post, I thought I would share something I saw last weekend in a few shops around here. It is now law that you have to wear a face mask when entering any shop. This was not upheld in my local shop, out of 5 customers and 2 staff I was the only one wearing a mask. Then later on in a different shop (Costco) there were too many to name and shame who were wearing face masks under their chins so their mouths and noses had no covering at all.

Are people really that stupid still that they don’t realise that they are spreading the disease for anything up to a month before developing symptoms? Or don’t they believe they will be affected because they are immortal? This has taken my pet peeve away from those idiots who shout at pedestrians walking out in front of them when they go round corners because they didn’t use their flashers to let people know where they were going.

Of course people will still behave like idiots because they are being led by donkeys. If you don’t believe me just have a look on social media and see how many “karens” are being filmed. No offence meant to any woman who is called Karen, the little k is down to the accepted form used for female idiots who are racially motivated and here in the UK we have a Home Secretary whose parents came here to avoid a war in her home country who refuses to allow others to come here to escape war in their countries. Two faced or what?

Anyhoo, the people I take offence to are those ones threatening to beat someone up because they are _ (add your own descriptor here). The bigots take exception to people based on external criteria, I see people they see colours, genders, economic factors. Why can’t people just get on with their own lives and stop criticising others trying to do the same? If everyone fought for a fairer and more just society wouldn’t the world be a much fairer place for all?

Here in the UK, the people are complaining that there isn’t enough money to go around, forgetting that the top 1% take money out of the economy to hide it in a tax haven and refuse to pay a fair share to ease the burden on the many. There is a definite imbalance in the world today when 99% of the wealth generated by the working class is owned by the 1% at the top. This 1% don’t want to share their ill gotten gains with anyone else so they find every tax loophole going to pay as little tax as they can and still expect countries to bail them out at these unprecedented times. Just so they can continue to pollute the planet and kill the rain forests to make more money they can then sit on and remove from the economy.

Don’t get me started on the Labour Party here, either, they fought the last two elections not to form a Government for the many not the few, but to remain in Opposition. Now that Jeremy Corbyn has been removed as leader they want to destroy the man completely. This is not the reason why I, and lots of others, put money into their war chest to fight these elections. We did so because we wanted a fairer and more just society where the few were taxed justly and this money went in to fund free health care for all. In the 1980’s under Thatch the Hatchet our social businesses were all sold off (except the Post Office, that came after 2010). Supposedly the working class were able to buy shares in them, because they were sold at a knockdown price. If you look into the buyers you will see that 1% were bought by small investors the other 99% were bought by private investors and trading companies who then sold these shares a few weeks later for a massive profit.

That has always been the Tory way, lie, cheat and privatise in order to make the wealthy richer. It’s about time we had someone holding the purse strings who wasn’t beholden to the few and would do things for the many. We are currently seeing a lot of job losses because of Covid-19 but this won’t stop because from the 1 January 2021 we are going to lose our biggest export market, the biggest export market on the planet, without anything to replace it we will see even more job losses and businesses closing. Is there any good news ahead of the year end? Not really, this year started off with promises and is going to end with everyone wanting to forget everything that happened this year.

Watch out now, take care

How do you keep yourself and your family safe in a pandemic? Especially one as bad as this one? Can you keep your head above the parapet and remain sane? Or do you find your mental health suffering? The best medicine they say is laughter, so let’s start laughing whether you laugh at me or with me, please join in and laugh!

I have found loads of funny comments supposedly from the Despicable Me Minions, I would like to share some of them on here for you, but because some people (in the USA) can not load pictures I will write these out for your amusement.

If robbers ever broke into my house and searched for money I’d join them

Apparently, when you treat people the same way they treat you they get annoyed

People say everything happens for a reason, so when I punch you in the face remember I have a reason

Yes I am a member of CSI: Can’t Stand Idiots

You are: the peanut to my butter, twinkle in my eye, shake to my bake, blue to my sky, sprinkles on my sundae, flip to my flop, bumble to my bee, jewel on my crown, milk to my shake, spring in my step, beat of my heart, best of my friends.

That moment when you check your phone to see what time it is and then you check it again because the first time you weren’t paying attention.

I hate you, and then I love you. It’s like I want to throw you off a cliff then rush to the bottom to catch you.

Don’t text me while I’m in the middle of texting you. Now I have to change my whole text.

Having those weird conversations with your best friend and thinking “If anyone heard us right now we’d be put in a mental hospital”

Karma: The joy of watching someone get what they deserve. Professionalism: The ability to sit back and enjoy the show and keep your mouth shut

Keep rolling your eyes, maybe one day you’ll find a brain back there.

Common sense is like deodorant, the people who need it the most never use it

The tongue has no bones, but its strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.

A woman brought you into this world so you don’t have the right to disrespect one!

Our phones fall we panic. Our friends fall and we laugh

My parents spanked me as a child as a result I now suffer from a psychological condition known as respect for others

I’m not short I’m just more down to earth than other people

I don’t care what people think of me… at least mosquitoes find me attractive

Housework, no one notices when you do it, but everyone notices it when you don’t

“Are you free tonight”

“No I’m expensive every night”

My friend thinks he’s smart. He said onions are the only food that makes you cry. So I threw a coconut in his face.

That moment when you are having a conversation in your head and you realize you are making faces that go along with the silent conversation

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

I’ve been a cool jerk

Just looking for the source, I’m a dark horse. Today is not going to be a moan, whinge or anything like venting my anger with our politicians (there’s so much wrong with the way our country is being run and the crooks in charge are getting away with murder, and rape). I am feeling pissed off with our Government in the UK and the GOP in charge in the USA. but that is all I’m saying here about them both.

I have found some quite remarkable women recently, women who are very talented and an ideal role model for the young women growing up. Some of them are top scientists, astronauts and proof that women can do anything they set their mind too in todays world. This is something I have been saying for a long time, women can do anything they want to do. I told my daughter that before we fell out when I moved North once again in 1997 (she was 23 with her own friends and her own life).

If we support women, especially with so many of them achieving positions of power, then shouldn’t any man accused of rape be removed from the vicinity of his victim? I say yes, whether he is innocent or guilty doesn’t come into it, he should be forced to remain as far away from the woman who has accused him of rape and sexual assault, wouldn’t that be a sensible thing to do for both victim and perpetrator?

In today’s climate where racism is running rampant once more a young lady pointed out that no one can sit on the fence any longer, that only enables the racists to become more and more vociferous and brave. We have to make a stand, white and black, asian and indigenous need to take up on one side or the other. If you are against racism then let everyone know you stand with those blacks in America being persecuted by the police who swore to serve and protect everyone. Stand with the blacks in other countries being persecuted and killed.

I believe that individually our voices are too quiet to be heard, together though our voices are intense and loud enough to move mountains. If you don’t think you have a voice join with those who have the power to change the world for the better and together we will make that vision a reality. Tax the wealthy to stop them taking money out of the economy of every country and stash it away in an off shore account. That would generate enough tax income in the USA alone to fund a health system free to all at point of use. The only problem with the Governments we currently have is that they are beholden to those wealthy taking money out of the economies so they aren’t going to tax them, they would rather give them tax breaks and refunds of more than any amount of tax they have paid.