Monthly Archives: November 2013

Saturday 30th November 2013.

It looks like summer outside with plenty of sun. But, take care, it’s very cold out there. But not, I think, quite freezing.
Being nice and bright I used the camera zoom and took a pic of the nearby hillside wind-farm. Most of the windmills were turning so someone’s cash-register would be a’jingling.
Watched the fourth and final young Morse repeated repeat last night and it was, as the rest, quite good. Most TV weather-stations are predicting a long cold spell. (Well, we usually call it Winter) So I guess all that global-warming stuff was just ‘in passing’ as you might say. But hey ho, it got a few taxes raised, stealthily!
For nought fans there is a number today, but not with many noughts. It’s the accumulated Private debt that we in the UK have run up: £1,429,624,000,000.00p. I think it says: One trillion, four hundred and twenty nine billion, six hundred and twenty four million, pounds.
No wonder Wonga’s doing okay!

Friday 29th November 2013.

Dull, misty and with a blustery North wind today and so a longer outing was done. Coming back, along the canal (see pic) the wind was strongly against but not enough to give the biggest waves across Elton Res. So a short hike, from the canal to the Res., wasn’t done today.
Part Two of the Doctor Who repeat of a repeat, with Cybermen, was good last night and so was the well-repeated young Morse show. It gets a bit contrived though with the Oxford criminal fraternity seemingly committing special crimes for the special detective to solve with his uni-learned top-drawer knowledge.
After young Morse the cheapo channels were flipped and, on an oft repeated Quest slot was an How Do They Do It programme. This one was brilliant with: How they make tobacco pipes, and, How they make leather bicycle saddles, being shown. I mean. I thought it was me birthday again. The pipes were Dunhill, the saddles Brooks. It was like an extension of Morse’s nineteen-sixties that survive well today. Rather than the rather depressing nature of many ‘political/economic/financial’ websites lately, the more positive, Private Sector slant is oft overlooked. But, in that How do they do it leather bike saddle programme, the dirty, scruffy, old, little machine, that coils and cuts the main springs for Brooks superb saddles, (two per saddle) probably never stops…
…and they can’t make enough Dunhill pipe sets…
…quality British stuff – the best that Bitcoin can buy!
On the Fun front, some foreign country has decided to simply Tax a jailed drug-dealer. Simple common-sense at last. It must be fifteen years ago that I suggested, on some website or other, that ‘to make things go away’, just tax them aka the UK. We might still make pipes and bike saddles but everything else is imported. Even the TV programmes about them!

Thursday 28th November 2013.

Not cold but very misty this morning and the mist isn’t clearing. Not that it matters once ‘off-road’ and along the bike-routes.
On the OAP armchair front: last night was okay with part one of a Doctor Who repeat of a repeat about the Cybermen. Brilliant stuff but the baddie was once great in the Only Fools repeat of repeat shows and it’s still difficult to take him seriously. Especially after the scene where Dell falls through the pub bar-top.
Later another young Morse repeat of a repeat was on. These are good – especially when Fred Thursday’s around puffing at his realistic pipe. But for detective puzzle fans the lack of a ‘foil’ – a detective that young Morse can talk to/exchange ideas etc. – means that for quite a bit of the show young Morse just sits somewhere pulling strange, mentally-stressed faces while thinking hard. The ‘baddie’, being a psychologist, and ostensibly there to help the police, was a bit hackneyed and contrived too. But some interesting literary puzzles, that only a Morse can understand and thus use as clues, do keep you watching. Time and again. Sadly.
On the Fun front: OAP’s in the UK have the lowest state pensions except for Mexico! D’you think we didn’t already know that? But it’s not surprising as (for nought enthusiasts) £5,000,000,000.00p of unpaid student-loan debts belong to 370,000 students – that can’t be traced! By 2042 this figure is expected to be £200,000,000,000.00p. Which beggars the question: Just what are these students actually learning?
On the Natural Front: Those governmental ever stress the need for exercise for OAP’s and here, besides walking (a bit) and cycling (much better), a bit of basic gardening is done. Earlier this year, from a few peelings, several pounds (kilo’s for the metricians) of very good potatoes were grown in the back yard. At the same time a few onion tops and bottoms (really for the compost heap) were planted to see how they grew. They grew fine and, a firm red onion, that grew from an old ‘bottom’, was excellent when washed and ‘tested’ – it was very Spring-onion-like. Natch the top and bottom of this onion will be re-planted and left for nature to cultivate. I found that from a top or bottom three or four ‘new’ onions sprout. One such sprout has seeded and maybe that will generate myriad ‘new’ onion plantlets…
On the subject of ‘growing’ – Bitcoin has hit $1,000. Yet my PC time is oft deemed ‘a waste…’

Wednesday 27th November 2013.

Much warmer this morning than of late and that’s often a warning of…wait for it…snow. Yes, in winter it snows in the UK. Which oft means that 99.99% of motorised road, rail and air traffic stops. And the bike is iffy. So I’ve got-in an extra months prescription, from our md, to be on the safe side. A good idea, when the weather is set to turn, for all folk, let alone OAP’s.
Watched another ‘young Morse’ last night and they could have made a good series about young Morse’s boss, Fred Thursday. With his realistic pipe, then common Mark 2 Jag (not sure about the black paint-job though) and a spot-on Trilby, his iffy detective skills, for a TV show, wouldn’t have mattered. Then again the George Gently character/series may, with a superb (real) Rover 3 Litre instead of a Jag, be too similar.
Watched the Madame Pompadour Doctor Who repeat too. One of the good ones when this kiddie-show also appealed to adults!
Mentioned here yesterday the refusal, by a major eu (?) ‘energy’ company, to get involved – build – a large wind-farm around our Bristol Channel. There’s speculation about this morning that the said company has also done quite a few other ‘retreats’ lately. Mmm…is RWE Shrugging I ask meself?
It could be, but then, tucked away in a ‘news’ story about it all, was the phrase ‘…trying to sort out its debt-mountain…’ Well, nuff said eh?
Compared to mere shrugging, doing that, in today’s tax-regimes, is megalithic.
Not to mention the sheer illogicity of a power company with a debt-mountain.

Tuesday 26th November 2013.

Wintry but ice-free this morning and, therefore, a few miles were done in order to ‘fall inline’ with general governmental, OAP, exercise direktives. Really though, that’s as far as it goes with things governmental. Usually the best policy is ‘au contrare’ (I think it’s spelled like that.)
The swans, in the picture, look rustically elegant perhaps, but the two distant ones had just finished wing-battering and chasing each other along the canal water. Evidently one of them was from elsewhere. The nearer birds are this years cygnets – still with a few brownish feathers.
The sixties are remembered well. So it was great to watch ‘the young Morse’ again on TV last night. The show is ok but they must watch the car-models/dates/registration-letters a bit more closely. The red Jag – without a yearly registration letter (thus pre ’63 yet ‘just nine months old’ in the script) – (B was ’64) was next to a black car with a G letter (’69) which, in the supposed year the film was set in, (Thursday’s Jag had a ’65 road-tax expiry date) shouldn’t have even been built yet! (Mmm…detection! detection!)
These young Morse shows are on all week and are a change from the silky-smooth ‘commercial’ stuff from the many and varied American Cop/fbi/cia/homeland security ‘I’ve got a bigger badge than you’ shows. Sadly Mrs.C. looks upon all forms of Morse as an insomnia cure rather than a mental exercise. They seemed to have got the bikes right last night though, and, like the great old British cars, many of these are still road-worthy.
On the Fun front a big ‘energy’ firm has come-up with several technical/financial reasons for not going ahead with the new-build of a massive Bristol Channel (I think) based wind-farm. Why not just tell the truth and say: ‘Can’t be arsed.’

Monday 25th November 2013

Sunny, this morning, but with some nasty patches of ice on the main roads. Not ideal for two wheels but okay when the roads were left behind for the off-road routes – if you fall-off here there shouldn’t be a forty-ton lorry right behind you!
On the home-front the recently imposed ‘no Christmas present buying’ policy seems to be holding-up – with some nervous nail-biting in some quarters. It has taken forty-five years of Wonga-like dealings, just after each Yuletide, for this to sink-in. Doubtless it’ll take another forty-five before folk remember to insert my/our Sales Catalogue with each Chrissy Card! (Chrissy Cards! Yikes! Expensive but great on a Market Stall!)
Possibly as a sanity-check, after the above policy was made public, a couple of family members did condescend to visit, yesterday, for a pot of Smart-Price Tea. One, normally a Golfy Boy-Racer, now sports a sedate Volvo Estate!!! and has, quite recently, installed Linux Mint on an otherwise Windows-Overladen mundane desktop PC. Result? Great! Especially for downloading cra… stuff off the ‘net. More importantly this eagle-eyed relative spotted a very-well-to-do Business Building, in his now full-leather and silent travels, and took a photograph. The business description was: Tropical Plant Hire. The company was doing nicely thanks. But, who on earth hires Tropical Plants? Who knows? But seeing such puts selling such things as Chrissy Cards or say Inner Tubes into a far more ‘normal’ light and highlights well the concept of Entrepreneurial Diversity. Not to mention the sheer Entrepreneurial usefulness of ‘Estate’ !!!
On the Fun front the chancellor has contrarily said: I support Free Markets so I will regulate them properly. (Or words to that effect)
So do I. The last time I looked it was nearly £14 a day at Radcliffe Indoor, and the place was empty!
(At Radcliffe Indoor plugs are extra. I mean, who can mend a bike puncture without a plug in the sink?!)
For nought enthusiasts: Total UK yearly council tax = £22,400,000,000.00p.
Yearly pension requirement of folk collecting it = £5,700,000.000.00p.
And the written laws that have to be passed to allow hs2 to trundle the rails between London and …well, ?, take-up 55,000 pages. In comparison the £42,000,000,000.00p cost of the actual frigging train probably pales into insignificance!

Sunday 24th November 2013.

No ice about this morning and so it was reasonably safe, on two wheels, for anyone, let alone an OAP. There’s not much motorised traffic either on a Sunday so no problems there.
Canada Geese aren’t, perhaps, the nicest birds to have around. But the huge flying gaggle that landed, very noisily, on the farm-fields this morning, were awesome to watch.
On the subject of watching: John Hurt on Doctor Who last night made the show! The rest of it was, as it always was and should be, a Children’s Programme, and thus shouldn’t be criticized by anyone adult. Sadly, at times, I feel this attitude should apply en masse to the beeb! Folk at the beeb ever hanker for a rise in tv licence fees that fund them, currently, I believe, to something over £3,000,000,000.00p per year. Should the poor dears ‘go Private’ at any time they’d probably pull that from just one, big-time, advertiser for a year! But don’t tell them. Critics would be lost without the on-going beeb none reality comedy-show!
Closer to home Christmas, here, this year, will be of an entrepreneurial nature. For the first time related relations have vowed not to buy each-other any presents. Strangely, it’s the first time, in forty-five years, that I haven’t needed a) a second-mortgage, or, b) a credit-card, at Christmas. It is a most surreal feeling – one unheard of, I wonder, since 0001 AD? Needless to say, with some family members there is more than a hint of withdrawal symptom suspicion over this non-Christmassy development. (As I write two family members are hard at it, clearing a wardrobe of yearly accumulated, non-used, oft expensive, smelly, ex-Christmas presents!) Has, I hope, a wake-up call registered at last?!
Refreshingly, perhaps, at this blog politics and its unfathomable plot is ignored to some extent, so’s not to give those concerned their craved publicity and credence. Here, thoughts entrepreneurial are are the norm. But occasionally the two concepts are brought together as a possibly Profit-inducing exercise, mainly, of course, for fun. From politics I understand that 29,000,000 eu citizens may wish to emigrate to the UK as of the New Year. Entrepreneurially that’s 29,000,000 more customers for gawds sake! But, with what Christmassy gifts can I thus tempt them?
Mmm…better start feeding-up that gaggle of Canada Geese along the canal!

Saturday 23rd November 2013.

Sunny but icy cold this morning and with roads slippery outside an early bike-ride wasn’t on the cards. The pic was taken earlier in the week. As was pic two.
While the weather has, at times, been iffy for an old cyclist, there’s safety in an armchair and a good book. Or so I thought. Then I read : Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring (paperback). This is a fictitious yarn based-on the ‘ghost-hunting’ antics of the very real Harry Price whilst at, also real, Borley Rectory. It’s a kind of diary-story that’s written by a (fictitious) lady secretary of Harry Price and it does have some really good, scary moments. Much of it too is historical fact which does make it interesting as well as hair-raising. A good longish, well-written read for the dark nights of winter…
During the week a canal-path cycling mate was stuck for a few old-style brake-blocks.Luckily I had a few in stock. They were a bit shop-soiled and so given. A day or two later the mate called with a small Observers Book of Canals – revised 1996 Edition – as a ‘thanks’ for the blocks. A quick and easy ‘reference-guide’, the book lists all the main UK canals and explains many of the working-parts of the canals themselves – such as locks. Sadly, the local canal isn’t mentioned, but there are good photo’s and sketches of others far bigger. A great little read, by John Gagg, that was first published in the nineteen eighties and that’s invaluable for those so interested.
Nearly read, on Kindle, the Jack Reacher series by Lee Childs. These are all like an American ‘James Bond’ but with attitude! The scenic back-drop is – anywhere in America – vividly described. The plots are reasonably original and the main character – ex-Army MP Jack Reacher – does actually detect while hobo-ing himself all over the place with just a folding toothbrush for luggage. One of the books ‘One Shot’, I think, has already been made into a film by and starring Tom Cruise as Jack. Not great casting as Jack is supposedly six feet five inches tall! But, so far, all of the books give a good read with some extremely violent bits spiced with some really funny written ‘gags’. Lee Childs is English and so the usual ‘American’ style narrative, that some of us need to decipher as we read, is kept to a minimum. Great ‘Baddies’. Up to date and topical. Mmm…Chris Hemsworth perhaps?
Mmm…Ghost-Hunting, Canals, Detection…there’s got to be a book or two in there somewhere!
There is, but sadly, actually writing one (or ten), is deemed more of a mental-aberration than a ‘job’ around here!

Saturday 16th November 2013.

Warm and dry this morning and, along Banana Walk, Autumn’s natural colours are all around. Pedestrian and cycle-routes, like this one, are surely the answer to over-crowded roads – especially at rush-hours.
Nearby there is an interesting ‘problem’ with one of the old, redundant, railway-bridge supports that still stands at the canal-side. Built with large blocks of well-cut stone, the stone ‘courses’ (layers) don’t line-up with the water-level – which, if spirit-levels are right, should be dead-level.
Strangely, too, the leaves, on the water-surface, were moving from left to right. Was the water moving uphill?
It is, of course, an optical illusion, but, possibly, for many walking home after a good night in the nearby pub, something of a rude awakening!
Not far away, I believe, a set of locally famous old gates have finally been moved to (initially) a place of safety. The idea may be to re-erect them, as an item of local historic interest, somewhere that they may be again used. Near ye olde Tower site perhaps?
Reading around some of the more ‘common-sense’ orientated websites I get the feeling that many (particularly those of an entrepreneurial ilk) are dissatisfied with their, generally, unrepresented (by anyone political) status.
In Atlas Shrugged several such went ‘on strike’ and opted for a secret life away from it all. A trait, I feel, that many today might aspire to.
Then, it was a real, physical operation.
But now it could simply be virtual.
Nothing is impossible. Just look at the bloody bridge support!

Friday 15th November 2013.

On the cold side this morning but dry and windless. Rode the bike along busy, school-run roads with no problems. London must be, for cyclists, a nightmare. Perhaps, rather than hs2, an existing section of London’s road-system could be designated ‘traffic-free’ just to give two-wheeled pedallers a chance?
Locally, if an existing cycle-route were extended for say a quarter of a mile, cyclists (walkers too of course) would have a traffic-free, flat and easy, straight run into Bury, from the Bradley Fold area, that would take ten to fifteen minutes on a steady bike. A bus, taking the straightest, but still ’roundabout’ route can take up to an hour for this journey. The quarter-mile ‘extension’ would cut well over a mile each way from the present route (to Bury) that cyclists presently make. Even so, at rush-hour, a bike to Bury is still the most ‘speedy’, cost-effective, option. Away from the traffic bikes are, too, very safe. It just seems that bikes and motorised road-traffic simply do not go together very well. So, keep ’em apart! Simples!
Then again, with all this computer malarkey, I often wonder if travelling to work is beyond its sell-by date. Especially for those that work, daily, with a computer. Mmmm…perhaps a ‘Clocking-in’ app would help…