Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy new ear - nose job next

As the old year finishes and I have to get used to signing things 2012, something which usually takes till November every year, it's time to sit back.

It's difficult to envisage that this time next year things will be a lot better, in fact there are plenty of portents of doom in the offing.

One of the most difficult economic periods for this country and we have Clegg Camerron and Osbourne at the helm. Whilst there is a lot to be said for having skills in smashing up restaurants and getting daddy to buy you out of the mess you make, I think I would rather a dour Scott in charge of the treasury.

The terrible fact is that the last time things looked this bad in the world. And it was a banking crisis that ended that one too, the world only properly came out of recession when governments were throwing millions at going to war.

I am not sure that would be my preferred option.


Thursday, 29 December 2011

Martyred to the Green Cause

Here at Penole we are martyrs to the green cause Not for us the midwinter tumble drier to control the monster mountain of washing. No the line is up in the living room and, while the student is doing some essay about illness and health, I am in charge of clothes drying.

This involves log stove at full chat and washing everywhere, it's like a sauna in here. 75 F and 60% humidity.  

Of course this is both  a lot cheaper and a lot greener than electricity - but god elp us all, reckon I will have melted by the end of the night!!!


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dealing with banks and rating agencies

Someone quite clever once suggested that if you rob Peter to pay Paul. Paul will still be your mate. Now, apply this to thhe screwed up economic system in which we live and think..... Are Moodys et al Peter or Paul. To the streets..... R

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Boxing day without boxing.

Well, we survived.

Boxing day was gotten through with a remarkable lack of fisticuffs, If cornered and in total confidennce i would say I have quietly enjoyed having all of my children here with me and her for the last couple of days.

That is all over now, Bethan has gone to her boyfriends and they all seem to have somewhere that is not here to see in the new year.

So, this new year is likely to be quiet by any measure, in a true measure of how things are, our village local looks set to close in the new year.  Of the pubs on the square only one is likely to be open at midnight, one closed months ago and another closed just before Xmas.

The pubs that are doing well are the very small wholy owned little pubs that were of no interest to the big chains who are now stuck with big pubs no one can make a living out of.

Today we made our first tentative forray into the market town, for a time of recession there seemed to be a lot of money about. It was life in hands time on the driving front how the road was not paved with bits of broken glass and twisted plastic I will never know.

Peace on Earth - yeah right.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Xmas spirit

Throwing a load of people related by an accident of birth together at a time when emotions are high is not necessarily a good thing.

The bleakest deepest part of the year when you cannot simply run outside to escape the carnage is perhaps a less wise way of plan things. 

Of course we are trapped in this time scale by the Christians taking over the midwinter feast for themselves. Truly interesting programme on BBC radio 4 yesterday about Constantine and the Christians. How the Romans took on board the church but in the process removed the theology and it's underlying politics. Reinventing it as being about a baby in a manger and a man on a cross whilst removing a lot of what came between.

Today though is a family day, Serenity and her children, making it about 15 people in the house A sight best enjoyed through my beer goggles.


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Clyche arian cyn y wawr.

So the morning has broken, she and me are having a who can be the most ill competition. The young people have some new dance game on the Xbox which is keeping them quiet.

The fire is in, the living room is at 70F.

It has been a strange Xmas; Tesco the night  before last looked as if it had been hit by a plague of locusts with empty shelves everywhere. But it was quiet, bookers yesterday was quiet.

All i all I am feeling pretty grim, elevated temperture, sweating like a fountain, crashing cough general Bleugh.

Not well in fact. There is at least a decent red breathing in the livig room.  

I think the world is going to wake to the most horrendous economic hangover in the new year.


Friday, 23 December 2011

SEasons greatings

This is a mythical time of year.  People buy into the notions of peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

What a load of tosh, yesterday, in Bookers someone elbowed me out of the way to get to the checkout first, that simply does not happen in that beacon  of take turns, the wholesaler.

No such rituals in Tesco's,  a brisk scrap saw us in a parking space. Peace and goodwill were in very short supply as we  careered and crashed round the aisles, hundreds of pounds added to our over breeze later and we were ready for home.

Of course this is easy to say but not so easy to do. It's lucky I am used to driving in France so the mass cutting up, pulling out in front of and planting the car into the roundabout routine was no suprise. I am going back tomorrow, think I might use the looming presence of the Green Goddess to calm things a bit.  Tomorrow will be the day everything goes on reduction and clearance at Bookers.

That of course is all against a backdrop of a student who has the plague and is, at the same time trying to do her Eugenics Essay so she can do her Stress essay and her third essay whose subject I have clean forgotten before going on to her 4th essay to do with dissability by the end of January and there's two exams in there somewhere too.  

Today is a date of great significance to us here at Penole. 18 years ago right now. I was out on the M4 in a 1950's Bedford flat bed truck with all my wordly goods in the back. My mate chopper was behind me in a Renault Traffic also loaded to the gunels. We arrived here in some trepidation, the aga was nearly out,  the coal central heating had clearly been out for a long time. There was no coal or oil and it was the night before Xmas.

In the living room it was exactly 70 degrees faranheit colder than it is today and today it's 75 F.

There we sat the management and I with 3 babies in ski suits in sleeping bags.

The adventure had begun.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

The return of Serenity

Those whose memories predate this blog will know of serenity my step daughter. Her antics her partner the Great Intellectual Thinker kept the group amused for a good while. Serenity has rolled out a good one this time though.

Cars have been an issue for her And of course having acquired a GIT  replacement she needed something big enough to cart them all about. She settled on a Zafira which was offered to her at a knock down price and as an added bonus the engine had just been rebuilt.  Now, people don't rebuild an engine then immediately decide to sell the care, well normal people don't anyway.

I was whiffing rodent big style and made a suggestion she let me stick my head under the bonnet before she did anything rash like part with money. No this was Serenity  and soon she proudly turned up chez nous in a car that was making a slight clatter.

It was one of those annoying noises that you can't quite put your finger on the root of. I listened and listened, I could not quite work it out. Her garagiste could not quite work it out either till he took the lid off and  a scene of carnage was revealed. This could still have been a cheap car had she done something sensible like buy a second hand engine.

Not our Serenity, at truly vast costs and against advice she had the engine rebuilt.  This left her about as solvent as Greece and so full on austerity measures went in, Well no it was more like Greece that you might think. She didn't actually rein in expenditure but passed it on to the United Bank of Mum and Step Dad.

Of course with the car back on the road an admirable opportunity presented itself to lend the car to a friend who had a errand to run to Hull. An impressive time he must have put in too to have left here at 11 in the morning and be most of the way back by 10 pm.

10 pm being the time that something went mega bang inside the engine and decided to get out and walk.

The car was duly AA recovered and is awaiting it's fate outside Chez Serenity.

The lady in question then got on the phone, at least she had now seen a bit of sense and she had decided to get a second hand engine, trouble was she could not find one at a price she could afford. Of course, it took me a few moments to find several engines but of course then the penny dropped. They were at a price I could afford not free, the price she could afford.

Of course the first line of attack has to be the garage who charged her a ransom sum to rebuild the engine. I am more confident she can get through that than she used to be

Serenity has recently, alone and without a leader, taken on an access fight with the GIT where he was legally represented and she was not. By all accounts she played a blinder got the judge entirely on side and, without Serenityonics presented a logical and calm case.

She won the day.     

Good on her





Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Going green - look out for the nimby's

Wind has allways been a waste here. Ever since we moved in i have thought there was a huge potential for wind generation here.

Now it's a reality, a company is proposing to rent some of our land for a small generation project. We get rent and free electricity and they get the feed in tarrif which is how it is viable. For the next 20 years the place will host a small bunch of medium size generators.

The deposit that secures our agreement is paid today.

Think I am going to look at electric cars.....


Getting plastered.

There is a long tradition of getting mightilly plastered at this time of the year and we are happy to join in. It's only taken  months and the plasterers are in repairing the damage done to the house in July.

This will be good as it's Bruces bedroom and she will be well pleased to see it has been done and it will have had a coat of paint by the time she lands too.  

Her big sister has contracted something she assures me is at least Ebola and is lying in the living room groaning.

The weather is vile with some pretty rough weather promised foor a couple of days too.

Possibly even some of the white stuff so I had better get a battery charged for the Green Goddess.


Monday, 12 December 2011

You plonker Cammeron

DennisSkinner summed up the situation brilliantly today:

He said Cammeron was a plonker

Sums it up really.

He went to get assurances and came away with exactly nothing.

Everyone else negociated and he threw a tantrum.

Still, at least he had the guts to go to parliament today.


Errrrr right.



Sunday, 11 December 2011

Watch this space

Politics is very interesting just now. Yesterday Clegg thought Cameron was completely right to use his veto . This morning on Television he did a complete volte face. Recognising Cameron for the idiot he is on Europe.

You can see how under his leadership the conservative party has moved further and further away from Europe.

Now their isolation is complete.
Paddy Ashdown has launched a vitriolic attack on the euro sceptic right, or putting it another way a strong branch of the Liberal party has attacked one of the strongest branches of the tory party.

It is hard to see this coalition lasting. I wonder though what an election might bring.

Would the rabid press contribute to a Tory majority rule?

Then we would really be in trouble.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Oh dear, sometimes sad things happen.

Yesterday the student was not well, she was having trouble walking and getting up stairs was a struggle.

Today she really struggled as we cut wood yet again. This afternoon I was outside, no one seems to want FB  so it's going for scrap on Monday.

We were out there stripping it today.

When I came back in the student was obviously in pain, not little pain, the real McCoy.

So ignoring her protestations I took her off to see some child, who was apparently a doctor.

It turns out she has torn some ligaments and needs total rest. bed for the next 2 days. No driving walking or anything,   this could be interesting.

She does not do rest.     

Friday, 9 December 2011

Nice to have friends

It's nice to have loyal friends and the city has few more loyal than the bullingdon boy Camerron.

Trouble was he was a bit stuffed really - the right of his party happy for us to adopt isolationism and really he has achieved that. The city had to be protected against regulation to stop them staging a re reun of 2007.

But of course they are his paymasters so what was best for everyone except them had to be done.

Now Europe will impose a banking tax that we cannot veto and create a strong stable Euro and we will be a little island off the coast of a strong economy.

A "special relationship" won't survive that and the yanks will soon be on their way to Paris and Berlin.

Cameron has made us an irrelevance - then agian we  ceased being a big player a while back. Thatcher killed maufacturing in this country and Camoerron has killed banking whilst claiming to protect it.

Poor lad he's not bright mind.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Goodness grascious me

Things are really not good. Cameron has gone off to Europe to chuck his weight around, and what weight it that exactly? We are not part of the Euro so he can sit there and say not a lot. Everything is going on outside or this countries control I think there is a nightmare on the horizon, the eurozone is going solid - a sound currency with banking regulation and bankinng taxed. The UK sitting outside looking over then fence, we needed to remake or at least be part of the euro but decided not to. Could be a bigger mistake than Custer. Rhys

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Technology - oh really.

Ahhh the delights of a simple mind, when I thought we had the T4 licked I hadn't realised how much we really were in the thrall of technology. Much messing in the Greasy Garage failed to get the t4 to play. Time to phone around a bit...

Most diesels, like most petrol's, will run pretty much OK so long as you have the settings roughly right. Not so T4 diesels. There are 360 degrees in a circle; chose any one of 359 of them and your T4's brain will sulk and stop the engine. There is only the one the T4 will accept and to find that one you need to lock the engine solid in a certain position whilst using the vernier gauge to find the right point. on the scale to set the fuel pump.

This of course requires special tools of vast cost and only a VW computer can tell the engine management that it has had a new belt, not to panic and that it's safe to start again.

I suspect though that this has been a developing fault the van has been transformed. It lives at 70 MPH as if that was it's absolute home, it does this in an absence of din which is quite remarkable for a van. Now it's not C5 silent but it is pretty good nonetheless.

It came home today with an unfeasible amount of wine in the back and still it dealt with the M5 and 4 at a rock steady 70. Neither did it dig deep into the 50 L of diesel I put into it yesterday, lots of which I still have left, which, since the van has covered 250 miles since is pretty good.

The trip itself was not one of our best, braving the driving wind and rain on Friday we made Plynouth with a bit to spare. Opting to eat on the ferry we had an indifferent meal then spent a not totally uncomfortable night on the deck with no cabins being available. 

The morning was a welcome to a world of rain and shopping. A decent meal at lunchtime was spoilt by a load of arrogant expats, who have been living over there for ten years and don't need to learn French as "they all speak English".  We enjoyed an interesting conversation with le patron, en francais, naturalment.

More afternoon shopping and into Roscoff waiting for the restaurant to open. Not a good idea the restaurant is not one we have used recently, and we soon remembered why.

It wasn't a bad meal - it wasn't brilliant either.

The student of course got to taste it twice. The trip back one of the roughest we have had in a while.

Overall as weekends away go, it's been a bit of a damp squib. 

But at least the van is OK.

Still our time could have been worse, as I drove on to the ferry I noticed a big old horsebox like one of the local ones I help keep on the road with my stock of spares.

In fact, it was more than "like", the very first people we saw in the bar were it's owners.

We got chatting and catching up, they had been off to Spain for 3 months. They had been stuck in Brittany for a week while their dog's rabies status had been sorted. On their way to the ferry they had been stopped by the French customs. For a laugh, he told the French customs his occupation was "drug dealer" he said how the customs guy could not have cared less.

Thinking about this I had a baaaad feeling about this at the time. I know someone else who joked with customs and spent a lot of hours in a shed having their car pulled apart.

Anyway off the ferry we trotted this morning, into immigration and it was quite odd really, the nice chap asked if we had far to go then seemed to tense when we said where we were headed. Then, round the corner and unusually the customs were there, and in some force too.

They were not interested in us, they seemed to be waiting another vehicle. As it happens our mates had been not far  behind us in immigration so we stopped outside the  perimeter to have a chat. 10 minutes later lots of cars had gone through, but they had not, wonder what happened....