Monday, 25 May 2020

Education, education, education, and not a drop to drink....


I often wonder whether those whom we have elected and those whom they appoint to do certain things actually have much of an idea what ordinary people think and have to deal with. I know that their words indicate they care but do they, really?
Take the case of this Corona virus problem. Of course it is a problem, people generally have no immunity and we might well ask why this has occurred at all. Like how was it possible to yet again originated in China? What are they doing there? But that question will have to be asked and hopefully answered another time.
But the virus is just one of the problems we face today, let’s take Wales, Wales is a much poorer part of the UK, and nothing like the London and Home counties areas. In Wales education is bedevilled by a quango called Estyn that ‘supervises’ standards. We might ask what standards and what are they based on? In my book standards mean the quality of the education on offer. But seemingly, at least according to Estyn they base standards on the attainment levels of pupils. In other words how many A’s have been acquired. It seems that they continually ask, nay demand standards increasing but without the resources needed to do so. Wales struggles with old legacies of ill-health, unemployment and more but let that rest for a minute. It should however be quite obvious that increasing standards in education needs more than putting pressure on educators e.g teachers. It needs an infrastructure to do so. You simply cannot tell pupils to learn who have no support at all from family or have no family. The social structure just is not there. These are facts that escape organisations such as Estyn and indeed I suspect government as well. Or if they know they simply ignore it.
It is true that some of the teachers are below of what is required. That is a problem that needs sorting by higher educators. It does no-one any good to have teachers who do not really want to be in the class-room. The battlefield which is today’s classroom is entirely of the governing classes’ making. Meddling politicians, poor decision making, and above all political dogma have decimated the quality of education in all fields. It is time to give the teaching professions the power back to educate and side-line political interference.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Hurray! Politics are back! It's a Bank Holiday!


It is a wonderful day, of course because it is a Bank Holiday!. The world is slowly going back to what it was before. The backbiting, the politiking, the snide remarks, the opposition taking potshots at the government, minute by minute. Yes, I feel quite at ease again! And oh yes, I nearly forgot we are still home-chained, furloughed or whatever else this virus has made us suffer. Listening to the BBC’s continual ever droning-on reports about the virus, which is the only thing they now talk about, I want to throw the TV set out of the window but fortunately I have Freesat and can switch over to some other 100 channels!. A lot of repeats but hey, I had forgotten there was once a program called ‘Merlin’. Nice to see again.
Listening this morning to the reports on the main channels; Dominic, the same Dominic who advises the PM, seems to have a bit of trouble. Well, he might as well get used to it. The knives are out for him, no doubt. I suppose it is the old, old story yet all over again. These are the people who tell everyone else what to do but it seemingly does not count for them. However, I must say that if I had been in his place I would have done exactly the same! Looking at the personal issues, that of family coming first you can easily see the route he took to solve a problem. OK it was not next door but if you are in these type of situations you might not think particularly along straight lines. You act and you act fast. It might not be politically correct but you would not care a damn! Besides all that, from where I am sitting I see thousands of cars along the A4119 every week, people completely ignoring to stay home and waltzing off to the beach of public parks which normally they wouldn't do. But now, it's a virus holiday, you know! So, as far as I am concerned, leave the man alone, he is a pretty good advisor as far as advisors go, and Boris needs a strong, common sense guy who is not afraid to kick some buckets about. Keep going DC! Show the Guardian where to stick their papers. It’s just a lefty hack nowadays anyway. Cheers, here’s to DC!

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The new way of life to come?


I think it should be obvious by now that we are looking at a different economic scenario than we have been used to. In particular the enormous number of aircraft flying and now not flying. The benefits (not in employment I’m sorry to say) have been pretty clear. Clear skies, less, much less pollution. In other words we have to develop a type of economy that perhaps would look a lot more like it was hundreds or so years ago. More self-sufficiency. Why should apples or lambs meat come from 6000 miles away? In cities like Birmingham or London, there should now be electric buses with more space for individuals. Car-less city centres or even whole cities, with bike lanes for bikes and electric mopeds. We have to tackle urban pollution, and plastics in particular. Everybody has to take much more care about what and how they throw away stuff. We simply must respect nature and all the things that live. We need food but we don’t have to factory farm. In any case we should eat less meat. Much less.
I suppose there are no easy answers, whatever we do there is a negative side to it somewhere or other. We do need to find the right balances.
Humanity seems to be a strange abnormality on the planet. We use everything we lay our hands on, whether needed or not. When we find we do not really want it or need it, we simply discard it by throwing it anywhere convenient. A grass verge around a road will do fine, some of us think. Or flush our used cooking oil down the toilet, easy, out of sight out of mind. So, perhaps this Covid-19 is teaching us one thing, that everything that lives is important. Also that we do not have to live on a never ending roller-coaster. We do not really need to get drunk on a Spanish beach, there are plenty of beaches in the UK. It really is time to re-think how we want our civilisation to be. More, how we want to be on this planet. So hopefully we might in the end avoid making a planet of deserts, swirled around by seas that are poisonous for every living thing and devoid of fish. It is our choice, so let’s make the right one!

Political double speak


There are definitely two different languages spoken in Britain today. English and English. Let me explain. One is the normal English spoken by ordinary people and another is spoken by the political classes. By political classes I mean everybody who does not work but gets paid by the state. One speaks we blue collar workers understand, the other speaks in words no-one can understand.
The political classes speaking about the influx of migrants which continues unabated and now includes hundreds of small boats, dingies, inflatables of every kind come up with ‘Reckless acts facilitated by criminals that we are determined to stop!’ I had to look in a dictionary to figure out what was meant. Just meaningless drivel. Next thing is they are simply landed in Dover, even medically tested and moved to a nice spot somewhere green, free food, free accommodation, free medical care. All whilst waiting for a judicial something or other before let off to start picking fruit. So, nice words but as usual no real action to stem the original problem. Am I over-reacting? Am I an idiot? Perhaps I might be but I just wonder why everyone in the political class comes up with this English which does mean nothing at all. What class form teaches this, Eton? Possibly, there are classes in how to speak, how to obfuscate (see, I can do this as well! Obfuscate, to hide, to perplex), how to watch your back and how to put the boot in without someone noticing. There are definitely still different classes in this country. I know we are probably used to it but surely it needs changing? We need more ordinary people in government. We also need to take to task the greatest inequality of all, the pay and salary systems. It cannot be good to know that some who do not produce anything at all, like those who work in the financial sectors, can trouser up to £1,000,000 in bonuses? Well, enough of this, Boris might be the man to take it to task, I’m waiting!

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Where does the money go?


Quite a number of people are heard to say Virus? What virus? And yes it is difficult to figure that out as those who do not suffer any of the illnesses it brings or are young, or could be immune and even might have had the disease but did not even know it albeit just had a sore throat. But there are and were those of us who literally died. This obviously is a time of stress. The papers are full of reports of the failures of government, criticisms of the Civil Service, the way they seem to countermand the wishes of the government and its ministers, it is all laid bare. Now we have to endure the most stressful of times being locked down at home for fear of spreading the virus. Well, looking around I see as many cars on the road as ever. I see people walking about in threes and fours, many ignore the guidance of staying two or three metres apart. Young men just push past you in the shops, ignoring the yellow arrows on the floor. So, an obvious disregard for health guidance.
You will hear the old adage of ‘God has sent this to humanity in judgement for having turned away from him and in judgement of our immoral lives’. They probably see God pulling a lever in Heaven called ‘Judgement’, particularly after having heard the various politicians and their incoherent reporting of the facts. I can be a critical person, one of my pet dislikes is the failure of the Church, yes I mean all the Churches, their failures to discuss a world, its social aspects, the way we ought to live and treat the planet, but there is precious little. The point is that God, the way I see it, has in infinite wisdom created a whole Universe. Not just the Earth. That needed some basic rules, one of which seems very like cause and effect. Such as if I abuse the planet, it will wither, if I abuse my body I will get ill. If I abuse my neighbour there will be repercussions and harm might follow. This has nothing to do with God, the virus has nothing to do with God, it pretty well follows our careless attitude to health and cleanliness. It most likely started in China, whether through laboratory carelessness or market conditions , we do not know but thanks to our own lifestyles, travelling all over the world, living close together, meeting hundreds of people every day, globalisation, pollution weakening our lungs and so we fell foul of the virus. This might not be the last either, if we do not change we will continue to fall prey to ever more virulent diseases. So, God is not sitting in heaven dropping viruses all around but we should still take and think of this time as an opportunity. The positive environmental effects , decreased production of mostly useless items and tourism diminished, particularly to the alcohol sodden beaches of Spain, because we were halted in our tracks before the environmental catastrophe would have become unavoidable. Or perhaps even irreversible!
Edit - I seem to have lost a bit about financing after we go back to normal. Whatever normal means. I think I deleted it inadverntly. I will think of it and write another post.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Waking up is hard to do...


From time to time I watch some good reporting type programs on YouTube. Showing some sights in the world, China, Korea, Japan and a host of other countries. Showing the infrastructure. Well, my heart sinks looking at some of the things shown. Comparing that with what is around here in the UK. They build roads, new, railways electrified, everything runs on time, hardly standing in trains, plenty of seating capacity. The trains are supersonic or so it seems. 400 kms an hour and some don’t even have wheels! Like the Maglev. Over in the UK Wales is lucky to get second-hand old diesel buses! The roads are in such a state your car will need a new suspension within one year of buying it. Where does all our money go to?
Am I missing something? Let’s have a comparison exercise, we have the NHS, a great thing to have. It costs billions though, other countries only have a rudimentary system that mostly you have to pay for. In Holland they have a three-tier insurance system. The bottom tier actually is not worth having, it only allows doctor’s visits and rudimentary hospital services. No dental stuff. But it is a fair question, where then is our money spent? It does not seem to be on our infrastructure. Despite all those wonderful politicians mumbling on TV about how hard they work, may I ask – where and what for? Where is our Maglev? Plans for that would be mired in controversy from the very beginning. We, the citizens of our country will have to decide what we do really want. You know for a nation that started the industrial revolution, we got stuck at the magnificence of steam and oil whilst the rest of the world got electrified. We need to wake up and more so, wake up our politicians! One last question - where did all the money earned from North Sea oil go? I think I know but over to you readers.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Come back Boris......

Just to mention our prime minister (the best one we've had for some time!) is now also suffering the effects of the Covid virus. Let's hope, nay pray, that he will pull through! It would be terrible to have to go through all that electioneering, backbiting, arguments, telling lies and more, all over again. So Boris, get better soon, I'll keep my fingers crossed. At least you are in the right place, the hospital in London in which you are now is one of the best. And as an aside we have to be thankful for the people of the NHS, talk about putting your life on the line? It should be applauded. But humanity has a short memory span, when this is all over who will remember the unstinting service of the nurses and doctors? Well, for one I will! It is through them I am still here and not in a shallow grave or wafting about like a spirit. Look at what they do now - going to work knowing how their day may end. Soooooooo, here is a big hand from me.

PS I used an image from dreamstime.com, I think it's royalty free. 

Monday, 30 March 2020

Be a bit more realistic....


Reading the few daily newspapers I can still get in the local garage it strikes me as odd as to how many reports are doom-laden. Death and destruction all around? Footballers crashing their multi-thousand pound cars after partying with half the nation or so it seems. The papers have a field day! However, I noted one article which struck me as very forward and shall we say, thought provoking?
Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun newspaper stated some home truths! Now the Sun is not a newspaper where one can usually read good national comment, in the main it is a bit of a glorious gossip paper. But sometimes it hits the mark, and so it is today. Trevor rightly asks – where is this Covid-19 hysteria getting us? People don’t talk about how many die of the ordinary flu? As he said during the 2018 Beast of the East winter some 50,000 died! So far and of course it is sad, just over 1,200 have succumbed to the Coronavirus in this country. Yet did we shut down the country in 2018? How many will now lose their livelihoods? How many businesses will shut? I am all for a re-alignment of world economies. We should indeed have a good look at how we want to live but setting up a national debt which will take four generations or more to pay off is possibly not the way!
I think the government when recovered (!) must have a hard look at the way this has been handled by all. We will have to get away from scaremongering, also those done by high officials.
Simply because we cannot get away from diseases and never will! Surely we are not going to lock-down everything every time a bug slips on the list? We are not immune, we are just an animal like all the others. Some of us will die, some of us will live a long life. Yes, through medical interventions and I am one of the recipients (prostate cancer) we may live longer than nature intended. Great but it also means some of us will succumb to degenerative illnesses and diseases.
So, have faith, have a faith, at least that way we might understand the spiritual dimension to all of it, better than we do now.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

The reality is quite simply...


At this time in our collective lives on the planet, stressful though it is, we need to put our thinking caps on. First of all the situation with diseases is relatively simple, they have always plagued humanity. And not just us either. If you think about how life has evolved, how it appears today you will see very quickly that literally everything depends on something or somebody else. To put it bluntly, as food. Obviously that also means defence mechanisms have evolved as well. If a body is attacked then if the defences are strong the attacking entity will get rebuffed or killed. If the defence is lacking or weak, the victim may succumb and may die. That is the simple rule of life. I suppose it is scant satisfaction knowing that you are food but thinking like that at least will make you see the reality a bit clearer.
So, what about this corona virus then – is it unusual? No, it is not. Somewhere along the line of life we have picked up an organism that usually lives on or from something else rather than humans. But as there are now so many humans, nearly 8 billion and all living pretty close together and on top of that travel all over the place, this organism managed to jump to another source which has given it the means for explosive procreation. At least one of us is happy.
One of the problems we face is that the ‘enemy’ is rather minute, we cannot see it. But we still need to understand how the ‘enemy’ behaves and we have to reduce its ability to wage ‘war’.
Furthermore we also have to reduce our own weaknesses, develop the armoury, reduce our rat-like propensity to use everything regardless of the consequences. Unlike rats we do know about consequences. To stave of future attacks from the virus or indeed any virus or bacterium we have to reduce the attack front. That will not be easy, in fact very very difficult. But we have a choice – do we want to live or die? It is a war out there baby!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Resistance...or no resistance that's another question...


This is the time when you will be able to see how people can react to external stimuli. There is a disease around, yes in Wales too, that unto now has not been known As a result humans have no resistance. If you are in a good condition you might be lucky to roll over it but if you have underlying medical conditions or are older your resistance will be diminished. Those are the facts. But what I thought last week might happen after all the TV reports about dead and dying has now happened, panic buying of strange things we normally do not buy in quantity, toilet rolls! Followed on by almost anything that can last more than a few weeks. There are people bragging on social media who have hamstered supplies that probably will rot away before they can eat it all. Next we can see people in quantity this Sunday with very nice weather at the seaside walking the promenade in their thousands! Which of them did not understand the words, rampant disease, danger of death? Just look at what it does in Italy.
Treating it as a holiday? You gotta be joking! But that is what they do, it is nice weather innit? Let’s go to the seaside. I despair for those who do their best in the hospitals, the doctors and nurses working their socks off and here are the total idiots who think it is all a bit of a laugh.
I have said it before, us humans are a dead loss to this planet. Self-centered, greedy to boot.
Well, gear yourselves up idiots, it’ll come for them just the same, if not now, it will next time.

ed 25/3/2020
Well it is rather interesting - since the government set out the various rules and regulations in order to combat the virus outbreak it has become quite apparent that a heck of a lot of people just simply ignore the advice. The main road through the Ely valley is as busy as ever. There was some talk about staying home if not absolutely necessary to go out to get some food or medical supplies but there it is. That's the UK today. 
Although it has to be said that when push comes to shove(!) thousands come forward to help our NHS. The NHS is coping pretty well with this population of ours and yes it needs all the help it can get.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Acting responsibly?


The papers are full of ‘Community spirit’, ‘Look after the elderly and so on’. Great, it is good to read but what is the reality in the UK? The supermarkets had set a time for elderly and the more vulnerable to shop for an hour, for instance Tesco has set aside Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-10 am. I applaud the reasoning behind this. Full marks to the supermarket managers. Unfortunately they did forget one thing – the attitude of a good percentage of our wonderful British public. Don’t hoard, don’t panic buy, apparently are switches in our collective brains to do just that – panic buy and hoard as much as you can get away with. Special hours for the vulnerable? To hell with that, as you can see on some of the photos in the papers. Queues start forming way before opening times, snaking around corners for hundreds of yards. People are pathetic to the extreme. What worries me is that this will happen again and again, viruses will continue to crop up. It is the way nature responds to our human infringements and treatments of it. This is not unknown, it is not something we did not foresee, the scientists and doctors have said for a long time the way we go about living there will be a price to pay. And now we are beginning to pay it. If we keep treating animals, all animals, in fact all living things as food we will inevitably run into the same diseases they have. Apparently according to research, proper research, holding bats for food (in China) gave us Covid-19. Part of the rhino family of viruses that give us the colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses. Obviously other animals suffer colds and flu as well. It is no good humans thinking we are the masters, no we’re not, far from it. We are just as dependent on nature as every other living thing. So let’s start acting accordingly.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Just another disease...


If you did not know how powerful media is then just look at the coronavirus situation. It is the news channels and the type of reporting that has resulted in an absolute storm on the shopfloors of the supermarkets. Despite the suggestions that over-70’s stay at home, Tesco in my part of South Wales was literally brimming with ‘oldies’. They were ‘fighting’ over toilet rolls, paracetamol and anything that could be kept for longer than a week. Rather interesting to see, the social scientists will have a field day to figure all that behaviour out, the how’s and the why’s. But the BBC has to share the blame, yes I know it is news but this way reporting in every sentence how many people had caught the virus and following that up with how many had died. Next we will have names and family history included. And then we have the Twitterati – you know them in common life as idiots or ultra liberal lefties– spouting all sorts of fancy reasons what this virus is about. I feel sorry for the Ruskies and Chinese, of course we have to put the blame somewhere don’t we? Putin is the guilty one or is it that laboratory in Wuhan may be? Or did some idiot in South Wales manufacture this virus in his garden shed? People, come on, get real, this virus or its brothers have been around for a long time!
It is related to the common cold virus, which also has the flu virus as its cousin. Every year there are more, the viruses simply mutate. So, let’s get it straight, this will happen again, we will have to grow resistance which might incur getting it and surviving it. Indeed as with all diseases, the weak and old and sometimes the young too, might succumb. Therefore it would be good to develop some vaccine. So, let’s talk less about the negative aspects and let’s hear more of the positive, BBC!

You might think to yourself ‘Yep, another disease, how many more will there be?’. Good question and I don’t know the answer either besides saying ‘Loads more’. You should look at how viruses and bacteria get to us and why. Most likely it is our lifestyle, the density of the population in any particular area, the things we consume (bats and slugs are nice at this time of the year). The battle of life, who consumes who, has been going on since life developed on the planet. Driven by the amount of food available or NOT available. So, it is a normal thing, we might not like it but it is what it is. We are food as much as other living things are. 

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Corona problems..


It is uncanny how people tend to think. Especially about the coronavirus outbreak. We seem to believe we can contain this. Well, let me say this although I’m no expert, as soon as people were moved away from the original place where it started we were already too late. I do understand that people want to go home but with something as virulent as Covid-19 you do not really have a choice. It was the same with the Black Plague of the Middle-Ages. Travelling then too was not really the thing to do. There again, we must also look at the severity of the illness. In particular because this will happen again. What should we do in the future? As with all rampant diseases there is only one thing that can be done whilst we are all waiting for an antidote, total isolation. That however is going to be the thing that is difficult to enforce. I mentioned before that as a species we are the most stupidest living thing around despite our brain capacity. We have no regard at all for what lives around us and in us. Nor do we care how we fit into nature, or how we should fit in. But as was said before – all actions have a reaction. Scientists have been telling about all of this for years but so far no-one seems to have listened.
No, one has done, a Swedish young lady. Greta at least has her thinking cap on and came to the right conclusion. We are failing nature. We might not like what she says but she is right. If we want to continue living a life worthy of the name we will have to start working hard. It might not be pretty, it certainly won’t be easy but have we got a choice? Really?

Monday, 9 March 2020

Annibyniaeth


Dw i wedi siarad o gwmpas yr ardal ’ma am y bosiblwrydd cael ‘independence’. Annibyniaeth ydy un o’r dymunidau Plaid Cymru. Dw i’n meddwl bod mae’r syniad yn ddiffygiol. Mae’r problem trethiant. Dim ond pedair milliwn o ddinasyddion, wel bron. Ac hefyd dim digon o diwydiant. Wrth gwrs, mae gwleidyddion o Blaid Cymru a blaid eraill, dydyn nhw ddim yn chwilfrydig am bywyd o bobl gyffredin. Ond byddai'n rhaid i bobl gyffredin dalu am hyn. Mae’n amser anghofio’r syniad a dychwelyd i Deyrnas Unedig priodol! Yn sicr mae’n angenrheidiol atal wastraffu arian am brosiectau fel annibyniaeth. Byddai’n well os Brydain yn gyfan dysgu yr hen iaith! Cymraeg!

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Civil Service or just Service


It is rather funny to read the so-called bullying reports made about the present Home Secretary. Funny because methinks usually it is the other way around. Civil servants bullying ministers. In this country there is a Civil Service, more or less permanent, that thinks it is they who rule. It is however true that the quality of ministers sometimes leaves others wondering where these people were when the braincells were given out. But the present Home Sec Ms Patel seems not one of them! It is high time that the Civil Service undergoes a good hard inspection. The trouble is that being more or less permanent, it exudes a ‘You can’t sack me’ attitude. Sort of ‘I am here, you cannot do anything to me’ and ‘I know better than you’. In my opinion for what it is worth, it is high time to put the spotlight on these secretive people.
I do however understand that policies made by politicians do need a hard look as well. Basically because some of them can and in the past have proven to be harmful, to the well-being of the nation. Therefore it needs sound thinking with the basic underlying tenet to be – the NATION and its citizens.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Coronavirus and life expectancy....


It is rather interesting to read, hear and see the hundreds of reports about the coronavirus outbreak. But I got the point, it is a media frenzy. As a matter of fact the annual flu (epidemics not reported) kill vastly more people. Or more so, make vastly more people sick. We are talking millions. But that doesn't sell newspapers. Of course nobody wants to be ill but unfortunately we live on a planet together with a vast number of viruses , microbes and bacteria. As I have said before, if we reduce the number of species on the planet, the remainder have no choice but to look for alternative hosts. The one most prolific happens to be us, humans. I think it would be fair to say that we can look forward to many such occurrences in the future. I am surprised that we have not heard the ultra-left loonies say it is the fault of those dastardly Tories and Boris in particular. Let’s not hold our breath they might just be a bit late. Probably drunk and couldn’t get up early enough.

The various clubs and other venues where drink (alcohol mostly) is on sale do a roaring trade. With a pint about £3.00 they roll out of the clubs and pubs high on 10 pints, plus the little smoke in the toilets and if you can still walk, the cocaine is freely available.
That might have something to do with the life expectancy perhaps? But I am a uneducated twiddler who doesn’t know anything about those things. I would however agree with those who say that our working arrangements are not brilliant. Zero hour contracts should be banned. Drink taxed more than double it is today. A strict limit on buying alcohol, in pubs and clubs you should be able to buy tickets, no more than four and these can be interchanged for a drink.
An indelible mark on the hand will prohibit the purchase of more tickets. Well, just an idea.

One last opinion – does anyone think self-isolation will work? Didn’t think so! So, I am just waiting for those who have been to Italy and Spain and possibly the Middle-East to come back to the Rhondda. I'll see 'm in the club then and shake their hands for having escaped. Don't call me for the next 4 weeks, I'll be in bed.

Edit 23/3/2020
A couple of weeks later now and the virus is becoming rampant. A lot to do with the population's unwillingness or incapability to do the correct thing(s). Hopefully self-isolation coupled with the measures now forced upon us by the government will at least stem the ever steeper curve of infections and deaths.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Solar panels and all....


Just bought myself a smart tablet like thingie called a solar panel! About 13 inches by 9 inches it charges up at 2.4 Amp and at 12 volts. It is basically a battery charger for vehicles, like my diesel car. Oh yes, I have a diesel but one with a host of filters. But in this inclement weather the battery goes down a bit too fast. So, looking at various websites I noticed solar chargers and wondered if there was one for cars. Yes, there are! 3 types at 3 different amps. I simply put the cable in the cigarette thingymajick (the cigarette lighter holder) and it charges the battery up for free. Even if there is no direct sunlight! When not driving I just put it on the dash and leave it all day. There is one proviso, the cigarette lighter will have to be ‘live’ even if the engine is switched off. If your car is not of that type the equipment comes with cables that clip to the battery. Or you can buy (about £10) a special cable.
It made me think though if such a small thing can do that (and it works!) how about much bigger ones? Put them on the roof of the shed. Charge up batteries and change your house lights to 12 volt ones. Free illumination. It means a bit of work but well worth it. You can even buy solar mats. Flexible so these can go onto almost any surface. This summer I will have a look at that and cost it. Will let you know how I’ll fare! But this is just the top of the iceberg, if we all were prepared to spend a bit of money we could make quite an impact on the environment. OK we might have to climb onto the shed roof and if we cannot do that get the kids to do it and write a school report for their science class! In my local area they are now building houses and flats (two and three stories high) that as is said can be heated with just one candle. Interestingly, they probably have forgotten we need fresh air coming in as well. Humans breathe out a solid quantity of CO2 and water in every exhalation. Hopefully designers have not let that fall by the wayside.

Funny times we live in....


We live in a very funny world, don’t we? At least a very funny Britain that is. For years we are moaning about immigration, the price of petrol and diesel. Of not having enough planes to take us to Spain and complain about the stinking railways. Do the railway carriage toilets still have outlets to outside onto the track? Might be true! Anyway, complaining for twenty years or more and now a lot of us are complaining that the government is FINALLY doing something! We are going to have a points system for immigration. Brilliant. Not before time. Africans are chomping at the bit to get to Britain as fast as possible. And not just Africans either, most of Asia wants to come as well. Companies have benefited greatly from low-quality immigration. Driving down wages and having scant regard for safety and accommodation for their cheap labour. It might halt the awful state of affairs when hundreds of immigrants are cooped up in stinking hovels all over London and the Eastern agricultural fields.Then there are the reports that fuel (petrol/diesel) tax might be increased. Another GOOD idea! Why? Well, it will curtail some from driving helping the environment but mostly it will give money available to the government to pay for some of the promises, mainly the northern infrastructure, they made during the election. We desperately need to update the British infrastructure. So, in my view, for whatever it is worth, well done Boris. Carry on REGARDLESS of all the moaning liberal ultra lefties. At least we have started on the way to recovery. Now get our armed forces sorted out. Build up the navy, it will not do when Italy has more frigates than us! In a war even the Belgians would beat us. Bring the army back up to at least half a million, times are going to be tough in future. The RAF has newer jets so that will do for a while. Do not nationalise the railways but put proper management in place and simplify ticketing. Oh yes and if the Scottish virago opens her mouth again about independence, tell her there is a rock west of the Scottish coast called Rockall and we will pay for a fast boat. The ticket will be one way only.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Trains, planes, and PC


As you will know by now, I have a continental background. I know about the differences between this country, Wales in particular and Germany as well as Holland and Belgium. I forgot to mention France, I admire France, the country is one of the most beautiful. However, forget its idea about how to govern, it’s a complete disaster. But take the different systems, like rail for instance. In this country we have one of the most expensive, unreliable disasters called trains. From being a world leader in the past to a laughable half-baked service that barely deserves the name ‘service’. A ticket from Cardiff to London will cost an arm and a leg, a distance of barely 180 miles. A ticket from Amsterdam to Paris will be £70 or thereabouts, double the distance. You might have a look at the Bundesbahn (Germany) where everyone sits down and the trains get you there on time. Obviously outside influences could scupper that but in the main it works! This is why I voted Conservative, along with thousands of other voters. Simply because we believed, believe still, that Boris will do what he said he will do and so far it looks good. I am not a Conservative, this is basically the first time I did so. Our politicians have for far too long taken their eyes off the ball! We have been spending an inordinate time on arguing about issues like ‘Are we gay? Should we be transgender? Can we say Black?’ Then the insidious actions of various MPs about expenses and money in general. Can we say the word corruption maybe? In any case, we are not well served and as Boris has indicated ‘It has to CHANGE’! 
 
All this has nothing to do with Brexit, it is just common sense. Governments are for the people not for themselves. It is about services. Services that will make our ordinary lives easier. We also should not take our eyes of the environment. It is imperative that we do make the hard decisions and stop moaning if they affect us. Buses, trains should be supported, electrification an absolute must. Almost all of the rail infrastructure in the countries I mentioned are electric. There are trams in the cities, electric buses becoming more and more widespread. Again also we need to remember we are not the only life on the planet, we need to plan bearing in mind that an elephant or a mouse, even a rat have the same call on here.
Hard decisions, hard work but that is called responsibility.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Change the world? Start at the beginning...

I have begun to wonder whether I am a royalist. Frankly, yes I am. I prefer the royal family as figurehead of what is still a great country. We have problems, who hasn't but at least we have a calming influence - the royals. Until recently. It is not so calming now, the waves are rolling in. I am not sure though why we are singling out Andrew, the Duke of Northern climes (York in the vernacular). There are thousands of people all over the world who do worse. Sure it doesn't make it right. But let's be very honest, how culpable were the various ladies who are now coming out of the woodwork? I don't know about you but I would be hesitant to throw accusations about. Let's be fair too, Hollywood was a sin bin. A cesspit where hundreds or even thousands flocked to and were used as bed fodder in the hope of getting a part in some fourth rate film. Directors as was reported in several papers had couches in their offices just in case they had a headache. I have a headache three times a week. Impresarios as well they all had the same problem - girls hanging on every word they uttered.
But OK, it may be that the Duke had stars in his eyes as well, blinded by the glitz and glamour.
There is but one thing you can say to the ultra liberal lefties - get real about what goes on in the world. If you want to change it, start at the beginning and not have a big go at the end result!
And finally remember this - despite all rumours, innuendos and whatever else - you're not guilty until proven guilty.

Edit - 15/2/2020
Yes, I think the word 'royalist' needs a bit of further thought. Bearing in mind that the royals are just as human as we all are, they will suffer the same ills. So, it does not really seem plausible to point our collective fingers and slovenly drool over the daily newspapers. It just needs to be remembered. But I do think the royal family takes the whole thing of being 'royal' a bit too far. If you project yourself as standing on a pedestal, there will always be those who will take a potshot. It would be a lot better if the lesser family is 'demoted' to just Mr and Mrs and simply work for a living. No Dukes, Duchesses, Earls, Barons and equivalent female titles. No Lords, do away with 'privilege'. Wow, it is possibly heresy but this is 2020 after all!

A very dim projection of a possible future...


It is quite something to be able to speak, write and understand other languages. Something the Dutch are good at. Oh yes, and possibly the Belgians. Well, they were Dutch once. I do receive a number of Dutch language websites and one is Quora. It comes in English as well but the subjects written about are completely different. So, the Dutch site had a question which was well answered including a graphic representation. The question asked - What will happen with the world if the temperature increases by 5 degrees? The answer gave the graphic representation from a temperature increase of 4 degrees Celsius. Well, you will not be surprised to know as I have said before, Africa will be uninhabitable except for workers who maintain the solar panels! Only if that is still a possibility. It gets worse, Spain, most of France, the whole region all the way the China, all of the USA and all but a very small part of the southern Patagonia of South America will be very difficult to live in, if at all!
A big part of Antarctica will be suitable for growing crops. Well, there it is; goodbye to more than 70% of the land-area we live in today! Except for very high mountains on Pacific islands, most of Polynesia will have disappeared under water. The Japanese will be gone up Mount Fuji, one of the mountains sticking out of the sea. Lowland New-Guinea is now a complete underwater reef. 
 
Don’t you think us humans have done a brilliant job? And don’t think this will be reversed. We cannot do it. We could but we won’t stop using plastic, we won’t stop driving or flying, we will not stop having sex. Simple? Yes, it is very simple. Overpopulation is without doubt one of the major reasons we are in the position we find ourselves in. We will be the only species that ever lived who will have managed to virtually exterminate itself and everything else. We have used the planet as our own possession, to do whatever we wanted to do and get without thought for the repercussions. 
 
Pretty unambiguous isn’t it? Even if we curtail driving and flying, it will be too late. It will only delay the inevitable. Humans will survive, as they do today in the desert. There will be small groups clustered around oases. The habitable zones might support a few millions, so what we will see are wars to obtain the best living spaces left, water and food. Obviously I don’t think this will happen overnight, so think of the ever-increasing pressures. Africans will not stop trying to come to the north, because if they want to live they need, and must do so. What about 2 billion Chinese? Yeah, what about them? They too will have to move north or to the bit of Antarctica which will be habitable. And all that is supposing the oceans and seas will have recovered from the abominable plastic pollution we have hoisted onto it. The water itself would not worry, it is the billions of creatures who have ingested plastic. There you have it, a future look at a world which will get only just a bit warmer. Just 4 degrees but it is the last four nails in the collective coffin!

Edit 19/2/2020
Just one of the other things noticeable in the world is the occurrence of viruses. The latest one the Snake virus, the one in which two cruise ships have a 'nice' holiday, that is just a foretaste of what is to come. I am not a lugubrious, moaning. negative guy, I am talking sense. If I was a virus I would rejoice at 8 billion people living jowl by jowl! And in very challenging situations as well. Cairo alone, a hotbed of disease. Tokyo, more health conscious but still nearly 40 million people? Greater Tokyo is the most populous city in the world. But yes, us coughing and spluttering in the trams, buses, taxis, you name it, a virus will be the happiest thing around!
It might be OK this time, it will run a short course but even so, viruses mutate very fast!

Friday, 7 February 2020

History

As mentioned before, it seems that young people no longer have an idea about history. At least long term history. They might know that there was a war or two and some bombs were thrown but that probably is as far as it goes. When you look at politician's influence in education generally, you will see a woeful picture. There is just an insistence on increasing results probably because that makes politicians look they are doing something but nothing else. It all is just talk. In Wales we have an august body called 'Estyn' only God knows how it operates but apparently they 'judge' performance. You might ask whose performance? Teachers, the good, the bad and the ugly, are in the forefront and yes some are not particularly good. As a father of a secondary Head of Science, from what I hear the performance of headmasters needs urgently looking at. You hear about heads who are mere cookery teachers, have a degree in home economics, or if you have a reasonable one, he or she might have a degree in History. There you have it, that is one reason why young people know zilch about who Stalin was and what he did, or how Peter the Great came to Europe to see the naval organisations so he could build up Russia's navy. But they can boil an egg. I am an avid watcher of some question and answer programmes, like 'Pointless', no it is not pointless only in that the game is to score as few points as you can. But it shows the deplorable standards of education in quite a lot of people. General knowledge, however trivial it might be, is completely absent. 'What is the capital of Belgium'? Belgium? Where is that? Isn't that an element?'. Etc etc etc.
But as a result when you talk to young people on the doorstep, in particular at election time and they want to know who you will vote for and I say the opposite to the party they represent, we get into a how and why. Then it becomes quickly apparent that they have little idea of political failures, broken promises and above all national economics. They merely point out the good old mantra of all socialists, we help people. Yes, to an early grave. Be that as it may, the lack of history, in particular recent history of the last 50 or so years, is a worrying failure of all political parties. We have had failure after failure, and from my standpoint it was mostly attributable to not having learned from the failures that history presented us with. Politicians make the same mistakes time and time again. Question then is - What do our Universities and schools  teach? Well, don't wake up people, drown your sorrows in French cognac before the borders close.  

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

To be electric or not to be


Ah yes, I remembered I wrote a line about political ideas some time ago, you know the ones, a quick line in a newspaper about some important subject. A subject like ‘How to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere’. And lo and behold the Conservatives have come up with a beauty.

The government has decided or intends to decide (You never know what is true and what is not, nowadays) to ban the sale of petrol and diesel powered cars. Great, we all agree. Or do we? Let’s think what it would entail. First of all the people employed in the manufacture of engines and their hundreds of parts. Secondly, the infrastructure needed to service electric vehicles. Battery capabilities. Even more, how to power up the batteries. I am living in an area of Wales where there are possibly no more than 10 charging stations. Ikea in Cardiff is the only one I know with two, yes TWO charging points. Possibly a few more at the motorway service stations, but I haven’t seen them. However, if we are all now required to drive electric cars by 2035, yes in fifteen years; we can safely state, work to the infrastructure is already too late! There would have to be thousands if not millions of charging points, at home and at places of employment. Cables sneaking over pavements because most people have to park in the main roads outside their houses. And how are we to deal with multiple car ownership? Also following, is the question of our electricity generating capability enough to cope with 20 or more million cars all charging at the same time?
Ah yes, I know I am asking stupid questions, but perhaps it is yet again time to point out, DO NOT OPEN MOUTH BEFORE ENGAGING BRAIN, please. 
 
Of course it is a good idea, but it is no more than that, the reality is a heck of a lot different. I think it is time to start seriously working at workable ideas. Yes, it would mean we might have to give up things we have become used to. Driving cars can no longer be commonplace. We might need permits to drive at certain times. This could mean car sharing going to work. Cars will have to be reduced in size, both in body and engine power. Choice will have to be curtailed for everyone, rich or poor. Flying will also have to be curtailed heavily. If you do not believe me, have a look at a website like – flightradar24.com – and see how many planes are in the sky 24-7! I have heard that most are not even full. So, it will probably mean curtailing commercialism or dismantling society as we know it and start again. Wow, some prospect that would be.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Where's the earthquake then?


What a disappointment! So, yesterday 31 January 2020 I was waiting for the inevitable ‘aardbeving’ or in English ‘earthquake’ or even in Welsh ‘daeargryn’. I am still waiting. No flashes in the sky, in fact at 23.00 hrs it was pretty quiet in town. Nothing stirred. What am I talking about? I am talking about the UK having left the EU (European Union). Oh yes, we are cast adrift, the island that comprises three distinct groupings, England, Wales and Scotland will now float away at the mercy of the wild waves of the Atlantic Ocean. We are the new Atlantis. But will we sink under the ‘woelige baren’? The wild waves? No Siree, we will not! In fact, I believe this is the very beginning of the collapse of the idea to make a superstate like the US of A! It will not be long before other countries begin to look at how the situation now developing will ’pan’ out. France is on tenterhooks, it has plenty on social unrest, high unemployment, high prices for household commodities. It is a wonderful country France is, except for the French as they say. I am an avid watcher of a TV prog called ‘Escape to the Chateau’. In that a past British lieutenant-colonel Richard ‘Dick’ Strawbridge and family bought a derelict chateau somewhere in the Loire district. Sometime about five years ago and now busily decorating and repairing the whole edifice including moat. It turns out that quite a number of British couples are buying up these derelict castles. So, yes sorry Frenchies, we are buying up France and there will be a great place for you to move to, Scotland! Just joking. But as you will note reader friends, a bit of dare, money and a plucky attitude you can renovate anything if you like it enough. Why leave a history such as French history and leave these edifices to rot away? Yes, they are costly to main, ask ‘Dick’. In fact this argument will resound in almost every country on this planet. We should be proud of our collective history, learn from past mistakes. Anyway, we left the EU now, so Monsieur Dick will have a problem. To become a French national or a difficult Brit not really wanted. But you know, money talks and his and his family’s business operating out of the castle is already quite a money spinner benefitting local businesses. Yes, that is the old British shopkeepers attitude!

In the meantime, we will have a year, probably more, to negotiate the proper deal. We have left but we still do not know the details. Let’s get on with it and do a deal which will fit all sides.
I’ll drink to that! Yep, French cognac, that’s my baby!

Sunday, 26 January 2020

To be 'woke' or not to be 'woke', that's the question


You can read and hear a lot about PC. PC stands for political correctness, you know it when you can no longer use the words ‘black’, ‘white’, to describe the colour of people. Nor can you say someone is a lesbian or homosexual, even if they openly promote that way of living. Politicians are pretty busy explaining to all and sundry how we, the ordinary unwashed (can we still say that?) should live. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has been so busy promoting leftie liberal views it has fallen off the catwalk. Most people now have begun to question its values as a totally independent body. In my view it is no longer and therefore the law in this country should ban the BBC TV licence fee and drop this tax. We see so many idiots now promoting their leftie liberal views. Anyone who has a different view or opinion should be hauled before the courts and is definitely a racist. There is another term now ‘wokeness’, first of all I could not get it but I take it to mean as New York poet Raven Cras explains on Bravity: 'The phenomenon of being woke is a cultural push to challenge problematic norms, systemic injustices and the overall status quo through complete awareness. 'It requires an active process of deprogramming social conditionings focusing on consistent efforts to challenge the universal infractions we are all subjected to,' she adds.  
Wow, some explanation that is. Why don’t we just say ’Aware of the fashionable trends and completely agreeing with it’. So a woke person agrees with transgendering people, any fashionable sexual deviation, and whatever you may think. Obviously as per the usual it is mainly in the corrupt western world that these things are seemingly important. To be ‘woke’ means you agree with everything, and you haven’t got a brain to think. Much like the BBC then and oh yes, nearly forgot, the Labour party hierarchy.
There is not much left of the hierarchy, most are in denial about the last election results, some even seem to think they didn’t lose. Great policies they thunder, we are the party that looks after people. OK then, why are they so poor at economics? Is it because they think hand-outs will ensure people voting Labour? Obviously not. It has been Jeremy’s great failure not to understand the people’s determination to call an end to the Brexit question, even though they might not have wanted to leave the EU. Well, we now know the result. So, thinking back to some of those wonderful Sunday mornings with Andrew Marr’s ‘woke’ questioning of even ‘woker’ political luminaries and apparent dislike for everyone else including the PM, what am I going to do now? By the looks of it, I’ll wait until the Conservative honeymoon period is over and see what’s left of all those wonderful ideas and promises. Besides having a look at Rebecca Wrong-Daily, sorry Rebecca Long-Baily, another ultra-left politician. The only thing I would agree about her views is her idea to abolish the House of Lords. As she said or is reported to have said, ‘It is completely unacceptable for an unelected body to decide on country-wide issues and policies’. Well, she is not wrong in that. So, good luck to her.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Computer/Network security and WebRTC

I was looking at security for my network set-up. Made aware that there is yet another security problem but this time with browsers. It is called WebRTC. Actually it is a process that provides browsers and mobiles with real-time capability and so supposedly 'enriching' the experience. Yeah, but it also comes with a problem. First of all, if users use a VPN it is possible that the 'real' IP address is leaked. Web browsers tend to implement WebRTC in such a way that it allows them to send requests to so-called STUN Servers which will return your local and public IP address. The requested results are available in Javascript, making them much more accessible. It is not the VPN  we are using but it is with the browser (Firefox, Chrome and a few more). It is called a Web leak. Can we do anything? Yes, we can. Most of us use Firefox and this allows us to stop WebRTC as most of us don't really need it. Type "about:config" in the Firefox address bar (without the apostrophes), scroll down and look for the entry - 'media.peerconnection.enabled' and change the value from true to false. This will stop the possible WebRTC leaks. To check whether your set-up does 'leak', do the following. Use the tools that are available - Browserleaks will check for WebRTC leaks with their leak test tool.
In the case of browsers where WebRTC can’t be disabled, you need to use third-party browser add-ons or extensions to solve the problem. If you use Chrome, download uBlock Origin or use the available Chrome extension. It is the same solution for Opera although use the Opera extension and not Chrome's. Or you can change to a VPN service like ExpressVPN that have a built-in rule. I must say - stay away from free VPN services. Why? Well, even if you do all the browser set-ups the data that you still provide will be used on a commercial basis and sold.
By the way - even mobiles (Android) suffer from this so do the same for your mobile!
Lastly, everyone ought to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), and in doing so, hide your real IP address and even come from a different country. There can be some interesting quirks that if you do change to a 'foreign' server you can get replies and websites in their language. But I find generally speaking that this is rare. Have fun.

Yes, what about the planet?


Got a bit fed up with Brexit yet? Don’t worry there will be plenty more to come as the REAL negotiations are to start soon. Whether we will complete these before the end of the year is floating in the sky like a wispy cloud. Let’s hope it will not rain.
Anyway, there are more pressing problems around, the biggest is the planet warming up and resultant pressures on the environment. Now it ought to be understood that this concerns the whole planet, all over and everywhere, not just in the UK. First of all we need to start to persuade countries and its leaders to take this seriously. The time for prevarication is over. As David Attenborough stated in one of the recent interviews ‘It can no longer be denied that the planet is in trouble and humans are the reason’. Worse, it is expected that most of Africa will be uninhabitable with as a result enormous pressures to the northern countries to take in hundreds of thousands if not millions, of displaced people. Although this sounds the good thing to do, it will come with social pressures of enormous size. Australia had its hottest year on record and it is not likely to get better, in fact it is an upward spiral. Let’s not start thinking in this country, the UK, that we will be immune. A solid, long time during drought can set fire to us just the same and has done in the past. Presumably will do so again in due course.
It seems that people including governments have little idea what needs to be done and how to do it. There are rumblings about cattle farming, waste disposal, plastic fouling of the oceans, cars, diesel in particular and land use. It has to be remembered that our whole existence is dependent on transport, one way or another. It is also one of the main reasons of carbon dioxide proliferation. Another problem is how the environment itself reacts to a warming climate. More algae growing that emit methane. It is said that a metre of UK river emits as much carbon dioxide and methane now as driving a car for 60 miles.
Well, I suppose we will have to look at car, van and lorry driving. Moreover, air transport needs a very hard look. Holidaying in Majorca is great in one way but it just puts another nail in the collective coffin. It needs stopping. If you need a holiday, stay at home in the UK and walk, in that way you will also help the local economies. Yes, it will be hard but if we want our children and grandchildren a decent life it will have to be done!

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Y Byd Newydd? Wel, dw i wedi cael lygad newydd....


Cefais llawdriniaeth ar fy llygad (newydd cyn y Nadolig) a galla weld wella nawr. Roedd y broblem cataract. Gallaf weld sgrîn y cyfrifiadur eto! Gobeithio pawb wedi mwynhau y dathliadau dros y Nadolig diwetha. Eleni byddwn yn gobeithio bydd Brexit wedi’i gorffen. Ac hefyd bydd y Plaid Lafur yn dod o hyd rywun arwain ddod â rhywfaint o synnwyr yn ôl. Yn y cyfamser mae angen i ni ddechrau sgwrsio am y sefyllfa y byd. Mae’r amgylchedd yn benodol. Mae’r broblemau gyda plastig, baeddu’r moroedd, a phridd, rhaidd iddo atal nawr.
Dw i wedi sôn am y bosibilrwydd defnyddio yr aniadal Sahara tyfu bwyd eto. Mae angen llawer o dŵr ond dw i’n credu mae dŵr dan y tir. Bydd y technoleg cyfoes yn gymorth.

Monday, 6 January 2020

The new decade now starting...


The new decade has finally started. What a year it has been, what with all the Brexit hubbub and political unrest. It has been fun. At least we have not descended in open warfare, at times it looked like the whole UK would disintegrate and frankly that might still happen. Anyway enough of the politics, there are more pressing things floating around.
But first of all I want to wish everyone who reads the blog to have a prosperous and happy 2020! In fact I wish everyone a good and healthy 2020.
We need to remember that we are in a war as well, an environmental war in which the human race is the baddie. If we are thinking about what is happening in Australia at the moment we might think about what can happen in Europe and Asia as well if draught gets a foothold. If the tundra dries out because of rising temperatures it is entirely feasible that very large fires could start there. I am aghast that generally speaking we are just oblivious to what we are doing to the planet we all depend on! Locally you will notice and that is in only a very small part of Wales, the rubbish thrown around, mainly by young people. These are the selfsame people you will see on the streets of the cities protesting about climate warming. Showing a complete misunderstanding of the situation. We must stop asking nature to solve the crisis, yes it is a crisis and change our attitudes. I would if I was PM, seriously look at house building. It ought to be obvious by now that indiscriminate building and concreting over the UK, moreover to allow access to the Green Belt, is completely the wrong way. We need proper coherent plans, to look at brown sites (erstwhile now unused industrial sites) for re-development and that’s just for starters. We need different types of industry, no plastics manufacture, no petrol or diesel engined cars. A different approach to transport systems. Lorries to be banned from cities and towns. Electric buses and trams. We need a look at how we produce food, our agricultural capabilities must be increased a hundredfold. Less cattle more fruit. Orchards to be supported. It will take time to do all of that but the processes must be started now! We also urgently need to look at how we are governed. There are already signs that the Civil Service is going to be looked at. The pally-pally system needs dismantling and hard-nosed well-educated people put in charge. The fact that a Civil Service can halt or delay and often does, policies being carried out must be stopped forthwith. Well, we’ll see what is going to happen but the signs are good. Let’s hope that it will not just fade away into obscurity as it has done so often in the past.