Wake up and smell the roses

There is an advertisement running on the television these nights.

As I always mute the television and barely look at the screen during the breaks, I don't know what company has placed the advertisement but the imagery struck me as a great illustration of one of society's big problems.

The scene is a public park [I think].  There is an expanse of open grass with trees around.  In the foreground is a park bench with a bloke sitting there.  The bloke is staring at the palm of his hand as images flash across it showing presumably sports results, news headlines and Farcebook updates.  A mobile phone materialises in his hand an obviously the message is that this phone is the one item that will make the bloke's happiness complete.

My reaction is that if I were sitting on that park bench I would be smelling the grass, admiring the trees and basking in the peace and tranquility of the place.  But all this bloke apparently wants to do is read headlines and get sports results?  Does the world stop if he doesn't read them?  Will his world crash around his ears if he misses what his pals are up to on Twitter?

I have seen this phenomenon so many times in advertisements.  They are all screaming about tablet computers "making our lives complete", "keeping us connected", "helping us to live" or giving us the chance to "share" everything. What is this obsession with sharing?  Do I give a flying fuck what my friends are up to at this moment?  Just as important, do they give a flying fuck what I'm up to?  Why this obsession with being "connected" all the time?

I love peace and quiet.  I value my privacy.  If I want to sit here all day picking my nose and scratching my arse, does the world really need to know?  If I want to see a photograph of someone I'll ask them for it.  If I want to find out what someone had for breakfast I'll connect to Farcebook at some stage over the coming days or weeks and find out then.

And these people who have this compulsion to share their entire lives with the entire world are the very first to scream about "invasion of privacy".  They post a photograph in the public domain and then squeal like stuck pigs if someone else uses it.  Serves 'em right, I say.

I see "researchers" are getting in on the mobile phone kick now.  Apart from giving you cancer, premature death, squinty eyes and a hernia, mobile phones now give you "text neck".  It's a load of bollox of course [the human neck is designed to support the head and is quite flexible provided one isn’t a head-banger] but with a bit of luck a few sheeple who believe every word they read will be suckered into binning their phones.

Maybe they'll discover that there is life outside the Interweb?  Maybe they'll rediscover the joys of peace, quiet and tranquility?

I doubt it though.

Here we go again

And so it came to pass that the Synod of the Church of Climate Change did end.

The Elders of the Church did meet in Peru and did declare that the Truth is the Truth and all must pay for it, be they believers or heretics.

And the Heretics did declare that they had heard all of this before and that it is all a load of bollocks.

But the Great God Gore was pleased and did five laps of honour of the Earth in his private jet.

The Faithful were exhorted to go forth once more amongst the non-believers and to verily scare the shite out of them with scare stories and tales of doom and gloom.

Unfortunately, the non-believers have heard it all before.


Declaration of war

I quite like mice.

I used to keep one when I was a kid.  I called him Nonny. [a Nonny mouse?  Geddit?].  He was all white and cute and friendly, up until he died when he ceased to be quite so cute.

When you live in the country then house and garden guests are to be expected.  Badgers and foxes stray around outside while inside we have a grand household of spiders, woodlice, beetles and, yes, mice.

Some people see mice as dirty little creatures, and indeed they do have a tendency to poo, but who among us doesn't?  It's only nature.

We have a mouse resident at the moment.  He has been around for the last few weeks, and provided I remember to put all food away at night then he doesn't really bother me.  I presume he buys his food down the village as there is precious little for him to rob here, and there is no sign of any poo so he must go outside for that too.  He lives up in the ceiling cavity between the ceiling and the roof.  I don't know how the fuck he gets in or out as there is no access whatsoever.  I hear him scraping around up there and apart from keeping Penny amused we completely ignore him.

Last night he raided my little stash of packs of baccy.

The little fucker ripped open each pack and spread the contents all over the place.  The whole stash was destroyed.

It's all out war now.  The little cunt crossed the line so it's him or me.  I will show no mercy.  I have traps set up all over the place and Penny is to remain starved until he is caught.  It's time she earned her keep anyway.

I didn't even know mice smoked? 


A heart warming story

When I was a kid, central heating was virtually unheard of.

We used to have a small range in the kitchen that was always burning and in the evenings we use to light a fire in the sitting room.  There were fireplaces in the bedrooms but I never ever saw a fire in one.  Bedtime in winter just meant freezing and on really cold nights the beds would be piled high with overcoats.  It was common to find ice on the inside of the windows in the morning.

My first encounter with central heating was when I started school in the dreaded convent.  There were long echoey hallways and there were two great pipes that ran along those halls to feed great cast iron radiators in the classrooms.  I very quickly learned never to touch those pipes in winter.

My first real experience with central heating was back in the Seventies.  We bought our first house and its heating consisted of two ugly fireplaces and that was it.  I don't know where I got the idea from but I decided to install a back boiler in one of the fireplaces and some radiators.

I had little or no experience of plumbing and zero knowledge of central heating systems, so I got a book out of the library.  I then went and bought a rake of radiators, a moxy load of half inch copper piping, a load of tools and set to work.  It took a while, as the fireplace had to be demolished, and a large pit dug below it to take the ash-can.  Holes had to be drilled through walls, ceilings and joists.  It was fun.  It was also a roaring success.  Its only drawback was that the house wouldn't heat up until someone lit the fire.

Then we moved house.

The next house actually had a boiler house, piping, a boiler chimney and an oil feed from a communal oil tank.  The only drawback was that there was no boiler or radiators.  We decided to put in central heating.

I don't precisely know why but we decided on a solid fuel range to power the system.  The oil company had decided that communal tanks weren't a particularly good idea so the communal feed was being disconnected and that may have had some bearing.  Anyhows, I bought and fitted radiators and we got a dirty great solid fuel range installed in the kitchen.

It was a fucking disaster.

The main problem was the chimney.  It had been designed for an oil burner and apparently wasn't big enough to take the fumes from a range.  As a result the house used to fill up with fumes, and if you have ever burned Extracite you'll know it gives off a very sickly, eye-stinging sweet stench.  The kitchen had to be totally redecorated twice a year as everything rapidly gained a black sticky coating.  The only time it really worked efficiently was when there was a very strong wind from the west.  After tolerating it for a decade or so we finally got rid of the cooker and went back to lighting fires in the sitting room.

Then we moved house.

Once again, we had no central heating.  There was however an oil fired range in the kitchen with a back boiler so we decided to investigate installing a system.

We called out the experts and they reckoned that the cooker was barely powerful enough to heat water and that we would need a replacement.  No problem – we got an oil fired little range with a high output boiler and got radiators fitted.  That was fun as the walls here vary between six inch concrete block and two foot solid granite.

It was a fucking disaster.

Once again, the chimney was at fault.  It was the right size and all that but this are has strange wind patterns with all sorts of down-draughts so if there was any kind of a wind, the kitchen would fill up with kerosene fumes.  We tried all sorts of cowls for the chimney but none of 'em worked.  We just had to put up with it and on cold windy nights we'd sit with all the windows wide open, which sort of defeated the purpose of the heating.  There was also the ongoing snag that it had to be manually lit before heating anything.

This year we decided to get a proper central heating boiler.

It's a fancy little yoke – quite small and neat.  It's installed out in the garage and is fully automatic.  We have had a few frosty nights since, but I only know that from looking out the window and not by the icicles on the end of my nose. It's purring away gently as I type. 

So finally we have a central heating system that really works.

It only took a little over sixty years.

A parting of the ways

I have realised something.

I have completely lost interest in Irish politics.

There is no point in bitching about them because they don't listen.  Last Wednesday the streets were once again full of protesters and did they take the blindest notice?  Did they fuck!  They are in their Dáil as I type fighting over how many households there are in Ireland, which shows a level of incompetence that would shame a Montessori class.

It is obvious that they also couldn't give a damn.  A bill is being discussed which affects every man woman and child in the country, yet could they even be bothered to turn up to discuss it?

Packed Dail

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

So why should I show an interest in them?  It is patently obvious that they couldn't care less about me.  One only has to listen to the likes of Varadkar to know that they treat us all with utter contempt and not only are they out of touch with the people, they don't want to be in touch.

With one or two possible exceptions, they are beneath contempt.  They are self serving, lying toe-rags and I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.  They are so far gone that they have become irrelevant in my life.  They ignore me – I am going to completely ignore them.  As far as I am concerned they no longer exist.  They can introduce their taxes, and I simply won't pay them.  They can introduce their nanny laws and I simply will ignore them.

So I doubt I will be writing much about them in future

Except of course to point out their miserable failings and to have the odd sneer.

It's all they deserve.