Thursday, September 9, 2021

Formentera August 2021

Booked hols in Formentera for last August (2020) but cancelled due to Covid. Booked again for this year (2021) despite the threat of Covid sweeping through Ibiza's young and foolish disco revellers (Ibiza airport has to be negotiated in order to get to Formentera). Hols didn't start according to plan - flight from Toulouse was cancelled due to the plane having a fractured engine casing so all 120(?) passengers were wheeled off for an overnight stay in a local hotel. Flew off next day. Being a lazy burger I can't be arsed to scribe in detail all the terrifically exciting things that happened on our hol, so I've nicked some postings wot I dun on my Facebook page during those lazy afternoons when doing nothing seemed a far better option than rushing around getting sunburnt and fleeced of coinage.

1) Couple of days ago (my, how time flies) we parked up in the shadow of the La Mola lighthouse and headed to the adjacent bar shack for beers and vino. The beverages were served by a lithe person with an impressively tanned bod (the isle's full of such peeps which makes the vast expanse of my milky-white bod that much more conspicuous). Being an artist who fully appreciates the beauty of the human form I reckoned with a fair degree of certainty that our drinks server was quite probably female. A closer inspection of the subject's thoracic region revealed two wobbly bits which confirmed my suspicion as being correct (however, this deduction may well be disputed by people who have recently observed Michaela Gove in his jogging gear - not a pretty sight). Ahem, by now Geo was casting disapproving glances in my direction having noticed my concentrated study of our scantily-clad drinks-bringer, so I gave her a sheepish grin and cast my gaze out to sea. "Ooh look, a seagull!" Anyways..., what really struck me about this fine specimen of a female humanoid was that it appeared to be bereft of tattoos. Bit odd considering the current popularity of these body enhancements. In the good old days a tattoo was a mark of rebellion; now it's a mark of conformity. Weird. And the sad thing is that most of the tattoos on display (and there are billions out here!) are badly designed and hideously unattractive. And as for those big black areas that look like they're covering up an image that the owner's become bored with, or which hide the name of an ex-loved one who is now a despised enemy, well, words fail me. As an example of this blacked-out ugliness take a peek at Messi's left leg below the knee. So..., our waitress - top marks for no tattoos. Or maybe she had one in a nether region hidden from public gaze. Nah. No way. So why do people do it? Beats me. No comprendo. Then there's piercings. No, better not get started.

 2) When laziness sets in (as it does most days, but especially when on hols) and Geo asks 'what shall we do now then?' (after she and twin sis Don have been for an early swim and raid of the little seaside shop where they liberated a few croissants, a baguette, some tomatoes and other goodies before returning to HQ and berating moi for being lazy and not taking this rare opportunity of immersing my sweaty bod in the Med - "I might do it this evening, if I can be arsed") I generally respond with a slightly bemused "er...". But last Sunday I had a brainwave: "we'll have a drive!". Jumped in the Fart and hit the road - after opening the car doors and waiting about ten minutes for the seats and steering wheel to cool down enough so they were touchable without oven gloves. Drove down to the most southerly point of the isle (Cap De Barbaria) but we didn't get that far cos there's a barrier across the road about a quarter of a mile before the clff end, so we turned around and headed back inland. Boogied onwards across the isle then up the twisty hilly bit at the eastern end, passing through a heaving El Pilar De La Mola (twas market day) and eventually running out of road at the most easterly point. Parked up in the shadow of the La Mola lighthouse and hit the little bar shack where the gals had beer and I had a cool vin rose while ogling the millions of scooters (slight exaggeration eggsagggeration - how do you spell that? T,h,a,t. Simple. Ha.) coming and parking and going. Interestingly, and exceedingly encouragingly, there was an abundance of pairs of ladies scootering while executing some impressive feet-up slow turns with deft throttle control. Avoided the temptation of photoing the clifftop lighthouse (look it up if interested) wot everyone seemed to be shooting. Photoed an interesting bit of wall instead. Having run out of road we headed back to base. Good outing.


3) Top tree and pinky bushy stuff in busy Sant Francesc Xavier ce matin where we brekky coffeed and I lashed out on a Formy mug and a snorkelly thingy. Jad such a groovy time I ordered Geo to nip back to the Fart Panda and top up up the parking meter, thereby avoiding maassivo fine and a longthy jail sentence. Buggaire, podgy fingers on miniscule keypad npt goodo.

4) Unbelievable! Caviar crisps! Burst out giggling when I spotted 'em in the shop. And there were truffle ones too. The height of decadence. Or is it the depths of decadence? 

5) How are the shelves back in the sunlit uplands? They seem to be doing rather well out here in the EU Bally Erics. Bah, Brexit. Crap. Spanish bloke in open air beach bar asked moi if I was English. Told him "je suis francais". Too damned embarrassed, nay ashamed, to admit I hailed from that third world outpost. I think the Europeans' respect for Brits has been diminished by Brexit. We're now outcasts so it's no wonder we scored nil points in Eurovision. I use the "we" loosely! All very sad. Still, the Leavers won their stupid victory while complaining that "this isn't the Brexit I voted for". Oh yes it is. 


6) Hols finito. Escaped Formentera Sat midday. Ferry to Ibiza (calm sea, unlike going there - rough), cab to aeroport, plane to Toulouse, straight out, no customs or inspection (just a signed declaration that we hadn't been in touch with a covid person) - another advantage of being a French resident returning from Spain (Brexit, pah!), overnight hotel, hit the road home 11.30am after digging the car out from under a two-week pile of pigeon and magpie poo, quick stop at service area, another at Canal du Midi, another at a carwash to remove a few more oiseau droppings, turn right at Brive, all shops shut (it's the law - Sunday afternoon), sunny dash across Plateau de Millevaches, collect dawg from kennels, quick dogstroll, then home. Big spider in sink. Have now just binned crap photos, reduced not quite crap photos, and am trying to pick a few goodies - maybes there ain't any. Ah well, ç'est la vie. 


 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Summery

Had torrential rains in early July but not as bad as Germany and Belgium where there was serious flooding (is any flooding not serious?). Lucky to be living up here in the hills where the rains drain off down streams and rivers. River Creuse down in Felletin looked pretty swollen but didn't burst its banks. Felletin's up high so the river flows downward towards Aubusson. Looked quite close to bursting its banks down there but, again, Aubusson's up high so the river carried on flowing downward. Must have been serious down below Aubusson.

Then the rains stopped and the sun came out. Really hot. One extreme to t'other. Felt quite summery so we went up to Lake Marie (not its real name) for an early evening dip. Well, more specifically, Georgie paddled while I sat on a rock with dawg. Very pleasant. Went again the following soirée, though this time better prepared for swimming. Well, to be exact, Georgie was prepared with cozzie and towel so she had a swim while I sat on a grassy bank with dawg. However, I eventually threw caution to the wind and took the plunge in my knickers. Dawg (tied to tree - he'd cause bedlam if running free) immediately barked his head off, thinking I was drowning. Abrupt end of dip. Dried off and drove home. Took a few snaps on the way back. Evening sun makes for pretty views. Glorious weather lasted a couple of days then clouded over again. Then thunder and lightning. Good while it lasted.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

To the woods!

With all this news about the various post-Brexit disasters (far too many to list here but they include businesses and finance companies moving out of Britain, families facing deportation, foreign workers leaving Britain and returning to Europe, imports and exports being decimated by governmental red tape bureaucracy, empty supermarket shelves, shortage of lorry drivers, NHS workers and fruit pickers, etc.), and continuing revelations of Tory lies and corruption, and the escalating growth of the truth-defying, brainwashing, right-wing British media, etc., etc., it's good to get away for an occasional dogstroll in the the local woods. Up there all is calm. Especially on a sunny summer's eve. The bad news is forgotten as I park the car, unclip the doglead and set forth on a quiet path. A sidestep over a small beetle crossing a shared path. A shaft of sunlight through tall trees provides a moment of fascination as it highlights bright green leaves and damp moss. Then stop and listen. The sound of silence.


Friday, June 25, 2021

Tory Hancock

Having been caught on camera snogging his aide Gina Coladangelo in the corridors of power, Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health of the United Kingdom, has apologised for breaching two social distancing Covid guidelines that he instigated. There has apparently been no official apologies for distress caused to Hancock's wife and family or his aide's husband and family, all of whom must be feeling rather shattered by this affair. Liar Johnson, an expert in such matters, has announced that he continues to have "full confidence" in Hancock and considers the matter "closed". But some interesting revelations have since surfaced regarding the appointment of Coladangelo. Inevitably, accusations of 'chumocracy' abound. And, surprise surprise, her brother is now alleged to have benefitted from her close relationship with the disgraced Hancock. More Tory sleaze and corruption. Will it ever end?

P.S. It would appear that there's more to this story than meets the eye. Apparently the still photo of 'the clinch' that appeared on the front page of The Sun newsrag was taken from a 60 second CCTV video played on a television. It remains a mystery whose television, who arranged the video and why it should surface now rather than earlier (it was recorded six weeks ago on 6 May). A former counter-terror investigator has studied the video and concluded that it was recorded by a 'spy' camera hidden in a smoke alarm, of which Hancock was clearly not aware. The investigator suggests that if 'they' (who? we don't know) can plant a camera in a high-ranking government official's office without his or her knowledge, then they could plant a bomb. Then of course the question arises, who else is being spied on?  He further suggested that it all sounds rather sinister. Further developments are anticipated. 

P.P.S. Why has this video surfaced now rather than six weeks ago? Well, possibly because it creates a diversion away from the terrible news that Boris Johnson's £37billion Test & Trace service, run by Dido Harding and using private firms Serco and Deloitte, has lost track of 550 million Covid tests and failed to reach nearly 100,000 people who had tested positive and failing to identify their contacts.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Five years of Brexit

Today is the fifth anniversary of Britain's vote to leave the EU. Despite the referendum being advisory and not legally binding, and despite the vote being a close run race with 51% voting Leave and 49% Remain, Britain went ahead with "the will of the people".

Five years later, the general consensus is that Brexit has been a disaster. It's been disastrous for businesses and the economy, it's divided families as well as the nation, it's provided the corrupt Tories with a significant and dangerously undemocratic majority in Parliament, it's diminished Britain's standing on the world stage even though some erroneously claim it's allowed Britain to compete "globally" and become "world-beating" while the sad reality is that Britain is now seen as a third rate power with delusions of grandeur.  Sadly, Brexit can't be reversed, but maybe one day in the not too distant future, people will see sense and once again vote to join the EU.

Interestingly, people are demanding "show me one single Brexit benefit". In response there's a deafening silence, apart from the odd comedian muttering "blue passports and happy fish". But, surprise surprise, there are two remarkable positives. The first is an increase in the average IQ of the EU population now that Britain's left (good joke, wot) and the second is that those few Brit millionaires with huge amounts of dosh hidden away in tax-free havens such as the Cayman Islands can now rest easy having escaped the eagle eyes and inquisitive noses of the EU's tax investigators. Had Britain remained in the EU, their tax-free dosh would have become taxable. So, for them, that's a definite benefit of Brexit.


One Britain One Nation

The Tory government's Department for Education is encouraging schools to sing the 'One Britain One Nation' song this coming Friday. The song has been hailed as a celebration of unity, but a closer inspection of the lyrics has led to an outburst of ridicule on social media with comments such as "Shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect’ are a far cry from the current state of the UK” and “Who decided these were “our values” and when?” Some people are so disgusted with the irony of this song's wording that they are threatening to keep their kids at home on Friday rather than have them sing this "nationalistic crap". Others have suggested it would be more appropriate in North Korea rather than in Britain.

 

This negativity reminded me of another nationalistic song that appears to be declining in popularity: The National Anthem. As Billy Connolly opined, it's boring, slow, racist and should be replaced by the theme from The Archers. And as for saving the Queen, well, she has been saved and is currently well into her nineties. But when she goes, will that be the end of the Royal Family? Maybe. And maybe not. Personally, I think it's time for a new National Anthem. Not just because it glorifies royalty, but because I can't help associating it with flag-waving, right-wing, tattoo-ed, beer-gutted, Engerrrland football hooligans who cheer their anthem then boo the opposition's. Come to think of it, National is the wrong description. It should be English Anthem. After all, the Scots and Welsh have theirs, and I presume the Northern Irish aren't exactly overjoyed about singing England's anthem. Maybe a united Ireland will happen soon.

Then there's that Rule Britannia song. Ruling the waves? A sentiment that seems somewhat dated nowadays. Seems to be wallowing in past glories. Hardly relevant in these dark, post-Brexit times. And as for ruling the waves, that claim always now reminds of Liar Johnson's waiving the rules in Parliament, with the EU and in numerous other situations.

Which leaves us (us?! I now consider myself rather more European than British) with that jolly old song, Land of Hope and Glory. Er, hope? Glory?       

Monday, June 21, 2021

NHS

Dido Harding has applied to become chief executive of England's National Health Service where she intends to make the NHS 'less reliant on foreigners'. And, considering her close connections with the upper echelons of the Tory government, there's a strong likelihood that she'll be appointed.

Quite frankly I'm appalled, but not exactly surprised. Few things surprise me nowadays about this corrupt Tory government, apart from the support they continue to muster from a hoodwinked national electorate despite their lies, deception, the catastrophe of Brexit and their mis-management of the Covid epidemic.

Dido Harding is totally unfit for the job, which is probably why she'll get it. After all, it's no secret that the Tories want to replace the NHS with a health insurance system. So they'll make sure it fails; firstly by under-funding and secondly by putting an incompetent idiot in charge. Outrageous.

So..., Dido. This is the lady who, after being appointed chief executive of TalkTalk, won the company two wooden spoons in a row for providing the worst public service in Britain. Two consecutive years! Despite this recognition of her talents, and her lack of health qualifications, she was then appointed head of the NHS Improvement Board. One would assume that this surprising elevation may have been aided by her marriage to a Tory MP, her close friendship with David Cameron who made her a life peer (they were pals at Oxford University) and her friendship with Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Then Hancock handed her the key job of leading the Covid pandemic's Test and Trace programme. The result was a testing system that almost collapsed as the second wave hit, a tracing system that failed to trace anywhere near the required number of people and an astonishing bill for taxpayers of £37bn for the programme's first two years - including hundreds of consultants from firms such as McKinseys pocketing £6624 per day. The Public Accounts Committee concluded that, despite spending "unimaginable sums", it still wasn't clear if Test and Trace was working effectively.

Having staggered from failure to failure, she arrogantly thinks that the entire NHS with its £150bn should be placed in her hands. This is crazy. Madness. Perish the thought.

Then there's her comment about 'foreigners'. Hmm.. would the NHS exist without 'foreigners'? Probably not. But as I've already mentioned, that's what the Tories want. It's wrong. And it shows a disgraceful lack of appreciation for the enormous contribution 'foreigners' have made to the NHS, especially during Britain's killer Covid pandemic. Long may the NHS continue with its wonderful bunch of 'foreigners'.