Quick update on emails

If you have any of my @gutbugs.com emails in your address book, please delete them.

I bought the domain name a very long time ago for my intestinal microbiology work. I’m damn well close to being totally retired from that now and someone contacted me with a very good offer for the domain name. So I have sold it. I hadn’t done much with it for years and wasn’t likely to revive it, so I took the offer. Any email addresses on that domain will soon stop working unless, by coincidence, someone has one I used to have. Then you will get a WTF? response.

It does involve another time-consuming thing, chasing down accounts that use that domain’s email and changing them all to a currently active one. Also informing longstanding correspondents that it soon won’t work.

I plan to use the money to clear my council tax for the year and spend some of the rest on G scale trains.

And take CStM out for a good time too.

It’s nice to have a windfall.

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Six in Five in Four

The fifth Underdog Anthology is now available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats, and in all the eBook formats you could want on Smashwords.

The two listings on Amazon will eventually merge into one – I hope. It normally works although it hasn’t worked for Samuel’s Girl. That still has separate listings for print and Kindle. A glitch I have to get around to fixing.

There is also a glitch with getting Smashwords premium distribution on this anthology. That’s good to get because it means they distribute it to a whole range of eBook sellers. I will address the glitch after I’ve finished with the next two novels. These anthologies don’t make much money anyway, the novels are more important at the moment. The anthologies are showcases for Leg Iron Books and the authors who publish here. This one has a very wide range of stories, which is going to be the norm for the Beltane issue every year.

I should get the author copies soon and I’ll distribute them to those who chose to be paid in books – hopefully at the end of this week.

I’m also going all out on the two novels in process this week because I’ve just picked up a G scale train set on eBay and I’m keen to get into the garden to set it up. The engine is radio controlled and has sound – very loud sound, which I can fortunately mute when necessary.

Can’t play with it properly until work is over. That’s a really good incentive to get the stuff done!

Next anthology, number 6, will be Halloween themed and I’ll start hunting for stories at the beginning of September. In the meantime, I’m still accepting novels/short story collections/nonfiction and anything that can become a good book.

However, the beginning of May is (I hope!) train playing time.

Also, probably, merciless gardening.

 

Fragmentation

It has been a strange week. I have three books in process, the anthology (waiting for one author’s response on whether the story needs any changes then it’s good to go), Lee Bidgood’s long-awaited novel, another from Mark Ellott that has already been so thoroughly vetted it won’t take long to do. I want to get them all done before April 30th.

So, obviously, now is the time to get calls and visits about a blue cheese mould project and another call asking for help with a student project on lactobacilli. Sigh. I’m determined to get those three books done though. I can sleep in May.

Stranger still is the overnight switch in the weather from winter to summer. This called for a bit of gardening today before it gets completely out of control. My son questioned my buying of a machete since I don’t live in a jungle. My response was ‘ignore that lot for a week and a jungle you shall have’.

The grass, which had been cut twice by this time last year, had lain dormant until today when it shot into life. The petrol for the mower ran out, it’s too long for the push mower and not long enough for the scythe. Besides, the grass is still plagued with fallen pine cones and branches and only the petrol mower can cope with those.

So instead I delved into one of the flower bed/shrubberies I hadn’t dealt with last year beyond scything down its nettle infestation. I trimmed the bushes and started the long job of digging out nettles by the roots. It’s the only way, and even that can take a few years to finally get rid of the bastards.

In there, I found a topiary piglet. Well, having found a deer skull in the holly tree last year I was, shall we say, not too surprised. The bush is hugely overgrown and probably not recoverable but the frame is intact. I can remake this piglet. Probably in a less inaccessible and more visible part of the garden. There are other areas I have not yet touched beyond hacking them into some semblance of order so there may yet be more surprises lurking.

And, at last, I have planted my favourite tulip, ‘Queen of Night’. Hoping for a good display this year. The bulbs overwintered in the kitchen and are sprouting. Yes, the kitchen gets cold enough to do that.

The IQOS microfag smoky thing is still getting used. I haven’t switched entirely but it has outlasted any Electrofag I’ve ever tried. I know, some born-again nonsmoker vapers at the radical end of the spectrum think this thing is evil. I know, some say it’s giving money to the sell-outs at Philip Morris. I don’t care at all about either of those stances. It’s cutting down the number of real fags I smoke and that is good for my wallet, and probably my health. Although I am still not convinced that smoking is anywhere near as deadly as it’s made out to be.

Using it while typing this, I have noticed that setting it down while typing a sentence (10 seconds or so) and then taking a puff, it gives a much more satisfying plume of almost-smoke. If they could make the device and especially the microfags cheaper they’d be on a serious winner here. As it is, the cost differential is minimal. If it was a big difference I’d be far more tempted to switch altogether but… meh.

They do send emails about surveys and those do build up some reserve cash. That’s good. It needs to be cleaned regularly or it starts to taste like smoking dried horseshit, so I plan to use the accrued survey cash to stock up on the cleaning sticks. They work far better than the funny brush thing that also comes with it.

Anyway, I suppose I should get to the actual blog post.

The Labour party has been hit with antisemitism, while the Conservatives have just tried to deport a lot of British citizens, many of whom have been British longer than I have. The Lords of Lib Dem Land and those Lords who have sworn an oath of fealty to a foreign power yet still have a place in the UK government have voted to ignore the electorate and keep the UK in a customs union with the EU even though the majority don’t want that. If you are looking for the Party of Morons in UK politics, well, it’s all of them.

The abolition of the House of Lords must surely be imminent. Or just convert it into a home for mad old duffers. It pretty much is that anyway. These oafs, when they can manage to stay awake at work, have now set the UK with the option to either become a vassal state of the EU or to leave with no deal at all. There are no other options.

This is what a fictional starship captain and his Dark Emperor, the Thin White Adonis, can’t grasp. We are leaving the EU. Blocking the final deal does not keep us in the EU. It just means we leave with no deal. I’m fine with that.

Tessie Maybe, the idiot supreme of our current government, has tried everything possible to distract from the total fuck-up she is making of negotiations with the EU. She has tried to start wars with anyone she can find and now she is concentrating on banning earbuds, plastic straws and coffee stirrers. All of which go into recycling bins, not rivers. I live next to a river and have never once felt the urge to drop anything plastic into it unless it’s a lure on a fishing line. We have been provided with bins for plastic and some nice, sweaty, grubby, sweary chaps come around every two weeks to empty it.

Then it all gets shipped to China or Africa in containers on huge ships that burn thousands of tons of diesel and and when it gets there they dump it in rivers. That is recycling.

Didn’t cotton buds used to be on wooden sticks? Can’t we go back to that? I could chuck them in the fire and get a few extra microjoules of heating here. Can’t do that with the plastic ones, they give off nasty stuff when they burn.

As for straws, we used to have paper ones that were fine for one use. Plastic was never necessary unless you wanted to use it over and over.

And I never liked coffee stirrers. We used to just have spoons.

Why then would I object to this ban? Because it’s a ban and this knee jerk reaction of ‘ban it’ has been pissing me off for a long time. Why not, instead, explore alternatives? Nothing is ever offered. It’s always carrot-and-stick without the carrot.

The farmer here has cut down a lot of trees. There is a massive amount of beech, birch, oak and pine in dead piles. My son has claimed some for his woodworking, I have claimed some for a garden arch and most of the rest will just end up getting burned. There is enough on this one farm to keep a cotton bud company supplied with little dowels for months at least. Why not incentivise that use rather than moan about plastic? Heck, they could come and take this wood for free. The farmer doesn’t want it, it’s just in the way.

Why not incentivise paper straws over plastic ones for single use occasions? Paper and wood can be burned or left to rot and the CO2 they put out is the same CO2 those plants absorbed so net effect = zero. Especially as the crops on the farm will reabsorb most of it, if not all.

As for coffee stirrers, use a fucking spoon like an actual adult. Then wash it and you can use it again.

But no, we have to have a ban. Another damn ban. Another bit of evidence that our government are a bunch of wasters who we pay to do nothing sensible.

And then we have the opposition. Labour. Or, more accurately, the Corbyn Cult of Nazism. Oh yes, you read that right. When I was in school in the 1970s they actually taught real history, not some fantasy past where left was right and all racists were honoured with statues. The real deal. You won’t get that now. Now we have a Government funded organisation called Historic England who will not hire white British employees and who want to tear down historic statues. Common Purpose to the core, and way beyond the absurdity horizon.

Nazis shut down debate with violence and abuse. They ignore dissenting views. They want to control what you say and, ultimately, what you think while they never think at all but act in blind obedience and awe of their chosen cult hero. Remind you of anyone, Jeremy?

Jezza walked out of the parliamentary debate on antisemitism even while his own MPs described the death and rape threats his supporters had sent them. Well, he doesn’t need to hear the results of his instructions, does he?

Then we have the thugs of Antifa and make no mistake, thugs is all they are. They are just looking for a reason to be arses and no matter how tenuous the reason, arses they will be. They are the new football hooligans, their team is whichever they want to fight with today. They fight against homophobia but then recently broke up a gay pride march because it offends Muslims. Really, they have no focus at all. It’s just a fight to them, the reasons are no more than an excuse and they can change by the hour. At least football hooligans stuck to one team.

There is a huge amount of coverage given to the new ‘trans’ movement which consists of about five people, four of whom are better described as drag queens than genuine trans. Chicks with dicks want to have access to little girls in changing rooms and toilets all over the country. A genuine trans woman has told me she wouldn’t like to share a train carriage with some of the loonies she has met, never mind a changing room. But the genuine ones are not part of this movement. This is men in tights looking for an easy target. It’s going to turn out nasty.

Should girls give up their right to privacy so that middle aged men in skirts can ogle them in the swimming pool changing rooms? A bikini with a flat-top and a stiffie below with a couple of pink Kiwi fruit hanging out the sides is not an appealing sight. It’s even more of a mind wreck than fishnet tights with tufts of hair coming out of every hole. I hear little to nothing about women who identify as men causing problems in male changing rooms and toilets. That’s probably because most of us men won’t mind at all if a woman wants to get naked nearby. The threat level is not even comparable, is it?

There has been far less outrage than expected over the paedo grooming gangs who have been left to their own evil devices for a very long time. I didn’t say Muslim gangs for a reason. Those are just the scapegoats. Oh they are guilty as hell but it goes far deeper and if the police were allowed to actually investigate in a proper police way, some very big names will be mentioned. That’s why they aren’t. It’s not really Muslim gangs they were protecting, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They are being sacrificed now as a distraction to keep us happy that ‘something is being done’. It is not being done, it is being hidden.

The two major parties in this country are falling apart,. The third has already fallen apart and is now determined to bring about a no-deal Brexit and the abolition of the House of Sleeping Lards.

Feminism is in at least a dozen factions. Trans people, a tiny minority, are a prime concern for the Mayor of London who is a Muslim and therefore instructed by his religion to kill them in nasty ways. Gay people hold up rainbow flags with ‘Allah loves diversity’ written on them. No, he really doesn’t. Read the book. He couldn’t be more clear on this.

Knife crime will lead to the banning of knives which are already banned in public anyway (you can have a folding knife with a blade of less than 3 inches (7.5 cm) as long as it doesn’t lock open and that is all you can have). Machete attacks are common so.. ban machetes? See above. They already are banned. Doesn’t seem to make a difference when it’s not enforced, does it?

Acid attacks mean we should ban the possession of acid which is going to get awkward for car battery sales and for anyone who drives a car. Also for anyone who likes vinegar on their chips because you know our elected representatives are not going to think this through at all.

Shootings are increasing so let’s ban guns. Oh wait, we already did. We banned hard drugs too, that must have worked… didn’t it?

Sweden has regular grenade attacks and bombings now. Won’t be too long before London has them too.

My stance on immigration is simple. Anyone can come, anyone at all – but I wouldn’t pay them to come. No free stuff and no preferential treatment. You want to come and live here, fine, but you make your own way.

As for the Windrush generation, as I said, most of them were here before I was born and they were invited. The Home Office trying to deport them now is beyond shameful.

The same Home Office that welcomes back Jihadists who fought against our soldiers.

It’s a strange world when you have to look at your own government and wonder…

‘Whose side are you on?’

 

Strange glitches

Normally, when I load print and Kindle copies to Amazon, after a few days the two listings merge into one. I uploaded ‘Samuel’s Girl’ on Nov 27th 2017 and as of now, they haven’t merged. I called in tonight to check.

I searched ‘Samuel’s Girl’ and it’s not there. Odd.

I searched ‘ H K Hillman’, scroll down and it is there. Still not merged. Not only that, the print version was over £5 off at £1.58. I have no idea why, but I immediately did what any author would do and ordered five copies. I’ll report the anomaly later…

There was more strangeness today. Dirk Vleugels contacted me because his books were listed by an unknown seller on AbeBooks.com. The seller is located in Exeter and has most of the Leg Iron Books catalogue in his listings – with no mention of Leg Iron Books. I certainly don’t get anything from him, or maybe I do.

He’s listed the books in dollar prices at about twice the price of the respective Amazon listing, and charges hefty postage on top. I suspect he takes an order, buys it on Amazon, posts it to America and keeps the change.

I also suspect he hasn’t sold any at those prices so I’m not going to bother chasing him. All he’s doing is advertising for free – and if he does make a sale he’ll still have to get the book on Amazon and we (the author and me) get paid.

He’s going to be a bit disappointed if he does sell one. I’ve just put up the prices on a lot of the royalty-paying books so that’ll cut into his profits. However, I doubt he’ll get a sale. A lot of the online booksellers list books they don’t really have at insane prices just to make their catalogue look bigger. There are a few others with Leg Iron Books titles listed, but all at daft prices.

I looked into selling books direct on AbeBooks, but they want a $25 a month fee whether you sell anything or not, and they also want 8% commission on any sales on top of that. Nah, I’d need some decent turnover before I tried that. And there would be no way I could match the Amazon price so I’d be undercutting myself anyway.

Well, back to work. I’d really like to get all three of the current books out in April so I can do a bit of gardening in May.

CStM has joined the local library and has found that she can ‘borrow’ eBooks and audiobooks online. Really! You don’t have to even visit the library. Just log in, download the audiobook and listen while someone else reads it to you. This must be the ultimate in idleness!

I guess, in the future, audiobooks will be all there are. Hopefully that’s a very long time away.

A Preview

I never thought of myself as a workaholic. My natural state is lethargic, idle and usually a little bit drunk. Well, no time for that these days!

I off-roaded the old car in December 2016 when I got the ‘new’ one (which is the same age as the old one but has better ground clearance). It went into the garage with a dying battery and there it stayed until a few days ago. I finally got around to putting in a new battery and… it started first time! I actually sat there in stunned disbelief for a few minutes.

Of course, the brakes had rusted so it took a bit of effort to get them to pop free and it’ll almost certainly need new brake discs and a full service. Oh and an MOT – fortunately the garage in the local Tiny Town does them so I won’t have to risk my life by driving it too far. However, I need to get it back in the garage before my son fills that with wood for projects. The farmer has been engaged in an extensive deforestation program and there are huge piles of dismembered trees here now.

Along with the car and other stuff, I am currently working on three books at once. Actually that’s not as bad as it sounds. Lee’s is in final edits, Longrider already has his edited and has covers etc. all set to go, and the latest Anthology is in its final stages too. I aim to have them all out in April and as long as nothing terrible happens, that’s definitely possible.

Having said that, I did buy a machete and a flamethrower this week so…

Anyway. As I said, the latest anthology is in its final stages. Here’s the contents page:-

Emma Buttery
– The Police Interview

H. K. Hillman
– Feedback
– One Way Trip
– My Bitter Valentine
– 23-David and 81-Mohammed

Roo B. Doo
– Jackanory Jackalope
– Nine Lives

Cade F.O.N Apollyon
– Sometimes a Door
– Hee Haw Hockey
– Pour Know….Poor, No.

Dirk J. J. Vleugels
– Bali Hai
– Sumba, a Tropical Paradise?
– In a Pub in Bali
– The Old Dutch Lady in Surabaya
– The Ear
– The Queen of the Bricks
– The Death Penalty

Justin Sunshine
– The Dancing Lights
– Tigers’ Lair

Dirk is a new addition this time around. His stories are English translations of a few of the real-life events he recounted in Dutch in ‘Feesten Onder de Drinkboom’. I hope he eventually translates the whole book, although I now that will take time. ‘Tales from Under the Drinking Tree’ is a catchy title.

I put Justin Sunshine last this time because I really wanted to end on ‘Tigers’ Lair’, a tale that could well have a basis in reality (it’s fiction, honest!) in this modern world. The book therefore finishes on a chilling note. I like it that way.

Three of my own stories in this issue have not appeared anywhere else before, but that’s about to change. Here’s one of them as a sample. It just a short one, won’t take up too much of your time.

Relax, have a drink and enjoy…

 

Feedback

Derek closed his front door and threw his keys down next to the telephone on the small table. He aimed a kick at Badger, his wife’s black and white cat, but missed. Badger scurried away into the living room.

“Penny? You home?” Derek shouted while he took off his coat. “Penny?” No answer, so Derek made a quick circuit of their small flat: his wife didn’t always answer; she might not be speaking to him again. “Great. She’s not home.”

In the living room, Derek poured himself a whisky and took it into the tiny spare bedroom where he had set up his computer. Webcams surrounded his chair, one atop the monitor facing him, one trained on his fish tank, two aimed in opposite directions out of the window, and his favourite – the one behind his seat, so that when he tuned it in he saw himself watching the screen, with himself on the screen, and so on into infinity. A feedback loop was the technical term, but to him it was an infinity of Dereks. Ego beyond the scale of the universe. Derek sipped his whisky and watched himself do the same infinite times. So much whisky. So many Dereks.

He set the whisky down, turned off the webcam and connected to the Internet. Penny hated the sites he frequented. Some of them could get him arrested, he knew, but he just couldn’t resist. He flicked through pages of images where the predominant colour was flesh, but settled on the best live-action cam site he had ever seen.

Death in Life. The site’s name described exactly what it meant. For a fee, anyone could arrange to have someone killed. In itself, that was nothing new – there were pubs in the seedier part of town where such things could be arranged for a few hundred pounds – but Death in Life had one quirk. How the authorities had failed to track the site was beyond Derek’s ability to comprehend, but it still existed.

The site’s gimmick was simple. Someone arranged a hit. The site owners not only carried out the hit, but their assassin wore a head-mounted webcam. Everything was streamed live to the Internet. Derek clicked through options until he found a current hit in progress. He sipped his whisky and settled back to watch.

The screen showed paving slabs. This was normal: they never identified the street in case the police were monitoring them. Derek chuckled. There must be police officers glued to screens all over the country, hoping to identify the location before the killer could escape.

No chance. These opening shots served one purpose only – to reveal the weapon of choice for the current hit. A gloved hand came into shot, holding a long thin spike.

Derek grinned. “Ooh, that’s gonna hurt.”

The camera turned off, so Derek took the opportunity to run to the living room and collect the whisky bottle. There’d be a few minutes’ pause while the killer gained access to his victim’s home, and they never showed the location until the end. Derek returned to his seat in time to see the gloved hand insert a key into a lock.

Derek sat up straight. When they had to burst into a home, the victim always fought. These stealth operations meant that the hit was paid for by a family member. The last one had been a cheating wife. Derek leaned closer to the screen and scratched his crotch. He hoped this one was in the shower.
The door swung open. A small table came into view, bearing a phone and a bunch of keys. The killer moved without looking from side to side. He must have been well briefed. He knew exactly where to find his target.

The victim came into view. It was a man. Derek released his crotch and started a groan, but it caught in his throat.

On his screen, past the back of the victim’s head, was another screen. It showed an identical picture, including another screen. Derek set down his glass. The victim did the same. Unable to tear away his gaze, Derek stared into the infinite feedback loop before him.

An infinity of ending.

 

Editing…

Sometimes editing and formatting takes as long as writing. Especially if you’re the sort who wants everything perfect. Every heading the same font and pitch, space between heading, author name and start of text always the same… and there’s always that one file that is going to be a sod about it all.

Anyway, the fifth Underdog Anthology is assembled apart from author pages and a few images. Then I’ll check it all again and then send it out for checking by the authors before finalising it. A week or so, tops.

I still have Lee Bidgood’s cover to finish, it’s all drawing, no easy photos this time. The Fifth Anthology front cover is part drawing, part photo. A quick and simple drawing – or would have been if I hadn’t decided to make this my first ever attempt at painting with acrylics on canvas. Blame Aldi for selling them cheap. Anyway, I think it turned out okay for a first attempt. See what you think…

I might meddle with it a bit more while the text is with the authors, but for now I’m concentrating on the internals. Also on the cover and final edits for Lee’s book.

Longrider has excellent cover art already prepared for his next one. I like it when that happens – it makes the whole process so much faster!

World War Three will have to wait for commentary on the idiocy of our leaders. This is much more important.

You have it so you were going to commit a crime with it.

Many years ago I had a butterfly knife in my fishing tackle box. If you don’t know the style, its handle is in two parts, both hinged at the blade so the handle folds over both edges of the blade. I was quite adept at flicking it open, using it and flicking it closed again. Since you held both halves of the handle when it was open it could not close on your fingers in use.

I had that style because I could open and close it one-handed while trying to deal with a line or a fish with the other hand, and because when folded, it was safe to delve your hand into the fishing box without looking.

Then they were made illegal and I couldn’t use it any more. Instead I had a lock-knife. This had a little lump on the side of the blade so you could pop it open with one hand and it would lock open. No danger of it folding on your fingers. Not as handy as the butterfly because you needed two hands to close it again (liner lock – you have to press down a spring on the back while folding the blade) but nonetheless safer than either a fixed blade or a folding non-locking one.

Then they banned those too.

I have never stabbed or cut anyone or even threatened them with a knife, yet now all I am allowed is an unsafe folding knife. I don’t think any fixed-blade knife is legal outside the home but they wouldn’t be safe in a fishing box anyway. They can slip out of the sheath when the box is moved. The non-locking folding one is safe in the box but not safe in use because it can fold onto fingers, especially those slimy from handling fish – and it needs both hands to open it.

The only knife you can carry in public in the UK is a non-locking folding penknife with a blade less than 3 inches (7.5cm) in length. Anything else and you will have to prove to a court that you had a damn good reason to have it. This applies even if you had it out of sight and didn’t even show anyone – if you are stopped and searched and it is found, you’re arrested and charged.

In the seventies, after a camping trip, I got off the train in Cardiff with an eight-inch camping knife on my belt and went shopping. Nobody even noticed. Now they’d have helicopters and armed police surrounding me. I wouldn’t have to do anything, wouldn’t even have to touch the handle of the knife. Mere possession is a crime now.

Oh, and I bought that camping knife, alone, in a shop, when I was 15. Try that now, all you teen warriors demanding ever tighter controls on your lives. By the time you get to my age you’ll need to be over 30 and have three forms of ID to buy a paper clip.

Let me reiterate. It is illegal in the UK, and has been for some time, to be in possession in public of anything bigger than a folding three-inch knife. Anything else and you need to have a good reason to be carrying it.

Do we really need more laws than that?

Well we’re going to get them.

Because…

National figures show police in England and Wales recorded a rise of a fifth in knife and gun crime in the year to September.

Right. So the answer to people committing illegal acts using things that are already illegal is not to enforce those laws, but to make new ones that make more things illegal.

I notice there is no mention in the article of a clampdown on guns. Oh wait, those are already illegal. Criminals don’t care about laws though. What to do, eh? Well, there are a lot of Americans who think gun control will end shootings, including one I came across on Twitter who describes herself in her bio as ‘open minded’ and has a banner saying ‘The NRA are a terrorist organisation’.

Actually, more vegan animal rights activists (1) than NRA members (0) have gone on shooting sprees lately so as terrorist organisations go, I’d say the NRA really haven’t got the hang of it at all.

Back to the knives. The plan is to make even more forms of knives illegal, and to make buying them online as near to impossible as they can make it. Well. That’ll have no effect at all on street stabbings.

If the stabber is over 18 they can get a knife in a local shop. If the stabber is under 18 they will simply take one from their parents’ kitchen. Making them harder to buy will do nothing at all.

You cannot buy a handgun legally in the UK but criminals seem to have no problem getting them anyway. Knives? You can make one in your shed with a hammer, file, whetstone and a piece of fencing steel! You could even make one from oak or hickory. Yeah, it won’t work for long but it doesn’t need to, does it? Actually I won’t go into any more detail on that one because it has details I don’t want to hand out to any Mr. Stabbys out there.

The problem is not knives. Especially since carrying anything bigger than a whittling penknife in public is already illegal. The problem is people stabbing each other. Nobody in Government wants to address that. Oh, we know why but they made it illegal to say it.

Soon it will be illegal to be in possession of a set of kitchen knives in public and impossible to buy them online and have them posted to you. So, if you need kitchen knives, how are you going to get them home?

I have bought whisky online. I once bought a log splitter online. The delivery courier had to check I was of legal age to have them before handing them over. If there is nobody of legal age to sign for them then they won’t deliver. So, under-18s buying knives online can only get them if an adult signs for the delivery. That’s law now. They cannot ‘sneakily order them’ because the delivery agent won’t hand them over to the kid.

It’s the same as the argument that tobacco companies ‘market to children’. It’s as ridiculous as claiming Danish Bacon ‘markets to Jews’. Why would you ‘market’ a product to a group who are not allowed to buy it?

Likewise, it does not matter how hard you market your range of bladed items, scissors or dressmaking pins to those under 18. They are not allowed to buy them. Yes, I said dressmaking pins and scissors. You can get married at 16 in this country but you can’t buy anything sharp until you are 18 so you’ll have a married life with only plastic knives and forks for your first two years and can’t hang any pictures because you can’t buy nails.

This is not ‘where we are going’. This is where we are. Now. Today. And an allegedly Conservative government under the daftest woman ever put in charge of anything is about to make it worse.

There has been a lot of talk about Corbyn’s mob of hate-filled harpies (I’ve met a few and yes, they are) and how the Labour party needs to sort itself out. The damn Tories need a purge too. They are, really, no better. Criminalising people who want to buy a bread knife online? Stating that anyone in possession of acid in public is committing a crime? What the hell do they think is in a car battery? What do they think the chemical definition of vinegar is? Are they going to arrest anyone in possession of a lemon?

Ludicrous? Of course it is. It all is. We have a ludicrous government and a ludicrous opposition. What else can you expect from them?

If someone wants to buy a bottle of sulphuric acid, that should raise a red flag. They might want it for a legitimate purpose of course, in which case they won’t mind providing ID and having the sale recorded. I have no problem giving my name and address and proving who I am when I buy a scythe blade or any of the viciously sharp items in my tool room. I really wouldn’t be happy with a random lunatic having access to those things.

If I buy dangerous chemicals or bacteria for the lab I have to prove I have a lab capable of containing them and that I am a legitimate scientist with the knowledge to safely handle these things. That is as it should be – I can, and have, bought live cultures of some seriously dangerous bacteria in the past. That should not be available to some spotty teen who wanders in off the street. Okay, they’d probably kill themselves before they killed anyone else but even so… do you want to ban all research into intestinal disease becasue the causative agents are dangerous? I bet there are some who do, you know.

The law will just say ‘acid’. Leaving a chip shop with vinegar on your chips? You are in possession of an acid in a public place.  The law they propose will get you arrested for that.

Would the police be so petty? Hahahaha! They recently revealed on Twitter the ‘weapons’ they found in a sweep in London. A butter knife, a rubber mallet and a garden fork. Derisory. No guns, machetes, Samurai swords (why is it always Samurai swords? I find the short double-edged sword much easier to handle). Not even a big camping knife. Nothing that wouldn’t be laughed at by the man in the street but would be taken very seriously by a dusty judge in one of our zombified courts.

So, imagining they are only looking for 20-molar and above concentrated and actually corrosive acids is not being real. They will arrest you for having cranberry juice. Incidentally, if you don’t know what I mean by ‘molar’, please don’t lecture me on acids.

It’s not just acids that are corrosive. Better not hand out blatant clues but getting past the ‘acid’ part and still having something deadly is not actually a problem for those of us who had a genuine education.

Finally, a lot of legitimate businesses are about to bite the dust. I bought a lot of great stuff here in the past – including the heavy hat in the top banner – and I’ll order something – anything – in the next few days to give them a little boost before the government shuts them down. They have never been linked to any crime, ever. Their only ‘crime’ is selling sharp things. Like these guys and a lot of other innocent businesses too.

Once they ban all blades online, of course, nothing will change in the World of Stabby so they’ll ban the sale of knives in the high street too. Think they won’t? Then you have not been paying attention to how this works.

I already have a peening hammer, plain hammer, files, whetstones, oilstones and a grinder in my tool room. If you don’t, then get those things now before they are banned too.

It’ll be the only way to make something to cut your tofu when you grow up, kids.

Oh, and if they still have metalwork classes in schools, take that class and pay close attention. You’re going to need it.

Better wake up in chemistry class too, if that even still exists. You might need that one.