Not even one

There is an American tobacco brand called American Spirit. Rolling baccy and readymades. They are available in the UK although you might need to get them by mail order because (certainly round here) nobody has heard of them.

They are apparently very good, but are the UK ones the same as the US ones? Well, someone offered to send both myself and Roobedoo a pack of the US American Spirit cigarettes to try out. We could compare them to the UK ones, although at £10 a pack, the UK ones wouldn’t be a regular smoke. Not for me at least.

So, one pack of cigarettes in a package. Will they be allowed through? One pack cannot be considered smuggling. Keep in mind that these cigarettes are legal in both the country they are coming from and the one they are going to. That they will not explode, leak or spontaneously combust on the way. That they pose no risk of harm whatsoever. Will they get delivered?

No.

They didn’t even make it out of the state. Why?

They are prohibited. They are perfectly legal to buy in both countries but you cannot send even one pack between countries. Not even one.

Now, I could understand if we were talking a crate of cigarettes, but we are talking one pack. Actually, smugglers wouldn’t even send a crate of them by post. The cost of postage would wipe out any profit from the price differential. Sending one pack at a time would leave you with a street price way higher than even the UK shop price. So ‘smuggling’ is not an excuse.

Nobody is going to smuggle tobacco all the way from the US to the UK. Not when you can load up a small boat in Amsterdam and land it at night on a Dover beach. Hell, you could do it with sail, you don’t even need fuel.

Still, at least the US post returned them to the sender. The UK post would probably burn them, and I wouldn’t be even slightly shocked if I heard they burned them one at a time.

The UK’s Royal Mail have such heavy restrictions on what can be posted, even within the country, that it’s really no surprise we have so many private courier companies now. The private couriers are always your best bet for anything large or heavy – they are cheaper and many of them will collect from your house. Very useful way out here because the little sub-post office in Local Shop can’t handle parcels unless they fit wilthin the general post. Posting anything big means a 25-mile round trip or call a courier.

But I digress.

This is how deep the antismokers go. How petty they can be. How spiteful they have become – all with the full support of those governments who demand taxes on earniings, taxes on spending, in the case of booze, baccy and fuel, taxes on taxes. They rip money off us at every turn and yet are petty enough to enforce prohibition on the transport of a single pack of cigarettes.

‘Oh but one pack could become ten, then a hundred…’

Yeah right. At international postage prices that is really going to happen, isn’t it?

It has been true for a long time that you can visit a EU country from the UK, have a nice weekend away, load up on baccy for your return and save enough on baccy prices that your trip was essentially free. That won’t be true after a real Brexit of course. It probably won’t be true after the fake Brexit that is about to be instituted by Tory and Labour MPs with the backing of Mad Merkel, the Queen of Chaos. So we won’t even have that.

It’s been true for years that in many EU countries you’ll get a far better deal on baccy in the corner shops than in duty free. Most of the duty free only applies if you are leaving the EU.

Same for booze. Duty free whisky prices are beaten by a local Tesco or Aldi if you travel within the EU. There’s really no point even visiting duty free shops. Unless you are leaving the EU – then you get proper duty free prices.

Well, we’re leaving the EU, aren’t we? So at least we can pick up a litre of cheapo giggle water on the way home from our agonising sunburn holiday.

I’m betting that’ll be a ‘no’. I’m betting there’ll be a strict limit on what you can bring back, as if we weren’t in the EU, but the prices will be fixed as if we were. It will apply to cigarettes too.

I haven’t grown my own tobacco for a few years. I’m going to have to start doing it again.

Fortunately I have already stocked up on homebrew equipment. And I’m betting the farmer will let me have a kilo or two of barley cheap – probably free if I fix something or paint something that saves him a job.

I have also, during the course of reclaiming the garden from the weeds, found (so far) three blackberry bushes, some huge elder trees, brambles, raspberries, strawberries, so far five apple trees and seven cherry trees. Oh and let’s not forget the three well-established grapevines in the greenhouse. There’s no shortage of stuff to make booze from here.

There won’t even be a financial paper trail.

All this, you say, because you couldn’t get one pack of cigarettes? Yes. Not because of that one pack.

Because of the spite that stopped it.

Advertisements

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?’

 

The Grimy Reaper

First of all, here’s a review of Margo Jackson’s ‘The Mark’ on the US Amazon site. It’s a good first review!

I think I have Dirk Vleugel’s next book ‘Tales from Under the Drinking Tree’ about ready to go. Just trying to catch every possible glitch before CreateSpace start playing the ‘no, do it again’ game.

Today though, today was gardening day. Gardening means getting grimy and if you don’t need a hose-down or at least a wash when you come back in, you’re not doing it right. Today was perfect – a day when it actually didn’t rain! The scythe arrived and after a bit of setting up and adjusting, I set about reaping many nettle souls and a lot of other weeds that the strimmer can’t deal with. The blade is almost glowing with all those souls now!

If you’re thinking of trying one, don’t just buy the scythe. You need a whetstone and water sheath (to keep it wet) and a peening kit to periodically bring the blade back to evil razor sharpness. The cutting edge is very fine and wears in use, so you have to give it a quick sharpen with the whetstone every five minutes or so – basically, when it starts bending things rather than cutting them. The scythe is the biggest expense so the accessories are not that much extra. Leaving them out is a real false economy because you’ll soon have a blunt scythe with no means to sharpen it.

I was surprised at how easy it is to use. I expected hard work but just a casual swing and the nettles fall. I have the ditch blade with the stone point – a nail-like end rather than sharp all the way to the end. That’s important for me because I’m cutting in the woods where I might encounter all kinds of hidden hazards. The pointy end hits the hazard first so the sharpened blade is protected.

I found two rusted frames for school desks in the undergrowth. I doubt they can be re-used so I’ll let the farmer add them to his scrap metal pile. They are, technically, his since they are on his property, but I suspect he doesn’t know they exist. They’ve been in there a very long time.

There is an extensive rabbit warren under the nettles. When they emerge they are going to survey the devastation around them and wonder if the local fox has deployed nukes.

The scythe isn’t the simple primitive tool it appears to be. You need to set the handles so the swing is easy and consistent, set the lay (blade angle on the ground) and the haft (angle between blade and shaft) and when you have all that just right, using it is so easy you’ll wonder why these things ever went out of fashion.

There is still a place for the strimmer. There are places the scythe can’t get into, especially near fences and around what I euphemistically call a ‘rockery’ although it’s actually just a pile of rocks. It can’t get between trees and fences and it doesn’t work well among densely planted flower beds. Well it would work there just fine as long as you don’t mind turning the flower bed into a monument to Tunguska.

One big win for the scythe is chopping the nettles around things like pampas grass. If a strimmer hits pampas grass it won’t cut it, it’ll wrap the leaf around itself until it’s tied up tighter than a tart in a bondage brothel. Pampas grass yields to the scythe.

I can’t mow lawns with it yet but then it has only been in my possession for less than twelve hours so far. Maybe I should get a second blade for lawns. You only need one snath (shaft), you can change blades easily.  I actually prefer the lawn cut I get with the hand-pushed cylinder mower that I got for £30 from Aldi. It cuts really close and has a roller so it leaves those attractive lines. Now the lawns are pretty much clear of pine cones it’s working well. A pine cone, and especially a fallen twig with ten cones on it, will stop that mower dead.

The petrol mower cleared the cones. It cares nothing for pine cones nor even fallen branches, it mashes them and throws them into the grass basket. As I don’t fancy picking cones off a razor sharp scythe blade I’ll still need that mower. Especially at the start of the year when the cones have been dropping all winter.

Also, a summer like this one with daily rain leaves the grass long and wet when you finally get a chance to cut it. The push mower can’t cope with that. Maybe the scythe can, we’ll see. It got so bad at one point that I had to use the petrol mower without the grass box because the grass was so long and wet it was choking the mower. This meant a lot of raking up afterwards which was a pain.

There’ll be raking up afterwards with the scythe too but when the grass is long and wet, raking will happen anyway.

It’s resting now, with the other tools. Munching on nettle souls and waiting for me to set up a proper wall mounting for it. Hanging it like that will mean resetting the blade because it’ll shift relative to the shaft.

I hope it’s a fine day tomorrow, There are many more nettle souls to reap.

 

No time for Internet today

Deadlines approach. Getting the guest room ready for my parents’ visit and getting the book out at the end of March. Ideally before next Wednesday, when they visit. Or at least, have it primed and ready to send by then. I can do the last few stages while they sleep, I’ve had plenty of practice now.

There is a very real danger that I will meet two deadlines in the same month. This is not something you should expect to see very often. Halley’s Comet is more frequent an event than this.

There is also gardening. There is a lot of garden and it’s all starting to grow. Since the weather is currently fine, and since the garden was neglected for at least a year or possibly more, I have to keep it under control.

If a small garden goes wild it can take a few days to put it right. If this one goes wild, well, might as well get used to living in a jungle because I’d have no chance!

The landlord took pity on me and sent in professional gardeners for two days of brutal slash-and-burn gardening to get me started. They did a grand job of weed clearance and hacking back trees, but they hacked back some a lot further than I would have.

They absolutely butchered an old holly tree. While out tidying up that part of the garden I noticed something they had uncovered. Embedded in the tree is a large deer antler – it’s been there so long the tree has grown around it and it’s not going to move now. On the antler is a skull.

Now I know nobody is going to believe me but I honestly didn’t do that. It was already here. One of the points of the large antler has been hacked off, I assume the gardeners thought they were pruning a branch because it’s coated with green algae. The horns of the skull have suffered similar chainsaw damage but it’s otherwise intact.

They left it in place. I plan to leave it alone too. Apart from taking a few photos. This is a ready-made anthology cover for a later one, and a garden ornament I would have put up anyway if it wasn’t already there.

It might go some way to explaining the mystery of the room that had gouges in the walls and three locks on the outside of the door but I would probably be best not to delve too deeply into that.

There are other, um, Interesting Things to be seen in the garden. More on those later.

I just hope the holly tree recovers. It was a particularly impressive one.

Anyway. I have to put out author contracts and ‘about the author’ pages (if you haven’t sent me one and you have something specific you want in it, let me know). There is still time for one more story, if you have an Easter idea, but the whole thing must be assembled and finalised by next Wednesday so don’t hang around! I’ll have to be sociable for a week, no matter the toll it takes.

I will soon be looking for an illustrator. I can’t pay much yet, but I think some illustrations would be a Good Thing To Have in some books. There’s no time to do it for this anthology but it would be fun, in a future one, to have the stories all set up in time for an illustrator to put a picture to each story.

Maybe Halloween. The Tree Skull Anthology could be a working title.

 

Lawnmower man

Today I mowed one of the gardens. Yeah, you read that right 😉

It took several hours for two reasons. One, it was covered with twigs and pine cones, including a lot of twigs with several pine cones attached. The best way to stop a cylinder mower dead in its tracks is to drop a pine cone in front of it. I took a wheelbarrow full of pine cones off that lawn and there were still traps lying in wait.

Two, all I have at the moment is a £30 push mower from Aldi. It’s a good mower, it cuts very well and it will be very useful in the more remote parts of the garden but still… I was exhausted by the time I finished.

I have to get an electric or petrol one for the bulk of the grass and use the push mower for the more remote areas. It avoids the problem of multiple extension cables, it’s light in use and easy to maintain. It’s just very hard to push through even medium-length grass. There is, I think, still an electric mower in the lab. It’s cheap but easy to use and is still in its box.

So I missed out on the Internet today. I heard about the Westminster attack, and read the articles. Nobody wants to admit who was responsible. Well, ISIS are happy to shout about who was responsible but even an attack on Parliament in the heart of London is silenced in the media by political correctness.

I bet the IRA wish we’d had this political correctness in the seventies. Airey Neave and Lord Mountbatten would have been killed by men without accents. They would have thrived, as do our current terrorists, knowing they can do what they like and nobody dares name them. If that doesn’t change, and very soon, we won’t have to worry about smoking related diseases at all. We’ll all be dead before they have a chance to get us. Even now, even with a direct attack on Parliament, the arseholes in government can’t see it.

Speaking of the IRA, it seems Martin McGuinness died a hero in the media’s eyes. He was a violent twat and the world is a better place without him. That’s my standard eulogy for any mass murderer. I see no need to say any more.

Like Lawnmower Man, I have moved from cutting grass to the Internet. I’ve started on the back cover for the Easter anthology.. Longrider’s recommendation was a good one, I’ll use the photo of the trees at the bottom of Garden 3 for the cover. It will look something like this –

I’ll use a text box for the back cover blurb. As I did with ‘The Goddess of Protruding Ears’. It’s the easiest way to make text clear on a multicoloured background.

I just have to work out what to say…

 

Vagueness and Precision

Could have been a Blue Oystercult song, it even fits the rhythm.

Vagueness.

Her Madness’s Ripoff Collective (HMRC) have decided you have to apply for permission to buy leaves. This is not one of my wind-ups of Generation Gullible. It’s madder than that. This is really true.

However, they have not bothered with any of the mechanism of actually applying for permission. You need permission but there is no way to get it. So whether you want tobacco for smoking, snuff, pot-pourri, compost (it’s insecticidal) or to extract vape juice, you need to fill out a form that doesn’t exist to get permission to buy some leaves.

There is always the antismoker scare that nicotine is an insecticide and therefore poison. Just like a big bar of chocolate can kill a Rottweiler. Chocolate is deadly too, if you’re the right species. I don’t know about you but I only have the four limbs and no chitin exoskeleton, nor do I have hair all over nor any inclination to roll in something shitty.

So chocolate won’t kill me and neither will nicotine. If you’re scared of nicotine then logic dictates that you are an insect. For many antismokers that’s probably accurate.

Still, HMRC seem to have forgotten something. I live about 20 miles north of Aberdeen and I can grow tobacco outdoors. Make import impossible and well, I now have a hell of a lot of garden… Could be a good thing for me, and those like me, if importing is banned.

Even better for a nonsmoker with a big garden. They won’t keep back half for themselves 😉

It’s currently legal to grow it in the UK.

Oh they can make it illegal if they want. Cannabis growing is illegal and cannabis is an easily identifiable plant (except to those police who once confiscated tomato plants). Tobacco looks like a big flower. Nobody will notice even if it’s beside the road.

I am also now perfectly placed to push my ‘wild growing tobacco’ idea from a few years back.

Vague laws on tobacco. Yeah, keep it that way. We’ll play the vague game and we’ll win it.

Precision.

In the work-long-in-progress, Panoptica, I have had difficulty keeping ahead of the real dystopia that looms around us. In the story, implanted chips are everything. Your door key, your credit card, your medical record… and more.

The cards you can just wave to buy stuff already exist.  The terror of lost or stolen cards will soon get them implanted. If you lose your house keys, what do you do? Wouldn’t it be so much safer if you just wave your hand in front of the door?

Selling this stuff to the public – come on. They will fight to be first.

The reality of Panoptica would be so, so easy to implement. That’s what puts me off finishing it. The dopes in charge already think 1984 and Brave New World are instruction manuals. What they will do with this one doesn’t bear thinking about.

Longrider tells us of the monitor cards some employees are required to carry. What if they lose their card or it gets picked up by a cat or dog or pigeon? Implants are obviously the way to go.

The Borg are coming. Don’t be scared of being assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Resistance? There will be no resistance. Only insistence. You will not fight the Borg. You will fight each other in the race to be first.

You are the Borg. Not because they forcibly assimilated you.

Because you wanted to be.

Some of us will always refuse to join. You, drones, will never understand why.

Day of the Triffids and a whisky lamp

Somewhat of a ramble tonight. I haven’t had a chance to browse the news for days, which is probably a big part of the reason I’m much more relaxed now.

Also I had a day of gardening. Well, greenhousing anyway. I know at least two will tell me it’s too early to prune a grapevine but this isn’t pruning, this is stopping it tearing the greenhouse apart. Pruning comes later when it’s in a state where it can be pruned. I have the main trunks moved from behind the uprights, the escapees trimmed and most of the glass back in place and there is still much more to do.

There are a few cracked panes but I’m just going to silicone them for now and sort that out properly in spring. I suspect nobody has checked the bolts in years so I’ll have to do that too, before putting any pressure on by cleaning them. Next year I’ll look into the possibility of replacing the glass roof with polycarbonate. Safer and less leaky than glass panes.

In the process of playing Indiana Jones in there I discovered there are in fact three vines. One very old one that goes up one side and right along the roof, a less old one that is still pretty big and another that looks like it was cut right down and then ignored so it had grown back up the inside wall and was hanging over the telephone line! The damn thing was about to cut me off!

I’ve taken a lot out of there and there is still a lot to do. But it’s a fine-weather job and needs good light. I don’t want to cut the wrong thing and wreck the vines, but I want room for other things too.

Also, the half-metre-thick granite wall that runs down the centre of the house makes WiFi difficult and mobile phone use almost impossible, at least with the one I have. A different phone company might work better here.

So I have installed some WiFi boosters to help with that.

A tip: The booster setup gives you the option to give each one a different name – but if you give them all the same name, your WiFi devices will be able to pick up the nearest one easily when they lose signal from the one they were using before.

I need to get back to finishing the books so won’t ramble too much tonight. Instead, here’s a great idea for all those empty whisky bottles. You will need to empty the bottle first, but it’s probably best to wait a while after doing that before attempting to drill a hole in it…