A clue for the clueless?

I’m assembling the ninth Underdog Anthology and I have some excellent cover art from a talented artist called Gary V. Foss. All the stories are there, all author contracts are waiting to go but those contracts need one detail. The title of the damn book.

I’m looking for something hinting at a haunted well or underground enchanted water but not too specific because a lot of the stories aren’t about that. The theme on this one was decided when it was pointed out to me that the well we get our tap water from is in fact an ancient holy well. Now in ruins, it still trickles out water into a field of cows and it’s been there since before 900 AD. (I will not use CE because it’s silly. I insist on using Anno Domini even though I don’t believe in any Gods). Ahem. I digress.

Okay. Here is the cover art, and you will soon realise, I hope, that I am reluctant to cover this with a load of text. Short and snappy. It’s a wraparound cover, it will have a spine down the middle and I’ll add a frame around it so the printing process doesn’t trim off anything important.

Of course, the wretched barcode is going to be a huge blot on the landscape but there’s nothing I can do about that. Anyway, I’m here to pick your brains, and not in a Trotsky way. You can have your brains back intact afterwards.

Any ideas? Help!

Apocalypse when?

Well, submissions have closed for Underdog Anthology 9. We have 8 authors confirmed and one more still to confirm. Not much editing to do this time, everyone has put in well pre-edited work. I should have this one done by October 10th.

Then two more and then the Christmas anthology. It’s all a bit frantic right now but if it ends up with an easy Christmas, it’s worth it.

It’s all a bit mad in the outside world. The American health nuts want to ban vaping because some idiots used the devices to inhale cannabis oil. Well, let’s be honest – they want to ban vaping because smoking rakes in so much more in taxes. So we are hearing a lot of outright lies now.

The UN are now claiming that toilets won’t flush because of catastrophic sea level rise. The Maldives are still there. The ice caps are still there. There have been glaciers receding and a couple have vanished. Elsewhere, glaciers have grown bigger. I live in Scotland, a country of rolling glens carved by glaciers over millenia. There are no glaciers here now and we don’t really want them back, thanks.

Earth’s climate changes. Always has and always will. Looking at 40 years of weather means nothing at all. There were times in the past when the oxygen concentration in hte atmosphere was so high, spiders could grow to the size of dinner plates. You really want that climate back? There were times when it was so warm there were no ice caps and times when it was so cold most of the planet was covered in ice. Life, believe me, preferred the warm option.

We are now told that a rise in temperature of one or two degrees will kill us all. Really? Then every Brit who went to Corfu for their holidays died there. None could possibly have survived that much of a change in temperature.

It’s all complete crap and have you noticed how panicked the Church of Climatology is at the moment? It’s because their controllers know what’s really coming and they have to push their agenda very hard indeed before it arrives. Not long now. By January, all those demanding the closure of power stations will be demanding they reopen. Too late. The time for discussion has passed. Reality has arrived. Governments have been preparing for the wrong Armageddon.

In politics, we have the panicked shrieks of globalists as they see their plans fall apart. They are doing all they can to bring down their opponents. I mean. look at the current attack on Boris the Prime Monster in the UK. Some woman claims he squeezed her thigh 20 years ago and the press is pushing it as if he’d dismembered a baby and walked around town using its head skin as a hat. All I see is, ‘if that’s all they have on him, he must be pretty clean’.

It’s happening all over and none of it matters. This civilisation is done. We have men pretending to be women so they can get into women’s prisons where they rape women. Nobody is allowed to question it. We have weekly riots in France that nobody is allowed to report on. We have so much fail, this civilisation simply cannot survive.

In a story called ‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage‘ I used the idea of a previous, long forgotten civilisation destroyed by a god called Moros, but now I wonder…

Maybe they didn’t ‘go back to the stone age’ as I had thought. Maybe they really did wipe themselves out entirely. Maybe it will happen to us too.

We don’t need to go back to any stone age. There are already people on this planet living that way. Isolated tribes in South America who have no contact with the outside world. The island off India where the natives kill anyone who comes within range. Other places too. The seeds of our replacement are already sown.

It’s said that humanity originated in North Africa (I know, it’s disputed, but it really doesn’t matter where that first small tribe started). Maybe in a few thousand years, historians will tell their people that humanity started in South America. Without ever realising that they weren’t the first, but that they were the only ones left. Then they will marvel at the remnants of structures ‘created by the primitive ancestors’. We have that now – who built the pyramids and the Sphinx, when it is clear that they predate the Egyptians? How about those Inca walls that we can’t even replicate now?

Maybe it’s a cycle. We get so far then wipe ourselves out, and another remote tribe gradually explores the planet and starts the cycle again. How many times can it have happened?

And is it happening again?

September workfest

It’s already started really.

This summer we have been more sociable than either of us has been in our lives. Many visitors, to the point where when we went to Denmark for a week we just wanted to sit around and do nothing. September’s rule is ‘no overnight visitors’ and we only day-visit anywhere. October we are visiting Wales, and we might have my parents here in November. Christmas is going to be quiet.

I have spent the last few days catching up with the much-neglected garden. Crappy summer weather put far too long between grass cutting events so every one was a pain. So, like the farmers who are now frantically harvesting during this little patch of fine weather, I have spent a few days getting the garden to look like this –

Lawn One
Lawn Two
Lawn Three and part of the driveway.
And two shots of Lawn 4, the big one.

There is much more to do but on September 1st it all has to stop for a month.

I have to complete my tax return. No urgency this year because I don’t think I’ll get a rebate this time. It still has to be done though. Also, this month is author payments month. The results look ‘meh’ as usual but I think most authors get something. There are a couple of early books that would benefit from better covers, now that I know how to do it better but first I have a novel from Marsha Webb that just needs the cover finished and a short story collection from someone who calls himself Gastradamus online, but hasn’t settled on a pen name yet. I have to get those completed this month.

There is also the next Underdog Anthology which is now open and which must be finished in early October.

Lots to do before Brexit, if it happens, on Halloween this year.

If it doesn’t, Boris is going to be the face on every carved pumpkin and every one of them with have a hammer buried in it.

I have noted that we could buy a house in a village in Denmark that has far better internet access than we do, for a fraction of the cost of a house near Aberdeen. It’s an option I’m leaving open in case Brexit fails to happen.

Because if we don’t leave this time, the EU are going to shit on us from a very great height to discourage any other countries from trying it.

It’s really not ‘leaving’ you need to be scared of. It’s ‘failing to leave’ you need to worry about. If the abusive spouse wins, there is no second chance to escape and the EU will never forgive us for trying.

Shit or bust time, as they say in Wales.

Greenland

I’ve never been there. It’s in the news a lot lately though.

It’s summer so there are glaciers on Greenland dropping icebergs into the sea, as they have done for a very, very long time. Suddenly it’s ‘a catastrophe’. What a pity it’s not actually a new phenomenon. If the Church of Climatology had a shred of credibility, if their claims were even remotely true, we’d still have the Titanic to sail around in.

Meanwhile the total tonnage of frozen water on Greenland has increased this year. No, I’m not going to bother finding the reference. If you want to pretend the world is warming when it’s rapidly cooling, you carry on. I’m not here to save you, I’m making preparations to save myself. You are free to believe whatever you like. Oh, and the obituary for the glacier on Iceland? That glacier was 700 years old. So, 700 years ago, there was no glacier there. Explain that in terms of SUVs, private jets and Elton John’s magic CO2-absorbing money.

Greenland was in the news with a bigger story this week. Coincidentally, CStM and I were in Denmark while the news broke that Donny Trumpton wasn’t joking – he really did want to buy Greenland from Denmark. Danish news responded with the story that since Greenland was discovered by the son of the man who discovered America, then according to inheritance rules, America belongs to Greenland’s founder. Greenland has therefore offered to buy America.

Donny was due to visit Denmark but has pulled out at the last minute. Why? Ostensibly because Denmark refuse to even consider selling him Greenland. Another possibility is that he realises the massive bollocks he’s made and knows he’ll get a poor – to put it mildly – reception.

I wondered if it was one of his ‘Art of the Deal’ games. ‘You won’t sell me Greenland? Then I’m not coming to visit until you do’. To which the Danes will respond with ‘Well fuck off then, fat boy’ and crack open another Carlsberg. Or maybe pour an Akvavit. They will not play that game. They have no intention of ever selling Greenland. Denmark is not a poor country – and no, it’s not socialist. It’s a kind of directed capitalism. You can set up any business you like, taxes are high but benefits are consequently plentiful. You never have to queue for bread. And there are tax breaks for all kinds of business related things.

These are Vikings, remember. They colonised Iceland and Greenland before anyone ‘discovered’ those places and there is some evidence they were the first Europeans to reach America. Oh, and they called it ‘Greenland’ because it was green. They had crops and cattle on there before most of it froze over. A little bit of history helps put the Church of Climatology in perspective, doesn’t it? That’s why they don’t like you looking at it.

You can’t just buy a country and its inhabitants. If you want it you have to invade and take over. And be ready for a lot of death and destruction and expense. Donny doesn’t seem to have considered for a moment that maybe Greenlanders don’t want to be Americans. Sure, he thinks it’s the greatest country on earth but there is a world outside the USA containing lots of other countries. The people in those countries mostly have them set out and organised the way they like them. They aren’t for sale.

The Trumper isn’t the first to try this. A previous American president – I am told it was probably Truman – tried to buy Greenland and had the same ‘*snort* no’ response. It’s not going to change.

There would be a definite military advantage to the USA if they owned Greenland. Between that and Alaska they could target almost all the northern hemisphere. Do we really want any country to have that kind of power? Sure, you might think of Trump as bumbling but basically benign, but twenty years from now, who will be in charge of all that strategic power? They could target all of Russia. Surely anyone can see that’s going to make Russia a bit edgy and start another arms race. Even though it’s militarily sensible from the USA military’s point of view, overall it is a very, very bad idea.

It is fortunate that Greenland is owned by the Danes. They don’t cave to outside pressure easily. They don’t give a flying fuck what the rest of the world thinks and they are not impressed by the posturing of either Trump or Putin. You don’t like it in Denmark? Leave. No hijab, no Halal, no Euros. They have kept their currency so they still have that option to walk away from the EU. There’s been no sign of them doing so, yet, but they have sensibly kept the option open.

If Donny Trumpton thinks he can worry the Danes by refusing to show up to some pomp and ceremony occasion, he really doesn’t understand those people at all. Denmark is a remarkably flat country, all the more remarkably flat to someone who grew up in Wales and now lives in Scotland. And yet I have never seen a golf course there. I don’t think Trump has anything they want. Not a thing. Not unless he can make a better Remoulade.

I love it there. I can buy whisky at lower prices than I can get it at the distilleries making it in Scotland – and I live a couple of hours’ drive from most of them. Cigarettes are half the price. Literally. And they don’t have the Doors of Shame (although I noted this week some supermarkets have started to install them, but the local shops don’t have them).

I have brought back a good supply of smokes. I didn’t bring whisky back – bringing whisky to north-east Scotland just seemed silly and anyway the price differential was enough to be amusing, not enough to be worth loading up. It’s really down to Scotland’s silly minimum pricing, which means I can get whisky cheaper in another country than I can in the distillery down the road.

Trumpy, no matter how good he thinks he is at manipulating deals, is not going to get Denmark to sell him Greenland. It is not going to happen. So will he refuse to let them buy Ford cars? Pffft. They prefer Volvos, for the most part. There aren’t all that many Ford drivers there.

Greenland is not going to be US State 52. He’d be better off shoring up Puerto Rico if he wants another state as his legacy.

_________

It has been a chaotic summer. CStM and I are just back from a week in Denmark where we visited her family and spent most of the time sitting around being all hygge and doing not much of anything. It was great. Even with Psycho Dog keeping us company and occasionally vanishing to shit on the neighbour’s drive. It was a long way back to the airport though…

We have had almost continuous visitors here since April. These visitors came from Wales and from Denmark (family, both sides) and all expected to be shown around a lot. On a map, Denmark is about the same size as Scotland but what the Danes never realise is that the uppiness and downiness of the Scottish landscape can at least double the driving distance shown on the map. Also, any Scottish long straight country roads always, without exception, lead to an unexpected and unsigned 90 degree bend at some point.

It’s been fun, I’ve seen things locally I hadn’t seen before and revisited some favourites but it has taken up a lot of time. Our week in Denmark was specifically intended to be a resting week (the highlight was CStM’s grandfather’s birthday). No tourism apart from a trip to the beach for a spectacular ice cream. We’re both all touristed out.

We even had a visit to the police station after one Scottish trip. There was a maniac driver who didn’t slow down for a roundabout, passed us, hit the chevron sign, rolled eight times and landed on the far side of the roundabout. He apparently survived but as we had front row seats and he was all on dashcam, we had to give a statement when we volunteered the footage. I’m not putting it online, that would just be sick. Last we heard he was alive, but only just.

Anyway, all of this has slowed down the work enormously. So there will be no more tourism until mid October when we will go to Wales to sit about doing bugger all for a week. Also no overnight visitors.

From tomorrow I have two books to finish work on for other authors, the Halloween Underdog Anthology (number 9) starting up in earnest and more of my own to write.

I also have to get the damn grass cut. And beat the grapevine into submission.

So, no more tourists this side of Christmas. And that’s final.

Who occupies the Porcelain Throne?

Tyrion Bercow has stated he will not let Boss Johnson prorogue (ie shut down) Parliament, thereby forcing a no-deal Brexit on Halloween.

Does he have that authority? I’ve no idea. I thought the Squeaker’s job was as a sort of referee in the House of Conmen to ensure the unruly rabble stick roughly to the rules.

As for Bozza, does he have the power to close Parliament? I don’t think so. I think he has to ask Mrs. Queen to do it. And I suspect he might have to put it to a vote before he can ask Mrs. Queen. Even if he does, she might, quite reasonably, just respond with ‘ This entire charade has royally fucked one off and got right on one’s tits. Get back to work you chubby lickspittle. And buy a bloody comb’.

I’d love to see that on the BBC 🙂

I don’t think Bozza wants a no-deal Brexit. He’d much rather have a trade deal in place. Unfortunately, the likes of Guy Thermostat and Tusky Don want to make the UK suffer for having the temerity to leave their new empire. So they won’t negotiate. It’s the Tessie Maybe crap ‘deal’ or no deal at all. In which case, no deal is the only sensible option.

Food will not stop arriving. I live on a farm of which the UK has many. We currently export food. If they don’t want it, we’ll eat it instead of importing theirs. Oh and when UK lamb isn’t available, our biggest supplier is New Zealand. Who are not under the control of the deranged dictators of the EU. So that won’t change. Neither will most of the imported vegetables which come from non-EU countries anyway because Europe has the same seasons we have.

Donnie Trumpton is not going to take control of the NHS. Our own government can’t control the swollen management structure and ridiculous spending of that insane organisation. Why would any other government even want it? It has more bean counters than actually useful medical staff already.

We are not going to be forced to eat chlorinated chicken. We have plenty of perfectly good British chicken. We will, of course, be forced to continue drinking chlorinated water (well, not here, we have UV-treated and double filtered well water, but you lot have to drink it).

In the midst of all this, Cersei Lucas has schemes of her own. She plans a National Unity Government because she claims Bozza is ‘unelected’ and also racist and mysogynist. Therefore she wants to replace the entire government with herself and a cabinet of unelected white women. They will take charge.

She is the only green MP and she wants to take control of government. Personally I wouldn’t trust her in control of a strimmer.

We have our very own Game of Thrones in the UK now. I’m just waiting for Al the Oily Fish to resurface and proclaim himself ‘King in the North’. I hope there are White Walkers. I already have blue eyes.

It’s chaos. You might as well shut down Parliament because none of the buggers have a clue what they are doing. They’re just making it up as they go. Priti Patel has spoken of bringing back the death penalty and there is talk of only allowing immigrants to come here if they make over £30,000 a year. Most people in this country don’t make that much. Heck, I don’t even get close these days, although I used to just make that much after decades of working as a research scientist, consultant and lecturer. It’s hardly the common wage. So if that comes in, do I (born here) no longer qualify to live here? It’s a complete shambles.

The main issue is a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU and since the EU will not negotiate, well, I’m glad I have a Japanese car and not a German one. The Japanese will still sell us parts for my car. All you Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen etc drivers… well, don’t break anything. No matter how keen the German car companies are to sell you their cars, the EU isn’t going to let them.

We’ll be eating British bacon instead of Danish or Dutch. British made blue cheese instead of French. Pasta made from non-EU wheat. There’s plenty of non-EU wheat. The rest of the world grows it too, as do we.

Avocado doesn’t come from the EU so the soy latte hipsters don’t need to cry into their straggly beards or use undue exercise to lift their pencil-thin biceps to wipe tears off their glasses. Not even the male ones.

If the EU refuse to negotiate then ‘no deal’ is the only option left. There is no other way unless Round Boris gives in. If he does, the Tories are a spent force. Their supporters fell away in droves while Tessie piddled away three years to get the most ridiculous surrender deal forced into existence with threats, then couldn’t get anyone to accept it. They have been drifting back since Boris took over, they have moved from voting Brexit party back to Tory.

But… if Boris screws this up, it’s all over for the Tories.

So who will end up sitting on the Porcelain Throne?

As they say in Wales and probably much of the UK… it’s shit or bust time. You either do what you have to do or you face the consequences.

——————–

Things have been chaotic here for weeks. I am behind with two books and it’s nearly time to start the Halloween anthology. There is one more week of the chaos and then in September we are closed to visitors for the entire month.

It’ll be get back to work time.

Reliance

I know, it sounds like the next Mark Ellott novel, following ‘Ransom’, ‘Rebellion’ and the almost-ready ‘Resolution’ and who knows? Maybe it will be.

Well, the replacement router arrived today and it’s much improved over the one I had before. Four years of technology can do that, I suppose. It linked much more easily to the wifi booster and it has a stronger wifi signal than the old one. So four days without internet was worth it.

Just in time – I had almost used up my data allowance on the mobile by using it as a mobile hotspot. I have been considering reducing the data package since I normally rarely use it, but I think I’ll leave it there. It was very handy in this emergency!

It’s amazing how much you can get done when your internet access is severely restricted. I have both Mark Ellott’s and Marsha Webb’s novels formatted and returned to the authors for last checks and I have a short story collection from another author that I can now start sorting out. I’m really going to have to limit my forays into the mad world of the internet in future.

These days in the Internet wilderness also showed me just how reliant I am on it now. Oh I remember when the only phone available was the phone box at the end of the street. I remember when I bought a mobile phone for the first time – I was in my early thirties and scoffed at them until a pheasant flew into my windscreen on a country road and shattered it. Suddenly they seemed like a potentially useful thing to have.

I was, of course, travelling at a perfectly sensible and sedate pace along that dead straight and empty road. It was entirely the pheasant’s fault.

I remember when it became law to fit front seat belts to cars so my father did. It was not yet legally required to use them, so he didn’t. I remember when I was sent, with my younger brother, to the corner shop to by my father’s cigarettes. I remember very well the day they couldn’t sell them to us any more. He wasn’t happy.

We used to buy things with money. Now we just wave a plastic card at a machine and soon we’ll have the card chips in our hands.

Now, of course, the Phone is God. You can use it to pay for things, watch films, browse the internet and if you can figure out how, you can even still make phone calls with it. That feature, once the only reason for a phone’s existence, is now buried in the mass of icons on the screen and in the 48 gigabytes of memory it contains. Ah, I recall fitting a 16 kilobyte memory pack to a ZX-81 and thinking it was amazing.

So many of us are absolutely reliant on the internet. Leg Iron Books could not function without it – the days of high street printers are pretty much gone and the thought of having to cut and paste with real scissors and paste is horrifying. And yet that’s how I wrote my PhD thesis. My mother typed it, on an actual typewriter, I cut and pasted pages together for the retype.

Money, as pretty much everyone knows, no longer exists. Well, you can still (so far) get cash but most of the money circulating in the world is just numbers on a screen with no physical reality at all. If everyone decides to withdraw their money form a bank they will soon find the bank doesn’t really have all that much actual cash. It’s mostly just binary digits.

And to think, these same banks poo-pooh the likes of Bitcoin. Their methods have been the same for years!

On it trundles, the world based on unreality, and it works, sort of. At least for now.

All it will take though is one solar flare, one coronal mass ejection, and it’s all gone. Wiped. Cleaner than a Hillary Clinton email inbox. All evaporated like the dew on a summer morning.

Heck, I was put on restricted access this week by a lightning bolt. To be fair, it was four hours of lightning bolts and a pretty intense blast at the end. It was enough to fry a router and a landline phone. I couldn’t do too much through the mobile phone. I could check and send emails but sending/receiving large documents or image files was a ‘no’.

If that had hit the bank computers I could have been wiped out along with a lot of other people. How could I prove how much money was in those accounts? It didn’t really exist in the first place!

I have been paying a lot of attention to the sun recently. It has three cycles that go from high activity to low and it is now entering what is called a ‘grand solar minimum’ where all three cycles go low at the same time. It’s nothing to get all worried about, it’s happened before. Humanity survived.

It does mean it’s going to get colder. That’s why the Climatologists have rolled out the Unassailable Weapon in the shape of a highly suggestible autistic child. Argue with what she’s been told to tell you and you are attacking an autistic child. I feel sorry for her. Autism does not equal stupid. One day she will realise how she was used and she is going to go through hell. You think the Church of Climatology cares? Once they are done with her they will discard her with not a single look back.

But yeah, it’s getting colder and it will get worse. So the push is on to get as much funding as possible for the pretend science of man made global warming before the lie becomes obvious. Millions will die but hey, the Climatologists will make a load of money so that’s okay with them. It also helps their depopulation agenda which naturally does not include them.

I, and many others, have tried to tell the Church of Climatology what’s really coming but that just makes me a ‘Climate Denier’ which is their new word for ‘Heretic’. I stopped bothering, let the buggers freeze. Anyway it’s too late now, it’s already started and there is not a damn thing humanity can do about it. Light up the fireplace, get the popcorn and watch them shiver while they complain about the heat.

There’s always a silver lining. Low sun activity means a much reduced chance of a solar flare or coronal mass ejection coming our way. It’s never zero, of course, but the odds are in our favour as long as we can keep ice off the wires.

A mass ejection or flare would have to be pointed right at us to have an effect. Well, actually pointed a little bit ahead of us since we’re a moving target. A flare on the opposite side of the sun won’t bother us at all. This means the chance of being hit by one are always reasonably low anyway.

The chance is never zero. Never. Probabilities go up and down but they never hit zero. One day it could happen – in fact it’s safe to say that one day it has to happen. When? Tomorrow? Next month? A decade from now? A century?

There is no way to know. And there isn’t likely to be much, if any, warning. Go to bed rich, wake up a caveman. Go to bed connected to the world, wake up alone and isolated.

As people rely more and more on online comunication, the latter is going to be the hardest to bear, I think.

We really should have a backup plan in case of such an event.

But nobody has.

Plastic

It’s still quiet here. I have one novel nearly edited (a different one), the one I was doing before has been back to the author and is now back with revisions, there’s a short story book by another author and there’s the podcast ad.

If there is one failing in me, it’s that it never occurs to me to ask for help. It’s not ‘male pride’ or stubbornness (well maybe a little bit of stubbornness) it simply does not occur to me to ask. I’m going to have to give in soon though. I’ll have to get some freelance editors and cover artists involved at the rate the work is piling up.

I gave in on the podcast ad. Dr. Evil offered to do it for me if I provided the text. He has a well practiced and clear speaking voice and better sound equipment. My next investment has to be a half decent microphone! Mine mostly came from a pound shop… It’s now done and will be on the podcast next Monday. So it won’t be me speaking this one but I’ll have to get a few ready to go in case of another spontaneous chance at an advert. I also need good sound recording for story readings.

Anyway, that gets the digression out of the way early on. Now about those plastics…

I have always been a big believer in recycling. I suppose it stems from my childhood when we could take a bag of glass bottles back to the shop, get a few pennies per bottle and have a sweet binge on the proceeds. Back then, most sweets either came in a paper bag (measured out from a jar) or were individually wrapped in waxed paper. All of which would rot away harmlessly.

Oh I know, they weren’t ‘free sweets’ because the deposit was paid by whoever bought the bottle – but that was never us. Parents were happy to hand us the bottles and we found quite a few on Saturday and Sunday mornings after the older kids had a woodland beer binge. There were other sources too.

Then came the day when ‘No deposit – no return’ was moulded into the sides of the bottles. Disaster! No more free sweets!

And of course, all those woodland beer bottles and under-hedge drunken discards just stayed where they were because no kids were picking them up next morning. Bins started to fill with perfectly good bottles that could have been re-used and broken ones that could have been melted down and made into other things.

Worse, the reuseable milk bottles were replaced by card and plastic containers, then glass bottles were replaced with plastic ones, all of it non-returnable.

Fast forward a decade or so and you have the Greens shrieking at us for throwing away loads of plastic. Well, the milk comes in plastic bottles, as do most drinks now, so what are we to do? Cup our hands and carry it home that way?

I do not throw waste plastic into the sea, the river, of anywhere in the environment. I, like everyone else, have a special bin called ‘recycling’ that takes plastic, card and cans. This one does not take glass. That goes to a big bin near Local Shop once I accumulate enough to make it worth the diversion.

So what happens? Are those bin collecting trucks just magic portals that send all that recycling straight to the Pacific?

No. What happens is that the council sells the recycling (that they charge you to collect) to a recycling company who then ship it to China or Africa where they sort out what can be used and dump anything they don’t want into the rivers.

Sure, I’ve seen the argument that most of the crap in the sea comes from six rivers, but that’s because we send it there.

I have a friend who does not put cans in recycling. He crushes them and puts them in bins of his own, separating aluminium from steel, then takes them to the scrapyard and gets a few quid for them. That’s proper ground level recycling.

I have in the past attempted to make plastic bricks by hanging a frame on my chimenea and melting waste plastic in it. Not a great success that time. I’d like to try reviving that idea though.

You couldn’t build a house with them but a low garden wall, faced with cement and topped with flat stones? That could work to where nobody could tell the difference. However, real bricks are cheap so it wouldn’t be a great business option.

Unless you sell it as ‘green’ and you can do it on a scale where your plastic bricks cost no more than real ones, ideally less. As I said, bricks are cheap, but you need a lot for a wall so even a penny per brick saving could soon add up. Plus you have the virtue signalling and to many people these days, that’s a big selling point. There is also the point that filling the back of your car with plastic bricks would be far less damaging to your suspension than doing it with real ones.

Making one at a time on a chimenea isn’t really viable. You need a big melting pot and a whole raft of moulds to make loads at once. But I think it could work. If you’re talking about a low wall, ten bricks high, a few flawed ones won’t matter. And you could cut half-bricks with a saw or a hot wire.

That’s just bricks. You could make planks sized to order. Even mould-in fake grain. I’ve seen park benches made of recycled plastic. It can be done. You can already get garden furniture in a kit of moulded plastic parts – imagine the virtue signalling opportunites if it was clearly made out of recycled bottles!

Virtue signalling is a big thing with the smug and self-righteous now. Why not cash in on that?

I might have dreamed this or it might be real – was there ever a ‘stained glass’ type window made of glass bottles that were laid out and then melted so they all flattened and fused together? Whether it’s real or not, you could use the same idea to make a plastic greenhouse with clear plastic bottles. The plants inside don’t care about the aesthetics.

I don’t hear anything like this from those protesting plastics though. All I hear is shouting about how it’s all the supermarkets’ fault for packaging things in plastic.

Newsflash – they don’t. Their suppliers do.

What is the supermarket’s fault is the death of local small suppliers. I recall going to the local butcher and getting meat wrapped in paper that my grandmother carried home in her own shopping bag. Same at the greengrocer or the fishmonger. All those are now conglomerated into the supermarkets and the small ones are mostly gone. There are still some but they are rare and becoming more rare.

There used to be a good little lighting shop in a town I lived in. The nearby Tesco filled an aisle with lightbulbs of every type at lower prices. The lighting shop died. Tesco’s lighting section dropped to only the most common types. I can’t help feeling it was just pure malice. They killed the bookshop too and tried to kill the sporting goods shop – but since Tesco won’t sell shotguns or airguns or bows, they failed on that one. Tesco had a range of horse tack for a while but none of those horsey types are going for a Tesco Value hard hat or harness. The sporting goods shop is still there. So don’t imagine for a moment that I am on the side of the supermarkets. They are run by malicious bastards.

Even so, the latest idiotic protest involves plastic-feedback, espoused on the BBC by Huge Farty-Shittingstall. Unwrap the stuff you voluntarily bought, stuff all the plastic wrapping into a bag and take it back to the supermarket you willingly bought it from and then virtue signal that you are an EcoWarrior of the Ultimate Stupid Arseness. Or you could just not buy stuff wrapped in plastic… is that too hard a concept?

If you don’t put it in the bin, the supermarket will put it in the bin. Then it goes to exactly the same place as if you had put it in the bin yourself. It’s an exercise in utterly pointless dickery that makes a bunch of smug wankers feel really good about achieving nothing at all. Other than to make the lives of a few minimum wage workers that bit more miserable because it’s not the boss of the supermarket who has to clean up your silly protest. It’s the bottom tier staff who have no say at all in how any product is packaged.

Huge Farty-Shittingstall lauds Sainsbury’s for selling stuff that’s not in plastic packaging. They sell you cups to dispense things into from special dispensers so you aren’t taking home all that packaging. The dispensers, and the cup, are made of… plastic. Nice one Sainsbury. You caught the suckers fair and square there.

Look. Plastic can be melted down and made into other things. So can glass and so can metal. Don’t shriek about the amount of plastic being thrown away, ask why it’s not being recycled. And maybe come up with a few ideas about how it can be. Maybe even try them yourself.

But just getting someone else to put it in the bin for you? How does that help?

I hope the supermarkets ban every dickhead that does this.