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Did you hear David Cameron making his speech at the Paris Climate Summit?  I only heard a snippet, which was all about the importance of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and having something worthwhile to hand on to our children and grandchildren.

  Is this the same David Cameron whose government has in the past six months cut subsidies on wind farm building, cut wind farm building, cut subsidies given to people wanting to put up solar panels, cut the price they would get for electricity they produce and sell to the National Grid and cut various other Green policies?

  Is this the same David Cameron whose government in the past six months has sought to press ahead with searching for oil-bearing shale beds in the UK and their exploitation?  Even up near Blackpool where the last time they tried it there was an appreciable (though low strength) earthquake.  Gah!  How do you tell when a politician is lying, Dear Reader?  Or should we just expect them to?

  Having made that speech he is now back in the UK planning to hold a Commons vote on whether or not to go try bombing IS in Syria.  Tomorrow, having rejected a call to have a two day debate on the whole thing.  Whether or not Cameron is trying to rush this vote remains to be seen.  There are some who think that, having lost a vote on whether to bomb the Assad regime in Syria back in 2013, he is trying to ensure that there will be sufficient majority to bomb IS in Syria now.  What is it about (male) politicians and wanting to bomb the hell out of places?  Gah!  And Double Gah!

  Meanwhile other people are saying that bombing alone will not work.  What is needed, they say, is actual 'boots on the ground'.  Preferably a UN coalition of 'boots' with troops from places like Brazil and China so that IS can't claim that the (Christian!) West is attacking the Muslim world.  Ok, so that last is a point, but  . . .

  I don't know.  Some of our politicians went to what are considered Seriously Good schools and universities.  It's a pity they don't appear to have learned all that much.

  I'm off to do some knitting and unwind!  Y'all have a good day now!

  *Policy - what you want to do.  Polity - how you're going to do it.
Current Location:
as usual.
Current Mood:
annoyed annoyed
Current Music:
From the New World, slow movement - Dvorak
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The International Summit on Climate Change starts today in Paris.  I don't expect that any of the 147 delegates will have thought about going in a way to generate the smallest carbon footprint  - always assuming that they had an option besides flying.  After all, World Leaders couldn't afford the time away from their countries to travel to Paris by ship, then rail.  Could they?  For all that these are globally connected days and anyone choosing such a form of travel might well be a little newsworthy.  Wouldn't they?

  Demonstrations/Protest Marches were organised in major cities worldwide yesterday.  Of course only the ones where a few idiots caused trouble were shown on the News last night.  Le sigh!  I sometimes wonder about the News media, even the BBC seems to go for the trouble-making idiots rather than the peaceful marchers (a few pictures here) and the whole point of them being there.  Maybe they think Climate Change is too hard for their viewers/readers to understand or even want to be interested in?  Hah!  The way even the BBC is contiunally dumbing down (if it won't fit on a smart phone screen) . . .

  Mind you, some people have also been making their own comments!  They'd be funny if they weren't so true.

  Mentioning climate, it's been particularly windy this weekend.  Unfortunately, after a brief interval Saturday morning, what the wind blew was thick cloud and rain.  The washing had to come straight back in and dry in front of the dehumidifier.  Ah well, 'tis November, and the end at that, after all.  It hasn't been a hurricane or anything, just very windy.  All trees locally and there are, perhaps surprisingly, plenty, are now leafless.  Anyone wanting to create their own leafmould had better get out and collect what's been blown down before the city council franchise holders come and sweep it all away - probably not for making leaf mould.  But there you are, the franchise holder just isn't that into Green!  Which is a SHAME.

  While on the subject of trees, did you hear about the bombing in Shanghai?

    Did that work?

  No, Dear Reader, someone did not attempt to blow up the port city.  A group of knitters and crocheters yarn-bombed a street, cladding the trees.  Apparently the residents were delighted.  They were less delighted a week later when the city authorities removed the 'tree jumpers' saying that "they might damage the trees' growth as they were so tight".  It's late autumn/early winter in Shanghai, the trees are now dormant, they won't be even thinking about growing until spring, Dear Shanghai Authorities!  But there you are.  Authorities are rarely known for their senses of humour and/or fun, Chinese Authorities among the least of all.

  BTW - doesn't Princess Charlotte look like her brother?

  And Finally - more knitting.  You may know that the late Sir Terry Pratchett, of Discworld© fame, was diagnosed with a form of Altzheimer's back in 2008.  Many were very upset, some wanted to do something.  A group of knitters (the Ank-Morpork Guild of Knitters, see Ravelry) knitted him a Pratchgram (an afghan/squared blanket) - details here.  Enjoy.  How many squares can you identify, Dear Reader?

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual, knitting
Current Mood:
amused amused
Current Music:
Aaaarrrggh! Classic fM have started playing Christmas Carols cos it's now Advent!
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"There is no such thing as 'international terrorism'.

  To declare war on 'international terrorism' is nonsense.  Politicians who do so are either fools or cynics, and probably both."
Uri Avnery in his weekly column in Gush Shalom, this week.

  Uri Avnery, now in his nineties, has been around a while.  He's seen a lot, including WWII, the rise of the modern state of Israel - he fought against the British pre-Independence, and all the fighting and warring up until the present day.  He still has all his marbles and has an incisive mind.  Moreover he is not blinded by being Israeli, as some modern Israelis appear to be.  He can still appreciate the point of view of the 'enemy', in too many cases Palestinian boys and teenagers!

"Terrorism is a method of operation. It is often used by oppressed peoples, including the French Resistance to the Nazis in WW II. We would laugh at anyone who declared war on 'international resistance'.

"Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian military thinker, famously said that 'war is the continuation of politics by other means'. If he had lived with us today, he might have said: 'Terrorism is a continuation of policy by other means.'

"Terrorism means, literally, to frighten the victims into surrendering to the will of the terrorist."

 Which is what has been happening over the past week in Belgium.  Some of the terrorists who attacked Paris the other Friday had been based in Belgium.  Suddenly Brussels was in lock down mode, for the best part of a week.  Places in Brussels were being guarded by armed police and the Belgian army - masked by scarves pulled up over the bottom half of their faces (hey, who's looking like 'terrorists' now?)  Large assemblies of people were banned.  Come Monday schools were closed throughout Brussels and soldiers searched through places various of the Paris bombers had been or were suspected to have been.

  I'm not sure that, even now, Brussels is returning to 'normal' - whatever that is.  Probably something to do with not having masked, armed soldiers and police everywhere!

  Meanwhile David Cameron continues to argue for 'bombing IS in Syria' and various politicians, being interviewed, express their ideas that he may well have a point.  Hah!  So far only Jeremy Corbyn is saying a straight 'no!' to the bombing and that's because he has strongly held pacifist views.  Good.  For.  Him.

  What all the politicians thus interviewed, or the parts of the interviews so far broadcast, seem to have missed is that by bombing Syria as well as Iraq they will be playing right into the hands of IS, the terrorists.  They (the IS terrorists) seem to be hell bent on fomenting a real, all out war between themselves and the (Christian) West, so that they can say to the rest of the Muslim world,

  "Look, the Christians/the West are against us.  They make war against us as in the days of the Crusades.  We must fight back to defend ourselves and Islam."

  Or as Avnery puts it:-

"They (various world leaders, particularly European) do not understand the challenge. They react to imagined threats and ignore the real ones. They do not know what to do. So they do what comes naturally: make speeches, convene meetings and bomb somebody (no matter who and what for).

"Not understanding the malady, their remedy is worse than the disease itself. Bombing causes destruction, destruction creates new enemies who thirst for revenge. It is a direct collaboration with the terrorists. (Italics and bold mine)

"It was a sad spectacle to see all these world leaders, the commanders of powerful nations, running around like mice in a maze, meeting, speechifying, uttering nonsensical statements, totally unable to deal with the crisis."

Equally worrying is the ongoing involvement of Russia.  They say that they are bombing IS targets in Syria.  Others on the ground claim that they are bombing them, and that they are not IS.  Then a Russian jet was shot down by Turkmen fighters in Turkey because it spent all of 17 seconds in Turkish airspace.  One of the pilots survived and is heading back to Russia the long way, the other was killed.

  So President Putin is now acting Macho (as if he'd do anything else) towards Turkey - beefing up the mutual border.  Russians are refusing to holiday in Turkey.  Western leaders, remembering the latter half of the twentieth century, are beginning to wonder whether they were right in asking Russia to get involved in the first place.

  All that's before you also realise that various Kurdish groups are also involved in the fighting against IS in Syria and Iraq.  Turkey has always looked with diffidence (at the very least) at Kurdish fighters.  The Kurds, after all, want their own homeland in the area - a homeland which would involve uniting bits of Turkey, Syria and various other contiguous contries.  A homeland, therefore, which only the Kurds want as no other countries in the area are willing to give up bits of their territories and have thus been fighting Kurdish rebels on and off over many years.

  And so it continues.  Those of us who remember our history remember the various times when different distant conflicts suddenly escalated into international war over what had seemed minor events originally.  We remember the times when various historical 'incidents' suddenly blew up into full scale war.  And if we have any sense, we fear that far more than we fear any terrorist act or group, be it IS or anyone.

  As 'those who do not remember their history are condemned to repeat it' let us hope that our leaders also remember history.

  So, Dear David Cameron and other World Leaders, think carefully and do not lead us further into war.  Please.  There are other, and perhaps better, certainly more successful, ways of defeating terrorist groups than allowing their threats to paralyse us (Brussels this past week) or declaring war on an idea!

  Y'all have a good, and thoughtful, day now!

Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
Venus, the bringer of peace, The Planets Suite - Holst
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What is it with this browser this morning?  The scroll mechanism is slo-o-o-ow and typing this is an exercise in faith as the letters and words eventually turn up in batches after the beachball spins while the computer thinks.  Darn it, I shall switch off and try starting up again.

  Now that is more like it.

  On other subjects, I have finally mastered (or should that be 'mistressed'?) two colour knitting with two hands*.  I've previously knitted colour work with the yarn round two fingers of my right hand.  Now I can hold the two yarns in each hand and knit that way.  It's supposed to produce better tensioned, flatter knitting.  We'll see.  I dare say there are still issues around which yarn is in which hand and is thus given some form of prominence but hey, these are a pair of socks so it barely matters.  By the time I get round to doing the slipover for S I shall be a dab hand!  Perhaps.

  The sock pattern is Interlock, which uses lots of the odds and ends of yarn you have left when you knit many pairs of socks, about 5g of each.  Hmmm, I don't have scales which weigh as little as 5g, what's that in yards/metres?  The socks have been my 'carry along' knit project during the Post Heart Attack course we've attended this week.  I've tried to keep the knitting I've been doing at the course to the plain parts, two-handed colour work requires some attention.  Hence I now have two socks, one up to the diamonds on the legs and one just round the heel (knit toe-up, of course.)  Fortunately I have a reasonably good stock of sock knitting bamboo dpns.  Being bamboo they have a tendency to curve as I knit and I have to be very careful when straightening them.  Too rough is a good way to snap such needles.  H has offered to replace the bamboos with carbon fibre needles as they get snapped.  We'll see.

  I already have a set of 2mm carbon fibre dpns.  They seem to be quite good and handle nicely.  They're lightweight like bamboo, they're slightly 'grippy' so they won't suddenly slide out of knitting even if it's only a few stitches, for the few stitches-worth of knitting I did with them they appeared to feel nice in my hands, not too stiff or bendy and being carbon fibre they weren't cold!

  H wore his hat the other day.  He has a couple of woolly hats (not of my knitting) which he wears, usually in such a way as to look Really Silly.  I've been looking for a pattern for a warm but non-silly-looking men's knitted hat.  Now patterns for women's knitted hats I can find in many styles and by the gross almost.  Patterns for mens hats are much harder to find.  Hmmm.  Maybe find a plain-ish women's hat and knit that in suitably subdued colours?

  Oooh look, a woolly hat with sheep on it!  I might just try this Baa-ble Hat.  Wonder if H could wear that in a silly-looking way?

              Baa-ble Hat knitted by Nadine Haarich

  And we've finally gotten some new slippers.  We've needed them for a while now, at least I have, but have had to wait until the 'slipper season' opened, ie: the run-up to Christmas.  There is another 'slipper season', for women only, in early March in the run-up to Mothering Sunday.  If you want/need slippers at any other time of year they can be very hard to find.  These are going to have to last the year.  Should you be interested, Dear Reader, H's slippers are black suede (style) moccasin style and mine are suedette 'fleece' lined mules.  I prefer mules, the backs of slippers tend to get trodden down anyway over time.

  Ah well, time to get lunch.  Today's soup will be from a can, we finished the last of the homemade Pottage de la Semaine (Sweet Potato, Carrot and Beetroot) yesterday lunchtime.  Next week it will be, by popular request, Monster Soup ie: Leek and Potato.  Very popular, that soup when I make it.

  Y'all have a good day now!

  *Which probably means I've also mistressed the Continental style of knitting.  This is supposed to be quicker than English style.  Maybe, with practice, it will be what with Christmas approaching and all.  Mind you, unlike the Yarn Harlot I tend to knit year round things which end up as Christmas presents, eg: socks for family members who appreciate them, mostly the women!
Current Location:
as usual, with knitting
Current Mood:
creative creative
Current Music:
Cello Concerto in D major (3) - Platti
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Happy Thanksgiving, Dear American Reader.

  BTW - is Donald Trump a troll?  Cos some of the comments he makes . . .

  Oh, no.  Trolls comment in secret and anonymously, but with similar venom, ignorance and sheer downright stupidity.  Who are the other Republican candidates?  Besides Jeb Bush that is.  I thought the US was supposed to be ruled by the best* rather than those who got there by accident of birth.  So what's this emerging Bush dynasty?

  I shall write about the Chancellor's Autumn Statement another day.  Suffice it to say that after all the publicity about how he might be planning further cuts to the police, the army, the poor, the vulnerable, the sick et al he managed to pull off a bit of a tour de force and make it look like he was being entirely reasonable and generous all round.  This is either a smart move on his part or what he'd been planning all along and previous rumours of certain cuts were but to misdirect attention so that he could appear generous.

  Further study of his actual words reveal it was only an appearance of generosity.  So no surprises there then.

  Meanwhile the BBC (website at least) is celebrating 100 Women of 2015.  Women who are working to change the world for the better.

  Which, at one level is pretty good - a celebration of what 100 women are doing worldwide.

  Except that when you look at it like that you (or at least I) begin to wonder why it's only one hundred women?  Surely there are thousands, if not millions, of women working worldwide to change the world for the better.  But maybe they're too busy working to change things to stand up and get noticed.  Even when an organisation like the BBC decides to 'celebrate' them?

  Heigh ho!  No matter how 'trendy lefty' the BBC may or may not be (and it isn't really) there is still a long way to go.  Women make up roughly half of the population yet so much is still man-centred, even here.  Not that I am suggesting we should necessarily start focussing exclusively on women and what they are doing to 'redress the balance'.  Somehow that just seems silly and possibly tokenistic.

  Hokay, time to go get the tea.  Y'all have a good day now!

  *Though looking at past Presidents it looks like the richest.
Current Location:
as usual, still knitting
Current Mood:
Current Music:
Finale, Concerto no3, 'Four Seasons' - Vivaldi
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* * *
Turned out H's Exercise For Your Heart class yesterday was, it sounded, a bit like line dancing with added dumbells.  For one and a quarter hours, non-stop.  He'd walked up there first, 2 miles.  They suggested he get the bus back but when he wanted to catch one it had just gone and another wasn't due for at least half an hour.  As it's a 45 minute walk and he desperately needed a coffee he headed half-way home to a local Subway, where he had one of the lowest fat Subs, then walked back home.  He looked kinda shattered on arrival but didn't spend the entire afternoon on the settee!

  H said the exercises were dead simple, step to the side, step back, point your toes, point your heel (if you see what I mean).  It's just that they went on, relentlessly.  Apparently he now has to walk half an hour per day plus do the level of exercises he did yesterday.  Next week they up both and continue upping til gone Christmas.  Where H is supposed to find the time to do the washing up, let alone go to work as well . . .

  Paris should be in the news again this weekend - as the site of the UN Climate Summit where, it is hoped,  member countries will sign an accord to end the use of coal.  Plus, preferably, a few more things to halt the rise in global warming.  Apparently 2015 is set to be the warmest year so far, which is not a Good Thing.  Considering the Polar Vortex winter had by the North Americas  and the fact that the long-term forecast is for a cold winter here, it must have been Really Hot elsewhere.

  All this heating has been affecting the climate, particularly in 'central latitudes' - ie: where most of the world's poor people live.  Heck, they have enough to cope with just being poor.  They don't need more extremes of weather - drought or extra and heavier rainstorms and cyclones/typhoons/tornadoes as well.  If we give to alleviate poverty then more of that giving is being used in Disaster Relief rather than Development - 'maintenance' rather than 'moving on'.

  Come to think of it, it's affecting those of us at higher (or lower) lattitudes too.  Very cold winters, very wet periods, more and heavier rain, El Nino events, etc.  Look at the various weather events over the last few years.

  There are protest marches being held in various cities around the world this weekend to draw attention to the problem and to help concentrate the minds of attending politicians.  There's one in London, you can sign up for it here.  I shan't be going but I shall be backing them.

  The other event is George Osborne's Autumn Statement - the main worry being quite what he's planning to cut and by how much.  As he's already pledged more money for the NHS (having cut it severely over the past five years) cuts will be deeper  elsewhere to 'balance'.  So more children, more unemployed, more of those on low wages, more of those in care will be suffering.

  What is it with the Chancellor?  What is it with the UK that we believe him when he says this is 'the only way' to do things?

  The UK is a rich country, yet the Chancellor says that we 'cannot afford' to care for the weakest, the poorest, the most vulnerable.

  Give over, George.  Back in 1947 the country was recovering from six years of war.  There was a huge debt owed to the USA, large parts of the country needed rebuilding after the Blitz, foodstuffs were still on ration and the rations got smaller over the next six or so years BUT the then Labour Government somehow found the money to rebuild.

  They built council houses on a large scale, so that there were publicly owned properties to rent.  They set up the NHS - healthcare for all, free at the point of need.  That's just two things, done by a country one might have thought would be on its knees and out of funds, but they rebuilt.

  So what's so different now?  We haven't been at war, not here anyhow.  We paid off the last of the War Debt to the USA a few years back.  Food is more plentiful, more available and in more variety than ever before BUT there are people reliant on Food Banks.  There are people who regularly go hungry, missing meals because they can't afford to buy food, or because they can afford to feed their children, just, but not themselves as well.

  There are growing numbers of 'homeless' people - either those 'sofa surfing' or sleeping in their cars or people actually living on the streets.  There are children living on the streets too.  There are elderly people - 'heroes' who fought in World War II, who cannot afford to heat their homes adequately and eat come winter.

  But the Chancellor says we, one of the richest countries in the world, can't afford to look after them.  We just don't have the money, he says. Surely, George, we can't afford to not look after them?  And what are you doing with all the money you say we don't have?

  Y'all have a good, and thoughtful, day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
angry angry
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As part of his keeping in touch with work H was emailed the information that in December they will be having a Christmas hat/jumper/onesie day.  I offered to knit him a Christmas hat.  H replied that he wasn't going.  I suggested he email them thusly -

  Dear All,
          please excuse me from attending the Christmas hat/jumper/onesie day.  I have a note from my doctor.

  Preferably entitled 'Bah, Humbug!'

  One of the advantages of working at home is that you do not get the dreaded office party.  Others might consider this a disadvantage but I've heard things about such events.  Heck, I've even attended a few, though without some of the more 'hilarious-at-the-time' hi jinks.  'Scuse me while I go put the fire on.  It's not quite as chilly as it was yesterday but . . .  And yes I am wearing my woolly socks, woollen jumper and mitts (the fingerless kind so I can still type.)  This just happens to be the second coldest seat in the house, come winter.  I'll leave it to you to imagine where the coldest is, Dear Reader.

  In fact on the subject of socks, I started wearing my handknit woolly socks during the chilly snap back in mid-October.  I wore each pair for two days, then selected a different pair.  Yesterday I finally got round to wearing a pair for the second time - five weeks later.  Somehow I don't think I'll be needing new socks for a while yet.

  H is currently off at his first exercise class.  He wrapped up warm (including warm but silly-looking hat, I must knit him more a sensible-looking one) and headed off up the length of the island to the Sports Centre, a couple of miles.  He'd already viewed an exercise session on the BHF website and said that he'd come to the conclusion that exercise (per se) was for other people.  We don't have a car so we walk everywhere within walking distance anyway - basically anywhere on the island.  By the time he's walked up there he'll be toasty warm even with the chlll of the day and post-heart-attack chillly extremities.  Apparently he's supposed to be walking around half an hour per day by this stage in his recovery.  I did suggest he could get transport home again - there used to be a bus which went from near here to there and back again, at one point.  I suppose they'll let him go eventually.

  That'll do.  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual, knitting, but not socks for me!
Current Mood:
calm calm
Current Music:
Up in the morning - The Wombles
* * *
This morning we were back at the hospital - for educational purposes.  They run two-day courses for those who have had heart attacks in the past couple of months.  Today it was What Happens During a Heart Attack; What the Drugs You Are On Do; What You Can Do to Improve Matters (diet, exercise, stop smoking, drink less, reduce stress . . .)   All in great detail, repeatedly, over three hours!  I knitted a good part of the current sock, including a patterned bit.  Fortunately the presenting nurses didn't mind me knitting.  Apparently they get a lot of knitters.

  Ok, so that included a tea break and lots of time for people to ask questions but . . .   I know, they take it slowly and repeated things so that the information gets taken in.  Most people do not listen to presentations that much and the information is important.  All the same . . .   Ah well, Thursday we really get to the What You Can Do to Improve Matters and What I Am Going To Do.

  After which we were stiff from sitting so long in a warmish room and it was nearly lunchtime so we found the hospital restaurant and had some lunch.  I had salad - if I'm going to be looking after H then I'd better be healthy myself and I like salad anyway.

  H will spend the afternoon on the settee, probably sleeping.  I might join him.  As 'tis we are having much needed cups of Afternoon Tea.  You need tea after such an event.

  It's chilly again today.  The wind dropped overnight and there was frost on the roofs this morning.  Apparently the temperature is set to rise to something less seasonable soon.

  Which will do for today.  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual, knitting
Current Mood:
tired tired
Current Music:
The Birds - Ruspigi
* * *
Today the washing will dry well.  The sun, apparently absent for so long, is out brightly shining and it is windy.  Not the hurricane conditions we've had this past week, but blowing well enough.  This is good because at this time of year it's often more down to the wind than any sunshine that the washing dries.   What with our yard being north-east facing and all.  Having taken account of the wind strength I have pegged items very securely.  Today's winds are from the north and are consequently chilly.  Not cold, merely chilly.  Like 'average temperature for the end of November', rather than the unseasonable warmth we've had the past month and more.  Time to  break out the winter woollies and maybe even put the fire on!

  It appears the winds are blowing elsewhere.  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is apparently open to having a 'Muslim Database' in the US.  This is his response to the Paris attacks.

  Dur?  Talk about knee-jerk responses of the ignorant and fearful, or playing on them!  Trouble is too many Americans will buy into the idea.  I merely re-post a Tweet from Evan Greer -

    Paris attackers:
             -Not Syrian
             -Not refugees
             -Not using encryption

    US media & politician's focus:

  Trouble is that it isn't just the US media and some politicians focus.  David Cameron seems to be hell bent on getting UK forces to bomb Syria to hit back at ISIL and there is (quiet as yet) talk of needing to have soldiers in the area too.  Aaaarrrggh!  Don't these politicians realise they are playing ISIL's murderous game with them and in danger of playing right into their hands?  It would seem that at least Jeremy Corbyn has recognised this.  And no, I am not a paid up member of the Labour party, or even the JC Appreciation Party (at least, not that JC!)

  Change subject - you've heard about the increase in 'cat cafés, haven't you, Dear Reader?  Well, now there's a 'cat pub', sort of.  It's the Bag of Nails in Hotwells, Bristol.  It's not a 'cat pub' as such, but an independent pub which has fifteen cats living there.  Sociable cats who don't mind fraternising with the drinkers - some of whom, having heard about the place, are coming from quite a distance (South Wales, Hereford).  Bearing in mind how tough life can be for the average independent publican, it sounds like a good idea.  Don't worry, the cats are free to walk away any time they like.  You know how it is with cats, if they want to do something they will.  If they don't then tough!

  Right, we have frittata for lunch - recipe here, we had some greens left over Thursday night.  It tastes ok.  I made a proper yeasted dough for last night's pizza.  Verdict - better than the flour, oil and water dough but still needs work!

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
Current Music:
Cats Duet
* * *
So the thing to look for in the night sky at the moment, always assuming we can see it, is the Leonid meteor shower.

Image credit and copyright: Malcom Park (North York Astronomical Association)

  Apparently the Leonids are dusty debris from the orbit of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.  The above picture is a composite recorded over the night of November 16/17.

  Round here the sky has mostly been overcast for most of the week, so even spotting the sun has been a bit of an achievement.  Places with dark skies are the best for observation of astronomical phenomena, with no cloud cover.  Even in these rainy and hurricane-swept islands such conditions occur fairly frequently - just look at the list of astronomers and all they have discovered (or should that be 'named') and in the days before radio astronomy made clear skies an option rather than a requirement.

  The reaction to last Friday's attacks in Paris continues.  In many cases it seems to be overreaction.  You know, the 'kill all Muslims' kind arising from fear and ignorance.  Precisely the kind of reaction ISIL was hoping to provoke so that they could 'prove' that the Western world is against them and thus reel in other Muslims to their twisted 'cause'.

  Apparently certain Republicans want to stop Syrian refugees being allowed into the America and want to suspend the current US programme.  Their line of thought seems to be, "How can we tell who we are letting in?  How do we know they aren't radicalised Islamists who might turn around and attack us?"

  The answer to this is, of course, you don't.  Another answer is that put forward by President Obama:-

   ‘We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks. When individuals say we should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians should be admitted, that’s offensive.’

  It's also stupid, but they are Republicans after all!

  Meanwhile over here the stupidity is manifesting itself in other ways.  The Conservative government is still demanding cuts from various government departments and looking for yet further cuts to be made.  One of the services being so cut is the Police authhorities, who have gotten together and told the Home Secretary, Theresa May, that if more cuts are enforced there will be insufficient police available to provide proper police cover.

  Cover such as for international sports matches - like the England-France match the other night.  Or to investigate ongoing accusations of child abuse, or to police communities at all, let alone effectively, or even to be able to react adequately in the event of a terrorist attack.

  Whether Ms May will listen is one thing.  She is going to have talks with the Chancellor, George Osborne.  Whether he will listen is another matter entirely.  Osborne currently seems to be fixated on making cuts to any and all government departments and services - to 'save money'.  Yes, well, we've all heard of spoiling the ship for a ha'p'orth of tar, haven't we, Dear Reader.  I wonder whether he has too?  Because the way he's cutting things, and he has another 4 1/2 years to go in government, there won't be anything left to be cut.  He'll have cut it all to pieces.

  Hmmm.  It was reported that David Cameron suddenly woke up to the fact that all these cuts meant that his leafy Oxfordshire constituency wouldn't be getting very good Fire Service cover.  He complained.  Silly man.   Did he think Osbornes cuts would only affect the likes of those of us on incomes of £25,000 and less?

  As I've written before, if Osborne wants to raise some real money let him go tax the rich, the bankers, the big businesses - particularly the Multinationals who register their headquarters in places with very lax tax rulings so that they can wriggle out of paying company tax.  Except that these are the very people who fund the Conservative party.  Hah!

  And Finally - you may be considering Christmas soon, Dear Reader, it's 'Stir Up Sunday' this weekend after all.   Wakehurst place has put lights on the tallest tree in their gardens - all 35 metres of it.  Guess what, after they'd strung it with lights they switched on and it lit up.  Now, I wonder where our Christmas lights are?

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual, knitting
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
"With Cat-Like Tread", Pirates of Penzance - Gilbert and Sullivan
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