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A sperm whale was found dead on a Spanish beach. 29 kilograms of plastic in its stomach blocked its digestive system. This is the fate many fish, turtles, whales, birds, dolphins, and other animals risk daily as our ocean becomes a plastic soup.

Thanks to public outcry, the European Commission proposed a new law to reduce single-use plastics and stem the huge tide of plastic waste. Unfortunately, some EU countries are likely under pressure from the plastic industry to derail this hopeful proposal for our environment.
 
Will you sign the petition? https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/stop-single-use-plastic-pollution-now-uk

But we still have a chance to make the Commission’s proposal a reality. That’s why it's urgent they hear from us now before they go on holiday! Right after the summer, the proposal will be discussed by EU national governments. We need them to resist the plastic industry’s lobbying and to support the Commission’s proposal.

Can you help the campaign by signing too?
https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/stop-single-use-plastic-pollution-now-uk


  Honestly, do we really NEED so much plastic?  Particularly the single-use stuff?

  Take a bag, or two, folded up, with you in your regular bag.  If you have a car - put some cardboard boxes in the boot.  Or you can get those fancy 'fit in your supermarket trolley, then transfer to your boot' bag/boxes.

  Put a re-usable coffee cup in there as well (I got a 50p discount for using mine the other day.  On a £2.50 cup of coffee.  That's a 20% discount!  It's always worth asking.)  Remember to wash it occasionally and put it back.

  While you're at it, put a spoon and/or fork in your bag too.  It'll always come in useful.  I have a cut down plastic picnic spoon (yes, I know, the 'p' word, but it's sturdy and very reusable.)  It's cut down so it'll fit into the lunchbox after I've eaten my packed lunch, then it gets washed with the box and put back in the bag.

  Just three small things.  All very easy to do, and easier the more times we do them.  We can fight this rising tide of plastic, one item at a time.  And if more of us do, it'll have greater impact.  Goodness only knows the planet needs that.

  As the meerkat says, 'Simples!'

  And NEVER.  EVER.  Never put plastic-sticked cotton buds down the loo.  EVER.  I think card-sticked cotton buds are becoming available.  I don't know, I don't use them.  Or wet wipes.

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

Current Location:
off to Southsea Food and Cheese Festivals. Cheeeeese!
Current Mood:
determined determined
Current Music:
Fingles Cave - Mendelssohn
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So they got the boys and their coach out of that awful cave in Thailand.  Well done the rescue team (which our News pointed out was lead by experienced British cave-divers. Who reckon they 'aren't heroes'.)

  The morals of this story are:-

a) if you're going anywhere 'adventurous' ALWAYS tell someone where you're going and when you're likely to be back.  Tell them when you actually get back too.  That way, should you get into difficulties and overstay your 'expected return time' someone will be able to alert the relevant search groups.  Or not, as necessary.

b) DON'T go underground when you know rain is due.  For reasons which should have become obvious during the past few weeks!
If you are thinking of going pot-holing or caving - check the local weather forecast.  Preferably check with the local pot-holing/caving group too.  They'll know.  They'll also form part of the team coming to get you out should you get stuck!  So better pay attention to thier advice.

c) We can do anything when we work together.

* * *

  US President Donald Trump is here on an official visit being fêted.  He probably won't see the balloon.  Authorities are doing their very best to keep protesters and him apart.

  Mind you, being POTUS Trump exists in a security bubble.  See about balloon, above.

  He also appears to live in his own little bubble, where everyone loves him and thinks he is marvellous.  So even if he saw protests/protesters, maybe they just wouldn't register.

  The other day he made a speech saying he knew that the British loved him.  Hmmm.  See comment about, above, about living in his own little world!

  Ok, so some Brits do think he's doing a good job.  Credit where credit is due, the whole US/North Korea situation looks a lot less likely to end the world as we know it now.  Whether he and Kim Jong-Il can come to a real agreement remains to be seen.

  BTW - Freedom of Speech (and expression) means we are allowed to disagree with/about someone/something.  Within reasonable limits.

* * *

  And the Court of Appeal has ruled that Carers who stayed overnight at a place of someone for whom they are caring won't be paid back pay for those hours.  Not even at minimum wage (not that Carers earn much more than that when they are 'working'.)  It would have amounted to six years' worth of wages.  A sizeable sum.

  Apparently, these Learned Judges reckon, Carers are only 'working' when they are awake.

  Yes, well, M'Luds.  The thing about having to be 'on call' for someone throughout the night is that you probably won't be sleeping all that time.  You will be up and doing, possibly every few hours, maybe every few minutes.

  So what does the Carer do?  Log every time they get up and 'work'?

  Besides which, as parents of new babies or sick children will know all too well.  Or, for that matter, those who care for relatives (that's 'care' in the unpaid because-they're-family sense) if you're 'on call', you don't sleep that soundly.  You always have an ear open, even if there are no 'incidents' in the night.  That's why people need 'respite care'!

  Gah!  I wonder quite how Learned these Learned Judges actually are.  Did they have Nannies for their children?  Or did they leave that to the Au Pair?

  Should any of their children have mental/physical 'differences' - who cares for them?

  And what about their aged parents?  Do they employ Carers to care for them?

  And, bearing in mind the apparent age of your average High Court Judge - who's going to care for them in the near future?

  Or is it a case that High Court Judges are so well paid that they'll be able to afford anything they need?  Unlike far too many of the rest of us.  Strikes me President Trump isn't the only one living in a bubble!

  And, most important of all, why is Caring so grossly undervalued and underpaid?

  Yes, I know that actually providing 'Care' is, in some cases, Big Business and highly profitable for those at the top.

  I also know that D get's paid Basic Rate for what is a highly skilled and very physical job.  She's worth more than that, as are the others who do the actual Caring.

  Could it be an throwback to when such things were done almost exclusively by servants, and women . . ?

* * *
And best of all, there's been a southerly wind blowing since Tuesday.  It's a cool southerly wind (don't ask how.  I dunno.  I'm just grateful.)  Consequently temperatures which have been in the low-mid 30s°C previously are now nearer 23-25°C.  It's brilliant..

  That'll do.  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
Piano Concerto no2 in C Minor (2) - Rachmaninov
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It's still too warm, and relentlessly sunny.  You know, you really can have too much of a good thing!

  We visited the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on Wednesday - what with having annual membership now.  Yes, H took loads of photos.  No, I shan't be posting any of them.  See comment about having a life outside LJ in previous entry!

  The gardens were glorious.  The sky was overcast.  Yay!  Consequently it was merely warm, as opposed to Main Warm, which we really appreciated.

  What we also appreciated was that the trains and buses came (almost) when the timetable predicted they would.  They lined up pretty well (Hants having a disconnected public transport policy, remember) and got us smoothly from Fratton to Romsey to the Gardens and vice versa.

  What's more, while we were having elevenses at Tea Cups in Romsey - out in their newly refurbished back yard (very nice dark red pelargoniums) small drops of a clear liquid started to fall from the sky.  What were they?

  As 'twas they only lasted a short while and served but to make the air more humid.  Garsp!  Not sure I'd know what to do if anything like that happened seriously now.  Though there are yellow Thunder warnings out for the area generally.  Perhaps.

  Anyway, we thoroughly recommend visiting the gardens if you get a chance.  Meanwhile I'm saving washing up and other waters for my garden.  So far it seems to be working.

  Right.  It's too hot here now, in what is normally the second coldest seat in the house.  'Moff to bed.  Again.

  Sorry and all that, but I probably won't write up the rest of our Castles and Gardens of Mediaeval Wales tour.  It's just too much and I have a life.  Even when it's Too Darn Hot!

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
back in bed!
Current Mood:
hot hot
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Ok, ok, I'll get with the image selection and processing, but I have a life outside LJ so I ask your patience, Dear Reader.

  Also it is Main Warm (as the first farmer for whom Bro worked would say.)  Porth Madoc, upper lefthand corner of Wales on the coast, has had record temperatures in the low-to-mid thirties (°C) this week.  We're just having mid-to-high twenties and are very grateful for sea breezes, but it's hot!  For us.

  As there has been almost no rain since the wash out that was the Easter Bank Holiday period, various authorities are muttering about 'water shortages' and asking that we don't water our lawns or wash our cars with hosepipes and take four-minute showers rather than longer ones or bathing.  All of which is fair enough.

  The countryside, usually so green and pleasant, is rapidly browning.  As are those who insist on not wearing sunscreen - having gone bright red first!

  Mind you, some wildlife is finding ways to keep cool.  I dare say this one will be making the rounds pretty soon, but you may have seen it first here, Dear Reader.

  Right, off to make some more ice and maybe try to round up some washing.  Gotta dry washing while the sun shines.  I should also take the Dyson round, but H hasn't emptied it yet.  Poor man's too darn hot and keeps forgetting.

  BTW - what happened to the German fußbal team?  How are the mighty fallen.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
hot (no, not that kind of hot!)
Current Music:
Sylvia - Pizzicati - Delibes
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I think maybe Chirk was the last place I had sufficient time to look around properly.  As 'twas I had to rush down the drive (I use 'rush' in a very limited sense here.  I was overtaking snails and tortoises, but not that much faster.)  I was almost last back to the coach, arriving breathless and glad that I could walk far enough, fast enough to get breathless!

  We headed off to Erddig (pronounced 'Ear-thig') courtesy of the SatNav as neither Tony the Driver nor Marion the Tour Guide knew the way from Chirk,.  Thus we arrived at the gates to try to make a right turn in a very narrow space.  The coach was too big and Tony, bless him, ended up taking it all the way up to the main road, to a local industrial estate where there was enough room to turn the coach.  Then back again to do a left turn into the gateway.  Breathe in everyone, those are stone gate posts!

ErddigCollapse )

  After which we were rounded up for the scheduled Surprise.  Which wasn't so very surprising after all.

That AqueductCollapse )

  And there was dinner, and breakfast, the second day.  Service was better too.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
Current Music:
Wedding Day At Trollhaugen - Grieg
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* * *
Right, as promised, our latest coach tour.  With a ton of pictures (and that's an Imperial ton, they're heavier than Metric tonnes!)

  This tour was entitled "Castles and Gardens of Medieval Wales", a five-day trip.  As Days 1 and 5 would be taken up with travelling, that meant we'd have three days to cover the Castles of Medieval Wales.

  As anyone who knows their Welsh history will tell you, there are a heck of a lot of castles in Wales; some in ruins, some in quite good nick and still lived in by their original Families.  Many, if not most, were built by Edward II to opress the native Welsh people.  Some, eg: Powis Castle, were built by Welsh Leaders - to protect themselves from other Welsh Leaders (there was a lot of inter-tribal fighting back then,) or to protect themselves from Edward II (and other English attackers!)

  As 'twas we 'did' two castles and two Big Houses, all with Gardens, a Really Large Garden (all National Trust properties), an Aqueduct (yup, Dear Reader, that Aqueduct) and a steam railway.  It was real value for money, though walking at the speed I now do (which is faster than a couple of years back) I didn't manage to see nearly everything and would have preferred more time at each place.  Except the steam railway.  I quite like steam railways, but we had plenty of time there and I'd had to rush through parts of the previous place, thus missing an awful lot.  I shall be mentioning this to our Tour Operator - when I work out how to contact them.  They don't make it obvious (or my Tech Skilz just aren't up to it!)

  Ahem.  We were based in Llangollen (pronounced 'Hlan-goh-hlen') - a small town in the Dee valley.  Very pretty, steep wooded hills loud with birdsong at this time of year.  This was the second year we'd been to north Wales and the sun shone every day!  Knowing what 'normal Welsh weather' can be like, maybe we'll go somewhere else next year and not push things!

Chirk CastleCollapse )

  Right, sorry about the mess at the end.  I blame it on LJ.  It all showed up when I loaded it.  What's happened since?
Either way, it took all morning to upload and I ain't doing it all again.  Sorry, Dear Reader.  The way my time is committed at present I'm beginning to wonder whether I'll even bother trying to upload the rest and tell you about them.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
Current Music:
Land of My Fathers - Welsh National Anthem
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Apparently, after much outcry initially inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Supermarkets are starting to stock ranges of what they call 'Wonky Veg'.

  These are the less-than-cosmetically-perfect fruit and vegetables they had hitherto been rejecting, refusing to buy from producers and thus they were either being left in the ground or sent straight to waste.  What it is to live in a country where we can 'afford' to waste so much good food!

  As Readers may know, I don't often buy fruit and veg from supermarkets.  Because a) unnecessary plastic packaging and b) price.  I 'raid' our local market on a Thursday or Friday.

  So yesterday I got two aubergines.  For £1 note, in a paper bag.  No unnecessary plastic.  One of them was 'wonky'.

Meet 'Obo'Collapse )

  Y'all have a good day now!
Tags:
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
amused amused
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Oh look, Gosport has been put firmly 'on the map' (daft phrase.)  The long awaited enquiry into unexplained deaths of at least 450 patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital made known its findings yesterday.

  Turns out that there had been 'worries' expressed about the prescribing of large doses of opiates to certain patients for a long time.

  This prescribing started back in the 1990s.

  Nearly thirty years ago, nurses expressed their concerns about such large doses of the drugs being given.  They were told to get on with their job.

  People began to express concerns that their elderly relatives who were admitted as patients were suddenly deeply asleep, almost comatose, for no apparent reason.  Then they died.

  When it became clear that a lot of elderly patients had suddenly started dying for no apparent reason - they'd been admitted for (fairly) minor illnesses or respite care - relatives began to demand answers.

  Twenty years later an enquiry was finally set up.  It investigated thoroughly and yesterday published its findings.

  Turns out it wasn't just the nurses and relatives back in the 90s who were concerned.

  Apparently the Doctors knew about the over-prescribing of opiods to elderly patients.

  The Consultants knew about it.

  The Hospital Administrators knew about it.

  And none of them did anything*.  Not even those (Consultants and Administrators) who were in a position of authority and able to do something without 'getting into trouble' as various nurses had - some of whom lost their jobs.

  I thought the line went "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility."  In this case responsibility for your patients.  Even the elderly ones.  You know, the ones we commemorate annually for fighting against the Nazis and their inhumane policies.

  . . .

  So now Hampshire Police are talking about looking into the whole thing, to see if anyone is criminally responsible and can be prosecuted.  Not that they haven't been told about things over the past twenty years.

  . . .

  *LOUD SCREAM*


  Y'all have a good Longest Day now!



  *Well, actually they did.  They closed ranks to 'protect the reputation of their hospital'.  Like that has worked!

  H told me that one of his work colleague's Grandmother's had been admitted to Gosport WMH during the past twenty years.  She promptly discharged herself and refused to go back in.  See, even the patients knew about it.  Some of them did do something.  Many of the relatives of those who died have been doing something.
  But it comes to something when it's those 'at the bottom' have to agitate, often for years, for an enquiry into malpractice, rather than those actually 'in charge' instigating one.  Gah!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
angry angry
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Morning, Dear Reader.  I'll get round to posting about What We Did On Our Holidays - Medieval Castles and Gardens of Wales.  At present I'm uploading the photos for Day2, Day1 being travelling - very scenic in places (Wales) but no pics.  Which is just as well as H took a heck of a lot, even with the first battery dying on him on Day2 (or was it Day3?)  They're mostly exterior shots.  The National Trust (Wales) doesn't encourage the taking of photos in its properties.  Something about the flash fading the artefacts.  Hey, some of the 'artefacts' have survived nearly 600 years, they need all the help they can get!

  Meanwhile, in an attempt to help us make our cash go further - some Small Ways To Save Money.  The article says $, being written by an American for the US, but it'll also help save £ and €.  I've probably mentioned a few of them before.  But the plastic bottles of water.  In spades!

  Also, for your amusement - a Person-Powered Scarf-Knitting Machine.

  Right, '#19 of 37 photos loading as binary data'.  It may well be Friday before I get the time to post, life being it's busy as usual.  It'll be a long one.

  Time to go peg out.  Urgh!

  Y'all have a good day now!
Tags: ,
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
Current Music:
'What A Picture' from the Musical 'Half a Sixpence
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We had a good day yesterday.  We'd heard about an exhibition of things knitted/crocheted/laced/whatever from various fibres and other bits in the Gosport Gallery.

  So having washed the towels, pegged them out, washed the rest, (gotta dry washing while the sun shines,) we eventually left.  H decided to go the land route to Gosport as he has a train and bus pass for work, thus he'd get there for free.  I swapped the towels for 'the rest', once the towels were very nearly completely dry and caught the bus to The Hard Interchange and the Ferry across to Gosport.  "It's shorter by water."  Of course, I had to pay for my tickets.  I even fought with the ferry ticket-issuing machine.  And won.  Second try!

  As 'twas I took half an hour, even fighting with the ticket machine.  H took an hour and, thanks to the washing, we arrived at the same time.  Yay!

  Coffee, then up Gosport High Street through the Saturday market, which, in the manner of such markets, isn't as big as it used to was (as S used to say when Very Young.)  Mind you, it all helps make the place look busier and hide the fact that more and more of the actual shop units are empty or are charity shops - the apparent fate of more and more High Streets these days.

  There were a couple of excellent plant stalls, one run by a nursery (plants, Dear Reader, not small children!)  Someone else had evidently seen Fridays "Gardener's World" programme and within a couple of hours had bought the two Ethiopian Banana plants.  Monty Don had been planting out his in his garden on the programme - that was over six feet tall and he reckoned it would double that over the summer.  He'd obviously inspired people!

  Anyhew, the exhibition - Making a Splash!  Various knitting groups locally had knitted/crocheted/whatever-ed different things associated with the seaside - from sandwiches to seagulls, jellyfish to jelly rolls, which were arranged in various scenes.  There were seagulls and puffins arranged semi-lifelike-ly on shelves as if nesting on cliffs.  There were knitted and crocheted picnics, a beach hut, rock pools.  There were even a knitted squid and a knitted octopus high up on a balcony.  There was a fisherman complete with boat (wooden, not knitted/crocheted) and catch of fish.  The fish included flatfish - grey fabric with orange and yellow buttons applied.  We both reckoned that if they'd been made a little bigger and the buttons replaced by felt spots they'd make very good Plaice Mats!

  Ahem!  Anyhew, should 'Making A Splash' be coming to a gallery near you (it's currently doing the rounds of various Hampshire galleries) try to go and see it.  It's on at the Gosport Gallery until 7th July.

  What is more, they have yarn, they have hooks and needles, they have patterns - you can knit/crochet your own fish/biscuit/sarnie/seaslug to add to the display.  Or, as I did, you can take a pattern, or two, and knit/crochet them in your own time and yarn.  I took a few patterns and will be taking them to Knit Club one Monday afternoon to tell them all about it.  Some of them might find it amusing!

  After which, looking for somewhere to have lunch, we came across a baker's shop with stall outside.  He also did sarnies/baps etc and very reasonably priced too (tea/coffee 80p.)  So we nipped in and had pulled pork baps and very nice they were too.  He bakes all his own bread and cakes and also does a pretty extensive gluten-free range.

  Should the gluten-intolerant among you be wondering why gluten-free baked goods are so much more expensive - the baker explained that a sack of ordinary flour (white, I think) was £25.  A sack of gluten-free flour was nearer £125, being a blend of various different flours (rice, potato, gluten-free oat, etc.)

  Either way, next time we're in Gosport we'll be headed there for lunch, and possibly some bread too.  He makes very good bread - he has forty years-plus experience of making bread.

  Then back home, by land or by water, make sure our gardens are properly hydrated, it having been warm and dry recently, and get in the rest of the stuff, now properly dry.

  All in all a successful day.  How was your Saturday, Dear Reader?
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
Current Music:
Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside
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