……..And It Makes Me Feel Like Shit

and it makes me feel like shit

Today is the day. The day that the UK goes to the polls to re-elect the existing party and Prime Minister or change them/her for a new one.

It seems very likely that they will re-elect the existing ones.

And I still fail to see how anyone (apart from those earning a LOT of money) could possibly vote for May and her party and still be able to sleep at night.

If only I could vote, I would, this time, for the first time in my life, vote Labour. Not because I agree with them but because they are the most likely to be able to stop the Tories. Not that I think my vote would have made any difference but, you know …….

I don’t hate the Tories – they are people, after all. But I do hate what they have done and are doing to the UK.

I especially hate the fact that they are going ahead with Brexit even though less than half the voting population of GB voted to leave. Mind you, Labour will go ahead too, so the difference to me, personally, would be minimal – except that I think Labour are the most likely to safeguard my rights as a Brit living in the EU.

To stay in the EU, I would have to have voted LibDem and, although I was a Liberal/LibDem supporter for most of my life, after that coalition with the Conservatives, I’m not sure I could vote for them again.

So, tomorrow morning I will learn whether I should be more worried about my position here or not. Already, like the pound, I am worrying more. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion – knowing there are going to be fatalities and knowing there’s nothing you can do about it. Knowing there are some of your friends in the car but the driver is someone you don’t really like and he’s going too fast and is out of control and doing stupid things and you kinda say “well, it’ll serve him right!”

But, then again, there’s a couple of friends in the car with him and you really don’t want them to be hurt.

I have to be honest and say that in the past, I haven’t always voted in elections. There didn’t seem any point. How I wish I could take all those past non-voted-in elections and roll them up to be able to vote today. But I can’t, so just like watching the car crash, I sit here, worried about how bad it will be.

And it makes me feel like shit.

I may not like them but they ARE rather good.

I may not like them but they ARE rather good

And, further, on my post below.

I really try NOT to buy using Amazon. But I can understand why they’re taking over the world.

First, they tend to be the cheapest supplier of “stuff”.

Second, they offer free delivery.

Third, so far (I’ve used them twice), they beat the customer expectations. They promise delivery within a week or so, when you place the order, and then deliver within 2 days! So, I placed the order two days ago, they promised it would be delivered Tuesday or Wednesday of next week and then they have delivered today!

I hate them more.

I would never pay for Amazon Prime since the delivery, in any case, is so good. You can see why everyone uses them.

But I will still only use them when I really need to. I get my books from Wordery, who have wonderful customer service. I like to book my hotel and flights directly (I phoned the hotel in Rome and got a much better deal than I would have online, for example). But, you know ……

Amazon ARE doing something right. Cheap and efficient.

I still hate them though :'(

Coming soon …..

Coming Soon ......

There’s a death coming and coming fast.

And it will change your world.

I’m old. so, obviously, this is painful for me. But I can see it coming because of what happened on Saturday.

In “the old days”, if you wanted something, you’d go to the shops to buy it. When I arranged V & my’s surprise 10-year anniversary trip, I went to the Travel Agent next door to the office and we arranged everything – flights, hotels, train transfers, the lot. Within a few years, anything like hotels and flights, etc. I would do using the Internet. Then I moved here and I would buy CDs and books and stuff like that online.

But, if it’s something technical or something to wear, I prefer seeing the thing physically and buying it from a shop.

So I want something to connect the computers at home and have been told of this great product, a little more expensive than the Netgear stuff I tried before, but, apparently, more reliable and faster. I looked on the Internet for it and ignored the online-only shops. I found that one store stocked it and there was a store not too far away.

So, I went, on Saturday. Not only didn’t they have it but the guy was rude so, fuck them! I went home and ordered the cheapest one I could find which I ordered through gritted teeth as it was via Amazon.

But, my real point is that it is impossible to buy from a local shop! So, it’s one more thing that a shop won’t get to sell me and, of course, I shan’t be going back to that particular store ever again!

And I know there are many people who buy clothes online (although I don’t), buy food online (I do – but only for specified British things that I can’t get here), etc.

And that’s why the “High Street” is dying. And there’s not much to be done about it if they won’t do anything about it. Here, the “high Street” isn’t quite as dead as in the UK, but it’s coming here too. And how will our streets look then? The only shops being charity shops, betting shops, cheap shoe shops and, often, boarded-up shops.

Coming soon to a place near you!

Leave me be!

__leave_me_the_fuck_alone___by_alchimichi

I’m fairly easy going. I don’t need much and most of it I have already got.

But you know, leave me alone. I don’t want interferance from others and, in particular, governments and organisations. But, particularly, governments.

So, in the 1970s, the UK joined the EU. For most of my life after that, it didn’t really have a direct effect. And then I moved here. I was able to do so easily and, apart from the first couple of years, I didn’t and don’t need any sort of permission to stay here. It’s a right, guaranteed by the EU lawa and protections. In fact, right now, I can go anywhere within the EU to live and work (or not). It was granted to me by the governments of the EU and it’s a thing I like.

I have been here for over 12 years, living, working, paying my taxes, etc. I can go back, if I wanted to, or move somewhere else (as long as it’s warmer :-) ). I have true freedom of movement.

But now, because the UK are a bunch of arseholes, that current and future right is being put in doubt as with a load of other things. And Brexit hasn’t even happened yet! Almost daily, there are stories of people being threatened with deportation from the UK, people who can’t bring in their wife or husband because of an interpretation of the laws by the British courts, etc. And, still Brexit hasn’t happened!

And there are reports that, whereas the EU wants to ensure that it’s members’ people maintain the right of free movement to Britain, the British abroad are being excluded form that because the British government, to be frank, doesn’t really care about it’s small number of people abroad. On the other hand, I don’t care about much else except my continued right to stay and work here.

So, governments – LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!

Commenting allowed!

Commenting allowed!

After putting up my last post, I noticed that commenting was off, for some reason.

Not just on the last port – but all posts, at least for a while back.

I guess, at some point, an upgrade to WordPress made this setting and I had no idea.

Well, now I’ve corrected it. I needed to go to Posts, tick all titles, select Bulk Actions -> Edit and up came a window with various options including allowing people to comment.

Of course, to stop this happening in future, I also went to Settings -> Discussions and ticked some boxes to allow comments.

So, it wasn’t my fault and, it seems, was some common problem.

Glad I noticed it though. At least, now, people can comment on the stuff I write.

Fight the Bastards

Fight the Bastards

I haven’t spoken about it here and, in general don’t speak about it unless asked to specifically but, Brexit.

Putting aside my personal worries about it, I’m amazed by the way that the UK appears to be going. Amazed but not particularly surprised.

To understand how come Britain (by a small majority of voters but majority nonetheless) came to vote for something that I think (and in some way also hope) will be a disaster for the UK, I believe you should look at the general mentality of the British people (myself included).

I have mentioned it here many times but I vividly remember one of the first New Year’s Eves, walking back home (because of incredibly bad weather, a breakdown in public transport and a distinct lack of taxis) through the centre of town, Piazza Duomo. There weren’t that many people about. The main midnight event in the Piazza had finished and most people had gone. But there were enough people around. What struck me at the time (and still does, to be honest) was that the people that we met were quite drunk, were in groups (groups of lads, groups of girls, etc.) but, instead of getting “What yer looking at?”, “I’ll smash yer face in”, etc., all we got were “Auguri!” (Best wishes).

The ONLY time that I have ever been threatened while living here was the time, a few years ago, on a tram at around 9 or 10 p.m. when the younger guy, opposite me said exactly “What yer looking at?” in that threatening way. I can’t remember if he threatened to “punch me” or not but, as en Englishman, I know that would have been the next thing. I’ve become so used to people staring here that I was probably staring at him without realising it – but the point is that the only time I’ve been threatened is by some English jerk (for he was English) who did a typical English thing.

It’s a British characteristic, to fight people. Go to any town (I dare you) on a Friday or Saturday night and hang around pubs at any time after around 9 p.m. There you will see drunken people and, often, drunken people “looking for a fight”. We seem to get very angry when we get drunk (although these days, I get very tired and need to sleep). I say “we” including myself in that but I DO realise that not everyone does it, not even me – but it’s very common in the UK and I’ve never seen it here, however drunk the people are.

In fact, the British are an aggressive race. They fight. It’s served us well in the past, of course. up to and including the second World War. In fact, you could say it was essential. But we are a warring nation with this aggressiveness hard-wired into our DNA. We like a fight. We need to fight. We need to step up to the plate.

But, for any fight, you need an enemy. If we take it from WWII, first there was Hitler, then there were the Commies and, during the eighties, closer to home, we had the Unions (before after and during that we had the IRA). And then communism collapsed and we had no enemy. I mean to say, we have an enemy now (the Jihadists) but they’re really difficult to fight, as are black people and asian and arabic people (even though we try).

But, for the last 30 years or so we have, via the media, etc. been building up Europe and, in particular, the European Union, as “The Enemy”, constantly trying to “tell us what to do” and “impose their pesky red tape and laws”. At a time when an exit from Europe wasn’t envisaged, Margaret Thatcher arrived swinging her handbag and threatening action against the EU. She was like St George fighting the dragon of Europe – and the British public loved it. Add in the “war” with Argentina where she came across as the new Winston Churchill, and she was legend.

It’s what the British want. Someone who appears to be a strong and powerful leader – mainly by threatening to fight every one who is “enemy” – the EU, Argentina, the lazy unemployed, etc.

Since Thatcher’s time, we had Blair, who was a poor copy of her and then no one. And, when it came to the Brexit vote, the British, fearful about the future, for various reasons, voted to come out of Europe. But there isn’t a single reason for their reasoning but multiple reasoning. Some people, probably those with the least experience of immigration, voted to leave to stop people entering the country. Those people who live in areas which have lost their industry and now have high unemployment, voted out to, perhaps, bring back the jobs from Europe. Those from more affluent areas voted out to ensure we stop paying benefit to those who come in from Europe (or elsewhere) and to stop the money being ploughed in to the NHS (National Health System) that they don’t use anyway, so it’s not important. And many, from all over the country, voted out to stop the flow of money from the UK to Brussels.

It honestly didn’t matter if the reasons were real or not. It’s what they have read about and heard over the last 30 years and, eventually, they believed it.

And, then, along comes Theresa May, sword in hand, astride the white charger, like Boedecia or Queen Elizabeth I, shouting from the rooftops that she will lead us out and fight everyone until she gets what we want.

No matter that it won’t happen. If there is any failure with the negotiations, it certainly won’t be the UK’s fault but, instead the fault of the EU. Or Junker. Or the SNP. Or Northern Ireland, or, of course, the “Remoaners” and “snowflakes” who aren’t behind the country (as they actually don’t want to leave the EU?).

So, the angry people, frustrated with some aspect of their lives, like the drunk brawlers on a Friday or Saturday night in your typical British town/city, will have an enemy to berate and blame for failure and a leader who will absolutely join in, fomenting more hatred and unhappiness.

And, trust me, the Conservatives WILL win the election. Resoundingly. May is the leader (fighter) the British need. Corbyn and the others want to talk, not lead. The sheeple don’t want to talk, they want someone who, sword in hand, will destroy the enemy. There’s no one else that fits that category. After all, if you already know it won’t actually be possible to destroy your enemies, how can you speak with the right rhetoric?

So, the Conservatives will win, May will want to be seen as “strong and stable” and the EU will be to blame when there’s a Brexit with no agreement, introducing import and export charges and making the British people’s live more miserable. Big business will give the UK a miss meaning no return of factories and jobs and, eventually, perhaps, the UK will go back, cap in hand, to Brussels for a deal or become the 52nd State of the USA. Or, to cut off their noses to spite their faces, slipping into something close to 3rd World status.

But, remember, what’s more important than anything else is to fight “the bastards”. ‘Cos that’s what we do!

A dream. It could change everything.

A dream It could change everything

The other night, within the first hour or so, I had a nightmare.

I think it’s related to “the letter” that I have written and that I may/may not send.

I was in some sort of meeting and suddenly realised that my mother and my two brothers were also there. I realised they were there when my mother spoke and said something about an event in my life (seemingly unconnected with them) that went wrong and how they were happy that they had made it go wrong (I’m afraid I don’t remember the exact details or even if the “event” had actually happened – you know what dreams are like) – and, at that point, I realised that what I had thought all along was true – they are a mean, vindictive group of people. And I said that I was glad that I hadn’t sent the letter.

And, when I woke up, I wondered if it was a sign that I shouldn’t even bother to send the letter?

So, now I’m hanging on, really in two minds about whether I should send it or not.

My time in the hospice is taken care of.

My time in the hospice is taken care of

It happened a few days ago but a) I hadn’t thought it through and b) it hasn’t actually happened – it’s just an intent.

But, it’s a big intent. Well, I think it’s big.

So, I have a private pension fund (it doesn’t make me rich, honest, (unfortunately)) which, as an ex-pat, I had moved from the UK to an EU country for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was to escape some of the various private funds having a say over who could receive the fund in the unfortunate event of my death.

So, I’ve left it all to F. And I explained that I had done this, warning him that it wasn’t something to get excited about but it would mean he could pay for people to look after the dogs, etc. This was a few years ago.

Then, a few days ago, when I was having some issues and he was away, I talked about them and he told me that his brother had phoned wanting money. Now they own the house down in Carrara on a 50/50 basis and F’s brother wants F to buy him out. F said that he would go to the bank and try to get a mortgage to buy out his brother.

And then he added that he would write a will to leave it to me if he should die.

Because, “it would help you pay for a hospice if you needed.” Which was quite a strange thing to add but, still.

Of course, it’s extremely unlikely that he will die first, given my age and the smoking and stuff – but that’s not the point, as you realise.

And I thought it was quite sweet (apart from the hospice stuff which was a bit weird).

But it makes me feel a little more secure, which is nice.

Let sleeping dogs lie ……. or not?

Let sleeping dogs lie?

So, here’s the thing.

Perhaps I was wrong. I have posted about this before but it’s kinda niggling now. It’s niggling and time is running out. Of course, it’s not essential that I know. I mean, nothing will really change either way. But, you know ……..

Worse still, what if this niggling gets worse and then I find it’s too late to find out?

I’ve checked for obituaries and death notices and I can only assume she’s still alive. TBH, I expect her to still be alive. After all, her parents lived into their 80s, so she should too.

But, she is at least 79 now, possibly 80 this year (maybe older but I have a fuzzy memory of being at school and writing about her age – I was around 5 and, when she found out, I was admonished for giving away her age, ‘cos you don’t do that for ladies) – I was 5 and she was 26 which means (and I’m fairly certain about this) that she was 21 when I was born. People had babies much younger then, of course. And got married much younger too.

So, there you have it. She is the only person left alive who can verify (or not) this particular “truth”. If she should choose to. And if she doesn’t lie about it.

But, to get this “truth”, I must make contact. And, I have several problems with that.

Let’s take the simple things first. How do I start the letter? Dear who? Of course, I could just go straight into it – but that might be too cold or, for her, too odd. And then there’s her husband. I have to mention him. “Your husband” or “John” or something else? Certainly not Dad or Father.

If the thing is true, maybe she wouldn’t show it to the others. But, then again, maybe she would. And I don’t really want that. Not that it really matters but, still, I would prefer not.

Then, there is the thing that it somehow encourages some hope (in her) and I don’t want that either. Also she might be ill or at the end of her life and, although I have no specific feeling for her, I don’t want to cause unnecessary pain or suffering nor any false hopes.

Of course, if what I had believed for all these years (until recently) remains true, then the contact wouldn’t bring that. But then she most likely wouldn’t reply. And then that would be an admission on her part?

Or, if the new belief is true instead, maybe she would be heart-broken that he really was such a bastard and that he set out to permanently and irrevocably stop any contact. And, for her, that would be too much to bear and so she wouldn’t reply. So either way I would never know.

I could phone instead of a letter. But then, if it’s true/not true, hearing it would be too much …. for both of us??

On the one hand, I want to know. On the other hand, as the saying goes, for a very good reason, let sleeping dogs lie

** p.s. As I had written this post I thought I had better look up obituary or death notices, just in case. I found that she is probably around 82 so I was a few years out.

What’s happening to this world?

Tomorrow, Trump takes over one of the most powerful countries in the world and the world might end shortly afterwards. Or not.

Soon, the United Kingdom will leave the EU and the EU might start ending or the UK might crash and burn.

Turkey might be on its way to becoming a dictatorship. Syria is still in the middle of its civil war (which should really be called the first “Water War”) resulting in many refugees trying to escape.

There is the continuing war between the hard-line Islamic groups and the Western World.

It’s starting to look like a disaster and you’d think that the Western World would band together to fight the hard-line Islamic groups more effectively.

Except, of course, that’s not actually the war, even if it seems like it.

There are significant changes happening to our world (and economies and cultures) and, it seems, nobody really knows how to deal with it or (in some cases) what the real problem is.

So, let’s look at the real problems.

Water: Some areas of the world, maybe because of climate change, exacerbated by population explosions and, therefore, lack of water resource, are suffering from unexpected droughts. This means the people who live there have to move, creating internal (to the country) migration which, if too large causes the same problems as immigration – too many people and too few jobs and other resources. This causes friction between the indigenous population and the incomers and foments anger, discrimination and the rise of fanatical groups. That’s Syria but is also starting to happen (has happened?) elsewhere.

Globalisation: The rise of the truly international corporations and their wealth and power is transforming the whole world. Some companies now have the wealth of nations and can demand governments treat them as “special cases”. Global international companies want a) free and easy trade agreements between countries, b) freedom of movement (for both themselves and their employees and their money) and c) reductions in taxes and other payments. If they don’t get these things they move out. If they get these things because of a promise to “stay where they are” or “invest more”, they can, quite easily break these promises …. and they do. They really have no “national pride” as their only motive is to increase profit and shareholder value. With the increasing beneficial (to them) trade agreements, they can move parts of their business, manufacturing or services elsewhere quite easily. (As an aside, I’ve just broken off from this and seen that Theresa May has been saying something about this at Davos – and asking multinational companies for “help” in making it right. This should be interesting.)

Money: Of course, money is actually (originally) debt, created by the banks. The problem is not money itself but the fact that, like a river, it flows and sometimes gets caught up in certain places (forming lakes of water) and sometimes disappears from elsewhere (the debt part of it). If you have it, it’s all right; if you don’t, it’s a bit of a problem. Countries used to have it (sort of) but now they have massive debt and multinationals and the super-rich have it all. This puts countries and most ordinary people at a huge disadvantage (see also globalisation above.)

Technology: Just like in the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th and into the 19th centuries, is changing everything we are used to, from a social and cultural sense to work – what it is, who does it and, more importantly, who doesn’t. Just like the change from everything being done by hand to automation and mass production, it is having an enormous effect in terms of employment and is growing globalisation faster than ever.

So there are the problems. The question is, what do we do about them. And no one really knows what to do. Countries, for a couple of centuries, our (more or less) stable units of groups of people, certainly aren’t sure and certain countries are trying different things. The EU has been (and currently still is) trying to “keep control” using laws and benefits. Recently some countries have put forward the idea of a universal income – where everyone gets a basic amount whether they’re working or not. Therefore these people can still buy the food they need, live in a house or flat and have some basic necessities. Those at work would have more money and can spend that money creating more employment. However, in my opinion, this will only work if those in employment either pay much more in tax or take lower pay, allowing their company to make more profit and pay more tax. At the end of it, the countries doing this kind of thing need more money to make it work.

An alternative, and the one that Trump seems to be banking on, is to ensure that companies create more jobs. The problem with this course would seem, at the moment, to do away with trade agreements and free trade – something that the multinationals desire and need.

Another alternative is to “encourage” companies to come to your country to create employment. This is what the EU (and America too) have been doing up to now. The unfortunate bit (as I mentioned in the globalisation paragraph) is that multinationals don’t feel so patriotic and will happily break any promises they make or move when they get a better offer. So, I think it’s possible to conclude that this method just isn’t really working, although it will take a bit of time for countries to get this.

Of course, in the meantime, the blame for all these world problems is being put on a) immigration and/or b) fanatics (which for Western countries is synonymous with hard-line Islamic groups.)

In the meantime, we are approaching World War III as countries and blocks around the world try to ensure (as it was for Communism v Capitalism) their brand of solution is the right one. Of course, as we’re seeing, it won’t necessarily be physical war. It will also include Digital War and an Ideals War (as for Communism v Capitalism). It’s impossible to tell who will win right now but, in the meantime, the fun game for the last few (20?) years has to be to pin the blame on someone else. And this has, largely, been successful, unlike in the war between Capitalism and Communism when, obviously, the enemy was the other side. Either the politicians and/or the media have a) not known who to blame (which is terrible) or they b) knew they were blaming the wrong people/groups but either didn’t care as it was a quick way to gain power or it was deliberate (which is also terrible).

The blame has been put on a) immigrants, b) those people not working, c) those people not paying their “fair share of tax” and, occasionally, d) banks and e) corporations.

But, in the main, it’s been a) and b). Those are the people that will HAVE to be looked after under the new EU-type model of the economy or completely abandoned under the new USA-type economic model although, under that model, the people in group b) may have some chance of working (but, possibly, in a gig economy – meaning that, although they will no longer in that group, they will have no future.)

Whichever way the world goes and whichever economic model the countries take, expect a lot of fall out and, I would say, most people in the world will suffer until the economic winner becomes clear.

So, basically, whether you live in the Syria, Turkey, Russia, the EU, post-Brexit Britain or the USA (or anywhere else?) you can expect, over the next 10 years or more, to be completely fucked.

Oh, yes. And happy new year!