Survival

These are real survival plants. Will grow anywhere. It’s found on the paths, driveways, curb sides and stone surfaces.

Dad have you noticed how often on the survival programmes like Bear Grylls, they frequently have clean clothes on after a night in the tent or sleeping out in a forest. The hair is perfectly combed and they don’t look like they have had the best sleep ever. Even though the camp is flooded. You can’t even look like that sleeping in your own bed.”

He’s right as usual. I seem to have moved from just needing a little touching up around the face in the morning to a full cement mixer and construction team.

It’s as if they had not bothered with the tent and gone for a good nights sleep at the local hotel.”

Well funny you should say that and Bear. To be fair to Bear, I bet all the survival TV personalities do that. Finish filming, erect a shelter then bugger off to the nearest hotel. Actually it’s an excellent survival strategy. Save the tent for when you really have to use it.

I remember climbing in Torridon (Scotland) with a friend. We got caught out in a dreadful snow storm. We managed to get off the mountain but were completely lost. The blizzard got seriously bad as night fell. Couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of us. We found a level spot and pitched an emergency shelter. We spent a cold, damp and very hungry night in that cramped hell hole. When we woke the next day we found a blue sky winter wonderland. We also found that we had camped in a field only 40 yards from a hotel, bar and restaurant. Drat …. So Bear if you want to sleep in a hotel, well go for it fella.

So while we are on the subject of survival skills…..

It’s Thursday so it’s time for our weekly bit of fun. Wow this blog certainly needs that. So let’s have a little dabble with Chelsea Owens and her weekly hilarity challenge (sorry, not sure that came out sounding entirely decent). This week the challenge is

“Your writing prompt?

  • “…[T]here really is no valid excuse for an able-bodied person going out of his head from being bewildered in the big woods so long as he has a gun and ammunition, or even a few dry matches and a jackknife.”
  • Use it or be inspired by it to write a funny SHORT story.
  • Please keep your response to 200 words or fewer.
  • Remember: make me laugh. I can’t see how you’d go this route, but please also keep things clean.”

You have till 8:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 22) to enter at Chelsea’s blog

A mouse took a stroll through a deep dark wood

Unfortunately Bear Grylls was in the neighbourhood

Eating a mouse is great television, so watch for the trap

The mouse is caught, consumed in one, the scene is a wrap

Now time for Bear to light a fire with only a wet leaf and knife

Then tell a story about how he is missing a comfy bed and wife

Time to build a shelter from just some twigs and his underpants

Now Bear shows how to clean his teeth using some angry army ants

Look to camera and announce its time to hunker down for the cold night

Then jump in the car, head to the warm hotel and really satisfy that appetite.

Frustrating

So frustrating. Quite a bit of the sky is blue yet the black clouds keep rolling over the top of us. Keeping the Sun hidden. That’s as close as we have been to a glimpse of the big yellow thing. Which happens to be an awful lot closer than we have had to anything resembling competent government recently…..

So this morning the Government has said that their message is crystal clear, the problem is that some people just can’t understand it…. So they have helpfully clarified some stuff. The new Stay Alert message means you must stay at home and also that you must not stay at home. You can only see one person a day from a different household. So if you have two parents then you can only see one of them. Yet people can go to work and meet work colleagues (as many as you like) as long as you follow the new workplace rules – rules which have not been written yet. People should wear masks, but only if they really want to. Don’t need to worry about things like if the masks meet minimum standards, an old sock will do – anyway that’s what many of our nurses and care workers have had to resort to using as the Government couldn’t be bothered to buy enough protective kit. It’s completely safe to go out but don’t try to use public transport as this may or may not be safe. We have the same rules across the UK and you can drive anywhere you want to. BUT not to Scotland or Wales as they might be using the same rules but differently. It will soon be completely safe to send under 10’s back to school but they won’t be able to play together as that would be completely unsafe. We have the most open and honest government in the world but we won’t be releasing the scientific advice we have been using and we will only answer questions that we think are appropriate. The Government has issued detailed rules, bizarrely many of these are still being written (that’s a minor technicality) and don’t get so hung up on the safety details. Just use good old British common sense and basically wing this …..

So yes the sun has refused to shine so far but there is always hope it will. Unfortunately with Boris there is absolutely no hope of competent government ever appearing. Sadly we are not the only country like this. I just hope you get more of the sun than we do…..

Ticked Off

Meet one of our gardens true characters. This is Rico. Yes named after the truly mad penguin from Madagascar and The Penguins of Madagascar. Rico is a bit of a show off. Our world is better for characters like Rico and wow does it need it at present.

It’s been another day of Monty Python Government here. First we had the Scientific Officer confirm that the vast majority of first and second infections in the UK came from air travellers returning from Italy, France and Spain. We then had a senior Government Minister arguing that no possible reason exists to justify introducing screening at UK airports. Ok…. Yesterday we had the Government talking up the plan to reopen many schools in three weeks as it was safe to do so. Today we have Scotland’s Government arguing that the science is clear that it’s far too early to consider opening schools. And then we get the Foreign Secretary arguing that only partial opening of schools is safe. Ok…

We have a Health Minister who is gloating as we apparently reached his target of carrying out 100000 virus tests per day on the 30th April. We will ignore the fact that most other countries are carrying out more tests. We only reached his target because he included 50000 test packs which had been rather conveniently posted out to people on that very day. That’s like me sending out 50000 letters asking for a date and then counting all of them as actual dates. After the deadline we have slipped well below the 100k testing target again but that apparently doesn’t matter now as the target has now been ticked off. I tell you what – I am with many millions of Britain’s who are getting seriously ticked off with a certain Health Minister.

AND while we are on the subject of seriously ticked off. Why can’t I bake. After all the years of practice and yet it is still clearly beyond me. Today I foolishly decided to try my hand at a French Baguette. A gluten and dairy free one. It went into the oven looking like something which wouldn’t be out of place in Parisian Boulangerie. It came out like something Baron Frankenstein had created and then immediately binned. It was basically the same shape as a cow pat. It was also as easy to cut as reinforced steel. I can’t even give that to Rico and pals. Thankfully one person is this house has talent. After he stopped laughing Son said

You know what I can use that for. I will paint it and I can use it as a model.”

So my baguette was transformed into a remote island with snow covered mountain ranges, fast flowing rivers and deep lakes.

I bet if Gordon Ramsey had created this, it would have been called a ****** masterpiece and deserving of international recognition. That seriously ticks me off.

White elephant

The zero hours contract yielded 5 hours work today. Another 50000000 hours and I might just keep the bank manager from sending me snotty letters. Just enough time left for a quick run. The light was stunning. It’s the quiet before the next storm hits.

“Is it true that we are getting another storm.”

“Yes Son it’s due to hit at the weekend. But this time maybe just a little less wind but much more rain.”

Great. I bet they have given it a really silly name.”

“Storm Dennis.”

“Your joking aren’t you.”

No Son it’s officially called Dennis.”

Probably named after Dennis The Menice. Would have been better if they had called it Storm Menice.”

Given we seem to be getting them every 6 days now maybe they should call it ANOTHER STORM.”

Son gave the car radio a quizzical look when the news reporter mentioned that Boris Johnson is still committed to building a bridge between Scotland and Ireland.

How much is that going to cost”

“I think it was a minimum £20 billion but given our track record of overspends that probably means about £80 billion”

Dad what a stupid idea. How many operations, or school books or trees could that pay for. How many months will it be closed for high winds.”

It’s a staggering idea. A 45km bridge over a seriously mad and volatile sea area. Supported by a series of giant towers having to be spaced at least a kilometre apart to accommodate the busy shipping routes. It would also have to cross the location of the country’s largest military dump. In 1945 over a million tons of munitions and submarines were dumped in a 300m deep sea trench.

“Its ok Son it’s unlikely to be built. When he was Mayor of London Boris committed to another big bridge idea. He was going to build a pedestrian bridge over the Thames. It ended up as a shambles and nothing happened. So if he can’t build a bridge between London and London he’s going to struggle to build one from Scotland to Ireland”.

Talking about building Dad. When are you going to get round to putting my shelf back up in my bedroom.”

The project is currently in the planning stages.”

If you mean by planning that it’s been propped against the wardrobe them then planning stage has lasted almost two years.”

I will try to do it tomorrow.”

Yeh right. Two massive white elephants. The Irish Sea Bridge and my Lego Shelf.”

The armchair tour.

One of the hardest things to adjust to over the last three years has been that my world has severely contracted. It’s rare for me to travel more than a few miles. Certainly had no holidays in that time. I end up feeling very cut off and a million miles from anywhere.

Then you get days (like most of us) which are bleak. Sad. Depressing. When my dear mum got those days she would listen to sad music. She said it cheered her up. Although I love sad songs they just don’t cheer me up. Looking at old photos helps a lot. But these often leave me with a feeling – I wish I was there now.

So I started something a little different. My own little armchair world tour. I have a list of carefully selected webcams which I can run through in 10 minutes. Many of the webcams are places I’ve been. Some are wonderful views. Some might just be a street corner which has a poignant memory. Then a few webcams are from places I so want to visit one day.

I really look forward to my daily armchair tour. It’s exciting seeing what the places are looking like currently. What’s the weather like? Is it busy? Has anything changed? As I enjoy it so much I tend to save it up. Keep it just in case I need cheering up or calming down later.

So to give you a feel I’m going to leave you with a few of the webcams. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Spiez Webcam

Kandersteg Webcam

Glen Coe

Schilthorn Webcam

Gornergrat Webcam

Gstaad Webcam

Patagonia Webcam

Cape Town Webcam

Maennlichen webcam