May into June

Thursday 26th May

I see that Switzerland, just like Germany, noted for its earthquakes and tsunamis, is going to phase out nuclear power replacing it with renewables. It’ll be interesting to see how they are going to replace 40% of their power supply with windmills etc, meanwhile despairing of the depth of human stupidity in this world. I also note that some penguin species are ‘in danger’, and that to save them we need to reduce our fishing and, apparently, our carbon dioxide. I wonder if they are as in danger from CO2 as the polar bears (whose population has more than doubled in the last fifty years), and I wonder how Germany’s phasing out of nuclear power stations, whilst they are building more coal-fired stations on the quiet, works in that respect.

Saturday 28th May
I had to chuckle at the news today. Cuba, that beacon of hope for lefty plonkers around the world, is trying something to rejuvenate its moribund Soviet-style economy. The government is cutting the red tape and regulation on small businesses, for example, restaurants will now be allowed to seat as many as fifty people rather than the previous twenty. It is also waiving taxes for one year to allow such businesses to get a foothold; get established. Well well, so that would be the hated capitalism then? Funny how countries that have sat under the boot heel of communist dictatorship are discovering that, surprise surprise, if you give entrepreneurs their head they make stuff, grow stuff, generate wealth and improve the lot of every citizen.

Of course, this is whilst our ‘western’ societies are heading the other direction by killing businesses, and that old much-abused concept called ‘freedom’, with increasing red tape, the expansion of state bureaucracy by putting more and more people on the government payroll, and by increasing the client state. Reading the Athens News I’ve come to the conclusion that Greece is Britain under New Labour but with a larger serving of corruption and nepotism, the EU is much the same whilst Britain is now New Labour light. Odd, isn’t it, how the countries on the rise across the world are those that were starved of the opportunities capitalism and freedom provide, and are now grasping them enthusiastically, whilst those going down the toilet are those where the state is becoming increasingly dictatorial. Maybe this is something to do with the direction of change rather than the quantity of it (in Cuba four out of five are still state employees). Maybe you can feel more optimistic about the future when your freedom to act is on the increase rather than the opposite.

Today started of grey and rainy so I whipped myself to this computer, started with the ranty waffling above then moved on to Jupiter War. Now at 5.00PM I feel great because I’ve cleared 3,000 words. I can only say that it was a good thing that I did not find success straight away and that I had to work in numerous real jobs over about 25 years beforehand. Often in here I’ve commented on how one of the things impelling me to write is knowledge of the alternatives. That’s true as far as it goes, but also there’s that instilled work ethic, that niggling conscience that makes me feel like crap, like a lazy sod at the end of the day if I haven’t written something. I can stave it off by labouring on this house, or in the garden and sometimes with lengthy blog posts, but in the end none of them pay the bills and are the low alcohol decaffeinated version. Accept no substitutes…

Wednesday June 1st
Dusty and messy in the house yesterday since we decided to have new tiles laid over the crap tiles in the spare room. The original tiles are a creamy colour with a rough stone effect surface that means they are a bugger to clean. Shiny tiles are the answer here where ‘skoni’, or dust, is a perpetual fact of life. Even when it rains you can’t get away from the stuff since the rain often dumps a load off of the Sahara. Often I go out to my car, which was dark blue the evening before, and find it transformed to and orangy muddy brown.

Some lazy irresponsible Greek has dumped a dog at the top of our village and it has taken up residence around an empty house above us. Being soppy English this worries us, but what to do? The single overstretched animal charity here is impossible to get hold of, we have no intention of taking it in since we aren’t here all year and certainly don’t want to end up like a lot of English here fostering and looking after the waifs and strays. If we feed it then it will hang around, and if it hangs around one of the locals will eventually get round to lobbing rocks at it until it runs, or dies, poisoning it, hanging it from a tree or setting it on fire. This is one of the hard realities of this Mediterranean paradise, and I also have to wonder if the kind of lazy irresponsibility that put the dog there in the first place is the reason this country is financially fucked.

Sorry, no pictgures today – forgot to download.

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