Reg Dwight liked a fight on a Saturday night, me I'm just a lawnmower, you can tell me by the way I walk.
Did Reg really like a bit of a ruck, I don't think so, did he get as well oiled as a locomotuive, doubtful, but the song was great, and his hair then was his own. He and his band made some great music in those early days, I can still listen to Captain Fantastic.
Where would he been without Berie Taupin I wonder, if you liten to the lyrics of some of the songs on the Captain Fantastic album you get a hint of the seediness of the music world as it was then.
All that aside back to the mundanities of everyday life.
So yesterday I got my backside in gear and made a start on my very neglected looking garden, the Winter had left it in a sorry state, the grass uncut, the patio which I think was a honey colour when the slabs were laid are now a dirty looking greyish colour.
Dead leaves lay across the cold stone like soldiers who had lost an unequal battle against the weather, a gardening Stalingrad if you will, I was now to become like a gardening graves registration unit clearing the battlefield of the fallen.
Plants from last year as limp as TM's Brexit strategy, (I will never mention it again).
I had formulated a plan, all night my head had swirled with idea's, nothing to do with gardening, but that's another story.
My aim was to clear everything off the patio, all the garden funiture, various pots, get rid of an old christmas tree which had very little life left in it, and sweep all the leaf debris and other stuff off.
Preparation is the key after all, or so I'm told, fail to plan, plan to fail, and failure is not an option.
I'd optimistically bought myslef a pressure washer during the week and was itching to try it out, but delayed graification was required, first I had to cut the lawn.
With all the rain we've had it was hard work, plus I have man flu, which everyone knows is totally debilitating :) After the lawnmower had had its first outing the deed was done.
After all tomorrow (now today) was Sunday and in the night there was the real possibilty of a call from Mr Farmer..
Grass cut I moved all the stuff off the patio and at this point disturbed some grubs, and a Robin watching my labours took his opportunity and swooped down, grabbed a grub and flew back into the nearby bush.
There he sat his prize in his beak, I think in his own way he had a look of thanks on his face, but his mood soon changed when he landed in front of me and I tried to get another picture, he stared at the camera with a look that said, "You looking at me" ?
The grim reality of a dirty patio.
So I make a start, a Robin gets fed, and a grub meets his maker, there must be a reward for all this effort so a trip to a brewery is taken, Blackened Sun Brewing Co is based in Stacey Bushes Milton Keynes. A short trip down the A508 which took all of 20 minutes.
I'd seem them on Twitter and taken a look at their beer list where I spotted Nebula Stout, Stout being of my favourire beer types I'm always on the lookout for some I've never come across before.
I need to lose some of that belly, and beer is not helping, bit of a dilemma, anyone know of an answer ?.
Please no suggestions of less beer, I couldn't cope.
Gary on the right owns the brewery and runs it with his Wife Sharon, both lovely people to chat to, and he told me about some of their beers and his thoughts on brewing, I sampled a few and decided that some had got to come home with me.
Tonight I'll be trying the Luna, a beer described as dark, brooding Saison with a roasted malty flavour and distinct coffe overtones.
Sounds good, the Hedone I tried last night with a curry, a nice beer with a lowish ABV of %3.6 quite refreshing and very easy to drink.
On a boozy theme later I'm off to the Crown at Ashton for dinner, they do some great roasts and a very decent bottle of red, so if your've ever out that way pop in.
I don't offer buy the local rag mostly because its mostly full of nothing, but this week I thought I'd take alook at what they are reporting on, and to my surprise there was this article on Bradlaugh Hall in Bangalore.
My pleasant surprise was then a bit deflated as I thought whoever wrote it might include some stuff about his life and how well he represented Northampton, but for some strange reason they missed the opportunity.
Earlier this week I was diverted on my homeward journey down the litter strewn A45 and had to take a slightly different route home which led me through the village of Earls Barton.
The traffic was slow as others had had the same idea as me and when I got to the point of just about leaving the village to join the Wellingborough road I glanced to my left and saw this.
I hadn't noticed this before but then its a long time since I went anywhere near the village, but with Saturday coming up I had a quick look on the web, got some contact details and decided a visit was on the cards.
All the way down the drive was this beautiful blossom which only lasts a very short time, but on a sunny day it looks glorious.
New Lodge Vineyard has it turns out been established since 2000, quite how I'd missed that I'll never know, but I'd read on their web site that they do red and white wine plus a sparkling wine.
Wine on a sunny Saturday with fromage.
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
One of my all time favourite books is "1984" by George Orwell, this story of a dystopian future is bleak, very bleak, this bleakness permeates throughout the story, like bitter cold through a body.
The thought of constant surveilance is so soul destroying even in its imagining, can you imagine a life without privacy.?
I remember when I first read the book as a teenager, I was intrigued by some of the idea's the book contained, the thought police, children reporting their neighbours to the authorities for supposed crimes against the state, the ministry of truth, the anti sex league.
Two minutes hate, whipping people into a frenzy, the state needs us to hate something other than itself after all, now how to do that I wonder ?.
The job Winston performed eradicating anything in written form that contradicted what the state wanted people to believe, history effectively being re-written, truth entirely disposed of.
The concept that grabbed me most though was Newspeak, the official language of Oceania, the idea of the formation and manipulation of language in a way that completely restricts anyone from expressing negative idea's about the state.
The gradual eradication of a number of words available to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions is reduced to restrict individualism, and free thought, giving total control to the state over the individual.
The ability of language to influence the way we think and act is extremely powerful, subtle variations in the way an idea is expressed can render in our minds a totally different way of perceiving a situation.
It looks like Northamptonshire County Council have taken up Newspeak to alter our perception of reality, take a look at the link below, NCC lay out the proposed cuts to services to come, and attempt to justify the large rise in our council tax bills.
Note the use of words to distort the real situation.
Take for example their opening gambit,
"A 4.99% Council Tax increase is being proposed which would mean the county would have the second lowest like-for-like county tax rate in the country while at the same time be able to further stabilise its finances and invest in areas people have said are most important to them."
This is a wonderful example of Newspeak, where they posit a proposed huge increase in Council Tax (ungood) together with the qualifier "which would mean the county would have the second lowest like-for-like county tax rate in the country".
This "invest in areas people have said are most important to them." should read as essential services,
See a quote from the book below -
""In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy".
Yes suckers we are going to charge you more for the essential services you had before, but this is good as reinforced by the use of the words, invest, lowest, stabilise.
My thoughts are -
Yes we do want you to invest in gritting the roads when it's icy because not to do so would endanger our lives, and yes we would like Libraries, as we like our language, we want to be able to borrow and read books, this educates and informs us, and allows us to see through bullshit.
They then go on to say -
The Council Tax increase would amount to an additional 75p to £1 a week for the 70 per cent of county residents living in properties within the Council Tax Bands of A to C. This would raise an additional £5.8m which will be used as follows:
Lets take these points one at a time and examine what they actually mean.
An extra £475,000 to permanently reinstate the previous winter gritting and winter maintenance of roads.
This is patently not an extra amount of money, we are effectivly paying more to keep the same services we had previously, this would be laughable were it not so silly. (DoublePlus Ungood).
Scrapping plans to charge for community use of schools by uniformed and community groups.
I wondered what that actually meant, well it appears that plans were to scrap the £56,000 subsidy that the Scouts and Guides had been receiving, this has now been dropped.
Here is a telling statement from Dean Smith, the county commissioner for the Scouts in Northamptonshire,
"“We were very surprised that it was involved in the budget in the first place as no-one told us and we weren’t consulted about it, we were told by the media."
Lack of consultation, the proposal is bad enough but not telling those affected who have to find out through the media is pretty shocking.
To summarise the council are saying "we had an Ungood idea".
An additional £1.2m for Children’s Services
Again, this is patently not an extra amount of money, if anyone can explain how this equates to an extra amount of money then I'm open to persuasion.
A reversal of plans to charge for higher specification community equipment
What the above means is anyones guess.
An extra £673,000 towards independent adult social care placements
Again the use of the word "extra" above is misleading.
Provide greater financial resilience
Greater financial resilience, this statement is a corker, basically the council have asked Central Government (who have cut back on the amount they give to local Councils) if they can raise another %2 over and above what they could normally levy. This is the politics of lunacy, you couldn't make this stuff up.
Provide a more sustainable financial foundation for any future Unitary Councils
We will only get stability when we have people in place who actually know what they are doing. putting up council tax does in no way equate to "greater financial resilience".
"Parsons was Winston's fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms-one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended.""Parsons was Winston's fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms-one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the thought police, the stability of the Party depended."