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Well here we are, poised at the end of one great adventure, about to embark on another.

Sadly a buyer for EL POCITO has still not appeared, but we remain hopeful, while busy enough with the other awesome task, packing everything up (including our four lovely spanish rescue cats) ready to set forth on the epic road-trip to Shetland, which will begin regardless of a sale at the end of the month.  After that, from October onwards, this WordPress site will no longer be updated (so no more rants) and the accompanying Facebook account(s) will be terminated also.

Moving to Shetland will be a completely different world for me.  In order to embrace it fully we have decided therefore to switch off/ filter out all this electronic nonsense that has for the last three years consumed so much of our lives, and concentrate instead on living face-to-to face with real people in a real community,

Which means if anyone wants to contact us when we reach Shetland they will have to write: pen/ paper/ envelope/ stamp, remember those?

It would be wonderful to find a buyer for EL POCITO before we go, and to this end we have reduced the price even further, down from 130,000 euros to 85,000, but if no-one does appear by then we have decided to gift it to a person we know in the village who would love to carry on our dream.

Thank you everyone who has followed our journey over the past nineteen years, if any of you find yourselves in Shetland, be assured there will always be a warm welcome.

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titanic

New British PM Boris Johnson pledges to deal with the “climate emergency”, his solution: kill all the butterflies.

You read it here first.

(The Butterfly Effect is a concept invented by the American meteorologist Edward N. Lorenz (1917-2008) to highlight the possibility that small causes may have momentous effects.)

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Yes, finally I managed to wear Pauline down and we got married at Lerwick Town Hall (that’s in Shetland) last week.  This was my very first visit to her “enchanted” isle, and everything was exactly as she said it would be, amazing (to use one of my favourite words), so now we can’t wait to move all our stuff (including four “rescue” cats) up there permanently.

The problem is I have run out of ideas on how to find a buyer for El Pocito.  The internet I can do, even just using free wi-fi hotspots managing to attract nearly 400,000 visitors to our website, of which a fair number then made the physical trip (from as far away as Finland) to take a look.  All of whom would have been perfect here, if only Chris Stewart (DRIVING OVER LEMONS) had chosen this location to write about and make famous, meanwhile it remains a secret known only to its locals.

Which leaves only one option, well two actually.  First, we need to make this even more widely known, surprisingly not everyone uses the same (or any) social media.  One incentive is to offer a commission of 3% on the sale price to whoever recommends the eventual buyer.

Second is, reduce the price.  Which up ‘til now I have been reluctant to do, because it would mean losing so much, not only all the years Maureen and I worked to raise the money to buy and renovate it in the first place, but all the work that has gone into the garden since as well.  But these days who knows how long any of us have to live, and frankly I want to enjoy every single day from now on, so from the original asking price of 130,000 euros the asking price is 95,000 euros (about £86,000).  And once you see this place you will be in no doubt what a true bargain that is.

Ideally we would like to sell by the end of this month or the next at the latest.  If you can help make this happen please get in touch.  Either by email: monkeyandsofia@yahoo.co.uk or WhatsApp: +34 633 731 906.

Many thanks in anticipation.  Phil & Pauline.

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Guess what?  You learn something new every day, even at my age.  This time it concerns the universal concept of democracy.  When I grew up we were taught to believe that the UK held the benchmark for this kind of thing, setting the example for others to follow, thus no need to hold a gun to their heads.  But in the last three years (of BREXIT madness) my faith in this has been shaken then lost, although the majority still seem to believe in it, if not more fervently.  I actually feel ashamed to be British.  Not just for all the injustices perpetrated by our ancestors in the colonies during the days of The Empire, but for what is happening right now to our own population.  Effectively democracy has ceased to exist in the UK.

The dictionary definition of democracy is as follows:

…a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people collectively…

 ie everyone has a say on everything.

Compare this to what exists in the UK now, bearing in mind government should exist solely to serve the needs of its people.  How well does it do this?  I would say, not at all.  The only beneficiaries are those in power, the Prime Minister and her 22 hand-picked sycophants, backed up by their herd of backbenchers.  The people have no say in anything, not its laws, nor how they raise money in taxes or how this income is spent.  All the people get is a chance to vote for a party, once every four years.  Except, since the Referendum, that is no longer true, as those who were not born in the UK and those born in the UK but not currently residing there, are now exempted.  And no one can challenge this situation, short of a Civil War.

Meanwhile the tax-payers will continue to get poorer and services will continue to disappear.  It is unimaginable that this situation could be reversed, but ever hopeful here is the beginnings of a manifesto for true democracy, just in case:

 

1) sustainability. The UK is dying ecologically.  We have to dramatically reduce the human population and reinstate the habitats of all the other species.  This can be done by social pressure and removing all incentives (and cost to the taxpayer) for choosing to have children.  No new building except on existing footprints.  Nationalise all public transport (including ferries) and make it free to everyone.  Set up a ministry to spearhead sustainable policy.  Nationalise electricity, remove nuclear power, force manufacturers to drastically reduce power consumption on appliances, set a maximum household/ business limit on consumption.

2) benefits system.  Remove and replace with a universal wage for everyone over 16.

3) armed forces.  Remove and replace with a civil emergency unit.

4) NHS.  Totally revamp.  Remove the current 70% unnecessary bureaucracy.  Allow practitioners to spend 100% of their time treating patients.  Ban private use of NHS facilities.  Include dental and optical care.  Make all GPs employees (rather than owners of their practices).  Ensure consultants work the hours they are paid for.  Create centres of excellence and remove the present geographical inequalities.  Stop targets and all the other pointless statistical gathering.  Remove all privatised elements.  Restructure pay scales to reward those who actually do the work.  Free parking at hospitals and health centres.

5) department of trade & industry.  Remove completely.

6) embassies.  Remove completely.

7) police.  Total revamp.  Remove terrorism from their remit.  Re-introduce bobbies on the streets 24/7, re-open police stations 24/7.

8) secret service.  Remove completely.

9) elderly.  Introduce a new social care programme so they have an equal quality of life to anyone else.

10) state broadcasting.  Remove completely.

11) royal family.  Remove completely.

12) house of lords.  Remove completely.

13) MPs salaries & expenses.  Adjust (downwards) salaries to reflect their true market value, and remove expenses claims.  Remove all perks.

14)  feasibility studies.  Remove completely.

15) assets.  Sell all buildings/ land/ etc not in actual daily use.

16) government control over agriculture.  Remove completely.

17) recycling.  All towns to have a recycling point instead of landfill, where everything is sorted/ sold/ recycled.

This is still a work in progress…

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Democracy has now ceased to exist in the UK.

Fact: it is now legal for a government to hold elections and deny anyone they feel may oppose them, the right to vote.

Fact: while it is currently still acceptable to hold national general elections every four years or less, it is not to repeat a referendum, even when it has been proved illegal on many counts (with grateful thanks to Angie Scarr for pointing this out to me).

Fact: immigration and the cost of EU membership is not ruining the NHS.

Fact: the NHS is staffed predominantly by immigrants.

 

This whole BREXIT debacle has been an amazing moment in UK history.  If it continues in the current vein a whole new system of government may evolve, one where hatred and fear elects dictatorship, followed by asset-stripping of all public services, then human rights.  I am ashamed to be known or recognised as english.  And unless Wales/ Northern Ireland/ and Scotland distance themselves from these imbeciles, by declaring their long-overdue independence, they will get dragged under too.

 

For those who are stupid enough to think it is okay to be a racist, here are a few facts.

Fact: funding for the NHS is decided by government, who have more than enough funds to provide the very best of medical care (including dental and optical) for all citizens, including temporary and resident-status immigrants.  But they consistently choose not to.  Instead spend on projects that profit them personally as shareholders in businesses awarded lucrative government contracts.

Fact: around 70% of the NHS budget is wasted.  On unnecessary tiers of duplication/ bureaucracy/ and management.  On fashionable short-term initiatives.  On local rather than centralised purchasing/ resourcing.

Fact: around 70% of practitioner’s time is spent on documentation.  For pointless statistics and in case of prosecution.

Fact: the NHS was set-up with its primary role that of educating people to live more healthily, less dependent.  Yet since then the government has consistently turned a blind eye to an increasing number of products and practices that cause illness/ mortality, with the result more people than ever use the NHS and more often.

Fact: the NHS offers many expensive non-essential treatments which should be only available in the private sector.

Fact: we are all of us immigrants, if you don’t believe me take a DNA test.

amyl nitrate

As British Empire fever (fuelled by BREXIT) grips the nation once again, it is apt I should be re-reading HERMAN MELVILLE’s semi-autobiographical novel TYPEE.  Written in 1846, it describes his visit to a South Sea Island around the time of “colonisation,” neatly Illustrating the before-and-after effects on its indigenous population.

 

“…the voluptuous Indian, with every desire supplied, whom Providence has bountifully provided with all the sources of pure and natural enjoyment, and from whom are removed so many of the ills and pains of life – what has he to desire at the hands of Civilisation?  She may ‘cultivate his mind,’ – may ‘elevate his thoughts,’ – these I believe are the established phrases – but will he be happier?  Let the once smiling and populous Hawaiian islands, with their now diseased, starving, and dying natives, answer the question.  The missionaries may seek to disguise the matter as they will, but the facts are incontrovertible; and the devoutest Christian who visits that group with an unbiased mind, must go away mournfully asking – ‘Are these, alas! the fruits of twenty-five years enlightening?’

In a primitive state of society, the enjoyments of life, though few and simple, are spread over a great extent, and are unalloyed; but Civilisation, for every advantage she imparts, holds a hundred evils in reserve; – the heart burnings, the jealousies, the social rivalries, the family dissensions, and the thousand self-inflicted discomforts of refined life, which make up in units the swelling aggregate of human misery, are unknown among these unsophisticated people.

… The fiend-like skill we display in the invention of all manner of death-dealing engines, the vindictiveness with which we carry on our wars, and the misery and desolation that follow in their train, are enough of themselves to distinguish the white civilized man as the most ferocious animal on the face of the earth.

…  The term ‘Savage’ is, I conceive, often misapplied, and indeed when I consider the vices, cruelties, and enormities of every kind that spring up in the tainted atmosphere of a feverish civilization, I am inclined to think that so far as the relative wickedness of the parties is concerned, four or five Marquesan Islanders sent to the United States as Missionaries might be quite useful as an equal number of Americans despatched to the Islands in a similar capacity.

I once heard it given as an instance of the frightful depravity of a certain tribe in the Pacific, that they had no word in their language to express the idea of virtue.  The assertion was unfounded; but were it otherwise, it might be met by stating that their language is almost entirely destitute of terms to express the delightful ideas conveyed by our endless catalogue of civilized crimes.

… There were none of those thousand sources of irritation that the ingenuity of civilized man has created to mar his own felicity.  There were no foreclosures of mortgages, no protested notes, no bills payable, no debts of honour in Typee; no unreasonable tailors and shoemakers, perversely bent on being paid, no duns of any description; no assault and battery attorneys, to foment discord, backing their clients up to a quarrel, and then knocking their heads together; no poor relations, everlastingly occupying the spare bed-chamber, and diminishing the elbow room at the family table; no destitute widows with their children starving on the cold charities of the world; no beggars; no debtors’ prisons; no proud and hard-hearted nabobs in Typee; or to sum up all in one word – no Money!  That ‘root of all evil’ was not to be found in the valley.”

 

Compare that life to the UK today, when so-called ‘civilisation” means running down, not improving, public services; crime continues to increase, mortality set to reach the highest level ever; costs of goods and services set to double after BREXIT, and virtually everyone has been prescribed anti-depressants.  How can this be?  The UK is the richest nation on earth, yet it has also become the most divided.  Just like its colonies, with (wage) slaves and masters.  Did you know that the Vatican-style independent state of The City of London, along with numerous Commonwealth colonies, currently represent the richest financial power on the planet, where anyone can trade ‘off-shore’ without identification or having to pay a single penny in tax.

‘We the civilised,’ continue to be enslaved by the privateers.  High time to oust them and reintroduce the values of those ‘savages’ we so cruelly usurped.

plague of locusts

“Each time history repeats itself, so it’s said, the price goes up.  The twentieth century was a time of runaway growth in human numbers, consumption, and technology, placing a colossal load on all natural systems, especially earth, air, and water – the very elements of life.  The great question of the twenty-first century is how, or whether this can go on.”  (2004) A SHORT HISTORY OF PROGRESS by Ronald Wright, 0-88784-706-4.

The answer, a mere fifteen years later, is we are already facing crisis, aka climate change.  Luckily many are beginning to ask “what is it we can we do to stop this?”

Unfortunately world governments have a rather different agenda.  From a stance of denying climate change, to accepting it, but with ridiculously long targets, now climate change is being seen as a positive thing, an opportunity for capitalism to reap even greater financial rewards, from the exploitation of previously inaccessible territories (“All aboard” GUARDIAN WEEKEND 23/02/19).

For those of us who remain concerned, there are still things we can do.  Two major factors drive climate change.  The first is consumption, we are rapidly using up what little is left of the planet’s finite natural resources.  We therefore need to stop buying.  But this is difficult, businesses and governments work very hard at convincing us we need instead to spend more.  Thankfully though they all have an Achilles heel, their greed, and margins are now so tight, especially in the biggest concerns, that if sales were to fall, even for as little as 24 hours in some cases, many would go to the wall.  All we need to do then is use social media to organise coordinated boycotts, and learn how to live on less.

Second, and far more serious, is the number of consumers.  In Europe we are totally unaware that human population is a problem, in fact many countries believe they have a falling population that should be increased, for the sake of future generations.  This is a gross misconception.  Our species globally has actually reached plague/ infestation proportions, it is literally destroying everything in its path.  And those figures are the only relevant ones.  Putting it into a proper perspective, our current manifestation began about 200,000 years ago, and from there we multiplied very slowly, over the whole period, approximately by 3,000 a year, so that by 1760 our global number had reached a total of only 650,000,000.  But then we experienced the Industrial Revolution, and this changed everything, including the birth/ survival rate.  Global population began to rise exponentially until now it totals twelve times as many as there were in 1760.  This year the increase on last year is a staggering 81,000,000 new people (eighty-one million!).

Every single one of those, even if they are convinced they are living sustainably, are personally responsible for consuming the habitat and lives of an incalculable number of other species, like locusts, turning the few remaining “natural” parts of the planet into lifeless deserts.  This has to stop.  Quite simply we have to cease accepting (and encouraging) procreation.  At least until our global population drops to a true sustainable figure.

For the sake of all those other species.  For the sake of the planet, which is not replaceable or repairable.  And if that is too hard to grasp, for the sake of children born today who face a far worse future and quite probably will never see adulthood.