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I started writing this as my ultimate blog, also the moment when I would cease to use all social networks, but along the way circumstances changed.  We ended up leaving EL POCITO without selling or being able to pass it onto a new owner, so the task of tying up that loose end continues and needs must as they say.

In order to speed up things the price has been dropped again, now to 75,000 euros.  If anyone is interested in viewing you can contact me by email (monkeyandsofia@yahoo.co.uk) or by FB Messenger or WhatsApp +34 633 731 906.  I am sorry there is no possibility of talking by phone, coverage is nonexistent here (a very good thing).  However, you can be reassured that along with a very good price, all the legal paperwork is in order, and contracts can be exchanged in as little as 2 days.  We will pay all the seller costs, the buyer only has the Land Registry fee.  Viewing can be arranged with friends in the town, who speak english.

Meanwhile, back to what was going to be my last blog…

After 28 years of writing.  First by self-publishing, making real printed books, stuff that lasts the test of time, then with the advent of the internet (and a massive hike in postal charges) blogging, which lasts only a few seconds if you are lucky.  I have decided it is high time to stop wasting my time and use it more constructively.

The experience of the last three years, trying to sell EL POCITO, has shown me the light.  The time taken up with cycling to town every day to post, constantly having to find new sources of free wi-fi, of replying to at least ten to twenty mostly inane messages every single day, all for nothing, has made me realise that writing anything these days is a huge waste of life.  Sad but true, most people these days are dreamers, not diggers.  No matter what wisdom I have to share, it is worthless, society has everyone fearful of doing anything but the right thing, from walking outside the lines.  The idea of living on their own terms, has all but disappeared.  Only a tiny number do, but for them it is from necessity.

Which to me, is total madness.  Even when I was down to only 20 euros a week, I still knew I was in an enviable position.  No rent or mortgage to pay, a (new) roof over my head, free electricity, free pure spring water, free heating, and no taxes whatsoever.  All set in one of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable.

While at the same time, back in the London Borough of Lewisham (where I grew up), they are living crammed into each square kilometre with 7,441 others.  At EL POCITO I was the only person in several hundred square kilometres.  At EL POCITO there were 300 days of sunshine.  Virtually no crime.  Everyone you met in town knew your name and would always say hello.

This became even more apparent this weekend, when we returned to the UK, for it was to a very different England, one I hardly recognised.  I am not overstating this, but Nature no longer exists there.  Humanity has “cleansed” the other species for its own benefit.  It has become one vast monoculture.  Where even sustainability has become big business.  Except, as anyone who has the slightest clue as to how ecology functions knows, will eventually be its Achilles heel.  Either the vast overpopulation, exponential rise in car ownership, or simply too much money and shopping, will turn it into another Easter Island, the inhabitants raping the land in order to appease their god, then becoming extinct as a consequence.

And as if to put that in context, today I was sitting in a café where they had Radio 2 on, and experienced a true GROUNDHOG DAY moment.  The programme was exactly the same as if it had been forty years ago.  The same music, the same chat.  That is why everyone in England is the way they are now.  Why they voted to leave the EU.  Why they put up with a far-right government.  Because the media has made them like this, nothing has moved on in England in all the time I have been away.

I was very sad at having to leave EL POCITO, but at least in Shetland there is hope.  The lack of people, the vast oceans and wild weather to give true perspective, here I will find the necessary strength to build a new life once again.

Until my next last “last word” I will leave you in peace to ponder.  Abrazo to everyone.  Phil.

IMG_5326

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.

wedding picture 1

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.

download

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…

nuremberg

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.

overgrown trail

It used to be a sign of old age when you noticed policemen were getting younger.  For me it’s meeting anyone “alternative” (those interested in living sustainably), and how they now seem to know less and less of what it is all supposed to be about.

Three recent examples.  The first, a clipping from THE GUARDIAN (Saturday, 12 January 2019), written by Patrick Barkham, about veganic farming and the newest miracle-cure for the planet – biocyclic humus (why do they always invent such ridiculous names for these?).  Made from natural materials that would otherwise fall to the ground and provide life for a whole host of creatures and plants underneath, but now is being removed and (unsustainably) processed, destroying that natural diverse habitat, in order to make a product solely for human profit (albeit “green”).  When will those in the alternative movement understand we are not the only creatures on this planet, we are not the most important (there is no hierarchy in nature), and if we want to act appropriately then we should not be destroying the planet for profit, or even to grow our own food, but learning instead how to co-exist with all the other species and enhance the amazing natural diversity they provide, that is the planet Earth.

The second was what at first seemed like very good news.  A lovely young couple in the village, with two small children, have been searching for a place to live and put into practice their permaculture and herbalism skills.  Finally finding it in an abandoned finca/ smallholding on the side of San Cristobel (the local mountain).  Great, except it turns out their very first act (like most adherents of this faith/ ism) upon possession (even that word sounds so wrong) will be to “clean” all the surrounding wilderness with a brushcutter, followed by a celebratory bonfire of this material, to make way for their ideas on “proper” organic husbandry.  I was appalled.  This land has been left untouched for several decades, it has been an opportunity for nature to heal at least one hundred years of previous human abuse, used to feed its owners and provide them with an income, and now when it finally begins to support once again a diversity of true native plants and species, yet another human comes along to make it into a monoculture once again.  What is thriving there now has to be murdered orescape elsewhere.

The phrase (in Spain) “to clean the land” means get rid of all unwanted (by humans) life.  English gardeners and farmers (even organic) take a similar pride in a strict regime of tidiness and order.  I did too, previously owned such tools of mass destruction as a lawn mower/ rotavator/ hedge-trimmer/ chain-saw/ brushcutter.  But not any more.  Now I know better.  The true gardener has no need for any of these.  Instead they tread ever so lightly on the soil, touch nothing except to aid, and celebrate what nature sees fit to sow and grow.

Example three concerns the same young man I mentioned in a previous blog, who visited El Pocito with the idea of turning it into an eco-camping business.  He’s just been back again, providing me with the opportunity to discover more about his idea and experience.  Turns out he is finishing a PhD in Biology.  Which was timely, as I currently have a question about a lemon tree that after ten years of fruiting has just started to provide only oranges, the ideal person to ask why.  However, instead of taking an interest or offering an answer all I got from him was to be told this is not possible, science proves this, end of discussion.  Very strange.  The tree exists, it is real.  Every year it has had lemons, this year only oranges, many people have witnessed it, why then is something tangible and real not possible?  Why?  Because people are growing up fed by the state/ internet, including those who claim to be “alternative”.  Instead of using their own common sense(s).  Aptly illustrated by the fact that there are at least 200 herbs growing at El Pocito, and this (almost) PhD in Biology couldn’t identify a single one.  Yet down in town, anyone who is over 60 (and probably never had any kind of secondary education, let alone further or higher) would not hesitate to tell me which was which, including the appropriate medicinal and other uses.

We are living in a very sad time.  Those who could save the planet are blinkered/ blinded by phone culture, egotism and self-interest, they are driven by the dogma of the media.  We no longer feel any more, or use our natural instincts, understand that life is not just about humans.  We are doomed.

It used to be a sign of old age when you noticed policemen were getting younger.  For me it’s meeting anyone “alternative” (those interested in living sustainably), and how they now seem to know less and less of what it is all supposed to be about.

Three recent examples.  The first, a clipping from THE GUARDIAN (Saturday, 12 January 2019), written by Patrick Barkham, about veganic farming and the newest miracle-cure for the planet – biocyclic humus (why do they always invent such ridiculous names for these?).  Made from natural materials that would otherwise fall to the ground and provide life for a whole host of creatures and plants underneath, but now is being removed and (unsustainably) processed, destroying that natural diverse habitat, in order to make a product solely for human profit (albeit “green”).  When will those in the alternative movement understand we are not the only creatures on this planet, we are not the most important (there is no hierarchy in nature), and if we want to act appropriately then we should not be destroying the planet for profit, or even to grow our own food, but learning instead how to co-exist with all the other species and enhance the amazing natural diversity they provide, that is the planet Earth.

The second was what at first seemed like very good news.  A lovely young couple in the village, with two small children, have been searching for a place to live and put into practice their permaculture and herbalism skills.  Finally finding it in an abandoned finca/ smallholding on the side of San Cristobel (the local mountain).  Great, except it turns out their very first act (like most adherents of this faith/ ism) upon possession (even that word sounds so wrong) will be to “clean” all the surrounding wilderness with a brushcutter, followed by a celebratory bonfire of this material, to make way for their ideas on “proper” organic husbandry.  I was appalled.  This land has been left untouched for several decades, it has been an opportunity for nature to heal at least one hundred years of previous human abuse, used to feed its owners and provide them with an income, and now when it finally begins to support once again a diversity of true native plants and species, yet another human comes along to make it into a monoculture once again.  What is thriving there now has to be murdered or escape elsewhere.

The phrase (in Spain) “to clean the land” means get rid of all unwanted (by humans) life.  English gardeners and farmers (even organic) take a similar pride in a strict regime of tidiness and order.  I did too, previously owned such tools of mass destruction as a lawn mower/ rotavator/ hedge-trimmer/ chain-saw/ brushcutter.  But not any more.  Now I know better.  The true gardener has no need for any of these.  Instead they tread ever so lightly on the soil, touch nothing except to aid, and celebrate what nature sees fit to sow and grow.

Example three concerns the same young man I mentioned in a previous blog, who visited El Pocito with the idea of turning it into an eco-camping business.  He’s just been back again, providing me with the opportunity to discover more about his idea and experience.  Turns out he is finishing a PhD in Biology.  Which was timely, as I currently have a question about a lemon tree that after ten years of fruiting has just started to provide only oranges, the ideal person to ask why.  However, instead of taking an interest or offering an answer all I got from him was to be told this is not possible, science proves this, end of discussion.  Very strange.  The tree exists, it is real.  Every year it has had lemons, this year only oranges, many people have witnessed it, why then is something tangible and real not possible?  Why?  Because people are growing up fed by the state/ internet, including those who claim to be “alternative”.  Instead of using their own common sense(s).  Aptly illustrated by the fact that there are at least 200 herbs growing at El Pocito, and this (almost) PhD in Biology couldn’t identify a single one.  Yet down in town, anyone who is over 60 (and probably never had any kind of secondary education, let alone further or higher) would not hesitate to tell me which was which, including the appropriate medicinal and other uses.

We are living in a very sad time.  Those who could save the planet are blinkered/ blinded by phone culture, egotism and self-interest, they are driven by the dogma of the media.  We no longer feel any more, or use our natural instincts, understand that life is not just about humans.  We are doomed.

title inspired by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoOjtNs9EOk

arctic

I don’t have a tv/ radio/ or buy newspapers, haven’t for around 25 years now, so am rather out of touch with what is happening in the world, particularly how information is distributed/ presented.  But what I can discern is that each day there are potentially eight billion stories (the number of our species), an audience of almost as many, a lot of new media channels seeking to make capital out of all that, and vested interest with a similar need to control it.

So it came as rather a surprise to see and hear on a tv in a bar recently, not only the president of the USA, Donald Trump, and some of his ministers, but Teresa May and her cronies too.  And what struck me from this, above all, was their uncanny similarity to MAX HEADROOM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYdpOjletnc).  For those of you who missed this excellent (of its time) series, it featured the first animated tv personality.  31 years later, with all the advances in technology, our world leaders still appear to have the same wooden presentation and lack of sincerity/ believability.

This is because we are living in the era of fake news.

In a previous blog I reckoned BREXIT was probably nothing to do with the EU, but a smokescreen for something a lot more sinister.  Well it is virtually upon us now and those reasons are finally becoming apparent.  That all along there has been a deliberate process of wearing down the masses (from rising up), using hate and fear.  That parliament (all parties) will now proceed to dismantle the welfare state/ democracy, in favour of a US model.  And what even I could never have guessed at, why?  Well here is one possibility.

That those with money/ power/ and information know, that given our failure to do stop the exponential rise in global population and the accompanying ecological destruction caused by all these people wanting more and more of the planet’s precious resources, nature is going to respond in some dramatic way very soon.  And that they want to be somewhere safe when that happens.

One of the (many) possible events they already know about is the following, reproduced here by kind permission of the author, Malcolm Light, a geologist and expert on climate change.  Ideally one should accompany it with THE SPECIALS singing ENJOY YOURSELF (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t2spzlgCAI),  I’ll end though with a quote by Charles Darwin:  It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one most adaptable to change.

 

GLOBAL EXTINCTION WITHIN 18 – 34 MONTHS

Humanity is facing the final, western corporate capitalist, fossil fuel initiated, catastrophic Arctic methane hydrate destabilization and Permian style methane blowout – firestorm that will culminate in 1 to 4 years (2020 to 2023).  We will all be boiled alive like lobsters in a massively humid atmosphere and converted into stardust.  Recent data from the Arctic confirm an exponential rise in the temperature anomaly of the Arctic stratospheric methane which is now 65 degrees C above the normal, while it was only 20 degrees C above the normal, 6 to 8 years ago.

Using this data and the recent Piomass (2017) estimates of the minimum Arctic ice shelf volume it is now possible to estimate the timing of the Arctic – Permian style methane blowout firestorm more accurately and the events are shown in the Figure below.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

The start date of the Permian style global extinction event may be only 18 to 19 months away.  This says that you must complete your bucket list of unfulfilled dreams before July to August 2020.  A bucket list is a list of unfulfilled actions you need to complete before you die (“kick the bucket”).  Do not worry about dying as it comes to all of us in the end, only this time we will all be going together.  The Earth will soon after this lose all its oceans and become “Venus Like”.

Empathy is organic evolution’s key to group survival in an uncaring inorganic universe.  Enjoy yourselves and be excellent to each other in these last days and hours on the only remaining habitable planet in this solar system.

malcolm

A fuller version of this can be found on the ARCTIC NEWS website (http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/01/global-extinction-within-18-34-months.html)

 

ctst-and-a-anderson-ancient-strome-tartan-front-72dpi-rgb

No-one actually knows just how many UK citizens have taken advantage of the option to live in another european country since the EU was created, but they chose to because they were assured by the UK government that their rights (to free healthcare/ pensions/ etc) would remain the same.  They were lied to.  And the lies continue.

This is a bad state of affairs, very bad.  But it is not the end of their lying.  After BREXIT we will discover the real reason behind leaving the EU, becoming the 51st state of the US.  Bringing with it a swift and vast scaling down of public health services (after being promised the exact opposite in the Referendum)/ education/ and welfare.  In its place private provision, alongside US products on the supermarket shelves (instead of what is currently imported from the EU), and a new GB$ currency.

There is nothing any of us can do to stop this, not through the current system of democracy or by protest.

Or is there?

What if the people of Scotland played their trump card and at long last declared independence from being ruled over by the UK, along with an intention of staying a member of the EU?  For starters they would instantly be a lot better off.  Converting to the euro would also make business and travel more economic.  Scottish airports and ports would be busier.  And the border with England would become a lucrative gateway too, especially for businesses that depend on EU products (like Tesco), or they could relocate to Scotland.  It’s a win-win situation for the people of Scotland.  Already their health-care and public services are far better, which alone could be enough to stir indoctrinated English voters to force their government to do an about-turn, but it certainly will after Independence.  I would be first in the queue to request Scottish citizenship.  It is high time this unique culture took back what is rightfully theirs.  Followed in turn by Wales, and Northern Ireland (back to Eire).  The current situation is just like the recent past in Eastern Europe dictatorships, we can either resolve it peaceably by granting unique cultures their independence (and therefore access to far greater freedoms through membership of the EU) or face increased division and tension between the haves and have-nots.

I call upon the Scottish government to step in and do the right thing, for the sake of all UK citizens, before it is too late.

(the image was inspired by favourite Paul Smith scarf, worn daily for the last thirty years and now sadly too threadbare)

Nationalism terrifies me.  Not surprisingly, after living for so long in two countries that until very recently were dictatorships and still retain that shared memory.  But BREXIT has revealed it in the UK too, which I always considered a model of democracy.  A fast growing percentage who are now choosing to worship the Holy Trinity of FEAR, SELFISHNESS, and PAIN.

Fuelled by the adrenaline rush of hate, they are being promised a utopia where only their kind will survive, and the rest, including all other species, will be mercilessly destroyed.

If Teresa May gets her way over BREXIT they will probably achieve it.  Who can resist the promises fed to them daily by nationalism’s priesthood, the media?  The cabinet and royal family must be rubbing their hands over how easy this has all been, to fool and rob the masses.  Simply by focussing on FEAR over happiness, on what might happen if you don’t follow the herd.  Encouraging and rewarding SELFISHNESS, that you alone deserve faster and better service/ treatment over the rest.  And addicting them to the vicarious pleasure that comes from endlessly watching PAIN and misery in others.

Last week a young man from Sevilla came to visit, to see if El Pocito would make a suitable home for his ecological plans.  He has a degree in Biology and totally focussed, on living simply/ sustainably/ alternatively, in a way that took me another twenty more years to reach.  And just like all the previous viewers, it was a wonderful meeting of minds.  That is, until we got on to the two subjects of money and children.  He wants to use El Pocito as a green tourism business.  I must have covered this before, but money is never sustainable, and using land to make it is definitely not kosher.  Spending less is the only answer, and for him, finding work locally where he can earn the small amount he needs, would be far more sustainable.  But being a barman say, even for just two days a week, didn’t have the same appeal.  He also has no partner at present but is adamant about raising two children.  I pointed out that this is totally contrary to everything else too, that it is actually the sole cause of climate change and mass species extinction.  To which he replied, on the contrary, Spain is currently experiencing a fall in population and putting in place many positive sustainable practices.

You’d think that after so many years in state education, that basic maths and an appreciation of how the world works (especially majoring in Biology) would be one of the most basic accomplishments, but apparently not.  Because despite what he sincerely believes in, Spain isn’t a country that exists in a vacuum, people are coming in and going out by the minute (thanks again to the EU), with no records kept whatsoever (so much for statistics, and by the way it is the same in the UK), plus all the things each person here buys are on the whole made elsewhere, so they impact elsewhere too, we are part of the greater whole, always.  So when you decide to have a child you are actually ADDING to the world population.  Only when one of the parents dies will that number diminish.  Having two children, who then beget two children each, who then do the same, could even mean being alive to witness fourteen great grandchildren.  Which even by my simple non-university education yields at least twelve MORE people on the planet, and all in a matter of just sixty odd years.  This is why the global population is currently growing at an unprecedented and lethal rate.  This is why their combined spending is robbing the planet of its resources, polluting the seas, and destroying the habitats of other species.

We should NEVER think about anything in terms of where we live, but always with the planet as a whole.  In an ideal society this would mean acting like all other species: no borders, keeping our population and spending at a level which does not endanger other species, and a single system of care for all.

Otherwise the reverse will happen.  There will be no other species.  Government spending will continue to increase on the armed forces and nuclear industry to the detriment of everything else.  And it will happen in our lifetime.

 

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

Inspired by the acquisition of Sheri S Tepper’s THE VISITOR, my thoughts have been focused recently on perception.  How where we live is fundamental in shaping our behaviour and attitudes, not only towards others but the rest of the natural world.

For example, would you consider I live conventionally or alternatively?  The answer to that would be probably be the latter, but is this actually true?  What makes me different from anyone else?  Especially when more than half of the people on this planet don’t have a connection to mains services either.  A lot more don’t have any income as well.  More people use other forms of medicine than western.  All of which is just about us, what about the rest of the species?

This is a perceptual thing, and it could actually be one of our biggest problems, that those of us living in the rich countries, those doing all the overpopulating and destruction of our natural resources, are the ones who have no real sense of reality.

BREXIT being a classic example.  Its jingoist message has created even more nationalist sentiment and bile than even existed before.  More people now feel proud to be British, and that is truly scary.  For not only are geographical boundaries totally arbitrary and endlessly changing, there is absolutely no difference between someone who was born or chose to live in one country over any other.

This is why it is so important for the UK to stay in the EU, and for the EU to continue increasing its membership.  Only when you have open frontiers like this, a single currency, do people really begin to appreciate their equality with each other, as well as their unique cultures.  And it is the only way to govern the massive population and environmental changes necessary to save us and all the other remaining species from imminent extinction.

There are obviously inherent problems with this, corruption in government increases in direct correlation with the amount of wealth at its disposal, but the alternative, lots of small very aggressive nationalistic countries, spending an inordinate amount on armed forces, which will never work for the good of all (including the non-human species), only those who rule over them.

How BREXIT can be overturned and the UK accept being a full member of the EU (including adoption of the euro instead of the dollar) is beyond me.  I do know though that it will not be with petitions or demonstrations.  There has to be a total change of heart, by everyone, a realisation that life is not about me and what I want, but living on this single borderless planet, and sharing it on a equal sustainable basis with all the other species.

houses of parliament

One of the reasons voters chose LEAVE at the (BREXIT) referendum, was because they believed it would improve UK services.

They were wrong.

The UK public sector has never been funded/ run properly, and never will, whoever is the party in power.

This is because those in charge have always had a totally different agenda.

These are people who for the most part are far more wealthy than the average voter, so do not have to use any of the public services, can afford to go private for everything, therefore do not care.

They are also members of a very exclusive club, which encourages/ rewards corruption and is all about making themselves a lot of money.  This starts at parish council level, with the small personal favours that power affords, getting more lucrative as you work your way up the ladder to national government, where it becomes the primary motive for all decision-making.

Priority at this level is always given to spending that reaps rewards for them first and them alone.  Big capital projects mainly (defence/ roads/ nuclear power..), regardless of public need.  This is because MPs have significant shareholdings in the companies who do this kind of work, which in turn will be rewarded with big annual dividend payouts and sizeable tax-free backhanders.

They are also privy to far more sensitive information about the economy than anyone else, so insider knowledge is used to buy and sell shares & currency.  This alone can provide a significant private income, earning more in a day than most voters will over an entire lifetime.

Only when people wake up to the fact that it is never a good idea to let the rich and corrupt run the country will it ever begin to serve them properly.  Until then the rich and corrupt will continue to serve us right.

arctic-tern-blog-size

…aka: open opposition to lawful authority and breaking down barriers.

It seems a long time since I felt Mr Grumpy enough to dash off a rant about something, but fear not, the absence does not signify a softening of attitude, merely another preoccupation, that of spiritual metamorphosis, one where hopefully I’m turning into a wiser more aware version of myself.  Manifested in a new perspective on life, out goes the micro, and in comes an attempt to synchronise more with the global.  Which means I’m currently re-evaluating everything.  An example of this is I previously spent at least half of every day working outside, usually feeling it wasn’t nearly enough time to get everything done in, while simultaneously suffering the deep envy of those who had the social skills to either be a WWOOF host, or part of an enclave that met regularly to help each other out, because at least they did manage to keep ahead (of the dreaded gorse), achieve big projects, all at relatively little cost, while progress for me has always (27 long years of it) been slow and painful.

However that will no longer be the case.  From now on, change (getting things done) is a not good thing, the opposite in fact, it is very bad for the environment.  Which I know sounds a little crazy, but hang in and I’ll try and explain.

My first inkling of this came after a long spell of doing nothing on the land, a result of too many other pressing commitments and only me to do them all, so the land lost.  Yet despite my dereliction of duty, everything managed to survive, nay thrive, and the overall state of the land (six acres), compared to when we first arrived, is now even better than anticipated, unbelievably lush and verdant.  No money spent out either.  So how is this?

Simple.  Nature knows best.  We like to think we do, but Nature really can do it all a lot better.

The problem is we think and rationalise.  There’s also self-interest, which means we do stuff without considering the consequences for anything else.  Even if that “else” is the one thing we cannot live without (aka: the infinitely complex ecology that provides us with air/ water/ food/ shelter/ warmth).  We have even gone as far as to create a religion out of justifying these suicidal inclinations.

Science, the self-proclaimed highest form of knowledge.  Rules/ truths/ and proofs that are based entirely on tests of infinitesimally small samples, or reliant on historical/ archaeological guesswork, then applied to the entire species and planet.

And they had us fooled for quite a while with their convincing arguments for economic exploitation, but their plausibility is no longer believable.  Because Nature is infinitely more complex and innovative than anything our tiny/ greedy minds could ever conceive.  In the real world nothing requires to be understood, and nothing in the past is relevant.  All that matters is the now, and constantly striving to evolve in order for the whole to survive.

What got me onto all this was hearing about a “rewilding” project in Sussex (UK), a whopping 3500 acres, that’s a lot of land (David*), certainly a lot more than your usual permaculture plot,so something worth knowing more about.  Or it would have been.  But now I have a different response to these things.  All I could think of is “what the hell is rewilding?  Swiftly followed by, if it needs a new word to describe (when surely an old one is perfectly adequate, one that everyone can understand), this is just yet another scam.  Especially when it claims to improve the environment and at the same time make money (in this case a lot of money).  Money and the environment are simply incompatible.

And this sums up the failings of most current eco-thinking.  We prefer to treat Nature (and the planet) as this huge patchwork of definable separate parcels of land/ sea/ or air (aka: continents/ countries, and allotments/ gardens/ estates/ forests/ wildlife reserves) that can be each individually improved by individuals.  Wrong, so very wrong.  Nature is a whole, the entire planet, all its individual atoms, working together.  It doesn’t have any parts.  And if it were possible to “rewild”, that would mean the removal of all forms of ownership, along with all the barriers we have erected which currently prevent the free passage and habitats of all species.

“Re-wilding”, like all other ecological isms before it, is nothing more than a form of zoo, for species we have selected, for our own benefit, while excluding all others.  There is zero ecological benefit in this kind of approach.

Hence my switch from the micro to widescreen.  If we want a future then we have to stop meddling and thinking small, that we have the answers with a few bee-friendly plants or degradable plastic bags, and instead do whatever is necessary to break down barriers and let all species roam free, find their own true balance.

Which ironically leads me ever so neatly onto BREXIT, where Teresa May is currently in the process of erecting even more barriers, when the EU, despite its failings, sought the total opposite, and creating ideal conditions for ethnic destroying yet more of what little is left of natural habitats in the UK, for short-term economic gain (by the few).  The view from here seems spookily similar to what happened to Germany in the 1930s.  How long before the ethnic cleansing begins?

And lastly, a word on fracking.  If the Queen owns the rights to all the subterranean land mass: a) how much does she get from fracking?  And b) how much has her family been earning for all the other mining that has been going on since they assumed this ridiculous claim?

 

*filmic reference from LOVE ACTUALLY

photo: the ARCTIC TERN, an example of the truly “free” nomad.  Each year flying up to 70,900 kms, crossing frontiers and residing without visas/ identification papers/ vaccinations/ microchip/ money.  We can only dream of such freedom.

cover page

If you are one of the hundred thousand or so who have downloaded Maureen’s last book (TREAD SOFTLY BECAUSE YOU TREAD ON MY DREAMS), and wanted more, here is your opportunity, the complete book of all her blogs is no available, written just after and takes you right up to the month before she died.

Once again, this is absolutely FREE, all you have to do is click on this link to download (please be patient, it may take a few moments to open).

I would love to have them both printed as real books, but sadly self-publishing is no longer viable in terms of postage, however if you happen to know anyone in the conventional publishing world please point out to them the number of downloads has already far exceed most new authors they would accept.

And finally PLEASE pass on this link using whatever social media possible.  I don’t have internet access so all the help others can offer in this respect is gratefully received.

Enjoy, it is truly inspiring.

Emergency Call Urgent Accidental Hotline Paramedic Concept

(part one of an infinite series)

 

When dialling the new national emergency services number: 666 you will hear the following announcement:

# WELCOME TO THE AMAZON PERSONAL ASSISTANCE LINE.  ALL OUR OPERATORS ARE BUSY AT THE MOMENT, PLEASE HOLD AND YOUR CALL WILL BE DEALT WITH AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, YOU ARE NUMBER ___ IN THE QUEUE.  BE ASSURED THAT AMAZON IS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO ENSURE ITS CUSTOMERS GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.

 

When the music stops you will be asked:

 

# PRESS (1) IF YOU ARE A PRIME CUSTOMER

# PRESS (2) IF YOU ARE JUST AN ORDINARY AMAZON CUSTOMER

# PRESS (3) IF NEITHER.

 

Then if you have answered with option (1):

 

# ENTER YOUR USER NAME

 

# ENTER YOUR PASSWORD

 

# SHOW YOU ARE NOT A ROBOT BY IDENTIFYING WHICH OF THESE PHOTOGRAPHS CONTAINS A ROAD SIGN?

 

And if all of the above is correct:

 

# WELCOME ______ _______ TO THE AMAZON PERSONAL ASSISTANCE LINE.   PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ANY CHOICES YOU MAKE COULD INCUR COSTS WHICH WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE DEBITED FROM YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.  INSUFFICIENT FUNDS WILL AUTOMATICALLY TERMINATE THE SERVICE.

 

# PRESS (1) FOR MEDICAL HELP

# PRESS (2) FOR THE POLICE

# PRESS (3) FOR THE FIRE BRIGADE

# PRESS (4) FOR THE COASTGUARD

# PRESS (5) FOR VEHICLE BREAKDOWN & RECOVERY

# PRESS (6) FOR INSURANCE CLAIMS

 

If you answered with option (1), choose from:

 

# PRESS (1) IF DEATH IS AN IMMINENT POSSIBILITY

# PRESS (2) IF SEVERLY INCAPACITATED

# PRESS (3) FOR A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT

 

If you answered with option (1), choose from:

 

# PRESS (1) IF THIS IS A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION

# PRESS (2) A NEW MEDICAL COMPLAINT

# PRESS (3) AN ACCIDENT

# PRESS (4) AN ASSAULT

 

If you answered with option (1):

 

# WHICH PART OF THE BODY IS INVOLVED?

 

# PRESS (1) FOR THE TRUNK

# PRESS (2) FOR THE HEAD

# PRESS (3) FOR THE ARMS

# PRESS (4) FOR THE LEGS

# PRESS (5) FOR OTHER

 

If you answered with option (1):

 

# WHICH PART?

 

# PRESS (1) FOR THE HEART

# PRESS (2) LUNGS

# PRESS (3) STOMACH

# PRESS (4) KIDNEYS

# PRESS (5) GONADS

# PRESS (6) OTHER

 

If you answered with option (1), choose from:

 

# PRESS (1) FOR NO PULSE, NO BREATHING

# PRESS (2) IF YOU HAVE PAIN

# PRESS (3) PALPITATIONS

# PRESS (4) DIFFICULTY BREATHING

# PRESS (5) BLUE LIPS

 

If you answered with option (1):

 

# USE THIS LINK TO WATCH OUR VIDEO AND COMMENCE CPR.  IF SYMPTOMS CONTINUE FOR MORE THAN THREE MINUTES STOP, HANG UP, RE-DIAL 666, AND WHEN ASKED WHICH SERVICE YOUR REQUIRE, CHOOSE OPTION (2).

 

# OTHER CUSTOMERS WHO CHOSE THIS OPTION RECOMMENDED THE FOLLOWING FUNERAL AND BEREAVEMENT PRODUCTS.

 

# THANK YOU FOR CALLING THE AMAZON PERSONAL ASSISTANCE LINE.  IN ORDER TO OFFER THE VERY BEST SERVICE WE ASK THAT YOU SPEND A FEW MINUTES COMPLETING A SHORT SURVEY.  REMEMBER, AT AMAZON WE ALWAYS STRIVE TO SERVE YOU RIGHT.

There have been so many people interested in living at El Pocito, literally tens of thousands (incredible, but true), but who sadly either lack the courage or finances to take the plunge.  Well, courage is something that comes from within, the realisation that yes, you can do it, not get bogged down by the what if’s, and finance, well that no longer needs to be a stumbling block either, not now, not with the advent of crowd funding.

Indisputably, El Pocito is a unique property, that’s why it took us so long to find it (nine long years).  And had Maureen not got sick, had she not died, then it would have become even more renowned as a showcase for a new way of living sustainably.  Thus, for the right people, with the skills to use social networking and raise the necessary to buy it, that potential can still be realized, with zero capital.

Among the many possibilities here are: olive production/ wine making/ cork/ fruit/ bees/ courses (including: permaculture, organic growing, forest gardening, yoga, meditation, learning Spanish, ornithology, entomology…)/ therapies/ festivals/ yurts/ working holidays on the land/ an animal sanctuary (it is ideal for cats, as our bunch will testify.)/… the possibilities are endless.

As is the amount of land that can be incorporated.  The local council owns all the neighbouring forestry, and is keen to cooperate with any ecological project that increases their green credentials.  So, if life at El Pocito is something you are dreaming about then don’t be put off by the “ah buts” or the “what if’s,” just get a campaign up and running and go for it!  Lots of people have realised their dreams by crowd funding, and El Pocito is indeed a very special place.

Look forward to hearing from you.

GUM TREE (EUCALYPTUS)

Antenatal/ Antinatal

Look closely, just one letter is separating us all from extinction or salvation.

I regularly get told we are powerless to change the path of humanity.  Wrong.  There is something we can all do.  And it’s free on the NHS.  I had it done when I was 25, never regretted the decision.  Find out how you can, with this link: https://sexwise.fpa.org.uk/contraception/sterilisation.

Euston-865225

… between what is real, and not?

As most of you know by now my life has been (for some time) dedicated to honing away at cultural convention in order to make it possible for me to enjoy more freedom/ better health/ and a heightened awareness of the natural world around me.

For some this could be considered a spiritual journey, though to be totally honest, for the most part, it was fate presenting a series of choices and this is where I ended up.  Had it been in any way intentional the road would have been a lot faster, and with a lot less of the very painful moments.

One of the things we gave up first (27 years ago) was our addiction to television, followed by newspapers, then finally radio.  Internet arrived only when our income had dropped so much we couldn’t afford it and has stayed that way, our use therefore has been mostly for communication with friends (and now to sell the house), rather than keeping up with current affairs, limited as always by whenever a wi-fi hotspot could be found.

This, along with severing a connection to the utilities, plus all those facilities they allow, has meant that gradually one’s outlook has begun to shift.  What was before considered important or necessary has since proved not to be the case.  Another change has been the cultural one.  It may seem odd to many reading this, but other countries are not like the UK.  For example, in some of the extremely rural places we’ve lived it has felt more like going back in time at least a hundred years.  And here in Almonaster la Real, currently, daily life is still very similar to when I was growing up in the 1950/60s.

I’ve never been back to the UK since we left in 2000, so can’t begin to imagine how much things have changed, but thanks to a friend who shares my love of good graphic design and keeps me supplied with copies of their local What’s On magazine, I have probably a good rough idea.

Entitled VIVA LEWES, this monthly printed magazine contains over 100 full colour pages filled with cultural information, delivered free to its catchment area, highlighting the life and culture of Lewes in East Sussex.

And admittedly from this alone, I now make the following observations, about how I see the world (which for the purposes of this exercise we will call reality), and how the rest perceive it.

I believe the most important thing anyone can do is appreciate and respect everything natural around us, and accept that all life has an equal right to exist.

Those who don’t, think are of the opinion that:

– money alone buys exclusivity, happiness, health, and everything else.

– life today is better than ever before.

– voting makes a difference.

– gardens/ parks/ and wildlife sanctuaries are part of nature.

– eating meat/ fish/ dairy/ eggs is god-given.

– sustainablilty can be bought.

– statistics are always what they claim.

– there is a god.

– education and working is a necessity.

– childbirth is our right.

Nor am I alone in thinking like this.  Peter Wessel Zapffe (1899–1990) put it into context.  That we have become a biological paradox, a species destined for extinction, because we have allowed our consciousness to over-evolve, thereby making us incapable of appreciating true reality and so function like all other animals.  For example, we are the only species aware of its destiny to die and who has shackled itself with this fear.  Capable of analysing the past, and from that predicting a future, which has always led to catastrophic results.  Expecting justice and meaning, where neither occur.

Human existence has become such a tangled network of defence mechanisms and unsatisfied desires it can no longer see what is real or not.

All negative thoughts and feelings associated with unpleasant facts about our existence are repressed.  In daily life, this manifests as a tacit agreement to remain silent on certain subjects – especially around children, to prevent instilling in them a fear of the world and what awaits them in life, before they will be able to learn other mechanisms.

We create and use personal values in order to avoid facing reality, such as: parents/ home/ the street/ school/ God/ the church/ the State/ morality/ fate/ the law of life/ the people/ the future/ accumulation of material goods or authority, etc.

We shift focus to flee from circumstances and ideas we consider harmful or unpleasant.

We refocus the tragic parts of life into something creative or valuable, usually through an aesthetic confrontation for the purpose of catharsis.

We focus on the imaginary, dramatic, heroic, lyric or comic aspects of life, to allow ourselves and others an escape from their true impact.

As David Benatar points out, if we are so happy, so evolved and advance, how come we allow:

– approximately 20,000 (people) to die every day from hunger.

– an estimated 840 million to suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

– 11 million to die (every year) from human-transmitted diseases.

– malignant neoplasms take more than a further 7 million each year.

– approximately 3.5 million to die in “accidents” every year.

– in the first 88 years of the twentieth century 170 million (and possibly as many as 360 million) people to be shot/ beaten/ tortured/ knifed/ burned/ starved/ frozen/ crushed/ worked to death/ buried alive/ drowned/ hanged/ bombed/ or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed helpless citizens and foreigners.

– 109.7 million conflict-related deaths in the twentieth century.

– about 40 million children to be maltreated each year.

– more than 100 million women and girls (alive now) subject to genital cutting.

– 815,000 commit suicide each year.

Also how do we justify billions, if not trillions (figures do not exist for China), of non-human animals being abused and slaughtered each year, just so we can eat their meat/ use them for making other pointless products/ for experimentation, and afterwards when they are no longer needed/ because we continue to take and destroy their habitats/ or from other environmental damage we have created/ and of course, for our sadistic pleasure.

Which reality do you prefer?

Edward-Burtynsky-Manufacturing-17-Deda-Chicken-Processing-Plant-Dehui-City-Jilin-Province-2005-880x587

… finally I’ve realised why so few people get what I’m banging on about.  It’s because unless we spend our entire life travelling (which I do not want to encourage anyone to do), our view of the world, what we actually know about it, from first-hand experience, base all our judgements on, is only an infinitesimal fragment of the whole.  Which we fill in with stuff we pick up from tv/ the media/ holidays, which is always going to be someone else’s agenda so not to be trusted.  We also generally tend to live in urbanisations (even out in the countryside), which are constantly evolving.  Take Sydenham (in South London), for example, where I grew up.  As a child this was like a village, pretty much self-contained, you could get most of what you needed from its High Street.  There were at most only four or five cars on our street, you could play football on the South Circular.  Forty years before that totally surrounded by countryside, the predominant form of transport the horse.  Hundred years earlier, it was a totally self-sufficient entity.

Today, everything is brought in, from somewhere else.  The daily backdrop is a relentless one, of houses/ shops/ roads/ 4x4s bumper to bumper, which continue unbroken right out to the M25, and beyond.  Everything in it totally man-made, or the kind of nature which has been extremely man-icured, for our appreciation and of no actual natural use.  In fact you won’t find a square metre in the entire UK where nature is as it wants/ intends.

Luckily, outside countries like this, until recently, there was what the planet needed to create and sustain life, its biomass.  In the vast areas of wilderness that were too remote for urbanisation. Except that has all changed now too, radically.  Gone are the prehistoric forests, with their billions of interdependent life forms that dwelt and depended within, and in their stead a vast new vista of infinite industrial estates.  Built to profit from a species that has doubled its number over the last fifty years, along with its spending per capita.  Prairie-style farms/ factory farms/ factories creating all the other kinds of products/ and mining.  And in a way that has never happened before, totally artificially.

We aren’t shown this world.  Nor are we told how it works.  But this is where the majority of everything we live on comes from now.  All seemingly as before, nay apparently even more healthy, but in fact all a total lie.  Simply the world of money shifting its operation to a leaner/ meaner one.  Because finally this what life has evolved into, and by this I mean all life, the sum total of our ecology.  What the rich (of our particular species) want.  Using whatever necessary, to do that as efficiently and profitably as they can.  Which for us means they are making this stuff totally outside any kind of regulation.  It may be labelled (organic included), but that bears no relation whatsoever to what they actually put in, how it is grown, or any other danger to life it may pose.  There is no control.  I repeat NOTHING is as it is claimed.  Nor is there any restriction on what they chuck out as waste into the environment.

The places this goes on in are hell, literally.  Both for the people who have to work there, the animals and plants used and slaughtered by the billions each day, and of course eventually for us.

In the last fifty years alone they’ve destroyed 83% of the planet’s biomass.  We are happily eating this stuff, even though we don’t know how or what is made with.  Using their appliances, that knowing cause cancer.  Breathing air they’ve globally contaminated with their industries, water too.  Is it any shock to hear average life-expectancy in the UK is now dropping instead of increasing?  Despite all the apparent good life that exists now?  Is it any shock they raised the age for pensions?

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study

 

http://animalclock.org

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Finally I’ve worked out how the species will exit this world.  Forget all the usual suspects (epidemic/ global warming/ tsunami/ asteroid/ nuclear catastrophe…), this one is a lot simpler and already well advanced.  Mental illness.  Of just the people you know, who hasn’t taken anti-depressants?  Suffers from an eating disorder?  Is addicted?  Why would a staggering 2 billion (that’s a quarter of us) want to watch the latest sick-fest Royal Wedding?  Follow sport (rather than do it)?  Waste their hard-earned money playing (and this seems to be the very last word to choose for a scam that doesn’t actually pay out) the Lottery?  Vote?  And finally, believe in a god (three-quarters of all the people on the planet, including most world leaders, do).

No, the numbers tell the story, we are a species that is doomed, past its sell-by-date, lost all sense of what it means to be alive, and in a last-ditch (Pincher Martin) attempt to survive are frantically latching on to whatever lifebelt is offered, even though it is hopeless and thrown by those who simply want to exploit the situation, for none of the above is benign.  The pharmaceutical industry can’t believe our gullibility.  The spotless Royal Family likewise (that the great british taxpayer felt honoured to foot their £32 million nuptial bill).  And sport, what is it other than an excellent tool for social control and making money?  Government?  No need, I hope, to point out the inherent corruption in that Royal subterfuge.  And religion, well if you can’t see the glaringly obvious in that one you are already beyond hope.

The vultures are already picking at our flesh, very soon though just bones will remain, as evidence that we ever existed at all.

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Since the 1970s, there have been new isms appearing (or morphing) regularly, each claiming to be the ultimate answer to a sustainable future.  tiptoe™ is the latest, except unlike its predecessors, adopts a rather different approach.
Gone are all the: manuals, courses, levels of accreditation, international convergences, blitzes, magazines, websites/ social media/ and apps, videos & podcasts, impenetrable vocabulary, and of course boundless opportunities for shopping/ travel.
tiptoe™ is also totally free.
As well as doing what it claims.  Yes.  The others felt right, their marketing continually reinforced that message, and probably hundreds of thousands of lives have changed for the better (I know mine has), as well as a lot of money made.  But when you add up the real ecological benefits, to the planet/ the ecology, what we’ve actually done is made things a hell of a lot worse.  And this shouldn’t come as a surprise really when you think about.  Not when you consider the focus until now has solely been on how to make our lives better.  That and spending money on doing it.  Never has it been about all the other species/ habitats/ natural resources.  And what does money always do?  It kills.  With no eco or ethical exceptions.  tiptoe™ doesn’t.
tiptoe™ is about each of us taking on board our personal responsibility for all the effects/ impact our lives have on the planet.  Ergo: thinking about the consequences, not leaving it to others to do that, learning to walk a lot more lightly on the planet (in every sense of the word).
tiptoe™ for me (as I mentioned in the previous blog) came about after deciding to give up on motorised tools when working with the land, forcing me to get physically a lot closer to the soil, for the first time witnessing what an amazing diverse and healing force nature really is, especially when left to its own devices. Ceaselessly and selflessly working to ensure all life on our planet continues and evolves.
I realised Nature really does know best, and this will always be the case.  So if we really want to do something positive then the focus should be on letting it get on with that, without interference.  Make it socially unacceptable to earn and spend money just because we can or want, likewise reproducing.  I know this is the same old thing I keep hammering on about time and time again, but if that bores or annoys you then it is because you still don’t want to accept that all species life (even a rock) has the same rights to a life as we do.  When you can, the world will be a much nicer place.

 

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For me, reading has always been the principle influence in shaping my path through life.  As well as for relaxing.

This week, at the same time as a new film version of FARENHEIT 451 is announced, I discover another classic to add to the pantheon – AN ENGLISH GUIDE TO BIRDWATCHING by Nicholas Royle.

This is a rather different tome though (to the others, see the BOOKS page on my site).  Instead of focusing on just one subject or issue, the author has managed to step back far enough to take all the interconnecting parts, in this case what the hell has gone wrong with our species, and at the same time come up with not only suggestions as to what needs to be done to put things right, but that actually could work.  I won’t spoil things by saying any more, but it is so simple I wonder why no-one has thought like this before.

 

Perhaps living on the doorstep to LEWES (East Sussex) has helped, the living embodiment of our current collective fantasy as to what should be reality (check out a copy of VIVA LEWES to get an idea of what a really weird place this is).  Whatever, if you only read one book this year, this should be it, you will not be disappointed.

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…a unique opportunity to rent one of the most famous alternative (cob & strawbale) houses in Spain.

It’s architect & builders, Rob Alcock & family, are taking a two-year sabbatical from the hectic life which has preoccupied them for the last ten years, and looking for someone to take over running the place in their absence.  This four-bedroomed/ 3 bathroom/ 200m2 home, with organic garden (0.8ha), and small guest cabin, is near the coast in Cantabria, Northern Spain.

Full details can be found on their site: http://abrazohouse.org/en/the-place/buildings/abrazo-house/

Or contact Rob directly: ralcock@euskaltel.es

 

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… no this is not about a new religion, though if it were I’d probably get several thousand offers instantly from potential acolytes.  What is it about our species?  We live in a time where we are supposedly at our most evolved, and the majority (I’m thinking here at least 90%, though probably higher) are totally serious about believing in stuff that obviously doesn’t exist.  Meanwhile it is virtually impossible to interest even a handful in that which does?

No, this is all to do with my developing philosophy about how we should treat the planet from now on, by leaving it totally alone, doing nothing, withdrawing en masse to one tiny area, and leaving the rest for nature to repair as it alone knows best.  Instead of blindly following all these crazy human-centric eco pyramid schemes that keep popping up, all claiming to serve nature’s best interests, but really just about those who benefit, appealing to our egos more than anything else.  Or, trusting in science, who are even more to blame for getting us into this mess.

Admittedly it is really hard to simply, do nothing.  We are after all the one species which prefers order over chaos, so the social pressure of being the sole garden in a street which looks like a jungle would be intense, in fact the neighbours would probably apply to the council for some kind of cleansing ordinance.  But this is what we actually have to do.  If you were to look down right now from above, at what we have done, this intense patchwork of individual artificial gardens/ fields, surrounded by similar unnatural roads and buildings, then compare it to the same view as if we had never existed, you’d see immediately this isn’t right.  What we have created here is inherently selfish, and that’s because we find it impossible to share the planet with all the other species on equal terms.  Reality is where everything co-exists sustainably, plus continuous new life forms and diversification, not hard-wiring and raping the entire place with concrete and tarmac, even if we currently like to coin our latest gardening/ farming efforts organic and sustainable.

One way to appreciate the rightness of doing nothing is what I have coined kneeling therapy.  This grew out of two things.  First was a spinal hernia, which forced me to garden from this position, and from there, a whole new perspective, the gradual appreciation that using tractors/ rotavators/ brush-cutters/ or even a hoe, means you can’t see or appreciate what incredible damage we are inflicting on the precious world at soil level (imagine it microscopically).  But is it actually possible?  The garden here at El Pocito is 25,000 square metres, that’s an awful amount for one person to get round.  Yet for the last five years this is exactly what I have managed (on top of everything else).  What’s more, working this way has created miracles where all the previous systems failed.  Using nothing more than fingers and a pair of secateurs.  How?  Nature is continuously renewing and updating itself.  By not disturbing this work thousands of new trees have automatically appeared, along with annuals and perennials too, some having laid dormant for decades, others brought in by other creatures.  They are also a lot hardier and resistant to bought seed and plants.  What is happening now would not been possible had I followed any of the conventional or even alternative methods we have come up with.  I know this, because I’ve attempted them all.  But best of all it fits in perfectly with my other philosophy, of sustainability, living without the need for money, because it costs virtually nothing.  Especially compared to what otherwise would be a vast outlay in time/ money/ and personnel to create the same result.  Plus there is also the added bonus of a very relaxing exercise (my back has never been better), and the intense pleasure of watching nature at work repairing our arrogant mistakes.

Ideally of course I’d rather do nothing, why bother.  But I feel guilt at what has been done before so want to try and put right some of the mistakes of previous tenants, albeit treading oh so lightly on the fragile soil.  Why not have a go too?  I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how pointless any other form of gardening (even the most esoteric) seems in comparison.

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…when our precious planet is on the brink of ecological meltdown, choose between ignoring our personal responsibility for inflicting unnecessary pain/ murder/ and extinction upon an infinite number of other species (vegans included), or taking the much simple and painless step, of…

… making it socially unacceptable to have children?

In just the last fifty years (a period of time so short it is virtually impossible to measure against the time our species has existed) we have managed to double our global population and simultaneously destroy almost all other forms of life, including the basic raw materials for life, on a planet where everything is finite.  This reign of terror is also speeding up, which means it is likely our population will double again even quicker.  Virtually everyone reading this will therefore witness the last days of our species.

Our only hope is to reverse this trend.  Either by doing nothing, let Nature unleash the virus/ global catastrophe which wipes us out, or taking the positive step, by accepting and promoting the irresponsibility of having children, through education/ media/ and social pressure.  Starting with the example of the membership of those at the forefront of environmental and moral awareness (religions/ permaculture teachers/ environmental organisations/ green politicians).  A hell of a lot more effective than anything they’ve managed so far with rhetoric/ campaigns/ and projects.

At the same time governments (and businesses) should also:

End fertility treatment.

End child benefits and maternity/ paternity leave.

End free and reduced rates for children.

End free education, instead extend the student loan scheme to include all education.

Make more public spaces and transport child-free.

End VAT exemption on products for children.

End all other tax breaks for children.

Offer incentives for sterilization.

What do you think?  That what we each crave is more important than the survival of everyone/ everything else on this precious planet?

(Inspiration for this came from Roger Deakin’s WILDWOOD, with grateful thanks to Dennis & Jessica who sent me a copy)

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…water, water, water, everywhere, yet apparently still not enough.  Call me old-fashioned, but surely this kind of inane comment is for the blithering stupid.  Of course there is enough, most of the planet is water.  What is wrong is we are using far too much of it.  So why can’t those who rule-over-us tackle that, instead of causing alarm and imposing hosepipe bans?  Why?  Because they are making more money by not doing anything.

Relatively speaking, lets say before the Industrial Revolution for example, before we set about destroying all the natural and finite resources of our planet, consumption per person was tiny.  A few litres a day for hydration and cooking (all of which was easily recyclable), anything else the same.

Today is another story though.  First, there are a hell of a lot more of us than then (just two hundred years ago), and this is increasing by the second, exponentially.  Second, we each use a lot more water, mostly for ridiculously pointless activities (daily bath/ shower + dishwasher + washing machine + flush toilet/ bidet + cleaning the car + swimming pool + et al).  Third, and in ways that make it impossible to treat afterwards.  Contaminated with deadly chemical products and our own excrement, which then are sent untreated to pollute rivers, the sea, and finally our pure source of water.  Fourth, and most scary of all, industry uses more than all of use combined, to make yet more pointless stuff (which we now feel we can’t live without), the waste from which is definitely beyond redemption.

All our water currently comes from reservoirs and springs (underground reservoirs).  Which being a specific surface area and depth can only catch and hold a finite amount of water, regardless of how much rain there is.  The current system is very old, it wasn’t designed to meet the demand now being placed upon it (nor the treatment centres).  And while the obvious solution would be to build more, promote personal rainwater harvesting, and find new ways to treat contamination, this is the wrong route to take.  Why?  Because we’re not responsible enough.  Water is the most important resource on the planet (after oxygen).  If we really want to protect that, what little is left, then we have to act more sensibly.  Which means at the very least each household and business being allotted a sustainable quota per month, which if exceeded the supply is cut off.  Also, all waste water, like other forms of household/ industrial recycling, has to be treated separately rather than mixed together.

None of this is rocket science, it is simply common sense.

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Am having a lovely time each evening currently, tucked up by the wood-burner with Roger Deakin’s NOTES FROM WALNUT TREE FARM (accompanied by some chocolate of course), thanks to good friends Dennis & Jessica in Scotland.  And somehow this got me thinking about all the labels we like to give ourselves.

For example: I am a vegetarian/ I am a christian/ I am a permaculturist/ I am an environmentalist/ I am a teacher/ I am a doctor/ I am an artist/ et al.  What do they actually mean?  That at this precise moment you are a universally acceptable type of person, or you have been actually physically changed?  The label is just not clear enough, so therefore has no valid meaning.  Instead, why can’t we just say: I don’t want to eat meat (fish or dairy) right now because I believe it is unhealthy or cruel.  Or: my day job is working with sick people.  Labels only exist because they make us feel more important, far better is be confident about the person you really are and to confront people with that when you feel strongly about something.

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I’ve been trying to help a friend, here in Almonaster la Real, find work and leave home.  He’s a qualified biologist, with at least twelve years experience in identifying all kinds of flora and fauna, bi-lingual, and blessed with this incredible magnetic personality.  I challenge anyone not to love him.

One of the reasons he is still unemployed is because nowhere really comes close to Almonaster la Real as a place to live, only a fool would want to leave, only there are no jobs.  And even Arcadia can feel depressing if you can’t follow your passions.

So I’ve been looking further afield for him, to find a similar untainted community and countryside.  Last year packing him off to Shetland, to WWOOF until he found paid work.  Sadly one of the hosts didn’t work out and in panic he came back, but otherwise loved the feel and potential of Scottish island living.  Getting him to try once more has been difficult though, if not impossible.  As has trying to get him to understand that sometimes it takes a few (or more) steps on the job ladder before you reach the place you seek.

Yesterday though I think I cracked it, with a neat analogy.

Right now he’s thinking like a lettuce.

That is, he’s only allowing himself to do one thing at a time to solve this problem.  Like a lettuce: growing, making leaves, then going to seed and dying.  After which nothing else happens until the following year, when the whole process starts up again, from scratch, with no development/ evolution.  Search for a job, find one, sends off a cv (even if it asks for an application form), then sit and wait for the call/ interview that never comes, while doing everything else but finding another job to apply for.  A year passes, when he finally realises this isn’t going to happen, so the process starts all over again.

Whereas if he acted more like a bush or tree, he’d be well into having an independent life by now.  This kind of person sets off from university, chases as many different options as possible, never says no to anything, regardless of how obscure, keeps it up, then uses all these (often very different) experiences to put on more height and branches, until eventually bears fruit in the career and life of their choice.

He can be like them, he simply needs to find the self-confidence to overcome the handicap of growing up in a very special place, where family and community don’t push their children to leave and has everything everyone else dreams of.  Except jobs.  I still think the Scottish Islands are for him, where he will make a fantastic wildlife warden/ guide/ teacher one day.  But if you know of a similar community, who could help him make the transition from Arcadia to independence I would appreciate you getting in touch.  He is a unique individual with so much to offer in talents and personality.

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In past blogs I have tried to highlight the inherent fault in any kind of human settlement/ urbanisation, it is not sustainable, this despite what transitionists might want to believe.  Now this warning has become a reality, at least for the four million residents of Cape Town, South Africa, where a three-year drought has wiped out their municipal rainwater storage.

We die after just three days without water.

Without food, ten days.

A wake-up call for the rest of the species.  That being dependent on others to provide everything is unnatural, we each have to learn how to provide for our own basic needs, in a way that protects them permanently.

The fall of the current empire has begun…

…with London/ New York/ Tokyo next (rising sea-levels).

VIVA LEWES

The good folk of Lewes, East Sussex, think they have the solution to their liquidity problems.  It’s called ELDER ABUSE.

In a town where houses start at £350,000, breakfast will leave you with no change from £10, a burger in a bar £12.  Where no-one would dare to deny their child a private education.  Where it is impossible to get through a day without a visit to one’s complimentary medicine practitioner.  You need plenty of folding ones.  And this is where the parents come in.  Sitting there on all that unused capital, while you and the grandchildren are suffering so miserably.  Sling them out to a caravan site in the middle of nowhere, and everyone can be happy again.

If you find this ad offensive (and I hope you do), please let http://boutiqueparks.co.uk know.

Thank goodness I don’t have children.

wolf

Have been dipping into ON THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES by Charles Darwin, and that got me thinking about evolution, how the basis for all life on earth, every species (flora & fauna), is a constant adaptation and improvement, all of it instinctive.  Not only to survive the day-to-day, but pass on a stronger gene bank to the next generation.

At the same time this is happening in a universe/ solar system where everything else is in a permanent state of flux too, nothing remains exactly the same forever and any change anywhere can/ will affect everything else, eventually.

Yet while all this is common knowledge, we as a species still choose to behave as if it isn’t important.

Instead we choose to believe things can be ordered/ weighed/ measured/ quantified, and never change.  Sixty seconds will always equal an hour, a year (apart from leap years) three hundred and sixty five days.  A kilo a kilo, a litre a litre.  The seasons will always be as they have always been.  Today is now/ yesterday is a past we understand perfectly/ and tomorrow will be pretty much as predicted by science (fiction).

We will continue to improve our existence.

None of which is actually true.

The measurement of time is dependent on the earth’s rotation around the sun, which is and always will be constantly changing, not always predictably.

Gravity the same, affecting everything including weight and volume.

Time in fact doesn’t exist, certainly not for any other species, only for us.  Or hold up to much close scrutiny.  Not so long ago every country had its own version (calendar too), and even now there still is a 12 hour difference around the world, and adjacent countries one hour apart.  Is there really a now/ past/ or future?  Or even multiple versions of all three?

Putting those aside for a moment, what fundamentally we fail to recognise, is the importance of connecting with who we are, what made us, ie nature, living instinctively.  And that will be our downfall.  Even Darwin, back in 1859, suggested we had already traded most of our valuable assets for baubles and blankets, for a world run instead on what he called habits.  Are witches/ vampires/ daemons therefore a reminder of how we used to be before that?

Even though my experience of living outside the new order, deep in the countryside (182,000 hectares of forestry), has been relatively short, I can still see clearly what we’ve lost.

SIGHT: everyone now spends most of their waking life in an artificially created environment of relatively short horizons, the highest proportion of that time focussed on a single specific point, be it phone/ computer/ tv.  We treat the damage from this with glasses or surgery, weakening further the natural function of our eye muscles to exercise continuously.  Sunlight, which is essential for health, has been replaced by artificial light, drastically reduced by our architecture, and deemed so dangerous we must also wear sunglasses at all times.  Does any other creature behave like this?

HEARING: our unnatural artificial living environment, with its accompanying background of manufactured noise, has all but destroyed our natural ability to hear across a much wider spectrum and volume.

SMELL: similarly.

TASTE:  thanks to smoking, heating food, and the magic 3-in-1 ingredient of sugar-salt-vinegar, few people can actually taste anything anywhere close to subtle anymore.

TOUCH: clothed and shod all the time, has dulled our three-dimensional sensory enjoyment of barefoot and naked.

…no longer do we take any of the natural constant exercise that was the hallmark of our previous nomadic existence…

…are totally reliant on having someone else to provide for all our needs, for food/ medical care/ warmth/ shelter/ transport/ communications/ sanitation/ energy/ clothing/…

…unable to think for ourselves (outside socialisation)…

…understand or instinctively know about healthiness…

…our DNA has been permanently altered by drugs and artificial chemicals, weakened by births that naturally would have not survived.

The prognosis is not good.  As a species we now have zero awareness of the world around us, and no survival skills whatsoever.  Just one event could lead to our extinction.  For example, two weeks without petrol in a country like the UK and the majority of those affected would die of starvation.  Three days, without water.

It is time to re-introduce our wolf genes, before it is too late.

(Inspired by Tom Bryan and his gripping novel THE WOLFCLAW CHRONICLES  –  ISBN 1-903238-10-2)

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Hot on the heels of my manifesto for a sustainable future, an idea for the first steps towards that ideal, vanlife, ie living in a van.

This is something Maureen and I did when we left the UK back in 2000, and had this digital world existed then, to help us create the perfect living environment, we would no doubt still be doing it, with a piece of land somewhere to act as a permanent base if and when needed.

Nomadism is the ultimate aim for our species, in order to achieve real sustainability, and stand any chance of a future, but it is a huge step.  Vanlife is the perfect way to make that first important move towards it.  Because:

  • we immediately cease to have a footprint on the planet, freeing up what otherwise would be several hundred to several thousand square metres of precious ecology permanently locked out (gardens and farmland included, including organic/ permaculture ones)
  • consumes no mains services = less damage to the ecology
  • far less water = less damage to the ecology
  • there is less space for possessions, thus less expenditure = less damage to the ecology
  • far less energy is required to heat/ cool = less damage to the ecology
  • costs a lot less to maintain = less damage to the ecology
  • requires less money to live this way (2 people for example, £5000 a year) = less damage to the ecology
  • less waste = less damage to the ecology
  • less stress and lot more freedom
  • you can travel to and live in places you couldn’t conventionally
  • adventure broadens the mind and meeting people makes you more open and tolerant

leeds

This blog is in response to a publication entitled A DREAM OF A LOW CARBON FUTURE which was jointly funded/ published by the ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC) and the UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS as a result of a postgraduate project which was aimed at imagining a sustainable Leeds in the near future.  A tome that came with such a high level of authenticity you have to wonder why then it was so naive and full of gross errors, because there is no way any of these ideas could ever work.

But they are not alone.  Every university teaches the same, all the state-funded bodies for the environment advise likewise/ all the eco pressure groups too/ plus there is a whole private industry out there each earning a very nice steady income out of running courses as well.  So why is it we and they can’t see how wrong all this is?

The answer is actually really easy.  The world we currently inhabit is in fact not the real one, but a chimera, a manscape, a manufactured/ man-made visual landscape that we’ve created and placed on top of the real/ natural one, in order to encompass all our needs for shelter/ work/ transport/ play/ etc.  Even down to the type of flora and fauna that is allowed to exist there, within a selection of specific land-use labels, ie garden/ allotment/ croft/ smallholding/ wood/ farm/ moor/ nature reserve/ etc.  This is where we spend all of lives.  So for anyone trying to imagine any other kind of place it is obviously going to be really difficult, I’d say impossible, because even when we travel we tend only to visit similarly artificially designed environments.

However there is another kind of world out there.  The bit we haven’t got round to landscaping yet, and which for want of a better word/ label represents our eco-system.  Where until about 200 years ago was predominately covered by prehistoric tree canopy, under which lived an infinite number of other species (both flora & fauna), or ocean, and collectively representing what constitutes the heart and lungs that gives life to all on this planet.  But increasingly is attracting the interest of those who serve us who live in the manscapes, to provide food and everything else.  Stripping and mining the life out of the land and over-fishing the seas, until soon there will be nothing left of either but yet another toxic wasteland, rather like our current manscapes.

They don’t want us to know about any of this, but then nor do we want to know, as long as what we have currently continues to keep us content.

Which is not good news.  Especially as our thirst for spending/ exploiting grows exponentially, as do our numbers.

So I thought I’d start making a list.  Of all the things we need to think about and do, in order to stop the world being totally destroyed by ignorance and greed.  And as I think of more I’ll add them too.  You can see it on my site by clicking here: https://elpocito.wordpress.com/%e2%97%8f-manifesto-for-a-sustainable-future/

False-God

“Does your God care about anything, but men (and women)?”  (Raising The Stones, Sheri.S.Tepper)

“And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the land”.  (Holy Bible, Genesis 2, 26)

Yes, yet another musing from deep within the forest.  This time all about why we don’t see/ appreciate/ or value anything other than ourselves, don’t see the harm we cause, or understand we have to put something back when we take things out (of the precious ecology).

Okay, so you’re going to tell me you are not religious.  Well you’re wrong, we all are.  Religion is so embedded in our species now there is no way any of us could interpret our world other than by its very specific doctrine, it could even be part of our DNA.  Oh, there are other religions as well (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc), but they are just a very extreme version of the same thing, with one common factor, they are all total fiction.  It’s not always been like this, I’m guessing before we began to settle (about 10,000 years ago), we each had our own completely different outlook of the world, but that has long been worn down into choosing the fictional one instead, where we believe we are the chosen species, supreme over all others, omnipotent.  Which is why it is fine to eat meat/ drive a car/ fly/ or do any of the other billions of everyday normal things we take for granted, even though they are causing unnecessary pain/ suffering/ and death to innumerable other life-forms (for example, here in the rural backwater of Sierra de Aracena three million pigs a year are murdered, just so we can eat very expensive ham).

We even justify it scientifically.  Having created a body of wise men, no less than a priesthood, who can prove anything and everything in order to confirm the doctrine, that human-centric/ anthropocentric is the only interpretation of our world.

This is not only very frightening, that a group of extremists governs how we see, interpret our world, and behave (social media and tv news for example), but at the same time we allow them to destroy every other species, along with all the natural resources of the planet, to feed their greed for absolute power/ allegiance.  What hope is there?

Ah you say, what about all the good things we do for the planet?  For which conveniently there is a whole new language: organic/ biodynamic/ re-newable energy/ recycling/ sustainable/ etc.  Except which are all lies too, none of them make a scrap of difference.  How is organic benefitting the planet, when it is only about feeding us?  Biodynamic, the same.  Re-newable energy.  How can something that costs (the planet) so much to install and maintain, just to provide us with electricity, be a good thing?   Recycling, is nothing more than re-using precious/ irreplaceable natural resources that shouldn’t have been taken out in the first place.  Sustainable?  Ha, whatever we do is fundamentally unsustainable.  The list is endless, and ultimately it is all about serving ourselves, not the planet.  This also at a time when our population is soaring out-of-control, who will want to behave just as selfishly too.  The truth is we don’t put a single positive thing back into the planet, just take take take, simultaneously hurting/ torturing/ killing other species, pretending to ourselves they don’t matter.  Doesn’t that sound a little bit crazy?  If the planet was a bank account, how long do you think we’d get away without ever putting anything back in?

While we’re on the subject, what does anyone actually know about nature, the billions of very different species apart from ourselves, their culture/ intelligence/ feelings/ habitats/ diets/ etc?  Truthfully?  Nothing.  Our religious priests make it all up.  Even we who inhabit the so-called counter-culture, the alternative movement, can be accused of the same too.  Of which I count myself at fault.  For the last 30+ years I thought I was doing something positive for the planet, guided by the many “isms” that have proliferated during that period, 25 of those making forest gardens, involving the sowing and subsequent planting of many thousands of trees/ shrubs/ perennials/ annuals/ roots/ and climbers.  But I can see now I was wrong.  Because it was still coming from a human-centric perspective, providing for us firstly and using what we thought best.  When to be truly humble, what do I know about how the planet works?  A force billions of years old, that started out as a fireball from the sun, the created all this life.  Only one thing it seems.  That it is constantly evolving and seeking ways to improve and expand the number of species and interdependencies.  Which is totally the opposite way of we are taught to think, looking instead for patterns/ simplification/ reduction/ rules.  Flux versus rigidity.  How did I finally realise this?  By living in nature 24/7 for seventeen years, observing and listening to nature, though fundamentally by doing absolutely nothing.  Because instead of imposing, if you leave a piece of land alone, it will grow into a far better place on its own than we could ever hope for.  One that is in total accord with its conditions both locally and globally.  We will never be able to understand how to do this, attain such a level of complexity, or accept the flux factor way of thinking, because it is the antithesis of our religion.

Our eco-system is by far the most intelligent and evolved organism on the planet.  We, in comparison, are the least.  Those in-between therefore deserve our total respect.   From now on therefore we can must either live extremely lightly or retreat into urbanity until we take up the least amount of room, so we no longer do any more damage and the planet can begin to heal itself, or face extinction.

It is up to you, but don’t be fooled into thinking you are worth more than any other life or that you are helping the planet.  That is just the religion talking.

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I may be a bit slow on the uptake here, after all this only took me sixty-odd years to realise, but am I alone in thinking what was a seeming benign, nay paternalistic, entity, evolved from ten thousand years of civilisation, is nothing less than the same old nasty dictatorial regime that took hold at the beginning, in a new guise?

Yes, am talking about our beloved national governments once again.   Though not their public face, the actor/ politicians, or the vague allegiances each party pretends to hold, which are just there for entertainment/ distraction purposes, but the real power behind them, the people who as always really run our lives.

Those who have crafted this virtual reality so perfect now, that we the masses are not only willing to swear our total allegiance/ life to it, but also give freely 99% of our hard earned income (in taxes/ tithes).

And with them in mind, proposing the following hypothetical question:

If it were possible (because, unless there is a serious ecological meltdown, this could never happen, so don’t waste your precious life thinking otherwise), to totally eradicate the monster that has held our species captive for ten thousand years, what would you wish to see in its place?

Here are some of the positive (no point listing the negative, there will always be some) thoughts I’ve had so far:

…with all taxation and public services abolished, personal income would instantly double in value and everyone will at last be free to choose which private services they wish to buy into, either through an insurance scheme or pay-on-demand…

…to replace certain essential public services it would probably be necessary for some kind of unpaid civil-service, where everyone does so many hours/ days each year for their local community…

…there would be no need for bureaucracy, identity numbers, passports, or papers…

…or propaganda…

…the true/ natural/ agricultural sense of community/family would re-establish itself again…

…real personal freedom would exist once more, for the first time since we stopped being nomadic…

…self-responsibility would be rediscovered…

…more arts/ crafts/ self-expression…

…nomadism, the true state of species, would return…

…no more proscribed religion…

…no cctv…

(photograph from http://hedgespoken.org)

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Okay, so not hard, but did you get the point?  That where there are few or no people, there’s far more nature?  Because this is something we all need to understand.  Less of us = more nature = a balanced eco-system and sustainable future.  Urbanisations = extinction (and not just of all the other species).  Let’s be honest, no-one really wants to live in places like this (London, currently the most polluted city on earth), especially when it going to dramatically shorten our lifespan and be the prime cause of the end of the world.  (The other photo is my favourite place on the planet – Vancouver Island BC.)

Here’s another pair, this time as quotes.  I came across the first while searching information for our cat rescue project in Almonaster la Real (Facebook page: ANIMALES PROTEGIDOS EN ALMONASTER LA REAL – english).  The second is exactly the same but with the noun changed.  How come the first one is okay, the second unacceptable?

“Everyone with a pet cat can help too, by making sure their pets are neutered so they don’t add further kittens to a world already overflowing with unwanted pets.”

“Everyone with a child can help too, by making sure their children are neutered so they don’t add further children to a world already overflowing with unwanted children.”

It’s all a matter of perspective.  We have been indoctrinated to believe the world exists for us, to do with as we wish, and that there is a natural hierarchy with us at the top.  This is a lie, our sole role is to feed other species, nothing else.  If we don’t realise this soon (Emperor’s New Clothes) we will cease to exist.

 

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The appeal to help re-home Lotus & Steve before winter bites has still a way to go.  Yet is still only the price of a coffee if everyone who read this gave.  Then they will be safe and snug, as well as ready to start the work of rebuilding their beautiful oasis.

Lotus & Steve deserve your support and encouragement, because (brave) people like them are dispelling the myth that we as individuals can’t change things.  They prove it is possible to live well, very well, on very little.  That we don’t have to be slaves for our entire lives serving the needs of those who-rule-over-us.  Putting up with overcrowding and all the bad stuff that happens when one species over-populates the rest.  They are also doing their bit to repair our terminally ill eco-system.  So please help them continue this excellent vocation, by foregoing just one coffee today….

Donate here: https://www.youcaring.com/lotusmoran

Today’s theme was sparked by a lovely video received recently.  I didn’t know the person before, but it seems we are on totally the same wavelength.  Take a look (it’s only 1m 35sec) before reading any further.

This is the home of Lotus and Steve, very much like El Pocito (except situated in neighbouring Portugal), pared down to the essential basics though still containing everything anyone would ever need to lead a very fulfilling healthy long life.  Got me thinking, about why more people don’t do this.  Maureen and I for example, originally just your stereotypical ordinary couple, waited until we paid off our mortgage (at the relatively old age of 43 & 44), before thinking of embarking on it.  Which was totally unnecessary, because land like this can still be found for next-to-nothing (Lotus & Steve worked and saved for just 6 years to afford all this).  In fact taking it a step further, why waste any time, when by reducing the school-leaving age and allowing young people to begin earning earlier (with education credits to use later if they want), they could work/ save enough while still living at home, that by the time they would otherwise have completed a totally pointless further/ higher education (along with accumulating a huge student loan debt), be able to buy a place outright.  Neatly circumventing all this ludicrous intense social pressure (invented by guess who?), to waste our precious lives instead chasing an imaginary career, getting into debt buying/ renting successive bigger/ better/ more expensive homes, filling them with equal amounts of pointless rubbish, procreating, while adding to all that with holidays and other diversions to hopefully get some kind of respite from all the stress.  Only to discover that at the end of chasing this pot of gold/ rainbow, those-who-rule-over-us have moved the retirement goal posts (again), and you are either too scared to want to have any other kind of existence/ ill/ or dead.

The beauty of what Lotus & Steve chose is you don’t ever have to get into any of the above, because it is so cheap, both to buy and live thereafter, achievable by anyone.  Plus there are all the other benefits.  Notably the planet doesn’t have to suffer anywhere near as much by your grossly overpopulated presence.  Anyway enough of my ranting, just thought I’d share that with you.

I also wanted to write this because sadly Lotus & Steve suffered a minor setback recently (although they won’t thank me for calling it that), and I thought they could do with your help.  Thanks to a cruel act of arson their place was burnt to the ground last month.  Devastatingly they lost not only a precious cat but all their lifetime memories, stuff that can be never replaced, as well as having to face the coming winter without their beautiful/ cosy home.  There is a crowd-funding appeal set-up to help raise the necessary £7,000 needed (the land will recover on its own to be even better), please donate if you can:  https://www.youcaring.com/lotusmoran-986152/update/760977?fb_action_ids=10156049737066614&fb_action_types=youcaringcom%3Apost

Finally here is a photo of Lotus, I think it is lovely.

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It’s that time again, when I get a pleasant shiver running down my spine telling me a rant is due (yes, I actually enjoying it).  This one inspired by several seemingly unconnected events recently, yet all neatly linking up.

The first, an email from THE LAND magazine, arrived on one of the rare moments I was actually on-line (regular readers will know I don’t have internet) last Sunday.  I took it to be important, because after my recent run-in with Simon Fairlie, there was no way they would ever get in touch again.  And lo, the editorial team has been revamped.  So did this mean my earlier offer of an article might be reconsidered?  I replied immediately.  And the response was almost as quick (have these people not got homes to go to?).  Almost an essay, full of the same old tired stuff SF had thrown at me before.  Had I bothered to read it properly, I would have seen it was just a circular.  However it got me thinking about the magazine again.

Next was FISH TAILS.  This is the title of the latest SF novel by eco-writer Sheri S Tepper.  You should know that to be able to read (as opposed to watching tv/ listening to the radio), is like breathing/ eating/ & drinking for me, essential to life and for keeping me sane/ centred.  In fact ever since I saw the film FARENHEIT 451 (as a teenager), then read Ray Bradbury’s book which inspired it, a library has always accompanied me, especially hardy perennials that can be read over and over again.  FISH TAILS contains a literary reference to F451, with a sect which rescues and protects books for a more enlightened future.  They are called VOLUMETRIANS.  And it made me think how few people now actually want to and make time to read good literature, that is work by artists/ thinkers, those who have to express themselves, as opposed to the hacks who simply churn it out for the money.  From which came the sudden realisation that actually society is already separated into two distinct camps, just as in F451.  Or as another brilliant writer/ philosopher, Ronald Wright, proposed, that it is in our DNA, we are descendants of two totally different species, one foragers and passive, the other carnivores and aggressive.

Take that all one (giant) step further, and I propose that the likes of Simon Fairlie and his ilk (all the other alternative/ ecology publications), plus probably most of the ecology movement, are actually on the side of the book burners, ie the majority, if the truth be known.  Because while they peddle ecology solutions (products/ courses/ services etc), what they actually believe in is having life both ways, doing so by making their living out of it.  Just like the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t really want there to be a cure for cancer, or they’d be out of a job, so they don’t allow the real solutions to be aired and instead focus on creating seemingly reassuring and positive diversions, stuff that brings people together and makes them feel good (fun runs comes to mind), even if it isn’t going to make any difference.  Which brings me onto VIVA LEWES.

I doubt if anyone has ever heard of this publication, unless of course they live in Lewes (East Sussex).  It’s not alternative/ ecological in the sense of those above, yet still manages to offer and embrace all the same values, albeit from a different perspective, that of the conventional person/ majority.  It’s a monthly what’s-on magazine, totally free, running to over 100 full-colour pages, providing a quintessential mix of great graphics/ excellent journalism/ and quirky advertising.  All in a brilliant format that somehow manages to make the readers feel they are the lucky ones.  Which of course is what all the other magazines hope for too, to make you feel part of their exclusive club (everyone dreams of winning the lottery/ living in their own version of Lewes).  A friend sends me copies, and I can’t lie, it is like a drug.  A modern version of P G Wodehouse (you have to be rich to live in Lewes), but reflecting not just Lewes, society as a whole, as the majority it seems really do seem to be ready to believe that anything is possible if only you have enough money to throw at it.  For me of course I just like VL for the irony (and graphics), which is something you could never say about THE LAND et al, where else could you find a cycling seamstress/ silent hairdresser (who will also de-clutter your wardrobe as well)/ a food-delivery service that uses a Silver Cross pram/ or holistic osteopath who treats dogs?  What tickled me this month though, relevant to this theme, was the surfeit of mentions for mindfulness (even more than the usual adverts for private schools), and a feature entitled CIRCLE OF LIFE RE-DISCOVERY.  The latter being where for between £7 and £890 (yes this is correct) this registered charity will provide you with a unique access to nature and the outdoors.  Call me old-fashioned, but when did we need to be told/ shown how to appreciate this?  Mindfulness is a new one to me, apparently it has something to do with Buddhism, feeling good by doing nothing/ avoiding responsibility/ and living in the moment.  Sounds like more of the same, repackaged.

Which leaves those of us in the other camp, those who really want to do something to save the planet, in a very tiny minority.  We who believe there are only two issues that we should all be focussing on.  That of reducing population to sustainable levels, and the banishment of money.

Because no matter how many permaculture projects or ecological innovations could be created, the reality is there are already far too many people occupying the space/ resources that should exist solely for all the other species.  Too many houses/ roads/ shops/ services/ etc, covering the precious land.  As some kind of illustration, using the UK for an example (but it could be any industrialised country), the human population was just 800,000 in the year 0AD (2017 years ago).  At which point you could probably say our ecological footprint then was so minimal, so biodegradeable, it was a more-or-less sustainable existence.  However after that, those who rule over us (this is not a natural thing), decided to increase our number, solely to serve their needs, and by 1750 it had risen to 6.5 million.  No longer biodegradeable/ sustainable, and now taking land/ resources from other species or just killing them for sport/ food.  Then coming up with an even better idea, for making their life more comfortable still, the Industrial Revolution.  Which they achieved by forcing the people to increase their numbers even quicker.  By 1956 (the year I was born) reaching an incredible 51.4 million.  This year, 65.1 million.  Currently increasing at a rate of more than half a million a year.  Each of which will need to take their own piece of the planet for homes/ roads/ shops/ services/ waste/ etc.  Leaving what for the rest of the species?

This doesn’t include how much each person spends every day.  Money being an equally destructive force on the precious ecology, one that indiscriminately robs and poisons in other parts of the world (land and oceans) as well, just so we can carry on this with this crazy overpopulation and stuff ourselves senseless with things we don’t actually need.

To me it is obvious what we have to do, why is everyone else burying their heads?

At least in El Pocito no-one can hear my screams (of frustration), except of course all that nature, which I am fortunate to be surrounded by and so far has escaped being concreted over for yet more unnecessary people.

As the Cree saying goes:

When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.

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Lo sé, estoy predicando en el desierto.  Pero si nosotros los que sabemos, no seguimos contando al resto, que ellos tienen los medios para cambiar este sistema político actual, entonces nosotros también seremos culpables cuando todo se vuelva realmente desagradable.

Todos los días desde que he vivido en España (y Portugal), hace 17 años, he sido testigo de aquellos que tienen trabajos seguros de por vida trabajando para el estado, usan su posición para servirse a sí mismos, a través de la corrupción y el miedo.  A lo largo de los últimos cuatro años esto se ha convertido en algo personal gracias al personal de: seguridad social en Aracena/ servicio sociales en Cortegana/ la oficina de empleo en Cortegana/ y más recientemente correos, que colectiva e ilegalmente me han privado de más de 45.000 euros, dinero que en cambio ha ido a parar al bolsillo de otras personas.

Al mismo tiempo también he desperdiciado cuatro años de mi vida, persiguiendo papeles y llevándolos de una oficina a otra, cuando ya estaban disponibles (digitalmente) para aquellos que me los solicitaban y requerían.

La última gota ha sido el Defensor del pueblo.  Ese departamento de Estado cuya única misión es erradicar la corrupción y garantizar los derechos del ciudadano común.  Ahora también han sucumbido a esta enfermedad, y solo defiende su postura e interés.  Así que la próxima vez que usted piense que todavía hay una oportunidad de obtener lo que se le debe, no pierda un segundo  más de su preciosa vida persiguiendo.  Aténgase a la lotería y a la caridad de la iglesia que en su lugar ofrece las mismas posibilidades de éxito.

Lamentablemente esta codicia continuará, consumiendo servicios y aumentando la tributación hasta que no quede nada.  La única esperanza de sobrevivir que cualquiera de nosotros tiene es matar la enfermedad erradicando al anfitrión.  La próxima vez que haya una elección, voten en un sistema de gobierno totalmente nuevo, Ya no tienen nada que perder.

 

– wake-up time

I know, I’m preaching to the converted here.  But if we who know, don’t keep telling the rest, that they have the means to change this current political system, then we have only ourselves to blame when it all turns really nasty.

Every day since I’ve lived in Spain (and Portugal), 17 years now, I’ve witnessed those who have secure lifetime jobs working for the state, using their position to serve themselves, through corruption and fear.  Then over the last four years it became personal, thanks to the staff at: Seguridad Social in Aracena/ Servicio Sociales in Cortegana/ the Oficina de Empleo in Cortegana/ and most recently CORREOS, who collectively and illegally have deprived me of over 45,000 euros, money that has instead gone into other people’s pockets.

At the same time I have also wasted four years of my life, chasing papers and taking them from one office to another, when they were already available (digitally) to those requesting them.

The last straw though has been the Defensor del Pueblo.  That state department whose sole remit is to root out corruption and ensure the rights of the ordinary person.  They have now also succumbed to this disease, and now are only defending their own.  So next time you think there is still a chance of getting what is due, don’t waste any more of your precious life chasing it.  Stick to the Lottery and Church instead, the odds they offer are just as good.

Sadly this greed will continue, consuming services and increasing taxation until there is nothing left.  The only hope any of us have of surviving is to kill the disease by eradicating the host.  The next time there is an election, vote in a totally new system of government.  You no longer have anything to lose.

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how would you set about finding the perfect place to live?

Not as in “when I win the Lottery”, but if you wanted to do it right now, with just your current resources.  The reason for asking is I have completely run out of ideas how to publicise El Pocito is for sale, and desperately need some fresh input, preferably of the “cost nothing or next-to-nothing” kind.

My biggest problem (I think) is that the Sierra de Aracena is more-or-less a total secret from the rest of the world, no-one else has ever heard of it or this part of Spain.  Except that is for the lucky few who were born here, or like us came upon it by accident.  The fact that there are 182,000 hectares of woodland/ mountains, packed full with an equally incredible variety of wildlife/ fauna/ and fauna, and very few people to disturb them, has passed everyone by.  As has that the villages and small towns that do exist are small and date back hundreds if not thousands of years, including some castles and of course Spain’s oldest mezquita (mosque).  With a pace of life which is more like my 1950s childhood than modern day Europe.  Sevilla (Spain’s most beautiful city) si just an hour away.  The beach only an hour.  Portugal 45 minutes.  So how do I tell people all this?

Another problem is the total lack of estate agents (with a relevant internet presence) featuring this area.

Nor can I find any publications (anywhere in Europe) that cater for this kind of market.

All I’ve got so far (to spread the word) is my site (https://elpocito.wordpress.com) and two Facebook pages: PHIL ROOKSBY (http://facebook.com/phil.rooksby) and  OFF GRID SUSTAINABLE SMALLHOLDING IN SW SPAIN FOR SALE (http://facebook.com/elpocitoinalmonasterlareal/).

Can you help?

Also I would like to know how to increase the traffic/ visibility for my site (though not in a too technical way please).  As well as any alterations you think might help.

What about forums, can you recommend any?

Looking forward to hearing from you, don’t be shy.  Phil.

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…. especially in the Houses of Parliament, along with the various roosts of the Royal Family.  Each virtually immortal, having already existed for hundreds of years, fed on the life-blood of the humans.

Yes, I’m off on one of my rants again.  Today it is about pensions, as rumour has reached me that there might be a General Election in the offing this autumn.  And as most of you already know, expats don’t get a vote, not in the UK or even in their new country of residence, just as they aren’t entitled to most of the social security/ unemployment benefits either, because the UK doesn’t play fair when it comes to EU membership.  So I want to make sure those who do have a chance to make a change, do it effectively.

Assuming there was a system of justice in the UK, surely if you have been forced to contribute for a lifetime to the state pension plan, then it is the duty of the government to pay out as agreed when the need arises?  Yet apparently this is not the case.  Instead they have been steadily changing the rules when and how they wish.  Done away with Widow’s Pension, significantly raised the age when you can start receiving a standard Retirement Pension, removed income and spouse-related Benefits, and as I write, planning even more drastic cuts.  All totally illegal of course, but who is ever going to take them to court?  Yet why, if they want to make the changes, don’t they allow the current beneficiaries to receive what is their due, and start the new system with those about to begin work?  Answer: because they really don’t care.

I am one who has fallen foul of their treachery.  Have already been swindled out of 20,000 euros and If I actually live to become a pensioner will have already lost 45,000 euros altogether.  Though that is nothing to what every UK woman (born after 1950) has lost.  While at the same time a Member of Parliament, even if they are in the job for only a day, still gets a life-time earnings-related pension, on top of their state pension, immediately upon leaving.  How is this just/ fair?

When we lived in the UK we were proud to be in such an honest and law-abiding country, proud of the checks and balances that sustained this.  But seems none of that was real, more the case of being culturally downtrodden for so long (by those who rule over us), believed this was how things were.  Because as soon as we moved to Spain/ Portugal, where everything is so much more out in the open, I could immediately see the vast inconsistencies, even at a local town council level.  Not only that the average UK taxpayer is paying as much as 99% of their hard-earned income on taxes and resultant loss in purchase value (see https://elpocito.wordpress.com/living-on-less-money), but that one of the universal laws of nature is: the more money you have access to, the more corrupt you become (with no exceptions).  And who has the most access?

A General Election is the once chance (short of apocalypse) we (or you) get to make a change, vote in a government that isn’t just about providing its membership with as many ways as possible to make a nice tax-free profit.  But one that simply provides the services the greater population needs, free of backhanders and nepotism, and consequently reduces the burden of individual taxation to what it realistically should be, almost nothing.

Deprive the vampires their source of sustenance, and get someone moral and mortal in to do the job instead.

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Without internet access/ a tv/ or radio here, books & magazines take on a whole new significance (aka FARENHEIT 451).  I re-read my entire library at least once a year, and when there is spare cash search out new titles.  Magazines however are not so easy.  For a start I have no idea what is available now, they would also be too expensive to buy (from either the UK/ US) sight unseen.  So all I have left now is a few copies visitors brought and those we came with in 2000.  Not nearly enough to get me through all those long dark evenings coming up.  I was wondering therefore if anyone out there had any old back issues they could pass on?  Doesn’t matter what, or how old, just that they are in english.  Thanks, looking forward to the response.

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Seems a while now since I wrote anything, and then it was only to voice my at being ripped off by the Spanish Post Office (CORREOS), a battle which still continues.  This one is more like my old self.  ln fact it is the same old message, only this time will probably irritate even more people.  Though this is not my intention, so please bear that in mind before posting any negative or nit-picking replies, they will only be deleted.

My inspiration came from a film/ DVD kindly sent by a friend (who having shelled out £25 for it, sight unseen, probably wants to try and recoup some of that), entitled: wetheuncivilised.  A documentary made by two young people from Lewes (E Sussex), who set out in a van to seek an alternative way of living in the UK, and on the way paid a visit to friends and communities, interviewing, plus having an unexpected baby.  All apart from the last bit, just up my street.  Especially living in a van (though I have to say ours was much better fitted-out, see the photos: https://elpocito.wordpress.com/living-in-a-van-nomadism/).  Likewise I have a strong interest in finding or setting up a community of like-minded souls.  Anyway, based solely on the wonderful packaging it came in, I was really looking forward to watching this.

The film however is a total disaster.  And in so many ways.  Including: having no real story or direction/ its main two protagonists lacking any credibility/ constant side-tracks and padding with clips from other sources/ appalling camera-work/ inane soundtrack/ boring (well over-long at 141 interminable minutes)/ plus incredibly self-indulgent (rather like being forced to watch a neighbour’s holiday videos).  Though the biggest howler of all was the contribution from the (and I quote) grass-roots activists and leading figures of the UK ecological movement.  All of whom are esteemed and respected beacons of the ecology movement, some of them for decades.  Yet total embarrassing, because what they had to offer was ego/ human-centric, total claptrap, or simply unintelligible, like listening to a foreign language.  Their worst crime being none of them mentioned, or even appeared to realise, the two major issues facing us right now.

Namely, overpopulation by our species, and the environmental impact of money.

At this point I would like to introduce a chart to try and give an idea of the scale this represents, because I still don’t think people actually get how far we’ve moved away from what is/ was normal.  I’ve chosen just the period from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which is when we really started to lose the plot.

year UK population world population UK household income (annual)
8000BC   5 m  
1700 6 m 0.6 b £12.75
1800 16.3 m 1 b £27.55
1900 41.6 m 1.6 b £52
2000 58.8 m 6 b £20,000
2017 65.5 m 7.5 b £35,000

 

Population.  All life on this planet has a definable sustainable limit to its numbers.  This is managed instinctively and allows for a maximum diversity of species to exist/ develop, as well as protect the (finite) natural resources of the planet.  This is difficult concept to grasp/ justify, I know, it implies there is some kind of shared intelligence among all life (or over us), but as we are the only species known to have deviated from this pattern there must be something to the idea.  Anyway, just in terms of being totally dependent on a diverse ecology for life itself it is necessary we abide by this rule.

For whatever reason we chose to disregard it and increase in numbers, especially after so many millions of years while our numbers remained low and stable, the effect was that other species then started to suffer and die out, this happened from (around) 8000 BC.  Slowly at first, then speeding up exponentially when those who rule over us began wholesale enslavement of the entire human race with the Industrial Revolution.  Since then it has continued to increase in speed, but with an equal destructive effect being wrought simultaneously by the spending of money.

These two indices therefore are the only reliable measure of ecological meltdown.

So why aren’t we doing something about it?

I think we were, or at least the ecology movement was getting their message across.  That is, until the advent of internet and mobile phones (around 2000), when vested interest regained the advantage.  Since then all information has been under their control, to keep reinforcing their message that procreation and spending are good (for them).  It is only those (shades of FARENHEIT 451) who remain disconnected that are able to think differently.  See the obvious comparison between the seemingly limitless buying opportunities of today, their effect on the planet, and the much better life of our forebears who had nothing by comparison.

At the end of the film I stepped outside, out onto the patio of El Pocito, from which there is a very steep slope downwards, so you are looking out onto a 180 degree vista which stretches into infinity, nothing but countryside as far as the border with Portugal.  The sun was directly in front, casting its golden glow directly into the house.  And what I saw/ felt then was something never experienced/ appreciated before.  The dogged belief that had kept us searching for a different kind of life for over twenty-five and more years, had finally earned me a place in paradise.  There is no other way to describe it.  And I wouldn’t swap the highest salary for this.  Hard to explain, but there are ways to live an incredibly fulfilling and beautiful life without spending (any) money or procreating.  And if we all chose them instead, then maybe we could save the planet.

Visitors welcome any time, to experience the difference.

 

imagenes_correos_a4425f02

The first in what I hope will be an occasional series about how wherever there is money/ power/ or influence, corruption lurks also, usually in equal measure.

This is not something in the UK most people know much about, at least not first-hand.  Probably because being one of the richest/ most powerful countries in the world, those who stand to gain most from it want to retain that privilege, otherwise if everyone realised just how corrupt those who rule over us actually are they’d no longer have that right.

Except in Spain the opposite is the case.  To be accused of corruption here (especially to get away with it) turns you into an overnight celebrity.  The daily prole-fodder mediums actually encouraging this down through all levels of society, so those who are not involved have now become the absolute/ tiny minority.

My experiences (first-hand) have been innumerable, the worst being public services (who still owe me nearly 20,000 euros), the latest of which is CORREOS, the spanish Post Office.  In particular MARINA PADILLA ALFARO, who while merely an employee for this company, still feels it is perfectly just to defend a scam which illegally fleeces thousands daily.

This concerns packets/ parcels entering the country from outside the EU (letters for some reason are not affected).  As a matter of course now, when they arrive in Madrid, they are automatically subject to three forms of taxes.  One, on the value of goods enclosed.  One, for the extra cost of delivery within Spain.  And the other, VAT/ IVA on the former.  Typically this adds 100+% to the cost of buying anything from outside the EU.  BREXIT supporters please note, this will happen in the UK eventually.  Prepare for massive inflation.

All fine you may say.  There is the choice of buying solely within the EU.  Except all of this is totally illegal.  In spanish and EU law, if you receive something as a gift then it is not liable for any import duty.  If it is a book, likewise.  If the sender has already paid the full cost of delivery then it is also illegal to charge extra (plus VAT/ IVA).

Oddly though, if the parcel/ packet was sent via a third-party (like AMAZON/ E-Bay), then it goes straight through without attracting any charges.  How?

As with all spanish public services, it is impossible to complain.  You have to pay up or not be able to receive the parcel/ packet.  Obviously MARINA PADILLA ALFARO has never had this problem otherwise she wouldn’t defend it so vehemently.

shelter photo

(with translations below in: Français/ Deutsch/ & Español)

In 1973 Lloyd Kahn published his third book on alternative architecture and overnight it became a bestseller, in turn changing the lives of a whole generation.  This was SHELTER (ISBN 0-936070-11-0), an anarchic look at examples of self-build and homesteading around the globe.  Maureen saw a copy in COMPENDIUM BOOKS, that legendary bookshop in Camden High Street (London), and from then on we knew exactly what we were going to do with the rest of our lives.

More titles have appeared since, all equally inspirational, including HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN 0-936070-33-1) and TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN 978-0936070-52-0), which are both a must for anyone interested in off-grid/ self-sufficiency.

But more importantly, 44 years on, there is yet another one to equal SHELTER, entitled SMALL HOMES/ The Right Size (2017,  ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1).  And this time the roles have been reversed and El Pocito is one of those featured.  Without doubt the highest honour Maureen and I could ever have wished for.

Obviously you have to get yourself a copy, but first please SHARE our joy by telling everyone you know to visit our internet site and see for themselves how small and simple can be beautiful:

https://elpocito.wordpress.com.

 

En 1973, Lloyd Kahn publiait son troisième livre d’architecture alternative, qui devint un bestseller du jour au lendemain et changea la vie de toute une génération. Ce livre était SHELTER (ISBN 0-936070-11-0), une collection anarchique d’exemples d’habitations construites soi-même et d’installations auto-suffisantes à travers le monde.  Maureen tomba sur un exemplaire à COMPENDIUM BOOKS, cette légendaire librairie de Camden High Street (Londres) et, dès lors, nous sûmes exactement ce que nous allions faire du reste de nos vie.  D’autres ouvrages sont parus depuis, tout aussi inspirants, comme par exemple HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN 0-936070-33-1) et TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN 978-0936070-52-0), qui sont tous deux incontournables pour quiconque s’intéresse à la vie alternative hors-réseau en auto-suffisance.

Plus important encore, 44 ans après, il y a un ouvrage qui égale SHELTER et dont le titre est SMALL HOMES/The Right Size (2017,  ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1).  Cette fois les rôles ont été inversés et El Pocito est l’un des habitats présenté.  Sans aucun doute le plus grand honneur que Maureen et moi pouvions souhaiter.

Il va sans dire que vous ne pouvez pas manquer de vous procurer votre propre exemplaire, mais, d’abord, ayez la gentillesse de partager notre joie en demandant à vos connaissances d’aller visiter notre site internet, afin que chacun puisse voir par lui-même à quel point un petit habitat en toute simplicité peut être beau.

https://elpocito.wordpress.com

(translation thanks to Jeanette Compte)

 

1973 veröffentlichte Lloyd Khan sein drittes Buch überalternative Architektur und es wurde über Nacht ein Bestseller,der das Leben einer ganzen Generation veränderte.  Es war SHELTER (ISBN0936070-11-0) ein anarchistisches Beispiel über selbstgebackenem Eigenheime der ganzen Welt.  Maureen sah eine Kopie im COMPENDIUM BOOKS,die legendäre Buchhandlung in der Camden High Street (London).  Und von da an wussten wir,was wir für den Rest unseres Lebens machen wollten.

Mehr Titel sind seitdem erschienen.  Alle genauso inspirierend.  Auch HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN978-036070-52-0) und TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN978-0936070-52-0) die beide ein Muss sind, für alle die Interresse an besonderer, einfacher Architektur haben.

Aber noch wichtiger:éin seit 44 Jahren existierendes Buch ist das SMALL HOMES/ The Right Size (2017,  ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1) heißt.  Und dieses Mal haben sich die Rollen umgekehrt und El Pocito wird vorgestellt.  Das ist die größte Anerkennung die Maureen und ich uns nur wünschen konnten.

Du kannst dir selbst eine Kopie machen aber bitte.  Teile erst unsre Freude,indem du jedem den du kennst,bittest unsere Webseite zu besuchen,um selbst zu sehen wie wundervoll KLEIN und Einfach sein kann

https://elpocito.wordpress.com

(translation thanks to Babse Bippus)

 

En 1973 Lloyd Kahn publicó su tercer libro sobre la arquitectura alternativa y durante la noche se convirtiò en un best seller, a su vez cambiando la vida de una generación entera.  Esto fue el SHELTER (ISBN 0-936070-11-0), una mirada anárquica en ejemplos de autoconstrucciòn y colonizando todo el globo.  Maureen vio una copia en COMPENDIUM BOOKS, una librería legendaria en Camden High Street (Londres), y a partir de entonces sabíamos exactamente lo que íbamos a hacer con el resto de nuestras vidas.

Más tìtulos han aparecido desde entonces, todos igualmente inspiradores, incluso el HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN 0-936070-33-1) y TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN 978-0936070-52-0), que son ambos tanto una necesidad para cualquiera interesado en construcción autónoma y afincamientos alrededor del mundo.

Pero lo que es más importante 44 años despuès, hay otro SHELTER igual, SMALL HOMES/ The Right Size (2017, ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1).  Y esta vez los papeles han sido invertidos y El Pocito es uno de los presentados y destacados.  Sin duda el honor más alto que Maureen y yo podríamos haber deseado nunca.

Obviamente se tiene que poner una copia, pero primero por favor COMPARTIR nuestra alegría diciendo a todos a quienes conocen que visiten nuestra página de internet y vean cómo algo tan pequeño y simple puede ser tan hermoso:

https://elpocito.wordpress.com

(translation thanks to Emilio Romero Márquez & Jetske Brand)