Posted on  UTC 2020-05-01 02:01

26.05.2020 – Not the Age of Reason

It's no fun watching the media hounds howling after UK government advisor Dominic Cummings, even if you have normally no time for political foxes – and that one in particular.

It's also no fun watching the COVID enforcers, the snitches and the 'rules is rules' brigade screaming in panic. With his family Cummings 'drove 260 MILES!' we read.

But the case is interesting, in that Cummings and his boss Boris™ are defending his actions as being reasonable and understandable in the circumstances. Apart, that is, from Cummings taking a lengthy drive to check whether he was fit to drive or not, which in itself is an argument that destroys what little credibility he had.

But on the larger matter, 'reasonable' is not a defence that is going to fly with the British public, who for the last couple of months have watched quite a few of their number being persecuted by the police for breaking lockdown rules in quite reasonable ways. The rules themselves are arbitrary, vague, absurd and unreasonable and no arguments of reason can be used against them.

Sitting alone on a park bench or on the greensward or in some wilderness is 'killing people' we are told; ditto walking a dog in the great outdoors; ditto taking a car drive to somewhere and eating your sandwiches and drinking your flask of tea in some solitary spot. Rationally, such behaviour endangers no one, but that argument is useless if you get stopped in a roadside check or accosted in a park. If you reject the lecture and argue the reasonableness of your actions you will be fined or even be hauled up before the beak.

In the enforcement of the irrational lockdown rules, the words 'reason' and 'reasonable' have no validity. In the Cummings case, what goes around, comes around, as they say.

So we can understand public resentment that Cummings and his boss can even claim his behaviour was 'reasonable', when it seems that no one else's claim of reasonable behaviour has been acceptable. Rules is rules, after all, in these despotic times.

23.05.2020 – 'Latest comments' panel

A 'latest comments' panel has been added to the year menus. This shows the latest five comments that have been made. Hover the cursor over an entry to see the date on which it was posted.

Clicking on the title will open the relevant page in a new tab and jump to the comments section on that page. At some point in the future the code will be changed to take you directly to the comment in question.

21.05.2020 – Clap for the NHS

For British people now of a certain age, the words 'clap' and 'NHS' have only unpleasant associations. At that time 'clap' involved a short, burningly uncomfortable walk to the surgery of the local doctor.

These GPs were senior chaps, who during their wartime service had seen everything an army abroad could catch. Unsurprisingly, as the OED tells us, the word 'clap' descended from Old French 'clapoir', the meaning of which cannot be described more closely on a family friendly website such as this. The colloquial term was widespread, probably because no one could spell the medical name.

The kinder doctors just gave you the tablets, the morally indignant ones with time on their hands used the 'umbrella' on you – a medically pointless but morally uplifting procedure left over from the days before antibiotics. After that you would stay away from the opposite sex for perhaps a whole fortnight and choose more wisely in future.

The juveniles who now rule over us tell us that Thursdays is 'clap for the NHS' day. Really? I'll do my very best, Mam'selle.

11.05.2020 – What would Treebeard say?

This time last year one of the actors in our 'trembling aspen' video was preparing to burst forth.

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Here it is (the golden leaves) last autumn:

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The farmer who owns this land has no time for aspen trees because of the suckers they put up all around them. He wants grass for his cows, not more fast-growing aspen trees. At the beginning of this year he took action:

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Chopping the tree down would have taken effort and cost money. There are simpler ways.

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No more trembling from now on. The dried out branches of the dead tree are already beginning to break off.

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We are reminded just how fortunate the cluster of aspens which we featured in our article was to have the protection of a rocky outcrop.

Note to readers

If you want to link directly to a particular entry in the scrapbook, double-click on its title. The URL for this title will now be in the citation box at the bottom of the page, from where it can be copied and pasted. Similarly, double-clicking on almost any paragraph, image or other object on the page will place a link directly to that object in the citation box.

This functionality is available on all article pages on the website. However, the URLs for menu pages can only be obtained using the cite button.

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