Social Comment – 2019

Social Comment for Year 2019.

 

        We were invited to see in the New Year at a neighbour’s house where we renewed our acquaintance with a number of people who we only normally wave to in passing. Nice.

       The Hornets managed to go two goals up and lead three two, before drawing at Bournemouth three all. 2nd Jan. All the goals came in the first half and the game had some very “iffy” refereeing decisions. They are now Eighth. Troy Deeny; the scorer of two of the goals, said as much in an after match interview. This has not gone down well with the FA.

       It is reported that 15 million patients did not turn up for their pre-booked appointments to see their GP; or visit their hospital, for consultation or treatment last year. With a service so strapped for cash and resources, this action must surely be considered on a par with fraud, as it denies others from having justified access to the facilities blocked. It has been suggested by some that a hefty fine be levied on those that do not inform their NHS facility when they cannot attend, or have changed their minds.

        It is further reported that less than 50% of under 60’s; and somewhat more for those over this age, took advantage of the free Flue jab. There was a shortage of vaccine in the Autumn, but since the supply situation has improved, few, apparently, have taken advantage of heading off this potentially killer disease.

       This last item is relevant to the forecast report that our weather is going to take a turn for the worst with low temperatures this week and the likelihood of snow for when the children go back to school next week. Apparently, similar conditions are lining up to those that gave us “The beast from the East” last year. It will be interesting to see if we are knee deep in snow and freezing our bits off in a fortnight or so, as is apparently, “likely”, say the Meteorological Office.

       The likelihood of a no deal Brexit has persuaded the government to take some cautionary actions to try to anticipate areas that will be most affected. The next few weeks are going to be very critical for UK.Co.

       Refugees continue to arrive by small boat from France. 3rd Jan. Despite the agreements that state asylum must be sought on entering the first country where safety from danger can be assured. These individuals; and families manage to go straight through France and aim for the UK. It is thought that a number of people are making a fortune from their transport. Some think that we owe them a place to live, and others that they not asylum seekers at all. One can only imagine the furore when a boat is run down by one of the numerous freighters that are constantly plying their way along the channel.

        The Hornets have pulled up to seventh place in the Premiership with an away win. 13th Jan. They are on the edge of doing really well this season.

       Watford is in the news again for less pleasant reasons. In fact they are in the traffic report on the radio every morning for the congestion and resultant delays at the A41 Dome roundabout.

This junction is a disaster. Basically, a simple cross roads with a roundabout. This should be self controlling on the basis of the “give way to the right” rule. But to it have been added numerous sets of traffic lights, some doubling up in series. The result being long queues in all directions, particularly from Hunton Bridge. The pedestrian crossing on the London side has lights that blocks all entries in no time at all.

It is noted that many of the apparently Radar controlled traffic lights are not working, or poorly adjusted. For instance; a long wait at the bottom of Sheepcot Lane when there is no traffic at all traveling along St Albans’ Road. The same applies at Garston Lane.

Despite the 20mph limit on Kingswood traffic, the intended resultant reduction in speed is not very evident. Parking, sometimes right on bends, still causes me some considerable concern.

       Next Tuesday sees the Parliamentary vote on the much argued offer made by the EU on a Brexit deal. With the government’s defeat a considerable possibility, the whole process of UK government is under threat. It would be nice to think that those making their choice on Tuesday had the country’s best interests at heart, and were not using the situation for their purely political ends. It would also be nice to see pigs fly!

       The news from France is perhaps a reminder of what can happen when the more militant of the people become completely disillusioned with their government, with street riots a regular occurrence. With anti Social Media used as a conduit to spread the direction and targets, it all becomes very worrying. Could it happen in the UK? Of course it could!

       Last evening the government suffered a massive defeat 16th Jan. over the acceptance of the Brexit deal put before them. 202 for, 432 against. This was followed by a vote of “No Confidence” proposed by the Leader of the Labour Party. A vote on which will take place later today.

It has been suggested that the ploy by some is to persuade the EU that they must come up with a better proposal that will satisfy the UK, as a no deal arrangement is not good for anybody. It would seem to me to be fairly unlikely, at this stage. The political manoeuvring between the parties still seems to have more emphasis than the decision of the electorate; right or wrong, as it may have been.

       The Vote of” No Confidence” was defeated, not by a lot, but enough to persuade the PM. to offer all party co-operation in finding an acceptable alternative to the unpopular EU offer.  Jeremy Corbin calls this a “stunt”, and refuses to take part on behalf of the Labour Party unless she rules out the possibility of a “No Deal” departure. Is it me, or does a similarity exist between Nero and his violin and some of our ministers? i.e. (to do nothing or something trivial while knowing that something disastrous is happening).

       A bit of winter hit Kingswood this morning at breakfast time 17th Jan. A sprinkling of snow fell and immediately coated the car  windscreens with difficult to remove ice. Fortunately the fall was short lived, but the temperature was still only around 2.5C at mid-day.

       This weekend many of the estate roads were obstructed by commercial vehicles. 20/21st.Jan. In particular the bends seem to attract them. In addition to living in a van parking site, the safety aspect is also important. I wonder if the 32 new Police officers joining the Herts. Constabulary last week on the 19th will help to alleviate some of the eyesores and latent dangers?

       Winter tried a little harder on 22nd Jan. Quite a heavy snowfall in the afternoon provided a settling coating that fortunately did not last too long. With temperatures well below freezing overnight it made for an unpleasant start to the day for many commuters.

       Parking on the estate roads still continues to be both hazardous and unpleasant. Although not actually illegal; the apparently indiscriminate positioning; of in particular commercial vehicles; part on the road; part on the pavement, specially on bends, does nothing for the passing motorist and resident.

       Brexit continues to be a parliamentary party political Pin Ball game played with very high stakes for the punter. That punter being “You and Me”. 29th.Jan.

Following Tuesdays debate and ballot, Theresa May has been given two weeks to renegotiate with the EU the terms of the proposed leaving agreement. With the Irish border arrangements being top of the list of objections, and EU President Trusk telling all and sundry that the deal cannot be renegotiated, she is in for a hard time. The term “significant and legally binding change” is the aim. I am sure she is in for a hard time, and anyone with a thought for their country must wish her the miracle she will require to satisfy everyone.

       The Hornets have finished the month in 9th place in the Premiership and have qualified for the 5th round of the FA Cup. If only they could convert the chances that create into a few more goals we would be a lot higher up the league.

       The temperature this morning; half way down a Kingswood garden at 7 am, was -7 degrees. Fortunately we have had only a little snow but most of the cars are all the same colour and the birds have become a lot more daring in their search for food. The fish are refrigerated under a thick covering of ice, how do they survive?

       Spam phone calls are on the increase. 31st Jan. Many purporting to be from; or on behalf of British Telecom, threaten that “your internet connection is compromised and will be terminated tomorrow”. But “press 1 to contact an engineer, who will overcome the problem”. It would appear that this action will result in a few more requested key strokes that will give the scammer complete access to you PC, Tablet or Phone. Don’t do it!!!

I have just received two more such calls, but nothing on line from BT.

       The latter part of the week has given us some more snow, with treacherous local roads and airport and rail disruptions. The schools were closed as a precaution. I recall that this situation during my school days would have resulted in massive; to the death, snowball fights, and long; glass smooth slides across the playground. If we had been told “No School”, there would have been a riot. With no “Anti Social” media, we would not have known of the closure anyway! I recall woollen gloves were useless when trying to form snowballs and we would have found it difficult anyway, with only one hand available.

       By Monday morning, 4th Feb. the East West portion of Fern Way had less of the appearance and attributes of The Cresta Run. Shielded from the sun by the houses; and not suffering such indignities as gritting, this section of road was almost impossible to walk across, and if you are physically challenged, you are silly to try.

        Brexit, Or Not, still trundles on. With the EU boss making stupid and emotive throw away comments whilst Theresa May is shuttling between leaders on both sides and also the Irish. The main bone of contention still seems to be the form the Customs border to the Irish Free State will take, and the unreasonable conditions the EU is placing on its operation. We are coming close to the “crunch” vote. With several political careers and aspirations to consider is it yet another case of, “be careful what you wish for!”

       The weather has settled to early frosts and double figure daytime temperatures. 15th Feb. With Snowdrops and Crocuses flowering, can spring be far away?

       Another fairly massive defeat for Prime Minister May in the Commons yesterday. We are getting dangerously close to “the day” and unity is so far away that it seems impossible to face the EU with any strength of purpose. They must be laughing their communal heads off in Brussels.

       The Hornets are in the fifth round of the FA, (now Emirates) Cup, with 0-1 win over Queens Park rangers. 15 Feb. Not a game to remember, but the result opens up some possibilities.

       An offer through Neighbourhood Watch, via OWL, brought a visit from the Watford Fire Service to do a free “Safe and Well” visit and check on Saturday evening. 16th Feb. Two young men arrived on time; in their rather large machine, did a survey and collected details reference needs for special help in the event of an evacuation. They told us they were the “Duty Crew” and were liable for any calls that came in during the visit. None came, and we were impressed by both the professionalism shown and the manner in which information was sought and advice was given. It is to be hoped that others take advantage of what is a very beneficial service and possibly a life saver.

       The Government has said that more care must be exercised when granting planning permission for new developments, particularly housing. Feb17th. It would seem that the quota’s imposed on local authorities by this same government; in its rush to find houses for possibly too many people, are being interpreted on a “never mind the quality, feel the width”, basis. Not enough thought is given to the infra structure availability: such as Doctors surgeries, schools and shops, but particularly Parking. The division of existing houses to provide apartments or flats immediately raises this same problem of where the occupants park at night and weekends. Quite often this involves commercial vehicles. Kingswood has areas that at times look like they should be managed by the NCP.

       ASDA have introduced a £1 deposit device on their shopping trolleys. This will confuse a number of customers who see actual coinage as well past its sell by date. If they can’t swipe it, or point their mobiles at it, then it’s not for real! If it keeps a few more trolleys in the Supermarket then it’s not a bad idea. Generally speaking they don’t improve the ambience of the estate. How do they get off the site? Surely not pushed home loaded. Do people lift them onto their vehicles to save unpacking them?

       Much has been said recently about Fake News on the internet. 18th Feb. It ranges from the alleged International interference with the US Presidential election, to plain lies that persuade the vulnerable; and sometime the not so vulnerable, to divulge such things as Pin numbers and Bank details on line. It also provides slanderous comments about people and “miracle cures” for Cancer and the like. There seems to be a number of people who believe everything they see on a screen, and copy this info and their endorsements to their friends. It appears it costs a lot of people a lot of money and considerable mental stress. There is currently a government committee proposal to limit the time that the younger generation spend on line as; it is claimed, it is causing long term psychiatric problems for some of them. I think the initiative has very little chance of having any effect, as the habit is already so well ingrained. Nobody, but nobody, goes out of the house without a mobile, usually clamped to their ear. I suspect the device is not too far out of reach indoors too.

This last initiative has been highlighted by the recent revelation that many young people are self harming on a regular basis, and they claim that graphic illustrations of what you can do to yourself are being pushed, on-line. This; I believe, is particularly sad.

Finally; for now, one site has been accused of being involved in “grooming” youngsters. What form this grooming takes was not specified but the whole scene does not make me feel good!

       The Hornets had a result at lowly Cardiff 22 Feb. that delighted us supporters. The won 1-5. I have rarely seen a difference in standards so obvious.

       The  Brexit saga has taken another turn, over the last week or so. Backbenchers from both main parties have relinquished the “Whip” and gone it alone. Three Cabinet Ministers are on the brink of doing the same. It looks considerably likely that the actual split with the EU. will now be put back as there is more support for not accepting either the agreement on the table, or a “No Deal” result. With still some claims for another “Peoples Referendum”, we are not a lot nearer resolving the problem.  What a “Pigs Ear”

       We are experiencing a minor heat wave. 27th Feb. With early morning frosts and some fog ,the temperature was nevertheless 21 degrees Centigrade yesterday, this is the highest ever recorded for late February. It appears we are at an end of this phase this weekend. Some agencies have claimed the current situation to be due to Global Warming, the general consensus is this is not the case. They refer to this time last year when The Beast from the East had us in its freezing grip. Read this column in 25 years time for confirmation.

       The Hornets were given a lesson last night. Beaten 5-0 by Liverpool at Anfield. 28th Feb. The skill difference was similar; in the other direction, to the situation at Cardiff last week.

       More dwelling units for the estate and its environs. Ellwood Gardens gets 9 flats in Ellwood Court, the Van sales site at the end of Sheepcote Lane another 18. A ride around the local area and into Watford will show many more sites with Dwelling units in the process of erection. It will be interesting to see where the Car Parking spaces are for all these new residents.

       OWL warns us that distraction thefts are taking place in Supermarket car parks as the shopping is being transferred to the car boot. Sometimes the ploy is to point out damage to the car; on the other side, or asking for directions or change. Purses have been snatched, and if the offender has witnessed a Pin number transaction, they will use the card inside to make a purchase. Often very soon after the snatch. Records show that the victims are often the older shoppers. A Swipe card saves the perpetrator a lot of trouble!

       Road surface repairs are imminent on the estate. Not before time. Some of the pot holes give you a nasty jolt. Even on the off chance that you may be sticking to the 20mph limit!

       The 10 bus service gets even more erratic. Waiting 35 minutes for a bus to town is not unusual at present. Then; for some reason, they wait in the town for a quarter of an hour. All very handy when you have a hospital appointment to keep. Coming home does not show much improvement. The phone App. that allows the prospective passenger to see the actual position of buses on the route has buses jumping forward and backward as though they were on a Pin Ball machine. What does “Up to 10 minutes” actually mean?

       The Hornets were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City. 9th Mar. Their first goal was so obviously offside that even the BBC on Match of the Day noticed it Having defended well for 45 minutes, this decision knocked them out of their stride.

       A second defeat in the Commons for Theresa May 12th. Mar. on the slightly improved agreement details she has achieved in several visits to Europe. The improvement is in the detail of the North / South border arrangements in Ireland. With another defeat a probability tomorrow, we are getting nearer to a “No Deal” situation by default that the people voting against the acceptance don’t want. Some of the statements made by politicians; who one would have hoped would have known better, make me believe that the UK and its well being are far from their most important aim. As a past negotiator, I should think the EU delegates must be laughing their heads off. Divide and Conquer. And they did not have to try very hard!

       Strong winds and heavy rain have made life difficult during this week. 13th Mar. It has also been several degrees colder. Some more fences down, but the situation in the Westerly and Northern parts of the country have been much more severe due to Storm Gareth.

        The Hornets are into the FA Cup semi finals with a win 2-1 against Crystal palace at Vicarage Road. 16th Mar. Other matches in the north of the country were postponed due to flooding and snow fall. That part of the UK had strong winds together with a nasty chill factor.

       The Hornets are drawn against Wolves at Wembley in the Semi finals. They will have their work cut-out. This team were possibly the most impressive in the last round. 17th Mar.

       The Speaker of the House of Commons has ruled another vote on the Brexit proposals can-not take place without a significant change to their contents.

A further delay is therefore proposed. Is there no end to this sorry saga?

       MP.s have taken control of the Brexit process 25th Mar. Quite what this means only they appear to know. The PM will not take another vote as losing it is an almost certainty. It still seems as though personal and political aims and ambitions take precedence over the countries interest. Nobody has mentioned that the EU negotiators are the ones not moving from their demands. There is not a lot of pressure a fragmented government can apply. No Deal and another referendum are still high on some peoples agenda.

       Following eight ballots and eight failures to win any of them, the government held another one yesterday and today, the day we should have left the EU, we are still at stalemate. 29th Mar. There are so many factions in Westminster that it seems to me that agreement is impossible. Meanwhile the EU, as they have done all along, refuse to move from the original draft agreement.

       Another round of parliamentary votes on alternatives to Theresa May’s negotiated deal with the EU. 1st Apr. All were rejected, which is likely to happen when the various parties; and splits from parties; and their dogs, have more self interest and gain more satisfaction from negative results than any apparent concern for the country as a whole. If they can’t see the need for national unity, then the fact that we are heading for a “No agreement” situation plays right into the hands of a probably gloating EU.

       Brexit, or not, still takes up most of the news. 4th Apr. A possibly unholy alliance between May and Corbin has been mooted. Things are really quite desperate. I don’t believe parliament, or more likely, politicians, have ever; in my lifetime, been seen in such low esteem. If they would stand back and look at themselves, they could only see ineptitude and self seeking.

It is suggested that an offer of an extended delay may be made by the EU. Heaven help us!

       A proposed housing development in Perivale Gardens has again arisen. It was just such an application; in the same area in 1986 that was the catalyst for the Kingswood Residents Association’s formation. 51 years old eh.

      The Hornets play Wolves at Wembley on Sunday 7th Apr. in the FA cup semi finals. Come on you ‘ORNS.

       After going two down, and not playing well, the Hornets suddenly came to life with 10 minutes to go with a splendidly crafted goal by sub Delofeu, followed by a penalty scored by Deeny. Extra time saw another great goal from Delofeu. The crowd went wild!! I hope too many people did not go home with the Wolves second goal, which was also rather special, and survived a VAR check on him being offside. Most of the 33,000 “yellow” fans think he was offside, but could not care less now with what followed. It’s going to be a heaving Wembley in May at the final against Manchester City.

       The EU have agreed a delay to the implementation of Article 50 until the 31st October, unless the UK can come up with a satisfactory offer. 14th Apl. This means we will have to spend a few more millions on the rather pointless EU Elections. Inter party talks continue between the Tories and Labour, both of whose leaders look likely to fall by the wayside. Their parties don’t look very secure either. What a mess!

       Measles outbreaks are occurring globally with their attendant many deaths. It would appear that up to half a million youngsters in the UK have not received their two MMR vaccinations and have been left unprotected. 26th Apl. With a claimed 90% contagion likelihood following exposure in a group to just one infected child coughs and sneezes; it does not make sense that the “False News” spread on Social Media has had such an effect on the decision to take such a risk.

       What an unholy mess are the Brexit negotiations! With our elected representatives having completely lost the plot we now have a situation where parties are dissolved, formed, mixed and matched, and all the things that the electorate, rightly or wrongly, did not vote for seem to have gone by the board. It would appear that all the names have been put in the hat and “has been”, previous leaders, have drawn a handful, given them some all inspiring name, (not), and promised all is well. (Again, not!) How future faith can be placed in anything associated with party politics is difficult to see. I suspect the rest of the world; and particularly Europe, must be falling about laughing. There are some dangerous characters oozing to the top of the pile. Beware!

On top of our own pit, we have to take part in the Euro Elections next  month?

       A visit to the local Doctors was an eye opener. 1st May. Nobody appeared remotely interested in the call screen. They had all taken out their mobiles as they took their seats; and in one case needed a reminder to look up and take notice. The nurse said it was not unusual, and several patients had missed their appointments for this same reason.

        The local council elections have shown the voters are fed up with the main parties and have not elected many of the previously expected candidates, even to the extent that long standing holdings of the whole councils have changed hands. 2nd May. What actual hands on involvement they had with national governments fiasco is not known.

       Stanborough saw Tim Williams re-elected, and the Lib Dem control of the council maintained.

       With a cold wind and intermittent sunshine, we had several sleet / come hail storms during the day. 4th May. This bank holiday looks like being be at least 10 degrees cooler than the Easter one last month.

       The news today 7th May. explains why the peace of Kingswood was disturbed for several hours last Wednesday by a Police helicopter circling the estate and Watford Town. An “extremely dangerous fugitive” was brought down from a tree in Congleton (near Manchester) following an extensive operation to track this beast, who is accused of 12 abductions, sexual attacks and rapes in London, Manchester, Lancashire and Watford area over the last fortnight. His victims ranged from two 14 year old girls, an 11 year old boy and 71 year old. There is a suggestion, not confirmed, that the man was wrongly released from prison in February.

       Following a very wet morning the skies became black, and at five minutes past two, a bang; the likes of which I have not heard since the war, set our hearts racing. No preceding lightening, just a mind numbing bang. Torrential rain followed, and rumbles all round, but no more near misses. At half past four; on my way to the doctors, another downpour, with hail that bounced from the car bonnet and made visibility almost impossible. Fortunately it did not slow the vehicles along the A405, who must have been on Radar, or something out of a bottle. That was Wednesday 8th May. We don’t need too many of those!

       On attempting to go on line on Saturday 11th May I had no Internet. A long phone call with Damien from BT determined their side was healthy. He suggested that the cable link between the router and the PC. was at fault. It wasn’t, but the Surge Protector in this cable was. Without a doubt the near miss lightening strike had been the cause. The suppressor had been sitting there for ten years plus, just waiting to do its job. Well done!

       The six week long discussion between the Conservatives and Labour to find common ground for a new Brexit proposal to put before parliament has broken up with no common ground for such an option. Teresa May has said she will leave as PM but not quite yet. This action will of course overcome all of our problems! Not!

       The Hornets met their match at Wembley, going down to Manchester City 6-0. There was only one team in it unfortunately. The spectacle in the stadium was very impressive; and to give them credit, the Watford supporters stayed until the end. As perhaps an indication of the difference between the teams, the city substitutes bench was worth; by a factor of 10, more than the total Watford player contingent.

Won’t be long before next season starts. Come on you ‘Orns.

       An unusual power outage of around 2 minutes around 8.25 this morning caused a reset exercise on the alarm clock, but that was all. 21 May. I don’t know if this event caused the Dome traffic lights to fail, but if you ever wanted a better demonstration of the detrimental effect on traffic flow that they cause when they are working, then this was it. We sailed both in and out of ASDA as though it was an early Sunday Morning. I noticed that few drivers actually signaled their intent, but this said, it was much easier and safer than usual. It won’t last I am sure!

       There were an awful lot of children around, I thought the Bank Holiday was for Monday only. One young lad; walking in the middle of the road with his head down and thumbs a blur, had to be ‘honked’ to prevent him from walking into the car, which was stationary. And a lady rode her bike up the newly resurfaced Greenwood Drive on the wrong side. I had to drive round her ‘righteous glare’.

       Mrs May has failed to persuade her Cabinet that her latest Brexit proposals should be put before Parliament. This almost certainly hastens her departure. 24th May. Nobody else seems to have any ideas worth the salt. Where do we go from here? Further up the creek?

       The EU election has resulted in Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party virtually sweeping the board in the UK. 28th May. The Lib Dems held their own, and Labour and Tories were decimated. There has been so many interpretations of what the referendum result actually meant, and however the final leadership is composed we can’t ignore the fact that the EU will not give us more, no matter how much foot stamping takes place. only 37% of the electorate could actually be bothered!

       Donald Trump is making a State visit to the UK today 3rd June. All sorts of mayhem is promised by people who think that disrupting everyone else’s life will improve things one iota. Although apparently generally disliked, Trump is the elected US President. Perhaps it is the US. electorate that deserve the disruption.

       Today, 6th June. 75 years ago, a young school lad stood in the garden in Chester Road and watched wave after wave of Dakota and other war planes towing wooden gliders across the sky. These formed part of the airborne contingent of the Normandy landing. Altogether 156,000 UK and allied troops landed on the beach head and 4,000 of them paid with their lives. Thousands of others were wounded. Together with the parachuted spearhead the night before and the sea borne landing craft, he was witnessing the event that was the beginning of the end of World War 11. As recorded, many thousands of these allied invaders did not survive, and we have a duty of thanks for the gift of their lives.

       It is perhaps ironic that we are now in conflict with several of these same continental allied countries; and Germany, over who decides how; and by whom, our country is run and governed. We were a lot more decisive 75 years back, or we may have lived in a very different society in the intervening years.

       Today at five o’clock is the last time a candidate for Conservative Prime Minister can register, provided he or she has enough current members of parliament to back them. 10 June. 11 persons have so far expressed a belief that they can rescue the party. We have already been enlightened on the lives of some of them, and Social Media is having a field day on the others. What a way to run a country!

       We have sunshine at 5pm today, following a rainy morning. 14th June. This follows a week of wet weather, with at times torrential rain, and low temperatures. The central heating has turned on both early mornings and late evenings on several days. Night temperatures have been as low as 11 degrees.

        The Conservative leadership fight continues, with Boris Johnson considered by some to be in the lead.

       Midsummer Day, Summer Solstice, Longest day. We had all these and the first bit of prolonged sun shine on the 21st June. The weather has been fairly awful over the last ten or so days. Many areas have floods due to the persistent rain. It’s time to watch the days getting shorter and winter lurking in the distance!

       Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are the two left in the Parties selection for a new Prime Minister. Much of the argument seems to involve matters that will not help the winner to persuade the EU to give us a better deal. Or so they say! It would seem that all this rhetoric is a waste of breath with a General Election in the offing.

       The very hot weather over continental Europe for the last week or so made its way across to Kingswood on Friday 28th June. Temperatures measured at 4pm were still at 35.7centigrade halfway down the garden, in the shade. The FIFA Ladies World Cup continues to be played in these extreme temperatures and England Lionesses  have won their way into the semi finals against Germany to be played later this week.

       The temperatures have dropped by around 15 degrees today. 1st July. It can only be a matter of time before the thunder rumbles in.

       Summer is back today 4th July. with clear blue skies, no wind and temperatures that require a little shade. Most of the bedding plants are flowering and the butterflies are showing an interest. This is how it should be at this time of year.

‘High flying Planes are crossing back and forth, mainly in an East West / West East direction, leaving brilliant white vapour trails behind them whilst others, much lower, are queuing to turn onto the Heathrow approach path.

With every man and his dog seemingly extending thier house there is an annoying background of hammering, both mechanical and manual, circular sawing and Angle grinding, interspersed with the occasional loud obscenity. So Kingswood grows up, and out, and Bungalows appear in the back yard.  Oh to be in England……

       Notice today that Fern Way 11th July. and parts of Briar Road are to be resurfaced later in the month. It would be nice; and a lot safer, if yellow lines were painted on the bends of Fern Way. The parking, actually on the apex of the bend leaves a lot to be desired.

       The pantomime of party leadership conflict, and who will lead us out of, or not out of the EU continues. The EU must still be not able to believe their luck. Add Donald Trump to the political mix and the world should shiver. Where did we get them all from?

       Today, 17th July, 50 years ago, the Apollo mission to take men to the Moon was on its way to a successful conclusion. Most of the residents; as yet actually born, will have been glued to their seats in front of a comparatively small black and white television set to see Buzz Aldrin step out onto the surface. Kingswood has changed quite a bit since then!

Compare this event with the Cricket World Cup last Sunday where the TV audience was world-wide, on enormous screens, and the joy, at least in England, knew no bounds. Every ball was watched as the final over left a dead heat. A Super-over had England win by One Run. The old pride on being English was felt in many chests, and perhaps wiped out for some small time the political fiasco that we have managed to create between us. Perhaps we should take on the EU at Lords, on a winner takes all basis.

       We have a new Kingswood Prime Minister. 23rd July. Boris Johnson has won the Tory ballot and will officially move into Downing Street later in the week. Time will tell what progress he can make in the Brexit fiasco.

The temperature was 35 degrees in Kingswood at mid afternoon. Many people apparently could not sleep at night due to the heat and humidity. It would seem that many of these same people did not hear; or see, the spectacular thunder storm and the torrential downpour just after 1 am.

       Global warming or not, we were subjected to what is possible the highest Kingswood July temperature ever,  last Thursday the 25th July. Halfway down our garden it was 39.2 degrees.

It has barely stopped raining since and the plants are recovering slowly.

       Today 29th July. we have a clear sky and large lorries roaming round the streets carrying out repairs to the road surfaces and markings. Several roads are closed to traffic altogether during working hours. Kingswood seems to be just part of a town wide road closure scheme. We hope things will be improved at the end of it all.

       Rain again today 30th July. and a drop in temperature of around 19 degrees from last Thursday.

An attempt by Margaret to book a regular Mammogram resulted in the offer of Hatch End, Wembley, and several other venues  in North London, all difficult to reach; including Tottenham. My attempt to arrange a Dermatologist appointment to get long waited biopsy results produced in offers of Tring and Hemel Hempstead, whilst Margaret has to attend a clinic in Bushey. Somewhere! the map provided had no road markings!

Seeing a local Doctor is now akin to a lottery. Not only will the doctor probably never have seen you before, he will only be bookable five minutes before attendance time. With the new App you can even get an appointment half an hour after it is too late to attend! That is without the time it takes to get there! Confidence in the NHS organisation is not high in this household at the current time.

       Last week it was fires on the railways caused by high temperatures distorting the overhead lines. Today 31st July. it is floods, landslides, road and rail bridges and a dam on the point of collapse due to the four inches of rain plus that has fallen in the North West. Also came the suggestion that this July has been the hottest on record.

       The Hornets played their first game of the new season in a rain and wind lashed Vicarage Road. Beaten soundly by Brighton & Hove Albion, with barely a whimper. There is some room for improvement.

       A week later, 17th August a more offensive attitude again produced a defeat, away to Everton. We don’t seem to have anyone who can put the ball in the net.

       A strange letter received was investigated by our PCSO’s. 18th August. It is sad that such mistrust is essential to avoid an attempt to defraud and rob you in your own home.

       The UK has lost its Measles free category. It would appear that too many parents are taking notice of Social Media and putting their offspring’s at risk by not taking advantage of the full course of MMR. vaccinations on offer.

       The August Bank holiday weekend 26th Aug. has provided us with another scorcher. 36 degrees in Fern way. So far three days of sweating and plant watering.

The Hornets lost again at home leaving them firmly on the bottom of the table.

The 3rd Test Match in Leeds had possibly one of the finest last day’s ever. England all out for 67 in the first innings, they were left with an impossible total on the last day to win; and leave getting the ashes back a possibility. They did it with one wicket to fall with a marvelous 135 from Ben Stokes. The Leeds crowd reactions were ecstatic, and many other “Brits” all over the UK; and I fancy the world. Almost like 1966 all over again.

       The Hornets managed their first point at Newcastle with a 1-1 draw, which still leaves them firmly on the bottom of the table. 31st Aug.

       With promises of a Parliament suspension in the air 3rd Aug. and the PM threatening a snap Election, whilst other parties and some of his own top men are attempting to form an anti “No Deal” consortium, and the EU are saying; and probably meaning, that they will not move on the Irish border issue one iota, there could not be a bigger foul-up. Procedures and legislation appear to have little influence and it is difficult to see how our Parliamentary system can survive in it’s current flouted system; whoever gets their way and if we leave the EU or not.

       A earlier day of failed negotiation and blatant nationalism is shared with our current foul-up. At 11.15 precisely, 80 years ago today, Britain was at war with Adolf Hitler’s Germany. This was just 20 years after the last blood bath of World War 1. Those of us that were old enough to actually recall the event; and its worldwide aftermath, are even more worried when imminent, grown statesmen, are apparently unable to negotiate an agreement when actual warfare is not involved. As yet!

       The motorised road sweeper was evident again today, weaving it’s way in and out of the spaces where the gutter is actually accessible.  It is doubtful if the cost of the vehicle and driver can be justified as a very fair proportion of the kerb line, and much of the outer pavement is obstructed by parked vehicles. Goodness knows how long ago it is that the gutter outside my house received the caress of a good stiff brush!

The observance of the nice fresh double yellow lines is a bit on the sketchy side too.

       Weird things have continued to happen in Westminster, with Boris Johnson in the middle of most of them. 12th Sept. He has Prorogued parliament. Another name for shutting it down; or something similar. To what ends I am not sure. No. I admit. I have no idea. I bet Brexit is involved somewhere along the line. The Scots claim it is unlawful, and the rest of us can see that it is dodgy; but have little understanding of its purpose, need, or eventual success. The rumours continue to propagate reference us all running out of bread and medications, together with vast amounts of money being needed to bring a lorry across the new borders if we settle for a no deal arrangement.

I don’t believe I have witnessed a more chaotic attempt at government in my life, and we have had some queer ones. Whatever happens over the next month or two the UK will never be the same.

       Today 20th. Sept. marks the start of “World Wide Action” on Global warming or climate change. This phenomena is widely recognised by many people as the single most significant threat to human kind. Whilst it is all very well to admit the danger, it is another thing to do anything to actually alleviate the problem. This together with the fear that before long we will all consist of mini plastic particles from discarded; and apparently virtually impossible to break, down containers, which a few years ago were claimed as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

       With the world population for ever increasing, and all of them demanding more mobility; faster transport; more heating; and endless bottles of fizzy and sweet drinks, not to mention pre-packaged everything, it is going to take more than “World Wide Talking” to save us as a race. Is the will there? Take a peek into several Supermarket trolleys for the answer.

       Fern way has been closed to through traffic by works on the dangerous bend by the alley for a week or so, apparently for work on the services. It would have been nice to know in advance, or at the latest when determined necessary. Many vehicles have been forced to reverse at the obstruction and find another way round.

       The Brexit bus continues to trundle/,or not. Apparently aimlessly around Parliament and EU Headquarters. So many people; on both sides of the argument; who should know better, are making speeches and posturing; to what ends is extremely difficult to determine. The UK is now involved in constitutional differences entirely of their own making. If a plan exists it is being kept very close to chests. Articles are now appearing in newspapers warning various groups what they must do to overcome the results of a No Deal. Whether to be helpful, or to propagate further the disquiet felt by many people is debatable.

       It is raining at last. 23rd Sept. After nearly three weeks of sunny, and often quite warm weather we have had some very heavy rain and a bit of thunder too. Not surprisingly the Spiders had forecast the change and moved en-masse indoors. Webs everywhere and the big ones have reserved their space in the bath.

       Thomas Cook the tour operators have gone bust after failing to get funding in a last ditch action. Many holiday makers; it is estimated up to 150 thousand, are stranded in their resort and possibly ejected from their accommodation pending a rescue operation, which will fly them home. Local residents must be among these unfortunates.

       The Supreme Court have ruled that Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament was illegal. As a purely personal opinion, I feel my last remaining belief in politicians; who should know  better than to act on instinct or for personal gain rather than fact has disappeared. Another big laugh for the EU!

       The Hornets have lost again, 28th Sept. and are now firmly on the bottom of the Premiership with one point from a possible 21. Their negative goal difference does not bare thinking of, following their 8-0 thrashing by Manchester City last week. It’s going to be a long hard winter!

The weather is rubbish too.

       With the weather change there has been a drop in temperature too, and the room thermostat has woken from its long summer nap. 30th Sept. The radiators were baking hot this morning which I suppose heralds winter is on its way.

       The Hornets managed a home goalless draw. 5th Oct. With a total of three whole points they still lead the Premiership. From the bottom! They still seem totally unable to put the ball in the net, although keeping the opposition out for 90 minutes must be a milestone.

       Reading between the lines suggest; remotely, a possible Brexit deal. With some slightly modified proposals from the UK it relies on a degree common sense from both sides to make the best of a nasty situation. It must be admitted that Common sense has not been a commodity that has been too apparent up till now, but who knows?

       The Rugby World Cup is being contested in Japan. 7th Oct. and it is amusing to see all the spectators waving at themselves on the big screen apparently ignoring the fact that the camera is somewhere else altogether. The games have been in the main good, but it is fairly obvious, despite everyone’s endeavor, that there are some teams that are destined to be in the fray until the end, and others that are playing for pleasure. It is a great game. I wish I understood all the rules!

       There are protestors lying all over some streets and bridges in London; and some have glued themselves to permanent structures. They are demonstrating to save mankind from the error of its way in destroying the planet. It is difficult to decided if Veganism is the claimed panacea, or plastic waste the last nail. It all boils down to Global Warming and Climate Change. Will already know there is not the general will to even consider the consequences of our excesses, let alone change our life style to reduce them.

       The UEFA soccer group stages are ongoing and England reserved one of their worst displays on the field for a very long time against The Czech Republic. I would guess that many local residents, like me, were horrified at the lack of commitment and skill shown in a game that they lost 2-1. on the 11th Oct.

       The World Rugby Union Championships continue in Japan, despite the Cyclone that wreaked havoc on the islands. 12th Oct. The England team have played well and like the soccer have provided a lot of fireside TV entertainment.

       The next UEFA game versus Bulgaria on 14th Oct was another to be remembered; for the wrong reason. It was halted twice due to racist cat calls and Monkey sounds emanating from a bunch of suedo  Nazis’, directed towards our coloured players. The English squad decided to come out for the second half and finished the game 0-6 after a whole group of offenders  had left the stadium. This was a much better performance, despite the fact that the opposition was not great; and a small triumph for human decency. We have not yet qualified for the finals due to the Czech game loss.

       We continue to suffer road closures on the estate. 15th Oct. No doubt they are forewarned, but if you don’t go out every day then they can come as a surprise and be very confusing. It is reported that the works in the High Street created havoc. With very long delays.

       Parking continues to be a problem, but not to the extent that the Climate Change activists’ present in London. With banners and weird dress, they continue to chain and glue themselves to many things, including the road and pavements. There is a line of thought that suggests there are just too many of us demanding humans on this planet, and we all feel the need to eat, sleep and stay warm. Like the parking, it is perceived need, against common sense. No contest; really?

 

Alan Orchard