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iL Dottore

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iL Dottore last won the day on May 22

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About iL Dottore

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    Model Railways (GWR!, ER 1960s), cooking, travelling, playing guitar (badly) and reading (anything except romances [Ugh!])

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  1. Although I’m sorry to hear that your eldest didn’t get a chance to go into the theatre, I’m pleased to hear that he seems to be happy to become a craft or master butcher. Having been involved in a semi professional capacity in the theatre (acting, directing and producing) I can say with the benefit of inside knowledge that all aspects of theatre are full of uncertainty even at the best of times – even for those at the top of the profession. With mandatory social distancing and the ever present risk of contagion of being in a confined space with a lot of other people, I don’t see the theatre getting back to even a shadow of its former self any time soon. Some of the top theatre actors are likely to survive this difficult period through voice over work, radio work and the like. But for the technical and behind-the-scenes people, I fear it will be very lean times indeed for the foreseeable future. But, to go through an apprenticeship and become a master butcher, now that’s something I am very envious of. I am a very serious amateur chef and one of my greatest frustrations is that my butchery skills are very poor indeed. Despite knowing my anatomy and despite having all the right tools to hand, breaking down a carcass into usable joints and the like is a skill that I haven’t yet quite mastered. To say that my butchery is a lot of “hack work” is not understating the case. And if your eldest can master the black art of getting a surgically sharp edge on the knives he wields, then I shall be forever in awe of him!
  2. Wouldn’t it make more sense to store the petrol/ethanol mix in a sealed, air tight container and fill up the chainsaw, lawnmower etc., just before using? In that way you can use the cheaper mix. Many years ago (Chemistry at Uni?), I was told that even high octane petrol degrades very quickly once exposed to air (which apparently happens when you fill a petrol tank). So - it would seem - all those zombie apocalypse films have got it dead wrong (no pun intended) when the survivors siphon fuel from abandoned cars several months after the fall of civilisation and then zoom off to safety in their vehicle, just a few seconds from being over run by the ravenous zombie hordes... Hmm! Yesterday you spoke about “thinking outside the box” regarding your trip planning. Well, I started cogitating and came up with an utterly brilliant idea! Remember in 50s/60s you had various Air Ferries, whereby you drove your car into a Bristol Type 170 Freighter, took your seat in the cabin and a little while later you would be in Ostend or Rotterdam or Calais, ready for your onward journey? Well, you could do something similar with a train excursion: you hire the Antonov An-225 Mriya (which can easily take two Mark 1 carriages with space to spare), route your excursion train to the relevant airport train station, load the Antonov, fly to your chosen destination (South of Italy, Canada, Australia, wherever) offload the carriages to the airport railway station at the other end, hook up your locomotive, board the train and off you go. Simples! Infection? Honestly? Those are dangerous places FULL STOP 41 years! You’re not pulling my leg are you? You write so young... Oh, I don’t know. Given how far from the ground the hippopotamus excretory sphincter is located, “high end” would, I think, be very appropriate! Maybe it’s because I am, more or less, a Londoner Mike, but I can’t see London as a honeymoon destination: Edinburgh? yes, Dublin? certainly, Paris? definitely! But London? I suppose (he says dubiously) there are indeed romantic locations in London. Trouble is, at the moment I can’t think of any (unless you subscribe to “the romance of train travel“ and have marked Waterloo Station, Paddington Station and Victoria Station as places suitable for re-enacting Brief Encounter or the like) Oh go on Andrew, unburden yourself, you are amongst friends, do tell us what you really think about your colleagues. Oh dear. My dear tiger, I think you may be under a misapprehension as to what will happen to your unused muddling tokens. You are coming up to a 4-decade / round number anniversary, this - of course – must be celebrated by diverting as many muddling tokens as possible (short of incurring penury) towards a grandly impressive excursion, celebration or gift (or even all three at once) suitable for impressing and placating SWMBO. Failure to do so, combined with forgetfulness regarding time, day, date, place and meteorological conditions of where you exchanged vows, will result in your life becoming exquisitely and painfully “interesting“ Congratulations, by the way! Try modelling that in 2mm Finescale Have an amusing and entertaining evening, boys and girls. See you tomorrow. iD
  3. In regards to your first point Jamie, I’m not sure whether to offer you congratulations or commiserations. Presumably, there have been 41 years of mostly “ups” and very few “downs”, So on balance congratulations are definitely in order. Sadly, I must report that I had a very bad fight with Mrs ID this morning: It got so bad that I said to her that I was going to kill myself to spite her. “Fine“ she replied “I’m gonna dance on your grave“ “Well, that’s just fine and dandy by me“ I replied, “I’m being buried at sea!“ (The old jokes are always the good ones) As for your second point that I quote, I could never, ever, step into the shoes of Jock67B. He was one-of-a-kind and even now is sorely missed. Regardless of your political leanings, one thing has emerged over the past few days and that is the police in the US are mostly unaccountable for their actions and believe, to date rightly, that they can break the law they are supposed to in uphold with impunity. A further complicating factor is that far too many US police forces are equipped with ex-US military equipment. From looking at the photographs of many US police forces when they are “tooled up”, you could be forgiven for thinking that these are photographs of an occupying army. Furthermore, it is hard to reach out to the community when you are equipped like an occupying military force (interestingly enough, in those towns and cities where police leadership has reached out to the community and has had a dialogue with the protesters are those towns and cities that have had less or no violence). Bad cops that remain unpunished make the professional life of good cops much, much harder and much more dangerous. And being unpunished for what, in many cases, is criminal activity, undermines the rule of law that they are supposed to uphold. Better training and transparent accountability would ultimately benefit everyone: police, politicians and citizens. Well, that would certainly make sense. The assumption being, of course, that the viral load - if sufficiently large - would overwhelm a COVID-19 naive immune system. To be honest Barry, given what we know about how COVID-19 spreads and how infectious it can be, your assumption that you may have been exposed to it and gone through being infected with mild symptoms is probably an accurate assessment. To go out on the limb, I would hazard that there are a hell of a lot more people who have been infected with the coronavirus with little or no symptoms then we would care to imagine. But, as you point out, we would need a reliable antibody test, one that has high accuracy and specificity, in order to know for certain. Assuming that one does become available, I think two other requirements will need to be met: firstly, the test should be easy to perform with a quick turnaround; and secondly, it is made mandatory for any profession that has a customer facing component and before any foreign travel (furthermore, measures will need to be in place regarding what to do IF the test comes back positive. Quarantine for 14 days? Retest after X days? Other?). The first requirement I can easily see as being met, the second? Well, it’s anyone’s guess. Cheers iD
  4. However, we mustn’t start getting too optimistic, there is still too much that remains unknown about the virus. Although I believe the chances are very high that it won’t be, overall and in the long term, as bad as the initial outbreaks suggest. But we won’t know for certain, for at least another year or so, what the true extent of the disease is. I was watching an interesting video interview with Dr David Starkey; now no matter what you may think of his politics, he is a careful and thorough historian and he made the point that - compared with some of the pandemics of history - we have gotten off pretty lightly. For example, the black death in the 14th century killed off 50% of Britain’s population (yes, that’s FIFTY percent!) resulting in an unprecedented change in the economical, social, religious and political structure of the country. Other pandemics, such as the so-called “Justinian Plague”, were equally devastating to the populations affected. Ultimately, we - as a species - will survive (small comfort as that may be). Furthermore, many diseases which persist in human populations eventually become much less lethal (as I mentioned in an earlier post) which may happen with COVID-19. I think a good example of this is that of syphilis: when you read accounts from Georgian times of people coming to London from the country, contracting “the pox” (as syphilis was known as then) and then dying within one or two years of being infected, it was clear that this was a very lethal disease. Yet nowadays the same disease, if left untreated, will eventually kill you but after a few decades. So not quite of the same degree of lethality. All we can really do, at present, is be sensible, maintain good hygiene practices and avoid getting too close to others without some sort of PPE.
  5. Well, that’s me well and truly stuffed. I suppose I will have to await arrest by the ER police and sentencing by the “awl” I have just been scanning through the online newspapers about Britain’s first day of limited lockdown release and I can’t believe what a total clusterf*** it is. Apart from the idiots who are refusing to acknowledge the need to keep at least some distance from other people to minimise the risk of picking up infection, there is the bizarre and often contradictory advice from the government. Apparently, whilst you cannot “get up close and personal“ with an attractive neighbour in your own house, doing so in the garden is apparently permissible. Going out is allowed, except when it is not. And the police will be checking on the number of guests that you host when you eventually get round to holding that dinner party you meant to hold a number of weeks ago. If you invite more than 4 people (assuming you and the SWMBO will also attend), then you‘re gonna be in trouble. On a slightly more positive note, some epidemiologists and clinicians in Italy are reporting that they seeing signs suggestive that COVID-19 is mutating to a less lethal form. This, of course, can happen and by becoming less lethal the virus will propagate more easily (it’s not a terribly good survival strategy to kill off your host each and every time a host gets infected). Whether this turns out to be a repeatable finding or a just an anomaly seen in a few patients remains to be seen. Mrs iD is back with the Wolfpack after visiting her friend (who is a vet) as a sequalae to this, poor little Lucy has a new food and medication regimen (apparently Lucy continued to have GI problems during the visit - leading to a consultation with our friend, the vet). Now off to bed. G‘night All iD
  6. It’s interesting to note that the majority of the songs about railways listed in this thread are American songs. Understandably, given the influence of the railways in America on that part of society which generated so many folk and blues singers/musicians. For me, the definitive British song about railways is by Jethro Tull, from their Heavy Horses album. Called Journeyman, both lyrics and music invoke a very British sense of railway. "Journeyman" Spine-tingling railway sleepers --- Sleepy houses lying four-square and firm Orange beams divide the darkness Rumbling fit to turn the waking worm. Sliding through Victorian tunnels where green moss oozes from the pores. Dull echoes from the wet embankments Battlefield allotments. Fresh open sores. In late night commuter madness Double-locked black briefcase on the floor like a faithful dog with master sleeping in the draught beside the carriage door. To each Journeyman his own home-coming Cold supper nearing with each station stop Frosty flakes on empty platforms Fireside slippers waiting. Flip. Flop. Journeyman night-tripping on the late fantasic Too late to stop for tea at Gerard's Cross and hear the soft shoes on the footbridge shuffle as the wheels turn biting on the midnight frost. On the late commuter special Carriage lights that flicker, fade and die Howling into hollow blackness Dusky diesel shudders in full cry. Down redundant morning papers Abandon crosswords with a cough Stationmaster in his wisdom told the guard to turn the heating off. Whenever I hear this song, it brings back memories of travelling on the last train from Waterloo back to Andover, Hampshire in the mid 80s. iD
  7. I suppose that would give a new meaning to the old expression “I can’t be ars*d” You are being naughty, aren’t you? Go and wash your mind out with soap and come back when you can think clean thoughts May I ask why you binned it? Was it how it functions or was it the way Apple insists that all apps should push advertising and everything should be done “the Steve Jobs way“. Although I find the iPad very convenient, I do find the way Apple seems to minimise the flexibility of how you use their otherwise technologically brilliant products quite frustrating. Unfortunately, it does seem that the U.K.’s population, in general, lacks the discipline of the Swiss and the Germans when it comes to following official guidelines, so given the chaotic and piecemeal nature of how the U.K.’s government has responded to the pandemic, I would agree with your brother in law. Although, from personal experience, I do find GPs tend to be somewhat more pessimistic than their more specialised colleagues. As a relevant digression, one of the things that I noted many young doctors struggling with, when they entered drug development, was being able to transition from regarding patients as individual cases to regarding Individual patients as Just parts of an overall population under study – the population being the important thing. For example, for a cardiologist or a GP a patient who has a myocardial infarction is, naturally, of concern; but in a large study of a new cardiovascular drug, a myocardial infarction is just one of those things you would expect to see in the population under study and not necessarily a cause for significant concern. Wasn’t it the ancient Greeks who first noted that the gods tend to protect idiots and fools? If it wasn’t for the ever present threat of ambulance chasing lawyers suing the bejeesus out of you, because some idiot didn’t read or chose to ignore a warning sign, I would be very much in favour of letting social Darwinism take its toll. Are we really doing our species any favours by saving the foolish from their own folly? Sigh! I’ve never had the opportunity to ride on a brand-new tram, with a nice “showroom fragrance“. A few years ago, the transport authority for Baselland - BLT - acquired a new fleet of trams (I think from Stadler); BLT runs two lines out of Basel into Baselland: the number 10 line which terminates in Dornach (lots of serious money), whilst the number 11 line goes to Aesch (not a lot of serious money). Guess which line got the brand new trams? The number 11 tramline eventually got the new trams - well after they had been run in on the number 10 line and had thus lost the “showroom smell“. I suppose you could always apply to join the Swiss Confederation. Although I suspect that a reason for polite refusal would be the extreme difficulty of connecting the Isle of Man to the excellent Swiss public transport network. Ah, the good ole US of A. The land where good taste goes to die. That great American showman and entrepreneur, PT Barnum, got it right when he said “you can never go broke underestimating the taste of the American public“. When you think of some of the dubious things advertised on late night American TV (something I can attest to, many times having woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning due to jetlag with nothing else to do but watch late night cable TV on the hotel television), you cannot help but agree. Brian, you make a very pertinent point about adding insult (shipping costs) to injury (a train set of the most dubious taste and quality); but consider this: with such a large and diverse population within the USA, there are undoubtably enough individuals that will buy such things and pay for the privilege of having such things delivered to them, to make it worthwhile to produce such rubbish. This sort of thing really shakes one’s faith in humanity! I’ve always wondered why, in these days of inexpensive and easy to use sprayguns, people still insist on using paintbrushes and rollers on those things which – at least to my eyes at least - could be just as easily painted by spraying. Okay, you’d probably need to have a really big roll of masking tape, but apart from having to do some careful masking (if at all needed), I really don’t see why you couldn’t spray most things. And, let’s be honest here, the average garden fence or garden trellis really doesn’t need a flawless, dust free, finish (or does it?) May I ask if that is the pain of old joints doing what they really don’t want to do any longer or is it the pain of having to play with a train that only just resembles the prototype? Anyway, a quiet day beckons. Mrs iD and The Wolfpack are still at friends, I have a mould for a Japanese water feature to finish building and some bacon and eggs with black pudding to look forward to at lunch. Back later. Have a safe and sane Monday iD
  8. Sadly true. However what you wrote did remind me of a no trespassing sign that I saw when I was in Texas quite a few years ago. In big red letters it read “trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again!“ Obviously, a quite robust line to take on the matter of trespassing. Well, that’s damnation with faint praise! Not a GWR fan, are we? I wonder if Ben does the same as Lucy? Lucy sunbathes in the garden and stays in the sun until she is panting heavily (if she were a human I would say that she would be sweating buckets), she then comes inside and goes to the downstairs loo, which has a stone floor that remains wonderfully cool in summer. She then lies on the stone floor, cooling down, for about 20 minutes and, once cooled down, she goes back out into the garden and repeats the process... Call it “evolution in action!“. However, on a more serious note: this may actually turn out to be A Good Thing. With data from a large study in China suggesting that 80% of people infected with the COVID-19 virus will have minimal or no symptoms and with people who know themselves to be vulnerable self isolating, the intermingling of people who are likely to be minimally affected by the virus may result in Britain achieving, inadvertently, herd immunity. As nasty as this disease can be in those unlucky enough to be badly affected by the virus, in comparison with some of the nasties out there (Ebola and West Nile haemorrhagic fever come to mind, to name just two) humanity has gotten off fairly lightly with COVID-19. Time to buy an iPad? I’m really sorry to hear that. Professionally, I know how crippling anxiety can be (I spent quite a few years developing drugs against anxiety and phobia conditions). All you can really do is be there and be ready to be supportive as and when needed. Not knowing Mrs Gwiwer, I couldn’t begin to think of any approach that you could take which may help her. However, I would like to point out, that a clear presentation of the facts of the situation may sometimes actually help with the anxiety (and sometimes not, depending on the person). One of my (many) weaknesses, is that I do tend to suffer from what they call “medical student syndrome” even after almost 40 years in the business (when I really should know better). Basically, medical student syndrome is where you read about a disease or a condition for the first time and you then associate all your minor (and totally inconsequential) aches and pains with the symptomology of the disease you have just learnt about. This time however, with COVID-19 I have become unusually fatalistic: I am pushing 64, I have two known risk factors and I take reasonable precautions. What happens, happens! (To be honest, I think I may have actually been infected with COVID-19: when I returned from the UK in March, before the lockdown, I had a couple of days of dry cough and chills, although no fever. Chances are high that I actually had a mild form of the infection) No, you really don’t want to know! Anyway, have a great evening, one and all, Mrs iD and the Wolfpack are off to visiting friends, I have a steamed steak pudding with buttered peas awaiting me and I have just opened a bottle of Primitivo di Puglia. A splendid, albeit solitary, evening awaits. iD
  9. OK, Ok, you got me. But it still is a tank engine (and a mighty fine beastie as well)
  10. That reminds me of a, probably apocryphal, story I heard: a young Labour activist working in the civil service went before a promotions board consisting of typical “Conservative” old fogies (former Colonels and the like), after a long and gruelling interview the head of the promotions board, a Colonel so-and-so, said to the young man “ Although you are very qualified and experienced, the board finds that you are unsuitable to be promoted“. The young man exploded and angrily exclaimed “you’re only turning me down because I’m a socialist and you are a bunch of Conservative old fogies“, at which the Colonel turned bright red and stammered a reply: “my dear boy, we’re terribly, terribly sorry, we thought you said social worker... of course you’re promoted” Make of that what you will (and apologies in advances for any toes trodden upon). That’s naked GWRphobia, that’s what that is. Nothing wrong with pannier tanks. A pannier tank in its many guises is a most endearing locomotive. Although I am an adherent to the true faith of the church of Saint Isambard of Kingdom Brunel, one of my favourite pannier tanks is the British Railways Standard Class 4 tank (4MT). And, well washed and polished, the 4MT in BR lined black is a most impressive beastie... Only if those doing the harrumphing know nothing about wine. The old adage of red wine with red meat, white wine with chicken, veal and fish is only a very, very rough guideline. It’s far better to match the type of grape (the varietal) with the meal being served. There are more than a few white wines that are robust enough to go with red meat and there are plenty of red wines which are delicate enough to go with chicken and fish. Ultimately, one could argue that it is all irrelevant as everything ends up as a slurry in the gastrointestinal tract anyway (of course, the more cynical amongst you reading this post will observe that some mass fast-food outlet foods commonly available nowadays closely resemble that slurry anyway). Although I am a pretty decent cook, I am no oenophile and I am sure my wine pairings leave a lot to be desired. I am convinced that, in this case, practice does make perfect. Unfortunately, Mrs ID has made the switch from wine to beer, leaving (quite literally) a cellar full of untouched bottles of wine. Obviously, there is nothing stopping me from opening any of the many bottles of wine now gathering dust, except that Mrs ID looks on with great disapproval should I drink half a bottle on my own, let alone finish one, and it’s really not worth opening a bottle of wine just for one or two glasses (and yes I do have a Vacuu-Vin system for keeping wine in good condition after opening). Today, however, Mrs ID has gone with the Wolfpack to visit a friend and will be away until tomorrow night, which means that I will be able to open a bottle of wine to go with my steak and kidney pudding this evening and finish the lot! I wish you all a splendid Sunday, I’m off to do the first part of cooking the steak and kidney pudding (which is preparing/cooking the filling).
  11. In regards to your first statement I quote, you have certainly underlined something that seems to have - from what I can observe and discern - almost disappeared from today’s society and that is finding meaning and satisfaction in life. The downside to the material plenty that we have, is that quite often the inner self is neglected. One aspect of modern life which I feel does not contribute one iota to the well-being and the functioning of society is social media, in the form of Tw*tter and F*cebook. Apart from the fact that much of what appears on these platforms is inane (the fact that I managed to finally put together an old station clock is of interest only to myself and to very few others, if at all, so why do I need to inform the world about that?), It also promotes disharmony, creates invidiousness (see the posts of all the so-called “influencers“) and has created a perverse sort of subsociety where happiness is down to how many “likes“ or “dislikes“ a poster gets. And as to the absurdity of having hundreds of online “friends“... Well, that’s a topic for another thread and another day. I certainly agree with the last quote of yours I posted, in some ways the views of people who Haven’t looked through these times are particularly useful as they are undoubtably somewhat more objective than our views of what we lived through. I have read about Lord Palmerston, but I didn’t know that he had made that statement to the House of Commons. And, as you say, similar sentiments have been voiced by leaders throughout the centuries. I certainly would agree with you regarding a historic relationship between Britain and the USA, but a “special relationship“? No more than with any other country in the USA finds it expedient to team up with (at least that’s how I read the situation). Indeed, where have all the pipe smokers gone? I Whilst you still see gaggles of cigarette smokers stuck outside buildings in their assigned, small smoking, areas, I don’t think I’ve seen a pipe smoker in action any time in quite a few years. Certainly, pipe tobacco is less processed than cigarette tobacco, but it is still a risk factor for developing cancer (below the risk factor associated with cigarettes but above the risk factor associated with cigars) as, sadly, happened to Philou’s grandfather. I wonder why pipesmoking has fallen out of favour (aside from the fact that it is “smoking“ which - as a social habit - has radically changed over the last three decades from something nearly everybody did to something almost nobody does nowadays). Could it be that pipesmoking, unlike cigarette smoking, is not a quick nicotine fix? Certainly, when I smoked a pipe, the entire ritual of preparing the pipe to be smoked was both satisfying and time-consuming. Good point. I think it’s also relevant to consider that for many Items on my list for most people nowadays (perhaps with the exception of home ownership) it is a matter of choice and not unaffordability or unattainability. I must disagree. That is a nicely constructed and beautifully finished piece of furniture, obviously a product of good craftsmanship. Where I might agree with you would be if you had written “nothing special In terms of design”. Unlike most cars on the road nowadays. It wasn’t that long ago that, armed with nothing more than a couple of spanners, some screwdrivers and a Halfords book on how to repair and maintain a particular type of car, was all you needed to fix most Car problems. One of the more unfortunate byproducts of a high-tech, mass produced, consumer society: it’s far too frequently easier and cheaper to replace than repair. Something I find not only not very good for the environment, but also personally quite frustrating when, having bought a high-quality item that I thought would last, after a few years when a small component of the item fails I can’t do the repairs or find a replacement item for that failed component.
  12. A very true statement. In fact, I would go even further and refer to the statement attributed to Henry Kissinger who, in an unguarded moment, said “America doesn’t have friends it has interests“. A statement, as history has shown, to be avery true one. In fact, I would argue that the “special relationship“ with US is simply a myth. Born of necessity, as Churchill full well realised that without US involvement, Britain would not have been able to defeat the Nazi Regime (yes, I know I am greatly simplifying things). It would seem that the British tendency to indulge in self delusion, regardless of political affiliation, is still alive and well.
  13. We certainly do live better, don’t we? The following is a list of some of the things we now take for granted but in the 50s/60s/70s were, variously, the province of the well off, the rich and the entitled at various times in those decades: Owning a car Owning a house Having a telephone Having a fridge Having a TV/Colour TV Indoor toilet Flying for pleasure/Foreign Holidays (others?) Nowadays, there are very few who do not have any, if not all, of the above. Although nowadays, social gradation is based on what sort of the above you have (e.g. Maserati vs Kia) This is indeed the heart of the tragedy that afflicted Britain after the Second World War. After having sacrificed so much men, materiel and treasure in defeating the axis powers, the UK was essentially broke and exhausted in 1945. And, in my opinion and that of a number of different historians, the near bankruptcy of the UK was down to the US extracting everything it could out of the UK in “exchange for aid”. After having pretty much destroyed Britain as a world-class economic power, the US realised shortly after the war that it would need allies in the Cold War against the former Soviet union, so in addition to providing Marshall Plan monies to mainland Europe, Britain also got Marshall Plan funds. Unfortunately, due to the short sightedness and delusions of Imperial Grandeur that beset the politicians of all parties at that time, the Marshall plan money was squandered on keeping the fragments of an Empire going and propping up the pound. Whereas the same monies were being invested by the former Axis powers in rebuilding their infrastructure to modern standards and educating and training their populace... I think your last sentence (my underline) is particularly damning and very, very accurate. In addition to having factories full of ancient and obsolete machinery, the whole mindset across most industry of the time (or least from what I note from recent readings of History books about the period) was that of amiable incompetence at all levels. Mostly because, with a captive Market that had to accept/take what was being shipped to them, competence In all aspects of the industrial process at the level practised by the Germans, Japanese and Italians was not necessary, After the effective end of the Empire, British industry was like a group of Koalas that had just had their Eucalyptus trees burnt to cinders by a brush fire: bewildered, unable to get sustenance from anything else and thus condemned to a slow and painful demise. Whilst a lot of finger-pointing about the decline and disappearance of British industry still goes on, the truth is that no one - politicians, owners, management, unions come out of this “smelling of roses”. It was a failure, at all levels, of nerve, imagination, education and determination.
  14. The problems with evaluating the extent and impact of changes to the climate are threefold: 1) for some obscure reason it has become a very political issue when it should remain a scientific matter (the interpretation of the data is, and should be, a matter of robust discussion and debate, the fact that there are data shouldn't be denied); 2) climate is cyclical, both in the short term, the medium term and in the long term. Unfortunately, we really don’t have enough solid data to establish how much of the short to medium term cycle changes we are noting are a reflection of a normal fluctuation in a cycle that can occur over a period of a several decades or something else (a good example would be that we no longer see winters cold enough to freeze the Thames over, yet this occurred as recently as Victorian times. How do you determine If this is a normal fluctuation within a multi decade cycle or due to something else?); 3) Changes to the climate are happening, whether it is part of a natural cycle or is man-made is really, in the short and medium term, completely irrelevant. If a forest catches fire, the fact that it may have been started by man or by nature is irrelevant to the task at hand: to make sure a small fire does not become a big fire or to control and contain a big fire. And certainly, the last thing you want to be doing in that situation is knowingly throw flammable material onto that fire (so why continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere knowing what it does). Call me an old cynic if you will, but I suspect the total unwillingness on the part of many climate change deniers to even consider the remote possibility that something of concern might be going on, is down to 2 things: one, the fear that by taking measures to address this issue seriously, they might earn a little less money; and two, to fully appreciate the (potential) gravity of the situation requires some understanding of the science behind it and, nowadays, too many people “don’t do science” (the general tendency for the “admitters” and the “deniers” to come from opposite sides of the political spectrum doesn’t help either)
  15. I am surprised, certainly about the Swiss climbers. Mrs iD is an enthusiastic mountain walker (even having done one or two of the incredibly challenging Klettersteig [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_ferrata]) and has been since young. And one of the things that has been drilled into her, over and over again, was how unpredictable and changeable mountain conditions are and to be prepared for all eventualities. As Mrs iD is a fairly typical Swiss mountain sportsperson, I wonder how experienced the Swiss “climbers” were, getting into trouble that Mrs iD would have spotted a mile away. TBH I think that everyone has been misquoting the original phrase, which - apparently - was coined to explain the differences between Rugby and Football matches in terms of public order offences. The phrase being: “Football is a game played by Gentlemen and watched by hooligans, whilst Rugby is a game played by hooligans and watched by Gentlemen”. I can certainly personally attest to accuracy of this statement; I was in Edinburgh the day of the (pre-lockdown) France-Scotland rugby match and the French and the Scots fans were happily intermingling, with nary a hurled invective or a riot van to be seen; whereas whenever there is Basel vs Zurich football match the entire area around the St Jakob stadium in Basel goes into lockdown and the tooled up riot police almost outnumber the fans.... Something which is, I understand, a regular occurrence at soccer matches... The quote I like about Golf is “Golf is an expensive way of ruining a good walk” Quite frankly, I don’t think that we are doing our species any favours by saving such c**kwombles from the consequences of their stupidity. In fact, one could argue (quite unkindly) that by attempting to rescue such dimwits from the folly of their own actions, we are risking the lives of the non-stupid and the non-foolish. We forget how unforgiving Mother Nature truly is; in the natural world, animals that make a “stupid mistake” (such as misjudging a leap, the strength and determination of a prey animal, or which way to dart to evade a predator, etc.) don’t get second chances... It’s interesting to contemplate the dichotomy between the health of the species (H0m0 Sapiens) and the health of the individual (you, me, our family and friends) and how - paradoxically - safeguarding the health of one can mean jeopardising the health of the other. Does saving the individual necessarily come at the expense of lessening the fitness of the species? Awkwardly, I think that there is enough evidence to argue for both “Yes” and “No”. Anyway, enough Saturday Morning existential philosophy. Have a great Weekend iD
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