If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 30 July 2012

Back!

Two weeks without a post. That's poor, really, isn't it? Apologies for my absence.

Anna and I went away for a few days in the caravan and had a great time. We stayed just outside Llandovery, in an area I have sped through on many occasions but never stayed to explore.  Although it's just an hour from my front door, there were lots of places I had never been or even heard of.  It's good to get to know your own neighbourhood every now and then.

Since I have been back, it's been work, work, work -of the paid and unpaid variety.  For the last 12 months my workplace has been undergoing 'restructuring', which is a nice word for turmoil. Where we had a team of around 20 a year ago, we ended up with four in March. Funnily enough, the workload didn't diminish - in fact, we had extra work piled on us. Some good people got the message and left for other jobs. Many of the rest (the old, the dim, the grumpy) were made redundant. Suddenly, we were undermanned, and the requests started pouring in -

"Can you work a couple of extra days to help us out?  We're short-staffed."

"No shit, Sherlock."

There's no overtime as such, just 'extra hours' paid at the normal rate. But work is work and income is income, so we got on with it.  The normal pattern would be four 12-hour shifts in a row, followed by four days off.  The four days of work is fairly punishing, especially when it's night work, and especially when you are not as young as you used to be.  But we have all been working five and six days in a row, just to keep things afloat.  And of course those extra days are taken from your days off, naturally, so the old system doesn't get much time to recover.

At home on my days off, there has been a garden to keep in check, and chores to be chored. All in all, I haven't had much time to get on the computer and write.  And if I had, what's to say?  The economy seems to be going down the toilet even more rapidly than ever, Cameron and Osbourne never fail to disappoint, the whole country has gone Olympics-mad (if we are to believe the media) or have given them a massive 'meh' (if we are to believe our own eyes and ears).  Wars, famine, pestilence, misery - and that's just Nowhere Towers.

I haven't told Anna yet, but the Sprint has gone on eBay.  I've decided that it is not for me. Nothing wrong with it, but every outing becomes a blur of passing landscapes and snatched overtakes, and I think I am getting a bit old for the leaning-forward riding position and an engine that only makes sense at illegal speeds.  I'm going to change it for something smaller and slower,which can also do a bit of exploration of back roads and trails rather than murdering kilometers on the superslab.  I had a great time with D2 in France and Germany, but we agreed afterwards that it would have been even better if we had done half the miles and stopped twice as often.

Oh well, back to work now. Break's over, back on yer heads!

More soon. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Bizy Backson

... a Winnie-the-Pooh reference, for those who care for these things.

I have now got four days off work in a row, and I am going away.  Anna hasn't had a proper break all this year, and I am suffering biker's guilt over my foray sewer le continong avec D2.  So last night I prepped the caravan, and today we are heading off.  Not far - just to the edge of the Brecon Beacons - but far enough away to unwind and have a bit of a self-indulgent period of drinking, eating, sleeping, playing silly games, and generally having a laugh and re-connecting.  Places such as Aberglasney and the National Botanical Gardens may well benefit from a visit, as may the local hostelries and chip shops.

In other news, my 2012 weight-loss programme (didn't tell you about that, did I?) has today achieved a major milestone.  I won't tell you what it is, but in metric terms it's like having a birthday with a '0' on the end.   I feel pretty good about this.

Back in a few days.  Play nicely.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Quote of the week

Thomas Sowell:
In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be "greedy," while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show "compassion."
The full article is well worth a read.

H/t Counting Cats

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Motorcycle theft - please help

A biker in London had his bike stolen recently.  Frustrated with the lack of police action, he put up his own website, http://www.motorbikethieves.com, with CCTV pictures of the perpetrators. Have a look at it here.






I sympathise with the loss of the bike (a Triumph, too!), and I feel lucky that where I live there is very little crime of this sort.  I also agree wholeheartedly with his anger at commentators who say that it's his own fault for not locking the bike more securely.  You should be able - should be able - to park your bike or car anywhere with the keys in, and find it unmolested when you get back.  Just like a woman should be able to go out wearing a short skirt and not be raped.  Blaming the victim is something the Left do so well - as long as the victim isn't in an 'approved' group.  Anyone of a Libertarian bent will find a lot to agree with in the biker's remarks.  (Another thing to annoy the independent and freedom-loving - the Police advised him not to put the website up, as it may "interfere with the investigation".  What investigation? he might be justified in asking.  But typically, the citizen is again advised to remain passive and powerless, while the 'authorities' get busy with doing very little.  The power remains with us, Sonny, and don't you forget it.)


Good luck to him with his website and I hope someone shops the scum who stole the bike.  Not that I have any faith that anything would happen if they did, mind you.


H/t to Gareth Owens, on whose blog I found the story.


Sunday morning chuckle

From a bike forum I read:


h/t to Welshrob
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