What ho, everyone. Happy Festivities etc. Well, by the time this goes to print they will probably be over but hopefully you enjoyed and still are enjoying yourselves and staying optimistic about the year ahead, despite the fact that the economy is about as stable as a bipolar polar bear!
Also, by the time this gets to hard copy, we will have moved into yet another new house, in time for Christmas. It seems to be becoming something of a habit, as that will be five Scottish houses - in five years - that we have renovated and then lived in, if only temporarily. However, this is the one we have been working towards, the one right on the beach in Cellardyke, with just seagulls and waves for company. The plan was always to be in by December but a few curve balls have held up proceedings, not least Scottish Power, a company about as useful as a chocolate colander. Finally, after digging up most of the surrounding roads and pathways, we do have mains electric into the house, but no supply yet, and are still relying on a highly dodgy extension cable from next door - our previous abode. But we do now have heating, and nice views, although as yet a little bit sparse on furniture, as all of ours is now being rented out. Of course, this house is not quite finished, as we start on a quite technical extension in the January, adding a further bedroom and south facing terrace out to the sea wall, but it is homely and air tight. Meanwhile, our two dogs are as confused as a Brexit deal, as we let them out through one door and they then sit outside the wrong house waiting to get back in. For the ‘dog of little brain’ this involves much barking to boot. At least we don’t currently have a house polluted by herds of cats, as they are all back in France, being spoilt rotten by our house sitters, who keep posting photos of them on social media sitting by the fire or enjoying a 3-course meal.
I have spent much of the last month clearing up what was a building site, which involves trips to that place of despair, the local tip. For reasons better known to themselves, the council have changed it from an open-all-hours base to one with a strict timetable which seems to revolve every week, and hence I have to make every journey at least three times. For example, today their website says they are open but when I arrive? Nope. A sign on the gate informs me that not only is it closed, but will remain so for the next two days. On investigation, a knowledgeable man in the pub informs me that this is due to the fact that we had a frost this morning so it may be a bit icy underfoot and the power-crazed fat lazy ba*stard who works there might slip while waddling from his warm office to berate punters who put their plastic in with the cardboard. Couldn’t he put down some salt, maybe? Nope. Cut backs on salt. Cut backs on hours. Cut backs on everything. Except my council tax bill. You see, last decade’s eco-mentalist ideals have simply just imploded as the cost of recycling every ounce of household waste has spiralled so high it is no longer sustainable without a hand-out from Europe? Wasn’t it Descartes who said, ‘you cant sweep it under the carpet forever’? Well, I believe there is a simple answer? Bring back brazziers and bonfires. Or is that brasiers? I get confused.
Carrying on with the subject of cutting back, a visit to the opticians raises yet another of my eyebrows as I am no longer allowed an eye test until I have gone completely blind. Even then, if I arrive with a white stick and Labrador I will be sent packing unless a full 2 years has gone by since my last check-up… if I haven’t walked out in front of a bus by then!
On the good news front, we have managed to be successful in a ballot to get tickets to see Scotland playing Russia at rugby, in Japan, next October. Now I know this might sound a bit odd, especially as few folks will know that the old USSR actually play the game at national level but, you see, this is a World Cup, so anyone can join in. However, their qualification was, as is often the case with the Ruskies, surrounded with controversy as their rivals, namely Spain, Romania and Belgium, all accidentally got reported for cheating. The accusation was that a few of their players were not actually residents in their said country, thus breaking a rule which is, at best, open to interpretation, and one that has been continually ignored by home nations for a generation. Is there no stunt Putin wont pull? One has to question how he manages to sleep at night? Rumours that all the referees and linesmen are all named Karchopsky are, as yet, unfounded!
Finally, I would like to offer some seasonal advice to Santa to bring him into the next decade. Get yourself a 3D printer, pal. They are brilliant! It can make toys, furniture, motorbikes, even houses, just at the flick of the keyboard while you sit with your size tens on the coffee table with a pint of stout. Or better still, give everybody one as a present, so we can all churn out our own stuff at will. Win win. Please, can mine be big enough knock out a small private jet so I never have to suffer the indignity of Ryanair ever again?