Passing Observations 58

Dr Vernon Coleman

This is a long standing series of small items which have caught my eye or mind and which seem relevant, startling, amusing or all three. Occasionally, items which appear here may return as a longer piece. Mostly they will not.

1. My good friend Dr Colin Barron, who makes absolutely brilliant videos about the covid pandemic, suggests that we use copies of The Guardian in lieu of toilet paper. Great idea. Iím delighted that someone has found a use for `The Guardianí at last. But please scrounge copies from unenlightened neighbours rather than actually buying the paper.

2. Apparently 81% of the population in the UK have had two jabs of the toxic, experimental brew. So now we know how many naÔve, gullible morons there are in the population. Scary.

3. Our main bird feeder invariably has a heavy sprinkling of sunflower hearts underneath it. This is partly because one or two of the birds, particularly the male bullfinch, throw seeds they donít fancy onto the ground. I have no idea what sort of quality control methods the bullfinches use but the end result is that the seeds are down on the grass, available for the ground feeding birds and also for the squirrels and the rabbits. There is also a mess on the grass because one of our resident crows has discovered that by shaking the pole holding the feeder he (or she) is able to shake large quantities of sunflower hearts onto the ground for the rest of the family to enjoy. Watching the constant stream of visitors to the seeds on the grass Antoinette noticed that the only creatures which are willing to share their table are the pigeons. If two squirrels are eating sunflower hearts, one will chase the other away. The same is true of rabbits, seagulls, blackbirds and most other creatures. And different species tend to argue too. Today we both laughed out loud when a crow pecked a rabbit on the bottom to persuade him to make a little room. But a pair of pigeons will happily stand side by side. The creatures in our garden are our friends and family. They also provide us with a good deal of our entertainment. They are all awakened. Not one wears a mask and not one socially distances.

4. Why on earth do car mechanics mess with everything when they service a car? At most they had to drive the car a couple of miles to check that all was well. I understand that they have to adjust the seat to make themselves comfortable but why do they have to adjust everything else? And why do they always leave the radio turned to a station I never listen to, and turned to full volume so that the minute you switch on the car you are startled by a sudden, unexpected cacophony?

5. An eight-year-old boy called Ryan Kaji tests toys for his YouTube channel and earned $26 million in 2019 Ė up from a modest $22 million in 2018. I assume the earnings come from companies paying him to test their toys.

6. A typical British middle class professional will pay £3.6 million in tax in his lifetime. The average taxpayer spends a solid 20 years of life working exclusively for the State. Writer Dominic Frisby points out that back in the middle ages feudal lords took half of the working hours of their serfs. Things havenít got much better.

7. I sat on a bench in the garden reading a paper-back thriller and drinking a cup of coffee. When Iíd finished the coffee I left the book where I had been sitting and went back into the house to finish an article I had been writing. A couple of hours later I went back to the bench but my book had disappeared. No strangers can wander into our garden because our garden is surrounded by high walls, hedges and fences. And the side without walls and fences has a 100 foot drop to the sea. There hadnít been enough wind to blow a magazine away Ė let alone a book Ė so I wandered around looking for the missing volume. It seemed unlikely but it occurred to me that an animal or a bird might have taken the book. And then, about thirty yards away from the bench, I found the book half buried in some thick grass at the base of a fir tree in which a family of squirrels have their dray. The book had been bitten a good deal and it was clear that a squirrel had, for some reason, been trying to take it back to the dray. I wonder what on earth it had been planning to do with it. The bookís title? `Sudden Mischiefí. I promise you.

8. If you have a new passport coming (so that you can open bank accounts, etc.) you can pay extra to have it delivered in a time slot of your choosing but this service is only available if you book the delivery slot on the day before a delivery is due. Unhappily, you will not be told that your passport is being delivered until the day of delivery.

9. Media companies donít say whether the sports team they are reporting on consists of men or women. I have no doubt this is considered politically correct. My problem is that I canít always tell whether Iím reading about a male team or a female team. And the photos donít always help.

10. We opened the conservatory door to feed the squirrels after lunch and one of them, the cheekiest and most determined who has been around for a couple of years and whom we call Loopy, raced through our legs, through the conservatory and into the house wherein he was clearly confident that he would find the main nut supply. We managed to get to the other side of him so that in his confusion he fled back the way he had come. Unfortunately, one of the conservatory doors was closed and he tried to leave through that one, bouncing back off the glass with surprise. He picked himself up, found the right door and shot off into a nearby tree at a rate of knots. Two minutes later he was back but the other squirrels had taken all the nuts. We gave him his own supply and he seemed well satisfied with this.

11. The NHS call line is getting upset by nuisance callers. We knew all about nuisance callers when I was a GP. We had one patient who used to ring up twice a night Ė every night. He sometimes just wanted reassurance but he often demanded a home visit. He was such a nuisance that he was moved from one practice to another on a rota system. These days, the NHS seems to sue callers who are regarded as a lot of trouble. Somehow I prefer our system.

12. I found a PG Wodehouse book I hadnít read. I have copies of all his books but realised today that I havenít read `Ring for Jeevesí. Itís a curious book because although Jeeves is in the book, Bertie Wooster isnít. Itís like reading a Sherlock Holmes story without Sherlock.

13. We spent a good part of the afternoon watching the baby squirrels and baby rabbits playing on our lawn. One part of the garden has a steep slope to it and one of the baby squirrels had great fun rolling down the slope in a tangle of limbs and tail Ė just as a child will roll down a grassy bank. He wanted the other squirrels to play but they werenít interested. So he played alone. But then, to his obvious delight, he found a couple of playful baby rabbits and, after a little wariness on the part of the rabbits, they started playing together.

14. I had to visit the dental hygienist the other day. She looks about 16 but is presumably older. She was very kind and asked me if I had a pacemaker. Iím not sure why she asked this but presumably it is part of the protocol these days. Maybe I just happen to look like an old bloke who needs a pacemaker to keep going. She kindly explained that I have gum disease (`which we call periodontal diseaseí) and I didnít like to tell her that Iíve had it for 50 years which doubtless means that I have had gum disease for at least three times as long as sheís been alive. She was very gentle and gave good advice and told me how to clean my teeth. I didnít like to tell her that I had been cleaning them myself for over 70 years and that since I still had most of my original adult allowance I probably have a fair grasp of the basics by now. I must have seen two dozen dental hygienists over the years and they have all told me something different and special about cleaning my teeth. I wonder if it is possible to get a degree in cleaning teeth. Probably. She told me that I need to see her four times a year. Thatís four times £60 which is £240 to keep my gums relatively pink and healthy.

15. The receptionist (who is the dentistís wife) told me that their nightmare these days is compliance. I can well imagine that it is. They start work at 7.00 a.m. and finish about 8.00 p.m. and much of the time is spent filling in forms.

16. I bought stuff that cost £69.10. I gave the shop assistant £70 in notes and a 10p piece. The assistant, a millennial, looked at the notes and the coin and then picked up his telephone. He was, he explained, going to ring his boss to find out how much change he should give me. I assured him that if he gave me £1, this transaction would not cause a discrepancy in his till at the end of the day.

17. Shop assistants donít much like cash any more. Actually, they donít see all that much of it. I read this morning that we now use only half as much cash as we did a decade ago. Still, we arenít as bad as Sweden where people rush out of their homes to look if anyone produces a wallet or a purse.

18. I am no longer interested in news and particularly no longer interested in opinions in newspapers, television radio. There is in fact very little news these days. Everything we hear is presented as opinion. Journalists donít Ďdoí news, and the BBC in particular is as bent as a paperclip. Is the BBC the most truly corrupt organisation currently operating in the UK? Officially, the BBC is not allowed to express opinions so they get round this by feeding bias into their reporting.

19. Even BBC drama programmes have clear agendas sewn into them. If the BBC can ever bring itself to produce dramatized versions of any of Dickensí novels, the heroes will become heroines. Oliver Twist will be Olivia Twist. David Copperfield will become Davina Copperfield. Martin Chuzzlewit will be Martina Chuzzlewit. And the hero of Great Expectations will be Pippa instead of Pip.

20. Iím preparing myself mentally to put up our huge remembrance day poppy flag on our main flagpole. Previous owners of the house must have been exceptionally patriotic because, rather bizarrely, we have three flagpoles. The only flagpole I use stands (literally) about a yard from the edge of a 100 foot drop into the sea and fiddling with wet halyards in half a gale is quite entertaining. The flag, which has a huge red poppy together with seven marching soldiers and the words `Lest We Forgetí replaces our usual Jolly Roger. I rather suspect that a snowflake or EU lover will complain to the council. If they do then weíll go to court because the flag isnít coming down. Our flag collection includes a Royal Standard and a yellow quarantine flag.

Copyright Vernon Coleman September 2021

Vernon Colemanís latest book is called `Endgame: The Hidden Agenda 21í. The book explains how we got here, why we got here and where we will end up if the resistance movement doesnít win the war we are fighting. `Endgameí is available on Amazon as a paperback and an eBook. Vernon Colemanís first book about the covid hoax - `Coming Apocalypse Ė is still available. It was published in April 2020. The book summarised what had already happened and what Dr Coleman believed was about to happen. If you read it you can check how accurate he was.