It is April 8th and the elections are well and truly over. I have resisted posting anything about the elections over the last few weeks but with the results in and nothing like them having happened for over forty years it is time to comment. To refresh the memories of any one who does not remember the last hung parliament, it was a total and embarrassing disaster. This is only the fourth occasion in almost 130 years that we have had a hung parliament, the previous ones being in 1885, 1929 and 1974 None of them lasted very long and in each case the country was in a worse state than before that particular Governing body took over.
It has only taken two days since the results came in to see that sterling has fallen and is likely to continue to do so and government bonds and gilts have fallen through the floor. The country is effectively being run by bankers, financial institutions and money speculators. Looking at our continental neighbours such as Greece shows what may happen if a strong government is not in place soon.
What has been heartening is the turnout for the elections with many young people attempting to vote for the first time. I say attempting to vote because in a bid to keep expenses down the polling stations did not have enough officers in them and many were short on polling booths. This had the laughable (sadly) result of some stations closing at 10pm, when they are legally required to do so, and there still being queues of people who could not get in to vote. At my own polling station there were queues such as I have never seen before. If this had of happened in some third world country the UK would have been condemning the legitimacy of the election and the competency of the country involved.
For all the wisdom of the political pundits no one can say for sure what will really happen in the short term to the UK, but history shows there will be another election within 12 months. In the meantime there will be the usual horse trading between politicians desperate to either gain or cling onto power. There will be favours promised for favours to be given and no one will really be better off in the long run. If it was not so serious it would be funny. Sad isn’t it?
Work on Chez Ghastanbury continues apace with the front windows having had a first coat of paint applied this week. The greenhouse is brimming with seedlings and plants and the ongoing saga of the shed roof enters another phase with the pointing on the brickwork walls nearing completion. Just the weatherboards and the guttering to go up and that will be another job from the long list of items on my task list that can be crossed off.
It has helped that the weather has changed for the better, but it is not as warm as it looks. Sadly some of the plants, mainly herbs, have died off due to the cold weather of an evening. You would think I knew better by this stage in my life but I keep making the same mistakes year after year.
One mistake I won’t be making again is to believe that I could go on a bouncy castle. The Animal recently held a birthday bash for his eldest daughter daughters 18th birthday. As well as plenty of liquid refreshment there was the obligatory Barbie and a bouncy castle. After a few large Bourbons supplied and poured by Roger Moor I decided it would be a good idea to have a go on the bouncy castle. I clambered on and was sent crashing to the floor by some two year old flying from one side to the next. It would seem from reports given to me days later that I subsequently flattened another five year old as I collapsed. I still have my teeth although they are a little loose but the blood will never come out of my shirt. As ever it was fabulous day and evening. See photos.
An event that I should have written about and posted at the time but did not was Ted Magnums 30th birthday. Yes my riding companion has now reached the dizzying age of 30. To celebrate he came up with the idea of a men only wood and whiskey night in the grounds of Tedstock. The plan was to have a bonfire with a Dutch oven hanging over it containing some stew or chilli and for the boys to sit around drinking bourbon and talking bollocks all night. At the end of the night those who wanted to would camp within the grounds.
All went well until the food was served and we noticed some crunchy bits as we ate. It appears that Dutch ovens require seasoning and breaking in before use but no one had read the instructions. Consequently the food had stuck to the bottom of the pot and had welded itself to the sides. No matter, it tasted great although it could have been the copious quantities of alcohol numbing the taste buds. As usual a fire of Nero proportions was lit and fuelled by wood from nearby trees. Needless to say Ted has less pruning to do this year than last!
After a wonderful evening in which Ted had imbibed just a little more than he was capable of holding he retired to bed feeling poorly and with the world spinning. Us hardier types chose to sleep in the encampment of tents that had been assembled for the partying masses. There were only three of us left and still standing! After my experience at Cropton a few weeks prior I had bought new sleeping gear for my tent and I can report that I at least was toasty warm all night. Unlike one of the lads who was too caned to find a sleeping bag and woke up in the early hours of the morning freezing and went home.
As ever the experience with the bouncy castle, my tyres, plants dying because I put them out too early and sleeping rough at my age show there is no fool like an old fool.