Friday, May 25, 2012

From a sunny spot in Middle England........

The sun continues to shine, the garden continues to grow and I continue to wilt.

However, the joys of not having to use the central heating in May far outweigh the inconvenience of having one's clothing adhere to one's body. We seem to go from one extreme to the other at speed here. And even after all that rain, people, the water restrictions remain. I know this because I checked. Here I am living in a First World Country, and as I was carrying a bucket of bathwater to the water butt this afternoon, while doing a dying swan impression, I suddenly started laughing at the thought that people all over the world - make that WOMEN all over the world - spend their entire day carrying water, and here I was doing the same.

 And I used to feel sorry for them.

I loathe these pigeons. They are always on my roof. 
Hah. Maybe in 50 years time, people will still be spending most of their days carrying water from A to B. A sobering thought.
The garden is growing.....
And then I watched some news from Greece. The human side of the modern day Greek Tragedy playing out right now. Families who can't afford power. Food. Medicine. Anything. And pharmacies have closed, gone out of business, or are on strike because the government has not paid them for the medicines they have dispensed for months. One emergency dispensary which was initially set up to help immigrants, now dispenses to mostly Greek people, and they have no inhalers. No insulin. A lot of empty shelves. It can only get worse. Hospitals now charge a 5 Euro fee when you arrive at the door. Many do not even have that. And this could spread through Europe - Spanish banks are not terribly healthy. Spain. Portugal. Italy. Ireland. Wobbly, the lot of them.

And we are officially in a double dip recession here. Oh joy of joys. Our deficit may be coming down, but growth is stagnating. (I seem to have become an economic analyst today.) We pay high taxes here. The top rate is 50% for people earning over £150,000  and 40% if you earn between £37,401 and £150,000. If you earn less than £34,400, you pay 20%. All rates apply after you deduct your personal allowance, and the normal allowance is £8,105. Add to that National Insurance (which funds state pensions, the NHS, unemployment benefit, and sickness and disability allowances) of roughly 12% and VAT of 20%  on all goods except food and books and children's clothing AND at least 70p of every £ of petrol costs being tax and heading straight to the treasury, you will see that we are being a little squeezed.

Like a boa constrictor.
The view of the blue skies from my chair under my apple tree....
Carrying water to the water butt instead of a) wasting it or b) having to pay for every litre used, seems a reasonable occupation. Water carrier. Hmmm. I may put that as my occupation on the next form I have to fill in. As I was lugging watering cans round the allotment to water my precious squash, courgettes and beans today, I suddenly thought a yoke would be useful. The shoulders could take the strain.

Are we heading backwards or forwards??????

The world is in a bit of a mess.
A little visitor at the allotment as I planted things. He liked the dug up soil, because worms were visible.
 Planting the vegetables on the allotment is what I did yesterday in the late afternoon. I sat happily on the carpet pieces Peter brought round for use on the allotment (which has better carpeting now than my house) and yanked out the weeds before I planted the butternut etc and I cannot tell you how hard the soil is, even though it had  been rotivated and rained on. And then I had to manufacture a rabbit-bird-slug proof system to make sure the plants lasted more than 24 hours. There was much muttering as I stuffed netting around everything and then tried to work out a way to stand up. While I dripped. I even had to resort to using the shirt I was wearing to mop the brow. Thank heaven for garden sheds. And the bench outside it.

I am thinking of making raised beds for next year down there. At the allotment. Maybe one a year. Then hopefully, we will eliminate the need to get down to ground level. And the soil will not be like concrete. Hmmm. I need to do some measuring. I could have the carpet between the raised beds. Brilliant, Linds.
A final note....... those of you who are around my age will remember floral leggings. They were high fashion back in the early 90s. I have several less than memorable photos of my legs clad in floral leggings, and on my trip to find a new bathing costume, LOOK AT WHAT I SAW!!!!!! Floral leggings are back. Just beware, young ones. The photos will come back to haunt you in 20 years. You have been warned.

And no, Diana, I did not buy any. I could send you some, though, if you want them??? I was around your age when I wore mine....................:-)


Vee said...

Oh no. I could not have been talked into wearing floral leggings even twenty years ago. So I've no worries on that score. Stirrup pants...*cough* *cough* *sputter*

We're going backwards. My opinion is that governments need to get smaller and not larger and the people should be allowed to use their God-given ingenuity without being taxed to the poorhouse. But that's just my two cents.

Edith said...

I would have to agree with going backwards...Actually I feel like the more self-sufficent one is, the better off one is. I've got a long ways to go on that though.

Jee said...

No, never succumbed to floral leggings. We're apparently not in drought here which is a blessing, but I certainly dripped today doing minimal things in the house and garden.