Monthly Archives: June 2020

Just fancy that

What should society do to people who insult things of some minor importance?  Not damage – we’re not talking statues, whether Churchill or Colston!  Just disrespect, in a way society finds distasteful?

Blighty applies its usual monstrous double-standards:

June 15th: Drunk jailed for pissing next to a memorial to a recent hero.  He had unreservedly apologised, and it would seem reasonable to suppose the apology was genuine.  He doesn’t look to me as if he realises what the column to his left is!

Today (latest in an ongoing story): Government/Foreign secretary again posture over new law for Hong Kong.  Apparently on the grounds that it could criminalise disrespect for such things as the Chinese national anthem, and thus inhibit free expression.

For the record, yes I find the drunk disgusting (though many drunks do worse things), and have spent a lifetime not pissing in such public places.  And yes, I think we should be allowed to disrespect things like flags and national anthems.  I wonder if the HK authorities would indeed take action against a Hendrix (or indeed, which Western countries would still tolerate his modern equivalent)?  When campaigners for freedom around the world express concern, that’s entirely legitimate.  But coming from the UK government, it stinks of hypocrisy.

Avian Guests

I took delivery last week of a pair of blinds for a Velux window.  Specifically, the large south-facing window, one of three in my loft room and the one through which the morning sun shines in on the ‘puter, making it a problem trying to work there in the mornings at this time of year, and also contributing to making it uncomfortably hot when the weather is hot and sunny.  The loft room is my working-from-home office, so that’s a situation that needed fixing.

I first thought just a regular blind, to replace the broken one that was there when I moved in (there’s a similar and intact blind on the north-facing Velux window – presumably much less-used).  But searching online, I find I can get not just what they describe as a blackout blind (a somewhat-enhanced update on traditional roller blinds), but also an awning blind for outside the window.  The awning doesn’t block the light, but does reduce the sun’s heat on the window, so should keep the room a little cooler.

With the very sharp showers we were having last week (first real rain after an incredibly dry and sunny spring), I wasn’t about to risk putting up the awning.  But today I took advantage of more settled weather and put it up, starting with a liberal application of bucket-and-mop to accumulated crap.  A very simple job, and I was impressed by the condition of the window – particularly the outside – after the years of exposure to the elements.  But made a bit tricky by standing on the desk and working through an awkward hole in the roof while also having to hold the window at an angle it was reluctant to adopt and naturally swung back from, and using the screwdriver at an impossible angle to attach hooks.

No sooner was I done and admiring the awning than I heard a tremendous clattering from various points on the roof.  Damn, is the house falling down?  A couple of minutes later a pigeon comes and perches on the brand new awning.  Hmm, they claim it serves to reduce the noise of heavy rain, but how robust is it against the wildlife?  This was the first time I’ve had either the noise or the pigeon perching on the window.  Coincidence, or have I just supplied it a nice place to sit?

The plan is to leave the awning in place all summer, and open the blind sometime in the autumn – maybe October – when hot weather ceases to be a risk and whatever heat I can get becomes welcome (the loft was naturally the warmest room last winter – and the winter sun was never a problem there).  The blackout blind inside the window can respond to day-by-day conditions: I expect I’ll just draw it when necessary, and keep it open in dull weather and afternoons after about 2pm when the sun’s angle is away from me.

The other recent avian visitor was in the living room, a couple of weeks ago.  I was sitting there with the balcony door fully open when I heard a commotion.  A bird had entered, realised this was not its comfort zone, and made a rapid turn, happily retaining sufficient presence of mind to leave the way it had entered.  That all happened too quickly to get a proper look, and I’m sure the effect of being indoors made it sound bigger than it was.

Barriers to Recycling

I’m recycling quite a lot less of my plastic than I used to.  And metal, though there was never so much of that.  It’s become too impractical.

Specifically, while I am still recycling bottles (milk and fruit juices) and some miscellaneous stuff, most food packaging is going straight in the general waste.

The background to this is twofold.  First, a bit of idiocy from West Devon’s recycling services.  Plastic and metal don’t go into a sensible/practical recycling bin, but instead into an unwieldy bag similar to those more commonly used for gardening waste.  Second, I have a problem with rodents getting into the kitchen.

West Devon’s overall recycling is quite a pain.  In addition to the silly bag for plastic and metal and the general waste, there’s separate food waste (fairy nuff) and two separate plastic boxes that are scarcely used.  Fine if you have something like a utility room with lots of spare space, but out of all proportion for a house with no dedicated space.

OK, the general waste is fine: I have a general bin.  The food waste is fine: a little caddy is provided.  Two robust plastic boxes stack in an under-the-worktop space.  But there’s nothing to do with the ridiculous plastics bag, other than to fold it and stash it away during the week.

So plastic waste either goes straight in the general waste or accumulates through the week.  And if the latter, it attracts rodents to come and get any food remnants that may have survived a rinse.  So only robust bottles with robust lids can be allowed to remain around when empty.

There must be many households blighted by these recycling arrangements, including houses quite a lot smaller than mine.  Aren’t we long overdue an upgrade to communal waste and recycling facilities, as are common in (at least some) continental countries, and now Brighton in Blighty?

I wonder what the waste services would do if I abandoned the bag and put the plastics into one of the robust nearly-unused boxes instead?  At least there they could be shut away until collection day.