Clarity and delusion [246]

Greetings from the shed...

We are professional doomscrollers. All looking for tidbits from the US of A. Because whatever happens over there, whether we like it or not, affects us all.

Yet right now. In amongst the endless procession of disheartening pixels, there is a glimmer of hope.


And so once again — into lockdown.

A family member occasionally includes me in their ranty group emails. It’s all the stuff I manage to avoid by not being on Facebook. So I do my best to not respond. They find it hard to accept that I have a different opinion. In fact it properly upsets them.

They recently wrote:

“This graph shows the ages of deaths of males and females.

Why are the majority of the population being locked down when only the elderly are dying anyway? They probably would be dead soon!

Interesting the ONS now count covid if the death certificate says influenza and pneumonia”.

As a fit elderly vegetarian that still climbs mountains they are not worried. They also live in the wilds of Wales so I’m guessing feel pretty safe. They possibly feel they can ride this out.

In my response I replied that they’re not the only person to ponder this. That personally I hoped we are not just ‘letting them die’ because we have a caring and compassionate society.

I said I wondered how much this rhetoric around coronavirus and older generations enhances the statistics on abuse of the elderly.

That after their neglect by family, society and the strained social services, might this not be a form of linguistic violence? If they were to walk up to another old person and say... "Don't worry, head out there and suck it up. You're only going to die soon anyway" would they not also be complicit in the neglect, dehumanisation, cruelty and exploitation of the elderly?

I'd like to think we’re just as responsible for the lives of the old as we are for the young.

Survival of the fittest is often confused with natural selection. In todays society perhaps it's more like survival of the richest. Those that can afford private health care etc. But when Darwin coined the term 'Survival of the fittest' he intended 'fittest' to mean the members of the species best suited for the immediate environment.

This I believe also leaves room for a compassionate, caring and considerate society. One that looks after each other. One that cares for their elders.

I really hope I get to live as many years as my cantancerous relative has managed. And I hope that on the way I get to teach my kids the importance of looking after the elderly.

That is if I can hold on to a few of my idealistic hippyisms before the cantankerous confusion takes over. ;-)


Right. Now for some distraction/escapism/information.

Real world ranges of electric cars.

Really pleased our future car did so well.

Looking for something to do on your own over the next few weeks?

If you are not into mountain biking how about knocking up a steam powered motorbike?

Thanks to @warzabidul for linking me this. This second part has more detail.

I’ve started the new series of The Mandalorian. So far so good. :-)


To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.”  ~ George Orwell, 1984

This is beautifully written... ‘Bookshops are a precious shelter from the storms of life.’


Escape for a moment with this audio and travel to the island of Tristan da Cunha. Nineteen 19 miles north east of Inaccessible Island.

Robert Fisk died this week. He phoned myself and a friend once. Right after we’d had a tense encounter covering a story in Sudan. We were holed up in a flat in Cairo and Fisk told us we were no doubt being watched by the authorities. “I have to tell you my friend” he said “they’re surely tapping your phone and no doubt sat outside as we speak…” He was right of course. 

RIP a fearless independent reporter.

Here is Robert Fisk on Desert Island Discs.

This podcast production has someone reading from a script. But it’s a good script. And you might get used to it. If you are curious about art history then give it a go there are some great stories in there. Like the one about how Vincent van Gogh might have been accidentally murdered.


It’s rare I'll have a beer during a week day. Unless it’s work that is.

Well, when I say work I mean unpaid attendance of a virtual rebranding presentation.

I was introduced to Stroud brewery by dispatch reader Harriet Dodd of TopHat Coaching. And wow what a brewery. Organic, ethical, social, community driven. It’s even easier to enjoy good beer when you know there are good people behind it.

And I haven’t been paid or coerced to say nice things about them. This is how I see them after hearing their story and seeing how much they care about what they are doing. Besides, the four free beers I was sent were enjoyed earlier in the week so any buzzed-up hop-induced love has since worn off. Check them out for yourself.

What I am drinking right now is this.

A deliciously delicate wine. A Pinot Noir from Lothian Vineyards in South Africa. Spiced cherry, berries and raisin. It’s a little cooler than it should be in the shed but this is slowly warming things up. What makes this even more special is that this bottle came with others. A gift from a friend in America. “A lock down survival package” he said. But this is much more than mere survival. This is good living. Something I hope America can get back to. As soon as the dust settles.


What you are looking at is four pieces of D30 motorbike armour.

Two elbows pads and two shoulder pads that I bought to upgrade the stock armour in my new motorcycle jacket. D30 (pronounced D three O) is a dilatant. A non newtonian fluid that’s viscosity increases with applied shear stress. Here’s how it works…

The new Raspberry Pi 400 compact computer keyboard.

Just add a screen and you have a 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi enabled computer. At around £94 a pop I’d be surprised if they can fill the shelves faster than they go out. they seem a chunk cheaper in the US though. Weird when they are sold just up the road from me.

If you read last week’s dispatch you will know we have an electric car on the way. That meant we had to install a charger.

I winced at the cost as I thought it was just going to be a posh extension lead. Turns out it was a little more complicated. But it’s all installed and we’re ready to go.


Thank you to my new subscriber this week. You know who you are. Thank you for supporting my time as I curate and share these thoughts and links. And thank you also to those that have hit the red button in the past.

It really does help me feel useful. And writing these things helps me live them again To tell stories and stretch time.



Next week I was to be preparing for a job in Paris. But Paris is not ready for visitors. So I’ll be back in the shed. Looking through my led window to the world. Or at least a version of it. And it is certainly not boring at the moment.

If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.” ~ Mark Twain

Please drink resplendently,

See you out there.