Saturday, 19 July 2014

Rain and thunder...

I've started reading The Road Headed West, by Leon McCarron, who cycled across America in 2010. I'm almost halfway through it and it's very good. Similar to Rob Lilwall's Cycling Home from Siberia and well worth a read if you like cycling and travelling. Billed as 'a cycling adventure through North America', the book details Leon's ride from New York on the East Coast of America to Seattle in the West, although, looking at the map at the front of the book (all good travel books have maps in the front) he rides south along the Pacific coast towards Mexico.

Leon McCarron – he's written a great cycling book.

The reason I'm sitting here writing about Leon's excellent book is because of the rain. I know that Leon wouldn't worry about such things, but then he was attempting to get from A to B in a foreign country, whereas I'm just going out for the sake of a bit of exercise and the rain ain't pleasant when you're planning a shortish ride (say 15 miles) so I'm sitting in my conservatory instead, hoping that tomorrow will bring the good weather or that things will brighten up and I can go out today. Unfortunately, neither Andy nor Phil are riding today, so the motivation isn't there either.

It's stopped raining now, but it could just as easily start again. The skies are grey and we've been promised a thundery, stormy sort of day, so I'll probably not ride out today and besides, the momentum has been lost and there are things to do, as always, although never say never; I might well get out there around 10am, not sure.

I hate days like this and in many ways I would rather be in Leon's position. He'd either be riding through the rain or taking cover somewhere in a ditch or hedge until the weather blows over. But then, as I said, he's moving from A to B, from the East to the West coast of the USA. I'm simply considering a ride to Botley Hill and back, although, if you remember my last post, I was out in the rain, taking shelter for a few minutes and then heading for Westerham – a true adventurer! But not this weekend...not yet!

Harris – somebody should have tied his kangaroo
down, sport.
The weather has been excellent: hot sunshine all week, thunder and lightening at night and humidity, you get the picture. But, here we are: Saturday morning and there's grey skies and rain. I figure that things can only better.

In the news? Russian-backed separatists in the Ukraine have shot down a Malaysian Airlines commercial jet carrying 295 innocent people. One word: bastards! In other news, the Israelis are killing Palestinians. Bastards! Hamas is firing rockets into Israel indiscriminately. Bastards! Oddly, we've not heard anything from Isis of late or any news of the West going in there to sort them out with their new pals, the Iranians. You know what? I was thinking about Tony Blair the other day and that thing about him being appointed peace envoy for the Middle East. I can't recall whether or not he was actually appointed, but when you think about it, if he was appointed, it's similar to putting Rolf Harris in charge of child welfare or allowing Harold Shipman to head up the campaign for assisted dying.

There's so much more to look forward to: British politicians and paedophilia – that's yet to kick off. There are certainly big suspicions and stories of a cover-up by the police, so expect more 'breaking news' in that department, just as soon as they've sorted out who their dead scapegoats ought to be. And talking of dead scapegoats, this literally just in... they've found one – the late Viscount Tonypandy!

Blair – he's still at large.
What always amazes me is that, for years, we've all had it drummed into us that we, the British, are an example to the rest of the world – the only nation that does things in the right and proper manner. We watch on scornfully (and a little smugly) as other countries' political leaders mess up and get involved in scandals of one sort or another, or are discovered to be corrupt. We look on in horror as the military atrocities of other nations (the Serbians, for example) unfold on our television screens and we all sit back and thank our lucky stars that we are British and the British do things properly. You won't find British newspapers doing anything underhand, like hacking the mobile phone of a murdered schoolgirl. You won't catch our politicians fiddling their expenses. And our 'national treasures' are just that – you certainly won't catch them abusing children... and likewise our politicians, they're the best in the world, they're setting an example for others to follow. I mean, look at the late Cyril Smith, he was an example to us all! And as for our military, well, they're squeaky clean too, they're not going to ill-treat their prisoners of war. And our governments aren't going to get engaged in 'illegal' wars, are they?

However, slowly but surely we discover that yes, they are just as bad as everybody else – and always have been – and will do their level best to cover up their misdemeanours until somebody blows the whistle on them.

Hague and Jolie: Just make war illegal and call it a day.
And what's all this about 'illegal' wars? How can a war be 'illegal'? When Hitler walked into Poland did somebody in a grey suit holding a clipboard approach him and say, "I'm sorry Mr Hitler, you can't do that, it's against the law." Perhaps they did, but he didn't take any notice and that's how wars start, when somebody does something that another country isn't happy about, ie invade them. That term 'illegal' really annoys me. So the Russian separatists committed an 'illegal' act by blowing up the Malaysian airliner. Of course they did, but who's going to appear in court next week? Nobody, because its a war situation. And what about Angelina Jolie and William Hague going around saying they're going to make it illegal to rape somebody in the theatre of war? Does that mean that, at present, it's legal to rape somebody in a war situation? If so, shouldn't 'rape tourism' be rife in war zones? Surely Hague and Jolie would be better off cutting out the middle man (in this case rape) and saying it's illegal to kill or injure anybody in war, making war totally pointless. And then, after the 'law' has been passed – assuming it's a universal  law recognised by all – the leaders of nations at war will have to make do with a huge snakes and ladders board that they can unravel on some lonely battlefield in Switzerland (it would have to be a neutral country) and resolve their disputes with a set of dice and a few coloured counters. And if they weaken and starting fighting – which would be illegal, don't forget – they'll be electronically tagged and told to stay in after 8pm or face the consequences – 150 hours community service or a short spell in an open prison in West Sussex where they can escape and rob a post office.

Putin: not to be trusted
Sometimes I find myself getting very angry at all that is going on. And the reason is quite simple: it's knowing that nothing is going to be done about any of it. It's not so much a case of 'we're all in it together', it's more a case of 'they are all in it together'. The West is pussyfooting around Putin and not really responding to the man's atrocious behaviour; it's the same with Isis – nobody's going to do anything and we've just heard that they're giving the people of Mosul an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a special tax or die. Saddam Hussein, as bad as he was, at least maintained order between the various warring factions in Iraq. Now, thanks to Bush and Blair (who are still at large, by the way) he's gone – and our troops have pulled out – and the nutters are free to take over and that's just what is happening. I find it odd that nobody appears to be doing anything about it. Similarly Afghanistan. Once US and British troops are out of the country, the nutters will take charge again and it will all have been a complete waste of time and money – a terrible insult to all those servicemen and women who have died fighting 'for Queen and Country'.

I know it sounds a little corny 'in this day and age' but all I want is for everybody to live in peace and harmony. The root of the problem, of course, is religion. How pathetic. When will people learn? We're all the same, there's no life after death, no God, no devil, no nothing. We're all going to die. Get over it.

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