Monday, May 7, 2012

Torrential Showers

We've just been through the wettest April in fourteen years those charged with such stats say. Maybe the days of April showers are over. Not sure how May is going to fare out - but looking up through the attic window and the deluge of water running down to flow over the gutters right now - there may be another record to go this month.
   I shouldn't be surprised. Ireland is noted for her rainfall.  In the early days of the global warming debate there was promise of summers like those they have in the south of France. There was even talk of vineyards. Imagine.
   I think that promise is gone as the thinking diverts to the more encompassing climate change. Like so many things in Ireland that defy belief, it would seem Ireland's weather is out to do the same to us. Because I think if anything it's wetter and and a degree or two colder.

Gustav arrived back last Thursday. He looked years younger and definitely sticks out now with the Mediterranean he bestows among the ghostly faces here in Rain land. The sun was beating down in Latvia for most of the time he was there.
   'It's cold in here,' he said when he called in to thank me for keeping an eye on things next door when he was away visiting. It was cold. I always let the oil lapse coming into the summer months. Not sure why! I'd missed the fuel merchant out on his rounds. Not that I was really looking.
   'I missed the coal man,' I said. I was surprised he was empty handed. I was sure he'd have a bottle with him.
   'The decking.' he began. 'We can burn it?'
   Back in the day I had attempted to build a patio area out the back. Within days of starting I was told I was losing my job. I never finished it. Gustav said he would come back in at the weekend and help me break it up and cut it up for the fire.
   'Tidy the place up a bit,' he said. The feckin' cheek.

So Saturday he ripped out what had been put together with a nail bar and some brute force. As he dislodged each piece he handed them to me to take the nails out. It wasn't long before I feel well behind, as I struggled to remove the nails with the claw of a hammer. Sap spitting for the saturated timber as I tried to yank each nail out. With great difficulty. Sweat bubbling from my forehead and it wasn't even warm. Gustav meanwhile was in flow. I had at least half of the timber to de-nail when he finally pulled the last of it apart.
   'Now see the space you have,' he said. It did tidy it up, I have to admit. Gustav took the hammer from me and began to de-nail the rest of the timber. Half an hour later he was done.
   'Tomorrow we cut them up. Into little pieces.' he said, hurrying off to join up with the photography club he had joined. They'd been on an excursion when he was away. He wasn't too happy.

I thought Sunday was meant to be a day of rest? Not for Gustav - who was hammering the door out of it just after nine o' clock. I'd only been in bed about four hours as I got lost in a woodland with a troupe of survivalists led by new French president-elect, Francois Hollande. I was felling a tree with an axe. With Julian Assange.  It was then I heard the door being rattled out of it below. I got up.
   'I've been knocking for an hour,' Gustav said, armed with two rusty looking hand saws. Hadn't he something more - electrical? Motor-powered? Another set of hands?
     The morning chill was enough to harden the parts we hide - but ploughing through wet decking timber with a saw past it's time soon softens them up. I was never much good with a saw. Gustav looked a natural.
   'Too and fro. Like slicing bread,' he kept saying when my forward thrusting met a blockage somewhere along the wood grain. It caused the saw to wobble and do damage to my wrist. I mean for feck sake. I'm a writer. I need my hands.

By the bells of mid-day we were finished. Every muscle in my body ached. Particularly the ones in my upper arms. I'm seriously in bad shape. Keep meaning to do something about that.
   I cooked a huge fry-up to thank Gustav for all of his help. I tended to that as he piled the wood into the shed to dry out.
   'It's an old Irish tradition,' I explained to him as he questioned the tomatoes with the cremated edges. I'm sure it's someones tradition. It's definitely a Booker's.
   'I not like this tradition,' he said, forking the frizzled half-moon back on to my plate. He doesn't know what he is missing.
   Three mugs of tea, a loaf of bread and a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits later Gustav was gone and I was once again listening to the fridge going on and off again. I sat myself down on Mum's old chair and pretended to read a book. I fell asleep after twenty minutes and didn't wake until this morning. Feeling arthritic. And eighty!

It's a Bank Holiday today in Ireland. That's nice of them. I'm sure if they had their way they'd cancel all such privileges for the general masses.
   France swept Sarkozy aside in favour of socialist, Francois Hollande - a boy who set out to be president by all accounts. Bit of visualization never did anyone any harm, I guess.
   In Greece, pro-austerity parties took a hammering as Greece tries to restore the democracy taken from them last year. The market reaction to that has been as volatile as it has been all year. It may threaten the euro-zone once more. Ireland should take care how she choose comes the end of the month.
   Hollande believes a clause needs to be inserted into the fiscal treaty which allows for stimulus and growth. The Germans disagree. Merkozy is dead. New uncertainties. More games.
   Let's be abundantly clear. Austerity is driving economies into the ground. The facts speak for themselves. Yet that remains the drive. This is the 'foresight' available to various European electorates across the continent in this age.
   I think it's safe to say now that this is in fact European policy. Austerity is being done on purpose. To drive down wages. To privatize everything. To decimate the social spend. To facilitate the Capitalist agenda that leaves the societies of those pursuant in disarray and in disillusionment.
   Will Hollande - the boy who would be president - make a difference? Come forth with an alternative. A new way of thinking? Unfortunately, I think not. Those who control it all - the market vamps - control and shape the thinking of the puppet politicians that front for them in increasing numbers.
   There can be little doubt after a number of years of austerity in various countries now that it has failed. The only reason for its continuance is if it is indeed policy - an agenda. But it's a poor agenda when people hold down full-time jobs and can't make ends meet, or more so, find it necessary to take their own lives.  
   Arguments to the contrary should be directed to your local rep - not that it will make any difference.  If you're voting for cuts in health, education, or in the care of the vulnerable within any society then you are the problem.
   Voters seem to be coming to grips with that concept and acting on it as voter apathy to austerity grows significantly in countries such as Greece, France and even in the UK, where last week one of Rupert Murdoch's favorite sons, Dave Cameron, took a Tory battering in local elections. That blow to a British Labour Party being led by a stiff!
Wasn't too long ago our own Enda was pitching Murdoch himself. Surely a public relations boob.

Fine Gael and Labour - as the Greens and Fianna Fáil before them - are part of this austerity agenda. They have proved that. Some more so than others. They choose to decimate public services and implement policy which have eroded our economy, seriously weakening standards of living on the way. They do it to bail out institutions that went far beyond the meaning of rogue. They insist on it by spewing fear to people. Shouting 'What alternative do we have?' While no-one is held to account.
   There lies the problem. No-one is offering an alternative. One that doesn't ride a populous wave anyway.
The shift has to be radical and idealistic. But idealism has been bought out of politics it would seem for a large part in modern day western society. It's a thriving breeding ground for radicals and extremists - right and left. All these attempts at greater unity are seemingly only creating greater divisions. Class divisions. Which is always a dangerous thing.

I see Newt Gingrich called time on his run for US president. Who'd have thought it? Down to Mitt Romney and Ron Paul now. Who'd have thought the old guy would have lasted this long? Languishing now in no-man's land after the Republican party through their backing and resources behind Mitt Romney.  Valiant effort by the man who never really got a fair shot within America's mainstream media.
   I'd read Hunter S. Thompson's, F&L on the Campaign Trail '72 in the past twelve months. I thought taking a more in-dept look into how the Americans go about selecting their commander-and-chief might be fun. I tuned into the early rounds of this Republican race to face off against Obama in November. I wish I hadn't.

That's strange. Me ankles are frozen. There's a draft getting in from somewhere. That's all I need. The roof coming off the house. Bloody government aren't the only one with structural deficits to contend with!  Was that a roll of thunder I just heard? That's one black mother of a sky out there now this evening.

I wonder if that wood is dry yet? Might light a fire. Ridiculous. It being summer and all. 


New novella, Cripple, now available here.

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