maandag 10 oktober 2016

Future?

It's 15 October 2021. 

Theresa May is managing the Brexit as well as possible and maybe that is why the Conservatives have won the elections last year. She remained as the Prime Minister but reshuffled her cabinet a bit.

There is a constant flow of pensioners coming back from European countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece. The visas and permits to stay in these countries have expired and so they are forced to come back to the UK, often they have to sell property for a lot less than what the price normally would be.

There are already 600.000 of them and there are expectations that more than a million will follow. It has caused a housing problem. The Labour shadow cabinet has suggested that second homes and holiday houses should be used to solve this. The Tories have rejected this immediately, so the repatriates are forced to stay with relatives and friends.

A few weeks ago we received a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Amber Rudd that I should prepare myself to be removed from the country for the obvious reason that I am a European foreigner. Of course we made use of the possibility to oppose to this. I received a reaction on this that my case was being handled but that it would not have the effect for me to not send me to a Return Centre when my time was due. It would be possible that the decision had to be made while I was being prepared for being forced out of the UK.

We talked about this with relatives and neighbours, but nobody really knew what could be done against it. A neighbour said this all was impossible, it was so very not British. I reminded him of some history: concentration camps were an invention by the British during the Boer wars. They had been very efficient, I added cynically, one third of the inmates died. He tried to assure me things would not be like that nowadays.

A Pick Up Truck drove up to the front of our house this morning. In the back I could see the pharmacist and her family (Chinese), the cook of the cafe where we sometimes ate (American) and two women from the staff of the hotel in the village, who probably were Polish or Bulgarian or such. They all looked a bit cold sitting there unprotected.

Two men came to our door, their hair very short like military. They were wearing civilian clothes but had armbands on saying Assistant Police. They told me to get on the truck.
I asked them if I could pack some things first at which they reacted quite irritated. I had a three week period already to pack, they said but they agreed anyway. While I was busy doing this, one of the men was ordering me to hurry, "they didn't have all day".

My wife pleaded with the other man, saying I was her husband and her carer. He reacted that there were plenty of Englishmen who could do this too.
I had my things packed and I could quickly kiss her goodbye.
At the door she asked the men where they would bring me; they told her it would be the Deportation Centre of Colchester.

"But how do I get there to visit him?"
"You don't!"
They pushed me on the back of the Pick Up and I sat down next to the pharmacist on a blanket. My suitcase was thrown in after me and the men went in the car and hastily drove away. I fell over and before I could wave at my wife we were out of the street.
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dinsdag 27 september 2016

Autumn on the Isle of Wight




The summer season definitely is over. The population of our village is now back to 20% of what it was in the summer. The holiday houses and summer houses are empty,  there are almost no cars on the street and the water of the Solent contains hardly any sailboats anymore.

We go to the pharmacy to get our yearly flu jab and coming out of it, we see an old lady wearing sunglasses and walking with a stick. We get into a talk with her about mobility scooters. She does not dare to go to far anymore, her eyesight is slowly disappearing. But she still likes to use it in the village. She is 91 and we admire her courage; we know quite a lot of people 20 years or more younger who don't dare to use a scooter.



The conversation gets to the post office. After it has been taken from us months ago it has been decided that we get a new post office situated in the pharmacy. We are very happy with that.
It was sad enough to see in the last years lots of good things taken from the village. Not only did we lose the post office, but also the lovely wildlife centre, the swimming pool, two restaurants, two pubs and the frequency of the visits of the library on wheels has been halved, just like the evening bus services. The nearest police station now is situated in Newport, not exactly in walking distance. Only the two churches remained and these are of no interest to us.

The three of us decide that the return of the post office is a good thing, especially for the elderly who often get their pension from it. The old lady tells us she should get on with things, get her flu jab.
"Bye, bye, I might run into you later", she says. "Oops, I don't mean that literally. Would not want to hurt you with my scooter." Laughing out loud she walks into the pharmacy.

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dinsdag 23 augustus 2016

Tourist on our own Isle of Wight, 23 August 2016

Today we made a lovely walk from Ventnor to Bonchurch on the Sea Wall. It was almost like we were on a different planet compared to being in Sandown the other day.
If you go into Ventnor, you get into the beach area with loads of little cafes and shops, even an art gallery. Nothing tacky, even the people on the beach looked different.
But our main goal was the walk to Bonchurch.

All the parking spots were taken, but the people must have all gone to Ventnor itself. The walk was amazing, great for people with wheelchairs or mobility scooters too. And very quiet. We hardly saw anyone. We spoke with an elderly couple about the weather and mobility scooters and they walked on; in Bonchurch we saw them again for a few seconds. For the rest: peace and quiet.

                                          Must have been the best day this summer

The sky was completely without clouds, never saw this before this year. A sea without sailing boats or other vessels is a very rare view too for us.

Plaque on the Memorial


Memorial


View on Ventnor


A lovely path


Not just white cliffs in Dover


The rock is very brittle


Next year gone?

The white cliffs look wonderful, but the rock is very brittle. Pieces of the land fall down and this can make things dangerous. Not just for trees that eventually will fall down. We saw a plaque to commemorate the death of a 19 year old boy from Ventnor who got killed on this lovely path.


                                          Bonchurch, pottery

In the pottery my wife saw a lovely clock. It would have been cruel not to have bought it for her.
It looks lovely on our wall.

A silvery sea

Walking back the sea almost looked like it was made of silver, the sunlight striking over it in an amazing way.
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maandag 22 augustus 2016

Tourist on our own Isle of Wight, 22 August 2016

Today we did what was  planned for months: visiting the seaside town of Sandown.
From Seaview where we live it's only something like 20 minutes, but it is like you land in a different world.

                                      
                                          The pier of Sandown


                                          View from the pier of Sandown

                                          View from the other side of the pier
                                     

We walked along the shore to the pier. On the pier it's quite a puzzle how you can get to the open air again. You have to walk through noisy arcades and Greasy Spoon-type cafetarias. In a wheelchair or mobility scooter the puzzle is even worse.

                                     
                                         Fun on the pier

Outside you can't help but get shocked by the rude boards where you can make pictures of your children or yourself. I really thought humour like this was not done in these days.
Looking past them you can enjoy the view. The Isle of Wight is lovely.

                                     
                                         Humour from a long time ago


                                     
                                         Humour from a long time ago

Along the road named Culver Parade are traces of a great past. In the good old days the hotels in Sandown must have been packed with guests. It is very sad to see the state of these - once majestic - buildings.


                                          A closed hotel

                                          Another closed hotel

                                          The closed Grand Hotel

It's better to look at the other side, the beach. At least when that is possible. Quite a big part of the beach is taken by cafes. A good thing that this is not the case everywhere. People still have fun on the beach with their children. The sea was a bit choppy, but that often makes the fun bigger for children. It's always nice to play with and in the waves.
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zaterdag 9 juli 2016

A Coat of Arms


This is the Coat of Arms of the Amherst family. The first time I saw it, I was really flabbergasted. I originally come from the Netherlands where a big discussion is going on about Zwarte Piet, to be translated as Black Pete. This character is the servant of St.Nicolas who is the bringer of gifts to the children of the Netherlands in December. (Not at Christmas, but on the 5th of December, the eve of the Saints day of St.Nicolas.)

Black Pete fell out of grace by a lot op people, it is considered to be a racist thing. While the white man (St.Nicolas) is a wise man with a lot of knowledge, Black Pete is a dumbo. Because of being stupid he is supposed to be funny. Normally Black Pete is played by white people with black painted faces. A bit like the Black and White Minstrels, a music group from a few decades ago. They were not political correct, so their show on tv was abandoned.

                                         St.John's House, Ryde

So to see this coat of arms in the Pearl Center in Brighstone on the Isle of Wight was a bit of a shock for me considering all this. I planned to write an article about it. I have found the Coat of Arms belonged to the wealthy Amherst family. I know they owned the St.John's House, near Ryde on the Isle of Wight. They probably owned the building where you can find the Pearl Center too. A pity I can't find any proof of this.

                                         Pearl Center, Brighstone

The family Amherst has been a very influential family from the 16th century onwards. I can write a lot about them, but I discovered that an excellent article has been written by Nick Kingsley.
http://landedfamilies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/121-amherst-of-bayhall-and-montreal.html
No need to repeat what he wrote.

It does leave me with the question: Should this image not be removed from the walls of the Pearl Center? I don't think it's something to be proud of.
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dinsdag 28 juni 2016

Teflon Man strikes again

The last weeks have been very interesting for me and that is not an understatement.
Even if I had wanted to I could not have avoided all the turbulence that came with the LEAVE and REMAIN competition around the referendum of 23 June 2016 about the membership of the European Union. Even the fact that I had no right to vote in this referendum did not stop both sides bombarding me with propaganda.

The REMAIN side would hammer on about very gloomy expectations if it would come to a BREXIT; the LEAVE side under leadership of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith of the Conservative party,  and Nigel Farage of UKIP came with very optimistic stories, a bit like that a new Golden Age would come for the UK if there was going to be a BREXIT.

                                          Boris Johnson

Some of the things that were being said by the Leave side were obvious lies and empty promises. Even I as a newcomer to the UK could see that.

Of course a new government was not going to put all the money not spent on the membership into the National Health Service.
Of course the UK would not have the profits of an European Union membership while not paying for it.
Of course there would not be free travelling for Brits in the EU, while people from the EU would need visa for the UK.
Of course the EU would not follow British rules in proceedings and such.
Of course leaving the EU will not stop immigration nor reduce the amount of immigrants.

It is hard to believe for me but a (small) majority of the Brits went for the empty promises and lies. So the United Kingdom is going to leave the European Union. The LEAVE campaigners must have not expected this. There is nothing to organise this. All they say is that there is no hurry.
European leaders are fed up with all the moaning and stalling and ask the British leaders to get on with it.

                                          David Cameron

How did all this became possible?
For fear of losing too many votes to UKIP  David Cameron promised the voters in the last general election that he would create a referendum about the membership of the European Union if he won. So there would be no need to vote for UKIP if you wanted this.

David Cameron won and kept his promise.
He accepted that the members of his government would campaign towards the referendum, so already allowing the country being led only half, The other half of his team was too busy with bickering in the campaign to do anything that would normally be their job.
I have the feeling that for most of these Eton boys this was no more than having a bit of fun. It would never come to a victory for the LEAVE side.   But it did.

In the aftermath a petition has been started by upset people, lots of them voted LEAVE but saw this as a protest against David Cameron who had stated he was in favour of REMAIN. They never thought for a second it would come to all this. The petition is already signed by 4 million people but is swept aside as not relevant by David Cameron.

David Cameron made his decision clear after hearing the results of the referendum. He is stepping down as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservatives at the next convention of his party, in October. It is up to his successor to lead the UK out of the European Union.

From all around David Cameron is being praised. Like he has been the best leader of the Conservatives and the best Prime Minister ever. Firstly I was flabbergasted, but then I remembered my own little piece about his acting as a Prime Minister ( http://dutchbicyclemaninnorwich.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/teflon-man.html) and how he got away with lying three times about money that was stashed away to avoid paying tax. (This getting out through the Panama Papers.)
So Teflon Man did it again: nothing sticks on him.



The events around the referendum make me think of a cook who suggested that he will prepare a nice meal for a family. He creates the most awful meal possible and makes a terrible mess of the kitchen. The family is polite and say that the meal was very good.
The neighbours see the state of the kitchen and tell the cook that they expect him to clean up and replace what is damaged. The cook simply shakes his head: "No, the next person who will cook, will clean up."
And so...everybody cheers how great he is.

In the aftermath of the referendum a fight started about who will succeed Teflon man as leader of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister. Not very surprisingly Boris Johnson withdrew himself as a candidate, so he is not getting his hands dirty either. It looks like Theresa May has to clean the kitchen. She was not in favour of a Brexit, but she is volunteering to be the next cook.
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4th of July 2016
Boris Johnson is having a good time, away from the fire that he helped to ignite.
                                          Boris Johnson

But he can't help having an opinion when he sees a journalist; he tells the British politicians to move on as quick as possible. And drives away to more pleasant talks.

That is nice of the former cook, telling others to hurry in cleaning the kitchen. Still not volunteering to help cleaning up the mess he himself created.

In the meantime Nigel Farage stepped down as leader of UKIP. His ultimate goal in life - getting the UK out of the European Union - has been fulfilled. So he retires, for the third time.
A bit like a pop star or a football player. We wait for his next come back.

                                          Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage fits perfectly into the picture I described of the kitchen.
He is like a TV cook you really would not like to see in your kitchen, always swearing, drinking too much and being foul mouthed. Now he shouts out that they have cooked according to his recipe. He is ready to retire and write his memoires: "My Biggest Insults".
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dinsdag 14 juni 2016

Shit Talk

The majority of dog owners nowadays take care of the shit of their beloved animals. But still some people don't do this; even the threat of fines is not enough to force them to do it. So I can understand that countries like Malaysia and Singapore have almost Draconian punishments. I do think this goes too far. But a solution for getting every dog owner clearing their own dog turds is difficult to find. It leads to a lot of anger for other people.

I've seen people marking dog turds with flags to show their annoyance.

I have been talking to some dog owners and most of them are outraged about the fact that they pay dog tax and have to clear the dog turds while horse owners don't pay tax for their horses and don't take care of the turds of their animals either. And a horse produces a lot more! It stays on the streets a long time while flattened out by cars. It makes it harder and harder not to step on it or ride through it when it really covers the street or the pavement.
There is a way to prevent horses to litter the streets. Maybe it's not comfortable for a horse; I don't know, there is no way to ask. But I think it would be very reasonable to demand from people who ride horses on the public road to use them.

The Horse Nappie:
I expect that more dog owners will obey the rules regarding dog turds when they are not confronted with piles of horse shit on the streets anymore. So there is a lot to gain with this.
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