Normal Service May Not be Resumed Shortly


Leo has been ill for the last ten days….ill enough to be taken into the local hospital for observation before returning home…only to go back for further observation…and once again returning home.

It has been a trying time. Routines overturned, projects abandoned, things left on the back burner until suddenly recalled to mind…or not, as the case might be!

Remarkable as it might seem, I have decided to put aside the minefield of the digitalisation of bills as demonstrated on the taxman’s website until I feel able to cope with something which seems to be a hybrid born of a crossword puzzle and a query as to when did I last see my father…but which would seem to indicate that I will be taxed on rental income even if the tenant doesn’t pay. I do wish that Costa Rica would stop seeking advice from the EU when it comes to tax…

Top marks to the health service,  though…apart from the secretary at the local clinic who has been her usual stupid and uncooperative self. It seems to be a feature of the Caja – the NHS of Costa Rica – that while the professional staff go the extra mile for their patients the secretaries could not give two penn’orth of cold gin whether the patient lives or dies. Probably prefer the latter as being one less to interrupt their care of their fingernails…

A series of disturbed nights has left me feeling lethargic….though the dogs have done their best to cure me of that by deciding to practice  herding the sheep, who take great exception to the idea, thus requiring my intervention. Einstein does not join in. He has other ideas. Flushed by his success in catching and eating a vulture he treks from tree to tree in search of another…

My cleaning woman has also done her best to liven me up….Sunday afternoon produced her wailing at the door having decided not to go to her only grandchild’s birthday party because her daughter in law had snubbed her. I tell you, after sorting out her in the flesh, daughter in law and son in successive telephone calls on the lines that

A…the grandson would be upset by her absence

B…she had bought the cake for the party and if she did not go what would become of it


C…the son would keep the two women in his life from scratching each other’s eyes out for the duration of the event

I was ready for a cup of tea and a lie down in a darkened room.

The car, of course, has joined in by catching a lurgy in its starter motor so while the Cuban electrical wizard in the town is sorting that out the car is parked on the drive, ready for a downhill start should it be needed in an emergency. Just as well it is not an automatic.

I can’t settle to solid reading just at the moment, which is a pity as I had just taken down the Putney Debates of 1647 to renew my acquaintance with Cromwell, Ireton, Rainsborough and Wildman….trying to establish a new order in a land broken and divided by civil war.

It strikes me that there is currently a civil war in the U.K. – one waged by the rich on those purposely kept poor – and a new order is urgently needed….but the development of identity politics will do nothing to assist the process.

I must admit to fantasising about a modern Cromwell entering the House of Commons and addressing individual M.P.s as drunkards, whoremasters, jugglers and cheats before launching his attack on the institution itself.

There are no good videos…so here is the text of what is supposed to have been his speech

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,

which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

Nothing like WordPress for cocking up font, not to speak of hiding the categories and tags item….but nothing like the seventeenth century for robust language.

And from later in that century my current earworm is this song from ‘The Indian Queen’ sung here by Alfred Deller. Words by Dryden, music by Purcell.




It is rather comforting to keep up with the blogs I follow…proof were it needed that the world is still on its axis despite our local disruptions….so thank you, fellow bloggers and friends, for keeping me sane.






67 thoughts on “Normal Service May Not be Resumed Shortly”

  1. Could we, I wonder , clone some Cromwells and set them on Whitehall, America’s Congress, and these lazy boot-licking sods in Canberra?

    My best to Leo and to you, having to juggle everything.

    1. That would be more use than trying to recreate woolly mammoths….though a Cromwell flanked by woolly mammoths might be quite a sight!
      Thanks for your kind wishes…it is a question of stabilising him again which is not proving to be easy!

    1. The dogs are upset by the alarms and excursions but love to cuddle up to him…when not herding!
      Thank you for the good thoughts…sometimes it feels very lonely…

  2. Strikes me that Cromwell’s words are as appropriate today as they were then. Politicians never change.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Leo, and what a relief that the medical fraternity is looking after him, even if the secretaries are not (and it’s funny how medical secretaries are the same the world over too…).

    1. There must be something in their genetic make up…I could do without the obstruction, however and all the hassle of crushing it.

      Wherever would we find a Cromwell today? People of principle seem to be crushed the moment they raise their heads above the parapet.

  3. Power and resilience to your collective elbows and may there be Lord Protectors a-plenty to clear your path to peace and calm.

  4. I’m sorry to hear that Leo is having a medical crisis again. I hope the doctors can sort it out quickly and that he remains co-operative (ie stays in hospital when he’s told to do so, etc). And agreed that we need a latter day Cromwell. Sigh.

    1. Co operative? I don’t think he understands that word in relation to himself…but he has been ill enough to behave himself.
      I’ve always appreciated Cromwell…for a man of his times he was distinctly liberal in his views.

  5. Perhaps Cromwell could have a word with your local health service gatekeepers too and curse their inattention to your Leo and others by causing a few precious fingernails to drop out?

    Best to you both, Ronnie

  6. Not at all keen on this Leo being ill bit. It’s time he stopped that as the dogs need him.
    You are doing well just now, not only a book on your life to write but a TV soap opera way beyond the pap offered daily at the moment. The Hollywood film will not be the same but the money will be good.

    Ah Cromwell, I wonder if the members of the House know who he was?
    I only we could tempt an army coup at the moment, if only a latter day Cromwell would step in and dump the lot.
    Not democratic I agree but better for all.

    The music is good.

    1. Back to rule by the Major Generals! Only this lot are so conditioned they would be filling out inclusivity and diversity checklists instead of getting on with the job.
      Leo had a better night…so we both did. Amazing how rosier things look after a decent rest!

  7. I despair of Westminster at the moment. There are no political giants, no people of presence, just a bunch of incompetent, rudderless twerps in government on one hand, even worse on the other and a hideous babble of minority interests around them. There are few that deserve great respect. The UK is drifting, without a clear programme. Our government’s response to the issues of the day, some of which it should have foreseen, is often barely adequate and, in the case of disasters like Grenfell, apparently woefully neglectful. We could do with someone like Cromwell, though possibly without the religion. Heavy reading though – I’m more of a W E Johns’ fan. I’m not able to comment much at the moment – meanwhile, thinking of you and Leo…and the car.

    1. Car repaired, thanks to the Cuban electrical genius…brought up in Cuba he is resourceful!
      Leo had a better night, which was a relief..
      Nice to have Biggles recalled to mind!
      We have incompetents in parliament thanks to a party system which promotes to power those who have no experience of life outside politics….doubt they could take the skin off a rice pudding without consultants in spoon technology to assist them.

      1. Good news! I think you’re right – we should ban anyone from being an MP who hasn’t had a proper job, not associated with any political party, for at least 5 years – and limit the number of lawyers!

  8. Wishing you and Leo the best and I hope he will soon be stable and improving. I agree we need a Cromwell – but a combination of dynamism, charisma and seriousness is hard to find. Although come to think of it, “charisma” is not an adjective I would have instantly associated with Cromwell….

    1. Thank you. Last night was much better, so fingers crossed that things are beginning to work.
      There is a quote about Cromwell that you might like…if only I could remember the reference, but as I recall it goes ‘You can scarce speak to Cromwell on anything but he will lay his hand upon his breast, elevate his eyes and call God to record…he will weep, howl and repent even as he doth smite you under the fifth rib.’

        1. On the other side he did ask the Presbyterian ministers behind the Scottish army ‘to consider, in the bowels of Christ, whether it were possible that they were mistaken’ before they decided that they were not and he accordingly hammered the lot at Dunbar.

  9. So sorry to hear about Leo, as if you do not have enough on your mind. Hopefully, he will soon be home and feeling much better but I know there are so many complications involved. Take care, thinking of you both Diane

    1. Thank you, yes, as you appreciate, there are a number of complications. He is home now, but off for another check up today…luckily he has had a good night so we both got some sleep!
      Mother is not on top form, but I really cannot leave Leo to go to sort her out, much to her disgruntlement!

  10. I am so sorry about Leo. Herding a teenager through a boring summer is the worst besetting me. A pox on the cleaning lady. My gratitude to the doctors caring for Leo, and you–don’t be too hard on yourself.

    1. No, I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it…no point in the stiff upper lip.
      My cleaning woman is a real drama queen…she was not what I needed on Sunday afternoon, squawking like a wet hen over trivia.
      It is a a super health service…yes, for non urgent stuff you wait in the queue, but if it is urgent they are tops.

  11. Not a lot I can say except the horribly perfunctory ‘I hope things get better, particularly Leo’. But rest assured I do mean that. I am with you wholeheartedly on the UK needing a Cromwell and in a moment of extreme hasard it turns out that The Brains has just passed The Pitney Debates to me having been prompted to read them by none other than a Nobel Prize winner. Take heart, fair lady – thy intellect is intact though I fear it will not be weapon enough with a Health Service Receptionist in any country 🙄

    1. But it can be comforting to have it said…it can feel somewhat lonely, sometimes.
      I think that health service secretaries are immune to an intellectual approach….a claw hammer or the pliers for the painted nails seems to be the way to go.
      You will enjoy the Putney debates….I imagine that the reality was a bit more heated than the notes show it to be…and that when Rainsborough is talking about the poorest he that is in England having no obedience to the state unless he consents to it he is not thinking of a universal franchise! Just as in the French revolution, women and servants are automatically excluded by all shades of opinion.

      1. We were commenting only yesterday how wonderful the customer service is at our hospital of choice with the exception of the Primary Care receptionists who certainly need that claw hammer applied vigorously to their talons. As for you …. you are in my thoughts and if you need an ear, please do email me. I know loneliness (or have) and she is an insidious mistress. I am certain I will enjoy the Putney debates – though equally certain your comments are accurate. Go gently, Helen … you are one of the greats 🙂

        1. Very kind of you.
          I have taken up light reading to avoid thinking following the advice given to a gallant naval officer friend, now long dead, by a fatherly petty officer when he was training, having said that he thought something or other.
          I should leave thinking to horses, sir…they have bigger heads.
          I wonder if there should be a Nobel Prize for clobbering medical receptionists….

          1. Surely that Nobel Prize would have more worthy recipients than the blessed peace prize. I live the advice. I will take it alongside you!

          2. Exactement! If you want to light my husband up like the proverbial Roman candle you just say those three words in any order! 😂

  12. At a time like this normal service be blowed!
    Sorry to hear your troublesome news, I know all too well how such events disrupt daily life. I can only suggest that you read rather less uplifting stuff, although I wouldn’t go so far as recommending ‘women’s’ fiction’. I doubt that even Cromwell could sort out the warfare on the Tory benches, they aren’t going to rest until they have torn each other to shreds, no matter what it’ll mean for the country. Liars, selfish, self regarding, self serving bandits, the lot of them.

    1. Aren’t they just! Cromwell had the words to describe them!
      I can’t concentrate on the Putney Debates just now…you are right, I need lighter meat so I am reading Colin Wilson’s Flaxborough series…light enough to put down and take up, but very funny and so well written
      The disruption seems never ending…but there has been an improvement so crossing the fingers that this marks a more permanent upturn.

  13. Helen, that you can EVER concentrate on the Putney Debates is beyond me. But then I did achieve a remarkably poor degree in history. I think Leo is far more deserving of your attention and so sorry he has been so unwell, I do hope the improvement continues. Give yourself some treats, please. Glad to hear you have rejected the stiff upper lip option in favour of sanity. And I hope your mother is managing.
    I’m sorry I haven’t been providing you with any blogging diversions. Something small brewing… The prof has been in Toronto. I decided to visit old friends. I had not been to Bristol for years. I wish I’d put together a PowerPoint presentation. By the time I left I was even telling myself what Larry and I had been doing for the last X years.
    The state of the nation. The world. Oh God. If only prayer would move mountains. Or move anything. Like trains. I stood from Bristol to Brum.
    Universal Credit. Terf wars. And of course, Brexit. I do think there are one or two people in parliament who have integrity and presence and who care, unfortunately they are tribal and not universally appealing as they seem radical – because of the integrity, plain speaking etc. A friend in her 30s is trying to start a party for the politically homeless. I hope, but I doubt… Sigh.
    Keep well, treat yourself well. I daresay the Mama Mia film doesn’t appeal, judging by your choice of earworm, but it sorted me out last night! Dancing Queen always has me joining in… I know, don’t envisage it, please.

    1. Oh, the catching ups! This happens when family or friends visit and I sometimes feel that I should have put together a short fact sheet to cover the essentials!
      Th state of Britain appalls me…the sheer mediocrity of it all, where people with ideals and principles are shunned as though they were carrying the plague.
      I should say that had I been able to vote I would have voted to leave the EU…I see its insistence on the use of private credit sources by states and the push to privatise as fuel for the instincts of the vultures running British politics for the benefit of the relatively few. However, given the hash made of it all by people who don’t really want to leave anyway I just despair for Britain’s future.
      I have been known to dance, but find the task of teaching Costa Ricans to Strip the Willow rather a daunting process….

      1. Ha! Right now, I’d rather be with Europe any day than hoping the ‘special relationship’ will carry us through the post European years. And bear in mind that the state voice may say one thing and do another, as France and Germany have been exemplifying for years and years and years. Privatisations? Pah! But we’ll buy into yours, dear England. I still yearn to move to Sweden but it will never be. And Larry appears to be flying back from Canada tonight so that’s out 😉
        I’m afraid my weekend also made me question whether ‘culture’ is all it’s cracked up to be. I think I need a few good nights’ sleep and some fresh air.

        1. All the special relationship has meant that in return for American company directorships and ‘speaking engagements’ successive British politicians have let their country be screwed by the U.S. time and time again. Send British young to die in American busness’s wars and follow the party line if you don’t want your currency destroyed by Wall Street.
          Anyone thinking of relying on the U.S. must be out of their skulls…like offering your neck to Dracula.
          I take your point about France and Germany…but the case in Britain is that the governments have leapt for the privatisation options.
          All depends on what is classed as ‘culture’….and by whom.

  14. And I forgot to say that I enjoy reading the Putney Debates…I used to enjoy going through the LSE’s collection of political pamphlets too…some of the ideas and language were stunning! I’m a bit of a dull elf in that respect.

  15. If you happen to find a modern day Cromwell, would you mind loaning him to us in the states for a bit? We seem to have a madman at the helm these days who happily uses (and abuses) babies and toddlers as leverage for building that stupid freaking wall that will do nothing to solve our immigrant problems. So much for ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free’ eh? My gawd, where do they find these people?! Hope things settle down for you. Sam Elsa and I send ‘pawsitive’ thoughts for the whole gang, but especially for Leo.

    1. Leo went for a further checkup today…he can stay at home for now as things seem a little more stable,Just hoping it stays swinging that way!
      Cromwell was, for his own time, a liberal thinker. He encouraged Jews to move back into England, he said that he would rather have ‘Mahomestism’ in the land before that any Christian should suffer for his faith – though I suspect he excluded Catholics from the category of Christians – and was a pragmatist.
      I can’t see him putting children in cages…

  16. Yes we could do with a Cromwell.

    I had left the UK with nary a backward look; but thanks to our local TAX office I may be on my way back toute suite as they do not believe that I intend my residence to be permanent.

    Just in time for Brexit Shmexit.

    And, just a moment, he caught a VULTURE!

    1. What the blazes! How do they manage to conjure up that load of old bull? Have you contacted SELVIT? They may be able to help. I would have voted to leave had I been able, see above, but I am shocked by the inability or unwillingness of both the U.K. and the E,.U. to sort out a settlement for those who moved to other member states of the EU under the existing settlement.
      Costa Rica’s solution is to allow those who entered under one regime to remain without problems should the regime change.

      Yes, a vulture. Danilo said he had been stalking it for days…lying doggo under the tree in which it spent its days until finally it made the mistake of investigating. He is a heavy dog, but lightning fast…he had it in a trice. Obviously liked the flavour as he is looking for another…

  17. Sorry to hear about Leo. Prayers for both him and you.

    Not a big fan of Cromwell, but I like the idea of cleaning political house(s). It’s difficult to find any that aren’t full of packs of mercenary wretches who would, like Esau, sell their countries for a mess of pottage, and like Judas, betray their God for a few pieces of money.

    Take care.

    1. Thank you for your prayers…I do appreciate your care.
      His check up today was on the positive side so there’s hope of pulling out of this. He certainly has the will to do so.

      What astounds me is how little it takes to corrupt this human filth…they certainly put the value of their good name at a very low price.

      1. Either the sell themselves very cheap or they don’t anticipate ever getting caught.

        I don’t expect my politicians to be close to perfect, but I’d like to think we could do better than the low-grade mountebanks and charlatans who we continuous re-elect, and who believe they have a free pass to help themselves and those close to them to a lifetime of goodies at citizens’ expense.

  18. Sorry to hear of Leo’s illness, and the consequent disruption. I hope things improve.

    It’s amazing what MPs get away with. However much the electorate criticises their incompetence, their self-interested behaviour, and their indifference to the struggles of ordinary citizens, they carry on regardless and largely free from any kind of discipline or sanction. Mercenary wretches indeed.

    1. Thank you…I hope so too!

      The sanction should come from the voters, but, given the party system, tribal loyalties prevail and the same old crooks return to ~Parliament. We do need to find and support truly independent candidates…but what an uphill fight that will be.

  19. Glad Leo is back where he belongs. Hope the situation stays that way. Both you and the dogs must surely be very relieved. I know if one or the other of us leaves for any lengthy period of time outside the habitual, they all pine like mad. As for what laughably passes as the political system in the UK, we moan about it but continue to give it air time. The bar for the truly awful and disgraceful things they can legitimately get away with gets higher and higher. Each event outstripping the horror of the last one. We become hardened to it all. Unable to react. Numbed into inaction by wave after wave of incompetency. We no longer know which awful event to target with our ire as there are just too many to choose from. What a brilliant strategy!! Bombard the electorate with horror after horror and the less dreadful ones eventually get accepted as the norm. I am rapidly doubting my support for Corbyn. Lovely man but oh so many missed opportunities. Open goals just not realized. Replacing like with like is no answer. I’m with you Helen. Independent candidates need to be found but within a new structure for governing that isn’t just more of the same thinly disguised. I have no suggestions but I feel revolutionary stuff needs to happen before fresh ground can be broken. Love from a very hot SW France. Compared to the UK, Macron feels like a great, white hope!!!

    1. When twenty six thousand Euro Make-up Macronlooks like the great white hope you know things are really dire From what I recall, great white hopes usually go out in the early rounds of the contest…
      Corbyn’s mistake is to try to hold his MPs together by making concessions…you get nowhere with a Blairite by being nice. Offer them obedience or deselection and youmight get somewhere…

  20. Once again I am, as my sainted grandmother would say, “the cow’s tail, always last in the barn” when it comes to responding to your hilarious yet concerning post. Ai yai yai, what does it take for WordPress to alert me of a new post from an author I follow? This is not the first time the system has failed me and it infuriates! Anyway, the concern is about Leo and know that you have friends in Rancho Cucamonga (that alone is a claim few an make) who all send the kindest thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery and great sympathy for all the other afflictions rained on you in June. Max hopes that Einstein finds another buzzard soon; one is never enough. Thanks to your Cromwell excerpt I have adopted “intolerably odious” as my new, pet phrase. I used it today whilst checking in at the health club. The fingerprint reader was on the fritz and the bored young lady at the desk looked up from her nails, shrugged and explained. “I think it’s broken.” I replied “Thank you for that observation but I find this situation intolerably odious.” She answered, “I guess.”

    1. I devoutly wish that the next time she comes out with that she has Cromwell as a customer.
      He would ask her if, in the bowels of Christ, she thinks that she might be mistaken before attacking her at push of pike

      Many thanks for your kind wishes…WP has seemingly cut me off from following your blog…they must want money…

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