‘Britons Strike Home!’

 

Scotland_Forever!

This picture ‘Scotland Forever’, showing the Scots Greys charging at Waterloo, hung on the wall of the classroom where my mother went to school.

This was in the twenties…the nineteen twenties…when things were not quite as child centred as they are at the present.

The child was there to learn to read, to write – neatly – and do ‘sums’, all of which would befit it for life. Girls would do needlework and cookery, boys would do woodwork and gardening and great emphasis was placed on the glories of the British Empire and the obligation to be patriotic.

Methods were somewhat elementary….when learning to read a number of words were chalked on the blackboard and each child was given a word which it must recognise when called to the front of the class. In mother’s case, her word was ‘burn’  and when she hesitated a little before pointing to it the teacher took both her hands and held them briefly over the red hot coke stove which heated the classroom, saying firmly, ‘burn’.

Later in school life the girls were shown how to run a household, though her mother’s comments on a whole afternoon spent washing, starching and ironing a shirt verged on the unprintable as in that time the redoubtable housewife, ‘dirty’ jobs being completed in the morning, could have ironed the shirts of a regiment and made a victoria sponge  while the flat irons were heating on the hob.

Cookery was undertaken too….enlivened by the presence of girl called Sybil who came from a large family. When asked to bring an oven dish to make rhubarb pie she arrived with the smallest possessed by her mother…large enough to take the sticks of rhubarb whole.

Her finest moment came in the end of year examination where the task was to make bread…without a recipe, as they were supposed to have learned this by heart during the school year.

Sybil had measured and mixed, kneaded and proved and was quite happy as she placed her loaf tin in the oven of the cast iron stove.

Later, however, she whispered to her friends that things had taken a turn for the worse..She had slid aside the peephole on the oven to check progress and a ribbon of dough had emerge, oozing its way down the oven door, solidifying as it progressed.

Clearly she had overestimated the amount of yeast …what should she do?

The council of war decided on drastic action. They would remove the loaf tin, scrape off the excess and put it back in the oven in the hope that it would look fairly normal…

Which was fine until they opened the oven door and something the size of a large cushion plopped out…leaving a heavy burnt crust on all the internal surfaces of the oven.

Discovery was inevitable and the clean up took forever.

So that day they missed playtime where the girls would skip or play hopscotch while one group of  boys would link arms and run round the playground singing

‘Are you ready for the fight?

We are the Romans’

To be met by another group of boys who would reply

‘Yes, we’re ready for the fight

We are the English soldiers’

After which a pell mell would ensue until broken up by the sound of the whistle for the end of playtime.

Patriotism was not left to the playground however.

Mother remembers the preparations for an Empire Day celebration for which the children were kitted out with broad brimmed hats in red, white and blue and were marshaled onto a slope in the gardens of the local charitable hospital which, despite being run by nuns, was pardoned for its catholicism by its care for veterans of the Great War.

The idea was that the coloured hats would make up an image of the Union Jack and the children were drilled into moving in groups in order to simulate the flag waving in the breeze to suitable patriotic music

Brigade of Guards, eat your heart out!

Patriotic music, in that time, seemed to consist of ‘God Save the King’ – George V – and ‘Rule Britannia’ accompanied by ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kitbag’….though ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’ , nomatter how popular with the troops, was judged to be beyond the pale in polite society.

I suppose now that the globe is no longer coloured with  the red of the British Empire patriotic fervour is somewhat diminished.

You do hear it at the last night of the Proms.. ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ from Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance marches…known to us in my student days as ‘Land of Bullshit and Tories’..

 

Long gone are the days when the House of Commons would rise as one to sing ‘Britons strike home’ – the classic patriotic song before the popularity of ‘Rule Britannia’ – as it did when Pitt the Younger announced that his attempts to reach a peaceful solution  with revolutionary France had failed and that war must inevitably continue.

 

 

Can you imagine for one moment the current time serving lackeys of finance rising to sing anything but  ‘Happy days are here again’ when their expenses claims are paid?

As Great Britain becomes a minor player on the world stage…enter right in support of the U.S.A….patriotic fervour seems to have been relegated to the sporting arena.

Thus the Barmy Army mangling Blake’s wonderful ‘Jerusalem’ at the start of Test matches…

But should there be  a competition for the best sporting anthem which reflects the Britain of today my vote goes to this…

‘Vindaloo’ by Fat Les.

Inclusive, happy and totally daft.

 

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The Merry Month of May

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‘The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom and to bring forth fruit, for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart that is is any manner a lover springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May.’

Thus Sir Thomas Malory in La Morte d’Arthur…..

I woke this morning early, to the moon shining golden across the valley in front of the house and lay for a while, simply enjoying the peace and beauty of it all before starting the daily round.

There never seem to be enough hours in the day, but I doubt I would have the energy to follow the advice of Thomas Moore and steal  some hours from the night…

I rose shortly though, as the day was already on the wing and even if there is no mayblossom to be gathered I can’t afford to be a slugabed, unlike Herrick’s Corinna who had to be coaxed to join in the fun of the May day morning.

Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne
Upon her wings presents the god unshorne.
                     See how Aurora throwes her faire
                     Fresh-quilted colours through the aire:
                     Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and see
                     The Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree.
Each Flower has wept, and bow’d toward the East,
Above an houre since; yet you not drest,
                     Nay! not so much as out of bed?
                     When all the Birds have Mattens seyd,
                     And sung their thankful Hymnes: ’tis sin,
                     Nay, profanation to keep in,
When as a thousand Virgins on this day,
Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May.
Rise; and put on your Foliage, and be seene
To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and greene;
                     And sweet as Flora. Take no care
                     For Jewels for your Gowne, or Haire:
                     Feare not; the leaves will strew
                     Gemms in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the Day has kept,
Against you come, some Orient Pearls unwept:
                     Come, and receive them while the light
                     Hangs on the Dew-locks of the night:
                     And Titan on the Eastern hill
                     Retires himselfe, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dresse, be briefe in praying:
Few Beads are best, when once we goe a Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke
How each field turns a street; each street a Parke
                     Made green, and trimm’d with trees: see how
                     Devotion gives each House a Bough,
                     Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this,
                     An Arke a Tabernacle is
Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
                     Can such delights be in the street,
                     And open fields, and we not see’t?
                     Come, we’ll abroad; and let’s obay
                     The Proclamation made for May:
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But my Corinna, come, let’s goe a Maying.
There’s not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day,
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
                     A deale of Youth, ere this, is come
                     Back, and with White-thorn laden home.
                     Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame,
                     Before that we have left to dreame:
And some have wept, and woo’d, and plighted Troth,
And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
                     Many a green-gown has been given;
                     Many a kisse, both odde and even:
                     Many a glance too has been sent
                     From out the eye, Loves Firmament:
Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying
This night, and Locks pickt, yet w’are not a Maying.
Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;
And take the harmlesse follie of the time.
                     We shall grow old apace, and die
                     Before we know our liberty.
                     Our life is short; and our dayes run
                     As fast away as do’s the Sunne:
And as a vapour, or a drop of raine
Once lost, can ne’r be found againe:
                     So when or you or I are made
                     A fable, song, or fleeting shade;
                     All love, all liking, all delight
                     Lies drown’d with us in endlesse night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying;
Come, my Corinna, come, let’s goe a Maying.
Carpe diem indeed…
Corinna might think herself lucky in her swain….had it been Sir John Suckling, a contemporary of Herrick, she could have been left snorting in the seven sleepers’ den until June……his idea of constancy being somewhat fluid.
Out upon it, I have lov’d
Three whole days together;
And am like to love three more,
If it prove fair weather.
Time shall moult away his wings,
Ere he shall discover
In the whole wide world again
Such a constant lover.
But the spite on’t is, no praise
Is due at all to me;
Love with me had made no stays,
Had it any been but she.
Had it any been but she,
And that very face,
There had been at least ere this
A dozen dozen in her place.
And May, let us not forget, was the month in 1660 when Charles II – aptly nicknamed the Merry Monarch – was restored to the throne.
Given his reputation for dalliance it should come as no surprise that his favourite dance was that of  Cuckolds All Awry.
Which WordPress, in an excess of puritanical zeal, will not allow to be played.
And it has cocked up the spacing.
May their IT nerds wear horns.

 

The Trees of Life go Down in Managua.

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Erikabrenner@Wordpress.com

As you may be aware, Nicaragua is undergoing social upheaval.

Thirty dead, many more injured and damage to property in the main centres of population.

The origin?

President Ortega announced that to resolve the deficit in the social security budget an increase in the contributions of both workers and employers was required, coupled with a five per cent cut in pensions.

The upshot was a howl of fury bringing people out onto the streets in protest, only to be met by young party thugs and riot police.

For many, the pensions cuts were the last straw in a process which has disenchanted them with President Ortega, his wife – and Vice President – Rosaria Murillo and the tripartite oligarchy of the Catholic church, big business and the Sandinista party which has ruled Nicaragua since 2006.

The Sandinistas – and President Ortega – are now a far cry from the movement which overthrew the dictatorship of the Samoza family in 1979. Then its black and red flags were the symbol of hope…hope for a better life for the ordinary family in a country whose assets had been stripped to the bone.

Unfortunately the first task of the new government was to beat off attacks by the right wing ‘Contras’, based in Honduras and, lamentably, Costa Rica. A guerilla war of unequal forces, which eventually came to an end in 1989, and which slowed down the hoped for advances, despite a reduction in the illiteracy rate from fifty per cent to 13 percent in just a few months, resulting in a business led government being elected in 1990 and a return to the misuse of public assets while cutting spending on education and health and trying to reverse the Sandinista land reform which gave property rights to the rural poor.

The Sandinistos lost election after election until Ortega came to an agreement with the third business led government. They would change the constitution to allow a candidate with more than 35% of the vote to be elected on the first round. In return, the incoming Sandanistas would not prosecute members of the outgoing government for corruption.

Ortega returned to power backed by the Catholic church and the business sector….and the black and red of the Sandanistas become the blue on pink of the new regime….increasingly controlled by his wife….which has become increasingly authoritarian – and corrupt.

Rosario Murillo seems to be following in the footsteps of Grace Mugabe and Winnie Mandela…though instead of the latter’s ‘Football Club’ she has the Juventad Sandinista…gangs of young thugs who attack and intimidate any opposition and who were much in evidence over the days of violence that have shaken the country.

Murillo peddles a type of New Age spiritualism with a dash of Christianity…thus the Trees of Life , based on the Klimt painting, which she had had installed all over Managua at vast expense. They consume an obscene amount of electricity for a country where rolling power cuts are the norm…they have had to be guarded by private security officers…real trees have been cut down to accommodate them…an all too accurate representation of image over action, the very thing with which even veteran Sandinistas reproach the current government.

There might be some residual respect for Ortega…but none for his wife who seems to be preparing her ascent to power with the aid of her armed thugs.

So no surprise then that the ‘trees’ were one of the first targets of the protesters…

tree of life destroyed

I found it interesting that these were not Trees of Liberty, on the model of the revolutionary American and French  societies, which you might expect from a once revolutionary party.

Too dangerous to plant a Tree of Liberty in Managua? Clearly…it might remind people of the hardships they suffered to bring about the free society of which they were now being deprived…

Not that the Trees of Liberty had had a free pass….

Revolutionary France planted them in cities, towns and villages on the model of the Boston Tree of Liberty made famous  by the reaction to the Stamp Duty Britain wished to impose on its American colonies. They were regarded as national altars, the exemplar of freedom, and attacks on them were severely punished….even to death under the guillotine.

Needless to say, with the advent of Napoleon, followed by the restoration of the Bourbons, the trees had a hard time of it. They were to be destroyed, though in more radical communes cuttings were made to keep the soul of liberty alive…

I suspect that their hold on people was more than just revolutionary fervour. Though decried by the Catholic church…and by the Puritans… the old fertility symbol, the Maypole, still attracted people…probably more for the festivities associated with its erection than for anything else…and the Tree of Liberty gave it life again in a ‘respectable’ form.

Not that it is completely forgotten, even now. Driving through the Correze many years ago  I was astonished to see maypoles in domestic gardens. Wound in tricolour stripes they bore a notice

‘Honneur a notre elu’.

A homage to the elected councillor…who, no doubt, had been obliged to wet the  whistles of his voters as the pole was installed.

Somehow I cannot see these installed in Managua….

But I can hope that the spirit of those who fought and died under the black and  red flag will triumph again to regain freedom for Nicaragua.

 

‘Armando’s All Right Then…’

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No, not Armando…this is the next President of Costa Rica…

This is Julio on the ‘phone this morning, checking that I had the results of Costa Rica’s Presidential election in which one man called Alvarado, centre left candidate, beat another man called Alvarado, evangelical preacher, standing for ‘family values’, i.e. the missionary position in the dark with a person of the opposite sex, both of whom had preferably tithed to support their local preacher in the luxury to which he woshed to become accustomed.

Armando is a notorious homosexual…well, notorious in his village anyway….but as far as I was aware he stood in no added danger if the evangelical had won, pogroms not being part of his election programme.

‘Ha,’ said Julio ‘Let these demagogues get into power and you’ll have Hitler before you know it!’

Before I left for a trip to Europe which involved almond blossom in Spain,  a non functioning Mithraeum, snow, ice, non delivery of mother’s shopping – twice – catching a chest infection and suffering from hypothermia in Barcelona airport  the thirteen candidates for the Presidency in Costa Rica had been reduced to two after the first round of voting.

Against all expectation, one of the two was Fabricio Alvarado, of the wonderfully named National Restoration Party, who had profited from the declaration of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that all signatory countries must permit same sex marriage to rise in his wrath and declare his opposition to such a challenge to traditional culture. It was an imposition…it was contrary to Costa Rican customs…next thing you know it would be in vitro fertilisation and homosexuals running rampant in the streets.

fabricio

It struck a chord. Previously, despite holding open air prayer meetings all over the country, his share of the vote had been estimated at three percent. After declaring his opposition to same sex marriage it soared into the twenties and permitted him to be one of the two candidates in the run off.

Was the country mad? This was a man who made his name as a happy clappy singer in evangelical circles, who had slid under university rather than through it and whose period in the National Assembly was marked more by his absence than his presence.

And he was standing for the office of President.

He brushed aside claims of his lack of experience…..look at the mess those with experience had made, he said….God would guide him.

What was his attraction…and to whom?

Following the pattern set by the Front National in France and Trump in the U.S.A. he set himself up as the outsider…the man who represented those who felt they were ignored by those who ran the country…mostly in the coastal and frontier areas where infrastructure is poor, educational opportunity inadequate and well paid jobs non existent.

Traditional values were disregarded, undervalued by what was seen as an elite living in and around San Jose…a corrupt elite which had led the country to ruin both morally and economically.

There had already been disquiet in these areas about a new sex education module for high schools which dealt with gender identity, so Fabricio’s reaction to the decision of the Inter American Court fell on fertile ground.

He would be the man to take on the perverted politicians…guided by God and financed by the faithful.

Not only did he reach the run off, but his party acquired fourteen deputies in the new National Assembly, thirteen more than in the current one.

National Restoration was on a roll.

But the roll started to take a downhill trajectory.

The proposed cabinet of ministers were seen to be either useless or implicated in obscure financial affairs.

Fabricio accepted the aid of the least savoury part of the National Liberation Party to form his cabinet…there is acknowledged to be little that is more corrupt that the least savoury part of the PLN…so his claim of having clean hands went down the swanny in double quick time. Touch the PLN and you touch pitch.

Fabricio’s pastoral guide announced that the patron of the country…the Black Virgin…was a demon and that the Basilica which housed her shrine at Cartago was a haunt of Satan….which alienated a vast number of potential Roman Catholic voters who would otherwise have supported his views on ‘curing’ homosexuality and all the rest of the baggage…

cartago

In the televised debates he could not make a reasoned argument…

When he finally produced his manifesto it was only a shortly before  polling day and was a mess of copy and paste from the manifesto of the PLN candidate who did not make the run off.

Still, the polls and the papers had him twelve points ahead of his rival, Carlos Alvarado, of the ruling PAC party. As far as the media were concerned, Carlos had to be defeated by nomatter whom, as PAC had been undermining the power of the monopolists who make Costa Rica such an expensive country in which to live…monopolists who control the press. No way could Carlos beat Fabricio.

But he did. Sixty to forty per cent.

Costa Rica came to its senses.

There was a notion of ‘anyone but Fabricio’ just as in France there was  a notion of ‘anyone but Le Pen’, but a consensus was reached that there had to be an end to the inequalities that produced the Fabricio effect…that the better elements of the political scene had to stop squabbling and start to solve the problems that have been developing over the last twenty years.

Thus Carlos, not Fabricio.

But he faces an uphill task, like the current incumbent, President Solis, because PLN and National Restoration hold a majority block in the new National Assembly just as PLN does in the current body.

Cosdta Ricans have to take a further step…to make their representatives accountable. To force them to put country before pelf and party.

If they fail then there will be another four years of stagnation, of small gains, of deterioration of the quality of life of the majority of people.

Fabricio has left a time bomb….it needs to be defused and can only be so by popular pressure.

Still, there must be one group of people who are, whatever their views on same sex marriage, ‘curing’ homosexuals and in vitro fertilisation, very relieved that Fabricio has lost.

The diplomats of Costa Rica.

They will not be faced with explaining away a First Lady who ‘speaks in tongues’.

She is the one on the right as you see it.

Passing the port the wrong way might be overlooked…but speaking in tongues is beyond the pale……..

Manhunt!

helicoptor

Up the road towards San Jose and near the local hospital is an area known as Loma Linda, or, less pleasantly, the Precaria.

The land itself is, or was, a finca which was the property of  a governmental institution which neglected it….and gradually seasonal workers, Nicaraguans come to pick coffee, started to set up permanent homes there, undisturbed.

Gradually the shacks made of galvanised sheeting became proper houses inhabited by families. The electricity system was hacked into to provide light and power…the water system likewise. It looks like any other village in the area and the council has now started a scheme to legitimise landholding…and to collect taxes!

Being something of an Alsatia, where no writ ran and dubious characters took refuge – many thanks to Mike of A Bit About Britain for reminding me of that part of London’s history – the area has been viewed with disfavour by its neighbours for some time, a view exacerbated now that Costa Rica has changed from being a staging post for the drugs trafficked between Columbia and the U.S.A. to a full blown market in itself.

Our little town has been hit hard…drugs on sale outside the schools, not to speak of inside, where the police now mount raids with drug detection dogs. Drugs on sale outside a popular restaurant and in the central park.

And with drugs use comes crime, to get the money for the next fix, so  not only is there the regular crime of stealing anything not nailed down but also housebreaking and mugging.

Little crime kingdoms have risen and have become profitable enough for other crime kingdoms to try for a takeover.

Last month there was a shoot out in Loma Linda between the resident crooks and a gang from one of the suburbs of San Jose, the action ending suddenly with the arrival of the police.

Ah yes…the police. There have been changes.

The new police chief has sussed that the regular penal judge has a great respect for the presumption of innocence and for the level of proof necessary to disturb that presumption. In other words, the alleged criminal will be free  to leave the court without  stain on his character on a normal judicial day.

Personally I think that the Fiscalia – State Prosecutors – might have something to do with the attitude of the judge. From what I have seen of their preparation of certain cases they seem to be acting as substitute lawyers for the defence…but, however that may be, the new broom has decided that it is only worth mounting large scale action at the weekends, when a duty judge is sent down from San Jose.

These gentlemen, used to the rough and tumble of the city’s summary courts, seem to have a looser definition of the necessary level of proof…bring one of the undesirables before them and they end up in preventive detention before you can say Jack Robinson.

So, last Friday, police nabbed a well known ne’er do well as he and his female companions were boarding a bus for San Jose. They were found to be carrying a quantity of good reported as stolen.

The duty judge issued a search order, and the home at Loma Linda gave up a vast quantity of other goods reported as stolen.

Six months preventive detention, and our boy was marched off to the police cells to await transfer to the jug.

By now public feeling was running high. Social media resounded to calls of ‘Burn the Precaria’, while honest residents of same responded that it was not their fault that they had criminals as neighbours and where were the police…

Public feeling was to run a damned sight higher that night when it was learned that our boy had escaped!

He had asked to go to the loo, and once out of his cell had assaulted the officers and made a run for it…through the main entrance of the police station!

Now, our little town is a bit of a joke, even to itself, but this was too much!

A manhunt was organised.

Local police, the local detective branch, specialised police from San Jose…and even a helicopter!

The ‘phones were hot as locals alerted the police to possible sightings…

He is Barrio St. Cecilia…he is climbing in and out of gardens…

He is in Barrio Carit….running off into a cafetal…

I am in Barrio Corazon de Jesus…I have shut myself into my house and he is in my garden…

I’ve just seen him in Barro San Isidro……

He is in Charcon! No, not that Charcon, the other one….

Thank goodness for the helicopter!

Not being a very bright criminal mastermind, our boy had legged it for home in Loma Linda where one of the San Jose police was keeping an eye on the premises. Spotting him, the lady…for it was a police woman ….attempted to arrest him. He fought back, injuring her, and she later said she thought she would be obliged to use her firearm, but a – female – colleague, alerted by the noise, came to the rescue and between them they managed to overpower him.

He was taken to the local hospital to have his physical state recorded…he seemed to have various injuries related to his refusal to be arrested…and was taken thence to the cells of the local detective branch where I suspect that he will have to exercise a great deal of bladder control before he is taken off to the jug.

As he now faces charges relating to escaping detention and attacks on the police women it is likely that his preventive detention will last rather longer than six months…to the delight of all right thinking people in the area.

Lucky that they caught him before the regular judge came back to work on Monday, though…

 

 

We’ll go no more a roving so late into the night

country road night

Well, not if I have my way they won’t.

Before we bought this finca the wide verge on the top road was a well known spot for nocturnal encounters of both the romantic and the commercial kind.

Gradually, what used to be lines of cars have dwindled to a few individuals and this winter they had disappeared altogether.

However, summer is with us and traditionalists are trying to keep up old customs.

I do not care in the least what people get up to on the verge of the top road…as far as I am concerned they can have a full scale Roman orgy on the Cecil B. de Mille scale complete with female flute players and acrobats.

I also know that with the close knit nature of family life in rural Costa Rica the minute that young lovers booked themselves  into one of the twenty four hour hotels of the area their grannies would know in an instant so often the car in a back road is the only means of obtaining a little privacy.

Equally, the ladies of the night find that their clients do not wish to shell out for a room…

However, I am fed up with the orgiasts who shower their rubbish on the verge and inside my property where the dogs and the sheep can get at it.

It might make a sociological study to examine the rubbish thus deposed…from the nature of it, could you reach conclusions about the social status of the nocturnal noshers?

Fast food containers, chicken bones, plastic bags, cans of beer, mixers and soft drinks prevail…together with the ubiquitous used condoms.

I used to go  out with a strong torch and one of the Staffies, but I am getting to an age when struggling into the dressing gown, finding the shoes and harnessing up Einstein or Bunter is getting to be rather too much of a performance, not to speak of the distance down the drive and along the boundary, so I asked for advice on Facebook as to how to set up a strong searchlight as a deterrent…and had many interesting suggestions following which I asked Don Freddy if his electrician son had any ideas.

Yes, he had several, including electrifying the fence.

I rejected that as I would be sure to forget to turn the thing off and end up electrocuting myself, so he agreed to set up a light with a cable and a switch on the balcony.

How, he asked, would I know that the cars were there without some photocell thing which any passing animal would switch on.

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Because Einstein snoozes on the balcony on summer nights and he strongly objects to cars which stop in the area of the house.

Cars which pass are fine.

Cars which stop are not.

Accordingly Don Freddy’s son set up the light on a tree well inside the property…in case some bright spark should steal it.

Night one.

Einstein, roused from slumbers, barks. Going to the window I see tail lights being switched off, so switch on my floodlight.

Crumbs! Don Freddy’s son has excelled himself! You could play a Test Match under it!

The car moves off.

One more turns up later…same gravy.

Night two.

Einstein barks. The sheep, whose pen is close to the road, are also disturbed.

No sign of tail lights, but I switch on the light anyway to illuminate a lithe two legged shape inside my property legging it for the boundary fence with a solid four legged shape rapidly gaining on it.

The four legged shape wins and the night is full of noise and fury…noise from the two legged who is hooked up on the wire in fine World War I style and fury from the four legged who is endeavouring to push him bodily into it.

Monty is loose.

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No, I do not have a photograph of Monty in action – you would have to have a screw loose to  hang about when he is – but from an abandoned lamb brought up on the bottle he has become a well muscled patriarch with a fine territorial instinct and a murderous temperament.

Someone comes along the road to extricate the intruder and there is a noise as of a car pulling away from somewhere down the hill to leave the night to silence…and to Monty.

Don Freddy’s son was right…someone had tried to steal the light. Might be a frustrated orgiast, might just be one of the local druggies after something to sell to feed his habit.

I await night three.

 

Election Fever and Marriage a la Mode

CR presidential candidates

Election time in Costa Rica!

On Sunday people will be voting to send deputies to the National Assembly and electing a President.

There is plenty of choice…thirteen candidates….and no real way of knowing how people will vote on the day.  The polls show that an increasing number of those who intend to vote are not at all sure for whom to vote…..though there is a suspicion that those who intend to vote Liberation are afraid to say so, linked as that party is to institutionalised corruption, but will vote green and white, the party colours, once in the privacy of the booth.

Liberation’s candidate, despite being a front man for the Oscar Arias tendency – think mining concessions in protected areas – claims to be ‘a man of the people’. Well, given that his family let out offices to government institutions on the grand scale I suppose he is a man of the people who let out tower blocks…

The defeated Liberation candidate, an ex President who thought it wise to sit things out in Switzerland for several years after his term of office ended, obviously felt sour as he has been financing a noisy demagogue from a tiny party made up for the elections who wants to rule with a firm hand and is notable for announcing that female judges could only get advancement by giving senior male judges oral sex.

An indignant retort from senior female judges rebutted his claim but, as has been noted, only in respect of oral sex….no all embracing rebuttal has been forthcoming.

Then we have the evangelical whose wife speaks in tongues…the video on Facebook has been removed but not before it had gone viral…and a horde of more mainstream candidates.

No Screaming Lord Sutch for Costa Rica.

The local internet groups have been infested by paid ads from those wishing to represent local people in the National Assembly…an ex mayor proclaims that it is time for a native son to represent the canton, forgetting that people have far from fond memories of his mismanagement of its affairs when in power.

What has he done for the canton? Filled in the holes in the athletic track, apparently. So that’s where all our taxes went…

Another bright spark is using the slogan which brought the retiring President to power  – despite representing a rival party – in the hope that people will think it is more of the same….

And the omnipresent candidate for Liberation is promising water for all.

Water is a sore subject here. Thanks to dire mismanagement and neglect there is a water shortage, incredible as it may seem in an area alive with springs and rivers. So we have been treated to photographs of said candidate standing in front of waterfalls and crouching in front of water tanks…when asked on a ‘phone in exactly how he intended to provide water for all he said he would have to study the question with the Water Board, the very people responsible for the mess up….

But people here have other things on their minds…that public nuisance The Neighbour, he of the crisp white hat with the curly brim, has surfaced again.

He had been quiet, not to speak of invisible, for quite some time, given his problems with the various local Mr. Bigs  after losing their money in a casino, but he has emerged to public view once more…on the arm of a lady in her thirties who had consented to marry him.

To general astonishment as she is

A, half his age and

B, generally held to be in possession of her senses.

He had been seen a couple of times, driving round the Three Valleys in her company, but he had installed himself in her comfortable house on the other side of the town while waiting for the ceremony, following which, totally pie eyed and full of himself, he brought her on another tour to introduce her to those who were still on speaking terms with him.

A distinct failure of judgement on his part as she thus learned that the farms he had pointed out to her as being his were, in fact, those of the people whom they were visiting…

It is possible that the atmosphere had chilled somewhat after that, but The Neighbour, of course, had to excel himself.

A couple of days later he was eating the dinner she had prepared when he took a telephone call on his mobile from one of his barfly friends.

Yes, he bawled, he was set up for life now! It was like  having a free pass to a brothel with the food thrown in….

The food might have been thrown in, but The Neighbour was thrown out, on the spot, on his ear and his possessions thrown after him.

The marriage lasted five days.

The lady is breathing fire and loaded for bear.

Much more exciting than some bald bugger crouching in front of a water tank…!