Saturday, 24 February 2018

Pilate


I am sometimes amazed at the lengths we drive ourselves in search of staying fit and in turn, trim and yes I suppose young. This is something I have grown extremely cautious of, of late. My walks with JB everyday, seem to be the limit I am able to drive my body too. It is all in the mind as there is nothing wrong with me and I dare say I am capable of going for a run, but my head gets in the way, or am I just lazy? 

Susan has started Pilate, along with Yoga, Body Balance and running. Pilate is the one that interested me. For those who do not know about Pilate, it is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by a German Joseph Pilates, after whom it was named. Joseph Pilates said that the inspiration for his method came to him during World War One, while he was being held in an internment camp (Knockaloe) on the Isle of Man. He developed his method there for four years, working on his fellow internees. 

Pilate puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. All things I probably need, this late in my life, if, for nothing else, but to improve the quality of my life as the years seem to gallop forward. I suppose I should start by giving up smoking my pipe, drinking so much red wine, cut down on my coffee, eat more fruit and drink more water. Sounds a bit daunting, but I will send myself a memo, to look into this sometime. Maybe Robert has an easier answer on how to maintain this temple, I call my body.



Enough about me, how are you doing on the keeping fit side of life? As usual all comments will not be confidential and will be available for the general public to read. In saying that, I do fear the general public in the UK can not or do not read, so you can comment to your hearts delight, only a very few will read it.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Slooming

It is 4:30pm, the cafe is packed with women and bored children. Another 4 days to go before the children go back to school and tempers are already frayed. On a normal day this cafe would be almost empty, part of the appeal to me as I can sit quietly and write a new new blog without the tantrums and screams. 
Anyway, on another note, Jacob Zuma is out and Cyril is in. There is talk of Zuma being charged and taken to court, I have my doubts. He will get a pardon and the matter will be swept under the carpet, if he goes down most of the ANC executive would follow. I would be surprised if he gets anything more than a stern talking to, which he probably has already had. Would love to get some comment from those who live there and are better placed to know how this might play out.
Cannot help playing with politicians names, in this case we have Zumafia vs Cyril Ramifications.

Someone once asked me if I wanted to go to the hot jungles of Costa Rica, not likely, the nearest I will get to Costa Rica is a hot flush at Costa Coffee. What is it about Costa Rica that seems to draw people there? Costa Rica (meaning 'Rich Coast') is Central America, just above Panama. Google describes it as:
'Costa Rica is a rugged, rain forested country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.'
An interesting fact is, they do not have an army. Yep, following the a brief Civil War, it permanently abolished its army,  becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army. That was back in 1949. It is actually less than half the size of England but has less than 5m people. 
After doing some reading, I am attracted to the vast areas of protected forests, great for taking some happy snaps and doing the odd blog about the local customs and traditions.


Daniels Birthday, happy birthday Dan, hope you had a wonderful day. Birthdays, takes me back to Robert, on his birthday last year. We bought him a VW Polo, he was speechless and very happy. Gary took inspiration from our example and bought Dan a Ferrari, red, soft top, is there no end to the love, that father, has for his son?  Now it is the small matter of getting a driving licence. 

Sorry about the slooming, but I intend to do a lot of gongoozling over the weekend, maybe even see the Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Monday, 12 February 2018

The Magna Carta and our right to rebel.

It has been a long day
Today it is cold and windy, but to Jenson it is another day for a swim and a run. Susan goes to photograph course tomorrow and the forecast is not favourable. Hopefully they will have got it wrong and her day will be relatively dry. I am in Sandbanks Cafe enjoying a coffee and happy to be inside looking out. 
Results from the Course
The course is about getting to know your camera better. 'Getting of Auto' and with the extended features on modern cameras, this seems to be the way to go. Most modern DSLR cameras can connect wirelessly to your computer or printer. We often view the photos we have taken on the iPad and the new feature is remote shooting from the iPad. Very helpful in low light when you need your camera to be absolutely still to capture a sharp image without a flash.

Have you heard of Article 61 and the Magna Carta. It states that if you are unhappy with where the government is spending your tax money, you can approach 25 Barons and they will present to the Queen, a list of your grievances and the government has 40 days to amend how they spend your money. Failing this you are legally entitled to withhold any tax or council tax through rates and taxes until they do something about it.
"Until the UK chooses to reform to direct democracy and, if you are unhappy about your tax being spent on any specific policy you can either protest, or take direct action. If direct action, Article 61 of the Magna Cartastates how and why tax payers have the legal right [since 1215] to with-hold tax payments from the Treasury and because the Magna Carta was not created by Parliament, no government can lawfully repeal any of the articles within it without public consent."
There is a group of people who are fighting the government by invoking Article 61 at the moment. Good luck to them, I can see this all ending in tears and I would imagine if they do not pay up they will loose their houses and maybe even go to prison. 
Thinking this through, we have politicians making very big promises when canvassing for vote. Their memorandum, but when they get into government all those promises come to nothing. This could be a way to hold them accountable. I have donated £ 10 to this cause and hope the nation will follow. M

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Casu-marzu cheese

Cheese with larvae, from Sardinia. Larvae is deliberately introduced to the cheese, this does sound quite disgusting. The lengths someone will go too, just to make something totally vile. I know the French are partial to frogs legs and some countries have people who eat cats and dogs. This takes the American hotdog to a whole new level. 
But putting maggots into cheese, which the maggots eat, what happens then is up for conjecture but what goes in must come out and people eat this cheese? They claim it promotes an advanced level of fermentation and breaks down of the cheese's fats. 

In this civilised island of ours, we have a government body called Health and Safety, this is one of those occasions where they have put a stop to this cheese being sold or eaten. Something to do with eating something that is still living, they feel it cannot be right, so without trying it, have taken it off our menu. Sensible fellows really, one never knows where those insect were before they laid their eggs in the cheese. 
After doing some research, I have discovered that it is not that common, even in Sardinia and from what I have read, it is an acquired taste.

Enough of this seriousness, I am at Caffe Nero enjoying a Americano in a double expresso cup, intensifies the flavour and Nero's is one of the better coffee shop chains that are around. Great little cafe and the bonus is I can bring JB along, he does love a visit to just about any where, never been too fussy. I try not to sit near the door as everyone that comes in wants to say hello to him and that is a distraction, when I am trying to complete a blog.

Remembering

It is cold and windy outside and I find myself cocooned in a much frequented coffee shop on sandbanks beach, actually called Sandbanks Cafe. The sea is rough and just looks cold. 
Makes me thinks of a crime story I wrote quite a while ago. Set in Dounreay, on the north coast of Scotland and revolved around a young police inspector who is struggling to solve the case of a murder of a wealthy land owner. It is all somehow linked to the disappearance of  an 11 year old girl, 13 years ago. 

As he delved further and further into the case it became more sinister and he came across a community which seemed afraid. None of his leads came to anything until he meet a local farmer who lived by herself. Originally from New Zealand, having comeback to run her family farm after her father died 5 years ago. She had found a box of newspaper cuttings in the loft and had done some investigating of her own. Her father was a retired historian and had made some notes on the cuttings which could be useful, as no one was willing to talk about the girl.
Her father also made reference to a cairn appearing on a little Munro just after the girls disappeared. No one in this small village knew anything about it or who put it up. 
When the two of them visited the cairn they find another right next to it and a dead Raven hanging from the top stone of the new cairn. Custom had it that a dead Raven hanging from a cairn was justice and a warning. 
The ruins of Dounreay castle also held a secret, the little information they had seemed to point to the castle as the starting place but it was just a ruin.
Detective Inspector James Worth and Emma Stone, find the villages all clam up as soon as they start asking questions, a dead Raven is hung on Emma's front door and DI Worth gets a letter telling him to leave well alone or the next death might not be a Raven.

It really became very complicated and in the end I could not solve either of the cases, so I have put it away until another time. Hopefully look at it sometime and finish it off. Trouble is, it was originally a short story and now looks like becoming a short novel. I must admit it has all the right ingredients, murder, a disappearance, fear and a romantic angle. Set in a small, ageing community of about 50, in what seemed like a cursed village. 
They have to solve both mysteries and to do that someone has to start talking. 


Anyway that is enough rambling. Susan and I went for a walk at Kingston Lacy with JB on Sunday. Quite a pleasant day, any day is pleasant if it does not rain. We were hoping to see loads of snowdrops but we were too early in the season. I was disappointed with their new all weather walks, what use to be a grass path through the woods is now a wide tarred road with all the vegetation cleared out. All seemed dull and drab. JB had fun and we did manage to see some snowdrops.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

South Africa

This country with its majestic mountains and sculptured valleys. Coastline of unspoilt beauty and vast areas of open savanna, dotted with a modest farmhouse and out buildings. This beautiful country holds a deep secret of violence and poverty, decay creeping into all areas not owned by the minority's few with money. Classic scenario of the rich getting richer off the backs of the poorest. 

This is not unique to Africa, most of the world has the same problem. In the first world, they still maintain and improve the infrastructure. This has two advantages:
1. The poor are part of a social benefit structure that looks after them financially.
2. This leads to a more secure society where the rich feel safe. They also have a stable work force that is reasonable educated and have ambitions that are, on the whole, obtainable. 

Africa deals with this disparity of wealth in another way. Corruption, starts at the top and trickling down, becomes the norm. No maintenance of the basic infrastructure and high level of crime, leads to a country that can not be governed effectively. This is how Africa copes and will do so until the rest of the world realise that the only way to govern the Africans is to have a system they understand. 

Let me take you back in time when Africans lived in tribes, ruled by a chief. This was a time of continual fighting and moving. Then the so called colonials arrived and fighting intensified for a while, until the rule of law was imposed on everyone. People started putting down roots and some small measure of prosperity was achieved. Yes the rich were getting richer but there was some security and hope for the rest of the population. 

Then came independence, chaos and corruption grew, anarchy now the order of the day. Independence should have brought prosperity and did not. The first world should have taken responsibility, they still can. I propose a type of Colonialist capitalism. Loan them the money to get their country on track but at the same time have a strict procedures in place to stop corruption and bad government. Impose a rule of law that everyone is answerable to, no exceptions. 


Effectively take over the country, imposing a long term plan, that kick starts growth and security. This can be done, given time and money but will be colonialism, just in another name. The head of the country, picked by the IMF, will be a puppet. All aspects of government will be controlled by the IMF and the UN would have to put in place a substantial military presents to up hold the law and bring back security, so people can start rebuilding the country and businesses can begin to grow and with that growth expand and employ.

Just a thought, maybe not really politically correct but worth thinking about. Robert will have some thoughts on this prickly subject.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Heme - Foods of the Future

Bill Gates has given them millions of dollars, Google have invested and Silicon Valley has not seen a company grow so fast and they have just started. You guess it, it is Impossible Foods. Yep no computer technology involved but maybe more important. 


With a projected 9 billion people to feed in 2050, we have to find alternative foods that use less resources. Also we need the normal person to buy into the new types of food.

For years scientist have been trying to force soya and other meat alternatives down our throats, some not bad for an alternative meal, once in a blue moon. The biggest meat consumers are obviously American, not surprise there but it is this market that needs to be converted, almost without them knowing. The Europeans have reasonable good eating habits and the Africans have no food, so neither needs to be converted. 

Producing meat today puts an enormous strain on our planet. Animal agriculture uses 30% of all land, over 25% of all freshwater, and creates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all of the world’s cars, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes combined.


This is where Impossible Foods started from, make a product that is sustainable and will appeal to the larger meat eating market. The Impossible Burger, is made entirely from plants. They found one ingredient Heme, it is found in all meat, never heard of heme? Heme gives the characteristic taste and aroma of meat. They discovered how to take heme from plants and produce it using fermentation. By all reports it tastes like a real burger without the destructive impact of producing meat.