Retreat from Glory

Last week I blogged on the echoes from the 1930’s and the German position after the Versailles and Locarno treaties and the U.K. position and the E.U. at the present time.
The blog was based on the book Retreat from Glory by R.M. Bruce Lockhart.
The Retreat from Glory can be applied in the ironic sense to the EU as it negotiates Brexit. Here I am indebted to Guido Fawkes for the  chart.
Well, faced with €12 billion walking out of the door who would not be petulant.
What’s more interesting is that France with an economy and population comparable to ours makes a net contribution less than half of ours.
Why does Italy pay make a net contribution and Greece makes a net withdrawal?
There’s a Ph.D. project in the making as to the relationship of contributions to GNP, who comes out best and why.
But looking to the future there are two questions to be asked: What will we do with the money we no longer pay to Brussels and What will the EU do to fill the hole?

Flogging will continue …

Trogir – Oculus (Lust)

I have just finished reading “Retreat from Glory” by R.H. Bruce Lockhart.
It covers the period of his life from 1918 to 1932. Lockhart first achieved fame as British Vice Consul in Moscow in 1912 and is irretrievably connected with Sidney Reilly the “Ace of Spies”.
The book rambles a fair bit with details of trout fishing in far flung bournes and sight seeing.
Split he describes as a beautiful port and Diocletian as the first man to discover the peaceful solitude of this enchanting (Dalmatian) coast.
Trogir (he writes)  is another unspoilt relic of old Venice with the most glorious Venetian square hedged by a loggia, a magnificent cathedral, a palazzo and an old town hall. The dirt and the smell were over powering…
But the real gems in the book are the insights and conversations he has with politicians throughout Eastern Europe  in the aftermath of the Versailles Treaty and the determination of the French to ensure that Germany would never rise again to threaten them.
Lockhart recounts a converation with Gustav Stresemann the German politician and statesman who served as Chancellor in 1923 and Foreign Minister 1923–1929. He quotes Stresemann in 1929 as saying “… It is five years since we signed (the Treaty of) Locarno. If you had given me one concession, I could have carried my people. I could still do it today. But you have given nothing and the trifling concessions which you have made have always come too late.” Fast forward nearly ninety years and you could exchange the Locarno Treaty for the Lisbon Treaty, Stresemann’s position for that of David Cameron and the Allied Powers for that of the European Union. Nothing has been learned by the French, Germans and Luxembourgers  in fostering joint well being and instead they have entrenched the view that Britain  is better off out of a Europe whose motifs seem to include “Floggings will continue until morale improves”.

Best Practices for Keeping Away Ticks

I was recently reminded by our vet that the tick season is well under way and this year promises to be a good one for the critters.
While tick prevention is essential year-round, it is smart to take extra precaution during the summer.
Each year, approximately 300,000 people in the US contract Lyme disease, which is caused by bacteria from a tick bite. I received the following advice from Julius Miles of Sierra Pacific Mortgage to keep humans, pets, and properties safe:
Wear protective clothing Conceal ankles and feet with long socks and closed shoes. Tuck in shirts and pull socks up and over pant bottoms.
Assess outdoor spaces Ticks live in humid environments, particularly wooded or grassy areas. Mow lawns frequently, keep leaves raked, and clear brush, weeds, and debris. A barrier of cedar mulch or gravel between lawns and overgrowth can restrict tick migration. Fencing can discourage unwelcome wildlife from entering a yard.
Apply repellents & conduct checks Repellents can protect for several hours. Always follow product instructions. A guide to child-safe repellents can be found at HealthyChildren.org.
Last, inspect for ticks upon returning inside (check scalp, behind ears, around neck, under arms—and pets as well). For more information, visit CDC.gov/Ticks.

This is What I Like about the South

Feeling the need for an Independence week end getaway we decided to take ourselves down to Kinston and visit Kings BBQ Restaurant.
Kings BBQ Restaurant feeds Eastern NC barbecue lovers locally and nationwide, serving 8,000 pounds of pork, 6,000 pounds of chicken, and 1,500 pounds of collard greens a week! So it is obviously well recommended.
My initial curiosity was sparked by a clip as part of a NC tourist promotion and the YouTube extract is worth watching.
I had the pulled pork (which is why we went) and as a side dish I had the collard greens which are cooked with bacon. Together with the fried okra and freshly cooked chips we couldn’t manage a dessert – so we brought the pecan pie home with us. And yes, being well brought up and skilled in these matters I would never put ketchup on NC barbecue pork.
Kinston has a population of 21,000. The area is very agricultural – where else would you see highway billboards extolling the virtues of pesticides and fertilizers? The farmland is characterized by tobacco which is an indicator of poor soil. Kinson was badly affected by Hurricane Matthew last October
 as the restaurant marker shows.
It was a good trip and a very nice meal – plain homestyle Southern cooking at its best. The restaurant was pleasantly full but not crowded and our waitress Tina bustled around like the true professional she is.
Is it on the list for a revisit – yes it is!

Dragon Arts

Wales is renowned for its artistic genes. Artists and bards spring up everywhere. After all Aberystwyth boasts my son in law as a sculptor in residence.
Last month the Ceredigion coast experienced some late spring gales and among other detritus a tree washed up on the beach.
If as Michaelangelo  said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it.” then every piece of wood harbours an artistic expression that wishes to
emerge like the butterfly from the cocoon.
So it was with no surprise that one morning we discovered that the tree trunk had been transformed into a dragon complete with (dead) 
spider crabs for eyes.
As can be seen, my grandson is a true native of Wales and shows no fear of dragons!

 

Thoughts from London

Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that I have been quiet lately. This reticence is partly because my bloggable life has not been that eventful.
However not long after the London Bridge terrorist outrage, I dined at the George Inn in Southwark (just south of London Bridge).
The George Inn was
built in 1677 and is the only galleried inn in London. The street was reasonably busy, since London Bridge is a major railway terminus for the Kent towns. The George is quite close to the site of the Tabard which features in the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales:

At nyght was come into the hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde

The George was busy and the coaching area was now full of drinking people enjoying each other’s company before going home. The two bouncers at the front of the yard may have been permanent and not just because of terrorist security issues.
I sensed that the overall feeling in London was of not letting the security situation get one down or restrict one’s social life.
Ten days later I treated myself to a fish and chip supper at the Fishbone in Cleveland Street (between Great Portland Street and Tottenham Court Road). Coincidentally opposite the restaurant was the George & Dragon pub. From what I could see it was not very large but there were about a hundred people outside drinking and enjoying themselves as if the terrorism threat was totally elsewhere.
Perhaps it is all in the survivorship genes. People are around today because their ancestors survived previous horrors. If you don’t keep going forward then you lose out on the game of life.

Wags4Tags

There is always plenty of doom and gloom wherever you look. Sometimes the morning news makes valiant efforts to stress the nice things about the day – such as spring blossoms but often the focus is on pollen and the associated allergies (welcome to my world). On the other hand there are many people making significant and beneficial changes to people’s lives. I came across one such person at the Triangle BABCNC Tra’Li Networking Social where I met Vivienne Carosso who is a key member of the Wags4Tags team. Basically Wags4tags unites psychologically and emotionally impaired Veterans across North Carolina with trained Companion, Emotional Support Dogs rescued from kill shelters so the two can heal in unconditional love, trust and loyalty. They are coming up to their 50th pairing so all credit to their President and Founder Ronnie Sadoski Trained animal companionship can help Veterans in their readjustment to civilian life by easing their symptoms and providing assistance, unconditional love, trust and loyalty.   There are many ways to support this enterprise. It takes up to $2,000 per dog to prepare it for his/her new Veteran-owner. This includes, but is not limited to rescue/adoption fees, and cost to spay/neuter, vaccinate, treat for heartworms, take care of other medical issues (such as eye infections, flea infections), micro chip, feed, foster/train, certify. None of these costs are passed on to the Veteran. The contact for Wags4tags is WAGS4TAGSNC@gmail.com Wags4Tags is entirely volunteer-based, and all donations stay in North Carolina. 98% of all donations go directly to rescuing, vetting, training, and matching a dog to his or her new Veteran, including any and all supplies the Veteran will need.