The time when we all pretend to celebrate the anniversary of the most famous illegitimate birth in history is almost upon us again. Having lost its true meaning donkey’s years ago its long since been smothered in glitter as an alternative to polishing, which as we all know is impossible with certain items. Not to worry its been re-branded for the modern era. We all worship one god these days and it doesn’t come any shinier than freshly minted in large denominations ready to exchange for worthless trash as instructed by our media masters. The season of wholly excessive mindless indulgence is here again. Enjoy!

Sorry about that, I may have come across as a bit critical lately and I used to be such a nice young lad. I hold my hands up to that, but generally I’m quite a cheerful, if rather insular, old soul. We around here are, in reality, very privileged to live in what is still, for the moment with the obvious reservations, a lovely area. Contrary to expectation I like nothing better than welcoming both genuinely appreciative visitors and newcomers, showing them round and explaining our history and wildlife. It just cuts me to the quick to see such a precious and delicate environment abused and eroded by the greed and exploitation of those with no more interest in the place than how much cash they can suck out of it before moving on, quite literally to denude pastures new for their own personal gain. Truth be told my only real desire is to be allowed to continue to live in peace and enjoy the tranquility of our English countryside for such time as remains to me. Respect is the key, for our environment, the planet and for each other. Big ask it seems.

Speaking of which, the events of the past three and a half years have left me with little of this particular commodity when it comes to our political leaders. We have seen more elections than a Japanese brothel over the last few years or so, all to no avail, and now we have another on the way with, I suspect, a return to cosy two party politics. Will it solve anything? I doubt it, Establishment Rules OK.

Even my friends The Monster Raving Loonies and Brexit are not pitching a candidate in my locality. Our incumbent MP has certainly not represented my views on leaving The EU and there is no other candidate standing for whom I could make my mark without vomiting. I shall, therefore, spoil my ballot paper by writing, with that rarest of political sentiments ‘honesty’, “None of these”. I can do nothing else.

Whatever the outcome we shall still be a divided, broken, nation, irrevocably split down the middle by the Europe question, or more accurately the issue of continuing mass immigration. Not a racist opinion, just common sense. Try standing an empty pint glass in the middle of a priceless Persian carpet. Now pour in a quart of old sump oil. The result will not be a happy one.

Continuing on theme; Remembrance Sunday has just passed. In my youth I can recall that two minutes silence was always observed on Amnesty Day itself, 11th November, no matter what. As eleven O’clock approached everything that possibly could would stop. Traffic would come to a standstill, buses and all, drivers and passengers alike would step out and, with the gunfire from Hyde Park clearly audible in Mitcham, where I then lived, everybody would stand to attention, in silence, until the gun was again heard when normal life would resume. God help anyone who failed to comply. If a funeral should pass I remember my grandfather, and men generally, would remove their hats and clasp them to their chests, with heads bowed, until it had passed. Times change. Seldom for the better.

Modern times it seems are in part responsible for reducing poppy sales prior to remembrance Sunday. More and more people are no longer carrying cash, which is hitting street collections badly. My wife has long been both a collector and a standard bearer at one of our remembrance services. I won’t name names but she tells me that one of our local hostelries bar collection returned just eight pounds, in total, this year and I’ve personally seen precious few poppies being worn. Whatever one’s views on these two horrendous conflagrations and those that have followed. The combatants were not, in the main ‘regulars’ but conscripts. ‘For our tomorrow they gave their today’, so it goes. In return we apparently give sod all these days.

Personally, its been a bad year for death. At time of writing we’re up to around fifteen friends and acquaintances having passed. My funeral suit has barely had time to cool before we’re off to the next and we’ve saved a fortune on dining out by attending all the wakes. It puts a wholly different perspective on money worries as the years role by. With less than twelve years until I’m eighty, if I make it, I suppose its something I should dwell on a little, but with those around me telling me I’m far too wicked to die, together with hearing ‘you can’t take it with you’ so often, I’ve decided it’s not a good deal and I’m not going at all.

Believe it or not I started this blog with the idea of it becoming a kind of modern version/tribute to Gilbert White’s Natural History Of Selborne or Jack Hargreaves’ long running Out Of Town series, a kind of online diary chronicling wildlife and the country way of life. Unfortunately it has long since gone mightily off piste I’m afraid, mainly because I’m constantly sidetracked into struggling to defend the place from those who would destroy everything I hold dear, leaving little to write about beyond building sites, naff modern architecture, cycle races and insanely loud music blaring across the countryside at all hours of the day and night.

I did notice, while pottering in my garden on 20/11, three huge flocks of fieldfare, totalling over a thousand individuals, passing overhead, towards the north west. Are these migratory thrushes a harbinger of a hard winter to come? Wait and see.

Primarily of course I remain a naturalist at heart. I understand the passion of the climate extinction mob, perhaps better placed fifty years ago for best effect when few gave a toss, but question their methods and scientific argument. In reality we probably have much in common although my personal bandwagon is centred more on habitat loss, overpopulation and greed fired by our all consuming capitalist system, of which I confess I am a part, that requires ever more of us and all manner of consumables to continue to function.

We in the west had more than sufficient to our needs by the early seventies yet continued in our pursuit of wealth and luxury to the point where we are now perishing in huge numbers from gluttony and its associated health disorders. Surely with a little selfless restraint we can find it within ourselves to make room for the other species with which we share our planet? If we continue to abuse their habitats they must surely perish, but it would be folly to imagine from our smug, lofty, position that this would not affect us. The intricacies of connection and dependency across the natural world are such that no species is an island and if those humble beings that we so disrespect should go we will shortly follow.

Flooding is with us again and of course extreme weather is a factor but as I have said before there are other aspects to this that we should consider. Torrential rain in Britain is nothing new, not dredging our rivers, filling in or failing to maintain our once extensive system of ditches and drains, deforestation of uplands (woodland is hundreds of times more efficient at absorbing rainfall than grassland) and extensive building within the floodplains of rivers is!

The clue is generally in the name i.e. Somerset, from ‘summer settlement’ unsuitable for winter occupation, or Fishpond. Take a look at the images taken of recent flooding, the vast majority of dwellings are of fairly new construction. In recent times houses were built near to us at a place called ‘The Causeway’ (strong clue) against the express advice of local knowledge. The new occupants were surprised, a few months later, to find water rising through their floorboards. No one else was!

Another thing which puzzles me more than a little in this, is where Climate Extinction have got to? More than happy to cripple The City of London, and much else besides with their egotistical protestations, when an opportunity to help those afflicted by their predicted horrors, underline their worthy purpose and win more disciples presents itself the warmists seem to have missed an open goal and are nowhere to be seen.

I’m no meteorologist but I will at this point put my neck squarely on the block and make a very risky prediction against the run of overwhelming published scientific opinion; Starting in the next year or so we shall begin to see a return to seasonal averages temperature wise, and perhaps well below, across the globe. This will continue over the next five years at least and quite possibly well into the future. Don’t throw out your thermal undies quite yet. I believe that sunspot activity has a huge and currently understated impact on our climate and we are, by all accounts, entering a rather dramatic solar minimum. Let’s see who’s right!

While our government presses blindly on with HS2, which is set to destroy or damage over 108 ancient woodlands on its merry way, we are now being implored to plant more trees. You couldn’t make it up! Given a good few hundred years or so to replace those already designated, quite literally, for the chop and far, far longer before these may be in any way considered ‘ancient’ (ancient woodland cannot be replaced by planting trees tomorrow, again the clue is in the name) this is a wholly laudable idea, but where they are to be planted and what species are selected is also absolutely critical. Our country is one of many diverse habitats, aside of but including woodland, and we must be careful what we smother, albeit with the best of intentions. The Great Boreal Forest and Amazonia are more worthy targets and their preservation and reconstruction are vital to our survival.

Of course overpopulation is the true driver of deforestation and all of our other environmental issues but we must, it seems, continue to pretend otherwise and devote all of our efforts and truly awesome sums of money to a myriad futile projects such as wind farms, solar panels and even abstinence from meat consumption as a salve to the brainwashed masses who would prefer to continue to believe in anything other than the reality which so obviously surrounds them.

Never mind. Ignore all the PC nonsense. Lets just relax and enjoy the season. I wish you all a lovely Gender Neutral, Sustainably Sourced Vegan Winter Festival And Zero Carbon Emissions New Year.

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