Cesspits, Marriage and Other Diseases.

Due to ludicrously high levels of over population I’ve long predicted that some great pandemic will arise to knock us back down. So is Coronavirus it? I think not, unless it mutates into something more deadly. This is just a warning of what must follow. We should take it very seriously indeed though, on that basis.

The Chinese have certainly taken the hint. From field to 10,000 bed isolation hospital in eight days flat, wow! Locally, Lingfield Road is closed for repairs to a minor bridge. It should hopefully reopen sometime next year. The British template it seems; Five years in the planning and another five to dither about building it while costs spiral out of control. Anyway we already have a huge isolation hospital in this very parish but I bet very few locals reading this have a clue where it is?

I was a bit critical of young Chris Packham a few months back. In general I remain a fan and no such criticism of his excellent, if frightening, program about our burgeoning 7.7 billion world population. At last someone has had the guts to tell it like it is. Way too late of course.

The truth remains that we have become enslaved by the capitalist system which trades on 10% present reality and 90% future optimism, reliant on continuous unremitting growth. This can only be driven by perpetual population growth and the power of the media to persuade us to buy endless stuff that we don’t need, known as consumerism. This is why no government on Earth will ever be prepared to grasp this particularly inconvenient nettle. Even so, if coronavirus is not about to wipe us all out the world’s largest economies will certainly get very severely stung by the knock-on effects.

Just a timely reminder that the great Earth god Gaia has the problem in hand. Disease, famine and war are waiting in the wings to rectify the situation and, inevitably, we must soon be set to become the only species in history to face extinction facilitated by our own most pretentious boast, technology, entirely because we continue to place greed above even our own survival. Truly bizarre!

As we rush headlong into what must surely be the end of days I am finding it harder and harder to come to terms with the collective insanity of the mass of humanity which surrounds me. I am becoming even less tolerant of my unworldly contemporaries. There are fewer and fewer with whom I can even bother to communicate, let alone argue with. Arrogant and insular? Not me, its the others.

Valentine’s Day again. I’ve been with my dear wife for over forty eight years now, since 1971, despite rather than because of marriage. The sole photograph of our wedding day, in which I appear, shows me glowering like a freshly neutered Rottweiler at the perpetrator, in a turmoil of hatred and self loathing for this, my moment of weakness, as I steamed out of Tunbridge Wells Registry Office. He did take another, a few hours later, after his camera had been surgically extracted from his rectum, which lent it the illusion of a sepia tint, I, however, had lost it completely by then and refused any further involvement.

As may be deduced from my tone I am not a great fan of this hideous nonsense, effectively a state approved ritual for those who no longer trust each other enough to live together, hence I will never, on pain of death, attend another such event, ever! I was, therefore, greatly cheered to see that we, the modern minority, who identify as heterosexual men and women, content to retain the genitalia we were born with, have recently been afforded the same rights and equality as the other 99+ different genders and sexual preferences now recognised in law. That is, we can now enter into a Civil Partnership.

No longer must conformist morons feel obliged to spend a fortune on receptions (hostile or otherwise), honeymoons, rings and other attendant garbage. A simple witnessed form, signed by both parties, to the effect: ‘I no longer trust this other bastard, therefore, I want it understood and enshrined in law that if either partner gets caught shagging someone else, buggers off or simply dies, the other gets a minimum half, and preferably all, that they possess without argument or delay’.

I can live with that. It removes any hypocritical associations and cuts straight to the chase of who gets what once it all goes tits up! The welfare of any children under 18 could easily be covered within the caveat: ‘In the event of any breakdown in the relationship, one party, usually the bloke or equivalent, gets skinned of all they have worked for their entire life and assumed they had a share in, while the other, usually the woman or equivalent, takes everything so long as they agree to get stuck with looking after any spawn of Satan produced or adopted within the period of their union’.

I’m good at this romantic stuff. I may write a fluffy novel or apply for a position as a councillor with Relate. A dating agency perhaps?

Looking back last month to the sixties it does all sound a little primitive with hindsight. In the past couple of years, locally, we’ve seen the last house in the district without power finally modernised and connected to the national grid. No mains drainage of course but as it is situated adjacent to Bough Beech Reservoir it does enjoy free emptying of its cesspit every few weeks thanks to East Surrey Water Company, to avoid any potential overspill, and hence pollution of our drinking water.

I don’t doubt that as part of the building works it has had a septic tank system installed. At home we are still reliant on a cesspit which we must pay through the nose to have emptied every few months. Many have mocked and advised me to go down the septic tank route as it seems have any newcomers moving in over the last few years who seem to make this their first priority. So indeed do those looking to build or develop properties in the near future, including some with permission already extant on this basis. Yet these systems are not themselves perfect. They too must be emptied a couple of times a year, despite having an overflow into the rainwater drainage system for their treated fluids. They also attract maintenance fees to pumps etc. of around five hundred pounds annually.

No matter, all history now! I wonder, how many among my smug nascent countryfolk neighbours and property developers are aware of the recent change in environmental law. Since 1st January this year these systems may no longer discharge into the rainwater drainage system i.e. ditches like that in Uckfield Lane, as their overflowing effluent is deemed below the standard now required by The Environment Agency. They must, henceforth, either connect to a full sewage treatment plant, or a purpose built designated holding field/cesspit. Therefore virtually all of those already extant are now illegal, which calls into question the validity of several local permissions to develop that have already been granted but not yet executed. Big Brother and Old Buzzard are watching!

Not to worry, I shan’t dob anybody in as other proposed changes in the law will soon make me a felon too, but I’m sticking with my antiquated old cesspit for the moment as it is still compliant with all modern requirements.

Our electric supply has improved a little during my thirty seven year residency. Initially we experienced a power cut almost every week. This has reduced over time to approximately one cut of several hours duration every three or four months.

During the aftermath of the 87 hurricane we were off for between two and six weeks depending on exact location. Our solid fuel heating system was our salvation, had we relied on gas or oil we would have had no warmth at all. True we could not circulate hot water to our radiators but we did at least have hot water to wash with and could toast stuff on the open fire. So not for us the push button convenience of the majority.

Heating in our cottage still means coal and logs, yet time roles on even for these simple requirements and we are now informed that this, our only truly reliable source of winter warmth, is to be made illegal from February next year (For the moment we do comply with the changes in that we burn only smokeless fuel, but what exactly qualifies as a dry log?). I would switch to oil or bottled gas but that is soon to go also which leaves geothermal or solar, both of which rely on electricity, and still no mention of who is expected to pay for this wonderful brave new world, extinction Rebellion perhaps?

Until recently ordering logs meant a walk round to the edge of the woods and wedging a note in the doorjamb of Tim the woodman’s shack, not for him even the luxury of a letterbox. Now, however, Chris the tree surgeon has joined forces with him and he has email. Oh the luxury! No more doubts as to whether the message had been received on a windy day. Who’d have thought I would welcome such modernity?

Now although I have no history as far as being a cynical old git goes a thought has recently occurred to me: For as long as I can remember, at least sixty years, we have been told that the world’s oil reserves can last no more than another twenty years. Could it be that this is indeed becoming scarce, or more to the point ever more expensive to extract. Perish the thought but could the major oil companies be paving the way and seeking to preserve their huge profits by making us wholly reliant on another form of energy monopoly, ‘green’ electricity, which they of course will switch to producing, assisted, naturally, by massive government funding payed for of course from our taxes?

I see that HS2 is to come to fruition (given 20 years or so of delay, balls ups and soaring costs). Clearly a far better use of funds than looking after our elderly, sorting out the NHS, restoring our cart-track roads or indeed upgrading existing rail links, particularly in the north or reinstating our rural ditch system and dredging our rivers. Strangely there are many influential fingers thrust deep into the HS2 pie. Huge profits are to be made from white elephants which destroy our countryside and cause misery to thousands, while committing to salving our existing woes may benefit us all but will make no one rich. The choice was never in doubt.

Heathrow’s third runway has, however, been ruled illegal on the basis of green issues. Don’t tell me that common sense has prevailed. Could similar arguments be used against HS2 and crazy road building plans now the precedent has been set? At least I need have no further concerns over funding my own care once I can no longer fend for myself. Better by far to exit this awful crazy world in good time by chucking myself in front of a bulldozer, wrapped in an ‘Up yours’ banner while linking arms with little Betty Thumbturd.

If anyone ever says anything sensible again I might well listen, in the meantime consider this: The British Isles sits on over 400 years of remaining accessible coal resources yet we have long since sacked nearly all of our miners and frown hugely on this foul source of energy, now deemed to be filthy stuff, which as I’ve said is to be banned from our grates in less than twelve months time.

With such noble new green aspirations and our committment to CO2 neutrality by 2050 who then would imagine that in the first two months of 2019 alone we would have imported 1.2 million tons of the black stuff thousands of miles, all the way from Russia, Nth America and Columbia mostly courtesy of opencast mining? Well we did! We bloody well did, amazing!

Finally: The old isolation or fever hospital covers many acres to the left of the railway bridge in How Green Lane heading towards Four Elms. It was much used back in the days of diphtheria, scarlet fever, smallpox etc. It has long been converted to housing of course but the layout and style of the buildings still make its previous use obvious.

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