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mike Meehan

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Everything posted by mike Meehan

  1. Just started in the last few minutes, temp 1.1C, slight snow, settling easy on frozen surfaces, wind easterly moderate, which could cause drifting. Humidity 88% and intensity of snow increased whilst typing, temp down to 1.0C.
  2. Quite heavy snow for the past 30 minutes or so at Watford, large flakes, settling, approx 1cm - temp +0.8 humidity 90%. First snow I've seen this winter. Strange - NW Europe radar shows rain, not snow,
  3. I missed that, went through that region on Saturday, travelling over the Massif to Clermont Ferrand. A journey we have made quite often over the last few years, with the weather ranging from thick fog - warmth, mid 20's in mid November, and snow a couple of times above 900 metres
  4. Final figures not in but it is reported that this July has been the third hottest in France since 1900, being surpassed by 1983 and 2006: http://www.languedocliving.com/third-hottest-july-in-france-since-1900-news-10113.html Temperatures forecast to reach 40C this week in our area.
  5. I was saddened to see the fires in Attica, Greece earlier this week. A few years ago my son was working on detachment in Athens for a couple of years and we went out to spend a fortnight with him. Overall we were impressed with the Greeks, with the exception of the driver of a cab who charged us €13 for a short journey, we were impressed with them. Overall they are friendly, hard working, sociable and hospitable, so we have happy memories. Hearing about a catastrophe in an area you know at least to some extent affects one much more than just a dot on the map, in any case it does me. When I first saw the news I thought it was closer to Athens but now realise it was on the East coast the other side. Watching the clips on the TV news it seemed so strange that there were a number of different pockets of fire, though such fires, once big enough, can produce their own localised weather conditions - in this case a 60 mph wind caused by the up draught which could transfer sparks to ignite different pockets. But see now the authorities are now suspecting arson a number of different pockets is an indication of this: https://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=56836370&sid=81 Obviously the people on the ground will have a much better idea but it is not unknown for such fires to be ignited deliberately. I recall reading in the press some years ago about some French retained Pompiers staring such fires deliberately, so they could get called out to earn more money. As it is it must be heart breaking for those involved, those who lost their lives and the others who were injured consisting of both tourists and local people, then their friends and families. My heart goes out to all those who lost their lives and wish those injured as quick a recovery as possible. The cost of the damage I would imagine would come to a number of €billion and this is at a time when Greece was just starting to get back on its feet after the terrible credit problems. Should arson have been involved let's hope the culprits are found and dealt with accordingly. Poor Greece - it has had its woes and tribulations in recent years, then this on top.
  6. Have been down here since 02.07.2018 with temps mostly in the low 30's C and we have had a couple of wet interludes in the form of storms but not amounting to too much in precipitation which has been mostly at night - the kind of weather I dreamed about having as a youngster - warm sunny days with the rain falling at night. However, in the last few days it has warmed up a bit more up to the 36C mark - we are obliged to turn on the air con - the problem we have with that is that the temp sensor is in the vicinity of the outlet to the air con which pushes out warm air, so the figures won't be totally accurate. Earlier in the week there was a large variation between Capestang and our nearest beach, Valras Plage - 34C and 25C, the latter having sea mist. Yesterday we went down to La Jonquera just over the border in Spain - here Accuweather spoke with forked tongue - although they gave out a max of 36C at Capestang, they forecast a cool 33C for La Jonqurera. We left latish morning with a temp of 34C and by lunchtime at La Jonquera it was 36C there. We left there in the late afternoon 1700 hours and at the frontier the car thermometer registered 38C and back at Capestang an hour later it was 34C. I note that 38C is forecast for most of next week. France recalling the 2003 summer which resulted in a number of deaths is getting prepared more: http://www.france24.com/en/20120817-france-weather-government-ministry-health-braces-heat-wave-canicule-prevention-measures/
  7. I do tend to agree with CM - if you look at nature generally there does appear to be a progression, albeit it isn't linear. I do sense that there is a purpose to life and that purpose I to improve albeit that we are still struggling with baser instincts still quite a bit of the time, although we no longer have public executions in Europe, we longer have the gladiatorial games but as recent as the last century we have had some appalling atrocities and there is a big danger that it could happen again. At the same time we do get some remarkable people for example Baroness Tessa Jowell , who gave her time and sympathies freely even though she was herself suffering with a terminal brain cancer. In order to progress we have to be tested an we have to learn - it appears quite logical to me that the improvement of people could come over several lives, each with different lessons and experiences to be had or to learn from and if we fail we would have to do the lessons again with as the eastern folk believe Karma develops. None of us can say for sure whether or not there is a God, or some supreme intelligence which overlooks our lives. Many people jump to one supposition or another without any real evidence, which to me appears to be a form of arrogance - I prefer to keep an open mind on these matters.
  8. My sister in law moved to Norfolk, there the cold winds normally come off the North Sea - the locals call them lazy winds - they don't go round you, they go straight through you.
  9. I'm getting confused now Pete - first of all there is a MAD thread I can't find, then there is a WNW wind which whizzes across from the North Sea to the Baltic. I still remember the lecture relating to Katabatic and Anabatic winds when I was an air cadet 60 years ago - something to be aware of when coming into to land in a hilly area, or near a polar ice cap. Anyway monkeys don't have brass balls, except for the 'See no evil, hear no evil and say no evil' variants. The suggestion was that they were brass triangles on board the old fighting vessels used to store cannon balls but to pile them high on board a tossing ship, a lot would likely fall off anyway with the movement. Also it is suggested that there is insufficient of a coefficient of expansion between iron and brass to cause sufficient of an expansion and contraction to cause the balls to fall off. so that is another one of life's mysteries to depict it is bloody cold. But all is not lost apparently there is scientific evidence to say that having cooler nether regions enhances fertility, not that it will bother me too much in my dotage.
  10. Take it that it would be a Katabatic effect, see there is snow about and the air on the tops of the hills gets cooled down more, thus heavier, then it rolls down hill. They can be pretty vicious in the cases of where they come off the ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctic.
  11. Well, yes Pete, I agree, the ultimate prognosis is that with an expanding universe the matter will grow too far apart to permit the reformation of new stars, so eventually the existing ones will gradually die out, though I am not really expecting that within the next week or two. At the same time nobody has really worked out what was before the 'big bang' and what triggered it off, though some speculate it may have been interference via a parallel universe. Nature also goes in cycles, so may it be that universes are created and die in cycles, as stars and galaxies do currently? I don't really know, I wasn't around when all this happened being a tad younger than 13.7 billion years old. All I really know is that it is mind boggling and too much for my little pea brain to take in - I just ask questions and wonder. There will always be competing theories, some of which are eventually accepted because there is evidence for them but in the meantime, during this 100 years, I expect there will be more discoveries, some of which will be firmed up but they will also serve to produce further questions which will lead to good arguing points - that is assuming we don't blow ourselves up in the meantime - but little by little the sum of man's knowledge will increase - so the world is not flat after all.
  12. It's something I have often wondered about - some scientists will say that everything we see about us happened by accident starting with the 'Big Bang' but for these things happen according to the various laws of science, physics, chemistry and biology combine in the overall rules of nature. But the question I keep coming back to is who or what formulated all these rules in the first place? I can't help but think that there must be some kind of intelligent process behind it all. This takes me on to other dimensions, further than the normal 4 we experience in everyday life - serious scientists are now postulating that there are many dimensions and are also speaking of multiverses as opposed to just one universe. Apart from theorising about them we do not really have any clues as to their nature, content or even if the laws which apply to our universe and dimension apply in a similar fashion to these others. All this leads to conclude that as far as total knowledge is concerned, we only know a very tiny fraction of all there is to know. Though I expect with time and research scientists will start to uncover the answers to some of these questions and suspect that some answers we get will surprise us. I would love to be there to see it happen but it is likely to be far beyond the scope of my life time. But it is also worth bearing in mind the ancients were not as daft as we may think - ancient Greeks decided that the Earth was round and it travelled around the Sun, they also spoke of a granular matter, which we now recognise as atoms, they also spoke of other forces which we now recognise as electro magnetic and gravitational forces and all this was some 2500 years ago. The history of man has been going on though process of gaining and losing knowledge - what else did the ancients know which we have not fully investigated to date? There is a pretty well universal belief in a supreme being many refer to as God, does he exist or doesn't he, many different peoples often well separated from others came up with the same ideas independently. Was it a way of trying to explain the unknowable, or did they actually tune into something? If when reach the end of our lives we find ourselves in another place and still able to think and operate we would then know that there is a lot more to everything than what we previously thought. On the other hand everything may go black and we would not even have the consciousness to perceive that - none of us will really know until it happens. Yet, I suspect it may well be the former - if you look at nature, nothing is ever wasted, it is transformed, yes but not wasted. The same could happen with our accumulated knowledge gathered over a life time, there may be some way of preserving that, so that may mean life after death after all. As to the different religions, man may have got an inkling of what an actual God could be, or what they think He is, but most religions were man made centred around the kernel of an idea but mostly devised as a means of political control and if we wish to get to the truth we have to fight our way though this extraneous fog which tends to distort the picture.
  13. Drug addiction is something which more enlightened countries treat as an illness, rather than as a crime in our country. I know something of it because I used to work on the county drug squad, though I have never participated myself but each year there are a number of deaths which arise from the misuse of drugs. The galling fact is that most of these are preventable because the trade is in the hands of criminals who have no conscience at all - they are just out to make money. The punter who buys them does not really have any idea of the strength or the purity, some drugs are adulterated with all sorts of substances, even rat poison at times. Then consider how many get into the drug scene in the first place - it often happens through low level pushers hanging around at school gates at going home time to inveigle the kids into trying them. Kids being kids simply do not realise the dangers and to them it is something big and cool. Many start on something pretty innocuous but with time and some this can develop into the 'hard stuff' which can lead to the ruination many young lives. The battle against drugs has been going on for all of my adult life and if anything the use of them is continuing to escalate. You can't really blame the kids who get hooked in the first place because they are doing what kids do but what can be controlled more is the production and distribution. The first thing to do is to recognise that for the user it is an illness, rather than a crime - whatever we do we will not stop its use, so why not bring the production and distribution under control, have licensed manufacturers who produce quality control drugs relating to strength an purity, properly labelled, so that it is not a game of Russian roulette for the user, and to sell these through properly licensed outlets with VAT added to price for the drugs which are normally considered as recreational? In respect of those addicted to the harder substances create the ability for them to obtain their supplies on prescription and all these would come under the classification of legal drugs and allowed under medical supervision. Then as far as the illegal drugs are concerned that would remain a crime for users and dealers alike who should be punished with exemplary sentences in an effort to deter this trade and take it out of the hands of the criminals. Don't forget that for the state to be acting as a drug dealer is not without precedent - weren't the Boxer Wars in China about that? The profits and the taxes on the legal sale could then be usefully used to help the financing of rehab centres. This brings me back to the medicinal use of cannabis - if this approach were to be adopted there should be no reason at all to prohibit its medicinal use, in fact where it is necessary, it could be prescribed by the NHS. However I did vote for the decriminalisation of cannabis but subject the conditions which I have mentioned above. Whilst we are about put prostitution under proper control as well to supervise the health of the workers, get them to pay tax, help eliminate modern day slavery and take that trade out of the hands of the criminals as well.
  14. I'm not so sure about that Lauren, towards the far right of the chart, it made a difference of £25K which could be borrowed - it may not seem like much but in my part of the world where property prices are relatively high, it could make the difference between getting anywhere half way decent. Also, didn't I hear recently that the interest rates on student loans were being increased to 6%? If so this is bound to make a difference. My interest in this is that my eldest granddaughter has just finished her first year at Falmouth, then I have another who should be ready to start 2 years next September and a grandson coming up two years after that. Then you hear stories about principals getting paid something like approaching half a million a year, it makes you think. It wasn't so bad with my son, who graduated in 1982 because there were no tuition fees in those days but even so, the purchase of the necessary books and living expenses away from home came to a tidy amount. My view is that tuition fees can make a financial millstone and bearing in mind that the country requires at least some to have a good standard of education in order that the country progresse in the future and to depend to an extent, as they must do, on rich families, is discriminatory. When you consider the relatively high costs of living and taxation in our country, it makes me wonder where all that money is going to, perhaps it is the eighth wonder of the world. Maybe it all goes to Theresas' chums.
  15. My view is that the young are the future of any country therefore, as the first premise, it is essential that the governments invest in their young. It should also be realised that in order to have a well balanced productive society that the education of all is considered. We come in all sorts of different types, sizes and styles but it has, as far as it is possible to devise a scheme where round posts are fitted into round holes. Broadly speaking some are academic more suited to university, though this can be split further, again broadly speaking into the classics, science and technical subjects. At the same time the courses available should be designed and rationed to realistically fit with the jobs likely to be available. An over subscription to some courses where the job opportunities are so much less will lead to some degrees becoming relatively worthless. Yet on the other hand a degree in some subjects where there is an employer's demand for such qualifications will enhance the value of that degree. Unfortunately there appears to be an imbalance in what are the more and the less attractive degree courses to students leaving many who effectively end up with a qualification to say, "Would you prefer ketchup with your fries". The system of sorting this out should start much earlier in the education system where a finger could be kept on an effective system of noting the trends in different areas of employment so that pupils could be steered in a direction which befits their aspirations and abilities and this should be done prior to, to use an old fashioned term, their 'O' levels, in manner of what used to be careers advice. Some of the pupils, being more practical than academic will have no aptitude for any type of university education, so instead of playing with apprenticeship schemes this should be made a meaningful path. Such would not mean that any are less important than others, all would be valuable and respected as such. Taking it from the sublime to the ridiculous, even the bog cleaner has a place and is necessary to our modern society and not many would wish to do that job, so let's respect him or her as making an important contribution. Although class distinctions have diminished with time, they still exist together with snobbery but there should be no room for that type of thinking in the UK in the 21st century. To have a universal attitude of respect and value of other people would diminish the resentment, quite justifiably, felt by some and bring about a smoother running society. In short, if we are to succeed well in the modern world a holistic policy must be taken towards the development of our young. A parting shot is that for those who do attend university the fees are far too high and there is some debate as to whether there should be any at all, they serve as to provide a financial brake in later life.
  16. In answer to the question starting this thread - Not as far as I am aware at all - All I ask is that people are decent towards each other regardless of sex, gender, sexual, orientation, creed, colour or race. Life is too short to go nit picking and getting on the band wagon for every imagined slight - I have more important things to worry about.
  17. They are getting over it though CM - it's a hell of thing to live with when you realise that your country was responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews with some other on top. Our history has not been as pure as the driven snow - approx 3000 prisoners had their throats cut outside the castle at Accra by the Norman/English - many atrocities committed during the Crusades. Three thousand chevaliers who were prisoners after the Battle of Azincourt also had their throats cut - in both cases there were military reasons for these actions. The basis or origin of British fortunes kicked off during the trans Atlantic slave trade. Fighting the Boxer wars in China to preserve our rights as drug dealers. Concentration camps originated by the Brits during the Boer war. Other continental countries have not fared much better in this respect. The histories of us all are soaked in blood. That is the reason why the forerunner of the EU came into existence, to put an end to all that sort of thing, yet some of the brexiteers would like to see that dismantled and risk going back to an era of different states with nationalistic ambitions which one day could boil over and start the conflagration again. But keep the EU and we will all get over it - it takes time to get it out of the system - in the meantime we have to be patient, tolerant and look for what unites us rather than that which divides.
  18. Kent, our forces fought to free Europe of the Nazi tyranny, which although for quite a while was supported by a good many of the German public, it was not all of them - there was a resistance movement in Germany to the Nazis, I believe called the White Rose. By the time the war was coming to its close many of the ordinary Germans welcomed the allied forces as liberators, they were sick of the war and Hitlers' failed promises. Now the Germans are a completely different generation and we cannot visit the sins of the now grandfathers on their grandchildren. There appears to be a lot of resentment on the leave side that Germany has made great strides as a country since the war and this involved a lot of hard work and hardship. Why we should resent Germany, I don't know - had we got our ass into gear, nose to the grindstone and been more prepared to accept good ideas from others we could have done the same, or has it been, perhaps, that our own arrogance is our Achilles heel. However, they started this with a more or less clean sheet which enabled them to start again, take note of where they had gone wrong in the past and where we were still going wrong. They paid attention to the education of the technicians and suchlike who would rebuild their industries, whereas we concentrated more on the accountants. As a result they built up a good manufacturing bases with products sought after the world over, only recently coming to grief through the diesel engine saga. I doubt they will do that again. As far as Barnier is concerned, he is right - if a hard border is established across the island of Ireland, it not only becomes a border between north and south Ireland but also a border between the UK and the EU, with the republic still being in the EU as part of the EU, so it can be regarded as EU territory just as the UK is today. It does not mean that the EU physically occupies it, which seems to be the message you are trying to put over because each state within the EU is an independent state with its own sovereignty, so there are no jack boots, there is no USSREU. All that is malici0ous exaggeration put about by the leavers for the consumption of those they believe don't know any better. Part of being an independent sovereign state within the EU is that each state has had its own control over its economic situation. Some have had made a success of it, mainly the northern states, most of the former Soviet bloc states now within the EU are making a pretty good job of catching up. Some who were in dire circumstances a few years ago to the extent they needed bailouts are improving their economic outlook, in particular Ireland and Spain with others, such as Greece and Italy needing more work and fiscal discipline. In the case of both Italy and Greece there has been a tradition of tax avoidance whilst their respective governments have tried to spend their way out of the problems which was unsustainable. In a number of respects Italy should be a reasonable prosperous country with a flourishing car and motorcycle industry but so much has been syphoned off to the likes of the mafia, still a big problem, and others. The last time I was in Athens a number of years ago there was no shortage of valuable yachts in Piraeus Port, nor in Rhodes Harbour a few years later. But is as all of us remainers have been saying, the EU is not perfect, it needs work and also the assistance of our more competent governments, when one returns, to help steer it's reform and without the madness of this brexit we would still have been in that position.
  19. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/971227/english-identity-bbc-englishness-culture Extract from this article are as follows: When we English get to define our own qualities, the ones we come up with are rather different. Sense of humour comes top (80 per cent); then traditional (77 per cent); good manners (74 per cent); sense of fair play (72 per cent); friendliness (65 per cent); stiff upper lip and tolerance also come in at 65 per cent. All this seems about right. We like a joke and the pomp and ceremony of state occasions; good manners; we can’t abide a cheat. As for tolerance, well, this is clearly not just a case of virtue-signallers telling the survey what it would like to hear. Then it goes on to say: Most of us see Englishness as a cultural quality, quite divorced from ethnicity or religion. “If you’ve lived here long enough to imbibe our values and share them, then you’re one of us,” the message seems to be. This is something the bitter Remoaners have failed to grasp. Their line on the ordinary English people who voted for Brexit is that they were bigots motivated by racism. Indeed, the Remoaners find the whole concept of Englishness outmoded and embarrassing. I agree with the first highlighted versions, starting 'Sense of humour', though as a remainer I am seeing little tolerance from the leavers but in normal times apart from that we are pretty tolerant. The part which really caught my attention was, we can’t abide a cheat. Speaking for myself it is right I cannot abide a cheat at all, but what about, Farage, Johnson, Gove etc who lied through their back teeth I the referendum - what about the stories printed in an almost daily basis by this paper, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail and others - I am quite surprised that the writer James Delingpole was not struck by lightning as he wrote this. And after the mention of tolerance he dives straight in to a diatribe against remainers, describing us as bitter Remoaners describing those who voted for brexit as bigots motivated by racism. So in one foul sweep he has labelled everybody who supports remain with one brush. This is not the case at all - let's be clear about this, yes, there are some who are racist and bigoted - this has been proved by the sudden increase in hate crimes against EU nationals but it has never been the practise of remainers to label people as bigoted racists just because they happened to vote leave. If anything the remainers possess the attributes of, Sense of humour comes top (80 per cent); then traditional (77 per cent); good manners (74 per cent); sense of fair play (72 per cent); friendliness (65 per cent); stiff upper lip and tolerance also come in at 65 per cent. These are the very virtues which are admired in the English and the European character, which I have often been a recipient of when travelling abroad. What the writer of that article fails to grasp is that it is quite possible to be both a good Englishman and a good European - it is not one or the other, as much as he would like to portray that view. All that article succeeds in doing is sowing the seeds of antagonism and splitting our two sides even further apart which the less critical will take at face value and believe, thus causing further embarrassment to our county.
  20. I think he has already explained that he works flexi-time.
  21. I agree with most but still maintain that membership of EFTA and our trade with the Commonwealth was not sufficient to sustain us. We can still trade with the rest of the world whilst still remaining a member of the EU - it just means that world trade is done through the EU, which ourselves and other nations have done and are doing perfectly well and though I hate to mention this to you knowing how sensitive you are on that part, particularly the Germans. However, with EU assistance there is nothing to stop us re-vitalising our manufacturing industries more, which give workers, not too academically or technically gifted the opportunity to earn a living, which in my view is needed for a well balanced economy and society. There have been many examples of leavers saying that other countries are queuing up to do trade deals with us but they are not only queuing up to make trade deals with the EU, they are taking positive steps towards that end and by remaining with the EU we can be part of it, in fact having our cake and eating it and in such negotiations the EU has an advantage because of size which gives strength. As it is now I believe that the shenanigans of brexit have done us little good on trying to develop world wide trade because we have frittered away something of our former reputation with a somewhat devious campaign and government (read my post relating to the value of a good name, a few back, though earlier today). In trying to enter an arrangement with the USA, there will be strings attached, we would be trying to negotiate from a position of weakness and we would end up very much as the junior partner and expected to support the USA in its not always wise global adventures where it is still following a policy of might is right - I do not regard that as an attractive proposition. So the end result would mean either insular and inward looking - I say that because the global trade you envisage would be on a much shallower level and as a smaller entity much more at risk to the various changes in global politics, so our fortunes are likely to decrease with time. The alternative of a tie up with the USA would mean a fairly substantial loss of sovereignty in as much as we would be required to follow their lead or risk losing materially - although Trump may only serve out his first term, what he said about America first is bound to enter into the policy making of future presidents - some will be good and some bad but we would not have any control. At least whilst a member of the EU we do have some control and in a position to influence overall policy and despite what the leavers say we are still and likely to remain a sovereign state. We have merely given up a small part of that for the overall benefit of all and as an Anglo Saxon nation we would still be able to maintain that important bridge between the EU and the rest of the Anglicised world. I don't share your pessimism in relation to the EU, though I agree that for a time with people like Jean Claude Juncker they were somewhat hidebound but changes are occurring and in 18 months time Jean Claude will be out to grass with younger people coming in with much more positive ideas. You can see it starting to happen now. As far as reversing tack on brexit is concerned I do not see this being perceived as a weakness by the rest of the world, rather a 'thank God, they have seen sense at last, now let's back to normal.' Many in the world do regard this brexit adventure as being idiotic, the main one pushing for it is indeed Trump but he has his own reasons for doing so which are more to do with 'America first' rather than our benefit.
  22. No SS, it doesn't matter which country you are in there is always that small percentage who thinks the world owes them a living and expect a life of idleness without having to work but I take it, knowing you, that it that the opening line on your post was tad tongue in cheek but not all may realise that. We have divisions of people who are willing and able to work and do so as much as they can. We have others who would like to work but are either unable or restricted in the work they can do through no fault of their own and then you have the layabouts to whom work is a four letter word and go through life, scrounging, stealing and often a mixture of both.
  23. The problem with our society is that it is only a minority who think independently whilst most tend to follow the collective herd. The unpopularity of the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg show this. Personally I think he made a brave choice to join the coalition and I think he did it well considering he was very much outgunned by a much larger party but because he could not stick to his manifesto pledge re student fees, he was victimised at the polls but at least he had the honour and the ethics to resign but in doing so we lost a good man who is head and shoulders above the current leadership. This same collective, rather than individual thinking, brought about this brexit lark - Nigel Farage made it into a cause celebre, a fad, or a craze and as a result many climbed onto this particular band wagon, hence our current position with many feeling unable to back down from their original choice and admit they may have been wrong. Again it takes brave people or a real shock to do that.
  24. I see no reason in principle why the moderates in the centre of the house could not join together to form a new pro EU party - the only thing really holding them back would be their existing party loyalties, however desperate times call for desperate measures. This would give the opportunity to both kick brexit into touch and bring our own antiquated political system up to date.
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