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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods May 2021

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas MAY. 29, 2021

May has been a bit of an odd month in itself. It has been unseasonably cold and wet, especially after an early warm spell in February and March. Someone up there in the mystical weather planning office in the sky obviously misfiled some weather systems in the wrong order.

Consequently we have been out and about enjoying our newly restored citizen's rights to see friends and family, and to go into shops and pubs, and even to hug occasional people, despite the weather. Hugging random strangers of course is still not approved of but if you can find someone you know, go for it.

I should add that technically we are not citizens because we live in a Constitutional Monarchy, so we are strictly speaking subjects, which speaking subjectively, I do not approve of. At least most of the powers have been removed from the monarch and her mostly wayward family, I mean, can you imagine Harry on a woke throne? Apart from his King of Hollywood version.

There are many monarchists in Britain who don't actually understand what it is they support. I will give you the classic example. I have heard this many times including from a friend, since passed away, who told me she was a monarchist. She explained how she loved the monarchy but didn't like Prince Charles, she would much prefer it if Princess Anne took the place of our present Queen as Head of State. So I asked her if she had the choice would she choose Princess Anne in an election to which she immediately replied yes. Whereupon I explained that she had just described a Republic. Strangely she seemed quite upset at this realisation which I put down to cognitive dissonance.

We do, at least in theory have a means of removing those who now "lord" over us, every five years, apart from the actual Lords in the upper house who appear mysteriously as part of a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" system based on kakistocracy, and who sit there cashing in huge expenses cheques whenever they show up, until the day they die. The elites haven't yet trusted us to get rid of them every five years, obviously.

Kakistocracy- The opposite of meritocracy. Government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state. 1829, coined (by Thomas Love Peacock) from Greek kakistos "worst," superlative of kakos "bad" (which perhaps is related to PIE root *kakka- "to defecate") + -cracy.

I like the idea of describing your overlords as a Sh*tocracy. A classic example of a Kakistocracy is Socialism, but it also applies interestingly to The House of Lords because Socialists who despise the aristocracy still aspire to being in The House of Lords and it is full of Socialists. The first thing a Socialist will do, given the chance, is to create their own aristocracy.

Anyone who sits in the corner of their office for forty years and has never said anything to upset anyone because they have an instinctive will to survive by following the narrative, even when that narrative changes weekly, and who have therefore never been troubled by having an idea, or a creative or original thought, ultimately, have a medal slapped on them, an ermine cloak thrown on their back and get pushed through a turnstile into the Lords. They don't have benches in the Lords, they have fences for them to sit on. It's a bit like a parliamentary Arms Race. Every government throws in dozens of them to up their side's numbers, and because they are there for life, there are now too many to fit through the door.

Every government promises to reform the House of Lords and every government leaves office with little or no reform and yet more Lords created. You see there is a snag to reforming the House of Lords, the Lords have to agree to it. Many aged Lords died of heart attacks when it was proposed that the Lords be moved to the North of England to "connect" with ordinary people. Sadly, enough survived to ensure that this preposterous idea never came to fruition.

I seem to have strayed a bit. Forgive me. But not too much. Apologies are now a sign of weakness not a sign of strength, whereupon the jackals will circle and show no remorse.

On to more cheerful things like these plastic windmills in a beach shop in Salcombe. It's refreshing to think that a small child can still be so excited by a small colourful "wind turbine" as they are now called.

I love quirky little signs like this below. I was not tempted to shout though as I was not sure what was behind the door. It could have got me into all sorts of trouble.

We used to watch a competitive buying and selling of upcycled items, sort of TV show, which was quite entertaining. It was called "French Collection" a play on words, based on the film "French Connection", although it didn't resemble the film at all. Gene Hackman never says ""Did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?" in "French Collection" while threatening a contestant, and there is definitely no drug dealing.

French Connection is a brilliant film well worth watching multiple times. To TV media graduates who have never seen the film it is just an empty coat hanger of two words that they have heard of, that sounds like two other words that sort of describe the carbuncle of entertainment they have invented.

Carbuncle- a severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin, typically infected with staphylococcus bacteria. In 1984, Prince Charles famously described a proposed National Gallery extension as a "monstrous carbuncle". The prince's "carbuncle" speech was made at a gala evening to mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) at Hampton Court Palace.

In the other French thing, three contestants are taken to France (which is punishment enough), where they have a few hours traipsing around a market to buy what I would call "landfill". They have £600 to spend, which seems a lot for landfill, until you see French markets. The market stall holders when hearing the English language immediately discover valuable rusty rubbish that instantly becomes ultra expensive.

They then bring that rubbish back to Britain where they do ridiculously inept things to said landfill, which is casually and irresponsibly described as "upcycling". Years ago buying an old broken chair and painting it badly so that the paint runs, was usually something circumstances forced upon you when you wanted to be able to sit down, it wasn't a lifestyle choice. Nowadays, enacting the appearance of poverty is fashionable and hip and very expensive.

Once "upcycled" the three fashion victims take their rubbish to some small town that they wouldn't normally dream of visiting, for a day, to sell it for profit to anyone they can root out that has no brain. What is really life affirming about the show though is how rarely this succeeds in gaining a profit.

Where am I going with this? Be patient. You should know by now that there is always a point to these stories.

On almost every episode, one contestant buys a fabric covered torso, or tailor's dummy if you prefer. Firstly, we were amazed how overrun France is with these dummies, as they were always there in profusion. There must almost be one dummy for every French person, and I'm not taking that thought any further as it would lead to a very funny caustic aside. Something about confusing the two, probably.

Secondly they always find someone in Britain to buy their dummy, no matter what the condition. Well now I know where they all ended up. This shop was full of them, rows of them. Lined up along all of the walls threatening you menacingly as you browsed the wares.

We are showroom dummies

We step out

And take a walk through the city

We are showroom dummies

(Kraftwerk - Showroom Dummies)

I love the improbability of designing a pizza menu around the theme of pirates as there appears to be little or no connection between the two things. I love even more the blunt up front don't bother ordering our pizzas if you are vegan or otherwise intolerant, message.

I will award a prize if anyone can find a remote connection between a pizza topping and the character after which it is named. They even missed the obvious Ben Gunn for goat's cheese. Ben Gunn was famously kitted out in goat skin when he was discovered on Treasure Island. Blind Pew who delivered the Black Spot, obviously should have been black pudding, but no, opportunity missed again. Long John Silver? Silver skin onions, obviously. Treasure Island? Pomegranate jewels of course. Mr Arrow? Asparagus spears. Billy Bones? Bone marrow. I could go on.

No Stop!

Actually I have to admit there is only one close match and that is the cheese and tomato, Mr Blandly.

This shop front is included because it is just a feast for the eyes.

Salcombe is predominantly a very upmarket tourist destination today and the main streets and shops reflect that, but here is the back view of original Salcombe below.

This is Salcombe Creek, that leads off Batson Creek.

This was the first day in a long time when we actually rejoiced in being outside. It was also the lowest tide of the year so there were large exposed areas of creek bed or sandy beach that are not visible for most of the year.

These men were taking advantage of a newly exposed beach to play some sort of game I didn't recognise. It involved a rugby ball is all I can say. It was certainly raucous and did not involve any sort of social distancing and they seemed to be really enjoying it, whatever it was.

This is the peak at Start Point, below, looking out across The English Channel.

The English Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates Southern England from northern France and links to the southern part of the North Sea by the Strait of Dover at its north-eastern end. It is the busiest shipping area in the world.

It is about 350 miles (560 kilometres) long and varies in width from 150 miles (240 kilometres) at its widest to 21 miles (34 kilometres) in the Strait of Dover. It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 29,000 square miles (75,000 square kilometres).

The Channel was a key factor in Britain becoming a naval superpower and has been utilised by Britain as a natural defence mechanism through which we halted many invasions from our friends next door.

Here, below, is an almost forgotten relic of the last attempt to invade these shores. This gun emplacement still remains built into the cliff side at Torcross, overlooking Start Bay where the preparations and rehearsals took place that ultimately led to D-Day and Victory in Europe.

Earlier in the month I posted a Torquay Taster, which got postponed for several reasons, so I place this photo here below, just to state that I haven't forgotten and I will be going there any day now. This is a grand seafront building currently awaiting restoration.

There has been a bit of a swan theme this month locally, as we now have four swans on the creek. Everyone is waiting to see if we get signets this year. There haven't been any for a few years now.

I recently went to Boscastle where I spotted this patient delivery driver in the main street.

A view of our village from up the lane. Like a nest full of little white eggs.

New boats come and go during the summer, mostly connected with the neighbouring boatyard. This one is just having it's mast replaced ready for the open sea.

This is the seasonal ferry from Kingsbridge to Salcombe. It has a tidal timetable. It is called the Lady Mary.

Here is the finished article below, awaiting collection.

At nearby Torcross, these fingers of harder rock feel their way out into the surf.

This rock display below is a natural find and consists of a weather worn boulder placed on the beach as part of the sea defences that has gathered some smaller beach pebbles at high tide. The large spots of rain put paid to our visit for the day, but luckily we had already had our ice cream. Dodging rain showers is a good place to leave May 2021.

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