ATEOTD reaches 100

I’ve been going through one of those stages over the last ten days when it seems possible that the Reaper may be on one’s tail. Medics were looking thoughtful, symptoms had been described, and several tests undertaken. I spent 24 hours with a BP machine strapped to my body (the pain in one’s arm after having 77 readings in one day is hard to describe adequately), and half a morning having blood samples taken. As I have some expensive dental treatment upcoming, I thought it best to get these results before shelling out tons of pointless money on vanity…should the end be nigh. It would, after all, have been so much better spent on a few bottles of early 1980s Vosne Romanee.

I am pleased to announce that, according to the NHS, I shall be a prisoner of the physical existence for some time yet. Astonishingly, my blood pressure is ‘within the normal limits’. Even better, my liver output is higher in good things, and lower in bad things, than it was. And my prostate is entirely normal. (It was the last of these that was concerning me slightly).

The lady who gave me these results was a frighteningly young but highly qualified Practice Nurse. Despite the improvement in liver behaviour, she did point out that it was still vaguely surprising that I could have such an enzyme output and be alive. I told her this was down to a long, arduous and well-paid apprenticeship in advertising during the 1970s, but she made no comment, having been born in 1986. For one so young, her attitude struck me as incredibly mature: there was no nagging Nannyism, and when she asked politely if I wanted help to control my alcohol intake, my answer – “I don’t need any help to be miserable” – didn’t seem to faze her at all. I thought her the perfect model for those dealing with hopeless cases like me in the mediaeval future we face.

At the other end of life, our new Norfolk terrier puppy – now firmly named Coconut – is settling in very well. In fact, as far as the middle dog Tiggy is concerned, rather too well for comfort. Coco is feisty – that was obvious within minutes of her arrival – and has taken to jumping at Tiggs, these assaults being accompanied by minute wuffs of pleasure. Tiggy’s reaction so far has been to back off, as if she thinks we may well have introduced a small nutter into our home.

Foxie is having none of it. As Coco does one of her jumps  – they consist of bounces whereby all four feet are off the ground – Fox curls her lip and snaps at the little person. Other puppies arriving here ran off to the safety of a cage with lots of histrionic squeaks in such circumstances, but Coco interprets a snarl as encouragement. She will need to watch out: Foxie may seem a bit of a Sloane generally speaking, but she won’t put up with much of that sort of blase reaction. I sense that, in the months ahead, there are going to be a few scraps. And then, as my wife always remarks philosophically, “They’ll sort themselves out”.


Late this afternoon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party voted to allow euro states to quit the currency area. As this is strictly prohibited under the EU Treaty, you can sort of guess where the German leader is going with this one. There will be treaty changes, and Merkel will get what she wants.

How odd we would think it here in Britain if the Tories voted for us to be allowed to tell Brussels to get stuffed. While that too is verboten under the EU rules, at least it would be a vote about something we might do – rather than presuming in advance to allow other States (whose business was none of ours) to do what we think they should do.

Reuters this morning referred to Merkozy as ‘EU boss Angela Merkel and her deputy Nicolas Sarkozy’. The news media in Europe now routinely refer to the GdF – the Groupe de Francfort….the self-appointed (and largely unelected) inner sanctum of folks who seem to be calling the shots about who gets what and when. These people between them have deposed two Prime Ministers in ten days, and replaced them with technocrats who have no membership at all of the Italian and Greek sovereign bodies. This could not happen in the UK, and it would also be unconstitutional in both France and Germany. There is not a lot of respect being shown here.

As I have written umpteen times before, listen not to what people say, but observe instead what they do. When people ask me, in seeming exasperation, “Why do you assume Germany would dominate the New Europe?” I am bound to answer, “Who the f**k else could?”

Whatever anyone tries to tell me, we are witnessing a democratic continent being taken over by a tiny, dictatorial oligarchy. The members of this are, in turn, wrestling for power with unelected money represented by bankers and technocrats. Whoever wins this Battle of the Daleks, it’s not looking good for the citizens.