At the End of the Day

This is my last night in the house that has been Slogger’s Roost ever since the blog started. In a week’s time I’ll be at the French White House or Slogroost2. In the interim, various safe houses will be looking after me. Or put another way, I shall be saying goodbye to folks. Or put yet another way, I’ll be shamelessly poncing off other people.

I said on arriving here in Devon that I’d leave this house in a box, but it wasn’t to be. As per all the other times, I’ll be driving away in a car. I am however surrounded by boxes tonight. Forty-two of them to be precise. They’re going into store along with what’s left of my furniture after the auction rooms have taken their pick, and their commission. In every life, it is important from time to time that one sifts out the detritus from the delightful. I have an art nouveau pub mirror, a Georgian bow-fronted corner cupboard, a Regency dining table, and a mid-Victorian chaise that are, to get technical for a second, piss-elegant. No auction house shall have them. I have also, over the decades, collected some 90 prints, paintings and photographs without which I would have too little sense of what shaped me. I don’t give a damn what any of this is ‘worth’, to me it has a value far beyond price.

That’s all very high-and-mighty is it not? However, some of the detritus strongly suggests a misspent past as well. A two-thirds empty bottle of old Glenmorangie that is now twice as old as it was when I bought it. A 1995 bottle of Disaronno Ameretto almond liqueur that looks as if it was designed by the Prizzi family, and tasted like Death in Venice. An undated bottle of Calvados with an air of reactor-rod about it. And topping everything, a miniature of Japanese Saki that had clearly been hiding in the jungle waiting for the ultimate Nipponese triumph.

Since I came to this Devon/Dorset borders hamlet thirteen years ago, almost everything here and elsewhere has changed. Wrecks have been renovated, barns turned into houses, and manor houses restored. The manor house in particular seems to be something of a money-pit: we’ve had three families in it over that period, and all have discovered that roofs, insulation, window-restoration, garden design and the price of oil can empty most bank accounts. The one wreck over this time that remains the disaster area it always was is the EU, but that’s a macro thing no longer available for (or amenable to) control by any European citizen.

Scanning the media tonight, there is the same inability to grasp step change, and the same insanity in the face of undeniable facts.  Bashar al-Assad is accusing Israel of being behind the revolution there (a hypothesis worthy of British Plod at his worst); the Coalition is pressing ahead with an HS2 rail link which is unable to recommend itself beyond the ability to arrive in Manchester more quickly; a gigantic (albeit elegant) glass prick towers over London…..just begging for a plane called Depression to hit it; Barclays Bank has confirmed that finance director Chris Lucas and general counsel Mark Harding will retire to a place far from Wormwood Scrubs; Theresa May-Ormaynott thinks Britain’s visa system will attract the brightest and best; European bank bonuses face a 20% cut (a bit like ripping the armlets off Nuremberg defendants that one); and perhaps most amusingly improbable of all, US Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Germany this coming week in an effort to strengthen trans-Atlantic ties. I don’t have any problem with my ties: listen, I can do a Windsor knot, but I’ve never yet had a tie made in Europe disintegrate on me. But then, this is the kind of completely f**king meaningless job Vice Presidents of the United States are given.

However, from sources more intuitive, far-sighted and true (the inbox) come the following:

Alexis Grigoropoulos, a 15 year old schoolboy from a well off family & private school, was murdered by a policeman 4 Dec, 2010 in Exarchia, the university area of Athens. The cop that did it was released on full pension. (From Agent Navarone in Athens)

Reports that are good but do not take us down to the 6.5% unemployment rate that the Fed has stated will cause a change in the QEternity policy to continue the rally in the S&P. (From Butch Cassidy in New Mexico)

American airlines is trying to emerge from bankruptcy. On the subject of employee pensions, the company is now taking the bizarre position in court that they are not seeking to eliminate retiree benefits. They are simply seeking a “modification” of those benefits such that American’s contribution is 0 (zero) $s. (From retired pilot BC)

Derivatives are supposed to be accounted for at market value at times. However, for obscure, off-market or bespoke derivatives, this may be sufficiently tough to do that it can often be conveniently ignored. (UK bankmole)

Long may these sources continue to supply me with ammo. I thank each and every one of them (and you) for continued support. Until the next time then.

Earlier at The Slog: The importance of being interested in interest rates.

29 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. John,
    I’m a newer reader of your blog but there’s going to be a definite gap in my daily reading! I hope your move goes well and I look forward to your next postings. All the very best,



  2. So I guess you’ll soon be celebrating your 65th å la française and joining the club of other ex-pats being screwed by the plummeting pound via our pensions! Félicitations quand’même!


  3. John,
    If I were about to take the trip you are going to do, I would not touch the computer except to make observational notes about your trip and the new things you will see and people you meet to be put into your next Grand Opening.
    Don’t feel like we will die without you. We may have to find some new things to do ourselves..and that’s a good thing…says Martha Stewart.

    I would be in no hurry to start posting the volume you have been doing on a regular basis. My god man, you’ve become a computer mole!
    Your whole life has been reduced to an computer screen and the worthless news that it dredges up.
    The very best thing you could do would be to take A MONTH off…YES…a complete month.

    Maxwell Maltz of psycho-cybernetics fame from over 50 years ago explained how it takes the human mind and body about 30 days to acclimate to new surroundings like a new residence or job. This presupposes that you would go directly to your new residence, but you say you are going to hobo it as you stop to see friends. It’s still the same thing. In fact it’s even better as when I drag my trailer around on multi-month trips over here I have always been overjoyed at waking up to a new view each day in a new place with a new road adventure every day.
    You better take the time now old man, because you may not be able to afford the fuel later or become to old and frail to want to. Travel may also be severely limited in the near future as the powers attempt to herd us all into our little ghettos with only one source of supplies.
    Try it. You’ll like it.
    Just avoid the compulsion to post for awhile. It’s obviously an addiction with you. And besides, what else of any importance could the crazy mutha-fkers do while you’re on your little sabbatical that’s different enough from the daily obnoxious shit they stir up everyday anyhow? You might be surprised how little difference the day to day news makes in your life except to raise your blood pressure.



  4. Presupposing that you will be doing the ‘over-nighter’ ferry, and that you will be passing between Rennes and Nantes, gives a toot on the horn – I’m sure we’ll hear you. We also hope that the périphérique around Nantes doesn’t confuse you, nor delay you if you unfortunate enough to hit the rush-hour traffic.


  5. Good luck on your Travels, and do take time off form your computer as many here have suggested. As a reader of your blog over a couple of years I am astounded by the volume of post you produce, the time you must spend on research and writing must be immense. Have a break, enjoy the company of your friends and settle into your French abode for a while mate.


  6. Bon voyage John!
    But would recommend you re-consider the storage thing.
    We did that when we moved to Greece. Twelve years ago this month….and counting!
    Our bloody crate is probably lost in a warehouse similar to that in the Indiana Jones films. Better to take stuff with you ……or get rid!


  7. Good luck, good health and best wishes for your “Reboot”. We did this 7 years ago and moved to Upper Normandy. We moved from the chaos and mayhem of Tower Hamlets to the French countryside. We have loved every minute. You have spent enough time in France to know and appreciate its ups and downs but it has been a tremendous experience.


  8. Enjoy the change, get refreshed, be yourself.

    (If you ever find youself between doss-houses and need a temporary spot in the north of England, keep my e-mail address handy – overnight or a month, you decide.)


  9. Best wishes John.
    I had that same ‘they’ll carry me out of here in a coffin’ feeling when I moved into a remote chocolate-box cottage in 1991. However, after we did move 11 years later, I gave it barely a thought.
    You didn’t say (or I missed it) whether your move to France is permanent or you have just brought forward your usual summer trip?
    You’ll find that the cost of living is 10% higher than the last time you were there, thanks to Camerlot’s bungling. It will be interesting, now that you will benefit from some of the EU’s dicktats (eg Winter Fuel) if you soften your stance!!
    I sincerely hope that the future goes well for you, and thank you for your selfless blogging over what must have been a difficult time for you.


  10. Devon’s loss, old bean. I suppose you are disappearing into deepest, darkest France to throw ‘them’ off the scent? Good thinking …

    (Now I really must stop with this GCHQ crap … I’ve done it to death already).

    Love and best wishes … and enjoy the vino collapso!


  11. Your energy, commitment, sense of humour, is truly amazing. All the best amigo. One of these days I will inspire you! Bon voyage.

    p.s. Swoop up all the old French Francs you can, the older the better, in good condition, very collectible, and enjoyable. Not to mention a safe investment. IBNS will teach you how to grade a note. Pictures make it easy.


  12. I know you will enjoy the compulsory break from the PC/laptop. And the travelling will be fun, too. I think the worst is over i.e. all the selecting what to keep and what to bin. Sometimes painful, seldom easy. Have a fab time and we’ll still be here when to next “Slog on”.


  13. Welcome back to what passes for civilization here in the south west.
    We’ve enjoyed & looked forward to your blog every day with our coffee-break. We appreciate your warped sense of humour & your down-to-earth views which tally so much with our own.
    Enjoy your new life, – & plenty of cheap red wine!


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