The Polythene Bag – and other stories.
Strange thing progress. A bit of a double edged sword. Surrounded by the peace and perfection of the modern World we are, or in this case rather, you are, quick to presume everything will happily carry on smoothly. Such over confidence soon gets to us, or rather to you, and you start examining the tiny things mainly because you haven’t got enough to worry about. It’s human nature, we all do it to a greater or lesser extent. We loose perspective. Think of all those times you didn’t go out when you could have done? Well at least during this shut down we have been able to enjoy our gardens.
However it’s more the material things I have in mind here. Remember how not long ago shops and supermarkets were being forced to either charge for polythene bags or not supply them at all. The polythene bag – a tremendous invention being side-lined simply because some people couldn’t dispose of them respectfully and possibly more importantly our authorities couldn’t be bothered to find an effective way to encourage us to not throw them away carelessly. So they virtually banned them!
They hadn’t quite got around to banning plastic bottles but it was on the way. In most European Countries even fifteen years ago they had a very comprehensive and simple re-cycling system for pretty much anything made of plastic. Feed it into a hole in a wall and money comes out of another. Very encouraging. No limits, no size restrictions just plastic bottles of anything including in many cases the plastic crates you bought them in the first place! As a result you never saw empty ones on the ground in Germany. These machines are every where on the European continent particularly at Supermarkets. Don’t tell me they couldn’t be adjusted to take English currency. I can only assume re-cycling is not quite as important for manufactures or organisations when there might be a cost elements to it
Tesco’s answer. The bottles have got to be a certain size, you can’t deposit more than 10 at a time and what you get back is a token only for spending in that store and pretty much right away – don’t leave and come back tomorrow. Hopeless system, ill considered and thus totally ineffective. I digress…
The polythene bag. For the past few years we have been encouraged to not use them. Instead to use old fashioned bulky, heavy and cumbersome canvass carrier bags – like people used to in the ‘50s when the lady of the house spent most of her week shopping for the quantity we can pick up in a an hour at a decent size supermarket – well before the Covid panic that is. Despite good evidence to the effect that such retrograde steps were more harmful for their so called carbon footprint when manufacturing and hygiene aspects were brought into the equation, we were still brow-beaten with the notion that plastic was bad and pretty much anything else was preferable. So at great inconvenience and against the logical and scientific evidence most of us we forced to tag along with this ill considered notion.
NOT ANY MORE! In what does the food come that you get delivered to your door or even Click & Collect from the supermarket? Polythene bags of course. Oh what a surprise. The best, most hygenic and convenient way has been rediscovered. Without them, think how much longer it would take for the guys to unload your groceries from the van and think how much longer it would take for them to get away again bearing in mind you would have to empty their crates at the front door and wash and wipe every individual item before storing it away. They could be there hours. The home delivery system which is already under terrible pressure would be even slower. Just the same at the Click & Collect bays. Your food is brought out in polythene bags and they are not even charging for them now. Good heavens I had heard they were about to put them up to 40p each! What a turn around.
Its saves them huge amounts of time so suddenly they are OK. I have been saying that for the last 10 years since the stupid idea of phasing them out first reared its head. I am saving all mine after they have been quarantined. Got hundreds now and will re-use them. Now please be sensible when this is all over and lets get back to using the thing that has proved so useful.
Not only that but Plastic is saving our lies in other ways. Remember all those who were insisting that supermarkets cut out as much of their plastic packaging as possible and sell eveything separate. Well isn’t it convenient to be able to wipe everything you buy with disinfectant before you store it away. At east all those terribly naughty plastic containers with cellophane coverings. The plastic guaranteeing that even if the container had been handled by dozens of people before, the contents hadn’t. I mean how would you wash an onion? I hope the fate of plastic and polythene bags will be re-considered in this light. At least given a stay of execution before something better is found to replace it
Did I hear the NHS COMPLAINING that they hadn’t got enough patients at A&E. Christ what do these people expect? They have spread the gloom and doom pretty thick– probably rightfully as it happens. Showed us images of unattended patients coughing to death on the floors of hospital corridors and then think people will go into one of their establishments of their own accord. I wouldn’t. Of course you are hardly going to be put off attending if you break a large bone or cut a large chunk off yourself. So who are these types that the NHS are missing so much? Who are these people that can do without A&E.? Could be a good time to investigate. Very probably the masses that get bored with waiting for an appointment with their GP for something trivial. Well that’s good then. Of course the lazy blighters that don’t want to work and have always used the sick note from the NHS to get off don’t need to do it now do they? They are already off and getting paid. My wife was asked to have a blood test to check the efficacy of her current medications. She phoned our multiplex style surgery expecting to not get through as has always been the case for the 40 years we have used it. Phone answered immediately. Not only that our doctors voice. Fair enough this was a recorded message but it’s the first time an actual doctor has lowered themselves to communicte at a verbal level with patients other than during an appointment. As one would expect there were then suggestions to punch various buttons but it worked and she was invited to come the next day!
(A note here to clarify as some people may have better service from their NHS doctors.) Up until the currently slightly weird situation we have had to wait at least 4 weeks for an appointment with the doctor of choice still a few days minimum for any doctor at all. That was if you could get through on the phone. I had taken to visiting to make appointments it was quicker. My private doctor, I keep for saving my life answers immediately and I reckon I could be confident in seeing him inside 12 hours from when I phoned, Never longer. All for £40. Is there a message there?
I have long said the instant cure for the over demand on the NHS was to apply a filter. To charge a little bit for first admission or first GP or A&E visit whatever the reason or in what state you turn up even a traffic accident. Well, threaten them with catching a deadly virus seems to work just as well. It’s an up side. Don’t complain. This illustrates perfectly that one of the big problems the NHS are having or were having of being over subscribed and over loaded with patients would seem to be that many of them, if not most, were time wasting liggers who just wanted a day off work. It’s exposed that one nicely I think. Charge the lazy little buggers. CHARGE TO CONTROL DEMAND. But more important WAKE UP NHS and do it!
Then there was the anti car movement. The last official governmental broadcast on the TV advised and encouraged us to use our cars not the public transport. Well well, what a suprise. Little bit of exhaust smoke not so bad now is it?
COAL DROP YARD
However the last time I looked ANTI-CAR was still well in force. We ventured down to the outskirts of the abominable emission and congestion areas a month or two ago to take photos of the fancy apartments at Coal Drop yard built into the old gas-o-meters. Very imaginative. However I was wondering where you get curved furniture from. The same place as the people that live in light houses I suppose.
Anyway from way north just past Hampstead the road was painted with 20mph speed restrictions. This is a main arterial road. The famous Haverstock Hill. 20 mph? In not too long it was pretty much impossible to do more than that anyway but that’s hardly the point. We picked our way around the back of Kings Cross station being very careful not to dare venture South of the Pentonville Road in case we and incurred the wrath of the manic no go zones and the crazy fines if you so dare to do.
Actually parking around the Coal Drop Yard itself was easy for us – we found a space but it was pure luck. The area it has to be said is comfortably pedestrianised because it was built to that spec. However throughout the drive back through Kentish Town (don’t go there) we were beset with so many threats, restrictions and traffic traps as to make the process most unpleasant. Yellow boxes at complex intersections where it was too easy to get stuck- they clearly hoped you would, bus lanes with no clear indications of when they were active so you simply had to avoid them all the time which doesn’t help traffic flow and they know that, 20 mph speed limits everywhere even on wide main roads not just in school areas, red routes and nasty little tricks like width restrictions with small signs that tell you, or would clearly rather not, when you can go through them. Those we already know are a license for Councils to print money!
Yes town driving, has always been a bit fraught but these restrictive ideas for the sake of them or for money more like, have spread to the main highways now. The entire UK Police Force were and still are, dead against the so called ‘Smart Motorway’ idea. A huge hindrance to emergency vehicles. A total death trap for the occupants of broken down ones and a magnet for traffic jams. I cannot imagine what deranged quango thought the idea up but they couldn’t have been motivated by safety – there has to be money involved there somewhere and I don’t just mean fines. The same ‘herberts’ that paint the 20 mphs’ all over the place would, I think, really rather simply paint GO AWAY on their roads. Ok we will and watch what happens to your high street shops then. It’s a pity cos. Coal-drop looks inviting and has some wonderful restaurants. We used the Lighterman. Not cheap but not a clip joint either and very good food and service. Like eating in the West End on a good day. When normality returns I would still have advise the railway to Kings Cross to get there even if it uncomfortable and unreliable, its really close and it’s much more difficult to get nicked on the train!
So if we don’t use our cars how do we get about. In their infected trains and busses or in cabs that could have had anyone in them? Not for me. You can’t cycle everywhere if you have equipment to carry. Use the car.
And while of the subject of automobiles especially new ones. Not this lovely GT40 that was built in 1969 and is entirely mechanical. It hasn’t even got proper window least of all electric ones. My Marcos (below in Red) is actually the same vintage but did have electric windows but nothing like a computer controlling so much as is it seems mandatory now. Furthermore it had an opening sun roof and I had been know to exit that way and so has at least one lady friend when she broke the interior door catch. These came from the days in the 60s when it was worth having a decent car and driving could be a really enjoyable experience. My neighbour across the road, a middle aged lady who’s husband died a few years ago and left her with a very fancy Mercedes sport which she clearly loves is in all manner of a pickle now. She didn’t take our advice to turn the engine over a bit regularly and of course all the electronic gismos and location, detection and stat nav. and parking assistance frills has flatted the battery. Pretty common in less than two weeks I am told for this model. Trouble is its got electronic locks too. No battery so not locks so she can’t get in to open the bonnet and re-charge the battery.
I used to enjoy driving and did a great deal of it. I had lovely sports cars in the 60s and I am glad I did because now it’s become a nightmare mostly because authorities would rather we didn’t do it. And why not? They say that they are reducing road traffic accident deaths. Well clearly by inference they will never be happy until it is zero. For that we will have to stop driving altogether. Point proved I think. Wonder if any of these clever dicks have come up with a plan to reduce Covid 19 deaths? No, didn’t think so They are not quite up to that. Just inexperienced, power crazed pen pushing graduates who in Bob Dylan’s words…’Have got knives and forks and have to cut something.’.
Lots of people finding out about flat batteries or will be soon when trying to start their unused cars. The RAC and AA must be rushed off their feet and that’s more person to person to contact. There is a lot more speeding about too what with the roads being clearer and looking like they might have in the 50s. Trouble is so many parked cars. I wonder how one goes about arresting a person nowadays and still stay 2 meters apart. Tasser them in the leg I suppose then drag them off by the feet using gloved hands.
I see the anti-motoring brigade are already encroaching onto more pieces of road with their wretched cycle lanes in the hope that when people start going back to work they will use bicycles. Sure, fine if you have nothing to carry and no tools whatsoever and even then only if you live in a sensible bike ride from your work – great idea. Trouble is that is only a tiny fraction of the working population and there is still a far greater chance of coming into contact with someone when riding a bike than when driving your vehicle. The motor car is the way. Try going food shopping on a bike!
It will be interesting reading this in years to come or even in a few months. The general opinion is that the situation is fluid. Well yes, as epidemics do actually have a habit of behaving strangely sometimes towards their latter stages. The 1918 ghastly Spanish Flu (so called, as actually it came from America) came to a very abrupt halt but that of course was in the days when the medical research was slight, medical procedures almost non existent and governments in complete denial. It just petered out. Sort of burned itself out. Could be Covid gives us a surprise but it has still got to rage through the third World first and then we have to stop it coming back to us again at that point. Its complicated and I must be one of the only people that believes this government has done a perfectly adequate job of balancing death with economy because they have to be balanced. The original estimates from scientists was that we in the UK would loose 130,000 persons. Well it’s a long way short of that so thanks! To Boris and Dominic. Yes even him.
We live in a ‘blame someone’ society. Its not possible to actually blame a virus although people could start by thinking about the Country in which this originated and their hygiene record and generally cranky eating habits like shark fin soup and ground-up Tiger bones as a ‘so called’ aphrodisiac. Everyone blames this government because they are the government. Please remember the NHS said that they were prepared for this before it came. I knew they were not but it seems they didn’t. You look at what happened in the USA and its identical to over here. They are blaming Donald Trump for playing it down in the early stages. What was he supposed to do? Big it up like the idiot media did over here and have the sort of food buying panic we were forced to endure. Governments are not in that business. Their business is to calm things down. All the separate states suddenly wanted Federal control and federal help with PPE supplies but they had been quite happy to want to go it alone until then without interference. What did the American public want, for Donald to sit there wringing his hands and telling them they were doomed. It’s exactly the same as with the so called UFO conspiracy cover-up. It’s blindingly obvious to any person who has done the smallest amount of research that beings from other planets have been here and are currently, interacting with us. (I love all that SETI stuff- listening for sounds from distance galaxies indeed!) It’s a load of smoke screen bollocks. NASA know, The USAF know the RAF know but of course the powers keep it as secret as possible and pour scorn and much more powerfully – ridicule – on those that disagree. I mean the history we understand is what we have been fed from early school. Not that we are most probably all part alien and there are scores of them about the place and have been on and off for tens of thousands of years.
Even you are already thinking – hello, Dave’s gone a bit cranky. Good – you think that. If the majority of the population knew what was true both in this situation and many others you would not have peace as you know it. Sadly ignorance is often not just bliss but absolutely essential for our sanity. Governments understand that – they aren’t trying to mislead you for the sake of it. Good luck and stop watching the skies, if they we’re coming for us they would have done it long ago.