Backing out of Europe

Yes, I know it’s been a long time since I posted anything but life has a habit of interfering with the best laid plans. However, the recent vote by the British people to leave the European Union and the situation the country now finds itself in, with many who voted saying they have changed their mind, is one I can not let pass without comment.

Let me say, upfront, I consider myself part of the European community. I am Cornish and have seen first hand how the EU has benefitted the county I was born in and own a business in. I was privileged to be part of the bid process when I worked for the Labour MP who campaigned tirelessly for the funding in 1999. I also benefitted from the jobs it created, becoming a business researcher in an agency specifically set up with EU funding to support and promote small businesses within the county and to find markets for them abroad.

I cannot believe the political naivety of the current leader of Cornwall Council saying that he would like assurances funding will continue to flow into Cornwall post-Europe. Why did he not ask that question before the referendum? He could have avoided making himself, and my county, a laughing stock in the media and allayed the, very genuine fears, now apparent in the Cornish community by having an answer, even if it was one we didn’t like. Wales also want to keep their handouts.

Anyone who truly believes that politicians keep financial promises post-election (tuition fees, Mr Clegg?) is, in my opinion, in need of a strait jacket.

Those celebrating “a very British coup…all over by teatime” have overlooked the fact that the reason sterling stabilised its position in the market by the end of trading was the plan to input £250bn into the economy to keep the UK afloat.

The NHS isn’t going to get any extra funding. The Tories want it privatised.

Immigration isn’t going to fall. The Leave politicians have already back tracked. Our borders are not going to be any more secure. My husband made the comment that there was no need to cut border services during our membership of the EU. Successive governments (of all colours and relevance) have used EU membership as an excuse to save money on our defence. At any time our borders could have been secured simply by not cutting budgets and reallocating monies saved to vanity projects designed to get the government of the day re-elected.

Has anyone considered our electricity, gas and water services? Last time I looked a lot were in the hands of foreign companies. Do they get bought back? Renationalised? Compensation anyone?

A farmer was quoted as saying we won’t need to import food from the EU as the land is there to be farmed. Really? How much did the farmers receive in subsidies? How many have taken the easy money by selling farming land for housing? Remember how long it took for the UK to get back in its feet after WW2?

The only interest group, that I can see, that had legitimate reasons for voting leave is the fishermen, who have very genuine reasons for not liking, or trusting, the EU. Their problems have been severe and should have been addressed long before this. I stood for Labour Party selection to contest a seat for the EU Parliament in 1998/9 and the Common Fisheries Policy was a subject that was brought up time and again. Why could a better deal not have been negotiated over the years? Are we going to see a return to the “Cod Wars”?

I appreciate and respect the fact that so many older voters elected to vote leave. “Taking back our borders” “Jobs for the British” “Back to the Britain I grew up with”. But the “green and pleasant land” is no more. The past is a distant country and one that the young have no interest in replicating, living as they do in the globalised world.

Living part-time in Spain has given me a more global outlook. I was despairing when the Leave politicians cut down Obama for his very honest answer over the future of trade relations between the US and UK. What do we, as a country, have to offer? We are more reliant than ever on the “special relationship” which isn’t looking so special anymore, now that we have paid off our post-war monetary debt to them.

Our Spanish friends have been bewildered by the actions of the U.K. The media have been genuinely baffled by it. And this from a country that still hasn’t got a functioning government,

Looking at the country now, with the nastiness apparent between the different sides of the referendum, I feel that we are entering a very, very dangerous phase politically and socially. Already there are signs of racist behaviour towards the Polish (very good friends during the war, if anyone cares to recall, hard workers, great people), who will be next? The Jews?

Boris Johnson quoted from the film “Independence Day” to support his campaign. Let me add my quote from the same film: “We all hope that you are as clever as everyone says you are”.

 

 

 

Winter Solstice

“And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.”
― Susan Cooper

Contrasts

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The photo above was taken at 8am on 31st October and heralded a wonderfully warm and sunshiney Asturian day.

This photograph however, taken just a few days later, shows how quickly it can change! image

Tomorrow we are setting off for England.

The Girl Dog has been de-ticked and wormed (much to her disgust), the bags are packed, the house is clean and friends farewelled.

It’s always hard to leave but needs must as dinero has to be earned and commitments fulfilled, plus we get to see The Daughter and The Youngest for Christmas as well as catch up with good friends (lunch is already booked with the BF)!

Sadly, our little Boy Dog, won’t be making the trip back as he died, very peacefully in my arms, in September. We miss him so much.

However, one of the best parts of leaving anywhere is the coming back. Spring can’t come soon enough!

Climbing the Picos

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For anyone interested in exploring the wild beauty of the Picos de Europa by rope and piton please take a look at ROCA VERDE an epic bi-lingual book on sport climbing in North Western Spain by Richie Patterson. It is the result of two and a half years of hard work and research on the part of Richie, his partner Mary and their son Jack and deserves a place in any sports climber’s library.

Mary also writes a witty and entertaining blog about their life in Asturias bringing up their young son. It is also well worth a visit on http://www.asturiandiary.com

 

Visitors!

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One of our local boar –  the first of many summer visitors….

Don’t you just love having visitors? I never realised how much fun sharing your home with family and good friends  could be! In the UK we have always been so busy working and bringing up the kids that opening up our home to guests was something on the to-do list for the future. Now, the future is here and it’s fun!

First up was The Daughter who surprised us with a short visit, very spur of the moment, just like her actually. She’s having a bit of a hard year trying to find halfway decent employment after finishing her degree. At the moment she is in the local shop working and beginning to feel a little downhearted. However, after a week of mommy nagging and being daddy’s little girl (again) and talking to her big brother she has decided on teacher training. The decision is one that has been rumbling around in her head for a while, helped along by talking to her ex-deputy head from school, who has said he’ll support her application. So fingers crossed for September.

The next set of visitors were my cousin and his wife. I remember the last holiday we had together as kids…he was 6, my brother 5 and I was 10 and it was a fortnight in a caravan at Polzeath with our mothers. All I really recall is my aunt getting stuck in the caravan window for some reason and if I think too hard about it I may remember more than I want to!

Anyway, it was a great week. They had hired a car (a long story which I can not repeat as the company in question does not deserve any publicity, good or bad) and visited most of coastal Asturias including, Llanes, Ribadesella, Tazones, Cudillero and Luarca, coming back each evening with riotous tales of getting lost, misunderstood and well fed at numerous little places they had found on the way.

Next up is our neighbour here, he’s going to be staying for a couple of weeks whilst his place up the road is rented out. He’s a great bloke, a little eccentric, but good fun. The dogs adore him.

We are making time this year for the odd little jaunt as well. We’ve already been to León on the bike. That was a good time. We got lost at the entrance to the city and ended up having a police escort into the centre – loved it. The police were so nice (and cute). We were going to make it a two centre weekend with an overnight stop at Burgos. However…the road we took from León, although signposted for Burgos actually stopped, dead, in a pile of haybales. Seriously. Perplexed we turned off onto a smaller road hoping to find another signpost but….after another 100km we found a singpost for Asturias and came home. The actual ride was fantastic, up and over the Picos, flipping cold though.

We are trying again next week. This time taking the road to Santander and then down towards Burgos. It should be there.

Himself is celebrating his birthday today with an adventure in the mountains around Pola de Laviana. I have just had a text saying he has absolutely no idea where he is. I may have to send up flares.

 

The gardeners are in…

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We are trying out a new gardening company…Maureen and her son Buster. Aren’t they fabulous? She is so friendly and loves to  start the day having her head scratched between her horns. He is a little darling who is overcoming his shyness.

Girl Dog is not impressed as they are impeding her tractor chasing duties!