Lock-down’s not working for me

I have had the worst start to the New Year.

I reside in a building that is plagued by bad plumbing problems. As soon as it rains above the normal, which is just a little bit, my drains block either my sink or my bath.

It takes the landlord then around a week or more to unblock it.

My kitchen waste gets through the same waste pipe as my bathroom waste and as the bathroom pipe has been blocked by upcoming silt, I am totally unable now to

  • use my washing machine or diswasher if I had one
  • have a shower/bath
  • use my kitchen sink

as all my waste water from kitchen and bath, come out in my bath tub.

The idea of lockdown is that you spend time at home and do not use public bath and shower facilities. Unfortunately for me, I can’t use my personal facilities either. I have been getting a lot of excuses.

Just wondering how is it furthering public health if people can’t wash properly at home?

My landlord says they do not have the necessary staff available to deal with repairs in good time.

bank’s negativity

My online banking has asked me to allow them sending me messages about account movements.

But, yea but no but, they only sent me the outgoings. The balances they predict only contain negative messages. E.g. your balance is nearing zero. Yet, where is them calculating in my predicted income.

Fact is my online banking messaging system does not include income scheduled.

Of course every proper capitalist does not have a guaranteed income. Every income is the best one can hope for in a positive outcome.

Just reminds me when I deal with the current Chest Hospital development situation.

Crest Nicholson had dire financial problems in 2009 alongside other developers like Barratt. That just brings home that those, being part of the private finance initiative, need to make money to survive. They cannot rely on a backhander from government reserves, they need to built their own reserves.

Chest Hospital remains boarded up, but since the planning permission has finallyl been granted, perhaps something is going to happen sooner rather than later.

So it makes me smirk at best when those complaining about profiteering from private developers say that they (the developers) want to make a profit.

But the council house building has also hit rock bottom.

So what do we do? Do not build any new houses because there is no money for councils to built them? Do we just let areas rot away and leave humans to sleep in tents in the streets?

Private house developers do build homes for those earning lots of money but if we do not allow them to build homes and refuse their homes because we only want council houses then we just do not get homes.

Well, that depends on the government that is currently in place and this creates the political and financial climate.

My stance has always been, allow a private developer to built on the former Chest Hospital site rather than just let the site rot away, allow rats to become cosy in the old buildings and help protesters feel happy about having prevented a perfectly sensible housing development.

Who wants to live next door to rotting buildings and smelly old hospital amenities?

Some protesters even came up with the issue of light. They argued that the Chest Hospital development would take away the light on neighbourhing houses. Yet, they completely forgot that we have in excess of 150 mature trees in only one estate next to the site and those trees take away considerable amounts of light from residents already there. So where is the argument?

It’s really a spot of bother if Resident’s Associations want to prevent others from moving into their area. How can they ever develop a positive relationship in the community with the push away attitude?

It’s always easy for those already in a home to say to others they are not entitled to have one.

Yes, the protests may have improved the quality of dwelling offered by Crest Nicholson but that has only pushed up the price to those who already have lots of dosh.

Whilst in the meantime the poor people have to put up with being put into former commercial offices, which have been converted to bad quality homes, the Chest Hospital protesters are only concerned about the quality of housing offered to those with lots of money.

Emotional conundrum

whilst I do a few blogs, I explain another time, why I can’t write about everything on the same blog, I get the most followers on this blog. On this blog I write mainly about personal things.

I spend a lot of time watchng detective stories and listening to the radio at the moment.

There is one for the trick box. Whilst radio channels mainly tell us how much we need to be close to others to be happy, the Covid-19 brigade tell us that we need to be apart. Hence we get a new lot of demonstrations around town.

Whilst now even the police describe themselves as a family, when one of them sadly has been killed in the line of duty, I watch detective stories from around the world. Anywhere from Sweden to Australia, the motive for crime is almost always the same, it’s emotional.

Even material greed is based on emotional need, the need to control others through wealth and property.

So I decided to listen to chat radio channels instead of lstening to music that asks me to get a partner or be unhappy forever.

Now on LBC this guy, sorry I’m bad with names, he goes on about right-wing bloggers who spew out conspiracy theories to keep Trump in. Trump, the King of Fake news.

I just ask you all to be more analytical to prevent emotional mechanisms to take over our lifes and encourage us to make bad decisions.

Of course we all have to live within the given rules, the rules made by those who rule but that is the same everywhere.

We all have to put up with a load of nonsense just to get roofs over our heads and food into our mouths.

Probably that’s why I watch so many detective stories because most detectives actually want to find out the truth. Unfortunately detectives only come into play once someone’s gotten murdered. What we really need are life detectives who try to find out about things truthfully without anybody being killed first.

But governments who are in charge of us do not have the knowledge or the power to turn things around. They can only administer.

A skills-based win

Apparently my business skills and economics, business based set of qualifications, gained in various specialist schools both in Germany and Britain and my great ability to do accounting, are probably responsible for my most recent win of a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman.

I have run my own business for 10 years. I had been a company director.

They were just finding for me because they obviously looked at the accounts of the local social landlord e.g. council and from the accounts they could determine what had and had not taken place.

There is always room for basic logic to be successful in many walks of life.

UK v. China

The latest diplomatic row is merely based on the territorial dispute around Hong Kong. It makes sense to discharge the Extradition deal on that basis. The UK can hardly be expected to extradite protesters from Hong Kong, which fled to the UK or associated territories.

I just don’t like that the discussion gets based around policies to do with repression of populations in China.

Both China and the UK have policies to reduce population growth.

China houses people but doesn’t allow them to have children, whilst the UK doesn’t house people and allows them to have children.

On my council estate a lot of the 1-bed or 2-bed flats are occupied by single house buyers. Those flats would have been allocated to young mothers or young families who were given a start in life with their children.

As these flats were taken off the social housing register by selling them, we have in effect made it impossible for poor young couples with children to get social housing as easily as it used to be.

Also people who bought a small flat, let’s say 1-bed, they then decide to have kids. The flat soon becomes too small but they work in a town. They cannot sell the flat and buy a bigger one in the same location. They cannot move away without losing the job, so they are trapped in that small flat with children.

Yet the bedroom tax does not solve those problems, yet some Labour politicians do not argue to get rid of it. Overall the decision to sell council flats was the worst decision ever made. Removing the pool of council flats restricted choices for most.

In effect Chinese and British policy has a similar outcome. Only difference is in Britain if you manage to get rich, you can have as many children as you can afford whilst in China, they restrict children to almost all but now rural populations.

There we have the class inequality again that two-class sytem is alive and well in Britain.

As Tony Blair is just as enthusiastic about Margaret Thatcher as Boris Johnson is, the consensus of stopping the poor in Britain from having kids is not just in the domain of the Conservatives.

Hence Labour does not have a policy that is defending the poor to have equal rights for all, so for many, there is little point in voting for Labour.

Where is the love?

photo of baby breastfeeding

Photo by Cleyder Duque on Pexels.com

Could not help chuckling pleasingly when Camilla Parker-Bowles announced that she looks forward to hugging her grandchildren.

Good on her. I suppose it is easy to get to know the grandchildren when their parents actually involve the grandparents into the process, e.g. like

  • getting to know partners of children prior to marriage or conception of grandchildren
  • regular visits
  • communications that are meaningful
  • Family of grandchildren live a meaningful lifestyle and are responsible.

I hardly see any of my grandchildren. I have not met my daughter’s partners prior to them moving in together. I have not been involved in the process of decision-making, e.g. what is best for the child.

Nowadays the modern families change quickly, e.g. partners change, the family set-up is no longer the same as it was, but, people really need to communicate to keep family members up to speed, so that all know what is going on.

I would not even want to dictate what kind of a family my daughters want to form but it would be good to be kept informed and be involved.

I would want to see that my daughters make responsible decisions. Like

  • Have they got housing
  • Do they have an income
  • Are there plans to improve the quality of life and how
  • Do they raise their children positively
  • How safe is the relationship they are in? Do I approve of the partner?
  • Will they keep me up-to-date with developments e.g. pregnancy, childbirth, getting to know the grandchild.

Unfortunately I had non of this. Some of my grandchildren live in Wales and I am not allowed to see them because my daughter there is afraid I could get social services involved.

Some of my grandchildren live in Scotland but my daughter didn’t introduce me to her partner until the day she moved out. I then went to visit in Scotland and had to ring the council there because their whole communal backyard was filled with rubbish bags. I went to visit a couple of times but since then my daughter split up with her partner and now replaced him with a snake and a dog.

I hardly get to see the kids. They do not contact me via Facetime or any other form of chatting to talk and get to know each other.

Some of my grandchildren live in London and I have not even known that my daughter decided to break up with the partner of her first son. My daughter then gotten into deep trouble with domestic violence with another partner. The latest new partner I did meet occasionally but he has changed beyound recognition since I first met him. He used to wear neat suits and looked like he jumped straight out of a dressmaker’s window. Now he wears tracksuits and sports a liberal beard.

I had not met my newer granddaughter till my daughter suddenly announced they are coming round for Christmas and of course they expected presents.

I made everything nice but the grandchild was very much afraid of me because she had never met me. The last time I met her she only spoke to me when I asked her what gifts she wanted for Christmas.

Otherwise I received abusive and threatening phonecalls from my daughter.

From that I can deduct that breastfeeding and not smacking children doesn’t make them more sensible. My youngest daughter is the only child I breastfed for a long period of time and one of my children, which I never smacked. Yet, I get insulting phonecalls.

I think the concept of grandparent needs some involvement so that everybody is on the same page. Grandparents are not just gift suspenders whenever people think they would want to come round to collect them.

I think that grandparents should means-test their gifting. And not just give because somebody has a grandparents on a birth certificate somewhere.

 

 

Energy consumption

india_fuel

India uses the most fossil fuel

Use of any type of energy, that is produced with the effect of carbon emmission will contribute towards global warming.

If we reduce energy consumption in whichever shape or form, we’ll do good for our planet.

Lets look at cooking for example. It makes a huge difference whether we use gas, electric hobs or induction.

I have realised that induction hobs use considerably less energy than any other form of cooking.

Yet what makes is very difficult for most people to actually get the latest white goods to instal in their kitchen is to have the facilities to do so.

My landlord for example, is a social landlord. They make a kitchen available and that kitchen has built in units with a facility for an built-under double oven and hob.

The measurments however are so tight, that it would not accommodate the standard of goods available in the market today.

The kitchen was made to accommodate a double oven and a gas hob or hob that doesn’t sink into the work top below the work-top level.

Now most work-tops quite thin.

Induction hobs tend to sink into the oven space and take about 2 cm away, which makes it impossible to fit into it any standard double oven.

Yet, when I asked my landlord about altering the kitchen unit the accommodate the latest energy saving cooking method, they refused, telling me that I just have to get what I can fit into the space provided or make an application to alter the unit myself.

The problem with altering any type of standard kitchen unit from a landlord, means they make you responsible for the maintance of it, and that piles on a cost, which otherwise tenants would not have to pay.

So all in all using the most energy friendly form of cooking is being made impossible by inflexible furnishings, provided by landlords and owners who do not want to facilitate change because of the cost.

Landlords should be made to provide flexible fittings, which accommodate any new technology, to make life more environmentally friendly. Instead they only supply, olf-fashioned, often wood-chip type furnishing.

Still I installed an induction hob anyway, I just will have a problem finding an oven that fits into the space below the worktop.

I have a space of 68.5 cm, which is too short for a double oven and too big for a single one. My landlord doesn’t care.

It’s a similar story with energy provision in homes via standard electricity and gas central heating systems, all provided by landlords to tenants.

Social landlords do not by default instal solar energy panels on the roofs of their buildings, they do not yet provide plans to change heating use to underground heating extraction.

cooking with gas

blaze blue blur bright

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are calls to phase out gas central heating systems and the use of the utility alltogether.

Years ago, I decided to instal a built-under gas cooker in my kitchen because it gave me a choice. I didn’t solely rely on electricity to cook my dinners. Yet, the price of gas is going up from next year.

Apparently, as I experienced the maintenance of the internal gas burners on ovens is very hard indeed, if not impossible.

Having gas appliances in blocks of flats is a distinct increase of risk for the whole block. And whilst I am very responsible and get yearly gas checks from the landlord – yes I am a tenant – I feel increasingly uneasy about using gas for cooking.

it is an added responsibility.

Even though, in the past experience, electric ovens tend to break down regularly, needing replacements, which are not cheap, electric cooking seems the better option overall.

Mind you, we have a lot of options to cook nowadays we have

  • Microwaves
  • Air fryers
  • Ovens
  • hobs

still the regular flat has kitchens, which are designed to hold an oven. Whether it’s free-standing or build in or under, it is the heart of the kitchen. Most kitchens have lots of cooking options.

It has become a habit and one probably doesn’t realise it but some people only have microwaves in their tiny flats and many also rely on eating out because of job placements and sheer convenience.

But, whilst I can afford to change my cooking facilities, there are many poor tenants who can’t and perhaps landlords should take it on as a reponsibility to phase out gas cookers for people and replace them.

Often tenancy conditions do not include the cookers in kitchens. They are solely the tenants responsibilities. Those are some of the very practical headaches people phase in daily lives, which hardly get a mention in the press.

Home

black bicycle parked beside white wooden chair

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

There is an event when the press reports that the Queen goes to Balmoral or reports are in the press about the few people rich enough to own near palace homes and those are the people we assume to be happy with their homes.

multi colored castle

Photo by Reignnel on Pexels.com

Yet, there are also former luxurious abandoned homes of those once rich enough to buy and build them but not able to keep.

Most of us live in average, often too small homes. The younger we are the smaller the home. I used to live in a 2-bedroom flat with 7 people.

Home seems a simple word but it can be quite difficult to be happy in it. We spend usually as much as possible to make it comfy. Buy the broadband, phone lines, heating systems; insure it, decorate and furnish it.

But living in it, is often quite difficult. It depends whom we share with and how much we can have respect for ourselves and those around us and make it work on an amicable basis.

Some people want to spend as little as possible at home and go to fitness centres for showers for example. Whilst those are closed, they will have to use their own.

green leaf potted plant

Photo by Shvets Anna on Pexels.com

Home can also be a boring place when our hormones and instincts want us to mix with others and make friends. That introduced a whole new industry of the caffee house culture and that bohemian society is largely responsible for most of the protest movements we know to cause uproar around our towns.

There is always a cause and where there is a cause there is somebody making money from it. Whether its a church or a club, political party, society, somebody holds the strings, collects our cash and gets us involved in activities around it. Almost every association outside of our homes has become a cashcow for somebody or groups of people. (Apart from some countries where memberships of some churches is compulsory).

Whole new industries evolved around the cafe culture, supply chains have specialised around it.

Staying at home also stifled the travel industry considerably. Those frequent flyer clubs are now so useless.

photo of couple standing on road

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

We need to reflect and examine our consciouses and think whether our causes actually are useful for more than just making friends and getting that next cosy lay. Some protest movements are no more than meeting places for people who want to find a reason to make friends.

I moved home a lot simply because I was bored when I was young.

Do our protests really achieve anything spectacular or do they just get us out of the house and help us make friends.

business car daylight door

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Governments can come up with new viruses each year, so carefully examine what strategy to use next for making friends.

 

 

 

 

trees as weapons

trees can be a force for good or for bad

As a good force they capture carbon and keep it in the wood they produce. For that to happen a tree has to be 20 – 30 years old and not be allowed to rot be destroyed otherwise.

A bad side-effect of trees can be that they can destroy buildings either with their roots (subsidance) or branches if they are too near to buildings.

Remember Zac Goldsmith, former Tory Mayoral candidate, he wanted to tear down council estates and replace them with newer private buildings.

The government has now promised to plant thousands of new trees and people have to watch out that they do not use them to destroy existing council homes.

On our estate, Tower Hamlets Homes has planted two large tree species, Silver Birches, which reach a height of about 15 meters and get huge crowns, very near 2 council houses, in fact within 3 meters of the building. Tree saplings are allowed to sprout along the whole length of the building. Those trees should be planted 10 meters away from a building.

Not only will these trees take away all light from residents, they will also destroy the guttering and external decorations of the buildings and their roots will cause subsidence as our summers get dryer each year.

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Picture copied from a BBC article originator WildBlue Media, channel 4

We are not supposed to accept trees just because there is a hysteria about earth warming and a climate emergency. We do not want our homes to look like that do we? Down the line our culture can disappear under trees. Good for the planet though.

Council estate residents have to be alert to the fact that some councils may plant trees to near to council buildings to destroy them, so they have an excuse to tear them down. If you have residents associations who are tree huggers mainly you cannot rely on them to do something about it.

Our homes are the priority. We do need trees to support us, we need to plant them in appropriate locations.

 

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