Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It's OK for Pensioners to Carry on Drinking

The recent report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists suggesting that us oldies should cut down on our alcohol consumption has been (politely) rubbished by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, based at Boston University's Medical Center, which suggests that there is a strong case for us drinking more rather than less.
A blogged summery of the report can be read at The Register, or the formal version can be read  on the Boston University site.
Boston University points out that 
"Epidemiological studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption, may reduce the incidence of certain age-related neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease."
and that
"Scientific data are consistent in demonstrating that quality of life is better and total mortality is lower among moderate drinkers than among abstainers."

The key point is in the conclusion
"For healthy moderate and responsible drinkers, advice to reduce or stop all alcoholic beverage intake would not be in the best health interests of such individuals."

But I did say previously that I didn't consider Psychiatrists to be real doctors!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Muslim Harassment of Funerals.

It hasn't happened so far in Britain (or if it has, it hasn't been reported in the media), but in Holland, their latest problem is the harassment of non-Muslim funeral by Muslim youths.
Klein Verzet reports that Muslim youths approach a funeral and if they discover that the deceased is a non-Muslim, they bang on the vehicles of the cortège shouting slogans like "Another dead dog", and them harass the vehicles all the way on their bikes. The Dutch MSM apparently plays down the matter, but it is happening with increasing frequency, and for some reason the police fail to take any action.

I just wonder how soon before this starts to happen in Britain, and whether our police will be equally inactive. My reaction is that they will probably arrest someone from the EDL for trying to prevent a "legitimate gathering".

Sunday, 26 June 2011

E. coli - is Organic farming the cause?

The e-coli outbreak in Germany was initially blamed by the German authorities on Spanish cucumbers, and only subsequently was it admitted that cause was bean sprouts, and most likely those being grown on an organic farm in Bienenbüttel south of Hamburg. (See report)
Now the French have a similar problem, except that in this case they are trying to blame seeds from a British supplier.. However the company says that they have supplied hundreds of thousands of packets of these seeds throughout France, and this outbreak is more likely caused by local contamination. In any case, the seeds came from Italy!
This view is confirmed by Professor Hugh Pennington, a microbiologist from Aberdeen University,who said contaminated sprouted seeds tended to cause an outbreak of E. coli every year. "The seeds, the beans are contaminated when they're being grown - perhaps they get some animal urine on them,"

I would argue that one possible cause could be organic farming, and in particular organic fertiliser. I have always tended to be suspicious of the claims that organic fertiliser is better than chemical fertilisers, and I have never managed to taste any significant difference between organic and non-organic food which couldn't have been attributed to the freshness of the product.
So what is organic fertiliser? In my youth it was the droppings from the milkman's or greengrocer's horses; if it happened outside your house you rushed out with bucket and shovel to collect it for the vegetable plot. These days, my understanding is that some comes from sewage plants; certainly before I retired, I frequently saw tankers from the Thames Water sewage facility adjacent to Heathrow spraying the fields of nearby farms. Now Professor Pennington claims that e-coli could come from animal urine, I just wonder what might come from organic fertiliser.
Incidentally, it seems that the EU (including Britain) is to pay Spain compensation for their losses resulting from the initial German claim; I wonder what will happen if, as I suspect, the French claim is also wrong.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Should we trust drug research?

Yesterday, there was extensive cover in the media of a report that common prescription and over-the-counter medications could give rise to various problems if taken in combination. There was no indication as to which combinations could cause problems as it is clearly not practical to test every possible combination. This report was clearly of concern to Mrs EP, in that she takes two of the prescription drugs mentioned. Obviously a visit to our GP is now in order. Add to this the fact that she has been told to avoid grapefruit as it is known to "strengthen" the drugs leading to the possibility of the equivalent of an overdose, it becomes clear that our knowledge of how drugs work in combination with not only other drugs, but with common foods, is very limited.
Today it is reported that Britain has been hit by a five-fold rise in cases of measles. Could this be because the measles vaccination is only offered as part of the triple MMR vaccination? Although Andrew Wakefield's research has been rubbished by the UK medical authorities, the main complaint against him seems to have been the manner in which he got blood samples for his research, rather than his actual findings, and it is clear that many people are still very wary of the triple vaccine.
This latest report concerning combinations of drug will only add to the concerns in the eyes of the general public Should one have vaccinations (of any kind) if one is taking medication? What real research has been carried out into combinations of vaccines?
Fortunately, the problem doesn't concern me personally at the moment; I've managed to reduce my regular medication to just 3-4 units of alcohol per day!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Nationwide Building Society

I have some money, laughing called "invested" in the Nationwide Building Society. So, as usual at this time of year, I have received the usual bumf about their AGM, and have the opportunity to vote for the directors, their pay, etc.
Now I know they are required by law to send this to all their members, but what I don't understand is why they feel it is necessary to have incentives to encourage me to vote. As there is no choice of directors, the board recommending that one votes for all the candidates (well they would, wouldn't they), I can't see much difference between the vote for Nationwide directors and elections in the old USSR, except that I won't be sent to Siberia if I don't vote.
Perhaps I should vote against the Remuneration report; to me £650K for the Chief Executive of a Building Society seems a bit OTT, but this would simply be a waste of time as the Society encourages their members to put one big cross in a single box at the top of the form to indicate that they are in favour of everything, and I suspect that this is what most voters will do.
Meanwhile their claim that "With no shareholders our only focus is on you" seemed a bit hollow when I discovered that my ex-TESSA investment was paying a mere 0.5% interest. No, like all other financial institutions they focus on giving a good starting rate and then decreasing it as fast as possible and hoping that the investor doesn't notice. I foolishly didn't, and have now invested the money elsewhere.
Perhaps, if anyone at the Nationwide reads this, they might care to point out which of their investments cannot be bettered by someone going to a bank or other financial institution which has shareholders.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

View from the Kitchen Window

Mrs EP took this photo through the kitchen window a couple of days ago.
We've never seen two woodpeckers at the same time before.

Another loosing battle!

According to today's Daily Telegraph,

Asked whether Britain could afford to help the[Greek] bailout, Mr Cameron said:  "I absolutely don't believe we should.   "I don't believe that we will and I shall be fighting very hard to achieve that at the European Council this week."
As Cameron has never won any of his fights with the EU, I can't see him winning this one.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Alcohol Zealots

The Daily Mail today

Unfortunately we don't only need to be worried about religious extremists!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Let's Tell the World!

As I remarked in my previous blog, I've just returned from a couple of week's holiday. As usual, we only told people who had a "need to know" that we would be away.

Going for my daily stroll in the nearby woods, I met an acquaintance who lives a couple of streets away, and who, by co-incidence, had also just returned from a holiday. The difference was that he returned home to find that both his and his neighbour's houses had been burgled in their absence.
It seems that his teenage daughter had used Facebook, or something similar, to tell all her "friends" that she was going for two weeks holiday abroad and that she'd just been with mum to take the cat to the cattery as the neighbour who usually fed her would also be away at the same time! Even so, he seemed very reluctant to accept that this could be the reason why the burglar chose these two particular houses.

It seems that Common Sense is a commodity that is in short supply these days, and not only amongst teenagers.

Missing Children

I've just returned from a two week cruise around the Baltic and have been busy catching up with the news and blogs.
One of the first that I read was Christopher Booker's article on missing children; not those who disappear like Madeleine McCann, but those taken into care by councils and who effectively disappear with no-one knowing where they are and with parents, relatives and lawyers all being unable to gain access.
However, I was beaten to the post by Witterings from Witney, who obviously feels the same as I do on the subject.
I always thought that the Laws relating to Habeas Corpus prevented this sort of thing, but it seems that our Social Services are using the Children's Act to avoid such minor technicalities! In the case cited by Christopher Booker, the child has effectively been abducted by the social workers of Haringey, who, as we all know, are notorious for having failed to prevent the deaths of Baby P and Victoria Climbié.
Christopher Booker points out that under the Act
“The responsible authority has a duty to endeavour to promote contact” with the parents and “any relative, friend or other person connected to the child”. In particular, parents must be allowed to see medical or school reports relating to their child. The law also insists that, if children are old enough, they should be allowed to appear in court to express their wishes. None of these things has happened. 

Where have all the Human Rights Lawyers suddenly disappeared to?
Surely the Human Rights of the the parents, the grandparents and the child are all being infringed. What about the "Right to Family Life" currently being exploited by every failed asylum seeker?
Let's hope some honourable legal person comes forward and finds a way to get this case to court for a full hearing.