A lot has been said this week about David Cameron’s speech on Europe. I didn’t hear the speech, only extracts chosen by reporters with their own agendas to advance, so I downloaded and read the whole thing. France’s Foreign Minister, Laurant Fabius, compared David Cameron’s plan to the UK joining a football club, then announcing it “wanted to play rugby” instead. It seems more to me like the UK joined a football club, and the club leaders decided to play rugby instead, without consulting its playing members. What the British people want is what they joined – a free market, not a political and monetary union; a trading group, not a superstate. That is, in essence, what DC’s speech said. I wonder how many of the political and press commentators actually read the speech (full text here).
Another big thing in the news this week was a potential increase of 4p on a litre of petrol which, according the the retailers’ association, is not justified by the recent change in wholesale prices. Those would only add a penny or two to the price of a litre. It has been suggested that a lot of the movement is due to the profiteering actions of speculators. Nothing new there, then. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I always think that if a speculator makes £20 million on a “deal”, someone has to lose £20 millions, and that is usually the man in the street, who is least able to carry the loss. Much of the movement in currencies seems also to be based on speculation. The markets (speculators) becoming uncertain (whether they can make a fast buck), so the relative value of a currency goes down. This is often based not on facts, but on leaked rumours. David Cameron said that the EU needs to reconfigure itself in order to remain competitive and relevant – a sentiment apparently shared with a few other leaders of EU Member States – and, once it has done that, the British people will be asked to confirm whether or not they wish to be part of the reinvented Europe. Some speculators, reporters and politicians see that as offering to the British people an opportunity to bail out of Europe, and appear to conclude that Britain will spend the next two or three years preparing to do just that. One result of that particular jerking knee is that the value of our monthly pensions has dropped by 100€ over the last three weeks. Thanks again, guys! It’s a good job we are working to lose weight.
That, at least, is going well. I am now 100g (3½oz) above the point where my BMI moves from overweight to healthy. Once there, I shall be within sight of my ultimate goal. Reaching that weight is the easy part. The hard part will be staying there.
Part of the new routine involves the use of instruments of torture. We started with one in the front room, which we used occasionally and, having acquired a second, we put them both in the annexe, where they were left well alone. It’s too cold in there, and we have no other reason to go there in this cold weather. I have now moved them up into the study/studio/playroom, which I have reconfigured to make space for them.
This is a room in which I spend a lot of my time, and which is usually warm, so it is an ideal place for them. I have placed a music stand in front of one, on which I can place my iPad and watch television or films whilst torturing myself.
My only worry is that, during the warmer months, the study becomes unworkably hot. As Status Quo once said, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!
All of the snow I mentioned last week had melted by Monday afternoon, and things even started to warm up a little – until they realised what they were doing, and promptly went sub-zero again. A small sprinkling of snow arrived on Saturday morning. It had all gone by lunchtime, but we did have a pretty sunrise.