The Trail of the Lonesome Pine

November 15, 2021

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They say plant a tree to save the planet. Fuck that, have you seen what they do?

Look at Greece, California, Siberia, Australia – Mental. All burning. Fucking dangerous things trees. Chop them all down and make loads of bog paper and guitars I say. Something we really need.

When trees are not spontaneously bursting into flames and burning down towns, they drop leaves everywhere. All over the place. Clog up your gutters, pile up on pavements so all the bloody kids kick them about. Fill up your garden pond. Blow on to railway lines and stop the trains in the UK. Trees are clearly a serious and deadly liability.

Then there’s squirrels and birds and all the other critters that live in them. Causing a nuisance, making a noise when you are trying to sleep, pecking at stuff. Burying nuts, digging up bulbs. I bet they are all toast now.

I went to Greece once, loads of pine trees – they really burn, just explode. Lots of retsina too. They serve it chilled in clear square-shouldered glass bottles, running with condensation. Much like Newcastle Brown Ale bottles. Very similar result. Gives you a banging headache between the eyes after about eight pints. It was a nice place Greece, very laid back. Bleedin’ hot and lots of fish in the restaurants. Not flopping about all over the floor or trying to get served at the bar. On the menu, proper fresh, local caught fayre, cooked to your liking. Usually with chips and rice. I can never get my head around that double carb’s thing. Like having salad and boiled carrots.

They say the ancient Greeks were streets ahead of the rest of the world. Inventing stuff, theorising, navigating about the seas, mapping the stars. All due to the ubiquitous shellfish diet, being on account of a million miles of lovely coastline, living on a string of islands and shellfish being very good for development of the old thinking department.

The trouble with advanced civilisations is they always go tits up. Probably a lesson to be learnt there, history can teach us a thing or two, it’s not just dead people. The Greeks just got too chilled and fucked up. Took their eye off the Drachma. While we were down the mines, in the mills, sweating and bleeding, sticking little boys up chimneys and polluting the planet, expanding the Empire on opium and tea, the Greeks were fucking about on pedalos and eating squid in the sun, fiddling with bouzoukis. They just got left behind. Can’t go very far on a pedalo.

One sunny morning I watched my neighbour working from home in the height of lockdown, hoovering her patio. Too many leaves I think. Not one of those leaf hoover things, I hate those, use a yard brush, don’t be so idle. No, this was a proper hoover, like a Dyson or, well, a Hoover. Which reminds me – read Our Man in Havana – that’s about hoovers. So, vacuum in one hand, glass of chardonnay in the other, phone wedged on the shoulder. I’m not sure why anyone needs to hoover a patio at 9.30 a.m. She should have just cut all the trees down, no leaves to bother about then. Much cleaner. Conversation went like this, all one-sided from my point of view:

“Furlough. Fur-low. Jesus I don’t know how you spell it. Look it up. Google. Well do you want a job or not? I don’t care and you don’t speak Polish anyway. Are you mental? ‘Course you have to come into work. No, it doesn’t mean time off. Well they are all scroats, that’s the trouble with this country. He should have learnt to fucking swim then. Money for nothing. I don’t give a fuck what Boris said. He couldn’t run a bath. Eighty percent. That lard boy’s never worked for a living. No ‘course not fuckwit. 8.00 a.m. Keep your hair on.”

Guess that’s what working from home’s all about in the HR department. Then she went back to the hoovering. I was trying to think of anything good to come out of the pandemic. Being known for my positive outlook, not wishing to tarnish my image. At least we had the fall from grace of Matt Twatcock. Cummings will see them all boil in oil before long. Hopefully.

I couldn’t come up with much. Apathy. Where was the British spirit? Remember the poll tax riots? We were having none of it in those days. Now it’s “wear that mask, don’t go out, stay in” Oh, ok then, will do. Control, fear in the masses. We don’t want the NHS overrun – it should not be in a state to be overrun in the first place. NHS says any old face covering will do in their official literature.

Just imagine a surgeon – “Sorry I’m late team, couldn’t fine any damned PPE, that Hancock is a right knob. I’ll just pull this old tee shirt over me snoz – everyone ok with that? Good, carry on then.”

The PPE fiasco reminds me of something to do with parachutes in Catch 22. I think that was set in Greece.

So, positives. Unless you were mates with a Minister or MP and got awarded millions in a contract as a middle man, to dabble in something you knew nothing about, all I came up with was pavement tape and stickers – Amazing. Just where did that come from? Imagine pre-pandemic, trying to get something to stick to a dirty, rainy pavement. No chance. Now it’s everywhere, stand here, stand there. Arrows, lines, signs. The Velcro of the pandemic. Brilliant.

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