Susceptibility to Temptation

The dark jewel Temptation has the number 25 which means in effect minus seven or unwillingness to take any guidance. This is a seven year. If the planet offers us guidance in terms of ecological disaster we could listen, pay attention and try to find a solution. Or we could be tempted to do bugger all and carry on with our excessive luxury and consumption.

As a boomer I can say with a fair degree of likelihood that I will be dead by 2050. No male in my family has made it past 80 and I used to smoke like a chimney. I won’t be here to see the failed climate targets but I will experience the deterioration before I pop my clogs.

I believe the word “hack” is common parlance for finding a shortcut to at least temporarily “solve” a problem. They are good clickbait. Unfortunately, there is no hack, no shortcut for liberation and reduction in attachment.

In terms of life difficulties I am very sceptical about short cuts, am not interested in having advantage over others nor do I seek the lazy man’s way out. Very often the Elastoplast or sticking plaster “solution” whilst apparently expedient causes larger problems in the long term. Quick fix is an oxymoron.

There are some people who like, if possible, to find a low effort path. As a younger person I helped a number of people write their Ph.D. theses more than was perhaps appropriate. I was not in fact doing them a favour. They saw it as a quick fix and it was easier for me to help than to go thorough endless rewrites with them. Once you have written one thesis it is pretty easy to do others, especially in physical sciences.

There are others who instead of taking responsibility for their actions succumb to many excuses, the blame game and finger pointing. They imagine the world is against them and have a truly massive victim chip on their shoulders. “It is not fair mummy…”

Whilst is might seem expedient to succumb to the temptation of blaming others it rarely solves the character deficit such blame is meant to conceal.

Many people are very tempted by money, promised kudos and being all Kool and the Gang. If you look carefully, just like in cartoons, you can actually see $ signs rolling in their eyes in some cases.

The mutual backscratching, nod, nod, wink, wink, culture is seen as good business but it can mean yielding to temptation and evil.

“Go on old chap. You know that we are the best people to fulfil the PPE contract. After all we went to the same school as each other. I’ll return the favour in due course.”

The moral compass shatters when wanting to do a “favour” for a pal.

Temptation starts as the thin end of the wedge and in time it becomes normal practice. People can forget and grow ever more accustomed to doing dodgy stuff. People can become inured and tolerant of borderline illegal behaviours. They can find a whole host of reasons and justifications as to why it is kosher. The culture can become “infected” much quicker than many imagine. Academic bullying has been in the press. Is one supposed to take on the chin like a good little pleb? Cultural norms can be very unethical, tax evasion is OK provided that when you get caught you pay your fine, apparently.

Sleaze can become the “acceptable” norm.

I’ll make a postulate.

Anyone who is interested in power and power over is susceptible to temptation.

The type of mentality which seeks shortcuts and cuts corners can be easily tempted and swayed.

Those who are willing to put in a full and impeccable shift are less susceptible to temptation.


Are you susceptible to temptation?

The Throw Away Society

In  our current society there is a tendency to throw things away and that includes people. Jacinda Ardern has resigned, worn out, perhaps utterly knackered. These days there is not only the job to do but endless harping to endure. In the “wise” western world people are measured by things like performance metrics, requiring one to achieve more, year after year. This is especially true in “sales”. People “burn out” and are jettisoned to gardening leave or early retirement. Perhaps all they need is a year away from the hamster wheel. But no there are the young up and coming cannon fodder to feed into the hungry cogs of the meat grinder. So, they must trot off into the sunset.

And now dishy Rishi is suggesting that we entice the over 50s back into the work place. What for, some more metrical idiocy? More pissing up against the urinal wall? Once one has said foxtrot this for a game of soldiers, would one look to re-join the madness?

To my eyes this phenomenon of “burn out” is a symptom of the idiotic growth paradigm. People talk about growth but they forget that cancer is also a growth of sorts. In our case the “growth” eats the planetary and human resource at a tremendous and unsustainable rate. If capable people cannot sustain the effort demanded and required of them in the workplace, is it their fault or simply a systemic inadequacy? Is the frantic frenetic world it is my postulate that the current paradigm needs a radical overhaul. Hundreds of millions of people suffer so-called mental health problems because they find themselves at odds with the apparent demands of the throw away paradigm. Life is stressful if one is for ever measured against some arbitrary ruler.

“Is my cock sufficiently big to work in this august and noble company?”

I have met many people in and around my age, who remain very able and capable. Yet they have taken or were forced into, early retirement. They are societal jetsam, though materially comfortably off. All the young guns are free to make exactly the same mistakes as those who have gone before and who learned the hard way. That advice is no longer available, it is out walking its Labrador and is a regular visitor to the garden centre tea shop.

So now the young and thrusting will have to work until they are ~70 in order to pay the pensions and health provision of those who have been jettisoned early. Smart move, methinks. Dishy Rishi is of the generation that got rid of the likes of me.

People throw away those who do not conform to some rigid person specification made up on a spreadsheet and laden with bullet points. I have sat in interviews watching people check things off a list. I was thinking that these dudes are wankers and there is no point throwing pearls before swine. They were complexly unaware as to what was transpiring in the moment, fixated on their check list and unable to listen properly. They had never written a business plan which raised £5 million yet they were judging me on my entrepreneurial ability as per their omniscient spreadsheet.  Doh…

I thanked them for giving me the opportunity, they had no idea as to what I meant by that. They were oblivious to my nuance of tone. Autoproctology had them.

So, not only do we throw away plastic, we throw away people and talent all in the name of “Growth” which is in many ways an oxymoron. Stagnation of paradigm is not growth or change, it is stagnation. People do not evolve if they do the same shit over and over again…

In the Bleak Midwinter

The idea was to try to find some colour…

First primrose ~ 1cm across

My glamorous assistant Bowie the non binary stray cat.

Magnolia bud

Pretty in pink

Daffodils will be ready well before Dewi Sant..

Water drop at Traou an Dour

Toffee apples?

Kate Moss?

Daffodil soldiers standing at attention

A rose by any other name – starting to bud already!!

Vibrant violet….

Waste Strategy for England 2007 – Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Prompted by a news item on Sky which mentioned Dioxins produced by incinerators here is an article I wrote which was perhaps a tad prophetic especially concerning very small particles.

Many of the hyperlinks probably no longer work

Memorandum submitted by Dr Alan Taylor (Waste 33)

Yesterday’s Solution.

Executive Summary

Municipal Solid Waste-Energy from Waste Incinerators are an outdated technology that acts in direct opposition to the basic intent of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants because, they generate these. Alternative technologies such as plasma gasification now exist and the technology cycle for the development of these is now approaching maturity, perhaps providing a safer more local and hence lower transport burden solution. The in-situ monitoring of waste treatment and its pollution lags behind the technological need. Implementation is nearly always retrospective and stimulated by external legislation. This situation represents a commercial opportunity for the UK to provide a lead.  Should central government invest in research into, the development and commercialisation of high quality monitoring technology, then a business opportunity exists. Rather than looking to European technology providers central government could learn from the novel treatment methods currently being developed in the USA and Japan, by commissioning full scale plasma gasification plants. The lessons learned here would enable the UK to compete as a supplier in the international market place for waste management technologies rather than being a consumer.

The current climate represents an opportunity for the UK to provide a lead through, for once, legislating ahead of the EU. In the learning process of this it could create a long term commercial advantage.

Yesterday’s Solution

1.0 Background

In response to Buckinghamshire County Council’s waste strategy consultation a local campaign group was formed; the Aylesbury Chilterns Resistance to Incinerator Development (ACRID). A grouping of local individuals came together to raise local awareness of the implication of municipal solid waste-energy from waste incinerators (MSF-EfWI) and the citing of such a reactor in the beautiful Aylesbury Vale. Local people revisited the published literature on EfW and EfWI in particular. This submission is as a result of this research and addresses items 1, 2 and 9 of the Terms of Reference for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee examination of the DEFRA Waste Strategy for England document May 2007.

The author, Dr Alan Taylor is a former Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Imperial College and a founder of the high technology laser company Powerlase Ltd.

This submission is written on behalf of ACRID in his capacity as head of technology investigations for the ACRID committee and does not represent the views of either Imperial College or Powerlase ltd.

The committee’s attention is drawn to the following quotations:

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. [1]

Article 1


“Mindful of the precautionary approach set forth in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the objective of this Convention is to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants.”

Baseline Scenarios for the Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Programme.

Final Report (2005) [2]

“New Studies show that exposure to small particles (below a diameter of 2.5mm, PM2.5) is associated with substantially increased mortality, especially from cardio-vascular and cardio-pulmonary diseases. Present levels of PM2.5 in Europe are now estimated to reduce the statistical life expectancy in European population by approximately nine months, comparable to the impacts of traffic accidents. Thus, these newly identified impacts of fine particles by far exceed those identified earlier for ozone.”

2.0 Context

This document looks at one aspect of  the Waste Strategy for England, namely the use of municipal solid waste incinerators for energy recovery. Further it suggests that alternative and better technological solutions are already available and that, at last, high quality monitoring technology is becoming available and in a sane world needs to be implemented. Further, the need for the management of waste will continue and represents a commercial opportunity for the UK, should it choose to develop new technological solutions for in-situ monitoring of waste processing and waste management methodologies. As things stand the provision of large scale waste treatment plants is by non UK corporations who have a vested interest in supplying their own (out dated) solutions, thereby driving the waste management agenda in a direction that is favourable to their own commercial needs.

3.0 Background

We cannot simply keep burying our own waste and hoping it will go away, nor can we sacrifice valuable resources bolstering up the immediacy of our convenience culture; new ways of being are required.  In the limit of this, there can no longer be any waste. From a philosophical stand point any waste mitigation strategy that actively prolongs the production of waste, by assuaging the public consciousness; “Look we are reclaiming the energy from your waste so that we can all collude in its further production;” is bankrupt and at best mitigating and disingenuous.

World wide there has been great effort exerted into looking at solutions, with research in a great many countries highly active; looking at ways of improving waste management, environmental and health impacts. Anyone who expresses an opinion that all the parameters of MSW-EfWI are known, is making an assertion that is not based in fact. Quite simply the data set on the emission characteristics, process development and ecological impact, is incomplete. Further, governments do not get together to draw up legislation, specifically global legislation, unless there is a need.

Lest we forget, legislation is drawn up not to provide a safe limit for pollution, rather to lessen the impact through legislative limitation [3]. It is not a guarantee of safety, whether of not people choose to “spin” that it is; is rather, a matter of business expediency. Historically, the United Kingdom has always dragged its feet in respect to the implementation of such legislation either for incineration [3] or landfill [4], favouring short term business profitability over responsible world citizenship. Nevertheless, EU legislation is legally binding on partner states and more is on its way [5]. Retrospective implementation in order to comply with incoming and stricter air quality standards will have financial implications for those selecting out-dated technological solutions for the purposes of short term political gain. 

MSW-EfWI, a now ageing technology, always produces a spectrum of organic chemicals that are not present in the waste that is their feedstock; in addition it produces fine particulate matter. Thus these are man made or anthropogenic sources, which add to the local and global ecosystems and, damage them. MSW incinerators generically have a chequered history.

4.0 Legislative and Inter-Governmental Documentation

There are both European Union [4] and UK governmental directives [6] to reduce the usage of land fill, these are to be enforced by the introduction of land fill taxes. It is safe to say therefore there is international consensus that landfill is a bad idea. Therefore any process that adds to a landfill burden is suspect. MSW-EfWI still needs landfill.

The UK is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) essentially requiring it to cease production of these.

Because of the nature of the Chemistry of MSW-EfWI (discussed below) plants it is a simple fact that they produce poly-chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and various other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A great many of these are known to have highly toxic effects, some of which are long term and hence difficult to detect. As long ago as 1995 the US agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) published a detailed toxicology [7] for PAHs and in 1998 for Dioxins [8].  These documents began to establish a toxicological framework for ongoing discussions in these areas.  For comparison purposes they established a series of toxic equivalencies (TEQs) based on 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-p-dioxin which is the most widely studied congener. It is very easy to get caught up in the detail of looking at which compound has which TEQ and in doing so forgetting that one is talking about toxic equivalency, the language is explicit. This document [8] is the basis of many subsequent discussions and in the opinion of the author could benefit form revision and updating, it extrapolates from data and makes many generalisations the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) agrees that it is based upon assumption and yet is has become “gospel”.

Incineration produces POPs.

Within the island context of the UK, the government has drawn up, through the Department for the Environment  Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) a waste management strategy document [9] in deed offering a position statement that incinerators are safe [10]. A close examination of this demonstrates that it glosses over the safety implications of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) incineration. Presumably these position statements are based on a health report by Enviros Consulting (a part of the Mc Alpine Group). It is not surprising that third parties question the impartiality of such a report, given the links to the construction industry. This extensive document [11] published in 2004 discusses many aspects and in places also notes that the quality of the available data set is poor. The Royal Society review of this document is not entirely complimentary.

The DEFRA air quality guidelines [12, 13] (more recently published July 2007) is in a number of ways in conflict with the prior waste management document. This document cross references the World Health Organisation Guidelines [14, 15] and refers to the European initiatives mentioned earlier. It extends discussions into the realms of the environmental impact of particulate emissions, acknowledging the enhanced mortality such emissions engender.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) establishes that particulate matter PM10s, PM2.5s and ultra-fines (cause disease and enhance early death, there is evidence of growth defects and reduced IQs) [14, 15].There is world wide research effort into the impact of PM2.5s covering chemical nature, source identification and distribution patterns of same. The ultra-fines contain particles that are nano-metre in scale. The whole field of nano-toxicology is emergent and under-developed [17, 18, 19] as such represents the unknown.

What is clear is that this is a matter of ongoing research, worldwide.

5.0 The availability of information and governmental strategy.

Since the advent of the World Wide Web, we live in an age where information is, in principle, more widely available.  As such governments and large corporations are ever more careful in what they publish. In effect this negates any real dialogue; DEFRA itself in its own strategy document outlines the need to “handle” public perceptions. Protest organisations, at least in Western countries are free to publish whatever they wish. This proliferation (or deliberate non-proliferation) of information has lead to a situation where there is an acceleration of bytes (some of them sound) about the “facts”, and where consciousness is manipulated to fulfil other objectives. Not all the information published on the web is well researched and factual.

There are even conferences aimed at overcoming the negative perceptions of Energy from Waste [16]. This, under the guise of true consultative approach seems a little out of place. In effect unless one has access to recent research articles via a university library the general public is left to rely upon information provided {research articles cost as much as £30 each} as and when the government chooses, a rather strange implementation of the nanny-state in overdrive.  Further the detailed technical papers published by governmental organisation are written in such a manner as to obfuscate and cause loss of “will to live” in the reader, more specifically the lay reader. Jargon is as ever the coat of the chameleon seeking to hide half truths.

6.0 What is MSW incineration and hence EfW(I)?

In their simplest form incinerators are large ovens where waste is burned in an oxygenated environment. The chemical reaction between waste and oxygen is exothermic (produces heat) that can be used to heat water to drive turbines.  The feedstock for such incinerators is very mixed (heterogeneous) in nature, with varying calorific value. The waste contains organic matter and what chemist terms organic chemicals. These organic (carbon based) materials when completely oxidised make CO2 and H2O, incomplete oxidation creates CO. Unfortunately the reaction chemistry is not quite that simple, in that as a product of combustion various ashes are produced.

These ashes still need landfill and because of the concentration of toxic materials that results from these processes this ash needs to be treated as hazardous waste, requiring separate landfill or further treatment. Incineration produces POPs that were simply not there in the first place. Amongst these POPs, the PCDD/Fs are known to be highly toxic acting inter alia as carcinogens (they cause cancer) [8] and even gene switches. Because they are large aromatic molecules they are not water soluble, they localise in fats or lipids. They are subject to bio-accumulation (they get more concentrated in living things) and bio-magnification (when animals eat others with high concentration their own chemical concentration goes up, this can include humans). They are chemically quite stable and long lived. Governmental doctrine assuages public opinion by presenting statistics comparing the very locally produced pollution to overall national averages, in so doing denying any possible affect of localised clustering.

The track record of incineration is poor, the large scale production of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzo-furans (PCDD/Fs) was determined only in retrospect and reactor design has since improved to reduce flue gas emissions of same [20, 21, 22]. Some key factors have been identified and at certain temperatures the 300-450 °C these compounds are more easily made [23]. Very high temperatures are therefore needed to effectively reduce the content of these. They, POPs, are always produced. If process temperature is increased they are removed form the exhaust gases but concentrate in the resultant ashes. The presence of chlorine is needed [23] to make PCDDs, and all MSW has this and the content will depend upon the feedstock.

Because of new legislation emission limits on PM10s have been set and this has caused incinerator operators to put in place more rigorous filtering regimes. However this does not catch the PM2.5s and ultra-fines. A recent study [24] has shown that the particle size distribution depends on process temperature, with higher temperatures producing particles that range in size from a few nanometres to a few microns. The peaks in the particle distributions occur at ~40nm and ~2 microns. As a rule of thumb the smaller the particle the more likely it is that it is transported further and absorbed into our body.

These toxic chemicals and particles enter our body through three main pathways, we breathe them in, we eat or drink them and they are absorbed through our skin. The whole area of particulate emissions and their affects remains very much a hot topic [25-31], yet consensus remains that they cause morbidity and mortality.

7.0 Monitoring

The data set on true emission characteristics of MSW incinerators, Energy from Waste (EfW) incinerators being a sub set of these, are not readily available. In fact there is consensus that this is incomplete.  There has been progress in developing new on line monitoring capabilities [24, 32, 33, 34].  This is still research. In the absence of stack top monitoring and chemical assay of incinerator ashes, any quoted values are at best projections and at worst guesses. Surely, it is a simple requisite that such monitoring must be in place.

The quantification of human body burdens is limited in live beings and is only ever a snapshot at a given time, because living organisms absorb things and then after a time change them or pass them from the body.  Measurements of in vivo body burdens for humans is perhaps limited to blood sampling from live volunteers[35], the fat soluble PCDD/Fs/PAHs are found in assay, presumably from the lipids in cell membranes only. The author is not aware of any current methodology to measure particulate body burdens. Post mortem studies may yet provide an evidence base, by their very nature concentrations are static upon death and exposure histories can only (currently) be gained from indirect sources and via extrapolations.

Some indirect methods of monitoring are however proving helpful in clarifying long term exposure patterns. Researchers have recently looked at the possibility of micro-evolution due to toxic stress [36], bio-monitoring with lichens [37], genotoxicity with Tradescantia micronuclei [38] and uptake in peregrine falcon eggs [39]. Direct transferability of these to the human condition also remains somewhat of an extrapolation, though the long term natures of these bio-markers are proving insightful.

Governmental safety assurances are based on retrospective epidemiological studies from a number of localities for example [40-44] and are assumed to be directly and globally transferable.  Little acknowledgement is made of differing climatic conditions between sites and the absence of such studies in the UK, is very noteworthy.

Risk analysis[45,46] is based on average body exposures / loadings and putative emission characteristics quoted in comparison to mass burdens using the TEQ scale mentioned earlier and the whole  area is still generating research[45,46], whilst acknowledging uncertainty in the toxico-kinetic and toxico-dynamic models [47,48,49].What is safe to say is that the area is very much one of research and may lead to the development of a new area of human pathological endeavour in years to come, when the long term exposures effect in the population at large.

8.0 Technology Choice

Weber et al[50], discuss at length the concept of POP destruction technology in line with the intent of the Stockholm convention suggesting that PCB(Poly-chlorinated biphenyl) destruction facilities operating at 1100º C with residence times in excess of 2 seconds. Plasma gasification technologies operate in this domain rather than at the temperatures that synthesise POPs. They are used to treat POP rich waste from other sources.  Like all developing technologies there is a time lag between conception and inception; see for example [51, 52]

In a fast changing world it is interesting that there is so much emphasis(in the UK) on incineration, particularly so when facilities to produces fuel gases from waste are already operational around the world, for example the plasma gasification plant at Utashinai in Japan.  Secondary gas combustion is much easier to control (being of a homogeneous nature) and the high temperature processes do not create POPs; in fact such methods are used to treat incinerator waste prior to landfill. The technology cycle has now advanced. Perhaps it is time for the UK to look to the USA and Japan for guidance on how to handle waste for the future.  Arguments can be made about the volume handling of such gasification plants in comparison to MSW-EfWI, however might it not also reduce the transport burden if smaller more local facilities were built to handle local waste?

There is much development in the area of gasification (including plasmas) as evidenced by a recent conference [53], perhaps agreeing with the title of the document that incinerators are… Yesterday’s Solution. 

 Appendix 1 References

















17)  Ji et al., Inhalation Toxicology, 19, ( 2007), 745-751.

18)  Warheit et al…, Inhalation Toxicology, 19, (2007), 631-643.

19) Handy et al., Health, Risk and Society, 9, (2007) 125-144.

20) Liuzzo et al., Waste Management, 27, (2007) 106-116.

21) Geysen et al., Journal of Hazardous Materials, B126, (2006), 27-38.

22) Streibel et al., Chemosphere, 67, (2007) S155-S163

23) Takasuga et al., Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. , 53, (2007), 8-21.

24)  Maguhn et al., Environ. Sci. Technol., 37, (2003), 4671-4770.

25) Grahame et al., Inhalation Toxicology, 19, ( 2007), 457-481.

26) Grahame et al., Inhalation Toxicology, 19, (2007), 727-744

27) Freitas et al., Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physical Research B, 219-220, ( 2004) 153-156.

28) Schlesinger, Inhalation Toxicology, 19, (2007), 811-832.

29) Pongkiatul et al., Atmospheric Research, 85, ( 2007), 3-17.

30) Aboh et al. , X-ray Spectrometry, 36, ( 2007) 104-110.

31) Reff et al.,  Atmospheric Environment, 41, (2007), 4584-4598

32) Clarkson et al.,  Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 377, (2003) 39-47

33) Deguchi et al., Measure..Sci.Technol., 13, (2002), R103-R115.

34)  Binnig et al., Aerosol Science, 38, (2007), 325-332.

35) Reis et al., Chemosphere, 67, (2007) S224-S230.

36) Medina et al., Chemosphere, 67, (2007), 2105-2114

37) Augusto et al., Int. J. Environ. Health  210, ( 2007) 433-438.

38) Misik et al. , Environmental Pollution, 145, (2007), 459-466.

39) Malish et al.,  Chemosphere, 67, (2007), S1-S15.

40) Morselli et al.  Waste Management, 27, (2007), S85-S91

41) Abad et al., Chemosphere, 67, (2007), 1709-1714.

42) Grosso et al., Chemosphere, 67, (2007), S118-S124

43) Yu et al., Atmospheric Environment, 40, (2006), 96-108.

44) Schuhmacher et al., Environment International, 32, ( 2006), 397-404.

45) Paustenbach et al., Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 44, ( 2006), 249-261.

46) Nieuwenhuijsen et al., Environment International, 32, (2006), 996-1009.

47) Heinzl et al.  , Chemosphere 67, (2007) S365-S374.

48) Kerger et al., Chemosphere 67, (2007), S272-S278.

49) Charnley et al, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 44, ( 2006), 601-615.

50) Weber, Chemoshpere, 67, (2007) S109-S117.

51) Camacho, World Patent WO 97/08494

52) Raymond,  Canadian Patent CA 2339 457


700kg of Propane and a Tidy Up

It has been tanking in down on and off today.  So, I have taken the time to clear out my various email accounts. Some of these had archives going back ten years or more. These are now gone. Which means the email accounts should load quicker. It felt like more of a severance with things past and largely British.  There remains some correspondence with the Intellectual Property Office. If the patent is not granted then that is the end of that. If it is granted I can either pay or just say thanks and add it to my CV. Though it is extremely unlikely that anyone will ever need a copy of my CV again, with one exception and that being an application for French citizenship. A timeline of employment is needed as is a DBS check for UK. Maybe a few granted patents and academic publications may help…who knows?

During the week we had a delivery of 700kg of propane on our fixed rate contract. This should, thanks to global warming, see us through to April. We have two palettes of oven ready wood. At first pass we are good to go until November. I need to make a mental note to buy more propane and wood in the summer. We are not subject to gas price fluctuation until 2025.

We have asked for some more quotations for lawn mowing in spring. If these are reasonable then we can afford to stay here without eating into capital…

The wife in painting in the downstairs loo and the adhesive tiles arrive Monday. The decorating should be finished by the end of next week. The MOTs for the cars are scheduled for next week. This means that our routine start of year expenses should be over by the end of January.

The next project is this office. It will be ~ €500 for wall tiles to go on top of the polystyrene and ~€500 for the floor. There is about €100-200 worth of painting to be done. DIY is a rainy day chore.

We have started to economise on luxury items {wine} given that purchasing power is reduced. We find if we bulk buy meat then there are plenty of savings to be had. I know that the water in the well is drinkable if things get really dire with Vlad and his pals.  The spring offensive with the new Russian army if successful will draw NATO ever closer to war. If we are already sending tanks, what next?

Inexorably more and fancier resources are being sucked into the conflict…

“May you live in interesting times…”

River is High – More Rain Due

The puddle outside my “office”. I will go and get the water pump for the basement / vide sanitaire. There is already some water in there.

Le Jaudy is about 15cm below the footbridge, we are due another 1 cm of rain today…

It is hacking it through from the mill, le moulin…

It is a bit freaky standing on the bridge with the torrent underneath…

Les soldats are bending in the wind…

Looking downstream, it is a good job they removed the fallen tree otherwise it would be backing up…

Is the “world” we live in making us happy?

The answer is a big fat no.

Societal pressures, the obsession with photoshopped and filtered images and smartphone addictions are seemingly driving us “crazy”. To my eyes rejecting a way of living which makes us miserable is in fact sanity. If people are being shoe-horned into a broken society no wonder they are unhappy.

I worked in pastoral care for a while and if I was still doing it and read this article from the Independent below, I would be pretty damn concerned. This suggests that 1 in 4 youngsters are estimated to have a mental health problem.  Can the purveyors of SSRIs keep up with the demand?


It comes as recent NHS figures showed that 25 per cent of 17- to 19-year-olds are now estimated to have a mental health problem – up from 17 per cent last year.

In an interview with The Independent, Ms Cordery warned: “I was talking to a [NHS trust] chief executive the other day who was telling me their sense that what’s happened to mental health over the last few years – in terms of people suffering with these conditions and disorders – is like a parallel pandemic. I would agree with that assessment.”

“We’ve really got to address the significant, unmet need for mental health care”.

Mental health issues “flew under the radar” as the NHS battled the Covid pandemic, she suggested, and since then there has been a rise in the numbers requiring help and accessing services.

“And those are just the ones we know about,” Ms Cordery said. “The situation we have to worry about is the people who haven’t come forward for care.”

She also warned the problem could worsen as the cost of living crisis risks exacerbating mental health problems.

The crisis is predicted to have two consequences. The first is a rise in the number of people who experience mental health problems for the first time, while the second is that some who already suffer will find their mental health decline.

Rosena Allin-Khan, shadow mental health minister, said: “Demand for mental health treatment continues to grow, with many patients, including children, languishing for days in emergency departments, waiting for a mental health bed.

“The government simply doesn’t have a handle on the crisis. Without access to timely treatment, mental illnesses only worsen.”


Is there really a mental health problem or do we need an entirely new societal paradigm? If 25 % are deemed as having a mental health problem, who is doing the deeming? What are the metrics?

What happens when 51% have a mental health problem? Who will be in charge then?

Earlier this year we had Truss chanting the free market growth mantra. That went down like a lead balloon for the markets. The trickle down effect sounds like the aftermath of a risky fart when one has diarrhoea.

It is all so very old and dated.

The argument that a pay review body is “fair” to the unions is a manipulative attempt at spin and misdirection.  

Patrician: we have set it out so that everyone gets a “fair” share. Now settle down and be a good pleb…

Plebian: yes, massah, thank you for being so kind and magnanimous.

It is a bit Orwellian. “All pigs are equal; some pigs are more equal than others, don’t you know old chap.”

Fact It is impossible to sustain infinite economic growth on a planet of finite resource. The growth paradigm is illogical and unsustainable. This is particularly so as resource will need to be redirected to mitigate the destruction incoming due to climate change.

A good way to address the so-called mental health problem is to admit that the current societal paradigm has stopped functioning, it is broken and not fit for purpose.

It needs replacing but I don’t know with what as yet.

Stopping trying to shoe-horn people into the old ways is a good starter for ten.

2023 Numerology and Tarot

In these difficult times, here is my first pass at 2023.

The first sensation I get is one of angularity, of points and spikes.  A jarring even.

23 is the dark jewel of destructive behaviour. 3 is the jewel of mixed abundance, need for creativity and joy. 2 + 3 = 5 is the jewel for the need for freedom and change. All in all, this is not a round smooth setting. The triangle and the pentagram. If the pentagram is inverted, we have 23 or minus 5, oppression, no freedom, no change.

Things will get worse and we need to find some joy in the mixed abundance, good and bad, 3.

This is probably a safe bet.

2 is the jewel for humility and understanding {need for}. One needs to listen to and follow what is written in the book of destiny. Where there is no humility fate cannot unfold smoothly.

I often think of 2 as the book of karma. Karma must unfold. The effects of the causes will manifest and bear their karmic fruit, whether we like it or not. It is unwise to try to resist karma. Otherwise, more karma is caused.

For some reason I don’t feel le mat or zero active here. It, he, is more of a place holder.

Overall, 2023 is a seven year. Here the two horses on the chariot are pulling in opposite directions. There is a need for guidance as to which course to take otherwise there will be a destructive parting of ways.

Seven is also the number of the dreamer and the dreamed. The dreamed {personality} needs to take guidance from the dreamer, the Soul. A willing and humble acceptance of said guidance will allow a moving forward. Failure to listen to guidance means getting stuck, entrenched even.

In this sense guidance could mean listening to the planet also. We are currently having a “once in a lifetime” event in the USA. Pakistan has been submerged. There may be an increasing frequency of these so-called once in a lifetime events. The planet is talking to us!!

The feeling I get from Le Chariot for 2023 is not one of accepting guidance, though. I think that the crown, self-importance, will play out and there will be more cleavage and division in the world.

2022 did not manifest as a plus 6. The old remains. No choice between the old and the new was made.

Similarly, I fear that 2023 will not manifest as a plus 7. There will not be forward movement. This suggests that the stalemate in eastern Europe remains or even escalates. If the 23 comes fully into play, it could be very bad news indeed.

23 could manifest as a 5, freedom and change. I don’t see the seed, the germ of that at the moment. It is more like a pope of old keeping people stuck to the status quo.

First pass…

Indoors Chores and 125kg of Propane

The temperature outside now is a whopping 5˚C and it has been raining on and off since 6 AM. We are due in excess of 30mm in the next 24 hours and will be basking in 12 degree heat soon.

There is no chance of any gardening so my minging gardening combats are soaking ready for a wash with my pungent t-shirts. There is a small gap in the rain and shortly I will chop the wood for tonight.

I’ll do some of the floors with the groovy French designed mop and set up my world famous chilli ginger mango and melon pig in a pot to stick in the oven whilst the world cup final is on.

During the cold spell we used about 10% of a tank of propane which equates to ~125kg or ~2840mol giving out 6,3 gigajoules. That sounds like a lot of energy.

We made ~ 8500mol of carbon dioxide or 375kg of greenhouse gas. That sound like a lot!! That is nearly 4 Alan’s worth of mass…

The 2025 Council Meeting

According to the Tibetan the council of the planetary hierarchy are due to “meet” next in 2025 to decide on the next steps to be taken, both in terms of the externalisation and what influxes humanity may or may not need.

When the Tibetan was “writing” after the war there was a great deal of optimism and indeed in terms of mass education humanity has come a long way since then. There have also been retrograde steps. {In my own opinion this obsession with image and mendacious PR blurbs is very retrograde. People are self-harming with tattoos and unwarranted plastic surgery interventions. The obsession with the form side of life has deepened and this obsession has a vice like grip. The obsession with sex and sex-toys is counter evolutionary.} Humanity remains bellicose and punitive.

If you were the planetary hierarchy together with the planetary logos, what would you think humanity might need?

I would think that humanity needs to be severely shaken by the shoulders and slapped about the face so that it wakes up to reality and stops squabbling and being so darned petty, arguing the toss about trivia.

According to the Tibetan there are already numerous initiates incarnate and it is through the likes of these that the council might have physical plane eyes.

The timescales of the hierarchy differ and are of much longer term, the vision is centennial plus.

What do think the hierarchy should decide upon when it meets?

What energies might it unleash…