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OK, I may have lied about the normal bit as I’ve no idea what normal is nowadays – especially in the UK as it seems to lurch from political farce to economic crises and back again – unless that’s the new normal? Having returned to the UK from Greece early Sunday morning the pair of us are still trying to find our feet after two glorious weeks on Rhodes, insulated from much of the madness that’s struck the UK of late. We made the conscious decision not to have a wifi connection in our hotel room so that we could largely detach ourselves from the world and social media, to enjoy reading and playing music instead of being glued to screens. That’s why you’ve seen few blogs from me.

It worked a charm and helped make the holiday – as it actually felt like one. Neither of us had been to Rhodes before although I know Greece well, having spent a lot of time there in a previous life. I really enjoy the country for a variety of reasons. Partly because of its history and geography but also for the friendliness of the people. Oh, the sunshine helps too. Enjoying October days where it’s wall to wall sunshine with temperatures in the high 20s does make a difference to one’s mood! Of course, nowhere is perfect and the one thing I was disappointed to see was the way roadside litter has become a problem. Most of it seems to be due to plastic, especially plastic discarded from vehicles. Roadsides are strewn with empty water bottles and cans. It seems people can’t bear to keep waste inside their precious cars until they can dispose of it properly.

That aside, we really enjoyed our time exploring Rhodes or just relaxing by the hotel pool. Normally my travels are more about exploring rather than ‘chillin’ but both of us felt the need to do just that. It’s made being back in the UK harder as now we’ve got to ramp up into ‘normal’ life – juggling lots of different balls (and feeling the pressure). There’s also the added strain of coping with the economic shambles that the UK’s become thanks to the present Government. I’m having to get used to empty supermarket shelves, expensive items and constant price rises again. Today I popped into the local Lidl in Sowerby Bridge to buy a few tinned goods and a couple of bottles of beer. Before I left the beers were £1.09 each. Today they were £1.29 – an 18.3% increase. I noticed the same swinging increases on some staples in Tesco yesterday. I dread to think what I’d find if I compared many 2019 supermarket prices to those of today. It’s painful. Add in the effect of the disastrous economic policies of the short-lived Truss government and many people are faced with a financial shitstorm – even those who would once have considered themselves ‘comfortable’. God help those closer to the breadline.

I’ve tried to steer clear of political comments recently, mainly because the stream of invective I could type about the dogmatic and opportunistic shit-show that passes for the Conservative party nowadays would probably get me banned from WordPress! The Johnson government was bad enough, but the Truss administration, dominated as it was by the ideological headbangers of the Taxpayers Alliance, Institute of Economic Affairs and the other rabid occupants of 55 Tufton St – along with the party within a party who calls themselves the European Research Group took ‘shitshow’ to another level. The irony was, these ‘free marketeers’ were so ideologically hopeless it was the real markets that saw through them and their mad plans, leading to the collapse of ‘Trussonomics’ and the further weaking of the UKs economic credibility which had already been damaged by their last ‘big idea’ (and big lie) – Brexit.

Let’s not be under any illusions. The root of our political and economic problems lie with Brexit because it was Brexit that normalised lying on a vast scale. The promised ‘sunny uplands’ of Brexit were always a mirage and always unachievable. So, it’s supporters had to lie about them – and have never stopped lying since. Now lying has become second nature to them. Admittedly, to some of them (yes, you Boris Johnson) lying was always second nature! The depressing thing is how so many of those who were lied to still believe in the lies, despite all the evidence that’s come to light since.

And now we have yet another Prime Minister

Having failed to get elected just a few weeks earlier, Rishi Sunak has managed to make the grade, but hardly down to his own talents. He owes his position to the utter uselessness of Truss and the fact that egotistical bag of custard known as Johnson was so arrogant, he thought he could just swan back in and MPs would rush to welcome him back. He failed, so he lied – as he always does – pretending he’d reached the 100 MP threshold and was stepping back for the ‘good of the country’. The other candidate (Mordant) never stood a chance as the right of the party couldn’t agree who to support. So, Sunak got the job. Only now his troubles are just beginning.

In recent years the Tory party has been taken over by entryists from the far-right, from UKIP and groups like Britain First and the BNP, all of whom signed up as members (and boasted about it too). Johnson exacerbated this by throwing out of the party many old ‘one nation’ Tories like Ken Clarke. This means there’s a significant number of Tory members who will never support Sunak for one simple reason – the colour of his skin. Oh, they try and dress it up by pretending it’s because he ‘betrayed’ their blond-haired boy Johnson, but they’re letting their mask slip on social media. Here’s an example.

This guy spent all day spamming Twitter with the same message. The ‘come back Farage’ bit rather gives the game away too…

Meanwhile, Sunak’s not helping himself by his wooden performances at the lectern, his empty slogans – or his choice of appointees. In his speech he talked of ‘compassion’ and ‘integrity’ but as I write this I find he’s reappointed Suella Braverman as Home Secretary – a woman who hasn’t an ounce of compassion and who was sacked only a few days ago for breaching the Ministerial Code! Another dud is Dominic Raab, the intellectual powerhouse who never appreciated the importance of Dover to UK trade! Christ on a bike – Labour must be clapping their hands in glee at this! The next set of opinion polls could prove to be very interesting indeed…

Right, let’s move on from politics as I can see I’m going to be returning to this shit-show more often in future as I need to let off steam before I explode…

Now we’re back my nose is against the grindstone once more. I’ve not been blogging as I’ve been scribbling for a living. Part 1 of my round Britain trip for RAIL magazine will be published on the 1st November. I finished writing part 2 today, and hope to have part 3 submitted next week. In the meantime I’ve other jobs planned. Tomorrow evening I’m back on the road and heading to London as I’ll be visiting a High Speed 2 construction site early on Thursday morning, so expect a couple of rolling blogs as part of my travels. I’m looking forward to being able to blog again, it’s a form of catharsis for me and I hope it’s entertaining (and even informative) for you, dear readers.

So, until tomorrow I’ll leave you with a picture from our Greek travels. Like many Greek towns and villages the wonderful medieval town of Rhodes has its fair share of feral cats, which often pop up in the strangest of places. Here’s one, pretending to be a Gargoyle!

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