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Bits of Belgium
and Bits of Britain
Footsteps on the Bluff
July 20, 2017
Best wishes to Senator McCain for good future health.
Double whammy: The ten members of a family who lost their lives in a flash flood near Payson where I have my summer home are from Cave Creek where I live.
July 6, 2017
We are again coping with excessive heat, BUT we have the monsoon arriving this week. That always makes for a nice change, seeing water instead of dust.
June 21, 2017
Coping with excessive heat, we desert rats are glad to know that this is the longest day of the year.
June 19, 2017
We are still under an excessive heat warning.
June 6, 2017
There's at least a little good in all people and at least a little bad. It's been my experience that a person is never all bad or all good. What gives our president the authority to label someone a good person or a bad person? His or her actions might be labeled. And, I don't trust our president's judgment anyway... but millions do.
May 26 2017
Our president has had some self-inflicted embarrassments since the last time I wrote.
I am eagerly anticipating life in the high country since we've already hit triple digits on occasion here in the desert. Life is slower up there, and by design I've kept it simpler while having all the mod-cons that make it easy.
February 5, 2017
220,000 people enjoyed chamber of commerce weather yesterday at the Phoenix Open.
January 31, 2017
My daily dose of Vitamin D was eagerly soaked into my body as I spent a spell outdoors in this Chamber of Commerce weather. Rabbits bounded everywhere as did quail; overhead, finches flitted about in pairs. I eventually went inside because it was getting too hot on this last day of January.
January 30, 2017
I like to give things a chance to turn out good, but he's so bad there's no fixing him.
January 26, 2017
Business took me to central Phoenix for the first time in many years. The drive though chaotic streets with pedestrians and angry drivers reminded me of when I first came to the Valley. It was much smaller then—annexation wars of 1986 having swelled the population—but it seemed like a metropolis to me. Now I know it to be mostly a collection of small towns, like Glendale and Peoria, thrown up against big cities, like Scottsdale and Tempe. Most retain their individuality. I remember thinking that I never wanted to live in a city. I moved to the good life of Cave Creek.
January 24, 2017
Overheard: the mechanic in our family complain that he had to swap out the steering rack and pinion on his car. It seems it had a lifetime guarantee but lasted only 8 years.
January 22, 2017
I think for many people, reality is not meeting expectations.
January 19, 2017
Another nice thing about a rainy day in the desert is the altered weather report. The forecaster actually has excitement in her delivery. Often I suspect the station of using a looped tape.
January 14, 2017
The Whole Town's Talking is an atypical take by Fannie Flagg on cemetery inhabitants before they move on to another afterlife. Shenanigans and daily activities of live people are communicated through conversations of the deceased and newly arrived deceased between one another. Of course, they are helpless to change the course of history because they are dead.
This is an easy read and it is entertaining.
January 13, 2017
Friday, the 13th:
Sad news is that the famous Leas Lift will close permanently due to shortage of funds to fix the brakes. Many a time I have clambered down the zig-zag path for a stroll along the English Channel, then lift myself back up to the Leas. It is easy for me to suggest that philanthropists help them out, but I can't give the £80,000 either. It will be moth-balled, protected as much as possible in case money becomes available in the future.
January 7, 2017
So one of our fighter planes dropped an engine during training. Don't they check these things when they screw them on?
January 5, 2017
Yesterday I received a first-class letter that was mailed from Scottsdale seven days earlier, so it must be that the cold and snow back east is delaying local delivery. But still, even with holidays, a week to cross the Valley?
Simple but extremely tedious are my tax returns, which is why I prepare the information now for my accountant. He can do the small accounts early. I am deep in the heart of taxes. ♥
January 3, 2017
Used clothing, we have long known, does not get the second-life we intend for it when we donate to dumpster charity. Most of it does not go to other people who need it and will recycle our clothes that are clean and donated in good condition. They are instead bundled off to a paper factory and proceeds then given to the charity. The best way to donate used clothing is to give directly to the shop that sells it, if you don't recycle with your family or friends. (I loved hand-me-downs as a kid.)
What is astonishing are the numbers reported for other consumer goods, like electronics and small appliances. In this day of e-commerce with free return postage, people often order two or more items and then decide which to keep. The returned item usually does not go back into stock. The retailer has to decide to restock, liquidate (to a dealer at a loss) or to scrap the item. Often scrapping is the most cost-efficient. So there go our landfills in billions of acres just for holiday returns.
Even if we do not order in multiples, the items we do return seldom make it back to the store.
I like the convenience of on-line shopping, but perhaps we should rethink the free return policy. Ground delivery services (Fed Ex, UPS, etc.) may have shortened hours but retail stores may start hiring again. I realize there are other social and environmental issues to consider, but this could save a little of our planet for future generations.
January 2, 2017
Coyotes arrived to scare off the pigs. I get an early warning system from the rabbits: they all vanish when hawks and coyotes appear.
It's hard to transition my thinking from bucolic environments like my own to world travel life. There is a world-wide warning in effect and although some countries like the UK and Canada are relatively safe to explore, there is still the threat of terrorist strikes. How depressing from the world the way it used to be, or was, in my experience.
There are links to our state department and other valuable sites on the home page. Don't stop traveling, but be cautious. Travel is good for the soul.
January 1, 2017
On this first day of the new year, I have a sense of optimism that most people experience as nostalgia of the past season dissipates. All things good and fresh is what this day dictates.
A herd of javelina spent the season under my mesquite tree. It grew, as I now notice a little pig that's on the nipple.
John Grisham's The Whistler was a good read I finished today. It took me a couple chapters to get into the plot because it is heavier material than the fodder I read on the run. He definitely weaves an intricately-researched story that is believable. The reader learns a lot about how casinos can launder money and how they can corrupt people easily.