A View From The Greenhouse (Putin-Mad, Bad, Or Just Being Vlad)

Not A View From The Greenhouse-Triggers Gate
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2022

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good” as the saying goes and it’s as true for owners of large glass structures as it is for anyone else. Since my last epistle we’ve faced another North Westerly which I’m hoping will be the last of the season. It isn’t the first time I’ve lost glass, but as the house gets older and the timber frame becomes increasingly rickety I’m never quite sure just how bad the damage is going to be. I needn’t have panicked though, there’s a level of protection against winds from the North West, all I can hope, now everything is replaced (after a fashion) is that we don’t get a strong easterly. That way lies open fields & potential disaster.

Through A Glass, Brokenly
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2022

On this occasion luck (if you can call it luck) was with us, to replace a roof pane correctly first you have to remove the pane directly underneath to allow access. On this particular section the wind did that job for us. Apart from this area there were two other large panes missing, but neither of them were roof panes. Dave, whose ghostly reflection (he’s camera shy) can be seen here had the lot back in within five hours. I didn’t wash the inside of the house last year, but seeing the new glass in place made me realise, as tiresome a job as it is for a rough gardener, it was nevertheless a job that needed doing.

Work, The Curse Of The Idle Classes
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2022

I’m guessing it has something to do with the humidity, but over time a green algae like film forms on the glass, I should wash it down every year, but I can’t always be bothered. Silly really, because once the gear is set up it only takes a few hours and the difference it makes, certainly to the quality of the light, is quite considerable. I decided to clean the glass prior to back filling the trenches, favouring the “two birds, one stone” approach, using the jet wash lance to water the muck as I went; I might be a rough gardener, but I don’t consider myself to be a stupid one (other opinions are available). Any road up, it took me an afternoon and a morning to get set up, the glass washed down and give the muck a second soak, before tidying up a bit and getting back to the real business.  You may notice I now have two forks, both with handles. Strictly speaking, the nearer one with the wider spread tines, is a “turning gripe” and not a true digging fork although I’ve used it for that purpose for a couple of years now after breaking the handle on my old digging fork. Mrs C has treated herself to a new fork and spade and I’ve confiscated the old one which should ensure I don’t bend the gripe tines when digging leeks, potatoes and the like, keeping it to turn the muck & the compost & hopefully getting many more years of useful service from it.

I Can See Clearly Now
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2022

Two panes of glass above the grape vine, the before and after shot. I’ve changed the support strings on the vine, they’d been in place so long they were cutting into the vine itself. This has allowed me to lower the vine a little and hopefully avoid grapes getting tight against both string and hanging wire. Had a chat with a fellow who also has a very productive vine. In the past, although I’ve cut back leaves I’ve been loathe to remove any fruit. This is the wrong approach. Accordingly (acting on his advice) I’m going to remove every third bunch once they’ve set, which will give me plumper, healthier and sweeter fruit. Although it’s more work, something I’m not always keen on, I’ll try anything once.

Phase One, Almost Completed
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2022

A Personal View- I’m NOT an expert on Global Geo-politics;

Even with having glass needing to be replaced and trenches needing to be back filled I often take a bit of time to reflect on the happenings in the wider world. I have to confess to being somewhat taken aback by the Russian military incursion into Ukraine. I’d heard the rumours (who hadn’t) and listened to the sabre rattling rhetoric but I hadn’t taken enough notice of what was actually happening on the ground (as it were).  Contributors to Going Postal aren’t strangers to some of the more bizarre happenings where Ukraine is concerned, over recent years it’s become, to my mind at least, one of those shady countries where, if you’re willing to associate with the most unsavoury characters, you don’t mind how dirty your money is, so long as you get a slice and you have the right political connections there are millions to be made, with few questions asked. The US political Mafia is deeply embedded there, as are, I suspect, the CIA and any number of other nefarious and deeply questionable organisations. The EU, expansionist wannabe Super State that it is, views Ukraine as a possible member to be exploited, but that’s what makes the EU tick. Alongside all this we have NATO being NATO and Vladimir Putin being Vladimir Putin.

Listen to Western MSM rhetoric and Vlad is mad. He’s insane, a crazy man without any scruples, a sociopath who’d eat your first born given half a chance and laugh while doing so. Whether Western governments are feeding this line to the media or not, it’s constant and it’s broadly similar across Europe and the US, and not unlike the “vaccine” message, at least in its relentless delivery of an unquestionable narrative that’s now slowly unraveling. He may be drunk on power and he may be blinded to reality by bought and paid for mega wealthy sycophants, he may even believe he’s got a kind of moral duty to protect Russian and Russians from what he sees as *the wilder excesses* of “The West” and the *puppet* government on his western border, but  I don’t think Putin is mad at all. Is he “bad” though? Unquestionably, he’s an ex KGB top dog who served as head of the Russian Security Service and who, since August 1999 has, through various incarnations as Prime Minister and President, ruled Russia almost unchallenged for nearly 23 years. In that time he’s amassed (allegedly) a personal fortune reputed to be anywhere from $70-$200billion. Not bad for someone who’s only ever worked for the state; the annual salary of the President Of Russia is currently around $125,000, so the annual bonus terms must be very good indeed. Russia has more than its fair share of billionaires, 118 or so at the last count. I have no doubt that some of them may even have come into their massive wealth by purely legal means, but I’m guessing none of them could have done it without at least the tacit approval of Vladimir Putin. Why wouldn’t they be inclined to show him a little appreciation for the odd helping hand up the greasy ladder of success?

Why invade Ukraine? Putin apologists would have you believe Russia invaded for any number of reasons; Ukrainian corruption & Nazism, creeping Western (decadent) influence, NATO/EU expansionism, The closeness of Zelensky to the WEF, and/or the US Military/Industrial Complex. Others contend it’s simply about protecting oppressed ethnic Russians in The Donbas region, who have always seen themselves, first and foremost, as Russian citizens. There is more than a little evidence that this region has seen some bitter fighting and also some so called “ethnic cleansing”. Russia, in any form, hasn’t been welcome in Ukraine for some years now, although up until 2014 (or so I’ve heard) this wasn’t a problem. People, being people, mostly just rubbed along together, whether they considered themselves Ukrainian or Russian. On the other side of the argument Western hawks would have us believe that the sole motivation is Russian aggression towards a weaker neighbour, for no other reason that Russia in general and Putin in particular feels able to undertake such an adventure with little or no recrimination, given the Russian perception (wrongly held IMO) that the West, and by extension Ukraine, which Putin sees as a puppet of the said West, is weakened and ripe for rolling over.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the wider political machinations, this “Special Operation” is, again in my opinion, wrong. I have no knowledge of whether or not negotiations had been entered into or if accommodations had been offered and rejected, but I don’t see how without believing Ukraine wouldn’t resist, anyone, least of all Putin, could expect to take over Ukrainian territory without suffering losses to his own forces, killing civilians either deliberately or “accidentally” and seeing maybe millions of people displaced, possibly forever. Put aside the chance that a wider conflict could well ensue, firstly as a “limited” Europe wide land war, which would inevitably, once a “loser” was confirmed, turn into a global (possibly nuclear) confrontation, none of the above offers any justification. The fighting should stop, Russian forces should withdraw and we should all be able to go about our daily business free from the fear of nuclear annihilation. It won’t though, the die is cast and whether Vladimir Putin is mad, bad, or just being Vlad, innocents will die, conscripted youngsters will go home in body bags, sanctions will be put in place and do little. Ukrainians will suffer, Russians will suffer, we’ll suffer to a lesser extent (in the short term at least) but the Oligarchs will still have their yachts and their dachas, Zalensky will still have (assuming he gets out) his ocean side Florida villa and, unless someone assassinates him, Vladimir Putin will still have Russia and, quite possibly, some or all of Ukraine.

There’s no ending to this whole sorry business that doesn’t include death, destruction, displacement and pain, it’s only a question now of how much. As usual, it’ll be the cannon fodder and the innocents that pay the price for that which Tony Blair, another Globalist ne’er do well, once referred to as “The Real Politik”. It may be true that what we know as democracy is dead and a new age of authoritarianism is approaching. There may come a time in the not too distant future when Oceania will always have been at war with Eastasia. Progress, eh?

A Pox On All Their Houses. 

© Colin Cross 2022