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Monday, 31 July 2017

Centenary of Passchendaele commemoration should not be about a woman in a hat.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/834858/Kate-Middleton-Prince-William-Prince-Harry-news-battle-passchendaele-royal-family-latest

Kate stuns in white as Prince William leads Battle of Passchendaele centenary service.


Kate marks Battle of 100 years since Passchendaele
A woman in a hat.
It is not often that I agree with the "Fleet Street Fox" Susie Boniface, but last night on the Paper Preview, she got it absolutely right. 
Yesterday, the The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the official commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.The newspaper today, almost exclusively, carry many photographs and video's of them meeting other dinatories, shaking hands, looking serious or smiling for the cameras. I have not yet found any photographs of the Tyne Cot Cemetery, or the  Market Square,in Ypres, or  the Last Post ceremony which has taken place every evening since 1928 at nearby Menin Gate, or the parades and falling Poppy leaves or any of the thousands of other photographs which must have been taken in Ypres yesterday. The front pages of practically every newpaper reduce this poignant event to, as the Fleet Street Fox put it, a story about a woman in a hat.

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Fleet Street Fox.

 
The third battle of Ypres began on July 31, 1917. They called it Passchendaele.

John Yates's photo.                         John Yates's photo.






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The Last Post is sounded inside the Menin Gate in Ypres






New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 30 July 2017






The third battle of Ypres began on July 31, 1917. 
They called it Passchendaele.



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Good morning everyone.

Why is it that so many people start a sentence with the words "I mean" or "Well, I mean" ?
Is it just another Americanism that has crept into the English language or is it just plain laziness from the speaker?
What ever it is, it is intensely irritating.

It is the "silly season".It is that time of year when newspapers have little if anything to splash across their front pages, which explains why the headlines and "stories" are of such diverse subject matter.
The front pages churn out pictures of some Royal or other, always a good standby to fill a few column inches, or some yawn inducing words about some American politician or some B list celeb involved in another scandal. Some newspapers make up their own stories in their "Fake News" departments and cover their front pages with lies or smears about whichever political party they do not support and some even publish real news using a biased and warped emphasis against a perceived enemy. Take the Dialy Mail for example. Under the heading of "Queue here for the Gravy Train" the mail publishes the most scurrilous and reprehensible attack on working people which is pretty low, even for a paper renowned for its sickening reporting of anything not complying with the views of its owners Daily Mail and General Trust and Paul Dacre, the contemptible editor-in-chief of DMG Media.
Read the full article at
http://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/employment-tribunal-fees-have-been.html

"The free movement of people from the EU will end on the date the UK leaves".
Dependant of course upon which Minister of Theresa May's fractured government you happen to ask, or which newspaper you happen to read or which pundit, quoting "government sources" you happen to be listening to,
The fact is that on the whole subject of Brexit, this pathetic government hasn't a clue where it is and no idea where it is going.

On the subject of Brexit, I note that the Express has burst into action with a story on how the EU is fragmenting in the face of the United Kingdom Brexit and Brussels is tearing apart the "united front".
How can one newspaper be so wrong on so many issues so many times?
The Express joins the Mail and the Telegraph in The Top Three daily "newspaper" publishers of the perverse, distorted and untrue nonsense.
(I do not count the Sun as (a) it is a comic and (b) it is dying a slow death anyway, as more people now buy Andrex Quilts instead)


Why is there a speed restriction of 30 mph on the B3157 for around three miles near the Boarding Kennels? No work going on, just miles of 30 mph signs (but other drivers still go past at 50 mph or more) and the usual traffic cones. It says that work will continue for 27 weeks! Only 23 weeks left then.
I would require a great deal of convincing that some water board personnel or Open Reach people (they and their vans seem to be everywhere) or who ever they are, working in one small field adjacent to the road would require miles of speed restrictions.





Have a nice week

Friday, 28 July 2017

Employment tribunal fees have been ruled unlawful.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4731388/Unison-hails-landmark-win-employment-tribunal-fees-legal-battle.html

Employment tribunal fees unlawful, Supreme Court rules


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It is the "silly season".It is that time of year when newspapers have little if anything to splash across their front pages, which explains why the headlines and "stories" are of such diverse subject matter.
The front pages churn out pictures of some Royal or other, always a good standby to fill a few column inches, or some yawn inducing words about some American politician or some B list celeb involved in another scandal. Some newspapers make up their own stories in their "Fake News" departments and cover their front pages with lies or smears about whichever political party they do not support and some even publish real news using a biased and warped emphasis against a perceived enemy. Take the Dialy Mail for example. Under the heading of "Queue here for the Gravy Train" the mail publishes the most scurrilous and reprehensible attack on working people that is pretty low, even for a paper renowned for its sickening reporting of anything not complying with the views of its owners Daily Mail and General Trust and Paul Dacre, the contemptible editor-in-chief of DMG Media.  


Image result for queue here for the gravy train July 2017 daily mail

The Daily Mail, or perhaps more accurately Paul Dacre, focuses his spleen on the Supreme Court (unanimous) ruling that the Government's employment tribunal fees are "illegal" and prevent people access to justice and the consequences that the ruling may have on businesses.
The Daily Mail and Paul Dacre, who have historically had a political position somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan disregard the ruling of the Supreme Court where the court considers that not only was Grayling's imposition of fees for Industrial Tribunal illegal, the fees charged denied many people the right to obtain justice for grievances, a right  enshrined in Magna Carter. 
The Mail argues that this ruling opens the way for employees to launch spurious claims against employers, bringing about a tidal wave of claims which smaller firms fear they will now have to settle because they cannot afford the time and expense of fighting them.
The Supreme Court justices’ decision that the fees, of between £400 and £1,200, which were forced upon employees who wished to take their employers to a tribunal, have been deemed illegal. The Court also ordered full refunds to those who paid the fees, totalling approx £32m. These fees were first introduced by the Coalition government in 2013.
There has always been an element within the press and within conservative governments certainly since 1979,which sought to restrict or even remove the rights of working people both within the working environment and in law. By curtailing the right of any person to resort to litigation for resolution of a grievance against another or against an employer the government and those supporting the government has attempted through legislation, to circumvent fundamental principles of justice and equity enshrined in English law through precedent and statute over hundreds of years.
These charges have prevented many legitimate claims being brought before the courts as many claimants could not afford the associated fees and consequently claims have fallen by 70% since the introduction of the charges. With this ruling from the Supreme Court, much resented by the Daily Mail and no doubt some members of government, one aspect of the anti working people legislation has been removed and the fees will be repaid.
There is much anti trade union and anti working people legislation currently remaining on our statute books , some of which was enacted by previous Labour governments, which must be repealed as soon as possible. The ruling by the Supreme Court was a milestone and is a step in restoring some balance between working people and employer which has been grossly one sided in favour of the employer for too many years.


Monday, 24 July 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 23 July 2017





https://paper.li/f-1346065353#/

Good morning everyone.




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The school summer hoildays have arrived and with them a new business in the village. We had a knock and upon opening the door found two young women armed with buckets, sponges and an assortment of cloths. These young entrepreneurs had arrived on their bikes to announce the start of "Bubble and Squeak", a new car washing business in the village (but only it seems for the duration of the school holidays) and left their hand written card complete, with names and telehone numbers advising that their service was, "Available most week days and week ends. Please can you call one of these numbers if you are interested or would like to book".
Very refreshing to see two youngsters having the initiative to start a business during the holidays and the best of luck to them. Who knows, "Bubble and Squeak", may be on the way to becoming a £ multi million enterprize by the end of September. If you happen to know these two, please pass on best wishes and good fortune to them.




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There is trouble brewing at the BBC, even if it has not already exploded into open warfare. The problem is as usual money or matters closely associated with money. How anone can justfy huge differences between the salary paid to a woman and that paid to a man, when both do essentially the same job, has always been a mystery to me. Some years ago, I was heavily involved in a campaign led by my Union at that time, which ultimeately brought about the Equal Pay Act. Not that the Act in itself solved the problem, as "clever" employers managed to find ways around the legislation and continued to large extent, to perpetuate the gender pay differentials. The BBC seems to have managed not only to maintain the excessive salary differentials, but also to conceal the fact from the public and it seems many of their own staff. Concealed that is until last Wednesday, when a report published in the face of great resistance and hostility from the BBC "establishment", revealed not only huge pay differences between the sexes, but that only one third of the top earners in the BBC are women. Top female presenters are among "more than 40 women" who have written to Lord "Tony" Hall, Director-General of the BBC , demanding that the gender pay gap be closed now.
This story could run for some time, with perhaps even resignations from some presenters.


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Another actor from a well remembered television series passed away last week.
"Rollin Hand" the real planner from the "Mission Impossible" team (the original and best series with Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Gregg Morris and Peter Lupus) and then later as Major General Adlon in "Meteor", Martin Landau had a career in film and television with numerous roles spanning many years.
A truly great talent.
Martin Landau June 1928 – July 2017
American film and television actor. RIP


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The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on 14 June 2017. The reporters and teleision crews have moved on and now all that remains of this story is a blackened and chard 24 storey 220 feet high structure which was once home to around 600 people living in 129 apartments. The other thing that remains of course are the victims. On top of all this, that of the £20 million donated by public fund raisers, ad hoc donations and individulal charities, since June, only £800k has been distributed to victims. Those involved in managing the money say they "have to ensure it is properly accounted for and it reaches the right people", which taken on face value is a reasonable position, but where victims of the fire have lost everything and still rely on "temporary accommodation" the failure to distribute these substantial donations is bordering on scandalous. This seems to be yet another example of "authorities" becoming obsessed with their own systems and procedures and consequently losing site of the real objective of providing relief for the victims.
read the full text of "Why the delay in distributing the £20 million donated thus far?" at
https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/why-delay-in-distributing-20-million.html



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What about the weather?
Well, as D I Alex Drake (sometimes called Bolly) puts it at the start of series 3 of that terrific television serial "Ashes to Ashes", "Your guess is as good as mine"


Have a nice week









Friday, 21 July 2017

Government documents released on day Parliament rises

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/20/tories-use-take-out-the-trash-day-to-dump-controversial-reports

Tories use 'take out the trash' day to dump controversial reports

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It is caled a "take out the trash" day and this wretched government certainly put out some trash yesterday. The callous and cynical way that this lame duck government with its fatally wounded Prime Minister released dozens of documents on the day parliament rises for a seven week recess simply to avoid scrutiny and criticism by MP's is not only an “absolute affront to parliament”, it is an abuse of privilege and an insult to the people of this country.
The documents reveal that police numbers are the lowest for 30 years following years of government cuts, while at the same time crime figure are on the increase. The Foreign Office has "grave conerns" regarding the civil rights situation in Saudi Arabia, China and Bahrain but the report critical of our relationship with Saudi Arabia and the £ billions of arms sales every year remains buried. The electrification of rail links in Wales and the Midlands are cancelled to ensure that, “Passengers will benefit sooner and experience less disruption compared with putting up intrusive wires and masts along routes where they are no longer required.”The documents confirm that cuts to the education budgets in this country are severely affecting standards in our schools and despite the recently announced "funding" for school bubgets, which in fact amounted to no more than shifting already allocated money from one pot to anothrr pot, head teachers will still be sending begging letter to parent and reducing their numbers of teaching staff.


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Theresa May is taking three weeks of the summer recess for a summer holiday walking in Italy and the Swiss Alps. It was on a walking holiday in Wales, so the story goes, that the Pime Minister made the disaterous decision,(disaterous for her that is) to call a general election and cash in on the 40% or 50% lead in the opinion polls to completely destroy the Labour party. The result of that "flash of inspiration" is now history, but she is left as the severly wounded Prime Minister, surrounded by cabinet intrigue and squabling, failing domestic policies, and a rapidly disintegrating position on Brexit. Perhaps she will have another moment of vision as she breathes the mountain air and conclude that her sell by date has expired and that she should do the honourable thing and stand down.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Why the delay in distributing the £20 million donated thus far?


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/18/grenfell-tower-residents-in-uproar-over-failure-to-distribute-donations


Grenfell Tower residents in uproar over failure to distribute donations


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Barry Quirk, the interim chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council

The television outside broadcast units and the "anchor" presenters have gone, to report no doubt on other important issues, with very few exceptions the newspaper journalists and photographers have moved on to cover the imploding conservative party, or Trump in Paris or David Davis and the Brexit negotiations or some other pressing "news" item, leaving a few "cub reporters" with their Brownie box camera's behind, just in case something happens.



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 All that remains of this story is, in a few places still smouldering, blackened and chard 24 storey 220 feet high structure which was once home to around 600 people living in 129 apartments. The other thing hat remains of course are the victims. The vast majority of these victims are still in "temporary" accommodation, over one month on from the fire on that dreadful night which killed so many people. The "authorities" still stick to the story that 80 people are known to have died, but other sources, including police and firemen who were in attendance on the night, insist that the true figure is closer to 200. What ever the final death toll may be, it is too many and is a result of man made incompetence, greed, corner cutting and government expenditure cuts to emergency services going back over the last 10 years. On top of all this, that of the £20 million donated by public fund raisers, ad hoc donations and individulal charities, since June, only £800k has been distributed to victims. Those involved in managing the money say they "have to ensure it is properly accounted for and it reaches the right people", which taken on face value is a reasonable position, but where victims of the fire have lost everything and still rely on "temporary accommodation" the failure to distribte these substantial donations is bordering on scandalous. This seems to be yet another example of "authorities" becoming obsessed with their own systems and procedures and consequently losing site of the real objective of providing relief for the victims.
There have already been resignations from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea amongst council members and officers, but this is not enough. The chair of the inquiry former court of appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, has already come in for criticism by suggesting that his inquiry will be on a narrow base, and his patronising attitude towards survivors and residents suggests that this will be a less than satisfactory process. There is a compelling case for holding inquests into these deaths which can call evidence from witnesses under oath and has far more credibility and muscle than an inquiry. What we must not have is a process which drags on for 28 years before the victims have any form of justice.

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Monday, 17 July 2017

Never Interfere With an Enemy While He’s in the Process of Destroying Himself

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-latest-talks-european-commission-brussels-david-davis-split-cabinet-a7844116.html

Cabinet 'tearing itself apart' as Brexit Secretary enters crucial Brussels negotiations

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The government descends further into civil war, fighting over the tarnished vestiges of power remaining to them, from the squalid deal done with the DUP, cobbled together in those days of  late June, when Theresa May and many of her remaining MP's were convinced that they could cling to office for the next two years on a "confidence and supply" arrangement in exchange for a £1.5 billion bribe for the 10 votes of the Democratic Unionists from Northern Ireland. A week is a long time in politics and although the "deal" remains in place, the government and the cabinet are disintegrating by the hour, ravaged by the twin issues of challenging for the leadership and Brexit. 
It is an "open top secret" that there are at least three factions within the cabinet seeking to replace Theresa May "when the time is right". The most obvious contenders for the post are Brexit champion,  Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a candidate in the last leadership election until being "stabbed in the back" by Michael Gove shortly before the ballot, David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, who has long harboured ambitions to lead the Conservative party having been beaten by David Cameron in 2005, and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond who is known to be in favour of closer links to Europe than his colleagues. It is also bizarre that Hammond criticises cabinet members for leaking to the press, while at the same time briefing against other ministers. Add to this list, a number of conservative MP's who are known, or rumoured to be, actively positioning themselves for a run at the leadership, under the "new blood" banner. Amber Rudd, David Gauke,Angela Leadsom, Micheal Gove (again), Rory Stewart and no doubt numerous others lurking in the shadows of Westminster awaiting their chance.  


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Against this backdrop of skulduggery and intrigue, claim and counterclaim, there is always the spectre of continuing wrangling with Europe on the subject of the British departure from the European Union. Depending upon which cabinet minister you choose to ask, you will receive a perceptibly different nuance on what the "British position" actually is. We wish to maintain access to the European Free market, from one minister, to we shall have a complete break but will remain part of the European customs Union from another. Rights of EU nationals, employment laws, European courts, Human rights legislation all thrown into the pot and stirred by different ministers. No wonder the EU Commissioners are confused by our apparent confusion.
The day after the Cabinet’s feuding was revealed by the Chancellor, David Davis jetted off for a much heralded meeting to "commence negotiations". Talks which were so important that Davis turned up with no notes, and left to return to London less than two hours after the meeting started.
This country is the laughing stock of Europe and the fault lies squarely with the cabinet and this government.
Until the question of the leadership of the conservative party is finally resolved, the United Kingdom will be nothing more than a joke throughout the world which will continue to damage our position. Theresa May is too discredited and too weak to be of any influence and consequently should step aside. If she is not prepared to take this course, then the cabinet and other MP's must show the backbone necessary to force a leadership election.Only in this way can the United Kingdom regain some credibility, and rescue ourselves from the unholy mess that this government and its intrigues has led us into.






Far too busy to be "sleepwalking"


UK 'sleepwalking' into food insecurity after Brexit, academics say

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The government is “sleepwalking” into a post-Brexit future of insecure, unsafe and increasingly expensive food supplies, and has little idea how it will replace decades of EU regulation on the issue, a report by influential academics has said.
The government is not sleepwalking anywhere. They are far too busy having their own cabinet civil war fighting over who will push Theresa May out of office and make a squalid attempt to grab the vacant bloody crown.

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They are also in conflict as to when this palace revolution will take place and who will be the first to plunge a dagger into the already rapidly declining remains of the woman who expected a massive Commons majority, but ended up in a sordid "relationship" with the DUP.

New Agenda on Sunday. Edition of July 16th. 2017




Good morning everyone.



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The word on everybody's lips this week is "Brexit". At least, that is the way it seems to me although I will admit that it could be my imagination. Regardless of how you voted in the referendum, one thing that is perfectly clear to all is that David Cameron and those who advised him at the time, made a complete pigs ear of the referendum issue in that they expected to sail home with a "Remain" result and consequently had no need to consider the multitude of issues and the complexities of the negotiations that would arise in the event that the British people might just say "Leave". In short, Cameron had no exit plan and was almost obscenely swift in departing from the office of Prime Minister and the chaos that he had created, to take up the more lucrative role of after dinner speaker charging £120k per hour, presumably to lecture the audience on, "Brexit: How NOT to do it".


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Incredible. Theresa May has completely lost it. First she bribes the DUP in a squalid little deal, hoping to keep herself in power for a few more days. Next she looks to Trump of all people, for some nebulous trade deal to be agreed at some time in the future (and which will benefit only the United States, as history shows us that all trade deals with the USA are very one sided) which she hails as a great success for the UK in a Post Brexit world and now she turns to the Labour party to help her create policies for a post-Brexit Britain.
Read the full text at: (copy and paste link)
https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/hanging-on-to-seal-of-prime-minister.html

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The dream of the tennis loving elements of the British public is over for another year. There will be no Ladies Singles Champion and Men's Singles Champion holding the titles in the same year, although there will definitely be titles for at least one Brit as the Mixed Doubles final has British interests on both sides of the net. The disruption of television schedules and programmes for those more interested in "Love Island" than "Love fifteen" (I know that Wimbledon is on BBC, but you know what I mean), is over until July next year when the strawberries and cream will again be stacked high in SW19. Personally, I have missed "Egg Heads," BBC2 weekdays. How Daphne manages to guess the correct answers to so many questions is quite creepy and some of the "Challengers" answers are a bit bizarre, raising eyebrows in disbelief from all in the studio and probably not only me viewing the programme.

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With monotonous regularity, Tony Blair ventures forth onto the political scene, this time through a lengthy article released by his own political institute, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Read the full text at: (copy and paste link)
https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/another-intervention-from-anthony.html



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The television outside broadcast units and the "anchor" presenters have gone, to report no doubt on other important issues, with very few exceptions the newspaper journalists and photographers have moved on to cover Wimbledon, or Trump in Paris or David Davis and the Brexit negotiations or some other pressing "news" item, leaving a few "cub reporters" with their Brownie box camera's behind, just in case something happens. All that remains of this story is, in a few places still smouldering blackened and chard 24 storey 220 feet high structure which was once home to around 600 people living in 129 apartments. The other thing hat remains of course are the victims. The vast majority of these victims remain in "temporary" accommodation, over one month on from the fire on that dreadful night which killed so many people. The "authorities" still stick to the story that 80 people are known to have died, but other sources, including police and firemen who were in attendance on the night, insist that the true figure is closer to 200. What ever the final death toll may be, it is too many and is a result of man made incompetence, greed, corner cutting and government expenditure cuts to emergency services going back over the last 10 years. There have already been resignations from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea amongst council members and officers, but this is not enough. The chair of the inquiry former court of appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, has already come in for criticism by suggesting that his inquiry will be on a narrow base, and his patronising attitude towards survivors and residents suggests that this will be a less than satisfactory process. There is a compelling case for holding inquests into these deaths which can call evidence from witnesses under oath and has far more credibility and muscle than an inquiry. What we must not have is a process which drags on for 28 years before the victims have any form of justice.

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Lewis Hamilton wins the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone(I will resist making any comment about Vettel's driving during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and lack of any form of retribution afterwards. A 10 second penalty is not punishment fitting the crime.) Silverstone is the only venue which meets the necessary standards to hold F1 races in the UK. Hopefully, BDRC who have hosted the race for the last few years and incurred substantial losses during that time, can come to some agreement with Formula 1 owner Liberty Media who are demanding higher fee's.

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It is forecast to become hot and humid again this week with a few thunderstorms thrown in.
Do not worry, I still have my fans (the electrical oscillating type) plugged in and ready for the switch to be flicked.

Have a nice week