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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

VAT and salt

Not for road use. It's food!

There was not one grain of salt on Morrisons' shelves this evening, even though today the temperature touched the friendly side of zero for the first time in at least a week. The glacier outside my house took the opportunity to melt its surface and smooth itself, ready to freeze again tonight. I think there's a postman in there. We'll find out in a thousand years or so.

I've never seen such a run on salt and it's not an unusually cold winter so far. There have been worse ones, and I don't recall any similar salt panic. It did snow last night but it was only half an inch, and there was a little flurry this afternoon that made no detectable difference. Otherwise, it's a normal winter, not too harsh and not too mild. It's cold enough to silence any local global warmers. Those who claimed we'd be growing grapes within the decade are staring into their beer and avoiding eye contact. Others have switched to quoting 'The Day After Tomorrow' as if it's some kind of documentary. Sometimes, people are so scared to be seen as gullible idiots they'll cling to whatever line they've been spun no matter what happens.

There are three possible reasons for the salt rush, as far as I can see. First, there was a time, not so long ago, when councils had memories that spanned a time greater than the date of their last expenses claim. They used to prepare for winter and stock up on rock salt. There's not so much of that any more. Councillors are stunned at the mysterious white stuff that appears every year because their little brains can't recall seeing it before. So people are buying their own salt.

Second, people are lazy selfish bastards these days, on the whole, and the idea of actually digging the snow with a shovel horrifies them. They pour loads of salt on their driveways because they're too idle to do a bit of digging. That certainly seems to be the prevailing attitude here. The pavement outside my house is the only bit that's been cleared so far (although I'm not venturing past the kerb, onto the glacier. The ice is higher than the kerb!). Nobody else has made the attempt, not even on their own paths and drives. They pour salt on the ground and drive their cars over it. In the spring I'll be chuckling at the sprouting rust-bubbles they've planted.

Third, and this is the least likely because it implies an ability to think ahead being far more prevalent in the population than I can believe - perhaps they've noticed that the Salt Police have been flexing their banning muscles lately. This weather is a good excuse to stockpile without anyone noticing. Nah, I don't think there are enough people who'd think that way. Thinking ahead is what they pay the council for, not something they'd do themselves.

I have a few kilos of salt here. I like to dip cholesterol-laden boiled eggs into it. It's far too nice to throw it on the pavements.

There's also the frenetic activity in all the shops. That mystified me for a while. Don't these people have enough stuff yet? There are always hordes of people suckered into buying stuff they don't need just because it's half price. Every January sale, they come out in droves as if someone's poked a stick into their hive. I notice they aren't January sales any more, they are Boxing Day sales now and they start before Christmas. Anyone else remember when every single shop, without exception, was closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and the sales actually started in January? We used to have a few days of actual relaxation back then. Even the Righteous took a day off from nagging.

This year seemed worse than usual and there is, in fact, a simple reason. On January 1st, VAT goes back up to 17.5%. I noticed this because the lab rental is in two parts - the rent itself (zero VAT) and the service charge for electricity, heating etc, which is VAT rated and is higher on the bill due in January.

So everything will be that little bit more expensive on Friday. Now that's a Day After Tomorrow everyone should pay attention to. Especially if you drive. Petrol's about to go up again.

Ah well, the saltless Morrisons didn't bother me. I wasn't there for salt. They did have a good stock of the Singleton (now one unit less) and of Bruaichladdich (one unit less) and I picked up a bottle of visitor whisky for tomorrow night, just in case. It's Grants Ale Cask reserve, which is very nice for a blend and at £11 a bottle on special offer at the moment.

This crazy holiday continues until Tuesday. Monday is a bank holiday so it'll be the middle of next week before anything sensible happens. It's irritating because all the companies I work for are closed. They're on paid leave. I'm not. The sooner the country gets back to normal, the better.

Although 'normal' is probably asking way too much.

And now it's time for food. Morrisons did have some nice fillet steak at very reasonable prices. I've eaten enough turkey and ham this week to deplete the livestock of an average farm so it's time for a change. Medium rare, I think. With mustard and chips.

And salt.


Catosays 30 December 2009 at 18:23  

I hate to be critical but 'curb' is actually spelt 'kerb'.

bofl 30 December 2009 at 18:33  

yes better get to the sales......
help the economy............of china!

better get that wall sized plasma tv so that you can watch bbc propaganda and endless effing soaps .........

60million zombies..........

wake up..........

Anonymous,  30 December 2009 at 18:46  

Beutiful Germany, this morning it snowed and what did i see outside?
Snow ploughs and following behind them a wagon with a brush on the front and a salt shaker on the back and that was just for starters followed up by a mini plough for clearing the foot path and all done with german efficiency !
that was at about 4.30

The Lakelander 30 December 2009 at 18:54  

You must live in Scotland as Monday's not a Bank Holiday in England.

Still, it gives everyone north of the border an extra day to get over the hangover!

Queerbasher,  30 December 2009 at 19:21  

thank heavens you've got rid of those disgusting queers now you've come up with a fresh story on something wholesome.

Elby The Beserk,  30 December 2009 at 19:26  

Grey Atlantic sea salt is the salt for me. Shovel it on my eggs. Shovel it on my very rare fine Somerset beef. Blood pressure tickity-boo. Fuck off the salt police - I'm a Cheshire boy.

El-Kevo 30 December 2009 at 19:34  

I put my finger in the salt spreader on the platform at work and tasted it. I said to the attendant, "I wouldn't put it on my chips."

He said, "It's not salt - it's a chemical called FrostKill."

Old Holborn 30 December 2009 at 19:38  


The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.

I'll have plenty of time to get used to the dark when I'm fucking dead.

Now, about that wedding invite....

Angry Fucker,  30 December 2009 at 19:41  

Try sodium lights then, OH.

Angry Fucker,  30 December 2009 at 19:43  

Or even sodium lite:

Fausty 30 December 2009 at 20:04  

When I parted company from my spouse and thence inhabited a small one-bedroomed flat, I soon discovered that I simply didn't need many of the things I had in mind to buy. There was no place to put it.

Each proposed purchase therefore had to be subject to the one in, one out rule. Did I want it enough to chuck something else out?

Since then, my consumption has dropped to near zero. I only buy what I need. Never much liked shopping, anyway!

May you, OH and all your readers have a prosperous New Year to make up for the holidays forced upon you!

Leg-iron 30 December 2009 at 20:29  

Catosays - you are correct. I've been translating some stuff into American and was still working to their odd spellings.

Duly corrected.

Scrobs... 30 December 2009 at 20:41  

You can't buy anti-freeze either, but that's not the same thing is it...

Well, it tastes foul on one's coddled eggs, so not a bad thing either!

Happy New Year Leg Iron and Co! You're required reading, and will be even more important as we have to counter the Grinners, (Bliars)the Gulper, (Cooper) The Blinker (Balls) and the Gobbler (Bastard Brown) in the Spring!

Dave 30 December 2009 at 20:52  

You can't blame the cold weather on global warming, but you can blame the consequences. They've been peddling this "getting warmer every year" cobblers for a decade now, and both local and national government have bought the lie. Consequently they based all their capital purchases of snowploughs, etc, and based their contingency plans on the fact that they were told it was getting warmer.
It isn't. But we have now have an infrastructure that's geared up to hot summers and not cold winters.
Fucking bastards.

Anonymous,  30 December 2009 at 21:54  

Guess I won't need to paint my house white outside this year to combat global warming. What a bunch of fucking hoons those climate change supporters are. Hope the fucking polar bears come to England & savage them.

Gareth,  30 December 2009 at 22:45  

Salt for gritting paths and drives is cheaper from DIY shops.

£5 to £10 for a 25kg bag.

DB,  30 December 2009 at 23:46  

Delia was on telly the other night doing a recipe for chocolate salty balls. I couldn't get my hands on any chocolate either.

banned 31 December 2009 at 01:05  

As Dave suggests, the failure of many councils to keep adequate salt supplies is a result of the AWG scam. Any council worker advocating bigging up the salt stocks would be instantly branded a "Climate Calamity Denier" and hounded out of his job alongside the racists, elitists and misogynists previously exposed.

Met Office now offering a 45% probablity of a "cold" winter, yesterday it had been 20%. Ha Ha.

Summer_Breeze,  31 December 2009 at 04:45  

Just popped by to wish everyone a very happy New Year.
Let's hope that 2010 is the year for seeing a few Indies getting into parliament.

Btw, there's no salt here either - being of the lazy sort I wanted to put some on my path and that of my elderly neighbour but twas all gone :-(

All the best O.H. and everyone!

eight rounds rapid,  31 December 2009 at 07:01  

Along vaguely similar lines: Court throws out Sarkozy's carbon tax

Crucially, "It also leaves the Government with a €4.1 billion hole in its 2010 budget."

Already priced into the equation, so it was. No doubt Brown is propelled into a bout of frenzied auto-fisting at the slightest mention of eco taxation.

A self image as monstrously disfigured as Brown's requires the grandest gestures by way of palliative care.

@Summer_Breeze said...

Thanks, Mister, and all the best to your good self =)

I am Stan 31 December 2009 at 08:28  

Salt used to be considered so valuable that hundreds of years ago, Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt, which is where the word 'salary' comes from you know!

doobie,  31 December 2009 at 09:11  

yup, and "worth his salt", too; in addition to "salacious" and "salient", if memory serves.

Ampers 31 December 2009 at 10:00  

I read somewhere that if you cleared the pavement of snow and ice outside your house, and you left a tiny bit of ice and someone slipped on it, they could sue you and would win.

On another aside about lights, read recently that you will soon be able to buy an LED (light emitting diode) which will light up a complete room.

Anonymous,  31 December 2009 at 10:17  

No one with any sense would bother to clean their footpath of snow. Too many threats from the Postal Unions with regards to sueing you arse off should a postie slip.

Let mother nature melt it when ready...

space bummers (bumming, but in space),  31 December 2009 at 10:47  

Too many threats from the Postal Unions ...

Useless, yellow-bellied slugs. There should be no grounds for compensation if the clearing was done in good faith and to an acceptable standard, regardless of the outcome.

The risks associated with walking the streets in winter are are, at a minimum, the occupational hazards of being a postman.

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