The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

A Load of Crap

Posted by Exile on February 15, 2014

Literally.

A few months ago, just before the winter set in, I was out riding the motor bike round the island and generally just enjoying doing that, when something caught my eye. Piles of polythene bags stacked up outside one of the many riding stables that exist out here. ‘Hello’, I thought, ‘That looks like horse-poo..’. It was. Tons of the lovely stuff. Just what my garden needs. I made a quick u-turn and stopped in the driveway that meandered its way to the stables. I couldn’t find anybody at first but after calling and walking towards the buildings, a head appeared over the fence. ‘Hello’, I said, and introduced myself.
I asked the guy about the great pile of poo outside his house and asked if he would consider selling a few hundredweight of it. ‘Sell it?’, he said, ‘There’s an interesting concept..’
I must have looked confused. He continued. ‘You can take as much of it as you like. No charge, just come and take it. We have twenty or so horses here, they produce it by the ton. We can’t get rid of it so I bag it up and people come and get it.’
We agreed, I would be back in the morning and I’d fill my car.shite

That same evening, a stupid woman jogger with ears full of that ipad nonsense ran out in front the motor bike causing me to step off. I twisted my right ankle like never before and damaged my left thumb.

Never mind. The following morning, wounded and weak from the pain, I managed to drive, very carefully, back to the stables and the guy helped me load bags of poo into the car. Asking who collected all the poo together he answered, ‘My two daughters.’ I gave the guy a hundred crowns and said he should split it between them. Happily and with a rare old pong in the car, I drove slowly home with all the windows rolled down.
On reaching mia casa I couldn’t carry the stuff into the garden because of my ankle, so I enlisted the long haired and lovely one to push the wheelbarrow. She wasn’t much for it. Shifting crap around is not really her cup of tea, but needs must when the Devil calls, so she agreed, very reluctantly and with a good deal of verbal dissent, to help. I loaded from the car, she schlepped the barrow in and tipped out. Four trips and we were done. ‘Think of the tomatoes next year.’ I said. I got no reply but if looks could kill, I was a dead man.
I have no idea why, but she spent the next hour in the shower.

That was how we got it home. Today, I went out into the garden and looked at the pile of crap. It has rotted a bit despite the winter cold but it wasn’t frozen. Good enough. I began by throwing the bags onto the garden patches trying to gauge the amount of poo per square yard and balance the whole affair out equally. Satisfied that it was fairly shared out, I broke the bags open and started spreading it out evenly over the garden.

Jeez.
Really stinky stuff.
Poor neighbours.

Job done, I only need it to rain for a couple of days to let it wash into the soil. After that comes the digging but that will have to wait until March when I start planting my seed stock and preparing to plant out. The greenhouse received a load of crap too, but I made a mulch for the indoor part of the garden. Mulch? Yep. Take a bathtub full of horse crap and add water. Stir well and distribute by the bucket load. Messy but highly recommended.

I’m  betting, we’ll get some great tomatoes this year.

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The Winter of Discontent

Posted by Exile on January 28, 2014

It finally arrived. The cold weather has been threatening to overrun us for weeks and it just turned bitterly cold here in an otherwise wet and grey Denmark. So where it was all soaking wet, it is now frozen stiff. I don’t know which is worse. At least when it’s this cold, it is dry. Little compensation, I feel, as it is equally unpleasant to be out and about in. The worst of it is, I can achieve nothing in this weather. Outdoor activities are out of the question as everything is solid and I hate being cold wherever I may be. This is why I don’t ski. I tried it once but simply found it cold and debilitating and close to my undoing. Slithering downhill at untold speed while being nailed fast by the feet to pieces of aluminium, totally out of control and bereft of any idea of direction, I ended up buried in a huge snowdrift. Not really my idea of fun. I experienced the Arctic once, in my military days, and found that to be the absolute last place I would ever volunteer to be. I am a temperate being, I like warmth. The tropics would be nice.

So what does one do when one is confined to the boundaries that are drawn by the outside walls of one’s house?Not much, is the short reply. I’d watch the TV, but I’ve seen everything at least once. TV these days is one long procession of re-runs of old series and these ‘educational’ programmes that aren’t really that educative anyway.
Computer? Well, yes. I do have a couple of forums I visit and read and write on but one can’t do that all day. And don’t mention computer games. I can’t stand ‘em. The Devils invention.
Housework? It needs to be done, I agree, but how many times do you have to do battle with the Dyson before you get bored with that? I am not the most domesticated of people.
I could read, but I am not really in the mood.

I suppose I could polish all my pipes up and give them a good going over with the reamer and a ball of wax. I might even enjoy that and I can always puff away on one of my favourite smokers while I do it. Put that one on the list then.

I have been out with the dog. She didn’t like it out there. She hurried back home and went to lay down in front of the stove as soon as we returned. Clever dog. She can sleep the day away. I even fed the birds while I had my outdoor clothes on. They have it far worse than I. I can escape the cold, they are stuck outside and have to grin and bear it. How do they do that?

The one thing I find consolation in, is that I can at least plan the rest of my year. The garden. Holidays. Trips out on the motorbike. I have distant friends to visit. Places I intend to explore. Projects around this old house of ours, which I intend to modernise. 

I am going to be very busy come the Spring.

Until then, I’m just going to have to learn to cool my heels.

Lousy weather.

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Pimping my Ride

Posted by Exile on January 15, 2014

Or, how to upgrade the carburettor and fit a new air filter.

motorcyclemechanicOne thing you quickly learn about owning a motorcycle is, that you need to improve it on the performance side of life. Then you need to improve the aesthetic appeal of the thing. I got it the wrong way round. I merely wanted to get a sporty looking air filter fitted to Thumper, my Royal Enfield Bullet. I ended up doing a job I never thought I was going to be capable of.

The old air filter was a complicated affair that incorporated an otherwise useful toolbox fitted to the machine and a square box with another filter fitted which finally fed the carburettor with air. I wanted to fit a nice little sporty filter that would allow me to use the toolbox as it was intended (by my reckoning) and get rid of the intermediary box. I’d seen the part and a snazzy little chrome shroud to protect the sporty filter in a suppliers catalogue and immediately ordered both.

I am a member of a forum which busies itself with all things Royal Enfield and, as bragging rights are valid on this forum, I happily told everyone that I was about to take on this rebuild. That’s when my problems began to take form.
I was told, by many, that simply doing away with the existing filter was OK, but I would have to re-jet the carburettor to allow for the extra available air that would now flow freely into said carburettor. News to me, I thought, but they were insistent. I rang the suppliers the following day. By now, my initial order was on it’s way so a new order went in for the recommended parts that we (my supplier and I) finally agreed upon. I was pointed at some instructional notes to be found on the forum website. ‘There’s all the information you will need.’ said the more than helpful chap on the other end of the telephone line. The supplier actually hosts the forum, so he should know. I dug into the internet and found the relevant technical notes.

Three days later, all the parts arrived. I unpacked the little boxes with trembling hands. A collection of bits of machined brass and the filter and shroud plus some rubber like discs to blank off the holes in the toolbox that will be left after I remove the old filter tubing.

Off to the shed where Thumper lives then Exile… and start dismantling your beloved machine.

I removed the square box and all the bits that held it in place, remembering where they came from in case I need to reverse the process. I removed all the rubber tubes that carry the air through the existing filters. I removed the fuel line. I then removed the carburettor, which involved screwing the top off and partially dismantling the assembly. All very worrying stuff for the novice. But, eventually, there I was with a carburettor in my hands and the bike in bits around me.

The internal organs of the carburettor are fragile, many and tiny. I decided to take the thing into the living room where I could sit and swap the jets, according to and following the technical notes, without having to freeze my ass off in the shed. Cold fingers don’t handle tiny parts well and dropping one would probably mean it would be lost forever. I have a large white board in my cellar. Ideal for this sort of job, I thought. So I laid it on the dining table and set the carby down. Screwdriver at the ready, I set to work.

baby-mechanicI stripped the carby, found and changed all the jets and reassembled the thing in under a quarter of an hour. Sometimes, I even impress myself! I even found out that the choke lever wasn’t working properly due to a loose locking device. So I fixed that too while I was up to my elbows in tools.

Back to the shed once again…

Replacing the thing didn’t take long either. The new filter and shroud fit directly onto the carburettor which fits directly onto the machine. I replaced the fuel line, set the carburettor to it’s recommended start settings (it will need final adjustment for tuning purposes) and decided to fire the thing up.
Keys, ignition, fuel and choke. And kick. Three times kick and Thumper jumped to life with a throaty roar.

The roar was from the new air intake. One can hear the engine sucking pints of the stuff down its greedy neck.

Man, it sounds good! Can’t wait to get him out on the road again…

Woohoo..!!

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The Lady doth Snore Too Much, Methinks.

Posted by Exile on January 3, 2014

If the bard will forgive me for paraphrasing Queen Gertrude…

My dearly beloved certainly saws the wood at night. It’s like sleeping next to a chain saw. Or, at least, trying to sleep next to one. It’s not her fault, I know, but she has some natural obstruction to her airways and this causes her to wheeze and growl all through the night. Regularly. It is not the problem it once was as I no longer need to get up early of a morning and go to bloody work, thank heavens, but it does throw me out of whack with the normal waking hours. She is still working, so it’s better that I stop tossing and turning all night long while having to listen to her and simply get up again so that she may sleep undisturbed by said tossing and turning. I can grab a few hours later in the day.

It isn’t exactly every night. Sometimes I’m so worn out for lack of sleep that I do get a night in and occasionally she works a night shift. I miss her at night on such occasions but on the other hand, I do get a good nights sleep.

I have tried sleeping with earplugs. A more uncomfortable affair I cannot imagine. It was awful. I could hear myself breathing, the blood pounding in my ears and the earache it caused me was not worth the trouble. I quickly gave the idea up. I’ve tried putting my head under the pillow but I nearly suffocated myself and woke up gasping for air and the heat was unbearable, so that went out of the grander picture too. I have tried getting to bed before her and falling asleep before she turns in. Alas, the noise and vibration awakens me at some point and all is lost once more. I’m looking forward to going deaf in my old age. Natural remedies are generally the best and if I am to believe her, I’m halfway there already anyway.
If it gets to be too much, I can always remove myself to the living room sofa or the dogs basket, which is really quite comfortable. I know this. I have tried it. The dog is spoiled, having a bed beside us in the bedroom and another in the living room. With blankets. And a duvet. And pillows to match. Not to mention the mattress affair in front of the woodstove. Heaven forbid that the dog should lie on the bare boards of the floor. The dog has no problem sleeping, by the way. The fat little bugger does little else. Apart from eat and bark at me. I am jealous.

A simple solution would of course be, that we had separate rooms. The house is not built that way. We only have the one bedroom. Besides that, if we have separate rooms, we may as well have separate homes. This is dangerous territory to be exploring and I feel I should shun this particular course of action and put it well and truly out of my mind. I would miss her cooking.

I may not be sleeping well but I am well fed.

I may be tired, but I ain’t stupid.

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New Year – New Life.

Posted by Exile on December 31, 2013

retiredIn the middle of November 2013 I reached the ripe old and maybe unexpected age of 60. I say unexpected because I am slightly amazed that I got this old considering the idiotic chances I’ve taken along the way. I am somewhat mildly surprised that I have lived this long. However, with the coming of my celebration of sixty inglorious years came retirement. I had opted, for some years ago, to save up for early retirement and despite the current government’s efforts to curb this trend, they couldn’t really stop me. So screw them and the horses they rode into town on.

Retirement is also something I decided on many years ago. I saw my father work himself to death, never having had an otium and I decided, then, not to do the same. I made my mind up, that at the first given opportunity, I would stop working and take what years I could to do as I please, when I please. I thoroughly intend to do just that, despite the latest European directives that the old must remain at work for as long as is humanly possible and then die shortly afterwards.

I find myself planning for a new life of leisure instead of endless working days. I am deciding what I can do without. And what I need. Equally important is what I want.

I have a few hobbies to be getting on with. I have my garden, my pipe selling business, the motor bike, and a telescope to star-gaze through. I have heard of many that have retired into oblivion and I do not wish to join them. Now that I have the time, I need to pursue things that have always fascinated me. Obviously, the garden will be my early years activity. I need to dig, plant and nurture. The greenhouse will be my second home for a few months. By the time that’s established, the sun will be up for the summer, so it’s off to the woods and watch the birds and animals, trips out on the bike and maybe even a few nights out in the woods or on the beach under canvass. Days out with my Grandson. He needs a solid father figure and some knowledge of the world around him. Autumn will bring me back to the garden again.
I have the time to invest in my friends. Some of them are already retired. Old hands at this leisure game. I intend to spend some time with them over a good lunch or a pint or two at some watering hole either in the city or maybe at the seaside.

I don’t usually make new years resolutions. This year, I need to make new life resolutions.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress.

I have the time to fill this tired old blog up now.

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Street Legal

Posted by Exile on May 16, 2013

The bike’s been inspected, tested and registered. I now have the number plates on and nothing can stop me enjoying riding the bike now. The inspection was a doddle. Having explained the history of the bike, the inspector gave it a quick once over and declared it “as good as new”, which it is, and then declared that he had to take a spin on it. I explained that it would be a bit difficult for him but of course he could try as long as he could get used to having the gear shift on the right of the bike as opposed to all the Japanese machines that he is used to, that have the gear shift on the left. I explained that he would have to use the heel kicker to change down and the toe lever to go up in gear. He looked puzzled. I explained again. He said OK and then we started the bike and off he went. Ten minutes later he came back pushing the bike. “I couldn’t get the hang of it”, he explained. “But don’t worry, it’s a great machine and I reckon it’s passed the roadworthiness test!” I think “Thumper” frightened him off…#1

I bought the new number plates and had him register the bike as mine while I was there. He can do it more easily than I and the fee wasn’t all that bad when I take the hassle of doing it myself into consideration.

So there we are. Street legal and ready to go.

All I need now is some good weather and a day off. That might even happen over the weekend. We’ll see.

Thumper..? Yeah. You should hear the single cylinder. Thump – thump – thump…..

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I Want to Ride My Bicycle…

Posted by Exile on April 30, 2013

But I can’t just yet.

I have bought a motorbike. Not the first one I ever owned but it’s been a while. About 35 years to be precise. Long story…

I loved riding my bike in my youth. It was a great feeling back then, roaring round the countryside on two wheels and feeling the roll of the road beneath me. Now I’m getting close to early retirement and I want to do it again although, probably, at a slightly more sedate pace than in the past. Having saved the cash up, I went looking for a suitable machine. I decided I wanted a piece of British iron, or as close as I could get, so everything other than Japanese and Harleys was on the table. There wasn’t much around. I did eventually hear of a used Royal Enfield Bullet 500, British design, now built in India by the old Enfield Company (Indian) factory. The design hasn’t changed since 1947. Asking price at the dealers was £4500. I rang the guy up and fixed a look-see. Unfortunately, a little later in the day, he rang back and told me the owner had changed her mind and the bike was now up for auction on the internet. He gave me the lot number and wished me luck. I found the auction and resolutely began bidding. I won in the end and got the bike for £3000. Money saved is money earned in my book. Put £1500 back in your pocket Exile.

#7A little history came my way via the original dealer. The bike was bought new in 2005. The old guy that bought it got sick and never rode the bike past 1750 kilometers. He eventually passed away and his widow kept the bike until now. The bike has been in a garage for 8 years. It’s like brand new apart from the dust and a few perished rubber hoses and a flat battery. The dealer has tried the bike and it runs OK. It isn’t even run fully in yet. So far so good.

Having bought it, the bike needed to be collected from the auction house. It is not registered yet so I had to collect it on a trailer with a great deal of help from one of my buddies. So, now, it’s at home with me in my shed. Unfortunately, the idiots at the auction house don’t know much about motor bikes and didn’t know how to start it. One needs to switch the engine to run, turn on the fuel, open the choke and then kick it over. They apparently did none of this and, when it failed to start, they decided it was the spark plug that was at fault and took it out to replace it with a new one. The boss even went out with it and bought a new plug but while I was picking up the bike in one city, he was 150 KM’s away in another. The eejit. So they’re going to post it to me later this week.

So. it has to be re-registered in my name, I need to get it inspected for roadworthiness (Ha! No problem!) and I need to get a new number plate to register it as mine and put it on the road. Insurance is a given.. and it’s gonna be cheap because I’m a careful old git now and not a silly youngster like I was back in the day.

Anyhow, once I get these things sorted out, I’ll be away. Look out Denmark, here I come. Vrooom!

I can’t wait to get going.

Update: 05 May 2013.

Since posting the above, I’ve been a busy boy. The spark plug arrived in the post and after fitting it to the machine, I started her up. She fired almost instantly and ran just about as sweet as a nut. I’ve put some hours into cleaning away 8 years of neglect and used a whole lot of chrome cleaner to really put the shine back. A damp cloth cleaned off all the dust and I had to replace the breather tube above the crank case. It was perished after standing for so long with oil residue in it. I charged the battery but may have to buy a new one. If they don’t get used regularly they simply die off, however, I’m crossing my fingers because it did take a charge and it will power the lights with the engine off. I’ll be picking up some trial plates next week and getting it inspected at the local testing station. After that, registration and off I go. The plan is coming together…

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From our European affairs desk:

Posted by Exile on February 1, 2013

Brussels. EU to instigate Gold Tooth Tax.

The EU commission in collaboration with the Central European Bank is to instigate an astonishing new tax to bolster the worth of Euro gold reserves. As the present monetary crisis continues the EU is about to capitalise on citizens who have had their ailing teeth filled with gold fillings. As the price of gold generally increases, the value of these fillings also rises. Therefore, according to EU tax officials, those citizens with gold fillings are gaining unearned amounts of money. This is to be compared with “hidden investment” and will become tax liable.

Dental records across the entire EU will be subject to examination and taxes will be applied to consider the rise in value, from the date of the filling, until present gold prices. Citizens will be taxed on the accrued differences.

MP and Euro MP Sir Gerald Fox-Hunter had little to say when questioned by our reporter.

“This is yet another attempt by the Social Democratic led EU Commission to level an already too flat playing field. It is one thing to take the food out of the mouths of the people, which is only to be expected, but to take the very fillings from their teeth is nothing short of appalling.” he said. “I shall be raising the question in the House (Commons. Ed.) later this month after the end of the fly fishing season.”

The EU tax is expected to take effect within the next six months. It is expected that those with gold fillings will have time to have their gold fillings replaced at their own expense if they so wish and thus avoid the tax. The resulting pile of gold will be harvested from dental surgeries across Europe and sent directly to the Central European Bank vaults to bolster bullion reserves.

Posted in Wry grin | 3 Comments »

The Lighter Side of Passenger Profiling.

Posted by Exile on September 17, 2012

Or: Some of those rare and amusing moments that occurred during my three months with Delta Airlines and ICTS Security.

Interviewing 210 passengers a day can get a bit monotonous. The same questions repeated ad nauseam and pretty much the same responses to those questions can add up to a dreary working day but once in a while the unusual and amusing raised their ugly heads and brought a little cheer.

Souvenirs.
I had a lady from the USA before me.
What items do you have in your baggage that could resemble, or be used as, weapons? I asked. She wavered.
I bought some antiques in Sweden.
Antiques?
Yes, this old syringe and some other things.
I looked at the syringe. It was a cast alloy single object with a long pointed nose.
You might want to pack that in your check in luggage, I said. Anything else?
Yes. I have this knife.
What?
Yes. It’s an antique hunting knife..
WHAT?
I looked at it in amazement. It was beautiful. Silver pommel, silver rings, horn handle and in lovely condition.
Madame, I said, You won’t get that through security. Pack it away before they arrest you and confiscate it.
But it’s an antique…
Oh. So it only kills old people..?

A slip of a lad.
A little old lady presents her passport. I put it through the computer swipe thingy and all her details pinged up on the screen. No problems. I looked a bit closer and discovered her year of birth was 1923. I thought, I’ll make her day.
Madame, I said, this passport appears to be forged.
Pardon? she said.
Yes. It says you were born in 1923. I find that hard to believe.
She blushed, smiled and said, Thank you young man but it’s true. I’m 89 years young.
(Young man? I’m pushing 60. Who made whose day?)

Groupies.
A similar little elderly lady stood before me, all smiles and obviously in a good mood.
Are you traveling alone Madame?
No. I’m with a group.
The Spice Girls?
Tee hee.. no. Another group. A different kind of group. We’re the global grannies.
How big is that group?
40.  We’ve been on the cruise.
Well well. The Global grannies? Suits me fine. I said and pointed to my rotund middle regions. As you can see, I’m a global grandpa.
Hoots of laughter from all of the grannies. We had to split them up into smaller groups of four to ease processing. They were wonderful and great fun to interview. You can Google them. They are from Billings, Minnesota and they made our day.

Divine non-intervention.
The queue was getting very long at the “assist” line. Have you all tried the electronic check in system? I asked. Six people replied in chorus, It doesn’t work.
I caught sight of a priest about six or seven places back in the queue.
Padre, it would appear we need your help….
Even he laughed.

Manners maketh man.
A woman doing battle with huge suitcases at the check in counter caught my eye. I offered to help.
Leave me alone, I can do it myself. she snapped.
Excuse me Madame, I said. Where I come from we call it good manners, politeness and proper behaviour to offer assistance. Please accept my apologies. I shall not trouble you again.
I walked off.
Five minutes later I was tapped on the shoulder. It was her.
I owe you an apology. She said. You are right. You were being polite and your behaviour was impeccable. I was rude and ill mannered. I’m sorry.
That’s alright Madame. Think no more of it and have a pleasant flight home.
Thank you. She said.
Then she hugged me.

More than she bargained for.
A simple question to a middle aged lady. What battery operated or electrical devices do you have in your baggage?
I have a phone, a camera and this.
She produced a huge erotic toy from her hand luggage. It looked evil. Big, with a knobbly top and knobbly rings on the shaft of the thing. If R2D2 should ever have a penis, this is what it would look like.
Madame, please…
She pointed it threateningly at me and waved it under my nose.
Do you know what these cost in the States?
I’m sure I have no idea Madame but…
Twice what I paid for it here. A bargain.
In her enthusiasm she somehow switched the bloody thing on. It buzzed like an angry bee in a jam jar, the top started bobbing about and the knobbly rings began rotating each in their own direction.
Madame please, I’m glad your shopping trip was a success but please put it away. You’re frightening the children.
I can’t seem to switch it off…
Oh dear….

The slip of the tongue.
I was confronted by an extremely good looking young lady in a low cut summer blouse that barely covered a pair of the finest breasts that it has ever been my pleasure to clap eyes on.
I asked to see her ticket information. I couldn’t see how the ticket was booked or paid for.
Please tell me, where did you boob… er.. sorry.. where did you book your ticket?

Career decisions.
While guarding the door of the aircraft, I overheard a pretty stewardess talking to her colleague.
I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have done something else. You know, settle down, get married, have babies..
(I couldn’t resist it..)
I can help with the last bit…!

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We’re Doomed..

Posted by Exile on July 24, 2012

Or maybe not, depending on the Mayans, or the Aztecs, or someone else… 

The knowledgeable types amongst us will know that the great Mayan Long Count Calendar comes to an abrupt end on the 21st of December 2012, which heralds the end of the world. In about five months from now as I write this. The winter equinox. Just before Christmas. Bugger. I like Christmas. Or should I say, used to like Christmas. T’was a cheery time of year, in my youth. 
It is therefore, like it or not, that you will have to make the choice of preparing for our utter and total destruction or plan your Christmas shopping in the next few months. If you follow the chatter on the internet, the screaming eejits have the advantage and they are descending upon some otherwise unknown French village in the vain hope of avoiding the coming apocalypse by congregating there. I have no idea why a village in France is going to be exempt from global destruction, but there you are. Voila. 
Admittedly, we have been warned of the end of the world by others at various times in the past, all to no avail, but someone has to be right at some point in time and the law of averages is against us. Not only that, we are talking ancient wisdom here, from the Mayans. And they were bloody clever. (Just raising my finger here! You have been warned!)

The Mayans started work on their calendar somewhere around AD 600. They worked hard at it, making astronomical observations, predicting the seasons, the rise and fall of the planets in the heavens and major events in their own history. All these things were carved in stone in strange hieroglyphic pictures and interpreted by the holy priests of that civilisation, much to the consternation or elation of the masses that were the Mayan folk. It would appear that no matter where you are, religion is power, be it biblical or pictorial. Sacrifices were made, the gods were appeased and all was well. Their calendar was extremely accurate and various astronomical events were predicted until well into our century, including solar eclipses. And then, it just stops. On the 21st of December this year. There was no need to continue, say the learned. It is The End. So there.

Of course, there may be another explanation. Here’s one.

https://i1.wp.com/www.maya-portal.net/files/8-tlaloc_thumb.jpgIt is the year 738, about five in the afternoon on Thursday in the third week of the month of the Lizard King Porcupine at the Mayan calendar workshop.
Fred Querxacotl and Joe Zaxtpitl are rounding off the day’s chiseling in stone and Joe is sweeping the floor for the fifth time that day. It’s an hour to knocking off time. Fred seems a little depressed.

What’s up? says Joe.
I dunno, says Fred, I just don’t see the point any more..
To what? says Joe.
All this chiseling every day. We’re up to winter equinox in 2012 now. What’s the bloody point? We’ll be long gone by then. Says Fred.
We’ll all be long gone before that, says Joe.
What? says Fred, and lays down his chisel. What do you mean?
Well, says Joe, according to the vicar in church last sunday, the bloody conquistadores will be here already in about 1520 and they’re gonna wipe us off the face of the earth.
What? says Fred, that’s only about 8oo years from now. I’m nearly 500 years past that already. Bugger me!
Yeah, says Joe, some bastard called Hernan Cortes is coming over here from Europe and he’s gonna sort us right out. Well not us really, but them that comes after us, the Aztecs.
This is news to me, says Fred. Who the hell are the Aztecs?
Well, says Joe, first the Aztecs will rise up within the next few hundred years and be a great civilisation much like we are today and we, the Mayans, get clobbered by them, then come these dego chaps from Spain and they clobber the Aztecs. A bit like what we did to the Olmecs.
Oh yeah. I remember the Olmecs. Bunch of wankers. Big heads. So what about us? says Fred.
Well, like I said, we’re doomed mate, says Joe. We’ll all be long dead by then.
Well bugger me, says Fred. That’s it then. I ain’t doin’ this any more. They can shove this job up their arses.

And with that, the last man able to chisel the words and likenesses of the gods quit his job and went off to live his life as peacefully as he could and never looked back. Joe started a gravel business and got a contract for the South American interstate highway, which failed as a financial project, and ended up in a place called Nazqa building short roads and designing vast rock gardens in the shapes of indigenous animals and birds. Joe’s work can still be seen today, as can Fred’s calendar.
Sure enough, the Aztecs came and finally wrested power from the Mayans forcing them to give up the recruitment drive for a new chisel operator. The calendar was never finished.

Or was it…?? As I said, you decide. Merry Christmas.

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