Blame Brexit : @JakeTheWriter

This week’s Podcast from Jakethewriter, author, travel writer, journalist and ‘Project Fear’ hater, explains why he didn’t upgrade his car this week.

Blame Brexit

I have had a long love affair with a car, now there’s a confession! I’ve owned a top of the range V8 Lexus since it was just a two year old. I call it a Louis XIV model because it has gold badges and bits all over. I have also given it a name I am embarrassed to say because hitherto all cars have been nothing to me but tin boxes, and I’ve owned a few. I’ve called my Lexus the novel name of Lexi. That’s it, confession over and I am red faced.

Lexi is approaching 16 years old; it’s the car that I’d always promised myself when I retired and I’m certain that it will see me out in luxurious motoring for as long as I last. Did I mention that she also has a personalised number plate which allows her to hide age even though she is timeless? The rich widow who I purchased her late husband’s, hardly used car from, didn’t mention the plate so neither did I. The number plate is probably a lot more valuable than the car is; and no I don’t feel guilty.

On Saturday my local dealership sent me a gold inlaid, embossed invitation to the launch of their latest model. I don’t need to change my car in fact as at my age, not only could I not justify the cost, my wife tells me that I couldn’t afford one anyway. In spite of that I couldn’t resist having a look at the specification, just out of interest you understand.

I am also a self confessed gadget freak and tend to spoil myself with the latest boy’s toys such as iPhone, iPod, digital camera, thermal Wi-Fi printer, dash cam, etcetera, my toy box is overflowing. You get the picture. The ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ could have been written for me. Anyway, back to the new model, the specification was chockfull of bait to tempt one such as me. The lists of high tech gismos such as multi-contour seats in the finest Connoly hide, with chambers which compensate for acceleration and cornering. Split screen Satellite Navigation system that made my present one as outdated as a road map and Parking Cameras to the front and rear. Individual rear passenger DVD players with wireless headphones, even in-car Wi-Fi, Advanced Voice Control for your phone, Auto Windscreen Wipers which switch themselves on at the first spot of rain. Auto-dip Headlamps when it detects oncoming vehicles. The car even alerts the driver if it detects drowsiness . . . . . . . and so on . . . . . and so on.

My juices were running, the adrenalin kicked in and I went on to the dealership’s website. As I logged on someone immediately typed “Hello, my name is Martin how I can help you today?” Damn I’d been caught, sucker! I typed, “Hi this is only a general enquiry for the price of the LS480, and I’m not really in the market.” Martin quickly replied “You will never get a better time to buy. Because of Brexit and the fall in the exchange rate, I am able to offer a one off price of just £71,999!” . . . . Silence from my end . . . . . . . and then I typed “Did I miss something, is that special rate a buy one get one free offer?” . . . . . . . . . . . Martin had hung up . . . . . .

Brexit indeed he obviously wasn’t aware of my Vote Leave/Grassroots Out campaign credentials.

Anyway what would I do with two cars? I think that I will stick with Lexi; after all she is the other love in my life. She is beautiful and in another 10 years she will be a Classic. We are both maturing perfectly together!

That’s it for another week, thanks for listening. As Arnie in the Terminator said “I’ll be back!”

It’s Downhill All The Way : @JakeTheWriter

Today’s Podcast from Jakethewriter, Oldie, Blogger, Travel Writer, Author and Commentator on thoughts of getting old

It’s Downhill All The Way

Today’s blog came about after a friend on FaceBook wrote complaining of the usual aches and pains of old age, especially as her 65th birthday was that day. One of her friends commented that at her age it was going to be downhill all the way from now on.

When I read his comment I knew what he meant, but the more I read that sentence I came up with a totally different interpretation and left her a comment that she should be more positive and think of the future as “Downhill all the Way” as though she was riding a bicycle and from now on is going to be freewheeling downhill all the way. Wheee! Lift your feet off the pedals, and go!

The landmark age when you become eligible to collect your pension certainly doesn’t have to mean that you suddenly become decrepit or senile. The Government doesn’t even call it an old age pension or even a retirement pension. It’s the State Pension now, more political correctness!

We are now being told that 60 is the new 40 and that 60 is now middle-aged. What it is telling us that improved medical science has meant that we are living longer and we are aware that sensible eating is vital. Certainly with life expectancy being so advanced those things have changed. 100 years ago a person of 60 would have been considered very old and 200 years ago 60 would probably have meant that you were dead.

In the past years we hear how each decade makes the population younger – 40 is the new 20, 50 the new 30 and 60 the new 40 – At this rate aging sounds exciting. Truthfully aging can be difficult on all levels, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It’s how we work these categories that will make the difference between feeling 40 and feeling 60.

Truthfully old age is a state of mind and there is no doubt that people who have a younger outlook are healthier in old age. People who consider themselves frail are more likely to abandon activities which can keep them healthy in old age, such as taking regular exercise and others with a positive attitude can remain socially active and healthy and enjoy a greater quality of life despite having equal or greater levels of physical weakness.

A recent study found among people whose ages ranged from 66 to 98 whom had varying levels of physical health – some who lived independently and other who were under some sort or care. Participants were asked about their experience of aging and frailty, to determine how their attitude could affect their health and quality of life.

Most participants even those in poor physical shape, maintained that they were still in good condition, with one commenting “If people think they are old and frail they will act like they are old and frail”. There were two people who took part in the study who did consider themselves frail and their outlook had led them to withdraw from socialising and exercise even though they were physically stronger than others in the study.

So that’s the answer isn’t it? Age is a state of mind! Well from experience I can assure that although that is a great help, its medical advances are probably the greatest help in keeping old buggers ticking over. It is paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to the majority but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.

My own outlook on life is that old age starts 15 years from now! I am old enough to have served on an armed merchantman in the Korean War and to have damaged my hearing in an underwater explosion when clearing the wrecks of ships sunk by Colonel Nasser (spit) in the Suez Conflict. I’ve shot people and been shot at and came out unscathed (physically that is), mentally my brain has given me a death wish by taking part in dangerous sports and pursuits from white water canoeing, ocean racing, rock climbing and surfing and I still participate in anything that I think I physically can!

Medical science over the years has given me carbon fibre pins in my medial and cruciate ligaments in my left leg, prosthetic stainless steel joints in both knees and two replacement thumb joints. I took my new knees up Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons to do the ‘Fan Dance’ without using a walking stick or even hiking poles. Early this year I walked the Watkin Path up Snowden until I got out of breath somewhere beyond the Gladstone Rock. Two months ago I went to Perranporth to go surfing. I discovered that I can no longer stand up on a board because of my dodgy knees but I enjoyed a bit of belly boarding. I was knackered after half an hour and found the water too cold for these old bones.

In about three weeks time my son is throwing me a party which is called “I can’t believe he’s eighty” which is very kind of him. He was born in 1961 so I suppose that makes him only the new 35. Do you know I’ve never heard anyone say that 80 is the new anything – just 80 so I suppose I shall keep celebrating that it’s Downhill All the Way! Wheee – here I come no brakes – Wheee!

Thanks for listening; I’ll see you again next week! If I’m spared…

For the last time ‘Rio isn’t the right venue’ : @JakeTheWriter

This week’s Podcast from jakethewriter. Sailor, travel journalist, author and commentator comes as the Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio de Janeiro opens and touches a doom laden nerve with Jake.

And for the very last time – “Rio isn’t the right venue”

I promise that this will be the very last blog that I write telling you that “I told you so” about the stupidity of holding the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It’s been almost seven years since Rio de Janeiro was chosen to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and I’ve been telling anyone who would listen, that it was a big mistake.

All I could think of when I saw Barak Obama was flying to Denmark to pursue his home town of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Games. All I could say was great, anywhere but the UK. Then I saw that the winner of the Olympic lottery was Rio de Janeiro and very unlike me, I was lost for words. I was struck dumb, where have the Olympic Committee been for the past 30 years? To be honest my first thoughts were to suspect the honesty and integrity of the whole panel. No-one with any nuance at all could not know that Rio de Janeiro is known the world over as the City of Violence, the City of Corruption.

The opening ceremony is this week. So far we have had one competitor apparently mugged by an armed Police Officer in uniform who took him to a cash point to empty his bank account. We have had Bernie Ecclestone’s Mother-in-Law kidnapped and held to ransom for £30 Million. Fortunately the kidnappers have been arrested and she was released after 13 days, unharmed and without the ransom being paid.

Policemen, whose salaries were delayed by a bankrupt state government, have been greeting arrivals at the International Airport with a sign, written in English, “Welcome to Hell”. Well they have been warned. The promised and much vaunted Metro Line extension and the Bus Corridor which were promised to be the games legacy for the residents are nearly 2 years behind schedule. Bus links are also late. Days ahead of the opening ceremony, traffic has caused chaos with 20 kilometres of tailbacks in traffic jams. A friend tells me that her normal 1 hour commute took her 4 hours.

The new Metro extension which finally opened last Monday is only available to Olympic ticket or pass holders. Commuters with not be allowed to use the extension until the end of the year. By the way the Metro extension stops more than 10 kilometres short of the Games Venues, so for the remainder of the journey visitors will have to use buses or taxis to add to the traffic jams.

Rio’s high crime rate is already up on its already high world ratings. There are many reports of drivers caught in traffic jams being physically dragged from their cars and robbed. On top of Rio’s local difficulties they are compounded by a national crisis. Brazil is suffering from a really severe recession, it’s President Dilma Rouseff, is being impeached on charges of manipulating government accounts; an interim government is in charge. Rio is one of the centres of this national dysfunction. Petrobras, the state-controlled oil firm is at the centre of a multibillion dollar scandal is based in Rio. The city’s policemen are no exception to Rio’s violent norm; they killed 40 people in May this year alone. Last year 133 people died violently just in Santa Cruz, a deceptively tranquil district at Rio’s western tip. Meanwhile in the Favelas, the shanty towns that cling to the hillsides and which house over 20% of the population, the shoot outs between gangsters and trigger happy police have become even more frequent and the death toll continues to rise

The federal government has sent 27,000 soldiers and national guards to fight crime and prevent terrorism. There are a number of Jihadist threats and some home grown ones have had their plots foiled. In spite of Rio’s reputation as a party city famous for its fiestas and carnivals and the forthcoming Olympic opening ceremony taking to the streets, the mood in Rio is very downbeat and even a successful games is not going to be enough to lift that depression. It has spectacular scenery but that is not going to be enough to compete with outbreaks of mosquito borne diseases, sewage infested bodies of waters with levels of viruses so high that athletes competing in them are in life threatening danger.

Apart from health concerns for the athletes, and horrendous crime threats, there is also civil unrest among Brazilians themselves over misappropriated funds for the games and a worry that this may be remembered as among the worst in Summer Games history. I will reserve my judgement until a later date but I still have to say “I told you so”

There I’ve said it and I promise that I will not say it again. If you are interested in my warnings over the past seven years my blog at will take you there and has links to all of my previous Rio rants. In spite of that I hope the games are more successful than I predict. Especially for the British teams, for the sailors I wish you fair winds and following seas with no life threatening detritus. God Speed, thanks for listening I’ll see you next week.