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Archie - it's finally over

After many months of wrangling, and the parents appealing to every court that would listen, even taking things to the UN and the ECHR, the long process has finally come to an end.

Support was stopped. The body continued autonomously for about two hours - only slightly longer than the usual 'about an hour' that a brain-stem dead body can manage without life support.
According to news reports, he then went blue and finally died.

Predictably, his parents have been ranting at everybody. Calling it "barbaric" and saying that he was "suffocated".

My heart goes out... to the dedicated staff of the hospital that have had to put up with this abuse for so long.

His mother has called for an inquiry, and is demanding that there be changes.

I completely agree.

Let's see a clamp down on uninvolved third parties peddling false hope and dragging something on and on and on.

All of the courts found in favour of the hospital and their desire to end life support. Why? Because the evidence pointed to brain stem death. Despite what some clueless people have been saying, you DO NOT recover from that. Dead is dead. A dead tooth, a dead brain, it doesn't matter, it's not going to spring back to life.

Which means, sadly, their son Archie was now little more than a corpse being kept alive by machines. And while some people have been in a similar looking state and recovered, those are people with brain damage or comatose. Damage is recoverable. Death is not.

Given this, the parents (the mother, I think? I don't recall) mentioning that the hospital has spent so much on legal fights that could have instead been spent on care.
Yes, I completely agree with that. The parents' failure to understand that there was no hope, in the face of some people who came along with false hope, is what fuelled this.
Each court in line said the same thing. The evidence and test results all pointed to the same thing.
All of them.

It's not a conspiracy. It's just the sad truth.

I trust also that the police have already taken his phone and computer to perform a full investigation into how and why a 12 year old boy had a noose around his neck.
His mother has been saying that she believes it to have been a part of some sort of TikTok "challenge" where people actually attempt to, well, hang themselves only without dying.

That's what the mother says. Perhaps it was a punishment that went horribly wrong? Don't think too much about that, I'm just throwing out alternative ideas to give contrast. It's a matter for the police to go over the evidence, so let's just go with the TikTok story for now.

But, of course, even this raises questions. Was the mother aware of this sort of thing? Should they, the parents, not have been paying closer attention to the sorts of things that their child watches? Not to mention him being of the mentality of thinking that it would be cool/funny to actually hang himself in that way? For all the dumb things I've done in life, I have never ever attempted putting anything around my neck to suffocate. It's just... no. It's like setting yourself on fire. Surely there's a line where one must simply say "hell, no!".

Of course, if the TikTok story is correct, then that means there is likely to be video of him actually doing it. After all, isn't the point to record yourself doing something daft to upload it afterwards? That, more than anything, would show the exact circumstances... but god help whatever plod has to watch that.

Still, it's over now. He can finally be laid to rest. Now come the recriminations, and for the sake of sanity, I trust the family direct their ire to the shit that social media is feeding children. Concentrate less on how he died, and more on why this came to be.


And if you're a parent, how much do you supervise what your child is watching? It's one thing to laugh at dumb things on FailArmy on YouTube, but quite another to see them checking all the latest "challenges".

Consider, such idiotic things as:

  • Downing two bananas abd chugging a can of Sprite without puking.
  • Swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking anything.
  • In a nod to the film Bird Box, doing stuff blindfolded including driving or crossing the road.
  • Numerous other food challenges that, if you're lucky, will only result in pukery. Including, for example, eating laundry liquid pods.
  • Planking - lie down flat on something, as if you were a plank. Not dangerous in itself, but planking on a bucket is boring. Have to one-up the rest, so planking on a fifth floor balcony, however...
  • Sniff a condom up the nose, snort it into the nasal cavity, then to the back of the throat to cough it up and out of the mouth. Seriously, who thinks up this crap?
  • Partially plug in something, like a phone charger. Then drop a metal object such as a coin between the contacts.
  • Throw boiling water over yourself, or worse, somebody else.
  • Recite the alphabet while furiously rubbing the same bit of skin with a rubber (or eraser for American readers ☺).
  • Get somebody to jump, then kick their legs out as they come down. No guesses why this is called the "Skull Breaker".
  • Faking epilepsy, especially in a public place, because "it's a prank", right? (arseholes)
  • Pour some sort of flammable liquid on yourself, then set it alight, upload it. Better yet, dumbass, how about uploading the obvious result?
  • In times of Covid, licking door handles and even toilet bowls in an attempt to challenge Coronavirus itself (never mind the plethora of bacteria).
  • Parents throwing cheese slices at their babies. Pretty innocuous given some of the other things on this list, but still, what the hell?

I would like to think that anybody over the age of five will be quite aware of how utterly stupid these sorts of things are.
Sadly, the internet proves me wrong, time and time again.

It's enough to lose faith in humanity.


I went to Craon yesterday

I had planned to go to the local supermarket to do my Friday shop.

Until I realised that it was actually Saturday. Oops.

Since it was a nice enough morning, I decided to go for some pretty scenery. To a place called Craon. That's said like "cron" but with a nasal 'n', never like "crayon".

This doesn't really do it justice. It's more of a you-had-to-be-there, but, yeah, it's a tranquil cross-country route, not so many cars, and plenty of rolling hills with pretty scenery.
I include this picture because Niafles. I don't even want to guess how that's pronounced! Okay: nee-affl?

How d'you say Niafles?
How d'you say Niafles?
Actually, I'll be honest here. Mom and I used to call this place "nay-fuls". It's only just as I look at this photo that I realise it's "nia" not "nai"!

The supermarket... was odd. A Hyper U so is bigger than the one I normally go to, although very bizarrely it seemed... much rubbisher. The tea aisle, was an embarrassment. The chocolate bar aisle, barely existed. The fresh salads and sandwiches, took about a half metre of shelf space. They didn't even have organic semi-skimmed. It seemed to be a big shop with a lot of unused space rather than, you know, actual stock.
Still, on the other hand, I went to a big Noz and there I picked up a three CD set of Halloween tunes. Though The Timewarp is taken from a live show and is nothing like the original. Oh well.
Yeah, what's the world come to when I can walk around a Noz and come out with only one thing?

It was a pleasant drive. There's that.


The psychology of fleas

It's funny, isn't it.



Here's a grotesquely oversized picture to exercise your nightmare muscle.

A drawing of a flea
Public domain drawing by Robert Hooke, 1666.

I bet you can feel something itch right now.

I spent two horrible nights being eaten alive.

And yesterday as I was sitting outside, insects tore chunks of flesh out of my legs, and the Arthropleura crawling up my leg was extremely creepy.
The problem? I wasn't wearing trousers. Just sitting in the comfy reclining chair wearing a loose t-shirt. So I could see my legs.
There was nothing there.

I could absolutely feel something crawling up my leg. And I could see nothing. No fleas, no spiders, no Carboniferous monsters.

Nothing at all.

Yet, every so often, I would feel as if a needle had been stuck in me. Examining, nothing. Not even a bump as the after-effect of a bite. I think a lot of this is purely psychological. Just think FLEAS, scratch, scratch, scratch...

As for the agony of the feet, these turned out to be tiny blisters so I don't think they are fleas either. Just those little red bastards mom used to call Chiggers.

Still, I suppose there is something to be said for the relentless dry heat. No mosquitoes.

I did put a bowl of warm soapy water on my bed, twice. Sadly nothing was dumb enough to jump in. And I have sprigs of freshly cut Rosemary around the bed. Peculiar smell, but actually not that bad. A bit... Laura Ashley.

That plus the fact that cat fleas can just about keep themselves alive on human blood, and only barely, and maybe they'll either die off or find their way back to the correct species and, surprise, there's a secret waiting for you there! You're history (like a beat-up car), no good for me (like an old film star), you're history (that's what you are), na na na na...


Vacuuming the concrete outside

I'm very fastidious. I vacuum outside!
Vacuuming outside
Vacuuming outside.

Actually, I'm trolling you.

If you look closely you might see a lot of white crap. That's bits of paint that I scraped off of the windows. Most of it fell right off, along with large amounts of putty.

I felt that the toy vacuum cleaner that I use to clean Caoimhe would not survive this onslaught, so I dug up my brand new vacuum cleaner. Purchased in February 2021, and it has a bag. Screw the environment, as an ex-wheezy-breather, I have exactly zero desire to be breathing in whatever crud ends up in a vacuum cleaner. Bag it, then toss it. Just like a corpse. ☺ I recoil in horror from bagless vacuum cleaners. I point and laugh at the bagless ones with triple level HEPA flitering and such, which then expect you to empty the thing by tipping out all that dust into a bag. Fail. Fail! FAIL!


Repainting the windows

I got a tin of white paint and a brush at Action the last time I went to Big Town. This was for the living room windows, that were in pretty poor shape. I lack the skill and equipment (and money) to do a complete strip down and repaint, but I can at least protect the weather-facing parts.
The first step was to remove the flakes of old paint. Probably paint from the late sixties. A scraper got rid of most of that. I tried not to breathe any of it, because given it's age it's probably full of lovely things like lead, antimony, and cadmium from a less enlightened time.
Then the vacuum to sort out the mess.

The next job was to apply the paint. It didn't take long to understand that I needed to slap it on as the wood would soak up a lot. But it was a balancing game getting enough on for the wood to absorb, but not so much it dripped everywhere.

I expected to use most of the paint on the primary windows, but I've given a coat to everything except the extreme top and the sideboards (I'll do those separately) and still have over half a tin left, so this means that I can do the second coat without problems. It's an all-in-one paint, just put it on and then put on another coat and it should be good.

Painting, or trying-not-to-make-a-mess.

Because of the sun, and I might have been mildly sunburned while scraping the paint off, I closed the shutters and then opened them out, working underneath them. Not a lot of room to move, but better than roasting in the sun.


When that was done, I wanted to make a cake. Then I remembered that I hadn't bought any eggs. So instead I made a Green's Cheesecake. This was dead easy, just make some butter melty and mix in some crumbs. Line a cake tin with the result and pop in into the fridge to harden. Then mix about half a pint of milk with some powder, let it whizz on slow for three minutes. Spoon that on top, then back into the fridge to harden. Even a culinary twat like me can manage not to cock that up.

Let's exercise that macro camera again...


Of course, two cups of tea and a chicken and penne meal (for two!) were the rest of this meal. I didn't just eat cheesecake.



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