May 31, 2023

Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (14)

kathyBy Kathy Martin…

Written April 2014

The other day we bought a punnet of strawberries at Supreme, the local and family-run supermarket in Çatalköy. Wow, you say, what an interesting and earth-shattering piece of news before you quickly turn over the page!


Nonetheless, this action brought to mind the shopping conditions that existed during my childhood, adolescence and early life. Way back then, just after the dinosaurs became extinct, fresh fruit and vegetables were only available when they were in season. As such, perishable fruit and vegetables were only available in the fruiterers and greengrocer shops (supermarkets had not yet appeared!) for a limited time.

People need only look at the dinner table to know what the time of the year it was. There were, of course, the far simpler and more reliable methods to assess this, by either looking at a calendar, looking out of the window, or feeling the temperature of one’s skin whether to put on, or take off, warm clothing!

In Britain, strawberries and cream are (or were) traditionally associated with, and looked forward to, during the “Wimbledon Week” time of the year. Now, however, “fresh” strawberries are available on the high streets 12 months a year. As a result, some of the joy and the anticipation of being able to eat a specific, but desired product during only a few weeks, in a year, has disappeared from our lives.

Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts

On the “plus” side, people living in Britain and other “civilized” (?) Christian countries are now able to choose from a number of fresh vegetable options and, therefore, are no longer obliged to eat Brussels sprouts only on Christmas Day!

Here, I would like to put on record that on the couple of occasions we had the pleasure of spending Christmas with Malcolm and Linda (our son-in-law’s parents), Linda was able to serve Brussels sprouts that were not only edible, but so tasty that I (a devout Brussels sprout hater) asked for more!

Back in the TRNC with our political isolation and trade embargoes, thankfully we are still obliged to live with the seasonal availability of fruit and vegetables. However, the “upside” of this situation is that we are not (yet) members of the European Union. As such both our locally grown produce, as well as those imported from Turkey, have taste and flavour! They are not the sanitized, standardised products that are grown and sold in Europe.

In the UK, we remember shelves of identically sized, shaped and coloured cucumbers encased in plastic shrink-wrapping, that, when eaten, (the cucumbers, not the wrapping!) tasted of…..hmm….of water! Here the fruit and vegetables are sold unwrapped and are not necessarily of a uniform size or have an exact colour match. Although, they may not be “beautiful”, they have taste and flavour! Surely this must be the most telling argument not to join the EU?

When I lived in Britain I didn’t realise (nor would have admitted) that I lived in a “plural society” of largely “non-religious” people! The non-religious tag must be a massive insult to the many devout and practicing Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists etc. I apologise if I haven’t named all of the faiths and religions that are practiced in Britain.


The intelligentsia’s statement may have made more sense if it had been on the lines of a speech given to immigrants by a Prime Minister of Australia that I stumbled across some years ago, but I can’t remember where.

It went along the lines of

You are welcome to live in Australia, but here we speak English, and this is the language that will be used in our schools, law courts etc. A new immigrant hearing “hey bluey me old cobber, lets grab a few tinnies and chat up some sheilas at the billabong” may doubt the veracity of that statement!

The speech goes on to say that Australia is a Christian country, but anyone is free to practice any religion providing that the practices involved in the service don’t offend or contravene the laws of the land.

The speech (about an A4 page length in normal font) concluded with “if you are unable to adapt to Australian laws or our way of life then you are free to leave”!

What a refreshing outlook!

Maria Miller, Culture Minister
Maria Miller, Culture Minister

To tie-in or continue with people or professions who appear to be above the law, read on. Recently I had a ramble, (well more of a rant really!) about Maria Miller, the UK Conservative party Culture Minister who has been found guilty by a parliamentary committee of fiddling her expenses claim by some £50,000. Leaving aside the fact that the Prime Minister originally insisted that she remain in her position, declaring loudly to the electorate that Britain no longer needs to transport criminals to Australia, as happened in the 1700s and 1800s, because they are now welcomed in the Palace of Westminster!

Anyway leaving the above aside, she was initially told to repay a fairly substantial sum, but this amount was reduced to a little over 10% of the amount that she fiddled, no, STOLE from the taxpayers!

I am now aware that Maria Miller has stepped down from the Cabinet, and consequently now has to live off a paltry £67,000 salary! However, she also received a £17,000 redundancy payment, generously donated by those good people who pay their taxes!

Why has she (and other politicians who have stolen taxpayers money) and bankers who misappropriated their clients and shareholders money been exempt from prosecution in criminal or civil courts?

Come on, fledgling and existing political parties throughout the world, stand up on your hind legs and tell the electorate that, if elected, members of parliament will be continuously accountable to the public and subject to the same laws as the common people. You may be surprised at how popular such a policy, on the manifesto, would be!

While on the topic of (peaceful) revolutionary parliamentary reforms, throughout the world, here is another one!

Politicians state that they deserve their high salaries as their pay must be comparable with those in the “commercial world”. This is excellent in theory, but in the commercial world, even basic pay, but especially bonuses and pay rises, depend on an individual’s productivity and efficiency. Therefore, pay members of parliament a basic salary, then, at the end of a year analyse how much actual “work” has been done by the individual.

By this I don’t mean the number of hours spent in a Parliament building shouting inanely across the benches, but how his or her constituents had benefitted during that year ,or how many of the promises on the party manifesto had been progressed or completed by his or her involvement and adjust (or leave alone) the amount of pay accordingly!

David Cameron, British Prime Minister
David Cameron, British Prime Minister

My rambles over the previous two weeks have mentioned that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron originally insisted that the dishonest Culture Minister, Maria Miller, should remain in office. I didn’t think that anyone could be more out of touch with reality than him. However, I stand corrected!

A small group of “intellectuals” (academics and scientists etc) have accused David Cameron of “stoking sectarian division”(?) by calling Britain a “Christian” country!

Queen Elizabeth II of Britain
Queen Elizabeth II of Britain

I am neither a fan of David Cameron nor of the British hereditary monarchy. However, Queen Elizabeth II is not only the titular head of state, but as such she also holds the title “Defender of the Faith”, as she is the absolute head of the (Christian) Church of England. To me, and to the majority of ordinary people throughout the world who aren’t burdened with massive brainpower (but have common sense), Britain is a “Christian” country.

Britain’s census taken in 2011 shows that 59% of the population stated that they were “Christian”. Admittedly 59% is a considerable reduction on the percentages recorded in previous consensuses but, nevertheless it is still a majority!

Next blog will continue with Alistair’s rambles

These rambles were written by Alistair initially for the “The KibKom Times” then “The KibKom Forum

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