Hello Reader - welcome to my continuing story.
This today begins with me, Freddie cat, waking up and stretching. After a quick wash of my black and white fur, I trot downstairs and use the litter tray before eating my breakfast, bowing to the bowl and each kibble individually. My friend Gemma cat isn’t around, which means she’s probably reading or doing her exercises to slim down a little. I head upstairs and sit on the stark wooden chair in the kitchen and watch the humans Mary and John as they go about the balletic sequencing of their leaving-for-work routine. John always has problems waking up in the morning and needs a cup of coffee to help him, which he clasps in his hand as he moves around. Mary likes combing her hair as she collects all the items she needs for work. Whenever they open the fridge to get the lunches they prepared the night before, I check for jackfruit, just for my peace of mind. Once the humans leave, John to the train, and Mary in her car, I scoot out of the window, saying ‘Good Morning’ to the primroses and cacti on the window ledge.
I climb down the trellis and say ‘hello’ to the Lancashire Rose, who has left a nice pathway down to the grass for me, which is kind of her. I acknowledge this kindness by bowing to her red flowers at the base of the trellis. A little rustle of leaves is her reply. It feels as though a breeze is passing over me - a pleasant sensation, especially as there’s a slight perfume to accompany it. I’m glad I don’t suffer from allergies.
Reg the garden crow hops over to me - I like how crows hop short distances as though they’re the wallabies of the bird world. It gives them options I don’t possess.
“Morning Freddie,” says Reg, “how are you? I thought I’d give you a few seconds to savour the delicate bouquet of the rose.”
“Thank you,” I reply, “for noticing I enjoyed that moment, yes it’s a wonderful sensation to have as a welcome to the garden in the morning. As a result, I’m content with my life at this moment. How about you?”
“I’m very well. Thank you for asking,” replies Reg. “I’ve just eaten the softest, juiciest worm I’ve had in a long time.”
“Where’s the rest of the family?” I ask.
“They’re around,” says Reg, “your next-door neighbours, Holly the hamster’s human parents, were doing some gardening yesterday evening, so my family are on the other side of the fence investigating what they uncovered, and Ron is the crow up there on the Douglas Fir, keeping a lookout. What are you doing today, Freddie?”
“I’m going to the park with my squirrel friend Rufus. Apparently, there’s a problem. Too many wasps live in one tree and the city council put a notice on the tree saying they’re going to chop it down if the wasps don’t leave, so I’ve said I will try to help.”
“Well, I wish you the best of luck,” says Reg. “Wasps don’t get along with anyone else. In fact, they don’t get on with each other, but I hope they understand.”
“I will try my best,” I reply. “That’s as much as I can do. The park crows will try to help, but I know they don’t like the wasps.”
“They don’t, you’re right, Freddie, anyway you should run along, as Rufus is getting ready to go across the road.”
“Thank you, Reg,” I reply. “I will see you soon. I don’t want to miss Rufus.”
With that, I scamper off to the base of the tree in the front garden where Rufus lives. My timing is quite good as I wait only a minute for the friendly squirrel to zoom down the trunk and greet me in his enthusiastic way.
“Freddie,” he says, “how are you?”
“I’m well,” I reply. “Are you going flying today, Rufus?”
“I think I will have a few attempts on the slide while you talk or negotiate with those wasps. I don’t like wasps, Freddie. They’re bad-tempered and persistent.”
“I quite understand,” I nod. “I’ll do my best.”
With that, we head to the side of the road and look both ways before scuttling across towards the park. At least I scuttle. Rufus sort of flops across the road with no apparent sense of urgency. He’s saving his energy for the children’s slide. We crest the rise and admire the park in its glory. They planted trees at intervals on both sides of the paved footpath that hems in the grass, dandelions, and patches of clover. Single trees gained a foothold in random places, and it’s one of these trees where the wasps set up their nest.
Rufus wishes me the best of feline luck and heads off to the yellow slide. I look at the tree and then do a little meditation, telling myself to have the courage of my convictions and put my case as clearly as possible.
I stroll over to the tree and observe the nest. I know wasps deploy guards around their nests - I’m sure I read that somewhere - and sit down until a wasp talks to me. Sure enough, three wasps soon approach.
“Can we help you?” asks one of them. I’m not sure which one, as they’re a lot smaller than me.
“Can I talk to your leader? I believe you have a Queen?” I ask.
“Are you an alien?” is the reply.
“No, I’m a cat that lives on the other side of the street and I’m a Buddhist cat and I now want to become an environmentalist.”
“Oh yes, you’re the Freddie cat, the cat that goes to the library and rescues hamsters and helps the squirrel fly.”
There’s a small chorus of recognition. About 100 other wasps have joined the initial three, forming a small squadron of flying insects.
“That’s right,” I say.
“The thing is Freddie,” says the wasps, “we don’t have a leader. In our society, the role of the Queen is purely ceremonial – she’s more a figurehead than anything else. We’re not a true monarchy, we’re more of a republic really.”
“Oh I see,” I reply. “May I ask who’s talking?”
“It’s Wilf,” says Wilf.
“Pleased to meet you, Wilf,” I say. “Which one are you?”
“We’re all Wilf,” says Wilf. “It makes things easier if we’re all called Wilf. It stands for Wasps In Line Flying. Anyway, we don’t have a leader. There’s a committee that meets every four hours to discuss our latest findings and make decisions based on those findings.”
“That sounds organised,” I reply, “well I will speak to you all. The humans who run this park are threatening to chop down this tree and destroy your nest. That’s what it says on that piece of paper.”
I gesture to the tree trunk with my left front paw.
“Is that what it says? Oh, we’ll have a quick chat about this Freddie, don’t mind us.”
A large amount of buzzing takes place, with all the wasps hovering in the air and pointing inwards.
After ten seconds, the wasps form a small curtain in the air and speak with one voice, the voice of Wilf. It’s like being in a Greek tragedy with the wasps as the chorus delivering the plot. In fact, Aristophanes wrote a play called The Wasps, which satirises the litigiousness of the Athenians, so I’m almost transported back to Ancient Greece as I listen to their reply.
“Freddie, thank you for pointing out the meaning of the piece of paper. We have decided to vacate the premises and move to a group of trees in the next park, which Wilf assures us is vacant. There aren’t as many people in that park, so we hope not to have too much impact on either the humans or the environment. Thank you for your kind information.”
With that, the wasps form a giant arrow in the air to show all the others in the nest where they’re going and head away in the direction the arrow was pointing in. It strikes me that the wasps would be useful as indicators for people who don’t know which way to go in certain situations, such as car drivers in road works. The wasps have the same innate ability as starlings to form patterns in the air, which I find mesmerising as they all appear to know where they’re going, and I marvel at their communication abilities.
I trot away from the tree towards the playground where Rufus is flying nicely through the air and landing on his feet rather than on his face, which to me seems preferable. The bright yellow slide glows in the sunlight as Rufus scampers away from the landing area.
“You’re becoming superb at this, Rufus,” I say, as he climbs up the steps to the top. “Are you enjoying yourself?”
“I am, Freddie,” replies Rufus, “but I am wondering whether I should try to perform a somersault when I’m in the air, just for a bit of variety. What do you reckon?”
“Well, Rufus,” I say, “You’re only airborne for two or three seconds at the most, so it would be most difficult to twist, let alone do a somersault, because you could end up landing on your back or your head and hurting yourself.”
“I understand,” says Rufus, “well, can I try one now while you’re here? Let’s see how I get on.”
With that, he jumps headfirst down the slide and leaps off the end. He turns head over heels but lands on his tail, jolting him severely.
“Are you alright?” I ask.
Rufus sits there ruefully and nods his head - “You were right, Freddie, I won’t be in the air long enough, unless I change the angle I take off at and so don’t fly as far.”
“Yes, that’s something you’ll have to figure out. Jump upwards rather than forwards and immediately bring your feet up over your head.”
Rufus scrambles to his feet as Sid, Seb, and Stan, the park crows, arrive, landing on the swings and making them move slightly with a metallic creaking noise.
“Hello, Freddie,” says Seb, “what did you say to those wasps? They’ve gone and left their nest behind.”
“I let them know what the notice on the tree said and they were concerned enough to leave for another site in the park just to the north of here.”
“That’s amazing,” says Sid. “They don’t normally listen to anyone else and just carry on regardless, so you must have a powerful presence for them to leave so quickly.”
“Well, thank you,” I reply. “They seemed to know who I was and perhaps that helped them make their decision?”
“Anyway, they’ve gone,” says Rufus. “I wonder how long they’ve gone for. Hopefully, for a long time, anyway, what shall we do next?”
What we do next is walk around the park and inspect the various views before sitting on the park bench.
“Has Penny been in the park recently?” I ask.
“She hasn’t,” replies Stan. “I’ve heard from the starlings the dog refuses to go outside of their garden. She just walks it around the garden 100 times, apparently the starling lost count after a while. He was almost hypnotised by the repetitiveness. Seen nothing like it, he said.”
“That’s probably down to me,” says Rufus. “I probably scared it when I took it for a ride that time. It didn’t stop whimpering afterwards.”
“Have you ever had an episode like that since then?” asks Sid.
“No, I haven’t thankfully,” replies Rufus. “I reckon it was those toxic acorns that Freddie made me bury in his garden. There must have been some chemicals in them that caused my brain to overload.”
“Those seedlings haven’t come up yet,” I reply. “It will be interesting to see how they grow.”
We stop for ten minutes, content with each other’s company, before Rufus indicates he has to go back to his tree. I am going to see Holly in her cage before visiting the library in the afternoon.
We wave au revoir to the crows and scamper down the park and over the road, taking care to look both ways before crossing.
At the base of Rufus’s tree, I have an idea.
“Rufus, could you practice somersaults by either jumping off a low branch or by trying to jump in the air from a standing position? It wouldn’t be as dangerous as jumping down the slide and then trying to do a somersault.”
“Yes, what a good idea, thank you. There’s a low branch on that big bush in the front garden just here that I can use. Excellent idea, anyway I should go as I’m starving, I had only a little breakfast so I could fly further. See you soon, Freddie.”
“‘Bye Rufus,” I say as he disappears up the tree.
I look over towards Holly’s house and see that she’s running in her wheel, though not particularly quickly. It will be a good time to see her. I jump onto the wooden fence defining the boundary between the two properties and head around to her open window, where I leap onto the white window ledge and tap on the glass with my left paw.
“Hello Freddie,” says Holly, “how are you?” She stops running and smiles at me.
“I’m fine,” I reply. “How are you, Holly? Are you OK to have a break?”
“I’m fine, Freddie, it is probably time to take a break, as I shouldn’t run so much. I should have a rest every so often.”
“What have your owners been up to?” I ask. Holly’s large metal cage is on top of a table in a small room. There’s a computer and printer on another table at the far end with a Japanese print called The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai on the wall. There are some pens and open notebooks next to the computer.
“They’ve got another fad, Freddie. They’ve been attacking the garden and planting lots of flowers and plants, though they were complaining about the wasps who were bothering them.”
“The wasps have just left the park,” I say. “If they hadn’t left, the council were going to chop down the tree where their nest was and that’s not the tree’s fault.”
“Where’ve the wasps gone?” asks Holly.
“To another park, further away, so I doubt they’ll be back to bother your humans.”
“Oh, that’s good,” says Holly. “It’s a pity I can’t tell them. It quite bothered them, as they didn’t want to be stung.”
“Well, that’s true of most people, Holly, and me too, though I seemed to get on well with them. They’re very good at making signs in the air, in the shape of an arrow, for example, so they have skills to get along with humans.”
“You’re so clever to get along with wasps, Freddie. How many of them were there?”
“Quite a lot, but they’re all called Wilf, so it’s easy to get along with them and they seem to speak with one voice.”
“I didn’t know wasps were all called Wilf, Freddie. They don’t seem so threatening now, Wilf the wasp. Seems almost funny, really.”
“Well, I’m sure they won’t mind being called Wilf in a friendly manner,” I reply. “They appear to want to fit in when they can.”
“How are your humans?” asks Holly. “Are they doing well?”
“They’re going away on holiday for two weeks the day after tomorrow,” I reply, “so I’m getting out of the house while I can, as the cat sitter might close all the windows when she’s not there, so I’ll have to read a lot of books instead of scampering around outside and making sure everything is going well for my fellow animals.”
“Everything seems well organised,” replies Holly. “Where are they going on holiday?”
“They’re going to a country called The Maldives,” I reply, “which is going to be one of the first victims of global warming and will disappear under the waves in three years if we don’t do something soon.” It’s sad that other, richer countries don’t want to stop this from happening to smaller countries.
“Oh no,” says Holly, “why aren’t humans more concerned about their fellow humans in other countries, Freddie? They should be. They could learn from you.”
“They have money, Holly. That complicates things for humans. They want more of it for themselves and the more they have, the more they want more of it.”
“There are a lot of mores in that sentence, Freddie,” says Holly, “I’m not sure I understood 100%, but you’re right to say humans are greedy for money.”
“Yes, I think so, and acquisitive regarding things that will make them richer.”
“Your vocabulary has certainly improved since the librarian allowed you to read the dictionary whilst she’s doing her work.”
“Yes, that’s right. Humans can be cooperative when they want.”
“They can, Freddie, like my humans could work together when they were gardening. Can I ever go back to the library and see those pictures of Egypt that I was looking at before Gemma grabbed me and carried me outside?”
I smile at Holly. “The one thing I can’t yet do is get the librarian to bring me books. What I will try to do is ask my humans to get some books for me. Somehow. They’re both members of the library now, so I should be able to point to something Egyptian in the house and then point at their library card and hopefully one of them will understand what I’m referring to.”
“That is considerate of you, Freddie. A picture book would be ideal.”
“I try to do my best,” I reply, “and that’s all I can do. My mum used to tell me that after I woke up each morning, always try your best in everything you do, and I’ve followed that advice every day.”
“Yes, well, you’re lucky to get out of the house whenever you want,” says Holly, “although I’m more of a home bod, a bit like Gemma.”
“I think Gemma would like to get out more and practise her social skills,” I reply. “That’s the impression I get, anyway. She’s trying hard to improve herself and come across to other beings as more relaxed and easy-going.”
“Are you helping her, Freddie?”
“I’m there for her,” I say, “but I don’t want her to feel that I’m monitoring what she’s doing, so I don’t crowd her, but she knows she can ask me anything.”
“You’re a wonderful friend to her, Freddie,” says Holly. “She’s lucky.”
“Thank you,” I say. “It’s kind of you to say so, Holly.”
“You’re welcome,” she says. “Anyway, I should start exercising again, Freddie. I don’t want to get fat.”
“You’re not fat,” I say, “you are slim, Holly. Do you think you run too much? If I brought you a book, would you exercise less and read more?”
“Oh thank you, Freddie,” says Holly, “I’d probably exercise less but run faster when I did exercise, so the overall number of calories I’d burn up would be similar. But a book would be great, but I’m not sure how I’d hide it from my humans?”
“Yes, I see the problem because there are no other books in your room. Any book I bring will stick out like a saw paw and you probably couldn’t hide it.”
“That’s true,” says Holly.
“In that case, you’d have to come over to our house and read it there.”
“Oh, what a good idea, Freddie, but would you give me a lift over there?”
“I would do, Holly, but you’d have to hang on when I climb the trellis with the Lancashire Rose for company. That’s vertical, a 90-degree angle.” I point with my left paw towards the kitchen, where the rose is swaying gently in the breeze.
Holly looks at the side of the house - “I could climb that on my own, Freddie. I can climb up my cage, so I think that trellis, is that the right word trellis…?”
I nod in agreement and smile.
“...I can climb that, Freddie. I might not be the quickest, but I’ll get there.”
“That sounds great, Holly. We’ll have to arrange that, probably when my humans come back from holiday and want to borrow books from the library again.”
“Great, Freddie, I’ll have to practice climbing because I don’t normally use those muscles, so I’ll do that while they’re away.”
“Don’t hurt yourself,” I say. “Take it easy at first. I should go, because Angela the librarian will have come back from lunch and put the dictionary on the desk for me to read.”
“You’re always doing something useful to improve yourself, aren’t you?”
“I’m just trying to do my best, Holly, like my mum told me I should every day. I’m nowhere near as fit as you are, Holly. You must be the fittest animal in this area. I admire you for that. I should do more exercise, some scampering around the garden, instead of reading, so that’s something I have to improve on.”
“Thank you, Freddie. I feel so much more positive after talking to you. I should let you go. You should get some exercise in, scamper round the fence, without falling off, of course.”
I bow to Holly’s wisdom. “Thank you, I will do that. It is a great idea, especially the not falling off part. It’s time to scamper, Holly. See you soon.”
I jump down deftly from the ledge onto the fence and use my tail - I’ve found a use for it at last - to make sure I don’t fall off. Then I set myself and progress around the fence, making sure I use the muscles in my core to stay upright. I trot around the fence the first time, scoot around the second time, and scamper around the third time. Scamper is slightly quicker than scoot to me, though Gemma says it should be the other way around. She reckons scamper is more leisurely than scoot, and scooting is done with a purpose in mind. Scuttling is in between trotting and scooting, though it’s done furtively, as though you’re wishing to keep out of sight. There is no need for me to scuttle around the fence as I’m in full sight of everyone.
After trotting / scooting / scampering around the fence, I feel quite energetic and head over towards the library. I bow to the vine and the leaves shake in unison as though a sudden zephyr has passed over them. I climb up the usual path and appear at the window. Angela has changed from blue to light-green hair and so looks a little like a plant, though she isn’t, of course. She has no chlorophyll in her that has a green gap, so reflecting green light into my eyes. Her green comes from an organic hair colouring according to the bottle on the pine shelf behind her head. I’m not sure if green suits her more than blue, but that decision is not up to me. It’s for Angela to decide. I admire the room which she has tidied recently. Apparently, Angela copied all the papers digitally and they’re available at the click of a button. The library placed the papers in a secure place offsite and now there’s a chance to see most of the floor, which is quite ugly carpet tiles with light-brown stains at intervals, as though someone’s gravy boat had sprung a leak on its voyage around the room.
Angela is deep in concentration, so I observe her for two minutes until a bluebottle fly disturbs her.
“Miaow,” I say to Angela and “Thank you” to the fly, who loops the loop twice before heading out of the window.
“Hello Fred cat,” says Angela, “how are you? Here’s the dictionary for you, open at the letter M.”
I jump down onto the floor and avoid the gravy stains before jumping onto Angela’s desk. She has always called me Fred instead of Freddie, but I don’t mind. The name tag on my collar says Freddie, but we are all different. I settle down to read the open book and am soon learning about matriarchies, matriculation, and matrices, plus the words derived from them.
Roger, the librarian, walks into the room. I don’t believe he’s seen me here before as he’s been away at another branch and was then on holiday. He looks taller than I remember him, though I’ve only ever really seen him before from the vantage point of the window.
“Angela,” he says, “don’t move. There’s a cat on your desk reading a book.”
I miaow to him to show everything is fine.
“Roger,” says Angela, “this is Fred. He’s been coming here for about six weeks now and yes, he likes to read the dictionary. He might have been the cat who was ‘haunting’ us a few months ago.”
“Is he real?” asks Roger, “I mean, have you stroked him, just to check? He’s not an apparition, is he?”
Angela reaches across and strokes the top of my head with her left hand. She has a small gold-coloured ring on her middle finger, which is smooth to the touch.
“He feels real to me, Roger. Are you trying to cause trouble again?”
“No, I’m just wary of spirits from another world coming into contact with us.”
“Fred lives in that house on the other side of the fence, which is hardly another world, Roger. I’m pretty sure he was the one who helped us catch the thief, who was stealing our pens and paper clips. Remember?”
“Yes, but he seemed in league with some crows, which are symbols of dark forces in our world.”
“Yes, Roger, anyway I’m trying to do some work here, some actual work, so was there something you actually wanted?”
“Actually, there was,” says Roger, “hold on though, you say the cat’s reading the dictionary? How can it be? Cat’s can’t read. And why would he want to expand his vocabulary? Who’s he talking to?”
“We don’t know they can’t read, but anyway, even if he can’t, and he’s admiring the patterns, what does it matter? He’s not doing any harm.”
“I see,” says Roger somewhat sceptically, “well what I wanted to see you about was that we’re organising a 50th birthday party for the Head Librarian and I wanted to know whether you could stump up £5 towards a present - we were going to buy her a book.”
“Buy a librarian a book?” asks Angela with what I think is called incredulity. I leaf through the dictionary to the letter ‘I’ and can confirm Angela was reacting exactly in that manner.
“What’s wrong with that?” asks Roger. “It seems like an apposite thing to do.”
I leaf to the letter ‘A’, and I see what Roger means about a book being an apt present.
“It’s ridiculous,” says Angela. “Librarians want people to come to the library to borrow books, not go to a bookshop and buy them. You seem to think libraries are obsolescent.”
I paw quickly to the letter ‘O’ and hope Angela is wrong.
“That cat’s started pawing through the dictionary when we’re talking. There’s something strangely fey about that.”
I paw through to ‘F’ and eventually find fey. At first, I thought they spelled it F A Y.
Angela looks at the dictionary - “he’s looking up fey, Roger.”
“That is awfully spooky,” says Roger. “Are you sure he’s real and not some phantom mirage?”
I miaow to Roger but don’t look up the word Phantom as Roger is trying to trick me, as the word sounds like it should start with ‘F’, but really begins with a ‘P’.
“It looks like it was a coincidence,” says Angela. “He’s stopped now. I’ll give you a fiver, but we should come up with something more original than a book. What do you think, Fred?”
“You’re asking the cat?” says Roger.
I have an idea and paw back a few pages. I remember the lady in question, and she wore earrings, so I point at the word ‘earring’ in the dictionary. Angela looks at where I’m pointing.
“Earring, he’s suggesting earrings,” says Angela.
“Well, she wears earrings, but how does he know that?” says Roger.
I paw back a few more pages and point at the word ‘book’.
“Now he’s saying book…earring and then book… oh, he means representations of books as earrings. What a great idea, Fred.”
Roger looks a little worried. “Are you on the same wavelength as him, Angela?”
“A pair of earrings representing a book or books is a great idea, Roger, regardless of who thought of it.”
“So do I, but how does he know? How does he know the words for earring and book and how does he know the Head Librarian wears earrings?”
“He must have seen her, Roger, that’s how he knows, though of course it does also mean he understands what we’re saying.”
Both of them eye me suspiciously, although Angela does so in jest. Roger must be from a long line of witch-finders, as he seems to be wondering whether I might fit on a broomstick.
At this precise moment, Roger’s phone rings and he shuffles outside to answer it.
I continue to look at the words spelled similarly to ‘book’ as Roger’s voice fades away as he returns to his office. Angela taps away at her keyboard, and we aren’t interrupted for the next thirty minutes until an alarm goes off on her phone.
“I have to go to a meeting now, Fred,” she says in her lilting voice.
I miaow and decide it’s probably time for me to leave too as I’m getting hungry and I’m not sure I want to be here on my own in case Roger goes the full witch-finder on me and dunks me in water to see whether I drown or float.
I jump onto a box and then onto the ledge. I turn and miaow to Angela before she leaves the room. However, I decide to lurk outside in case Roger comes into the room looking for me. I am interested to know what he’ll do. I crouch down and peer through a gap between the open window and the frame, rather than through the glass. Sure enough, Roger comes into the room, peeking round the door in case I’m still on the desk before sidling over and looking at the dictionary. He lifts it up and looks underneath before staring at the ceiling. Satisfied that I’m no longer around, he peers at the pages I’ve looked at and examines them closely, even sniffing them, until he finds a hair on the Incredulity page. This appears to satisfy him I’m real, and he exits rapidly before Angela returns.
I stroll down the vine, thanking the plant for its support, before scurrying back to the house. I climb the trellis and wish the Lancashire Rose ‘Good Afternoon’ before sliding through the gap between the window and the frame. Gemma is in The Lounge reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens and I can tell her feelings of social injustice are being engaged as she’s wearing a sneer of contempt for the scenes that are being described well by the author.
I leave her to read and head downstairs for a poo and a snack of the kibbles I left behind from breakfast. There seems to be a lot left and I don’t finish them. I’m not sure whether John and Mary are feeding me more food or whether I’m eating less, but either way, I am sated and head upstairs.
I finish a book I’d started reading the night before called The Battle for Paradise by Naomi Klein. It’s about Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean Sea, and the conflict between the local population and the disaster capitalists. That’s capitalists who try to profit from disaster rather than capitalists who aren’t good at what they do. Gemma’s book club sent her this Naomi Klein volume, and the injustices described made Gemma aggrieved. She says she is now going to get involved in local green issues, such as preserving the trees in the park.
The Battle for Paradise describes how Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico’s infrastructure systems and housing and destroyed much of the commonwealth’s electricity grid. It took over 200 days to restore power to every Puerto Rico resident, although those who lived close to the Casa Pueblo solar site could receive solar-created electricity the day after Maria hit, thanks to the micro-grid system installed in the area.
The disaster capitalists who want to restore the electricity grid, led by Governor Rossello, want to destroy these micro-grids by taxing them out of existence. They don’t want the people of Puerto Rico to generate their own electricity cheaply and from a source not owned by a capitalist. The Governor wants the people to pay over the odds for electricity they won’t be able to afford and won’t be in control of generating. Democracy at work?
Hurricane Maria left $90 billion in damage and Congress allocated at least $63 billion for disaster relief and recovery operations. Four years later, about 71 percent of those funds have not reached communities on the island archipelago. Yet, in this book, Naomi Klein shows how people in some areas can feed themselves and others using locally grown foodstuffs that grow in the ground - rather than bushes and trees - and so are less susceptible to damage by hurricanes.
These are brilliant ideas that the disaster capitalists despise. They want Puerto Ricans to import food from the US using the capitalist’s ships, planes, and lorries. Puerto Rico is a real litmus test for the return to local production of power and food versus the globalist ideas of the Governor and his associates.
The other factor at play is that the governor wants wealthy people to come to Puerto Rico and pay little tax. The capitalists want to build golf courses, hotels, resorts, and infrastructure to support their schemes to attract the wealthy and yet there’s little enough farming land as it is without it being bought up for building. It’s all connected.
Anyway, enough of my thoughts about this book, other than to say I enjoyed reading it and I hope the locals win and take control of their own power and food supplies rather than importing it all from the USA. I will join Gemma in the park if those trees need protecting, though I hope what I agreed with the wasps today may have helped.
I doze on the couch. John and Mary leave me alone when they come home and so I read a thin volume called Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a tale told by a character called Marlow on a boat in the Thames Estuary about an adventure he had in the middle of Africa on another boat many years previously. The book is slow going, but I persevere and do my best as my mum always said I should do. I fall asleep under the couch, having almost completed the book.