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The Catstycam Blog

From the foot of Helvellyn to the rest of the world

  • It's time for the Revolution. Capitalism is Broken

    That's it Brothers & Sisters. I’ve had enough. I’m ready for a revolution. The social structure that I’ve believed in all my life has become too crooked for me to endorse any more. My Mum and Dad ran shops same as me and they were good employers who paid their taxes and contributed locally. I saw the benefits of capitalism. Money is made, taxes are paid and people work in a good environment and enjoy going to work. That is how I try to run Catstycam. I’m not greedy or super ambitious, it’s the Greedy Super Ambitious People that are the problem, but more on that later. Businesses have always been the glue to communities. If the businesses do well the areas do well, there is employment and money and locals can stay in the area keeping it alive and vibrant.

    The Problem

    But the current version of capitalism is horrific and doing incredible damage right now and if nothing is done about it it will only get worse. Much worse!

    Big businesses just want to make as much money as possible, pay as little wages as possible and move the money out of the country as quick as possible paying no UK tax on it. The only people who benefit from this are the 1% and they are all psychopaths so lets not help them any more.

    Lets give ourselves the best Christmas Pressy we could ever imagine. There’s something we can all do that will bring about the biggest change in the distribution of wealth this country has seen, and now is the time to do it. Lets have a sneaky revolution.


    Lets only do our Christmas shopping with companies who pay their full UK taxes. I know it will be hard, it may even be impossible. When you see all the companies who are registered in tax havens there are not many left who can say “we pay every penny of our taxes without duping the UK taxpayer”.

    1 in 5 global internet sales go to Amazon

    This will mean nothing from Amazon. One in every five items bought on the internet is from Amazon so just by avoiding them and shopping with tax paying companies think of the massive cash injection into the UK through taxes. Jeff Bezos thinks he is being all philanthropic with his riches by funding space flight so mankind can survive off planet earth in the future. If you want to be philanthropic Jeff pay your bloody taxes now so we can have functioning hospitals here on earth now.

    It also means nothing from Cadburys, they are owned by Kraft who haven’t thought they should pay the British public any taxes for years. They buy up good British companies then turn them into tax dodging funds.

    Tax Dodgers even ruin football

    Nothing from Man Utd either. Since I found out they are registered in the Cayman Islands I can’t even enjoy a good game of football without feeling like they are robbing us.

    Apple, Google, Uber? It’s no good looking to the next generation to be more honest. They are the biggest dodgers of the lot. “Do no evil” said Google. Well by being a disruptive company you are doing evil and by not paying your taxes you are denying society the tools to cope with the change you are bringing!

    This makes me weep. Get a back bone HMRC!

    I know this is nothing new. It has always gone on and it is human nature to be greedy, I am aware of this. But the current business model of putting established tax paying companies out of business by undercutting them with artificially low prices by running their companies as tax dodging schemes can only have one result. We will as a nation be bankrupt. These companies want to employ as few people as possible, all on minimum wage or below if they can get away with it. They move money around the globe for pretend purposes such as renting Intellectual Property Rights, and end up showing they made no profit in the UK so don’t have to pay any corporation tax. Think how many tea rooms and coffee shops have closed down because a Starbucks or Costas has opened up nearby. That's a lot of taxes and job security gone. If the UK public choose to spend their money with a company then that company should pay its full taxes back to the UK taxpayer, not to do so is incredibly disrespectful and I can’t believe how many people allow this to happen by continuing to shop with them.

    Even Anti Capitalism demonstrators use Starbucks, during a demonstration. Unbelievable.

    We the people have far more power than any governments, if we choose where we spend our money. Its not governments that run the modern globalised planet, its big corporations. Politicians fall over themselves to invite big business into their country or constituency to make their figures look good. “Come here, we’ll build your factory and charge you no tax if you make me look good by securing jobs so I get re-elected next year”. Never mind that it’ll put everyone else out of work who have been paying their taxes for years. But this means that we can steer the big businesses if we choose where we spend, and if we choose not to spend our money with immoral tax dodging companies they will soon feel it and change their ways. But we have to all do it.

    Successive governments have invited Billionaire non-doms here in the belief that their wealth trickles down through society. Sorry but it doesn’t. They only spend money on property or in a few top end places in Mayfair, then all of their money disappears out of the country to tax havens. All this does is put prices of property up and deny the UK tax payer even more money.

    Sadly it is the people who want power and money that get into positions of power and money and keep it all for themselves. The 1%. The rest of us are too busy with work, family and enjoying our time on planet earth, but these people value money and power over everything else, at the expense of everything else. This is why things will never change. You can change the governments or companies but the people at the top will always be that type of person. Driven, ambitious, greedy, pshycopath, call them what you like, we will always be ruled by phsyopaths, unless you are one of them yourself.




  • Hill Walking & Mental Health

    View from Blencathra in winter. A perfect day in the Lakes.

    As I travel along life’s journey into middle age I find myself complaining a lot that things aren’t as good as they used to be and people aren’t as kind and that I’m generally not all that impressed with the 21st Century. I’m actually starting to sound a lot like Grandpa Simpson. But modern life just seems to put so much more pressure on everyone, and for all the advances in technology and health care we are under so much pressure just to make ends meet that it is running us into the ground. And that’s before we get stressed that our lives are dull and boring compared to everyone else’s awesome adventurous News Feed on Facebook. When you’re a kid you think everyone is sorted except you and it seems so unfair. One good thing about growing older is the wisdom that comes with it and realising that everyone is messed up to a degree, some are just better at hiding it than others.

    Technology has brought so many new stresses and anxiety’s into our lives that our quickly evolving brains have never had to deal with before, it really can leave us feeling useless and worthless. I am so grateful that I live in rural Cumbria where we do have a great quality of life. I wouldn’t cope well living in a city with artificial horizons all around me and millions of people all busy wrapped up in their own worlds. Honestly that is my idea of Hell.

    Glenridding from Place Fell Glenridding from Place Fell

    So what’s the best medicine for modern life, stresses and technology? It has to be hill walking. Getting out into the open with nothing around you but natural beauty. I love having a big day out in the fells. Spending as much time being absorbed in nature and stopping to look around me. I’ll sit for half an hour studying the moss and grass I’m walking over looking for unusual flowers and bugs then another half hour just looking around me. Wild Camping gives me a really good opportunity to just stop and sit. I’ll try and figure out which mountains are which, what sort of trees I’m looking at and if I get a starry night I’ll just keep looking up and watch all the shooting stars and get lost in the Milky Way.

    Beautiful Ullswater Beautiful Ullswater
    Ullswater from the path to Lanty's Tarn Ullswater from the path to Lanty's Tarn
    Whiteside in the White Stuff Whiteside in the White Stuff

                                                                               All year we talk to people in the shop about how good it feels to get out and have a day on the hills. Folk come in after a day’s hill walking with a big smile on their face and you can tell they are buzzing. They get all excited telling us where they have been and what they have seen. I get the same feeling from a big day out on the hills that I do after a holiday. I feel I have been away from the daily grind and I have visited somewhere beautiful and different. Nowhere does this more for me than going up the Zig Zags at the mines above Glenridding in the winter, and coming out at Greenside in the snow. It can be a normal un-snowy winter’s day in Glenridding but once you pop out at Greenside it’s like being in the Alps. Walking up the Zig Zags is like going through the wardrobe and you come out in Narnia. Then after a day on Helvellyn with the crampons and ice axe or a day’s snowboarding on Raise you get back home and think, was I really in the Alps just a couple of hours ago, feels like it.

    By having regular trips into the hills it keeps a balance in your life. It’s not all about work and commuting and paying the bills. Spending your recreational time out of the town or city is very important. You need to see real horizons, the craggier the better, and feel something other than the pavement beneath your feet. And country pubs are so much better and friendlier than town pubs, they’re a great way to reacclimatize after your wonderful day in the hills with nature for company.

    A walk along the best High Street A walk along the best High Street

    And there’s an old saying but there’s a lot of truth in it. Healthy Body Healthy Mind. You don’t need to join a gym or run a marathon. Just take regular walks and look after your diet with lots of fresh fruit and veg, we are merely animals grazing on this fine planet. Make your mental and physical health as much a priority as paying the bills and take the time to enjoy the little things. We are so lucky to live in the most beautiful country in the world, please take the time to enjoy it.


  • Litter in the Lake District

    It’s the end of the summer holidays and I feel compelled to write about something we see a lot of over the summer……litter. It drives me crazy and I just don’t understand why people come to a beautiful place like Ullswater then drop litter everywhere.
    A few weeks back we were at the head of Haweswater walking round the peninsula and came across a massive pile of rubbish all stacked up against a wall. By the looks of it it has been there a long time and brainless people keep adding to it. This is a popular place for Wild Camping (I had one of my first Wild Camps here when I was a Lad) but the idiots who leave a mess like this aren’t real Wild Campers. I know they have a similar problem by Loch Lomond and banned Wild Camping as a result. Real Wild Campers are people who love and respect the countryside and want to spend time in a beautiful natural place so they can enjoy it and understand it better. Wild Campers adhere to the Leave Only Footprints outlook on enjoying the countryside. Banning them is like sacking the caretaker as most Wild Campers will bring everyone else’s rubbish back down with them too and want to leave an area as they found it, or better.
    The people who leave an area in a mess, not taking their rubbish away with them and often burning fences and anything else they can get their hands on have many titles, but Wild Campers isn’t one of them. For now we’ll call them Eejits. They are normally Townies who want to go somewhere without people so they can behave badly, make a lot of noise, trash the place and leave all their mess behind. Banning people from Wild Camping in the fells isn’t going to stop this behaviour. People who come to the Lakes to get drunk and leave a mess wouldn’t take any notice of a ban anyway. They just want somewhere as near their car and as far away from people as possible to have a fire, get drunk and have no responsibilities in clearing up after themselves.

    Hedgehogs can get their head stuck in discarded plastic can holder.

    Most mornings in August as I drive to work along the side of Ullswater I see litter dropped in every layby and bags of litter placed on the road side. Besides the visual mess this is also a danger for wildlife. Animals will rip the bags apart to get to food making a bigger mess and die getting stuck in the plastic rings for beer cans. I get the impression Eejits think they are doing a good thing by putting their litter in a bag and leaving it. Camper vans park up for the night in laybys and leave all their rubbish in the morning. What do they think is going to happen to it? This is the countryside and we don’t have roadside litter collections. Are they waiting for the Litter Fairies? Well we do have some Litter Fairies around Ullswater, but they would much rather be doing their proper job as Lake District Rangers and fixing fences and paths to keep you and the wildlife safe. Every day they spend picking up litter is a day where no fences are getting fixed. Styles aren’t being repaired, signs aren’t being replaced and conservation efforts are being put on hold.
    People are always finding new ways of being horrible and ruining the environment they have come to enjoy. One that is growing at the moment is energy gel wrappers. You see mountain bikers and fell runners suck the energy giving syrup then just throw the sachet away. Well thanks for that. After some of the racing events that are becoming more popular in the Lakes you can trace the route by following the shiny wrappers on the ground. Some people see the Lakes as an extension of their gym, and presumably expect someone to clean up after them.
    Well what’s the answer then? I hear you cry.
    Banning people just stops the wrong people from doing what they want, cleaning up after people just diverts precious resources and fining people costs more in bureaucracy than it brings in. The answer here, as in most other areas of life, is for people to stop being useless. Take responsibility for yourselves! If you see someone dropping litter have a go at them. Take a picture and shame them on social media. Take a bag with you and pick up litter left behind. Show people on Facebook how you do give a shit and inspire them to do the same. Sadly there will always be people who just take and leave a mess and don’t contribute at all. Theirs is a sad hollow life and it is hard to make them see otherwise. But there are more of us that do care than don’t, so if we all do small acts of conservation and try and make things the best they can be that will have a larger result than the actions of losers.
    I have spoken to United Utilities, who own the land around Haweswater, about the mess and I am waiting on them getting back to me. If I had a pickup or trailer I would get it myself but hopefully United Utilities will be in touch and I can take them there and help them tidy the place up.

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