Category Archives: Happy alone time

Alone in the dark

For those of you outside the United Kingdom, our clocks went back during the weekend; as this coincided with the Halloween weekend (I know it’s happening on Monday, but anyway), I decided this weekend to stay in and play scary video games the entire time, with the curtains closed (which I wouldn’t have done if the weather had been sunny).

No, I didn’t replay Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which I did during similar weekends in 2010 and 2011, but I did play its spiritual sequel, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs — a game I originally got in 2013 and first replayed during my period of intense unemployment-related anxiety in December 2014.  Well, it’s good that I’ve put that time of my life behind me at long last, and can enjoy things again… it’s not as scary as the original, but I can only replay that so many times (and have the music and sound effects on my phone) before I wear it out!

I also replayed another game I obtained in late 2013, Outlast (as well as the Whistleblower DLC), which I would definitely say is a worthy second to the original Amnesia in terms of “scariest video game evar”, partly because, as in the Amnesia games, you can’t fight and just have to run like hell and hide in the darkness whenever danger threatens.  This sets all these games apart from, say, Doom (which I also completed at the weekend, after more than 20 hours’ play) or the Dead Space series, or even difficult games like The Evil Within, Alan Wake or Call of Cthulhu, as you can’t fight back, and any enemy deaths occur in cutscenes!

However, there’s one thing in each game that really freaks me out.  Not the hideous role-reversal of pigs and men in one game, or the eloquent (and visibly naked) machete-wielding twins in the other.  No, in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, it’s the classical-style piece “Mors Praematura“, a deliberate work of discordance that I once tried using as my morning alarm sound, only to switch back to music from the original Amnesia because that was actually less scary.

outlast_frogIn the case of Outlast, it’s a section in one of the kaleidoscopic films being used to hypnotise people: not the flames, teeth, wings or other organic imagery, but the most normal, clearest thing of all, a man in a weird costume (possibly a frog) in a black-and-white film on stage!  The still image I’ve posted doesn’t do it justice… where does that clip come from, and is it going to kill me or send me mad?

(It’ll probably turn out to be something more mundane than I imagine — like the clip that plays with a horrible screech near the end of Ghostwatch, when they discover the ghost is literally in the machine, turned out to be one of the girls banging on pipes earlier in the show!)

As I said, I had my curtains closed throughout, and that’s why I always wait until this time of year for this kind of thing: darkness is scary, and I like to immerse myself in the game world for the best experience — and it’s easier to see things lit by my electric lantern in one game, or battery-powered night vision in the other.  However, locking myself away in my room in this way also made it rather difficult to interact with other people out in the real world, including “best mate” (who had been in Wales all week), and suggests I can still suffer from social anxiety, albeit in this case… self-inflicted?

Admittedly when “best mate” bugged me, I wasn’t in the middle of a game (I was either watching Torchwood or dozing in bed), and he had a friend visiting anyway; however, I declined to go to Comic Con with them, memories being fresh of that Saturday in 2013 at the Excel Centre, when I got so sick of being crowded, in the “queue for the queue”, that I gave up and went home (itself an ordeal thanks to public transport) rather than attend the actual event!  I felt surprisingly withdrawn on Saturday, and while I was better on Sunday, walking to and from Tesco turned out to be more of an unpleasant experience than usual — somehow the public still pee me off something rotten, and occasionally scare me (except those decent enough to have dogs), and interacting with humans sometimes seems like a bizarre dream.

Don’t worry, I won’t build a gigantic machine to slaughter the human race to save it from its own folly; maybe it’s just that I deal with people so much in my job at the moment, I prefer my own company at the weekends.  But I should be better now: since the clocks went back, it’s going to be lighter in the mornings for a while, and so I won’t have so much trouble getting up and end up being such a sourpuss!

And the darker, colder evenings will give me more of an excuse to come straight home after work, instead of obliging myself to socialise…


Time off for good behaviour


“On my planet, to rest is to rest: to cease using energy. To me, it is quite illogical to run up and down on green grass, using energy instead of saving it.”

I’ve finally done it, I’ve booked some actual, appreciable time off work: an entire week.  This is more significant than the three days I took off in July to keep my grandmother company while my mother was working in Germany, as I intend to do whatever I please (though I will of course go to visit my folks next weekend), and while it’s partly to use up some of my annual leave before it expires at the end of the year, it’s also necessary so I can finally rest, something I’ve not done nearly enough since starting this job.

And although I took a day off last week after hurting my ankle, and a day off the previous week for a fever, those were hardly holidays, as I felt rotten.  No, this time I’m going to relax and enjoy having a lie-in every day.

(Okay, so normally I only need to get out of bed around half-past seven every working day, but don’t think I’m not grateful — especially considering the horrendous commutes I had in late 2014!)

A lady at work was nagging me last week to not just sit at home playing video games during my break, but to get out there and do exciting things.  If I was taking two weeks off, I’d probably be looking at a short holiday abroad (somewhere sunny); however, as this would require a lot of bother (and travel time), it’s not worth it for just a couple of days away, unless I go on a day trip to Paris (like I did this time in 2012).  Next year, maybe, but for now, I just want to relax and de-stress, and not feel obligated to “make the most” of my spare time.

I certainly do intend to do a lot of video gaming: specifically I want to complete The Witcher III, as I’ve put a lot in (over 90 hours and counting), and I never finished the similarly-huge Skyrim in 2012.  However, I will still try to do other things every day — including but not limited to:

  • Seeing the dentist for a checkup and hygiene work (my employer should reimburse me), something I should have done months ago;
  • Walking to Waitrose every day for lunch, instead of Tesco (as a means of keeping my daily steps up);
  • Sunbathing (though the predicted heatwave seems to have shrunk to just Thursday), and walking in the park;
  • Working on a laptop I’ve inherited from work, and on which I’ve installed Linux Mint (and selling the Nexus 7 I inherited from my mother when she got a decent tablet instead);
  • Detoxing, after eating too many Fisherman’s Friend lozenges to combat my autumnal catarrh.

One thing I fully intend to do this week is get back into climbing and salsa dancing, both of which I’ve neglected for weeks (though in the latter case it’s because the guy who runs the classes has been away).  Since I’ll be at home and can thus make dinner beforehand, I don’t have to worry about going straight to the venue from work, and thus having to eat out, or coming home to eat and then rushing out again (which wouldn’t be possible with the Castle anyway).

I went climbing successfully today, my right ankle not giving me even as much trouble as my left ankle did after I rolled on it in early 2013, so I reckon I’m ready to properly exercise my legs again, and not worry that my days of activity are over… even if I do intend to laze about most of the time!

(Starting tomorrow morning, as I’m up extra-late writing this…)

Easing off at Easter

I did nothing.  I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be.
Office Space (1999)


Well, chocolate eggs and cider for me, but close enough, Roger

After the hectic nature of my life in recent times, I’ve been very pleased to have the excuse to spend the four-day Easter weekend doing very little of anything, sitting at home playing games, pigging out (to some extent) and barely getting any steps on my Fitbit.  Apart from going climbing today, I’ve done less physical activity than Jesus did during the original Easter weekend!

There wasn’t anyone for me to hang out with anyway: “best mate” is in Ireland for the duration, though he’s found a Lego Millennium Falcon to buy at last (we’ll put it together when he’s back here).  I also didn’t visit my folks (with my mother’s blessing) because I already saw them for an even longer weekend two weeks ago.  Don’t worry, I’ll visit them in April (though TfL are closing my exact bit of the Northern Line some weekends for no apparent reason), and do some more work on that Japanese castle model for my mother.  Don’t need to put the clocks forward (something only the son of any family can do), because I did that two weekends ago!

(We Brits were lucky this year that, for us, the clocks went forward during the long Easter weekend — a few weeks ago every American on Facebook was complaining about losing an hour’s sleep on a normal weekend!)

And yes, I’m still “involved” at the moment (i.e. I haven’t been dumped or “ghosted” yet), but the young lady in question and I haven’t had the chance to meet in person since that first Saturday in Oxford — and in the face of our original plans, she had to go on a business trip during Easter!  We’ve kept in touch by text message, but to be honest I was quite grateful not to have to travel anywhere further than the Castle this weekend, and instead laze about here.

Why so lazy?  Well, you know how much stuff I always seem to do after work these days, including salsa dancing and seeing my personal trainer, and in some cases it means I have to rush home to have dinner and then rush out again, to avoid the cost of eating out!  As it is, I already lose a lot of time commuting (I tend to get home around 6pm, admittedly if I’ve stopped at Tesco on the way).  I’ve also been resting my aching limbs after a bout of self-torture on Thursday evening (as though it weren’t hard enough getting to the Castle during the Piccadilly Line strike), which itself followed wrecking my arms in Wii Fit Plus on Wednesday evening.

However, I’ve not felt depressed, isolated or even “cabin feverish” during this break, for a change.  Four years ago (don’t worry, this isn’t a full-on “then and now” post, I’m not supposed to be doing those any more), I spent a six-day Easter break similarly doing nothing much of anything beyond playing Skyrim and eating chocolate eggs, but felt miserable as a result, partly due to a romantic failure, but also because I was still recovering from what at that point had been the worst time of my life.

I’ve been re-reading my diary from those days, and it’s astonishing how far things have risen in my life (leaving aside that terrible fall in late 2014): once again I’m moved to give thanks for all I have now — a decent job, a tolerable house in a “least worst” location, a “best mate” who lives with me, access to climbing and personal training, loving family a phone call away if I need them… I just need more money, so I can afford a holiday abroad, and maybe even a PC upgrade!

Fig. 1: the gulf between my dreams and my (financial) power, at least for now…

But while I fervently hoped 2016 would be a rerun of 2013, it probably won’t come to pass after all, since there’s no way I can have another adventure holiday like the two amazing weeks I spent in the western USA; in a way, this year feels more like a rerun of 2012 (so maybe I’ll go to a European capital city again — and hopefully get a pay rise!), but with me in a better emotional state.  It’s almost as though my life events are on a four-year cycle, but my emotions are on a three-year cycle… should I do more research on that topic and present my findings in another blog post?

(Hey, don’t all scream “NOOO!!!” at once…)

Anyway, the great thing is, I’ve still got one more day of lazing around — and the weather, while atrocious, is at least better than it was in winter, so we barely need the heating on at all!  And, moreover, the working week is only four days long, and since I like my job anyway, it’s not much worse than being on holiday… at least until my boss comes back — and on that topic, let’s close the way we opened, with an Office Space reference:


Yeah, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and upgrade every PC on the premises to Windows 10; and if you could also somehow man the helpdesk, that’d be great…


Indoor holiday

mb_hhJust a brief note: it’s been a “bank holiday weekend” here in the UK, meaning we get Monday off; this was nice for me, because although I’ve only been back at work two days (!), the preceding 11 working days for which I was unemployed weren’t exactly relaxing!  Since I can’t afford to go abroad at the moment, this thus counted as my “holiday” this year.

And how did I spent my long weekend?  Why, staying at home and interacting with almost no-one else on planet Earth, that’s how — my two female housemates were away, my drummer housemate was performing in Oxfordshire, and “best mate” was getting wasted at the Notting Hill Carnival!  Don’t worry, I’m not becoming a recluse (again), it was just nice to stay indoors (especially given the typical bank holiday weather), relaxing and allowing my injured toe to heal.  I did a couple of nerdy things, ripping South Park episodes from DVD onto a big hard drive (yes, I’m finally buying the show), and refitting a giant heatsink to my computer processor (the one I’d taken off when I changed processor last October).

I even had a bit of a clear-out of old junk (especially computer and AV components I’ve had for years), and watched loads of old episodes of Spitting Image on YouTube.  This last is a bit like how I watched loads of old episodes of Kenny Everett’s shows in 2012… and I had a “staycation” about this time back then as well, albeit broken with a day trip to Paris.  Still, it’s better than 2013, when I had to go back to Worthing around this time just to have a working Internet connection, or 2014, when I was waiting for an unpaid internship — so if this year’s a rerun of 2012, so be it!

Back to work on Tuesday — and for a change, I’m looking forward to it… if only because I’ll have yoga afterwards, and due to working in Oxford Circus instead of Euston or King’s Cross, I’ll be approaching it from the opposite direction, so to speak!  There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere, but it’s too late at night… in any case, I can’t spent too much on dinner, or buying a new DVD/Blu-ray drive, because I’ve got to pay rent tomorrow — and if it hadn’t been for that £750 tax rebate in June, I wouldn’t be able to afford it now!

But hey, if I’m staying indoors, that means I’m really getting my money’s worth for my rent… right?

How I spent my summer holiday

Unless I screw up my mock interview entirely tomorrow, I should be back at work next week, albeit unpaid (at first); but since I finished at work last Friday, this means I’ve had six clear days of rest in between, including the weekend.  I’ve been habitually getting up late (some days I didn’t change out of my nightclothes until the afternoon), playing games (finally finished the Mass Effect trilogy), watching Frasier on TV and Game of Thrones on Blu-ray, eating what and when I like, listening to 2Pac and (I kid you not) William Shatner, and basically not going out during the day.  However, I’ve had “staycations” like this before, so what’s been different about this one?

Well, first of all, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve kept the habits I formed in 2012 and 2013: I went climbing on Monday evening, I went to yoga on Tuesday evening, and I was wrecked by my personal trainer on Wednesday afternoon, so it’s been a week of some small energy expenditure.  Previous occasions when I’ve stayed at home for long periods (and only interacted with shopkeepers) have led to cabin fever, so it’s good I’ve been relatively social this time around… especially since I have no idea where I’m about to work, and whether I’ll be able to travel to interesting places after work in time for interesting events.

Not to mention, on other occasions (especially October 2011, but nothing much good happened that year anyway) I made floundering, futile attempts to find a new job, including visiting IT agencies that turned out not to exist (this is why I never use the Yellow Pages website any more); on this occasion, thanks to this agency guiding me, there’ll be no need to get overwrought — I’m as close to an IT career as I can be, short of murdering a geek and stealing his identity.

(If the secret services are reading: no, obviously I’m not going to do that — get a f***ing life, you crypto-fascist jobsworths!)

I’m also continuing my decluttering drive — but apart from selling a PC/PS3 steering wheel for a derisory £15 (once again, something I paid over the odds for in 2011), this has mainly concerned files and bookmarks on my computer.  Blimey, there was some old stuff in there — no, nothing rude, but a lot of links to long-dead websites that I hadn’t used in many years, and ancient utilities I’d downloaded for previous versions of Windows, several hardware iterations ago.  It’s not that I’m short of hard drive space, it’s just an OCD-ish desire to tidy up… and yes, I managed to do the same in my room, which goes through cycles of this kind of thing thanks to all the companies that still insist on sending me physical letters.

Unfortunately, there’s a couple of things to spoil an otherwise happy holiday: firstly, I haven’t been able to spend my £50 gift card at Game, because (a) there’s hardly any left in London, and (b) the one in Wood Green had South Park: The Stick of Truth, non-special edition for the PC, at full price (£39.99), and I want to buy, like, several things instead of just one or two!  I’m thinking of going on a trip on Saturday to Bath, which has two branches… but why spend £55 purely in the hope of saving money on a gift card?  Even I’m starting to doubt my logic…

And secondly, it seems I’m becoming embroiled with the Student Loans company yet again, as the business which now owns my 1998 loan claims not to have been informed of my latest deferment in May.  They said they’ll get onto Stupid Loans to sort it out, but hey, if they need me to fill out another form, I can do that instantly — I’m unemployed, and thus definitely earning under the minimum gross pay rate that would warrant paying it back!  I assume it’s incompetence on their part rather than any failure on mine, but watch this space.  Good job I keep my old phone with my old SIM charged up, and also a good job I didn’t assume the “missed call” was from yet another scam company…

Anyway, my holiday in all probability ends tomorrow with a rude awakening.  I’d better get some sleep in preparation, because I’ve got to be there in a suit, with a pen and paper and a copy of my CV, to pretend I’m being interviewed for a job at a fictional company, and somehow it’ll take an hour and a half!  I tell you, I’m going to earn pizza for dinner tomorrow night…

Recovering from the week so far

simpsons_buddhismI know it’s only Wednesday, but I try to make this my evening to recover from the week I’ve had up to this point — and hence my evening to play video games, and perhaps not eat as healthily as I usually do.  My week’s been very unpleasant so far, as not only has the annoying woman been around a great deal (at least she’s off tomorrow, hooray!), but the only work they can find for me is of the “stuffing envelopes” variety.  Still, it beats archive work…

The main reason I had to stay in tonight is that I had another webinar to attend (at least I won £10 for basically saying “MS Office” in response to a question!), but even though I was able to rush out after the one last night and go to yoga, tonight I felt exhausted enough to not even do any Wii Fit Plus exercises, but just to sit down.  Don’t worry, I’m going climbing tomorrow night and seeing my personal torturer on Friday evening, so it’s not like I’m getting fat!  (Well, no more than usual, anyway…)

Of course, I really should be tidying my room as well, but that can wait until the weekend — it’s hardly an urgent task!  (Oh, do I hear my mother gritting her teeth?)  That’s also when I’ll try to take some stuff to the dump — specifically electronic stuff that the usual recycling collections don’t pick up, and some old towels and bedclothes that can’t be given to charity for obvious hygiene reasons (no, not just because they’re mine!).

(I won’t be taking any CDs to the charity shop, however: where did you get such a ludicrous idea?  Oh, that… well, won’t I appear foolish if you read that post after 1st April!)

Good news: my position at work was confirmed today, which is to say, they’ve confirmed that they’re making me redundant at the end of June, so I’ve got one quarter, three months, left in my job before I can finally tell them to screw off give me my final paycheque.  Happily, they’re giving me redundancy commensurate with the higher grade I’m acting up into, rather than my substantive post — which is to say, mo’ money — plus a discretionary allowance on top, which I understand is a bribe to make me stay and train up whoever takes over my work.  This money should tide me over when I’m (a) doing an unpaid placement, and (b) doing a low-level IT job that pays less than even my substantive post (and it was acting up which enabled me to afford to live here, go to America and pay for the IT course in the first place), and hopefully support me until I can earn £40,000pa, or whatever I’m destined to receive.

(Damn, I’d have to start paying back my pre-New Labour student loan!)

The reason I’m so knackered at the moment is, unsurprisingly, the clocks going forward; I’ve been so restless at night that I’ve even started dreaming again (or at least remembering my dreams), which is rather nostalgic.  Last night I had strange visions of “best mate” and I leaving a (hijacked?) truck and some alcohol in a part of town we couldn’t find again (were we high?), and felt worried that the cops would come after me, which, I think you’ll agree, makes it quite essential that I get a good night’s sleep… oh, we’re done here, you can go now…

Having a break


I’m also trying not to stay up late watching Seth McFarlane cartoons, with around 60% success…

Hi again, did y’all miss me?  I know I’ve been lax with regard to writing this, and I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been having too much fun, but truthfully, I’ve just been too indolent to write anything interesting or funny (though perhaps you haven’t noticed me writing anything interesting or funny anyway?).

However, now seems like a good time: I’ve had a nice, relaxing weekend doing nothing important (aside from cleaning the upstairs bathroom and picking up rubbish from our front garden), and not doing any significant exercising or studying.  This is partly because I seem to have another illness: yes, despite having very little in the period November 2012 to November 2013, I now seem to be a walking disease bag again, possibly due to not taking multivitamins any more (thanks to that news story stating that, at best, they do nothing).  It must have been coming on back on Friday, when my personal trainer noted I sounded a bit congested, even though it didn’t stop me having an excellent PB-busting session; now, however, I’ve got a sore throat, a cough, and no small amount of mucus.  (Oh, sorry, were you eating?)

My immune system was very probably weakened last Sunday, when I stood around on a cold, dismal day supporting my mother, who was taking part in an endurance run (a rehearsal for when she later takes on Tough Mudder).  I certainly got cold enough, and indeed worried enough, to be very glad when I could go to her at the administration tent, where she herself had bad hypothermia (enough to be quivering) and a sprained ankle, which had forced her to retire from the race.  It should be noted that she wasn’t knackered at all, whereas I would have probably been gasping for breath after the first mile, so she’s clearly in better shape than me, as well as being incredibly brave and inspirational!

(I have no interest in mud runs, however, except as a spectator sport, and only when all the contestants are college girls in skimpy outfits… oh, come on, I’m only human!)

There’s also stress — that weekend was ruined for me in public transport terms by engineering work-related suspensions (my exact bit of the Northern Line and part of the Victoria-to-Brighton line), and it was followed by a very noisy week at work, which has required me to put on noise-cancelling headphones and play Gwar loudly in order to drown out those maddening, incessant voices outside my head.  Plus, it looks like I’m being kept on until June rather than escaping at the end of the current financial year, which makes me feel like I’m trapped; though on the flipside this means (a) I don’t need to hurry so much to pass my Windows 7 exam, and (b) I’ll be getting redundancy money at the rate for my “acting up” rather than “substantive” post, which is to say, mo’ money.

It’s possible I caught this bug from a lady at work who’s been coughing pretty much constantly since the start of 2014, but conceivably it could also be incipient hay fever, as the past couple of days have been surprisingly nice in weather terms (so much so that I don’t mind the heating having been turned off entirely), and plants could be returning to life and thus inflicting their pollen upon me.  Hay fever is something that’s been an increasing problem for me over the years, and they say it’s brought on by pollution…

I’ve hardly spoken to anyone this weekend; “best mate” hasn’t visited due to his car not being available, and although I went on a date on Thursday (once again I have the encouraging thought that university-age girls find me attractive, even if it’s as a sugar daddy), I won’t get the chance to see her again for a while due to her studies.  And I remember the last time I screwed things up with a cute Oriental twentysomething because of illness, so I’m going to play things cool this time!

So, what is it I do when I have the weekend to myself?  Well, principally I’ve been replaying BioShock 2 and watching Columbo episodes on TV, but I’ve also been re-reading my old diary entries from 2009 and 2010, a period of my life that wasn’t happy — perhaps most of all due to landing in my current job, which meant I ended up kind of immobilised for a further five years, especially since for a long time I never went out, except to Japanese classes, and just stayed home playing video games and watching TV every evening.  Plus, I seemed to get sick with worrying regularity, possibly due to all the dust in the file archive, or also possibly due to hay fever (one day I had a horrible attack come on just as I returned to Caledonian Road).  So, not unlike this weekend overall, except I’m rather happier now than I was then (which wouldn’t be hard)!

Do I regret 2009 and 2010?  Well, yes, quite honestly — I let myself get lazy, using my horrible work situation as an excuse to become even more introverted than I was, and then complained that women weren’t falling over themselves to ask me out via online dating (a situation which, of course, came to a head in 2011).  Things got a little better when I took those A+ and MCSE classes, because even though I didn’t take exams in the latter (and they wouldn’t have been useful anyway, since they would have been based on the obsolete Windows Server 2003), they at least got me using my brain and working towards something better, and what I learned there will still be moderately useful when I study Server 2008.  I regret being lumbered with those damn text books, though — I was glad to get rid of them finally, as even if my workplace’s “give & take” session didn’t see them into someone else’s possession, at least they’re not MY problem any more!

(Another good thing about 2010 is that I got loads of volumes of Judge Dredd collected comics, which are completely zarjaz… hey, if Eminem can escape into comic books, why can’t I?  Aw, drokk you!)

Don’t worry, next week I won’t waste so much time doing what I used to do all the time (or reliving same via my journal) — instead, I’ll revise for my Windows 7 exam and make sure to arrange it for before the end of the month, and also, sickness permitting, go to a Japanese meetup event and see if I can get another date.  I just have to hope my throat’s better by then and I’m not whispering the whole time, as pubs can get very loud, and I hate shouting at the best of times.

Oh, and Wii Fit Plus has had a stay of execution, as my personal trainer recommended I do some “cardio” during the week, and I discovered that I can actually still do the “jogging plus” exercise, something I stopped doing for ages due to concern over my left ankle, which I twisted in, er, January 2013 (so if it’s not better now, it never will be).  I’ve made it to the highest skill level, which means jogging across the entire Wii Fit Island; this combined with the highest skill level of “rhythm boxing” (where the guy talks faster than in the lower levels) means I can have about 25 minutes of raised heart rate, which helps to burn away the fat.  Hey, I’m not quite buff yet, but I’m getting there!

(It’d help if the Wii didn’t keep missing some of my punches entirely — I bought a new Wiimote and nunchuck, and it still keeps happening, and Nintendo have been no help, because it’s not a Wii U!)

So there you go, despite the setback of a cough, I’m still getting my life in order: going on dates, getting rid of clutter, working towards a better job and keeping fit.  Admittedly it’s going to be difficult if I’m still prone to getting sick, so I might have to defy the tabloids and start taking multivitamins again… at least until the Daily Fail links them to cancer, swine ‘flu, falling house prices and immigrant terrorist paedophiles!