When one is approaching blogging from a narrative angle it becomes easier and easier to put it off. To decide that nothing particularly noteworthy has happened; either from the point of view of interested outside parties or from the perspective of our future Landskerian selves, should we want to consult historical archives for evidence of what we were up to. For weaving historical narratives, or because we want to sue one another, or something else. Who knows for what purpose these words may one day be used?
This is of course a philosophical way of acknowledging a periodic lapse in entries. These are usually caused by psychological blockages rather than anything more substantial. And those might arise from the intrinsic aforementioned doubts which simultaneously bless and plague our Landskerian way of life, or from the burdensome gift of technology, which offers so much but at such a high cost. That high cost is partly manifested in hosting and domain registration; but the toll on time, if we are to make any kind of effective use of this medium, is much greater. Especially if we want to use pictures. So perhaps in future we’ll be lighter on those here (since Instagram is a better medium for them anyway) and this text-based platform will be reserved more for matters of state. Records and administration. This First Quarterly Report from the Landskerian Government is an attempt to do that. It is the first. It might be the last! Who knows? But in theory it should set the standard for official seasonal updates from the central ministries of the Landskerian state, such as it is at this time (which is to say that whether or not there even exists a Landskerian state is a fraught and complex philosophical question in itself).
Whereaboutswithallnotsomuch further ado, here are reports from the Ten Ministries, which although they are split between the two joint First Ministers, will be reported here, for convenience’s sake, entirely by me, Joint First Minister Alexander Velky.
Spring Report 2018
Finance Secretary’s Report from the Bank of Landskeria (Treasury Office)
We lost one of those little calculator things that helps you log in to your online bank account. So another one has been ordered. Finances remain adequate for conducting the basic affairs of state. But no Grand Projects can be greenlit at this time due to a lack of liquid assets; most of our assets being tied up, as they have been for some time, in a complicated combination of real property, theoretical debt, and conceptual art. Income sources are a combination of marketing consultancy services, tourism revenue, and foreign aid. Expenditure is chiefly the aforementioned debts, coupled with ordinary budgetary constraints relating to the support and maintenance of human and non-human life within the borders of New Landskeria.
Nature Secretary’s Report from the Office of Natural Law (Environment Office)
Drainage has continued to occupy most of our time and money in this department. The Great Drainage Ditch of Landskeria was completed in the winter, and more recently the existing surface drainage channel behind the house was cleared to the first then the second inspection chamber, and is now discharging smoothly once more into The Pit. Watercourses are in rude health, at least cosmetically, and we have even begun discussions with ourselves about introducing legal constraints over development and earmarking some peripheral parts of New Landskeria to become National Parks, in support of numerous endangered species rumoured to be native to our home, specifically in terms of fauna: European otters, brook lampreys, bullheads, and migratory salmon and sewin. In terms of flora there are several pondweeds and bogweeds, in addition to water crowfoot. All of the aforementioned are protected as part of the UK state’s Afon Wern SSSI and the Preseli Hills sub-region of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park; so we thought it prudent that safeguards were in place in the (possible future) event of a unilateral declaration of independence from the Landskerian people.
A recent visit from Natural Resources Wales (following an invitation issued by the Nature Secretary) mainly focused on Factory Office jurisdiction, but crossover was recognized, and it was as a response to their advice that a piece of purportedly otter-friendly land in The Common has been renamed The Holt, and is now under a development moratorium until the Landskerian National Parks committee has been formed and has held its inaugural session. (For the record, the remaining areas of what was formerly The Common have been renamed The Sluices, The Finger, and The Neck; these new names will be reflected in all future cartography produced by the Office of Domiciles and Citizenship.)
Landskeria remains heavily dependent on food (and wine) imports, and due to budgetary constraints in the R&D department this is unexpected to change soon. However it should be noted that wild strawberry plants have been discovered along The Drive, and that there are an abundance of suspected gooseberry bushes along The Holloway. Brambles are ubiquitous, however nettles have still not been officially given food status by the Office, and thus remain officially inedible until further notice.
Finally a note on invasive species: Japanese knotweed has returned as expected, and will be dealt with by the Office forthwith.
Industry Secretary’s report from the Office of Industry and Energy (Factory Office)
Investigations into the feasibility of hydropower installation on the site of the Factory’s disused waterwheel remain in slow progress. Some contacts have been procured for preliminary feasibility studies, with a view to deciding what sort of technology might afford the most efficient and cost-effective means of energy-production. Self-sufficiency in electricity remains a high priority for the office. Having sought advice from the better-funded environment agency of our neighbouring country, budgetary constraints (as opposed to environmental ones) remain the chief concern; on the upside, we are confident we could undertake works with minimal negative impact on the environment, and could afford any necessary licenses to proceed with works. But a True Returns forecast of no more than fifteen years remains the target, and no major works will be undertaken without such a forecast in place.
A tourism effort staffed by Landskeria’s stateless nation continues to operate from Landskeria’s nationless state, formerly The Most Serene Republic of Landskeria, now referred to colloquially (if not officially) as Old Landskeria. The house where Landskeria began is now a holiday cottage rentable on Airbnb. Vague plans are in place to sell the property in 2019, thus releasing liquid assets to (quite literally) pour into developments at New Landskeria; which territory will in such an event lose its temporary title and revert to the simple official name of “Landskeria” until such time as a republic (or, perish the thought, some non-republican state entity) should be declared.
Transport Secretary’s report for Fleet (Transport Office)
One of the cars began to smell and fall apart, so was replaced with a similar one. The other car was smelling, but not falling apart, so was cleaned. A tarpaulin has been requested to prevent leakage in the latter car, and currently its handbrake has been temporarily replaced with a few large bricks/logs. Landskeria’s three bikes remain in poor repair. The children’s bikes are due some maintenance in anticipation of dry weather at some point in-between now and 2019, and the one adult-sized Landskerian bike remains in a shed in Old Landskeria and needs removing to a secure location. The Home Office have mooted the possibility of procurement of drones to help with cartography, but budgetary constrains have precluded it in the near future. Finally, our space-hopper is discoloured due to an algae contamination, but remains functional.
Home Secretary’s report from the Office of Domiciles and Citizenship (Home Office)
Recent cosmetic works in Cwmisaf include but are not limited to painting the banisters, moving furniture around in the lounge, and procuring tradesmen to move a wood-burning stove from one end of a room to the other. Works booked in for the Factory include minor repairs to roof and windows. Upcoming groundsworks external to the House will be shared between the jurisdiction of the Home and Environment Offices. These include (at least in terms of having been mooted) a domestic extention into The Shop, tarmac along The Drive, and a turning circle and/or car-port to the west flank of The House, where currently there is only a raised bog and a surface drainage channel.
Cartography is on hold due to the administrative flux inherent to the governance of a non-state entity with statelike pretensions. Names and borders are amended regularly at this stage, and ought all to be drawn in pencil until such time as pens become appropriate.
In citizenship news, a Landskerian national anthem has been written, and is being practised by most citizens in advance of our December 1 National Day celebrations. Budgetary constraints have slowed progress on the development of the Landskerian language, and currently the only place in which it exists in its true form is in the aforementioned anthem, or “shanghuur” – a rough English approximation of the Landskerian word which translates back into English as “adoration song”.
Children’s Secretary’s report from the House of Tomorrow (Second Chamber)
The House of Tomorrow remains a conceptual entity in terms of its powers as a second chamber in the Landskerian parliamentary system of government. Although two actual real children are under the jurisdiction of the Children’s Secretary they do not yet have voting power, and talks pertaining to the mooted awarding of said powers have not been timetabled. The “chamber” thus currently functions more like one of our offices; while the Landskerian parliament, which had neither a formal sitting nor a representative office in and of itself, remains at loggerheads due to one of the two ministers (myself) having repeatedly claimed to have a vote equating to a 51% share of legislative influence. Thus despite the attempt to remove legislative blockages by amending the 50/50 vote-share between the Joint First Ministers to a more pro-active 51/49 share, the result has actually been that even less legislation has been passed than before. There is an optimistic notion that the House of Tomorrow could somehow be the answer to this conundrum, but the exact details of how that might happen remain elusive.
Foreign Secretary’s Report from the Embassy (Foreign Office)
Most Landskerians spent a large proportion of the Easter holidays visiting family in Herefordshire. Relations with closer foreign territories are ongoing and cordial. Landskeria’s reliance on foreign aid, and on tourism income and other income sources from corporate entities in neighbouring territories, necessitates a pragmatic rather than an idealistic approach to our dealings with “outsiders”. We have neither the arsenal nor the diplomatic resources to adopt an expansionist approach to policy; although we believe strongly in the Landskerian way of life, no digestible written description of this currently exists, so we have no doctrine to spread with missionary zeal, even if we thought our neighbours might be receptive. Landskeria’s Home Office remains a bigger priority in terms of budget and resources. Once we have our house in order we might be better placed to consider our official policy on relationships with extra-Landskerian entities; until that time the work of the Foreign Office relies on common sense and is mostly reactive. That said our Foreign Secretary has established ties with the local Anglican church. Of course there is no church in Landskeria, and there almost definitely never will be; but the presence of a church so close to Landskerian borders has been seen as an opportunity for community outreach into Mynachlogddu, and the wider historical area of Dyfed. The nearby school in Maenclochog is also an entity we mean to keep close ties with; for at least as long as young Landskerians are attending it. Most Landskerians are attending Welsh language lessons, and also frequenting local shops, leisure centres and libraries. So far anti-Landskerian sentiment has been minimal and we hope to keep it this way. With a view to maintaining a state of low tension, early forays into a semi-aggressive expansionist foreign policy have been abandoned. That said, three of the four original disputed territories at Landskeria’s borders have been retained as official claims, namely: The Golden Triangle, The Gate, and The Far Island. The latter, however, might be incorporated into any National Park established alongside The Holt in the area formerly known as The Common, so development of any kind on this island seems highly unlikely.
Lord Commander’s Report on the Arsenal (Defence Office)
No machines of war are in our arsenal at this time and no R&D to this effect is scoped. A private offer was made of an air rifle for the purpose of shooting vermin, however agreement could not be reached on the proposed storage location of the weapon since Landskeria’s “Arsenal” remains an abstract entity at this time; so plans were shelved. Landskeria’s defensive means remain secret by necessity, but it is understood that they mostly comprise wood and stone, with minimal metal given over to this purpose. Landskeria is not a nuclear state and has no ambitions in this area. We currently rely on the UK state for defence, but have not yet needed to call in any favours. As long as foreign relations remain cordial, we see no need to divert budget into this Office, and it exists mainly as a ceremonial entity; the Commander reserves the title that comes with the Office, regardless of the lack of a standing army to be commanded.
Health Secretary’s Report From the Hospital (Health Office)
One of our dogs is due some vaccinations, and we have discovered by accident that one of our daughters is not allergic to hazelnuts. We have yet to register our citizens with the local doctor’s surgery in Crymych, but intend to in the near future.
Chief Justice’s Report from the Jury of Landskeria (Law Office)
Landskeria remains entirely free from any and all domestic crime. However, a known individual from Rhosfach has been regularly dumping bags full of rubbish (including documents bearing his name and address) into Afon Wern from Pont Mynachlogddu. Reprisal strategies have taken up the majority of the time and resources of the Jury; however whether responses to these perceived hostile acts should be lead by the Jury, the Arsenal, or the Embassy remains a moot point. When UK defence assistance was sought, both the Welsh environment agency and the county council have suggested this matter is not their responsibility. Informal advice from the latter amounted to a suggestion to enact direct reprisals, but no resources were promised to aid with the effort. We remain vigilant in this area. Meanwhile, the Jury would like to spend more time on domestic policy in future.
This was the Landskerian Spring Report 2018.
The weather is mild. The environment is resurgent. The economy is stretched.
All glory to the Republic. Doubt over all.
Joint First Minister A Velky