Wassailing time

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This is the time of year, especially in the country, when wassailing happens. There are two types. The first one is a house – visiting when people go round door-to-door singing and offering a drink from the wassail bowl in exchange for gifts. The more common practice is  the orchard – visiting wassail which refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider producing regions, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year.

This year we went to Kilmersdon, the original place connected with the nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill’. We assembled at a public orchard somewhat above the village. A wassailing Queen was chosen. It was her job to place a slice of toast in the tree to encourage Robbin Goodfellow to visit the tree and bring it luck, to pour cider in a ring around the tree, and also to hand around the wassailing bowl full of cider.

The words are as follows:

To thee, to thee, old apple tree.
Be growth so strong and true.
So fair of blossom and sweet of fruit.
Be yours the season through.

Chorus after each verse

Q. We’ll Wassail thee, old apple tree
and bless thee through the year.
And raise a glass of the goodly brew.
“Good luck” to all of us here

O Apple tree, O Apple tree.
Now spread your branches wider.
To bear more fruit for we to crop.
And turn them into cider

We’ll wassail thee old apple tree.
With cider around thy feet
And a round of toast in your branches high.
For the little robin to eat

This was followed by an incantation

Here’ to thee old apple tree.
Long may you bud, long may you blow
And may you bear apples enough.
Hats full, caps full,
Bushell, bushel bags full.
And pockets full too.
Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah

It was 4.30 pm  and getting dark so about 50 of us went off to the home of the organiser and the ceremony was repeated with their apple tree.  This video shows the loud bang made to frighten off the evil spirits. The laughter is because a bird appeared to be shot out of the tree and fall to the  ground. I think it was a model one.

Martin and his wife had provided a bread and cheese buffet, apple cake with three types of local cider on offer. My goodness it was lovely to drink something with no additives and chemicals.  Much convivial conversation was had and the singing of local songs went on for an hour or so.

Jordan Peterson, enfant terrible?

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I spend quite a lot of my day watching the videos , which are of a higher and higher quality as more people take the trouble to upload them knowing that they have an intelligent audience. Youtube  routinely removes videos that it considers of fake news of the process of doing this is handed out to workers who do not know what they’re doing and rely on keywords. Frequently their first language is not English. Thank goodness for Brighteon which does not do this ridiculous censorship.

Jordon Peterson has my 100% respect for  speaking up against nonsense for example hate crime etc. I came across a video which I am not necessarily asking you to watch because it is long, but it does show what the group mind, or the mass mind, can do when faced with someone that is confrontational or potentially threatening at some level.

I have chosen to take controversial paths and I’m sure I pay a price for this in that certain people will not entertain me because I know that I want to make them think about topics they would not normally find comfortable. ‘Controversial’ really means challenging to people’s comfort points. This video is a very good example of how two people on a stage can pursue a perfectly reasonable path and yet be attacked.

I do not understand how people can believe that we can live together in a civilized society with such behavior. Oh, by the way, if you don’t want to watch the whole video go to the end, about the last 5 min, and you will see the idiotic perpetrators of the trouble trying to justify themselves – or not. I wonder if arguments in general are rational. I’ve always believed that the most powerful stance is that of neutrality. In other words if you understand both sides you don’t waste energy emoting. You are in a position to take a calm view.

There is no wind in the middle of a hurricane.

Can we make a difference?

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There is always a feeling that ‘I am one among so many so what difference can I make?’ The point is that the right person at the right time saying the right thing or doing the right thing can make a big difference. Think of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Unbeknown to her, the conditions were just right for a rebellion against domination by white people in America, or about the diminished status of black people. She was a symbol. There is nothing to stop anyone making a statement of what they believe in. Many people may have done so before, but that is not the point. Maybe it is only on the 101st occasion that the penny will drop among the public.

I wrote to my local paper about the folly of climate change. In case you wonder, you can see plenty of explanatory videos on my website XRexposed.com.  What is truly shocking is the blatant bias of the BBC, basically in being a puppy dog to the corporate and the globalists and ignoring fact altogether. You can read my letter, which was published in full today in the local  paper, The Midsomer Norton Journal

Who knows what will come of it? Who knows. If anyone will even read it? The point is that it is good for us all to articulate what we feel. It keeps us alive. We don’t just want to be taken along by the tide just like a piece of flotsam and jetsam. Knowing something is wrong and not doing something about it is slow motion suicide of the soul in my view.

5G public meeting in Bristol – do’s and don’ts

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The development of 5G is such that people in many local areas are waking up to the reality that our DNA will be fried and that there is no escape. I get many indications and invitations to meetings near and far. As is usual, one e-mail in a large bunch jumped out at me and that was a meeting that was due to happen in Bristol in the Broadmead Baptist Church, which is very much more than a church, more a community centre. Google that one for further details.

We set off on what must have been one of the rainiest and windiest nights imaginable. The rain came down in buckets and even the main A37 road had large puddles which caused our bus to skid and swerve. The upside of this was that there wasn’t much traffic so we made the journey between Farrington Gurney and Bristol in about 50 minutes.

Broadmead Baptist Church consists of three floors and our meeting was on the top floor. Upon entry, there was no noticeboard where to go and no one to ask except predictably those who did not know the answer. Françoise and I had to stumble around trying to guess where the right group might be and we eventually found it.

I had my business hat on. When I arrived at the appointed hour there was a large round table obviously use for committee meetings and about 16 chairs. When you organise a public meeting. You never know how many are going to turn up but there  should always be room for late comers. You always get late comers.  The meeting was interrupted on four occasions when someone came into the room causing someone else to come out and find an extra chair and bring it through the door and find a space. If I were chairing the meeting I would find that disturbing but the chair lady made a good job of it.

When there are volunteers, you can’t demand that anyone does something if they fall ill, or are changing their accommodation, or are just too busy or whatever the excuse. You just have to grit your teeth and accept that they haven’t done what they promised to do. Such was the case with the man who tried to have dealings with the Council, in this case Bristol Council. He tried to introduce 5G to the Green party councillor, but attempts to get through after the initial Meeting failed. I could have told him that that would be the case because the greens are not interested in 5G, perhaps because they don’t understand it or they don’t want to understand it.

When relevant points are made I tend to get very animated but I really have to learn to leave the weight of the meeting to the chairperson otherwise I could be seen as disruptive. When I spoke people did listen because they realised that I did have plenty to offer by way of common sense and wisdom on the topic of organisation, meetings, publicity and so on. I try to control myself realising that most people have never met me before and that some people had to learn lessons I learned years ago.

I have agreed to stand in the street and talk to people on the day of the first international protest against 5G which takes place on Saturday the 25th January. We shall meet on College Green at 11 AM on the morning. I warned everybody that you never get things right the first time and the only way of learning is by doing. I asked people to take particular care to remember what people said, learn about the mind of your enemy or should I say your adversary which in this case is ignorance and misinformation.

Our meeting of about 20 souls lasted for two hours between 7 PM and 9 PM and the time flew by very quickly because there was plenty of to-ing and fro-ing, ideas popping up all over the place. Meetings can get tedious when someone goes off at a tangent and gives a virtual life history about something and everyone gets bored but a firm chairmen should be able to detect this and nip it in the bud.

I meant to say to everyone – but this was the wrong occasion-  to talk about the machinations of politics and politicians. When money and power come in the door, then truth goes out of the window. It is not the politicians who run this country, people who come and go, but the permanent civil servants in which there is a coterie of those who give information at the behest of the powerful shadowy figures who run the country and indeed the world.

Plans for 5G were made decades ago as indeed were the plans for the whole telecommunications industry. The last people to hear about it  never mind to discuss the implications are the general public, the people who are going to be influenced by it, including the carcinogenic effect of microwaves and particularly on children. Incidentally, did you know that the government knew perfectly well that schoolchildren were going to be adversely affected by putting wireless radiation in classrooms but they allowed the idea to go forward anyway.

I learned a lesson and that is to assume that people would be interested in what I’m doing if it’s relevant to the subject matter and give out leaflets accordingly. I should have done that but I know that I created a good impression and will come along to the next occasion better prepared.

We left the meeting at 9:15 PM. I handed my business card to the few people that I thought would be interested in maintaining contact.  I would love to have popped into the local pub for a drink, my normal relaxant after a meeting, but we didn’t have time so we caught the 9:35 PM bus to where we had parked the car. We always sit upstairs in the front, we like the view There were two other people sitting silently reflecting,  hopefully with their dreams intact.

For how long this will remain only God knows – and he ain’t telling.

Meeting of our Christian Men’s Group

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Our group is called rather unfortunately ‘Mens United BA3’ which of course clashes too much with the Manchester United football team but perhaps that is something that is only going on in my head. Since forming the group a couple of years ago we have not attracted any new members; we have a core group of about 8 to 10 people who meet regularly.

We met in Radstock Swallow Cafe which is a place where people with learning difficulties are encouraged to function in a public role. I prepared a special talk on wind, using references from the Bible to look at the various ways in which the word wind in its literal and symbolic manner was used. The wind was blowing extensively earlier this evening which was why I was inspired to write a piece from which I give excerpts below and give a short talk on the subject.

Most Christians are familiar with the story of the disciples who were fishing. Peter was so afraid he began to sink and he cried out to Jesus to save him. Jesus ordered the winter be quiet and be still. The disciples were terrified. They asked each other, who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him. A quick reminder that perhaps the disciples  needed this physical event to remind them of the nature of the person they were with.

We also have a parable of the man who built his house on sand. The rain came and the winds blew and beat upon that house and great was the fall thereof.

The man who built his house on rock lived to tell the tale.

In the Old Testament in Zachariah it is recorded that the prophet looked up and saw two other women. They had wings like the wings of the stork. Wind was sent by the Lord to carry them along. They lifted the basket up between heaven and earth.

I love the bit in John chapter 3 v 8 where it says ‘the wind blows were it listeth to. You hear the sound it makes. But you can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who was born through the spirit

This reading brings shivers up my spine.

James says that when you ask God for something you must believe and not doubt because the one who doubts it is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Finally, in Revelation, part of the vision was “after this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

With so few people at the meeting it was difficult to make any plans for the future but we agreed that regular monthly prayer meetings were a good idea, and that there could be talks, given in people’s homes, which would enable Fellowship to take place.

I am personally put off by prayer meetings as such but I believe that during meetings where people are united in spirit, prayer of sort takes place anyway.  I do not like prayers consisting of shopping lists and drawing God’s  attention to what is going as if he is any sort of a God, he should know anyway.
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New Year’s Travel Resolutions

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I receive many emails each day, today I received one from ‘Nomadic Matt‘ who specialises in giving travel advice.  He is a traveler himself and delights in regaling us with his personal experiences / hints / tips etc. I found this email reproduced below most helpful and encouraging.

Hey Brian,

Happy New Year! January always seems to be a time for reflection as we think about our new year goals: where we want to go, who we want to be, and what we want to bring into our lives.

If you’re like me, you’re hoping those “new year, new you” goals don’t turn into “new year, old you” all over again.

Rather than admit defeat off the bat (“I know it won’t last”), this year, let’s reframe the scripts in our head.

Let’s toss out the negative thoughts that keep us tied to old patterns.

Instead of setting a goal, let’s decide to just be the kind of person we want to be.

Don’t pledge to read more. Become a reader.

Don’t pledge to cook more. Become a cook.

Don’t pledge to travel more. Become a traveler.

Imagine yourself as that new person and ask what they would do — and just do it! That may seem trite but study after study has shown that by imagining yourself as your desired self, you unconsciously start acting like that person.

You internalize those ideal traits and, little by little, become closer to who you want to be.

And that’s what’s most important: the small steps.

Because action begets action. The first step is always the hardest but, once you take it, every other step becomes easier.

And it doesn’t matter what that first step is. Buy a guidebook, subscribe to a blog, save a dollar. Just do something. Today.

Ask yourself “What’s the one thing I can do today to get closer to my dream trip?”

After a while, you find yourself building a habit and becoming that traveler you want to be.

Over the next month, I’ll be sending a bunch of new articles on how to travel on a budget in 2020 as well as how to travel eco-friendlier too. There’s a lot coming down the pipe.

But, today, I want to remind you that there will never a perfect time to travel.

You will always find an excuse not to go. There will always be bills to pay or things to do. No time will ever be perfect.

Accept that, put it out of your mind, and start taking action.

Ships weren’t meant to stay in harbor — and you weren’t meant to stay home.

The year is already 2% over. Let’s not wait.

Young people’s joy of art exploding

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So we went to the Andelli Art Gallery, near Wells, to enjoy a very unusual private view.  The gallery was packed with young enthusiastic people and it gave me a vibe I seldom get in a rather aged conurbation such as Midsomer Norton. The local parent teachers association had prepared a a very good finger buffet. Alas it had been prepared some hours before so anything with bread or biscuits were soggy to say the least.

Students with proud teacher (bearded)
courage needed to attempt such a profile

 

This final piece is not from the show but a work situated on the staircase of the property where the exhibition took place. The perspective is very unusual and makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

The subject is giving nothing away

 

A winter walk

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It is a myth that the weather is ‘bad’ in the winter and ‘good’ in summer. You can have lovely breezy days in February and dreadful days in August. We went for a walk along the railway line which used to function between Radstock and Frome until Dr Beeching put his microscope on it.

The so called ‘disorder’ of the winter. Dead and dying vegetation but the new will emerge out of the old in a couple of months time.

If you look carefully you can see two sets of tracks with trees growing between them .

The skeleton of an old railway good carriage.

A ploughed field with an inexplicable deep hole in the middle. Maybe a stray bomb from WW2.

To Mells for lunch at the local village store. Two lovely pumpkin/parsnip/garlic soups with bread to die for. £9.

How to negotiate – Spring is coming

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Hartleys is one of my favourite restaurants with Paul, the affable owner, as its star. Yesterday I rang him up to ask for an appointment, to offer a service. The reason I did this was because three times in succession over two years I have signed up for receiving a news bulletin about the activities and features of the restaurant and I have never had a response.

I never make criticism without making an offer. This is easier in small self owned establishments than large establishments such as the gas company, where personal bartering and offers do not count. Since there was clearly a defect in the mail system I went along, intending to offer my services in case there was a weak link in the chain. As a result, the conversation was as affable as I could have wished and Paul was able to explain the situation from his point of view. He said that someone had been helping him for a number of years.

We identified two possible weak links in the chain. First of all people write their e-mail address in the restaurant after having received service. This is then passed manually to the mailing list provider who will add the information as and when they have the time. The two links were easy to identify. Sometimes, people write their e-mail address indistinctly so that information is lost. Secondly, it is up to the ultimate recipient of the list to put them on a database. This is done on a voluntary basis.

A loss of even 10% of addresses would have a huge impact over the year on the number of returning customers. In this age of tight profit margins, and I believe that most restaurants operate within this, that last 5% or 10% makes the difference between profit and loss.

After our meeting, I said I would write to him and leave the ball in his court. It is after all his business and not mine and he is entitled to run the business in any way he pleases. I find that with small organisations, complaining of grumbling is the least helpful way of going about things. It is much better to praise the organisation with qualification for example, I loved your food but it was such a pity it was served on a cold plate.

Putting people’s backs up when you first open your mouth just starts the adrenaline to flow and you will get standard answers, anything to placate the customer and nothing will ever be done. It is really worth putting yourself in the place of the service provider to try and imagine what problems they may experience. If the person you’re complaining to feels that you’re on their wavelength, they are far more likely to cooperate .

When I finished the dialogue I went along to Rocky Mountain nursery. There were not many people around but as the following pictorial essay will show, they are preparing for the coming of spring.

Reflections on Christianity and Shamanism

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I went to holy Communion this morning which involved a fairly long sermon. The time after Christmas which is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, is very important to Christians and the reading today was the first chapter or part of the first chapter of St John’s Gospel. In the most magisterial and visionary way, St John is trying to convey in words the enormous sweep of our world receiving a visitation from the son of God, not the only attempt but one that we are familiar with. It brings shivers to me each time I hear it

1.In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God;
3 all things were made through him,
and without him was not anything made that was made.
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.
8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.
11 He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

The preacher reminded us that Jesus understood only too well what it was like to be abused, insulted, deliberately misunderstood, rejected and of course to be killed for his faith. We think mistakenly of Jesus as a holy distant figure who is preaching to us but he was the one who walked his talk, who was obedient to his Father consistently throughout his life. Interesting that he did not start his ministry until the age of 30. Some people say that he visited Glastonbury here in the United Kingdom. Who knows?

Those of us who stand up for anything which makes people awkward for whatever reason can expect a dose of hostility or ridicule.  This is one of the many ways that Jesus is an exemplar to us.

Krishnamurti was unique in that he dissolved the movement which he had formed and in his name. He felt that no one should be  follower  and they should find truth within themselves.

I find the most comfort in Christianity. Maybe it is because I was bought up in the Christian faith. My father was a Church of England Vicar – a disadvantage as well as an advantage. It is good ‘software for the soul’.

I came across the film (below) which compares the attitude to and treatment of mental health in the West and that in so called traditional or primitive society. Certainly work a look if you know someone who is ‘mentally ill’ and taking regular pills.

Affairs of the heart

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The two weeks from just before Christmas to the New Year are unique. No one expects you to be in, put any pressure on you, or makes any demands. You can therefore without too much effort become invisible and get on with work that you want to do rather than what is expected of you.

This year I’m going to pay more attention to my health. I’m still too dependent on prescribed medicine though admittedly it’s only one pill a day but it does the job. I’ve tested the magnesium levels in my system which show a slight deficiency and today I did a blood test to determine my blood type. You can get self testing equipment for about £12 from Amazon, but I’m not sure how accurate it is.

Today I wrote a newsletter to all the members of the allotment group which I’m chairman. This is a time of year where preparations made for the new season and not much appears to be going on but the allotment has to be maintained like anything else. I went round with a camera today recording all the little things that were going on, for example the good appearance of a hedge that had been cut, rhubarb making his first appearance, leeks soldiering on during the wet weather (they don’t seem to mind) and a gentle reminder to people to maintain their plot in a tidy condition.

I do enjoy small areas of order and harmony. It sets the example that we still care for each other and that life on a local level should not be eclipsed by the dreadful material going on throughout the world. The point is, we cannot do very much about the latter, so I think we should just note and observe rather than get stressed out. Most of our friends do not want to know what is really going on and choose to confine themselves to daily existence. Very few people have the courage even to think.

Today I came across a PDF book on the heart. It puts the whole thing into perspective and I give credit to the website that told me about it. The book is not long and really does sum up the importance of the heart, much more than a pump, and one of the most important organs in the body.

I did not know – or I needed to be reminded – that the number of messages from the heart to the brain far exceed those of the brain to the heart and that the heart itself as a telepathic ability, a morphic field we could say, which could if we let it make an enormous difference to our lives.

Have a look at the book here and see what you think. It wont take you more than 10 minutes.

Unusually, I will publish replies. Just hit return reading this diary. I will collect any comments and let you know.

This is the exact opposite of the above. It talks about the symbiotic effect of using smartphones with regard to Artificial intelligence. It’s pretty scary.

Archbishop Justin Welby, new year message

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In spite of all, we are still a Christian country in the United Kingdom and if you don’t believe me look how many institutions and organisations and charities and ventures have been inspired by the Christian gospel.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said this on New Year’s Day, today.

Make personal connections with others in 2020. Creating new unity in a divided society. He says “let’s go for a heroic new years resolution. Let’s resolve to connect. To reach out to just one person. We don’t know, all from whom we had drifted apart.

Pick one person. Pick up the phone. Send a text. Meeting for a cup of tea. Make that connection. Let’s begin cementing our unity one brick at a time.

If I ever have the means, I would like to examine ways of enhancing the community spirit. The British people have it within themselves to leave it to someone else and as a result things don’t get done. I think people are afraid of being different. It takes just one person to start a trend and the rest will follow.

 

 

 

Back to ‘normal’ (whatever that is)

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My sister and husband achieved the near impossible feat of catching a bus from around the corner in Midsomer Norton, and arriving at her front door in Croydon, Surrey, four hours later. Sometimes people are just plain lucky, and this on New Year’s eve when everyone is on the road.

1  local bus to Bath station (46min)
2  high speed train to London Paddington (1h 25m)
3  tube to London Victoria (20 min)
4. Victoria to East Croydon (18 minutes)
5. Taxi home  (20 minutes guess)

*****

To the hospital for my monthly eye check. Every time I see a different consultant. This one was from Ireland. She was very inclusive, showed me the scans of my eyes, found a very small spread of wet macular from the left to the right eye (it happens) and said that if things get suddenly worse, to ask to bring the appointment forward. I am not sure why she asked this. Anyway, this month, no injection.

I keep my usual eagle eye on new publicity.

 

What to do on the last day of having guests

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My sister and brother-in-law are leaving tomorrow for London after having been with us for a week. My answer to the above question is that you should not attempt too much on the last day but rather wind down the proceedings.  We did this by going to an extraordinary pub called the Railway Inn in Hallatrow.  Inside was the most remarkable collection of memorabilia, a thoroughly eccentric barman who could not get the hang of the till and a number of eccentric people sitting around drinking and making jokes.

Furthermore, there was a completely restored restaurant carriage from British rail days of old in which we would have sat with our drinks had it not been so cold. The carriage is normally used for serving food but today and tomorrow, the hard-working chefs are having a miniature holiday.

We then went to the Farrington Gurney Inn where we had a fairly ordinary lunch. The waitress who took my order was not quite ‘with it’. She repeated to me twice what I had clearly asked her for. I gave the order at about 1:10. The first course arrived about 1.20 then we had a long, long wait until 2:15 before the main course arrived. We noticed that people who arrived after us had been served before us and this was annoying. We did complain and were told there was a ‘mess up’ in the kitchen. My sister and I do not take excuses like this. They had the order otherwise they would not have delivered the first course.  At the end of the meal, she complained and got a rebate of £17.20 which I guess was the price of drinks.

We then went to the Book Barn, which claims to have the biggest collection of second-hand books in Europe. Looking at the size of the warehouse, a converted barn which was previously used for keeping cattle, I would not question their claim. Inside is a lovely restaurant where you can get light meals, coffee, cakes, etc. The customers there are most definitely the literary type and it is pleasant to be with them even if we don’t speak.

I love books even if I don’t read them; I purchase about two books a week. I’m already full but I haven’t the heart to throw books away. Something has to happen otherwise I’m going to have to get a new property with a library attached

We left the Book Barn at about 3:40 PM to a lovely blue sky and witnessed pheasants and other winged creatures enjoying themselves in the afternoon sunlight on a field.

 

Winter always has something to offer

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My sister has gone off to Wells today to see an old friend so we are left to our own devices and decided to take a walk. We went to our favourite old village called Wellow (See previous references) and then decided to go to the local Kennett and Avon canal which always promises to give many interesting photographs. This therefore is largely a photographic essay of canals in the off-season.

Amazingly it has stopped raining and the forecast for the next few days is dry. This will enable this country of the United Kingdom to look less like a lake.

People are very friendly as ever and when we pass them always give a nod. The most dangerous part of this walk are the cyclists who drive along at speed without necessarily having a bell. Anyway, I survived about an hour before the damp started to creep into me. We returned to our car and off we drove into the dusk.

My digestion dare I say is getting better. I had no pill this morning and took instead a lactase enzyme which is for individuals who have difficulty digesting lactose. So far today, no acid symptoms or bloating should I say.

Cooking for Christmas day

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Lunch on Christmas day has a mystique which is almost burdensome.  This year I decided to take up the challenge of preparing the whole lot myself. You have to be a strategic planner. Different foods take different times to prepare so that which takes the longest to cook, normally the meat offering, has to go in the oven first.  It sounds complicated when you have 10 different foods to prepare but actually it can become quite fun. I need to be on my own in the kitchen and not having people walking around. I would make a hopeless chef.

In this case the ingredients were chicken, stuffing, red cabbage, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower cheese, extra special delicious gravy, followed by Christmas pudding. If I rearrange this list according to time taken to prepare it would be chicken 2.5 hours followed by Christmas pudding, 2  hours followed by cauliflower cheese, fiddly but the best part of two hours. I don’t know how people manage in restaurants when there are many tables to serve at different times. I think you have to be somewhat of a juggler or maybe everything is prepared beforehand and heated in a microwave.

I tend to go into a panic at this sort of meal but actually when you get on with it it’s a classical operation. We are talking about 4 people  not 16 or 100. You would have to be positively military to serve 100 people.

It is not possible to cook a perfect meal but if it’s home-prepared food, fully cooked and made with care, and you are not going to poison anybody then I guess it’s take it or leave it. People should never apologize for their own cooking for example ‘oh sorry there could have been more salt’. If guests want more of anything they can just ask.

Anyway, as I write, people are snoozing on the sofa. We shall shortly start the ritual of watching TV programmes and recording those that we cannot view immediately.

It starts to rain.

Self centred parents spoil sublime Christmas service

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Sunday – to a very homely rendering of the nine lessons and carols in my home church in Paulton, followed by mince pies and mulled wine. We saw many people that we don’t normally see. Some people come to church just once or twice a year to keep in touch.

the Cathedral one hour before the service was due to start

Today to Wells to hear a carol service and to take part in it. We were advised to arrive early for a six o’clock service, five o’clock to be precise. I thought we would arrive then just to be on the safe side, but to my surprise more or less the whole Cathedral was occupied. We grabbed some back row seats, a mistake as we were to discover.

6 PM approached and we were asked to stand while the bells chimed and the service started. I noticed a woman behind me standing with a young child. She was one of these ample middle-class ladies. It was quite clear that the child was not going to be calm. It is one thing I can’t cope with, and that is noise during singing. After I turned round and stared at her a couple of times she waved at me sarcastically and patronisingly. After about 15 min. she left and 15 minutes later returned. The child made noises from time to time, just enough to disturb me but not enough to be thrown out by the staff.

I think people who bring children under three years of age should not be permitted to enter. It shows disrespect for other people who want to hear untrammelled music. These people simply don’t care or are so self-centred that they think people just have to put up with noise from ‘my little darling’. As if that were not enough,the stewards of the back were talking together and I could quite clearly hear what they were saying.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came when walkie-talkies sprung into action behind us again down to the stewards and they either had no knowledge of how to turn them down or no desire. I realised that this event was regarded by them as just another event. The sensibilities of the congregation were not taken into consideration and I actually walked out of the service promising to meet my guests and Françoise after the event. I walked around the town of Wells. There was blissful quiet enabling me to clear my head from the impossible task of concentrating on the singing which was of good quality and trying to shut out the noise of the wretched children.

 

Something to celebrate, something to mourn

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The person who inspired me to keep this diary was Samuel Pepys. He wrote his diary over 10 years and amassed over 1 1/4 million words. The most famous long novel is War and Piece by Dostoevsky , which consists of 587,287 words. So far in a little under three years I have written 612,157 words. I can only admire Samuel Pepys’ tenacity. He had only a quill pen and candlelight. I use speech to text dictation and even then it is quite a discipline to keep this going. Samuel Pepys had a full-time job which was very demanding, and equally demanding social life if I can call it that and he still found time to record his activities.

On the other side, I find I’m getting so electro sensitive that I cannot even hold the computer mouse. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wireless mouse or a wired mouse. It makes my hand cramp up so the less I touch the mouse, the better. Such is technology.

****

And now to today.

Well blow me down, the sun is actually shining this morning and we are off to Glastonbury for the winter solstice. This time, friends are coming to pick us up so we will be chauffeured.

We arrived early, but found many more people than normal and although I like the people I dislike crowds. At midday, there is a tolling of bells followed by a ceremony which this time was concerned with the minute of peace which was planned to be at 9 PM on this very evening.

I fell into conversation with a chap who had been living in a tent for the past two years. I commented that when things go pear-shaped, he will have less to lose than others. He was unsure about this but recommended a book called ‘Always Coming Home’ by Ursula Le Guin, a recent publication which is into its sixth printing. Lyric and luminous . . . a major imaginative vision – The New York Times Book Review An appealing book as well as a masterly one . . . The future world she has created here is awesomely complex – Newsweek The effect it has on the reader is hypnotic . . . Le Guin has chosen a most original way to reveal this imagined land – People.
I have just (22.46 on 21.12.19) ordered it on Amazon Prime and it will  be with me 23 Dec.

We did not linger long. We always do the same thing after such events in Chalice Well. We walk along the top of the town then turn left right down the high road which I consider is unique in the UK, if not in the world. There are so many very interesting shops. The first stop is the health food shop which is as close to heaven in shop terms as I can think of. We then go down to Burns the Bread and had some delicious freshly baked pizza or sausage rolls. We then go to the community rooms for a tea or coffee. Finally, we go to the goddess centre and sit there for half an hour and meditate. We then go home because by that time we’ve had enough.

On the road between Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet we saw enormous bouquets of mistletoe. They seemed to be on old apple trees. What a delight. In general, the Somerset levels were flooded and it was difficult to tell the difference between a river and a fully flooded field. I really hope this rain stops otherwise the farmers are going to have a very difficult time. On the other hand I also feel for the people in New South Wales, Australia, especially those in Sydney who are having to put up with record temperatures and dreadful fires.

Surviving the pre-Christmas period

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This whole Christmas thing started off in a very humble way when a  mother about to give birth could not find a space in an Inn so was eventually accommodated as an act of compassion by the inn-keeper in a stable. How times have changed. From looking at people in the shops and stores you might think that this Christmas is some sort of bacchanalian event involving the laying in of food and drink for a siege. It takes quite a lot of doing to accumulate a £100 bill in a supermarket but it can be done as I saw more than once yesterday.

I spoke to a friend today that I had known for 55 years. Actually apart from my family the person who I’ve known the longest. We met when we were both temporary employees at a Post Office sorting office in December 1964. We have been in touch on and off ever since. He and his partner have decided to have an ‘un-Christmas’ Christmas. No celebration no presents no going out just doing nothing. However, he has a fondness for lamb, and he told me about a firm in Scotland that delivers highest quality meat, ‘Donald Russell Scotland’s finest butcher’ no less. My friend loves lamb so has ordered lots of it.

Knowing him I can see how well suited he would be to this but of course for some people, particularly the elderly, this is what they do anyway but not through choice. I don’t know what it must be like, especially if you have lost your husband recently, to be without relatives to just sit down on Christmas morning watching the TV, somehow preparing for lunch, and ending the day with a huge amount of meaningless visual data in your brain and that only that which you could recall when you were not dozing off.

I think we can do better as a society. I don’t think we can expect the government to provide for all our needs. After all, they spent a lot of money on our education and our health. So surely it behooves us to be proactive and not just sit there like birds with open mouths expecting to be fed by its parents. I coming to any reasonable amount of money I would certainly create an organisation to help further improve the sense of community and caring which in certain areas of the country makes such a change to the way people think and behave. My theme to more difficult places would be “better a good conversation than an antidepressant pill”.

If I was in full-time work, had a couple of screaming children to look after, had to care for the in laws which need to be picked up from the other side of the country then I can see how Christmas would be stressful. In addition, this year, the weather is far from perfect, causing floods in many places, not just the usual places like Gloucester but many places in the Midlands that are not used to floods.

I find that the whole environmental vibe becomes more happy and relaxed around this time of year. I’m sure it correlates with the fact that people are not working and instead getting together with their families. It is a type of answer to prayer that they congregate. Talking of praying, I sent off a prayer request today about my stomach to a group based in Spain and after doing so felt strangely different and enlightened.

This morning for the first time I’ve tried cider vinegar which evidently stimulates the stomach to receive food and although it may sound contradictory it relieves the feeling of assiduity. The trouble is, the stomach can produce either too much or too little acid and only tests can tell. Obviously you do different treatments for different conditions but my policy at the moment is to have less food, more chewing, and let the meal settle for some time. It seems to be working though these are early days.

Last night we saw a lovely film on the life of Freddie Mercury,  the lead in Queen. It was very nostalgic. I do miss him, Kenny Everett, Michael Jackson, Prince, and all those wonderful people. I miss them in a different way to for example Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper. I find Tommy Cooper’s humour does not age but Morecambe and Wise’s humour possibly does age.I lament the fact that much comedy of the present era relies on sexual innuendo, bad language and I don’t find the style the slightest bit funny.

This evening I went along to my local minor injuries clinic midway between Midsomer Norton and Paulton check. I had scraped some skin off the back of my hand and it was not healing. I was the only patient waiting so was seen immediately by a very cheerful nurse who expertly put some stitches on my hand, covered it up copiously, and gave me a spare bandaging in case the first one fell off. I was told to come back in case there was any swelling, redness, or pain.

I do give thanks for the NHS and hope that the recent campaign by nurses in Ireland, but been severely neglected is resolved. There is no effective government in Northern Ireland at the moment which makes passing the buck easier to do; the nurses think their pay has effectively slipped 15% in the last 10 years or so.

Two helpful thoughts from the Internet

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Whatever you say about the Internet from the security and safety point of view, it remains a useful source of information. Youtube is busily shooting itself in the foot by removing people that it thinks is spreading fake news, though, that in itself could be fake news. Fortunately, we have Brighteon, thank you Mike Adams the Health Ranger, where people can post without fear of being censored.

I came across two items today which I want to share with you because for me they hit the target. The first one is from my favourite teacher on Trans World Radio, Colin Smith and the other one from Eckhart Tolle about forgiveness.

I quote in full as I think the material is useful for any thoughtful person particularly at this time of year. If you are not ‘a believer’ then it still makes a good point.

Humble yourselves…cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

The root of all worry and anxiety lies in the belief that what happens is ultimately in our hands. If you think that what happens is ultimately in your hands, that’s pride.

The proud person feels that he or she has to make things happen. But the truth is, none of us can add an inch to our height or an hour to our life by worrying about it.

What happens finally is in the hands of God.There is a powerful insight here for the person who struggles with frequent bouts of anxiety. If we want to deal with our anxiety, the place to begin is by dealing with our pride, because humility is the ultimate release from anxiety.

It is important for us to be able to distinguish between the voices of Pride and Humility. Pride says, “What happens is up to me,” and this only creates more anxiety. Humility says, “Lord, everything that concerns me is in your hands,” and this is the beginning of peace.

When you hear the voice of Pride, you can counteract it by “casting all your anxiety” on Jesus. How do you do that? Tell him what you are anxious about and then hand that situation over to Him. Put it into His hands. You can do this knowing that He cares about you.

If you hear the voice of Pride or you are feeling anxious about a situation, go ahead and cast your anxiety on Jesus right now.

Now follows a short video where for me the punchline was the last few sentences.

Digestion shows signs of settling

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The trouble with any internal ache or pain is that you can’t run away from it. Toothache is the worst, I’m sure heart pain is up there but stomach pain is – well – worse than a pain in the neck as we would say. I am being forced to eat more carefully, halve the amount I take and take double the amount of time to consume it. For a Gemini who feels most comfortable thinking about six different things at a time this is pure torture.

I’m going to be undertaking a test for the effectiveness of the small intestine. I have been given a  do-it-yourself kit by the chemist. I have to blow into two glass tubes,  drink a white powder diluted in water, wait half an hour, and then blow into two more tubes. I must send the kit off in the post and the result will be returned to my doctor in a few days.

Today was a splendid day in my local church. People start coming who normally do not come at any other time of year and they are nonetheless welcome for that. Our normal coffee morning was expanded to include sausage rolls, a great variety of cakes, mince pies, anything you could reasonably stomach at that time of day.

The church looks lovely as I’ve shown in my previous images and there were about 70 people. During the proceedings, the organist played well-known carols to which people sung along if they felt like it.  We then had a raffle with about 12 prizes, the money going to church funds.

This afternoon I did a reading for someone called Max. One of the talents I’ve got is to be able to pick up people’s thoughts just from their name. It is a great service to people who have had relationships and can help them to be released from them without hurt to either party. This is a great help to the client sitting in front of me because they can understand their partner better and treat them appropriately. I really must start publicizing myself more and may devote the early part of 2020 to this.

A modest evening meal is followed by watching TV, such staunch British events like the history of Harrods, which must be one of the most famous stores in the world.

Stourhead revisited

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This splendid National Trust property caught our attention yesterday in the form of a Christmas Festival of light. We were unable to gain admittance to the choral evening at Wells Cathedral because it was completely full, so decided to compensate by going along to another event.

Stourhead is in Wiltshire, but only 35 min from where we live in Midsomer Norton. There is something about lights at night that brings out the child in us. This was the first of the five-year contract for various exhibitions of light. For a first attempt it was very good with every effort being made to make the journey safe by for example the removal of small steps along the way. The cost was £18 a head. Bearing in mind the fact that it was so complicated and ambitious and that planning started the previous January. I don’t begrudge them such a seemingly large amount for admission. UK is beset by rain at the moment but we managed to escape the worst of it. I understand that on the previous Saturday, 14 December , they had 3000 people through the turnstiles. I went to the still open restaurant, which normally closes at 5:30 PM. I made the mistake of ordering a brie and chutney sandwich which repeated on me later on. I’m having to take on a completely new regime of eating which is unforgiving.

The dangers of giving advice

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Sometimes, I feel the desire to give advice. The problem is, it can so often go wrong, especially if it is unrequited. I’m quite good on websites and will comment if there is a technical fault or if something about it puts me off. I would like to give an example of a person I wrote to about their website, someone who specifically invited readers to comment.

Dear xxxxx
I had cause to visit your website today and noted your comment about the low number of people who give donations.
I’m afraid this is par for the course. The general public is used to getting something free and there are so many demands upon people’s energy, time, and resources.
I run a site, actually more than one site, listed below. If I recall I have had five donations so far. I have quite often asked for money on the same grounds as yourself to very little effect.
It seems that we are both motivated by idealism and as history shows us this does not bring immediate recognition or rewards. I can only say that ‘as you sow, so you will reap’ but there’s no indication of timescale here.
 I am encouraged by the occasional letter saying ‘thank you very much what you are doing’ but I have now reached the state when I do things automatically and see what I’m doing as a work of art.
All the best
Brian
PS your site could use a makeover.
# The typeface is really old-fashioned and not attractive. I know it is not content but these things do matter.
# I was put off by the red heading because red equals emergency, panic and stress and I would have thought a blue heading would be much more  appropriate bearing in mind the spiritual nature of the topic. # Makeovers do not have to be expensive as small changes can be made internally, so to speak.
# You can ask for help on social media and I would have thought people would be forthcoming.
to which she replied:
Hi Brian,
Whilst you are free to your opinion, I have to disagree – in fact, yours is the only email i have ever received saying it doesn’t look nice. Also, honestly, people are far more interested in the good quality ebooks than they are in the color of the header. In addition, the site isn’t really spiritual based. There are over 100 genres of books on there.
From someone who can sympathise with the donation aspect, I assume you didn’t download any books? If not, I hope you come back and find something good. I usually add new books every couple of days or so.
Kind Regards,
——————-

My impression was that she let off steam in the first paragraph and then settled somewhat and became rational. I always get a ‘woomph’ when there is pent up anger in the writer and for this reason do not like opening some types of letter.

My feeling is that I may have a completely valid point, and unless I make it who is going to know what I think.  If I am wrong then nothing is wasted. The English are not very good at giving or indeed accepting criticism and I’m going to try and change this somewhat. What I feel in this case is that I did my best but this was not good enough, or perhaps inappropriately put. Alternatively the person had some sort of resentment or need to defend themselves and they would react the same way to everyone.

On balance, I’m glad I said what I said. I know that other recipients of my observations have been grateful for my pointing out some aspect of their website. The last person I did this to relied, ‘yes I know it needs some updating, but I’ve been so busy’. The problem is a member of the public visiting a site does not know this and first impressions count. One of the things that annoys me most is a dead link. In other words, leading to a page with nothing on it. It’s better to have no page than a ‘nothing’  page.

There is an overall lesson from this. If you are writing a response as an instant reaction and out of anger, it is better to write it, leave it a bit, and then come back to it the next day. By that time you have calmed down and you will often be motivated to modify what you said, and write something more reasonable. It can save embarrassment in the long run especially if you find out that other person had a point.

There is a good letter in the Huffpost ‘Write it but dont sent it – and turn what happened into good.

A winter visit to Wells

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To Wells on a cold and blustery morning to see the Christmas markets in full swing. Funnily enough, crowds don’t excite me that much so I took refuge in the gardens of Wells Cathedral. Always a delight.

the spring that used to supply Wells with its water
all part of the cycle of life

I am tired of seeing endless stalls with artworks and knitted items that I don’t need and don’t want but I do acknowledge that a lot of creativity goes into them and people like the idea of making a few extra pounds.

I was not feeling very well and made the mistake of having a quiche at my favourite whole foods restaurant. Unfortunately, it contained raw onion which does not agree with me at all. I’m having to reorganise my whole diet to minimise carbohydrates and avoid sugar and even honey. It’s amazing how draining a stomach problem is. I find that once a vicious cycle starts in the stomach it goes on throughout the day.  Believe me, changing the habits of a lifetime is very difficult indeed.

My sister and brother-in-law are going to stay with us for a week over Christmas. We must somehow prepare in advance food without  overloading the fridge and freezer, which is already full to bursting point.

A visit to Bristol for a nutrition consultation

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There is no getting away from it, the atmosphere before Christmas is frenetic and the crowds bustling. We took the 11.02 am 376 bus from Street to Bristol and by the time it arrived at Farrington Gurney, it was half full. Unfortunately, there was a mechanical fault with the door and meant that at each stop the driver had to get out and manually close it before continuing. A little further on at Clutton , he announced that the bus was going to have to stop and we would have to get on the next one. However, after consultation with his colleagues, he decided that the bus would run through without stopping. Hence, we arrived in the city centre a little quicker than we expected. So who’s complaining.

There are two “all you can eat” buffets in Bristol. One of them on the harbour front is Za-Za, is one of the largest in Europe.  It provides a variety of food on an industrial scale and you can read my account of it in other entries by searching. The other one is its smaller relative, Cosmo, which is up a hill opposite the city art Gallery and Museum.  We prefer the latter because it is less noisy, slightly cheaper and let’s face it, you can only eat a stomachs worth of food at one sitting. Quality is about the same in each case.

At 2:30 PM, we went to see Helen, who is a nutritionist and very well skilled in the art of sorting out stomach acidity. She discussed in detail the difference in functions of the stomach, the small intestine and then the large intestine.  All need to function well. Stomach acidity disturbs the balance of the whole body and it is easy to experience loss of concentration, feelings of low energy, and even depression. It is certainly very draining. The causes can vary with each person but in my case is affected by eating too fast and too much, the habit of eating while standing, eating food at an inappropriate time of day, eating foods that I know cause certain reactions.

I’m looking forward to receiving the report. A one hour session and follow-up report cost £160 but if it leads to a solution of a problem that has been troubling me for 20 years now, it will be more than worth it. Watch this space.

Looking down Park Street just before sunset
In the central esplanade

Pot Luck supper

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For some reason that I have never figured out, if everyone is invited to bring along food even without specifying what it should be, the result always seems to produce a balanced and satisfying meal, plus a balance between sweet and savory.

There were about 25 of us in the Ston Easton Garden Club at our annual Christmas party. Fortunately, Françoise made a particularly good and varied salad consisting of all the usual plus feta cheese, broad beans and the whole bowl-full which made the centrepiece for all the baked quiches and meat pies.

This informal meeting started with greetings, followed by food, followed by someone reading poetry, followed by a quiz and then a raffle for secret Santa presents. We all had to contribute a present costing no more than three pounds. Finally a small group played Christmas hymn tunes.  We were joined at our table by two widows, whose husbands had had very interesting lives. One was a judge of sheep and the other one traveled widely throughout Europe in connection with his job. It was a pleasure to meet with them and talk about travel.

someone reading poetry

I can compare the atmosphere at this meeting in a humble village hall with the previous one at the Old Down Inn. Atmosphere and attitude is most effectively communicated by the person who is running the show and it seems to filter down to everybody else. If the person at the top has difficulties or is nursing some problems, this definitely affects the atmosphere adversely. We were lucky this evening. Paulette cheerfully supervised the evening; my contribution was to support and make sure she didn’t get too worried or concerned if everything was not absolutely right.

Off on a cross-country ride home, with clouds scudding in the sky and the moon shining brightly.

 

 

 

Raping the minds of children in USA (and Sweden)

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SPECIAL ‘RANT’ DIARY ENTRY BORN OUT OF FRUSTRATION

I am a member of a local men’s Christian group we speak regularly to talk about Jesus, what behaviour is expected of us, what Christian life is all about. I sometimes wonder if people know what is really going on in terms of depravity as to how Marxist elements/ the crazy Left in America has declared war on Christianity, notably in America.

There is a very good website called allnewspipeline.com, which I quote

…..This widespread attempt to undermine the faith and morals of our children is actually a form of persecution. It’s not as obvious as slaughtering people and burning churches, but the goal is the same—to wipe out Christianity and replace it with something else…..

….A school district in Austin, Texas will teach third graders about oral and anal sex, and this includes role playing. In other words, eight-year-old boys and girls will pretend to do oral sex and anal sex on other children, while other children watch them do it. They will also pretend to have sex when they are drunk, and put a condom on somebody.

A 16-year-old girl was required to role play getting raped, in front of her classmates. She was also required to read out loud a poem which has such an indecent attitude towards sex that I cannot describe it here. That poem is full of four-letter words. The girl was traumatized by having to do these things in front of her classmates.

The NEA has also been promoting “death education,” and their goal is to change thinking about death as radically as they were able to change thinking about sex. Do you remember that shooting at Columbine? For years that school had been teaching death education.

Some schools even have a “suicide talking day.” On that day, students write suicide notes. They write their own obituaries and discuss what they will look like in their caskets. One student said that before “suicide talking day,” she never considered the possibility of suicide. After that day, she began to contemplate it. She thought that it would “liberate her spirit” so that it would no longer be “enslaved to her body.” In addition, it would help with the problem of global overpopulation. She said that the suicide training made her “brave enough” to commit suicide….

If you want to read the whole article, and see how the suicide rate is increasing as our children are becoming hopelessly indoctrinated visit this website. We have not seen anything yet.

What would be the effect on my brothers in the group if I read this out? They would probably switch off. ‘They would not do that, would they?’ Er – yes. So I have to carry this burden around on my own.

Check out this video. Viewer discretion advised.

Stand up now, or lose it all later – Will Johnson

Here is another one:

Alex Newman : Rescuing Our Children 55:54

Not everybody will like you

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A lovely quote from brainyquote.com. “Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks, shall win my love“. Washington Irving.

I can’t seem to focus on anything at the moment. There are so many things I would like to do and attempts to discipline myself have so far failed. The fact of the matter is that I’m easily distracted, and I also rather like doing nothing. At the age of 75 think I’m entitled to do this. I do want to feel, however, that I’m performing some type of useful purpose in the remaining years allotted to me.

We visited Bath again on Friday to do various small errands. We’ve particularly focused on health shops which are an unending source of joy to me – real food without additives, chemicals. The pharmaceutical industry works closely with the food industry to entice as many people as possible to have their products and be addicted to them.

The insults and misunderstandings that I get occasionally are nothing compared to people in public life for example, Jeremy Corbyn being told he is anti- Semitic just because he complains about Israel’s actions with regard to Palestine. Israel brings out this tired old excuse of being victims and every time the world or at least the mainstream media fall for it.

However, I’ve come to the conclusion that speaking the truth is, and making people uncomfortable or disturbing them from their comfort zone is not going to lead in every case to being loved.   The way of looking at the world is like two parallel lines. On the one line it is all about the power grabbing and profit grabbing of the corporates who run the planet, and on the other line is the residue, the doctored information about entertaining the great unwashed, bits and pieces of information that will keep us quiet and hopefully numb us into accepting controls on our behaviour.

This is this old story of the red pill and the blue pill as featured in the Matrix.

I realise that I probably make people uncomfortable, just by being in the same room, for what I symbolise.  I think that must go with the territory. I was listening to a sermon recently about how Jesus Christ was treated. He was abused, spat on, derided, insulted, all for bringing about a message of love. Here am I, speaking about something far less pivotal but important nevertheless, such as 5G, smart meters and so-called climate change and expecting to get away with not being abused.

However, I find that I’m getting a little bit prone to depression, not clinical depression but just feeling down, so I decided in the Christmas period to spend more time on my own health, which means relaxation and doing something else than concentrating on my websites. This diary has suffered a little bit. Someone suggested I was suffering from S.A.D. which is a reaction to lack of sunlight – vitamin C and D are required.

Yesterday, Saturday, we went to Frome and enjoyed the cultural atmosphere of people who are in a different socio-economic bracket than here in Midsomer Norton.  I think that most people in this town are struggling for survival on a day-to-day basis and don’t have any time for other people, let alone to be able to think abstractly and philosophically, which I suppose is a luxury.

Thursday, I’m going to Bristol to see a lady who is a nutritionist and a functional medicine person. This means that she looks at the cause of the disease as well as the symptoms, which is something that I need for my stomach. It was good to hear recently that my stomach itself is quite functional but it is just getting more and more sensitive to what I put down my throat and when. I find it more difficult to eat in the evening and if my last meal is at four o’clock that my body likes it and I can sleep better.

The weather has been tempestuous recently. Even gusting wind at 37 miles an hour makes me feel extra snug and warm inside the home, my log fire blazing way. In Penzance, where we were a few weeks ago, the wind is blowing at 72 miles an hour, which must be quite spectacular as it is on the coast and therefore in an exposed position. There is something about Cornwall that I love; I hope to go there soon but I get the feeling that Tenby which is in South Wales will be my next port of call.

BAD decision+I love this message + noisy restaurant

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A day or so ago I was telling you about this wonderful offer for £299 for an all-inclusive week in the Canary Islands. I made a big mistake in delaying booking not realising that the price was so good that it would inevitably change. Sure enough, overnight, it went up from £299-£379. A day later it was £432. I see what they do, they start the ball rolling by giving a ridiculous offer and then move the price up. It moved up from £299-£432 in three days. I get it now. As soon as you see the offer, a lot of other people also see the offer, and you need to jump on it. Okay, I have to leave from London Gatwick at 5:40 AM but I don’t mind a little bit of inconvenience.

I attended a Christmas dinner celebration run by our local gardening group. There were three groups lf tables in  the allocated room at the Old Down Inn. If you go into the empty room it looks pleasant enough but when it is full of 40 people all talking at the top of their voices it’s quite frankly a hellish environment. The noise was so great that at our table of eight it was not possible to speak to the person opposite without actually shouting.

I’m sensitive to noise anyway so the tendency was to shut myself off, concentrate on the food,  and try not to look too miserable. It was not too far off a torture chamber though the food was good and plentiful. My ideal number for a meal is between four and six people. I like to hear what is being said, think about it, and respond but then that’s me.

 

Deciding where to go on holiday – the schools racket

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A cloudless sky and another crisp morning. Off to Warminster to get some more logs. We do not need any at the moment but the logs arrive damp and they need about a month to dry out.  We bought 150kg for £22.80 They are much less expensive than the eight or so manicured logs that arrive in a plastic bag and cost £5 in your local supermarket. OK you have to add on extra for petrol (gas) but it’s still worth it.

At home, I have a sudden unexpected desire to make plans for a holiday. I am more and more a home bird and have a distaste for travel particularly by air but sometimes I just do it anyway. I received an email from Travel Republic and was transferred to Broadway Travel, notable for cheap deals.  One turned up mentioning a hotel complex called Labranda Bahia de Lobos, in Spain, Canary Islands, Fuerteventura.   I always look at the Trip Advisor reviews, ignoring the one and 2 stars where I find that people had unrealistic expectations and therefore a bad day.  This hotel had 2080 reviews or which 95% were 3 star and above.

The most amazing thing were the prices. If I can choose to leave on 18th April 2020, a Saturday, I can have a flight from Gatwick plus an all inclusive 7 night stay for £299pp. If I travel two weeks prior (the week before Easter) when school holidays prevail then the same facilities are available for – wait for it – £930pp. In case you doubt me here is a screen shot.

No wonder that parents take their children out of school. This is an uplift of £631 per person, so a family with two teenage children will pay nearly £2400 more for the same service. I see that the hotel has WiFi so I am just checking that it is not in the actual room (which would mean I got no sleep) then I can book.

There are down sides to everything. The return flight arrives 01.25 on a Sunday morning at Gatwick. I will sit around, have a coffee, and then take one of the hourly trains to Victoria, London, whereupon I will take the first coach of the day back to Bath. For such cheap prices I will put up with (almost) any inconvenience.