Featured

Summer Solstice – a crowded Glastonbury – vaccines

image_pdfimage_print

Just for a change, I wake to a clear blue sky.  It is still cold though. I was listening to a rare attempt on BBC today radio program to present both sides of the vaccine argument. Of course they ended off on a skeptical note, ‘science versus belief’ not mentioning that most of the quoted studies are industry funded. The name Andrew Wakefield came up. He was vilified for daring to associate the NMR vaccine with autism so I decided to look him up again on YouTube and was very struck by his factual and transparent discussion at a recent talk of the whole matter. It is always the same with any hidden agenda matter be it 911, global warming AKA climate change, cures for cancer. It is the official party line plus the mainstream media versus the lone (tin foil nut) campaigner.  If you have time or the inclination have a look at this talk and form your own opinion.

*****

So off we go to Glastonbury, Chalice Well no less. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been but every time we go it is a positive and enjoyable spiritual experience.  We approached at 11 o’clock an hour before the meditation but already there was a stream of people going in and I realised that this was meant to be a packed house. This is normally a peaceful garden and on this occasion I found the crowds a little bit too much. Everyone is dressed for the occasion particularly the ladies who bedecked themselves with flowers, wonderful voluminous costumes and religious artifacts.

an overcrowded event

I met a couple sitting on the slope at the top of the gardens. They seemed friendly enough so I opened a conversation. They had lived on the Somerset levels for 76 years but this was the first time they have ever visited Chalice Well. The man said that his father rented the tor area for grazing his cattle for a period of one year and says it was so strenuous going up and down the hill, rounding them up etc. that one year was enough.

I had another conversation with a lady was doing a massage on her friend. I commented that it is very important for us to look after ourselves and I said that men tended to be a bit disconnected from their emotions. She agreed and said that women were definitely better at supporting each other.

With some friends we went into town  and did our usual route of the organic food shop, sitting on a bench eating sausage rolls and then going to a cafe for the most delicious cakes and coffee.

a hidden away cafe with a good reputation and long queues

We then went to my beloved Goddess centre and in the Red Room listened to the most amazing Indian music which gave me a wonderful boost for my heart. Halfway through the session, a woman came in in some disorientation and decided to lie across two or three of the seats in the central area and sleep. She then woke up, made some notes in a little book, and proceeded to text someone.

I felt that this place was entirely inappropriate for using a mobile phone especially when I consider what I know about the radiations from them. I made a loving and concerned complaint to the management. Whether they did anything I don’t know but I make my point. Next time it happens, I will complain to the management and then speak to the person directly. I have the highest regard for the Goddess centre. I have referred to it before  in these diaries so you can Google it if you want.

a little bit of self indulgence here in what I felt was a sacred room

No doubt about it, Glastonbury is a strange and weird place but it does attract a lot of nice people with whom I can communicate. You need to be a Red Pill person (Ref: The Matrix) or someone seriously into paganism, spirituality and the worship of mother nature. On the way out we passed a lovely bed and breakfast establishment with excellent  flora outside.

Glastonbury Festival opens in a few days and already lorries are going to and fro and all the distinctive yellow signs of the AA are up. Glastonbury becomes a temporary home to over 200,000 people who have to live eat and breathe and perform the normal functions so this is a major operation. We shall see what happens with 5G, whether the protests are a damp squib or whether something happens. If you remember, Glastonbury is going to be used as a guinea pig for 5G. See my companion site.

Whilst I was in Challice Well I did speak to one of the trustees who very bluntly said that this was not interesting to him;  he finds that 5G Sparks discord and did not want to talk about it. I talked to another trustee called Robert Ward and he told me that they had been asked to sign a petition against 5G in Glastonbury. He had unfortunately lost the papers when they came to pickup the signed documents and felt rather bad about it. He explained that they could not really sign as individuals because they were working for charity and someone would have to sign on behalf of the charity in order to be constitutional.

On the way home we stopped in at Aldi and I bought a 4.5 tog duvet for £9.95 for use in the summer. I also bought some shorts for leisure use only. I have a very bad habit of using them for gardening and of course wreck them in the process to the displeasure of my wife.

A lovely evening with the birds singing, the sun shining. I am one week into my alcohol-free regime as recommended by my doctor and I frankly do not miss it at all. Every time I think of having a glass of wine I go to our new water filter and had the most delicious clean water which has no side effects.

Today I quoted for a garden job at £500. The lady said to me that £500 was the sum that she had envisaged so we were rather pleased with each other.

Today I’m starting to prepare for a talk I’m going to give Tuesday week on the topic of 5G. I may publish it in full in this bulletin. I find that once I start, all sorts of ideas and images come into my mind and before I know it, the whole talk has presented itself to me and I just type it out. In other words, it is not a laborious process.

I am reaching the milestone in my diaries. Dostoevsky’s War and peace has 587,287 words. So far, this diary has 542,281 words. In two or three months time I will have equalled the record of this historical monumental volume which pleases me much.  Samuel Pepys was reputed to have written 1 1/4 million words but that took him 10 years.   This is an absolutely formidable achievement especially as you remember that he did not have the benefits of ‘speech to text’ dictation as I have and wrote for the most part in candlelight. Pepys wrote an average of 350 words per day.

Up days and down days

image_pdfimage_print

Today is one of the latter. I love the word “lassitude”. which means tiredness and a lack of energy and is more physically based I suspect than it’s relatives. Not the same as attitude, aptitude or even lackadaisical (lacking enthusiasm and determination). I can’t say it is depression as such.  How on earth foreigners learn English is beyond me. Indians can speak English but they do not understand it, and I think it’s the same with the Chinese. You have to feel the language.

I was due to have a meeting this morning with someone on the Internet, but this had to be put off for this afternoon but by the time the afternoon arrived I was too tired so had to cancel. I can’t only blame the hernia operation on this but I think it does have widespread effect as does any insult to the body. It is clear that I may not do physical work at least until I am declared fit by the doctor.

Yesterday evening, we went to a talk entitled “waste and plastic: it’s not all bad news.” Local entrepreneur and adventurer, Craig Shaw, explained how his career influenced his understanding of microbiology and how he developed the XO thermic technology process to recover energy from both organic and mixed waste streams. Craig shared how larger companies are tackling plastics and introduced us to research that is ongoing to resolve the plastics legacy. I was amazed to hear that microbes can eat plastic sometimese in as little as 72 hours. All that is necessary is to add a certain ingredient into currently manufactured plastics so they will become attractive to microbes.

Craig does not think that households have to separate garbage into up to 7 categories and says the two categories, biodegradable and others, is quite adequate.

Craig said that it is an uphill battle selling the idea to local authorities because they already have their views on how material should be disposed of, with concomitant financial benefits to those in the east chain so a cost-effective method which benefits the environment is not interesting to these people and he believes seen as a threat. He says that he ‘has to just keep on hammering away’. He’s had a fascinating life as a freelance diver working in many countries and I noticed in myself a tinge of jealousy when I saw how someone could pack so much in to one lifetime and currently he didn’t seem that old.

In these days of bad news, it is very interesting to hear such solutions.

A Thirteenth Century joke

image_pdfimage_print

This is one of the oldest documented jokes:

Three monks turned their back on the world. They go into the wilderness to repent their sins before God.

They did not speak to one another for the space of a year. Then one of the men said to another at the end of the year, “We are well,” said he.

Thus it was for another year. “It is well indeed,” said the second man.

They were there after that for another year. “I swear by my habit,” said the third man, “if you do not allow me some quiet I will abandon the wilderness entirely to you!”

finally, the sun shines

image_pdfimage_print

I am propagating my new site on the Internet by mentioning it around. SEO agencies make a lot of money out of promising page 1 on Google but as a generic promise that is being optimistic because it depends very much on the keywords they can use and the popularity of the subject. Also, Google and YouTube and Facebook have inbuilt prejudices which they call algorithms to marginalise sites, the subject of which they disapprove.

This has been the ’emptiest’ week so far as external activities is concerned. I’ve been out of the house about twice but inwardly there has been plenty going on.

I have been relaxing by watching Youtube. This channel is very deceptive in that once it figures out what sort of videos you like it puts them in front of you and it’s very easy for an intentional 15 minute viewing to turn into an unintentional two hour viewing.

I received a letter recently from a contact whom I had informed about my new website. She wrote back saying I was a conspiracy theorist and sending me a list of links which referred to honourable and reliable aspects of her belief  or so she thought. I do admire young people for being committed to something but in this case they chose the wrong subject.

I reminded her that before attacking someone it is a good idea to actually read the material that they send and not just summarily dismiss it. I realise that with many people there is an element of fear and insecurity and I’m sure as same thing myself in the past so I just reminded her politely but firmly to check the facts and don’t rely on everything you read.

The sky is blue at the moment and I wonder whether it is a good idea to go out for a walk. Yes I did and yes it was fine.

My mind thinks it is well before my body reminds it that it is not, so I have to calm myself, be patient, and wait another week at least. At least my mind has not been affected.

Now, that would be a disadvantage.

 

 

It’s Friday – another day of rest

image_pdfimage_print

As my body returns to normal, I’m finding more strength to function, and keep my daily record-keeping up to date. I have three remits; BrianSnellgrove.net  5Gexposed.com  Extinction-rebellion-exposed.com.

Although it is two weeks away, I decided I didn’t have enough oomph to go to London for a conference on Sunday, 27 November. All in all,  it would have  cost us £400 ( three nights hotel plus food plus travel) plus another £100 for the conference itself.

I am sorry in a way, as the day will have a lot to say on climate change, the back story.  Unless you understand the back story you don’t understand anything. We are therefore going to apply to stream it and watch it from the comfort of my own home.

My hernia operation is certainly working through. My male member has turned almost black. Funny, it is not hot or painful, but that’s just the way it is. As I said before, nature must carry on do what it has to do. I turned to the Internet and found the answer “ Bruising tends to track down from your wound, and if you are a man into your testicles and penis. This can be quite dramatic but looks worse than it feels. Don’t be alarmed – it will fade within one or two weeks“.

Once again, nothing wildly exciting to tell you. Françoise has been feeding me easy to digest food  and I have had two lots of painkillers instead of three.

Rain continues incessantly but I’m glad I’m not in Tokyo, where a hurricane is due to hit tomorrow.

The corner has been turned

image_pdfimage_print

I spent most of this morning in bed but feel strangely refreshed now. My wife Françoise went out to buy some coal and made a real coal and wood fire. I sat in front of the fire this afternoon and dozed. I feel the strength is coming back into my limbs now. I took my first walk, which was to go about 200 yards to post a letter. I was a bit wobbly but managed it quite well. Nature knows how to heal us far better than we do so we must just let it get on with it.

I had an ambitious plan to read many books but I haven’t had the energy to do it. My appetite has been down and I’ve lost a little bit of weight but I can afford to lose it because I was slightly overweight before.

It is very strange how when I’m in this discombobulated state, things that seemed important including such simple things such as watching the TV seem more distant. It could be another world. It’s a bit like being on drugs I suppose. Mind you, I am on a regime of drugs so I suppose this is to be expected.

The recent record lottery win of £171 million has been bought by someone who was not aware that they have won the money. I wonder how long it will take before they realise their fortune. PS I have just heard that someone did claim it.

Anyway, I’m turning off this computer early and will sit slumped in front of the fire this evening.

A true post-operative day – in bed

image_pdfimage_print

Although I was feeling very good for the most part of yesterday, it was another story when the local anaesthetics stopped working. The Surgeon told me that the pain would return after nine o’clock last evening and sure enough it did.

The only solution is to take refuge in bed and find the least uncomfortable position and let Mother Nature get on with it. I don’t even have the energy to read or listen to the radio never mind watching TV. That’s the way it works in the animal kingdom. When an animal has been injured, it retreats by itself and regains its strength so I am not doing anything unnatural.

It is very frustrating because I want to crack on with my Extinction Rebellion site or should I say my anti-Extinction Rebellion site.

I think that’s about all I can manage in what must be my shortest daily diary ever since I started in October 2016. 159 words no less.

Inguinal hernia operation

image_pdfimage_print

As they say, the day dawned like any other day.  I got up very early and listened to the latest on the sport, the weather, Brexit, usual things and particularly relished having a cup of coffee and some toast. You are not supposed to eat anything less than six hours before the operation, which was scheduled for some time after lunch.

I saw this outside the Methodist Church in Peasedown. Someone has a very good ability to think laterally and this message brought a smile to my face.

We arrived at the hospital somewhat early at 12:15 PM to the Circle Bath hospital, which in its own literature describes itself as “an award – winning hospital, led by some of the South West’s most experienced consultants” .

It sounds really corny to say this but I was looked after with the utmost professionalism, good humour and courtesy right from beginning to the end. As is the custom in defensive medicine you have to give your name and date of birth about half a dozen times to various people. I was taken to a generously proportioned waiting area with a bed, chairs, a TV and curtains. I was greeted first of all by a  nurse who took the usual measurements, checked my record and asked me what allergies I had, medications etc.

After some time, the anaesthetist appeared. Upon seeing Françoise’s surname which is obviously French (Sauze) his face lit up and he spoke fluently in french to her about his life, where he lived, the fact that he had four children. They must spoken for about 10 min in French before he realised he needed to get on with the business in hand. He said he really enjoyed speaking French and did not get much opportunity to do it while in the United Kingdom.

Someone else appeared and gave me some elastic stockings to avoid blood clots and also some non-slip slippers to avoid falling on the floor. Mr Maddox, the surgeon, came and introduced himself and made sure my questions were answered. Shortly after that, a lady came to enquire what sort of sandwich I would like after the operation (we are not allowed to eat beforehand) and I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich. So far, so good.

I was taken it along by one of the male nurses to a preparation room where they give anaesthetics and generally accustom the patient.  I was given something to knock me out which worked in a very subtle way over a minute or so. The drug was a million  miles from the rather crude ‘Mallet job’ drugs in the days of old. I was given some unknown anaesthetic and then after a time was asked to breathe oxygen. I was not aware of anything happening at the time but then I felt numbness reach up to my head and the next thing I knew I woke up in the recovery ward.

I tend to  talk gibberish when I come round so I gave the staff a warning and they just smiled.

I was in the recovery room for about 30 min (the operation having taken an hour) and was attended to by a nurse and then back to the main waiting area from which I started. Someone appeared with a tray of tea, a glass of water, and a lovely sandwich which was so generous it was almost like a meal.

Somewhat later I felt able to get up and dressed myself but somewhat clumsily. I was given Ibuprofen, paracetamol, codeine and to counteract all these – a laxative. I did a pendulum reading and found the most effective one for me was codeine.

The time was 4:30 PM and Françoise gently drove me home and made me a hot water bottle which for some reason was very comforting when I held it close to my chest. As I write this, 6:42 PM, there is no pain but it may be because the anaesthetic has not worn off yet. I have taken no pills since arriving home.

Reflecting on the day, there is something about the hospital where teamwork prevails. You can always tell about the quality of management through the attitudes of the staff. Attitudes work downwards, not upwards. I cannot describe the day as “good” but it certainly exceeded my expectations and I feel very peaceful with the sense of a job well done.

Another garden wilderness to tackle

image_pdfimage_print
This has to be levelled to the ground.

We have a new customer who returned from Greece last Wednesday to discover that his housing association had identified his garden as a possible run for rats. I would certainly agree . We decided to work today, Sunday, because tomorrow I’m going in for my operation and I don’t know how long it will be before my body is well enough to take the punishment that I give it when I do gardening. I am not saying I don’t enjoy the work. It is demanding especially when you carry things or bend down.

My electric chainsaw has a new chain, so it just zipped through everything like the proverbial knife through butter. When a lawn has not been attended to for some years, and I refer to his front lawn, there are layers of yellow grass that never see the light of day. I did three passes of the lawnmower and I know that when I go back next time, whenever that is, the grass will have recovered and it will start growing up and then I can give the lawn a proper cut. As I say, you can’t achieve the Garden of Eden in one go.

The customer talked a little bit about his life in Greece, where he spends five months a year. I think it was Skyros  where he goes. He says is a very friendly place and you can more or less go up and speak to anybody and also women can feel free to go out on their own. He told us that he has made more friends there than he does in his seven months back in the UK.  He says that many people go there year after year, and this is probably due to the reasonable cost of living and the 60 beaches from which you can choose. I got the impression that he has been recently widowed or lost his best friend, but there are certain things you don’t pry into to unless invited.

So, tomorrow is the great day when I go into hospital for my intervention. It is hardly a major thing like a heart transplant; the surgeon who does inguinal hernias  has been doing the same thing for 20 years, so he knows exactly what he’s doing. I’m going to have a net placed where the weak part is in the musculature and that will eventually become part of the body. I must not eat anything tomorrow so it’s a glass of water in the morning and that’s it. Françoise will come with me and be around in the hospital and then take me home.

Very poor weather is forecast for this week. I’m very glad we got some sunshine today to do the major cutting work. He did get another quote did our customer. The gardener was from  Fishponds, Bristol, and his quote was substantially more than ours but he wouldn’t tell me what it was. He also said that he felt that they were just in it for the money. Sometimes I think I under quote, other times I may over quote but normally I get it right. The main thing is that people are happy. We only take money at the end of the job and then only when people say they are happy with our work. I don’t want bad karma.

Regreening the desert with John D. Liu

image_pdfimage_print

There is something visceral about watching a video that completely resonates at a deep level. I’ve just finished watching the video “re-greening the desert.” The idea that you can go from neglected land that has been abused for years to soil capable of growing vegetables, where streams reappear, which can fertilise itself, is an idea that is so fundamental that I cannot express it in words. If you can spare 47 min 30 seconds then have a look here.

This was a funny day, not much going on. We went to the allotment and  delivered manure to our plot. The manure does not feed the plants, it feeds the soil particularly with regard to microbial activity and that of course provides the environment in which the plants live.

I am aware of my forthcoming hernia operation on Monday after which normal life will cease for a few days or at least until the initial pain wears off. I will be given a multitude of painkiller pills I’m sure but as someone recommended to me, only take them if you need them. I will not be able to work for a month – that is my guess – so it will be sedentary  work probably consisting of sitting in front of my computer and perfecting my new website.

I continue to be shocked about the mendacity of those who promote climate change. It provides hypnotised gullible young people with an excuse for disrupting London for days at a time. The science is so wrong, so corrupt, so dishonest. The Earth is in fact cooling and we are approaching the grand solar minimum, which is due to climax in 2030. By this time we shall have considerable problems being able to grow crops because for every 1° falling temperature 20 days is subtracted from the growing season of plants.

Yesterday I wrote to ten fellow colleagues who I thought were fairly reliable observers about my new site, asking them to look at it and seeing what they thought. I’ve had no reply so far. People probably think “Why Should I Bother with Something That Is Not My Concern.” This individualistic view is not going to take us anywhere. If we lose the capacity for wanting to share and care then there is not much future for humanity I’m afraid.

I have been working reasonably hard in the gardening business to make sure I have enough funds to cover me while I’m not able to work. This afternoon I got a job from someone who had also got a quote from a gardening company in Fishponds, which is North Bristol. Evidently his quote was much more expensive than mine so I have the job. Weather permitting, I will make a start tomorrow which is my last day of liberty.

Good ‘ol fashioned religion

image_pdfimage_print

I normally get up about 7 AM to make coffee and my slice of toast, which starts the day. I have a choice of either switching on BBC1 as I may need to see the weather forecast but I decided to listen instead to my favourite religious radio station, Trans-World Radio. Christianity is virtually ignored by the BBC in preference to grovelling to Middle East religions and it is refreshing to hear the gospel preached without apology and in a straightforward manner.

I was born a vicar’s son which is a mixed blessing. It meant I had a lot of rebellion to do but here am I 75 years after I popped into this world, via  Yorkshire as it happens. That makes me technically a Yorkshire man. What better place for a thrifty person than this, the largest county in England. There were and I assume still are many Christian businessmen in Yorkshire who treated their staff well and actually follow the principles laid out in the New Testament.

I find the Christian religion in general, and the words of Jesus Christ. In particular, the ultimate software for the soul. I had never been misled by anything that Jesus has offered in terms of advice or counsel. I find the whole philosophy hangs together and I find the emphasis on the greater good of society to be balanced with the importance of the individual. I feel that the taking of selfie photographs is a vain attempt for some sort of immortality. Very few of us leave childhood without some type of damage and in my case it was the feeling of guilt, of being too hard on myself, not valuing my positive sides, of not seeing myself as a unique person.

If the various political movements have their way, we are seeing the last couple of generations of what we call human beings to be changed by deliberate design to humans.1 . In other words living things treated as consumers and regarded as cattle. Artificial Intelligence seeks to get control over every single aspect of our lives, including our habits, our health, our travel plans, even crimes that we may commit. The world in 2050 will be hugely different from the world that we live now. We were at least warned by the words of Jesus and other prophets that we need to behave in certain ways in order to maintain our infinite nature. By that I mean our souls.

We have ignored this at our peril and we are all paying a price already. I know that many civilisations who had been on this planet, and for sure on others, have destroyed themselves and there is no guarantee that we will not do the same. Where are the Altanteans for example, the Mayans, and others far lost in the mists of time?

Trends World Radio is a very comforting station because it represents the example of one person who died for what they believed, as indeed did all his disciples in one grisly way or the other. I wonder how many of us have the courage to stand up for what we believe and risk being laughed at. I give support and help to persecuted Christians around the world. If you think I am exaggerating see this website showing the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to follow Jesus. North Korea is number one followed by Afghanistan.

There are some places where you can go to prison for handing someone a Bible. In the UK where I come from. I don’t even think we know we are born from the point of view of persecution. Maybe a worse problem is apathy.

A community in miniature (Coleford) and a record wait for a consultant.

image_pdfimage_print

To Coleford  to have my car examined for a possible  electrical fault. Coleford is at first glance a quiet village but on closer inspection it is quite clear that there is far more going on than you would think from the two main streets that make up this conurbation.  This is confirmed by a check with FB. (Coleford, Somerset) The population is about 2500. There is a very fine and imposing Royal British Legion building where I’m sure a lot of different activities go on.

As my regular readers will know, I take an interest in the local noticeboards as an indication of the level of social activity. The layout below is rather casual with a mixture of local maps, bus timetables, various events going on or passed. I guess it is ‘self service’.

A notice in the bottom right corner caught my attention and informed us about a grant system that has been in operation in Midsomer Norton for some time. I find it encouraging that such opportunities are given.

The local neighbourhood Cooperative Society seems to have more traffic through it then most other places. Mind you, there is hardly much competition or should I say that the village cannot support too many establishments like this. I felt a friendliness as soon as I walked in.

Outside the Royal British Legion building.

Always depressing to see such a prominent building boarded up . it looks like it is too big to convert from a garage into something else but I am sure someone will find a use for it.

I have a fault in my ABS system which means that a pump must be stripped down and replaced. It will take 3 to 4 days and cost about £300 altogether. Helpfully there are courtesy cars provided.

*****

To the hospital in Bath to have my stomach scanned. My appointment was for 3:30 PM. I arrived 3:06 and told them that I was early, as if they needed to know. I was told to sit around the corner on the green chairs. 30 seconds after I sat down I was called in and had my examination straightaway. That must be the world record for the shortest wait ever – in the National Health Service anyway.

I rather cynically thought to myself the perhaps the previous people had not turned up. I know the rates of no shows cost the NHS a lot of money. Evidently I have polyps which are growing and the recommendation was that I have my gall bladder removed. I must talk to the doctor about that. I don’t like things being taken out. Everything has a purpose surely.

As you may well know, I take great interest in the nature of advertisements and art works in the hospital. Visiting the whole is quite an artistic experience for me and I show some examples below.

And now an art work liberally distributed along the corridors.

‘Take One a Day’ Alan Sim, Combe Down

an art installation ‘For the next 24 hours 2017’

The number four local bus goes from Western to Odd Down via the RUH hospital and the city centre. We all assembled together to wait at the bus stop in the hospital arena and the bus arrived. The driver got out of the bus, and in a stentorian voice told us ‘this bus does go via the centre’. We all got the joke immediately because clearly he has been asked so many times –  everyone complied.

I met my wife in central Bath after the appointment hoping to walk around and enjoy the scenery but it started to rain so we went home by bus and I was able to have a hearty meal after the enforced starvation for the exam. ‘nothing to eat or drink for six hours before’

A snail from the underside – an autumn bonfire

image_pdfimage_print

I awoke to a bright autumn morning with no sign of any cloud. I often carry foliage around with me in my car and it appears that I did not spot a most enthusiastic and athletic snail who was obviously wandering around during the night  around trying to find his way out. We do not know what happened to him or her, but hopefully there was a happy ending. We saw no sign of the passenger.

We had a lovely double day when I worked extremely long hours. First, off to finish the hedge job started yesterday.  Bryan and his wife were in a very fluorescent mood. Bryan told me that he was off work and had lost his licence to drive a coach because he had had a scrape with someone and he admitted to the police that could not remember what had happened. “The system” decided to take away his license and he now has to go for a medical examination to make sure he’s up to par. His wife let their dog out when they got out of the car and it ran across the road and was run over by a car. The driver didn’t stop. The dog survived but with some injuries. She had also lost her mother two weeks ago. Nevertheless, they both put a cheery face on things and I think I cheered them up by doing a really good job for them.

We then went home and then went off to another job in Tunley which is where the lady lives that gave me the dog kennel job. We had the task of blitzing an area that had been used for bonfires over the years and discovered all sorts of strange objects, metal objects of undetermined origin, wooden boards, plastic bags, Christmas treess, roots that did not seem to have any particular function. I immediately made a fire and consumed all the consumables and broke  down the rest to ground level.

This may not sound wildly exciting but when the situation has been in train for some years and when the customer cannot find anyone to do it then the gardener or worker can make a big difference. Although the day was damp, we did manage to find enough dry wood to make a fire. I have a fiendishly cunning way of increasing the speed of fire and that is by using the air blower.  It is normally used for tidying up leaves, but if you point it at the base of a bonfire once it is alight, it causes the bonfire to blaze forth with the sound of a furnace.

This was the fire when I left it in the evening.

We treated ourselves to a glass of wine, now an occasional event, in the local pub. Everyone was holding forth about two local accidents one in Dunkerton and one in Timsbury. We chatted with someone called Tracey and I said I had done a job for the person over the road called Ian. She knew him, and actually had been his next door neighbour, and said that he owed her £400 but that he had now moved out of the area. Ian and his wife had three autistic children between them and so we were regaled in some detail to the happenings with this family.

Tunley consists basically of one road so there must the maximum 200 people in the whole the area and it appears that everyone knows everyone else. She certainly knew the person I’ve just been to do gardening for. What a pleasant way of ending the day.

Back home to a splendid steak pie feeling slightly stiff I must say but nothing that a good nights sleep will sort out

a challenging day but not a tiring one

image_pdfimage_print

Up early this morning. Decided to listen to classical music instead of watching the news because I can’t bear any more talk of Brexit. It seems to be going round and round in circles and parliamentarians are indulging in ad hominem comments. I think the collective respect that our Parliament in UK is normally held is at an all-time low.

Off to do gardening because in contrast to the great amount of rain we have had we did actually have some blue sky so off we went to Hallatrow see a new and enthusiastic customer, Bryan. We had a little teasing session with each other, discussing which version of Brian was the most exclusive name.

The job involves trimming a hedge. My two electric hedge cutters completely failed because of the recent rain and because laurel leaves are slippery and waxy anyway. I had to resort to hand shears which anyway is satisfying as well. My regular powerful 800 Watt electric hedge trimmer is away for repair.

The chap was very pleased with what we did; we are going to return tomorrow to finish the job. I get the impression that most people are so used to bad service that if you turn up on time when you say,  you will earn massive amounts of brownie points. Once again, I noticed that after nearly 3 hours hard work I was not tired because I find that the process of working with nature actually refreshes me.

After the job finished we went off to the Book Barn hitherto referred to. I spoke to the lady at the counter of the cafe and told her that she could not hide her Polish accent from me. So far as I was concerned it was Polish as anything I have heard , but she took exception and said she was from the Czech Republic and told me that it was always happening to her. She obviously took it personally and so I apologised to her and said I wouldn’t do it again.

I’m getting the courage now to edit and add to my new website. David my helper tells me to just play around and tells me I won’t do any harm. On an individual page of the website there is a little icon where you can go back to an earlier stage if you make a mess. When designing a site is very important to see the site from the customer’s point of view and not take any knowledge for granted since someone coming on the site may be perfectly intelligent but not have a grasp of the detail and so you have to tell them to do what to you is the blindingly obvious.

I think all sites should be beta tested by people who have no knowledge of the subject. I  see too many obvious mistakes even with sites where obviously thousands of pounds had been spent. The main mistakes is making it too flashy. It is not supposed to be all things to all men. I hate pop-ups and I hate videos coming on the moment you hit the page

I have decided to allow comments on my website though it is contentious and will no doubt attract some abusive entries. Perhaps I can turn these visitors on the head by giving a polite and factual response. I don’t think anyone wants to think they are ignorant. So if I respect them as people but point out some new aspects to them that is probably the best way to go and you will certainly not make an enemy.

Time for winter planning – monstrous bread

image_pdfimage_print

The top photograph of my bread was recorded in a previous diary a few days ago. The bread has now taken on a malevolent form, positively evil in my view at least. I remember that when I was in Durham University between 1964 and 1967 I bought a half bottle of milk which I left outside my rooms on the window sill for the best part of three years. It was interesting to see the changes in the layers of the milk until finally it settled into a creamy layer for the most part, and then about 1 inch of clear water but that took about two years.

This morning I had another web building tutorial with David, the dour Scots who is helping me to create  a sparkling website. There is no question that it’s chalk and cheese working with someone who is not on your wavelength, which tends to be a mechanical communication, and someone who is on your wavelength and understands your questions before you even ask them.

We have been at the site for three days and the results look good but I must spend much more time populating it. It’s all about climate change advocates and so-called climate change deniers  and I’m going to throw several bombs and rockets into the whole thing and show the climate change campaigners that they are the ones that are the deniers because they cherry pick the data to suit their own political aims. Temperatures have been going up and down since time immemorial and for 90% of history, Europe has been warmer than it is now.

First thing today we went off to the dog kennels that I have become enamoured with and gave them a gift of a large clump of pampas grass.

Later on in the afternoon we went off to our favourite place for getting logs, Longleat Forestry, which if anyone who reads this and is within a 10 mile radius of Warminster would like to take advantage of.  The nice thing is that you pick your own logs to suit. You can find the company on the Internet or drive merrily to BA12 7JS. The company is run by a delightful Chinese lady and has been ever since I’ve been going there five years ago. She has a lovely smile and is charming and helpful to everybody. We bought 190 kg of wood which cost us £28.88 and that will last us probably until Christmas. We will then go and get another load and that will last us until next spring.

This is what 190kg of wood looks like

Rain then colder this evening. How am I going to fit in two gardening jobs before next Monday when I will then be officially off work for I don’t know how long after my operation.

 

Climbing a nearly vertical hill.

image_pdfimage_print

Learning a new skill set or modifying my existing skill set fills me with …. anticipation?   My new colleague David from Scotland is starting to tutor me on Avada / Fuison Builder which functions within WordPress. This is for my new site XPexposed.com or Extinction-rebellion-exposed.com. It is fortunately an updated version of the template I’m using for 5Gexposed.com and for BrianSnellgrove.net and will be far more effective for search engines and so on.

Fortunately, David is very patient and he is expert in Avada so I can deal with him with my problems without to much trauma. Screen sharing is very good because he can show me exactly what to do. He knows this topic upside down so I decided to proceed on an element by element basis and get to know the system through understanding the parts, hoping that the familiarity will spread out.

The good thing is that elements of my old template are the same as for the new site so I can jump from the familiar into the unfamiliar with less trauma than if it was say a completely new language like, say, Chinese or Japanese.

The next week is my last week of mobility until I have to rest after what will be quite an operation on Monday, 7 October. I have two gardening jobs to do, car electrics to check, we must go to Warminster to collect wood for the winter, and I must write to my Allotment Association members to get them to pay some money for their rentals.   Some of these elements depend upon the weather, which is varied to say the least, but hopefully from this coming Wednesday it will be better if a little colder.

So I have seven days to make the best of things. We shall see what Mother Nature has to hand out.

 

A return visit to Rockaway park in the rain

image_pdfimage_print

We went off to finish a garden job in Timsbury today. There was very little to do and I’m glad to say that both the client and his wife were very happy with what we had done. I admit it’s a nice feeling to receive money in cash, go straight along to the post office and paying in, knowing that it would appear in the bank account straightaway.

We next went along to the local Methodist church, which has coffee mornings most mornings expecting to find a half a dozen people sipping tea or coffee. Instead, we found a long table at which there must of been about 16 people, all busily knitting. This is a knitting club which happens once a fortnight.

commemorative spade showing 100 years of the Women’s Institute

My friend Graham turned up at midday and I determined to take him to the place that I wrote about last time, Rockaway Park, because I had such a good time the previous week and I thought Graham would enjoyed being of a similar disposition to myself. I’m going to put some images in now. Give you some idea.

look carefully these are sections of a bicycle tyre made in latticed action within a car tyre
This looks a bit menacing to me

a lovely view from the grounds which cannot be seen from the road. Very private.
a crushed car being invaded by nature

We then went along to the Book Barn, a huge shed that claims to have up to 1,000,000 books. We had a very nice tea and cake. I bought a book consisting of the new Testament of the Bible in a very readable form.

This evening I had misgivings about the person I had asked to do my new website. We did some readings on it and found that too much about the person’s background was vague so I cancelled the contract. A very short time later someone called David wrote to me via PPH telling me he was very happy to proceed with the job and showing, most importantly, that he understood about 5G and Extinction Rebellion and all its fakery. We clicked straightaway and as I write at 10:10 PM I have sent a deposit and he is actually working on the site.

Yet another idea is born

image_pdfimage_print

I do not know where I would be, or who I would be, if I could not bring ideas into the world. A free platform is essential for this to happen. I was thinking the other day that people who work for large corporations or indeed any firm with rules and regulations probably lose about 95% of their creativity

I talked to an Indian firm today one with 150 employees and the world willing to help me develop my website for the base rate of £12 an hour. In order to start they wanted me to pay for a block of 20 hours which would cost me £480. They showed me time sheets that they keep. Although they scrolled them quickly down the screen, I was able to see the elements which were actually quite simple. Two actions of adjustments to a website were billed as two hours and I know that if you knew what you were doing it would take 20 min maximum. I will turn them down.

A web designer called Fabrice (that is a male name by the way) wrote to me from Calais, France telling me that he was interested in the job. I would far rather have one person work with me then a corporation because you are going to pay for a load of overheads and for services that you do not need. My requirement is for entry-level technical stuff. He was able to start straightaway and in an hour he made a number of proposals so I told him just get on with it.

I also found someone from Pakistan to do me a logo but it was not very good, but at least it kickstarted me to think of the idea of logos so I was quite happy to pay him 50 quid.

Any new venture is a risk and you risk losing money as well as gaining money but if that is the only thing you think of then your vision is very limited. Best to get on with it. The question is, what is important in life.

This evening we had a committee meeting for the allotment Association. We wondered how allotment holders would take the increase in charges but one member calculated that the average tenant was going to pay about £.50 a week in total for the privilege which we thought was a fair deal. When you consider that water is included in the allotment area when many allotments have no supply of water.

And so to bed. I refuse to watch the news because I’m sick of Boris the Prime Minister and I’m sick of Extinction Rebellion in fact I am sick of the BBC in general. We watched ITV News and it had more dignity about it because I think it is less compromised.

PeoplePerHour

image_pdfimage_print

Sometimes I am my own worst enemy when I should really ask for help instead of struggling through on my own. One of these examples is web design.   WordPress is all very well but you get stuck at certain points and you do not know the full scope of a particular template unless it is shown or explained to you.

PeopleperHour is a service that puts people in touch with those who may be able to help them – for a fee of course. They cover design, web development, logos, WordPress – anything technical.  The problem is that in spite of all my very careful delineation of a project, very few people will take the trouble to read it and they  fire bullets into the darkness hoping that someone will pick up on them. If anyone is in this category ,my advice is to actually read what the buyer or potential buyer wants and write a response as if they had read it i.e. refer to the content.

Any job will attract attention from India or Pakistan. These are technical countries and the young people are very keen on such work because it is comparatively well paid by their standards. The cost of living is about a third of what it is in the West so a charge of £20 an hour doesn’t sound much to us but it is quite a substantial amount to the inhabitants of those countries.

The problem with people from this part of the world is that although they can speak technical English, they do not think English and do not understand the subtleties and conventions of the English language. A sentence that they write can be technically perfect but actually sound dead because it lacks the bounce and the flow that someone who understands the assumptions behind the words would appreciate.

Basically, with PPH you don’t pay until you are satisfied with the product. The problem comes that you have to be hard when someone has done some work which obviously is not up to scratch and you have to tell them. The way around this is to get to know the people first, establish rapport, and you’re more likely to get a better job.

I’ve had some very good experiences on PPH but also some very poor ones where I’ve lost a couple of hundred pounds here and there but overall I’m quite glad to be a member and over the years it has been very useful.

Nothing is without risk so it is buyer beware and be realistic in your expectations. You could give someone a small job and if they do well that give them a bigger job.

Anything can be a work of art

image_pdfimage_print

Our ever discontented neighbour has noticed that leaves from our trees are blowing over his lawn so to pacify him, if that is possible in this life, we have agreed to sweep his lawn from time to time to remove them. Most of the time, the wind does a perfectly good job but on occasions we will need to deal with the balance.

We are short of bread at the moment so I reached in the cupboard to have some of Françoise’s gluten-free bread and noticed that it was attaining a life of its own. Ever keen to make something of it I decided to make a face as a little art installation.

Today has been a creative day from the point of view of my Internet environment. I have just heard that the parents of Greta Thunburg may be prosecuted for child abuse. She is clearly in a state of Post-traumatic shock as was seen in the talk to the UN a couple of days ago. I have decided therefore to build a new site in addition to my 5G site laying out the pros and cons of the current argument for and against ‘climate change’.

I know that the whole thing will come together very quickly as the last venture did in May 2018 when I created the site 5G exposed over a weekend. If the time is right, the energy flows. I just put out an appeal to people per hour which is a website for getting freelancers. I have asked for suggestions for a WordPress type template suitable for the application and also someone who is familiar with the subject and can design a logo.

I went to a local garage to tell them about my misfiring and installing engine and he recommended someone in Coleford, which is a nearby village, where someone has the latest plug-in diagnostic equipment and will surely find the fault. There is nothing worse than driving around knowing that something may happen not understanding what caused it.

The rain is continuing tonight as yet another low pressure area comes through the British Isles.

A challenge of a garden, the eye hospital again

image_pdfimage_print

We woke up to teeming rain, but decided to go along to the local coffee morning at church in Paulton. After that we went to see the lady who had given us the small job with the dog kennels because she wanted help with her own garden. The husband had passed some years ago. He used to do all the gardening works but now it was up to her and she has a certain fear of having a fire fearing that she would lose control.

The job was a long mound about 1 m high of green material that had rotted down into a rather nice compost but there was no way of getting it out because of lack of access. On top of the pile was the detritus of Christmas trees, branches, boards, and in general a rather unattractive area. I decided to make a feature out of the mounds and make a safe fire pit area in the middle. I hope she will like the idea and accept the quote.

Off to have my normal monthly eye inspection. Some of the fluid has returned to my left eye so I must have an injection. When the injection goes in the eye you feel a little pinprick but it does not hurt. Sometimes it looks colourless and sometimes gives a psychedelic effect. The procedure is not long and the doctor spent a longer time making sure the eye was completely free of infection by dabbing copious amounts of iodine on the eyes and eyelashes. Eyelashes are the most prone to becoming infected.

The usual hundreds of paintings were not in the hospital corridors today, but I still saw a few down one end, rather childish in the way. I’m sure this type of art has a genres – native or some some such.

Sarah is my name by Sarah McGreevy

During the waiting, I was reading a book by Dr Tim Ball entitled “Human caused global warming, the biggest deception in history”. It is interesting how far back the idea goes. A later version was quoted by Alexander King in the 1991 publication of “the first global revolution”, which said:

in searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill in their totality and their interaction. These phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designing these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms  for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.

This is more or less what is happening at the moment with this young Swedish campaigner, spotted and groomed by George Soros. As she is young, people are afraid to state the obvious that what she’s talking about  is completely baseless but it sounds good.

To home against a background of sunshine and showers.

Again, suffering from too much food in the evenings. I really have to cut down because my poor stomach cannot deal with food the way I used to.

Good service – Autumn Equinox – a very pleasing garden job

image_pdfimage_print

The day opened on a pleasant note. During my work of yesterday my Bosch 800 W hedge cutter failed. It was within its guarantee period so I searched in vain for the invoice not realising that the whole thing was conducted electronically. I called the helpline last night at 8 PM, and this on a Sunday evening, to have a bright and cheery voice give me the right number to call –  after having identified that I was a genuine customer.

This morning at 8:30 I rang the number, was told to pack the offending item up and print the label that was e-mailed to me. Tomorrow it’s going to be picked up by FedEx and returned as soon as possible with a maximum delay of 10 working days. There is no question that Bosch is a well-managed company. Attitudes percolate from the top to the bottom so I can tell quite a lot about the management from how the telephone support staff behave and my morning was much cheered by this.

Today is the celebration of the autumn equinox and for us, the only place to go to is Chalice Well in Glastonbury. For a change, there were not that many people which was a relief. At the midday ceremony the celebrant spoke about the importance of balancing ourselves, not only between us and other people but also between our chakras or energy centres. She spoke with conviction and for the first time on one of these occasions there was a round of applause.

This was the scene just before the 12 celebration with a number of people sitting around the fire. There is always a fire irrespective of the temperature. I noticed the lady in purple sitting opposite us and how awkward she seemed to be. I wonder whether she had got her outfit just for this occasion

Glastonbury is a town like none other. And this was a challenge question posed in a perfectly ordinary house in one of the side streets. What are indeed we doing?

This was a lovely design for the season using coloured sand, wheat and berries which was sitting in the front window of one of the shops

Our time today was somewhat truncated because the weather decided to turn against us, in other words, it was raining, but we did our usual circuit of health food shop, Burns the Bread, various second-hand charity shops, a visit to the Goddess Temple if we have time (it was not possible), and then back home where we sat with our friends over coffee and chatted about the world in general.

Earlier in the day, I had completed the garden that I started yesterday on Sunday. It is very unusual for me to want to work on Sunday but I realised that I had two weeks left until I can work no longer the because I will be having my operation. When the time is right, I find that I draw my energy from nature automatically and we made a very productive effort to complete a job. We are always aware of the atmosphere of a garden and this one had a wonderful ambience which enabled us to work better.

Okay, this is a before and after on what was a very pretty garden if a little narrow but it was allowed to go into bad order prior to being rented. The new tenant was worried that he would get a large bill at the end of the tenancy if it was not in good order so this is our chance to step in and fix everything.

This is the end of the garden nearest the house. I did not take the ‘before’ picture but if you can imagine weeds between all the paving stones this will give you some idea.

I have told the tenant that I think it will make an excellent venue for a barbecue or a drinks party or just sitting drinking coffee on a balmy weekend afternoon.

 

A serious bit of retro culture

image_pdfimage_print

Every year, there is an amazing virtual gathering of artists in the Somerset area under the title Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019. It runs from 21 September to 6 October. There is one event we always visit called Rockaway Park, which is set in a disused quarry on the top of Cloud Hill near Temple Cloud. It houses artists, works of art and supply materials. It really does defy description. Have a look at the website to give you some idea.

NB click on the printer icon above for larger images.

From now on this becomes a pictorial and video description of this crazy place.

look twice at this one. The metal at the side has been cut into the shape of trees, it’s not just painted on. Brilliant.

The owner, Mark, has a fair amount of land and most of it is on a hill. This is an attempt by volunteers to create level ground on which herbs can be grown.  I was told this by the cheerful Helena, one of the volunteers. They need to raise money for actual herbs. I reckoned a couple of hundred pounds for starters. This is a south facing slope so it should do well for Mediterranean herbs.

This picture shows me that we should not underestimate the time and labour created to basically level a steep slope for horticultural purposes. Notice how carefully the foundations of been laid and the girder must have taken some considerable effort to embed in what was clearly hard ground. The fun will come when they start digging out the weeds and creating the right soil for the herbs to grow.

An unexpected request + churches in full bloom

image_pdfimage_print

A lovely blue bright sunny morning. I have an appointment with someone in Timsbury who wants me to attend to his garden. I had initially felt a little  resentful in spending the time since the value of the job as I quoted was rather small but this was soon dispelled when we met the customer. He was a very tall man at 6 foot six, who had served in Iraq and Syria. He was commuting to London to work. He and his wife moved to Somerset because she, a teacher,  had received an offer of assistant head at a local school. We had a very pleasant chat and we agreed a sum for the garden work.

On my return, I was called by a lady, Mrs Ball. I noticed a certain air of desperation in her voice saying that she had not been able to find a gardener to do her mowing and she was desperate because the lawn looked so untidy. I first of all said I would call back later. Then I decided that since she was in some distress I would go and help her straightaway. We packed our tools in the car and off we went. 45 min later the job and been done. The lady said “you’ve no idea how grateful I am to you for coming.” Such thanks make my job very satisfying and in a way makes up for all the miserable customers and potential customers who have no idea what’s involved and what we do.

After thinking that my car has been repaired of its difficulties, again the car starts to stall and just cut out.  Fortunately, it started straightaway if I turned the key off and on again. I came to discover through the day that the problem appeared when the revolutions were reduced at low speed so I decided to keep the car in the third gear thus maintaining the revolutions. Of course, this is only a temporary plan and on Monday I must try and find someone else to sort it.

This is the time of year when flower festivals are held, to celebrate the harvest, and open the church to a wider public. We first went to Buckland Dinham. Below, a poor quality image from a slide show of workers in the very early 20th-century when everything was done by hand and horse power.

This was a local duo who sung folksongs for our entertainment. They remarked that the acoustics of the church was so good that they could actually hear themselves singing.

For such a tiny town it was a shock to me, seeing the percentage of the male population that must have been sent off to the First World War. It is interesting that members of the same family were involved, leaving the wife and young children bereft of support.

Do I sense National Heritage money somewhere? Pews have been removed from the rear half of the church to enable room for the well attended coffee mornings. This was a very neatly designed kitchen when the doors were closed you would think it was just a panel.

We then went on to Mells Church, definitely one for the tourists.

I love the dedication and care of people who painstakingly conceive and present these set pieces. I love the symbolism of a little bucket of flowers at every place in the pews indicating that everybody is valued and welcome.

Later on in the day, we visited an art venue that I can only describe as unique and I shall write this up in tomorrow’s diary.

An afternoon exploration of Shipham

image_pdfimage_print

Shipham is one of those delightful places nestling in the Mendip Hills, where everybody knows everyone else, the butcher sells newspapers and the local pubs are very expensive and trendy. We decided on impulse to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon and make the half hour car journey and take a break from the electromagnetic fields that are creeping up now and also just to have a lovely walk.

We arrived at the village square and were puzzling over our map when a passing local asked us if we needed help. We were having difficulty in finding the starting point for a recommended walk so decided to listen to him instead and we were glad we did. He gave some instructions and within half a mile we found ourselves in the middle of a lovely wood. He said “you will know you’re there when you see a land Rover that never goes anywhere”.  Only in the country could you get such a marker for directions. Sure enough, we found it with the assistance of two jolly dog walkers. It seems that every other person has a dog and fair enough it’s a lovely environment for such an animal to take you for regular exercise.

a rather strange retro building reminiscent of the 1960s, a council flat writ large
This was the Landy that didn’t go anywhere. Closer inspection revealed that this was probably a good idea
this wood is perfect for bikers. good instructions given in several languages
entrance to the open moors
lovely light effects
a stream that made a delightful noise, almost tinkling
four buses each way is not bad for such a small village
an old telephone box with a library in; most of the books seemed quite current
Terribly twee darling. One of those that opens when the owner feels like it
the village green with festive tables where we sat and ate cake

We got lots of FREE hazelnuts courtesy of the wood.They are lying in profusion on the ground at this time of year.

We then drove to a local pub by the name of The Swan. I made a big mistake, forgetting my stomach condition. I had a glass of white wine. Within 10 minutes I had the most terrible bloating in my stomach. I had not bought my medication so I had to suffer the drive home, clutching at my stomach to try and minimise the pain.

So it looks like from now on, no cakes no alcohol.

On the way home we listened to the five o’clock News on BBC and heard about all the Extinction Rebellion people that were holding meetings all over the world. I think this must be the first completely fact free movement. I might even start a website to counteract some of the garbage that is being talked or at least assemble existing information under one convenient cover. It’s more like a cult for well-to-do young people and gullible children coached by their even more gullible teachers.

Varying reactions to giving a garden quote

image_pdfimage_print

I don’t think any two people react the same way to being given a quotation, be it large or small. At the moment, I think everyone’s brains are being fried by Brexit and I don’t know if anyone is capable of rational thought. I won’t mention the mass hysteria which is called Extinction Rebellion, which is a cynical campaign by those who stand to gain from the enormously profitable carbon credits system. I intend to write a blog just about this subject fairly soon. Samuel Pepys commented on the political situation so I am following in his footsteps.

The biggest problem as I see it, apart from lack of money is the naivete on the part of those who want a quote for their beloved garden, in some cases not so beloved. I did a very carefully constructed quote for somebody who had a three level garden, the bottom part of which was full of brambles, as was the common path at the bottom. There was no access through the house so we would have to drag any spoil up a flight of concrete steps and take it to the local recycle. He was a tenant so the landlord obliged him to maintain a certain amount of order in the garden. He wrote back to me saying that “your sense of humour has got the better of you” thanks but no thanks. I just wonder if people put on a show of bravado because they don’t have any money but in that case why ask someone to call and spend their time and energy giving a quote.

On the other hand, today, we did a clearing job for a charity that rescues greyhounds. It was necessary to clear an area of stinging nettles behind the property and also dispose of some accumulated rubbish. As soon as I entered the scene, I felt there was a richness of human nature and caring. Everyone was dedicated to looking after dogs and respecting them, so necessary because of the mistreatment that the dogs have had to suffer. Some of them have never been in a home before would you believe.

We got paid peanuts for the job but I was glad to do it because I felt we were contributing to the greater cause. I discovered a way of enhancing the speed at which a bonfire burns because we don’t like to leave lighted material when we leave even though it looks safe. I use my leaf blower which jets out air at an enormous speed and makes a total blast furnace effect. 5 minutes of that will increase the rate of burning of the fire about 10 fold. Very satisfying. The lady was very grateful and when she paid us said “thank you from the hounds and humans.” www.foreverhoundstrust.org.

The fact is that the lady who gave us the job was very nice and happy within herself. She asked us to come and quote for her own private accommodation which we will be delighted to do. She was prepared to go that extra mile to make us feel valued.

A third quote which happened a few days ago resulted in the customer writing to me saying that unbeknown to her, her son had decided to do the job himself. So thank you very much.

I think I still have to learn to boundary myself from any negative experiences or wasted time because I’m experiencing in a small way human nature in all its wonderful forms. . Thank goodness I don’t have a statutory remit to deal with people who I don’t get on with.

This is so different from last year. I can’t believe then the rate of change of consciousness on the planet is also so great, probably tending more towards insecurity and fear, that I must not grumble although of course I do grumble.   All we can do is to put it out there and do our best to respond to what comes back.

Dare I drive a car? – Why walk out of a lecture?

image_pdfimage_print

A lovely day today with a cloudless sky. A true Indian summer.

After my sister and brother-in-law departed for their home in Croydon I set about clearing out my man-shed. Very frequently, I know that something has to be done but I need a trigger to actually do it. The trigger was yet another special offer in Lidl, a set of plastic transparent drawers of varying sizes just suitable for things like screws, plugs et cetera. Funny, when the time has come you do it quickly and efficiently as if propelled by the wind.

To collect my car, the one that stalls without reason. Unfortunately, the garage  could not find the reason for it, having tried to recreate the problem without success. Although I’ve got the car back  I now feel I’m living with a time bomb. It would have been much more relaxing if I knew what was going on but now, so far as I’m concerned, we could be driving along a motorway at 70 miles an hour and things could cut out suddenly. I shall always keep in the slow lane until I’m quite certain that the car is performing well.

To a talk this evening by a local horticultural group on Indoor Plants. The man told us that he had been interested in this for 45 years and my goodness did it sound like it. We met in a community hall. The acoustics were very bad, and the fan from the projector was between us and the speaker. He spoke in a monotonous voice. I could only hear about half of what he was saying and that didn’t seem to be very interesting. He showed us a slide, said what the plant was an under what conditions it grew.

About 15 minutes into the lecture I resigned myself to being bored out of my mind, thinking of all the other things I could do. To my surprise, Françoise turned to me and said, “shall we go?”. I needed no second invitation. Out we went into the night. Françoise will sit through a film because she wants to see what the ending is even though the film is boring but this example, this event, took the prize for being positively irritating. As we were learning nothing. I thought it better that we leave.

To home, another edition of Grand Designs, a mountain of ironing to do and the watery results of defrosting a fridge.

The few spoil it for the many

image_pdfimage_print

I had cause to go to my garage and claim a courtesy car because my normal vehicle is not functioning. .There was one available, but the lady receptionist told me that from now on the charge was £.30 a mile. This is not an insubstantial amount and I asked her why. She said that the firm was losing money because they had given out cars without charge and people returned them in a less than pristine condition. One person went to Glastonbury for the Festival and returned the car full of rubbish in the boot.

Another lady bought a car in, was told that it was unserviceable, and spent six weeks apparently driving around for no cost trying to find another car to buy. She was difficult to get hold of on the phone and eventually the company had to report the car is stolen. The woman eventually returned with the car but again it was in a mess.

They also run the car completely down to an empty tank and do not compensate for the fuel they have used.

I consider these people selfish and anti-community minded. Because of idiots like this, people like myself cannot have a car for a few days while I wait for the car to be repaired

We went to a talk this evening by a scientist talking about James Watt, the Scottish engineer. He ended up with a talk on climate change, full of the usual nonsense about the demonisation of carbon dioxide, the usual fake charts, the usual avoidance of discussing the middle-ages warm period not to mention the Roman warming period. I think people sometimes lose their brains. Has it not occurred to people that the main cause of global warming or cooling could be the sun. NASA showed that the rise and fall of temperatures was due to the perturbation of the Earth in its orbit. I read that people are being asked not to eat meat, not fly planes, and such nonsense.

I felt like challenging him but I felt that he was so closed minded that it was a waste of time plus the fact that at the particular group,the Radstock Scientific Society, it is not considered good form to criticise a speaker.

There are some occasions when it’s not worth getting involved.

Living a spontaneous life – it works

image_pdfimage_print

On Sundays, I don’t have a fixed idea of what should be done but just let places float through my mind until one jumps at me. En route, the same thing should happen. When I feel like jumping off the intended route and going to investigate something. We always meet interesting people and it is a very stressfree activity.

So, with my sister and brother-in-law, we have another cloudless day so we think a visit to the oft mentioned Cheddar car boot event (search on this site for many references) would be a good eye-opener for them.

If you’re interested in getting used baby clothes, often rusty tools, DVDs, cutlery and crockery, outdated electrical items, this is the place for you. And I believe good bargains can be found. Although there were hundreds of exhibitors, I walked up and down the rows in search of a decent garden fork, the sort that have very thin tines which actually do a digging job well, but could find none.

Off to the garden centre nearby about which I have written many times and then we decided to go to WestHay which is on the Somerset levels. We went to the visitor centre but before that we went to the curious Sweets cafe and Museum, beloved of walkers and bikers everywhere. Here are a few images of this idiosyncratic place where the service is  somewhat amateurish but the atmosphere is wonderful.

there is a definite comradeship amongst cyclists
part of the quirky interior to the cafe
A piece of architectural equipment being reclaimed by nature

To home, Country File on BBC1, Antiques Roadshow to follow, a rather lazy evening watching the television. Our hire car, a Hyundai I10 hire car is amazingly economical on petrol. If and when I stop my gardening activities I would definitely downsize. We did 60 miles today and the petrol needle barely moved.

My beloved Priston music Festival, and a disappointment

image_pdfimage_print

Priston is an affluent village close to Bath, about 5 miles away, which is very attractive to the well-heeled because it is close to work and yet far away from main roads, motorways, etc so it provides an idyllic setting and a very good place to bring up children. Once a year we attend the Priston music Festival with a very full programme run by an enthusiastic group of volunteers and most important – lots of lovely public.

We nearly did not get to it. At 10 o’clock in the morning I was informed that I would not be able to get a replacement car for one gone into the garage for service (see yesterday’s diary). I went through all the usual search engine rituals, looking at these sites plus the aggregation sites which looked like they are actual car hire centres but are actually just agencies for car hire companies. You start by saying which country you are interested in. I found that in two or three cases, either the prices were very high or the software did not work.

Finally, I found a garage and rental centre about 4 miles away called Practical car hire Service. I had a direct line – a blessing in itself-  and spoke to a chap called Ben who said they had one last car available, small but perfectly formed, and I took it on the spot. Thank goodness I did because he told me later that a quarter of an hour later someone else rang up, in precisely my position, saying that their car was in the garage and could they help. Timing is all.

I thought I would have to go to Bath but fortunately for an extra fee they were able to deliver to my house which was an enormous saving time and energy. So midday saw us with a lovely car for which I paid a very good price. Off we went on a lovely sunny day about 20°C with a clear blue sky.

The event itself is very well organised. My brother-in-law is unable to walk long distances for example the Frome Cheese show which was on at the same time which would have been totally beyond him because even if I could have obtained a wheelchair, the ground would have been too bumpy to make it easy to push around. I enclose an image of the map that you can see what a cozy geographical area it is enclosed in. I have written about the Festival before on two occasions, one on 16 September 2017 and one on 17 September 2018. You can gather that we are fans.

The very kind and efficient organiser left a wheelchair for the use of my brother-in-law by the organisers tent and this was gratefully used.

redolent berries by the side of the lanes
I love being nosey and peeping at people’s gardens. This one was a delight what with the sun falling on the main features

There are musical activities on two stages, in the further reaches there is a child’s play area where entertainers and storytellers work their magic. What I like most is the atmosphere created by the villagers. Most of them have nothing to prove. They are competent, literate, expressive, secure in themselves, and are a very friendly bunch. There is absolutely no problem engaging them at a useful level of intellectual acuity. Also as a bonus my normal humour is understood. Most people don’t quite ‘get it’ in my home town.

At this event you can just sit there and watch people passing and entertain yourself watching human nature at its best. It’s nice to see two-parent families looking after their children, indeed nice to see well-behaved children who’ve got a sense of identity. Some young children were sitting listening to stories and become involved.

It is fair to say that public service transport is limited (timetable below) and thus the area is secluded.

children having a lovely time climbing the trees

My wife and I had a number of conversations, together and separately, with people who have very interesting lives. You must never know who you are going to meet.

I talked with a lady about her use of the phrase ‘very wonderful’ and told her that I thought it was tautological. She said that something is ‘full of wonder’. Wonder is an ‘absolute quality’ and cannot be ‘very full’ of that quality. It is superfluous. She told me how she got her sense of words from I think it was the Saturday version of the Independent. I love this sort of banter that should not put people on the defensive.

There was a lady who was going to give a talk on climate change who had the unfortunate experience of meeting with me. I told her that the planet is quite capable of controlling its own affairs, that carbon dioxide is only a very small proportion of the atmosphere and that nature itself controls 97% of any change that may occur. She made the mistake of saying that if all scientists everywhere agree then there must be a case. I replied that this was not true, since 30,000 scientists’ views had been stifled. I explained about the rule, “follow the money” and said that the lie must be propitiated to justify the enormously profitable carbon trading credits. At that point she got a little bit miffed and went off to give her talk.

My sister and brother-in-law were quite happy to sit round and watch everyone do their thing. I commented that it was better than watching TV. Foodwise we have a ritual. We start off by having a very nice quick snack in the pub and then the tradition of tea with cakes served from 2 PM to 4 PM.

18 different varieties of cake, plus scones, jam and cream to boot

A really good performance by URSA (above), a solo project by Bristol-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Helen Stanley

The musical stage was in action from about 12:30 PM and there was a enthusiastic and responsive audience as you can see.

We were looking forward to hearing the Fantasy Orchestra, which was due to appear on the main stage at 6 PM. As soon as they started, I realised that all was not well, certainly compared with the experience of previous years. They were not singing together. The leader was making a virtue out of the fact that they were just practicing for performances in the future, both in Bristol and for a tour of the French coastline next year.

The various sections of the performers were not really listening to each other namely the choir, the trumpets, the strings, the percussion. It’s all very well having people doing their spontaneous best and having fun (nothing wrong with that), but I think the audience deserves better than this frankly amateurish performance.

*****

Returning home via the allotment where the Dahlias  grown by a young tenant are ready to be exhibited (below)

We picked enough runner beans to feed a small army and also a few courgettes.

We ended the evening was perfect day by watching the Last night of the Proms (For readers from other parts of the world, this is an annual series of promenade concerts of classical and other music which takes place in London in July through September.

 

 

Why bonding between men is so important

image_pdfimage_print

In the United Kingdom if not elsewhere men tend not to wear their hearts on their sleeves at least the older generation. I attended a Christian men’s group talk in Frome, at the rugby club no less, together with about 30 other men. We normally start off with a curry after having been refreshed at the bar,  then a word of prayer followed by the speaker.

At the moment I landed in the car park, my PAS (power assisted steering), packed up and I learned the hard way how difficult it is to steer a car unassisted, especially when you are hardly moving, and when the weight of the car is so significant. The Volvo V70 is about one and a half tons. There was nothing I could do about it, so I thought to myself that I would not spoil the evening for the sake of a malfunctioning car.

Ironically, the last Volvo I had broke down, just at the time I entered a church car park for a funeral service. Maybe there is a lesson somewhere.

We sat down at tables for eight and amazingly I sat at a table with four people who were from South Africa. In view of my love for that country this is extraordinary. Sometimes you can’t make it up.

Last evening’s speaker was a management consultant who assured us that people who work in the position of CEO’s most definitely do not know what they are doing most of the time and feel lonely because there is no one they can turn to.

He started his talk on the surprising topic of gadgets, particularly his own beloved  robotic mower that he had bought and which mows the lawn automatically at 7 AM each morning. He and his neighbour are in a friendly rivalry to see who can produce the best lawn. The topic moved to how to sell a service to other people. You most certainly do not say to someone “I have got what you need.” It has to be through the asking of questions, the curiosity, of the possible client. The client needs to feel that you are speaking to them for the sake of speaking to them and not for some ulterior motive. In a way, ‘selling’ Christianity, for that is what it is, is educing a change in mindset of someone else where you have to follow the rules just like selling anything else.

On five occasions, the speaker asked us to stand up and move to speak with someone the we had not spoken to before. He gave us a particular question to discuss, for example ‘how did it feel to acquire your latest gadget?’.  This is 1 million times better than having people sitting in separate rows listening to material, however good. I think the human impulse to take part in something is very strong. That is why I think the prime duty of a speaker is to put himself at the service of the audience. I think that at the end of a busy day, concentration is very limited so people don’t want heavy stuff. We were given information in byte-size pieces – easy to digest.

When I went to check my car and possibly to call the AA , it started and drove without complaint or murmur so obviously some temporary thing, maybe a combination of speed, braking, ambient temperature, caused a mandatory dysfunction but when I tried it this morning, it seemed perfectly fine.

*****

Today, more excitement. I’m taking my friends to see Tim when suddenly the whole electrics of the car cut out again. The engine went off when I was driving at about 20 miles an hour. The brakes did not work, the steering became heavy. Fortunately, the destination was at the bottom of the hill so I just made it down but was only able to stop the car with vigorous pulling at the handbrake.

Enter the RAC man, a jolly young fellow with a back problems so it turned out. He could not find a problem because it started for him the first time. Françoise, however, lost confidence in the car because she does not like the thought of it breaking down when she is in control. We asked for the car to be taken to the garage to sit over the weekend and be given attention next week. This is the most inconvenient weekend of all. We hope to go to a traditional country fair tomorrow, Saturday, but alas the garage has no spare car at the moment.

Anyway, we count our blessings. The car did not break down when we were going at speed and everyone was safe and my brother-in-law had a very good session with Tim.

To home, enjoying the hot sun, make a meal and sit and watch TV.