image_pdfimage_print

Wedmore – one of the most expensive villages in UK

image_pdfimage_print

A Saturday in July means that there are at least half a dozen fayres, festivals, fetes, flower festivals, you name it it’s happening probably all at the same time so there’s no chance of attending them all.

We eventually decided on Wedmore little realising what a beautiful village it was. Due to its historical unspoilt nature and its proximity to the M5 motorway, property values here are sky high. The average property value is according to Zoopla > fanfare of trumpets < £535,816 which is a slight fall of 1% from its highest level. See the website for an indication of its vibrancy. 

Anyway, we didn’t go for these reasons but for the fact that there was a street fayre starting at 10:30 AM and finishing at 4 PM. We arrived about 2 PM, better late than never.

The only problem with going to really small fayres is their predictability. You will get the obligatory tea and cake stall, face painting, one or two boot sale type stalls, local painters, maybe local pottery if you’re lucky, someone selling antique garden tools, ice cream, one of two bits of entertainment for children, a beer tent and some competitive racing. That can become a bit boring.

Wedmore is very well heeled and they actually have an arts festival. As the publicity says “Exceptional arts in a village setting”. If you look at the programme via the link above it is wildly optimistic compared with the population of 3 1/2 thousand people. The reason is that there is enough available intellectual mind power combined with enough disposable income to enable people to think about things other than mere survival. The festival is one of the fruits of this.

the lady that we were talking to had the most amazing blue nail varnish and showed us a cup she had bought about friendship. It says “a friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the nicest things you can be”.  Well said

We went and ordered tea and cake and sat down at one of the tables next to a delightful couple from Swanage. We have an interesting phrase in England saying “you fall into a conversation”. The term “fall” implies an element of synchronicity and lack of any expectation as in “I met a complete stranger and we fell into conversation”.  The wife was in the National Health Service working in a doctors surgery and due to retire in two years time. “I’m looking forward to it”. The husband had had various managerial jobs and was now retired. I told her about my job as Patient Representative for the Bristol group of hospitals and said how difficult it was to get any change going irrespective of how good the idea was. She said that she had seen a number of changes over the years and they were not for the good.

They started clearing the tables around us or should I say removing the chairs and tables so this was a subtle hint to leave but we could have happily chatted away for another hour or so with people with whom we were obviously on the same wavelength. Being on the same wavelength means you don’t have to explain anything and the other person is likely to understand and grasp what you’re talking about slightly before the words are even out of your mouth. Maybe there was a time when we did not need to speak to all; it was all done through empathy, who knows.

Anyway, the rest of this diary consists of pictures I made on what was a delightful summer Saturday afternoon.

There are obviously tight building regulations. This is a miniature cafe with a charcuterie . Very posh my dear.
if I loved spotted dogs I would buy this full-scale model
In the morning, this stallholder had put a sign saying “good morning peasants”. she changed it to the sign you see “one does love a street fair” she changed it for fear of offending people but I think the original was much more apposite.
look carefully at this picture. The woman on the left has nothing to prove and she is really interested in listening to the chap who is talking. He is dressed as a pirate because the theme of the day was Pirates at least as the fancy dress competition was concerned. Being listened to without being judged is one of the most therapeutic actions you can ever imagine. Listening cannot be faked so don’t try.
plant stalls in this area always consist of very healthy plants ready for a new home
even a sidewalk and shopping alley is advertised with panache
We reluctantly left the village and drove to the Somerset Levels and we spotted this jam, marmalade and chutney stall on the side of the road with an honesty box

 

 

walking safely in the street, beggars

image_pdfimage_print
Pepys’ Diary, click for full version

Thursday 30 June 1664

…Walked back from Woolwich to Greenwich all alone, save a man that had a cudgell in his hand, and, though he told me he laboured in the King’s yarde, and many other good arguments that he is an honest man, yet, God forgive me! I did doubt he might knock me on the head behind with his club. But I got safe home…

Whenever we go out we like to think that we can walk around safely without being attacked or accosted. I realise that things are different for men than for women, for young or for old but for everybody there is a certain degree of risk which I would like to briefly discuss.

First off, I think you were asking for trouble if you go along the street listening to your headset and obviously lost in music. These people are oblivious of their surroundings and are easy to sneak up on and grab something from.

Secondly there is a pretty good telepathic aspect of the mind that can see ahead. I always do this with my journeys, stepping out of space and time so to speak, which is an ability that we can all use if we choose to. If I feel uneasy about something in advance I always take notice of it and for all I know save myself a lot of trouble. I do this when deciding which route to take in a car journey.

When we are in the street or anywhere we are in the public realm and as it says in the Good Book “we are all members one of another”. My interpretation is that if we see someone in trouble or about to be in trouble we should not pass by on the other side but at least offer our help.

In specific terms when going out at night, I avoid groups of people especially when loud noises are coming from the direction because it means they are not fully in control of themselves although under normal circumstances they may be very nice people. Resorting to either defensive or aggressive violence either by you or by someone else can leave a stain that can last for weeks and months or years and they should be avoided at all costs. There is no point in confronting a drunk or drugged person and using rationality. It is a complete waste of time because that rational part of the brain is closed off.

There are more subtle assaults, people begging, as Pepys found. I wish it could be said that the money goes to good purposes but more likely it is for funding a drug habit. What really annoys me is that the beggars particularly in trains who say “sorry to disturb you”. If they were that sorry they wouldn’t have disturbed us in the first place.

The Big Issue is certainly one big step up from begging. Well done John Bird for starting this initiative. He is one of the few rough diamonds that I really like and I forgive any type of swearing because that’s who he is and he gets his point across. I remember a time when the Big Issue was £0.60 and now I think it’s something over two pounds.

Other people busk for a living and this has become partially institutionalised on the subways where people even get a little circle drawn out in paint where they ply their trade. I think the idea was obtained from America. These are the only groups of people that I will give money to and gladly so because they are giving something in return.

If you go to Trafalgar Square in London you will see apparent statues posing in impossible positions but yes they are human beings and a collection hat is conveniently situated in front of them. I regard this as performance art of some value and I will also give here.

I do not give money to people who say that they are homeless because I have read stories of people who are not homeless who come into the West End of London example to beg. I believe begging has been banned in Bristol. whilst in Bristol ,I saw someone lying on the street. It took only a few minutes for the CTV’s pick them up and two people came along telling them very politely to move along.

My overall policy of being in public places is to see everybody as a potential friend – or temporary companion we can say – and pass the time of day with them, make some inane comments about the weather, just to make the machinery of human interaction a little bit more human. I believe that if you are friendly to someone it is far less likely that you will suffer any sort of assault on your personal space.

We were robbed once in Barcelona. Francoise had her passport stolen by a real professional. Barcelona and Rome are two of the biggest pocketing capitals of the world. The culprits are normally Romanians. My advice in traveling in foreign cities is that you will stand out a mile even though you don’t think you will. You should carry the minimum that you need. It may be that your passport is safer off back at the hotel but if you need to carry it, do so in a zipped inner pocket. Also, looking at maps especially if they are upside down is a dead giveaway.