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Erectile dysfunction – meeting an old friend

My goodness this is the most abstruse advert I can recall. Sorry about the reflection of light. This was taken at Camden tube station

The plan for the day was to meet a friend in the St Martin-in-the-Fields restaurant which is below the church and please note very popular during mealtimes. In case my readers do not know, this church has a long and distinguished history of dealing with and helping the homeless and are less fortunate. The church welcomes everybody and has a wide range of concerts, exhibitions and facilitates.

I realised that the environments where you meet someone is as important as the content of the conversation. I do not particularly like sitting at a table where there are noisy people around because I cannot hear what is going on. This was the case with our good friend. I realise that I’m most comfortable walking around so I propose to her that the next time we met, we could go for a walk together and she agreed.

Afterwards we went to the National portrait Gallery, where increasingly the space is taken up with paid exhibitions alas and even more alas which are not particularly inexpensive. It is common to be asked £15 or £20 for the show. Okay maybe the cuts, the dreaded national cuts, are upon us but I think that people from abroad never mind and good selves would find this a little bit much especially if you have a family.

in the entrance hall of the National portrait Gallery

After the meeting, we went off to the National Portrait Gallery and I was tempted to buy a huge photographic book for £39.95. It claimed to list 500 of the most well-known photographers in the world. It was a challenge to the editors to pick one photograph that was representative of the work of the photographer but anyway it makes a good coffee table items though it is a bit heavy, about 3 1/2 kg.

Incidentally, the book was far too heavy to carry back so I asked them to post it to me. They have averaged the price of any book posted to the UK at £3.95. I made the order on Thursday afternoon at about 3 PM. It was posted on Friday and arrived at my home in Midsomer Norton on Saturday. Now that is what I call good service. I’m sure it cost them much more to send it via overnight delivery but I’m not complaining.

We then went off to the Royal Festival Hall complex and particularly the National film Theatre where some very kind person has offered to fund the digitisation of 30,000 film titles, most of which are historical, so what you have to do is to grab one of the dozen booths or so and watch. Free. I love that word. I watched a black-and-white version of Dracula which I enjoyed enormously. In the days before sound, the actors had to slightly over act because the only thing apart from the accompanying music was to watch their expressions. A challenge indeed.

After much wandering around we went home and bought a good portion of chips in a cardboard box with two portions of mayonnaise for which we paid £4.20. In case you grasp, this is London. The chips were good but not exceptional. I will give them 7/10 but when you are hungry you just eat.

A visit to Tate modern and lunch at the salvation army

So, the first post funeral day with a mixture of emotions if not on my part then certainly on the part of Francoise. I decided to take her to the coffee bar which I discovered the day before,

Francoise went off to do other things. I mooched around then returned to the Salvation Army for the promised lunch. the period of lunch was advertised between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM but what happened was that everyone came at various times and sat down at tables for four. Food, one choice only, was served at 12.30 by a waitress. I thought it was really good to have table service because in such a place, queuing implies homelessness and begging.

I met three other very affable seniors. The person oppositely commented on the value of the euro. He had worked in IT for a number of years and had a lot of life experience to offer. The chap on my left had a great sense of humour and we teased each other for most of the meal. We had beef and vegetables followed by rhubarb crumble with custard. After the meal they do have a service that I had to excuse myself because I had to continue my day.  It was a very jolly atmosphere and anyone would’ve felt welcome. The cost, by the way, was four pounds and you pay 50 p extra for tea and coffee with free refills.

I then met my other half and took the 168 bus to Southbank, Waterloo, then walked right along to Tate modern where we spent a good couple of hours. I took more pictures than I can include here but on the way we took a few photographs of the ever entertaining South bank at low tide where people make models and invite you to throw money down.The mighty Tate modern has doubled in size since its modernisation so you can stay there all day and not see everything. Normally, we get tired after the first couple of hours so we tend to come back and do more.

And so we entered the mighty Tate Modern, second in popularity only to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 

The city of London and St Paul’s Cathedral viewed from the fourth floor of the Tate modern. The weather was so warm that people were sunbathing on the sand beach on the north side of the Thames. See below.

I always make a point of having refreshment at the headquarters of the Salvation Army which is halfway between St Pauls and the River Thames. It was a special exhibition of her recording the real-life experiences of a family where the mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

The daughter in tears

To the Kings Place concert centre, which is to the right of King’s Cross station. In addition to concerts they have conferences and art exhibitions to keep things going. It’s always worth popping in to see what’s going on. Entrance is normally free and you can sit and have a coffee in one of the very spacious coffee bars. There is a rather striking picture which reveals the inner dynamics of someone who is playing the cello not to mention is relationships. It is a very London thing.On to the vast area behind King’s Cross station which has been developed into an art college and a shopping area.  I found no less an organisation than the headquarters of Google. We popped into Kings Cross station to see the fares. You can see why I travel by coach because I refuse to waste money. £167.50 any time return to Leicester. I could get it cheaper but this is stratospheric compared with other European countries so if anyone from Europe or elsewhere is reading this you have been warned.

 

 

The day of the funeral

Whilst Francoise was chatting with her friend, I took a walk down to Camden high Street for my first look around. I noticed a Salvation Army building on the left-hand side and popped in to have a chat. A new couple, the captain and his wife had moved in last September and were experimenting with various formats of looking after homeless people. Evidently, a businessman had offered to fund the expenses of a second night for homeless people, food etc so they took this as a sign from God that they were going in the right direction.

The Captain invited me to come and have lunch which happened to be the following day and I said I would surely come ( see my entry to this effect)

I also found a coffee bar/shop which I was immediately attracted to. I do like a bargain and I do like friendliness.

Funeral days have a special quality depending on your spiritual belief or lack of it. I enjoy the fact that the deceased is probably enjoying themselves, free of the burdens of a physical body watching from on high or wherever they are. I have done quite a lot of work with people who have passed away and energetically they are basically in the same state as when they were living. Stubborn people remain stubborn, selfish people remain selfish. It’s just that when you so-called die you can see more clearly the results of your thoughts, words and actions. Death solves nothing and I’m reminded of the hymn ‘live every day as if thy last’.

We arrived in good time and I wandered around as I normally do. There is a great preponderance of Jews, and people of many ethnic origins. Always a slightly awkward meeting especially when you meet someone you have heard about but have not met for absolutely years. I think everyone understands this and just hangs around until the time comes to be ushered in to the chapel. I could almost say that the cemetery ( is is half of it) is too big to photograph certainly from ground level. It is about four football pitches big if that means anything and chock-a-block full.

We went for a green service with a wicker casket. About 40 people or maybe 15 turned up. I joked with one of the other mourners about the number of people I thought would attend my funeral. there was no religious element, prayers etc but a series of statements as to what the deceased meant to the people, memories etc. Due to the number of people and the popularity of the cemetery, one of the largest in North London, timekeeping is exact and everyone gets half an hour. The ashes will be scattered at some place to be determined.

This is a very honest picture of Mike who spent most of his time listening to radio four and the World Service of the BBC He suffered a lot because the flat in which he lived was damp. The basement flat was always a bit like a prison and did not attract the light as it should have done

I went for a walk to clear my head and had a look at the prices in some local estate agents.

After the service, we all trooped off to a pub opposite where Mike lived. We were due to occupy the reserved room at five o’clock, food served from 6 PM but we were early so many people refreshed themselves in the bar. Mike, the deceased, had many friends who were to put it mildly not part of normal mainstream society and one or two people wandered around like lost souls but since they were friends they were accepted along with their behaviour. London is a very cosmopolitan place anyway so all types of people exist with for the most part good humour .   Having said that, I do not understand the spate of stabbings of young people except that it has become a rite of passage for some of the gangs that exist in North London.

I think the bill for food and wine was about £1000. The food was not imaginative and when there was no colour of fresh vegetables although if I recall there was a carrot dip. We had the privilege of a band, one of whose members was a friend of Mike, so we got for free but I left about nine o’clock. I have a certain appetite for human contact but there comes a point at which I want to be on my own. Overall, I feel I did fairly well and certainly had one or two good conversations.

Photographic essay of London part one

So, off to London for a full seven days. Accommodation in London is expensive even with Air B&B so I am grateful to have been offered free accommodation by an old friend of Francoise.  Tuesday we are off to a funeral and are arriving the day before so we can settle in. Our procedure for going anywhere is always the same. We take the 9:38 AM 172 local bus from Wells at the newsagent 100 yards from home. We arrive at Bath bus station at about 10:30 AM, go to the Methodist Church coffee bar in Manders Street and  have a coffee and cake and then catch the 11:15 AM bus to Victoria bus station.

It pretty much goes in a straight line to Chippenham and then on to the M4  motorway directly to London. Travel time is normally about three hours. There is good comradeship on the bus. The passengers are young people, workers from abroad travelling from one job to another, the occasional visitor to London for the day. Using the toilet at the back is an activity where  gentleman need to consider sitting down to do their business. I found it marginally more rocky then using the loo in a plane.

Those knowledgeable about London will detect the identity and location of the photograph above. This is my photograph from the front seat of the coach coming into the Hammersmith flyover on a wonderfully warm springlike day, quite exceptional for February. I was listening to a piece on the radio where the BBC interviewer was trying to link the enjoyment of this weather to possible feelings of guilt about climate change. My goodness do they go on with their agenda. Never mind that 30,000 scientists feel that the basis for the claims about climate change are false.

There is no question that I miss London. It is the buzz, the cosmopolitan nature of the whole place, the fact that people of different nationalities get on perfectly well with each other, the observation that most people are good-humoured and extrovert in their dealings with each other but most of all I miss the culture. I’m a bit like a sponge, and just rubbing shoulders with people who have a good level of intellectual acuity is bit like coming home. I am somewhat of a contradiction in that I feel more at home travelling than being at home itself. I am reminded of St Paul who said that you possess everything if you possess nothing and it is very releasing  walking around with your rucksack with all your immediate needs taken care of – just walking around from place to place and doing whatever you feel like.

However, today is the day before the funeral of Francoise’s friend Mike whom she has known for 40 years and has enjoyed a good fellowship with. She has written a piece about him which she will give to someone else to read because she feels that if she tries to read it out in public she will become emotional. The most important thing is that words are read. The funeral is tomorrow. Today is the day for arriving and getting used to the vibes not to mention the unfortunate prevalence of electromagnetic fields from  exposure to which I suffer, and suffer more and more. The manifestations are prickles in the head and stiffness in the joints. This is nothing compared with what will happen if 5G ever gets to be launched. Hospitals will not be able to cope with the numbers of people suffering cancer or various other opportunistic diseases but by that time the big companies will have made their money and ran.

I’m not going to let those grim thoughts detract from having a good time so I have about 100 photographs to show you which will be interspersed with text during the next six days or so. Watch this space.

A meaningful day out with a friend

Before I start, I’ve just been sent this wonderful video which is very short but quite delightful.

So it is a lovely Saturday with hardly a cloud in the sky. I decided to take my friend from Hertfordshire to our favourite places. I cannot encapsulate more than a fraction of what we saw but here are one or two examples. Each stream, river, seashore, makes a different sound according to what the water is doing and I find it one of the most healing sounds ever. This is a small stream just by the main post office in Mells.

We went off to Nunney, an historical town complete with Castle. I love this picture of sunlight shining on a crucifix. Tiny churches in the middle of nowhere can attract people from all over the place and this is today’s visitors book.I was still feeling physically down after my extreme exertions in the last couple of weeks so we decided to drive home after four hours or so and as it happened it was the best thing because the weather became cloudy and a little bit cold. Our guests enjoyed it very much though which was the main thing.

 

Sombre and encouraging writings

Mark Knopfler is probably one of the best-known guitarists certainly in the UK. He was recently interviewed by a magazine who in response eto a question said “if I could go back to relieve any moment, it would be about 20 years ago, after a gig, walking down a corridor”

This guy was coming the other way and he stopped me. He said, “I want to tell you – I was suicidal tonight. But my mates came round and dragged me out to this concert. I just want you to know, I’m going to go on.” I thanked him, and I walked on and I felt fantastic. I felt I’d done some good in the world. That’s the power of music.

Here is another quote from the Barnabas magazine which is devoted to how Christians are persecuted throughout the world.

Daddy! Say no!
The normal method of execution of pastors captured by the North Korean communists was to shoot them. But in one case a large hole was dug, into which the pastor, his wife and several of their children were put. The pastor was asked to repent of having “misled” his people for many years by teaching them the Bible. If you refuse, the whole family were to be buried alive. His children cried out, “oh daddy, daddy! Think of us, daddy!”. The shaken father began to admit his guilt. But before he could finish, his wife nudged him, saying, “daddy! Say NO!”
“Hush, children,” she continued, “tonight we are going to have supper with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. “She started to sing the old hymn in the sweet by and by, which begins,

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
and by faith we can see it afar;
for the father waits over the way
to prepare us a dwelling place there.

Her husband and children joined in. Meanwhile the soil was thrown back into the hole, and gradually the family was buried, each one singing until they had to fall silent when the soil reached their neck, the children first. Any people watched this execution, and almost all of them later became Christians.

This may help those of us that are worried or concerned about being laughed at or being misunderstood.

Words of wisdom from Sir Bernard Ingham.

Yesterday, to a physiotherapist. I see I should have gone a couple of years ago after my big accident when I broke five ribs. Unbeknownst to me the ribs had gone out of alignment and I had been functioning at less than 100% ever since. A recent manifestation on a weak spot has caused a cascade of pain in my left rib cage and shoulders. I must now spend a considerable amount of time and money getting this re-aligned. The problem is that once the human body has got used to something being out of order it remembers it. The human body has to be retrained to normality. Fortunately all this is happening outside the garden season which is my main source of income during the year. Lessons learnt. Finally.

*****

The fact that I even know who Bernard Ingham is dates me. But there are some people that are the source of common sense and they have something that the youngsters do not have, a reflection on how times have changed and what we need to do.

I’m  reproducing an article from the Yorkshire Post by Bernard which I think sums up the whole thing very well. In my two years of writing this diary this is the first time I have ever done this:

“This is our society and we shall all have to clean it up”

Do you remember Moral Re-armanent, the movement founded in the 1930s by an American cleric, Frank Buchman, who thought that military re-armament alone would not solve the problem? It attracted much criticism, perhaps not surprisingly since idealistically it sought absolute honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. I was always wary of it, even if the Russians accused it of “supplanting the inevitable class war by the eternal struggle between good and evil”. MRA is now called ‘Initiatives for Change’ and is based in Switzerland. We do not hear much, if anything, about it but, by Jove, we need to think seriously about its objectives. Frankly, society – and politics – is going to pot.

The “magnificent seven” as the Labour defectors are called – and the threat of Tory resignations – just one aspect of it. Westminster is in a mess. You may feel my dismay is inconsistent in one resolved to look on the bright side. Not so. If history is any guide this could be the darkest hour before the dawn.

Human nature, if only out of self-preservation, swings from one extreme to the other. The reaction cannot come soon enough if Britain – indeed the world is to become a better place for generations unborn.

Off the top of my head I have in my Islamist terror risk corruption, the Communists determination to succeed by hook or crook and destabilisation, the multiple evils of the Internet and what I call the antisocial media, the drug culture, the flashing lights of a violent society, the mind sapping preoccupations of politically correct minorities, that perhaps inevitable preoccupation with mental health, intolerance as manifested for example by Brexit, public and private greed and the acute loss of individual responsibility

You might add the conversion of the world into a rubbish tip with devastating consequences for wildlife and on the other hand environmental fanaticism with headteachers, God help us, backing strike action by pupils against entirely unproven global warming.

Only the other day, a British scientist relatively asserting that on the basis of accurate records going back 800,000 years we are today where we should be in the ice age cycle. This is substantiated by two German scientists showing roughly a 1000 year climatic cycle from warm to come back again. No wonder people are confused.

It would be wrong to write off the human race as hopelessly degenerate. It is far from that when there are millions unselfishly performing good works every hour of the day.

But evil is stalking the land and we need to hunt it down and point to a better, more wholesome and satisfying way of life. What do we believe in?

Each of us has to stop passing the buck. It is our society and we shall have to clean it up. It’s no use whatsoever expecting government to do it all.

Of course, none of us as individuals can legislate to control the Internet, to prevent the crude and cruel abuse of for example Jewish women MPs or to provide effective defence against terrorism, crime, intolerance and greed.

But we can register our increasing disgust at criminal and antisocial behaviour, the corruption of youth by a prejudiced academia which is suppressing free speech and the awful greed among company executives and university vice chancellors who are rooking fee paying students interfacing daunting debts before they start earning a wage.

When our inadequate parliamentarians finally find themselves deprived of their Brexit games, if not Jeremy Corbyn, they had better launch the re-moralising of Britain.

After their long Brexit indulgence and before their expenses scandals they may not be the ideal agents of reform. But their job is to give a lead and we must now mount pressure on them for action.

Always, providing, of course, we ourselves are setting the standards we wish to live by. We are the best agents for a change in national attitudes and purpose.

Moreover, the press does not need much persuasion did join the exposure of neglect, incompetence and irresponsibility.

Our political parties would transform the atmosphere if they showed real determination to respond. At present the Tories are preoccupied with tearing themselves apart and Labour advocating a creed – Marxism – that has failed, not least morally, the world over while others, including defectors, wish to subject us to Euro – domination or, like the Nationalists, tear the UK apart.

They are, I admit, a divisive rabble. But we can start this day demanding they earn their keep by progressively eliminating society’s moral decay.

******

If I had the means, I would create an infrastructure for the spread of good ideas which would help society and community run better. Around the place, and by that I mean the whole of the United Kingdom, there must be thousands of elegant ideas partly going to waste because of the lack of other people finding out about them. For example I read an idea called “talking tables” which could be situated in the refreshment areas of larger chain stores. It could become the thing that if you wanted to talk to someone, if you were on your own, you could sit down and invite people to join you if he so wished. It will be public, anonymous, and safe. The cost would be virtually zero but who knows whether the idea would take off or not. The worst that can happen is nothing.

As Bernard wisely says, all change has to start with us. This Samuel Pepys type diary I am writing now is my modest way of making a contribution as indeed is my participation in our local allotments here in Midsomer as indeed is my 5G website which is now the largest reference point for things 5G on the planet. I started the website because I thought it was a good idea and it has blossomed into something very much greater than I expected. It has over 100 hits per day which is very small but I guess that the people who visit want to read the content, so it is not just a casual visitor.

I hope that is the case anyway.

calling 999 twice within four days does not happen

Calling 999 twice within four days does not happen.  Well, it did happen in my case. On Monday morning at about four o’clock I woke up with a stomach pain. Not the normal acidic pain but a heaviness and bloatedness that would not go away in spite of my taking medication. I write this, not to bore you to death, but to remind you that anything can happen at any time with even very healthy people because your body has triggered that something is amiss.

I felt so sick and debated whether I should tough it out or call the ambulance but in the event I called them at about 6:15 AM. A very calm lady – several hundred miles away in the Devon call centre – took down my details and asked me a lot of questions which determined the priority of my call. A cheerful man and woman team arrived about an hour later and set about doing my bloods and taking an ECG. They had a good feel around my stomach but couldn’t find anything so suggested that to be on the safe side we ‘popped down’ to the hospital.

I was quickly wheeled in and because it was not busy we were found a free cubical straightaway. From the moment you enter the hospital facility you are logged in. Things have to happen in a certain order. First, the nurse arrives to do the basic tests and make sure you’re comfortable then there may be a considerable pause. In my case the pause was because my bloods were sent away for analysis. It’s not as if they were unaware I was there. That is why it is a good idea to have someone with you and possibly to bring a newspaper or a novel, something to keep you distracted. If you think about it, the system has to be good otherwise chaos will ensue. Those of us that have seen TV accident and emergency programs tend to forget that there is such a thing as editing, and also tend to forget that the producers focus upon dramas rather than times when nothing happens.

In my case, the very young doctor turned up (it shows how old I am that she seemed young) and had a chat with me about my condition. I gave her something of my history; she went away and made several calls on my behalf including the endoscopy department where I was waiting for a stomach examination. She was very friendly and there were no ‘us and them’ barriers. I told her that the most important thing I wanted was the correct attitude to where I was going and particular that not knowing what the problem contributed to the body tension which cannot help any condition that is trying to heal itself.

She totally ‘got it’ and we agreed a plan which consisted rather boringly waiting on the results of the endoscopy, and maintaining the proton pump inhibitor pills which would get some sort of physical stability with which any other symptoms could be considered.

We were there about three hours and by the time we were discharged at 11:15 AM, it was time for an early lunch so off we went.

Much later on in the day, about 7 PM,  the consultant from the endoscopy department called me to discuss an early appointment and she told me that there was a new type of endoscopy device which was smaller than the one that gave me such anxiety (I hate having things stuffed down my throat) and suggested that I become part of this. I accept it with alacrity.

I am coming to the opinion that if you get a doctor to call another doctor about a problem you will get more attention than if you ‘cold call’ as someone who is on the waiting list for a particular intervention.

Sometimes, things had to become a little bit dramatic before anyone takes any notice but then I guess it’s the same with me in my dealings. But there is absolutely no point in being objectionable or complaining because they are professional people are these doctors and nurses and they do what is necessary in a timely manner. Being obnoxious will mean they just go through the statutory motions and will not go the extra mile.

So back at home and much comforted. I take the view that so long as I learn from something a little bit of pain and discomfort here and there is the price you pay. So be it.

The annual Shepton Mallet snowdrop Festival

Nothing to do with snowdrops, but a quote jumped out at me from one of the many mailouts I get from Lee Abbey, which is a retreat centre in North Devon. I remember giving my life to Jesus there when I was about 15, far too young and naive to know what I was doing but it was a step in the right direction I feel.

“Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” ―Maya Angelou

I do trust text that jumps out at me especially when I’m not looking for anything in particular. To stand against the crowd especially in this day of social media requires more and more strength of character. The problem is if we don’t stand up for anything we are really nothing more than robots.

*****

We went to day one of a two-day festival in nearby Shepton Mallet where all aspects of snowdrops were to be examined. Indeed there are many aspects. Someone was offering single specimens of snowdrops at £25. there are about 250 different types of snowdrops most of which I understand are found in Turkey.

I saw this lively book which it had a section cut out and fresh plants inserted. Lovely symbolism for new seeds of thought.
yes if you enlarge this page you see right, single bolt for £25 or £30.

An old church is almost adjacent to the main road through Shepton Mallet, now a mere tributary but fascinating and romantic. there are a cluster of cafes which I feel I just struggling to exist, no less than two Polish shops  (how do they both manage?). Anyway, through the lovely historical churchyard and into the church.

It is an indication of a lively church that there are so many younger involved people. As the son of a vicar with visits to hundreds of churches under my belt, you know how to see the signs.   This is the church of St Peter and St Paul more or less in the middle of Shepton Mallet and part of a Benefice– that means a group of churches  – which include St Aldenham’s church Doulting and St Bartholomew’s Church Cranmore.

a large screen TV in the church was showing images of snowdrops

This church opened its doors in 1274 A.D. presided over by one Hugh De Clifford, followed by in 1280 ‘Bertrand’ and 1316 ‘Reginaldus’.  I think we take our wonderful ecclesiastical history for granted; here is a building that has been open continuously for worship and prayer for nearly 750 years. You can certainly feel it as you walk in the door, the welcome and prayers are in the walls. The many volunteers gathered within gave the impression of being in a close knit but not cliquey group.

There is an extraordinary two manual organ almost hiding away

 

LineExport

not quite your typical Valentine’s Day schedule

 

We decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day by having a breakfast at our favourite restaurant in the middle of nowhere, Hartley’s cafe bistro. Unfortunately I woke up very stiff in my ribs from my hitherto referred to accident but undaunted we set off and arrived shortly after 9 AM. We had requested a table next to the blazing wood fire which always adds so much to the atmosphere.  Francoise had salmon and scrambled egg. I had a full English breakfast accompanied by copious amounts of coffee. Mien host was attentive as ever and bought along a lovely red rose for my partner.

Off to the nearby Rocky Mountain nurseries to admire the amazing numbers of varieties of potatoes that are now being sold for growing. The one problem you cannot solve is knowing which varieties will be attractive to grubs and which will be ignored and there’s only one way to find that out and that is my planting them. Local conditions vary so much that there is no such thing as a guidebook. There is a once weekly vegetable market where you can get very good bargains for about 20% cheaper than the shop prices.

Off to a medical checkup of my vision at the local optician; a full and thorough half-hour examination with equipment that must have cost quite a good few tens of thousands of pounds. I do not intend to spend any money buying glasses in the opticians where you could you can easily spend £300 – £400 without blinking so I shall go on the Internet. I use spex4less which gives quick and efficient service. I can’t remember where they are, Manchester or someone like that but these days who cares where something is located as long as it arrives.  I have recently ordered an electronic instrument and there is no indication of where the firm is. If he doesn’t arrive I just use the guarantee service with PayPal. It has worked on the one occasion when I have needed it.

So far so good as far as my sore ribs go but suddenly my condition took a turn down.   About 2 PM I got a very uncomfortable pain in my upper left rib cage. It is very near to the heart and I was worried that I had some sort of heart trouble which was being masked by the rib pain. With one overlaying the other  anatomically it was very difficult to form an opinion so I decided to call 999 which we did at 2.45 pm. I can count the number of times I have called this emergency number on the fingers of one hand in my entire life but this incident – The co-positioning of the heart and the pain –made me panicky. 15 minutes later two cheerful lady paramedics turned up and tested my vitals such as heart rate ,ECG, temperature etc.

The ambulances carry quite a lot of technical kit these days; the printout of my heartbeat was immediately sent to a doctor at RUH for evaluation.  Although the duty doctor said there was no room for concern, the paramedic decided to have me in for a check just in case.  Off we went in an ambulance that was so ancient that it had traveled as far as to the moon and back.  I have seen so many programs on ambulances in fact I would say I almost have an obsession with them so ironically here I am in a real-life situation with me lying down and strapped in. I was given some morphine to survive the rather bumpy journey.

We arrived at Bath and were wheeled through a maze of corridors. To my left there was a woman swearing so much that the nurse threatened to get security to throw her out . The moment soon passed and we were allocated a cubicle.  I have always had respect for the NHS and on this occasion my opinion was enhanced. It is quite obvious that the key thing is having the right software where everyone can access. Once you are on the system, a stream or people turn up, each with varying job, each asking questions. We were visited by about six specialists starting with a staff nurse and ending with a consultant.  I was asked a great number of questions about lifestyle, how long my condition of pain had been going for, what symptoms I had and did not have.

what a great way to spend Valentine’s Day

I realised how much this was a grand detective story. They started off by making a number of broadly based enquiries and statements; that I may need to stay overnight, that I might have angina which is the inhibition or restriction of blood flow to all parts of the body.  As I went through the interview process, the questions got more and more specific about certain areas. It was clear they were narrowing down the prognosis which in my case was heart condition versus muscle trauma. It was left to the consultant to sum up the whole thing, looking at his own observations and the questions asked by the people before him. The result was I didn’t need to stay in the hospital.  I should take painkillers and allow the insult to the musculature to heal itself over time.

In about two and a half hours I had had a very large cycle of blood tests including the results, an ECG, a visit to the x-ray room to make sure nothing was broken, some reassurance and an explanation for my condition. We left the hospital about 7.40 PM after having had a cup of coffee.  This makes a total of five hours from the first call  to the 999 (911) service, through to leaving the hospital having been given the appropriate treatment and care.

The cost of this wonderful good-humoured and professional service was precisely zero. I mention this in case some of our friends are reading this from the USA. We do not pay. It is paid in our taxes by the NHS, the National Health service.  I reckon via the private route I would not get much change out of £2000.  I realise that I got a lot out of it and I saw how lack of knowledge and lack of reassurance can be so wearing and how important it is to seek opinions at an early stage because we can all waste so much time worrying about things and worrying doesn’t change anything.

As my readers will know, I always look at the posters throughout the hospital. Here are two

A nice clear invitation, easy to read typeface, friendly people, makes you want to get involved.

And so home on the 172 bus to Wells. Whether it was the morphine or the release from worry or both I don’t know but I felt in a splendid mood and looking forward to a time of improvement.

Passing the time of day – Somerset style

I’m glad to say that my diary is not very full at the moment. Today I took out an advert for gardening, the means of our keeping on top of things financially, but basically we have been in hibernation, early spring cleaning, throwing out the material we don’t need, and just generally ‘being’. I quite like just sitting in front of the fire, yes it’s a real one, and enjoying its warmth and feel. It’s never the same sitting in front of a radiator.

I am suffering from various permutations and combinations of stomach problems including a new course which consists of pills training to restore your energy spectrum to characteristics of an earlier time in your life in other words rejuvenation. These pills are very strong and they do conflict with my stomach condition and that is something that you can only find out through experimentation since no course of pills can be tested against each individual circumstance.

We have some drama this morning with an overflowing sink. Looking outside we saw dirty dishwashing water flowing over the flower beds. I called in my trusty plumber Robert and we did our best to find out what was going on. Robert told me of his mother who had trouble with their plumbing, a blockage, they called Dynorod. They were told that there was no callout charge. After 15 min work, the chap submitted a bill for £90 because it was a diagnosis. I do hate being taken for a ride so we decided to be creative, face the problem, and deal with it on a commonsense basis.

First of all I tried to clear it with some drain rods but the angle was too great for the boards to end in and we did try from both ends so we then had plan two and plan three.

The drain had not been cleaned for years so after unsuccessfully trying to jet wash it and noticing some small pieces of masonry jumping up and down I decided to go for broke and buy some of this evil drain unblocker which is actually 95% sulphuric acid. It is absolutely essential to teach yourself up with glasses, gloves and waterproof clothing. The people in the shop told me that one drop had jumped up into someone’s face and he had to go to hospital to save the sight of his eye. With great caution I poured in 1 L of this evil liquid and immediately it started frothing and smoking. It should never be used indoors by the way. The shop who sold it to me thought they would soon stop selling it because it was so dangerous and they would not have sold it to me without knowing who I was working with in this case Robert my plumber.

Anyway I left it for about 10 minutes then try flushing the whole with running water and we saw the first signs of a dribble down to the main drain. We filled the sink and increase the volume. It is not entirely free but it will do. My total costs were £18 for the rods and £11 for the evil acid but it is certainly better than paying someone six or seven times as much.

*****

I have finished reading the second of two books on the BBC. As I may have mentioned before, we might as well call the BBC the British Marxist Corporation. They cannot resist political correctness which was a Marxist device developed in the 1920s in Germany by a group of Frankfurt group and they cannot resist marginalising Christianity and other traditional values. I think in order to remain sane in this world, great strength of character is required. It is made much easier for me because I have a very supportive spouse but I honestly don’t know how I could survive on my own. It is the everyday conversation and support that is so necessary for the human being.

*****

I’ve just been watching a rather dystopian video on YouTube, “Six deceptions  needed for Agenda 21”. If you want to know what sort of world is planned for us all then I suggest that this video is part of your general education, ghastly though it may be.  It is an open question whether one individual can make any change at all but I think we at least need to be aware of what is on the cards. it is in a way a numbers game in that the more people are aware and on a certain level of consciousness, change of the right sort can take place.

One of the most unfortunately run social events I have experienced

We decided to go on impulse to the local Valley Arts Centre meeting which had as its subject a talk by a BBC wildlife producer, and the young lady dubbed  Bird Girl who due to very fortunate parents with plenty of time and money to spare had introduced her to wildlife around the world. At the age of 16 she is probably a more traveled person than most adults. Surely a treat which for the most part it was.

Anyway, here is the story. Before I start, I have been corrected in that the Valley Arts group hired out the venue to another party.   I am aware that this is a very local institution and every area has its own culture micro climate so to speak.  I should also add that the atmosphere between the people in the crowded hall was very good and everyone was chatting and catching up on their news so nothing wrong with that.

We entered the village hall, a fine enough building, and there sat a young lady of about 16 seated at a table with a list. I gave my name but she did not even bother to look at the list and just asked if we had paid. This is all very fine but if someone had come in who had not paid all they had to do was say yes. I do agree that people in this part of the world do not lie, and most people are well known, but to put an untrained in charge of the reception and possibly money seems little bit irresponsible to me.

The ticket that we received gave no mention of starting time, for example 7 PM for 7:30 PM.  7:30 PM came and went. I quickly figured out that there was no effective chairman and the speakers were expected to do their own chairing. I did have a word with the speaker asking if there was a microphone. He said ‘no there wasn’t’ but he would try and speak up. I was thinking more of the young girl being heard in a very crowded hall, there being about 120 souls gathered there.  About 7:50, the event started. The BBC person introduced himself saying that the event would take place in three parts, first of all he would introduce himself then Bird girl, then he would speak for about an hour. Still no sign of a chairman or organiser.

The first part of the presentation went well enough. The only problem was a two-year-old child that insisted on running around the place with squeaky shoes. I suppose people tolerated it as they had to. The parents seemed not to be able to control their child save occasionally speaking to him and carrying him around.  They don’t call them the ‘terrible twos’ for nothing. He was impervious to being told off so some of the other adults tried to calm him down with limited success.

There then followed an interval of about 20 min when people went to the bar for service and were also offered bread and cheese plates where they helped themselves and put the money in a beer jar.  During this time, there was a young lady of Indian descent who tried to make some announcements but since she had no microphone, and she didn’t have a very strong voice, most people could not hear what she had to say. I have to say, these appeared sophisticated people and has no one’s thought of buying a microphone so that speakers can actually be heard? It really beggars belief.

Anyway along came Mya ~Rose AKA Bird girl and spoke. She is 16 years old and is from Compton Martin where the talk was taking place. She was interesting enough, humorous and humble, and showed some slides going back over a period of 10 years or more. The talk was well received. During the event she was assailed by a cough. The lady of Indian origin was at the front and simply stared at her. There was no connection in her mind between a cough from the speaker and the need for a glass of water so eventually the speaker had to ask for one which eventually arrived.

After her speech, there was a raffle. Once again there was no microphone so the draw could hardly be heard above the hubbub of conversation as people were at the bar and consuming the bread and cheese meals. It reminded me of the long intervals at the Royal Opera House in London.

After a further 20 minutes, the BBC chap then spoke for an hour, interestingly and amusingly, about various places in the world he had visited. The evening ended at about 10:30 PM. I noticed that before he spoke, a dozen or so people left, fair enough dark rainy night – they probably wanted to get home in good time.

It would have been such a difference if there had been chairman, and microphone, and some discipline. If you start the meeting half an hour late, and there are 100 people there you’re wasting 15 man hours. I know the timing isn’t everything but isn’t it just plain good manners to start on time if people had taken the trouble to turn up. Everyone was in place by 7.30pm  and as time went on I noticed that the BBC chap was running around asking if he could start. The woman apparently in charge confined herself to smiling and running around.

Incidentally, when I arrived, I asked behind the bar if the person who signed the invitations, Geraldine Hill – Male, was the person I think. I wanted to greet her because we didn’t know anybody. The young lady was nice enough but had no clue who I was talking about.

I suspect there are some politics behind the scenes because there was an lack of teamwork and the sort of basic corporation and courtesy you afford to speakers.

I invite others who plan evenings to stick to basic rules of procedure and courtesy. . They are not difficult. Advance planning, making sure suitable people are at their workstations, all technical equipment bought along just in case, above all, timekeeping. It makes a huge difference to an evening.

I could sign myself, ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ but that would date me so let us leave it at that 🙁   I have sent this to the people concerned so they have a right of reply but I’m not holding my breath.

*****

On another topic entirely, I’m totally embarrassed that us Brits are apparently so indifferent to the wasting of billions of pounds of taxpayers money that could be used to pay nurses, police, doctors, public servants in general. I hope that this White elephants of all white elephants will soon be disbanded.

 

a visit to Shepton Mallet

It seems a long time since I wrote my last post.  We have been busy with tempestuous weather plus running our lives in the normal way, and I have become very interested in adopting a carnivore diet. This is basically meat and water – various forms of meat including chicken, beef, pork. There are some people, did you know, who live exclusively on meat and are healthy.

If you are interested in your own health you might like to see an article by Kevin Stock called health dangers of a plant-based diet

The real killer article is actually a piece written by Kevin called ” The ultimate thirty-day guide to going full Carnivore” or the site itself meat.health

So I went off to the local butchers to buy sizeable quantities of bacon, cubes of beef, a side of beef which I cooked and froze. The person who recommended me said that I should start the morning with eating meat and if I do it properly I will not be hungry again until 4 PM. I’ve only been on this diet now for three days and I find that what she says is correct. I have abandoned milk, most vegetables, Coffee and definitely alcohol. Alcohol produces sugar which sooner or later inflames the intestine. So, time will tell.

*****

Off we went to Shepton Mallet on a day interposed with sunny periods and showers.  Our main source of entertainment was a small coffee shop run by a fairly eccentric couple. It might as well be the local branch of the Labour Party. It is very much a family affair. Everyone who goes in there is known and cared for and everyone teases everyone. This is a picture of the Austrian owner. His English wife is making coffee.I started chatting with a man sitting next to us called Anthony who is a member of the local Labour Party.  Apparently he is a Francophile but could not detect Francoise’s very obvious French accent so we teased him about that.  It turned out he was a very interesting chap a musician. He had met David Bowie before he was famous. During the conversation between him and David, a young lady came in asking him for an autograph. She raised her sweater and asked him to sign on her chest – as one does. What a lovely story. He did sign by the way.

We also chatted on the topic of the impartiality of the BBC, appearance versus reality and realised that the BBC News had a lot to answer for. He was 28 years in the air force and was one of those sent by Mrs Thatcher to the Falkland Islands. My policy when going out is to talk to absolutely everyone and not make any assumptions. Everyone has their story.

a feature in the window of an antique shop.

Allotments do not look very beautiful at this time of year but the majority of the plots here need some attention to prepare themselves for sowing in a couple of months.

A memorial to the fallen of World War I in the Park in the middle of Shepton Mallet.  detail below.in spite of the rain and the cold, a pleasant day. This evening, off to a talk by one of the BBC nature people and a young lady called Bird girl.

 


 

Winter visits us

two of our animals keeping watch for burglars and generally keeping the house safe

I’m on a new course of mitochondria repair. It involves taking six tablets twice a day. The technique is supposed to reverse the effect of ageing,  to reverse the state of health that started to degrade when we were 16 years of age or thereabouts.   I have no idea if it will work but I tend to trust the professional person who told me about the medication and therefore from whom I made the investment (about £250 for a two month course).

So, last Friday the snow came as the temperatures plummeted. I won’t use this term in the same breath as the Chicago phenomenon of -40°C Low, a phenomenon that I’m deeply suspicious of. Man made?  Who knows?

I went for a walk yesterday morning in the lovely crisp sunlight but the conditions were so difficult that I had to concentrate almost full-time on not falling over. Francoise had bought some spikes which helped her to negotiate the ice with dexterity and it was me who almost acted like an old man stumbling and walking slowly.

We decided to go into hibernation. Last night we went to bed early, at about 10 o’clock, and I slept through until eight o’clock in the morning which is a phenomenal amount of time for me to stay still. Actually, there was nothing much to get up for. My local church service had been cancelled due to the weather, very wise as it turned out so why not stay in a warm bed and drift into the arms of Morpheus.

Around lunchtime we listened to Jacob Rees Mogg our local MP being grilled by the BBC who tried to make out but there was a connection between a car company not building any more cars here and Brexit. The presenter of the World at One did his best to interject and interrupt the MPs thoughts but to no avail. Rees Mogg pointed out that there were other problems apart from Brexit, for example that the chief of the car company was languishing in jail because he had understated his income. I admire the interviewee for not losing his cool.

If I ever get into a position when my words are listened to in public I will not let the BBC anywhere near a press conference. I shall tell them that they are expert at disguising their Marxist philosophy as objective news and presenting it to the public in this form. They have done
untold damage this country, and get paid millions by the government to carry on in this way. Thanks again David Sedgwick for bringing all this into focus in your book as mentioned in my last diary entry.

There is a lot to be said for hibernating in the winter. Animals do it and recover perfectly well, what is it about man that thinks he is indispensable on 24/7 basis all the time ‘doing’ things. Why not have a period of not doing anything? The point is that while you’re alive the brain is working and it is impossible to do nothing. You may be processing information or repairing yourself. The brain being the ultimate relational database loves to process things, and for all you know you may wake up from the hibernation wiser than when you went into it.

Just a thought.

I’m meditating on the problem at the moment of a very good professional friend of mine who has an employee that has lost momentum. Because I have the ability of going back in time with my mind and seeing how they were letter say six months ago, I can track patterns in behaviour and motive. I really want to share this with my friend but can do nothing if there is resistance. I agree that people such as myself should wait to be asked but if a person is not aware what you can do then they will not know to ask. the normal reaction to offering help is defensiveness so I guess the only time to be able to help is when someone is ready.