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a man with no passport

This is overlooking Ilfracombe. There is a path that goes all along the coast. Although distances look insignificant when you see them on a  map it can take you 30 minutes to go from one small feature into another. This is us after about half an hour walking. When I say ‘us’ I mean the view of the town.

We took it easy and visited an adjacent collection of holiday chalets. Costs are quite stratospheric in the high season but you can get a week’s stay for between £600 and £700, extra if you want a Jacuzzi. I am disenchanted by seeing advertisements for free Wi-Fi because I don’t particularly want to get frazzled while I sleep.It is bad enough using my computer for writing these diaries.

We returned to the town and decided to pop into a local pub where I met a chap who worked in the agricultural industry in Lincolnshire. This is the cereal capital of England. We stayed there once in August and day and night the harvesting machines were in action. The chap who I was speaking to was preparing for his time over the season where he worked from 6 AM to 10 PM seven days a week. He had no interest in going abroad, did not even have a passport, and knew more about the UK then most of us and said they hadn’t explored more than a small portion of it. I could resonate with him in that I’m fed up with airport queues, being searched for non-existent contraband items, and having to have a holiday when you get back from holiday because of the stress.  We had a very entertaining half-hour or so exchanging stories and then off we went on our separate ways.

In the afternoon we saw a wonderful film called Fisherman’s friend which was a film made in Cornwall, a feelgood film, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

In the hotel, no bingo or entertainment. A few people already left because they had a two night deal because they had to get back to work (you pay £10 for an extra night).   I was quite happy to sit reading. Tomorrow morning, Monday, we shall try and make as much use of the day as possible by visiting features of the way home. I’m glad to say that the weather forecast is good.

off to Westward Ho! – argument at a bingo game

The weather showed signs of being halfway decent with most of the mist gone so after a very large breakfast – I try to eat enough to keep me going for most of the day – we caught the No. 21 bus from Ilfracombe to Westward Ho! The latter is the only place name in the UK with an exclamation mark attached.

Two blue rinse ladies on the bus. they were most entertaining and we talked to them for most of the time about everything under the sun (not Brexit though)

As is the case on a rocky and undulating coastline, it can take you for ever to go from A to B even though as the crow flies it would be 12.6 miles in this case. We had to go via Barnstaple where there is a railhead to Exeter which forms the main line from London to Penzance. The bus took one hour 50 minutes. When I heard this I groaned, but as we were to discover, there is in fact an enormous amount of variety in the scenery not to mention the entertaining people that get on and off.  There is no question that Devonians are a chatty lot and when you get on a bus you nod to the person by way of greeting.

Westward Ho! Is definitely a seasonal town. It must be ghastly in the rain and cold of winter. But, witness the hundreds of caravans and apartments facing the sea, it is very popular in summer. This is not surprising with the most amazing beach of sand, waves for budding surfers, a golf course adjacent and lots of good quality fish and chip and cake shops. After having gone for a walk in a westerly direction and returning we noticed a crowd of people. On moving closer we heard some music and realised that we had timed our arrival perfectly. This was the beginning of a rock ‘n’ roll concert. I’m enclosing two clips here from YouTube. There would be one clip but I haven’t yet figured out how to combine to into one.

The weather could have been a bit less windy and a couple of degrees warmer but it was a lovely day nevertheless and the rock ‘n’ roll people were so happy as you see from the videos.

People were in a holiday mood . I struck up conversations with at least half a dozen people and had a good and humour filled response.

Off to catch the bus and made it in time for supper. Unfortunately buses carry Wi-Fi and advertise it as a ‘bonus’. I am unfortunately electrosensitive and suffered very much in terms of prickles and headaches and pain that does not go away so I had to endure another two hours of this on the bus. The human body is not designed to cope with electromagnetic fields not to mention the dreadful 5G that is coming.

*****

After the supper there was an entertainer and a bingo session. We arrived after the others and sat in a corner. After a time we were aware that there were four ladies talking over the performer and ignoring him altogether. Their husbands were watching not saying anything. I found their behaviour offensive and insensitive to the other people there. Of course I could have moved away but that seemed rather cowardly so I went up to the most vociferous lady and explained that I could not hear what was going on and could they please keep the noise down. They were Yorkshire people. Bravado was the order of the day.

Surprise surprise they went on the attack and asked what the matter was with me. The lady said to me that ‘you better talk to our husbands then’. I suppose she thought I would be intimidated by the fairly large gentleman who were sitting mute watching the performance. That was a mistake on her part. The men turned round to me and asked if I was deaf because they could hear what was going on perfectly well. For some minutes there were mutterings and glances at me but I could see that I had hit home; for 10 minutes anyway they kept their voices down. The problem solved itself when two of the ladies departed but not before they had talked over the bingo caller which is something you never do. I think some people are just born insensitive and the world must revolve around them. That’s not my way of thinking. I could have said some more but I decided not to push it otherwise I might have got a thump. I could have won prizes of £15, £20, and £31 on the three bingo games that I decided to let someone else win.

And so to bed. I find that in some hotels, the mattresses are very firm indeed and I get sore hips. I spoke to a nice member of staff who agreed to put two extra layers underneath the duvet and the problem was solved. I gave her a tip. I’m not so sure how many people give tips after three nights because it is too short to form a bond and that is if you ever see the person at all. However, that’s not my business what people do.

A long weekend in North Devon

The journey from Midsomer Norton to Ilfracombe in North Devon is less than 100 miles (actually 97.3 ) but actually takes three hours because you maintain – if you are lucky – an average speed of 30 miles an hour give or take an allowance for the odd caravan.  I forgot that we were passing Hinkley point country, the massive white elephant that will deliver electricity to us for the bargain £900 a megawatt. Evidence can be seen of the size of this venture with coaches going to and fro taking workers from park-and-ride places or the caravans where they live. The structure itself can be easily seen 20 miles away.

We stopped off at a decent upmarket cafe plus health shop on the ground floor and a restaurant upstairs. I was amused to see a milk churn with cow skin on the top.

We are both fairly thrifty by nature and I don’t think this is going to be an expensive holiday or should I say long weekend. Nevertheless, teas, cakes, coffee, all the extras you tend to buy do mount up. I think the most expensive city in the world is Hong Kong so North Devon comes a long way short of that. It is a county that survives on tourism for the most part. Property prices reflect the popularity of the seaside towns.

We stopped off at Watersmeet intending to visit it on our return journey (see diary entry for next Monday). The season had not yet started so many of the facilities are still closed and that included the delightful restaurant further up the valley so we decided to leave it and I made a few photographs.We popped down into Lynmouth. This was the town that was flooded out in 1952 by what one local described as an unnatural rainstorm. It was in fact the result of cloud seeding experiments by the Royal Air Force but we better not go there. In the town are the usual selection of gift shops and gimmicks.

A rather unusual advert for a restaurant but certainly an eyecatcher
definitely an area of individualists

For some reason, there was a lot of sea mist so we could hardly see the features of the town never mind of the sea. Annoyingly, local people told us that the weather up till today Friday had been excellent and up to 17°C. Thanks very much for telling us.

And so to the hotel. Shearings is the Hotel group based in Yorkshire and you can be sure that at least a third of the people who are staying will be from Yorkshire. They provide cheap and cheerful half-board accommodation with very good breakfasts buffet style, (come to think of it, what other style is there these days) and an evening meal where the portions are exactly calculated according to the age and the appetite of the average customer. The hotel charges five pounds a night for parking but if you are clever and it is out of season you will normally find somewhere to leave your car. We enjoy free local bus transport so we don’t bother to drive around. Anyway you have always got to deal with a problem in small seaside resorts of finding a space without the dreaded double white line. Car parks can be up to a pound an hour in the more popular spots.

We are paying the grand sum of £69 per person for three nights bed and breakfast and evening meal. There are two shifts. The weekend shift  arrives Friday afternoon and leaves Monday morning, and the slightly more expensive shift arriving Monday afternoon and leaving Friday morning. If you contrast this with the rack rate, in other words what you would pay if you walked in the door and asked for a room you will notice a substantial difference.

So, people.  If you had been unwise enough to turn up and asked for three days you would have paid £359 for bed and breakfast only,  having to find your own resources for supper so add another £50 for three suppers I would say. Contrast that with £138 for the two of us and I leave that thought with you. I’m slipping into Trip Adviser mode here. The food is not haut cuisine but it will suffice and you get a nice comfortable quiet room. This hotel was two hotels knocked into one, a common feature of Bay Hotels. The floors were a bit creaky but then who cares really. It was clean and adequate

the pace of life quickens

First, an item you will not expect,  possibly the worst baked bread ever, possibly arising from a fault in the bread making machine. When I tapped it, there was a slightly hollow sound about it and when we cut the first slice we realised why. Stun horror shock.  The brilliant thing about bread making is that it is cheap to experiment with loaves. All the ingredients are about £0.60 UK

I don’t know whether it’s the sun or the temperature but everything is livening up.  We had a lovely day yesterday doing two gardening jobs both involving cleaning. One with decking and another with stone. I find cleaning with a pressure hose particularly satisfying and so does Francoise. The first one was a small garden in Stratton on the Fosse. My car has a long wheelbase and it is very difficult to get into some drives. Well, the getting in is not difficult, it is the reversing.

We cannot help our neighbours and the people next door described as ‘the nicest people in the world but who make a terrible mess’ were the neighbours of my first customer. In order to reverse the car out – I have a Volvo V70 with a very long wheelbase – We have to move all sorts of bits and pieces such as tins of paint, hosepipes etc. to get out. The customer’s dog sat calmly through the whole thing.

The next job involved cleaning about 300 paving stones. You will not believe it but although these stones are mass produced, there are no two stones the same. They are not laid in the order that they are produced so could be from different batches. Each one has to cope with different wind speeds and what the wind brings in terms of dust etc, exposure to the rain, and most importantly plants and trees overhanging them which secrete a variety of chemicals.

You can have black mould, green mould, stains, and each one has to be treated in a different way.  If you’re really good you can clean each stone in about one minute. We took four hours working continuously one-on-one off with the cleaning machine being on all the time. It’s nice to get paid for what you enjoy doing because it doesn’t seem like work and if you want to really get esoteric about this, if you’re working with nature it charges you up as you go without getting tired. I’m not talking about aching joints, I’m talking about fatigue.   It does help if you are working for yourself and you know there’s money in your pocket after you finish the job.

Today I’m winding down as we off to Ilfracombe tomorrow and we will be leaving the house in the capable caring hands of our friends. I shall be glad to get away from the computer which does affect me after a time. Over 26,000 scientific papers had been written on the subject of electromagnetic fields and their deleterious effect on the body particularly carcinogenic. Strangely the companies who stand to make money  either not taken any notice of this, or know about it and hope that they will make their money with signed contracts before the public wakes up. The industry will start taking notice when their own children get cancer of the brain or are infertile but by that time it will be too late.

This evening I’m going to a meeting in Glastonbury Town Hall on the subject of 5G. I wonder what the public awareness will be.

A stoic contact

I renewed acquaintance with Barry, an affable chap I met at a talk on 5G a couple of weeks ago. We seemed to be on the same wavelength. He described himself as a stoic.

there is believe it or not a website called dailyStoic.com

Stoicism goes back to Greek philosophy and claims that the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain. His social behaviour did not quite fit with this.  He said that he does not bother to talk with people about important things, 5G included never mind 911 because they immediately marginalise and dismiss him.

I countered with the possibility that he was probably being drained through their negative attitudes; he would be quite happy to speak about his chosen subjects with those who were on his wavelength. The more I go on, the more I realise it’s a question of wavelength. Barry is Irish, he grew up under the Catholic influence and became an evangelical Christian and now seems to have turned into a humanist, a pagan, an enthusiast for nature and natural ways of doing things. It is nice finding that someone who has had a parallel life to yourself. I told him I had decided to live my life in reverse because my teen years was so dreadful that I decided to live them at the other end of my life –  so here I am at 74 years of age going on 18.

He spoke about one of my websites, giving useful advice,  and we decided to meet again.

*****

I went to see two clients today, two new potential gardening jobs. The first one was to clean some decking which unfortunately had been painted with plastic -based paint which was the worst of all worlds for the wood. I have to mow the lawn and I have to remove a large antenna.

The second job was a bungalow where they were paving stones to the front, side and back end due to the activity of the wind, the paving stones on the side were stained. I gave quotes for both jobs and had them accepted.

I sometimes wonder whether I charge too little.  You have to estimate how much you think people can manage. If someone is on a pension anything above £100 is too much and yet many people retire on good pensions especially round here and they have plenty of money for holidays and so on so I can charge them a realistic amount without problems.

I have a rule as I said before that I never work for unpleasant people and I do stick to it.

this may look grim but the soil is good and was cultivated with love over the years by the husband, now deceased, Two or three people could clear this within the hour.

Francoise works on Monday for age UK. She met a woman whose garden had deteriorated after the death of a husband and said she would be quite glad for someone to come and work it. We went round to see her and we said that in return for the person using the space – which was currently doing nothing except supporting weeds –  she would receive vegetables from time to time. So it’s bartering. The amount of space was 42 m² plus a glasshouse so that would be enough for most people.  I love the idea of people fully utilising the gardens of their property and I’ve made a note on my ever-growing list of useful social projects.

Spring arrives in full glory in Somerset – pictorial diary

I awoke early, about 7:30 AM, to find a bright blue sky with no clouds. We have not been to our regular haunt for many months, the famous Cheddar Car Boot event, which is open every Sunday rain or shine as they say. Having said that, it’s much more fun and more interesting to go when it is not raining so you can see some of the hundreds of tables laid out with people trying to get rid of their unwanted goods of all types. It takes about an hour to go up and down the rows in the very large field and you just never know when something might take your fancy.

I bought a large pot of honey similar to that which I bought about nine months ago. That cost £10. I bought a large plank of wood for £2 and some small planks of wood for £1. I bought four very generous slices of sirloin pork for £10. We always go with the intention of not buying anything ‘this time’ but we always do.

endless opportunities to pick up a bargain for a pound or two. Beware buying electrical equipment or anything you cannot try beforehand.
plenty of bric-a-brac here
I can’t remember when I last saw such machines

To the nearby garden centre where spring is coming along in a most colourful fashion. It is about 300 m east of the car boot sale and worth a visit even for just strolling around to see the glories that nature produces.

To my favourite pub, the cider barn, presided over by Jason. I broke my normal rule and had some 7.4% cider which cost £3.50. This  an outstanding place with character  like something out of the Wild West, or the backwoods of Australia.

To Sweets Tea Rooms somewhat south of Westhay. If you are a fan of the Somerset Levels then do not delay,,set your GPS to BS28 4UE. The cafe etc is about 200 m south of where you get guided to. Light hot food, excellent cakes and coffee and yes there is a secret museum next door.

To the adjacent arts and crafts centre where many fine and inexpensive works were for sale.

To the nature reserve which is about half a mile down the road and yes you can park by the canal.

And so, homeward bound, 21.4 miles and 45 min with no traffic jam in sight. If anyone is reading this who lives in cities, you can’t beat the countryside. There are more human beings per square mile than in cities. Nature is a wonderful healer and calmer down.

scarifying not sacrificing a lawn; a delightful display of spontaneity

There are some words which had me reaching for an etymological dictionary to find out their origin. Scarifying has a number of meanings. In surgery, it is to make tiny punctures or superficial incisions in the skin or other tissue. In agriculture, it’s breaking up and listening soil or scratching and upgrading the outer surface of seeds to increase water absorption or hasten germination. Finally, to scarify someone is to wound them with harsh criticism.

This was not in my mind when I was called yesterday morning by someone who was very keen to have their garden tidied up. We arrived to find a fairly modern three-bedroom house on a new estate which was apparently immaculate. The lawn had just been mown, the borders were neat and tidy and I wondered what we had to do. The owner explained that he was concerned about moss on the lawn and felt that before you put some fertiliser and muscular on it would be better to seek someone who knew more than he did on the subject.

Long’s scarification consists of using a machine not unlike a lawnmower which consists of revolving tines which will throw out the moss and enable the grass to grow without loss of light and nutrition. The area of the lawn – which was about 6 m x 6 m give or take – needed attention we turned up this morning at nine o’clock. The whole thing took us two hours to do with Francoise doing the weeding jobs in the side bed.

you would not think that such an apparently small area would take two hours but you have to go through every square metre four or five times

I have my doubts that there would be too much moisture on the ground and that the tines would tear but the sun came out, the breeze seemed to drive the lawn somewhat and we proceeded without problem. If anyone wants to have a go at scarifying I warn you that the lawn will look awful afterwards but three weeks later it will have recovered because the lawn itself will have enough light and will not have to share its moisture requirements with a parasitic partner.  it is a good thing to use this clarify in two directions along and crosswise. This will result in a more thorough removal of the dead grass and moss. The customer paid me by his mobile phone by bank transfer. This certainly saved me going to the post office to pay the money in, and it arrived directly into my account. he showed me the green ti

*****

We decided to go and have a drink at the local pub. After chatting with the landlord we sat down to have a quiet rest. Three people came in, followed by a friend who was waxing enthusiastic about his cooking efforts. He informed everyone that he absolutely loved food and he told us about his first efforts at Toad in the Hole and other efforts cooking chicken. What I loved about him was his extrovert nature and his childlike joy in sharing cooking. He came over to us without prompting and showed us pictures on his iPhone. Never mind that he never met us before, his enthusiasm was infectious and we responded accordingly. His name, in case you hadn’t guessed, was Jack Wills

 

 

Gardening clients – the good the bad and the ugly

I deal with a lot of customers and potential customers for my gardening work and have done so over many years. My experience is that if the first communication is fractious or shows signs of disharmony it will carry on like that. It is better to withdraw straightaway if only for self protection.    As a rule of thumb, the people most difficult to deal with are those without a sense of humour.  This week I had a refreshing experience in that I had dealings with a very pleasant man who happened to live close by.

Most people have not got around to thinking about their gardens but yesterday morning, Wednesday, I had a telephone message from a very gentle sounding chap who needed my help the next day. I discovered that he was going to sell his house and the photographer was going to come round at 2 PM.  Photographers are special beings that succeed in making properties bigger than they are, or more attractive than they are in real life. I am told that prospective buyers spend about 10 seconds looking at the garden, their main concern is the condition of the house and the number of bedrooms and so on.

However, for the website, it is good to have an attractive garden. It does not increase the sale price but I believe it helps a property to go quicker. Here are before and after photographs.

The idea is to open up the garden and make it hopeful. The main feature of the garden is its privacy. It is totally unsuitable for vegetable growing or indeed flowers but as a refuge it’s great so this has to the made clear. I think this house will suit a couple with children who can allow them to play in safety. The house faces a main road. It has five bedrooms, two in the attic, so it should fetch a fair price. It was bought 37 years ago so the very nice retired occulist householder and his retired lawyer wife should have no difficulty in selling. They are hoping to retire to Pewsey in Wiltshire to be nearer the family.

We had a very nice chat both during and after the job and he was definitely the sort of person that it would be nice to sit down in a pub with and have a few beers. Nice people are around but it’s a question of identifying them and establishing the context for a meaningful meeting.

The job took us eight man hours and involved the equivalent of six large bags of spoil. The fun and suitability factor was 9/10 but it was hard work. Hedges can be a pain because to reach to the backend of a tall example is almost impossible and sometimes the hedges reach a stage where they are more suited to the attentions of arboretist  rather than a gardener.

We celebrated the finish of the job by going to Wetherspoon’s for a breakfast. I like the fact that for less than a fiver you can have a halfway decent cooked breakfast and unlimited tea or coffee.

Spring solstice in Glastonbury + another unexpected revelation

Each and every time I visit Chalice Well I always come away with an unexpected blessing. This happened in two parts. I met a lady who I last met two years ago called Elizabeth Lovely and she is indeed true to her name. I picked up where I had left off when we last met her, which was at a creative writing group in Bath. She is in the habit of taking people on trips to Morocco and is currently doing creative poetry one-to-one as a therapeutic tool. I love the fact that when people are on the same wavelength, the time apart does not matter. There is a deep knowing which is independent of the left brain.

it is lovely to hear the sound of the birds, so often we may get to this by the artificial sounds of traffic.

Here follow a number of images of my visit to Chalice Well during which I learned a profound lesson and also images of our traditional wander around the town of Glastonbury after the various celebrations and festivals.

I went to the small stream that comes down from the drinking water associated with the well itself. A lady was talking about these crystals which were in the running water and mentioned something to do with intergalactic travel via the mind.The lady had also designed her own tarot-type cards. There are examples below.  This place, Chalice Well,  is very special in the United Kingdom. Anyone can come out with any ideas and they are listened to with respect. It is as good a spiritual cleanse as you can hope for.

the conversation that I had was as way out as anything you could imagine but during the conversation I received a revelation which I did not expect. I realise that if you found the right place in the universe where your soul should ideally be sitting to work out its karma and fulfill its purpose, then you possess everything and you possess nothing. In other words, you become the ultimate cool person, the person with nothing to prove, the person who doesn’t need to make a statement. I wonder how many of us hover around the point without actually having the courage to be vulnerable and admit this is where we should be.

The other important point is that I do not always know consciously what I knew underneath unless I am in the right place at the right time. In other words people open to what I might say. This shows me beyond any doubt the value of conversation in being a therapeutic and teaching tool. You will start a conversation which has one apparent starting point and end up somewhere else and this is the idea of communication which spectacularly fails for the most part on virtual communication where people text messages to each other.The next group of images are examples of my walking around the town. They are not meant to make a point, just things I saw, liked and photographed.

A very lively noticeboard in the information bureau just adjacent to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey

Attitudes to nakedness at a therapy session

This morning I went off to give my lawnmower an outing after three months without work; it spluttered to life at the 10th attempt. I mowed the central avenue in our allotment. (below)

I have just been for an acupuncture session to unlock numerous points around the shoulders which was so tight that it felt like they had been that way for years. I also found that after my accident over two years ago when I broke six ribs that the ribs themselves had healed but not quite in symmetry and so the muscles between the ribs were mis-aligned so this had to be dealt with as well.

I asked My acupuncturist how it was when treating women. Were they shy? He said that the older women were quite good and appropriate in their behaviour but the younger women had no inhibitions about taking all their clothes off even when that was not a .requirement. He told me that the therapists were worst at this. He did not feel it was fair on him since he would be distracted by for example large breasts or other appurtenances.

He told me that even men strip off when they don’t have to. I would certainly not do that unless it was necessary for example in the case of a medical examination. I remember that in the 1960s everybody stripped off and had sex and thought nothing of it and there were the most outrageous therapies but now I thought things had settled down a bit and I thought people were perhaps a little bit more modest but I’m obviously out of touch. My acupuncturist tells people to keep covered up at least as far as necessary while he gives his excellent two hours worth of systematic and gentle treatment.

Maybe it is a cultural thing. I know that Germans have to be persuaded to keep their clothes on especially when playing sports outdoors. Frankly, I find the average human being very attractive what with the floppy bits and wobbly bits I think I’d rather see people clothed. In Scandinavian countries everyone has saunas together in the nude the boss and the employee. Again, I don’t get it.

He warned me that I would feel whacked due to the change of energies. In other words if a meridian is blocked, energy cannot flow in the way that it is designed and a lot of energy goes to compensating for this. When people come to me for treatment, I advise that they do not engage in any social activity or drinking in particular and have a quiet evening in order that the body may be given time to adjust itself.

The day of the grand bonfire

For tens of thousands of years, we sat around fires enjoying the heat, the fact that wild animals were kept at bay, and that we had the means of cooking the food that we caught a few hours before. I’m sure this sits deeply somewhere in DNA. Today we had our allotment annual bonfire which basically burns up all the wood, rotten or otherwise, that is not required. We include pallets, weeds, anything that people don’t want to take to the dump and even the odd plastic bottle.

There is something about sitting in the warmth of a fire which is totally different from sitting in front of a radiator which may give precisely the same temperature The heat is different with a real fire, more comforting and more nurturing. I think if everyone contacted nature on a more regular basis, there would be far fewer admissions to psychiatric hospitals, far fewer dependency on so-called antidepressants which actually have addictive side-effects.

The body manufactures up to 2200 chemicals which can sustain us fully in her attempt to live a full life and why we need to rely upon pharmaceuticals when nature can supply everything we need is a mystery to me. I enclose a few photographs of our famous bonfire on our allotment and can only state in writing the joy and pleasure that half a dozen of us got out of creating the bonfire and nurturing it. As one person said, I haven’t done this since I was a child.

3pm at start (above)  27 minutes later (below)

16.21 (above)   16:25 (below)The morning after. 100% burn. Only bits of metal left.There were six or seven of us and it was a real time of fellowship. I’m convinced that this is the best way of getting people to relax, enjoy themselves and communicate.

Albert Einstein + another closed business in Midsomer

I thought we start off on a profound note. It is interesting that nature has been around for millions of years before humankind appeared on the planet, and it will be around for millions of years after we have destroyed ourselves /  left the planet so surely there are one or two lessons that can be learnt.

I went to Wetherspoons again for breakfast today. A full English breakfast and bottomless cup of coffee or tea costs £4.70 which is not robbery in anyone’s language and the food arrives lightning quick. I’m accustomed to see a man sitting in a certain seat.  He buys two newspapers and always has a pint of beer but to hand. I discovered him sitting in a different seat and asked him in my normal jovial manner why he had changed seats. He told me that someone had had the temerity to sit in his seat and I said that he should have a special permanent reserved sign because he’s there so often, I think every day actually.

Two posters drew my attention on this rather rainy morning. I have featured over the months sample photographs for making volunteering attractive. This one is to work in a charity shop for Dorothy House, a local charity of great repute. They have solved it by highlighting how you can sharpen your skills which could eventually be used for something else – or so the implication goes.

This is sad. It is very difficult to make money unless you are in a very good position in the high Street. This one took over from another shop. This looks like a legal notice but it is not, because it is undated. The top one says that there will be redecoration and grand reopening. The second one says that the Establishment is closed.

We have about eight charity shops in the high Street. I must count them when I next go. So long as we have the banks, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and a sprinkling of takeaway restaurants, two bakers we will survive. Two banks have closed in recent times. We have only lost one cash machine. The Post Office has located into a smaller unit so I think that is fairly safe. One or two pubs are struggling but then some would say that there are more than enough of them and what’s with Brexit and so on people are thinking twice about spending their money.

This evening I’m going to Bradford – on – Avon to give a brief talk on 5G. A local doctor, Dr Tressider, Mark Steele (Campaigner against 5G) and myself will be speaking. I guess that by the time I get back at 11 o’clock this evening I will be too tired to write a diary so that will have to wait until tomorrow. You never know what adrenaline does, however.

The wonderful English language

I hear and see  the English language being desecrated every day. I feel a bit disorientated today turns into ” I’m like er you know”. I don’t know why people go to the trouble of trying to form words when they would be far better off just grunting.

Today I went to my favourite  coffee and tea place in Midsomer Norton, the Green Shop,  for an oat slice and a latte. Helen who is one of the staff said she saw me ‘mooching around’. I was challenged to consider the etymology of the word mooch which I did not feel was flattering to say the least. Our language is such a mixture of other languages; Latin, German, French, Greek, and alas American of late so I decided to take this one word and consider what it applies to and what is its correct use.

I have included the original word and the synonyms in the order in which they have occurred to me.

Mooching – a definite link with idleness and purposelessness. we could say loiter in a bored or a listless manner. In America, mooching is a scrounger or beggar, someone who want something for nothing.

Loitering – definitely one worse on the scale As in “loitering with intent” or loitering around the toilet area. It is almost an indication of degeneracy

Sauntering – this is different from loitering or managing but in a subtle way stop it implies a casual attitude to life, not the life of a drifter but someone who doesn’t have a point to prove as when you “saunter into a room” or “let’s go for a quiet saunter down the road” meaning a leisurely stroll.

Creeping – who would trust a person who creeps around with a furtive look. Can the creeper avoid being called a creep? the person is probably moving slowly and carefully in order to avoid being heard or noticed. “I crept out of the room to avoid being detected”

Pacing – normally indicative of someone with a restless nature who paces incessantly, who paces up and down when they are thinking, who paces backwards and forwards in their cell

Wandering – we talk of wandering in the desert. we wander when we have lost our sense of purpose.  The Australians have this phrase walkabout which we don’t use here in the UK. Children can wander off and get lost but this is seldom a deliberate act, innocent and without malice.

Walking – this depends whether you are English or American. You can go for a walk. It is more common to walk in the country than in a town. the implication is that you move at a regular pace with some degree of discipline. There would certainly be an element of purpose for example “he walked her home to her door”.

On the other hand, you can tell someone to ‘take a walk’ in other words absent themselves from your presence because you have annoyed them. A walk in the park means a job or task that is very easy but it doesn’t have anything to do with parks or walking come to that. Taking a walk can be normally is more solitary activity where you take a walk to reconsider your position (you would never take a stroll reconsider your position)

You can of course walk your talk, or walk the boards but neither has much to do with putting 1 foot in front of another.

In America someone will ‘walk’ when they are freed from prison for example. It is nothing to do with “all walks of life” which has to do with our profession. Walking the plank? You only do this once.

Promenading – this is a stroll or walk but especially in a public place as important for display as for pleasure. The English Victorians were very prone to promenading. In fact promenade also means a place which can be used for such walking.

Jaunting – going for a jaunt sounds even more fun than walking. You would never go on a joint for any reason other than pleasure.

Strolling – the indication is that there is no time pressure and it is done almost with laziness but certainly not with the eye on the clock. if we say we’re going to take a stroll it has a different meaning from taking a walk. The latter is used in a pejorative or vocative if you’re telling someone to take a walk.

Lingering – waiting for something to happen or being unwilling to leave the scene of something because the necessary closure was not obtained. “I lingered at the scene and wondered how people could behave in such a way”. The word can however be a positive thing when you stop trying to do things all the time and not take life too seriously.

Hanging around – indicates lack of purpose that hanging out indicates a slightly more like a purpose in that you associate with people who have a similar attitude and lifestyle to yourself. You can of course let it all hang out which is what people did a lot of in the 1960s but this is drifting too far from our mooching

Gallivanting – a wonderful word which is the almost lack of control, going from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment for example quitting your job to go gallivanting around the globe.

Rain and wind

So we’re getting these continual fronts arriving from the Atlantic. We either have 40 mile an hour winds, lashing rain or a combination of both. This does not help me starting my gardening season this year. I’m itching to use my new lovely Rolls-Royce like strimmer.  The motor positively purrs, a lovely sound. It zips through work that took me much longer to do using other methods and other stimmers (I hate mains or battery ones) They are toys.

We spent most of the day sitting in front of our computers. I did go for a visit to the allotment as I am preparing a big burn of detritus , wood, brambles another material which accumulate on our allotments. Irrespective of the weather, we plan to have a bonfire on Sunday afternoon at 4 PM. In wet weather, the trick is to prepare the fire very well with a combination of four example paraffin,  firelighters, small pieces of wood, newspaper, so that it quickly gets up to a certain temperature and you can burn wet wood or organic materials without any difficulty. Part of me is a pyromaniac, and I love fires. I love the smell of them, I love preparing them, lighting them, having the satisfaction of leaving a white sheet of action knowing that everything has been consumed.

Tomorrow, we have high winds but also sunshine so I will attempt to do some gardening then.

A dismal day for politics. Our Prime Minister Teresa May was defeated by 150 on the Brexit matter, and even larger margin than last time but she still insists on trying to follow a path even if it appears that the country will suddenly collapse in its wake. I think the country, by that I mean the general public, has completely lost the trust of politicians and I think it is time for a major structural change. I don’t know what, but something needs to happen.

My MOT, a day on my allotments, a new strimmer

Today I feel very much like a hedgehog or a hibernating animal who wakes up slowly from the winter sleep. Admittedly I have been unwell for most of the time but today I feel a new strength and vitality. I do not think I have done anything to deserve this, it is something to do with the strength of the sun.

My 2001 Volvo V70  failed its MOT so today I took it back for repair. I have now got my MOT and although I have not collected the car yet I think the bill is about £120 + the MOT charge. My ABS braking system will have to be replaced at a cost almost equivalent to getting another car. Mine is worth about £450 at the moment so if the ABS Bill is £800 there is no point. I am attached to Volvos, not this particular model. This is a major point in buying a car, the cost of spares. The same goes for printers. You can get a inkjet printer for £25 but when a set of ink cartridges cost the same or more that’s when some thought has to be given.

Today, I went off and bought a new strimmer for the garden season. Basically, battery-powered or electric strimmers don’t really have the power needed to whip through a garden. This is my first petrol one. The problem with Chinese products is that they are very heavy and inelegant in design. Stihl products for top-quality and are designed for professionals with a price to match. My main difficulty with strimmers of all types is replacing the cord after it has worn out so I have bought the one which is easiest to service.

You can get petrol strimmers for £60 or £75 from the Internet but I decided to spend £180 and get a decent one. If I have any problem, It would be a 10 minute drive to the workshop to get my equipment fixed and you can’t do that on the Internet. This is particularly important if you’re halfway through a job and your equipment fails. My workshop will normally do it on the spot. For that, I’m happy to pay extra

As my readers know, I preside over my local allotments We have 60 happy plot holders, or at least I try to keep them happy, by giving them a good service. I signed up our latest plot holder today. Jacquie, for it is she, it has been dying to get out and have an allotment because she has a flat with no garden. It was my pleasure to give her the best plot in the place and introduce her around to one or two people. I think she will be a very happy tenant. I think allotments are under estimated as instruments of therapy and health. You are guaranteed a certain amount of social life, meeting other people, you can grow your own food without fertilisers and without chemicals if you wish and you can save a little money over buying stuff in the supermarkets and know that the quality is there. My new tenant has just paid about £24 per year for about 32 m² and you can grow much more than £24 worth of crops from that area.

Recently, I have come across two guaranteed therapeutic activities. The first is having an allotment and the second is having a therapeutic animal, perhaps a dog, to give you the love and care and attention that they are capable of. In the latter case I’m thinking of people in hospitals.

Mrs May is off to Strasbourg yet again as a prelude to her vote in the House of Commons tomorrow. The EU is being completely intransigent and Mrs May is being completely inflexible towards examination of the various alternatives for dynamic relationships with the European group. Tomorrow there is a vote and I think she will be voted down. What a mess.

Seeds for the garden and food for thought

It’s that time of year again, the annual seed share and buy event in Timsbury. It is around this time from 10 to 2 on a Saturday. We always attend. Early on in our visit we met a lady called Kitty who is very good at doing massage. She complained or should I say informed us that she’d been feeling very down and out these days, short of energy, body aches and pains and yet I observe she has a generally fit person who looks after herself.

You may know that I presided over one of the largest sites on electromagnetic fields on the planet, specialising in 5G and smart meters. Kitty was displaying one of the standard symptoms for those affected by electromagnetic fields. She is evidently sharing a house with somebody and she doesn’t have much money. My mind immediately jumped to the router as a cause of the problem. I asked her where it was and she told me it was in the living room, where she was living and working as a body worker.  I immediately said, “that is the reason that you’re feeling so out of sorts”. Instead of her saying how interesting that wasn’t thank you she completely denied it by saying that she takes full responsibility for her energies and after all electromagnetic fields are just another form of energy so she chooses to simply deny the fact that anything can affect her.

I pointed out that the human being is not designed to cope or handle electromagnetic fields in any form but this did not go down very well. Evidently, being affected by something is entirely due to her own consciousness and its level. Now she does have a point that you attract vibrations that you are resonating with but these fields are in another realm. This attitude comes from someone who is quite aware so this episode makes me wonder whether there is any hope of getting across to the vast majority of people who have no knowledge of this type of phenomena and think that mankind or humankind is just flesh and blood.

Anyway, I left her talking to Francoise and had a look at the potato stand where seeds were being sold at £.25 each which I thought was a little bit expensive for seed potatoes. We decided to go elsewhere. Anyway, we  enjoyed the show.

 

The man who sews his own shirts

One thing that is guaranteed is that the best things in life happen without premeditation or planning. When you plan something, there is no guarantee of success for example when you arrange a date, when you book a holiday, when you enter a restaurant, you are still taking a gamble that you were either enjoy the event or not enjoy the event.

Francoise and I decided to go to our old haunt, the Old Down Inn where mainly due to a diminution in drinking we had not been for some time about three months I think. She had some lovely fresh carp, and I had very tender roast beef for lunch.

On our return journey, we decided to pop into Midsomer Quilting, a place beloved of us for its friendliness especially the proprietor Chris and his wife. Coffee and biscuits are always on offer for which a donation is requested to Dorothy House. Chris was telling me how much he looks forward to coming to work each day and very much enjoys the fact that he and his company is well known throughout the world in the quilting community and people visit from America and Australia.

I love this clever and original quilting effort. The shadows are printed but the feet are selling on in a three-dimensional manner

We sat around and had a chat with the man who clearly had more than the average awareness. We asked him whether he did his own sewing and he said that he made his own shirt. He came back as the material because he got the measurements wrong , the left and right confused. He makes clothes for his model friends and will take on any challenge even though he doesn’t know how to make a particular item. He just looks it up in the Internet and gets the feel of what to do. In this picture he is explaining to Francoise the subtleties of how to lay the cloth to make it attractive.

He seemed to be a Buddhist by inclination and temperament, had been to Tibet and had all sorts of experiences. He lives in Glastonbury or just outside. I think if you want to meet people, you go to a place where creative people gather. It was just potluck that we started talking to him and we ended up at the same table at the same time. That’s the way things work.As a person who loves colour I enjoy walking around but Francoise is more deeply involved in myself and loves playing around.

The evening is turning into a dark, windy and rainy scenario. We were planning to go to the movies about a chap who climbs rocks without any gripes. It is called “free solo”. I’m sure it was a wonderful film but we felt far more like sitting in front of the fire and watching innocuous early evening TV.

I sent off a newsletter to all my people on the 5G mailing list. It was about Barrie Trower who is an indefatigable researcher and campaigner for added awareness into the dangers and damage of electromagnetic frequencies, microwaves, and the dreaded 5G which will kill us all. If you want to know who Barrie is, going to Youtube and type in Barrie Trower.  Be prepared to be seriously woken up.

Shrove Tuesday – pancake Day – eye appointment

And so back to normal. It took me a day to get used to being back at home so yesterday, Monday, was a write-off so far as any intellectual activity was concerned. I went off to my normal coffee morning to All Saints Paulton this morning to be reminded that it was Shrove Tuesday where in England we follow the pattern of cooking pancakes.

In case you didn’t know, Shrove Tuesday was named after the custom of Christians to be ” Shriven” before the start of Lent. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and parts of the Commonwealth, Shrove Tuesday is also known as “pancake Day” or “fatty Tuesday” as it became a traditional custom to eat pancakes as a whole meal.

I turned up at about 10:02 to find about two people there but by 10:20 the room was full and there were more people than there are at the average service. Not that there’s anything average about our congregation at the moment because we don’t have a priest so we get visiting priests to come in to administer communion from time to time.

*****

Off to the hospital for my regular eye examination and possible injection for wet macular degenerative disease. On this occasion I did not need an injection, but in case there are any of my readers who would like to know what actually happens I will describe it in detail.

You come into a room which is very much like an operating theatre, you lie face up on a standard operating table and are asked to confirm your name and date of birth and what you expect to happen. Since the effect of infection is potentially very damaging,  you get two or three washes with disinfecting substances on both eyes. Evidently the area most susceptible to retaining germs are the eyelashes. The said eyelashes are then moved aside and stuck to what is in effect a piece of transparent plaster with a slit in the middle where the eye ball is located and can be worked on.

When the injection is prepared you are asked to look either to your top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left, so that successive injections do not go in the same spot. You then feel a little pinprick followed by a display of psychedelic colours which float around the eye. The aim of this substance is to reduce the amount of water in the layers of the eye which is what causes a deterioration in close vision. This, by the way, is wet macular degeneration. For dry macular degeneration there is no cure so I am lucky to have the wet version. The Doctor then holds up fingers of their hand to ask how many fingers you can see.

When all is well, you then get off the table and are given a small bottle of antiseptic liquid to put on the eye when you get home, and then three times per day for the next two days. You then have to book the next appointment because the NHS offers treatment for this disease for as long as it is extant, it could be six monthly injections or it could be 666 monthly injections. There is no time limit.  I have learnt to be a good patient by for example putting my hands under my bottom during the procedure because once I without thinking touched my eye with my hand and she had to start the cleansing process again.

*****

As you may know, I always wander around the hospital to see what’s going on and so I enclose a few images of the images, advertisements, representations that I see.  They are in no particular order.

in one of the corridors, a city street with no soul.

in the children’s play area of the waiting room of the eye department.

A sobering notice. If 207 appointments are missed just imagine how much wasted money and resources there are. This is just one department of one hospital of the many hundreds of hospitals in the United Kingdom.

A nice clear advertisement with an unambiguous message.

A difficult topic, dementia, tackled with diplomacy and tact

The Avon River passes through Bath. Logs and branches frequently get caught on their way down river. This image is taken after a period of rain when the flood is higher.

The day of the dreaded endoscopy examination

As my regular readers will know I have suffered stomach trouble for some months now and to positively eliminate the possible role of the stomach including the lining in this I have had to have an endoscopy. There are two …..scopys one is a colonoscopy where you view your colon from bottom to top so to speak and the other one is an endo..scopy (endo = internal, within) where an examination apparatus is normally poked down your throat to see what is going on.

I last had this done two years ago and I was so traumatised by it that I started thrashing around and the examination had to be aborted. Somehow I cannot bear something or someone touching my throat so I had asked for a general anaesthetic which for some reason, a very good reason I’m sure, the hospital were unable to provide within the time frame that I had requested.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the consultants rang me to say that they had a new type of small endoscopy machine which could either be put down the throat through the mouth or through the nose. She said the patients had received very well so on the strength that I overcame my fears and agreed to have an appointment without general anaesthetic.

I presented myself at 1:30 PM, a good one hour 15 min before the appointment and sat in the general waiting-room trying to make myself as lethargic and passive as possible. After a time, a nurse appeared and I went into a room to have my blood pressure tested, to give me an opportunity of asking any questions and to sign a consent form. The nurse well understood my nervousness but explained that the more adrenaline I produced, the more the sedatives were counteracted. This is one of those facts that are so obvious that I had not thought of it but I was considerably calmed by it. I was fitted with a cannula which means that they could put sedatives into me during the intervention.

I was taken to the main operating theatre where I met two  pleasant doctors one of whom was an associate or perhaps a trainee. He showed me the new miniature endoscopy instrument which was as thick as a power cable used in the case of power tools for example electric mowers.  It had a light shining out of the end or rather several very small LED lights and was back like a snake. The doctor sprayed my nose with a very strong anaesthetic which made me gasp but it certainly did the job. I lay down on my left side and felt the tube going into my left nostril and the next thing I knew, the doctor had finished his examination which I understood took about 5 minutes and taken a couple of biopsies as well.

I could not believe that time had passed in this rather magical fashion  – whether it was all a dream –  but there was no pain whatsoever, not even any discomfort, no post operative soreness. 10 minutes later I received a printed report a copy of which went to my local doctor which will be followed by the biopsy report.

I was most encouraged by the whole thing which I found very healing, if I can use that new-age expression, and very effectively cancelled out all the accumulated trauma of the last couple of years.  After the event I was invited to lie down and have a drink of water. Others in the same ward were in a similar situation and we made jokes and small talk.

Since you are not allowed to eat or drink anything for six hours before the examination I was starving hungry so as soon as decently possible went down to the afternoon cafe and had a delicious serving of chicken pie and veggies followed by rhubarb crumble and custard.

I think my stomach problem is to do with diet and not to do with any physical lack or disorder. Anyway, definitely a good day’s work and that’s it for another three years. People of my age group are recommended to have a regular endoscopy presumably as a precautionary measure.

I just briefly read a part of my report which says ” C3M4 of barrett’s above a 3cm hiatus hernia. No white light abnormality. I have taken random biopsies and will write with histology”.

A Hiatus hernia is when part of the stomach squeezes into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm. It can also protrude elsewhere. So now you know.

The last day in London – Don McCullin block buster

We packed all our stuff and said goodbye to our host. This time for reasons of speed we took a Northern line tube from Chalk farm station via Euston to Pimlico on the Victoria line and from there a short walk to Tate Britain, cases rumbling as we walked along the street.

As we are Tate members, we take delight in going to the members restaurant. It has delightful views over the River Thames. We were glad to have been offered the best seat in the house by two very nice ladies to drink coffee and a wonderful French croissant. If there are any Tate members reading this, a new coffee bar will be built in the members room because there was originally one queue in the adjoining room for food and coffee; people had to wait 45 minutes just to get a coffee so a separate tea and coffee area has been created. It should be finished at the end of March 2019.

Off to our main reason for coming to Tate Britain, the Don McCullin  blockbuster photographic exhibition. My goodness, was it popular. We had arrived at about 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning, only an hour after the opening of the gallery and already people were queueing to get in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

people waiting to get into the exhibition.

An insight into the central area of Tate Britain between exhibitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

People in a group looking very interested in something

a very clever ad to convince people to become members. We are joint members. It costs us £120 a year. It is worth every penny even though we don’t live in London we more than cover the cost on two visits. You also get a monthly magazine and a notification of what’s going on.

Oh, I nearly forgot. There was a cinema type area showing all the front covers that this photographer had appeared on throughout the years. I found the refresh rate of the images far too fast. You could just about take it in when there was one image shown but when there were three images shown you could scarcely focus on the three before the image was changed.  I think the refresh rate was about five seconds and I think it could have been seven seconds which would have made a lot of difference. I felt it was a bit of a slight to the photographer to show his work to briefly to be digested.

I did complain to management that they were frankly overworked and geared to apologising to people. I said I am not interested in apology just a correction of a technical factor of this brilliant exhibition and I think I was wasting my time. When I get round to it I would at least write a letter to the gallery about the refresh rate but it’s not at the top of my to-do list.

To Victoria Coach Station. We normally walk there from Tate Britain carrying all our luggage. It takes about 20 minutes. We arrived 1 1/2 hours before the 2:30 PM bus which we had booked but there was another bus going to Bath at 1:30 so I waited until everyone had got on and asked the driver if he could squeeze us on. He was happy to do this. However, if we had missed our bus is questionable whether we could have got on the next one.

We drove through a comparatively deserted Kensington and Chelsea then Hammersmith, via Heathrow airport to Bath, arriving at 4:32 PM, two minutes after the scheduled arrival time. I thought to myself rather smugly that this is better than many trains and we are paying about a third of the price.

Straight onto the local bus to find that our humble dwelling is still standing, and why should it not, but it’s always nice to see. We always unpack quick as a flash, and start the fire and of course a nice cup of tea. See how British we are rarely although one of us is French.

To bus station with a ticket for the 2:30 PM. We got on the 1:30 PM because there was spare room. The driver was able to release our ticket to sell to someone else on the 230.

Pass through teeming rain. We left Tate Britain at 12:30 PM and arrived in Bath at 4:30 PM

Escape to South London

It’s not really an escape, but South London has a different vibe from central and north London. The pace of life is more leisurely and the proportion of multicultural representatives are much greater.

I can see why people have a favourite cafe. We are back for the fourth time to my cafe previously referred to. There is a different energy on a Saturday morning, less frenetic, one of two workers but mostly people passing the time reading the paper and staring into space. The ever helpful proprietor was there with two male assistants (where were the pretty girls during the week – they had deserted us then everyone needs a break and they do work very hard).

Today to save time we took the bus to Warren Street where I recorded this picture, by Victoria line to Victoria Station and then by Southern Railway to East Croydon and then by tram. Here are some other images taken on the tube system.

We enjoyed a delicious soup followed by cheese and enjoyed familial and family matters. The nice thing about family is that you don’t have to act, you can put your feet up and just chat about things.
Unfortunately our stay was rather briefer than we would have liked but we got a chance to exchange essential news. This evening, Francoise is cooking a meal for a couple of friends so back we go via public transport with five interchanges. This may seem a lot but public transport in London is very good, it has to be due to the number of people, so everything goes smoothly enough. We arrived at Warren Street station and I noticed this picture in the ticket hall.

By the way, there are now no ticket sellers. The only population is a supervisor that stands by the gates to make sure nothing untoward happens.

Back to our base to find that there is a delicious smelling curry cooking and basmati rice.  Each type of rice needs cooking in different ways. This rice needs washing before cooking and placing into boiling water. I find it is easy to overcook rice and very difficult to get just the right flavour and just the right spices or condiments to make it feel and taste at its best.

A friend at the party had no passport. Funny, I assume that everyone has passports that he after arriving in this country many years ago has presumably let his lapse. Fortunately, he has an ancestor, a grandmother, who was born in Scotland so after filling in the necessary questions his passport should be very easy to get, his by right so to speak.

Anyway we had an mid-evening finish and everyone was fairly early off to bed. We have to get up early to pack, say our goodbyes, and leave. The British have a strange habit of leaving the most important matters until the last moment and this was no exception. I kept out of the conversation because having known Mike, the person whose funeral weekend to attend, for a comparatively short time I left to those who had known him for much longer.

To the Mall gallery – a discussion on trauma

On this occasion, Francoise and I went our separate ways in the morning. I love wandering around taking pictures that would not be of interest to the main stream media. Francoise wanted to visit the shop or two in Camden and who can blame her. Camden is the most popular destination for tourists and has 100 different shops with 100 different emphasis. Because the footfall is so great, specialist  items are on offer that you can’t get elsewhere. I can truly say that there is something for everybody.

I did what I had to do and went to Camden tube and caught the first train south via Charing Cross, which covers the West End, Covent Garden etc. I sat down on my seat and who should turn up but Francoise. She chose the same train, the same carriage, the same part of the carriage and there we were. This sort of thing does not happen every day at least in my experience.

Our aim was to visit the Mall Gallery, The Mall, where there were two exhibitions, one based on views of London which I believe was called the Wapping group of artists 2019: London and its river and the second exhibition in the main part of the gallery was by an artist Linda Bauman.

They are in no particular order

I enormously enjoy the ambivalence on the face of this woman. If she disillusioned? Does she trust? Has she been abused? Would I trust her? I think she has had a complicated life and doesn’t know who she is because unless you know where you’re coming from, you don’t know where you’re going to
this was a spectacular painting about 3 m x 2 m which asks all sorts of questions. Ctrl and + to enlarge (its worth it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the Union Jack club for lunch with two old friends. This is for people who served in the forces and has an old world traditional atmosphere which I love. The quality of the wines is very good. I had a rose wine to die for. I almost didn’t believe it was rose by just noticed the slightest blush of red.

After the meal we wandered around the South bank Centre. Here are some images.this is a bike company where you sign up, look at an app to see where all the bikes are ( or bikes are tracked) budget pounding to release the lock, right where you want and leave it where you want. You are charged by distance. Clever eh?

this is where all the skateboarders meet

this is a supreme exercise in optimism. Obviously the bike is very valuable but no one is going to meekly return it but sell it in return for drugs or something like that.

This is St John’s Church Gardens, only 50 m away from Waterloo station

This is a large 5 x 5 m poster opposite the entrance to the Hayward Gallery

We decided to visit the Hayward Gallery which had an exhibition that I could have seen but at the price of £15.50 per person it was a bit steep, especially if you didn’t like it. There were two artists featured, Diane Arbus who is photographer and Kader Attia  with an exhibition entitled “the Museum of emotion”. To the right of the admission doors we saw a 45 min film which turned out to be captivating. The film was about trauma, its meaning, treatment and implications and I realised that most of what I thought about trauma was wrong. Trauma is not caused by one event, but the event identifies a weakness in the psychology that allowed the trauma to happen. You could say that trauma is a mindset and not caused by something external. The film was in French with English subtitles. If anyone is around the Hayward Gallery I strongly recommend you see this film which ends if I recall on 3 May 2019. Anyone with the remotest interest in therapy should see it and it is free

and so back to base. On the way we stopped off at Morrisons to get some more meat. We waited for ever for someone to come to the butcher counter. However, the wait was worth while as the budget by way of apology gave me a huge slice of best steak for about £1.50.

I’m starting a new food regime now and have huge amounts of meat first thing in the morning which goes down surprisingly well and this takes me through to about 4 PM in the afternoon.