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Can you guess someone’s profession from looking at them?

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Today we went to a local picture framing company who was celebrating 10 years of trading, of which five years had been in the premises on an industrial estate part of which is shown below.

Outside I spotted a very flashy car with the logo “Greenplanet tuning.co.uk” I was intrigued by this and wondered whose car it was.

I asked the chap who was helping serving drinks and he pointed to the singer on the right-hand side of the duo that had been hired to entertain us. Lo and behold, the owner of the car was the lady on the right. I would never guess in a million years she was a professional car tuner. I went up to talk to her after the set. She specialises in high-performance diesels. She plugs in some equipment to see the performance of the diesel, sends the report off to a company in the North of England and receives a ‘setting report’ showing how the car can be tweaked for better performance and greater economy.

So, as they say, you can never tell.

We decided to go to the tiny village of Stanton Drew where there are various ancient stones. We find it a very peaceful place to just ‘be’ in except if the cows who are allowed to graze on the field show too much interest.

It was a lovely blowing day and if you look very good eyesight right in the middle of the image you can see an EasyJet plane flying south from Bristol airport.

enlarge to read. CtrlC and + on a PC

Back to the village and I could not help noticing the ad for a Bavarian evening by the Village Hall, It sounds fun.

A lovely view of the inside of the local Norman church.

So, a nice blow on a perfect day for walking and being out in the fresh air. 21°C and wind blowing from the south-west.

A strange day – a great example of speaking your mind

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My digestive problems continue and I can hardly eat anything without being  troubled with acidosis. I have joined a Facebook group on the subject and it seems I have plenty of fellow sufferers. The answer is diet for the most part. Acid suppressants such as Omeprazole are not the answer, because we do need acid in our stomach to digest food.

I find myself extremely allergic to dairy products, including milk, cheese, even I suspect butter, but I can put away a traditional English breakfast without any problem at all. As my readers will know this is an activity not entirely unknown to me. I was considerably ‘down’ this morning and decided to go to bed and stayed there for about two hours. When I arose, my appetite had returned and I felt somewhat easier with myself. However, this trend cannot continue, and I shall make of another attempt to contact the doctor on Monday to have a scan.

I’m a little bit concerned about cancer and the possibility of it.  My sister Marigold and my mother both died of it. I want to make sure that it does not visit me.  I know I’m 75 years of age but I do want to enjoy a good few more years of physical health.

There is a huge amount of educational material to watch this week. There is an exposition of talks on 5G given by 42 experts and as each is one hour long it is very difficult to encompass them all when the impact given by even one is so great that it takes me most of the day to recover from its implications and absorbed into my system.

I gave a quote for a job recently, a lovely job working to tidy up a hedge that got overgrown and put light excluding material on an area which needed to be kept clean. I have a horrible feeling, though I may be wrong, that the people concerned who run a centre for rescue dogs have no idea how much things cost. I charge £20 an hour per person, so in this case the bill was £500 for the labour. They will probably draw in their teeth and think it is too much.  I do wonder whether the uncertainty about Brexit has caused everyone to draw in their horns and be more careful about money.

I received a request for a reading from someone who I last met three years ago in Finland. He asked about the reliability of a potential job hire from Russia and asked me what I thought. He also asked about the condition of his mother. This is much easier to do then you may think but you do need discipline and focus. We are all connected together at a higher level though the education system does its best to bash this knowledge out of us.

We spent two hours this evening watching a video of a most remarkable chap called Mark Passio who lives and works in Philadelphia in America.  He has perfected the art of plain speaking. His video lasted for two hours and if you have never met plain speaking before you might like to watch this one. It’s about the fact that were too scared to see the world as it is. ***Just put up with the liberal use of the F word*** .

I can only say that I can agree with him point after point.

An imaginative scheme by the Rotary Club

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Today we had nothing much to do and the weather was favourable so we decided to go on a bus tour of the area, Bath via Frome, starting with a breakfast at Wetherspoon’s. The best time to go is 10:30 in the morning after the breakfast rush hour and before the lunch. We are used to spotting the regulars. There is one particular woman who always has a half pint glass in her hand. I’m not sure if she even bothers with breakfast. She is there every day. Wetherspoon’s supports a variety of lifestyles I must say.

There is a bus to Frome every hour or so which picks up at the small villages along the way. But in spite of that it delivers us to that town in about 50 min and we being pensioners don’t pay anything.

We were a bit late for the bread but never mind.

A disused church has been converted into a bakery. The acoustics are perfect for conversation, not overwhelming, very friendly to young children and presided over by a very cool gang of young people who deliver superb bread as well as coffee, croissants and cakes.

Standing at the servery is one of the local characters which this small but trendy town has plenty. I had a pain aux raisins with a rather small latte.

Off to the town centre, here is a small sample of the delightful traditional or should we say trendy or retro material.

a new coffee bar that has sprung up recently
not sure whether this is in jest or what
a well used noticeboard is always a good sign of the cultural activity and Frome does not disappoint

And so to a second-hand charity shop run by the Rotary club. They do a huge amount of good work throughout the world and I only realised this when I saw two of their posters, below. The club rent out the space and give it over to various groups on a week by week basis. The stock in the premises is contributed by customers coming in the door, but also by the Rotary Club itself.  The idea is that in return for manning the shop the charity gets all the income from the people for its own funds. Those who are aware of the difficulties of managing volunteers will see the elegant simplicity of this scheme.

This week, the volunteers were from Open storytellers activities. They work with “physically and emotionally disadvantaged people, those who are marginalised because of learning and communication difficulties. They do this through varied work around telling and sharing stories, including personal narrative as well as classic stories using a collaborative approach based on 15 years of specialist research and innovative practice.

Their fundamental principle involves telling stories with people rather than to them using a collaborative approach that maximises personal engagement and ensures that individual abilities and needs are recognised and supported”. Further details of the organisation are here.

I needed reminding of the nature and scope of the Rotary International aspect

.               Suitably impressed, we continued our wander round the town.

this is another great idea, staffed by volunteers, that people can borrow tools they may only need for a few minutes or hours instead of going to the expense of buying a new product.
I find the poster below very apt, because the greatest cause of death among men under 40 is suicide.

Anyway, a very satisfactory visit so now we hop on the bus to Bath, again a delightful country drive.  I have written about Bath so many times but I merely mention that at the city Art Gallery there is an exhibition entitled “before, during, and after the Second World War” displaying various harrowing and haunting images portrayed by artists.

Being roasted by two community police

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Off first thing to my local hospital to have a preparatory session for my forthcoming hernia operation. It is linguinial hernia i.e. near the scrotum and I was told that the after-effects of the operation are not without pain.  The nurse who spoke to me was obviously very experienced in sizing me up and getting information out of me. My blood pressure is a trifle high, 150/71 and she said that it should really be a maximum of 145 and that I would bring this down to this level by not eating cheese which is often full of salt, going for regular exercises and so forth. If the high level continues I should speak with my doctor.

The hernia operation itself could be up to 8 weeks away. I have to be at the hospital at either seven o’clock or 1 PM. I’m informed about this nearer the date. Nil by mouth for two hours before the operation. I was hoping it would be done earlier, but I’m in no pain and it is benign insofar as it will not do any damage but it is merely inconvenient. I wear a belt which stops it flopping all over the place and it seems to work all right.

I went to All Saints Paulton for usual coffee morning which is every Tuesday at 10 AM. Sitting at the end of the room were two policewomen.  I decided to talk with them since they were sitting a bit uncomfortably on their own. I forget her name but one of them was 25 years of age, she had studied criminology at University and lived in Westfield, which is the southern side of Midsomer Norton.

She had grown up in the area, she enjoyed her job particularly getting to know people and getting their trust. She and I were on the same wavelength, so we talked a lot about how thankless the task is but how everything you do is important, and how the sense of community is something that must not be lost. As police do not get a very good rap these days  I felt it my responsibility to give her some encouragement – which I did.

You may be asking why I said I was roasted. Police wear a variety of equipment including cameras. They have a communication system called TETRA which was blasting out radiation at me and after about 10 minutes I was getting pains in my head and experiencing general itchiness all over. How can these people can be desensitized enough to wear it all the time beats me. Maybe they are getting ill without knowing it. I know my local doctor sees plenty of them. Time will tell.

So what’s so important about our weight?

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I’m aware now that the more fat I carry around with me the less healthy I become, the more work the heart has to do, the more my clothes will cease to fit and maybe the less comfortable I feel. At my age I am not concerned about ‘being attractive’. The main thing is to avoid frightening small children.

This is my body mass index calculator result. I like this particular calculator because it is friendly and easy to use. Sometimes I forget my height in centimetres for example.  I like the fact that the website includes real stories of people who have tried to lose weight so some people who are conscious of their weight might benefit from read this.

Obesity is becoming a bigger problem in this country. I don’t think it will ever get to the stage of America but we are up there among the most overweight in Europe. One thing I find unattractive about men is the beer belly. However, I have a particular dislike of very fat women. Some are so obese they cannot even walk without waddling. I wonder why no one has drawn this to their attention. They didn’t suddenly wake up one morning to discover they are overweight. I do not see how they can be comfortable. There are many things I don’t understand about the female of the species and I admit that this is one of them.

To finish off – Carbon Dioxide nonsense.

CO2 is nature’s natural fertilizer.
Increased CO2 leads to ‘greening’.
CO2 levels are lower than they should be at the moment.
CO2 comprises 0.04% of the atmosphere
97% is generated by nature itself
The balance, 3% (of the 0.04%), is generated by humans
of this 3% of this 0.04% (1/100 of a percent)
1.3% is created by one country (Australia) and the rest in proportion around the world.

oh – and the sea levels are stable in the mid hemisphere but going up by a maximum 1 mm a YEAR in the Northern Hemisphere.

See one of the many videos if you want.

We need a Carbon Dioxide Appreciation Day and — without this gas we would be — dead.

Another visit to a very sunny and warm Wells

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an absolutely gorgeous day on the green. To add to the flavour, there was a wedding going on in the Town Hall and everyone was dressed to the nines.

We recently renewed our season tickets to the Bishops Gardens which is a very good investment. We paid for the two of us £52 for a 12 month membership starting on the day of the purchase. Admission is £8.05 per adult. Our visit last week, also our visit today would have cost us £32.20  which takes a healthy cut out of  the £52 for the whole year. We will have almost paid for our membership on the next visit.

Two swans and one surviving chick which have made themselves at home in the moat surrounding the castle grounds. The swans are new on the moat and first time parents – They nested well and had one chick to the surprise of all the carers of the wild life.

*****
We now going to visit the 32 allotments in the Bishop’s Palace. I can’t imagine how long the waiting list will be for this. I would guess a few years.

looking at the main avenue bisecting the allotments
Apple is near to being ready
lovely corner of flowers and a courgette
surprisingly, a pond
labelled herbs
nature’s richness and diversity
nice place to view the Cathedral sitting on a shaded bench looking over the lake and springs at the far end
In the gardens, an attempt at a modern design. The idea is that the design and the different plants represent the stained glass of the cathedral.

*****

On our way back home we went to a wood and enjoyed the dappled sunlight through the trees and discovered the first ripening  blackberries.  This in an unspoiled woodland area 200m east of the A37 on the Old Frome Road, Beacon Pond is a nearby feature. 51 deg 12’41.43″N  2 deg 31’11.61″W

 

Harvest flower celebrations + The world’s best situated allotments

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We felt that today was the day for getting out and about, so what better place to start than a harvest flower celebration which Church of England churches do very well. People do not realise what a lot of effort goes into to the whole thing. The church concerned was St. Giles of Leigh on Mendip.

This church is in remarkably good order considering it was built in the 12th century. It has been renovated thanks to generous amounts of English Heritage and National lottery money. We are visiting a three-day event with the theme “what a wonderful world”. A more apt antidote to the misery that is going on I cannot think of so please come with me through the displays.

I want to call this one “small is beautiful”

Look carefully at this one. This work is made out of cost of plastic, paper, eggshells, other items that would go into the bin without a second thought.

I was particularly struck by the thoughtfulness of the words, almost amounting to poetry.

I find this almost alive and note how the backdrop has enhanced it.

Surely, a very good plug for having an allotment.

A lovely tapestry in the church hall.

An artwork made out of local and from 16th, 17th 18th & 19 th century – archaeology sites in & around the village.

This was a lovely church environment, comprising the church and the church hall. This has been extant for seven centuries; you cannot fake a feeling of history and indeed of peace.

If I continue this diary it will be such a long page that you would find it inconvenient to scroll down so now I’m going to cover my trip to Wells in what will be part two of this diary.

 

A holiday weekend spent at home

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That’s the plan anyway.

For non-UK readers I should explain that this is a bank holiday weekend, the so-called “late summer bank holiday”  which means that next Monday is a work free day, a national holiday.  I was originally going to Manchester to see a friend but he was not available. So basically we decided to spend most of the time here in Midsomer Norton. There are certain advantages of not “doing anything.” First, you don’t get stuck in endless traffic jams which will definitely be on the M5, M4, A303, and also you don’t get caught up in situations such as pubs and restaurants where lots of young and enthusiastic children are running around all over the place while their parents sit staring at their mobile devices.

Someone said today that the letters that comprise ‘listen’ are the same that the word ‘silent’. There is a certain poetry about that.

The good part about holiday periods is that no one expects you to be in or available so the pressure is off. I might spend some time reading. The good news is that the weather forecast is excellent. So no rain forecast, may be plenty of time to go walking but most of all the possibility of staying at home doing nothing. I’m writing this on Friday morning, so being a Gemini by nature I may well change my mind (nature abhors a vacuum).

There will also be more time for reflecting. For the last 20 years or so I have known someone in South Africa, who has been through the ups and downs. We visited many times and had a lovely time. I do yearn to go back to South Africa in spite of the very difficult political and economic circumstances created by reverse racialism we can say. I gave my lady friend advice that she should leave her unfaithful and erring husband and gave her reasons why she should do so. However, she lives in a rather splendid house and if they were to divorce, she would lose it because she would have to split the proceeds even though she has contributed to the vast majority of the cost of the house. The husband returned from his philandering and gave orders that she must not contact me again. She meekly obeyed. I find this hurtful but I realise I must not take it personally because it’s all down to free will and people must run their lives in the way they choose.

Sometimes, situations are just plain sad and this is one of them. You just have to let the memory go and replay the good bits in your mind.

I was invited to a job which involved clearing the area around a caravan-sized dwelling but intended for dogs who have been abused. Dogs are bought to this shelter who have had all sorts of abuse including starvation, people putting out cigarette butts on them, and yet given attention they seem to have a  capacity for unconditional love which humans certainly wouldn’t have retained given a similar level of abuse.  The job is interesting, consisting of clearing a hedgerow of young trees and preparing an area for wood chipping. but I am going to speak to the lady after the holidays so I hope I get this job. The weather today was excellent and we spent most of the time outside in the garden.

No plans to do anything fancy.

School Memories – apple and custard crumble

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Custard, even better, custard with apple crumble, brings me back to my school days. I was basically lonely at my secondary school, often bullied. Comfort eating became part of my life. This was at a time when cooks prepared food in kitchens in  the school and not bought in frozen from some central supply depot. The canteen at the RUH Hospital in Bath is pretty good. I told the server lady that I liked custard and she definitely took me at my word.

I often get ideas for cooking from going out and this one was a very nice beef stew with carrots. What intrigued me was the pastry parcel – whatever it is called – which was cooked to perfection and beautifully complimented the stew. I had the main course together with early potatoes apparently cooked in butter or with lashings of butter on. So this really was a ‘melt in the mouth’ job.

Today was my day for an eye examination. Unfortunately I have more fluid in the eye than I should have and also a small bleed. I mentioned that after spending in the sunshine  I could not see detail for about 10 minutes when coming into the shade. They asked me if I had had a cataract operation. Maybe this has to come. I hope I keep my sight enough to read. My right eye is perfect at the moment and the left eye is at least stable.

There was a lady patient who must have been 90 years of age. She fell over in the corridor. She sat there, shaking, if for no other reason than shock. The doctor invited her to sit on the floor and then he gently lifted her up onto her chair. The same lady was still disturbed and when she had her eye injection she moved at a critical time and there was a small tear created in the iris. This made her more upset than ever and it took the diplomatic skill of the doctor to calm her down but she still cried and felt she was a failure and said so to her friend, who had brought her.

As you know the corridors of the hospital full of paintings which people can buy and thus contribute towards hospital funds. This image struck me. They say the eyes of the window of the soul. There is no question that this man is looking into your soul but is there love or just perception? I think there is some suffering, some empathy, some understanding, but also some distance. This person is an observer no less.

Off to the cafe for very nice latte and a peach croissant then to catch the bus. As you know I’m a great fan of the signage here at the GUH and this is a particularly good one. What about helping the helpers?

The Mid Somerset show – a truly family affair

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a typical sunny periods and showers day but thankfully it was mostly dry

The Mid Somerset show, held in Shepton Mallet, is about the ideal size for maintaining a family atmosphere. It is very much helped by being free of charge to enter so more people come and the exhibitors and stallholders have a chance to make more money as they appear to do.

one or two youngsters obviously got up very early in the morning

This contrasts with the gi-normous Bath and West show about which I have written three times. It cost adults £25 a head to get in, children go free. In my previous visits to the Bath and West I didn’t managed to get round everything even after being there for six hours. In this case, there are only four or five fields. I feel that the exhibitors are under less pressure because the fees are not so great, being for a one-day show and attracting less rental fees for the whole site and less need to advertise the show, which is mostly attended by locals.

Father and daughter showing in the sheep category
minute examination of the wool by a world expert

 

no two sheep have markings in the same place

A competition for the best dressed sheep


Vintage cars on display

*****

This is a very short video about an animal whisperer who has an enormous capacity to establish telepathic contact this case with a leopard. The leopard was very aggressive; Anne talking to her just changed her attitude.

This brief movie is a real tearjerker

*****

Climate Change

I cant resist this large injection of fact (one of many attempts) concerning the hysteria over climate change. The headless chicken that is Extinction Rebellion continues, actually encouraged by the UN. Behind the scenes, millions are raked in from carbon trading. Any mainstream scientist who speaks out is removed or sacked. Remember folks, without carbon dioxide we would be DEAD. This is someone, Marc Morano, who is actually thinking. Watch it and relax. 59:02

*****

To Wells – a scarecrow competition

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The (ap)peal of church bells announcing a wedding.

Wells in Somerset should be on the “to do” list for anyone visiting the area. It is particularly attractive for those who have difficulty walking, or getting around since all the main features are step-free.  I include the market, Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Cathedral, the Cathedral Gardens, the museum for the most part, the various historical features. The radius of the main features is within half a mile so no one is going to exhaust themselves.

The allotments which I imagine are part of the cathedral grounds are a delight and a work of art. We debated whether to renew our membership of the bishops gardens which includes any exhibition that might be going on and the allotments themselves and decided that £52 a year was a price worth paying. Bearing in mind that the single visit is £8.75 . I find that the palace gardens are a break from the noise of life, and that the electromagnetic field is low, which gives me some relief.

I’m going to include pictures from an exhibition in the Palace Gallery and from the allotments themselves. As they say, one picture is worth 1000 words. we will start with the swans, who maintain their vigilance over their chicks. People approach at their peril.

This is the moat around the Palace grounds.

This is one of the helpful information boards within the grounds

the banqueting room awaits guests from the wedding going on in the Cathedral

Certainly, a scarecrow competition of some sort.

 

 

It does not get much more idyllic than this.

Illiteracy – what to do

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Yesterday I had cause to speak with one of our allotment holders. He wanted to finish his tenancy. I said that he would have to put it in writing. Eventually he admitted that he was ‘not very good’ with writing.

This morning, I received a text message from a lady for whom I had given a quote ” Sorry for delay boys getting the working around no3 son price is rather to high for mr but thanks you for your Text &time.”

Those of us who are illiterate and were fortunate enough to have good education maybe take this for granted but I have known people who disguise their illiteracy by asking someone to for example  read the label on some item of food because they’ve ‘lost their glasses’.

In the USA one in six adults under 65 have low literacy – reading skills that are below those of fourth graders. Most of the 35 million affected were born in the US.  In the United Kingdom we have a literacy rate of over 99% among residents aged 15 or older.  In South Africa, the literacy rate is 94%. All of the European countries are near 100%. Bottom of the list are Niger at 15% and Guinea at 25%

Since learning these facts I have become very much more aware of the possibility that maybe people are shy of writing or having difficulty expressing themselves verbally. I am dubious about some people’s self-definition learning ability. Perhaps they have not discovered the thing that really interests them.  What I find difficult to do or should I say what I must pay more attention to is to speak in a straightforward way to make sure that the maximum number of people can understand. I don’t want to sound patronizing though. I myself do not like being spoken at, I prefer to be spoken to.

One of the things that annoys me is when you speak to someone out of the blue. They always say “pardon”. I sometimes get irritated, in fact, most of the time get irritated, because I speak perfectly clearly and I know they heard me what I do sometimes is to pause, then they seem to process the information, and then answer my question. Maybe they were thinking of something else, fair enough. Sometimes, the hesitation is because people were not expected to be spoken to. When I go around in public, I try to be as open as possible to everybody and you will be surprised how many chances you get to speak, even if it’s only to raise the famous subject of the weather.

Talking of which, this is a pretty lousy day with wind and rain. Yesterday we did two gardening jobs which although not exciting pays the rent. At the end of the second job, a lady from next door interrupted us. She obviously had difficulty in speaking because she rubbed her face. She told us that she was suffering from depression and pointed to 2 or 3 plastic bags that were near her back door and causing her upset. Our car was full enough but I decided to make space and get rid of as much as I could. She was thankful, and thanked us time and time again.

We have to remember that some people go from day to day without talking to anybody which would personally drive me nuts.

The pleasure of having nothing in my diary

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Today it is raining and there is no itinerary or duties today apart from one meeting this evening. I have just been informed on the grapevine that Jeremy Vine, who has a show on BBC Radio Two is to talk about electro-sensitivity and 5G.  I dutifully sent off a text telling him that the great mistake that the industry made was not to do any testing on the human being. So in fact we are part of the greatest biological experiment of times.

This morning in the paper there was an advertisement for a five-star fly/cruise voyage to Australia and New Zealand. It’s a 25 night job , three nights in Dubai, three nights in Auckland, traveling to Hobart, traveling then to Melbourne and then Sydney and arriving in London on day 26. You get 14 nights full board voyage on-board the ship. The offers are from £2999 inside for the March 2020 cruise, but the timing I was interested in, departing 16th of November 2019 was £4499 but that was for an outside Veranda suite.

The downside is that you spend nine nights in places that are expensive; Dubai, Sydney, Auckland, so that is 27 meals plus snacks plus transport plus tourist attractions.  There won’t be much change out of £1000. Say 12,000 quid for two people all in or £480 per day for two.

I spoke to a very nice sales lady from the company called Leona who gave me her direct number and was very happy to answer questions. Evidently everyone who has telephoned and booked has queried the price thinking it to be too good to be true.

‘Wilful Blindness – why we ignore the obvious’ was one of Amazon’s recommended reads. It’s one of those you can order in Kindle format at £.99 and I must say I’m a sucker here. It arrives in moments. The book is very interesting and goes into great detail how people want to hide the truth from themselves because they’ve invested themselves so much in the situation. They don’t want to make a fool of themselves in their own eyes. An example was given of a woman who found her husband  with an  erection in bed with one of her children and she was not able to put two and two together and see what was going on thinking “it must just be me.”.

The brain wants to maintain unity and will invent all sorts of rationalisations why something that is clearly not right should be acceptable. I myself have done this but the net result is it you lose power, confidence and integrity through not acknowledging what is going on.

I had to write a letter today to the local council querying their decision to put the rent of my allotment Association up by 43%. Sometimes I think that people in control are forgetting that they are dealing with individuals – many of whom have limited means. With important letters, I always send them off for checking in this case to the committee. Sometimes you can have the right points but perhaps in the wrong order or something can be changed to be made more acceptable.

My video of the day was about a town council in Devon dealing with a number of objections to 5G.  In spite of the rational statements that were put out in a very polite manner by many people, they were all rebuffed, including by one person who should have known better. However, I suspect that the only way forward is continual repetition for people to actually listen. It may be necessary to tell them 10 times, but we can’t give up.

Françoise is trying little by little to clear the loft, which has far too many goods and chattels. Same is true of me. The problem is that the very day after I give something away I will probably need it but I’m running out of space, so needs must.

My sister is calling our elder sister in Australia because she’s not very well. To my horror, I found she’s using BT which is costing her a fortune so I told her about 18866.com and now she can speak to Australia for 2.5 pence a minute plus it should be added 5p connection charge.

The rain has finally ceased at least for a moment so hopefully tomorrow I can get some more gardening work done.

It was most pleasant to have nothing on my schedule. Things always come out of nowhere when you least expect them.

Not all gardening jobs are glamorous

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This is probably one of the least exciting pictures I have published. The customer was a widow, living with her son, who wants to sell her house which is right in the middle of Midsomer Norton and move to Wells where she and her husband lived for many years.  The only problem is that her front garden, pictured, is a complete tip and anyone coming in wanting to buy the house will be severely put off.

It took us two sessions. The first one was a brutal clearing during which we got rid of the the bulk of the weeds and filled up my voluminous Volvo V70 with spoil. The second session, today, consisted of Françoise and myself digging out each individual weed. Sometimes jobs are boring, but challenging, so we do them. This was made more difficult by the fact that the ground was a virtual mat of roots from adjacent trees, past and present. The  docks entangled themselves up with the mat so it was virtually impossible to pick them without breaking the root at some point. The area concerned was about 7 m x 4 m and took us a total of 12 hours to clear.

The customer was a bit strange. There was a corrugated iron brazier in the middle of the area, which she said would need to be used for burning important papers of her husband.  I offered to be with her because I said it was a ceremonial fire for closure and moving on and that is best done with other people. She declined, and said she would do with her son. During our work today she went off to the dentist to have a molar removed and we think she went to sleep are a couple of hours. She said she was happy with what we did and what a difference there was but we didn’t get anything from her at all emotionally. She seemed to be in a bubble. Anyway, be that as it may, it’s none of our business. She engaged us to do a garden job, we did it, she paid us, and we went on our way.

I do find these snapshots of people quite fascinating.

We have two more jobs to do this week; those will pay the expenses of the month. The weather was good today, but more rain is prophesied for tomorrow. I’m using the excellent weather forecaster ventusky.com which is miles better than the BBC version. Tomorrow, Wednesday, it looks like we are going to spend the day indoors. I feel for people who are ‘en vacance’.

Weston Super Mare on a windswept day

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There is something about wind that always excites me. Man vs. nature and all that – so off  to fill up with petrol (gas) and off we go into the unknown.

These images are not in chronological order.

A late lunch at Papas, reputed to serve the best fish and chips in the area. Evidently the owner also runs a fishing boat, so all is fresh as can be. I found the batter thin and crisp, the fish cooked to perfection and a very nice cup of tea and a brown roll which comprised the senior citizens special at £9.95. The chips were fresh, between crisp and soggy as I like them, and I finished the whole plate with gusto.

Free sandblasting of your legs, face, and anything else that is exposed in a 30 miles an hour wind on a Sand Beach.

The Grand Pier is basically one huge amusement arcade. It was doing good business. What better conditions than a rainy Saturday in holiday season? Below a four-minute video and more views on the pier.

The tide is rising. The birds are waiting for the next meal standing directly into the wind.

Below, some examples from the Weston flower and vegetable Show which was held at the Winter Gardens.

Created by a group of school children aged 11

To Weston Museum. An amazing exhibition of ‘microsculpture‘. many close-up photographs by Levon Biss taken at distances as small as 10µ to capture every detail  of the body of an insect. The exhibition was created through a collaboration between the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the British portrait photographer. See the video for high fidelity views.

This does not do justice to the detail.

To the rest of the museum, just one or two glimpses.

Notable people of the 17th and 18th-century. Below – people who help in the running of the town. In this day and age.

This is a truly lovely museum  A very high quality exhibition very well curated. There is a modest coffee bar where you can get tea and cakes. NB The microscopic exhibit is on until 15 September 2019

We were on our way home when just before we arrived on scene a large tree fell across the main road. Everyone was turning their car round. Had I been on my own, I would have called the police and given an exact location and been a temporary Director of traffic.

I could show you many more pictures but I think that’s enough to give you an idea of what turned out to be a very nice day.

More than what it says on the tin

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I was shopping in my favourite local store Lidl when I spied some rather delicious looking blackcurrant cheesecakes. Three of them in a pack cost just over one pound so I thought why not. My wife and I had one each but we found them to put it politely a little bit difficult to digest.

I decided to look on the label, I’m not talking about the nutrition information but talking about the ingredients which consisted of the following, and I have to wear that this is a short list compared with some other lists I have seen printed in minute type.

49% cheesecake (51% full fat soft cheese)
water
inulin
tapioca starch
sugar
palm kernel oil
emulsifiers
Mono and DiGlycerides of Fatty Acids
Stabiliser
carbomoxmethyl cellulose
Wheat fibre
Acidity regulator:Lactic acid
30% blackcurrant topping
Modified maize starch
Acidity regular – acetic acid
Flavouring
Colour – anthocyanins
Biscuit base:
What flour, sugar, palm oil, invert sugar syrup, Demarara sugar, Whey powder
Raising agent – sodium carbonates

I ask myself, are all these ingredients absolutely necessary? My bread consists of flour, yeast, salt, butter, water.  It is lovely. I don’t want to make a fake taste or preserve its life or save a few pennies or make it superficially more attractive.

*****

And off to see two people who want their gardens cleared. The first lady is going to sell her house, sounds a bit distant on the phone but actually warmed up when she met me, speaks mysteriously about a bonfire of personal papers that must happen resulting from the passing away of her husband, had two dogs that were supposed to be friendly but I found a bit intimidating.  She wants the front garden changed to make a favourable first impression on visitors.

The second person was an eccentric lady who was a hoarder. I have seen worse but not much worse. There was a little path to walk through the living room which was otherwise cluttered with papers and objects. She has two sons, both serving in the Army. One is married and was told that he is moving from Scotland to somewhere  in Europe leaving his wife behind in a desolate place where there’s only houses and sea. She tells us that the Army doesn’t care about people.

The garden is such a mess that I can hardly get into it. She says she would do the work yourself but the spark plug on her Mountfield petrol mower has broken otherwise she would do it herself. I feel that is impossible but that’s what she wants to believe. She thinks it will take a couple of days to clear the back garden. The question is as she says, ‘how long will it take and how much will it cost?’.

I find gardening fascinating because you get a temporary look into people’s lives. No two people’s life are ever the same, although they may appear to be at first glance.

The weather this weekend is going to be pretty horrible, what with wind and rain. I was going to take my son to a local folk and blues Festival, but I don’t think there’s much point in paying 30 quid a head when you’re mainly sheltering from the rain. We may go to the movies, but we could as well sit at home and read and watch TV.

I have had a bad experience with my stomach where if I ingest any alcohol or have any sweet material particularly artificial sweeteners, I can keep no food down. It’s a real bore but I have to stick to vegetables, fish, soup, bread, biscuits, tea and fruit. I think I can just about manage. Gone are the days when I could eat anything and not suffer.

Francoise’s Birthday

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We decided to go to Freshford, which is a small historical village that used to produce wool and beer. It is close to the River Frome and close to the Bath and Kennett canal. It is very much sought-after due to the proximity of a train station which serves Bath.

The Freshford Inn has an excellent atmosphere and is presided over by two Italians. I found Italians have a natural talent for service which is more than can be said for the two lady bartenders whose attitude I will describe as a little bit snobby and distant and lacking in detail. For example, when you serve and bring coffee you ask if the customer wants sugar not wait if they ask. I found the young ladies very self absorbed; the body language does show and I think people need to realise it more.

After the meal we decided to wander around the village; if anyone wants to see a place stuck in the past this is the place to go. It is about 6 miles from Bath if that so worth a trip. I don’t know how people who live there manage to park because there is virtually no parking space and the roads are narrow.

This was indeed a wool village.

A vegetable and flower garden directly abutting on to the road.

As you see, visitors to the local church come from all over the place.

I love this sign. Was it a house where older doctors used to go? Was it the same meaning as ‘the old vicarage’.  We shall never know. I can say that the locals are friendly but when speaking with them don’t waste their time.

House prices? Don’t expect much change out of £1 million.

Free Therapy

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I’m a very bad meditator because as soon as I start, I think about all the things that I need to be doing and try to shut them out of my mind, normally unsuccessfully. I give up after about 5 minutes.click There is one form of therapy that really induces the alpha state in me without any problem and that is a fire.

All Saints Paulton is experiencing an interregnum period. I was told the policy of the Church Times is to charge £1000 per entry advertising for a new priest. I don’t know how they justify this. It sounds like pure and simple greed to me. Anyway, I digress. It has been my pleasure to severely trim a laurel hedge in the churchyard. Laurel wood is very soft and easy to cut so the job looks difficult but actually is very easy. The wood contains oils so as you will see in the pictures below,  combustion is hot and thorough. I hesitated to start the fire as the weather forecast was not good, but decided that as the whole process would be quite quick, as it proved to be, I could beat the rain.

Air, earth, fire, and water are the main elements  and these are combined eloquently in a natural fire, not a fire in a grate at home but a fire in the wild.This was the fire at an early stage where I was introducing a combination of dried branches and fresh branches both of which are equally well. The fresh branches had more water in them but they also have more oil. So when they were thrown on the fire they exploded in a machine gun like fashion. At the rear you will see the stone wall that was originally completely covered.

This is the fire a couple of hours on when everything had been reduced to white ash.  The trick is to rake all around the area and place the unburnt wood in the middle where it will revert either to charcoal in the case of incomplete burning or white ash. The reduction in volume is about 95%.

What I like about this whole process is that you corporate with a natural phenomenon. You encourage it to burn to the best of your ability. Most of the time is spent standing staring at the fire and enjoying the heat and the sound of crackling flames. I find that I’m inevitably ‘in the zone’ and at the end of such events have attained a more peaceful cast of mind. If I had spent the same amount of time trying to meditate, I would not have got such a good result.

Françoise came along with me to the coffee morning today at the church. She told me that the lady sitting next to her was fed up with her husband because although he had money he didn’t want to spend any of it and particularly resented her being on the telephone. According to him, the telephone must be used for emergency only. The poor woman could not even talk to her friends, such friends as she had left, without having the baleful stare of the husband looking at his watch.

I read that the number of divorces among older people are increasing these days, and I think more and more women are not putting up with boorish behavior of their husbands.

The government article said that  in England and Wales, divorce is in decline – our most recent 10 years of data show a 28% fall in the number of divorces between 2005 and 2015. But older people are bucking the trend. In the same period, the number of men divorcing age 65 and over went up by 23% and the number of women of the same age divorcing increased by 38%.

I have always said that the most important thing is to be married to yourself. This implies if you want in a relationship or on your own. If you love and accept yourself. The rest is easy or easier.

 

Wetherspoons in the morning + is going to bed the cure?

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I have just returned from my ritual breakfast at the above establishment. I have reduced my order to a minimum. Table 37, traditional breakfast, coffee. It arrived 5 min later alas on a cold plate so I had to eat it quite quickly because there’s nothing worse than a cold fried egg or cold anything come to that.

On weekday mornings the scene is more or less the same. You might as well call it a single mans club in fact I don’t think it would take much to get everyone together for a chat. There is a man who comes in every morning with two newspapers and after his breakfast he orders a 1 pint of beer. The single men of which I am one of course sit at various tables giving each other a nod but that’s about it. It is one of the few times when Wetherspoon’s is quiet. One of the things they did not plan on was noise and when there are more than two screaming children and half dozen families, it does become pretty over-bearing on the eardrums.

I was minding my own business eating when suddenly there was what appeared to be like a claxton ringing out which I quickly realised was a mobile phone. The owner, a middle-aged man of portly disposition, headset is switched to speaking mode so we could hear everything he said with his deep booming voice and also the recipient’s. I imitated the caller to try and get into shut up, but he didn’t get the message because he was so obsessed with the call. I realised it was a lost cause talking to him and as my eating had finished anyway I decided to leave. I think some people need to be told but I didn’t have the energy this early in the morning to complain to him.

A friend of mine, Gregory, was laid low with some sort of virus whilst on a holiday in Spain. On his return, he refused to take any form of medication or even see the doctor. Although he was so weak he could scarcely go up more than one step at a time without breathing difficulties. The remedy? He decided to go to bed and basically stayed there for two weeks. The result? His own immune system was able to do its stuff and heal him. I feel sorry for children, particularly in America who are in receipt of so many vaccines just as soon as they are born before their immune system has had time to kick in. It’s all done from greed of the pharmaceutical companies.

Yesterday, I myself felt a little bit down and was suffering from a sprained muscle at the base of my spine so I decided…. To go to bed. This seems strange thing to do on a sunny Sunday afternoon but I drew the curtains and finished a book then had a sleep. Result? I feel much better.

Reading the papers this morning was depressing. Evidently the latest two shootings in the USA, which anyone knows are instigated by the FBI,  blamed on Trump. Increased rainfall is blamed on carbon dioxide. Any form of meddling is blamed on Putin. Basically, three whacking great lies and I wonder how people get away with it. Newspaper readership has decreased, and I’m not surprised.

Here are my, writing my diary at 9.48 in the morning and the day has not even started. I wonder what it will bring.

Have we lost the ability to write?

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I was on my way to church this morning, to a small but very informal communion service presided over by one Katherine who gave a sermon on today’s gospel about the man who had more grain than he could store so he wanted to pull down his barns and build greater.  More of that anon.

On my return from church. I stopped off to look at who had passed away. Obviously, this was a popular person and it must have happened very recently because of the number of fresh flowers. I think there were about 60. However, as I looked, I could not see one single one with a label on. Normally you get something like ” with very best wishes from X” ” love you and miss you”. Eventually I found one. The person’s name was Jenny. It occurred to me with horror that these people had no inclination to write a personal note. All I saw were receipts from Tesco for the flowers. Typically £3.95. They were just dumped because people were not used to actually writing.   Where were the feelings of these people? Maybe they don’t have any feelings. This is a sign of the times. It was a drunk driver evidently.

Back in church, Katherine went on to tell the story about the man, we wanted to have security in his property so he could eat, drink and make merry. God called him a fool because he said that “this very night, your soul will be required of you.”. This may sound a bit killjoy but God was trying to tell him that we don’t possess anything. Money is not real as in ‘reality’. Money and any possession is given to us as custodians.

The preacher also reflected on the situation with her neighbour who has been next door to her for the last 6 years who only talks about herself and has never once asked the preacher at about anything to do with her life. In other words she was self obsessed like the man wanted built his barn. She remarked on the number of times the first person singular was referred to in the parable; I will pull down, I will store my grain, I will tell my soul.

I learnt a lot from that.

I can say I’m guilty of the same.  A certain self-centredness. The sermon caused me to reconsider my attitude towards ‘my’ money such as it is.

20th Anniversary of our local Farmers Market

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This is the 20th anniversary of the local farmers market here in Midsomer Norton. Farmers markets dates all the way back to Egypt over 5000 years ago. Farmers along the Nile came together to sell their fresh produce. The first farmers markets in the United States opened in 1634 in Boston. The biggest farmers market in the world is in Tokyo, and has over 1700 stalls. In the United Kingdom, there has been a market in Ashton Under Lyme, Lancashire, since 1284.

Markets bring the producers in direct contact with the consumers or customers. Different sorts of conversations happen. The price bracket is different but the quality is much better and you can almost guarantee fewer chemicals, though even with so-called organic food, chemicals may have been used at some point typically in the form of sprays.

As most of you know, I’m interested in campaigning against 5G, smart meters and anything else that is designed to be part of the control grid which will surround us and influence us on 24/7 basis. It is a lonely job to try and rouse your friends and colleagues with some awareness of what is going to hit us all. I am no stranger to networking; my first attempt at networking happened in 1970 when I formed an organisation called London Village designed for people to meet others, people new to London. You could say networking is in my blood.

‘5G Worker Bees’ is my latest project. I shall be inviting people who are already doing something towards campaigning and who could probably use some support, advice, hints and tips, the opportunity to share, the problems with dealing with a very brainwashed society. I shall not be using Facebook. You might as well share your feelings directly with the CIA.

Freedom from thought and excessive thinking. I’m as guilty as anyone of jumping whenever my mobile phone rings or bleeps telling me there is a text message. Anyone else similarly addicted is invited to watch this video. It is about 14 min in length

A twinned toilet – Celebrating ‘fruition’ at Glastonbury

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So here we are, back in Chalice Well, Glastonbury, for a celebration of one of the pagan festivals of the year, ‘fruition’ I find an unfailing and consistent atmosphere of Fellowship and openness, giving an example to the world how we should live all the time.

I had some interesting meetings here.  I observed a man doing yoga exercises on the lawn above the well. I spoke to him saying that maybe not doing yoga exercises was an abuse of ourselves and showing a lack of respect to our body. He pondered a bit and thought that this was being a little bit negative and said that all he does when he performs yoga is to think of ‘me and God’. No one else. I commented that from his example I learnt a lot and was encouraged to consider my own attitude towards these practices. I can’t say he was scornful but my left brain motivated words didn’t mean much to him. He was totally in the zone and I saw him greeting other people and holding hands with them.

I left the area and went down to sit by the log fire, yes we always have a fire at the celebrations. Never mind what time of year it is. I sat down at a bench and a lady next to him said ‘hello.’  It appears that she was an energy healer  and since I am a chakra reader we have plenty to talk about. We discussed whether or not we should charge and I told her that in cases of my feeling that the person who asks has given a lot to other people, I would recompense them on the half of the universe and give a free reading . I said that no two cases are the same and that I’d charge £40 or £100 for a reading and it’s more a question of being sensitive to someone’s environment.

One thing led to another and I offered her a reading which consisted of looking at the male and female balance in her aura as it was at the moment compared with the male and female balance when she was born. It was quite clear that she had tried to make herself androgynous and reduce the male and female elements in her self to a very low-level, 10% and 11% respectively. It was revealed that she had an assault by a family member from which she had obviously not recovered. This is a good lesson to show that everything we do say and think is lodged in the energy field and that if it is negative in nature will cause trouble until we get rid of it. It is not true that time heals. What is true is that understanding and acceptance heals. This event encouraged me further to offer these sort of services on a more full-time level. The problem is, how to advertise it.

if you cannot read it, it says that the exchange toilet is in Burundi.

On the way out while visiting the loo I noticed this amazing twinning. Who has heard of twinned  toilets. I mentioned this in my diary of September 19, 2017. I notice the image has changed. That time it was exchanging with a toilet in Uganda. Dynamic twinning eh! Wonders never cease.

To Glastonbury high Street which is always packed with tourists at this time of year. On to our regular feeding trough ‘Burns The Bread’ for our favourite confectionery both sweet and savoury.

On the way back we noticed someone has bordered their lawn with lettuce. I can say this is the first time I’ve ever seen this.