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Well done Lidl + A mysterious cat

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Our favourite supermarket Lidl has come up with a great idea for those people less well-off. Every morning first thing, 8 AM, they provide a number of boxes of food that is towards the end of its shelf life but perfectly good. What you can see is impressive enough but you cannot see that there are additionally six apples,  one red cabbage, about six large potatoes. All this is available for the grand sum of £1.50. It is ideal for the person on benefits.

This does not look very glamorous but it is standard breakfast for those of us who are traditional in our tastes. The food is always hot, well cooked, with a warmed plate and including unlimited coffee it costs five pounds. Well done Wetherspoon’s.

I had to go to the doctor this afternoon as a checkup after my hernia operation. Evidently, a layer of blood can form under the skin, causing some irritation and this can take up to 12 weeks to heal. This explains moments of discomfort – not pain – which caused me to visit for reassurance. Maybe I worry too much.

While I was waiting, a cat came in and sat in one of the chairs. I thought it had an appointment, you never know these days. A member of staff came and took it out.

Here is one of these photographs when you wonder how it came to be. What is the story behind this one? Is it practical joke?

The economic disadvantages of being young and naive… a young man called Oliver sometimes works with me in gardening jobs. He was telling me that the insurance on his scooter was £51 a month. In addition, he was paying £60 a month for his mobile phone. The latest iPad XX.  Unfortunately, he had signed a two-year contract for services that he admitted he did not use. I know we all want the biggest and the best but is a good reminder to me to make sure I only get what I need.

Where does the time go?

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There are supposed to be about 16 hours between the time you get up in the time you go to sleep but for the life of me I don’t know where the time goes. Even if I don’t have anything ‘to do’, before you know where you are, it’s 4 PM and what I got to show for the day?

I wonder if the answer is to do certain activities in the morning, a different type of activity in the afternoon, and yet another activity in the evening. The problem with my evenings is that I eventually get caught up on some interesting TV programme, setting aside my weakness for ambulance videos, traffic cops, and anything involving operations particularly of a gory nature.

I think the day needs particular events in it, even if it’s only half an hour or an hour. I have difficulty with concentration and I find that no sooner do I get down to reading a book that I think of a million other things I would like to do and put the book down after five or 10 minutes. Françoise is helping with this by doing some EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique (look it up). it is just a question of breaking unhelpful circuits in the mind

We went down to the allotment today to find an unwarranted pile of second rate wood chippings partly blocking the car park entrance. I have to take responsibility for this in a way. A very jovial man rang me asking me whether I would like some free wood chips. Had I thought, I would have realised  that he just wanted to avoid the cost of dumping his garden waste. He was probably outside his area and did not have a permit to dump locally. One load was all right, delivered about two weeks ago, but today I see a second load has arrived. I must put up notices saying ‘please do not dump’ which is a real bore. Foolishly, I didn’t make a note of his details so I cannot call him up to cancel further deliveries.

I find American television chat shows to be universally ghastly with lots of wimps, clapping at the slightest point….real lowest common denominator stuff but today I found a really good program compared by someone called Mel Robbins. It was entitled ‘The warning signs of narcissists: are they in your life? ‘  Or the sheer number of good points, it must take some beating and was very helpful practically which is why I have included it in this diary entry

Only in England…

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We have a general election on 12 December and the local paper, the Bath Echo have decided to publish details of the candidates. One such is an independent called Bill Blockhead. Any resident is entitled to stand for any reason. Bill describes himself thus:

Born as a blockhead, throughout his life Bill put his larger than average brain to good use. There was plenty of space in his rather impressive head for many ideas. A resident of Bath more than two decades, Bill has observed a lack of political diversity.

Priorities for Bath.

* He will campaign for the UK to leave the solar system by 2028.
* Improve mental health services (furry animals on prescription) – he will give a free guinea pig or alternative small rodent to every citizen.
* The environment – he will personally begin digging up London Road and plant it with spring bulbs and perennials.
* Bring back the trams to Bath – made from strawberry jelly and gingerbread men with sprinkles.
* Free annual summer and winter parties all funded by any Bath resident in the 40% tax bracket

This Mr Blockhead has chosen an original way of making a statement. I see this as a work of art and would defend anyone’s right to publish this sort of thing. There is a grain of truth in whatever is uttered not matter how off the scale. Bearing in mind that people who conform to the system are often completely mad in that they see the world revolving around them; me first, others second. Madness takes many forms.

Along to the hospital where as usual, I keep an eye out for interesting public service announcements and always enjoy the works of art that adorn the corridors. This is not the actual artwork shown but I was very moved by the text that went with it. It underlines what I have always said about the therapeutic value of nature.

Here are some more notices that I saw whilst in the hospital

7th anniversary of our residence in Somerset

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There is only one way to celebrate and that is by going to Hartleys Kitchen, rookery farm, Binegar. It’s not actually in this place, but in the middle of nowhere.  If you want an excellent and jolly meal,  type in BA3 4UL or visit their website.

Very few people do things well. The best cafes are family run and you can feel it when you walk in. Paul, the proprietor, has an excellent memory for people, is always pleased to see you. He has an excellent sense of humour, and oh, I forgot the food is good. It doesn’t matter where an establishment is, if you are good, the public will find you. Paul has been proprietor of this place for 10 years and he works a six-day week. Goodness knows how he does it, but he loves his job so much.

At an adjacent table, I noticed that someone was very picky about wanting a particular variety of gravy. I decided to give the term a condition, and thus increase my vocabulary. The term was graveophile or graveoholic. With some hesitation I approached him but he was quite good humoured and we agreed that the former term was more accurate as a descriptor

I was asked by someone at a neighbouring table what my time in Somerset has meant to me – and indeed to Françoise. First of all, it’s not that we found the place, the place found us, and as I have written previously there was no question even before we walked in the door that the place we had chosen was the right one for us. I find the question difficult to answer. Had I remained in London, which was in a stage one carer block of flats which means you have a warden to look after you, but you were independent. I think I would have eventually got fed up with the rather gossipy atmosphere and wanted to move on. Most of my fellow residents were ‘old’ and were resigning to living out the rest of their days without making any particular effort.

There is a definite benefit in moving out of London because I got £170,000 for my modest two-bedroom flat and that can buy quite a lot of house, or at least a pretty good help towards a mortgage, on a much bigger property out-of-town. When I return to London now, I find the pace of life exciting but just too much to cope with, alien almost,  and I stumble around like a country bumpkin (an unsophisticated or socially awkward person from the countryside)  until after 24 hours I have adjusted myself.  The transport system is superb, and it has to be, with buses every 10 minutes or so and subways that whisk you from A to B in no time.

However, there are other aspects to London than that. The levels of EMF are much higher and they will be 10 times as bad when 5G gets switched on, probably next year. I know there are parks in London, where you can get relief if only temporary from the stresses and strains of city life but in Somerset, the stress level is much lower all the time. This is a mixed blessing because sometimes people fall asleep due to lack of stimulus and there are fewer people on my wavelength but given the choice give me nature any time. For intellectual stimulus we have to go to Bath, Bristol, Wells, Frome but these are within reasonable distance. All except Bristol are about half an hour away. Bristol is about an hour on a good day.

I return home and watched TV. Françoise watched Highlander III. I watch Robin Williams compilation and order Good Will Hunting from eBay at a price of £1.78 including postage.

 

An autumn walk by the Kennet and Avon Canal

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From the excellent ventusky.com – light years ahead of the BBC

 

It was touch and go whether we went out at all because it kept on raining but we decided to go out anyway. Some of the most beautiful scenes, some would say romantic, are to be seen in the autumn countryside and today was no exception.  Only one anomaly, a tall, athletic woman was pacing up and down the canal talking on her Skype. We found this irritating and let her pass.  At the end of our walk, an hour later, we passed her the other way and there she was continuing to talk on the phone. Is this an addiction or what.

We always stop off at Wellow, a small historical village on the way to the canal; we always go and see how the Weir is doing flood-wise. There was not as much flow as I expected, but it was still 6 inches over the road. A passing woman drew our attention to a bat which unusually was flying around during the day.Onto the angelfish restaurant at the Canal Visitor Centre, Bath BA2 7JD  for those who want a good starting point for a wander east or west along the canal.  After an excellent pumpkin soup off we went.

Life by the canal goes on 24/7/365. People have to take their waste away, store up with firewood, and live their life when the weather is not so sunny or warm. I imagine that a canal boat is probably one of the snuggest and warmest you could imagine. In the distance we heard the sound of a chainsaw and across the canal we saw two people clearing an area and making a lovely bonfire. I do yearn to live in the country though for the most part it is completely impractical I have to admit.

 

A certain type of person will really benefit from living on the canal. I could not do it because I would not have access to a garden, I’m too lazy to walk 200 m to get into my car, I don’t want to travel 5 miles to the nearest supermarket and what am I going to do with my thousand plus books. I can see this as a holiday arrangement but no more. . However, each to his own.

The abandonment of religion – but there is hope

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‘Religion is the opium of the people’ as Karl Marx said. We should consider the full quote which puts a different context on things.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people

but I can think of far worse forms of opium, such as consumerism, self-centredness, greed, false values, and general intellectual vacuity.

On yet another rainy and grey morning I have decided to take a break from my 5G – smart meter – extinction rebellion mindset and listen to some good old Bible preaching.

As a background to this, this morning I was listening to talk about people who feel that religious services should be abolished in schools. They may have been abandoned already so far as I know. One of the speakers suggested that instead of having religious services why don’t we teach people how to be a  good person. That is a good idea but where do we get our idea of goodness from or take the idea of good and evil? Surely, from the Bible, which is a brilliant summary of how to lead our lives in harmony.

My favourite religious radio station, which I often listen to, is called Trans-World Radio. It is available on most platforms, including the Internet itself, and FreeView which I normally watch. Every morning we have a talk by Colin Smith, a Scottish minister. His words are unfailingly riveting and relevant. This morning, I’m listening to his sermon “cultivating peace” which I will summarize here. The whole sermon is worth a watch. It is 45 min 24 seconds in length. But if you don’t have the time here is my appreciation.

We need to be (blessed) peacemakers. How do we get peace in ourselves? Some key points (with reference to scriptures but see video)

# be prepared to give up your rights.

We are all territorial creatures to a certain extent and have our pride so to hold on tenuously to a position is not the ideal starting point for any peacemaking attempt.

# Move toward the trouble

Peace cannot be made by moving backwards from a problem. It will only delay it. Jesus is our savior and our example in confronting situations.

# recognize where there is a problem

We may want to think there is peace when there is not. Don’t put a piece of plaster over a septic wound. It is not ‘anything for a peaceful life’. This is particularity a male tendency. Avoidance prepares the way for greater trouble. ‘I need to get honest and real’

# Deal with conflict early

To save greater collateral damage at a later stage. We need to control the situation and not let it get so big it controls us. Watch out when the strife began – perhaps a harsh word or distrust. Dont let a problem fester in your mind.

# practice restraint especially with your tongue.

“be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” James 1.19 Do we really need to ‘dump’ or ‘unload’.  I have to say what I think – really? Why not hold  back. Where is the harm? If we were told all the wrong things we have done through all time we would be devastated and would never recover. The fruit of the spirit includes self control.

# Prepare for a long journey

Peacemaking is a process not an event. The problem can go back many generations to the beginning of time even – our very nature – our DNA.

# Take a step towards peace

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink’  Reach out with an act of kindness.  the longest journey starts with one small step. What could we do to make a second step possible?

# aim at humility, not humiliation

We make peace not by a triumph of power but a triumph of love. Do I want revenge, do I want vindication of my own views or do we want peace. The three alternatives are completely different. If you want one solution you cannot have the other. Do we give our adversary room to move.

# trust the injustice you have suffered to God

We endure sorrows whilst being treated unfairly. Jesus suffered and gave us his example. When He was reviled He did not revile again. He did not threaten. He did not seek His own vindication. Our vindication is with God not with man. Jesus bore our sins.

#Pray for peace

#9 share the Gospel of peace.

As shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Sharing the Gospel with someone could be the biggest act you can do for peace.

# cherish peace wherever you find it. 

Maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

A week in Cornwall

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A right old mixture.  Holiday days merge into each other so here are some highlights from our trip.  The weather treated us quite well, and even if it rained you just dress for the occasion. The winds blew, for some of the time at about 30 miles an hour, and it was difficult to walk on these occasions but the human being is a tough old species and we can manage most things.

This is a painfully bad pun, self depreciating and just a bad joke. I guess it sounded funny at the time. It was probably conceived during a period of drunkenness.

Mousehole is a small seaside town somewhat to the south-west of  Penzance. There is theoretically a coastal path along the whole coast but it takes some finding and frequently goes inland due to the danger presented by some of the cliffs.visitors do not realise how narrow the roads are but this is the only way of contact between the centre of the village and the row of houses you see on the left. Obviously no parking at any time. You will see on the right-hand side gardens which directly overlook the sea and everyone has one small one. Whether they sit in it or use it is another question.

Remembrance Sunday has just passed so we have a fresh tranche of wreaths. If you look, every town or village of any size has one.Competition make sure that all the cafes are of good quality. This is particularly important out of season. We were served well. I remember the days when you were used to ask either coffee or tea and our standard order is decaffeinated coffee with oat milk plus a decaf tea and everyone is prepared for it.

Jumping back to the Sunday 10th, this was a war memorial service at Marazion. The road was closed for 10 min during the service and everyone and everyone who felt like it was able to lay a wreath and this after a short service.The Lizard. The picture below is actually a cove called, unmemorably, Kynance Cove (TR12 7PJ) about a mile from the southern-most tip, owned by the national trust.  Ideal for seeing the waves at their wildest, for having a good meal or a cup of coffee in the cafe and just enjoying nature.

Look towards The Lizard

For those who have no car, looking at the local bus maps will repay you. Even small towns and villages are connected. I’m sure there’s a local App. but to to give you an idea here is a map of the area bus-wise. However, some of these services are seasonal.

We went to a museum of tin mining, which unfortunately was not open at the time but were compensated by coming across a very interesting service called the incredible bulk. The idea is that items are recycled, the use of plastic is avoided wherever possible and items can be bought in bulk. For example cleaning items. There was a small queue of people waiting to buy their washing liquid. I just love the idea. They have a Facebook site and they have a monthly and weekly routine rather like a traveling library. See their web site. Not the way I would have designed it but it gives the info.

Good luck everyone.

I find that going to this area is like taking myself back 20 years where old-fashioned standards apply. No one need fear that they will be bored because there is always something to do and see. But be warned, in the summer, the roads are overcrowded and small villages are not designed for the parking of cars so if you see a park-and-ride facility, use it because there is a reason for it. For example, in St Ives it is virtually impossible to park and the roads are NARROW.

After a long (for me anyway) writing pause

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So, nothing but a complete switch-off in Cornwall no less – hence my lack of entries for the past week. We arrived last Saturday and are sitting around suspended in space and time as one does. The journey back was a good four hours by car – nothing compared with returning home from a trip abroad and much less stressful.

Whilst randomly surfing I found this video of Jordan Peterson which I find particularly apposite in this day and age. Technical communication has never been so pervasive yet loneliness has never been so great, in my opinion anyway. The elements for a better community spirit in towns and cities are there – it just needs someone to do some tweaking. We could pick one or two towns and use these as pilot projects.

It is taking me time to write my diary so I will need this week to catch up.

William Rees-Mogg appears in Wetherspoons

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There have not been enough events of note in the last few days to stimulate me to make any diary  entries. Yesterday I finished the job that was truly ‘jungle clearance’.  There was about 4 yd.³ of green spoil (see image below)  and all sorts of odds and ends including eight footballs hiding in the long grass which resulted from leaving a garden neglected for the best part of seven years.  My good friends from ARK clearance came along and took it away. We figured that the elderly house owner, who was born in the same house, could not face the passing of his father and simply blotted the garden out of his mind. The father was a great fan of the garden and tended it with loving care.

Its amazing what you find in a dilapidated garden

Anyway, this morning I decided to go to Wetherspoon’s to have breakfast; five pounds for a traditional breakfast including a coffee. I started my meal and I noticed a commotion at the stall next to me. The next thing that happened that William Rees Mogg introduced itself to me by name. I was slightly taken aback to see him – never mind been greeted by him. I reminded him that I had been to see him twice about 5G. He not only recalled the conversation but also the time and the place. This man has a formidable memory.  Afterwards, I joked with his agent about the stupidity and hypocrisy  of Greta Thunberg and the leftist agenda of the BBC. That really made my day.

Sir William – arise! . I do not often see pictures of Rees Mogg kneeling but he spent 10 min with a woman giving her views and he listened with great kindness and patience. All credit to him for that.

My food allergies are getting worse. So I decided to find a specialist, one of whom lives in the Frome area and by luck I got an appointment this afternoon at 3:15 PM

We are preparing ourselves for a week in Cornwall. Rain is forecast for 50% of the time but then weather in this area is different from the rest of the country and I’m sure will have a lovely time whatever the sun decides to do.  I must dig out my waterproofs and my wellies.

Off to Frome to have an allergy test with a lady called Helle Jones who has been doing allergy testing for 37 years.  However on the way I popped in to my local garden equipment suppliers. My petrol strimmer was becoming a nuisance as of 10 min work the cord broke off so I had to thread it again. Mike, the ever accommodating owner, explained that I must use it slowly and at some distance from the offending brambles. He told me that if I move it too fast back and forth it is too much for the cord. Grateful for his advice, I continued my journey to Frome.

The allergy test told me that I must not eat six types of food. I was wrong in all my guesstimates except one. Coffee is bad for me but I can have  decaffeinated coffee. I thought it was the milk, not suspecting the coffee  for one moment. It was right in front of my eyes. The machine she used was called the Vegetest which can diagnose the cause of symptoms and indicate the correct therapy.  I suspect it is designed on radionic and acupuncture principles.

I was rewarded with a lovely rainbow following a rain shower.

 

A good communion service and a useful chat.

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After my local church this morning for holy Communion with sermon. The sermon was interesting, talking about a tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus asked him to come down saying that he would like to have a meal with the tax collector in his home, much to the consternation of crowd. Whilst Jesus was with him, the tax collector must have had a bad conscience because he agreed to return any money owed to people who he had cheated, fourfold,  and to give half his money to the poor. Jesus told him, Zacharias, that salvation would come to his house that day. I do wonder how many bad deeds are hanging over us because we have not resolved them.

The service itself zipped along with lively hymns, clearly enunciated prayers.  I have got used to this idea of ‘passing the peace’ where you shake hands with everyone in sight. It’s a good idea but I cringed the first time I saw it in action.

During the coffee afterwards, I had a chat with a lady who had been on a trip to London yesterday, Saturday. She was very proud that she got a special deal from a coach company for £15 return to London. She said the journey time was 2 hours 35 min. I do love hearing useful bits of information. When I have information myself I’m delighted to share it. I don’t regard good  or useful ideas as my property but something to be shared.

Tomorrow, irrespective of the weather, a long day in a garden when we are clearing a property that has not been touched for seven years since the death of the father of the present occupant.

On death and dying

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A listing in the Mendip Times caught my eye, the Somerset Festival of death and dying: events in Frome, Glastonbury and Wells. My eye was further taken with a man called Chukka who was scheduled to give a lecture about the importance of talking about suicide. He is part of a nationwide organisation (actiontopreventsuicide.org)  that tries to help people avoid taking their own lives by a combination of observation, talking, and intervening in a diplomatic way. About 20 of us met in a side chapel in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells. He asked how many people in the audience had had suicidal thoughts or touched by suicide in some way and the majority put their hands up.

In the UK and the Republic of Ireland there were 8,859 suicides in 2018, a rise of 10.9% over the previous year. Three quarters of the people who commit suicide are men,  peaking between 45 and 49 years of age.  The youngest person to ever commit suicide was four years of age. There is no type of behaviour that can be spotted associated with someone who intends to take their own life. The area with the second highest level of suicide is  Cornwall, top of the list is county Durham. We were encouraged to be proactive and asked people if they had ever felt suicidal. I drew from the meeting that it was necessary to be a person who is approachable if you want to volunteer to be a listener.

We then went on to a meeting room in the Elim ‘Connect’ centre where various organisations, offering services for the death and dying were gathered. We talked with a lady who arranges funerals and is also a counsellor. She talked about the importance of making a will. She gave an example of a couple who had been living together for 42 years. The male partner had expressed the desire that his female partner continue to live in the house after his passing. However, he had previously been married a long time ago for two years. On his death, his ex-wife heard about it and claimed the house for her and her child. The co-habitee was thrown out on the street and that after 42 years of cohabitation.

People are talking more about this topic now which I think is a very good thing. Britishness does not involve sharing feelings so it is sometimes difficult to tell if a person is in a suicidal frame or not.