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all on my ownsome

Françoise is sitting talking to her sister-in-law in a rainy Lyon as I write.
I’m getting used now to just speaking into a microphone and getting any information I require instantly. It is 12° in Lyon, light rain, humidity 83%, wind speed 12 km an hour from the West.   I like facts and figures but does it really matter that much? The main thing is that Françoise is having a good time with her family and in her country of birth, France.

I am in full flood writing a new website for the trauma group I have become a part of. I hope the sudden display of creativity will not be traumatic to the team. I find that when I get an idea I can only function at 100 miles an hour – and I would have it no other way. I wonder what purgatory artists go through when they can see the whole picture in their head. They have to find time to eat and sleep which at these junctures can become a nuisance.

I did not sleep last night and got up at 03.30 in the morning, made a late or early coffee depending on your viewpoint, switched on the radio and listened to BBC “from our own correspondent”. I chose this as an alternative to radio five live which was talking about football yet again. I find radio five live one of the best channels because they are so quick on the ball (no pun intended) when news happens. I did send a text message to them about the incredibly profound subject of what to do with food that you drop on the floor, do you pick it up quickly and eat it or declare it and clean and throw it away. I was briefly on the programme for a little bit just before the age clock news one morning having been rang at 625 by a very awake and alive lady from said radio station asking if I wouldn’t mind being on the programme.   I said yes on the grounds that I do anything once.

Anyway, I go for the criteria of being sticky. If a toast with marmalade on falls the wrong way up then that goes into the bin straightaway. If dry toast falls on the floor then it is redeemable because in my mind I think it’s not so susceptible to germs.

Anyway I woke up first of all because I didn’t sleep at all and secondly because I had some ideas for the website which I had to complete. I find that if I leave a new idea for a few hours it loses the momentum and excitement and when I respond immediately to an idea it’s a bit like flying, it is not work, it does not drag me down. I  sit in front of the computer for too long anyway but a couple of hours can pass in the blink of an eyelid as they say and it’s all been great fun. I also baked a loaf of bread but there is something wrong with the least because it does not rise the way it should do but never mind flour is flour and crunchy solid is better than aerated. If in doubt, toast it.

As with art, I think you just have to do stuff because you think it’s right irrespective of how you think other people might accept it otherwise you become normal because you predicate yourself on the opinions of others and in my view, normality is a disease. Give me an eccentric person any time and they will be far more entertaining because they’re not bothered. Politically Correct people eat your heart out, your are on a loser to nothing. As with arts, as with musical composition, so with writing just write the blessed stuff and get it out of the way.

As for being on my own so to speak that is a technicality. When you have a good relationship with someone and when they are away its like they’re in the next room except of course they don’t make any noise. I think free time is a real gift and I intend to make the most of it until Wednesday evening when Françoise returns. I did not get the urge to go with her, as my readers will know my “travel department” is very reliable but I felt she needed time and space to be with her French speaking French friends and relatives and in a way having me there does alter the vectors somewhat.

Grand day of departure for Lyon, France

I love the National Express tracking service. All buses are connected via GPS and their position is updated every minute. you can load your PC via the coach tracker aspect of their website and report to any passenger who might be sitting in the coach exactly when they will arriveor exactly where they are. This is a great help to Françoise who is prone to becoming anxious when travelling. I text the information to her.

We had an interesting morning deciding whether Francoise should go by bus or by train because with the M4 closed it was a question of whether the coaches could negotiate the undoubtedly increased traffic on the alternative routings.

We already re-booked the coach on the same route leaving one hour earlier. I told Françoise not to make any decision until we got to the bus station whether she went by bus or did not want to risk being late by taking the train. The train was £33 single which is neither here nor there compared with the cost of the Eurostar ticket and she had bought the cheapest bus ticket which means there is no change possible.

Timing is everything and we made as it turns out the right decision at the right time. We arrived at the coach gate. Françoise saw that the driver was the same as she had had when she went to London a couple of weeks ago and that inspired her with some confidence. The driver was not able to give assurance to Françoise that the bus would arrive on time but gave the latest estimate as 1:30 PM this being from a 9:30 AM start.

She was torn between the train and coach but decided to take the driver’s word for the time of arrival so I agreed with him and encouraged her to get on the coach. The coach went via the A3 not the M4 and arrived 27 min late at 12.57. She told me that as soon as she sat down in the coach seat she relaxed because there was nothing she could do but see what comes. I think that’s very much like the situation in life, you have to make a decision and I encouraged her to make a decision not to soon but at the key moment when she had the most information.

In our seven or eight years of travelling together we have never made a bad decision with regard to travel. It’s something I have a very good instinct about and it has not let me down on this occasion.

I took my new mower back to Kilmersdon complaining that it was under performing in the mechanic found that the blade was blunt. This I could scarcely believe since I used it only three times since it was new but he took my word for it and sharpened the whole thing. This business of taking people’s word for something happens far more frequently in the country and far more with local firms than with large corporates. I know it’s a bit obvious to say this but it does make living in the country a more pleasant experience. I suppose a part of this is that you suffer if you get a bad reputation.

I also went to see a rather large new interesting gardening job. The lawn is absolutely huge and very overgrown so needs mowing,and she wants to create an orchard and a place for wildflowers. She also wants a couple of beds cleared and a tree cut up and removed. This is the sort of job I really love doing. We have the policy, Francoise and I, of maintaining our savings. We work just enough to cover our bills so that our situation at the end of a given year is about the same as it was at the beginning.

To celebrate everything in general and nothing in particular, I went to the wonderful Mells shop and cafe and had a main salad plus Almond tart, lovely coffee, and some local vanilla ice cream.

The sky was blue and the sun was shining brightly. Spring is here.

business visit to Bristol

Sometimes, the only way to get to a location outside a city centre is by car and this includes Bristol which although it has a good transport system is quite large in extent and it can take you forever to get from A to B.

Mindful of the huge amount of time it took my wife to get to the city centre by bus during the rush hour I decided to set off early for the venue in North East Bristol but I did 18 miles in 45 min and thus arrived well before time. The roads were completely clear all the way.

The business meeting was in connection with the trauma project with which I am engaged in the North Bristol group of hospitals. My business contact was helpful, charming, gentle and most of all encouraging for the scheme that I had proposed. It is sad that in this day and age we sometimes have to steel ourselves for a negative attitude towards any idea we may have but in this case we were kindred spirits on the same wavelength. I told my lady contact that I only decided to go ahead with the project because I felt I could intuitively trust the first point of contact who was the leader of the particular trauma group. I realised how important trust is and how much I value it. I give a person many chances if they make mistakes but once the trust is gone it is gone and a person is place for ever in another category.

I know Jesus said “forgive them for they know not what they do” but I must admit in the day-to-day activity of life I’m not in that category. I have enough to deal with out without being hurt or taken advantage of. It is very comforting to know that there are some nice people left in the world and what a pleasure it is to do business with them or at least talk about doing business even if nothing comes to fruition.

Incidentally, on my way there I saw the most extraordinary street sign which I enclose for your entertainment. You can’t beat that for lack of romance with a road name.

I whizzed back home by lunchtime to find a message from National Express to my wife informing her of severe delays to the coach that I had booked to get to the Eurostar tomorrow. The letter did say we could rebook without penalty so I booked a bus that left an hour earlier so hopefully she will make it to the Eurostar in time. If the coach is delayed an hour, she will still make the train so it should not be too bad. The problem is that repair works are going to close parts of the M4 including J12-J13, Reading. I suppose it has to happen sometime. With the amount of potholes in the UK at the moment they should perhaps close the whole road system and give everyone a holiday while they do the repairs. Chance would be a fine thing.

visit to the dentist

Only six more visits and then I will have a perfect set of dentures. David, my dentist, always has a happy disposition. He is married to an acupuncturist I recall, and has an extra awareness of what he was doing. I have suffered from the attentions of many dentists over my (cough) however many years it is now and as a result most of my teeth have had to be removed.

The NHS were not able to perform to the necessary standard so I decided to go privately. I think it’s going to be about £12,500 which is good value considering that a new set of implants would cost about £45,000. David says he will not give implants if the available bone depth is less than 8 mm. When he trained the minimum they were allowed to do was 11 mm. Some dentists do shorter ones for example 5 mm but they tend to fall out after a few years and as David says – people would be paying many thousands of pounds and would not take kindly to this. I joked with him that I would definitely stay around alive to get value for money for my investment for that is what it is.

At the end of my dental session I also joked about something else. As my readers will know, I had a fairly serious fall last October whilst gardening during which I broke seven posterior ribs and ended up in hospital. This has led to rather interesting chain of events where I ended up being patient representative for a group of hospitals in North Somerset. It does appear that this is not a very popular job or at least regarded as the short straw but to me it is a very interesting way of reducing the pressure on the hard-working personnel of the NHS. As David joked, “the things you have to do to get an interview”. Our sessions always ended in a jovial and conversational way. If as with the NHS you only have 15 or 20 min per patient there is not an awful lot of opportunity for bedside chat so yes I am buying time but talking is all about the oil that keeps things running smoothly.

The ticket to Lyon that I bought with Francoise in such a hurry last night for £91 has just gone up to £146 so that’s a saving of £55 straight off. Outwitting the algorithms involves getting under the skin of the creator – not easy at the best of times.  Françoise got E114 for £100 in Bristol today which in these Brexit times is not bad. Off she goes this Saturday morning

17° today in Bath and the sun was shining. I had my usual number of zany miscellaneous conversations with complete strangers in my efforts to spread a bit of joy and positivity in the world. People are also often very grateful if you take the trouble to talk to them and I do recommend it is a lovely way of passing the time. When I’m on my own in public, I never lonely for this reason

doing nothing is never doing nothing

So I go along to get my MOT this morning. Unbeknownst to me, the garage had left a message to say that the three-phase electricity has failed and they could not use the ramp that they intended to use. Sometimes things just happen outside peoples control and I do not see why stress should be passed on so I just accepted it and said I will return later on today.

I’m getting a lot of inspiration recently about the interface between doctors, the national health service and patients and I’m writing a number of skits ( English word for comedy pieces ) which concentrate on the dark side of human nature. I believe that when I deliver this it will release people and allow them to think in a slightly different way.

So, Brexit has just been announced officially and I worry a little bit that my French wife will not be allowed to live here but then she has been here since the mid-1970s so if they kick her out they are going to have to kick a lot of other people about as well.  This is a huge game of cat and mouse that is going to go on in London and Brussels.

My wife is in court acting as a juror and I shall report on this in due course. Anyone can be called up. you need to be between 18 and 75. Currently , she currently is debating whether someone is guilty of sexual molestation and they are not allowed to make any external phone calls while they are in committee so to speak. The foreman of the jury is chosen by the jury themselves.

A cousin of my wife died a couple of days ago and the discussion is whether she goes to Lyon for the funeral which is next Monday. The closer the event is the more expensive. Eurostar return is the best part of £400 so these offers you see at £59 or £60 are contingent on a number of factors including booking a long time ahead.  I thought of getting her to fly out from Bristol with easyJet and return by Eurostar but if you just buy a return ticket it is more expensive than buying the same ticket on the same train as part of a return. They have got you every way.

so, today is an example of how not much happens on the outer level but a lot happens on the inner level. Since I mostly live on the inner level anyway, lack of so-called external events do not bother me at all. I think I would be quite happy on a desert island most of the time though I should hasten to add not all of the time.

After much hassle we obtained a return ticket to Lyon in France for £180. You really have to be on the ball because the outward journey had 9 seats left at £91.  One hour later there were six seats; a half an hour later there were three seats left. The next price points are £124 and £164. if you want a return London to Lyon by Business Premier it is £530. That does my head in a bit. I could fly to New York and back for that.

A grand car boot sale and the perfect salesman

Cheddar in Somerset is home to one of the largest car boot sales which comprises a field where people bring their unwanted objects for sale, hard stands where people sell vegetables, machines and other less ephemeral objects and finally a large indoor shed which consists of a number of antique shops and miscellaneous stands.

I go not intending to buy anything but always see something useful and when it costs a pound or two you don’t even think of it. I bought a book about the rise of Nazism as seen through one particular village in Germany and also a lighter because mine has emptied and my efforts to replenish it with fuel have resulted in very cold fingers but nothing else.

I always look forward to a company that is there every Sunday and that is a meat sales company. He and a couple of acolytes work from a large trailer and sell more meat in a shorter time than I have ever seen. he sells a whole side of lamb from £20, two chickens, six lamb chops, and a few other items thrown in for £10.  How they make profit I don’t know. They have a very good reputation and I know that they are very popular among the Chinese takeaways that pretty much get their whole supply of meat from him.   He is almost telepathic. In a crowd of about 50 if you just blink your eye or raise your hand somewhat he knows that you want to buy.

This was where I took my friend Andrew on the last part of his weekend with us. I checked his route back to Manchester via the AA website as he had had a big delay on the way down due to an accident.  Fortunately I did because the M5 was closed and so he planned an alternate route through Wales. it just shows you can’t take anything for granted because circumstances change so quickly. Overall we had a brilliant weekend. The weather was cloudless if a little cold but so long as the sun is shining I don’t really care. I feel all we can do with visitors is to offer them something interesting and if they don’t find it interesting then just do something else. There is no lack of things to do around here. The country is far more filled with events and features than you would ever imagine.

Avon and Kennet Canal

What a perfect day to take our friend for a walk. We entered the tow path about 3 miles west of Bradford-on-Avon, Somerset. The weather was so good that it brought out far more cyclists than was compatible with walking in a safe and carefree manner. As usual we had a lot of interesting conversations including with a man who had just bought an electric bike which he explained in great technical detail. It has 10 gears and four power settings, the least of which, the so-called eco, is for use on flat ground and increases the speed by about 60 percent.

He was shy about the price but I guessed it was about £2000. I know that the battery itself is probably about £300. He used it when he went for excursions with his wife. They go along the tow path, he cycles, and when they have reached their destination he goes back to get the car. The reason is that his wife is less able to walk than himself.

We also chatted with two South African ladies and wondered when Zuma the president would finally step down. the Rand is now 16 to the pound, it was 20 when I was there. The electricity supply continues to be a problem due to lack of investment in the past and one of the ladies said they had recently been without power for three days. She said that Durban had become a more violent and dangerous city. I like the way the people you have never met before are so candid mainly they know that they can say what they like without any fear of feedback because of the anonymity.

The whole walk took about 3 1/2 hours at a very leisurely pace and for one of the first times in the year the sun had some power to it.

 

A real LIVE jazz evening

in the company of my friend Andrew who has come down from Manchester we went to a so-called Tutors Jazz Night composed of the tutors and some of the pupils from the music school of Bath spa University. it’s not a brilliant picture below but it gives some idea of the atmosphere. The chap on the left, the pianist, was one of the senior lecturers and seemed to be in control of the proceedings.

We arrived about eight o’clock and found we were the last people and managed to secure three seats. It was not in a charismatic place, more like a glorified Anderson shelter on a big scale but the atmosphere and the music was just wonderful particularly when people are tempted in front of us something they had never tried before. The atmosphere, the sharing, the rapport between the players was something I had not experienced for years, entirely my lazyness, and Françoise and myself decided to attend musical events more regularly.

 

 

80 year old expert on Formula 1

I went to Bath today for a monthly checkup for my wet macular problem in my left eye. It was just over a year since I had my first eye injection.  I remember going into an optician for a standard eye test and she offered an extra private procedure which would examine the eye in greater detail. I thought, why not? We might as well be thorough. The optician looked at me with a worried face and the next thing I knew, the she was on the phone to Bath Hospital (RUH) and the next day I was having my eyes examined.

Wet macular eye disease makes the centre of the eye a little bit like corrugated iron and you cannot see detail to the front of you that the peripheral vision is not affected. There is treatment available on the NHS free of charge whereas 10 years ago, the cost of having a shot was about £800.

I gently reminded a rather impatient and grumbling man waiting in the queue for another appointment that this service was free so if he did not wish to wait 10 min, he could go privately which would probably cost him for the whole session about £1,250. He was strangely silent at this point but continued to mutter.

Whilst I was waiting for my initial examination and old lady down sat down next to me and started reading a book. I passed the time of day with her and we chatted on various things including the outrage in London, some so-called terrorist thing, and we agreed you need a sense of humour to survive these days. She had apparently travelled from Trowbridge.

The topic turned to TV and she revealed that she was a Formula One addict. I said I thought that Lewis Hamilton will probably win the championship again. She actually sniffed and said that he is too much up himself and does not have a sense of humour and tries to explain away his failures blaming others rather than himself. She thought that Max Verstappen, 18 or 19 years old as she said, had ‘no fear and just overtook people’. Nico Rosenberg retired just at the right time after he had won the championships to spend more time with his family.

She went on in great detail and knew more than I did. I asked her if she got up early to watch when the time difference was appropriate in she said she tried to but if she did not manage it she watched the programme at her daughters and the children were under threat not to reveal the winners were. While she spoke, she was very animated, as much as I’ve ever seen with motor racing fans. Her liveliness made my day, and that liveliness was compounded by the fact that I did not need another injection because my eye had stabilised. I was instructed to drink volumes of water at least 2 L a day. I don’t enjoy drinking water very much so she said I could flavour it with lemon or orange which I immediately agreed to.

I went off to celebrate and had a completely unhealthy black forest gateaux and coffee in Cafe Valerie in Bath.

Whilst on hospital matters, I have been given the title of ‘Patient Representative for Southmead Major Trauma Centre’. I showed an interest in patient liaison when I was in the hospital back in October. I offered my services to one of the trauma team and it was accepted with alacrity. I thought lots of people would offer but apparently not. It is perhaps seen as the short straw but I think such interfaces are very interesting. I had attended a convention in January where people involved in trauma were invited and gave a short talk and that seemed to go down fairly well.

Over-blown drama – the world is not ending

Oh dear here we go again. someone stabbed a policeman near the Houses of Parliament and they died. The same person also ran over some people and killed five of them. All over the papers, Terror in Westminster. far worse  things are happening every day in Aleppo and not a word from the media. In London the area around the scene has been closed off. Why? You have a deranged individual, a knife, a shot corpse, a number of bodies arranged in various positions that have to be taken away. And yet the centre of London is virtually closed. This is part of the agenda to frighten people into submission.

The reputation of London as a safe place will be questioned as the news goes around the world. this will affect tourist numbers in the immediate future especially from the hysterical mindsets of Americans who will assume the whole of the United Kingdom is being bombed or threatened.  in events of this type you will notice that the perpetrators are shot thus giving them no opportunity to be tried. Since when was an unarmed man carrying only a knife qualified to being shot?  I have turned off my radio today because I don’t want any more hysteria. I tuned in to radio three and listened to some nice classical music. It does me more good.

Gardening for old people

I have noticed that with some people, brainpower fades away slowly. It was the case with the 85-year-old woman that we went to do some gardening for, in this case to trim a tree. It was complicated by the fact that her daughter was a little bit possessive and insisted on being part of  the decision-making. It makes a difficult threesome and I have never found that it works because there’s always slight misunderstandings as there was in today’s case.

The daughter thought the customer wanted her tree taken down, I had explained to the customer that I thought trimming was an option, the customer kept coming out into the garden to see her progress and when we had done a good trimming job she changed her mind and said that she wanted the tree down so out came the chainsaw job done.

Older people tend to panic a little bit and this happened during the time we were there so I learnt to back off, calm her down, repeat the same suggestion for the sixth time, told her that there was no hurry and she could change her mind if she wanted. A lot of people find that the ordinary world is an increasingly difficult and indeed threatening place to live and they just cannot cope. When conditions are good they can chat as intelligently as the next person but when they have to make a decision this is when the fuse seems to blow. Fortunately I had my other half with me and she calmed the client down. She asked us three times if we were going to take away the debris of the tree and three times we assured her that we were going to do so. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that the person doesn’t take it in the first time and you simply have to repeat it and that’s the end of the story.

Anyway I wrote to the daughter to advise exactly what happened and mentioned the fact that we were a little bit confused about the lady changing her mind but I got a pleasant enough reply and I think the daughter understood the situation that I was in. I don’t know how such old people manage on their own, they must get terribly lonely and eventually the world of people becomes a distant place. I know that my wife meets her old peoples group when she works as a volunteer for AgeUK and very often the trip to the day centre is the only social experience they have in the course of the week. How they manage shopping I do not know so these intelligent and interesting people with fascinating life histories are more or less prisoners in their own house. It is not good.

This evening we went to a Soup Evening in the Town Hall. The idea, evidently imported from America, was that everyone contributes five pounds and gets a bowl of soup and a chance to hear a pitch from five charities who need money for various good reasons. A vote is taken at the end and money is given to the winning charity. About 30 of us attended and we had a jolly enough time. I met someone called John and his partner Libby who had just come to Midsomer Norton from Scotland and were having a whale of a time socially. Where they lived in Scotland there was no part and no social life so they were like kids in a sweet shop. John is a cellist and he had joined the local orchestra. I suggested that Libby joined the local U3A group.

I think it is a great advantage if you are new to an area if you are part of a couple. Single people don’t quite seem to have the social skills or the confidence to join a group that consists mainly of couples. I find that these days, couples are quite happy to talk to a single person. They come along to social events to get out of the house and enjoy a different environment so there isn’t the cliquiness that I once saw. My advice to single people is that others are not bothered whether you are single or not. Just pitch up and talk to the nearest person and you have a good time.

We had an amazing day of hail, rain and then bright sunshine. Françoise enjoyed fiddling around in the garden and tidying her shed.

The dreaded endoscopy examination

…on the bus with my other half to Bath hospital. Today was a day that I had not been looking forward to for some time. Endoscopy is when you put a camera down your throat and have a look at the stomach and see if there are any holes or anomalies. Last time I did it was in October and it was a failure. I was given three times the dose of Midazolam which was supposed to calm me down but I pulled the camera out three times and the experiment was abandoned. I felt bad about it but again my gag reaction is strong and I can’t do anything about it.

Anyway, this time they tried another method which was a strong throat spray which pretty much anaesthetises the throat but you can still feel the tube going down. Mr Krysztopik the consultant  moved the camera on its lead very slowly down the throat but when it hits the back of the throat you do gag and this is a natural reaction. What really helps is that a nurse holds your head and gives great comfort and I felt like being a baby again.

The procedure took about 4 min and they took biopsies, little pieces of tissue, to see if there was anything abnormal. The way they do this is to feed a wire which looks like a corkscrew down the camera lead and twiddle it around.  I must give a consultant great credit for spending longer talking to me about what was going to happen than actually doing the intervention. He said exactly when the discomfort would happen and that the camera lead would feel like a lead pipe which it did and that I must not worry about gagging which is a natural reaction for the body to get rid of things. The nurse told me to breathe and she was actually right. it is comforting to realise that these people have done this intervention thousands of times and they know exactly what to do, including when things go wrong.

it was found that the gastro-oesphageal flap valve showed a Hill classification value three of which is moderate. That means that stomach acid keeps on coming up. it also means that I have to stay on my omrazeprole pills, so far as I can gather indefinitely. I just have a flappy valve and that’s all there is to it so if that’s the greatest defect in my body then that is something to be thankful for.

I found I was shaking at the end of the intervention but the shaking soon passed and I walked out about 5 min later back to my wife who had patiently waited the best part of an hour. I was told to drink some water in half an hour and if it repeated on me to wait some time and try again. What I actually did was to go along to a cafe and have a  latte, chocolate cake and some ice cream. I had a slight soreness in my throat but this did not detract from the pleasure of giving myself a reward.

I realise that I had more anxiety prior to the intervention than I would have cared to admit. It is like a dark cloud on the horizon because you never know what’s going to happen. it is not a very small version of being found guilty of a crime in having to appear in court in six months time. It never leaves you and you imagine what could happen for the good or for the bad.  I’m not so sure what can be done about this, perhaps I have a weak character or perhaps it’s just human nature to worry about things that are potentially life-threatening. I wonder what it’s like to work for medicine sans Frontiers. Now that’s traumatic if ever there was one.

 

 

Rare Plant exhibition in Wells

Today Sunday, the day dawned, cloudy and damp. We were in half a mind to stay in and read and so on, but decided that we would go to the Rare Plant exhibition in Wells Cathedral Gardens. Sometimes, things go smoothly and this was no exception.

As it happened, the plants were not all that rare but the people who sold them also grew them and it gave great confidence. My wife said she was going to buy nothing but of course she gave way and bought a very good specimen for the garden. However often I visit the Gardens, they are never the same. in spite of the cloudy day, spring was in full bloom. We tried to find the handkerchief tree that our good friend the head gardener had mentioned to us but it had yet to bloom. We will return in a couple of weeks.

A quick visit to London

My partner Francoise heard that her best friend was near to death, so I have taken her to the bus station in Bath to go on a quick day return to London. he is already unconscious and has not taken food or drink, which is one of the signs of impeding demise but we decided that although he may not recognise her consciously the power of her thought and her caring would in some way communicate with her.

I visited a new garden customer today, Reg, who told me that he was an amputee and could therefore not carry on with his gardening. He had thrombosis in his left leg accompanied by much pain and when the doctors advised him that they will have to have to remove the leg he was delighted.   He told me that his wife had died two years ago and she did all the gardening. He has had the sense to ask a firm for a plastic lawn which actually looks quite lovely and all it needs is an occasional brush. He was quite happy for me to sit down and talk about the old days as many old people do because they have nothing to do apart from watch the TV.

It is very easy to be critical but he says that even with his artificial legs he can barely get around the bungalow never mind get out and about. He is part of an invisible army of people who need more contact. Because they don’t go around demonstrating people forget about these previously hard-working souls who have just been left and abandoned. However, Reg gets good support from his family, including his grand-daughter, who comes and cleans and his daughter, who arranges for shopping deliveries from Tesco. Many people do not even have this.

Exciting days – I do love technology, though it has a downside. I have been tracking my Other Half on the National Express coach tracker coming back from London. All coaches are attached to the GPS system so you get a minute by minute update and I was able to see whether she had a chance of getting a local bus which was due to leave 5 min after the national coach arrived. I was able to give a commentary by text.  eventually it arrived 22.52 and the bus was due to depart 22.55. She caught it. This meant I did not have to go and pick her up, which I wouldn’t have minded doing. I wonder what they did in the days before any sort of technology, even the telephone. Perhaps they used their inherent psychic powers like we could all do we wanted to.

Gardening and gardens

A day spent finishing a gardening job for a chap who used to be a farmer and is now taking an interest in playing piano, which is quite brave for someone in his 70s. Sometimes, people are with you but they are not with you. This chap was full of concern about his forthcoming practice with others in a small musical group. He was worried that his playing would not be up to standard and we, physical beings working in the garden, were a sideshow. I noticed that he did not say goodbye to me, though he did to Francoise. I wonder if I had something wrong or not lived up to his expectations or maybe he was simply pre-occupied.

It is a little bit disconcerting to be physically with someone but knowing their mind is elsewhere. the question for us all is, do we give people are full and complete attention and the answer in most cases, myself included, is not really. We listen to other people, just to see what element of their responses will enable us to click in with our views and practices and knowledge. I have various gifts, but if I needed to lose them all except one I would choose the art of listening, which requires that you enter yourself of a go and the need to make your point and just listen to another soul rolling out their agenda.

Went to an evening talk by the chief gardener of Wells Cathedral Gardens, a building that goes back to 1206 A.D. Underneath the building. They found some Roman ruins. An atmosphere of a place cannot be constructed by a PR campaign, but I honestly believe the best atmosphere, and indeed the worst atmosphere, is in the walls, in the ground, in the very air and it builds up over decades and centuries. This coming Sunday, there is a Rare Plant fair and we shall go and also see the wonderful displays of spring flowers such as daffodils and tulips.

gardening job – my son – the uniqueness of each day

Our first real gardening job of the year, conducted in lovely sunshine for husband-and-wife golfers and musicians. doing a gardening job involves familiarising yourself with the layout and meaning of the garden and I have turned down jobs in the past because I cannot see what real changes our labours would produce. Strictly speaking, we don’t need the money, but we do need the physical exercise which we are paid.

It is most important that we get on well with the customer. There needs to be a chemistry of some sort otherwise I find myself resenting the fact that I have to work even though there is payment involved. I do really want to enjoy my work and so does my other half. The beginning of the season is always a time when energy starts to build and we often get jobs which pay very little money, but nevertheless, which we do.

I had a talk with my son via Skype. He was concerned that I had broken confidences about a particular matter. I think sometimes it is in the interests of the greater good for people to be advised. What is going on in someone’s mind. In spite of the catalytic effect of my words, I made a deal with my son, who is 38, that I would not share information with other people given incompetence without discussing it with him first. That is all I can say in public but I noticed that when communication between people, has not happened regularly, people build up their own views of what has happened or what other people are thinking, which may have no relationship to reality.

I really enjoy the fact that no two days in my life has never been the same. Not only am I developing, but my friends and associates are developing. This evening I went to a talk about a nature reserve an arboretum in fact, near us. The subject matter, and the people were there, has never happened before in the history of the universe and will never happen again. This makes me excited to be a unique human being. I did my usual thing of asking questions, which were designed to bring out the best in the lecturer who had been a volunteer at this place for some years and loved what she did. Quite frankly I don’t care what the topic is about, I find enthusiasm infectious and it encourages me in my daily work especially when things are not so exciting.

The passing of a loved person

It is quite interesting that we speak about a traumatic event when in fact this adjective is a misuse of the language. It could be traumatic to some, shocking to someone else or a source of delight and personal development to a third person. So, it is not a traumatic event, it’s an event. Far more damaging than single events are tendencies over a period of time where your trust in people is consistently eroded until nothing is left. It is difficult to maintain a sense of self worth. Later on in your life for someone to come along and try and build something when in fact there is nothing on which to build it, if difficult if not impossible. That is why so many people going to the world of silent mind.

We both went this evening to hear a lecture on psychosis and obsessive compulsion disease. For the first time in many years. I misread the starting time and we turned up over an hour late and so could not get in. There are always positives to draw and one of them is to make sure that we check and check again on starting times, and details. With foreign trips I’m very good at this but on this occasion my attention slipped and I got caught out.

We came across this pile of flowers and letters of condolence for what was obviously a very popular young lady who had died in tragic circumstances. The array was outside a supermarket right slap bang in the centre of Bath, the last place you would expect to see such a sight. I lingered and had a word of prayer with the departed soul but got a lot of noise from her aura. I think she must have died a violent death. It takes ages for some people settle from this type of insult. it is my belief that life simply goes on when you so-called die and that death is very much like taking off your clothes and putting new ones on.

17.3.17 PS I went back a day or two later and discovered a relative of the young lady who turns out to have been 15 years of age. She died because she was allergic to milk would you believe. For a poor young thing to be struck down by milk?  The number of flowers has increased and there must be 70 to 80 bunches. I joked to a passerby that when I pass I wonder how many bunches of flowers there would be at my funeral. He joked that he would have to buy his own flowers. Good old British humour

Meetup and frogs eggs

I wrote to all the 25 members of my Meetup group about a meeting on 20 March and so far no one has expressed an interest in coming. Although they signed up within the last couple of weeks as being interested. I think people have lost their trust altogether in going along to new events where they almost expect to be disappointed, either that or get drunk and be laid. I don’t know how else to communicate with people, apart from writing an inviting letter and telling them what is on the menu. I told them it would cost three pounds to help with the room hire and administration. my Other Half thinks that that is such a tiny amount for an evening that could hardly be the reason why people are put off.

Today is a sunny and warm day, about 17°, the frogs eggs have turned into little tiny wriggling tadpoles and they are clustering in their hundreds and enjoying the sun. everyone is out, and seems in a good mood. I have just restored my Internet connection, hence the hiatus in my reports for the last few days. We spent a glorious Internet free weekend and I think I’ve read more pages of books per day than I have done in the previous time. My gardening year starts today but alas the person who I was going to work for was out playing golf, his usual occupation. I gather, so I will have to call him later and ask if I can go along. There is nothing like potential and pay bills to motivate me to go out and get going. Once I get going. I enjoy myself and I don’t mind. The thought is worse than the action.

The trauma of no internet connection

Reflections on losing my ‘umbilical cord’…. As of Friday, we lost our Internet connection due to changes that are being made to our system and I have managed to survive for 48 hours without checking in every 10 minutes. On Friday night, my wife and myself both spent time reading, we decided to have a technology-free time, and found that we had quite a lot to say to each other concerning the books we were both reading.

We also decided to have a television-free evening, as indeed we mostly did on Saturday; I have to say that it was refreshing and I have perhaps distanced myself from technology to a small extent, though I don’t now how I would manage it. I didn’t even have my mobile phone to check your message here and there. In all honesty, it’s mostly advertising stuff not directed at me but I feel the need to keep in touch but I’m not quite sure about the validity of this for important things, including my state of mind which seems to need daily tuning in order to survive.

I’m becoming increasingly involved and indeed intrigued in the topic of trauma and am due to give a talk to a group of doctors and clinicians in September. I hope that by that time, the subject matter will be so embedded in my mind that I will not need to refer to notes. I find it much more impressive when I watch speakers to see them directly talking to the audience rather than looking down all the time. I think more and more people are traumatised, or are associated with situations where trauma takes place, and that the need for looking at this subject will become more and more important. I do not think that doctors and clinicians will have had an enormous amount of allocation to this topic in their training. So as an aware member of the public, perhaps I can make up for this in some small manner even as an intelligent observer. I must make it quite clear at the start that I’m not a qualified clinician but an observer, the man on the Clapham omnibus.

Goggle box and Trauma

This is a day of working, reading and watching videos. I am fascinated with energy techniques such as EFT (google it). We waste so much energy endlessly recycling imagery, I could describe it as a blood clot with nowhere to go. This is a slow motion trauma just as insecure as if not more so than the traumatic effect or say a road accident, but because it is slow drip you don’t notice. I am reading a book by a doctor and researcher who has been studying trauma for the past 30 years. He is a Dutchman called Bessel van Der Kolk and the book I’m reading is called “the body keeps the score.”

it’s interesting that there is no such thing as an event that is intrinsically traumatic. For example, a car accident. A person might crash their car, rollover a couple of times, and walk away and think nothing of it. Someone else may experience dreadful trauma just walking through a door greeting a group of strangers. Our propensity to feel traumatised goes back to a previous experience where we were unable to deal with the emotion and were not able to allocate it to any particular cause, or if we could attribute it we could not deal with it through facing it.

I showed my Other Half an art exhibition from the Mall Gallery in London. I use my Galaxy 9 inch tablet and was able to film the whole show. I know it’s not quite the same, but the definition is enough to give a very good impression of the various works and it was certainly better than missing the show altogether as she did due to illness.

It was the UK budget today and the chancellor of the exchequer managed to go through the whole thing without mentioning once the poor and the needy and the marginalised. In a therapeutic situation I would call it schizophrenia. Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the opposition did his best to respond, but I notice that the chamber of the House of Commons was half empty. About 10 min into his speech.

Agro with Trip Advisor

irritation. I have done my usual quota of Trip Adviser reviews this time of London and my recent visit. I wrote a review of the Hayward Gallery, saying that it was closed and would only open in 2018.  My review was returned to me with the following comment:

Dear TripAdvisor Member,

Thank you for your review. We have opted not to publish your review as it does not meet our guidelines for traveler reviews. We have listed the guidelines below; you may also view them at:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/help/our_guidelines_for_traveler_reviews

*Authentic guest reviews of first hand experiences
We accept reviews that detail first-hand experiences with the facilities or services of an establishment. General discussion that does not detail a substantial experience will not be posted. No second-hand information or hearsay (unverified information, rumors or quotations from other sources or the reported opinions/experience of others).
No reviews written by ownership or management; including past employees, volunteers or anyone associated with/related to employees of the property with which they are affiliated. No reviews written by vendors employed by the property. Individuals affiliated with a property may not review other properties of the same type (accommodation, restaurant, or attraction) within the same city or town, or within 10 miles/16 kilometres of that property.

General commentary, bulletins, and questions for other reviewers are best suited to the TripAdvisor Forums (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ForumHome). Forums are discussion boards where members may ask and answer one another’s travel-related questions. Please feel free to submit your message there. Your original review is included below for your convenience.

It is clear that the majority of reviews are scanned by computer and the algorithms are geared to throw out swear words, personal comments etc. At a second stage they are reviewed again to weed out those that should not have been published in the first place. The above is a standard letter which everybody gets. I have reworded my review but the only thing I’m saying is that the place is closed and will not be open until 2018. it was returned again. How do I get a human being to actually read this and think, i.e. use their brain. What I did this time was simply write back to them saying that I’ve given them the information, they must do with it as they wish.

Today was a sunny day and other half and myself spent the day in the garden weeding, cutting, building a fence in my case. There is a particular quietness in working together when you don’t really have to say anything, just the pleasure of communal working.

A friend of mine, one of the allotment holders here locally in Midsomer Norton has decided to buy the local health shop with a friend. it is so good that healthy foods will continue to be sold in this quite small conurbation of about 20,000 people. I urged her to allow me to create a newsletter for the regular customers. She did not need much persuading but I said it does no harm to remind people so hopefully when the contract is finally signed, she will ask people whether they want to be kept in touch via some leaflets at the cash desk. I shall do this task for nothing because mailing lists and newsletters are my thing and it’s a bit like paying an alcoholic to sit in a bar.

I learned something today about bargaining. I wanted some extra cement for my work, but did not want to pay much for it. So I found a bag that had been broken open and obtained a substantial discount. The role is, if you don’t ask, you don’t get and shopkeepers will offer a discount if they know that they cannot get rid of the item due to damage.

We went to a talk on old-fashioned tools News in woodworking and the like. I realised how intimate a relationship is formed between an Artisan and his tools. Wood is a living thing and the use of manual tools enables us to feel our way through the wood, whereas electric drills simply carve their way through wood with brute force and there is no feeling and association with it.

Visit to London

So much happened in London. It is too daunting to record it all but I must say that I didn’t realise how much I needed the impact and healing of high quality art and spent five hours at the Tate Modern because there was so much to see and I could see no reason for leaving.

I am adept at speaking to strangers and I do this particularly when I’m on my own. I make no distinction between men and women, couples or singles. You need to learn the right body language which is not to be too confrontational and face someone, but look towards the object of interest with them. When you have made your comment and had some sort of reply you move on and do not follow them around. The only rude encounter I had was from an American couple. I was talking to the woman who thought she had missed a talk and I said, you could arrive late and join in. I thought that was quite useful information but the husband simply ignored me turned his head away and said, “let’s go honey”.

Yesterday, when we came back in the afternoon coach from London to Bath, there were the most amazing rain showers which, combined with the sun shining into the clouds and through the rain produced this most spectacular imagery, which unfortunately does not show very well on a small camera attached to my video or even my Galaxy.

Today I’m getting back into normal gear, whatever that is, and realising that I have to learn a little bit of money here and there hopefully through some gardening. It is early in the season but I’m getting one or two enquiries. The problem is people don’t want to spend any money. The person I gave a quote to for two days two people was considered too much but then I know that they had had a gardener for years and he probably charged about £30 for three hours. This is just not possible when you run your own company because I would then be working for the minimum wage and probably less.

My local Inn

My favourite pub is not my nearest but a place called the Old Down Inn run by the one and only Maxine. It was a stop on the old postal road in days of yore. I arrived about 12:15. there was one other person in the bar sitting staring into his beer. I ordered roast of the day and a large glass of rose wine.

It is strange that when people come, a dialogue develops. You could almost call it a one act play and it reminds me of Shakespeare’s “all the world’s a stage” I started a conversation with Maxine by asking her where she got her wood for the fire saying that I’d just been to Longleat which is a place near Warminster famous for its wild life Park and an adjoining outlet for firewood. She said she got it locally but the silent person at the bar suddenly perked up and said that you can get 10 bags of wood or £12 at Jacksons, a local place tucked away along a side road.  We all discussed the merits of softwood versus hardwood.

The landlady complained that her son had been bullied by someone at school and had had his finger broken. She complained that the school wanted to see the CCTV to validate it. I said sarcastically, maybe they thought he did it to himself for fun. She said the school promised to say how he was but, it is 1.15, and no one has called. There then followed a discussion about Political Correctness. The nice thing about such a pub is that you never know when you going to meet what you can talk about. That is how a community centre should be. The group, mostly locals, farmers, workers, retired couples, and there isn’t a mobile phone in sight. What a relief.

I wrote to a friend who had written to me previously in a rather hurtful way. On the advice of my wife I wrote a draft and left it for a couple of days. I then realised that the tone was inappropriate and I drafted a much more reasonable letter which again I showed it to my wife and we both agreed that it could be posted. I think there should be some sort of delay mechanism in our out tray of our e-mail where if we were unsure of the content we could pause it for 24-hours.

Before traveling whether locally or to the other end of the world I am meticulous in my preparations. And so this time.

 

 

starting again

In a previous decade I ran a large social organisation in London called London Village which attracted as its peak 3 1/2 thousand members. During this time, I got a very good understanding of people wishing to make a new start for whatever reason. I was able to observe first-hand people who joined to had obviously just finished with a relationship and were feeling a little bit battered. I also saw people who had just arrived in London and didn’t know a soul and wanted to get their social lives going.

Here is a very brief summary of how you might want to go about and do it. People come in to our lives for a purpose, it could be a short relationship or a long relationship, intimate or otherwise. One fine day you realise that you have enough and it’s time to move on. The most important thing to realise is that it is not personal. Step one is to sit back with a friend and think what you learned from the relationship. Step two is to think about what it is you need. It could be to learn to stand up for yourself, or that you’re not ready for a steady relationship, or that you need certain types of personality and not others. The point is that you probably could not have learned this from reading a book, you have to go through it. So, join 99% of the world’s population, you are not exceptional here. Step three – If you could, please take a deep breath at this point, forgive not only the person but the situation that gave you pain, which the other person or people the best of luck in your hearts in their efforts, and move on.

Healing will happen automatically because it’s part of the survival mode of the brain and mind. However, healing can best proceed if you don’t think about the subject matter. If you hold a person in your head and subject them to mental and emotional battering, the healing will cease forthwith. I recommend people who came along to join London Village that they just enjoy themselves. Just forget about attracting someone because the attraction happens automatically when there is resonance.  This is where forgiveness comes. If you don’t forgive, you will attract people but surprise surprise they will also be people who are recovering from a relationship. If I had a fiver every time I saw this happen I would be very rich by now.

There is safety in numbers. Unfortunately, many of us have lost their trust and we have invisible software programs running in the background to be ‘en garde’ and not open ourselves up. Lack of trust, like a virus, can spread to absolutely everything and this means that we can miss out on experiences that we would really benefit from.   There is a lot of nonsense about the virtues of being “in a relationship”. I have known people who are single, who have a wonderfully fulfilled life and a ton of friends. I’ve known people who are married who might as well be in prison. I think the main thing is to love and accept yourself, in other words to marry yourself, and the rest is a bonus.

I’m also quite sure that there are some people who are not destined to have a partner in their life and that they are going to get more fulfilment through being married to an ideology or profession. Society today is much more tolerant of different lifestyles. I know some societies that are so conservative that if you are not married at 21 then you feel that you’re on the shelf and the sooner we can get rid of this nonsense the better.

Brian Snellgrove

planning for London

We are starting to plan for our visit to London starting on Wednesday through Sunday afternoon. I always take too many clothes and end up wearing one or two items and I never seem to learn. Sunny periods and showers so we had to take wet weather clothing and dry weather clothing. Great. Air B&B might seem a good deal but people have cottoned on to the fact they can charge pretty much the same as hotels and you need to be very clever to find somewhere for say £40 a night. If you look, these bargain rates are in the less popular areas of London or a little bit distant from public transport but no worries that far because the London transport system has to be efficient as there are so many people to move around.

There is so much on that you could spend the whole day going round to art exhibitions, special events, movies that you can’t see anywhere else, restaurants and by the way you don’t have to spend a fortune to travel around London is much more expensive than for example New York in fact most places.

I just heard from a friend who had a massive operation on her spine; she is a very old friend from Norway and she has invited us to stay with them. Normally, February and March would be under 5 feet of snow but such is the variation in weather it looks like there might be clear of snow.  They are very hospitable people and we might pop over there to Oslo for a few days.

I swear the time flies faster the older I get. The whole day has gone and I haven’t really had any time for reading because there is so much to do. I actually love doing nothing because I’m doing a lot. My mind is always active and jumping in three different directions at once so I’m never bored. Thank goodness my wife and myself are equally independent. We’re quite happy to sit in a separate rooms watching videos on our computers, listening to good music, reading stuff.

I watched and David Icke talk about Edward Heath and how the Chief Constable of Wiltshire finds that he’s 110% guilty of children sacrifices. Great pressure will be put upon the chief constable to recount what he’s saying but let’s hope he stands up for the truth. when you come to think about it, if you want to think about it, how was it the Jimmy Saville was allowed such access to Royal circles and high political circles for so many years? he was not only a paedophile but a procurer of children for others. You’re not telling me that no one at the BBC was aware of this for 30 years? What a world we live on and how deceptive appearances can be. On that happy note, to bed.

A ‘nothing’ day

A real “nothing” day. I have fiddled around with my Meetup entry, made our daily loaf of gluten-free bread, made a nice fillo lunch, watched a video about the fake calls that were  claimed to be made from the 9/11 planes.  The calls were apparently made from 30,000 feet but the mobile phones at that time would only work up to 6000 feet. The public’s gullibility to believe endlessly repeated lies is really shocking.

The day is drear as I think they say in Yorkshire. We have continuous light rain, grey cloud, no sun, almost inviting myself and Francoise to retreat. Fortunately we have our live log fire which gives substantial comfort.
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Weaving in old times

An unexpectedly sunny and calm day so I picked up my wife from Timsbury where she is doing an art class and we drove straight to Trowbridge. This town is for the most part unexciting then as my readers will know I already visited this week but I wanted to take my wife to see the Trowbridge Museum which is in the main an account of the weaving trade and various other local trades in the 17th to 19th century. It is a wonderful museum, overfull with interesting things and the good news is that they are hoping to extend the space to the floor above, which hopefully will happen by 2020.

The return journey was elongated by an accident to the south of the city so we went through half of Wiltshire on our way back via Frome to Midsomer.

An evening listening to a concert at the Royal Festival Hall featuring Lighati and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. I really must spend more time listening to real music then staring at images on a screen.  I’m slowly accumulating members to my new Meetup group. My group has been up for 24 hours and I have 11 members so far. The last person who joined was a member of 57 other groups. I wonder whether he’s just got divorced and wants to spread himself around. The problem is somewhat similar to dating agencies, the technology is there but the quality of contact is very variable if I can say that.

My physiotherapist and more gardening

We were woken by a blast of rain at about 6:30 AM it was as close to solid water pouring out of the cloud as I’ve ever seen accompanied by high wind. Other parts of the country had it far worse during the weather invented Doris.  We seem to get away with quite good weather in Somerset.

to the psychotherapist… Kerry certainly knows his job. He dealt with sports people for years and can almost tell by looking at the human body where the problems are. I had a problem with my right jaw which was slightly displaced from a fall. With him I discovered that the problem lay in the left jaw which took the brunt of the impact. We had to painfully unfreeze the jaw by manipulation. Funny how one end of the body organs can feel the pain yet the problem is elsewhere.

to a customer who rang me up asking me to trim a 4 m long verge. It abutted on a road where traffic was quite fast and because she had multiple sclerosis she could not risk falling from her frequent dizzy spells so I got called in. It was necessary to dig up a number of docks, quite gently, as I did not want to disturb the integrity of the bank can cause earth to tumble into the road. I estimated £80 for the whole but she text back saying that it would have to wait. I wish people would actually have the money to do something before they call people in. They think in terms of 20 or £30 with a mindset that could be up to 10 years out of date. If they were to come to me and explain their problem I could probably come to some arrangement but they don’t even want to do that so there’s nothing I can do really.

I tried to get to grips with Meetup meetings. You have to pay many dollars a month for the publicity service. Unfortunately they chose to publish the item before I was ready and on a Thursday evening. Here we have 23 February and the event is 20 March which is just over three weeks away. I want to give everyone time but on the other hand if you give a date to find advance people tend to forget. Meet up meetings tend to be characterised by people booking not turning up so I went to try and get around this by having a small charge of three pounds for the meeting room and for my professional service as an organiser.

An evening too warm to have a fire which is a pity because I find them so nurturing so we contented ourselves with watching TV. I went to sleep as I often do after energetic treatments.

My will and my eyes

A day full of unexpected action.  a man from a will company came along to help me write my will. Evidently only 52% of people have written a will and he told me about the problems that can arise when people die intestate. It is not true that your partner or the person you are living with, will inherit the money. I also heard about capital gains tax which is payable when the individual wealth is greater than £320,000. Anyway the conversation with him help me make up my mind as to who I was going to give money to, and who I was not giving money to. It’s interesting how I get inspired when people talk about the topic in general, and go halfway, and my brain does the rest. Extrapolating on this, if you want to solve the problem, you don’t necessarily have to concentrate on problem as you see it but about situations in general. The brain is the ultimate relational database and can work at lightning speed so we need to let it get on with it.

After lunch I was troubled with my eye which seemed a bit closed. My wife suggested, her words not mine, that we go to the hospital for a checkup before that I phoned up to see the eye department could take me as an emergency patient. As it happens my problems, with floaters etc, was considered temporary and I was told to effect keep taking the tablets, in this case eye ointment. I try to avoid going to hospital if I can possibly help it but I noticed that the post operative symptoms were different in this case and not enough of the safety boxes were ticked. I have after all only two

yes and they cannot be replicated so I better look after them.  I did my good Samaritan job. An older man has lost his travel card and was very nervous about getting on the shuttle bus service. I chatted with the driver and persuaded him to take him on anyway, it was not a difficult job and everyone had a laugh about it.

We then wandered into Bath and had a look at the YMCA room where I have decided to have my travel meeting. It is quite unusual for a group to be devoted to just one thing which is the sharing of travel experiences. How often have I heard, “if I knew then what I no now” how different things might have been. I have a very sharp eye for travel and particularly travelling at minimum expense so looking forward to sharing my experiences with the group and also looking forward to what they’ve got to say. I shall be creating a Meetup group shortly with the appropriate name. What a miserable day it was in Bath with the wind and the rain but I understand that this is a foretaste of a weather bomb called Doris that is going to visit the United Kingdom tomorrow Thursday so we look forward to that.

I had a call from a lady with multiple sclerosis who wanted us to help in the garden because she got episodes of dizziness which meant that standing was difficult. I know that ear problems can cause such dizziness but MS is another category . Most of our clients have physical difficulty of some sort, which is why they call us. Meanwhile at home, the fire is burning in the grate (quite a sensible place to have a fire I suppose) and we are eating our soup and watching the programme on the Royal Family.   Tomorrow, I start some physio to repair some of the damage I had in my accident in October.

Seeking out a meeting place for a Meetup group

This is the day of my eye appointment during which my eyes are examined for a stability or reversal of my macular degeneration. you never know how long you’re going to be in the hospital. It could be three hours. I don’t complain because if I had the job done privately would be about £1500 a visit. As it happened I did need another injection. injections in the eye must sound pretty for bidding but the needle is tiny and the doctors are so good at their job you hardly notice it.

I’m going to start a travel information exchange group in Bath and today I am going to look at a couple of places including one called the Percy centre, the other a local YMCA. The key thing about choosing someone is that it must look friendly. There’s nothing worse than staring around like an idiot not knowing where to go and so signage has to be good. First impressions count and when you visit a strange place it is the first few seconds that matter, that assurance. I was more impressed with the YMCA  because it already has the vibe of travel. People are either coming from somewhere interesting, or going to somewhere interesting. The Percy centre had one good room I must admit that the other one was downstairs through two flights of steps at the back through a door along a corridor and I don’t think that’s quite what we want.

While in the hospital I had a chat with a man, a citizen of the United Kingdom who when going on holiday had been deported from India. He went along to get his Visa at India house and it was all stamped appropriately but when he turned up at Mumbai his authenticity was questioned. It turned out that the clerk in the UK has left one number off the Visa. In spite of the photographic evidence,

and the substantial correspondence of the details, the poor traveler was left waiting in a room for eight hours without anything to eat or drink and put on the next plane back to the United Kingdom. He was not allowed a phone call and he was not allowed any other type of assistance. It does make you wonder sometimes what it is in human nature that simply cuts off from all sense and logic. Are people afraid of losing their jobs?

Anyway, when I got home we agreed that we would start with the YMCA and take it from there.  I will have a meeting about mid March.