The river Severn ‘slightly enlarged’

So off we go on the coach after our four night stay in the Britannia Hotel, Leeds Bradford.  Our trip from Yorkshire to Bath was quite long; we left at 9:25 AM in the morning and arrived at four o’clock in the afternoon at Bath coach station. That is with some statutory breaks on the coach – from the drivers point of view. I know it sounds a long time but it passes quite quickly and we were at a stage when we had a laugh and joke with other passengers.

Most of the time, you can’t even see that there is any flood damage.  The main damage is in the estuaries of rivers where the water backs up and it is a sad sight to behold.  Unfortunately, properties including businesses are not able to be insured for flooding due to the number of incidents.  I heard on the radio this morning a chap who was providing shirts for the six Nations rugby.  He kept his supplies in the basement and during the night the floods came in and wiped out the whole lot.

My dislike of service stations continues with the one glorious exception mentioned above.  The picture above is not fully focused but basically you can buy the latte for a minimum of £3.10.  If you want a little bit more you pay £3.45 and for a slightly larger mug you can pay £3.70  There cannot be more than 20 ml difference or maybe 50 ml but that would only cost pence to produce.

As people left the coach, we said farewell to them and there was quite a bond, albeit temporary, between people who would probably not meet each other again.  We had no disagreements, no unpleasantness, and everyone realised they had to be on their best behaviour if they were to be accepted so if anyone is thinking of going on a coach tour please bear the above points, and those made elsewhere, in mind.

 




A day doing ‘nothing’

Existentially, it is not possible to do nothing because you exist and that is a full-time job in itself.  I slumped in front of the TV whilst Françoise went and had a long swim in the pool.  We went for a walk at lunchtime to an adjacent village and found a bakery, community centre.  Everyone who entered the shop was known, and it was in order to wait while they had a little chat and gossip and an update.  The atmosphere was delightful.

Back to base.  Winter is not an attractive season but the hotel is prepared for the wedding season and here is an example of a ‘photographic spot’.

Incidentally, I was amused that on my toilet, the one in our room, they found it necessary to explain for the intellectually challenged this was for the use of both sexes.  Is this another example of Political Correctness gone mad?On that lavatorial note, I will sign off the diary for today.

 




coach tour part 2 – Skipton and Grassington

Skipton market must be wonderful in the summer but this was off-season and there were a few bedraggled stalls selling stones and miscellaneous knickknacks. We had about three hours here so again decided on a grand walk around. I popped into a local store and bought an excellent pair of corduroy trousers for 18 pounds, and 40 batteries, AAA, and AA for two pounds.

a lavishly stocked up children’s Corner for use by kids during the service

not prayers asking for something but for giving thanks. That makes a nice change

We went into the local church for tea and cake and found a very lovingly preserved and active historic church which evidently started off by being a medieval church in the 11th century. We lingered there a long time because of the atmosphere. On to Grassington.  I’m sure the Yorkshire Moors look absolutely great but there was too much fog to really appreciate the weather and the rain was coming and going but we didn’t let that bother us.  Some people even stayed on the coach.  Françoise and myself went around and whilst munching on a pie spotted something unique.

This car was custom-built, one-of-a-kind, and cost well in excess of £250,000 according to the owner. It had no marque that I could identify.

Off through the grey skies and back to base to wait for the happy hour 6 PM to 9 PM. I thought the times allowed were quite sure but actually after 5 hours we had had enough (10 AM to 3 PM)




coach tours – a day in York UK

Though some years, in fact for most of my life, I was skeptical or perhaps cynical about coach trips never mind tours. I suppose years of traveling by National Express, bus instead of the train, partly broke down my prejudices but I had to do an actual coach tour to see what it was all about. The population of coach tours are pretty much standard so far as I can see, normally fairly senior people, normally in couples with one or two single people along for the companionship. Working professionals with children do not choose this route. I estimate that 90% of the people traveling are retirees. Of those, quite a number have a sense of humor, get on well together, and just like the idea of doing things on the cheap. Many cannot drive so the idea of being driven around is appealing.

If a company chooses a resort for you would probably means that it’s got a reasonable reputation so you are protected from being exploited at least to a certain extent. I find if there is one joker on the bus, it is infectious and everyone has a laugh at one time or another. An additional factor is that people like laughing at themselves and mercilessly tease people who are late. They do far more effective job than the tour guide. With these thoughts in mind, we scramble on the coach and off we go.

Yes, there are loos either in one corner or buried under a seat half way down the coach by the middle, though you have to be an athlete to use one.

 

 

We left Leeds at 10 AM and arrived at York about 11 o’clock and were dropped off near the station not far from where this picture was taken.

water and flooding seems to have a fascination for people. I’m fascinated by tides

I don’t expect you to be able to read all this but within the red square there’s a couple of days worth of things to do.

It’s amazing how in addition to the flooded by water, flooded by tourists is how I see it and all I can say is if you go in the main tourist season it must be absolute hell.  Remember, this is mid-February with rain threatening. The local authority and the businesses have figured it all out and make sure they get every last penny out of the tourists. I would say that York and Harrogate are the two main moneymakers in Yorkshire. I had plans to go to the railway museum, this or that art Gallery, but realise that in the 4 hours 15 minutes allowed we might sensibly just enjoy ourselves and walk around.

There’s an awful lot to see within a brief circumference. Historic York probably encompasses about 4 mi.² and it is chock-a-block full of historic buildings as the pictures will show.

a wonderful toy which does absolutely everything. I want one

We were tempted to go into the city art gallery but noticed that the queues were very long and this was because a tax-free donation was included in every ticket and people in addition to paying have to give their names and addresses.

We were about number 10 in the queue so decided to give that a miss. A tall dour Yorkshireman gave me a lecture on not using the letter H. Hence ‘uddersfield, ‘ull, and the like. Yorkshire people have a great sense of humor and will chat to anyone given half a chance so you can say we had a lot of free entertainment. One of the best bits was walking along the old wall which goes on for over 2 1/2 miles and takes an hour. I believe the original wall was built around 71 A.D. when the Romans erected a fort occupying about 50 acres in total near the banks of the River Ouse.

Queues for Betty’s tearoom where you can have high tea from, apparently, nine o’clock in the morning for the princely sum of £19.95. The queues in the summer must be round the block

a pop-up Viking exhibition full of period in people costume doing things.

York receives visitors from all over Europe if not the world. This is a warning sign in the main station

When I return, I will go and see the railway museum which is a ‘must’ and one of the leading ones in the country, Swindon being the other example, if not Europe.

I will also take my time and walk around the wall itself. We do have a unique history of railway development and it is well worth a view.  Allow 3 to 4 hours to get the most out of it.

We were due to assemble in the coach at 3:15 PM.  Most of us did except to people.  The driver waited until 330 and then off we went.  We never discovered what kept the couple from boarding but they had to make their own way home.  As with ships, you keep to the rules, never be late.




A motorway service station up with the best

So, an early rise in order to pack and do all the little things you have to do to close down a house before you leave. We found our feeder coach without too much difficulty and left on time, picking up from various obscure points on our way to Gloucester where we met the main coach that have come from Cornwall.  Evidently the coach started at 5:15 AM so that was definitely a long trip for those coming from a long distance.

This was the time of the floods, particularly the Severn estuary so in a voyeuristic fashion we played ‘spot the flood’.  95% of the countryside was wet but not flooded, its the area Worcester Gloucester and later we were to find York, that suffered the most.

a restful outdoor area very good for relaxing but only in the warmer weather I would imagine See service station below.

We stopped at the most delightful and refreshing pickup point I have ever encountered, the Gloucester service station. .  To save me repeating myself I refer you to my Trip Advisor review of the same.  Someone had the bright idea of abandoning the usual franchises of which I’m so sick,  and designing a health food restaurant environment together with a health food shop.  It really is worth knowing about and stopping off at if you are on the M5.

We arrived at our hotel, the Britannia Leeds Bradford airport hotel and settled in after quite a long journey, about seven hours.  I shall speak more about our fellow companions on another occasion.




‘Seedy Sunday’ plant swap

Storm Dennis has abated and the winds are light and the sky is blue. I like the recent comment on Facebook by ‘Annie Dieu Le Vent’ (must be a made-up name) who said

Lots of fuss about Storm Dennis. Seems pretty small beer, really, for someone who lived in Sevenoaks during the Great Storm of 1987, with the house shaking all night, and then emerging bleary-eyed in the morning to find that half the trees in the town were felled by it, including six of the famous seven oaks on the Vine. You couldn’t get to the shops for huge tree trunks across the roads, there was no telly signal, the phone lines were down, and a massive, thick metal girder was impaled in the garage door that had flown there overnight from a building site across the road, like an arrow from a crossbow.

Wellow is a village of about 500 people fairly high up in the socio-economic scheme of things, one of these very old villages which is within a short commuting distance to Bath and to a somewhat lesser extent to Bristol.

Seedy Sunday  is an annual event which was held today between 1 PM and 4 PM. at the village hall.  People dribbled in in spite of the rainy weather.  It was actually on the back phase of Dennis the storm as by 2:30 PM the winds and rain had ceased.

This is one of these communities where everybody knows everybody else but also welcoming to unfamiliar faces and before we knew it we were chatting to people.  One person who lived nearby at Shoscombe said I should definitely visit the Tuckers Grave Inn, noted for its cider and for its delicious local pies.

I was attracted to the offering of coffee and cakes. At £1 a splice and 50p a drink you cant go far wrong. ALL the cakes were home made. I got no ‘repeating’ AKA vomiting which I do if there are chemicals in the cake.

We met a lady who is an environmental specialist as well as works supervisor connected with the National Trust and we had a lively conversation on climate change.  She was born in Rhodesia and has lived in various other countries before settling here in Wellow and renting. The system allows her to work from home.  Lucky her. We had in common our interest in writing styles and how to engage the audience and hook their interest. A delight to meet her.

I always take notice of noticeboards and I find this wrigglers playgroup quite sweet. There is no doubt, this unpretentious village hall is very well used

a labour of love.

Our visit was cut slightly short because down one end of the room there was a man with a rather large and noisy drill making half inch holes in blocks of wood. Interestingly these holes were being drilled to accommodate pugs of shiitake mushrooms.  I don’t think he was aware of the noise he was making but it may be difficult for me to listen to the conversation of adjacent people but never mind. I had a word with the lady at the door but there was nothing much that she could do and attributed his presence in the room to the fact that it was raining and he could not work outside.

*****

A complete change of subject.  Make of this what you will. The writer has retracted it we think under pressure. Its about the coronavirus crisis.




Making a contribution to the world

I would like to quote from a conversation recorded in Cambridge between Sir Roger Scrutton and Jordan Peterson in 2018, you can see the video yourself but I quote from the last few minutes – Jordan’s thoughts about making a contribution.

We could concentrate on building the future as opposed to criticizing the past. It is necessary to de-compose to reconstruct. Those acts cannot be separated. Decomposition is necessary for the reconstruction. Start on whatever scale you can start on, what is in front of them because there is more in front of them than they think. These small places that people can call their own even if its only their room. You can start to do something creative and beautiful there. I have suggested to people that they start by putting their room in order and that implies a purpose.

Your room is somewhere that you exist, its a place that surrounds you, that tells you how to be. Put it in order so that at least it is not screaming chaos at you in a soul destroying manner. Make it pristine and orderly in a fashion that suits what you are aiming at – so have an aim. Make it beautiful and worthwhile to make it participate in that transcendence … for your future self which is also others’.

This idea of the fad of self gratification which is an antidote to nihilism – or take your pleasure in the moment – does not even work for you because you are stuck with ‘you tomorrow’, next week. So, even to treat yourself properly is to treat yourself as part of an ongoing community but I would say you (make a) start in the world if you have some wisdom and some humility  by taking the potential that lies dormant in front of you and interacting with it in a logos like manner with truth and with love, and transforming that potential into whatever you can create out of what is good. It wont be small if you do that.

You can transform your whole household by transforming your room.  You can transform your whole neighborhood by transforming your house.  These things spread very rapidly and that is right there in front of you. People think they are impoverished now, that they don’t have any opportunity but the opportunities are hidden from them by their unwillingness to take the steps that are necessary to put what they could put in front of them (their focus)  in order and to produce the beauty instead of the ugliness where they could do that.

I don’t think there is anything more powerful than that. That works …. people talk to me on the street and say  “my life was in terrible disorder. I had no vision. I was not biding by the truth. My relationships were fragmented. I have started to make something of myself, whatever that might be. I am taking more responsibilities – things are incomparably better”. That is there for everyone to take regardless of your circumstances.  I know that there are some people appear to have larger opportunities and more in front of them than others but it (merely) makes their commensurate moral responsibility all the greater. So there is a certain balancing that is the natural consequence of that….

*****

It would be most unusual but highly commendable if we could think of a way that society needs to be changed, activate the means to get it into motion, and see it coming to completion all within the space of one lifetime.

I frequently ask myself, “what can one person do?”  The point is that a pebble cannot see the waves it generates when thrown into water and we just don’t know what we start off in the minds of other people or even if we encourage them a little bit along another path entirely.  In this day of mass minds, how important it is to show that you are thinking out of the box.  Indeed I would say that no thinking can happen within the box because we are confined.  Also we may be part of a chain, unbeknownst to us, and we will only see much later – if at all in this life.

Most people who work for organisations, media and otherwise, are contained within a box or cage because if they do not follow the company ethos they are fired and thus their means of living had been taken away. In my fields, you get more truth out of independent researchers or people who are retired.

I recognise that I’m very fortunate to be articulate, have time on my hands, and be able to follow my own beliefs.

Apart from this diary, I do campaign for the abolition or at least the testing of 5G, the abolition smart meters, the dismantling of this fake science relating to so-called climate change.  Even the word ‘climate change’ annoys me because of course the climate changes all the time. Once the powers that be decide that something is truth then as Goebbels said if you repeat a lie often enough people start to believe it and this is the case here.

I do not know why I carry on.  I think it is part anger, part frustration, part because I don’t want to be part of the stream of common consciousness which as far as I’m concerned is going down the tubes. Actions also keep my mind very firmly in gear because as they say “use it or lose it” and campaigning seems to be as good a way as any.

Even the act of writing this diary I find stimulating.  I’m living not only for myself but for the hopeful enrichment of others with whom I share my experience.  I know that some of my diary entries are trivial but as with Samuel Pepys,if they happen they go into the diary.  I suppose when I die, the diaries will disappear along with the streams of data that make up the Internet sphere but in so far as I have somehow change the lives of other people no matter in what manner, it will have some eternal value.

The wind continues to blow and bluster.  The city of York, where I’m going next week, have been buttressing itself against the possibility of another flood which I understand happens quite frequently. We shall see and time will tell.




Good food spoiled by bad service – TA review

NB ‘TA’ stands for Trip Advisor. You will see my review here when it arrives.

We arrived today, Valentine’s Day, at the Old Station Inn, Hallatrow, at lunchtime, 1pm to be precise,  to find an empty restaurant. There was a lady behind the bar – she sounded Irish – and when I said I made a booking she looked at me as if I was like something from outer space. Eventually she roused her mind to give me an answer and asked me if I wanted to sit inside the main pub or whether I wanted to sit in the adjoining railway carriage.

I asked her if it was warmer in the pub or the carriage and she said ‘much warmer in the carriage’ but there was no sense of emotional involvement, enthusiasm, or anything.

We were sat at a table and given the menu. She asked us whether we wanted drinks whilst we were taking off our coats and even before we sat down. She bought the drinks and gave us the menu. Some considerable time later she turned up and asked if we were ready to order.

My partner asked for a salmon and I asked for a duck. The food was good 7/10 and there was enough of it. Sometime later after a long pause she came to collect the dishes.

Normally you bring the menu and ask people if they want a sweet course but nothing happened for about 20 min. We then had to get up and get our own menus. We were at the point of going to find her when she turned up, took the order for sweets which turned up about 5 min later.

While my partner went to the toilet I paced around the railway carriage where you get all the old railway photos and she turned up and asked us if we wanted coffee. I said no thank you and she replied ‘when you have finished come to the bar and pay’ almost in the tone as if we were going to walk out without paying.


Bearing in mind it was Valentine’s day and we were trying to be as jolly and positive as possible this really put a damper on things.

My impression is that this person had not been trained as a waiter. When I commented on the food she said ‘I will tell my husband’ so I assume she is the wife of the chef.  Clearly, she does not enjoy her job and frankly does not like people. We shall not be returning there for a meal because there’s plenty of other restaurateurs who do offer cheerful service.

My recommendation to the establishment is that they should find someone who loves serving. It may be that I caught them on an off day when the regular waitress was not there but looking at some of the other opinions I don’t think this is the case.

To be fair to her, there was no one else behind the bar and about half a dozen people in the pub. She could have said this.

To TA readers:  I’m very sorry to have to write this. It is my first review for a year or so adding to the 2,000 plus reviews from 17 countries.

Date of stay: February 2020

PS the cost of the meal for two was £55.30.  It included two large glasses of good quality wine, two mains, two sweets and I reckon the price was about right.  With champagne, coffees, bits and pieces, you could easily spend 100 pounds for two.  However this is an academic statement on my part because I do not intend to go back – if I do it will be to buy a drink for tourist friends so they can see the the amazing retro decor.
*****

you see the base on the left and the shed on the right

It is a windy day today no doubt preparing for the tempest of tomorrow and Sunday.  American readers, I know that this is nothing compared with what you have to put up with – hundred miles an hour wind and so on but we are not used to it so we tend not to bolt things down. Today we passed by the allotments and found that three sheds and structures had been blown down so I must ring the tenants up to tell them.
*****
For six months also I have been waiting on a delinquent lander for company which I invest money with, Folk2Folk, and after six months prevarication they finally got the money from their borrower.  Because I get a higher rates of return on my investment, about 6 1/2%, it is not covered by the bank guarantee people are used to so there is an element of risk.  The person who borrows money does have to give security in the form of buildings so ultimately we would get our money back but it was a bit of a strain. Some of the lenders were quite content to let the company get on with recouping the money but I was not in that category. I remember I wrote a number of enquiry letters.  I make sure though, that they were full of good humour and never a rude word or an insult.  I think the members of staff have got used to me now and we have a mutually respectful relationship – so important this – such relationships are like an elastic band , once it breaks it cannot be repaired.
Anyway the pill has been sweetened by the fact that I got an extra three months interest which as they would say in the East End of London is “a few bob”.  The East End is not what it used to be, it is largely invaded by people from India and Africa and does add a new dimension to the area.  I intend to visit London soon and I shall be wandering up and down the main roads and enjoying the markets with all their colour and flavour.



The satisfaction of gardening

I wrote briefly about the people we saw who wanted us to do their garden.  Today, in spite of sunny periods and showers, we did it.  I think it was worth it just because the husband had had an operation three weeks ago. Our tidying stopped him driving his wife mad with fussing about what should be done in the garden.

We cleared everything up, trimmed the hedge in front to immaculate levels of perfection – although I say so myself – and jet washed the area in front of the garage and the path leading to the garden.  It is worth saying that many people have visits to hospitals because they slip on surfaces that do not look slippy but are in fact covered with a layer of grease which accumulates over the years from petrol fumes and various other distillates in the atmosphere.

I started feeling a bit stiff after two hours of working but then it always happens this way at the beginning of the gardening season.  About June or July I’m fit and ready to go and then my physical fitness slips down after November when there are no more gardening jobs to be done.  I know I should go walking and so on but I find that quite boring for the most part unless the scenery is really interesting. Swimming does not work because there is so much chlorine in the local baths that it stinks.

We are going to be visited by storm David on Saturday and Sunday so this looks like another two days in the house reading and watching TV.

Tomorrow, Friday 14th, is Valentine’s Day and so I will take Françoise out for a lunch At the Old Station Inn, Hallatrow.

 

 




A day of thinking – Climate Change (again)

I woke up this morning with a very sore eye.  When I get my monthly injections, sometimes I get away with it and I have no pain but this time I was weeping from my eye and the eyeball itself felt like a marble in my head.  However, as the day progressed, the pain left me and the large floater which had been wandering around my eye dissipated thank goodness.

I’m very lucky that I can fill up any given day without the need for external entertainment by reading, thinking, even dreaming. However, when we have lunch we like to watch TV, not the normal terrestrial or sky TV, but the European Cultural TV channel, ARTE. This is a real class act of a channel and I do hope those of you that can see it to check it out. It is even available free on the Internet to view like on Youtube.  Anyway, I digress.  I was watching a program on anatomical features, an aspect of the skin called fascia.  This is a band or sheet of diaphanous connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilises, encloses and separates muscles and other internal organs.  It is very sensitive to water which is another reason why we should drink regular amounts of water. it has numerous other key features which until recently most practitioners were not interested in.  We learn something new every day.

I had my first serious gardening enquiry of the year, a retired couple who have both been stricken by cancer. One had to have chemical treatment, or chemotherapy as it is called and the other one had to have an operation to remove certain parts of his organs which resulted in the need for a stoma for six months.  As a result, the husband could not engage in his beloved gardening and he was distressed to see it fall into disorder.  I cannot quite understand all his distress because his operation was only three weeks ago and it is winter where – theoretically anyway – not much grows.

It is very difficult to give quotes, as I previously discussed, but I work on the basis of not less than 20 pounds per hour per person so when Françoise and I work together we need to attract 40 pounds per hour. Anyway, we put in for the quote in today and gotten approval so tomorrow we shall be working, the first working day of the year as regards gardening.

I continue to be disgusted by the antics of the Climate Change movement.  There is a new group, formed by an American senator John Podesta, that seeks to marginalise any scientist that disagrees with the theory of man-made climate change.  They are blacklisted by an organisation called the Skeptical Scientist.  When you are on their blacklist you will find it almost impossible to get any sort of job in the scientific community, academic or administrative. This whole Climate Change venture must rate as the biggest con trick in the history of the world and will be used as a power to manipulate whole countries to do what they are told.

Time to do some fortune-telling.  Next Monday is drawing closer and I need to decide what clothes to take when we venture into Yorkshire. It’s going to be ferociously windy on Monday morning when we depart but that’s all part of the fun, what really gets me is rain.  Again, we’ve had sleet and hail today.  However, the long-range weather forecast actually looks quite good because when the bands of bad weather are not coming over we are treated to blue skies and lovely weather. We normally do dowsing to find out when we should time our events.  We find this to be an enormously reliable technique which has not let us down yet so with any luck we should have a good time next week.

Davis Sedgwick has a recently published a new book about the BBC.  He calls it the fake news factory.  I bought it as soon as I heard about it because his previous book was very good.  For some reason, Amazon were not printing reviews.  I did tell him just hold on and see what happens and after a hiatus, my review duly appeared after having been reviewed itself. I don’t think they publish reviews without looking at them especially in view of the subject matter so there we are panic over.

Off to the local gardening club for a talk on no dig gardening.  Unfortunately we had got the date wrong and the woman who greeted us at the door was friendly enough but said she was doing dog training and we were more than welcome to stay.  We declined.




US8.25 million from Mr Abdulla Bin Khalaf Al Otaiba

And here was I, peacefully minding my own business.  No, holding my head in my hands hearing that HS2 is going to get the go-ahead ….. then along comes a solution to my problems, financial ones anyway.

I am Mr Abdulla Bin Khalaf Al Otaiba, I am Bank Branch Manger of
National Bank of Abu-Dhabi
And I want to inform you that an amount of US$16.5 million will be
moved To your Name as the Foreign Business Partner to our late
Deceased customer Mr. Richard Brokav, I need your help to receive this
money as his next of kin as we shall share the money in the ratio of
50%:50%. Each you will receive this amount Through a Bank wire
transfer. Its Real Business Deal.
Please for more Details I need your Data so I can give you more details.

1) Your full name,,,,,,,
2) Your mobile number,,,,,
3) Your country origin,,,,,,,,,
4) Your Office addresses,,,,,,,,,,
5) Your Passport Copy,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I am amazed that some people fall for this.  Millions of pounds are embezzled each year from people with crazy stories that don’t bear any logic.  All the senders need is 0.01% of recipients to respond and they’ve made their money.  The way they work is to ask for a transfer fee in order for you to receive the money, then probably another fee with some fancy name. After that, you will never hear from them again.

To make sure you are not scammed,  check for spelling mistakes, they are a sure giveaway.  You may want to read this article about scams and how bold people are these days.

*****

To my Tuesday morning coffee morning. I turned up bang on 10 o’clock, the official start of the meeting, which was I found already in full swing. There were only four people but they were talking animatedly.  There is no question that there are some people who are natural communicators, I feel it is those who are confident of their own position, and if there are just one in a room, this is enough of a catalyst to get everyone going.  We had a choice of three lovely cakes, and for the first time in my life I was tempted to bake a cake.  The lady who made it says that she uses oil, plain flour, walnuts, grated carrot, mashed bananas, and basically to just mix them all together and pop the in the oven.  She cooks at 160°C. It’s never too late to take up a new hobby . I do all right with my bread, now is the time to experiment with cakes.

My goodness this is ‘weather’. Talk about sunshine and showers.  We had two examples of hail this morning.  I read in the paper that a plane had arrived from New York at Heathrow 80 min early because it was basically blown over the Atlantic by a 200 mile an hour jet stream.  What about the poor planes going the other way.

*****

To Royal United Hospital in Bath for my injection for my macular disease. I had to pay an extra visit because they couldn’t fit me in last week.  During the visit I met a young nurse, a slip of a girl, who had an absolutely brilliant attitude to service and if she goes on she will do very well in life.  She just checked my details and apologised for the fact that she had to go through things again. She was genuinely patient and caring not just mouthing the words. I felt that she reached out and extended to each and every patient.   She remembered my name the first time, came back twice to ask if I wanted tea or coffee, and asked me if I was too cold or too warm and could she close the window.

She had nothing to prove, she just had to manifest what was within.  I made reference to this when she asked me if there was anything more she could do, I responded that she should just be herself and that will do.  She was absolutely fine as she is. She preened herself when she heard this and confirmed that she was aware of this. This can only happen if a person is loved and cared for when young.  Insecure people are such a handful.

it is not a very glamorous thing to ask someone to keep their hands clean so a designer has gone to great effort to make an attractive surround to make people take notice

In the waiting room, I chatted to the lady next to me. From the way she was being spoken to I thought it was her first operation but evidently – no – she was used to it but disliked having it. I told her I felt the same way but the momentary discomfort was more than cancelled out by the fact we were retaining our sight. We discovered that we were both bibliophiles. She goes regularly to the local bookshop; I go regularly to Amazon.

I enjoy having my eye injection.  The only bit I don’t like is when they have to put a plastic sheet over your eye and pin back the eyelashes so they do not interfere with the needle. After cleansing the eye with several doses of iodine, the doctor puts a mark over the parts of the eye that needs to be injected.

Then, the needle goes in; you  get a little psychedelic effect from the liquid spreading through the eye (at £600 a pop you expect something).  That money is American opportunistic pricing for you. The more we need it the more they charge. Because they use anaesthetic there’s just a little tiny prick and that’s all there is to it.  Then they take the dressing off and check the eye by holding up their fingers and asking how many you can see. You then sit up and are given some gel to take which gives ‘relief of sensations of dry eye and other minor eye discomforts’.  You’re supposed to put it on three times a day for three days.  I always joke with the doctor and a nurse and tell them how much I appreciate them.  I told the doctor that my eye felt loved and cared for.

Off to home.  There were the most wonderful inky- black clouds scudding across the sky each containing a whole bomb of rain, hail and even snow.  The next moment, it was blue sky in the fading light – very dramatic.

I decided that tomorrow I will discuss my book buying habits.  I do tend to buy more than I read but that’s a story contained in my next installment.




lashing it down – panic visit to the doctor

We are getting the tail end of the amazing storm that has covered the whole of the United Kingdom with equal degrees of ferocity.  No, that’s not quite true – it is Ireland, the North of Scotland and the south coast of England that has taken the brunt of things but many towns in the Yorkshire Dales have taken a battering. We had some hail this morning and the rain absolutely lashed it down but it passes and then there is blue sky. The wind however remains blowing strongly but in gusts.

This morning I suddenly started to feel cold in my limbs and hastily took my temperature to find it was 31°C. Surely not possible.  I then did a blood pressure reading and found it was 202/104 with a pulse rate of 57. This was concerning, and I got myself a hot water bottle for consolation.  I decided to call the doctor in case there was some systemic problem in my heart.  I called him at 12.30 and got an appointment for 3.20p.m. They did an ECG on me, pulse and blood pressure tests but by the time of the appointment the readings had pretty much calmed down to normal.

Doctor Morris said something quite interesting; that worrying about high blood pressure will often produce further worry so it is a revolving door of worry which we both agreed was not very useful. There was no need for any medication so far as he could see, but as the diagnosis had not been completed that was not a final verdict.  The doctor did not understand the reason for my symptoms but said if they re-occur I should go back.  The visit was good for me because I do tend to worry.

It is just one of those things that I come across the ideal replacement Volvo but it is a long distance away.  I have found one for 500 pounds which is in East Dulwich which is where I used to live in London.  The mileage was good, 91,000 – similar to its erstwhile equivalent that I was not able to buy but who knows I may jump on the coach to London and collect it. ……Later – the sale has ended with 10 bids so unless complete magic happens I probably won’t get it especially with one former keeper which is a big plus. The main thing with an older car is that you’re mainly buying the MOT with a car attached.

*****

Next Monday we are leaving for a five day four night visit to Yorkshire.  This is one of the biggest counties in the UK,  having an area of 11,903 km² with a big influence from Scandinavia in its history. I was born in this county many moons ago.

We have three day tours provided; the first one will go to York for the day, the second one to Harrogate and Knaresborough and the third day to Skipton Market and Grassington. I’m sure this will be more than enough but I always like to squeeze in more and I thought of going to Leeds which I haven’t been to for some years but it really does depend on the weather. On reflection we may not go on the Harrogate leg and spend time on our own in Leeds.  We don’t want to be walking round in the pouring rain and at this time of year you can’t tell – so we will leave it open.

Always have a plan B.   I always finish my plans a few days before I leave rather than feverishly seeking out information the night before.  I found that invariably unseen things crop up and you have to deal with them and you don’t want to start your little holiday frazzled.

We leave by car or taxi  from Bath at 10 AM Monday which means we don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, which is a bonus.  We then join another coach at the Gloucester hub and continue on our way to Leeds. Gloucester is frequently flooded at  this time of year so lets hope there are no hold-ups. It’s difficult to know what to pack.  Do we prepare for the wind, the cold, the rain, or everything.  Probably the latter.  Looking at the map we may get better weather than our house-sitter will get here at home.




An elemental day – wind and rain

One of the wettest places in Europe is Bergen in Norway with an annual rainfall of 2250 mm. By contrast our nearest big city Bristol has about 819 mm of precipitation per year.  It comes in fits and starts.  Today we have both fits and starts.

The wind itself is only about 35 miles an hour but when you combine that with driving rain, it’s not a pleasant environment to be out in.  I went to the dump this morning – pardon – I should say the recycle, a place that is normally rammed full on a Sunday morning but there were only a few people there.  I have a deal with people on my allotment that I will take away their rubbish if they are unable to because they have no car.  As soon as we got out of our car at the allotments we were blasted with an icy shower but it soon stopped after a couple of minutes and we just carried on.  I don’t think I could take such treatment every day.  My preference is to go back to my lair and stay in warmth and comfort. I wonder how workers on the roads fare?

David Sedgwick, who wrote an excellent book on the corruption of news by our BBC here in England, called The Fake News Factory: Tales from BBC – land.  Amazon have not banned the volume out right but when I tried to write a review it did not appear.  Amazon gave Dave a disingenuous excuse that ‘something has gone wrong’. so his reviews could not be published.  I imagine that someone from the BBC had a word with Amazon and since they are so closely connected with corporations around the world, a positive response was gained.  I would love it if the BBC were to actually report Independent News the sort of thing we could get our teeth into and take use it to take part in the day-to-day running of our minds.  Instead, we get disguised propaganda, a travesty of truth in order to keep the public in a somnambulant state.  Heaven forbid the public should actually think.

I went to buy an axe for cutting wood at the local branch of Wickes. At the checkout, there was a little girl who I estimate to be about six presenting three small tins of paint.  The cashier treated her with great respect.  The mother stood proudly over her daughter telling us that someone had given her a dolls house and she was going to repaint it using her own colour choice.  She said that her daughter was going to buy this paint – with her own money.  I found the whole thing very transforming that here was a child actually doing something, a creative activity and not sitting in front of their devices pressing buttons.

I always try to give extra services as chairman of my allotment Association.  I plan a rubbish disposal day when we can either burn or dispose of bits of wood, rotting vegetables and unwanted items which inevitably accumulate.  I might even paint a couple of sheds that are looking rather scruffy at the moment.

The weather Tempest continues as I sit here.  Glimpses of clear blue sky alternating with great gusts of wind and blasts of rain.  I believe it will continue tomorrow sometime and then finally pass.

Try this video (brief) to blow your mind




Does 40 pints of beer per week make an alcoholic?

I went to the butcher this morning to buy some locally produced meat, in this case pork.  I find that supermarket meat is immature and tasteless not to mention full of chemicals.

I will fill you in later with my saga about the Volvo car but I knew that one of the assistants in the butchers, who is also called Brian, is doing up his old Volvo, F registration, and it will be available for sale.  F registration is about 1967 and I find the thought of owning such a car exciting.  I certainly won’t get blasted with electronic circuits. As it is over 40 years old it will be free of road tax.

Brian stopped what he was doing in the butchers and took me round the back and showed me the car in a garage. It had not been driven for three years and they could not get going.  We agreed that I would be first in the queue.  His friend, who has promised to fix it up, only works on Sunday morning so I wont hold my breath, but will talk them seriously when they have received the MOT.  I find ironic that having failed to buy what I thought was the ideal car I now find one on my doorstep. I have until 27 March before my current MOT runs out to find an example.

NB this is NOT the person in question but an image of the glass that she has just replenished.

I followed this by a visit to Wetherspoon’s.  I observed a lady who is frequently to be seen drinking beer at breakfast time, around 9 AM. She seldom drinks less than two  pints.  Later on I saw her at the Radstock workingman’s club refilling her beer. Whenever I arrive I see her drinking. My estimate is that she drinks on average 40 pints of beer a week.  Is she an alcoholic?  She would think of herself as a social drinker but what would happen if she suddenly had to go cold turkey and could not drink any beer.

The official advice is

The new advice says men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week – equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. Pregnant women should not drink at all. It also says if people drink, it should be moderately over three or more days and that some days should be alcohol-free.

So my anonymous friend is on average 3 times over the suggested limit never mind the legal limit. How long does it take before people realise that they ‘have a problem’.

To our allotments where we have two plots. Francoise has dug up the last of the carrots. We found a fine specimen, a triptych no less, but why did it divide into three? We do not have stony ground.

There is a lot of detritus, so I shall organize a ‘recycle day’ for the disposal of all rubbish on the allotments to include sodden and degraded planks of wood, burnable spoil, not so burnable plastic material and anything our 50+ allotment holders wish to dispose of.

Today was the first day that I took advice from my psycho-therapist to distance myself from the evil actions of the world and concentrate on ME-TIME. I have had a great day and for some strange reason and now see the nicer sides of people. What a relief. (see previous entries).

It is now time to batten down the hatches for storm Ciara. 60 mph winds hitting during the night.

 




The Duchy of Cornwall

We went to a meeting with one of the Midsomer Norton councillors who by chance rents a house from the Duchy of Cornwall.  They evidently own about 350 houses in the area. The tenant had the occasion to ring up because the boiler had ceased to function properly.  A cylinder head had evidently blown.  A firm hired by the Duchy came along and spent four days renewing the entire central heating system including the radiators.

On another occasion they were finding difficulty paying the rent the Prince of Wales has given instructions that no one is ever to be thrown out for not being able to pay.  A representative from the company came along and asked them if they could pay anything.  They said they could pay part so were instructed to pay what they could and then when better times came they could make it up. My wife remarked that if very landlord was like this there would not be the housing problem there is today

I wrote to the local Midsomer Norton Journal about climate change.  Since I did the first time, a veritable storm of letters have been sent to the editor. I tried to point out that the main driver was sun modified by the wobbling of the planet, that carbon dioxide levels have gone up and down since time immemorial and we have still survived; that we should do our own research and not believe anything that is said or spoken.  I think the Climate Changes become a post science religious cult with very little thinking attached.  People who are frightened will do what they’re told and that is the aim of those who wish to make money.  I am most unhappy about children all over the world who are frightened. It is so unnecessary.

I wrote to my fellow allotmenteers reminding them of the tempest on Sunday. My favourite forecasting client is ventusky.com which gives far more information far more graphically than the BBC’s cut down dumbed down version.




Post cramp action – a majestic tree

a majestic tree in the throes of dying. I think how many birds have sought succor in its branches

This morning I went to the doctor to be tested for the propensity for blood clots. Thankfully, the test was negative.  I enjoy meeting my Doctor. He is always full of beans and positive. He tries to involve me with his decision-making as much as possible. He has given up persuading me to take statins which I will only do if I absolutely have to.

In the afternoon I went for a two-hour session to see my acupuncturist, physiotherapist, masseur, and an amazing number of talents and qualifications contained within one person.  Apart from the post-trauma treatment of my leg, we had a discussion about lifestyle and said it was easy to wear yourself out by worrying about one topic especially if you were unable to have any effect. He suggested more contact with nature and said that he encourages some of his clients to hug trees, listen to them, identify with them. He says that if they are too shy to actually hug the tree they can stand with their back to the tree as I see so often when I go to the celebrations at Chalice Well.

I am a ‘duty’ person and feel I ought to be doing things for other people and making the world a better place but it seldom occurs to me to have time for myself, which if you think about it is not selfish, and will ultimately benefit others if I have a full battery. In addition, he recommended daily walks irrespective of length just to keep the body in tone and the blood circulating. That was good for me to hear because I feel guilty if I’m doing nothing ….but actually I am relaxing.

I have accumulated quite a chest full of medications for various purposes in the last five or so years so I took this opportunity of seeing my acupuncturist take them all along and discuss which ones I needed.  There are three categories, those that I need now for my current condition, those that I might need some future occasion and those that are irrelevant. I’m not very disciplined in the taking of pills.  It was very helpful to create a table and what I should be taking and furthermore why. Most of the pills were redundant.  I can’t bring myself to throw them away because you never know, but at least I know what the priorities are which is some sort of relief.




1917 – Swans ringing a bell for food

A lovely sunny morning, and off to Wells this time by bus to see the movie 1917. Before that, we went on a tour of the ever beautiful bishops gardens and herewith follows a pictorial springlike photo gallery. First we enjoyed the lively bird life  around the moat. Swans think they own the place and other birds defer to them.

the birds are most attentive to people eating and any sign of dropping food, let alone offering food is reacted to in a fraction of a second

The allotments in the gardens  must be one of the most sought-after allotments. They are secure because the whole place is closed at night so theft is minimal. Allotmenteers are a delight to talk with.

the water is so pure. You can hardly tell it’s there.

After this happy interlude, we went along to the local cinema to see the film 1917, directed by Sam Mendes. No wonder it had got so many BAFTA awards. It was excellently produced and directed in every way, a visual masterpiece as well as being nail-bitingly exciting from start to finish. IMDB 8.5/10 with 143,671 voting base.

However, during the show, I got cramps in the lower part of my left leg. This happened out of the blue impulses occurring every minute or so. It did not improve on the bus back so I rang 111 to seek medical advice. Based on what I had told them, they sent me off to the local Paulton Hospital who were puzzled and I found myself with a confirmed appointment at the A and E at the Royal United Hospital of Bath.

A confirmed urgent need appointment involves sitting in the same waiting room as everybody else, but there is a separate feed to a doctor because the status of your enquiry is considered to be higher if you are recommended by a professional.    While we were waiting, there was a patient with a very judgemental looking wife. She was continually berating her husband, who had had an injury to his head. At one point he was so exasperated then he said to her through gritted teeth (but everyone could hear him) For God’s sake will you shut up. I was reminded that encouragement is more productive than criticism. The husband was so worn out that he just paced around in frustration. I wonder why they are still married. Maybe big for the reason like many others, that they can’t afford to divorce and have two separate places when the property is divided into two .

There was a concern that I might have a blood clot.  Anyway, we got back home about 11:30 PM  Not quite the day I expected but I lived to tell the tale. We can learn from everything and I’m certainly learning a lot about my own body and the way it must be more disciplined and cherished as you get older.




Without doubt the quote of the day

I must admit I’m a great eavesdropper, and do listen to people’s fragments of conversation. Sometimes I can’t help it. I was on the bus back from my monthly eye examination when the phone rang and someone responded “I’m sorry he’s not here at the moment.” Followed by “he’s not here because he is in jail. Sorry about that.”  I have a memory for useless facts and I can say that that is the first ever time that someone has said that in my hearing. Obviously the person in prison had had his phone calls referred to someone else, the luckless passenger on the bus. I could use my imagination and write a small story about that.

But back to this morning, rising after a sleepless night.  Something important was going on during the night because I felt the need to go outside and stand in the garden in bare feet. There was a lot of electrical-type activity in my lower limbs and I guess I was cleansing myself from something.

Today is our church coffee morning and I decided to go and arrived shortly after 10 AM. There were two people, the server for the day and a member of the choir. The server provides cakes which vary each time depending on what the server of the week decides to make.

This time there were oat slices with raisins, a log cake and to crown it all a Guinness chocolate cake. Much as I like cake, I couldn’t cope with the latter so I settled for the slices. A few people slipped in then along came Doreen, who is one of my favorite ladies for her sheer amount of spirit. We discussed old age and death and she said that things had not got any better after her husband died 12 years ago. I expressed the hope that Francoise and  myself somehow go together as don’t want to be on my own . Of course I could manage if I had to.

Doreen is 80 years of age, so she tells me, but always tries to go for walks to keep herself fit. It is amazing what you can find to talk about when there is a will to communicate. We discussed all sorts of things, including the suitability or lack of it of the previous vicar and the projected suitability of the new vicar who will join us after Easter.  We discussed at length the effect of strokes, the major and minor variety (Doreen had a minor stroke a few weeks ago) and we discussed feelings of dizziness which also occur in me from time to time.

I discussed with the grandmother the young girl of seven or eight years of age who had been allowed to stand with the choir and sing. at communion last Sunday. Evidently she has great natural talent for singing and when I passed her on the way to communion she looked like she was in heaven. I think it is so important to introduce children to good influences particularly meeting people and doing things which help them discover and develop their natural talents.

Off to my eye examination at RUH  in Bath. I had an appointment at 1:10 PM so had time for lunch beforehand, shepherds pie albeit with a bit too much potato and an apple crumble with loads of custard, my favourite combination.

lovely family photograph with such tenderness. This and the other photograph is available for £45 each, which I thought was a great bargain.

Alas I needed another injection this month but there was no vacancy, so I was given another appointment. I cannot remember this non-availability happening before and it is probably due to shortage of staff.

this must have been imported from the old hospital in the centre of Bath

A windy and cold day. When the wind is above a certain speed it just blows through your clothing as if you were not wearing any.

 




Sitting in on a Council Meeting

It is absolutely ages since I sat in on a full council meeting. I think the last one was about 30 years ago. This one was the Midsomer Norton meeting that happens about three times a year. The reason for my attendance was what I wanted to give a balanced view about climate change, which compares the efforts made locally with recycling, saving energy with the overall dystopian world picture which was some reason I’m very interested in.

The meeting started at 6 PM with a surgery. During this time, anyone can come along and complain about anything and as we arrived about 6:15 there were two people complaining about motorbikes and noise adjacent to the community centre. They were assured that their concerns would be taken into consideration. About four Council members were in the room and we chatted backwards and forwards.

I was asked about how the allotments were going since I am chairman and I was able to report a full house. One of the Councillors offered me a glass greenhouse 6′ x 12′ free of charge. Gosh that will take some moving and could be quite dangerous but I appreciate the thought.

The mayor arrived and from that moment we were subject to the rules of the house which means that being members of the public we could only speak on invitation and had to be quiet and listen when the council was in session. The whole thing was quite good humoured and I found this not too difficult to comply with.

When the time came I gave a three minute talk on the reason why the climate change case was so flawed; I talked about behind-the-scenes financial interests and the compromise of people in scientific positions. I warned in advance that the subject was dreadful and I said I didn’t really want to even have to say it but someone had to. I said that the climate emergency was a fake, and it was unsupported by science. I really don’t know how many people entertained the ideas although they listened to me politely enough.

My remarks were then followed by those of the previous mayor, who said that, irrespective of the science it was necessary to become engaged in any activity that saves energy. We discussed the meaning of carbon neutral and pointed out the difficulty of achieving this in practice. A lady gave a list of local initiatives that were about sharing expertise, trading, bartering, saving energy, saving money and that was exciting to hear.

The committee decided to exclude the use of the term ‘climate emergency’ and chose to name an intended project in terms of active urban renewal.

At this point, we were invited to leave. It wasn’t quite in those terms, more like, “you’re free to go if you wish but you have a right to stay”. A quick look at the rest of the agenda made me realise that it was probably better to go, so back home we went.

I had a very pleasant day or is ‘pleasant’ the right word?   Challenging is probably better. With the aid of an electric chain saw at the end of a 12 foot pole I cut the overenthusiastic growing branches of a plane tree, which is in front of our bungalow.  I stuffed the results in the car. It’s amazing how much you can get in the boot of the car if you cut the branches into little bits. If they are all springy and bouncing around you won’t get much in.

Françoise went to the AgeUK as she does on Mondays. She looks after 15 or 20 older people. They were given advice about what to do if you caught a virus which was to wash your hands frequently, sneeze into your elbow, and one other factor that she has forgotten. That will defeat the virus, no doubt about it. The numbers in China do seem to be clocking up but so far in the United Kingdom, only two confirmed cases out of 350 tested.

There is the initial voting for the Democratic candidate to take on Donald Trump. Both men are in their late 70s and it makes me wonder what has happened to the party where they can find no one in their 60s, 50s, or even 40s. I think it’s moral bankruptcy all-round.




A hiatus in my car purchase

So today was the day when we were going to go to pickup a new car. Well, not new, very second-hand, but new to me. At 7:35 AM I heard my mobile phone ring and stumbled to it through a haze of sleep to have the purchaser tell me that he had not been able to fix insurance from his traders’ car insurance for me to drive the new car home. He told me that he had expected the office to be open on Saturday but it was not, so for some reason he waited until Sunday morning. to give me a call basically telling me not to come. I received an apology but that doesn’t really do it

We then had a lot of to-ing and fro-ing by e-mail in which we discussed whether my car was worth repairing, whether he wanted it in part exchange. If he didn’t, then how he would get back from Midsomer where I live to his base.  The dialogue was fairly good natured but after three or four questions he ended up by saying that I sounded like “a fussy old woman! With respect!”   When people say ‘with respect’ they normally mean without respect and I didn’t appreciate the last comment, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt as his ratings by eBay were good.

Anyway, we have arranged that he will come to my house with the car and drive away with my car for which he will deduct £150 from the sale price




Amazing synchronicity

To the minor injuries clinic this morning at eight o’clock. I have a troublesome toe that does not heal and looks rather red and angry. According to the nurse, my blood sugar levels are regular at 4.5 whatever that means. She suspects that I have early symptoms of chilblains, which is basically due to bad circulation. I must avoid walking round with bare feet and make great attempts to keep my circulation going through exercise. This is where gardening comes in useful but during the winter I don’t have jobs.

I was intrigued by the above poster in the waiting room.  I must discipline myself more in getting a first aid kit together and putting it in my car. If it’s not helpful to me it might be helpful to someone else. Little did I know how relevant this would be for an event that happened three hours later.

Off to Glastonbury for the celebration of the first stirrings of spring, Imbolc it is called. We parked on the street and I came across this excellent example of a Morris thousand, registered in 1970. They have the appellation of extremely long life. They don’t make them like that any more. The dashboard was so primitive, it scarcely had any controls  apart from the speedometer and a couple of lights. I had a nostalgic moment.

On the way to Chalice Well for our celebration, I was distracted by a factory outlet opposite selling shoes and slippers and the like. I have never before been remotely tempted to go there, but this time I had the impulse to visit it.  We were in there for a few minutes when a woman came in calling quite loudly saying that someone had fallen down some steps, quite a lot of blood was gushing from their head and they needed an ambulance. I poked my head out of the factory entrance and although I would not say blood was gushing from him, it was pouring out of his face in some volume.

The owner of the shop came out, duly called an ambulance and was kept on the phone while the operator got as much information as they could. I said I would go to the roadside and direct the ambulance. I could not quite see at the time why I should do this since the ambulance had been given the address but I was soon to find out.  I waited at the roadside, saw an ambulance, and flagged it down. It was slightly strange that it did not stop straightaway but went on and then reversed. They said they were on their way to a child that had fallen.

I told them that I was expecting an ambulance for an old person who had fallen on their head and was bleeding so they decided to abandon their original journey and go along to see what was going on. They spoke to control who agreed someone else would go along to the original caller. The result was that the patient was attended to much earlier than he otherwise would have been. The lesson is – as if I needed to hear it again – that the intuition can be trusted. Even though it doesn’t make sense to the left brain it should still be listened to and respected.

The pair from the ambulance were very good indeed, they had a great sense of humour and just made everyone relax including the people who  were traumatised from seeing the accident in the first place and that included the daughter of the man concerned. It just goes to show that anything can happen at any time to anyone and we should always be on the alert. The wounded man was very complimentary about the high quality of care he received and interestingly, the people who attended to him were on their way to the celebration at chalice well. What better place to have an accident could there be?

I do enjoy these visits very much even though I don’t talk to people an awful lot. Irrespective of whether I take part in the celebration or not, it’s just nice being there It’s a little bubble spiritually, where genuinely nice people meet together. There is a certain type of women who come here. I cannot say they are assertive but I can say they really enjoy being female, enjoying each other’s company and have demonstrable relationships that us men are not so good at doing. I have spoken before about the Goddess centre so just do a search and you’ll see what I think.

It’s lovely to see spring flowers, and the cherry blossom which shows that nature is really waking up now. The weather was lovely and sunny, with a slight wind from the South West and we could see in the distance many people walking up Glastonbury Tor from where I’m sure the view was tremendous.

You are lucky if you get into the adjacent building because it is not often open. It is called the White Spring. . It is described as a natural, calcium – which spring in a Victorian pump house, now a free entry temple and pilgrimage site. If you’re interested in going it is BA6 8BL. The waters of the wells in the area rush across the stone floor.  The tinkling sound of the water combined with the lovely glowing candle lights makes an almost surreal environment, about as far as you can get from the everydayness of consumerism.

*****

To am appointment to see a possible garden job. The chap wanted a hedge cut or so he told me on the phone but in fact it was a division between a back garden in a new housing estate and a field. There were a number of different types of trees that composed the hedge and it was more than 1 meter in depth so making it almost impossible to reach to the back. In addition, I was not able to dispose of the spoil in the field and would have to get it through a narrow gate. Apart from the job,  I did not particularly like the attitude of the man so I ran a mile but did say I would try and find someone to help him.

And so to home, writing this diary and preparing for my trip tomorrow to see my new car. I had to get together £1400 which I did by taking bits out of my accounts every day because there is a limit to what you can take out each day as you probably know.

So, a memorable day and yet another reminder to me of the synchronicity that prevails in the universe. It was the only occasion that I wanted to visit the shoe outlet and we have been coming here for about 10 years now.




A lecture on bird song

On the last day of our membership of the European Union, we went along in the evening to listen to talk on birdsong. I was fascinated with one bird that imitates the songs of other birds to give the impression there is much more than one bird occupying a particular territory, and  so ‘better keep off’.  I asked a question ‘ why robins knew when I even picked up a fork and work in cooperative attendance when I start doing their work for them and revealing lovely juicy worms in freshly dug round’.

Robins seem exceptionally tame and have lost their fear of humans. It was a jolly enough evening with about 30 people in attendance in Midsomer Norton Town Hall.  I saw one or two people there who sat on their own, not really summoning up the guts or the energy to talk to other people. Who knows what is going on in their minds? Perhaps it is lack of confidence.

On Monday evening I will have a chance to give a three-minute talk to the town council about their proposal to declare a state of climate emergency. I don’t think people want to realise that scientists and politicians (and anybody really) can be bought off. If you are given a large grant by a corporation you are going to come to the conclusion that they want you to come to. The carbon dioxide gravy train  is huge, some say the profits could be $6 trillion a year so why not spend a few billion on propaganda?

Today I received an article about a group of Finnish researchers who said that anthropogenic (human caused) climate change could only account for 0.01%C increase in global temperatures. I think I’ll throw that at the meeting on Monday.  Basically, people don’t want to think afresh and be disturbed from their comfort zones so I am going to get some flack …..so what’s new. Whatever you say, some will agree, some will disagree, someone like you, someone not like you.

We are blessed with mild weather and Saturday is forecast to be sunny and on that day we shall go off to Glastonbury to celebrate the first stirrings of spring.




Good company pity about the food

Every so often I attend the men’s group, which is called Men’s United, which has various branches in this area and the branch I went to today was in Frome.  I drove there in complete darkness under a moonless sky thinking that this was one of the last times I was going to drive my current Volvo car before picking up a new one on Sunday.

We had a jolly crowd of about 45 men who by the way meet about four times a year. This time we had testimony from two people, one held a very senior position in the Navy as part of his career of 38 years. Christianity is evidently encouraged in the Navy (or was 30 years ago)and he told us one or two amusing stories about how people behave in response to this. The captain of a ship has many powers and he told us of a ship where the captain was a Christian and used to lead the services and make sure everybody attended.

He met his wife when he was in his teens, and found to his delight that she was a baptised and confirmed member of the church. I think it was the Congregational Church. They married shortly after and have been together ever since. One particularly touching moment was when he said that when they say the Lord’s Prayer during a church service they always hold hands. He felt sympathy for those couples where one had faith and one did not.

The evening had to be conducted in a rather military way. We arrived at 7 PM for 7:30 PM and helped ourselves to drinks. The meal which was a buffet had to last no longer than half an hour to enable the speakers to speak. This took until about nine o’clock. We then had 15 minutes of questions and then for some reason we had to be out of the room at 9:30 PM.

These are called curry nights. The curry served was to put it midly ‘bland’. I’m getting quite good at telling if someone has any feel for the food they are preparing. The fact that someone is dressed like a cook in a fancy hat and white overalls means nothing if he hasn’t a clue what he’s doing. We were served with white rice, the least nutritious and the cheapest of the varieties of rice, poppadoms, and the Curry.

Because it was so unlike a curry I’ve had before I examined the contents and found it was basically a vegetable stew with bits of cheapest cut chicken of the supermarket variety plus a few bags of mixed vegetables from the supermarket Iceland. You would have been served this in a school canteen.  There may or may not have been some curry powder added but I could not taste it. When you are cooking a meal for 45 you need to put quite a lot of curry powder in. The whole thing was tasteless and in addition I suffered for it later because I’m very sensitive to chemicals, alas, and I couldn’t get home fast enough to take a dose of bicarbonate of soda.

The problem about complaining is that we are quite lucky to get a venue. Normal restaurants will not accommodate us and other people do not like irregular bookings so although I could have ranted and raved at the time, and I certainly have done here, I think the best thing to do is to keep my mouth shut and smile. I always enjoy such occasions, but with a little bit of extra effort the eating experience could have been so much better. We were paying the kitchen seven pounds a head and for that I think we could have been entitled to quite a bit more. <rant over>




Volvo purchase saga continues

The seller is a semi-retired car dealer now working part time  as for a hobby. It is most important to have a look at a seller’s record on eBay. In his case, 100% of people were satisfied and gave him the highest rating. He has done nothing to dispel this. I had to send £100 deposit to secure the car and if I arrive and find there is something majorly wrong or it is not as described in the ad. I get my money back. He has told me that he always takes  his cars for a drive to tease out any problem that might be there.

Since I’m buying an almost identical car to my own, I don’t think there will be much difficulty. I did not know that the MOT history of any UK registered car can be found easily using this link.  I shall change over the battery because I bought a battery from the RAC one year ago with a five-year guarantee. It cost £120 so I don’t want to lose the value of that.

On this occasion, the universe has certainly assisted me. I remember that when I was told that my Volvo should be consigned to the graveyard in the sky, I wasn’t the remotest bit troubled, even for a second, it was as if I knew it anyway. I think if you keep in the groove, in the zone of your destiny, then nothing will trouble you though I’m not saying you won’t have troubles. I am due to complete purchase of the car  at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning. I must go along the bank and draw some out every day because you can only take a certain amount of cash out of the bank at any one time.

To the seller’s credit, he offered to deliver the car to my house but I thought that would put us under too many obligations so I thanked him and decided that we would make the journey to his base to view and pick up. He told me that we could have as long test drive as we wished  which adds to my confidence. I remember when I saw the car advertised on eBay. It drew me and there was a sort of negation of time and space, a feeling of inevitability, and this was the car waiting for me.

I’m writing this in faith because for all I know the venture will fail, but it does look very positive at the moment and our dowsing found 8/10 for the car and 8/10 for the transparency of the seller. You can’t hope for more than that in this world.

Dowsing is a most useful skill and it has not let us down so far. It’s a type of remote view but then if you understand consciousness, nothing is ‘remote’.

Onward and upward, as they say.




Fake Skeletons – My Volvo meets is maker

There was a lovely piece in today’s English ‘I’ newspaper

“fake skeleton in hat used as passenger”

A driver in Arizona has been caught trying to disguise a fake skeleton as a passenger so he could use a high – occupancy vehicle lane. The 62 – year – old was pulled over when an official noticed the skeleton, which was wearing a hat and tied to the passenger seat with yellow rope. The driver was given a penalty ticket.

I just love these little stories that like my day and remind me how ingenious people are in trying to get round the system. I did need my day made happy because I went along to my local garage because there was a suspicious knock coming from the nearside front. For some reason, the garage thought I wanted an MOT. I was given the MOT and my beloved Volvo gloriously failed; the mechanic said that I was wasting my time having repairs and it would better to have a new car. This may have been a blessing in disguise.

However, worse was to come. I was informed that the mechanic, having completed the MOT, automatically put a note through to the vehicle licensing authority. Does that mean that my car is no longer able to be driven? Someone who was with me in reception said that the failure would not come into effect until the other valid MOT had finished which in my case is at the end of March so I may get away with it. Maybe not.

I am a Volvo man. I have been for the past 20 years. I do not intend to change. This will be my fifth example if I buy another one. In my life, I have never paid more than £1250 for a car. I like old cars because they don’t have the electromagnetic soup that the new cars have rather like having a mobile phone on all the time in your vicinity.

I went on eBay and fairly quickly found a car available locally for £1595 with only 91,000 on the clock. That is about my price range but I will try and beat him down a little. The car is within striking distance and much better than the trouble of collecting a car from Wirral, Birmingham, Essex, Scotland etc.  I don’t want to spend the whole day driving somewhere with the risk that the whole venture on inspection would not be viable.  As I write, I sent an e-mail to the seller, who appears to be a dealer, to see what he has to say. He wrote back and it seems is willing to do business.




Internal Family Systems – therapy session

Today I went to a private session in Bath presided over by the lady who practices Internal Family Systems which are designed to re-attach and reclaim those parts of the mind and spirit that may have broken away from each other, particularly during our development.

In order for me to work with someone I need to trust them and in this case it was easy to trust her because it was quite clear that the therapist had done work on herself because her aura was peaceful. Her voice was clear. The voice is but an instrument for the inner orchestra of thought if I can attune to this I am enabled to share on a deeper level, even if I do not know somebody at least in the commonplace use of that term.

I don’t mind sharing some of the work we did. I was encouraged to identify any particular age at which trauma or formative experience was identified. In my case I found the ages to be five and 11. I was asked to imagine that young entity standing in my proximity and I was asked how they felt and what their attitude was. I was able to identify certain characteristics, including the feeling of being frozen which I attributed to the need for independence and protection from those other people who might not have understood me at that time.

I was encouraged to have dialogue with my child and try to move forward. I can say that I did not feel understood and felt that this was a form of slow motion torture which I would rather be without and which lingers with me today as does the feeling of being criticized. Hopefully this will work through

I was able to assist the therapist by telling her in which parts of my body her words, were causing a reaction in.  For example, the nerves under my left foot started to react fairly early on in the session, as did the space over my heart and under the rib cage. It is like receiving an electric shock. Over the years, I have learnt to identify and understand the meaning of these various reactions.

I find the same with acupuncture. I notice that when the acupuncturist puts pins in various parts of my body, I can feel pins being put in various other parts of the body even though the acupuncturist has been nowhere near them. The impression  of the phantom needle is strong, almost stronger than the real thing whatever the word ‘real’ means.

I would like to think that astral entities or some higher consciousness are working with the acupuncturist to assist me my goal of becoming balanced.

I was asked what it feels like to be healed and normal. In my case, I don’t feel a separate entity at all and feel instead part of the universe. Someone said ‘hell is confinement in oneself‘. In moments of bliss, I feel I lose about half a stone. When I feel depressed. I feel heavy and when I feel happy I feel light. Funny that. After an hour the session finished.

I’m going back in March. The instruction was to talk to my identified separated entity every day no matter how briefly for a period of 21 days. I had always understood the lunar cycle to be more significance. I decided to do it for 28 days. At the end of the time I shall report back.




A friendly alcoholic – attributing blame – scapegoats

Another frosty morning but clear blue skies. I decided to go to the regular Tuesday morning coffee sessions at my church. There were only three of us there. When I arrived. The lady in charge for the morning had made three different types of cake. I should really have taken this early in the morning especially when I have had no breakfast but I cannot resist chocolate cakes so I had a small piece. People drifted in and when I left an hour later there were about 15 people there.

We have a new vicar who is called Adam Pitt. He is a local man and has four children of his own, the oldest is 14. He has two adopted children under two years of age. The fact that the vicarage as five bedrooms, most likely constituted part of his decision to move here. I’m told that he has a ten-year plan for the parish. He will be joining us after Easter when he has finished his training.

We discussed a homeless man who makes his home in an underground walkway by the supermarket. Evidently, he’s a very nice man, but an alcoholic. For this reason he cannot accept most of the food that is given to him but I don’t quite understand the logic here. The local population look after him as much as they can. Last night it was -2° but he said he felt quite warm. He’s an ex-Navy man and something happened with a woman who let him down, he flipped and he found himself on the street. He knows he has an alcohol problem, but says it’s the one thing that keeps him going and he admits  he doesn’t have the will to do anything about it.

Apart from the usual weather discussion, we discussed tree pruning, I said that trees should normally be pruned during the latent season and this winter time is about right. I said you should never cut more than a third of the tree as it will be too much of a shock for it.

Among the gathering there was a lady called Phyllis, who is 98 years of age. She has always struck me as a very lively person. I was told that she was born the daughter of a farmer and during the second world war she was a land girl. She had left school at 15 and was expected to work maintaining the family home and also on the farm. At this age, she maintains her own garden, takes cutting etc and has a greenhouse full of plants. For 98 years of age that’s not bad at all. She still drives.

*****

Castle and Sun Paul Klee

I find on such occasions you have to put yourself out and make the effort to speak and although there may be moments of silence, no harm is done, and someone thinks of something to say and off we go. There is an art of conversation and a good part of this is listening to other people and taking them up on perhaps a very simple statement and encouraging a dialogue to start. Paul Klee “drawing is taking a line for a walk”. The same is true of conversations.

*****

a long-standing friend of mine has written me a letter entitled “don’t look for a scapegoat”.  I enclose some of the more hopeful quotes from the letter.

The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
– Napoleon
Laws of nature do not make exceptions for nice people.
– Harold S. Kushner



A veritable delight – Batcombe, Somerset

We are looking for places that would constitute a bolthole, a way of avoiding electromagnetic fields which do so much harm to the human biology never mind the psychology. We recently received a map from sky TV showing which regions had had the 5G mobile network switched on and we found that Batcombe, a small village in Somerset, was not in this category, so on a wonderfully bright and sunny day with blue skies we set off. We arrived on the stroke of midday. I know that because the local church clock, that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, struck 12 on the dot.

This church, situated in the middle of the village and of Saxon origin, is a beautiful example of simplicity and unpretentious style. It has Norman, Jacobean and modern influences in his building. We enter, just as the morning service was finishing. We understood that it was a visiting priest who had just conducted the service. People were standing in groups having a chat.

As we entered the church I was warmly welcomed by a lady called Mary, who asked us where we were from, and had a general chat with us about the church and the village. The priest was chatting to one of two and I heard him recommend a book by Nick Page entitled “the badly behaved Bible.” I immediately went up to him and said that I was a bibliophile and was very interested in his recommendation. Nick Page is the author of 40 books and a great populariser of Christianity. When I hear someone recommend something I always see it as an omen and as soon as I got home I ordered a copy from Amazon.

I then had a chat with another man, Charles, who introduced himself as someone who had lived in London. By coincidence, he lived in Streatham Common where I lived from the age of seven until 16, my father having had a parish in the church, St Andrews, Streatham Common. He lived at the top of Gibson’s Hill, which was familiar to me as my brother-in-law lived in St Oswald’s road which is a few hundred yards from Gibson’s Hill. Charles was a buyer and seller of fine furniture, whose sons went to Dulwich College, where my father went and who are now taught at a grammar school in Taunton. Amazing that, of all people and all times we should experience such a coincidence.

We had a talk with a lady who was locking up the church. We met at a park bench outside the church and I made the comment that if I attain when I die the amount of unconditional love that the average dog has, I would have felt my life has not been wasted. She said that she believes there is a heaven for animals and she expects to meet her dogs, her pony, and all other animals she has been in love with on this earth plane

We had conversation with another woman we met on the street. Although she has only been in the area for 10 years she has been accepted because the amount of work she does for the parish. She told us that this was one of the best areas that she knew of for community spirit. As an example because she has a compromised immune system she has to have treatments twice a year which she needs a cocktail of chemicals. She knows that when she hears the garden gate going, she knows that one of her neighbours have bought lunch for her.

There is no question in my mind that under the right circumstances people can be kind and gentle to each other.  It is overcrowding, too much stimulus, too much poverty, too many pressures that degrades the human spirit.

We did not get far in our quest to find a bolthole. This is a very expensive area to buy something and this would be reflected in rental costs. When we first found a house in Somerset, it found us rather than we found it. Our estate agent rang us up to say there was a property that they think we would like. And sure enough as soon as we entered the property he welcomed us and we felt it was ours. I feel the same thing will happen with what we need.




Wassailing time

This is the time of year, especially in the country, when wassailing happens. There are two types. The first one is a house – visiting when people go round door-to-door singing and offering a drink from the wassail bowl in exchange for gifts. The more common practice is  the orchard – visiting wassail which refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider producing regions, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year.

This year we went to Kilmersdon, the original place connected with the nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill’. We assembled at a public orchard somewhat above the village. A wassailing Queen was chosen. It was her job to place a slice of toast in the tree to encourage Robbin Goodfellow to visit the tree and bring it luck, to pour cider in a ring around the tree, and also to hand around the wassailing bowl full of cider.

The words are as follows:

To thee, to thee, old apple tree.
Be growth so strong and true.
So fair of blossom and sweet of fruit.
Be yours the season through.

Chorus after each verse

Q. We’ll Wassail thee, old apple tree
and bless thee through the year.
And raise a glass of the goodly brew.
“Good luck” to all of us here

O Apple tree, O Apple tree.
Now spread your branches wider.
To bear more fruit for we to crop.
And turn them into cider

We’ll wassail thee old apple tree.
With cider around thy feet
And a round of toast in your branches high.
For the little robin to eat

This was followed by an incantation

Here’ to thee old apple tree.
Long may you bud, long may you blow
And may you bear apples enough.
Hats full, caps full,
Bushell, bushel bags full.
And pockets full too.
Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah

It was 4.30 pm  and getting dark so about 50 of us went off to the home of the organiser and the ceremony was repeated with their apple tree.  This video shows the loud bang made to frighten off the evil spirits. The laughter is because a bird appeared to be shot out of the tree and fall to the  ground. I think it was a model one.

Martin and his wife had provided a bread and cheese buffet, apple cake with three types of local cider on offer. My goodness it was lovely to drink something with no additives and chemicals.  Much convivial conversation was had and the singing of local songs went on for an hour or so.




Jordan Peterson, enfant terrible?

I spend quite a lot of my day watching the videos , which are of a higher and higher quality as more people take the trouble to upload them knowing that they have an intelligent audience. Youtube  routinely removes videos that it considers of fake news of the process of doing this is handed out to workers who do not know what they’re doing and rely on keywords. Frequently their first language is not English. Thank goodness for Brighteon which does not do this ridiculous censorship.

Jordon Peterson has my 100% respect for  speaking up against nonsense for example hate crime etc. I came across a video which I am not necessarily asking you to watch because it is long, but it does show what the group mind, or the mass mind, can do when faced with someone that is confrontational or potentially threatening at some level.

I have chosen to take controversial paths and I’m sure I pay a price for this in that certain people will not entertain me because I know that I want to make them think about topics they would not normally find comfortable. ‘Controversial’ really means challenging to people’s comfort points. This video is a very good example of how two people on a stage can pursue a perfectly reasonable path and yet be attacked.

I do not understand how people can believe that we can live together in a civilized society with such behavior. Oh, by the way, if you don’t want to watch the whole video go to the end, about the last 5 min, and you will see the idiotic perpetrators of the trouble trying to justify themselves – or not. I wonder if arguments in general are rational. I’ve always believed that the most powerful stance is that of neutrality. In other words if you understand both sides you don’t waste energy emoting. You are in a position to take a calm view.

There is no wind in the middle of a hurricane.