A daily personal record of my life in Somerset (scroll down for latest entry)
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We had to get up for a 7.15 breakfast and from thence to the coach where our baggages were arranged according to the town at which we were going to be dropped off. We left two minutes after the departure time – 8 17 am – and were treated to lovely frost covered fields, more blue skies and a delightful rising sun. Banks of fog were in the distance.
I have been on a handful of such trips in my life and I feel I have had enough experience to be able to give you the lowdown on the advantages, the disadvantages, the features and what to expect.
Summary of the trip
This is about a five day and four night excursion to Bosworth Hall, which is in Leicestershire. It is situated by the rural town of Market Bosworth, which has a population of just over 2,000 residents. When I saw an advertisement for the offer in the local journal back in October I jumped at it. You might think that late November is a bad time to do anything when you are preparing for Christmas, and after the heat of the sun has disappeared and the days are shortening but the whole thing is weather dependent so if it is good weather it doesn’t really matter when you go. And so it proved to be on this occasion. Cloudless skies, no rain, little wind, crisp mornings – what is more to want?
We were supposed to be picked up at 12:40 near Green Park, Bath but due to a timetable miscalculation the driver arrived about half an hour later. The coach had started from Penzance, yes Penzance, at 10 minutes past six in the morning so we were the last stop but one, Bristol being the last, before the journey up the M5, across to Birmingham, to our destination.
Is it cheaper to go in a group?
Included in the offer was four nights bed and breakfast and evening meal. 2 day excursions were offered and a third one as it happens to Stratford on Avon for a small extra charge. Between 6 pm and 9:30 pm we were offered drinks at two for one prices. For this offer we were asked 249 pounds per person making just a little short of 500 pounds between us.
Had we done this off our own bat as independent travellers, the costs would have been as follows:
Petrol – 385 miles – bearing in mind the stopping and starting, it would have been about 100 pounds Bed breakfast and evening meal is listed at 118 pounds per night for two which makes 472 pounds Parking – Had we driven to the two centers on the Tuesday and Wednesday plus parking charges at the hotel the parking would have been not less than 60 pounds
Driving is not just a question of petrol consumption. The area around Birmingham is very busy indeed and we had a lot of ‘stop and start’ driving by coach so journey time was increased. Because the city is so central to the UK and the motorway system there are vast warehouses hundreds of meters long where the major firms have their distribution hubs
Anyway. this is the least interesting part of my account where we have demonstrated that you can save at least 100 pounds through taking the combined offer.
Are you ‘organised?’
I have had examples of some tours that are over-organised and you have to get up at 6 o’clock and move on from your hotel to another place and spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on the coach. You can be taken from place to place for commercial reasons, the receiving a commission on any sales. In this case however we were dropped off and left to our own devices for reasonable lengths of time. All we were able to do was to see the main features and get a feel of the place and whether it was worth a return trip.
No trips are compulsory and if you want to just lounge around the hotel and their extensive grounds then you can. NB not all restaurants offer high quality food especially at lunchtime. The foodstuffs are are kept in the freezer and heated up for the occasion and this can apply to hamburgers, chips, even pizzas and I would not necessarily recommend their quality. These days you can expect to pay upwards of 12 pounds for a main course so if you can possibly survive until the evening meal, just have a coffee and sandwich or just forget about lunch altogether. No one has died of starvation from taking this advice.
Who goes on coach trips?
It must be said that people of a certain age, and that means retired individuals and retired couples, take the opportunity to escape from doing the cooking and washing up and enjoy being treated by being driven round areas that you would not normally think of going to. It is in everyone’s interests to behave well and nearly everyone rises to the occasion. It is obvious that if you don’t behave, you will be ignored or even ostracized by the group so everyone is on their best behavior.
Everyone that we met bought along a jolly positive mood. The English sense of humour comes to the fore here with its combination of self depreciating humour, situation humour, a little bit of black humor thrown in and a lot of teasing, puns, play on words and so forth.
Even if you don’t like someone you know that you are only going to be with them a few days so you might as well being nice to them and pass the time of day.
It reminds me of my early days hitchhiking when I was a student many moons ago. Someone would pick you up and they would talk about their personal and professional lives knowing that they were anonymous and you would not meet them again. Something of the same spirit is here.
The driver, Paul, had obviously been doing this for a long time and explained why everyone had to sit in the same seat which was for identification reasons should there be a serious accident. He told us how to get out of the bus and how to pull the various knobs and levers to open the windows or doors. He told us politely to use the onboard toilet appropriately as ‘whatever goes in stays in until the last day’. He told us a little bit about the history of the places we were about to visit. He explained about our calculations on when we should arrive at a particular place using our GPS system. He pointed out that the roads as the coach sees it is different and therefore they perhaps have to take a longer route.
How to comport yourself as a single person
We had one Scottish person from Bath, Andrew, who was on his own. He had a leg problem which meant he had to walk with a stick. Everyone else was in a couple by the way. It could be difficult if you go on your own but there are ways to avoid it. Andrew made a slight mistake of overselling himself to me. I was situated across the aisle from where we were seated and in an attempt to impress me he told me lots of puns, some were good and some which were not so good. I found his manner a little bit clingy and did not over engage him in conversation.
He tended to have meals on his own which was his choice. In the hotel restaurant most of the seating was for two people but there were tables adjacent where you could talk to people next door without invading their space or their privacy.
If anyone is thinking of going on a coach tour on their own my advice is forget about the fact that you are on your own, pretend to be one of the crowd, and talk to anyone. You will find like I did that most people are happy to be approached and don’t really mind if you’re single or with one other person or more. You can ask how people are, did you enjoy the day, or if you like the hotel. In other words come along and put yourself aside and be a good listener and over the period, you will make nodding acquaintances with your companions. Ask them if they had a good day out for example. They do not come on the trip to escape from people, they come to have a good time so just be part of it and forget you are so-called ‘on your own’.
If you are visiting a town on one of the excursions, you don’t have to walk with other people because you will probably bump into them at one feature, museum, or another and it is quite acceptable to open a conversation. You need to have a good memory for faces. Putting it another way, your single status may bother you but I promise you that others are not bothered and frankly couldn’t care less. You might even find they are more solicitous if you are on your own
As for the economics, there may be a single room supplement but I find that these days, hoteliers are becoming more flexible and have a mixture of family rooms, double rooms, twin rooms, and single rooms. They want to engage with as wide a cross section of clients as possible.
However, and did not always present himself in the best light when at one of the visits he turned up 20 minutes late and thus kept the coach waiting. The company had to ring him up to discover where he was. When he finally turned up he was jovial but non apologetic which did not go down too well.
There were one or two inconveniences: due to the heating system not fully working, the swimming pool and the spa were also not working and some people had cold rooms. We would have loved to have a swim but the supervisory staff, which they are obliged to have on duty, were not in evidence. I would be philosophical if I were you and know that in large scale organizations not everything can go right all the time.
Nobody got hurt in the making of the movie, as they say, so just take the rough with the smooth.
The evening entertainments was pretty ghastly. There was a female who could not sing in tune and there was a male guitarist who played to a background virtual orchestra so loud that I could not hear myself think. So we just gave up on that one and went and played Scrabble and watched TV.
I’m sure this is something my readers and I will have in common. The holiday is far distant, next month, then next week, and finally the day dawns. Today is THE day. Today is the day I have been looking forward to for some time, the chance to take a break, I normally pack far more clothes than I actually use and this is a habit I have been unable to break. I took four pairs of trousers of which I wore two, 4 shirts of which I wore two and I carried back and forth an unnecessary weight. Never mind the 20 kilograms that we are allowed on flights or much less if you go with Ryanair.
Our departure time was 12 40 from Bath. Thank goodness, no passports, no documentation, no special money arrangements, just get yourself and your baggage to the appointed place and wait. We took a 10 o’clock bus from Midsomer and arrived around 11 a.m. We walked around town a bit and then ended up at the delightful salvation Army restaurant. It is called Sally Ann’s Community Cafe, The Citadel, Green Park Road Bath BA1 1XE we decided to have a drink there before standing outside the coach waiting point which was in the street nearby.
Atmospheres cannot be manufactured by, for example, clever design. Atmospheres are in the wall, in the brickwork, aided and abetted in this case by the friendly staff, some of whom were volunteers. Francoise met an old fellow volunteer from AgeUK and they used the time to catch up. Some customers in the cafe were just sitting there over a cup of coffee reading, some were slumbering, some were talking at the very informal tables. Many people seemed to know each other.
Our volunteer friend said that the food was cheap and I said we should not use the word ‘cheap’, better to say ‘good value’ food and we all had a laugh about that. It is very nice to start a journey with a laugh and in a situation of companionship.
Off to stand in the appointed place, pace up and down, to look frequently at my watch. Finally the coach came, half an hour late and we scrambled on. We had seats 44 and 45. To the IKEA at Bristol where we picked up two people who complained loudly about being in the freezing weather for 45 minutes and then along to the M4 and up the M5. We stopped off at the wonderful, the amazing, the one and only, Farm Shop otherwise known as the Gloucester service station.
To me this is one of the seven wonders of the UK restaurant world. There is a strong emphasis on locally produced food and the quality is high. We had to have a break for 45 minutes due to the driver needing to rest every four and a half hours. He must have done a lot of resting because he left Penzance at 6:10 in the morning.
This is a tricky journey across country which takes much longer in a large coach. The destination you can see for yourself is at CV13 0LP. We arrived at this enormous hotel previously owned historically for 300 years by a very important family. More of that later. We were handed the keys to our room and a blue plastic tag to get two for one drinks as we stepped down from the coach. We were told that dinner would be served from 6pm and as it was five thirty pm we didn’t have much time to prepare ourselves. There were three coaches that day and they had to make some sort of staggering arrangement so that the restaurant would not be overcrowded.
To dinner, large numbers of people queuing at the bar to get their bargain drinks. We were shepherded to a table by the very efficient and youthful staff and found the normal starters, soup, main course, sweet course, all buffet Style. I cannot tell you how much I love buffets. If I were never served again at a meal but only had access to buffets I would be pleased. You can tell people who are not buffet affectionados because they pile everything onto one plate. These are amateurs. They have no style. Are they deserving of Life? I will keep my opinions to myself on that matter.
After the meal we wandered around the hotel a little bit, talked to 1 or 2 people, we noticed that the temperature was much lower in some areas than others. I can totally understand this because it is not a new hotel and when the cold wind blows even slightly, it is felt in the corridors. We did our usual unpacking, flicking through the TV channels, and settled in for a four night stay. The room is wonderfully quiet.
This morning, a look at the Gaza cease fire – a busy one for the Israelis in my opinions. Vanessa Beeley steadfastly reports. She expects there will be some type of False Flag operation maybe in he USA to justify a further continuations of the bombings and slaughter. Systematic assassination of journalists? See more here if you wish.
To my Vineyard Church for what I thought was a service but turned out to be anything but. I had obviously missed something. I admit at this point I don’t read fully every email that is sent. This was a time for bringing presents for families who are not so well off and it is from an organization called NEST which has apparently been running for some years now.
We had a short talk with singing and prayers at the beginning of the meeting including the reminder that Jesus asks us to be fishers of men. As a very unsuccessful amateur fisherman this did not quite work for me.
However let’s think briefly about ‘fishers of men’. In secular terms, we are hoping for some sort of response to whatever message or product or service we are offering even ourselves as living offerings. We talk about ‘fishing for compliments’. We speak about ‘fishing expeditions’ when we are looking for evidence to support our particular cause, or we can say ‘casting about’ for information that you may be able to use. It could also have a clandestine interpretation meaning that you are trying to find if someone has done something illegal or interesting, but without saying that this is the purpose of your search.
I suppose anyone who joins any organization and encourages others to join is a fisherman. Jesus in his capacity as messenger of God obviously seeks from us something at a higher level and is looking for the very souls of people. This could be seen by some as an overriding obligation in so far as you do care for others. It is something you cannot avoid doing if you believe because you are either a good advertisement or bad advertisement for your cause. What we do, or perhaps even what we are, we will cause people to either want to join and adhere to our beliefs or the converse and this is a 24/7 thing.
The question I asked myself is, what am I advertising? You cannot advertise nothing. Even by saying nothing, you say something
Meanwhile on the business side of the meeting we were then allocated various jobs such as helping to sort the packages that were soon to arrive from the street I decided to be outside on the street welcoming people in.
I had a number of very good conversations and I learn that I soon forget the detail unless I write them down. I was talking about making the most out of every contact that I have. I said that selfishness is a mug’s game and the more you give the more you learn and then the more you are enabled to give; the process never ends. It cannot end because you cannot cease learning or developing
I said to someone that greyhounds love to run, it is in there nature, and the brain loves to work. It is in its nature also. So you can take anything and so long as you absorb it and really listen to the people in a particular conversation, your brain will soon work out ways to learn and to move forward.
I asked one person what type of experience was most easily and permanently established in his mind, and he said that songs that he heard when he was young have a whole tranche of memories attached to them.
Just one song or part of a song, had a whole lot of mostly pleasant memories and emotions. I retorted that whenever I hear the word ‘debt’ I recall the phrase ‘one day older and deeper in debt’. This is from the song
’16 tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford and it was first recorded in Hollywood California on August the 8th, 1946 It was written about a coal miner, about life in the mines of Mulhenberg County, Kentucky. I said that I thought that as a species we would be the poorer without music.
I asked another person about their ailing mother who has a problem with blood clots and blood circulation in general. I asked whether she was ready to depart this life and the person involved was not sure but she had an image of Jesus cradling someone in their arms moving through the threshold between life and death. I believe it is absolutely necessary to be prepared for death. Death Is But a gateway to more life, like closing a chapter of a book, not the book itself.
I said to someone that I enjoyed coming to Vineyard because it was informal and I did not do very well with a hierarchical system because God is within us all and we should celebrate the fact. Vineyard are very good at doing what they do, getting a balance between social and spiritual and sharing. I said I thought the Methodist Church were nearly as good but did not think that the Catholics were good at this at all. The person I was speaking to disagreed and said that in certain areas, if the bishop is keen on something, it will manifest in the community. Suddenly, leadership in the church is what we require.
We also discussed the optimum size of a group for people feeling comfortable enough to say what they think. I find that grips or between four and six are the most productive. My friend said that he had been in a group of three which he was very comfortable with. As I have said before, I do not do football crowds and although a large number of people together may on the surface seem successful I question the quality of experience of each person.
In large groups you can too easily get someone who hogs the platform and reduces others to passive silence. I keep on getting the phrase in my mind ‘when two or three are gathered together in my name there am I with them’. The person who said that had some knowledge of human nature so there is something to it.
At this morning’s event I was allocated the job of being by the door and welcoming people in with their packages. One came, then two, then another and the stream of people never stopped. Always one or two adult parents accompanied by their children.
Vineyard had decided to offer chocolate sweets as a little thank you. It did me good to see these people coming: how much good will there is in the world, and how willing people are to help out those less fortunate than themselves! It is often the people who are not well off themselves that help their neighbors. ‘upper class’ people were not to be seen. (continued below pictures)
Someone else involved in the music business said they had revisited a song theme that they had worked on six years ago and found there was new life in it. I do not think that we are all meant to bring an idea from conception to birth at one go. We can have the idea itself in advance and leave it and then come along again when the conditions are right. It may be worth revisiting our so-called old ideas and see if there is any life in them.
General reflection on the meeting this morning
With regard to such meetings be they religious or otherwise. If I go along with an open mind I always get something out of it. All I want is to have enough opportunity to speak to individuals and find out how they are. I do not take a standard ‘ fine thank you’ answer but a report on their ups and downs in the last week and once people start on this and have got over the original shock that I actually want to know how they are, they are very forthcoming.
Four years I have watched people in the established church for example the Church of England, come into a service, sit quietly waiting for the service to commence, taking part in the service whether it’s singing, praying, or listening to the sermon. They then exit at the end, nodding to one or two and then go home from whence they came. In the last decades, churches have cotton onto the shortcomings and have arranged coffee sessions after the main service and this I thoroughly agree with.
It is a step in the right direction.
To My Working Mens Club, Radstock
I attended for my traditional Sunday lunch drink which consists of a large house whiskey which may or may not be accompanied by a half of Guinness. There were about 12 people in the club but I know the number builds up as the day goes on. I noticed this sign. I will add it to my list of misspelled words for my entertainment. My pet hates are extra apostrophes for example with the plural of a word.
Not being able to sleep last night, I arose and had a look at some of the programs stored on my Sky box. I found a series featuring John Cleese who had been given a series of 10 programs by GB news to do what he liked. He was called something like the Dinosaur Hour. He was talking about wokeness.
Before I start, I should mention that it was extremely difficult to hear what he had to say because to put it bluntly, his teeth need attention. If you know someone who has left out their dentures and they speak, you will understand what I’m saying. The mouth and throat are an echo chamber and they need to work together. Cleese was unable to project his voice and so you have to listen more carefully. I’m sure no one has got the guts to tell him. Anyway I stuck with him because I have a regard for him going back to my formative years.
He was trying to understand the topic of wokeness. He had approached up to 10 ‘woke’ people who refused to speak to him so found an intermediary person, an academic, who was willing and able to explain the whole thing. You can find the whole series on GB news if you wish to look, but basically the mores are that everyone has to be inclusive, no one must be offended or upset, no one must be marginalized. We can offend them unknowingly by the use of incorrect words. However, this is one way traffic. They can abuse and insult us, but we cannot do the same to them.
The question is, what are the criteria? What happens if you fall outside their criteria? We all know the answer to that. The unfortunate person concerned is cancelled or fired. This has happened to nearly 200 professors alone which is even more than the 150 professors in the McCarthy era in the 1950s in the States. One of their weaknesses is that they take the meaning of our words as they interpret them. There is no discussion.
Let’s take the case of JC Rowling. the famous author. She received a huge amount of hate mail including death threats for saying that there are only two biological sexes, men and women. The friend of hers who related the story, a children’s writer for a big publisher, told how she was sacked for supporting JC in her campaign via a Twitter text. The hate mail from anonymous people towards her evidently frightened publishing houses and others, not to mention the general public, into deciding that people like her should be marginalized or at least censored. Why are well meaning authorities scared by such brainless nonsense?
To me the frightening and significant thing is that you cannot even ask a question of the woke movement about why they have the views they do, because even this is regarded as discrimination. It is an authoritarian system not based on logic, thinking, sharing, coming to a conclusion, but the simple fact that if you even attempt any critique means that you are automatically a bad person. They are good, you are (potentially) bad. So that’s it then.
I have not come across many of these people but when I do they will get short shrift from me. So as I said in my heading, this is a judgment of a ‘court’ by anonymous plaintiffs on social media given without reason or logic. The fact that this can even take place in a university which is supposed to develop the faculty for critical thought amongst more intelligent minds. This is quite shocking. After three years going down rabbit holes I am still shocked by some things and this is one of them.
Wokeism is the quickest and most effective way of turning a person who is potentially capable of intellectual thought into a retard.
Talking of being shocked, another thing I was shocked about is Oprah Winfrey saying on U.S. TV that it should be OK for adult males to stroke the penises of seven-year-old boys as ‘they might like it’ if done properly. She is well up there or down there with the paedophiles and child traffickers. No one in the audience seemed to react.
The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. This is from ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ by Lewis Carroll.
The relevant verse is
The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
to talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax
Of cabbages — and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings.’
Is it our time as I sit at my computer on a bright Saturday morning to consider whether our morals or our characters are worth fighting for, or whether we are going down the plug hole as human beings. All we have to do is ……. do nothing.
Back to Israel
So I watch the so-called ceasefire, day 2. The israelis are going to release about 130 hostages but over the period they have detained At least three thousand hostages. They are teasing beings that they regard as subhuman, deliberately prolonging the agony. While they detain people they bully and beat them
How we came to live here in Somerset
Today, following on yesterday’s celebratory lunch, we toasted our 11 years as residents of Midsomer Norton. In a way, it seems like yesterday.
I was living in a property in Dulwich and she was living in a rented property, a housing association between Chalk Farm and Hampstead. We both wanted to move in together but in London that would have been impossible.
Françoise’s mother departed this life at such a time to make a substantial amount of available funds in her will to her. We were thus able to consider buying a property. We knew we had to be somewhere south west but had no idea so we did a process of elimination by driving to places that we were not sure about, but at least we wanted to delete certain areas from our wish list. One of these was Bristol which was far too expensive and properties did not seem to have a garden. We inspected one house which had been occupied by an Indian family; the walls and the wallpaper certainly bore out their tastes. It took about 3 minutes for us to decide ‘no’.
We also went to the coast, Western-Super-Mare which was frankly a little bit down market. Clevedon, on the coast, had a delightful character but we felt it was a bit remote for communications. It’s all about public transport in case we cannot drive for ever. Frome was definitely a place of culture but there is a divide between council property land and the historical center. The latter’s properties are way beyond our reach and have very small gardens. The same can be said for the more desirable parts of Bath and indeed of Wells. With bath I don’t like the hills.
We visited Midsomer Norton briefly and I noticed that a stream running down the High Street was maintained and in good order and that told me that the management of this small and unpretentious town was good.
We found a local agent and one Monday morning they rang up and said they had a property for us. Without hesitation I agreed to come down from London. We arrived if I recall on Tuesday and before we walked in the door we said yes. It is a question whether we chose the property or the property chose us. I suspect the latter. You could invent all sorts of esoteric reasons why this should pertain but at the end of the day there was an attraction that was a visceral. There was no question about it.
The cost was within our budget. The sellers took some persuasion (argument between the family) but our agent waved in front of them the fact that we were cash buyers and there was no chain so I think that was the fact of that did it. By the time we arrived to view we were told that five other people were interested. I think that living in a Close is safer because strangers are noticed so from the burglary point of view the incidents over the last 10 years can be numbered on the fingers of one hand.
As for moving, it was traumatic second only to being divorced. So much could go awry. We drove down in seperate cars and followed the van which dutifully disgorged our possessions. Francoise’ removal company was a bit more tricky since they had quoted over the phone and underestimated the amount of material so two trips were required. We spent the first few months sleeping on a mattress on the floor and then finally got a proper bed from a local company. I will give a tip to anyone thinking of putting a mattress on the floor. No draft > damp > mold. When we eventually took it off the floor we were horrified at the growth that had taken place. It cannot have done our respiratory systems much good.
I cannot say we are close to our neighbours but we know them and a nodding acquaintance is actually sufficient. Most of them have lived in the area all their lives and are parochial in their attitudes. We have both lived quite different lives. I have traveled to many places including South Africa, 20 times, the USA, 40 times for various business and personal reasons. I met up with someone in New York and briefly stayed there but that was not a success.
The area where we are living is not the center of the cultural world but it is extremely convenient for access to Wells, Frome, Bath, Bristol, Cheddar, Glastonbury, all of which have their special features. We also got here what the Americans would call ‘more bangs for the buck’. We have a three-bedroom accommodation with the decent size garden and access to local allotments which I ran for some time.
The mood in cities is more fractious and unsettling than here and there is more EMF, particularly 5G. In rural Somerset, people are not so aware of trends in the world; this is a disadvantage but also an advantage. We have to work a little harder to find people who are on our wavelength but they are around. We can invite people to stay with us and they seem to enjoy the environment.
Of course in the last 11 years our property has increased in value, about £100,000, but this is academic. We currently find no calling to go elsewhere and anyway with the possible advent of the worldwide virtual currencies systems, impeding control from the world Health Organization, who is going to say that other places will be better or worse than where we are at the moment. What we have currently is stability and that will do just fine. The weather is colder and rainier than we would like but then you can’t have everything.
There is enough culture in Bristol, Bath and Frome but we have to decide whether we have enough energy to visit these places especially evening events in the winter when I no longer like to drive even on well lit roads. I cannot cope so well with oncoming cars who do not dip their headlights.
Our days of gardening are coming to a close and fortunately we have enough in the kitty to be able to survive without such activities.
We do enjoy visiting London but only for short periods. We only go by coach as the train is 2-3 times more expensive. I go there from time to time to keep my sister company. She is currently on her own. London has changed but it is cosmopolitan enough to accept the refugees and integrate them into society. My favorite place of all is Brixton Market (above) because you find all nationalities mixing and working together in harmony and that is how it should be throughout the world. I prefer the restaurant section. Next time I go I will write a report.
It is a funny feeling riding on the buses in London. I find myself on the upper deck of the number 3 bus which goes from Oxford Circus to near Crystal Palace and sometimes I am the only white person on the deck. I do not mind and feel quite at home. Travel costs are quite steep and last visit we paid £69 for a seven-day pass which includes travel areas 1 to 5. Actually, if you work it out and do a lot of traveling it is quite cheap per journey. The pass gives you travel by all means including bus, train, underground.
The day began early with waking up from a dream. I was in a very large camp of Vegans. They had cooked mountains of vegetables which they laid out in steaming bowls on trestle tables and most of it looked the same. I sat down at a table where, strangely, meat was available and I was offered a portion but did not take it because I felt that they were doing it just out of politeness. A man with glasses looked at me over a table and said something to me. I did not hear it and he repeated himself in exaggerated form as if I was a little bit mentally deficient. I realized that I did not hear him because what he said did not compute with what he thought. And that, at 6:30 in the morning, was a very good lesson. Does my brain ever rest? Apparently not.
I remember when I was a schoolboy I used to torment ants with a magnifying glass, focusing the sun’s rays and making them run for their lives. This very much reminds me of the current situation in Israel where as I write the cease fire is about two hours old. I was upset to hear that at the same time, they detained the medical director of largest hospital in northern Gaza. It is clear that the prime minister of Israel has as his mission the destruction and the obliteration of the Gaza strip and all those who are on it. What is going on is hidden from the Israelis and the four day ceasefire – so called – is just going to be a prelude for even more vicious and cruel actions to restart on Tuesday. I very much hope I am wrong but the mindset of what remains of the Israeli government seems to indicate this.
Biden, the so-called president of the USA, can only meekly suggest that a ceasefire should be permanent because he has funded Israel with the toys of war so it doesn’t exactly make his position strong. The Israelis have the nerve to pre-emptively sell off licenses for gas and oil exploration in the strip although the land is not theirs. The father in law of the prime minister of the UK has done a 1.5 billion dollar deal for one such license. This is hypocrisy on a grand scale but that’s what money does to people. I would far rather not write this type of material but I have vowed that my diary is an accurate representation of what I am actually feeling and doing on a day-to-day basis, otherwise it is a fake diary.
My exemplar, Samuel Pepys, did the same thing.
Going back to last night, I am becoming an increasing fan of small groups as a medium for sharing and growing. I do not like football crowds. I do not like walking into a room full of strangers that you don’t know. Of course I will do it if necessary, hoping that I will recognize a face but I much prefer a group of say six people where I can relate to them as individuals. We never know when we are going to learn a lesson, we receive no warning when someone is going to say something that could be quite ordinary but which is our ‘bingo’ moment and creates a lot of connections in our mind. It can form the precursor or prelude to the next stage in our development.
For example. someone might say ‘ why don’t you do it then?’ and although you may have heard it 100 times before, this time it arrived at the right moment and you are ready to act. That is why it is worth saying the same thing, maybe time and time again, until it ‘sinks in’.
Sinking in is not quite accurate. More like ‘ready to listen’
Are we afraid of being controversial? What do you mean? Are we afraid of causing people to think? Are we afraid of challenging people in their worldview? If so, take my advice. Get yourself a drink, pop yourself in front of the TV, and switch off your mind.
I don’t really mean that of course but isn’t the fun of life and truly living implies adapting ourselves to the changing circumstances by changing our mind set and helping others to keep up with the changes also. Why bother to meet people just to talk about the weather?
What is the point of that? It’s either raining or not raining. It may rain at some time in the future in which case take an umbrella. If it is sunny you go out for a walk and take advantage of the sunshine. There is a limit to the scope of this type of conversation. The factor that makes life worth it for me is controversy, excluding for the moment work-life balance, recreation etc . What is the point of agreeing with everyone just for the sake of it? If you want a quiet life then I recommend a graveyard. No one says anything there.
The experience of supermarket shopping
Sainsbury’s are experimenting with a checkout system that does not involve any contact with an assistant. You just check your own produce, pay and leave. On the other hand there is a supermarket chain called Booths which functions in the north of England in 28 outlets, are doing away with self-service checkouts completely, and since they have done so they have noticed an increase in footfall. I love this because I know many people do not speak to anyone else from one day to the next and the Checkout is their opportunity to make contact with another human being. I am always patient with those who linger to talk at the tills. Have a read of the article here.
Word of the day – Solipism
This is the idea that only events that happen in our own mind are reliable, in other words certain to exist. Knowledge of anything outside our own mind is unsure and uncertain. The external world and other minds cannot be known.
I wonder if this is one of the aims of those who seek to control us or possibly a term that I have coined ‘micro madness’ were the individual has ceased to believe anything at all because they have been frightened into a position of paralysis where they don’t know what to believe anymore. They carry around an image of the world in their minds which they compare with reality, and reality comes a poor second when it comes to a driver of thinking and action.
As TS Eliot asked, what is hell? Hell is oneself Hell is alone the other figures in it merely projections There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to
One is always alone.
The word itself comes from the Latin solus ‘alone’ Food for thought.
Trip to an Amazing bookshop in Frome
Today is the 11th anniversary of our move from London to our current residence which is in Midsomer Norton. When we say where we are from I get the limp joke ‘ oh that’s where all the murders are’.. The memory of the series lingers in the mind. Nothing much we can do about that.
For some days now we have had the idea of going to Lotte, which is a French restaurant, with a genuine french chef, in Frome. We arrived about 1.30 pm to a nearly full house. I did not count but there must be about 40 covers. When we entered, the atmosphere was bustling and business-like. I’m glad we decided to book a table, as if we had not done so, we would have had to wait until one became free. I find that restaurants are more crowded out at weekends starting with Friday.
We will given a place backing on to one of the walls. May be it’s a past life thing or just a preference but i like to have my back to the wall so i can see who is doing what. I feel more in control. We ordered a small carafe of house white wine each. At four pounds each i thought that was good value. We decided to have a galette each which is a bit like a stuffed pancake. I had salmon stuffing and Francoise had cheese. This was followed by a fig and apple tart with cream.
Anyway that is the boring bit.
I noticed that the person next to me was talking to his friend and although of course i did not listen to what they said i listened to how they said it. When he was about to go, I said that he had an interesting extra dimension to his voice and if he focused his mind, he could exercise authority. If you told someone to do something, they would do it and I said that he should use it more. He laughed in an embarrassed way in the way that I would if someone came out of the blue and said such things but I could feel a good reaction so i know that I planted a seed somewhere.
By the time we had finished our meal, most people had vacated as it was getting on for 2:30 p.m. except for one woman who had a small sketchbook and was drawing other people. I being me, approached her and said that I am a compulsive writer as she was obviously a compulsive artist. She was glad for the opportunity to chat and it appears that she was there to pick up her grandchildren from school. She told me that last night she went to a wonderful concert by someone from the Orkney Islands. He was called Kris Drever and said that the effect of his music was so great that it left the audience open mouthed. See a sample here. She told us that she was also a musician and played the guitar. No wonder that she enjoyed Kris so much.
The staff themselves were very efficient. There was a waitress that I complemented because she had the knack of scanning the restaurant quickly to see if anyone needed attention. She said in reply ‘this is not my first rodeo’ The service was prompt. You can tell when customers are regulars because they are at ease and there is a sort of invisible body language between them and the waiters which told me that service was going to be good. Halfway through the main course we made up our minds that we would return.
What is good service? I think when all said and done it is the presence of the staff and looking after us without making it too obvious. It is easy to tell if people work as a team both with each other and with the kitchen. The kitchen was available for all to see so we could see that the whole mixture was very organic. People had a pride in their work and they obviously enjoyed bantering with the customers but being discreet about it. The good waiter will evaluate whether a customer wants to be left alone and then give them the minimum service or if they are alone, give them a bit of support to make them feel at home.
Next door was a bookshop. the like of which I have never seen. presided over by a chap called Julius who moved in about 18 months ago and considers the place as his second home. Is it a bookshop? a sitting room? a community centre? an information centre? Answer – all of those and more. There was an old fashioned record player playing lovely relaxed music, a real wood burning stove, and most of all, mountains of books. He said his greatest problem was dealing with all the books that were brought in and indicated that he had had a couple of cases of books in that very morning.
Francoise bought me as a present ‘The Gospel of St. Luke’ by Rudolph Steiner.
We discuss the difference between a depository of books and a repository of books. I would have looked it up straight away but there was no signal so Julius supplied me with a dictionary. Even then it was not clear.
A repository is where things are place for safe keeping. It is a noun. The things in question can be either concrete or abstract: a library could be thought of as a repository for real books, and for knowledge.
A depository is a place for keeping money or other financial assets.
So the two terms can be synonyms but depository is only used in contexts involving depositing money and that’s from the historical point of view.
In case you would like to visit him, Julius is to be found at the top of Catherine Street. He has an amazing mind and when i told him about my Samuel Pepys diary he knew someone who’s office was in Pepys’ old house in London. I gave him my business card and invited him to look at today’s entry which would be up at 9 p.m. this evening. He expressed some amazement and I said I had to do it because tomorrow there would be another lot of information and I would lose track.
While we were speaking, a man came in holding three books that he had just bought and was praising them. He came back for more. It is a lovely place to go to, a very social and intellectual environment. If anyone who wants to know anything about books, Julius is your man.
The environment is very green, not in the political sense but for decorative emphasis.
Down to get some unpasteurized milk and a loaf. Very few places do unpasteurized. We then went to the Swan Centre to have a look at any local publications where i could advertise the diary. The alternative way of life is very well represented in this town. There is another stream of consciousness from people who have escaped London, who sold up with a considerable profit, and found themselves in Frome. I could have believed I was in London by the accents of the people in the restaurant and the type of conversations they were having though of course i would never eavesdrop.
I wanted to pop in to see my acupuncturist to tell him that he had contributed in a substantial way to my feeling better about myself and my stomach. I would have told him that I think that in my case it was the attitudinal changes that had to precede healing on the physical body. When I turned up at his rooms, he was not there or should I say he was with a client, and there were two people waiting, so I will write to him instead.
Among the leaflets we picked up were
# from a group of weavers who are having a Christmas market on the 25th of November;
# from the Art Society who are having a winter exhibition from the 25th of November till Sunday the 10th of December in the Round Tower gallery;
# there’s a Christmas gift market on two Saturdays in December at the Cheese and Grain
# and there is a quite a substantial booklet called ‘The List’ which contains information about shopping, musical events, and the features of the area. This is a 36 page A5 book with plenty of advertising and this is only possible in a town where there is plenty of money.
# The newspaper the Frome Times is published every fortnight in hard copy and in a virtual form.
We went home via Mells which is one of the prettiest and the most historic villages within a good many miles of our home and we often go there. In the summer there is the outdoor garden’s where you can have a pizza or a cake and coffee on the terrace. Adjacent to the post office, there is a cafe where you can have a light lunch plus the usual teas and coffees.
The sunset was absolutely beautiful as we drove home and we had to give thanks for not still living in London. The stresses of large numbers of people together would be just too much for my nature and I don’t think I would have had such a quality of life had I stayed.
It is interesting to see the local advertising which is a good clue as to the type of area that a prospective home owner might identify with.
We as a nation have become addicted to images and brief videos and I am not sure how powerful the written word still is. As I have said before, I write this diary mainly for myself but anyone is entitled to have a peep into my life. All of us are one consciousness having derived from the same origin so we are different in our expressions of our identity but we all have something to give each other because we are unique individuals. I long ago dismissed the idea of ‘privacy’. The government knows everything about us and this is the intention of the new ‘Identities’ where everything about all aspects of your life is on one chip, or more likely on one computer somewhere.
Today started with a panic because I could not get through to my website nor was it visible on the net. I sent a panic letter to my service provider knowing that he could probably sort things out. He told me that I’d had a brute force attack on my site which I suppose is a bit of a compliment but also a nuisance. The safety system of my server clicked in and closed things down temporarily to prevent harm. I can understand why people attack government sites or financial sites or political sites but this one is neither one of them. My web host advises me not to spend any energy on trying to figure out the motives for these people.
On the way to pick up my car I always keep my eyes alert for anything of interest and this was a most extraordinary peace of garden architecture. Someone had laid a lawn obviously with artificial grass but did not do it properly and just left it there without so much as a ‘by your leave sir’. It looks like an unmade bed. How anyone can live with that in their garden I do not know.
I was comforted at the garage. There was a low bill of £60, almost unheard of these days but just the tracking had to be done and a rod needed to be un seized.
The son of my friend Terry did not attend school yesterday. He is a very intelligent young man but just hates school and I said to Terry that it must be a bit like having to go to prison.
My injection is due at the Eye Clinic today so off we both go to Bath. The Christmas market has started so the chances are that the car parks will be full so we go by bus. We noticed in the main car park that you have to pay more if your car is not ULES compliant so when you punch your registration plate in to the payment machine it automatically tells you if you are compliant or not. Technology moves forward again. The uplift for non compliant cars? £3.50 for two hours compliant vs £4.60 non compliant.
We are taking a brief coach vacation starting on Monday. I wanted to go and see exactly where the coach was leaving from because I like to be clear in my mind about every detail and only then can I relax. We found the spot and estimated it would take 10 minutes with luggage from the bus station. The departure is 12:40 which is a reasonable enough time to arrive. I feel sorry for the people who have to catch the same bus in Penzance at 6:10 in the morning and in the dark. That sounds like too much of a journey for me. I would want a day to recover.
We had to look at Green Park station, Bath, which is partly a clear indoor area for events and partly a collection of shops and restaurants. Friday morning there is a food market. I am not sure if this was a genuine train station, it certainly looks like it, but it would be certainly worth visiting on a Friday.
We did quite a rare thing today, and that was to buy a frying pan. I find that in cheap examples. the non-stick coating is very thin and can wear off. I also find the gauge of metal is very thin. We had a look in a specialist shop where we saw copper frying pans available from £85. They weighed a ton but I’m sure they do a good job in keeping the heat constant. So the frying pan was our ‘choice of the day ‘and it came in at about 14 pounds which we thought was good value.
Our impression of the Christmas market is that is it is not so extensive and the stalls are not so numerous as in previous years. You can blame covid only to a certain extent but my guess is the council are charging too much for rent and refuse to compromise. When you add the cost of the rental to overnight hotel costs to travel costs and your own sustenance you are probably talking about at least £6,000 without blinking an eyelid and then of course there is the cost of whatever it is you are selling. Oh, and don’t forget the staff that must be paid.
If you want more details, there are various zones. Zone 1 is Kingston Parade, abbey Green, and Bath Street and you will have to pay for a corner chalet £4.800 Other chalets will be £3,900 Near to the Guild Hall you will pay £2,268. That’s from Thursday 23rd November to Sunday 10th December
Funny, I thought that these electric scooters had been banned but this seems to be a new model redesigned to follow some regulation or other.
At the City Art Gallery there is an exhibition of surrealist art which is running until seventh January 2024. I do not think I could concentrate enough on such an exhibition when I have to keep on looking at my watch to make sure I leave for the hospital in time so I declined and Francoise and I went our separate ways.
To the hospital. My appointment was at 3:00 p.m. I went early in order to enjoy the lunch. I had a very nice vegetarian curry with mashed potatoes, and as before a pear and apple crumble with lashings of custard. For some reason the bill was £3.69 which for two full plates of food was a bargain.
As is my won’t I look at the paintings along the corridors and this one very much reminded me of the conditions in the Gaza strip and also of other so-called 1 in 100 year rain events. The text says ‘all the roads were washed away and we wondered where it would all lead’
Hospitals in Bath go way back and these are photographs from the period of the First World War. We see a Plasticine model of patients at the Bath War Hospital in 1917
I noticed that at the far end of the restaurant where I was sitting and eating, there were two or three groups of people meeting, they seemed to discuss administration and policy Someone else was being interviewed for a job. I did wonder why this was necessary in a public place because I could clearly over hear what was being said but maybe I am being too fussy.
I would want to interview someone in private. A further group of people, 6 of them, were without seating and wanted to sit down at the table of which I was the soul occupant. They very tactfully avoided making eye contact and there was no way I was going to move from my table halfway through the sweet course so they eventually found somewhere else to sit.
I went to my appointment 20 minutes early as I was getting bored wandering up and down the corridors. To my surprise, I was seen immediately and ushered into the room where the eye test was conducted. To my surprise, with my macular eye, I could read almost down to the bottom line of the chart without glasses. I attribute this to the lens that they put in at the cataract operation a few weeks ago.
I then went straight in to theatre for the eye injection itself and met a consultant there who’s name I still did not remember who has been in the unit for two years and I have never met him professionally. I discussed the probability of that and we talked a little bit about probability theory and also the fact that no two people are identical. If we have 50 variables in our character and they are each developed on a scale of let us say one two three four five, the chances that we would meet someone of identical disposition would be greater than the number of people on the earth.
Our conversation was part of what the English call ‘small talk’ which in my view is essential as a prelude to doing something serious because both parties can get to know each other, relax, and tune in to the object of the day. I think humor is a great help here and my gemini mind likes to flit from one topic to another so I can normally find something to say on most things
The supervisor had a great sense of humour and we got on very well. He was observing a young student? who performed the injection. She was from the Philippines and was called ‘Charm’ so of course I had to ask her if she was charming and the supervisor assured me that she was indeed charming.
You have to be asked as a patient each time how you are getting home. I joked that I was taking a horse and carriage. The consultant said, ‘well all right then, we just want to make sure you’re not going to drive’. He also asked if I was allergic to anything and I said yes, I was allergic to boring people but also to cheap perfume. The latter is quite serious because it seizes up my throat like you wouldn’t believe.
Exit the hospital buildings and I became aware of a woman shouting and screaming at her partner who seemed to be unmoved, certainly unresponsive. She was scarcely coherent but was effing and being violent saying that she wanted to go and it was all his fault anyway. Off they went pursuing each other. We got on the bus and a couple of stops later, blow me down, there they were peacefully waiting for the bus and got onto it like lambs. I noticed that he had one foot in a plaster cast and was walking with a stick.
It reminds me of some abusive relationships I have been witnessed where someone turns on the charm, and then attacks for no apparent reason. It reminds me of the phrase, ‘can’t live with them, cant live without them’.
I talked to a lady bystander who had heard the whole thing, the row in the hospital ground I mean, and said that all the world is a stage and we need to see these things like we watch a movie. We don’t have to get involved. We don’t want to allow someone else’s bad day to become our bad day. She seemed to get some solace from this.
I think boundaries are so important and also to keep our mental – emotional – spiritual state in equilibrium. Something can come out of nowhere. It’s a bit like my website malfunction this morning, and you need to be prepared for anything at any time. I admit that I really panicked, because at these times I realize how much I have put into the diary and how horrible it would be to lose it. If I did so, I would just carry on and write another diary.
There was a fair old queue in the bus station for the 173 bus to Wells. Curiously I sat in the front seat downstairs to the left. I have never done that before, but ten minutes later Francoise appeared and we sat together.
Telepathy works fairly well when we are apart. She noticed that her phone was switched off when she was having lunch so she switched it on just a minute before I called.
Doing My duty
At a bible study this evening we looked at the first letter of John, chapter 2. John is saying that ‘we can’t claim to know God if we don’t follow his commandment. Who claims to live in him must live as Jesus did’.
As usual this was a catalyst for discussing many things including how people get on with their partners. Are we the type of person that explodes like a firework and then everything is fine or do we smoulder and let our resentment etch into our personalities and into the relationship. Do we take the truth best from our partners or do we take it from those who are observers?
In this politically correct age we can be chastised by our fellow workers for rightly drawing someone’s attention to a job not done well. I suggested that we use the term ‘ duty of care’ so it’s nothing to do with a personal attack but it’s performing our ‘duty to care’ for others to make sure they do things in the right way.
The word ‘duty’ is a commitment or expectation to perform some action in general or if certain circumstances arise. A duty may arise from a system of ethics or morality especially in a culture where ‘honour’ features. The word comes from the late 14th century ‘duete’ meaning ‘an obligatory service, that which ought to be done’, also ‘the force of that which is morally right’
You say I’m doing my duty for different reasons then when you say I’m just doing my job or I’m just following orders . With the latter we are just associating ourselves from any effect of following orders. Just doing my job indicates a mechanical and robotic attitude to what you do. Doing my duty implies that I take responsibility for what I am doing in so far as it affects the integrity of the whole operation of which I am a part.
John points out that anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light but anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going because the darkness has blinded them.
Interesting thought being blinded by the dark. Darkness itself has no information in it. Is darkness just a lack of light.
I had to take my car to the garage to attend to the tracking of the front wheels. One of these things you don’t spot until it is too late and in my case where parts of my tyre were worn down to the metal. That definitely would not pass the MOT. After dropping off my car, I walked to the aforementioned Porky’s cafe (do a search) and I noticed that as I entered someone was busily texting. After I passed her I realized it was a friend who used to be a fellow ‘Standing in the Park’ member. She was waiting for her friend to come, after which she was coming in to eat. Amazingly, she had just dropped off her car for repair at the same garage. We arrived at the cafe within seconds of each other.
We had a great talk on things of mutual interest and I said she must meet my friend Terry who has similar interests. Strangely she lives within 200 meters of him. I was certain that this ‘had to happen’ immediately so we trotted off the estate and on to Wells Road.
On the way, I noticed some rubbish which was in fact an undelivered letter. I do not pick up such things but I was motivated to on this occasion and low and behold, Lindsay, the person I was walking with, knew the individual concerned and said she would deliver the package to him or be in touch.
The meeting with Terry went very well and she had to leave only when someone made a call that demanded her immediate attention. When these sort of things happen I do get enormously cheered up. Perhaps I spend too long contemplating dystopian things. During the chat the three of us had, I realized that the world may be better than it seems from what we read due to goodness working somewhere behind the scenes.
When I attend a zoom meeting and someone mentions something of interest for example a book or a website, I straight away look it up on my second computer screen and put the information straight in the chat. I do not like being passive at such meetings. People are still not up to speed about applying protocol. For example the hosts need to learn discipline e.g. not to let the same person speak more than once, or perhaps twice. If there are 40 people in attendance then everyone should get a chance to draw breath and make their point. Also I wish I had a pound for every time I have heard the host say ‘you have to unmute’
At this meeting last evening we were talking about the shadow self with a guest therapist speaking and she largely relies on the work of C G Jung. She was talking about power sex and money and it’s relevance to the shadow self. I was having a look at Jung’s quotations and this next quote, which I have divided into three parts, intrigued me very much and in a way connects with my recent discussions on peace.
We do say in our Church of England services ‘the peace of God which passes all understanding’ but I wonder if it shouldn’t say ‘surpasses’ or ‘supersedes’ all mortal understanding. I suppose because it does not parse so well.
“The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance.
I always felt we get more peace of mind knowing that we are a living collected soul with a body attached rather than a body that happens to have a soul attached. The point is if we base ourselves in the eternal and it does help a bit if you believe in eternal life then you will be ‘at rest’ or should I say ultimately reassured about your value and identity so things that happen are a bit like watching a movie. You are not the movie itself, but you are in a theatre watching the movie. If you believe the former, violence in a movie will induce violence in yourself.
As in yesterday’s comments, we fix our interest on serving others and link up with the infinite through this, we will be more at peace, twisted and torn, then if we fix our interests on material things that have their own span of life. I’m not saying people should be uninterested in hobbies or cars or sport or stamp collecting but that the compass in our mind should always be affixed appropriately
Thus we demand that the world grant us recognition for qualities which we regard as personal possessions: our talent or our beauty. The more a man lays stress on false possessions, and the less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his life.
This in a way is an amplification of the first paragraph. If we neglect the eternal and focus on personal possessions or talent we will automatically de focus ourselves maybe without meaning to. There is a saying that those who live by the sword will die by the sword and I want to say something similar here. Show someone somewhere has given an amazing quote on this which I will try to find.
We are talking about satisfaction. You could say that sex itself is satisfying but you could also say that the glow of love which comes from caring for someone or performing unselfish acts directs our consciousness towards eternal realms where there is no time There is no need to be praised because everyone in eternity is fully expressed. When you’re in eternity you don’t need to make a point. You ARE.
He feels limited because he has limited aims, and the result is envy and jealousy. If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change.”
So if you have limited aims you have chosen a very small arena of consciousness and you will look at other people enviously. If have the proper link upstairs, in other words a link with the infinite, we will no longer need to be envious or jealous. This should not be too difficult because we were infinite beings before we came into a body and we will be infinite beings when we leave our body so a human life is the belt and braces bit where we can learn lessons with vectors that do not pertain in the heavenly realms. Work that one out then! (clue – free will)
From Rob’s Weekly Newsletter – coincidence?
For those who do not believe in coincidence I enclose a story from a regular newsletter I get ‘Rob’s weekly news’ This is from the Fortean Times. A 10 year old, Laura Buxton from Blurton in Staffordshire, released a golden balloon in June 2021, to see where it would end up. She attached her name and address to a tag and asked the recipient to write back to her. 10 days later she received a reply, from a 10-year-old, living in Pewsey, Wiltshire, 140 miles away. The other girl’s name? Laura Buxton
She was the same age, both had 3-year-old dogs and also a guinea pig and a rabbit each. Is this coincidence? or is there more to this reality as I’ve believed four years than so-called ‘cutting edge’ scientists know? I have saved the whole newsletter as an example of how to write newsletters.
He is Rob Clarke You can write to him at email@example.com
Today, visit to the optician in Radstock to test my eyes in their post cataract state. New glasses required and I have to do without my regular glasses for two weeks. Without the NHS, I would be functionally blind and walking with a stick. Cataracts are horrible things. People look like ghosts and everything is blurry.
My prescription involves more money, such is life. I would have to be on supplementary benefits to be able to receive such a service without charge.
I seem to get the day’s menu dictated to me. It comes out of the blue as most synchronistic things seem to do. My friend John, with whom I speak to regularly, has a great effect on me of being a catalyst, but is that the most apt description or is there another word to better describe the dynamic. What is it that makes a person’s presence or their input catalytic?
There are two basic ways in which the word catalyst is used. In chemistry, it is a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected. I remember in my school days we talked about super-saturated copper sulfate. When a small quantity of another particle was dropped in, the whole liquid became crystalline in a moment. Contrast this with a human interaction when we do something that will cause a rapid change. That could be called a precipitous action. It’s not quite the same thing as a catalyst especially if you’re referring to the second most common meaning of ‘catalyst’ which is an event or a person causing a change.
A person who is a catalyst is not necessarily aware of it, especially with human interactions. for example ‘the way he asked her to do the washing up precipitated a blazing row about something else‘. This also happens in general ‘the invasion acted as a catalyst to unite the country’. ‘The cut in pay was the catalyst to cause the employee to leave’
You would not always be aware that you are a catalyst. Where your words seem to upset someone else, you are likely to say ‘ was it something I said?’. The likelihood is that it was not, that you triggered something in the other person that perhaps they had not faced for some time and thus produced a (to you) disproportionate reaction.
There is a difference between tipping the balance, the straw that broke the camel’s back as we say, and an advance in learning and understanding something which is an organic thing functioning at all levels.
However we have another word that we can introduce, and that word is ‘synergy’. It does not assume that in the case of two or more people, one is more capable of making an intrinsic input than others. In the case of the writing of a song, one person might write the lyrics and their partner composes the music. Each one is good on their own, but together they create a successful song. Synergy is working together to create something greater than either party could achieve working alone.
The word synergy comes from the Greek sun ‘together” and ergon “work”. It is also from the Greek synergos which means working together, same meaning. This is the same route that gives us ‘ergonomic’ and ‘energy’ when one factor enhances the effect of another.
Going all biblical for the moment as I am prone to do, there is a well-known to us being all members of one body
‘just as a body, has many parts, but all it’s many parts form one body, so it is with Christ…. We were all given the one spirit…. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say ‘because I’m not a hand, I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason stop being part of the body…… If the whole body were an ear where would the sense of smell be?…. The eye cannot say to the hand, I don’t need you and the head cannot say to the feet, I don’t need you. On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable....
you can read the rest by looking at one Corinthians 12:12-27
There is a certain individualism particularly in the Western world which separates us from other people in a needlessly competitive stance. Basically we keep things to ourselves, possessions are ‘ours’, intellectual property belongs to us, finders keepers etc.
I suggest that if we gave away every last bit of knowledge we had, we would end up knowing more than when we started. It is because the brain, in order to produce what is required, is encouraged to make more neural pathways and thus will connect more dots. This is capable of infinite development.
It seems to me that selfishness is a mug’s game.
So the point of synergy,is that it is a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of the participants or elements such as resources or efforts.
You have probably heard the saying ‘ the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. The problem with synergy in business is that two different types of chemistry have to be mixed. As oil and water does not mix, so if there are two different political landscapes in companies that wish to join together, yet more politics will arise.
The word ‘cooperation’ is slightly less demanding. It’s about operating together. For example if I want to lift a heavy tree branch which is obstructing my path, I will ask someone to co-operate with me to move it. One aspect of the person, the physical side, is required on a temporary basis to achieve something of common benefit. It is unlikely that it would include the elements of synergy.
There is another word, ‘collaboration’, which is to work jointly with others especially in an intellectual endeavour. This is commonly used in connection with a scientific or strategic project. We can also ‘collaborate’ with the enemy.
We talk of going ‘in partnership’. This is more applicable to business situations but it can merge and meld with the individual side of the human being.
I suggest that synergy is the highest common factor of engagement where both parties are enhanced as indeed is their effective working and social environment
The inbuilt need for assurance
On a recent visit to Bath, when we were at the bus station waiting for the number 173 to Wells, a lady hesitated before getting on the bus. She seemed uncertain. She asked the driver, does this bus go to Wells? My initial thinking process was rather uncharitable. ‘Wells’ was marked quite clearly on the destination panel of the bus so what was her problem?
What she said to the driver however helped me to understand the basis of this obvious question. It appears that her normal way of going to Wells was driving. She had never been on the bus before and this was a new experience for her. She needed this additional factor which we call ‘assurance’.
An assurance is a promise. ‘ they gave us the assurance that they would sign the contract immediately’. ‘ the management gave their assurance is that they would be no more job losses’ The word is also about how you speak. ‘He spoke with calm assurance’, ‘he spoke firmly and confidently’. The reason for this factor is to make up for lack of assurance which is not lack of confidence but related to it. They are cousins.
It is the same when someone goes along to an event that they haven’t been to before meeting a group of people they haven’t met before. Most people just take it in their stride but some need the magic assurance. For example if I was organising a meeting in someone’s home, I would ask the person there to be available on the phone for a couple of hours before the meeting to give assurances that the event was indeed going to take place. Most of us are walking wounded in one way or another and although people may wish to attend a meeting they may be put off, almost defeated you could say, by their own nerves. This trait needs to be understood and respected.
There is nothing worse than venturing out on a dark evening, finding an address, wondering if it is the right one, whether the date is right, or whether the people will be there or whether you will be the only one or whether you will get on well with the other people or not, or whether you would have anything to contribute — the list goes on. There are many timid people amongst us and it is such a shame that their contribution to the community could be lost because of lack of such basic assurances.
Peace is not stasis. Peace is not ‘doing nothing’. Peace is active, a dynamic. We have a choice of two vectors, and only two. We can either do things to bring people together, or we can do things to cause people to move apart. This is the core of what it means for us as human beings with free will. We can think of the idea of a moral compass. In other words what are our priorities? A clue is given in the words from the Bible ‘seek ye first the kingdom of heaven’. This is not someone trying to spoil our fun but to indicate how we can most fruitfully and successfully live together in harmony with each other.
The world of spirit which is outside space and time can affect the structure of atoms in our body influencing their force print. We can call it mind over matter. The BBC are very fond of training their interviewers to ask the question ‘ how does it feel?’ The problem is that feelings do not tell us the full story. Feelings are sensations interpreted by the brain and are mostly about the effect of interactions on ourselves not others. Going back to the adding and subtracting, if you spend your life desiring to add to the quality of other people’s life in whatever way you can, you will not often go wrong.
If you believe in reincarnation you will understand the reason to interact with others and put right any wrongs you did to them in previous existences. The world is becoming a more forceful place and is thus deteriorating. There are frequent references in the Bible with an implication of reincarnation. It was common in the early church to believe that doctrine and it was at the Council of Constantinople in 300 AD that references to reincarnation were expunged. It is worth looking into this
We may be attracted to someone for a number of reasons. Either we were great friends or we did something in a past life to them but that is a reason for meeting, establishing a relationship, and work out if there is anything to be done by way of reconciliation. We need to be alert with our senses in order to even recall and then cancel out or resolve whatever we did wrong though knowledge of the detail is not vital. If we pay off our karma then the initiator’s and the recipient’s lives both improved.
The working out of karma can be done indirectly. We do not have to meet the people concerned. You may utter a truth for example in writing or on a YouTube video that will help some overcome a particular problem that you may or may not have had a part in creating. The moral compass, the priorities, comprise a global template for you to base your actions on.
When we enter into this life we pick a path then our parents but we are not predestined to achieve one aim or another. It may be necessary to go to another planet and meet beings there and interact with them perhaps on another level. We may reincarnate as guides. With the existential base of the world becoming more rocky, it is more difficult to pay off karma.
When we meet in a particular configuration with a group of spiritually minded friends, we are more easily able to give each other clues to future actions and we can dynamically interact with the world even using another methodology. If you think back to Jesus, his death precipitated the change in dynamics and an enhanced role as in the case of the disciples. They spread the gospel in their own way.
We should not think in terms of benefiting from our own action. Praise elevates us in the eyes of others and this brings about hubris. We should not be deriving benefit on this mortal plane but making our profile more visible in the other realms. Do our job and pay attention to the moral compass. People who are meant to see this as an example will surely do so.
To summarize, we cannot do nothing. We either work for good which is the coalescence into one consciousness or we work for evil, which is a dissemination of entropy. The way we treat other people in their presence and behind their back will have an effect which we will not see with our mortal eyes. No one gets away with ’nuffink, as a London East Ender would say.
A morning breakfast in Wetherspoons
I arrange with my friend to meet for breakfast in Wetherspoons. We met at 9am and ordered a freedom breakfast and coffee and by the time I had helped myself to the coffee and moved towards my table the breakfast had already arrived. Talk about quick service! For next time, I shall suggest we meet between about 9:30 at 10:00 a.m. The area by the front entrance changed into a nursery as more and more mothers bought their young children, prams, push chairs etc and it became too noisy. It’s not that I mind children, it’s that I am very sensitive to noise and if I’m going to concentrate on someone I need quiet.
Anyway I use this opportunity to discuss what is it that constitutes a meaningful conversation. I don’t think you can jump stages in a conversation. If you cannot have a conversation and you want to talk in depth then wait until the conditions are right. A good topic can fail because of the lack of the right environment which in my case is peace and quiet and there is no compromise on this
We agreed between us that there were several stages:
# the first of which is to establish or self as a person worthy of being listened to. I admit that I go up to complete strangers in the street with one liners if only to get a smile on their face but we agreed for meaningful communication their needs to be a game plan which the above was the first part.
# Then we need to agree a subject matter with both are interested in the same topic.
# We have to establish if there is agreement in principle or there is diametric opposition,
# then we have to see if there’s any scope for moving on by introducing new facts (or should it be factors) and information.
During all this time we need to allow each other to speak and hopefully it will be an interjection rather than an interruption.
# Then hopefully having established the goodwill and the communality we can then move forward in both our understandings.
NB There must always be space to agree to differ. It would be so boring if everyone agreed with everyone else and at all times we need to show respect for the other party. Again the Christian would say that there is the mark of God within everyone but in most people it is occluded by what I call ‘overcoats’. By this I mean the loss of innocence normally due to bad experiences, and people feeling the need to protect themselves. We know that the best form of defense is preemptive attack in such cases.
Do not take it personally. It is a damage report.
I always say that you do not know what you know until you tell somebody and it is absolutely vital that the person has time to think and speak in other words if there is a moment of silence it is not because the person has run out of things to say, it’s because in the act of speaking, further truths are realised and the speaker needs time to digest it. In other words the situation requires respect, otherwise it might just as well be people talking to themselves.
With regard to Christianity and giving testimony, we would need to be sure that they understand that we are Christians and therefore are likely to have a view on whatever topic they raise if it has a moral element to it. I have always said that we need to be approachable but having said that, we should not be bland, as in the case of someone who does not stand up for things.
I don’t want to be a Christian bore but if someone has a need that I believe can be helped, through for example the words of Jesus, then I will speak accordingly. Someone said that we are judged not by what we say, but what we could have said. in other words what we did not say. Cowardice was not one of the qualities of Jesus or indeed his disciples so we need to show courage. “Be imitators of Christ”
The wife of my friend had had a particularly hard time with her Essex family who had rejected her out of hand because she converted to to Christianity. They ceased to have anything to do with her and didn’t even want her to attend the funeral of her mother. I wonder what sort of damage these people have had, what sort of bad model from for example their father to make them behave in such a way. I did not ask for too many details since that would have been a bit intrusive.
I proposed a close of the meeting when I could no longer hear myself think for the screaming and chattering of children. Next stop: Dorothy House Charity Shop to see what was on offer. While I was browsing, a man came in with something to offer. His voice was so full of good will and happiness it almost made me jump. He said to the assistant, ‘no need to come out (of the shop), and I can even take it upstairs for you’. It is so refreshing, a breath of fresh air we could say, to hear a real community minded person recognizing the contribution of another and not just treating them as a shop assistant.
A frustrating ZOOM meeting
I had a regular Monday evening meeting with the Scientific and Medical Network under a new regime because the old presenter had departed. I did complain about the manner of the transfer but was basically told that most people were happy with it ,which I find strange at such an early juncture but never mind. We had a talk by someone who was convinced that he’d had past lives, apparently as famous people.
He described some of them and through the way he spoke, I could tell that this was mainly imagination. If you as an American go to someone to tell you about their past lives which they are not necessarily skilled at doing they will tell you what you want to hear. One of the things that made me suspicious was that he said he went along to one therapist for a couple of sessions, and then went along to another therapist to see what they had to say. I have been involved in this discipline admittedly not deeply, for the last 50 years and I know that when you find a good channel, someone who understands you, you don’t go around finding someone else.
From the organization point of view, the speaker was also playing the role of moderator. The speaker should not be the same person as the moderator. As a result I think most people were a bit confused. I did make some tactful comments about the reality of their experience and the way the meeting was run. However I decided against making another complaint because I don’t want to be known as someone who whinges all the time.
I guess that if most people get something out of it then these days that is a lot to be thankful for so I just left it. There was no closure for me. I just hope that as the new regime goes on, people will get better at what they do.
Another trouble is that the person who has volunteered to be the moderator or coordinator can only be present on one out of every two Mondays which means that the continuity that we would reasonably expect cannot happen. This is especially true when something is developing a new chemistry because of the change of personnel.
To console myself, I went to light the wood-burning stove in the living room
Today in the Vineyard Church, We had what we call ‘Super Sunday’ which is a funny name for informal meeting and talking, with entertainment for the children but for adults to meet in small groups as they wish and converse not only about matters of faith but about how they have been getting on.
We do have complete strangers coming along with their children and for them I suppose you could call it a play session with adults in attendance. It is very relaxed, you can get tea and coffee behind the bar, and there is a large bouncy castle in the main body of the church for children to avail themselves of.
I saw the person who had not responded to my messages about the Wells Carnival and discussed it with someone else who had had a similar experience with this person. He thought it was because the person in question had been a teacher, but I did not buy this one. People must really make an attempt to show some reaction of interest or otherwise. If someone else takes the trouble to get them information about an experience, they should respond otherwise as I said in my previous diary entry there is no incentive to play tennis with yourself.
The upshot was that I made no approaches and told myself that I did not know what their history was, if they have tried to trust someone and was let down, I suppose until you get to know them well enough you will not find out these things. In general, I am an extrovert person that loves to engage with people and I do expect something in return (on a good day).
How are you (ask twice)
I feel that to ask a person how they are, when they are under stress or doing something else is a complete waste of time because you are actually asking something intimate. I did this of the person who was serving coffee and I just got the standard grin and ‘I’m fine thank you’. I think we have to pick our moments when talking with people and hoping for a cogent response.
I went and joined group of two people at one of the tables in the church hall on a *whim. this means that I had no particular reason for doing this but what followed was really blessed. Whether we decided in advance that a situation will be promising or boring, is largely a left brain controlled event and has nothing to do with the intuition but in this case I over wrote my left brain and decided to sit down anyway.
Whim – From the 1640’s a “play on words, pun,” shortened from whimwham “fanciful object” (q.v.). Meaning “caprice, fancy, sudden turn or inclination of the mind” first recorded 1690s, probably a shortened form of whimsy.
I spoke to someone who had been completely ostracized by her family, her sisters in particular , when she had declared herself to be a Christian. This was very difficult because they did not want her even at the funeral of her own mother. this is how deep our prejudices are capable of going. The person who said this said that they were deeply hurt. When her mother was lying in rest after death the sisters even said that she should not be admitted to the funeral home to sit with the deceased. This brings meanness and poisonous hatred to a new level.
I pointed out that anyone who stands up for anything these days is going to be slated and we must not expect kind treatment. We discussed how Jesus was not accepted by everyone but at the same time drew people to him which must have been some type of charisma.
The person said that until they announced their conversion to Christianity they got on perfectly well with their family, but switched off when they heard the news. I wonder what is so threatening about someone with a faith. Does it act as a reminder of people’s bad experiences, perhaps when young, with the institution of the Christian church and I am thinking in particular are being forced to go to church.
Somehow I do not think this is a good enough excuse. All have good and bad within and of course the bad will resist the good and if someone sets a standard of behavior, even though they don’t always adhere to it themselves, they will cause disturbance in those who do not wish to be part of this new regime; perhaps they have skeletons in the cupboard that we could call sins which they do not wish to share.
There is a certain spiritual laziness that is endemic and I believe that unless you see the example of another person you are not motivated to make a change. We would say ‘Better the Devil You Know’ The trouble is, it is an actual devil.
After about 20 minutes, a male friend joined the group with whom I had spoken meaningfully before, joined the table. He is involved in film work but has this great quality of approachability which I attribute to a genuine interest and love for people combined with a lack of fear. He talked about his 1,500 mile bike ride along the east coast of America and said it’s not about the distance or the speed, it’s the style of travel. He said a number of interesting things which reflected on the nature of the population of the United Kingdom versus the population of the United States and said that, sad to say, he had more friends in the United States than he had in this country, the United Kingdom.
Many friends or few friends?
I have always said that if you stand up for anything, including beliefs, you will lose friends. Looking at the question of the medical intervention that has been with us for the last three years, I reckon that differences between couples have caused many a divorce and certainly a loss of friendship. Say that you are probably going to lose five people but gain one friend in return. Friend is genuine and nutritious to you and of course you to them then I regard that as a good deal
I could say the same, the number of buddies that I have in Midsomer Norton and surrounds could be numbered on the fingers of one hand, and this is after over 10 years of living here. I am looking for people who are traveled, have a cosmopolitan attitude, but also have a faith. These people are rare as hens teeth in the area where I am. Francoise finds the same
I jumped in at this point and said it was probably due to our introvert standoffish nature and also due to our habit of self-depreciation. In other words, advertise yourself and our proud of your lifestyle you want to tell other people with no holds barred. I think us Brits miss out a lot because of this deeply embedded habit of not wishing to bother people or be a nuisance.
I made the comment that you can be as knowledgeable as you like and have much to offer but if you are not approachable then people will not feel comfortable in your presence and that is something that you have to work on, probably consisting of unsolved mental problems which are disturbing you. I have said before that you need to love people, not to have fear, and be enthusiastic about something whatever your current preoccupation is
We spoke about people making themselves vulnerable. People can share their vulnerability about say being abused as a child, or the experience of having a messy divorce. We have to be the type of people with whom a wounded soul can open up. Opening up can be the prelude to a relationship of trust, which can lead to being supported and nurtured, and the vulnerable person being able to in their turn support others.
In other words we should not assume that others are unsympathetic to our predicament. ‘poor little me’. Do not think that your situation is unique. That is why it is good to be in a group where people are honest, have faith, and have the courage and the temperament to share the problems along the road with others.
Our bicycling friend said that they were having a cycling event in Ireland in 2024 and no less than 28 people were coming over from the United States to take part. This is indeed an alternative Society if ever I heard about one.
I despair at the complete corruption of all governments, they seem to have sold their soul to globalist interests and we can hope nothing from them so the way to go is self-sufficient community, the dignity of being valued as an individual. I reckon that barter and trading are the way to go and to try and leave money out of the equation if we possibly can.
We talked about the need to eat good food and someone spoke about the value of nettles. I’m sure if push came to shove we could exist off the land. I said that Francoise and I had grown swedes and beetroot and had benefited from the nutrition and the taste.
I was watching a video yesterday when someone said with regard to the Acapulco hurricane that although all the houses were virtually destroyed, people had a great sense of cooperation and would help each other out in practical ways. He said it the same thing had happened in San Francisco, people would feel very much more helpless.
In a way, any action including joining this small inauspicious group this morning, was an act of faith. Sometimes there is fruit, sometimes there is not, but if you go in with good will and listen to people carefully, you can draw out interesting and relevant situations and actions that will benefit everybody. It is no good going in passively and expecting someone to do a song and dance act for you.
It is a 50/50 thing. I suppose it’s the same for life in general