Victims of our own communications – The day that never was – less is more


3 June 1664

Up, still in a constant pain in my back, which much afflicts me with fear of the consequence of it. All the morning at the office, we sat at the office extraordinary upon the business of our stores, but, Lord! what a pitiful account the Surveyor makes of it grieves my heart. This morning before I came out I made a bargain with Captain Taylor for a ship for the Commissioners for Tangier, wherein I hope to get 40l. or 50l..

To the ‘Change, and thence home and dined, and then by coach to White Hall, sending my wife to Mrs. Hunt’s. At the Committee for Tangier all the afternoon, where a sad consideration to see things of so great weight managed in so confused a manner as it is, so as I would not have the buying of an acre of land bought by the Duke of York and Mr. Coventry, for ought I see, being the only two that do anything like men; Prince Rupert do nothing but swear and laugh a little, with an oathe or two, and that’s all he do.

Thence called my wife and home, and I late at my office, and so home to supper and to bed, pleased at my hopes of gains by to-day’s work, but very sad to think of the state of my health.

Poor old Pepys, barely a day goes by without him mentioning suffering of the body of some sort and yet he just gets on with it and puts in a good day’s work. This is the very opposite of ‘pulling a sickie’ by the young and lazy are so fond of. In their own slender defence, if you are treated like a living robot there is not the feeling of belonging  especially when you see your bosses getting paid stellar amounts of money. The resentment must build up.

Wall to wall imagery of fear and panic, but the police did a good job. eight minutes from the first call to shooting the perpetrators dead.

So, here we go again, another group of three zealots shouting ‘this is for Allah’. They drive into people with their van on the iconic London Bridge, succeeding in injuring 48 people and killing 7 before being shot. I heard about it at the same time and in the same manner as I did the Manchester debacle whilst listening to Radio Five Live shortly before midnight. Now we have endless overreactions by the police though I admit they have a difficult job, people being barred from their own homes, wall-to-wall coverage and generally spreading the idea of fear in our midst.

The BBC would not dare discuss exactly why UK in general should receive this treatment. It would have nothing to do of course with the UK and America’s support of Saudi Arabia, and the wars tacitly approved of by UK which killed thousands of people in the Middle East. Heaven forbid that people should actually think or take collective responsibility. ‘Make ’em afraid then tell them what to do’. Endlessly asking people ‘how they feel’ and ‘what they saw’ is not enough. Strange that the miscreants  used fake bomb attachments ‘to spread fear’. That’s an odd thing for a suicide bomber to do.

This forthcoming observation may help people who are thinking of planning something  involving travel for the first time. Our local horticultural Society arranged an all-day coach outing to North Devon. The first feature was Tapley Park Gardens near Bideford where there are terraces, woodland walks, and a lake. The second feature was Marwood Hill Garden  near Barnstaple which has a 20 acre private garden with three lakes set in a valley. This was to be followed by a substantial cream tea in the local church. On the face of it and for £30 it sounded good.

I had provisionally reserved four places but all did not sit well and as regular readers to this diary will know, my instinct about travel is fairly good. The client group will be people in their 60s and above. We are looking at a summer Sunday in North Devon and as locals will know, anything other than the M5 / A303 is very slow and prone to traffic jams so you can reckon about 30 miles an hour average.  The organiser ‘thought’ (first danger signal) that the trip from Somerset to Tapley Park Gardens would take ‘about two hours’.

The AA in their automated wisdom estimate it will be 2 1/2 hours and 111 miles. That’s about the same distance as going to London by the faster motorway from where we are in Somerset. Then we have a half hour 25 mile journey to the second gardens. Then we have the best part of the 100 miles to return home after having gone to the church for tea. That makes three lots of embarking and disembarking with an 8 am start with  total time on the road of not less than 5 1/2 hours probably nearer 6 with a total mileage of about 240. If you add to that the time that each of these gardens would require for walking round, the math simply does not work.  I get exhausted even thinking about it.

This is a classic example of wanting to fit in too much to please people and give them ‘value for money’. As the headline for today says  ‘less is more’ which is a good philosophy especially if you are unfamiliar with the territory and as a general principle in any event. A day normally fills itself in by some magical process without having to make a big effort.

I think the less is more philosophy applies more as you get older because you learn that it’s not the point of the number of things you do as in “Europe in seven days” so beloved of our cousins from the USA but just example being in nature, having a conversation with somebody, enjoy a cup of tea and talking to the other people in the restaurant.

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