Working in the early morning * to charge or not to charge

Thursday 14 July 1664 Pepys’ long entry here

My mind being doubtful what the business should be, I rose a little after four o’clock, and abroad. Walked to my Lord’s, and nobody up, but the porter rose out of bed to me so I back again to Fleete Streete, and there bought a little book of law; and thence, hearing a psalm sung, I went into St. Dunstan’s, and there heard prayers read, which, it seems, is done there every morning at six o’clock; a thing I never did do at a chappell, but the College Chappell, in all my life.

Ever since I can remember, early mornings have been the most pleasant part of the day. I particularly love it in summer when the dawn creeps over the landscape at 4 AM or so.   I have fund that the atmosphere is different and purer when most other people are asleep. I awoke this morning at 3:45 AM, shortly thereafter decided to switch on my computer and tidy up a few matters which were niggling me. I ordered some MacularGold tablets for my eye condition. Interestingly, by 9:30 AM they had been dispatched, so I was informed by e-mail. Who needs the high Street with efficiency of such a nature? I know in theory I should support the high Street but I also confess to being lazy. If I can order something which arrives at the door with a few clicks of the mouse then that is what I’m going to do.

This morning we had our monthly men’s group meeting, discussing how to involve people and so on. There was a discussion about offering free weddings in Congregational churches for  those who did not have the funds to actually marry, typically after cohabiting for some time.  I would say this is a matter for the bride and the family to deal with and that accepting a free ceremony would not appeal to anyone I know, or who I have ever met.

As Christians, we discussed offering social evenings such as curry events  to appeal to non-churchgoers in the hope that they would come along and mingle with the  Christians in a friendly setting and perhaps share faith. One person said that if anything was offered free it will be considered to be rubbish. Other people said that if you do something in faith, the money to run the event would arrive in the form of donations. My own view is that if you make a basic charge say equivalent to a pint of beer and invite donations as well, the less financially stressed people will get the message that they got good value for money and could probably contribute something more.

An example was given of two indefatigable old ladies who ran a Methodist church and decided they needed a bigger church. They instructed builders without having a single penny to their name and yet by the time the new 1200 seater church was opened, everything had been bought and paid for. This story has a very old-fashioned ring about it and I do not know whether if such a scheme might be tried today, it would work.  I certainly do not have that sort of faith.

As for charging for giving spiritual advice or learning, I came across an article by ‘Drunvalo’ which raises some interesting points.
Do people appreciate something they get for nothing?

Today I received two telephone calls from potential customers saying that their gardens were in a mess. My advert in the local paper is very simple: “jungles cleared, hedges cut”. The ‘jungles’ bit does it.  It appeals to the self depreciation of the English people who make no effort to disguise the mess that their garden is in. I enjoy such work, typically that which no one else will touch, because it makes a big difference to people and the quality of their lives a bit like my mention a few days ago of the housebound woman with the wonderful husband who maintain the garden in impeccable condition. I would like to think that I got the garden back to something of its original sparkle. However, there is no denying that brambles are a real pain so you need to dress for the occasion.

I get calls asking me to prepare a garden for sale. On this matter I’m quite adept. I have bought a fearsome 52 cc strimmer which is weighty, noisy, but does the job.  The viewer of the house must see potential in the garden in other words most weeds need to be taken out of the way so you can see the main features. You don’t have to do the work of the incoming owner.  They must be able to see in their minds eye what could be done.

The main point is that the professional photographer must have something photogenic to tempt the potential purchaser. such photographers are experts at making even the most indifferent garden look attractive, or make a property acceptable even though it has little or no garden. You find out when you arrive so if you are a garden person, don’t assume anything, check with the agent first.

Hey you guys, how are you all doing. Have you heard of the latest wheeze we do in America, it is called “Civil Forfeiture”. The police can take anything they want, property, cars, homes if they suspect that the owners have been associated with illicit activity. This Youtube shows the story of a couple who have built up a motel business and are fighting to prevent the entire property taken off them. The excuse in this case (they make up any excuse they can think of)  that 0.05% of the people who have stayed there in the last 20 years have been engaged in criminal activity.

The police can stop anyone they like, search their car for money, and if the hapless owners cannot prove on the spot that it was not obtained from drugs they confiscate the money. If the owners want the money back they have to fight in court. But even if they win, they still don’t get their money back. this is one way or funding the local police precincts.

Another example. If a youngster is doing drug dealing, his family house becomes guilty as an associate of the crime and can be taken away. If you don’t believe me check out ‘civil forfeiture’ on google. There are only 401,000 returns. Can’t be anything to it then 🙂 You could start by reading an article from the Pacific Standard

There seems no limit to the ability that Americans have to be dumbed down to accept virtually anything that is done to them. I guess if you feed junk food to people, junk news, contaminated corn, trash TV, this will eventually manifest in a generation incapable of thought.

Now wont you all have a nice day now.

Today I had to turn down an aspect of the gardening job I was doing because I felt that the element was too difficult for me to perform to the standards required. It did not help that the customer has bought the wrong kit. I told her that I would get someone else to do the remainder of the work and subtracted the value of the work, admittedly only £50, which I will give to my friend to do. Unusually, we offered to take the customer to the nearest garden centre to help her transport large piece of trellis.too small to cope with That will be this afternoon’s job.

There is no question that going around to see gardens that need to be tidied leads us to a lot of interesting contacts.  Here is a lady who has just got married two weeks ago, in her 50s, a fluent French speaker who has decided to move to Brittany. Her husband,  David, is a delight and they were both very sociable with us both The bungalow in which they currently live has to be seen to be believed. It was owned at one time by her mother who was to put it politely a hoarder. Apart from a house built for two cats which was spacious and empty,  every per square metre of possible storage space was absolutely full.

This included the inside garage, and outside shed, a 40 foot trailer, a 20 foot trailer, the house itself, the area round about the house, and finally a large tarpaulin on the lawn which I estimate as 4 m x 3 m which covered miscellaneous items which David intended to take to a car boot sale. For this purpose he had bought a large white van. In addition, David had two cars parked on the road One of which, a Citroen, he had got for a song and the other one which they have had for some time.

I gave him a quote and said that he should clear out as much material as he could from the garden so I could actually see what there was to clear. My wife said she could have happily talked to the wife for an hour so interesting was she. This gardening job is a real blessing, or is most of the time should I say, and I’m determined to maintain my health and strength so that I can accommodate the brutal and cumbersome machines that I need to tackle the mayhem arising from neglect of years in the nature department.

The second person I visited had a small garden. At the side of the house he had boxes and boxes of crockery which he was storing for the annual crockery smashing competition which is evidently very popular in Stratton on the Fosse.

Back home to see Venus Williams completely collapsing  and not becoming Wimbledon Tennis champion. I must admit I had never heard of Garbine Muguraza (Spain) but now I have. She is very young, 23, and  speaks very well and positively with a coolness that makes me think she will win many more titles.

Off to the allotment to get some more runner beans for supper. One of our allotmenteers has a great talent for colourful design. Example above.

And so, as Pepys would say, to bed.




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