And now its play time


It is very nice to be able to arrange one’s – as our Queen would say –  own day. We always plan by feel, mostly not deciding until the last moment but it was clear that this was <fanfare of trumpets> Wells day. What finally tipped the balance was the weather, and the fact that there is a model railway exhibition going on in the Town Hall.

Model railways, and anything relating to nostalgia of the railways, attracts a vast following and I was quite pleased to pay six pounds for the right to enter the Town Hall overflowing as it was with stalls of all shapes and sizes and subjects. I would say the average attendee was male and the average age was about 60, with a few children tagging along. There were a lot of attendees.

encouraging a reluctant train to go
a fantasy rail line
detailed construction items available
a realistic seaside scenario
a serious hobbyist at work
Wells market is a class act
with serious amounts of local produce
we then moved on to the Bishops Gardens where all the dahlias are named after various UK bishops
the entry to the spring area is a little bit magical
image of the cross being carried by a variety of people with varying degrees of success. Definitely worth a look
50th wedding anniversary celebration
part of one of the allotments
an allotment owned by a couple both in their 80s and doing fine thank you very much

From here we went along to our favourite Pub in Wells. I entered into a conversation between one of the bar staff and one of the regulars. He commented on how often she apologised even when the fault was the other person. She apologised about apologising and said that she had done it ever since she was young and it was a habit and she could not break it. I do notice that an awful lot among English people.  They don’t want to bother other people or be a nuisance. Touching also seems to be in the forbidden area although it’s no one’s fault and there is no deliberacy of intrusion. Sorry, excuse me, sorry sorry sorry.

It’s a bit meaningless if you ask me.

we went for lunch in a vegetarian restaurant called Whole Earth. When you see such a notice board is always a good sign
on to the local museum showing illustrations from the stonework of the Cathedral
part of a World War One exhibition in the local  museum
early 20th and 19th-century Fire services – same museum

We watched a man operate a rather advanced drone which had captured rather brilliant examples of Wells Cathedral from about 100 foot above its roof. He did cease operations soon after we arrived because he admitted that the authorities did not like drones to be operated in the vicinity of historic buildings. I was actually quite excited by the drone because high-quality pictures can be obtained which I would think would be most useful in cases of reconnoitering fire damage or even trying to find someone who has fallen into an inaccessible area. I don’t think airports like them very much.

So back on the bus and to home where we had a siesta in the afternoon sun to be followed by seeing Mo Farah and Usain Bolt’s farewell runs or should I say performances. Win or lose they have won.





with great regret – breadmaking – diplomacy – a train day


Thursday 11 August 1664

….I show him a good countenance, but love him not for his base ingratitude to me….

No one can accuse Samuel Pepys of being unproductive. He has a lot of political situations to deal with and has to consort with people whom he admires and with whom he does not and if you read the diary today by clicking the link you will see the sentence that I have highlighted.

I think the term “good countenance” really sums it up. it is the functionality of society as a whole that is the key here and if we treat someone with respect, that helps them to treat someone else with respect by giving them an example of behaviour. I am not talking about the term used in arguments ” but with respect…..” because that is normally a preview to an implication that you do not respect the person or their views. I’m talking about the default stance that we take in every day life. I think we just need to be disciplined and if we are in a less than good temper we should probably consider repairing ourselves before going in the public arena. Bob Dylan would not take this advice because he is as he is take it or leave it but then artists are in a slightly different category.

Today is Saturday and for once the weather forecast is not die so we shall venture forth to Wells where there is not only the market but also a model railway exhibition.

My wife needs gluten-free food so we normally cook  gluten-free bread with varying degrees of success. You would think bread is the easiest thing to cook  consisting as it does of flour, yeast, water and maybe some salt. I believe that you could spend your whole life time making bread and would never master the whole art because there are no less than 300 different types of bread available in the world. The way it can go wrong, even using a bread machine, are legion. You can have ever so slightly more water then you should have and the loaf will collapse, insufficient time allowed for the bread to rise will result in a solid bit at the bottom, not having the right type of baking dish typically one that has been well used can result in the bread sticking to the bottom.

one of my less successful cooking attempts. However, the bread tasted delicious.

Unless you understand what function the constituents perform I don’t think it is possible to master the task of breadmaking. It requires considerable discipline and consistency. If you are new to breadmaking I suggest you follow the instructions exactly. When you are at a more advanced stage, then you can experiment and I would say this about all types of cooking.

I have just received one of those  ….. it is with deep sadness… notes from a local art gallery saying that after X years of trading they are going to close their doors. I will keep the details anonymous for obvious reasons.

The reply I have just sent to them may give comfort to those who are in financial difficulties be it an artistic offering or indeed any type of commercial business.

Thank you for your note just received.
This would seem a time of transition for you not of failure and reflects the trend of departure from the high Street in the face of the increasing costs associated with bricks and mortar as you say.
I started a site about 15 years ago attempting to sell the best that South Africa can produce over the Internet and after this time we are still going. We do have a very important condition that if people are not happy with the work they can return it but it is a risk worth taking.
More people search online for things than ever before and it would seem the answer is to increase the quality of your website which does not have to be an expensive thing to do. You can introduce miniature videos by artists to  announce their work and talk about it. In other words, you can bring a 3D effect to a website by those devices.
If you can reframe and regroup, I don’t think any intellectual property or history will be lost and you never know you might get a new lease of life.
If you would like me to do so I’m quite happy to make suggestions about your website as a contribution to the world of art. 
So don’t forget, folks, a painful divorce can be followed by a happy marriage
I received a response to my letter at 9:28 AM this morning.

Brian thank you so much for your email and offer of help, it really means a lot. And yes, overheads have been the greatest issue for us and we have had to bend under their weight, but you are right to say to not allow it to break us. Hopefully we will go forward with greater strength and understanding within the fine art market. Thank you for your generous offer to look at our website critically, I would be most interested in your opinions and suggestions. As Tesco rightly say, every little helps. Thank you.

I wrote back later on in the day with a whole list of suggestions but quite frankly I was closing the business I wouldn’t particularly want to read it so it remains to be seen whether that be any further response. She is South African so they are a tough breed and they tend to fight and survive so I think on balance I will hear from her. I was pretty blunt about her website. I have tried constructive criticism many times before but in most cases it is too much for people and they go into the defensive that is why I asked beforehand if they would welcome comments.

Anyway, off to Wells by bus. We often go to Wells. It is the ideal tourist centre because everything is within about 300 m and it is packed full of history, culture, good food, markets, you name it there will be something to interest you.

The second part of today’s diary will be mainly pictorial.