Reflections on my diary thus far knead, kneed, knee, need is the problem

Wednesday 5 October 1664

A long discourse from Pepys – So to Trinity House, and there I dined among the old dull fellows, and so home and to my office a while, and then comes Mr. Cocker to see me, and I discoursed with him about his writing and ability of sight, and how I shall do to get some glasse or other to helpe my eyes by candlelight; and he tells me he will bring me the helps he hath within a day or two, and shew me what he do.

Pepys wife Elizabeth with whom he had a fractious relationship but he seemed to love her.

The reason that Pepys stopped writing his diaries after 10 years in 1669 was the fear of going blind, a fear that did not materialise. He started 1st January 1660 and wrote more than a million words. His much admired writing style – which I try to emulate – is partly due to his frankness in writing concerning his own weaknesses and the accuracy with which he records events of daily British life and major events (I am not so interested in the latter) rather the quirky and unusual events and scenes here in Zomerset.

I have been writing almost daily since 1st February this Year of our Lord 2017 and am nearly up to 200,000 words so at the present rate will make the million words in a couple of years. Volume is nothing without substance but hopefully my work has acted as a catalyst for thinking and perhaps the odd bit of wisdom here and there. As a Gemini my attention span is normally quite short but curiously my diary habit is achieved without any effort or feeling of duty on my part. A good or bad thing I know not, but it is fun. More than that, it is very rewarding and is sharpens my observatory mind. When I go out and about, I am not just going for me, but on behalf of my diary and those who may read it.

Thank you Samuel Pepys for being my inspiration.

As for key words, searching is easy. It narrows down the field of enquiry. However with regard to the hundreds of images there is no way of searching for them and your best bet is to do a word search on ‘art’ or ‘cars’ or any word associated with images. I started back in February without images but then discovered how easy it was to insert them (thank you WP developer) and they are now liberally sprinkled in the body of text but not for the sake of imagery. I use mainly captured images from my mobile phone which have a specific meaning related to the article and do not rely on the inane grins of models that can be so easily found on the Internet.

fake fake fake

Most images expressing emotions are fake and of no value. You can tell the difference between a person being paid to pull a fearful expression and one who genuinely is.


I have had to cancel my proposed two week vacation in Morocco due to a misbehaving knee. Really rotten timing. After 30 minutes or so of walking it heats up and feels like an elephant leg, not that I have had any experience in this life of being elephantine but maybe a past life. On second thoughts, entropy normally degrades. I wonder about dolphins. They seem more compassionate and aware than most of us human beings.

a sophisticated body member of which a lot is asked

Whatever the cause I am doing the doctors’ recommended exercises and taking some so called pain killers i.e. masking the messages from the local nerves but the reality is that my poor old left knee is missing some cartilage and I must treat myself with more care. The knee joint is more complicated than at first glance (as most things are ha ha). I believe the joint can be replaced though how the surgeons do it I cant imagine. Are there lots of knees sitting in some laboratory waiting for owners.  At the age of 73 I am having a good innings but have no intention of slowing down (what would I do?).

The knee damage was a blessing in disguise. I had my doubts about the travel company, RSD Travel offering a 14 day tour of Morocco, coach tour and flight included from only £249 pp. Our tour was £360 pp Later on I realised that on arrival you would have to buy the extra package of evening meals £230 per person plus other packages, all reduced to special prices, but payable on arrival in other words ‘hard sell’.  The total value of the extra packages were £414 pp. So adding it all up the total would be £774 pp still not too bad but a shock to have to get out your credit card after a long journey. There were many reviews from Trip Advisor travellers who said that they would not travel again with the company.

Anyway today Friday the flight was due to leave from Stansted at 8.20 AM  I kept an eye on all the flights via which shows the flight details, destination, departure and arrival of all flights in the world. The Turkish flight that was due to take us to Marrakesh did not appear, though it was ‘scheduled’ to fly there was no times given. The airline was Corendon Dutch Airlines,  a company with 3 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft based in Antalya, Turkey. I watched my computer screen periodically throughout the day. No departure notice. I looked from the arrival airport aspect. Nothing.

This site (free by the way) includes all aircraft even Cessnas. I shall never know what befell them. Were the luckless passengers transferred to another flight, Ryanair or Easyjet perhaps? Were they abducted by aliens or was the tour cancelled at the last moment. As they say, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. …….I will just check again before posting this part of the piece……. <some time later> not a dicky bird. Nothing. De nada. Zero. Null. vide.


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Today is the perfect day for outdoor activities particularly for cycling. We visited Mells Post office / shop / restaurant for lunch. I had a huge salad, basics plus feta cheese and olives plus salmon for about £8.50  This is one of those places where by entering you are instant family. A cyclist dressed in the full gear – yellow jersey to boot – who without much persuasion told us that 2 years ago he had been diagnosed with diabetes. He refused to have pills, injections, and any type of chemical therapy. Instead he decided to turn his life around and get fit. In the intervening period he has lost 2 and a half stones. More than that his entire family have become cyclists and are all fit and well. He said his son was not with him due to having to work. Much congratulation and smiles all around.

card at the till in the restaurant

So nice to see people offering their services. I heard of another chap on my nightly vigil on Radio5Live last night. He goes by the name of Fevzi Turkalp, The Gadget Detective,  and offers free advice on his website. I was so interested I got out of bed – 3.30 am it was – and turned on my computer.  There are some good community minded people around who are happy to share what they have. WordPress is full of such people. I forgot to look for the harvest moon. Here it is anyway.

Phillip Simpkin captured this shot at 9.30pm last night in Leicester, stunning!

Anyway, on from Mells to Nunney. I have written many other reviews of these places here as well as writing in Trip Advisor (bsnellgrove) which can be seen by typing for example Mells in the search button on the top right of the home page screen. We have been to Mells many times.  I want to make a point about rural buses. They may be few and far between – one or two hourly – but they are a life line and they do run, normally on time. I can get to Mells from either Frome or my home town of Midsomer Norton with ease, being dropped right outside the door so to speak. Look for the timetable.

Us seniors don’t have to pay anything (cue for smug grins).


Off to our favourite cafe in Nunney (actually the only one). You will find it a few yards north of the bridge that is in the middle of this very small village. If you need to, its BA11 4NZ. It was closed while the owners took a well earned break so we decided to wander round the Castle and the moat. By the way, you can tell a lot from a village by checking the notice boards. This is quite important if you are looking for somewhere to live. The posters will give a good idea of the kind of people you will meet. NB wealthy does not equal community mindedness. You can have small villages with snobby people or larger villages where everyone knows everyone else.

a view from the main square and the coop, the castle being in the background.
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looks romantic from a distance but….
green algae taking over and becoming an eye sore.

This can be treated but someone has to have the money and the motivation to do it. For a commentary on different types of algae, see

It must have taken a lot of canon power to destroy this stone structure
4 stories high – a dystopian view
short and sweet history


Clutton Village hall used for a wide variety of social purposes

To Clutton Horticultural Society, in the Village Hall where we heard bulb expert Alan Street from Avon Bulbs talk about activity behind the scenes at the Chelsea Flower Show.His firm have attended 38 shows but are taking a break this year. They have won 19 gold medals and one silver. The silver was due to wrong timing when the bulbs did not bloom on the days that the judges were due to view.

We were entertained for a full hour and time flew by as he was obviously so much in love with the subject. These are the kinds of talk I cannot resist and am drawn to. I don’t mind what the subject matter is.  For me, the speaker must walk his talk otherwise the material does not come alive and I find myself getting bored. The group itself consists of about 25 members, mostly ladies, but a  good sprinkling of men.  We are all over 55 years of age. No young people darken the door. In another room in the building there is a social club where they are heavily into gambling – mainly horses. The atmosphere is raucous and occasionally disturbs the proceedings but no one seems to mind or if they do they don’t say anything.

Membership is £2 a year and the meetings are £4 which includes wine/soft drinks and a good buffet. Gill the organiser makes the most wonderful chutneys, sweet and tasty. I love going along though I know some people find me a little forward with asking questions. We meet in the first Friday of the month.
Alan got straight on with the facts with which he was overloaded but gave them out in an interesting way. He has met Princess Anne and the Queen Mother who was more knowledgeable than the Queen herself. HRH has not visited their stall to Alan’s pique. For shows you take three times the number of bulbs you want to show s the slightest imperfections must be rejected. When bulbs are planted they must be a certain depth otherwise they will get too cold and will die. They turn their energies to rooting and stabilising, then the tip reaches up to seek light.

Alan could not resist taking a pop at certain TV personalities but he remained good humored and he impressed us all with his knowledge of varieties and their Latin names. Holland is per-eminent because they have been perfecting their art for 400 years, because the soil, the temperature and the climate are suited and the flat land enables the use of large harvesting machinery. They aim to produce 2 billion bulbs this year 2017. In the earlier shows they used to take 800 orders but this has diminished by about 100 each year as people are more used to ordering through the Internet.

Alan chatted enthusiastically with us as we munched our way through the buffet. After farewells, off into the night which was for the first time this autumn quite nippy. The full moon was partly visible through the scudding black clouds. We drove through the dark lanes back home. Francoise says it is time to get some wood for our stove.

As Pepys would say ‘ and so to bed’

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