a day with no desire to say anything

I have just returned from a very lively and satisfying weekend in London as you have read. For the last 345 days I have been inspired almost on a daily basis to write something. Today is different. I’m letting all the information become part of me and incorporating new ideas into my subconscious. In a way, I’m halfway between London and here in Somerset, almost anaesthetised.

You cannot breathe in and breathe out at the same time so today is a breathing in day. I believe that reflecting on something is working on something. This is not necessarily a situation that can be described in words. I feel that no time is being wasted. I wonder what Jesus did in his 40 days in the wilderness. I’m sure he was very busy but he didn’t make any phone calls, see anybody, write anything to our knowledge, worry about anything he was just being himself. He was probably reflecting on what he was going to have to do in the future so I suppose that’s work but not that you could spot it.

I suppose the left brain keeps on telling you that you should be doing something. I recall at this point some verses from St Luke’s Gospel “consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these

So there is a good precedent. We don’t have to run around like chickens with no heads to serve the greater purpose.

So you see, I did write something after all. ha ha

Very little television today and early to bed. What an enormous full moon. It is supposed to be a blood red moon , but I could not see that.

What community spiritedness is all about

I went along to my local church, the one I have written about, which is in Paulton. I attended morning coffee which takes place from about 10 o’clock until 11:30 AM every Tuesday. Coffee and home-made cakes are offered. Since I have just started attending the church, not many people know me but nevertheless I was welcomed. I’m very used to social occasions large and small inter-alia because I ran a large organisation London Village about which I have written before. I had no hesitation in walking in to the place where I don’t know anyone. This morning I arrived shortly after 10 and I was the first customer so to speak. We spent the first 20 minutes talking about this and that, the weather, the state of the heating system in the church, and other churchy topics but then a woman came in whose name I still don’t know and we started chatting.

She seemed quite comfortable talking about herself and the husband who assists a funeral director and is not remotely interested in gardening but collects model trams and trolleybuses. The conversation came up because her mother lived in Clapham, London and I was able to update her with information from my recent visit. She went to school very near where I went to school (Tooting Bec Grammar) and also the era of the trolley buses going up and down Streatham high road as I also recalled, and the time when Clapham North tube station was called Clapham Road. So, we had a good old nostalgia chat but I was also able to give her an update.

She also talked about the effect of medicines one upon another and how they interfere with the healing process which reminded me once more that we should try and avoiding taking pills whenever possible and return to natural medicine which for the most part was a satisfactory answer to many of the aches and pains of people have. She talked of a woman who continually complains about things, claiming she had various viruses and so on and I said she has an unhappiness virus. I wonder how many illnesses and conditions are caused by bitterness and loneliness, I suspect quite a number.

The general lesson I draw from this is that many people are afraid to go to something new because no one will talk to them. The fact of the matter is that everyone comes for social reasons. The community spirit is hard wired within us and if you go along somewhere with a genuine interest in other people you will always find someone to talk to. This applies to young people, old people, men, women, single, divorced. Once you get the hang of this, you will never want for friends. It is such a pity that the church has an image that is outdated. It is untrue that if you enter the church people will ask you about your faith and so on. Many of the social activities that take place in churches or on church property are not Christian as such but caring and community minded in their nature. I say this to people of faith or no faith, if you want to meet people, go along to your local church and introduce yourself, perhaps to the verger or sidesman, perhaps to someone sitting next to you and the odds are that you will be introduced around.

You will think to yourself after the event, why didn’t I do this before? I’m convinced that most of the loneliness that exists is unnecessary and if I had more scope to exercise my enthusiasms in my mind, I would create a national scheme for the sharing of ideas and spend some public relations money changing the image of the church.  I have not quite got my head around the attitude of Catholics but I know that the Church of England and the Methodist Church are very keen to demonstrate the love of Christ in the form of welcome and greeting people as human beings. I think the saving in money from hospital bills, medications etc could be huge and could well exceed the cost of providing the service of communication.

I would like to devote more time to the evangelical church which is very much focused on saving souls and giving life to Jesus to avoid the attentions of the devil when you eventually pass over. I know that evangelical Christianity is not everybody’s cup of tea, but I will have to wait for a future tranche of inspiration before I can say something on this matter. If I’m not inspired and I try to force something it never works. It’s a bit like painting a picture. If you’re not in the mood then you might as well not bother. Do something else and wait for the magic moment.

Meanwhile, I must finish my diary for the weekend with the added bonus of enjoying the delightful blue sky and sunshine. Okay it’s only 3°C at the moment but with no wind it is ideal for walking and looking forward to the spring.

London seems far away as I occupy myself with local matters. I wrote to the manager of the hotel, a chap called George, to say that I was looking forward to returning.

London visit Pt. 5 – back to Tate Britain

We rose at 8:30 AM, had a shower, and went to breakfast. Our effervescent Irish friend James was in the breakfast room , about to go off to the hospital for a check on his broken ankle. We found him forever positive and enthusiastic about life. There were three other people people from the Middle East also having breakfast. They ate almost furtively and whispered to each other. They avoided the ham that was offered and stuck to cheese, bread and jam. The impression they gave was that they had been recently traumatised.

We left the hotel about 10 AM after promising George, the owner, that when we return we would ask for room four as according to him this is the best one for value. We shall be dealing direct with him in future to avoid the charges of the booking company.  Back to Tate Britain again. I bought a paper by George Orwell entitled “politics and the English language”. I mildly complained to the membership lady that the conditions at the Modigliani exhibition in Tate modern were so uncomfortable because of the crowds that you could hardly contemplate the work. That caused me to wonder about the whole value of paying £20 to see something which to be quite frank with you I didn’t really enjoy. The artist has a certain style which is easily recognisable. I reckon if you want to know more, the best idea is to buy an exploratory volume and study it at your leisure. I suppose there is a certain excitement in seeing the originals but with modern reproduction quality these days, there’s not so much point.

Youngsters having a go

I was very pleased to see that people are being encouraged by means of easels left around to have a go at painting and drawing. I saw a mother with her young daughter and her father with his young son who can’t have been more than 18 months. Parties of schoolchildren were also earnestly engaged.

past and present number one

This is a work by Augustus Leopold Egg, 1816 to 1883 and shows a husband holding a note from someone telling him about the infidelity of his wife whilst his children look on innocently. There are many symbols in the picture including the tower of cards that’s about to collapse.

This is by John Everett Millias 1829 to 1896

It is called “Christ in the House of his Parents (the carpenter’s shop). I find this work helps me get the whole religious thing in proportion when you see how modest and unpretentious Jesus’ upbringing was.

this is the stairway from the ground floor to the first floor

Tate Britain as a whole is very well designed and whereas we get headaches when we go to the Tate modern we find this a very restful place even on busy days. I think the Tate modern is a victim of its own success. If anyone reading this is a member, it is worth going upstairs to the members section where there is a very spacious coffee and  refreshment area and a side room where the tables are spaced very well apart so you can meet in private. The cup of coffee I had was small for £2.75 but I suppose you pay a bit over the odds for being in a membership environment.

To Victoria coach Station and instantly mixing with Italians, Hungarians, Poles, Romanians, people of indeterminate origin, and a few Brits. thrown into the mix. How National Express manage to send off so many coaches from such a small, one might also say cramped, forecourt area on time and keep everyone good-humoured is amazing to me. However, the fact is they don’t have anywhere to expand to so they have to make the best of it. I reflected as I departed from London that my job is to sow seeds and it’s up to other people how they react. The Sun and the rain enable the seeds to grow not the sower.  I was thinking of the many conversations I have had both with my old friends and with strangers in the street.

On that reflection I conclude this account.

London visit Pt. 4 – order out of chaos?

I do not normally get up early on a Sunday morning but I have a business meeting to attend By “business” I mean I want to discuss a matter of some importance which is my potential contribution to a philanthropic community-based organisation which started in one country and has now spread to many countries.  I met my friend at Marylebone station and after a brief sojourn at a local restaurant where we had a poor quality breakfast we decided to walk round Regent’s Park away from the noise and the traffic and see what we could do.

Victor Marie Hugo 1802 to 1885 was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the romantic movement, widely esteemed as one of the greatest of French writers and poets

When someone has an idea, you never know what it’s going to turn into. Most ideas do not turn into anything significant but others have – unbeknown to the person who is inspired – arrived on the planet at the right time and so the universe supplies the fuel to grow the organisation. As we say, there is nothing so powerful as an idea that has reached its time.  This quote was made by Victor Hugo who actually said no one can resist an idea whose time has come nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come. Armies cannot stop an idea whose time has come. No army can stop an idea whose time has come. Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come… and so on with various re-phrasings and combinations. I think we get the idea.

The venture that I was asked to participate in this morning started in one country in about 2005 and rapidly spread to others. The founder of this particular venture had a problem. He was a good visionary, researcher, anthropologist, but a bad administrator and hopeless with money and I’m afraid rather a large ego. There is a very great temptation to try and hold on to the reigns but if it is not accompanied by expertise and professional humility, it is something that is doomed to failure. In his defence, he had no idea how the thing will grow. It’s a bit like trying to hold onto a dozen balloons filled with helium and in reality asking too much of one person.

The second problem with an organisation that relies on voluntary labour, no matter what form it takes, is that it can order someone to do something when you are not compensating them. Basically, the organiser or founder has to take the people who offer and the trouble is or can be that the volunteers are those who want the world to be a better place but are essentially using the potential glory and notoriety of working for big organisations to escape from matters that impinge on a personal level. I regret to have to give such a massive generalisation here but that’s often the way it is. With this particular venture, I found a common denominator of people who volunteer but who are already stressed through giving of themselves without the financial backup and thus are unable to provide a stable reference point for those who will be making demands of them.  I hope you get the picture.

The third problem is the temptation to build castles in the sky. This means that before you make plans for expanding you need to make sure that the existing workers know and trust each other. Without this essential stage, the organisation will  sooner or later fall apart or at the very best fragment into factions. I have recently come across the venture at a point where there are three or four websites controlled by different people, mailing lists which lack intellectual integrity, and people doing things without discussing it with others. On the face of it, a hopeless situation. However, I feel that there is hope because the people involved are such a nice bunch, well motivated if unrealistic and keen to move forward together to make the world a better place.

I shall be offering my services as an editor of a homely fortnightly or monthly newsletter which would introduce the personalities from various parts of the world and allow everyone to see how other people are thinking. The good thing about using a client such as Mailchimp is that the first 12,000 or so mailouts are free per month so it is possible to do useful work without actually spending any money. The problem is of course time which many people do not have. In order for me to offer my services we are not going to jump in and try and tell people what to do but simply to state the conditions under which I can work albeit on a voluntary level. I’m not expecting any sort of recompense on the financial level.

The conditions are that everyone agrees that a homely newsletter is a good thing in the cause of building a community spirit and that the existing communications are altered to run happily side-by-side with the normal websites which described the growth of the organisation, various events, the philosophy, and so on. If I don’t get the alignment, I will not even start. it is I who after all have to live with my decision.

So, never mind the detail of the above which I agree will not be of gripping interest of everyone this applies to all voluntary work. If you want to volunteer for something I need to know exactly what is involved and if possible meet the people who are the organisers. Go along with certain specific questions such as if travel expenses are paid or indeed any form of payment is given. The National Trust could not exist without volunteers so the system has to be clear I admire them enormously and I’m sure without volunteers the National Trust annual membership will double at least. It is the same with many other organisations today. I could go on at great length about how to treat volunteers. Basically, many of them are not kept in the loop and just regarded as workers to be taken for granted. Secondly, continual training is necessary at which they can meet other volunteers. Thirdly, there must be a way of expressing concerns and complaints. overall, there are an estimated 15 million people volunteering at least once a month in the United Kingdom so this is a precious resource without which the country could not work.

In my particular case and at my age, I don’t have much to prove except myself of course, and I don’t want to take on a voluntary job that will grind me down and make me frustrated. The key thing when problem-solving is to look at the job from the outside and not to be overwhelmed by one dissatisfied person or another or to be over impressed by people who say that the organisation is the best thing since sliced bread. It is a great challenge to the maturity to say no outright but I’m not going to follow that course, I just have a list of things that I require before even offering my services because in my view once you start something you don’t back off at a whim but do the job in such a way as to bring joy to other people and changing the personnel every 5 minutes is of no help to man or beast.

There are few things in life better than this.

Off to Tate Modern. It is now so vast, having doubled in size in the last year that there is no way you can cover everything in one visit. Apart from the images, there are many movies and documentaries about various topics and you can easily be detained for an hour in one gallery. The new section, the Switch House opened on 17 June 2016 is much less crowded than the original Boilerhouse. Claustrophobic visitors beware.

Finally, the feet have had enough so off we go to our grand hotel.



London visit Pt. 3 – a day for visiting friends

unique view of London, but where is it taken from?

I will give you a clue. It is from south London. It is the only steep hill facing directly towards the city and it is the only road where this applies. A small prize will be given for those who can recognise the road.

how to make a tree stump attractive

We went to visit to friends in East Dulwich near the Horniman Museum, which so far as I’m concerned is a gem of educational value unparalleled in south London. My wife worked with one of the friends in the Science Photo Library and they parted company in the mid-90s when the friend left. The friend worked in London and had seen my wife on West Dulwich station and only recognised her vaguely. A second time she saw her and this is extraordinary because my wife seldom visits the station. Still, she had a feeling of recollection but it was not strong enough to cause her to speak. The third time she saw my wife and the feeling was stronger but again she said nothing. However, they both alighted at Victoria station and the friend found herself next to my wife on the down escalator  to the Circle line and this time a voice within her said, ‘you really must speak’ and then they recognised each other and have been friends ever since. The point with synchronicity is that it defies all reason.

Our friend’s husband is a local historian and writer and knows the rich history of East Dulwich which was the Hamstead of its day. Luminaries include John Ruskin who actually lived in Herne Hill, Enid Blyton who lived in Lordship Lane, Boris Karloff who lived in Forest Hill Road, Phyllis Pearsall the mapmaker lived in Court Lane, C S Forrester lived in Underhill Road, Anne Shelton the singer lived in court Lane, Alexander Parkes the scientist lived in Park Hall Road and so on.


In the evening I met my friend of 50 years, Greg, in a trendy Chinese restaurant on the Finchley Road. There were seven of us in the party graciously paid for by the host. It is quite a rare experience to meet someone who has known you for 50 years. I remember our first meeting which was when I was working for the Post Office over Christmas as a student. A voice spoke to me through the grill. We discovered that we had things in common.

It is fascinating that these events can be recalled in great detail when I cannot even remember the name of someone I was introduced to yesterday.  I realised at the meal how much I value having dialogues with cosmopolitan people who are aware of the world situation. It is easy to be a big fish in a small pond but what if the other inhabitants of the pond do not recognise you or relate to you for who you are. That is the situation which pertains where I live in Somerset. However, the friendship offered is of a different order, homely and traditional if restricted. I know that the whole of life is a compromise so I am not complaining.

London visit Pt. 2 – Saatchi and Saatchi

Nudes by Philip Pearlstein, see comment below. The quality is less than perfect, apologies.

We awoke and went to breakfast as usual. To say that their breakfast arrangements are laid-back is to understate the situation. There is a choice of hard-boiled eggs, cheese, ham slices, bread, cornflakes, fruit juice of two types. The only catch is you have to find out where the crockery is and if the supplies run out you have to do your own washing-up. At first I was a bit upset by this but realised that this was just pure programming on my part and for the price we were paying, a princely £35 a night, we should just get on with it.

Crystal Lodge hotel is a bit like a hostel so if you adjust your mindset then everything is fine. It was also like a hostel in that people talk to each other and there is a feeling of comradeship absent in the chains.  However, we did ask that our room be changed because it was too small for four nights so we were generously given a big family room consisting of one double bed and three single beds so plenty of room to spread out our stuff. It was a front room abutting on the street but even without double glazing the passing traffic did not disturb.

Brigstock Road in Thornton Heath is very busy day and night including the wonderful 250 bus which goes from Brixton to Croydon, 24-hours a day. I love these new buses which are battery-powered so when they stop you think the vehicle has broken down when in fact the engine that supplies the batteries does not need to work any more. So when you move off, you move off very quickly and silently which does add to the travel experience considerably.

Anyway, today my wife is going off to see friends in her old stamping ground of Haverstock Hill so I have the day to myself more or less. Half the fun is riding the buses and seeing what’s going on. If you are a newcomer to London – as a general rule, remember that buses are half the price but take twice the time especially in rush hour. It will pay the visitor to have a bus map because you can be sure that wherever you want to go to there is a connecting bus. There is no need to panic and hail the nearest black Taxi because you could easily pay £30 or £40. There are three tariffs for taxis so a four-mile journey during the day  will cost you about £20 and the nightly rate could be £25. it is more when the traffic is heavy because the charge is distance and time. Oh, if you’re thinking of coming from Heathrow by black cab, you will probably pay about £80. The Piccadilly line will take longer but will take you to London for a fraction of the price.

Backs to buses again: at worst you may have to change once but most places are within two buses. London is moving towards a cashless society so it pays to get an Oyster card or bus pass. This was the case with my journey from Brixton to Kensington with a stop on the Kings road, famed for its 1960s image of excess and freedom. I duly alighted.

you won’t get better quality than these cakes at one of the patisseries.
An estate agent, very well decked out but for the autumn???
now that’s what I call an upmarket advertisement
Even the announcements from 02 are posh

Kings Road is as always very trendy and as an exercise you might want to peer into the windows of the estate agents and see what sort of place you can buy for £1 million and the answer is a two-bedroom flat if you’re lucky (there is a two bedroom flat for £1,295,000 which is modernised and has a well fitted kitchen and a garden). As for houses, the sky’s the limit.  Do not despair. You could always get a houseboat if you wanted. I see that there is a two bedroom one available for £300,000. You just have to get used to the effect of the tides coming up and down, tilting the bedroom a bit.

After a very pleasurable 20 min walk up the Kings road I entered the famous Saatchi Gallery. How many surnames do you know that have two ‘aa’s together? Such words are unusual in the English language. I can think of aardvark, bazaar, and that’s about it.  The surname of the man himself, Charles Saatchi, originates from the Turkish meaning ‘watchmaker’. He was born in Baghdad, would you believe?

Upon entry, the laid-back attitude is clear. Admission is free. They don’t put barriers around the works asking you instead to respect the situation accordingly. The exhibition is frequently changed and the images are not overcrowded unlike other galleries I could mention. The worst culprit for overcrowding is the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy where works from unknown artists are stacked from floor-to-ceiling. On the one occasion I went it gave me indigestion. London has hundreds of art galleries so no one can ever complain of a paucity in this aspect of London life.

So, on to the gallery  content itself.

two bored nudes

Philip Perlstein the artist, 93, has had an active career in the US and abroad since the 1950s. He thinks of his work as post-abstract realism. In the 1980s, he began to surround his sitters with objects from his personal collection to further engage the viewer and challenge himself. This exhibition highlights his stead fast commitment to dynamic compositions – a commitment which is as evident in his early work as it is today. His works maintain a sense of complete detachment which is both alluring and disconcerting.

I talked with a lady who was doing a sketch of this work. She did not like the objectiveisation of  women in general and was doing her sketches without including the actual women since she found the symbolic representations more interesting. I found the ladies quite unerotic. It is difficult to get enthusiastic about two people who look so bored and are completely indifferent to people’s reaction to them. Mind you, I find the same un-erotic effect when young women are exposing their breasts in scanty costumes and pouting themselves to look more sexy including sticking out their bottoms and putting too much make-up on.

an unwitting art installation. for some reason my photos are not so sharp
Our Frida

I must not make this page indecently long so no more photographs reproduced here. I depart out of the gallery to the nearby Taschen bookshop with a lovely 70s poster. Below.

Ctrl and + to enlarge.

And now off to the Southbank Centre.
I love the typography used in this Arts Council advertisement. You can kill a poster with the wrong typeface. This one informs without shouting.

the skateboarding area underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall

This is the famous and unique skateboarding centre as a homage to all people who don’t want to come in the hall for music but appreciate its presence. I think it has quasi- listed status.

So, night has fallen, and I go along to an overcrowded National Portrait Gallery if only to use the toilet. They have increased the paid useage on the ground floor for special exhibitions for which you pay the best part of £20; the free exhibitions are upstairs. I suppose this is a result of the need to respond to a cut in grants. Sometimes they are cuts; sometimes they are slashes. Not to increase pay because of a cost of living increase is a cut. Geddit?

London visit Pt. 1 – David Bowie and Brixton

You are going to join us on our exciting journey to Londinium (the old name for London), the place where I spent 50 years of my life. We now visit it two or three times a year. since we have no free places to stay now I decided to use booking.com and see what I could find. I simply wasn’t going to pay £100+  a night upwards which would stress my budget so I thought I’d have a look at the much less fashionable areas of this fine multilingual international city which keeps on inventing itself, and is the source of endless entertainment and stimulus.

We always start our journeys whether to various parts of the world or locally at the Methodist Centre in the middle of Bath where we have coffee and cake. We normally take the 11:15 AM National express bus to Victoria for the grand sum of five pounds per single journey per person. If I wanted to go by train that would be 10 times the amount but since I see no point in wasting money, the bus it is. To anyone who is either snobby or paranoid about buses, the service is safe, on-time, comfortable, and not too long. I did once take a bus to Prague with an overall elapsed time of 24 hours and I must admit that was a bit much but three hours to London is nothing. let’s face it, a coach is not made for sleeping but sleep comes fitfully and you can go into a trance state so just think of all the money you are saving going by coach.

We arrived at about 2.15 pm after a lovely event free journey on the motorway with blue sky and sunshine and walked without cases rattling along the street to Tate Britain. When I was working many years ago for the National Coal Board on the Albert embankment I used to sneak over to the Tate Gallery every lunchtime and admire the latest works. There must have been about 50 years ago. The Tate can only show a fraction of its work so it’s lovely to go along knowing that you will always be surprised.

this image was in one of the black-and-white exhibitions Canon is entitled Carol X, well Street, East London March 1982 to 2015
this is called Trial and Error 1939

The notes say: many of the objects in this carefully contrived still life refer to the art of painting: the head of a lay figure – used in place of the model in the studio – for instance. In keeping with tradition of the still – life genre, other items evoke the in permanence of life, such as the urn or the white carnation flowers. Visual rhyming between eclectic objects alongside Frampton’s precise draughtsmanship and smooth brushwork all lend the work an enigmatic, surrealist quality.

Gerald Brocklehurst 1890 to 1978 Portrait of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll 1931

The notes read: in the 1930s Brocklehurst became a sought-after portrait painter. Painting such as this represented a fashionable assimilation of past and present, a modern expression of traditional artistic value. Combining rich decoration with subtle assessment of character, brokers specialise in painting rich, famous and often highly independent within. This is a portrait of the socialite Margaret Sweeney, Duchess of Argyll.

I’m fascinated by how much nobility and other qualities can be best viewed in the face. They say that the eyes are the windows of the soul but what about the face I don’t think that comes a bad second.

the one and only David Bowie who has a permanent memorial on one of the side streets just opposite Brixton underground station

I took the tube (subway) to my favourite cosmopolitan place, Brixton. for some reason I was very attracted to the Memorial Wall for the late great David Bowie followed by a walk round the ever fascinating ever-changing Brixton market with its multitude of restaurants, pop-up and otherwise, representing countries which never even heard of.

is this a Durian, the smelliest fruit in the world
these phrases are highlighted at intervals encouraging people to face their prejudices
visceral fish
a pedestrian crossing with a difference

So at this juncture it was getting dark so we decided to go and check into our booked hotel in Thornton Heath. The nice thing about Booking.com is that you can change your mind at any time and if you don’t turn up at all you only pay the first night which in my view is there enough. Many parts of London have become a minority areas as far as white English people are concerned; as an example the area around Thornton Heath station is completely different in character, more about that anon.

We arrived at our hotel to find a room I would say about 6′ x 9′ which allowed us room for the bed and a small area for laying your clothes. There were no actual hangers or draws but there was a separate bathroom and shower which did not work. The room was clean, the mattress just right, the pillows perfect and the whole was very quiet so we slept very well. Anyway we survived the first night and wondered what we had landed ourselves in. The only plus point at this stage was that it was £140 for four nights. Those of you that know London prices will realise that this is cheap indeed. Was it worth it, and would do it again. Read on for the next dramatic installment.


sympathy versus empathy

One of our English Parliamentarians, Tessa Jowell, has been ‘battling’ a brain tumour for the last year or so. It is a peculiarity that we use the term ‘battle’ for something which implies brute force. Do we battle broken legs or arthritis or kidney failure? No, we deal with them, we address them, we treat them, we examine the causes. The word ‘battle’ is part of the fear-based campaign by the pharmaceutical industry to make sure we buy expensive medication and get bombarded by radiation rather than look for natural remedies. Cancer did not just come out of the blue, it came because we provided unwittingly or otherwise the conditions for it. <Blinding inspiration here> – Why not change the conditions and perhaps the enthusiastic growth of cells aka cancer will slow down.

I write about this topic because at 08.55 am today I heard the last segment of BBC Radio Four’s ‘Today’ discussion of people who are too embarrassed to talk to a person with cancer. Great harm can be done, so we learn, by some unthinking friend or relative saying “oh I know someone who had the same cancer, and they died”. Thanks for the information. I’m sure it makes people feel better. How’s that for  programming. Damage can also be done by not saying anything at all because people will think you don’t care. Do not repeat old wives tales such as “drink plenty of water and it will flash it away!”

Even worse is to say “have a positive attitude and you will get through it”. Of all the stupid and bland things to say this about takes the biscuit. It may be implying that if you get away from your normal negative attitude you will overcome this nonsense. Cancer is nobody’s fault, it is an opportunistic condition, sometimes genetic but mostly I suspect environmental.

The sufferer was saying ‘don’t sympathise just empathise’. I think it’s worth looking at this distinction a little bit more. Sympathy is thinking oh I’m terribly sorry, how I feel for you, how I pity you in your condition. Empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of the other person. We have a big big problem here. Most people have not dealt with the matter of death never mind life after death and they are simply not up to the job of being objective. In other words, hearing about a life challenging event makes them scared so how in heaven’s name are you supposed to be supportive when you’re quaking in your boots?

I’ve been talking about a physical condition, cancer, but what about mental conditions when people want to say something but it doesn’t come out in the right way, or they have downs syndrome, or some condition that causes aberrant behaviour?  It is no help if you speak slowly and clearly, or do the now infamous ‘does he take tea?’ syndrome. Why not speak normally, look at the person directly, and remember that body language speaks as loudly as words if not more so. In such cases, your own biases will pop up whether you like it or not so it is good long-term homework to clean up your own attitudes, for example that people who cannot speak without a stammer are somehow less intelligent. No one knows what is going on underneath the surface.

Also with any type of person, why not tell a story to them. It’s very good to establish common ground and if they don’t appear to understand they appreciate the effort. Tell them what you’ve been doing today but of course don’t mention mountain climbing to a paraplegic in other words a modicum of tact is quite a good thing. When there is a group of you, always include a person by looking at them from time to time even if they don’t look as if they’re responding they are listening to you in some way.

Thinking about empathy for a bit, if you are lucky enough to be on the same wavelength as the person who is afflicted, you don’t need to say anything. Whereas sympathy can lead to inappropriate closeness or distancing, empathy when coupled with compassion will look after that problem very nicely. You will be at the optimum distance to make the biggest positive effect. You do not have to think about it.

How to give birth to an idea

Sir Mark Tully

Spiritual programs are marginalised by the BBC to antisocial hours such as 6:30 AM on Sunday morning, repeat at 11:30 PM. In these days of catch up I suppose the timing doesn’t matter in the way it used to, but there is something about listening to a program ‘fresh’ when other people are listening to it. Such a program is “Something Understood” which was introduced for many years by Mark Tully, whom I believe later became disillusioned with the BBC for reasons that I can’t possibly imagine. Sir Mark lives in New Delhi. A  Daily Telegraph article said in 2010 “Despite his age and infirmity, he remains one of Britain’s most popular broadcasters – is the Radio Four show “Something Understood” which focuses on matters of faith, has (had?) more than 1 million listeners.

Sunday’s programme, given by writer and priest Malcolm Doney,  was about rumination which is the process that sheep and cows use to digest food; the analogy was drawn with the way we digest ideas. I would like to use this inspiring program as a basis for my thoughts today. The kicker was at the end of the programme with a lovely quote “I saw that there is room in me for a second and huge timeless life”. That caused me to jump out of bed and write it down lest I forgot.

Although inspiration may occur suddenly, it can take many years of preparation rather like an ‘overnight success’ with the public. We do not see the early struggles of artists, entertainers, and writers. Think of JK Rowling.  I regard inspiration as a natural state which correlates with a person being true to themselves, learning to listen, and being in harmony with nature. May I draw your attention to the fact that it is called inspiration not expiration. The origin of the word inspiration is from the Latin inspirare, to breathe in. Much as we would like produce inspiration to order, this is not the way it works.

First I think we need the desire for something, the will, the focus, the intent. We then give notice to our subconscious mind that we are looking for a result and our mind / brain keeps instruction on its files and is always on the alert for information which may be relevant for it. Alas, it is frequently the case that we are so busy rushing around putting out fires that we don’t have time to sit down and meditate or as some would say to be in the alpha state.  It should be noted that the word inspiration is ethically neutral. Hitler was inspired, Genghis Khan was inspired, Archimedes was inspired, Steve jobs was inspired, Gandhi was inspired, the latter case by inter-alia frequent correspondence with Leo Tolstoy.

I do not think an idea can be forced into life. I think it comes when it is ready and when the circumstances are right. I have noticed that inspiration comes mainly when you’re thinking of something else and not fretting and worrying about the normal ups and downs of your life. I have had a look at quite a number of people who have been inspired and they seem characterised by a lively and enquiring mind, and an interest in other people.  I don’t think we should expect something to happen to us but see inspiration like a bird that lands on our shoulder when we are doing something else.

Sometimes an idea can come from combining two ideas. I understand that the tablet devices were inspired by at least two existing ideas: clay tablets used 3000 years ago and the modern laptop. The huge one ton capacity bags that are used to transport stone and sand could have been developed from combining objects like a handbag or plastic bag, and the pallets used for carrying heavy material. I think the more sources of input you have, the more variety of stimuli you experience, the more your desire to change the world, the more likely you are to be visited even inspired.

No doubt I will have further thoughts on the matter which I will share with you but meanwhile Manchester city is playing Bristol so I will be rooting for the emergence of the giant killers (take that however you want).

Political Correctness cannot go mad, it is already

I sit in front of my computer at home far more than the average person, not that I have any desire at all to be average. I subscribe to many websites and I just received my daily news e-zine from Forbidden Knowledge TV which is one of the most consistent and stable sources of real knowledge. Alex, who runs the site, has had her Youtube channel de-monetised on more than one occasion but she fights back. She must be doing something right. The aforementioned David Icke is now back online with his YouTube channel after a week of being cut off. The pathetic apology by Youtube was that there had been an ‘error’. This would not have occurred if there had not been thousands of people protesting at the removal of the channel.

Anyway, I have developed the art of very quickly reading an e-mail to evaluate its worth. There are certain expectations when I don’t even bother to read the second line. These are when yet another SEO company from India offers to do my website and help me obtain number one ratings. One of the last ones I received was from a firm who offered a service – lite – for $500 US. By Indian or Pakistani or Sri Lankan standards there is a huge amount so it seems that some of these firms have just gone greedy and are desperately fishing to find some poor soul to con. Potential customers are not necessarily aware that they work for a fraction of the salaries that people do in the US.

The second annoying thing about these firms is that you always get an anonymous type Gmail or Hotmail e-mail account and never any mention of the website of the firm. I would never deal with a firm that has no website and I don’t think they’ve quite got this message that you need to be respectable and have a profile.

Appellation is also a giveaway. Hello Mr Brian, or dearest Sir Mr Snellgrove, or beloved dear customer.  This doesn’t give a supreme amount of confidence about their grasp of the English language. Even if I were to engage them, although they may know English they don’t think English and the sentences they put together lack a certain flow. It is very subtle. When here in the UK I get a reminder of my dental appointment the words are “please remember your appointment”. This is clearly software written by a non-English speaker. If they were English they would say “we would just like to remind you of your appointment” or ” don’t forget your appointment”.

Prof Jordan Peterson

Let me finally try and get back to my subject. The newsletter drew my attention to one Jordan  Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. This man is another version of David Icke except that David Icke takes on the whole field of deception and mind programming. Jordan’s campaign is about the craziness of PC or political correctness. If I went on in full about what his contribution is, this blog would be much longer than the average 1200 words I write per day. Let us say that he exposes all aspects of this absurdity, this Marxist idea created in 1923. this includes lively discussion on the  legislature enacted in New York that is mandating 31 different appellations for sexuality.  Virtually any and every descritptor could now be considered as ‘hate crime’ if you get it wrong,  deliberately or unwittingly.

Here they are.

Bi-gendered, Cross-dresser, Drag King, Drag Queen, Femme Queen, Female-to-Male, FTM, Gender Bender, Genderqueer Male-to-Female, MTF, Non-Op, HIJRA, Pangender,  Transexual/Transsexual,Trans Person, Woman, Man, Butch, Two-Spirit, Trans, Agender, Third Sex, Gender Fluid, Non-Binary Transgender, Androgyne, Gender Gifted, Gender Blender, Femme, Person of Transgender Experience and finally – Androgynous

As if children in the USA are not growing up with enough disadvantages such as 46 vaccines by the age of six, fluoride in the water, the dreaded education system, antidepressants etc. they now have to figure out what these funny classifications mean which at the age of five or six I would think is pretty much impossible. What sort of mindset do you require to accept all the above as normal even if you understand what they mean. The situation seems well beyond the stage of being a question of straight or gay men and women. According to the so-called liberal people, your sexuality is based on your perception and there is no biological basis to it, apparently.

I love this guy Jordan Peterson. This is him talking about how you cannot force someone to respect you.

I was so happy to come across this man because it shows what can be done if a person actually has the courage of their convictions. Do watch it here. For the last 25 years or so, David Icke has taken abuse after abuse from people who understand little of what he stands for and who have not even bothered to read his books. I think the population is now becoming so deranged that they are beyond thinking. I think David calls us the ‘post-fact generation’ or some such term.

At its worst, PC can turn people into babies, into people who are afraid to say anything for fear of giving offence. I’ve just had a letter from the lady who runs my writing group to say that I have to get permission to write something of my experience of the group even though the other people in the group and the place and any identifiers have not been mentioned. How is that for paranoia? There will come a time when anyone who disobeys the herd mentality is regarded as mentally ill. David Icke has been warning about this for years. Fortunately, more and more people are listening to his sold-out shows in Europe and elsewhere.

These extreme manifestations are particularly bad in American campuses where people almost yearn to be victims so they can feel important and campaign for something. Where is the respect for the uniqueness of the human being? If you want really get mad, or get angry, (if you’re reading this in the UK), just type in the name of the man above in Youtube and watch.

This ‘best moments’ one is another good example.

Finally here is another  of his ‘straight from the shoulder’ quotes:

…don’t be fixing up the economy, 18-year-olds. You don’t know anything about the economy. It’s a massive complex machine beyond anyone’s understanding and you mess with at your peril. So can you even clean up your own room? No. Well you think about that. You should think about that, because if you can’t even clean up your own room, who the hell are you to give advice to the world.