My plans changed for ‘no reason’ – the NHS

There are certain things which make me viscerally* angry and these include the continual talking down of the UK National Health Service saying that the patient satisfaction is lowest ever, that the NHS  is heading for collapse, that someone has successfully sued doctors for making a mistake. Has anyone thought of the effect this has on the professionals concerned. Incoming patients have contact with the staff and talk to them, probably sharing some of the disquiet. The front-page headlines in newspapers will remind the doctors that however hard they work, for some perverse reason they do not get the acknowledgement that they need and deserve. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Minister, seems to be  waiting for when the NHS is eventually privatised. The coming of the National Health Service after the Second World War was a major triumph but then private hands started to creep in as  for example the Private Finance Initiative in which profit conscious entities build a hospital or facility but then charge ridiculous fees for making any changes or innovations.     * relating to deep inner feelings rather than to the intellect

*****

This morning, I have decided that a very much anticipated trip to Cyprus to see my friend should not take place in the month that was planned namely May. I was planning the costings and the  schedule last night, or trying to plan the journey, but absolutely nothing happened. I was looking at ‘dead’ material. It did not jump out at me. It did not excite me. I know that in the summer season plane fares jump up enormously but I don’t think this was the sole reason. Neither was the fact that the cheapest flights leave from Stansted airport at 7:20 AM necessitating half a night in a hotel or sitting waiting endlessly in semi- somnambulance. Although I have the means,  I would rather spend £56 on a flight leaving in the morning as opposed to £130 for the same journey at convenient times say mid afternoon. I wonder if it is a fault or deficiency in faith or some such.

*****

Us Brits love talking about the weather. We complain if it is 1° below zero. I remember being in northern Finland when it was -15° C and it was lovely and clear and fresh. The BBC have reassigned their weather forecasting to another organisation but even so I have never seen a map similar to the one above. We are right in the middle of threatened snow tomorrow and Friday. That message is absolutely unambiguous. It doesn’t have quite the impact that the collapse of Toys R Us and Maplins both on the same day but we shall make sure we have enough food to keep us going in case we can’t get out. In a way I’m looking forward to a good dollop of snow. You can’t really call winter by its name unless there has been a baptism by the white stuff.

the first time I have seen the recycle centre completely empty

Oh to be a child again + church gossip

This is from the new Denver Colorado airport, for those of you didn’t know it is absolutely full of  symbolism.  The whole airport and its construction is rather strange. No one knows who funded it. There was a perfectly serviceable airport, Stapleton,  6 miles away so there was no need for it and yet it is both vast and vastly expensive. See the link above for further information.

My attention was drawn to one of the massive works reproduced above. I’m not sure whether all the words can be read using portable devices so I will write it down again here.

I was once a little child
who longed for other worlds
But I am no more a child
for I have known fear.
I have learned to hate…
How tragic, then, is youth
which lives with enemies,
with gallows ropes.
yet, I still believe
I only sleep today,
that I’ll wake up,
a child again, and
start to laugh
and play.

I find this an incredibly sad but accurate piece. Not every little child longs for other worlds because I think those who are loved and secure with their parents would be quite happy where they are. I do resonate with the third and fourth lines – when we know fear and lost innocence we have moved on. I feel very sad for children in war zones, children or five or six, to learn to survive amidst the rubble of buildings and the sound of bombs going off. David Icke and many others think we live in a computer-generated reality. The vast majority of solid objects is actually space and that includes us with our human body vehicle.

I wonder how many people have wanted to escape to a better place but on reflection this could produce more psychoses than rewards. Meanwhile, we have the benefit of the words the wisdom from not only the leaders of the various religions but wise people through the ages. Julian of Norwich for example a favorite of my mother or GK Chesterton or CS Lewis. I believe that  this particular state called physical life is actually Purgatory, a staging post between heaven and hell. By heaven I mean that our spirit is unrestricted and by hell I mean that we are caught in a time warp and we have to face the results of our own actions. Can Jesus save us from our sins. This is all too convenient for my liking. Jesus can show us the way of living which will deliver us into freedom of spirit and thus able to live on this very imperfect planet.

*****

Off this morning to a special coffee morning at church, indeed it proved to be. This was a special fundraising occasion for the organ, and many good ladies had spent their time making cakes, a selection which I show in this picture. If you have just had your breakfast, a sugar bomb is not what you need but I have to sample cakes for the sake of politeness.

I was glad to see one or two people who have not been to the coffee mornings before and I encouraged one of them, a lady sitting expectantly next to me, that we were a friendly crowd and it was worth coming regularly. I said she would get to know the names after a time.
I talked to one of the regulars, Don, who at the age of 85 had survived two wives last of whom passed two years prior. He is very lucky because his supportive and loving family live in the locality. His son and daughter-in-law bought him a model train set which he enjoys adding to from time to time. He spoke at length about driving. He still drives a car and goes to Weston-super-Mare, Portishead and so on but says he lacks confidence. He thinks he could change a tyre if necessary ( I doubt it myself). I said that his so-called lack of confidence was probably an instinct to look after himself and it was quite natural at the age of 85 to be a little bit concerned about your physical strength. He said with great pride that he does what he wants to do when he wants to do it.

I talked to someone else about gardens. We discussed how effective human urine is in keeping rats away. Evidently female urine doesn’t do it: it has to be male urine so come on chaps do your bit for the garden.  He talked about the love of deer for roses and felt sorry for his neighbour because both their properties  abut onto  fields and he reckons the deer sneak into the gardens about three o’clock in the morning for their meal.  We discussed which vegetables grow well and we agreed that runner beans didn’t know where to stop and we get flooded with them before we know where we are. He says he brings them along to church for people to take.

The point is, that when a number of people are together in a spirit of goodwill, you always get interesting conversations, gossip, exchange of opinions and someone and you can never tell from looking somewhat whether they have an interesting or relevant story to tell.

The next conversation was about a local restaurant which is on the way to Wells. It’s called the Cheese Yard Cafe and is in West Horrington. There is evidently a great OAP two course special menu for £9.95 on a Tuesday. Me being true to form decided to take my wife off straight away and have a look. <pause while we actually go>. This restaurant, in an unpretentious side road next to a farm which is in itself on a side road has got it spot on right.

The price point is somewhat less than £10 for a main meal and for this you get a very generous amount of home-cooked food for which you have to wait but do not complain. Everything is made freshly to order.  My wife had a vegetable curry which was more than adequate and I had a roast beef meal which filled the whole plate so much that the vegetables came separately plus there was a bonus of cauliflower with cheese sauce. I had bread-and-butter pudding with a strawberry which melted in the mouth and my wife had a piece of chocolate cake without gluten that was so decadent she could not finish it. The waitresses were very friendly and the manager genuinely interested in people. I understand it has only been open for little over a year. They don’t need to advertise because of word-of-mouth. If you are near Wells, set your GPS to  BA5 3EB and off you go. I’m given to understand that it is always crowded. I’m not surprised. Parking is easy.

*****

Amidst flurries of snow off we went to the Rocky Mountain Nurseries to get some seed potatoes. We chose an early, a later early, and a main crop. Those that are near retirement age just to remind you, you can look forward to being able to do what you do when you feel like doing it. When someone recommends something, I do it straight away because I believe the timing is involved to a much greater extent than we imagine. The right idea at the right time has a much bigger effect than the right idea at the wrong time.

The two most important requirements for major success are first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it.
Ray Kroc”
   From Brainy Quotes.

*****

I read a little more on the Internet about the disastrous effects of treating people with psychiatric drugs. A point I had not realised is that it is just as dangerous to come off the drugs Pentagon in the first place and coming should only be done under medical supervision. Antidepressants can have the following symptoms; anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, hypomania and mania. One of America’s leading psychiatrists who acts as an expert witness in cases involving drugs says that shooting incidents in American schools will continue so long as the problem of drugs is not addressed.

Some of you may remember Sandy Hook, 2012 and the purported killer, Adam Lanza. He had been under psychiatric treatment. An assistant attorney general for the state of Connecticut stated that the list of Lanza’s medications would not be disclosed, because that “can cause a lot of people to stop taking their medication”. It is obviously better for patients to keep taking those drugs and then some of them will go off at the expense of innocent persons.  So there we are, transparency at its best. I just heard that the police and the medics were not allowed in to the recent school shooting in Broward County leaving the children to bleed to death, and also all communications were cut for a time. Nothing suspicious there then

 

What is an idiot. Are we id-iotic?

The word idiot implies ‘stupid’ to most of us but we might benefit from thinking more deeply. The definition of the word idiot goes all the way back to its ancient Greek roots. It means “one who is under the illusion of being separate from the Whole, from the Universe”. The consciousness of Zen Buddhism and that of people such as Jesus Christ who had an ability to have an overview of the human condition, I would not call idiotic.

Most of Western society is idiotic. We live as separate and divided individuals, nurturing our intellects which we somehow optimistically equate to wisdom. I would have thought that an essential constituent of wisdom is impartiality, neutrality, and an overview both with ourselves and the environment in which we interact of necessity .

Neutrality is an important element of wisdom.  Excessive campaigning and obsession with certain issues such as 9/11, or Syria or chemtrails, or some domestic or relationship matter means that it absorb us in its own energies and we become more like them or tuned in to them. It is said that individuals become like those they hate. I very much like the colourful analogy of St Matthew in the 10th chapter of his Gospel where Jesus is giving advice to his followers on what must have been one of the most dangerous Public Relations efforts on record.

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
This is certainly spelling it out in no uncertain terms. The use of the word ‘behold’ is notable. In modern parlance this would be ‘listen up’ or ‘look at the situation as it is’.

In connection with neutrality and overview,  I like the quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that“.
I’m reminded of the quote in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 12 verse 5 and repeated elsewhere. “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we are one body and each member belongs to one another. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If someone is gifted in prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith“. These were the days before the Internet and since St Paul could not be everywhere all the time he had to write letters. The book ‘Romans’  was a communication with Christians in Rome who were as a young and alternative community living dangerously. If they were found out they would surely be executed by the charming Emperors who ran Rome at the time.

You can understand the above text by seeing that we are all in the same boat. St Paul found the best way of explaining how people should work together is the analogy of the human body. The brilliant psychology behind this is that each person is a valued part of the community which is all the richer for the participation of the individual. The importance of community is gas in balance with the importance of the individual. How inspired is that?

There is an important implication here. We’re not supposed to be good at everything. It’s quite all right to say that you don’t have a natural aptitude for something because someone else will come along who has that very skill that you need and can from.

I hope the above give some indication of why idiots are idiots. If we try and conflate ourselves compared with other people we are going to become distorted in our view of ourselves and indeed the way the whole universe of people is constructed. We are nothing without others and they are nothing without us. A person who is an idiot will not seriously counter outside input. A person who does not wish to be an idiot needs to recognise that other people are capable of making a contribution to his or her learning. It’s little to do with being humble, more about being realistic.

It’s that simple.

*****

During the times I cannot sleep, I often listen to the World Service of the BBC. There is going to be a mass protest on 24 March from schoolchildren about gun control arising from the Florida school shooting. This protest is a left wing inspired attempt to get rid of the Second Amendment namely the right to bear arms. I really cannot believe what passes for fact these days. We heard a father of one of the supposed victims saying that his son had been shot nine times. This is quite a feat of marksmanship for a supposedly deranged 19-year-old to perform. In such unstable and violent circumstances, knowing the police are coming, keeping your gun steadily on the same person is almost impossible. A police marksman would have difficulty in doing this.

This is all about getting at Donald Trump who if you look beyond the insults doled out by the mainstream media is doing a lot of things right. He disputes global warming as a concept. In actual fact, the main source of warming remains as it has been throughout the millennia. Wait for it, it’s THE SUN. check out David Icke’s full documentary.  I’m a fan of Lord Monckton who although sometimes irritating in his delivery steadfastly disputes the filtered mainstream media nonsense that hides a huge money making project for selling carbon credits.

If I ruled the world, I would have a ‘carbon dioxide appreciation day’ because this vital gas, nature’s fertiliser, makes the difference between life and death. Trees, the lungs of the planet, need it. No carbon dioxide, no trees. In case you were wondering, trees like other green plants use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into sugar, cellulose and other carbon containing carbohydrates that they use for food and growth. You could say that trees breathe in and out.

It’s the rhythm then the words

I have just been listening to the profile of Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya (pictured) on Radio Four. At the age of 16 he took a job as runner for a film company. One of his tasks was to bring everybody tea and coffee. In spite of this lowly position, he always wore a suit. In other words, he made the best of his position. I admire that enormously but I don’t think I have emulated that in my life. Anyway, one of the film directors who worked with him said that when Daniel comes in to read a script he first of all intuitively grasps the rhythm and then the words follow.  This is one of the statements is so obvious when you hear it but when I heard it it knocked me for six. We could translate it slightly differently, to ‘grasp the spirit’. It may be the spirit of an idea, or of another person, or another group or another audience but until you can pick up the spirit within a group and fully tune into it and interact with it, you are not going to achieve the desired effect either in the private or the public realm. We call it “natural chemistry”.

I watched a biography of Judi Dench last night which talked about her ability to completely identify with the part and thus draw the audience into her as a thoroughly believable character. Mother Theresa was a very ‘bad’ public speaker but the spirit worked through her words and she convinced people with the power of them. Alas, after her death, a different story arose about a rather fundamentalist attitudes.

Billy Graham 1918-2018

I remember Billy Graham speaking in the mid-1950s in a big tent on Streatham Common London and although I cannot recall anything he said I do remember the complete silence among the audience captivated by his words. I think the meeting was about two hours in length but it seemed like 15 minutes. You could almost say that time disappeared.

Referring to our themes of the last couple of days about integrating someone, there is no point just mouthing the words. You have to walk the talk and be the part. That is why when I am awake, which is most of the time due to my rather minimal sleep requirements, I’m always at attention or on the ball. You never know when a challenge may come and your full attentiveness will be required.  Today, I tried to speak to someone who was doing a good job of digging on my allotment. I greeted him but realised that he was plugged-in to music via his headphones and was completely unaware of what was going on round and about him. I needed to speak to him so it took two goes of shouting and a vigourous wave of the hand before I got his attention. That may be the style of some people but it is certainly not be my style.

Church this morning was a delightfully informal and spontaneous affair. First of all the person who was running the service damaged the microphone by pulling a wire out so he had to raise his voice. Since we could hear him anyway it didn’t matter. Secondly a lot of the hymns and songs that we sang were unfamiliar so we were struggling both with the words and with the music but the choir valiantly led us through. Thirdly, the sermon, not given by the vicar, was given at stentorian volume and style with perfect articulation without any feeling of the subject matter. It is possible to over rehearse and over practice an address or sermon and this was the case this morning. Because the rhythm was not present it was very difficult to make out what his points were.

It is crucial to pause and not run at 60 miles an hour. Pausing allows time for reflection especially if you are speaking about the words of Jesus which require time for them to sinking and a respectful interval before and afterwards. I should add that there is not a word of criticism for the giver of the sermon who is second to none for his enthusiasm and loyalty to the church.

Finally, the officiant forgot to mention that the collection was retiring which means that there is a receptacle placed at the back of the church for people to put their offering in.   In spite of all this it was a cheery occasion. I tried to get to know one or two new people but there really wasn’t much synergy. I must remember that although I do things instantly and thrive on meeting strangers, I have only been going to that particular church for a month or so plus the effect of my London accent (slightly different from Somerset) which stamped me as a foreigner. However, I am being accepted and known by name by about half a dozen people which is not bad. I shall continue to attend.

The vicar has made a mistake which I must make a note to correct him on. There is a new website which contains a picture of him. There is a golden rule or probably more than one but this one in particular. You never allow a photograph of yourself to be published wearing dark glasses. This gives the subliminal message that someone wants to be private and secretive. As I said yesterday you only have one chance to make a first impression in this first impression is not good. People want to see your face and particularly your eyes. Some people look through their eyes and some people stare out of them and I know which category I trust most.

And so, another Olympics draws to a close. I take great notice of how competitors act in defeat. I forget her name now but I was impressed by the lady who lost in all three categories of speedskating in two successive games and still is encouraged to go on. It may be that some people are just overwhelmed by the occasion. They can get it right hundreds of times in practice but when it comes to the real thing they falter. I remember one of the members of the four men bobsleigh team saying that he was just a normal boy from Manchester and all you can do is your best. If you fail ten times you still pick yourself up and go on. I do not agree with him on every aspect of that but if you can come up with that a few hours after the race then his spirit is strong indeed.

I also heard that North Korea wanted to start talking with America. The USA had the cheek to say that we will only start talking if you get rid of your nuclear weapons when they are one of the main suppliers of nuclear weapons in the world. I prophesy that there will be no peace talks because the economy of the United States of America. It depends upon three things; the supply of armaments for wars, pharmaceutical drugs and the interest from debt. With the latter it is about giving loans to countries but you find that those countries are ever indebted to the United States. I think that before long, the so-called economy of the United States or should it be disunited states will collapse.

You can only go on printing money for so long. I believe that 85% of the trading on Wall Street is in derivatives in other words you’re not trading in anything other than the expectations that shares will go up and down. It is no reflection of actual wealth. The USA also have a black budget bigger than the total expenditure of most countries but you can look that up at your leisure. I don’t recommend that for bedtime reading.

I also watched a film on RealEcon TV about the black budget of the Army of the United States. In 2016, it had a budget of $122 billion. The unaccountable transactions amounted  to 6 1/2 trillion dollars. That is trillion not billion. This could not be accounted for. Just thought I’d mention it. If you think I’m exaggerating, watch this video. 33m32s. I recall that the day before 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld announced that they could not account for $2.3 trillion. It looks like the American people are being robbed.

Making someone feel welcome

I have noticed that continentals and Americans and indeed Australians have got this welcoming and introducing lark off to a fine art. The British are catching up but we don’t have it naturally within us. A lot of us Brits. have difficulty in remembering names. I have to be extremely interested in someone to remember the name first time and I am lucky if the person has a name which relates to someone close to me.

Today I welcomed someone on to the allotment and offered him a particular plot that was in fine condition. I tried to balance asking him questions about himself with telling him something about myself and the conditions of the allotment. In this particular case, the vacant plot had belonged to someone who was going to have an operation for cancer and I wanted this to be understood and respected. I told him straight out that we didn’t want to see the whole thing being let to waste especially as much love and attention has been lavished on it over a number of years by its previous owner. I was nice and respectful about it but I think he got the point.

As I chatted to him I tried to size him up and see how reliable he was. He works for the post office and normally gets off at about 2 PM each day which means that he will have plenty of time to cultivate his allotment. He did not have the experience of such a large area before so to draw him out I asked him what his favourite vegetables were and how he would plan his area. We discovered that he loved rhubarb so I went straightaway and put a crown in to welcome him so to speak. Potatoes were not his favourite vegetable so I did not push that one but said they did grow well. We gave out a list of vegetables that were successful to try and encourage him.

In my experience, it is not enough to have one person welcome a newcomer. I took him to meet my wife who was also working on the allotment and they chatted for about 15 to 20 minutes. I suppose you could call it bonding time. We were also able to answer his questions and give him the dimensions of the plot and announce that he had inherited the shed that was presently there. I also asked if anyone else was able to help him in case he was ill;  it turns out that the mother is quite a good gardener. We said goodbye and 15 minutes later he turned up again with his mother to show her around. He did not quite believe me when I said that the plot was his and we could fill in the paperwork later but that’s the way we do things on the allotment. People first, bureaucracy second.

The most important thing I can say to new allotment holders is that they should not be too ambitious and take one small step at a time and also don’t hesitate to ask if there are any questions. It is most encouraging that all the new tenants joining us are young. Even three years ago I would estimate that the average age was about 70 but it seems to be going down.

The same thing applies when we introduce any new person to any new situation for example working in an office for the first time. First days can be horrible if you don’t know anyone. One person is not enough. The chemistry may not be right. Two or three people is about right and although they won’t necessarily exchange anything profound they will get an impression of the friendliness or otherwise new territory. They say that first impressions count and I couldn’t agree more. If there is no bonding, the person will not feel any obligation to return.

*****

I remember when I was young I used to look into my coal fire at home and imagine all sorts of creatures and castles in the fire. This happened this evening and I was transported back 60 years to my youth.  A live fire gives a certain feeling of security to me anyway and is a step away from the everyday affairs of the world’s. Looking at a central heating radiator doesn’t do it.

An academic day – pills vs natural healing

I was visited by a good Samaritan colleague, Mike, who wanted to show me a new machine based on the work of Royal Rife which works on similar principles to radionics. Every disease has a numerical rate or frequency and through tuning into that frequency and applying equal and opposite waveforms, the disease can be nullified. There are many diseases that can be cured or ameliorated by remedies available in nature through plants and herbs as so-called primitive people would tell us if we cared to ask them. In general, such simple remedies as colloidal silver, bicarbonate of soda, vitamin C can restore the balance within the body to enable the inbuilt self-healing properties to become activated.

The body is in itself a self repairing entity but such mechanical methods as mentioned above can amplify this natural ability. The most important factor apart from knowledge, tools, techniques is the will to live and this applies throughout medicine. In recent decades, healing and health has been invaded by the pharmaceutical industry who see the making of money as a goal irrespective of any effects, or side-effects as they call them, that their medications may have. It is interesting that taking a pill for something, generates another condition for example fast heart rate which generates the need for another pill and so on. The best medicine has no side effects.

Michael bought his equipment and showed me how to use it. He said that people learn in different ways. Some people read a manual, get the idea immediately and spring into action. Other people, such as myself, need to be shown. They need to feel and touch. There is no question that such healing including remote healing  healing works. In order to understand the next part it is necessary to completely reframe your understanding of who ‘we’ are. The real us is co-existential with the universe and our body is just a relatively solid bit in the middle but even the body is 99.99% space. The essence of the needed  re-frame is that we are in touch with everybody anywhere all the time by default. Seeing the world from the five senses is an illusion albeit a persistent one as Albert Einstein would say.

On the Rife machine there is a remote treatment facility. You need to place a sample or witness of someone’s DNA for example a nail clipping and treating the clipping is the same as treating you because the clipping is part of you and your DNA. In other words if the patient is in Australia and the treatment is applied it would have exactly the same effect as if the person were standing next door to the machine which is transmitting the wavelength relevant to the condition that has been detected. I do understand that this will sound mumbo-jumbo to most people but I can’t help that I’m afraid.

How often have you thought of someone, and the very next moment they telephone. You have not heard from them for years and they just so-called ‘happen’ to call. This is part of the same mechanism. It is built into us all but alas for the most part we choose to ignore it.

There are many alternatives to the treatment of cancer. Anyone who tries to advertise such cures will be run out of town by the profit driven pharmaceutical industry. The cascade of events is that first of all the claimant is ignored, then ridiculed, then they will be threatened, then they will be killed or as modern parlance goes “suicided”. Royal Rife discovered a cure for cancer and as a result his offices were burnt down once and trashed on another occasion. The same happened with Dr Burzynski who uses diet to treat cancer. His offices have been raided by the FBI and all his patient records removed. He has been forced to defend himself through expensive court cases not once but three times but he continues to practice. He does so because so many of his patients gave testimonies as to the effectiveness of his treatment. The doctor is Hungarian and made of stern stuff otherwise he would not have survived.

Mike told me that only 3% of the chemotherapy treatments are successful in that  the life of the patient is prolonged by more than five years. The treatment itself so compromises the immune system so it is less fit for purpose and a person will become vulnerable to other opportunistic diseases.

The whole of health medicine is in a mess and the more natural remedies we can find, and the more understanding we can have the way our body works, the better for us all. The BBC do not dare to mention the correlation between sugar and obesity or diabetes. I saw a program on the subject where during the space of a one hour programme, diet and sugar was mentioned only once.

Mike has a very professional attitude saying that it is important to spread the message to as many people as possible without seeking financial gain. This is a policy that I myself adopt with giving knowledge. I do not regard knowledge as a possession but something to be cherished and nurtured and shared.

Heaven and Hell plus can loneliness be beaten?

It is nearly 9 o’clock in the evening and very unusually I have not found anything particularly interesting to write about so I’m going to start from zero by sitting down in front of my computer and seeing what happens.

One of the allotment tenants of which I am the chairman and secretary off the Association had to resign because his doctors told him he has a brain tumour. He has maintained his plot lovingly for years and it is in immaculate condition. I first of all asked him if he wanted to maintain it and be helped in the short term while he had his operations in the hospital but he wrote back saying no, enough is enough, and rather poignantly “I never thought I would have to write a letter like this”.

It befell me to ring up the first person on the waiting list, an affable fellow called Ron, whose father had had an allotment in the 1980s to tell him that he has first refusal on one of the finest plots on the allotments. Normally, I let people just get on with it and give them the benefit of the doubt but I do feel very protective towards the legacy of this one because of its condition so I’m going to interview the applicant on Saturday and see how much he knows about gardening. Most people who fail, do so at the first fence when they realised how much work actually has to be done. I try to help everybody physically with a couple of hours work but even that does not succeed in being the motivator to attend an allotment which on a good year can yield between £100 and £200 worth of produce from an outlay of around £20.

*****

Just a few cubic meters of spoil – now comes the boring part – getting it to the recycle

Today was pruning day in our garden and I hired my good mate William to do the heavy stuff up ladders.  Since my accident last year I have vowed not to take any risks so I would rather pay someone to do the more difficult jobs for me. Trees, both individually and in groups, have a great intelligence. If they don’t have enough light, they bend their branches towards where there is to see the light. If the conditions are not right, they do the nearest thing to committing suicide which is just dying. The mistake people often make when they are planting out their garden is not to allow enough space between trees. This is where the planting instructions should be carefully followed, particularly when different types of trees are involved.

*****

Caron on the left, sample card on the right

If I ever get the chance to instigate social change on a big scale  I would address the problem that old people in particular have of not having the opportunity to engage in conversation with others, thus enduring loneliness. With a few tweaks here and there, the vast majority of loneliness could be ameliorated. Whilst in Exmouth, I read about a lady called Caron Sprake, a former carer,  who recently designed and launched “Happy to Share” cards for those sitting alone in cafes would welcome some company. Caron, who is a champion for the elderly through her blog Caron Cares, funded the first batch of cards through a £450 grant from Recovery Devon, a charity keen to fund ideas to promote mental well-being in Devon.

Caron says “ the inspiration behind the cards was my observation of people sat alone; I just wondered how we could encourage them to share tables and start a conversation.” She adds “it is an incredibly affordable suggestion for a solution to loneliness. Elderly people are seen as a social burden, a drain on resources. People forget their contribution to our freedom and prosperity. These people were once beautiful, vibrant and useful. To tackle loneliness we need a complete change in mindset, back to the days of inter–generational living – less about what we can all have and do to reward ourselves and expecting others to scoop up and care for our elderly. We all have a role to play: individuals, business and the government”.

My own feeling is that we cannot rely on the government whatever colour it is to ‘care’ for us and that we are to all intents and purposes on our own. I think it fair that we exercise our own initiative and creativity and not expect to be waited on hand and foot. I have the instinct in me to look after anyone I see when I’m walking around in public but it took me many years to perfect the art of talking to people while making sure they are comfortable about being addressed by a stranger. I totally understand that if people are of a nervous disposition, it is very difficult for them to take the initiative with striking up a conversation so I am so pleased to see the initiative above and I pray to God there will be many others who take up the challenge of some form of community service.

I but recently acquired the Oxford Directory of Quotations, courtesy of the manager of the Bay Hotel in Exmouth. I love quotations, particularly by Oscar Wilde but the one below is from TS Eliot the poet, critic and dramatist. It is from a play called The Cocktail Party (1950)

What is hell?
Hell is oneself,
Hell is alone, the other figures in it
Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.

William Blake, wrote from his book of Thel (1789)
Everything that lives,
Is not alone, nor for itself

and from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)
If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to men as it is, infinite
and
How do you know but every bird that cuts the airy way
is an immense world of delight, closed by your senses five

We tend to forget, perhaps, that the search for happiness and meaning has been going on for millennia well before the production of the printed and mass produced book and well before the introduction of social media. I feel that the above quotations are very apposite to the lady I mentioned above. How about if our feeling of loneliness is due to a misunderstanding of the universe and its limitless dimensions. If we see ourselves as just a mind and body randomly thrashing around trying to exist, what comfort is there and what security?

I find it more sensible to believe that we are an eternal spirit that happens to have a body rather than a body that may happen to have a spirit. In other words the vehicle that I live in is called the body but it is not the occupant. I think we have a subliminal urge to be free from these limitations and as a first step  it is much easier to survive in an unfriendly and inhuman world if we can ring the bells of our spirit by engaging in conversation with others no matter how imperfect the dialogue is.

On the topic of Facebook, I very much enjoyed the article by G.S.Luthra on David Icke’s site called “Social Media has destroyed the Human Soul”. The last paragraph sums up the solution neatly:

“Ladies and gentlemen, such idiocy makes no lasting civilization. Best advice, shut up, learn first, and then speak. Avoid excessive internet use. Seek human contact. You can connect with others online, but it shouldn’t be exclusive, you need physical communication. Alternatively, you can stay in solitude and develop through art, meditation, music, and books, and then apply what you learn. From that you’ll gain wisdom and experience. That is better than associating with bad company. For some, this is best, because it’s hard to find genuine friends

*****

So there we are. Once again when I can’t think of anything to write, as soon as I put pen to paper out it all comes. My friend William asked me today whether I was keeping up my diary and I said yes. I have written daily for more than a year. I promise you something of note always happens.

And so it was today.

A day of self indulgence and a deaf pheasant

fear is not the enemy you are facing
it is the fear within you

In the normal course of my day, I hear something on the radio or read something which seems to state the truth definitively and it jumps out of the page at me. I always have an urge to write such things down – as I have done here.

Generally, I admit a FAULT.  I spend time thinking what could go wrong based on my previous experiences. This is particularly true in the case of new situations where I have not met the individuals concerned. When you think about it, such visualisations are a complete waste of effort and needlessly program the mind with ifs and buts. I will now (late New Year’s resolution) envisage that my meeting with strangers will be a blessing to all as we add to each other’s experience and knowledge.

*****

Today we were planning to go after Swindon to see a colleague about a new piece of electronic apparatus I was thinking of buying. However, one mile down the road, the car started spluttering and jumping so we turned round came home again. Fortunately, the RAC man who came previously worked for Volvo and was able to get quite easily into the problem which turned out to be a conflict between one of the five computers in the car. It still does not quite compute, if you will excuse the pun, that there are actual computers in my car like in my PC that control what everything does.

My original plans having been blown we decided to commiserate by going to one of the up-and-coming cafe restaurants in the area, Hartley’s Kitchen in Binegar. We were greeted by the host who recognised us even though the last time we had been there was about a year ago. We ordered a meal and I was reminded how important it is to play the food in an attractive manner. I decided that I would do better at home even though we don’t do fancy food.

The restaurant was almost full including a group using the front-room for a business presentation. We were told by the staff that yesterday the place was nearly empty but today the sun is out so everyone apparently feels in a lunch mood. How difficult it must be to plan food cooking so you don’t waste too much. I suppose you can put everything in the freezer, but then freezing and unfreezing doesn’t do a lot for the taste. We finished our meal with an amazing treacle tart with ice cream and custard.

This, believe it or not, is a placemat. It looks like a nut roast with carrot windows and a potato roof. Why not say I?

*****

We moved on to Rocky Mountain garden centre, our regular refuge when we are even thinking of buying plants. I came across the best poster I’ve ever seen for various types of potatoes. One of the things I do expect is that people on the staff really know their stuff and I can trust their recommendations. Normally, I am not disappointed.

Ctrl and + to read the details

Young trees and shrubs all neatly labelled and waiting for customers.

On the way home we drove along a road and we saw a pheasant standing stock still on the road facing away from us. My wife hates killing anything of any sort whereas I’m more philosophical and assume that as we approach, the pheasant would  move out of the way. My wife tooted the horn just to be on the safe side but that had no effect. Us and our mighty car had to drive round it. So sorry to inconvenience you Mr. Pheasant but we did actually want to drive along the road. When we passed, the pheasant was still standing in the same position right in the middle of the road. I hope it has a long and happy life.

*****

Who knows why our car stuttered at that particular time because since that event the car has performed flawlessly. Perhaps the powers that be saw that we were going to get involved in an accident, that we were going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I always believe that there is a reason for ‘things going wrong’ even if there is inconvenience attached.

The sun sets on another perfect day.

Beau Nash vs John Wesley

H. Andrews (c1800-1868). ‘Encounter of Beau Nash with John Wesley’ 1859

Notes:  Wesley, the renowned Methodist preacher came to Bath in 1739. He believed that the city was a magnet for sinners in desperate need of his guidance. He wanted Bath spa’s visitors to turn away from dancing and gambling.
When Wesley preached there, Beau Nash turned up to interrupt. He didn’t want the hedonism and pleasures of Bath to be spoiled by the moralising of the famous religious leader..
 The only record of their encounter is in Wesley’s diaries. He claims to have had the upper hand over Nash!
Read more here.

PS I saw this work in the City Gallery Bath when I went to visit it after my monthly eye injection.  I had difficulty during the day. Before the eye operation you are given a muscle relaxant which means that afterwards not only is it impossible to read but everything is very bright and I had to buy a pair of poundland special sunglasses to survive being outside in the sun.

*****

In the corridors of RUH in Bath we have the usual ever changing display of photographs and paintings. I don’t know who this one was painted by.

 

This reminds me that we belong to the Earth, the Earth does not belong to us. Those who have swallowed the nonsense about carbon dioxide and global warming please remember that the trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. This process preserves the natural balance of the earth. carbon dioxide is nature’s natural fertilizer. Without this gas we would all be dead. We have 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% of other gases including 0.04% carbon dioxide.

This installation here in the RUH is by Peter Yorke and it is called “Down to Earth“. The notes are interesting which is why I reproduce them.

I’m very moved by the last paragraph which says tactfully that the artist was confined ‘due to illness’ but his imagination never let him dwell on where he was or why he was there. Well done Peter.

This is a new type of poster in the hospital which I did not expect to see. Think twice before taking pills. wow.

Oxfam says sorry

Sign in an Oxfam shop in Budleigh Salterton

Difficult to write something without shooting yourself in the foot. I wonder why it took them eight years to realise that not all was well. I suppose you could say the same thing about Jimmy Savile. they removed some people from their positions or allow them to walk away so they must have known what was going on. I would have been more impressed if they said “we knew something was going on but did not have the courage to face them”.

We left the hotel where we had happily stayed for three days. My wife went to pick up a bag of sand which she will use to create a miniature beach at home. We left our hotel rather sadly because it was good fun and these type of holidays are the only time I go a bit silly and play bingo, I won £20, half the second prize, on Saturday.  Off we drive to Budleigh Salterton on the way home.  We parked and on the way to the high Street I overheard a conversation which ended “well it can’t get better than that”. I, being me, jumped into the little conversation group and was immediately welcomed with no barriers or questions about who I was etc. I met a delightful chap called Stephen who was with his French wife so my wife and his had a good conversation.

He told me that there were many local festivals and events. There is a Food and Drink Festival in April and a music festival in July. Their literary festival had been going for about eight years and most of the events were sold out.  He also mentioned the librarian, a person called Jane, and said that I should go and introduce myself to her. This town is small enough that everybody knows everybody else so there is really no need for anybody to be lonely with the possible exception of the housebound older people  who cannot get out and about as much as they would like.  The population of this town was 6,575 in 2012 so let’s guess at 7000. Maybe this is the ideal size for an organic unit. It does help that there is money around.

what a good idea and how simple

I love rolling out ideas. This is a great idea with do-it-yourself tea and coffee offered in the library but it would only work in an area with a smaller throughput otherwise there would be lots of cuts which would need to be washed and the place could become messy.

We met the said Jane and she was a veritable dictionary of information. I understand that she helps people to borrow the right book. She loved her job and loved people and this came across loud and clear.  We chatted for 15 min, during which she dropped her papers three times and picked up but was not bothered. The Stephen with whom I spoke it said that he does not keep books at home but every time he goes into the library, he finds the next one with his name on it so to speak in the ‘recently returned’ section. I told him about my incurable bibliophilia and my great difficulty of throwing any books away.

*****

I Skyped with my friend in Cyprus who is a therapist. She is trying to recruit people for her forthcoming workshop and is trying a new idea, ‘bring your friend for a discount’. She thinks that some people are shy coming to a workshop on their own. she says that this idea has worked in the past, so why not.