Getting married in New Orleans


In spite of all the depressing fear-making material about the coronavirus, the dreadful weather, nonsense about climate change (the climate is always changing!) each day is a new day full of potential. My only problem is that when the sun comes out, the light is very bright and I’m going to have to start wearing dark glasses and we are barely into March.

Wetherspoon’s is a lively place at the best of times with the usual weekend  morning formula of noisy families, screaming children, hard drinkers having their nine o’clock pint, and the usual comings and goings of those trying to find the best seats,  I have got my order down to a fine art. “50, traditional, coffee” is all I need to say, and all I do say – with a smile I should add.  50 is table 50, ‘traditional’ equals traditional breakfast and ‘coffee’ is of course coffee.  I always swipe by credit card. I’m given an empty cup and off we go. The meal arrives within five minutes or so. I am in and out within 20 minutes if I don’t want to linger.

Next we decided to go to the local farm shop.  Françoise bought some spring flowers and I bought a bag of my favourite Maris Piper potatoes.  I have never done very well with potatoes and for what I paid, three pounds 99, I could have just as much value from the supermarket but at least if I grow my own I will know that they have not been sprayed with chemicals.

Off to Midsomer quilting.  This is a famous centre of quilting with a worldwide reputation.  Chris, the ebullient owner, says that 200 people are coming from Texas in June and they have had the wisdom to come in groups of fifty over four days.  Françoise took the time to buy small pieces of this and that while I sat at the communal social table, drunk the coffee provided with the obligatory chocolate biscuit, and have a chat with a couple who had arrived from a village south of Shepton Mallett.

We started to chat and one thing led to another. Apparently it was his third marriage and her second.  They got married in New Orleans of all places, with the marriage travel arrangements by Kuoni Travel.  Evidently not everything went to plan because when they arrived at the hotel, the hotel had no record of them.  The wife-to-be collapsed in a heap as she had been travelling for 12 hours and was exhausted so the receptionist took pity on them and found another place for them to lay their heads.

They guess that they had been ‘bumped’ because in the case of high paying delegates to professional conferences normal visitors are just deleted.  In a new hotel in the French Quarter, they had to live out of a suitcase for 10 days because such was the booking level that they could not stay in the same room. They had nothing but praise for the people who make the efforts for them. The travel company eventually agreed to pay their expenses and it was interesting that in this case the husband refused to pay direct and have the payments refunded because he had already paid the companies are why should he pay again.  I said to them that such that sometimes you have to be a stranger to your own nature which is to be a nasty piece of work and they agreed.

Whilst walking around, Françoise make contact with someone who works for CAP – Christian action on poverty.  This is a charity to which I donate. I was upset that I could not see her although we could have turned back.  However, the lady concerned gave Françoise her name and phone number and said that if we ever visited Bristol we would be welcome to come and see her. We may well do this because I have a high regard for the CAP and the non-compromising working for Christ which they display in the literature and in their example which is impressive.

Hail, rain and bright sunshine is the order of the day. Unfortunately, my eyes cannot tolerate the bright sun so I must wear dark glasses if I’m to be outside. I don’t know whether this is a side-effect of macular degeneration, my age, or other factors about which I know nothing but anyway that’s the way it has to be.

The chances of catching the coronavirus are vanishingly small never mind dying from it. See the enclosed chart published today by the BBC (scroll down). The highest death rate is for the over 80’s which comes in at 15% and that’s if you catch the virus in the first place. See further video. EXCELLENT.




Greta comes to town – my childhood


Earlier this week, the George Soros funded and programmed Greta Thunberg announced by text that she was coming over to UK to relate to the kids and take part in what turned out to be a march culminating in a speech at Palace Green in Bristol.  When I heard about it, I prayed for bad weather to keep the numbers down because I hate seeing attempted brainwashing by this ignorant girl who has no idea about anything and speaking to impressionable youngsters instilling fear into them. In the event there were 30,000 people mostly youngsters.

The police in their wisdom decided to close off the centre of the town to traffic fearing that the crowds would cause danger through crushing.

The rain started at about seven o’clock this morning.  It rained so hard that when I went to pick up my newspaper from the front door, half of it was sodden so I had to spend 10 minutes ironing the pages dry.

Greta was on mainstream media TV, not unsurprisingly, and told us that ‘the world was on fire and that we had no alternative but to do something’, we are coming to get you etc. The children who had taken a day off from school were lapping it up.  The adults watching the show had that particular curious grin on their faces showing that they were totally hypnotised, believers etc. “I think she was wonderful” etc.  This Climate Change has truly entered into a post-scientific post logical indeed post brain phase and is now like a religious cult.  If I were to ask these people to explain the Middle Ages warming period or the Roman warming period they wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

I don’t know how many people actually believe what she is saying.  My guess is mostly the impressionable youngsters.  The 30,000 people made a great impression on the grass of College Green in Bristol.  I wonder how long that will take to recover.  With the rain and a little bit of heat a couple of months

I try to maintain a neutral view and tell people to listen to Piers Corbyn or Lord Monkton ( I know I’ve said this before but I’m saying it again) and they would realise – if they choose to think – that the whole thing is based on nonsense, a con designed to scare us all. You might as well try to take action against the sun as to change the climate through flying less or burning of coal.  It does make me dispirited if not depressed.


This evening we went to a poetry reading session at Paulton church. I had a chat with the verger and he told me that the new vicar who is coming at the end of April and has six children is going to convert the garage into another bedroom.  He also wants to put a video screen up in the chancel to give talks and so on. There were about 20 others and each one of us read some poetry or a story that was important to us including excerpts from “the prophet” by Kahlil Gibran.  I read an excerpt from my diary of a youth hostel holiday from London to Dover in the summer of 1960.  It was amazing how fundamentally the social mores and expectations have changed.

I recorded that I had a roast meal for 3 and 6 pence.  That’s equivalent to about 16 pence in today’s money – 20 cents in USA.  It was a very nostalgic evening.  I feel that the best entertainment is home entertainment.  You can’t beat simple fellowship.  All the ‘likes’ in the world cannot compete with human companionship, the gentle touch of a hand, a smile, having someone wish you all the best. We had a very good supply of tea, coffee, bread and cheese, and lovely chocolate cake squares.

Little did I know that the diary I started when I was 12 would be continued 60 years later.   Samuel Pepys diary was kept for about 10 years.  He stopped because he was worried about losing his eyesight.  I have been writing my diaries for three years now, I wonder how much longer I will go on.  I have no incentive to stop and it has become part of my end of day routine.

Petty shop theft – what to do?


You might be aware that shoplifting costs an estimated £335 million to the UK economy. I don’t do that much shopping in department stores but I was at Lidl today when a woman right in front of me reached over to the little temptation alley, the area by the till where they offer you all sorts of things you forgot you needed, and put it in her pocket.

She had a suspicious smile on her face, more like a smirk, and when I saw her prior to the action I took an instant dislike to her. I was right next to her and I saw the action from beginning to end.  As my readers will be aware, I keep a sharp eye out at all times for anything that happens.  Since I had never seen this sort of thing before I was in a state of mild shock, or disbelief, and before I knew where I was they had moved off and I had moved forward.  The assistant was preoccupied at the till and did not notice.

If this happens again, what would I do? In this unlikely event I would speak to the person in a loud voice and if I got resistance I would get the till operator to call the manager.  I don’t think I would be physically assaulted since there would be many witnesses in the queue but I don’t really see why people should get away with this because we all have to pay for it.  Her appearance, and she was with her husband, showed me quite clearly that she could have paid but she it seemed to think it rather amusing.

I can imagine that most people would have a problem speaking out, but I have no such problems.  I do not like dishonesty in any manner shape or form and I will make my views known in no uncertain terms.

Our Civil Partnership application


Françoise and myself have as we used to say been ‘living in sin’ for the last 10 years. Now is the time to become regularised which we are going to do through a Civil Partnership. Until recently, these used to be only available to people of the same sex but now this procedure is available to anyone as an alternative to a church marriage.  For those thinking of it, we will be walking you through the procedure from beginning to end.  First of all you have to show that you are entitled to enter into such relationship.  I had to show that I had been divorced.  Although that was 30 years ago, it is still relevant in law.

The interview took about 40 min with us both in attendance and was not formidable.  I only made telephone contact yesterday morning to make the appointment and I got a slot at 1:40 PM today.  You have to bring along passports, notification of where we live.  In our case we live at the same address. We needed to show utility bills etc. I imagine we were among the more straightforward cases.  After the application has to be approved, and a notice is posted in the Town Hall, in this case Bath. After 28 days we are authorised to apply to have the actual ceremony which has varying degrees of ceremonial attached to it depending upon the number of people you want to invite. We did our grand ceremonial at Chalice Well some years ago so no need to do that again.

We are interested in the ‘economy version’ you could say where we confirm our details in front of two witnesses.  You can decide if you want to say something or whether you just want to complete the formalities without any speech or ceremony at all.  We paid 35 pounds each to apply. There will be a fee of 46 pounds to register for the actual ceremony, and 12 pounds each to get a certificate.  We are then known officially as man and wife.  This is a relief because if one of us predeceases the other, the fact that we have been living together is irrelevant in the eyes of the law and the money will go to the family of one as if the partner did not exist.  I know that is a crude way of summarising the situation but in a marriage or civil partnership it’s all set in stone and the law is clear.


One thing my wife, Françoise, will not tolerate is waste of flowers that have any life in them.  She spotted them on a bonfire when we went for the coffee morning yesterday and rescued them.  There are so many aspects to our throwaway society and this is one of the more unlovely ones.

The grass is growing as it does when the temperature is above 8 to 10° so I went to do a small mowing job and on my way back stopped off at “The Hub” in Paulton which is a library doubling as an information bureau, Internet cafe, and a small restaurant that does breakfasts and light lunches. I had a decent nine-item breakfast with coffee for five pounds so that’s not bad at all.  It’s about the same as I would pay at Wetherspoon’s.  Pity about the instant coffee but we can’t have everything.

The image above shows a daily gathering of people who turn up at the aforesaid Hub about 10 o’clock each day.  It is in effect a small social group that meets just to be with someone, pass the time of day and read the papers.  I feel that some people’s social requirements are simple but would ideally not fall below a minimum standard and talking to one person per day is probably that minimum.

Why do I write this diary?


With coming up to 900 entries – actually 894 and  640,400 words (587,287 words in War and Peace) this has definitely become a habit, very unusual as a discipline for a Gemini, for ever looking for new stimuli.

I can give a number of reasons or perhaps rationalizations why I write.

# it’s a very good way of venting emotions
# it’s a good way to emotionally stabilise myself
# writing down how I feel helps me to come to terms with my feelings
# writing helps my mind stay organised
# being obliged to express myself at the end of each day makes me think more clearly about what I experienced
# writing is a good test for honesty and candidness
# if I need a memory revived I can go back to it and relive it
# sometimes I can say in words what I find it difficult to speak out
# writing is a good end of day routine to calm yourself before bed
# writing is a good way of being a testbed for new ideas, putting the mountains seeing what people think
# writing is a good way of telling your friends and acquaintances what you were up to should they choose to visit.

Samuel Pepys’ diaries were very useful because very few people went to the trouble of making daily diaries in a time before the Internet and indeed before newspapers.  I regard my diaries as works of art.  I write for the sake of writing irrespective of the benefits because I enjoy manifesting the diary and making an accurate record of my daily life be it interesting to others or not.


At my church is coffee morning, it was pancake day served with great enthusiasm by one of the choir members.  About 20 of us gathered in quite a small back room.  I do find the level of noise disturbing after a certain point.  It is when I have to shout, or cannot hear what people are saying, that the pleasure of the event tends to diminish. I always meet the unexpected and I met a chap who is a volunteer driver for a local company called Swan who take people to hospitals or to appointments when they cannot manage it for themselves.  I decided to take the bull by the horns and went along to their office and met the very agreeable Sarah who explained the ins and outs of this commitment. I must get 2 references and be cleared by the government for doing this but I think I will give it a go


Françoise had a friend around this afternoon and they did some meditation in our library.  I entered after they had done this and found that the atmosphere of the room was very enhanced and purified.  This reminds me again of our intention to offer our place for weekends to help people who need relief from stress.  I must get round to it sometime but my lack of ability to deal with social media is I  must say a handicap or a perceived handicap anyway.


Today I finally decided to go and apply for a Civil Partnership.  We are not officially married at the moment so if one of us were to predecease the other, the remaining person would not get the proceeds but it would go to the family of the deceased.  Surprisingly, I got an appointment the next day.  You have to show documents that you are who you say you are and if you have been divorced as I have you have to show a document of divorce, decree absolute it’s called.


My goodness, the weather continues with the wind and rain.  Snow is forecast for Saturday.  I’m trying to get one or two gardening jobs done but no sooner do I think about it than along comes another rain shower.  Thank goodness we are not in the gardening season.

A fugitive of themselves – face to face discussion


This is the person I referred to a few days ago in my diary, the person who drinks an estimated 40 pints per week. The time is 10 o’clock and the place is Wetherspoon’s. This time they don’t have anyone with them.

This evening I went to my men’s group, this time held in a traditional cottage in Coleford which is somewhat South of Radstock. There was no particular subject for the evening except the leader asking how to spread the word and encourage people to talk about their faith. It is very interesting how little it takes to start a conversation that can last up to 2 hours or longer. Tuning into people takes time and if there are moments of silence it is because people are gearing their minds to a new topic and withdrawing from the cares of the day insofar as they are able.

We feel best way of spreading the gospel is to embody it in us, as a representative of the light of God and listen to people and listen out for them whatever space they are in. We cannot expect anyone to trust us instantly but they need to hear something in our voice that they can trust. Only then will they open up.

Some of the men who speak to people in the street have found that youngsters are more open to hear about religious things. Maybe they are more confused and insecure and are looking for something to believe in.

It was a lovely moonlit night as I drove back from the event. For once there was no rain and the wind had died down but we are in for more rain on Tuesday and Thursday and a touch of snow on Saturday. Will this inclement weather never end?

PS I heard on the news that the campaigner Greta Thunberg is going to be speaking on Friday in Bristol . I would go but they will not allow discussion so more brainwashing and mis-information there will be in spades. See my site and watch some of the videos.

Peace and laziness


Do the two go together? Sometimes. I have been very lazy yesterday and today and making some plans for our forthcoming London visit.  Meanwhile, in spite of the wind and rain or perhaps because of it, our darkness slowly springing into lifeFrogs always come back to the same place to spawn and they were undeterred by the netting that covers the pond to stop birds eating the gold fish.

Humble though our garden is, it has many delights and reminds us of what we take for granted so often – the miracle of life.

I watched an animal program today where a young giraffe was being born.  It lay for a moment, stood up and wandered around and in a few minutes was suckling the estrogenous  milk from its mother. I find it amazing that this is all built in to what we call ‘instinct’.

As you sow, so you will reap. it looks like the recent virus is actually a developed bio weapon in the wild – accident or experiment with humanity we shall probably never know.  See the footnote to a previous entry for the two relevant documents. Poor old people of Lombardy and Veneto, Italy not being able to come and go.

The river Severn ‘slightly enlarged’


So off we go on the coach after our four night stay in the Britannia Hotel, Leeds Bradford.  Our trip from Yorkshire to Bath was quite long; we left at 9:25 AM in the morning and arrived at four o’clock in the afternoon at Bath coach station. That is with some statutory breaks on the coach – from the drivers point of view. I know it sounds a long time but it passes quite quickly and we were at a stage when we had a laugh and joke with other passengers.

Most of the time, you can’t even see that there is any flood damage.  The main damage is in the estuaries of rivers where the water backs up and it is a sad sight to behold.  Unfortunately, properties including businesses are not able to be insured for flooding due to the number of incidents.  I heard on the radio this morning a chap who was providing shirts for the six Nations rugby.  He kept his supplies in the basement and during the night the floods came in and wiped out the whole lot.

My dislike of service stations continues with the one glorious exception mentioned above.  The picture above is not fully focused but basically you can buy the latte for a minimum of £3.10.  If you want a little bit more you pay £3.45 and for a slightly larger mug you can pay £3.70  There cannot be more than 20 ml difference or maybe 50 ml but that would only cost pence to produce.

As people left the coach, we said farewell to them and there was quite a bond, albeit temporary, between people who would probably not meet each other again.  We had no disagreements, no unpleasantness, and everyone realised they had to be on their best behaviour if they were to be accepted so if anyone is thinking of going on a coach tour please bear the above points, and those made elsewhere, in mind.


A day doing ‘nothing’


Existentially, it is not possible to do nothing because you exist and that is a full-time job in itself.  I slumped in front of the TV whilst Françoise went and had a long swim in the pool.  We went for a walk at lunchtime to an adjacent village and found a bakery, community centre.  Everyone who entered the shop was known, and it was in order to wait while they had a little chat and gossip and an update.  The atmosphere was delightful.

Back to base.  Winter is not an attractive season but the hotel is prepared for the wedding season and here is an example of a ‘photographic spot’.

Incidentally, I was amused that on my toilet, the one in our room, they found it necessary to explain for the intellectually challenged this was for the use of both sexes.  Is this another example of Political Correctness gone mad?On that lavatorial note, I will sign off the diary for today.


coach tour part 2 – Skipton and Grassington


Skipton market must be wonderful in the summer but this was off-season and there were a few bedraggled stalls selling stones and miscellaneous knickknacks. We had about three hours here so again decided on a grand walk around. I popped into a local store and bought an excellent pair of corduroy trousers for 18 pounds, and 40 batteries, AAA, and AA for two pounds.

We went into the local church for tea and cake and found a very lovingly preserved and active historic church which evidently started off by being a medieval church in the 11th century. We lingered there a long time because of the atmosphere.

a lavishly stocked up children’s Corner for use by kids during the service
not prayers asking for something but for giving thanks. That makes a nice change

On to Grassington.  I’m sure the Yorkshire Moors look absolutely great but there was too much fog to really appreciate the weather and the rain was coming and going but we didn’t let that bother us.  Some people even stayed on the coach.  Françoise and myself went around and whilst munching on a pie spotted something unique.

This car was custom-built, one-of-a-kind, and cost well in excess of £250,000 according to the owner. It had no marque that I could identify.

Off through the grey skies and back to base to wait for the happy hour 6 PM to 9 PM. I thought the times allowed for the day tours themselves were inadequate but actually after 5 hours we had had enough (10 AM to 3 PM).  During the times we are waiting for things to happen, there is quite a lot of opportunity to get to know our fellow travellers.  There is one lady who loves knitting indeed I have never seen her not knitting except when actually eating a meal.  She’s knitting clothes for charity and does about three bonnets each day.  Her long-suffering husband has clearing given up trying to wean her off her habit.

coach tours – a day in York UK


Though some years, in fact for most of my life, I was skeptical or perhaps cynical about coach trips never mind tours. I suppose years of traveling by National Express, bus instead of the train, partly broke down my prejudices but I had to do an actual coach tour to see what it was all about. The population of coach tours are pretty much standard so far as I can see, normally fairly senior people, normally in couples with one or two single people along for the companionship. Working professionals with children do not choose this route. I estimate that 90% of the people traveling are retirees. Of those, quite a number have a sense of humor, get on well together, and just like the idea of doing things on the cheap. Many cannot drive so the idea of being driven around is appealing.

If a company chooses a resort for you would probably means that it’s got a reasonable reputation so you are protected from being exploited at least to a certain extent. I find if there is one joker on the bus, it is infectious and everyone has a laugh at one time or another. An additional factor is that people like laughing at themselves and mercilessly tease people who are late. They do far more effective job than the tour guide. With these thoughts in mind, we scramble on the coach and off we go.

Yes, there are loos either in one corner or buried under a seat half way down the coach by the middle, though you have to be an athlete to use one.



We left Leeds at 10 AM and arrived at York about 11 o’clock and were dropped off near the station not far from where this picture was taken.

water and flooding seems to have a fascination for people. I’m fascinated by tides
I don’t expect you to be able to read all this but within the red square there’s a couple of days worth of things to do.

It’s amazing how in addition to the flooded by water, flooded by tourists is how I see it and all I can say is if you go in the main tourist season it must be absolute hell.  Remember, this is mid-February with rain threatening. The local authority and the businesses have figured it all out and make sure they get every last penny out of the tourists. I would say that York and Harrogate are the two main moneymakers in Yorkshire. I had plans to go to the railway museum, this or that art Gallery, but realise that in the 4 hours 15 minutes allowed we might sensibly just enjoy ourselves and walk around.

There’s an awful lot to see within a brief circumference. Historic York probably encompasses about 4 mi.² and it is chock-a-block full of historic buildings as the pictures will show.

a wonderful toy which does absolutely everything. I want one

We were tempted to go into the city art gallery but noticed that the queues were very long and this was because a tax-free donation was included in every ticket and people in addition to paying have to give their names and addresses.

We were about number 10 in the queue so decided to give that a miss. A tall dour Yorkshireman gave me a lecture on not using the letter H. Hence ‘uddersfield, ‘ull, and the like. Yorkshire people have a great sense of humor and will chat to anyone given half a chance so you can say we had a lot of free entertainment. One of the best bits was walking along the old wall which goes on for over 2 1/2 miles and takes an hour. I believe the original wall was built around 71 A.D. when the Romans erected a fort occupying about 50 acres in total near the banks of the River Ouse.

Queues for Betty’s tearoom where you can have high tea from, apparently, nine o’clock in the morning for the princely sum of £19.95. The queues in the summer must be round the block
a pop-up Viking exhibition full of period in people costume doing things.
York receives visitors from all over Europe if not the world. This is a warning sign in the main station

When I return, I will go and see the railway museum which is a ‘must’ and one of the leading ones in the country, Swindon being the other example, if not Europe.

I will also take my time and walk around the wall itself. We do have a unique history of railway development and it is well worth a view.  Allow 3 to 4 hours to get the most out of it.

We were due to assemble in the coach at 3:15 PM.  Most of us did except to people.  The driver waited until 330 and then off we went.  We never discovered what kept the couple from boarding but they had to make their own way home.  As with ships, you keep to the rules, never be late.

A motorway service station up with the best


So, an early rise in order to pack and do all the little things you have to do to close down a house before you leave. We found our feeder coach near to Bath bus station without much difficulty and left on time, picking up from various obscure points on our way to Gloucester where we met the main coach that came  from Cornwall.  Evidently the coach started at 5:15 AM so that was definitely a long trip for those coming from such a long distance.

This was the time of the floods, particularly the Severn estuary so in a voyeuristic fashion we played ‘spot the flood’.  95% of the countryside was wet but not flooded, its the area Worcester, Gloucester and later we were to find York, that suffered the most.

a restful outdoor area very good for relaxing but only in the warmer weather I would imagine See service station below.

We stopped at the most delightful and refreshing pickup point I have ever encountered, the Gloucester service station. .  To save me repeating myself I refer you to my Trip Advisor review of the same.  Someone had the bright idea of abandoning the usual franchise formula of which I’m so sick,  and designing a health food restaurant environment together with a health food shop.  It really is worth knowing about and stopping off at if you are on the M5. GL4 0DN

We arrived at our destination hub for the four nights, the Britannia Leeds Bradford airport hotel and settled in after quite a long journey, about seven hours.  When I arrive I like to arrange all my clothes in a tidy fashion so I know where everything is. If I have a complaint – which I didn’t this time – I find the best thing is to refrain from unpacking and go straight back to reception asking for a room change.  Normally you get one..

‘Seedy Sunday’ plant swap


Storm Dennis has abated and the winds are light and the sky is blue. I like the recent comment on Facebook by ‘Annie Dieu Le Vent’ (must be a made-up name) who said

Lots of fuss about Storm Dennis. Seems pretty small beer, really, for someone who lived in Sevenoaks during the Great Storm of 1987, with the house shaking all night, and then emerging bleary-eyed in the morning to find that half the trees in the town were felled by it, including six of the famous seven oaks on the Vine. You couldn’t get to the shops for huge tree trunks across the roads, there was no telly signal, the phone lines were down, and a massive, thick metal girder was impaled in the garage door that had flown there overnight from a building site across the road, like an arrow from a crossbow.

Wellow is a village of about 500 people fairly high up in the socio-economic scheme of things, one of these very old villages which is within a short commuting distance to Bath and to a somewhat lesser extent to Bristol.

Seedy Sunday  is an annual event which was held today between 1 PM and 4 PM. at the village hall.  People dribbled in in spite of the rainy weather.  It was actually on the back phase of Dennis the storm as by 2:30 PM the winds and rain had ceased.

This is one of these communities where everybody knows everybody else but also welcoming to unfamiliar faces and before we knew it we were chatting to people.  One person who lived nearby at Shoscombe said I should definitely visit the Tuckers Grave Inn, noted for its cider and for its delicious local pies.

I was attracted to the offering of coffee and cakes. At £1 a splice and 50p a drink you cant go far wrong. ALL the cakes were home made. I got no ‘repeating’ AKA vomiting which I do if there are chemicals in the cake.

We met a lady who is an environmental specialist as well as works supervisor connected with the National Trust and we had a lively conversation on climate change.  She was born in Rhodesia and has lived in various other countries before settling here in Wellow and renting. The system allows her to work from home.  Lucky her. We had in common our interest in writing styles and how to engage the audience and hook their interest. A delight to meet her.

I always take notice of noticeboards and I find this wrigglers playgroup quite sweet. There is no doubt, this unpretentious village hall is very well used
a labour of love.

Our visit was cut slightly short because down one end of the room there was a man with a rather large and noisy drill making half inch holes in blocks of wood. Interestingly these holes were being drilled to accommodate pugs of shiitake mushrooms.  I don’t think he was aware of the noise he was making but it may be difficult for me to listen to the conversation of adjacent people but never mind. I had a word with the lady at the door but there was nothing much that she could do and attributed his presence in the room to the fact that it was raining and he could not work outside.


A complete change of subject.  Make of this what you will. The writer has retracted it we think under pressure. Its about the coronavirus crisis.

If you think that is far-fetched, check out ‘Professor Frances Boyle Exposes the Bioweapons Origins of the CoVid-19 Coronavirus’

and another one ‘The World is running out of Time’ by Dr Sircus

Making a contribution to the world


I would like to quote from a conversation recorded in Cambridge between Sir Roger Scrutton and Jordan Peterson in 2018, you can see the video yourself but I quote from the last few minutes – Jordan’s thoughts about making a contribution.

We could concentrate on building the future as opposed to criticizing the past. It is necessary to de-compose to reconstruct. Those acts cannot be separated. Decomposition is necessary for the reconstruction. Start on whatever scale you can start on, what is in front of them because there is more in front of them than they think. These small places that people can call their own even if its only their room. You can start to do something creative and beautiful there. I have suggested to people that they start by putting their room in order and that implies a purpose.

Your room is somewhere that you exist, its a place that surrounds you, that tells you how to be. Put it in order so that at least it is not screaming chaos at you in a soul destroying manner. Make it pristine and orderly in a fashion that suits what you are aiming at – so have an aim. Make it beautiful and worthwhile to make it participate in that transcendence … for your future self which is also others’.

This idea of the fad of self gratification which is an antidote to nihilism – or take your pleasure in the moment – does not even work for you because you are stuck with ‘you tomorrow’, next week. So, even to treat yourself properly is to treat yourself as part of an ongoing community but I would say you (make a) start in the world if you have some wisdom and some humility  by taking the potential that lies dormant in front of you and interacting with it in a logos like manner with truth and with love, and transforming that potential into whatever you can create out of what is good. It wont be small if you do that.

You can transform your whole household by transforming your room.  You can transform your whole neighborhood by transforming your house.  These things spread very rapidly and that is right there in front of you. People think they are impoverished now, that they don’t have any opportunity but the opportunities are hidden from them by their unwillingness to take the steps that are necessary to put what they could put in front of them (their focus)  in order and to produce the beauty instead of the ugliness where they could do that.

I don’t think there is anything more powerful than that. That works …. people talk to me on the street and say  “my life was in terrible disorder. I had no vision. I was not biding by the truth. My relationships were fragmented. I have started to make something of myself, whatever that might be. I am taking more responsibilities – things are incomparably better”. That is there for everyone to take regardless of your circumstances.  I know that there are some people appear to have larger opportunities and more in front of them than others but it (merely) makes their commensurate moral responsibility all the greater. So there is a certain balancing that is the natural consequence of that….


It would be most unusual but highly commendable if we could think of a way that society needs to be changed, activate the means to get it into motion, and see it coming to completion all within the space of one lifetime.

I frequently ask myself, “what can one person do?”  The point is that a pebble cannot see the waves it generates when thrown into water and we just don’t know what we start off in the minds of other people or even if we encourage them a little bit along another path entirely.  In this day of mass minds, how important it is to show that you are thinking out of the box.  Indeed I would say that no thinking can happen within the box because we are confined.  Also we may be part of a chain, unbeknownst to us, and we will only see much later – if at all in this life.

Most people who work for organisations, media and otherwise, are contained within a box or cage because if they do not follow the company ethos they are fired and thus their means of living had been taken away. In my fields, you get more truth out of independent researchers or people who are retired.

I recognise that I’m very fortunate to be articulate, have time on my hands, and be able to follow my own beliefs.

Apart from this diary, I do campaign for the abolition or at least the testing of 5G, the abolition smart meters, the dismantling of this fake science relating to so-called climate change.  Even the word ‘climate change’ annoys me because of course the climate changes all the time. Once the powers that be decide that something is truth then as Goebbels said if you repeat a lie often enough people start to believe it and this is the case here.

I do not know why I carry on.  I think it is part anger, part frustration, part because I don’t want to be part of the stream of common consciousness which as far as I’m concerned is going down the tubes. Actions also keep my mind very firmly in gear because as they say “use it or lose it” and campaigning seems to be as good a way as any.

Even the act of writing this diary I find stimulating.  I’m living not only for myself but for the hopeful enrichment of others with whom I share my experience.  I know that some of my diary entries are trivial but as with Samuel Pepys,if they happen they go into the diary.  I suppose when I die, the diaries will disappear along with the streams of data that make up the Internet sphere but in so far as I have somehow change the lives of other people no matter in what manner, it will have some eternal value.

The wind continues to blow and bluster.  The city of York, where I’m going next week, have been buttressing itself against the possibility of another flood which I understand happens quite frequently. We shall see and time will tell.

Good food spoiled by bad service – TA review


NB ‘TA’ stands for Trip Advisor. You will see my review here when it arrives.

We arrived today, Valentine’s Day, at the Old Station Inn, Hallatrow, at lunchtime, 1pm to be precise,  to find an empty restaurant. There was a lady behind the bar – she sounded Irish – and when I said I made a booking she looked at me as if I was like something from outer space. Eventually she roused her mind to give me an answer and asked me if I wanted to sit inside the main pub or whether I wanted to sit in the adjoining railway carriage.

I asked her if it was warmer in the pub or the carriage and she said ‘much warmer in the carriage’ but there was no sense of emotional involvement, enthusiasm, or anything.

We were sat at a table and given the menu. She asked us whether we wanted drinks whilst we were taking off our coats and even before we sat down. She bought the drinks and gave us the menu. Some considerable time later she turned up and asked if we were ready to order.

My partner asked for a salmon and I asked for a duck. The food was good 7/10 and there was enough of it. Sometime later after a long pause she came to collect the dishes.

Normally you bring the menu and ask people if they want a sweet course but nothing happened for about 20 min. We then had to get up and get our own menus. We were at the point of going to find her when she turned up, took the order for sweets which turned up about 5 min later.

While my partner went to the toilet I paced around the railway carriage where you get all the old railway photos and she turned up and asked us if we wanted coffee. I said no thank you and she replied ‘when you have finished come to the bar and pay’ almost in the tone as if we were going to walk out without paying.

Bearing in mind it was Valentine’s day and we were trying to be as jolly and positive as possible this really put a damper on things.

My impression is that this person had not been trained as a waiter. When I commented on the food she said ‘I will tell my husband’ so I assume she is the wife of the chef.  Clearly, she does not enjoy her job and frankly does not like people. We shall not be returning there for a meal because there’s plenty of other restaurateurs who do offer cheerful service.

My recommendation to the establishment is that they should find someone who loves serving. It may be that I caught them on an off day when the regular waitress was not there but looking at some of the other opinions I don’t think this is the case.

To be fair to her, there was no one else behind the bar and about half a dozen people in the pub. She could have said this.

To TA readers:  I’m very sorry to have to write this. It is my first review for a year or so adding to the 2,000 plus reviews from 17 countries.

Date of stay: February 2020

PS the cost of the meal for two was £55.30.  It included two large glasses of good quality wine, two mains, two sweets and I reckon the price was about right.  With champagne, coffees, bits and pieces, you could easily spend 100 pounds for two.  However this is an academic statement on my part because I do not intend to go back – if I do it will be to buy a drink for tourist friends so they can see the the amazing retro decor.
you see the base on the left and the shed on the right
It is a windy day today no doubt preparing for the tempest of tomorrow and Sunday.  American readers, I know that this is nothing compared with what you have to put up with – hundred miles an hour wind and so on but we are not used to it so we tend not to bolt things down. Today we passed by the allotments and found that three sheds and structures had been blown down so I must ring the tenants up to tell them.
For six months also I have been waiting on a delinquent lander for company which I invest money with, Folk2Folk, and after six months prevarication they finally got the money from their borrower.  Because I get a higher rates of return on my investment, about 6 1/2%, it is not covered by the bank guarantee people are used to so there is an element of risk.  The person who borrows money does have to give security in the form of buildings so ultimately we would get our money back but it was a bit of a strain. Some of the lenders were quite content to let the company get on with recouping the money but I was not in that category. I remember I wrote a number of enquiry letters.  I make sure though, that they were full of good humour and never a rude word or an insult.  I think the members of staff have got used to me now and we have a mutually respectful relationship – so important this – such relationships are like an elastic band , once it breaks it cannot be repaired.
Anyway the pill has been sweetened by the fact that I got an extra three months interest which as they would say in the East End of London is “a few bob”.  The East End is not what it used to be, it is largely invaded by people from India and Africa and does add a new dimension to the area.  I intend to visit London soon and I shall be wandering up and down the main roads and enjoying the markets with all their colour and flavour.

The satisfaction of gardening


I wrote briefly about the people we saw who wanted us to do their garden.  Today, in spite of sunny periods and showers, we did it.  I think it was worth it just because the husband had had an operation three weeks ago. Our tidying stopped him driving his wife mad with fussing about what should be done in the garden.

We cleared everything up, trimmed the hedge in front to immaculate levels of perfection – although I say so myself – and jet washed the area in front of the garage and the path leading to the garden.  It is worth saying that many people have visits to hospitals because they slip on surfaces that do not look slippy but are in fact covered with a layer of grease which accumulates over the years from petrol fumes and various other distillates in the atmosphere.

I started feeling a bit stiff after two hours of working but then it always happens this way at the beginning of the gardening season.  About June or July I’m fit and ready to go and then my physical fitness slips down after November when there are no more gardening jobs to be done.  I know I should go walking and so on but I find that quite boring for the most part unless the scenery is really interesting. Swimming does not work because there is so much chlorine in the local baths that it stinks.

We are going to be visited by storm David on Saturday and Sunday so this looks like another two days in the house reading and watching TV.

Tomorrow, Friday 14th, is Valentine’s Day and so I will take Françoise out for a lunch At the Old Station Inn, Hallatrow.



A day of thinking – Climate Change (again)


I woke up this morning with a very sore eye.  When I get my monthly injections, sometimes I get away with it and I have no pain but this time I was weeping from my eye and the eyeball itself felt like a marble in my head.  However, as the day progressed, the pain left me and the large floater which had been wandering around my eye dissipated thank goodness.

I’m very lucky that I can fill up any given day without the need for external entertainment by reading, thinking, even dreaming. However, when we have lunch we like to watch TV, not the normal terrestrial or sky TV, but the European Cultural TV channel, ARTE. This is a real class act of a channel and I do hope those of you that can see it to check it out. It is even available free on the Internet to view like on Youtube.  Anyway, I digress.  I was watching a program on anatomical features, an aspect of the skin called fascia.  This is a band or sheet of diaphanous connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilises, encloses and separates muscles and other internal organs.  It is very sensitive to water which is another reason why we should drink regular amounts of water. it has numerous other key features which until recently most practitioners were not interested in.  We learn something new every day.

I had my first serious gardening enquiry of the year, a retired couple who have both been stricken by cancer. One had to have chemical treatment, or chemotherapy as it is called and the other one had to have an operation to remove certain parts of his organs which resulted in the need for a stoma for six months.  As a result, the husband could not engage in his beloved gardening and he was distressed to see it fall into disorder.  I cannot quite understand all his distress because his operation was only three weeks ago and it is winter where – theoretically anyway – not much grows.

It is very difficult to give quotes, as I previously discussed, but I work on the basis of not less than 20 pounds per hour per person so when Françoise and I work together we need to attract 40 pounds per hour. Anyway, we put in for the quote in today and gotten approval so tomorrow we shall be working, the first working day of the year as regards gardening.

I continue to be disgusted by the antics of the Climate Change movement.  There is a new group, formed by an American senator John Podesta, that seeks to marginalise any scientist that disagrees with the theory of man-made climate change.  They are blacklisted by an organisation called the Skeptical Scientist.  When you are on their blacklist you will find it almost impossible to get any sort of job in the scientific community, academic or administrative. This whole Climate Change venture must rate as the biggest con trick in the history of the world and will be used as a power to manipulate whole countries to do what they are told.

Time to do some fortune-telling.  Next Monday is drawing closer and I need to decide what clothes to take when we venture into Yorkshire. It’s going to be ferociously windy on Monday morning when we depart but that’s all part of the fun, what really gets me is rain.  Again, we’ve had sleet and hail today.  However, the long-range weather forecast actually looks quite good because when the bands of bad weather are not coming over we are treated to blue skies and lovely weather. We normally do dowsing to find out when we should time our events.  We find this to be an enormously reliable technique which has not let us down yet so with any luck we should have a good time next week.

Davis Sedgwick has a recently published a new book about the BBC.  He calls it the fake news factory.  I bought it as soon as I heard about it because his previous book was very good.  For some reason, Amazon were not printing reviews.  I did tell him just hold on and see what happens and after a hiatus, my review duly appeared after having been reviewed itself. I don’t think they publish reviews without looking at them especially in view of the subject matter so there we are panic over.

Off to the local gardening club for a talk on no dig gardening.  Unfortunately we had got the date wrong and the woman who greeted us at the door was friendly enough but said she was doing dog training and we were more than welcome to stay.  We declined.

US8.25 million from Mr Abdulla Bin Khalaf Al Otaiba


And here was I, peacefully minding my own business.  No, holding my head in my hands hearing that HS2 is going to get the go-ahead ….. then along comes a solution to my problems, financial ones anyway.

I am Mr Abdulla Bin Khalaf Al Otaiba, I am Bank Branch Manger of
National Bank of Abu-Dhabi
And I want to inform you that an amount of US$16.5 million will be
moved To your Name as the Foreign Business Partner to our late
Deceased customer Mr. Richard Brokav, I need your help to receive this
money as his next of kin as we shall share the money in the ratio of
50%:50%. Each you will receive this amount Through a Bank wire
transfer. Its Real Business Deal.
Please for more Details I need your Data so I can give you more details.

1) Your full name,,,,,,,
2) Your mobile number,,,,,
3) Your country origin,,,,,,,,,
4) Your Office addresses,,,,,,,,,,
5) Your Passport Copy,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I am amazed that some people fall for this.  Millions of pounds are embezzled each year from people with crazy stories that don’t bear any logic.  All the senders need is 0.01% of recipients to respond and they’ve made their money.  The way they work is to ask for a transfer fee in order for you to receive the money, then probably another fee with some fancy name. After that, you will never hear from them again.

To make sure you are not scammed,  check for spelling mistakes, they are a sure giveaway.  You may want to read this article about scams and how bold people are these days.


To my Tuesday morning coffee morning. I turned up bang on 10 o’clock, the official start of the meeting, which was I found already in full swing. There were only four people but they were talking animatedly.  There is no question that there are some people who are natural communicators, I feel it is those who are confident of their own position, and if there are just one in a room, this is enough of a catalyst to get everyone going.  We had a choice of three lovely cakes, and for the first time in my life I was tempted to bake a cake.  The lady who made it says that she uses oil, plain flour, walnuts, grated carrot, mashed bananas, and basically to just mix them all together and pop the in the oven.  She cooks at 160°C. It’s never too late to take up a new hobby . I do all right with my bread, now is the time to experiment with cakes.

My goodness this is ‘weather’. Talk about sunshine and showers.  We had two examples of hail this morning.  I read in the paper that a plane had arrived from New York at Heathrow 80 min early because it was basically blown over the Atlantic by a 200 mile an hour jet stream.  What about the poor planes going the other way.


To Royal United Hospital in Bath for my injection for my macular disease. I had to pay an extra visit because they couldn’t fit me in last week.  During the visit I met a young nurse, a slip of a girl, who had an absolutely brilliant attitude to service and if she goes on she will do very well in life.  She just checked my details and apologised for the fact that she had to go through things again. She was genuinely patient and caring not just mouthing the words. I felt that she reached out and extended to each and every patient.   She remembered my name the first time, came back twice to ask if I wanted tea or coffee, and asked me if I was too cold or too warm and could she close the window.

She had nothing to prove, she just had to manifest what was within.  I made reference to this when she asked me if there was anything more she could do, I responded that she should just be herself and that will do.  She was absolutely fine as she is. She preened herself when she heard this and confirmed that she was aware of this. This can only happen if a person is loved and cared for when young.  Insecure people are such a handful.

it is not a very glamorous thing to ask someone to keep their hands clean so a designer has gone to great effort to make an attractive surround to make people take notice

In the waiting room, I chatted to the lady next to me. From the way she was being spoken to I thought it was her first operation but evidently – no – she was used to it but disliked having it. I told her I felt the same way but the momentary discomfort was more than cancelled out by the fact we were retaining our sight. We discovered that we were both bibliophiles. She goes regularly to the local bookshop; I go regularly to Amazon.

I enjoy having my eye injection.  The only bit I don’t like is when they have to put a plastic sheet over your eye and pin back the eyelashes so they do not interfere with the needle. After cleansing the eye with several doses of iodine, the doctor puts a mark over the parts of the eye that needs to be injected.

Then, the needle goes in; you  get a little psychedelic effect from the liquid spreading through the eye (at £600 a pop you expect something).  That money is American opportunistic pricing for you. The more we need it the more they charge. Because they use anaesthetic there’s just a little tiny prick and that’s all there is to it.  Then they take the dressing off and check the eye by holding up their fingers and asking how many you can see. You then sit up and are given some gel to take which gives ‘relief of sensations of dry eye and other minor eye discomforts’.  You’re supposed to put it on three times a day for three days.  I always joke with the doctor and a nurse and tell them how much I appreciate them.  I told the doctor that my eye felt loved and cared for.

Off to home.  There were the most wonderful inky- black clouds scudding across the sky each containing a whole bomb of rain, hail and even snow.  The next moment, it was blue sky in the fading light – very dramatic.

I decided that tomorrow I will discuss my book buying habits.  I do tend to buy more than I read but that’s a story contained in my next installment.

lashing it down – panic visit to the doctor


We are getting the tail end of the amazing storm that has covered the whole of the United Kingdom with equal degrees of ferocity.  No, that’s not quite true – it is Ireland, the North of Scotland and the south coast of England that has taken the brunt of things but many towns in the Yorkshire Dales have taken a battering. We had some hail this morning and the rain absolutely lashed it down but it passes and then there is blue sky. The wind however remains blowing strongly but in gusts.

This morning I suddenly started to feel cold in my limbs and hastily took my temperature to find it was 31°C. Surely not possible.  I then did a blood pressure reading and found it was 202/104 with a pulse rate of 57. This was concerning, and I got myself a hot water bottle for consolation.  I decided to call the doctor in case there was some systemic problem in my heart.  I called him at 12.30 and got an appointment for 3.20p.m. They did an ECG on me, pulse and blood pressure tests but by the time of the appointment the readings had pretty much calmed down to normal.

Doctor Morris said something quite interesting; that worrying about high blood pressure will often produce further worry so it is a revolving door of worry which we both agreed was not very useful. There was no need for any medication so far as he could see, but as the diagnosis had not been completed that was not a final verdict.  The doctor did not understand the reason for my symptoms but said if they re-occur I should go back.  The visit was good for me because I do tend to worry.

It is just one of those things that I come across the ideal replacement Volvo but it is a long distance away.  I have found one for 500 pounds which is in East Dulwich which is where I used to live in London.  The mileage was good, 91,000 – similar to its erstwhile equivalent that I was not able to buy but who knows I may jump on the coach to London and collect it. ……Later – the sale has ended with 10 bids so unless complete magic happens I probably won’t get it especially with one former keeper which is a big plus. The main thing with an older car is that you’re mainly buying the MOT with a car attached.


Next Monday we are leaving for a five day four night visit to Yorkshire.  This is one of the biggest counties in the UK,  having an area of 11,903 km² with a big influence from Scandinavia in its history. I was born in this county many moons ago.

We have three day tours provided; the first one will go to York for the day, the second one to Harrogate and Knaresborough and the third day to Skipton Market and Grassington. I’m sure this will be more than enough but I always like to squeeze in more and I thought of going to Leeds which I haven’t been to for some years but it really does depend on the weather. On reflection we may not go on the Harrogate leg and spend time on our own in Leeds.  We don’t want to be walking round in the pouring rain and at this time of year you can’t tell – so we will leave it open.

Always have a plan B.   I always finish my plans a few days before I leave rather than feverishly seeking out information the night before.  I found that invariably unseen things crop up and you have to deal with them and you don’t want to start your little holiday frazzled.

We leave by car or taxi  from Bath at 10 AM Monday which means we don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, which is a bonus.  We then join another coach at the Gloucester hub and continue on our way to Leeds. Gloucester is frequently flooded at  this time of year so lets hope there are no hold-ups. It’s difficult to know what to pack.  Do we prepare for the wind, the cold, the rain, or everything.  Probably the latter.  Looking at the map we may get better weather than our house-sitter will get here at home.

An elemental day – wind and rain


One of the wettest places in Europe is Bergen in Norway with an annual rainfall of 2250 mm. By contrast our nearest big city Bristol has about 819 mm of precipitation per year.  It comes in fits and starts.  Today we have both fits and starts.

The wind itself is only about 35 miles an hour but when you combine that with driving rain, it’s not a pleasant environment to be out in.  I went to the dump this morning – pardon – I should say the recycle, a place that is normally rammed full on a Sunday morning but there were only a few people there.  I have a deal with people on my allotment that I will take away their rubbish if they are unable to because they have no car.  As soon as we got out of our car at the allotments we were blasted with an icy shower but it soon stopped after a couple of minutes and we just carried on.  I don’t think I could take such treatment every day.  My preference is to go back to my lair and stay in warmth and comfort. I wonder how workers on the roads fare?

David Sedgwick, who wrote an excellent book on the corruption of news by our BBC here in England, called The Fake News Factory: Tales from BBC – land.  Amazon have not banned the volume out right but when I tried to write a review it did not appear.  Amazon gave Dave a disingenuous excuse that ‘something has gone wrong’. so his reviews could not be published.  I imagine that someone from the BBC had a word with Amazon and since they are so closely connected with corporations around the world, a positive response was gained.  I would love it if the BBC were to actually report Independent News the sort of thing we could get our teeth into and take use it to take part in the day-to-day running of our minds.  Instead, we get disguised propaganda, a travesty of truth in order to keep the public in a somnambulant state.  Heaven forbid the public should actually think.

I went to buy an axe for cutting wood at the local branch of Wickes. At the checkout, there was a little girl who I estimate to be about six presenting three small tins of paint.  The cashier treated her with great respect.  The mother stood proudly over her daughter telling us that someone had given her a dolls house and she was going to repaint it using her own colour choice.  She said that her daughter was going to buy this paint – with her own money.  I found the whole thing very transforming that here was a child actually doing something, a creative activity and not sitting in front of their devices pressing buttons.

I always try to give extra services as chairman of my allotment Association.  I plan a rubbish disposal day when we can either burn or dispose of bits of wood, rotting vegetables and unwanted items which inevitably accumulate.  I might even paint a couple of sheds that are looking rather scruffy at the moment.

The weather Tempest continues as I sit here.  Glimpses of clear blue sky alternating with great gusts of wind and blasts of rain.  I believe it will continue tomorrow sometime and then finally pass.

Try this video (brief) to blow your mind

Does 40 pints of beer per week make an alcoholic?


I went to the butcher this morning to buy some locally produced meat, in this case pork.  I find that supermarket meat is immature and tasteless not to mention full of chemicals.

I will fill you in later with my saga about the Volvo car but I knew that one of the assistants in the butchers, who is also called Brian, is doing up his old Volvo, F registration, and it will be available for sale.  F registration is about 1967 and I find the thought of owning such a car exciting.  I certainly won’t get blasted with electronic circuits. As it is over 40 years old it will be free of road tax.

Brian stopped what he was doing in the butchers and took me round the back and showed me the car in a garage. It had not been driven for three years and they could not get going.  We agreed that I would be first in the queue.  His friend, who has promised to fix it up, only works on Sunday morning so I wont hold my breath, but will talk them seriously when they have received the MOT.  I find ironic that having failed to buy what I thought was the ideal car I now find one on my doorstep. I have until 27 March before my current MOT runs out to find an example.

NB this is NOT the person in question but an image of the glass that she has just replenished.

I followed this by a visit to Wetherspoon’s.  I observed a lady who is frequently to be seen drinking beer at breakfast time, around 9 AM. She seldom drinks less than two  pints.  Later on I saw her at the Radstock workingman’s club refilling her beer. Whenever I arrive I see her drinking. My estimate is that she drinks on average 40 pints of beer a week.  Is she an alcoholic?  She would think of herself as a social drinker but what would happen if she suddenly had to go cold turkey and could not drink any beer.

The official advice is

The new advice says men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week – equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. Pregnant women should not drink at all. It also says if people drink, it should be moderately over three or more days and that some days should be alcohol-free.

So my anonymous friend is on average 3 times over the suggested limit never mind the legal limit. How long does it take before people realise that they ‘have a problem’.

To our allotments where we have two plots. Francoise has dug up the last of the carrots. We found a fine specimen, a triptych no less, but why did it divide into three? We do not have stony ground.

There is a lot of detritus, so I shall organize a ‘recycle day’ for the disposal of all rubbish on the allotments to include sodden and degraded planks of wood, burnable spoil, not so burnable plastic material and anything our 50+ allotment holders wish to dispose of.

Today was the first day that I took advice from my psycho-therapist to distance myself from the evil actions of the world and concentrate on ME-TIME. I have had a great day and for some strange reason and now see the nicer sides of people. What a relief. (see previous entries).

It is now time to batten down the hatches for storm Ciara. 60 mph winds hitting during the night.


The Duchy of Cornwall


We went to a meeting with one of the Midsomer Norton councillors who by chance rents a house from the Duchy of Cornwall.  They evidently own about 350 houses in the area. The tenant had the occasion to ring up because the boiler had ceased to function properly.  A cylinder head had evidently blown.  A firm hired by the Duchy came along and spent four days renewing the entire central heating system including the radiators.

On another occasion they were finding difficulty paying the rent the Prince of Wales has given instructions that no one is ever to be thrown out for not being able to pay.  A representative from the company came along and asked them if they could pay anything.  They said they could pay part so were instructed to pay what they could and then when better times came they could make it up. My wife remarked that if very landlord was like this there would not be the housing problem there is today

I wrote to the local Midsomer Norton Journal about climate change.  Since I did the first time, a veritable storm of letters have been sent to the editor. I tried to point out that the main driver was sun modified by the wobbling of the planet, that carbon dioxide levels have gone up and down since time immemorial and we have still survived; that we should do our own research and not believe anything that is said or spoken.  I think the Climate Changes become a post science religious cult with very little thinking attached.  People who are frightened will do what they’re told and that is the aim of those who wish to make money.  I am most unhappy about children all over the world who are frightened. It is so unnecessary.

I wrote to my fellow allotmenteers reminding them of the tempest on Sunday. My favourite forecasting client is which gives far more information far more graphically than the BBC’s cut down dumbed down version.

Post cramp action – a majestic tree

a majestic tree in the throes of dying. I think how many birds have sought succor in its branches

This morning I went to the doctor to be tested for the propensity for blood clots. Thankfully, the test was negative.  I enjoy meeting my Doctor. He is always full of beans and positive. He tries to involve me with his decision-making as much as possible. He has given up persuading me to take statins which I will only do if I absolutely have to.

In the afternoon I went for a two-hour session to see my acupuncturist, physiotherapist, masseur, and an amazing number of talents and qualifications contained within one person.  Apart from the post-trauma treatment of my leg, we had a discussion about lifestyle and said it was easy to wear yourself out by worrying about one topic especially if you were unable to have any effect. He suggested more contact with nature and said that he encourages some of his clients to hug trees, listen to them, identify with them. He says that if they are too shy to actually hug the tree they can stand with their back to the tree as I see so often when I go to the celebrations at Chalice Well.

I am a ‘duty’ person and feel I ought to be doing things for other people and making the world a better place but it seldom occurs to me to have time for myself, which if you think about it is not selfish, and will ultimately benefit others if I have a full battery. In addition, he recommended daily walks irrespective of length just to keep the body in tone and the blood circulating. That was good for me to hear because I feel guilty if I’m doing nothing ….but actually I am relaxing.

I have accumulated quite a chest full of medications for various purposes in the last five or so years so I took this opportunity of seeing my acupuncturist take them all along and discuss which ones I needed.  There are three categories, those that I need now for my current condition, those that I might need some future occasion and those that are irrelevant. I’m not very disciplined in the taking of pills.  It was very helpful to create a table and what I should be taking and furthermore why. Most of the pills were redundant.  I can’t bring myself to throw them away because you never know, but at least I know what the priorities are which is some sort of relief.

1917 – Swans ringing a bell for food


A lovely sunny morning, and off to Wells this time by bus to see the movie 1917. Before that, we went on a tour of the ever beautiful bishops gardens and herewith follows a pictorial springlike photo gallery. First we enjoyed the lively bird life  around the moat. Swans think they own the place and other birds defer to them.

the birds are most attentive to people eating and any sign of dropping food, let alone offering food is reacted to in a fraction of a second

The allotments in the gardens  must be one of the most sought-after allotments. They are secure because the whole place is closed at night so theft is minimal. Allotmenteers are a delight to talk with.

the water is so pure. You can hardly tell it’s there.

After this happy interlude, we went along to the local cinema to see the film 1917, directed by Sam Mendes. No wonder it had got so many BAFTA awards. It was excellently produced and directed in every way, a visual masterpiece as well as being nail-bitingly exciting from start to finish. IMDB 8.5/10 with 143,671 voting base.

However, during the show, I got cramps in the lower part of my left leg. This happened out of the blue impulses occurring every minute or so. It did not improve on the bus back so I rang 111 to seek medical advice. Based on what I had told them, they sent me off to the local Paulton Hospital who were puzzled and I found myself with a confirmed appointment at the A and E at the Royal United Hospital of Bath.

A confirmed urgent need appointment involves sitting in the same waiting room as everybody else, but there is a separate feed to a doctor because the status of your enquiry is considered to be higher if you are recommended by a professional.    While we were waiting, there was a patient with a very judgemental looking wife. She was continually berating her husband, who had had an injury to his head. At one point he was so exasperated then he said to her through gritted teeth (but everyone could hear him) For God’s sake will you shut up. I was reminded that encouragement is more productive than criticism. The husband was so worn out that he just paced around in frustration. I wonder why they are still married. Maybe big for the reason like many others, that they can’t afford to divorce and have two separate places when the property is divided into two .

There was a concern that I might have a blood clot.  Anyway, we got back home about 11:30 PM  Not quite the day I expected but I lived to tell the tale. We can learn from everything and I’m certainly learning a lot about my own body and the way it must be more disciplined and cherished as you get older.

Without doubt the quote of the day


I must admit I’m a great eavesdropper, and do listen to people’s fragments of conversation. Sometimes I can’t help it. I was on the bus back from my monthly eye examination when the phone rang and someone responded “I’m sorry he’s not here at the moment.” Followed by “he’s not here because he is in jail. Sorry about that.”  I have a memory for useless facts and I can say that that is the first ever time that someone has said that in my hearing. Obviously the person in prison had had his phone calls referred to someone else, the luckless passenger on the bus. I could use my imagination and write a small story about that.

But back to this morning, rising after a sleepless night.  Something important was going on during the night because I felt the need to go outside and stand in the garden in bare feet. There was a lot of electrical-type activity in my lower limbs and I guess I was cleansing myself from something.

Today is our church coffee morning and I decided to go and arrived shortly after 10 AM. There were two people, the server for the day and a member of the choir. The server provides cakes which vary each time depending on what the server of the week decides to make.

This time there were oat slices with raisins, a log cake and to crown it all a Guinness chocolate cake. Much as I like cake, I couldn’t cope with the latter so I settled for the slices. A few people slipped in then along came Doreen, who is one of my favorite ladies for her sheer amount of spirit. We discussed old age and death and she said that things had not got any better after her husband died 12 years ago. I expressed the hope that Francoise and  myself somehow go together as don’t want to be on my own . Of course I could manage if I had to.

Doreen is 80 years of age, so she tells me, but always tries to go for walks to keep herself fit. It is amazing what you can find to talk about when there is a will to communicate. We discussed all sorts of things, including the suitability or lack of it of the previous vicar and the projected suitability of the new vicar who will join us after Easter.  We discussed at length the effect of strokes, the major and minor variety (Doreen had a minor stroke a few weeks ago) and we discussed feelings of dizziness which also occur in me from time to time.

I discussed with the grandmother the young girl of seven or eight years of age who had been allowed to stand with the choir and sing. at communion last Sunday. Evidently she has great natural talent for singing and when I passed her on the way to communion she looked like she was in heaven. I think it is so important to introduce children to good influences particularly meeting people and doing things which help them discover and develop their natural talents.

Off to my eye examination at RUH  in Bath. I had an appointment at 1:10 PM so had time for lunch beforehand, shepherds pie albeit with a bit too much potato and an apple crumble with loads of custard, my favourite combination.

lovely family photograph with such tenderness. This and the other photograph is available for £45 each, which I thought was a great bargain.

Alas I needed another injection this month but there was no vacancy, so I was given another appointment. I cannot remember this non-availability happening before and it is probably due to shortage of staff.

this must have been imported from the old hospital in the centre of Bath

A windy and cold day. When the wind is above a certain speed it just blows through your clothing as if you were not wearing any.


Sitting in on a Council Meeting


It is absolutely ages since I sat in on a full council meeting. I think the last one was about 30 years ago. This one was the Midsomer Norton meeting that happens about three times a year. The reason for my attendance was what I wanted to give a balanced view about climate change, which compares the efforts made locally with recycling, saving energy with the overall dystopian world picture which was some reason I’m very interested in.

The meeting started at 6 PM with a surgery. During this time, anyone can come along and complain about anything and as we arrived about 6:15 there were two people complaining about motorbikes and noise adjacent to the community centre. They were assured that their concerns would be taken into consideration. About four Council members were in the room and we chatted backwards and forwards.

I was asked about how the allotments were going since I am chairman and I was able to report a full house. One of the Councillors offered me a glass greenhouse 6′ x 12′ free of charge. Gosh that will take some moving and could be quite dangerous but I appreciate the thought.

The mayor arrived and from that moment we were subject to the rules of the house which means that being members of the public we could only speak on invitation and had to be quiet and listen when the council was in session. The whole thing was quite good humoured and I found this not too difficult to comply with.

When the time came I gave a three minute talk on the reason why the climate change case was so flawed; I talked about behind-the-scenes financial interests and the compromise of people in scientific positions. I warned in advance that the subject was dreadful and I said I didn’t really want to even have to say it but someone had to. I said that the climate emergency was a fake, and it was unsupported by science. I really don’t know how many people entertained the ideas although they listened to me politely enough.

My remarks were then followed by those of the previous mayor, who said that, irrespective of the science it was necessary to become engaged in any activity that saves energy. We discussed the meaning of carbon neutral and pointed out the difficulty of achieving this in practice. A lady gave a list of local initiatives that were about sharing expertise, trading, bartering, saving energy, saving money and that was exciting to hear.

The committee decided to exclude the use of the term ‘climate emergency’ and chose to name an intended project in terms of active urban renewal.

At this point, we were invited to leave. It wasn’t quite in those terms, more like, “you’re free to go if you wish but you have a right to stay”. A quick look at the rest of the agenda made me realise that it was probably better to go, so back home we went.

I had a very pleasant day or is ‘pleasant’ the right word?   Challenging is probably better. With the aid of an electric chain saw at the end of a 12 foot pole I cut the overenthusiastic growing branches of a plane tree, which is in front of our bungalow.  I stuffed the results in the car. It’s amazing how much you can get in the boot of the car if you cut the branches into little bits. If they are all springy and bouncing around you won’t get much in.

Françoise went to the AgeUK as she does on Mondays. She looks after 15 or 20 older people. They were given advice about what to do if you caught a virus which was to wash your hands frequently, sneeze into your elbow, and one other factor that she has forgotten. That will defeat the virus, no doubt about it. The numbers in China do seem to be clocking up but so far in the United Kingdom, only two confirmed cases out of 350 tested.

There is the initial voting for the Democratic candidate to take on Donald Trump. Both men are in their late 70s and it makes me wonder what has happened to the party where they can find no one in their 60s, 50s, or even 40s. I think it’s moral bankruptcy all-round.

A hiatus in my car purchase


So today was the day when we were going to go to pick up a new car. Well, not new, very second-hand, but new to me. At 7:35 AM I heard my mobile phone ring and stumbled to it through a haze of sleep to have the purchaser tell me that he had not been able to fix insurance from his traders’ car insurance for me to drive the new car home. He told me that he had expected the office to be open on Saturday but it was not, so for some reason he waited until Sunday morning. to give me a call basically telling me not to come. I received an apology but that doesn’t really do it

We then had a lot of to-ing and fro-ing by e-mail in which we discussed whether my car was worth repairing, whether he wanted it in part exchange. If he didn’t, then how he would get back from Midsomer where I live to his base.  The dialogue was fairly good natured but after three or four questions he ended up by saying that I sounded like “a fussy old woman! With respect!”   When people say ‘with respect’ they normally mean without respect and I didn’t appreciate the last comment, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt as his ratings by eBay were good.

Anyway, we have arranged that he will come to my house with the car and drive away with my car for which he will deduct £150 from the sale price

Amazing synchronicity


To the minor injuries clinic this morning at eight o’clock. I have a troublesome toe that does not heal and looks rather red and angry. According to the nurse, my blood sugar levels are regular at 4.5 whatever that means. She suspects that I have early symptoms of chilblains, which is basically due to bad circulation. I must avoid walking round with bare feet and make great attempts to keep my circulation going through exercise. This is where gardening comes in useful but during the winter I don’t have jobs.

I was intrigued by the above poster in the waiting room.  I must discipline myself more in getting a first aid kit together and putting it in my car. If it’s not helpful to me it might be helpful to someone else. Little did I know how relevant this would be for an event that happened three hours later.

Off to Glastonbury for the celebration of the first stirrings of spring, Imbolc it is called. We parked on the street and I came across this excellent example of a Morris thousand, registered in 1970. They have the appellation of extremely long life. They don’t make them like that any more. The dashboard was so primitive, it scarcely had any controls  apart from the speedometer and a couple of lights. I had a nostalgic moment.

On the way to Chalice Well for our celebration, I was distracted by a factory outlet opposite selling shoes and slippers and the like. I have never before been remotely tempted to go there, but this time I had the impulse to visit it.  We were in there for a few minutes when a woman came in calling quite loudly saying that someone had fallen down some steps, quite a lot of blood was gushing from their head and they needed an ambulance. I poked my head out of the factory entrance and although I would not say blood was gushing from him, it was pouring out of his face in some volume.

The owner of the shop came out, duly called an ambulance and was kept on the phone while the operator got as much information as they could. I said I would go to the roadside and direct the ambulance. I could not quite see at the time why I should do this since the ambulance had been given the address but I was soon to find out.  I waited at the roadside, saw an ambulance, and flagged it down. It was slightly strange that it did not stop straightaway but went on and then reversed. They said they were on their way to a child that had fallen.

I told them that I was expecting an ambulance for an old person who had fallen on their head and was bleeding so they decided to abandon their original journey and go along to see what was going on. They spoke to control who agreed someone else would go along to the original caller. The result was that the patient was attended to much earlier than he otherwise would have been. The lesson is – as if I needed to hear it again – that the intuition can be trusted. Even though it doesn’t make sense to the left brain it should still be listened to and respected.

The pair from the ambulance were very good indeed, they had a great sense of humour and just made everyone relax including the people who  were traumatised from seeing the accident in the first place and that included the daughter of the man concerned. It just goes to show that anything can happen at any time to anyone and we should always be on the alert. The wounded man was very complimentary about the high quality of care he received and interestingly, the people who attended to him were on their way to the celebration at chalice well. What better place to have an accident could there be?

I do enjoy these visits very much even though I don’t talk to people an awful lot. Irrespective of whether I take part in the celebration or not, it’s just nice being there It’s a little bubble spiritually, where genuinely nice people meet together. There is a certain type of women who come here. I cannot say they are assertive but I can say they really enjoy being female, enjoying each other’s company and have demonstrable relationships that us men are not so good at doing. I have spoken before about the Goddess centre so just do a search and you’ll see what I think.

It’s lovely to see spring flowers, and the cherry blossom which shows that nature is really waking up now. The weather was lovely and sunny, with a slight wind from the South West and we could see in the distance many people walking up Glastonbury Tor from where I’m sure the view was tremendous.

You are lucky if you get into the adjacent building because it is not often open. It is called the White Spring. . It is described as a natural, calcium – which spring in a Victorian pump house, now a free entry temple and pilgrimage site. If you’re interested in going it is BA6 8BL. The waters of the wells in the area rush across the stone floor.  The tinkling sound of the water combined with the lovely glowing candle lights makes an almost surreal environment, about as far as you can get from the everydayness of consumerism.


To am appointment to see a possible garden job. The chap wanted a hedge cut or so he told me on the phone but in fact it was a division between a back garden in a new housing estate and a field. There were a number of different types of trees that composed the hedge and it was more than 1 meter in depth so making it almost impossible to reach to the back. In addition, I was not able to dispose of the spoil in the field and would have to get it through a narrow gate. Apart from the job,  I did not particularly like the attitude of the man so I ran a mile but did say I would try and find someone to help him.

And so to home, writing this diary and preparing for my trip tomorrow to see my new car. I had to get together £1400 which I did by taking bits out of my accounts every day because there is a limit to what you can take out each day as you probably know.

So, a memorable day and yet another reminder to me of the synchronicity that prevails in the universe. It was the only occasion that I wanted to visit the shoe outlet and we have been coming here for about 10 years now.