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Back on planet earth

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I always write my holiday accounts backward. We arrived back today at about 6 PM after taking the 1:30 PM bus from a semi-deserted Victoria coach Station. There were about 16 of us on the bus, carefully socially distanced. When we arrived at London Heathrow, a Korean man who had got off was looking perplexed. We discovered that someone had taken his case, almost identical to his own, which now sat forlornly on the forecourt.

It is a dilemma for the authorities whether to take charge of the case and wait for someone to claim it and hopefully return the other case but it is possible that they would not discover their mistake till they arrived at their destination. The authorities told the driver to put it on the coach and it would be dealt with like any other lost luggage query. That made us a bit late.

The second event was a chap who overslept and realised that his stopping point was in the rear view mirror so he begged the driver to let him off and fortunately there was a place where this could be done. The whole thing was quite good-natured though.

It is exciting to depart for a place but just as nice to come home again. It was such a relief in a way to get away from seeing so many people wearing masks as they were doing on the subway.

And so to bed.

The day of the Trafalgar Square rally

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We arrived yesterday Friday and had lunch with two very good friends in Waterloo followed by a traipse around London. The single most shocking thing was seeing everyone with masks, meekly submitting to a system about which they had no clue.

In the evening we went for a walk to the top of Primrose Hill and witnessed groups of lively students enjoying the setting sun.

We walked in Camden which is one of the more well heeled areas of London and enjoyed the high quality of street decoration of which this is an example

Saturday Morning

alas, a common sight in London after six months of turmoil

This morning, we are going to attend the rally in Trafalgar Square which is timed to commence at mid day.  We enjoyed going down by the bus and saw all sorts of excellent artworks on the way.

Indeed, the show must go on. Tell that to Boris.

We arrived at Trafalgar Square at about 11:30 and noticed there was some disarray with the sound system. The sound system seems to be fated because they are not powerful enough to reach everybody in the square and we could hardly hear what was being said.

There is no question that by going along you become part of an instant family and can talk to anyone and everyone which we did. The breadth of knowledge of people there is quite extraordinary. It is difficult to tell many people were there but I would guess about 10,000.  The speeches begun but I couldn’t get near enough to hear what was being said so I busied myself going around talking to people and looking at the placards.

There are too many images to place on this web site so I have put them on my sister site. See  some of the better ones.

Basically, the whole event went quite well until three o’clock and then the police started to close in and forcibly disperse the crowd because they decided they were offending the social distancing rule. They were doing this anyway but they waited till the end.

At about three o’clock we went along to the Mall Gallery and enjoy a wonderful selection of very high quality work, samples of which I give below.

Back to the lovely hotel what turned out to be very good nights sleep. It is worth bearing in mind that especially at this time if you don’t like your mum for any reason for example if you think it is noisy or badly positioned you can ask for another one.  Our first one overlooked the petrol station and I asked that it be changed for one overlooking the car park at the back. This is the Premier Ian, Hampstead.

 

 

Mental preparation for going to London for a political rally

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There are always mixed feelings on such occasions. We are going to go along to stand up for what we believe; on the other hand the police have become more brutal and we may well get attacked. From last Saturday’s event I noted that the police charged those who had provoked them. I hope that people have learned from this and will be less aggressive though I have to say that most of the aggression came from the police themselves. Towards the end, another type of police people came along dressed in riot gear and they were the ones who were the real thugs.

As for my mental preparation, I plan as much as I can but I do not over planned because I know that time will fill itself in the way it is meant to be filled. I know I will meet the people I am meant to meet and have conversations that I am meant to have. They say ‘expect the best but plan for the worst’ so there is always plan B in the background.  Thank goodness I’m not flying anywhere. The endless filling in of stupid forms would do my head in.

I am going to take great pride in not wearing a mask. I shall be wearing a lanyard  with a notice saying that I am exempt and that should get me by. when I go into the local high street shops, Sainsbury’s or the chemists, and I don’t have a mask, people don’t give me a second glance. I wonder what it will be like on the London Tube system; I shall look at the proportion of people who are masked compared with those who are not masked.

This time I am going to travel light. I always take more clothes than I need and end up by carrying unused stuff to and fro. We have no formal activities this time so I can dress as I please so it will be more appropriate to have an overnight bag.  I am having 1000 leaflets delivered to the hotel where I’m staying. I hope to meet one or two people afterwards and have a social time but this time I’m really going to engage with people and find out what is going on in their minds and see what I can learn. There are times when I wonder whether my views on Covid in my website make any difference at all but I feel that anything is better than doing nothing and let’s face it the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Today the sun shines but the wind blows from the North and it looks like were going to have temperatures in the low teens so I must dress accordingly. The bus fare for the two of us cost £48 as opposed to £21 last time. Maybe National Express decided that they were charging too little for a return but in any event it is quite a chunk. On the other hand as I mentioned before I’m paying £168 for four nights in London Premier Inn which is about a 60% reduction on what I would have paid, so overall I’m not complaining.

Glastonbury Tor revisited as the autumn equinox is celebrated

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There is nothing like getting your timing right and listening to inspiration. Inspiration has a timed element to it in other words if you get inspired to do something and you say to yourself that you will do it later, things do not work in the way you expect it to. I say, trust the universe.

I went on to People per hour.com last night at about 5pm to find someone to help me design a leaflet for the Trafalgar Square rally on Saturday. There are plenty of people out there particularly in India was prepared to do work for what we think is little money but actually for them is quite a lot.

I found a person called Sarita whose portfolio looked pretty good so I wrote to her last night at about 6 PM enclosing the rough proof of what I wanted. It came back about 2 PM today Tuesday, I sent her a couple of corrections and the final PDF arrived half an hour later. Tomorrow, I will send it off to my overnight printer and it will be at my hotel in London when I arrive.

Seen on the main road in Glastonbury

Today is the autumn equinox and normally we go along to Glastonbury to celebrate this year. Due to you know what, there are no formal celebrations as such. Nevertheless, there were quite a number of people there and we sat round the chalice Well itself for some quietness and meditation. I managed about 5 minutes and then got restless.

Chalice Well itself decorated with autumn flowers and apples.
near the chalice well itself

It was then that I met a lady whom comprise my first meaningful communication. I saw that she had bought a pendulum. I knew she was a novice because I saw her holding it like a teabag and trying to make it swing. I being me went up to her and introduced myself as a dowser of 40 years. I did a reading using her pendulum finding out how she could best apply her talent and found that she was able to diagnose the atmospheres of buildings. I was very glad to be able to encourage her. Later on we met by coincidence in the centre of Glastonbury when I was with Françoise and I gave a further encouragement and gave my card.

It was very pleasant I must admit to be in Chalice Well Gardens with very few people because normally it is crowded. We paid £4.20 to get in; normally they let us in for nothing on special occasions. Knowing about the importance of grounding our energies we walked around in bare feet and spent some time wading in the paddling pool.

Self and Francoise at the top of the Tor

We decided to climb Glastonbury Tor and by the way it is climb for which you need to be physically fit. The way up and the way down is very much like a social club because everyone is on the same wavelength and you could more or less talk to anyone and be guaranteed a friendly greeting in return. Covid was a conversation piece with most people getting bored and desperate with it. I found that people who wore masks, one couple in particular, were alienating themselves from everybody else and if they don’t get mental stress problems I would be very surprised.
Sometimes, Cows are let out and they walk around the building at the top but on this occasion there were only a few sheep on the lower pastures. We met an African-American couple photographing each other and I got the impression that the male photographed his female companion many times so I made a joke saying that if I had 50 p for every time he photographed his friend would I be rich and he laughed knowingly saying yes.

A wonderous display of red berries

Outside the alas closed Womens Centre a wonderful miniature apple tree full of fruit.

Under the mild threat of a rain shower or two we went down to the town and I decided that the best thing for me was a pint of local cider so we went to the King Arthur pub, a wonderful traditional pub just built for Glastonbury and had the most wonderful local cider, fairly sweet, and Françoise had some alcohol free ginger beer. I remember I used to make ginger beer when I was young. Once the top of the bottle blew off under pressure and the whole thing shattered pieces and some of the glass embedded itself into the shelves above and beneath.

The locals amusing themselves
Reminded me of Tibet

There are arcades of the Main Street that are most interesting to tourists who of course had been decimated in recent months. Invention and creativity is the order of the day. You could almost think you were in Greece looking at the picture below.And so back home. Now the evenings will start to draw in.  On the way back, we got in supplies of coal which I note has increased in price. We paid £23 for 60 kg of house coal. We burn a combination of coal and wood so that should last us a bit.

Days merge with each other

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Françoise just had a chat with someone who lives in London. They told her that journeys by bus can take longer because they are changing the architecture of the streets to accommodate more social distancing, all this is based on a lie, how can the government get out of this I wonder.

On Friday I went to see someone who wanted their garden done. Pensioner who met me seemed a little bit fraught but he was grateful enough to see us. It was quite plain that his wife ruled the roost. I gave a quote for the garden but said that the cost of removing the rubbish could not be determined as we were not sure about the volume. On Saturday morning he rang at 8:30 telling us that we should not come and start the work because he wanted the final estimate for the cost of taking away. I told him that I thought it would be between £50 and £100 but could not be certain because we have not started the job. Even got very short with me and started making personal comments about my competence, track record etc and ended up by putting the phone down. It’s not very often that this happens to me but I have a rule that if something starts badly it will go on badly and I never do work for such people even go in loss of income.

I have a feeling that my new vicar, Rev Adam, and I are not on the same wavelength. no one has mentioned COVID and I would like to discuss it is only to give added help and support to those people who have found themselves on their own. At the ZOOM  meetings I cannot focus on the topic and cannot really make a meaningful connection which means that for the most part like a zombie just watching. This is not helpful for me, and it must be confusing for the few other people who attend the meeting. Unless something happens, and I’m not saying it will or it won’t, I doubt if I will be an enthusiastic member of the church for much longer.

With Covid, certainly in the UK, the number of videos of people criticising the government is increasing and I think it’s only a matter of time before their position becomes unstable. The government are quite determined that a second wave is going to happen and are simply ignoring the public in pursuit of their own goals which are anti-aesthetic with the economic health of this country the United Kingdom. Does the whole place have to actually collapse before they see the error of their ways?

My stomach is under control largely because I have decided to limit myself to 2 meals a day, not eat after 6 PM, take an allopathic pill for my Barrett’s oesophagus every other day, and be careful about drinking anything alcoholic in the evening. I know Barrett’s can develop into something more serious, for example cancer, but I think if I live a relaxed and healthy lifestyle that is quite unlikely.

I’m looking forward to attending the Trafalgar Square meeting next Saturday. The police are quite happy to let Black Lives Matter events go ahead but they are being aggressive towards anything 5G or Corona and some people in Trafalgar Square were being arrested for not having masks and given fines.

 

 

 

A magic valley that disappointed

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To Hartley’s for a light lunch. Francoise had a salmon sandwich and I had a latte and a cheese cake.  Paul the owner is always a pleasure to meet and in spite of the incessant pressure he finds time to talk to his customers.

To our magically valley just north of Wells. Whereas a few months ago it was a wonder to walk in, now it was an impenetrable jungle of weeds. We then struggled a few hundred yards. Francoise was getting so many nettle stings that we decided to retrace our tracks.

There is a wood to the south of the cathedral gardens. We had never been there so a chance to find some blackberries, elder berries and rose hips. Little luck with the first, no luck with the second and good luck with the third. Elder berries are to be found in August.   Blackberries – it depends on the position and the variety.

An adjacent golf course
an enormous oak tree
lovely path which must have been an old track

Swimming fever – the beauty of clear water

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Françoise has continued to enjoy the wild swimming in Vobster . I am figuring out the culture of swimmers and divers.   Françoise finds that the fellow swimmers, normally female, are very friendly but I found that the divers are a special breed. it must cost a fortune to kit yourself out with the required gear. I can imagine people getting hooked on it.

It seems that the facility is open almost 365 days a year. The staff are focused and very conscious of the rules and regulations especially of the safety kind that a facility has to observe.

the water is very clear. This rock is about 4 m below the surface of the water; it is almost an optical illusion that it looks so much closer
it is difficult to give an impression of the size of this facility. I would say it’s about 100 m wide and about 600 m long.

This facility is for experienced swimmers only and you are supposed to be able to swim 750 m before being allowed in.

From time to time, I need a reality check when I see person after person wearing a mask when all the evidence points to the fact that it is unhealthy,  impedes the outflow of carbon dioxide and also the ingress of oxygen plus providing an ideal breeding ground for germs. Who washes a mask every time they use one. I do have a small group of people that I can have a winge with.

We have an ZOOM the meeting every Wednesday at 530pm with those more interested in looking at the long-term implications of COVID gather together. there are more than a dozen of us and we have got to know each other quite well, admittedly virtually, but communication is pleasant and we have settled as a group. It does provide nutrition. I don’t think we are a clique but it is a little bit awkward for new people to come along and feel accepted although I can tell them verbally that they are.

Tomorrow, I’m going to advertise in the newly launched local paper for my gardening skills. I have a feeling that I’m not going to get many takers because people have been traumatised so much that this extends to those who might visit the home never mind if there is no contact. It is a tragic and dreadful thing to behold. The wearing of a mask only reinforces the anonymity that people feel. I hope I get sufficient work to take me through the winter.

 

 

Freedom from fear – the fear of Freedom

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“The Fear of Freedom” is a seminal book by Eric Fromm and made a great impact on me. Many people are too frightened to be themselves and thus claim a passport but essentially to an acting role. Nowadays with this current Covid, people are just plain and simple frightened. As I said before, the deliberate Government campaign creates frightened and confused people. It is softening them up to be willing recipients of a vaccine which alas has the potential to take the human out of the human being.   I realised today what a pleasure it is to be free of fear. It is rather like flying above the clouds, above the 10,000 foot mark; you see the clear blue sky.

Today, we went berry picking including rosehips. Françoise wants to freeze them and use them at a later time. We walked along the old rail track from Radstock to Frome.

see the old rail tracks?
about 20 young pheasants enjoying the sun

This morning, Françoise signed up to join the Vobster swimming and diving club. This is an exceedingly deep – 150 m at the greatest point – wild swimming pool and very popular especially as the local swimming baths have been closed. People come from miles around and looking at the quality I’m not surprised. There was the usual Covid nonsense with one or two people wearing masks and a slightly officious and bossy staff member who wanted someone to sit away from the space reserved for divers when in fact there were no divers around at the time.

Francoise’s first view

“The masses of Carboniferous Limestone around Upper Vobster were worked for aggregate but closed in the 1950s. One of the quarries, Vobster Quay is now flooded and is used as an inland diving centre”.

TripAdvisor reviews here

A visit to Wells Somerset in a (semi) lock down mode

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I went to Wetherspoons for breakfast and now anyone who enters the establishment will be asked to write their phone number for track and trace details. This is basically a surveillance system about which I want nothing to do so I refused and sat at my table. An enthusiastic young assistant bought me a track and trace form with a pencil and asked me to fill it in, and then reminded me. Having done his duty, he left me alone. I ignored it and left without filling anything in.

Today is as good a day as any for a visit to Wells, wherein lies the famous cathedral and the ancient market. We were glad to find a goodly number of people at the market that the number of stands allowed one less than normal. About 60% of people were not masked by people who still responding to the so-called government guidelines of masking up in the shop irrespective of what is on sale there. Having said that, most people are laid back on the matter because I think customers are more important than sticking to the lesson of the law.

After buying a selection of beautifully fresh vegetables at the market we went on to the bishops gardens; we were given two months extra credit because the garden had been closed for two months.

The 800th Anniversary of the Cathedral
The market in fairly full swing
In the bishops garden
Where the Swans nest, now covered with feathers. Were there are lots of fights?
Near the source of the spring. How lovely and clear the water is
Dying Vegetation Viewed through 1 Foot of Clear Water near the Spring
in the allotment gardens
The gardens have been going ever since 1893
Back to the gardens

The Cathedral cafe has moved people outside for social distancing with very pleasant results
People love feeding the ducks
One of the best spoken about community cafes in Wells
I do not recall seeing this design of swan in the high Street. it may have been re-painted
somewhat premature for autumn but amusing nevertheless

Whilst we were having our coffee in the aforementioned cafe we met a very interesting local lady who told us that there was a reduced annual fee of £15 a year for going around the Bishops Gardens. They wanted to encourage people to visit the town frequently and of course spend money when they were there.

We also discussed the Whole Food cafe, which earlier in the day we had found to be virtually empty. Evidently, at the height of the lockdown, the proprietor insisted that there were only two people in the establishment at any one time and that others had to wait on the pavement. She thought that this had been a major off put to the customers who seemed to have deserted in droves.

 

A walk in the woods

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Boris Johnson wanting to spend a hundred billion pounds on daily testing, or any sum come to that, when the test is one of the most unreliable ever for COVID sends me into something of a spin. Do see my huge weight of evidence in my website

I had a very pleasant ZOOM meeting with a group of Christian men from Frome this evening. We did not have a formal agenda but I find that if there is a reasonable correspondence of people’s spirits, conversation are soon found and meaningful threads follow.

This afternoon we went for a walk in some woods. It is very exciting to be in a place that has not been touched for hundreds of years, typically land that cannot be used for agriculture. The rest of this diary will be a pictorial diary

Half a very substantial bridge over a very small stream. It looks fairly modern in its construction but I wonder if its secrets have been lost

was this an old parish boundary? It is right in the middle of would but could have been a marker for a lane

 

Collecting logs + a visit to Frome

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We collected a supply of logs from Longleat – 180 kg for about £33. We reckon to keep us going for the winter we shall need about £75 worth with coal after the fire has started.

It takes a lot to remove the charisma from Frome. There were limited people wandering around but a lovely warm atmosphere. I wanted to go up to the mask wearers and shake them.

A mixed day – Wetherspoons excels itself

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I have decided to organise myself better by carrying around a small notebook and writing down all the little things that I need to do. Since my mind is active, some would say over active, quite a list can be made in a short time.

This morning I went to Wetherspoons for breakfast. They have decided to continue the half price offer Mondays to Wednesdays until November. There were not many people when I attended at 9:15 AM but the atmosphere was good as was the service provided by the young staff. I moved tables because of a very noisy child who came in to the stall next to mine; I did not want to be blasted by intermittent screams.

Off to the allotment to do something that I have been putting off which is to restore a rather untidy end to my allotment and remove unproductive fruit bushes. For some reason, I woke up this morning saying ‘today is the day’ and we did it in a couple of hours. I find that if you get your timing right, the task is not exhausting.

We have a problem with deer encroaching on our allotment. They have a special taste for sweetcorn. It is quite difficult to see where they come from as they are very clever at jumping.

I have decided to start advertising in the recently relaunched Midsomer Norton Journal. Response to my gardening advertisements this year has been very poor in fact I can say non-existent so let us hope that I will actually get some customers.

We have recently put a grounding sheet on the bed and I find that my sleep has improved and the normal need to go out to have a pee has declined.

 

Return to Cheddar car boot sale – Early Doors Cider Barn adapts

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you need to be a certain type of person to walk casually with a plastic dinosaur on your back and not care about what people think

I must admit I’m not too keen on going to church this morning so we decided as a very unspiritual alternative to go along to the car boot sale at Cheddar about which I have written many times. There were quite a few people there but not many people buying and I heard three or four stallholders complaining of lack of business. I don’t think people are in the mood.

We went to the side of the cider barn and I saw the ever hard-working Jason, the owner, presiding over the opening up of a large marquee, presumably introduced to increase space especially for bands which have a habit of playing on Sunday. He looked exhausted but I know he loves his job. I also met his very supportive wife.  For the first time in months I had some local cider (all the cider is local) and it is of the most wonderful quality and gives no side-effects. We also had pizza and left well satisfied after an hour or so.

*****

At home, Françoise is busily processing all the produce from our garden. Our kitchen is always overfull with miscellaneous items and we do need an extra room to function as a larder. Maybe we will decide to build something in the garden.

I am content because I’ve made a breakthrough in my stomach problem that has been troubling me for so many years. I decided that most alcoholic drinks contain additives that are not good for the digestion. When I do have a drink for example rose wine, I just have a sip of it, the same amount that would be contained in an egg cup, and I feel quite satisfied. That combined with not drinking at all in the evening and having smaller amounts of food seems to work and the amount of acidity and bloating is decreasing. I also spend more time ‘grounding’ outside in the garden and that does have a good effect. Grounding means standing in bare feet and connecting with the Earth

We are coming to the time when the year of the allotment rentals comes to an end and people need to renew. I have had five or six people wanting allotments – goodness knows where they came from because we have a long period when no one was interested – but I must somehow accommodate them if I possibly can and I must tactfully look round for allotment spaces where people have become too busy or inform to continue. We have two vacant plots and six people.

Welcome to Oscar plus A fun garden job – but hard work

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Francoise bought me a present of an owl that I named Oscar on my recent vacation. We found it as a very unpretentious market in front of the library in Much Wenlock. First of all I was attracted to the woman who made it who seemed to put her whole heart and soul into these objects and also in various items of clothing. I found that the owl radiated something. It was certainly unique and personal. She charged the grand sum of twelve pounds which I thought was good value bearing in mind that it was also an artwork.  Oscar will join George who is a hedgehog who looks after our house and also our deer, stuffed admittedly, who keeps watch out for intruders.

*****

Gardening jobs are rare these days not because nature has gone on strike but because people are frightened of any contact and have really changed their habits. It was a great pleasure to do the gardening job today for an elderly couple, one was 91 years of age and the other was 89. The wife had lived in the same house on Waldergrave terrace, Radstock,  since she was born. We were treated to a talk on local history, particularly which collieries existed in the area. It was interesting that the couple were both very bright and I think their sense of humour and companionship kept their brains going. our daughter said that “she had all her buttons”. I remember being slightly amused that this was we say “she had all her marbles”

The garden was basically a sloping field which had once been tended but was now consisting of grass. Perhaps a better description would be a meadow. It was about 50 m in length and on a 25° slope I estimate. You only notice the weight of a mower when you have to push it uphill so if you need to estimate the cost in energy and time mowing on a hill take your figures are multiply by two.

The garden was very much a memorial place because in the old days they had a small orchard, and Lorna, and that’s where vegetables grew so we had full respect for this. It took us 3 1/2 hours to mow and weed. When I work for people who appreciate what I do I get invigorated but I have to say on this occasion the combination of the sun and pushing a heavy object uphill did exhaust me so I had to pause from time to time for a rest. At 76 years of age I am entitled to take things a bit easy though I was positively junior compared with my customers.

Amazing new art work

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To maskland, for my latest eye injection.  The corridors always entertain me with their art workothers, more glorious,  gave delight.

Monument Valley – The Milky Way seen over Monument Valley in Arizona, USA.

We no longer have access to a consultant. We are evaluated on the basis of an image of the eye made each time and the decision to have another injection after one or two months is made behind the scenes.

At so to home after the bank holiday

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Our host ended our visit by a short walk which encompassed a fast flowing river. There is plenty of water in the north-west of England which was a very useful facility for all the manufacturers of wool when Manchester was the world centre of production for many items requiring power.

The journey from Glossop in the hills just below Manchester to my home south of Bath unavoidably goes through the very busy Midlands motorway interchange with huge amounts of traffic including many lorries, roadworks, narrow lanes, general overcrowding, 50 mile an hour speed limit, four lanes with no hard shoulder. All these add up to a journey that is more unpleasant and stressful than it should be.

I drove about 130 miles non-stop until we reached the Gloucester services, in my view a cut above the rest with its own farm shop. We were again greeted by everyone masking up. In the hills it was refreshing to see everyone with almost no masks at all. Here it was depressing and embarrassing. I had an overpriced coffee, decent chicken pie, and a large chocolate biscuit made of oats for which I paid £9.25.

We sat outside resting and I was able to enjoy the very splendid view of the clouds reflected in the pool.

We arrived home at 5 PM. The last few miles were the longest. Overall the Volvo proved its worth for long journeys. We did a total of 444 miles for which the price of the petrol was about £64.

Before the next stage of the fake pandemic which will likely happen in October or November, we have decided to make the most of September and go out and about so let’s hope for an Indian summer.