There is more to food banks than meets the eye


This morning I went to our local men’s Christian group and dour of us were seated having our breakfast in Wetherspoons to sort out the problems of the world. You never know what is going to happen. We started off talking about swearing and abuse and how each one of us copes with it.

The conversation soon turned to the economic situation, the rise in petrol prices, council tax, gas and electricity and I opined that more people were going to attend food banks. Unbeknownst to me, opposite me sat a person who has had some experience of food banks. There is much more to this service than meets the eye. You can’t just have spare food on display and invite people in from the street to take what they want. My companion gave the example of someone who drove up a decent car, took what they wanted, and left without a word.

The key thing is to have a filter, a voucher that people have to present in order to qualify for their food. The idea is to give people enough for a family to provide breakfast lunch and supper for 3 days. The standard box of food is designed for this purpose. In order to get a voucher you have to go to Social Services, Citizens Advice Bureau or someone competent to assess your situation. On balance I feel this is a discipline that should be observed.

The act of giving out the food parcel can be an opportunity for Christian testimony in the way that it is given and the caring shown. The challenge is if the service be of such a disposition that they they can educe trust in the visitor and are thus seen as a potential source of advice. There is no act too simple for love to be expressed.

I said that some people would be put off off by having to admit they were poor and so should not have the voucher system but this is outweighed by the fact that some people are just plain and simple greedy and will take what they can on. For the four centres that my friend knows about there are about 60 volunteers. Any scheme needs volunteers and if you don’t have the volunteers you cannot provide the service.

End of story.


World speed record in dentistry


I have just returned from a visit to my dentist and as I type my mouth is still numb. Yesterday I had an impression taken for a lower plate. Today I went along to have it fitted and have 3 teeth removed. After a pain injection, the removal of 3 teeth plus the insertion of the new plate was 90 seconds I kid you not. My teeth were in such bad condition that two of them had holes right through. I was told off for not using fluoride toothpaste which apparently repairs some of the damage.

The universality of thought is something that Mike Adams, The Health Ranger, I can you wholeheartedly recommend this video to you as an instrument of self healing and a catalyst to realising our important part in Society.

Last Sunday we had our usual Wetherspoons Sunday breakfast – porridge and coffees £1.99 – followed by our Standing the Park meeting at 10 am as people do all over the country and for all I know all over the world. There were about 8 of us. We meet, new things to discuss. Normally at least one person turns up for the first time and they are warmly welcomed.

We then went along to Glastonbury to celebrate the the equinox in Chalice Well. As usual, there was an exceptionally good atmosphere where you could talk to anyone and be accepted for who you are. Oh that this could be extended to society in general. It is now full of Fear. Today I hear that North Somerset where I live as one of the highest levels of covid. All it means is that they have turned up the number of cycles – probably from 24 to 40 – in what is basically a fraudulent and discredited PCR test.

After that we popped into a festival of old cars at Downside Abbey which I think will become more famous as more events are arranged there.

Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. I had my first appointment of two with the dentist who took an impression. I was told I had 3 teeth which there was no hope of saving so now I have nearly a full plate at the top and will have a half plate at the bottom. Lucky to have found such a competent dentist otherwise I really don’t know in what condition my teeth would be in by now. However, I am 77 years of age, and I suppose I must make some allowances for degradation.

Later on in the day I had an endoscopy at the RUH in Bath. First of all I demanded or should I say asked for sedation but I did not realise that when the endoscope is placed via the nose rather than via the mouth the normal gag reflex is avoided. All they do is to spray your nose and throat to numb you up so it is not quite so uncomfortable. The staff were very helpful and encouraging.

At the end of the procedure which lasted about 10 minutes I got a written report from the supervising doctor together with coloured pictures of my esophagus.

I reckon to do this privately would cost me about £500 so while the health service is still in existence I proposed to take advantage of it.

Today I cleared up one of the plots that had been vacated on my allotment. On my return home I got a a very nice letter from someone who wanted an allotment. I wrote to her saying that I had prepared the allotment for her but it was not part of my conscious thinking process. I just love it when things go right timing -wise. Anyway she is viewing the allotment tomorrow and if she wants it she can have it.

It has been so pleasant to have a sunny relatively warm period pf time. The week is set to be sunny with no rain and this makes a wonderful environment for outdoor activity. I shall soon start to advertise for gardening work. I must make some preparation for the higher price of petrol, higher council tax rates and higher gas and electricity prices.

I estimate the overall increase in expenditure has got to be about £1,500, 2000 dollars to my American readers

And so we have to paddle to stay in the same place.


A couple of day’s break


Chard in Somerset must be one of the least exciting places to stay but we found ourselves there in a very charming bed and breakfast as we were desiring a short break from sitting in front of the computer plus all the other excitement that Midsomer Norton can bring. We left last Friday week in incessant rain and ended up at Lyme Regis where the wind and the rain was so bad that most shops were closed. In the good old British way we made the best of things. After battling in the wind we left to meet the very charming Chinese lady who ran the B and B.

It is a relief to see that mask wearing has diminished as we observed in the high street. Chard is actually part of the A30 which runs through the High Street. A record number of clarity shops were in view. I bought some very nice waterproof trousers for £10 and two sets of stamps from around the world for £5.

On Saturday we visited Seaton which is on the coast.  The weather was sunny and dare I say warmer. The beach was unremarkable but we found a wonderful old Tramway which has been kept going for the benefit of tourists. It runs for about 3 miles through some marshes and was a link used by trains from London so that people could come and enjoy the coast. This was from Victorian times and onwards to the closure at the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

No visit to the seaside would be complete without a good old portion of fish and chips and we had such at an old-fashioned cafe at the end of the tram line. The trams were 100 years old at least. The upstairs section was  open but the downstairs were also open meaning plenty of room for the wind to blast across.

Petrol has shot up in price. My car costs about £115 to fill up and being a Volvo it is more thirsty on short distances. Combined with the 33% increase in electricity and gas from April, plus the increase in council tax, and I must go out and do more gardening work to pay for it.



A funeral of a friend – in retrospect


I have held off a few days to fully contemplate the passing of a person I have known for 45 years. We journeyed up via Avebury avoiding the M4 and I paid my respects to the ancient stones. In some way I feel they comprise an advanced communication system, otherwise such stones would not be placed in strategic places throughout the world.

The funeral occasion (I will not say ‘service’ for reasons given later) was due to start 2pm but we turned up before 1pm. The body was on view in the living room in a casket. I did not want to see it as I preferred to remember the person as I knew them in life.  There were about a hundred of us. Half of them were a younger generation that I had never seen before never mind knew the name of.  Some others

had not met for 3o years and had difficulty recognizing. Most of the time over sandwiches was spent catching up. It was a jolly occasion with everyone dressed as they normally would. Only one person wore black.

At 2pm the four coffin bearers took the casket to a garden area where an immaculately dressed grave had been dug. Boards were placed over the pit and the casket laid on it. By this time it had been closed.

Anyone who wanted to could say a few words – some said many words – about the life of the deceased and what it had meant to them. This lasted about 30 minutes. Particularly emotional were the youngsters who had looked to the deceased as a role model.  There was praise for his inclusivity – opening his home to all and sundry and doing what he could for everyone.

The casket was them laid to rest with the aid of white ribbons. People then threw pieces of soil down in the grave as a symbol of saying a final good bye.

We then returned to the house for refreshment. There was a marquee in the garden where drinks of all types were waiting. People just helped themselves. I had a couple of glasses of champagne with orange juice.  Later on at about 6pm some Indian food was served. We left about 10 pm after many goodbyes and ‘see you soon’.

As I believe in life after death, or should I say the continuity of life I should mention that when I heard of the passing I felt no sense of loss. It’s like the individual concerned has changed their job or moved up to a higher level to continue their work. I found the same when my own son died at the age of 3. There was a change in atmosphere but no ‘loss’ as such. I have been aware of him being around from time to time. Someone suggested that he may have been instrumental in helping me meet my wife. Who knows.

An upcoming Funeral of a friend


It is ages since I have been to a funeral. Six years ago I went to one such occasion, a close friend of Francoise. I did not attend the service but stood outside as we arrived late.  The mood was chatty and friendly. After we went to a wake in a local pub in Haverstock Hill. For this funeral the protocol is to wear what you feel comfortable with. I breathed a sigh of relief as i dont do suits or ties come to that.

This time, we need to go to a place near Banbury. The forecast is for rain, which is a pity as the casket will be bought out and displayed for an hour or so. I hope there is cover.  I am very tired and a bit worn out by so much data entry on my covid site ( so we will make a bit of a break out of it and stay overnight at a hotel, Day’s Inn as it happens, with a bargain rate of £33 per night. Premier Inns where we usually stay are currently £80 per night as are most other hotels.  Our hotel has no restaurant but there is one in the adjoining Service Station on the M40.

We shall visit the nearby Royal Leamington Spa Sunday morning, a town that I do not recall visiting.

This morning I met for a breakfast meeting with my men’s group.  The venue is in Wetherspoons. There were five of us. The conversation normally starts with trivia and then moves on in a manner dictated by the mood of the moment. This time I started the ball rolling by bringing up the topic of the forthcoming funeral.  We discussed the importance of closure. Ian Rousell who is the minister of the near by church of St. Peters in Westfield discussed whether it was a good idea to view the body.

He agreed with me when I said I would prefer to remember the person as they were when they were living. As I am meeting many people that I have not met for years, it will be a time for updating, plus reconciliation and closure where necessary and indeed where possible.

The ‘war’ in the Ukraine gives everyone a chance to divert from Covid and make everyone afraid about a possible forthcoming war. It’s about time people realised that we are in a war and the was is against us, the people. Klaus Schwab talks of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. He might as well talk of the Fourth Reich for that is what it is. The Nazis never went away; they were just exported to the USA and other countries where they continued their work.