Sudden holiday – bread – a garden visit – India – Liars

by | Oct 4, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

Reading Time: 9 minutes


I had done my routine tasks for the day and was wandering around  wondering how I could best fill my day. Francoise returned from yoga with a copy of the Midsomer Journal which comes out every Tuesday weekly.

I flicked through, read the letters column and then this advert jumped out at me. Every single travel arrangement I make starts in this way. I am minding my own business when something speaks to me either from inside or jumps off the page.

Trip Advisor – We did have a look at the TripAdvisor reviews and they were certainly varied. It is sometimes difficult to believe that people are writing about the same establishment. A bed can be simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable, a shower can be simultaneously working or not working, the staff can be simultaneously rude and polite and doing a great job.  I think beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Some people are never satisfied.

This is an inexpensive hotel and you’re not going to get fawning five star service for that, but rather the basics; breakfast and evening meal, a decent bar,  safety,  not too many riotous guests.  With  TripAdvisor I tend to ignore the one star reviews because if you look carefully it is often a single issue thing which probably could have been resolved by speaking directly to the staff.  I myself have written about two thousand reviews on TripAdvisor over the years and you can find me on that site if you wish.

This is a too-good to be true price because four nights bed and breakfast in a hotel would not cost less than £400  never mind the transport, evening meal, light entertainment and excursions. I could not immediately find the offer on their website so I decided to ring up,  and after the inevitable dreadful music and being reassured that we know you are waiting a very young man answered and processed my request.

I asked about what happens in the case of illness or need to cancel and he said that full payment is required and therefore no refunds can be offered. I think this is industry standard as it is only a few weeks away. I reckon  they were able to offer such a price because it is just before the Christmas when everyone goes barmy, we could call it a ‘crack in the pavement’ between seasons.

I was reminded of the term that I haven’t used four years, which is ‘ off the cuff’ which is what we have done this morning.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “off the cuff” as shorthand for something spontaneous and unrehearsed. And you might also know that it stems from the pre-twentieth-century practice of performers jotting lines on their shirt cuffs that provided discreet white spaces for perfunctory notes. Curiously, the handy phrase may have been in colloquial use for decades before it appeared in print in 1936. That same year, Charlie Chaplin’s classic film Modern Times (1936) featured a scene where Chaplin’s Tramp writes lyrics on his shirt cuffs, only to have them go flying off once he hits the stage, leaving him to improvise to hilarious effect.

Back to the holiday – Even if the weather is foul we will still get value for money because we will be taking some books and we’ll be reading them and just being quiet. Perhaps we will take a game of scrabble which we enjoy doing and use for friendly rivalry.

Bread Making

I’m going through a difficult and problematic phase at the moment. It may be because I’m using outdated flour but I cannot get my loaves to rise. I know the proportion of water is very important but I’m getting a sticky gluey mass when I try to add the right amount of water and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. It messes up even if I’m using the bread making machine. It’s almost like clay.

Anyway I decided not to use a bread tin and just leave the thing in a heap. It decided itself what sort of loaf it was going to become and in the end it turned into a brioche. We cooked it and it was pleasant enough, almost continental in its appearance and taste.

No such thing as a standard conversation

I was preparing lunch and the phone rang. The lady asked me if I was the person she spoke to a few weeks ago about her garden pruning problems. I had absolutely no idea whether I was or whether I wasn’t. If anything is important I write it down, if anything is unimportant or irrelevant it disappears from my memory in short order.

She said that she had not seen my advertisement appearing recently in the local paper and eventually found me in her bin, in an old edition. I said that I’ve been found in many places but in a bin has not been one of them and we had a laugh about that.

There was something about the lady’s voice that I liked. It was kindly, in other words it had a heart. She told me that she had tried to trimmed her trees with secateurs but now this was getting too much for her so we talked a little bit about age and I told her that I was not ready for the Grim Reaper yet. She vigorously concurred. I mischievously said that the Grim Reaper could be quite useful because he has a scythe and could help you around the garden with numerous tasks.

Where did the term ‘Grim Reaper’ originate from.  Here is a fascinating video, only 10 minutes, which is called ‘The Macabre Origins of the Grim Reaper, will intrigue you.

Sometimes you just know from the telephone call voice that the person is going to be pleasant and appreciative and I said I would pop round this afternoon which I shortly intend to do.

…. later…

The lady was busy in her garden, doing some mowing. I greeted her, she knew who I was. We entered the back garden which I found to be a much loved and beautiful area. There were two trees that needed attention and I can see why they were out of her range. The one nearest the house (bottom photo) needs what I call a short back and sides because it is interfering with the growth on either side. The other tree needs the attention of a chainsaw to take about three foot off the branches and retain the size as a tiny ball.

I reminded her of the old story of the glass cutter who said that to cut the glass will be a shilling, sixpence for cutting the glass and sixpence for knowing how to cut it (for younger viewers this is in pre decimal where one shilling was 5 pence in today’s money, six pence would be two and a half pence)

I told her that I could not work for two weeks after my recent cataract operation and she said that it was very interesting that I told her that because she has failing sight in both her eyes and she is  going to need to have some attention soon. I was able to talk her through and tell her that the procedure would be painless. She does not like ‘anything to do with eyes’ which I can understand so I assured her she would have an injection and she would not feel anything. In other words, the sort of advice that I would like to have received before my own operation.

I said I would let her know when I was ready to work. She said some telling and quite typical things. She said it is a relief to know that the work will be done, and the second source of relief is that the neighbors would no longer complain about overhanging tree work. It is amazing how little it takes for neighbors to complain about something or other, maybe they are bored or maybe just plain fussy. I gave her a price and she did not react in any way so expected it.

I asked for  her email so I could tell her about the video concerning the Grim Reaper just for her information. I will also send out the link to my previous diary entry where the operation is described so she knows what she’s going to let herself in for. This has been going on for some time with her eyesight  so in my view she will be amazed at the changes.

I have been banging on about this for years, but remember that every person is a human being and irrespective of what they need, in other words the presenting situation, there is often an individual who has suffered and is putting on a brave face. I’m not saying you should probe into people’s lives but by being the sort of person who is approachable and open we can often comprise a safety valve to that person’s psychology and their mentality.

Stories from India

My son, who is a foreign language teacher, has moved from Thailand where he and his wife were working to India near where her family and friends live so she is well pleased. They are having a whale of a time visiting wonderful places and from time to time I receive the most exotic photos from his latest weekend escapade. It is another world.

Lying – the long term results

I spoke with my long-term friend Mark Steel about how the authorities are a bunch of liars. I pointed out that this is a one-way street. If you have been lying or deceiving for some time and want to change your ways, you then by default uncover all the lies that you have been telling because you now wish to speak the truth. This confession and recanting would be impossible for most people and so ‘they’ have got you caught in the trap and like the spider and the fly, the more the fly wriggles the tighter it becomes enmeshed. It may be costly to speak the truth, but it is more costly not to speak the truth.


Here is a wonderful video of Patrick Moore, ex co-founder of  Greenpeace, utterly dismembering the ‘Man Made Climate Change’ myth and the Net Zero nonsense. He invites people to prove him wrong. I wish these Just Stop Oil retards would watch it too.

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