A Cafe on a rainy day + Quotes from Samuel Pepys and Jonathan Swift

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Irrespective of Mother Nature and the weather she produces, life must go on, rain or shine, winter or summer..

Mums must take their children to school. Much of what we need to do is unexciting except if you look at it with the eye of an artist or in my case a diarist. You bring things to life.

This morning I needed to take my car to repair a dent due to a previous unfortunate encounter with a concrete post. I turned up at the dot of nine o’clock as arranged, dropped off the car, and went to have breakfast. For me, breakfast is somewhat of a special occasion. What I love most is a buffet breakfast typically in a hotel.

Buffets have appeared over the last decade or so originally because management found that they needed fewer staff to service the self-service aspect of buffets but then they found that people took to it. So, we have winners all round.

The same type of thing happened with sprouts. The idea of selling them on the stems came about if I recall six or seven years ago. Selling the whole stem as one unit saves picking time and has the added advantage of preserving the life of the sprout, especially useful at Christmas time.

Porky’s Cafe

Be that as it may, today I go to one of my old haunts, Porky’s Cafe. This worthy establishment was introduced to me by my friend Terry about four years ago and I go from time to time when I feel like it. I have always found basic cafes or Caffs as they are called very attractive and I don’t know why. They are normally filled with workers and serve very basic food but lots of it. I ordered a standard breakfast with instant coffee that came to £8.

I have a perverse reaction to bad weather. A band of rain passed over which was accompanied by gusts of wind. I make doubly sure that I am not defeated by outside circumstances and use this as an exercise in positive thinking. Autumn has definitely made its mark. I went for a brief walk in some very muddy and puddly fields just to kill time and then returned to collect the car. There is no substitute for a new car panel but they had indeed flattened the curve (where have I heard that expression before?). They also told me that one of my tyres was illegal so I will get that fixed at some time.

Fourth Avenue Motors, my ‘go-to’  garage where I have been for the last five years,  are always helpful if sometimes pressed when many demands are made on them at the same time. While I was waiting, a woman phoned to say that she was intending to bring her car for an appointment but when she tried to start the car it would not work. Two of the mechanics agreed to go and pick it up but also to make sure that it did actually work. I would have thought that this would be a job for the AA or RAC,  but I suppose her first Instinct was to phone the person with whom she had made an arrangement. Going the extra mile does impress me.

Unremitting news from Israel. They are quite determined to continue bombing, day and night. The USA is not in a position to take a moral stand because they themselves are supplying them with the means to bomb. It is all part of the race to the bottom which we are seeing.

From Samuel Pepys’s Diary May 1669

It is quite clear that Samuel Pepys was very proud of his personal appearance. He arrived home at noon for dinner on Saturday the 1st of May 1669. He found his wife to be ” extraordinary fine, with her flowered tabby gown that she made two years ago, late exceeding pretty: And indeed was fine all over and Mighty Earnest to go (out). She would have me put on my fine suit, which I did. And so a non we went alone through the town with our new liveries of serge, and the horses manes and tails tied with red ribbons, and the standards there gilt with varnish and all clean. ..that people did mightily look upon us; truth is I did not see any coach more pretty though more gay than ours all the day.

Unusual TV programme

Last night I watched an extreme program on one of the TV channels about someone who had put a nail up his nose at the age of 6 and now he is 56, that is 50 years later, he started to have memory problems but his diagnosis did not make any sense. He had an MRI scan which involves being exposed to magnetic force 60,000 times normal magnetic field of the earth.  A few hours later he had a coughing fit and guess what, he coughed up a nail. It traveled from where the nail had come to rest underneath his eye to his nasal passages hence the ability to cough or sneeze it out.

I saw another video of someone who had swallowed a 5 cm needle in a piece of bread. He started to get problems with his heart in terms of low blood pressure. He lives in Albania where medical care is at a rather basic level. He was driven to Greece by his relatives and the consultant’s did an X-ray discovered the needle. The needle has pierced his heart so there had to repair the bleeding in the heart and then remove the needle.

I saw another video of a man who was driving his car and a pole from a vehicle in front went right through his neck and out the other side but he miraculously survived because the two inch metal pole just missed his vital organs. Reconstructive surgery put his face back to where it should have been but I am still amazed at the capacity of the human being to recover from the most dreadful insults.

Serendipity, or it it fate, luck, coincidence or synchronicity?

Sometimes I am watching the TV, and something jumps out at me. This is always a sign that I have to take notice of it and on this occasion I ran to my computer and wrote the text of the quote that you see at the top of the list below. It is so exciting to live each day because I do not yet know in what way my life is going to be enriched. ANY DAY can be rich if you choose it.

Whilst on the topic –

continuing our never-ending admiration of the English language we find words that are similar but should be distinguished in cause. ‘I have started’ as the TV quiz programme used to go, ‘so I will finish’

Serendipity can be seen as one who finds valuable or agreeable things not sought for. This has a fairly narrow meaning compared with luck which we could describe as a force that brings good fortune or adversity so although luck can be good and bad, there is no such thing as bad serendipity. In a way it is neutral.
What about fate? We can call fate when inevitable and often adverse outcome or ends come about. So we say ‘a person must be left to his fate. This can be the result of bad luck. e.g. Being in the wrong place and the wrong time.
We use the term ‘the fates‘ to describe the development of events outside a person’s control, often regarded as pre-determined (determinism)  by a supernatural power.
However there is another more technical term, and that is synchronicity. This is more in the realm of psychic events such as similar thoughts in person’s widely separated by physical distance, or a mental image of an unexpected events before it happens. These cannot be explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.
And what about coincidence? They say that coincidence is not causality. of about the currents of events that happen at the same time by accident but seemed to have some connection. ‘Oh, it was just a coincidence’.

The wisdom of Johnathan Swift

Jonathan Swift who was born 30th of November 1667 and died in 1745 at the ripe old age of 78, was an Anglo-Irish satirist, an author and political pamphleteer and of course a poet. He wasn’t Anglican cleric who became Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

He was a talented man and what a privilege it must have been to meet him. He wrote The celebrated novel “Gulliver’s Travels” among other works.

We tend to think about ourselves as a more advanced civilization (I think we have slipped back in recent decades)  than others who have come before us in previous centuries but let us have a look for one moment at him as an author of quotes

We have just enough religion to make us hate each other, not enough religion to make us love one another
Jonathan Swift

You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place.

Few are qualified to shine in company, but it is in most men’s power to be agreeable

A wise man should have money in his head, not in his heart

A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying that he is wiser than yesterday

Vision is the Art of Seeing what is invisible to others

I never wonder to see men wicked, I often wonder to see them not ashamed

I enjoy aphorisms and pithy statements which make people think; I am hoping to publish a book shortly with the best of the best examples. They are designed to be read out at conferences for professional people and I can envisage a collection of them being read out in the few minutes before the lunch break. It is good to end a session on a humorous note. It breaks up any tension thus enabling more jolly conversations over lunch.

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