The bombardment continues
I switched on the TV this morning about 7:30 and tuned in to Al Jazeera which is about the only impartial media I know of. There are four main hospitals in the Gaza strip and the Israelis have now moved in to continuously bomb the main hospital itself and as a result there is no food, no water, electricity, no safety going from point A to point B nowhere to bury the dead. Drones are killing people who venture across a courtyard. In the opinion of well qualified world commentators, this amounts to war crimes.
Evidently, the Israelis are claiming that there is a command control centre underneath the hospital which justifies their bombing it. However, the people who work within the hospital have no idea what Israel are talking about and have not seen any evidence of such a Centre. I wonder how long it will be before the world, particularly the United States, will take to wake up or perhaps ‘is woken up’ by protests from people taking to the streets. It sounds like ‘slaughter of the innocents’ to me.
Off to Wells for a ‘day off’.
It being a sunny morning with bright blue skies and since there were events listed for Wells today, Remembrance Day, we decided to pay the town another visit. This must be at least our 70th visit and as usual I will go with no assumptions or expectations. According to Google, the 173 bus was due to leave at 9:52. We arrived slightly before but at the bus stop it said 9:34 and 10:34 so although we had originally decided to go by bus, the thought of waiting 45 minutes was just too much so back home we went and left again in the car.
We drove into Wells down a hill and saw the whole valley shrouded in mist ; Glastonbury Tor was standing proud above it in the sunshine. It made a lovely photogenic image but alas we could not stop the car to take advantage of this.
As you may know, I rate the value of the day by how much I learn, and how many people I can influence in a good way. I must say I was given many opportunities today which I chose to take.
Visit to the Wells and Mandip Museum on the Palace Green
We first went to the Wells and Mendip museum first of all where a local art exhibition was going to open in a few days. Meanwhile, they had redesigned the entrance area to make it more open and welcoming. Previously there had been a large book case between the door and the welcome desk and it was considered that people were put off by this.
Secondly it was decided that the office equipment for example the photo copier would be placed in such a position that the staff would be more forward facing at all times, and not having to turn away from the customer. I praised them and said that the large space in front of the desk was for me a welcoming feature and I felt I could approach the desk more easily.
We then had a discussion with the staff volunteers who were really interested in their subject how to imagine the amount of time that mankind had been on the Earth versus the age of the earth itself and the appearance of various mammals. Many entered at 23:55 if you consider 24 hours to be the age of the earth. In the entrance area there is a fish skeleton that is 125 million years old and very large. I am about as bad as imagining such eons as I am imagining the amount of distance light can travel in say one year, these so-called light year. Anyway we left with a few jolly jokes and a promise to return.
Visit to the food market
Next stop was the historical market that has been going for a few hundred years. Bishop Robert (1136-66) granted a charter to hold a market. This time there was an emphasis on retro clothes, designer boots, Russian carpets, pretty much everything really and that runs side by side with traditional organic food fresh out of the ground, a fish stand that sells out each time due to its popularity, numerous cakes and savories and one or two street food elements. I noticed that people who sell wine or in one case Mead, do not get on so well.
Next stop was the Wells Cathedral Gardens that they put up to £16 per visit which has I have said before, I have expected this to have put off the vast majority of people, it is £16 per head whether you’re visiting once, or the same £16 to visit every day for one year. We have an annual pass which we have used many times.
Whilst in the gardens we noticed two ladies dressed identically with headdresses who were obviously meditating; one of them had a large crystal. I was to meet them under other circumstances later in the day so I regard such meetings as meant to be.
We then decided to go and eat at the whole food restaurant, as it was about midday, but so long was the queue of people inside that we decided to go into fish and chip mode and go to Wetherspoons, 100 meters away. Being a sunny day, this was nearly full as well but we found a table and ordered two fish and chips plus two medium pinot gringos (white wine). I decided to indulge myself by having an apple crumble and custard which Wetherspoons have introduced only recently, but perhaps only at some branches and I haven’t noticed. But anyway it was delicious.
We then passed by the ever friendly local Wells Cinema, not the nearby Regal that closed some years ago. They are offering winter specials at five pounds per head which is pretty good but we decided to move on as the showings of the film we wanted to see were inconvenient.
To a health food shop where we bought some unpasteurized milk, then on to the refractory restaurant of the cathedral. There was a note on the door saying that all the places are fully booked but I noticed was a little bit redundant so I peeked in and saw a few empty seats so decided to ignore the note and go in anyway. I had a latte and another apple pie which to my great relief was not a sugar bomb. Today I have overdone the sweets I must admit, but my latest medication is stopping the acid being thrown up by the stomach (Barrett’s esophagus if you must know) so I ploughed on anyway.
What does ‘see you anon’ really mean?
At the same table they were three people, two of whom were singing in the cathedral at 2 p.m.. He stayed behind and we had a chat during which I discussed with him the phrase ‘ see you anon’. It is a strange phrase because a non is short for anonymous so you can hardly say to a friend you will see them anonymously.
I told him of my interest in words and discussed what he had said to his friends. The word anon is from the old English An and One on. The meaning depends on the context but it is more likely to mean soon or presently or even later. It can, however, mean immediately. We are not talking about anonymize which remains to remove any information that shows which particular person you are talking about, neither are we talking about anonymous which is ‘an action made or done by someone whose name is not known’. NB We can also say ‘ever and anon’ which means from time to time or occasionally.
On reflection I think my newly found contact used the term wrongly. The better use of English would have been to say I will see you shortly or I will see you later. Even this is not quite right because the two girls were going to sing in the choir and he was going to sit in the audience. It would have been even more appropriate to say I will see you after the performance. Since they were going to the same building, it was unnecessary to say exactly where the meeting would take place but we can assume it was somewhere near the back of the Cathedral.
We arrived at the cathedral 10 minutes later, 15 minutes before the start to find the place was almost packed. I would say a good 800 people were there. This Cathedral serves many purposes including it would seem, catering for people walking their dogs and just popping in for a few minutes to listen.
The informality of the occasion was encouraged by the presenter saying that people could stroll around the cathedral while the performance was going on but to try and keep the noise down. I saw four people with dogs but I imagine that they would not have been unwise enough to bring them in had they had a tendency to bark.
As on many such occasions, one fractious child can disturb the atmosphere for everybody. It is that certain age of 18 months to two years when the sudden cries can completely spoil the impact of what is often a piece of religious significance. This happened twice during the short time that I was there and in each case, the mother had the decency and the common sense to remove her child from the audience.
I have mild claustrophobia so I don’t like sitting in the middle of rows with lots of people around. I had just eaten and would rather stand which I did at the back. The chief steward came up to me and said that they are trying to encourage everyone to sit down due to fire regulations. I said that due to a medical condition I could not sit down which is partly true as I get very stiff. I also told him that in the unlikely event of stonework catching fire, I would exit the door 10 meters away to my right. He smiled and left me alone.
Next to me at the back was a lady who was clutching a diary or rather a notebook in which she was writing things. She was awkward in her body expression, and she had some difficulty putting sentences together. I could not really engage her in conversation but after 20 minutes or so when it became clear that the singing was not of the highest order, being unrehearsed or under rehearsed, I left and hung around by the entrance whilst Francoise took her fill.
By some magic she joined me and we had a talk which was very revealing. She is very disturbed by the state of the world and the lack of morals of the government, they being people supposed to be looking after us. She really did not know who to turn to for comfort. She was saying that she could not see a way out. It was almost as if she could see into a world too ghastly for words.
She was certainly talking to the right person here because due to my experience with covid, New World Order etc I knew exactly what she was talking about and said this is a test for our stamina and our steadfastness and the strength of our character. In other words I did not try and pretend things were not as bad as she said, but spelled it out as it was. She knew that things were actually worse than I said and was trying to find some sort of a refuge.
She lives in Glastonbury and said that she had met one or two people who had given her some comfort. I said that I reckon 99 out of 100 people did not understand me, Brian, and so I had to search hard for those who could understand me and this was no easy task. I said that most people do not face up to the situation as it is, rather, they escape into a fantasy world or into denial or roboticism
We discussed writing a diary and I gave her my card and said that I would write up our conversation later on in the day which is what I am doing now. That she had heard of people who wrote diaries and then buried them or destroyed them. Interestingly, the great man himself Samuel Pepys’ diarys were kept in a museum in Oxford for 100 years before the public saw it and even then due to the fruity nature of its contents, it had to be published partly in code.
For a first meeting with anyone it was certainly a different experience, but I did feel it was guided. I commented to her that I don’t think she was used to being listened to or to being understood. Hopefully my efforts will make some difference to her outlook. Off she went to have a coffee and then to call her mother. She said at one point that she wanted to go to Bristol by bus and just mingle with people and be with them. In a way I would like to have spent more time with her, but may be I did what I needed to do or could do in that context and so the rest must be left to other people and of course to her own free will.
The flower maidens reappear
While I was talking to her, by some magic, the two identically dressed ladies who I saw in The Bishop’s Palace gardens holding a crystal, came down the corridor from the Cathedral also having left the concert. I immediately without hesitation launched into a comment on what they were doing, the value of crystals large and small, and were they doing this to balance their chakras? I had told them that I had seen them in the Palace Gardens. No they said they were doing it to bring light down. I tried to change the parameters somewhat by saying, are you sure you are not bringing out the light within you? That caused them to reflect a little bit. I then asked them where they were from. They said they were both from Sweden and visiting for a few days.
The two formed quite a good couple and I remarked that if they had a good male to female balance in themselves they would be quite powerful and would heal just by their presence as I believe is the case with most people. I don’t think healing is a conscious act I as I discussed in yesterday’s diary.
I remarked that I found that women from Sweden, Denmark, Singapore and New Zealand were quite a tough cohort and should not be messed with. They responded that they were very nice really but I said ‘yes you are provided you’re not messed around by people’. We had a laugh and then they left and I went back to retrieve Francoise from the concert..
The art of conducting yourself to produce a successful day is not easily learnt. There is always more you can do. The art is to stop when you have had enough and not go on until you are exhausted. In other words, stop and call a halt when you could just do one or two things more, because the chances are that you will overdo it in the last hour or so. Keep some of your own energy for another time. The attractions will not disappear. They will be there the next time.
Our local NHS doctors practice changes their procedure.
Well now this is quite a bombshell. The normal routine is that if you want to see the doctor you have to ring up from 8 O’clock in the morning. This normally means a wait of up to 20 minutes while you actually get through to someone. However in recent months, they have been moving over to the gateway of a per-interview triage. Now we have the fully developed system where you have to fill in a form to say what the matter is and they will then decide if you need to see a doctor, see a nurse, to dial 111, order a prescription or even to do nothing.
We were told in the letter that the form is available on the internet.
Now, there is huge great elephant in the room here and that is that many older people, people who are most likely to need the services of a doctor, are not familiar with computers and do not like them very much. The letter says that you can go over the form with the receptionist on the phone but I cannot see this happening in less than 15 to 20 minutes. They are going to need a whole army of extra staff, to be an extra layer in the administration.
So far, the local website is far too complicated for the average person to understand and even I who deal with websites all day every day, how difficult it was to see where you click to get the application form. There are about 22 subheadings to choose from and the one about appointments, is the protocol of appointments old style, nothing to do with the changes that are due to be instigated on Monday 4th December.
They tell us they will be running a ‘patient education drop in session’ between 8 am and 12:30 on the 15th of November, where ‘a member of the team will be happy to show you how to use this system’. The problem here is that those who are least capable of using the system will be the ones most unlikely to attend this meeting in other words they will be preaching to the choir and because most attendees will be happy at what they’re told the surgery will think they have achieved their job.
I wish then the best of luck with this. I am going along to this meeting and if I spot something that I do not think will work I will tell them in no uncertain terms, polite of course, and write a letter to the practice manager. I am probably going to show myself as a pain in the backside but I would rather detect something before it happens rather than watch the catastrophe unfold in terms of increased waiting time from frustrated patients.