Cease Fire? + a room full of strangers + An amazing Frome bookshop

by | Nov 24, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

Reading Time: 14 minutes

Dreams about Vegans

The day began early with waking up from a dream. I was in a very large camp of Vegans. They had cooked mountains of vegetables which they laid out in steaming bowls on trestle tables and most of it looked the same. I sat down at a table where, strangely, meat was available and I was offered a portion but did not take it because I felt that they were doing it just out of politeness. A man with glasses looked at me over a table and said something to me. I did not hear it and he repeated himself in exaggerated form as if I was a little bit mentally deficient. I realized that I did not hear him because what he said did not compute with what he thought. And that, at 6:30 in the morning, was a very good lesson. Does my brain ever rest? Apparently not.

I remember when I was a schoolboy I used to torment ants with a magnifying glass, focusing the sun’s rays and making them run for their lives. This very much reminds me of the current situation in Israel where as I write the cease fire is about two hours old. I was upset to hear that at the same time, they detained the medical director of largest hospital in northern Gaza. It is clear that the prime minister of Israel has as his mission the destruction and the obliteration of the Gaza strip and all those who are on it. What is going on is hidden from the Israelis and the four day ceasefire – so called – is just going to be a prelude for even more vicious and cruel actions to restart on Tuesday. I very much hope I am wrong but the mindset of what remains of the Israeli government seems to indicate this.

Biden, the so-called president of the USA, can only meekly suggest that a ceasefire should be permanent because he has funded Israel with the toys of war so it doesn’t exactly make his position strong. The Israelis have the nerve to pre-emptively sell off licenses for gas and oil exploration in the strip although the land is not theirs. The father in law of the prime minister of the UK has done a 1.5 billion dollar deal for one such license.  This is hypocrisy on a grand scale but that’s what money does to people. I would far rather not write this type of material but I have vowed that my diary is an accurate representation of what I am actually feeling and doing on a day-to-day basis, otherwise it is a fake diary.
My exemplar, Samuel Pepys, did the same thing.

Going back to last night, I am becoming an increasing fan of small groups as a medium for sharing and growing. I do not like football crowds. I do not like walking into a room full of strangers that you don’t know. Of course I will do it if necessary, hoping that I will recognize a face but I much prefer a group of say six people where I can relate to them as individuals. We never know when we are going to learn a lesson, we receive no warning when someone is going to say something that could be quite ordinary but which is our ‘bingo’ moment and  creates a lot of connections in our mind. It can form the precursor or prelude to the next stage in our development.

For example. someone might say ‘ why don’t you do it then?’ and although you may have heard it 100 times before, this time it arrived at the right moment and you are ready to act. That is why it is worth saying the same thing, maybe time and time again, until it ‘sinks in’.

Sinking in is not quite accurate. More like ‘ready to listen’

Are we afraid of being controversial? What do you mean? Are we afraid of causing people to think? Are we afraid of challenging people in their worldview? If so, take my advice. Get yourself a drink, pop yourself in front of the TV, and switch off your mind.

I don’t really mean that of course but isn’t the fun of life and truly living implies adapting ourselves to the changing circumstances by changing our mind set and helping others to keep up with the changes also. Why bother to meet people just to talk about the weather?

Here you are guaranteed a quiet life, not bothering anyone or being bothered

What is the point of that? It’s either raining or not raining. It may rain at some time in the future in which case take an umbrella. If it is sunny you go out for a walk and take advantage of the sunshine. There is a limit to the scope of this type of conversation. The factor that makes life worth it for me is controversy, excluding for the moment work-life balance, recreation etc . What is the point of agreeing with everyone just for the sake of it? If you want a quiet life then I recommend a graveyard. No one says anything there.

The experience of supermarket shopping

Sainsbury’s are experimenting with a checkout system that does not involve any contact with an assistant. You just check your own produce, pay and leave. On the other hand there is a supermarket chain called Booths  which functions in the north of England  in 28 outlets,  are doing away with self-service checkouts completely,  and since they have done so they have noticed an increase in footfall.  I love this because I know many people do not speak to anyone else from one day to the next and the Checkout is their opportunity to make contact with another human being.  I am always patient with those who linger to talk at the tills.
Have a read of the article here.

Word of the day – Solipism

This is the idea that only events that happen in our own mind are reliable, in other words certain to exist. Knowledge of anything outside our own mind is unsure and uncertain. The  external world and other minds cannot be known.

I wonder if this is one of the aims of those who seek to control us or possibly a term that I have coined ‘micro madness’ were the individual has ceased to believe anything at all because they have been frightened into a position of paralysis where they don’t know what to believe anymore.  They carry around an image of the world  in their minds which they compare with reality, and reality comes a poor second when it comes to a driver of thinking and action.
As TS Eliot  asked, what is hell?
Hell is oneself
Hell is alone
the other figures in it merely projections
There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to
One is always alone.
The word itself comes from the Latin solus ‘alone’  Food for thought.

Trip to an Amazing bookshop in Frome

Today is the 11th anniversary of our move from London to our current residence which is in Midsomer Norton.  When we say where we are from I get the limp joke ‘ oh that’s where all the murders are’..    The memory of the series lingers in the mind.  Nothing much we can do about that.
For some days now we have had the idea of going to Lotte, which is a French restaurant,  with a genuine french chef, in Frome.  We arrived about 1.30 pm to a nearly full house. I did not count but there  must be about 40 covers.  When we entered, the atmosphere was bustling and business-like. I’m glad we decided to book a table, as if we had not done so,  we would have had to wait until one became free. I find that restaurants are more crowded out at weekends starting with Friday.
We will given a place backing on to one of the walls. May be it’s a past life thing or just a preference but i like to have my back to the wall so i can see who is doing what.  I feel more in control.  We ordered a small carafe of house white wine each. At four pounds each i thought that was good value. We decided to have a galette  each which is a bit like a stuffed pancake. I had salmon stuffing and Francoise  had cheese.  This was followed by a fig and apple tart with cream.
Anyway that is the boring bit.
I noticed that the person next to me was talking to his friend and although of course i did not listen to what they said i listened to how they said it. When he was about to go,  I said that he had an interesting extra dimension to his voice and if he focused his mind, he could exercise authority.  If you told someone to do something, they would do it and I said that he should use it more. He laughed in an embarrassed way in the way that I would if someone came out of the blue and said such things but I could feel a good reaction so i know that I planted a seed somewhere.
By the time we had finished our meal, most people had vacated as it was getting on for 2:30 p.m. except for one woman who had a small sketchbook and was drawing other people. I being me, approached her and said that I am a compulsive writer as she was obviously a compulsive artist. She was glad for the opportunity to chat and it appears that she was there to pick up her grandchildren from school. She told me that last night she went to a wonderful concert by someone from the Orkney Islands.  He was called Kris Drever and said that the effect of his music was so great that it left the audience open mouthed. See a sample here.    She told us that she was also a musician and played the guitar. No wonder that she enjoyed Kris so much.
The staff themselves were very efficient. There was a waitress that I complemented because she had the knack of scanning the restaurant quickly to see if anyone needed attention.   She said in reply ‘this is not my first rodeo’ The service was prompt. You can tell when customers are regulars because they are at ease and there is a sort of invisible body language between them and the waiters which told me that service was going to be good. Halfway through the main course we made up our minds that we would return.

view on our way out, with the setting sun.

What is good service?  I think when all said and done it is the presence of the staff and looking after us without making it too obvious.  It is easy to tell if people work as a team both with each other and with the kitchen. The kitchen was available for all to see so we could see that the whole mixture was very organic. People had a pride in their work and they obviously enjoyed bantering with the customers but being discreet about it.  The good waiter will evaluate whether a customer wants to be left alone and then give them the minimum service or if they are alone, give them a bit of support to make them feel at home.
Next door was a bookshop. the like of which I have never seen. presided over by a chap called Julius who moved in about 18 months ago and considers the place  as his second home.   Is it a bookshop? a sitting room? a community centre?  an information centre?  Answer – all of those and more. There was an old fashioned record player playing lovely relaxed music, a real wood burning stove, and most of all, mountains of books. He said his greatest problem was dealing with all the books that were brought in and indicated that he had had a couple of cases of books in that very morning.
Francoise bought me as a present ‘The Gospel of St. Luke’ by Rudolph Steiner.
We discuss the difference between a depository of books and a repository of books. I would have looked it up straight away but there was no signal so Julius supplied me with a dictionary.  Even then it was not clear.
A repository is where things are place for safe keeping. It is a noun. The things in question can be either concrete or abstract: a library could be thought of as a repository for real books, and for knowledge.
A depository is a place for keeping money or other financial assets.
So the two terms can be synonyms but depository is only used in contexts involving depositing money and that’s from the historical point of view.
In case you would like to visit him, Julius is to be found at the top of Catherine Street.  He has an amazing mind and when i told him about my Samuel Pepys diary he knew someone who’s office was in Pepys’ old house in London.  I gave him my business card and invited him to look at today’s entry which would be up at 9 p.m. this evening.  He expressed some amazement and I said I had to do it because tomorrow there would be another lot of information and I would lose track.
While we were speaking, a man came in holding three books that he had just bought and was praising them. He came back for more. It is a lovely place to go to, a very social and intellectual environment. If anyone who wants to know anything about books, Julius is your man.
The environment is very green, not in the political sense but for decorative emphasis.

Down to get some unpasteurized milk and a loaf. Very few places do unpasteurized.  We then went to the Swan Centre to have a look at any local publications where i could advertise the diary. The alternative way of life is very well represented in this town. There is another stream of consciousness from people who have escaped London, who sold up with a considerable profit, and found themselves in Frome.   I could have believed I was in London by the accents of the people in the restaurant and the type of conversations they were having though of course i would never eavesdrop.

I wanted to pop in to see my acupuncturist to tell him that he had contributed in a substantial way to my feeling better about myself and my stomach. I would have told him that I think that in my case it was the attitudinal changes that had to precede healing on the physical body. When I turned up at his rooms, he was not there or should I say he was with a client, and there were two people waiting, so I will write to him instead.

Among the leaflets we picked up were
# from a group of weavers who are having a Christmas market on the 25th of November;
# from the Art Society who are having a winter exhibition from the 25th of November till Sunday the 10th of December in the Round Tower gallery;
# there’s a Christmas gift market on two Saturdays in December at the Cheese and Grain
# and there is a quite a substantial booklet called ‘The List’ which contains information about shopping, musical events, and the features of the area. This is a 36 page A5 book with plenty of advertising and this is only possible in a town where there is plenty of money.
# The newspaper the Frome Times is published every fortnight in hard copy and in a virtual form.

We went home via Mells  which is one of the prettiest and the most historic villages within a good many miles of our home and we often go there. In the summer there is the outdoor garden’s where you can have a pizza or a cake and coffee on the terrace.  Adjacent to the post office, there is a cafe where you can have a light lunch plus the usual teas and coffees.

The sunset was absolutely beautiful as we drove home and we had to give thanks for not still living in London. The stresses of large numbers of people together would be just too much for my nature and I don’t think I would have had such a quality of life had I stayed.

It is interesting to see the local advertising which is a good clue as to the type of area that a prospective home owner might identify with.

Our beloved stream in rude health at this time of year. The children enjoyed throwing sticks into the water. I have never lost my love of water – or indeed of fire. Why?

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