Jolly Restaurant experiences – time for ourselves – behaviour at conferences

by | Dec 14, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

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at the corner of our road – Santa blows around in the wind.

What is it to be ‘jolly?’

So what does the word ‘jolly’ mean? Of a person, is to do with being happy, and up beat. There are other words for people who tell jokes, raconteurs, or serenely happy people. A place can look Jolly. I love your new room decorations

It makes the area look really Jolly. You can have an object of attraction so you can wear a jolly nice scarf. It can also be used as an encouragement. I will try to jolly my parents into letting me borrow the apartment. We had two jolly someone along to a party as they didn’t want to go. Occasions can be jolly ‘ we all went for a jolly at the firms expense’. Its a useful and flexible word.

‘Jolly’ requires you are showing high spirits or light-heartedness which is incompatible with being morose or mentally preoccupied with some great problem or another. The word comes from middle English joli. jolif. From the old French joli. So this word has not changed much over the centuries. The earliest evidence for the word is from around 1305 AD on St. Swithin’s Day.

So with any group and in any situation, it is up to us to impose our state of mind. It is portable. We carry it with us. Jolly Good show, chaps!

Evening visit to a local pub

We recently had an interesting visit to the Somerset Wagon pub, Chilcompton .We had not been there for a couple of years and I heard it was under new ownership. Drinks prices have certainly changed. We ordered a small glass of Sauvignon and a medium glass of Pinot gringo for which we were asked the princely sum of £12.10. That is even above London prices so I shall not be going back there again in a hurry.

We decided to eat and we both had a fairly decent (that’s English for ‘very good’ )  ocean pie, £16.95, but unlike other people we did not have a starter or a sweet course.

Keeping a Journal

I had a chat with someone in the pub about the benefits of writing a diary.

I pointed out that when you wrote a diary you could enjoy the event three times.
# enjoy planning of what you are going to write about and remembering the interesting bits of the day
# the actual writing and forming a type of closure.
# Going back over the diary sometime later and recalling the good bits and enjoying the event again

My diaries have very occasionally got me into trouble. A few years ago when I commented in colorful terms about the eccentricities of a chap who tried to sell me a car. Although I did not mention his name, he happened to read my diary and was furious, and rang me up at 1:30 in the morning to complain. He told me he would come round to sort me out. Needless to say, I did not go ahead with the purchase. I guess you can’t please all of the people.

One thing that was noticeable was the acoustics. The louder people talk,the louder their friends have to talk to be heard so it’s a bit of a competition to nowhere. On the other hand, I don’t want it to be graveyard quiet. One thing that restaurateurs do not consider is the bounce back of sound from the walls. I would rather have absorbing walls, and quiet background music. For some reason this is less important at lunch than in the evening.

I have not been to the Old Down Inn for some time. There is quite a choice of eating places within the establishment. By the bar there are about 20 covers, 4 seated and 2 seated tables. There are a couple of rooms adjacent and then at the other end (don’t forget to say hello to the parrot) there is a considerably larger room where they often accommodate up to three groups of people.

This can get exceedingly noisy and on these occasions you can hear the person next to you but you have to shout or speak very clearly if you want the attention of a group. We used to go there a lot but for some reason do not now possibly because we don’t go to pubs anyway.

Wetherspoons moved into the town center at Midsomer Norton it must be about three years ago now (how time flies) and was a great success from the word go. The best time to go for breakfast is between 8 am and 9 am. when people come in with their children after having dropped off their older children at school. The good thing about this chain is that you know exactly what you’re going to get. It’s not the most exciting food in the world but you know what you’re going to pay, the fact that it will arrive fairly promptly, and although the quantities are not vast sufficient to assuage the pangs of Hunger.

Creating a cultivated area from arid scrub in Portugal

Yesterday afternoon I sent to the organizer a very good video of someone who had purchased some waste land in the South of Portugal and completely transformed it into a viable area with a house, pond, vegetable garden, trees and I thought this was such a good role model for those who may wish to become independent at some point. For anyone who is into remodeling their allotment, or converting waste or barren ground, this video will be a huge encouragement.

Time for ourselves

This is the time of year when we can have time for ourselves. I have put it to good use with my computer settings. In Chrome there is an app. that enables you to perform speech-to-text dictation to a notepad. With an extension, you can activate the microphone icon on any application and dictate away to your heart’s content,  replying to the emails and so on. This results in an enormous saving of time and effort.

Normally I am so busy producing material that I forget that technology moves ahead at a fast rate and I need to play catch up.

I also went to see my local friendly computer geek who has a small shop in the High Street. I asked of Garry, the owner, if in the event of my wanting to change phones, could he help me transfer the data from one to the other and he said yes, we do that sort of thing. I don’t like using DropBox for everything.  Certain actions are so important that I am ‘a feared’ to do it myself for fear of losing data.

Talking to Strangers at a conference

I would like to update everyone with my views on talking to people you do not know or have not met either in the streets or in a more formal place like a conference.

Of the two, the easiest place to speak to strangers is a conference or where people have been bought together by a common interest. I have known conferences that are a bit cliquey or appear to be but if you have the right opening remark or gambit or comment you will be admitted into the ranks of a particular group.

With joining an existing group you have to evaluate whether the conversation is about to finish, whether it has just started, it is in full swing. If it has just started you can weigh in with the rest of them but if it is at an advanced stage you are probably going to be reduced to this status of a spectator for most of the time. If you want to comment you would have to ask because the pre-existing quantum entanglements will be quite significant and extensive. You can say the jelly has set.

People’s opinions differ at conferences and you may find it is not worth your while to disagree with someone who has clearly fixed views. Unless you say something world shattering,  you are unlikely to change their opinions in a 10-minute session with them especially if the next plenary session is shortly due. We say that people are entitled to their own opinions and the careful and diplomatic erosion of their territory has to be done with tact otherwise any work you could have done will be more than unraveled before you start.

At  conferences it is fairly easy to spot the self opinionated. They are very proud of their own contribution and they are the center of their universe and are very used to being congratulated and indeed expect it with regard to what they have done. It is questionable whether any significant change can be made to the mindset unless it is the receipt of new information from them to you. If they feel themselves as superior then the converse is unlikely to happen.

As I say, you cannot ‘win em all’ and in practice you will find enough people who want to listen to you and are willing to engage with you on an egalitarian basis. One  way of introducing yourself is to say of the lecturer who has just finished “what did you make of that particular point, I must say I was confused”. This puts you in a very good position because you show that you are a vulnerable human being subject to self-doubt and you are not putting yourself above anybody. You are not asking a question to which the answer is yes or no. Inviting a person to share their experience with you you could say on their own terms.

Do you introduce yourself by name before speaking to someone? I think it is quite nice to have a tag. For example, I am Brian, and I am working for the Consciousness Freedom Movement. On more informal occasions it doesn’t really matter and I noticed that people often say only at the end of a conversation, I did not catch your name. In other words you never exchanged names in the first instance but they’re just being polite about it.

It is also helpful to find something you have in common. For example you went to the same university or studied under the same professor, or lived in the same town. It is always a little bit of a shock meeting a completely new person and you have to evaluate in a few seconds whether the conversation is going to be of mutual benefit. If not you gently move away. I listen to the tone of voice and I listen out for openness.

I have a useless hobby which is also very interesting which is listening to people’s accents and figuring out which country they come from. No one is offended at this. Most of the time I get things right but sometimes gloriously wrong. I met a woman from Lithuania the other week and I thought it was Finland. She laughed as she had probably had this happen many times before. It is a great conversation opener and they can ask where I’m from and then off we go.

How to close a tedious conversation

Sometimes people fasten on you and use the occasion to tell their life histories. It is permissible and appropriate to butt in if they go on for more than a few minutes and tell them that what they have said is very interesting but what did you think of the speaker. If that does not work then you will have to find a white lie in order to extract yourself and say that before the next talk begins, or the dinner break begins you can excuse yourself by saying you have to go to the toilet or catch someone who is just leaving.

Having said that I think to end such a conversation there should be some semblance of parity. In other words if they have spoken to you for five minutes, then you say something valuable back to them that shows you have been paying attention to what they have been saying. That shows respect.

It’s always a good idea to have a business card as I think professional people recognize boundaries. I noticed that some instead of giving their private emails give their Facebook group tag or their office phone number. I am not a very good one to talk to about confidentiality because I give out all my private contact details to the internet and if someone calls me then I deal with it appropriately. I understand that being a problem if more than one person shares and office or facility. If you work for a company I think it quite in order to give the main telephone line of the company knowing that inquires will be put through.

Meeting people in the street

I initially typed ‘on’ the street and realized that this had an entirely different meaning. It means that people are homeless, so I will rephrase.

In the course of going about in public, what are the rules if any to follow with speaking with someone that you have never met? This casts the net fairly wide. I have demonstrated over many years that the vast majority of people love to be talked to, and will not rebuff a stranger provided the rules are followed.

There needs to be a point of contact and this can only happen if a person exhibits in their body language a certain openness. If someone walks along staring at the ground or involving themselves with their mobile software you would not trouble them. I will not engage with people who are wearing headphones or ear buds. There are people of a certain sort that associate in groups that I could only call ‘snobby’ and you are likely to be examined visually from top to bottom before they decide if you give off the right body signals.

I walk away from any group that looks aggressive or violent i.e. shouting too much

I do not think that this applies to the vast majority of people and I tend to talk to people for no other reason that they were sitting at the same park bench as myself, looking at the same object in a shop window, admiring the same view from a Bridge, all looking at the same painting in an art gallery. I found approach-ability does not vary between men and women. They are either outgoing or not. They either trust or they do not. They are either interested in other people or they are not.  You will soon find out.

The only added complication with women is that they may think that I as a male I am trying to chat them up and take advantage of them. The rule here is to maintain a certain distance and impersonality between you and them, stick to one subject and see if they want to talk, and if they do then you reply. Then you move away. You do not do anything that could be construed as following them around.

If I am at an art gallery and I comment on a work, I would move away in a different direction to that which the female was moving. You then avoid any sort of embarrassment. When I am with my partner Françoise, it is only slightly different. I can approach people slightly closer when I have her with me but the rules are more or less the same.

The result of all this is that you will obtain interesting information from many people during the course of the day and maybe you’ve made a small difference in the life of people who do not normally have the chance to talk to others. This is no reflection on them, it is more likely a chosen lifestyle and the exigences of life.

When I am on my own, in a strange city I never feel lonely because of the thought of the potential of these so-called random encounters.

Why not try it?

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