An unexpected Pride encounter in Frome

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Latest Post | 0 comments

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Saturday morning and nothing planned for the day. Raining but promise of sunshine later on so once again I followed my instinct and decided to go to Frome.  In a way you are walking towards nothing but I know myself well enough to know that things will feel in a magical way. We first went to fill up with petrol at the Asda store which traditionally is the cheapest in the area but it was 149.9  pence per litre in no way was that cheaper so someone has slipped up somewhere and taken their eye off the ball.

We went to buy some bread in the bakery by the station and I noticed a very clapped out and old diesel train waiting to go to Waterloo London waiting for its departure time of 11 30. We visited B and Q and I was very struck at the tidiness and extreme pride in the garden centre. This is not just a layout of plants but an immaculate layout.

To Frome town centre and along one of the side alleys. We saw three shops that were either closed or gave notice of closing. One of them was a very crowded bakery that had served the population for 44 years. Are the economic pressures too much for people? Is there no one to take over the establishment? My heart sinks a little bit when I see such signs. However the notice board below shows their is very much activity going on in the area.

I do not think Frome Whole Foods will disappear any time soon because the town has the type of demography where people are aware of the need for good food. I urge anyone to come down to the High Street and look at the one or two side streets or should I say alleys. It should be said that Saturday morning in Frome is very crowded and we could not find anywhere to have a coffee and croissant.

I noticed a touching scene. Someone who turned out to be the Dutch mother-in-law of the recipient had given her daughter in law a red orchid. This was obviously a surprise and I know it’s how the daughter received the flower with its wonderful wrapping with dignity and grace. We had nothing of this ‘ oh you shouldn’t have done that’. She was genuinely joyful and I went up to her to complement her on her grace.

It seems that the mother in law and husband visit once a year from the Netherlands. Locals will understand me when I say that the daughter and husband lives in Trowbridge which is a different planet.

I love seeing examples of giving and this was one such that moved me.

Next up, the Black Swan outdoor coffee and snack emporium


This is not only a coffee shop but an Arts Center and we had the privilege of meeting someone who ran a wool shop consisting solely of plant dyed yarn. It is lovely to meet the creator of something and the picture below illustrates the subtlety of the produce. See GingerPinkYarns.com

We also met L  ,but that is the story I will come to later. We found a seat in the shade where we could eat our rather expensive croissants which we had bought in the market. At three pounds each we thought them rather expensive but actually they were large and the quality was very good so I would guess this was at the upper end of the market. We ordered a latte and a tea and were given the identifier of our table as a small yellow duckling.

At an adjacent table there were two ladies (below) with their dog and we had great fun bantering with them. The dog was six months old and lost no time in investigating us to see what there was any available food. The dog’s name was Frank and I joked that you could not use the sentence ‘ to be perfectly frank with you’ because he would pick up on his name. Someone else came along with a small dog and their dogs got on very well and sniffed and licked each other.

I joked with couple at another table but if they were ever on their own all they had to do was to rent or obtain a dog and everyone would talk to them using the dog as an opener.

My encounter with L

Anyway after finishing the delicious coffee we went into the Black Swan Centre itself to the end of the corridor to meet a couple of people, L   and D  , who were closing up an exhibition which had ended the previous day. I asked if he was on the gay spectrum and he confirmed it. We had a wide ranging and high speed talk.

His background was mental health. We did not discuss his cohort but we did discuss the meaning of normality if indeed there was any meaning. He said that psychiatry is preserving behavior between two extremes which I did not consider a definition of normal and he agreed. I gave the analogy of people who in their social engagement had become burned and could no longer find the freedom or will to engage with other people.

I said that I engage with anyone who shows the slightest bit of life. I am not interested in their background or religion or sexual orientation, it is rather that I can get to know someone new, compare views, and maybe learn a thing or two. When I entered the studio there were three people there and when L  came to me and introduced himself to me I felt a great warmth and acceptance and so I was motivated to give my two pence worth of intuition. I was very impressed with the apparent relationship with his partner who was Spanish and we agreed that the main thing is that people are happy with the person they are with irrespective of the biological sex of the person.

With gay couples or partners I have found in the past that one of them dominates the other and there is an element of anger somewhere but in their case there was an absence of anger or should I say that any anger there was was eclipsed by the creativity that they both had. I used the term co-creativity which seemed to make sense to L  . I might go along to some events to meet more people like him

I will shown an artwork which symbolizes the dependence of people on pills as opposed to the many other remedies including being listened to. We discussed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and I never realized that the pyramid did not include anything spiritual. How did I miss that for so long?

 

When I get inspired I can’t get the words out fast enough because behind them there’s another lot of words waiting to come out. In my life I had not met many gay people but in this case my impression was of an open creative person who was not prejudiced and who is genuinely glad that I came along to the show even though all the exhibits had been taken down. Those interested in Pride in Frome may care to visit https://www.fromepride.org

We also discussed having a bigger version of it next year due to the number of people who potentially might want to exhibit their artwork but of course the atmosphere has to be right. I say ‘good luck to them all’

To home and a late lunch. We bought some vegetarian sausages which went down very well with mashed potatoes. At last we have come to the end of the leftover food from my party last Sunday

Special PS

I received a reply from L  which was the most cogent and comprehensive response to anything I have written since I started these diaries 8 years ago,   There is definitely a conversation to be had and a re-brand as everyone must be suffering from conflation

Thank you for your email. It was a pleasure to meet You & Francoise at the Round Tower.
Interesting timing too as we stood in the space where such creativity had bubbled although, I feel you “got” & plugged into the ephemeral spirit we had briefly conjured into existence regardless.
D and I were transfixed as we read aloud to each other your road diary yesterday evening. How you intuited our connection was quite captivating and enhanced our own understanding of each other and we are grateful.
I can see your point about a rebranding of the Pride movement (many feel this call in one way or another.) it is something which will, I think, emerge naturally from within our own ranks (and has begun already some would say). We are all, unfortunately politicised in both our bodies and minds whether intentionally or otherwise….consciously or otherwise. That you felt a pang of caution is a testament to that.
Gay Pride (as it was known at first) started as a violent revolt against the authorities and a society which denied the very right to existence of a set of equally human beings. Although, with its rainbow adornments and glitter, it’s easy to forget that Pride is a protest. It exists to test the veracity of every great institution of state, church, legislature etc. it is a threat to the brittle facade of social control and remains vital.
That same-sex attraction was a categorisable mental illness until 1983 is evidence of that (not to mention a little ironic and amusing to me as a mental health nurse)
I was glad to hear that our connection made you question your caution. It is no small thing. Like everything we have been immersed in throughout our early lives, such things fundamentally shape and organise our very neuro architecture. We can struggle to see beyond them.
An example of this can be seen if we try to comprehend our psychology without relying on the concept of “I-thou” i.e. separateness from each other or, try to experience anew those strange feathered mammals we see overhead without using the concept “bird.” We are in many ways automatons to our epistemology, history, culture and times.
The human mind & brain is a marvelous wonder. Many scientists believe it is irreducibly complex and beyond the scope of its own understanding. I find this paradox somewhat comforting, a brain that can never fully understand itself. Maybe this is the final bastion of human humility.
7 billion brains living on this planet cannot fathom how one brain works.
I didn’t know if you were condemning the term woke or not? It’s an interesting one to me. I often take the label as flattery (often to the disgruntlement of the user)
Do you know the origins of the word woke I wonder? I understand it to be rooted in Buddhism, something close to my heart. The Buddha who had lived 10,000 million compassionate lifetimes eventually achieved enlightenment and awoke to understand that we are all intimately intertwined.
That a human being, rather than being a separate entity was much more like a wave in a vast ocean.  A wave is a temporary form, an expression of the ocean but not separate from it. The wave rises only fleetingly before collapsing back into and rejoining the ocean only to be followed by an endless rhythm of other waves. It can be seen that no one wave feels itself more special than the last. Each wave expresses its rolling crescendo without fear of past or future because it is simply the wave of that point in the life of the ocean. It is comfortable either being or not being. Grateful to have come, willing to be its best in the present and equally at peace returning to its home.
The brevity of existence and the sublime sense of being but a brief step on a vast expanse is what the Buddha saw. From this inseparable nature with all things living or not, he swelled with compassion because how could he find enemies when he was simply a fleeting expression of the same ocean as they?
So, to be “woke” is to “wake up” or become enlightened and explore our own thoughts from the viewpoint of inter connectedness. Something you may have affinity for.
Anyway, I don’t mean to sermonise, but it’s interesting that some would use this to denounce tolerance and to suppress our curiosity and capacity for awe. Rather counterintuitively for them, should we all be truly “woke” it would mean we could see through hate speech and intolerance, the blinkers would fall and the right wing may draw a smaller crowd.
There is no doubt the so called “right leaning” across this land have used this term as a pejorative to stifle those who see a more equitable alternative. It’s like you and I were saying; some people and groups would like us all to look in a certain direction so we neglect our very obvious connection. Hate, prejudice and fear are very effective tools but it is our choice to pick them up.
Life can be more colourful than that!
Thank you again and Wishing you & Francoise a beautiful Sunday. The sun is shining at this early hour.
With love and respect

L

Brian (Ed):  No question there will be more discussions on this topic so watch this space.

 

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