Glastonbury Tor revisited as the autumn equinox is celebrated

There is nothing like getting your timing right and listening to inspiration. Inspiration has a timed element to it in other words if you get inspired to do something and you say to yourself that you will do it later, things do not work in the way you expect it to. I say, trust the universe.

I went on to People per hour.com last night at about 5pm to find someone to help me design a leaflet for the Trafalgar Square rally on Saturday. There are plenty of people out there particularly in India was prepared to do work for what we think is little money but actually for them is quite a lot.

I found a person called Sarita whose portfolio looked pretty good so I wrote to her last night at about 6 PM enclosing the rough proof of what I wanted. It came back about 2 PM today Tuesday, I sent her a couple of corrections and the final PDF arrived half an hour later. Tomorrow, I will send it off to my overnight printer and it will be at my hotel in London when I arrive.

Seen on the main road in Glastonbury

Today is the autumn equinox and normally we go along to Glastonbury to celebrate this year. Due to you know what, there are no formal celebrations as such. Nevertheless, there were quite a number of people there and we sat round the chalice Well itself for some quietness and meditation. I managed about 5 minutes and then got restless.

Chalice Well itself decorated with autumn flowers and apples.

near the chalice well itself

It was then that I met a lady whom comprise my first meaningful communication. I saw that she had bought a pendulum. I knew she was a novice because I saw her holding it like a teabag and trying to make it swing. I being me went up to her and introduced myself as a dowser of 40 years. I did a reading using her pendulum finding out how she could best apply her talent and found that she was able to diagnose the atmospheres of buildings. I was very glad to be able to encourage her. Later on we met by coincidence in the centre of Glastonbury when I was with Françoise and I gave a further encouragement and gave my card.

It was very pleasant I must admit to be in Chalice Well Gardens with very few people because normally it is crowded. We paid £4.20 to get in; normally they let us in for nothing on special occasions. Knowing about the importance of grounding our energies we walked around in bare feet and spent some time wading in the paddling pool.

Self and Francoise at the top of the Tor

We decided to climb Glastonbury Tor and by the way it is climb for which you need to be physically fit. The way up and the way down is very much like a social club because everyone is on the same wavelength and you could more or less talk to anyone and be guaranteed a friendly greeting in return. Covid was a conversation piece with most people getting bored and desperate with it. I found that people who wore masks, one couple in particular, were alienating themselves from everybody else and if they don’t get mental stress problems I would be very surprised.
Sometimes, Cows are let out and they walk around the building at the top but on this occasion there were only a few sheep on the lower pastures. We met an African-American couple photographing each other and I got the impression that the male photographed his female companion many times so I made a joke saying that if I had 50 p for every time he photographed his friend would I be rich and he laughed knowingly saying yes.

A wonderous display of red berries

Outside the alas closed Womens Centre a wonderful miniature apple tree full of fruit.

Under the mild threat of a rain shower or two we went down to the town and I decided that the best thing for me was a pint of local cider so we went to the King Arthur pub, a wonderful traditional pub just built for Glastonbury and had the most wonderful local cider, fairly sweet, and Françoise had some alcohol free ginger beer. I remember I used to make ginger beer when I was young. Once the top of the bottle blew off under pressure and the whole thing shattered pieces and some of the glass embedded itself into the shelves above and beneath.

The locals amusing themselves

Reminded me of Tibet

There are arcades of the Main Street that are most interesting to tourists who of course had been decimated in recent months. Invention and creativity is the order of the day. You could almost think you were in Greece looking at the picture below.And so back home. Now the evenings will start to draw in.  On the way back, we got in supplies of coal which I note has increased in price. We paid £23 for 60 kg of house coal. We burn a combination of coal and wood so that should last us a bit.




Days merge with each other

Françoise just had a chat with someone who lives in London. They told her that journeys by bus can take longer because they are changing the architecture of the streets to accommodate more social distancing, all this is based on a lie, how can the government get out of this I wonder.

On Friday I went to see someone who wanted their garden done. Pensioner who met me seemed a little bit fraught but he was grateful enough to see us. It was quite plain that his wife ruled the roost. I gave a quote for the garden but said that the cost of removing the rubbish could not be determined as we were not sure about the volume. On Saturday morning he rang at 8:30 telling us that we should not come and start the work because he wanted the final estimate for the cost of taking away. I told him that I thought it would be between £50 and £100 but could not be certain because we have not started the job. Even got very short with me and started making personal comments about my competence, track record etc and ended up by putting the phone down. It’s not very often that this happens to me but I have a rule that if something starts badly it will go on badly and I never do work for such people even go in loss of income.

I have a feeling that my new vicar, Rev Adam, and I are not on the same wavelength. no one has mentioned COVID and I would like to discuss it is only to give added help and support to those people who have found themselves on their own. At the ZOOM  meetings I cannot focus on the topic and cannot really make a meaningful connection which means that for the most part like a zombie just watching. This is not helpful for me, and it must be confusing for the few other people who attend the meeting. Unless something happens, and I’m not saying it will or it won’t, I doubt if I will be an enthusiastic member of the church for much longer.

With Covid, certainly in the UK, the number of videos of people criticising the government is increasing and I think it’s only a matter of time before their position becomes unstable. The government are quite determined that a second wave is going to happen and are simply ignoring the public in pursuit of their own goals which are anti-aesthetic with the economic health of this country the United Kingdom. Does the whole place have to actually collapse before they see the error of their ways?

My stomach is under control largely because I have decided to limit myself to 2 meals a day, not eat after 6 PM, take an allopathic pill for my Barrett’s oesophagus every other day, and be careful about drinking anything alcoholic in the evening. I know Barrett’s can develop into something more serious, for example cancer, but I think if I live a relaxed and healthy lifestyle that is quite unlikely.

I’m looking forward to attending the Trafalgar Square meeting next Saturday. The police are quite happy to let Black Lives Matter events go ahead but they are being aggressive towards anything 5G or Corona and some people in Trafalgar Square were being arrested for not having masks and given fines.

 

 

 




A magic valley that disappointed

To Hartley’s for a light lunch. Francoise had a salmon sandwich and I had a latte and a cheese cake.  Paul the owner is always a pleasure to meet and in spite of the incessant pressure he finds time to talk to his customers.

To our magically valley just north of Wells. Whereas a few months ago it was a wonder to walk in, now it was an impenetrable jungle of weeds. We then struggled a few hundred yards. Francoise was getting so many nettle stings that we decided to retrace our tracks.

There is a wood to the south of the cathedral gardens. We had never been there so a chance to find some blackberries, elder berries and rose hips. Little luck with the first, no luck with the second and good luck with the third. Elder berries are to be found in August.   Blackberries – it depends on the position and the variety.

An adjacent golf course

an enormous oak tree

lovely path which must have been an old track




Swimming fever – the beauty of clear water

Françoise has continued to enjoy the wild swimming in Vobster . I am figuring out the culture of swimmers and divers.   Françoise finds that the fellow swimmers, normally female, are very friendly but I found that the divers are a special breed. it must cost a fortune to kit yourself out with the required gear. I can imagine people getting hooked on it.

It seems that the facility is open almost 365 days a year. The staff are focused and very conscious of the rules and regulations especially of the safety kind that a facility has to observe.

the water is very clear. This rock is about 4 m below the surface of the water; it is almost an optical illusion that it looks so much closer

it is difficult to give an impression of the size of this facility. I would say it’s about 100 m wide and about 600 m long.

This facility is for experienced swimmers only and you are supposed to be able to swim 750 m before being allowed in.

From time to time, I need a reality check when I see person after person wearing a mask when all the evidence points to the fact that it is unhealthy,  impedes the outflow of carbon dioxide and also the ingress of oxygen plus providing an ideal breeding ground for germs. Who washes a mask every time they use one. I do have a small group of people that I can have a winge with.

We have an ZOOM the meeting every Wednesday at 530pm with those more interested in looking at the long-term implications of COVID gather together. there are more than a dozen of us and we have got to know each other quite well, admittedly virtually, but communication is pleasant and we have settled as a group. It does provide nutrition. I don’t think we are a clique but it is a little bit awkward for new people to come along and feel accepted although I can tell them verbally that they are.

Tomorrow, I’m going to advertise in the newly launched local paper for my gardening skills. I have a feeling that I’m not going to get many takers because people have been traumatised so much that this extends to those who might visit the home never mind if there is no contact. It is a tragic and dreadful thing to behold. The wearing of a mask only reinforces the anonymity that people feel. I hope I get sufficient work to take me through the winter.

 

 




Freedom from fear – the fear of Freedom

“The Fear of Freedom” is a seminal book by Eric Fromm and made a great impact on me. Many people are too frightened to be themselves and thus claim a passport but essentially to an acting role. Nowadays with this current Covid, people are just plain and simple frightened. As I said before, the deliberate Government campaign creates frightened and confused people. It is softening them up to be willing recipients of a vaccine which alas has the potential to take the human out of the human being.   I realised today what a pleasure it is to be free of fear. It is rather like flying above the clouds, above the 10,000 foot mark; you see the clear blue sky.

Today, we went berry picking including rosehips. Françoise wants to freeze them and use them at a later time. We walked along the old rail track from Radstock to Frome.

see the old rail tracks?

about 20 young pheasants enjoying the sun

This morning, Françoise signed up to join the Vobster swimming and diving club. This is an exceedingly deep – 150 m at the greatest point – wild swimming pool and very popular especially as the local swimming baths have been closed. People come from miles around and looking at the quality I’m not surprised. There was the usual Covid nonsense with one or two people wearing masks and a slightly officious and bossy staff member who wanted someone to sit away from the space reserved for divers when in fact there were no divers around at the time.

Francoise’s first view

“The masses of Carboniferous Limestone around Upper Vobster were worked for aggregate but closed in the 1950s. One of the quarries, Vobster Quay is now flooded and is used as an inland diving centre”.

TripAdvisor reviews here




A visit to Wells Somerset in a (semi) lock down mode

I went to Wetherspoons for breakfast and now anyone who enters the establishment will be asked to write their phone number for track and trace details. This is basically a surveillance system about which I want nothing to do so I refused and sat at my table. An enthusiastic young assistant bought me a track and trace form with a pencil and asked me to fill it in, and then reminded me. Having done his duty, he left me alone. I ignored it and left without filling anything in.

Today is as good a day as any for a visit to Wells, wherein lies the famous cathedral and the ancient market. We were glad to find a goodly number of people at the market that the number of stands allowed one less than normal. About 60% of people were not masked by people who still responding to the so-called government guidelines of masking up in the shop irrespective of what is on sale there. Having said that, most people are laid back on the matter because I think customers are more important than sticking to the lesson of the law.

After buying a selection of beautifully fresh vegetables at the market we went on to the bishops gardens; we were given two months extra credit because the garden had been closed for two months.

The 800th Anniversary of the Cathedral

The market in fairly full swing

In the bishops garden

Where the Swans nest, now covered with feathers. Were there are lots of fights?

Near the source of the spring. How lovely and clear the water is

Dying Vegetation Viewed through 1 Foot of Clear Water near the Spring

in the allotment gardens

The gardens have been going ever since 1893

Back to the gardens

The Cathedral cafe has moved people outside for social distancing with very pleasant results

People love feeding the ducks

One of the best spoken about community cafes in Wells

I do not recall seeing this design of swan in the high Street. it may have been re-painted

somewhat premature for autumn but amusing nevertheless

Whilst we were having our coffee in the aforementioned cafe we met a very interesting local lady who told us that there was a reduced annual fee of £15 a year for going around the Bishops Gardens. They wanted to encourage people to visit the town frequently and of course spend money when they were there.

We also discussed the Whole Food cafe, which earlier in the day we had found to be virtually empty. Evidently, at the height of the lockdown, the proprietor insisted that there were only two people in the establishment at any one time and that others had to wait on the pavement. She thought that this had been a major off put to the customers who seemed to have deserted in droves.

 




A walk in the woods

Boris Johnson wanting to spend a hundred billion pounds on daily testing, or any sum come to that, when the test is one of the most unreliable ever for COVID sends me into something of a spin. Do see my huge weight of evidence in my website

I had a very pleasant ZOOM meeting with a group of Christian men from Frome this evening. We did not have a formal agenda but I find that if there is a reasonable correspondence of people’s spirits, conversation are soon found and meaningful threads follow.

This afternoon we went for a walk in some woods. It is very exciting to be in a place that has not been touched for hundreds of years, typically land that cannot be used for agriculture. The rest of this diary will be a pictorial diary

Half a very substantial bridge over a very small stream. It looks fairly modern in its construction but I wonder if its secrets have been lost

was this an old parish boundary? It is right in the middle of would but could have been a marker for a lane

 




Collecting logs + a visit to Frome

We collected a supply of logs from Longleat – 180 kg for about £33. We reckon to keep us going for the winter we shall need about £75 worth with coal after the fire has started.

It takes a lot to remove the charisma from Frome. There were limited people wandering around but a lovely warm atmosphere. I wanted to go up to the mask wearers and shake them.




A mixed day – Wetherspoons excels itself

I have decided to organise myself better by carrying around a small notebook and writing down all the little things that I need to do. Since my mind is active, some would say over active, quite a list can be made in a short time.

This morning I went to Wetherspoons for breakfast. They have decided to continue the half price offer Mondays to Wednesdays until November. There were not many people when I attended at 9:15 AM but the atmosphere was good as was the service provided by the young staff. I moved tables because of a very noisy child who came in to the stall next to mine; I did not want to be blasted by intermittent screams.

Off to the allotment to do something that I have been putting off which is to restore a rather untidy end to my allotment and remove unproductive fruit bushes. For some reason, I woke up this morning saying ‘today is the day’ and we did it in a couple of hours. I find that if you get your timing right, the task is not exhausting.

We have a problem with deer encroaching on our allotment. They have a special taste for sweetcorn. It is quite difficult to see where they come from as they are very clever at jumping.

I have decided to start advertising in the recently relaunched Midsomer Norton Journal. Response to my gardening advertisements this year has been very poor in fact I can say non-existent so let us hope that I will actually get some customers.

We have recently put a grounding sheet on the bed and I find that my sleep has improved and the normal need to go out to have a pee has declined.

 




Return to Cheddar car boot sale – Early Doors Cider Barn adapts

you need to be a certain type of person to walk casually with a plastic dinosaur on your back and not care about what people think

I must admit I’m not too keen on going to church this morning so we decided as a very unspiritual alternative to go along to the car boot sale at Cheddar about which I have written many times. There were quite a few people there but not many people buying and I heard three or four stallholders complaining of lack of business. I don’t think people are in the mood.

We went to the side of the cider barn and I saw the ever hard-working Jason, the owner, presiding over the opening up of a large marquee, presumably introduced to increase space especially for bands which have a habit of playing on Sunday. He looked exhausted but I know he loves his job. I also met his very supportive wife.  For the first time in months I had some local cider (all the cider is local) and it is of the most wonderful quality and gives no side-effects. We also had pizza and left well satisfied after an hour or so.

*****

At home, Françoise is busily processing all the produce from our garden. Our kitchen is always overfull with miscellaneous items and we do need an extra room to function as a larder. Maybe we will decide to build something in the garden.

I am content because I’ve made a breakthrough in my stomach problem that has been troubling me for so many years. I decided that most alcoholic drinks contain additives that are not good for the digestion. When I do have a drink for example rose wine, I just have a sip of it, the same amount that would be contained in an egg cup, and I feel quite satisfied. That combined with not drinking at all in the evening and having smaller amounts of food seems to work and the amount of acidity and bloating is decreasing. I also spend more time ‘grounding’ outside in the garden and that does have a good effect. Grounding means standing in bare feet and connecting with the Earth

We are coming to the time when the year of the allotment rentals comes to an end and people need to renew. I have had five or six people wanting allotments – goodness knows where they came from because we have a long period when no one was interested – but I must somehow accommodate them if I possibly can and I must tactfully look round for allotment spaces where people have become too busy or inform to continue. We have two vacant plots and six people.




Welcome to Oscar plus A fun garden job – but hard work

Francoise bought me a present of an owl that I named Oscar on my recent vacation. We found it as a very unpretentious market in front of the library in Much Wenlock. First of all I was attracted to the woman who made it who seemed to put her whole heart and soul into these objects and also in various items of clothing. I found that the owl radiated something. It was certainly unique and personal. She charged the grand sum of twelve pounds which I thought was good value bearing in mind that it was also an artwork.  Oscar will join George who is a hedgehog who looks after our house and also our deer, stuffed admittedly, who keeps watch out for intruders.

*****

Gardening jobs are rare these days not because nature has gone on strike but because people are frightened of any contact and have really changed their habits. It was a great pleasure to do the gardening job today for an elderly couple, one was 91 years of age and the other was 89. The wife had lived in the same house on Waldergrave terrace, Radstock,  since she was born. We were treated to a talk on local history, particularly which collieries existed in the area. It was interesting that the couple were both very bright and I think their sense of humour and companionship kept their brains going. our daughter said that “she had all her buttons”. I remember being slightly amused that this was we say “she had all her marbles”

The garden was basically a sloping field which had once been tended but was now consisting of grass. Perhaps a better description would be a meadow. It was about 50 m in length and on a 25° slope I estimate. You only notice the weight of a mower when you have to push it uphill so if you need to estimate the cost in energy and time mowing on a hill take your figures are multiply by two.

The garden was very much a memorial place because in the old days they had a small orchard, and Lorna, and that’s where vegetables grew so we had full respect for this. It took us 3 1/2 hours to mow and weed. When I work for people who appreciate what I do I get invigorated but I have to say on this occasion the combination of the sun and pushing a heavy object uphill did exhaust me so I had to pause from time to time for a rest. At 76 years of age I am entitled to take things a bit easy though I was positively junior compared with my customers.




Amazing new art work

To maskland, for my latest eye injection.  The corridors always entertain me with their art workothers, more glorious,  gave delight.

Monument Valley – The Milky Way seen over Monument Valley in Arizona, USA.

We no longer have access to a consultant. We are evaluated on the basis of an image of the eye made each time and the decision to have another injection after one or two months is made behind the scenes.




At so to home after the bank holiday

Our host ended our visit by a short walk which encompassed a fast flowing river. There is plenty of water in the north-west of England which was a very useful facility for all the manufacturers of wool when Manchester was the world centre of production for many items requiring power.

The journey from Glossop in the hills just below Manchester to my home south of Bath unavoidably goes through the very busy Midlands motorway interchange with huge amounts of traffic including many lorries, roadworks, narrow lanes, general overcrowding, 50 mile an hour speed limit, four lanes with no hard shoulder. All these add up to a journey that is more unpleasant and stressful than it should be.

I drove about 130 miles non-stop until we reached the Gloucester services, in my view a cut above the rest with its own farm shop. We were again greeted by everyone masking up. In the hills it was refreshing to see everyone with almost no masks at all. Here it was depressing and embarrassing. I had an overpriced coffee, decent chicken pie, and a large chocolate biscuit made of oats for which I paid £9.25.

We sat outside resting and I was able to enjoy the very splendid view of the clouds reflected in the pool.

We arrived home at 5 PM. The last few miles were the longest. Overall the Volvo proved its worth for long journeys. We did a total of 444 miles for which the price of the petrol was about £64.

Before the next stage of the fake pandemic which will likely happen in October or November, we have decided to make the most of September and go out and about so let’s hope for an Indian summer.




The 1948 wreck of a Superfortress

The famous crash site near Glossop. A B – 29 plane crashed on its way to deliver wages of soldiers but due to fog and a lack of radar, a miscalculation was made and it went to meet its maker.   You can read all about it on this trip advisor review.

we had a lovely walk down the top of the hill through an area that never really gets dry and you can be ambushed by a stream or ravine when such features are not obvious when you start your walk.A most delightful recipe for the soul. We then continued our journey to a place called Mam Tor, where through a series of slippages throughout the decade the road through the mountain had been reduced to rubble on more than one occasion.Back home for tea, spending our last evening together with our friend. It is a pity that such holidays are so short because I could have spent a week walking around and not getting tired.




I narrowly missed a £150 fine from the police

Off to the Pennines. On the way, we stopped off at a famous tourist spot called Ironbridge. This is where the first such bridge was built in 1799. It had been extremely well painted to preserve it and we had the pleasure of walking backwards and forwards across it.

Then to a place called Hassop which is near to Bakewell. This is a bank holiday weekend and great numbers of people have come out by bike, by motorcycle, by car and on foot to enjoy the facilities and we rendezvous with our friend at the Hassop cafe, a huge institution. The usual COVID safety rules were in operation but it was quite well organised and we got served in about 10 minutes.

There were cars parked for at least half a mile so we cheekily drove up to the roundabout and I found a place to park. Unnoticed by me, I had parked partly on a pavement and this was nearly my undoing. We returned to the roundabout to see two police cars. I wondered what they were doing and as I drew level with them they started moving purposefully towards the area where my car was parked. The officer was very polite and asked if it was my car and said that he was about to issue me with a fine for £150 for parking on the pavement – where people with prams would have difficulty in negotiating the area. I was very contrite and said we were going anyway. The policeman had already filled out the form and was just about to stick a ticket on my car so I was very lucky.

We duly left and went to my friend’s house who lives in Ashton under Lyne and then we spent the evening catching up




Wenlock Priory

This was a must because we are interested in historical buildings or in this case historical ruins and although the site is not large it is a pleasure to be there and spend an hour in peace and silence. Françoise spend some time doing sketches. The website is https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/wenlock-priory/

A ‘lavabo’ where the monks washed before going into the refectory for their meals.

it was very nice to come back to the bed-and-breakfast as there is always a fire going. The eating area is in the same room as the pottery exhibition so you are never far from the action. Our favourite breakfast, which we had twice, was salmon and scrambled eggs on a lightly done brown toast.




Picture Postcard of Much Wenlock

Ctrl, + to see the detail

You could say that the historical side of this small town is about 300 m x 300 m. We spent our time wandering around having a look so here are some of the pictures. In the afternoon Francoise had a one to one pottery lesson with the Master, Mike, as a birthday present from me.

In the evening, we went to a restaurant called The Fox. Françoise had some fish and I had a very handsome steak pie.  I felt all the people in the area very chatty and for the first time in my life I was called ‘love’ by one of the men in a social group.




And off we go – our first break for…. far too long

I try to plan as far ahead as possible but in spite of that I always forget one thing, in this case it was a portable Digital clock which would have been nice to refer to during a waiting period at night. Much more environmentally friendly than having my mobile phone switched on next to my ear.

Our journey will involve a visit to Much Wenlock in Shropshire for three nights, a rendezvous with a friend in Buxton, Derbyshire going on to Ashton under Lyme East of Manchester where we are going to stay for two nights with an old friend.  This is also an opportunity to test my new Volvo, well, new to me anyway, to see what its performance is like on long journeys. Our first stop was a comparatively new service station near Gloucester, such a relief from the traditional rather dated motorway service stations that we have become used to. The vicinity included a large farm shop full of very good quality food, a small lake and a woodland area to run around in. The designers rightly worked on the assumption that people traveling would be people who need to stock up with food.

On entry, it was disheartening as ever to see everyone masked up. We of course did not mask. If anyone wonders why, visit my website www.mask-covid.info and click the buttons on the left. People seem to have this respect for authority which is completely uncalled for because the government is run by a temporary emergency committee called SAGE who has very little if any connection with Members of Parliament. They are paid for by commercial global interests. We cannot expect these people to show an interest in our welfare so really we are on our own.

Anyway, hopefully, for a few days  I will be able to defocus from this. In the restaurant of the service station I did meet a wonderful chap who it turned out  was  on his way to a funeral. He had a lovely silk tie and most importantly no mask. I complimented him on his all-purpose psychedelic tie.  We had a lovely chat, one of these spontaneous chats with strangers, and left on good terms.

Much Wenlock is a very small town with its own monastery long disused, which consists mainly of two streets running at right angles. It has many preserved medieval buildings and it is clear that the villagers take great pride in their town through decorating their properties with flowers.

We were welcomed in the Wenlock Pottery by Shelagh, who after showing us our room offered a very generous gin and tonic which I was happy to accept. It must be the first drink of this nature I’ve had for a couple years as I normally stick to wine, champagne and sometimes beer. Oh, I nearly forgot, a double whiskey and a half of Guinness does wonders. As it was still early in the day, we wandered around the town which took all of 15 minutes, and returned to the property for an early night.




My least favorite word + Party balloons – the winner

And the winner is….. the pink balloon!   20 days after the event and it is still flying high.

Today is the day before our miniature holiday if you can call it that. I reckon that people need holidays from ‘holidays’ spent abroad. It is of course the onerous travel restrictions and requirements, particularly when flying outside the country,  that would take the fizz off the champagne.

We in UK Seem to suffer from ‘lack of summer’. A couple of weeks ago we had boiling sunshine and record-breaking temperatures but in the past few days, rain and wind has been the order of the day.  It was a good thing that we did our routine weeding job in Timsbury Monday instead of Tuesday. At least we have enough in the bank to treat ourselves to the necessaries of petrol, accommodation etc.

Anxiety takes many forms.  I just received a call from a lady who wanted maintenance on her hedges reduced. The strange thing was that she had not even moved to the area (Timsbury as she plans) from St Albans which is about 120 miles away. She would not or could not tell me where she was going to live so I asked her to call me when she was settled in.

I’m involved in many mail outs and subscription lists. One of which is called “nomadic Matt” where some young enthusiastic American guy goes around the country writing about his travels. He has recently become bored by doing this because so many places are closed and people are so inhibited, brainwashed, by talking to strangers. He used the phrase “I know the U.S. is a bit of an outlier in terms of how it is handling COVID“.  The word ‘outlier’ jumped out at me as a completely meaningless and horribly constructed and spelt word. It sounds like a gentleman’s outfitters gone wrong. I can’t even get my tongue around the word. Is it a liar who’s been outed?

The rather stodgy definition is

outlier (n.)
c. 1600, “stone quarried and removed but left unused,” from out- + agent noun from lie (v.2). Transferred meaning “outsider” (in reference to persons) is recorded from 1680s, especially “one who does not reside in the place of his office or duties;” the sense of “anything detached from its main body” is from 1849; the geological sense is from 1833.

I am a fan of words but I cannot think of any context in which I would use it. The word “outsider” is surely far easier to understand and remember and would be more understood by the average person. I think that this word outlier has had its day. In all my years of listening to the media I have never heard it used. I’m not saying it won’t come back into fashion as far as I’m concerned, as they say on Dragons Den, “I am out”

I went to Wetherspoon’s for breakfast today to celebrate the last half price offer which ends at the end of this month. I described it as a sop to the public but were all having to pay for this as we are for the £600 million-£800 million for a vaccine for disease that has not yet been identified.

I noticed for the first time that there were no menus on the table. Since they change so frequently, and the management have to throw away the menu if it is used once, they must’ve been spending huge amounts of money on printing. When I spoke to a manager, she said that I would either have to use the app or go to the bar where there are a few menus placed. This seems to me to be another step towards a cashless society which is slowly but surely creeping up on us like the tide.

The behavioural psychologists who run the world in general and the UK in particular are very clever at introducing things and changing the rules by stealth. Eventually, it won’t be credit cards or pay by phone; it will be implanted  microchips or worse still nano technology within us or face recognition. That is the wet dream of the technocrats. Watch the trends in China and Australia.

It is a beautiful sunny day after the tempest of earlier this week so it makes me look forward to the trip a little bit more. I tend not to ‘look forward’ more than I have to because expectations can be different to reality but we have not had a break now since the beginning of the year. Our planned vacation in April fell through because it was in Spain (I am still fighting to get a refund)  and so this will be our first time away from home. However there are others far worse off. I’m thinking of the people who are housebound or cannot get out and whose friends cannot get to them. That’s loneliness with a big L. I also sympathise with children who have to wear masks because their ill informed parents think that their children are at risk of getting the disease though there are zero cases in the UK anyway.

It will be quite nice to get away from all this for a few days then knowing me, I will probably keep an eye open for latest developments.




Carling Black Label? I don’t mind if I do

Last night I had a sleepless night with some recurrence of my stomach troubles which happen only when I take a certain combination of food. Until I figure this out I seem destined to repeat what I’ve been suffering from. The answer is more observation and more discipline.

In spite of that I decided to go to Wetherspoon’s for breakfast. This is the last week of halfprice breakfasts so I ordered a gloriously named Freedom Breakfast with a coffee and was asked for £4.85. I expected the bill to be halved but evidently the till locked and would not allow this to happen. I must’ve been the first person in the day to report this because I was served by the manager and he was confused as I was so it was a question of a quick e-mail to headquarters to find out how to unlock things.Meanwhile I got a staff discount of 50% so paid £2.88 including a coffee. I like the unlimited coffee i.e.  you can refill as many times as you want. I’ll take a guess that most people don’t refill at all and probably 20% of people do have a refill.

Prior to going in to Wetherspoon’s I went to buy a daily newspaper and was shocked to find that the Guardian was £2.20. There was no way I was going to pay that so I ordered a Daily Mail instead for which I paid 70 p. Wetherspoons now opens at eight o’clock in the morning as opposed to 7 o’clock in previous times so I guess the Covid thing has given them a chance to reconsider. This pub chain passes my comfortableness test. By that I mean that I can go in there on my own and feel comfortable. I cannot say the same of every establishment I have visited. I think the quality of management of Wetherspoon’s is very high and I wish them all the best in these difficult times.

I have a confession that I feel only partly guilty about. Yesterday I went to fill up at the Tesco petrol station and noticed a container full of Carling Black label tins. It looked like a vehicle had turned a corner too sharply and they had rolled off the back of a lorry or whatever. I knew that it would be far too paranoid to go and actually have a look at them so I decided to regard them as unwanted material and claim them for myself.

As my regular readers will know, I do gardening for people and the more I go on the more I realise that it is 50% social work and 50% actual gardening. I went to see a garden on a hill where the lady owner must be 90 years of age if she’s a day. The garden has two springs. This means that the grass grows twice as fast as in adjacent properties so maintaining the garden or should I say the field is quite a pain. After talking to the daughter I will talk to the customer saying that I’m willing to bring the whole property to order and then maintain it. It is really worth doing investigations right at the beginning preferably before you start the job to make sure there are no problems down the line. Touch wood, I’ve had no difficulties this year because I have done due diligence towards myself.

Back to COVID. There is so much outworking of nonsense at the moment that to be part of it, to identify with it, does no good to man nor beast and I believe what we need to do is to align ourselves with nature, move towards an independent way of living, and relate to nature as much as possible.

Later on today, I was outside the Post Office and heard someone explaining how much smaller the virus is when the material of which unmask is composed. The young man to whom he was speaking stared at him but that was all. I made a point of greeting the speaker and congratulated him in being a non-masked person. I explained to him that you did not have to give a reason for going into shop or store without a mask.

 

 

 




COVID – holiday preparations – garden

I sometimes have difficulty in remembering what day it is. To the allotments yesterday and noticing that the vast majority of people had not picked the runner beans they have so carefully grown. Why let them all run to wood? Are people afraid to come out?

To Wickes to look for a tool to lift a drain cover. There were about 12 people in the store. They all wore masks.  They all had no expressions. I was the only person who was not wearing a mask. You would have thought that after all this time with no fatalities people would get the message but they seem to actually enjoy wearing the mask. I saw a child of about five wearing one when the possibility of catching the disease is virtually zero. One American study said one in 250,000. Maybe it makes people feel confident or less insecure.

Yesterday, we finished a lovely job which consisted of the rather unglamorous removal of mares tails of horse tales which take forever to be removed. The 75-year-old single customer had not been out of the property for a few months now and expressed the most enormous gratitude for our service which I was more than glad to give.

We also visited a possible job consisting of mowing a large lawn area, the problem was that the area was on a hill and the only way we could use the mower would be from side to side. The lady recalled a time when her husband had cultivated the whole hill and they never had to grow short of vegetables but this must have been about 20 years ago. Meanwhile, the area has grown to be more like a field. Do I want the job? Well, it’s money which always helps but I like to feel I’m hoping something and I believe that if we do a thorough mowing job it will be back to where it was in a months time so what is the point. Wild grasses not unattractive so why not let it be?

I have just ordered a book called “the great British coronavirus hoax” which was published on 16 June this year. It is really great that people are catching up on this scam, probably the biggest scam since I was born. Maybe 911 is a competitor but I feel this is more comprehensive. The number of times this pandemic was prophesied in the years before is huge, references in films, interviews, cartoons so anyone with an ounce of sense would know that this did not happen spontaneously by something being manifested the market in China and then everyone suddenly flying all over the world spreading it elsewhere.

I’m looking forward to going on holiday next week. We are going to a place called Much Wenlock. I hope that the pubs and restaurants are open. It is after all bank holiday weekend so if they can’t open them and turn a few pennies and I don’t see much hope.

Our kitchen sink decided to back up so I decided to dig around and do what I could. It was clear that the drain was blocked so I enthusiastically and energetically set out clearing it myself, getting very mucky and smelly in the process. I don’t mind this because I don’t want to pay good money to people who could have done the same thing. We should not be helpless individuals but try to do it ourselves if we possibly can.

Yesterday morning, someone texted me to say they were in desperate straits and they needed to talk to somebody. Their partner of many years had persuaded them to take part in an investment. The venture had gone wrong and she was going to be left with the bill. People tend to contact me when their situation is very advanced; there is very little room for manoeuvre. I think people are so proud that they feel they have to try everything first without getting a consultation. It is not just prior do, it is blindness coupled with other factors like the desire to please and believe in other people who are alas sometimes not so trustworthy. Anyway, I dropped everything and gave her some advice spending about an hour on the phone so hopefully some good will have been done.

 

 




Gradual death of our party balloons

For the birthday of my wife Françoise on 7 August we bought seven helium balloons and decided to leave them there to see what happens. Each balloon leaks helium at a different rate and they do a slow dance, up and down, side to side, and we shall see how long it takes for them to finally hit the ground so to speak.

It never ceases to amaze me the stupidity and low intelligence of those who think they can con money out of us by promising huge financial rewards for not doing anything. I enclose a letter I just received this morning. There are 13 spelling and grammar mistakes and yet I can guarantee that someone somewhere will be stupid enough to give their phone number and be pestered by very convincing-sounding people that they should wire $155 and never see it again. There will of course be other charges for administration; the idea is to bleed the person dry.  To be financially needy sometimes switches off your brain and desperate people will do what ever they are told.

xFrom the Desk Of MrJohn C Williams
Federal Reserve Bank
Today at 2:20 AM
Headquarter: New York, NY, United States of America
Founded : 1914, New York City, New York, United States
ADDRESS : 33 Liberty Sta New York , NY 10045-0001

Did you authorize Mrs. Annette Stillman of Kemuning Ray Street NO.8,Tomang.
Jakarta,Indonesia to pay the pending wire transfer charges and claim
your WORLD BANK/IMF assisted scam victim compensation funds of $9.5millon
USD?

She is here with us now,with the sum of $155 usd for the pending wire
transfer charges, you are alerted to reply urgent so that if she is not from you we will have her by FBI but do reconfirm to this bank as a matter of
urgency if this woman is from you or not so that the federal government will not beheld responsible for paying into wrong account thank you..

You are to come back to us with your

PHONE::NUMBER

YOU ARE ALERTED TO REPLY SO URGENT NOW ! NOW !
VIA OUR MOBILE NUMBER:
+1(347)391-2671

Sincerely.
Mr John C Williams
Director Federal Reserve Bank

NB John C Williams does in fact exist and is the president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Back. I don’t suppose he appreciates his name being used in this way but I somehow don’t think that this matter will be at the top of his list of concerns.

Today a lady rang me from the Sustainable Food Project asking if there were any excess food from our allotments.  I had indeed been round and saw how much food was being wasted by not being picked so that was the ideal time to write to my allotmenteers and ask them in a tactful way if there was scope for giving the excess – runner beans for example – which are always prolific at this time of year.




Back to gardening – a new and varied week

Yesterday Sunday I had a thoroughly lazy time in my computer was on only half today I spent time sitting on my bed reading light literature including Clare Balding’s description of her rambles around the United Kingdom. Last night I did not sleep well and moved to the living room where I so often pass a few hours. I find I can sleep best when there is complete silence; I return to the marital bed perhaps at six in the morning and sleep again for a couple of hours.

The night before last there was a temporary failure of the electricity. I knew about it because the oven started bleeping and the front doorbell rang. Such activity is quite strange at 1.30 in the morning but never mind we’ve analysed what had happened and went back to bed. I would hate it if someone had genuinely tried to break in at 1:30 AM.  Touch wood it has never happened. In any case robbers would be disappointed by volumes of books, some stored food, lack of anything that could be considered to be valuable.

We did two jobs today, the first one was halving the height of a hedge which was made a very hard prickly stuff and not easy to deal with. Fortunately I have the tools for the job and I can say that we spent as much if not more time clearing up the results of our cutting than the actual cutting itself for which I use a very powerful electric hedge cutter which goes through most things.

I have seen some strange street names in my time……

We then returned home, I loaded the rubbish and reloaded with a mower and petrol strimmer to go to another job. The customer is a delightful lady of senior years called June who loves sitting and watching us work. She lives in council accommodation in Paulton. I have to think of a way of telling her that if she stands 3 foot away from when I’m doing strimming there is a high likelihood that one of the stones will fly out and hit her in the feet or worse. I have asked her carer to please discourage her from standing too close.

We always make it a point to talk to the neighbours because the bonds between people, especially the more disadvantaged, are strong and we do everything we can to show that we are interested in people’s welfare and we at least listen to them. The first customer today could not stop talking and we had to listen to her bearing in mind that this was probably going to be the only conversation she was going to have today. The weather was really lovely and thank goodness we worked early in the day because in the afternoon the rain came.

I have made plans to go away shortly to visit Derbyshire, Shropshire, and Ashton under Lyme. It’s always good to see friends and we shall enjoy travelling in our new car hopefully trouble-free. I have a three month warranty which is comforting. Our new car contains information about how many miles we will get out of the tank and tells us how many mpg our driving is causing us to do. We shall be driving about 400 miles over six days so I wonder how much petrol that will take. Maybe £100. That would certainly be much cheaper than going by train.

I’m looking forward to the break.




A day of synchronicity

An active day. Off at 8.30 in the morning to take a lot of material from my allotments to the recycling. We have to book our car in; there was a lady with a mobile phone at the entrance who was checking to make sure we had the right to enter the recycle.

Afterwards, off to get my first organic chicken of the year, three times the price of what you pay in the supermarket but hopefully the price will be reflected in the taste. Off to Wetherspoons to have a ‘freedom breakfast’, a new variation on the traditional breakfast and then back home.

After lunch we proceeded to a gardening job which consists of removing one of the most ancient and difficult to eradicate plants, mares tails. There are so many remedies for this including various chemicals but they tend to grow back so the only answer is to dig them up and then dig them up again until they lose the will to live. Unfortunately, a previous gardening person had only put down one layer of light excluding matting on the infected area which was covered with gravel. We must strip the lot and start again. Gravel and light excluding material is nothing to this plant which I’m told even grows through concrete.

I have decided to visit a friend of mine in Shropshire, the person who is doing the website and we decided to stay for three days later on in August. He recommended that we stay at pottery which is great for my wife because she loves anything to do with pottery, pots etc.

we went to the local workingmen’s club for a drink, my first visit for months, and meta-chap sporting a wonderful white beard called John. He had worked in Hinkley point nuclear power station, all over south America, had a wealth of knowledge and experience. His brothers owned a farm but he has retired. Who would have thought just looking at him that he had such a wealth of information and knowledge. He thought the lockdown was “complete bollocks”. This endeared me to him immediately.

A few hours later I rang my long-standing friend from Germany I have known now for 20 years and we try to do a catch up. She was talking about the difficulty in travelling anywhere by plane or indeed by train if you want a cross-country barriers, so she’s not going anywhere soon.

A couple of hours after that, an old friend of mine rang out of the blue. He lives near Manchester and so we have decided to visit him after our trip to Shropshire. First thing this morning we had no intention of going anywhere but now a holiday seems to have created itself out of nothing. I believe that if something is meant to be it happens without effort, you just have to be aware.

Time to get a new mobile phone following on the purchase of a drone which is controlled by a mobile phone. It’s necessary to have a fairly modern phone and my existing one is about 4-5 years old now so out it must go.

I find talking on the mobile phone more and more difficult. My ears burn and I swear the phone heats up. I was only on the phone for 20 to 25 min and at the end of time I almost had put the phone down because of its temperature.

A rainy day today following on the sweltering heat of the last few days but the temperature was quite pleasant and certainly more suitable for gardening than doing it in baking sun.




Françoise’s 70th birthday – the meeting of like minds

The last days have been quiet with regarding to my diary, normally kept on a daily basis. The reason is that we have been preparing for, celebrating, and recovering from my wife’s 70th birthday. We invited four guests, two for the weekend and two for the day on Saturday itself. For some strange reason, I did not photograph the events. I cannot explain this. I feel that it was an intimate occasion that I did not want to record, only in my memory.

Friday was pleasant enough, the actual day of her birthday, and we had a nice quiet bottle of champagne, a fairly ordinary lunch, and in the evening we had a quiche. Our friends had joined us from Hertfordshire somewhat north of London. It is such a relief to entertain people on the same wavelength because you don’t have to explain anything, you don’t have to justify anything, and it’s very much take it or leave it with lots of courtesy and understanding thrown in.

On Saturday we went to pick up the cake from a baker called Az, an Israeli person with great courage and fortitude. He’s starting a business from nothing during the lockdown but still manages a smile and best wishes we had a non-traditional birthday cake with layers of white chocolate, green marzipan. On returning, we went along to our allotment and had a celebration, Pagan and Druidic type, celebrating man’s relationship with nature and how we are sustained by her. We then returned to our bungalow but not before picking copious amounts of runner beans; I dug up the first of the potatoes this year. For the salad, Nasturtiums/ Such a lovely taste which reminds me of pepper.

I decided that the best formula for lunch was a potluck supper contribution model where everyone brought along something to eat and something to drink. As is normal with such plans, everything went along very well. One of the party cooked a salmon wrapped in pastry, I know there’s a word for it and I’ll remember it soon. We finished the meal with cheese followed by chocolate cake followed by coffee.

Afterwards, Françoise gave a talk about her time in Ecuador, illustrated with slides. We then had a light evening meal and sat around outside on a lovely summer evening chatting away. Sunday morning we were joined by my friend Terry, who is an expert on anything deep state, hidden agendas, New World Order etc who regaled us at great length on what was really going on in the world. My friends left for a fairly long drive home at about three o’clock and Terry left about four o’clock or so. After they left there was a peace and silence and we realise that we are going to go back to normal. It is lovely to be in an environment where everybody gets on with everybody else but that was the case and I do not take it for granted for one single moment.

On Saturday night, we sat up watching for shooting stars and one or two big ones were seen.

Today, Monday, I feel like walking around doing nothing. I have not made many entries on my websites but I don’t feel I have to my father, who was a Church of England vicar, used to take Mondays off so his habit has transferred to his children.

Today we are trying the new food dehydrator that Françoise bought. The idea is to have some sort of bank of food when prices continue to increase.




Another grim day in the High Street – Night TV – drones

OK Midsomer Norton is not the most brilliant and exciting High Street in the UK but what there is of it is useful enough. I went along about 11 o’clock this morning to meet a friend I had chanced upon on a previous occasion. We are in the stage of getting to know each other. He is against masks but not interested in Covid. He shared his enthusiasm for gardening and his own front and back garden is a source of pride. We sat outside a Health Food shop until the rain ended our meeting prematurely. While we were talking, a man and his wife walked into the store. The man had a funny floral mask and the woman had no mask.

Things went downhill experience-wise from this moment on. I went along to park outside the chemists from where I can hop across the road to Lidl. I met a previous lady friend who has a chest complaint who basically and fundamentally disagrees with me about my attitude to Covid which she considers to be irresponsible. She says that if she catches the disease she will die. She was in such a state of panic that she asked me not to approach her. Once a person is in such a state, there is no point in trying to engage and she was not in the mood to listen to anything I had to say. That was depressing but then she has never taken any notice of health advice anyway so I should not have been surprised.

On to Lidl.   I did my normal performance of tidying up of the black baskets on wheels which are used in the store. I have done this for about five years now. there was not much in the store where the my attention. The £1.50 box of miscellaneous vegetables, designed for people who are less well off and need to be fed, was a little bit unattractive so I declined.   Everyone in the shop except me was masked up. I approached the check-out with one or two items and was waved through in a distant way by someone who had a large shopping trolley-full of items. I find being with such people is a bit like being with ghosts. There is no communication. People are almost furtive.

I went to a stationery shop and the main woman, never friendly at the best of times, told me to wash my hands before I went in. I refused, walked out, and went into the Post Office next door where I found what I wanted. The assistant was over polite to me, formal, almost apologetic.

In the whole street there was no atmosphere to speak of, alas. I was almost glad to get in the car and go home.

This morning early, I could not sleep,and I watched one of the TV channels that devotes its nighttime hours to selling items. They can take the whole half-hour programme to sell for example a mattress with magical qualities and a money back guarantee after 100 nights sleep if you don’t like it.

Another item of interest advertised was a drone which apparently responds to your hand movements, lands and takes off on its own, can fly up to 1600 feet, can do everything including taking photographs so I thought this was an ideal toy for the month.   £99.99 is not bad value but the cynical side of me says it’s just one pence below the level that you can activate your credit card request for a refund in case of fraudulent or unsatisfactory transaction. I think it’s a great idea to photograph my allotment from above or indeed myself from about so here we come playtime. The item will probably arrive about the middle of next week and I look forward to receiving it.




Funeral service for our old VOLVO V70

I made arrangements with webuyanycar.com to take my old car off me. I arranged an appointment – via the Internet – in Bath for 10.20 this morning. They do not pick up vehicles. I had an offer from the local scrap merchant for £60. I went into the website mentioned above and got a quote of £315 which struck me as a little bit high. In order to get to Bath we had to insure the car for the day. In fact, you can insure a car for as little as one hour; you can find this on the Internet by typing in “short term car hire” It cost us about £14 for the privilege.

Françoise drove it, I accompanied her in the new car to enable return journey.  We arrived at the offices which were actually in the grounds of Bath football club.

Henry the sales person dutifully noting the car details. New one to the left.

The very pleasant assistant Henry checked the car. The company concerned will try to recycle and reuse the cars if they possibly can so it is one step above having the car crushed. There were many faults on the car so the quote unseen price of £315 was reduced to £50 which I totally understood. When I said that I would take the car to the local scrapyard instead they upped their offer to £70. We accepted.

It is a corny phrase to say “the money is not the point” but actually it applied here. The car has plenty of life in it namely a sound body, engine and gearbox and I felt there was a role for it somewhere and the assistant agreed and said it would probably be used as a runaround car for a local garage. I am so happy that a good home may be found for it, much better than the undignified crushing of a loved car.

On the way back we went to Farrington Gurney where there is a health food shop and play area for children which is a blessing for mothers. To our surprise, the food was half price and I guess this is something to do with the government’s attempt to get people out and about. Anyway, we had a coffee and tea to toast the passing of the car and the wish that it finds a new home. Meanwhile, the new car is humming along and I’m so glad I spent the money that I did even though £4,500 is more than I’ve ever paid before for a car.

I took the opportunity of recording what was going on.  The local council have thoughtfully enabled a men’s shed.

Francoise looking at the rather forlorn and closed church adjacent to the car park of the centre.

at least there is some activity

This time last year, a local young lady was run over and killed by a drunk driver. My diary refers.   Here is the same spot on the first anniversary.




what a relief to be back in the Old Down Inn

Maxine, the owner of the pub, had made great efforts to ensure that the new regulations did not have an oppressive effect on the atmosphere. She arranged for us to go into one door, and exit out of the front door. Apart from the fact that tables were not so closely aligned together it was pretty much as normal. People did not appear to be taking much notice of this social distancing nonsense.

In the bar area we met two very interesting groups of people, one of whom sold and supplied high quality mobile homes to the rich and famous (starting price is £600,000) and they drove all over the country delivering and to major sporting and cultural events.

We also met someone who has taken on the trade of bell making after the famous Bell making emporium in London, Whitechapel Bell Foundry, closed its doors in 2018. We received an an invitation to go and see him. By coincidence, many years ago, Françoise completed a photo assignment at the foundry so she will go around and show him some of her images.  We met these two people by chance and this reminds me of what the whole country is missing out or  missed out on when the pubs were closed.

the parrot in residence was it anything louder with its squawk of hello. Maybe it missed the company over these months

a lovely attempt to make the place welcoming

an old print on one of the walls of the pub




Preparing for the vaccination battle

A spider that did not know what to do. The spider is hanging down from a thread in the middle of  our kitchen above a table and it is not sure what to do, whether to carry on, or retreat up from whence it came

Most people do not realise that it is only a matter of time before we are all compulsorily vaccinated. The vaccine will be nothing to do with Covid but everything to do with trace and track, anti-fertility, and the possible introduction of organic circuitry with circuits that cannot be removed.  The power of Bill Gates is so great that he will simply tell Boris Johnson our Prime Minister that there must be no exceptions to vaccination.

I spoke to a friend of mine who had gone to Wales last week during the fine weather hoping for some relief. He told me that he had to queue up for 20 min to get a drink from a pub, everyone had to stand in lines, and that the old-fashioned amusement arcade in Prestatyn was closed.

I wonder what it will take to wake people up. My own intuitive impressions are that October and November will be very tumultuous as they try to bring in this long planned second wave to frighten us all even more.

I go anywhere now and I see people wearing face masks even in places that do not sell food. I just ignore everyone else and walk in and if challenged I tell them I have got exemption. I noticed the staff are rather sheepish and they certainly do not have a row with me. I find face masks very depersonalising making people look like ghosts.

I’m starting to plan now for Françoise’s birthday which is next Friday. We are having four friends coming along to celebrate together at a special meal. There are not many locals I can think of that I would like to invite because quite frankly they’re not on the same wavelength and birthdays are pretty special so we only want the best people. Françoise is going to show some of her slides from Ecuador and Zambia where she worked and we are going to the allotment to have a celebration of nature.

It is finally dawning on me that I have a new car. This morning I applied for tax on the first day of the month, first of August, because I don’t want to pay months tax for one day of driving. The cost of my tax with this rather big car is about £1 a day. I calculated that the cost of gasoline is £.15 per mile.  I have the great relief that I know it is unlikely to break down because it has been so carefully looked after and serviced since it was brought in 2003. I was told by the car salesman that in Japan, used cars are confiscated after 10 years irrespective of wear and tear. That is China for you.

Another lovely afternoon and the skies were beautiful today, here is a photograph.




I FINALLY buy my new car

I was feeling very anxious about making the journey to Southampton to buy my most expensive car yet, the last of the great V70 Volvo SE’s. We decided to get a hire car from Frome because my current car is unroadworthy. It was a most glorious and warm day. The Wiltshire countryside is definitely different from Somerset. It is less undulating, more devoid of trees, resplendent with wheat growing at this time of year.

We turned up to what is apparently a normal house. We drove in through the security gates and behind the house we found a fleet of cars awaiting sale. We met the affable Chris, the owner of the car store who said that he preferred to exhibit his cars in a discreet position because he was so fed up with people coming along casually and kicking tyres not really intending to buy anything at all.

It appears that he was an expert on the political situation behind COVID, principally the long-standing feud between Russia, China and America and he regaled us for at least 20 min with the back story of current events. More importantly and relevantly he had an encyclopedic knowledge of cars. He has particular disdain for the french makes which are evidently designed to wear out after 60,000 miles. He also said it is more difficult to get spare parts because a number of elements are made in one unit so if one breaks, you have to replace the whole unit. Diesel is not good for run around as the engine never gets hot enough to burn off the carbon. Diesel is better for regular work and long distances. Hence taxis use diesel.

There was my gleaming new V70 actually the same colour as my old one but my goodness was it in better condition. All the seats are leather.  I have a nice little indicator on the dashboard saying how many miles worth of petrol is left in my tank. There isn’t a mark or scratch on it. I have a three month warranty of the bronze variety which basically means that anything that goes wrong can be repaired up to a cost of £250. I can get a silver warranty where the claimant value can go up to £500 and I think the gold claim up to £1000. I was quite glad to have this certainty but the salesman said with a twinkle in his eye, the car is so good that you won’t need it.

The whole thing has been quite a strain ever since my old car failed its MOT and I had to search around for other vehicles. Most of them were either too far away, too costly, or too near the end of their days. Let’s hope finally I got it right. On the drive back there was a feeling of great solidarity;  everything runs true to form.

I shall now dispose of my old V70. A local firm will come along to pick it up and pay me £60 for the privilege.