a day in the garden of Eden

Wednesday 22 June 1664

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not spectacular, but this little spring produced music like you’ve never heard

Sometimes you get a dream gardening job and what made it so delightful was a stream that ran down the middle of the garden from a natural spring in the farm above. We had the privilege of removing weeds and debris from the stream so that the water flowed more easily and with a delightful tinkly sound which I reckon has the power to calm the most frayed nerves. I was so stimulated by the garden and his magical qualities that I gave superhuman efforts  to turn about 100 m² of  more or less field into something resembling a lawn.

the centre of the village, a closed pub on the right and closed and converted post office on the left
telephone box, detail, with books freely available on a help yourself basis

There are some villages untouched by time and this string of houses, comprises the entity which is called  Carlingcott which attracts an average house price of £432,000 as of June 2017. I don’t know whether it can be called a village may be more a hamlet, exuded an hour of peace and tradition. This is the centre of the village with its phone box now used as a repository for books, but very rickety bench, a young apple tree and a noticeboard.  The well-to-do or should I say well heeled person is attracted to it because it is near to the Bath and yet it could be in the 19th century.  The roads are impossibly narrow, so how on earth a delivery or removal van does their business without blocking the whole road I cannot imagine. Anyway it is magic and the place where my job was. I had a chat with a couple of women who were passingand one had just returned from her reflexology session, another was on the way to see her daughter. As an indication of the awareness in this town here is a leaflet which I saw on the very modest  information board.



Allegrophobia – the Fear of being late

21 June 1664

Read Pepys Diary by clicking on the date above

A special day today, a meeting with the hospital people to discuss various matters of after-care of patients who have experienced trauma. It was interesting to compare my ‘tourist’ visit, with my previous unrequited and unexpected visit to Southmead hospital nine months ago, 9 October 2016 when only after a few days of considerable pain was I able to get out of bed and stare out of the window.

Admittedly a decent and very well-designed hospital but a traumatic place nevertheless. People are in there because they are ill not because they want to be there.

Photographing it from the outside today and looking at it as some dim and distant place compared with last time when this was my home, that environment which made my existence stable while I was drugged up to the eyeballs with a variety of medicines and pills. I don’t think people realise what a life changing event an accident can be.

So as I start to write this in the evening I know it’s going to be quite a long account. I have been delayed by doing a gardening  job, and then watching a replay of the Ascot Gold cup which for those of you unfamiliar with the UK is one of the leading horse race events of the year.

So you see when I have an important appointment as was the case today I don’t want to leave ridiculously early but on the other hand I don’t want to leave late, cutting it to fine.  One of the things that I cannot bear is being late for an appointment. I would rather be an hour early and pace around or have a coffee. It is the same with flights. I would rather arrive as soon as checking opens and sit on “the other side” or “no man’s land” where you can hopefully switch off your phone and forget about all the daily nonsense that goes on in country A, and look forward to an enjoyable time in country B. I have come to loathe this ridiculous searching of everyone including the taking off of shoes, belts, not being able to take liquids through. The liquid ban is the biggest farce of all. Was it about 12 years ago when a group of young Muslims were accused of trying, perhaps, to make a liquid substance that could just could explode. There wasn’t a scrap of evidence but the authorities in their wisdom decided to ban all liquids. This has resulted in millions of harmless bottles of water being thrown away.

Glastonbury fans waiting patiently at Gate 2 in Bristol bus station
not quite sure what this poster is doing in a bus station but the sentiments are good
This is Anna Frank work author of the famous diaries, a Jew finally killed after having been betrayed by a neighbour
a protest when black people were not allowed to be bus drivers. again, this was in Bristol bus station
here is the text about the protests if you can read it

Anyway, the appointment was at 11.30 this morning Thursday, 22 June. On the way I witnessed congregations of people at Bristol bus station waiting to be taken by shuttle bus to the great Glastonbury. You can tell a Glastonbury person because they have unusual Wellington boots, and a huge rucksack which probably contains a tent.

I find this sculpture at the entrance to the accident and emergency unit at Southmead Hospital in incredibly bad taste, not politically correct or appropriate by any stretch of the imagination

Passing through the northern suburbs of Bristol is very much like visiting 1960s London. There are lots of trendy and down-to-earth coffee bars, eating establishments, Turkish, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, restaurants. there are high-class preowned clothes stores, shops with vegetables temptingly displayed  in bowls for one pound, unusual vegetables that we don’t see in Midsomer Norton because people wouldn’t know what they are.

The meeting itself was in the company of three staff from the trauma team who were concerned about giving after care service to those who leave the hospital with varying degrees of support. As the famous American photo Journal Life Magazine said in years of yore, “All Human Life is There”.  My feeling is that the traumatised community members should support each other, and that a blog and website should be used for support. No one wants to admit  that they need a support group so I feel we have to sell the idea in such a way that will attract the right people without the client group feeling stigmatised. However the bigger problem is getting the hospital authorities to allow me to advertise a patient group at all.

This is where I  am going to have buckets of patience because changes take a long time to happen in the NHS due to the complexity of the structure, potential litigation problems, health and safety, you name it. That is the overarching problem. Hardly a month goes by without a new set of rules established from ‘on high’ which have to be implemented.

in addition,it is quite common to find someone who’s got not just one remit, not two remits but even five remits. The responsibility of each in terms of human care is like one full-time job in yet these saintly people are driven by their desire to help others and so putting hours and energy that must exact a price in terms of the amount of energy available for a social life.


how to chastise people – is there an ideal way?

Monday 20 June 1664

Read the full entry by clicking on the date above.

…To supper and to bed, my wife finding fault with Besse for her calling upon Jane that lived with us, and there heard Mrs. Harper and her talk ill of us and not told us of it. With which I was also vexed, and told her soundly of it till she cried, poor wench, and I hope without dissimulation, and yet I cannot tell; however, I was glad to see in what manner she received it, and so to sleep.

Very few of us get it right. We go off the deep end without checking why the person did or said as reported. Hitting someone with a hammer does very little to resolve the situation. If they knew they were doing wrong, then why did they do it? Is it because they did not see another way out of the situation?   The problem is that if you shout at someone, the fight and flight chemicals are automatically produced by the body –  the various types of adrenaline no less – and an argument will not proceed constructively.

It’s almost like if you keep your feelings under the radar people hardly notice that you told them off. If you the complainer can be more objective and say why the action or words caused harm you are more likely to get the miscreant to think about what they did. This will work in the majority of cases but not as I have previously said with people who are out of control through drunkenness or rage or panic.

My own father when concerned about my behaviour always said that he would talk about it the next day which was quite clever because he gave me time to think about it and when confronted I was as meek as a lamb. The offence was not repeated. It is very difficult to be a calm observer when the chemicals are running round the system. This is a good reason to delay a knee-jerk reaction if you possibly can.  In the case of Pepys above, he considered it right to tell off the employee straightaway because she knew she had done wrong and he wanted to nip the problem in the bud due to their close working relationship.

As I’m fond of saying, “there is a time for everything, and for everything there is time”. Does the whole process of chastisement have to happen in the minutes after the event is discovered? The person has probably been committing this offence, or shall we call it a ‘call for attention’, for a long time so what’s the hurry. I reckon 90% of it is getting your mindset right which probably includes lessons that you yourself have to learn.

Notice in the above example, Pepys took time to observe how the person received the telling off and felt that the contrition was genuine. The parents or the employer or the friend is entitled to remark how he or she feels their admonition has been accepted  and maybe one or two more steps need to happen  for the matter to be closed as opposed to being simply deferred.

It’s called ‘Shape Shifting’. Check it out on Google About 4,060,000 results as of 21.6.17 15:13 GMT+1

So I was watching Sky News today 21st June 2017 at approx. 2.15 PM and low and behold, a phenomenon some call ‘Shape Shifting’ appeared. This is my first ‘catch’ so I made a vid. on the spot using my mobile phone.  Explanations welcome but before you scoff, type in ‘shape shifting’ on google or YouTube and see hundreds of examples.

2 July 2017 I have received a note from ‘Digital Music Lab’ a company in USA? that the phenomenon is a bandwidth issue from a live stream broadcast. I cannot contradict the writer as I am not a technical person so I will leave this one on the table and see who else comes along.

Click here for my video.

End of the world scenarios

Sunday 19 June 1664

read Pepys Diary by clicking on the date above.

fire in Portugal 18 June 2017

Today I arose early at around 4 AM, the heat being stifling due to the continuing heatwave, or should I say two or three days with the temperature above 30°. It is not on the same scale as Portugal where 62 people have died from fires.

My Galaxy, which I turn to prior to cranking up my main PC, figures out what I like to read and presents me with a relevant series of headlines and videos to chose from. Some examples re the USA’s numerous evils came up.  I shall never forget ex-President Obama’s preacher saying that the phrase “God Damn (short for damnation)  America” was much more appropriate than saying “God bless America”.

I was reading how TPTB are currently closing branches of Walmart’s with the excuse that they need some plumbing to be fixed which will take six months. Surely even the dumbed down American public most realise this is a fake excuse. What is happening according to first-hand reports is that the buildings are being gutted and redesigned as concentration camps complete with watchtowers. If you don’t believe me Google the matter and you will find pictures aplenty. There are also a system of national secret underground tunnels which connect one centre and another for the mass transportation of people. The beings  who run America are preparing for Marshall Law. It’s called operation Jade Helm for those of you who want to Google it further.

Here in the UK I read that the Prime Minister is taking her time announcing the chairman of an official enquiry. Until that time, the firms conniving in selling flammable cladding to the West London tower block are free to destroy e-mails and evidence of their crimes. Anyone who thinks for one tiny moment that the Conservative party care two hoots for the common person is either brain-dead or extremely naive.

It has been clear to me for years that the  whole world is being ruled by psychopaths to whom war is just an instrument for control. America have only started 43 wars since World War II which is hardly a model of restraint but then it’s what they do together with unseating democracies and bringing in puppet regimes which they do even better.
This brings me to the whole question of death or shall we say losing this  temporary  vehicle which is the human body. I feel this world is overdue for a reboot and if the whole thing blows up tomorrow I will celebrate. I’m only able to say this because I have thoroughly digested and accepted the idea of the continuity of consciousness, the so-called life after death, of life between lives, which I might add I am looking forward to extremely. I know that we’ll get what we deserve and if we end on a high level, putting others first, being unselfish and so on we will end up in a different place to actions caused by selfishness and the seven deadly sins (cleverly called deadly because they kill).
Each time I read something ghastly happening in the world and realise what hidden moving hand is causing it I actually feel better because  once you face what is likely to happen you hve the ability to be at peace with it. I pity the poor souls  who believe the junk the mainstream media churns out. When they realise what is really going on it will be too late and they will be transported by fear into a place that will not be pleasant. We get no notice of the circumstances of our demise and I think we should be prepared at all times for our sudden transition otherwise we will always be inhibited  by the fear of death.
Françoise and myself went to see a lovely gardening job last night. The garden is a complete jungle and the grass is about 1 m in height. I shall be taking ‘before and after’ pictures of our work. The couple are both over 80 but as bright as buttons, very sharp intellectually but kind as well. through their garden there is a lovely stream  arising from a spring in the garden above and going through the property. It’s a lovely place and it will be a privilege to bring it back to the Garden of Eden type state that it was last year 2016.

Vanity, Vanity, all is Vanity

18 June 1664

Read Pepys full entry by clicking on date above

….Strange to see how pert Sir W. Pen is to-day newly come from Portsmouth with his head full of great reports of his service and the state of the ships there. When that is over he will be just as another man again or worse. But I wonder whence Mr. Coventry should take all this care for him….

The book of Ecclesiastes is not for the faint hearted or the complacent. It tells it as it is. Don’t worry, there won’t be any Bible bashing. I am just going to make a few observations and thoughts.

Why is there a need to make ‘me’ the centre of the universe. What sort of insecurity makes us think that if we juxtapose ourselves with other people and we will somehow come out the winner and the victor? we are all in this together and everything everyone does either makes the planet a better place to live in (more love and caring) or a worse place to live in (more so-called individuality, violence and even so-called stardom, one person expanding themselves at others’ expense). As someone said, “we are all members of one of another”. This is a brilliant and succinct statement which means that everything we do influences everything else although we do not see  the effect of what we do.

Does it really matter who gets the credit for doing a good action so long as the result stands on its own in terms of change in consciousness and diminution of force in other people. I believe we are in severe danger if we are in an ‘us versus them’ competitive situation. Peace of mind cannot exist with such a mindset. Is it not enough to get the warm glow of satisfaction knowing that you have made a contribution?

I could see it in another very simple way.

we Breathe in we breathe out
we receive we give
we win we lose
we destroy we build
we climb we fall

The whole universe consists of cycles so we are simply part of this.



Sleeping under the stars

Due to the fine evenings we decided to sleep out under the stars. No tents, no protection, just sleeping bags or blankets.  It is a little bit surreal just lying down under a thin layer of protection looking upwards at all the vastness and realizing that we cannot see 99.99% of what’s out there.

Twinkle, twinkle Little Star
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, Little Star,
How I wonder what you are.

Lullaby or not, this rhyme does have a certain endearing quality. The only problem is that in mid-summer there is very little sky dark enough even in the so-called night to see much detail, and certainly on this occasion the stars did not twinkle. We saw one or two planes fly across at a great height with a barely perceptible  noise. Even slight sounds are amplified at night.

It is amazing how many noises there are in the garden in terms of movements, the cracking of twigs, rustling sounds. They are loud enough to make you jump or at least startle you. I would guess it’s pretty much impossible to get any sort of sleep in a jungle especially where many of the animals are nocturnal and each night is one big party.

I woke up at about 4 AM to find the blankets and exported pillow from the house wet with dew. It wouldn’t kill anyone but I didn’t feel comfortable with it so I retreated back into the house leaving Francoise to continue sleeping. In any event the sky was brightening so I knew I wasn’t going to achieve much further sleep so back into the bedroom, curtains closed, and into the arms of Morpheus again.

I would say the impact of sleeping out would be greatly enhanced in a country area where the stars would shine much brighter. At least the small excursion in our garden whetted my appetite for more.


Amazing car colours – the perfect summer fete

View Pepys diary for today by clicking on the date. Friday 17 June 1664

Today (Saturday 17th June 2017)  is a perfect summer day, just right for fetes and fairs, and general celebrations on the flimsiest of excuses not to mention sitting in traffic jams going to and fro from the nearest beach.

We had a choice of nine events but chose this one because we had never been there before. It was situated in the churchyard of the very affluent village of Rowberrow. Once every two years they have a combined classic car exhibition, art show and family fete.

I don’t know whether it was the exceptionally bright sunshine, but the colours of the cars seemed way above normal standard that I’m accustomed to seeing in the high Street. Here follows a largely pictorial diary with my <fanfare of trumpets> very first video to give some idea of the atmosphere  of this event.

There were about 80 cars immaculately prepared and sparkling in the bright sunlight. I’m not a classic car enthusiast, but I know a loved car when I see one. A fellow observer said that he would hesitate to drive a car worth £100,000 for fear of having an accident. So, off we go. The cars are shown in no particular order.

There now follow two shots. The first is a very old grinding wheel but it looks like there’s much more to it than that. Secondly following a visit to the church I noticed on the porch this very beautiful prayer which moved me very much
the prayer of St Francis of Assisi
I see from the pinholes that someone has very disrespectfully put other notices over the bottom. Tut-tut. It is a wonderfully inclusive summary of how we should behave ” we are members one of another” as I think St Paul said

new format starts tomorrow

Please note that this is the last day when I shall be quoting Pepys’s diaries in full. If you want to read them then click on the date and you will be referred to an excellent website maintained with love and care on which the diaries are transcribed verbatim. I shall only mention the portions of them relevant to my own comments and observations. Ed

16 June 1664

[Continued from yesterday. P.G.] … I lay in my drawers and stockings and wastecoate till five of the clock, and so up; and being well pleased with our frolique, walked to Knightsbridge, and there eat a messe of creame, and so to St. James’s, and there walked a little, and so I to White Hall, and took coach, and found my wife well got home last night, and now in bed. So I to the office, where all the morning, and at noon to the ‘Change, so home and to my office, where Mr. Ackworth came to me (though he knows himself and I know him to be a very knave), yet he came to me to discover the knavery of other people like the most honest man in the world. However, good use I shall make of his discourse, for in this he is much in the right. He being gone I to the ‘Change, Mr. Creed with me, after we had been by water to see a vessell we have hired to carry more soldiers to Tangier, and also visited a rope ground, wherein I learnt several useful things. The talk upon the ‘Change is, that De Ruyter is dead, with fifty men of his own ship, of the plague, at Cales: that the Holland Embassador here do endeavour to sweeten us with fair words; and things likely to be peaceable. Home after I had spoke with my cozen Richard Pepys upon the ‘Change, about supplying us with bewpers —[?? D.W.]— from Norwich, which I should be glad of, if cheap. So home to supper and bed.

relaxation amidst many duties and obligations

14 June 1664

Click above for full diary entry of Pepys

…Much company came hither to-day, my Lady Carteret, &c., Sir William Wheeler and his lady, and, above all, Mr. Becke, of Chelsy, and wife and daughter, my Lord’s mistress, and one that hath not one good feature in her face, and yet is a fine lady, of a fine taille, and very well carriaged, and mighty discreet. I took all the occasion I could to discourse with the young ladies in her company to give occasion to her to talk, which now and then she did, and that mighty finely, and is, I perceive, a woman of such an ayre, as I wonder the less at my Lord’s favour to her, and I dare warrant him she hath brains enough to entangle him. Two or three houres we were in her company, going into Sir H. Finche’s garden, and seeing the fountayne, and singing there with the ladies, and a mighty fine cool place it is, with a great laver of water in the middle and the bravest place for musique I ever heard….

Pepys has given us a good example of how to relax from his many responsibilities via music, singing, enjoying a garden and a fountain.

I’m not impressed by people who say they do nothing but work because I think you lose colour from your life. Relaxation is just as important as performing obligatory work. I do get preachy from time to time but I think the work/play balance is so important to enable the brain to refresh itself from its many duties. The mind can only heal itself if you forget about what you’re worried or concerned about.

Today June 15, the Daily Mail has produced the most comprehensive and lengthy pictorial I have ever seen of the recent disaster in the West London tower block, Grenfell Tower. I don’t know how long this link will last but it is certainly worth a look.  Repercussions will abound for years to come and people are talking about starting criminal proceedings, particularly with the cladding used on the building that was not fireproof.

An impossible position

Today being a sunny one, reputedly the best of the week with promised temperatures of 25°, we decided to escape from the dreadful news about the burnt residential block in West London. The famous Wye Valley in Wales was the choice of the day but before that we visited Chepstow Castle, I find a substantial enough place with some real history  where you wondered how they found the ability to set so many thousands of stones upon each other.
I met two members of staff applying roundup with a spray to kill the weeds on the various paths. I recognised the smell instantly and asked them if they had had any health issues. They said immediately that they suffered from bronchial infection. So here we have people using poisons without the proper protection. If they complain to their bosses, they will probably be dismissed or told to get on with the job. If they go on month after month year after year they will surely have respiratory difficulties or even cancer. An element in glyophosphate is carcinogenic. What a horrible predicament.
On toSymonds Yat which is is an improbably named natural tourist centre with wonderful views and unspoiled forests.
Good news in that I have heard from the hospital administration that they would like to move my project forward. I cannot stand waiting and in this case it’s been three months now since the first meeting but I’m glad to say they had not  forgotten. I confess to being thoroughly impatient and wanting everything now.
I don’t have many philosophical contributions to make since I have taken the day off. No doubt some will come to me and I will add them as I feel moved.
I shall try to avoid watching endless interviews with people in the burning accommodation block. The death toll at the moment is recorded as 12 but I’m sure it’s going to be three or four times that number. The tower block in West London has been impossible to enter due to the still smouldering fire.
In the words of Samuel Pepys, and so to bed.

Arguing with your partner

12 June 1664

(Lord’s day). All the morning in my chamber consulting my lesson of ship building, and at noon Mr. Creed by appointment came and dined with us, and sat talking all the afternoon till, about church time, my wife and I began our great dispute about going to Griffin’s child’s christening, where I was to have been godfather, but Sir J. Minnes refusing, he wanted an equal for me and my Lady Batten, and so sought for other.

“Then the question was whether my wife should go, and she having dressed herself on purpose, was very angry, and began to talk openly of my keeping her within doors before Creed, which vexed me to the guts, but I had the discretion to keep myself without passion, and so resolved at last not to go, but to go down by water, which we did by H. Russell —[a waterman]— to the Half-way house, and there eat and drank, and upon a very small occasion had a difference again broke out, where without any the least cause she had the cunning to cry a great while, and talk and blubber, which made me mighty angry in mind, but said nothing to provoke her because Creed was there, but walked home”,

being troubled in my mind also about the knavery and neglect of Captain Fudge and Taylor, who were to have had their ship for Tangier ready by Thursday last, and now the men by a mistake are come on board, and not any master or man or boy of the ship’s company on board with them when we came by her side this afternoon, and also received a letter from Mr. Coventry this day in complaint of it. We came home, and after supper Creed went home, and I to bed. My wife made great means to be friends, coming to my bedside and doing all things to please me, and at last I could not hold out, but seemed pleased, and so parted, and I with much ado to sleep, but was easily wakened by extraordinary great rain, and my mind troubled the more to think what the soldiers would do on board tonight in all this weather.

Bearing in mind Pepys’s personality it would be amazing if he did not have rows with his wife. The above excerpt does bear reading because it shows his wife completely lost it, put on an exhibition of crying, and finally recanted and tried to please Samuel.

From my own observations over the years, arguments almost always arise from inner conflicts. Something the other person has done  is just a trigger. As they are the nearest available object, they get it. I can say that if a person speaks at you and not with you  it’s probably their own unworked out problems.  It might be  that something about the persons deportment, or tone of voice, all manner of interjection,  is a trigger to remind the sufferer of something long forgotten.

Pepys has given a good example here of not losing his temper and letting the course of his wife’s concern run, partly to give her the space and time to deal  with whatever it was that was troubling her.  It could have been for example the feeling of not being valued. Pepys decided to walk home on his own, I wouldn’t say walk away from the situation but to give him self time to recover from the immediate manifestations of the disturbance.

I have been given advice – which I have taken – that we should not try to reason with someone who is drunk. I think the same advice could be given to someone who is angry. We don’t know what is going on in the course of expressing their anger, maybe it is the first time they’ve ever expressed anger and it is necessary for them to lose their temper. Maybe it is the last time they will lose their temper because they were so disgusted at what they did they have resolved never to repeat it. We just never know so why not leave the stage clear and be a silent supporter.


how I detest dishonest smiles

Bath, Somerset, UK. A vertical garden in a phone booth no less and umbrellas a’plenty
a modest but attractive collection can be often found in the front facing basements
a flowery invitation to walk up the steps to the main door

Bath city is pleasant at any time of year but in June the numbers of tourists are not so great and the weather is normally good. Clouds were scudding across the sky and a pleasant breeze blew as I walked around the city. Bath architecture is very distinctive and when walking along the street you might like to have a look at the basements because very often there are little gardens in front of them which are most attractive.

I started off by going to the Victoria Art Gallery. There is normally a very pleasant person taking tickets from people at the entrance to the special exhibition, in this case Bath Society of Artists 112th open exhibition 2017. Today it was Barry’s turn and after entering I greeted him and made a comment that smiling photographs were frequently faked and put on, and people with their natural everyday expressions allowed you to get into their soul to a much greater extent and I found this more satisfactory art.

I said to him that sometimes I go into an art gallery but I’m so impressed by one piece of art that I don’t need to stay there longer. It does its chemistry on me. Next time I visit, the chemistry is no longer there in the same way but another piece of art attract my attention. I suppose it is the same as reading a poetry book, sometimes a picture just jumps at you that’s the one for you. Anyway, I’m going to show you various  pictures from the exhibition which by the way is on until 15 July 2017.

this is very carefully carved wood
I have a funny feeling this animal is aware is being painted and is looking a bit self-conscious
just straightforwardly yummy I feel I could reach into the picture and pick a grape
same with this vegetable stall
don’t try to smile Alan, it is frightening

While talking to Barry I decided to make the theme of today’s diary “the smile”. I suggest that Sir Alan Sugar should never smile. He can’t do it  and should never attempt it. Examples of fake smiles below. Worst of all are the mobile phone ads.

they look positively uncomfortable laughing. I suppose if you’re paid to smile you will do anything but I’ve never seen anyone actually act like this. The worst ads for smiling are for mobile phone companies
now that’s a happy one, joy from within
at the exhibition now – not a particularly happy world but real to her where she is. Tom Elliot ‘s Acrylic work – ‘Ava’s Marionettes’


difficult to read this one but I feel it is genuine
This one got a prize. It is called “ghosts live here” an oil painting by Helen Davidson
you cannot see her eyes but I feel it is very revealing nevertheless
snoozing woman
A somewhat complicated young lady I feel but what you see is what you get. Anyway if you read this why not go along and get yourself a bargain. I have no commercial interest in saying this.
For nerds only and as part of my quest for the unusual, this is Bath bus station that has 15 gates. For the first time in my nearly 5 years I have never seen the whole lot empty. Neither had the bus inspector who joked with me about it
and finally, a warning to the numerous French students who visit this place



Main Stream Media Lies and the Middle East

 11 June 1664

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, where some discourse arose from Sir G. Carteret and Mr. Coventry, which gives me occasion to think that something like a war is expected now indeed, though upon the ‘Change afterwards I hear too that an Embassador is landed from Holland, and one from their East India Company, to treat with ours about the wrongs we pretend to.

Mr. Creed dined with me, and thence after dinner by coach with my wife only to take the ayre, it being very warm and pleasant, to Bowe and Old Ford; and thence to Hackney. There ‘light, and played at shuffle-board, eat cream and good churies; and so with good refreshment home. Then to my office vexed with Captain Taylor about the delay of carrying down the ship hired by me for Tangier, and late about that and other things at the office.  Pepys Diary

Pepys entry is very matter-of-fact and there is nothing much for me to comment on so this morning I want to spend some time talking about a conference of the mainstream media’s treatment of Middle East matters particularly Syria. if you’re bored by politics I can understand that but I’m trying to identify the principles behind what we read and even what we think so please bear with me.

The meeting took place in the “Cheese and Grain”, Frome, which is a general-purpose  hall that easy used for practically everything including pop concerts and exhibitions. There must have been 250 people in the hall and it’s one of these oversubscribed events where helpers drag in more chairs and set up more rows the back.

First, a little niggardly grumble about the organisational side of the meeting which was in general pretty good. There were six speakers and the meeting was due to start at seven o’clock but the chair lady decided to wait 20 min because ” there were people still queueing to buy tickets”. My attitude is, tough! If you arrive late why should you waste the time of those who did discipline themselves to come on time. If you work it out that was about 80 wasted man-hours you could say.

The vast majority if not all the crises in the Middle East are manufactured and financially supported by outside countries including the United Kingdom, Israel and the United States.
This is part of a Western Governments’ scheme with the connivance of the disgraceful and duplicitous Tony Blair (see the Chilcott report of his conversations with George Bush) to destabilise and take over seven Middle East countries. If you want to see a video of that, slick General Wesley Clark who was given advance notice of these plans in 2001 but originating from the Zionist “Project for the New American Century”.

Omran Dagneesh the poster boy for Aleppo’s suffering, getting sympathy for a bombing raid that never happened. His father got so tired of the lies of the media that he denounced the whole thing as a fraud. Amazing how the picture (on the left) went viral and got a prize for photography, it should actually be a prize for make up.

One of the ploys is to present the leaders in charge of the countries as Hitler figures whom the ordinary people really had no business voting for in the first place. The incessant demonisation of Russia continues including the claim that they interfered with the American elections in spite of the fact that they have not been able to produce any evidence.
Crisis events are carefully manufactured  and filmed  by professional companies including a specialist company called  TraumaFX, who specialise in  casualty simulation services arising from shootings, burnings, and any other type of mayhem you can imagine.

Such events and happenings are passed around the Main Stream Media without question and presented as truth. John Snow of Channel 4 got first prize in a poll for knowingly presenting fake news. The other culprits are of course the BBC BBC, Fox, NBC and CNN.
MSM rely on advertising contributions from the corporations and so they cannot afford to be too critical of their activities.
The meeting was fortunate to have the services of Peter Ford, former United Kingdom ambassador to Syria. He said he was basically persona non grata with the MSM but since news channels are competing with others and within themselves and they have 24-hour today to fill they are keen to get anyone with any remote knowledge of the area, there are still some opportunities to speak the truth.  As he said rather cynically, the media use us so we can use them. It is like a game and people peddling minority interests should take every chance of reaching people.

Our views of countries are deliberately distorted for example in the case of Syria not mentioning the effect of the Western imposed sanctions which bring real hardship on the people. The mention of the huge effort that the government of Syria is making to feed and look after the people would spoil the image of Assad as a Hitler figure. The weapons of Mass deception are consistent in their manifestations and spread fake news round the world at lightning speed via unquestioning media.

Other speakers described the CIA Operation Gaslight which is which is the plan to keep people afraid by continuous use of the words and images that bring about fear and terror. This will eventually destroy our individuality and the courage to speak the truth. Check out other delights here.

It behoves the general public  to question everything. Peter suggests that we identify media presenters and writers whom we can trust and learn to listen to their words, and also use our intuition when something doesn’t sound right. If it doesn’t sound right, and it probably has a flaw somewhere or could be a downright lie.

The organiser Patrick Hennington asked us to support alternative media, subscribing if necessary and sensitively spreading the word.

There were a fair mixture of people at the evening. I met a woman who when I asked where she lived said “nowhere”. She pointed to a white van and said that I drive round the country staying with various friends because I cannot afford accommodation. I’m getting fed up with it, she said, because it’s so small and so cold in the winter.

The chap sitting next to me in the audience spent all the time flicking through his messages on his mobile phone and did not engage anyone in conversation or eye contact.

One person at the back with very long hair and very scruffy jeans insisted on talking to his friend during the performance and was stared and frowned at by other people.

I asked a question about Russia today and Vanessa said that they were the one saviour who actually reported what was going on.

The audience was very knowledgeable and was sensitive to the nuances of the speakers. A speaker could not ask for a more sympathetic  audience.

There was a woman from South Africa who did not realise  that this was a conference about Syria not  South Africa and she complained about the political conditions there and how many white people had been killed and so on. She went on and on  about her situation to Vanessa Beeley, one of the speakers, and spoke at her or should I say ranted at her without listening to what she Vanessa was saying. We had to go so just had to  push in and just say our goodbyes, which was very unsatisfactory.

Thinking is becoming quite a rare quality these days, and thinking clearly  is even more of a big ask. Are we going to find the courage to think?



It’s amazing what can happen at 9:45 AM on a Sunday morning when any civilised person is lying in bed or drinking first coffee or even sound asleep. Due to my misreading of a directory announcing Open Garden Days, I completely mistakenly called up somebody who was not due to show their garden today. She called back in confusion and we had a laugh about the misunderstanding but we decided to meet anyway because we struck up a jovial and convivial conversation on the phone.

…during the very interesting conversation when we discussed our respective interest in energy work and healing….. She is a reflexologist of many years standing and has a lot of skills in her basket. During a discussion about how to deal with patients who did not necessarily want to face their condition, the word “provocation” came up. I realise that I had understood this word in its negative connotation, incitement… to violence etc. In fact it has a positive connotation as well which is something that provokes, arouses or stimulates. Under certain circumstances, we felt it is completely factual and correct to provoke someone if that will be the trigger  to help them to face something which perhaps they have not faced before.

Such interventions do not have to be invasive. For example with a client who has visited many other types of practitioner without success, maybe complaining that they were not good enough,  it will be quite valid to ask “what do you feel these people have not done for you”, or “what would you like to achieve with me that you did not achieve with the previous people”. This is a provocative question but it is quite correct. The dreaded Political Correctness determines that you should not say anything that might upset people with the result that the language in its colour and vigor gets watered down. This is no good to man or beast. We can feel if something was said with love and normally there will be a positive response.

I feel that with any sort of therapeutic intervention, in a way the less we say the better. I think there should be more focus on observing the effect of your statement rather than aiming for a record word count. We should not be evaluated by the amount we say but by the amount of material that is released through our presence and through our gentle probing. The reflexologist said that over the years, the art of reflexology  which is  massaging the feet has become much more gentle.

getting the right environment is 90% of relaxing the patient who often comes in the door with many things on their mind. This is very womblike

The lady concerned has a lovely house which she has transformed from a fairly scruffy residence bought 30 years ago into a little Garden of Eden. She has a small consulting room, see picture, which is very much like a womb and where anyone could feel comfortable so this gets any session off to a flying start. She does allow a little bit of time between sessions so the outgoing person does not meet the incoming person and thus boundaries are maintained. She very wisely clears herself between sessions to avoid any cross contamination.

a lovely weed-free lawn with a very good use of curves

She said that her garden had come to be in the state it came to be over a number of years and although friends have given comments on how the garden could be  she let the garden speak to her. She reminded me very much of Barbara Hepworth the sculptor who had her stones assembled outside in her yard and they would call her when they wanted work done.

So now on to Wells where in the Cathedral precincts there is a three-day country Festival and being members we get in free. The festival grounds are spacious and varied and are able to accept shows and exhibitions on a small scale and it does not compromise the dignity of the Cathedral at all. you can be pretty certain that you will get plant stalls, garden machinery, pimms, various animal and plant preservation societies, honey and gem sales. Everyone smiles a lot and are very civilised even the children. when I was young we used to call it “on my best behaviour” and praise the good Lord there wasn’t a single mobile phone in sight.

boxes of plants awaiting the new owner
playing croquet with Wells Cathedral in the background
the male swan spent all its time beating off duck invaders
the Cathedral Gardens are lush at this time of year

For those of you that have not been to Wells Cathedral Gardens before it does cost over seven pounds to get in but you have a huge area to see, very historic and beautiful, including lovingly maintained allotments so it is well worth it.

Then, off to Mells which has its own annual garden festival which basically means that you can go and snoop around people’s gardens and see what they are growing and get ideas. However we had been the previous year so decided not to spend the money and time. I am blessed or cursed with a photographic memory and once I’ve been  somewhere, revisiting a known location rekindles the original version in my brain and there is not much “new” to see. You can see now why I require at least half a dozen things on my mind at the same time including at least one thing to worry about.

Political evening about Syria follows:


Money money money

10 June 1664

Up and by water to White Hall, and there to a Committee of Tangier, and had occasion to see how my Lord Ashworth —[Lord Ashworth is probably a miswriting for Lord Ashley (afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury).]— deports himself, which is very fine indeed, and it joys my heart to see that there is any body looks so near into the King’s business as I perceive he do in this business of my Lord Peterborough’s accounts.

Thence into the Parke, and met and walked with Captain Sylas Taylor, my old acquaintance while I was of the Exchequer, and Dr. Whore, talking of musique, and particularly of Mr. Berckenshaw’s way, which Taylor magnifies mightily, and perhaps but what it deserves, but not so easily to be understood as he and others make of it. Thence home by water, and after dinner abroad to buy several things, as a map, and powder, and other small things, and so home to my office, and in the evening with Captain Taylor by water to our Tangier ship, and so home, well pleased, having received 26l*. profit to-day of my bargain for this ship, which comforts me mightily, though I confess my heart, what with my being out of order as to my health, and the fear I have of the money my Lord oweth me and I stand indebted to him in, is much cast down of late.
The pound sign stands for Libra, a pound weight, in Latin.

Poor old Pepys, his heart is out of order due to debt and worry about getting paid. Money is definitely not going to be the main driver for today’s diary, not by a long chalk. Here are a few comments which  I have found helpful in dealing with filthy lucre. You can of course get a lot of advice elsewhere from excellent sites  so this is very much a summary.

obviously a staged photograph but it makes the point.

There’s an old song that is called “write  the thought down brother, write the thought down”. There’s nothing worse than having money worries, or any type of worry come to that, whizzing around in your head 24 / 7.

The more we put our heads in the sand, the more complicated the final solution will be. The worry will grow inside the head like a virus the longer we allow the situation to pertain.  The first stage is to make a list of any debt and compare it with your monthly income and savings. Consider getting rid of credit cards altogether???  Don’t wait for the brown envelope. If you have difficulty doing it on your own, at least talk about it with a friend or better still a professional adviser. The Citizens Advice Bureau, historically, are good people to go to but there are many others. Just type into Google ” debt counselling services”. Do not pay fees for any service of this nature.  Genuine services are free.

Actually, the last thing I want to do today is to write about money. For now let us say that you should control your money flow, not the other way around and that’s all I have to say for now.

Today there is so much on in terms of Open Gardens for the public plus a special event this evening that much juggling will be required. Things always work out as they are meant to, so watch for part two of this diary which will appear very much later this evening.



What comprises the ideal Village Festival?

We have recently seen large festivals in the form of the Bath and West show which I visited a couple of weeks ago and on which I reported voluminously. Now, we go to the other end of the spectrum. OakHill is a small village in Somerset near to where I live. we decided at the last moment, as we normally do, to choose this event amongst the many events on this one of the most popular days in the summer.

It must be said that any decent local event needs to cater for children to a large extent and this event excelled itself as you may see from the pictures that I have included. On a less than perfect day I consider that this Festival had most of the elements  that constitute success without being commercial and having big budgets. There was no entry fee or parking fee. The  farmer had lent his field free of charge and most people who came offered their services without charge. The result was a very pleasant and unstressed atmosphere where the children were running around enjoying themselves and  friends were meeting each other.  The images are in no particular order and includes some from this very well-to-do village.

a picture postcard of a house
an outhouse in a private property – visitors particularly from America, it will be a pleasant experience to wander round and see such accommodations.
a flamboyant American design
detail, dashboard in all its simplicity
guess the weight of the sheep. It was actually 108.5 kg
it’s good to have too much space rather than too little
the children were encouraged to do barn dancing – wonderful socialising training and not a mobile phone in sight
where would a village fete be without lovingly home-cooked cakes
and now the six or seven-year-old limber up for their gymnastic display
meanwhile, the local brass band play their hearts out with well-known and well loved melodies
the obligatory plant stall
and the display of historic and working tractors
so how about some wellie throwing then
and here is a nice place to escape from the rain and wind should that be necessary
the young lady taking delight in pulling off  strands of grass and making a pile
the obligatory raffle
the children having the time of their life
an older chap telling anyone who would listen how he is a good carpenter and hedger
a practice tug of war. The children were more keen than the adults on this occasion
and now a run and explore on this unusually designed bouncy castle and maze



What is it that holds society together?

9 June 1664

…Then at night by coach to attend the Duke of Albemarle about the Tangier ship. Coming back my wife spied me going home by coach from Mr. Hunt’s, with whom she hath gained much in discourse to-day concerning W. Howe’s discourse of me to him. That he was the man that got me to be secretary to my Lord; and all that I have thereby, and that for all this I never did give him 6d. in my life. Which makes me wonder that this rogue dare talk after this manner, and I think all the world is grown false. But I hope I shall make good use of it….

Clearly there are issues of trust and personal conflict Pepys’s life which even on a bad day is still colourful.

In whom can we trust


We have witnessed in the last few days a general election where the result of the instigator – The Prime Minister – was unintended and backfired upon her. The main reason seems to be that she put herself first and the country second. Such is the route (root) of so many problems that beset us. The leader of the Labour Party displayed behaviour as a man of the people and this was why the young people of this country voted for him;  it could be seen also as a negative vote against those that cannot be trusted i.e. Most politicians. It is becoming clearer that Jeremy Hunt is  biding his time but will dismantle the NHS as soon as possible.

I want to leave this rather dismal subject and just make one or two pointers, food for thought, on what makes society run well.

The first and most insidious barrier to smooth running is interference from outside economic forces. There are certain countries who have a desire, octopus style, to interfere with other countries. In the course of their activity they bribe and if necessary blackmail politicians and business leaders into following their will. in their view it is just part of the cost of doing business and making profit.

President Zuma (right) and one of the Gupta brothers who together virtually run the economy of South Africa. Critics are bribed or threatened.

A healthy system is one that ensures that people are getting a chance to express their opinion and feel that they are being heard.

The opposite of this pertains in South Africa which is  a fiefdom of President Zuma and the Gupta brothers from India who have taken over the economics of the country. This is the most blatant and arrogant example of nepotism but most other countries have the same type of system in varying degrees of subtlety.

Another requirement is a united agenda  inspired by altruism for example feeding the poor,  helping victims of physical abuse. We also note is unity in times of distress for example  a war where we unite against an external enemy.

A powerful component is unity at a  higher level than the physical which is about values, existential views of the world and what we really believe in our heart of hearts is the right thing. This in its turn depends  on knowing other people at a fairly intimate level. This is a stage that cannot be jumped and getting to know a new or existing colleague is never a waste of time

A most difficult personality handicap is emotion arising from unresolved fear, incipient anger or just plain out of control fury. It amazes me how conflicts with neighbours, and within towns, can simmer for years and decades and nothing whatever is achieved except the rotting of the soul. The people who get on with others best are those who are happily married – to themselves. The rest is a bonus.

A gentle reminder from someone who lived a couple of millennia ago. “Love thy neighbour as thyself”. Most people read into this what they want to but it is a very profound statement of the value of the neighbourhood versus the value of the individual. The two are not mutually exclusive.



The intuition of children

8 June 1664

All day before dinner with Creed, talking of many things, among others, of my Lord’s going so often to Chelsy, and he, without my speaking much, do tell me that his daughters do perceive all, and do hate the place, and the young woman there, Mrs. Betty Becke; for my Lord, who sent them thither only for a disguise for his going thither, will come under pretence to see them, and pack them out of doors to the Parke, and stay behind with her; but now the young ladies are gone to their mother to Kensington.

To dinner, and after dinner till 10 at night in my study writing of my old broken office notes in shorthand all in one book, till my eyes did ake ready to drop out. So home to supper and to bed.

The daughters referred to above can obviously not be fooled by the shenanigans of adults. I think we are all born with a good measure of intuition which is for the most part beaten out of us by self-consciousness, being mocked by parents or peers, and last but not least by the so-called education system. In spite of that, some of us retain our inherent capabilities including yours truly. If anyone is reading this who has a child please remember that you never see the results of your words on a developing consciousness but if your child says something that doesn’t appear to make sense then ridiculing them could do long term or irreparable damage although the subject matter may be trivial.

All great men are gifted with intuition. They know without reasoning or analysis, what they need to know. – Alexis Carrel

The only real valuable thing is intuition. – Albert Einstein

All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention. – Rudolf Arnheim

In my many years of attempting to help people with advice I have lost count of the number of times the client has said ” if only I had followed my intuition”.  I think we need a certain amount of peace and trust to even be open to the idea of the intuition. It is a real challenge to lay aside the left brain and listen to the little voice that speaks in your head. The problem is there are at least two little voices. The first one is your intuitive side, the second one is a voice of fear and insecurity arising from negative experiences. This is why it is a good thing if we can do ‘housekeeping’, constructive introspection if you will, and try and figure out what’s what. I am most impressed by people who say for example “I don’t know why I am here” or “I just felt I had to come”. This is a sign that the intuition is working.

These diaries are written using the same methodology. I read Samuel Pepys diary for the approximate date, relax my mind and see what jumps out at me. We are nearly at my 150th diary and the system always seems to produce new material. My contention is that we know far more than we think we know but 99% of the knowledge is residing outside our conscious mind. If you think that is a rather clever system because if we were aware of Everything all the time it would be too much for us.

Most of the matters are written first thing in the morning when I have had the essential coffee. Obviously matters about the day itself are written later on so there are normally two diaries per day except today when there’s only enough material for one.

We did a lovely gardening job today, my favourite type of work, which is making lovely square-shaped hedges out of dreadfully misshapen and unloved forms. I have mild OCD so it suits me down to the ground. Also to celebrate we had our first crop of radishes from the allotment. There is nothing to beat pulling a fresh root vegetable out of the ground, washing it and crunch crunch crunch.

I have a new person apply for an allotment today. She was taking over from an old lady who could no longer manage the physical side of running the allotment. Strangely the new person had exactly the same problem having to persuade their mother that she would no longer able to work on an allotment so she offered to adopt the outgoing tenant and give her some of the allotment space so she could still feel useful and relate to the earth and to her beloved strawberries. It turned into a baking hot day from an indifferent morning. Well, so it should, it is June after all.

As Samuel Pepys would say, dinner and so to bed.

half finished things – a confession

 7 June 1664

Up and to the office (having by my going by water without any thing upon my legs yesterday got some pain upon me again), where all the morning. At noon a little to the ‘Change, and thence home to dinner, my wife being ill still in bed. Thence to the office, where busy all the afternoon till 9 at night, and so home to my wife, to supper, and to bed.  Samuel Pepys

I’m sure a physician would have a field day deciphering what ailments Samuel Pepys is suffering from. It seems that dampness from the river Thames causes some type of arthritic condition but then it is June when you would expect the weather to be clement.

So it’s my turn to be in the confessional box (Roman Catholic joke). I realise how many things I start and do not carry through to a conclusion. One of them is books which I start to read and abandon them after about page 100 because yet another new and exciting book comes along. Switching off my imagination is a bit like trying to stop a river flowing. It is a type of pond hopping mentality which gets me less far less deeply than focusing on one or two matters. I once met Karlheinz Stockhausen the composer and he said the problem with people was that they did not explore the same topic from enough angles to truly understand it.

Today, the day after my birthday (73 y.o.+1 day) ,  the temperature is only 12°, the crows are crowing and the sky is grey. The wind blows in gusts. I don’t anticipate anything special happening today so I should be writing one diary not two. I have to speak with a lady who wants her garden done. She has told me she cannot afford it and she must rely on her son to pay but so far as I know, she has not even asked him in principle so it looks like she’s doing things in the wrong order.

I should have been involved after she got approval from the son in principle so today I must call her and gently remind her of this. anyone who has to do business with the public in general knows that a major part of the problem is naivete and ignorance. Sometimes you have to tell people what the facts are without being patronising which I think is quite an art.

silence is a true friend who never betrays

I often say to other people and should say more to myself “there is a time for everything, and for everything there is time”. Part of the answer to dealing with the difficulty in concentrating is the endless distraction of moving images.  I refer to the television. After my day out yesterday  (see  previous diary entry) I actually did not want to watch the television and preferred to sit quietly with my wife talking – and quaffing champagne let it be said. I’m getting addicted to silence because actually a lot goes on.

Today is election day and, praise God, there are no politicians banging on via the TV for the radio.

I have been reading the autobiography of Christopher Reeve, the actor who gave Superman its prestige and fame. I was absolutely stunned to note that after his accident he continued to direct films and keep a schedule that most of us would be exhausted by whilst he was a paraplegic.

This man was in such pain that it took him three hours to get up  because when the body is in a locked state all the limbs need to be activated and this is attended by pain in spite of the so-called painkillers. He continued to enjoy a high reputation among the acting community and was able to spend considerable amount of time and energy raising money for good causes, and persuade others to do the same.

And yet, when I think of the image that I have had of him via the media, these good works were not reflected. The media tends to concentrate on this spectacular, the lowest common denominator, and we miss the human and compassionate features of the individual on whom they focus.

A quiet birthday and meeting a lovely lady called Linda

Sometimes we feel we should go out but do not decide anything until the last moment. We more or less get a map and stick a pin in it. There is a temptation to go with the familiar but I thought we would try and have a day that was entirely new. So none of this “going to your favourite restaurant”. We decided to aim for pastures new.

“yes sir, tell them as it is”. NB I get no commissions from doing this; I just like the honesty of the sign.

We decided not to plan lunch and just drive south and choose the first gastropub that took our fancy. We found (above) the Cross Keys Inn where the enthusiastic young staff served excellent local beers and food with sauce to die for. Anyone can heat and cook food, but can the chef find the right sauce  to complement the dish. That is another level of skill.

This is one of the smallest Windows I have ever seen, part of the Tudor house. To give the picture some perspective, I have put my wallet in it. it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland

Lytes Cary Manor is part of the National Trust and is a Tudor period manor house with a small chapel attached and small gardens personally designed by the family. We had the usual helpful stewards, bless them for their voluntary work. The cafe was a disappointment, claustrophobic with little choice of cake. True there was an area outside under the trees where you could sit in clement weather. I do wish people wouldn’t charge more than £2.50 for a coffee and if you are going to charge £3.25 for a cake, make sure the portion is a decent size. In the house itself, there was the usual olde worlde atmosphere which I drank in as I normally do. I find that National Trust members know how to behave, do not throw litter around, generally have respect for the properties they go around. During the week, at least 80% of them are of pensionable age.

unexpectedly wide paths enable mellowing with a sit on machine

What was an unexpected pleasure, and most of pleasures in my life are unexpected, we discovered an allotment abutting on the property for once not owned by the local council, but on this occasion by the National Trust itself. We went around the allotments which are apparently open to anyone and talked to a couple of tenants. I observed that the weather in the south part of Somerset far from the Mendips is definitely warmer, more conducive to early maturing of fruit and vegetables. I took a large number of photographs which I will circulate to my own allotment tenants

we nearly set the cake on fire

We then drove on to Castle Cary. We went to a cafe/hotel and ordered a cake, coffee etc. Unbeknown to me Françoise had bought some candles which she placed on the cake and lit them and sang happy birthday to me.

We left the cafe and found a ‘bottle shop’ as they are called in South Africa. The owner is English but spends much time in France he feels more French than English. He only buys the best champagne and wine. Evidently, he loved France so much he bought up a whole village and had it renovated. there was no wine in the shop for sale at less than nine pounds and I noticed the odd Magnum of wine for £150. An impressive shop. It’s called the Wine Wizard if you want to Google it.  As he was in hospital for an appointment his place was taken by his associate Linda.

The wines consist of a more knowledgeable and elite selection than their equivalents in big cities such as London

Linda had an amazing voice and presentation which was immediately obvious when she greeted us.  I thought she was an actress and told her that she could be. I light up immediately when I sense that someone is a real human being, full of vibrancy and joy. She said that her parents had both recently died. I did my intuitive bit and found that both the parents were very happy in their new environment. Linda concurred saying that they had suffered many years of illness and now they were together again. anyway, I bought a very expensive bottle of champagne which I look forward to consuming with Françoise.

The whole meeting made me realise that most people are dis-empowered because they do not have the courage to be themselves for fear of being laughed at or misunderstood. It is so terribly sad. I do miss real human beings so terribly; it just makes my day to meet someone like Linda. In fact she was the ideal way to end our lovely birthday celebration. It was clear that Linda had had a flying start in life because her parents were happy together and she had an example from when she was in the womb. she says that she is always lucky but I think this would be the case if everybody felt loved and valued. There is enough room on the planet for everybody to be lucky. I wonder how many examples of so-called child abuse happen because the person is trying in some twisted way to heal themselves from the terrible conflicting signals which they must have received either in the womb or shortly after in their early life.

Depressed, oh, and Wszystkiego najlepszego w dniu imienin

 6 June 1664

Please see the original by clicking on the date above. It’s rather long.

….Up and found my wife very ill again, which troubles me, but I was forced to go forth. …..

Most diseases were undiagnosed by doctors in pepys time, let alone treatable. We in the historically named United Kingdom  are going to have an election tomorrow. Listening to the excellent Ian Crane on you Tube giving us a discourse on the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt it is quite clear that Hunt has been put in place to dismantle the Health Service. This excellent institution was started in 1947 but his plan is to put it in private hands no doubt run by American companies. American companies are the supreme predators. these beings are expert at exploiting weakness and greed. They bribe those in control with amazing incentives, making them an offer they cannot refuse, and when they have their tentacles thoroughly wrapped around the organisation they dictate the terms.  The American corporate mind is as close to the psychopathic mind as you could imagine and probably more so.

I’m not saying such news and are makes me depressed because that is a clinical term. It would be more accurate to say disheartened and affeared.

I very much doubt if my offer to the hospital to look after and support post discharge patients will come to anything. The problem for them is that I’m very good at my job and I think they went on the defensive. It is a great pity because the patients will miss out.  I know that the NHS is grossly overstretched at the moment. This is deliberate as discussed above.

Anyway, today is the anniversary of my popping into the world in Harrogate hospital no less so I suppose we will do something celebratory. I try to celebrate every day but this is special.In Poland, the main celebratory day is the Name Day. In that country no one would ever dream of asking what name day it is. The above link is worth a read. if I were Polish, my name day would be 6 November.




Free personal sand blasting at Weston Super Mare

This is my wife. You cannot see her face due to the automatic exposure control of my phone but I can assure you she is smiling and trying to stop herself being blown over by the wind.

For those of you unfamiliar with the UK, Weston-super-Mare (literally Weston on the sea) is a fairly nondescript seaside resort south of the mouth of the Bristol Channel. We decided to go there on the spur of the moment because the westerly winds were forecast to blow at 50 miles an hour. I love wind. This is a mere breeze compared with the 1200 miles an hour winds of frozen methane across Neptune but as we discovered when we arrived, even 50 miles an hour wind is something to experience.

On arrival we parked our car in a side road and noticed that there was no one on the promenade. Such was the force of the wind that it blew the petrol cap cover off time and time again so I had to re-park the car facing the other way. It required all my strength to push the door open to get out of the car. I had to get my feet on the ground and push the door at the same time.  Quite a feat. ha ha

We approached a restaurant on the promenade itself and on the way had the pleasure of our whole body being blasted by the fine sand which was being lifted off the beach. The only way I could proceed, and I was wearing glasses, was close my eyes, walk a few yards, and half open one eye to make sure I wasn’t going to bang into an obstruction. The sand went everywhere particularly in the hair and the ears. It piled up in the car parks. Goodness knows what it did to the innards of the cars. The sand  also made dunes along the pavements.

We finally made it into the establishment we found it was completely empty with the staff chatting to each other. I had a large latte and a freshly cooked scone with jam and cream. Françoise had a large nutty bar with a decaf tea all for £6.45. As a bonus we had a long chat with the waitress who was born and bred in Western and very proud of it.

When I am on a beach especially with the tide out I transform myself into a child very quickly probably due to association with many happy memories spent playing with sandcastles, making channels for water etc.  Today I made a mark  on the sand about 3 m from the rising tide and make a note how quickly the mark was inundated. I did this with great pleasure as did Françoise.  I think everyone should  become a child periodically.

I cannot recommend this resort for a holiday destination as the atmosphere is rather downbeat due to the large number of unemployed people who live there. I have nothing against unemployed people as such  but it is a bit tacky. Having said that, the Winter Gardens put on good shows not to mention business conferences. These buildings are currently  being upgraded. There are one or two good museums. Clevedon is nearby and worth a visit. You could regard it as a centre for visiting North Devon and you will find the prices of the bed and breakfasts reasonable and homely. I suggest you take a day trip there and see how you feel about it

The rest of this page is a pictorial illustration. My main point is to respect the power of the sea, the wind was blowing off the sea making the whole thing very spectacular. Also as a general point when traveling look out for notable items which are unusual and can be used for photographic purposes. The first example is just below.

an umbrella stand made out of cross sections of branches
a completely empty main promenade. The sand blasting area is beyond the building on the right. Alas, my camera did not capture the fine airborne sand
deceptively beautiful eh?  We could scarcely stand up straight with this lot
the line was drawn at 16.07 with the water 3 m away. It took 4 min to inundate these marks. The Bristol Channel by the way has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world.
This is a substantial movable barrier to keep the tides out
Stormy activity at high tide
this swimming pool on the right is designed to be inundated at high tide so the water is refreshed twice a day
now here is some clever design. Nature has weathered and hand carved this soft stone which they have put on hard stone blocks as part of the promenade defenses
quite difficult to walk along this pavement !
is that a Georgian postbox?
finally a photograph that I put in just because I’m proud of it. I am not making any particular point. You can see a long promontory to your left at the end of which is a  fort used 1871-1901 and 1940-1945



Do we care for our loved ones?

5 June 1664

(Lord’s day). About one in the morning I was knocked up by my mayds to come to my wife who is very ill. I rose, and from some cold she got to-day, or from something else, she is taken with great gripings, a looseness, and vomiting. I lay a while by her upon the bed, she being in great pain, poor wretch, but that being a little over I to bed again, and lay, and then up and to my office all the morning, setting matters to rights in some accounts and papers, and then to dinner, whither Mr. Shepley, late come to town, came to me, and after dinner and some pleasant discourse he went his way, being to go out of town to Huntington again to-morrow. So all the afternoon with my wife discoursing and talking, and in the evening to my office doing business, and then home to supper and to bed.

I have recently taken delivery via the omnipresent 24/7 “bookshop in the sky”Amazon of a book entitled “Samuel Pepys, the Unequalled Self”. It received the Whitbread book of the year prize and the author is Claire Tomalin. She has more or less absorbed the whole of Pepys’s life and presents it in an entertaining summary form in 450 pages or so. I’m getting a more and more accurate impression of this man, warts and all. Incidentally, this saying is supposed to have originated with Oliver Cromwell who was against any form of vanity and gave such instructions to his painter Sir Peter Lely when commissioning his portrait. Sir Peter was appointed as Charles II Principal Painter in Ordinary – how’s that for an arcane title?

I think it’s safe to say that Pepys would not have originated women’s liberation (actually a Rothschild idea) and it is clear that he sees it as almost his right to be intimate with various females single or married . It takes an extreme illness of his wife for him to condescend to join her in her bedroom. Here was I thinking that most people would actually sleep in the same bed but clearly not in this case. On this particular day he was dividing his time between his wife and his work.

This causes me to ponder whether in the dreadful phrase familiarity breeds contempt. I don’t think we really mean contempt I think we are talking about  taking someone for granted. Do we notice the subtle signs that they are not happy. I disagree with interview techniques asking them how they feel and so on. It is better to be the sort of person that the partner or colleague feels free to talk to and this is something not achieved by a single act of will by something built up over the years. It involves the T word ….trust, and knowing that someone cares. If you have to tell someone you care for them then you are a loser because you have not demonstrated it subliminally and continually.

passing clouds amidst a blue sky

My wife awoke this morning to feel a sense of frustration or shall we say a sense of everything not being well. Both of us are able to pick up the thoughts of other people but sometimes we get signals mixed up as you do where personal needs are involved. After 10 min constructive introspection we could find nothing out of order. I think sometimes we have what I call passing clouds where for no particular reason we feel down or dissociated and in my experience these feelings pass when we get on with something and focus on something outside ourselves. The human spirit is a tough old thing but we help it to function at its best by giving it something to do, a person to be involved with, a practical task, perhaps even just going for a walk. This is often sufficient to clear the air.

Are committees an invention of the devil?

4 June 1664

Please click on the date above for Pepys lengthy and sweeping summary of his business and his opinions of many people and situations.

After office I with Mr. Coventry by water to St. James’s and dined with him, and had excellent discourse from him. So to the Committee for Tangier all afternoon, where still the same confused doings, and my Lord Fitz-Harding now added to the Committee; which will signify much. It grieves me to see how brokenly things are ordered.

I try to avoid committees as much as I possibly can. There are certain systemic problems with such necessary processes. Everybody comes along with their own issues and furthermore  with their own differences to other people which are carefully hidden until a particular issue emerges.

Katharine Whitehorn, the writer and journalist, claims that “any committee that is of the slightest use is composed of people who are too busy to want to sit on it for a second longer than they have to”

I think all committee members should go on a social day out, a bonding event if you like, so that they can get to know their colleagues as human beings at a deeper level.

If we want to learn how to do things properly we need to draw examples from  when committees get it right; these are normally when everyone is united about the importance of an issue which rises above the everyday.

However, we can have the situation of dogs fighting over meat which is a very undignified way of saying that if financial resources are cut, which service or facility should be retained and which should be pared down. This is the most awful thing if committee members know people who will be adversely affected by cuts.

The next problem is the hidden agenda, members who have had inducements, social or financial, to throw an issue in a particular way irrespective of its merits because it will benefit some other party not in the room.

Another problem is lack of discipline, and the need to keep to a subject. Some chairmen do not know how to restrain people who go off the subject, or who ramble on endlessly. I think the rule of ‘one person one point’ is quite a good one but sometimes you just tell people to shut up.

Another one is one bombastic person dominating the rest and this is more difficult to resist without blood on the floor. The idea would be not to vote in such people at all but hey this is an imperfect world.

A further problem is lack of preparation. Participants have got so much on their minds, it takes some time to start to focus on the matter in hand and when the chairman asks for a yes or no the matters are still not installed in the minds of everybody  and so an erroneous decision can be made. I’m all for a pre-meeting meeting, 10 minutes or so when people can associate with each other and remember why they are present. New Agers would call it tuning in


pictorial Somerset – anti-aircraft gun for sale, and Koi

so who wants to buy an anti-aircraft gun – it would make a wonderful feature for the back garden. See below.

This was the last afternoon with our friends so in spite of an impeding rainstorm we decided to set off for various venues. I normally sit down at the computer with all the alternatives and feel my way through the journey. If I get a positive feeling I make the decision with confidence and I always find if I trust my intuition we get a good result. This is particularly important if other people are involved. So off we go on another journey…….first stop, a miniature Japanese garden in Cheddar.

Count the number of varieties – see below
a hot target but for one only – not quite sure about the meaning of “I love you to the moon and back”

The National Garden Scheme encourages people to open their private gardens once or twice a year, charge a modest fee, and give the money to charity. Here was a remarkable small garden in Cheddar tucked away in a small side road. The owner exhibits acers and conifers all over the country in all their varying hues, along with koi.. but then have a look for yourself.

a half yurt?
subtle hues – the photo does not do justice to this
koi and gold fish
a lovely picture taken by my wife
Somerset levels – we watch two sets of parents taking their brood of ducklings off for the night, horses stand vaguely around
this place has to be seen to be believed. It is on the road from Glastonbury to Wells
you will not believe the variety of stuff here. Many bargains, some contemporary items for use in a stylish home. Bring a trailer if you want to buy anything. Unbelievably eccentric.
this is the road sign gently beckoning you in. There is adequate parking inside




Victims of our own communications – The day that never was – less is more

3 June 1664

Up, still in a constant pain in my back, which much afflicts me with fear of the consequence of it. All the morning at the office, we sat at the office extraordinary upon the business of our stores, but, Lord! what a pitiful account the Surveyor makes of it grieves my heart. This morning before I came out I made a bargain with Captain Taylor for a ship for the Commissioners for Tangier, wherein I hope to get 40l. or 50l..

To the ‘Change, and thence home and dined, and then by coach to White Hall, sending my wife to Mrs. Hunt’s. At the Committee for Tangier all the afternoon, where a sad consideration to see things of so great weight managed in so confused a manner as it is, so as I would not have the buying of an acre of land bought by the Duke of York and Mr. Coventry, for ought I see, being the only two that do anything like men; Prince Rupert do nothing but swear and laugh a little, with an oathe or two, and that’s all he do.

Thence called my wife and home, and I late at my office, and so home to supper and to bed, pleased at my hopes of gains by to-day’s work, but very sad to think of the state of my health.

Poor old Pepys, barely a day goes by without him mentioning suffering of the body of some sort and yet he just gets on with it and puts in a good day’s work. This is the very opposite of ‘pulling a sickie’ by the young and lazy are so fond of. In their own slender defence, if you are treated like a living robot there is not the feeling of belonging  especially when you see your bosses getting paid stellar amounts of money. The resentment must build up.

Wall to wall imagery of fear and panic, but the police did a good job. eight minutes from the first call to shooting the perpetrators dead.

So, here we go again, another group of three zealots shouting ‘this is for Allah’. They drive into people with their van on the iconic London Bridge, succeeding in injuring 48 people and killing 7 before being shot. I heard about it at the same time and in the same manner as I did the Manchester debacle whilst listening to Radio Five Live shortly before midnight. Now we have endless overreactions by the police though I admit they have a difficult job, people being barred from their own homes, wall-to-wall coverage and generally spreading the idea of fear in our midst.

The BBC would not dare discuss exactly why UK in general should receive this treatment. It would have nothing to do of course with the UK and America’s support of Saudi Arabia, and the wars tacitly approved of by UK which killed thousands of people in the Middle East. Heaven forbid that people should actually think or take collective responsibility. ‘Make ’em afraid then tell them what to do’. Endlessly asking people ‘how they feel’ and ‘what they saw’ is not enough. Strange that the miscreants  used fake bomb attachments ‘to spread fear’. That’s an odd thing for a suicide bomber to do.

This forthcoming observation may help people who are thinking of planning something  involving travel for the first time. Our local horticultural Society arranged an all-day coach outing to North Devon. The first feature was Tapley Park Gardens near Bideford where there are terraces, woodland walks, and a lake. The second feature was Marwood Hill Garden  near Barnstaple which has a 20 acre private garden with three lakes set in a valley. This was to be followed by a substantial cream tea in the local church. On the face of it and for £30 it sounded good.

I had provisionally reserved four places but all did not sit well and as regular readers to this diary will know, my instinct about travel is fairly good. The client group will be people in their 60s and above. We are looking at a summer Sunday in North Devon and as locals will know, anything other than the M5 / A303 is very slow and prone to traffic jams so you can reckon about 30 miles an hour average.  The organiser ‘thought’ (first danger signal) that the trip from Somerset to Tapley Park Gardens would take ‘about two hours’.

The AA in their automated wisdom estimate it will be 2 1/2 hours and 111 miles. That’s about the same distance as going to London by the faster motorway from where we are in Somerset. Then we have a half hour 25 mile journey to the second gardens. Then we have the best part of the 100 miles to return home after having gone to the church for tea. That makes three lots of embarking and disembarking with an 8 am start with  total time on the road of not less than 5 1/2 hours probably nearer 6 with a total mileage of about 240. If you add to that the time that each of these gardens would require for walking round, the math simply does not work.  I get exhausted even thinking about it.

This is a classic example of wanting to fit in too much to please people and give them ‘value for money’. As the headline for today says  ‘less is more’ which is a good philosophy especially if you are unfamiliar with the territory and as a general principle in any event. A day normally fills itself in by some magical process without having to make a big effort.

I think the less is more philosophy applies more as you get older because you learn that it’s not the point of the number of things you do as in “Europe in seven days” so beloved of our cousins from the USA but just example being in nature, having a conversation with somebody, enjoy a cup of tea and talking to the other people in the restaurant.

the ultimate mobile coffee bar

This afternoon I took my friends to the Kennet and Avon canal. Since this fact is probably of little interest to you I have taken a series of pictures to give the feel of canal life and how it differs from everyday life.

We met a chap who runs a coffee and ice cream bar from his 55 foot boat. His only official mooring is in Huddersfield. For the last 10 years he has cruised the canal system presumably making a living from selling tea, coffee, ice cream and soft drinks. He can only stay in the same place for two weeks due to the regulations but is quite happy with this and has adapted to it. Cleverly he has a little serving hatch on either side of the boat so someone can stop their own boat and buy a coffee, or order one from the tow path. He lives on the boat.

Francoise asked him if it was a safe mode of living and he said that it’s like going back 35 years. He claimed you don’t have to lock your boat but having said that, the only thing that the occasional opportunist person steals is bikes. He seemed very happy to be of service to us and and I thought that was a lovely way of earning a crust. He said with a smile that customers lean over from the tow path to order something, and their mobile phone falls out of their breast pocket. Once it is down there in the murk there is nothing you can do.

The only difficult part of walking along the canals is that people ride their bikes at quite a speed and some forget to ring their bells, or don’t have one in the first place, and it may be a good idea to walk along one side or the other of the path and look behind you before changing your position. Why not a sign saying ‘walkers to the right’ or walkers nearest to the canal’

If you want a starting point for this canal walk both ways East and West, type in BS15 2HD. You can also start from Bradford on Avon which is about 2 miles to the east. This is a particularly lovely spot because you can see the confluence of the river, railway line, and canal they going over each other. There is also a cafe open Thursday – Sunday called Number 10.

an excellent pub and restaurant overlooks this area. To find it, put in the postal code mentioned in this article, but beware that the parking is not always easy. Weekdays are better.
there is always more going on in the country than you would imagine and you need to look at local flyers to find out what is going on.
I’m not quite sure how a swan can whistle but never mind it does attract attention
a branch line miraculously spared by Dr Beeching
plenty of ingenuity in making use of your roof


how many different types of vegetables can you spot
Yours truly doing an impression of a tree spirit


this was a scarecrow competition that seems to have developed into something more than that, on display at an adjacent village
an original scarecrow indeed










dealing with pain – terrible baking

2 June 1664

Pepys writes : Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and then to the ‘Change, where after some stay by coach with Sir J. Minnes and Mr. Coventry to St. James’s, and there dined with Mr. Coventry very finely, and so over the Parke to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier about providing provisions, money, and men for Tangier. At it all the afternoon, but it is strange to see how poorly and brokenly things are done of the greatest consequence, and how soon the memory of this great man is gone, or, at least, out of mind by the thoughts of who goes next, which is not yet knowne. My Lord of Oxford, Muskerry, and several others are discoursed of. It seems my Lord Tiviott’s design was to go a mile and half out of the towne, to cut down a wood in which the enemy did use to lie in ambush. He had sent several spyes; but all brought word that the way was clear, and so might be for any body’s discovery of an enemy before you are upon them. There they were all snapt, he and all his officers, and about 200 men, as they say; there being left now in the garrison but four captains. This happened the 3d of May last, being not before that day twelvemonth of his entering into his government there: but at his going out in the morning he said to some of his officers, “Gentlemen, let us look to ourselves, for it was this day three years that so many brave Englishmen were knocked on the head by the Moores, when Fines made his sally out.”

Here till almost night, and then home with Sir J. Minnes by coach, and so to my office a while, and home to supper and bed, being now in constant pain in my back, but whether it be only wind or what it is the Lord knows, but I fear the worst.

I must admit I’m not very good at dealing with pain. The only way I can think of surviving it is by being driven with a vision that is so strong that all else seems minor. We can think of Jesus on the cross who had changed the level of his consciousness to speak words of forgiveness to his persecutors whilst in such an excruciatingly painful situation. I think of Bernadette of Lourdes, who had a very painful growth in her knee, probably cancerous, and yet her mind was so focused on God that she did not complain and only showed the deformity to a sister when specifically asked. I’m struck by the fact that millions of people go around doing their daily tasks uncomplaining, with neither acknowledgement nor thanks. The human spirit is an amazing thing is it is only species where we see sacrifice for others although elephants and dolphins are probably a glorious exception.

Last evening after I returned from the Bath and West show, I sent a photo newsletter to all the people in my allotment group of which I am the secretary. I do like to share good things and I encouraged people to go to the show, tomorrow is the last day. My stats show me that 80% of people to whom I send the bulletin read it. My stats for this website do not pick up everyone who reads it for some reason but irrespective of the numbers, I will still produce good quality material to the best of my ability. This applies to everything I do including this diary which I regard as a work of art. If you think of the work of an artist, they do the work for its own sake irrespective of the number of people who will see it. It is the same with a musical performance. If you are playing for a small crowd, a large crowd, or even to one person you play  your best because that is what the work deserves.

completely dreadful composition and baking. It will never win any prizes.

Last evening I baked the worst-looking loaf of bread I have ever done. the crust separated from the rest. We had to hack the body out of the tin. My wife attributed this to the fact that I let it prove in the oven and it started to cook. I was tempted to throw it away but then we tasted the rescueable portions and they were absolutely delicious.  So much for appearances.

Bath and West Show Special – pictorial issue

This series of pictures has very little to do with Samuel Pepys but more to do with our observations on a day out to the biggest show in the South West of England. The city of London in which Pepys lived was very overcrowded with buildings hanging over each other, street sanitation leaving much to be desired, animals being shepherded to market heading to the interest of the aroma. Needless to say, the city garden was an unknown phenomenon.  The Bath and West Show started as a purely agricultural event in 1852 and has been going strong ever since.

We arrived this morning at the venue, a couple of miles south of Shepton Mallet, at 10 AM.  We left at 4:30 PM having done justice to about 30% of the show. In case you are wondering, the dimensions of the field or area of the show are 360,00 square meters (800mx450m).   We were active and going around all the time but there is so much to see. I would almost say you could fill up 2 days but at £25 a day you would probably think twice about that.

You never know quite what is going to happen. We started with a pig judging, then the same with horses. We watched sheep shearing and a very lively Army Brass Band. Both are videos.

There is a predominance of commercial stands, and that is how they survive I suppose, but there are many arts and cultural events, and a lot of demonstrations and trials including more exotic events like the judging of alpacas. It is fair to say that there are no bargains to be had with food, if largely because the people had to pay such high rentals. The food is definitely mass produced and about the same price as you would pay on the high Street if not a little more. By careful selection you can find very good locally produced food for example in the food tent so don’t dash and by the first thing you see.

I should add that I attended the Church Marquee as I normally do where tea and coffee was on offer for a donation and in fact I gave not much less than I would have done had I had to pay. It was indeed a happy atmosphere and free from creeping commercialism. Interesting Christian books were on sale.

as my wife would point out, there are fat men as well as women. Junk food, plus lack of exercise will do it for most of them.

It was noticeable how many unhealthy people there were attending. Grossly fat and distended people with overweight children. Mountains of blubber flopping about. I can describe it in no other way. Do these people have no sense of self-respect or are they so dumbed down that they don’t even notice their size. I notice that some of the women have to lean back slightly so great are the size of their breasts. This cannot be be comfortable. Airlines are keen to charge us for an extra kilogram of weight. Is anyone brave enough to charge people accordingly?

Anyway, one picture is worth 1000 words so here follows a pictorial essay. This is only a small selection but I’m just trying to give you some flavour of what is on offer.

these wonderful people do this for a living and exhibit all over the world. What a lovely way of giving happiness to others.
a very contented mum with her 10 piglets
most definitely an enthusiast with his miniature steam engine
1947 milk float. Taken to Australia with an emigrant and then returned to the UK. In working order.



detail of the 125 cc engine
carnivorous plants in great abundance and variety
first prize in its class
packed full of vegetables no room for anything else
another exhibit, garden shed and all
a happy wreath
not the shoes you would use to go to the supermarket but very entertaining nevertheless
and if you want a metal crusher for all the tin cans that end up in your garden this is the place to come