Just another coffee morning?

I awoke to a rather miserable looking day and sure enough the rain started to fall. The prevailing winds from the Atlantic had bought us a blessing in the form of rain but it is not always seen that way.

I have not been to my coffee morning at All Saints Church in Paulton for some weeks now mainly because I have not been around. I decided to go because I didn’t want to get too much out of touch with the friendly and warm people that I have associated with for ….  it must be the better part of seven years now.

I told myself as I entered the church that I was going to make a difference to someone and I probably won’t know what difference I will make. There are two ladies who serve cake which they themselves have cooked, and also coffee. There is a five week rota so the voluntary jobs are not too demanding.

I greeted one of the ladies serving the coffee to say that I had just come back from Margate. Her eyes lit up and said that many years ago when she was younger they used to go on holidays there every year and loved the walks and the cliffs.   I was able to  update her on the latest and we discussed the proximity of Broadstairs and Ramsgate, both an easy distance away where in my view you could spend a very nice week.

I also had a discussion about stiffness and rheumatism and was it reversible? It seems that insofar as it is due to wear and tear it is irreversible but there are things that you can do, for example exercises, to keep this condition from developing.  The National Health Service here in England seems to be quite strict on this one. They say if you’re joints are stiff for more than 30 minutes after waking up ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from the NHS 111. If you have joint pain and the skin around it is swollen and feels hot you have joint pain and feel generally unwell and have a high temperature or feel hot and shivery you definitely need help. This is fibromyalgia.

To distinguish on this we have rheumatoid arthritis which is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The condition usually affects the hands, feet and wrists. There may be periods when symptoms become worse known as flair ups or flares. Overall, rheumatic conditions of caused by the wear of articular cartridge, information of a joint, or bone decalsification. Rheumatic pain may occur from the same joint  or from structures around its such as the muscles, tendons etc

Either way it looks like it is not attention seeking to get the opinion of a doctor if you can get an appointment that is.  I have a tendency to leave symptoms until they are at an advanced stage and I have to take notes of them. This is the bad habit that I must lose especially as I get older.

I found that quite a thought-provoking discussion so thank you ladies for sharing that.  One of the ladies had a stiff knee joint but just put up with it I suspect because it would take so long to get the appropriate medical attention

I also had a discussion with someone who asked if I had heard about Doreen?  Doreen is a lady that we could describe as indefatigable. She is always upfront, outspoken,  and with a great sense of humour. Evidently she passed  about a week ago.  Evidently she was having problems breathing so there were a whole lot of conditions that came together and she passed in her sleep. That’s the greatest way to go I think. No pain, no trouble for other people.   As they have not released the body, it is not possible for a funeral to be arranged. It will probably be within the next month or so.

I had a chat with George the gardener and  church warden who said how difficult it was to start the mower, it took him about 20 minutes,  I said it was probably due to the dampness.

I came away with quite a warm glow. I felt that I had made a difference to the morning. Everyone makes a difference but they are not aware of it. I think you can make a lot of difference by just listening to people and encouraging them to talk.

On the way back I filled up with petrol which was 154 pence per litre.  Most of it goes on government tax and profits to the oil companies

This morning’s news

We heard about this dreadful idea of 20 miles an hour limit in cities. While I agree that it should be this low near schools, there is no  logical justification for a 20 mile an hour limit at night with the little traffic around. Basically this is a war on the motorist part of a long running battle to decrease our freedoms  which is now in full swing by those behind the scenes.

Russell Brand

I usually rise between 8 and 8:30 a.m. And while the kettle is boiling for coffee I turn on the news. It’s all about Russell Brand and his naughtiness with various women.  Funny that they start protesting seven years after the event. If it was as bad as they claim, and non-consensual, why did it take them seven years to come out?  It can’t have been that bad.   When women claim it was not consensual I sometimes feel it is a bit of an excuse. The thigh muscles of female are strong, they have to be for the purposes of giving birth, so no means no. It takes two to tango as we say.   Is the sudden reporting of these four now five women an attempt to appease their own conscience for having been weak-minded enough to give in to someone. I cannot comment about the 16 year old girl that Russell decided to take to his flat, with the knowledge of the BBC, who are very good at turning a blind eye

Russell has been very outspoken about the way the world is going at the moment and the various hypocrisies that we are seeing from the various governments.  I don’t think the powers that be are particularly keen on what he is saying.  ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ as someone said. I have watched many Russell Brand’s  broadcasts to his six and a half a million viewers  and find them direct, funny, and full of meaningful content.   My guess is that in a court case most of the plaintiffs will be dismissed for lack of evidence and they certainly should be if Russell’s lawyer is competent, that is if it ever gets to that stage.

Cost of becoming a UK Citizen

Francoise tells me that if she wants to become a British citizen (she currently holds a French passport)  she will have to pay over 1500 pounds so to do.  Strange that at the same time you can get in a boat, arrive, and get all the benefits from living in the UK without paying a penny. Unless you have been living under a rock you will know that this is part of the agenda to destroy the individuality of each country making the way clear for a one world government.  People are still stuck at the stage of saying ” they wouldn’t do that would they?”.  The answer is yes they would and yes they are.

Evening fellowship meeting for our Christian group

This evening we had the first meeting after a couple of months of our Tuesday evening Christian group. We used the time to catch up on each other’s news. I had forgotten about the film strike in America which has virtually bought the industry to a standstill at this has repercussions around the world. One of their members does something called setting up which means you decide the camera shots as part of the pre-production stage of a film. He has been doing this for 34 years and he has had no work this year. He is looking at doing other things including renting large properties for three generations of people who want to go on holiday. This sounds like a capital-intensive medium too long term project and I wish them all the best of luck. Human beings are very resourceful by nature, they have to be, in order to survive so we have a living example in front of us of someone who is going through this process.

We also heard from someone who has an extreme fear of spiders. She was driving her car once when a spider came down from the rear view mirror and she panicked so much that she put the car into reverse, wrecking it.

She cannot even stand pictures of spiders never mind seeing them. I asked her rather cruelly if she  had seen the film Spider-Man and she confirmed that she had not.   There must be some sort of treatment for extreme phobias. EFT  is one such.  How can a memory of something be so powerful that it causes you to behave extremely and irrationally.

The best part of two hours disappeared like nothing so we ended the evening with a Prayer of thanks at about 9:50 p.m. And off we went into the night. I must say I do not like driving at night. My sight is not perfect but hopefully the  operation I’m going to have next week will improve the sight of my left eye.  The worst combination is a combination of rain, mist, and driving in the country at night where the light levels go up and down without much warning.  I narrowly avoided a large lorry  going the other way because I misjudged it’s width.   I must be very careful in future.

The Magic of writing a diary (or journal)

When I started writing this diary seven years ago I had no idea it would grow to the size it has done. Normally my attention span is very small and I soon lose interest and do something else. This character trait shows itself most with books which I start to read and give up about page 50.

There are three aspects to doing anything apart from conceiving it. The first is looking forward to something and making plans, the second phase is actually doing the action or plan or activity, and the third is looking back on it with hopefully fond memories.

If the event did not live up to your expectations then what did you learn from it? Put it in the bank of experience.

When I read my diaries I remember, often with pleasure, the circumstances in which I did something and the lessons I learned. With the benefit of hindsight and hopefully a bit more maturity I can learn even more. Sometimes I’m amused at how superficial I was or how I reacted to something when I would now react in the same way if I did the same action today.

I do not know exactly how many readers I have because I do not think any  stats packages 100% reliable. Maybe 100 a day. I do get messages from people from time to time normally complementing me on my work but the other day I had a rather nice letter from someone with whom I regularly deal with on other bases.

By the way I really liked your recent Weston-super-Mare diary page
Because we lived there as children; my dad had 2 shops in Weston:
a (then) organic fruit, veg and grocery shop, right opposite the Odeon, which we lived above, plus a shop in Weston Boulevard in a classic building right next to a Weston newspaper headquarters shop.
Those were the days.
I hope that folk draw something from what I write and I hope that people are encouraged to write diaries.  Readers will recall that when I was on Hampstead Heath London I saw a young lady who was assiduously doing her journal and she said it was the thing that got her through the covid phase. That’s magic!
Also the act of writing a diary makes me think about what I did and in a way it acts like a dot connector. As I have been doing this for so long I don’t know whether my learning is enhanced but I’m certainly far more alert and aware knowing that later on the same day I’m going to share the knowledge and experience that I have with someone else albeit an unknown group of people.
I got into trouble once because I described a rather eccentric car seller when I was trying to buy another Volvo and although I did not mention his name, he somehow saw the diary entry and did not like my remarks about him and called me up at 1:30 in the morning on my mobile to complain. Fortunately I was asleep at the time. I did not do business with him strangely enough.
The were indeed gaps particularly during the covid era when I was confused about what was going on. In retrospect I should have written more but hey what’s done or not done is in the past.
I just feel it is important for everyone to feel that they are a part of history and if writing a diary is what it takes then so be it.   With close to 1 million words I cannot remember all the details so it is quite useful to go back and see when I did something and what I did.
The only thing I miss is feedback and people sharing their experiences with me. I would love to hear more from people and I would like to encourage anyone who is thinking of writing a diary or journal. I will do what I can to help them.
We do not know what we know unless we tell somebody, and a diary is as good a way of doing it as any other way.
Thanks to Francoise for correcting my mistakes.  It is so easy to make an error when you’re familiar with the material. The speech to text software I use does make silly mistakes sometimes for example I say ‘Francoise’ perfectly clearly but it always puts Frost wires but that’s all part of the fun I suppose.

Snapshots of a journey to London Day 8/8 AND THE COST

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One thing I hate is packing but we didn’t have too much so it wasn’t so bad. Fortunately the journey is technically very simple. I am far happier remaining in this country and going by surface transport.  I don’t know whether I’m up to any flying at the moment because you have no control about what political changes might happen whilst at your destination or indeed in the air. Some government might suddenly declare a pandemic and then we are all stuck or worse still, being forced to have injections that we do not need and do not want in order to return.

We had our second opportunity to use the two-together travel card. There is no minimum amount. We bought two single tickets from East Croydon to Victoria for £9.70 instead of over £14. It is easier to do it in person with a sales clerk then on a machine.

Images you won’t see in your local area, the last of my many examples.

Works of Art in luggage form!

I consider the decoration of travel cases a work of art. Not only that but they’re very features make them easy to spot when picking up your bags at the airport. This is a great example and I have not seen one like it

PR for the workers at Victoria Coach Station.

This is from Victoria coach station. They are clearly trying to emphasize that the staff are human beings and deserve to be treated that way. Of course that is the implication of the imagery. This is a good move, well done someone.

The text at the bottom reads:

Tony, Driver. mentor
Tony has worked in transport for nearly 30 years, even though he joined the industry expecting to stay for only a short while. He has spent time as Megabus Sid, raising money for charity. Tony would encourage people to ride coaches because they provide a good comfortable seat and are a relaxing way to travel, leaving the driving to a professional

We left London promptly at 11am in some sunshine but about an hour later the rain started and we saw from the local forecast that we are due a  season of  rainy and  autumnal weather.  Welcome back to Somerset then.  The house seemed empty and ‘quiet’ when we entered it and I find myself at this betwixt and between stage when I have the best of the many human meetings in my heart and wondering what sort of a world we are turning into.

What is life all about and what are our values. What choice if any do we have?  What STYLE of life is most suited to us?

Later – our total expenditure for 8 days £521.95 with no accommodation.
This was with no fancy meals. It works out at £32.62 per person per day.

Add £300 for 3-4 formal 3 course meals with wine
at least £100 for entertainment
at least another £700 for 7 nights hotel accommodation

London aint cheap.


New website (to me anyway). Ghastly news about fires, floods, earthquakes. Is there more behind it?  https://weatherwar101.wordpress.com/
Back to reality chaps.


Snapshots of a journey to London Day 7/8

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Today Saturday is the day when we  plan to rendezvous with our friend Ewa.   She lives in the far north of London and distances/times are greater especially if you live some way away from a subway. We agreed to  meet at 2:30 by Kentish Town overground station as opposed to Kentish Town West as opposed to Kentish Town subway. Warning – be specific about where to meet. For example it is fatal to say ‘At Euston Station’ or even ‘the ticket office at Euston Station as there are many of them.  Try saying a particular platform.

In the morning I met my nephew and we had a chat about how the world situation is from the alternative view of things and we both agreed that the situation was becoming more serious by the day.

It is always a good idea to keep in touch with kindred spirits even though it is for a short time. It rekindles the spirit especially in a situation where either others are not awake or only partly awake. It is refreshing indeed vital.

On the way I saw a diary kept by a homeless person and left  on his sleeping bag for everyone to see. It is worth focusing on, enlarging the page if you can (control and plus sign). It may give some insight into the world of ‘homeless’ people.

Here you will see numerous examples of Street advertising to browse at your leisure

No this is not an old notice left but a reminder that there are many religions in the world and the Christian calendar with its new year on the first of January is only one of many

As we had not had lunch we picked a rather unfortunate time, three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, to find a restaurant that would serve us. Eventually we found a place called the Bakery well the kitchen had closed and all we had was a series of roles and quiches so we bought the lot, hey items, costing 40 pounds, and consumed them.

We then went for a walk on the heath during which our friend told us at length how she was fighting with a court to avoid paying what she considers to be illegal council tax. She explained that the council tax does not go to the local council but to the government which pays out money as its so pleases. She commented on how the law has degraded, relevant information not read and part of the general deterioration of society that we will notice more as time goes on.

Whilst going up the hill I came across a young lady assiduously writing her journal. I  spoke about the importance of diary keeping and told her about my efforts. She said her writing was the one thing that kept her going through covid.

We went to the top of the hill at Hampstead Heath and photographed the famous view. There were a couple of hundred other people there also enjoying the weather. There were 205 devices detected in the range of my Bluetooth app. There is no escaping technology I’m afraid.

A wonderful old tree which keeps going somehow. I’m amazed it has not been vandalized but I think even the most heartless person would not see the point.

We said goodbye to our friend at Hampstead Heath station and took quite a long journey by overground train to Clapham Junction where there were many boisterous young men obviously having enjoyed a football game.

Our travel pass runs out today so we used it for the last time checking out at East Croydon. We have had good value for money. The main value to me is convenience. I have a lanyard with the plastic card pass inside which I always wear. I don’t worry about ‘losing my card’ or any such.

Our combined expenditure for travel by public transport

Coach return Bath         £32.80
7 day London passes  £139.20
Travel to Margate         £48.80
1 paid journey                    £9.70

TOTAL for 2                  £230.50

That makes £14.40 per person per day for 8 days

Snapshots of a journey to London Day 6/8

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Not a huge amount happened today.

Of course, a lot ‘happens’ but not the sort that can be photographed or recorded in the normal way.   I traveled up with Francoise  and we alighted at Kentish Town overground.   We went  our separate ways. She went to have a look what changes had happened in Kentish Town High Street and I went to see my longstanding friend whom I have known since the 1960s. It was here that I made a mistake, forgetting for a moment that I was in London. I dropped into a local pub, The Grafton,  and ordered a medium glass of Pinot Gringo in other words 175 ml.   The cost was, wait for it, £8.10

I could have got a whole bottle for that.  Slightly sobered, I continued on my way  and spent about three hours with my friend during which we had an Indian meal. I forget how much technology has taken control. When he eventually found a meal that someone would deliver in the afternoon it was three o’clock. He was able to track  on a map how the driver was progressing. I’m sure this obviates that need  of customers to call and ask where the order is. I don’t mind being tracked really.   So long as my mobile phone is on, Google and thus the whole planet knows where I am, how long I stopped there and even how I travel.

All my activities are innocent but I suppose that if they were nefarious I would not want to switch my phone on or perhaps have another phone which I would throw away and would not be identified with me.

Francoise traveled home under her own steam.  I omitted to see her text message saying that the quickest way was indeed via Farrington and St. Pancras International, so I went the old-fashioned way via Victoria.  To home and we had a nice meal together the three of us followed by watching TV. My sister and I enjoy any sort of programs with medical interventions such as operations, emergencies, skin conditions,   She was a nurse at one time.

Steps taken – 9615

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Snapshots of a journey to London Day 5/8

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Our journey down to Margate was uneventful. This was our first big purchase using our Two-Together  card,  which costs £30 per year,  On this trip alone we saved 24 Pounds so in my book that is a winner.  We arrived at Bromley South station through which most trains to the extreme south east coast go. The whole trip takes around 90 minutes and this is largely due to the great number of stops towards the end.  We caught the 10:02 train which arrived about 11:29

The reluctant campaigner.

As you know I normally engage complete strangers and there was a fellow opposite me, one row down talking to his girlfriend in a very articulate way. He had a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Disobey’.  I thought about it and decided that a phrase with better parameters would be the word ‘disconnect’. Obedience implies that there is someone who has intrinsic power over you and I disagree with this vehemently.

Anyway, I went up to him and in a jokey way challenged him and suggested the change in name. His response was half-hearted and said that this was just an old t-shirt that he wore and did not get involved in the type of discussion that I was proposing. I replied magnanimously  making me think which was actually true and I retreated and let him get on with his day.  I would not call it a failure but there was certainly lack of quantum entanglement if I can put it in that grandiloquent way.

Details of Margate

So, what’s with Margate?  It is a town with its ups and downs but in recent years it has become more arty and you need to go to the Old Town to see quite a collection of artists Studios, exhibitions etc.

From what little I have seen during the course of a day Margate is ideal for children in that the beach is very safe and the tide gentle. There is no mud that I could see. There are a great collection of restaurants including of course Wetherspoons.  We had breakfast at a very traditional place  followed by much wandering around.  It seemed a little bit like we were in the 1960s.  The pace of life was slower and people were friendly.

Although it was pleasant on a sunny day I dread to think what it must be like on a cold winter’s day and where the customers for the shops come from because on a cold day there are other things on people’s Minds than a day trip to Margate.

There is a very useful information bureau leaflet which contains details about Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs.  It is very well composed.  You will find the information bureau in the centre of town by the promontory.  It is clearly marked.

Francoise managed to have a swim in clear safe water which was not too deep. There were only a few people also swimming.

The day was not full of profundities but little bits and pieces that we treated ourselves to such as oysters with white wine . I had two lots of ice cream or should I say one lot of ice cream and one sorbet. I will pay £3.50 for a generous scoop and this we certainly got. The ice cream was made by the owner and even the cows were local.

Above – center of the old town with plenty of quirky shops and exhibitions to keep you amused for an hour or two. Take time to talk with the owners. We did and they had stories to tell about their lives and why they did what they did e.g. the man who photographed curving waves from the inside.
Below – the building to the left is the information bureau and the building on the right is the famous art gallery which has visiting exhibitions from time to time but a less has no local artist representation

Above – A beach going to towards low tide. The seagulls and kestrels are of course in charge of the beach and will approach anyone who is eating demanding their share of the food. If you offer them even one morsel others will notice and gather around and you will have quite a task to get rid of them. Shoeing them off does not work.
Below – Francoise loves Oysters so she treated herself to three oysters at £1.50 each. (they can b e £3.50 each)  I bought a roll-mop herring and we had some white wine between us

An economically minded family could I think benefit from staying here because there are many walks around and a good bus service and the cost of living seems pretty reasonable. I would consider returning but the weather would have to be fine

number of steps – 13,406

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Snapshots of a journey to London Day 4/8

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We took my sister to Bromley just to have an outing. I looked for some sandals which I failed to find.  It is the wrong end of the season to buy such items. We went to the main Mall,  which is indoors of course,  and I looked in vain for the Pop-Up art gallery which we had seen a few weeks ago,  to no avail.  My sister has limited mobility due to the fact that she gets breathless so we decided to go back and catch the bus back to Addington.

We were due to meet a couple of friends in Hendon North London so we didn’t have too much time. We went and had an  Indian type lunch which didn’t look much, cost 20 pounds, but was actually rather good.

I don’t know what the collective term for ticket inspectors are.  I’m going to dub them a huddle of inspectors because they were huddling.   As you see from the picture there were a number of them and if you look carefully there were two unfortunates that had been caught without tickets.  When I passed them a little bit later on they looked crestfallen and so they should be.  I do not often hear this word used,  but it means ‘dejected, discouraged and often accompanied by a drooping head’.

Above is one of the many animals that Croydon Borough in their wisdom have seen fit to install in various parts of the town but I must say it does give character to the whole.

The New London Bridge area

My goodness they’re have been some changes since I was last there which must have been 10 years ago I suppose. I can’t say it was full of character but the buildings were very impressive and it is worth a walk around at the very least.

Off to see our friends. Again, a rather long tube journey north but it is always good to see people you have known for some time. We saw this rather threatening advertisement. Whether it works, who knows?

Steps walked – 13,082

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Snapshots of a journey to London Day 3/8

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We both set out for our first visit to the newly constructed Battersea Power Station. The station itself has a preservation order on it but now instead of machinery to power London with electricity we had something that I did not dream of.   We took a fast train to Victoria and then a slow train to Battersea Park.  I was not aware at the time that the Northern Line had been extended from Kennington to its own station no doubt to serve the thousands of people that were living there in flats.

We entered first of all via the entry into the famous Battersea Dogs Home.  They deal with cats as well by the way. We had a coffee in the outside Cafe and  – Surprise Surprise – almost everyone else had their dog. One person transported their mutt in luxury in a wheelie carrier.  I did enter the shop and reception area just for curiosity and found a very welcoming atmosphere and I told the lady on duty this and again congratulated her. These things do not happen of their own accord, love and caring go into the brickwork. That is why some places have a so-called bad atmosphere. Thoughts are powerful and impinge on things.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here are some examples of what I saw.  For the price of 23 pounds per head, we could have gone up in a special lift and looked at London via the top of one of the Towers but I didn’t feel like spending 46 pounds.  A number of people were lining up but they seemed to be visitors from abroad for the most part.

Above – It seems that this has been funded by a Consortium of Malaysian businesses. This is reflected in the shops. I counted at least five Korean shops in the area. I have never seen bottles of popcorn before.
Below – overlooking the River Thames on the front of the development. The attention to detail as being quite exceptional and I felt everyone could relax without feeling they had to do anything or conform to anything.

Above – extraordinary shaped buildings. Such daring architecture but it works
Below – a map of the whole area which as you can see is considerable. When you pass in the train it is impossible to see most of it so the only way really is to visit

Above – almost every prestige and posh name you can think of is here and someone did a fantastic selling job. I noticed that most of the visitors were Nationals
Below – strange Korean architecture I’m sure it has a symbolic and maybe even a religious significance

This is the old gas storage container using copper etching which is to be found at the southern entrance to the power station area.

I had lots of lovely conversations with people, many nationalities, but there was one strange thing. We could not see where people parked their cars. They must have cars. There must be an enormous underground car park somewhere but this would have to wait until our next visit. This was literally a mind-blowing visit and I would urge anyone who thinks they know London and remembers the power station as it was to have a good look.

The Royal Academy and the National Gallery

We left a complex and took a bus to Hyde Park Corner and then one along Piccadilly and then to the Royal Academy. Most of it was out of permission due to repairs but there were some works that we enjoyed. I find that when I’m in roving mode I don’t have an enormous amount of energy to focus on each individual item so that was more for Francoise  really.

We emerged from the back of the Royal Academy and walked down Regent Street.  We saw a project  in a store devoted to hydroponic  plant growing in vertical containers.   The young man was explaining it with great enthusiasm and certainly there was a great variety of plants growing including some kale. The venture is called the Felix Project.

Next to the National Gallery. Since I have known it and that means the last 55 years it has always been crowded, even more so in recent times. They have abandoned the bags search method and now have a single scan which picks up most things. I think this will apply to airports as well. Check-in should be much easier what with facial recognition but of course there is a downside to everything.

Above is the immaculate sales shop in the National Gallery. My goodness it has been so well designed to be eye-catching.
Below – the hand of Jesus reaching out. They are celebrating 200 years of the National Gallery

I had pretty much run out of energy here so was not interested in looking at many of the images so I arranged to be present at the exit and I was joined after a little bit of confusion by Francoise.

By this time we’d had about enough so we took the number 24 bus to Victoria and then to East Croydon and home

Steps taken 12,155

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Snapshots of a journey to London Day 2/8

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This is the first morning of our week of freedom where we complete ourselves pretty much what we do.  To Victoria and from thence a local line to Brixton.   First we had a meeting at 11:30 with the lady who wanted to see us about our work and  our website. This was preceded by a visit to Brixton Library which is a very community based place and at the time there was an art exhibition which we very much enjoyed.

Having finished the meeting we then took a bus to Herne Hill.   We went to the Lido in the hope that Francoise could have a swim  but alas due to the sunny day all 500 places were booked so we had to reluctantly leave the scene. We went for a wander round Stockwell Park and from thence to the area of shops around Herne Hill station.  Every Sunday morning there is a market which alas we missed.

We had a look around, were staggered by the price of coffee,  around £3.50,  and went round the back of the station where we found a lovely coffee bar.  On the way we enjoyed some murals.

We had a lovely experience at one of the less obvious eating establishments, pictured above, a place by the name of Artisan Dough. The shop had a different feel to it and the prices were more moderate than the obvious tourist traps round the corner. I felt the people were friendly and caring and didn’t see me like a number. I had a latte and a pastry. When we had finished, two of the staff set outside on the left table and having a break. I was moved to speak to them and complement them on not being greedy with their prices, on creating a caring service and making the whole place a work of art in itself.

The lady that I spoke to whose name was Rachel entered into the spirit of the dialogue and said they aimed to create competitive pricing. I had noticed that the attitude of the clientele was very familiar so they obviously come here quite frequently; loyalty is something that is built up quite slowly so well done everyone.

Very few people in my observation bother to give feedback or praise. I love praising people as I find it often encourages them. When I had staff working for me I tried not to take anything for granted.

On the way back to the station we saw this mural. Very ‘Brixton’

We also saw a couple more  including the one below which I found quite enlightening. Very disguised idealism methinks

The Elizabeth Line

We took this opportunity to visit the Elizabeth line, our first visit. I’m impressed at the platforms being very wide and the trains quiet and comfortable with plenty of space inside (see images). Air conditioning was good i.e. it was working.

We went as far as our zone 5 travel card would allow, Chadwell Heath. It is fair to say that it is an undistinguished and unremarkable part of London with a majority residents of mixed nationalities. In the High Street, the footfall was minuscule. We attempted to visit the local allotments which were adjacent to a pleasant enough sports and recreation park but we could not get in as it was locked, wisely so. We did notice a huge amount of rubbish that had been dumped along the side paths and indeed in the allotment area itself. I guess it was probably in no man’s land when no one was responsible for its upkeep.

This gets my prize for the most meaningless and irrelevant and improbable hoarding advertisements I can remember having seen for a long time

I do not know who wrote the copy but it is definitely not a UK company or alternatively he could be someone, a client, who has suggested the wording and the advertising agency have chosen not to argue.

Anyway that was enough for the first day so home we went.

12,155 steps

Day 1   Day 2    Day 3    Day 4    Day 5    Day 6    Day 7    Day 8


Snapshots of a journey to London Day 1/8

Up early as usual and after an uneventful bus ride we decide to eat something in one of the cafes adjacent to Bath bus station. We were greeted by this rather nice display of flowers in the main shopping centre. It is easy to spend quite a lot on breakfast. I had a croisant and coffee and Francoise had the equivalent.  Next to us, two ladies were waiting for their portion of hot breakfast. When it came I was slightly aghast because one of them had ordered a croissant coated was chocolate. I wondered how such a sugar bomb could be digested first thing in the morning. Sure enough she abandoned it halfway through, admitting that it was ‘a bit much’.  I teased her a little bit about her eyes being bigger than her stomach.

We caught the 11:15 bus designated to arrive at 14:50. This may sound a long journey normally three hours in length, this  came about we diverted to Heathrow Airport to drop off what eventually turned out to be the majority of passengers. The journey was rainy and dismal but mercifully few cars were to be seen on this rather unpleasant Sunday morning

The price of petrol has been increasing. Admittedly the price of a barrel of oil has increased at source- about $90. I believe this is due to supply restrictions i.e. politics.   I saw this sign on a surface station near London where the driver was changed. I thought a 25 pence premium per liter was a disgrace. Why people buy petrol at such places puzzles me. I always avoid motorway garages if I can.

Near the national coach station Terminus there is a small alley which we noticed had a fair amount of activity and someone had opened a bijou yard with a bistro, Cafe, coffee bar, all very chic and peopled by well off locals. It is called Eccleston Yards. How nice to have almost a pop-up community in such an undistinguished area. It is worth popping into if you ever decide to visit London by coach. It is only a few yards away from the obvious travelers feeding stations which can be over-crowded.

As you may know it is my ambition to spread as much love and light as possible with as many people as possible. I have honed this Talent over the years and I am now very good at it. We sat on a very crowded train and Francoise and I engaged a young lady who had been in this country arriving from Australia and hoped to work here for about a year. She had lived in Sydney and found our public transport rather lacking. Funny, because I find it superb. She complained of late or non-running trains. We had a very good ‘human’ conversation and wished each other all the best at the end

Getting round London

We spent £69.60 on a 5 zone  7 day travel card encompassing train, tube, bus, tram, the lot really. It did save us quite a lot over the daily travel card. If you consider that a single fare from East Croydon (Zone 5) to Victoria is £7.70 you will see that this is a good investment since this is near where we were going to stay at my sister’s house in Addington.

On the face of it, where we were staying would not appear to be convenient for visiting London itself. Croydon is not London, it is a suburb.  However, once you get used to the travel, you accept the approximately 3 hours per day it takes to go to and from a given place. We normally start a journey from Central London in Victoria from whence we go to East Croydon via Clapham Junction. This takes about 20 minutes by fast train. Outside the station there is a tram service which takes us via 7 stops to a travel interchange. We then take a local bus which drops us right outside the house.  Frequency of transport is so great that you do not have to wait more than a few minutes before starting the next stage of your journey

Also the  first tram is about 5:15 in the morning and the last one a little bit after midnight and the same applies to buses. Night services serve the main routes  in and out of London so you are unlikely to be stuck

Staying with family vs. a hotel

It is very pleasant to spend time with my sister and do little jobs around the house and in the garden for her as she tends to have breathing difficulties so we are quite happy to be useful. A hotel whether you like it or not, you are just passing trade and the vibe is definitely different from family so in a way it is more restful.

Central London hotels indeed any hotels are ridiculously expensive or should I say the costs they have to bear are ridiculously high. You can spend £120 a night on a hotel without blinking an eyelid.  The Novotel in Paddington has prices ‘from’ £292. It is very rare to find even an Air B&B accommodation for much less as the owners have twigged the situation.   I think they should just call it AirB  because so few of the  establishments offer breakfast and when you find one that does it is quite a rarity.