A ‘nothing’ day


A real “nothing” day. I have fiddled around with my Meetup entry, made our daily loaf of gluten-free bread, made a nice fillo lunch, watched a video about the fake calls that were  claimed to be made from the 9/11 planes.  The calls were apparently made from 30,000 feet but the mobile phones at that time would only work up to 6000 feet. The public’s gullibility to believe endlessly repeated lies is really shocking.

The day is drear as I think they say in Yorkshire. We have continuous light rain, grey cloud, no sun, almost inviting myself and Francoise to retreat. Fortunately we have our live log fire which gives substantial comfort.

Weaving in old times


An unexpectedly sunny and calm day so I picked up my wife from Timsbury where she is doing an art class and we drove straight to Trowbridge. This town is for the most part unexciting then as my readers will know I already visited this week but I wanted to take my wife to see the Trowbridge Museum which is in the main an account of the weaving trade and various other local trades in the 17th to 19th century. It is a wonderful museum, overfull with interesting things and the good news is that they are hoping to extend the space to the floor above, which hopefully will happen by 2020.

The return journey was elongated by an accident to the south of the city so we went through half of Wiltshire on our way back via Frome to Midsomer.

An evening listening to a concert at the Royal Festival Hall featuring Lighati and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. I really must spend more time listening to real music then staring at images on a screen.  I’m slowly accumulating members to my new Meetup group. My group has been up for 24 hours and I have 11 members so far. The last person who joined was a member of 57 other groups. I wonder whether he’s just got divorced and wants to spread himself around. The problem is somewhat similar to dating agencies, the technology is there but the quality of contact is very variable if I can say that.

My physiotherapist and more gardening


We were woken by a blast of rain at about 6:30 AM it was as close to solid water pouring out of the cloud as I’ve ever seen accompanied by high wind. Other parts of the country had it far worse during the weather invented Doris.  We seem to get away with quite good weather in Somerset.

to the psychotherapist… Kerry certainly knows his job. He dealt with sports people for years and can almost tell by looking at the human body where the problems are. I had a problem with my right jaw which was slightly displaced from a fall. With him I discovered that the problem lay in the left jaw which took the brunt of the impact. We had to painfully unfreeze the jaw by manipulation. Funny how one end of the body organs can feel the pain yet the problem is elsewhere.

to a customer who rang me up asking me to trim a 4 m long verge. It abutted on a road where traffic was quite fast and because she had multiple sclerosis she could not risk falling from her frequent dizzy spells so I got called in. It was necessary to dig up a number of docks, quite gently, as I did not want to disturb the integrity of the bank can cause earth to tumble into the road. I estimated £80 for the whole but she text back saying that it would have to wait. I wish people would actually have the money to do something before they call people in. They think in terms of 20 or £30 with a mindset that could be up to 10 years out of date. If they were to come to me and explain their problem I could probably come to some arrangement but they don’t even want to do that so there’s nothing I can do really.

I tried to get to grips with Meetup meetings. You have to pay many dollars a month for the publicity service. Unfortunately they chose to publish the item before I was ready and on a Thursday evening. Here we have 23 February and the event is 20 March which is just over three weeks away. I want to give everyone time but on the other hand if you give a date to find advance people tend to forget. Meet up meetings tend to be characterised by people booking not turning up so I went to try and get around this by having a small charge of three pounds for the meeting room and for my professional service as an organiser.

An evening too warm to have a fire which is a pity because I find them so nurturing so we contented ourselves with watching TV. I went to sleep as I often do after energetic treatments.

My will and my eyes


A day full of unexpected action.  a man from a will company came along to help me write my will. Evidently only 52% of people have written a will and he told me about the problems that can arise when people die intestate. It is not true that your partner or the person you are living with, will inherit the money. I also heard about capital gains tax which is payable when the individual wealth is greater than £320,000. Anyway the conversation with him help me make up my mind as to who I was going to give money to, and who I was not giving money to. It’s interesting how I get inspired when people talk about the topic in general, and go halfway, and my brain does the rest. Extrapolating on this, if you want to solve the problem, you don’t necessarily have to concentrate on problem as you see it but about situations in general. The brain is the ultimate relational database and can work at lightning speed so we need to let it get on with it.

After lunch I was troubled with my eye which seemed a bit closed. My wife suggested, her words not mine, that we go to the hospital for a checkup before that I phoned up to see the eye department could take me as an emergency patient. As it happens my problems, with floaters etc, was considered temporary and I was told to effect keep taking the tablets, in this case eye ointment. I try to avoid going to hospital if I can possibly help it but I noticed that the post operative symptoms were different in this case and not enough of the safety boxes were ticked. I have after all only two

yes and they cannot be replicated so I better look after them.  I did my good Samaritan job. An older man has lost his travel card and was very nervous about getting on the shuttle bus service. I chatted with the driver and persuaded him to take him on anyway, it was not a difficult job and everyone had a laugh about it.

We then wandered into Bath and had a look at the YMCA room where I have decided to have my travel meeting. It is quite unusual for a group to be devoted to just one thing which is the sharing of travel experiences. How often have I heard, “if I knew then what I no now” how different things might have been. I have a very sharp eye for travel and particularly travelling at minimum expense so looking forward to sharing my experiences with the group and also looking forward to what they’ve got to say. I shall be creating a Meetup group shortly with the appropriate name. What a miserable day it was in Bath with the wind and the rain but I understand that this is a foretaste of a weather bomb called Doris that is going to visit the United Kingdom tomorrow Thursday so we look forward to that.

I had a call from a lady with multiple sclerosis who wanted us to help in the garden because she got episodes of dizziness which meant that standing was difficult. I know that ear problems can cause such dizziness but MS is another category . Most of our clients have physical difficulty of some sort, which is why they call us. Meanwhile at home, the fire is burning in the grate (quite a sensible place to have a fire I suppose) and we are eating our soup and watching the programme on the Royal Family.   Tomorrow, I start some physio to repair some of the damage I had in my accident in October.

Seeking out a meeting place for a Meetup group


This is the day of my eye appointment during which my eyes are examined for a stability or reversal of my macular degeneration. you never know how long you’re going to be in the hospital. It could be three hours. I don’t complain because if I had the job done privately would be about £1500 a visit. As it happened I did need another injection. injections in the eye must sound pretty for bidding but the needle is tiny and the doctors are so good at their job you hardly notice it.

I’m going to start a travel information exchange group in Bath and today I am going to look at a couple of places including one called the Percy centre, the other a local YMCA. The key thing about choosing someone is that it must look friendly. There’s nothing worse than staring around like an idiot not knowing where to go and so signage has to be good. First impressions count and when you visit a strange place it is the first few seconds that matter, that assurance. I was more impressed with the YMCA  because it already has the vibe of travel. People are either coming from somewhere interesting, or going to somewhere interesting. The Percy centre had one good room I must admit that the other one was downstairs through two flights of steps at the back through a door along a corridor and I don’t think that’s quite what we want.

While in the hospital I had a chat with a man, a citizen of the United Kingdom who when going on holiday had been deported from India. He went along to get his Visa at India house and it was all stamped appropriately but when he turned up at Mumbai his authenticity was questioned. It turned out that the clerk in the UK has left one number off the Visa. In spite of the photographic evidence,

and the substantial correspondence of the details, the poor traveler was left waiting in a room for eight hours without anything to eat or drink and put on the next plane back to the United Kingdom. He was not allowed a phone call and he was not allowed any other type of assistance. It does make you wonder sometimes what it is in human nature that simply cuts off from all sense and logic. Are people afraid of losing their jobs?

Anyway, when I got home we agreed that we would start with the YMCA and take it from there.  I will have a meeting about mid March.

Age UK and Trowbridge

St James Church Trowbridge

My wife works for AgeUK to assist in a day centre. I decided to take the day off and go to Trowbridge. it is on the Avon and Kennett canal, has some industry and a very modernised town centre with a good museum but apart from that is fairly unremarkable. I started off at the town Hall information bureau which I found the most remarkable and well-organised place with leaflets neatly laid out. They also sell bus tickets and also tickets for events. Armed with some leaflets I went off and passed by St James’s Church in the old centre. A happier and more welcoming place you could not wish for.  I was offered tea or coffee or Bovril or chocolate by a very nice lady. I declined because I don’t like instant coffee and I had not had my fix for the day.

I found the Little White Duck Sandwich Shop and soon fell into conversation with Neal, the owner, who had come back from South Africa about 2005 with his South African wife who was offered a care job and was told that she could try for a week and she didn’t like it she could do something else. From the first day she loved it so both are gainfully employed. We talked about everything under the sun from the corruption of the Pres of South Africa, Tony Blair, the attitude of the young, the usual subjects that more senior people get up to. I spent about half an hour lingering over my coffee and was joined by someone else similarly conversationally inclined.   I then went off to a fish and chip shop claimed they had an award and I had a special four £7.50 including tea, slice of white bread, cod and chips with lots of lovely mushy peas. The fish was exceptionally soft, you could almost say melted in the mouth.

I went to the Odeon where I saw the film Hacksaw Ridge. It has enough blood and guts and shooting in it to last a normal person several weeks but it was very beautifully done if I can say that and towards the end of the film that was a very good moral. I won’t spoil your fun by telling you what it was that it was definitely worth a visit. Back home to the fire at 5 PM.

Garden quoting


This morning at 10 AM we went to see a garden to give a quote for work. There was a huge orchard full of brambles and trees that need to be trimmed, an area of brambles behind the house and another area by its side. I reckon it was a good three days for two people so the price was £795. The lady declined the quote, but asked me for a quote for the smaller elements, 10% of the job, but I said that that went below the minimum level for which we would go out and suggested she finds someone else. it is most important to start a job on a sweet note if not a civilised note. If the job starts or tends to start badly I always walk away from it because once a tone is set it is very difficult to change it and it may be money but it’s bad money. Nothing is ever just money.

Many people simply have no idea how much it costs to run a firm, no matter what you are doing, if I were to work for say £10 an hour I would end up by working at less than the minimum wage because you have to pay for your own tools, fuel, transport, insurance, wages etc.So if I work for £25 an hour per person;  we end up getting about £16 net which of course is taxable. I’m not one of these people that wants cash under the counter because if you putting all your legitimate allowances the tax demand is actually quite reasonable. The level at which you have to register for value added tax is about £80,000 a year so we are well below that.

Midsomer Norton has a Railway preservation Society which is situation at Midsomer Norton South railway station. There is a very good bookshop in the station and there is a first-class dining car parked in a siding which is used for serving snacks and if you are lucky, Sunday lunch. The chef is a fully qualified retired chef and I hear the food is very good. We sat down and had coffee and chatted with a couple opposite. I am at my best with complete strangers in terms of making jokes and using any excuse to start a conversation. We discussed the possible rate increase businesses on 1 April 2017 and bemoaned the already existing tendency for pound shops and charity shops which land when the small specialist shops are driven out of business.

We spent the afternoon in the garden. Francoise made a box in which she wants to plant seedlings. It took three hours to make it out of bits of wood but it’s a lovely therapeutic way of passing the time. For every profession, there is an ideal activity which is the perfect antidote for the stresses and strains of work.


Self indulgence day


We went to our lovely Bread and Beyond cafe and I had a wonderful beer and pork pie for £4.95 which filled me up for most of the rest of the day. We then went to one of the National Garden scheme’s open garden and saw acres of spring flowers including snowdrops. This mature garden had only been started in 1962 when it was little better than a field. It’s amazing how much the love and caring comes through.


Marrying myself


At 3.30 this morning I was listening to Radio Five Live.    there was an expert answering questions about devices, gadgets etc. I texted a question  about my sky plus box. Why was the hard disk running all the time? The experts said it was less wearing to keep it on than stopping it and starting it. he said that in the future there would be greater use of solid state memory. it’s amazing how many people are up and about in the middle of the night. I only rarely sleep without a break so I have my earpiece beside me in the bed already tuned to Radio Five Live and just plug it into my ear when I get bored. It says me jumping up to make a cup of tea.

I have booked to go to London for a few days at the beginning of March. Because I cannot afford a kings ransom I’m not going by train. We always travel by coach and paid £30 for the two of us return. Cheapest train would be £115 return. The train takes about one and a half hours, the bus takes 2h 45m . It’s not that I can’t afford the £115 but I’d rather sit for an extra hour and use the balance of £85 on restaurants, travel within London etc. We are going to see if among other things a friend of Frost was my partner who is showing signs of dementia and may not have long with us. She has known him for 40 years and has not found a way of bypassing his stubborn desire to be helped.

I had a little splash of inspiration this morning. I decided to go to the local garden allotment of which I am secretary and photograph the first signs of spring. this was the warmest day of the year, 12°C temperature, bright sunshine, and I thought it was a lovely time to send a newsletter to everybody. I made photographs at 11 o’clock and by 12 o’clock the newsletter was out and I think it has so far been read by about half the recipients.  It’s lovely to think how easy these things are to do, no snail mail, no printing, straight from mouth-to-mouth so to speak.

This afternoon we spent in the garden, cutting things, tidying the shed, sorting out which of the four strimmers I wanted to keep. I read another chapter of my book about Tibet and managed half an hour of dictation without making more than a couple of mistakes.

On the radio today there was a lady who decided to marry herself. She has bought her wedding dress, invited bridesmaids, booked a place and will have an evening ceremony where she will walk up the aisle with her father. She says she has no intention of getting married to anyone else and has described herself as “mad as a box of frogs”. I think only in England would this be acceptable as behaviour because let’s face it most of us are a little bit eccentric or we enjoy eccentric behaviour. Even I’m eccentric I must admit. I consider that normality is a pathology because you were predicating yourself on being accepted by others so you continually monitor your own behaviour which in my view cuts out a lot of creativity.

A grim world



I could write quite a list of things that disturb me. I hear that the smog is so bad that in New Delhi, India, one in every two children has an irreversible lung disease. Fukushima continues to leak radioactive water into the Pacific at the rate of 3,000,000 gallons a day, we have corruption on a massive scale in the Samsung organisation in Japan. Planet X may or may not be approaching you to assault causing a magnetic shift in the poles, the Americans are perfected a new type of ‘fertiliser’ which consists of human waste plus a sludge made up of an required chemical waste. They then advertise it for spreading on fields. What a brilliant way of contaminating the food chain and getting rid of chemical byproducts. There is more and more evidence that men did not land on the moon, the whole thing was a fake, and I’m so sick of reading about 911, the official story, it’s just getting boring.

I think the answer is to focus on positive things, unfortunately the mainstream media tend to focus on what is not right rather than what is right, the heroic stories of men and women who have dedicated their life to improving the planet, bringing about culture, trying to cure disease that the latter is dangerous if you produce any product that threatens in any way the profitability of the fear-based drug industries. Anyway that’s my rant over for the time being.

I normally get up about 5 or 5:30 AM because once I wake up after a sleep I can’t think of any reason for lying in bed. It gets boring And I start thinking about things I want to achieve during the day, bills to be paid, papers to be tidied. Perhaps I need to be taken away on holiday and physically restrained to be kept away from all things administrative and Internet. The problem is the material on the Internet is so interesting it is a bit like a drug I suppose. As I said before, the fact is there’s not enough hours in the day to do what I want to do.

The gardening season will start soon and I should be busy during the day and earning my daily bread. TripAdvisor published the review of my visit to the pastry and bread shop mentioned above. They must publish my stuff without reading it but then again I have over 600 reviews myself and they should know by now that they can trust my material. I must be one of the most prolific writers not so much the number of entries but the length. I don’t  write less than 500 words and indeed I don’t want to because I attempt to write a scenario and develop it. If all you’re interested in doing is saying that something is fabulous, or wonderful, you might as will not bother. It’s much better to write why you think something is good or not so good in this communicate something of value to the readers. incidentally I always make a point of talking to the proprietor if I can normally find that the enquiry is well received. People will be struggling as from this April when the new business rates kick in and I dread to think how many small shops and enterprises will simply close. Business rates apply by the way not only to offices but to your local friendly doctor’s surgery. Basically anything that can be taxed will be taxed. This gives a big advantage to Internet companies who only have virtual office space.

We went for a walk this afternoon along the Avon and Kennet Canal which links up Bath and Bristol with the canal system that used to carry coal to Birmingham and London. There is something instantly healing about walking along side of a canal. I feel like I am back in the 19th century and that modern life or modern existence does not exist. No one is on their mobile phones, Macdonalds is not to be seen, people are driving their boats at 4 miles an hour and everyone talks to everyone else. I think we pay a big price for living in so-called civilised places. There is always noise, danger, other people intruding, advertisements, invitations to buy products, rude behaviour, and we had to continually insulate ourselves against this.  The weather was 9°C which is not bad for early February, the birds were singing and for the most part the sun was shining. Such are the simple pleasures of life. I get so inspired during this time I need to take a notebook to write down the thoughts that come into mind.

Reading for the blind


I’m currently reading a book as part of a service called books for the Blind, Calibre is the actual name of the company. The book is called “The Rose of Tibet” by Lionel Davidson it is about a man who goes to Tibet to find his brother and is mistaken for the reincarnation of a Chinese emperor. Riveting stuff. it takes between 12 and 16 hours to record the average book and I do it in half hour stints otherwise you find you’re making too many mistakes. I use Audacity which is a good piece of free software for making the various recordings.

We had a delayed Valentines Day meal, lunch in a wonderful pastry and bread shop in the middle of nowhere. I did my usual Trip Advisor review which as usual goes on for far longer than most other reviews. I use Dragon Dictate speech to text otherwise I couldn’t write the volume of stuff that I do.

I’m searching for a way to get a work visa for my son who lives in another country. These applications are lengthy and expensive if you want anything out of the ordinary so I’m in it for the long haul but he is my son and you basically make sacrifices as and when necessary. He is doing a wonderful job in a school which is a charity but needs to earn some money for himself especially important if he wants to take a wife.

Gardening and Hospital TV


Today’s Valentine’s Day. St Valentine did not have a particularly distinguished history so suffice to say I bought a bottle of champagne because it’s a good excuse and will have an Indian takeaway if we can find the room, having had a very large and late lunch. Update – my lunch is sitting on my stomach so were going to have Valentine’s celebrations tomorrow and sit in front of the TV and the fire drinking champagne.

We did a gardening job today consisting of tidying up the property for someone who was going to host their father’s wake  a couple of weeks hence. The father lived only a few doors away and evidently there were relatives from Bristol looking at photographs of the man and reacting in their own particular ways, some emotional, some reactive in various ways. I mentioned to my customer that death is often the chance to ab react various emotions that had been bottled up like the Brits are so good at doing. She said she wanted to leave them to it and not get involved with them. I think the death of someone can bring people together or it can split them apart. I don’t think most people are adjusted to the topic of death at all although they acknowledge in theory that there is life after death they don’t really know what to do with that factoid. When it comes, it seems to hit them in the face and I must say if my partner predeceased me I would probably feel the same way. I suppose the idea of an afterlife is comforting. I have got over 40 books on reincarnation, don’t ask me how but I’ve accumulated over the years and don’t need any convincing.

I also saw previous customer who was a music teacher. Her mother had a fall and was consigned to hospital. Eventually she healed but on one occasion and as part of an evaluation was unable to demonstrate that she could go upstairs. After a few days she was indeed able to go upstairs unassisted but the social workers considered that her ability to climb stairs was ‘variable’ although only one test had been done. They therefore decided she should have mechanical assistance to go from one floor to another and also Zimmer frames both on the first floor and the ground floor. When my client objected to the hospital they said that they didn’t have the resources to do another test.  A chain is only as strong as the weakest link and it does seem that this bottleneck, one of many types, is what is holding the hospital system up so much. Another type is called bed blocking. an older person typically waits until a home can be found for them. Another bottleneck is the complete availability of beds in various categories.

A surgeon cannot start an operation unless there is in intensive care bed free so we read stories of surgeon sitting around twiddling their thumbs most of the day while someone is released from an intensive care ward. Bearing in mind that an operation can last eight hours, it is normal to start at eight o’clock in the morning and how frustrating it must be to find yourself at 1 PM given the choice of starting an operation going on late into the evening or abandoning it.

Somewhat unusually, I had written a long letter to the music teacher after hearing her woes. She found herself after many years being employed by an authority being on her own, self-employed, teaching the violin and other musical instruments. She found it very difficult charge mileage and as a result the fee had to absorb very often lets say a 20 mile round trip. I said that everyone would understand if she charge mileage which if I recall I suggested and £.45 per mile. Since our last meeting in September, she had taken this on board and started charging.  She also dismissed or should we say became unavailable to a client who broke refused to pay travel expenses and indeed local parking. I said good riddance better off without them.  I also gave her some tips about having a business card, which she didn’t have, perhaps also having some sort of web presence or perhaps even having a Facebook account. I’m aware that these devices are in no way to guarantee of better business but I think every little bit helps to establish credibility.

Forestry in the back garden


What a wonderful day. Full of sunshine. This is the day when we removed five trees. At 10 AM they were there, at 1 PM they were gone. I had a very good experience of being objective and therefore succeeded in doing things that could be considered dangerous. Will and I discussed what we were doing while we were doing it and not taking anything for granted. We discussed it before each of the trees was felled. We checked our equipment, the wind direction, each other. In which direction was literally going to fall? Were there any branches that would shift its fall in another direction? I had bought an elastic rope with a breaking strain of 80 kg. We tied it to the top of the tree and while my colleague made cuts to fell the tree, I wrapped the cord around myself and will the tree to fall in the direction that I desired.  The trees were only 1 m away from our property foundations so there was a risk that they could smash into the roof but it did not happen. Each tree obediently fell, was cut up, and transported by leg power into my lovely workhorse Volvo V 70 and thence to the recycling.

Will was also reroofing my garden shed, in sore need after the felt was in tatters after attentions of storms and wind. We started at 9:30 AM and by 5:30 PM the roof was renewed, the rotten wood taken away, five trees were felled, and to spend time was had by all. Will is a great need for tea and we supplied him with a least 4 cups. Incidentally if someone does engage a gardener or workmen, it is almost bordering on bad manners do not to offer them a cup of tea the work is hard. You sometimes don’t realise it but water needs to be replaced and tea is the ideal way of doing it.

I have taken some opportunities to sort out my clothes. The problem is I just wear the same old few but I’ve got lots that I don’t really want to throw away because I have memories for me but they are occupying more and more space. Maybe I should throw them all away and be done with it. I have contented myself with stacking up my jerseys in neat piles and somehow trying to clear a little space for something else.

I received a letter from a friend saying that although they would love to put us up, they have so many other problems including look at looking after a neighbour who is becoming demented, looking after a son who’s got depression problems and showing signs of autism, apart from the need as a single parent to work and bring in the money. We do give thanks for the problems we do not have. We don’t have debt, we don’t have a mortgage, we don’t have health problems to speak of. We are mobile, we can go where we like, we can lay in bed all day if we want to, we don’t have dependent relatives, we have decent and neighbours who don’t trouble us and this is worth an awful lot. We still work. We garden for the locals. It is heavy at times but very enjoyable in the main.

My eyes were troubling me yesterday. I have wet macular degeneration in my left eye. this means that the back areas of the eye develop something similar to corrugated iron and so the focus on subjects by the middle of the eye is almost impossible. I am being treated by the National Health Service but I noticed floaters in my eye yesterday. They are like little worms that run around in the eye and are common symptoms among more senior people. However, today they are better. I was going to ring the hospital and bring forward my next appointment but I don’t think this is not necessary.

overcoming grief of a lost one


I do not usually quote work from other people but this is a question from the Internet on how to overcome grief of a lost one which I think sums the whole thing up so well.

Thank you for the tenderness of the question. Here are a few, I hope helpful thoughts.

First, you are not alone, even though every one puts their best face forward on social media and even in human interactions, everyone knows about loss. There is a huge benefit in the element of faith, in a God who is good all the time and present to my losses.

Second, simplify. We get overwhelmed by the complexity of our losses, all the questions, and are tempted to start ‘future tripping’ – imagining a future that is dominated by loss and things never change. It is not real but seems real to us. Simplify and reduce the world to only today and stay inside the grace of this one day. Tomorrow you will get grace for whatever it actually holds and not what you have imagined.

Third, let people in. We are not designed to try and make our way alone through loss. Healing comes through community and relationship.

Fourth, be willing to let the loss go. This is a cost that some are not willing to pay. The loss becomes an identity and sometimes a prison that we begin to call a sanctuary.

Fifth, but (in light of the last suggestion), grieve and lament well. Throw the apples against the barn door with all your might and scream. Don’t suppress the presence of the wounds of loss. The way out is in and through.

Wm Paul Young

What we’re really lacking these days is the ability or desire to listen to other people. I have various skills and if I had to lose them all except one it would be the ability to listen. I’m not particularly good at it I must admit because my creative mind interferes with the flow of what people are saying.

Yesterday Sunday I was preparing to renovate a shed it also cut down some trees. I have learnt a valuable lesson about my own preconceptions, what I think I can and cannot do. I read as that in all probability I achieve more than I perceive I can it’s just that it’s a new idea.  I merely have to revise my skill set somewhat. My friend Will is coming in to help me as you may have read. I thought about what needed to be done to prepare my tool shed, decided to make a start somehow and I find that I’ve done 70% of it myself. I realise that I was making myself more helpless than I needed to have been.

The tree is another matter. Trees are heavy and can fall in the most awkward direction so were going to have a lot of discussion on Health and Safety before anything is done. To this end I looked at some videos on YouTube. If I was living in a remote place, I would have to learn how to do these things myself so I think it’s a bit pathetic to rely on other people and also I can save some money. I don’t want to do a botched job which is why I no longer do heavy jobs on my own.   Back in October I fell backwards while doing a gardening job and broke seven ribs. There was no one around so I had to drive 5 miles home. Don’t ask me how I did it but needs must.

I’m succeeding in my dietary aim of eating far less food. Last night we had a simple vegetable pie pie with a pumpkin soup and that was more than enough.

The mainstream press have finally admitted the problem with Fukushima. For the last five or six years, 300 tons of radioactive water had been spewing out into the Pacific and yet the mainstream media with a few glorious exceptions have been banned from talking about it. I follow The Health Ranger, one of the Internet sites as I respect. He says only an idiot could have built an atomic power station on a earthquake fault line.  There are safer radioactive substances that could be used to generate power but they have preferred one which can also be used to fuel nuclear warheads. Now the world is paying the price because the company, Tepco, do not even know where the radioactive rods are and even the robots sense to find them have their circuits fried within the hour.

Mike also spoke about the probable coming of a high energy pulse from space, which last happened in the 1860s. He pointed out that all electronic circuits would be fried which includes those on the pumps designed to keep the 200 or so atomic power stations in America cool. If the pumps stop circulating water the stations will overheat so just imagine 200 of them in meltdown at one time. They would not be much of the USA left. We need some sort of diversionary tactic to stop her mind being permanently depressed by all these doom laden scenarios. I’m not depressed by Donald Trump. He is getting a bad press because the left do not like his activities and his attention to the profits made by the pharmaceutical companies.


Weekend of self indulgence


My friend and fellow allotment holder Will came along this morning. He is going to help me put some more felt on the roof of my shed, and also we are going to cut down three trees. I hate spending hundreds of pounds on something when with a little courage and looking at a few YouTube videos you could learn to do-it-yourself. I have bought a hundred foot lengths of rope to pull the tree down while Will cuts the branches. They are cypress trees and growing far too close to the house and will eventually cracked the foundation so we have to remove them

Amazing how days fill up. This morning we had nothing much on the calendar for today but at 10 o’clock I had a call from someone who wanted me to help in their garden. We earn part of their bread-and-butter this way. Françoise went to see the lady. I did a lot of work this morning but you could not see it. I adjusted my attitude towards a particular topic that had been bothering me and I managed to get a greater degree of distance and sublimity from it so that it wasn’t affecting me so much. That is work. You have to have the focus, the intention and the desire to make a change. Change doesn’t happen by itself. It happens because somewhere somehow you are aware that you need to move forward.

To the local plant nursery to pick up some trees and trellis. We returned to our favourite new restaurant, Hartleys, the one in the middle of nowhere. I was very chuffed because the Trip Advisor review and been very well received and it was read aloud to all members of staff. I do like encouraging people. We all need it and I don’t think the Brits are very good at it.  We were told of an auction just round the corner so we attended. I realised how space age these things have become. Apart from the people bidding in the room, there were people bidding on the Internet and presumably listening into the proceedings, and people listening on the phone. Each item had been lovingly photographed and was displayed on a screen and the status was updated by the second. I don’t think we fully accommodated to the fact that distance doesn’t matter. Amazon may be using all the details from our search patterns, and that includes Youtube to build an individual personality profile of us that some people might find alarming. Personally I don’t mind if people know my preferences and it’s quite nice when you open up you choose to see all the videos that you might like carefully presented on page 1. They have of course noticed all the videos that you have seen before and spotted the pattern. No privacy folks but do you care.

I have made more space in my office by cutting a piece of the table was too large. ‘Just like that’ as Tommy Cooper would have said. amazing stuff this telepathy. I felt in a rather persecuted mood today and all sorts of self-doubt of worthiness and so on and I couldn’t figure out why because there was no reason. my wife helped me to identify the person who may have caused to attack me on the airwaves shall we say. We did identify one person whose behaviour I had criticised and probably didn’t like it. As soon as I identified this person, the mood lifted and I felt all right again and it has not bothered me touch wood for the last six hours. It does beg the question are our feelings our possession or do we pick them up? as it says in the Bible, “we are all members one another”. I reckon you could write a good few books about that.

I sit writing this with stacks of papers and files on the floor of the office. The trouble is most of the stuff appears to be redundant but I don’t know whether I will ever need it. I probably will do the day after I throw it out. Maybe we need a pre-wastepaper basket, not a real one a pretend one.

A dark cold night – well by British standards anyway. We seem to freak out when the temperature goes below zero but we read of people quite happily living in -20° to -30° and surviving to tell the tale. But then, us Brits love to whinge and it is normally about the weather. This is something that other countries must find rather strange about us but we regard the weather as a talking point. If you go abroad, it’s probably better not to comment on the weather to your hosts. there are so many differences in culture between countries that if you do the tourist bit it’s as well to mug up on it. I read that in Russia it is rude to look at people when you’re walking in the street never mind smiling at them. If you do that they will think you are mad.

And so to bed. We spoil ourselves by having four hot water bottles, two each, which we put in the bed approximately 30 min before retiring. The sheets are thus delightfully warm and welcoming.

Roots (BBC film)


Last night we watched a film on BBC Four called “Roots” which was showing how black people were captured in Africa and taken to America to be sold as slaves. It was a violent film but then the whole thing is violent by nature, separating a husband from a wife and kidnapping him, selling a person as if they were an animal. I would love to say that this trait has disappeared. quite frankly I think it’s just changed its form. Violence and greed in the mind is just as bad as violent and greed physically and possibly worse because it is more difficult to detect.

riding the wave of creativity


A dismal day, grey clouds and temperature struggling to get above 2°. We have decided not to go to Exmouth for a three-day break although the price is silly, three nights dinner bed-and-breakfast and £79.

I spent most of yesterday on the computer putting together a website for a relative who would be inviting people to be guided and acclimatised on visiting Sri Lanka. I find that creating a website is like any creative work, painting, writing the book, even cooking fine piece of food. It is as it is a piece of creativity that could sit like a painting in an attic or it could enter the public arena, do the rounds and draw people’s interest.

There are a phenomenal number of websites around and, without targeting your population (unfortunately with the need for pay per click in various forms)  no one will even know you’re there. I grant that with maximised SEO you will eventually progress up the pages but unless you’re very clever you will not get on page one without spending a lot of money. I understand that 60% of people only look at the first page.

It was very interesting making the site. I felt like a kid with a new toy. The energy that was around me practically wrote the thing itself and drove me on. I can understand why artists painting great works are impossible to live with because they are totally preoccupied with what they’re doing. You can visit my new baby  and try and pick up some of the enthusiasm.

I think creativity has its own rate of action. I registered a domain name on Saturday, 4 February, last Saturday, I wrote five key pages of text on Sunday, I advertised for people to help me with copywriting on Monday, I found someone on Tuesday I think from California, Wednesday I had the text back which I married with a new set of photographs and finished about five o’clock yesterday Wednesday 8th. I wanted to shout about it to everyone but of course the world has its own pre-occupations and it will be many months before the good news spreads forth throughout the world.

This morning was spent trimming back a very enthusiastic tree in the front garden. My wife hates anything being cut so I have to be very careful. Alas, stomach problems prevail and I need to visit the hospital have an endoscopy to see if I have a stomach ulcer though I suspect it’s more the combination of different types of food. As I get more senior it’s more difficult for the stomach to cope with various bits and pieces of food and drink I throw at it. I think my stomach deserves a medal for the way I haven’t used it however all good things come to an end and have rarely had to cut down on food quite a lot. So we’re going bland at the moment, no bread containing gluten, fish and vegetables and a little bit of cheese plus coffee in the morning that I shouldn’t really have.

My son has met a lady whom he is very fond of. He lives in a country where paperwork is given to local people rather than visitors from other countries and it requires great determination and oversight for these two to take a broad view over the whole matter and take challenges on together. As a father, I can only support him and not tell him what to do. I can give my views and telling him why but the rest has to be left with him otherwise it’s not his development. You cannot play a game of chess for someone and then expect them to become a better chess player.

Yet another announcement made that the National Health Service is suffering from lack of staff and too many patients. I can’t help thinking that this is part of a hidden agenda to privatise the health service and I can imagine that the big incorporates are licking their lips in the background. Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary is keeping strangely quiet. the trouble is that politicians are not trusted and they are not trusted because at a certain level they get nobbled by New World Order people, big corporations who want to foster their agenda on the public and advertise drugs. The Daily Express loves to talk about statins saying how safe they are and we don’t need to do any more research. if that’s not a setup I don’t know what is.

while I’m on the subject of health, I get sick and tired of people wanting to raise money for cancer research. If anyone dares to come up with a solution, they are attacked ad hominem, their practices are threatened and life is generally made uncomfortable for them. This is because there are few subjects more fear inducing them cancer and few diseases where such profits can be made. My readers need to understand that there is no compassion among these people. We in their eyes are lab rats. I understand that after five years have 2/5 new medicines are withdrawn the reason being that too many people suffer adverse effects. In America the pharmaceuticals very cleverly got the government to pass a bill indemnifying the companies against any malpractice suits.

The government themselves i.e. the tax payer, has two pick up the bill and you more or less had to stand on your head prove your case. This I find truly depressing and what is more depressing is that the general public retain this childish belief in the day fixed status of the doctor. The problem is he has never been trained in for example the role of alternative therapies, or what constitutes a safe study to see if a medicine is safe. the people who declare medicines are safe are so often people funded fired by the pharmaceutical industry. These people if they are faced with a study that shows harm being done, or simply manipulate the figures to diminish the significance of the results. One example is the relationship between NMR vaccine and autism. the corporate have control of the mainstream media so basically they can do what they like and they’ll get away with it but the fact is that newspaper readership is going down and the interest in Internet-based media is going up so one fine day the balance will be tipped.

Trip Advisor Reviews


Last night we watched a film on the Eve Saint Laurant, a French designer that revolutionised the way women dressed, and influence that held over 50 years. He was gay, nothing against that, but he was very sensitive to what people thought about him. He was never satisfied with his own work and always wanted to do better, he was  prone to fits of temper and spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. I think sometimes we tend to see people in the public eye as Superman and women without any problems, and if they haven’t they overcome them with an iron will.  in truth we are all fallible, we all have their lessons to learn, and we all make mistakes along the way.

We rose at 8:30 AM this morning or to be more particular my wife arose at 8:30 AM and I arose about 7am  when the papers arrive.  I sometimes think I do a days work or maybe half a day’s work before my wife gets up. After I’ve had my bucket of coffee, before which no one should ever speak to me, I open my Internet, deal with my mail, reconcile my bank statements which I do on a daily basis (not obsessive of course) and have a glance  at the paper.    Mercifully, I don’t have to go to work. The nearest to that will come in the summer when I start writing again.  that is our main source of income apart from pensions.

Funny how things work out.  good days often start from nothing and then we get an idea in our heads that we want to do something and then this invisible script rolls out.  We went off to a nursery to buy some plants.  Due to a fire in the restaurant there was no service. We just happened to see a bistro called Hartleys Bistro, a place on a small business in estate in the middle of some fields. We thought that hardly anyone would go there but to our surprise when we arrivd we found one of the most popular cafes in the area. Evidently they routinely  serve 80 covers on a Sunday for breakfast, branch and lunch. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

For the first time ever, the manager or was it the owner took me out to see the kitchens. He was proud of the cleanliness and the order, and he also introduced me to his wife. They spoke to me about how people came to breakfast particularly in the weekend’s not knowing anyone and formed relationships with people who also came and now it resembles a community centre. I would love to have such a centre but it will only happen if I win the lotto. My idea is that anyone in the area come along to a place for coffee, for a meal, and just feel at home.

I talked to my son who works abroad for some time on the phone today. He has difficulty with a colleague and I could so easily hear in his life the sort of things that I had to experience in my earlier life. I used to listen to people but I did not.  I think people will hear things were now ready to listen and that growing up and becoming an individual is not easy because you have to rise above the supposed opinions of other people even though they are not you and have no right to judge you.

we continue to try and find foods that do not have chemical poisons in them or too much sugar. Yesterday we attempted to make some yoghurt which you do with taking pure yoghurt and mixing it with warm milk and leaving it for some hours.  The milk essentially curdles and organisms grow due to the whey  that is in the existing yoghurt.  I find that my stomach is becoming more and more critical about what I put down my throat. I can have a series of acid reflux events if I eat too fast or I can have a perfectly good day without any sort of stomach problem if I have less food. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to completely learn this lesson. I think I may have mentioned it before in this diary.

I’ve been chosen people from People per Hour  to help me rewrite website that I’m doing for my son to help and to get extra work. It’s a bit like a dating bureau rarely, people say the most immaculate things about themselves and how well they can do and who has recommended them and yet when it comes to delivery they can’t do it.  However the benefit of the Internet is that you have reached to people all over the world. for people to help me deliver my product they need the same mindset which is basically a community mindset. I’ve nothing against Indian people who are very hard-working but their mindset is totally different and although they speak English they don’t think English and I don’t like talking to someone on the phone feeling that I’m speaking by shouting across the chasm and that the listener doesn’t really understand what I’m talking about other than in a robotic way.

Tonight, off to a talk about old railways from Somerset. I just love black-and-white films especially where machines or engines are concerned.   it is 615 in the evening and black as night while it is night so it would be wouldn’t it. I’m looking forward to the light evenings and since the turn of the year I think we have about 45 min extra daylight.  I’m a creature of the light not the dark.

creating web sites; local news


I have today finished creating a website which I only thought about doing on Saturday. Since then I have registered a domain name, chosen a template from Worpress, populated the site, had it checked by a friend and I’m now going to find someone to tweak the words.

I find it very satisfying to go from conception to birth in such a short time. I know I’m competing with 1 million other sites and it may not succeed in making its mark by the whole thing is such fun.  I was thinking also about success and failure. Sometimes we took it on an idea that seems good, then we find it’s more difficult than we thought, then we think the idea is perhaps is not as good as we thought, and then we make the mistake of thinking that we ourselves are crap shall we say. I’m sure that we are perfectly competent to do many things but sometimes the timing is wrong, sometimes the place is wrong, and sometimes for some strange reason it does not catch the public imagination.

If you read stories of people who made successful ideas they had no intimation that it was going to be a success. Google started with two guys in a garage. Google was originally invented as a back reference point for scientific articles and only became commercial. I know it took Edison about 200 goes before he made the light bulb so sometimes we just have to keep on and not beat ourselves up on the way.

It is a dismal and rainy day today. As English love talking about the weather and I know in Scandinavia this type of day would not cause a blink of an eyelid but somehow the whole of our country collapses when there is 1 inch of snow. Currently we have grey skies, rain, and blustery wind. Never mind, we have the glories of our log file which always raises the spirit. Life cannot be so bad when you are staring into a fire and it’s much better than central heating any day.

Alas, the local stationery shop is closing. They’ve been there for six years but the trouble is it’s in a side alley and they don’t get enough footfall to make it worth while. The lady who works there is going to have to find another job in an area where there are very few jobs more than cleaning or working in a supermarket. She is prepared to travel but the price of petrol four letter say a 20 mile round trip will eat into her daily pay. The trouble with the area that we are living in is that there is only so much money to go around so when the supermarkets come the local shops are abandoned and overall nobody benefits. It is very easy for the centre of the town to become full of charity shops and cafes; all that interesting shops for a niche market are disappearing. How nice it would be if the local council will give rates relief but that would set a precedent and everyone would be asking for it.

We were debating whether to go away this weekend. This is a wonderful opportunity for bargain breaks at hotels where you can get the same value for a third of the amount you pay in the summer.  Today’s thought was to go to Weymouth which is on the south coast of the United Kingdom. The price for three nights bed, breakfast and dinner is £79 a person including entertainment every night and drinks on a Saturday evening. If we were at home we probably spend £40 over the same period so the extra cost is about £120. However, all this is a waste of money if the weather is rainy. I don’t mind cold or wind but rain is depressing to the spirit and I don’t particularly care to walk along the seafront with rain stinging in my eyes. The alternative of courses to bring a pile of books and sit in the perfectly comfortable hotel, resist the temptation to look at my mobile phone every 5 minutes, and have some time to myself. Mind you, most of the time I have to myself anyway so there’s not that much difference. I shall keep an eye on the forecasts and if it’s good by Wednesday i.e. two days time then we can consider booking based on better weather evidence.

too many things to do


Indifferent weather today, more like stay in than go out. I have just watched with my other half, Françoise, one of the most remarkable films I’ve ever seen of the power of music.  This is an Australian film where people with dementia are able to recall memories and become coherent in mind and body after hearing music which reminds them of an earlier time somehow bypassing the brain and reaching down into the circuits that are attached.  It lasts about half an hour and I invite you to watch it now.

Both Françoise and myself find ourselves frustrated about the sheer number of things we want to read, listen to, watch, perform, build, sort out and we don’t have full-time job so goodness knows what other people with full-time jobs are also creative must feel. I have no time to watch the good TV programs that I have recorded never mind catching  with the current ones. I was also watching a good documentary about the BBC, the so-called independent broadcasting Corporation that we have to endure in the UK. It was made by Scottish company showing how there was blatant interference by the BBC and its associates  of the Scottish independence referendum; how fake companies were created and paid for to give the impression of wanting to stay in the European union and how BBC interviewers were programmed to lie and twist the situation to make people afraid of becoming independent. I have always said that if you want real ‘hard’ news you watch Russia Today, if you want bias, propaganda and trivia you watch BBC ‘news’. If you can spare an hour, the link is here.

Wednesday i.e. two days time then we can consider booking based on better weather evidence.


the dangers of being greedy


Sometimes,  the day routine is not very interesting. This includes tidying the house, sorting out the notes and papers as I mentioned above, watching snatches of TV, making lunch.  For years I have had indigestion which has resulted in my needing to take Omrazeprole. This need almost disappears when I refrain from eating bread, wheat to be specific and go to gluten-free bread or rice bread.  They also disappear when I don’t mix certain type of foods for example by having a vegetarian main course followed by high natural sugar sweet courses. The combination of the two does not work and my body tells me in no uncertain terms by rejecting it.

So it’s not the food itself so much as the mixture. I’ve also decided not to eat so much. At the age of 72 I still tends to eat like a teenager so at lunch today I decided to eat half what I would normally consume and as I write at 7 PM I’m still not hungry and have no signs of acid reflux. I think as we get older the capacity of the body to digests whatever is thrown at it diminishes. Healthy eating you could say is just a way of not abusing the body. I also tend to eat too fast, a habit I got from my father who would finish his meal before my mother had even started. if I masticate 20 times per mouthful it takes forever but my goodness is my stomach grateful because it’s not designed to break up large bits of meat.

Today is also video day because I’ve decided to make my son a website to promote his business. Not all my websites have been a success so if I can’t succeed for myself then I’ll do my level best to help my son to succeed. So long as success is within the family I don’t really care where it comes from.   I’m therefore mugging up on WordPress. I do have a certain problem with instruction manuals that have anything to do with computers or software. The people who write them are so in to the subject that they can see everything holographically. The problem is they miss out just one tiny point for example which file they are talking about, and the starting point for a particular action. As a result it’s all too easy to be sat there like an idiot not knowing what to do next and feeling stupid.

I find the best time to work is in the late evening when no one is around, there’s no hooting cars or ambulances or noises from the street and I can go into a timeless zone and actually get something done. I really don’t know how people manage to have to study for example for the Open University and have three children at home; they must get so tired.

how to welcome people, and how not to


Yesterday I received a communication from the CEO of a peer-to-peer money lending firm. The newsletter was so badly constructed and such a dog’s dinner that I had to write to her with a point by point comment about syntax, grammar, construction, layout. Now I know that you don’t write to the CEO of a company telling them that their newsletter is rubbish but I know that if I don’t do it no one else will because people are afraid of authority. I would rather stand up and do something and get told off for it than just put my head down and switch off my brain. She was barely self-controlled in her response but at least she did come back to me.

One of the features of my psychology that I very much appreciate is the ability to detect in advance which events are  potentially beneficial for me. In our travels throughout the world we seem to get it right time after time. In recent years the only problem I had was that my wife  had her passport stolen in Barcelona but then Barcelona have some of the best pick pockets in the business as they are in Rome. I believe that most of us have the ability to see ahead the problem is we don’t take any notice and then berate ourselves for not doing it. in the case of Barcelona  it was I’m afraid the case of a carelessly worn handbag which has is it that was easy to open. I remember going along to the main police station to see five or six groups of miserable tourists. Some had everything taken including purse and one lady has to go back to the United States the next day so I think we got quite likely. Anyway I digress.

We went yesterday afternoon on Thursday to the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath yesterday. An artist called Peter Brown was featured in a special exhibition. Art exhibitions come in various shapes and sizes, this one had just enough to give the visitor a full experience of life and work and not too much to give indigestion. I sometimes think that less is more. A huge bonus was the tape-recorded commentary that so often is offered these days notably at the Tate Gallery where you just tap in the number and listen.   Peter is remarkably unaffected and tells it as it is. His nickname is Pete the Street  due to his extraordinary number of paintings of street scenes and really making them come alive. He is charging up to £50,000 with average £25,000.

We then proceeded to an evening at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. this was a new venture where Ph.D. students were invited to summarise their work in 5 min. My usual automatic guidance system worked here and I scanned through dozens of events but this one jumped out at me and I just knew that we had to go.  We were two hours early, and I thought ‘shall we call a friend and have a drink with him’. Something in me said no so we arrived very early and just sat there in the reception. It was a delight to see the whole thing happen from beginning to end, the organiser arriving 90 min before, the five speakers  arriving one after the other being introduced to each other and familiarising themselves with the situation.

Us English are fairly good at welcoming other people but there is  one aspect that people need to pay attention to. When people come into place for the first time, and they are a little bit shy, it is very important that they are welcomed at the door and not left standing. The first few moments are critical in setting the tone of the evening and the comfortable this newcomer has been with people that perhaps they have not met before. I don’t think people should be spoonfed but the first few moments you always remember. It’s not good enough to say, the meeting is upstairs, but to ask something bland such as “is this your first time”. Asking if you found us all right is a bit self-defeating because of course they have otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

I remember once going to my first meeting at the University of the Third Age. There were about 100 people in the room all sitting at tables chatting to each other and there was I standing at the door like an idiot not knowing where to turn. Do I just walk up to the nearest table and say hello? This should be part of staff training for any job no matter how menial or simple. Anyway, on this occasion, I walked around until I found the membership secretary and talk to them a bit but they were pretty busy and could not really have a chat. I went for a couple more meetings but then decided to place was a bit cliquey and did not go again.

The whole event when it started at 7:30 had an element of untidiness about it. I like untidiness because creativity comes. You could almost say structure or creativity. they gave their piece and the audience were invited to question them or make comments. Being English of course there was a pause but I was having none of it so I cracked in straightaway with a couple of questions and started and started the ball rolling. we had a wonderful evening wear not only did the audience a chance to ask questions about something they didn’t know about but the speakers got a chance to give feedback to each other and see how their presentations worked in public. I sometimes think that you don’t know what you know until you tell somebody.

The prelude to the whole event was as important to me as the event itself. The little voice in my head that said we shouldn’t call my friend on this occasion because we would have missed out on most of the fun. I think the most difficult thing is to follow your intuition when there is no reason to do something. In my earlier life I used to do a considerable number of counselling and psychic readings and so on; he never cease to amaze me the number of people who said to me, I should have followed my intuition but..intuition is given to us as a gift so let’s not ignore it.

Today I am sorting through my papers from the last 15 years. It’s amazing how much clutter you can collect simply through not throwing away items of correspondence. I have a great pile of contracts, invoices, writings, and it is a little bit of a wrench to throw them away. It’s a little back saying goodbye to a past version of myself.

Just watching a debunking YouTube account of the claimed fake journeys to the moon. An interesting comment was made about how the astronauts could have possibly got through the Van Allen belt with its super high levels of radiation. Dr Van Braun commented that since there was no atmosphere, the people presumably lend it would have had taken refuge in caves because micro meteorites travelling at 25,000 miles an hour will go through anything. It was also interesting that all the relevant tapes had been destroyed. This was a really good story, The Americans would have made a huge exhibition out of it shown for generations to come about how wonderful they were but in this case there is even a reluctance on the part of the astronauts to talk about their so called time on the moon.

reflections on travel


I have just finished review number 610 on my Trip Adviser page. Those who enjoy travel may care to read my utterances. I started taking this website seriously about 2008 when I began to realise how valuable it was to read the experiences of those who had travelled to a place that I might have been wanting to experience.

We all want different things when we travel and reading reviews is quite an art. You learn to dismiss reviewers who completely rubbish place or restaurant, especially if they have only written two or three reviews. An establishment that is completely bad would not remain in existence and it is often the case that the writer is having a bad day. There are five categories ranging from excellent to very poor. If you read the very good ones and the middle category you are more likely to get the most accurate impression.

how do I prepare for travel? I find that the vast majority of my  preparation takes place between four and two months before I leave. I find the information takes time to settle and that the inevitable jet lag or cultural shock is minimised when I’m already there in my mind.  However there are limits to what preparation can achieve. I remember once arriving in Sydney after a 36 hour journey, standing in a hotel foyer, and feeling that the floor was moving. I mentioned this to the receptionist and she just smiled.  Flying I view as a mixed blessing.

My sister has just come back from Australia where she was able to fly business class and tells me that there is such a difference between that and tourists or cattle class. Maybe one day when I have enough money I will treat myself but meanwhile I’d rather save the money and spend it on food at the other end. With regard to turbulence, I find the best thing to do is to focus on the far horizon. This acts as a stabiliser and is amazingly effective in reducing any motion sickness. Mind you I have to say that the modern jet is really very comfortable compared with let’s say a propeller airline flying at 10,000 feet and being buffeted around. Once I was on an Air India flight to New York and we suffered a bit with turbulence and I said to a pilot who happened to meet me on the back of the aircraft, how bad is this out of 10? He smiled slightly and said ‘a half’. from that moment I did not complain any more.

Flights up to 2 hours are neither here nor there especially if they are in a north or south direction. One of my longest flight was to Hong Kong which I think was about 14 hours. Mercifully we have videos and so on but I find a small image so unsatisfactory I think I would rather follow the flight Tracker.  I find I get into some sort of trance state, eat, sleep, drink, dream, stare at TV, read a book, go to the loo – time passes quicker than you think or perhaps time ceases to exist. I often wonder how many times we breathe in the air that has been exhaled by other people. It can’t be very healthy which is why we need a strong immune system.

I’ve been to America about 40 times mainly in the 80s and 90s. I felt the first few days very difficult, I would wake up at about 4 AM and go to have a pre breakfast breakfast at about 6 AM and then a proper one at 8 AM or so. I’ve never had so much coffee in my life and probably over eaten more chemical filled foods than I normally do. No wonder people are so fat. I wonder if the cars have special suspensions to cope with the extra weight, which is at a guess, easily double of the weight of the average person. Mind you were getting an obesity problem in the UK now with increasing numbers of people going from bariatric surgery. It’s all about ignorance. I think sugar is the main culprit.

The Man on the Clapham Omnibus


First of all, just to remind you of the derivation of this phrase which I quote from Wikipedia:

The man on the Clapham omnibus is a hypothetical ordinary and reasonable person, used by the courts in English law where it is necessary to decide whether a party has acted as a reasonable person would – for example, in a civil action for negligence. The man on the Clapham omnibus is a reasonably educated and intelligent but nondescript person, against whom the defendant’s conduct can be measured.

The term was introduced into English law during the Victorian era, and is still an important concept in British law. It is also used in other Commonwealth common law jurisdictions, sometimes with suitable modifications to the phrase as an aid to local comprehension. The route of the original “Clapham omnibus” is unknown but London Buses route 88 was briefly branded as “the Clapham Omnibus” in the 1990s and is sometimes associated with the term

Today Wednesday we went to the ceremony of Imbolc, which is the Celtic rite celebrating the first signs of spring. English people will be aware of Chalice Well some regard as a holy and blessed place from which particularly pure water flows. At such ceremonies many people dress up for the occasion with special walking sticks, colourful clothes and flowers in their hair. It becomes for a few hours a microcosm of how society should be. Everyone is  in a good mood is not elevated and conversations of sharing are easy to strike up.

The gardens were showing early signs of spring including snowdrops and daffodils. This secluded garden has its own micro climate. It is south facing and I believe protected from the worst depredations of frost. I did in fact put the proceedings on you Tube and you may like to be witness to some of the sentiments of the lady who led the half-hour celebration.

We left about an hour later after having sat round a log fire and went on to the Somerset levels. These are particularly prone to flooding and the water level was approaching road level. It is always pleasant to be there but better on a sunny day. Locals like to take their dogs. The local swans have learnt to ignore the barking.  Nature is never inactive; it is just going through phases and each phase is vital in the chain.


Garden images update


Update and questions

This job has turned into a root and branch no pun intended consisting of disciplining and modelling.  We have completed 75% .

Re the package. I was not certain how to leave it in the house so I have bought it to my place for safe keeping.

Ctrl and + to enlarge the images.

#1   This is the remodeled bush. There were three different species fighting for the same area and excluding light from their neighbors. The branches will straighten out over time.  You can now see out over the valley when you sit to have your coffee at the GWR bench.

#2   We have accumulated a huge pile of spoil, most of which was not suitable for bagging.  You asked me to leave it but it is fair to warn you that it would require 4-5 trips in your landy.   I can have it removed for £160 using my associate with a full sized truck. I suppose it depends on your personal preferences / whether you enjoy moving stuff.

#3  It was necessary to remove the apple tree branches which were causing the electricity supply (telephone line?)  to your house to come under pressure.

#4 My associate gardener who is also a builder said that sooner or later the ivy would weaken the brick work of the house though it is not the worst variety.  He suggested that the bottom branches could be cut and in 2-3 months time the whole could be pulled down having rotted.  Up to you of course. Just a thought.

#5   Do you want these items removed, also the kitchen sink unit at the side.

#6 with the willing permission of the chap next  door we have pruned back the hedge between the two properties thus opening up the garden.
NB  I did ‘his’ side otherwise it would have looked awful. No charge to you for that.

#7     The job has been fairly demanding on hours, but hopefully the work will last you for the next 18 months except the hedges.  I can do them for a good price.  I have remodeled the hedge so that you can do it with ease yourself. Your Bosch 70cm cutter has an excellent reputation and will deliver. You need a 25m cable though.



Life changing event


My life changing event happened on 9 October. I was doing a garden job for a woman whom I didn’t particularly get on with. She said that she would be away for the week. Another job was cancelled and I had some time on my hands so I thought I’d go along and make a start. I cut down a tree, quite a dangerous thing to do on your own, but that was successful and then I climbed up on a raised bed about 1 m high to cut some ivy. I was cutting away and stepped back to admire my work, but stepped back into nothing and the next thing I found was that I was lying on my back on concrete paving stones.

There was a certain difficulty in breathing which was not surprising because my right lung had collapsed. I remember opening my eyes and seeing the tines of my rake just 2 or 3 inches away. There was no one around and no one within shouting distance so I had no choice but to immediately get up, collect my gardening possessions as best I could and get in the car. I sat there for a moment then decided I had to do something so I drove home, a distance of about 5 miles. I rang my wife from home telling her to get back quickly and we went to the local hospital where I described what had happened. They had no x-ray apparatus or anything so I was given the proverbial pill and sent home.

About two hours later I was sitting on the settee watching TV and I realised that I could not get up.  My whole body had frozen and I had to get Francoise to phone 999. There is nothing worse than the feeling that you want to do something but not being able to do it. The body was not able to obey my commands – frightening. Two cheerful ambulance people arrived within about 15 min. By coincidence they were near when we called. It took about 20 min to get me in to the ambulance due to pain and inability to move but we managed eventually. I arrived at the hospital in Bath about half an hour later and the rest was frankly a blur. I think I had an ECG x-ray or whatever it’s called. You have to lie down and the completely still and you get slid in to this huge machine and then out again. It felt very claustrophobic.

slightly surreal atmosphere at night

I was taken by ambulance in an unconscious state to Southmead Hospital in Bristol because they have a Trauma centre and Bath could not deal with me adequately. I remember someone pushing a rubber tube into my right side to drain off liquid. The lung eventually reinflated and my oxygen level eventually went up to about 95 up from 50. The usual painkillers they give me, morphine etc, were only partially successful. I went to sleep in the triage unit and was dealt with by a lovely Chinese nurse who was so sorry about my pain and gave me painkillers at regular intervals.

I was in hospital for about a week. The main injuries were flailing of the ribs. I did things in style and broke eight posterior ribs on the right-hand side. I was told that breaking them in pieces was less complicated or less painful than cracking them. Since I had not experienced the latter, I was in no position to comment but laughing or coughing was excruciatingly painful and if I knew that I was about to cough or sneeze, I learned to hold a towel to my chest and hold on hard.

I did not move even within the bed for three days. My normal vital bodily functions stopped dead with the exception of urination and I ate very little. I felt as if my whole body was on standby. Basically the doctor said that this was one of the most painful things I could experience and there was nothing they could do. It would take up to 6 months to get better, and all I could do was to take the painkillers. Painkillers have their own set of problems, called side-effects, though I just call them effects. Tramadol is one of the worst. It dried my my mouth out completely so much that I could not speak. It must be terrible to run out of water in the middle of a desert. I can see why people drink their own urine or the water from their car radiator.

I decided to return home by taxi. I did not want francoise to make a 40 mile round journey. It was expensive but I only take taxis about once a year and I thought this was enough of an occasion to justify the expenditure. For the next two months, I was not able to sleep in my bed because I cannot sleep on my front and when I tried to sleep on my back or my side, the weight of my body caused great pain in my ribs. My only choice was to sleep sitting up in the armchair in the living room. It was a question of finding the exact right inclination of the limbs that would minimise the pain. The problem is that with ribs you can’t get away from them. There is nowhere to go. It is like at big snake moving around inside you.

I think it was about the middle of December 2016 that I made my first attempt to sleep in a bed. The first time, it was for 20 min and then I’d had enough but the second time, with the aid of numerous hot water bottles, I was able to make it for an hour and then I finally made it for the whole night.  In the early stages I was worried that my main source of income, gardening, would be denied to me for the rest of my life because I would no longer be able to work but here we are in the following April, lifting things around, operating a chainsaw, putting a row of potatoes in, doing everything I did before. I must admit that I get tired a little quicker than before but when I look back I think I was extraordinarily lucky. I did not break any bones apart from the rib cage.  There was no brain damage or neurological damage, I kept my sight and my hearing. I did however suffered some damage to my right jaw which moved out of alignment and which to this day causes difficulty in opening the mouth so I cannot for example open sufficiently to accommodate a quarter of an apple.

The stress on Françoise my partner was if anything greater than mine because she didn’t know whether she was going to lose a functioning partner and although we can be independent if we need to, the thought of discontinuity even at the comparatively early age of early 70s, is not something to be contemplated with equanimity. Anyway I did not undergo any particular personality change apart from being more sensitive to movement and noise than I normally am and we didn’t have any major rows that I can remember and we certainly stuck together.

I dread to think what it would have been like if I’d had young family, or if I was on my own, or if I had no money to live on, or if I didn’t get on very well with a partner. I am blessed in all these departments I must admit that it could have been so much worse. it is a rather corny thing to say but I do give thanks for each day far more fervently than I did for every day of health prior to the fall. I did perhaps assume that I was not going to have an accident but that is somewhat arrogant since it’s not the things you know about that trip you up but the things and combinations of circumstance that you are not aware of.

The Life of Brian


You have arrived at U.K.’s leading philosophical and pictorial blog inspired by the diary of Samuel Pepys. The blog has only been going since February 2017 – this year – but has attracted interest from around the world. I believe that everybody should consider keeping a diary. It is so therapeutic apart from being a good historical reference point. It’s also nice to relive memories.

Ideas are for sharing and visitors have found that the ideas expressed here act as a catalyst for the development of their own thinking as individuals as opposed to being one of the crowd. Many subjects are covered. You will find the search facility for all text (top right of this page) quite useful and more so as time goes on.

Myself and my wife Francoise. We live in Midsomer Norton, Somerset

Please feel free to share my life with its excitements, its ups and downs, its dreams and rude awakenings. I only write what I feel to be true for me so no posing or window dressing here! Comments welcome.

I suggest you open the diary at any date. The subsequent pages will automatically appear as you scroll. If you wish to make a comment you will receive as full an answer as I can supply.

You might like to put this site on your favourites as almost every day there is something new and you never know what you may find helpful.

I have no idea what I am going to write until a theme pops into my head.

Brian Snellgrove

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