Archive for September, 2011

Appalling behaviour in Farncombe Parish Church

September 24, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, I hopped on the bus Guildford to Godalming, only I made the mistake of hopping on a bus that goes all round the houses.

By Farncombe, I had had enough, I decided I would walk and alighted outside the Parish Church. Luckily I found the church was open, and I walked in.

I wandered around the church. Whilst I was looking at some books near the door a man walked in and politely asked was there please a toilet he could use.

No. This is a church not a public toilet. Go down the road and use the pub.

I was shocked and appalled at the way this man was treated. There was a toilet he could have used.

On reflection, I should have inteceded on his behalf, but I think I was too stunned to react.

Jesus divides the sheep from the goats. He asks why was he not given a drink when he was thirsty and asked. But you did not ask. I was the beggar.

Ironically outside the Church of John The Evangalist is a large sign saying Welcome. Clearly some are more welcome than others.

The very least this church can do is in their parish newsletter issue a public apology to this man.

A local lady kindly directed me to walk along a footpath running alongside the railway line. I eventually came out at the water meadows and crossed the bridge over the River Wey into Godalming.

Paulo Coelho – Beautiful Animation for Aleph

September 23, 2011

Animation for Aleph by Paulo Coelho.

Cold-blooded state execution of Troy Davis

September 22, 2011

If Georgia executes Troy Davis tonight, our whole nation should hang our heads in shame. — Jeremy Scahill

They may take my body, but they won’t take my spirit … this is a movement that started before I was born. — Troy Davis

This case has really revealed to the world that we cannot continue with this system. — Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty USA

I in good conscience cannot do business in a state where the majority endorse the murder of innocents. I’m sorry I just can’t do it. — Michael Moore

Midnight BST I heard there was a temporary reprieve of the state execution of Troy Davis, his case was to be put before the Supreme Court.

I had a very bad sleepless night.

This morning I heard the tragic news, the Supreme Court had refused to look into the case, had refused to intervene, Troy Davis had been executed in the early hours of the morning.

When we see or hear of people executed by Islamists and terrorists, we are sickened and disgusted. That is how I felt this morning, I could see no difference.

Had Troy Davis been in England he would by now have been released on licence, he would have served his sentence, and that would be if he had been as guilty as hell. And as there is much doubt as to his guilt, the case would have been thrown out by a judge.

Another man confessed. Seven eyewitnesses recanted. Police accused of coercing witnesses. No DNA. No murder weapon. Justice?

The Pope had sought clemency, as had former US President Jimmy Carter, as had Amnesty International. Over a million people worldwide had signed a petition.

Spineless Barack Obama had refused to act. How is it that whenever I see Obama the image that comes to mind is that of a houseboy in a period drama set in the Deep South?

JFK sent federal forces into Georgia. The houseboy in the White House refused to act.

Obama is unlikely to be reelected as president. Not because there is widespread support for the tea bag party but becuase Obama has refused to stand up for what is right, has betrayed the American people.

Scotland released the Lockerbie bomber to go home to Libya to die. It was an act of compassion. There was an outcry from the US, with the houseboy in the White House leading the pack.

The Lockerbie bomber could not have acted alone. He would have had orders from Col Gadaffi. The houseboy in the White House was happy to work with Gadaffi, to send people back to Libya to be tortured and killed.

America the land of unfeterred Capitalism, where everything has a price, even life itself. The cold-blooded execution of Troy Davis was privatised! It was carried out by Correct Health.

In The Devil and Miss Prym, the villagers of Viscos are offered ten bars of gold if they break one of the Ten Commandments, Thou Shalt Not Kill. After much soul searching, they decline the offer.

How much was Correct Health paid to carry out the execution of Troy Davis? Will the person who administered the fatal injection be charged with murder?

For clean effective contract killing, why call in the Mafia when there is Correct Health?

America is in with the best when it comes to cold-blooded execution of its own citizens, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran.

Justice has no meaning unless carried out with compassion.

In The Shack, Mack learns to forgive the brutal killing of his daughter Missy by a child serial killer.

If we all sought retribution, an eye for an eye, we would have as Gandhi once said, a world full of blind people.

Martin Luther was disturbed by God sitting in judgement. Instead God who forgives.

In The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare:

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Some years ago I was in the House of Commons during a debate on bring back hanging (though that was not why I was there). I had to fight my way through a baying lynch mob outside calling for the restoration of the death penalty. It was not a pleasant experience.

If it is wrong to kill, then it is wrong for the state to kill.

Excellent live coverage by Amy Goodman and Democracy Now which once again put BBC to shame. Why the news blackout by the BBC?

Michael Moore has asked his publisher to withdraw his book from from Georgia.

Time of Troy Davis death was 11:08pm EDT.

Who will be next for state execution, Mumia Abu-Jamal?

Democracy Now! Special Report from Troy Davis Execution: Did Georgia Kill an Innocent Man?
Troy Davis: 10 reasons why he should not be executed
Troy Davis And Lawrence Brewer, A Tale Of Two Executions
UN experts call on US Government: stop Troy Davis execution

Afternoon in Petersfield

September 20, 2011
One Tree Books

One Tree Books

William III

William III

Yesterday afternoon I hopped on a train, well actually two trains, and spent the afternoon in Petersfield, a small market town at the foot of the South Downs.

I wandered into One Tree Books, Independent Bookshop of the Year 2010 and official bookseller for the Guildford Book Festival 2011.

I had lunch in the little cafe at the back of the bookshop. The cafe seemed to be very busy and I was lucky to find an empty table. More than can be said for the bookshop, as I ate my lunch I noticed the bookshop was dead.

After lunch I looked to see if I could find Aleph, latest book by Paulo Coelho. I could not, all I could find was a single copy of The Alchemist. I asked. They did not have a clue what I was talking about, and I had to spell it for them twice.

I had hoped an independent would at least be better than Waterstone’s, sadly not!

Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

The Bran Tub was a disaster, an inferior version of Infinity Foods in Brighton. Why I wonder, if you are selling healthy foods, why so many pills and potions? If you have a healthy diet and suffer from no chronic condition, they are not necessary.

Service was abysmal. I was expected to carry my shopping home in paper bags, suitable for a handful of apples. But, I could buy one of their cotton bags, regular shoppers apparently knew to bring their own bags.

In the local chuch occupying one side of the market square I left two books: The Shack and The Alchemist. Both books are registered on BookCrossing.

In the market square William III astride a horse dominates the square.

A lovely find was the Physic Garden, a traditional garden of herbs used for medicinal purposes within a walled garden. Thanks to the lady who showed me around. Delicious apples off one of the trees. I suggested they grew traditional vegetable varieties and held a seed swap in the spring.

HarperCollinsUK you should be embarrassed!

September 20, 2011

Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper. — Francis Bacon

Last week we forgot to mention Paulo Coelho’s brilliant new book Aleph. — HarperCollinsUK

HarperCollinsUK can you hear us? Aleph needs a better launch. — Paulo Coelho

Any publisher would have done a better job than HarperCollinsUK with the distribution and marketing of Aleph. — Priya Sher

Let’s wait and see if HarperCollinsUK is aware that they are the publishers of Aleph in England. — Paulo Coelho

How could HarperCollinsUK have forgot that Paulo Coelho had a new book Aleph out on the first of this month? But forget they did.

Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

Is Paulo Coelho the only person whose phone News Corp has not hacked?

How can a publisher forget that one of their most important writers has a new book out? A writer most publishers would be fighting tooth and nail to sign.

How could a publisher forget a book that has proved to be an international best-seller?

Go into most bookshops and you will be very lucky to find Aleph on display. I thought this problem was resticted to Waterstone’s that is was simply an illustration of their low pay staff on minimum wages. Yesterday I found not so.

I visted One Tree Books in Petersfield, selected as official bookseller to the Guildford Bookfestival 2011, Independent Bookshop of the Year 2010. It was depressing. They did not have a clue what was Aleph. I had to spell it for them twice. They had a copy they said, after looking it up on their computer system. It goes without saying no window display, no in store display. They told me yes, they know who Paul Colelho was, they had a selection of his books. Not true. They had a single copy of The Alchemist. As for the Aleph which their system told them they had a single copy, they did not know where it was.

In Istanbul I found Elif on display in every single bookshop. They knew what it was, who the author was. Probably explains why it was No One within days of publication.

This failure of bookshops not to know of the existence of an international best-seller is in part a reflection of the bookshops themselves, but it also has to be down to the publisher Harper Collins UK failing to ensure they know.

Aleph is No One in all countries of publication, bar one, UK. Could this be because the publisher HarperCollinsUK forgot to tell the bookshops?

Maybe News Corp has more important matters to deal with, like how to keep the Murdochs out of prison.

HarerCollinsUK is owned by News Corp.

Dale Farm eviction

September 20, 2011

No one likes gypsies on their doorstep and anyone who says otherwise is being less than economical with the truth: dirty, half-naked children running around, savage dogs on chains, anti-social behaviour, petty thieving, rubbish burning etc.

But one is not allowed to say these things, let alone use to justify eviction of gypsies from a site they have occupied for over ten years.

Therefore why not use the planning laws? They have occupied land in designated green belt.

Dale Farm. One gets the image of a run down farm that gypsies have occupied. It is a scrap yard. Hardly a green field site. And the gypsies own the site.

Listening to Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council who are mounting the eviction, he comes across as as pig ignorant. He somewhat let the cat out of the bag when on the Today programme yesterday morning he said the evicted families would have to find somewhere else to live in another part of the country!

I wonder what will happen to the site once or if the current residents are evicted? Will it then be redeveloped?

I have seen too many green field sites developed, a blind eye turned, retrospective planning granted.

Bailiffs are thugs acting for a Court. I experienced this a few years back. A local Rachman landlord had bailiffs evict a disable man with mental problems, only they came to my house by mistake. They were hammering on my doors and windows. Had I not been in I suspect they would have smashed down the door. They demanded to know who I was. I refused to tell them and ordered them off my property. They had police back up. I asked the police to arrest the thugs for their threatening behaviour, instead the police threatened to arrest me.

The UN has condemed the action by Basildon Council. Why has the Foreign Office refused UN acess to Dale Farm?

Dale Farm: evicted Travellers will be forced to leave area

Dale Farm residents at the last minute yesterday afternoon were granted a stay of execution by the High Court. It remains to be seen what next?

Dale Farm Travellers win injunction delaying eviction
Dale Farm traveller site: Bailiffs urge end to obstruction

Basildon Council have cut disablity services by half a million pounds but could find £20 million for this eviction! Show where their priorities lie.

Books in Farnham Parish Church

September 19, 2011

It is is always good to put something back.

A week ago I was at a church fete at Farnham Parish Church, teddy bears parachuting off the church tower and various other activities. I thought would it not be a good idea to do what I had in mind for Godalming Parish Church, only I lacked the books.

Teddy bears parachuting off the church tower
Books in Godalming Parish Church

Hence my return trip on Saturday, though not a very pleasant day, cold, wet, heavy rain and hailstones.

I made the mistake of dropping in at the Mulberry. I was met by football blasting out, then pop music. A second mistake was to order the food. A long wait and it was not worth the wait. Knife and fork were brought as an afterthought. I was then stuck there due to heavy rain.

Eventually I made my way to the Parish Church, only to get caught in the rain, then to find there was a wedding. I wandered off, came back, only to find there was a second wedding.

The verger said pop back. I wandered off, only this time to get caught in a hailstorm! I got back to church bells ringing, me cold and wet.

But, we are always delayed for a reason. It was dark outside and therefore I was able to see the interior of the church all lit up.

I lit a candle for my lovely friend Sian who sadly is slowly going mad and and another for Paulo Coelho as thanks for writing Aleph. Prayer cards were also filled out.

Two books were left: The Alchemist and The Shack. Both books I have registered as BookCrossing books.

On leaving I thanked the verger for keping the church open for me.

Farnham is a small market town on the banks of the River Wey, at the far end of the Hog’s Back to Guildford. It is where the North Downs Way starts.

Donating books

Travel Bookshop to close

September 15, 2011
The Travel Bookshop

The Travel Bookshop

When the Travel Bookshop, star of the film Notting Hill, is to close, then we know independent bookshops are in trouble.

Travel Bookshop to close in two weeks

It was one of four independent bookshops closing or about to close.

Indie opened by A A Milne’s son to close after 60 years
The Harbour Bookshop may be saved
Derwent Bookshop latest indie to shut
High street “a goner” says Cumbrian indie owner
Pritchard’s fourth indie in a week to close

We all like a bargain, but at what price cheap?

Cheap food has a high price, rape of the planet, pollution, farmers going bust, farmers comitting suicide.

Cheap clothes come from sweatshop factories with appalling working conditions.

Who takes the hit when a book is being offered at a discount? The bookshop, the publisher, the writer?

The biggest hit is being taken by independent bookshops. Best-sellers are their bread and butter. Take away the best sellers and they go out of business.

There used to be six bookshops in Guildford. Now we are left with Waterstone’s.

It used to be worth a visit to Guildford just to visit Thorpe’s at the top of the High Street. Sadly Thorpe’s is no more, driven out of business by the greedy local council demanding too much in rent. The property now sits empty.

Waterstone’s have killed independent bookshops across the country.

The recent Aleph debacle in Waterstone’s has illustrated something is very wrong. How can they not know a well known author has a new book out, then fail to display once released? Waterstone’s gets passed around like a manic game of pass the parcel. The latest to be in charge when the music stops is James Daunt.

Paulo Coelho unknown author
Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot
James Daunt discussing how bad is Waterstone’s

To run a good bookshop is a labour of love, you have to love books, but you also have to be able to make a living, pay the rent, keep the wolves from the door.

In Lincoln it is worth the walk from the top of the High Street up through The Strait and Steep Hill to the Castle and Cathedral to visit Readers Rest, a quirky secondhand bookshop. This is how bookshops used to be, but they are now a rarity.

Donating books

September 15, 2011
schoolchildren in Mozambique with books by Paulo Coelho

schoolchildren in Mozambique with books by Paulo Coelho

By donating books we share our favourite books and writers with others. We help spread literacy.

The stats on literacy in England are appalling: One in six children not read a book in a month. Half of Jamaican boys aged 14 have a reading age of 7. The reading age is the same for white working class.

One in six children doesn’t read a book a month

A couple of days ago I left a couple of books for others to stumble upon in the Parish Church in Godalming. Let’s hope others do the same.

Books in Godalming Parish Church

A few weeks back an attractive black girl was curious the book I had, The Zahir by Paulo Coelho. To her surprise I gave it to her. I was closing the circle. My introduction to Paulo Coelho was an attractive Lithuanian girl reading The Zahir. I was curious what had her so entranced.

Making a deposit in the Favour Bank

Children as young as ten risk their lives walking from Zimbabwe to South Africa to go to school.

Zimbabwe’s child migrants

Well done my friend Jane who has sent a CD to Zimbabwe containing Pirate Coelho.

A Little Help From My Friends

Books in Godalming Parish Church

September 13, 2011

It is always good to be able to put something back.

Ten days ago I was in the Parish Church of Godalming. I lit a candle for my friend Sian who sadly is slowly going mad and one for Paulo Coelho as thanks for writing Aleph. I also filled out prayer cards.

I was chatting to a lady in the church. We had both read The Shack, and I suggested she followed it with Love Wins, then Aleph by Paulo Coelho, which had just been published the previous day.

Paulo Coelho, yes, he is the well known writer, he wrote The Alchemist.

I suggested they did as many churches now do, a little corner where people leave books for others to borrow and suggested these three books would be a good start.

She thought an excellent idea, only problem was too many good ideas and not enough people and time to carry them through.

Thinking on what she had said, I thought of a variant. Leave books around the church for others to find, to stumble upon.

To kick this idea off, this afternoon I left two books: The Shack and The Alchemist. Both books I have registered as BookCrossing books.

As my previous visit, candles were lit (though I had to borrow a light from the scafolders outside) and prayer cards filled out.

I could hear the tinkling of bells. At first I thought a clock. Then strange, I had not noticed music before. It turned out it was hand bells being rung.

Godalming Parish Church or to give it its full title St Peter and St Paul is a rare example of a church that is open during the day. Inside can be found the remnants of what is belived to be the oldest Saxon font in England.

Godalming is a small market town on the banks of the River Wey south of Guildford.