Archive for August, 2012

Synchronicity – Chinese girl with a pocket watch

August 31, 2012
The Edwards Family - Stratford-upon-Avon

The Edwards Family – Stratford-upon-Avon

Alice reading to her sister

Alice reading to her sister

Synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer. — Carl Jung

It is very rare these days to see anyone with a pocket watch.

It was therefore a surprise to see an attractive Chinese girl, very elegantly dressed, wearing a pocket watch.

I commented on it. She said no, it was not an old watch, and referred to it as an accessory, but said she would like an old pocket watch. I said that could be arranged.

We were both on the Reading to Gatwick train. She had travelled from Bath and was on her way to Austria.

I alighted at Guildford, existed the station, crossed the road and walked along the River Wey into the town centre (a far more attractive route than via the road).

Moored on the River Wey was a boat, from Straford-upon-Avon. It was the only boat moored.

How strange thought I, Bath lies on the River Avon, though not the same River Avon.

William Shakespeare is from Stratford-upon-Avon.

My friend Elaine and fellow collaborator on The Way of the Bow audio book was at a Shakespeare Festival this week.

I walked along the river. There was a Alice reading a book to her sister, a rabbit leaping down a rabbit hole.

The rabbit consults his pocket watch and mutters he is very late for a very important date.

This evening a dramatisation of a case of Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund Freud had his consulting rooms in Vienna. His close associate until they had a very bitter falling out was Carl Jung. It was Carl Jung who expressed the idea of synchronicity.

A strange world.

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Save Kensal Rise Library

August 30, 2012
Save Kensal Rise Library - Paulo Coelho

Save Kensal Rise Library – Paulo Coelho

The decision is a symbol of cultural philistinism. It is sad to see this wonderful coalition of writers and artists has been unsuccessful in their campaign. — Denis MacShane MP

Only Nazis, fundamentalists and Oxfam Bookshops destroy books.

Only Philistines and the Taliban close libraries.

The UK has a budget deficit. It is not a problem, the UK can easily sustain it, in the long term, yes it should be reduced to zero. In the short term, with interest rates so low, we should actually be increasing public debt to invest in long term infrastructure projects.

The Bank of England has pumped money into the banks, which has flowed out of the banks to line the pockets of the rich.

If the budget deficit was the beginning of the end of the world, then the world would have already ended as under the ConDem Government, public deficit is growing.

The budget deficit is being used as an excuse for an ideological driven slash and burn of public services. The Nordic Countries have a higher public spend as a percentage of GDP. They enjoy a higher standard of living, better public services.

Part of the slash and burn of public services is to close Public Libraries. Those not closed are being put on reduced hours, it can then be used to justify future closures on the grounds that fewer people are using the libraries.

In Oxfordshire, around half of the county’s libraries were earmarked for closure.

Brent, a local council in London, wishes to close half of its libraries. This is strongly opposed by local people but the corrupt council refuses to even talk to local people.

In Brent, one of the libraries earmarked for closure is Kensal Rise.

Kensal Rise Library was opened by Mark Twain in 1900.

Opposition to its closure is widespread, and this includes writers Alan Bennett, Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman, Zadie Smith and Paulo Coelho.

Local people blockaded Kensal Rise to stop the council stripping it of books. The council arrived with police reinforcements, not only stripped out the books, but also the 1930s murals and the plaque commemorating the opening by Mark Twain.

There is currently outside the Kensal Rise Library a pop up library.

Local people have offered to run the library to keep it open, but even that has been rejected out of hand.

Kensal Rise is currently for sale.

What we are seeing in Brent is endemic across the country, corrupt and uncountable local councils, in bed with developers. Local budgets are cut, but junkets and waste continue.

The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor has had several junkets to Frankfurt, has connived in the destruction of both Aldershot and Farnborough.

East Hams Council rubber-stamped an unwanted Costa Coffee shop in Totnes.

Lincoln City Council sold off The Lawn.

Top Story in Susan’s Speculations (Friday 31 August 2012).

Afternoon coffee in Coffee Mi

August 30, 2012
Coffee Mi

Coffee Mi

Sometimes all is not as one would expect.

Godalming is an attractive little market town on the banks of the River Wey. A place one would expect to find little coffee shops and tea shops. And yet there is not single one.

Aldershot is an ugly run down town, the local council in bed with developers having done its best to destroy the town, roughs hanging about on the streets, were it not for the little ethnic shops serving its large immigrant population it would be dead, its only attraction an excellent fruit and vegetable stall on market days (Thursday). And yet, Aldershot has two little coffee shops.

Aldershot used to have three coffee shops. One was in The Arcade, the plastic replica of a Victorian arcade which the council allowed to be destroyed. The Arcade has recently changed hands and the greedy developer is driving out all the small businesses to turn it into a large bar (rumoured to be J D Wetherspoon) and a large store (rumoured to be Poundland). The last thing Aldershot needs is yet another large bar pouring drunken scum onto the streets. The last thing Aldershot needs is money drained out of the local economy. Loss to Aldershot one lovely little coffee shop of which any town would be proud.

One of the two remaining coffee shops is Coffee Mi in Victoria Street (almost opposite the Co-op).

Over the last few months Victoria Road has had new paving slabs laid. It looked quite nice for a couple of days. It was though an opportunity missed. Victoria Road could have been pedestrianised, closed to traffic, creating a pleasant environment, but the council jobsworth are not known for vision.

Coffee Mi lacks outside seating. Had Victoria Road been pedestrianised and closed to traffic, this would have been possible.

From the outside, Coffee Mi looks enticing. As you walk in it is quite pleasant, it looks like a coffee shop, but as the counter is approached, it changes into yet another snack bar cum transport café.

I asked did they do coffee and cake. The man serving said yes. All I could see was a trio of unappetising cakes that had seen better days. I asked did they have anything else. No.

I find when people take a pride in their work, if you take an interest, they are only too happy to talk to you. Not this man. Why are you asking, who are you, who do you work for? I do not know who he thought I was. Maybe he thought I was the Mafia doing a shakedown.

I managed to glean the cakes came from an Italian bakery in London, and that was it. His lips were tightly sealed.

Fair Trade tea and coffee? I saw nothing to indicate Fair Trade. From the look of the place I doubt it.

There was only one customer, and she left as I walked in. To put in context, Costa as I passed by was quite busy.

A transport café masquerading as a coffee shop.

The owner does own a transport café nearby, Frankies Cafe. I ate there last year. Never again, the service was very poor, rude and ignorant serving staff, and the food matched the service.

Aldershot has one Costa Coffee shop. One too many. It occupies the prime location in the town centre, on the corner where the two pedestrianised streets intersect, and at the centre of the Thursday market. The council turns a blind eye to its board in the middle of the street acting as an obstacle.

The two independent coffee shops are on the fringes, many people are probably not even aware of their existence as they get little passing trade.

Opening Ceremony London Paralympics

August 29, 2012

It is a shocking irony that Atos is a main sponsor of London 2012 while destroying disabled people’s lives on behalf of the government. — Tara Flood, gold medal-winning Paralympian

Why are broadcast contracts given to broadcasters who cannot deliver?

Live streaming by Channel 4 of the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony was a sick joke. Their servers were not up to the job.

First, before you could watch, was forced to register with Channel 4. Why?

Then forced to endure 2.5 minutes of commercials, then … nothing.

Tried again, reloaded page, same as before. Forced to endure 2.5 minutes of commercials, then … nothing.

At this point gave up. Later listened to The Proms live on BBC Radio 3, but apart from Imogen Heap, was not worth listening to as most of the concert was an awful noise.

It is an obscenity that Atos, who are denying disabled people disability benefits, are sponsors of the London 2012 Paralympics.

Disabled people are being driven to suicide by Atos.

Karen Sherlock had her benefits stopped by what she described as “this inhumane government”. Her twitter account – @pusscat01 – remains, where her biography reads: “Preparing for dialysis. Each day is tough xx”. Her kidneys were failing, but she had been found capable of some work and placed in an activity group with time-limited benefits. She died in June. As disability rights campaigner Sue Marsh put it: “Now she’s dead and she died in fear because the system failed her, because cruel men refused to listen and powerful men refused to act.”

You may wish to tell Atos CEO Thierry Breton what you think, thierry.breton@atos.net or call their public relations: 020 7830 4233. Tell them to stop wrecking lives!

Atos are running scared and have protected their twitter account in a crude attempt to silence critics.

Eric Whitacre and Imogen Heap at The Proms

August 29, 2012
Eric Whitacre at The Proms

Eric Whitacre at The Proms

Bernstein

Warm-Up using music of Bernstein (2 mins)

Eric Whitacre

Alleluia (9 mins)

Eric Whitacre

Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine (9 mins)

Music inspired by flying machine of Leonardo da Vinci, using words of Leonardo and performed (allegedly) in the style of Victoria and Palestrina (sounded nothing like to me).

J S Bach

Bach Again (arr E London) (5 mins)

This bore no resemblance to Bach!

Eric Whitacre

Higher, Faster, Stronger (c8 mins) BBC Commission, World Premiere

Inspired by Olympics. Three choirs aranged as medal award, Gold, Silver, Bronze.

Bloody awful noise.

Imogen Heap

The Listening Chair (arr Eric Whitacre) (c5 mins) World Premiere

The Listening Chair a project of Imogen Heap. Literally a chair in which people sat and voiced their thoughts. What is the song which still needs to be written? No common theme. What am I doing with my life? The song represents her life. One minute, every seven years of her life. Who am I now?

Starts like a nursery rhyme cum folk tale cum folk music.

This is the final song of Heapsongs.

Traditional

Three Spirituals (arr Moses Hogan) (9 mins)

American sprituals. Unusal arrangements, but worked.

Eric Whitacre

Cloudburst (9 mins)

Inspired by a thunderstorm and downpour.

Eric Whitacre

Sleep (5 mins)

Originally set to words by Robert Frost until estate of Robert Frost forbade it.

Bob Dylan

Forever Young (encore)

Take words of Bob Dylan, then compose new music. Does not work!

I listened to the live broadcast by BBC Radio 3 from the Royal Albert Hall in High Definition sound (or at least I thought I was).

I was not very impressed. Came nowhere to the standard of a live concert by The Sixteen.

I wondered why, in this day of live streaming on the net, why all these concerts do not have live video feed?

Eric Whitacre I have never heard of before, and only listened because of his association with Imogen Heap. Not someone who I will be going out of my way to listen to again.

Considering how much one has to pay these days for concert tickets, the tickets were surprisingly cheap, £12 to £16 and on the night £5 for those promming. Maybe because late night.

A concert for the most part I did not enjoy. It was dire until Imogen Heap, sprituals were worth listening to.

A pity the entire concert was not Imogen Heap.

A much younger audience than usual for Proms. No doubt due to Imogen Heap!

I thought I was listening to the concert in HD. It was only towards the end of Imogen Heap I found I was not. It made amazing difference. Until then I was wondering why the sound quality was so poor.

Strange objects in the garden

August 29, 2012
bees scavenging a fallen honeycomb for honey

bees scavenging a fallen honeycomb for honey

I was mowing the grass this morning before the heavy rains swept in, when I spotted what I thought was slices of melon lying in the grass, covered in ants, as I got nearer, covered in wasps.

As I drew closer I found it was neither, it was slices of honeycomb (or what appeared to be slices), covered in bees.

I thought remove to the compost heap, then thought better of it, as I did not wish to be attacked by the bees.

The bees warned me off, but once they got used to me, they left me alone.

I had to be careful, as they were not only on the honeycomb, they were also on the grass.

I was baffled where it had come from. I looked up in the trees, could not see anything. Then there, on an overhanging branch, OMG, a large bee colony hanging down.

If it fell on my head, I would not be covered in bees, I would be covered in honey and bees. Not good.

The colony is hanging very precariously, hanging from two branches, which are independent of each other, and moving independently of each other.

The pieces of honeycomb must have not long fallen, as I noticed when I had finished what I was doing in the garden, there was only a handful of bees left. They must have been scavenging the honey out of the fallen honeycomb.

What to do with the honeycomb?

When I was in Istanbul, I noticed on the first evening what I thought was cake. Next morning when I came down to breakfast I saw that it was a large block of honeycomb with honey oozing out onto the plate. People cut chunks off to eat for breakfast.

What to do with the colony?

Bees are dying off. This colony is thriving. They would make ideal breeding stock. I will have to see if I can find any interested bee keepers who would be interested in a colony of bees.

A friend used to keep bees, but all his bees died off. I see a bee keeper at Guildford farmers market, but will not see her until Tuesday of next week (first Tuesday of the month). Locally monks keep bees, or at least they used to, but they are a miserable bunch.

Early in the spring, I had big fat colourful bumblebees in my garden. Never before a colony of bees. Next thing I will have bears climbing the tree after the honey.

Synchronicty: This morning I had an e-mail inviting me to go on a bee walk!

Afternoon tea at Bel & the Dragon

August 28, 2012
Bel & the Dragon

Bel & the Dragon

Godalming cries out for an old fashioned tea shop or a coffee shop, but lacks either.

It does have two Costa Coffee shops, a Caffe Nero, not good news.

It has a bread shop with a dingy seating area, more like a dingy transport cafe. Not good either.

Then there is Bel & the Dragon, a former church.

Last year it was closed for major renovation work, now it is open.

I thought I would pop in and take a look and take afternoon tea, scones with jam and clotted cream.

I asked the price. The girl did not know and had to check on a till. £7-50! I said forget it. But it is freshly made, you get two scones.

Hmm. Disgusting coffee and a factory made cake at Costa leaves little change from a fiver. Overpriced.

Were Bel & the Dragon to offer afternoon tea at a fiver with freshly made scones, then they would be offering a good deal. But at £7-50 they are taking the piss.

I did not think to ask tea and coffee Fair Trade? I saw nothing to indicate it was, therefore I can only assume not.

I asked could I have a look around. I was told go ahead.

The church has been gutted, then restored. An excellent job has been done. Quality wooden flooring, secluded seating areas, a veranda around the back wall, a large bar, another large counter with a few cakes, behind which I assumed the kitchen.

Looking down at the large counter the impression was that of looking down at an altar. Some would consider it to be sacrilegious and offensive.

Outside a very small and cramped seating area. Not very attractive. And the obscenity of outside heaters. Have these people not heard of global warming? If it is too cold to sit outside, then don’t sit outside, but do not engage in the crass stupidity of heating outside air.

For the size of the place, the money already spend and the limited seating, I cannot see how it can ever make any money. When I looked around, only one table with people taking afternoon tea.

If designed differently, without the large counter and instead a raised platform, it would have made an excellent music venue.

But even this sadly is a chain, with others at Reading, Cookham and Windsor.

Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Wednesday 29 August 2012).

Day trip to Guildford and Godalming

August 28, 2012

The morning started off quite cool, by midday turning hot.

Train to Guildford, and too my pleasant surprise I found St Mary’s open.

I lit a candle for Pussy Riot and my Russian friends.

Shocked to find the bookshop outside the church selling a Christian fundamentalist newspaper backing Assad and his slaughter of innocent Syrian people.

Lunch at The Keystone.

Last week I walked to Godalming along the River Wey, today I caught the bus.

Godalming is a small market town on the banks of the River Wey. Sadly the centre of the town has been despoiled by the same old High Street chain stores that rob every town of its character. Two Costa Coffee shops, one Caffe Nero.

What Godalming needs is a lovely old fashioned tea shop or coffee shop, it has neither.

I looked in Godalming Museum to find it was the same art exhibition as the least time I looked. They had had a small concert in the garden out the back for which they had had to pay £28 for a music licence, even though the concert was free,

Last year, in Church Street, the street leading down to the church, was a lovely little wholefood shop. It closed due to the greed of the landlord wishing to jack up the rent. The shop now lies empty, as I predicted last year. Yet another small business destroyed by a greedy grasping landlord.

I had hoped to look in the church, but now too late, closed.

I fancied a cup of tea.

The Bell and Dragon, a converted church, was offering tea and scones and cream and jam. I looked in, curious if nothing else to what they had done, I asked the price. £7-50 for cream tea!

6.25pm, last bus back to Guildford.

Then Eden People at The Keystone.

Luckily I got a lift home, but still did not arrive home until shortly before midnight.

Fundamentalist Christian bookshops

August 28, 2012

If a Muslim bookshop is selling fundamentalist literature, there is quite rightly a public outcry, they may even find they are arrested and charged under terrorist legislation.

Why then not the same outcry when Christian bookshops are guilty of peddling fundamentalist, hate filled literature?

I was in a Christian bookshop today in Guildford, they have undergone yet another name change, in Quarry Street opposite St Mary’s Church.

On the counter was a newspaper with a front page story and headline lies being told on Syria. Curious I pocked it up and could not believe what I was reading,

Apparently we in the West are lying or being lied to and Assad was loved by the people of Syria.

I guess that is why they take to the street in peaceful protest even though they risk being killed by thugs allied to Assad, a man happy to massacre his own people in a desperate attempt to cling on to power.

I told the woman in the shop she was a disgrace to be peddling this garbage.

The newspaper was published by an Evangelical Alliance.

Why are the called Evangelists? Why not a little honest and call a spade a spade? in this case Christian Fundamentalists, no better than the Taliban.

Why they would to push propaganda on behalf of Assad I am at a loss.

Dark Side of the Moon

August 27, 2012

Trinity Orchestra plays Time and Breathe (Reprise) from Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

The performance was in Christ Church Cathedral as part of the 10 Days in Dublin Festival. The full set list included “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb”.

Trinity Orchestra’s final performance of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ will be on Saturday 1 September 2012 at 12.30pm, Main Stage, Electric Picnic 2012.

For more information see

http://www.facebook.com/events/217944388331976/

Let us hope Trinity Orchestra release the full concert on youtube and put on bandcamp.

I saw Pink Floyd play at Knebworth Park.