MONDAY 30th JUNE 2014 [evening post]
CONTRASTS WITHOUT CONTRADICTIONS 
Comparing with yesterday's experiences the car park was quite full but the store not so crowded. Yesterday, I mentioned Waitrose's need to instill some car park discipline where people tend to abuse. I have often mulled this: that fine line between "customer convenience" and "customer abusing". They give discounts for spending your money there. They allow you two hours and I mostly, even when having a coffee or lunch rarely take an hour and a half, most often thirty to forty-five minutes. In the light of spending around £3,000 there annually, is it unreasonable in the time allowed not to be allowed to collect a prescription form the chemist (beside it) or claim money from the bank one hundred yards away? To do more, I think is an abuse. It is this 'making a contribution' to the local society from whose money a store is seeking. As part of the new arrangements, Waitrose is demanding a minimum of £10 spend for two hours free parking, which is not difficult to manage on required regular goods, whether immediately needed or not, so... .'nough said.
MONDAY 30th JUNE 2014 [midpm post]
CONTRASTS WITHOUT CONTRADICTIONS 
I have been troubled for the last fortnight to three weeks with an eyelash or lashes in one eye, the original problem deriving from damage caused by Shingles in that eye. Initial categorization of some sockets seemed to sort it for a time but now I am stuck in a periodic check from one ophthalmologist lining me up for a long line of waiting minor surgery (understandable), occasionally pulling eyelashes out. As I said to him last time, I felt bad about having a man of his calibre just looks at it and take our the odd eyelash while waiting but it is a very minor operation and if there are higher priorities, then so be it.
Five weeks ago the optician had removed a couple of eyelashes but noted there was a small one that was going to be a nuisance but he could not quite grab it then. I had assumed the ophthalmologist had removed that one and the current problem had grown since, for which reason I had been suffering irritably for them to grow long enough for the optician to be able to pull them out. This morning I really felt I should grab the moment. Incredibly the receptionist's response was a, "Would 11:15 do?" "Today! This morning! Oh yes please!"
Waitrose car park was already reasonably full but I parked easily. Collected a CD recording off a 36hr tape I'd left Berkhamsted Imaging, arrived in ample time. "I can see the problem. Its two eyelashes growing horizontally in opposite directions getting tangled under the lid. Four finally came out and I could feel all was indeed well again.
I was also able to get a line on what was actually happening. My Watford sequence stemmed from initial hospital operation need from which there was continual follow up until they could perhaps fit me in to operate again. The other ophthalmologist was optician orientated due to them perceiving another problem (complex, I won't waste time) and therefore the split, both under the NHS was: hospital and related—hospital; incidental optics requiring senior level monitoring but not yet requiring an operation, optician's admin procedures and yes both lines were aware of one another. So tat got that sorted out.
An interesting point to bear in mind when we hear such much good and bad about the NHS. When one gets involved in diverse aspects as I have been doing over the previous four or five years it really is an extraordinary institution and I am a merely a minor case incidental, even though I have had two exploratory lung operations related to my problems!
In my book the NHS is a pretty damned fine institution!
SUNDAY 29th JUNE 2014 [evening post]
A SINGULAR DAY
An interesting programme coming up on Radio 4 The Royal Activist from 13:30. Returning to this somewhat later, having recorded it for an expected absence it was in fact a reassuring half-hour discussion, re-affirming the uniqueness of our 'constitution that isn't' system and highlighting one of the main stanchions that makes us so singular and still full of meaning in the world. There was even an opportunity for a Republican to condemn himself out of his own ignorance; or simply complete lack of (deliberate) understanding to further promulgate misunderstanding.
ON COPING WITHOUT FUSS/OR SEEING BEYOND ONE'S OWN BLINKERED VIEW ON THE WORLD
The Telegraph Weekend of May3rd published several interesting articles. One of a very articulate teenager suffering ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) superbly expressive of just what hell seemingly "simple" problems can be to "get on with" and especially when the problems are related to an aspect of medicine that is simply not well, nor widely, understood within medical circles. Multiply this by the diversity of such illnesses, also creating supposedly "simple", "merely" irritating conditions and one realises the extent of suffering there is around, with people mostly "just getting on with it". Illustrating again how much there is in life for which most of us have cause to be grateful, yet rarely make the effort to sit, for a moment, and contemplate one's lot in a positive mode.
MANNERS MAKETH SOCIETY: WHO AND WHAT ARE WE?
article was devoted to manners, although having the decency to acknowledge that "In former days, such matters as manners were somehow effortlessly picked up without the need for specific lessons." May be I am fortunate with my friends, or may be my circle of friends is more closed than I had thought for none of their children ever seemed to require teaching and their own children's children, in the main, are dutifully corrected in a meaningful manner that does not humiliate them but does make them self-consciously aware that they wish they had not committed the offence.
Nowadays it seems people specialise in providing formal lessons in manners, as outside specialists are brought in by both independent and state schools.
I do recall home tuition, at a very young age, on the order of precedence, should I be invited to a formal function: that one should assume one was the least important, as it was so much nicer to be invited "further up" than be asked to move "lower down". It was an interesting contrast with the Radio 4 programme on Prince Charles, dealing with the State aspects of protocol between monarch, monarch-in-waiting and the elected government.
Personally, I find the re-emergence of the importance of manners reassuring as usually I seem only to notice their absence. Such was my after-noon.
It was extraordinary to find my local Waitrose singularly full and bustling for a Sunday after-noon. The diversity of my after-noon requires only a simple list. The newspaper headlines hailed: "Rise in forced marriages" (doubtless raising issues of multiculturalism causing concerns as to who actually is in charge of our society); "Cameron suffers defeat on Juncker"; "Minister fears 'neglectful society' will let the old slip through state safety net"; "The NHS will collapse within five years"; "Prince Charles Interview, 'You have to stick to your guns'".
The newspaper rack is in line with the queue for the quick tills, meaning that to scour the papers as I do, before deciding on which or how many
to buy, causes complete confusion as to where or how the queue is flowing, although they did have all the available tills on the go. Then two items would not record, "please tell cashier", defeating the whole purpose of having bar coded stock and automatic tills where you can flash your cards and get straight out; or physically till yourself if you haven't registered as a member with an automatic store card.
Apart from a noisome child that insisted on informing the entire store he was shouting at his mother,
as his means of communication, when standing next to her; another child (a slightly younger girl) determined to inform her father that she was not going on anywhere else until he had bought her the magazine she wanted. I was also confronted with the efforts of some other child or children who at some time or other had been determined to remove the socket for holding the card reader on the trolley, so I was having to manoeuvre around holding the thing, or losing it amongst my bags when I needed it. Having already laid out my bags and list in preparation, changing trolleys was too much of a nuisance.
I was singularly out of countenance when i reached the car park kiosk. I had parked my car slap bang in front of the operative's window.
So he had observed me park. He had my car in front of him for half-an-hour; he had seen me load my car, replace the trolley and reverse out to line up beside him. The fact that his automatic action, when no one was queuing to get out, was to be slumped over his desk with a, 'it was a very late night last night' expression on his face, indicating he probably hadn't a clue of anything happening in the world around him, which was something of a damned nuisance to him anyway. He asked, in a bored tone, "I need to see your till receipt." On this occasion the bags were on the back floor with everything else.
"You've got the stamped car park ticket!"
"It isn't stamped."
"Of course its stamped, I gave it to her and had to get her to clear two items that would not register. Look at the date on it and the time I came in (they have had to be more pedantic about free parking because a new M&S store has opened up next door and I am sorry to confess that many in my town wilfully abuse their parking opportunities for visiting other than Waitrose).
"Clearly she must not have pushed it in far enough to make the punch engage with the card, you need to make a note and ensure they are informed when you go off."
at the date and time, clearly without reading it, as the way he was holding the ticket indicated it was upside down to his eyes, wearily pressed a button and the barrier went up.
I was later turning right off the main road at the traffic lights. Incessant hooting. They were hooting the chap to my left. He was just sitting there, despite a green light in front of him.... he was in the wrong lane and was not going to do the polite thing and move out of everyone's way, turn round and come back, he was going to obdurately sit there waiting for me to move, which I could not since the lights were green and the other direction was in full flow.
When the advance promotion for The Royal Activist [above] quotes Prince Charles complaining to Labour about their angst against Grammar Schools and Plunkett's response is "He wanted to get the poor out of their background while I want to abolish their background", the Republicans' inability to understand the value of the UK's uniqueness is brilliantly highlighted, although I am not sure that was the intention! That is the beauty of our institution, that continuity is presented, staid and changing gradually, while remaining completely to one side, being a part, yet distanced, from the daily hurly burly of immediate headlines, is so invaluable.
It is appalling that recent studies bemoan the absence of social skills, like good manners and the ability to hold a conversation; their lack repeatedly
complained of as being absent from today's school-leavers.
Yet in terms
of society generally, community is alive and well, because of the nature of change perceived through decline. The third Telegraph article concentrated on convenience stores, highlighting Chalke Valley Stores in Broad Chalke Wiltshire where the chapel has become: a shop, a café, a post office, a meeting place, an historic archive and a police station, turning over £1,000 a day. Two Sundays a month the tables are cleared away and it becomes a place of worship again.
This neatly brings us back to prince Charles on whom this weekend's Financial Times has donated an entire section, covering the diversity of his value and influence across the country and worldwide. His influence on architecture, building restoration and community living has been considerable, as well as in garden design and environmental issues that gain more publicity than perhaps is due, causing so much of his other work to be less publicised. Looked at with calm reflection, it is a man who is too easily and wrongly disparaged and his wider influence is too little known or appreciated.
SATURDAY 28th JUNE 2014 [more of us to be grateful]
RELIGION AT FAULT?
In its 3rd May issue The Independent's Charlie Cooper claimed the elderly were lonely and regarded television as their best friend while Janet Street-Porter asked 'why do we treat the elderly worse than dogs?'. Her effective conclusion is that when senile we would all be better off taking a pill and doing away with ourselves. That is a rationality we must address with Faulkener's Bill, which his bill at present does not address but I cast a charge towards religion that persists in refusing to accept creation as it is, a continual state of change and rationally dealing with the consequences of this particular reality, dealing with it rationally as being a major contribution to our end of life confusion.
ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS BUT...
The smoke may start to dissipate and the mirrors become less opaque. The basic problem with the EU lies in its wilful dishonesty: the result of "behind closed doors" attitudes. Its deceit is obvious in the declaration that, 'from now on...' the same principle that lay behind Lisbon, 'after this we will...'. The key has always been to get done what they knew the majority of people would not want, the laying into the foundations immovable pillars, round which all must work. The only sensible response to that deceit is clearly, "Up yours." Europe IS a conglomeration of diverse entities, that should be recognised as a fact not as an inconvenience to an artificial perception of how things could be if we hadn't started from where we are. The old Irish joke sounds eminently sensible in an EU context. Or put another way, no one with an ounce of sense would have got to this point in the first place or gone down this road in that manner. That wilful pig-headed stupidity is the root cause of all EU ills.
From this point on, lets play with all cards face up in public view. There is a logic for placing a determined federalist historian in central position: the fundamental principles are inherent in the argument and any agreed deviation is inherently part of the whole and not subject to later debate that "these points have not been discussed". The fundamental argument is at the centre of the debate and in full public view. As Plato stated:
"The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men".
FRIDAY 27th JUNE 2014 [mid to late pm]
RANK INCOMPETENCE WORLDWIDE...
Facebook post: David Cameron "did not plan this, want this, or expect this" said the BBC's political editor over the expected appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of European Commission.
Nick Robinson said the British PM was trying to "snatch some form of moral victory" over the expected defeat, where he had been relying on leaders to back his bid to block the former Luxembourg leader.
He was speaking from Brussels at the EU Summit, and revealed how other European leaders have told the BBC that they "do not want Britain to leave", despite this division.
They have a point and we can't expect the whole EU to run round GB even though GB ran a large chunk of the world round it for a good century past. None the less, while we weren't perfect there are certain aspects in which the EU is in wilful defiance: we, mostly, listened to the people and didn't give tuppence for damned fools more concerned about rules, regulations and stilly bits of paper, rather than simply getting up of their arses and doing a day's work. That's what panics the EU and how come we built the largest empire the world has ever known if we were always that wrong?
AND RANK INCOMPETENCE AT HOME!
It now appears that we are incapable of maintaining a basic electricity supply. Wimbledon, in the middle of a superb match is cut off. My washing machine is in the middle of a cycle and is suddenly cut off. I'm working on a laptop, yes that means battery power continues BUT I have some 15Terabytes of inaccessible data because the standalone disks require electricity. Okay, that does include a double back up (I back up the back up) but... this is the 21st century, this is England, our power charges/costs are enormous and we still are unable to maintain continuity of power. That's EDF. Damned disgraceful. One singularly pissed of P Such Esq.
Now it seems this won't post and I can't see why. Doesn't anyone do any work these days? Can't even go shopping because I can't run the printer to print out my shopping list nor get at my list as it is on a satellite disk. May be Waitrose has back generation but I want other shops that probably don't and I doubt credit validation works by turning a handle physically. On top of which the DVD recording of the programme running parallel to Wimbledon has stopped recording and all the clocks have stopped working. Does no one have any sense of doing a day's job properly?
Involvement in life is both on and off line. What seemed relevant to record has been done but somehow a pile of newspapers and snail mail post has accumulated. It is one way to speedily edit, to sift and shift bulk and might result in more succinct sharing... or might not! Chest la vie!
On this, Welby goes out on a limb, claiming that speed of digital communication refutes calm judgement. Codswallop. What he should be raising concerns about is discipline, both of self and collectively. Personal accountability is what is missing, as illustrated by the father of the Cardiff Islamist that has gone to wage war with Isis in Iraq. He is blaming the national concept of the police trying to dissuade. That is a superfluity. If anyone can dissuade anyone it relies on parental and friends' involvement with the individual. The father is wrong to deflect responsibilty onto the public service. He should be questioning his own religious beliefs under which precepts he has brought up his children. The first requirement of a parent is to produce an educable and educated child of mature age onto the world stage. That is an adult able to assess information, rationalise it and deliver a balanced and informed opinion.
What this fuss and palaver in the Middle East is all about is no different from the rows between Catholic and Protestant, four centuries ago; Christian and Jew before that; Secularism thinly covered by a mix of Catholic/Protestant concepts of God that heralded the Second World war, now politely dismissed as Fascism.
As the ages have proved, the devil makes work for those with idle hands. This brings the flamboyant side show into the forefront of world attention: the rich nations are not doing enough and doing it too slowly to bring the rest o the world in alignment. Counter argument: the world is moving too fast, abusing limited resources, ignoring their limitations and ultimate exhaustion. Counter, counter argument: progress will find more efficient use of diminishing resources or alternatives. May be, but with what sureness and what provision should this not be so?
Let us look at Europe. A different style of living but one thousand years back Europe was as the Middle East is today. Has Europe moved on? Look at Russia, Ukraine, the EU. Force has been used but mostly in restraint and mainly in "civilised" debate. Is it really any different than the Middle East scenario: they are all egotistical power struggles for influence? Where is the validity of proof?
Religion has proved the travesty of artificial power structures. It proclaimed a belief (or beliefs) and tried to standardise them into an "official, authoritative" opinion, so we now have more opinions than we had originally. That "universal" view denied the reality of what was claimed belief, that everything "was so", despite the fact it was in a continual state of change. So what does the EU do? Starting with the richness of diversity, the EU determines we must have universality and standardisation in a single moment of time what is flexible, diverse and in a continual sate of change. Where is the rationality, when rationality is a fundamental part of the collective whole?
The Ukraine is a preconceived problem deriving from fixed ideas and denying the flexibility of adapting to changing scenarios as change is inevitable. Universality, conformity and standardisation simply do not work in an environment in a continual state of change, as the problems with the Euro have been so prominent in declaring. The only rational universalism is the collective whole: this globe; these peoples; these resources; this creation, be it of science, of God, or just is. The answer for this moment really does not matter a damn. What does matter is that the sense and sensibility that is a part of that creative whole is heeded, for the benefit of the collective whole and in a manner that each individual part of the whole feels individually it is satisfied with the whole and its part in it. Is that science; basic rationality; or the truth of the God concept but then, which perception of God?
Not so Calm Reflection but Still Reflective
Graeme Paton in The Daily Telegraph of June 18 reported that schoolchildren could learn a lot about politics and the realities of life by reading the stories on celebrity pop stars like Angelina Jolie's breast cancer and Madonna's adoption of children from Malawi. His source was a reader in television and digital culture at Royal Holloway, University of London, Dr James Bennett. His view was that pop idols shared personal opinions with reporters and this was seen by their fans ion the con text of the wider modern world. Even criticism of Miley Cyrus for overly sexualised performances was informative.
TUESDAY 23rd JUNE 2014 [14:00]
ON THE PRESS
Delighted to hear of Rebekah Brooks acquittal. This shows Egypt what it is to have a court trial in full public array of the evidence and come to a competent jury's opinion of the accused peers.
CHURCH AND STATE: A PROPER INVOLVEMENT [10:00]
The Archbishop of York's chairing "The Living Wage" Commission is indicative of a church involved in the present day but also understanding economic realities.
ON JOURNALISM AND THE FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PRESS
The travesty in Egypt is complex and it is best to take it at face value. A 'modern' Islamic state simply does not understand modern times, despite being quite happy to use modern martial equipment and techniques.
The situation makes two clear statements. Isis, Muslim Brotherhood, whatever have no confidence in their belief in the nature of God. In their desperation of soullessness they proclaim their lack of true faith, as does the government proclaim its insecurity of legitimacy.
The second statement is a warning to the British press. Freedom of the press is only available in a free country built upon proved, secure history. That places upon you a great responsibility NOT to abuse that freedom. In small and large ways you have been guilty of abusing your trust. Egypt's recent court case explains graphically why you must NOT abuse your freedom; why, when errors occur, your duty is immediate confession and putting the matter as right as possible, without argument, as speedily as possible and paying compensation up front when appropriate.
You must also accept that we, the general public have as much right to keep an eagle eye on press activities as the press has a duty of care to keep a RESPONSIBLE eye on the world at large, without fear or favour.
MONDAY 23rd JUNE 2014 [17:00]
ON STRIKES AND FIREPERSONS' SKILLS
From Facebook just now. "So, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service now have their 1st Fire fatality in Welwyn Garden City. Allegedly only 400 yards from a strike bound Fire Station. If true, what a disgrace to not only the uniform, but the whole traditions of the service. Can't wait for the excuses but, regardless of who is going to blame who, those who should have been there for the public, will forever have to live with their guilt. So, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service now have their 1st Fire fatality in Welwyn Garden City. Allegedly only 400 yards from a strike bound Fire Station. If true, what a disgrace to not only the uniform, but the whole traditions of the service. Can't wait for the excuses but, regardless of who is going to blame who, those who should have been there for the public, will forever have to live with their guilt."
I felt like making such a bold statement in condemnation but held back, partly because there is always unknown risk when attending any fire and because the argument about a longer working life is not straight forward. I don't think I was ever fit enough in the first place to handle the job but when a former fireman feels it IS appropriate to demand duty as the priority than I applaud and endorse. Thank you Alan.
ON ISLAM [10:30]
BBC News has just interviewed an Islamic doctor of theology who has admitted that too many mosque preachers have little understanding of Great Britain. They come over here thinking they can behave and preach the same things in the same way as they would have done in the Middle East, where they are overly glad to grab modern weapons, yet persist in living according to the Middle Ages, without having any concept of its total unrelatedness to this country. It is elementary commmon sense that you do not visit, let alone intend to live, in a country without first understanding if its culture is going to be acceptable to you. if it isn't, you don't come, what could be simpler? Are religionists truly of a less intelligent breed?
With China now saying they want Scotland in a United Kingdom, I would not be surprised if the Scots do not vote "YES" to independence if only because so many people not part of the vote keep telling them to say "NO".
AL JAZEERA TRIAL[10:00]
This would appear to be another example of the persistence of Islamic influence to maintain archaic mediaeval constructs but the Roman Catholic church is just as entrenched in archaic thinking and America is still bedevilled with weird and exotic interpretations of God. We are all guilty. We all move at our own pace in accepting change but we are all gulled by the entrenched irresponsibility and fairlure to accept accountability of historically entrenched concepts of God, wilfully denying the realities of "His Creation". These are but PERCEPTIONS, nothing more. Let us get on with reality.
HS2/3 MOVING ON AT LAST [09:18]!
Osborne made a good start this moring but four years too late for this government and due to Labour nearly fifteen years too late for the country. In my view, the development of HS3 is more needed than HS2. In fact HS3 and further development up north would seem to be a high priority for the south-east as a practical and valid means and reason for reducing the population excesses in the south. I do not ignore the beauty of northern England countryside and that the overall problem with population growth is a national concern.
SUNDAY 22nd JUNE 2014
MOVING ON/TIDYING UP
So, where from there (Friday's close)? It seems best simply to keep heads down while confusion reigns all round. The Americans seem to have made a pig's ear of reforming the Iraq army, or the hierarchy has been good at hoodwinking the CIA into thinking they were dealing with professional rationalists, when in reality dealing with anarchists biding their time, before showing the truth of their inherent prejudices.
Look at Scotland, three hundred years after the event, they are now considering retrenching but failing to think it through and themselves following individuals' ego, riding upon a crest of perceived emotionalism, to thrust a possibly very disruptive view. No different in principle from Iraq and the Middle East generally.
Look at the EU. A 'heads of government' compact made to look like a parliament but that parliament does not control the executive, it merely exercises an opinion. Meanwhile the executive cannot operate as an executive without taking account of that separately arrived at opinion. A deliberate hotch potch for chaos whose sole purpose is to lend the appearance of democracy but deliberately designed not to work as such. In neither Europe nor America is the West in a position to presume it can help the Middle East: Europe and America are both confused about themselves. Separate paths in separate cultures but both primarily in the same mess... and I haven't mentioned religion.
Essentially, the Middle East is simply following the West, about four centuries late, when England put Rome in its place and made it clear that we, the English would run England and if need be God too... or at least a Protestant interpretation of him. Whether creation is derived from science, a concept of God, or God operating through science, really does not matter a damn. What matters is objectively (and objectivity is part of any version of creation) assessing what we call the 'reality' in which we conduct our lives; defining it; understanding its mechanism and working with it. If certain factions wish to go charging around proclaiming half-baked ideas of a philosophy, on which the only authority is a world wide historical confirmation of diverse unsubstantiated opinions; muddled through multiplicity of translations through diversely changing and some quite dead languages, then clearly secularism must take control and create some semblance of rational, educated and civilised life. Religion, quite simply has completely ballsed up and we should accept that.
Frankly, I am not happy to do so. I am initially a protestant Christian because I am an Englishman: that is culture. I continue to be a protestant Christian because I have travelled around in my mind's eye, erratically and in an undisciplined manner studying comparative religion and taking the quietude of mind to simply think and to experience, as well as research. 'A plague on all their houses' may be a justifiable response but dismissing them all may be another form of arrogance no different, in principle, from their own.
SATURDAY 21st JUNE 2014
SEEMINGLY BACK TO NORMAL
Back to normal. Extraordinary. No rationale but the irrationality of Sjögren’s for the moment, so get on and enjoy. Ah well. Others have more travails than I. Apart from a slight tiredness I can't recall when I last realised I was feeling perfectly normal.
FRIDAY 20th JUNE 2014
CONTINUING "THE WEEKEND" FROM MONDAY 16th JUNE 2014 via THURSDAY 19th JUNE below
Back to some degree of "normality"! The conference was titled "Is Religion Dangerous? A Day Conference led by the Reverend Martin Camroux at the Immanuel United Reformed Church, Swindon, to which he had for some years previously ministered. It is a very attractive modern church run by a busy and involved community.
I am not going to extract items out of context with the mood of the collective whole, save to observe that the small group gathered to hear Martin were deeply appreciative and attentive listeners and I can unhesitatingly recommend, not only Martin as a speaker but also, should forward thinking and pro-active questioning of religion be your forte, refer you to the Free to Believe web site titled "An informal network of liberally minded Christians striving for an open, inclusive and thinking church". Would anyone want to be involved in a church that was not open, inclusive and thinking?
According to international news the subject was singularly apposite but it is in fact a theme that has been developing over time. The International news merely a latest headline of an undercurrent of thinking of which I have been aware, in various quarters for some time, quite apart from my own personal questioning excursions.
As I have written, I intend not to quote but to use my experience of hearing others voice their views, to have the confidence to be somewhat more open with my own views, which is not to imply I am not sometimes at variance with the gathering.
My family background is Christian and Protestant because I am an Englishman (my father an army officer). Church was a Sunday routine and it was not until I had been confirmed that I actually started thinking about things. It was when the Church of England refused to accept women priests that I adopted the attitude "sod this twaddle" and started casting around.
Perversely, the Catholic Truth Society's publications attracted my attention. This was nothing to do with God or Catholicism but everything to do with a girl that had attracted my attention when I had spent a year at a Catholic convent, prior to starting prep school. She had sparkling blue eyes and long, golden hair that tumbled over her shoulders. I saw her one day standing in the playground, with the sun shining upon her golden hair and I thought she was lovely. So I went over and told her so, kissing her on her lips. She burst into tears and great consternation broke out. I later learned she had been spanked for being provocative (it was her fault I kissed her not mine) and had her long hair hacked short. Such was the Catholic response to honest, openly expressed, heartfelt communication. Later maturity re-interpreted many incidents I witnessed there, drawing out the reality of the double-dealing deceits that were being played out in the background.
An unrelated aside, many years on, the daughter of one of my cousins came home from school to announce that her mother's religion was a Mickey Mouse religion which God did not take seriously. My cousin was CofE but had married a Catholic when the Catholic church demanded marriage only on condition the children were raised as Catholics. Having grown up, the daughter fell in love with an Evangelical and both are more evangelical than I am happy with but they are both deeply wrapped up in their church community.
In the mean time,
the Catholic Truth Society provided me with all the factual reasons my emotional anti-Catholic stance needed, for my feelings to be rational and I briefly studied Judaism, wanting to get back to the original. Unintentionally, I got down to the nitty gritty basics by exploring practical psychics. Somewhat later, the CofE woke up and ordained women. It is still arguing over bishops but for the moment a Low church Anglican uses a High church establishment for social reasons, little to do with God, save the short, spoken 08:00a.m. Communion service and partly because the practice seems in need of defending, so I'm involved!
The first third of the day was spent confirming what is so often the case with this country that nothing is happening in the world that hasn't already happened: either because we caused it or because someone did it to us! Think only on the battles between Catholic and Protestant in Elizabeth I's time and Elizabeth II's time.
What were popes doing riding chargers in full battle armour when Christ was a simple carpenter? Where is the rationale? Yes, take the time and place in situ. Culturally men ruled and only men could control (despite the clear example of Boudicca, the only person to really scare the hell out of the Roman Empire).
Henry VIII wanted a son as a protection for his people and his kingdom's inheritance. Nothing was to be allowed to stand in his way. A perfectly acceptable attitude for the time. Elizabeth was not an exception: both Mary's would have been capable, it is just unfortunate that they were brought up with weird ideas about God and religion. Whereas Elizabeth was first a manager and then had God fit in around her. The Marys believed in God first then worried about how that related to the reality around them: the failing of so many religionists.
Elizabeth dealt with reality as it was in her time and culture. Religion, believing creation a God-given fact has always refused to accept the reality of that creation: that it is in a continual state of change and therefore religion must adapt, according to gained knowledge and re-interpret. Such re-interpretation has to be both in the context of our acquired knowledge of those times (which affects understanding of language and the validity of translations at different periods and respective use of language) but also in the light of additional knowledge gained, of which previous periods were unaware.
That was the essence of the remaining two thirds of the day: "The Critique of Religion" and "How can we get Religion Right?" Comparative theology is something I now feel I would have liked to have studied but even the Reverend Camroux was unable to quote me a reliable source for an authoritative understanding of Islam. Is that really any worse than Christianity? Where is the "authority" there? We have the "simple" split of Catholic/Protestant: yet Catholicism has its Jesuit and other orders divisions; Protestantism has its German diversity before the Church of England and from that comes the Free churches of diverse opinions, quite apart from the diversity of translations at different periods of linguistic understanding over a gallop of time. The Islamic perception that any "learned" person (who mostly seem determined to show their complete lack of learning) is "an" authority and therefore "authoritative" and the persistence of Saudi Arabia to plough money into its interpretation of Arabic translation, where lies authoritative authority?
My linguistic ability lies in shouting more loudly and energetically pointing in English but as a printer I have an unusual experience of language. When handling multilingual publications it is necessary to "cast off" the text. That is, to assess how many pages the original copy is going to make when printed. German usually takes up seventeen and a half percent more space than English, French about twelve percent, Russian around twenty-two percent. Chinese/Japanese and Arabic are particularly difficult to assess and it is not just the size of type. In English alone, change the type style, not the size, and you can add or lose ten to twenty pages to the average novel, adding to or subtracting from, the overall production cost. Then there are the diacriticals. In Arabic (overly simplistically) there are basically two versions, north and south and Arabic is a phonetic language, so spelling changes dependent upon source and the way the words are used also changes. Where is your original authoritative source when translated into English, or even if you learn Arabic?
THURSDAY 19th JUNE 2014
CONTINUING "THE WEEKEND" FROM MONDAY 16th JUNE 2014
For the first time I've had a major data loss when something went haywire while unattended and yesterday's (Thursday's) work was completely lost. So, in the attitude described in Kipling's poem "If" I shall treat the disaster as a triumph, plough on regardless, waving two fingers at the world in general. P Such Esq rides on!
Monday started with an assessment of my weekend but deteriorated into an indeterminate health problem. Was my Sjögren’s Syndrome playing up? Had I eaten something? There seemed two possible explanations: a pub's prawn cocktail but time distance seemed too long; the previous evening's meal, which was new to me but from my preferred and reliable local supermarket, so unlikely; just a passing bug?
Now Sjögren’s Syndrome is a complex problem on which I have my own page, as part of my contribution to the general information/experience of sharing, as well as my own experiences with the NHS, as I have diverse interactions with it and most of those are positive. Not that I hold back if there is cause to criticise but I think it important to contribute, whatever the experience, as part of the wider world to which we all in our different ways contribute.
Simply, having Sjögren’s means anything untoward may not be what it seems and requires detailed analysis. During the course of Monday I found myself implanted on the lavatory, emitting foul smelling liquid and throwing up in the bath, as in my rush I had forgotten to take a bowl in with me. In the space of twenty minutes i found all energy falling away from me as if being sucked out by a Dyson. We used to say Hoover, until they decided to evaporate the company, by giving everybody cheaper foreign holidays than their machines actually cost them. I never quite understood the economics but then many economists don't seem to understand the economy either. I digress.
Suddenly I did not have the energy to sit up straight and would have simply lain on the floor if not galvanised by the realisation it would be I who would have to clear it all up. A good moment to think of all the most odious jobs paid people have to do in hospital scenarios of which most of us ensure we are completely oblivious. A good factor that needs to be seriously dwelt upon when considering what so many do in hospitals, unnoticed and unclaimed. In thinking to clean up my own mess it is quite another to clean up a complete stranger's, particularly if they are so unaware as to not notice, let alone show signs of appreciation. Something mothers do instantly without thought and too many "modern" fathers also choose to ignore. I'm a bachelor and hope I would have been a proper partner had I married but frankly, I'm not so sure.
I was now at the crawling stage on hands and knees between bed and toilet or using the bedside bowl to save the crawling. During Tuesday I decided I should ring the hospital to cancel my Wednesday's appointment but decided that was too short notice for someone to be advised to take advantage of my condition and as the day wore on I realised that I might make it after all. By Wednesday morning I was aware I was gaining sufficient control and state of mental alertness as to be able to undertake an hour's drive safely and without dire incident.
My fifteen minute session with the thoracic consultant neatly sums up my interaction and current views on the NHS. "How are you?" "Momentarily thrown and feeling somewhat delicate but let me answer you first in general update terms, to make sure you have the whole picture and then Ill deal with my immediate problem. Pretty hunky-dory generally, everything seems positive, so let me quickly run over my other sessions."
My attitude is that subject to any impeding disabilities it is the patient's responsibility to be in charge of their own care and to keep appropriate notes neatly organised to cover contingencies.
"Oncologist: tests more or less as last time, 'see you in six months'." Rheumatologist: retired, new one, all at sea trying to get to grips, especially as he has come in during a major procedural change and one of the nurses thought he would still be there at 9:00pm in the evening. Very pleasant chap, I'm sure we will get on."
"Now I notice
he thinks your cancer is due to cystic fibrosis. I thought we had agreed it was due to the inflammation caused by Sjögren’s, I'll adjust his notes." Good, interaction was clearly taking place. "Now we don't seem to have done a lung capacity test for awhile." "Yes we have, about four to five weeks ago." "Ah, I thought I had booked one in but I don't seem to have received the report." "Come to that, I haven't received a copy either. Fortunately the operative this time was willing to chat me through it so I know the results were more or less as previously if not slightly improved." "Oh, that's helpful, good, nice isn't she, she's Portuguese?" "I had realised she was foreign but had not assessed her nationality. She was very young and obviously unfamiliar with things as she had a technical problem.' "Oh yes, that does happen, there is often discourse between us and our lab people, sometimes even with the manufacturers, its the complexity of the software. It is often us telling them things from our experience rather than necessarily us asking them but sometimes our own technical staff get hung up on something." "That's what happened this time, your lab people were consulted on the phone and then decided to advise the department to contact the manufacturers direct. I thought we were going to lose the after-noon but they got it going again within half-an-hour."
Then, of course, there is the dietician through my GP. His blood tests indicated potential Type 2 diabetes. She recommended minor adjustments to my diet, wasn't in a flap about it, wanted me to lose a kilogram in six months and technically could describe me as diabetic. I said that if it wasn't essential, "no" as I was about to renew my car insurance and I didn't want the hassle with DVLA sooner than necessary. We then pushed the date back another six months and the other week a year on from the first warning result apparently the blood balance is slightly improved. She doesn't want to see me for a year."
"The dentist couldn't repair a shattered tooth and we decided to leave the stub as it was. Fortunately the nerve had already gone and the rest of my teeth are not yet greatly disintegrating [another fad of Sjögren’s]. The ophthalmologist confirmed a vestige potential of glaucoma but high blood pressure behind the eye is responding to drops and cataract formation remains slow. That puts you in the whole picture"
"Now, what's your immediate problem?"
I listed what I have previously outlined here and concluded: "Speaking subjectively, all I think happened is that I allowed myself to catch a stomach chill. I've been aware for some time that my body temperature control is at least slow to respond to temperature changes and with travelling and changes in the weather over the last few days, when I did strip off, as I used to do as a younger man not wearing a vest, I allowed myself to catch a chill."
I recall, many years back, seeing an elderly man basking in the summer sun on his lawn while still wearing a winter weight cardigan, while I was in summer thin cotton shirt, shorts and bare feet in sandals. I commented on it in one of my "Suburbia" poems in my book Gone Fishing! [not yet available electronically]. It seems I've reached that age!
"YES! It is absolutely crucial you do not let yourself get run down. Don't be worried about possible side effects from the steroids causing you glaucoma, that's a separate issue. The amount you are having is only the amount your body would normally provide were you functioning properly [again a clear example of interaction between the professionals] and in a hospital situation we would have immediately doubled the dose for the period of your illness. I'll write a note to your GP." "I had appreciated, when all energy simply evaporated from me in just twenty minutes, that the extra dose you had prescribed had been having a beneficial effect. The last six to eight weeks when i have been fatigued, it is really extreme tiredness, in relation to when I had previously felt fatigued."
"All in all I don't think we need meet again for nine or twelve months, let's say nine to be on the safe side, Cheers!"
Departing the hospital I avoided the coin machine, going first to the car as the last time I had paid my car park ticket I had then found the car park was open to all and I had spent £3 unnecessarily. Only on returning with coins did I discover the exit barrier was no longer there, apparently someone had just driven through it and left it lying on the ground. The half-a-dozen people already queuing at that machine for paying had not noticed and looked at one another in gawped astonishment that they had not previously noticed either!
It was also the time when 'out of school' traffic was congesting the roads, so I diverted out of High Wycombe, up the Hughenden valley, towards Aylesbury, diverting trough Wendover Not only is this a pleasant country run but Wendover houses one of Rumsey's tea/coffee shops.
I was introduced to Rumsey's chocolates through a present from my brother-in-law but had not realised they also had cafés. This was not easy for I was still feeling delicate yet could not resist, especially when I found their after-noon tea was Twining's strong breakfast tea, my favourite all day tea.
I chose a cherry cheesecake with cream as the safest bet for a delicate stomach and finally selected one of each of the twenty-five different hand made chocolates on display, with a card so I could identify them for a future occasion.
No, this is not a contradiction with being a diabetes risk. Unless you are critical, diets are much more rational. "A little of what you fancy..." or, as applies to so much in life, do things judiciously!
Mulling things over, I am convinced the GP should be the co-ordinator, with extended facilities and all health aspects directed through them, including dentistry and ophthalmology. The government seems to be going in the right direction. Like religion, the NHS seems to have ignored the reality of creation insisting on remaining stuck viewing things as they were not recognising that creation is a continual state of change. More on that tomorrow.
MONDAY16th JUNE 2014
Hit by one of my health vagaries, a nearly completely messed up weekend turned into a superb triumph. Mercifully, my health is more a diversity of damned nuisances than actual illness. An advance plan was a day's conference in Swindon, followed by a visit to friends in the south west. Circumstances determined everything be abandoned and i contented myself with just a local family visit, which i had previously turned down. Grabbing the moment upon the spur, I charged off on the Friday.
The Bolingbroke Arms is a slightly smaller version of the superb pub in which another branch of the family and I enjoyed a superb lunch on my extended birthday travels which had led me East towards Norwich. This time it was dinner, a superb diversity of opportunities for which I finally settled on braised chicken with spring vegetable rolls; braised pork medallions; apple and cinnamon pie; by which time I was ready for a superb sleep, in an excellent bed, in a spacious room.
Fully prepared for a full day, the satisfaction of so superb an evening meal should have contented me to lunch but as there were no restaurant facilities at the conference I reckoned I should at least nibble at a full breakfast (as excellent as the evening's dinner had been) just in case. I am one of those who travel with a spare for the spare, just in case.
Continued on Thursday 19th June.
SATURDAY 7th JUNE 2014 [daily snapshots]
ON THIS AND THAT
BT has suddenly decided to rationalise its email service and caused all sorts of chaos. All that was needed was a simple list of possible ways of using the service and next to each option a URL connect for the details. Instead I get a page of all other things BT are doing which simply got in the way of the simplicity needed. I used Google and found the relevant i formation on my own i initiative and sorted it. Then BT email me (once I have managed to sort it all out and start receiving my email as I used to) saying they have changed things, which connections don't actually work! They also have the temerity to expect me to respond to them within a specific time frame. Their total inability to understand that I pay them for them to run round me is incredible.
Friday 7th June was a superb day. I watched the BBC's TV coverage of D-Day celebrations throughout the day. Many thoughts come to mind. Just how damned close we were to losing. While our professionals may well be up to the job today, I wonder if the rest of us could muster what those originally plain, ordinary people managed. I know I haven't that stamina but allowing for the age they were, I wonder if even then I could muster what they did but I suppose if the chips are really down, as they were then, what they did is no different from those laying down their lives for their causes today. What I question is, are those causes as just and valid as our causes were then?
The Ukraine appears to have been the result of Putin's incompetence. Instead of saying, "I'm afraid my predecessors made a complete pig's ear of our relationships over the Crimea, where we obviously have vested interests and you want to go towards the West, could we sort out out where we have differences and move our separate ways amicably? Instead he seems to have made a complete pig's ear of what should have been a perfectly amicable arrangement, monitored through the UN if necessary. So how did we get to the present state of affairs, other than declaring it as yet another Russian cock-up, for which we should not be condemnatory? After all, look at the EU!
The highlight is the convergence of diversity to a common purpose but that common purpose highlighting the very differences that make the situation a whole. The richness of Europe is its diversity. The past history that brings this celebration is reminding us of the lack of moral code: that evil does exist and is able to manifest itself with great force and does so by demolition of each individual opposing force. Evil is panicked by the richness of diversity and diversity is what life is all about. Another argument for it being God created, diversity best combats evil.
It does not matter the interpretation one puts on life: religious or scientific. The reality is a state of continual change. Natural life defies conformity. So where, in any belief, explanation or dogma is rational to aim for conformity? Conformity is to deliberately set out to defy creation. Religion has shown this concept fails: it has simply split into diverse opinions, purportedly over different interpretations of the substance in which they are all supposed to be in agreement. It is irrational and rationality is part of creation!
Why then, when diverse religious views have proved that conformity to a common construct does not work and when other attempts to regulate and formalise society have also been proved to fail, does the EU persist in forcing a conformity across a range of such extraordinary diversities. What did D-Day show us, that when the cause is right, diversity can merge for a common purpose but that conformity comes from within, for the specific purpose, yet all the while retaining the openness of their diversities. It is something that derives from within it is not something that is thrust upon from outside.
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