A New Direction

We watched a few episodes of Diagnosis Murder this morning and ate a substantial brunch. I’m beginning to get used to this relaxation, though I’m definitely going to have to curb my portion size.

I am going to be on bean salad tomorrow, and can only guess at the horrors that will open up as I start eating “sensibly”. That, in my experience, means eating things you don’t like because they are good for you. It’s good, because you eat less of it if you don’t like it. However, would you rather live to be 70 on a diet of chips, pies and chocolate, or would you prefer to live to 80 on bean salad and virtue?

Seventy is a bit close now, so I’m thinking of interlacing a certain amount of salad with the pie and chips.

Tonight it’s home made beef pie. Tomorrow it’s seafood spaghetti and the day after it’s fishcakes with rice and vegetables. Wednesday is sweet potato and chickpea curry.

I’m starting overnight oats for breakfast again and salads for lunch.

I’ll give it a week. I can mange the healthy evening meal, with the odd takeaway, and the overnight oats. But a week of lunchtime salads will be plenty. Man is not meant to function without cheese and pickle sandwiches and pork pies. But he’s not meant to function in shirts that strain at the front with the curve of a galleon in full sail.


Overnight Oats with Fruit

The Geese Take Flight

It was a generally average Saturday. Nippy enough to tell you it was autumn but not cold enough for a coat. Moderate amount of activity in the shop and time enough to increase my knowledge of eBay. I have decided I need to become a better eBay user, both for my work and for myself. I really can’t put it off much longer as I need to reduce my collection and generate some cash.

The photographs are more from the visit to the gardens earlier in the week. There is a threat of frost this weekend and I thought I’d get a few final shots of the nasturtiums before the frost flattens them. The first frost and the devastated nasturtiums is, for me, the saddest sight of the year.

The header picture shows a skein of geese flying south. During the summer they fly in to the Trent every morning, where they gather on the river to feed and mug passers-by. AS winter moves on, they start flying away instead. It can be tricky taking a picture of geese in the sky with just a scratched screen for a viewing aid. I just pointed the camera at the honking and pressed the button every time the green square indicated I was focussed on something. It seemed to work.


I will close now as I need to get on with a few jobs.

CT17, IP1 and TN21

Those are the final three from the list.

CT is Canterbury, but CT 17 covers part of Dover. It’s famous for its White Cliffs, which have never had bluebirds over them, despite what the song says. It’s also famous for its Roman Lighthouse , the tallest surviving Roman structure in Britain, and for the only Roman wall painting outside Italy.

I’ll keep it fairly general as I’m not really sure how much of Dover this code covers.

I used to stay in a Bed & Breakfast in Dover Docks when I reared chickens in the South East. The cheapest rooms were downstairs in the cellar, really just a sort of cell with no windows. It was cheap and as I sleep with my eyes closed the surroundings didn’t really matter. The breakfast was large and the proprietor was efficient and lacking in all false bonhomie. And all genuine bonhomie too, if I’m honest. I’m not much of a one for small talk when I’m stoking up at breakfast so that suited me too.

IP1, as you might guess from the previous post, is in Ipswich.

It’s a nice town, the 42nd largest built up area in England and Wales in 2011. It has also won awards for being friendly, clean and good to work in.

There’s much more, but again, I’m not sure how much is actually in IP1.

Finally – TN21. That’s back to Kent – Tonbridge. It includes Royal Tunbridge Wells. This is slightly confusing in normal speech – Tunbridge and Tonbridge.

TN21 includes the wonderfully named village Cross in Hand. This is actually in East Sussex. Such are the vagaries of the postcode system. It has a pub called The Cross in Hand.

The first record of the village is under the name of Cruce Manus in 1547. It’s supposedly Latin for Cross in Hand but doesn’t seem quite right – no “in” for a start. This comes from a legend that Crusader used to muster here before trekking off to the desert to die. They were not a particularly successful set of wars for us.

The Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham was supposedly named for the same reason. I tend to grow cynical once the Crusaders are mentioned. Apart from Nottingham Crusaders – an old Nottingham Rugby League Club.


Michaelmas Daisies – Wilford Mencap Gardens


Todays pictures are dew soaked Michaelmas daisies from the gardens when I dropped Julia off. We’re a few weeks after Michaelmas, but they are still going strong.


More Postcodes

Postcodes today. As usual, all my palns have fallen apart so I’m falling back on the old favourites.

IP 23, CT 17 and TS 25.

We’ll start with TS 25. I used to live in Middlesbrough (note the single “o”), though I was in TS3. It was not the most sought after location and from our ninth floor flat we were able to spend a year watching people dismantle the last vestiges of shipbuilding on the Tees. They replaced it with a retail park. We could see two nuclear plants from our flat – the private one at ICI a few miles down the road (though we had to stick our heads out of the kitchen window to do it) and the one at Hartlepool.

The one at Hartlepool is in the TS 25  postcode area. Normally they put nuclear power stations in desolate areas of the country, often surrounded by open country and beaches. In the case of Hartlepool they got the desolate bit right but put it within easy nuking distance of Middlesbrough and Hartlepool. If the whole thing had lit up it wouldn’t have made a lot of difference to the surrounding area, as a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland was basically the look the town planners had already achieved. The ability to glow in the dark would have been a positive step forward.

Like Heysham, Hartlepool was one of the later generation of nuclear power stations seen as being safe enough to build near towns. This means it is easier to get the electricity where it nweeds to be without damaging the environment with pylons. On the other hand…

IP 23 is in Sufflok and includes Brome, a village containing one of the 38 round-towered churches in Suffolk. I imagine this was because they couldn’t get the hang of corners. It’s probably good for strength or economy, but not much good for furniture. I’ve always wondered how you go about furnishing a windmill after converting one to living accommodation.

There are 185 of them in the UK. That’s out of a total of 16,000 churches.

CT 17 will have to wait as it’s time for a fix of junk TV.

Today’s photo is a large cast iron coat of arms – the state of Württemberg fro those of you who are interested. It’s up for auction and we are prepared to put it in the post if you feel the urge to pay for the stamps.

An even quicker post

Twenty one minutes.

We went out today, did some errands, went to see Dad, ate pasties, had loads of great photo opportunities (autumn leaves, steelwork, cranes and a concrete pump, red kites and a great sunset) and really regretted leaving the camera at home. It’s almost a universal law that the day you leave the camera at home you get the best photo ops.

That’s why I’m going to throw yet another random photo into the post.

I won two games of dominoes this afternoon. My Dad also won two and he’s 90 and more than slightly confused. He spent a lot of his life being competitive and skilful with numbers and these seem to be two key values that he has retained despite the challenges. It sets my two victories in perspective, because I really was trying.

Julia won two games too, despite not playing to win and my sister won one game despite actively trying to lose. All in all I have to face the possibility I’m not very good at dominoes.

I enjoyed my relaxed night so much last night that I tried it again. Hence the quick post. Wednesday nights have been TV nights recently because it’s The Apprentice, followed by Taskmaster. We’ve started watching The Circle too, so now we’ll have to watch a repeat of Taskmaster later in the week.

I’m not particularly proud of my TV viewing, but it could have been worse. Julia has spent all night swearing at an origami book and throwing screwed up paper on the floor. I take it that the paper folding is not going well.

She’s generally very good at origami, but new additions to her repertoire are often a bit of a struggle. I have learnt several new words from her failed attempts…

Photos are the Gold 50p coin we had a few weeks ago – it commemorates the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. It’s strange we are now celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 50p coin. How fast does time go?

Just a Quick Post

Tonight I decided that I’d be a good husband for once. Not that good, not sensitive or empathetic, or even generous, but I greeted her with a peck on the cheek, a cup of tea and a bubbling stew.

She was, to be honest, a little nonplussed. I may, over the years, have deviated a bit from the romantic ideal of husbandry. As Julia has pointed out, when she took me for better or worse, richer for poorer and in sickness and in health, she had been thinking of them as a list of options rather than a blueprint for the future.

I’ve been sitting by the TV being sociable this evening, though feeling a bit twitchy at times when I’ve wanted the inetrnet to look something up.

However, it’s character forming when you don’t get what you want, so it’s done me good tonight.

Julia muttered something about forming a lot of character over the last thirty years.

At that point I made her a nice milky coffee and sneaked off to blog.

The pictures are Irish 50 p pieces – they only had the two designs – normal and the 1988 commemorative for the Dublin millennium. They didn’t do the small size 50p because they went to the Euro instead. And they don’t have a rash of cheap and nasty commemoratives like us because they have some vestige of self-respect.

They have nothing to do with me being a good husband but it’s the 50th anniversary of the 50p coin and these were the easiest pictures to access.

There’s nowt so strange as folk…

I once bought a collection of 107 owls. They were no bigger than two inches tall, with some being under an inch, and none were by recognised potters. Most of them had been sourced from gift shops or charity shops and as a collection they were a pleasant, if slightly eccentric, thing to look at.

Owls are nice. If it had been a collection of vultures I might have felt slightly different about it.

I tell you this to set the scene relating to another collection we bought recently. It consisted of about ten pound of mint condition decimal copper with a few five and ten pence coins.

Most of them were carefully laid out in plastic bags before being rolled up and taped into ribbons of coins, but a substantial number were individually wrapped. Some were wrapped like sweets but the majority were taped into individual flat packets. Cutting the pieces of plastic from a larger bag must have been laborious, but the effort of wrapping them was Herculean.

And no, we don’t know why he had done it like that. I just assume that he was old and had time on his hands. In those circumstances some of us blog, others wrap coins tightly in bits of surplus plastic and cellophane. Goodness knows what I will be doing in a few years time.

People think that they are protecting the coin but in fact, the chemicals that make up plastic contain a lot off sulphur, which discolours coins. Over the years they have developed plastics that do less damage to coins. AS you can see from the colours of some of these coins, these weren’t wrapped in low sulphur plastic.

Anyway, my job was to remove all the wrappings.

I’ve had more exciting jobs, but I still paid whether I’m excited or not.



Decimal 1/2 p coins – not worth much in 1971 and worth less now