More Covid

I assumed, in the early stages of Covid, that we had caught it at the same time and that Julia’s infection was worse than mine because I had had so many vaccinations.

Turns out I was wrong. Last night the main event started – temperature, shivering, thirst. loss of appetite, and a cough. Every time I cough I sound like a pair of Victorian bellows and feel like my bronchial tubes have been cleaned with a wire brush. I have done no work, no cooking and not much talking. Mainly I have coughed, spluttered, wheezed , slept and whined. One of the neighbours brought us a pot of tomato soup. The tomatoes were from their garden and were very good.

On Monday I will have to find out how this affects my Wednesday blood test – they may not want me in the surgery. It’s also going to delay my Covid booster, which is now due.

Now that the Covid has become more severe I am starting to worry that I will end up with another post-Covid slump. I do hope not, as I would hate another barren patch like the last one.

In the end, I got downstairs just before lunch, had a sandwich, watched two episodes of Murder She Wrote and a black and white Sherlock Holmes film – The House of Fear.

It’s not very sophisticated or complicated, but it was just what I needed this afternoon.

Then I went back to bed, woke up, ate the gift of soup, sat round watching rubbish on TV and decided to blog. I feel I’m not as sharp as I could be, but am a lot better than last time I had Covid.

I’m going to go and talk to Julia now then go to bed early. I expect I will have bad dreams and wake up far too early in the morning.

Orange Parker Pen

Covid, Filing and a Cough

As promised earlier, more dullness.

Time for dinner. We are planning something more substantial today, as appetites are coming back. I will probably still snooze all afternoon, because that’s what I would do even without Covid.

I’ve just finished sorting through dsh or Drifting Sands Haibun if you prefer a title that tells you something about the magazine. I’ve added seven more Haibun to my list, though it’s hard work. They do something  with the formatting of the haiku and I can’t work out what it is. I can’t cut and paste successfully, I can’t alter them manually after I’ve pasted, and I can’t even re-write them as there appears to be something in the gap that messes things up. It is like they explode when I move them. I will sort it in time – either with a flash of technical inspiration or by rewriting the whole thing. Even if I have to write them all manually, it isn’t a big job.

As a bit of light relief I ordered groceries for delivery. Next week is going to be focussed on vegetables and I have actually done a menu plan for the week. I say plan, possibly “guide” would be more accurate. I have a list of dishes in my head, I have the ingredients and I just need to sort it out into order.

Five minutes later . . .


Now I have some Tanka to sort as I go through my thoughts to find more subject matter.

Much later . . .

I have now traced 33 Tanka, 27 haiku/Senryu, 10 Tanka Prose and 14 Haibun. That’s 84 poems. I also know where my published western style poems are, so that’s an extra 21. Total – 105. I stopped counting after 100 so I’m not sure how many are left to find. Whatever it is, it’s a lot less than it was two days ago.

After a nearly two hours digging in archives, I have found another 7 Haibun and 3 Tanka prose. There were others, but I’ve already extracted them by way for looking at old submissions in my email boxes. That’s 115 and I suspect that I can still find at least ten more.

Having looked at my submissions record and thought about things, if I can find that 10 extras that’s probably about all I’ve written. It’s not an interesting pursuit, and it doesn’t make for a particulalrly interesting read, but it is my life.

Covid, filing and a cough. I think I just found my title.

Bean Soup with pumpkin seeds – my attempt at being healthy and sophisticated

Dull and Dullability

I’ve had two or three goes at starting this post and they have all petered out. I decided to take a break and pay an invoice, and found that I had several messages on my phone. I haven’t picked it up since ringing work on Wednesday. In that time I have been sent three messages – hardly the most thriving social life, but more than usual. One is a get well soon message, one is a picture of an Edward VIII post box and one is delivery details for my injector pens.

It seems, despite it not triggering the spellchecker, that dullability isn’t a word. Ah! It didn’t trigger the spellchecker in the title, but it has done in the text. I see it as a late Victorian to 1930s word. It should mean the ability to be dull, implying a certain amount of choice and style, calling some one dullable would be similar to calling them clubbable. Of course, they wouldn’t be as sociable as a clubbable person. It would have taken a knock in the Great War, as shellfire is generally considered to be the antithesis of dullness, and WW2 would have polished it off completely as aerial bombing followed by TV would have made dullability all but impossible. It would be such a useful word . . .

Covid, for instance, would allow it to flourish, as people work from home and no longer socialise with workmates. Or merely sit at home struggling to find 250 reasonably interesting words. I could release myself from the shackles of cheeriness and moan to my heart’s content if only it were possible for people to refer to me as a dullable sort of chap.

A two part photo hit – we have been eating soup, but dreaming of cake.

I may use that in a poem.

There will be more dullness later today.

Sticky Toffee Cake

Our Private Lockdown

At the moment, my eyes feel a little hot and tired, I occasionally cough and I have a sniffle. Last night I had an upset stomach and the suspicion of a temperature. In my mind I have the symptoms of a very mild cold. The main problem is that I am feeling very tired, and that isn’t really a notable problem as I often feel tired.

Nothing I have is unusual, and, if anything, I am feeling better than I did a couple of days ago. IT could be a cold or it could be “being under the weather” as we used to say. Nothing registered with me to tell me I was ill. Julia was much the same. Her symptoms are a little worse than mine, though she has had no stomach problems. She has had headaches for several days though. I was duly sympathetic, but didn’t really think much about COVID until last night.

After a day where I made her do nothing (which isn’t easy), relax (ditto) and keep warm, she showed no improvement.

That was when it clicked. COVID! So she did a test. Positive. Then she did another one to check, and it occurred to me after our last COVID infection, that I’d better test too. Both positive. As I say, I don’t really feel ill, though I did feel very tired last night.

Watch out people – this new one creeps up on you!

I rang the shop last night and we arranged for me to stay away for five days. Julia rang her manager last night, who didn’t answer, so rang again this morning. It seems three clients, including one Julia has been in close contact with, have all reported being positive. Of course, having learning difficulties, they don’t always notice, and even when they do they have been known to turn up and tell staff they are positive. Sometimes the staff at residential homes actually send them when they are positive because they don’t want them hanging round during the day.

I’m so glad we are retiring next year.

Fortunately we have cake. Julia bought some earlier in the week, excusing herself with the words “You never know when you might need some.”

Clementine Drizzle cake with pistachio topping


The Day Continues . . .

The previous post covered a few things I had in mind this morning when I sat down. This one will cover the sitting down bit. I woke at 7.28, a little late than normal but not bad seeing as I hadn’t set an alarm.

I was downstairs and ready to work by 8.00 and started – read emails, respond and file as necessary, answer WP Comments, organise my Inbox (including deleting over a hundred mails that were just hanging around), answer feedback requests from Amazon and eBay (which I had allowed to back up). Eat breakfast (prepared by Julia), do the washing up, start on reorganising my files on Open Office. The enthusiasm for that lasted about 20 minutes, Strat on the list of my published poems.

At one time I was very good about printing copies and used to keep a file of them as a way of keeping my confidence up. It’s hard to become too downhearted if you have hard copies of successful submissions. I got a bit lazy after that and all I have now is the list of submissions.

Numbers are building up and, as Lavinia remarked a few days ago, I will soon have enough for  book. Of course, I need enough good ones, but it is encouraging to see them mount up towards book length.

My Orange Parker Pen

Julia has not been well for a few days and I have been doing my pathetic best to make her feel better, but in the absence of medical qualifications,  pharmacy and, most importantly, a cooperative patient, I haven’t made much headway. She is a nightmare as a patient as she never believes she is ill or should rest.

Finally, after giving it some thought (as I have also been a bit seedy for a few days, I suggested COVID tests).

Both of us have had runny noses, sore throats and tiredness and Julia has had headaches and now has a temperature too. All COVID symptoms, but all cold symptoms too. And I spend my life constantly feeling sleepy.

However, the tests revealed all and  it seems we have COVID again. We didn’t have particularly bad symptoms in 2021 when we had it, and they don’t seem too bad  at the moment. We also have plenty of food. Guidance for work is that we should avoid contact with people for five days so we are off until Monday. It’s inconvenient for work but there’s not a lot we can do about it. Julia definitely can’t associate with her group while she is infectious and it really isn’t a good idea for me to go to the shop while I’m infectious as a number of our customers are elderly or immunosuppressed, or both.

Definitely a day of two halves. It started so well and ended on a rather depressing note.

Orange Parker Pen


Eat, Sleep, TV . . .

Yes, it’s another post about work/life balance. I have it about right, I think as I earn just about enough to buy food, fuel and add to my collection. In an ideal world I would earn more and buy more for my collection, but you can’t have everything and I’m in the fortunate position of having enough money to pay for the things I want, and only wanting the things I am able to afford. It’s not a luxurious life-style but it works for us. If I suddenly developed an urge to have holidays, stay in luxury hotels or have a new car every few years we would struggle, but we don’t. It’s Micawber syndrome.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.

Last night we dined as well as any of the Royal Houses of Europe – roasted cauliflower, mustard cheese sauce, roasted leeks and sweet and sour brussels and mushrooms. You don’t need swan, truffles and caviar to live well. The basis for my menu choices I hear you ask . . .

Well, I had planned cauliflower steaks but there was an element of softness entering into some of the florets due to me not getting on with it last week, so I cut it up and roasted it. We had the remains of a bag of ready grated cheese in the fridge. We had leeks. We had too many mushrooms due to a breakdown in communication. And I found the brussels at the back of the fridge while I was getting the mushrooms.

Yes, I share your incredulity at the stuff we put in our fridge, but Julia insists on cramming it with stuff that should really be in the vegetable rack and thirty years of marriage have failed to make her see sense.

When we move she wants a bigger fridge so she can store even more random things in it and make life even more difficult for me.

Header photo is of a previous roasted cauliflower meal, with healthy veg and nut cutlets.. Last nights efforts ween’t particularly photogenic. And I was hungry by the time I’d finished. The lower picture is just random vegetables.

Edit (later in the day): See the next post for more news of our mixed day.

Stir Fry Vegetables


Monday Monsoon

Another acceptance today, so the power of positive thinking marches on . . .

It’s just one from a batch of ten but they all count, and nine of the ten are now available to use again. It makes life easier when you can do that. I’m hopeful that another two or three will find approval elsewhere.

The potato wedges are sizzling in the oven and it will soon be time to add the veggie burgers and prepare the buns. (Note: I may have deviated from the low carb regime of previous posts). We will be having watercress, and beefsteak tomatoes provided by a neighbour.

After that the quizzes will start and I will be away from the keyboard for a while.

Later . . .

Another design, but still no trousers.

very with the general knowledge sections of Mastermind. This has been a feature of this series. Even from my own relaxing armchair I cannot always outscore the contestants. I can still beat one or two, but I feel my edge is going.

Then on to Only Connect, where Victoria Coren-Mitchell wore a ridiculous mask through the programme. She sometimes does this sort of thing. It’s distracting and annoying.

Then on to University Challenge, where it turns out I know more about apples than one of the teams. We got a few right tonight, though I admit I can still go for several minutes without even understanding the questions.

Last night we had torrential rain and sheet lightning lit up the sky. I like it. Julia doesn’t.  It was majestic We had more rain today and will have more during the week. After that it will start to get colder too. It’s beginning to look a lot like winter.

A Crown, no trousers nd plenty of enamel.

Legacy and Diversity


As mentioned – a second post for the day.

I was discussing the concept of legacy the other day with one of the committee members. It was in relation to  particular aspect of the Society, but came round very quickly to the subject of membership. The Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire is 75 years old this year. It is about half the size it used to be, the members have an average age of (I informally calculate) 65 and we have one female member. I think I’m right in saying we also only have one member from an ethnic minority too. Not everybody actually attends so it is difficult to tell. I keep nagging Julia to join, despite her limited interest in coins, as, with her heritage, I could then claim to have doubled both the number of female and ethnic minority members.

The Bank of England hosted an Inclusive Numismatics conference last Friday. Our Chairman presented a paper, and used the Society logo on his slides. Ironically, it was crammed with an unrepresentative number of speakers from minorities and was rather artificial. However, the hobby needs participants, you need something to kick-start such initiatives, and it’s much better to hold an event than it is to talk about it trying to make it perfect. A hobby that is short of members is a hobby that is dying.

Gibraltar £20 Coin 2016. Made from silver salvaged from the SS Gairsoppa.

You hardly ever see a matchbox collector these days and cigarette card collectors are rare, and usually over 70. Both hobbies hold a warning for the rest of us.

If we carry on as we are we may not be about when we celebrate out100th Anniversary. The society is currently about half the size it was in the early days, and as cash disappears from our daily routines, it is likely that entry level collectors will disappear.  Over the years we have seen definite fluctuations in interest linked to the ways the Royal mint produces and releases coins. we have also seen a definite dip after lockdown, coinciding with fewer places accepting cash.

The immediate problem isn’t the number of members we can attract from minorities, but simply if the society can attract enough members of any sort. After that we can look at minorities and age profiles, though I’m not sure what we can do about it. We are open to anyone, but people just don’t seem to want to join.

£2 Coin 2016 – 350th Anniversary


The Power of Positive Thinking?

From January to August this year I made 22 submissions. In September (by the time I have finished two more which are nearly ready to go)  I will have made 11 submissions.

Whether it’s because of recovery from Long Covid, a recovery from self-doubt or because I read The Power of Positive Thinking, I don’t know. But it’s been a productive month.

So far I have had news of one short-listing and three acceptances, so it’s working out OK. It will be two or three weeks before I get much news, as editors normally wait until the end of the submission period before making their decisions. I know that the percentage of acceptances may be a little down, as I’m now submitting to new journals, or ones where I’ve been unsuccessful before, but it’s looking good.

Of course, a lot of things had to fall into place for this to happen, and it may not happen again for a few months. One was that I had to be producing. Two is that I had to have a month with plenty of potential. According to my list, it will December before I get such a month again, so I will have to spend the next couple of months building up a body of work. I’m hoping to avoid a situation like I had this month where I open up work that is “ready” to go and find that it hasn’t been completed. I think I mentioned that in an earlier post. My apologies for repeating myself.

So, to recap. I have just spent most of a post waffling on about writing again, which is often quite dull. On the other hand, my life is dull and this blog represents my life, so you knew what to expect when you started reading.

However, I have also provided and example of how positive thinking made a big difference  to my productivity. This is a lesson that can be applied to any area of life. You may even apply it to doing something useful or profitable. Both these aspects of positive thinking have escaped me but, looking on the bright side, writing keeps me happy and out of Julia’s way (the recipe for a long and happy marriage).

I now feel less dull and more like a public benefactor. See – I said it made me feel happy.

Julia picked the last of the tomatoes today. They have been small but very tasty.

Expect another post later. I am feeling full of words.

Savoury Porridge and Coins

Sorry, I’ve not been about much recently. I have no excuse. The travel last weekend and the push towards a dozen submissions for the month have all taken their toll, but I could have been more disciplined, and I fell short of my targets. Reluctantly, I am forced to admit that the years cannot be ignored and I am going to have to make some concessions to healthy living. More sleep, more fish and more savoury porridge.

Savoury porridge is something I have often thought of, but always dismissed. For one thing, I have always had a feeling that if it were possible, I’d have seen it on TV. For another, there are connotations of gruel hanging around the idea of savoury porridge and the shadow of the workhouse is never far away. However, I saw an example of Billy Mann’s blog and though it is visually questionable, it seems nutritious and simple.

Penguins on Falklands 50p coin

Looking on the internet, I found this site. Looks like I’m missing out. Not sure I’m keen on their suggestions, or on eating it for breakfast, but at least I’m not going to be regarded as a culinary eccentric. I probably won’t be able to persuade Julia, but for those days when I’m left to fend for myself, I can feel some experimentation coming on.

Apart from the savoury porridge I’ve also discovered that I still have some  vestiges of my old sales skills. I am a product of the Tack school of salesmanship, as was my father. I just looked up Alfred Tack and wa amazed to see that apart from the sales training and books, he was also the author of a number of Golden Age detective novels. I never knew that. Anyway, I’ve been asking customers if they want to join the Numismatic Society and so far have recruited three,

It’s not the hardest sell, they are clearly interested in coins because they are in a coin shop. The fees are £5 a year, which is cheap, and this year they get a free book – the history of the first 75 years of the society. All you need to do is ask, which is where we have been deficient in previous years. I didn’t want to start interfering, but I’ve been in a few years now, and I think it’s time to start making some moves.

Silver Britannia coin (Special Edition)

All clubs need to work at improving, or they will wither and die. This is particularly true of a club where the average age of members is 65. I’ve started trying to encourage a bit more activity by taking a display down to each meeting, and I’ve set myself a target of adding ten members this year. It could take a bit of doing, but what use is a target if you don’t have to stretch a bit?

Pictures are numismatic based as I don’t, yet, have any pictures of savoury porridge.