Bear’s Guest Blog

It’s a bit nippy out, and there’s a North wind blowing across Nottingham as I type. You notice things like this when you have no trousers.

This cold wind may be a metaphor for the current state of world politics, if you think that a bear with a head full of viscose kapok is capable of metaphor. Or it may just be a weather report. Looking at our current crop of politicians, it’s clear that brains aren’t required, and in at least one case the stuffing appears to be leaking out.

The lack of trousers may also be a metaphor, depending on your view of the Prime Minister’s well-publicised private life.

boris stuffing

The lack of trousers is even more apparent when you spend a lot of time sitting in a tree. It wasn’t particularly cold during the photoshoot, but there was an element of chafing I didn’t particularly care for.

This isn’t the only deficiency in the knitting. You’d think if they expected you to type a blog they’d have managed a few fingers, wouldn’t you?

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Me amongst the cranesbill

However, I digress.

Today the two large moving objects that share the house went to visit something they call “the gardens”. This is different to “the garden” which is an area of untamed growth to the rear of what they call “the house”.

To get to the gardens we drove, which seems to be a process where the one with the furry face twiddles a few bits and pieces and offers a stream of helpful advice to other drivers.

The quiet one, who knitted me, mutters things like: “You really shouldn’t say things like that to people.”

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I keep pointing out I’m not a panda but it doesn’t seem to sink in

I remember her voice from the knitting, because she did my ears early on, though it was nearly a day before I could see her. It’s a pity she didn’t take a bit longer and add a few extras. I’ve already mentioned trousers and fingers, but when posing for photographs it might have helped to have had a few joints. There is a limited number of poses when you can’t bend anything, and I’m not going to be Playbear of the Week if I can’t strike a pose.

Fortunately I do have a winning smile and a twinkle in my eye.

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From this angle the lack of knees and elbows isn’t apparent, but this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop mentioning it

Out and About

We went to the gardens today to do some watering and check that everything was secured against the wind. It was 2.40 when we turned onto the Ring Road, We noted a short queue at Sainsbury’s (four people) but the Ring Road seemed to have plenty of traffic on it. As we passed the local McDonald’s we noted that the Drive Through was crowded, having now been open for two days. Forty-eight hours and the rush for junk food is already gripping the nation.

The verges and central reservations on the Ring Road are now being left longer as part of the new city bee initiative. having read it I see a lot of words, a lot of signs and a lot of onus being shifted to other people. What I don’t see is much action – unless you count saving money by mowing less. Pardon my cynicism, but I’ve seen this sort of thing before, and though I welcome it, I’m not sure how committed they really are. However, I’m glad to see them making the effort.

bee-friendly-logo

We saw two different sorts of sin and there is, I see from the website, for parks. Councils love signs.

We went past the roadworks near the shop and saw nobody working, before crossing the bridge and seeing nobody working there either. To be fair they may be underground, or under the bridge. Or they may not.

The Co-op on Wilford Lane had a queue of two. At the school they are putting signs up for the return next week. The yellow lines are for social distancing as they queue to get into school. The nation really loves a queue. If we defeat corona virus it will be because of queues and fines for petty offences.

 

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Social Distancing

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Return to School

We left at 4pm and noticed the queue at the Co-op had grown to 12 while we’d been away.

The queue at Sainsbury’s now stretched the length of the shop front.

I managed a shot of an unkempt central reservation on the way back, and the queue at McDonald’s. Unfortunately we didn’t stop in the right place to photograph the signs.

Bee Friendly Central Reservation

Bee Friendly Central Reservation

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Stampede for Junk Food

Stampede for Junk Food

After fish and chips from Captain Cod (support your local shop) we went to TESCO to pick up this week’s order. Apart from the large white cobs I’d ordered. There will be no classic bacon cobs for breakfast tomorrow. There were no substitutes. I am not happy.

The Mask of Borro

I’m doing some research for an article which I am writing, when I came across a reference to Zorro. In my mind this was translated to Borro, as Boris the blonde buffoon is always in my thoughts. As the government is now threatening to fine people for not wearing masks on public transport the title of the post took shape in my mind – The Mask of Borro!

To be honest, that is as far as it goes. I don’t have the enthusiasm to pursue the Prime Minister and lambast either his advisor, his lack of leadership or his disorderly life.

The government policy on face covering, like many features of their handling of the lockdown, has not reflected credit on them. I don’t mind them making decisions, even wrong ones. But I do mind them flapping and vacillating and wobbling about. That’s it. I now wash my hands of them.

Lobby-card-The-Mark-of-Zorro-Rouben

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation –  Lobby Card 

I note, in passing, that it’s also possible to write lambaste and adviser and still be correct. Spelling is a remarkably flexible area, even in the twenty first century.

I have been storing a title in my drafts for several years now – Polishing, Pondering and Plagiarism – because I liked the alliteration. It would be hard to assemble all the necessary elements for a post. Over the years I have thought of adding and subtracting – Pontification and Procrastinating both being considered for inclusion at one time – but I’ve never managed to write a post that drew the elements together in a convincing matter.

Yesterday, as I was thinking in the car, I decided that I really ought to use it, even if I only used it to introduce a post on titles I would love to use. Unlike the Corvid 19 joke, where I knew that I would get a photo of a crow sooner or later, it is unlikely I will ever need this title.

It will now never be used as a title because, although I was going to use it for this post, I then thought of the Borro title.

I have several others stored away too.

Vandetta was going to be a post about the way white van drivers seem to have it in for me when I’m out driving. I’m not sure if they bear a grudge against all car drivers, the Highway Code or just me, but it does seem like it’s personal.

Cyclots was one I was storing up for a post about one-eyed cyclists doing stupid things. I don’t actually remember seeing any one-eyed cyclists, so I’m thinking it’s unlikely that I’ll be needing it in the near future either.

I’m currently working on a post merging the worlds of politics and astronomy. There are, unfortunately, too many politicians and only one planet with comedy potential (and even that comedy potential is limited for anyone over the age of 14). I will therefore keep my fingers crossed that Michael Gove is made Minister for Space Exploration, because only when that precise combination of unlikely circumstances coincide, will it be appropriate to write a post titled Michael Gove looks like Uranus.

Michael_Gove

Counting My Blessings

The garden needs a lot of tidying, and some new fencing, but as you can see from the photos, the patio is looking good. This is due to Julia’s hard work. So, blessings one and two – a colourful patio display and an apple tree with 14 apples on it.We will have to wait for the June drop to see how things develop.

Blessing Number Three – Julia still doesn’t realise she married an idiot. I am doing my best to hide this from her, though I think it is slowly dawning on her that after 30 years I have shown no signs of improvement.

I have a job. I may not have enjoyed it much this morning when I went back to work but it pays the bills and, more importantly. over the last couple of months it allowed me to be furloughed. If I had still be self-employed the last few months would have been a lot harder. I am slightly ashamed of myself for not sticking with self-employment but accepting that job offer two years ago has proved to be a smart move.

I still have my health. It may seem, as I grumble and gripe, and throw down handfuls of pills, that I am not the healthiest of people. This is true, but I’m a lot better off than many of the people I chat to in various waiting rooms. However, most, if not all, my health problems are caused by my complete disregard for diet and exercise, so I have only myself to blame.

That’s five reasons to be cheerful, which is quite enough optimism for one day.

Sherwood, Nottingham

Sherwood, Nottingham

Pictures are from the garden on the day we had afternoon tea.

An Uncanny Resemblance

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Banana Bread Face

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Teddy Bear climbing a tree

Yes, after two and a half months of lockdown I’ve finally relinquished my grip on reality and started to write a post on the similarities between Julia’s Banana Bread and the teddy bear she knitted last month.

Last night I had my new, increased dose of methotrexate. I’m hoping it works because the arthritis is very difficult to cope with at the moment. However, after a week or so of moaning about arthritis I’m going to give it a rest now. I’m just reporting that the increased dose has not brought on any side effects, and I’m hoping all that is behind me now.

This morning I dropped Julia off at the gardens and went to work for the first time in 72 days. I think it’s 72 days, anyway. It’s certainly been a long time.

The first thing I had to do was ring the boss and ask what the alarm code was because I had forgotten it. He wasn’t much better and initially gave me the wrong one. I think it may have been his PIN number. We’re both a bit rusty.

I’ll draw a veil over life in the newly re-organised shop because I’m not particularly happy with the reorganisation for a number of reasons. The main one is that it’s meant a lot of disruption and has produced nothing of benefit that I can see, either in terms of health or efficiency.

Julia is finding the same at the gardens. I will draw a similar veil over that.

Least said, soonest mended.

I just wish that the people in charge would actually think things through. It’s a bit like when we were on the farm. People mistake change for improvement. They think tidiness is the same as hygiene. And they think that if they move something they are doing something useful.

This bear has more brains than many of the managers I have suffered under. And so does the banana bread.

A Bear of Very Little Brain

 

Scone Chronicles – 38 – Tea in the Garden

We had tea and cake in the garden this afternoon. As Julia had gone to the trouble of baking banana bread I thought this called for a revival of the Scone Chronicles.

She has been working away in the garden all lockdown and the patio is looking like the sort of place you might find a new species of beetle. Or even a lost tribe.

As you can see, we also had Battenberg, though that came from the shop. Life really is too short to make your own Battenberg. We’ve had Battenberg nearly every week since the start of lockdown, which is one of the brighter spots of the last couple of months.It’s a very reliable cake, and usually cheap. Other budget cakes can be a bit hit and miss, while other, pricier, cakes can be be covered in calories and three or four times more expensive. There is a case to be made which suggests Battenberg is an aid to dieting, but that might be pushing it a bit, even for me.

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Banana Bread and Battenberg

The banana bread was excellent – moist, tasty and light without being soggy or crumbling. Fortunately we still have some left. This is the advantage of afternoon tea at home – plenty of chance for second helpings. I won’t recommend it too heartily as I don’t want to have to queue for a table next time I’m here. It is possible for venues to become too popular and I don’t like crowds.

It’s back to work tomorrow. However, the good news is that I have two days off after that.

As I sit and think, it occurs to me that about 68 years ago my parents were married in the time of sugar rationing. I’m now, despite the recent shortages from panic buying, able to buy more sugar than is good for me. History can be a strange thing.

Later we had banana bread for supper with a nice cup of tea. It was slightly drier than when we had last eaten it, but still good. We have enough left for a couple of good slices, but will probably butter them.

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Is it just me. or does the position of dried fruit and plate decoration make this slice look like a face?

 

A Cheap and Easy Meal

Take a bag of ready chopped stir-fry veg, a pack of noodles and some sauce. Put them in a wok, mix them together and let them heat through.

It takes ten minutes, is very simple and is safe for those of us with poor knife skills.

I ordered it from TESCO as a special offer package deal on our last Click & Collect order but they didn’t have any sauce so they just sent me the veg and noodles. I wasn’t happy and really, if they don’t have all three offer items, they shouldn’t just send you two. Fortunately I had suitable sauce so we were OK.

Cost about £2 for two large portions. It could have been cheaper if we’d cut our own veg into little strips but a few pence seems good value to avoid cutting my fingers. It’s healthy, though I’m sure the sauce has a lot of sugar in it.

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Stir Fry Vegetables

Note how I have avoided mentioning flavour. It’s quite bland, even with a good helping of plum sauce, and the bean sprouts can be overpowering. It would probably benefit from some prawns or meat, but as we are trying to cut down our meat consumption, we are trying to like the taste of vegetables.

That isn’t quite fair, as I do like the taste of carrots, parsnips, peas, beans, chickpeas, broccoli, cabbage and onions, to name just a few. It’s bean sprouts I’m not that keen on, they are watery and they somehow seem to kill the flavour of the meal. They aren’t just tasteless, they seem to drain flavour and make everything else seem less tasty. When we are doing our own stir fry we tend not to use them, though I suppose we really should start growing our own as they are cheap and easy.