New Windows!

No, not the computer version, proper bits of glass. I’m struggling to find a subject for tonight’s post, so this is where I will start.

We now have windows in the shop, replacing the chipboard and angle-iron that we’ve had for the last month. There are a few odds and ends to clear up but at least people won’t keep coming in and asking: “Have you had a robbery?”

My suggestion to stop that happening was to play Vera Lynn records and claim to be re-enacting the Blitz. This suggestion was not taken up.

Nor was my suggestion of telling them to mind their own business. It seems that people have a right to ask questions. Even stupid questions that we’ve heard fifty times before.

The problem is that it isn’t really the weather for sitting in a shop with missing glass, and I still haven’t warmed up. It took three hours.

We now have armoured glass in the doors, which should resist an attack like the last one. However, someone with a little intelligence and a flexible blade could probably remove a panel in a couple of minutes. It’s all a question of how much effort people are prepared to put in, and how much time they want to spend doing it.

As we saw when viewing the recording of the last robbery, they like to be in and out in a couple of minutes. If you can hold them out a few minutes extra they will go somewhere else.

It’s tough luck on the people who are “somewhere else” but that’s life.

The peacock was in the farmyard at Gigrin Farm. I took it when we went to see the Red Kites. It’s the nearest thing to a window I have in a photo.

A Trip to Town

As if I haven’t suffered enough already it’s the Numismatic Society of Nottingham tonight and the subject is the Pre-Decimal Currencies of Scandinavia. As I know nothing about the subject there is a good chance I will leave the meeting after having been thoroughly educated. However, as I have absolutely no interest in the subject there’s a good chance someone will have to wake me up at the end.

I fell asleep in the auction last month but nobody noticed, which is good news, as I obviously didn’t snore. If I fall asleep tonight I may get away with it.

You’d think I didn’t really enjoy the meetings from my descriptions, but I assure you I do. There’s always something to learn and people to see.

This afternoon I broke a deeply ingrained habit and went into town. I am that desperate to find a birthday present. I did manage a small present, but the trip was mainly notable for a urinating tramp and a non-working car park ticket machine system which refused (a) to take payment and (b) to let me out even though I’d eventually sorted it out and paid..

And they wonder why people prefer Amazon.

Start with “You don’t have to pay £3.80 to park at Amazon as rude people push you out of the way, sales assistants sneer and tramps urinate in the bushes and swear at people who object.” After that, the decline of the High Street starts to look logical.

I’m now going to have a nice sit down in front of the fire before going out again as I’m feeling the cold. That’s something else you don’t have to worry about with Amazon. You can shop on Amazon whilst sitting by the fire.

Five Ounce Silver Coin

Five Ounce Silver Coin

The coin went in the post this morning – five ounces of silver. It’s really a medallion but has been struck as a £10 coin of the Channel Island of Guernsey. No, I don’t know why they make them. Maybe they just have lots of silver.

 

 

Scones and Things

Julia and my sister went out for a special offer gym session and Afternoon Tea yesterday, hence the scones in the picture. It didn’t go 100% well. Service was poor, organisation was poor and the daintiness of the sandwiches left a lot to be desired.

My sandwiches at lunchtime are very similar, and I’d never dream of serving them to people as part of a sophisticated afternoon tea.

She eventually accepted their apologies and left with a doggy bag, as service had been so slow that she needed to be elsewhere.

To be fair, the portions were large, and I ate well as a result.

In the evening, as part of a week of celebrations to distract her from the fact she’s about to have a milestone birthday, we had curry delivered.

They have changed the recipe since we last ordered and we were left gasping for air by the new spicing regime in the prawn puri starter which we shared. And it was late.

It’s OK having all these deals and services, but not so good if they are going to be perpetually disappointing.

Frankly, I’d been expecting a three day week, efficient public transport by monorail and a robot butler by the year 2000, having believed everything I’d been told about the future back in 1968.

It hasn’t quite worked out like that.

We used the rice and biryani leftovers from last night to make kedgeree and watched Strictly Come Dancing.

It’s a far cry from my dreams of robot butlers.

Similarly, as I stuff envelopes tomorrow morning, it will be a long way from my dreams of a glittering career as a captain of industry. Fortunately the human mind is able to adapt to most forms of failure band I will probably emerge from my troglodytic existence at 1 am in a happy frame of mind.

With a rapidly approaching birthday and no gift ideas, I have more immediate problems than a disappointing life. It sounds the same, but a disappointed wife is infinitely worse.

Ten Minutes

Last night I wrote a long, rambling and, frankly, dull post about a number of uninteresting subjects.

It was so boring I fell asleep in my chair and didn’t wake up until after midnight. I looked at what I’d written, made some sandwiches and then went to bed. It wasn’t even worth fixing.

To sum up – I’ve been invited to take part in a joint pain project. It involves filing in five questionnaires over five years. The confidentiality and ethics explanations are longer than the survey, and most of the survey consists of ticking boxes about different sorts of pain, including lanciating pain. It’s like stabbing pain when I look it up.

My two conclusions so far are that someone got a grant to do as project, and that they have an un-necessarily large vocabulary. I don’t recall all the pains I could have but I don’t have (a) enough time or (b) enough body parts to experience so much pain.

To make things worse, I went to the pharmacy to pick up some pain-killing gel the hospital has prescribed for me, though I didn’t ask for it and don’t have much pain. They were out of stock so I couldn’t get it. And today, for the first timer in ages, my finger started hurting.

Life, as they say, is like that.

That was my ten minutes. I’m off to drink tea and watch TV for a bit.

The medal is to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday, because that’s what you want to cheer you up, a picture of yourself looking at a picture of yourself when you were much younger.

The coin next to it is a cent. It’s part of the creeping Americanism that is taking over the western world.It’s 100mm, or 4″ wide, weighs over 3/4 of a pound and cost over £100 when it was new. We’re struggling to find a buyer at £12.95.

A Quick Post (Again)

Sorry, I’ve been neglecting my reading quite shamefully over the last few months. I do feel bad about it, and will try to visit everyone over the next week or two.

I’m also sorry that I’ve been neglecting the blog and have become very ill-disciplined about it. I will try to do better. The truth is that with winter approaching and a few decent things on TV, I have been watching more TV and doing less writing than I should be doing. I also thought that I ought to spend some time with Julia as I’ve been neglecting her too. I’m not sure she appreciates this – she mostly tells me off for talking instead of watching the TV.

It’s true, I do talk a lot whilst watching TV, but if I didn’t how would I communicate my views that politicians are idiots and most of the writers of TV programmes aren’t smart enough to be politicians?

I’d have to bottle it up and that would cause stress. That would be a bad thing because stress is a killer.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.” as Thoreau is often, inaccurately, said to have said.  Be that as it may, I prefer the inaccurate quote. I may go to the grave with a song still in me, but I won’t be going to the grave with any unsaid criticisms of politicians or scriptwriters.

As for the pressing matters of the day – my camera is wearing out, my computer at work (despite the presence of things my home computer lacks) has no card reader, my car insurance company is trying to raise my premium by 25% from an already overpriced base (and using weasel words to do it, despite their bulldog logo) and it’s Julia’s birthday next week and I haven’t a clue what to buy her.

Even if I did, I would still have the problem of a Christmas present. I hate this time of year. I’m tempted to wrap up my car insurance policy and tell her I’ve bought her a year’s worth of taxi service, but as I already provide that she probably won’t think much of it as a present.

As a further apology, sorry this is a short post but I’m off to watch Lord Sugar abuse another bunch of idiots on The Apprentice.

This confirms all I’ve ever thought about Sugar, the honours system, Karen Brady, reality TV and the sort of idiots who go on reality TV.

They are a complete bunch of something Julia would tell me off for saying if I wrote it here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tomorrow’s Breakfast – Overnight Oats

Julia has been very organised today and has already make overnight oats for breakfast. Because it’s going to be near freezing overnight and cold porridge, straight from the fridge, is just what you need on a winter morning.

I would try the slow cooker, but last time I tried cooking as we slept I woke up in a panic, thinking the house was on fire.

Great Expectations, or A Disappointing Breakfast and a Damp Day

Sorry, due to a lethargic few days I missed posting on Sunday after we got back and fell asleep in my chair last night, waking after midnight – too cold, too stiff and too late to post.

When I say “yesterday” I mean Sunday.

Yesterday we went to Lakeland. It sounds good. It sounds like it should be a National Park full of lakes and trees and thoughts of Wordsworth. In fact Lakeland, formerly Lakeland Plastics, is Britain’s biggest seller of kitchen accessories, as generations of long-suffering husbands have found to their cost.

We actually went to the HQ, the flagship store, or the Mother Lode, call it what you will. Julia set me down in the cafe with a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake and told me to stop whimpering.

Fortunately the Lakeland shop is based in Windermere, which is in the Lake District, so it could have been a lot worse. If it had been the one in Nottingham the views would have been terrible and there would have been no cake.

We started the day by waking up in Skipton, having dropped Number One son off in Leeds on the way through. We didn’t really need to drop him off but Julia hadn’t seen his new flat so there was a certain amount of nosiness involved.

To get me to agree to the trip she had promised me a night in a Travelodge followed by breakfast at the farm shop next door.

I am easily bought, but having visited the farm shop to buy pies and veg before I had high hopes for the breakfast.

I’d still recommend it for pies and veg, but can only say that my high hopes were not entirely justified. For one thing, we arrived at the front door to find it closed. There is a much smaller entrance at the other end of the building and no sign that we could see. If it hadn’t been for someone walking past and telling us we would probably have driven away and eaten somewhere else. With hindsight…

The cafe is new since we last stayed in Skipton. It’s nicely set up in the modern fashion (ie tables made from planks with paint on and that sort of gubbins) and was bustling. There were plenty of staff about, we were shown to a table fairly quickly and although I was sort of sitting in a gangway it wasn’t too bad.

I think they had to fit the table in that way. Seeing as they took twenty quid off us, and presumably off several other people during the course of the day you can see why they succumbed to the temptation to crowd an extra table in. It did cause a bit of a hold-up several times but that wasn’t my problem.

We ordered tea. We waited. We eventually ordered breakfast. We waited some more. The waitress who had taken the tea order noticed we hadn’t had the tea and chased it up for us with profuse apologies. The tea arrived. So did the breakfast.

We’d been there about twenty five minutes, which is a bit too long for breakfast. I want to feed and get back on the road.

It was busy, to be fair, but they had plenty of staff. The problem was that it all seemed a little chaotic and disorganised. Several couples who came in after us had their drinks before we did, and one even had their food order.

This gave me time to inspect our table properly – there were three uncleaned grease spots on on it and a big blob of something foodlike adhering to the salt cellar.

The good bits were – nice bustling atmosphere, lovely friendly staff (though the supervisor seemed a bit frazzled), excellent black pudding, fried eggs done exactly as I like them (turned over, set all the way through), great hash browns, tasty mushrooms, good portion size.

Average or  a bit above – Sausages were above OK but not as good as expected from the write-up. Bacon tasted good but had been cooked until leathery, massive cups which I always feel let the tea get cold (and are tricky for arthritic fingers).

The not so good bits – long wait, served out of turn, cold baked beans, poor signage, toilets upstairs, table hygiene (not just our table, they were a bit perfunctory with their wiping down – I was watching).

Then three women with pushchairs decided that they really had to make me move so they could get past. I’m sure that they could have got through without all the fuss and pulled faces, but some people just love to make a drama out of nothing. It’s not like they are the first people to push a kid in a pushchair…

Anyway, enough for now. I may well go to Greggs next time we stay at Skipton. It’s not a great breakfast experience but it is value for money, quick and never disappointing. I don’t expect much from them and I don’t provide much so our expectations meet perfectly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Stalker

Did I mention it rained? If you know the Lakes you probably already knew this. It rained the first time I went there, around 1964, and it’s been raining ever since. To be fair, it only rained for about thirty minutes. Judging from the puddles I think they had more rain in Nottingham than we did.

The Captains and the Kings depart…

This morning I stood in a queue with a lot of old people and a medic with a cough stabbed me in the arm with a flu vaccination before saying: “Really, I’m too ill to be in work today.”

Just what you want to hear at this time of year.

That, of course, wasn’t the worst thing that happened today. England threw the Rugby World Cup away.

Work was work. Good in places.

When I got home from work there was an ambulance parked outside the house almost opposite. The man who lives there is younger than me and is on his last lap with prostate cancer, so even losing the rugby recedes into perspective.

The coins are from a set made in 2006 using the Britannia silver bullion coin as a base and adding gold highlights.

It is made from .958 silver (known as Britannia silver) rather than the more normal .925 Sterling silver. This standard was used in Georgian times for silver items to stop silversmiths melting down coins as their raw material, coins being .925 silver (as they remained until 1919)

Britannias are pleasant enough but have no real history as they are yet another invention of the marketing department at the Royal Mint.