The New Project

It’s nothing grand, but I will shortly be embarking on a fortnight of writing two posts a day. This is an effort to catch up both with my material, and the target I set myself some time ago. If I do one week of two posts a day I catch up with the things I missed in the week I was cast into the wilderness by WP. If I do two weeks of it I should return myself somewhere on course for the target I set myself a while back. Unfortunately I can’t remember what the target was or where I wrote it down. It probably isn’t that important if I can’t remember it.

Anyway, the new project is two posts a day for fourteen days.

This isn’t one of them because I’m going to prepare myself overnight and start tomorrow, refreshed by a good night’s sleep and provisioned with a suitable breakfast of eggs and bacon. I may have gone a little bit veggie recently, but a serious project requires a serious start.

In the old days they would have employed a haruspex to check the omens and probably have made a small sacrifice. In this case we will use the eggs rather than the entrails and I’ll let the pig make the sacrifice. Having just linked to Wiki I’m amazed at just how much I didn’t know about such things – I didn’t know, for instance, that they also used sheep for divination and specialised in livers. There is always so much to learn. I also learned a new thing about Thomas Becket. Who would have thought that a Christian saint would have dabbled in entrails? Didn’t do him much good in the end, but such is life.

The new posts will be at least 250 words long and will include photographs and links. They may. on a good day, include wit, humour and wisdom.

I had thought of writing it in an upbeat tone, just to make it more of a challenge, but even as I wrote the words, I shuddered. It is, frankly, more likely that if I need a challenge I will write in Latin. I am not a Classics scholar, but I am even less of an optimist.

Today’s photos are recycled. They are photos I took 12 months ago and serve the artistic purpose of highlighting the cyclical nature of life. Or they may highlight the amount of waffle talked by artists, and be reused because I’m too lazy to walk to the other room and fetch my camera card.

An Addiction to WordPress

Just over five years ago  I wandered into WordPress with the intention of practising my writing, gaining some publicity for the Quercus Community group and learning a bit more about Social Media.

As things turned out, I did learn to write faster, even if the accuracy and quality is a bit uneven. The group closed. I’ll say no more about that or I will find myself dwelling on how we were stabbed in the back by a hypocrite. I realised, after a while, that I wasn’t meant for Social Media. If they had Anti-Social Media I am your man.

I first learned there was more to WP than just writing about myself when I read a few posts. One that stuck in my mind was by some doddery old geezer in Hampshire. He pottered about, took photos and ended all his blogs with a description of what he had for tea and what he drank with it.

Five years later I’m addicted to his blog. Whether this is because it’s deceptively beguiling, or whether it’s because I’ve turned into a doddery old git is difficult to say.

His legions of followers argue for the former, but a quick look in the mirror also suggests the latter is not far from the truth.

And that sums up my WordPress experience – gentle addiction. I have really missed the reading and writing and companionship over the last week while I have been condemned to cyber-limbo. This applies to all of you who haven’t been mentioned too.

This post is a bit gushing and upbeat for my taste, which I blame on reading all these Pollyanna-style American blog posts. Don’t think it’s going to be repeated. I missed you all. I’ve admitted it. And I don’t think we need to mention it again.

I am now going to visit the blog of a man whom I regard as my spiritual mentor. Thanks to him I now take my porridge with salt and water and have learned more about choral singing than I am ever likely to need, bearing in mind that I have a voice that grates like the creaking of hinges on a crypt door.

Those of you who require an antidote to the modern fashion for inappropriate cheerfulness could do worse than join me.

I’m off to find some photos now, probably the ones of sunrise which I unwillingly took a couple of days ago when, due to the stupidity of an auctioneer, I had to go to the Sorting Office to pick up a parcel.

 

A Week is a Long Time on WordPress

And a week is even longer when you can’t get on WordPress…

I had been having intermittent trouble looking at comments for a while, but thought it would probably correct itself. Then, about a week ago, I switched on and couldn’t connect with the site. I tried the other computer, with the same result.

I left it a day because both computers are a bit old, and tried it again, having given them time to rest and regather their strength, or whatever computers do. No connection.

It took a while to find a way of getting help from WP, because I’ve just been used to switching on, clicking a few buttons and getting connected. I couldn’t get onto WP to ask for help and I couldn’t remember addresses or passwords or anything.

Eventually I managed to find help and WP proved very helpful. I was able to provide proof that I owned the site, despite knowing very little about it (tip here – if you don’t remember passwords and things, at least keep some of the reciepts/payment details as proof).

I secured a new password, signed in and…brick wall. I hit the same blank page.

I left it a while and tried again next day. This time I couldn’t even get onto WP, let alone the blank page which originally troubled me. I had been going to contact a few people via Comments and tell them I was temporarily, and involuntarily, off WP but had left it too late – I was completely shut out.

Again I left it. Tried and failed and, after spending several days of rising panic at being deprived of my daily fix of writing about myself (how vain I am, it seems), I decided to register a new account tonight.

As the log-in screen came up, I gave it one last try and connected. I don’t know how, or why, and if anyone explains it I probably still won’t understand.

So I’m back and ready to start writing again. The first thing I am going to work on is a note about keeping proper records so you don’t find yourself unable to log in.

Horses, stable doors, bolted…

Scone Chronicles XXVIII

Cafe Nero, Springfields Outlet Centre, Lincolnshire. A scone-free report.

We hadn’t expected much from the day as we had an electrician coming round to give us a quote and British Gas would only tell us it was between 8.00 and 1.00. Fortunately he texted ahead and arrived just after 9.00. The news was not good – we need to declutter a lot more before they can start ripping floorboards up to rewire.

That left us at a loose end by 10.00 so we set off to look for adventure, This is “adventure” as we now define it, rather than how we used to define it. Standing on one leg to put my trousers on is dangerous enough for me, so we set off to seek lunch and relaxation.

In the car we discussed our spending. Julia is feeling guilty about the amount she spends on herself – which is basically gym membership and hair appointments. She worked it out as £3,000 a year. She really is a bear of very little brain – cute but rubbish at mental arithmetic. The true cost of this spending was, as I pointed out, just £600 a year. Having saved us £2,400 I felt quite good about things. This also diverted attention from my eBay habit, which has been getting out of hand recently.

At Springfields we had a look round The Works and confirmed that the stock situation is woeful, before deciding to have a coffee. Considering our earlier conversation, this ironic as coffee is one of the hidden costs of modern life.

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Two Coffees

Cafe Nero seemed rather empty, to say it was lunch time.

The coffee – the cheapest they had, was just under £5 for the two of us. If we do that once a week it will cost us £250 in a year, which is a lot of haircuts.

We didn’t have anything to eat. The staff were neither good nor bad. They let dogs in. The one that came in whined a lot then dog and master went to sit outside. Fair enough – better than tying it up outside. Chairs are comfortable. Snacks looked well presented but we were saving our appetites so didn’t have anything.

They now have a vegan range, which seems to be the new fashion. You may be expecting some sarcastic comment about vegans, evolutionary dead ends and modern fashions, but you will be disappointed. I like vegans.

Though I couldn’t eat a whole one.

Cafe Nero Vegan Menu

Cafe Nero Vegan Menu

The sound you hear when viewing the vegan menu is that of a bandwagon being jumped on. Once Gregg’s went for the vegan sausage roll, everyone followed.

All in all, nothing to rave about and nothing to complain about. It’s a more leisurely atmosphere than Costa Coffee further down the centre, and I enjoyed the break.

 

 

Banknotes, banknotes, banknotes…

We have, as I noted in the last post, been putting banknotes on eBay.

There are a lot of notes in the shops, ranging from serious notes for collectors to cheap and cheerful bulk lots.

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Austro-Hungarian Empire – early 20th entury

I work with two keen banknote collectors. I always admire enthusiasts, and respect their immense knowledge on the subject, but really can’t get enthused by talk of serial numbers, replacements and security printing. If I was going to collect notes I’d probably collect them by theme, such as notes with pictures of birds on them. I like birds.

However, I prefer burgers, and that would be a very small collecting field.

Republic of Biafra 1967-70 - a short and tragic story

Republic of Biafra 1967-70 – a short and tragic story

Some notes are spectacular, either because of the quality of design, or the history of the note or country. Others are very dull. You will probably see several of each sort in the pictures, though it has to be said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

It’s a very simple way of touring the world and it has one advantage over many other forms of collecting in that you can, when handling circulated notes, get a fairly strong whiff of foreign bazaars and sweaty hands.

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Guyana

Years ago I had a delivery of foreign notes in an antique centre and as soon as the wrapping paper came off several neighbouring dealers turned green and ran off spluttering.

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Atmospheric selection of notes from Ghana

So, for atmosphere , circulated notes are the thing to collect. But if you are looking for beauty, collect uncirculated notes.

Bhutan - nice and clean, with dragons

Bhutan – nice and clean, with dragons

Yes, I’m Moaning Again

I’ve decided to adopt a single resolution for this year. I am going to fill my time by doing more things.

While we were on the farm, I thought about taking qualifications in Fund Raising, as it seemed a decent career, and something worth doing. For various reasons, including laziness, I didn’t do it. Two years later, after we were ejected from the farm, I regretted not having anything to fall back on.

My career trajectory has been somewhat downward in the last few years, and had been level rather than upward for many years previously. Though I managed over 25 years of being self-employed, a lot of that time was spent in a variety of pursuits which included “getting by” and “surviving”. These do not look as good on a job application as being a highly motivated self-starter with a degree and a range of expertise in things I’ve never heard of.

I also thought that blogging would be a good thing to do, and would add to my range of  digital skills. I’ve just been looking at the job requirements for a Communication Officer, and find that writing a blog about age, idleness and life in a shop, does not really qualify me for the job. What they seem to be looking for is a PR Professional or journalist who has a great personality, stellar track record and financial skills (because the jobs seems to include finance too) and is prepared to work for an hourly rate which is probably the same as my current one. I would admittedly get more hours but I would have to drive further to get to work.

I fear that life, employment and the modern world have all passed me by.

Those of you who have read the blog for a while will know all this and may have picked up a hint in the last paragraph but one. Yes, I have been thinking of applying for another job. It would be full time so I’d be paid more and it’s with an organisation that I admire, but it sems like a lot of hassle to go through just to be rejected in favour of a young person with better qualifications.

Yes, I know I’m being negative, but being negative doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

And that’s why I’m going to work harder. It won’t get me a job, but it will go some way to redressing my 61 wasted years.

Photographs today are banknotes. We did a lot of banknotes today. I will probably write more about banknotes later. And then I will go to bed and dream about them.

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Banknotes of Bhutan

A Diversion, an Early Start and Some Sarcasm

On Mondays Julia works at the main site instead of being in the garden. This means driving through town rather than round the ring road. Really, I suppose, it ought to entail using  a bus but as it takes an hour longer, involves two buses and would mean getting up at 6.00 I have cynically suggested we should be selfish and use the car.

I haven’t flown at all in the last 32 years (and that was for work, not pleasure) and she has flown just once in that time. I think we can allow ourselves a few car trips.

As British Gas is digging up the road on our normal route we used a different route today, and allowed a little extra time as I suspected there would be other people doing the same thing. It appeared not to be the case and, after a swift and uneventful trip through the centre of town, I got her to work 20 minutes early.

When we start off at the normal time we have been anything from ten minutes early to twenty minutes late. I can’t wait to see how things progress.

Work is scheduled to end on 29th May.

Last time there was major work done round here they over-ran by two weeks on a six week project. If they do the same again, in percentage terms, they won’t finish until August.

My cup, as they say, runneth over…