An Elegantly Wasted Life

We had a slowish day, with enough work to keep us going but nothing overly taxing.

We had three parcels to send this morning, with a fourth to be packed and weighed so that we could invoice the buyer. In the afternoon another order came in – one postcard. It didn’t take much packing.

I’ve just had a look at the shop’s eBay account. The invoice has been paid and two more things have been purchased, a post card and a coin set. It looks like another easy day, though I’d rather have a busy one because it means I’m earning my wages.

There’s a very fine line between having an easy day and having a succession of easy days, or “unemployment” as it also known. Not that I would be unemployed, I’d just call myself a writer and get on with all the stuff I’ve been meaning to do for years, such as drinking more tea, claiming for pens on expenses and looking wistful.

I would also spend time selling my own stuff on eBay, though I note that their namby-pamby terms and conditions prohibit me from selling a kidney (Plan C, as I think of it), advertising my services as an inept assassin (or even an efficient one, to be fair) or advertising coins from Sudan.

I can see their point in some of these, but other prohibitions, such as Sudanese coins, make no sense.

Last week we wrote up a sale for a miniature George Cross on a First Day Cover, It’s a novelty collectable and the George Cross is a perfectly respectable medal. However, eBay automatically refused it as Russian law prevents the ale of Russian State Orders and Decorations. To advertise this, we would have to remove the Russian Federation from our postage list on this auction. We did this but still couldn’t post the auction.

We removed the word “George” from the title and it allowed us to proceed. The Russians, you see, have an Order of St George and the idiot in charge of such things at eBay has allowed for this by making it impossible for you to advertise medals with “George” in the title.

Politics by eBay is becoming ever more farcical, even in a world that includes Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister.

Just out of interest, now that President Trump (UK slang for breaking wind) and Prime Minister Johnson (US slang for penis), does anyone else have a growing belief that we are living in ludicrous times?

I’m going to resist temptation and not discuss silly names.

However, if you want to follow the link I can’t stop you.

Painted Ladies and Flying Time

There were three Painted Ladies in the front garden when I got home. The combination of red valerian and warm flagstones seems to attract them.

The quality of the photographs is, as ever, dubious. Just as the garden seems to be good for Painted Ladies this year, it seems to be bad for photography at the end of the afternoon.

 

The rest of the evening was a bit of an anti-climax after that. I had some sorting and planning to do, and seemed to have worked harder in the evening than I did during the day. The Westminster School Attendance Medals I put on eBay yesterday sold within hours. P8190077.JPG

As I think I said yesterday, this always makes me wonder if they were too cheap. However, I think it’s generally that you are showing your stock to so many people that there are always keen buyers for certain things out there.

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I’m adopting one of the medals as my new motto.

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Delay Not: Time Flies.

How true.

A Reasonable Sort of Day

Sorry about missing yesterday. We went to see Dad, came home the long way,replied to some comments, had a takeaway and then I fell asleep in front of the TV, waking shortly after midnight. That meant I couldn’t post yesterday.

I should have planned better and done it in the morning, but you know how it is…

Well, maybe you don’t, because I understand many people live orderly and well-planned lives.

Yesterday consisted of of lie-in, brunch, visit, defeat at dominoes, coffee with sister, great view of a Red Kite in Northamptonshire, Chinese takeaway and snooze.

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Red Kites are becoming commoner

Today consisted of getting up, complaining about aches and pains, dropping Julia at work (rather in the manner of Shakespeare’s schoolboy – with her “shining morning face, creeping like snail, Unwillingly to school”.) I’m trying to persuade myself I’m in the 5th age – “round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances”. It’s getting harder to believe as the days go on.

I then took myself to work, wrestled for supremacy on the Ring Road with a lobotomised boy racer and an articulated lorry, survived, arrived an hour early, started work because we had a lot to pack – the boss arrived and chipped in and we had the lot done by just after 10.00.

No stupid questions in email, hardly any phone calls, left work an hour early. Did two errands, had two cups of tea in the back room of a friendly jeweller, shopped, went home, washed up, fed Julia on her return from work (coffee and cake), TV (did well at Pointless), cooked tea (which was half made up of leftovers from last night). Now feeling virtuous and blogging. Julia is ironing and after that I will make a drink.

We actually sold a medallion I was going to blog about. It’s a Moon Landing commemorative by a sculptor called Vincze. I’ve often thought about collecting his medallions because some of them are quite striking. I loaded it on Saturday before we left the shop and it sold shortly after. It was either very collectable or too cheap. Sometimes after a quick sale you wonder about the price…

Moon Landing Medal by Vincze

Moon Landing Medal by Vincze (Reverse)

 

It has not been an exciting day, and not really a productive day as the decluttering and writing is grinding to a halt at the moment. On the other hand, it hasn’t been a bad day either. I think we can mark this down in the plus column.

A Very Annoying Woman

It’s tempting to say today was more of the same…more of the same…

Tedium echoes down the empty hallways of my life…

In fact there was slightly more pressure than a normal day because I have a leisurely breakfast with Julia on Saturdays and generally get to work with minutes to spare, rather than the normal hour I get when dropping her off at work and going to work from there.

We had more parcels than usual today, and quite a few phone calls, including one from a woman who said she had “done the research on the internet” because she “wasn’t stupid”.

The coin in question is the Sherlock Holmes 50p, which has just been released.We have 200 in stock and charge £3 each. She says they are very rare, and her implication was that I was lying to her in order to gain pecuniary advantage by deception (she didn’t actually use those words, but that was what her tone implied).

Unfortunately, when I checked after she put the phone down, the mintage figure of 210,000 she gave did not apply to this coin but to the famous Kew Garden 50p, the one they all want. We buy several of them every month, pay good money for them and sell them for around £100. That’s the only one that makes three figures. Most 50p coins, even in mint condition, only make £3.

The Royal Mint won’t even release the mintage figures for a year or two, so we won’t know what the figure is. Here are the figures up to 2017. They haven’t released the 2018 figures yet, and certainly not the 2019 figures.

I checked on the internet myself, and in an article comparing Kew Gardens and Sherlock Holmes they said the Kew mintage was 210,000. That’s what happens when greed and stupidity meet the Internet – false hopes, shoddy research and an outpouring of ignorance.

Just for the record, because I’m still annoyed about it, despite what she said, she didn’t really do any research worthy of the name, and she IS stupid.

After that I put some more School Attendance medals on eBay, went home, took some blurred photos of Painted Ladies in the garden and carried on with my nightly routine of napping, eating and blogging.

I did get a pointless answer on Pointless Celebrities (Burt Lancaster in Field of Dreams) then wondered why there has never been a decent film about cricket. To say it’s one of our national games, and it altered the course of one of our royal dynasties, it’s made little impact in books and films. Raffles was a cricket player, but that’s as close as we get.

If we could make a film like Field of Dreams about cricket I’m sure the nation would return to normal after all this Brexit nonsense and electing a clown as Prime Minister. Whether we stay or go, we need to return to a state of affairs where politicians at least put up some sort of pretence of being sensible and running things properly.

The Peacock is from our visit to Gigrin Farm as few years ago, as is the picture of kites. I feel a bit like that peacock, constantly attacking the mirror, though I’m constantly attacking life rather than a reflection.

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Red Kites at Gigrin Farm

More of the Same

More parcels. More London School Attendance Medals. More rain.

I have moved on, from the London School Board to London County Council. Edward VII has given way to George V. The medals have become smaller and hang from colourful ribbons. But the tedium remains the same.

Fortunately the World of WordPress beckons and everything seems so much better when I am at home. Tonight I am going to catch up on some WordPress Reading. I’ve been lazy recently and need to get round and see what people are doing.

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Goldfinch Concert in Sherwood

Three Hours Later…

We’ve eaten (Vegeburgers, jacket potato and roasted aubergines, onions, courgettes and tomatoes – all from the garden). We’ve chatted. Julia has had several texts from work – they have a fixation about texting on Fridays. She has made some pithy comments. We spoke to her brother, who rang for a chat. Finally I made it back to the computer and realised I hadn’t done any reading.

The aubergines, or eggplants as the Americans say, are a miniature variety and the first real success we’ve had with them as our seasons are a little short and unsunny for them.

I have caught up with Laurie in Maine and Whippet Wisdom in Scotland but the rest of you, I’m afraid, have been neglected yet again. I will do better!

I have to go now as we are in negotiations about who makes the next cup of tea and I need all my wits about me.

Main picture is a pigeon from the park. The others are the Goldfinch that sang for us earlier in the week.

 

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Not where you’s expect to see a songbird in full song…

Moaning – a Skill for Modern Men

This afternoon I had a call from the hospital. It was slightly confused as I thought he said he was from Haematology and I thought it was about the blood test last week. It seems he said Rheumatology and he was ringing to tell me that my GP would be in touch. Why? Because my naughty GP hadn’t filled the form in correctly and they had refused me a consultation until the form was filled in properly.

I should have asked why they had staff to ring and tell me that but no staff to ring and get the information directly.

What I actually said was – “All you need to know is that my hand is virtually useless and I’d like it fixing.”

He said: “Oh.”

I think he was expecting me to simper with gratitude.

I let them off lightly last time they screwed me over. It isn’t going to happen a second time. I’m making notes and I’m going to use them this time.

Most of the rest of my day was devoted to struggling with School Attendance Medals. There are basically two types of these – interesting ones and one given out in London. There’s a whole website devoted to London medals here. Read it and tell me you retain the will to live.

I was given the London ones to do.

Don’t get me wrong – they are an interesting piece of social history, but as a subject for multiple listing on eBay. I have entered the date, metal, clasp detail, name, grade of medal and catalogue numbers for approximately 40 medals, with prices, conditions and at least three photographs for each one. I have struggled, made mistakes and accidentally lost the data on a whole batch. I say “lost”, but I actually managed to delete it by carelessness. Twice.

That’s enough for now. I really don’t want to dwell on it.

The standard catalogue on School Attendance Medals is School Attendance Medals of England, Scotland and Wales by Cedric Dry (Whitmore 1992). 

I will leave you with that thought.

 

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That’s right, MORE London School Attendance Medals

Cold, Wet and Miserable

Yesterday morning when we left the house the day was beautiful – just the right temperature with a bright blue sky and a goldfinch perched incongruously on a TV aerial singing its heart out.

I wasted the rest of the day labouring on a computer in a windowless back room thinking of freedom and foolproof ways to kill my co-workers. This isn’t time wasted as it will eventually become the plot for one of my planned series of crime novels. The motive still needs work – nobody is going to believe that someone is murdered because he keeps moving the scissors – but I am being pushed to the edge. The only thing that prevents a fatal stabbing at the moment is the fact I can never find the bloody scissors.

What a contrast with today.

I stuck my head out of the door into a gloomy world with a low grey sky and only the chatter of a magpie to serve as a soundtrack. Even that stopped before I reached the car. No doubt it had found something small and defenceless to eat.

Wednesday is my day off but today was not to be filled with fun because it is MOT day. Actually, yesterday was MOT day, but because I’m a poor organiser it didn’t get done. Yesterday it had a new windscreen to replace the one that was cracked in Stoke on Trent as that sort of damage means a fail in the test.

Have I really being procrastinating for six months? That’s world class procrastination.

Fortunately the law allows you to drive without a valid MOT certificate as long as you are driving directly to a test station to keep a previously booked appointment.

They rang me just before lunch to tell me it had failed despite the new screen. It seems that one of the tyres I didn’t replace after the holiday had failed because of damage to the inner side-wall. It’s now cost me £325 for 3 tyres, the excess for the windscreen insurance and the MOT. Car ownership is starting to look like an expensive hobby.

They rang just after lunch to tell me it was ready, but when I stuck my head out of the door it was pouring down. I’d been typing in the dining room and hadn’t noticed. It was heavy, blustery and constant.

Half an hour later it was still blustery and constant, but it was heavier. And my coat was in the car. I have another coat. Unfortunately that was also in the car. My habit is to wear a coat while I am outside, walk back to the car, put it in the car and then walk into the house without the coat. This means I always have a coat with me when we go out.

It also means that, having failed to take the hint offered by the morning’s grey sky, I had walked home without a coat. It’s only quarter of a mile. Who needs a coat for that distance?

Fortunately I do have a third coat. Unfortunately, I’ve had it a while and I can no longer fasten it. I’ve noticed this with clothes. As they get older they seem to get smaller.

So, to summarise. Heavy rain, gusting wind. Coat that won’t fasten. Nothing for it but to grit my teeth and walk. At least my back will stay dry, I thought.

That’s where my new haircut came into play. With a newly shaved head there is nothing to impede rain as it runs off your shiny scalp and down your neck.

Later that day we went shopping. I checked my lottery tickets and found I had won £2.70.

Some days you think fate is laughing at you.

Other days you are certain it is.