Monthly Archives: January 2018

Shillings, Sorting and Sunset

Julia had a restful day today and, as a result, is feeling better.  She seems surprised by this, despite events proving quite clearly that her bad back is linked to doing too much.

She’s just been reading a report on research done on Mensa members. It seems that the hairier you are, the smarter you are. She then offered the opinion that I should delay the remodelling of my beard, which I have been contemplating for some time. I’m not sure the correlation works quite as clearly as that, but it’s something to think about.

I wouldn’t want to decrease my IQ by cutting my hair, after all, by using ebay I’m already damaging my intelligence quite enough.

You don’t need a great deal of intelligence to sort shillings, lift boxes and organise accessories, which have been my main activities of day.

It was still light when we left the shop at 4.20, which is a good sign, and I took several shots of the sky at that point, before doing a few more in the supermarket car park whilst buying things for tea. I tried for some shots of the tiny sliver of moon but it wasn’t light enough and the long exposure meant that they all ended up shaky.

 

 

 

A Typical Day in the Shop

I thought of taking some pictures to illustrate what I did at work today. It consisted mainly of buying and sorting coins (three times), turning down two lots of cigarette cards (there’s no market for them), helping a burglary victim with an insurance claim and explaining to someone why creasing a bank note heavily makes it unsaleable. As you can probably imagine, I wasn’t able to do much in the way of interesting photography.

We also had the normal calls from people trying to sell us “rare” coins from their change. It’s nice that people are interested in coin collecting again, but it does take time and tact to deal with the enquiries, particularly when they quote ebay as if it’s  holy writ.

£2 coin commemorating the Great Fire of London

Commemorative £2 coin

Ebay, as I may have mentioned before, is a guide to what idiots do when they have ten minutes to waste.

You can currently buy a Kew Gardens commemorative 50p for £149.99 on ebay. Or you can come down to the shop and buy one off us for £80, though we’ve had it several weeks now and it hasn’t sold. Or you can get a sense of proportion and buy a nice historical coin.

For that sort of money you can buy a nice silver denarius of Emperor Commodus (177 – 192), a sixpence of Charles I or a very clean George III sixpence of 1818. So much history…

(I have no link to this shop – I don’t even know the dealer, but it’s a good site for finding examples.)

Or you can buy an eight-year-old 50p piece, which may go out of fashion next year.

After fulminating on the state of coin collecting I polished the counters and cleaned the calculator.

They are all the same size, despite the way they appear in the photographs – something I need to address.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the fact that people are interested in coin collecting again, and that they can find collectable coins in their change once more (like I used to do in the pre-decimal days of my youth). However, I don’t like the way the Royal Mint markets coins these days and I don’t like all the hype surrounding modern coins.

 

Time Moves On

Julia’s phone has been going all day. The large polytunnel in the gardens proved unable to resist the wind last night and the ancient, brittle sheeting disintegrated. Despite being off ill, she has had a constant stream of texts, photographs and requests for decisions.

To call in a team of experts would cost £500 over and above the cost of the plastic. At the moment she is waiting for an answer from the Young Farmers’ Club. to see if they are able to help.

In the shop we assembled a couple of office chairs. They are now pushed up to the desk in the middle room, waiting for a dedicated ebay team. However, it will probably end up with me and Eddie. One of the customers is currently refurbishing a computer for me and then he’s going to set a printer up a wireless network. This might seem normal to you, but it’s close to being miraculous to me, as none of my previous jobs have involved using a computer. I had my own for doing ebay, but I’ve never worked for someone else, or with someone else, using a computer.

This, I suppose, is the 21st century.

After that I had to remove a coin collection from plastic pages. Over the years the pages had sealed the coins in, so I ended up cutting them out with scissors.  It’s a tedious job, but there was a Maundy fourpence in it, amongst the silver threepenny bits, so it felt worthwhile.

It’s even more tedious than sorting out the two plastic boxes of mixed cupro-nickel coins. Half-crowns, florins, shillings and sixpences plus large-sized 10 and 5 pence coins. I’m so used to the small 10p and 5p that the old-fashioned large ones come as a bit of a surprise. Thinking of it, I should have taken pictures to illustrate this. I may do that tomorrow.

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Newark, Notts

In the afternoon I was off, so I took a quick trip to Newark to see my mate on the market. He was one of three stallholders who had braved the wind and rain, and they had all spread out to make the market look fuller. There were seven trees down on the way, with two teams still working on clearing them. It’s been quite windy round here. Fortunately all the roads had been cleared so there were no delays.

That’s about it. Julia is continuing her slow recovery, but while I was out this morning she inspected the garden for storm damage and, whilst struggling to keep her balance, managed to topple over.  She does that. As soon as I’m distracted she tries to do too much and sets herself back. Fortunately she hasn’t hurt herself, but I’m thinking of rigging the house with CCTV so I can prevent a repeat.

I didn’t get many photos today, just a few silhouettes of Newark and some sky.

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A dry view of Newark

 

Street Furniture (2)

I’ve been struggling for inspiration over the last week, though some days (such as the visit to Bakewell and day of the sunset) have been easier than others. Here are a few more pictures on the street furniture theme, following on from the first post of a few days ago. I’ve managed to fit in a post about a Senior Moment and 20 Questions since then.

Part of the problem has been a lack of photographs as I haven’t been getting about much. I also buried the camera a couple of days ago whilst decluttering. In the initial stages I seemed to do more cluttering…

The bin, which you may remember from a previous post, is quite dull, despite having a Litter section and a Recycling section, and I only took the picture because Julia spotted the squirrel.

The bin in the gallery below is from the village centre at Heckington – it was on the buried camera when I wanted it so didn’t get used when I wrote the last piece or the post about visiting the village.

 

There are ten waymarkers on the Pendle Witch Trail, with verses from Carol Ann Duffy. This one is in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle.

 

Next, we have more pillar boxes.

The Victorian one is in Stamford, the Edward VII in Orton Longueville, just outside Peterborough, and the one on the post is at Worston, at the foot of Pendle Hill. The final one is a George V box from the end of West View in Clitheroe – my family lived in West view in the time of George V and may well have used the box.

 

However, this doesn’t always work. If my family had lived in the village of Orton Longueville, just outside Peterborough, in the time of Edward VII (or Edward I of Scotland, as Tootlepedal will no doubt remind me) they would not have used that fine Edward VII  pillar box. It was only installed about 20 years ago, but they last a long time, and are often re-used.

Strangely, if you type “Edward I of Scotland” into Google you get information about Edward I of England, who was known as the Hammer of the Scots. This is not very sensitive, and I am not at all amused by this. Naughty Google!

That, it appears, is why current post boxes in Scotland have the Scottish crown on them. When some were installed in Scotland with E II R on them they were vandalised (one actually being blown up) by people who objected to the cypher, as the current Queen was the first Queen Elizabeth of Scotland – or E I R.

As an aside, we had three kings called Edward before we had Edward I, as the English number kings from William I in 1066. We just don’t complain every time we have a new Edward, or blow up post boxes.

England and Scotland have had the same monarch since 1603, when Elizabeth I died and James VI of Scotland became James I of England. You’d have thought the Scots would have  let it go by now, but as P. G. Wodehouse said: “It is never difficult to distinguish between  a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.”

20 Questions

I was just catching up on my reading when a mish-mash of followed links took me here. I thought it seemed interesting so I decided to have a go at it myself.

Do you have a nickname? No. I’m sometimes the target for abuse from family members, particularly my wife and children, but have no permanent alternative name.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would you be? I like the Fens, but they can be a bit breezy and the windchill factor is no joke in winter. I’d still like to live in the Fens from April to October, because I like the large skies and the flatness, but would like to live somewhere warmer for the rest of the year.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? If I told you that then it wouldn’t be one thing most people don’t know about me.

If you could have dinner with one person living or dead who would it be? I’d quite like to have dinner with Siegfried Sassoon, but I’m not certain he’d care to have dinner with me. The Honourable Galahad Threepwood would be a suitable alternative.

What is the one food you will always order when you go out to eat? Scampi. I like scampi. Not exactly sure what it is, but I like it. I also like calamari. It’s possible that I just like fried food with lemon juice.

I’m also very fond of Little Chef Olympic Breakfasts, but they will become extinct this year as the last Little Chefs closes so I’m going to settle for scampi.

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Olympic Breakfast

If your mother could cook for you again what do you wish she would make? Roast dinners – mine never come close to tasting as good as hers did.

Do you have any regrets? Yes, but I try not to waste time thinking about it. Learn from it. Move on.

What is the one possession you would grab in a fire? My trousers. After that I would, of course, ensure that Julia was safe.

Do you work? I’ve just started the new job, working in a shop full of collectables. It’s so much fun it hardly counts as work.

Can you play a musical instrument? No, I have no musical talent whatsoever. I have abused the piano, trumpet, euphonium, mouth organ and ukulele at various times but never produced anything approximating to music.

What would your children be named if they didn’t have the names they have now? I’d go for a simple numbering system. So much easier, and no need to worry about fashion or family names.

Do you have pets? We had two cats. They lived to be 20 years old then died a year apart. For three months after that I still kept seeing cat shaped things out of the corner of my eye.

What is your major fear? A world shortage of cheese.

Do you have a life motto? No. I’m too boring.

What is one thing on your bucket list in life that seems the furthest stretch for you? I don’t have a bucket list. See above.

What would be your perfect day? A day out with Julia watching Puffins at Bempton Cliffs, followed by prawn sandwiches and cake at Mrs Botham’s tea shop in Whitby. We’ve done it several times and it can’t be bettered.

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Puffin – Bempton Cliffs

If you were an animal what would you be?  A cat. It’s not a big stretch as I sleep a lot and can’t be trusted around unguarded food.

Is there something you would not eat under any circumstances? Beetroot.  This isn’t a preference, for some reason it activates my gag reflex and I literally can’t eat it.

Favorite dessert? Syrup sponge with custard (often wrongly called treacle sponge), though it’s hard to ignore the comedy potential of spotted dick.

Anything else you want to say? For a look at the original post visit koolaidmoms at this link. Have a go yourself!

 

A Very Senior Moment

Subtitle: An idiot and his phone are soon parted

I lost my phone today.

On the way back from the shop I thought of stopping off at the local Sainsbury’s and ringing Julia to see if she wanted anything taking back home. That was when I noticed that the pocket by my left knee was gaping open, instead of being zipped securely. I’d had a couple of phone calls in the

morning, and remembered putting my phone on the counter after I’d finished.

After that I had no memory of it, apart from  having a vague thought that I mustn’t forget it as I packed my stuff.

I decided that the best course of action, as the Ring Road is always crowded at that time of day, was to carry on and go home. Once there I would ask Julia to ring, double check if the phone was concealed in my bag, and, if not, I would, talk to whoever answered and make suitable arrangements.

The other choice was to turn round and return to the shop in traffic, to see if I’d left the phone on the counter. That seemed like a lot of hassle when I wasn’t actually sure if I’d picked it up or not.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got home and looked through my bag. No phone.

Julia rang it (which was a welcome break from doing her tax and muttering at the computer) and it rang. I went through my bag again. I checked my camera case. No phone. We tried again. The ringing wasn’t coming from my bag. It was coming from my trousers.

For some reason I’d put it in a different pocket and it had, to all intents, disappeared. In terms of senior moments this is one up from entering a room and forgetting why.

 

 

Street Furniture

I’ve not taken many pictures recently, so, rather than do another post with no photographs I thought I’d do a quick post using photographs I already have. They aren’t, strictly speaking, all street furniture, some are just things I saw whilst walking down the street with a camera.

 

There’s plenty to see when walking down the street, but I don’t often take the chance to picture it because I’m always worried about photographing people as they walk past. People can be very strange in their ideas about the internet and photography. I know, from seeking photo permission for various children’s events, that parents worry about you making money from it (I wish I knew how) or worry about strangers seeing them (crediting the internet with a power I’m not sure it possesses). I suppose these fears are the lineal descendents of the fear that  cameras steal souls.

 

Most phone boxes are now out of use (mobiles having made them redundant) and are now in use as homes for defibrillators, community libraries or spiders.

The bananas are from the old Fyffes warehouse in Sneinton Market in Nottingham, the bench is from Heckington and the round plate, which you may recognise from the Snape Maltings post, is known as a patress plate. I didn’t know that until I looked it up. Education and blogging, once again, go hand in hand.