Monthly Archives: April 2018

An eBay Sort of Day

We ended up sending 14 parcels this morning, which took a bit of application. We posted one to Canada, one to France, one to Italy and one to Portugal. Who would have thought I’d end up as a packer of International Parcels?

The tests I did at school indicated outdoor jobs like farming and being a gamekeeper. Now I work in the windowless backroom of a shop.

The twists and turns of my life have been mighty strange.

I’m thinking about becoming a writer next, with a book about a man who is haunted by the ghosts of his youthful dreams. At the moment I’m trying to work out a way of introducing an Egyptian mummy into the plot. You can’t sell human remains on eBay so that’s a non-starter. I’ll have to check the rules on Amazon…

In the afternoon I took Julia to Beeston – the one on the edge of Nottingham rather than the one in Cheshire – to buy a copy of Medal News. The shop has been mentioned, with picture. I bought the last copy in W H Smiths, took it home triumphantly and found I’ve bought the old issue. It seems that although the subscribers have had their copies, and have been getting in touch with us (mainly to tell me I’ve put weight on) the newsagents are still flogging the April issue. Ah well.

Today’s picture is a rather battered Staffordshire County Ambulance Service Badge. That sort of non-numismatic item gets passed on to me. It made £20 on eBay, which was a surprise – I knew it was a good badge but I thought the damage would hold it back, and we posted it off this morning. That’s the magic of eBay – you don’t need to know much to make money.

A New Week, But Old Weather

After a night of strong wind the low temperature and the cold weather are back. It’s hard to remember such a depressing Spring. In fact I’m not sure there has ever been such a depressing Spring.

This week I’m going to try for daily posting again. I’m going to make a start by posting this simple complaint about the weather.

The year is now one third of the way through and we’ve had about a week of decent weather.

I’ve made very little progress on decluttering and the well-regarded decluttering book I bought has been absorbed into a pile of books and can no longer be seen. It lacked pace and plot and was generally a bit dull, to be honest, which is why I’d rather read detective fiction and let the house fill with clutter.

I may start decluttering again if I can find a book about a woman who kills her husband because of his untidy habits. Or vice versa.

Breakfast was two sausages that I cooked last night and put to one side. The paprika was an unexpected extra. I was too lazy to fry eggs and mushrooms.

After breakfast, washing up and answering overnight comments on the blog it is now time to set off for the shop.

We have 15 items to pack and send off, including three which were only put up for sale on Saturday. The Budgerigar society badge sold for £6.50. This gives me an excuse to use the photograph again.

 

 

Third Post of the Day

Well, I wrote one post, then I wrote another. At that point I decided I needed a third post to link to the previous two. Really I ought to write a sequel to parts one and two of the burger story, but that can wait until tomorrow. My life is so crammed with trivia that it’s hard to fit it all in.

I notice that the clock is nearing midnight, and if I don’t post soon the title will be incorrect.

We were going to have fish pie and roasted ratatouille tonight but it was so cold I changed that to sausages and roasted root veg with cumin and paprika. We put the heating back on on Friday night, which is something we don’t normally do. I also don’t normally need to use successive “ons” in a sentence. It’s always good to do something new.

Whilst seasoning the veg I made two discoveries.

One, the new pot of smoked Spanish paprika is considerably hotter than the old one.

Two, in a kitchen, in the twilight, with aging eyes, cinnamon and cumin don’t look all that different when you are reading spice jar labels. I will put the light on next time.

For desert we had fig rolls and Battenberg cake. Must do better with planning my menus.

The lack of photos may show you how little progress I am making towards my targets in food photography.

 

Catching Up

I got home last night to find two letters. One was from South Yorkshire Constabulary telling me that I am to have penalty points and a fine for my speeding offence, so I don’t know why they even bothered to mention the safe driving course in their original letter.

I’m extremely annoyed with myself, as I’ve been up and down that stretch of road hundreds of times with no problem. I’ve travelled hundreds of thousands of miles for business and, except for a bit of bother in 1977, I’ve had a clean driving record. A moment’s lack of attention and it’s cost me £100, three points and, no doubt, hassle with the insurance company.

I may well have to write to the Chief Constable and express my disappointment at not being allowed to go on the course.

After opening that letter I opened one from my bank. They say they haven’t heard from me and will start to restrict my access to my money if I don’t contact them to renew my contact details.

So, I rang, and it’s possible I was a little brusque. The original person who took my call palmed me off on somebody else who clearly didn’t want to hear from me, didn’t know what was going on and was happy to confirm that after a telephone call I’d made last month had provided all the information currently being demanded. I may have to issue a sharp rebuke to head office.

Of course, I never actually get round to writing any of these letters…

Finally, we went to visit Julia’s niece in hospital. She has just had a baby and I am now a great-uncle. This is a description of our relationship, not the quality of my uncleship, as I’m a very mediocre uncle at best.

At least the day ended on a high. Babies are very uplifting, particularly when you can give them back and go home.

Today’s photograph is from our Wednesday visit to Carsington Water, which I still need to write about, so the title of his post might be a trifle optimistic.

Two Hours

I returned home after dropping Julia off at work and noted the time – 6.09. As I type this line it is 8.02 and I have just finished part of my catching up with WP. I have read and replied to all the people who posted comments over the last few days and made reciprocal visits to the first few on the list. I’m hoping to visit more by the end of the day but I thought I’d post now as “Two Hours” seemed a reasonable title, I’m also finding that if I leave it until the end of the day I find more work to do, or fall asleep in front of the TV, and end up not posting.

It’s 8.06 now. Am I really only writing a line a minute?

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Budgerigar Society badge

The photograph is a Budgerigar Society badge. It dates from 1930 – 1950s. In 1930 they changed from the Budgerigar Club to Budgerigar Society. On the back it has a fitting to go through the buttonhole in the lapel of a man’s jacket. This sort of fitting died out in the 50s as clothing became more casual and pins became the norm. It’s currently on our eBay site with a bid of 99 pence.

When I was 16 I dreamed of working for Spinks. In my 20s I wanted to be rich and successful.

Today I’m happy to have a job that pays me to write about Budgerigar Society badges.

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! as Mr Shelley said.

It’s 8.20 now – where does the day go?

 

A Tale of Two Burgers (2)

On Wednesday, we took a tour of Derbyshire and, needing toilets, we stopped at the Brierlow Bar bookshop. The car park was more crowded than usual, so we deduced that the plan of converting from bookshop to cafe was working.

You can’t begrudge someone maximising their earnings, but it’s depressing to think of all this being done at the expense of the book stock.

The cake was good (we had a very nice, moist blueberry and lemon sponge), the tea was excellent but, and I am trying to suppress a smile here, standards are slipping.

Despite several members of staff bustling about, they were so slow serving that we had to eat very slowly to avoid finishing the cake before the tea arrived. As we ate and drank tea the staff then decided to talk of their urgent need for the toilet (it seems too many customers were using it). This isn’t going to spoil my appetite, but it may be upsetting for the less hardy type of customer.

The real killer moment came when a staff member with a paint pot walked behind the counter and added water to the paint from the kitchen sink. I know they like you to have one sink for hand washing and one for washing up, and, if possible, a third for vegetable preparation, but I’m not sure about paint dilution. It doesn’t contain pathogens so environmental health may not have an issue with it. On the other hand it doesn’t look very professional.

Use the outside tap, use the tap in the toilets or ask one of the kitchen staff to pass you a jug of water. Do not, if you value your reputation, walk behind the counter with a paint pot.

Even worse, in my eyes, was the fact that the tea strainer they gave us had not been washed properly. A couple of left-over tea leaves won’t kill you, but it does make you wonder what other hygiene corners are being cut.

At least I can report that the book stock seems not to have been pruned since our last visit and though some sections are still struggling the crime novels, cookery books and aviation sections seem to be improving.

I’ll leave it there, as I’m starting to remember the book stock we lost.

It looks like Part 3 will contain news of my second burger of the week.

 

Roasted Ratatouille

I’ll carry on the burger post later. I thought I’d better do something that involves a photograph for the moment.

The photograph is Sausages with Roasted Ratatouille. It’s not quite the same as the recipe photograph that I had. My vegetables never seem to cook as attractively as the ones in recipe pictures. It also didn’t help that I forgot to buy peppers and couldn’t get the right sausages. And they said red onions but I could only get the small size in brown. That probably made a difference too.

Despite this it didn’t turn out too badly in the end, and with a bit of rearrangement three floppy mini peppers from the back of the salad drawer put up quite a decent show.

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Roasted Ratatouille

I was quite pleased with the way it worked out and it had a good flavour thanks to three cloves of wrinkly garlic (you could probably use ordinary garlic but I always leave mine hanging round for a few weeks to mature) and a couple of sprigs of rosemary from the garden.

As long as I can use my own rosemary I can pretend I’m a proper cook.

The other good thing about this dish is that I’m never in a hurry to eat vegetables so I remembered to take the photograph. I’m also not embarrassed about taking pictures of my food like I am when I’m in public. (See comments from beatingthebounds in the previous post about this.)