Monthly Archives: May 2018

Some Guest Photos

Julia managed some decent shots in the Mencap garden this week – I particularly like the one in the featured image, a parent Great Tit shoving food into a permanently open mouth. As a parent I find that image strikes a chord.

She took some video of Blue Tit parents flying in and out of a box, but it won’t load. However she did get a shot of the other Great Tits in the garden. Three broods, all doing well.

The other Great Tit nest

The other Great Tit nest

 

Matlock and Macaroons

We had a good day today, as I said in the previous post, despite the rain.

It started with a breakfast at McDonald’s, which I view as a treat when taken in moderation. I didn’t bother to tell Julia that I’d had one after yesterday’s blood test in case she went all diet-conscious on me.

After that we moved on to a doughnut and a cup of tea at Sainsbury’s in Matlock. Julia resisted the doughnut and just had tea, but I was in a relaxed holiday mood. We didn’t actually stop for tea, it’s just that I have a Pavlovian response to seeing a teapot. We actually stopped because my breakfast tea had worked its way through. This tea and toilet cycle was to be a feature of the day.

Next stop was Bakewell, which was the point of the day. We were looking for a birthday present for Julia’s sister and an internet search had located the item we needed in Stone Art in Bakewell. You may recall that we went there some time ago and bought a pendant for Julia. This time we bought a pendant for her sister. Pendants are good for presents – no need to know a finger size and no need to know if someone has pierced ears.

I had checked my bank balance when we were in Sainsbury’s, so I was able to do the decent thing and secure a pendant for Julia.

She, as you can see from the header picture, responded by buying coconut macaroons. She also bought a Bakewell pudding, but there is less comedy potential in a Bakewell pudding.

We paused to take the customary pictures of the locks on the bridge, and the trout under the bridge before crossing the river to the car park, which is where the previous post starts. Sometimes I confuse myself with all the time shifts, but I wrote these two posts in order of how much the events annoyed me, and it’s much easier to get annoyed about closed toilets than it is about buying jewellery.

We got caught behind a wide load coming down the Via Gellia and the satnav picked a peculiar route through Matlock on the way back. I hadn’t used it on the way to Bakewell and was only using it on the way back because I hadn’t switched it off after using it to get to the bookshop. It doesn’t seem to know there’s a by-pass these days.

Finally, back at home, we found a letter from the anti-coagulant service – I have four more weeks until the next blood test, having hit the target again. This is good news, particularly for my inner elbow, which was starting to get quite tender.

We then had seafood linguine and Bakewell pudding and custard for tea. Julia did the cooking and Number 2 son did the washing up.

All in all, an excellent day. And I still have material for another post.

 

 

 

 

Bad Day in Bakewell (and Brierlow Bar)

Well, it wasn’t actually a bad day, but when we went to the car park to leave I decided to use the toilet. This is what I found.

Sign at Bakewell, Derbyshire

Sign at Bakewell, Derbyshire

It would have been nice for them to have put up a big sign I could have seen earlier. Then I’d have been able to plan better.

Plan B, because I couldn’t be bothered to walk back into town, was to hang on until we got to our next stop – Brierlow Books.

The toilet bit of the shop visit went well, though there was a queue. There was a queue last time we called too – suggesting the facilities aren’t keeping up with the increasing number of customers. The book buying bit was a disaster, with nothing that caught my eye. So was the plan to buy a nice card for Julia’s sister’s birthday, as they no longer stock the cards we like. The whole place was congested and the two staff at the desk were offhand, to say the least, one to the point of rudeness, when Julia went to pay. This has never happened before – the staff (whatever I may think about the direction the shop is taking) have always been extremely pleasant over the years.

However, even this couldn’t spoil an enjoyable day. In fact, by falling short the bookshop cheered me up – I love it when predictions of doom come true.

You’ll have to read the next post to see why I was happy.

Ah! Forgot the title!

I’m trying to get back to posting every day, but I’ve just realised that I only have 32 minutes.

Julia went back to work today after her Maltese holiday, and found that the rhubarb has faded badly. On the plus side three of the nest boxes have newly hatched broods in them, so the winter of renovating the boxes has paid off. (All the new ones we made were sold off to raise money for new seeds and tools).

Meanwhile, it was the first blood test for a month (a reward for passing the test regularly). There was a staff shortage and, according to the phone conversation I overheard, there was a queue of 33. There had been a queue of 18 when I got there. It took an hour for me to be seen to, so someone was in for a long wait…

Looking at it with a positive slant, I had a book with me.

I loaded this with a minute to spare, and then had to edit to add a title and add categories/tags. There’s nothing like good organisation, as my mother used to say. And this was nothing like good organisation.

 

Things I Thought (But didn’t Write)

I always have more thoughts than I write about, and always seem to have more photographs than I can use too.

Here’s an opener – have you done Rachel McAlpine’s Older Blogger’s Survey? Obviously, many of my readers won’t be old enough to take it, and some of you are perpetually youthful, but one or two of you might find it useful. I found it interesting to get some of my thoughts in line.

Some of the other thoughts I’ve had are uncharitable ones about the idiot who taped my driving license to the court paperwork before sending it back. With finding a cloth and solvent it took me ten minutes to get it cleaned off.

Gloster Meteor stamp

Gloster Meteor stamp

I also wonder who thought it would be a good idea to design a car park where the exit doesn’t take coins, but insists on card payments in a badly lit machine that’s set at the wrong height. It might be OK for owls and midgets but it’s not good for me.

Then there’s the thoughts about British Telecom. We’ve been having a steadily worsening service, so Julia rang them on Saturday to sort things out. It took several hours and a number of false starts. They’ve been charging us too much and providing a shoddy service, neither of which they were prepared to correct. We still won’t be getting a refund but they are going to send us one of the latest routers (we have a Mark 2 and they are currently on Mark 6). They did offer to check the wiring in the house (and charge around £10) and charge us for a new router but Julia, growing ever shorter in temper as a result of her lack of sleep, managed to work a free router out of them. Of course, we haven’t got it yet, so we’ll see what happens.

A stream near Lound in Lincolnshire

A stream near Lound in Lincolnshire

Another thought that comes back to me from time to time is wondering if I’m in a hospital ward somewhere and all the WordPress comments on my blog are just voices in my head.

It could be, you never know. When I was younger I used to wonder if everyone saw the “blue” sky in the same way. What if they were seeing the colour I called “green”? Or even “orange”?

I’ve been dealing with several auctioneers recently – one of them won’t send items I buy with my debit card to any other address than the billing address. Three other auctioneers can do it, Paypal can do it, Amazon can do it, but this one particular auction house, it seems, can’t do it. To add insult to injury, the address I want to  use is one where they already send things.

Life can be very complicated in these days of electronic payments when everyone is scared of fraud. They will send it wherever I ask if I pay by bank transfer, but why should I give my bank details out?

That could easily develop into a rant, so I’ll change subjects now.

2013 £2 coin in presentation pack - commemoration

2013 £2 coin in presentation pack

The 2013 £2 is the first time a UK coin has ever commemorated another coin – in this case the Guinea of 1663. The Guinea is a very interesting coin. I won’t venture an opinion on the £2 as we just sold one of these packs on eBay.

 

I’ll finish up by dotting the post with some random unused photographs, which links us back to the first paragraph.

Thinking about it, there are a few first world problems here. I have just had a letter from Mary’s Meals and it might be a good idea to send them a few quid.

 

A Restful Sunday

I’m struggling to find anything to talk about.

I could talk about my new resolution to alter my entire life after watching Ninja Warriors. However, I would be wasting your time, as I think we all know by now that my resolutions rarely survive the week. Often they don’t actually survive a good night’s sleep.

This week I’ve developed a new way of amusing myself. As I’ve addressed envelopes to send off eBay parcels I’ve been looking the addresses up on Google. It’s very interesting seeing where people live, though I’ve only actually done it twice as it isn’t what I’m paid for, and it’s also a bit creepy.

However, it will probably form another part of the projected novel about the antique dealer and the mummy in the basement. I looked up references to mummies for sale last week – I didn’t find any but I did find an article about artifact smuggling.

There was a mummified head for sale on one site (5,000 Euros if you are interested) and a hand, complete with red nails, on another. I suppose you could build your own from bits if you had the time. I can’t find the links I need for the body parts but here is a link to an interesting auction.

I’m not quite sure where the novel is going, probably nowhere, but if it has antiques and mummies in it then it is off too a good start. I’m going to site the antique shop next to a cake shop and give them a customer who works in a quarry and has access to explosives. That, I think, covers the basics.

Having just eaten a slice of insipid cheesecake I may make the neighbour a cheesecake shop and indulge in some hard-hitting satire on flavourless food.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. Nothing much happened but Julia took the day off after her recent Mediterranean exertions (she describes Malta as being “all uphill”) so we didn’t have to get up at 5 am. It can’t be a bad day when that happens.

The daisy was one I took last week, but there are a lot about in the grass verges at the moment so I thought I’d use it again.

 

Just a Quick Note

I’m off to the airport in a minute to pick up Julia and Number Two Son.

It will be good to have them back, though I have enjoyed the peace and quiet.

That’s probably all I will have time to post today as I’ve been tidying up, sleeping in front of the TV and reading all evening instead of writing. Mostly sleeping and reading if I’m honest.

I was going to make something excellent in the oven for their return, but I ended up just buying some pasties and oven chips. Add a tin of beans and that should do.

In terms of good intentions I’m a bit of a disaster area.

But in terms of TV snoozing I’m world class.

Everyone needs to excel at something.

 

 

I’ve run out of Ham!

Fortunately my reserve of cheese has been able to make up the deficiency. The good thing about cheese, apart from the fact that it tastes good, is that it’s virtually interchangeable with ham. You can use tomato relish and Branston pickle on it, and if you make Welsh Rarebit you can even pair it with mustard. They can both go in omlettes, on pizza and, if you really must, in salad.

If I ever have to make a choice I may have to go for cheese, as it can go in Welsh Rarebit, as previously mentioned, and cheese on toast.

Talking of Welsh Rarebit, which makes cheese on toast into a meal instead of a snack, I was surprised to see how complicated it can be. I whisk a drop of milk into some grated cheese whilst heating gently, add the mustard and it’s ready. Sometimes I add Worcestershire Sauce and black pepper. Sometimes I don’t.  No beer, no flour, no fat, no roux.

In the Cold Dark Ground (Logan McRae, Book 10) by [MacBride, Stuart]

The tie I have saved by not shopping for more ham was spent reading an excellent crime novel – In the Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride. It’s the 10th book in the series, and I’ve missed a few out, so I had a bit of catching up to do. That’s the trouble you have if you hate paying more than 99 pence for a Kindle book.

It’s Tartan Noir, with lots of Scots and violence plus dark humour, exhuberance, convolution, complication dialect and a pig farm.

Sometimes it’s a bit over the top, and sometimes a bit irritating, but generally it’s a great book in a great series. When I get caught up with my reading pile I might buy a few more in the series. I’d go so far as to say if I could only take one crime series to a desert island it would be this one.

Thanks to Amazon for the picture again.

1,200 posts!

I noticed, after posting yesterday, that I have now done 1,200 posts. As I don’t have much to say, I thought I may as well mention it.

Today I rose early, toddled down to the bathroom and noticed, on my return, that it was 6.08am. Plenty of time for another hour in bed, I thought, and after a fitful sleep, including a fight with the duvet and a dream about shaving, I awoke refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Then I looked at my watch. It was 6.23!

Clearly, after 30 years of marriage, I can’t cope with sleeping alone.

I may have mentioned, ungallantly, in the past, that there is an amount of snoring and duvet theft going on in the marital bed during the average night. I never thought that I’d actually miss having to block my ears and fight for bedding.

Some nights I’ve actually had to resort to using elbows in a manner that would attract a red card if done on a rugby field.

It just goes to show…

At least it gave me time to finish a book.

Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps on the Western Front, 1914-1915 by [Corrigan, Gordon]

I started the year slowly from a reading point of view, and am still going slowly, as I’m reading a lot of reference material in an attempt to become a useful member of the shop.

I won’t review the book, as it’s of limited interest to most people, but I found it very interesting, particularly for the small details like the way the  Indian Army had to organise itself to feed a variety of different religions and castes.

If you do know anyone who might be interested, I can recommend it, but for a general reader it could be a bit dull.

The cover photo is courtesy of Amazon, as I have it on my Kindle (I do love a 99p book) and a picture of an electrical device in a tatty canvas case isn’t a good-looking picture for a book review.

This brings me on to something I was told recently. A visiting dealer told me that he’d had an email from an American company telling him that he had been spotted using some artwork on his website without permission and that unless he paid several thousand pounds they were going to take him to court. It is, it seems, a well known internet scam which is actually franchised in some places, because people are often scared by the mention of legal action and pay up.

In truth I can’t see how, they would manage to enforce any action, or that a court would award such huge damages for using an image that would be quite cheap to license. I’m not even sure that a court would take on an action from a third party that is just interfering for financial gain.

That’s why, in using two unlicensed images in my 1,201 posts, I have always named the source. I’m sure Amazon would forgive me, as I’m publicising one of their books.

We once had a very pompous Australian (not two words I’ve ever used together before) write to us on the farm about content on the farm website. One of our group had copied something from the internet and posted it straight on the site. I took it down immediately and let them know what I’d done, but I still got a further lecture from the Australian, who, as far as I know, had had no input into the original paper.

At that point I came very close to telling them to mind their own business.

There are too many scams and too many busybodies on the internet.

However, worse than that, there are too many people stealing content from the internet. Getting back to the start of the story, you wonder why someone would think it acceptable to steal artwork off the internet. They wouldn’t feel it was acceptable to take something from a building or a car but load something onto the internet and people seem to think theft is acceptable.

I thought I’d better make that clear, as, much as I abhor busybodies and scams, I don’t think much to copyright theft either.

In fact I’m just a crabby old man, who complains about everything.

 

Bins, boxes and barbecues

We only sold four lots over the weekend. Two of them sold on Saturday afternoon, after the Post Office closed, so we packed them before we left. Two sold on Sunday. Then, as we looked at the small pile of post someone bought another lot.

Five parcels.

I think we might have to postpone plans to buy a new box of teabags.

Meanwhile, I just had a phone call from Malta. Apparently the weather was great at East Midland Airport, glorious over France, lovely over the Alps, grey over Italy and murky in Malta.

It’s a lovely evening in Nottingham. Nice and bright and warm and I didn’t need to queue up, sit on an aeroplane or defy nature to get here. I just sat on a chair.

It’s also, according to the photograph Julia just sent, dark in Malta. You’ll have to take my word for it as I’m struggling to download the photo. It seems to have plenty of water and reflected lights in it so I’m sure you’ll love it if I manage to download it.

Julia left me a packet of Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells. It was waiting for me when I returned home and helped ease the pain of parting. Unfortunately I can’t provide you with a picture of that either. I suppose I ought to be ashamed of myself.

I had ham sandwiches for lunch. I also had ham sandwiches for tea. At the moment I’m debating having ham sandwiches for supper. I like ham sandwiches, and cooking for one keeps the shopping simpler. I’m considering what to buy for tomorrow. If I buy a piece of gammon I can cook it and use it to make ham sandwiches for the next few days.

So far I’ve only used white cobs and Branston pickle. I have multi-seed bread and a choice of mustard or tomato relish available, so I’ve barely scraped the surface of the variety of choices available in the world of ham sandwiches.

I may even consider salad.

If ham sandwiches start to lose their appeal, and I don’t see why they would, I have a reserve stock of cheese.

It’s fairly clear from this that the difference between a normal man and a recluse with a ham fixation is only a few hours. That, I suppose, is why it’s good for men to get married.

Today’s pictures are some I took in the Mencap garden last week. The theme is recycled waste bins, boxes and barbcues. That gives me an idea for a title…