Monthly Archives: October 2018

Ambushed by Haibun

The day started in an interesting fashion when, on the way to drop Julia at work, I noticed the car in front of us come to an abrupt halt.

“That,” I said to Julia, “looks like the Aygo just hit the car in front of it.”

 

Two cars collide

under leafless trees

red glass sparkles

 

At that point the reversing lights came on and it started to reverse towards us. Fortunately it stopped before hitting us, but ended up so close that we couldn’t pull out and go round.

The driver then spent what seemed like ages exchanging details with her victim. She also waved apologetically, though not usefully.

I’m hoping that tomorrow will have less to report about the journey to work.

 

(The three lines of crytic verse inserted into the middle of the post, in case you are wondering, might just qualify as a haiku, thus qualifying the whole post to be called a haibun. I am so cultured these days it’s almost painful.)

 

 

A Month of Months

Along with the list of days, there is a list of things that this month represents.

There’s pizza, black cats and family history, but there’s also mental illness and cancer and the chance of offending people.

So, despite the potential for some good jokes, I’m skating over it.

I will just leave you with an example of a line I can’t believe they used.

“We think you may also like… ” isn’t too bad, apart from the context, as in:

“We think you may also like… World Mental Health Day and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month.” 

The cancer one is even worse.

 

A Day of Days

It’s cold, it’s grey and it’s the 290th day of the year (leaving 75 days until the forced jollity of yet another New Years Day).

It is Spreadsheet Day, Hagfish Day, Global Dignity Day, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Day, Take Your Parents to Lunch Day, Wear Something Gaudy Day, Mulligan Day, Playing Card Collection Day and Forgive an Ex Day.

From our time running the Quercus group I knew there were lots of special days, but I didn’t know there were this many.

I’ll take a quick run through them.

Spreadsheet Day – don’t use them. If I’ve managed without them for 60 years I can’t see that they are a lot of use.

Hagfish Day – never seen it on a menu so I think we can safely ignore it.

Global Dignity Day – sounds like someone, somewhere got a grant and is busily building a career based on bullshit.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – each year people gather “to renew their resolve to combat poverty”. I’m sure all the poor people are suitably impressed.

Take Your Parents to Lunch Day – I can’t help thinking that this would be better on a Sunday when the kids aren’t working or at school.

Wear Something Gaudy Day – in our house, I thought, every day is Wear Something Gaudy Day.  However, when you read the information it seems the bar is set considerably higher by the enthusiasts.

Mulligan Day – American slang about second chances. We already have enough American slang thank you, so I’ll take a rain check on that one.

Playing Card Collection Day –  got to be good. Days about collecting should be encouraged. I just went looking for the correct name for a playing card collector. I didn’t find it but I did find the material for a whole new post.

Forgive an Ex Day – Why? They’re an Ex for a reason. We were discussing a new gift shop idea the other day when we got fed up with eBay – wondering if there would be a market for insulting gifts. This would be a good day to try it out – sending a bunch of dead flowers and Turkish Delight flavoured with rosewater and the bitter tears of regret.

That is probably enough now. It was meant to be a post detailing my progress in my 1,000 Haiku Challenge but it seems to have been diverted.

The next post might be about Haiku but as it’s Pizza Month I may just carry on with more random discussion of the vagaries of modern life.

 

 

 

 

A Few Loose Ends

We went to the garage this morning – Julia had a ride on the ramp and I watched as the car cost me another £65.

Julia bought breakfast at McDonalds – yes, I’m ashamed of myself – and I dropped her off at work before going to work myself.

We only had two questions to answer and three parcels to post so I’d finished by the time everryone else turned up.

We sold one of these today – less than 24 hours after putting it on. Judging from the poertraits it commemorates the marriage of a monkey to an unsuccessful professional pugilist.

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Royal Wedding medallion

Work went, as work does – a few customers, sorting some halfpennies, answering the phone, more things to put on eBay, then, as we were getting ready to go, two people bought things and we had two more parcels to do.

Back at home, I picked up my post, which informed me that I’d passed my blood test and have three weeks before the next one.

Eating tea and relaxing, I was distirbed by a text asking for a lift. Number Two son is on the way back from Manchester airport after returning from his German holiday.

And that, I think, is everything up to date.

Well, not quite. Just had a phone call to say No2 son is waiting in Sheffield after the Nottingham train was cancelled.

And while I think of it – I had an email from the farm (the venue for the original Quercus group). The ariel photo shows many changes, but the song remains the same. They have another community group running and are once again asking for cash. two years after getting rid of us they don’t seem much further forward. Maybe there will be a different outcome this time. Maybe…

I’ve blocked them from sending more emails.

 

A Crowded Day…

I had a blood test this morning so I hauled myself out of bed at 6.30 and muttered my way around the house.

By 7.05 I was yelling abuse at someone who was having trouble lining up his car to take a ticket from the machine and gain access to the car park. Unfortunately I’d already wound my window down in readiness to reaching for my ticket so he heard more of my comments than I’d really intended. The atmosphere, as we stepped out of our cars after parking, was a touch frosty.

At 7.10 I was ready and waiting with ticket 110 clasped in my hand. At 7.14 they called ticket 103. I read some more of my book on Vikings and watched the big screen with their advert for the NHS. I’m not sure why they need to spend money on promotional films, it’s not like there’s a rival health service or anything.

They got to me just after 7.30, which wasn’t too bad. I think I probably passed, as the blood seemed to flow well. In fact it was a bit tricky to stop it. There has been no phone call so I’m hoping to get at least two weeks before another test.

Back at the car I checked my leaky tyre and noticed it was looking quite flat. This only affected the bottom of the tyre but these things have a tendency to spread. As I’d blown it up less than 24 hours earlier I decided action was needed.  My original plan had been to slot it in between jobs in the afternoon, but this clearly needed action now.

My local garage opens at 7.00 so they put the spare on for me. There were two nails in the leaky tyre, and, to make things worse, considerable wear inside the tyre where the tracking appears to be out. I’m going to pick up the new tyre tomorrow morning and it looks like I’ll be getting the tracking done soon too. I’m definitely not buying expensive tyres again – I’ve had nothing but bad luck with this set.

After that I had time to impersonate Hemingway writing in a Parisian cafe. I was actually in McDonalds in Arnold but my intentions were good. I was catching up on my haiku challenge, which I mentioned a couple of days ago.

On Sunday I didn’t write any, so today I have twenty to do. At the time of writing I have done nine. This isn’t too bad as it means I’m pretty much in the same position as I was yesterday – just a day behind. I’m seven days in and have two hours to write thirty three lines of non-rhyming poetry. They don’t even need to be good. That shouldn’t be a problem – disappointing haiku are one of my specialities.

I will cover this question of quality in a post later in the week.

We had thirteen parcels to pack this morning, plus a few minor jobs, which neatly filled the three hours.  I posted the massive lot of royalty medals just before lunch and notice we have sold one already.

On my return home I spent an hour or so reading WP, including catching up with escapetothebarn.

Next I had to drop Number Two Son off at the station as he’s flying back to Malta from Stanstead tomorrow. Julia had some extra hours today so it was just a short trip to The Meadows where I waited 20 minutes for her to finish and took some pictures through the rainy windscreen. The “Meadows” is not a very accurate description.

I wasn’t sure if I had enough rain in the picture so I took one of my mirror too.

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Rain in a rear view mirror

We had chicken thighs and mediterranean vegetables for tea, mainly because we had a lot of courgettes to eat. We also had rosemary from the garden and ready chopped garlic from a jar.

I’ve decided that life is too short to chop garlic.

 

More Moaning about Medallions

If there’s one area where the UK can be said to lead the world it’s the production of tawdry royal souvenirs. Many of them, well, the ones relating to royal marriages anyway, have outlasted the subject of their commemoration many times over.

Here are some souvenirs of short-lived royal marriages. If there was any justice you’d be able to send them to Buckingham Palace for a refund.

There is, I seem to recall, something called the Royal Effigies Act, but it seems to have been replaced by the Trade Marks Act 1994. When you look at the royal effigies in these picture you have to wonder if making them look like monkeys is a way of getting round the legislation.

I feel a bit more positive about the birthday and Jubilee medallions, and about the portraits used, though a day of entering them on eBay can wear the shine off anything.

They will be loaded on eBay this week, so I’m hoping that we will get rid of some of them in the next week or two – I need the room on my desk!

Check out the rest of the shop here.

Seven Percent

As I wrote it, I thought the title seemed familiar. Entering “Seven Percent” into Google confirms that it was the title of a Sherlock Holmes film, though one of the later stories. That’s “later” as in after Conan Doyle died, though I do note that the seven percent solution was mentioned in some of the original stories.

That is just a diversion, the real purpose of the title is to report progress on my 100 Post/100 Day challenge.

I’m sure Derrick J Knight and Tootlepedal have posted for years with no interruption. I have managed over 100 days of successive posting several times but I’m not as well-organised as they are. I’ve also noticed a difference since I started work again – after a hard six hour day battering a keyboard and posting parcels I often find I’m too tired to post. I’m getting soft, which is one of the reasons for the challenge and its public announcement.

I’ve been practising my poetry skills for the last couple of years and trying to write something every day. It’s been hard work getting back into practice and I’m not sure I’ve really returned to my levels of 14 years ago when I had my other, brief, career as a poet.

That, plus the blog, was as much writing as I could comfortably do.

The rot set in when I started looking at ebay as part of the process of getting back to work. That takes more time than you’d think, even though a lot of it isn’t really productive.

Add a job to that, even if it is only six hours a day, and the catering and blogging have been suffering. Hence the need for a challenge.

It came about because I needed more haiku practice. Someone had written a blog detailing their challenge of writing 100 haiku in 100 days, and the benefits they gained. I thought I might try that, as I need the practice and polish, but before I started, I read this.

My report on the 1,000 Hiku challenge is that I’m five days in, and I’m ahead of the count. I’m already learning a lot, but that’s a discussion for another day, though one of the things I’ve learnt is that I really ought to stop taking this sort of thing on, and I should stop telling people I’m doing it.

100 in 100 days would have been plenty…

 

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Sumac Tree and Sunshine

For pictures I’ve used two pictures of the sumac tree in the MENCAP gardens – I’ve used them both recently but not together. They are about two weeks apart.

Time is passing.