Monthly Archives: February 2019

They are not long, the days of wine and roses

I’m sure I’ve used that quote before, so I apologise if I’m being boring. Here’s the full poem for those of you who want to read the rest. Like the days of wine and roses, it is not long. The title, in contrast, is longer than most haiku.

When I was looking for quotes on the swift passing of time, I couldn’t find one that felt right, so it was back to the reliable Dowson yet again.

The subject was on my mind on the way home today as it was definitely shirt sleeve weather and spring was in the air.

We have a number of domestic projects to get through this summer and I am aware that one sixth of the year has nearly gone. It’s a worry because this has happened before. One day it’s February and the next time you think about it, it’s September and we still don’t have the upgraded heating system or the new kitchen we’ve been promising ourselves for years

Today absolutely flew by, with plenty going on – parcels to pack, coins to sort and customers to serve. It was one of my more enjoyable days in the shop, which has been a bit grim recently. It’s nothing to do with the shop – it’s just that I still haven’t really adjusted to not being my own boss. Or to working with someone who gradually accumulates, and defends, all the stationery in the shop.

I had arrived at the point where I wasn’t really enjoying work and was giving serious thought to employing some of the knowledge gained from decades of reading crime novels. I’m just about to start a new book on my Kindle…

The Royal Art of Poison: Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicines and Murder Most Foul by [Herman, Eleanor]

 

The Scone Chronicles – Number 7 – Done as a Haibun

As usual, there is a queue at the cafe in Sainsbury’s at Arnold. The woman behind the counter is working hard but the system is against her. So is the customer she is serving, who can’t make his mind up.

I have two scones – one cheese, one fruit. Julia sticks with a single cheese scone. We select them, then we wait in line. They are small, neat and hexagonal.

Eventually I go to find a table because my knee is playing up.

The first two tables are too dirty to clean by wiping with a paper napkin. The third is passable, but dirty underneath. They have at least four staff and I’m not impressed. I think of writing a stiffly worded letter of complaint but it won’t do any good and the insincere reply will annoy me even more.

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A dirty floor – Sainsbury’s, Arnold

The cheese scone feels hard as I slide the knife in. It is not a light and fluffy scone, though I had expected this from the small and regular shape.

There are specks of visible cheese, and it tastes good.

The fruit scone is moist inside, in a doughy way, rather than a good way. It still tastes good but looks strange in the camera viewfinder.

A slightly doughy fruit scone

A slightly doughy fruit scone

At one time we would have ordered the cream tea but we are getting too old for all the sugar and fat.

evening draws on

the rotund blogger

photographs his food

 

 

Just a Quick Post

Time for another swift post I think.

Having been distracted by TV and the internet I’m starting a little later than planned and have to take Number Two Son to work in an hour.

I also have a haiku to re-write, which is more difficult than it sounds, considering that it only has three lines. I’m told that two of the lines say almost the same thing, which makes for a weak haiku. My plan was to rewrite one line. It seemed logical. It seemed a quick and easy fix.

It’s taken me 24 hours now and it’s not going well. Fortunately I told the editor it would take me a couple  of days, so I’m safe for now. It will be another 24 hours before he finds out he’s dealing with an idiot.

Sorry, I drifted off into haikuland there and spent 20 minutes rewriting, checked my emails, read some posts by other people and then realised I was meant to be posting.

I’ll do better tomorrow…

 

 

Easy as a Monday Morning

On Friday I experienced an uneasy feeling, which grew through Saturday as I realised that I probably had a blood test this morning. I say “probably” as I had neglected to make a note in my diary and I had mislaid the letter giving me the next date.

Eventually I found the letter (which also counted towards my decluttering quota) and confirmed that I did indeed have a blood test this morning.

In the manner of these things, the plan suffered a set-back. I woke at 6.15, summoned by my bladder and then went back to my nice warm bed bed. That meant that instead of leaping into action at 6.30 I hauled myself out at 6.45 and the whole day started slower and later than intended.

There wasn’t much of a queue and the phlebotomist hit the vein first time. I bled well after they removed the needle and I’ve had no panicky phone calls so I’m presuming all has gone well.

As I left the hospital I noticed that the day was much lighter than it had been three weeks ago for my last test. Spring is definitely on the way.

I’ll leave out the boring bits – parcels, swearing at other drivers, TV – the normal stuff that makes up my life.

Tonight we had the beef stew I’d meant to cook last night. (We ended up with frozen veggie burgers due to time constraints). It turned out reasonably well despite my normal cooking technique of chucking stuff in and seeing what happens. I keep meaning to learn how to cook properly, but I never get round to it.

It’s cottage pie tomorrow. I made it while I was doing the stew. It’s good to be a day ahead.

That’s about it for today. Nothing interesting happened and I have 23 minutes left to post.

 

The Plans Slot into Place

The plans were –

  • Publish the post I meant to do last night
  • Sleep
  • Write
  • Shop
  • Pick Julia up from work

It’s actually difficult for that to go wrong.

Tonight I will do some decluttering and some cooking.Not much, just enough to say I have carried out the last two elements on my list.

Nobody needs to know I intended to clear the dining room table or cook four meals in advance. A carrier bag of books will suffice, as will a simple beef stew. It was going to be venison (it’s healthier and everybody likes Bambi) but they didn’t have any in the supermarket. They had some last week, which is what gave me the idea. Typical.

Cookery isn’t so bad when you think of the alternative – watching the depressing news on TV, watching equally depressing non-news or watching poor quality repeats.

Ah well, where are those onions…

Some Spring photos, hopefully the first of many.

Writer’s Log Jam

The last few days have been crowded with subjects to write about. The trouble is that there is just too much, I am feeling quite tetchy about a lot of it and it’s hard to write a post in those circumstances. It’s the opposite of writer’s block in many ways – plenty to write about, plenty of words coming through, but just so much to say I can’t process it all.

I went to the random subject generator to help me concentrate, and this is what it came back with –

Write about your relationship with food.

You know it isn’t your day when even the random subject generator is having a pop at you.

I carry, as you may have gathered over the years, a few extra pounds. I say “a few” – it might be a bit more than that. In fact I could probably do with losing weight equivalent to the bodyweight of an average jockey.

However, this is supposed to be about my relationship with food, not my relationship with small people who ride horses. I like jockeys, but  couldn’t eat a whole one…

I don’t really have much of a relationship with food; it’s never around long enough for me to get to know it.

When I gave up smoking I did so by telling myself how disgusting it was every time I smelt cigarette smoke. It seems to have worked as, twenty years later, I am still off cigarettes.

I’m not sure it would work as well with food. I’m worried that if I made myself think of food as disgusting I might end up with an eating disorder. To be fair, it would take a few years before the weight loss became a problem, but you have to be careful about these things.

To avoid buying new clothes I could buy braces to keep my trousers up, which is something I’ve been considering anyway – it’s a middle-aged man thing. (That’s suspenders to you Americans, though suspenders are something different to us.) Very different.

I do love the way English differs from one side of the Atlantic to the other. The mental picture of middle-aged American men wearing suspenders is both amusing and horrifying.

I think I’ll leave it there and add some pictures of food.

 

Between writing “pictures of food” and actually posting the pictures I managed to fall asleep and wake up just after midnight to find I’d missed a day posting. Just as I thought I was doing so well…

Photographs from the Museum

There are actually four cottages in the block you see – one at each end and L-shaped back to backs in the middle. Victorians knew how to cram them in. Water came via the pump you can see in the middle of the photo. The toilets are behind me and the wash house is in the end of the left hand building. No indoor facilities then, unless you count guzundas.

These are the toilets – there were approximately 100 people on site so the provision is hardly generous. They also appear to be unisex. Not sure if women worked there, but if they did it’s hardly the Victorian approach I’d have expected.

The effluent falls down the privy and emerges through the arches in the side of the pit. With 100 people using it, you’d think they’d need something a bit deeper.

The cottages are very well fitted out, though I’m not sure they have the smell right. I’m sure that with candles, crowds, open cesspits and and a lack of washing facilities the smell must have been well to the forefront of your life in those days. They have smell sprays at Jorvik to give you more of an idea. I didn’t think they were terribly convincing twenty years ago, but they may have improved.

Sorry about the low tone of this post, but like any man, there’s a small boy lurking just under the surface, and small boys are fascinated by toilets.