Monthly Archives: July 2019

Must do Better

Another day in the procession of days. I really shouldn’t complain, because days are a limited resource and I need to make the most of them. I did a calculation a few months ago, If I live to be as old as my Dad, which I won’t, I have about 11,000 days left. I expect that with one thing and another, including dementia, I will manage about 7,500.

It seems like a lot but I have a feeling that once you start counting down, the total will reduce quite quickly. However, 7,500 is still quite a long time. I’ll just have to stop sleeping in front of the TV to make sure I maximise my remaining time.

I’ve worked out a new dieting technique – having Emmenthal in my sandwiches. It stands to reason that cheese with holes in it must have fewer calories than cheese without.

That’s about it. I didn’t do much today and I left my camera at work so I can’t transfer any photos from last week. The photo is from a few weeks ago but it’s a good general purpose summer photo.

Tomorrow I will try to do better.

 

More of the same but with Added Doughnuts

Today, in the manner of these things, was rather like yesterday. It was hot, stuffy and windowless. However, I had cold water with me and a new mindset – no more boredom, just a new relaxation technique.

For the second day on the trot we were full of customers until 2 o’clock. This was good as we’ve been short of customers over the last few weeks because they all seem to have gone on holiday.

After a hard day at work (comparatively speaking – sitting down prodding a keyboard and chatting to customers is not exactly onerous) I returned home to find Julia turning the place upside down looking for lost keys. I am forbidden to mention it, as, three hours later, she found them in her purse. Talk about a senior moment. Not that I’m able to say too much after what happened last Monday.

On that subject, I had my blood test results – they are holding steady and I’m not required for another test until September. This is a good thing. It’s particularly good as it took some getting and I didn’t bleed after they took the needle out. That’s usually a bad sign and results in more tests. I’m obviously getting the hang of it now.

Julia bought doughnuts today, because jam, sugar and fat are just what I need in my attempt to lose weight.

However, Julia doesn’t need the calories either and I thought I’d better help her out. It seemed churlish not to. The only problem is that they always come in 5s, which means we are currently having an enquiry about who ate the fifth one while Julia was out of the room.

I’m saying nothing.

Today’s picture is another one from Crosby Beach – the RNLI patrol keeping an eye out for sightseers trapped in quicksand. It’s a tricky beach as this link shows.

A Boring, Hot, Stuffy Day

I suppose the title gives it away.

But in case it didn’t, I’ve spent the day doing boring things in a hot shop with very poor ventilation.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon drinking cold fizzy drinks from the shop across the road. This could have been a fatal amount of sugar, but it was a risk I was prepared to take. Tomorrow I will be taking water in bottles that have been in the freezer overnight. The plan is that they will provide a constant supply of cold water as they gradually melt.

I will let you know how that goes.

These brilliant plans have a habit of not working out.

I thought I’d use some photographs from the Lake District to remind me of more interesting times and less oppressive weather.

It’s on days like this that my thoughts turn to new career paths. With my lack of talent and qualifications I have very little choice. I can win the lottery or I can…

That’s about it.

I could write a profitable blog, but I’ve never quite grasped the principle when reading those websites about making thousands of dollars.

I could, I suppose, film myself doing things and become an internet sensation, like Grumpy Cat. I can do grumpy, but that probably isn’t enough to become an Internet Sensation.

I may have to look at content writing again.

Or I might buy a fan for my desk. It will be winter soon enough and then I will just have the boredom to cope with.

Boredom isn’t too bad.

Though the job would be improved by having a window looking out at a lake.

Here’s a shot taken using the “Dramatic” setting on the camera. I couldn’t resist.

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Ullswater again

 

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Pied Wagtail, Ullswater

And here’s a picture of a Pied Wagtail. I tried fifteen shots and this is the only one with a whole unblurred bird in it.

The Iron Men

Julia took this picture by photographing the information board at the beach – I hope we will be forgiven for using it, as we are, to be fair, publicising the sculptures.

Just in case you don’t recognise the statues, they are part of Another Place by Antony Gormley.

 

The summary, in case you don’t want to read the links is that the bloke who did the Angel of the North also did 100 identical cast iron statues which are now spread over the beach at Crosby, near Liverpool in an area 3,000 metres by 1,000 metres. It spreads them out quite a bit and means you can’t get groups of them in one shot. For me it dispels the impact, but, to be fair, I’m not an artist and know nothing of these things.

I do like the barnacles and other growth, which Julia caught well in the second photo, but was too lazy to walk down the beach to take my own shot.

If you decide to visit, ignore the postcode listed on one of the review sites – L23 6SX. It takes you to a free car park with no facilities and though it’s one end of the installation I’m not sure it’s the better end, unless you like a lot of walking along a treacherous beach. There are various suggestions on how to stay safe, which suggest on not walking too far out.

We saw brown signs in Cosby, ignored them in favour of the satnav then, after finding the first car park, returned to them. I think the correct postcode is L23 8SY.

 

The second car park had catering vans, a lifeboat station and some excellent toilets, though they were 40p  I’m of an age where toilets are a good thing to have, but 40p is eight shillings, which is a lot of money. There were also lots of starlings about, sheltering in the lee of the parked cars, as you can see from the photos. Starlings seemed to be everywhere we went on the coast from Cosby to Barrow-in-Furness.

 

 

 

The Tyre Change

I will catch up with the main events later, but as I promised the story of the tyre change, here it is.

As I said, I noticed one of the tyres was teetering on illegality. What I didn’t tell you (because WordPress is teeming with burglars who look out for such information, is that we were away for a few days).

If we’d been at home I would merely have left the car parked for two days and taken it 400 yards to the garage.

However, we were 150 miles from home, which left me with the choice of changing it in the car park or driving to Lancaster to get it changed. The simplest way seemed to be to change it myself, rather than ringing round and then finding a tyre depot in a strange town.

Imagine, if you will, two elderly figures, bent, limping, rotund and arthritic, but, in their minds, perpetually nineteen. I’ve changed numerous tyres in my life and I had my trusty sidekick with me. What could possibly go wrong.

So, we unpacked the boot, lifted out the spare, the jack and the tyre iron and walked round to the front of the car.

Job one – loosen the bolts.  You have to do this before jacking the car up or the wheel will merely rotate as you try to get the bolts out. This was where the trouble started – they were on so tight I couldn’t shift them. This happens when you have them put on at a garage that uses power tools and an idiot to tighten them.

Normally you can shift them by standing on the wrench and pushing hard. This didn’t work. I’m heavy enough to shift them but you need to bounce a bit and my ankles have no bounce these days.

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Starlings at Cosby Beach

Fortunately a passing member of staff came to the rescue. I reckon he was about 12 stone (168 pounds in American weight, 76 kilos to the rest of the world) and even then he had to actually stand on the tyre iron with both feet and bounce to get them to move.

That wasn’t even the difficult bit.

The next two stages weren’t too bad either. I positioned the jack correctly, even though I had to lie down and wriggle a bit. The jack worked well, the car rose, the bolts unscrewed and the wheel came off.

So simple.

I bet you’re wondering what the problem was aren’t you. I mean, all I needed to do was bolt a wheel back on and wind the jack down. Yeah.

With Fords, for instance, you have four bolts sticking out of the hub at this point, stick the wheel back on and put the nuts on. Done. With Volkswagens, though, you have five bolts in your hand and the hub has five holes in it. You have to position the wheel and get the bolts through to the holes.

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Pier – St Annes

It’s not easy and I’ve never thought of it as a good way of doing things.

I tried, I tried again. I cursed, I swore and I cursed again. Julia told me off for my language, grabbed the wheel to help and dropped it on my hand. It was surprisingly heavy and very effective at straightening out bent arthritic fingers. I wouldn’t want to do it gain, as it’s quite painful.

I was about to do this when it happened again. I will point no fingers. Even if I wanted to I wouldn’t be able to, on account of the pain of the forcible straightening.

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Pier – Southport

Eventually we got it on, and all five bolts tightened. Then I lowered the car and tried to get up. By this time we were covered in black dust from brakes and a variety of debris from the car park.

And I was stuck.

I tried getting up using my walking stick and couldn’t. I tried using the car door handle. The door came open. I tried using help from Julia but she isn’t quite big enough to manage.

Fortunately the driver from a nearby campervan came to the rescue. He was a few years younger than us (who isn’t these days?) and well built, which was handy. With his help, I was soon back on my feet. Meanwhile someone else tightened the bolts for me. He was in his 70s, I estimate, and therefore the only participant in the action who was older than me.

The two tubby oldsters will now fade away, thankful for the help of their Good Samaritans, and ponder on the revelation that they are no longer the nineteen-year-olds they used to be.

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Stone Wall – Lake District

Lessons from this – check tyres more regularly, buy a long-handled tyre iron for more leverage, put some cheap gloves in the car. And lose some weight.

The photos are some we took this week. It’s a longish post so I thought I’d break it up a bit.

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Gateway – Roa Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Failure

I had a connection problem tonight and have now failed in my target of writing a post a day. I could have avoided failure by writing more in advance and, knowing that today might be tricky, I could have posted at breakfast time. I’m turning into a real Bohemian, in my later years.

Ah well, I’ll just have to write a few extras over the next few days and bring the average up. No point in crying over spilt milk.

Julia has decided, talking of Bohemians, that I need to go to a barber as I keep putting off the big haircut. Secretly I was thinking that if I could make it to October I’d get away with it for another year.

In retaliation, I’ve returned to referring to her as “my first wife”. These are the opening shots in the war to decide whether a man has sovereignty over his facial hair. I fear it may be resolved along the lines that men can do what they like but husbands have to toe the line.

I checked my tyres earlier this evening as the MOT is coming up. One is teetering on the edge of legality and I am going to try to get a replacement fitted in the morning. I have chosen those words carefully, to indicate a caring car owner who pays scrupulous attention to detail. If you are going to write such things you need to ensure they aren’t read back to you in court.

 

A Different Sort of Day

Had bacon sandwiches for breakfast.

Did some decluttering and deadheading.

Had an argument about the best way to declutter. I, as usual, was wrong. It seems it’s far better to move lots of stuff multiple times and pile it up dangerously rather than just doing it once in a structured and stable manner. However, my way takes thought and it would involve me making decisions instead of just doing what I’m told.

We had lunch at McDonald’s, where they were having a “Bring Your Own Idiot to Work Day” judging by the service.

After that, we managed to hunt down a charity shop with a parking space outside. They now have eight bags of books we have more carpet to hoover.

Many of the books are cookery books. You can buy some excellent cookery books from charity shops for £2 or £3. However, I rarely use them much (usually only a couple of recipes) and they then gather dust.

Today, with some wax polish and an old vest, I removed the dust and added some gloss before returning them to the charity shop system.

My X-Ray appointment today did not go as well as the last one. Instead of same day service and ten minutes from start to finish, I had to wait three days for the appointment and sit in a stuffy corridor for an hour.

You would assume they had a great array of techniques and equipment to X-Ray fingers. They are tricky things to photograph from the side as you have to avoid taking all the others at the same time. With a metal plate (which I’m sure they used to use in the old days) and some gaffer tape I could have easily rigged something up, but with me holding the unwanted fingers out of the way and one wedge of blue foam it takes a while.

It’s nice to know that you get better service when they are looking for lung cancer than when they are looking for arthritis. Having said that, you still have to wait 7-10 days for the results whether you have a terminal condition or difficulty holding a pen.

I don’t, by the way, have lung cancer. I have a cough. That’s why I went to the doctor – pills for a cough, not an X-Ray followed by pills for a cough seven days later.

This is a good thing as I’ve just spent £300 on two new dental crowns. It would have been annoying not to get the use out of them.

There’s no point having the nicest teeth in the cemetery.