Monthly Archives: November 2019

Clutter, Clothes and Cookery Books

In line with my new policy of decluttering I started by bagging up three bags of old clothes this morning. I then moved on to bag up several dozen books, including a large number of cookery books. To be honest, I get most of my recipes from the internet these days and don’t need the boxes of books.

I didn’t see my book on decluttering but I’ve promised Julia that when I find it it will be going straight in the bag. You don’t need books to declutter, you need bin bags and determination. I am no longer hanging on to stuff for a mythical future car boot sale or because it may come in useful.

We have been taking stuff to our local Mencap shop. I would like to say that this is because we’re supporting Julia’s work but it’s really because you can park outside the front door. If Satan ran a charity shop I’d probably drop stuff off there if the parking was easy.

I am a lazy man of low morals. And, if you believe Julia’s comments on my discarded clothing, poor fashion sense.

When I got downstairs Julia sent me back up to change. The fact that I’d found a thermal vest (or undershirt if you prefer), a Hawaiian shirt and an orange fleece waistcoat whilst sorting clothes is, it seems, not sufficient reason to wear all three at the same time.

This is news to me as it’s how I normally select my clothes. It’s just that most of my clothes are dark and nondescript so the problem of mis-matching doesn’t normally occur.

I’m assuming that she meant the clothes…

Anyway, that sums up the day. I’m now watching The Apprentice and eating the Jellyatrics that Julia was given for her birthday.




Demarcation, Detritus and Denby

I woke at 7.00, ascertained that I was on holiday, and went back to sleep until 8.30. I could get used to being retired, if this is what it is like. On the other hand, sleeping in does tend to blur the lines between life and death, and I’d like to preserve that line as I get older.

Maybe all those pensioners who clutter up the blood testing department at City Hospital need to get there at 6.30 to prove they are still alive.

Yesterday we emptied the space under the stairs so the electricians could install a Protective Multiple Earth. No, me neither…

Today we looked at the heap of detritus that had built up and decided to load it straight in the back of the car and deliver it directly to a charity shop.

It wasn’t actually that direct as we went for breakfast at McDonald’s first then picked up a prescription. Then we went to dump the detritus, or donate our surplus kitchen equipment. It definitely depends on your point of view.

After that  we went to a shopping outlet to look for Christmas inspiration, but ended up buying books.

Finally we went for soup at Denby Pottery. We tried to buy pottery but there wasn’t anything we wanted. I had vegetable and fizzy orange soup. The vegetable was deliberate, the fizzy orange was because Julia didn’t think it was important to tell me she’d dropped the bottle on the way to the table.

And that was how we spent our day.


Parenting, Porridge and Pessimism

We had a lie in until just after eight and got ready without having to rush to a deadline, then, in case the luxury of the moment should spoil us, we had porridge. Without sugar.

If porridge had a family tree it wouldn’t be far from wallpaper paste on the chart, probably a second cousin, but it’s good for me. It’s full of dietary fibre, it’s economical and it helps build stoicism.

I will spare you the next few lines, but let’s say that they weren’t cheerful and the spirit of optimism has taken a holiday too. All I have left to look forward to is five and a half years of work before I retire and embark on life with some very poor pension arrangements. Stoicism is going to come in very useful.

I know I’m getting old as I’m entering the penultimate stage of parenthood. I’ve pushed them around in a pram, worried about their health, maturity, education and careers. I’m now worrying that I won’t be able to leave them anything when I die. That only leaves the final stage, where they have to worry about my health and push me around in a wheelchair. I only hope my brain lives long enough for me to appreciate the irony.

Julia has gone to town to renew her bus card. I have sorted out my car insurance details, moved stuff round to give access to the electricians, and taken waste paper out. With all the pizza menus, seed catalogues and generally useless waste I reckon I’ve just dumped a good couple of pounds of waste paper in the recycling bin.

According to the 2011 census figures there are 126,131 households in Nottingham so that’s over 252,262 pounds of waste, and that’s accumulated in just a couple of months so the annual figure will be 1,513,572 lbs of waste paper. That’s 686 metric tonnes of paper that need never have been produced.

I just looked Nottingham City Council up to see if they had figures that I could compare and they don’t. They do, however, tell me that they give out 160,000 single-use recycling bags last year. They are for people in flats. They are taking steps to end this, but it seems that it’s taken a long time to get round to it.

Apart from seeing the seals, as mentioned yesterday, I don’t have many plans for the next week. I’d better think of something fast, as worrying about death, children and recycling isn’t what I had in mind when I booked a week off.

I may give some thought to feeding ducks. What people don’t realise when they talk about “feeding ducks” is that there are people out there who will quite happily tip out a pack of white bread and then, after five minutes of laughter, will walk off leaving bread floating on the water and cluttering up the shore. The result – apart from a nutritionally dodgy meal for ducks – rats and festering bread.

Laundry, Laziness and Lincolnshire

The new week beckons, and as I’ve booked a holiday I have nothing to do but collect my camera from work and host a visit from the electricity board, who have to bring the earthing of the house up to modern standards.

It’s been OK since 1928 but British Gas won’t tackle fitting the new boiler until it is done. As with all work of this type I expect they will look for more faults and give me a lecture on the age of the system. Pardon me for the gloomy nature of my expectations, but I have a wealth of experience to back it up.

I’m also waiting for a builder to contact me. The wait is a worry as it suggests a cavalier attitude to punctuality and customer care. However, all the decent tradesmen we used to use have retired so we have to find a new one.

Three hours later…

Laundry is done. The shopping is done. I have delivered a lecture on economy to myself – though only after spending £6.40 on stuff we didn’t need. It’s time to write the rest of the post as the bacon and black pudding cooks. I’m doing it in the oven with some other stuff for later.

But first, noticing an absence of post from last night I had to find it and publish it. I seem to have prepared everything then failed to post it. Another Senior Moment in a growing line of them.

That was pretty much the theme of last night’s conversation, with four of the nine present being sixty plus and one teetering on the brink of it, the conversation was mainly about health, holidays and memory (or lack thereof). I didn’t actually catch all of it as my hearing is also going.

Three hours after that…

Lunch has been consumed. Jessica Fletcher has brought the killers to justice in her home state of Maine – the most dangerous place in the Union, if TV is to be believed – and the beef stew is bubbling gently on the hob.

I’ve prepared the Mediterranean veg for tonight’s fish cakes, but that is as far as I’ve reached in my culinary plans. I did have plans for a vegetable curry too, but so far I’ve failed on that. The idea of a cup of tea by a warming gas fire is far more attractive.

And with that brief snapshot of life in the Midlands, I will drift off with my cup of tea and see if my wife has any birthday chocolate left.


Donna Nook – the seals are back!

Seal Report for last week – 362 bulls, 1,254 cows and 872 pups. That’s quite a lot of seals. I’m planning on getting the cameras sorted and heading off for the coast at the end of next week, though this depends on the rain to a certain extent. Not so much the rain itself as we are used to that, but the floods might be a problem. There are still active flood warnings in effect for Lincolnshire, and high tides are contributing to the problem.

An Excellent Evening

I wrote this post last night after returning from Julia’s birthday meal  At 11.30 I thought I posted it with time to spare but as I sat down to write now, just over 12 hours later, it seems I merely saved it as a draft. I was tired. All the conviviality was too much for me. I’m getting old. Apply whichever excuse seems most likely.

Whatever the reason, I failed to post it. This means that “today” means “yesterday”.

We had a busy day in the shop today, as if to compensate for a serious lack of customers during the week. This was helped by a cessation of rain. It has been a cold, wet week.

Several customers who have been absent for a week or two put in an appearance, and another one returned after an absence of two years.

At the end of the day, as we turned the final key in the lock, I realised I’d left the camera in the back room again. As I had to cut my hair, trim my beard, wash, change and pick Number One Son up and get to the restaurant for 7.00 I decided just to go home. I have other cameras for the weekend and the photos on the card will have to wait.

We had a good meal, caught up with family gossip and launched Julia into her sixty first year in grand style. Judging from the presents her family think she’s an alcoholic with dry skin and a lack of shopping bags.

I think this may be what happens as women reach a certain age. Maybe a lady reader could enlighten me on the etiquette of buying skin care products for the more mature woman.

If I bought Julia body lotion would I be seen as thoughtful, or would it look like I was hinting she had the skin of a wrinkly lizard?

We are home now and I’m writing this sitting in front of the fire. We have just eaten a couple of chocolates and all is well, though when we turn 70 we will have to tone things down. A week of celebrations is a bit much for us now.

The picture is a phoenix rising from the flames, though you may remember it from this post.

Twenty Minutes

I’m setting myself a target of twenty minutes for this post. If I limit it to that there will be several benefits.

One is that I will have to select a subject and get on with it.

Two, I’ll have to switch off my internal editor and just get the words down.

Both of these will be useful because I’ve been letting things slip recently and I need to keep active.

Three, I won’t be tempted to drift off and start playing games on the internet.

Four, I’ll be able to blog, do the washing up and have tea made before Julia gets home from the gym.

And now, having pressed a random button and closed everything down, I have even less time to write a post.

The big news is that I’ve had another acceptance. After five rejections in a row I was beginning to worry that I’d ridden my luck as far as it was going to take me. Now it’s beginning to look like hard work is paying off again and I may postpone my return to Limericks.

Not only have I broken the sequence but I’ve done it in record time. From submission to acceptance – four days. I know it was down to timing rather than writing skill but it’s still good to get the news that quickly.

I can hear they key in the lock, looks like she’s home early. This is generally a good thing, as I like the company, and feel that it’s OK to switch the heating on. Tonight it is a little too early for comfort, but I doubt that I’ll be in trouble as, let’s face it, she doesn’t expect much from me in terms of housework.

In fact, she doesn’t expect much from me at all. As I may have said before, the key to a happy marriage is a wife with low standards.

And with that thought, and 24 minutes elapsed, I’ll go and put the kettle on. We have chocolate cake too, though it’s slightly fire damaged from all the candles…

The picture is totally random – I’ve left the camera at work again, despite having photos to use. I tell you, I really am losing the plot.

Another Average Day

I had a great idea for a post this afternoon. Unfortunately I forgot to bring the camera home so I can’t do that one as it needs photos.

Not all is lost. I Googled something this morning after Julia told me about it. If you go to this link you will find a story with military and political interest. Johno used to keep poultry and do various other things on the farm when we were there. He was the one who was told that he couldn’t have a blue badge for disabled parking as young people often recovered and didn’t need one. If you have read the link you will be able to join me in a wry chuckle. If not, read this.

The only other thing of note was that the shop was cold and the rain hammered on the roof all day. That’s what happens when you work in a lean-to.

It’s better in the front of the shop because there’s a flat on top of it and it has windows so you see daylight. And it has a heater.