Monthly Archives: August 2021

On the Mend

Using the trouser test, I am quite mobile today. This has been the case for the last few days, though the situation does deteriorate towards the evening. That was why I resorted to heavyweight pain killers and ended up writing about constipation. I learned a couple of valuable lessons there – one being to read the information leaflets that come in pill packets and the other to resist the lure of self-medication. I’ve previously used co-codamol to take the edge of my arthritis but only one or two doses and day and usually just for the one day. The pills I used last week have been on the shelf for around eighteen months. That’s how little I use them.

When I picked them up last week I actually smiled and felt a feeling of relief.That’s how bad things were – worse than arthritis. It set a small alarm bell ringing, as I know someone who became addicted to them, and I wasn’t sure my reaction was 100% healthy. I took them on two successive evenings and each time took a couple of extras, just to make sure I would be able to sleep. Not particularly sensible, but not wildly irresponsible either. On the third night I took paracetamol and the next night didn’t need anything. However, regular readers will already know about the side-effects.

I just looked up a list of people who died on the toilet, expecting to find quite a few – Elvis and George II being two I already knew about, but the internet is surprisingly silent on the subject. Toilet-based fatalities seem mainly based around political assassinations in mediaeval toilets, which allowed access for spears, and modern drug takers.

There is one ironic case – a convicted murderer in the USA was spared the electric chair but, a little later, decided to repair his television whilst sitting on a metal toilet. There are so many questions in my mind regarding this, but let’s just say it didn’t end well for him.

You may also want to look up this link – a disaster that befell the Holy Roman Empire in 1184 but seems to have missed all the history books I have ever read. I cannot think why.

Finally, thank you for your enquiries and good wishes – I am mostly recovered. Physically I feel fine, mentally I am restored – I just need my mobility. The main mobility problem is that the NHS seem unable to bandage a leg without doing the foot and ankle. This means I can’t get a shoe on and I can’t drive. I’ve had this argument with them before. They don’t want me to recover, they just want to bandage me like a diagram from a 1920s textbook.


Simon Wilson, Nottingham Poet

Back, and more grumpy than ever!

Today’s excitement.

Told the surgery I find their handling of my current situation unacceptable and will be pursuing the matter in writing.

Ordered a long shoe horn.

Had spare ribs for tea. They were left over from Monday. Under our new responsible eating system we are trying to eat less. That may be all I have, as I did share  a pork pie with Julia when she came home. I didn’t need it, but I couldn’t resist.

She also brought me a bar of chocolate. Green & Blacks Almond Milk Chocolate. It’s hard to tell whether she loves me or is trying to feed me to death. Hopefully the former. If she was trying to kill me she could have got more sugar for her money buying Cadbury’s.

That’s it really. I have done a little writing but haven’t been able to finish any submissions. Have also read a little, but only a little. Watched TV. I’m not sure this is helping me sharpen up mentally.

This is the first time in eleven days that I have felt there was light at the end of the tunnel, a feeling almost immediately squashed by the actions/inactions of the surgery.

Then there was in inaction of my bowels . . .

Normal bowel function has been restored after the Day of Inaction, as I have decided to refer to it. I did desperately need sleep and freedom from pain, but must remember that codeine and constipation are a constant danger. It’s bad enough being in pain without feeling that you are wrestling with your digestion. To give you some idea of my feelings, whilst maintaining decorum, I will merely mention that I am thinking about pine cones now. Large uncooperative pine cones.

That’s probably a good place to stop. My main regret about the day? Not having time to write a post where I could fit in the word costive. I may try that next week, as it currently describes me on  a number of levels.

Marmalade Hoverfly

A Slightly Longer Post

Sorry, I was slightly inaccurate when posting last night  – it’s cellulitis rather than phlebitis. As soon as they mentioned it at the doctor (I finally felt strong enough to leave the house)  I remembered it was cellulitis I’d had before. That’s why it doesn’t seem as dramatic as the link I didn’t post.

Julia looked into it after I was diagnosed and she has been giving me a good talking too. It seems that fi you are in the shaking/delirium stage you should get your self to hospital. This is clearly guidance from someone who has never had it. When you are in that stage you can’t string coherent sentence or thought together. Now we know what to do we will make sure we ring an ambulance and, I’m sure, be told that it isn’t serious enough to warrant that.

I now have antibiotics and am in that stage of feeling worse before I get better. Fortunately I am already o lot better than I was. You can tell this from the blog posts. They are hardly masterpieces of finely crafted prose, but compared to the communication of a few days ago I feel like Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde rolled into one.

I’m still making a lot more mistakes than usual with the typing, but am hoping I am correcting most of them as I go along.

My early texts to the boss and Julia a couple of days ago looked like they had been typed by a five year old wearing mittens.

Fortunately |I am resilient, so I will bounce back.

It took me two and a half hours to get my pills this afternoon, which was twenty minutes with the doctor and two hours and ten minutes wrapped up in queues and listening to (yet more) excuses from the pharmacy. Meanwhile, I had plenty of time to sit and view my future – fawn clothes, shoes with Velcro straps and jogging bottoms. I had intended being a natty dresser in old age but it seems fate is even conspiring to take that away from me.


A very short post

Sorry I disappeared so abruptly.  I wasn’t feeling very well as finished my last post and after closing down and going to bed I started shivering. The next day I found I couldn’t speak because I didn’t remember the words I wanted. Fortunately I’ve had it before so I didn’t panic. It’s phlebitis, an inflammation of the lower leg. It’s been sore for few weeks but I ignored it. I won’t provide a link to the relevant pages as they make it seem far more dramatic than it really is.

So, sorry for my abrupt departure and sorry for all the brief answers to comments.

I’m going to b away for a few more days but hope to be all fixed early next week.


I’ve done it again. Not long to midnight and I started reading instead of writing. At school, they said I could do better. That is the one thing I have preserved from youth, I still could do better. Actually, as the promised Limerick will show, I have also preserved my love of a smutty joke.

Last week  . . . something happened. Unfortunately, as I wrote “Last week” I forgot what it was. I don’t usually lose my thread when I’m sitting at the computer, so I am clearly losing my marbles at an increasing rate.

Give it a few more years at this rate and I’ll have to tie an address label to my wrist so kindly strangers can return me to Julia when I forget where I live. The only problem with that system is that it’s open to manipulation if she puts someone else’s address on the label . . .

I have 102 words left before I hit my self-imposed minimum target, though I usually find that mentioning it is good for  another twenty or thirty.

The major discussion at work today was over the question of when W. H. Smith, the well known stationers, became WHSmith. The decline of punctuation in High Street chains (and I’ve certainly covered it before in relation to Bettys Tearoom (sic) ) is mirrored by a continuing decline in standards in public life. That’s why we now do our online cake shopping at Mrs Botham’s – if she has a proper regard for apostrophes, I feel she can be trusted in the matter of comestibles.

If you can’t trust therm with punctuation, what can you trust them with?

Words . . .

I’ve been learning new words this week. The best was logorrhoea, from Derrick. It sounds worse than it is and merely means wordiness or “extreme loquacity”. I would have said sesquipedalian myself, had I been in sophisticated mood. Or motormouth if I had been in my normal mode, though the meanings are slightly different. The advantage of sesquipedalian is that I can spell it. The advantage of logorrhoea is to be found in my rhyming dictionary. There is , literally, an embarrassment of riches to be found in there (though I had already managed the less tasteful ones without the help of the dictionary). My only reservation is that the dictionary omits pyorrhoea. It does, however, include pizzeria Tanzania and Ikea.  When I finally get round to it that’s going to be a heck of a Limerick . . .

I also learned prosimetrum,  It’s a word that is so little used that my spell checker doesn’t recognise it. It’s a piece of writing that combines prose and poetry. Yes, I was reading about haibun in an attempt to become a better writer of them. More specifically, prosimetrum is a form where the verse dominates. The form where prose dominates is versiprose. This seems the wrong way round to me, but that’s what Wikipedia says and I can’t find anything to contradict it, mainly because I can’t find anything when I search for versiprose. I’m suspicious that someone is just making words up.

You have to wonder how much knowledge is necessary before you can start to write something. As I’ve shown, I can write prosimetrum without knowing what it is. I can, after all, not explain the niceties of the Otto Cycle, but I have been successfully driving cars for the last 45 years.

A Rushed Post

I sat down to write about ninety minutes ago, read some blogs, tinkered with a sonnet, polished a couple of poems for submission, checked my emails, looked at the website of a magazine for submission details and then, as usual, wandered off on a voyage of discovery as one link lead to another.

Unfortunately, I forgot that I had a post to write so instead of the heavyweight intellectual article I was planning, you will have to make do with some lightweight drivel Again. Sorry, I would like to deliver hard-hitting articles full of facts, but the truth is that although I have aspirations of greatness, I have the brains of Winnie the Pooh.

This weekend we have been eating Cape Gooseberries and tomatoes from the garden. I love the taste of Cape Gooseberries, though the tiny seeds are a bit of a pain. If we had growong space under cover I would always have  a few plants as they are prolific, delicious and last about three years before they need replacing (the fruits seem to get smaller each year).

I have managed a few pictures of bees and our new teasel plant. I wasn’t expecting any teasels this year as they are biennial and the seeding was a one-off accident, so this is a bonus. IF these are left to seed undisturbed we should find ourselves with teasel every year. They seem to like out front garden as they are self-seeding prolifically in the gaps between paving slabs.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee on Red Valerian

I may look for some honesty next, as they have a similar habit and it would be nice to get some established.


Time to post now.

Customer Service Part 1

Last week we put some Buffalo Nickels on eBay. They were well circulated  and they have been gold-plated. They are strange, yet decorative and, after some discussion on how yellow they needed to look in the photographs (see yesterdays post for a discussion of that) we loaded them and waited.

On Wednesday someone enquired about them and in a message using entirely capital letters, told us we had made a mistake and should correct it at once. It was my day off and i only caught the tail end of the correspondence. The shop owner, worn down by the hectoring of the customer, gave him a discount on the coins and a postage rate that was actually below cost. Sometimes he does that.

Buffalo Nickel - the obverse is an amalgam of several different people, though many claimed the honour.

Buffalo Nickel – the obverse is an amalgam of several different people, though many claimed the honour. (They are really only just 21mm in diameter

Today, the complaints started. We had got the order, packed it and had it delivered in the space of two days, but this wasn’t good enough.

The customer was unhappy because the dates were worn and they were not varied enough for him. He claims he used a 10X glass, and even then the dates are hard to read. He also says he notes we have “covered” ourselves by saying that the dates were from the 1920s and 1930s. It was in block capitals again and the use of “covered”  seems like an accusation.

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out what has happened here.

First of all someone bought something he knows little about. The Buffalo Nickel is a beautiful coin, but it is well known that the dates wear badly and that time and circulation can make it look very shabby.

Second, he didn’t read the details properly and/or thought he was getting something for nothing. We didn’t offer a date run, a variety of dates or anything like that. We offered coins of random dates which we described accurately and, in another part of the listing, said that we wouldn’t select dates, and you would get what we sent. We did this to avoid people asking for the rare dates and wanting us to spend time sorting. They are cheap coins and if I spend ten minutes sorting coins it eats into the profits. If people want specific dates we have listings that offer that, but the prices are higher to reflect the time we spend sorting.

Third, he either has problems with eyesight or a bad attitude, or both. I deduce this from the capitals, the tone and the fact that he can’t read the dates. My close-up vision isn’t great and I need a lot of light these days, but I have no difficulty with the dates.

There didn’t seem any point in arguing, and the terms and conditions are quite plain – he can return the goods and we have to pay for that return. It’s one of the ways eBay makes it difficult for sellers. So we thanked him for his feedback and promised that we would take it on board for future listings.

Supposed to be Black Diamond, but possibly just a combination of various Buffalo. Or Bison.

Supposed to be Black Diamond, but possibly just a combination of various Buffalo. Or Bison

And half an hour later, we had another reply. He is, it seems, “disgusted” with the way we do business and considers it close to “deception”. He’s also issuing vague threats about leaving us negative feedback.

The owner replied and reminded him that if he isn’t happy he can send the coins back.

The next reply said that the coins were lovely to look at and as the customer is housebound he is unable to get out of the house to return them. He concludes by telling us that the problem is back to us.

He’s actually looking for an offer of a partial refund. It’s a form of dishonesty practised by many people on eBay. It’s really just theft dressed up, and you’d be amazed how many people try it.

So where we do we go from here?

Monday’s emails are going to be  a delight . . .

A Tale of Two Shillings

Shilling of Charles I depicted, accurately, as a silver coin.

Last night I thought I’d better brush the cobwebs off my reserve email address. I have just had an email from an editor who has been unable to communicate with me for the last ten days and thought I’d been ignoring them. It is, as far as I know, only happening with one magazine, but it is slightly perplexing. As part of the email was an acceptance for two tanka, and a comment on the others which weren’t required, I’m glad she persisted.

Unfortunately it is just over six months since I last used the reserve address and the provider is in the middle of closing it down. There is no way to reverse it, and until the process is finished, there is no way to see if I can get it back. This is slightly annoying, but it is my fault for losing track of time. I have manged to get one with a similar name, and will remember to use it regularly.

I had a novel experience at work this morning when I was told I could write to a customer and tell him that I thought he would be better looking elsewhere. Normally we don’t turn business down but he has a low feedback, a history of returning things and quite precise requirements.   I’ve been polite and told him he’s welcome to visit the shop and check the stock out for himself, but we can’t guarantee that our photographs or descriptions will give him what he requires.

The trouble is, as every photographer knows, the camera does not see what your eye sees.

It is possible, by altering camera settings, to turn silver coins gold and vice versa. As I recall, all I did with the shilling in the header picture was to change the setting from tungsten to fluorescent and the coin changed from silver to “gold”. Some metals seem to do this on their own, without help from the camera. They just have some sort of quality in their colour which makes the camera mis-read the balance. I wish I could work it out, but it always seems to take me by surprise. Note how the colour of the background has moved from light blue to grey.

“Gold” shilling of Charles I 




Simon Wilson, Nottingham Poet

Another Senior Moment

Today I got up, pottered and made my way down to the surgery for my 8.30 appointment. It turns out I should have been there at 7.30. I apologised and then asked for the blood testing letter they were preparing for me. I had checked with them in person, then on the phone, and had agreed to pick it up this morning. It was the third time I have done this and both the previous arrangements have gone wrong.

Surely nothing could go wrong today.


There was no letter and nothing about a letter on the computer. Sometimes I get the feeling that, to the NHS, I simply don’t exist.

After ten minutes of phone calls it appears that the test is not necessary as they used the blood they took last week to do the test, even though it hadn’t been requested at that time. Yes, at the time of the test I had not yet had the letter telling me it was due. When I got the letter I spoke to the nurse (who had taken the blood on my previous visit) and we agreed that I should request a letter from reception to allow me to have the test when I had a regular Warfarin check. She seems not to have known that the blood she took, and the tests she requested, included one I didn’t even know I needed at the time.

Are you following this?

It is almost as if the NHS does things that none of its employees or clients knows about, but as a lot of the budget goes on administration and management this surely cannot be . . .

Of course, in a month’s time,  when I can’t get my arthritis medication because I haven’t had the blood test I will find that I have just been told a load of old rubbish, as usual.

Next, armed with the details of my latest prescription request (the one I have tried to collect twice already) I went to the pharmacy and gave them the details the surgery had given me. It took several attempts but they did eventually manage to find the details on their system, but only after I complained when they told me, again, that they had no details of it. Makes me wonder if I should have complained more the first time, and if they would have found it then.

If Alice and the Mad Hatter ran the NHS I wonder if it could be any more dreamlike.

The opening picture is of a confused old man, wondering where it all went wrong.