Monthly Archives: March 2022

Day 90

It snowed this morning. The first snow of the year, and only the second lot of the winter. It lasted a minute. The rest of the day was taken up with a mixture of sunshine and precipitation – rain, hail, snow, sleet and graupel. It was the sort of day that a snow connoisseur would love, so many types, falling long enough to show itself off, but failing to settle.

If I say that was the exciting part of the day, you will probably get the general idea that the rest of the day generated little worth writing about. We didn’t have  a single customer enter the shop to buy or sell, and when we started, only had one customer on eBay. That developed during the day  and we sold several more items and had a number of emails asking question.

The Prize Question of the day was “Will you take £1,000 for this?” It was a modern set of silver medallions and is priced at £2,995. We thanked the offeree and said we were unable to accept his offer. I checked online but can’t find any trace of National Wind Up a Coin Dealer Day or International Stupid Question Week.

They say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but I disagree.


Spring in the Mencap Garden

Another customer, from Brazil, has been pestering us about postage costs to Brazil. He wants us to post him something at les than it will cost us to post and keeps telling us that he buys a lot of coins from British dealers with that sort of postage. It’s been going on for several days with him sending us screenshots of people who charge less postage to Brazil than we do. At least half our parcels to Brazil end up with claims that they were lost, or with Brazilian customs sending them back for unknown reasons, so we aren’t that bothered if he doesn’t buy the coin.

That was one of the first lessons I learnt in selling, apart from the ones about honesty and punctuality, some business just isn’t worth having, so move on. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true.

Daffodils at the Mencap Gardens


Day 89

So far I have made breakfast, watched TV, done some washing up and looked at some recipes on the web. It is time to start cooking new things. I have not yet done any writing or any planning. Fortunately I have 10 hours left today and 24 more tomorrow. With 34 hours left I don’t need to worry too much. Plenty of time . . .

Julia is out at the moment doing mysterious things. They probably aren’t all that mysterious, and I’m sure that she would tell me what she was doing if I asked. On the other hand, if I do ask she will probably tell me, at great length and probably while I am trying to do something else like watching Pointless.

W had a chat about tofu this morning. She thinks I am missing a nutritious treat but has agreed not to make me eat it any more. This counts as a victory in life’s struggle, and an example of why talking about problems is a good thing to do.

We are still in the middle of a pandemic and WW3 is still on the horizon, but yes, I feel that my dislike of tofu is more worthy of discussion.  If this were the BBC rather than a blog about random events in the life of a nobody, things might be different. It would even be different if I had any ambition to be a heavyweight blogger of international reputation, instead of just a heavyweight blogger. I keep meaning to read the diary of Nella Last and see what she writes about, but so far, apart from watching Victoria Wood on TV, haven’t done anything about it. She wrote 12 million words. I’m just coming up to a million. What a slacker!

Interestingly, her son Clifford, went to Australia after the war and has work displayed in the Art Gallery at Ballarat, a town which sometimes features in the blog Paol Soren. Small world, and all that.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Day 88

I’ve just written a post and discarded it. Not everything that goes on inside my head makes for good reading, particularly when it’s a discussion of the merits, or otherwise, of eating tofu. You know what I think of salad? Well I dislike tofu more. I know that’s difficult to believe, but it’s true. At least salad has flavour. Tofu, unfortunately, does not.

It’s late now, but under the titling system currently in use, I feel I must post every day and leave no gaps. If it wasn’t for that I’d just go to bed.

There’s something about a row of numbers, on the other hand,  that helps keep you up to the mark.

I’m going to try Carrot & Ginger Soup tomorrow and see how it turns out. Last time I tried it I couldn’t really taste the ginger, so I added it to the list of lacklustre soups and filed it in my mental list of soups to try again. I need to get back on the diet, so it’s time for more soup.

So far this year has seen a few good soups and a few to try again. After carrot & Ginger I will try Celery again, as I feel it’s one that should be good for a low carb diet. Owing to the effect of ordering groceries on the internet, I now have  a stockpile of celery.

I’m hoping it promotes clear thought, as i still have a raft of submissions to make, and a lack of suitable material. Tomorrow is make or break day – three submissions to do and  alack of days to do them in. I may have to shelve some of them and start work on the April submissions. April? Already?



Day 87

What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again? The problem with that question is that I would have to repeat all my mistakes until it got to 1980, because I have to be in a coffee bar in Preston to meet Julia, and I don’t want to change that.

I would probably have to endure the next nine years too, as if we’d got married earlier it might not have lasted. I can’t be sure, but there’s no point in taking chances.

From 1989 I can start changing things, but by then it might be a little late to suddenly become hard-working, successful and professional.

That is the problem with these going back in time things – changing the good things along with the bad.

Sometimes, when I allow myself to daydream, I am wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches and looking out of my office window into the quadrangle of an ancient university. On my desk are the proofs of my latest groundbreaking study of civil disorder in the 19th Century (Men in Skirts – the History of the Rebecca Riots or some such popular history).

However, would I be happy? Probably. Would I be prepared to swap my life now for the one of which I dream? Of course I would. I’m not stupid.

I am, however,  a hopeless romantic and wouldn’t change a thing if it meant not being married to Julia. She has a very important place in  my life, like the auriga in Ancient Rome, standing behind me and reminding me that I am mortal. Or, in our case, that I am an idiot and that I shouldn’t really use that sort of language to other drivers. It’s much the same, just updated.

Julia, South Pier, Lowestoft, Suffolk


Day 86

We had pizza delivered last night because they were doing a Mothers’ Day Special. We had leftover pizza tonight. Last night we had coleslaw, tonight we had leftover coleslaw with a few extra bits thrown in. At least I made that myself. I can’t help reflecting that my mother would probably be disappointed in my current culinary efforts.

That thought naturally moved on to others of parental disappointment and mortality, leading inevitably to a blog post that was unusable. This is happening too often these days. I need to get the tendency under control because it makes blogging a lot longer if you have to discard alternate posts.

I’ve now ground to a halt and still have 150 words to do. It’s a sign of how dull my life is that I have nothing to offer. The clocks went forward an hour last night, well most of them did. In the morning I will have to reset the car clock, which is always an effort as I don’t remember how to do it because it’ six months since the last time. It’s always the way. It’s the same with computers – I have been able to do some quite complicated stuff at times but once I stop doing it I forget after a few months and am never able to do it again.

I now have 29 words to do, and my 250 target will have been met. I imagine that I will have managed that by the end of this sentence and won’t have had to use a single ounce of effort or idea.

In fact I am way past 250 now and talking of nothing.

I should have been a politician . . .






Day 85

Time, I think, to get organised. I’ve been sleeping so much that I am feeling refreshed and ready for anything. I also just read a post that talks about the Hundred Day Project, and it reminded me how I used to make myself practice.

Strange how you can forget. I’ll be doing something to remedy the situation in the next week or two, but for now I have to concentrate on getting some submissions finalised and sent out. That’s often the problem – having so much to do immediately that I can’t see the wood for the trees.

I have at least remembered to order a new supply of pills online – I can often take a week to remember as I switch the computer on, then wander off to do something more interesting. Tonight, however, I went there first. Ridiculous how I feel so happy to have done something right. It’s not as if it’s difficult. Well, not for most people, just us procrastinators.

I needed to get the top off a jar tonight. It’s a sure sign of growing old that I even think this is a subject worth discussing. My preferred method is to increase my grip with a rubber band wound round the lid, but I never have one when I need one. My next method in order of precedence is to release the vacuum seal by pouring boiling water on the lid and making things expand. This didn’t work. Method three is to tap the top on the work surface, though I’m always worried about breaking something. This finally worked.

My fourth method is to shout for Julia and act helpless. She usually takes the lid off easily. If not, we have method five, which is to release the vacuum by punching a hole through the lid with a decent sized knife. If that doesn’t work you really do have a tenacious lid.

The photos are the only ones I have with “jar” in the title.

Glass Jars


Day 84

It’s actually well into Day 85 but my attempts at blogging kept turning out to be miserable and moaning. If they depress me, I thought, they really aren’t suitable for posting.

So, an hour after starting, I have a blank screen (to match my mind) and no idea what to write about.

I can’t write about spring, because I hardly saw any today, being stuck in the back of the shop. I see spring for an hour in the morning as I take Julia to work and then go to the shop. I don’t see much of the outside during my time in the shop, and then I go home and go inside. I suppose i could do more to get out, but by that time I want to get home, get the kettle on and compare days with Julia. We really should get out more now that the evenings are lighter, but we have got out of the habit over the last few years, as i may have said before . . .

That’s the trouble with blogging, you don’t just repeat yourself, you repeat yourself in writing, and to an audience.

Now, there’s a question. As “audience” probably comes from the same root as “audio” can you have an audience of people who aren’t listening? I just looked it up, and audiences seem to be groups of listeners in most of the definitions. Fortunately, as you read further, there are also definitions which include a group of readers, so I don’t need to worry about that.

It’s strange how you can use a word every day without really thinking about it and what it really means.

And with that thought seeming to form a natural conclusion, I will go to bed.

Yellow flowers in need of identification

Day 83

Who would have thought that I would have managed a post roughly every 24 hours for 83 days. And who would have believed that Day 83 would seem so much worse than 24th March? It does though, doesn’t it?

We put an engraved American coin up for auction last week and someone wrote to ask if we would accept £40. It was tempting, but would have been unfair on people who had viewed it and were wanting to bid. It made £9.99 so we lost £30. However, we retained our integrity, and I feel better about that than I would about taking £40.

Blossom is out and I am still having trouble sleeping properly.

Looks like this is just becoming a random load of thoughts. I admit that my posts are seldom well-crafted pieces of tight writing with a unifying thread and a satisfactory conclusion (apart from it being satisfactory that it has ended), but this is disjointed even by my standards.

I just had a letter from an editor. I submitted seven pieces. Three were accepted. Neither of the two I thought were my “best” work made the grade.

Last night I read a haiku magazine and I reckon that fully 50% of them fail to be good haiku according to generally accepted guidelines. This shows the flexibility of guidelines, the capriciousness of editorial opinion, and how bad mine must be if I can’t even get one in to a magazine where half of them are flawed.

When I get cremated I want them to stencil “Could do better” on my coffin. Those words accompanied each school report I ever had, and continue to follow me to this day.

The pictures of blossom are from a few years ago, and probably in April, not March.

I just found that you can search your photos by subject, if you’ve titled the pictures – an area in which I am deficient. It’s taken me over 2,600 posts to find that out.

Blossom at Wilford



Day 82

It started so well, as I often say. I found the last parking space, and watched as the driver got out of the car that had parked just before me. She was wearing scrubs and a name badge, so the “No Staff” part of the car park sign is still working well (he said sarcastically).

The blood flowed well and took just one try. I had the results by 11.00 – I was a little low but they have adjusted the dose by half a pill a week and given me two weeks before the next test. I’m happy with that.

Julia accomplished her errands safely, despite being forced off the footpath and onto the road by an elderly gent riding his bicycle furiously along the footpath and ringing his bell to make her clear out of his way. Later on her travels she saw him at it again on his return journey.

For lunch we had avocados prepared two ways, as they say on cookery programmes. I had mine with prawns and Julia had hers with eggs. I’ve never seen egg as a natural accompaniment to avocado. To make it worse, she has soft yolks, something I have never liked. We then had chocolate and caramel brownies, which she had bought while she was out.

Of course, that then called for a nap, which became slightly longer than anticipated, and I am now writing this and wondering where my afternoon has gone.

Time for a nice cup of tea now and time to get some writing done.

As I say, it started so well . . .

The picture is Orton Mere in March 2017. Where does the time go?

Day 81

Today I sorted a collection of tickets. Some of them are bus tickets and some relate to things like toll bridges and ferries, but many of them are considerably less interesting than that. Fortunately I have the day off tomorrow and will do some exercises to raise my enthusiasm levels.

Some of them have adverts on the back, and at least one of the adverts refers to rationing, so I’m guessing they go back to the 1940s in some cases.

After looking at all the pictures from previous years, I am starting to feel restless and would like to get out more. All I need to do is find a place that is crammed with interest, devoid of people, and accessible to a man with bad knees and a stick. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

I’m hoping to get an early start tomorrow and get a parking space close to phlebotomy for my overdue blood tests. After that I have a couple of errands to do and plan on spending the rest of the day getting to grips with some writing.

It’s all about practice. The more you write, the better you get. When I decided to start writing poetry again, about the time I started writing this blog, it must have taken a good two years before I started writing to an acceptable level.

This time, six months after being ill, I am struggling again. The quality is OK now, but the quantity isn’t there yet and I’m looking at four deadlines at the end of the week and only enough material for one submission.

That’s why I need a major effort tomorrow – lots of editing to do.