Monthly Archives: May 2022

Day 146

Last night, I forgot my password to order my pills on-line. Or I thought I did. What I had actually forgotten was my user name. As I was drifting off to sleep I realised what I had been doing wrong, made a mental note, woke Julia to ask her to remind me in the morning (She wasn’t happy. Some people can be very cranky when woken to assist a loved one.) and went to sleep a happy man. This morning she suggested that I really should make sure I have a note pad next to the bed. This, it seems, will prevent serious repercussions if I wake her in the middle of the night again.

EIIR Medallion

EIIR Medallion – 90th Birthday. Looks like they are reusing aforty year old portrait.

Chalk up another one under the heading of “senior moment”. I really must write all this stuff down, despite the instructions from the NHS about not writing usernames and passwords down. It’s not as if I’m a conduit to a desirable cache of narcotics – there are no users sleeping rough and wondering about their next fix of Warfarin or Methotrexate. . .

Tonight I tried to log in and the site was down. What made it worse was that I then remembered that we are having a special Bank Holiday next week to celebrate the Queen being on the throne for 60 years – the Platinum Jubilee. This will delay stuff like prescriptions.

EiiR Diamond Jubilee 1952-2012

If she reigns much longer we will end up with a constitutional crisis about which metal comes next. Given good health and top class medical attention she could well make it.

I wonder what it feels like to be Prince Charles? I’m sure he’s very fond of his mother but there must be a little bit of frustration that she won’t retire. Even Popes retire, though Benedict XVI was the first one to do so in 598 years. The Dutch, as with so many things, set a good example in this matter.

Queen Elizabeth II 1953

The top picture is a Coronation medal from 1953. The rest are various other commemoratives I happen to have photographed. It must be hard being Queen and looking at your ageing effigy on coins and medals. Only the stamps preserve her youthful portrait. Me, I only need to see how old I am when I look in a mirror and as I don’t shave, I don’t often look in a mirror.


Day 145

No work today so I rose at a leisurely pace, breakfasted and popped down to the doctor to have  a blood test. That was when my day took a turn for the worse, when the first two attempts produced nothing. I’m beginning to worry the nurse, as she seems to have constant trouble with me. And when she doesn’t get the blood (which is most of the time) she blames me for not drinking enough before the test. I think she has erected a psychological barrier about me and blood testing, a bit like Emma Raducanu and winning.

The nurse went to get help, and the new nurse, who I have known for years because our kids were at school together, just prodded my arm, shoved the needle in and took the sample. If only Emma Raducanu’s solution could be as simple. I fear she has a long way to go, and a lot of press coverage to endure, before she sorts it out.

I heard a good quote on Tv tonight. William Faulkner – Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

That’s the one for me. It’s just what I needed after a few weeks of wondering how to improve my writing. I spent the best part of today writing in an attempt to improve and I found this encouraging.

To be 100% accurate, the best part of the day was the time I spent eating more of the rhubarb and ginger crumble that Julia made at the weekend. What I really meant was that I spent most of the day trying to improve my writing. That’s how I’m going to improve – more precision and fewer sloppy expressions.

I deduce, from the lack of phone call, that my blood test results were satisfactory and the Warfarin dosage needs no adjustment. I am also hopeful that this means they will give me a month before the next blood test.




Day 144

Having written today’s title I’m looking forward to Day 288, because I just realised I will be able to do the “too gross” joke. However, that is still quite a way off. (Those of you too young to have counted in scores and gross will just have to stand round and look confused while two or three stand round showing signs of mild amusement).

The day at work started with me looking for a small piece of paper I had lost the previous night whilst trying to sort out my phone. That took me twenty minutes and has convinced me to tidy my desk more often. I then progressed to answering emails, including one from someone who was happy with two coin sets we sent and someone else who asked for a discount and ended up spending over £1,000.

Some mornings are better than others.

That was the high point of the day. I managed to load quite a lot on eBay and was getting on well when, just twenty minutes before closing time, someone called in with a coin collection. He said he’d spoken to us last week, which he probably had, but he hadn’t bothered to make an appointment, as asked.

The collection was a dreadful thing and had obviously been stored in poor conditions, as a lot of the coins had turned green and were sticking to the inside of the plastic pockets they were stored in. This didn’t matter, as most of the coins were virtually worthless anyway and many others were modern ones that he could still spend. It was the sort of collection where the time spent taking the coins out of the pages would have exceeded the value of the coins. Despite this, we persevered, sorted out anything good that we could find, offered him over £500 (fortunately there were a few better pieces) and gave him back the spendable coins.  listened to him tell us how he thought the coins were worth more than we had offered and, bit by bit, put them back in his bag.

In the middle of this someone else came in without an appointment and proceeded to get in the way before spending £2.

In the end we left twenty minutes late (which we don’t get paid for) with fingers that still taste of copper despite hand washing and nothing to show for all that effort.

The end of the day was definitely not as good as the beginning.



Day 143

My big camera has, I think, reached the end of the road. The battery compartment will no longer close and has spilt my batteries several times today. It’s not an insurmountable problem, but as I need to remove the card several times a day the use of sticky tape (my low tech solution to the problem) is going to be inconvenient. Actually, I just had an idea – rubber bands. That might do it.

As a back up, I have my small camera. While I was taking the photos something didn’t seem quite right (it seemed to be taking time to process the photos, like it does when applying special effects). When i tried to download the photos, they wouldn’t show, and the icons that replaced them refused to download to eBay. That was twenty minutes I will never get back. I’m hoping it is a fault with the card rather than the camera.

Of course, you can’t get a decent cheap camera now. They have all been replaced by phones, or by cameras with unrecognisable brand names and poor reviews. I will see if I can solve the problem on the computer tonight, if not, it looks like we will be having a conversation about spending money when I go to work tomorrow.

I’ve just been trying to sort out the problem with the small camera. So far I have failed to find out why it isn’t working properly. Half of me thinks that it is something I have done to the settings and the other half thinks it is old and has finally broken. That’s three things recently – camera (or two cameras, possibly), the microwave and the strimmer. What more is in store?



Day 142

In the end we had sausages for breakfast. It would have been more economical, and probably healthier, to have had them for tea, but it just seemed like the right thing to do. What better way is there to start a week than eating a surprise gift of sausages?

That’s right, following them up with marmalade on toast. Julia bought some nice mixed grain bread yesterday and I allow myself toast and marmalade on Sundays.The rest of the week, I do without it as part of my cheerless diet routine. There are a varying number of calories in a slice of toast and marmalade – let’s go for 150 as an average figure.  Cut out toast and marmalade for 6 days and that’s 900 calories. Cut it out for 48 weeks (allowing myself a little leeway for weakness and holidays) and that’s 43,200 calories if my mental arithmetic is reliable.

As my daily intake is supposed to be around 2,500 calories cutting out a slice of toast and marmalade a day is the same as fasting for two and half weeks (17.28 days). I did that on the calculator, and double checked it all, as that seems a lot. Tootlepedal has told me several times that dieting is all about making small, almost imperceptible cuts in consumption. If a slice of toast and marmalade a day comes to this, you can see how it works.

Lunch was home made mushroom soup and a sandwich made from smoked mackerel pate. Julia likes fish, I am less keen. As a compromise I bought smoked mackerel last week. She ate some of it and I mixed the rest with soft cheese, black pepper and lemon juice to make the smoked mackerel pate. It made two good sandwiches for lunch and will make two more for lunch tomorrow. I normally make it using the small blender (we don’t have a big one these days) but was feeling lazy today so just whizzed it together using a fork. There is less washing up that way. I’m going to add some chopped spring onion tops and sliced cucumber for tomorrow so I can pretend I am on an elegant Edwardian picnic tomorrow rather than sitting in the windowless back room of a coin shop.

Today’s picture is the tank traps at Gibraltar Point. Strange to think how things have gone – Julia’s grandfather was one of the first tank drivers. I grew up seeing tank traps along the coast (and still do) and on the news from Ukraine it seems that the tank is no obsolete on the modern battlefield. A century of ingenuity went into designing a weapon that is now outdated, but we still don’t have a safe and satisfactory way of opening a can of corned beef.

Makes you wonder about the human race.

Day 141

It was just another Saturday.

Got up with plenty of time to spare. Julia made bacon sandwiches and I went to work to find the almost obligatory small car parked (badly) directly in front of the shop. Yet another of the blue rinse brigade going to the hairdresser but parking in our spaces.

I stamped up a couple of heavy parcels that were going abroad (approximately £28 of stamps on each one), packed the other orders and settled down in front of the computer to watch a live auction sale. At that point the customers and phone calls commenced. It’s always the way. can’t complain though, as we are only just building the retail trade up to a reasonable level after Covid.

An elderly gent came in with his daughter as he had saved some coins from his change and wondered if they were worth anything. They were the same assortment as usual and, as usual, worth only their face value. He went away crestfallen, with his daughter laughing. I felt sorry for him, as he was only acting on stories he had seen in the news about coin values. Part of the sympathy, I admit, was because I had a sense of looking at my own future. And not even my distant future.

Later in the afternoon we had a small rush of orders. Four to be precise. Three came in while I was loading items for sale and the final one came in while I was packing the others. The Post Office closes at lunchtime on Saturdays so we couldn’t get them in the post but at least they will be done for Monday.

One of the customers is a butcher and brought us a pack of sausages, so I ended up bringing sausages home in my lunchbox. They look very good, but I’m not sure whether to have them for breakfast (which seems a bit greedy) or to save them for tea (which involves self-discipline).

Maybe I was wrong in the first line. It wasn’t just another Saturday, because we got free sausages.



Day 140

I’ve just been looking at a recent haibun, which I had thought I might reprint it in the blog. When I looked at it I found that, despite it being accepted and published, and despite my various edits and improvements before submission, it still has faults. It’s strange how that happens. There are at least two corrections needed in the space of 200 words. I suppose this will always be the problem with written work. It seemed finished when I submitted it, but the faults are clear and jarring.

Looking at it with fresh eyes shows more clearly what an editor may see when looking at my work. They aren’t even complicated faults – one being a fault with rhythm and one being a repeated word.

The piece I have used, could be better, and I have had a couple of thoughts for improvement, but nothing leaps out at me immediately. I’m now wondering about the idea of leaving everything for an extra three months before submitting it.


Quiet Corner

As a child, I attended a village school where the playground shared a wall with the churchyard. On one side of the wall we played and shouted. On the other, a line of small mossy memorials marked the graves of babies. Having grown up knowing that I had a sister who had died before I was born, I accepted, as did most people, that babies died. Years later, staring in wonder at my firstborn, I would think about those stones again, the tiny bodies that they covered, and from a new perspective, the parents.

snail shells
the song thrush uses gravestones
for an anvil

First Published Blithe Spirit February 2022

Day 139

So soon? I have just finished day 138 (Part 2) and am already into the next post. It took about 24 hours to get round to the last one and is already midnight, so I will be completing this in Day 140. This is confusing me, so I don’t know what you readers think of it.

The teashop review won’t be done for a few days, so that will be even more dislocated.

Today was less complicated in the shop – no complaints and a few orders. They were all easy to find and I had them all packed by 10.00. Another couple of orders came later in the day and we got them done easily too. It was all too simple – I’m sure we will pay for it in the morning – we are bound to have more complications.

This seems to be the way at the moment – not many customers about and the ones we  get are the ones that cause problems.

I got a 5 ounce silver coin ready for eBay today. It’s a £10 coin from Tristan da Cunha. Clearly it’s just a piece of nonsense as nobody would want a 5 ounce coin in their pocket, and nobody would put a coin into circulation that was worth so much more for its silver value than its face value.

It commemorates the Year of the Three Kings (1936) when we had three Kings – George V (who died), Edward VIII (who abdicated and George VI (who didn’t really want to be King). There is a contemporary medallion set, but most of the commemoratives are very recent. A bit like Edward VIII memorabilia – most of it is recent in origin.

Tristan da Cunha is a remote archipelago which earns much of its income by allowing people to issue coins and stamps using its name. There are 250 people living there so it’s not as if they need many coins – this coin has a mintage of 499, which sounds small in world terms, but is actually enough for every inhabitant to have two each.

We have had several other years with three monarchs – 1066, 1483 and 1553. 1936 is the only one that didn’t involve murder or execution for at least one of the participants.


Day 138 (Part 2)

“It’s a Wheatear.” said the elderly gent with all the gear (who may actually have been younger than me). He was right, it was a Wheatear, and he was standing about ten yards away from it. There was absolutely no need for him to walk any closer, as he was already about forty yards closer than me. He had binoculars and I had my eyes. As I pointed the bird out to Julia he spooked it and scared it away.

I like Wheatears and would have liked to get a better view. I was not pleased. Fortunately it bobbed up again and we were able to view it properly. This time the elderly gent, who may well have heard what I said about him earlier, just stood and watched.


After five minutes of bobbing about and displaying the white rump from which it gets its name (it’s from the Anglo-Saxon “white arse”) It flew away. Fortunately, I manged to get a few shots.

The whalebones we have seen before were still there, but now mounted in a framework to make them into a sort of sculpture. It’s probably better for them than just lying on the grass, like they used to do.

There were a lot of blue butterflies out in the yellow flowers. Can anyone recognise the flowers from the photos? I’m rubbish with flower ID.

As an interesting sidelight – the Trustpilot photos for Gibraltar Point contain some great photos, but unfortunately contain several that include rocky outcrops, summer clothing and Barbary Apes – this is Gibraltar, and not Gibraltar Point. The two things are very different.

This is written on Day 139. I will now write a post for Day 139 and in the near future will write about the cake at the4 tearoom. I may even reflect on my dietary sins of the day. But then again, I may not.

Whale bones Gibraltar Point

New Building Gibraltar Point

Old Building Gibraltar Point – I first visited this in 1965. Has it changed? Well, it seems a lot smaller  . . .

Yellow Flower Gibraltar Point

Yellow Flower Gibraltar Point

Chips at Sutton on Sea

Day 138

We went to the seaside today. It was the first time we’ve been out since we went to Leeds for Christmas Dinner last year. We had chips and cake and saw a Wheatear. This may take a couple of posts.

You wouldn’t thank me for a description of our preparations, which involved breakfast at McDonalds, blowing up the tyres and buying expensive fuel. (Strange how Breakfast at McDonalds didn’t make it big in either film or music, whereas Breakfast at Tiffany’s did.)

Nor, I feel would you benefit from a description of the journey through Lincolnshire, which is a little like a voyage through the mid-twentieth century whilst staring at the back of a tractor. We also got stuck behind a caravan and a motorhome. This is the advantage of travelling in spring – we only had one caravan, one motorhome and two tractors  – as the holidays and harvest really get going there will be many more hold ups.

Dolphin – Sutton on Sea

We finally arrived at Sutton on Sea and The Dolphin, expecting to sit down to a fish and chip special and use the toilets with the great tiles. (This is quite important at my age.) Unfortunately the various lockdowns have not been kind to The Dolphin, and it is now just a takeaway. It was the same last time we went, but it now seems permanent. I’m not saying this is the worst thing about lockdown, but it is certainly a major change for the worse. I’ve been going there for 34 years, and am sorry to see it go.

We ate in the community garden just round the corner, chatted to a couple with electric bikes, and watched a starling pounce on a butterfly. I’ve never seen that happen before. Even with high magnification I couldn’t identify the species of moth.

Starling Sutton on Sea

Fish and Chips from the Dolphin