Monthly Archives: July 2022

PW Crigglestone

Day 211

Despite my dislike of most modern sport, I have been drawn to the Commonwealth games. They are slightly different from the slick World Championships (as seen last week) or the massive political  production that is the Olympics.

This morning we had an English gymnast clinging on grimly to take silver despite injury, the English pairs were the first home in the Triathlon (Visually Impaired), with Northern Ireland taking 2nd and 4th in the Women’s event (they are twins). Wales took 4th in the Men’s event and an English pair were fifth despite having to repair a puncture in the cycling section.  The male winners were unplaced at the Olympics after their chain snapped and the woman VI runner had a painful stitch during the running phase, which she ran off.

That’s a lot of news, plenty of drama and some human interest.

You know what the main story was on the news? Football. More particularly, our women footballers who are playing tonight. As usual, football trumps all other sports. As usual, I am tempted into making a number of comments on football being bad for sport in general, and for the moral health of the country.

A&BC Gum Football cards 1970

When my Dad died we were severely limited as to who could attend, and we had to sit apart, even though we had sat next to each other in the car for 60 miles, and we weren’t allowed to sing – we had to have recorded music. However, football fans were allowed to sit together in pubs to watch matches, hug each other and sing in each others faces. Two rules . One, strict, rule for a grieving family. One, relaxed, rule for football supporters. It’s a bread and circuses sort of situation isn’t it, with Princes and politicians  all pretending to be football supporters when it suits them.

One of my kids went to a holiday football camp some years ago. He went because his mates were going and because he liked all sports. He was laughed at by other kids for his boots (they were rugby boots but still did the job) and criticised by the people running the course (all part-time players from the lower leagues) because he would never be good enough to be professional. What sort of people treat a ten-year-old like that?

Sorry about the photos, I don’t have many relating to sport.

Topical Times Football Cards


Day 210

Last night I spent several hours improving a tanka prose poem with a restructure and a new tanka. I then unedited a small part where the original was better than the re-write. All in all, it felt good.

Finally I decided on a destination and started to get it ready to send. For some reason, alarm bells started to ring. I checked the last submission I had made to the intended magazine and found I’d submitted the old version last time. I’m never sure of the advisability of sending new versions to old editors (if you see what I mean).

Then I had a look at the magazine. I hadn’t just submitted the old version, I’d had it accepted.

My Orange Parker Pen

Coming so soon after the incident where I seem to have bought from eBay in my sleep I really feel I need to get a grip. A new filing system is called for, and that should be achievable. Apart from the problem with filing, I have the additional problem that some haibun have multiple versions and several different titles. A new brain would be good too, but I think that might be beyond me. I must eat more fish.

I’m thinking that with just four submissions this month I may call it a day and not try any of the other seven I have listed. It’s a poor result when compared to the plan, but it’s still four submissions, which is a reasonable amount.

I just spent the last two hours looking at odds and ends – there really is nothing that I feel like sending. I am going to spend August organising things (not many submissions planned) and in September I’m hoping I will be ahead of myself once more.

I always used to plan things so that I could submit at the beginning of the window rather than the end. I always think, rightly or wrongly, that if I get in first the next submission has to be better than mine to replace me in the editor’s mental shortlist. If I submit at the end, I have to be better than the others. And there is always the chance, as has happened several times, that there will be a  last minute email glitch.

A colourful shed

Day 209

Three unusual things happened today.

One, I went for my blood test at hospital after a week of avoiding it. Took a COVID test the night before, as I had been in contact with someone who is positive, and I didn’t want to spread anything. I am clear so I went. There were spaces in the car park and a man on the barrier, which I linked in my mind – there used to be space when they had someone there before. Walked in, hardly had time to sit down, was tested (though she only took two tubes when I was expecting three) and left.

Despite the ban on staff parking in the car park, two doctors were leaving as I left. Couldn’t get out. That’s why there was a man on the gate, they have a new system of number plate recognition. No free quarter hour now, just a Big Brother system where you are automatically In The System. Had to pay using debit card. More Big Brother – all my spending monitored . . .

So that was unusual thing one.

Number two. I had a parcel delivered. It contained  a medallion I had seen on eBay in the “sold” section as I browsed. I complained to Julia that I would have liked to have bought it. It seems that I must have done. I checked and saw I had used the “Buy it Now” feature. I must have bought it in my sleep. This is a worrying development in both the “Senior Moment” department and the “eBay Addiction” department. I have promised Julia that I will only go on eBay in the hours of daylight.

Finally, a man came into the shop. He had a mask.

“I’ve got COVID,” he said, “But I have a mask on so it’s OK isn’t it?”

My workmate muttered something unintelligible. He doesn’t like to say n0. I rolled my seat back and said: “I am on medication which lowers my immune response, so no, don’t come in.”

I actually thought something which had a lot more swearing in it, but I am a retail professional.

He was slightly taken aback by my refusal, as if he honestly thought we would want an infected person in the shop.

Apart from the possible health consequences to us and our families, did he really think we wanted to run the risk of shutting the shop because he’s too stupid to stay at home?

Even after being told to leave he insisted on telling us about the coins he had to sell – I doubt they came to more than a couple of quid, but they were, in his mind, worth enough to justify infecting a whole shop. remember that my work colleagues have frequent contact with two others and a mother in law who are all 80 +, one being over 90. That’s why I’ve been testing again.

It’s not about me, it’s about my responsibility to other people.

Grumpiness Personified

Day 208

What, I ask myself, marks out today from previous days. Not much. The details are a little different, but the essentials stay the same. We were nearly hit by an idiot on a roundabout but I realised he wasn’t going to stop, so I stopped despite having right of way. I was already half way round and could have carried on but there is little good to be had from a situation where you are in the right but have a bent car and an insurance claim.

It barely seemed to register with him as he sped by the front of the car and even the sound of my car horn produced little effect, apart from provoking him into using his own. Not enough brain cells to use his brakes but enough to feel outrage at having it pointed out that he had done wrong. Clearly a child of the 21st century, for they can never be told there is the possibility they may not be in the right.

I hope that when he has the accident he is clearly destined to have he doesn’t injure anyone else. I don’t particularly want him to injure himself either, just give himself a big enough shock to realise drivers have responsibilities. Having said that, if he did injure himself, I wouldn’t particularly mind, as a little less vigilance on my part would have seen him smash into Julia’s door. If only we had the ability to live our days over again.

In the alternative universe I would be driving a tank, and I wouldn’t stop for him.

Of course, in a really alternative universe, I wouldn’t be driving Julia to work at 8.30

Another unusual thing that happened today is that I made a list of things I must do, and actually made a start on doing some of them. I am, for instance, writing this post instead of snoozing in front of TV. It’s not going to change the world, but it is a start . . .

RAVC Badge

RAVC Badge – penny for size comparison









The featured image is a sweetheart brooch of the Army Gymnastic Staff. It is probably from the Great War, which was when sweethearts became popular. It is 1919 at the latest, as they changed the name to Army Physical Training Staff in 1919, a name it kept until 1940.

The other pictures are a sweetheart of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Carved in mother of pearl, probably in Palestine. It dates from between 1919, when they adopted the “Royal” and the centaur badge, and 1952, when they changed the crown.

I added these to my collection last week.

Day 207

An unusual day for a number of reasons. I was working on Wednesday, for one thing, and we had a group of medals brought in requiring re-ribboning (not the ones in the picture). The ribbons on a group of medals should be 31.75mm (1.25″) for the Army and slightly longer for the Navy.

In the case of the medals we have in hand, the person who mounted them obviously didn’t have the ribbon for the new Platinum Jubilee Medal so used the piece provided with the medal. This involves cutting the pin brooch that comes attached to the medal and ends up with a shorter length of ribbon than necessary. However, rather than buy a new ribbon, whoever mounted the medals used the short length and then shortened the rest of them to match.

I’m not going to judge – whoever did them might have been doing them as a favour rather than a commercial undertaking. We charge £10 a medal, including cleaning and new ribbons, so we can afford £3 for a new ribbon. If it’s a favour, or you are doing them on the cheap (because, let’s face it, £10 sounds a lot of money to mount a medal, and £30 for a group of three is a considerable outlay), it’s not so easy.

However, you get what you pay for and it goes back to the old Ruskin quote:

“It’s unwise to pay too much…but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Before batching – Date and Stilton Scones (from a previous recipe post)

It works when buying medal mounting services, running the NHS and buying cheese. Julia bought Dolcelatte today because it was cheaper than Stilton (it’s that cost of living crisis, you know). Dolcelatte has it’s place in the world if you want a tangy blue cheese, but it’s no Stilton.

Day 206

Two poetry magazines arrived today. One has two of mine in it, one has none. However, as I didn’t submit any to the second magazine, this is to be expected.

This month I will be submitting fewer than planned, because I really haven’t been producing much for the last six months and haven’t been on top of the editing for the last couple of months. It was on the rise, but topped out and I can’t raise the old enthusiasm.

At the same time this is happening, I find that I am gripped by an ambition to write better poetry, so am hoping that less quantity will pay off in better quality. I have a suspicion that this what all lazy writers say.

Speckled Wood

Sorry if I worried anyone with news that I’d been for a scan, I often leave medical details out of the blog, but thought that the trouser anecdote was worth including, as was the distance I found I could walk if necessary – must try harder. The result was fine, not perfect, as I still need blood tests and treatment, but nothing malignant was found.

The trick, I have found, is to use two sticks. With two I can go faster, feel steadier and don’t wear out my shoulder. I bought some walking poles recently and am going to try using them next time I try for any distance. That way I will look less like a cripple and more like a serious hiker.

The Jury Summoning Service has emailed to say i have been released from service. Until this notification It was not official.  I have filled in the questionnaire they sent. It was, as with so many Government surveys, useless. It was predicated on the assumption that I had applied for release from jury service. I hadn’t. I’d applied to the Court for permission to use  a taxi and they had applied for my release on my behalf. This made many of the questions irrelevant. Somewhere, a Civil Servant, in fact probably a whole department, is being paid big money to produce sub-standard work. They should pay me big money to go through all this bumph and improve it. That way, things will improve and I will get more money. Win-win.

Large Skipper at East Leake

The only downside to the email from the Jury Summoning Service is that the Court had applied to have me excluded from further selection, but they have jut exempted me from this one and left me open for future selection. You can’t serve once you reach 70 so they have just over five years to call me again and as there is a pool of 30,000,000 potential jurors and they only need about 300,000 my chances of being called are slim. If my number does come up again I will regard it as an omen and buy lottery tickets.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

My problem with photos is that I have been lazy with titles over the years and photos with ni titles are impossible to search for. I am now paying for my laziness over the years.

Day 205

I’m a day behind again, but at 3am this morning, when I woke up in my chair I decided to go to bed. Normally I would write the blog,  make sandwiches and generally wake myself up. This time I just went to bed. Four hours later I was wrenched from my bed by a strange dream about a lack of toilet facilities. Do you ever get that one. I frequently do. I then wake up and realise the way out of my dream is to visit the toilet. One day, I suppose, I will wake up after dreaming that I found a toilet. At that point it will be time to move into a home.

The day was OK, and featured quite a decent rainstorm around mid-day, which cleaned the roads and made things a lot cooler.


Oh, and the computer broke. It went off and when I restarted it kept flashing “Fan Error”. We rang the man who does our computer stuff and he advised us to take the cover off and clean the dust off the fans. We could only find one fan, but we dusted it off and the computer worked again.

On the way home I tried the new roadworks. They were supposed to start on 1st August for a month (oh joy!) but seem to have started already. I tried an alternative route last week, just to see how it went, and that has a set of roadworks on it too. It wasn’t a total success as an alternative route. The normal route with additional roadworks wasn’t too bad, but traffic was light and I imagine it could get hot and unpleasant as the year goes on.

Small Copper

I’m not sure much happened apart from that. It has a tendency to be like that – a chat about Julia’s day, a little TV, a snooze, cook tea (we had pork steaks with roasted veg) and a bit more TV. I had more things planned but my head switched off, which takes us back to the first line.

Common Blue at Screveton

I thought I’d use some butterfly photos- I like butterflies but there have not been many about recently. It was hard finding them. I searched “butterfly” and only two photos came up, and one of them was a coin. Fortunately I realised that I must have titled them with the species, so was able to call more up.




Day 204

I had an untrasound scan today. After being shown into the room I was told to sit on the couch by a lady in scrubs.

“Do I need to remove any clothing?” I asked, thinking that I knew the answer already – this is the second time this are has been subjected to a handful of cold gel and the scrutiny of a stranger.

“”No,” she said, just sit on the edge of the couch and the sonographer will be along in a few minutes.”

It’s a good thing I asked, or all sorts of embarrassing circumstances could have arisen.

Last week when I had my chest X-Ray it was very efficient, and the same was true today. The main difference was that today was cheaper. Last week I paid £10 each way for a taxi (parking being poor at the hospital and my walking not being great). Today, with it being a quieter day, I took a drive down. I found parking in the Treatment Centre then took the lift up to the tram terminal and walked to the department. It was about 600 yards, which was enough. It was about 500 back, because I didn’t get lost, though I did have a sit down after the first 300. Car parking cost £2.40.

Next time I will try the tram. It will cost £4.40 but I can have a ride round afterwards.

It is time to become more adventurous, as I am becoming very set in my ways and apprehensive about going out. I have been telling myself I can only do 50-100 yards without trouble, but I can do 500 – 600 yards if today is any guide. By the end of the 600 I admit I was glad to sit down. The return 500 were trickier and I’m feeling sore at the moment,

I may even try shopping properly instead of hiding behind my computer, though I will then have to add “impulse buying” to the list of problems I need to control.


Day 203

Absolutely no sales online overnight, and none during the day either. It was like everyone has closed down for holidays.  I have bought a few cheap things on eBay lately, and this is always the sign of a slow down. It happens periodically, but we rarely have a blank day. We had a couple of customers in the shop but made no sales of note.

I say “everyone” but some people haven’t closed down. We have a regular sender of messages from Australia who keeps wanting more and more details about something we have on sale. He has already asked so many questions that we can’t make a profit on any sale (and a sale looks a remote chance at the moment, as I have him pegged as a massive timewaster) and now keeps asking for photographs of something that is already pictured.

We have a few more bees in the garden than we had this time last week, but nothing dramatic. However, any increase is a welcome sight.

I decided to leave the “temporary” teasel pictures in “yesterday’s” post. I might do some new photos for this one or, as I am trying to finish this and get to bed, I may use existing photos for now and try new ones tomorrow.

Army Cadet Force Badge WW2

All my medical letters arrived in one lot – three letters. One contain’s details of tomorrow’s scan, which I have already discussed by phone, because I was worried the letter had not arrived. I was going to link to my previous post about the scan, but I seem to have omitted it. I’m going for a scan. Minor problem. It will, as usual, require me to remove my trousers. That’s probably why I omitted to mention it. I don’t really like the problems that seem to surround men of a certain age.

One is for a course I said I would go on to improve my chance of losing weight. I don’t remember saying I wanted to go on it and really must start taking notes when I discuss these things. I couldn’t do August due to my jury service, which is annoying as I now seem not to be doing that. Instead I am having to give up two Wednesday afternoons in September, a month I had earmarked for a holiday.

The third is about me missing my recent telephone appointment. I have taken exception to this. As you know, I was here for the appointment but the staff of the National Health Service was incapable of making a simple phone call. I didn’t miss the appointment, they failed to allow the phone to ring long enough. I am not happy about this and am seriously thinking of making a formal complaint.

I normally grumble about the service, but usually don’t do anything because, compared to most places we have decent healthcare. However, they have pushed me too far this time.

I’m awake now, so will post the photos I meant to use yesterday. The header picture is the Yogi Bear Kellog’s promotion badge from 1962- 3. The Army Cadet Force Badge is a plastic economy lapel badge from WW2. It’s one of many lapel badges used during the war to denote the roles people were taking when they were in civilian clothes. Members of the ACF were often employed as runners by the Home Guard.

Spratts Scottie Dog advertising badge

Spratts Scottie Dog advertising badge – compared to a penny

Spratts Scottie Dog advertising badge- reverse


Day 202

I am writing quickly before going to work on Day 203. After days of heat, sleepless nights, chest infection and various niggling worries, I finally had some quality sleep. More like unconsciousness really, as I spent three hours in a chair dead to the world, even though Julia tried to wake me several times. On finally returning to life it seemed silly to wake myself up by writing so I went straight to bed.

That’s one of the keys to my current sleep pattern, and various other problems. I nap during the evening, wake around ten or eleven, use the computer, wake myself up and end up working until the early hours of the morning. This is bad for brains, blood pressure and weight. It’s not even particularly good for writing as I’m not sure I produce my best stuff at 2am. Mainly I hop from site to site, adding to my store of general knowledge and forgetting what I really mean to do.

This lack of focus is probably the thing I most need to get under control.

Work was warm and stuffy. Phone calls have picked up again – several times I had only just finished one when another came in. A day like that can really slow you down, because it takes longer than you think to adjust your thinking. I was listing a collection of enamel badges – advertising, civil defence, and Yogi Bear all came into the picture, but no sooner did I get into the zone for 1960s kid’s badges when the phone rings with someone wanting a valuation, or wanting to know if we open on Sundays.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to give a polite answer.

Teasel – temporary photo

Photos are just to add some colour, I will add new photos when I get home tonight.