Monthly Archives: September 2022

Resolution and 8 Years on WP

Well, we managed to work out how the little toerag in London pulled off his scam. Or nearly pulled off his scam. It was the buyer, not the local postman who was at the bottom of it. I won’t say more as it might become a police matter. Let’s just say that despite the work we did in the shop, and the Post Office did, eBay came close to undoing it all. At mid-day it all seemed to be over, with the evidence we needed, and eBay promising to put a stop to the fraudulent claim and ban the buyer. An hour later they emailed to say that after more requests from the buyer they had found in his favour and refunded the £500, leaving us out of pocket to the tune of £500 and a £500 coin. After another hour on the phone they agreed we were in the right and it looks like we will be OK. However, the disorganised way they have carried on gives me little confidence.

The other big news of the day is that I have had a haibun accepted by CHO, or Contemporary Haibun Online. It’s the first one they have taken in about three years and represents a lot of persistence. I don’t just talk about persistence, I do actually practice it. I’ve not been producing a lot and I nearly didn’t send anything this time, but I did, and less than 24 hours later I had an acceptance. This is editing at a high level of excellence. It might be three years before I get another one in, so I’ll enjoy the moment.

Finally, I had a message from WP a few days ago – seems I’ve been here 8 years now. It seems like a long time but, to put it in context, I’m currently wearing boxer shorts which are older than that. It tool me several weeks after registering to find the nerve to write something. Now look at me, it’s hard to stop me wittering on about something every day. Even if that something is about another dull day in the shop. At least today was a bit more exciting.

The header picture is guinea fowl sheltering under a picnic table during a rainstorm, the first picture I posted on WP.

The Case of the Missing Parcel

You can’t, so the saying goes, prove a negative. This is in the context of proving that we didn’t receive the disputed parcel. You can “prove” that we did receive it, because the Royal Mail has a record of it, but we can’t prove we didn’t. because we weren’t asked to sign for not receiving it. Such a thing is not possible.

This is in a philosophical sense, of course, as you can prove a negative in other ways. However,think of a small teapot orbiting the sun . . .

Anyway, back from theory and philosophy, and into the territory of sensible real life. (Though with the proviso that some scientists need to lighten up when discussing teapots in space).

The first thing we had to deal with was an email from the customer with a picture of his proof of posting and a demand to know why we weren’t refunding his money as he had proof we had received the parcel.

This revealed a new problem – the customer had not returned the parcel by Guaranteed Delivery but had used a cheaper, less secure method, His method does not require a signature and only insures the parcel for £100 instead of the necessary £500. In saving a few pounds he caused this entire problem.

We, in turn, contacted eBay, who have given us another seven days to make our case for not refunding the customer, with his use of a sub-standard postal service working in our favour.

We then spoke to the postman, who told us, amongst other things, that he had checked for us and the mobile technology used by the Royal Mail showed that the delivery had taken place at the specified time and in the vicinity of the shop. Without needing a signature, they cannot be sure exactly what “the vicinity” is. It now seems that it is our job to knock on all local doors asking if anyone has our parcel.

This is where we had a little luck, realising that the CCTV could help us. We checked it, and sure enough, it shows that the postal delivery employee walks down the road, pauses outside our shop, shuffles through some letters then walks off without delivering anything.

That, to me, is proof that the parcel was not delivered to the premises at the stated time. I’m not going to speculate further, as it may yet develop into a serious legal argument.

W are still going to end up losing money, and wasting time sorting it out, but it’s unlikely to be the £500 we originally feared.

I will let you know what happens when it is sorted.

The next post will be more cheerful. Probably.

The featured image is a propaganda Iron Cross from 1914 – they were made in various places in Britain and sold to raise money for Belgian refugees. I use it because it was the subject of a claim by a customer who said he hadn’t received it. That was easy to sort out – we had a signature from the delivery, which was to his place of work. He recognised the signature, checked it out and found the package was waiting for him in the post room – he just hadn’t bothered to check.

Writing on Borrowed Time

It’s been a productive morning already. It’s only 9.40am as I write and I have already packed the two orders and done various jobs using the shop computer. I have bought my lottery tickets online, done most of the weekly shopping and checked how Nottingham Outlaws are doing. They could be doing better from the results point of view but the club looks to be doing OK. Unfortunately I am not able to watch them these days as I work Saturdays. It’s strange how something that was once so important can slide away into obscurity.

We saw a Jay this morning on the way to work. It dropped from a tree at the edge of the park as we drove past, and stopped to drink from a puddle. Sadly it was just a fleeting glimpse, as they are pretty birds and always a pleasure to see.I’d be shy too, if my main contact with man was murderous gamekeepers and Victorian milliners looking for ghoulish hat decorations.

In the shop the saga of the missing gold coin still dominates, though I haven’t mentioned it in the blog so far. Someone with low feedback bought a gold coin for £500 on eBay last week then decided to return it. This is always annoying, as it’s often a case of buyer’s remorse rather than an actual fault with the coin. He has actually given three reasons for the return of the coin, all of which are demonstrably false. However, we allow returns to encourage buyer confidence. and as a result we get messed about. Sometimes it’s fair enough, as we aren’t always perfect, but mostly it isn’t.

At best, we will be out of pocket for the postage cost and the bit that always seems to be missing by the time eBay sorts out the refund. It’s something to do with VAT, though I can’t tell you what as tax isn’t one of my specialist subjects.

This, however, is insignificant compared to the loss of the coin. The Royal mail claim it was delivered at 10.20 am on Saturday. It wasn’t. We were in the shop at 10.20am and we had no post. The Post office don’t know where it is, eBay says we must issue the refund now, despite not having the coin. I used to be a great fan of the Royal Mail, but recently they have been offering a very poor service, whilst maintaining high prices and regular increases in the cost of their service. They are far from being the worst postal service in the world, but they are definitely in decline. However, they are not as bad as the various courier services which form the main competition.

A Whole New World . . .

Isn’t it strange how one thing dropping into ,place can open everything up? I know the reverse is often the case, and one thing going wrong can mess a lot of things up, but it doesn’t generally seem as easy going the other way.

Yesterday I finally got round to plugging a keyboard and mouse into my laptop and suddenly I am productive again. Just because it’s called a laptop doesn’t mean that I have to sit in the living room with it on my lap.

The result was three blog posts, plus half a dozen prose pieces written (some with haiku and tanka attached) and a dozen tanka transcribed. I now have enough material to have a serious go at submitting to all the magazines I have listed to target. This feels good.

I also didn’t spend half the night messing about with a fiddly keyboard and a lack of concentration, so I feel better in myself too.

Now that is underway I feel like tackling the broken computer and will be downloading the relevant stuff to rescue it this week so I can get it started again. If that works as claimed I will be able to get all my old work back, which will be even better.

Of course, I have learned nothing and am still not backing up properly, but that’s just how I am. The work I am producing won’t be brilliant either, as it normally takes months to tweak it, but at least I’m back in the game an straining at the leash. This is most unlike me, and particularly unlike me in winter, when I normally go dormant.

I even manged to write most of thi blog post at work before anyone else appeared. this blog post. Four minutes past five and I am about to post my blog for the day. This is not normal.

Featured coin is a Belgian 5 Francs of 1873.

Coconuts, Curry and Customer Service

I thought I’d go for three posts today.

The day continued with coconut macaroons which Julia bought on her way home, plenty of tea and a takeaway curry. Yes, standards are declining. I meant to cook while she was out, but went to sleep in front of TV after lunch (I missed that bit out in the last post, I expect).

After that there was a bit more poetry, some computer games and a bit of TV. All in all the third part of the day was a little bereft of interest.

Apart from the recent issue of Blithe Spirit, the magazine of the British Haiku Society. I’ve had it a couple of days but only started to read it today. I’m not in it because I missed the cut-off date last time. I may, of course, not have been in it anyway, as nothing is guaranteed in these matters. (I’m not in the upcoming issue of The Haibun Journal either – and I did submit to them. I just didn’t make the cut. I report my successes, so it’s only fair I report some of the rejections too.)

Having said that, there are at least five haiku in Blithe Spirit which are familiar, as they are very close to things I have written. That’s good news in a way, as it means I must be on the right track. It’s also bad news, as I can’t submit mine now without looking like I’m plagiarising. This is a danger with a popular form of poetry with a long list of rules and a short list of subjects. And a small number of syllables – you aren’t going to find many elephants or mergansers in haiku – but plenty of frogs and crows. It’s all about the syllables.

More domestic, but still as important, my TESCO shopping order was a disappointment again. I had four things missing including bin bags, apples, toilet roll and something I forget. This is annoying, particularly as I like their toilet roll (it’s one of the reasons I persist with their second -class delivery system) and it was out of stock last month too. On the other hand, I did get four loaves of bread. I don’t know how that happened but it did seem to add things I hadn’t ordered this week. I spotted most of them but obviously didn’t spot the extra bread.

Fortunately, they did have the cheesy footballs so Christmas is safe.

The featured image is of a goat statue in Llandudno. We missed a good photo of one of the wild ones. Again, I really should post on the goats. But I don’t. I just bang on about poetry, customers and sleeping in front of the TV.

Answering an Important Question

The beginning of my day has been chronicled, now for the middle bit.

I have done more work today with my new computer set up than I got through in the last three weeks and might actually have some work to submit before the end of the month. I have also done some washing up and made lunch (cheese on toast with baked beans – a well balanced snack, I like to feel). I have also done my bit for the planet by eating the blue cheese. It didn’t start off that way, it was just grated cheddar when I last used it. Julia would have thrown it out, but I am made of sterner stuff. If Stilton is OK to eat, blue cheddar must be OK, according to my logic. That was two hours ago, Julia is home and she has just read me the riot act about it.

So I went to Google. There are many web pages to read, though you may want to avoid those that spell mould as mold. They are American and American medial advice is notoriously over-protective and worried about being sued. I find this strange, coming from a country where they eat squirrels. Try this one.  It’s slightly equivocal, but it seems to me you can eat the mould on cheese and your body can cope with it. Think of it this way – if your body couldn’t cope with a bit of mould you wouldn’t be here.

The main problem isn’t the mould, it’s that I’m lazy and buy my cheese ready grated. And having done this, I use 2/3 of the packet and leave the rest at the back of the fridge for a week.

1820 Crown with some damage. A striking, though not very artistic, rendering.

Julia had an adventurous morning as a race marshal with minimal equipment, unexpected responsibility and no thanks. She did say hello to Richard Whitehead and he said hello back, so at least she had a brush with fame.  Did I ever mention that I was Midland’s Rugby League Volunteer Coordinator of the Year a few years ago. That’s not, despite the grammatical ambiguity, a coordinator who is a volunteer, but someone who coordinates volunteers.  I would just like to put it on record that if I had  treated my volunteers like the Robin Hood Marathon treats theirs, I wouldn’t have won the award, or had any volunteers in my second season.

The photographs are three different ways in which the reverse of a Victorian Crown can be enamelled. I was short on ideas and I like enamelled coins. This is how I make many of my decisions in life. The two undated ones are George IV coins from 1820. I may write a post about enamelled coins at some point in the future.

Enamelled Crown (1887) – good quality enamel work.

Anarchy, Charity and Charles III

Julia is on duty providing water and encouragement at the Robin Hood Marathon. And that was how I ended up with my alarm set for 6.30 this morning. I don’t even get up at that time when I have to go to work. To add to my misery, some of the roads were already closed by 7.30 and I got lost in the road system returning from dropping her off. This involved driving along a road reserved for buses and taxis (it’s not a good system around the railway station at the best of times) and I am now waiting to see if I get a ticket in the post later in the week. The council can’t organise bin collections, road signs or recycling properly but they do have  top class system of cameras which they use for fining motorists.

I believe my words may have more dramatic impact if I leave it there rather than dwell on the evils of local government.

The bet thing I can say is that it is probably better than local anarchy as a way of running the city.

First job of the morning after returning home was to set up my laptop on my normal computer table. I have already been productive. The current set-up, with my PC mouse and keyboard plugged into the USB ports of my laptop, is hardly sophisticated, but it is much easier to use. The only problem is that the screen now appears minute compared to the normal screen. I’m not sure what I can do about that. It isn’t really that mush smaller than the other, so I may just stand it on a couple of books to raise it to a better level.In fact I just did that, and it is much better once it is raised into my eyeline.

The coin is a shilling of Charles I. The equivalent coin of Charles III will be made by machine and will be a lot less interesting and impressive. The hammered coins of Charles I were produced by putting a silver blank between two dies and hitting the top one with a hammer. There were experiments with machinery, starting in 1561, but milled coins (as they were called) were slower and harder to make and it was 1662 (just after the restoration of Charles II) before all coins were milled. The Newark Siege coin I showed a few weeks ago doesn’t look quite so bad when you look at the standard coinage of the time, does it?

A Missed Day

Last night (or this morning, to be accurate) I followed my normal habit of falling asleep in front of the TV. Normally I can write a few hundred words on waking but this time I felt so tired and stiff that I went straight up to bed. Fortunately I had already made my sandwiches.  This stiffness has been a feature of this week for some reason – I woke in bed a few days ago with aches in my hands, arms and back and it seems to have become a fixture. I think I may have missed my medication last week, which may be the reason.

Normally I take my arthritis pills on Saturday night. I had to change the routine a few weeks ago and have become a little disorganised. I also have to start injecting myself fortnightly now that we are back from holiday and am going to have to keep a diary to make sure I get it right. You can easily lose a week when you aren’t concentrating.

Actually, you can easily lose a month when you aren’t concentrating, which is what I seem to have done. Once again I am deficient in material to submit, and struggling to write. This isn’t due to lack of inspiration, more to the fact that I find a laptop keyboard harder to write with than a normal one, just as I find a keyboard less good than a fountain pen.

I need to get a grip and start writing. I will make a start by writing an extra post on Sunday to make up for Friday.


Amongst the Lawyers and the Perverts

There there must be something interesting to say. But I’m struggling to think of it. It was just another morning with another 18 parcels to send. I have finally managed to get control of the Pink Camera. I seem to have altered all the settings when I was struggling to format the card last week.  The flash is now switched off and the focus allows me to take pictures of items that are less than 30 inches away.  Considering that I spend most of my working week sitting at a desk taking pictures from less than 18 inches, this is a positive development.

We had corned beef hash for tea tonight, with plenty of vegetables and even shredded greens, It was both decorative and nutritious and I’m feeling full of vitamins. There was a woman on TV tonight who was taking  over £80 worth of vitamin pills a month. Most of them were not necessary, It seems that the NHS recommends Vitamin D supplements for use in winter as we don’t have enough sunlight in the UK to synthesise it.

I am, I confess, no wiser about all this after reading the Government advice. That’s the trouble with this sort of thing – too many people with no scientific knowledge writing blogs on health. People like me, in fact.

Last night I read a blog about what someone had found when looking herself up on Google. Well, I couldn’t help it, I had to look. There are 17 pages of Simon Wilson – a blogger, several lawyers, a number of sportsmen and two sex offenders. I’m not even the most famous one in Nottingham. I’m on Page 11. I’ve had this name for 64 years and the best I can do is Page 11. Even one of the sex offenders gets better billing than I do. I may have to change my name . . .

Floral Tributes by The Lions in Nottingham. Photo from Julia’s phone. Header picture from the same source.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Soup, Salmon and Cheesy Comestibles

More soup. Carrot and Lentil today, plus a few bits of parsnip, sweet potato and chickpea that were hanging about after being surplus to to other recipes. My favourite soups all seem to be orange.

In the evening we had salmon with stir-fried veg. I am not fond of fish, and the oily fish I am supposed to eat for health reasons is amongst the worst of the fish, well, except for rock salmon, hake, basa, sardines and kippers. And eels and pike. Actually, it’s not too bad when you think about it . . . Tuna is no longer an oily fish, according to the NHS, though it is still listed on other sites. Typical that the only palatable oily fish has been removed.

I have never particularly liked fish with bones in, like sardines and kippers, and after the incident with the fishbone in my school dinner I have always tried to avoid them.

The Winter Menu starts tomorrow, with multi-vegetable corned beef hash. This year I will not be slathering it in brown sauce as I am cutting down on pickles to reduce my salt and sugar intake. I have also ordered cheese footballs with the TESCO shopping on Saturday.  It’s more expensive and less efficient than ASDA but there are some things I specifically want from them.

Christmas cannot proceed without cheese footballs,, and once they are ordered Christmas has officially started. It’s a bit early, but they are in, and I don’t want to risk the smooth running of Christmas.