Author Archives: quercuscommunity

Day 18

Day 18 passed in much the same way as Day 17, but without the element of anticipation that you get after a Sunday off. In that respect it was very much like Day 11. I expect that Day 25 will be similar.

It was also like Day 17, in that I have a few ideas for writing, but didn’t do much about it. The trouble with giving days numbers is that the passing of time is much more noticeable and there is nowhere to hide. “Next Wednesday” is quite a friendly place, in a soft and woolly future. “Day 26” is much sharper, and leaves you in no doubt that you have seven days to do something, and that when it arrives the deadlines are only five days away (the days leading up to Day 31 are going to be interesting.)

I bought 500 items on eBay last night. They were very cheap, just pennies each and will, eventually, help finance my collecting habit. Julia will be delighted when she finds out and will no doubt be keen to congratulate me on my financial acumen and the purchase of more clutter. That’s why I’m letting her know via the blog. I don’t want to be in the room when she finds out. I could, I suppose, conceal this from her, but she will eventually notice a big box of plastic tokens no matter what I do.

When I have  a few minutes I will prepare more posts on collectables to leaven the musings on mortality, boredom and the passage of time. However, despite all my attempts to put it off, I need to go for a blood test now. It’s not procrastination if you put it off because you have to do something important.

I had some haiku turned down yesterday, which means I am currently running with one acceptance and one rejection so far this year. The editor sent a longish email and included a useful link to help me do better. The problem I find with haiku is that although they are small poems they come with a lot of conventions attached (some call them rules, though this isn’t quite accurate) and I never quite manage to remember them all at the same time. It’s a bit like that hypothetical over-filled bookshelf – you put a book on one end and one falls off the other. That’s my brain . . .

The picture is a small Royal Artillery sweetheart brooch carved from mother of pearl. They are generally from the First World War usually, I’m told,  made in Palestine. I include it as it’s a new picture and illustrates my inability to stop collecting things.

Day 17

More of the same. Parcels. Customers. Miserable weather. The only difference was that the car got covered in a fine spray of dirt thrown up by cars passing by the shop on the main road, and a bird, which appears to have dined on something quick-setting and durable, deposited the digested remains in the middle of my windscreen.

I spent 27 minutes on the phone at one point, being cross-questioned by a customer with “jut one last question” being promised more than once. In the end he said “Well, why do people collect if you can’t make money from it?” My reply was that collecting is about the pursuit, the assembling of a collection which is greater than the sum of the parts and, with luck, the knowledge you gain.

If you want to make money you take a second job, put the wages in the bank, buy shares or buy precious metals.

He said: “Oh!”

It’s a good thing the boss wasn’t in. That’s half an hour of my wages down the drain just so that my pearls of wisdom can bounce off someone who thinks numismatics is the way to get rich.

Before that we had someone in who kept asking for dates of coin which don’t exist. He couldn’t get his head round the idea that there were no pennies minted in  1941, 42 or 43 as there were thought to be too many in circulation. In 1949 most of them were held back, and they were still being issued as new coins until 1956. In 1950 and 1951 very small quantities were struck and were stored until 1956 when they were sent to Bermuda (all the 1950 mintage and most of the 1951 too).  They say that British dealers started travelling to the island and offering £1 for 1951 pennies – 240 times its face value (there were still 240 pennies to the £ in those days).

There is one coin known from 1952. I don’t know why, some arcane Mint purpose. In 1953 they struck pennies for commemorative sets. Only one is known from 1954, used for die testing. Somehow it escaped melting and ended up in circulation. Then there were no more until 1961. They were struck every year until 1967 and all the pennies struck in 1968 and 1969 were dated 1967. Again, I haven’t a clue why. After that they minted them in 1970 for the final £sd sets and, after a thousand years, the old penny made way for the decimal issue.

It’s amazing how many we have being brought in , and even more amazing how many collectors haven’t bothered to learn that there are years when certain denominations weren’t stuck. The saying “Before you buy the coin, buy the book.” does not seem to have reached everybody.

The pennies in the picture are Australian pre-decimal pennies – but they are the same size and shape, just that they have a kangaroo instead of Britannia.

Day 16

Got up after a lie in and had to unfold my back. The two are linked, but I don’t want to buy a new mattress until the end of the year, as we have to do some building and other dusty stuff. I have a couple of weeks of sleep troubled only by an ancient bladder and dreams of old age and poverty, Then I have a week of being troubled by the inability to straighten up when I( wake. It isn’t too bad, just takes ten minutes longer to get up.  After that it seems to pass off again.

Julia has been ill since Friday, but it seems to be passing today. We think it might be diet related and a few days of light diet and no cheese seem to have done the trick. She was particularly subdued yesterday when I got home from work, which is not like her. “No cheese” is my general treatment for all abdominal pain, and often seems to work. I had trouble with IBS about thirty years ago. The doctor told me that he would tell me to give up smoking but the resulting stress would probably be just as bad for me. That was in the days when doctors gave realistic and practical advice. He also told me that a cup of tea and two cigarettes was not a nutritionally sound way to start the day.

I started eating proper breakfasts, gave up smoking and put on weight. However, with that and a certain amount of caution regarding cheese. This gives me the moral high ground when it comes to lecturing Julia about her health. I fully intend to take advantage of this.

The photo is from January 2017. She was, as I recall, making some cutting remark about the statue being similar in build to me. Ah, good times!

Day 15

Day 16 is coming to a close as I finally get round to Day 15’s events.

Saturday (or Day 15 as I call it in my new, dull, boring fashion) was a day of little promise. It started misty and eventually cleared so that it was just grey and cold.

I rose a little later than is my habit during the week, grabbed my bag and got to the shop just in time to secure the last parking space by the shop. I then breakfasted on the sandwich I had prepared in advance.

An email the previous night had told me that I had a winning lottery ticket but at £3 I am going to let it change my life. Yes, I am back buying lottery tickets. I don’t buy many and I don’t smoke or drink so I feel that the occasional lottery ticket won’t break the bank. The best bit is that in the time between buying it and realising I have not won, I can dream of cruises in warm places.

I also dream of buying twenty or thirty old cars and abandoning them in places that will cause the most inconvenience to people who have annoyed me by parking badly by the shop or in the street. If I had money it probably wouldn’t make me a nicer person.

We had a few sales in the shop, including a multiple purchase from someone who bought four items that we had listed less than a week (two of them had only been listed in the hour before we went home on Friday (Day 14) recently and three that had been on for ages. It just goes to show the benefits of putting things on regularly, as it attracts people onto your site.

We also had a couple of customers in to buy things and several coming in to sell, so it was a pleasant enough day. If I hadn’t have been at work I wouldn’t have done much anyway, with the cold, damp weather and my disinclination to mix with people. (See Day 16, when written, for an account of such a day).

Day 14

It was icy over night, then the mist added a film of dampness to the already slippery surface. It was unpleasant even walking the few yards to the car,  which was comprehensively iced.

It stayed misty all day, which would have been atmospheric if I had been in a place with hills and trees but which was merely depressing in the middle of town.

Yesterday had been bright and light when I left the shop. Tonight was dull and grey. However, it wasn’t slippery, so it wasn’t all bad. That is how we are at the moment, with slow progress to Spring. We will have  a couple of days of higher temperatures and lighter nights, then it will drop back for a few days. I suppose that’s what makes me appreciate the good days.

So far it has been a mild winter, and, as usual, I keep having to remind myself that there is plenty of scope for bad weather in February (which is often a bad month) and even March. Being realistic, it doesn’t take much to close us down. A day  of snow will cause havoc in the UK, whereas Norway or Canada would look at it and shrug it off.

I think poets must thrive on misery, because I found myself thinking creative thoughts on the way home in the car. This could be the end of the poetry drought, and about time too – there are a lot of deadlines coming up. I had 42 poems published last year and have had two accepted so far this year. I’m not going to judge myself solely by numbers but I would like to be in that area again so I can’t afford to waste too many chances.

I’m, sticking with my theme for photographs – another postcard and another parcel. variety is over-rated.

Another one of an endless team of envelopes

Day 13

I know there’s no real bad luck in numbers, but there’s something about writing “Day 13” that sets the hairs rising on the back of my neck. I don’t have enough on my head to notice if it happens there.

Until now, I hadn’t realised it was the 13th, even though I’d written several times on the packing slips.

We had a letter returned yesterday. We knew it had gone astray because the tracking number showed it was in South Korea when it was actually addressed to the Czech Republic. It was returned with the information “Undeliverable due to incomplete address”. They manged to send it back using the return address, which proves what the Post Office says – that a street number and postcode is enough. But despite a full address for the Czech destination, they were unable to deliver it to its intended destination.

Useless!

It cost us over £9 in wasted postage so we have put in a claim with the Post Office and will see what happens.

That’s about it today. We had pasta bake using the sort of ratatouille I prepared last night. Tomorrow we will have the rest of the sort of ratatouille with something else. Possibly tuna steaks. We found tuna steaks in the freezer a we cleared out before Christmas.

We have so much food in the house that apart from picking up some bread and milk and carrots we didn’t need to shop this week. Fortunately, with some serious eating of soup and other bits and pieces, we are managing to get through things without wastage. It helps that we are using less meat and that the kitchen, due to prevailing wind and winter temperatures, is actually colder than our ancient fridge.

Ah, the charms of life in 2022.

I used the parcel photo again, as the highlight of the day hinged round a parcel.

 

 

Day 12

How the year flies by when you count it out in blog posts!

I had a lie-in instead of going to hospital for a blood test. It was a walk-in rather than an appointment so it isn’t a problem, and it’s nice to assert my independence and remind them there are more important things in life than needles in arms. I’ll go later in the week.

We had a late breakfast – eggs, beans, tomatoes, toast and bacon, and made it through to teatime with only the merest top up of toasted currant teacakes. Tea was the last of the Leek & Potato Soup (watered down to a less sticky consistency) with a cheese and ham and tomato sandwich made in a crusty baguette. It could have been better from a nutritional and dieting point of view, but it could have been worse.

I really must get a grip on my diet again – better nutrition and smaller portions being two of my aims. I doubt that I’ll ever need to be “beach ready” again, but I’m enjoying being lighter and would like it to continue.

It’s a another of those days when nothing happened, but I’m happy with that. Days when things happen can be quite irritating. I’m practising for my dotage now, sitting at home, dozing in front of the TV, not reading enough (despite my good intentions) and letting the world go by. I’m going to start slipping a few “in my day . . .” and “we never needed . . .” into the conversation.

I’m at Number Six on the Shakespeare Scale, and with teeth and eyes going, turning the corner into Number Seven – “Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” so it makes sense to prepare.

In the real world, the Prime Minister, who seems to have led the life of a party animal during lockdown, as the rest of us hid and died, seems to be well on his way to avoiding the consequences of his actions yet again.

Sorry to bring the real world to the blog, but sometimes I just can’t help it.

It’s not like I’m a tennis star and can live in my own little bubble . . .

The featured image is a parcel that we are sending half-way across the world. I like to photograph things like that in case there is a problem. The Brazilians recently sent a parcel back because the “International Tracked” label fell off. They had the address and the stamps but these days if it doesn’t have a barcode it can’t be delivered. It can be sent back to us from Brazil, but apparently can’t be forwarded to somebody in Brazil. It’s all part of the Dystopian Plan – you can’t send a parcel unless it has a barcode to allow you to be watched . . .

I checked up the “International Jobsworth Awards” but couldn’t find an address to send in my nomination.

 

 

 

Day 11

I always feel there’s a thin line between Leek & Potato soup and wallpaper paste. Unfortunately I often stray a little over the line, and tonight was another example. It wasn’t too bad, but there was definitely a hint of glue hanging over my soup bowl.

I’ve previously been told that this is because I add too much potato. I checked it up tonight, and this seems to be a possibility. However, it could also be the type of potatoes or overdoing it  with the blender. In other words, lots of people have an opinion but nobody seems to have a reliable answer. Unfortunately I can’t repeat the recipe next week and then examine my technique as it was all thrown together in an unmeasured sort of way.  I might have to try it again and measure the ingredients. That means I have to test the scales and see if there is any life in the battery. It’s so long since we used them that the battery will probably be flat again. It always is.

Looking on the bright side, if it improves my Potato & Leek Soup it will be worth it. I  might even try some new recipes. New recipes often require scales. That’s why the second attempt is often poor – overconfidence.

Was that, you ask, the most exciting thing that happened on Day11? I’m afraid it was. Adventure and excitement don’t go hand in hand with a shop assistant’s job, so eating slightly faulty soup is as close to the wild side as I am likely to vote.

Humour in WW1

The pictures are a couple of Donald McGill postcards from the Great War. Humour oesn’t always survive through the years but these two are pretty universal.

Day 10

The day started with a heap of orders. One of them was for £300 of bulk coins and another was an order for 30 different items. It was nearly 2.00pm by the time we got it all done, and there was such a long queue in the post office that we had to leave the parcels there and go back later. It looks like everyone had a good weekend on eBay.

The photographs are the aluminium medallion I mentioned a couple of days ago. I finally got round to finding the camera I managed to mislay over the weekend.

One side of the aluminium medallion – not sure which is obverse and which is reverse

With penny for size comparison

I’ve just had a break and am now back at the computer on a Zoom meeting with the Numismatic Society.  It’s a bit tricky as I have no camera or microphone, but I am able to see other people and hear them. Well, the ones that have cameras and microphones – I’m not the only Luddite in the Society.

The advantage of Zoom, as I’m finding, is that you can write a blog post and order pizza whilst being at a meeting. This is why the “no camera” option suits me. They won’t be able to see me eating. It’s not quite the healthy option I was intending, I will have to make it up to my body by eating lots of salad for the rest of the week.

It’s quite an interesting talk tonight, though counter-stamped coins of various Caribbean islands are not something I’d ever thought about before.  As I said before – collecting expands the mind.

 

Day 9

I’m writing this in the early hours of Day 10. I sat at the computer with several hours of Day 9 remaining and started writing other things.

This is how useless my brain has become. I’ve mislaid a camera, failed to read anything except the internet, and have not written any poetry, despite a number of looming deadlines. On the other hand, I have cooked, snoozed, frittered and researched an article about the recipients of some London School Attendance Medals. Whether this is a good use of my time, I’m not sure. Writing and relaxation are good, but focus is what gets things done.

When I’m eating my ham sandwiches tomorrow (gammon, redcurrant jelly, stuffing, mayonnaise and seeded brown bread), I will probably think that the time spent making them was worth the effort. Same goes for the research. However, when I see another deadline sliding by I may wonder if I should have used my time differently.

This weekend I finally bought a new card for my camera. I tend to use them for storage, rather than clogging up the computer with images, but I’m nearly out of space and keep having to delete things to make more room on the card I use for work.

I’ve also invested in a case to keep them all safe and tidy. It’s taken me about three years to get round to doing that. Fortunately, as I’ve waited, the choice has increased and the price has stayed much the same. It has worked out well.

In a hundred years time when my descendants, if any, look at this to get an idea of what great-grandfather’s life was like, this isn’t going to be one of the more memorable days.

Tootlepedal is building up an impressive cycling mileage, Charlie is writing another book, as is Laurie, Derrick is writing his memoires and giving us daily photographs of the New Forest, and I am spending three years over a decision to buy a plastic box.

LA is asking big questions, Helen is altering her garden, Lavinia is feeding cats and making music, and I am showing far too much enthusiasm for sandwiches.

The photo is from 5 years ago – January 2017. Those were the days when we used to go out, and when we didn’t live in fear of a stranger coughing near us. It’s probably time to start adjusting my way of thinking, though it is a lot cheaper staying at home and eating home made soup.