Author Archives: quercuscommunity

A Bad Day – Part II (It Gets Better…)

The day started to improve as I finished the last post. There, amongst the photos of cacti were a few I’d forgotten from our visit to the garden centre. More scones! There will be a slight delay before I write that up as I want to do today’s report while it’s still fresh.

First stop was the doctor where Julia picked up a prescription and I sat in the car park making notes about people and their strange ways.Then it was up to Brierlow Bar for the tea and cake and books.

We ate at the cafe (which will feature in the next post) and bought some books. It seemed rude not to.

The cactus nursery at Matlock wasn’t obvious from the road and seemed semi-derilict when we drove in. We bought some succelents and some lithops but nothing particularly exciting. One of the factors was that they don’t have spines (which is probably a good thing for members of the group) and the other, as mentioned by the lady in the greenhouse, was that they are easy to propagate. We will see.

According to several write-ups on Trip Advisor there are collections of cacti in some of the other greenhouses and an enthusiastic owner. He was pleasant enough but didn’t seem inclined to enthuse when we spoke to him.

To be fair, we were only buying the cheapest cacti, where the other people were spending much more. However, when you are buying plants for people to kill it seems foolish to spend too much.

In the end it turned out to be a good day, despite the wind and rain.

A Bad Day – Part I

We’re off looking for cacti today. It’s part of Julia’s plan for making the Mencap garden more sustainable.

As with all these plans, time will tell. If nothing else, we will have plenty of pictures of decorated pots and blog posts on mistakes made in cactus rearing.

We’ve already begged some cuttings and stuck them in soil to see what happens.

I’m thinking of trying to grow prickly pears, but I expect it will, like my tea plantation, end badly.

I went to bed last night knowing that the politicians in Westminster had made us a laughing stock to the rest of the world, but I’ve become accustomed to it over the years. I’m thinking about writing down my thoughts on politicians and Brexit so that I can look back on it as a significant political document in years to come. But then again…

Although I voted to remain, I have supported the exit process because that was the side that won, and that’s how democracy works.

It’s not a great system, as Churchill pointed out.

Democracy is the worst form of Government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

To be honest, the leader we need is Enver Hoxha. He had his faults, I admit, and may have ordered the murder of up to 25,000 people in pursuing his policies, but as long as two of the were Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg I think I’d forgive Theresa May for the other 24,998.

I suppose, after expressing admiration for a Communist and advocating the execution of politicians I’m going to end up on a list somewhere and will never be allowed into the USA.

Such is life.


A lot of reading

I had a lot of posts to read tonight, and still have more to go. Sorry if I haven’t been keeping up.

I also had a lot of reading to do as I’ve been having trouble believing some of the comments in a blog I read regularly. The reading tends to indicate that my incredulity is well founded. Then again, it would, because I am right and they are wrong.

Then I had another internet link trail to follow – from Peterborough to Shakespeare. I may tell you later. It’s all Clare Pooley’s fault. She’s a bad influence.

I’ve also been looking after a frozen wife – a day in the garden was not what she needed today.

Now I have to take Number Two Son to work. By the time I get back it will be late to post.

Sorry, this is a bit short even for me.



Quick Post

We got stuck in traffic this morning and Number Two Son texted to say he’d seen us from the bus while he was on his way back from the night shift. Great use of technology!

Fourteen parcels to pack and a long slow queue at the post office. There was some light relief but I have no time to describe it.

A reasonable afternoon and some cooking.

A good talk at the Numismatic Society.

Chicken stew for tea. (Cooked earlier – good planning).

A fight with the new editor, which keeps throwing me out of the photographs.

Taking Number Two Son to work in the next few minutes.

I’m going to see what pictures it lets me use.



End of an Era

Today I dropped Julia off for her Sunday shift for the penultimate time. Next week will mark the end of an era. And not before time.

She started at the centre about eight years ago as one of the team that was recruited to open it after a multi-million pound refurbishment. Her hours were Thursday nights, most of Saturday and a long Sunday shift – 6am until 4.30 pm. She was paid extra for Saturday and Sunday and this allowed us to feed and clothe the children whilst running the project on the farm without taking wages. Ten and a half hours of double time on Sunday was very welcome.

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The kids are pretty much self-financing now (cue sound of ironic laughter) and the project ended a couple of years ago. (Incidentally, though they ejected us in favour of tenants who were able to pay more, the tenants left after a few months, having gone bankrupt, and the building has been untenanted and unused for the last few years.)

At the centre, things changed and the receptionists ended up doing the work of the admin workers, who were made redundant. They are paid less than the centre attendents, despite having a wider range of skills and being subject to abuse from the public. (This is the short version of what has gone wrong).

Finally, the council announced that they would no longer pay extra for Saturday and Sunday. They agreed to continue the pay for three years, though even this has been subject to some sharp practice.

At that point we looked at our lives and decided she should give notice. I’ve been keener on that than she has, because she worries about how we will live. I’m not. All I really need for happiness is Julia and a library ticket.  I just re-read that last sentence, perhaps “lottery ticket” would fit better…

And fish and chips.

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Something will turn up. That is known as the Micawber Principle.

Just over a month ago, she gave notice. Two weeks ago she was abused by a member of the public. This happens nearly every week, because the pricing structure is unclear, management refuses to clamp down on customer bahaviour, and because many people have no manners. It is the second time this particular customer has given trouble in two months. Normally she tries to shrug it off but this particular incident was witnessed by a new manager who has more backbone than the others. He wrote a report, made Julia write a report and, when the local Police liaison officer visited, discussed the matter with her. The result is that the man has been warned about his future behaviour and his membership has been temporarily suspended.

About time, I say. The really telling point about his behaviour, I think, is that all the time he was abusing Julia he was also abusing his wife and talking on his mobile phone.

And, having worked in my customary criticism of mobile phones, I will now finish.

If anyone is looking for a job that pays a few pence above minimum wage, allows you to start at 6am on a Sunday, features an ever-changing array of prices, has a faulty till system and offers you the chance of being threatened and abused by the public on a regular basis please get in touch. I know where there is one going…

Julia, Sutton-on-Sea
Enjoying winter sun at the Ecocentre

I seem to have been stuck with two extra pictures – pesky new editor.

‘eave ‘alf a brick at ‘im

After work, which was another busy day, I went shopping in Waitrose. Now, for those of you who aren’t attuned to the ways of the English, this may mean nothing, but the Brits will all be nodding wisely. They know that I’m a natural TESCO shopper and not a good match with the upper classes that inhabit the aisles of Waitrose.

I like to shop there now and again to add a bit of variety to our diet, and a bit of variety to my life.

To be honest, it felt like I’d wandered into the middle of National Dress Like an Idiot Day. Well, I didn’t think “idiot” – feel free to substitute your own if you feel the need for something stronger.

Considering that I often look like I dressed in the dark, I don’t generally comment on the clothing of others, but today I just had to say something.

There were quite a few 40-year-olds dressed like teenagers and a number of women dressed like they’d just stepped off their country estates. There were other poor sartorial decisions too, but one stood out. It wasn’t just a crime against fashion, but probably a crime against humanity.

The perpetrator was¬† around sixty, taller than me and badly shaved. He was wearing jeans with turn-ups, red socks and white sneakers. Add an overcoat, a flat cap and a pair of glasses that looked like welder’s goggles. I didn’t even see his shirt, but it was probably hideous.

He looked like a refugee from London Fashion Week, or some similar pit of …er…individualistic dressing.

For some reason I’m thinking of this cartoon.


Another Busy Day

Yesterday we had end to end customers, and the same was true today. Earlier in the week we had a Guildhall Coronation Medal brought into the shop with a selection of other medals associated with Guildhall dinners and the Freemasons. We weren’t able to buy them, though we did buy the associated coins. The owner has taken them home to talk to their children and decide what to do. This is an example photograph from the internet as I didn’t think to ask if I could take a photograph at the time.

The photographs below are ones I took of an interesting group of medals that came into the shop today. They represent 38 years in the army, with six tours – three in the Balkans (one with the UN and two with NATO) and three in Afghanistan. The last three medals are the Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and the Army Long Service and Good Conduct medal. We tend not to give a lot of medals out. The silver laurel leaves are the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service, which the recipient was awarded for his services in Helmand Province.

Modern Group with QCVS

Modern Group with QCVS

Lots more happened, but that, for me, was the most interesting part. I’m a man who is easily satisfied.