Author Archives: quercuscommunity

Day 172

The Longest Day. It is all downhill from now on as the nights draw in and winter approaches . . .

Too depressing?

It’s been that sort of day. I fell asleep in front of the TV and when I woke up realised I had been subliminally bombarded with politics and warfare. That’s why I gave up watching the news several years ago. I can absorb most news from the internet in a less depressing format and stay informed without feeling that Armageddon is just around the corner.

News reporters love misery and they lay it on with a trowel instead of just giving us the facts.

I find myself very annoyed with the Russians and would, if put in the position of Putin’s nanny, give him a slap on the bottom and send him to bed with no supper. However, as the man already has what the British refer to as “a face like a slapped arse” it might be tricky selecting the correct end to chastise.

This morning the journey to work was busier than usual, which we attributed to the rail strike, but half-way through it suddenly became almost empty. So much for the rail strike theory.

Life in the shop was pretty average and I wasted my evening with a nap     (as mentioned), mindless TV and browsing the internet. All in all it’s been one of those days that would not be missed if it disappeared.

The photos are from the garden, being mainly photos of growing teasel plants. I’m afraid most of them won’t be allowed to flower as they are too spiky to be allowed to grow that close to the footpath, and we will end up taking them out.




Day 171

We had an interesting day in the shop.

When I arrived a young woman pulled up next to me and said hello. This is unusual. All was explained when she said she was there to do the survey, though I had been expecting her at 11.00 rather than just before 9.00.

It turns out that the oner had mis-read the letter. There was an energy efficiency survey at 9.00 and an agents survey at 11.00. Both featured young women who measured us up using laser measures. I just looked them up, they are only about £20. If I ever want to measure a shop I now know how to do it. I expect you get what you pay for.

Strangely, none of them wanted to know about the damaged front door (the owner still hasn’t fixed up the front door properly despite it being several years since the burglary) or the damp coming from next door. Like all property owners he wants maximum rent and minimum effort. And like all letting agents the second agent wants most commission for least work.

It feels like I’m a massive sea creature, attacked by sharks on one side and having my life’s blood sucked by parasites on the other. And I’m not even the owner!

In the afternoon we had an interesting man with a small accumulation of coins. He walked out with £700 and a smile on his face. He has just sold his house and bought a river cruiser with the full radio set-up for going to sea. He is planning on living on the boat with his wife  (with outgoings considerably cheaper than current rates and stuff) and cruising the rivers when he feels like a holiday. Seems like a good plan. I’ve been looking at boats tonight. Another dream . . .

. . . chugging along a river with wildlife and fishing and riverside pubs. I could mount an exercise bike on it and pretend I was pedalling along the river.

Dabchick, or Little Grebe

Day 170

I’ve been thinking about a subject for today’s post. It really ought to be a lengthy one as I have time on Sunday and most of my other posts are a bit short. I’ve also been thinking about poetry. So, poetry, a blog post and plenty of time to write it. Sounds like a perfect cure for insomnia.

Poets writing about poetry are really only interesting to other poets. And that isn’t guaranteed. There are worse things, I suppose. Accountants writing about accountancy isn’t going to be a riveting read either.

I will narrow the scope of my post slightly. Let’s talk about writer biographies as they appear in poetry magazines. I don’t mind the ones that run to two lines (though I’m not sure why the editors who specify that sort of length just don’t tell the truth and say they clutter up the magazine and use space that should have poems in it).

My standard bio is: Simon Wilson has been a poultry farmer, salesman, antiques dealer, gardener and instructor on a Care Farm He now works in a coin shop and wishes he had tried harder at school.

It is not always well received by editors but is, I suspect, more acceptable to than the version I would like to send: Simon Wilson likes writing poetry and thinks you should read it and mind your own business about his private life.

This train of thought started because I made the mistake of clicking onto a site with a variety of poet biographies. One of them was very motivational – a well-known poet and editor talking about his early days and less than positive start.  It is helpful to see how other people improved and coped with rejection.

The ones i don’t like are the ones that are full of self praise, particularly the ones that give a long list of publishing credits and include magazines that have been out of production for five years.

Speckled Wood

Maybe I should just have done my review of TESCO’s Buttery Spread.

To be fair, it does spread. It also comes in a handy plastic container.

Those are the two positives. Whether it’s buttery is an entirely different matter. It contains buttermilk which, as I recall, is what you are left with after you use the buttery bits of the cream to make butter. The word “butter” in this context makes as much sense as it does when you use it in butterfly. Neither of them contain butter and neither of them makes a particularly pleasant addition to a sandwich.

Now the photos make sense don’t they?


Day 169

I won on the Lottery last night – £2.60. That’s enough to buy another ticket and have 10p left over. There’s not much I can do with 10p – can’t send a letter, can’t invest it and I’m not allowed sweets.

Fate seems to keep dangling the prospect of riches just outside my grasp.

If I do win big I’m going to buy an electric tandem and employ someone to pedal it for me if the battery runs out. I am a man of modest ambitions.

We finished the hoovering this morning, tidied under the workstations and washed the doors of the kitchen units, which I forgot to do yesterday. It’s looking smart for its inspection on Monday. All we need to do is polish the counter tops.

There was plenty of time for cleaning because we weren’t interrupted by many customers. We didn’t actually sell anything though the shop, but fortunately eBay came to the rescue with a steady stream of small sales during the day. This was fortunate, as very little sold over the last two nights. It’s been a quiet week, but with holidays, sun and constant talk of a cost of living crisis it’s not surprising people are holding back a bit.

It always makes me laugh when people on TV talk about a cost of living crisis. I’ve seen what they are paid, and it’s clear that we employ different definitions of the words. When you are paid this sort of money, the term “crisis” means cutting down on caviar so you can keep the kids in private education. When you are paid minimum wage, it’s a little harder to deal with.

However, that’s a discussion for a different day. Today is all about us having a clean shop and me winning the lottery.


Day 168

I had a very efficient visit to hospital this morning, and only need two more to call it a day. One is for a chest X-Ray and the other is to teach me how to vaccinate myself as I will be getting some extra medication. Oh good, I said.

While I was in there I left my car window fully open. As I waited for my appointment time, I read in the car and forgot to wind the window up when I went for the appointment.

At work we had one customer in the shop and one on eBay. We had another who wanted to return something as he’d ordered the wrong thing. His fault, not ours. We agreed he could send it back and w would refund everything, including his postage, which represents a £3 loss to us. We did however, refuse when he asked us to pay the postage costs of him sending it back to us.

In the afternoon I left my phone when we shut the shop. It seems a little strange not having it, but not too bad. It’s fortunate I’m not a teenager as it would be a tragedy if I couldn’t look at it every two minutes.

Two senior moments in one day. It’s a good job I don’t let it worry me these days, as I am resigned to descending into a bumbling old age. Then, when I posted todays blog, I lost it. It must be somewhere, but I can’t find it. Snatched by evil Microsoft elves, no doubt. So that’s now three senior moments in one day.

Things just get better. I’ll probably get lost on my way to bed . . .

Day 167

Two unusual pairs of customers today. One pair both had difficulty communicating as they can’t speak and one of them can’t write. They don’t seem to use any discernible signing system either, just do a lot of pointing. One of them was a regular before lockdown and  we manged to get by with writing and pointing.

It brings home my deplorable lack of knowledge of signing, something I have always meant to learn. Julia has done courses in Makaton, as reported some months ago, and British Sign language. However, she wasn’t there. My ability to offer them tea and coffee in Makaton was of no use at all. I must do better.

The second couple were father and daughter. She has saved up Christmas and Birthday money and has accumulated £100 to buy silver. She was about eight years old and would, I think, be better buying shares in emerging eastern economies and renewable energy. Even better, she ought to be spending it on dolls.

That thought is probably the window into my soul that allows you to see why I’m not a multi-millionaire and why my kids are likely to follow in my footsteps.

If you wait in the shop long enough, something interesting will happen. It might take months, but it will happen.

I ordered the shopping online last night and went on to make a few final adjustments tonight. They have no canned corned beef and no ready grated cheese. The latter isn’t a problem, because I always feel bad about using it – lazy for buying ready-grated and bad in general   because it is full of fat and I am supposed to be losing weight. The former isn’t a problem either, as I’d ordered the tinned stuff by accident, when meaning to buy the sliced corned beef for making sandwiches. It’s a bit annoying, but also, in this case, not important at all. I’m getting used to “supply chain issues” and they don’t really bother me now.

Day 166

I had a good blood test this morning. The weather was cool, the waiting room placid and the wait was not too long. I made three notes in my notebook, gave disapproving glances to my co-waiters (one playing noisily on his phone despite being in his 40s and one being “exempt” from wearing a mask) and eventually moved through to the blood letting room.

It was my favourite nurse. She made one hole, took three vials of blood for the three tests I need, and moved on to her next victim . . .

There is no bruise and there has been no phone call (which indicates I am within the target are)a. All is good and there should be no trouble with my methotrexate supply.

After that I went to visit my friends at the jewellers. I’ve not been very good at visiting lately and it was nice to see them. It’s not a long trip, and parking is easy, it’s just that over time I have developed a disinclination to travel or visit. A pendant in the window caught my eye and Julia is now wearing it as she prepares a salad for tea. Fortunately we are having pizza too, as salad by itself, of course, is not a meal.

The final part of my trip consisted of stopping for fuel as my warning light was one. I filled up. It’s the first time I’ve ever triggered the automatic cut off, as the pump cuts out automatically at £99. I had to start again, and got an extra £14 in.

It is not generally thought to be a good thing to fill a tank completely, as the extra weight can act against fuel economy, but I’m not keen on filling up more than I need to, and w also keen to see how much it took.

I am going to use it frugally.

I went for another bumblebee picture. I like bumblebees.

Day 165

I’m doing my normal thing and having a lazy two weeks as deadlines loom. I need the pressure. Even with pressure, I don’t always get on with it. I really should work out a way to write more.

The trouble with the diary format of blog is that it can only be as interesting as the life of the writer. One based round lifestyle or the discussion of issues might be more fun to write and would cover subjects of more interest. Later this week I will be going for a blood test and a face to face consultation at the hospital. It will be my first sight of a rheumatologist for over two years The blood test is tomorrow.

The birds have been going mad today. Blackbirds have been singing from TV aerials, sparrows have been very active (we don’t normally see many of them these days) , and magpies and pigeons have ben uncommonly trusting and have allowed us to get close to them. It was the same at the shop, where the jackdaws were very noisy this afternoon as we left. It might be the warm weather, or the closeness of the longest day.

So far, I have resisted temptation  to become more active. I find it very easy to resist the temptation to be active. The temptation to eat and watch TV is much more difficult to avoid. That’s a place where I could use another comma. Without it, it sounds like my temptation is to both eat the TV and watch it. I of course, mean “eat, and watch TV”. Isn’t English strange?

I used the bee picture again – a symbol of activity.

Day 164

Committee Meeting of the Numismatic Society of Nottingham tonight, one of the easiest Committee meetings I have ever been to. No arguments, no jobs to do, no changes to be made. It’s all quite relaxing.

I could say the same for the day at work too. Everything just seemed to go smoothly and fall into place.

It’s hard to say much about a day when things go well.

Then one of the members said: “It’s the longest day next week.”

So soon? It’s only just been Spring.

That’s the problem with the years, no sooner do we get to the time of lilac and laburnum, than everything begins to become unravelled. The lilacs die, the longest day looms and suddenly we are sliding into winter. Autumn can be nice at times, but it’s little comfort when you know that winter, the season of aching joints, is just around the corner.

I’m afraid that I’m rapidly running out of energy tonight, having already fallen asleep at the keyboard once already, so am not sure I’m going to make my 250 word target.

And having said that, I find myself browsing the Test score, with a certain amount of satisfaction, when I should be going to bed. Not that it really matters. England has a proven talent, in all sports, for throwing away a good position and snatching our traditional defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s almost a national sport in its own right.

It’s very easy to lose focus on the internet and end up reading something you hadn’t planned.

Top photo is two idiots with their mother. Bottom photo is mother and younger idiot by the Robin Hood statue. Is this my contribution to the future of the world?

Somehow, he looks very Canadian. All he needs is a check shirt . . .


Day 163

I just had a minor panic – checked the date and, fr some reason cross-referenced it against a calendar. Today is Day 164, not 163 as in the title. How did it happen? How had I manged to get it wrong? How was I going to correct it? Well, as it happened I solved everything by looking at the clock on the computer. The 13th June is Day 164, but  am actually writing about the day that finished ten minutes ago, which is Day 163. I worry too much. And when I don’t have enough real stuff to worry about, I make something up.

We had dinner at the Harvester in Wilford last night, as part of the visit of Number Two Son.  like so many places these days, they have signs up blaming supply chain issues for possible shortages. They must think I’m an idiot, because I remember the days before “supply chain issues” became a catch-all excuse. In those days they still ran short of items on the menu and that was due to inefficiency on their part. It still is, it’s just that they can now blame Brexit or Covid.

Apart from the meal we couldn’t have because they had run out, they got two drinks on the seven person order wrong and had no bread ready at the salad bar. When they eventually brought it to the table they didn’t being enough butter.

All First World problems, I admit, and nothing that would be a source of dismay in Ukraine if it happened there.  However, in the context of the UK in 2022, it’s not good enough.

That’s before we come on to the salad. The selection was woeful, the quality was limp and the new system is, frankly, inefficient and cynical. Quality and availability have always been questionable at times. But at least you were master of your own selection. You can no longer serve yourself and fill a bowl, you have to be served by their staff, and they seem reluctant to fill the bowl, so we ended up with much less salad than we used to get. I exercised my right to “unlimited” salad by asking for seconds, everyone else was too embarrassed.

This is supposedly for health reasons, but the need for Covid restrictions seems to have passed. It’s only the Harvester salad bar that seems to need restrictions. As I recall, it always left a little to be desired in hygiene terms, and the new restrictions are, I feel, intended not to promote health but to promote profits by restricting salad portions.

Or am I just being cynical?

The photo is from Julia. The journalist commemorated on the plaque is better known as J M Barrie in case it doesn’t sound familiar.