Category Archives: Uncategorized

Grinding to a Halt

Sorry about the unexplained absence. On Monday night I felt sluggish, I followed this up with a bad night and by Tuesday morning I was close to a state of suspended animation.

I still went to work, because there were only two of us in on Tuesday, but feel a bit bad for taking the money for doing next to nothing.

When I got home I sat in the car for a few minutes to listen to the end of a radio programme and seem to have fallen asleep. I don’t remember doing it, or even feeling sleepy, but I do remember waking up so there is pretty strong evidence to suggest that is what happened.

The fact that I just had to correct six typos in that paragraph further indicates that I’m still not firing on all cylinders.

I went to bed and slept until Julia returned from a staff meeting. She wasn’t noisy but after years of parenthood you can detect the noise of key in lock from the deepest slumber. I think I managed to make conversation of an acceptable nature as she went away fairly happy and left me to sleep.

When I did drag myself from bed I was in time to see the final element of the Great British Bake Off. They have, as usual, managed to select a final three that I don’t agree with. It’s nothing to do with their baking skills, or even their worth as human beings, because you simply can’t tell without meeting them. However, two of them do exude an aura of oily smugness when viewed on TV. It’s mostly the same every year, the three or four that I like as people prove themselves to be totally incompetent within the first few episodes and I have to watch as the competition is won by sycophants, Paul Hollywood’s favourite or a fully paid up member of the jolly hockeysticks brigade.

Generally I can’t even remember them a couple of years from their win.

While I was looking up the link for GBBO I wandered into looking up what happened to past winners. While I was doing that I found an interesting new fact.

Have you ever heard of Otter Fishing?

Don’t worry, it’s not like trout fishing, it’s using otters to drive fish into your nets. I’d herad of cormorant fishing, but never otters. I also learned that in the 16th and 17th centuries we had cormorant fishing in the UK.

Wonders will never cease…

Fondant Fancy, with lesser cakes at Botham's in Whitby

Botham’s Whitby

The Geese Take Flight

It was a generally average Saturday. Nippy enough to tell you it was autumn but not cold enough for a coat. Moderate amount of activity in the shop and time enough to increase my knowledge of eBay. I have decided I need to become a better eBay user, both for my work and for myself. I really can’t put it off much longer as I need to reduce my collection and generate some cash.

The photographs are more from the visit to the gardens earlier in the week. There is a threat of frost this weekend and I thought I’d get a few final shots of the nasturtiums before the frost flattens them. The first frost and the devastated nasturtiums is, for me, the saddest sight of the year.

The header picture shows a skein of geese flying south. During the summer they fly in to the Trent every morning, where they gather on the river to feed and mug passers-by. AS winter moves on, they start flying away instead. It can be tricky taking a picture of geese in the sky with just a scratched screen for a viewing aid. I just pointed the camera at the honking and pressed the button every time the green square indicated I was focussed on something. It seemed to work.


I will close now as I need to get on with a few jobs.

CT17, IP1 and TN21

Those are the final three from the list.

CT is Canterbury, but CT 17 covers part of Dover. It’s famous for its White Cliffs, which have never had bluebirds over them, despite what the song says. It’s also famous for its Roman Lighthouse , the tallest surviving Roman structure in Britain, and for the only Roman wall painting outside Italy.

I’ll keep it fairly general as I’m not really sure how much of Dover this code covers.

I used to stay in a Bed & Breakfast in Dover Docks when I reared chickens in the South East. The cheapest rooms were downstairs in the cellar, really just a sort of cell with no windows. It was cheap and as I sleep with my eyes closed the surroundings didn’t really matter. The breakfast was large and the proprietor was efficient and lacking in all false bonhomie. And all genuine bonhomie too, if I’m honest. I’m not much of a one for small talk when I’m stoking up at breakfast so that suited me too.

IP1, as you might guess from the previous post, is in Ipswich.

It’s a nice town, the 42nd largest built up area in England and Wales in 2011. It has also won awards for being friendly, clean and good to work in.

There’s much more, but again, I’m not sure how much is actually in IP1.

Finally – TN21. That’s back to Kent – Tonbridge. It includes Royal Tunbridge Wells. This is slightly confusing in normal speech – Tunbridge and Tonbridge.

TN21 includes the wonderfully named village Cross in Hand. This is actually in East Sussex. Such are the vagaries of the postcode system. It has a pub called The Cross in Hand.

The first record of the village is under the name of Cruce Manus in 1547. It’s supposedly Latin for Cross in Hand but doesn’t seem quite right – no “in” for a start. This comes from a legend that Crusader used to muster here before trekking off to the desert to die. They were not a particularly successful set of wars for us.

The Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham was supposedly named for the same reason. I tend to grow cynical once the Crusaders are mentioned. Apart from Nottingham Crusaders – an old Nottingham Rugby League Club.


Michaelmas Daisies – Wilford Mencap Gardens


Todays pictures are dew soaked Michaelmas daisies from the gardens when I dropped Julia off. We’re a few weeks after Michaelmas, but they are still going strong.


More Postcodes

Postcodes today. As usual, all my palns have fallen apart so I’m falling back on the old favourites.

IP 23, CT 17 and TS 25.

We’ll start with TS 25. I used to live in Middlesbrough (note the single “o”), though I was in TS3. It was not the most sought after location and from our ninth floor flat we were able to spend a year watching people dismantle the last vestiges of shipbuilding on the Tees. They replaced it with a retail park. We could see two nuclear plants from our flat – the private one at ICI a few miles down the road (though we had to stick our heads out of the kitchen window to do it) and the one at Hartlepool.

The one at Hartlepool is in the TS 25  postcode area. Normally they put nuclear power stations in desolate areas of the country, often surrounded by open country and beaches. In the case of Hartlepool they got the desolate bit right but put it within easy nuking distance of Middlesbrough and Hartlepool. If the whole thing had lit up it wouldn’t have made a lot of difference to the surrounding area, as a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland was basically the look the town planners had already achieved. The ability to glow in the dark would have been a positive step forward.

Like Heysham, Hartlepool was one of the later generation of nuclear power stations seen as being safe enough to build near towns. This means it is easier to get the electricity where it nweeds to be without damaging the environment with pylons. On the other hand…

IP 23 is in Sufflok and includes Brome, a village containing one of the 38 round-towered churches in Suffolk. I imagine this was because they couldn’t get the hang of corners. It’s probably good for strength or economy, but not much good for furniture. I’ve always wondered how you go about furnishing a windmill after converting one to living accommodation.

There are 185 of them in the UK. That’s out of a total of 16,000 churches.

CT 17 will have to wait as it’s time for a fix of junk TV.

Today’s photo is a large cast iron coat of arms – the state of Württemberg fro those of you who are interested. It’s up for auction and we are prepared to put it in the post if you feel the urge to pay for the stamps.

An even quicker post

Twenty one minutes.

We went out today, did some errands, went to see Dad, ate pasties, had loads of great photo opportunities (autumn leaves, steelwork, cranes and a concrete pump, red kites and a great sunset) and really regretted leaving the camera at home. It’s almost a universal law that the day you leave the camera at home you get the best photo ops.

That’s why I’m going to throw yet another random photo into the post.

I won two games of dominoes this afternoon. My Dad also won two and he’s 90 and more than slightly confused. He spent a lot of his life being competitive and skilful with numbers and these seem to be two key values that he has retained despite the challenges. It sets my two victories in perspective, because I really was trying.

Julia won two games too, despite not playing to win and my sister won one game despite actively trying to lose. All in all I have to face the possibility I’m not very good at dominoes.

I enjoyed my relaxed night so much last night that I tried it again. Hence the quick post. Wednesday nights have been TV nights recently because it’s The Apprentice, followed by Taskmaster. We’ve started watching The Circle too, so now we’ll have to watch a repeat of Taskmaster later in the week.

I’m not particularly proud of my TV viewing, but it could have been worse. Julia has spent all night swearing at an origami book and throwing screwed up paper on the floor. I take it that the paper folding is not going well.

She’s generally very good at origami, but new additions to her repertoire are often a bit of a struggle. I have learnt several new words from her failed attempts…

Photos are the Gold 50p coin we had a few weeks ago – it commemorates the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. It’s strange we are now celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 50p coin. How fast does time go?

Just a Quick Post

Tonight I decided that I’d be a good husband for once. Not that good, not sensitive or empathetic, or even generous, but I greeted her with a peck on the cheek, a cup of tea and a bubbling stew.

She was, to be honest, a little nonplussed. I may, over the years, have deviated a bit from the romantic ideal of husbandry. As Julia has pointed out, when she took me for better or worse, richer for poorer and in sickness and in health, she had been thinking of them as a list of options rather than a blueprint for the future.

I’ve been sitting by the TV being sociable this evening, though feeling a bit twitchy at times when I’ve wanted the inetrnet to look something up.

However, it’s character forming when you don’t get what you want, so it’s done me good tonight.

Julia muttered something about forming a lot of character over the last thirty years.

At that point I made her a nice milky coffee and sneaked off to blog.

The pictures are Irish 50 p pieces – they only had the two designs – normal and the 1988 commemorative for the Dublin millennium. They didn’t do the small size 50p because they went to the Euro instead. And they don’t have a rash of cheap and nasty commemoratives like us because they have some vestige of self-respect.

They have nothing to do with me being a good husband but it’s the 50th anniversary of the 50p coin and these were the easiest pictures to access.

More of the Same Old Drivel…

I’m sure I wrote half a post earlier on today, though I can’t recall what it was about or why I didn’t finish. This senior moment stuff is really starting to take hold.

Sunday, as usual is a turmoil of competing strands, including sleeping, eating, napping and watching excessive amounts of Diagnosis Murder. And I’d meant to do so much…

Not that it’s so different from every other day of my life. I always mean to do so much.

I started by deciding not to get up even though I was fully awake at 7am. At 8.30 I decided to get up in “ten minutes” and at 10.30 Julia shouted upstairs that if I didn’t get up my breakfast would go cold.


It turned out to be a lie: it was already cold. She had foolishly taken my “ten minutes” claim at face value. You’d have though she’d have learned after 30 years…

It serves me right for being cuddly, laid back and quirky, I suppose. The exact words that were used were fat, lazy and unreliable, but I know she doesn’t mean it. Which reminds me, I must look at the embroidery on the wall to check out the exact date of my Wedding Anniversary. It’s at the end of the month and, with it being the 30th anniversary, I’d better get it right. She cuts me a bit of slack for the minor ones, but I’m supposed to be making a fuss of this one.

It’s five years ago since I was last expected to remember so it’s not too onerous.

I just had a quick look at some anniversary gifts, like this engraved glass plaque, because nothing says “I Love You” like something that looks like it comes from a promotional gifts catalogue. Even I can see this would not be a good choice for a main gift, though I might chance it as a secondary gift, with the added bonus that I could have the date engraved on it.

I do like this. Possibly not as a wedding anniversary gift though. Too aerodynamic.

Then I searched for pearl jewellery.

I’m going for a lie down now, as my bank balance is feeling faint.

Seal pup - Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Seal pup – Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Soon be that time of year again. A cold day on the coast watching seals.