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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.

 

Day 8

Up late, quick breakfast and off to work. Still first to arrive. Got a parking space, though customers from the hairdressers had used the spaces in front of the shop and parked two cars in three spaces. As usual, fought off the urge to park in front of the hairdresser and see how they like it.

We packed the parcels, I put two medallions on (one an Alcan medallion which features the Kitimat smelting plant and the Kemano power plant. It’s all very interesting, and proves, once more, the benefits of collecting for expanding the mind.

During the morning Julia texted to tell me I had a small package. At first I thought she was just being generally disparaging about my physical attributes, but further reading revealed that the Post Office had delivered a small package for me at the house. It just goes to show how modern written communications can be misunderstood.

Today was my day to have a half day, so I went home at 1am. For lunch we had the last of the Spiced Sweet Potato soup followed by the leftover vegetable stew and red cabbage from the last two days. For tea we had potato and paneer curry. I am now made up of such a high percentage of vegetables that a vegetarian cannibal could eat me without troubling his conscience.

This state of affairs won’t last – I’m planning on eggs and bacon for breakfast

and a roasted gammon joint for tea. We put two gammon joints in the freezer in case the reported possibility of Christmas food shortages became real, but they didn’t. Experience shows that if we leave them in there we will forget about them, so we are going to start eating them as part of a determined freezer clearance exercise.

 

 

Day 7

Not much to pack this morning but the owner’s promotional efforts yesterday produced a couple more sales. Two extra sales on a day that only produced four sales is 50%, so it was worth doing. We actually had three sales in the afternoon, so the day didn’t finish too badly. In terms of footfall, which is why we have a shop instead of working from an industrial unit, we had four people who came to sell, two who came to buy and two who came to irritate us.

On the phone we had several useful calls and one from a man when we had three people in the shop (and only two serving). He had a 1995 £2 coin, which, he said, is made of solid gold. That was one of the single-metal £2 coins we used to have. They weren’t really made for circulation so people aren’t familiar with the, They commemorate things like the Bill of Rights (1689) (or Claim of Right (1689) for those of you in Scotland, the Commonwealth games and the end of WW2.

It was this WW2 commemorative coin that the enquirer had. He knew it was gold because it was yellow, shiny and, when he scratched it , it was still yellow and shiny in the scratch. Unfortunately, as my colleague explained, these things are true of the base metal variety, which is made of nickel-brass and is therefore yellow and shiny all the way through. The caller wouldn’t take his advice and my colleague, being a nice man, kept answering questions even though we had more pressing matters in hand. The gold version should have a box and paperwork with it. The Royal Mint is currently out of stock but values a gold one at £1,180.

So to sum up – the ordinary nickel-brass one is valued at a maximum of £10 by Numista, the collecting site. There were over 6,000,000 minted. The gold one came in a box, with papers, there were just £1,000 minted and, as a rule, you are unlikely to be given one by someone you know in the pub.

However, he wouldn’t be told and insisted that his was gold (because it looks just like the gold one on the internet), before asking how to test it and whether we would test it, and, as we wouldn’t, who would test it. I don’t mind people asking for advice, because we are specialists and we are happy to share what we know, and it’s nice when people go away happy and better informed. It’s also good when people just go away. Hanging on the phone arguing and citing the idiotnet as their source, that’s not so good.

Eventually my colleague told him to try the gold-buying stall in the market. They always send their idiots to us, so it seemed only fair to repay the compliment.

Other stuff did happen, but this is a ten minute slice of the day that sticks in my mind.

Day 6

Day 6 already!

The recent January heatwave passed, and we had ice to scrape before we could use the car – not quite the first of winter, but the first seriously frosted up car. So far we have had a remarkably mild winter. That said, it’s still a bit chilly in the house, particularly with my self-imposed ban on putting on the dining room fire while I’m on the computer.

I don’t like nuclear power with its associated risks, but I think I might prefer it to being at the mercy of other countries for our gas supplies. Until a few years ago I didn’t realise how dependent we are on fuel imports. First thing to do is to cut down on population, something we can start on by burning the u8nemployed top produce warmth for the rest of us.

I suppose I ought to point out that’s a joke, before I get into trouble, but I’m not so sure whether I am joking.

Cannibalism is another possibility but that will probably come anyway. In nature, if you crowd animals they start to behave badly and I can’t see humans being much better. Governments always drag their feet and in a couple of hundred years, as we sit on our steadily decreasing island with erosion, global warming, rising sea levels and most of our farm land under either concrete or solar panels, I can see bad times ahead. Even chickens, the stupidest and least impressive of warriors (hence the name “chicken”) turn into blood-soaked killing machines when the natural balance is disturbed.

Perhaps this would make a good plot for a dystopian novel. Then again, bearing in mind the number of people keeping chickens in their gardens, perhaps not . . .

Anyway, I’ll leave it there. On a more cheerful note, we only have six parcels to wrap today and we had vegetable stew and dumplings for tea. Spiced Sweet Potato soup for lunch tomorrow and hopefully more parcels to pack. It was going to be celery soup, but we have too many sweet potatoes so some of them had to go.

That’s all for now. See you tomorrow for a lighter look at the future of the human race.

 

Day 5

This might be a slightly misleading title, because it’s not quite 9am. I have, however, got up early, moaned about having to get up early, got stuck in traffic going for my blood test, moaned about traffic and inconveniently placed roadworks, struggled to park, moaned about parking, and, finally, had a blood test.

The tester took three attempts but didn’t panic. Yes, strange as it seems, seeing as they are not the one being stabbed in the arm, they often get agitated if they miss first time. I know this because, as I have said before, they often do miss with my tricky veins.

I don’t mind a phlebotomist taking three attempts because it’s a difficult job. I do mind the other stuff because with a bit of planning  much of it could be avoided.

All I want is a blood test at the GP surgery. I’ve been having them there for months, but because of the number of nurses needed to give vaccinations there are none for blood testing now. The result of this is that I have to get up  at 6.30, add to the congestion, try to beat the staff to a space in the car park where staff, according to the big notice, are not supposed to park and then write a blog post to moan about it.

Is this what my “day off” is meant to be like? I haven’t had my breakfast yet and I already feel like I’ve put in a good day’s work.

“Work” was my 250th word, so I will leave it there as it’s my self-imposed minimum. If I carried on I would just start moaning again, as I’ve just been engaged in conversation with the pharmacy regarding a prescription that has disappeared. I didn’t want it, but they told me they had it for me. Julia went in to pick it up this morning and they now deny all knowledge of it. My original thought, that this was the most inefficient pharmacy in the world (you may have heard me mention this several times) has now been replaced by a theory that there are really two pharmacies working in parallel universes, which would explain why their right hand (in Universe 1) doesn’t know what the left hand (in Universe 2) is doing.

Header photo is my standard heron photo, looking hunched, dejected and/or grumpy. It seemed apt.