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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.

Day 4

First day back at work – we had over 50 parcels to do, all of them ordered in the last few days. It was both a joy and a nightmare. One of the orders had 33 items in it, ordered in four lots over the weekend and several people had ordered multiple lots in two or three sessions. It’s good to ell the stuff, but trying to tie it all together into orders can be tricky as you don’t always recognise the names. Fortunately, for the cost of half an hour and two bits of scrap paper, I was able to pull it all together.

The other problem with orders in multiple parts is that you end up having to refund postage, as the system charges too much when you order like that.

It took most of the day and three trips to the post office to clear it. The regular post master is isolating with covid and his two temporary assistants were slower than normal (not their fault, as they aren’t in practice) and every time we went with a bag of parcels it caused a queue. We weren’t popular, but would have been even less popular if we’d taken it all in one go.

Parcels . . .

It was good to get back, and to see everyone. Even the weather was better and when we finished it was significantly lighter than it had been when we left on Christmas Eve. This is probably either psychological or an effect of the light, as it really shouldn’t be that much lighter just two weeks after the shortest day.

We had beef again, because there was plenty left even after a meal and a day of sandwiches. This time we had it with mashed potatoes, brussels, chestnuts, and carrot and parsnip mash. And Yorkshire Puddings. There is still some left, and it didn’t seem a big joint when we bought it. Then we ate the last of the Christmas cake.

It’s now time to get back on the diet, even though we still have the Christmas Pudding to eat and enough turkey for three more meals in the freezer. I really did order too much food . . .

Parcels everywhere . . .

Day 3

I know, it’s already starting to look like I’ve given up on titles.

However, it does save time.

I have just finished Diddly Squat – A Year on the Farm, by Jeremy Clarkson.b My sister gave it to me for Christmas and it’s a great book, covering the trials and tribulations of modern farming and Clarkson’s life as a farmer. Clarkson is a genuinely funny and thought-provoking writer, even if he is also dull and irritating in large doses. The book is just about short enough to avoid him becoming irritating.

However, that in itself is a fault. Read John Lewis-Stempel and you generally get a decent sized book with plenty of content. Clarkson’s book is a touch thin, with lots of white space inside, and quite a big font. In other words, it’s his newspaper columns which have been padded out to book size. As I say, it’s a mixed blessing – short enough to stop him getting on my nerves, but not long enough to seem good value.  It’s a good read, but poor value on a per word basis.

We had beef on New Year’s Day. With it we had horseradish sauce. It wasn’t our normal brand (TESCO) as they were sold out so we had Colman’s instead. Good brand, more expensive but you get what you pay for. Or so I thought. It was like being attacked by a chemical weapon. My mouth burned, my eyes watered, I fought for breath . . .

It was like the time I ate part of a horseradish leaf to see what it was like. It was so bad that I have never felt the urge to try it again. My experience on Sunday was every bit as bad.

Julia said she thought it was quite bland.

And you know what? For the next few tastes it was almost tasteless, the it hit me again, before fading away. It’s like Half of it was the strongest horseradish I’ve ever had, and half of it was the most bland. All in all, it was the worst jar of horseradish I’ve ever had and I’m inclined to throw it away. It’s there on the shelf in the kitchen, eyeing me up, daring me to try again. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with comestibles. If it’s hot, I’m not sure I can bear the pain. If it’s bland, I will have just wasted a beef sandwich.

 

Lavinia sent me a link to the paperback.

 

Day 2

I think I may have hit on anew labour-saving idea for titling my posts. It saves a lot of thinking, though it probably won’t seem such a brilliant solution by the time we get to the far ed of January.

I have now also reached Number 2 in my reading target, having just completed Death of Yesterday ,a  Hamish Macbeth mystery by M. C. Beaton. It was formulaic, dull, and badly produced – the blurb on the jacket was so inaccurate that it could have belonged to another book. I’ve actually read it before, but didn’t realise after reading the summary.. I did say, a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t be reading more of these, as the editing was so bad. What I didn’t tell you was that I’d actually read it the week we were away, just before lockdown, and I actually threw it away in the hotel bin. So badly edited.  I may be being unfair on M. C. Beaton, and am still quite fond of Agatha Raisin, but the books did go off at the end.

I’ve also finished The Haibun Journal (Issue 3.2). It has 61 pages of haibun, so it’s as long as some poetry books and I’m claiming it as an allowable book. I’m in it, so this is a biaised view.

I started both of them on 31st December, but I’m counting them fo this year. At the end of the year I won’t count anything that I haven’t finished. Just a word of warning – don’t look for any good books in my list, I tend to gravitate to murder mysteries and a variety of oddments. You will see what I mean as time goes on.

At the moment I am reading The Siege of Mr Khan’s Curry Shop by charliecountryboy. It’s a bit more heavyweight than my average reading and is going slowly. It is my downstairs book that I keep by my chair and dip into in a reflective manner, so it could take some time. So far I’m enjoying it, though nobody has been murdered and Scotland Yard  hasn’t been called in. each to his own . . .

(The  link to the book is the Kindle edition – I have the paperback, but can’t find the link on Amazon).