The Flying Scotsman

I spent a lot of the day loading a set of Flying Scotsman medallions. They are interesting things – five in silver and one in 9 carat gold. Technically they are three sets, but we’ve put them all together to get them all away at the same time.

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The six medallions

The pads in the box are actually black but the camera sometimes does strange things. And the boxes are square.

The story of the Flying Scotsman is full of interest, with World Records, grand obsessions and a host of sub-plots. If you follow the link in the first line you will get a good idea of the adventures it has had.

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A piece of Flying Scotsman in the middle of a silver medallion – if you read what was replaced in the pre-2016 refit you will appreciate how many spare bits they had.

The gold medal is a very pleasant medal, though it does lack a piece of the original train. A few months ago we had some silver coins with pieces of copper from HMS Victory. It’s not a new idea, somewhere in the house I have a medal cast from the lead of Selby Abbey roof. After the 1906 fire they made the medallions and sold them in aid of the rebuilding. (Readers from the USA may be interested to note the picture of the Washington family coat of arms if they follow this link).

You can also learn a lot about marketing if you study the way these things are sold.

 

It was an interesting afternoon. I was tempted to write more about it on eBay, but I’m paid to sell, not to write. It’s here if you want to read more.

Becoming Pollyanna

In fairness, I should have added one small bit of good news to yesterday’s post.

Despite a couple of lapses of memory in taking my anticoagulants I managed to pass the blood test, with a result of 2.4 against a target of 2.5. I may not be getting any better at remembering the tablets, but I am getting better at correcting things.

That means I have three weeks until the next test.

I also managed to get in and out without incurring car parking charges, so that was another bonus.

Sometimes you need to look for the little chinks of light.

The Dying of the Light

I have just finished eating a miserable, boring and tasteless meal. Low salt baked beans, low fat oven chips and cheap burgers. Even a large spoonful of chilli jam couldn’t bring it to life. This is, I suppose it’s the cost of being healthy.

Not for the first time, I have found myself pondering if life is worth the trouble if you have to extend it unnaturally by eating pap. In fact, after my last few weeks I’ve been asking myself the same question in general, regardless of the quality of my diet.

Even having another haibun published hasn’t cheered me up.  Generally I like to mention my successes in posts, smile modestly and simper a bit whilst feeling mildly smug. This morning I just looked at it, saw all the imperfections and uttered a small sigh.

Click here if you want to read it. But don’t feel you have to, if you are here to hear me moaning about life just read on. For a good poem, click here.

I wonder if Dylan Thomas ever looked at his poems and uttered a small sigh.

Today’s annoyance in the shop was a gas man, who insisted on walking round the shop with a meter, checking for gas leaks. We don’t have any gas leaks. This may be because we don’t have any gas, but we had to have it done anyway in case they were leaking next door.

Tomorrow they will be digging up the road in front of the shop looking for a gas leak. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last time they dug the road up looking for a gas leak. It was about a month ago. There ought to be a rule that if they have to do the job twice they don’t get paid for the first one.

As if that wasn’t bad enough they have just started major gas works, with road closures, on our way to work. The signs say it will take six weeks. It didn’t cause too many problems this morning, but it’s school holidays so things are always easier on the roads. The real test will be in two weeks when the schools go back.

When you’re growing up your parents never tell you about days like this.

A Difficult Day

There were 21 parcels to pack this morning according to eBay, but in reality there were only 15 because six of the orders had come in on Saturday afternoon and we’d already packed them.

Fifteen is still enough.

When I arrived, via a blood test and McDonald’s, there was a telephone van outside the shop but he drove off as I unlocked. I went in, set everything going, and settled down to do the questions. There were five questions, one of which didn’t merit an answer. I wasn’t able to answer the other four so that was soon done.

Then I listed the items that needed packing, reached for the first one and started to pack. I pressed the button to find the address, and the internet died.

When the boss arrived ten minutes later I was busy switching off, restarting and prodding the reset button with a paperclip. And muttering.

He revealed that there was a telephone engineer outside again. On enquiring about our service, we were told he couldn’t possibly be to blame as he didn’t know which wire was ours.

Neither of us found this terribly convincing as any idiot with a tool box is capable of causing disruption, regardless of knowledge.

We struggled through the next hour using the boss’s phone and an unsecured BT account we found whilst searching.. It was slow and tedious.

Then, as if by magic, the internet returned. We looked out of the door and found that the telephone engineer had gone.

That’s a coincidence isn’t it?

Despite this we managed to get all the parcels packed and despatched. We also managed to serve a rush of customers, who started coming in as soon as the internet flickered back to life. It was almost as if they knew we had things to catch up on.

At least I didn’t have time to be bored.

In the afternoon I got rid of four bags of books, coughed a lot at the dust and got told off by Julia.

It’s been a difficult day.

The picture is a Great Tit in the Mencap Garden. There were several about with nesting material in their beaks when I was down on Friday. As usual, I couldn’t get a decent shot so this one, with no nesting material, will have to do. I’m going to try again tomorrow.

A Few Photos

Here are some photos from earlier in the week. The year is shaping up nicely, though I’m a little worried that the papers are predicting another Beast from the East with temperatures below freezing. My only comfort is that they’ve been reporting on it all winter and it hasn’t happened yet.

The primulas are doing well. As is the blossom. If only the photography was up to scratch.

Here we have some landscaping features – a newly donated chimney pot, the newly painted table and the newly painted log. There’s a lot of new stuff happening in the garden just at the moment, as you may have guessed from the unimaginative titles.

Finally, I’ve thrown in a magpie. I like magpies, and they sit still long enough for me to get a shot.

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Magpie – so black it’s actually blue in places

A Mind Runs Riot…

After looking at the website about the burger in space yesterday, I had a conversation in the shop today and experienced one of those moments when everything becomes clear.

One of the customers was telling us about his planned cycle ride to Skegness and back next weekend. It’s about 180 miles.

That was when I asked if he’d like to do it to help Julia raise funds for the polytunnel cover. I thought if he’d do a ride for her I could organise the fund-raising and we could raise a good portion of the money. I thought it was a good idea. He didn’t. But it got me thinking.

One of my thoughts is that he can kiss goodbye to any thought of future discounts…

My next thought is that we could try for sponsorship for sending a novelty carrot into space. Fundraising is a dog eat dog world and you need to go out there with a big idea. I’ve just looked at an internet guide to sending a balloon into space.

After looking at the cost of cameras and satnavs, I’ve decided not to pursue this. For one thing, you need to buy decent ones if they are going to be useful, and for another, when I tried out the flight path planning software the results weren’t encouraging. It depends on the weather, but if I’m going to spend £300 on electrical gear I’d rather not dump it in the North Sea.

If we set it going, for instance, from the Peak District at 9.30 on Monday morning, it will cross the country, burst at 80,000 feet over the North Sea and drift back by parachute to land just inland from Donna Nook, where we go to see the seals. It’s a bit close for comfort.

At that point I started thinking of rockets. I can’t think of a way of  raising money with rockets, but it looks good fun.

I found a link that offers rocket assisted ash scattering, but haven’t found one that has fund-raising possibilities. Yet.

No pictures – I have to take Number Two Son to work.

See you tomorrow.

 

I’m Back!

Having said that, I’m not sure I have much to say.

Life is very boring, I still have a head full of snot (though a lot of it is leaking out as I type) and I haven’t slept properly for two days, as I start wheezing and coughing as soon as I lie down.

None of this compares to being seriously ill, walking for hours to get water or being homeless in a war zone, but it’s human nature to stress your own problems and ignore the problems of other people.

We’re getting someone to come and do some roofing for us soon. It needs some routine maintenance and the gutters need doing. It’s going to cost about £300, which I don’t really want to spend. On the other hand, my roof is still sitting on top of my house and is in no danger of being spread all over town by an airstrike or a tornado.

After writing that I had a look at the story of a man from Sheffield who sent a burger into space on a weather balloon.

As global warming scares the life out of me and our government busies itself with breaking democracy I’m glad there are still people with time for pointless buffoonery. Strangely, it seems other people are doing similar things.

It’s hard to follow something like that. My lunch of quinoa with salad and mixed beans looks virtuous, but rather dull, compared to a pie in space.

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