Old Man Habits and a Strange Way to Show Respect

I got up late. watched some of the Queen’s funeral and then filled my time with daytime TV and trying to write. I was more successful at the former than the latter. The thing I will remember about today is the TV advert situation. There are none. They are showing trailers before and after the programme but the bulk of the gap is left blank. Sometimes there is just silence, sometimes a notice and, on one station, there is funereal music. It’s very strange and slightly unsettling. And, quite honestly, it doesn’t seem much of a way of paying your respects. I can watch Murder She Wrote and see a trailer for Tower Heist but it isn’t considered respectful to watch an advert for holidays or over-60 insurance. (You’d have thought the natural demographic for over-60 insurance would all be watching the funeral and this seems like a wasted opportunity).

Souvenir Medallion 1953

Souvenir Medallion 1953

As for the rest of the ceremony, I’ve been using Google to check what is happening. It’s full of interesting information – particularly about the fact the Orb, Sceptre and Crown were all secured to the coffin by hidden fixings. I’d guessed they might be, but it was nice to have it confirmed. Also nice to know that several million other people had been wondering the same thing.

The weather today has been a bit nippy and I have been wearing a fleece jacket all day. Apart from the material there is little difference between a fleece and a cardigan. Cardigans are the clothing of old men, so I’m dubious about them, as I already have enough old man habits. I repeat myself, use a stick, complain about young people muttering and emit a small grunt when rising from a chair. These all seem to omitted from the article on old people.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Soup, Rats and Hitler

Soup again today. Roasted butternut squash, leeks, garlic, water, vegetable stock cube. It doesn’t have many ingredients and it’s a simple recipe – roast veg, boil it up, blend. Done. You are forgiven if you are wondering why I used leeks as they don’t seem like natural partners. Regular readers have probably already guessed – after some bad shopping decisions and a holiday I had run out of onions. That was why Friday’s tea was cauliflower cheese with roasted calabrese. We nearly had roasted leeks but I needed them for the soup and the Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry. I really need to put more thought into my menu planning.

The weather has taken a turn for the worse and the evenings are feeling a bit nippy now. It will soon be time to unpack the jumpers and start doing other wintry things. We are hoping, as usual, to last September out without using the heating. This is even more important this year., with the cost of gas.

Earlier this evening I was browsing the internet and found an interesting article on farming in WW2. It includes a Ministry of Agriculture leaflet, as displayed below. As you may note, the rat has a Hitler moustache and fringe drawn on it – propaganda was simpler in those days. If I were a rat I’d be very upset about this. As you may recall, I am no lover of rats, after years spent working farms, but even I think they are getting a bad deal here.

Actually, I’ve just been thinking – when you look at the Putin/Poo Tin pictures that were done at the start of the war in Ukraine propaganda hasn’t moved on much.

However, there is a serious point behind the rat message – a rat can eat 15-20g of grain a day. In 14 months four members of the Women’s Land Army in Wales killed 7,600 rats. That number of rats could have been eating a ton of grain a week, which would produce about 1,700 loaves of bread.  That would mean those rats could have eaten the equivalent of around half a million loaves of bread over the course of the war. And that is just in one part of Wales.

EIIR Medallion

Made a Little Worse, Sold a Little Cheaper

Another day, another tale of tedium and failure.

I loaded a new card into my work camera (a pink monstrosity found in the back of a cupboard by the boss). It had no card when he brought it in, and I used one of mine until I could order another. The camera wouldn’t accept it. The screen displayed a message giving me four options. I switched the camera off and on again. Then I took the card out and reinserted it. Still no progress. My third option was to format the card.

This is where the problem occurs. I cannot access the controls and screen to format the card because of the fault message. There seems to be no way round this, despite checking the manual online. and searching for help on You Tube.

At that point I tried to format it on the computer. I expect the word “tried” has already alerted you to the fact I failed. We did find a solution though. Strange as it seems, the new card works in the other shop camera, and the card from that camera works in the “new” camera. I don’t have a logical explanation for this and am forced to conclude that the pink camera hates me. This is, of course, illogical, but so is the situation with the cards. The fault, of course, lies with me for buying a cheap card from an unknown manufacturer. Because of this I wasted over an hour.

An hour and a half of my time is worth more than the money I “saved” on buying a cheap card.

This takes us to the Ruskin quote I have used before.

There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. 

The header picture is, as you can see, a commemorative medallion for the Queen’d 90th Birthday. Expect a few more over the coming days.

Reverse of the Medallion

Politics . . .

Sorry, I fell asleep in front of the TV last night, woke just after midnight and decided to go to bed. I was upstairs when i remembered I hadn’t blogged or made Julia’s sandwich for lunch. Such was my desire to sleep that I resigned myself to the consequences and went to sleep. Fortunately she is very forgiving.

Yesterday was a strange day as I had to drive to Leeds to deliver empty boxes. Number One Son is moving to Norfolk at the end of the month and we have a large number of empty boxes (all flattened). It seems sensible to get as much use out of them as possible, though I’m not sure if the planet benefits from me driving that far just  to re-use cardboard boxes.

I’m currently watching the news. King Charles visited Wales today and several groups were demonstrating – variously supporting Welsh independence and republicanism.  They are entitled to their views. Whether they are showing themselves in a good light by shouting at a man who has just lost his mother is a different matter. One academic, speaking on the subject, referred to the “subjugation of Wales by the English monarchy”. That took place in 1283. I’m pretty sure Queen Elizabeth II didn’t do a great deal of subjugation. It might be time to let it go, after all,  I’ve forgiven the Romans, the Vikings and the Normans for invading us.

If you want an independent state you might be better entering politics than complaining about a 900 year old military defeat. I was about to mention I was thinking of starting a Mercian Independence Party, but I notice there are at least two organisations already devoted to restoring Mercian independence.. Before its subjugation by Wessex, Mercia had a fine history, including inventing the English penny and digging a ditch to separate itself from Wales. It also currently has a population around three times that of Wales, making it the 85th largest country in the world.


Trams, Transport and a Trembling Mountain of Flesh

Today we had Welsh cakes. If you like your cake with fat, spice and dried fruit these are just the cake for you. I like them, but I think we’ve already established that I’m no great judge of what’s healthy. Having said that, I went to the second part of my course this afternoon and we compared cholesterol levels. Mine was the lowest in the room (apart from the two lecturers, who didn’t share). I was also the only one not taking statins. This has nothing to do with anything that I do, as my diet and lamentable lack of exercise should be delivering a much worse result. I’m just genetically prone to having low cholesterol. This is why doctors hate me.

I went to the course by tram. The tram stop is only 100 yards away from the centre where they were running the course. It started with me not being able to find a decent parking space and missing the tram I had planned to catch. This meant I was five minutes late. The lesson there was to set off earlier, but as it only takes 20 minutes to drive and 40 by tram it already felt like I had allowed plenty of time.

First thoughts on public transport were that I prefer my car – less walking, less time and more convenience. The time I spent not having to search for parking at the end was taken up by the time taken to find parking at the beginning. Plus I don’t have to share my car with a howling mob. Why can’t people talk quietly so that I don’t need to hear them?

Elderflower Drizzle Cake with floral decoration

That, of course, turned out to be the good bit. The journey back was more interesting, but much more crowded as it was 5pm by that time. One woman spoke on her phone for several stops, then tried to get off just as the doors closed. She should have looked where she was going instead of boring us all to death with her banal phone calls. Another, caught without a ticket by the ticket inspectors, claimed to be a nurse, the changed that to “a professional”, and claimed she was using the tram for the first time, as if that was going to make a difference. There are plenty of signs up about tickets, so she should have known there was a £70 fine for not having one.

Then “the family” got on – the loud mother of ample proportions (this will be mentioned again in due course), the daughter, the son, the son-in-law and the baby in the pushchair. First they rammed the pushchair across the carriage to stop people moving along. then they formed a loud, lardy blockage that stopped people being able to get on and off via the doors. When people did need to get on and off the mother became very sniffy about being asked to move, even though everyone was very polite.

Chocolate and Cherry cake

Eventually, having driven people away. they spread out.  There were two poles near me, and she hung onto both of them, filling the space, with her outspread arms like a lardy Christ the Redeemer. For three stages of the journey I was thus treated to a view of armpit and bingo wings that is still in my head as I write.

And with that picture, I will leave you to imagine how I feel about public transport.

I will persist with it, as it’s the responsible thing to do, but I’m going to experiment with talking to myself, which should make people give me more room.

Photos are from our trip to Gibraltar Point. It was a while ago, and I never got round to doing a full write up of the tea and cake. I see from the link that we had difficulty with people on that day too. I really don’t do well around people.

A Few Days in Wales

I still haven’t tried to trace the missing post, but I have solved my focus problem. I had it on “P”, which was Programmed Automatic on the last camera. Not sure what it is on the new one but setting it to “A” solves the focus issues – it works fine now.

We have been in Wales for the last couple of days. Sunday was mainly travel. Monday was mainly low visibility and wet. Tuesday was very pleasant but we spent half the day travelling back. It’s the first time we;ve been away since lockdown and it was very pleasant. The only problem is that accomodation has gone up. We may have to start looking at B&B instead of cheap hotels. The main advantages of cheap hotels are the ability to come and go as you want, and you know what you are getting before you arrive. When we used to use B&B the accommodation could sometimes be a bit of a shock. As could the landladies.

Llandudno, including War Memorial

We have been having the all you can eat breakfasts again – yoghurt, fruit, cereal, toast and drinks is £7.50 and with the addition of a full breakfast only costs £2 more. That’s sausage, bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, black pudding, hash browns for £2 extra. I don’t actually eat all I can, but I do eat enough to last me through the day.

We ate at 9.00 this morning, had tea and cake when we visited the posh farm shop at lunchtime them had soup at 8.00 tonight when we got home. We didn’t really need the cake I suppose, but I do like fruit loaf and it seemed rude not to have the bara brith seeing as we were in Wales. Having said that, my Mum had several similar recipes, including one that featured grape nuts cereal soaked in tea. I used to make it too. As usual, I didn’t make a conscious effort to stop, it’s just one of those things that petered out.


I seem to have lost the habit of taking photos. I do have a few but haven’t taken them off the card yet. So photos are from old visits. It hasn’t changed much since the 1890s, apart from the cars, so it doesn’t really need new photos.

Places to go – Llandudno


Newark Siege Shilling 1645


Not sure what happened to the original post, but Julia sent me a copy of the post from her notification.

During the Civil War (1642-51) Newark was besieged three times. It was an important transport hub where two roads (The Great North Road and the Fosse Way), and the River Trent met. Whoever controlled Newark had a great deal of influence in the conduct of the war.

Though the road system has changed a bit over the years, the Great North Road still appears under that name on my satnav, though it is variously known as the A1 or A1(M) these days. It was Ermine Street in the days of the Romans, and the the Fosse Way retains its Roman name to this day, as it makes its way between Exeter and Lincoln. It’s also known as the A46 when it passes Newark. The Trent is still in use as a working waterway with barges conveying sand, gravel and oil. It’s interesting to note that our transport system hasn’t changed that much in 2,000 years.

Anyway, back to the sieges. The siege of 1643 was insignificant, and lasted from 27th to 28th February. It was, to be honest, little more than a visit and the Parliamentarian forces were completely outclassed in terms of leadership and fighting spirit.

The second was February 29th to March 21st 1644 and ended when Prince Rupert’s  relief force mounted a surprise attack and trapped the army of Sir John Meldrum. They were eventually allowed to march away, leaving their equipment behind – 3,000 muskets, 11 cannon and 2 mortars.

altNewark Siege Coin 1645

The final siege lasted from 26th November 1645 – 8th May 1646. THe Royalists were on the ropes by this time but they had spent the years building defences and Newark was one of the few places still capable of resisting. One of the Star Forts is still there – the Queen’s Sconce. In the old days, before we started being more careful of our heritage I marched up and down it re-enacting the siege. It was hard work, even without people actually trying to kill me.  The third siege featured 17,000 Parliamentarian troops, including Scots, against the town. The people, of Newark suffered cold, hunger and disease (around 1,000 dying of typhus and plague). Eventually the King surrendered to the Scots commanders at The Saracen’s Head in Southwell and the town surrendered two days later. It is still a pub, and still named The Saracen;s Head if you fancy a drink in a place with history.

The coin in the header picture is a Newark Siege Shilling. Siege coins were made for use in besieged towns so that normal life could carry on. They were made from silver, such as plates and spoons, and cut to weight to equal the weight of silver in coin of the realm (which were made of sterling silver in those days). Newark coins are dated 1645 or 1646 and are available as halfcrowns (XXX), shillings (XII), ninepences (IX) and sixpences (VI). They are almost always slightly untidy in the striking – hardly surprising when you consider they were made from flattening household silver and then cutting it into lozenges before hammering between home-made dies. Sometimes they even have remnants of decoration on them from the original donor item. They are often found pierced as loyal Royalists used to wear them as pendants in remembrance of the King.

Newark Siege Shilling 1645

Newark Siege Shilling 1645

There are other siege coins (also known as obsidional coins) from towns in the UK, though many of them have been challenged as “fantasy pieces”. Pontefract, Scarborough, Carlisle and Cork all seem to have struck coins, some of which were of far worse quality than the Newark coins.

Obsidional comes from the Latin obsidionalis, meaning “of a siege”, hence the “OBS” stamped on the Newark coin.

The Lost Post

The post I wrote last night seems to have disappeared completely. It’s not in my list of posts, it’s not in drafts and it’s not in the trash.

I am at a loss.

Does anyone know where I should look?

It was about Newark Siege Coins, so that’s the picture I have used again. When I have a few minutes I will ask WP if they know.

This is yesterday’s post.

Cancelled Sports and Rotting Fish

I can’t honestly say that the day has passed in a flurry of activity. It has, as you probably suspect if you have read any of my previous posts, been leisurely and included quite a lot of reading and TV. I even managed to fit in two naps.

As a result of the reading, I am now have a much better knowledge of how to lose weight and become healthier. For several minutes at a time I found myself actually becoming enthusiastic about becoming thin. Of course, when reality kicked in, I felt considerably less keen. The thought of small portions and endless salad will do that.

In Suffolk I tried my new camera out (having avoided using it for several years) and found it was reasonably good, apart from one thing – at certain zoom settings it won’t focus. I’m not sure why and will have to check it up on-line. In practical terms it meant I could photograph a lighthouse as part of the landscape, and I could zoom in to look at the brickwork. In the middle distance, trying to get a good shot of the lighthouse without a lot of surrounding scenery, it won’t focus. The macro is wonderful, but that doesn’t really make up for the inability to take more normal shots.

Today’s Royal Family observations relate to the cancellation of sporting events. Some have been cancelled, some haven’t. There seems to be no real policy – cricket and golf cancelled events on Friday but restarted for Saturday. Horse Racing cancelled on Friday and Saturday but will go ahead on Sunday. I didn’t know that they had horse racing on Sundays, but I suppose in these irreligious days gambling and animal cruelty can take place on any day you want.

I’m just watching an interesting programme on a lost Roman city and the recipe for garum. TV, when your wife allows you to watch the good programmes, can be very educational. Garum was a major source of protein for the Romans. Given the choice of fermented fish intestines or salad it would be a difficult choice for me.

The photo is a mourning brooch of Queen Victoria made using a farthing and a black enamel surround.


Four Horsemen and a Coronation

We spent last night in Lowestoft as part of our new programme of getting out and about. Last time we went to Suffolk the Government announced a lockdown. Two and a half years later we returned to Suffolk and the Queen died.  I can’t help thinking that, after these two rehearsals, our next visit is likely to unleash the End of Days. We have agreed that before we go again we will study the portents  and weigh up the possibility of releasing the rest of the  Four Horsemen. Arguably, having brought about Pestilence and Death we have done our bit and can safely leave War to Putin and Famine to Panic Buying.

It was generally uneventful on the way down, seeing my sister for tea and cake and exploring a number of new roads which have been built since we last travelled. This was a little strange as the satnav kept going blank as we travelled across what it thought were open fields. Perhaps I should see about getting it updated. We stopped for sandwiches at ASDA in Bury St Edmunds. There wasn’t much choice and one of the packs was egg, tomato and salad cream.  It’s not a sandwich I am keen to repeat.

In passing, the clivia mentioned in the Panic Buying link, is an heirloom plant, passed on by my Mum to Julia, who has been passing them on in turn.

The evening meal was fun, the night passed peacefully (hotel mattresses are always a bit of a lottery) and we went down for the All You Can Eat Breakfast. It’s a bit misleading, because they aren’t really committed to giving you all you can eat. In fact, the sausages are specially made to be about as big as my thumb. However, I still managed fruit, yoghurt, a Full English and several crumpets. It was a good meal, I was full, and we survived the rest of the day without needing much more food.  When did need more food we had doughnuts from the seafront stall at Hunstanton. As you can see, all that health education isn’t going to waste.

On the way back from Hunstanton we passed Sandringham, where they had set up a one-way system and police presence to control the flow of flowers and sight-seers. This will be one of my few personal observations on recent events as I am unlikely to take much part in the Coronation and surrounding ceremonies.

1953 Coronation medal from Mansfield Woodhouse

1953 Coronation medal from Mansfield Woodhouse

The header picture commemorates the marriage of the then Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. The other is the Coronation Souvenir given out by Mansfield Woodhouse in 1953. The quality of such offerings has declined over the years . . .

Written last night but published today as I fell asleep before finishing.