No justice, no answers, just a Haibun

I just had a really good rant. I won’t be publishing it, but it has cleared my head. It was all about people whining that they want “justice” and “answers” about the death of their loved ones in Care Homes.  I have news for them – there is no justice, there is just stuff that happens. There are no answers, just opinions. And most of all, there is no point dwelling in the past. Yes, you can learn from past mistakes, but once it gets past a certain point the 80:20 rule cuts in, and you spend a lot pf time going nowhere.

Instead of appearing on TV demanding “justice” or “answers” in relation to the death of my father I will post a haibun today. It was first published in the April 2021 issue of The Haibun Journal.

 

In John Clare’s Footsteps

a grass cup
five speckled eggs
— my fathers’ hands

Despite social distancing rules, one of my cousins helps me adjust my tie in the crematorium car park. He says that he only wears ties at funerals. It’s the same for me. Dad’s generation, on the other hand, didn’t think they were properly dressed without a tie. We weren’t allowed to see him at the funeral home because of the covid restrictions, but I think of him wearing the grey silk tie my sister provided.

As we wait, I look over the ranks of rose bushes to the fields beyond. The scent drifts on the breeze. John Clare, the Peasant Poet, was born and lived a few miles from here before his descent to the asylum. Our family walks used to take us through these fields, where skylarks scattered us with song. I can only see one today as it rises to the clouds, but, in the manner of the modern larks, it does not seem to sing.

silent in the clouds
— a dark spot
ascending

 

 

 

A Grand Day Out, Social Distancing and a Poem

We had a pleasant day out, pottering up through Sherwood Forest and looping round into Derbyshire. It was particularly pleasant as we were had air-conditioning. Air-con was an option I never knew I wanted until I had it in my previous VW. After that it became a necessity. That, I suppose was how Rome fell, as luxury became necessity and civilisation grew soft.

I would like to say I came back refreshed and full of poetic ideas, but I didn’t. However, I did come back refreshed, so one out of two will have to do. There are a lot of wild flowers about, which was nice, but everywhere was crowded and all the views were hazy. I’m still not at a stage where I want to walk through streets that are crowded with maskless strangers. It might be, as I have seen written in various places, that we have to get back to normal, but this is generally written by healthy people.

I have the choice of taking pills that dial down my immune system, or having useless arthritic hands. I prefer the former. I dropped the pills for a couple of weeks round the time of my vaccination as this seems to give a better chance of effective vaccination. I took three weeks off and spent four weeks struggling to dress myself or write. When the time came for the second dose I carried on with the pills. I’d rather risk Covid than have arthritis.

However, when I weigh up the pros and cons of Covid versus walking down a street full of maskless strangers, I think I’ll stay in the car and wear a mask if I ned to get out.

It’s a question of risk. I have buildings insurance because the consequences could be severe if I don’t.  I don’t have contents insurance because I’m prepared to take the risk on that. When I was gardening, I had insurance for Public Liability, but not for long term illness or injury. Again, it’s a question of how much risk you are prepared to take on.

I don’t feel the need to mingle and a mask isn’t going to kill me, so I’ll carry on living a quiet life and wearing the mask. If anyone wants to offer me advice on this, as seems to have happened here, i hope I can come up with a witty reply. Experience suggests that although I will find a stinging riposte, it will be ten minutes too late. I may start thinking of them now.

I may even write them a poem.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
Darwin was right,
about people
like you.

 

 

Marmalade Hoverfly

8.23

I rose at 6.30, handed my car over for MOT at 6.45, decided to use my time wisely (reading blogs) and just went to answer a knock on the door. It was the car – returned with its new MOT Certificate. That is what I call service. If you ever need a car fixing in Nottingham, try Hillcrest Garage. I’ve been using them for years, and though they recently had to move, they are still a great garage.

I’m feeling a lot more alert than I was last night but have hit a new challenge -now that the car is back, should we go for a drive in the countryside or should I stay and write. I know what I should do, but Julia deserves a day out and we do have air conditioning in the car, which is more than we do in the house.

Decisions, decisions . . .

That was easy. We’re going out.First stop – McDonalds for breakfast, then I’m not sure what. If we go anywhere too nice it will be full people. If we go somewhere that isn’t crowded it’s probably not worth the trouble of visiting.

With six submissions in the pipeline I deserve a day out, but if we all took that sort of view nothing would ever get done. I have another submission in the bag and then there will be a bit of a struggle getting more done by the end of the month. I’ve been a bit lazy and haven’t kept up with the haibun writing – just done the haiku and the tanka.

Ah well, off for breakfast now – see you later.

Hot and tired

Not much to say. I’m very tired after several nights where it’s been too hot to sleep. I simply cannot keep myself awake long enough to write anything. It’s very tempting just to pack it up and not bother posting, but he habit is strong and the lure of another blue sticker is addictive.

I’m sure that hot weather didn’t used to cause me any problem when I was younger.  A few years ago I found that winter was causing me problems, and now summer is too. That only leaves spring and autumn, and I’m fairly sure that autumn will become less pleasant as I become more arthritic. That’s going to leave me with a mere three months of enjoyment in a year.

I now have six sets of submissions out and am feeling virtuous, though writing poetry isn’t really the same thing as work.  I still have three more possible homes for more submissions but I may not be productive enough to manage them all. I have the day off tomorrow, and the car will be in the garage for its annual MOT test, so I am going nowhere. It’s very tempting just to plan for sitting in front of a fan all day.

Time to put a spurt on – it’s 23.48 and things are going slowly.

What else can I say about the day? It was hot, the shop was airless and I entered 27 medallions on our eBay site, though I did come close to falling asleep a couple of times.Several bad nights, lack of oxygen and a dull task – it’s definitely a recipe for trouble. I think that’s enough fro tonight. My general moan about the state of the world will have to wait a few days until I feel industrious enough to write it. That’s jhow tired I am, to tired to moan. It’s a good thing I don’t live anywhere that is really hot, as I’m sure you are queuing up to tell me, as i’m sure most of my readers are actually a lot hotter than the UK. It’s like snow – we are ahppy while it’s cold and damp, or moderately warm, but we just aren’t prepared for snow or heat. No snowploughs. No air conditioning.

23.57. Just made it.

 

 

A Small Success and a Digression on Auction Technique

I had a note yesterday to tell that I was on a 24 day streak with WP. The days pass so quickly! It only seems like last week that I broke continuity and it’s already back to 24 days. You know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t improve my writing and it doesn’t improve the blog.  It’s just a way of WP trying to draw you in – a bit like your dealer congratulating you on taking drugs for 24 days in a row.

Presence arrived today. I have a haiku and a tanka in there. Unfortunately it’s a print journal so I can’t send you a link. I’m liking the tanka form. It’s two lines longer than  a haiku and less restrictive, so it’s more fun. I’ve submitted two lots and had two accepted, so I seem to have the hang of them.  However, I won’t make too many predictions of success as I’ve been here before. Early success is often followed by a run of poor form before it picks up again.

This was quite a common thing when buying and selling antiques. You buy one without knowing much about it, you learn, you sell. Next time, armed with more knowledge and confidence, you end up paying too much, or not spotting a fault, and the second one proves hard to sell. Buying in ignorance is often best. I bought several bargains simply by putting my hand up at an auction when nobody else wanted something. As I’d never risk more than a tenner on this sort of bid, it worked out very well on several occasions, though there could be problems.

I twice bought lots thinking they were one box, and they turned out to be multi-box lots. Once I bought some toy cars and six boxes of unsaleable secondhand Christmas decorations. Another time, I bought a box of old pots to get a book and found they came with four boxes of mediocre amateur paintings. At least I was able t give the paintings to a charity shop. I couldn’t even give the Christmas decorations away.

Anyway, I digress.

It is now time to write some more and see if I can repeat my early success.

IT could be a lef. But then it could be a writing prompt . . .

 

Quiet Sunday

I’ve had a lazy day. Lie in. Bit of writing, bit of TV, made a light lunch (avocado based salad), watched cricket on TV and am now back to writing. I have sent off one set of submissions and will be sending another set off this evening. That will mean I have six submissions out, and I’m trying to make it nine by the end of the month (unless someone replies). It’s been a busy month.

I’ve just read a few other blogs and thought of making tea, so I’m going to go away and cook. I will then finish this off, do my online shopping order and fritter the rest of my time away.

Later . . .

OK, so I watched Professor T and he programme on Ronnie Corbett before returning. And browsed the internet a little. Time flies.

It has been a hot day, one of the first all year. Fortunately, we have a couple of fans. The one in the living room doesn’t swivel but every so often we give it a push and so it moves round to direct its air at us alternately.

The day has been noisy, with people doing household jobs, including a lot of power washing, plus slamming car doors and playing car stereos too loud. It’s summer and people are beginning to move round.

Tomorrow is freedom day (freedom from acting sensibly, I fear) and as we already have a high infection rate I’m not holding out much hope for the future. I’ll be wearing a mask fro the foreseeable future and will be avoiding crowds. Having said that, apart from the mask, lockdown wasn’t a lot different from my normal social life, so it’s not much of a change either way.

 

 

A Tale of two Customers

We had two contrasting customers in today. One was caught stealing a coin. He palmed it and slipped it in his pocket. The owner was serving him. My co-worker went through to say hello, as we hadn’t seen him since before the first lockdown, and spotted the the theft.

He is now banned from the shop, and we are wondering how much he took in previous visits. When you have so many individual items about it is difficult to spot when things go missing unless they are very obvious. He was banned from the Birmingham Coin Fair years ago after being caught stealing, but the owner gave him the benefit of the doubt. It seems not to have paid off.

The next customer brought us ice creams,because he knows the shop is like an oven in summer. The part of the front room within 6-10 feet of the air conditioning vent is OK but the rest can be fairly unpleasant and the back rooms are very stuffy. We could open the back door.There is a grille on it and security would not be compromised, but the alarm can be tricky to reset so it’s easier not to mess with it.

After ice cream I went home and made a conscious effort not to go on the computer. I have tendency to switch on as soon as I get home and it can soon swallow up several hours without producing much benefit. Over the years I have turned into a browser of trivia when I really meant to turn into a producer of Great Literature. That is what happens when you allow yourself to drift. If I’d taken more control of my life I could have become a leader of men instead of a shop assistant.

Moths and Mistakes

It’s time to move up a gear. I’ve been idling for a few weeks and time is pressing. I have one deadline on the 25th and three at the end of the month, with very little to offer at the moment. It’s the same old problem, I can’t work until a deadline threatens.

Poplar Hawk Moth – scale is in inches

However, life can’t be all rush, and this is what I found in the vestibule of the shop this morning. The light was not quite so cool and blue, but I had the camera set up for silver coins. It’s a Poplar Hawk Moth and is quite a size, as you can see from the scale in one of the photos. I put it outside and it flew away to seek cover.

I tried restoring the colour, but the available filters didn’t really work so in the end I left it.

Wollaton Park is close by, and there are quite a few poplars, so I suspect if you had a moth trap out there would be plenty about.

Poplar Hawk Moth

They aren’t the best of shots, but it was early for thinking, and I was half in and half out of the shop. I should have done better, but at least I got some interesting shots. It’s amazing what you see, even in town.

I was tempted to make this my contribution to the Big Butterfly Count, but I don’t think they would be impressed. Julia has already submitted her count from the Gardens, though she found it disappointing – just Gatekeepers, Whites and a Brimstone. It all depends on the day, the weather and the fifteen minute slot you select. It’s like the Bird Count – we always used to count at my Mum and Dad’s when the kids did it, as they had a better selection. We got down one morning and they beckoned us through to the kitchen window – three Jays. They very rarely had one, so we started the count immediately.

Most of the day consisted of packing parcels and loading coins onto eBay.

We had a parcel go missing recently. It was shown as having been delivered, but the recipient said he hadn’t had it. It’s an awkward situation. I don’t want to see the customer lose £50, but I don’t want us to lose £50 either, and if the Post Office says it was delivered what do we do?

As it turns out, we wait for it to be returned as “Not at this address”, which begs the question as to how it can have been marked as delivered and signed for. It arrived back this morning. I’d written the flat number incorrectly. Sometimes these lapses of concentration occur and these days the Post Office doesn’t make the effort it used to do to find addressees. It’s readdressed and back in the post now. Hopefully it will be delivered this time.

 

 

 

More Coins plus a King, an Emperor and a Beautiful Design

I’m desperately racking my brains for something interesting to say. The fact that I have moved on from the coins of 19th Century Spain to the coins of 19th Century France may not be the subject I need. It was an interesting time – they restored the monarchy, then had a revolution and moved on to a new King. Then they had a revolution and tried a republic again, because that had worked out well last time they tried it, and the president, who was also a Bonaparte, seized power, declared himself Emperor, then lost power after a war with the Germans – the first of a three match series that would eventually lay waste to most of Europe.

Louis Philippe

Louis Philippe, who was King from 1830-48 has the profile of a rugby player, specifically one from the second row, and Louis Napoleon has an excellent beard so, despite a number of deficiencies in governance, they did at least look like they were destined to rule. Unlike the rather underwhelming Spanish monarchs.

I have cured the colour problem for now – the camera is now set for tungsten bulbs and despite us using fluorescent tubes. This gives a blue cast which is what you need for silver.

Louis Napoleon before his Imperial ambitions bore fruit . . .

. . . and after

There is a version of the coin with Emperor title and no wreath, but I thought enough was enough. The penultimate coin has a fine portrait on it, and was minted in 1849-51. It is Ceres, according to the books, which makes sense as she has lots of grain in the design. Why Ceres and not Marianne, I don’t know. They decided to do away with that and stick a group of nondescript figures on it, a design that demonstrates that change is not the same as improvement. I only include the final coin to demonstrate the slide to mediocrity, as the republican head represents the peak of the design for me.

A lovely portrait

 

It’s Hercules, but it’s also The Triumph of Mediocrity

PW Crigglestone

I Just Found a New Modern Thing to Rant About!

Today I found out that there was something called sleep procrastination. It’s also called revenge sleep procrastination. I’ve added the link just to prove that I am telling the truth. The actual, article is rubbish and not worth reading and burbles like a blocked drain. What should have been an interesting article ends up making no sense and not being worth the ten minutes I spent reading it. Any way, I don’t suffer from it. I’m too old, too male and too something else to fit the profile. You can tell how much I bothered to take in from the fact I can’t remember a big chunk of it.

We have too many things with names in the world today, and once you start to give them names you give them power over you. Now that sleep procrastination has a name people will worry about it, “suffer” from it, want time off from work because of it and expect equality with other spurious  ailments like “paternity” (you can get time off work for that) and the weakness in the legs that new parents seem to suffer from these days – meaning they need special parking spaces near the doors of supermarkets. Same goes for hygiene -0 the consequences of hygiene ar truly dreadful, including allergies, from what I see. Kids should be free to run across car parks and eat dirt.

That way they grow up with better agility and peripheral vision (well, most of them do, there’s obviously some Darwinian adjustment along the way) and fewer allergies. One of my cousins was fond of worms, which are famously full of soil, and still manged to grow up big and strong and win a provincial rowing championship.

Anyway, enough for now, Pointless is on. The picture shows what happens if you encourage your kids to grow up in a car park full of soil. It was a cold day in Leeds and he will get his revenge when he has to select a care home for me.