More Drama!

Here’s a trio of pictures of the aftermath of a car accident outside the shop.

Nobody was hurt and the other vehicle, a Land Rover didn’t show any sign of damage, though I’m sure it would have done if I’d been closer.

I’m obviously turning into a photojournalist. Or a magnet for disaster.

I’m not quite so hardened that I get up close, but I’m getting there.

Will write more later.

A Clumsy Day and an Accidental Arsonist

I woke in my chair just after midnight on Monday morning, feeling stiff and misshapen I’d missed the chance to post on the day I was describing so I forced myself to stay up long enough to add photos, but couldn’t be bothered with captions. Then I posted and realised, too late, that  then I I’d forgotten the title.

Fortunately Albert Schweitzer was there to supply the deficiency.

Things got worse when I started to get ready for work. My first clumsiness was to knock the sliced beef off the kitchen counter, where it landed with a slap on the floor. It probably picked up millions of bacteria despite my application of the Ten Second Rule. This, as most of you will know, states that food is still fit to eat if you pick it up less than ten seconds after it hit the floor.

I’ve also seen it described as the Five Second Rule. No way that’s going to happen. It takes me longer than that to bend these days.

Thinking sensibly, for once, I decided the risk wasn’t worth it and, regretfully, binned the meat.

Then I remembered what a doctor had once told me when I was discussing unpasteurised apple juice. According to an American website I’d read you have to pasteurise juice before drinking. We’d been happily pressing for years and feeding to all and sundry from 5 to 95 years old. He said that if you drink it immediately after juicing, the microorganisms haven’t time to multiply and cause problems, and told us there was no reason to stop doing it. So I thought. And I decided that if I ate the beef immediately I should be OK. Fortunately I’d just put a new bag in the bin so that was clean.

Anyway, with the addition of horseradish sauce I enjoyed beef sandwiches for breakfast and suffered no ill effects.

The second thing he told me was that I could safely disregard most food hygiene advice from Americans as they worry too much.

Of course, this was the same man who cut his finger tip quite badly with a power saw and tied it all back with a bandage which became quite grubby over the next few weeks. When I mentioned the possibility of gangrene he just muttered that it would either heal or drop off. And, remarkably, it did heal.

I also dropped the phone, knocked it out of Mark’s hand (twice) as we both tried to pick it up, rendered the scanner inoperative, dropped stamps all over the floor and generally had an uncoordinated sort of day.

All that was as nothing compared to the day suffered by the mother of the owner of the Chinese Takeaway between the old shop and the new shop. She was burning cardboard boxes in the back garden when the fire spread to a pile of dry conifer trimmings. It then spread to one of the dead conifers.

When the opticians on the other side noticed flames higher than their roof they decided to call the Fire Brigade.

That’s why today’s photographs show a fire engine, ash on top of my car, and some grumpy firemen. It seems they had better things to do.

 

 

Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.

Albert Schweitzer

Unusually for me I leapt from bed like a salmon making for the spawning grounds this morning. I haven’t actually discovered a new enthusiasm for 5 am, I just overslept until the back-up alarm went off at 5.25. That left me with 35 minutes to get up and get Julia to work. Assuming that I get my socks on first shot and don’t get into a fight with my trousers, this is plenty of time as there is no traffic at that time of day.

Fortunately my clothing cooperated and all went well.

Just after 6.00 I was back home and catching up on WordPress reading. At 7.00 my alarm alerted me to the opening of the launderette. I have to set alarms these days as my memory is not great and I tend to nap at inconvenient times. After loading the big machine for a hot wash I had 59 minutes to kill, which I accomplished with breakfast at McDonalds, writing a shopping list and making holiday plans for September.

I haven’t been to Burntstump Country Park for five years or so; it used to have a pond with a colony of water voles. They were pushed out by rats, and I never felt as good about visiting after that. Today, I thought, was a good day for a visit. It wasn’t.

The woodland was full of birdsong and I even saw the occasional bird, despite the best efforts of assorted dog walkers loudly calling their dogs, training their dogs and squeezing squeaky toys at their dogs. It seems to be a favoured meeting place for people with loud voices and badly trained dogs.

They weren’t, before anyone jumps in, doing anything illegal. Individually they weren’t even that obtrusive, just a bit noisy and disruptive to my attempts at bird photography. Unfortunately there were dozens of them. Some worked in ones and twos, others formed a group in the middle of the park and made a lot of noise. Another group, numbering dozens, if not hundreds, gathered for a massed walk. It was canine bedlam.

I shopped on the way home, ate lunch (prepared by Number Two son) and watched Sharpe. King Solomon’s Mines then came on. I liked the book, but the Patrick Swayze film could be bottled and sold as a cure for insomnia. It worked for me.

Having picked Julia up from work we bought ice cream on the way home and are currently winding down. I’n good at winding down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

A New Leaf

I’m tempted to write a post about how I’m going to turn over a new leaf.

Regular readers will know that I’ve already dieted, eaten more fruit and vegetables and decluttered the house on a regular basis. Or, more accurately, I really, honestly, sincerely meant to do all those things.

The fact that my shirts are now tighter than they used to be and my total clutter total has been reduced by two bags of books indicates that things might not be progressing according to plan. The fruit and veg plan isn’t going too badly, though it does rely on a fairly liberal view of what counts as fruit and veg. Chocolate, fruit flavoured sweets and tomato ketchup are, according to my view, all acceptable. They aren’t necessarily as good as kale, apples and avocados, but they’re better than nothing.

I’m looking at various ways of improving on this. One way is what they call “reframing”. I learnt about that when they sent me to speak to someone about my weight. Basically, as I understand it, it means that if something goes wrong you take a step back, look at what happened and have another go. So I’ve stepped back, I’ve examined events and I’ve come up with a new plan.

I’ve decided to stop worrying about my weight, so that’s the weight problem solved. I’m going to add the jam in doughnuts and the cherries on Belgian buns to my list of “fruit” so that’s another item ticked off the list.

That just leaves the clutter. If I can find the book on decluttering that I bought a few months ago, I’ll finish reading it and then give it away. Every little helps…

 

Catching Up (Again)

Now, where was I?

We made our way home via Norfolk and Lincolnshire on Sunday. It’s not the most riveting of routes but it had its moments including several deer sightings.

On Monday Julia rang British Telecom to see where the new broadband hub has got to. They have no record of our order, so she had to go through it all again. After previous experiences I’m not actually surprised by this. I’m checking how to make effective complaints to BT. In 8 weeks we’ll be going to the ombudsman if it isn’t sorted.

On Tuesday there were big hold-ups on the Ring Road after an excavator on a low-loader hit a bridge parapet. I drove past not long after it happened. Fortunately it wasn’t on my carriageway.

On Wednesday we went to Springfields and, amongst other things, sat by the pond and watched the ducks, fountains and wagtails against a background of yellow flags. Life doesn’t get much better…

That brings us up to date.

Three of the family have had a busy day.

Number Two son had a job interview yesterday. He had a phone call today and has been invited back for another interview, so things are looking good.

Number One son is in Bulgaria on business. Seems unlikely to me, but what do I know?

Julia went to the Wild Flower Farm with her group. She reports that the third brood of tits has now left the nest box and the garden now seems rather quiet.

It was not the most dynamic of days for me at work, and on the way home I managed to get served by a stroppy teenager at Sainsbury’s. As customer service goes it was worse than BT. Once home I watched Pointless, put the bins out and watched Springwatch. That’s probably too much TV.

Tomorrow may well be a day of frantic activity.

Then again, it may not.

This is Golden Chamomile growing on Malta.

 

Breakfast

As promised earlier, I’m going to move on to describe breakfast on Sunday morning, even though it is currently Tuesday. Such is the magic of blogging.

It was a budget hotel, and one of the ways they appear to keep costs under control is by economising on bricks and mortar. As I walked along the corridor I mused on this as my shoulders appeared to brush the walls. Admittedly, I’ve expanded a bit over the years, but they do seem to have skimped  on width.

The breakfast room was similarly snug and called for some creative slalom movements to make my way between tables. I didn’t hit anything on the way to the table, though I did notice several people blanching as I insinuated myself through a number of unfeasibly small gaps.

Now I know what the elephant in the room feels like.

A few minutes with the menu resulted in an order for sausage, bacon, black pudding, eggs, bubble and squeak, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes and beans. Note that we emphasised the healthy vegetable aspects of the meal. Generally the quality was good, though the bubble and squeak did taste more like herby potatoes than proper bubble and squeak.

All was good until the neighbours arrived. The thin edge of the wedge arrived in the form of two small squeaky girls. I’m not in favour of small children at breakfast because (a) they are too enthusiastic and (b) it’s easy to offend with jokes about cannibalism.

They acted as pathfinders  mess for a miserable old crone who arrived moments later and immediately began ordering them around, sending them for fruit juice and toast and various other things. She did all this in a loud voice and without the use of the word “please”. She did say “thank you” a couple of times, but not often.

Then the parents arrived. They didn’t make much of an impression, being mere conversational targets for the garrulous harridan. I’m being very unpleasant here, but if you mess with my planned relaxing Sunday breakfast you can’t expect me to shower you with compliments.

She wanted vinegar with her breakfast. I’m not sure why, unless she wanted to top up her personality. She then told the unfortunate server that she hadn’t brought any mustard. Well, she wouldn’t, seeing as she hadn’t been asked for any. I’ve noticed this before – people not bringing things you haven’t asked for. It’s one of those facets of modern life that sometimes puzzle me. Surely if your server was able to read minds they would be serving at the top level with Reginald Jeeves and Sebastian Beach. Either that or winning prizes for their mind-reading act on Britain’s Got Talent.

I’ll not labour the point, as I’m coming perilously close to using the words virago and termagant and exploring a whole new world of misogyny, which will never do. I will, however, mention that they demanded to have their pain-au-chocolat warmed.

There is a whole new rant waiting on the subject of pain-au-chocolat, the warming thereof and the modern fashion for foreign patisserie.

The world, I feel, was a better place when toast was the only baked product available for breakfast.

This opinion will not be a surprise to regular readers.

 

Sunday Once More

Sunday has come round with its usual reliability and I have just checked back on the week’s output. I’m not impressed. I have become irregular and have been using Julia’s photographs to cover up my deficiencies.

If you’re paying attention you might have noticed I’ve done it again with today’s pictures of a bear in the garden.

We had a reasonable weekend, with a massive queue on the A1, roadworks on the Cambridge road (it feels like there have been roadworks on the Cambridge road all my life), and then more roadworks…

During all that time, including on hour queued on the A1, we didn’t see a single man working. They just set up the roadworks, put up the speed limit signs and then abandon them, regardless of the disruption it causes to everyone else. It’s a bit like being a politician – you make a mess, you walk away. At no time do you have to consider your fellow man.

We were well on target to arrive in Stowmarket when we hit the first set of roadworks (I was using the satnav to keep track of the time) and we eventually arrived an hour and a half late.

It was a good party, but I won’t say what it was for, as my sister-in-law isn’t happy about reaching 50.

Later, at the hotel, we found they had laid on a group of swearing drunks for us outside the main door, all smoking whilst wearing smeared makeup and the remains of their wedding finery. It was very kind of them, and didn’t cost extra, but it’s not really my sort of thing.

I’ll leave details of breakfast for later.

Bear with seed packet from Kew

Bear with seed packet from Kew