Tag Archives: birthday

Butterflies, Curries and Clerihews

We went to Derbyshire today. Despite  being a Bank Holiday it wasn’t crowded and we managed to buy Julia the shoes she needed for the Maltese trip. We also bought some books and ice-cream.

We saw half a dozen Orange Tips and a pair of Brimstones. It really is looking like a good year for both species – I don’t remember seeing as many as this before.

On our return home we scurried round, changed and went for a birthday curry with my fellow shop workers and a few customers. It was a good night, and unlike last time, I was on time (just!), parked across the road and didn’t get rained on.

Yes, for those of you who may be wondering, I am now 60. That’s the “three score years” done with – just the next ten to worry about now.

I’m now going to write some poetry as part of my 200 poems in a fortnight challenge. Don’t worry, I won’t be subjecting you to my efforts, unless I write more limericks or clerihews. I seem to remember I was supposed to be writing more clerihews.

Out for a Curry

We went for a curry tonight – three shop staff and five customers celebrating a birthday. For reasons of internet security I won’t tell you who was having a birthday, which birthday it was or what the exact date is. I can, however, tell you that it wasn’t mine.

I had a nice mild curry, drank tonic water and only spilt down my shirt once. My days of raucous behaviour and painfully hot curries are over. As my 60th birthday chugs over the horizon I have finally discovered the benefits of middle age.

Life is good/

The only fly in the ointment was that I was late due to a heavily congested ring road, but as the people in the crash were clearly having a worse day than me I listened to the radio and tried patience.

I’m not sure I like patience so I may revert to shouting next time it happens.

That’s all for now.

Lots of Errands and a Traffic Jam

Big day today. Off to the letter office where five parcels were waiting for me. There was no queue today and I parked in a disabled space as my knee was killing me. I know it’s not a good thing to do, but there were three others left empty and I was having to use my stick.

It turned out there were six parcels, which was a bonus. While I’ve been at work the postmen have been taking them back to the letter office. The trouble is that everyone wants them to be signed for. There’s no trust in the world anymore and everyone wants proof. I posted over 2,000 parcels when I was dealing by mail order and I only ever lost one.

In general I like to believe that people are honest, and the proliferation of distrust on ebay tells you a lot about the way modern society is going. I also have my suspicions that ebay and Royal Mail are in league to take as much money as possible from us. Remember that ebay also charges commission on postage costs. I was happy with my purchases, but you’ll have to take my word for it as I haven’t photographed them yet.

After that we had breakfast and set off for Newark market where, noting the lack of customers, I did the old show business joke. It basically hinges round the phrase “there’s no business (pause for effect) like show business”. It tends to amuse us, though we don’t have high standards.

Then things took a turn for the worse. We stopped at Grantham for a toilet break and a drink. Julia’s coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.75. We’re going to have to start taking a flask.

Forestry land in Brazil costs as little as $50 an acre – about eighteen cups of coffee. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

After that we joined a queue on the A1. The traffic spent ten minutes travelling fitfully then ground to a halt. In the next two hours we listened to a Terry Pratchett talking book, chatted, watched red kites and fell asleep. Well, one of us did. The other one recorded me snoring and sent an audio file to my sister.

It seems that a trailer had become unhitched from a car and emptied itself on the road. Nobody was hurt, which is good.

Finally we arrived in Peterborough just in time to miss a low key but photogenic sunset, visited my father for a couple of hours, wished him a happy 89th birthday for later in the week and returned home without incident.

All in all, quite a worthwhile day, with the bonus of a relaxing snooze in the afternoon. I know it’s generally frowned on to sleep on major roads, but I think it’s OK if everyone has stopped.

 

The Best Laid Plans…

I didn’t quite get the Armistice Day post done as I suggested in the last post.  After writing two part posts – probably a thousand words or so in total -I decided to give it a miss because it wasn’t working.

At that point I switched over to cookery. Belly pork and roasted veg for tea, chicken and ham pie for tomorrow and vegetable curry for Wednesday. Tuesday, which you may have noticed was missing, will be fishcakes. I cheated by buying fishcakes last night, so I didn’t need to make any.

With the associated washing up, and moving of red cabbage, this took a surprisingly long time. Finding the tarragon took the best part of ten minutes because it’s a small packet in a chaotic kitchen. Julia had unpacked it last night and as she had neither left it in the bag or put it in the fridge I was left slightly clueless.

That left me with the choice of breathing life into a moribund post on Armistice Day or transcribing the list of Farmers’ Markets.

If you consider that the transcribing was more fun than the blogging you will see how badly things were going. It kept turning into a rant on the use of the poppy and the Great War centenary as a way of making money.

Things took a significant downturn when we had to do a Health and Safety assessment and fill out a wad of monitoring and personal development forms. It went badly.

Not as badly as the search for a birthday present though, that is really going badly and Julia isn’t helping by refusing to tell me what she wants.

Hopefully she wants a brightly-coloured paper bag containing supermarket chocolates, flowers and face cream, because it looks like that’s what she’ll be getting.

 

Birthdays and Blue Butterflies

It was the Birthday Party today, and we had cake. It was actually an 86th birthday rather than an 85th, as I previously said, so I got an extra year for free.

I also got a present, even though it isn’t my birthday. Bill has completed a marathon cutting session and gave me 112 pieces of wood. Eventually they will become 16 nest boxes, but for now they are merely a dream.

Combined ages 169!

Combined age 169 years and still eating cake

On the way down to the farm I stopped for a few minutes to take some photographs of bales in a field when a blue flash fluttered past. It took a bit of stalking but I eventually got a decent shot.

The tractor is in that phase of restoration where the Men in Sheds have actually removed even more bits in order to get at other bits that need mending. If you look at the back wheel you may be able to pick out the cardboard box they are using to make a gasket. Farmers and Mne in Sheds rarely spend money when they can cut up the box the cake came in.

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There is evidence of progress as some parts have been put back. I could start a competition asking people to compare the last post and see what has been done. But I won’t.

There’s certainly been more done to the tractor than the butterfly garden. The dwarf buddleias are now getting on for 6 feet tall and the full size ones are 9 foot monsters. There were plenty of Small Tortoiseshells (about 20 I should think) but only a handful of whites and a solitary Peacock.

You’d think that a wild and unkempt garden was best for wildlife but according to something I read recently it isn’t true. An untidy garden is good, and better for wildlif,e than a totally wild one. Strangely, the monster buddleias are acconpanied by patches of bare earth where useful plants (like borage and daisies) have been ripped out and little has grown back due to shadows and inhospitable clay.

This is certainly true for photography – the out of control buddleia makes it a lot harder to get decent photos.

The last six guineafowl are still around (the white one refused to be photographed) and several of the bantams seem to be living the free-range lifestyle. They were too quick for me to get a decent shot, but they are looking good.

Fortunately I was luckier with my morning and evening visits to Julia’s garden, which I will report on later.

Just like Jane Austen

The day started well, with a telephone call from the pharmacy. This allowed me to drive down to the shop and use the words “Incontinence Advisory Service” for the second time in three days.  This time there wasn’t a crowd of people listening, so it was a less embarrassing experience than the first time.

I am now fully equipped for the next eight weeks and, as a result, feeling relaxed.

After that it was time for a trip to the jeweller’s. I don’t need any jewellery, watch batteries or repairs but I don’t really need an excuse to gossip and drink tea. With my current set-up I am able to drink tea without worrying about the consequences. It was a relaxing interlude, as it’s part jeweller and part antique shop. As I think I’ve said before I feel at peace in three places – church, antique shops and bookshops.

I also feel at home in “all you can eat buffets”, as you can probably tell from the self-portrait, but for some reason I’m never made  as welcome there as I am in the other places and don’t feel so comfortable. The staff always seem edgy when I walk in…

The last visits of the day were to drop off some Easter cards. It involved more tea and a look at several gardens that I used to look after. One of the ladies showed me her 80th Birthday Album. She had spent the week in Whitby with her children and grandchildren. It looked like a good time was had by all, and the Birthday Cake was made by Botham’s teashop. The picture on top was a view of the Abbey framed in the Whitby Whalebone Arch.

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Whalebone Arch – Whitby

As a result of getting out and about I feel much happier, even if the weather forecast is not good.

In fact, with all this tea and visiting I’d go so far as to say I feel very Jane Austen.

Kind Hearts and Chocolate Cake

We went back to the farm today. It was raining heavily and the farm track, which seems to have had some hard use recently, had several streams running down it. In terms of the pathetic fallacy it was like the sky was crying onto the ruins of the farm. In fact that was rubbish, it was just bad weather and a badly maintained track, but it gives me a chance to allude to past problems and the fact they are too lazy to maintain a simple farm track.

The aim of the journey was not to remember the bad times but to visit Men in Sheds and eat chocolate cake to celebrate Bill’s 85th birthday. We didn’t know it was chocolate cake when we set off, we just knew it was “cake”, with the chocolate element being a bonus.

Since we last visited they have sorted out the catering and now make breakfast for themselves as part of the daily routine. They have also been making nest boxes and bird feeders and are now making markers to identify the trees in the new edible woodland. That’s woodland that produces fruit and nuts to eat, not a selection of trees you can eat. You’d have to be a beaver before woodland became truly edible.

It was a pleasant enough way of passing a couple of hours and we have been invited back in a fortnight for another birthday.

We followed up with lunch at the garden centre and a trip round some charity shops looking for curtains. We found some at the 5th shop (oh, how glad was I?). They are excellent curtains, even I can see that,  and are long enough to cut down and use the leftover bits for making a couple of cushion covers.

That’s a woman thing – no man would think of it.

I wouldn’t have a cushion in the house if it were left to me. I’ve never seen a use for them, apart from throwing at the kids, and in a house full of books you don’t really need cushions for that.

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All looking serious…