I always feel there’s a thin line between Leek & Potato soup and wallpaper paste. Unfortunately I often stray a little over the line, and tonight was another example. It wasn’t too bad, but there was definitely a hint of glue hanging over my soup bowl.
I’ve previously been told that this is because I add too much potato. I checked it up tonight, and this seems to be a possibility. However, it could also be the type of potatoes or overdoing it with the blender. In other words, lots of people have an opinion but nobody seems to have a reliable answer. Unfortunately I can’t repeat the recipe next week and then examine my technique as it was all thrown together in an unmeasured sort of way. I might have to try it again and measure the ingredients. That means I have to test the scales and see if there is any life in the battery. It’s so long since we used them that the battery will probably be flat again. It always is.
Looking on the bright side, if it improves my Potato & Leek Soup it will be worth it. I might even try some new recipes. New recipes often require scales. That’s why the second attempt is often poor – overconfidence.
Was that, you ask, the most exciting thing that happened on Day11? I’m afraid it was. Adventure and excitement don’t go hand in hand with a shop assistant’s job, so eating slightly faulty soup is as close to the wild side as I am likely to vote.
Humour in WW1
The pictures are a couple of Donald McGill postcards from the Great War. Humour oesn’t always survive through the years but these two are pretty universal.
Life is a bit dull at the moment. It’s like my normal life but with added tedium and a dash of boredom thrown in. Of course, if it were exciting it would probably be worse. Excitement, in the form of boundary disputes, car breakdowns and pandemics, is not good either. I know I should be grateful for the monotony, but when the most exciting event of the week is watching Sharpe on TV, there is something wrong.
I really need to do more writing, send more submissions out and start playing editor roulette again. There’s nothing quite like a rejection letter for rousing the passions as yet one more philistine fails to appreciate your endeavours. Ans similarly, there’s nothing quite so worrying as an acceptance, meaning ta the whole world is about to laugh at you when they see your work and realise it’s rubbish.
Currently I don’t have too much out, just two competition entries, one lot of haibun and an article. The competition entries are doomed, they always are. The haibun are currently under consideration and the article is, I think, doomed. There’s going to be very little in the way of excitement coming from there.
There isn’t much coming up in the next month in the way of deadlines, though the month after that is going to be busy. I am preparing my material for March and April, but I am, unfortunately, not the most industrious of men unless I have a deadline coming up.
I was reading an essay by a writer of haiku recently, in which he notes that most of his haiku have been in progress for about a year by the time he gets round to finishing them. He is quite clearly a patient and focussed man. I, of course, am not, and should probably go back to writing clerihews.
Ambitious PM Boris Johnson
had trouble keeping his pants on.
Thanks to Dominic Cummings
he now looks a bit of a muggins
I’m currently watching Angela Lansbury on TV. To be honest it’s difficult to watch TV and avoid it. She is 95 soon and they will be celebrating with a week of Murder She Wrote. I’m not quite sure how it will differ from every other week, but I wish her well.
The day has gone quickly, and we have resisted the temptation to go out and do some last-ditch mingling. If more people had resisted the temptation to mingle we wouldn’t be in this mess. Skegness has been on the news today asking people from Nottingham not to visit. From what we saw a few weeks ago (crowds of people with a lack of masks and social distancing) I wouldn’t want to visit, even if there was something worth doing when you get there.
Really, it’s all the same as previous days, just another link in a chain of tedium.
I always used to tell the kids that only boring people got bored. This, I suspect, means that I am becoming boring. That is not good news, as I don’t want to be boring and old. The latter, to be fair, is inevitable, but I feel there should be an element of choice about the former. I’m going to have to do something about that. I might have to start racing pigeons or talking to myself in the park.
Of course, these days it is not a sign of madness to speak to yourself in the street, just a sign that you have a bluetooth headset.
Or have a tattoo in a foreign language – I will get an appallingly rude word tattooed on my arms in Chinese script and will tell everyone it says “destiny”. Of course, it may be tricky explaining why I keep being ejected from Chinese Restaurants.
Even after knowing each other for 40 years Julia still has the capacity to surprise me.
She knitted a teddy bear yesterday. This was a surprise, as she has not knitted for years. Crochet embroidery and felting, yes, but no knitting. OK, it’s not a great surprise , but I#m building up to the big one.
Today she went out for some fresh air and came back with fish and chips. This was a surprise as I didn’t know the chip shop had reopened. Nor did I realise we were going to have something nice for tea, when I’d been expecting another meal of vegetables. It’s not the freedom I’m missing during lockdown, but the variety of food we used to eat. You have to queue outside and order from the open door.
It’s our first take-away since the disastrous KFC. That’s nearly six weeks ago. In normal times I would probably have used KFC and Just Eat several times, so I’m happy to report they have lost some business over the mess. ASDA will be losing some too. In these days, when customer service means nothing, and people never get back to you about complaints, this seems to be the best you can do to.
When you used to have to write in with complaints they used to take things more seriously. Now that they do it all by email it’s easier but also easier to write an anodyne and meaningless reply.
I think I may write another complaint and see if anything happens.
Meanwhile, here are some pictures of chips from happier times.
While Julia queued to buy her blood pressure machine, I had twenty minutes to amuse myself in a car park. It is on Mansfield Street, in case you couldn’t guess. It is actually known as Hall St car park because that is where the entrance is. If I’d thought, I would have taken a shot of the Hall St sign instead.
Hall St, Sherwood, Nottingham
The purple shop on the left of the shot sells New Age stuff. I’m not quite clear on what it actually does as it’s not the sort of place I’d be tempted to enter. I’m not criticising anyone, or their beliefs, but like sky-diving and colonic irrigation I just know it’s not for me.
It’s a nicely presented building with a great painting of a cat on it. Several other local buildings are also decorated, I really should make an effort to photograph them.
The Gym, now closed for the duration of the virus outbreak, used to be a supermarket. It was redeveloped about ten years ago. Before that it had been a supermarket but it was still housed in a building that had definitely been a cinema. Despite the Kwik-Save signs it was definitely a cinema.
Sign showing that the space is reserved for 1950’s motor-cycles
Sign to ban fly-tipping. Modern psychological theory is that the eye makes you think people are looking at you. and this makes you obey the law.
There used to be a lot of fly-tipping next to the recycling bins because people are too lazy to take stuff away if there isn’t a bin for it, or if the bin is full. The signs were not terribly successful, but all tipping has stopped since they removed the recycling bins. Another depressing look at modern life.
There were no interesting flowers to photograph and no insect life. Not even any interesting litter.
This morning, poised like an elegant crane, I stood on one leg, pointed my toes and slipped my right leg into my trousers. I then did the same with my other leg.
This would have seemed unremarkable a few years ago, but one of the things I seem to have lost over the years is the ability to put my trousers on while standing up. This morning, and the my resemblance to a tai chi master, is not typical.
Normally, Julia tells me, I look like a drunken tramp playing hopscotch. This is partly because I have dodgy joints and partly because I have the wardrobe and facial hair of a man who has seen better days. The joints have been particularly bad in the last week and there have been a couple of days when it looked like the trousers might win.
Fortunately time, rest and paracetamol seem to have done the trick. I didn’t report this earlier in the week as I was already moaning about my man flu. It’s important, I think, not to seem like a complete hypochondriac when blogging. The same goes for food reviews – I only report on virtuous recipes and leave out quite a lot of fried food and cake.
This is also the case with The Presentation, which has eight days to go. Though I tend to report it as a linear process it is more of a zig-zag, and I am struggling to finish. I have a few photos to do, a couple of slides to finish and quite a lot of information to trim.
I have already cut a lot out of the script, but there’s still more to do. It sent Julia to sleep when I talked her through it in the car and I’m afraid that if that is the case it might adversely affect the wakefulness of a group of elderly gents sitting in the semi-darkness.
I am fascinated by the events of 1919, but I don’t suppose this fascination will be shared by everyone. The Government put tanks on the streets to keep order in Glasgow and Liverpool, troops mutinied, revolution was in the air and, as the Irish started their final war against the English, they embarked on a series of Soviets and dairy-based resistance to their capitalist oppressors.
At that point, even I start to run out of interest…
I’ve been looking back through a few old posts and have noticed that I seem to be running to a pattern. I moan, I rant, I explain why things are chaotic and I discuss the shortcomings of other road users. For variety I sometimes describe how my wife bullies, browbeats or outwits me.
Once in a while I complain about my aches and pains, disparage the medical profession and denigrate editors.
I also have problems with technology. Considering that I have problems with such basic things as sleeping and the use of apostrophes, it’s hardly surprising that technology beats me. I say “beats me”… It doesn’t actually beat me; I have three sledge hammers in the tool shed so in purely physical terms I have the upper hand. I suppose what I mean is that technology confuses me into a state of near surrender, but if the machines ever get too cocky I have the ultimate sanction.
This is actually the start of a post I wrote two days ago. It wasn’t good enough, so I sidelined it, made the sandwiches, played Scrabble against the computer, lost again, and went to sleep.
Tonight I wrote the first few paragraphs of a much better post, and lost it. I’m not actually sure where it went. Here, we return to my earlier thoughts and review my comments on technology. The day when I hammer my computer flat is rapidly approaching.
I have therefore “improved” the previous attempt by throwing half of it away and grafting a few moans on to the end.
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Today I spent much of my time in the shop entering cards for coin year sets onto eBay. If you consider coins dull, and I do, then the empty cards for making up year sets are, I promise you, duller.
I have had the results from my last chest X-Ray and it was OK, I do have a chest. This is handy as it gives me somewhere to keep my lungs, which, in turn, allows me to breathe, an activity considered essential for good health. It also stops your shirt getting messy. Imagine the laundry situation if your lungs were externally mounted.
Unfortunately I failed my last blood test. I do have blood, and it seems to be going round OK, but it seems that I need to talk to a doctor about it. I can do this on the phone but, there was a six day waiting list for a telephone consultation slot. I take it that there is nothing urgent about whatever problem their expensive testing machinery has come up with.
And that is why I find it reasonably easy to criticise doctors.
I now have a new date with the specialist and am hoping that in four weeks I may have a diagnosis. I bet they are going to tell me I have arthritis. I know this because it is following exactly the same path as my last outbreak. The difference is that it took just over a week to sort it out last time and it will have taken about eleven this time.
I have added a few coins to the end, as a relief from the hundreds of empty holes staring from the other pictures like hundreds of dead eye sockets. There’s a Battle of Hastings 50p, a Magna Carta £2 and moon landing £5 from Guernsey,
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The £5, which is from 10 years ago shows early use of colour, which later became the garishly awful later use of colour. It doesn’t look the thin end of a wedge does it?.
I used to be a dull person, but I was lucky enough to work outdoors with butterflies, compost and bread.
This added a false veneer of interest to my life.
Now that I spend my days packing parcels in a windowless back room I dream of butterflies and the glamour of compost.
On the plus side, I do get paid for sitting in the windowless back room where most of my work on the farm was unpaid. That’s what happens when you work for your wife…
All in all, I really don’t know which I prefer. Money isn’t everything and it’s hard to put a price on working with your wife, and having flexibility and free time. I would definitely live my life differently if I had it all over again, but I’m not sure it would be an improvement.
I think I’ve covered this before.
All I will add before moving on is that I really ought to be ashamed of the way I have squandered my opportunities, ruined my health and loafed my life away. I do sometimes have regrets in my more introspective moments, but they aren’t real. I don’t necessarily like being a ne’er do well, but I’d hate to be an accountant.
Don’t take this badly if you are an accountant, there is academic research on the subject. This shows that accountants are boring because of the vocabulary they use. It also shows that academics have too much time on their hands. It’s not as if someone writing something called Writing in English for Specific Purposescan take the moral high ground in matters of being interesting. I’m actually confused as the link in the article doesn’t quite tie in to the page that comes up but I can’t really be bothered to sort it all out. Sorry about that, but I’m not academic and I have a cavalier attitude.
If I had to select a motto for my life I’d probably give this one a go.
“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”
But in case it didn’t, I’ve spent the day doing boring things in a hot shop with very poor ventilation.
I spent a good portion of the afternoon drinking cold fizzy drinks from the shop across the road. This could have been a fatal amount of sugar, but it was a risk I was prepared to take. Tomorrow I will be taking water in bottles that have been in the freezer overnight. The plan is that they will provide a constant supply of cold water as they gradually melt.
I will let you know how that goes.
These brilliant plans have a habit of not working out.
I thought I’d use some photographs from the Lake District to remind me of more interesting times and less oppressive weather.
It’s on days like this that my thoughts turn to new career paths. With my lack of talent and qualifications I have very little choice. I can win the lottery or I can…
That’s about it.
I could write a profitable blog, but I’ve never quite grasped the principle when reading those websites about making thousands of dollars.
I could, I suppose, film myself doing things and become an internet sensation, like Grumpy Cat. I can do grumpy, but that probably isn’t enough to become an Internet Sensation.
I may have to look at content writing again.
Or I might buy a fan for my desk. It will be winter soon enough and then I will just have the boredom to cope with.
Boredom isn’t too bad.
Though the job would be improved by having a window looking out at a lake.
Here’s a shot taken using the “Dramatic” setting on the camera. I couldn’t resist.
Pied Wagtail, Ullswater
And here’s a picture of a Pied Wagtail. I tried fifteen shots and this is the only one with a whole unblurred bird in it.
I’ve started spending my first 20 minutes at work typing up my post for the evening. It’s far quicker sitting at a desk with a full-size keyboard than it is sitting at home trying to use something the size of a book. And a slow, steam-powered book at that.
That’s one of the reasons it’s always a day behind.
It’s surprising that I can do as much in 20 minutes at a desk as I can if I spend two hours tapping away whilst chatting, watching TV, playing Candy Crush and shouting at politicians on TV.
We took a trip to Springfields yesterday, had lunch at Frankie and Benny’s and looked for shoes for Julia.
F&B aren’t doing the same lunch deals anymore, though I’m not sure the price is any higher. It’s just that you feel happier after a meal when you think you’ve also saved a couple of quid. Of course, that could just be me.
To be fair, the burgers were juicy, the chips were plentiful but the special sauce wasn’t special. They keep changing the sauce and it’s never been an improvement yet. This latest monstrosity is pink, and has bits in it, a bit like the old-fashioned “sandwich spread” you used to get in jars. Or, to be less subtle, a bit like vomit.
I liked the old, red, sticky, chilli sauce.
In case I’ve been a bit too subtle – I wasn’t keen on the sauce. But the burger and chips were good. I thought I might make this Scone Chronicles XXI, but then I thought about it and decided burgers aren’t really scones. I’ve already sneaked prawn sandwiches and fish and chips in this week so more non-scones could be, I think, a bit too much.
We then discovered that all the decent shops have moved out and there’s a rather dull selection left. It was a struggle to find the right shoes at the right price. We go to shopping outlets for shopping and recreation (we’re very dull these days) but it’s just like going shopping in town, apart from the air being fresher and the trip taking longer.
We didn’t even find anything particularly exciting in the bookshop – I bought a new set of The Chronicles of Narnia, but I could have bought that in any branch of “The Works”. I didn’t need to drive across Lincolnshire.
This morning I’ve already written to an auction house – part of a seven week saga of lost and badly described goods, plus poor service and lack of urgency. It looks like I might have my money back within days.
I’ve also written to the skip company. That’s only taken two weeks so far…
Why can’t everyone just be efficient and deliver what they are paid for?