Tag Archives: boredom

Still Sleeping, Recovering and Repeating . . . and Browsing

Today has mainly featured me sleeping, recovering and repeating, as mentioned in the previous post. It hasn’t, unfortunately seen me doing much in the way of work. When the doctor suggested another week off I was happy as I was feeling quite ill at the time. I also thought I may get some time for writing. Unfortunately this hasn’t happened as I am still quite out of it. This is what I’ve discovered before – healing takes longer these days.

Tomorrow I will try a little harder. Julia is off tomorrow, so although she will find lots to do, I will be able to spend at least an hour or so with her, probably more if I act in a pathetically needy manner. The doctor did say that she would rely on boredom and daytime TV to drive me back to work and I can feel it happening. Even if it does turn into a discussion of my shortcoming and my need for exercise (we don’t see eye to eye on that at all) it will still be better than sleeping in front of antiques and makeover programmes.

Where, I ask, have all the decent quiz shows gone?

I found a really interesting internet site earlier on. It seems to be South African in origin (it features the letters “za” which I always take to indicate Zuid Afrika) but I won’t hold that against it. I still haven’t got rid of all the junk I picked up when using a South African family history site so I am always a little suspicious. However, it did present me with the snippet of information that some Roman Coins had been found whilst excavating a Japanese Castle.

The link is a different link so you don’t need to worry about the security. They are 4th century coins but the castle thrived  from the 12th to 15th Centuries, so they seem to have spent a lot of time travelling. Were they actually used as payment, or did Japan have coin collectors a thousand years ago?

I am distinctly short of suitable photos.

Japanese Quince – Arnot Hill Park


The Internal Monologue of a Nobody

It’s strange how, at the end of the day, I have difficult remembering the most exciting part of the day. Yesterday, despite writing about parcels, I actually did have a more interesting event. I was driving to work when a police car pulled out of the traffic queue on the othet side of the road and accelerated towards me with all lights flashing. For a split second, I experienced a feeling of alertness and increased heartbeat.

Then it was gone.

It was a surprise but there was plenty of space to change lanes and get out of the way. And then, bit by bit, a day of crushing dreariness erased my memory. It’s strange what you forget.

Most days are the same. There may be a touch of excitement, but the grinding routine drives it out. I could probably describe a day in 10,000 words, but 9,500 of them would not be very interesting.

“. . . then I packed another parcel. This one was for Australia. You can’t post to Australia by ‘Tracked & Signed’ postage so we use ‘Signed’. You have to remember to use a blue ‘Air Mail” sticker on envelopes for overseas. They have just changed the customs stickers, there is just one sort now. The ones that used to be barcoded are obsolete and the Post Office now prints a barcode and sticks it on. This doesn’t make much difference to us, apart from leaving enough space on the front of the envelope to fit the sticker on.”

That’s 96 words on current trends in posting letters overseas. Fascinating is not a word that I would use in describing the content. There’s plenty more where that comes from. I’ve posted two packages to Australia today, and just one to UK. That was it. I’d finished by the time the others arrived.

I could do at least the same again on postage, then go on to brewing tea, customers, poor quality stock, boredom, home grown tomatoes having thick skins and my plans to invent a biro which returns itself to your desk after people take it away. That’s already looking like it could go over 2,000 words and it’s only covering half an hour. I have many words to offer, but little of interest.

It could end up as a cult novella – The Internal Monologue of a Nobody.

Photo by Roman Koval on Pexels.com


The Auction

Back to last night . . .

I ended up being late and arrived at the auction as Lot 11 was going through. This wasn’t actually a problem as I had nothing marked until Lot 22. Prices were strong for the ancient cons with brisk bidding. We don’t actually make any money from the auction, but it’s nice to see good prices as it means members are showing enthusiasm, and are obviously getting things which they want.

Lot 22 came up. It ws a coin weight of Charles I, with a good clear portrait. I fancied it as a good example, and something that would be an interesting piece in my small collection of interesting things.  (Note how little excuse I need when buying shiny things). In the earlier days of our coinage, when the value of a coin was guaranteed by it’s weight of gold or silver, merchants would weigh the coins to check they were full weight and value.

I chased it up from £10 to £40 but decided to le it go at that point. It’s not something I collect, just something I fancied as a curiosity.

After another gap, bidding opened on a token that had been sold in Newark during the Boer War (1899-1902) to raise funds for the families of troops fighting overseas.

Borough of Newark Mayor’s Fund 1900 (Obverse)

Borough of Newark Mayor’s Fund 1900 (Obverse)

I’m told they come in silver and in gilded bronze, and also in official boxes, but I’ve only ever seen loose bronze ones like this, which is  better example than the one I currently have in my collection.

After that I waited for the Nottingham Transport tokens, adding to my collection with a nice brass one (they are mainly plastic). That cost £10 for two tokens, but I split it with another collector after the sale so ended up with one for £5. I then bought seven plastic tokens for £7. It wasn’t one of my better buys as I have six of them already and just wanted one that I don’t have. Sometimes this happens. I will,I expect, eventually sell the rest.

Nottingham Corporation Transport Blind Person Transport Token  – Number

Nottingham Corporation Transport Blind Person Transport Token  – Coat of Arms

Then I waited for a local street trader’s arm badge. There’s not much more to be said about it. At some time in the past (I suspect they were pre-war, but I haven’t really researched them) street traders would have worn these on their arms. It is marked by Hiatt of Birmingham on the edge – Hiatt were well known makers of police equipment, including the arm badges of Special Constables between the wars, which were similar to, but larger than this badge.

Derby Street Trader’s Badge – made by Hiatt

Are you getting the idea that I’m spending quite a lot of time being bored between lots? If you are, it’s an accurate picture. Our volunteer auctioneer makes a decent job of it, and is as good as a lot of the professional auctioneers you see around the country, but club auctions don’t give him much to work with – lot after lot of low value lots being pursued by grim middle-aged men nursing grudges against other members and trying to get something for nothing.

Finally we got among the cheap medallions and I made a few purchases for my medallion collection – three lots for a total of £7.

In all it was just over and hour of boredom on a hard chair with a few minutes of excitement every so often. At least the chair kept me awake. I once sat on a comfortable settee in a Lincolnshire country auction and only just woke up in time for the lots I wanted to bid on.

It is the nature of an auction that the anticipation is generally better than the actual experience, and that I think more about the coin weight I didn’t buy than the things which I did buy.


Cheese, Chutney and Cholesterol

I’ve reached the balance phase of my extended Christmas holiday. After five days doing very little, whilst wearing layers of flannelette I am now bored. Tomorrow I will dress and go out. It’s now feeling like I need to do something in preparation for going back to work. By “something” I mean something other than watching TV, napping or checking eBay.

It’s time to start work on the book of poetry, catalogue my collection and declutter the house. To be fair, I often say it’s that time, so don’t expect too much in the way of actual action. The only difference this year is that we are within two years of retirement and moving.

I have about 18 months to go and Julia has two years longer than that – she’s younger than me, and because of that we fell on different sides of the divide as the government raised the retirement age. I can draw my pension at 66, she has to wait until she’s 67. As the retirement age for women was 60 when we married (compared to 65 for men) she already nurses a grudge against the government, even without the additional year. That is why I will now remain tactfully silent over the matter and not remind people seeking equality to be careful what they wish for.

We just had cheese and biscuits so I can now report that the Onion and Date Chutney I mentioned in the last post was as good as the Sweet Root chutney, and both go well with Lancashire cheese. They also go well with garlic and herb soft cheese, though I don’t want you to think I’m showing off about my cheese supply with all this name dropping.

We actually don’t have much variety compared to previous years, as I always used to buy Camembert or Brie and at least one variety we’d never had before, plus Stilton, something else blue, cheddar, Wensleydale with fruit, and some of those Xmas novelty truckles. This year we have Stilton, Red Leicester, Lancashire, a truckle of Chilli Cheddar and the soft garlic and herb cheese. We still have enough cheese to block a major artery, but we have less variety, which makes it easier to use in an orderly fashion. I try my best, but we have found a few furry surprises at the back of the fridge in our time. One year I actually developed a semi-soft blue Cheddar, which was very good, though possibly poisonous. I’m still here so it was probably OK, but according to the internet you need to be careful with mould. On the other hand, I can’t help noting that Alexander Fleming got a knighthood and a Nobel Prize from messing about with mould.

The Day Continues

The cauliflower soup was, even though I say it myself, very good. As I mentioned to Julia (who was also looking very good after her visit to the hairdresser), if it had a fault, it was a tendency to sit like a small pile in the spoon. Soup, I feel, should sit in the spoon like liquid rather than bulge over the top. It’s a consistent fault with my soup that it resembles a puree rather than a soup, but one I almost conquered this week. It will be more watery tomorrow, as I dilute it, and will also have cheese in it. I decided the soup would overpower the cheese available today, so didn’t add it.

Apart from the thick soup, there were no problems with the day. If I were looking for a perfect day I would like to ditch the ad-blocker. It is nothing like as bad as the ads it blocks, but is still quite intrusive. I assume this is deliberate because it is accompanied by offers of massive savings if I pay to use their premium level software.

I may be stupid enough to get myself infected by annoying adverts, but I’m not stupid enough to believe that they will do me a special deal at £19.99 a year if they consider it really is worth £109 a year.

Apart from that, not much has happened. More people are going on strike. Some football has been played and the world keeps turning. It’s going to rain tomorrow. I expect there will be more strikes threatened, more football played and a continuing rotation. It’s not just my life that is dull and predictable . . .

Peacock on the roof

Today I decided to use peacock photos.

Danger of Tedium . . .

Sorry, another day and another late night slump in front of TV. Julia woke me to tell me she was going to bed and I fell asleep again. I awoke with a head full of peculiar dreams (I’d obviously being listening to TV as I slept) and found the remote on the floor, where it had obviously dropped when I drifted off.

You didn’t miss much, as it was a truly boring day. The man with the “13 gold guineas” didn’t turn up, but we had always suspected that might be the case. A dealer did turn up with a load of junk, which is always interesting as some of it was quite interesting – one man’s trash being another man’s treasure as they always say. Silver has gone up so he wanted to cash in his lower grade coins and he also had various bits he’d bought in auction which are not his normal type of stock. The other two enjoyed themselves with that and I ended up with the task of writing up empty display cases for eBay. They are easy enough, but not very interesting.

Today (Sunday) has mostly consisted of bacon croissants, ginger biscuits and going through old emails. I lost my list of submissions when the computer failed, and I need to get it back together for future use. If I want to reprint anything (I’m still ambivalent about putting a book together) I will need all the details of first publication. A trawl through the emails has netted me 22 haiku (which was a surprise, as I thought it was only about a dozen) and 20 tanka. I have not been writing tanka very long, but am obviously better at them than I am at haiku.  I know there are a few tanka missing from that total and I think I know where to track them down, so suspect that the amended figure might see tanka outstripping haiku.

And suddenly, from telling you that I had a boring day on Saturday, I start telling you I spent Sunday making lists. Sorry about that – let’s hope Part 2 is more interesting.


Day 11

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.

A Dying Fall

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

Dabchick, Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire

Becoming Boring

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.


A Woman Full of Surprises


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.

Hake and Chips in Cromer

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.