Tag Archives: cake

Our Private Lockdown

At the moment, my eyes feel a little hot and tired, I occasionally cough and I have a sniffle. Last night I had an upset stomach and the suspicion of a temperature. In my mind I have the symptoms of a very mild cold. The main problem is that I am feeling very tired, and that isn’t really a notable problem as I often feel tired.

Nothing I have is unusual, and, if anything, I am feeling better than I did a couple of days ago. IT could be a cold or it could be “being under the weather” as we used to say. Nothing registered with me to tell me I was ill. Julia was much the same. Her symptoms are a little worse than mine, though she has had no stomach problems. She has had headaches for several days though. I was duly sympathetic, but didn’t really think much about COVID until last night.

After a day where I made her do nothing (which isn’t easy), relax (ditto) and keep warm, she showed no improvement.

That was when it clicked. COVID! So she did a test. Positive. Then she did another one to check, and it occurred to me after our last COVID infection, that I’d better test too. Both positive. As I say, I don’t really feel ill, though I did feel very tired last night.

Watch out people – this new one creeps up on you!

I rang the shop last night and we arranged for me to stay away for five days. Julia rang her manager last night, who didn’t answer, so rang again this morning. It seems three clients, including one Julia has been in close contact with, have all reported being positive. Of course, having learning difficulties, they don’t always notice, and even when they do they have been known to turn up and tell staff they are positive. Sometimes the staff at residential homes actually send them when they are positive because they don’t want them hanging round during the day.

I’m so glad we are retiring next year.

Fortunately we have cake. Julia bought some earlier in the week, excusing herself with the words “You never know when you might need some.”

Clementine Drizzle cake with pistachio topping


Thoughts on Cake . . .

The day is ending. It is nearly 7pm, darkness has closed in and it is feeling decidedly chilly.

It has not been a day of inspiration for poetry, or for my talk on medallions, nor has it been a day of industry. I would happily have swapped industry for inspiration, but neither happened. However, our plan did work out – we decided to stay in and keep warm today and that was exactly what I did. I even did a few slides for the talk, though it was far from the amount I envisaged.

Luckily, with my new Kindle to hand, I was able to do some reading so it wasn’t a complete waste. In the book, the police are gradually closing in on a murderer in North Lincolnshire, a place I know well, and which has featured in this blog a number of times. My blogs have mainly been about seabirds, fish and chips and public conveniences, so have failed to create the interest that a crime novel would.

It has also been a day for catching up on reading other blogs. I haven’t caught up as much as I would like to, but have managed a few. If one wasn’t you, don’t feel left out, I will be round in a day or two. It’s partly a case of getting back in the habit. That, of course, can be said for many things.

I’ve spent a little time today thinking about toxic workmates and how to deal with them. The truth is that you can’t do much about them. To be fair they probably don’t realise how they are seen by everyone else, and they don’t realise that they make everything unpleasant. It should be the best job in the world, working in a collectors’ shop, so it’s quite an achievement to suck all the fun out of it.

I did try to see if I could turn it into an article, or even a book, but keep coming up against the problem that most of the people writing about the problem suggest the best solution is to leave the job. Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, I would have done this, but there’s little chance of finding another job if I do that, and I don’t want to do anything that will cut into my retirement savings.

Fortunately, I’m not given to brooding and have plenty to occupy my time. I’m sure the time between now and retirement is going to go far too fast without me wishing it away so will get on with planning my medallion talk instead of dwelling on toxicity in the workplace.

I’m going to think of cake.

Sticky Toffee Cake

Chilly . . .

The flower in the picture was waiting for Julia when she arrived at the garden yesterday.  Today followed much the same pattern as yesterday, though we did put the cover on the car windscreen so there was less to clear.

It was -4 when e set off this morning and -2 when I emerged from work. This is probably regarded as shirt sleeve weather in Canada, but we find it quite chilly. The houses opposite the shop still had frost on the roof so I expect it had been that temperature for much of the day. I’m getting too old for this. Old bones need more warmth.

I’ve done some proper menu planning for the first time in ages. It’s not so much that we need to plan the food, but it can be a bit cold in the kitchen (to the extent of food thawing faster in the fridge than if we leave it on the work surface) due to our budgetary restraints. The menu planning is not so much about maximising nutrition as minimising time spent in the kitchen.  If I can organise things to cook two or three meals at a time the kitchen is warm enough. If I just want to chop a few veg and bake one thing it can be an inhospitable place.


One day we will look back on this time and realise that we would have been better spending the money and keeping warm. To be honest, we’d have been better moving house thirty years ago while we were both working. We could have bought one that wasn’t draughty, and which didn’t front up to the north wind quite so much. Being on a ridge, we get a good view and flooding isn’t a problem. However, it can be a bit breezy.

That’s enough for now. I need to sit by the fireside talking to Julia and sipping tea, but mainly, eating cake. We have quite a lot of cake to eat (lemon and blueberry) because it was reduced and it called out to her as she passed the shelf  . . .

Day 152

I seem to have mislaid the first half of this post, but as I fell asleep at the keyboard, this is not unusual. I now have a dilemma. Start writing a new blog post at 4.30 am or straighten my aching limbs and go to be. A few years ago I didn’t even know it was possible to fall asleep sitting up, but it’s amazing what you can do if you have to. I say “have to” but in fact it’s a choice, and, let’s face it, a bad choice.

The truth is that the habit of daily blogging has taken hold and I can’t settle if I don’t write a post. It’s only 250 words after all, and that shouldn’t be difficult. Even the 250 words is a self-imposed lower limit. I could write 150 if I wanted, there is no law against it. I really ought tom be writing 500, as it seems a serious amount of wordage, but I’m lazy and I settled on 250. When I actually read a post of that length I’m always struck by how short it is anyway. IT would be difficult to write less and still call it a post. It would be more like an anecdote, or a caption.

We went to TESCO tonight to pick up the shopping – you don’t have to order so much if you use the Click and Collect service. They didn’t have the pork pie I had ordered and they hadn’t substituted anything. This is annoying as the pork pie was the basis of a couple of light salad lunches over the Jubilee Weekend. If you are having salad you really need something decent like pork pie to anchor it. I am now going to have to rethink the menu.

The photograph is a reminder that I still have to blog about eating cake at the coast. Time passes and I forget . . ,

Day 117

I went for a blood test this morning and picked up a prescription from the pharmacy. Last year this would have taken me weeks, possibly months, as the prescription would have been lost, missing or wrong. At best, the blood test would have been 20 minutes late and the wait at the pharmacy would have been 30-40 minutes. Today it took me 20 minutes.

Not everybody was as lucky as me – one woman had to ask about her appointment (she had been waiting over 20 minutes) and the prescription of one elderly gent (no, not me) had been sent to the wrong pharmacy. It looks like fate has been kind to me.

I’m supposed to be sitting in a queue in the barbers at the moment but I forgot and came home. It looks like Julia has forgotten too, as she’s the one who is keen on me looking respectable. That means we have time to have lunch at KFC and I can still go for my booster at 1.30.

After that I am intending to look pale and interesting in front of the TV and eat cake. I’m on a diet, but you have to feed a cold and starve a fever, as they say, and there is a little known second verse – “and eat cake for everything else”. It’s like the National Anthem, there are a lot of lesser known verses to that. When you read them, you can see why they are lesser known. However, I think mine should be better known and will be using it several times a year to ensure it gets out into the world.

Botham’s Whitby

Day 45

I took cake home from work and this seemed to smooth things over. A new cakeshop has just opened over the road from the shop where the sandwich shop used to be.

Then I went to the Numismatic Society for the talk on Smith’s Bank. The banking bit was a little dry but some of the family history was interesting and the speaker (who also happens to be my employer) had done a good job of adding coins to convert it to a suitable talk for a coin society. I will give you a choice of following the link, rather than have me inflict a second hand version of the story on you. It’s not quite as interesting as the talk, but it’s infinitely better than my garbled retelling would be.

There was  a rainbow in the sky tonight as we left the shop, maybe a sign of brighter times. So far we have had a very mild winter and I’m hoping we will get through the next couple of weeks without a storm. The rainbow fade as I got the camera into action, but you can just about see it in the header picture.

The second picture is a cigarette case in the form of a British wartime blue £1. They were changed from green to blue to make counterfeiting harder and were the first British banknotes to include a security thread. After the war the colour returned to blue but the thread was retained. It’s not in as good condition as the last cigarette case we put on eBay, but it’s still interesting.

Wartime Blue £1 on cigarette case

Dreams of Great Wealth

I am not going to say anything about the NHS today as my head might explode with fulminating wrath. The surgery and Pharmacy are, I appreciate, under pressure because nearly everyone is off due to being pinged by Track and Trace. However, that doesn’t excuse all the stupidity that occurred today, both with the surgery and the Pharmacy.

I want two things. I want to be allowed to put my own sticking plasters on my toe and I want my prescriptions dispensed accurately. Today I was, yet again, disappointed n both things.

I will say no more, but it does follow a pattern, as the National Lottery, once again, failed to deliver at the weekend. I hardly buy any tickets these days, as I know I won’t win, but, at a low point, and feeling that £71,000,000 might cheer me up, I did buy a ticket last week. If I’d have ignored the urge I would be £2.50 better off, and would not be feeling let down by those adverts that depict the lucky winner sitting by a swimming pool.

However, I would like to point out that if I had £71 million in the bank, I wouldn’t be wasting my time sitting by a swimming pool. I’d be reading in my magnificent library, breaking off at times to write as inspiration struck, and to dictate my blog posts to a secretary who understood how the block editor worked. At around 3.30 I would stop to sip tea and eat exquisite pastries with Julia.

Sadly, it is just a dream, but if I ever do come into a large amount of cash be assured that I will be equal to the challenge of spending it wisely. At the moment I’m just trying to work out whether I would have my own pastry chef or whether I would have cakes collected from Mrs Botham’s by one of the domestic staff. With great wealth comes a mass of complex decisions.

Car, Garage, Disappointment

Eventually, the phone call came. I have a valve which is sticking open when it should be closed. Phew, that was a relief. Sounds like a simple enough job. What a stupid thought…

The valve, as far as I can tell, exists to release pressure somewhere so that the car can’t do more than 30 mph and accelerates slightly more slowly than me on my way to the salad aisle. It’s part of the system that is there to guard against engine malfunctions. Thirty years ago we didn’t have such things as far as I know. I have certainly never experienced this after many years of driving diesels. This is slightly annoying.

There is, it seem,s no underlying fault. just a sticking valve.

Yes, the safety system has activated itself in the absence of a fault, and is itself the fault. Are you with me so far? The VW Passat I previously owned did 247,000 miles without an engine fault. This one has done a third of that and developed a major fault in the system designed to protect my engine from major faults. This is one step along from programmed obsolescence and one step on from sanity.

They will need to put it up on a special lift, which is currently in use for the next three days, and dismantle the front sub-frame. You can only get to the valve after some major work. So much for German engineering. Who thought it was a good idea to put the valve there?

A part I don’t need, jammed open when it shouldn’t be, and concealed behind many hours of spanner work. This is looking like a triumph for stupidity and a very large bill for labour. Cancel the cautious optimism of the last post.

It’s tempting to let go with a good old moan and a session of “Why me?” but I have better things to do, including eating the last of the Christmas cake.

Let then historical record show that in the day before our third lockdown became law (I believe they will pass it tonight, I passed the time by moaning about garages and cars (an eternal subject for conversation if ever there was one) and eating cake (ditto).



The Chimes of Midday

I’ve just heard the sound of the Council House clock striking. I always feel it’s a good day when air conditions and the wind direction carry the sound. You can, of course, get too much of a good thing, which is why the chimes stop at 10.30. This was done many years ago when hoteliers complained that the bell was keeping guests awake. In the 1970s I spent a night in Durham. The cathedral clock chimes all through the night. All through. Loudly. Never again.

Anyway, apart from that I’ve had an unremarkable day.

Dropped Julia at work. Filled the car (the fuel gauge lit up and pinged). Came home. Did some more of the OU course I started yesterday (it’s a 12 hour course on poetry, nothing heavy), did comments on WP, did a bit of editing, read a couple of internet articles, washed up and realised that it’s midday and I need to get some work done. Also realised I didn’t know how to spell midday so had to look it up.

I had the same problem last week with the plural of roof. I pronounce it rooves, but I’m sure it is correctly, though inaccurately, spelt roofs. Seems I’m wrong and rooves is still acceptable in the UK, even though Doctor Johnson declared it to be obsolete in 1755. It’s always irritated me that it’s spelt differently to way I say it, particularly when wife and calf both go to a v in the plural.

I am so glad I’m not a lexicographer or a scholar of the English language. So many details, so much tedium.

I thought I’d write a post to make sure it’s done (Final of the Great British Bake Off tonight so I won’t be writing much). Laura is my favourite contestant, though not the greatest baker. She’s very clumsy and often drops cakes in the final stages. Then, the next week, when you thing she’d slow down and use both hands she’s back at it, talking, rushing, moving cake one-handed and spilling it again.

It is finished. I’m now going to make a sandwich and move some stuff round so Julia thinks I’ve been tidying up.


A Fine Day Loafing

It’s early afternoon, we’ve just had lunch (Lincolnshire sausages in warm baguettes), and Father Brown is on TV. It could be a touch warmer, but apart from that life is good.

A delivery driver has just turned up with a box containing three meals (my birthday present from Number One Son) – unfortunately I’ve forgotten what they are, though it will be a nice surprise. One is chickpea and peanut butter curry and another is pork steaks with garlic greens but that’s as much as I can remember. I’m feeling a bit guilty because I gave them some harsh feedback when it was requested, much of it on the grounds that they failed to solve a problem which they created needlessly. I just found their answers – they had sent them but I’d overlooked them. I’d better write and apologise.

While I was writing last night’s post I had followed several interesting links and gave myself an idea for another Medal News article. This is good, as all my other ideas have run into problems and I’m not feeling industrious at the moment. I will regret that when we go back to work and I find I have no time (my perennial excuse).

My original plan was to spend my time writing three articles for three different magazines, but one has turned out to be difficult to write, one needs a table (which I don’t feel like compiling ) and the other is turning out to be harder to research than I thought. They will all end up being written but not just now. According to an article on motivation, which I read last night, I have just increased my chances of completing them by telling people I am doing them.

We have just had a visit from  a neighbour. Julia dropped her a card and present off this morning as it is her birthday. She came to give us a plate of cake. Unfortunately we weren’t able to invite her in as we don’t want to be delinquent. This morning the internet carried the news that house sales have started again and people can view houses. So, you can’t invite a neighbour or family member in but you can have an estate agent and a stranger looking at your home. Life is very strange.

Photos are, again, from the free picture library.

cat sleeping on the table

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com