Tag Archives: changes

An Unusual Medallion and Some Reflections on Life

As we sorted through our stock yesterday, adding items relevant to the Duke of Edinburgh, we found this medallion. It is, according to the books, the only souvenir medallion issued for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Phillip Mountbatten.  The wedding, in 1947, came at a bad time for commemorative medals, as raw materials were in short supply and I assume people were thinking of other things.  In 1951, the Lesney company (later to be makers of the famous Matchbox range) nearly closed down because they were unable to get supplies of zinc, due to the needs of the Korean War. We also had bread and potato rationing in the years after the war due to bad harvests, neither of which had been rationed in the war.

A a further example of royal hand-me-downs, as mentioned in the above link. The famous Coronation coach model made by Lesney (a million selling souvenir) was originally designed as a commemorative for George VI and later remodelled after his death to become the Coronation coach model for the Queen. Cynicism in royal souvenirs has clearly existed for some time.

Royal Wedding Medallion 1947 Reverse

 

Royal Wedding Medallion 1947 Reverse

It’s not the most6 artistic medallion, but it does the job and shows a feature of many royal commemoratives, which persists to the present day – the Queen is depicted using a good likeness and the Duke is only identifiable as the Duke because he is next to his wife. I have other examples of this, but won’t bore you with them.

 

 

 

 

It appears that it wasn’t just me who thought the TV coverage hit the wrong note. I know it’s difficult but turning over both BBC channels to coverage of the Duke was, I feel, excessive. I thought that coverage of Diana’s demise was over the top, but it was at least unexpected, and it was news. Having said that, I have still not forgiven the British public for their great outpouring of grief for someone who, and I pick my words carefully, wasn’t really of much importance to most of us. It seems the BBC have probably overreacted because they were criticised for their lack of seriousness in dealing with the death of the Queen Mother.  I can’t remember what they did, so it was probably about right.

It’s an example of the way things have changed. In 1947 Britain still made things, These days we ship huge quantities of goods into the country from China. Plastic, in those days, was a wonder material. These days it’s held to be responsible for so much that is wrong with the way we live. In 1947 we produced a white metal medallion as a commemorative. Today, I am bracing myself for a deluge of low quality commemorative coins.

He has, it seems, left instructions for his funeral to be simple, which is pretty much what you would expect from a man who used to cook his own breakfast (in contrast to some of his bone-idle issue).

 

Drifting Thoughts

Work went well yesterday and by 2.00 I had the parcels packed and in the post. I walked back into the shop thinking that my next move should be to ring Julia and tell her that I would be able to pick her up. This is always a problem on Friday as she finishes a bit earlier than normal and it can be a bit difficult.

As I got back to the computer I realised that we had a new order. It was for one gum card (Alma Cogan from the A&BC Who-Z-At Star Series, 1961). That’s easy enough – compliments slip, into a holdr (we have some left over from a stamp collection we bought) , into a board backed envelope, first class stamp and address.

While I was doing that another order came in – banknote. Same again. Easy to find and simple to pack.

Then another came in. He wanted fifty different items. I haven’t a clue where half of them are…

So Julia didn’t get a lift home last night and I worked late. However, as I’m currently being paid for my full  week for working one day, I can’t really complain if I have to work a bit longer.

It’s amazing how quickly I adjust. When I started full time work at the age of 16 we used to do five nine hour days, then I moved to doing six eight hour days. We had two weeks holiday in those days. Am I sounding old and crusty?

Now I do  six hour days and have four weeks holiday. I work Saturdays but have Sundays and Wednesdays off (the latter being my choice so I get a day off when Julia does). It’s not hard. In fact I’d like to do longer days, as it hardly seems worth it to go in for six hours.  The strange thing is that I still feel tired by the end of the week. It’s not just an age thing, because I know someone a lot younger than me who has similar hours and he complains about how onerous his working life is.

I think we’ve just got softer as a nation. At the risk of sounding like one of the Four Yorkshiremen, there are people who are just ten years younger than me who think they are badly done to as they work 35 hours and week and have  a month off, plus Bank Holidays. For the sake of my American readers, who are probably reading this with an expression of disbelief, here is how the rest of the world does it. Even Kazakhstan and South Sudan have better holiday provision than you do.

Work, gum cards, holidays, snowflakes – amazing where a blog can take you.

The Bludgeonings of Chance

Three weeks ago we had freedom, full shops and nothing to fear, and we didn’t appreciate how lucky we were.

Three weeks ago it was cold and I was wearing a fleece and jumper in the house and sleeping under two duvets. Now I have discarded the fleece and jumper and a duvet. However, it looks like the cold may be making a return, so things may not have changed as much as I thought.

Three weeks ago I was always tired, as I never managed to get any decent sleep. These days I am remarkably well rested and and my life has taken on a natural rhythm, which sees me sitting up until the early hours then sleeping in until it is time to get up and eat brunch. It’s not a way of living that will survive the resumption of work, but it’s very relaxing.

For me, life in lockdown has not been too bad. There have been bits where I worried about where all the food had gone, and even a short period where I worried about dying. Then I realised that I wasn’t going to starve and that there was nothing I could do about dying. So I  forgot to worry.

I’m not really worrying about anything right now. I’m taking steps to ensure a good supply of food and I’m keeping myself isolated but that’s not the same as lying awake at night worrying about starvation and death.

I have accumulated a number of health problems that are mainly to do with over-indulgence, and if the coronavirus gets me it will be my own fault. To be honest, until I read the information on factors that might lead to my death I didn’t even think I was ill. I kept reading about elderly people with underlying health problems and thinking “Poor sods. I’m glad I’m not one of them.”

Then I actually read the list and realised I was one of them.

I am currently preparing for death by looking up famous last words and combing through poetry for suitable quotes.

It doesn’t do to be morbid. On the other hand it’s just as well to have your famous last words ready, because if they aren’t good enough they may never become famous.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Burntstump Country Park, Notts

The photographs are, again, from a time when I was allowed to drive to places and walk round.

Cake as a Cure

Just a quick post today as I have had a lazy day eating cake and anti-inflammatories.

One of them seems to have worked as the pain and swelling in my foot has gone down. If I am attacked by joint pain in future I will try cake as my first choice of treatment.

I’m currently watching Sense and Sensibility on TV. For me, Jane Austen is better on TV, and Sense and Sensibility is also better in the Emma Thompson version. I confess I’ve always found Austen difficult to read. While I’m at it I may as well admit I feel the same about the Brontes.

I am not a great reader of classical literature, as my attempts at self-improvement have shown over the last few years, as I tried to plough through several variations of the 100 greatest novels.

Although the plots may end up tweaked for film and TV it doesn’t really matter as I’m watching for entertainment rather than as an academic pursuit.

Today’s photos are of the owl sculpture at Harlow Carr garden – it works better when you are standing there next to it, rather than in a photograph.

I can’t think of a title – it’s that sort of day

We just had an interesting problem. Julia is working with an old notepad, or whatever we used to call small computers before we had all the stuff you can get now. You know the one – it looks like a small laptop instead of the current ones, which look like large phones. Having said that, a lot of phones also look like large phones compared to the old-fashioned phones. Life, and fashion, can be strange.

After charging and setting it going she found the screen was upside down. It took ages to sort out, particularly as she can’t read upside down. I can, as it’s a useful skill to have when visiting offices and trying to sell things to people. She was adopting a female approach – logic and trying all the buttons in an orderly fashion. I tried route one – went on my laptop and typed in “upside down screen”. Thirty seconds later the problem was solved. Sometimes a direct approach is best.

I’m now basking in self-congratulation. Julia is, it seems, unmoved by my brilliance.

To be fair, she’s probably still confused that I didn’t try hitting it,which always used to be my preferred option. Over the years I’ve discovered that hitting computers hardly ever works. That’s a feature I’d like to see on modern technology – a special reset switch that activates when you hit the malfunctioning item.

The answer, in case you ever need it, is – Control + Alt + the Up arrow.

I’ve finished my list of local Farmers’ Markets, though it’s likely to be of limited use to most of my readers. If anyone wants a copy (covering approximately a 40 miles radius round Nottingham) let me know and I’ll send you a copy.  There are 26 of them.

The poppy photo? Well, I always like to have a photo if I can, and it seemed seasonal.

The Wasteland

No, not the poem, just a judgement on the remains of our old Butterfly Garden. We had a look while we were visiting the farm on Friday to visit Men in Sheds.

There is nobody in the centre or kitchen anymore, as things didn’t work out. This is a shame as they did a lot of work and it has presumably cost them a lot of money. It may still be costing them money if they signed a lease.

Sadly, without our (free) help, the farm appears unable to maintain the place.

Standing and looking at the place we spent five years working you half expect a tumbleweed to roll past, or a loose door to creak in the wind.

The willow work is out of control, the buddleias are going mad and the log xylophone has been torn out.

In other beds the shasta daisies, the borage and the oregano have all been ripped out.

As a result we didn’t see many as many pollinators as we should have been and there were no brown butterflies, which used to love the oregano.

 

It’s seven months since we had to close down (or were evicted, to be more accurate) and the negative feelings are gradually fading as we move other things.

It’s also time to re-evaluate the title and content of the blog, as it’s clearly no longer the story of a Nottinghamshire Care Farm. I’ve been thinking of this for a while, and putting it off as it seems so final.

Cleaning up

We had a day on the farm cleaning up today, which was rather sad.

It was a cold and blustery day – you can tell it was blustery from the angle of the feeder in the picture, but you’ll have to take my word for the temperature.

We spoke to the lady who is moving in to run a project, agreed a price for the polytunnel and found out that she is now on version 9 of her plan for the site as the farmer and incoming tenants keep changing their minds about what she can have. That’s life on the farm – you pay your rent and you get messed about.

It seems that the architects will be flattening the allotment area – all the herbs, the rhubarb and the keyhole beds are under threat. The plan is to erect a selection of yurts and garden rooms.

According to the internet there were two Waxwings in the neglected orchard in Flintham so we went to look for them as it’s only the next village. We didn’t see any, though there were plenty of Fieldfares about.

Best bird of the day turned out to be a Redpoll perching in a tree by the Ecocentre when we pulled up. That’s now the seconf redpoll we’ve had at the centre and the first for this year. I managed one blurred photo before it flew away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fieldfare

In the afternoon we tried again – no Waxwings, but there were about 60 Fieldfares with a dozen Blackbirds and a single, silent, Long-tailed Tit.

 

One day at a time

There are a number of things that I’d change with the world if this was one of those sci-fi films where a well-meaning man was given the power to wreck the world with good intentions. I’d have to ask for world peace, well you would, wouldn’t you? And en end to disease. But with more people on the planet this would pretty much lead to the end of the world.

Back to the drawing board.

Everything you ask for has probably got unforseen consequences. I won’t go through them all here, but as an example, paying a fair price to producers in the developing world will only mean they consume more, and probably buy more Nutella.

The point of this is two-fold, one is that big changes can be dangerous so maybe we should all look to small changes. I’ve just started having meat-free days. I can’t bear to describe myself as a part-time vegetarian because that would align me with those misguided individuals who think that eating only fish (or even chicken) makes them vegetarian. I’m just a man saving money on his shopping, and as a side-effect of this I save –

84,000 gallons of water 

245 pounds of grain

7,700 sq feet of rain forest

15.5 gallons of gasoline

87 square feet of topsoil from erosion

I’m not totally convinced about all the figures, as I’m pretty sure that giving up a pork chop a week won’t actually save 7,000 square feet of rain forest, and the gallon will be American, so it’s only about 11 proper gallons.. However, it does make sense from a lot of other viewpoints.

If we all give up a pork chop a week it might put some pig farmers out of business, so we should ensure we give up imported meat. This will save fuel and, from a purely selfish point of view, shift the problem to some other country.

It’s not easy making ethical decisions is it?