Tag Archives: holiday

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.

Am Awkward Day

It’s Monday, so it should be the start of a new week, but somehow it doesn’t seem much of anything – being in that awkward gap between Christmas and New Year. When I was working with poultry it was never a problem as they needed attention every day. The same when I was in the antiques trade – I always had plenty to do in the days between Christmas and New Year because people had Christmas money to spend and time off to attend fairs. Even when the kids were at home, we had plenty to do.

This year, locked down and instructed not to travel, it’s trickier, so I decided that today I would lounge around the house in dressing gown and slipper socks and loaf my life away. It’s after 11pmnow and the plan seems to have worked reasonably well.

As usual, after watching a bunch of high achievers on Christmas University Challenge, I’m left wondering how they managed to rise so high in their professions when they are unable to answer comparatively simple general knowledge questions. Same goes for Celebrity Mastermind, Even the contestants on ordinary Mastermind didn’t exactly shine like beacons of brilliance. The contestants on Only Connect, of course, continue to mystify me.

In other words, I’ve watched far too many quizzes today. However, while I’m watching quizzes I’m not eating, so that is good. We still have chocolate and biscuits in the house, as we are cutting back. I suspect we may not finish them until well into 2021. That’s partly lifestyle choice and partly over-exposure to Weight Watchers adverts.

I just found that I can select a month when looking back at old photos. Seven years on WP and still haven’t learnt how to do it!

Seal pup – Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

This is a seal photo from the days we were allowed to travel.


A Lazy Week

I’ve just squandered a week of my life. This is partly due to waiting for a call from the builder who never called, and partly due to laziness.

I have done nothing of importance, been nowhere and written nothing apart from the blog.

Unless you count replacing a plug on Julia’s reading lamp. That’s more difficult than you think in these days of moulded on plugs.

I had three choices. One was to replace the plug with one bought from the supermarket. Julia put a stop to that one by moving it. Women have a mysterious superpower where anything they move tends to disappear.

That left two choices.

As the fault with the plug was that someone (who may or may not be the person who moved the replacement) broke the main prong (the one that works the shutter and opens up the other two holes) there is an option of wedging the shutter open with matchsticks. However, even I consider this to be a tad dangerous, despite my history of alternative electrical arrangements.

So in the end I took the plug off another appliance and used that. This avoided the necessity of moving away from the TV and going out in the cold.

And that brings me back to the question of wasting a week. I’m feeling happy, rested and in tiptop mental condition. Maybe it isn’t a waste after all, maybe I should do more of it. And maybe, as a marketing exercise, I should rebrand it as “relaxation” or even mindfulness“.

Sorry about the picture, I’m very lazy. If I could use Photoshop I’d bung a Santa Hat on a puffin, but as I can’t, it’s another robin.

Parenting, Porridge and Pessimism

We had a lie in until just after eight and got ready without having to rush to a deadline, then, in case the luxury of the moment should spoil us, we had porridge. Without sugar.

If porridge had a family tree it wouldn’t be far from wallpaper paste on the chart, probably a second cousin, but it’s good for me. It’s full of dietary fibre, it’s economical and it helps build stoicism.

I will spare you the next few lines, but let’s say that they weren’t cheerful and the spirit of optimism has taken a holiday too. All I have left to look forward to is five and a half years of work before I retire and embark on life with some very poor pension arrangements. Stoicism is going to come in very useful.

I know I’m getting old as I’m entering the penultimate stage of parenthood. I’ve pushed them around in a pram, worried about their health, maturity, education and careers. I’m now worrying that I won’t be able to leave them anything when I die. That only leaves the final stage, where they have to worry about my health and push me around in a wheelchair. I only hope my brain lives long enough for me to appreciate the irony.

Julia has gone to town to renew her bus card. I have sorted out my car insurance details, moved stuff round to give access to the electricians, and taken waste paper out. With all the pizza menus, seed catalogues and generally useless waste I reckon I’ve just dumped a good couple of pounds of waste paper in the recycling bin.

According to the 2011 census figures there are 126,131 households in Nottingham so that’s over 252,262 pounds of waste, and that’s accumulated in just a couple of months so the annual figure will be 1,513,572 lbs of waste paper. That’s 686 metric tonnes of paper that need never have been produced.

I just looked Nottingham City Council up to see if they had figures that I could compare and they don’t. They do, however, tell me that they give out 160,000 single-use recycling bags last year. They are for people in flats. They are taking steps to end this, but it seems that it’s taken a long time to get round to it.

Apart from seeing the seals, as mentioned yesterday, I don’t have many plans for the next week. I’d better think of something fast, as worrying about death, children and recycling isn’t what I had in mind when I booked a week off.

I may give some thought to feeding ducks. What people don’t realise when they talk about “feeding ducks” is that there are people out there who will quite happily tip out a pack of white bread and then, after five minutes of laughter, will walk off leaving bread floating on the water and cluttering up the shore. The result – apart from a nutritionally dodgy meal for ducks – rats and festering bread.

Laundry, Laziness and Lincolnshire

The new week beckons, and as I’ve booked a holiday I have nothing to do but collect my camera from work and host a visit from the electricity board, who have to bring the earthing of the house up to modern standards.

It’s been OK since 1928 but British Gas won’t tackle fitting the new boiler until it is done. As with all work of this type I expect they will look for more faults and give me a lecture on the age of the system. Pardon me for the gloomy nature of my expectations, but I have a wealth of experience to back it up.

I’m also waiting for a builder to contact me. The wait is a worry as it suggests a cavalier attitude to punctuality and customer care. However, all the decent tradesmen we used to use have retired so we have to find a new one.

Three hours later…

Laundry is done. The shopping is done. I have delivered a lecture on economy to myself – though only after spending £6.40 on stuff we didn’t need. It’s time to write the rest of the post as the bacon and black pudding cooks. I’m doing it in the oven with some other stuff for later.

But first, noticing an absence of post from last night I had to find it and publish it. I seem to have prepared everything then failed to post it. Another Senior Moment in a growing line of them.

That was pretty much the theme of last night’s conversation, with four of the nine present being sixty plus and one teetering on the brink of it, the conversation was mainly about health, holidays and memory (or lack thereof). I didn’t actually catch all of it as my hearing is also going.

Three hours after that…

Lunch has been consumed. Jessica Fletcher has brought the killers to justice in her home state of Maine – the most dangerous place in the Union, if TV is to be believed – and the beef stew is bubbling gently on the hob.

I’ve prepared the Mediterranean veg for tonight’s fish cakes, but that is as far as I’ve reached in my culinary plans. I did have plans for a vegetable curry too, but so far I’ve failed on that. The idea of a cup of tea by a warming gas fire is far more attractive.

And with that brief snapshot of life in the Midlands, I will drift off with my cup of tea and see if my wife has any birthday chocolate left.


Donna Nook – the seals are back!

Seal Report for last week – 362 bulls, 1,254 cows and 872 pups. That’s quite a lot of seals. I’m planning on getting the cameras sorted and heading off for the coast at the end of next week, though this depends on the rain to a certain extent. Not so much the rain itself as we are used to that, but the floods might be a problem. There are still active flood warnings in effect for Lincolnshire, and high tides are contributing to the problem.

No1 Son Has a Bad Day

He was supposed to fly from Gatwick yesterday. However, he ended up with a daytrip to Brighton whilst waiting for his flight yesterday and today headed off for a weekend in East Anglia. It’s not the Christmas trip to Innsbruck which he had planned, but he’s better off than a lot of people who have had their plans disrupted.

Assuming that this is an eco-protest rather than a terrorist attack or prank, I’m not altogether out of sympathy with the protest, as we are killing the planet with all our travel.

However, a couple of hours would have made the point without wrecking Christmas for thousands of people.

It now seems that airlines and travel insurance companies may be able get away with taking the money and cancelling the flight as it is “an extraordinary event” and not covered by insurance. Nice work if you can get it, but typical of insurance companies and airlines, who never seem to take their responsibilities too seriously.

I’m expecting a major backlash against drones now, and some questions in parliament about the lack of effective action against the drone.


Jute, Jam and Journalism

Today, I’ll start with DD4.

DD is Dundee, and Dundee is famous for the three things in the title. We went there on holiday just over ten years ago and I feel quite nostalgic about it. The kids were still young enough to like their parents and used to enjoy seeing new things. The wilderness years of teenagery and rebellion were still in the future.

We missed the Keiller factory, though we did see fields of fruit canes, which took care of the “jam” element. D C Thomson, publishers of many famous comics and annuals, are also based there. I say “famous” rather than “comprehensible” because it includes Scottish classics such as Oor Wullie and The Broons, which are distinctively Scottish in language. It’s a bit like reading Burns, but with the bonus of pictures.

We did, however, see the “jute“. In fact we saw a lot more jute than we wanted to, as we were forced to endure a lengthy film and display by a stern woman who seemed unwilling to let us go without forcing us full of information on jute. I suspect she’d once been a Gauleiter in the Jute Information Board or some such body.

Though we were interested in the jute, we were actually there for the Tay Bridge and the Discovery.

I’m not sure exactly which postcode it all fell under but Dundee is DD1 to DD4 so it will do. With hindsight we should have spent more than just one day in Dundee as there’s a lot to see.

It was a great holiday in some ways, and a low point in another. At the time someone owed me £1,200, and the recovery process wasn’t going well. After one particular phone call I made life hell for everyone, which really wasn’t fair. It’s one of those things that comes back to haunt me – bad parent, bad husband. Fortunately it was only for part of a day.

The debtor eventually came up with £600. Then he died, with no assets and a gambling problem I’d been unaware of.

He drowned after falling into a ditch and whilst in drink. (Gambling wasn’t his only problem).  There was some talk about a car being seen speeding away from the area where he was found. There was also a suggestion that I’d been involved. And that was why I sometimes tell people I was a suspect in a murder case. (I wasn’t, because the police never contacted me, but it makes me sound more interesting).

The interesting fact about DD4?


There are three towns in the UK with football stadiums less than a mile apart.

At three – Liverpool and Everton. Under a mile apart.

At two – Nottingham Forest and Notts County – the closest football league grounds in England, just 300 yards apart.

At one – Dundee and Dundee United – the closest in the UK – just 100 yards apart. Look at the map and gasp in wonder. They are close.




Sun, Sea and Sand. And Sunburn.

I’m sitting here with several hundred photographs and experiencing that warm glow well known to bald men who forget their sun hats in the middle of a heatwave. It’s quite sore at the moment, though it’s nothing like it has been for the last few days. I never knew that my scalp flexed so much until it became painful to move.

In just a few hours I returned to a simpler time, to an era when sun wasn’t linked to skin cancer, and I was a carefree youth. I spent a week walking around Norfolk in 1976 and lost the skin off my back and shoulders. Since then I have been more careful – until I hit my second childhood this week. Anyone who is familiar with Swan Vestas will be able to imagine what I look like. (If you aren’t familiar, they are matches with pale stems and bright red heads).

We just had a few days in East Anglia. I’ve been taking more exercise than usual and getting more sleep so despite having plenty of material to write about I’ve not done much. Sorry about. When I eventually change the name of the blog I’m considering The Lazy Blogger as a title. It’s not only an accurate title but it’s pretty close to what Julia calls me all the time.

I’m just getting back into my stride – it was the sort of holiday you need a holiday to recover from. Seven piers, two forts and a nature reserve don’t see themselves. I also had to consume two lots of haddock and chips and a cream tea for the purposes of research. Lesser men would have wilted under the pressure. I merely whined a little.

All will be revealed in due course.

For now I offer a selection of photographs of Julia in holiday mood.



More Guest Photos

Suddenly realised, at 11.54, that I needed to post before midnight. What should I post? Well, here are some photos from Julia’s trip to Malta. Featured image shows her with offspring, in case you are wondering who the two strange men are. I particularly like the one of the cactus, though the one of Julia isn’t too bad. The Seawater Distillery building is quite interesting too.








A New Theory of Relativity

This morning Julia’s alarm, as usual, went off shortly before mine. They are both on our telephones, which are presumably;y linked to an atomic clock somewhere,  so I’m at a loss to explain the difference. My car clock is set from my watch, which I keep two minutes fast,and it agrees with neither phone.

In the days before mobiles we had a time signal on the radio, and everyone seemed to take punctuality more seriously.

So, having had a disturbed night lay there waiting to fall asleep again. This half hour delay allows her to use the bathroom without feeling hassled and allows me to avoid making breakfast. This is either the mark of a caring husband, or a lazy sluggard. I have censored her actually words, but the last three letters are the same. In another example of relativity I prefer not to subject my readers  to profanity.

Anyway, back to the relativity of time. Normally I fall asleep for my extra half hour. Today I didn’t. It seemed to drag on forever. I started to wonder if I’d been in such a deep sleep that Julia had left without me. But no, When I checked my alarm the “hours” had passed in 23 minutes. The remaining seven minutes also dragged…

Normally I’d love an extra half hour in bed. This morning, mainly because we are resisting the use of heating, I decided to tough it out under the duvet as luxury turned into an endurance test.

And that, if I may be so bold, is my Theory of Very Ordinary Relativity. It’s not about things like time travel, or time moving slower at the tops of high buildings. If it was I’m sure that geriatric scientists would live in tower block, not bungalows.

It’s about very ordinary things, like not all time being of equal value and a week on holiday passing quicker than a week at work.

Unless (a) your wife starts worrying about whether she locked the door properly, or (b), you are spending it in Berwick-on- Tweed. But that is another story.