Tag Archives: masks

A Confederacy of Dunces

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”  – Jonathan Swift

The second shoe fell today – I am laid off until further notice. It wasn’t unexpected, and in some ways it’s a bit of a relief as I now know what is going to happen regarding work. I didn’t want to let anybody down, but I didn’t want to bring any germs home to Julia either.

This isn’t as selfless as it seems. Without Julia I couldn’t cope in a world of technology, political correctness and compassion. It isn’t in my nature and I need someone to guide me through it. I would be lost without her and would just have to fade away, which I don’t want to do that just yet. They call it the widowhood effect.

Having done badly in a round of Pointless which demanded knowledge of US State capitals I will be starting a course of increasing my general knowledge from tomorrow.

I’m also planning on measuring and cataloguing my collection of Peace Medallions.

After that I may rearrange my sock drawer. The question is whether to sort them by colour, length or type.

After that I may run down the street screaming and waving an axe.

I’ve been amusing myself with watching news reports of the coronavirus, or even news reports not about the coronavirus. Listen to the advice then watch what happens.

There were pictures on TV of Italian policemen stopping people for breaking curfew. Some police were wearing masks pulled away from their mouths and noses and others were wearing them over moustaches.

Our government advice is that healthy people should not wear masks, and that masks without eye protection are not useful. Advice for many years has been that masks don’t seal properly if you have facial hair. I have been told that many times by Health & Safety men, but I was working with chemicals, not pathogens. And finally, they only work when you wear them – seems obvious but several of the Italian Police hadn’t thought of that.

Then there were pictures of Alex Salmond. I’ll leave it to you if you read the article but look at how close they all are. That’s not two yards apart. To be honest, even if there was no coronavirus I’d be wary of standing too close to Alex Salmond after some of the things that were said at the trial.

How about the daily press conferences? They seem to have changed now but until yesterday the journalists all seemed rather tightly packed. Have a look at this picture– how far apart are they?

Do as I say and not as I do seems to be the watchword.

Tonight a news crew stopped a man in London and asked what he was doing. He was filming for his YouTube channel.

“Should you really be doing that?” they asked.

Am I the only one detecting the irony of the question? I’ve been saying for days that we’d be better off without all these news reporters roaming the streets to complain about people roaming the streets.

So there you are – the inside of my head during a day in the life of a crisis.

I will look for a picture, but I’m not sure I have any that are appropriate. Instead, here are some ducks on the duckpond at the Mencap garden. Julia took them on Friday when we popped by to water and check seedlings.

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Ducks on a Pond

If you want a good book to read whilst self-isolating try this.

Man with a pink Glue Gun

I’m getting in touch with my feminine side today. It’s not something I set out to do, but as I using a pink glue gun for craft activities, it’s sort of unavoidable. Added to that I am leaving a definite hint of fragrance as I move. That was definitely unavoidable.

The lack of diversity in rural gene pools isn’t something I’m qualified to discuss from a medical point of view, though with a family tree that rarely married anyone outside walking distance, I’m not one to point fingers.

However, there does seem to be a peculiarity in the farmer’s family in that they all seem to fear the natural smell of toilets. To be fair, having worked extensively with manure I’m probably desensitised to the smell. They, on the other hand, insist on booby trapping the toilets with sprays that fire a blast of corrosive scent whenever they detect movement. It wouldn’t be so bad if they positioned the things properly.

In recent days I’ve nearly been asphyxiated by one that faces directly into the sink, and fired a blast into my lungs as I washed my hands. This morning I was hit again, this time by one positioned to go off as soon as you open the toilet cubicle. I opened the door to check all was well for our visiting group when a blast of spray hit me.

We’ve had complaints from schools about kids getting a faceful of chemicals, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect. Like so many things, we move it and explain why, they move it back.

At the moment I am still coughing, and still reek of cheap scent, though at least my eyes aren’t running now. It’s at times like these that I wonder how we can use so many aerosols in a place called The Ecocentre. The answer, I fear is that ecological principles are outweighed by the chance to make my life miserable.

That’s why I smell like the toilet in a three star hotel.

Why, you may ask, the pink glue gun and the pursuit of craft activities?

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Pink Glue Gun and mask making

The answer to that is money. A group made a late booking, Julia is working today, and I have stepped into the breach. We will be making autumn masks again today and I have just been making the blanks.

You take a paper plate, make a cut from rim to centre and then overlap the cut edges and glue them in place. It make a cone shape, though you can’t really see that in the photo. Here are some pictures of finished masks, and a link.

 

The pink glue gun is because Julia has a pink one after I complained she kept leaving my black one blocked up. Once we had two, the inevitable happened, and we managed to pack the black one away and forget where we put it.

I could make excuses for that, but in this case it really is down to my lack of organisation.

 

Poppies and the end of the beginning

The poppy project is starting to take shape. Apart from that, it’s been a strange day – D minus 47, or minus 13 if you count days we will actually meet.

Fortunately the group is taking it well, with a few mutterings about farmers and plenty of discussion about what they are going to replace us with. It’s a little sad to be so easily replaced but that’s just how it is. In another way, I was thinking that it’s good that we have taken them to this point and they feel happy to embark on a new venture.  If this had happened a few years ago I’m sure we would have had more trouble about the change.

We’re not finished yet, as we’re still looking for somewhere to go, though we’re driven by optimism more than reality.

Dave, one of the founders, came to visit. He was working with Julia at the council when his contract came to an end and she decided she was fed up of constantly re-applying for her own job. The rest, as they say, is history. He’s been ill for a while, but is now on the way to recovery. That brightened the day, as the group always likes to see him. We’re going to get Men in Sheds to help repair his old electric wheelchair, which is currently refusing to go in the same direction as the joystick.

It seems like a small enough fault, but in the context of a man who likes to get out and about this represents the very narrow margin between sightseeing on a river bank and being featured in a high profile emergency rescue.

He’s challenged me to a wheelchair race when he gets it fixed, so watch this space.

Vicki brought the poppies in from the Barnstone Brownies, so the display is looking good. She’s really put a lot of effort into this, with making poppies and doing research – shame we won’t be able to build on it for next year. I’m thinking of burying the poppies after we’ve used them. It will be both an artistic statement, and an ancient military tactic: there is so much salt in them that the new tenants, with their promised landscaping, may find there is a permanent bald patch where little will grow.

We’ve also been doing a bit of packing, some Christmas planning, and rehearsing the Christmas entertainment. That might be better expressed as Christmas “entertainment” as a bit of Bollywood style belly dancing, a carol (yet to be decided) and a rendition of I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts is going to have an uncertain effect on the audience.

Finally, we have a picture of me wearing a hat from the lost property. According to Julia I look like the oldest of the Lost Boys. I’m not sure how to take that. If it’s a reference to Peter Pan it’s probably OK, but if it’s a reference to the film I’m not so keen.

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The Oldest Lost Boy

What we did next

So, what have we been doing apart from egg-based humour?

Well, we ate doughnuts, made Halloween masks, and I tried to take a photo of a green woodpecker through dirty triple glazing. The doughnuts and masks were successful. The photographs weren’t, as the glazing and dirt mess with the autofocus. When I went out to try for some clearer photos the woodpecker (a) hid and (b) flew away.

 

 

later I saw a kestrel perching on the brush shaft of the hooded youth statue. I got my camera, I switched it on…

…and got the Battery Empty message.

So I swapped batteries…

…and got the same result.

I then remembered that I hadn’t recharged them, because they’d run out late one day – too late to recharge at work and too stupid to remember once I got home.  Bah!

Can’t really complain though, as we got great views of kestrels and a buzzard perching by the roadside on the way to work. The buzzard was on a fence post along the new A46, perching at about eye level. We couldn’t have asked for a better view.

Later in the afternoon we cleared some beds, played a Dracula-themed snakes and ladders game (Julia kept winning) and finished off Monday’s biscuits. They had kept well, and we really should have left them a few days longer, but you know how it is.

I can vouch for most of my biscuit recipes lasting three days. If you ever find me vouching for them lasting longer, ask yourself why they are still not eaten.

At least, having seen two small falcons today, Julia was able to make a quip about the coming of night and the fact that we would be having Orkestrel Manoeuvres in the Dark.

Pop music puns can be tricky as they are sensitive to the age of those listening, but for those of us who remember the band, it’s a quality pun.