Tag Archives: panic

Management a le poulet sans tete

Just thought I’d showcase my European credentials and vestigial schoolboy French. Also thought I’d avoid the use of English as I know a number of the words I’d like to use are, whilst accurate, likely to cause offence.

We have moved from a stance of splendid  imperturbability to one of headless chicken panic. It took 24 hours. Even news programmes are using words like “drastic escalation” and “dramatic step change”. As of the weekend we will be expected to stop mixing with people and if you are over 70 you have to stay at home for the next three months.

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Pelargoniums

If you were to do a bit of minor theft or low level drug dealing you probably wouldn’t get sentenced to three months. Seems that septuagenarians are currently less socially desirable than petty criminals.

It’s not really going to make a lot of difference to me as I am not noted for visiting pubs, theatres and sporting events. I see a few people in the shop but that is it, and as much of our work consists of packing parcels we can’t do it from home.

It’s actually possible, as Julia has signed us up to a neighbourhood help network, that I’ll be seeing more people than I normally do. I have protested that I’m too old to start being nice to people but, as usual, I have been over-ruled.

On a lighter note, the blackthorn is now in flower, which is always my indicator that Spring has sprung. There is a lot of gorse out around Nottingham now, though that isn’t such a good indicator as there is always some gorse in bloom somewhere.

When gorse is out of flower, kissing is out of fashion, as the saying goes.

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Rudebekia

My camera card is playing up so the photographs are from my spare card. They are bright and cheery even if they aren’t taken today.

A Week is a Long Time on WordPress

And a week is even longer when you can’t get on WordPress…

I had been having intermittent trouble looking at comments for a while, but thought it would probably correct itself. Then, about a week ago, I switched on and couldn’t connect with the site. I tried the other computer, with the same result.

I left it a day because both computers are a bit old, and tried it again, having given them time to rest and regather their strength, or whatever computers do. No connection.

It took a while to find a way of getting help from WP, because I’ve just been used to switching on, clicking a few buttons and getting connected. I couldn’t get onto WP to ask for help and I couldn’t remember addresses or passwords or anything.

Eventually I managed to find help and WP proved very helpful. I was able to provide proof that I owned the site, despite knowing very little about it (tip here – if you don’t remember passwords and things, at least keep some of the reciepts/payment details as proof).

I secured a new password, signed in and…brick wall. I hit the same blank page.

I left it a while and tried again next day. This time I couldn’t even get onto WP, let alone the blank page which originally troubled me. I had been going to contact a few people via Comments and tell them I was temporarily, and involuntarily, off WP but had left it too late – I was completely shut out.

Again I left it. Tried and failed and, after spending several days of rising panic at being deprived of my daily fix of writing about myself (how vain I am, it seems), I decided to register a new account tonight.

As the log-in screen came up, I gave it one last try and connected. I don’t know how, or why, and if anyone explains it I probably still won’t understand.

So I’m back and ready to start writing again. The first thing I am going to work on is a note about keeping proper records so you don’t find yourself unable to log in.

Horses, stable doors, bolted…

Panic, Sprouts and Parsnips

I toyed with the idea of not posting today, but it’s a difficult habit to break. The only drawback to posting on Christmas Day is that people might think I’m a miserable, anti-social misanthrope with no friends, but if you’ve read the blog before you’ll know that’s a fair description.

We’ve had a reasonable Christmas. There was a minor panic yesterday when I realised that I had mis-calculated the cooking times. We have had a fresh turkey crown for so many years that, having bought a frozen one this year, I’d completely forgotten about thawing times. Buying a frozen crown made it easier to buy everything in advance but it did mean I should have started thawing the crown several hours before I actually thought of it.

I dropped Julia off at the shops and the way to work and she rang soon after to tell me that she had been able to buy a fresh turkey crown.

Panic averted.

Today, after a late start and a bacon sandwich, we opened presents, ate chocolate and watched TV before I started on the lunch.

This was turkey, stuffing, redcurrant jelly, pigs in blankets, Hasselback potatoes (done with goose fat), roast potatoes (ditto), roast carrots and parsnips (with cumin), stir-fried sprouts with chestnuts, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. The potatoes, when cooked with goose fat, were better than with olive oil, and made a good centre-piece for the meal.

After a number of successful quizzes on the net we are now watching TV again and eating Turkish Delight. It’s one of the things that defines Christmas, the only time we have Turkish Delight.

Tomorrow we will have another of those defining moments – the only time of the year we have turkey sandwiches.

Our casual Christmas was slightly disturbed by Number Two Son ringing to wish us a Happy Christmas. He is currently the facilities supervisor in a budget Toronto hotel, and spent the night dealing with rambling junkies before returning home to microwave a leftover McMuffin. Travel, as they say, certainly broadens the mind.

Finally, the report on last night’s Brussels Sprouts in batter. After a pleasant interlude consuming the nutty-tasting knobby greens, I can confirm that nothing untoward happened and I remained socially acceptable at all times. Apart from the fact that they are breeding less sulphrous sprouts these days, it appears that their famous capacity for inducing wind occurs mostly when they are over-boiled.

Recycled photos again I’m afraid – I didn’t think of photos until I was looking at an empty gravy-stained plate…

 

Winter Came

We had a touch of winter this morning. It had been frosty last night so I covered the windscreen and went to bed. It turned out to be a good decision and saved a lot of scraping this morning.

It was about minus 4 degrees Centigrade this morning or minus 7 for Number Two Son when he left work out in the countryside). That’s 25 and 19 for those of you working in Fahrenheit – nippy, but a long way from being a polar vortex. So far, despite the gloomy hysteria of the newspapers, it’s been quite a reasonable winter. It’s often like that – newspapers never like the facts to get in the way of a good story.

It’s the same with our exit from Europe – all all gloom and doom with tales of starvation and shortage. We probably will suffer shortages, but mainly because of panic-buyers, not true shortages. I remember this back in the 1970’s – shortages of bread, sugar and toilet rolls come to mind.

I’m going to buy an extra pack of toilet rolls and some tins of beans and corned beef. That, I expect, will see us through.

Anyway, back to the weather – have a look at the photos. It was a good morning for photographs.

These four show variations in colour as I used the camera to pep up the colour. The enhanced photos aren’t too far from the truth, though the greyer ones are probably closer to the truth.

And here are a couple of birds – one Great Tit flying off as I tried to picture it feeding, and one Blackbird assuming an air of mystery in the frosty grass.

In which the day takes a turn for the worse…

I was third in at the phlebotomist, which was about the last thing that went right with the blood testing.

“Hello,” said the smiling young lady, “my name is Lucretia, and I’m a trainee phlebotomist.  Is it alright if I take your blood?”

She wasn’t actually called Lucretia, but I’ve changed names to protect identities.

The whole idea of going to the hospital to be stabbed in the arm is that they are experts and only need to stab once. However, everyone has to learn so I smiled and submitted.

After being stabbed in both arms, I was passed over to a more experienced taker of blood, who nailed it in one.

And that, it would be nice to think, was where it ended.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

After a day of sticking stamps and scanning medallions I got a telephone call from the surgery, telling me, in a slightly panicky way, that the anticoagulant clinic required me to take a test urgently on Friday morning. I’m now booked in for a test at 8.40 tomorrow morning to see what all the fuss is about.

When I find out I’ll let you know.

I’m off to pick Julia up from work now and see how she’s survived her first full day back at work (a day in the gardens followed by an evening as a receptionist).  Then I have to break the news that I won’t be able to take her to work tomorrow because I’m in for more blood tests…

 

Frightened by brassieres

Sorry to mention female underwear, but it seems to have been a feature of this week.

First my sister raised the subject.

She also raised the subject of my comments on Mum’s soup. Just to clarify matters – she was a good cook, and cooked a wide variety of what were seen as adventurous food in the 1970s. Her soup also tasted good. It was just that it didn’t look good.

Anyway, back to brassieres. It seems that they can be quite important to women in Africa, because women with underwear are not only more comfortable but are seen as more likely to have male family members, which frees them from the threat of attack.

You’d think they had enough problems with war, famine and bad water.

There are several charities shipping underwear to Africa, which can include “gently worn” bras. This is one of them.

I have all this on the authority of my sister – please don’t think I sit here thinking about underwear.

It became more of a feature when Julia asked me if I could pick up some bras while I was shopping. Being a well-trained husband I said I would. After all, how difficult can it be?

When is was in my early 20s I once went into Marks & Spencers to buy an underslip as a present. I’m still scarred by the memory. I mean, first you feel like you’re being regarded as a pervert.  Then you go snow blind at the amount of nylon. There is only so much underwear you can see before you start staring around in panic. I was helped out by one of the assistants. It was probably not the first time she’d had to help out.

However, I’m older and wiser now, and more a man of the world. I had the size written on a piece of paper, I have done lots of laundry, there was nothing that could go wrong.

Well, apart from some women staring at me like I shouldn’t be there. I confess I panicked.

Next week I will give Julia a lift to the shop and she will buy her own.

Yes, I know many of you will thinking of this clip.