Tag Archives: paperwork

Socks and Seagulls

I’ve confirmed my hospital date, I’ve eaten cake from one of the neighbours and I’ve bought socks with grips on the bottom. They seem to be the preferred footwear in hospital these days. They did lend me a pair last week, but as usual they don’t do my size. It’s not as if I have fat feet, just a size or two bigger than average.

I’ve also written a book review, made up my diary, developed a system of paperwork and exercised my bad foot. The “system” consists of tucking current papers into the back of my diary and putting an elastic band around it all. Once the paperwork is no longer current I file it in a plastic folder as this makes it easier to lose in bulk. The “exercise” consisted of walking to the fridge and answering the front door to accept the cakes.

From this I presume you can see why Julia laughs in an ironic manner when I refer to the future date “when I retire”.

She has had a fuller day than I have, preparing for a job interview, holding a meeting at the community accounting group she chairs and doing associated paperwork.

However, because I have used more words to describe my day it looks like I’ve been busier than she has.

I suppose I should have taken a photograph of the cakes. They were miniatures for an event tomorrow, the open day at the hospital garden. Hopefully the weather will improve as they put a lot of effort into the gardening. I may give it a miss, as I’ve seen it enough recently, but Julia is going.


The picture is a Herring Gull walking on the top of my car in Llandudno. Fortunately the recent rain has washed away the other evidence.



Time for a lightweight title

I think that title fits the bill. I’ve being trying to be more serious recently after a reading a book with a chapter on Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO as those in the know call it). You will often find it mentioned in spam emails and under titles like How I raised myself from Failure to Success in Blogging in Five Easy Steps. 

However, seriousness isn’t my natural state and I have been gradually relaxing. If you have read my new blog (pies-and prejudice.com) you will have noticed that the titles are much more factual on that one. It’s a strain but I’m managing it. Gems like Brockleby’s Stilton Pork Pie, devoid of puns and alliteration, are the ones, it seems, that will attract the search engines. Once I’ve attracted the search engines I will attract readers and once I have readers success is sure to follow. Success, in this case, can be defined as the offer of free pies.


Brockleby’s Stilton Pork Pie or the lunch of Professor Quatermass?

See what I did there? Or was mention of the other blog so subtle that you missed it? And the possibility of free pies? Oh yes, I’m getting very commercial.

Meetings today.

Catching up with paperwork after that.

Taking pictures for an ID guide to hedgerow foraging for a school that is coming next week.

Resisting temptation to include poisonous plants as this is bad for repeat bookings.

Looking through baking books for inspiration. I have just been through Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads. It cost me £3 from a bargain book shop, against a somewhat optimistic £14.99 cover price for a 140 page paperback. Well, is white bread, white tin bread, batch bread, cottage loaf, milk loaf great bread? I don’t think so.  How about Named Bread, which is bread made into letters? Then you get into the breads with random things in them – halloumi and mint, peanut bread and a variety of fruit breads. I’m sure they are all good breads in their own way, but 100 Great Breads might be claiming a bit much. Some good recipes though, and I can feel my love of bread coming back.

Also having a look at his How to Bake (cost me £8 from TESCO – lost count of the number of recipes, but definitely over 100 varied ones – not all bread).

It’s time to start planning a gradual escalation of baking effort for the group as we work towards our Christmas party. Wednesday was simple biscuits, Monday is saltdough poppies  and after that it is ten weeks until we produce the Christmas centrepiece.

Julia bought me a set of cutters from Lakeland yesterday whilst buying jam supplies. I want to use them now…




I spoke too soon, and am served more lemons…

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

Oh yes, it does!

Not only was I wrong in thinking I was done with paperwork for a while (or “paperwork”, I suppose, seeing it is actually on a flash drive) but the task I was given has a distinct tang of citrus about it.

New job – sort out the database. I use the term loosely. It’s nearly 500 addresses. Four hundred are in alphabetical order by forename and the other 100 have merely been written in as we obtained them. I used it last week and found that we had 48 emails returned as undeliverable.

I have removed some, corrected others and after wasting several hours I now have a list of addresses that are probably accurate. They are, however, still sorted in a most peculiar way…

On a more interesting note we have done bark rubbings, picked apples, seen the new Polish bantams (hatched from our own hatching eggs by a local school in July) and carried on the preparations for the Education Tent at Flintham Ploughing Match (though we’re monitoring rainfall in case it gets rained off).

We also have a mystery on our hands, having had three birds delivered on Saturday and only having two in the run by Monday. We’re either looking for fox with opposable thumbs, a bantam with a shovel or a Chicken Rustler. Chicken Rustling is uncommon round here, but as the other two are close to impossible I’m having to follow Conan Doyle ( “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”) and put up a Wanted poster.


Julia with camera-shy Polish bantam

Paper, work and play

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

George Bernard Shaw

That’s it!

The paperwork mountain has been reduced to a clear desk top and there is only one outstanding task pricking my conscience. I’m unsure whether to do it this afternoon or keep it as a reminder that life consists of light and shade.

Maybe I will ignore it and just blame someone else if anyone asks about it..

The IT man failed to show up this morning (excuse is that he didn’t check his emails), we have a someone coming in to talk about working in the cafe this afternoon and a photographer from the local paper coming to take photos for the Men in Shed project.

There’s a link to our radio interview about Men in Sheds here –

BBC Radio Nottingham  – its 2 hours 10 minutes in.

I don’t have audio on the computer so I’m not even sure if my inglorious minute was cut or not, so I’m just trusting to the editorial standards of Radio Nottingham to do me proud. Listen for the interviewee called Simon who sounds like a top-class practitioner of buffoonery. That’s me.  Apart from my face, I have no natural radio attributes.


That’s not a TV face. Nor is it a particularly tidy bookshelf when you see it from this angle.

I also have no attributes of a natural man in a shed. However, I’m prepared to compromise and be jolly for a day because the inaugural meeting, on Friday, has a free lunch of sausage and mash.

I’m not gregarious, I’m not skilled, but I am always hungry, so for just one day I’ll pretend I’m old (you have to be over 55 to join our club!)

There’s been some talk about which is the better picture of me – the one above or the one at @QuercusCommy, though due to an unplanned wardrobe choice I don’t have to worry which is the better shirt. It’s feeling like time for a haircut so if you have any views on the matter feel free to let me know.

Birds, frogs and staying inside while my wife gets cold

Life only seems to have two themes at the moment – birds and paperwork.

Last week it was the Big Farm Birdwatch, this week is National Nest Box week. We have some boxes to put up so it’s a good memory jogger to have the week.

Meanwhile, after having another memory jog (this time in the slightly menacing form of an Environmental Health Officer), it’s time to go through the kitchen diary. It’s a bit like the frog boiling exercise so beloved of management gurus – we’ve changed a few things over the last couple of years and although it doesn’t seem a big thing at the time it accumulates to become a major change.

When we had the kitchen registered, and I first filled in the handbook, we were mainly doing bread and (vegetarian) pizza sessions with schools, youth groups and our own bread group.

We were also catering for the shoot about 8 times a year, and we added catering for groups using the centre. Open farm Sunday came round and we used it for the weekend and when someone suggested opening as a Saturday morning Cafe it didn’t seem like a big jump.

But when someone from outside arrives and points out all the changes, you suddenly realise what the words “victim of your own success” mean. In our case they mean that although we’ve been producing a quality breakfast and have plenty of repeat custom we don’t have, for instance, an up-to-date list of suppliers, or ingredients used in the kitchen or allergens or…well the list goes on.

I must add here, if only for the sake of the cafe’s reputation, that frog isn’t on the menu and we have no intention of adding it.

Looking on the bright side, while I’ve been inside risking RSI to both my tryping fingers Julia and the group have been outside in the pouring rain doing useful and healthy things.

Useful, healthy, cold and wet things. Ah well!