Tag Archives: parcels

Day 141

It was just another Saturday.

Got up with plenty of time to spare. Julia made bacon sandwiches and I went to work to find the almost obligatory small car parked (badly) directly in front of the shop. Yet another of the blue rinse brigade going to the hairdresser but parking in our spaces.

I stamped up a couple of heavy parcels that were going abroad (approximately £28 of stamps on each one), packed the other orders and settled down in front of the computer to watch a live auction sale. At that point the customers and phone calls commenced. It’s always the way. can’t complain though, as we are only just building the retail trade up to a reasonable level after Covid.

An elderly gent came in with his daughter as he had saved some coins from his change and wondered if they were worth anything. They were the same assortment as usual and, as usual, worth only their face value. He went away crestfallen, with his daughter laughing. I felt sorry for him, as he was only acting on stories he had seen in the news about coin values. Part of the sympathy, I admit, was because I had a sense of looking at my own future. And not even my distant future.

Later in the afternoon we had a small rush of orders. Four to be precise. Three came in while I was loading items for sale and the final one came in while I was packing the others. The Post Office closes at lunchtime on Saturdays so we couldn’t get them in the post but at least they will be done for Monday.

One of the customers is a butcher and brought us a pack of sausages, so I ended up bringing sausages home in my lunchbox. They look very good, but I’m not sure whether to have them for breakfast (which seems a bit greedy) or to save them for tea (which involves self-discipline).

Maybe I was wrong in the first line. It wasn’t just another Saturday, because we got free sausages.

 

 

Day 123

Day 123 comes and goes. I have two more poems accepted, pack parcels and make hash for tea. Things happen on the news and I am advised to try jackfruit by a friend.  Those are the essentials of the day.

There were 12 Spanish poppies out this morning, which comes close to doubling the number of blooms for the year. I have stopped counting, despite my original intentions, because the flowers seem to last longer this year and I( am having to make sure I don’t double count. I will deadhead again tomorrow and see how many heads I remove.

I may try some tinned jackfruit. I’m not particularly bothered, but it will mean I can put a stop to conversations like the one I had tonight. It’s fashionable, and it’s on a lot of cookery programmes, but it doesn’t really fill a need for me. It’s a bit like samphire – I tried it several times and then forgot it. I don’t like the taste and I don’t see why it has to be imported when we have plenty growing on the coast. It’s full of nutrients and it’s good to have some variety in my diet, but deep down, I don’t like the taste. You can add asparagus to that list too. It’s OK, but if I’m honest, I eat it for variety rather than pleasure.

We started eating more avocadoes for the variety, but we like avocado. This makes up for the carbon footprint involved in importing it. Global warming, as far as I know, hasn’t helped us grow avocadoes in the UK.

 

 

 

Day 14

It was icy over night, then the mist added a film of dampness to the already slippery surface. It was unpleasant even walking the few yards to the car,  which was comprehensively iced.

It stayed misty all day, which would have been atmospheric if I had been in a place with hills and trees but which was merely depressing in the middle of town.

Yesterday had been bright and light when I left the shop. Tonight was dull and grey. However, it wasn’t slippery, so it wasn’t all bad. That is how we are at the moment, with slow progress to Spring. We will have  a couple of days of higher temperatures and lighter nights, then it will drop back for a few days. I suppose that’s what makes me appreciate the good days.

So far it has been a mild winter, and, as usual, I keep having to remind myself that there is plenty of scope for bad weather in February (which is often a bad month) and even March. Being realistic, it doesn’t take much to close us down. A day  of snow will cause havoc in the UK, whereas Norway or Canada would look at it and shrug it off.

I think poets must thrive on misery, because I found myself thinking creative thoughts on the way home in the car. This could be the end of the poetry drought, and about time too – there are a lot of deadlines coming up. I had 42 poems published last year and have had two accepted so far this year. I’m not going to judge myself solely by numbers but I would like to be in that area again so I can’t afford to waste too many chances.

I’m, sticking with my theme for photographs – another postcard and another parcel. variety is over-rated.

Another one of an endless team of envelopes

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

Dull anecdote about a parcel

I just had to use my printer as a scanner – Number Two son needs copies of documents to support his bid to remain in Canada, and anything I can do to make sure he stays away from my fridge is good. However, despite owning the computer and the printer I have had to register with HP to be able to scan. I don’t know why. I just know it is very annoying, and very intrusive.

I’m afraid that there is nothing much happening either at home or at work. The only episode of any interest (and I use the term lightly) was when I packaged a parcel, only to find that the same customer had ordered something else a bit later. Because they were seperated by three other items I had not picked up on the fact. There are two things you can do when this happens (apart from swearing and declaring that customers, though necessary, are also frustrating). You can carry on and pack the second parcel, but this often results in a complaint that you could have packed it all in one and reduced the postage.

Fair comment, but they could either have done all their shopping at one time, or have sent you a message to let you know before you start packing.

Second choice is to repack the parcel. That’s what we did in this case. It involved a bigger envelope and cutting the front off the other envelope to stick to the second so that we didn’t waste the stamps. This is slightly more complicated when using padded envelopes, but it went OK and I used the rest of the old envelope instead of using bubble wrap. In the end, nothing was wasted apart from a little time and a sliver of vocabulary.

The Post Office was crowded today. It’s a long shop and the queue was out of the door. I suspect it is the last posting day for some places.

A Palindrome and a Minor Disaster

We’ll do the palindrome first. Sadly for all my American readers the 20th November isn’t a palindrome, so I’m afraid you are going to feel let down and lied to. However, I suppose you’ve become used to that over the years. I know that I have, and it looks like it will get worse. I was listening to some sort of academic on the news tonight and he said that the confidence rating in the UK Government had been at 75% until the Cummings Affair, after which it dropped drastically and continued to slide to around 30%.

However, I digress. Today, I enjoyed writing 20.11.20 on the slips with the parcels, all thirteen of them. I have sent parcels to Spain (2), Canada, Australia and Japan. I even sent one to Scotland and one to the 19th Century. Or Somerset, as it is known to the Royal Mail.

Several parcels had multiple items, and several of the items had, whilst waiting to be sold, managed to move around and had the be flushed out of cover.

Someone rang in with a telephone order just after lunch (as previously arranged by email) and things became a little trickier due to an equipment failure. It seems that if you leave a card terminal dormant long enough you have to reset it. We haven’t used for two weeks in lockdown, so, of course, it refused the payment and it took me twenty minutes to sort out before ringing the customer back to complete the sale.

The Minor Disaster relates to the ancient computer. It has been slowly crumbling and slowing down, and it is now making terrible grinding noises. On top of that it only works for ten to fifteen minutes before locking up and taking half an hour to close down.

I am now £379 poorer and will be picking up the new computer tomorrow night. There will be advantages, of course, like being able to use photographs again, but I will be having a few moments alone with my wallet to remember the cash and shed a few tears.

I’m using the netbook at the moment, and will struggle on for a few days. After all, it’s not like I’m just going to plug it in and start. It’s never that easy…

Tuesday – the new Monday

This morning, as Julia struggled to work by bus again, I relaxed, ate toast and watched the weather report on TV. The forecast stated that there was a weather warning in Derbyshire, that there might be snow on high ground and that it might rain at lower levels. That was all very much like the forecast yesterday, which proved to be so badly wrong.

As I thought of yesterday’s events, and the unexpected snow, a flurry of medium flakes drifted past the window.

“Well, well,” I muttered as I watched them fall.

After about twenty seconds and several dozen flakes they stopped falling. It hardly seemed worth the trouble.

Work was fairly average. There were only six parcels to pack, a much more restful number than yesterday’s 28. We had several people bringing coins in to sell, including three who wanted to sell metal detector finds. One wanted too much money and one had boxes of interesting, but low quality, junk. We did, however, buy a sixpence of Queen Elizabeth I and a Saxon sceatta.

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Less interesting than a Saxon Coin

This is how life in a coin shop should be – we have been a bit quiet recently and it’s nice to be busy.

I also put a number of coin sets on eBay. It’s not the glamorous end of the coin trade (if such a thing exists) but someone has to do it. Life can’t all be Gold Nobles of Henry V. This was what last night’s speaker found when he detected a Gold Noble on Time Team shortly after starting detecting. He hasn’t found one since!

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Tristan da Cunha has a lot to answer for

I’m going to post this now and then come back to put the photos up, otherwise it will never get posted before midnight. To be fair, it’s not just photos, everything takes ages on this Netbook.

Just finished – it took just over half an hour!

Hands, Haibun and Haggis

I had a shock this morning. As I waved to Julia after dropping her at work I realised I had my father’s hands on the ends of my arms. I have the same ageing skin, the same slightly bent fingers and the same way of holding my hand when I wave. I even have some brown spots, though mine are freckles rather than age-related.

It was a bit of a shock.

I once wrote a poem, my first published poem as an adult, about looking in my shaving mirror to see my father looking back. It wasn’t quite accurate (or “authentic”,  if you prefer), because I don’t, as you may have guessed from the beard, shave. And in those unguarded mirror moments I actually look a lot like my maternal grandfather who has handed down his distinctive head shape to me.

Eventually, I will probably write a poem about this. It will be much more complicated than the anecdote I have just related and will include angst and a word I can’t quite remember. I’ll remember it when I stop thinking about it. It’s like ambivalence. It might be ambiguous. Something along those lines anyway. Editors, it seems, like that sort of stuff, and I don’t have enough of it.

That reminds me, I have a haibun in Contemporary Haibun Online January Issue. I feel that it may be the last for some time, as one of the main magazines is closing and the chief editor, who has accepted several of my haibun, and offered editorial advice, is being replaced by a man who I do not get on with quite as well.

Time to work on my craft, and begin battering editors with my brilliance.

There were eighteen parcels to pack this morning including several with multiple content. We also bought in a pair of Great War medals and some sovereigns.

We turned down the tin of worthless coins and the stamp collection. It was plain that the owner of the coins thought they were worth a lot more than we did so we persuaded him to keep them as their interest outweighed their commercial value. The stamps, we were truthful about – the market for modern First Day Covers has been dreadful for years and we don’t buy them unless they are autographed or have a coin on them. Or they belonged to Freddie Mercury’s father.

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Falklands Crown 2014 mounted on postal cover and autographed by Sir Tom Courtenay

For tea, we will be having haggis. This time it is made with meat. I’m looking forwards to it, and to making veggie burgers with the leftover veg,

As a welcome coincidence, it begins with “H” and allows me to indulge my passion for alliterative titles.

Parcels,Pate and Pakora

Disclaimer – there is not much pakora in this post – but I’m a slave to alliteration so I lied. Sorry about that. I did have pakora in my sandwiches last week so I do at least have a slight excuse to mention them. They were sweet potato pakora and, to my mind, much nicer in sandwiches than the falafel we also tried.

Yesterday I breakfasted on porridge, took Julia to work, cursed several cyclists for their ridiculous strobe lights and arrived at the shop far too early.

I had to use a lot of old self-adhesive stamps where the glue has dried out. This means they have to be fixed using a stick of glue. In turn this means that several of them have to be detached from my finger tips. They were a really bad idea as the glue either dries out or forms an unbreakable bond with the backing paper. I’m sure they are good when they are new, but we, as you know, use a lot of old stamps.

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They are First CLass Stamps, but no longer self-adhesive.

My first parcel of the day was a selection of gum cards bound for America. Imagine my surprise when  my fourth parcel turned out to be a group of gum cards. To America. It was the same man, who quite clearly hadn’t thought things through.

Fortunately I have strong nerves and a steady hand so I was able to open the parcel with my trusty scalpel and add the second lot of cards. Two lots of cards. one lot of postage and a substantial refund. Hopefully he will be happy with that.

After parcels (and no more mishaps) I proceeded to do more banknotes. This an ongoing project. I have photos loaded up until Myanmar and will be moving on to Nepal tomorrow. I’m looking forward to Zimbabwe…

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Nepal – bank notes and an unusual head-dress

In the evening I read and replied to other bloggers, wrote a blog post, then wrote a second blog post, though it was actually too late in the end.

Between the two I cooked ratatouille and sausages, made a batch of smoked mackerel pate and did the sandwiches.

The pate recipe is simple and I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often. Mackerel, cream cheese. yoghurt, spring onion, lemon juice, lemon zest, horseradish sauce and dijon mustard. Quantities range from two bits of mackerel and quite a lot of cream cheese down to juice and zest of half a lemon and a teaspoon of each of the seasonings. Next time I may leave out the yoghurt and add more horseradish. Or I may just buy the pate and avoid the epic amount of washing up it generates.

It has worked out rather well and Julia can have the third bit of fish. She likes fish. I eat it because it’s good for me. I used the small blender and two bits of fish was enough to fill it. I haven’t used it for a while and couldn’t work out how to get the bowl off . Julia eventually sorted it for me.

You can also make fish pate with smoked haddock, though I seem to remember you can do that with a fork. There’s a look of the shoe sole about a smoked mackerel fillet if you aren’t careful. So far it has provided a decent depth of filling for four medium cobs and will probably do at least two more.

It’s really quite amazing. Some smoked fish and stuff in a blender and I’m already daydreaming about a Michelin star.

Tonight we will finish the ratatouille, add some “French-style lentils” from a packet, bake a potato and have some veggie burgers. This week I have bought the burgers – next week I will be making them. I am also going to start cooking my own lentils. I have become very lazy.I always used to make my own but have drifted off course somewhere.

I’d better try making my own pakora too…

Banknotes of Laos

Banknotes of Laos

Sorry – Not the Post I Promised

I haven’t quite written the post about the Gibraltar £20 coin I promised yesterday as it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated. Instead, I’m going to ramble on a bit and, having fulfilled my self-imposed requirement to post every day, I’m going to slink away.

The morning was quite bright and pleasant, and we had quite a few parcels to do. The proprietor had been in on Sunday to pack some, which made life easier, though we still  had nine parcels to pack, including several with multiple contents.

One of the orders came with a set of packing instructions. I hate it when people do that. Do they really think we aren’t going to pack things properly? I often think of writing back to point out that I’m grateful for their note as the idea of proper packing had never occurred to me…

At the Post Office someone drew up in his Mercedes and parked so close to the shop that he nearly blocked the door. I deduced a number of things from this, including that he probably had parcels to post. So I put a spurt on, got to the door before him and ensured he couldn’t get past me before I got to the counter.

A queue quickly built up and he muttered to the next man in the line. By the time I’d finished there was a queue of seven, all muttering. Tough, I thought.  I’d rather be the one at the front being hated by everyone behind me, than the one at the back waiting. Post Offices, when you have bags of parcels, encourage a certain hardness of outlook.

We had sweet potato and peanut curry tonight, cooked by Number One Son. It was very good and I may add it to my repertoire.

Julia has bought some sprouts in batter, with Camembert dip, for our traditional Christmas Eve buffet. She said they sounded so bad she couldn’t resist trying them. I can understand that. Apparently not many other people felt the same way as there were still stacks of them left in the shop.

I’ll let you know how things go.

 

 

Thirty-Seven Minutes

I completely forgot I was meant to go to a Numismatic Society meeting tonight. Then I missed the fact that the day was almost over. By the time I thought about it there were 37 minutes left. At least it made the title an easy choice.

It’s not the first time I’ve completely forgotten something important, but it’s always a worry when it happens. I was tired, I was worrying about something else and I just ran out of brain power. It was 11.00 before I remembered – four hours too late.

It’s 16 days to Christmas and I still have things to do. Time goes so fast!

On the other hand, there are only ninety days of winter left.

I’m going to leave it at that.

By the time I’ve found a photo it will nearly be midnight. I will then go to bed ans dream of parcels.

A Collectors World Parcel

A Collectors World Parcel