Tag Archives: parcels

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

 

Back to ST7

I didn’t have time to finish last night, as midnight is a tyrant as far as blogging targets are concerned. I need 1.5 posts per day and “day” is defined as a period ending at midnight. To keep up, today needs to be a two post day, or even more.

We’ll start with ST7. It is, as I thought, Stoke-on-Trent.The address we sent the parcel to was in Cheshire and I did wonder if the postcode might be Stockport, which is in Cheshire, but I vaguely remember Stockport being SK. Logically it could also be Stafford, but it isn’t, Stafford’s has a Stoke on Trent postcode, which is ST16 – ST18 and ST20 and 21.

Don’t ask about ST19. It just gets too complicated. I used to travel the Midlands for a living and even I am beginning to find this bit confusing. And dull.

ST7 includes the village of Talke Pits. As you may guess, this was a mining village. It is one of the few places I have ever searched where the Wiki entry has come up short. Some quick research comes up with the information that there’s a shopping outlet there so I may have to pop by one day and find some information to add to the Wiki entry.

I will be touring WN7, SE16, FK4, WN2 and CF83. If memory serves me right that is a tour of Scotland, Wales, London and Wigan (twice). You are in for as treat.

However, I’m off to watch Strictly Come Dancing. If there’s one thing I love to see it’s the torment of an inelegant celebrity. I’m no Fred Astaire myself, but then I’m not being paid thousands of pounds to dance.

I would actually prefer Celebrity versus Lions, but the BBC have not replied to my proposal for a pilot show and are refusing to take my calls.

Albert Ball VC - a Nottingham hero

Albert Ball VC – a Nottingham hero

 

Robins, stamps and Robbie Burns

The featured image is one of the robin Christmas stamps from 1995. I have looked them up and can yell you there were five of them. I can’t recall any of the other designs – this is the only one we seem to get.

We also have a fine selection of Scottish mini-sheets.

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Off to Australia

It seems, looking at the prices charges by stamp dealers, that we are being awfully extravagant in using these stamps for letters. In fact you can buy lots of stamps in the trade for below face value. There are even companies that specialise in this sort of thing – search “discounted stamps”if you want any.

Much of my working day was spent packing parcels as we kept getting orders through the day. We also had phone calls and a few customers actually visited the shop, despite the boarding.

One or two mentioned the boards with questions like “Have you been robbed?”. To which, after a few polite answers, we started replying “No, we’re just going for a shabby chic look.”. A few more and it was “No, we’ve joined a Blitz re-enactment society.”

If anyone else had asked there was a danger, by the end of the day, of the answer being less than polite.

There’s only so much to be said.

The rest of the day was taken up with moving stock and furniture round in preparation for our new security precautions. It appears we are not allowed to dig pits and line them with spikes.Or use guns and tripwires. Or train rottweilers to attack people wearing hoods and concealing their faces.It’s the nanny state gone mad, I tell you!

The spell-checker wants to remove “rottweilers” and substitute “erstwhile”. I originally spelt it “rottweillers” and the suggested alternative was “steamrollers”. I’ve often wondered how these things work. I’m definitely no wiser after this last selection.

I’ve given myself the night off tonight and watched TV with Julia instead of trying to force the writing. I’m not sure she’s grateful.

A Big Order from Peru

We had a big order from Peru this morning. That isn’t a sentence you get to use very often. Indeed, in 61 years I have never needed to combine those words in that order before. In fact, I haven’t needed to combine those words in any order in a sentence before.

Even at 61, life is full of novelty.

I wish I could say the same for the rest of my day, which consisted of parcels, eBay and coin sorting, as the temperature rose and the the office grew more stuffy.

It wasn’t all bad, as the boss treated us to ice creams in the middle of the afternoon. We’d barely finished them when one of the customers arrived, with a gift of ice cream.

The lightweights stammered and stuttered and mumbled. I merely smiled, said thank you and launched straight in with gusto.

Well, it seemed rude not to show enthusiasm.

Photos may follow, if I can conquer the increasing slowness of the machine. Meanwhile, I am off to make marmalade on toast for Julia. Those of you who recognise the link to Peru, should award themselves trivia points, and stop reading Paddington Bear books.

 

 

 

Hoverflies and Broken Dreams

Subtitle: Poppies, Pollinators and Parcels.

I was torn between the two titles, but went for the bleaker one because I’m a shameless attention seeker.

I walked in to work this morning and found we had sixteen parcels to pack, It doesn’t seem much to do in three hours, though it’s probably fair to say that after seeing a couple of customers and queuing at the Post Office we had two and a half hours of packing. Or five hours, seeing as there were two of us.

That’s about twenty minutes per parcel, which seems OK, though when you have 100 loose coins to pack into a non-rattling parcel it can take a bit of time.

Part of the problem is that we have over two thousand items of stock on eBay and not enough storage space. We can locate 95% of the stock with ease, but we have to pack and repack the cupboards each time, which is time consuming, and the system is starting to creak.

To be fair, the cupboards are starting to creak too and I’m beginning to worry about being crushed to death in a cascade of coins and shattered woodwork. And shattered dreams. It was never meant to end like this…

Despite the somewhat gloomy thoughts, I am cheered by the poppy photos – they were absolutely packed with pollinators this morning, which validates our garden choices. They often have pollinators on them but the light and wind often work against me, and the numbers aren’t normally as impressive.

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Poppy with Pollinators