Up late, quick breakfast and off to work. Still first to arrive. Got a parking space, though customers from the hairdressers had used the spaces in front of the shop and parked two cars in three spaces. As usual, fought off the urge to park in front of the hairdresser and see how they like it.
We packed the parcels, I put two medallions on (one an Alcan medallion which features the Kitimat smelting plant and the Kemano power plant. It’s all very interesting, and proves, once more, the benefits of collecting for expanding the mind.
During the morning Julia texted to tell me I had a small package. At first I thought she was just being generally disparaging about my physical attributes, but further reading revealed that the Post Office had delivered a small package for me at the house. It just goes to show how modern written communications can be misunderstood.
Today was my day to have a half day, so I went home at 1am. For lunch we had the last of the Spiced Sweet Potato soup followed by the leftover vegetable stew and red cabbage from the last two days. For tea we had potato and paneer curry. I am now made up of such a high percentage of vegetables that a vegetarian cannibal could eat me without troubling his conscience.
This state of affairs won’t last – I’m planning on eggs and bacon for breakfast
and a roasted gammon joint for tea. We put two gammon joints in the freezer in case the reported possibility of Christmas food shortages became real, but they didn’t. Experience shows that if we leave them in there we will forget about them, so we are going to start eating them as part of a determined freezer clearance exercise.
This might be a slightly misleading title, because it’s not quite 9am. I have, however, got up early, moaned about having to get up early, got stuck in traffic going for my blood test, moaned about traffic and inconveniently placed roadworks, struggled to park, moaned about parking, and, finally, had a blood test.
The tester took three attempts but didn’t panic. Yes, strange as it seems, seeing as they are not the one being stabbed in the arm, they often get agitated if they miss first time. I know this because, as I have said before, they often do miss with my tricky veins.
I don’t mind a phlebotomist taking three attempts because it’s a difficult job. I do mind the other stuff because with a bit of planning much of it could be avoided.
All I want is a blood test at the GP surgery. I’ve been having them there for months, but because of the number of nurses needed to give vaccinations there are none for blood testing now. The result of this is that I have to get up at 6.30, add to the congestion, try to beat the staff to a space in the car park where staff, according to the big notice, are not supposed to park and then write a blog post to moan about it.
Is this what my “day off” is meant to be like? I haven’t had my breakfast yet and I already feel like I’ve put in a good day’s work.
“Work” was my 250th word, so I will leave it there as it’s my self-imposed minimum. If I carried on I would just start moaning again, as I’ve just been engaged in conversation with the pharmacy regarding a prescription that has disappeared. I didn’t want it, but they told me they had it for me. Julia went in to pick it up this morning and they now deny all knowledge of it. My original thought, that this was the most inefficient pharmacy in the world (you may have heard me mention this several times) has now been replaced by a theory that there are really two pharmacies working in parallel universes, which would explain why their right hand (in Universe 1) doesn’t know what the left hand (in Universe 2) is doing.
Header photo is my standard heron photo, looking hunched, dejected and/or grumpy. It seemed apt.
I was downstairs for 6.35 this morning because I woke up before the alarm and didn’t thick it was worthwhile going back to bed for 20 minutes. It’s now 6.45 and I have spent ten minutes watching the blue circle revolve on my computer screen and checking emails. This is where my time goes.
The sky is bright, but lacks notable features, the air is coolish and the birds are quiet. I have missed the nice bit of early morning and just ended up with the dull bits. In a few minutes, having blogged about nothing other than the time, I will pop down to hospital, have my arm perforated and compose an imaginary letter to the Anti-coagulant Service explaining that I have better things to do than have a blood test every week. It is imaginary because it will have the same effect as writing one (ie none) but will save the effort of actually writing about it and enduring their response. There is something about the Anti-coagulant Service that drives me mad. It’s partly their assumption that I have nothing better to do than have blood tests and partly their view that Warfarin is the only Anti-Coagulant. I’ve actually had a conversation with a nurse where she used the word Warfarin in place of Anti-Coagulant.
At this point I will say no more, as I can get very cutting on the subject.
Time to go now, and see if I can get a parking space. If I do, all will be good. If I don’t, I will add to the parking problem by finding an awkward and unauthorised place to put my car.
That’s another subject Itry to avoid.
Has my life really become a series of gripes about small things? At one time I thought it would be about such interesting stuff, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Even my blog is merely about the time I get up.
The rain hammered down at one point during the evening. It was loud and lasted a long time. Despite our reputation for rain in the UK it’s often delivered as a drizzle, or, at worst, a prolonged and moderate fall. The short, sharp and noisy storm is something to be savoured, as long as you have a sound roof and a house on a hill. We seems to have survived in a water-tight and unflooded condition, so that is good.
At one time I would spring from my bed looking forward to the new day. These days I tend to lurk under the covers and worry about the new crop of problems that are likely to emerge. I don’t know if it’s experience, or simply that you become more fearful as you age. I remember telling my Mum and Dad that many of their fears weren’t likely to come true, but it didn’t make them go away. I’m now starting to worry about things similar to the ones they worried about. I listen to myself sometimes and hear echoes of their voices.
I also remember how they gradually aged between visits and wonder how the kids see me.
However, it’s Saturday morning, and that’s not a time for introspection. I just6 had my baked eggs (with tomatoes and cheese) and I need to make sandwiches before heading off for a day of fun with eBay and the random customers that chance sends our way. But first, of course, there will be the hassle about parking. On Saturday everybody seems to think that our parking spaces belong to them. We try not to be too negative, and don’t put up notices about private property or (like one shop in the row) clamping, but it is annoying. Working at the opticians? Going for bread in the shops 200 yards away? Need extra parking because you have too many cars for your drive? All these, and many more, are, it seems reasons why people take our spaces. The best one wa “I pay my taxes”. So do we. Paying our taxes does not, however, entitle us to park in the drive of the truculent woman who thinks it entitles her to use our parking spots.
It’s 7.57. On a normal day I would just be lacing my shoes up, ready to take Julia to work. But today isn’t a normal day. I was at hospital for 6.55, securing one of the few remaining parking spaces. Either there are an awful lot of visitors outside opening hours or the staff are using the visitor spaces. I think you know where my money would go if I were a betting man.
I had a twenty minute wait at Phlebotomy because they needed a chat about gloves and the faults with the label printing software. During this time I also noticed that although we have “social distancing” in p[lace for chairs in the waiting room, the chair I selected was not socially distanced from the store cupboard.
When one member of staff used it, we were around 3 feet apart. When four members of staff needed it at the same time, three of them with trollies, I became part of a milling crowd of phlebotomists. I’m going to take a guess here, but my conclusion is that the person who drew up the seating plan had never been to outpatients.
I could go on to offer some suggestions for improvements, and discuss management and leader ship, but I’m eating my breakfast with one hand and typing with the other, thinking is probably a step too far. Anyway, next door’s builders are using power tools and it’s difficult to concentrate. There’s just something about getting the simple stuff wrong that really brings out the worst in me.
8.26 now. I’ve blogged, I’ve breakfasted and I’ve just checked the work eBay sales. It’s been a quiet week. I can’t see the day being distinguished by urgency and hard work.
Next time I post I will be fully vaccinated. It’s an all action day – blood test in the right arm this morning, vaccination in the left this afternoon. How’s that for advance planning? Two arms, two needles. I’m glad I don’t have a third needle to accommodate, as it would be a tricky choice.
I woke several times during the night and at 5.48 decided it wasn’t worth going back to bed as the alarm was set for 6.30. This allowed me to have an unhurried breakfast, a reflective cup of tea and a few minutes answering comments. What it didn’t allow, was a parking space when I went for my blood test.
Parking has been getting tighter down there, and this wasn’t a total surprise, though it in’t normally full by 7am. It is supposedly a car park for visitors only, but I’m not sure this is true. When they first made it free they had a staff member on the entrance checking that you were a visitor. Since that check has been abandoned it has been steadily more difficult to find parking. The cynic in me, seeing a variety of clues inside the cars, and seeing drivers dressed in NHS uniform, tends to think the staff are ignoring the notices and taking the spaces meant for visitors.
The other part of me, the part that wants to believe they are all heroes and angels, doesn’t want to believe it. “Say it aint’ so, Joe!” my inner, innocent, self cries out. However, when I think back to the times I have been in hospital, including the time I was left glued to the bed by dried blood despite a request for help, I do start to wonder. If they are capable of leaving me stuck to my bedding, they are certainly capable of stealing my parking space.
I will, however, cut them some slack, because they generally do a good job and it’s a lovely day. The sun is shining, there was minimal ice on my screen this morning and the Robins were singing in the hospital garden.
The blood test, performed with the panache odf a world class fencer, took mere seconds. Touché, you could almost hear her cry.
And now, having got home in time to write a post, I will go to work.
Yes, it’s Saturday again, and the end of the working week. As I set off to work I will do so knowing that I have a day without supervision (the owner has swapped days and is off today) and several regulars booked in with appointments.
I’m sorry about the abrupt end to yesterday’s post but I woke up with eighteen minutes to go and had to get into action quickly to preserve my record of daily posting. There was no time for elegance, just select an existing image and a few tags before publishing.
If you look at the comments you will notice that Lavinia, Rick and the cats are currently OK, but still ready to move at short notice. Good luck to them all.
I’m writing before leaving because I am going out tonight. It’s against my will, but I’m having to be sociable. Let’s face it, being sociable is against my normal inclinations too, but I am under orders from Julia.
Sadly, I think I just ran out of things to say. I have a lot on my mind this morning and the words are not coming easily. There’s nothing bad on my mind, just remembering to take certain things to work and wondering if there will be a parking space when I get there. The optician’s staff and hairdresser’s clients all seem to think, for instance, that our parking spaces are fair game.
When I win the lottery I’m going to rent 12 cars for a week and park them in the spaces used by people who habitually abuse our spaces.
Money, in case you are wondering, will definitely not make me a nicer person. I’ll just be the same old grouch but will be able to afford more books have a butler to wake me in time to finish my blog posts properly.
It’s not been all bad, by any means. I don’t know how it’s been for everyone else, but I’ve quite enjoyed some of the time.
One – being paid not to work. As far as I can see, there is no downside to this. I like my work, but I prefer being paid for nothing. This is different from my normal occupation where I have to go to the shop for six hours a day, where I am paid for doing very little work.
Two – spending more time with my wife. Again, what’s not to like? I know not everybody is as lucky as me in their choice of partner. Julia, for instance, doesn’t seem as keen on this aspect of the lockdown.
Bee in Cranesbill
Three – clean air. I have to take the Government’s word for this, but, unusually, they seem to be telling the truth. This has to be good.
Four – less traffic. I’ve been able to drive to hospital for blood tests and get a parking space. Luxury.
Five – free parking. I won’t lie to you, I am extremely mean and if I can save a couple of quid I will do. The hospital car park is free for the moment as they don’t want to handle all that dirty cash.
Six – I’m still on the same tank of fuel I had in March. I haven’t been able to go anywhere, but the money in the bank is handy. (See Five)
Seven – relaxation. The first couple of months made me feel years younger. After that, I have to admit, it began getting more stressful.
Eight – I did get some useful work done, though not enough. However, the bit that I did has been worth doing.
Pie, gravy and roasted veg
Nine – we ate lots of healthy vegetables and are feeling better as a result. Apart from one disastrous KFC we haven’t had a takeaway delivery all lockdown. We have been having fish and chips on Fridays since the shop reopened, but fish is good for you and I’ve been leaving half the batter and some of the chips, They give you too many chips. I’m pretty sure that complaining about having too many chips is a sign of age…
Ten – I haven’t needed to speak to anyone. Social interaction is, in my opinion, over-rated. I’ve texted a few people and been on WordPress to exchange a few views. That’s enough. Within that circle I have enough people and they are all sensible people. Mainly. One has been making films with Sooty, but there is always one. Talking to more people just involves me with being tactful to idiots. This isn’t at the top of my list of skills. That’s why I’m not often called to deal with customers these days.
That’s it. I’ve been lucky in lockdown and I intend to stay lucky by remaining in isolation for a while longer.
We started off with a trip to the doctor, breakfast, visits to two shops and a bit of photography for the presentation.
Then we set off in search of food.
The plan was to go to Carsington Water for lunch and a walk. Simple enough, you would think, and it was certainly easy enough to get there. There was a minor glitch with the new parking system – they have changed it since we last visited and the new signs aren’t very informative – but we eventually managed to work it out.
The meal was good in parts.
The staff were excellent and, I was pleased to see, wipe right up to the edges of the tables when they clean them. They also lifted the menus up and wiped underneath.It seems easy enough, but there are a lot of places where they clean a bit in the middle and go round the menu.
And, of course, there are places that never seem to clean the tables. Yes, Sainsbury’s, I’m thinking of you…
Service was quick and friendly and the food was piping hot. It was, if anything, too hot. The veg all came in one pot and we had to divide it up, which was tricky when the pot was too hot to hold.
We had the sausage pie. It had a lot of gravy in it, as you can see from one of the pictures, and didn’t seem to have much sausage. You expect sausage to be the most visible ingredient of a sausage pie. That was served piping hot too, with the result that one of our intrepid, and hungry, team of testers burnt his tongue and blistered the roof of his mouth. Julia showed the normal level of wifely concern.
Sausage Pie – Carsington Water
Vegetables – Carsington Water
It’s fair to say that we regretted our choice, particularly when we saw the massive golden cod and chips served up to the lady on the next table. I had nearly ordered it but it was served with garden peas and had decided to give it a miss.
Garden peas are for scampi or breaded plaice. Battered fish should be served with mushy peas. It’s a well-known fact, and almost a culinary commandment.
So, to sum up, the staff, cleanliness, veg, chips and serving temperature were all good. Unfortunately the sausage pie was not really up to the mark. It was still good though, just not what I think of when I think of sausage pie. If I eat there again I will probably have the cod.
Finally, after being photographed as we entered the car park, we had to enter our registration number and pay. It’s all a bit Big Brotherish. The real problem came when they couldn’t match the car to the number. The screen kept showing a white VW van with a number that was nothing like ours.
We tried twice. Then I walked back to the car to check the number, just to satisfy the attendants who were watching the machines. It still didn’t work. So one of them walked up to the car to check the number. It still didn’t work. So we had to walk to reception, explain, pay, sign a sheet of paper and ask for a receipt.
It’s not the fault of the people operating the system, but it was annoying., and I do think if you are going to photograph people you should do it accurately.
I think I’ll have to give it a three out of ten for customer experience and service.
Come to think of it, I may not go back for cod and chips, there are plenty of places to go without being messed about by the parking system.
Lots of Gravy – Carsington Water
Sorry the post is a day late, after an action-packed day out I typed half of it, fell asleep in the chair and woke up after midnight.
I have just spent the best part of a month’s wages on car repairs. I admit that my earnings are far from huge, but it still seems a lot of money. The car had a service, new brake pads and an MOT. It also had a new pollen filter, which was something that I didn’t even realise it had.
To add insult to injury it then needed a repair to the wing mirror that it didn’t really need because some jobsworth in a government office has decided that looking neat is now part of the new MOT. That alone cost me a day and a half of my pitiful earnings, and it isn’t even colour coordinated. It allows me to see behind me, but it did that already. It also flashes again, but as I already had an indicator in each corner I’m not sure why I need the extra one.
Then there was the matter of the water pump that was pumping more water onto the road than it was circulating through the engine. At 60,000 miles it should not have worn out. It certainly shouldn’t have worn out on a Volkswagen, which is supposed to be a durable car. I won’t be buying another one.
I have an intermittent toothache. After a couple of months with an occasional twinge it is building up a head of steam and aching for a part of nearly every day. It’s clearly not going to go away and needs fixing. Tricky one – don’t like toothache, but I don’t like dentists either.
Finally, a word on car parking. The forecourt for the shops was, as usual, crowded this morning. I parked across three cars. This blocked one in completely, but it hasn’t moved for several years so that’s not a problem. The other two were left with plenty of room to get out, even if it did need a bit of work – you have to reverse a yard before driving out of the space at an angle. It’s not difficult and people do it all the time.
Unfortunately the lady who came asking for me to move my car couldn’t see this. She had parked in front of the shop and walked to a separate block of shops to have her hair done. Despite taking the space reserved for our staff and customers, she decided that she hadn’t caused enough disruption and insisted that I moved my car. I pointed out that I had left enough room for her to get out, but she insisted. I went out and showed her there was plenty of room, but she still insisted. In exasperation I pointed out that I had parked considerately but was now being inconvenienced by someone who actually had no right to be parked where she was.
She wouldn’t be persuaded and told me that I’d just have to put it down to her being a woman driver.
A hundred years of having the vote and fighting for equality would appear to have passed her by.
I’ve not had a good week, but this was by far the most depressing point.
No pictures today as WordPress is playing up again.
I’m hoping things will start getting better next week.