Tag Archives: plans

Plans, Politics and Phlebotomy

The day has gone so fast, as have my good intentions.

Despite this, it’s been a pleasant day. We had butterflies in the garden all day and the goldfinch on the TV aerial keeps singing. We’ve lived here 30 years and we’ve never had such a good butterfly year, or a singing goldfinch. Things aren’t all bad, despite the weather, the politics and the slide into old age.

The plan had been to get up early, for instance, but at seven this morning it underwent alteration, and I went back to bed. It’s been a bit nippy over the last few days and bed seemed such a nice warm idea.

From there the deviation from plan just seemed to snowball, and now, with an hour before midnight, I need to blog, make sandwiches sort my stuff for tomorrow and get to bed. Six am start tomorrow, ready for another blood test.

So many blood tests…

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Small Tortoiseshell

Ten years ago “phlebotomy” was an interesting new word, a couple of years ago I still couldn’t spell it properly, and today it is woven into the very fabric of my life. I say woven, but embroidered might be more accurate. Which, of course, allows me to use the word “needlepoint”.

At times like this it’s probably good to spend a few minutes thinking about how lucky I am compared to some other people. I have a bed to get back into, for instance, and  a medical system that cares enough about me to stab me in the arm on a regular basis without charge.

Of course, this may change once we leave the EU. If we ever do.

I have a waking nightmare, which is becoming more real as time moves on. It isn’t about shortages, or poor quality food. It’s not even about the economy or that blonde buffoon being in power. I’m simply afraid that, like a hamster, we are all trapped in a wheel and no matter how fast we run we won’t be able to break free from the current cycle of politics, with its lies and low-quality leadership.

I actually saw a car on the road today with hand-written posters detailing how the European Union had been formed by the CIA as part of America’s plot to control the world.

This is what happens when you let idiots have an opinion. First you have to listen to them talking rubbish, then you have to leave Europe, and now we have to read posters about the CIA and world domination.

I was about to suggest that the CIA, from some of the things I’ve read over the years, would probably have trouble tying its own shoelaces, let alone dominating the world, when I found this site.

 

A Letter from a Younger Man

As part of the decluttering process I’ve been finding a lot of paperwork from 20-30 years ago. Most of it lost its importance (if it ever had any) many years ago and has gone either into the bin or into the shredder.
Last night, this included a motivational document I wrote over 25 years ago (while I was still working for someone else). It’s similar to things that I do now, apart from the fact that I no longer appear so convincing.
It set out, in great detail, the number of days I had left before the age of 55 (possible early retirement date), 60 (my realistic early retirement date – remember that Julia’s retirement date was 60 in those days, before they changed the system) and 65, which used to be the statutory retirement date before the government stole two years from my life by changing the default retirement age.
It even had financial targets.
And a note not to waste any of those days.
If I didn’t know how the story ends, I’d thing that the neatly written, well-planned document, marked the beginning of a long and prosperous life for a man who knew what he was doing and became a successful mover and shaker.
Instead, he became me.
Fortunately I’m big-headed enough to believe that being me is reward enough in this life.
I’m happy to say that I’ve lived up to the standards I set myself, even if I did have to lower those standards on a regular basis.
I’ve also reset those standards to include things like children, who are a constant drain on both your hopes and dreams, your fridge and your bank balance.
It’s not that bad, despite my jaundiced tone, just a bit of a shock to see an unexpected glance of myself at the age of 35.

Sunset Today and Plans for Tomorrow

I have a busy day planned for tomorrow. Drop Julia off at work, read some blogs and then head off to the launderette. I’ve searched out every scrap of clothing in the house and managed to last almost a month, but we now need clean clothes.

I also have to go shopping, take some photographs, research some posts, start the cooking for next week and sleep in front of the TV. That last one isn’t so much a plan as a statement of inevitability. Like white hair and wrinkles, it’s an unavoidable part of becoming an elderly gentleman. Women are different. Women are more industrious and less likely to snore through an entire episode of Bargain Hunt. Women are also more likely to spend their time in front of the TV rustling things during the quiet bits of programmes and talking over plot points. Well, I know at least one who is…

I tried taking pictures of sunset. As I left the supermarket the sky was quite dramatic. As I reached the car the light was fading. And as I started photographing, the camera “corrected” the sky despite me using several different settings to compensate. It may have been because there was so much light in the car park. Whatever the reason, the clouds should be darker, with fiery red showing through the cracks.

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Sunset over Basford

Ah well, time for bed now – back to our routine of early starts tomorrow.

Zen and the Art of Procrastination

It’s time to start sorting out my life. How many times have you heard that? I know I’ve said it several times.

As things stand, I’m not reading books, I’m not reading blogs and I’m not getting enough decluttering done. That’s not to say that I’m idling my time away, I’m still writing, I’m still cooking (in a determondly average sort of way) and I’m spending time on ebay.

I’m happy with the writing time but the time on ebay needs decreasing. Originally I was looking at it with a view to learning current prices and looking at starting to sell on ebay again. It hasn’t quite worked like that and I’m back, once again, to collecting.

The intention was actually to clear the house and live a life of zen simplicity interspersed with the holidays we’ve not had over the years.

It has struck me recently, as I’ve sat cogitating my hospital experience and the nature of mortality, that I’m on the downward leg of the journey to three score years and ten. I’m 60 next birthday (as I was recently reminded), and this isn’t a two way street.

I’m also mindful that health problems prevented my parents carrying out their retirement plans. They still had a long and happy retirement, but it wasn’t the one they had planned. In fact Dad is still with us and still enjoying himself. However, he would probably be enjoying himself more if things had gone to plan.

So there you are, a slice of philosophical misery. Not very cheerful but something I wanted to talk about for some time as it’s important, and I’m interested if anyone has any views.

I’ve been meaning to write it for some time but I never get round to it.

Hope and Plums

In all the wedding cake, hope is the sweetest of the plums.

Douglas Jerrold

Despite the temperature and wind, a lone Peacock toughed it out in the garden this morning. I’m sure there would have been more if we’d had more time, but we could only manage a flying visit. Julia was taking a group for someone else at the main building and we had to be there for nine.

While Julia had a word with the school caretaker I took the chance to take some photos. These include the fruit and some of the beds. I took the fruit because it’s a nice thing to photograph (and some of it is just starting to ripen). The beds are quite good too, with some of the grasses now starting to show well.

I’m taking them as reference shots to help Julia with her garden planning. Now the mint has been cleared by one of the volunteers (too soon in my opinion) they are looking a bit bare, and devoid of pollinators. Apart from that I’m doing nothing – Julia can work out what happens next.

It’s going to be very interesting as the seasons come round, as we need to see what bulbs are planted.

In truth nothing much needs doing as it’s a well established garden with plenty of provision for wildlife, but there’s always something needing to be done. They look white and green from the photos but there is lavender in there and a few remaining orange lilies with scattered evening primrose.

Soon we will be picking fruit and collecting manure for the rhubarb beds. The rhubarb has been a bit week this year, a sure sign it needs feeding as it’s always known as a “hungry crop” by ancient gardeners leaning on spades.

When we fed the rhubarb on the farm we ended up with a rhubarb jungle, so watch this space for further news.

 

Next Week – Plans and Flowers

Yes, despite the outwardly chaotic appearence of my life I do have plans. Some of them (such as the Nobel Prize (Peace or Literature – I’m easy) are not likely to come to fruition. The oldest laureate was 90, so I still have time, but I fear that it may no longer be a realistic prospect.

However, assuming that the younger me had planned to become a middle-aged man with a weight problem and unrealistic dreams of winning a Nobel Prize, I think it’s fair to say we can consider that done.

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Cranesbill Geranium

You win some, you lose some.

The plans for the coming day include doing the laundry (I am now well enough to take up my domestic duties again). That’s according to Julia, anyway; I still feel another week of watching daytime TV while she brings me cups of tea is in order. I also have to buy the ingredients for a rhubarb crumble (apart from the rhubarb.)

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Nasturtium – once known as Indian Cress because it tastes like watercress

Apart from that, which I confess, is not an onerous list, I need to make something for tea (which will be a nice, easy salad)  and write a to do list for Julia. We ended up with four pages of notes on Friday morning. They are currently more of an avalanche of words and ideas, rather than a list.

By 4.30 this afternoon they will be a list – sorted by importance, season and financial implication.

Today’s pictures are more flowers, but this time I know the names.

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Yellow Flag

 

 

 

Writer’s Block

A proper post on writer’s block would, I suppose, be blank.

What I really mean is that I’m having trouble concentrating and writing anything coherent that has a chance of being interesting for people to read.

Got up, complained about knees, procrastinated, ate breakfast with wife, avoided washing up, watched TV, moaned about weather…

It’s not riveting stuff is it? I’m hoping it’s just the normal dull stuff that everyone does. You do all have mornings like that don’t you, it’s not just me? If you don’t, please don’t tell me. It’s bad enough that I’m having a bad day without finding that I’m the most boring man on WordPress.

I’m supposed to be planning, but that didn’t go well either.

The 50 new recipes I’m planning to make by the end of the year have ground to a halt because I have limited enthusiasm for poorly seasoned veggie burgers. It’s the fault of the recipe, but that doesn’t make them taste any better. The Mark 2 version with double seasoning, plus lime juice, lime zest, Henderson’s Relish and half a teaspoon of chilli powder is still bland, though a definite improvement on Mark 1. I may have to resort to using salt, but if I do that I might as well just buy them from a shop.

The killer CV (resume to those of you living in the New World) lives only in my imagination because I’m leaving job applications until after I’m sorted out health-wise. There’s no point getting a job interview if you then have to tell people you’ll be needing time off for medical reasons as soon as you start.

Then there is the redesign of the garden. We’ve neglected it badly for the last few years and it needs some serious attention. It’s an embarrassment. So I’m going to avoid talking about it.Yesterday I bought one of those tools for weeding between paving slabs without bending down. Tomorrow I may get round to using it. Then I will have to decide on the future of the slabs – they aren’t very permaculture…

Finally, fitness and diet.I’m doing more walking and birdwatching so that’s going OK. The diet seems to be working too, but when you think of the failed recipe experiments that’s not a surprise. I suppose some good is coming from those veggie burgers…