Tag Archives: plans

Plans and Haiku

Despite the first part of the day consisting of a mathematically implausible three halves, I did have a plan for the next bit of the day, which I’m going to describe as “bit” because it saves me having to be accurate.

The plan was to go home, write, wash up and make stew for tea. It also included, after my talk with the doctor, eating eggs for lunch and not sleeping in front of daytime TV whilst watching quiz with my lunch. Next time, I’m going to eat lunch at the computer.

It’s has all come to pass, apart from the not sleeping bit, but instead of being 5 o’clock, as planned, it is seven o’clock. As days off go, it has been OK, but not hugely productive. However, I have had another acceptance, this time from Wales Haiku Journal. It will be published in the next two weeks and is a haiku of eleven words. It almost feels like cheating to claim I’m having a poem published when it’s only 11 words long, but as Mark Twain said:

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Brevity can be tricky.

I now have a nine rejected haiku which can be sent out again. Just because they have been rejected doesn’t mean they are bad. I’ve shown that before, with many pieces. As it is, I have ten ready to go to another magazine and if everything goes as it normally does, and they take one, as they often do, I will have 18 haiku looking for a home. It’s amazing how they mount up. That’s how it goes – one day you have nothing, next day you have too many. It’s a shame that the same doesn’t apply to £10 notes.

I’m off to eat stew now, I’ll see you all tomorrow.

The haiku features a robin, so that’s the reason for the picture.

Addiction

I had it in mind to write two posts today, but when I looked for my camera to download the photos, I found I’d left it at work yesterday.  Not that it matters, they aren’t topical posts and they can wait.

Apart from that I’ve frittered my day away.

A goatlet, or whatever they call them. Never could stand the things, always escaping and looking at you with peculiar eyes…

I have submitted some work today, but apart from that haven’t made much progress in my plans to be one of the towering literary figures of the 21st century. This is a shame, as I woke up with such ambitious plans. I ended up washing dishes. cooking and watching quizzes. I think I may start telling myself that quizzes are coded messages from the devil. That way I might be able to  stop watching them. On the other hand, you may read a post in a month’s time about how I made a pentagram in salt and sat in the middle of it to watch Pointless. In that case you will know that my addiction to quiz shows is becoming serious…

It’s strange. When I gave up smoking I had one packet of cigarettes in use and one unopened. I threw the partly used pack away and put the unopened pack by the front door. It was there for five or six years. It meant that I could have one if I wanted, and that seemed to make giving up a lot easier. I haven’t really given up smoking, even now, and still feel like a cigarette as I write this paragraph. People who give up smoking and bang on about their willpower and stuff, are really boring, and I don’t want to be one of them. I merely decided one day that I was going to delay my next cigarette. That was twenty years ago. I might have one tomorrow, but I might not.

If only I could do that with food and quiz shows. Unfortunately I can rarely pass a fridge or a TV set without checking what is in there.

Soda bread

Shots from the archives – March 2016.

 

 

 

 

A Day That Failed to Deliver

Having made a plan for the day I awoke with energy and determination, dressed swiftly and went downstairs with high hopes.

At that point the plan failed to survive first contact with the enemy, hit the buffers and the wheels came off, as the mixed metaphors fell thick and fast, along with the cliches. The ‘enemy’ was, of course, my dear wife, who was already up to her ears in phone calls and had a list of things for me to do.

As a result I am now typing close to midnight and have only managed to tick three jobs off my list, though I have managed to do quite a few jobs that weren’t on the list.You have to wonder why I bother having Wednesdays off, as they have become just another working day for Julia during lockdown.

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Red Tailed Bumble Bee Mencap Garden Wilford

This is the third attempt I have made at today’s blog post as the previous two have degenerated into a whining complaint about the unfairness of life, the unfairness of wife and the perils of working from home. When we are all back at work I bet her clients, who know no boundaries, will continue to ring in the evenings and at weekends and we (along with many other people) will be worse off in terms of relaxation and work/life balance, than we were before lockdown.

This, along with masks and governmental ineptitude, seems to be one of the big stories of the day.

I have just spent the last hour wrestling with the shopping list for tomorrow. I started it in good time but stopped to eat, fell asleep in front of the TV and woke, stiff and grumpy, to find that I had two hours to shop and blog.

There is half an hour to go, so I will add a few photos from the gardens on Monday and sign off for the day. I pursued a red tailed bumble bee around the cranesbill and lilies but these two poor shots were the only decent ones.The cranesbill drooped under it’s weight and didn’t provide enough pollen to keep it, while the lilies provided pollen, but the bee was hidden deep in the flower as it collected.

Tomorrow I hope to be more positive, more productive and a much nicer person. I suspect I am only going to managed two out of the three as a major personality change is unlikely.

Teasel - Mencap Garden Wilford Nottingham

Teasel – Mencap Garden Wilford Nottingham

 

Plans, plans, plans

The plan for the morning was to rise early, sneak downstairs as Julia slept and get writing. I have haibun to write, submissions to make and a new ambition to fulfil.

I want to hit my sixth WordPress anniversary with an average of 365 posts per year. I’m currently on 333 a year. I think that means I have to write 365 next year, and a further 160 to catch up. That’s 1.5 posts per day.

So, I need to examine the reasons for my deficiencies in posting.

One, obviously, is idleness, indolence, sloth or laziness. There are some nice words for it, but it all boils down to one of my defining character flaws. I don’t like hard work.

Two, which is a similar thing, my talent for procrastination, time-wasting, loafing and wandering off on the internet, either to play games or browse Wikipedia. Recently I found a new games page and I am now a dab hand at Nine Men’s Morris and, thanks to Wiki, can also discuss its history and variations.

Three, memory. I sometimes forget to post. You’d think one a day would be simple enough to remember but I have a lot to remember, such as my name, computer passwords and what Julia just said to me. Some days it’s hard just remembering how to walk and breathe at the same time.

Four. Sometimes I just fall asleep at the keyboard, leading to fifty five lines saying ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg etc

Or, worse, with the pattern of a keyboard impressed in my face, like one of Dr Who’s more low-budget adversaries.

Today I will attempt multiple posts.

Watch this space.

Today’s picture is the recycled Robin from the Garden Centre in Scone Chronicles 3.

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