Tag Archives: pomposity

Starts with Soup and ends with Poetry

I’m writing this in the last hour of 1st December, and will post it minutes after midnight to make sure i get something written for what is currently “tomorrow”.

Soup first. I was wrong about the quantity. We had it for lunch then used the remains in the vegetable stew and dumplings we had for tea. I had mine with lashings of brown sauce, so it wasn’t as healthy as it could have been.

The green soup turned out brown, which turned to an off-putting greenish khaki once I applied the blender. I’m not sure which I prefer. It has a distinct salty taste, turning to broccoli. I’m not sure why as I only used one stock cube and no other seasoning. Apart from that, it’s OK. The colour, I think, can be traced back to me softening the onions until they turned brown – heat too high and concentration not switched on. It should be good for three days, and it might take me two of those days to work up the enthusiasm to eat it. I have seen that6 colour before and it is not usually associated with pleasant things.

Writing next. I had two poems accepted by Obsessed with Pipework. It’s a mixed blessing. I’m glad to have the poems accepted but it means that I now have nothing out with editors. This is a situation I feel I should remedy but it’s also a weight off my shoulders.

Marmalade Hoverfly

Marmalade Hoverfly

Over the last couple of years I have allowed my writing to reflect the editors I send it to, rather than what I want to write. That’s a good thing to do if you want to make a living as a freelance writer but I’ve left it a bit late for that and I really write for pleasure and relaxation.  I have proved to myself that I can write to an acceptable standard and I have proved that I can bounce back from rejection.

If I now change down a gear, it’s because I want to, not because I’m making excuses. Yes, at the back of my mind I do have an ambition to see my name on the spine of a poetry collection (or maybe more than one) but that is not as important as the pleasure I get from writing.

It’s an ego thing. Is my poetry really that good that it justifies cutting down a tree? Probably not. (I added the “probably” to give me an escape route if I ever succumb and do publish one). I don’t, to be honest, work hard enough to be able to produce a book and admire people who do.

This is very much in the area of “Writer Biographies” and blogs. A lot of them list the author’s educational achievements from forty years ago, their glittering careers and a long list of publications. It’s very dull and it isn’t really a picture of who they are (unless they really are  a pompous dullard).  I, as you know, am not overly burdened by education, achievement or success so  I couldn’t compete with them if I wanted to, but I promise you that if I could compete with them, I wouldn’t. What I have been gives some insight into what I am today, but what I am really concerned with is what I will be tomorrow. Same with my writing. Everything I have published is faulty and my ambition is to publish something tomorrow that is less faulty.

Lake District – a better photographer would have noted which bit . . .

The photos are a pork pie, a hoverfly on a poppy and a load of hills next to a lake. That’s just to remind myself that lots of things are (a) more important than poetry and (b) will still be around long after I have gone.

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

The Tuesday Tirade

At the moment I’m working four days a week. I have Sunday off, Wednesday off and, at the moment, Tuesday off. I’m three hours short of my normal time, but I get a whole extra day off, which is quite useful. I could really compress my hours into three days and take a second job, but although that would suit me, it wouldn’t be quite as convenient for running the shop.

It’s now time to confess that I didn’t follow up the chance of teaching adults to read, as I said I would a few weeks ago. I meant to, because it’s important, but the application form rubbed me up the wrong way. There were a number of things which jarred, but I can work round that, people who write forms often become a little bossy. However I then reached the bit where it required details of my relevant qualifications and went on to ask for two references, preferably from “people of some standing in the community”.

Well, I don’t have any “relevant qualifications”, which is generally a coded reference to the fact that they are looking for ex-teachers. I’ve had this sort of thing before. I also, to be honest, no longer have any people in my social circle who could possibly be described as having any sort of “standing” in the community.

They are supposedly an organisation which aims, amongst other things, to make people feel good about themselves by redressing their lack of education, and they end up reminding me that I made some bad decisions in the past, lack educational qualifications and, in addition, have no friends of any standing in the community. Even writing about it now I feel depressed and embarrassed about this.

Anyway, I’m giving my time to help people and I will complete a criminal record check before starting work, so why do they need references?

As I say, some people just can’t help being pompous when writing forms. Overlying that is the idea that I’ve seen this all before – people running volunteer schemes or charities because they want to be in charge of something and look important, and they want to make sure all their helpers are the right sort of person. Unfortunately, I’m not.

I’ll tell you what I am though, I’m someone who has done a lot of volunteering, and someone who won a regional award for my work in running volunteer and training schemes.

At the moment I’m waiting to find out what we will be doing in the shop in the long term. When we settle that I’m going to volunteer for a scheme that goes into schools to help kids learn to love reading. In the meantime I’ve set up a payment to donate to them every month.

Sorry if this makes me sound like a bad person but I have experienced several organisations where I wasn’t happy. My time is valuable to me and I’m not going to waste it on the wrong scheme.

And there we go, a rant about people trying to do good in the community. I really am a nasty piece of work.

Fast forward to Thursday and Stupidity

After the delay in posting Tuesdays events I’m going to give a quick overview of Wednesday and then plunge into Thursday – a much more interesting day.

Chickens, eggs, butterfly count (which included green-veined whites), Canadian visitor, made a get well soon card, a volunteer called to see if they could help us with anything (as if!), a discussion on seeing tigers in Indian National Parks, a meeting (which I avoided), another meeting (which I didn’t) and a feeling that things could be better.

Move on to Thursday and I managed to take a poor picture of an immature Green Woodpecker through a dirty windscreen. We’ve seen a few flying and heard many more but this was my first chance to get a photo. Still, it was better than the one of the Green-veined White butterfly I took on my phone yesterday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I then checked the office emails and found a gem from a local college.

To put it in perspective, we have them out on the farm for six days in a year. We charge £5 each (which we were told was all they could afford) so we take about £50 – £60 a day. If you cost it up strictly it takes about 16- 20 man hours to plan and deliver the visits, and we have to pay the farm rent for using  the facilities.

The college sent us a letter once, telling us it could send lecturers out if we needed any help delivering education and they would only cost us £70 an hour. Yes, they would charge us more for an hour than they are prepared to pay us for a day.

I didn’t read the payment terms because I was spluttering too much, but I can tell you their terms. They pay at the end of the month following the month in which the service was delivered. We had a visit from them in the first week of June and we got paid last week. And they wonder why small businesses have trouble.

Today we had a 300 word email which contained this gem of a paragraph.

As a part of our due diligence process we audit our suppliers on a regular basis and will only work with organisations who also commit to the eradication of slavery and human trafficking.  Our procurement appraisal process will incorporate a review of the controls undertaken by our suppliers and now also requires, from all suppliers, an annual statement of their commitment and actions taken to eliminate modern slavery.

I’m happy to eradicate modern slavery, but is this really going to help?

I will say no more.