Tag Archives: queues

Marmalade Hoverfly

A Slightly Longer Post

Sorry, I was slightly inaccurate when posting last night  – it’s cellulitis rather than phlebitis. As soon as they mentioned it at the doctor (I finally felt strong enough to leave the house)  I remembered it was cellulitis I’d had before. That’s why it doesn’t seem as dramatic as the link I didn’t post.

Julia looked into it after I was diagnosed and she has been giving me a good talking too. It seems that fi you are in the shaking/delirium stage you should get your self to hospital. This is clearly guidance from someone who has never had it. When you are in that stage you can’t string coherent sentence or thought together. Now we know what to do we will make sure we ring an ambulance and, I’m sure, be told that it isn’t serious enough to warrant that.

I now have antibiotics and am in that stage of feeling worse before I get better. Fortunately I am already o lot better than I was. You can tell this from the blog posts. They are hardly masterpieces of finely crafted prose, but compared to the communication of a few days ago I feel like Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde rolled into one.

I’m still making a lot more mistakes than usual with the typing, but am hoping I am correcting most of them as I go along.

My early texts to the boss and Julia a couple of days ago looked like they had been typed by a five year old wearing mittens.

Fortunately |I am resilient, so I will bounce back.

It took me two and a half hours to get my pills this afternoon, which was twenty minutes with the doctor and two hours and ten minutes wrapped up in queues and listening to (yet more) excuses from the pharmacy. Meanwhile, I had plenty of time to sit and view my future – fawn clothes, shoes with Velcro straps and jogging bottoms. I had intended being a natty dresser in old age but it seems fate is even conspiring to take that away from me.

 

By these baubles…

Yesterday, after posting, I had another note from WP, congratulating me on four successive days posting.. It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve had a run of failing to post on time, prior to that I had some quite lengthy runs. I’m wondering what happens when we put the clocks back. It’s either then or when we put them forwards (I can never work it out) that my posting record becomes patchy. It’s nothing to do with me, but all the posts within an hour of midnight seem to stop registering on the right day. The first time I noticed it I’d strung months of continuous posting together and it suddenly disappeared.

Will WP send me a note telling me that they have recalculated? That would be a laugh. For people like Derrick and Tootlepedal, who both seem to possess metronome DNA, I’m sure they have hundreds of consecutive days. My efforts hardly count next to their long, photo-filled and extremely regular posts. They should be getting gold medals, not just notes with a blue drawing.

I’m now conflicted, do I now miss a day to show my disdain for the system or do I carry on regularly so that WP can pat me on the head for being a good boy?

I will ponder this question as I publish this post, get a new email and sit in the latest set of Saturday roadworks. They are working on the ring road and there seems to be a new delay every Saturday, It’s the only day of the week I go directly to work instead of dropping Julia off first, and it’s a little annoying to sit in a queue on what should be a quiet and easy journey.

Ah well, compared to the abyss of unemployment it’s better to be delayed than out of work.

The title comes from Napoleon Bonaparte – “You call these baubles, well, it is with baubles that men are led…”

WP obviously feels the same. When he said baubles he meant the Legion d’Honneur, rather than Christmas decorations. That’s the medal on the red ribbon at the far right of the header picture.

Getting Better

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This isn’t the post I said I was going to write, you’ll have to wait for that. This is the post that covers what I did today after posting the previous post and making breakfast.

We had people in on Monday to dismantle the sheds and associated ivy/brambles/honeysuckle at the back of the garden. It has been a great aid to security, privacy and wildlife over the last thirty years, including highlights such as the fox cubs and breeding blackcaps. There’s never a year goes by without at least one nest in it and this year it is great tits. It’s difficult getting anyone at the moment as everyone wants work doing after lockdown and it’s two or three weeks before they can get back to finish off. This fits in well with the great tit family which should be fledged and away by the time we destroy their habitat.

When it’s all done I’m going to plant a mixed hawthorn and blackthorn hedge, which should provide a good habitat over the coming years.

For the moment it’s left a bit of  a hole in the fence and though we’ve plugged it, it isn’t very elegant. As the house is home to a curious beagle I was going to make a better job of it today, so after breakfast I set off. I’ve just been told to increase my dose of Methatrexate to the maximum level. It seems to be working as I have use of my hands and my feet are a lot better too. However, it does mean that I worry about the effect of suppressing my immune system.

When I got to my first call in search of stout stakes and chicken wire I was presented with a queue of people which was positively festering in a shopping centre with the micro-climate of a tropical butterfly house. To be honest, it’s just the atmosphere a virus needs to spread, so I left.

The next shop I tried had a longish queue and I tried two builder’s merchants too. The queue at one of them contained more people than I’d ever seen in the shop before (I used to be in regularly when I was a jobbing gardener and it rarely had more than six people in. There were 18 in the queue. All these queues were outdoors, but after my activity on Monday when we took the shed down my knee is still a bit tender and doesn’t respond well to a lot of standing.

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Water Lily

Before returning home I went to Aldi where the usual bunch of idiots managed to get into my social exclusion zone, including one of the managers who entered via the exit as I was leaving and was so close I could feel their slipstream. I bought ripe avocados, which were made an excellent lunch.

After that I emailed the lady behind us to say I’d be a day or two later than planned with the fence, clipped the front hedge (I said my hands were better – I couldn’t have done this two weeks ago) and dead headed the poppies.

I tried to order the posts and wire I wanted online but, just like a supermarket, they take the order and then, as you pay, tell you that two items are out of stock. I was only ordering three items, so I wasn’t impressed.

I had to take Julia to hospital for a scan as a follow-up to the pre-lockdown episode and, when I returned there were two emails and a brown envelope for me (marked as being from the Tax Office).

The news is that the lady behind us has offered to do the patching of the fence, which will save me a lot of hassle because I’m working Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They could find no immediate fault with Julia, though they may find fault later after properly examining the results. The Tax Office want to give me £16 back, as I have over-paid.

This is all good, and a welcome lifting of the gloom that has been gathering around me over the last few months.

The second email was from a local literacy project (I emailed them last night to make sure I actually volunteered  instead of just intending to volunteer, as I so often do). They  aren’t doing much at the moment, but will be in touch when they are ready for more interviews and training.

Then, just to settle myself down after all this happiness, I spent an hour on the computer arranging tomorrow’s grocery delivery. This is an improvement on last week when I actually forgot to do it. Fortunately we had plenty in to last an extra week.

Only a few repeated photos, I have no new photos to share.

Out and About

We went to the gardens today to do some watering and check that everything was secured against the wind. It was 2.40 when we turned onto the Ring Road, We noted a short queue at Sainsbury’s (four people) but the Ring Road seemed to have plenty of traffic on it. As we passed the local McDonald’s we noted that the Drive Through was crowded, having now been open for two days. Forty-eight hours and the rush for junk food is already gripping the nation.

The verges and central reservations on the Ring Road are now being left longer as part of the new city bee initiative. having read it I see a lot of words, a lot of signs and a lot of onus being shifted to other people. What I don’t see is much action – unless you count saving money by mowing less. Pardon my cynicism, but I’ve seen this sort of thing before, and though I welcome it, I’m not sure how committed they really are. However, I’m glad to see them making the effort.

bee-friendly-logo

We saw two different sorts of sin and there is, I see from the website, for parks. Councils love signs.

We went past the roadworks near the shop and saw nobody working, before crossing the bridge and seeing nobody working there either. To be fair they may be underground, or under the bridge. Or they may not.

The Co-op on Wilford Lane had a queue of two. At the school they are putting signs up for the return next week. The yellow lines are for social distancing as they queue to get into school. The nation really loves a queue. If we defeat corona virus it will be because of queues and fines for petty offences.

 

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Social Distancing

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Return to School

We left at 4pm and noticed the queue at the Co-op had grown to 12 while we’d been away.

The queue at Sainsbury’s now stretched the length of the shop front.

I managed a shot of an unkempt central reservation on the way back, and the queue at McDonald’s. Unfortunately we didn’t stop in the right place to photograph the signs.

Bee Friendly Central Reservation

Bee Friendly Central Reservation

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Stampede for Junk Food

Stampede for Junk Food

After fish and chips from Captain Cod (support your local shop) we went to TESCO to pick up this week’s order. Apart from the large white cobs I’d ordered. There will be no classic bacon cobs for breakfast tomorrow. There were no substitutes. I am not happy.

An Interesting Day

It’s been an interesting day. I suppose the title gave that away. I, of course, use the word “interesting” in the same way that a prostate exam is an interesting procedure – it grabs your attention and you suffer from flashbacks.

Just after midnight I trawled the internet looking for a supermarket with a delivery or collection slot. Number One Son had told me to try this time as they release the slots just after midnight.

There were no TESCO delivery slots in the next three weeks, so I tried Click & Collect. There was just one slot in the next three weeks – next Wednesday. What I didn’t realise when I started was that I was going to struggle quite so badly with the website (which seems very badly designed) and the speed of my ancient netbook. This meant it took me two hours to place an approximate order. I had to call it a day before getting everything right as you only have a limited time to secure the time slot.

This meant I didn’t get to bed until after 3.00, and had to get up at 8.00. I was in the queue at TESCO just before 9.00 and complaining by 9.02. It seems that there was no queue last Wednesday, but today the queue stretched around 100 yards and, despite being a slot dedicated to “the elderly” was dotted with people who were clearly in their 30s and 40s.

It also went past the door of a pharmacy and people were going in as we queued, sometimes without bothering about social distancing.

Eventually they allowed the line to move and we all went in. They seemed to have been keeping us back so they could let us go in one lot. Not sure why this is seen as better than letting us go as space became available in the shop but I’m sure that TESCO know what they are doing. (That’s an example of sarcasm, for those of you who don’t know TESCO).  The security guards asked a few people to step out of the line until “the elderly” were all in. It seems that the queue was for people of 65 and over. I was rather upset when they let me in, to be honest, do I really look over 65? I’m only 61!

It was quite easy shopping, despite a few people who can’t follow a simple arrow system or work out what six foot looks like (or two metres for you young ‘uns). It’s quite un-nerving to turn round and find someone lurking a foot away, particularly if that person is a member of staff, who definitely should know better. Yes, the staff picking internet orders from the shelves were the worst offenders.

I’m so incensed by that that I nearly used an exclamation mark. That would be two more than I normally use, and one more than I’m prepared to let by. Surprise, or indignation, is all very well, but I always feel moderation in punctuation is the way to go. Otherwise you start to look like you are writing sale placards for a shop.

It took just over an hour to buy too much food, and find that they didn’t have paracetamol or flour in stock. Again. They did have courgettes (though not many) and cauliflowers, which they didn’t have online when I tried in the early hours. On the down side, I had to have smooth peanut butter instead of crunchy and there was no decent marmalade. More for my list of First World Problems.

It was a bit annoying because I had to unload the trolley from the end of the belt. I prefer to be more organised than that – working from the middle and organising things as I go. It wasn’t even necessary – there was plenty of room for me to have moved along without getting too close to anyone. However, I suppose staff are happier if they feel in charge of their situation.

Some blossom is showing

Some blossom is showing

Looking on the really bright side – it must be annoying to still be working when the erst of us are on “holiday”.

By that time my left foot was throbbing quite badly. My feet have swollen a bit recently, with so much sitting. This means that my foot overlaps the edge of the moulded sole. After half an hour the edge starts to resemble a knife blade, rather than a shoe.

By 10.30, as I limped back to the car, I just wanted to go home to sit down and drink tea.

It was 19 degrees Centigrade (66 F) by this time, which was pleasant, but a bit warm for a man who had dressed for a cooler day. I was becoming dehydrated, as I hadn’t had a drink before leaving home. My theory is that if I don’t have a drink, I won’t need to find a toilet while I’m out. The thought of tea and a nice sit-down became more appealing as I thought about it…

So, you ask, did you give up, you appalling snowflake?

No, I didn’t. I thought of Henry V, I thought of the Thin Red Line (the real one, not the film) and I wondered what would have happened if Captain Oates had been put off by a sore foot.

If they could do it, I decided, so could I. So I battled with the air pump to inflate my tyres, topped up with diesel and went to the pharmacy. I even snatched a few photos, though they are of merely documentary value, rather than being uplifting or artistic. It didn’t seem a particularly onerous set of tasks when put it in context. The pharmacy queue was not as long as last week. It was, in fact, about five minutes, which is better than normal in non-virus times. It would have been nice if they had got things right, but you can’t have everything.

Then I went home for a cup of tea and a sit-down.

The rest of the day passed with TV, blogging, phone calls and a refreshing nap. Well, two refreshing naps, to be honest, one to catch up and one that I would have had anyway. Julia cooked tea (roast gammon, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, sprouts, squash and Yorkshire puddings with gravy) and as I finish this off she is running on the spot in the hallway as part of her fitness routine.

I think this is the first time I have written a post over 1,000 words. It’s certainly the first I’ve posted one that length without splitting it up. Sorry about the verbosity, I suspect that blogging expands to fill the available time. Is anyone else experiencing this?

 

 

 

The Back of the Cupboard

It is five days since I last went shopping, and we are planning a new expedition. I’m not looking forwards to it – I don’t really want to queue around the outside of the shop as they allow us to enter one at a time for a tour of the empty shelves. We have tried ordering home delivery, but can’t find a delivery slot – they are all booked up for weeks to come.

I won’t carry on with this complaint as I’ve said it all before, but I am confused as to why the shelves are still empty despite the restrictions on buying.

I feel a bit guilty about buying more food while we still have plenty, but it’s a question of quality rather than quantity. We have food, in the sense of having things to eat, but in terms of having a proper balanced diet we are nearly out of a number of staples.

To manage our food more efficiently I have been checking the backs of the cupboards. I didn’t find Narnia but I did find some mango chutney to go with my previous discoveries. I even found a tin of rice pudding whilst I was shuffling packets and counting tins.

We have, I think, enough food for three weeks, if I really push it. Unfortunately, this is only one week of balanced meals, as we are running out of fresh vegetables. It won’t include bread, as we are about to run out. Nor, soon, will it include milk, eggs, or salad. Our vegetable stew will be served without dumplings due to a lack of flour.

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Happier Days…

Week Two will see us running out of fresh fruit and relying on tinned vegetables – beans, mushy peas and sweetcorn. Sadly, the fish fingers and tinned mushy peas will be served without potatoes, which are in short supply. The cheese will have gone by the end of the week. On a brighter note, we will have plenty of marmalade, though without toast to put it on this is a mixed blessing. If we have any surplus cheese biscuits I will try them with marmalade.

Week Three will see some real culinary horrors as the tinned haggis comes into play, teamed up with chick peas and lentils. I bought two tins of haggis when I was worried about Brexit but haven’t been able to face actually eating them.

Julia told me that there is a spoof email doing the rounds, and taking advantage of the fear of food shortages. It promises tins of pork, but people are advised not to open it as it’s just spam.

Sorry about that – when Julia told me I couldn’t stop laughing. We have a tin of spam on the shelf next to the haggis. We will have to see if I’m still laughing when we are reduced to eating it.

Haggis and root vegetables

Haggis and root vegetables

 

 

 

Queuing – A Fine Old Tradition

And here, as promised in the last post, is the less happy post.

I had a telephone conversation with a rheumatology consultant this morning, as they don’t want people going to hospital. I’m happy with that as I didn’t want to go either, even before the rise of Covid 19.

The outcome was that as I now have three more fingers swelling up I qualify for treatment. If I had only two affected joints, despite the difficulty and pain, I would not qualify for more than a quick-fix injection. I now have to wait for a nurse to ring me and arrange the prescription.

The fingers are now going down again, so with any luck I will get the prescription before another flare up.

After a week or more of conflicting government advice about risk and isolation the consultant said I am considered medium risk and should go out for exercise but avoid going into shops. That should be interesting when we return to work…

Then Julia got as telephone call from the doctor. Her blood test appointment was cancelled again. Then, when she objected, the doctor read her notes and reinstated it. I suspect they were just trying to cancel as much as possible.

The new arrangement is that we have to go down to the surgery at 1.45 pm, where they will take blood. This has to be done before 2.00pm to get it to the lab.

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Woman on a Mission

They will not be taking her blood pressure – she has been told to go and buy her own machine and telephone the surgery with the results.

No, I’m not making it up.

Her risk category is high, but she is, according to the doctor, still allowed to go shopping. This is handy, as we need to buy a blood pressure machine. We tried online but there was a virtual queue at Boots of over 20,000 just to get online. There was no queue at Amazon but they wanted £4.49 for postage and packing and another £4.49 for express delivery which was 3 days. Three days is not “express”, and £8.98 is taking the mickey.

So there we are – a week into lockdown and Julia is high risk. However, unlike medium-risk me, she is allowed to go into shops, and most likely, to go back to work next week.

Again, I am not making this up.

Here are some pictures from our trip out for medical advice and a blood pressure machine.

Most of the people queuing outside the surgery were waiting for the pharmacy to open, as it has restricted hours. The pharmacy we went to in Sherwood was only letting in two customers at a time. Julia managed to get both the blood pressure machine and a packet of paracetamol. This is ironic. The pain-killing gel has not been working on my fingers and I’ve been leaving out last packet of paracetamol in case we become ill. Now that my fingers are no longer painful we have managed to get more pills.

Pharmacy Queue

Pharmacy Queue – with hindsight we should have joined this one

All the shops seem to have queuing systems now. We are going out to join one shortly, because, when we got home, we found that the blood pressure machine only has two batteries packed with it and needs four. They are AAA. If they were AA we would have plenty because I use them in my camera.

No wonder Julia’s blood pressure is high.

Don't believe the packet - batteries were definitely not included!

Don’t believe the packet – batteries were definitely not included!

I get organised, and get punished for it

Tonight, in an organised fashion, I called at the surgery on my way home. It seemed to be a popular time as several other people arrived at the same time. One beat me to the desk and queued behind the woman who was already there.

One didn’t quite beat me to the desk but I held the door and let her go ahead. Before you start criticising me for chavinism reflect on this – I didn’t hold the door because she was a weak and feeble woman: I held the door because my parents brought me up to have good manners.

So, there I was, fourth in the queue. The first woman was one of those people who take a long time over everything, can’t take no for an answer and have no awareness of how many people are queueing behind them thinking of violence.

The second person was unremarkable and finished her enquiry in a couple of minutes.

The third person, the woman I’d held the door for, spent the entire wait hacking and coughing without bothering to cover her mouth. I presume her parents had never told her that coughs and sneezes spread diseases. Fortunately, because I’d let her go first, she was doing it over the people in front. Virtue, as they say, is its own reward.

Eventually I arrived at the front of the line. I picked up my prescription with no problem. The blood test form, however, was another thing altogether. It turned out that there were two of them. One is for blood. This good as the arrangement is that I am having extra samples taken next time I visit phlebotomy.

The other is not for blood. Somehow my agreement to two blood tests on the same day has mutated into a blood test with accompanying urine test. As I can’t see phlebotomy being ecstatic at being presented with a urine sample I suppose I’ll have to go back to the surgery, meaning that doubling up the blood test is saving no time or effort.

I mentioned this to the receptionist, who instantly became blank-faced and started up the Nuremberg Defence. I swear they have a special training school for doctors’ receptionists.

I’m thinking of what I can put in my urine sample to give them a hilarious surprise…

 

Me, Being Calm

We set off just after 8.00 this morning and remarked that the traffic seemed a little heavier than usual.

We were still saying the same thing an hour and twenty minutes later.

Normally we do the journey in thirty minutes or less.

Finally we saw the problem. A car was broken down on a flyover. Simple enough, you’d have thought. Call a breakdown wagon, hoist it up and get it shifted. That way we can all get to work on time and be happy.

Instead, a breakdown vehicle was parked behind the broken down car, there were cones in the road and both drivers seemed to have disappeared.

Because this is the new me I am merely reporting it.

I’m not going to rage about people who drive cars that look like they have been picked out of a scrapyard at random, or mechanics who can’t fix cars, or even traffic policemen who can’t clear obstructions.

This is the result of writing haiku. I am now a much nicer person.

Unsettling, isn’t it?