Tag Archives: rain

Royal Mail, Rejection and Rain

I’ve just had an email from the Royal Mail. They tell me they have now completed their enquiries and the parcel depot manager tells them that he was able to deliver the parcel, so they hope all is OK now.

It’s taken weeks to come to this.

My actual complaints were about the useless nature of their customer contact system.

They didn’t deliver, I had to track it down myself and collect it.

I will be writing a proper letter of complaint.

And I will be asking if they have any vacancies for parcel depot managers. If you need someone to utter inaccurate platitudes, I’m you man. I could do that at the same time as doing a proper job.

I have also had an email from a poetry editor. I have been successful with them before, but It seems that this time I failed to make the final cut. It’s my own fault, as I tried to do too much too soon and didn’t spend enough time checking the quality of the “final” version.

This is the real test of my commitment to submitting more. I’ve now managed as many rejections in the last month as I did in the rest of the year. The result is that I’ve been able to check out my resilience, and have found it’s holding up well. I’m not wilting under pressure, I’m not questioning my talent (or lack of talent) and I’m not holding internal monologues where I prove to the editors they are wrong. I’m just editing the returned poems more effectively and todays returns will be submitted elsewhere on Monday.

That’s todays news. Other than that, not much happened. Apart from the rain. It was quite wet last night and we did get nearly a month’s rain overnight. However, it’s nothing compared to what happened to some people so I’m not going to complain. We got off very lightly. That’s the benefit of living on top of a hill.

Yes, quite wet . . .

Saturday and a Rare Ten Minutes

I find it easier to concentrate in the morning, even after a short or disturbed sleep. Ideas flow, words arrive in ready made paragraphs and my skills at arranging them are t their peak. Sadly, this is all in my head. It’s a rare morning when, in between struggling with trousers, managing breakfast and doing all the other daily tasks, I can actually find time to sit down and write.

Today, Saturday, is an exception because I don’t have to take Julia to work. It’s still a bit of a rush but it does give me a few minutes to sit and type. I have attended to comments this morning, reflected on a few of the things that came to light (I do think about what you sy, even if my replies are short).

It has rained three times this morning, each shower being a concentrated downpour that has tested our new guttering. It all seems OK at the moment, having been a problem on and off for the 30+ years we have been here. We should just have had it done when we moved in, instead of paying a succession of builders to bodge it. Pay once, do it right. It’s something I should do more often. It’s actually quite pleasant to sit here in the middle of a rainstorm and not hear the sound of escaping water.

It’s the story of my life really – bodging and skrimping when it would be so much easier just to get it done. Imperfections can be very draining, both mentally and in terms of extra damage done to a house (like the green patches that appear in winter where the walls are damp from leaking gutters). I’ve actually seen some buildings where such damp patches allow the growth of buddleias. There is one we see on the way to work each morning.  They are very pretty but they can’t be doing the walls any good.

Peacock on White buddleia

Holiday Day 3 Part 2 Me v the NHS

This is about day 3 but written on Day 4. Day 4 will follow later.

Yesterday I went for my Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening. It’s a free NHS service available to men at the age of 65. It used to be 67 (which was when I first heard of it, when one of the shop customers warned me about it as one of the signs of ageing).

To have the procedure you first have to sit in a temporary waiting room with notices sellotaped to the wall. One of the notices details the terms and conditions of how they will treat your records and tells you that if you don’t agree to them you can’t have the screening and they will report this to your GP. This rather ominous start to the process would benefit from a redesign. I have found before that although they employ thousands of clerical staff in the NHS they don’t seem to have anyone capable of communicating in a cheery and welcoming manner.

After sitting around for a bit, comparing how old I looked compared to the others in the room, I came to the conclusion that I was looking about average for a 65-year-old and that none of them had facial hair. It’s something I have noticed before. I was unusual in my generation for having a beard, though in later generations it has become widespread. Just an observation . . .


None of them had tattoos either. That’s something else that we didn’t do, but the younger generation does.

And none of us was staring at the screen of a  mobile phone.

I’ll stop the list now.

I was then taken along to a room where I had to answer some undemanding questions (name, address, date of birth, ethnicity and whether I had read the leaflets they had sent me.) I failed the last one as I hadn’t, but I had looked at the pictures so I had the general idea.

Then I was made to lie down on a bed where my feet hung off the end whilst the lady spread me with gel and kept prodding me with the thing they use for scanning. I haven’t a clue what they would call it. Maybe a probe (though that sounds a bit intrusive) or a scanner (though that might be confused with  other sorts of scanning technology) r even a wand. It was a bit wand shaped. It appears that my aorta was not easy to find. It seemed to take a long time. However, she was persistent and tactful and never mentioned my girth.

There are four results. One is that you are fine with no abnormalities and can be signed off, never to be seen again. One is that you have signs causing concern. Aneurysms grow slowly so you get another scan in 12 months to check. If you have more signs causing concern they have you back every three months. The fourth is that you have cause for major concern, in which case they hand you over to the medical team who will, in the worst cases, operate.

I am in category one and have been signed off. It’s a good result. Three monthly checks would have been very annoying, probably more annoying than the operation. The visits would be made even worse by the chaotic nature of the parking and the unhelpful maps and (incorrect and contradictory) information on the website.

It rained as I left and, being in shirt sleeves, I got soaked in the 200 yards walking (slowly) to the car. I then had to find the exit, drive past it and do a three point turn to face the correct angle to get out. Still, it could have been worse. It’s always good to get away from hospital without having to take your trousers off.


We had thunderstorms today, but now we just have rain. We had thunderstorms yesterday and also the day before that. Or maybe two days ago. Anyway, we have had quite a lot of thunder and a lot of rain. Most of it, I imagine, will go to waste as we don’t have enough water storage.

Historically, we would have got round this by flooding a valley, preferably in Wales or Scotland. They have plenty of space there. In England we don’t have quite so much space. We also have public enquiries.

These, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them, are normally expensive and lengthy proceedings requiring us to pay vast sums to legal advisors in order to delay things. They may sometimes be good things, but mainly they just enable pressure groups to get publicity and lawyers to make additions to their property portfolios.

However, many reports point to problems by the middle of the century when our rainfall will fail to meet our water consumption, regardless of our ability to store it. Lower rainfall, high rates of water usage and increasing population all point to problems. By the middle of the century, if I’m still here, I probably won’t know what’s happening so it isn’t my problem. On the other hand, I would like to think that future generations have plenty to drink, so I’m going to start looking at more ways to save water. I have already reduced the the toilet flush and refuse to wash my car as a principle (rather than because I’m lazy). We also have water butts. and I’m planning our new garden with drought resistant species.

The current rain will also probably overpower out fragile sewerage systems and create more pollution of waterways. When we have a lot of water flowing companies are allowed to discharge the “overflow” directly into rivers and the sea.This can include raw sewage.

It’s a sad thing to see this happening at an increasing rate, and even sadder that we have yet to see the CEO of a water company flogged through the streets and given twenty years hard labour. I imagine you would only need to do one, and the rest would up their game.

Unfortunately judges are notoriously unlikely to jail the relatives of old school friends. We see this when they go soft on the killers of birds of prey and we see this when water companies are allowed to discharge sewage unpunished. There were over 300,000 discharges last year. There will probably be more this year as it is likely to be a wetter year.

The number of CEOs who suffer even minor judicial inconvenience? I’m guessing zero.

The view from Bowness – mainly rain

Into Every Life . . .

Last night I remarked to Julia that we could make great economies in the cost of TV by simply junking all the local TV weather presenters. They simply stand around, look vacuous and get things wrong in front of a green screen.

Last night’s forecast was a typical example, as a woman in an unsuitably garish dress stood up and revealed that by 5.00pm it would probably be raining very close to a dot in the midlands that had “Nottingham” written by it. It was no more informative than the national forecast had been, though we’d had to guess the position of Nottingham.

She disagreed. Well, she always does. The local forecasts, she tells me, are essential to her work in the gardens.

OK, I said, let’s see what 5.00 brings.

Lake District

Well, 4.00 brought heavy rain. It was so heavy that it was bouncing up about a foot after hitting the car roof. I watched from inside the shop and mentioned the fact that it wasn’t supposed to rain until it virtually missed us at 5.00.

“It says,” said one of the others, checking the internet, “that we currently have a 49% chance of rain.”

“That means,” said, “that this is what a 51% chance of no rain looks like.”

It looked very wet.

Julia told me, when she got home, that her internet had shown a 90% chance of rain when she checked at 5.00. By that time she was on the way home after being comprehensively soaked. She still wouldn’t admit t6hat the local forecast was useless.

Me? I’m sure that in the days of my youth we used to laugh at the uselessness of forecasting. Later, when I was in my 30s, I used to find the farming forecast quite accurate. Now it seems that they are variable. Sometimes they are still brilliant, but other times bear only a coincidental resemblance to what was prophesied. You can still select a week to go on holiday, maybe even a day for a daytrip, but if they predict rain in the afternoon I’d allow a 12 hour window and pack a mac just to be on the safe side.

Over the Ecocentre

As for the internet prediction, we can all be wise after the event. It’s a bit like my grandad’s weather forecasting seaweed that used to hang on his back wall. As he once told me, you can tell the weather from that. If you feel the seaweed and it feels wet, it means it’s raining.

Of course, both my grandfather’s lived in Lancashire. That’s the county where they say that if you can look out to sea and see the Isle of Man, it means it’s going to rain. If you can’t see the Isle of Man, it already is raining.

One Test, Two Nurses, Five Attempts

Yes, as you can probably tell from the title, it was not a great day for a blood test. It was a gloomy day, very different from yesterday’s lovely Spring weather, and there was a touch of rains and cold in the air. I was seen quickly but after three attempts, was passed on to another nurse (my favourite) with a comment about drinking and dehydration. This always the excuse. I have difficult veins, and some nurses have better luck than others at finding them. Even my favourite nurse took two attempts today.

It’s raining now and looks set to stay that way for the rest of the day. I am home from my errands and Julia is home from hers, so I have arranged for a delivery of Kentucky Fried Chicken. This is the height of decadence and I feel slightly ashamed to be doing it. However, if someone reads this in the future they might like to take a break from their processed soya meal in a tube/Soylent Green/organically grown algae and reflect on the fact that we could once order fried chicken for lunch. Others I suppose, would say that posterity doesn’t need to know about my attachment to junk food.

The food is nearly here now, so I’d better finish.  Once I correct my writing troubles (which are starting to get less troublesome) I will address some of the worst aspects of my diet. Now that Spring is here it feels like time to start renewing myself. However, I’ve said that before and it hasn’t really worked.

A Few Days in Wales

I still haven’t tried to trace the missing post, but I have solved my focus problem. I had it on “P”, which was Programmed Automatic on the last camera. Not sure what it is on the new one but setting it to “A” solves the focus issues – it works fine now.

We have been in Wales for the last couple of days. Sunday was mainly travel. Monday was mainly low visibility and wet. Tuesday was very pleasant but we spent half the day travelling back. It’s the first time we;ve been away since lockdown and it was very pleasant. The only problem is that accomodation has gone up. We may have to start looking at B&B instead of cheap hotels. The main advantages of cheap hotels are the ability to come and go as you want, and you know what you are getting before you arrive. When we used to use B&B the accommodation could sometimes be a bit of a shock. As could the landladies.

Llandudno, including War Memorial

We have been having the all you can eat breakfasts again – yoghurt, fruit, cereal, toast and drinks is £7.50 and with the addition of a full breakfast only costs £2 more. That’s sausage, bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, black pudding, hash browns for £2 extra. I don’t actually eat all I can, but I do eat enough to last me through the day.

We ate at 9.00 this morning, had tea and cake when we visited the posh farm shop at lunchtime them had soup at 8.00 tonight when we got home. We didn’t really need the cake I suppose, but I do like fruit loaf and it seemed rude not to have the bara brith seeing as we were in Wales. Having said that, my Mum had several similar recipes, including one that featured grape nuts cereal soaked in tea. I used to make it too. As usual, I didn’t make a conscious effort to stop, it’s just one of those things that petered out.


I seem to have lost the habit of taking photos. I do have a few but haven’t taken them off the card yet. So photos are from old visits. It hasn’t changed much since the 1890s, apart from the cars, so it doesn’t really need new photos.

Places to go – Llandudno


Early One Saturday

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.

Ah well, time for sandwich making.

1921 Pennies

Postcode Safari (Part Two)

Time for PE10, WS8 and BT71 now.

PE10 covers the town of Bourne in Lincolnshire. It’s a lovely town with a lot of history. Hereward the Wake reputedly came from Bourne, the first of a long line of interesting people from Bourne, including clerics, explorers, criminals, a VC winner and Raymond Mays, founder of BRM. A BRM driven by Graham Hill won the Formula 1 Championship in 1962.

It’s tempting to add a link to Graham Hill, one of my childhood heroes, and his son Damon, who is one of only two sons to have followed his father as F1 World Champion. However, we’ve had Hereward the Wake,  Charles Sharpe and Raymonds Mays – that’s enough heroes for one post.

If I had my life over again I’d seriously think about living in Bourne. But I’d also work harder, save money and watch my diet so I’ll just have to let it pass.

WS8. I used to live in WS9, though I was so young I don’t actually remember it. This is in danger of becoming an autobiography. WS8 includes Brownhills, one of the least attractively named towns in the UK. It was apparently a big mining area in the seventeenth century and the name refers to the spoil heaps. In 1680 it was known as Brownhill – it seems to have become plural as more spoil heaps were formed.

I’ve been past Brownhills, but I don’t think I’ve actually stopped there. I used to have customers nearby, and the A5 runs past, as it has done for 2,000 years, having been built by the Romans as Watling Street. Next time I go that way I may drop in – they have a massive statue of a miner, which might be interesting.

Finally, BT71. It’s one of two postcodes for Dungannon, and includes Coalisland, another name derived from coal mining. It is claimed that you can see seven counties from the hill with the castle ruins, though it does say “depending on the weather”. It will almost certainly be raining, which is why Ireland is so green, so I wouldn’t bank on it. It’s like the old saying that if you can see the Isle of Man from the mainland it means rain is on the way. And if you can’t see it, it’s already raining.

The other story about Dungannon is that it has an untypical police barracks because of a planning mix up. Somewhere in Nepal, so the story goes, there is a typical Irish police barracks. Now all I need is a reader in Nepal to share a picture…


Another Average Day

I had a great idea for a post this afternoon. Unfortunately I forgot to bring the camera home so I can’t do that one as it needs photos.

Not all is lost. I Googled something this morning after Julia told me about it. If you go to this link you will find a story with military and political interest. Johno used to keep poultry and do various other things on the farm when we were there. He was the one who was told that he couldn’t have a blue badge for disabled parking as young people often recovered and didn’t need one. If you have read the link you will be able to join me in a wry chuckle. If not, read this.

The only other thing of note was that the shop was cold and the rain hammered on the roof all day. That’s what happens when you work in a lean-to.

It’s better in the front of the shop because there’s a flat on top of it and it has windows so you see daylight. And it has a heater.