Tag Archives: relaxation

Writing with Spiders

Towards the end of my last post, using Classic Block in the new block editor, I ended up getting three blank screens and three error messages in the last couple of paragraphs.

I say “last couple of paragraphs” but according to the Block Editor, which seems to have  a fetish about paragraphs, the whole post was only one paragraph. It must be something about the way the block editor works that makes it all count as one paragraph, because there were definitely plenty of paragraphs in there.

At that point I contacted WP about cancelling my account. I had had enough. No matter what I think about the added button pressing or other things I could cope with that but the added random glitches and the sense that I was fighting with the machine were more than I could take.

It seemed that I was still able to cancel and get a full refund on next year.

I have the blog content downloaded.

I was going to leave an email address in one last post and make a note of various domain names and I was one key stroke away from cancelling when the helper on the chatline actually started trying to help.

The result is that I have now downloaded the plug-in version of Classic Editor. It’s not actually the last editor, but the one before that. I suspect it’s a way of really rubbing it in that those of us who want to stay retro have to suffer the indignity of being relegated to WP’s version of a spider infested dungeon.

Still, I’d rather talk to spiders than web developers…

It’s refreshing to be using a no-frills version once again, and very relaxing to sit here with something that does exactly what I want, and leaves it where I put it on the page. No random movements, no surprise tool bars or dialogue boxes, no  missing buttons and no sudden disappearances of a couple of hundred words.

This version counts my words and displays them at the bottom of the screen, and it saves automatically (which is something the other version seemed to have stopped doing some months back).

The only remaining problem I have is with WP’s management of the change.

I am not sure the change was necessary for a lot of people, who just come here to blog.

I’m not sure, from the strange faults I was getting, that it suits all set-ups (I’m still using XP and a variety of ancient bits and pieces. My computer equipment is getting on too.

I don’t like it that the new system requires more button pressing than the old one.

I don’t like having a change forced on me, particularly when I’m paying for a service.

I don’t like being told that WP are improving things for me, if only I wasn’t too stupid to appreciate it, which is the attitude that came across several times when I read a discussion thread.

Nor do I like the fact that they locked the discussion thread just before they forced me to change. I wasn’t even aware there was a programme of forced conversion until after it happened.

And I certainly don’t like that I’ve ranted my way through the last few days when I should have been writing about more interesting things.

The photographs are a bit slower than the last editor, which was bad enough, but I suppose I can get used to that. It’s only for 12 months, because I’m going to look for a new platform and start a new blog well in advance of the next renewal date.

 

The Ten Best Things About Lockdown

It’s not been all bad, by any means. I don’t know how it’s been for everyone else, but I’ve quite enjoyed some of the time.

One – being paid not to work. As far as I can see, there is no downside to this. I like my work, but I prefer being paid for nothing. This is different from my normal occupation where I have to go to the shop for six hours a day, where I am paid for doing very little work.

Two – spending more time with my wife. Again, what’s not to like? I know not everybody is as lucky as me in their choice of partner.  Julia, for instance, doesn’t seem as keen on this aspect of the lockdown.

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Bee in Cranesbill

Three – clean air. I have to take the Government’s word for this, but, unusually, they seem to be telling the truth. This has to be good.

Four – less traffic. I’ve been able to drive to hospital for blood tests and get a parking space. Luxury.

Five – free parking. I won’t lie to you, I am extremely mean and if I can save a couple of quid I will do. The hospital car park is free for the moment as they don’t want to handle all that dirty cash.

Six – I’m still on the same tank of fuel I had in March. I haven’t been able to go anywhere, but the money in the bank is handy. (See Five)

Seven – relaxation. The first couple of months made me feel years younger. After that, I have to admit, it began getting more stressful.

Eight – I did get some useful work done, though not enough. However, the bit that I did has been worth doing.

Pie, gravy and roasted veg

Pie, gravy and roasted veg

Nine – we ate lots of healthy vegetables and are feeling better as a result. Apart from one disastrous KFC we haven’t had a takeaway delivery all lockdown. We have been having fish and chips on Fridays since the shop reopened, but fish is good for you and I’ve been leaving half the batter and some of the chips, They give you too many chips. I’m pretty sure that complaining about having too many chips is a sign of age…

Ten – I haven’t needed to speak to anyone. Social interaction is, in my opinion, over-rated. I’ve texted a few people and been on WordPress to exchange a few views. That’s enough. Within that circle I have enough people and they are all sensible people. Mainly. One has been making films with Sooty, but there is always one. Talking to more people just involves me with being tactful to idiots. This isn’t at the top of my list of skills. That’s why I’m not often called to deal with customers these days.

That’s it. I’ve been lucky in lockdown and I intend to stay lucky by remaining in isolation for a while longer.

.

 

Boxing Day

Number One Son cooked sausages for brunch and Julia cooked in the evening – gammon, bread sauce, roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, brocolli and stir-fried red cabbage with apple, for those of you who like to know these things (and future researchers looking into the diet of 21st century Britain). We snacked on a few nuts, ate some Turkish Delight and I’m thinking of serving coffee and cake when I finish this post.

This evening I’ve written part of the post I keep promising about the Gibraltar £20 coin, but kept getting diverted by other things. I’m good at finding diversions.

That, apart from reading, playing Candy Crush, watching TV and pondering eternal questions like “Why am I so lazy?” has been my day.

In keeping with my theme of laziness I am now going to make the coffee, eat the cake and watch TV. Tomorrow I may well be a bit more active and open the cheese I bought for Christmas. So far, as we try to limit our over-eating, we haven’t actually had any cheese.

On Saturday I will return to work. I’m hoping that many regular customers will come to see us clutching money they have been given for Christmas.

A Change of Gear

I’m going to relax tonight. No ranting. No description of my dull day. No mention of rejection. This is Julia’s new rule. She decided she had to have a new rule to calm me down.

We were in traffic when a taxi driver, not satisfied with my progress, overtook me, sounded his horn and pulled back in front of me, causing me to brake, as there wasn’t a lot of room. I’m not sure what his problem was, as I was not, as far as I know, holding him up. I think he was just impatient.

I’m resigned to people rushing and driving badly, but I didn’t think the horn was necessary so when we caught up with him at the next hold-up (his hurrying having gained him no time at all), I positioned myself alongside and enquired as to the exact nature of his problem.

I am now in trouble for acting in an unbecoming manner, and have been ordered to calm down.

The header picture is a rugby club reflected in the wing of the car parked next to us at Tebay Services during our trip to the Lakes. The did, to answer the old chant, eat all the pies. This wasn’t their fault – the shop should have had a better stock.To be honest, it was a mixed blessing. We missed out on the excellent pies but we bought lunch elsewhere and didn’t need the normal small bank loan that shopping at Tebay normally requires.

The picture of the Small White is from the garden earlier in the week.

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Small White on Red Valerian

The final picture is a poppy in the garden, still crumples as it has only just emerged from the bud. They always look like this when we leave in the morning. By the time we return home then petals have fallen. They are, in many ways, an unsatisfactory flower.

Poppy in the early morning

Poppy in the early morning

I feel calmer now…

Christmas Day

Day 79 of the Posting Challenge, or Christmas Day if you prefer. Twenty-one days to go.

After a lie in, TV, chocolate, nuts, snacks, nap and Muppets Christmas Carol I think it’s fair to say the day has gone well. We’re now watching Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. I’ve also been looking at Michael Caine on Wikipedia and following links through a series of British character actors and dodgy 1950s films.

I’m now watching a programme on Christmas songs, eating turkey and drinking wine. It’s strange to think that I once wanted to be spritual and sophisticated.

Hope you’re all having a good holiday.

 

100 Posts 100 Days

Nose to the grindstone today!

Parcels, putting stuff on eBay, putting more stuff on eBay then packing more parcels. A day of symmetry if nothing else.

Fortunately I’d recharged my soul in advance – sitting in the garden with Julia for 20 minutes before setting off for the shop.

I’m setting myself some 100 day challenges, and the first one is to write 100 posts in 100 days. If I manage that, I may try to write 100 good posts in 100 days. The two things, as I’ve said before, are not necessarily the same thing.

I may post again later, but for now I’ll content myself with making sure I’ve posted today.

Holiday Time

Julia was on holiday today, a fact which she celebrated by waking up at 5am just like it was a working day. After a brief lie in she carried on the holiday frivolities with an outbreak of cleaning before making breakfast.

The woman just doesn’t know how to relax.

She could profit, in this respect, from watching how I do it.

When breakfast appeared I decided to join her.

It wasn’t quite as simple as that. It never is. First I tied my feet together whilst stepping into my pants, then I noticed I’d put my vest on back to front. Two items of clothing, two problems. Even toddlers do better than that. The process of putting my trousers on, which has often been attended by a certain amount of peril went without trouble this morning so at least something went right.

After that I did the laundry and the shopping. Reference to other blog posts that list my Sunday activities will reveal that Julia isn’t the only one who hasn’t quite got the hang of holidays.

I also managed to write up most of our visit to Cleethorpes as I need to catch up on my writing about pier visits.  That just leaves Skegness. I say that, but as you may have guessed, the holiday is likely to encompass a few pier visits and I’m likely to end the week with more of a backlog than I started with.

The trouble with my ambition to elevate procrastination to an art form is that there will always be a list of jobs to do.

I may write a haiku about procrastination, as it seems a suitably zen subject.

With any luck I’ll get round to it tomorrow…

 

Christmas in Suffolk

We have just spent Christmas in Suffolk, though I didn’t say so at the time in case there are any burglars who follow the blog. I have a lifetime accumulation of tat in the house and you can’t be too careful. It would be virtually impossible to replicate the collection these days, particularly the shelves of 1970s paperbacks that fall apart when you open them up.

It started badly when my leg started playing up in the week before we left. Then I started sneezing. And coughing. By the time we got down to Suffolk I was ready to convalesce.

At that point my arthritic finger came into play. At first it just ached, then I caught it in a cupboard door on Christmas Day. That made my eyes water. It also rendered me fairly useless, and one-handed, for Boxing Day. Fortunately everything is recovering now and the leg and finger are back to imperfect normality.

The cottage itself was wonderful and the owners had put up Christmas decorations and left gifts (a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates). Despite my various trials we had and excellent dinner and a fun visit from Julia’s brother and his wife. We also had time for jigsaws, chess and dominoes (all provided). The jigsaw had all its pieces but the chess set and dominoes didn’t, which can be a bit tricky.

The unusual name comes from the name of a shipwreck which provided the timbers for the building in the seventeenth century. Unfortunately I can’t find further details, though there are some interesting wrecks of this name, including three around Australia  and one in the North Sea (when a U-Boat sank over a dozen trawlers).

After the first day the weather was wet and wintry until it was time to come home.

Looks like we’ll have to go back when the weather is better.

 

 

Just like Jane Austen

The day started well, with a telephone call from the pharmacy. This allowed me to drive down to the shop and use the words “Incontinence Advisory Service” for the second time in three days.  This time there wasn’t a crowd of people listening, so it was a less embarrassing experience than the first time.

I am now fully equipped for the next eight weeks and, as a result, feeling relaxed.

After that it was time for a trip to the jeweller’s. I don’t need any jewellery, watch batteries or repairs but I don’t really need an excuse to gossip and drink tea. With my current set-up I am able to drink tea without worrying about the consequences. It was a relaxing interlude, as it’s part jeweller and part antique shop. As I think I’ve said before I feel at peace in three places – church, antique shops and bookshops.

I also feel at home in “all you can eat buffets”, as you can probably tell from the self-portrait, but for some reason I’m never made  as welcome there as I am in the other places and don’t feel so comfortable. The staff always seem edgy when I walk in…

The last visits of the day were to drop off some Easter cards. It involved more tea and a look at several gardens that I used to look after. One of the ladies showed me her 80th Birthday Album. She had spent the week in Whitby with her children and grandchildren. It looked like a good time was had by all, and the Birthday Cake was made by Botham’s teashop. The picture on top was a view of the Abbey framed in the Whitby Whalebone Arch.

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Whalebone Arch – Whitby

As a result of getting out and about I feel much happier, even if the weather forecast is not good.

In fact, with all this tea and visiting I’d go so far as to say I feel very Jane Austen.

Step away from the email!

“You’re never alone with a Strand.” as the advert said.

I tend to find the same with email, as last night proved. After a day of jobs and errands we sat down to eat and watch Death in Paradise. It was a relaxing end to the day.

That was before Julia decided to check her emails. When someone from the farm goes on holiday I make sure that I don’t disturb their time away with emails and work-related discussions. When I’m away I tend to ignore emails, to the point that when we last went away I made sure that we didn’t take computers and went to a B&B that didn’t have wireless.

Not everyone takes that attitude, and Julia fell into the the trap of opening an email from the farm last night. I won’t go into detail, because I’ll then be falling into the same trap myself, but it was something that, once known, needed action.

Me? I didn’t open the email.  It’s about something that should have been done last year, and it should have been done by someone else.

In short, it’s not my problem. I’m not going to ignore it, but I’m not going to squander a few precious days off by dealing with it now.

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” – Matthew 6:34

In this case, “the day” is the day that I return to work.