The week got off to a bad start when I turned up and found that the roadworks outside the shop, far from being “finished in a week” were looking worse than ever and the signs diverted the public through our car park. No point quibbling, builders just do what they want.
Then, looking for something where it should be, rather than where it had been randomly stashed by one of my colleagues, I fumbled the whole lot and dumped a box of coin sets on the floor, breaking several cases and letting a number of coins run free. twenty seconds later I had one of those premonitions and turned to find a couple of nuns looking at me as if they’d never heard a man swear before.
Though the meek many inherit the earth, the visitors they encourage tend to pass off a lot of foreign coins in the collection boxes, which they bring to us after it has built up enough.
As if this wasn’t bad enough my lunchtime sandwich disintegrated and spread a film of Marie Rose sauce (or Thousand Islands Dressing if you are American) and wholemeal bread crumbs over my keyboard. Then I produced a listing for Swiss coin sets that looked like it had been typed by a man with broken fingers. Some fo this was my ineptitude
I’m currently sitting at home typing and wondering why I bothered getting out of bed this morning. Very little has gone right and have left my camera at work again, even though I wanted to use it for something tonight.
Warning – I am experimenting with being an unreliable narrator, as we writers say. Which of the above facts do you think is a lie?
Well, I’m healthy again today. I’m not sure what I had, but an early night and a mug of hot Lemsip seems to have sorted it all out.
In the middle of the corona virus, schools are closing, we have our first confirmed case in the East Midlands and my surgery has texted to tell me that if I’ve been to an area of concern, or in touch with anyone who has been there, and if I have any symptoms, I should stay away from the surgery and ring the NHS Helpline.
Stock markets are falling, gold is rising and the world economy is in disarray.
And I’m confused what all the fuss is about. It’s not exactly deadly, as most people seem to recover. It’s not necessarily going to be the biggest killer of the year either. So far there have been 2,800 deaths. Set this against an estimated 290,000 who die of flu in an average year, or the 140,000 who died from measles in 2018, and I’m not entirely sure I need to worry.
The problem is that bad news sells papers, and people love to worry.
I’m far more worried by an article on the news regarding robots making sandwiches. They are taking over…
We also have maintenance work starting on Trent Bridge, just to add to the congestion caused by the work on Clifton Bridge. (You don’t need to know much about Nottingham, just think of any town with two main bridges – both with roadworks on them. It’s not good news.)
Those bridge works are in addition to the local road closure while they renew gas mains.
That wasn’t what I meant to write about, but when I started off this morning I didn’t know I was going to get a text from the doctor telling me to stay away.
It’s not as if we need the extra difficulties that the weekend is forecast to bring – more rain to areas that are already flooded and a selection of high winds. I’m starting to think of the opening scenes of Flash Gordon, where the Emperor Ming pelts Earth with hail and boiling rain.
Picture of the day is a shot of ducks in Derbyshire from a few weeks ago.
I’ve given myself a proper talking to, and I really am going to do better at keeping the blog up to date. I rarely seem to write about the events of the day these days, and that removes the diary element from the day’s writing.
I am trying to get that back.
This morning I rose sluggishly and dragged myself to the bathroom. They tell me that exercise is good for arthritis (yes,Clare Pooley, I’m looking at you as I write this) but I’m not sure that’s true. My knee and back seem definitely do not seem improved the day after I’ve been walking.
This handsome Robin is from February 2018, though he has been seen many times in later posts…
I breakfasted on a bacon sandwich (Julia hasn’t quite got the hang of meat-free Mondays) and a slice of toast and jam. This was a good start to the morning, though I’m not sure that a man on a diet really needs a slice of toast and sugar. It’s like offering an alcoholic a cocktail – no matter how you dress it up, the bad stuff is still at the bottom of it. Because I am weak-willed I ate the toast.
This is our fourth week of taking a different route to work on Monday. Julia works from the office on Mondays and we go through town. Unfortunately, part of the road is closed, and will be until May, as they repair a large chunk of Nottingham’s decrepit gas system.
The first gas supply in Nottingham was used on 14 April 1819, to light ten gas lamps in the city. Crowds came to gawp, being mesmerised by the miracle of modern light, and also terrified of a gas explosion. The Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company provided gas for many years before being taken over by the corporation in 1874, which was in turn nationalised in 1949.
Sunset over Sherwood – February 2018
The mains in question are, like the ones replaced last year, from the 1960s. It surprises me they are so new, I thought they lasted longer than that. Anyway, they have lasted fifty years, and are now going to inconvenience me for the next four months.
If my 31-year-old self had set off walking at the same time as my 61-year-old self set off by car today it’s likely the walk we would have got to town sooner. The roads were very congested and the traffic was slow.
This congestion isn’t helped because there seem to be roadworks everywhere. Whether it’s using up budgets, inefficiency or bad luck, I do not know. Though I can hazard a guess.
After dropping Julia off I manoeuvred by a builders’ lorry which was blocking a road and, judging by the reaction from the builders, used several words they didn’t expect from a white-haired, bald old coot.
Late February 2018, we have a way to go before we can congratulate ourselves on a mild winter
Traffic was light on the other side of town and I was able to get to work in plenty of time to start packing. We had 21 parcels for the post, so it was a good thing I was in early. Several things happened this morning, some of which would be very amusing if I were the sort of person to publish gossip on his blog. But I’m not.
Someone came in from a local Sikh temple with the foreign coins and notes out of the various charity collections they have made.
After that it was time to close and spend the afternoon in errands. I shopped, took prescriptions to the doctors and made an appointment, then took my tyre to the garage. They will look at it and tell me if I simply need it reinflating or if I have damaged the (nearly new) tyre and need a new one.
A better Little Egret – February 2017 Blacktoft Sands
At home I washed up, blogged, watched TV, fell asleep, woke to eat vegetable stew and dumplings, watched TV, washed up, made sandwiches (tuna) for tomorrow and blogged. That’s what I’m doing now.
Well, I’m blogging and wondering at the the repetitive banality of my life.
To further labour the point I’m going to use some photos from previous Februaries.
On Mondays Julia works at the main site instead of being in the garden. This means driving through town rather than round the ring road. Really, I suppose, it ought to entail using a bus but as it takes an hour longer, involves two buses and would mean getting up at 6.00 I have cynically suggested we should be selfish and use the car.
I haven’t flown at all in the last 32 years (and that was for work, not pleasure) and she has flown just once in that time. I think we can allow ourselves a few car trips.
As British Gas is digging up the road on our normal route we used a different route today, and allowed a little extra time as I suspected there would be other people doing the same thing. It appeared not to be the case and, after a swift and uneventful trip through the centre of town, I got her to work 20 minutes early.
When we start off at the normal time we have been anything from ten minutes early to twenty minutes late. I can’t wait to see how things progress.
Work is scheduled to end on 29th May.
Last time there was major work done round here they over-ran by two weeks on a six week project. If they do the same again, in percentage terms, they won’t finish until August.
There were just four minutes before midnight when I realised I hadn’t posted and leapt into action. It takes three minutes to write a short title, five words and hit the publish button. Well, it takes about 20 seconds, but the whirring and grinding and slowness of an ancient netbook takes two minutes and forty seconds.
Still, I got it done with a minute to spare and now have time to write a few more words in a more leisurely manner.
I was stitched up by my satnav this morning.
Having checked up on Google on Saturday and found that it takes just under two hours to drive to Ely, I sat in the car this morning with two hours and ten minutes to make the journey.
We switched the satnav on, put in the postcode for Ely station and set off. The figures started with 88.5 miles, which was about the same as Google showed. About 400 metres later it had recalculated and was showing 106 miles and two hours 15 minutes. It got worse when we hit roadworks near Cambridge.
The trouble seems to be that the satnav doesn’t do minor roads.
The moral is to prepare better, enter the destination the night before to check it, and, if necessary, write a route down using Google and a map. It used to work in the days before satnav.
The station, when we arrived, was choked with buses. Buses in my way, buses stuck in gaps and buses being helped to reverse. It was chaos.
It was a hectic day, but it doesn’t seem so bad now it’s over.
I have just finished eating a miserable, boring and tasteless meal. Low salt baked beans, low fat oven chips and cheap burgers. Even a large spoonful of chilli jam couldn’t bring it to life. This is, I suppose it’s the cost of being healthy.
Not for the first time, I have found myself pondering if life is worth the trouble if you have to extend it unnaturally by eating pap. In fact, after my last few weeks I’ve been asking myself the same question in general, regardless of the quality of my diet.
Even having another haibun published hasn’t cheered me up. Generally I like to mention my successes in posts, smile modestly and simper a bit whilst feeling mildly smug. This morning I just looked at it, saw all the imperfections and uttered a small sigh.
Click here if you want to read it. But don’t feel you have to, if you are here to hear me moaning about life just read on. For a good poem, click here.
I wonder if Dylan Thomas ever looked at his poems and uttered a small sigh.
Today’s annoyance in the shop was a gas man, who insisted on walking round the shop with a meter, checking for gas leaks. We don’t have any gas leaks. This may be because we don’t have any gas, but we had to have it done anyway in case they were leaking next door.
Tomorrow they will be digging up the road in front of the shop looking for a gas leak. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last time they dug the road up looking for a gas leak. It was about a month ago. There ought to be a rule that if they have to do the job twice they don’t get paid for the first one.
As if that wasn’t bad enough they have just started major gas works, with road closures, on our way to work. The signs say it will take six weeks. It didn’t cause too many problems this morning, but it’s school holidays so things are always easier on the roads. The real test will be in two weeks when the schools go back.
When you’re growing up your parents never tell you about days like this.
I have taken Number Two Son to work. I have navigated through an unexpected diversion and a set of roadworks that weren’t supposed to be there tonight.
Now, as a large, clear moon shines outside, I am am sneaking in a quick extra post. Today was a lovely sunny day, though I didn’t appreciate the fact until I stepped out of the shop at 4pm. Most of my day had consisted of parcels, computer screens and a bundle of old maps.
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Apart from chatting to a couple of customers and drinking coffee, that was my day.
It’s likely that this will be as good as it gets for the next seven years, at which point I will retire and fade away. I’ve not quite worked out the best way to grow old disgracefully but it will probably include excessive facial hair, passing rude comments in a loud voice and wearing clothes that make it look like I dressed in the dark.
Sunday has come round with its usual reliability and I have just checked back on the week’s output. I’m not impressed. I have become irregular and have been using Julia’s photographs to cover up my deficiencies.
If you’re paying attention you might have noticed I’ve done it again with today’s pictures of a bear in the garden.
We had a reasonable weekend, with a massive queue on the A1, roadworks on the Cambridge road (it feels like there have been roadworks on the Cambridge road all my life), and then more roadworks…
During all that time, including on hour queued on the A1, we didn’t see a single man working. They just set up the roadworks, put up the speed limit signs and then abandon them, regardless of the disruption it causes to everyone else. It’s a bit like being a politician – you make a mess, you walk away. At no time do you have to consider your fellow man.
We were well on target to arrive in Stowmarket when we hit the first set of roadworks (I was using the satnav to keep track of the time) and we eventually arrived an hour and a half late.
Bear with pansies
Bear in a tree
Bear with tools
It was a good party, but I won’t say what it was for, as my sister-in-law isn’t happy about reaching 50.
Later, at the hotel, we found they had laid on a group of swearing drunks for us outside the main door, all smoking whilst wearing smeared makeup and the remains of their wedding finery. It was very kind of them, and didn’t cost extra, but it’s not really my sort of thing.