Tag Archives: shop

Saturday Afternoon

I watched the title very carefully as I typed it this time, and typed slowly and smoothly so as not to frighten it. So far so good, there was no jumping and no loss of letters. It’s a shame that WP can’t provide me with a decent system in exchange for my annual fees, but at least I know it’s possible to cope with the problem by creeping up on it. I hope that more software providers don’t start using ambush activated systems as it is a little wearing.

Now all I need to do is work out a system for making the media run properly again. Perhaps something steam powered might improve things.

There was only one overnight order, which was quickly wrapped, and I went on to listing banknotes.

Julia rang. It’s often bad news when she rings, and I always worry when I see her caller ID. It wasn’t too bad this time, she had found the two Parker fountain pens I lost last week – they were in the pocket of one of my dirty shirts. That was good news. I’m always misplacing them and I miss them when I don’t have them.

Half an hour after that the post arrived with my new Parker fountain pen in it. It’s bright orange, inexpensive and has an attachment to let me fill it from bottles of ink instead of using cartridges.

Twenty minutes later, after getting it working, I addressed an envelope with it for an order that had arrived by post. That was the last I saw of the top. I searched the desk, the areas where it could have fallen off and my pockets. Nothing. Not a glimpse of the bright orange top. I searched creases in my clothes, the floor (carefully) and the stationery drawers. Nothing.

I endured laughter, ribaldry and ridicule from the owner and the few customers who came in, but I came no closer to finding the top.

This was quite annoying.

I worked, thought, backtracked and considered a prayer to St Anthony. I’m agnostic, to say the least, but there’s nothing like adversity for producing feelings of religion.

Finally, I employed the Sherlock Holmes method – “When you have eliminated all which is impossible then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Having eliminated the impossible (alien abduction, telekinesis and a passing pen top thief) I was left with the improbable thought that when I had thrown the litter away after packing the order I must have been holding the pen top and dropped it in the bin.

It’s improbable, it’s incredible, and it’s embarrassing, because there it was, shining bright orange in the bottom of the bin.

It’s been my first senior moment for a while.

My Orange Parker Pen

Did I mention they were Parker pens? I just though it worth mentioning in case anyone from the Parker Pen Company was looking for a reviewer, a tester or just someone to generally send free stuff to. You never know…

That Tuesday Feeling

Now that I have Mondays off and my week starts on Tuesday, I find my thoughts about Mondays are increasingly positive and, after two days off, I am also more positive about Tuesdays and getting back to work.

From that point of view I can say that my week got off to a cheerful but belated start.

From the email point of view, I have to report less positive feelings. The recent improvements made to my email system have proved, as usual, to be cosmetic interference and the new system has not contributed to either a better experience or a better temper.

When I switch on now I can only see either two emails (on the netbook screen) or three emails if I use the proper computer. This is much less useful than the old system and I can’t find any way to reset it.

At the weekend I seem to have pressed a button by accident and rearranged my emails by some sort of random reverse date order. It wasn’t exactly reverse date order because I could have coped with that, but old emails kept coming to the top of the pile at random.

Today it seems to have reset the screen size and managed, initially, to prevent me viewing anything apart from fragments of one email title.

This left me with a decision. Do I blog on the Great Classic Lies (‘new and improved’ for instance) or do I blog about the rest of my day?

Or, as I have reached the magic 250 word limit, do I just show a couple of selfies showing you the new masks my sister has made me?

Man in another mask

Man in another mask

She has solved the early design problems by selecting a more masculine fabric and I feel the resulting masks would actually look good with a business suit. The same can’t be said of my head. The backlighting by fluorescent tubes reveals that my head needs a shave and a little theatrical make-up to remove the shine.

The new nose clip design cuts out most of the problems with misting glasses, which is a problem I still get when using a disposable mask.

Last night we had prawn jalfrezi made using a spice kit from Simply Cook. It was very good, despite me having the wrong coloured peppers and slightly wrinkled tomatoes from the back of the fridge.

Having made a mess of the pale blue and white shirt I wore yesterday, I am now reverting to shirts that don’t show food stains. I have an idea for a new fashion range using a red and brown colour palette and a pattern consisting of random blotches. The strap line for my advertising campaign – ‘A Shirt Made for Bachelors’.

The rest of Tuesday was pretty standard stuff. I did think about writing it asll down and leaving it as an historical document for future generations – Tedious Tuesdays – A Study of mid-week in 21st Century Britain – it would be like Diary of a Nobody, but without the drama. In the end I decided that as future generations have never harmed me, I would not inflict it on them.

Nearly forgot – my blood test results arrived in the post today. Yesterday’s blood test was bang on the bottom of the range, but still good enough to get me a new test date in October. That’s a good result.

 

Men of few words are the best men

I do like Saturdays. They are generally interesting days, being a bit busier than weekdays, and with a slightly more social element about them. For the last few weeks they have been also been the start of my weekend, as I currently have Sundays and Mondays off.

Today we had several people selling things and a couple coming to buy, with someone in nearly all the time. I’m just getting into the swing of things with the Edward VIII medallions, and am remembering how to set up an eBay listing with a drop-down menu. It isn’t difficult but you need to concentrate and my first few attempts last week all ended with me wiping things off by accident.

We currently have one listing up and running. There are two more ready to go and a fourth is in preparation. They are getting steadily more interesting as time goes by. I started with Coronation medallions (two lots), moved on to the Empire Day medallions and am now on Royal Visits. I still have the better quality Coronation Medallions and the Investiture Medallions to do.

He’s an interesting man, and had some admirable qualities, but he is not a man I personally admire. I think that things worked out for the best as George VI made a great wartime King, whereas Edward VIII, with his admiration of Hitler and his defeatist talk, would not have been an asset.

However, like so many things from history, we will never know.

I am trying to extend my posts to 500 words in order to increase my writing stamina, having made do with 250 words for many of my posts. However, there are just some days when 250 seems the right number. I did try a few hundred on fascism (following on from Edwards VIII) and I also became enmeshed in some discussion of anti-semitism (ditto) but my heart wasn’t in either of them and they are not really subjects lending themselves to short discussions.

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Rather than burble on for the sake of reaching a word count I racked my brains for a quote, then, as my brains were not up to the job, looked on the internet. My brains don’t hold enough Shakespeare. but fortunately the internet does. A line from Henry V on the subject of Corporal Nym supplies the title of the post, and the closing thought.

(I have re-used two photographs from recent posts – sorry to be so lazy.)

 

 

 

Just Another Friday

I dropped Julia off at work. Town was almost empty and it didn’t take long. I returned via the ring road because there are no roadworks on the inbound side, and that was almost empty too.

I soon had the four parcels done and set about entering more Edward VIII medallions into the system. I have put one lot on and have two other selections ready to go tomorrow. In between times I packed another couple of parcels as orders came in, attended to some customers and ate my sandwiches and a Scotch egg. It was that sort of day.

We bought silver from one customer – some pre-1920 (when it was still .925 sterling silver) and some pre-1947 (when it was .500 silver). In both cases, as the observant readers will have spotted, the debasement of our coinage was preceded by, and caused by, the need to pay for a World War.

We bought two lots of modern junk from people. One of the owners had put the coins in pouches, then sellotaped them into plastic bags with cards to identify them. It took me ten minutes to get the sellotape off the bags before we could check the coins and value them. Several of the coins were worth a£1 and we will struggle to make enough profit to pay for my time getting them out of the bags,

The only customer who bought anything was a collector of gold coins, so that was a handy sale.

The coin is a one third Guinea, or seven shilling coin. Minted in the reign of George III in 1809 this is the second design. It is slightly smaller than a cent in size.

Apart from that we had one browser who spent nothing and a woman who wanted to sell two Krugerrands but didn’t like our offer. She can, it seems, get more if she sells them in Birmingham. We often hear this. It’s true, if you want to drive down to Birmingham, park up and sell your gold in Birmingham you can get a better price. Whether it justifies the expenditure in car running costs, time and parking fees is another matter.

We agreed that she could get a better price by driving down to Birmingham and wished her well.

The road works outside the shop continue. From what we have been told they should be gone in another week, but I’m not sure. They don’t seem to be moving very fast. At the moment we can’t even turn onto the forecourt without taking a detour. This is a little annoying, but I’m not going to bother worrying about it. There are worse things happening in the world.

We had chips from the chip shop tonight as we are still supporting local business, and because it’s nice to have a night where we don’t cook. The fish were big enough to hang over the edges of the plate. I had peas but just a few chips off Julia. I’m fed up with (a) eating too many chips and (b) re-heating chips next day. They give you too many chips to make it look better value. I know this because my dad always used to say the same thing. Before you say it – yes, I’ve been turning into my dad for the last 30 years.

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Envelope for eBay

The End of the Beginning…

I was encouraging my dining room computer to greater efforts last night, because I felt it was deliberately slowing down and refusing to obey commands just to wind me up. Shouting isn’t a long term answer, we really need a new computer, but it provides some short-term relief. In this, a computer resembles a teenager, though teenagers do eventually improve. On the other hand, you can switch a computer off and it never empties your fridge.

As I paused for breath I heard Julia say: “Simon, can you stop swearing please?”

This led to our usual discussion about me and my right to freedom of speech and how it was hardly even swearing compared to some of the things I could have said and how…

“Will you **** shut up, you foul-mouthed ****!”

I’ll leave you fill in the gaps. Unlike the tabloid press I have deliberately left the words unidentifiable. If you are going to blank out the bad language I’ve never seen the point of adding the initial letter and the exact number of asterisks. You may as well just print the word. As I know my readership contains churchgoers and grandmothers I tend to be honest in admitting that my language is not good, but refrain from exposing the true depravity of my language. Too many years spent working in the company of rough men. I really should stop it, but like vegetarianism and exercise, I seldom persist in my improvements for long. Te only two things I have really ever given up have been smoking and hard work. I have not done either for over 20 years.

It seems that Julia had just been adding sound to a video she had done for work and my advice to the computer meant she was going to have to do it all again. There really are times when I realise I’ve been a bad influence on her.

Chastened, I carried on typing, but when the computer seized up again I made my displeasure obvious with the use of hand signals.

It’s a good thing that we are doing more days at work in the coming week, as lockdown is beginning to change me. First I started eating too many biscuits, then I pretended to be a bear and now I’m making offensive hand gestures at a computer.

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Salon closed

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Salon closed

We’ve each been in twice a week for the last two weeks to do the eBay work and answer the phone. From this week we are going in four days a week and there will be two of us in the shop each day. I will be at work tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

In two weeks time we will start letting customers in by appointment. I spoke to someone by telephone today – he has had a queue outside all day wanting new watch batteries. A lot of watches ran out of power over the last few months.

It’s going to be a long slow recovery from lockdown.

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Winston Churchill

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Picture of Desertion and Dejection

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Oh dear…

First Signs of Spring

I will take the day in order.

I didn’t feel good when I woke so I went back to sleep. I felt worse when I woke because I had slept through the second alarm and was running late.

Breakfast was two well soaked shredded wheat and a piece of cold toast with marmalade, washed down with cold tea. I’m lucky like that, I can enjoy my food hot or cold and have never understood why people wince when I drink tea or coffee that has been standing for hours. It tastes much the same to me.

At the other end of the spectrum I am able to finish scalding hot drinks quicker than most people, even though I’m told it increases my risk of oesophageal cancer. (That is the first time I’ve ever used that word in either written or spoken form).

Emerging into the day I first noted the amount of noise being made by the birds, then noticed that the sky was a lovely blue colour. Spring is starting to show. The bird noise wasn’t song, it was the sound of Magpies playing on the rooftops and Great Tits calling from gardens. Neither one could be accused of being melodious.

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I made it to work with 15 minutes to spare – I’m old-fashioned an consider this a minimum as it takes me 15 minutes to turn things on and compose myself. Younger and more modern people seem to think it’s OK to turn up dead on time and carry on from there, before starting work ten minutes late.

We weren’t busy online, with just four parcels to send, but we had phone calls and customers and the day passed easily, though I did start to flag in mid-afternoon as a desire for a warm bed stole over me. I’m not sure whether I’m coming down with something or have weakened myself by going on a diet. I remarked to my sister by text, that I had expected my new vegetarian regime to make me feel better. She said she’s been vegetarian for over 40 years and hasn’t noticed any great feeling of well-being. Now she tells me…

Finally I came home, put the fire on and started to feel better, read my blood test results and, eventually, drifted off to sleep for half an hour. Julia, fresh from swimming, came and woke me, shoving a vegetable stir-fry into my hands before making pancakes. I think she’s been reading cookery books again.

The results were good. I have a target of 2.5 and hit 2.4 so I have another twelve weeks before the next test.

I’m planning on an early night and sleeping until I wake up rather than setting an alarm. We have no plans for tomorrow apart from dropping stuff of at charity shops and clothes banks, so I’m taking a relaxed attitude.

The presentation is falling into place and at this rate it should be finished with hours to spare. Considering I’ve had eight months to do it, this is either commendable precision or world-class procrastination.

 

 

Sorry – Not the Post I Promised

I haven’t quite written the post about the Gibraltar £20 coin I promised yesterday as it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated. Instead, I’m going to ramble on a bit and, having fulfilled my self-imposed requirement to post every day, I’m going to slink away.

The morning was quite bright and pleasant, and we had quite a few parcels to do. The proprietor had been in on Sunday to pack some, which made life easier, though we still  had nine parcels to pack, including several with multiple contents.

One of the orders came with a set of packing instructions. I hate it when people do that. Do they really think we aren’t going to pack things properly? I often think of writing back to point out that I’m grateful for their note as the idea of proper packing had never occurred to me…

At the Post Office someone drew up in his Mercedes and parked so close to the shop that he nearly blocked the door. I deduced a number of things from this, including that he probably had parcels to post. So I put a spurt on, got to the door before him and ensured he couldn’t get past me before I got to the counter.

A queue quickly built up and he muttered to the next man in the line. By the time I’d finished there was a queue of seven, all muttering. Tough, I thought.  I’d rather be the one at the front being hated by everyone behind me, than the one at the back waiting. Post Offices, when you have bags of parcels, encourage a certain hardness of outlook.

We had sweet potato and peanut curry tonight, cooked by Number One Son. It was very good and I may add it to my repertoire.

Julia has bought some sprouts in batter, with Camembert dip, for our traditional Christmas Eve buffet. She said they sounded so bad she couldn’t resist trying them. I can understand that. Apparently not many other people felt the same way as there were still stacks of them left in the shop.

I’ll let you know how things go.

 

 

More thoughts of Kings…

With a nice early start we arrived at the gardens in plenty of time and two swans flew over us. They make a lot of noise when they fly. I imagine that it’s the noise of air and feathers meeting, though it does sound a bit like they are gasping for air.

I can still see them now, two glistening white swans silhouetted against a bright blue sky. You will have to imagine it because my camera was in my pocket at the time and I was not quick enough to get the shot.

The new polytunnel is looking good, though I’m sure the birds will soon have a go at it, as they did with the other one.

We remarked on the difference between the gardens now and the state of them when Julia took over. They now have two newly covered tunnels, piles of woodchip, good paths, better winter colour and a larger, more involved, group of users. She has more plans too, so let’s see how things develop over the next year or two.

She took this picture of the grape vine in the old tunnel. They don’t get many grapes but the autumn colour is always good.

Back at the shop I posted two coin sets on eBay and carried on with the Edward VIII collection. He reigned for 326 days. There have been seven monarchs who reigned for a shorter time than he did. Any guesses?

Here they are.

Harold II – 282 days – killed at Hastings

Edmund II (Ironside) – 221  days – worn out after five battles with Danes

Empress Matilda (or Maud) – 208 days – coronation prevented by the London mob

Edward V – 78 days – one of the Princes in the Tower

Edgar II – The Aetheling – 63 days – proclaimed King after Harold II – never reigned

Sweyn Forkbeard – 40 days – invaded England, became King, died.

Jane Grey – 9 days – if we’d kept her we might never have merged with Scotland.

Julia just shouted me through – chicken and roast vegetables tonight. On balance, I prefer chicken and roast vegetables to blogging.

 

 

 

Dreams and Confessions

I woke early this morning. You can probably tell that from the fact I was able to post before going to work. I woke around 4.30 after having a bad dream. I can’t tell you what it was about but it featured being trapped in tunnels and saying more risks having unwelcome Freudian interpretations forced on me.

After a trip to the bathroom went back to sleep until 5.30 when I awoke convinced that the police were about to tow my camper van away because I’d obstructed someone’s driveway by parking it round the corner from the house. This was very vivid and it was a few seconds before I realised that I didn’t have a camper van and didn’t have a corner to park anything round.

The subconscious is a weird and wonderful thing. Mainly, in my case, weird. It’s not many years since I dreamed I was a spinning top on a fairground ride and woke up to find I was in mid-air, having spun myself out of bed. To be fair, I wasn’t in mid-air for long as gravity did its part rapidly and efficiently.

Julia said: “Have you broken anything?”

I assured her I was OK.

“I meant the bedside table. I knew you’d bounce.”

And they say romance is dead…

Then there was the time I woke up screaming because the giant rat was eating my leg, only to find the “jaws” were my own hands grasping my leg.

Anyway, I popped into wakefulness again at 7.01, which is my normal weekday time (I normally allow myself to lie in until 8.00 on Saturday as I don’t have to run Julia to work). It seemed pointless to go back to sleep so I got up, had the last of the Chinese takeaway for breakfast, blogged, made my sandwiches (yes, cheese again), went to the local shop, did some long-term financial planning (or bought a lottery ticket if you prefer the unvarnished version) and turned up at work just in time to get the last parking space. For some reason everyone thinks they can park in front of the shop on Saturday, even though they are nothing to do with us.

We had quite a crowd in at one time and succeeded in getting a customer to join the Numismatic Society. We had nine customers and three staff in at one time. In the old shop you were uncomfortably full if you had three customers and if you had four you had to synchronise your breathing.

By four I was glad to escape and go shopping with Julia. I say “go shopping” but we have developed a routine that features us having a toasted teacake and a mug of tea before she goes round the shop while I sit and read the paper. It suits me because I’m a lazy male chauvinist pig and it suits her because she hasn’t got someone trailing round behind her complaining about prices.

The rot started  a few years ago when I found myself nodding and saying “Yes dear.” when I wasn’t actually listening. I’d always said I wouldn’t do that, but once it started, the rest seemed to follow naturally.

That, I think, is enough for now. To continue risks me getting a flea in my ear if either Julia or my sister read this. Like Bertie Wooster, I have a set of female relatives who can be fearsome when annoyed.

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Nearly there!

The pictures show one of the answers to my question from yesterday – where does all the time go?

Seventeen Minutes…

Seventeen minutes until midnight and I have successfully loafed an entire night away. If I’m to keep up my target of blogging every day I need to get a move on.

Fifteen minutes to go and I can’t think of anything…

I will now settle and go about this in an orderly manner.

Here are some pictures of Painted Ladies from the front garden. There were four of them yesterday, a new record for a small front garden attached to a semi-detached suburban house. Not only that, but three of them were looking quite fresh. We also had a quick stop from the cleanest Red Admiral I’ve ever seen. It may well just have emerged – it was positively velvety and the colours glowed. If only it had been slower.

Trade was slow in the shop, though we did buy several lots of worn out pennies.

The internet had been a little slow overnight too, but three people ordered during the day, which helped things along.

For tea we had meatballs (bought in because I can’t enthuse myself to cook my own, despite them being so simple) cooked up with onions (from the garden), mushrooms and a tin of tomatoes. Roast potatoes and carrots on the side. Not a sophisticated meal, but it was OK. We finished with fruit crumble which featured apples and blackberries from the garden.

That’s it for now. Day off tomorrow and the excitement is mounting as we decide where to go. Too late for Puffins and too soon for Seals, so it’s looking like we will be out hunting scones.