Tag Archives: shop

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.

Moaning – a Skill for Modern Men

This afternoon I had a call from the hospital. It was slightly confused as I thought he said he was from Haematology and I thought it was about the blood test last week. It seems he said Rheumatology and he was ringing to tell me that my GP would be in touch. Why? Because my naughty GP hadn’t filled the form in correctly and they had refused me a consultation until the form was filled in properly.

I should have asked why they had staff to ring and tell me that but no staff to ring and get the information directly.

What I actually said was – “All you need to know is that my hand is virtually useless and I’d like it fixing.”

He said: “Oh.”

I think he was expecting me to simper with gratitude.

I let them off lightly last time they screwed me over. It isn’t going to happen a second time. I’m making notes and I’m going to use them this time.

Most of the rest of my day was devoted to struggling with School Attendance Medals. There are basically two types of these – interesting ones and one given out in London. There’s a whole website devoted to London medals here. Read it and tell me you retain the will to live.

I was given the London ones to do.

Don’t get me wrong – they are an interesting piece of social history, but as a subject for multiple listing on eBay. I have entered the date, metal, clasp detail, name, grade of medal and catalogue numbers for approximately 40 medals, with prices, conditions and at least three photographs for each one. I have struggled, made mistakes and accidentally lost the data on a whole batch. I say “lost”, but I actually managed to delete it by carelessness. Twice.

That’s enough for now. I really don’t want to dwell on it.

The standard catalogue on School Attendance Medals is School Attendance Medals of England, Scotland and Wales by Cedric Dry (Whitmore 1992). 

I will leave you with that thought.

 

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That’s right, MORE London School Attendance Medals

Crossing Off Another Day

I have packed parcels, as usual. I have drunk coffee, despite my preference for tea (because I am offered coffee and am too lazy to make my own drinks). And I have eaten my sandwiches.
It has not been a day of high excitement or great drama. We have been using the internet as a displacement activity, and to inform ourselves so we now know that Doctor Ferdinand Porsche was chauffeur to Archduke Franz Ferdinand during his National Service. This reminds me that although I know the names of the Archduke and the assassin, the name of the 1914 chauffeur seems to be absent from the records.
I also now know that Nickola Tesla was a Serbian, liked pigeons, liked walking and didn’t like paying his bills.
I then moved on to eBay, selling gold-plated coins with pictures stuck on the back.
They are not quality coins, but if you buy them from us they are reasonably priced. Buy them from the manufacturer and they will cost you a lot more.
I’m seriously thinking of  applying for a job copywriting for the manufacturers, using words like sumptuous and avoiding words like value for money. Today I managed to get the word “skullduggery” in, so sumptuous should be easy.
That’s why I’m going to be nice about the makers of crap coins. Well, maybe not nice, but possibly neutral. If they find the blog I don’t want to put them off by being honest about the expensive tawdry garbage they market so aggressively.
I finished off the day with coins which have been made into jewellery. The best bit is this 1676 Half Crown.
Half crown of Charles II

Half crown of Charles II

It’s not the prettiest coin, it’s been made into a brooch, and someone has started to make a hole at the top, but it has seen some history in its life.

When it was minted Charles had only been back on the throne 16 years and Cromwell’s head was still on a spike above Westminster Hall. It probably circulated during some of the wars with Holland, Monmouth’s Rebellion and the South Sea Bubble. It might have been handled by Prince Rupert, Sir Isaac Newton or Sir Henry Morgan.

You never know, it might even have still been in circulation when America declared its independence.

That’s a lot of history for one small coin.