Tag Archives: shop

Ageing Bit by Bit

I was tempted to title the blog Stiff Little Fingers. This would be accurate as far as my arthritis goes, but might raise false hopes in the hearts of ageing punks. I added the link as it’s one of those words that can cause confusion when written by an Englishman and read by an American.

What happened to suggest the title was that I went to bed last night, slept reasonably well and woke up with a little finger that wouldn’t bend. It’s ached for years, and often seems rather cold compared to the other fingers on that hand, but so does the little finger on my other hand.

I now have a ring finger on the right hand that is arthritic and a little finger on the left hand that looks like it’s starting to go.

It freed up while I was at work (sorting junk postcards this morning) though it returned in the afternoon when I drove to Grantham (I only did a half day in the shop today).

So, it started with one finger (I would link to that post but can’t even hazard a guess where it is), moved on to a knee and is now colonising another finger. At this rate I have about twenty years before all my fingers are useless. (Though if my calculations are accurate I will spend my late 70s only able to type slowly and operate doorbells).

As I’ve said before, I’d have taken more care of my body if I’d realised how long I was going to need it.

Title, Title, Title!

I was a bit rushed at the end last night and  forgot the title. Must do better, as my school reports used to say.

This morning the internet was off. It’s a minor irritation compared the the BT debacle in the shop but it’s still annoying to have to get ready to blog, then have to get up and go to another room to reconnect the internet.

I don’t think I’ve covered the BT debacle yet. That’s British Telecom for overseas readers – a widespread so-called provider of  telephone services in the UK. The best thing I can say about them is that they aren’t Virgin. BT are dire in many respects, but they are far better than Virgin. Far, far better. However, I won’t labour the point. Nor will I ever use a  Virgin telecommunication product ever again.

We booked BT to come and connect the new shop to phone and internet on the day we moved. It couldn’t be done in advance as it’s a transfer of number from one line to another. But it’s a very simple operation, so what could possibly go wrong?

Well, first of all they wrote to the flat above the shop cancelling the telephone contract and telling them they would be transferring our number to them. This caused consternation in the flat. It’s partly their fault for using the shop address as their flat address, but you’d have thought BT records would have identified phones properly (possibly using the phone number as a hint) …

At this point all my British readers are either hurling BT-related  abuse at the screen or laughing hysterically.

What happened, when we rang the day before, was that they denied all knowledge of the job and told us that it will be two more weeks before they can do it.

Under further questioning they admitted that they had booked the wrong phone for transfer, but they had cancelled it. We knew that.

They had correctly identified the phone after that and booked the job. We knew that.

What we didn’t know was that they had then cancelled it. Nobody knows why, though stupidity is the favourite suggestion.

The situation is this.

We have moved into the new shop. The handset from the phone works in the new shop, but we have to take it back to the old shop every night to charge it on the base station.

The internet works in one spot in the new shop. Unfortunately this isn’t where we set the computers up, so we’re currently working with an ancient laptop balanced on the counter.

As for the card machine – if you want to pay by card you have to go to the old shop, as it is connected to the old line.

This situation, which sounds like the script for a surreal comedy, is likely to persist for most of the next two weeks.

It’s lucky that we only moved two doors down.





I struggled manfully with cold all day. “Manfully”, in this context means sniffling, sneezing and whining.

I also took a relaxed attitude to work, looking a few things up, taking some photos and dealing with customers.

On the way back from work I stopped off at Sainsbury’s, parked, decided to listen to the chapter end of my audio book, and fell asleep for 45 minutes. Considering I was in bed for 14 hours last night I was surprised I needed more sleep.

After taking pills and eating a large helping of fish pie I am now feeling quite good. Naturally I am trying to conceal this from Julia as she seems happy serving me with cups of tea and stuff. It would be unkind of me to deprive her of the feeling of virtue that comes from looking after me.

The man who parked on our forecourt yesterday seems to have taken the hint and parked outside his own house. As he can’t park on the road he is blocking the footpath. Some people really don’t have much consideration for others.

I’m now deliberating whether to go to bed early (it’s 9.45) just just fall asleep in the chair. The chair is favourite, as I stand a chance of Julia waking me up with a cup of tea,


A Typical Day in the Shop

I thought of taking some pictures to illustrate what I did at work today. It consisted mainly of buying and sorting coins (three times), turning down two lots of cigarette cards (there’s no market for them), helping a burglary victim with an insurance claim and explaining to someone why creasing a bank note heavily makes it unsaleable. As you can probably imagine, I wasn’t able to do much in the way of interesting photography.

We also had the normal calls from people trying to sell us “rare” coins from their change. It’s nice that people are interested in coin collecting again, but it does take time and tact to deal with the enquiries, particularly when they quote ebay as if it’s  holy writ.

£2 coin commemorating the Great Fire of London

Commemorative £2 coin

Ebay, as I may have mentioned before, is a guide to what idiots do when they have ten minutes to waste.

You can currently buy a Kew Gardens commemorative 50p for £149.99 on ebay. Or you can come down to the shop and buy one off us for £80, though we’ve had it several weeks now and it hasn’t sold. Or you can get a sense of proportion and buy a nice historical coin.

For that sort of money you can buy a nice silver denarius of Emperor Commodus (177 – 192), a sixpence of Charles I or a very clean George III sixpence of 1818. So much history…

(I have no link to this shop – I don’t even know the dealer, but it’s a good site for finding examples.)

Or you can buy an eight-year-old 50p piece, which may go out of fashion next year.

After fulminating on the state of coin collecting I polished the counters and cleaned the calculator.

They are all the same size, despite the way they appear in the photographs – something I need to address.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the fact that people are interested in coin collecting again, and that they can find collectable coins in their change once more (like I used to do in the pre-decimal days of my youth). However, I don’t like the way the Royal Mint markets coins these days and I don’t like all the hype surrounding modern coins.


Time Moves On

Julia’s phone has been going all day. The large polytunnel in the gardens proved unable to resist the wind last night and the ancient, brittle sheeting disintegrated. Despite being off ill, she has had a constant stream of texts, photographs and requests for decisions.

To call in a team of experts would cost £500 over and above the cost of the plastic. At the moment she is waiting for an answer from the Young Farmers’ Club. to see if they are able to help.

In the shop we assembled a couple of office chairs. They are now pushed up to the desk in the middle room, waiting for a dedicated ebay team. However, it will probably end up with me and Eddie. One of the customers is currently refurbishing a computer for me and then he’s going to set a printer up a wireless network. This might seem normal to you, but it’s close to being miraculous to me, as none of my previous jobs have involved using a computer. I had my own for doing ebay, but I’ve never worked for someone else, or with someone else, using a computer.

This, I suppose, is the 21st century.

After that I had to remove a coin collection from plastic pages. Over the years the pages had sealed the coins in, so I ended up cutting them out with scissors.  It’s a tedious job, but there was a Maundy fourpence in it, amongst the silver threepenny bits, so it felt worthwhile.

It’s even more tedious than sorting out the two plastic boxes of mixed cupro-nickel coins. Half-crowns, florins, shillings and sixpences plus large-sized 10 and 5 pence coins. I’m so used to the small 10p and 5p that the old-fashioned large ones come as a bit of a surprise. Thinking of it, I should have taken pictures to illustrate this. I may do that tomorrow.


Newark, Notts

In the afternoon I was off, so I took a quick trip to Newark to see my mate on the market. He was one of three stallholders who had braved the wind and rain, and they had all spread out to make the market look fuller. There were seven trees down on the way, with two teams still working on clearing them. It’s been quite windy round here. Fortunately all the roads had been cleared so there were no delays.

That’s about it. Julia is continuing her slow recovery, but while I was out this morning she inspected the garden for storm damage and, whilst struggling to keep her balance, managed to topple over.  She does that. As soon as I’m distracted she tries to do too much and sets herself back. Fortunately she hasn’t hurt herself, but I’m thinking of rigging the house with CCTV so I can prevent a repeat.

I didn’t get many photos today, just a few silhouettes of Newark and some sky.


A dry view of Newark


Wild Guinea Pigs of Newstead Abbey

While I was in the shop yesterday Eddie showed me a picture of wild guinea pigs in Newstead Abbey country park. They seem to have moved on, or become a succulent part of the food chai,n as he hasn’t seen them since.

~The Wild Guinea Pigs Of Newstead~


I pasted the link but it added the picture – not sure how that happens. Clicking the photo seems to link back to the site, but I’m a bit suspiciousvof all this modern technology.

If you search for Wild Guinea Pigs of Newstead Abbey you will find his site, with many insect photos.

He’s wasted taking picures of coins for ebay.