Tag Archives: spring

They are not long, the days of wine and roses

I’m sure I’ve used that quote before, so I apologise if I’m being boring. Here’s the full poem for those of you who want to read the rest. Like the days of wine and roses, it is not long. The title, in contrast, is longer than most haiku.

When I was looking for quotes on the swift passing of time, I couldn’t find one that felt right, so it was back to the reliable Dowson yet again.

The subject was on my mind on the way home today as it was definitely shirt sleeve weather and spring was in the air.

We have a number of domestic projects to get through this summer and I am aware that one sixth of the year has nearly gone. It’s a worry because this has happened before. One day it’s February and the next time you think about it, it’s September and we still don’t have the upgraded heating system or the new kitchen we’ve been promising ourselves for years

Today absolutely flew by, with plenty going on – parcels to pack, coins to sort and customers to serve. It was one of my more enjoyable days in the shop, which has been a bit grim recently. It’s nothing to do with the shop – it’s just that I still haven’t really adjusted to not being my own boss. Or to working with someone who gradually accumulates, and defends, all the stationery in the shop.

I had arrived at the point where I wasn’t really enjoying work and was giving serious thought to employing some of the knowledge gained from decades of reading crime novels. I’m just about to start a new book on my Kindle…

The Royal Art of Poison: Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicines and Murder Most Foul by [Herman, Eleanor]

 

Easy as a Monday Morning

On Friday I experienced an uneasy feeling, which grew through Saturday as I realised that I probably had a blood test this morning. I say “probably” as I had neglected to make a note in my diary and I had mislaid the letter giving me the next date.

Eventually I found the letter (which also counted towards my decluttering quota) and confirmed that I did indeed have a blood test this morning.

In the manner of these things, the plan suffered a set-back. I woke at 6.15, summoned by my bladder and then went back to my nice warm bed bed. That meant that instead of leaping into action at 6.30 I hauled myself out at 6.45 and the whole day started slower and later than intended.

There wasn’t much of a queue and the phlebotomist hit the vein first time. I bled well after they removed the needle and I’ve had no panicky phone calls so I’m presuming all has gone well.

As I left the hospital I noticed that the day was much lighter than it had been three weeks ago for my last test. Spring is definitely on the way.

I’ll leave out the boring bits – parcels, swearing at other drivers, TV – the normal stuff that makes up my life.

Tonight we had the beef stew I’d meant to cook last night. (We ended up with frozen veggie burgers due to time constraints). It turned out reasonably well despite my normal cooking technique of chucking stuff in and seeing what happens. I keep meaning to learn how to cook properly, but I never get round to it.

It’s cottage pie tomorrow. I made it while I was doing the stew. It’s good to be a day ahead.

That’s about it for today. Nothing interesting happened and I have 23 minutes left to post.

 

Spring is Coming

You don’t have to take my word for it – look at the birds.

The Black-headed Gulls are regaining their black heads.

The idiots are also out in force. This prime example spotted the perfect spot to stand and ruin my shot. Then he moved a few feet away before coming back for another go.

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Idiotus Domesticus

Robins were singing in the dogwood hedges (Cynical note to self – Robins are always good for attracting likes).

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Robin and dogwood

And the ducks are looking in fine fettle for breeding.

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Finely fettled ducks

And finally – it’s clear what is on this pigeon’s mind, even if the object of his desire isn’t interested.

 

Blood Testing Blues

I went down to the hospital early and was rewarded with a choice of parking spaces. This was good.

Little did I realise it was to be the high point of my morning.

My first clue to trouble ahead was the crowd by the door of the Phlebotomy Room. The second was my ticket number – I was ticket A134. The first ticket called after I sat down was A119. (Yes, it’s run like a supermarket deli counter).

Fortunately I had a book with me. It’s not as interesting as it may seem, as my forthcoming review may mention. For now I’m keeping an open mind. I had nearly an hour of open-mindedness to devote to it this morning.

Little did I realise etc….

It took three attempts in the right arm, and one in the left (including one with an old-fashioned syringe used with a stab it and hope approach). If we’d been fighting a duel honour would have been well and truly satisfied by all that blood and wounding. At that point she called in help.

It seems that I may have some scar tissue in the arm from the number of blood tests I’ve had, and this is causing some problems in drilling for fresh blood. If I live to be ninety I expect I’ll have arms like sacks of walnuts and they’ll be using power tools.

The reinforcement didn’t mess about. One swift jab with a massive needle and the blood was drawn.

It’s a shame she couldn’t have done it sooner as it would have saved me from having to pay £4 for car parking.

It normally only costs me £2  but it went over the hour so it cost £2 extra. Next time I’ll take a flask and sandwiches and have a picnic until the time is up. I like to get value for money.

I took these pictures of flowers at the Mencap garden on Monday when I took Julia down to water the polytunnel. They have a close-down week this week, when they just shut up shop and all have a holiday. Of course, this was all decided by people who don’t have a garden to run.

In the shop we didn’t have as many parcels to pack as yesterday, just a mere five today. I sorted five lots of American coins for eBay, added to my numismatic knowledge via Google (after all, you need to know something to write about them properly), served a couple of customers looking for postcards, answered the phone, polished the counters and cleaned 24 silver ingots in the shape of postage stamps. They will be going on eBay by the end of the week.

Finally, someone brought a medal in to part exchange.

 

It’s the South African campaign medal with the bar for 1879 – the year of the Zulu War. It was originally instituted in 1854, and the date 1853 was placed was at the bottom of the reverse (or “the exergue” if you want to be technical). It  was awarded in a back-dated fashion for campaigns dating back to 1835. In 1879 they decided to re-issue it with Zulu shields in the exergue and a set of date bars relating to wars in 1877-79. The date 1879 is for troops who served in the Zulu War of that year – the one that saw British troops with rifles and artillery severely mauled by Zulus with spears.

It wasn’t all plain sailing in the days of the Empire.

Although it’s a great bit of history, it has been spoiled as a collectable because it’s been re-named. This means that the original name has been removed from the edge and another name has been added. Unfortunately, though this was clearly done in Victorian times, it ruins it for collectors.

Soldiers, you see, would often sell or pawn their medals when short of cash and, when posted away at short notice, be unable to get the medals back. Rather than admit to the military offence of selling or pawning their medals they would merely buy one from the pawn shop and have their name put on them. But that is a subject for a different day.

Spring is Coming

After a long run up, much delay and a couple of false starts it looks like we have achieved a lasting Spring.

There are many more things to see than the pitiful few I have managed here, but for now this will have to do. I’m sure there will be more soon, as I’m feeling quite sprightly.

Yes, today I’ve been out and about without my stick. I haven’t been far because my day involved a lot of packing for eBay, lunch with Julia, decluttering, blogging and making soup.

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Pansies in the Mencap Garden

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A Robin getting ready for Spring

It’s amazing how good you can feel after a bit of sunshine.

We’re now planning our day out on Wednesday.

And soon it will be time for a trip to Bempton.

I’m now wondering about bringing two of my favourite themes together and having Puffins as pallbearers. I’ll have to lose some weight before that becomes a realistic plan.

 

Lost in Leeds

It’s been a depressing few days. I’ve had a cold, and chest infection and sinus trouble. I’ve also been taking the problems of the world too seriously (let’s face it, I’m not going to change anything), feeling guilty about bringing children into this world, dwelling on past failures and thinking about how I’ve wasted my life.

It’s possible that a late Spring has had something to do with this lack of cheerfulness. There’s something rather forlorn about barbecue supplies replacing Easter eggs in the shops while freezing rain falls outside.

The fact I’m less than a month away from turning 60 may also have something to do with it. I know it’s only a number…

In fact it’s probably a good thing to turn 60, as one school of thought claims that ages ending in 9 aren’t good for you. You’re more likely to have an affair at one of those ages and more likely to commit suicide.

I am also, it seems, more likely to post a fast time in a marathon.

I allowed myself a slight smile at that thought.

Julia, on the other hand, had a good laugh.

Too lazy to kill myself, too ugly for an affair and too fat to run. Is this what my future holds?

Last night, whilst feeling ill, I drove to Leeds to pick up Number One son. I am such a good father. He’s lived in a number of places in Leeds and the last one was easy to find and convenient for parking.

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Leeds – convenient parking

It’s a shame that he moved away from there and took up residence in a glitzy block of flats in the centre of town. They have many good features, but being easy to find and in possession of convenient parking aren’t amongst them.

That was how I came to be parked between the flats and a shopping centre loading bay, and how I was able to experiment with low light photography.

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Leeds – low light photography

 

 

 

Snow!

The Council doesn’t seem to have gritted last night, with the result that the roads are worse than they were during the last snow.  Everyone knew it was coming, apart, it seems, from the man who arranges the gritting.

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Before…

This was the picture at 5.30 this morning. After a Saturday of snow flurries it finally started to settle overnight and was completely white by morning. We have four inches, which hardly qualifies as snow in some countries, but is big news in the UK, particularly in March. The TV weather report has just claimed six inches for Nottingham, so it may be worse in places.

What I really want is some warm Spring weather and a few flower pictures. There are plenty of flowers coming out, but it always seems to be a grey day when I have a chance for photography.

The outlook isn’t too bad, though I’m not sure how good it will be by the end of the day when I go to pick Julia up. The TV weather reports keep telling us where the snow will appear during the day, but is a bit short on information about when ours will melt.

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Snow in Sherwood, Notts

I’m beginning to see mental pictures of Vladimir Putin as Ming the Merciless in the film Flash Gordon. As I recall, it starts with an outbreak of bad weather caused by and evil, bald mega-villain.

Image result for ming the merciless

Normally I use my own photos, but I’m short of galactic supervillains so I’ve sourced one on the internet. I’m hoping that by giving a link to the film they will forgive me for lifting the photo.

This is the “After” photo, taken in the light after I got home. Time to blog and eat breakfast now.

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After…