Tag Archives: spring

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.

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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…

A Day Off and the Last of the Fish Pie

I blogged a bit this morning and made some plans. Julia was due on a training course at 1.30 so it made for a short day.

After dropping her off for a two hour refresher on Safeguarding I went to find a charity shop that needed three bags of second-hand books and assorted rammel. I couldn’t find one, as everywhere was so busy there was nowhere to park.

I went home and read my post before I filled two more bags with paper, including a large amount of old business paperwork from 2004-6. They missed collecting our recycling bin last week because of the snow. I feel, as I continue filling it, that they will regret this decision when they have to remove a month’s accumulated paper clearing.

The letter from the anticoagulant clinic showed I was right at the top of the range, but [assed. I don’t need to go back for two weeks.

Then I collected Julia. As usual, the training was a waste of time, though it does allow the council to tick boxes. Don’t start me on the state of Safeguarding in the UK.

She helped me find a charity shop with parking outside. She also told me off for what I said to a bus driver who sounded his horn at me in an impatient manner as I took the bags out of the car. After all the time buses have spent holding me up over the years I think he could have waited thirty seconds for me.

He even made eye-contact as he went past, just to be more aggressive about it. If he was a lip-reader he would have found this an upsetting experience. Even if he wasn’t a lip reader he could probably still make out the few short, simple words I used.

Later we went shopping as the light faded, and were surprised at the volume of birdsong. Spring, I suspect, has arrived.

Then we returned home and ate Fish Pie. Julia topped it with sweet potato this time so we’ve had four different toppings in the last week – potato, potato and swede, potato and parsnip and sweet potato.

It’s not quite the lifestyle I envisaged for myself when I was young and ambitious.

 

Days Lengthen, Spirits Lift…

The theme of coldness carries over from the last post.

At around 10pm I went out to put a sheet on the car windscreen and ended up having to clear the screen before I could put the cover on.

It’s notably crispy this morning, though not quite as bad as I was expecting.

On a brighter note, I’m excused washing duties as we have Number One son visiting. We have a quinoa salad for lunch, made with tinned beans and sweetcorn, Eventually I intend making pots of the stuff using proper quinoa instead of the microwavable alternative and I will soak my own beans.

For the moment it’s enough of a culture shock without the extra cooking.

And talking of culture shock – it’s full daylight now. The days are really starting to open up now. If only the weather was more spring-like.

This may be good news for North Korean athletes who, it seems, are likely to do a spell in a labour camp after failing to perform in the Winter Olympics. At least it won’t be dark and dismal. This would tend to suggest that the carrot and stick approach may not work, particularly when the carrot is “extra rice” according to the article.

Meanwhile, anyone who came fourth in an event where one of the Russians won a medal is waiting to see if they are going to get an upgrade. I really despair of a world where an entire country is banned for drug use and the replacement “neutral” team provides 50% of the positive drug tests at the games.

I’m not going to add anything more, as there are plenty of accusations flying about relating to GB’s rise to sporting success and I don’t want to say anything that may prove embarrassing in the future.

This article is interesting, and puts things in stronger terms than I would dare.  You can’t blame people for taking a chance to be an international athlete, but it’s important to keep it in perspective. There is no surge in African Winter Sport. If we want to help Africa we should make it possible for the continent to host the Olympics. After what happened with the Commonwealth Games this may take some doing.

At least my joints are feeling better and I seem to be able to think again, even if I can’t solve any world problems.

The Odd Couple and Strange Pigeons

We went to the park today to see the ducks. The first thing I saw was a Wood Pigeon in a tree and a charm of Goldfinches drinking from the stream which acts as an overflow for the pond. The pigeon looked a little rumpled and the Goldfinches were too quick for me, so there are no photographs of those two.

We were surrounded by feral pigeons at one point. I counted them twice, getting 57 in one count and 62 in the next. Call it 60. That’s a lot of verminous skyrats. It may be that I’m being unfair to them, as they do look quite tidy, and even seem keen on taking a bath.

The odd couple are still there, though the goose does seem to be paired up with another goose too. The three of them were together on the grass at the far end of the pond. It now looks a bit like one of those situations where a man has married but still has one of his old mates hanging round, or playing gooseberry.

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The birds seem to be paired up and defending territories, but apart from daffodils and a few mahonias there is nothing much happening to suggest Spring. Outside the walls Spring is definitely here but inside the park things are a bit behind. It may be the trees, or the stone wall holding cold air in, but it just seems like the park is a couple of weeks behind the surrounding streets.