Tag Archives: spring

Pots and Pipe Dreams

It’s been a day of errands today – collect a parcel from the sorting office, droop something of at one shop, another bag to the charity shop and a watch battery in another shop.

Then it was an evening of TV and a night of cookery. It was meant to be the other way round but I got side-tracked at the jewellers (three cups of teas in the office) then the quizzes came on TV.

Tonight I have cooked ratatouille, turned half of it into pasta bake for tomorrow, and am just waiting for the timer to sound.

At that time it will be time to serve a rather late tea and watch the final of The Great Pottery Throwdown. If you ever watch it, read this post to tell you about the tearoom. One of the other posts has some photos of the canal side.  I’d like to think I could have been a potter, if only it wasn’t for my lack of application, time and talent.

Ah well, dreams…

The timer just went off. Time to eat.

The featured image shows a clear Spring sky and a fine array of solar panels on the roof of a house. I am slightly ashamed of myself for not having solar panels, but I’m simply not going to live in this house long enough for them to pay their way.

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.

 

 

Only 51 weeks until Christmas!

Yesterday, one of the customers told me the fact I have used in the title. It makes the year seem rather short.

This, in turn, lead me to calculate the length of time before Spring starts. Just 56 days. That, of course, is only half the story. Meteorological Spring may start on 1st March according to the scientists, but the weather doesn’t always agree.

My parents were married at the end of March and, as they told me for 60 years, it snowed.

One thing you can rely on is the daylength. It’s already feeling longer than it did (and it is actually ten minutes longer than it was on the shortest day). This means that it is lighter when we leave the shop, which makes a big psychological difference. On 29th February, in Nottingham, the day will be over three hours longer than it is now. Even the thought of it is enough to cheer me up.

It’s a sobering insight into the shortness of life. The days of wine and roses are indeed not long…

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I was watching the Christmas University Challenge Final tonight and found myself doing quite well against a number of people with high-powered jobs and multiple degrees. The main difference between us, apart from my lack of degree and a job as a shop assistant, is that I suspect they all had confidence, plans ambition and productive work habits. I’ve just spent Christmas watching TV and playing Candy Crush when I should have been writing a best-seller and running an eBay business.

Ah well…

I did manage to get the outline of my presentation done. I have quite a lot of material on 1919 and went through it, with suitable reference to mutinies, Russia, Ireland, strikes, riots, war memorials and the Baltic.

Happy at the breadth and depth of my knowledge, and my grasp of the subject matter, I was alerted to the fact that this feeling was not universal by a gentle snore from Julia’s direction.

It looks like I’m going to have to do some editing.

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UK £5 2017

Today’s pictures are all recycled, with vague links to Christmas and 1919.

A Summary in Pictures

I’m in a hurry and may be back late tonight. Hopefully some pictures will keep you entertained, and give a clue to what my day may hold.

 

Not the Worst Day I’ve Had

It’s been a lovely Spring day today, I’m told. I didn’t see much of it until 4.00. It was pleasant enough, but slightly frustrating to have spent the rest of it in a room with no windows.

The day was mainly quiet, as the customers had better things to do. This was unfortunate as it gave the boss time to think about making improvements to the stock control system. There are just three problems – they weren’t improvements, there is no control and we don’t have a system.

One of the jobs I ended up with was adding four items to a pre-existing list. Seemed simple enough but took half an hour and a re-write. I will say no more.

There was a bit of excitement late on when two auctions ended. We had a trench art love token made from an Indian rupee, stamped “Mesopotamia”, “Alice” and “1918”.

 

It’s a bit crude, but I’m not sure I could do any better. I’m sure Alice appreciated it. I hope the maker got home uninjured. Don’t be fooled by the photo, it’s only about an inch and a quarter across in real life.

The other item was a silk handkerchief brought home by a member of the 8th Army. It’s a bit of a relic, and it’s falling apart, but several people obviously appreciated it as a piece of history.

The central arch on the handkerchief is Marble Arch, or the Arch of the Philaeni, a symbol of Italy’s growing power in North Africa. It appears on many photographs from the time and even on a medal. Eventually, it was demolished by the Gaddafi regime in 1973.

It might not have been the best of days I’ve had at work, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I’ve had days that involved freezing temperatures and tons of poultry manure so a day messing about with a computer is like a luxury spa break to me.

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.