Tag Archives: spring

I Plod my Weary Way…

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
         The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
         And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Thomas Grey, Elegy in a Country Churchyard, but I expect you knew that.
It’s the first day of meteorological Spring today, and so it will be no surprise to learn that it was a foggy day with a lot of moisture in the air. If you’d simply plonked me down after six months in isolation I could probably have guessed it was Spring from the flowers, but the rest of it was very much like November, even the temperature.
Two days of Spring, then bang, it’s like a shutter coming down. Spring is over and autumn has returned.
However, it’s not all bad news. I have the day to myself and Julia made enough apple crumble for last night to provide a couple of generous portions tonight.
I’ve been watching the trailer for the Oprah interview with Megan and Harry. Speculation is rife. However, Julia is unimpressed by any of it and all it does is for me is bring out my regicidal tendencies. I have no faith in Republics, where the children of privilege rise to the top by money rather than merit, so we may as well keep our own system where we are governed by the children of privilege who went to Oxford University. However, the execution of Charles I did lead to the royals upping their game, and it’s probably about time to kill another one.
Looks like Charles is going to have to take one for the team, with Andrew as collateral damage, which will solve a few problems. I’d throw in Harry too. Now that William has kids Harry is irrelevant, something that he has failed to grasp.
I don’t know any Royals personally and have never studied them in depth, so I won’t say more, but I do think idea has some merit.
With a bit of thought I’m sure we could open it up to include celebrities and a public vote…
Meanwhile, back in reality, the header picture is Southwell and the pub at the end of the street is The Saracen’s Head. I suspect it will be renamed at some time in the future. On 5th May 1647 King Charles I stayed there and surrendered to the Scots, who were part of an army besieging Newark. The Scots, acting true to their reputation for frugality, sold him to Cromwell.

The Year Moves On

Today was another beautiful day, though somewhat marred by having to sit in the back room of the shop. Tomorrow, if it is similarly beautiful, I will probably spend indoors hiding from people. It is a very trying time but I don’t intend becoming ill just as we get in sight of a solution.

The birds are certainly playing their part – they were singing before dawn and wee still singing at dusk.

My Blood test results came back. I am hovering just within the permitted range – my reward is a three week rest before the next ritual puncturing. Julia posted her test kit today, so if things go as smoothly as last time we should have  a result tomorrow.

On the poetry front, things are going pretty much as you would expect. A set of haiku to one magazine were returned, as has become traditional. I’m not sure which one of us will break first. In fact I’m not sure if one of us will break before Death takes us. I don’t give up easily and she clearly doesn’t like my submissions.

Another one returned my attempts too, but it was a regular journal with a guest editor. I have  never managed to have anything accepted when they have a guest editor.

On a more positive note, Obsessed with Pipework had one of my poems this issue. They aren’t on-line so I can’t direct you to it.

The Haibun Journal has accepted a haibun for next month’s issue. Not online, so again there won’t be a link. I like the Haibun Journal – a well-produced old-fashioned sort of journal, which |I could imagine reading whilst wearing a smoking jacket in my Library.

To be fair, I like all journals that publish me, and quite a few that don’t.

The biggest news is that I’ve been shortlisted by Acumen.  They have  a two stage policy – Normally they turn me down and tell me competition is fierce, as they only publish about 1% of submissions. This time I’ve made it onto the list to be considered as part of the 1%. I probably won’t progress but it’s a step up from a simple rejection, and it’s actually more exciting than being published by a lot of other magazines.

For a week or two I can dream of publication in a prestigious magazine, but after that it will be down to earth with  a bang.

And on that note, it is time to go and drink tea in front of the Tv. It’s a hard life being a poet…

 

For a picture – snowdrops from 2018.

 

First day of Real Spring

Today was the first day of Real Spring. We have meteorological Spring – that starts on 1st March – and we have  Traditional Spring, which starts on 20th March this year. Neither of them are particularly realistic as they can both be quite dismal days, and it’s hard to feel springlike on a dreary day. No, you need Real Spring, which is the first day that feels like Spring. It has been getting closer, but today was the first day I really felt spring had arrived.

It was a lovely morning with a slight nip in the air, and a very light frost. There was just a touch of colour in the sky as I headed off for a blood test, and my feelings of wellbeing were enhanced by the lack of traffic – a lovely lockdown bonus. The sunrise was fading as I went to hospital, and by the time I returned home the sky was bright blue and cloudless. 

The sun, hitting the silver birches, produced a magical effect, further enhanced by a meeting of magpies. There were only a dozen of them, a long way from some of the groups I’ve seen at this time of year, but it’s nice to see that breeding is on the agenda.

As I turned into the hospital entrance, the area under the trees  was alive with snowdrops and small tete a tete daffodils.

In the car park a dunnock was singing its heart out, though, now I know more about its personal habits I’m not sure this is a bird to use as a celebration of spring.

There was no queue for the blood test, but that was the last good thing to happen for a while, as they managed to hit a nerve when taking the test samples (I was in for a double lot today)  and  that wasn’t fun. First, my arm hurt, then it started to go numb. The hand, which I’d ben told to clench, began to open. It took about twenty minutes to recover, so it wasn’t bad, but it’s still a bit sore sixteen hours later and there’s quite a lot of bruising. Normally I say good things about Phlebotomy at City Hospital, but this was not one of their better days.

The Daily Struggle

It’s hard to dislike any day as I’m approaching the age at which FDR, U S Grant, General Lee, Alfred Nobel and Audrey Hepburn all died.  The are are others, but that is enough for now. If you are of a similar morbid turn of mind you can look things up here.

However, of all the days of the week, Friday is probably the one when I am least pleased to wake up and realise I have survived another day. It’s the only day of the week when I have to go to work, so it’s tainted with the “back to work” feeling that I remember from the days I had a job I ‘didn’t like.

It started off badly when I couldn’t find some of the things I needed for parcels and ended badly when I got into a queue at the Post Office and found I was behind someone with a rudimentary grasp of parcels. He ended up having to repack it at the counter as he was returning some mail order clothing and thought it was OK to bundle it up in a plastic bag and leave the return address inside. It’s possible that postmen in his country have X-Ray vision, or just open parcels as a matter of course, because it took a lot of explaining before he grasped the idea that the return label should be on the outside.

Meanwhile, a man has just started a complaint against us on eBay as he hasn’t had an item he ordered. He ordered it last Friday, so at best it’s only been a week. A week is a bit soon to start complaining, even at the best of times. In times of COVID it’s definitely a bit too soon. He ordered after we closed on Friday, we posted it on Monday, the next day we were open and it has, since then, been in the hands of the Post Office. Words do not fail me, it’s just that they aren’t suitable for polite company.

That sums up my day. Fortunately, better weather is on the waya nd Spring is just around the corner. Six more weeks and I might try smiling again.

The night sky is a shot from January last year, when I actually used to go out and take photographs.

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…

deer3

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]