When I got home tonight the first of the orange poppies was out. They have been developing buds for the last few days, so this was good to see, I am going to try to keep a count this year and see how many flowers they produce. They do well for a self-sown flower growing from cracks in the concrete.
We had the customary crop of vexatious calls and emails from people who shouldn’t allowed out without a carer.
One buyer, who gave us a thorough grilling before purchase, has already sent his purchase back. We found this out from eBay as he didn’t have the courtesy to get in touch. We are waiting to find out what was wrong with it, as we are certain it matches the description we used to sell it.
Someone rang, as is usual, with an enquiry about whether we bought rare coins. And as usual it turned out to be a 50p piece that was worth . . . 50p.
And so it went on.
When I had a few minutes during the day I had a go at pushing the levers on my new chair. It is, when properly adjusted, much more comfortable than the old one. That’s a measure of how far we have advanced – everybody seems to have swivelling office chairs now. I only tried one when I started at the shop, until then I’d just had chairs with four legs.
Traffic was strange on the way home. I got halfway home with no traffic on the road, a rare, but welcome event.The second half was absolutely blocked solid – and I have no clue what caused it, as there was nothing there once it started moving again.
The only other point of note today was that my fingers are giving trouble five fingers from eight are stiff and several are painful. I’m hoping it is on of those temporary glitches and not a sign that the drugs have stopped working.
This might be a slightly misleading title, because it’s not quite 9am. I have, however, got up early, moaned about having to get up early, got stuck in traffic going for my blood test, moaned about traffic and inconveniently placed roadworks, struggled to park, moaned about parking, and, finally, had a blood test.
The tester took three attempts but didn’t panic. Yes, strange as it seems, seeing as they are not the one being stabbed in the arm, they often get agitated if they miss first time. I know this because, as I have said before, they often do miss with my tricky veins.
I don’t mind a phlebotomist taking three attempts because it’s a difficult job. I do mind the other stuff because with a bit of planning much of it could be avoided.
All I want is a blood test at the GP surgery. I’ve been having them there for months, but because of the number of nurses needed to give vaccinations there are none for blood testing now. The result of this is that I have to get up at 6.30, add to the congestion, try to beat the staff to a space in the car park where staff, according to the big notice, are not supposed to park and then write a blog post to moan about it.
Is this what my “day off” is meant to be like? I haven’t had my breakfast yet and I already feel like I’ve put in a good day’s work.
“Work” was my 250th word, so I will leave it there as it’s my self-imposed minimum. If I carried on I would just start moaning again, as I’ve just been engaged in conversation with the pharmacy regarding a prescription that has disappeared. I didn’t want it, but they told me they had it for me. Julia went in to pick it up this morning and they now deny all knowledge of it. My original thought, that this was the most inefficient pharmacy in the world (you may have heard me mention this several times) has now been replaced by a theory that there are really two pharmacies working in parallel universes, which would explain why their right hand (in Universe 1) doesn’t know what the left hand (in Universe 2) is doing.
Header photo is my standard heron photo, looking hunched, dejected and/or grumpy. It seemed apt.
It i now just after midday and it is probably time to take stock.
I delivered Julia to work this morning. Traffic was heavier than usual, which was probably due to the return to school, though it could just be that Monday is usually busier in general. I have no way of measuring, but the queue in a couple of places was a little longer than usual. It might just appear heavier because I was expecting it to be. I really ought to devise an accurate system of measurement.
On the way back I went to Lidl as we need bread and I like their bakery. I’ve been avoiding it lately, but you have to go out at some time.
As usual, I observed some selfish parking. A single man in a Range Rover parked in a parent and child space (we didn’t have them in my day, we just had to learn how to control children and shopping at the same time!) I don’t see why anyone needs a Range Rover if they live in town. I don’t see why Range Rover owners can’t walk a few yards extra. And I definitely don’t know why he felt it necessary to park at an angle so that a corner of his vehicle jutted into the corner of the parking spot next to him. Somehow, I always asu8me that if you have the money to buy a big car and fuel it that you should know how to drive. I am clearly wrong.
Again, in the absence of a proper measuring system I can’t say this was the worst parking I’ve ever seen. How does it compare, for instance, with a small car parking across two disabled spaces whilst playing loud music? So many variables.
I bought the usual selection – sandwich baguettes, chocolate brownies, ham offcuts for sandwiches and mini cucumbers, which Julia likes with her sandwiches. She actually ordered some plants yesterday to grow her own this summer.
I then sat down to write. I finalised a selection of haiku, which needed to be sent before the 15th. That is now done. I’ve submitted to that magazine before and expect I will be making a contribution to my target of 100 rejections quite soon.
After that I settled down to some “ordinary” poetry. At the moment I’m writing by setting ideas down and adding to them. When they are about the right length I check I have everything I need – theme, detail, ambiguity- then I start pruning and refining. I have two or three on the go, in various stages of completion and it’s feeling good. I’m pinning a lot of hope on my ordinary poetry to bring in the 100 rejections.
I then twiddled around with ome tidying of folders, made a cup of tea, browsed the internet and skimmed a book that arrived last week. I answered a phone call from a very nice lady who wanted to help me extend the warranty of my washing machine. Regular readers, who know we use the launderette for washing, will realise she was unlikely to succeed, and thi proved to be the case.
That’s it for now. I’m going to make lunch, using a liquidised vegetable stew and I will then start rounding up some haiku for another submission. If I get that done, I will have a go at refining some haibun and writing a couple of new prose sections.
After I pick Julia up I will have come full circle and that brings us back to the chocolate brownies. I will miss my Mondays when I have to go back to full-time work.
I’ve given myself a proper talking to, and I really am going to do better at keeping the blog up to date. I rarely seem to write about the events of the day these days, and that removes the diary element from the day’s writing.
I am trying to get that back.
This morning I rose sluggishly and dragged myself to the bathroom. They tell me that exercise is good for arthritis (yes,Clare Pooley, I’m looking at you as I write this) but I’m not sure that’s true. My knee and back seem definitely do not seem improved the day after I’ve been walking.
This handsome Robin is from February 2018, though he has been seen many times in later posts…
I breakfasted on a bacon sandwich (Julia hasn’t quite got the hang of meat-free Mondays) and a slice of toast and jam. This was a good start to the morning, though I’m not sure that a man on a diet really needs a slice of toast and sugar. It’s like offering an alcoholic a cocktail – no matter how you dress it up, the bad stuff is still at the bottom of it. Because I am weak-willed I ate the toast.
This is our fourth week of taking a different route to work on Monday. Julia works from the office on Mondays and we go through town. Unfortunately, part of the road is closed, and will be until May, as they repair a large chunk of Nottingham’s decrepit gas system.
The first gas supply in Nottingham was used on 14 April 1819, to light ten gas lamps in the city. Crowds came to gawp, being mesmerised by the miracle of modern light, and also terrified of a gas explosion. The Nottingham Gas Light and Coke Company provided gas for many years before being taken over by the corporation in 1874, which was in turn nationalised in 1949.
Sunset over Sherwood – February 2018
The mains in question are, like the ones replaced last year, from the 1960s. It surprises me they are so new, I thought they lasted longer than that. Anyway, they have lasted fifty years, and are now going to inconvenience me for the next four months.
If my 31-year-old self had set off walking at the same time as my 61-year-old self set off by car today it’s likely the walk we would have got to town sooner. The roads were very congested and the traffic was slow.
This congestion isn’t helped because there seem to be roadworks everywhere. Whether it’s using up budgets, inefficiency or bad luck, I do not know. Though I can hazard a guess.
After dropping Julia off I manoeuvred by a builders’ lorry which was blocking a road and, judging by the reaction from the builders, used several words they didn’t expect from a white-haired, bald old coot.
Late February 2018, we have a way to go before we can congratulate ourselves on a mild winter
Traffic was light on the other side of town and I was able to get to work in plenty of time to start packing. We had 21 parcels for the post, so it was a good thing I was in early. Several things happened this morning, some of which would be very amusing if I were the sort of person to publish gossip on his blog. But I’m not.
Someone came in from a local Sikh temple with the foreign coins and notes out of the various charity collections they have made.
After that it was time to close and spend the afternoon in errands. I shopped, took prescriptions to the doctors and made an appointment, then took my tyre to the garage. They will look at it and tell me if I simply need it reinflating or if I have damaged the (nearly new) tyre and need a new one.
A better Little Egret – February 2017 Blacktoft Sands
At home I washed up, blogged, watched TV, fell asleep, woke to eat vegetable stew and dumplings, watched TV, washed up, made sandwiches (tuna) for tomorrow and blogged. That’s what I’m doing now.
Well, I’m blogging and wondering at the the repetitive banality of my life.
To further labour the point I’m going to use some photos from previous Februaries.
Here goes, let’s see what happens as I embark on my new round of planned posts.
First, traffic. Yesterday there was just a light dusting of traffic on the ring road. Today there were even queues to get on the road. I didn’t immediately think anything of it as traffic can be slow sometimes and it’s not as if there was a choice of roads.The traffic system of Nottingham has never been particularly good and it seems to be getting worse every time they redesign it.
However, after twenty minutes we knew that there was a problem somewhere ahead. You can tell. I did see three accidents by the roadside but I think they were all caused by people queuing and running into each other. A lot of it is caused by impatience.
The hold up appeared to be a problem on one of the roundabouts. There was a large tailback onto the main carriageway and this was blocking one lane, at which point it all backed up for four miles. We’re not America so we only had two lanes to start with.
It took me over an hour to do a twenty minute journey. I then had to stop for fuel (the hire car was due back today) and make my way to work where I was due to swap cars. I was supposed to be there for 9.00 and finally arrived at 9.30. Not that it mattered – the recovery vehicle was stuck in traffic too and we eventually swapped cars at 10.00.
I like having my own car back. It may be unfashionable, boring, chugging, unpopular and battered but it suits me. I can’t see that a SEAT Ibiza would ever suit me. Apart from the size and build quality the name Ibiza just sets me on edge. And I couldn’t find Radio 4 Extra, Five Live or the World Service on the radio either. It did, to be fair, have Radio 4, but that can be a bit funereal at times and Women’s Hour on Saturday is so miserable it beggars belief.
I paid my £400 excess, muttering about car insurance and set to work.
Later, the owner got a letter. It was from the man who had popped by to give him a quote for a roller shutter last weekend. While he was doing the quote he did a bit of work to make the front more secure. He also left quite a bit of clutter, including screws and a broken drill bit on the front where we park our cars.
Despite coming out to give us a quote he has sent a bill for £120 call-out fee and £70 for an hour’s work. This proves beyond doubt my feeling that not every robbing bastard wears a mask or works at night.
Julia has just been watching the news – she says the cause of the traffic problems was a gas leak that caused a road closure. They still haven’t found the leak so it looks like my trip to hospital tomorrow will be fun and even Thursday could be a problem. On the other hand, forewarned, I may just pack a picnic and enjoy the delay.
Not sure about that header picture – a bear sniffing flowers in the sun is altogether too upbeat.
It’s a drizzly grey morning and the traffic is slow. That sentence reminds me of something, though there are no jumping fish and a distinct lack of cotton.
As usual, the drizzle seemed to bring out more traffic and the journey became more of a trial than usual.
I can’t help thinking the whole blues thing would have developed differently in a colder climate, or if the musicians were often clogged up in traffic following a cement mixer and a skip lorry.
That’s what happened to me this morning. There was also a woman on a Moulton bicycle, and an idiot on a moped.
The site of the incident was, as usual, the three lanes of traffic leading up from the Goose Fair roundabout to the site of the old gallows. It always seems so appropriate when you see how people behave there.
First the Moulton mounted woman had to skip up onto the pavement to avoid being killed by a bus. Then, as she returned to the road and stopped at the pedestrian crossing, the mentally challenged moped rider swept through and nearly hit a pedestrian on the crossing. There’s something about a bus lane that seems to suspend the normal rules of traffic. And there’s something about this stretch of road that, one way and another, that brings out the worst in a number of drivers.
The rest of the day is likely to be similarly grey in aspect as I have a list of domestic tasks to get through, some paperwork to do for Julia and more internet research to do for the jerk seasoning. It’s not a thrilling list, but it needs doing.
Number One Son cooked tonight, so there are no photos of the food. By the time I got back from picking Julia up from work (tonight being her late night) he had it ready and it seemed rude not to eat it right away.
It was, for those of you who like detail, a steak and shallot pie from Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton. The pastry was good and crispy and there were good chunks of meat in it. For my taste it was a bit over-salted (which seemed to come from the pastry) and shallots are always a bit too sweet. It was still good though.
We’re having the samphire tomorrow.
We had the orange and chilli marmalade this morning. Julia likes it. I’m dubious. I’m not sure there’s a gap in the market for a marmalade that slips down nicely but leaves a burning sensation in your throat.
Did I mention the rhubarb flavored chocolate yesterday? It was quite nice, and very Yorkshire, but it didn’t make it through the night. In fact, when I check, I notice it didn’t even make it into the blog.
The day started with a trip to work, with traffic jams and many thoughts (mainly homicidal). It progressed (if that is the word) to more traffic jams, a trip to the sorting office to pick up a parcel, and a blood test. It only took two attempts this week. I’m hoping I pass as they have currently reduced the interval to a week and weekly blood tests are a bit limiting.
It all turned out to be a bit of an anti-climactic day in the end. Even the threatening clouds didn’t turn into the threatened storm.
At least, when I got home, I had parcels from ebay to open.
Just one trip to the other side of town to take Julia to work has given me more than enough subjects to fill a blog for a week.
One is obviously the morality of taking the car to work when we have a good bus service in Nottingham, and trams that run close to where she wants to be.
Two is the fact that she had four bags with her. Two contain things she is removing from the house. One is phone, sandwiches and such. The fourth is stationery and gym gear. Would she take four bags if she had to use the bus? Discuss.
Three – why do women need a bag to carry the things that go in my pockets? Even in summer I can manage, with a jacket in winter I have a pocket surplus.
Four – decluttering.
Five – decluttering, with special reference to the two bags she has removed today. One only arrived yesterday, the other last Saturday, so my view is that they represent clutter rather than declutter, particularly as most of the Saturday stuff is still here.
Six – the theory of two steps forward and one step back, and how it applies to our decluttering policy.
Seven – differential decluttering. Her stuff is essential (I am told) but mine is fit for the skip.
Eight – do I need treatment for my obsession with clutter?
Nine – design of roads, junctions, traffic lights, bus lanes, cycle lanes and such stuff.
Ten, with reference to Nine, is all this done to make driving so hard we use buses?
Eleven – what is actually in the bus drivers’ test – bullying, cutting corners, pulling off at short notice, providing cyclists with near death experiences? (This question was asked early in the journey, but asked again as I tried to change lanes with a bus bearing down on me.)
Twelve – should I have bought one of those flats by Trent Bridge when I first moved to Nottingham?
Thirteen – would we have had a family if we had a flat there?
Fourteen – if we had a flat, and a family, and had moved, would we have less clutter?
Fifteen – am I obsessed with clutter?
Sixteen – if I had realised that you only had to do five years in the French Foreign Legion would this have altered my attitude towards parenthood?
That covers the journey to work and the first few hundred yards of the journey back. For the second part, which is just as interesting as the first, please call back in a later.