Tag Archives: work

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Poppy and chamomile

The day is passing faster and faster.

Julia is on the phone to one of her needier clients. Again, I cannot describe the conversation due to issues of confidentiality, but it is circular. And long. And, as it is on something modern like an app or a zoom, it is loud and intrusive too. She might be working from home but technically this is a day off for me, even if I am treating it as a work day. Obviously in this context “work” is an expression of hope rather than fact.

I have researched a number of magazines as recipients for the articles I wish to write. I have read several of the magazines more deeply than necessary and I have made a list of possible articles. My plan is at the stage known as “getting there”. In other words it is a rag-bag of elements which don’t amount to much.

It is more of an intention or an outline. Time for some more work, but this time I will do it in front of the TV whilst watching Pointless. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Ironically that’s a very dull saying. Equally ironically, I haven’t done much work.

Back again…

Having watched Pointless and failed in a few rounds – notably the modern music and the football questions – I meant to get back to work. Instead, I watched Eggheads. It is one of the dullest quizzes around, but we had tea and biscuits and I can never resist temptation to sit and drink tea, with or without biscuits. As a late lunch we had corn on the cob (Julia went out for a walk and, as usual, nipped into a shop to buy something. She can’t break the habit. Today she bought corn on the cob.)

I am quite hungry now and have just put the vegetables into the oven to roast. Carrots, parsnips, leeks and potatoes. I will put sprouts in when I put the pasties in. It’s a meal we have nearly every week but I never get fed up of it. Apart from being year round comfort food, it’s healthy and easy to make.

It’s been eleven hours since I started “work” and I have not managed to complete anything yet, apart from some TV viewing and three blog posts.

As I started this one I noticed my total was 2,000 which means I missed the chance to write a post about reaching my 2,000th post. I may have to plough on to 2,020 before marking the occasion.

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I’m now going to put the pasties in and about 25 minutes after that will make the gravy. It’s only made with gravy granules, so is nothing exciting. Then I had better get the shopping ordered. I only have until midnight and it can be a slow process. I also get distracted easily.

I have already done the shopping list relating to the spice kits – we will be having linguine with prawns and rocket. I’m not sure why, because we make that anyway.

We are also having Iranian Vegetable Stew, which apparently takes its inspiration from Persia and North Africa. This tends to suggest it isn’t really Iranian or a proper recipe, just some vegetables to soak up some spices they wanted to get rid of. Pardon my cynicism. I keep meaning to give ras-el-hanout a try, so this is my chance.

Finally we will be having nasi goreng. I’ve wanted to try it since I read about it as a teenager reading my dad’s Somerset Maugham books. It’s typical that I’ve always steered clear of cooking it in case it didn’t live up to my expectations. Next week will be an interesting time.

I will try to take photographs before I eat everything.

Photos are recycled from here.

Eleven Photos and the Benefits of Blogging

Mint Moth

Wednesday 8th July Part I

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Wednesday 8th July Part III

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Wednesday 8th July Part V

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Breakfast didn’t quite go according to plan. I was going to treat Julia to avocados on toast with poached eggs. It’s not much of a breakfast but she likes that sort of stuff. Unfortunately the avocados were starting to brown and didn’t look good.I cut a few bits off, mashed it up with lime juice and green bits and it is now waiting to be spread on toast for lunch. It is just about acceptable like that, both in colour and as a foodstuff.

Plan B was poached eggs, beans, and sourdough toast. Still a bit trendy for my liking but such is life. Life can’t all be sausage, bacon and black pudding. Well, it could be, but I’d like to retain the use of my arteries for a while longer.

Unfortunately the eggs were also a little past their use by date and the first one spread across the whole pan. The second was OK, but the mess was made. Although one looked like an egg, with a degree runniness to the yolk (again – something she likes)  the other looked like a yellow blot. That’s the trouble with advance ordering in lockdown.

We seem to be commemorating the Battle of Britain this week and there were some insultingly easy quiz questions on TV this morning. That set me off looking at trivia about the Italian Air Force in the Battle of Britain (yes, they were there) followed by biplanes in WW2 (yes, there were some), Jeremy Vine, the Curse of Strictly Come Dancing and, finally, about SMART Planning.

I have to admit that I haven’t heard of all the ‘celebrities’ caught by the curse and, as Rachel Riley and Pasha have just had a child I’m not sure it’s really a curse. As all parents will know, it’s a mixed blessing, but not really a curse.

That’s the trouble with ‘working from home’ (as I am describing today, because I have things to do) – always so much distraction, plus cooking and washing up.

Just before I sat down to start work the post arrived. It contains notice of a planning application from the people next door who want to extend their lower storey half way across their drive to accommodate a downstairs toilet and extended kitchen. It will involve noise, disruption and, possibly, a loss of light, but on the other hand it won’t really affect us in the long run and I can’t be bothered to object.

It took me half an hour to find the plans online (the letter from the council lists a council webpage that no longer exists) download the plans and examine them.

Considering that they have asked me to cut down a tree in the garden because it shades some of their garden for some of the day, I can’t help feeling that I’d like the same concern from them relating to the light in my kitchen. Such is life.

It’s now 12.23 and the last phase of my day has not really seen anything that could be described as work. Oh dear!

Wednesday 8th July Part I

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Wednesday 8th July Part III

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Wednesday 8th July Part V

From Here to Modernity

A quick view of my day with lockdown observations.

I spent the early hours of the morning struggling with a blog post which I want to write, but which I can’t get right. I had already abandoned one yesterday and though I did manage to post, it was not about the things that were on my mind.

After no more than five hours I rose when the alarm went, made sandwiches, had breakfast and went to the Treatment Centre at Queen’s Medical Centre. Yes, time for a blood test. Parking was tight, as I didn’t get down until 9 am so I parked in a bay reserved for disabled parking. I don’t actually have a blue badge but I do have a walking stick and my knee was playing up. I was wrong, but I’m gradually becoming more selfish in my behaviour as I realise that being considerate just means that you are use as a stepping stone by the greedy self-centred people who actually run the country.

They now want all NHS staff to wear masks when dealing with the public and all members of the public to wear masks in hospitals. I took one with me just in case. I wasn’t asked to put a mask on when I arrived and I noticed that the receptionists and other staff weren’t wearing them. I checked later and this will all happen on June 15th, so they aren’t actually compulsory yet.

The phlebotomist had several attempts on my arms – one in the right, two in the left. She didn’t use the method I suggested, and decided to call a colleague in. There was nothing wrong with her technique but she just couldn’t get it right. I’m not a qualified phlebotomist, but as you may have noted, after the number of blood tests I’ve had I have picked up quite a lot of knowledge whilst being stabbed in the arm.

I was sent out to wait and drink water (which is supposed to make it easier to draw a sample) and they called a second patient in. When I was called through again the second phlebotomist took the blood quickly and efficiently while we all had a laugh about her friend’s failure. I do enjoy my blood-letting sessions – they are the only social life I have these days.

After that it was off to work for five hours in an empty shop. There wasn’t much to do so I cleaned the sink, the computers, the toilet and the door handles. When I went back to the computer I noted that two more orders had come in and then, on finishing those, found that another had come in. Sometimes the days seem to last forever.

I sent a text to the owner telling him we were running low on stationery and then sent another to Julia telling her I was running late, in part due to my co-worker failing to refill the drawers after using all the envelopes from two of them. I added three of those faces with steam coming out of the nostrils to indicate annoyance and sent it. Big, stiff fingers and touch screens are a bad combination and I sent it to the boss. Then I rang him to explain I had meant it for Julia.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

The Post Office was empty, so Social Distancing was a doddle.

Then it was home to try again with the difficult blog post (it still proved difficult) and news that people want to take down the statues of Sir Francis Drake in Devon. He might have done a bit of slave trading, but they all did in those days, so if this continues, we will have to take down all our statues, replace them with images of liberal nonentities and rewrite our history. It was an evil trade, and I make no excuses for it, who does it help to label all historical figures, with hindsight, as evil racists?

It’s all getting a bit like 1984, though of course, that’s a tricky subject too, as George Orwell’s great-grandfather was a slave owner and, if things carry on the way they are going, we’ll soon be burning his books rather than reading them.

That is more or less the subject of one of the blog posts I am finding difficult. I don’t like modern life.

And that was my day.

I am now going to submit my grocery order for tomorrow. An hours struggling with TESCO’s rubbish website on a creaky old computer. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

 

Seals, Solstices and Slimming

First, and last, day back at work after Christmas. I’ve been given Monday and Tuesday off, so I don’t return to work until next year.

I just had a look at the weekly seal update from Donna Nook, as we have failed to get there so far this year, and the news is not good. Numbers decreased by 90% over the previous week, so I suspect they will all be gone by now. With various things, we just couldn’t get to the coast this year. This included being asked to change days at work, meetings for Julia, and floods. It seems like everything stacked up to prevent us going.

I will use some of last year’s pictures with this post to give a flavour of what might have been.

The day was hectic, with 16 parcels to get to the Post Office before it closed at 12.30 and a constant stream of customers and phone calls. Most of the calls were about selling gold or silver but a few were about the perennial favourites – “rare” coins and “valuable” minting errors. They mainly occurred when I was already using both hands for wrapping packages.

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Last year’s seal at Donna Nook

We just got everything packed in time. Saturdays are always a bit of a rush, due to the Post Office closing at 12.30.

All the people who rang about selling gold and silver came in and sold us the stuff, as did a couple of other people who turned up on spec. We also had a group of regulars in, so things got quite busy.

Just one more Bank Holiday to work round then we can get on with work again.

Finally, after returning home in what appeared to be almost daylight compared to recent weeks (it’s the solstice effect – day length is actually only two minutes and eighteen seconds longer than it was a week ago) I found a leaflet from Slimmers World through the letter box. I’m sure it wasn’t meant personally but I do have a growing feeling that the whole world is having a laugh at my expense.

More thoughts of Kings…

With a nice early start we arrived at the gardens in plenty of time and two swans flew over us. They make a lot of noise when they fly. I imagine that it’s the noise of air and feathers meeting, though it does sound a bit like they are gasping for air.

I can still see them now, two glistening white swans silhouetted against a bright blue sky. You will have to imagine it because my camera was in my pocket at the time and I was not quick enough to get the shot.

The new polytunnel is looking good, though I’m sure the birds will soon have a go at it, as they did with the other one.

We remarked on the difference between the gardens now and the state of them when Julia took over. They now have two newly covered tunnels, piles of woodchip, good paths, better winter colour and a larger, more involved, group of users. She has more plans too, so let’s see how things develop over the next year or two.

She took this picture of the grape vine in the old tunnel. They don’t get many grapes but the autumn colour is always good.

Back at the shop I posted two coin sets on eBay and carried on with the Edward VIII collection. He reigned for 326 days. There have been seven monarchs who reigned for a shorter time than he did. Any guesses?

Here they are.

Harold II – 282 days – killed at Hastings

Edmund II (Ironside) – 221  days – worn out after five battles with Danes

Empress Matilda (or Maud) – 208 days – coronation prevented by the London mob

Edward V – 78 days – one of the Princes in the Tower

Edgar II – The Aetheling – 63 days – proclaimed King after Harold II – never reigned

Sweyn Forkbeard – 40 days – invaded England, became King, died.

Jane Grey – 9 days – if we’d kept her we might never have merged with Scotland.

Julia just shouted me through – chicken and roast vegetables tonight. On balance, I prefer chicken and roast vegetables to blogging.

 

 

 

Struggling with Technology

The netbook is a little slow and awkward compared to my laptop, but it’s still charging, which is more than you can say for the laptop.

I’ve even managed to put some photos on, starting with the Fat Rascals from Wednesday. I’ll put some others on as I go along.

It seems that there is a USB port on the netbook, but I had failed to see it. – I’m not the sharpest tool in the box.

I tried downloading from the camera, but the netbook kept trying to reformat the card. Reformat sounds like an improvement, but as most of you will know it really means destroy the several thousand photos I have carelessly stored there. I don’t want to do that.

I’m going to have to improve the way I store my photos before something bad happens to them.

Eventually I loaded some photos onto a flash drive and transferred them that way.

At work, amongst  other things, I loaded up some engraved coins., known as Love Tokens. They are quite common on Victorian coins and often crop up in mixed lots of coins. They were, it is usually said, engraved by young men for their girlfriends.  If that is true there were a lot of talented young men out there.

Engraved sixpence

Engraved sixpence

 

Engraved farthing

Engraved farthing

Back to Work

It’s been a funny start to the week. With Monday being a Bank Holiday, I had yesterday off and will be having tomorrow off as usual.

I really should work harder.

We had a lot of parcels, several vexatious enquiries and some things to put on eBay. We now have 1,200 items in our eBay shop, compared to around 600 a year ago so things are going well.

We also had some good sales today, including a sovereign before we were officially open. People seem to be buying sovereigns at the moment – it’s probably something to do with worries over the breakdown of society after we leave the EU.

I put some sweetheart brooches, some Masonic bits and a cap badge on this afternoon. It’s not as worthwhile as ending world hunger, but it pays a few bills.

Royal Engineers Sweetheart brooch - Great War

Royal Engineers Sweetheart brooch – Great War

Grenadier Guards Sweetheart Brooch WW2

Grenadier Guards Sweetheart Brooch WW2

One More Quick Post

I had a day off today and spent much of it trying to write. It didn’t go too well, though it could have been worse. That, could well be the motto for my life – good, but could have been better.

I also checked on the internet to see what sold in the shop, and found that one of the coins I’d listed yesterday had sold. It often seems to be the way. In fact most of today’s orders were for the cheap and cheerful end of our stock. That’s the end at which I operate.

Now, having watched the day slip away, I find it is time to take Number Two Son to work. I will return with only 40 minutes to post, so am getting it done now.  And that, I’m afraid, is why it was hardly worth your while clicking the button to visit. Sorry about that.

The final picture is my breakfast from Tuesday – overnight oats. You put oats, milk, yoghurt and fruit into a tupperware and leave it in the fridge overnight. It’s just a posh name for cold porridge. However, it does save time in the morning as I take it to work, and as I always arrive at work early I use some of that time for eating breakfast instead of starting work. On Fridays I will eat cold porridge in the garden with Julia.

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Overnight Oats

Note how I’ve included the keyboard in the picture to indicate that I’m a high-powered, high-fibre thrusting executive.

Photography can be so deceptive…

Laundry, Driers and the Decline of Moral Standards

Julia’s new routine means that we no longer have to be up at five on a Sunday morning. However, Number Two Son is still working for another month, so I’m still getting up at six to pick him up at seven.

It puts some shape in my day, which is something that worries me about our new routine – it’s going to be easy to have a lie in and waste the day.

After getting him home I filled the car with laundry and headed off in hope of beating That Bloody Woman to the driers. It went quite well. The laundrette was empty apart from The Big Lad so I filled three small washing machines and set them going. It nearly worked.

Two of them finished, and I got the contents into driers. At that point, the Other Bloody Woman walked in. She doesn’t even wash in the launderette, just waltzes in with bags of wet washing and takes four of the seven machines. She filled two machines and went out to get her other bags. So I grabbed a sweatshirt from one of my driers and chucked it into a spare drier to stop her taking all four. She wasn’t particularly happy when she returned to find the drier taken, but I had, at least, left her the last one, which is more than she would have done for me. Three minutes later my last machine finished and I filled it so I my conscience was only mildly bothered. I hadn’t spent half an hour washing just so that I could allow someone else to walk in and take all the driers.

I’m not sure that I’m a good person these days. All this drier politics is eroding my sense of right and wrong…

 

Life Gets in the Way

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Robin

Just a quick post. Number Two son has been called in to work early so I want to squeeze a post in before going out.

I also have to make tea. This is potato wedges, veggie burgers and beans, rather than the comforting beverage. It’s just a modern twist on the old favourite – burger, beans and chips. We are, as you can probably guess, not familiar with the concept of fine dining. On the other hand, I’ve never been mistaken for a bag of bones.

I had a strange experience with the printer at work yesterday. It refused to connect to my computer. Everyone else could connect with no problem. Eddie printed out the compliments slips I needed and a while later Mark printed out two invoices.

After half an hour of messing about unsuccessfully, including restarting, reloading and reswearing, I gave up, got back to work and decided to restart the router at the end of the day. I thought the end of the day would be a good time, as it would, the way my luck was going, probably wreck our entire network.

A couple of hours later the printer chugged into life and disgorged two pages of printing. Fortunately I’d cancelled the other print jobs that had failed or I’d probably have ended up knee deep in paper.

I haven’t a clue why it suddenly started working.

When we were finishing, I passed Mark his invoices. He was surprised. He’d forgotten all about them because they were part of a job he’d tried to print 12 days previously. Yes, twelve days! Printers truly are a mystery…