Tag Archives: work

Time Passing

I realised on Sunday evening, as I sat by the fire watching TV, that it was the first time in about a month that I have not noticed any pain. It’s very relaxing. I now need to make sure, as much as I can, that this continues. I can’t do much about  the weather but I can make sure I lose some weight, do my hand exercises and order the pills in plenty of time.

That was about all I did during the afternoon, as the promise of the morning faded. We had stir-fried vegetables for tea and watched Miss Marple. After that I read a few more blogs and went to bed. Life is less fun since I had to start working Mondays again.

It became even less fun when I actually arrived at work after dropping Julia off. We had one parcel of 14 items to send to Australia and one of eight items to send to Canada. IN addition there were invoices, queries, offers and fourteen other parcels to send. At one point, I started to swell up like the Incredible Hulk. I couldn’t find several of the bits I wanted, things have been moved since the last time I looked at them and time was pressing. Just as I was about to ask for help in locating several of the pieces, a customer came in without an appointment. It would be unprofessional of me to offer an opinion of either his parentage or the lonely existence suffered by his two brain cells, but if it were an international event he really could bore for England.

I have  a deadline looming in six days, and nothing fit to send. Another is lurking behind that one and then there are a couple of extras I have slotted in. There are more in May.

Have you noticed that the year is nearly a third over and, having been on hold for lockdown, I have done nothing that I had planned outside writing. Writing is OK, and I enjoy it, but I really did want to get more work done around the house and garden.

Oh dear, Spring has only just started and I am in a panic about time passing. Strangely, I can calm my fears by playing games on the computer, this feeling better whilst, in fact, making the problem worse. Life is strange.

We had pizza and salad for tea tonight – reasonably easy to prepare as we bought the pizzas ready made and just added a few fresh veg. It was made even pleasanter for me because Julia prepared it. I am a lucky man.

Early to Bed…

My new health regime, which consists mainly of going to bed at a sensible time and turning down offers of a second slice of cake, have paid off – I’m already feeling a lot better than I was at the start of the week.

Today turned out to be another busy day. The sales promotion has not only brought a surge in sales but an avalanche of enquiries – many of which are time consuming and lead nowhere. However, like many things, you have to sift through to find the nuggets and as one of the queries led to a £275 sale, it was worth the sifting.

Nothing else of note happened during the day. I watched a little TV, snoozed and ate stir-fried vegetables for tea. I’ve also been going through magazines of Readly. I’ve managed a bird watching magazine, two writing magazines, the TLS and an art magazine tonight. Not bad for a monthly subscription that is the equivalent of buying two magazines. OK, so I only browsed the last two as I wasn’t feeling very intellectual, but it’s still good value.

If anyone is doing ab thesis on the life of an average middle-aged man in the early 21st century – this is it. This what I spent 60 years training for – a life of quiet mediocrity and vegetables. I always wanted to be rich and famous and eat steak…

I had an article sent to my email about the cherry trees in Washington DC – very interesting. I like cherry trees. My Mum and Dad had several and when Julia’s Mum died the village planted a cherry tree in memory of her contribution to the local community., so they have always ben part of my life. Of course, now that I write poetry in Japanese forms I am virtually obliged to write about them.

I seem to be deficient in cherry blossom pictures, so you will have to make do with apple blossom.

Spring in the Mencap Garden

A Cunning Plan produces Dividends

I have watched too much TV tonight and only have 32 minutes to post. That blocks out a thoughtful and well-reasoned post, a properly researched post and even a soup review. A proper review with three or four photos to load will be pushing it.

We had a hectic day at work – the boss found a button which allows him to offer discounts to people who are watching our lots on ebay. He spent the morning knocking 8% off prices and provoked a flurry of buying. We had eleven orders today – nine as a result of the discount campaign, and now have eleven others waiting to be packed. It’s all very well selling, but we need to get some new stuff on. By the time we’d finished packing, dealing with queries and answering the phone, there wasn’t any time left for other things.

However, it is nice to be busy.

My day wasn’t helped by having a bad back. I woke up at about 5am with my back in spasm and couldn’t get back to sleep.  After a while I knew I wasn’t going to get back to sleep so I got up. It was 6.28 and the clock wa set for ^.30 so it wasn’t a great sacrifice. The plan was to be having a blood test by about 7.15 but I moved so slowly I wasn’t even ready to leave the house by then, Better luck tomorrow, I hope.

Oh dear, midnight has caught me. I’ll still keep it short though, as I need to gett o bed.

 

Reflections on Friday and Becoming Old and Boring

Today I have successfully fought off the urge to waste time on-line. It was my day to go to the shop. I arrived just before 9.00 after dropping Julia at work, and immediately had to ring the boss because the alarm was playing up. It is linked to his phone so I didn’t want him thinking he had burglars.

He came to the shop  later in the morning, with home-baked cakes from his wife and we had coffee with coconut and cherry buns. They were very good.

It does highlight a grey area – we are at work and we are able to sit down, chat, and have coffee and buns, but if we were a café instead of a coin shop we wouldn’t be able to do that because the coffee and buns would have to be takeaway or click and collect. I know the scale of the risk would be different but the underlying principle is there.

Same goes for talking to the neighbours. I’m hazy on detail, but I’m fairly sure I couldn’t go round for a chat, but as we needed to discuss building work it is allowable. Unfortunately, I found myself doing an impression of an old man droning on about how the street was 30 years ago. They are a nice, young couple, as I may have mentioned before, and have offered to paint the side of my wooden garage before they put their new one up.  It’s very kind of them, but does make me feel a bit old and decrepit. However, I did accept the offer – I may be old and decrepit but I’m not stupid enough to turn down an offer of help.

Julia made tea (egg fried rice and served it with some spring rolls left over from New Year. It was tasty and healthy and much better for us than the chips we would normally have had. We aren’t giving up chips, it’s just that the chip shop is broken. The fryer has broken down and they are temporarily closed. This must be a bit of a blow on top of the lockdown. I am glad, as I have said before, that I am now employed instead of self-employed.

Talking of which, we now have  a stock of CN 23 Customs Declaration forms.  Since Brexit the Post Office has tightened up on the use of customs declaration forms and we can no longer send items over £270 using a CN 22. Of course, we didn’t even have to use CN 22  forms for Europe until Brexit. At the moment I’m spending an average of 10 minutes a day messing with customs forms for Europe, which comes to an hour a week if we were working full time. Call it £500 a year.  The CN 23s require more time to complete.

I wonder how many other small businesses are finding this.

My anti-Brexit feelings are, at the moment, somewhat confused. I still think we would be better in than out, but I look at the mess that Europe has made of the Covid vaccinations. Maybe we are better out of it.

After work and fried rice it was quite some time until I could be bothered to switch the computer on – which is how I successfully avoided wasting time on-line. I just watched TV instead.

 

 

Drifting Thoughts

Work went well yesterday and by 2.00 I had the parcels packed and in the post. I walked back into the shop thinking that my next move should be to ring Julia and tell her that I would be able to pick her up. This is always a problem on Friday as she finishes a bit earlier than normal and it can be a bit difficult.

As I got back to the computer I realised that we had a new order. It was for one gum card (Alma Cogan from the A&BC Who-Z-At Star Series, 1961). That’s easy enough – compliments slip, into a holdr (we have some left over from a stamp collection we bought) , into a board backed envelope, first class stamp and address.

While I was doing that another order came in – banknote. Same again. Easy to find and simple to pack.

Then another came in. He wanted fifty different items. I haven’t a clue where half of them are…

So Julia didn’t get a lift home last night and I worked late. However, as I’m currently being paid for my full  week for working one day, I can’t really complain if I have to work a bit longer.

It’s amazing how quickly I adjust. When I started full time work at the age of 16 we used to do five nine hour days, then I moved to doing six eight hour days. We had two weeks holiday in those days. Am I sounding old and crusty?

Now I do  six hour days and have four weeks holiday. I work Saturdays but have Sundays and Wednesdays off (the latter being my choice so I get a day off when Julia does). It’s not hard. In fact I’d like to do longer days, as it hardly seems worth it to go in for six hours.  The strange thing is that I still feel tired by the end of the week. It’s not just an age thing, because I know someone a lot younger than me who has similar hours and he complains about how onerous his working life is.

I think we’ve just got softer as a nation. At the risk of sounding like one of the Four Yorkshiremen, there are people who are just ten years younger than me who think they are badly done to as they work 35 hours and week and have  a month off, plus Bank Holidays. For the sake of my American readers, who are probably reading this with an expression of disbelief, here is how the rest of the world does it. Even Kazakhstan and South Sudan have better holiday provision than you do.

Work, gum cards, holidays, snowflakes – amazing where a blog can take you.

A Little Knowledge is a Puzzling Thing

First day back at work after Christmas today. Whatever kills me, it’s unlikely to be overwork or stress. I now have a week off, thanks to Covid. A whole week, and nothing immediately comes to mind – I have three haibun to refine for a competition by the end of the month and that’s it. The rest of the year looks comparatively easy.

I’m setting myself some targets to make sure I don’t drift off into idleness but that won’t take me all week.

One project is printing copies of my published submissions as I like to put them in a folder so I can leaf through them on the days when my confidence needs a boost. I have got a bit behind with this and need to catch up. The main problem is that the existing folder is lost. It will be somewhere lurking in plain sight, but I just can’t find it at the moment. For the moment I’m going to start a new folder and transfer them when I find the original.

Another is trying to memorise the capitals of American states, because they often come up on quiz shows. So far it’s not going well. Apart from the difficulties of an aging brain, how did Americans come to select so many unknown towns as capitals? Some of them are world famous and others are completely unknown. You’ think that being selected as the state capital would guarantee a place would become well known.

I then looked up the county towns of England, and found I don’t know as much about my own country as I thought I did, including the development of county names. THe county towns of Somerset and Wiltshire, for instance, were Somerton and Wilton. I’ve never heard of Somerton, and only know of Wilton because of the carpets.

As  a result of all this new knowledge I now find myself  thinking “Nebraska” every time I see the word “Lincoln”. I’ve lived in Lincolnshire, I can almost see it from here, but it just doesn’t seem to register. Lincoln, Nebraska is named after President Lincoln, not the English city. It used to be called “Lancaster” which is the county town of Lancashire.

I can’t help thinking that I might have been better not starting down this road as the more I learn, the more I realise that I don’t know.

If I carry on like this I might have to read more articles like this.

Not My Best Day

Sorry, I’m struggling with a throbbing ankle tonight after too much walking today. I say walking, I mean a few laps of the shop. It isn’t impressive. When you think that in my teens I used to walk to a market town 13 miles away, eat my sandwiches and then come back the long way, this shows how much I have declined. It also shows I used to live in a flat part of the country.

I often thought about buying a bike and doing the run from land’s End to John O’Groats but it remained a daydream. If only…

Unfortunately I think this is now likely to remain a dream.

Christmas is now officially cancelled, and the nation is having to take holier than thou advice from a man with a father who has been photographed more than once flouting Covid guidelines and supported an adviser who did the same. It doesn’t sit well.

Even Julia, who is generally not one to bear a grudge, said the same. When you manage to upset her, you really are pushing your luck. I know this from experience.

I’ve been looking at government stats on vaccinations – at the rate we are going I’m more likely to die of old age than I am to be vaccinated. I think the government has worked out that if they allow those of us in the 45-65 age groups to suffer high Covid mortality it’s better for the pension scheme than keeping us going for another 20-30 years.

If I ever get round to planning a prize-winning blockbuster (because nobody ever plans to write a mediocre potboiler) I may use this as the main premise – a group of accountants releases a deadly virus to make up for deficiencies in the welfare state. I just need to find a reason why there is a hole in the finances – as they are accountants wine, women and song aren’t going to play a big part in their lives and it’s unlikely they put a billion on red in Monte Carlo.

Ah well, I’ll just have to see what my imagination comes up with over night…

At least Strictly Come Dancing ended well.

 

 

 

Monday and Moving Up a Level

I spent the night alternately laying awake or making trips to the bathroom. As I finally drifted off into an exhausted sleep an old alarm clock of Julia’s, which wasn’t actually set and hadn’t been used for years, decided to start working and sounded an alarm at about 5am, then again half an hour later. It will, as a result, never sound another alarm.

Then, at 6.30, having woken up yet again for a bathroom break, I gave up, got dressed, had a glass of water (which apparently makes the blood flow better) and set off for my blood test. The car parking is still free, due to Covid, though I’m not sure how that makes a difference, and the service still suffers from random halts, where they don’t seem to do anything. I was still finished just before 8.00, despite the delays and the need to puncture both arms in search of blood.

I went home, picked Julia up and took her to work. It worked out nicely and we were ten minutes early. That meant I arrived at work in plenty of time, which gave me time to have coffee and read haiku on the computer before starting to pack the eBay sales.

This relaxing interlude made up for the hassle of getting into the shop, as my front door key decided to play up. Once or twice a year it does that. I suspect it is a lock problem rather than a key problem but there isn’t much I can do about it.

The day passed smoothly, I went home, washed up, set a vegetable stew going on the hob and prepared afternoon tea for Julia on her return from work. It was one of my better days as a husband.

The afternoon tea will be the basis for a new scone chronicle soon, but I’m out of practice and it might be a day or two yet. My sister sent us an afternoon tea gift box, which formed the basis of four days of afternoon tea.

Tonight we were told we will be moving up to a Level 3 lockdown, but as I don’t socialise, go to the pub or eat out it is not going to affect me a great deal.

That could be the title of my lockdown memoirs “The Man Who Stayed at Home”.

I’d like to be able to travel a bit more, particularly as it’s seal time soon, and I’d like more reliable access to toilets when we are out, but I’d also like a better computer, world peace and a substantial lottery win. Sometimes you just need to get on with your life and be grateful for what you have.

VW Daisy Wheel

Watching TV

I’m watching TV and typing again, as I did last night. It means I can talk to Julia, watch TV, blog and save money on heating. And they say men can’t multi-task…

We were busy in the shop today with a combination of eBay and retail customers. We also loaded quite a lot of medallions onto eBay. However, though busy, it wasn’t the sort of day that provided much in the way of interest or insight.

Watching TV all evening has had a similar result, passing before my eyes and leaving no mark. I’ve laughed a few times, but learnt nothing and not been provoked into any thought other than “TV is really rubbish tonight.” I would like to report something more profound, but that’s as good as it gets.

Julia outdid herself tonight, producing a roast dinner as I slept in front of the fire with a quiz on TV. This is not really how I imagine the home life of a poet. I can’t imagine Byron or Wordsworth, or even Larkin or Carol Ann Duffy, snoozing in front of the TV. Well, maybe Larkin…

I might have to change my artistic ambitions away from poetry and move towards art. That way I can tell people that I’m installation art, and the snoring is meant ironically. The gravy on my shirt will also be incorporated into the work, as will a regular supply of tea, which will then become tax-deductible. If I’m going to be able to claim for tea I can probably pay a butler to serve it. It seems to have worked for Jack Vettriano.

 

Zimbabwe Hyper-inflation Money

A Day of Many Zeroes

It was an interesting day at work. We had someone in to buy gold, someone in to sell rubbish and someone who came in to waste our time chatting. He was my favourite visitor.

I put some Buffs medals on the internet, starting price 99 pence. They are quite common and the Buffs are not as keenly collected as the Freemasons.

RAOB Medals

RAOB Medals

I’ve photographed more banknotes, as you can see from the examples of Zimbabwean banknotes at the top of the page. They are examples of hyper-inflation money, though the one below is the most mind-boggling of the lot. Hyper-inflation is what you get when you have a megalomaniac clown as head of state. This post won’t sound quite so funny if you are reading it in a few years with Boris still in Number 10 and you have a £50 million note in your wallet.

They say that in Hungary during their hyper-inflation people were advised to pay as they ordered in restaurants and cafés because if they waited until the end of the meal it would have gone up.

Zimbabwe Hyper-inflation Money

Zimbabwe Hyper-inflation Money

One of my friends once sold a Zimbabwean note to an Eastern European with a tenuous grasp of capitalism – he came back twenty minutes later, having tried to exchange it in the nearest bank. Yes, he really thought he could get trillions of dollars by spending a few pounds on a banknote. God loves a tryer, as we often say in the trade.

Apart from that, nothing bad happened, and that counts as a good day the way things are going at the moment.