Tag Archives: work

Back to Work – Day 3 – The Owner Returns & I Make Plans

We had a quiet morning. I had all the parcels done before my workmate arrived, the customers filtered in, we bought, we sold and we relaxed. The owner returned home in the early afternoon and came to work immediately as he arranged to meet a client. Personally, I would have left it until Monday, but that’s life at the cutting edge of retail.

My new glasses are performing well, though a couple of bits of plastic in frame shouldn’t be too difficult to manufacture and there’s a limit to the number of things that can be wrong. The main problem I find is that the frames aren’t wide enough, which eventually makes them crack. these have sprung hinges, so that won’t happen. Actually, they aren’t glasses, are they? They have no glass in them.

I now have a timeline for retirement. It needs a few more details but we seem to have covered all the main points. The difficult part is knowing the best time for us to retire as Julia is younger than me. We want to be in the bungalow for Christmas next year but that’s nearly a year before she retires. I don’t think it’s worth worrying about, but she seems to be vacillating about whether retire to early or not. I get so annoyed by the way she’s treated at work I’ve suggested that she retires now, as we won’t be much worse off and can work round it. We do, after all, have a low cost lifestyle.

Books . . .

I am going to start adding more tasks to the timeline, plus mileposts, Key Performance Indicators, landmarks and a roadmap. I may have made some of them up, but you get the idea. I will be writing about targets soon, so had better brush up on my jargon so I can sound knowledgeable.

Books are going first. Some will be offered to specialist dealers or go into auction, many will go to charity shops and quite a few are destined for recycling. Some books, it pains me to admit, are just not worth anything. Some of them haven’t been opened for thirty years, so I’m not going to spend good money on transport just so I can clutter up another house. Those days have gone.

I will be putting parts of my collection on eBay, starting in the autumn, and other bits and pieces are destined for auction or a skip. I still have a lot of stuff inherited from my grandfather – including a magnifier for a 1950s TV (they only had 7″ screens in those days), a valve tester and a variety of hand tools that I will never use.

There are also 12 plastic boxes of military surplus clothing from my market days in the garage. They have been unreachable for ten years and if they aren’t mouse bedding by now they will be going to the charity.

The more I think of it, the more stuff I remember that I need to get rid of. I was happier when I wasn’t planning . . .

Books by Paul Hollywood



Back to Work and a New Book

After the unexpected Saturday, the Bank Holiday Monday and the Crafty Tuesday (which linked the Monday to my normal Wednesday off, I have just managed a short holiday. It was OK, but I didn’t actually do anything apart from fill the car (which ws cheaper than last time – a welcome development) and have a blood test.  That, as I have said before, is part of the lasting damage done by Covid and Lockdown – I still haven’t got back in the swing of going out, though the recent cost of fuel also contributed to this.

Julia has suggested that I need to get out more as she thinks I need exercise and sunlight. Since yesterday, she also thinks I need to get out and see things to recharge my desire to write.She is probably right. She normally is.

Work was much the same as usual – people wanting to sell us junk, a nuisance caller wanting to offer us a good price on block-paving our driveway (which, being a shop, we don’t have) and a handful of parcels to send in the post. It wasn’t interesting or profitable, but it wan’t stressful or hard either, so I have no complaints.

A book arrived in the post – it’s about the parish of Slaidburn and the Great War.  My Uncle tom provided them with some photos and details and I was pleased to learn something new as they have a picture of my grandfather’s Agricultural Exemption Certificate – after volunteering in 1914 when he was under age he was held on the farm for a few years before being released in November 1916.

I’ve ben through it looking at the bits that relate to the Wilsons – tomorrow I will read it properly.

The header picture is the Slaidburn War memorial as it was when we last visited. I’m sure the scaffolding will be gone by now. The lower picture is the war memorial in Clitheroe, a few miles away. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that they are identical statues. The bases differ, but Clitheroe had a lot more men to commemorate. It’s strange to know I have relatives remembered on both memorials.

War Memorial – Cliheroe Castle

Cheese, Chutney and Cholesterol

I’ve reached the balance phase of my extended Christmas holiday. After five days doing very little, whilst wearing layers of flannelette I am now bored. Tomorrow I will dress and go out. It’s now feeling like I need to do something in preparation for going back to work. By “something” I mean something other than watching TV, napping or checking eBay.

It’s time to start work on the book of poetry, catalogue my collection and declutter the house. To be fair, I often say it’s that time, so don’t expect too much in the way of actual action. The only difference this year is that we are within two years of retirement and moving.

I have about 18 months to go and Julia has two years longer than that – she’s younger than me, and because of that we fell on different sides of the divide as the government raised the retirement age. I can draw my pension at 66, she has to wait until she’s 67. As the retirement age for women was 60 when we married (compared to 65 for men) she already nurses a grudge against the government, even without the additional year. That is why I will now remain tactfully silent over the matter and not remind people seeking equality to be careful what they wish for.

We just had cheese and biscuits so I can now report that the Onion and Date Chutney I mentioned in the last post was as good as the Sweet Root chutney, and both go well with Lancashire cheese. They also go well with garlic and herb soft cheese, though I don’t want you to think I’m showing off about my cheese supply with all this name dropping.

We actually don’t have much variety compared to previous years, as I always used to buy Camembert or Brie and at least one variety we’d never had before, plus Stilton, something else blue, cheddar, Wensleydale with fruit, and some of those Xmas novelty truckles. This year we have Stilton, Red Leicester, Lancashire, a truckle of Chilli Cheddar and the soft garlic and herb cheese. We still have enough cheese to block a major artery, but we have less variety, which makes it easier to use in an orderly fashion. I try my best, but we have found a few furry surprises at the back of the fridge in our time. One year I actually developed a semi-soft blue Cheddar, which was very good, though possibly poisonous. I’m still here so it was probably OK, but according to the internet you need to be careful with mould. On the other hand, I can’t help noting that Alexander Fleming got a knighthood and a Nobel Prize from messing about with mould.

Day 202

I am writing quickly before going to work on Day 203. After days of heat, sleepless nights, chest infection and various niggling worries, I finally had some quality sleep. More like unconsciousness really, as I spent three hours in a chair dead to the world, even though Julia tried to wake me several times. On finally returning to life it seemed silly to wake myself up by writing so I went straight to bed.

That’s one of the keys to my current sleep pattern, and various other problems. I nap during the evening, wake around ten or eleven, use the computer, wake myself up and end up working until the early hours of the morning. This is bad for brains, blood pressure and weight. It’s not even particularly good for writing as I’m not sure I produce my best stuff at 2am. Mainly I hop from site to site, adding to my store of general knowledge and forgetting what I really mean to do.

This lack of focus is probably the thing I most need to get under control.

Work was warm and stuffy. Phone calls have picked up again – several times I had only just finished one when another came in. A day like that can really slow you down, because it takes longer than you think to adjust your thinking. I was listing a collection of enamel badges – advertising, civil defence, and Yogi Bear all came into the picture, but no sooner did I get into the zone for 1960s kid’s badges when the phone rings with someone wanting a valuation, or wanting to know if we open on Sundays.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to give a polite answer.

Teasel – temporary photo

Photos are just to add some colour, I will add new photos when I get home tonight.

Day 198

It was quiet this morning as I dropped Julia off. The final roundabout of the journey is usually quite busy and can have a queue stretching back up to 400 yards. On average it is probably about 200 yards. With cars taking up about 6 yards that’s 30 cars. I really must try to count them one morning. Today, however, there were four. It wasn’t really a queue at all.

We were short handed in the shop because one of us had been visiting his mother and the trains weren’t running back to Nottingham. My observation that when I have car trouble I get a taxi, didn’t go down well. Anyway, at 1am we went home. We had packed 14 parcels, had no customers and had not even had a phone call. it’s like the whole world has gone into hibernation.

Tonight, as I struggled with telephone banking again, I had a text telling me not to go in tomorrow unless we find ourselves flooded with orders. due to eBay’s new policy of wanting to use One Time Passcodes I now find I can’t log in to the work system. That’s the beauty of modern technology – always altering to make life more difficult.

When I rang the bank tonight I couldn’t complete the security protocol because I couldn’t remember my “significant date”. I haven’t a clue what I chose 25 years ago. I t wouldn’t be my birthday because that would be too simple. It wouldn’t be my wedding anniversary because I have never been able to remember it.

There are other questions that they could have asked, but I had to be transferred to someone else to “be taken through security another way”. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

It consisted of asking me how much money I had in my account, what I bought when I last used my debit card (it was eight days ago – I couldn’t remember) and various other tricky questions . . .

I have to go now. As I type, I’m listening to two poets talking about poetry and I am losing the will to live.

Day 183

Last night, whilst browsing the internet, I found an interesting documentary on Wilko Johnson. His music may not appeal to you, but I think his story and personality may do, despite any musical differences. It’s called Oil City Confidential but I can’t find the link at the moment. It features music, poetry and the story of a man who was told he had just ten months to live because of inoperable cancer. As it turned out, he had a rare operable cancer and survived. I offer this as proof that there is interesting stuff on the internet if you can get through all the kitten videos.

Work was a little busier than average, with people coming to buy a variety of things. It always feels more like a shop when people come to buy stuff. When it’s just eBay we might as well be in a warehouse. Though if we were in a warehouse I wouldn’t have things falling on my head when we open the cupboard doors.

As a note for that mythical PhD student who will, one day, use my blog as a guide to life in 2022 – these are the edited highlights. The reality involves much more snoozing in front of TV and staring into space than the posts suggest. Of course, by then the life of a student will probably be so sanitised that drinking caffeine and driving a car will be seen as dreadful acts of self-destruction. Or, as they type in an underground bunker, my use of fossil fuels will be seen as part of the global warming process that produced the desert on “The Surface”, as they will call it . . .

Day 158

Only a few parcels today, but the calls and a steady stream of customers kept us busy. The owner rang this morning – he got his holiday plans confused and tells me he won’t be returning until Thursday. This is a nuisance because it means I am needed in the shop on Thursday, the day I had planned for a trip out with Number Two Son.  He has to cram a lot in to his UK trip – sightseeing, friends and parents – and things are tight regarding time. We will open the shop as usual on Thursday and close early so that we can get the bulk of a day’s work done and still have time for a trip around the Peak District.

Fortunately the weather forecast for Thursday is warm, sunny and generally dry. It is quite wet at the moment and has been colder than usual. In fact we both thought about putting the fire on last night, as it was a touch autumnal.

Rang for an appointment for a blood test today – I have made a mess of the organisation, due to the Bank Holiday, but got a time for my INR (Warfarin test). It seems I can’t book the other test at the same time. I have done before, and when I asked if the system had changed, was ignored by the receptionist, who seemed to be doing something else at the same time. She says I will have to ask the nurse if she can fit it in as a favour. It only involves an extra tube of blood once the have the needle in , and presumably an extra form to fill in, but they have refused before when I have asked.

At other times they have taken samples I didn’t realise were due, so they can fit them in when they want to. It’s another sign that the NHS is returning to normal after the trials of Covid. I can’t see that it’s efficient for them to drag people down for two separate appointments, and it definitely isn’t efficient, or convenient for me to go down twice when once would do.

However, I won’t go on.

Reading that back, I have become aware that the blog as a diary of my trials and tribulations, revolves round a small number of grievances with the world. I might try to convert to being one of those thought-provoking bloggers that always has a subject to discuss, preferably one that doesn’t involve doctors.



Day 8

Up late, quick breakfast and off to work. Still first to arrive. Got a parking space, though customers from the hairdressers had used the spaces in front of the shop and parked two cars in three spaces. As usual, fought off the urge to park in front of the hairdresser and see how they like it.

We packed the parcels, I put two medallions on (one an Alcan medallion which features the Kitimat smelting plant and the Kemano power plant. It’s all very interesting, and proves, once more, the benefits of collecting for expanding the mind.

During the morning Julia texted to tell me I had a small package. At first I thought she was just being generally disparaging about my physical attributes, but further reading revealed that the Post Office had delivered a small package for me at the house. It just goes to show how modern written communications can be misunderstood.

Today was my day to have a half day, so I went home at 1am. For lunch we had the last of the Spiced Sweet Potato soup followed by the leftover vegetable stew and red cabbage from the last two days. For tea we had potato and paneer curry. I am now made up of such a high percentage of vegetables that a vegetarian cannibal could eat me without troubling his conscience.

This state of affairs won’t last – I’m planning on eggs and bacon for breakfast

and a roasted gammon joint for tea. We put two gammon joints in the freezer in case the reported possibility of Christmas food shortages became real, but they didn’t. Experience shows that if we leave them in there we will forget about them, so we are going to start eating them as part of a determined freezer clearance exercise.



Random Jottings

I’m not quite ready to report on Sunday in its entirety, though I will get round to it in a day or two.

The driving went OK, helped considerably by a knee brace. I suffered a little last night, but the knee recovered as I slept and wasn’t too bad today.

Had my dressing changed this morning and progress is looking good – new skin forming and I’m hopeful that another week should see things just about healed.

Then I had a pneumonia vaccination, which was a surprise, as I didn’t think I could have one until I was 65. It’s always nice to get something for nothing.

Went to work and did another half day without a problem. Planning to do full days on Thursday and Saturday.The return to work is going quite well.

Adjusted my seating arrangements at home. I’m no longer putting my leg up, but this puts less strain on my knee, so it’s a good trade off. I have a telephone consultation booked with a physiotherapist on Friday to discuss this further.

The return to writing is not progressing quite as well as I had hoped, but it is progressing, even if it is very slow.

Asked my uncle about the day the school was bombed when I saw him on Sunday. It had occurred to me that although I knew my Mum had been there, my uncle and one of my aunts must also have been there. He was there, so I have another note to add to the family history.

Number One son reports that he is a little stiff from doing the Great North Run yesterday and that his time was in the top 5.000. As I’m a little stiff from just sitting in the car, I wouldn’t mind swapping with him. I’d be happy to be in the first 50,000.

Tried a few photos when I got home, but mostly blurred by a mix of wind and poor photography.




By these baubles…

Yesterday, after posting, I had another note from WP, congratulating me on four successive days posting.. It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve had a run of failing to post on time, prior to that I had some quite lengthy runs. I’m wondering what happens when we put the clocks back. It’s either then or when we put them forwards (I can never work it out) that my posting record becomes patchy. It’s nothing to do with me, but all the posts within an hour of midnight seem to stop registering on the right day. The first time I noticed it I’d strung months of continuous posting together and it suddenly disappeared.

Will WP send me a note telling me that they have recalculated? That would be a laugh. For people like Derrick and Tootlepedal, who both seem to possess metronome DNA, I’m sure they have hundreds of consecutive days. My efforts hardly count next to their long, photo-filled and extremely regular posts. They should be getting gold medals, not just notes with a blue drawing.

I’m now conflicted, do I now miss a day to show my disdain for the system or do I carry on regularly so that WP can pat me on the head for being a good boy?

I will ponder this question as I publish this post, get a new email and sit in the latest set of Saturday roadworks. They are working on the ring road and there seems to be a new delay every Saturday, It’s the only day of the week I go directly to work instead of dropping Julia off first, and it’s a little annoying to sit in a queue on what should be a quiet and easy journey.

Ah well, compared to the abyss of unemployment it’s better to be delayed than out of work.

The title comes from Napoleon Bonaparte – “You call these baubles, well, it is with baubles that men are led…”

WP obviously feels the same. When he said baubles he meant the Legion d’Honneur, rather than Christmas decorations. That’s the medal on the red ribbon at the far right of the header picture.