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.
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 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
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.
I just tried to tax my car for the coming year. I entered the 16 digit code the Government has thoughtfully provided, ticked a variety of boxes and prepared to pay…
And then the page refused to load.
I just tried it a third time and it worked. I am now feeling virtuous after doing something in plenty of time. Normally I put the letter to one side and worry about it when I can’t find it just after the deadline.
That’s what I seem to have done with the letter from the hospital. I have an appointment at the Treatment Centre either this Wednesday or next Wednesday, but I can’t remember which and I am going to have panic-fuelled search for the letter tomorrow.
My new resolutions are erratic at best.
As a sidelight on lockdown, I had a strange social situation today. A customer came into the shop wearing a mask. He asked if we had some things, which we didn’t, and I pushed my chair back to talk to him from the back office, as he was asking about medals and militaria, which is my area.
“Hello Simon,” he said.”I didn’t realise you worked here.”
I hadn’t a clue who he was, though he obviously knew me. From the warmth of the greeting I guessed we weren’t just passing acquaintances either. It’s very difficult when you have to identify a bald middle-aged man in a mask. There isn’t a lot to go on. I’d last seen him two years ago in another shop, and before that it had been fifteen years since I saw him and his infant son eating Sunday lunch in the café at Sainsburys. Neither of us, it has to be said, is very good at keeping in touch.
Fortunately his twinkling eyes gave the game away, but for a moment it was a touch tricky. If he had not had distinctive eyes I would have had to ask who he was.
This happens more and more – older versions of people I used to know keep cropping up.
I dropped Julia off at work. Town was almost empty and it didn’t take long. I returned via the ring road because there are no roadworks on the inbound side, and that was almost empty too.
I soon had the four parcels done and set about entering more Edward VIII medallions into the system. I have put one lot on and have two other selections ready to go tomorrow. In between times I packed another couple of parcels as orders came in, attended to some customers and ate my sandwiches and a Scotch egg. It was that sort of day.
We bought silver from one customer – some pre-1920 (when it was still .925 sterling silver) and some pre-1947 (when it was .500 silver). In both cases, as the observant readers will have spotted, the debasement of our coinage was preceded by, and caused by, the need to pay for a World War.
We bought two lots of modern junk from people. One of the owners had put the coins in pouches, then sellotaped them into plastic bags with cards to identify them. It took me ten minutes to get the sellotape off the bags before we could check the coins and value them. Several of the coins were worth a£1 and we will struggle to make enough profit to pay for my time getting them out of the bags,
The only customer who bought anything was a collector of gold coins, so that was a handy sale.
One Third Guinea George III
One Third Guinea George III
The coin is a one third Guinea, or seven shilling coin. Minted in the reign of George III in 1809 this is the second design. It is slightly smaller than a cent in size.
Apart from that we had one browser who spent nothing and a woman who wanted to sell two Krugerrands but didn’t like our offer. She can, it seems, get more if she sells them in Birmingham. We often hear this. It’s true, if you want to drive down to Birmingham, park up and sell your gold in Birmingham you can get a better price. Whether it justifies the expenditure in car running costs, time and parking fees is another matter.
We agreed that she could get a better price by driving down to Birmingham and wished her well.
The road works outside the shop continue. From what we have been told they should be gone in another week, but I’m not sure. They don’t seem to be moving very fast. At the moment we can’t even turn onto the forecourt without taking a detour. This is a little annoying, but I’m not going to bother worrying about it. There are worse things happening in the world.
We had chips from the chip shop tonight as we are still supporting local business, and because it’s nice to have a night where we don’t cook. The fish were big enough to hang over the edges of the plate. I had peas but just a few chips off Julia. I’m fed up with (a) eating too many chips and (b) re-heating chips next day. They give you too many chips to make it look better value. I know this because my dad always used to say the same thing. Before you say it – yes, I’ve been turning into my dad for the last 30 years.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.