Tag Archives: work

The Natural History of 6am

At this time of year 6am on a Sunday morning is a twilight world filled with strange sights and tinged with sadness. By the time it starts to be twilight you know that summer has passed and another long winter is about to start. Though time is passing more quickly as I get older, winter seems to last longer.

I can’t talk for other days, as I don’t regularly get up for that time on any other day. I would like to, as it seems an industrious thing to do, but I’m just too lazy. My father’s parents used to get up at 4.30 every morning, even when they were in their 80’s, but I haven’t inherited the urge to get up in the dark.

Julia has now been working at the Leisure Centre for around seven years, so I’ve had many chances to observe the Natural History of  that time.

We set off at around 5.40 to get to work for 6am. Other people who go to work at that time are mainly walking, with a few bicycles and cars around. A few people stand at bus stops, but they are early, as the buses don’t start until six. I always think of this when the government says that we should get out of our cars and use public transport. I would use public transport if it ran at the right times. And if I liked sharing a tin box with drunks and people who hold loud telephone conversations.

As people walk to work, wearing stout footwear and sensible clothing they meet a torrent of people wearing fashionable footwear and next to nothing else. I swear that the mascara worn by some of the women weighs more than their clothes. These are the people returning home from a night out.

Talk all you want about poverty and starvation, but there’s something about going to work as the revellers return home that really emphasises the unfairness of life.

For a closer view of the clubbers, you can often find them clustered in McDonalds at this time of the morning loudly discussing the banal details of their night out. At this point it is time to reflect that the more interesting members of the species have, in all probability, paired off and are involved in various mating rituals.

The birds are the other interesting Natural History element of the early morning. Blackbirds tend to be about at all times of the day or night and tend to behave as Blackbirds do at all time of the day. There’s something about a Blackbird’s body clock that seems to go 24 hours a day, whether in sunlight or the illumination of streetlights.

Pigeons stalk the city streets and the suburbs at this time of day, finding plenty of spilled food to eat. Often the spillage will be large enough to attract a sizeable flock. They don’t really pay a lot of attention to cars and natural selection plays its part here – ensuring that the less alert of the pigeons provides a snack for the crows, who always seem to be lurking. There were no Wood Pigeons or Magpies about this morning, but they are often seen too.

That, I feel, is enough. I’m off to the laundry now.

This, in case any children are reading, is what happens when you don’t work hard enough at school. People who worked hard at school tend to have the weekends off.

The Quality of Coins…

We had an unusual start to the day.

On Saturday we have a lie in.  It’s the one day of the week when we aren’t pressed for time so we sleep in until 8.00. It’s only an hour but it breaks up the week, and prepares us for Sunday. I was in that stage of waking where you know the alarm is about to go off, but you don’t actually want to open your eyes and confirm it. It’s a comfortable place to be and I quite enjoy it.

Then Julia’s mobile went off.

It was work.

According to my alarm it was 7.58.

The Council had organised a special event for employees in one of their departments (and family members) after they won a national award. They had realised, somewhere between opening at 6.00 and ringing us, that they would need extra staff, hence the phone call.

Julia has a particular tone of voice she uses when she wants to express disapproval without actually saying she disapproves. I have heard it more than once. The crackling voice on the other end of the phone become gradually more apologetic.

Fortunately the rest of the day was better. We had customers in for most of the day and managed to get a few things on eBay too. It’s strange to think that six hours of work can be condensed into a couple of lines.

I’ll load some pictures now as they are a slightly more interesting way of  showing how industrious I’ve been.

For starters, I’ll start with a marketing master class. If you are thinking of marketing a coin by using a well-known entertainer, make it a rule to check if he’s likely to be at liberty to help with the promotional work. Rolf Harris was not a good choice to promote the Australian silver Kangaroo coin. Eddie refuses to put them on eBay but I have no problem with them. The coin didn’t actually commit any crime and besides that, it gives me a chance to say “Can you see what it is yet?” (American readers may need to refer to the link to see what I’m talking about, just replace the name with Bill Cosby).

The next selection are from the well known nation of Tristan da Cunha. It’s so proud of itself it even uses the abbreviation TDC instead of its name. I doubt if any of the coins ever see the place, though according to this link they do provide a source of revenue for the island. They seem to be jumping on the Great War bandwagon, and though the designs aren’t bad on the reverses, the badly done bust of the Queen is almost criminal.

Contrast that with the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy used on our current coins, and the coins of many other nations, and the TDC one looks even worse. You can see the IRB effigy on this poppy-shaped coin from Jersey. You can also get them with red colouration applied. I will say no more.

It’s not what I thought I’d be dealing with when I went to work in a coin shop.

Weather, Wiki and Wanderings

I’ve just dropped Julia at work, returned home and turned the computer on to check the weather.

The current weather is  cloudy, 1 degree Centigrade (which feels like -3 due to windchill), humidity of 93%, visibility of 12 miles and pressure of 1010 mb.

The first point that occurs to me is that I could tell most of this from sticking my head out of the door. The second is that I don’t know what 1010 mb represents and the third is that I can’t see 12 miles in most directions on account of houses and trees and other environmental clutter. and I don’t understand humidity.

Specifically, I don’t understand why the humidity is currently higher than it is forecast to be for the rest of the day, when it will be raining. To my simple mind 100% humidity is what you find in a swimming pool, so I don’t know how a damp but rain-free morning can be 93% humid when a rainy afternoon is forecast to be 72%.

It’s a mystery, as Toyah Wilcox used to sing.

I looked Toyah Wilcox up on Wikipedia after mentioning her. I then went on to Robert Fripp, Fripp’s uncle Alfie…

After that I ended up with Paul Brickhill, Roger Bushell and, eventually, Tim Birkin. There were a few more links in there, but I’ll leave you to make your own journey.

The Birkin article, though mentioning his younger brother Archie, fails to mention his older brother Thomas. I sometimes despair at the standard of some Wikipedia entries, though not so much that I’ve ever contributed anything to any of the articles. It seems fair to include Thomas as he seems to have been equally as intrepid as the others.

I’ve lost my Birkin notes, taken about 20 years ago, but I know there is a family link to Jane Birkin. They are a Nottingham family, in case you are wondering about my sudden interest in a random subject.

It’s time to leave you now, as I’ve frittered enough time making an accidentally symmetrical journey between two multi-talented women. A few musings on weather forecasts seem to have taken me quite a way. I am now equipped with new knowledge (which is good) but it is time for breakfast (which is better).

Ageing Bit by Bit

I was tempted to title the blog Stiff Little Fingers. This would be accurate as far as my arthritis goes, but might raise false hopes in the hearts of ageing punks. I added the link as it’s one of those words that can cause confusion when written by an Englishman and read by an American.

What happened to suggest the title was that I went to bed last night, slept reasonably well and woke up with a little finger that wouldn’t bend. It’s ached for years, and often seems rather cold compared to the other fingers on that hand, but so does the little finger on my other hand.

I now have a ring finger on the right hand that is arthritic and a little finger on the left hand that looks like it’s starting to go.

It freed up while I was at work (sorting junk postcards this morning) though it returned in the afternoon when I drove to Grantham (I only did a half day in the shop today).

So, it started with one finger (I would link to that post but can’t even hazard a guess where it is), moved on to a knee and is now colonising another finger. At this rate I have about twenty years before all my fingers are useless. (Though if my calculations are accurate I will spend my late 70s only able to type slowly and operate doorbells).

As I’ve said before, I’d have taken more care of my body if I’d realised how long I was going to need it.

Snow!

The Council doesn’t seem to have gritted last night, with the result that the roads are worse than they were during the last snow.  Everyone knew it was coming, apart, it seems, from the man who arranges the gritting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Before…

This was the picture at 5.30 this morning. After a Saturday of snow flurries it finally started to settle overnight and was completely white by morning. We have four inches, which hardly qualifies as snow in some countries, but is big news in the UK, particularly in March. The TV weather report has just claimed six inches for Nottingham, so it may be worse in places.

What I really want is some warm Spring weather and a few flower pictures. There are plenty of flowers coming out, but it always seems to be a grey day when I have a chance for photography.

The outlook isn’t too bad, though I’m not sure how good it will be by the end of the day when I go to pick Julia up. The TV weather reports keep telling us where the snow will appear during the day, but is a bit short on information about when ours will melt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Snow in Sherwood, Notts

I’m beginning to see mental pictures of Vladimir Putin as Ming the Merciless in the film Flash Gordon. As I recall, it starts with an outbreak of bad weather caused by and evil, bald mega-villain.

Image result for ming the merciless

Normally I use my own photos, but I’m short of galactic supervillains so I’ve sourced one on the internet. I’m hoping that by giving a link to the film they will forgive me for lifting the photo.

This is the “After” photo, taken in the light after I got home. Time to blog and eat breakfast now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After…

The featured image is a picture of my lunch – quinoa, chia, pumpkin seeds, beans, chickpeas, sweetcorn, dill and spring onions, plus a mango and chilli dressing. Since I actually read the instructions on the quinoa and found out that you can use it straight from the packet lunches have become very simple – tear open a few packets, open a few cans, chop a smidgen of veg, mix. It’s very easy.

Lunch left me full and feeling virtuous. What it didn’t do was leave me feeling like I’d had a good meal.

I suppose that persistence will eventually pay off.

Before that I’d been to hospital for the regular blood-letting. It had been a bit thick last week and they decided another test was needed. If they had to rush about before work, deal with car parking then queue for a slot before being stabbed in the arm multiple times they might not be so keen on all these tests. As the needle slid in through the bruise left by last week’s test, all these things come to mind.

Then, to add insult to injury, the bleeding wouldn’t stop.

They put the signs up on the new shop today – my first day of proper work in the new shop. It’s looking good, though if you look hard enough you can see that fat bloke with the camera who gets in so many of my shots.

Collectors World, Wollaton Road, Nottingham

Collectors World, Wollaton Road, Nottingham

The final highlight of the day was sorting a thousand crowns for an export order, including brandishing an eraser in the vicinity of a few of them to make minor improvements. It’s a funny old world…

Charles and Diana Crowns – a marital mistake enshrined in numismatic form. It’s like me having a coin struck to commemorate my diet.

No Moon Now

It’s not been the most industrious of days, though I don’t suppose that will surprise my regular readers. I have read a bit, shopped and cooked two casseroles and a pie filling. That still leaves a few hours and I can only suppose that they were spent napping.

Julia’s working day on Sunday is 6.00 to 4.30 and at this time of the year her shift is considerably longer than the length of daylight. I checked the day length before writing that, and found there are three types of twilight. There’s astronomical twilight, nautical twilight and civil twilight, which all follow on from each other and have various uses.  I’ll let lawyers and sailors worry about the various definitions.

There is also, it seems, a popular series of books and films billed as “Twilight”, which makes a Google search a bit annoying if you want proper information on twilight. I imagine that anyone who has a man called Harry Potter in their family tree will suffer similar frustration in their searching.

The header picture shows the street at the time we got home – that glaring globe with starburst effect is a streetlamp, rather than a blazing desert sun, as it first appears.

The lack of smears is due to me spending time cleaning the inside of the car and windscreen. Assuming that cleanliness is still next to Godliness, as I was always taught, then, as well as having a better view of the road I am close to being a saint.

The closing photographs are two where I tried to take a faithful rendition of the sky colour. It was quite a deep orange, but the camera tends to remove much of the colour. I eventually managed to approximate the colour by using the Pop Art filter, which often gives quite a false rendition.