Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I bit the bullet (bad analogy as I have a sore tooth) and returned to the local fat fighters club. Having avoided it for four weeks I am pleased to see I put on only five pounds. I am returning to a more disciplined regime and I will be making a few subtle changes to my lifestyle to stop the bad habits (Late night reading for one). It is odd at times being the only bloke present and it is interesting hearing some of the conversations as sometimes the women forget I am there. It's a comfortable, relaxed and supportive atmosphere free from the usual testosterone driven bollocks.

I am stuck in limbo as I await a start date for the job although I know the hold up will be due to my ex-boss having to provide a reference. He's a lovely bloke but one of his faults is an inability to respond to mail, electronic or otherwise. A return to work is one of the reasons for my desire to lose weight so that I am fighting fit and full of energy for the fray. From what I hear, the cutbacks are biting in mental health services with fewer staff and an increased workload. I am still struggling to comprehend 'Payment by Results' (PBR) when applied to individuals with severe and chronic mental illnesses. Heart failure... here's a pathway to the solution for that; paranoid schizophrenia... here is a maze of myriad possibilities depending upon A,B,C etc...
A = Lock up and heavy duty medication; B = 2-3 years + of intensive support from specialist team using psychological, social and medical interventions; C = Benign neglect; D = Who knows and latest wheeze.  Guess which of those options is cheapest and will be the default position? Before anyone points it out, yes I know we need to have costs, value for money, audits, etc... But from experience I take the view that B, although expensive in the immediate and short term, is the most cost effective solution when viewed over the long term as an individual is enabled to return to an active life. Repeated hospital admissions, loss of employment, housing, homelessness, police, etc... is certainly not the cheapest option when seen in purely financial terms.  Sadly, apart from lip service to other values politicians tend to focus upon five year cycles and the economics of everything which they invariably screw up. Damn... I am on my soapbox again. So I intend to get myself back in shape and ready for action.
The late night reading... it leads to me sleeping in the following day and a tardy start to each day with most of the time wasted. I am also prone to wandering into the kitchen in search of snacks hence I now have a supply of pickled onions and gherkins in to address that snacking issue. It also annoys Mrs C who gets up at 04.30 each morning to ready herself for work and I am a noisy somewhat clumsy oaf when going to bed at 2 a.m. Mind you, I also star gaze as well watching the ISS, various satellites and the stars themselves. A wonderful antidote to ones own worries and the nonsense that often occurs here on earth but not conducive to early nights. This site is particularly good for information regarding star gazing from the UK and it's worth browsing it. I feel the pull of a strong cuppa...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

This appears to have morphed into a weekly blog but I am happy to run it as such for now...

I have scaled back on the plants although tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts have gone in plus a variety of smaller flowers.

The Camellia returns every year growing through the middle of the Willow tree and every year I think I should remove it. Every year I decide not to do so because I like it although the petals look a bit burned around the edges.

As I potter around at my various tasks the urinating defecating cat food stealing canine unit follows me with hope in her heart and the precious in her mouth. The pink spiky ball is her favourite precious and is dropped behind my feet at every opportunity. A loud squeak followed immediately by loud cursing is inevitably the result of this behaviour. She is on enforced rest following a recent ball chasing episode. She was limping badly on her front leg with no obvious wounds or damage. Sadly it is the ravages of age so it will be gentle strolls for both of us. One of the cats (Molly) is also looking extremely fragile in her final years with weight loss, fur loss and possible dementia adding to her woes. She follows me everywhere and insists upon plonking herself on top of me. I spoil her now with tuna, chicken and ham. I have considered asking the vet to give her a check up but she is nineteen years old now and they can't cure the ravages of old age. She has given me hours of pleasure so in return I ensure her last years are as comfortable as possible.

Here she is contributing to a spring clean with the Thugpuss sleeping near her.
My plans for the bank holiday consisted of DIY but as I am again fighting the doldrums I shall put that off for another day. I finally bought a cordless drill for the planned task and I am hoping for a couple of dry days next week.
This latest mad wheeze from the govt. that knows the value of nothing and the price of corruption has caught my attention. I wonder... is it the govt. or just the civil service satsumas who are enabling financial creation amongst Nigerian princes and Russian IT techs greater access to our personal information. It is rank stupidity of highest calibre. We truly are governed by inept greedy feckless morons. I used to imagine a quiet retirement in my old age... the Ukraine, Syria,  EU bolloxisation, statist stupidity and the general dumbing down of civic society means I have no idea what things will be like ten years from now. I think I'll continue to concentrate on the small things in my control because there does seem to be an inevitability to this runaway train...


Monday, April 14, 2014

After a few weeks without whisky I decided to buy a bottle in and I opted for Asda's Single Islay Malt Whisky. I like Islay whiskies and this was £20.50 per bottle so I thought I would take a chance as the last one I had was very nice. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it is a Laphroaig, albeit possibly younger than the usual ones as it was peaty with that smoky iodine taste and scent but, also a more noticeable sweetness to it than is typical. Absolutely bloody gorgeous! This should last a few weeks as an occasional evening tipple whilst sitting in the garden and watching the sun go down. Just a tiny splash of water and then slowly savour.... You can really taste the sea. Lovely!

Today was one of those oddly unsettled days where I had little energy and even less motivation to do anything. I pottered around the garden and chatted with my neighbour followed by shopping with Mrs C. She needed some new clothes and after much encouragement I eventually persuaded her to buy some new tops. She doesn't like shopping for clothes and I often joke that she is looking for new clothes at 1990 prices! She prefers tee shirts and jeans which happily gels with me because I dislike fashion and fussy clothing. I'd live, work and play in jeans and old shirts given half the chance and ' although I was once the picture of sartorial elegance (In your dreams!), I haven't dressed up for many years now apart from the obligatory weddings, funerals and job interviews. I am with the late lamented Professor Mick Aston with regards to clothing: comfy and necessary to the task in hand. Asda itself was like a kindergarten with screaming, running, singing , shouting and generally excited toddlers driving their parents to the alcohol aisles. I didn't mind for once and I enjoyed the rendition of an unidentifiable song that a little moppet sang at full belt as she careened around the store. I've been there and done that...

"Dad. Dad! Why's that lady like that?"
"Like what son?"
"She's a big lady... she's got a big bum".

Cue one very red faced and angry lady and one very red faced father moving in opposite directions. Phil had very long, curly blonde hair which attracted middle aged Chinese women like misers to gold. One woman told us that ruffling his hair brought them good luck but it drove him mad. He still has very curly blonde hair, showing his Danish / Viking roots. But I digress... after working 80 + hours per week over the last four weeks including a fourteen day stretch without days off he told his boss he was finishing early today. He was able to return home this afternoon and enjoy the daylight, let alone the sunshine. He has come a long way over the last few years and as I have stated before, I am immensely proud of him. It is time for another wee nip and back to my book.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Another day, another doldrum... not at all! Some weak sunshine and an early pootle around the garden, mainly to eradicate any snails or slugs with the temerity to ravish my green preciouses (I know!). I also sprayed the roses with very dilute washing up liquid because the dreaded whitefly has infested them. I tuned into the radio gardening programme and I was alarmed to hear "ground frost". A further check to ensure all the plants are protected against frost and haven't been 'burned' overnight.
 Yesterdays headache finally went by early evening and I slumped in front of the TV whilst Mrs C watched the noisy panem et circenses (designed to keep us plebs quiet). I have to admit that I too watched some of it whilst reading my kindle... I blame post headache malaise. Juvenal was bemoaning the corruption of Roman society and the erosion of ones attention to civic duties. The phrase is very pertinent to current society with thismore of this and the proliferation of reality TV shows, sports programmes and Jeremy Kyle rubbish. There is a general dumbing down with young people modelling themselves upon TV and sports 'slebs' and wanting everything now without the hard work required to achieve success. I know, I know... I am a grumpy old man who is generalising when possibly the majority aren't like that at all. *SIGH!*

Equilibrium is now restored....

Whilst keeping the occasional eye upon the TV shenanigans I read my kindle. Given it is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War I have downloaded several books and I am currently reading Robin Neillands "The Old Contemptibles". However, I was unable to put down the previous book  To the Victor the Spoils by Sean Longden which is well worth reading. There were times I had to stop because of the scenes he describes and leave it for a day before returning to it. As per usual when settled into my comfy armchair with a good book to read, it wasn't long before the three cats settled themselves on or around me. The poor old ladies are now looking tatty but it's to be expected as they are in their eighties or even nineties in human years. They have all the comforts of home and are pampered in their final years although Molly peed all over the old armchair t'other day much to Mrs C's chagrin. Even Thugpuss is settling down despite his penchant for bringing in butterflies (prey!) and assorted stray cats. As ever, all quiet here on the east coast front.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A quiet week dealing with paperwork for the job and lots of walking, although I may have overdone the trek around town yesterday. Hence today is spent sat at the laptop, drinking copious amounts of tea and attempting to get rid of a nasty headache. Apart from a wander around the docks, various back streets and of Freemo, I had a catch up with the £6 million revamp of the Riverhead. It's certainly getting there and despite my initial reservations it does look pretty good. 

            (Picture courtesy of the Grimsby Telegraph Newspaper).

There is so much potential along the riverside and the Alexandra Dock, for new houses, a park and using the dock for watersports / recreation. But the land sits empty and abandoned, the docks generally unused apart from kayaking once a week. The walk itself was delightful with sunshine and I made the best of the good weather although after two hours of walking I had perhaps overdone it. What I do like is seeing the old forgotten streets, houses and other evidence of Grimsby's past. Next time I will bring my camera with me.
More tea is required and I will finally have to resort to some paracetamol to rid myself of the headache.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Anyone know what has happened to Blue Witch?
I sent an email but it was returned and her blog appears to have stopped.

Just a little try out from the iPad: patchy garden and new plants in plus some of the beasts.

I had planted out the last two sprouts as well as cucumber and tomato plants, all under plastic and protected against the cats. They believe fresh loose soil means new toilet facilities. Despite being clouded over after a brief shower of rain today has been a lovely, fresh spring day and warm enough for t shirt and shorts. Fingers crossed that there won't be any further frosts and these plants will thrive.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Looking through the back catalogue of this blog and I realised it is nearly its eighth birthday. Cue cake, candles and confetti...

I am surprised that it has been going so long especially since I considered on several occasions that I should call it a day. But it also acts as a useful aide memoire for me despite self censorship and a desire to maintain a low profile because of my job. I also considered stopping because at times I had little of interest to say.

I can't have The Count without adding Fozzie bear, two of my favourite characters from Sesame Street.

But I will be starting a new chapter by returning to work (Today I filled in forms! forms! More forms!) in the near future and I have given some thought as to what I need to do in the immediate future and thence longer term. Realistically, given good health, I possibly have another 20 - 25 years left on this mortal coil and I would like to use and enjoy those years left to me. But for now, a weekend of some gardening and some house chores will keep me occupied. The plumbers visit yesterday reminded me that there are always jobs to keep on top of in an old house. A beer tonight and here's to the next eight years of blogging!


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Sadly they called a plumber who has been, sorted it and gone again. No.1 son pointed out the lack of hot water from the shower this morning hence the need for the man from Dynarod. It didn't help that I had over imbibed of the Scottish national drink ( not Irn Bru! ) last night and I was in a rather delicate state today. I also received the paperwork and written offer of the job which I will tackle tomorrow when the written word will make more sense to me.As regards 'Sand watch'... Nope, still no sign of the town being engulfed by Saharan sand or any plagues of locusts. I did see a car with Romanian number plates but there was no sign of 29 million occupants so we can rest easy. Mind you, we are apparently subject to a plague of obese rats. Funnily enough, whilst walking the pooch she did sniff out the corpse of an extremely large rat near the river. Rats have competition here with the seagulls for the discarded takeaways. I'm surprised a govt. minister hasn't suggested the food banks could stock local fresh delicacies such as seagull, rat and pigeon. That would give a new meaning to recycling as well as providing jobs for urban hunters. Sadly, any such satire could end up being taken seriously and we'll have the jobs being advertised at the local job centres. Delia could provide the recipes...
I was going to blog about the latest thieving scumbag but I have lost the will to discuss these crooks, liars and mountebanks. I believe the Romanians provided an answer to dealing with bad politicians so if enough of them come over they could give us a few pointers.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

It's April and yesterday really felt like spring had arrived... today it is bloody cold out as I discovered whilst wearing a very thin waterproof jacket! I spent yesterday in the fair city of Lincoln, remaking the acquaintance of 'Steep Hill' and meeting a friend for coffee and gossip. It was good to catch up but the wander around Lincoln made me realise that over the last few months laziness, beer and poor choices in diet means I am very unfit. Back to the diet and getting some walking in each day to address that. I did have a brief glimpse in the window of the whisky shop but I was put off by the lack of prices. Any shop which does not display its prices for the passing public is generally too expensive for me. Perhaps another time...

.... the weeks leading up to Modraniht may be an appropriate time to buy in a bottle of the 21 year old.

I also chased up the job offer today having had no communication since the verbal offer of the job and I was becoming just a tad concerned that I may have been forgotten about. They had not forgotten me and a letter will be in the post this week. As you can see it is all go here in the fast lane... just how I currently like it. Mrs C has succumbed to some nasty, presenting with swollen glands and a high temperature. Mind you, one of the cats has been sneezing a lot! Time a cuppa and the cats are making a lot of noise which means tea time.