Thursday, August 30, 2018

I ignored the email reminders for the Futurelearn 'Psychology & Mental Health' course I signed up for some weeks back but I completed two weeks worth in a marathon session today. Luckily, most of it already known to me but as familiarity may breed contempt, it is useful to brush up my knowledge and as stated, the certificate will go into my revalidation portfolio. Although I have to pay for the certificate to prove I completed the course, the actual course itself is free. But it is an easy and for the Nursing & Midwifery Council acceptable form of proof.

I have recommended Futurelearn to many people on various social media over the last few years, particularly as a taster of future studying. Someone on tw@tter spoke about empty nest syndrome when her children leave home for university in a three years time and possibly studying history. I suggested this plus a taster course via the Open University and that she does not have to wait for her kids to leave before trying this out. Sadly, costs for studying with the OU have also gone up although it remains cheaper and more accessible for many people. Yet in Europe, as well as the UK excluding England studying for a degree remains much cheaper. I shan't go into that here because I fear I will move into soapbox and ranting territory.

Other good news is that No.1 son was successful at his interview and assessment and he starts his new job next Monday! Mrs C will have the house to herself and she can put her feet up and relax with the two main nuisances out from under her feet.  So all in all a much happier household and from Monday a quieter one.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I have a start date for next Monday and it's two days of induction / I.T. training with the rest of the week at base and familiarisation with the team, area and systems. I have to admit I am excited about this and can't wait. Much as I enjoyed the time off a lot has happened this past year and I feel this will be a fresh start.  I returned to modelling today as I want to get this finished before next week and I guess I will have to leave things be on the model front for a few weeks.

As well as returning to work I have nurse revalidation next March so a Futurelearn course in psychology to add to my portfolio will help as well as gathering the various bits of evidence over the next few months from working should see me complete that. I think I will be busy for a few weeks and it will also be tiring for me returning to work and regular hours. More importantly, we won't have to work to a strict budget as finances were in short supply over the past few months. As well as saving for the mortgage there is a lot of work needed on the house including a new damp course. We can't redecorate until that is done so I plan to save up for that and get some quotes next year for the work to be done. Hugely disruptive but it is needed and once completed we can move on to the work we can do the house.

Otherwise it is pottering about although in the town market (sadly lots of empty stalls) we saw this...

It fills an empty stall and provides an interesting talking point as well people photographing the installation.

I quite liked it although it wasn't Mrs C's cup of tea.

As for Swan watch...a third cygnet has died and it may be down to Avian Botulism resulting from the recent hot weather and poisonous food from the river. Reports in the press mention outbreaks elsewhere. So four surviving cygnets and we will be feeding them more peas which is apparently preferable to bread.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Famous last words as I slept for only a few hours last night but I do feel refreshed having woken up at 7 a.m. I shall try to get into a regular sleep pattern with early nights and waking up early to prepare for my return to work. It is less than a 15 mile commute and against the flow of the rush hour so relatively easy to do and a commute I did for ten years. Some of my views as background to the area of work.

From experience I intend to carry my digital camera in the car for photo opportunities and I am keen to capture images of the changing seasons. One advantage of a lower banded job is that, although I will be kept busy, band 5 staff carry a less complex caseload although I suspect given my history and experience I may get more than the usual. But I don't mind as I am happy to be back in employment and the one lesson I have learned from the past year is humility. So I am grateful for this opportunity and I intend to stay put and ignore the shiny baubles and blandishments of any other jobs. But I may have opportunities to stop, enjoy the countryside and take some photographs.

The area covered is slightly larger compared with my previous employment in the area with the wolds, the coast and a few small towns with lots of villages. Approximately 700 square miles to cover but hopefully the caseload will be concentrated in just a few areas rather than all over. I might buy that small camper van early so as to stop off for a cuppa or somewhere comfy to do my paperwork on the go!

I have enduring memories of a road covered in rabbits one evening as I and a colleague worked late in the crisis team, another of deer watching us from behind a fence and one in particular of a barn owl flying into my car early one morning. Plus a possible glimpse of the elusive large black cat early one morning crossing the A16 as I wended my way home from a crisis assessment. At that early hour being on call and tired after a full day and then called out again I would put it down to my misidentifying a large black dog except for the obvious long cat like tail on a creature slightly larger than a Labrador! It may well have been a larger version of Louis, our extremely pampered beastie who sadly is no longer with us.

So all in all, a lot to look forward to and also working with former colleagues although many of them I knew as students and support workers a decade or so ago.

Now to grind and make my coffee for the second time using a smaller cafetière as this happened this morning.  I will have to find out if I can buy a replacement glass receptacle rather than having to buy the whole thing.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Woohoo! I got the job. 
Feedback from the interview was very good and that I had ticked every box for the job with my extended answer to the first question. I have to admit that I read up, researched and explored all there is to mental health recovery. My last failed interview fired me up and shook me out of the lethargy I had experienced over the last year. I enjoyed the interview and Mrs C said I looked like a man on a mission and that my confidence was back when I left to attend it. I have to admit I feel such an overwhelming sense of relief and I am one very happy puppy. Thank you Blue Witch and Scott for your support and kind words, you were both very helpful during a difficult time for me. I suspect I might finally get a good nights sleep tonight.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Here is the finished trawler, well...I decided to do no more to it despite a couple of more things I hoped to add but less may be more here.

I kept knocking off the flag staff so I have now put it up on display. As you may not be surprised to hear I have already started on the next build, one which I have been anticipating for a while. Below is the work I did yesterday and inevitably it is a tank. Luckily I have a small stash of kits to keep me going and I now take more time so as to enjoy the build and make it last.

The good news is that No.1 son has passed his interview for a delivery driving job. It is temporary but may become permanent after the new year. He has a driving assessment next week and all being well he can then start. He enjoys driving and he wants to become a HGV driver so this will be good practice for him on the smaller trucks. Perhaps I can read a positive omen into this?

I have also become enamoured of two sports on TV and over the past several weeks I have avidly watched them both; darts and baseball! The former I have watched on and off for years but with my current poor sleep I find it very relaxing and the late night baseball also caught my attention. I am gradually coming to grips with the rules although it is still bewildering at times. It certainly helps me drop off in my armchair, usually with Sherlock kipping on my chest. Now. if they showed late night test match cricket I would certainly sleep well. Although I played cricket when I was younger it never really excited me although I enjoyed bowling. Playing for the school in a match where I was a last minute replacement I was amazed to bowl three out for two runs in one over followed by another two wickets later in the match. I put that down to the coaching we had from an excellent teacher at my junior school who was cricket mad. It always makes me smile because a friend dragged me to a local cricket club in my late teens after he'd recounted this story to club members. Cajoled into having a try out and with club members watching I bowled out their best batsman with my first ball and then another one with a further one going for a catch. I found something I was good at but I had and still have no interest in! I preferred rugby and football and with the various aches and pains I have these days from rugby and cycling (crashes) perhaps I should have gone for cricket. Given the problems I have with my neck and shoulders I doubt I could bowl a balloon these days. 
 I must away as darts will soon be on and as I watch little TV I shall be monopolising it for a change this evening. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I didn't get the job and the feedback was interesting. I knew I hadn't performed well and the interviewer, whom I have known for many years stated "You were in the room but you weren't present. It's not like you". I explained recent events and that possibly accounted for my being distracted. Oddly enough, once I'd accepted the result and felt sorry for myself, I gave myself a 'shake' and I felt angry with myself. The interview shook me out of the torpor I've experienced for many months now and I feel more fired up for the next set of interviews. So a good result in an odd sort of way.

The other interesting feedback is that I have been out of MH for the last eight months and I have become rusty. So I have set myself 'homework' with some brief notes on a a number of scenarios from my working life appropriate with each upcoming interview as well as researching recent developments in MH and social care. Suitably shaken, prepared but not stirred! 

Regarding Fuchsias as mentioned in BW's blog...I'm annoyed to discover that my recent weed clearance accidentally removed our only Fuchsia. Mrs C pointed this out when I showed her the pictures and how I'd like to plant some. For the life of me I cannot recall a Fuchsia in the garden...


Sunday, August 12, 2018

As we are experiencing much needed rain albeit with greatly reduced temperatures, I practiced clear coating some of the older models with Pledge polish via the airbrush. It is milky, smells nice and I was initially apprehensive using this. Looking at the test models today and I am very pleased with the result. It leaves a protective gloss coat which for armoured vehicles should preferably be applied once painting and decals are completed. The clear coat then protects that and provides a base for further painting (oils) and weathering. A dull coat would then protect that without the glossiness although the latter is good for the hull of the trawler. I'll continue to tidy up the paintwork especially that white line and add the decals and the last of the rigging lines before calling this complete. No where near competition standard but I am happy with my first boat model and my nod towards local history.

My usual view when I am modelling with the inevitable cup of tea or coffee to hand and the feline overseers are around and about. Sherlock currently smells of floor polish as he leapt on to the desk mid spray! I usually keep the moggies away when I am spraying because I don't want them acquiring any health issues from my hobby. I wear a mask when spraying as well as when cleaning up the airbrush using cleaner and water. I also keep the doors or windows open although it tends to be the glues and enamel thinners that smell the strongest.

      Watson supervising my work in progress.

In other news, No.1 son has a job interview next week and I have two further interviews towards the end of the month. I have my fingers crossed that my recent interview will be successful but I have no idea why it is taking so long. Rather than dwell on it I am focusing on enjoying my hobbies and pottering about because when I do eventually return to work my time may be limited. Talking of time, my mother is on medication for the kidney stone and she feels better as well as pleased with the cooler weather. But a visit needs to be arranged to pop down and see her. A slow fuel conscious journey down and check everything is alright as well as catch up with the rest of the family.


Thursday, August 09, 2018

Tuesday was an interesting day for all the wrong reasons.

I prepared for the interview and left to attend it only to discover my car wouldn't start. Cue expletives and given the time factor I took a taxi to the venue. This was on top of receiving news that my mother had been rushed into A & E so by the time of the interview my usual interview anxiety was going through the roof. I'd like to say it went well but I waffled in response to two questions and the 30 C heat in the room (no air con) didn't help. I have no idea how I did and I still have no idea if I have a job offer but I don't feel confident. I returned home on the bus which was a novelty for me as I haven't used public transport for ages.

My mother is home again and the large stone she has in one of her kidneys is the culprit. It had moved and caused the emergency. She has an appointment today to see a specialist and we'll know more as to what the next step is. Understandably, she wants to consider other options before surgery but she will have that rather than another episode of extreme pain, etc... Following this episode she no longer wants to hear 'The NHS is the best in the world' because her experience of the service certainly wasn't. As she put it "Don't get old and go into hospital". In their defence though she did argue that A & E was full of the worried well with minor injuries wasting everyone's time there but she didn't have a good word to say about the ward nursing staff. Once my car is sorted out and I have some news as to whether I have the job or not I will pop down and see her. I have recommended lemon juice in hot water and cider vinegar and she will discuss this with the specialist.

I converted my anxiety and frustration into a bout of gardening and weed clearing yesterday. With the dry weather the parts of the garden we haven't watered is withered and brown. So the hoe and a weed twisting device was employed and much was removed. We are saving any bulbs we find to go back in  and preparing it for next year. I intend to dig in some compost when wetter weather returns and clear along the whole of that side. I ate my first home grown tomatoes of the season and they were lovely and sweet. The borage thrives and is surrounded by bees and butterflies so I intend to plant some more next year in pots around the garden. The raspberries have come to an end now and my delightful neighbour gave me some tasty home grown purple gages. The gardening helped yesterday and reminded that I can only do so much. Two cans of cider and an early night also helped and a cooler night finally brought some blessed sleep. Now to await that phone call...


Monday, August 06, 2018

More progress on the trawler although I had a closer look at pictures of the various working trawlers and I have spotted several noticeable differences to the kit. I'll continue with the build as an out of the box kit with some added extras. I scratch built two lights from the spares boxes although they look too large compared with the originals. A slow but very relaxed build and a great distraction from the madness of the outside world. I'm having a break until after the interview but also because sleep has been poor in this heat. Wide awake at 3 a.m. isn't conducive to concentration but I am also apprehensive about the interview. I checked NHS jobs this morning and I have another interview for a community nurse job based at a local small town. So I have a fallback if this interview isn't successful. I have lost confidence following my last few interviews but tomorrow I will enter stage left and put on a performance. 

To be honest 2018 has not been a good year what with family issues and I am keen to get back to work, earn money and just sort the house out (mortgage, repairs and upkeep). The last several months has also been a learning curve about what is important in life and what can be jettisoned or ignored. Good lessons for life and that sweating the small stuff and the desire for possessions aren't worth worrying over. Odd considering I build models that then clutter up the place! I have a lot of work related books, crime fiction and history books that I realised is just sitting there and unopened for many years so I may be donating them to local charity shops to create space on the shelves. Time for other people to enjoy or use them and earn some funds for Cats Protection and the Samaritans. I had a wander last week through some of our local charity shops, mainly for any model kits and the shops were bereft of anything useful. If you are into large fictional potboilers or romantic fiction then they are the shops for you. After a wander along the Freeman Street shops I had a look at the latest in the demolition of the six tower blocks and there are now only two remaining.  The tower blocks only lasted 50 years and it speaks volumes about the post modern building programme of the 60's and 70's in the UK. I am still unsure as to what the plans are post demolition although the local council makes noises about 'regeneration' of the area. A Dr Who theme park perhaps? Enough moaning from me and here is a picture of a trawler in its heyday.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Following my recent comments regarding anti-social behaviour and vandalism we had a night of this.
Simply marvellous and the anger of most people is very apparent now. We do need more police since this and the last few governments cut police numbers and not just the usual mealy mouthed excuses from ministers who are amply protected from the rigours and vicissitudes of real life. Oddly enough the numbers for our area Humberside went up last year.

There is more information on farcebook in the comments below the story with one woman reporting a large gang of youths wearing balaclavas. An elderly woman looking at the carnage at the Fishing Heritage Centre suggested to us that bringing back the town stocks might help. I can't help but agree with her. To be honest I'm not sure what the answer is but a start could be made with people being held responsible for their actions and no more excuses made. I think three months of the perpetrators alongside their parents doing litter picking, scrubbing old buildings clean and enforced good deeds for the elderly might help.

Progress so far as I kept my clumsy fingers away from the oil paints and attached some further pieces.  The fun bit involving masts and threads will be next and I may require a lot of tea, BBC Radio 3 and a cat free zone for that. Finding Watson with a wet paint brush clamped between his jaws this morning wasn't helpful!


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Some more progress with oil paints brushed over the dried acrylics. I should really have gloss coated a protective varnish on it but I want to see how this turns out as it is. There are a few more pieces glued on since I took the above photo but I have now put it away to dry as oil paints, depending on how much linseed oil has been removed, takes time to dry. I am enjoying the build and the plan is to attach the rigging wires and antennae to the masts. I also have to scratch build a few pieces and add a fishing net. So some work to do over the next couple of weeks. Writing of a gloss coat, this has been recommended by many fellow modellers as a cheap and very reliable gloss coat.

It's known as 'Klear' in the USA and for some reason it is difficult to find in supermarkets over here. I shall scour the local supermercados  to find it otherwise I'll order it from Amazon. It can be brush painted or airbrushed onto models as a base to protect paints and allow other types of paint (oils, enamels, acrylics or pastels) to be applied and then sprayed again to seal that layer. However, I'll leave it for now and patiently wait for the kit to dry. I have other kits from the stash to build and I recently bought a small F4F-4 Wildcat kit for peanuts on eBay.

Small scale (1/72) and a challenge for my eyes but I use a magnifier to aid me and there aren't too many parts to the kit although the photo etch metal after market kit supplied with the kit will be a challenge. I have to consider display space now and the cats natural curiosity so a small kit is ideal. I haven't yet considered where the trawler will go and I may make room on one of my bookshelves. This is the cabinet I bought for the models and I already have several elsewhere. Some plastic / glass shelves to go above each shelf will give me some storage once I am back at work and earning money to buy them.

After the last few days of cooler weather and intermittent heavy rain we are again promised very hot weather. Having experienced sunburn a few weeks ago I now stay indoors between 12.00 and 16.00 hours so that will be my modelling time over the next week plus rehearsing for the upcoming interview. Despite having done the job before I am understandably nervous given my recent experiences. It's a twelve month contract but hopefully if I am successful it will be extended beyond that. I have had enough of job applications, I will stick with this job if I get it for the next few years. I'll be 58 this year and I plan to work until I am about 63. I still have plans for a small camper van and there are places I want to travel to so a comfortable bank balance to enable this will be required. So I will avoid making anymore stupid decisions such as leaving a secure job, buying a silly car or making silly donations to lost causes. So my plan is to get back to work, keep my head down and knuckle down to work and build my bank balance up. Fingers crossed that the next financial crash or government stupidity such as declaring war on another country doesn't thwart those plans!