Saturday, December 08, 2018

Woohoo! I have four days off and boy do I need the rest. Too many miles travelled on dreadful roads in bad weather and the stress levels at work increase as we approach the festive season with fewer staff than usual. I finished work yesterday with a dreadful headache which finally dissipated late this morning. My fault entirely as I chose to return to the bear pit of work! But a couple of walks this morning with Sue in some very cold and blowy weather chased the ache away. So here's a photo of sunnier and younger times as we slide into this wet, cold and windy winter with the usual dire portents of 'Beasts from the East' Siberian weather.

Yes, that's me in the middle, taken in Israel in the autumn of '83. I think we'd just showered and had lunch following a day of picking citrus fruits. Work started at 6 a.m. and depending on how quickly we fulfilled our quota usually finished between 11 and 12. If we finished early we usually went for a run followed by umpteen lengths of the pool. Looking back now it was heaven!

Yes, that's a packet of fags in my shirt pocket when I was addicted to the evil weed and was young, stupid and thought I'd live forever. A friend contacted me on fb and linked me to a lot of photos someone had taken between 1983 - 85 and I'm included in some of them. Some I had already but there were several new ones. It is surprising to look at them and then realise that I look more like an elderly archaeologist from Time Team these days. RIP Mick Aston and Robin Bush...
Hard to believe these photos are from 35 years ago and I am still happily in touch with several people from that time although we are scattered to the four winds now. Time inevitably moves on and a reminder this week was the reported death at the age of 63 years of Pete Shelley whose band The Buzzcocks made us believe in the seventies anyone could play music and kick against the system.  As another much older blogger is wont to say "They are taking them from our pen now". I shall continue to bugger on as usual...


Sunday, November 25, 2018

A productive morning as the rain lashes down outside with coffee and a bacon sandwich to set me up for the day.

Yes, a morning spent with various glues, knives, sanding paper and sprue cutters. Happily lost in the build and listening to BBC Radio 3 with a brief assay into learning more about Peter Warlock whose 'The Curlew' was being broadcast. No adverts on Radio 3 and I can relax and listen in or out as the music plays.

This build is slowly coming together although the casemate presented some minor difficulties but it was the fitting of the gun inside the casemate that gave me more problems. After more coffee, a fuss of the cats I eventually manoeuvred the pieces into place, glued and now put away to fully set. 

I plan to airbrush a base colour of black paint (Tamiya Nato Black) over the outside and the interior will be brush painted an off white colour. Although I will have the hatches open as I plan to add figures it's unlikely that much will be seen of the interior. Despite this I plan to properly paint the gun and chip it accordingly. Nerdish attention to detail I know but for me it is the satisfaction of completing all aspects of this build.

I tried out some spare figures just to see how it all fits with an annoyed German tanker telling off an American tanker for pinching his panzer. I am easily pleased! My plan is to build a diorama and possibly set a scene in the Ardennes 1944 as I have the other figures and a small Schwimmwagen to add to it. 
All in all a quiet Sunday indoors but I am unlikely to have any modelling time for the next week as I have next weekend planned to visit my mum and a busy work week ahead of me. So I am enjoying it while I can. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The past week has been spent going stir crazy as a lousy cold saw me confined to home smelling of Olbas oil and Vicks vapour rub and taking a variety of cold remedies. The young lady below was happy as she had my company for the week.

That is her current favourite sleeping spot which is a tad inconvenient when I want to crack on with the latest build. Unfortunately, Maisie suffers with stress and she has bald patches where she over grooms and despite ensuring a stress free environment we can't stop the other cats pestering her, particularly her daughter Mindy who follows her everywhere. It was fine during the good weather because Maisie could escape outdoors and sleep in a quiet corner somewhere away from the other cats.
Mrs C. has started on a statin and we are keeping an eye on it as I know others have had a bad reaction to the drug. She has had nearly two weeks of rest and next week she will attend a smoking cessation session so some progress being made. I have suggested she join me when I start Slimming World in the new year and she will join in the diet but not attend the group. She also intends to join me in daily walks with the hope that as her health improves she might be able to stop the statins. The past couple of weeks have given me much food for thought and my focus will be on sorting out the house and our health needs during 2019. I still can't believe we are nearly at 2020 and the millennium was nearly two decades ago! I occasionally watch a gentle comedy 'Dinner Ladies'  by Victoria Woods and the millennium figured large in a couple of the episodes. Somewhere in my muddled head I still think the millennium happened recently and that programme still remains fresh in my mind, rather than nearly twenty years ago.

After the past week I escaped the house today and enjoyed some fresh air, necessary shopping and the opportunity to stretch my legs. Yesterday the car had a winter service, a part was replaced in the suspension and the new wing mirror was attached. I had planned to go out for a drive today and enjoy some time by the sea (Bridlington) but I have some post malaise tiredness and Mrs C. prefers to stay close to home for now. Hence the local walk and fresh air although I am not sorry to have missed yesterdays 'Black Friday' nonsense. So as well as focusing on physical health I avoid such nonsense to ensure good mental health and such blatant materialism with a spend spend spend must have attitude is awful. I have less than two years to go to my 60th birthday and although I am in some ways a curmudgeonly old bugger, I also want to keep a relaxed open mind, develop a sunnier attitude and spend time doing the important things in life. So for tonight I shall watch some televised darts, drink beer and fuss the cats. A quiet night in and enjoy the weekend prior to returning to work on Monday. I hope you all have a quiet, safe and enjoyable weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Just a quick update following the last blog. Mrs C. had good news in that her bloods result is good and the GP will contact her next week to discuss the BP readings she took for the week. She also booked time off work and we are working on making her life as stress free as possible. She also plans to give up smoking and is considering the nicotine patches to help her quit smoking. Fingers crossed she'll stick to this plan.
My mother's operation was cancelled on the morning of the op when she was given a further physical by the surgeon and anaesthetist. They weren't happy with some 'chest sounds' during the examination so she has been referred to cardiology for further check ups. Her response during the past week has been to tidy up the loose ends by paying in advance for her funeral and sorting out her will. We discussed this and I can understand why she has done this although my sister wasn't so happy, seeing it as morbid. My mum sees it as leaving no mess for her children to clear up and by organising it now, hopefully many years ahead of the fateful day, she will have made the arrangements that suit her.

 In other news I have been haunting Lidl for the new Airfix kits in Braille scale which were on sale for £4.99 and I bagged these four kits.

The two aircraft should be fun to build but I am excited by the Cromwell tank as I have not built one before. I also bought a couple of kits on-line and plan to add them to a diorama I am planning for my latest build. But I'm particularly pleased to have bagged this kit because unless you pay a lot of money for the latest versions, these early Stug III are hard to find at a reasonable price.

The only issue I have now is making time to build them as weekends are when I cram in chores, model builds, walks and the occasional social activity I may be dragooned into. It wasn't helped this morning when I had to remove Maisie from her throne which coincidently is the box containing the latest build on the modelling table. She sat on the side and glared at me and whenever I moved away she sat back down on her spot on the table! We also had a plumber in yesterday to once again repair the bathroom sink tap and the gods be praised, he replaced the tap tops with an entirely different style as this is the fourth or fifth time we've had a leak from the hot water tap. I've come to the conclusion that fluids of one sort or another is the theme of this month. The proposed plan to save towards buying the camper van is on hold as I am saving instead to replace the leaky kitchen sink as that is now a priority plus the damp proofing! I am keeping a weather eye on the political and economic situation and I don't think now is the time to borrow money to finance a camper van. Perhaps it is time to rediscover the joys of camping!*

As an aside, a colleague at work is a fellow modeller and we have plenty to talk about, much to the bewilderment of some of our colleagues who can't understand why we aren't excited about football, soaps, holidays, etc...Each to their own otherwise it would be a dull grey old world indeed.


*Bed and Breakfasts.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

It never rains but it pours, quite literally in this case. Mrs C woke up at 3 a.m. to discover blood pouring from her nose. After rushing to the bathroom closely followed by me when I realised something was wrong, I saw a scene reminiscent of a Hammer horror movie.

We sought advice from the health services as she held her nose which resulted in a gush of blood from her mouth. Eventually the bleeding stopped but this was the second episode in the last three days only on a bloodier scale. GP this morning for tests and examination, he stated her BP was very high so bloods were taken and we have to take her BP four times every day for a week. I warned Mrs C that the GP will look at lifestyle and suggest she amend some aspects of it which he duly did. From the test results I suspect he will prescribe medication and regular check ups. Healthy eating and exercise is in but she won't give up the fags or coffee. However, she was very frightened by this episode and it might be that she will reduce the latter two habits. I took a day off work to support her and I have suggested that we all change our lifestyles to support her. No bad thing as it can only do us good as I suspect my blood pressure is also higher than it should be.

It's nice to have an unplanned day off work but sadly I am too tired to enjoy it after only three hours sleep. I considered cracking on with my latest build but I am too tired and my concentration isn't up to it. Back to the music and dozing in the armchair.


Saturday, November 03, 2018

I finally paid a visit to The Docks Bar, the new brewery and bar that opened last month.

A brief stroll through the early afternoon pedestrians and intermittent sunshine, over the bridge on the Alexandra dock and a brief visit for a pleasant pint and a view of the pub.

A good selection of craft beers brewed on the premises plus some real ales on the bar pumps as well as a large selection of canned craft beers. I opted for the Docks Brewery 'Graveyard Shift', a 4.5% abv Stout made from chocolate malt and coconut. I like dark beers and much as I like lighter ales, IPA's often see me coughing and sneezing with the amount of hops that are added these days. Here's a view of the brewery itself and within minutes of arriving there the pub was packed with more afternoon punters including the posties who arrived from the sorting office nearby.

Loud music which wasn't for me as I like conversation but responsible dogs are encouraged to pop in with their adults, lots of trendy skinny trousered big bearded metropolitan types and that was just the women! A little bit of Islington in Grimsby. I will pop in from time to time as I enjoyed the beer and the atmosphere plus 5% discount for Camra members. At £3.35 a pint every little bit helps. It also helps that the bar is only just over 1/2 a mile from home and very easy to get to.

In other news, the past week at work was very busy and I suspect this will be the standard fayre as we are a very small team attempting to fill a very big need. I am enjoying it and there are some lovely people in the team. I have scoped out a couple of places to stop off for lunch picnics in between visits with wonderful views and peace dropping very slow. It's important to balance the stress of the job with some precious quiet time to recharge the batteries and lunch breaks are perfect for this. There is also the stressful news that my Mum will be booked in for surgery as the cancer has returned to her eye socket. She will be at Moorfield's Hospital sometime this month although no definite date as yet. Just as the treatment for her kidney stones is proving effective this returns although they have the caught it early this time. I'll pop down for a couple of quick visits and arrange a longer stay next year with No.1 son. She soldiers on and stated she doesn't want a fuss as after over fifty years of hard graft she said she is knackered and bits are bound to drop off or fail! Unlike my father of whom I have no fond memories my Mum kept us together, worked two jobs to put food on the table and clothe us kids  as well as ensured we were well educated. We owe her a lot so I am putting in some quality Mum time.
The part time cat Fluffy (aka Elvis) has now moved in, staying for meals and he stayed one extremely wet and cold night when we didn't have the heart to turf him out. We are encouraging him to return home as he belongs to someone else but he is making it clear he regards this as his home. Now for some music, feet up as I have walked a lot today plus shopping plus an hours modelling after an early start and time to dip into a good book.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Hmmm...not a good start to the day with an automated phone call from the credit card company asking about a payment request this morning for a large sum of money. Happily their system works and I confirmed I hadn't authorised any such payment. Payment wasn't authorised, card stopped and a new card will be sent out to me. I only ever use the card for payments on line for modelling stuff but I had used it t'other day to order a takeaway meal via just e@t. That will be the last time I ever use that although I prefer to home cook Indian food so this is an added incentive to do so! I never use the card in shops and the biggest purchase over the last year using the card amounted to sixty quid. Having my fingers burned with extended credit in the past I pay the card off in full each month which tells how little I spend on it. But it protects any purchases made on-line particularly with evil bay.

A quiet day spent doing very little as the past week at work has been extremely busy with an emergency to attend to on Friday. Happily, we quickly dealt with that although as always the attendant paperwork took up a lot of time. But working in a small team with limited resources means the slightest thing not going to plan leaves us stretched very thin. But I also did my usual trick last night of staying up far too late with the headphones on, listening to music and a couple of beers with assorted cats on or around me as I dozed off in my favourite armchair. The clocks also fall back so my internal body clock will take a few days to adjust. It is properly autumnal now with that edge of winter with yesterdays sleet and cold winds. Time for the scarf and hat to come out and I love walking in this weather so some walks to be arranged. Back to putting my feet up, enjoying a good book and the last of my illusory freedom before returning to work tomorrow.