Thursday, September 30, 2010

This article made me laugh.
So that was fifty and I have emerged on the other side of it. Nope, nothing remarkable has happened and I feel much the same as usual. I have received a plethora of 50+ savings, insurance, etc papers in the post and directed them straight to the recycle bin. I received birthday greetings via emails, facebook, telephone and the traditional cards. Several excellent dvd's await my pleasure as well as a pile of new books. I have also received a polite 'summons' to Ireland just as the banks there have moved beyond tits up! Interesting times indeed with marches and protests in various parts of Europe. After six days off I feel suitably chilled and I enjoyed the sunshine today walking the dog an extra few miles...she's still sleeping. I also finally tackled the weeds in the front garden as the rain finally let up. The world has been gray and damp over the past five days as the country moved into it's default setting. So today's sunshine is more than welcome and I'll be heading out again to make the most of it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lovely! After the conflab with my neighbour and solving the 'intruder' issue, I decided to check one of the drains which remained full of water. It takes the run off from the roofs and I last cleared it out three years ago. Sleeves rolled up and mucky hands time. A half bucket of crud later and a nicely cleared drain but despite several washes my right hands smells like the muck spread on the local farmland. The dog tried to shove her snout in, undoubtedly an olfactory heaven for the pooch. Not for us hence she was chased back indoors.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

At last...time off for good behaviour. I had hoped for a lie in but Ping! eyes open and wide awake at 06.20. An early walk for the pooch and a cooked breakfast of fresh Toulouse sausages and freshly baked wholemeal bread. Well, that was after a further walk to the shops for milk having discovered the teenage appetite had devoured all the milk. My morning cuppa is an essential start to each day and today being the start of two glorious weeks off I wanted a good start. The past week mirrored the previous three weeks...has someone stopped putting the prozac in the water supply? The deluge of sad, disillusioned and broken people arriving on our doorstep has not stopped. With the brand new girl (She's excellent) and the transferred experienced lemon we were still overwhelmed. The lemon went off sick on her first week with us which didn't help. For the next two weeks it will not be my problem and I intend to completely ignore any work related matters and concentrate on R & R (and DIY).

Slightly related to work I received my chance to cast my union vote for the next Labour leader a few weeks back. I ticked all five boxes for Diane Abbot which either invalidates my votes or may hopefully ensure her smooth transition into the leader Labour really needs thus ensuring the lying inept fuckers remain out of office for the next decade. However, the winner is Ed Milliband...

On a happier note my stepdaughter LE flew out to the US today for her long planned for trip around California. She and a friend will travel around California for the next three weeks and Mrs C. is house and cat sitting for her. Hopefully we will receive regular updates and photos via the internet. But for this evening I plan to watch a DVD of my choice and have a few beers. I had planned on an evening out to see a Pink Floyd covers band but a combination of no money, tiredness and Mrs.C's report of an intruder in our back garden yesterday means I shall stay in this weekend.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Little blogging over the past few days because work has been extremely busy. On Thursday and Friday our ten hour working days magically turned into twelve hours with hurried lunch breaks whilst we completed the paperwork before racing off to the next assessment. I took two telephone referrals during my last assessment yesterday as well as fielding other enquiries. After seven very busy days which became busier as the week progressed I am mighty glad to have these two days off. Sadly I am once again too tired to do little more than walk the dog who is currently a sprawled sodden mess beside my chair. She certainly loves water.
Apart from the tyre trouble and the hoover self immolation incident, the oven suddenly died as well. More expense and at a time when we can least afford it. My planned two weeks off at the end of the month has now been drastically pruned back from walking parts of Hadrian's Wall to a wet afternoon at Bridlington. I shan't be doing any overtime during those two weeks because despite having to alter my plans I intend to enjoy some proper R & R. Bridlington isn't too far off the mark because I will spend a day up in Whitby. It's one of my favourite places and I may have a chance to take some better photographs this time. A visit to the venerable mater and some much needed work around the house will otherwise now occupy the rest of the time. For now, a good book and feet up with a hot cup of Assam is just the ticket.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

No.1 was contacted yesterday and invited for a job 'interview' today and he starts work next week as an electrical apprentice for four days per week. He is walking on air and we are all very happy. He has already spent his wages for the first six months: driving licence and lessons, iPhone, etc... He'll be working with one day a week at college. He joins the world of work and reality that many of us enjoy. I am hopeful that this will round off some of the sharp teenage edges (attitudes). But he's happy, we are happy and long may this happiness last. He has done well and I am immensely proud of him.
Otherwise Monday spent travelling around Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire working at best interests and coping with vehicle crashes and lorries losing their loads. The morning show on BBC Radio Sheffield is entertaining and needed to be as I crawled very slowly down the M1. I made the mistake of taking an alternate route home and met with the lorry losing it's load. The best of Deep Purple, Rainbow and Whitesnake helped me with that. After five hours of travelling yesterday I thought 'Sod the gales and rain' and walked the pooch a fair distance just to unwind my body and mind. The ibuprofen helped as well. Time for a further walk...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Home from work and I cracked on with cooking wild Canadian salmon*, new potatoes and marrowfat peas...a meal a condemned man could enjoy. I oven steamed the salmon with Italian virgin olive oil, lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. Simply delicious. Can I persuade Mrs C. and No.1 to eat such wonderful food...not one iota will they budge from "Ugh! It's fish" and "Junkfood". Mrs C. ate the new spuds with butter and salt but she will only ever eat haddock in batter, preferably from the chippie. Now I do like fish and chips but how can anyone turn their nose up at salmon, trout, seabream, sole, kippers, a lovely steaming bouilliabaise or paella with prawns and mussels. Mind you, since a bout of food poisoning many years ago I am suitably cagey regarding mussels. But tasty food from Neptunes kingdom and food for the brain as well. Suitably replete I am now sipping at a glass of my favourite brandy (Carlos 3rd Solera Reserva) and listening to Dio on spotify.

A busy and enjoyable day at work and the penultimate one with my boss who finishes after tomorrow. He is being moved to pastures new and a new era begins. New staff in the next couple of weeks and further changes planned although I am fairly relaxed about it all. I still think the crisis team has the better end of the deal because we enjoy our work, the anticipation of the next referral and the challenges each one brings. Staff from the other teams think it is frankly terrifying to anticipate the unknown, especially when alone at 2 a.m. and A&E staff or the police want one to resolve a sticky situation. But aside from the occasional surprise much of it is, for us, generally straightforward. Variations upon several themes really. What is difficult is the risk assessments and making the appropriate decisions. Often it is not the loud overly dramatic Osacr performance that requires immediate interventions and careful negotiation. You'll note that I will probably be complaining within the next week but nurses love to whinge whilst resolving those sticky problems.

The only thing missing from that delicious meal was a nice sweet. A light, cold and fruity sorbet to cleanse the palette. Maybe next time...

*Frozen salmon but half price in Sainsbury's Seany...there might be some left and I would heartily recommend buying some.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Another milestone as No.1 son is now seventeen and a half years old and moves up to "Network" within the scouts. After nearly nine years as a cub, scout and explorer he now has to be CRB checked as an adult! What a bureaucratic nonsense: one day a child and the next an adult whose background must be checked to ensure he is safe to work with children. I could understand if he was new to the scouts and an unknown quantity but this situation is ridiculous. No wonder few people want to volunteer for any civic activities. He is pleased to move up which is the important thing and he is excited by his new responsibilities. He is also now signed up to a two year City & Guilds electrical engineering course at college. He's still plugging away for that elusive apprenticeship and he'll be hitting the phone this weekend once again after his numerous emails and letters have been ignored. Hopefully there will be some Christmas seasonal work coming up to tide him over.

After being stung for a ridiculous sum to replace tyres and sort out the tracking on the front wheels, I signed up for extra shifts at work for some extra money. I drove very slowly around to my local Kwikfit early Tuesday morning with a rapidly deflating front nearside tyre with a large split in sidewall. God knows what caused the damage but there was no way I could drive until it had been repaired. I shudder to think what would have happened during my usual commute at sixty mph...someone's looking out for me! A couple of glasses of malt whisky were needed that evening to toast that guardian angel as well as for medicinal purposes.

So an extra shift on Wednesday and another one in a weeks time to make up the shortfall...eventually. With no staff available we are having to fill the gaps until the new staff join us. Oddly enough the season feels autumnal but we have had a couple of lovely sunny days just as I return to work. But my day off was spent enjoying the sunshine, walking the dog and meeting others doing the same. Even the regular local alkies have been out sunning themselves as they quaff their cider and cheap sherry. All this whilst the lunatic puritans up their campaign to increase the price of alcohol beyond the pockets of ordinary people, quoting 'facts' & figures which are at odds with the official stats showing a decrease in people drinking alcohol year on year over the past five years. History in the shape of prohibition in the USA and the growth of organised crime goes straight over their heads. Mind you, how on earth will they police their attacks on drinkers, smokers and tokers as they reduce the number of police officers to save money? Brewing one's own beer and the possibility of illegal stills as well as the growth in home grown dope should satisfy the needs of most people. If global warming is genuine we could even grow tobacco. Life is certainly becoming interesting...maybe it's time for a green house?