Monday, October 31, 2011

Autumn leaves

A final entry before October becomes November. The good news is that the insurance company agreed to pay for the repairs apart from the usual excess and £30 for the guttering. My car should be back this week and I still have a week off ahead of me. Aside from a lousy cold which kiboshed my planned trip to London I am a happy bunny. The dog is happy too as long walks are de riguer for these days off and as I enjoy being freed from the motorised tin box and stretch my legs each day. The following video describes recent walks...

It's been mild over the last few days and the leaves ave been the only evidence of autumn thus far although it appears winter has arrived early in the north eastern USA.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A picture paints a thousand words and this certainly sums up my last few days.

I have been driving hither and thither whilst being the only person available for assessments and asked for advice on a range of issues some of which had nothing to do with my job. I have tomorrow to get through and then I have ten days off. So tomorrow is a paperwork day to ensure all i's are dotted and t's crossed. The golden rule in the NHS is that if "it isn't documented it didn't happen". Hence I have to ensure my paperwork is completed. I don't mind for once because I can do the paperwork at home and avoid driving. 400 miles in two days is more than enough for me.

Currently there is one humdinger of a storm happening out there. Wagner writ large above Grimsby although I initially thought it was fireworks and rushed the pooch home from her evening stroll. Hopefully it'll pass and I can stop worrying about the guttering. As I am at home tomorrow I can take the opportunity to harrass the insurance company again. I can stop worrying about the rain once that has been sorted. As for the eu referendrum debacle... this battle lost but still the war goes on.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I have just signed up to the People's Pledge, a new campaign that will force MPs to give us a referendum on our relationship with the EU.

The People's Pledge is supported by people with a wide range of views on the EU: those who are enthusiastic about British membership, those who are sceptical and those who actively seek to leave the EU. The campaign is cross party too, with supporters from all the main political parties.

Please add your name to theirs.

Go to and sign up to add your name to others in your constituency who want their MP to support a referendum on our EU membership. You will also be able to see whether your MP has yet pledged their support for a referendum, along with details of how they voted on every major EU-related issue over the last few years.

Remember, many MPs have majorities of just a few hundred votes, so every person that signs the People's Pledge WILL make a difference.
Hopefully this will work as I have had connection issues with my ISP.

My car is in for repairs and fingers crossed it will be a straightforward replacement of the rear bumper and sorting out the dented rear door. News on the home insurance front is a different matter. Why are they so slow... I find it odd that public services are constantly criticised for being slow, overly bureaucratic and employing useless idots. Sadly I would agree with some of that in the public services yet private companies such as the insurance industry  aren't that far behind. I know the issue is choice in that I can take my business elsewhere but unhappily I do not find that out until I have to put in a claim. If the car insurers can move so quickly why not the house insurers as the waiting game continues...

Returning to the theme of road traffic accidents and it was interesting to observe the response from both of the teams I work for. One team were very supportive including the boss I don't usually have a good relationship with in that they sent me a supportive email message and then enquired in person after my health. That actually gave me a warm glow whereas my other boss... nothing. Given that it happened at work and whilst working for the latter team I would have expected some support. I received one email stating I have to use annual leave to arrange time for sorting out transport. I was a bit naughty in that I told his secretary that whiplash injuries could result in weeks off work, leaving the team in the mire and increasing the pressures on my boss. I am actually fine and will not be taking time off work but if I am not appreciated then I will behave accordingly. At a future date I must post about guardian reading pseudoliberal middle class 'socialists' of which this particular character is a representative. You will have seen numerous examples of them at Dale Farm and the St.Paul's 'occupation'.
I finally worked out what was wrong with the swan ostracised by the rest of its family. It can fly before the others have learned to do so. It is now part of a gang of other juvenile swans, wearing hoodies, hanging around street corners and roughing up the local ducks. They don't pick on the local geese though. The cold weather has arrived with the heating now switched on and extra jumpers pulled (pullovers?) out of storage. The tomato plants have now been removed and the garden is extremely bare. I plan to get some garlic in and we have already planted lots of bulbs. One suggestion I have received is to dig a compost trench for organic waste ready for runner beans next year. I am also looking to plant out some cabbages for the spring. I have a large bush to cut down and clear the ground where I will place the greenhouse. It's sheltered but also receives enough sun and, with a bit of luck, I can get some winter lettuce in there if it is insulated enough. That may be asking too much given the chances of a winter like the last one. We'll see how it goes...

p.s. I have emailed my local MP to ask him to vote yes to a referendum for the UK public regarding membership of the EU. Please do the same if you want the referendum to go ahead.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Finally I have a date for the car to be collected and repaired plus a courtesy car all provided by the other driver's company insurance (Taxi service). He admitted liability and their insurers are sorting it all out. Yesterday was a somewhat surreal and hectic day where I lost the plot at one stage. Juggling the car insurance, home insurance, working and arranging training for care homes all got too much at one stage. I phoned someone only to be told 'You've already arranged this earlier today... are you alright?' I took the hint and took the dog for a very long and very welcome walk. Despite the wind and rain I needed the break. I also have neck and back pain today which is not good news. So I am taking it easy, appropriate pain relief and trying to stay relaxed. It has also made me more determined than ever to return to full time crisis work where I use pool cars and I travel noticeably fewer miles. I won't receive a decision on that until December but the team is extremely short staffed particularly of experienced staff. I am using costs and resources to push my argument but I can now only wait and see what happens.
Yesterday also saw the builders estimate arrive and it is considerably lower than I expected although more than I can scrape together. That has gone off to the insurers via email and snail mail so again I have to play the waiting game. Increased premiums next year will be the price paid for this. C'est la vie and as mentioned in an earlier post we will have the work completed and be able to redecorate. Another positive is that I have now lost so much weight my clothes no longer fit me, necessitating a quick trip to buy new shirts, t shirts, etc... It may be time to see if there are any extra work shifts going to plug the financial gaps! Meanwhile belt tightening figuratively and literally is the order of the day as I traipsed around Lincoln today having to hoist my trews up every 100 yards or so. I parked up and walked everywhere today despite the rain as my visits were all within the city centre. Time to break for tea and one low fat biscuit.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bugger, damn and blast!
Sitting at a road junction this evening and the minibus behind me decided to try and drive through me. The car is driveable but the rear bumper is holed below the waterline, above the waterline and is kaput. He admitted liability and could not stop apologising. The perfect end to the day and 130 miles of trouble free driving until that moment. More insurance woes although this one will be straight forward to deal with. However, it made me realise... time to sort out my will because this was a minor crunch but I have seen far too may accidents on Lincolnshire's roads over the past few years. There are some real lunatics on the roads if by lunatic I mean moonstruck mindless idiots. The other driver was horrified and I do feel sorry for him although tinged with anger because this was not a accident but human error. 'I thought you'd gone so I pulled out' was his statement to which I answered 'Clearly I hadn't'. Mind you, the shock lasted a while followed by an adrenalin rush and I was extremely wired when I arrived late for my fat fighters class. Chillin' now with large brandies, Jack Johnson for sounds and an enforced work day at home tomorrow as insurance companies will deal with the consequences of this crunch.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The painless bit has now been done with a builder popping in to identify the source of the water leak and view the extent of the damage to the walls. He will prepare a quote for the insurance company and that is when the hard work begins... I absolutely loathe dealing with insurance companies. They negotiate hard whilst making one feel like a crook. My approach now is to view it all dispassionately as business and to consider the opposition with my work head on. It works for me as I view them as personality disordered trying to obtain something for nothing. What astonishes me is the source of the leak: the guttering is a few inches too short hence water running straight down the corner of the house in the alleyway. A job which could have been completed in 30 minutes for less than a tenner. I never noticed and now I am kicking myself because this must have been going on since we bought the house. The leaky bath was initially blamed for the damage and that was dealt with.But allowing the walls to dry out just didn't happen because the water, unbeknownst to us, continued to leak through whenever it rained. A salutary and expensive lesson learned depending on the fun and games with the insurance company. The only bright side is that the guttering will be easily fixed whilst the internal walls will be cleared of plaster, allowed to dry out for 2 - 3 months and then replastered. We will do the redecorating ourselves and it will also be an opportunity to buy new carpets, new furniture,etc... Mrs C. is keen for the latter to happen and I can see me digging deep in the purse for these replacements. The discussion over colours, wallpaper, three piece suites, etc... will be lively especially once LE offers her opinion on colour schemes. I have definite preferences and so has Mrs C. The back room is tastefully coloured in a light cream and a dusky pink which I like and want to keep as the preferred colour scheme. LE and Mrs C's liking for the current trend of seventies kitsch... bleugh! No chance of those horrible schemes in the house. I wonder if I can suggest the inflatable furniture again although the cats would quickly deflate that scheme. But that is to get too far ahead as I gird my loins for battle with the insurers.
On a different tack I noticed that the local cygnets are thriving and all seven of them have survived thus far. However, one of them has been chased away by the parents and is not allowed to remain with the parents and other six cygnets. I know the parents will chase all of them away eventually but it does seem unusual to single one out for this treatment. It looks like the smallest cygnet and I wonder if this has any influence on the parents behaviour? But for today's brisk walk with the pooch  I was wrapped up as it was windy and very overcast. Autumn is definitely here at last and it is cold in the evenings. Time to switch the heating on and enjoy evenings in front of the fire, shame it's only a gas fire although the beasties enjoy plonking their bodies in front of it. Time to enjoy the rest of my day off as tomorrow is the beginning of a seven day stretch and I am on call over the whole weekend. With one member of staff off sick for the next eight weeks and another on holiday our numbers are fewer than ever. I'll have to buy a dream tax ticket for tonights euro lottery and hopefully reduce numbers further!

Monday, October 03, 2011

I love radio... I have stated this many times and I have my favourites which, when they finish up for good or are removed, it feels like the loss of a friend. Folkwaves was the latest programme to be axed and my Monday evenings still have a hole in them. But I cottoned on to Jarvis Cocker on 6 music some months back and I am hooked... full line and sinker. Absolutely marvellous, eclectic and certainly not to everyone's tastes but hugely enjoyable.The latest episode features Andrew Motion and a discussion about National Poetry Day. It also features a recording from 1889 of Tennyson declaiming his "The Charge of the Light Brigade".  I do enjoy poetry and I have written some exraordinarily bad poetry in my younger days, some of which I still have including an awful eulogy to Chet Baker when he died. So it is wonderful to listen to this programme and the little snippet of Tennyson plus a recording of Auden. I can heartily recommend giving the programme a listen as well as popping in to listen to future episodes and keep an open mind.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

I have reached 51 and not out despite a couple of near misses years ago. Sadly I worked and was on call over my birthday, happily I was not called out. Two beers last night to celebrate but after a busy time at work and the hot weather I retired to bed at 10.15 pm. Hence I was awake at a ridiculous hour (02.30!) but eventually returned to the arms of morpheus. The mutt was ecstatic when we trooped off for her early morning walk at 06.30 and I still can't believe I was out in shorts and t-shirt on October 1st... just wonderful this late summer. Trawling through the news this a.m. and the news that the EU intend to take us to court unless we allow all and sundry to move here from Europe and claim benefits just beggars belief. My view which hasn't changed for many years is that we should leave the eu completely and look to trade agreements only. Why on earth should we work to support the feckless from all over Europe? In fact why bother working at all if this is to go ahead? I keep hoping the euro will collapse despite all the crap which will happen as a consequence of this. Usually I avoid discussing it after work colleagues told me I was a gloomy pessimist... what other type of pessimist is there? I pointed out I was a realist and I haven't been sucked in to the bread & circuses dross of reality shows on TV. Otherwise I am generally optimistic but rooted in reality and it is a fantasy world to expect money from nothing, bailing out banks, bankrolling useless and interfering bureaucrats / apparatchiks, etc... As for the strikes called for later this year I will be voting against it. It is not just a strike against pension changes but has widened to the usual suspects wanting to bring down the government citing it was not democratically elected, does not reflect the electorate, is cutting services and hurting people. The usual bullshit in fact. Sadly, I have little time for any of the three main parties whom I believe are all cut from the same cloth and remain completely disconnected from ordinary people. This will eventually end in tears...
On a positive note I have the weekend off and no plans apart from a couple of beers and to watch / listen to the Spurs v gooners game and to enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts. Especially since the forecasts are for snow during October. Enjoy your weekends wherever you are...