Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oops! I nearly forgot to link this for your considered perusal and I hope you will be as horrified as I am. I first came across this on twitter and a fellow blogger reminded me of this attack upon civil liberties.
I have believed for a long time that our society is changing as civilisation slowly collapses. But our politicians are clearly rattled and frightened by events overseas: the Arab spring, protests in the Med countries of the eu and the anger might eventually spread to the thus far supine British public. With park keepers being given "police powers" and the creeping use of companies such as G4S to provide security and protection, things are going to get sticky hence the politico's desire to enact these sweeping powers. Bastards everyone of them...

I was told about this whilst checking out the cost of a skip. What a simple but brilliant idea... buy it over the internet and it includes collection at a time convenient to you during the next twelve months. The bag is posted out to you and then used for your rubbish from building, garden waste, etc... There is more here and I have ordered one for our forthcoming building work.

I popped into an art exhibition that was on today in the local church and I left feeling a bit deflated. One of the artists is very good and I was impressed with some of her work, particularly the water scenes as well as some of the scenes at sea. The other artists did not impress although that may have been because the work was not to my taste. However, I have just found out that there are two further exhibitions on locally so I shall pop along to view those. I'm discovering each day that I can now choose what I want to do including popping in the car to go off exploring with my camera. Cleethorpes pier has now reopened under the aegis

of a consortium of local businessmen. They opened it in time for last weekends air show so I am hoping to take some photos from there. For a number of years it ran as a nightclub but violence, alcohol and stupidity eventually saw its demise as such. It's now back to its traditional use for day trippers and holidaymakers. It's a while since I was last on it. I must away as I have a slow beef stew simmering for todays appropriate seasonal weather... rain, wind and not very summery at all. I have to check it as well as ensure the more adventurous (greedy?) cats aren't exploring the possibilities of dipping an ill advised paw into the contents.

Monday, July 29, 2013

After not posting for a while I have finally surfaced.
The hot weather has been a boon and most welcome despite my discovering how much of an impact hay fever has had upon me. It laid me out on two days although I was stupid enough to go for a lengthy walk on one day during the hottest part of the day. I have to admit that apart from some gardening and walking I have started retirement by doing as little as possible. I have caught up on reading books which I hadn't the time to read and if there are medals for sleeping, I have won gold. I had underestimated how tired I really was and it is wonderful having the opportunity to either sleep in or rise early with an afternoon nap to catch up. The heat has meant an early walk for the pooch when it is relatively cooler for her. Age is catching up with her and I have to ensure she gets just enough exercise and no more. The spaniel half wants to run and run... her back legs aren't able to manage this.

It's been a couple of days since I wrote the above. I haven't really been in the mood for blogging and to be honest, when the sun shines I head outside to enjoy it. I have booked the builder for the bathroom and I am awaiting delivery of the tiles, bathroom suite, etc... Work to commence next week and we can't wait for the work to be done. I will eventually post pictures of before and after and you may then understand why the work is necessary. I spent this a.m after attending slimming world searching for "moisture resistant mdf" only to buy moisture proofed plywood to go under the floor tiles. Hopefully delivery of everything will go smoothly as the delivery date has been changed once already. I just now have to order a small skip for next week and Bob's yer uncle.

Slimming world today was my first attendance for nearly a month and I am starting today afresh to amend the damage. I consider the last four weeks as an extended holiday and it's now time to move up a gear and crack on with life and a be a bit more disciplined. I have been contacted by a local employer and I am expecting an invitation for an interview for the nursing bank. Hence my need to shift out of holiday mode.
Once the bathroom is done I'll also be free to go off for trips out including my long desired return to Whitby, a trip up to Hadrian's Wall as well as various visits to family and friends. I haven't had any inclination to drive anywhere and the break from driving has been most welcome. No.1 son is still trying to tempt me into buying a motorcycle but I've decided I prefer the comfort of four wheels, a roof over my head and stereo. He got lost returning from Bradford the other night during the monsoon and I spent an anxious couple of hours waiting up 'til 2 a.m. and his safe return. I have no concerns about his abilities but I certainly have concerns about the variety of idiots on the road when it comes to bikes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just remember...

Occasionally it helps to remember where we stand as individuals in the greater scheme of things. It was Scoakats post about the size of the universe that prompted this post. I have spent a day tidying up and clearing up rubbish ready for a trip to the local tip. Stuff that seemed very important and put away until required is rapidly gaining the status of not being that important after all. Just as I put books, clothes and various things in the charity shop pile as surplus to requirement the thought struck me that the same happens to people. I have spent enough time working on wards or in care homes to realise the reality of that for some people. This also tied in with the death of my Uncle who as the oldest in the family provided that link to people who are now forgotten or are names on documents or engraved in stone. Perhaps I now have too much time to sit and think but friends and family are important. I have spent a lot of my life travelling through with the belief that once one has moved on that is it and I have little contact with many of those people. Too late I realised it is a dreadful philosophy to have and an ultimately self defeating one. So although we are small in whatever the scheme of things this life is it is made infinitely better by good friends, by kindnesses to others and by maintaining social networks. Perhaps that is one of the lessons of life as well as not being afraid to dive into life and if we make mistakes... so what. It's life because there is nothing sadder than seeing friends or family afraid to dive in and make new relationships because of the fear of being hurt again. Phew... some synapses sparked into life there and brought this post into being.
The spring clean required a new vacuum cleaner, one strong enough to remove pet hairs as the old one has been defeated by the task over the last two years. Good grief is all I can say... mucky, mucky carpets although they are now much cleaner. Despite grooming the mutt twice a week she still sheds loads of hair. It was also time for worming the little blighters which resulted in the dog vomiting all over the stairs at 4 a.m. Mrs C was not happy and the poor pooch looked woebegone when I eventually surfaced. Poor old beastie, she'll get the best of care now she's in the twilight of her years. I'll return to my cider and reading the kindle whilst there is time to do so. Mrs C has plans for DIY next week involving tiles, paint and other assorted things foreign to my nature.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Phew... what a scorcher!

A short break from the garden during the hottest time of the day as I sip a well earned coffee and enjoy a naughty Toblerone (did I mention my Toblerone addiction?) indoors. It is absolutely wonderful out there with the temperature at 23 degrees Celsius and not a cloud in the sky. The pooch was walked very early whilst it was still cool and already the anglers were out on the river. Shopping completed for a disposable barbecue and sausages, steaks and burgers. Everything done and I enjoyed the next few hours out in the garden, reading or chatting with Mrs C and the neighbours. My first week of retirement completed and just delightful so far.
I received bad news about my Uncle who died on Thursday back in Ireland. He was 86 years old so he had a great innings but ill health finally claimed him. He was a bus driver many years ago in London as well as returning home to Ireland to farm. He was also a great accordion player and a lovely man. Bless him, he finally joins his wife nearly thirty years after she died. That leaves my Dad and one other Uncle on my paternal side of the family from that generation. After a long chat with one of my cousins yesterday I decided I will be going over to Ireland at the end of the summer to see them all.
I also received news about a colleague of mine who has been diagnosed with cancer. I guess it is one of the inevitabilities of ageing, that we hear about the ill health and deaths of people of our parents generation and our own generation. It certainly reinforces my belief that I have chosen the right path in opting for early retirement and a quieter, more balanced lifestyle. I had a shufti at Open University courses and I was shocked at how much they cost now following the governments changes. From a reasonable several hundred pounds they have shot up to £2,500- per course. I will give some serious consideration to whether I do go for one final course to complete my degree, particularly since I have completed more than a third of a Masters degree. However, the latter is in social care and I intend to study further towards local and social history. I'll be returning to part time work later this year so I can afford to study as well as having the time to do it. C'est la vie and it will keep me off the streets and out of Mrs C's hair.

As for the work out back, it is coming on at a fair pace...

The buildings and rubbish all cleared away and over the past week the foundation piles have been going in. A somewhat repetitive thumping plus Radio 1 has not made for peaceful afternoons. I can live with the pile driving but not with the shite music being played. It is fascinating watching the progress made and I am intrigued as to the size and shape of the new buildings going up.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Oops... rather too much cider last night as I realised I could drink on a night when school rules previously applied. Tea and a English breakfast provided the cure this morning.

I had to fit some legs to a new "Tub chair" yesterday evening and I discovered I did not have a single screwdriver fit for purpose in the house. Cue much bad language, sore and raw hands plus a couple of abrasions. I dug through a cupboard and found an old power screwdriver. It didn't work and so an hour to complete a job which should have taken fifteen minutes. Chinese made furniture isn't the best but it was cheap and does the job. Having looked around the house there is a lot that requires attention. The bathroom is top of the list because we still have a leak and it all needs to be replaced. So bathrooms to be explored, pondered over and choices made. I suspect Mrs C will have the final say as my view is if it works and doesn't leak it'll do for me. I might have got rid of one headache but I guess this'll cause me a new one as we trail around the various shops.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Battle of the bulge...

It's been a busy couple of days as I have been sorting out finances and taking stock of what's required around the house. I have decided I don't need a campervan and to stick with my little Suzuki. A tent and other paraphernalia can be shoved in the boot and I can rough it on campsites as and when I go off on trips. I've booked the motor in for a full service and some much needed repairs to the suspension and brakes. I also intend to fit new speakers as the old ones aren't very good. My rationale is that any future commuting to work will be local and the car will be able to cope with that. My plans for a bicycle for local commuting is also on hold as I cannot ride a bike with an inguinal hernia. I'll be on a waiting list for surgery and how long that will take is an unknown (How long's a piece of string!) during these days of rapid change to the NHS.

 I also bought a new laptop and Mrs C has the PC all to herself now. She's a very happy bunny as I grapple with the arcane Windows 8 system... It is bewildering at this moment but I'll get there eventually. It's odd but I feel as though I am on holiday and I have to remind myself that at this moment in time I am retired and not employed in a paid job. It's just a shame the weather doesn't match the holiday feeling. All in all a novel situation to be in and walking around town over the past few days has been an eye opener. Lots of elderly people, students, mothers and kids and unemployed plus the regular local alcoholics and homeless. Having been out at work all day I haven't been aware of this at all. The town centre is busy with people especially when the sun does come out. The dog loves it because she has me at home or is out for walks with me. She's actually losing weight now I have the time to walk her more regularly. I'll also be sorting out stuff to go to local charity shops or to the tip. My step daughter sold a lot of stuff at a local car boot sale so I may also consider that option. Until I am back in regular employment in the autumn I may have to learn about earning money from all of the possible options open to me. If I do car boot I must remember the mantra: don't buy more than I sell!