Saturday, June 27, 2020

Another weekend and a welcome break from the madness of work. It's been a wonderful week with lots of sunshine and temperatures of 25 - 28 Celsius ( mid 80's Fahrenheit) but I've been in the car, on an occasional visit or sat indoors at the desk. Yesterday afternoon and today...rain, rain and lots more rain just appropriate for two days off! An opportunity to crack on with modelling and today this arrived in the post.

I saw it on eBay and considered it for the next two days, did some research and this is a rare kit, discussed it with Sue (it was pricey) and I bought it. It's an old kit (1975) and having rummaged through it and examined it in detail, it will be challenging. As ever, I dived in and tried a couple of pieces and this will keep me occupied for a few weeks as the Whitley build is not yet completed and I want to finish that first. Plus, there is another build on the go and currently boxed away awaiting my attention.

This is the kit awaiting my attention...

It too is an old build with the moulds from 1960 so cheap and cheerful but good fun.

I had hoped to do some walking today following the advice from the Occupational Health interview I had this week. I explained I was doing some daily gentle walks for my back and knee and their advice was "Carry on doing the same". I also have to somehow persuade my GP to interview me so some boxes can be ticked for my manager that I have had medical guidance. Unless it is urgent GP's aren't seeing anyone face to face during this Covid crisis but I still have to talk with a GP. I have also been advised to lose weight so back to fat fighters next week but pain and discomfort is a great motivator!
My back isn't too bad and it clicked during the week I was off sick which is both a comfort and worrying simultaneously. My right knee is a problem as my injury from a few years ago has returned with a vengeance. If I sit too long in one place it seizes up so I have to ensure I get up and walk  every half hour or so. Driving isn't too bad for short journeys but longer journeys could be interesting. I have slowed my pace at work and I have this week refused some extra work my boss was trying to dump on me.  We are short staffed but apparently we have more than enough staff to meet demands and quell surprise, community services currently being audited by some arse polishing a comfy seat far away from reality because the last four months didn't happen!
I think I need some coffee.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

I had started a post about the BLM protests but I deleted it because my core belief has always been violence engenders more violence and is not a solution to the worlds ills. I am not going to offer an opinion about the protests / riots in the USA except to say it worries me when I see what is happening there.

 Over here in the UK the usual suspects are involved in or using the protests (SWP, antifa, etc...) for their own ends and really don't care about other lives at all. I saw first hand on numerous occasions what violence is in Northern Ireland and encountered it again on a couple of occasions in Israel.  Dismantling the police, demanding preferential treatment, attacking the structures of the state and its representatives provokes an equal and possibly greater reaction and sadly that will happen unless some leadership across the board from all parties resolves this peacefully. As for historical far back do we go? I know and talked with some anti-English people in Ireland and over here who are still fighting the battles of 1649 - 51 and 1798, the famine of the 1840's and 1916. It fuels politics and anger still today and I distrust people who offer simple solutions based on aggression. If people aren't convinced that dismantling the police is a bad thing there are plenty of examples in history and post WW1 Germany is one example that comes to mind. The Freikorps and other militia eventually led to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. Is that what people want? 
The idiots using the genuine anger and anxieties of minority groups to further their own ends would also do well from a close examination of Russia 1917 - 1922 and what happened to those deemed enemies of the state by Lenin and Stalin following the civil war. If that's too close to home for their university learnt but reality free Marxist fantasies they could take a gander at the French revolution of 1789. 
One of the general themes from my time at university studying history was dissent and revolution. My saving grace was that I started my degree as a part time student whilst holding down a full time job and at the age of thirty I had some life experience. I also had the experience of trades unions and the politics involved in doing that so I had been exposed to the batshit craziness of extreme leftwing politics. It's why I avowedly avoid both right and left and opt for sensible consensual politics. 
Nobody likes to be called a racist and overt racism is hugely reduced. I have heard the occasional racist remark from individuals but it is rare and can and should be challenged. Over the past few years I have heard an increasing number of anti-semitic remarks and I have robustly challenged that shit. It worries me that that has increased and that people are now being forced into choosing sides because that lays the framework for civil discord and potentially for conflict. 

Meanwhile, more rain and modelling or as Sue calls it 'Sniffin' glue'!

Work so far on the Whitley with some 'sprue goo' laid along the seams which I have now started to sand down. I have behaved myself and not ordered any new models but I have ordered new tools, paints and thinners although I now have the recipe for making my own thinners which will save me money.A bottle of my regular thinner costs me several quid for a 250 ml bottle. The recipe will cost about the same for three litres and the smallest ingredients can contribute to making approximately fifty - sixty litres! I shall look into that next month, order the constituent ingredients and not worry about buying thinners for the next few years. 

I received a text from a work colleague and I have to admit I am anxious about my return to work next week as it does sound like the shit has hit the fan. A work colleague and I use that term loosely, has transferred to another team and dropped the team in it with covering their caseload and other assorted duties. I am glad to see the back of them as they caused nothing but trouble and the complaints about their behaviour from patients, other teams and agencies was pouring in thick and fast. It's left all sorts of headaches but they'll be sorted out eventually. I also have a telephone physiotherapy appointment next week! I will see what happens as I plan to work full time for the rest of this year and as previously stated, I intend to look at my options for next year. With the mortgage paid off this summer and my attempts to encourage Sue to consider changes in our lifestyles it's a definite plan. I again suggested a move to Bulgaria as property is cheap there and life is very affordable on a small budget. Still a no from her! 

                                         An early Fathers day gift from No.1 son!

Now...back to the garden as there is some sunshine. Be careful out there folks and avoid the idiots.


Monday, June 15, 2020

I finally have a week off and time to relax. Admittedly Saturday and much of Sunday was wet so I stayed indoors and focused on modelling. I did manage to nip out into the garden and plant one tomato plant in the raised bed and an aubergine in a separate pot. Both were beginning to take over the kitchen windowsill along with the small cherry tree. That will be the next to go out but the last three weeks of not gardening thanks to work, weather and bad back has seen it once again turn into a jungle.

This is my current build, an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley circa 1940 . The kit itself is very basic, an old mould originally from the seventies or possibly earlier. Just my sort of build as a lot of fettling, scratch building of parts and repairs to bring it to a reasonable level.

Otherwise I shall have a week of gardening, modelling and some gentle walks. I have treated myself to a bottle of Woodford Reserve which was reduced by nine pounds, A Bourbon I hadn't tried before and for the money well worth it. I have been wary of trying new Bourbons because I didn't enjoy Makers Mark when I tried it last year but I am glad I gave this a go. I've not had spirits for a month and this caught my eye.
Today most of the non-essential shops have re-opened and No.1 son and Sue both reported long queues into Freshney Centre, Grimsby's local mall. I joked that once restrictions were reduced there would be a stampede for the shops and lo, there are queues around the block. Astonishing but not surprising as people want to get back to normal but I suspect there will not be a return to what was once normal. But for now, feet up as I intend to relax this coming week and I have a lot of reading to catch up on. I'll dust off my old copy of "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Michael Grant as that looks like a most apposite book for this week.


Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Progress so far on my current build, a Polish PZL-37A in Romanian livery circa 1941 in 1/72 scale.
There is still some work to do but it's not far from completion and keeping me distracted during my current troubles and the on-going world troubles.

I have been looking on-line at suitable cars to get some ideas and I discovered my old Suzuki Wagon-R for sale. I am sorely tempted as I really liked that car and it was tough and generally reliable but realistically it now has 105k miles on the clock and it is now sixteen years old. It still has the dents in it from the drunken morons who attacked it one night.

I'll keep an eye on it but I won't be considering any replacement car until later this year. It will have to be upright and easy to get into with supportive comfy seats for bad backs. It's a bugger getting old! 
Speaking of which I will take my car out for a drive later to see how my back copes with it, plus the cats are running out of food. 


Monday, June 01, 2020

Pinch, punch, first of the month and no returns! It's June 1st and we are now in the summer months...

I am currently off sick as Friday night my back decided it didn't want to work. Lower spine seized up, lots of pain and my right leg refused to move. I had very little sleep that night and Saturday was my final weekend working day which I had to cancel. Pain relief, lots of rest and gentle movement plus the application of a hot water bottle and deep heat applied has eased it substantially. Colleagues have told me to stay off for a few days and properly rest it which I will do. I am taking the view that my health matters more this time round and I am not going to jeopardise it by rushing back too soon.

It was the incident back in February which has caused this problem. Without getting too much into it I was on a visit and a man hanged himself. I had to shin up a ladder, lift him and take his full weight as another person cut him down. Good news is he survived and is well; bad news is that I now have back and right knee problems and last Friday night really shook me up. Being unable to move and struggling to move my right leg was somewhat frightening. I am moving more now and walking albeit slowly and somewhat gingerly but it has improved. A couple of weeks ago I had emailed my manager to ask about the referral she promised to make for physio at the time and I assumed it was CV-19 holding this up. Sadly, I now suspect she did not make the referral so I will chase that up. A colleague and me attended and received fulsome praise from various managers for our actions but bugger all has happened since despite me stating my concerns.

It's also prompted me to consider some changes as I will need to change my car for one that has easier access and egress as well as more sensible seating, possibly an automatic. I will be requesting a new more supportive chair at work and looking at other options for managing my caseload to keep the mileage down once the restrictions are lifted. Funnily enough, the most supportive chair I have at home is the one I use when modelling. I had planned yesterday to put some new plants in, cut the grass and tackle some more of the weeding but that's been postponed for another week. I can manage 30 minutes of bench work with the models and I am being strict with that.

The bus I finally finished yesterday and I am not happy with it but it will do. The aircraft is the Polish PZL 37A which is my current build. It is going slowly but I will have it completed this week as I approach it little and often each day.

Other good news is that I received my annual mortgage statement this morning and there is less to pay off than I thought. For whatever reason I had the previous years figure in my head. Having calculated how much I can save and still leave enough for any emergencies later this year I could conceivably pay it off at the end of August. This will open up opportunities for next year when I intend to reduce my working hours as I will request a move to part-time working, either in my current role or elsewhere. I think the last few months of this CV-19 crisis, the response of various parties and the general public and some of the on-going lunacy generally has confirmed my resolve to spend more time doing the things I want to do. Sue's cancer and now my own health issues has reinforced that view. It's also the realisation that my work colleagues and I have gone the extra miles over the last few months and our manager's response is to try and pile more work on us to meet yet more targets and ignore the evidence that we cannot do any more. Also, that as nurses we were and are working face to face and doing visits, yet most of the doctors with one excellent exception,  most of the managers, all of the social workers and psychologists were and are absent yet are demanding we attend further urgent face to face visits. Then some have the gall to complain some of what we did wasn't good enough! Short shrift was given and there will be some awkward meetings when they return.
Yes, I am angry and the world is changing post virus and for our team I suspect many of us will move on next year, particularly us 'oldies' considering proper retirement plans. Three of us are retirees who have returned.  Growing fruit and vegetables, home brewing and sticking to local activities and initiatives may well be the way forward and attempting to aim for a more self sufficient lifestyle may well be the way forward.
I must away as it's time for a cuppa and some gentle walking to loosen up the muscles and stop me seizing up completely. Stay safe and take care because politicians and the supposed 'great and the good' sure as hell don't care.