Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Today I popped out with my trusty camera to what I hope will the first of many visits to old Lincolnshire churches. Despite the weather there was a brief window of dry and blowy this afternoon so I visited St. Botolph's Church, Skidbrooke. A nice easy one to start with although it wasn't my first choice as the first church I visited is difficult to park at so Skidbrooke it is.

A gentle stroll from the parking spot and there was a chaps trimming the grass and generally tidying up. Once he had gone I was the only living soul there, marvellously tranquil and a joy to get outdoors and breathe some fresh air.

The church is empty and sadly attracts idiots who carry out satanic rituals and such like causing damage to the church.

A beautiful 13th century church in a very isolated area and sadly now redundant and open to the elements.

No noticeable atmosphere but I didn't expect anything and I suspect the various tales of ghosts and suchlike consists of the tall variety. At night, in fog or during a storm I can imagine there would be an atmosphere to promote supernatural tales.

It is one of those churches I have passed by umpteen times whilst working and never stopped off except once when I took a brief ten minutes to have a look and promised myself a longer visit.

Many of the grave stones are illegible but some are perfectly legible and I like to read the stones and imagine what their lives were like back then and what they would think of todays world. A quiet agricultural village but not too far from the sea.

There are some graves here for Merchant Sailors with many of them unknown, washed ashore during the second world war. One sailor is named but several are not, very sad but they at least have a resting place.

All in all, an enjoyable hour spent looking around, enjoying the peace and tranquillity away from the current madness of the world and a reminder that they were once as we are and to enjoy life.

My birthday was a quiet one with a few drinks with the immediate family, phone calls and on-line conversations with friends and every now and again, I'd catch myself and think "Blimey! Sixty years you auld bugger!" I have also started the process to pay off the mortgage but the promised email still hasn't arrived and I suspect it will arrive by post. I intend to wrap it up this autumn and pursue part time work as soon as possible. There is a possibility of doing a two year post grad course at work and I expressed an interest but I think I might pass on it. I want a better life / work balance and to pursue my own interests like the above. There are blogs out there like this one or perhaps this website and there was one I followed years ago but have since lost it that was very informative and had great pictures. What I enjoy is the research, the planning and then visiting the site. Not too dissimilar from the research, planning and building models! I hope you are all well and safe during the continuing craziness that is todays world. I intend to enjoy a glass or two of whiskey tonight and relax with a good book as I am now half way through my week off and thoroughly enjoying the rest.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Hooray! It's my birthday and I have reached the magic 60!

I can't quite believe I am now embarking on my seventh decade but in this area I am not eligible for a bus pass yet. I have to wait another six years for that. To celebrate I am having a covid quiet day at home as I begin the process of finally paying off my mortgage...The promised email hasn't yet arrived several hours after I phoned them. I hope this isn't indicative of the process but it does look simple enough and the first step to moving to an easier life. I also received a call from my oldest friend who lives in Switzerland and we have made tentative plans to meet next year in Copenhagen although that might be changed to another European City. We've known each other for over fifty years and were in the cubs together in the late sixties as well as at school together. I had hoped to be doing something very different for this milestone birthday but I'll rearrange it for next year.

Otherwise it is a home cooked chicken penang, diving into some new books and enjoying a couple of gin and tonics and some good music. I am enjoying my week off and having some R & R is definitely required. The photo above was an opportunity this afternoon to catch all four cats together, a rare event but they are obviously all in fine fettle and relaxed in the late September sunshine. Definitely autumnal as they are all in each evening now with the exception of Maisie.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

 Hooray! Holi Holidays are here...I can't really go anywhere but I am pleased to have a break from work and relax. As per usual on my first day off I wake up with a cold but no temperature so it's not that leurgy!

Up early, breakfasted and en famille to the mall for the first time since before the lockdown and after this morning it could well be several months before I return. The indoor market was good for fresh local produce and I poodled off to the local cheapo shop for my second trip out for necessary Birthday weekend booze. I shan't have to leave the house for the rest of the weekend apart from planned walking tomorrow to strengthen my right knee. I also received presents from my Mum including a cheque with a note attached to buy a decent bottle of malt whisky plus a variety of other gifts. I shan't be sixty until Tuesday but given it is Covid 2020 the usual rules no longer apply. If governments can make it up as they go along then so can we!

This little bugler has turned semi feral again and Thursday night she would not come in despite a humungous thunderstorm. We got her in this morning and the pitiful howling eventually stopped after an hour followed by a further few hours of sulking although she enjoyed the fuss we made of her and she remains very affectionate. She's out again now and I suspect we won't see her until quite late when food might tempt her back in. I'll leave it there for today as I hope to get out and about this coming week and have some pictures for the blog. Although it is currently like a monsoon out there but hopefully some dry days next week.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

This weekend nearly summed up by the above photo...It's just missing the various cats who are drawn to the table when I am modelling like moths to a flame.

My right knee is swollen and I am having to rest and recuperate and ready myself for the working week ahead of me. I had started a post about work but I discarded it as it was really very negative and angry. I will give any work posts a miss for the time being as the situation is rapidly descending into a dark farce. I will just add one update and that is we have to now wear surgical face masks in the office! The horse hasn't just bolted but is now a pot of glue and canned dog food and the stable door is part of rebuilt accommodation for retired city bankers.

I am a week away from my birthday and a whole week off from work and I want to do more than sit at home. However, my knee and to a lesser extent my back will limit what I can do and there is the latest Covid 19 lockdown looming with a very real possibility of a second lockdown. Given this I might try out a few day trips to parts of Lincolnshire, dust off my digital camera and explore a few places that I would like to visit. Again, this all depends upon any potential lockdown and the actions of the authorities. It might be that I'll spend the week modelling, reading and staring out at the garden so all very much up in the air.


Friday, September 11, 2020

 A welcome and much needed day off today as I took back some of my time owing as I am full of cold, tired and my right knee gave way on three occasions yesterday. I forgot to wear my knee support for the last two days and it bit me! I suspect when I have supervision next week with the stand-in manager he will ask why I booked this via late notice and we will have an interesting discussion about lack of staff, poor health and ageing, stress and the stupidity of senior managers and targets. I mentioned in comments to my last post that the team has had some interesting and informative discussions about the current situation (SNAFU) and our respective futures. Some people are planning to move on and others are retiring but I suggested my idea of returning to university to study full-time with some limited part-time work to ensure a reasonable standard of living.  One of my colleagues did a Masters in conservation of cultural heritage and we now know why she is careful to earn only so much per annum as she has the student loan to repay. Her advice was very useful and I am researching loans and funding for the next academic year although I might wait until 2022. Much depends on the next several months and I would rather plan carefully in advance and then take the plunge. 

Lincoln University and the Open University both have degrees in Classical Studies and that appeals to me. My focus would be on Latin & Greek language and late / post Roman history, particularly on the changes in western Europe following the break up of the empire. A big change and some consideration needed as I still have Sue and a household to maintain. It's likely I will have to have a further full-time year at work to pay for house repairs, etc...If I chose Lincoln University I would have to consider transport as well so the OU option might be a better one. Student loans are paid off as a percentage of ones earnings and only above a certain annual wage, hence the attractiveness of studying, having the course paid for via the loans which as a retiree in years to come means I am unlikely to earn above that limit. I have noted there is a limit to maintenance loans for over sixties so I will have to earn some money as my state pension is still several years away. I have finally decided that perhaps I should play the system!

Talking of part-time work I will again push my request for this to happen later next year. The team is struggling to find staff and the reputation of poor management and bullying is partly responsible for this.  Hopefully this new manager will tidy things up but it currently feels like too little too late. As a nurse I can join the trust bank and work wherever I am needed which is another option but not one I would particularly like to do. 

The above is the completed (95%) Cant Z501 Flying Boat in Spanish Civil War Nationalist colours. I've completed a few aircraft in Republican colours and I had considered painting it in the following colour scheme...

But I wanted to practice brush painting a silver-grey colour which was ok but somewhat drab in comparison. The next model up on the table is the Messerschmitt BF 109 and this will also be a Spanish Civil War colour scheme. As it is a basic kit I bought some aftermarket brass photo etch to build up the cockpit and other parts. That is a bottle cap and these have to be glued in using cyanoacrylate  or superglue. Multiple tiny parts and superglue plus clumsy fingers is not a good combination!

I limit my time doing this work as it is time consuming and often very frustrating but gives excellent results when it eventually goes together.

It will keep me occupied during this latest stage of magic number 6, covid marshalls (finger men?)  and CV-19 rules dreamed up by the government and applied to the everyday lives of people for a virus that is dissipating and joining all the other corona viruses out there. Given the mask, social distancing and hand washing, how is it I have yet another a cold? Rhetorical question as I know the answers and we should drop the restrictions and return to herd immunity.

Despite all of that I hope you all keep well and have a good weekend.


Sunday, September 06, 2020


This was the state of play yesterday with the modelling but a dry Saturday and day off meant gardening.

Grass cut, some brambles cut back and some weeds removed but I overdid it and my back is letting me know in no uncertain terms it ain't happy. The lawnmower was playing up and I guess the extra effort to push and pull it around caused my back to go again. A sleepless night and pain relief plus a hot water bottle has eased it somewhat but a day confined to a comfy chair and nothing more strenuous than lifting a cup of tea. I had hoped to go out today as weekends in is sending me stir crazy despite the crazy rules / guidance around what is permissible mask wise, etc...The garden is a mess and my plans are to clear a lot of it, replant much of it and get the wall and gate repaired. I'll do the clearance next month and I had been watching bricklaying videos but given the pain and discomfort I'm in I will have to hire someone in to do a proper job. Sue wants a fence in instead of the wall and we had a disagreement about this. We have the bricks already, once repaired and other parts repointed and it should be good long after I've been planted 'neath the sod and I'm just a name on a stone somewhere. Some more stone slabs and a few more large pots with plants in so no more bending / kneeling will be helpful and make it easier to control. 

The above photo shows the photo etched brass parts to add to my next build and these parts are tiny. I question my sanity and certainly my eyesight when I go down this route. The brass needs to be folded and then either superglued or soldered. I use toothpicks to apply the superglue and it turned out to be messy yesterday and not helped when Sherlock joined me on the table. I added more paint to the Cant flying boat but otherwise I have left well alone today as sitting bent over the table isn't good for my back. I'll get back to the next build next weekend and I will try to finish the flying boat over a couple of evenings this coming week. 

My mother's 79th birthday this week and I sent flowers and chocolates which surprised her. I am planning to see her later this year as it will be the first time this year and the CV-19 lockdown scuppered all planned trips. She was invited by her ex-sister-in-law to move back to Ireland and live with her. My mum turned the offer down as she said she has lived in England for the last 63 years and regards England as home. The Ireland she knew has gone and consists of memories only and she no longer travels because of poor health so a holiday was also vetoed. I have to laugh whenever I hear people say how wonderful the Irish are, warm, friendly and open and my mum responds with some very strong language to refute such nonsense. I had offered to take her over there and spend some time travelling with her to visit family and friends but she refused this. She struggles with arthritis and now has poor eyesight and I can well understand her desire to stick with her familiar routine. 

I'm starting the countdown to my own birthday and I still can't believe I will be sixty years old. With the current shenanigans at work I have begun to think more about what I do next as retirement is increasingly attractive and no longer having to deal with the daily nonsense. I am convinced more than ever that psychiatry is bullshit and the current system doesn't help many people. A complete system change is required with a greater emphasis upon the social and psychological interventions and a removal of many of the more spurious diagnoses removed. I have requested a reduction in my working hours next year but that is looking increasingly unlikely. We are in the midst of change with no one seemingly able to predict what will happen next with few staff, morale is low and a temporary manager in situ. All of this against a background of the 'pandemic', competing groups of crazies protesting and an impending financial collapse. When I was a teenager I could not imagine being sixty and I certainly could not have imagined the background to my sixtieth birthday! It will be a quiet one and I have booked a week off work to ensure it remains a quiet one. 


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

 Well, so far so good. I can comment again on other blogs and spotify is as usual slow and annoying but that's standard. I'll see how things go the rest of this week although today at work was hit the ground running and increase velocity as we were five staff down today. The three of us left to run three different clinics, our own and other caseloads plus duty, etc...were very angry as a senior manager ok'd two staff to have the day off without checking out the situation on the ground. I'm afraid words will be said tomorrow...

But that's work and I'm under the illusion I am free until it all happens again tomorrow. I have, much to my surprise, lost another two pounds in weight. I am surprised because I drank a lot of beer on Saturday and ate some full fat sausages over the weekend. But for that it might have been four pounds! I am happy with that loss and I think it's 21 1/2 pounds down now. I'll check my kilos to pounds again but I am very pleased. I'll stick with the gin and slimline tonics as I do better on that but I do feel more energised and I notice the difference when walking now, much better on my poor old knees.

Otherwise I am off out to check on a stray cat nearby for our fb cats group as someone thought it was our Maisie but she is Queening it on a neighbours shed and has been all afternoon.