Going backwards ? ? ?


I don’t like the Gutenberg Block editor. I feel constrained when adding images by the way I am forced to let the image sit at the top of the block. It’s either left-aligned or right-aligned, but always at the top of the block. It used to be the case that an image could be placed anywhere in the paragraph and the text would wrap around that image. This was most useful, especially if you are writing a longer paragraph and feel the need to add an image halfway down the text. The top of a text paragraph is not always the most appropriate position for an image. Here you can see that the image appears to be embedded within the paragraph, and you can see that it is relevant to the text.

I have tried a number of 3rd party editors much to the disgust of the WordPress mafia, team. who appear to think that the block editor is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Open Live Writer, which was an open-source replacement for Windows Live Writer, was my favourite, but that has not been actively developed for over 5 years. Microsoft Word is good but I need to do a little bit of work to get the display of the post to look correct. However, there is an excellant tutorial on https://weeklyprompts.com/ website/blog (NB: I must re-read this again) along with many more helpful downloadable files.

So, I may have to go back to the Classic Editor, with which this post was written. Any suggestions to the WordPress team/support/forum is met with the classic “Thank  you for reaching out ...” (whoever coined that phrase needs help) followed a day or so later with “We are not currently looking to blah, blah, blah…

I recently tried a Windows app called Net Writer 2. From the information in the Microsoft Store this app “…Net Writer helps you write blogs. WordPress, Movable Type, Livejournal, Google Blogger and MetaWeblog based blogs are supported…”. To be honest, it not worth the time it takes to download. It looks clumsy and dated and has an interface that looks like it has been built by a seven year old.

Interesting (Disappointing) day . . .


Bar3

For whatever reason, our day out shopping on Thursday did not take place. What usually happens is that we go to Wetherby, have a walk around the Market then visit Bar3 for lunch. However, on the past two occasions we were served by new staff, who didn’t seem to know what we would normally have. We like to share a wrap, split over two plates. That way we appear to each get more or less the same salad and chips that a single portion would be. Most of the staff know us by sight, but the new staff were just that, new.

Tesco, rather than Morrisons was the order of the day yesterday. We had it in mind to spend a little time as possible instore then hed off for a bit of lunch at Ego @ The Wellington. It’s been a while since I visited The Wellington, but I must have subscribed to their newsletter as I have been getting an email from them at least once a week.

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However, back to Tesco. I was very dismayed by the number of customers, instore that were not wearing a face covering. I estimate that there was at least 20% of the customers did not even attempt to cover their face! I was also baffled by the 5% that had a covering, but had decided that they only needed to cover their throat, leaving their mouth and nose uncovered. There was even one man that had his face covering over his forehead. Now I know that for some people it can be a very traumatic thing wearing a mask, but I cannot believe that all of those people had some form of medical exemption. Although I may be wrong!

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I’m flitting back and forth here. We finished the shopping and set off to the Wellington. The place looked not too full and there seemed to be a good few empty tables. We asked for a table for two but was advised, that there was a 30 minute wait for a table, and then another 30 minute wait for food. It was bizarre. It was half past one, which meant that we would not even be served until until half past two, which seemed ridiculous. I think it was a trick to get people into the bar for more drinks rather than anything else, although the waiter claimed it was due to staff shortages.

The Inn @ Scarcroft
Frozen Fish ??

We were getting a little hungry by now, so K*** suggested we try The Inn at Scarcroft. We had been a few times, but it had been last year when I last went. No problems here. K*** requested a children’s Fish & Chips (she had had that before, and it was ample for her) and I selected the standard Fish & Chips. I must say, it was very disappointing. Whilst K***’s was real battered fish strips, mine appeared to be a portion of ready battered frozen fish. It should have been Cod, but there was no way I could tell what fish it even was. There should have been triple cooked chips, but they looked just like standard frozen ones. If I we go back, then the Fish & Chips will not be my choice.

Happy(ish) New Year . . .


The Crown

Didn’t get off to the best of starts! We stayed up to see the new year in by watching the annual Jules Holland Hogmany show. It had got to about 00:40 and K*** decided she was too tired to stay up any longer. I thought I would check some emails that had been pinging away since midnight. I fired up the laptop, which I had shutdown earlier. It can often take 5 minutes before the machine is usable, and during this time, I must have closed my eyes. When I opened them again the time was show as 02:50. I had know idea where I was, what I was doing, and wasn’t too sure who I was.

We decided to resurrect our tradition of a News Year’s Walk. K*** quite fancied trying a pub in Boston Spa that had recently reopened. It’s a 5 mile round trip and by the time we got to the pub, we were ready for a drink. The service was appalling! There was only one person serving at the bar, and he was also taking food orders. It took at least 10 minutes to be served but we eventually got our drinks and began to warm to the place. Warm that is, until we decided to have another drink. I’m not sure if it just bad luck, but it again took 10 minutes before I was served. Not sure if another visit is on the cards!

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R***, our youngest had gone back to his care home on the 30th. He usually goes back before New Years Eve as he struggles with the noise of fireworks. In his flat, they can ensure that the noise doesn’t disturb him, which is something we cannot do here as there are usually fireworks being let off most of the night. It works well for all of us and to be honest, he was ready to go back. He was sat waiting in his room, and as soon as his primary caseworker arrived in his car, R*** was downstairs and ready to go. It is really reassuring to know that he thinks of his flat, at the care home as his other home.

Then yesterday, we got our usual daily call (or so we thought) from his care worker, who informed us that because of the rising number of Covid cases in the area, the place was going into a mini lockdown until the end of January. It was not unexpected, and we were just glad he was able to come here for Christmas, and glad he got back. It was around this time last year when the country went into full lockdown, and Rhys was not able to come here for about 5 weeks. The year before we went into lockdown in March and it was July when he was ‘released’ for want of a better word. Then in October 2020 we had another lockdown and we were not sure if he would be allowed home for Christmas at all.

But through it all, he has amazed everybody with how well he has coped and understood. It could have been so different. We are convinced that this is partly due to him having a planner, that shows what days he is where and the team that look after him. They know him and know just how far they can go. Couple that with the fact that he is no longer on any medication for his condition, we continue to be amazed.

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Yesterday also brought some news that was expected. Another member of the team at the cafe where I work has decided to leave. That makes three of my friends leaving in the past three months. It leaves me worried about my position. A*** was at one time the top person in the team. The one to go to for help or advice. An expert in her job as a Barista. But she seems to have fallen out of favour with the management since our new team member started. He is one of those annoying people that will do anything to please. At least he thinks he is pleasing.

Anyway, she is going which leaves only one trained Barista left . The manager can do it, but she is not going to want to work six days a week. So I think it is going to be a big change all round, and I cannot forsee the outcome to be anything but a disaster.

One more sleep . . .


That’s all. One more sleep and then it’s over. Christmas can become a thing of the past until October 2022 then we do it all again. However, we probably will still be paying for it up until Easter. It’s been a wet one for us. No snow, not even a glimmer of a flake. I put it down to the fact that our village is in a dip, therefore, retains some slight warmth. Well, that’s my theory.

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I’m not back at work until 10th January. The owners close for their annual holiday at this time, and although they are not going abroad this year, they still decided to close. It may be something they regret in the near future. There are no new COVID restrictions in England at the moment, but the Government are trying to be popular and are putting the emphasis on personal responsibility rather than a Government diktat. I fear that come the beginning of the New Year, that decision may have to be revised.

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The last time . . .


Now I know that you do not “give to receive”. I know that it’s not a good thing to expect some return when you give something, but an acknowledgement should be the done thing! I’m talking about Christmas cards.

It’s always a bit of an effort for me when it comes to selecting and writing Christmas cards. My handwriting is not the best in the world and I always find it difficult to put a message that doesn’t sound a bit ‘cheesy’. I usually put something like “Best wishes for a great Xmas and a great New Year” which is about as ‘cheesy’ as it comes. But I had a go and took time to write carefully and select appropriate cards.

But to return to the point. Out of the 15 cards I gave to work colleagues, only 2 replied with a card. Another one, I wasn’t expecting to reply as I won’t see them again until the new year. That leaves 12 that couldn’t even bother to respond. Not even with that old cliche ‘We are not giving cards this year … blah blah blah … donating to charity…’ So this year is the last time of giving cards. Maybe.

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On another subject!

I’m considering changing the theme to this blog. No idea what I will choose if, in fact, I do so. I just fancy a change. This will be the fourth change of theme since I started. My current theme is Independent Publisher 2 and the previous ones have been 2015 and 2016. But this is yet another maybe.

Well . . . I survived . . .


Starter
Main

The staff night out happened yesterday. It was a supposedly ‘Italian Christmas Special Menu‘ but it didn’t look too special to me. It seemed to be an attempt to popularise some menu items that they may not have been selling much. I didn’t rate the meal highly, but I suppose it could have been my choices. Starter was ‘Butterfly King Prawns‘ and they were a little bit on the tough side. I followed up with ‘Pollo Milanese‘. This was a breaded chicken breast served with a creamy mushroom sauce. I think the chicken was more than a little over-cooked as it was quite dry and didn’t taste any better than the local ‘Chicken & Chips’ shop. As for the ‘creamy’ mushroom sauce, it was more a ‘greasy’ mushroom sauce that was lacking in seasoning of any kind. But at least the dessert of Tirimasu was excellent.

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Since I became an ‘OAP’ I have had a consessionary bus pass. I very rarely use it, but I thought it would give the perfect reason to leave the party early if I needed to. I have used it a couple of times when we have used the Park & Ride at York. It gives the holder a return journey for the price of a single journey, but yesterday it was free travel all day. By car, it takes 8 minutes, but by bus it’s more like 25 minutes, so it is understandable, why so many people drive everywhere. I have often considered using the bus for work. But the times are awkward. For me to get to work in time to start at 10:30, I would have to catch the 9:27 bus. Whereas if I drive, I don’t need to set off until 9:55.

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We had are ‘family get together and present exchange‘ on Friday. It was another thing that I was dreading. The Americans were coming! K***’s brother married a Californian teacher and moved to America over 20 years ago. They keep coming back, with their daughter every few years to see us and it is usually quite pleasant. However. They are a loud bunch and their loudness seems to rub off on everyone else. It usually seems to end up with people trying to out do each other in the volume stakes.

When I say “Hate” . . .


Hate is a big word that is used a lot these days. I often can be heard to say “I hate Christmas …“I don’t hate it, I just hate all the ‘extra stuff’ that jogs alongside it. You know, things like ‘Celebrity Christmas’ quizzes or game shows. All done for a charity of course, but you kind of know the ‘Celebs’ are not doing it for free. They mainly take part in these shows as a reminder to the public, that they are ‘still around…‘ Still, Christmas only lasts from around the middle of October until January the first, or is that me being a little cynical?

R***’s Wreath

So the cards (what few I’m giving) are written and delivered/posted. The gift for the works ‘Secret Santa‘ has been decided on and purchased. I think nearly all the gifts we are giving this year have been bought and wrapped. Decorations are up. We don’t go overboard, and usually have the same things every year. Youngest came home with a fantastic handmade wreath which he had made himself. Looks amazing and because it is not made from any organic material, it will last for many years to come.

We have decided this year not to give each other a present. I had been thinking about this for a couple of years, although I never mentioned it, but it was K*** that came up with the idea and I had to agree. Seems a little pointless asking each other what we want for Christmas, when we can just go a buy it when we want.

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© citikey
© Wetherby District Lions Club

I’m dreading work tomorrow (as is usual.) I have this idea that the manager is going to insist that staff wear face coverings again. We don’t wear them in the kitchen, but I think she will insist that staff wear one when in the restaurant. That will cause a lot of ‘moans and groans‘ again. It’s understandable that it is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but complaining does not do anything. The cafe is open today as there is a ‘Dickensian Christmas Market’ in Wetherby. They do not usually open on Sunday, but the staff get to dress-up and it’s a bit of fun. I do think they are missing a trick here. Sunday is quite a busy day in Wetherby and to be open, even for just a few hours may prove more profitable than some of the other days. All the other cafes (bar one) in Wetherby are open on Sunday, so competition maybe a little bit stiff, but once word gets around, it could be worth while.

Fingers crossed . . .


My INR value has gone to pot this past few weeks. I had a test at the end of September, which was almost on target at 2.9 (my target is 3 within the range of 2.0 to 3.5). The clinician was very pleased as it had been going either up or down since I had some anti-biotics back in May. I had been getting my INR test every 3 weeks and because it was so good, I was given 6 weeks before the next test. That next test wasn’t good. It had dropped to 2.1, within my range but only just. My Warfarin dose was upped a little and was due back in 4 weeks. That happened on the 1st of this month and lo and behold, the rate was up to 3.7. So the dosage was changed again and I’m back again on the 15th of this month. Fingers crossed that it will be where it should be.

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Annoyingly, three days after booking my COVID booster jab, and moaning that there was nowhere local offering them, I received a phone call from my GP’s surgery. They wanted to book me in for my booster. I explained that I had booked elsewhere, but would cancel if they could jab me sooner than the 9th. “Oh no!” was the reply, “We would be looking at around the 20th …” It seems that they are a couple of weeks behind, which doesn’t sound so good.

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It’s beginning to get very close now. I’ve just finished writing my Christmas cards. There are not as many as there used to be and I’ve decided to only send them to the people I want to send greetings to. In the past, I would send them to everybody I knew. It cost a fortune to send and you knew that most of them would end up in the recycling bin by New Years Day. I don’t send to receive, but can be a little disheartening when made an effort and you don’t get a reply or even a response.

I’m a bit of a Grinch or a ‘Bah Humbug’ type when it comes to Christmas. The whole idea and meaning of Christmas seems to have been lost over the years. I hate how the TV ads start to appear towards the end of October, which is probably only a few months after you have finished paying for the previous years celebrations.

Changes . . .


Things are changing at work. We are a couple of members of staff down due to them leaving the job. We don’t seem to be able to recruit anybody to replace them. So there are the beginnings of thoughts to close the cafe for two days instead of the one. At the moment we are closed only on Sunday. It’s my belief (and one or two others) that Monday will be the second day to close. This will affect me, as I only work Monday and Tuesday. I’ve been asked if would be willing to change a day and work on Thursdays instead, which I have said I cannot do.

When I applied for the job, I made it clear that I could only work Monday and Tuesday and possibly an occasional extra day if they were desperate. At the time, I was having my INR test every 3 weeks on Wednesday. Thursday was the day K*** and I had our day out, and often we had meetings with R***’s care managers on Thursday. And then R*** would come home every weekend on a Friday, so that made Friday and Saturday impossible.

So it does look like I may be losing a day’s work, which to be honest, I’m not going to miss that much.

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Finally got our COVID Booster jabs sorted. I say finally because it’s been a bit of a struggle to get a date. My invite came through about a fortnight ago, and we decided to wait until K*** got her invite before we booked, so we could both go together, which made more sense than having to make two separate journeys.

There were some serious issues when we tried to book. There is nowhere local to us! The nearest was about nine miles away. When K*** looked at her options, the list was showing locations different from mine. Again, like with my work, there were only certain days when I\we could go. We eventually managed to get booked for 9th December. It makes a total mockery of the Governments pressure to get the booster if there are not enough centres and dates available. We have two ‘Health Centres’ within 5 miles of our home, but neither of them are vaccination centres which seems crazy to me.

Sometimes . . . Grrrr


There are occasions when Microsoft Windows will make life so difficult that murder becomes an attractive option. I can usually have a go at fixing a problem when I know what the problem is. But then there are times when even knowing the problem leaves you in the dark when trying to fix them.

Windows 10

Today was one such occasion. It started yesterday evening when my laptop informed me that Windows needs to restart to complete the latest update. I like to get things like that out of the way as soon as possible, so I did the required restart and cracked on with some other stuff I needed to do.

It became apparent after about 40 minutes that something was amiss. The screen showed the usual blue update screen warning me not to turn my computer off as it was ‘working’ on the updates and was at 0%. Twenty minutes later, it was still at 0%!

It was then that I took drastic action and put my laptop into ‘sleep mode’. Upon waking up again everything seemed fine until it got stuck again 10 minutes later. A bit more sleep mode and then the update finished. By this time it was getting late and I decided that I needed to go into ‘sleep mode.’

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SFC.exe

This morning new problems appeared. Everything was running very slowly and some applications were simply refusing to open. I remembered from my previous job that if there was a problem, I should run the “System File Checker” (sfc.exe). This would find the problem and I could then look for a solution. It took about 2½ hours to run, but the system still seemed slow. I was contemplating how I could explain that I needed a new machine when a pop-up occurred telling me that ‘Windows needs to restart …” again. A quick look in the update settings told me that the previous update had not been installed.

Once again I restarted my laptop and after a good 30 minutes, I was back up and running. This time everything was back to normal speed and all the applications were behaving themselves. I’m thinking that yesterdays update file was corrupted somehow and a new version of the update fixed everything. But who knows?

Holiday over . . .


So, we had a couple of nights away this week for our wedding anniversary. We were based in Clapham, North Yorkshire and didn’t move very far from there. On the first day, we stopped off in Settle as it was market day, and we always like a good market. It is a pleasant town with some nice shops and a couple of nice pubs.

The New Inn

We were booked into The New Inn in Clapham, but could not check-in until 3pm. We arrived at the hotel just after 2:30 with the idea of having a drink in the bar before going to our room to unpack. However we were shown straight to the room, so we didn’t bother with the drink. It was a nice afternoon so we had a brief walk around the village. To be honest, there was not a lot there and it didn’t take up long.

The evening meal was good, and we sat in the bar area for a while, before deciding to go up to our room. It had been a long day, and we were both asleep my 10:00pm.

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The next day, we went to the village of Ingleton. We went with the sole intention of visiting the Ingleton Waterfall Trail. K*** had read all about and it was only 4½ miles round walk, averaging around 2½ hours, so I thought it would be a nice paced walk. How wrong was I? Basically, the first 3¾ miles consisted of steps going up and down and up and down the side of the valley. The steps were not bad in some places, but in many areas, parts of the path had worn away over the year leaving some really big steps. It took just under 4 hours to complete the walk in the end. The waterfalls, however, were epic and it was worth the effort just to see them.

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Back to work on Monday, and I cannot say I’m looking forward to it. The strangest thing is, that when I get there I love the job. The people that I work with on those 2 days are great, it’s just the thought of lifting the dishwasher tray continuously for 6½ hours that kind of fills me with ‘dread!’

No excuse this time . . .


The title refers to the Christmas staff night out. Just after the last night out in September, I ‘predicted’ that the date would be the 18th of December, which is the last Saturday before Christmas. The manager confirmed that the 18th would be the night. Over the past years, our youngest has been at home on the nights they have chosen, which gave me the perfect reason not to go. As I have explained before, I’m not one for social events and dislike eating out with a number of people, that are not family.

With the youngest (RH) now only coming home every fortnight instead of weekly, the 18th falls on his weekend away. Hence ‘no excuse this time.’ It was okay last time, but this time it will be a little different. Two of the people that I got on well with, have now left and won’t be going, but the three people that I cannot stand are still there and will be invited. All the others, I can take or leave them.

It looks like we will be going to the local Italian for their Christmas menu, then on to a local function hall for a ‘Disco’! I think I can just about manage to cope with the meal, but dancing !!! Not these days.

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DST

Thursday was a difficult day. It was the day of the youngest son’s funding review. For the past 10 years his placement has been fully funded by Continuing Health (CH). It’s part of the NHS that provides social care for adults who need full time care and assistance. There are now question that are being asked is whether CH should be fully funding this or whether the Local Authority should part fund the placement. This meant, that we had to got through a process called the Decision Support Tool or DST to identify who funds what.

It was very distressing, as RH has not ‘got better’ he is still Autistic and still needs the support he has been getting. What is different is that since the pandemic started RH has become a lot more receptive to changes that have occurred. This has been mainly down to the core team that work with him. The things he has done with them would not have seemed possible five years ago.

He has been to Centre Parcs for a few days, then a week ago he was at LegoLand, Brighton and walked the street of Central London, which was amazing.

Not lackadaisical honestly . . .


Bored

I tend to write blog posts when something comes to mind. It could be on a trip out, or something in the news, and even an event at work. This leads to a rather haphazard approach to my musings. So there are times when I may post a couple of times in a week and then miss a week or two before my next post. This has recently been the case. There has just not been anything that I felt a need to express an opinion about. I could have possibly had a groan about the fuel crisis, but that is of our (their) own making and it will sort itself about.

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Our youngest son is Autistic and lives for 11 days out of 14 at his residential care home near Barnsley. He has his own flat, decorated the way he wants it and is very happy there. He comes to us every other weekend and he looks forward to that. Equally, he looks forward to going back on the following Monday. Yesterday was one of the regular “Multi-Disciplinary Team” meetings and we are always invited. It is basically a way of us getting to know what is happening in the future with his care and to get to know his support team more.

Only went for a carrot

Afterwards, K*** decided that there were a few things we needed, so a trip to Tesco was the next order of the day. We didn’t need much as I had done our usual weekly shop on Monday, but there were a few things we needed for the weekend. Of course, without a list (I always have a list of some kind) things kept appearing in the trolley. In the most, they were things that we did need only we didn’t know we needed.

New hat

I did get a new hat though. It was half price, and I do like to wear a hat sometimes.I have a number of caps, an extensive collection of beanies (homemade), a couple of Panama’s and a couple of fedoras. But this one was a little out of the ordinary for me. It should have been £10.00 but at half price and K***’s staff discount, it brought it down to £4.00. Bargain! As soon as it was paid for, I wore it and I have to say, for the first wear, it was quite comfortable and I think I will get a lot of use out of it.

It was okay . . .


The much dreaded “Works Night Out” went better than expected. One of my colleagues, who is also a neighbour and a good friend offered to take me and bring me home. Her husband would be driving and was going to pick us up to come back about 11pm. I had said I would be going on the bus, which meant I could leave at 10:15pm, but I decided to stay and take my friend up on the lift. The only real downside, was that one of our team (the guy who does my job on the days I’m not there) had been in the pub since finishing work at 6pm and was a little bit merry. He is a loud person anyway, but he seemed to get louder and louder as the evening wore one.

This leaves me concerned, that I might actually enjoy the Christmas night out, because I can’t see me getting out of that one this year. That is if social gatherings are still allowed to continue given the current worries about COVID-19

Spend, spend, spend . . .


Usually, when I finish work, I would either ring or text my wife to ask if we need any shopping getting. It’s easy for me, as I have to pass Morrison’s when I leave the car park. In a change to the usual, my wife rang me and said that I didn’t need to go shopping as she was in Tesco. The only thing I knew we needed was milk and she said she would get some. So, the few things we needed for today, totalled over £60.00.

Fast forward to this morning and went to get the milk for my cereal. No milk. She had completely forgotten. I’ve done it often. It’s so easy if you don’t have a physical list. So, rather than pay the exorbitant price at the local shop, we decided that I should go to Morrison’s as I could get some cans of beer for the weekend. The final total for today’s shop … £44.60, making it the most expensive 4 pints of milk ever.

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Saturdays sees a works ‘night out.’ It’s not something I am looking forward to. I don’t really like socialising with colleagues. In fact, I don’t like socialising full stop. We are meeting at the cafe for ‘drinks’ then onto a local Indian restaurant, then finish the night off at a pub in the town centre. There are a number of problems with this: 1, I’m not keen on genuine Indian cuisine (never know what to order); 2, it means driving, so the drinks are off the menu and 3, I generally hate eating with people that are not family. But it looks like I’m going to have to bite the bullet this time. I usually say that I don’t like leaving the youngest at home with my wife on her own. He can get aggressive if the internet goes down and would need help. It doesn’t happen at all these days but was always a good excuse. But he is away this weekend, so my only excuse has gone. It also looks very much like, I’ll need to go to the Christmas night out too. Oh the stress of it all

It’s been a few days . . .


After the last ‘rant’ I thought I would leave this alone for a few days to calm down a little.

So, work was a little easier this week. The main chef was off, so the owner stepped in for the full week. He usually only cooks on Friday and Saturday, with the main chef (I shall call him “A”) doing Monday to Thursday. ‘A’, is a bit of a perfectionist, who doesn’t take kindly to being, as he calls it “messed around.” What he seems to hate is people who will take a look at the menu and then ask for something that is not on it, usually with the phrase ‘… if that is possible?’ Or ask for something that is on the menu, but would like it cooked a little differently. We had one customer, that asked for a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato sandwich) off the menu but they wanted it without the tomato! And when the checks mount up he gets even more stressed and we all feel the pain.

The owner on the other hand (call him ‘P’) is more laid back. He seems to have the attitude that says “… if you want it cooked fresh, then you have to wait!” This makes for a happier day. The volume of work stays the same but feels easier.

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On Thursday, we forgo our usual trip to Wetherby for a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. For those that are unaware, this is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture, set within the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. It houses within the grounds, many sculptures from renowned artists such as Barbara Hepworth and Damien Hirst. I’m not a fan of the latter as I just don’t like his work. It was a good day, and the weather was not too hot. I managed to get a few photos.

The “Random Cow” was not a sculpture. We think that the gate to the nearest field may have been left open and it just wandered in. It wasn’t harming anyone but was just a funny thing to see.

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This weekend sees the return of the Leeds Festival to Bramham Park. It runs in conjunction with the Reading Festival and has been coming to Bramham for more than ten years now. The main issue with it is the disruption to traffic. Some roads are closed and those that are open are very busy and slow on the few days before the Festival opens and the day it closes. On Friday I drove back from Wetherby to home, in the village, and it took me nearly 40 minutes for a 4½ mile journey. Although we know this will happen, it does get a little frustrating. This road is usually a 50mph road, but for the duration, the limit is reduced to 30mph. However, this does not seem to apply to a number of drivers, who think they can just ignore the limit. The police were out in large numbers, but they never seem to catch these idiots.

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Some of you may (or may not) notice a slight change to the blog theme.

I am now using the Independent Publisher 2 theme. Prior to this week, I was using the original Independent Publisher theme, which I understand has been withdrawn. This does look a little different in some ways, the header image is larger and the widgets have moved to the right hand side, but I’m quite happy with it (for the present)

Only if I have to . . .


I had to go to Leeds today. Mrs H was having some treatment for her bad foot. She would have normally gone on her own, but she wasn’t allowed to drive for four hours after the treatment, so I was the chauffeur. Since taking early retirement (or voluntary redundancy to give its proper title) in 2016, I have only been to the City centre once. We went to see a film and a meal and I hated it. There were people of all ages sitting in doorways of shops that had closed. Sat in sleeping bags with bottles of cheap wine at their side. All seemed to have some kind of dog with them, which I assume was for security, but it may have been to expose the compassionate nature of the gullible passer-by. I said then that I would only go back to Leeds if I had no choice.

When you work in a place, you do not tend to see the actual area. You move from place to place to fulfil your tasks, without stopping to ‘take in the view’ so to speak. On this occasion and the previous visit, I was able to take in what was happening in the City. It was not pleasant. Today we parked up near the Leeds General Infirmary. Mrs H was having some treatment at the Nu****ld hospital on Leighton Street.

Next to where I was parked, is a homeless shelter, which has been there for over 50 years. It has always been the same. Frequented by alcohol and drug dependents, it is not a particularly salubrious area, but it serves a purpose. When I worked at the hospital, the place catered for around 7 or 8 people. Now, as I understand it there are in excess of 30 people that use the shelter, and a lot of them spill out onto the streets outside. I saw at least 4 young people today, at 09:30 drinking beer. Not cheap supermarket beer, but quality stuff. Although I don’t know or appreciate their circumstances, it does make one feel more than a little uneasy.

Bit of DIY . . .


I’m looking for a couple of pieces of Meccano to fix the back panel on my computer desk. The desk does not come with a back panel, but some time ago I used an old scrap of hardboard, together with a strip of wallpaper to cover the gap where a panel should be. It works, up to a point. The only issue I have is that I need to get behind the panel from time to time. This effectively means that it cannot be a fixed panel and as such, it tends to fall backward and looks untidy.

The solution I have come up with uses a couple of Meccano fishplates, two screws, and two 3mm washers. The plates would be able to swivel a little enabling me to remove the panel whenever needed. I have hundreds of Meccano parts, but they are hidden away in the loft somewhere and could take a few days to find. I’ve looked online and there are pieces to be had, but either the price is prohibitive (one seller wanted £25.00 for two ‘antique’ parts) or the postage is so high. Either way, they are far too expensive for the job. A trip into the loft looks on the cards

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Work tomorrow! When I started this job, my initial intention was to work for a couple of months whilst looking for something a little more sedate. I was thinking I might find a part-time office type job or maybe even work from home typing up letters and things. It soon became obvious that those types of jobs do not exist anymore. The next plan was to continue until I reached state pension age then fully retire. That didn’t happen and the problem with that idea was that I’m used to the extra money. It pays for the few luxury (essential) items such as wine and whiskey that we enjoy 🤣. There is also the worry that K***’s job, like many others is not as secure as it was 18 months ago

Nervous week . . .


It had been a busy start to the week at work. The cafe had been full on Monday which resulted in a later than normal finish. Tuesday was quieter, but we had a few customers that turn up five minutes before we close. They just sit for ages chatting whilst the staff are running around them putting tables away and generally tidying up. So that was another late finish.

The next day the eldest, his partner, and our granddaughter came for lunch. They usually arrive just after the young one has had a sleep. This often means they don;t arrive until about 2pm, which as they go swimming first makes lunch happen around 3pm. By that time, any feelings of hunger have dissapeared and the food just outfaces me. But it was a very pleasant afternoon.

Thursday morning started with a jolt. I received a message from a colleague who is also a neighbour advising that I do a lateral flow test, as another colleague who was working on Monday had tested positive for COVID-19. It was devastating news, as it could have massive consequences for us all. My test was negative thankfully and so was the repeat test on Friday. Another test this lunchtime showed negative again, so I guess I got away with it.

It’s reduced hours at the cafe this week, because of staff shortages. One is on holiday and two are self-isolating, so we are down to three staff on the floor. It’s going to be a long week for them I think.

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I’ve not been following the Olympics much, as I don’t think they should have gone ahead, given the way the pandemic is going in Japan. But with so many Leeds athletes taking part, you kind of get swept up and carried along. Especially when one of the athletes (Jessica Learmonth) is from the same village and has done so well.

It was also good to see the Diver, Tom Daley sat poolsside watching, whilst doing some knitting. He is well known for his knitting and I understand that he is quite acomplished. The only thing that slightly bugs me is that the only male knitters that you see are from the LGBTQ+ communities. Why are all the ‘straight’ male knitters hiding. I know they exist, as I’m one of them, but you never hear of them. If you go back in time to the Middle Ages it was predominately men who knitted. I’ve knitted on and off since my Grandmother taught me at the age of around 6 or 7 years old.

Kids . . .


So what is it with kids and Supermarkets? I had to go to the local Aldi on Sunday. The car park was full and upon entering the store, I was amazed by the sheer number of children with their parents. The typical scene was two parents and two children. But one family had the female (presume mother) pushing a twin push-chair, male (presume father) pushing the food trolley with a child in the seat and surrounded by three other children. Two of the children had scooters and the third brat was kicking a football. Why? Why do they all need to go to the supermarket? It is totally beyond my comprehension.

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I am a member of the social network called nextdoor. I don’t often look at the messages/notifications and have most turned off. I’m not really interested in saying ‘hello’ to all and sundry, so I only have the emergency and urgent notifications turned on.

On Monday, I had just got home, around half past five, when a notification came through on my phone. The message was basically this: A mother posted that her children were ‘paddling’ in the river, when she noticed some young men on the bank opposite watching the children. She also claimed that they looked of ‘Indian descent’

Firstly, I asked myself, “What does a person of Indian descent look like?” Were they carrying the national flag of India? Were they dancing to some Bhangra music? Or was it just that the shade of their skin was ‘Indian’ as opposed to the shade of any other Asian country. My second question was, why did this ‘caring’ parent allow her children to play in open water? There have been a number of deaths this last weekend directly related people trying to ‘cool off’ in rivers and lakes.

Again, on my way home, I saw many children playing in the river Wharfe at Wetherby, with their parents watching. So irresponsible in my mind.

Not really my style . . .


A few months ago, after reading this blog, a friend made the suggestion that I might want to have a go at creating either a video blog post (Vlog) or an audio blog post (podcast). After I had finished laughing, I tried to explain my reasons for not wanting to go down this line:

“I don’t have any recording equipment!” was my first line of defence. “You have a smartphone!” was the response.

“I wouldn’t have sufficient space on my WordPress account for audio/video files!” was my riposte. “Just create a link to a shared area on your One Drive!” came the return.

At that point, I made an excuse and logged off the app I was chatting on.

The main issue is with both a Podcast and a Video blog, is that I know what my voice sounds like. In my head, I sound like a young Charles Dance. In reality, my accent is quite broad(ish) and I sound like a poor man’s Fred Truman, which makes me feel a little self-conscious. So I don’t think you will be hearing from me in that sense, any time soon. Although … I did get a phone tripod, just in case.

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The path to “Lock-down … episode IV” has begun. I was shopping for a few essentials (wine, beer, gin etc) in a local supermarket. Ninety per cent, of the shoppers were continuing to wear a face mask as requested. But I could not help noticing five or six customers that seemed to think that pulling the neck of their T-shirts over their mouth would work. The fact that as soon as they reach out to take something off the shelf, their mouth becomes exposed seemed to have little or no effect.

I fear that these next few weeks are going to be ‘make or break’ in this pandemic. Of course, the Prime Minister cannot lose here. As the Government appears to have abandoned responsibility and forced that responsibility onto us, he is in a ‘win-win’ situation. If everything goes well after the great ‘unlocking’ then he will be the Hero of the day. However, if the whole thing goes pear-shaped, then it will be our fault for dodging our own personal responsibilities.

Did you see the game ?


That’s the question that should be on everybody’s lips tomorrow. However, I think the question will be “What did you think of the game?” There is this belief that every English person will be either glued to their TV sets, or in the pub, or at an outdoor venue. If you say something like “I’m not really bothered about football, then you are somewhat ostracised and made to feel odd. Many millions of people will watch the football today and so they should if they so want. It will on the TV here, but like the last two England games, I won’t be really taking much notice.

The thing is, I only tend to like the sports that I can do and have played. So things like cricket and squash, even though I was never very good are up there on my ‘favorite’ list. Darts and snooker were ‘sports’ I was okay at, together with cross-country running. The problem was (and still is sometimes) my height. At 5′ 4″ (1.62 metres) I was never going to good at the type of sports, I was expected to play at school, and so never developed a liking for.

But I hope England does well, and I sincerely hope that this is not another ‘super-spreader’ event.

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2021 part two . . .


Well, here we go with the second part of the year, and I expect that there will not be much of a difference from the first half. It’s highly likely that our indecisive and inglorious ‘leader’ will change track again. This will lead to more and more people ignoring the current Covid rules and quoting the actions of the last Health Secretary as their reason. Covid cases are rising again and although the vaccine seems to be preventing the worst, hospitalisations are beginning to slowly creep up. You only have to look at the crowds at the England v Germany football match to see what will happen over the next few weeks. Daily reported cases in the UK were (at 02/07/2021) nearly 23,000 which is double the number for the same time last week. Even though the number of related deaths is extremely low, it is a worrying trend.

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It was hair-cut time again. Well it was haircut time about two weeks ago, but it is trying to fit it in when the barbers is not busy. Wetherby was quite busy today, but the barbers had nobody waiting so it was a quick trim and I was out. It was all the result of my son and granddaughter not coming to visit that led to me having a bit of a free day. I’m saying ‘free’, I still was able to squeeze a couple of jobs in.

We have a print that K*** wanted fixing to the garden fence, to brighten it up a little. So a few weeks ago, I fitted to the fence, and it looked really good. Then it rained a little and K*** noticed that some of the colours had started to run. It needed some protection. Only thing I could think was to give it a coat of external varnish. Of course I didn’t have any, but I noticed a special offer on ebay that had tins of Yacht Varnish spray at a reasonable price. If it’s for yachts I surmised, it must be waterproof. So masked and goggled I gave it a couple of sprays. It will need one more spray tomorrow, but I can do that when is screwed back to the fence.

A little stressful . . .


The youngest is with us this weekend. He came home on Friday morning for his fortnightly visit. This is always a little stressful for us. The reason being, that before he can come home, we have to have a negative covid-19 test. His residential care home have provided us with a quantity of testing kits and we do our test first thing, then contact the care home and let them know it is negative. We have to go through the same procedure again on the Monday morning, before he is allowed to return.

It was very worrying when we first started the test. We were concerned that we were not doing the test correctly and even more worrying that the test would show positive. After a couple of tests we became quite familiar with the procedure, but there was always that nagging feeling that one or both of would show positive either before he comes home or before he returns. It is now even more worrying as things start to open up more and people seem to more relaxed about social distancing, that the chance of a positive reading is possibly greater now than it was a couple of months ago.

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We went for our, now usual lunch on Thursday at Bar3, a local Coffee, Bar & Kitchen (as it is called) bar in Wetherby. Neither of us can face a whole meal, so we tend to share a wrap or a panini and have it split over two plates . They don’t seem to mind this as a few couples do the same. The café where I work tend to frown on ‘sharers’. The boss sees it as lost income, but surely it is better to have two people share a meal, than have them go elsewhere? Some people do push it a little too far though. Three people came in on Tuesday that had been in before. They decided they wanted to share a Greek Salad. In my opinion the salad is too much for one, about right for two but not enough for three people. The boss was not happy about three sharing and told them that she would have to make a charge for using the cutlery and extra plates! She was even a less happy person when they said they wouldn’t bother and left.

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Coming back to the testing thing. On Saturday morning, the post arrived and the was a letter with the NHS (National Health Service) logo on the front. I’ve been waiting for a while to be contacted as I have a problem with arthritis in both knees. Back in late 2018, I had an X-ray on them and I was told that the Dr’s would be in touch. At the end of January 2020, I received a letter explaining that appointments have been delayed and I would be informed about my condition as soon as they were able to confirm a date.

The about three months ago I received a letter, from the Government department, DoHSC (Department of Health & Social Care) inviting me to take in an “Important Survey” to would supposedly ‘help the Government avoid outbreaks of COVID-19″. My name had been picked out at random from many thousands to take part. I read the letter and decided that I didn’t want to take part. I have enough to deal with these days without having to take part in ‘voluntary’ studies. I shredded the letter and thought that would be the end of it. at the beginning of May, I got a reminder letter, again asking me to take part in the study. another letter for the shredder. The letter on Saturday was my ‘final’ reminder.

I couldn’t help thinking, where do they get the resources to send out three letters to someone who obviously is not interested (I would have actioned the first letter if I had been). And, why use the postal system, when they have my personal email address that the Dr’s surgery contacts me by. But then at the end of the day, it’s not the NHS that is doing this. It’s the DoHSC in conjunction with a London college and a company that specialises in surveys and polls.