I’ve had to do a couple of shopping trips in the past week. Just the essentials, wine, whiskey beer etc etc. I have been amazed at how my local Aldi has got their head around the ‘panic buying’ that we have seen reported. Shoppers queuing outside keeping two trolleys apart. They were operating a “10 out, 10 in” policy and it was working fine. People just seemed to be getting on with it. One funny moment though … an oldish guy turned up on his mobility scooter and started asking “Can I queue jump?” He asked a couple of times before the elderly lady behind me called out “No you can’t … join the queue like the rest.” She then explained that she knew him and it wasn’t his scooter. and that he wasn’t as disabled as he purported to be.
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Morrisons and Aldi today, and although they had got a queuing system in place, it was quiet and not really needed. Aldi still was operating the same system as before, but again it was very quiet. Only thing that I couldn’t get was plain flour and the obligatory loo rolls. I understand, that it is due to the fact that they can be used as paper handkerchiefs.
The thing that struck me most, was how nice people were being. No pushing or shoving. Everyone giving way to everyone. Most people keeping the 2 metre distance. However, the only people that seemed to not have a clue, seemed to be ‘old’ people. Old as in over 70 or so they seemed. One couple in Morrisons today did not seem to be aware of the 2 metre rule and gave me the oddest of looks when I asked them if they could move back a little.
Funniest thing of the day was when I was looking for plain flour. Morrisons had a few bags of own brand and a couple in front of me were looking at the shelf. Her husband said “There’s some!” His wife’s reply was “We don’t buy that type!” To which I relied “I do!” and plonked the offending object in my trolley.
The other funny thing I heard to day was a new word that has slipped into the British language. We had ‘Brexit’ now we have “Covidiots” Hate this ‘made-up-word’ stuff. I think it cheapens the British language somewhat.
I find more than a little ironic that a couple of months ago, parents were being demonised. Their kids were using their smart phones to chat with their friends instead of having face-to-face conversations. Condemned for allowing them to sit in their rooms with their tablets and laptops. Now look at were we are at. Kids cannot meet-up with their friends to do homework, play or even just talk. No, now its all changed, and now parents are being lambasted for doing the opposite of what the experts have been telling them for the past few years.
This virus seems to have turned the world on it’s head. I remember reading that we are now a nation of on-line shoppers and that this was having a devastating effect on the high-street. Now we are finding that the high-street is shut and have to turn to on-line shopping. I’m not sure how many, if any independant grocers or vegetable shops are open, but if any are, I cannot see them staying open much longer if the staff start falling ill. So supermarkets are now the good guys.
On another point, the postman has just delivered today’s post. This consisted of a bank statement, a birthday card, and a couple of letters. But what I find unacceptable, is that also included with what might be important information was two leaflets for house renovations and a ‘news-letter’ advertising local restaurants! Surely this kind of stuff is not necessary. I also notice that television advertising are still showing people getting together in pubs and restaurants. There was even an advert for a well known burger chain that closed it’s stores the day before the advert was shown!
Well my little part-time job in the local cafe has gone. Hopefully just for the time being. It wasn’t the most intellectually challenging work I’ve ever done, ‘Pot Washer/Kitchen Porter/Kitchen Assistant’ but it was a small friendly place that got me out of the house for a couple days a week. I say ‘hopefully’ because you never know what pressures small business owners have in keeping their business open. I suppose one of the dangers is that the owners will just give up, call it a day and that is my worry now. If the shutdown goes on for too long then maybe the staff will think the same. It has crossed my mind. I was aiming to hang my apron up just before by State Pension date in April 2021, but that may have to change.
K*** has gone off to work and she is not looking forward to it. She works part-time in a large supermarket and has seen first hand the chaos and bitterness this virus has caused. It’s the staff that are getting the blame for the shortages and it can get dangerous in some cases. I can understand a little about ‘panic buying’ and stock piling. When you see someone buying up packs and packs of toilet rolls, you begin to think, maybe I should do the same. But what I don’t get is some of the things people are stockpiling.
I needed to get a few things on Friday and went to a nearby S********s. It was only bread, eggs and a bit of veg that we wanted, but I passed an elderly couple pushing a trolley. There wasn’t much in the trolley, but they were discussing how many bottles of ketchup they needed. As I ‘ear-wigged’ it came to light that they already had two bottles, at home and were a bit disappointed that they were only allowed to buy three. They were actually thinking about coming back later in the day and getting some more. How many bottles of ketchup do anyone need? Crazy! I do think that the rationing most stores are doing, should have been started a month ago though.
I was now back as a full time help-desk operator and I’m struggling. I had been more or less thrown in at the deep end. I had explained before I went into hospital, some 4 months previous, that I was going to need to retraining. But when asked again I was told that there was no individual training. The Government cuts to the Councils budget was beginning to hit hard and the only training that was available was the old school “sitting with Nellie!’ Now this would have been fine if so called ‘Nellie’ had any sort of patience. This ‘Nellie’ was the colleague that wanted the job that I got, so you can imagine that there was a little bit of animosity going on.
I plodded on through the next couple of months and managed to let colleagues believe that I knew what I was doing. In reallity, I was bluffing it. There was a few things that I did know, but these were the easy things that I tended to miss. One of my colleagues realised what was happening and began to take me under their wing. She pulled out a lot of training manuals and told me to ask if there was anything I needed. I found out months later, that she had been asked to help me by the service manager. I was still struggling, but it was starting to get easier.
Then came the Christmas shutdown. That’s when the Council made non-essential office staff take leave from Christmas Eve to January the 2nd. But, just before that holiday, I was told that I was to be working on another project. I was to be part of the Waste Collectors team (bin men). The Council were developing some software to monitor the amount of waste that householder put in their waste bins. I was transferring back to the office where I had been working for years in the Parking Service. I had come home.
The project should last a year and I was back amongst real (sic) friends.
Today the new flooring goes down. We are having a laminate floor put on top of the old floor in the conservatory. In a marked contrast the the “Sparks” that came yesterday, there has been a lot of ‘tut tut‘, ‘Oh dear‘, ‘That’s not good‘ and a fair amount of head shaking! I hadn’t realised when the boss came to give us a quote, what a misery he was. The guy with him seems a lot more laid back, with ‘Don’t worry, we can fix it‘ attitude. I’m not sure how difficult the job can be. He is an expert and, according to his van a “Which Trusted Trader”!
Anyway, they were here when the said the would be, so we shall see how it goes.
So, we are just over 2 hours in, and the skirting is 90% done. We still have the head shaking and tutting, but I think they are getting there. Problem has been that when the patio door was removed, it left a gap in the floor which was more or less bare brickwork. Trying to level the floor has been quite a task.
The boss has just ‘nipped back to base’ to get something that they need. I would have thought they should have everything basic, so it must be something special for this job. But hey, what do I know.
He’s back now, with the comment ‘Some people just moan about anything’. The colour of pots and kettles sprung to mind. They are now having a ‘tea and chat’ break, so I’ve now idea how long this is going to take.
Lunch break is now over and the floor laying has begun. This going a lot faster than the previous 4 hours! Although both are now on their 4th cuppa!
It looks like they are almost done. That will make it 7½ hours in total or about 5 hours if you take out the chat/drink/lunch time. It looks good though and it means that we now have a room we can use all year round, instead of just the warm days in middle of summer.
I have the electrician with me today. You may remember we had an issue with some of the wiring when the new conservatory roof was put on. The electrician fixed that, but when he came to wire up the lighting, he found another problem. It appears that there is an issue with what he called ‘the zoning’ on the consummer panel. Back in the day, it was called a ‘Fuse Box’, but things have got a little more complicated since then.
The one we have currently has only 5 circuit breakers, a cooker circuit breaker and a main switch. It seems that this is not enough and so we are having to have a bigger (and better) one installed. Unfortunately, the one he brought had a part missing, so he had to go off to the wholesaler to get that replaced.
Looks like they could be here a while.
All finished with only one small problem which was easily fixed. It seems that one of the sockets did not have the earth wire connected correctly. It must have been like that since the conservatory was built. It wasn’t particularly dangerous, it just wasn’t very good.
All in all it took just over three and a half hours and a good one and a half was testing each socket.
I’m forever downloading free apps for my phone, iPad and even my laptop. I hear or see someone mention some piece of software or app and immediately think “… that might be useful or fun or whatever …” They very rarely are and I usually end up uninstalling the things and questioning what I was thinking!
Here’s an example: I received an email regarding a regular local meeting that was due to be cancelled. Within that email, was a link to what seems to be a ‘collaboration hub’ called Slack. As mentioned I thought “that might be good for…” although I cannot remember what I thought it would be good for. But me being me, I downloaded and installed the software.
I then spent the following hour, firstly trying to understand how to use the program and the next 20 minutes trying to figure out what I would do with it. As a result, I think it is a piece of software that would be useful in a workplace environment or a user group, but I don’t think it was for me. I mean, who do I need to collaborate with?
So I needed to say goodbye and as usual my trusty copy of Revo Uninstaller comes into it’s own. It’s one of the very few pieces of free software that I have kept for a long time. It is so easy to use, and I haven’t used half of the features. I often think I should cough-up and pay for a full copy, but as it works as is, I think I will stick with what I’ve got.
Love them or loathe them, mobile phones have come a long way from the house brick of the 1970’s to the razor thin, smartphones that we are now used to. I got my first phone in the mid 80’s, and it was a BT phone on the Orange network. It was about the size of my open hand and just as thick. But the main problem was cost of the calls. At 30p a minute for local calls, it was very expensive to use, so it only got used in emergencies, of which there were thankfully very few. After that, I moved onto a Blackberry type of phone from Nokia and gradually upgraded to my latest Motorola.
Now to the point of this one. About 4 years ago, I took a part-time, free online Creative Writing course. It wasn’t a very good course and I didn’t pursue the offer of a paid course. But, one of the ‘ideas’ that were floated about was about conversations. It was the thought that we can get a better understand on how to write good dialogue, by having a discussion with yourself.
We were supposed to think of a subject, then have an imaginary chat to someone. All this was supposed to go on in your head but I often found myself talking out loud, which can be quite embarrassing, especially in public. To get around this, the tutor advised getting a pair of earphones, the ones with a built in microphone, and use them to pretend you are talking to someone real. I have never tried it, but it was an interesting thought. It made me wonder though, if many of those people you see with earphones in, chatting away are really just talking to themselves.
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