Life goes on …


It’s been nearly a month since my last post when my short series “From then to Now…” ended, and even longer since I posted a general collection of words. For a lot of people, it’s been a very strange time and very worrying time. My youngest son, who is Autistic has been in “lock-down” at his residential placement since the middle of undefinedMarch, and we have not seen him apart from the occasional Facetime message. The main worry was him accepting the fact that he could not come home. He was used to going off at 9:30 on Monday morning and returning at around 5:00pm on Friday. But he seems to have run with it and coped really well, mainly due to his support staff, who know him really well. It was explained to him from that start that he had to stay until August, and it looks like that might be the case. But who knows?

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Now for a bit of a rant. There are a few things that annoy me when RoundaboutI’m driving in the car. Firstly, those ‘people’ that do not acknowledge when you have given way to them, when you had the right of way. Doesn’t take much, headlamp flash, quick flick of the hand, anything like that. Then there are the ones that never indicate at junctions or roundabouts and the ones that are in the wrong lane at the roundabout. My instructor told me that in general terms, the left hand lane when approaching the roundabout is for drivers using either of the the first 2 exits with the right hand lane for all other exits. This of course only applies if there are no other indicator to the contrary.

Then we come onto the ‘cyclist’! I don’t understand why, when there is a safe cycle lane/path that the majority of cyclists choose to cycle on the road. I passed four Lightstoday riding the road next to a completely empty cycle lane. Why? I’m assuming, rightly or wrongly that it is because they have this sense of ‘green’ superiority and that they think we drivers should make way for them. Beyond me. Also, why do they all feel the need to were the full Lycra kit, when it is obvious that they don’t need to. And what happened to cycle headlamps?? All we see now is one of those little flashing LED lights that are too small to be seen until it is too late.

Ridiculous pricing, From Then to Now and other things …


Unfortunately, my From Now to Then series has had to be put on hold for a while. The friend I ask to ‘proof read’ the posts is not going to be available for the next few weeks. He is in the process of changing jobs which has resulted in him emigrating to Canada. So for the next few weeks or so he only has internet access on his smart phone. Once he is settled, he has promised to continue helping. After all, I need to be as accurate as my memory serves me and it needs to be libellous free. Hopefully it will be not too long as I still have a few things to tell.

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Recently, I was asked by a friend if I could do a bit of shopping for him. All he wanted was some blade for his razor. He has a famous brand of razor that uses multi blade cartridges. They are disposable Razorand simply click into 2 Bladethe handle. Very popular as they are supposed to give a very close shave. I have never really found them to my taste as I was put off by those horrible two blade disposable razors that were becoming fashionable in the mid 1970’s. I found them very uncomfortable to hold and use, and could never get more than two or three shaves before they were put in the bin.

But to the point of this moan. I went straight to a well known supermarket and sought out the ones my friend had asked for, only to find that the pack had eight cartridges and cost just over £22. I thought that they must be cheaper than that somewhere. I tried B**ts and they were more Shaving 1expensive there and the price in Sup***rug was the same. I was very shocked to see that the packs also had security tags to prevent theft. I bought some, but vowed never to buy them for myself.

This is my wet shaving setup. The soap-mug was a present, so I don’t know the cost. The soap was bought from the previously mentioned supermarket and was about £4.00. But the real bargain was the razor and the blades. The razor was bought Bladeson eBay and cost me £2.99 postage free. I came with a pack of 5 double edged blade, an comes with its own storage box. I also bought a pack of Astra blades. They came in a box of 10 packets, each packet had 5 blades. Price, including postage £2.00. But the real bargain was the soap brush. I had originally priced them up as around £6.00 for a ‘genuine badger’ bristle. The ones I got are natural bristle and there were 10 for £6.50, and they are just as good. I usually wet shave twice a week and have an electric razor for the other days, as it is often quicker.

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At the beginning of last week I noticed a new bird in the garden. It was small, rounded, grey with a few white spots and a Diamond  Dovered ring around it’s eyes. I did a little probing around the internet and discovered that it could have been a Diamond Dove. This seemed a ridiculous notion as the bird is native of Australia. Now I know migratory birds can travel huge distances but this thing seemed far too small to travel very far. I took a picture and used, what I now know is Google Lens to try and properly identify the creature. Google Lens confirmed that the bird was in fact a Diamond Dove. I can only assume that it had been in somebodies local aviary and it escaped. It was with us up until around Thursday waddling around on the ground picking up seeds that the Starlings drop from the feeder. It now seems to have gone, which is a shame.

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September sees races in the UCI World Cycling Championship being held in Yorkshire. The main racing takes place between the 22nd and 26th, but on the 21st one of the YorkshiBuntingre 2019 Para-Cycling International legs is starting locally in Wetherby. A local Knitting/Craft shop has been  given permission to have knitted bunting both sides of a 1/2 stretch of the route. So a call had gone out for local knitters to create some bunting in the right colours. I managed to knit 20 triangles making 4 sets. I could have done another five, but was running short of a couple of the colours.

Bit of a chunter …


Chunter

There have been a few things that have irritated me this past week or so I’m having a bit of a mild rant today.

First up is driving in the rain. It’s not the driving that’s the problem, it’s other drivers. Not all, but Rainmany are guilty of the thing I’m moaning about. Picture this …driving along a grey road, on a grey rainy day and being closely followed by a grey car. Not so bad you may think. But he/she has no headlights on! Not even side lights! On the particular day in question, I counted three cars, two vans and a mini-bus with no lights on and that was in a one mile stretch of road. Incredulous. Do these people not know what the two functions of lights are … see and be seen. My driving instructor said that I should only put on my lights when they are needed. That was to ensure that lights were not left on accidently. But really, these days cars lights go off automatically when you lock the door, so leaving them on is not a problem. Even my little i10 turns the lights off for me.

Next up is those form you get through the post that have all your personal details already completed. Now I’m not talking Formsabout your name and address on the cover letter, that’s unavoidable, no It’s all those little boxes on the various pages that have all your details filled in. Quite often they are from banks or insurance companies and will have your details in two or three places. I reluctantly agree, that they can save you a little time when you fill the form in, but it is very annoying when you are not interested and have to spend time shredding every page. I once received a credit card application form (not requested) that had a total of 12 pages. My name and address were on both sides of six of these pages and on one side of another two pages. Fourteen different occurrences of the same details. The shredder nearly gave in!

This may be a strange one to some. It’s magazines! Or more to the point, magazine classifications. This is online and in shops. I’m currently in communication (ha…still waiting for a reply) with a magazine subscription reseller with regards to how they classify their sales. I had better explain where I am coming from. I’m a knitter. I’ve been a knitter for over 50 Magazinesyears on and off and I’m quite used to the double take when I mention this.  Now this reseller (not going to mention the name as my complaint is still on-going) has on their website a large number of magazines available for subscription. These magazines are listed in categories such as “Leisure Interests”, “Hobbies & Pastimes” and a few more. The thing that has caused this particular ‘chunter’ are the magazines that are listed in a classification called “Women’s Interests” and “Male Interests”. The Women’s list has magazines on sewing, crafting, the usual Woman’s Own type and all of the ‘chat’ types. The Men’s list has car magazines, motorbike magazines, so called ‘lad’s mags’ and heavy metal music magazines. Most of both lists are in other classifications, but it seems to me to be wrong in these times to have separate classifications for men and women. Just an opinion.

A bit of a rant …


Well, a couple of rants really. Firstly, this UK Government seems to be obsessed with tax. It’s recently announced that it ‘may’ be looking at a tax on take-away coffee cups and other non-recyclable plastics. Now at first glance, this might seem a good thing. Force manufacturers to abandon non-recyclable plastics in favour of the recyclable types. But wait, this will cost them money to change. It always does. Any change costs. And who do you think will pay this cost? Well it will end up being you and me. The costs will be passed on to the consumer so that the shareholders and the company bosses don’t lose out. It is the same with ‘junk’ food. How do we deal with an increasingly obese nation? The Governments idea is to increase the tax on fast food. That will stop people eating the stuff. Will it? Do they think that by putting an extra 50p on a burger and fries meal will stop people from buying it? To me, a more sensible idea would be to subsidise real fresh food and make that best alternative. The same with non-recyclable plastics. Subsidise the fully recyclable stuff to make that the best option. Once  the mindset is changed, then increase the taxes to help with costs.

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I said a ‘couple of rants’ and here’s the second one. I’m currently a member of a forum. It is not important to say which forum but just to say, I’m a fairly active member. People post their questions and queries and members of the forum will attempt to answer them, if they can. I’ve done both on occasions and whilst I’m not after praise, a simple thanks would suffice. It winds me up a little when you go the trouble of attempting to answer someone, and they don’t have the decency to answer or even acknowledge the respondent. Make me think twice about answering sometimes.

Road Bullies


This is going to be a bit of a rant, so if you’re not interested then look away now!

I have a small car. It’s a Hyundai i10 Classic. It has a small engine (1000cc) but it is ideal for short to medium journeys, which is all I do these days. Top speed is 85 miles an hour and that is with the wind behind me. I tend to mostly not exceed the speed limits when driving, but sometimes  I drift over slightly. So it really annoys me when big cars pass me by exceeding the limit. Today was no exception. The road was a single carriage way, with the National Speed Limit (60mph for those not familiar with UK speed limits) and I was motoring along at around 50 – 53 mph. The reason being was that it was a mainly twisty road with many sharp bends. Now I remember my driving instructor telling me that I “… must drive to the conditions of the road …” which basically means that on roads like the one I was on, the 60mph limit is an aspiration not a mandatory fact.

To get to the point, still driving at around 50mph, I had in my rear mirror a large passenger vehicle. A discovery I think, but he was that close to me, that if I had to brake hard he would have completely written my small machine off. He was that close, that I could tell where the sandwich he had on his dashboard, was purchased. He kept pulling towards the centre of the lane as if to pass, then dropping back as he realised there was not enough room. Eventually, he did pass and pull in front of me, only to maintain the same speed as before due to the vehicles in front do the same speed I was doing.

What he was basically trying to tell me and anyone else is that, as he had a bigger, more expensive car then he ought to be in front of the cheaper, smaller car(s). I call that a form of Bullying. It is the same as when you were in the dinner queue at school and the bigger, older kids pushed in front of you. Bullying!

Rant over.

Pet hates and things …


You may have seen the TV programme “Room 101” whereby so called celebrities talk about their pet hates. I got to thinking about my own pet hates and thought I might share some of them with you. So in no particular order:

People with little or no spacial awareness.You know the type I mean. People who are so wrapped up in their own space, that they forget that the rest of the world exists. There was a few examples yesterday like the man rummaging around in the charity shops with a large rucksack on his back. Bumped me twice and nearly knocked a china tea service of one of the display cabinets. Just didn’t seem to care! Then there was the two shoppers at the supermarket entrance. One had full trolley and the other had an empty one. They stood there chatting whilst at the same time blocking the entrance to the shop. Other shoppers were struggling to get in or out as this pair just would not shift. I had the same experience when a person stopped at the top of the escalator to answer their phone. The rest of us could just get past, but it could have been dangerous.

Parents who let their offspring take toys to the shops. Now this really does wind me up. I can understand a Stupid Shoesyoung girl taking her dolls pram round the shop. That might be a learning opportunity, but I don’t see there is a need for a child to take his scooter, or worse a bicycle around the local supermarket. Then there are the kids wearing those shoes/boots that have a wheel embedded in the sole. Roller shoes I believe they are called. Why wear them to shop in? In fact, what is the [point of them. I’ve even saw a wandering around with a football whilst the parent was Googling which wine to buy.

Inconsiderate parking. Especially those with large vehicles that park at the side of my small one. When I parked yesterday, there was nothing at either side of me. When I returned about an hour later there was a huge Range Rover to the left and what seemed a very long Volvo to the right. I just could not see to reverse out. Then there was the car that parked on the exit road from the bus-station in Wetherby. He was on a double yellow line, with his flashers on and the driver had just nipped into one of the local shops. What they didn’t seem to understand was that the parking restriction is there so that the busses can get out easily. Then there are the idiots who stop on blind bends just to answer their mobiles. Okay don’t answer whilst driving, but find a safe place to stop. Safe for you and for the rest of the road users.

To all of you, just think of what your actions are causing for other people

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I’m tempted by one of these. This particular one is only around £6 or £7 from eBay and I’m trying to convince myself that I need one. My car doesn’t have the facility but I think it may be a good idea. K***s initial reaction was to laugh and then laugh some more! You see, I don’t use my Hands Freephone that much to make calls, and not many people seem to want to call me. Everyone seems to want to use text, Facebook Messenger and now WhatsApp. I tend to only answer calls if I know the number. I’ve had some many calls in the past where the caller either hangs up without speaking or they try sell me something. My idea is that , if it is important, then they will either leave a message or call back and they never do. To prove my point, the last time I answered an unknown number, I was advised “… the chances of successfully win my damages claim was around 95% …” I had no damages claim. It was a scammer. I let them go on for a few moments and they described my recent motor accident (which I have not had). It was when explained that all I needed to do was log onto a certain website and the $1,000,000 (dollars not pounds) would soon be in my account, that I decided to hang up. I blacklisted the number along with all the previous ones, after looking up the number on one of those “Who Called Me ..” websites.

Bloody cats …


Well at least one cat anyway.

I was just having a cup of coffee and nosing around a couple of websites, when I heard K*** say “Oh my god. What’s happened up there?” She was in the kitchen, and ‘up there’ referred to the decking at the top of IMAG0660the back garden. I wandered into the kitchen and then realised what she was talking about. The whole of the top deck was covered with feathers. K*** thought it must be a cushion of some kind, but as soon as I got to the window, I could see that there was a dead young pigeon and an older one trying its best to eat what was left.

I knew what had happened straight away. At the back, there is a railing, just in front of the fence, There is a neighbours cat that sits on this rail waiting for birds to land on the back fence. It then leaps up and tries to get the bird. It usually fails, as the birds seem to be faster than the cat, if not smarter. On this occasion, the cat won the day.

What annoys me is that cats are allowed to roam free! There are no restrictions on cat owners that are similar to the restrictions on dog owners. Whenever I have brought this up in conversation, I get ‘reminded’ that “… cats have a free spirit…” and that “… cats bury their poo, not like dogs …” What seems to happen is that as soon as the owner gets up in the morning, they let the cat out, and it does not come home until it gets dark. I think that is wrong! Cat owners should have the same responsibilities as dog owners have. Cats should be kept under control. Only last week, when driving home did a cat run out into the road and was nearly run over. If K*** had not been slowing down, then the cat would have been history.

Now this is annoying …


For over 20 years I worked in a Local Authority parking department, so I know a great deal about the issues surrounding IMAG0658parking in this country. It’s scenes like this that I find very annoying. Anyone who drives knows that there is a finite limit to the number of available parking spaces. It can be very frustrating to drive around a car-park looking for that elusive space, when you come across something like this. Now I know there is another free bay behind the bike, but that had just been vacated by another vehicle and was occupied a few minutes later. On this particular occasion, it was a Saturday and not a problem, but this car-park has no limit on the length of stay, so that bike could be there all day. During the week, things are different and the car-park is always full (it is close to a doctors surgery and health centre.) I find myself asking the question ‘Why?’ Why does the bike have to take up a full parking bay? There are plenty of places in the car-park where a bike could fit without a problem. It may be me, but it just seems a little selfish for a vehicle of that width to take up a space, that may be needed by a larger vehicle. Is it just me?

What is the point?


I’ll get to the point in a moment. First a little background.

Last week my wife and me had a few days away in the Derbyshire Peak District.  We were staying a a cottage, on a farm and were there for four nights. The cottage was not up to our usual expectations and was a bit of a disappointment, but I’m not going to dwell on that. We are both members of the National Trust and it was our intention to spend the days enjoying the sights of a number of the Trust’s properties that were in the area.

Now, here comes the ‘point’ that I mention. All the properties we visited are of some historical importance, and at least one (Hardwick Hall) is very significant in relation to the royal families of Britain. So given that these places are so important historically, it makes good sense that children are introduced them. I don’t have an issue with that. What I do take issue with, is parents that allow their offspring to just run wild. A question … why, when visiting a historical site, do you thin k it is a good idea for your children to take one of the following with them a) a football, b) a scooter and c) even a bicycle ? There are thousands of public parks in this country that children can ‘play’, why take them to a historical site to ‘play’? Many of the sites have even built specific safe play areas for kids. Then there is the noise factor. Why is it necessary to run around a 17th century church burial ground shouting and screaming? It would never have happened when I was young, and neither of my sons would even think that kind of behaviour is appropriate.

But I do not put all the blame on the children. The fault lies with the parents. The people who have brought them up to behave in that way. They are the ones that are the cause of the problem.

But not all the children were like what I have described. A small number were very well behaved. However, that n umber was very small.

Kids go shopping and other things …


One of the more unusual things that the local Education system has come up with is staggered half-term holidays. The example I would give of this is, that in Leeds area, half-term was last week. York however has their half-term this week. Now the thing about half-term is that it seems to a great excuse for some parents to take their kids  on ‘shopping’ expeditions!

Yesterday, Mrs H and me decided to take a trip to the York Designer Outlet. I didn’t particularly want anything, but K*** had somethings she wanted t look at. The place was packed! For those who don’t know, it’s an out-of-town shopping area that has mainly ’designer’ shops and a few chain restaurants. Shops like L K Bennett, Gucci and many other big names. So it’s not the kind of place that first springs to mind when taking children, in the 5 to 9 age group out for the day. I can see it being attractive for kids in their middle teens, but not young children. But they were there … in their hoards!

The problem is, that most of them are so load and badly behaved. There was one family that annoyed me greatly. It was a mother with three kids that could not have been aged more than 10 or 11.  I was waiting for K*** to finish in a shop, and in this particular location there were two BMW cars on show. The mother (and I’m assuming she was the mother) was using her mobile phone, and it must of been a quite important call as she was totally oblivious of what her offspring were up to. These ‘childer-beasts’ seemed to thing that it was perfectly acceptable to take it in turns to climb in and out of the two expensive vehicles, banging doors and sounding the horn.

Another example of this behaviour was the two ‘things’ that thought it was fun to run up and down the travellators in the wrong direction, bumping into people. These kids just don’t seem to have any respect or manners. I hate to say the obvious but, “It was not like that when I was a child!”

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The result and other things …


I have decided. There shall be NO single theme in this blog. There are a few reasons, but the main one is that this blog is just me. I started it as a means of practicing my writing. The intention was that I would mainly read other writers posts and glean what knowledge and tips I could pick up to improve my writing and use that to post my own work. That part of the plan is still working, but to post my own work, I have to do some!

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Today it’s “Let’s Rip Off People By Pretending We Care About The Romantic Things In Life When They Have Just Started To Get Over Christmas” Day. Or as it is known “Valentines Day.” To be accurate it’s actually Saint Valentines Day, but in this day and age of religious intolerance, people tend to forget the ‘Saint’ part. It is just a money making con by retailers, to encourage people to part with money that they don’t probably have. You may have guessed by now, that I’m not a fan! I shall leave it there!

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One of the things I said I would do when I retire was to clear out some the junk we have horded over the past twenty (call that forty) years. The loft is ridiculously full of said junk, and the garage is not far behind. I took some stuff to the tip last week and yesterday spent a couple of hours trying to identify what we wanted to get rid of. I found a bag full of trousers. Some of them were mine that had mysteriously shrunk over the years, particularly in the waist area. I don’t know how that happens at all! Some of them were new pants that K*** had bought for R*** in the sales and such. This brings me, in a round about way to the sizing of some of those clothes.

I was ironing some of them this morning and was making a note of the leg length. Four pairs had an inside leg measurement of 29”, but they all seemed to be different lengths. Out with my trusted tape measure, and I find that one pair is indeed 29”, but two pairs are 31” and one was actually 32”. All were from the same store and all the same style. Then to cap it all, another pair had a size of ‘15 years’! How do they measure a size by a persons age? When I was 15, I was just a little over 5ft. Most of my class were around the 5ft 6in, but there was at least two, maybe three guys who were over 6ft.

I really do get a bit frustrated and angry with how clothes are sized.

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To IMAG0559finish up, this is the latest of my knitting ‘projects’. It’s a simple scarf that I have been on with for a couple of days. It was an easy pattern to work with and I thought I would share it with you. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not going to have a theme for my blog, and I’ll just throw in things like this whenever the fancy takes me.

Why do they have to be ‘projects’? It’s just a hobby.

‘Twas the night before etc etc…


Motifs download - December 10_colourWell, we have got as far as we can. Veg is prepared, table is set and the presents are scattered under the TV. ‘Under the TV’ I hear you question? We have a small fibre-optic tree, which is not really big enough to put the presents under. In the past we have done the real tree, in fact one year we even had a tree that we planted in the garden. But it died! So for the past 10 years or so, we have had the ‘small fibre-optic’ tree. I think though, it is time we sent this one to the great re-cycle plant. I have had to replace the bulb and the whole thing leans to one side. So I think it has passed it’s ‘Display Until’ date by a couple of years.

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I’m not, and I think I may have mentioned this (probably every year) a huge fan of Christmas. I hate what it has become. When I was a child, Christmas was an  amazing time of the year. It was about Christmas Carols, families, pantomime. We never, ever were asked ‘What do you want for Christmas?” XMAS PUDWe got what we were given and were happy about that. We had, what had become a traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, sprouts (ugh) sage and onion stuffing and what seemed like, gallons of gravy. If you could manage it, Christmas pudding followed and in our house we always had custard, not brandy sauce, we were just kids after all. Afterwards, we would watch the Queen, then settle down to watch a variety show.

Now what do we get? It’s called ‘Christmas Lunch’ and although the Turkey is still there, we now see things like Kaletts on the menu. The stuffing has changed to ‘Chestnut and Chive’. Christmas pudding now comes in many flavours, even as an ice-cream. In some places, it is not even served and we get some kind of overpriced chocolate mousse that bears no resemblance to Christmas, apart from the picture of a red candle on the packaging.

I don’t want to get started on television, but … why do we need to see programs that are on everyday? I mean the ‘soaps’ of course? Do we really need to see ‘bumper’ editions of EastEnders/Coronation Street/Emmerdale? Really! Is it also necessary to have ‘Christmas Specials’ of reality shows? I mean come on, Strictly Come Dancing has only just finished and we are treated to the Christmas Special.

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Music. Now there is another cause for a rant. We were at my sister-in-laws for a family get together on Thursday. When we arrived, the TV was on and tuned to one of the many music channels. It was playing the ‘MTV Top 40 Christmas songs”. This in itself is not such a bad thing. It had reached number 5, and they were of course songs from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, which everybody knows and supposedly loves. This of course finished after they had played the number 1, Band-Aid’s “Do they know It’s Christmas?” A very popular and catchy song at the time and still is relevant today. We were then treated to a few adverts before the next program … ‘MTV Top 20 All Time Christmas Hits.’ I will allow you only one guess what was at number 1.

Tonight, we watched the Christmas Carol service from Kings College, Oxford … do I need to say anymore?

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So now, all I have to say is a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all who read this.

Labels … and other things


To be more precise … clothing labels. Wash-care labels, sizing labels and any other label that is on the inside of the clothes. Why do they always seem to have sharp edges and corners? It maybe the type of clothes I buy, cost , make, whatever, but I always have to remove the label before I wear them. If I don’t, then they scratch and boy does that scratch irritate. I think this the reason my youngest son R***, who is Autistic, cuts out the label from every item of clothing he has. The difference between us is where I cut out the label with a few (not so mild) expletives and hurl them in the general direction of the waste bin, he carefully stores each one in a mug on his computer desk. Last count he had over two hundred. We dare not throw them out.

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Now, talking about R***, his room at home has, and I may have mentioned this previously, a laptop, a TV (now new) a Sky box, a DVD player, a CD/Cassette player, and until yesterday morning a faulty VHS video player. It’s been faulty for about six to eight months, maybe more and had an old VHS tape stuck inside. He tend to want to use it when the Sky connection fails. But it does not work. We had in the other bedroom a further five players that had been given to us when his previous player broke back in November 2014. A friend heard about his breaking and kindly let us have all the ones she had. There were no guarantees with them, but one of them did actually work. The issue with that was no handset. Without the handset, there was no tracking and without tracking, the tapes were unwatchable.

The failure of his TV and his weeks respite gave us a great opportunity to remove the VHS player and hope that he either did not realise it or did not care about it. They are now stored, for the foreseeable future in the garage. As with the labels, we dare not throw them out!

I hate shopping …


“Hate” is probably a too harsher word to use. A more appropriate word would be “Detest” I suppose. Let me expand. It’s not that I don’t like spending (that’s another issue) I just don’t like being in shops. Take yesterday as a prime example. I had to pay a visit to national supermarket nearby. I know about ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Mega-Monday’, but ‘Stupid Saturday’ is a new one on me. To say it was busy is an understatement! It was absolutely heaving. And, it seemed that the majority had brought some kind of child with them.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a standard type of shopper:

  1. The Quickie – Has a list, is straight in and out. No messing (I fall into this category);
  2. The Drifter – Wanders around every aisle, pausing occasionally to drop an item in their basket/trolley;
  3. The Inspector – Studies the price tag of every item on their list and compares them down to the last penny;
  4. The Owner – Not the actual shop owner, but a shopper who has no spacial awareness. These people wander around as if they are the only people in the shop. They are the ones who leave their trolley in the middle of the aisle whilst they decide what to choose;
  5. The ParentNow I have some sympathy for some of these people. It must be difficult to go shopping with your six children on the busiest shopping day of the week;
  6. The Family – Similar to ‘The Parent’, but this time it’s the whole family that does the shop. Typically, the Father figure wanders around, two paces behind the Mother figure tutting and shaking his head at every purchase, until they hit the wines/beers/spirits aisle and then they (attempt to) take charge. If you lose the Father figure, they can always be found scanning the motoring magazines;

    And finally

  7. The Cruiser – Doesn’t actually need to buy anything, but has time on their hands and thought they would have a look round anyway. They often have picked the largest trolley ‘just in case’ and they like to pretend they are there for a purpose by looking intently at their phone as if it has a shopping list on it.

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Because my income is now down by about 30% due to my retirement, we have decided the we need to cut down on somethings. If I had been on holiday for the past three weeks, then we would have probably had eight or nine days out. Would have visited some local attractions and had lunch or evening meal, and on occasion both! But we have taken the decision (well I decided and K*** seemed to agree) that we could manage a day out once a week.

Now bearing in mind the earlier part of this post, the following may come as a surprise. Last week we went into Leeds to see the new John Lewis store and the refurbished shopping centres. K*** has wanted to go since it opened and I did not really have any excuse why we couldn’t. The fact that I don’t like the centre of Leeds did not hold any water so we went.  Working in the centre for my last three weeks really enforced my dislike for the place. Millions have been spent on cleaning up the place, but it still seems a mess. There are still the beggars on many street corners and then there are the ‘Chuggers’ who I hate with a passion. These are the so called charity collectors that work in groups and are paid to try and get you to give money to a specific charity.

So back to John Lewis, or more specifically (Rant Awareness Alarm), department stores in general. I may have mentioned this before, but in these kind of stores, I want to look at certain things. I want to look at mens clothing. I like to browse the technology area. What I don’t want to do is to look around the numerous perfume sellers (for want of a better description) and I’m not too enamoured with wandering around the lingerie section either. So my gripe here is …why in most stores do I have pass through either one of sometimes both of these sections, before I can get to the ones I want to see ? I suppose the stores want to appeal to the female shoppers in the first instance, but it can be annoying for us men. Some stores take it to the extreme. Take P*****K in Leeds as an example. The menswear is on the fourth floor after passing through the lingerie, womenswear and children’s wear.

The John Lewis store is a little better laid out, I only had to brave the nasal assault of around twelve ‘beauty sections’ before I could reach the menswear, but I still think more could be done around floor planning.

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When I made the final decision to take early retirement, one of the things I promised myself was that I would post more frequently. As you can see, that has yet to happen but I think it will. Just got to push myself more. When I was being quizzed by my colleagues on what I would do when I finished, my blog was mentioned. Almost everyone said the same thing …“What’s your blog about?”. To which I always reply “Nothing in particular…it’s just what I want to say, when I want to say it!” And that is basically what it is. Quite often get the reply “What’s the point then?” My response is usually “Have a read and see.” Maybe that is the answer I should use to the first question. Maybe, I need to get a subject or theme for this blog. I don’t know, but whatever I do, I need to do it more often.

A couple of days away … day 2


So, after a good hearty full English breakfast, we set off for Robin Hoods Bay. This is a small cove about 5 miles from Whitby that was used in previous times by smugglers. All very romantic and exciting … apparently.

We had a good look around the few shops that had not closed down for the winter and a nice drink in the pub at the bottom of the main road.

During a break in the rain, we managed to have a look out over the bay at the the slightly turbulent sea. Now here is my moan. It was cold. It was wet. It was windy. But out there in the sea we’re four or five surfers! I can barely understand why people do this in places where the surf is high and the weather hot, but when the weather is as bad as it has been and the waves seldom get over 2 foot high, I just don’t get it. We watched them for a good 20 minutes, in which time they managed to paddle out about 100 yards. Then “the wave” came and they started to paddle back. Only one managed to get to his/her feet and they lasted no more than 3 (and I counted) seconds before they fell off! It is completely beyond me.

Moan over.

Got some great pictures in Robin Hoods Bay which I’ll post later. Need to get them off my camera before I can upload them.