“Jab Done” …


I had my first Covid-19 jab yesterday. I had to go the a mass vaccination centre at Askham Bar Park & Ride car park, near York. I have to say it was an extremely well managed operation. There were signs on the A64, about a mile from the Park & Ride junction and once off the main road there were numerous signs showing the way. That, coupled with many officials directing cars made it one of the easiest things I had done.

Mass Vaccination Centre

Cars were parked with an empty bay separating each one. I was asked to wait in my car, and someone would come and tell me were to go. I was early by just 25 minutes and I told them I was not in any rush and didn’t want to queue jump. They told me that it wasn’t too busy and I could go straight in. Once in the centre, I queued along with the others for about 10 minutes before entering the ‘Vaccination Clinic’.

I was told to take a seat, whilst a member of the local Fire Service took my details. I had a list of my medications and dates of both my flu jab and last INR test. The doctor seemed a little reluctant at first, as he felt it would have been better if I had taken my last test last week. However I explained that if I had a problem, I could get an emergency INR test done the following day. I had the jab, waited in the car for 15 minutes and that was it. My second one is due on the 12th of May and the only side effect (and I’m not even sure it is a side effect) is a slight headache this morning.

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I noticed when I started WordPress up earlier in the week, that WordPress seemed to be a promoting a Podcasting service called Anchor.fm. After a bit of research, it seems that this is one of the biggest podcasting services around and it’s ‘owned’ by Spotify. From what I understand, it is only recently that WordPress.com has started using the service.

I have often wondered about doing some kind of podcast, but a couple of things have stopped me. Namely not knowing what to ‘cast’ about and the fact that I know what I sound like. I don’t like the sound of my own voice sometimes. There is a built in voice that will read text and convert it to audio. The downside is that the built-in voice is American as you would expect. I have tried this new service, and succeeded in converting one of my posts into an audio post (now deleted). It worked quite well, I thought but it sounded a little weird with the accent. I may have to give it another go using my own voice.

Everyone is doing one …


Well, it seems like it! One of my neighbours is doing one, and an old colleague has just finished his first! So I’m considering doing my own. The only issue I have is what would it be about? I mean they all seem to have a theme. By the way, I’m talking about “Podcasts.”

How difficult can it be? All I need is a microphone and a computer, in fact, I’m creating this post on a laptop that has a built-in microphone. Then there is my smartphone which can capture audio. I have a YouTube account that I can upload the Podcast to, so what is to stop me from broadcasting to the world? Well as I mentioned before “… what would it be about?“. What possible expertise or knowledge, do I have that people may find interesting to hear about.

Then, there is another option to consider. What about a Vlog? Possibly (definitely) a step too far.

Something to think about … maybe.

Bl**dy postal system …


I fully believe that the British postal system (as run by The Post Office) has hit rock bottom. It’s been getting worse over the past twenty or twenty-five years. How many can remember the days when we received two postal deliveries? There was one early morning, and another around lunchtime. At Christmas time, there was even a delivery on the Sunday before Christmas Day. The delivery was always around the same time. You could almost set your clock by them. Collections from pillar-boxes happened at least twice a day, with an extra collection from your local post office.

It’s all gone now though. We are lucky if we see the postman/woman. It is no wonder that more and more people and organisations are using one of the big courier services when it can be a lot cheaper, and safer. Which brings me to the point of this post.

I ordered some light bulbs from eBay. I didn’t go for the cheapest or the most expensive but settled on one that appeared to have a least a few good reviews. I duly paid and the expected delivery date was the 2nd of November. I got home on the 29th of October and found a parcel on the doorstep. The label told me who it was from and so I knew it was my lightbulbs. However, I could immediately tell that something was wrong. The parcel was squashed at one corner which led me to believe that the ‘post person’ had attempted to post the item through the letterbox. In marked contrast, the delivery by a local courier was hidden behind a planter, with an email showing a photo of the exact spot.

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As I expected, we go into an almost full lock-down on Thursday. I think it was inevitable given what the experts were saying, and have been saying for the past month. Hopefully, this will bring the dreaded “R” rating down, which may mean that the youngest could be home for Christmas. However, I’m not holding my breath. When you listen to Ministers like Micheal Gove, who last week was saying that there was no chance of a ‘lock-down’ and is now saying that may go on beyond the 2nd of December, you have to wonder whose strings are being pulled by whom!

I have already decided that my hair is not going to be a priority over the next few weeks. I did have it cut back in July and have been meaning to go again, but the last time I tried, the barbers were busy (1 customer and 2 waiting) and the time before, it was shut. So I’m not going to bother.

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I purchased one of these yesterday. In fact, I got two for £15.00 which was a saving of over £8.00. Always up for a bargain! I have been meaning to change two of the sockets in the conservatory since we had the new roof and windows. I should have got the electrician to do it then, but never got around to asking. Now I have no excuse. I just have to get into the mood sometime this week.

This is made with Microsoft Word


I am still looking to find a better way to write a post, without using the WordPress Block Editor. I have given up on using Open Live Writer which was billed as the direct Open Source replacement for Windows Live Writer. There has been no work improvement on the software and recently has stopped working with Google Blogger. I don’t use Blogger much, but it was good to have an alternative.

I decided to have a go with Microsoft Word. I’ve wanting to try for a while, but it seems from what I have heard, that it is not a good place to blog. I have to agree with some points, that it is not the easiest of editors to get used to. For one, there is no way to add tags to a post. I scoured the internet for an answer and the only thing I could come up with is to post as a draft, then edit in WordPress to add tags. So that is what I have tried here and have discovered that it is quite feasible to this, although it does take more time and the post ends up being edited as a Classic Block! Now is that good news? And will WordPress keep the Classic Block in the future?

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Another thing that I have found with the Block Editor which annoys me, is the placement of images. In the old Classic Editor, I could place an image into a text paragraph at more or less the position (left or right-aligned) anywhere in that paragraph using the word-wrap feature to wrap the text around that image. Which meant that the image could be, for example, two lines down from the top of the paragraph and two lines up from the bottom of that same paragraph. This does not happen in the Block Editor. The image can be left or right-aligned, but word-wrap into the text, you have to ‘move’ the image up which puts it at the top of the paragraph. There is simply no dynamic positioning.

Update: After viewing this post both on a tablet and a smartphone I have found that the Word formatting only applies if the post is viewed on a computer/laptop. So maybe not such a good option after all.

Pretty good service …


I needed a new case for my smartphone. As usual. I trawled eBay looking for the best buy. I wanted a red one, for no other reason but a change from black. There were very many to choose from at a variety of prices. I made my decision and placed the order. The expected delivery date was 14th – 15th September. It did not arrive and so on the 18th I logged a ‘query’ with eBay.

I was fully expecting an auto response telling that I would hear from the seller in ‘x number of days’. So you may imagine my surprise when less than an hour later, I had this response.

“Hi Sorry to hear that the item you have not received yet we have shipped on time sometime Transit let us down they lost or damaged our parcel in transit or took time in delivery , we will send you again for you please accept our apology for that we are happy to send one again for you but we do not have Red color in stock we do have Black, Purple, Pink and Orange in stock for now please chose one of them and we will send one for you asap please accept our apology for that we are struggling for stock in this Covid 19 Situations. Thanks”

Well I couldn’t really argue with that. As I have mentioned, I didn’t want black again and the thought of either Pink or Orange didn’t really appeal, I looked at the Purple and just hoped that it wasn’t too bright or gaudy. The online image did look quite bright, but I bit the bullet and finally opted for it.

I went through the messaging system again and let them know. The bit that bothered me was the words ‘send one for you asap‘. I wondered how long ‘asap‘ would turn out to be. I was very surprised when the following day, a parcel popped through the letter-box that turned out to be my new Purple cover. It must have been posted 1st class to get here that quickly and I needn’t have worried as it wasn’t as bright as the pictures showed.

A bit of a quandary …


For a while now, I have been considering changing the theme for this blog. The reason it’s taking time, is that I don’t know what I want. I have looked at a few themes recently but nothing really jumps out at me. I currently use the Karuna theme and previous to that I had the Twenty Twelve theme. I did like that one and I quite like the Twenty Sixteen. What I need is a theme that is basically text based with a few images per post.

I’ve narrowed it down to five at the moment and those are Elegant Grunge, Notepad, Ocean Mist, Pilcrow and Twenty Ten. Elegant Grunge seems to be leading at the moment with Twenty Ten as a close second. Watch this space!

My take on it …


I’m having a go at a different type of post today. Rather than my usual ‘rants & raves’ I thought I would have a go at something that might be useful.

Photo: Randy Mayor

I was talking to a friend at work last week and the subject of Spaghetti Carbonara was raised. She was a little concerned about how to cook it, not least a fear of “raw egg” in the dish. I explained as best I could that egg is not raw, but that the heat of the pasta when the egg and cheese mix is added, cooks the egg in a light scrambling fashion. I explained my method, but she wasn’t taking up the challenge. However, another friend I had talking to later in the week, did have a go and has since told me I should write it down. So here goes …

This is my recipe for two portions of a medium size. I’ll start with the list of ingredients.

  1. 5oz to 6oz of Linguine or Fettuccine **
  2. Two cloves of fresh garlic, squashed but not chopped
  3. 4oz Pancetta cut unto short strips
  4. 1 egg
  5. Small handful of chopped Parsley
  6. 3oz of grated Parmesan cheese plus another 1oz for serving
  7. Olive oil

The trick is to ensure all your preparation work is completed before you start the cooking process.
(** I prefer either of these two pastas over spaghetti, as they seem to hold the sauce better)

  1. Firstly, put a large pan of salted water onto boil for the pasta.
  2. Next heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large based pan and add the squashed garlic and allow to gently cook without browning
  3. Remove the garlic and add the Pancetta and cook until fully cooked. then remove the pan from the heat
  4. Meanwhile cook your pasta for the required amount of time, bearing in mind that fresh pasta cooks quicker than dried.
  5. Beat the 3oz cheese with the egg and season with black pepper
  6. When the pasta is cooked, turn the pan off.
  7. Add the pasta to the pan with the Pancetta. Do not worry if some water gets in the Pacetta pan as this is what we need.
  8. Now, quickly stir the egg/cheese mix into the pasta and pour into the serving bowl.
  9. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and served the remaining cheese separately.
    Job done!!

I’m fully aware that this is probably not the most classic method, and cheese/egg stirring can seem a bit daunting, but the recipe works for us, and that’s half the challenge

… and that was that … more in the future? Who knows?

Giving it another go …


At the end of last year, in fact my last post of the year I mentioned that I was going to stick with Open Live Writer as opposed to the WordPress block editor. I was also occasionally using BlogPad Pro on my iPad. But things have changed a little since then.

I had read about my sites Media Library and decided to have a look and see what was in there. I was rather shocked to find that most of the images I had uploaded for my posts had duplicates. They didn’t appear to be taking up much space, but I wanted to know if it was ‘the norm’ to have duplicated images.

I posted a query on the WordPress forum and after a few questions and answers, it became clear that it was the desktop software (Open Live Writer and BlogPad Pro) that were causing the images to duplicate. It looks like a thumbnail image was being created when the main image was uploaded which was linked to the main image. As I understood it, deleting the thumbnail image would prevent the main image from showing or something like that.

The crux of it all was that the only way to prevent this happening was to use the block editor. It was also suggested, that as I prefer to use desktop software to write a post, that I should use the WordPress app instead.

So, I’m giving it another go …

Last of the Year . . .


This is the last (probably) post of 2019 and in a spirit of adventure, I am attempting to use the WordPress ‘Block Editor’ as opposed to my usual editor ‘Open Live Writer’. I’ve used Open Live Writer (OLW)ever since the demise of the Windows Live Writer (WLW). The last release of WLW, which was part and parcel of the the Microsoft Essentials package, was back in 2012 and the software was finally discontinued in 2017.

I have also used Microsoft Word as my editor, which given the complexity of that software, works quite well. At the end of the day, you have work with what works best for you, and as OLW is very simple to use, I’m probably going to stick with that. Although it has not been updated since 2017 which may mean I have to think again soon.

I am not entirely convinced that the Block Editor is for me. I think it might take me a little more time to get used to it, but for now I think I will stick to Open Live Writer. Better the devil you know and all that.

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So I’ll just wish everyone a Happy New Year, and here’s to the next one

It’s been a while …


It’s been three weeks since my last post, and there have not been any real reasons why. I’ve just been a little bit lazy I suppose. I don’t like writing when there is a chance of being disturbed and with the problems we are experiencing with our youngest son, sitting and putting fingers to keyboard has not been the top of my to-do list. I think I’ve explained here before that Rh*s is Autistic and has several other linked conditions. One of the issues many Autistic people have is routine. Things have to be the same with little or no variation. Rh*s likes to know what he is doing, where and when he is doing it and who with. Changes, even the slightest can lead to anxiety and stress, which often manifests in his behaviour. He currently lives at his residential placement for 4 nights and 5 days a week. He is picked up from home Monday morning and returns Friday evening. It’s taken a long time to get to this stage, and he appears to be happy with the arrangement. He has his own flat and many staff to support him on a daily basis. However, it is now the time to plan his placement for the next year, and this is causing some issues.

I create a planner that shows the nights he sleeps at his flat and the nights he doesn’t. This planner is on his bedroom wall at Planner examplehome and one of his walls at his flat. The current planner ends on the 31st December this year. Since the middle of June, he has been ‘worrying’ that he is not going to his flat next year. Before he can see his dates we have to run it past the representative, of the people who funds his placement and this is where there has been a stumbling block. We believe, that as his placement is fully funded for 24/7 care, that the funders are going to insist on him going 24/7. We, as parents, and the support team do not think he is ready for this yet and we may have some arguments to overcome in the next couple of weeks. The uncertainty has come out in his behaviour, to the extent that he is not wanting to do some of the activities that we know he enjoys. He has also taken to ‘chanting’ about his dates. Every so often and at the moment it seems to be every hour or so he will recite “Friday, Saturday, Sunday” for every weekend up until the end of 2020. This is basically, we think is his way of asking “What am I doing next year?” We think he can actually picture his calendar in his head, rather than actually remembering the dates.

We were supposed to be meeting with the representative for a review of Friday, but the person had got some crossed wires and did not turn up. The meeting has now been rescheduled for early October, but this does not resolve the issue we have. What we and his care manager are now thinking, is that we just go ahead with the dates we are looking at, and if the funders are not happy with that, the issue will be taken to an advocate to speak for him in what they call “Best Interest”. From what I understand this advocate will look at what each party thinks is his best interest and make a decision. Could go either way, but I think that parents and carers know what is best for him more that someone sat at a desk with a financial spreadsheet in front of them. Gong to be a stressful couple of weeks.

Back to normal …


Back in April of this year, I changed the settings on my blog posts to show an excerpt rather than the full post. It was on the advice of someone who was of the opinion that my traffic would increase if I did this. Well after 4 months, it doesn’t seem to have made any difference at all. In fact, it may have even put some people off reading the post if they have to ‘click’ to read. Who knows? So the “Continue reading…” has gone and I’m back to displaying the full post.

Block Editor spell checking . . .


I wrote the ‘coincidence‘ post, as this one, using the new Block Editor. I’m determined to get the hang of it somehow. It became clear that the spell checker that was being used was using a US English dictionary when it tried to make me spell ‘theatre’ as ‘theater’. This is all well and good if you’re an American writer, but I wanted UK English . Try as I might, I could not find a setting that related to the spell checker. Both Bing and Google did not help, so I post a topic in the WordPress.com support forum and waited.

One of the more obscure Bing articles mentioned that WordPress uses the browser dictionary. But if I’m using the WordPress Windows Store app, surely that does not use the browser? I couldn’t find a language setting in the Opera browser, so I had a look at Internet Explorer 11 settings, which picks up it’s language from the Windows settings. It was there that I found it. The ‘Country or Region’ setting showed the UK, but the ‘Display Language’ setting was showing ‘English (United States)”. In order for me to use the ‘English (United Kingdom)’ setting, I had to download a language pack from Microsoft. Who decided that we are all American?

More testing


Derrr

I now see what I have been doing wrong. I had the Save setting to Save Draft, but when I close the editor, I was clicking on the Publish button in an attempt to publish as a draft post. I now realise that I do not need to select Publish from the editor. The post is saved regularly as a draft post and I can preview and amend as I do now.

So I now need to work on updating my skills to learn this new ‘Block’ editor. I don’t think I’m going to drop Open Live Writer as an editor, but I think I need an additional string to my blogging bow. It’s funny, I originally started using the WordPress editor before moving to Microsoft’s Windows Live Editor which was part of the Windows Essentials software. When this deprecated, I tried using the blog template in Microsoft Word before I found the open source software ‘ Open Live Writer ‘. So in a fashion, I have come full circle.

My thank must go to @themagicrobot who’s response in the WordPress Support Forums showed me the error of my ways.

Trying the new editor …


I’m having a look at the new editor for my WordPress.com blog. I normally use Open Live Writer to compose my post and then post it as a draft post. This is so that I can see how it looks prior to publishing and correct any obvious typo’s.

So I’ve been looking around and still cannot see how to publish my post as draft. . It says it is saving as a draft post, but I know from the last time I tried it didn’t and published immediately. I’ve also looked and ‘Save as Pending’ but am not sure if that is correct either. I did manage to find out how to use Full Justify, but that option was hidden in the More Rich Text Controls drop down instead of being in the Text Alignment section of the block editor where I would normally expect it.

A small world …


Way back at the beginning of 2017 I posted about a familiar face popping up on FaceBook and how I was in two minds as to whether I should make contact or not. Looking back, I don’t think I posted that School palsI did get in touch. We had a good evening out some time later, and have kept in touch (on and off) ever since. In fact, we had lunch just recently. Now this is where the title comes in. At that first evening meeting we talked about our family and such. But then we got onto work, and it turned out that this old school friend worked for the son of my maternal grandmothers brother (my mothers cousin). Not only did he work for him, but he knew my grandmother and often visited her. All this came out at that evening out. And before you ask, we both did have that amount of hair in those days.

Then around June time, last year I noticed a post, again on FaceBook from a friend that I worked with way back in the late 1980’s. Back in 1986, I went to work as a clerical officer Typingfor the Local Authority. She started in 1988 as a clerical officer and left that job around 2001 which caused us to lose touch. The post in question was a reply to another post from a current local friend who knew this girl from college way back in the late 1970’s. Thankfully, although she now lives in New Zealand we are now back in touch again. She and her husband are a couple of the nicest people I know.

Leap forward to this month (May 2019) and the relative smallness of the world is again raising it’s WPhead. This time, through this very blogging platform. I was reading through some of the comments on a post I had just read. I often have a look at blogs of people who make interesting comments and this was no exception. One of the commenters (is that what they are called?) I visited had an interesting post that had an image of a place near where we used to live. I commented on the post and to cut a long story short, after a couple of messages I now find out that this person lives close to my wife’s father, and may even know him. I refer you back to the title …