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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some of you may (or may not) notice a slight change to the blog theme.
I am now using theIndependent 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)
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!
The demise of the “Daily Post” has left me feeling a little bit lost. Like many WordPress users, I used the “Daily Prompt” for inspiration rather than a resource to find other blogs. I recently purchased a ‘Personal Plan’ as opposed to a free plan, with the intention of using the Daily Prompt, as what I felt it’s purpose was, to encourage me to write more. My reasoning was that if it cost me money, then I would use it more.
I often tell people, when they ask what my blog is about, that it’s about “… what I want to share, when I want to share it …” There is no basic theme running through it, except when I wrote many posts about my heart operation back in 2014. I have thought about writing about a specific topic, but never got much further than thinking.
So, where now? Where will my inspiration to blog come from? I have had a look at some of the so called ‘Blog Generators’ but none of them seem to be a fit replacement for the Daily Prompt. I looked at the WordPress ‘Discover’ site but the thought of selecting my best post and ‘pitching’ for a random chance of blog promotion seems a bit alien to me. I don’t feel it is up to me to decide which is my best post. My readers will decide that.
If anyone knows of a place that does a similar type of thing to the Daily Prompt, I will be very grateful if you would share it with me.
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!
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!
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.
To finish 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.
I have been looking for a new theme for this blog for sometime now, and I think at last that I’ve found it.Those generous people at WordPress have released a new theme called Blask. I have to do a full test, but on the surface, it seems to tick all the boxes. It is minimalist and looks very clean and professional. Well if you follow the above link, you can see it for yourself.
So at some point over the weekend, I will be taking this offline whilst I do a full test of this new theme.
Nothing of real interest here. I have finally taken the plunge and changed my theme. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and it came to a head this morning, when I tried to add an image to a post. Everything I tried seemed to show the image with a solid grey border around the edge. It was not a good look, but I could not find anyway of stopping it from happening without editing the text and changing some the coding that was in the background.
Now, I was intending to have an image in each new post as a motivational prompt for writing. Having to mess around with coding, was not going to make life easy, and I was resigned to having to make do with what was on offer in the theme. It was only later this evening, whilst reading another blog, that I noticed the images in their blog looked exactly like the images should look. A bit of detective work and lo and behold, I’m now using the Penscratch theme as opposed to Twenty Ten. I suppose I really should have done some research and found a theme that showed images properly, but I felt sure that there was something I needed do to the image is the setting to make it look right. Unfortunately in twenty Ten, there was nothing I could do, it was either ‘like it or lump it’ as the saying goes. The only downside that I can see with this new theme, is that I cannot add an image to the title bar. However, a small price to pay, to get the right effect. I have to say though, it’s been good fun trying to get this new one looking the way I want it, so keep watching this space ….. it may change again.
Not much today. I decided to add a ‘Top Post’ widget, but the side bar was looking a bit overlong. Enter ‘Secondary Side Bar’!!!
Hmmm, I’m not too sure about this. The main body seems to be too squashed to accomodate two sidebars effectively. What does anyone think? Maybe I need to consider a different theme. One that does not have such wide side borders. Is there such a theme? Anyone have any ideas I can look at? Watch this space.
(Note to self:- you need to update that Gravatar!)
As a part of this “Blogging 201”, the three goals I intend to aspire to are:
Increase number of comments;
As of today’s date (20/09/2014) I have a total of 154 comments on the posts I have made. My goal/aspiration is to increase this by 20% by the end of October. My ultimate goal would be to have comments on every post I make.
Increase the regularity of my posts;
My currents postings are random and occur as and when I feel like writing something. I intend to start a routine of posting twice a week
Start blogging with a theme;
The problem, I feel with random posts is that there is no continuity. This I believe could be the reason for the lack of comments. So the goal here is to identify a theme. One that I either have an opinion or one that I have a good knowledge of.
The second goal is the easiest. Goal three would be quite a challenge, but could, if done well help achieve goal number 1.
I have been toying with the idea of changing my blog theme for some time. But getting around to it, has been another story. Getting right and more important, readable takes a little bit of effort. This one is the fourth one I have tried today, and I think I will use this for the time being. It’s named “Twenty Ten” and I know it’s now Twenty Thirteen, but nobody has done that theme yet (well not that I can see) and until they do, Twenty Ten it is.
Wednesday saw a family birthday meal for S****. To coincide with Halloween, S**** decided that he wanted us to all dress up. His theme was Black! I had no idea what to wear, until I saw that S**** had a bowler hat. Now, I thought, I only need a black suit and tie (which I had), a cane (which S**** had) and I was sorted.
Now this kind of thing is not something that Mrs H and me do. In fact this was only the second time I have worn any kind of fancy dress at all! The only other time was nearly 40 years ago, when a colleague, R***** decided to have a Tarts ‘N’ Vicars party for his 21st birthday. I was in two minds as to whether I was going to that, but in the end I went as a vicar. I was the only one !!! No not the only vicar !! The only one in fancy dress !! R***** had changed his mind when a few people had said they did not like the idea of wandering around Leeds in costume. In those days, it was not the done thing. He had omitted to let me know.
Sunday was a long day. Youngest had decided that he wanted some Eastender vids downloading from YouTube. Don’t ask me why Eastenders, as we have no idea where that came from!! So most of the day was spent doing that. A total of 99, eight minute videos to download. It is one of his things. I download them, convert them to wmv format, and he puts them in his own movies !!! It is quite a talent really.
Out again last night. This time for a family meal. K***’s Mum and dad always take their offspring (and partners and grandkids) out for a birthday meal. This year it was a bit later than normal. We seem to be on a theme for the past few years, of Italian Pizza restaurants. It is not my favourite food style, as (to me) it all tastes the same. However, I shared a pasta dish that had some beautiful wild mushrooms in. Mrs H, chose a Calzone pizza (to share), that seems to contain a good 8oz of asparagus !!! Not nice, if you do not like asparagus.
You will note, that I have (again) changed my theme. I though this new theme would liven my blog up a little, and I’m quite pleased with it. I like the way I can add my Twitter and Facebook links. I’ve also added a few more pictures. I did try using Flickr to show off the photos, but it was not what I wanted.
Work went quite well. A lot to do today, but I had very few interruptions. My PC, at work, is still causing me problems. I can work okay, using the laptop, and I’m toying with the idea of dumping the the desktop, and just using the laptop. I will have to think that one through.
Just thought I would have another theme change. Wanted something a little cleaner for a while. It is strange. There are about 50 themes, but a lot of them are quite sameish. I don’t like the photo themes or the very dark ones. Some are very cluttered, and I think this one is quite good.
I just realised today, that I’ve worked for the same service now for 20 years !!! Of course, the job has changed a lot, and I suppose I have too. It’s funny to think, that out of all the people that worked there when I started, there are only 5 of us left. But what is scary is that in 10 years time I will have retired !!!!
Another thing that amazed me was that this blog has been going almost a year. I did blog for a short while on Windows Live Spaces, but never got any hits, and before that I had a blog on Google Blogger, but that was just tiresome (I hear it’s better these days). Then I found WordPress and nearly 300 posts later, I have not looked back. I said right at the start, that I may need to blog on a theme. Well that has not happened, but I could say, that is ‘work in progress’. My stats have gone a bit wild today. I average between 3 and 6 views a day, but today I hit 28 views. Well pleased.
I have begun to question the relevance of this blog. I started it on here with good intentions. I had previously had a Google Blogger blog, but found that a little too restrictive, in the fact that you had to login to your account to post. I then tried the Microsoft Live blog and found that too simplistic. When I found WordPress, I thought this is one I can work with. I use Windows Live Writer to post, and now can post by email from my smartphone, which is pretty cool.
I intended to post everyday, and to post on a theme. The theme notion quickly went out of the window as I could not think of a theme that I felt I could write about. However I am still thinking on that one. It quickly developed into a kind of online diary and a place to have a whinge.
How do I take this further ? Do I develop a theme on which to comment ? Do I stick to what I have been doing ? Do I become a ‘social commentator’ on the issues of the day ? Or do I just pack it all in ? Any ideas ?
I would like take this opportunity for a little moan. Well not so much a moan, more a frustration really. We have started buying white bread for my pack-up, from a northern baker based in Bolton. This bread comes wrapped in waxed paper, as opposed to the usual plastic bag.
It started when, I saw it priced at 2 for £2.00 in Asda. I bought 2 loaves and also a granary loaf wrapped in plastic. After about 4 days, the plastic wrapped bread was hard and starting to mould a little, but the white bread was still quite soft. I remember from my college days, that one of the tutors used to say that plastic causes bread to sweat, hence the mould. However, bread wrapped in paper breathes and as a consequence, keeps longer. I’m not sure of the science around this, but it seems to be true.
The youngest is away on respite this weekend, so it’s a bit of a break. He went off this afternoon, and will be back on Monday around 10:00ish. Mrs H has a day off on Sunday, so we have the weekend all to ourselves.
I’m not sure about this new theme. I quite like the plain look, but I don’t think that this is the right one. I’ll checkout some the others over the next couple of days.
Spike is off for a week, so that’s good. I think we will enjoy his holiday a lot more than he does.
Well I was tired, before I started today. Yesterdays late night seemed to do for me a little. Work went okay. The usual minor irritations caused by people who just rush things, without checking all the facts.
Eldest is at a gig in York tonight. A lot of his drama friends have gone, because R**** is one of the performers. I hope he not too late getting in. He has to be up early, as I’m taking him to his flat. I think everyone has to be up for work tomorrow, so they may not be late. Mrs H is not too pleased with him though. He must have been up even later, after we got in, as he did not get up until one o’clock. She was hoping that they might go out during the day somewhere.
There does not appear to be anyone to chat to tonight. Very strange. Not of my contacts are signed into MSN. There is usually at least one person logged in. I had a quick peep in Chat, but that was very quiet.
Youngest has been fine again, although he has just had a bit of an ‘episode, when I told him to shut his PC down. However, it was not as intense and as extended as usual, so I guess that it was just something that upset him. He does not seem to holding his ears as much either since they were syringed.
The email I get from the ‘Money Saving Expert’, was not up to much this week. There was a link to a free Lily Allen download. I got it, but it was a big disappointment. It is some kind of dance remix, and not the originals. There does not seem to have been many offers from MSE the past few weeks. Some of the offers seem to be a lot of work for very little.
Eldest has just rung (unusual for him) to let us know that he has been invited to the after gig party. I thought that might happen. He says R**** will give him a lift home. He will just have to go on the bus tomorrow. I hope his flat-mate tidies up a bit, or more likely tidies up a lot.
I’m getting a little tired of this theme, so you may see something different in the next day or two.
This new theme is quite a clean looking one. Looks very sharp. It’s been a strange day. Pottsy has gone, so despite what a lot of people think, it is a big blow. He was not a bad bloke, and unlike a lot of people, stood a joke. Heaven knows who we will get. There are one or two waiting in the wings, ready to take it on, but neither will be any good. The job needs a people manager, and neither of ‘the big two’ are people managers. We wait and see, with intrepid anticipation.
Microsoft has issued ‘Service Pack 2’ for Office 2007 this week. It will come as an automatic update in a few weeks, so I downloaded it whilst at work. We can install it to all three machines over the weekend. It’s a 290mb download, so it would have taken a good 10-15 minutes, and that would have been repeated on each machine. Quite a bit of saving there, I should think. Microsoft seems to be pushing IE8 a lot. I hear that will come as an auto update. It would appear that it will download, and that it will be the user’s choice whether to install or not. I do not think i will install it, although if I am forced to download the thing, I may as well install it..
I’m letting the eldest drive to work tomorrow. From the sounds of it, he seems to be fine. Mrs H, has finally got it, that they way people are taught to drive now, is very different from when she was taught. I have been saying that for the past 14 years. Now she believes it.
Not heard from my American friend all week. I cannot chat on MySpace, well I could, but I just don’t like the interface. She has been on facebook, but I’m not too sure if she realises that you can chat on there.