Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Hard Work...


On Saturday I popped into the museum for the opening of the exhibition.  I was late and missed that, missed the boring speeches, missed the cheap red wine, missed the cakes, so I went home again before I didn't miss the washing up.  
Today the first thing I did was wash up the left over cups!
The thing about art exhibitions is the people that this attracts.  Tuesday mornings, especially dreich damp ones, are usually quiet however by not long after ten thirty I had dealt with ten people already!  So it continued, art lovers, both local and distant arrived and will continue to arrive in their droves as long as the exhibition lasts.
When doing the war memorial it was clear most of the men in the village were agricultural labourers, horsemen or stockmen.   It is no wonder that after three or four thousand years of such work the men took the chance to move to Canada or Australia for a better life!  What future would there be unless you found an exceptional talent and the opportunity to use it?
No doubt that also enabled many to enlist in 1914.  Several volunteered and occasionally one or two were already in the army,the temptation of regular pay and the opportunity to see the world too strong for some.  In those days the army was a rough place to be but at least there was the chance to be rough in India or China, Africa or some other hot exciting spot.  The fact that you might get shot didn't loom high at that moment.
In the late twenties when Bawden and Rivellious arrived the village would have been a quiet retreat from the big market town.  The small village surrounded by fields would, in the Spring, offer a delightful opportunity for painters to wallow in country living and express this on their canvasses.  Quite what the farm labourers really thought as they slugged away at twenty tons of potatoes or turnip while some chap drew sketches of them i cannot say.  I know what might have crossed my mind however.  
We have this exhibition on until April 15th so I expect to be an expert on these men and those who followed them by then.  Just listening to the folks this morning was interesting, though few of them bought much from the books and cards we have on offer however!  Bah!

 
  

Friday, 27 January 2017

Remembrance


Today many remembered the Holocaust, and with good reason.
However while it is important not to forget it is also important not to take things out of context.
The well organised, efficient deliberate murder of several million Jews and others alongside is well documented.   We learned about this when young and are sometimes surprised that there are those who appear ignorant of the facts concerned.  To me, and I think others, it occasionally appears remembering the Holocaust is now an industry perpetuated by politicians for reasons of their own rather than concern that we ought never to forget. 
In my view we must remember what depths our human nature can reach however we must not concentrate one one item only for there are other holocausts that receive no publicity, no annual remembrance, no speeches from people of importance.
The Armenians murdered by the Turks during the Great War may have numbered over a million and a half, the dead in the wars in the Democratic Congo over the last thirty years may number five or more million, and this fighting continues at times.  The USA was created by moving into land occupied by the Indians, sorry 'Native Americans,' and they were pushed aside and shot at will if and when this was required.  Close by the English government in the 1840 refused to send grain to Ireland while the potato famine caused almost two million to leave the country and over two million to die!  There was wheat available but this was not only withheld grain in Ireland was exported!
A glance at history shows many occasions whole populations were eradicated but only some are remembered.  This has been the result of human nature at its worst, and this is a nature we all share.  The untold story is that we too can be responsible for such actions, we just deceive ourselves as we do not wish to accept this.
If we did accept this we might cease the other closer to home holocaust, the murder of babies in abortion.  Murder committed, and often encouraged, by those who take the Hippocratic Oath!  Since 1967 when such were allowed in the UK some seven million have died because they had a hair lip, were disabled, happened to be female in an Asian family or many other excuses.  Always society cares for the mother, actually society cares for itself through using such mothers, but society cares not for the child ripped out and thrown alive into a bucket.
History reveals many holocausts, we are all capable of such actions.  Just give thanks you have not yet been put in the position of those who have carried out the work, willingly or unwillingly.     
But let us never forget, for it will happen again.


Thursday, 26 January 2017

In Out the Cold

Braintree Station, Bawden
 
To get out of my freezing flat, Esmeralda costs too much when she bothers to ignite, I accepted the offer of filling in for a couple of hours this afternoon at the museum.  I wandered down there in temperatures just below freezing with rumours of snow in places irritating me passing frozen noses and many an ungloved hand thrust into not very warm pockets.
The time was well spent, I cleaned hundreds of cups left over from the day before and spent some time proof reading labels soon to be attacked to exhibits.  The amount of work to ensure an exhibition is put on properly is astounding, mostly I avoid it.  There were few changes to be made and when we closed I wandered around gazing at  the pictures already in place.
Edward Bawden and the many other artists who gathered in the wee villages of Great Bardfield to the north of town in the twenties and thirties onwards are the subject of the exhibition.  Based on a book, 'Life in an English Village' we show many of the works and expect a large number of adoring art lovers to visit in the coming weeks.  

 HMS Glorious, Ravilious
 
On Saturday we have the official opening and already over fifty people have decided to be there, so will I, probably washing glasses again!  The works themselves do look to me as very 40's and 50's as many were done by the artists following on from the originators Bawden and Eric Ravilious.  Bawden continued working for some years but Ravilious unfortunately obtained work as a war artist and was sent to Iceland which at that time was an RAF base.  Not long after he arrived an air sea rescue mission was launched for a missing plane and he went along on one of the four aircraft searching.  Only three of those planes returned, Ravilious and his aircraft were never seen again.  
The pictures are a bit iffy to me some of them.  I saw several very good ones and too many of the type often called 'naive,' I think people who pay large sums of cash for them are naive myself.
I must look out my crayons...


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Monday, 23 January 2017

Lost in a Misty Haze


My mind is lost in a misty haze each day at the moment.  Jumping up out of bed I noticed the world was in such a haze also.  The misty haze arriving when the temperature was below zero left fields cold and white and early risers not much better.  
I notice Theresa May has become a misty haze also.  When asked four times if she had been told of the failed test of the Trident nuclear missile she failed to answer, possibly a wee bit of misty haze there I suggest.  There is also a misty haze when she is asked about Brexit, EU negotiations, cost, and organisation of trade debates with the world and EU and indeed everything else.  Is she up to the job?  

 
Mondays have changed as each week I am now committed to a meeting at St Paul's when I ought to be enjoying my siesta.  This of course need not hinder my siesta as I can shout my mouth off even if asleep.  However we work our way through the bible making use  of a book called 'The Story,' well they do I read the good book myself rather than a cut down version.  This is good in that I get to know people better and in several cases they already loathe the sight of me, so normal situation appears.  
The problem is time!  This means getting up, waking up, eating and going out at lunchtime missing lunch.  So lunch is early, alongside breakfast to save time, and then I have to prepare my little head and walk down there is the freezing cold weather, not that I was complaining however my knees were!  By the time we finish and I stutter home via the park looking for a picture or two it is time to eat.  So my day has been eat, talk, eat and now ty and scribble something in a blog.  Not easy when you are glaikit like me.

   
One advantage of the cold is the public gardens are free of children, mums consider their child too precious to go outside in the cold which is good - for everyone else.  However with no kids offering peanuts the beasties have to dig for the many treasures they hid when times were good.  Whether they actually find what they hid or whether they are just grubbing around is unclear to me but several were at it when I approached and none appeared to be successful.


Something very attractive about the sun shining like it does but also very difficult to capture.  Nothing else I tried worked so this is all I can do to catch the sun.  
Scenes such as this, with birds and beasties grubbing all around make me forget the worries of the day and the sights are important when sitting indoors for hours at a time.  When stuck inside for hours it is important to walk amongst something green and see blue sky, or gray sky as it usually happens to be round here.  There is something within us that requires time in the outdoors among greenery and animal life.  I think combining this with the seaside is even better for our mental health, the sights refresh the mind and allow us to think freely, expand the mind somewhat and in truth are just enjoyable if nothing else. 


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Sat Day


What an excellent Saturday it has been!
I sauntered out slowly this morning, the pavements were white with frost, and visited Tesco for bread.  A quick look at the sky above and then back into the heat, once Esmeralda had switched herself on, and I have sat in front of the laptop all day.
Now this does not indicate working I should tell you, Oh no, instead I have been playing with 'Little England' 'Brexiters.'  One facebook friend keeps linking to people who post 'Daily Express' stories, the 'Express' is constantly brought up before the ineffective Press control people for misleading, indeed lying headlines.  They do not change them as they are well aware headlines offering stories concerning foreign bodies stealing money, attacking women, murdering their family always sells to the 'UKIP' voter.  I ask them to show the white English doing similar but find no support.  
The lies re 'Brexit' continue to fill the page just as bias towards Trump does.  I indicate helpfully misunderstandings, and indeed bad spelling, but this gets only abuse.  Violence is offered by some in they way hey detest when 'Liberals' 'Communists' and 'Luvvies' offer it.  The little englander is not the brightest.  For some reason they dislike that professor who called England the 'Lager lout of Europe,' I failed to see their objection.   
Tee Hee how they revolted at my comments.  I am so unhappy about that.


Anyway I returned to war memorials and finished and printed off two more of the pile I was doing and decided to return to other museum work.  Then I decided to return to it after lunch, after this I decided to sleep it off before working and then after that decided to watch the football instead.  I ought to have worked at something.  How depressing to see Rangers lose a goal and then come back and win!  No chance Celtic will lose goals tomorrow so both the evil twins go through.  The Heart of Midlothian have the hardest task with Raith Rovers tomorrow yet we know how that will turn out.
I eventually considered dead soldiers again but luckily hunger took over and football has run my day since.  How lucky is that?



Friday, 20 January 2017

Oh Dear Oh Dear


I noticed this man sitting there enjoying what sun there was on his back.  He sat contentedly watching the world go by.  For millennia birds such as he have sat on branches, walls, and telegraph wires watching the world go about its business and carried on with their lives as if nothing was happening.  Eating, laughing and sleeping is all they care about.  We however can envy animals and birds this leisure but have to participate in one way or another while the world makes its mistakes.
I mentioned to this bird Trump has become president and he flew away screaming!  I wonder if he will be back?


Oh dear Oh dear, what has America done?  One of the mistakes made is the people listening to politicians speaking up for them and then failing to work for them as promised.  Trump did this to excess today.  He told his congregation what they wanted to hear and happily left them to it.  Of course it is nonsense, for one he talked of bringing jobs back to America yet he sent his factories to China, has he forgotten this?  His cry that the people are now the government was brilliant but clearly nonsense as he is the government, well him and Congress, the military, powerful businesses, the insurance companies, the lobby groups ....

  
Should we be placing bets as to when he gets shot....?
Just asking, it is the USA you know!



Thursday, 19 January 2017

Beware the Ides of Friday


Much against my better judgement I rose from under the bed and took my frail and freezing cold hulk down to the museum.  Claiming she had gone deaf, no surprise to anyone who has spoken to  her, she has called off the Thursday afternoon.  As little occurs at this time she will be happy enough to be at home in the warm reading rubbish wimmens novels.  
As expected nothing happened.  Two persons entered, two called via the telephone and I opened a box of books connected with the new exhibition.  A full afternoons work.  
The town has a half day/early closing on Thursdays and the place gets very quiet in the afternoon as people tend to stay away, even Tesco was quiet when I went for milk.  In a weeks time however the new exhibition will draw in the 'art' types who will flock to see what is on show.  Already around 80 are expected at the official opening, probably to avoid having to avoid paying when they come to visit the exhibition.   Some pics have gone up but still much to do to set out the show, I am doing my bit - I am clearing off out of the way!


A pathetic attempt at catching the dying sun on my wee camera.  This camera is not made for more than snaps rather than pictures.  Still it took the one of the tree quite well.  Maybe it's the photographer...

  
Tomorrow is the day the USA begins to wonder if it has done the right thing.  Tomorrow is the day the rest of the world begins to wonder in similar fashion.  We can of course remember that US presidents, for all their power, are in fact limited by so many 'checks & balances' that all too often anything they attempt is hampered by Congress or some Lobby group or other.  Even the UK system is better than what Americans have to endure.  
Tomorrow Mr Trump is allowed to know what no-one bar the president gets to know (so who tells him and how do they know it?) he also gets to carry the code for the nuclear button!


However we need not worry about this as his pal Putin is not in any danger of creating a war, although he might invade Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Czech republic and Hungary and all the rest but he and Donald will not exchange nuclear missiles over them will they?  
meanwhile Mrs Theresa May is going flat out for broke, which is what the nation will be when she has finished.  Only last year she spoke of our strength and economic power being safe only in the EU now she realises her new job and its important powers depend on keeping the right wing little englanders in her party happy and she is not going to lose her new job because of economic collapse and a few hungry people is she?  What with Boris (this man is our foreign secretary!) comparing the French president to Nazis she has one less opponent to fear but others will arise just as clearly as Boris will do something stupid again.  
Normal politics really.  Up there in Elite Land they make their decisions and we don't count until they need us to vote for them.  Propaganda spewed out daily through the gutter press (which the Tories own) and a compliant BBC will be used in any referendum or against those seeking a referendum.  It never ceases to surprise me how the messages are passed by a ' free Press!'  The elite continue to prosper and it is the 'poor wot gets the blame.' 



Monday, 16 January 2017

A Day in the Knees


I have spent the day in cogitating.  My thought processes have been working all day.  This as you may understand is not a regular exercise.  Having to take my creaking knees down to S P's for the midday session I prepared by deep study of the relevant passages, or the few I managed before my head hurt.  I mean I had read about Abraham many times before but early in the morning, that is about nine a.m. it is a little bit of a strain.  The big words in the commentary are easy enough at night when fed and watered and having no football to watch but before the cereal and stale bread it is much harder.  
The world 2000 BC is an interesting time.  People were flocking into cities in what is now southern Iraq three thousand years before this and life then was just as it is today, except there were no laptops or phones.  Writing began 3500 BC roughly and literature such as the epic of Gilgamesh around 2600 BC.  Writing probably began as means of recording sales as populations increased and an 'elite' were taking charge of an urban growth.  Great wealth and that from far distances has been found in 'royal' tombs from this time at Ur.  
War of course had begun by then.  Small tribal clans were usually less intent of robbing peoples far from themselves and it seems to me the increase in population and greater size of cities with associated wealth brought small local disagreements into what we now call national wars.  'The Standard of Ur' shows the result of one such conflict from the winners perspective.  It is recorded that peoples in the south held sway over those in the north of Iraq and faced rebellions around this time.  Boys will be boys.
It's fascinating to conjecture on how such folks lived, the crops, farmed since since 9000 BC, and the number of old folks wandering around grumbling that life was better in the old days.  Human nature does not change and the peoples of Mesopotamia reflect this clearly.

  
However much that interested me the group in which I blethered was less interested especially as most of them knew these things.  Instead we concentrate on Abrams faith in his God and how we ought to react to God today.  The asking of Abram to kill his son, the one through whom the promise was to be fulfilled was interesting, especially when you consider Abrams reaction.  I wonder what went through his head as he went to the chosen mountain?  Whatever God understood his reaction as while he never wished Abram to kill his son he did himself allow his Son to die for us.  How he hurt to save us.  A fathers love is something rarely spoken of in the media today, unless it is some sentimental twaddle.  Fathers are of course the lowest in society according to PC attitudes.
Now I sit with aching knees wondering how to deal with museum work tomorrow.  I mean should I try to stay awake or just doze.... 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Weather the Storm


This brought terror to the newsrooms throughout the land yesterday.  The blizzard raced through terrifying reporters with nothing else to talk about and leaving acres of print space, TV and radio hours full of snow.  
It is usually like this in the UK.  
Certainly the weather was harsh in some areas, certainly Esmeralda the boiler would not work until I went to bed, certainly it was cold, below freezing!  However we all know it will halt trains, stop buses, cause traffic accidents and last no more than 48 hours, which indeed it did, less probably.
However TV, radio and press were on hand to cover each and every snowflake, except mine I should point out, and fill those empty spaces happily.  
Along with the stormy weather there were expected to be high tides surging down the coast along the North Sea.  The low lying areas of Essex and Eat Anglia have suffered much over the years from such tides and the authorities, armed with police, fire and ambulances abundant, recommended evacuation for many people.  A great many refused to budge, various reasons were given but in reality they know their neighbours canny be trusted and while the police were roaming the streets they feared break ins from locals more than high tides. 
In the end the high tides were not as high as feared, damage was minimal, no lives lost, everyone went home happy.  Well apart from those now complaining the police overreacted, much money wasted and such warnings were not required.  I suspect these are the same people who are first to claim the police/fire/ambulance/authorities did nothing and now look!  It was ever thus.
Very true that the police overreact all too often these days but if you ran the service how would you run such emergencies?  Good luck trying.

 
Cold in Sainsburys car park on Saturday morning, much colder two hours later when that snow blew in at 50 miles an hour.  I of course was waiting for Esmeralda to start up!  In fact I have just switched her on again and almost immediately she has failed.  Typical!  Fiddling with the thermostat keeps me warm mind.
These Saturdays are strange when there is no football.  Scottish Football closes down for three weeks in January to give players a break and avoid bad weather, bad weather which we all know is worse in February and March!  However it leaves a gap in the day.  English football may have its points but it is not worth getting stressed over.  Roll on the restart up north I say.
I heard one or two strange things regarding football.  One was the supposed comment by a commentator that Totenham Hotspur footballers were badly paid!  Now in football terms this may be true but earning £40,000 to around £100,000 a week before tax dodging is not bad in the minds of the local factory worker, the shop assistant or the man struggling to keep his business afloat with Brexit scaring him.  Sometimes footballers are strange.
Another one is the condemnation of one such footballer probably at the higher end of the pay scale, more £200,000 than £20 a week, and the condemnation is his desire to move to another club for 'big money.'  He wants away so he can earn proper big money and other players (who have done similar) are claiming 'That never happened in my day," liars one and all!  


Tomorrow we have rain...




Thursday, 12 January 2017

Snow!


Today I found myself to brain dead to do anything of worth.  This was just as well as the temperature descended gradually as an Arctic blast has come across the nation offering freezing rain and this has turned to snow here.  It may last 48 hours but for many making their way home through the rush hour, especially those on bikes, it is an unwelcome visit.
I am sitting amongst the heat it should be said.  I offer them my sympathy!  Tee Hee! Once in Edinburgh, and only once, I left work in such a sleet come snow storm and had to cycle miles up a straight and very long road with this in my face.  It was not what I would call a delight!
Tomorrow morn as I make my way to Sainsburys I note they expect more snow with 20-40 mph winds in my face!  I might go hungry instead!

And for those who do not know what snow is...




Wednesday, 11 January 2017

'Ae Spark o' Natures Fire'


Today I elected to board the 12:08 Zimmer Bus but for reasons beyond comprehension the bus left exactly on time meaning I missed it!  Since when did 'First Bus' buses run to timetables around here???  The little problem was the timing. This bus takes 43 minutes according to the timetable, this ignores roadworks, car crashes and bad weather of course, and had I been aboard enabled me to arrive at the theatre in time to select a decent seat to watch my best looking, most talented and highly intelligent niece perform at the piano alongside her singer.  As it was I did arrive well into the concert and squeezed myself into a seat between songs much to the numerous audience members disgust.  This small theatre holds about a hundred seats and was quite full, these (cheap) lunchtime concerts entertain music lovers and fill in time for people off the Zimmer Bus.  

My wonderful niece played superbly.  I have the CD of the concert they gave during the Edinburgh Fringe (sent by another attractive young niece) but to see her in action was a real treat.  It is two or three years since I saw her play so with a memory like mine this was a new experience!  It was good to see how she has developed her skill, the variety of songs gave a lot of opportunity to shine, some soft, some rather rugged in comparison and watching her hands work the keys with each was super.
Jillian her singer took centre stage (singers always do) and they went through a wide variety of songs, some Rabbie Burns, some from Spanish writers, some Russian.  It amazed me how she could concentrate on her singing and remember all the words of so many songs.  It was interesting to note how she almost acted out some of the words yet did not go so far as to lose track of what she was doing.  I mentioned afterwards how many of the locals would fail to understand the words of the Scots songs, they probably understood more of the Russian than anything by Burns.  There again with sopranos it is more than the words it is the noise produced (am I allowed to say 'noise' at this point?). 

I regretted greatly missing most of the first 30 minutes and have spent much time this evening seeking suitable works on YouTube but only one can I find from their act, the one above.  However I had a really enjoyable hour what with the music and meeting my favourite niece, what more can I ask?



Books!  That's what I could ask!  After leaving them to their devices, probably the pub, I made my way down the Big City back alleyways looking for the new 'Foyles' Bookshop.  Naturally while following strict instructions how to find it I ended up in a car park!  Wandering round the back streets I found gleaming buildings that were not there six months ago when I last passed this way. One of them was the gleaming 'Foyles' Bookshop.  Two floors of books surrounded by huge windows and lots of space, too much space in my view and not as much 'cosiness' as found in old fashioned bookshops.  One real irritant was the placing of books at ground level, I canny get down that far and with one section of small sized book crammed together my eyes found it hard to read the titles.  At least I made use of the generously donated bookmark with a book or two which now join the queue to be read.  This means five books are in that queue and I think I am reading eight others at the same time.  As they are mostly in the loo, a place most men use as a library, it may well be I do myself some harm while stimulating the brain.



Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Museum Musings


Another day another few hours of fun and jollity at the museum.  The term 'fun and jollity' is not to be taken seriously!  It was fun and at times there was jollity but I found too few people to discuss history, theirs or the towns, with today.  Several came in to see the postcard exhibition, 600 postcards in all mostly of the town and area about a hundred years ago, or slightly less.  Too few from the period after the war.  It is amazing just how much remains the same even though it is very different.  Did I just say that?  Indeed little has changed in the basic layout but some buildings are drastically altered.  The old market place, pub and all, is now a modern Tesco, what once was the 'Fairfield' used often by the 'fair' is now a large old Town Hall, modern library and 1930's ex-Post Office building.  It's quite amusing to note how things have changed in many visitors lifetimes.


The school class today, dressed suitably as Victorians, faced the stern Victorian teacher for an hour or so bravely but would not understand a life in which computers of one sort or another were in use. Being about eight years old they have grown up into a computer world and many bought slates, the type once used by schoolchildren learning to write (hold your hand up at the back) just to practice in similar fashion to kids of yesteryear.  We had one or two of those in also today!
Among the stock we have old Victorian pennies made into key chains.  Pennies I once used have become historical items!  Amongst the books we have 'Living in the 50's' and the same in the '60's' but this canny be history, I was there! 


I was much amused this week to read of a lass in Brazil who had spent many years praying to a statue of St Anthony.  Now I have no idea who St Anthony was, if he ever existed, and see no point in praying to dead men, Jesus is alive so ask him, but it is important to ensure you pray to the person you think you are praying to.  This lass was in fact unknown to her making use of a figure from a 'Lord of the Rings' set!
It is not known if she got an answer...

 
With Christmas just past it would be thought that cards were the last thing folks wished to buy yet I sold several today.  The girls like these and the ones featuring the 'Warners Silk Mill' designs.  I prefer cards with humour myself, specially one that fits the receiver, but women prefer intricate designs for the most part it appears.  These animals are particularly popular.  
Christmas cards I suppose have come down now, however I notice mine are still in their place hiding dirty marks and preventing me dusting places, so they had better stay for a while.  This adds a touch of colour to the room and avoids the 'empty feeling' that results from removing them.
Ah well, that's enough fun and hilarity for one day.


 This brings to mind some of my readers....
   

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Too Busy...


I might need one of these in a few days.  It has been non stop for me, and usually I am at 'stop' at all times.  Instead of lounging around on Saturday as I required I was forced to spend hours of good football time at a birthday celebration, O joy!  This morning was communion, tomorrow is another meeting, Tuesday work, Wednesday I have to travel to the big city where my niece and her friend are performing in a concert and then on Thursday I sleep!
This is too much for my frail eight stone body!   
Rush here, wait for buses there, walk this way, walk back again, then do the same tomorrow!  It's not right!  I hardly have time to burn my dinner before I am preparing for the next day.  Tsk!  
I m off to prepare thoughtfully for the next day now, I'm visiting my bed....





Thursday, 5 January 2017

Lucky Day Off


Esmeralda, the old boiler, is happily chugging away in the corner heating the place magnificently as she is supposed to do.  The heat is required as today is somewhat chilly,the clear skies allowing both sunshine and frostbite to entertain us.  Esmeralda is powered by British gas, one of the overpriced privatised energy companies that rip us off, especially during wintertime.  The fact that a lot of publicity has gone into encouraging people, me among them, to change gas companies has caused British gas and others to think about means of keeping hold of the customer without lowering their profits.  One such idea is the free gifts and prize draw offerings that no-one known to us ever wins.  The prizes may be great and the rewards tempting but they do not drop through our door.   
On the other hand loyalty cards at supermarkets and elsewhere have apparently been failing to encourage folks to remain with one company, people preferring to shop around.  However I am happy to make use of what rewards I get from Sainsburys, especially as it is just up the road two minutes away.  
Now get this, last December, on the official email, British Gas claimed I had been awarded an enormous number of 'Nectar points,' the system used by Sainsburys as loyalty points.  naturally I thought this a scam and yet my name was on the email, it was the official one I had signed up for, wasn't it...?  They informed me my points would be added in 10 days or so, and with Christmas in the way I put this aside and waited to check if it was real.  Indeed it turns out it was real and once I checked with Nectar themselves I had been given a great temptation not to change from British Gas to anyone cheaper!
I was amazed, this has never happened to me or anyone close to me, friend or foe.  There were several thousand points thus allowing me to spend them on things of value, like meat!  There is a superstore 30 minutes away on the bus and as our local Sainsburys store is small in comparison I headed to the big one today to see what was available.  


The advantage of larger stores comes from the offering of a wider range of household, technological and fashion goods smaller stores do not have the room for, thus it was here where vast areas were covered in ten times the amount of goods in comparison to what I'm used to.  The disadvantage, other than the ignorance of customers each and everyone of whom considered they could barge into me with their trolleys, it is near the big town you see and manners are less used there, the disadvantage to me was the thought that I did not require any of the tempting technological marvels or indeed the fashion, such as it was.  Milk, bread and sausage rolls for lunch did not seem an adequate response to the prize.  However my little camera is in trouble and requires fixing so I bought a cheap Nikon A10 to stick in my pocket for when the real camera is too bulky.  This satisfied my need for 'shiny things' and I went to pay.
Here we begin to slow down.  The lass was very friendly, helpful and efficient but indicated my card was logged into the local store, not the big one.  This meant her trailing me over to the Customer Services where a friendly and efficient young man (I was never like this when I worked) took me through the operation required.  He phoned Nectar where I had to confirm I was me, sensibly enough I think, and when that was OK the operation was complete and I strolled into the sunshine with my bag.
I was impressed by the staff, usually at the local store they are quite good, occasionally one can be a reason for being irked but in the whole they are acceptable, here however the people I dealt with went one better.  Shame there was little I wished for, mind you I will buy meat on Saturday at the local, that will shock them!  "What no reduced price mince this time...?"


That summed up the day as by the time I got home I lost interest in anything else but eating and sleeping.  The bus took ages to get back as while the roads were clear going out there were numerous hold ups coming back.  Holes in the road in several places, detours and lots of traffic on narrow roads.  Still I am grateful for the bus pass which might be used tomorrow with books in mind...
The house looks neat but it is quite run down.  I am not sure if it is part of the restaurant next door hidden by the hedge or what but I do know that what once was a nice wee home on the old Roman Road (actually going back long before the Romans improved it) this house now has billions of vehicles of all sizes outside his door all day and all night.  The roundabout to the right carries traffic in several directions and behind me stands the shopping centre swarming with folks improving their houses one way or another.  The traffic round here makes my ears bleed.  I am clearly now used to small town life even if the main road is outside my window.


High above several vapour trails scratched the sky.  here we see what I think may be one craft at 35,000 feet passing overhead towards the Americas while the other moves into the holding pattern for landing.  One possibly heads towards, New York or Montreal the other looks towards Stansted or Luton airports.  I know which one I would rather be on.  
Camulodunum is of course home to the army and while the old barracks have been knocked down and replaced with new housing, only the old church remains in place, there is still a firing range not far down the road.  To the right of these vapour trails I noted a third which suddenly rose into the air turned over and headed downwards then vanished into the distance.  This was too far away to see clearly but no passenger liner behaves like this unless it is crashing!  Too fast for the 'Apache helicopters' we often see here I have no idea what was going on unless it was part of the army maneuvers, still a bit strange mind.


Chances of Esmeralda charging up with British gas tomorrow morning?  Little I suspect!  Bah!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

January


The attempt to move around a lot more has been hindered somewhat by the chill in the air.  While the sun shines it looks lovely all around but the chill factor leaves an Arctic feel to the world and I am against this.
Yesterday the museum returned to normal, the cheerful staff rushed around tidying desks so they could fill them with stuff, a handful of people wandered in, one or two cups of tea were drunk and Peggy continued to grumble about the music, somethings never change!
It was good to be back but things will only slowly pick up for some of us.  The full time staff of course have lots to get on with and I find keeping out the way the best way in which I can help there.  It appears that is also their view although I am not too sure about this.
'Esmeralda,' the boiler, continues to play silly games.  When I desperately needed a bath yesterday morning, it is a long time since Christmas, she refused to ignite!  When I was considering making a move to leave she woke up!  Today she took hours to reach a temperature that satisfied her and made me shiver until lunchtime by when I no longer cared, hypothermia had set in.  Now I am too warm and had to go out to cool down!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

 
The second picture was taken 20 minutes after the first!  I love the setting sun but I do wish I could find something more interesting to snap.  
The fact that I have at least seven books open at the moment in one place or another does not stop me from dreaming of buying more, or as I did today, hear something on the radio that made me open another one!  Someone talking about Tacitus made me reach for his 'Histories' which I read yonks ago and have forgotten.  Tsk!  There it is lying open over there while this WW1 book is open here and others next door.  Now I have been told 'Foyles' have opened a bookshop in the big city (it claims to be a big city anyway) so I really think I must make my way over there soon, just in case...