Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Another debacle ends

Another debacle in my life finishes.
Leaking cistern (the brethren were OK) impossible to get handyman to fix Friday, planned for Tuesday.  Leaks held until then by tubs underneath, emptied every two hours or so.
Turn water off?
If we touch that tap it leaks or possibly explodes flooding house, it has not been used for 25 years
and they tend to do that.
Turn main one off, where?  Will not turn, even plumber struggled.
10’ o’clock Tuesday I should be in museum, no handyman.  He has gone to fix door that fell off.
He is promised for afternoon.
Late afternoon much prayer was answered when real plumber Darren arrived at the  door.
I hugged him!
He was surprised somewhat.
Now all is working, although the sodden carpet has been dumped and the bare floorboards in the loo are not pretty.  I missed the museum as I was trapped indoors, they did not miss me however.  An email arrived ordering me to research WW2!  I still haven't finished WW1 yet!
This was a small thing really but took days and aggravated greatly, especially when the handyman does not arrive and nothing was said!!!  Only after ten when I called the office did I find out that she knew nothing either! 
However all bar the damp floor fixed and that can wait.
Such things cause much aggro, more than war and disease, unless you suffer war and disease of course.
Today I did nothing, and done it very badly.....


Monday, 15 December 2014


Leith, as everybody knows, is Edinburgh's port.  Until 1926 when the two were amalgamated into one, much to the Leithers annoyance, the port existed very well for centuries.  As a port it was used to visiting dignitaries, passing through to Edinburgh, and saw many an encounter with invading armies. Beginning around a thousand years ago Leith grew up on either side of the 'Water of Leith,' the river wide and deep enough to allow quite large boats to unload cargo.  Fishing and shipbuilding also became staples of the economy early. The first bridge between the two sides arrived around the late 15th century. Scotland was once ruled from Leith by Mary of Guise, as regent for Mary Queen of Scots, who stayed in France.  This led to a siege when the Scots nobles decided on a democratic change, using big guns!  Two mounds on Leith Links are considered by some to be bases for the battery during the siege. 
In 1822 King IV arrived at Leith to much pomp and circumstance.  Walter Scott, he of novel fame, was the man responsible for the myth of Scotland.  The variety of tartan, the romantic highlander, the noble suffering Scot.  All baloney of course!  However he persuaded the first visiting monarch since Mary Queen of Scots to dress up in glorious highland dress, and those who keep in with royalty, and the rest, quickly decided this was wonderful and highland dress as we now know it began then.  It was never thus fir the actual highlanders of course.  It speaks much of London that rarely did the monarch visit Scotland until recently. 
There was a downturn in Leith after the war.  The many distilleries, and just how many were there in those Victorian death traps of Leith, moved out of town by the sixties, the docks lost work, the shipbuilding, always a major employer ceased, and the area became run down.  Attempts are renovating the 'Kirkgate' by a modern 60's style shopping centre fell flat.  However the area has since undergone improvement with the arrival of many Scottish Office administration offices, and the people who work in them, thus leading to a gentrification of the port.  The old royal yacht 'Britannia' now lies moored as a tourist attraction among others.  The port also plays host to the worst football team the world has ever known, 'Hibernian,' renown as a laughing stock they do make the rest of the league look better than they actually are!  
To me it was the place we shopped most Saturdays.  In days of yore when the world was young the shops took a 'half day closing' and Edinburgh, including Princes Street itself, chose Saturday for its half day!  This meant jumping on the bus in our high class neighbourhood and travelling down the straight road into the darkness of Leith.  Leith was, like much of Edinburgh, dark then.  Tenement buildings dating from Victorian times and beyond, busy traffic, crowded shops and masses of people thronging the pavements everywhere.  Before I was five I managed to get lost in 'Woolworth's' at the 'foot of the Walk' and can remember my mother grinning to the shop assistants and other girls who were coming to aid me, or belt me to stop me wailing!  There was a shop near the junction of the 'Walk' where we obtained clothes, also from the 'Thompson' shop over the road.  A small thing but these two shops supplied at least half of Edinburgh & Leith's kids for many years.  My first job was in a whisky bond in Leith, off Leith Walk.  Suffice to say a quick understanding of my talent was soon clear and they got shot of me before a year had elapsed.  Employing 15 year old's is not in my view a good thing.   

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Friday, 12 December 2014

A Day in Wet Loo

I thought the loo floor was damp last night.  I worried a pipe had burst and the central heating was pumping water everywhere.  A closer inspection revealed the cistern was to blame!  I contacted the lovely girls at the landlord's office and mentioned the problem.  An hour or so later John arrived to inspect, mutter "I must get some material," and go.  He was right of course, the whole thing must come out and be replaced.  This will take all day and the next opportunity for that is Tuesday,  I am glad as I will be out!  At the moment the floor is saved by the ex-ice cream tubs catching the drips and this will suffice until repair.  I offered to do it myself and got one of those looks Margaret Thatcher used on her cabinet when they spoke.  My DIY skills are not renown....  

That took up much of my day, that and hobbling down to the sorting office fifteen minutes walk away, well twenty minutes at the moment, collecting a package they tried to deliver yesterday.  The bell is broken also!  On top of this a lamp bulb went click and offered up a lovely blue flash as I switched it on, the new bulb has not taken so either it is bust also or the lamp has gone!  I add this to the list of other things that need repair, do not work right or are dead.  I've just noticed the cupboard door I fixed the other day has once more fallen apart.

Sometimes I am glad I left the health service all those years ago.....


Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Nothing Day

The early sun lies low at this time of year but can give excellent skies.  This picture does not catch the brightness of the sun coming through the clouds but it was dramatic and spectacular.  How we wander around, our heads down, our minds on the daily grind, when just sitting for a moment looking at the sky would freshen the mind and relax us.  Such an activity is easier in some parts of the world of course but the sky is always changing, light is a fantastic happening and just looking in different directions gives dramatic changes of sky.
This was sadly not seen from Tesco where I ventured this morning.  My brain did not follow too well and while crossing between points I dropped the basket I was carrying on the floor.  A passing lass asked if I was OK and I just had to tell her it was just 'early morning stupidity!'  I managed to buy lots of reduced priced overpriced stuff mind.

Nothing else happened.
Much ought to have happened but it didn't.  
I couldn't be bothered couldn't find the time for all that was awaiting attention, so I just read the papers, fed my face and fell asleep.  
Naturally I discovered I had to send more cards, also must send one more wee packet, but the good news is cheap presents and cards are falling through my door now.  None of these contain money I should add, and for any member of my family who may look in (as if!) I repeat NO money was found in the cards!  
I suspect this is a situation that will not change any time soon.

Ah well, I will again stuff my face and watch more football.
It's a hard life....


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Normal Day

An eye opens slightly noting the grayish sky seen through the break in the grubby curtains.  The ear picks up a monotone voice offering violence, death and destruction, clearly the news so it must be the hour or half hour.  The body and brain continue to attempt sleep even though it will not come. It reaches half past five, a clear two hours before awakening was planned.  Turn to the other side, turn back, repeat process, still the voice continues monotone like spreading fear and anxiety with a gentle tone, the energy required to change channel not yet appearing the voice continues, the body still awaits seven thirty, the mind continues degenerating.  The other eye opens, looks around, does not like what it sees, closes again.  Sleep is supposed to be continuous for several hours, why then does my sleep run out before my body has finished with it? The grayness now possesses a blueish tinge, the radio has been changed to music and gentle Haydn soothes the brain but sleep does not return.  Vehicles begin to rumble past the window, feet, wearing iron shod boots clump down stairs, slam the main door shaking the building and clatter up the road.  Voices murmur as they pass, probably on a phone, trees rustle as the chill wind rushes down the street.  Thoughts run through the head, fears, dreams, hopes, wishes, all muddled, unclear and heading nowhere.  In the far distance dogs bark cheerfully, aircraft pass high overhead taking lucky folks to sunshine or maybe just Aberdeen, an early morning schoolchild drags his feet unwillingly towards his daily prison. Quarter to eight, still waiting on that last needed thirty minutes the body struggles up into the cold air, another day of joy and happiness will begin if both eyes open and find some degree of focus.  

The box was not big, I was paying, the contents disappointing, I was paying, the one receiving my sister, this was her present plus the cards for everyone else in the vicinity, thus saving me postage. The Post Office was all the way down the road.  I hobbled half asleep and upset that bus driver when I walked in front of him and he missed.  Surprisingly the place was not busy, unsurprisingly one woman was at the counter taking all day over various forms.  However the young lass took my parcel with her constant smile and showed excellent customer service by coming round the counter and helping me back up after she told me the price!  That was my last Christmas item posted and the lass has got used to me now as I have been in several times recently and I am glad that is all over.  From now on the postmen will be very busy and my stuff is on its way. Next week your stuff will be delayed!  Ho Ho HO!  


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dusk Phone Calls

With the dark blue sky at dusk, such a change from the fifty shades of gray that have covered us for days, I was strongly tempted to find a 'night' view somewhere.  The only one suitable was 'The Bull.' I admit this is not a picture I would take later in the evening, especially at the weekends, as the crowds leaving the premises are not always as sober as wisdom would hope.  There is something attractive about deep blue sky and bright lights.

Sadly after I wrote that I returned to watching Southampton play Manchester United and forgot to finish it.  I blame late nights and weak head.  The weak head gets many votes around here, just ask the man who brought an old fellow in a wheel chair into the museum today.  I made it clear the way to do it was charge the disabled one £1:50 and the carer goes free, other wise he pays £ and the chap goes free. This is the best way so I took his money and gave him change of £3.   It was as he questioned this I realised I had got it wrong.  I explained as I gave him the proper change that in this manner we often made money.  
I expected to be busier as Christmas is approaching and while some browsed and bought nowt I did manage to collect a good sale from one of the town's well known respectable gents.  I did my best to avoid the rest of the staff as they all suffered colds and I did not wish to add another to my year.  
I came home, ate and slept!  That indicates how hard I work, doesn't it...?

I almost forgot this again!
I just spent an eternity listening to my sister on the phone, how women talk! There is of course regular chat between us, I called only last July, and she dropped a note not long ago to me.  The communication would be better as she now has one of those 'Tablet' things but cannot connect it to anything.  If I receive an email she does not receive the answer, now he aged computer has died and her daughters husband is attempting to rectify the situation I reckon she will be computerless for a while yet.  He being a mere welder will know little about the gentle art of making computers work. 
The purpose of the call was to inform her her the huge parcel will be posted tomorrow, that is if I get it wrapped up tonight, and now the football has come on, what will I do I wonder......

Being bored at one time during this morning I attempted to capture the interesting sky in the distance by picturing the butterfly sticker on the window. All it shows it that the window requires cleaning!  I just remembered my back is aching, I'd better leave that to another....


Sunday, 7 December 2014


Appreciation of art is a wonderful thing, if you can find art worth appreciating of course.  This lot clearly didn't and possibly will produce an essay lacking in the finer understanding of Dutch art.  Not that this matters unless you are going to get involved therein I suppose, and this lot would probably not get beyond one of those Australian soap operas that dominate the telly in soft minded households.    

They might find it ironic that a double decker bus on 'rail replacement service' decided to crash into a railway bridge.  Good job the bus was still empty and the rail line not in use as folks were going to use a bus instead.  Sadly drivers unused to a route sometimes forget they were in double deckers, possibly they are more often driving that route in single deck buses, but occasionally this kind of accident happens.  More often lorry drivers hit the bridge ignoring height restrictions and just run off rather than stopping!  That too happened the other day.  
Also quite interesting was the 'Immigration Judge' who demanded a woman named Patel was brought to court so he could finish the case (an abusive boyfriend) that afternoon.  As her whereabouts were unknown it was said it would be difficult, indeed she might not get time off work.  The judge commented 
“It won’t be a problem. She won’t be working anywhere important where she can’t get the time off. She’ll only be working in a shop or an off-licence.”

Oops, a small slip which has cost him his £150,000 a year job.

Oh yes and being grumpy is good for you!
'Grumpy Cat,' or at least the owner, is supposed to have made around £64 million out of the miserable creature.  If being grumpy does this how come I'm still poor....?


Saturday, 6 December 2014


As the Christmas shoppers have unlimited cash, or so it appears, the shopping centres do their best to bring them in with a wide variety of attractions, usually those that attract the kids.  Today our centre once again went for animals, a goat which as I passed later was standing on a hay bale with the kind of expression that spoke of conquering the entire world, a couple of ducks in a basin of water but quite happy and ponies, chickens and lots of people.  The people I must add were visiting the centre, not stuck inside the fenced of areas with the animals, although this might be an idea worth considering.  There was an aroma emanating from this area but it kept down the aroma of the locals so that was OK.

Now it is late, I am sleepy and my restful mind is being tested by the woman next door.  She has been cooking MEAT!  Once again the fragrance of roast beef is filling the place and I am sitting here nourished badly, a mere seven stone weakling, while she stuffs herself with proper food and I suspect with gravy and all the trimmings.   She must do it for spite!  I will drift off into sleep and dream of meat all night now.  Bah! 

The sun however did reappear today leaving bright golden leaves on the trees.


Friday, 5 December 2014


Actually I have no thoughts.  All week the mind has been dead for the most part.  A strange tiredness, biting cold wind, constant dreich weather and a general slackness all round has been the order of the day.  
I did manage some thoughts in the supermarkets this morning however, and these were not pleasant. When tired and slow brained why is it at that moment those people cross your path?
Bright and early, except that is was dreich, damp and half past seven, I hobbled up to Sainsburys. There I possessed myself of the heavier goods bottles, etc, spoke kindly to the friendly checkout staff, greeted those known to me and returned home for a thundering good breakfast of something or other, not quite sure what, the room was still dark.  Then, refreshed but half asleep I ventured to Tesco for the things the other lot did not stock or grossly overcharged for.  If you wish to get rich open a supermarket or a bank.  Once again the staff were reasonable for a Friday morning but why is there always one woman who is inconsiderate?  This sort of creature is often found in such places but why when I am irritable, tired and weary sadly I find I had to garrotte her as you do. There was no other course of action open to me.  You can find her in the freezer with the pizzas.
Once home I noted the things I had missed.  As the sun actually appeared and removed the grayness I ventured out once more to  find the sun bright but the heating was turned off, there was however the cold blast of winter.  (Actually I'm told 'winter' does not start until December 22nd so this is still 'Autumn.' someone's having a laugh I say).  Now by this time it was almost noon, and this meant the Morrison's would be busy and attracting the wrong sort of customer. This was the rougher sort who drove trolleys into peace loving people, the obnoxious sort who walked into people and didn't care, the sniffy ones that looked down their nose or the type who just kept getting in they way while you attempt to read the price tickets on the shelving!!!   They were all there in the hustle and bustle of the store, they still are, just look in the bins round the back but be wary, decapitation is not always pleasant.
I was shown a video that I cannot pass on to you as I've lost it.  In this a man in a checkout queue somewhere in central Europe is confronted by a child ramming him constantly with his trolley. Several times the man suggests this stops, mum does little to stop the brat.  Eventually the chap selects a carton of milk from the lads trolley and empties it over his head.  Mum grabs child and leaves, man smiles.  

I think I was a bit 'liverish' today....

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


I've decided to be idle for a day.  
Not only did I have a busy and emotional Sunday (Yes Willie Collum I mean you!) but I also had a very busy Monday.  Marching here and there, helping in the museum on the day off, marching back here and there, and then doing my Tuesday duty with no help whatsoever (except when I broke the card machine). This has worn out my weak and enfeebled body to the extent that I must lie around like a slob (for a change) doing nothing that would require energy.  Pass that tea cup over would you? 
It makes a change to be idle.  
I am much more used to being occupied with things of note, researching dead soldiers, reading good books, watching football and the like, this sitting and staring into space through the grubby window is not something I am used to.  I have had jobs where idleness was part of the day.  One office I was forced into had a dozen members of staff and work enough for five of us.  Allowing for the fact that many amongst them were not of the highest intellect and the puritan work ethic was not an item they had ever encountered it did mean however I was kept busy.  On occasions it was very quiet so I would pop to the loo down the corridor behind us.  To fill in the time I would head in the opposite direction, slowly, oh so slowly, and wander down the back stairs.  This would lead me through the building for a long detour where I would reach the corridor behind the office then return, slowly, oh so slowly, the way I had come.  No-one ever mentioned this!  Even the eagle eyed boss with a Maggie Thatcher venom did not notice any absence.  Of course once computers were installed the workload, which did not increase in volume, increased to the extent that we were forced to work continually throughout the day taking a full day to complete the work one done in two or three hours.  Several members of staff had breakdowns, one disappeared and the boss's head exploded one morning and she was promoted upstairs.  Being to good at the job I moved to higher things.
Work, not idleness is my thing.  I like work, my desk is piled with work, but I find being idle just looking at it is beginning to wear out my heart, I feel a tension there so excuse me while I push all this paperwork to the side, oops, onto the floor, and relax a wee bit.  I do like work, in fact I have watched some of that work pile up for so long it is now past its sell by date and no longer requires my attention, it's just that I have not been able to round to dealing with it, what with all the other work I am sitting looking at here.  Previous managers often used to mention how I collected work around me and watched it carefully.  Collecting boxes in warehouses was an old trick used by some to avoid work.  These rascals were not idling, it was just that by piling boxes high and leaving a small space in the middle they could play cards without needless interruptions from foremen and the like. 
Idling this morning by looking through the grubby window I note many individuals idling, standing there shivering while the dog runs about enjoying the sights and smells of the park.  The owner, wrapped up against the freezing wind is lit up by the sun shining brightly upon them and by the glass of cognac swallowed before leaving the house.  I am not saying the east wind is that cold but I noticed a man feeding anchovies to a penguin earlier!   It would be interesting to work out how many hours a woman can stand still over the period of a dogs life while she waits on the brutes pleasure?  Standing there hoping not to attract the wrong kind of attention she hovers near a tree in the hope of some shelter, the dog meanwhile attempts to hover near every tree in the park oblivious to her distress and near frostbite. This is a form of idling that I can avoid easily.  However I suppose standing at a stop waiting for a bus to arrive is similar.  There you cannot seek shelter for some rude soul will take your place and there may not be room on the bus for you.  The same goes, albeit slightly differently for millions peering down the track awaiting the 7:43 to their destination. How cold can a train platform be?  Those grossly overpriced mobile phones now distract the freezing queues as they wait, murmuring that they have too little cash into their £500 phone.

It is common in Continental culture (do the continentals have culture I ask?) to sit by the roadside inhaling petrol fumes while drinking coffee watching the world go by.   This is not really something 
I would find easy, to boring, and too nosy really watching people.  However watching attractive young women ignore me is something I have become used to, ever since I was about say, oh eleven. Sitting drinking overpriced coffee with stupid names while being rejected is not my idea of fun but it is a form of idleness much loved by many.  How many of the people passing by are being idle anyway?  Are they unemployed, could they be skivving?  Is this parade of beauties just lassies parading as they have nothing else to but be seen?  I wonder, so many people walk the streets during the day you are left asking where they all come from and why do they not work like the rest of us had to do for many years?  

Anyway, I am worn out doing this.  I feel the need to eat and refresh my tired mind and my etiolated frame.  After which the need for sleep must be paramount as I only got about seven and a half hours last night, surely I need more?   I wonder if somebody might feed me to save me the trouble...

Monday, 1 December 2014