From inside the outside looked bright, cheery and tempting. So, we, that’s hubs and me, invited ourselves out for a coffee this afternoon. There was a noticeable icy breeze, truly icy. It wasn’t too bad once we’d got used to the feel of it. I was glad of the thick jeans I was wearing, (these days, jeans seem to be made with much thinner denim cloth). Together with my hip length padded jacket and a big scarf wrapped round my collar it all worked a treat. Hubs was well wrapped up too.
Crossing a bridge, I saw a tight ‘ruck’ of Snowdrops, the first I had seen this year. They bank onto a river. In another week or so, the whole bank should be carpeted with them.
We arrived at our destination and found our favourite seating area was free and only one person, the manageress, was at a table. It was an oasis of calm. A lot of people favour the same seating area, and it can be teeming with bodies from whom emanates a very high volume cacophony of sound. A group of teachers is one of the noisiest. Next are parents who allow their little offspring with their metal toys -small cars mostly-to bang them on the glass table tops. The kids love it. This is an efficient way to clear the nook of other customers!
On the way home we wandered up to a farm and bought some fresh eggs, chatted to the shepherdess, who also runs the egg enterprise and does lots of other things in the modern diversified life of farming.
A plop of icy sleet startled me, followed by a few more plops. Then I noticed an unexpected clump of bright yellow in the shelter of closely planted leafless bushes. Crocuses were about to bloom. Is spring around the corner?
I’ve got four birthdays to think about, all of them are this week. It feels like Christmas has prematurely come round again, before I have had time to properly recover from it. I like to give two or three small packages to the children, so they have fun going through the present bag. Adults are simpler, more often than not, one piece of gift wrap for them covers all.
Ho hum….here I am again, only eight weeks after the last festive blast cutting up gift paper, wrapping up presents and raking through the cupboard for some bags to put them in.
Brown or white paper bags can be quite good as gift bags, those you sometimes get in food shops with paper handles – they look like ears have been attached – making sure, mind you, that there are no tell-tale signs of their original use. The trouble is, it’s too early in the year to have any. My alternative would be a plain bio-degradable plastic carrier bag, if I have one. These days, getting a carrier bag of any sort, let alone one that I can use as a gift bag, is rare.
Like lots of people I recycle the festive gift bags I have received at Christmas time. Really, I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t use them at anytime, even if they are glittery tree, Reindeer, snow-flake, bauble and star adorned festive gift bags. After all, they are bags; if it looks like a bag and acts like a bag, then it must be a bag……………………I cannot think of any good reason why I shouldn’t use them for all sorts of occasions, can you?
There are still the remains of sales in some local shops. I am looking for something in particular and I was in the one shop that might just have provided it. I browsed the department upstairs where you find cushions, bedding, curtains and some menswear. So far no luck, I could not see what I wanted. All the staff work downstairs, which is where I found a shop assistant. While I was asking, it occurred to me that she might not understand what I was looking for:
Me –“I am looking for a counterpane, do you have any?” Assistant- “ Could you tell me what that might be?”
It seemed I was speaking a foreign language. I explain it is a bed-cover….she continues to look vacantly at me….. I’m thinking quickly about what might be the current trendy modern bed-cover translation and I tentatively suggest “A throw”.
Some comprehension dawns. The assistant tells me there are no throws……“Throws are for Christmas” ❗
With all that’s been going on, and very publicly, here and abroad, I have been at a loss to know what to think. If I feel disempowered, how on earth must millions of other people feel.
Those that can, have grouped up and made their feelings known in public places around the world, often at personal cost to themselves. The amount of courage and positive human energy there is to care, is truly amazing.
I am not qualified to speak of what the security services at all levels do, or, what they do not do. Like most people, I only know what morsels are given for public consumption. I am extraordinarily grateful to have been able to live a life that has been mostly safe and away from major conflicts. There are so many who cannot say this. Every day we hear heart-rending stories, many of which are streamed into our visual consciousness to our homes. It does make us face the reality of the suffering that has been and is being endured.
With the current ruptures, of a type generally unknown to many of us in our lifetimes, our own comfort blankets are disappearing at speed. The peace in Europe of the last seventy plus years is politically in the balance and it is also affected by major influences from other continents. There is a serious ramping up of aggressive rhetoric. Where will it all lead?
All the capable men waiting to be discharged from the day operation unit were asked if their wives or someone would help them to administer their post-operative medications. Anyone with previous experience, however long ago, was given cursory advice, and was asked if wives would help. One man who already had experience of his procedure, but some time ago, asked to have an update of what was needed.
A relative of a woman with dementia was given instructions to pass onto carers.
Not one compos mentis woman was asked if she had anyone at home to help her. Obviously, the expectation of the relatively young female nurses was that women could just get on with it!
I was having a phone chat with a very happy sounding lady called Kelly in the telephone accounts department. A couple of messages had attracted a surcharge as picture messages and I could not understand why. There was not a modicum of a picture in sight in either one, not even an emoticon. I read the two messages to her and counted the digits in one of the them – fifty-five, (160 is the text limit). Kelly just couldn’t understand it… I checked my settings, all okay there.
As I still had the messages and could account for what they were, she agreed a refund to my account, then added with a sigh;
“I hate smart phones, they’re getting too smart for me!”
Certainly unexpected, but, as I was only the messenger, I put the originator into the line of fire, so-to-speak. As the recipients were out, a gift of two cheese truckles were left by the originator for the recipients to find upon their return home. The cheeses were bought at a specialist counter, a rather special one at that too. The originator was not one to shop at the best of times.
Recipient 1. I found some cheeses here, were there a lot lying around the house.…….
Me. What?……… I will pass you on.
I repeat what has been said. Originator’s expression changes from bemusement to realisation, to irritation.
It’s always the way, isn’t it, when you need to print something the ink tank is empty.
Honestly, I haven’t intentionally pushed the ink cartridges to their limits. I ordered a whole new set of inks, which should have arrived by now. They are either delayed or lost in the post system. The order cannot be reported by the company to the post office as lost, for another week.
Maybe the order will arrive tomorrow, or perhaps Saturday. Post arrives at all different times, including late in the day. So, I will wait till tomorrow afternoon, after that, I shall have to buy alternative supplies. As the printer is just a few months old, I have ordered, at some expense, original ink cartridges. My next step and backup is to research where I can find alternative printer ink supplies. If the order does not arrive, I have decided to bite the bullet and buy the substantially cheaper compatible inks.
It’s always the way.
I decided to buy a subscription to an e-card site. ‘Subscription’, does, in this case, mean I pay for the service; it is advert-free. (I do receive the occasional ‘free’ e-card from people, usually, they are totally obscured by pop-up and flash advertising. They can put you off e-cards).
I have access to a big selection of imaginative e-cards for more occasions than you can dream up, and there are note-cards as well. Like in a card shop, you can assess the product before you [buy] send. I can also choose what date I want it to arrive.
It has been intriguing seeing what does not work and what does work for e-card recipients;
- A very, very small number say the e-cards are ‘naff’…fine, they have a choice not to open the card.
- Some people don’t give their email addresses, so I couldn’t send them an e- card anyway.
- Wistful responses for the tangible written card were quite common.
- Rare, but I have been asked not to send e-cards.
- A few contacts don’t have their computer systems configured to open e-card mail. However, they are notified they have been sent an e-card and from whom. People let me know their position, usually with thanks for the thought.
- To the majority of my mailed e-cards there was a very positive response.
After depositing a present for a child in a Gift Bank, I was presented with a net bag full of milk chocolate money coins.
The first nursery kid I saw on the street got them. I did ask the [
taken aback] surprised, parents first.
“Oh goody chocolate”, said the kid as soon as he saw the bag, which he rapidly reached forward to snatch, iniating an embarrassed parental chorus of, “ Say please and say thank you”. Neither nicety materialised from delighted single-minded junior.
…….”It’s Christmas.” I said, and went on my way.
I couldn’t resist looking back. The grown-ups had happy smiles on their faces.