Recycling and other things …


I’m not a fanatical recycler, but if it can be recycled, then I like to try. However, I’m in a bit of a quandary! My local authority actively encourages residents to recycle, but cannot handle shredded paper and they advise to put this in the non-recyclable waste bin. As I understand it, shredded paper clogs up the sorting machines. However, financial and security institutions advise that all documents that have personal information should be shredded. So here is my dilemma. Do I follow security advice and shred or follow the local authority advice and put it, un-shredded in the recycle and hope that nobody reads it? I have decided to follow the security advice!

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It’s been a long  week. K***s mother went into hospital for a hip replacement last week. It seems to have been successful, but it is going to be a long process to get her back to anything like what she was this time last year. She is quite confused and has been in a lot of distress over the past couple of months. Anyway, she is out now, at home and gradually improving. K*** and her sister are doing their best to help their father cope with his wife’s condition, but it is difficult for various reasons. So I’ve not seen much of her over the past seven days.

It is probably a blessing that R*** has been on respite since Monday, although he has had an infected finger which caused his respite team a few problems. We think that is sorted now, fingers crossed.

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S****, my eldest and A**** his partner are having a bit of a bad time. Whilst he was away from his computer at work, somebody (he knows who) posted, what some could call an offensive message on his Facebook time line as a joke. I believe this called ‘Fraping’. All in good fun and taken as such by nearly everyone who knows him. The exception being A****’s mother. She thinks that S**** posted the message and does not believe anything else. This has caused a massive argument and neither of them will have anything to do with the mother. Hopefully it will blow over, but the mother is one of those people that is never wrong. Of course this has caused a lot of stress for both A**** and S**** and it has also upset K*** at this difficult time.

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Me? Well I’ve just plodded on as best I can!

It’s been a long week …


I’m referring to the holiday my wife is on at the moment. As I’ve not posted for some time, I’ll get you up to speed. Around the middle of April, K****s sister and daughter, returned from a week away in Gran Canaria. She returned with an offer that K*** should join them on their next trip. There was much discussion about this, with me having a lot of misgivings about the whole thing. Firstly, it’s a ‘beach, bar and pool type of holiday, which I understood was not the type of holiday K*** enjoyed. Secondly there was R*** to consider. How would he react, coming home from respite to find his mother not at home, and not going to be home for another 4 days. Then there is the cost. K*** tells me that it’s a ‘one-off’, but isn’t that waste of all the money it cost for a new passport? And what about all the new clothes … more expense. Anyway, she is back on Tuesday. R*** and me will both be pleased, and as I say, it’s been a long week. I had a list of jobs that I wanted to get done, which I managed to do in between the rain and the wind we had here. I suppose the worst part of the experience is the lack of conversation. I went to the pub a couple of evenings, but there is only so much you can chat about with people that you don’t really know. It will be nice to get back to what we call normality.

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I’ve been a bit lazy with this blog over the past couple of months. To be honest, I’ve not really had much I wanted to say. I wanted to stay clear of politics as that is all that people have been talking about for the past month. I know from past experience, that it is one way to ‘lose friends and annoy people. That is something I can do without any external help, thank you very much.

I tend to update this blog in the late evening. I thought, that this retirement (early) would give me lots more time to do things like this blog, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. It still late at night, when K*** and R*** have gone to bed, that I think ”I must do a blog post”, and then I get distracted and end up not doing anything. I was going to look for a part-time job. That’s not happened. I signed up with a recruitment agency, but the jobs they have come up with are never appropriate. I promised myself that I would do more writing, but I don’t seem to have had any ideas that I could write about. I have done a fair bit of knitting though. A three beanie hats, five headbands, a pair of wrist warmers, a couple of scarves and I’m a quarter of the way through a sleeveless jumper. So I’ve not been sitting on my hands, so to speak.

I shall stop now as I don’t want to start rambling on about anything. I think I shall make a mental note to think about updating this effort at least once a week. I’ll put a note in my diary. See if that makes a difference!

Friends … real friends??


This is a bit of a rhetorical question I suppose, but are your FaceBook friends real? It is something I have started to think about recently. In fact as recently as 1 hour ago!

About a year ago, I came across someone I have known or been known to, for about 60 years. This person was a good friend of my parents and her daughter was a friend of mine. When we moved house in 1966 all contact was lost and it was through FaceBook that I was able to get back in contact again. We have chatted (the mother and me) on a number of occasions and it was good. However! The daughter seems to have dropped me from her friends list and I don’t know why. It has happened just recently, possibly in the last couple of weeks. It is this that makes me question the reality (if that’s the correct word) of FaceBook friends. The thing is though, I have friends from work, who are FB friends who still ‘appear’ to be friends. In fact, I have been chatting to two of them tonight. Now they may just be humouring me, I would not like to speculate on that, but from what they were saying, I get the impression that we are still friends.

Now, saying all that, I have myself just ‘unfriended’ (what a stupid word) a couple of people that I used to work with. They have not responded to any messages or posts and so I get the feeling that I’m just a number in their ‘friends’ list. I don’t want to be a number. Is that wrong?

Happy birthday to me !!!!


The ‘Big 60 +1’ today. I’m not really counting birthdays anymore, but everybody expects me to. They are just becoming different numbers rather than days to celebrate. I’ve got the the stage when I don’t really care. I’m reminded of the Tennessee Ernie Ford song Sixteen Tons, with the famous line “Another day older and deeper in debt …” which basically says it all.

No idea what we are doing today, and I don’t think I’m that bothered. Must be getting old.

Just another “One of those days”


Today, I’ve been more than a little pi**ed off.

It has nothing to do with the fact that my blood test made me lose one and a half hours of work time. Nothing to do with the idiot drivers that stay in the middle lane of the motorway then cut me up at the last minute. Nothing to do with my work computer playing up. No it’s to do with people who are asked to do something, agree to it, then fail to do it and leave it for me to do.

Me and ‘this person’ was asked to do a piece of work, between us. This was about six months ago, and the work each was supposed to do was pre-defined. My part was completed and I even managed to complete part of the other persons work. There was just two jobs for them to do.

Today I found out, that I now have to do those two jobs, and I only have three days to do them. This person seems to be denying that they had been asked to do the work, but both me and the person that asked us know the truth.

I have been used for the last time. The truth will out.

I’m not sure about this …


When I say “not sure…” I mean I’m not about why I’m posting this, but here goes.

I’ll give a bit of background first. One of the aspects of the work I’m currently on, is the need to do testing of certain pieces of computer software. The testing involves working in a ‘clean computer environment’.  This basically means that the PC’s used to test have been stripped back to the standard they were when first installed. It’s a bit of a tedious process that usually involves sitting a room with eight or nine computers and the system manager. Nobody else. That’s the background.

On Friday I was to do the usual testing and arrived at the test room as expected. I was then told that there would be someone else testing. I got on with my work and paid little attention to what was going on. Someone came into the room and they were welcomed by system manager with “Hi there Helen. Can you sit at your usual seat?” Helen is not her real name.

Helen answered, and the voice she had sounded a little strange. Not a woman’s voice I felt. I was then introduced and I turned to say hello. It then became obvious, that Helen was actually a transgender person.

Now this is where I worry about this post. I sat there trying to understand how I felt about this person. The conclusion I came to, was that there was no feeling apart from the fact that they were testing like me. I didn’t feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, intrigued, worried, disgusted or anything like that. It was the first transgender person I had met (at least I think it was) and it felt strangely normal, whatever ‘normal’ means. Should I have had one or more of the feelings I mentioned? At the end of the day, Helen was simply a human being that had decided what they wish to look like, what they wanted to be called and how they wanted to live their life.

On reflection, I think I must have made the mental decision that on this occasion, I’m not entitled to have any opinions. It is what it is and they are what they choose to be. I have no right to approve or disapprove.

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Talking of decisions, I think I’m going to stick with Open Live Writer for my blog editor, well at least for the time being. It doesn’t seem to work too well with images as my entry into the Weekly Photo Challenge shows. I could not get the images to show how I wanted them too, and it looks a little like a rushed job. The blog template in Word seems to be better and so does the WordPress editor. Both appear to have better options for working with images.

A recent idea (as recent as five minutes ago) flashed across my mind. That was, I wonder if I could create an Infographic image of the pictures I wanted to post. I have seen a lot of Infographics floating around on the internet, and have been wondering for a while on using the idea. Not sure if it will work for a collection of images, but I think it will make positioning of the pictures a little easier.

I have that “must test this out” feeling coming over me again, so expect some more ‘quick’ posting over the next week or so.

Annoying Mailshots


One of the things I find a little difficult on occasions, is finding a title for my post. As I don’t have a particular theme for my blog (yet!) it can be hard to give a post a title that refers to anything within that post. So this time, I’m titling this post with the first main topic, and I will see how that develops over time.

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Today is ‘Shredding Day’. The recycling bin was emptied during the week and I can now have a go at shredding all the junk that we have received. I’m not allowed to simply put shredded paper directly into the bin (it causes the sorting machine at the waste depot to jam) so I shred and dump into a bin liner. Some of it can go into the hot composter but most will have to go int the bin.

Now the thing that really annoys me, is the amount of documents that have personal details on them. I’m not talking about documents that I have requested such as bank statements and receipts and the like. no i mean the unsolicitated junk mail that drops through the letter box on a regular basis. For example, one of the pieces of junk was a six sided, a4 document from a bank that I am not a customer of , or in fact want to be a customer of. This document was inviting me to apply for a loan, to ‘see me over the festive period‘ as the accompanying letter (another a4 page) explained. The big issue with the application form was that my personal details ie name and postal address, had been completed for me … on every page! In fact on two of the pages, the details were recorded twice. So that means four pages to shred. Do they really think that I am so stupid, that I cannot fill my own name and address or do they actually think it is helpful? How many people respond to this type of unsolicited mail? If I was considering applying for a loan, I certainly would not wait for some junk mail to arrive to save me time completing the form.

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The hoped for job interview did not materialise. I really though I was in with a chance of getting the job, but I did not even get an interview! I was more than a bit disappointed, but I am only allowing myself to think that either the other applicants were more qualified for the position or that I completely messed up my application form. I think it was probably both. I don’t want to get into the senario that the someone was lined up for the job, even if that were the case. So I’m sticking to my original theory.

This leads me on to a decision I need to make. Last week, I saw G*****, the head of our service team for a chat about the new rules for Local Government pensions. It was a very informative meeting, but I think he really wanted to know my feelings on taking early retirement. The Council that I work for has this programme that they call ‘ELI’ or Early Leavers Initiative. It gives staff who are within a certain age band the opportunity to retire from Local Government early without a loss of pension. I applied before, some four/five years ago and was turned down . I told him that I wasn’t interested, citing financial reasons. My main reason was that I though I was in with a chance of the above  mention job.

Anyway, I have to the end of January to let him know in writing, my final decision. I now feel, that I should take a fresh look at the whole ‘ELI’ issue again. So I am now composing (in my head at the moment) an email to him advising of my change of heart. I’m not sure if I should mention all my reasons for this change, or simply wait for him to ask why. I think I will mention the disappointing job application, but I will probably leave it at that.