Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Shopping, touring and parking

Chestnut mushrooms
Borough Market, May 2016
Sometimes I don't have much to say, but at the moment I'm almost driven to the keyboard to let off a bit of steam. Actually, the pressure has dissipated a bit because I've told most of the hairiest stuff to Lola II and Mr M on the phone already, but writing it down can help too.

While you've been enjoying the niceties of diabetes technologies, activities at Lola Towers continue unabated. I think I am actually unable to lessen the quantity of stuff going on because I'd rather have too much than too little to do. Accepting that this is true may help me to stop moaning about how busy I am.

I have had a bit of a shopping spree - online, of course. With some actual camping coming up, and also with the prospect of being without a kitchen for a while over the summer, I decided to get a move on and decide on what sort of camping stove to get, followed by actually buying it. So that's one thing crossed off the enormous 'To Do' list.

The building where I work is fairly relaxed but the hospital as a whole is trying very hard to make sure that quality standards of all sorts are maintained, and the latest standard to be addressed has been the one about uniform: bare below the elbow and hair above the collar. The Dietetic Manager sent an email round to highlight this, and I have had to accept that if I am caught transgressing now it will be rather more of an issue than before we were specifically told to abide by the rules.

Keeping hair tied back is fairly easy and I can manage fine without a wristwatch, but I do find that the wristband Fitbit pedometer has helped me to carry out a bit more activity and a few more steps every day, and I was reluctant to give that up. So I also rode the wave of rare shopping motivation to try and use up all the remaining TV-watching points on a Fitbit device that clips to clothing so I wouldn't have to wear it on my wrist. Unfortunately after I'd ordered the TV-watching vouchers it turned out I couldn't use them to buy this gadget, but I bought it anyway with real money. Within a week I had gone and put it in the washing machine. [It has a surprisingly effective rubbery jacket, so it survived unscathed!]

Local elections came and went - constituency boundary changes meant I had to choose a new candidate to vote for, and I am glad that the incumbent Green Party candidate was elected - small patches of Green and Lib Dem yellow appear among the sea of blue in this county. I am dreading the General Election. Each time there are more hateful personalities and policies among the distorted propaganda, political bickering and biased media, and less integrity, honesty, generosity and truthfulness. It has become a choice between wasting a protest vote, or tactical voting for the least detestable party that stands a chance of ousting the most detestable. Sometimes democracy is a burden.

Lola II and I went to Shrewsbury for her 'birthday' weekend this year. It is rather a nice city, with river, hills, interesting independent shops and many many coffee shops and churches. I bought a rug! It was a bit of a surprise but maybe this shopping thing I seem to have acquired is seasonal. There was a rug shop in the market, and we had a bit of a think about how to manage a rug purchase when we were spending the day wandering about and staying in a B&B, but the vendor agreed to deliver it to the B&B. The rug is red and black and very striking. I like it.

Other things we did in Shrewsbury - a rather interesting guided walk looking at buildings all round town from medieval to modern times. Particularly interesting was the half-timbered building faced with brick to fit in with the style of the newer Regency buildings around it. We were also shown a modern frieze on a building, including a small plaque containing two faces, and asked who they were. Lola II guessed one as the Queen, and rather flippantly I said the other looked like Michael Heseltine. My guess turned out to be right, and the other face was Margaret Thatcher - the frieze was a reference to the introduction of the Poll Tax. We ended Saturday with a local theatre company performing 'Anything Goes' which was a delight.

On Sunday Lola II and I did a lot of walking and talking and had a Japanese lunch, which made me happy. And during the weekend my ebay sales record was broken by a postcode promotion leaflet much like all the others, except that it featured Sherlock Holmes on the front. It was clearly Sherlock fans rather than the more sober philatelic collectors who bumped the successful bid up to a frankly ridiculous £16. I was even more delighted because I happened to have two of the same leaflet, but the person whose offer of £15 was outbid must have come to his or her senses, because they failed to take up my Second Chance offer at that price.

The only other recent event of note was on a Friday when, most unusually, all my clinic slots were full and I was expecting seven people in the morning. Out of the front door as usual in the morning I was confronted with a car parked right in front of the garage, completely preventing me from getting the car out.

The road was resurfaced a few days ago so all the road markings were missing, and this might have contributed to the situation. No matter why, the question was, what do I do? A few neighbours were out and about but none knew whose car it was, so I phoned the police non-emergency number for advice. A friendly woman took the details and asked if I had knocked on any neighbours' doors. I caught the hint and asked if it would be worth my while - could she perhaps give me the address that the car was registered to? No, she couldn't tell me the address, but yes, it would be worth my while to try a few doors. Meanwhile, she would pass my case to 'Despatching' who would send someone over when they had the chance.

I really didn't fancy knocking on doors at 8 o'clock in the morning, so I waited. At work, my colleagues had started to contact the patients who were booked in - unfortunately a couple turned up anyway because they hadn't checked their phones. An hour later I phoned the police again to see if I should just cancel the whole morning's clinic, and got the distinct impression that nothing was going to happen very quickly. Another hour later I did get a phone call, and this time the policeman told me which house the car owner lived in, but there was nobody at home, so I put a note through the door. At this point I tried contacting the council parking enforcement department, who also said they would send someone round although we agreed that there was very little that could be done.

After a further hour (now it was after 11 o'clock) the police controller called me back to see if anything had changed. I didn't see how any policeman could help me unless they could track down a mobile number for one of the occupants of the house, and it didn't seem like that was something they were going to do. She said she'd send someone round anyway because they might be able to move the car, which would have been really interesting to watch.

At 12.15 p.m. there was a ring at the door - the neighbour had returned from a very unimportant trip into town and was distraught at the trouble she'd caused. She hadn't noticed the garage, she was busy telling the kids off when she'd parked - it was hard to be angry at a genuine mistake and she acknowledged how it had really messed up my day. We did agree that it was unlikely that she'd do it again.

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