The Franking Machine

Early this morning all the bird feeders were providing avian breakfast, with the bird bath supplying facilities for a wash and brush up. Watching the splashing about, we surmised that the birds had found the pond water too inaccessible, and consequently welcomed a raised plinth.  Our robin had a fight with his rival over his feeder.  A blackbird considered joining in, but thought better of it.  Later, a hopeful tit was similarly driven off.

Stepping stones 9.12

Tidying up the last of the pillar bits, we used the concrete bases to provide stepping stones through the shrubbery bed.  This is proving to be a delicate and difficult process, involving digging deep into stony soil; hacking through stubborn tree roots; then trying to level off the weighty lumps which were originally set in assorted rubble, and therefore of very uneven shapes and depths.  And to think that, as the last of the new beds has been completed, I thought I’d have a rest from arduous digging.  Today I got no further than placing the seven steps and burying three.  These had to be moved across the garden and dropped into place by sack barrow.  The concrete itself is very abrasive on the hands. Elizabeth’s £12 auction buy has turned out to be an excellent acquisition.

Lynne popped in for coffee and we discussed he demise of the helping professions as we had known them, bearing in mind that she and Jackie are still working in them.  I joined the  conversation at the point when Lynne was describing taking out an elderly woman’s teeth because she was so frightened she bit carers and hung on like a Rottweiler.  I expressed surprise at this, wondering how they had got away with it, thinking of Lawrence Olivier’s dentist character in the film Marathon Man.  Jackie explained that this simply meant not giving the client her false teeth until they had finished what they had to do.  They found it less painful being gummed than bitten.

Having run out of paper for the ramblings printing project, Jackie and I went on an unsuccessful search for some more.  Since one of the stores we visited was next door to Haskins, it was me, this time who couldn’t pass it.  I bought more bird food and another feeder which I hung in the bay tree.  Since both Jackie and I are constantly nutting this nut dispenser, I’ll have to raise it.

Anyone who reads this before I’ve finished it may care to have a look later.  I hit ‘Publish’, instead of ‘Save draft’.

Later.  Elizabeth drove me to Staples in Southampton, where I obtained the relevant printing paper.  Elizabeth also bought some filing equipment.  When at the till she had proffered £16.00 for a £5.50 bill.  This was intended to help the young lady.  It confused her.  She gave Elizabeth £5.00 in change.  Elizabeth pointed out that she had given £10.00 plus £1.00.  The assistant had to summon a manager to put things right.  Intending to reassure her I told her about the Great Franking Machine Error.  An eighteen year old me, working at Lloyd’s, had been given the most responsible job of operating the franking machine.  This had a series of levers which would set the correct amount of postage for each missive.  Mostly the figure would be that for an ordinary letter.  Occasionally something more expensive would require a sticky label with a larger sum applied.  One day I had a parcel which cost £30.00.  This I entered into the machine and printed the label.  Then, without changing the setting, I put through a large batch of letters.  Realising what I had done, I confessed.  All was, of course, put right, but the petrified me didn’t know that would be possible.  The young girl paid no attention to my story as she anxiously awaited the arrival of the manager.  I knew exactly how she felt.  It is interesting that this story should come to me on the day I hit the wrong key here.

When we returned to The Firs we found that Jackie had placed the last two pieces of brick pillar, one to make another bird bath, and another to take a plant.  This was no mean feat.

Danni visited and volunteered to cook.  She produced ‘stuff’, which I would translate as a spicy and tasty beef curry.  The Firs mess was for afters.  Jackie drank Hoegaarden and the other three of us a Maipo valley red wine, some of which was knocked over onto the table.

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