Losing my eBay virginity

I have never really bothered much with eBay personally.


I have ‘bought and sold’ the occasional item by asking my other half to do the business as it seemed a faff for little gain.


A couple of CD’s that I wanted to copy for my phone have been purchased along with a couple of Belgian beer glasses to pour my Belgian beer into (as it tastes better in the proper glass).


A couple of Royal Ascot brochures that I acquired on my hospitality visits have been sold– all profit there!


A while ago Sue volunteered to sell my T-shirt that I bought in ‘One of a Kind’ Ron Jon surf shop  http://www.ronjonsurfshop.com at Cocoa Beach, Florida.


It was a dark pink T-shirt with a print of the Atlantis shuttle that I saw launched from Cape Canaveral in October 1989 but wearing such a T-shirt when I got back home didn’t seem a great idea so It sat in the drawer until a couple of years ago.


We were staying in Orlando and when we heard the shuttle was taking off we drove to the coast to watch the incredible sight. About an hour before launch they called it off so we had to do the same journey the following day when it did roar off into the blue sky.


I digress.


Mother is emigrating to the USA shortly- must be something I said-so when we visited recently we had to help her to have a good sort out.


She was going to throw lots of items away so I rescued things that I would use or I thought were saleable on eBay.


Many people seem to sell all sorts of items, even some things that most people would just throw away. I should know as I helped hundreds of customers with their mailing of eBay sales, listening to the groans when they had undercharged for the postage.


With the help of my other half I set off on my eBay adventure.


Setting up the eBay and PayPal accounts, a second email address to keep communication separate and then I was away.


My very first own item was a ticket from a football match in 1957.




I quickly followed this with a copy of the Daily Mirror from the Charles & Diana wedding day




And a programme from a show I went to see with my parents in 1966 at Doncaster Image


On the bill that night was


The Hollies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It75wQ0JypA&list=TLhjpitCDG66A ,


Spencer Davis Group http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMFBUDpMZyo ,


Paul Jones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMEgDBj6n9g  


The Tremeloes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQXbtlbQX70&list=PL3316BB553218A556


What is amazing is that I will be going to see the Hollies in November, the Manfreds (including Paul Jones) in October and the Tremeloes in February.

We are all still going strong!


One week later the football ticket sold for £4.22 and the programme for £3.20 with no takers for the newspaper. I will try the paper for another week and if not sold it can go into the recycling.


There was a strange happening during the sale of the programme as a person emailed me to say they wanted to put in a large bid for it as long as I removed the postage and packing charges as he would send me a stamped addressed envelope instead. I ignored this and he didn’t bid after all, even though he reckoned it was worth £30.


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Another visit to see Mother

A couple of weeks ago we travelled up to North Nottinghamshire to stay for a couple of days with my mother. Setting off mid morning in the heat on the Sunday morning we travelled up the M5 before taking the M42 to get across to the M1. We stopped for a break at the first services on the M42 and feeling a bit peckish we were somehow strangely drawn to KFC.

Scanning down the fare on offer we settled for a couple of ‘meal deals’, which included a large drink for each of us. The drinks were a bit large for us so we shared about half of one of them and took the second drink to the car with us and put it in the drinks holder that was in the centre of the car just behind the front seats.

I don’t know why we bothered as we did not take a sip and then as we left the M1 and went around the roundabout the drink went flying and started to empty in the foot well.

I had to pull in and rescue it quick.

On Monday I thought it would be good to go for a run out (in the car!) into the countryside.

I studied the map and looked for places of interest that were not too far away. I spotted Laxton and I remembered it from my school days in that it was famous for its crop rotation system.

In fact it is more than that as it is the only operating ‘open field’ system in the country.

But first we went to Rufford Abbey http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/enjoying/countryside/countryparks/rufford/

It was FREE to park during the week and we enjoyed a stroll around the lake stopping off at the abbey ruins to look in the shops and have a drink (non alcoholic). It was a pleasant walk around the lake that was used by ducks and Canadian geese. There was a group of 20 or so small children on a school trip, all kitted out with their sun hats, water and sandwiches and we spotted them later having their lunch under the shade of a large tree.


This wooden building demonstrated how photography works by having a lens in the wall and the image of the tree outside appears upside down on the far wall.


We then set off for Laxton first stopping at the Dovecote Inn for a spot of lunch.


The pub had a fine selection of ales and good food, although one of the staff did her best to put us off by knocking a bottle of vinegar all over our table. Nearly ‘pickled’ before we had a drink.

After lunch we walked across the car park to the visitors centre http://www.laxtonvisitorcentre.org.uk


We paid £2 to watch the 20 minute video of the history of the open field and rotation system in the village that is still in place today.

We then had a short walk around the village coming across this ‘Pinfold’.


Historically the pinfold is where the stray animals were rounded up and placed until reunited with their owners. It has now been converted into an outdoor classroom for children on school trips.

A quick scan through my CAMRA Good Beer Guide identified our next stop.

The CROWN at Normanton on Trent http://www.crownnormanton.co.uk was the only pub owned by the Milestone brewery whose beer I had never tried.

When I drove up to the pub and parked outside I panicked as the front door looked shut and when I jumped out of the car and tried to open the door it was closed! I wandered around to the side of the pub and to my relief it was open with a few customers sat inside.

I ordered some drinks for each of us ensuring we had the Milestone brews.

I enquired if they had any of their beers in bottles so I could take home.

The landlord said there were none on site but it was available at the brewery, just down the road.  He very kindly phoned the brewery and ten minutes a later I spotted a chap arrive with two ‘beer selection boxes’.


On the Tuesday we ventured to Skegness to catch up with some friends. We had lunch then went for a walk down to the seafront to have a look at the beach that was occupied by holidaymakers and of course the Donkeys. We wandered along the pier and we spied an empty bench right at the very end on which a couple planted themselves on it before we got there!


This sign seems to imply it was safe to jump off other piers!

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Spot the difference

Can you spot the difference between these two photographs?????


ImageOne was taken in April and one was taken in July ……simple.


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Ashes to Ashes

It was always going to be a week of cricket.

On Monday morning I set off with Steve to watch the first day of the county match at Taunton between Somerset and Sussex.

The weather forecast looked great for the week so I told Steve to bring his sun cream, sunglasses, sun hat and water with him to survive the day.

We arrived a bit earlier than normal as I thought there would be a decent turn out by the members – I was wrong – maybe it was too hot for them.

A wander around the ground was the order of the day as there was some time to kill before the start of the game. On passing the members bar, I popped in to buy the first drink of the day just before 11:00 kick–off (sorry first ball of the match). As I left the bar, Steve said ‘don’t you find it strange drinking a pint at this time of day?” I replied “No’.

Somerset made a terrible start losing both opening batsmen for ducks and they struggled up to 244 all out in the middle of the afternoon.

I did miss a wicket when I popped to the loo just prior to going out to lunch – typical.

A very nice lunch was taken in the Sanctuary – selected from the luncheon menu of course, which again I had to ask for.

Sussex made a similar poor start losing their first two wickets for 8 runs but then they did not lose another wicket until just before lunch on Tuesday. History was made as the two Sussex batsmen scored the highest ever score of 275 for the third wicket in a match between Somerset and Sussex.  It was a good job as the rest of the team only got under a hundred between them.

Although it was reasonably quiet on Monday it certainly wasn’t on Tuesday as a 1000 school kids were invited along.


The throng of kids were seated in the next section to us and the noise level was high. A few stalwart members did move to another part of the ground, as they didn’t want their after-lunch snooze to be disturbed.

When the announcement was made at the start of play that the umpires were taking to the field the children gave a loud cheer and applauded them. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard umpires greeted so well before.

The young Somerset chap, Jamie Overton, opened the bowling and then came down to the third man boundary to field – big mistake-as he was inundated by the young peeps wanting his autograph.


As soon as one youngster did it of course then several hundred more thought it was a good idea. The poor bowler got no rest between overs and he was busy signing away until one of the stewards took it upon himself to stop the kids and move them away.


It was an extremely hot day again and the bowler was provided with an ice-filled scarf to cool him down a bit.


I hadn’t seen one of those before.

Lunch was not on the same scale as the day before as I had taken my own tuna sandwich, in Bawdens bread – multi-seed loaf. I did have time to take my watch in for repair at lunchtime so treated myself to a double black cherry whirly ice cream.

I did notice that under the stands there was a plentiful supply of cold water and cups for the children during the day, as alcohol would have dehydrated them!

The noisy kids were joined later in the afternoon by something even nosier – a flock of seagulls.


These pests live on the weir on the river at the back of the ground and once they spotted lots of people with food they came over to scavenge around. They were a pain in the neck, flying around and for some unlucky people a splat on the neck.

The cricket moved on and Somerset tried to bat again. Marcus Trescothick of England fame managed to get another duck, his fourth in a row and the second of the match. In 21 years of playing cricket it was the first time he had been out for 2 ducks in a game. He waved his bat to the crowd as he left the field in celebration of the fact.

I did notice that as some of the school children were leaving one of the boys offered his hat to a steward to get an autograph – he duly signed it – it was the same steward that stopped the kids getting signatures earlier on in the day!

By the end of the day Somerset were in a near hopeless position so it made it an easier decision of whether to return to watch the third day of the game or stay at home to watch the first Ashes test match.

When I was working in the shop I would always wear my England v Australia Ashes tie from years ago but today it stayed in the wardrobe – it was a bit hot for a tie today anyway.

While the sun was steaming through the curtains as I was sat inside watching the match can you believe it was overcast in Nottingham and they had to switch on the floodlights to continue with play.

Trent Bridge has changed a bit since I was there almost 50 years ago. I remember catching the bus from Retford to Nottingham with some school chums the Saturday of the test match against the West Indies when they were in their pomp – The days of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffiths steaming in to bowl. I remember sitting on the grass just behind the boundary rope and Wes appeared to start his run up just in front of us.  It is not the same nowadays as you all have to be allocated seats.

Here in Bampton, I saw this chap getting into the spirit of the Ashes series.


My other half had a visitor, David from Hundred-Aker Wood Pottery,


when he came to deliver some new lines for her website http://www.clairejanegifts.co.uk

We met David at the Exeter food and drink fair a couple of years ago and bought a pot similar to this for roasting a chicken.

You put herbs, spices etc. in the pot along with some liquid (water, wine etc.) or whatever you want to infuse the bird with.

The chicken is them steamed on the inside, roasted on the outside and the fat runs away down the bottom so you a nice juicy bird (careful!).

When tea was being taken at Trent Bridge I popped down the road to check my booking at the Toucan for the Sausage & Mash night next week as we have got friends coming to stay and I had check I had booked enough places.

As I wandered down the road the fire engine came towards me, lights flashing but no siren.

As I opened the door to the Toucan I looked back and it had stopped outside of my house so I hesitated going in and stood with the door open, gazing back. I thought that as I had just left the house it couldn’t have been my home with a problem. All was resolved when Neil from the butchers next door ran out and hopped aboard the engine before it raced off.

They returned about an hour later, dropped off Neil, and then went back to the fire station.

I’ve had no reports to date of Bampton providing the next set of Ashes.

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What a Relief

“Am I enjoying retirement? “I get asked when I’m stopped in the street.


Well, the news is that I’ve been to work!


A week last Saturday I was called off the bench and turned out for Stoke Canon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoke_Canon


I have driven through it before on the way to Exeter and I know it floods a lot and brings the rail network to a grinding halt but I knew very little about it.


I got the call from Janet at Stoke Canon Post Office as she was going on a much needed holiday and wanted someone to cover a few days both in Stoke Canon and Silverton.


My first day’s work in over 3 months was a couple of weeks ago. I popped down on the Friday to get the feel of the place and the PO system again.


Since we ‘retired’ in the middle of March they have tinkered with the way the post is charged as they have now more size categories. A replacement plastic device is now used to split the size of packages into 4 categories.


They also have the Lottery in the shop that was something new to me. Whilst the tickets and scratch cards are sold in the shop you have to account for them on the PO computer system – it looked over complicated to me.


The Post office is behind a glass screen in the corner of the local shop but luckily I had only to deal with the PO elements.


My view outside was not as good as in Bampton. Image


Not much to see and capture for the blog I am afraid.


One of the first customers asked me “ Have you got the forms for the scarecrow competition?” I replied “Not that I am aware of, as I’ve only been here 5 minutes”.


A chap with a speech impediment came in with a plastic bag containing a couple of empty sweet containers. He thrust them at me and as I was behind the screen I had to open the parcel hatch to reach them. It didn’t look like they were to be posted so I enquired what I was to do with them. Even after several attempts of trying to understand him I couldn’t work out what he wanted me to do with them. So I put them behind me out of the way. The customer was okay with that but then he asked “Do you go to the dentist?” – I understood that.  “Of course” I replied, at which point I was then given an insight in the cause of his speech impediment – remember I am squeamish.  Evidently he had gone into hospital for some dental work and it had gone wrong and caused him some brain damage.  Fortunately another customer came in before he got into the gory details of the operation.


I managed to survive the four-hour stint and got away with not processing the lottery input as one of the ladies that work in the PO came in to do it for me. When she came in I asked about the empty sweet boxes and the answer to the puzzle was that the chap and his brother bought cream donuts from the shop on a Monday and they were packed in the boxes so they didn’t get damaged.  I would never have worked that out from the poor chaps mutterings.

I also enquired where the toilet was, just in case.

I couldn’t believe the response. I had to use the ‘facilities’ of the hairdressers next door. If they are working, I had to go out of the shop, around the building, knock on the door of the salon and pop in and use the toilet. If the hairdresser’s was closed then it can be reached through the back of the shop as then you can walk through the salon to the loo.

I just hoped I would not be in a rush to go. 


After a weeks rest, following my exertion I set off early last Monday morning for Stoke Canon for a full days toil, yes 9 until 5:30 with no lunch break.


It was a reasonably busy day, as Mondays are, especially in the morning.


Here was my view of the world for about 9 hours. Image


One customer came in and said “ I haven’t seen you for a long time”. I couldn’t think of a suitable reply as I’d never seen her before in my life.


I survived the day apart from I tried to buy some euros from a customer when I should have been selling them to him.  I did have to charge him an extra £40 or so to make it correct.


I lasted all day without going to the toilet so I never tested out the procedure.


Tuesday I set off again down the same road but this time I was working at Silverton Post Office, so a sharp left off the main road to Exeter as if heading towards Killerton House.


I waited for Janet to arrive so she could show me how things happened at Silverton however the first customer rolled up well before she did so I to keep him talking.


Silverton is a bit of a sleepy village, however, this time I had to also serve the customers making purchases in the shop as well. The worse problem was the greeting cards – all these suppliers with special codes on the back to determine the price. At least the toilet was more accessible –through the back door of the cubicle then though the sorting office.


Here was my view for the day. Image


I was feeling like I was David Blane being cooped up in that glass box for hours on end.


A woman came in and said, “ You’re a man”.

Well spotted, I thought to myself. 

Evidently all the regular PO staff in both Stoke Canon and Silverton are female so it was a bit of a shock for the customers to see one of the opposite s*x through the glass.


The customers were few and far between and I was glad I took my kindle along as it filled up the time. A ginger cat popped into to see me for a few minutes. It wandered around, had a rest under the chair then meandered off down the road. I think it must have been a regular. 

I did have to swap over some posters in the window.


This supper club notice Image


I hope it’s good grub for that price. 


This was a sight just to my right all day. Image


A rack of chocolates and sweets and it was good that the glass was there to help me resist.


I did have a look at the local newsletter, Image


It was similar to the Bampton signpost and several of the people in the photograph did call in.


I went to the toilet. 



Wednesday morning it was back to Stoke Canon.


All this work must have got to me as when the phone rang I picked it up and said ‘Good morning, Silverton Post Office”. That confused them!


Wednesday is normally a quiet day and I was making inroads to my books on the kindle when the phone rang again. “Hello, Stoke Canon Post Office” I said. The caller replied “Are you busy as I have lots of change to bank. When is a good time to bring it in?”

“Tomorrow as I am not here,” I said in jest. 

As it was quiet I said come whenever you can. 20 minutes later a chap struggled in with a bag full of coins. I went out of the cubicle to take it off him and struggled to bring it back in. I unzipped the bag and the list inside showed that I had over £2500 of change to check. Then the customers rolled in of course. I had hardly seen a soul all day then seven arrive together just when I need 20 minutes to sort out the coins.


The driver from parcelforce came in to collect some parcels and it was the guy that used to collect from us in Bampton about 5 years ago so it was good to see a familiar face and have a chat.


I did have to go to the toilet, but only once and around the building option.

When I got home and was getting changed out of my WORK clothes I spotted these guys enjoying their Fish and Chip supper.


It is a regular sight seeing people sat in their cars, stuffing their faces with food from the chippy up the road. 

In the evening we watched the latest Bond film, Skyfall, and guess what, we saw JB wandering along the same beach where we were only a fortnight ago. Image


Thursday, a day off, so no need to set the alarm.


At 07:30 the electricity was cut off and when it came back on my others half’s phone bleeped on reconnecting to the charger and woke me up!


And would you believe it the same thing happened at 08:30 so I just had to get out of bed.


The weather forecast was for a rainy day but from Friday it was going to be wall-to-wall sunshine so I thought I would stay in and continue my quest to précis the history of Bampton Twinning from the minutes, which I did.

At about 1 o’clock I thought it was time for a spot of lunch so I ventured out to the fruit & veg shop for some salad stuff. Guess what, the wall-to-wall sunshine had already started.


So after lunch it was into the garden for some rays.


My other half provided me with this Image


A Bampton cream tea.  


A ‘homemade’ scone, which had been prepared by my other half at SCONE MAKING MASTERCLASS WITH CREAM TEA FINALE at the Toucan  http://www.toucanrestaurant.co.uk on the Wednesday while I was slaving away in Stoke Canon.


The scone was dressed with some Weston’s clotted cream that is from a farm at the back of our house, and as I could not find any jam, I topped it with some fresh local raspberries. As I am not a tea drinker I had to wash it down with some ale. PURRFECT.


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Recorded Highlights

The holiday has come and gone now.

 I recorded a few of the highlights via my phone camera.


This colourful chap parades up and down in the evenings along the promenade in Calis Beach hawking his wares of flashing toys.


One of the best things to do on holiday in Turkey is to go out on a boat and enjoy the sun and sea whilst enjoying wonderful local food and drink. The cost for the day out is about £13 and you get lunch included in the price and just look at the spread.


The sea is beautifully clear and is nice and warm when swimming from the boat.


This gulet is one of many is the seas surrounding Turkey.


Lots of people take their holidays on these and at Bristol airport we had met a sales lady who supplied Jellycats to our shop and she was going on a gulet with friends and family for a week. We tried to work out if she was on this actual gulet.

This poor turtle had been badly injured by a boat and was at the rehabilitation centre at Dalyan http://www.keysan.co.uk/DalyanGuide/dalyan-caretta.html


A poultice and bandage was applied to a bad gash in its head. And the material was put over its shell to keep it damp.

The centre was set up by June Haimoff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Haimoff who is an amazing lady in that she fought the major development on the Izturu beach, the breeding ground for the turtles. She approached Prince Philip, David Bellamy and with their help got the project stopped.

When June settled at Izturu in 1984 she lived in this hut on the beach.


The hut is now used an information centre and museum.

We called in at Olu Deniz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ölüdeniz, which was the first place we visited in Turkey in 1999.


It is famous for it’s Blue Lagoon and is a centre for paragliding.

We did the paragliding would you believe, back in 1999, starting from the top of a mountain 6000 feet high and then gliding down to the beach. The scary bit was going up to the top of the mountain in the jeep!

Have a look at the video (not us) to see how gentle and beautiful the flight is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8mWUFMKH3w

In these modern days of technology, how about this?

We sat outside of this Shaka café at Fethiye and it has a webcam http://www.shaka.com.tr/da.htm . Using the café’s Wi-Fi I messaged family members to check out the pictures from the webcam to watch us having a refreshing beer in the sun. Within seconds, several messages were received back to say they were watching us and I even got a picture of us sent back to me.


Just up the road from the café we found an ice rink, next to the sea in afternoon 35-degree sunshine.

On investigation we found the ice rink made of a synthetic surface and we could not believe it would work. Several children went on the rink but they were hanging onto the side as they made their way around. We did not think anyone could skate on it so we asked the chap who was in charge to put his skates on and show us – so he did and you see him here


Near to the end of the holiday we went to see one of friends who worked at one of the hotels we regularly stayed at in Calis. She has now moved on to a newer hotel and she was pleased to see us and took us on a tour of the new hotel http://nevadabutikhotel.com/wp/?lang=en and it was very impressive for the price.  

I did chuckle at this sign on the wall though. Image

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I wish I had taken a photo for you


It would have been easier to explain if you have seen it for yourselves. 
It was the first day of our holiday in Turkey. After arriving in the early hours of the morning we had a relaxing morning before we ventured out for a stroll towards then along the beachfront. We sat down for a spot of lunch at Cafe Soul and placed our order. After a few minutes I could sense everyone was looking in my direction. They were , but they were looking past me at a lady who has stopped at the place next door. As everyone was staring I just had to turnaround to get a look.  It might not have been Ephesus but it was a memorable view of Turkey. As I didn’t like to stare, all I saw was the the chest of the lady. The bikini top was, how can I describe it? Like throwing a spotted hanky over Dunkery Beacon. When she finished chatting she then walked past the cafe and you could see the lady had seen better days,  the flat stomach was a thing of the past. Then when everyone got the rear view it brought smiles to everyone faces – the bottom half of the bikini was one of those thong things so the outfit was a bit cheeky. The lady then tottered off on her high heels along the promenade to provide the rest of Calis with the same entertainment. We had to help the young waiter chap stood next to our table put his eyes back into their sockets as they had popped out.
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