What's made you grumpy today?

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What's made you grumpy today?

The American Robin ranges from Alaska to Mexico so I'm surprised you didn't see any, Jock. I can't swing a dead cat without hitting one here.
That's good to know because I liked seeing them. There were plenty around that cottage but where my daughter lived it was very open country and they're house was on a large newly built housing estate so everything had been raised to the ground and hadn't yet reestablished much by way of native flora and fauna. In fact the estate was almost larger than the local town which had been there for many years. We're getting old and "creaky" now so we've been thinking we maybe should make one last trip over the pond to visit my sister who lives in the "wilds" near the Quabbin reservoir west of Boston Mass. We find such long flights and the associated airport "traumas" difficult to endure these days so it would probably be the last time. If we go I'll be keeping my eyes open looking for them.
 
Interesting and annoying "incident" yesterday. Took the grandchildren swimming, as we often do, and fell foul of an electric scooter being driven by an absolute lunatic.

We'd gone down onto the coastal road which runs from Granton to Leith and then on out to the A1 east. We'd just passed the new tram terminus when I noticed a tall figure dressed all in black - track suit - on an electric scooter who was overtaking the moderately heavy traffic on the inside - So he was "going some" - didn't know scooters could go that fast?. I had to slow as we approached the traffic lights where the new road branches left to the cruise liner terminal as they were just turning green as we came up on them. The scooter then more or less kept pace with us, about a car length behind us, at around 28 to 30 mph. At the next lights we had to slow considerably due to traffic turning left into the Ocean Terminal but this idiot kept right on, at full speed and wobbling dangerously due to the poor road surface, overtaking the cars in front on the inside. Luckily the chap in front of me "clocked" him so didn't turn left across the scooter, as he would have had every right to do, there being no bike lanes etc, and the scooter shot straight on through the lights narrowly missing a car coming towards us who was turning right. We continued on and The chap on the scooter had a big moment with a bus pulling away from a bus stop, which did slow him down, but this then meant we were up behind him again. It's a straight drag from here to the junction at "The Shore" several hundred yards further along and he seemed to have a top speed of 28 mph so I decided not to attempt to pass. Following him was quite amusing/horrifying as he wobbled and swerved between the kerb and about half way across the carriageway in an attempt to avoid the potholes with his rather loose track suit bottoms flapping frantically in the wind - he nearly fell off a number of times and even when going straight looked very unstable. As we approached the Custom House, just before you reach the junction at The Shore, he slowed significantly and I though he was pulling up so we passed him, although we were ourselves slowing for traffic at the junction. Got a hell of a shock when we, now traveling at maybe 20mph at most, approaching the junction - where there are two lanes, the left going straight on or turning left and the right a right turn only - he shot past us on the inside at full speed, wobbled quite violently, and thank goodness he did as it made me stand on the brakes, and veered in front of us before making the right turn from his position in the left lane! All done, pretty much, at full speed! How he didn't fall off really was a miracle. I blew my horn at him quite stridently as I came to a halt but all he did was look back at me over his right shoulder with a surprised and belligerent look on his face - Didn't even bother to make a rude gesture. I think this was the same chap who nearly knocked me down outside the library a few weeks ago. With a bit of luck he'll come to a "sticky" end although whoever knocks him down will, no doubt, be found to blame and there'll be notices in the papers about what a jolly nice and caring chap he was.

What really came home to me is how unstable they are at these sort of speeds, with their small diameter wheels and very direct steering due to the handle bars being quite short. Lethal would be a good word to describe what I saw. Thought it is illegal to ride privately owned scooters in public places anyway? More enforcement nightmares for our overstretched police and more grist to the mill to support licensing and vehicle identification for all this sort of stuff including electric and manual bicycles. How are you going to trace anyone like this when they cause an accident?
 
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Thought it is illegal to ride privately owned scooters in public places anyway? More enforcement nightmares for our overstretched police and more grist to the mill to support licensing and vehicle identification for all this sort of stuff including electric and manual bicycles. How are you going to trace anyone like this when they cause an accident?
It is illegal.
If they were restricted to 4/8mph, they would fit the same classification as the invalid scooters. On footpaths, they have, by law a maximum spedof 4mph, and on the road, 8mph. The invalid scooters are a few, just 4mph devices, but most have a High/Low switch, which should give the two maximums. Sometimes a user of those will use them on footpaths and pedestrian areas on the high setting, which is illegal, but like the electric scooters, not policed, unless an incident occurs. Over 8mph categorises them as a vehicle, and should meet stricter rules. In the case of these electric scooters, they become motorcycles, requiring motorcycle helmets, and regulations like lights and brakes, etc. The hire ones have exemption, for the purpose of the 'trial' in selected cities.
I think they are a great way to get around, and a good example of a good electric vehicle, rather than an overbloated car/SUV. Sadly, they tend to get ridden by idiots, which destroys the good points of them.
 
Well, unfortunately Mrs J's sister continues to be unwell following her hospitalization earlier in the year. The medical professionals have never really got to the bottom of her problem with various theories being put forward - Stroke was "flavour of the month" for a number of weeks but then they decided not and are now convinced it's some sort of whole body microbial infection so she's on anti biotics. I don't think they've got a clue and, now in her early 80s she doesn't have a lot in reserve to fight it.

Anyway a neighbour, who has been regularly dropping in to keep an eye on her (remember she's down in rural Devon and we're up here in Edinburgh) rang a few days ago to say she's concerned about her and thinks she needs support. So, Mrs J went off on the train yesterday to spend a couple of weeks with her and try to asses her needs over that period with a view to making arrangements to keep her safe.

The outcome is that I'm on my own for the next couple of weeks. Never mind I've got plenty to keep me busy, collecting grandchildren from school and taking them swimming a couple of times a week to say nothing of the ongoing clearup of my brother's business premisis and home, gardening etc. I'm not short of things to do.

So now on to what's making me grumpy today. One of my all time favourite treats is "Sardine Toasties", a culinary delight my father introduced me too. A tin of sardines, coarsely chopped up and mixed with olive oil, tomato ketchup, salt and freshly ground black pepper - one or two finely chopped anchovies, if available, enhance it further - then spread thickly on a piece of toast with little slivers of cheddar cheese dotted around on top. Slipped under a high heat grill until the cheese almost burns and the lumps of sardine are well cooked. Mrs J absolutely hates the, quite pungent, smell of the "concoction" cooking so I'm forbidden to make it any more. So, knowing she would be away for a while, I bought a tin of sardines in tomato sauce on the way home after dropping her at the station yesterday and made this culinary delight for my tea last night, it was shear heaven! However, here's what the "grump" is. Last time I made this could have been 5 years ago, maybe more, and on that occasion, and many before that, I would get enough to top two and a half pieces of toast, there being usually 4 sardines to a tin. Last night I got enough to cover two pieces of toast, and not all that thickly either! The tin only contained 3 sardines. Downsizing again?
 
“Sardine Toasties", a culinary delight my father introduced me too.
that sounds lovely ! I’m going to have to try that.. I may wait till my other half is working a long shift.

I wonder what our little-un would make of it.🤔

Downsizing again?
It’s called “shrinkflation” making things smaller while keeping the price the same.
 
Send me your address, I'll post the last one to you.
Thanks, what a kind thought? Would it have to be labeled "Hazardous Goods"? I'm in agreement with your cat though, it's an occasional treat to be savoured and probably all the more appreciated because of it being normally forbidden. As she's away for a couple of weeks I'll probably squeeze in one more helping. Better make it several days before she's due back and leave the windows open for a few hours!

Edit. My father used to make it with tinned pilchards too, which is nice enough, but I preferred the sardines.
 
I was halfway through mowing my lawn late yesterday afternoon when my zero turn mower decided it was time to make me grumpy. It started to misfire and shake, so I think it's a failing spark plug. That it only does it under load and I smell raw fuel points in that direction. It's four years old, so probably time for a tune up. Of course, this happened after 5pm, so the auto parts store was closed.
 
I was halfway through mowing my lawn late yesterday afternoon when my zero turn mower decided it was time to make me grumpy. It started to misfire and shake, so I think it's a failing spark plug. That it only does it under load and I smell raw fuel points in that direction. It's four years old, so probably time for a tune up. Of course, this happened after 5pm, so the auto parts store was closed.
Definitely a bad plug. Apparently the plugs need to be replaced every 100 hrs of use. I guess 145 hrs was pushing it. ;) The grumpy part was that I had to go to three different places to find the plugs. Other grumpy thing was that I damaged one of the plug boots trying to get it off the plug. The place I got the plugs from didn't have any(I bet they did but the new guy behind the counter didn't know what a plug boot was)so I yanked one from an old engine I had. I found out quickly that the clip for the plug wasn't crimped, but one of those crappy coiled wires that punctures the cable. SOB! The entire 1/4" that pokes the cable ended up in my finger. Geez, that hurt.

Last grumpy thing. I got a new battery for the ATV today. It works, the almost 30 year old beast fires right up. Grumpy part is that the voltage regulator is pushing 15 volts off idle, even with all the lights on. That explains why the old battery was dry. I ordered a new regulator from Amazon.
 
(I bet they did but the new guy behind the counter didn't know what a plug boot was)
Years ago, the lad behind the parts counter would have been an enthusiast, these days, they are brain dead, staring at their tiny screen all day.
Quite a few years ago, the plastic water tank for the toilet cracked, dripping when full. In the UK, we call this a cistern. 100 yds away, is a builders merchant, with new toilets stacked along shelves. Behind the counter was a young lad, looking disappointed that I had disturbed him, and might drag him away from Farcebook.
"Do you have a plastic toilet cistern?"
Pause, while firing up the second brain cell.
"Is that a plumbing item?"
"Not to worry, goodbye."

A phone call to a better plumbing supplies shop, 12 miles away yielded a complete kit, including all the internals, for £20, without any hesitation, "yes we've got loads of them."
 
Years ago, the lad behind the parts counter would have been an enthusiast, these days, they are brain dead, staring at their tiny screen all day.
Quite a few years ago, the plastic water tank for the toilet cracked, dripping when full. In the UK, we call this a cistern. 100 yds away, is a builders merchant, with new toilets stacked along shelves. Behind the counter was a young lad, looking disappointed that I had disturbed him, and might drag him away from Farcebook.
"Do you have a plastic toilet cistern?"
Pause, while firing up the second brain cell.
"Is that a plumbing item?"
"Not to worry, goodbye."

A phone call to a better plumbing supplies shop, 12 miles away yielded a complete kit, including all the internals, for £20, without any hesitation, "yes we've got loads of them."
My cohort and I were discussing today's kids with one of the Driver's Ed teachers last Friday. It wasn't good. I mentioned that neither of my grandsons, 11 and 7 years old can ride a bicycle. They couldn't believe it as, for previous generations, it was our first ticket to freedom. The boys would rather muck about on their phones.
 
Whilst teaching learner drivers, through many winters, I have met many 17yr olds who do not possess a coat. They'd spent their entire life moving from building to car and back, only going outside in summer.

One day, while parked, there were three sparrows on a fence. Possibly our most common bird in the UK. Learner had no idea what they were.
Frightening.
 
Whilst teaching learner drivers, through many winters, I have met many 17yr olds who do not possess a coat. They'd spent their entire life moving from building to car and back, only going outside in summer.

One day, while parked, there were three sparrows on a fence. Possibly our most common bird in the UK. Learner had no idea what they were.
Frightening.
Back wehn I was young, there were birdwatching courses run by a writer of the YEP, he once announced that you can tell a sparrow from Leeds as it coughed instead of tweeting…my grandad said that Leeds got off lightly on German bombing raids as, it was that smokey, they couldn’t see it
 
Just learned that one of my bicycling buddies had a run in with a car last week. Near as I can tell, he got banged up pretty bad. No broken bones but did suffer a head injury. I think he got hit from behind by a limo driver messing with his GPS. I got clobbered from behind in '07, so I know what he's going through.
 
Whilst teaching learner drivers, through many winters, I have met many 17yr olds who do not possess a coat. They'd spent their entire life moving from building to car and back, only going outside in summer.

One day, while parked, there were three sparrows on a fence. Possibly our most common bird in the UK. Learner had no idea what they were.
Frightening.
My hearing has been steadily waning over the years and because it's been a slow process I've not been aware of how bad it was getting. Eventually Mrs J convinced me to go and get it tested because, so she said, she didn't think I heard her if she called down to me from upstairs or when I was in the living room with her in the kitchen. Also I was setting the sound too loud on the TV. We have an excellent national health audiology facility here in Edinburgh which I can get to on just one bus, so appointment made and off I went on the due date. Turns out I wasn't hearing higher pitched sounds at all but it got better the lower the pitch of the noise. They recommended hearing aids but gave me a right talking to about how I had to promise to wear them. Well, why wouldn't I? I asked. Turns out shed loads of people get aids but then don't wear them?! Anyway, after a couple of weeks I got a call to say they were ready for collection and I popped up, was shown how to turn them on and off and how to replace the batteries then helped with sticking them in my ears.

It was quite a shock when I left the building as everything seemed so loud! Got on the bus and listened to a whole load of mechanical noises I hadn't heard on the journey up! When I got home Mrs J made us a cup of tea and I sat in the back garden for a while when I realized I was hearing a blackbird, Oh and there's the sparrow mob, my what a noise they make, and there's a pidgeon making that sort of "purring" noise they make as he was chasing a lady pidgeon over the roof of next door Then it dawned on me that I'd not been hearing birdsong at all for years! There's a downside too of course, all the wee higher pitched tinkles and tapping noises the cars make - the roller type rocker arms, when cold, on the EA211 engines, my new Scala being one as was the Ibiza, are especially audible and the cold start tappet rattle on the Panda too - but I suspect the aids are actually magnifying higher pitched noises a little too much. I've had them for quite a number of years now and I suspect I probably need to have my hearing reassessed and the aids reprogrammed. They go in my ears when I get up and don't come out again until bedtime (except if I go swimming or do something like taking a shower - they're not waterproof) and I find the batteries last, on average, six days before needing replacement. As they're national health issue I get mu batteries free. Friends have said they feel sure i could get better ones if I went privately and bought them, but I find I get on fine with these ones and don't feel I'm missing out. Being able to hear the birds again is wonderful!
 
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My hearing has been steadily waning over the years and because it's been a slow process I've not been aware of how bad it was getting. Eventually Mrs J convinced me to go and get it tested because, so she said, she didn't think I heard her if she called down to me from upstairs or when I was in the living room with her in the kitchen. Also I was setting the sound too loud on the TV. We have an excellent national health audiology facility here in Edinburgh which I can get to on just one bus, so appointment made and off I went on the due date. Turns out I wasn't hearing higher pitched sounds at all but it got better the lower the pitch of the noise. They recommended hearing aids but gave me a right talking to about how I had to promise to wear them. Well, why wouldn't I? I asked. Turns out shed loads of people get aids but then don't wear them?! Anyway, after a couple of weeks I got a call to say they were ready for collection and I popped up, was shown how to turn them on and off and how to replace the batteries then helped with sticking them in my ears.

It was quite a shock when I left the building as everything seemed so loud! Got on the bus and listened to a whole load of mechanical noises I hadn't heard on the journey up! When I got home Mrs J made us a cup of tea and I sat in the back garden for a while when I realized I was hearing a blackbird, Oh and there's the sparrow mob, my what a noise they make, and there's a pidgeon making that sort of "purring" noise they make as he was chasing a lady pidgeon over the roof of next door Then it dawned on me that I'd not been hearing birdsong at all for years! There's a downside too of course, all the wee higher pitched tinkles and tapping noises the cars make - the roller type rocker arms, when cold, on the EA211 engines, my new Scala being one as was the Ibiza, are especially audible and the cold start tappet rattle on the Panda too - but I suspect the aids are actually magnifying higher pitched noises a little too much. I've had them for quite a number of years now and I suspect I probably need to have my hearing reassessed and the aids reprogrammed. They go in my ears when I get up and don't come out again until bedtime (except if I go swimming or do something like taking a shower - they're not waterproof) and I find the batteries last, on average, six weeks before needing replacement. As they're national health issue I get mu batteries free. Friends have said they feel sure i could get better ones if I went privately and bought them, but I find I get on fine with these ones and don't feel I'm missing out. Being able to hear the birds again is wonderful!
Pardon?
The wife has hearing aids, had them since late twenties…her hearing was damaged from a secondary infection whilst having pneumonia and pleurisy.
My FiL has them after having damaged ears from being in the army…he rarely wears them as the MiL can talk to Olympic level
 
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