3rd January

Oh I could hide ‘neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings
The six o’clock alarm would never ring
But it rings and I rise, wipe the sleep out of my eyes

Actually the alarm was set for 6:30 but I did wake at 6 and all I could hear was the sound of high winds battering against the bedroom windows. Gone were the blue skies of yesterday I guessed and the first day back at work was going to be grey, wet and windy – just like everyone’s mood! Driving to work was a pleasure! The wind buffeted the car especially while going over the A2 Medway bridge. The Dartford Crossing was closed so the junction with the M25 was all bunged up and the M25 anti-clockwise was stationary – hope it’s improved by the time to go home but I doubt it.

The journey was however eased by two programs on Radio 4. The first from Melvyn Bragg’s In our time was the second part of a five part series running every morning this week called The Written World. The program is looking at the way in which writing developed over the centuries and how it’s development is linked to increase in human knowledge but also covers how changes in technology have driven this. In the same way as the internet has changed the way we access knowledge over the past 20 years then the development of the printing press changed the way books could be mass produced and knowledge disseminated.

The program that followed was called the Paper Round and is a series that takes famous people back to the times (and places) when they did paper rounds and reflects on how this shaped their formative years. It got me thinking about when I used to do paper rounds and the things that taught me and the way it shaped my world at the time. I used to do at least two rounds a day plus I would go round the local hospital selling papers, sweets and cigarettes to the patients twice a day. I also did a Sunday round but went in earlier to sort out all of the papers for the rest of the paperboys.

The fact that I did so much meant that I had quite a bit of money which fueled my love of music allowing me to buy albums and tickets to concerts. Without the income I doubt I would have been able to see such people as Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, The Who, and may more. Music had taken over from Football in my life, in fact during the time I was doing my round, but when I had started I had a very special customer. The first house I delivered to was 1 Bywell Avenue and there lived one of the footballing legends of Sunderland. Bobby Kerr had been the captain of the 1973 FA Cup winning squad and had lifted the cup at Wembley (famously wiping his hands on his shirt before shaking hands with the Queen). Imagine how exciting it was for a youngster a few years later walking up his path let alone meeting him every now and again.

There were lots of other incidents and memories from that time – maybe I will write a blog based on them but I think the one thing those days taught me that has stood me in good stead over the years was the work ethic. I did that paper round for years and as I got older going out drinking on a Friday (& sometimes Saturday) night was added to the things I spent the money on but I knew that no matter what state I got into or what time I got home I still had to get up the following morning and go to work. This was helped by the fact that my mum also worked in the shop and she would give me hell if I err’d (and often did).

I had one of those moment today when shortly after receiving an e-mail to say that the replacement power supply I bought on line had been shipped I received another e-mail offering me one for free(cycle!) – I decided to pick up the free one as well thinking I could always send the one I bought back and just be out of pocket by the cost of the return postage. However the one I picked up today appears not to work – although I am now panicing that the problem was other than the power supply!

One thing I did get today that worked was a printer/scanner/copier which I picked up, again, from Freecycle. We needed one to replace the Epson printer we had in the dining room which had stopped working. I got a Lexmark all in one a couple of weeks ago from a Freecycle group but the computer wouldn’t load the printer drivers for some reason (it may have had something to do with the printer being dropped as the handle on the carrier bag snapped as I carried it in from the car – who knows!). Anyway the Brother one I got today seems to work ok although it needs new colour cartridges. The scanner works too and as I haven’t added a picture today here is a scan of a postcard from the Fish & Chip shop in Whitstable!


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