Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sunday 29th March 2015

Saturday.

And after the bright sunshine, well for the most part, seen in Holland this week, on the first day of rest we have thick fog and blustery wind. A combination that is pretty rare, but then anything is possible up on the cliffs here in St Maggies.

We need a few things, so decide, in a break from the norm to head to Deal and go to Sainsbury's rather than the usual Tesco at Whitfield. The drive was interesting in the fog, with the usual eejits driving with no lights on, partly explained by only a thin mist once we descended into Walmer. But still, how bad does it have to get before fog registers in their tiny minds?

Sainsbury's is fairly empty, and not a place to be rushed round because of the crowds and feral children. No you rush round in case you see any more nice things that might just fall into your basket. A couple of pints of Hopdaemon does, and two packs of nice sounding bacon. We escape some £46 lighter and non the wiser.

Back home I cook the bacon for breakfast, and am amazed at the rashers that filled the pan, shrunk to less than half their length. Just as well there were seven each then! Breakfast done, and with the weather being the way it was, it would have been easy to sit inside all day, listening to the radio, messing around on the computer and the such.

No, not when there is orchid progress to check up on. Oh no.

Down Jubilee Way, along Townwall Street, mixing it with the port traffic, which for some reason is once again stacked up all the way to Aycliffe. All this means we will find another way back home.

Springtime at Samphire Hoe

Anyway, up the road out of town, past Shakespeare Cliffe and down the tunnel to Samphire Hoe. And to our surprise it was foggy here too. We put on our thick coats, I get the camera with the macro lens, and I walk beside the railway and Jools takes the path to the seawall as she thinks this orchid thing is becoming an obsession. Really?

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes

A few hundred yards along, I find the first of the rosettes, some even beginning to put up small spikes. But in truth it has not been that warm these past two weeks, and any hope of March flowering spikes has been dashed, indeed it might be two weeks before we see an open orchid here. I walk back to the car where Jools has already had enough fresh air and is waiting.

Now for the main business of the day; we are going to look at some cars. A major step, and more of what you might like to call ordinary behaviour. Jools likes to compare it to the opening lines of Trainspotting, "Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got orchids".

So, on the way back down the Alkham Valley towards the Seat dealer, there is the garden centre. We call in, wander round and spend another forty quid. A few plants, a shrub and a small tree. All very normal. And I am enjoying it. At the Seat dealer, we wander round the lines of second hand cars, all looking OK, but there is the danger with the unknown previous owners, how hard were the cars driven. A young lady in tight fitting yoga pants comes out to ask us if we need help. I say we are just looking, thanks.

A quick drive up to Whitfield brings us to the Vauxhall dealer. Now, I have driven many different makes of cars over the past three months, and gone are the days when Vauxhalls were rust buckets. We know what we need, something the same size as the Polo, something with the same engine size, a Corsa in other words. We look round the used car lot, some are OK, they all look OK. Then the salesman spots us, we are like antelope on the savanah, being stalked by lions. He circles us, now panicking us.

Are you looking for a used or new car, he began. He had caught us.

We say we might be interested in a new one, if the deal was right.

Come inside he says, inviting us into his lair. Would like, coffee, cake?

What would we like, can we have your details? We are handed over to a young lady, Amy. They offer us nearly two grand for our car, knock some money off one they have in stock, gives us the price per month. And it is doable. We say yes, then begins the form filling, detail giving. And waiting. They have a TV in the showroom, which is playing Jeremy Kyle to no one, least of all, us. Then Murder she wrote, comes on, in which Angela goes back in time to sort a murder from the civil war, or something. I don't think I was on drugs, but then I have had a lot of coffee.

The news comes, all has been approved, but the final part is on hold as the service department have locked the registration documents or something. So, can we come back on Sunday? I believe we can.

Imagine our surprise to find nearly 3 hours have passed, we have a car full of plants and we are going to take delivery of a shiny new motor before Easter.

We have yet more coffee, then Jools does a tip run, goes to visit Nan, and I put the plants in, stamp then in, water them. Looks good.

I make sausage rolls for dinner, with the last of the sausage meat from Christmas. It is chestnut flavoured, and is without doubt the best. That hits the spot.

Day light fades, the mist thickens to fog, and as we watch TV a small badger cleans up the bird food outside, make only the occasional glance as us, as all peanuts and seeds are hoovered up.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saturday 28th March 2015

Friday.

Last day of the week, and I am back at home, sitting at the dining room table, with my work computer, answering e mails, as everything going Pete Tong around my ears.

Springtime in the garden

But I digress.

Have an Ace(r) Spring

Jools goes to work in the car, leaving me in the house with the cats and a pile of work to be getting on with. I have two meeting scheduled: the one I arranged had just the two of us turn up. We passed the time of day and all was well, but a bit pointless. The second one, more important, had just the three of us, and was also largely pointless. I am staggered. So, we went through nearly two hours of matters arising, with most of those responsible not being present. I would have been funny if not so important.

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back Two more hours of mails, updating documents.

For lunch I defrost some pasta sauce which I think will do as thick soup, and I make a small loaf of spicy potato bread. Oh it was spicy, and mighty fine.

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back

At two, it was time to end for the weekend, pack my stuff away, strap on my walking boots as I have an appointment with the doctor regarding my allergy meds. The promise of the BBC that it would cloud over my mid afternoon had not happened, so, why not make the most of it and take the camera, like there was ever a chance I would ever go without.

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back

In the strong sunshine, the colours were so vibrant, but the fields around the house were still showing no growth, but elsewhere there was lush growth.

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back

Along the path to the pig's copse, which is still empty, still awaiting this year's piglets. Through the trees, I see the blue smudge, marking where the English Channel laid.

Turning right at Fleet House and down the dip, the colours were still so vibrant, and the clucking of the hens snoozing in the copse to the right.

At the bottom, the ground is almost dry, with just some sticky mud. I picked my way through and climbed up the other side, the sun not quite warm on my back though, so I was glad of the coat I decided to wear.....

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back

All along the cycle path heading north, a great array of spring flowers were already waving in the gentle breeze, wild daffodils, primroses amongst many others.

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back

I take the path crossing the down at the usual place, giving fine views down to Kingsdown. But I wanted to get to the memorial, look down on the breaking waves below. I pause to look at the view, and yet more bouquets pf flowers marking the mourning of a lost loved one at the cliff's edge. I don't dwell, I turn and head across the fields towards the village, walking down Salisbury Road which comes out of at the surgery. I get my prescription, already the sun is getting low in the west, so I redouble my efforts to head for home.

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back

One last task is to call in at the village library to drop some of Jools' books off, then head down the narrow path, past the farm at the bottom of the dip and up the other side, just a short walk along the street from home. Once inside, the cats are waiting, being four, only an hour to dinner time, so how about it big boy?

Friday afternoon walk to the cliffs, doctors. And back

Jools comes home, we have a coffee. She is meeting friends from the LFB in the evening, as more friends are leaving the factory as another round of sackings are under way. It was bound to be an awkward night for all concerned. Which means I am home alone. I have defrosted some kofte kebabs, I part boil some potatoes, then fry them up. The kebabs are shallow fried, nice dirty food. With Fleetwood Mac playing softly in the background, I eat my dinner, before it is time to sit down and watch the latest match on England's Euro 16 qualifying. England have won all 5 previous games so fat, and a game against Lithuania wasn't going to be a real test. It was a poor game, England scored early and were never really tested, running out 4-0 winners, with the latest wunderkind, Harry Kane scoring on his debut with his 3rd touch. Cue massive over-reaction.

The football means no Don, but there is promise of the repeat on Saturday evening. Be still my beating heart.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Friday 27th March 2015

Thursday

And its time to go home. Or will be in a few hours. I had planned to lay in, but thanks to a combination of the ever-early dawn and regular cramp attacks during the night, I felt like i had not slept. I drag myself out of bed, have a shower and pack.

Downstairs, and the hotel is jammed full of Canadian schoolkids, clogging up the restaurant, moaning about the food. Whatever, I am not at my best at in the morning so I fill get angry at almost anything. The kids were not so bad, I was just grumpy. Outside it is a glorious morning, too nice to be at work, if only for a few hours. I check out, pay the bill; and to the office. A whole two minute drive through the industrial estate and fish warehouses of the town.

After a coffee, I switch the computer on, and then avalanche of mails began. I have so much to do, and have to be on my way to the airport at ten, which gives me two hours to get things done. Being this stressed is exciting for sure, and in the end I think I get tasks done, I say bye to everyone, load my bag into the car, program the sat nav: 30 minutes. Lets go.

The town is a mix od modern houses and factory units/warehouses. Its not pretty, but I know the old part of town is pretty enough, but the modern part is pretty faceless. Even the old railway line has been dug up and replaced by a cyclepath, which means I am at least less distracted.

All along the main road, there are thousands of daffodils all nodding in the breeze, looking all purdy and springlike. No time to admire them as I take the turn onto the motorway and I am straight into thick traffic. I have three hours before my flight, but I like to be in time, anyway, I take my time, driving at less than 100kmh, with most traffic whizzing past me. On either side, the fields are broken up by ditches and dykes, with a few old fashioned windmills in the mix too. And all in warm spring sunshine. Were I not heading for one of the largest hub airports, I might have enjoyed it.

At Schipol, I follow the signs to drop the car off. I have done less than 60km all told. I get a signature meaning I have returned it undamaged. And then I am free for the hike to the airport and departure lounge. Along the endless travelators, down the slope, into the large hall above the railway platforms. On I go, up to the check in desks: I realise I can use the KLM machines, I get a boarding card, then queue up to check in my bag. And it is the first time I have seen this part being self service.

I scan my boarding card, place the case in the booth. A tag is printed, I attach it to the case. It is weighed, am I happy it asks? Maybe. The case vanishes, and I can go to security and then onto immigration. I stop off for a smoothie and whilst I am sipping it, I make some calls. Its all going to crap. Really it is. Stuff that never goes wrong, goes wrong. Thankfully there is a team to deal with it, and so after half an hour, I make my way to the gate, and I can wait for the flight to board.

At the gate I see there is a snack booth: Hmmm, Indian chicken sandwich sounds nice, I think. It is microwaved, and is horrible. With the coffee it is €10 I won't see again. Jeez that was awful. Anyway, I will be OK until I am back in blighty when I can have a cuppa and a wad.

The flight is called, less than half full. Once again I have a row of seats to myself. I settle in, and close my eyes. The jets start, we are backed out. Its a short taxi to the runway, we are third in queue to take off. The two jets roar off with about just 30 seconds gap inbetween. The jets roar, we leap off down the runway, and into the air we go, leaving crowded Holland below us as we climb into he hazy sky. IN the 40 minute flight, they manage to serve drinks to everyone, but as soon as we reach cruising altitude, we are dropping towards London again.

England is shrouded in cloud, and on final approach we fly through a short downpour, with the rain running over the windows like a shower. But by the time we land we are in bright sunshine again. At least arriving at lunchtime means the airport is quiet, we go through immigration, collect our cases without really breaking stride. A two minute wait for a train to Stratford, but looking at my watch I know I am going to miss the quarter to two train by about 5 minutes.

I am right, I miss the train, so I go into the cafe, have a gingerbread latte and a large cookie. I check more work mails, my phone is about to die, enough life in the battery to fire of a mail and make a call. I have work to do when I get home then.

The train is half full when it arrives, but I get a seat, so relax in my seat. The final leg.

At Folkestone we pass the Orient Express, out on a lunch special, and the rich or those celebrating at just tucking into the first course as the train pulls out of Folkestone West, with a traditional Dixie Jazz band playing as the train leaves. The music peters out as the last carriage leaves the station. The musicians look at each other, turn and head out through the ticket office. Job done.

At Dover there is just one taxi waiting, I jump ahead of a hesitant couple who are wondering whether to hail a cab. Sorry guys, its mine. The driver, however, does not speak much English, so I explain how to get to the house; mixing it with the port traffic, up Jubilee Way, along the Deal Road, up the hill to home.

Inside, all three cats are waiting, and demanding food. Well, it is four in the afternoon. I have a cuppa, and then sit down to write the mails I have to. Jools arrives home at half five; do I want fish and chips for dinner? Oh yes.

So Jools goes back out, I make the brews. Once we have eaten, I am so tired, I have a shower, and we watch another old TOTP on BBC 4. The Vapors (again) Rush, The Police, some good stuff, and some rubbish too.

Is that it? OK, time for bed. Friday tomorrow. Then the weekends.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Thursday 26th March 2015

Monday.

And so begins another week. This time I have a late start with the travelling, as my flight isn’t until three fifteen, but it does mean I can’t get Jools to drop me off, or walk down the hill. No, this calls for something far worse; the father-in-law. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like him, but like anyone who has been driven by him, it is something to be avoided unless necessary. And I am in need, so the call was made and a time arranged. It is just down the hill, how bad could it be?

I do some work, have breakfast, pet the cats and pack. All ready for eleven so I would be ready if Tony came early. Which was just as well as he was early. I loaded the car, and we set off, having to cross two junctions, and in fact it was pretty painless as the Deal road as quiet. I unloaded my case, waved him goodbye and walked onto the station.

Thus learning an important lesson, don’t let your lift go before you check the arrivals board, as when I did there were no trains listed for 90 minutes, meaning I might miss my flight. In fact I would not, but it would be cutting it fine. Whatever. I did know why there were no trains, though. A person had been struck by a train in Herne Bay, I saw the tweets from the rail company, but failed to realise that the train I wanted to catch would be coming that way, and with the lines blocked. Well, you get the picture.

There was a call point on the station, the guy on the other end seemed very unfazed by the fact I needed to know if a train was coming, and if there would be announcements on the station. He admitted there would be none, but a train was due about midday. I decided to tweet the help desk, which confirmed this, and it seemed to be the speed of the reply showed more customer focus.

Anyway, some twenty minutes late, the train arrived, but the announcement once on board was that after Ashford it was running fast, non stop, to London. Those of us going to Stratford, as another train would be arriving ‘soon’ to take us. Sigh.

With no other choice we got off, and joined the others on the platform waiting. Indeed the train arrived withon a few minutes, we all got on board, and I got a seat, so settled down to watch the countryside fly by, by sitting ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRAIN! How odd that felt, but maybe I should do that more often.

20 minutes later we arrived in Stratford, the walk to the DLR, having missed a train by seconds, I waited ten minutes, the next one arrived and we headed out.

Travelling in the middle of the day means the airport was quiet, I checked in, dropped my case went through security. And instead of having a meal, I made do with a roll and paper cup of coffee, which still cost over eight quid!

The flight was called, and was under half full. In the 45 minute flight they managed to serve drinks twice and pick up the trash, good going I think.

My, or our, destination was Amsterdam. And as usual at a hub, the taxi to the parking slot seemed to last longer than the flight; we went over two motorways, a canal and a railway, and all over the airport we could see other aircraft making similar taxi trips.

I have no onward flight to catch, and I have all evening to sort the rest of the my trip to the hotel out, so I wait until most of the others have gotten off. What seemed like a three mile walk took me to immigration, and another similar walk brought me to baggage reclaim and my small case was going round and round.

In the concourse, it was another mile to the car hire place. I filled the form and was told the car was a short walk away. Up a ramp, along four travelators, along a corridor, down a lift, to the office. I show all my documents again, and I am given the keys to the car. The guy even brought the car to me. Another Polo.

I programmed the sat nav, and drove out of the garage, waiting for the signal to be made, I took the motorway, hoping the direction was right. It was, but took a turning before the one the nat nav was indicating, and had to drive round the airport again to get back.

Ten miles down the motorway, and five more miles to Ijmuiden, through the town centre, to the marina and the Holiday Inn. Yay.

Sunset at Imjuiden

I parked up, went in, filled in more paper work, showed my passport yet again, and was given my room key. In the room I looked at my watch, it was seven, and I was hungry and tired.

I ate alone in the restaurant, I could not resist the beer and burger combination. It was good.

Room at the Holiday Inn

Back in my room, I lay on the bed, flipped through the TV channels to see if there was something on. There wasn’t. I called home and gave in for the night, and went to bed. Shattered again.

Tuesday.

I awoke at dawn with the weak light of a misty morning shining through the gap in the curtains. I am at the Holiday Inn again, some three years since I was last here. Outside the window, there is not a breath of wind to move the waters of the marina. I listen to the workers outside, ready for another hard day road resurfacing, which is happening to the road outside the hotel. By half six work in is full flow and rest impossible.

Misty morning, Imjuiden an Zee

I meet Rune at breakfast, he knows the way to the office, so after eating I let him drive me, so I can learn the way. Once there I find an office with my name, or at least my role on it. But I have to share with Rune, and our new assistant when he arrives from Manchester just before lunch. The day is spent discussing roles, and responsibilities, and then introduction to poor Dave who does not know what he is letting himself in for.

We have filled roles for lunch, and plenty of strong coffee, and so we continue after lunch, as from this office in a week the next stage of the project will go live. As for me, I have been at full throttle for months now, and people all seem to be telling to take things easy now. We shall see.

At five, we decide that is it for the day, and drive the two whole minutes to the hotel, make sure Dave has a room, and then go to our rooms. Me to write endless e mails and letter. And listen to the radio. Time seemed to pass. Outside it was foggy. Sounds were muffled, but still a helicopter was circling overhead; what were the chance for some sleep at some point?

Wednesday.

Another grey morning, and the noise I thought was the shower dripping was rain falling onto the balcony outside. Welcome to spring in Holland!

We meet up again at seven, drive to the office and go through it all again. At ten I have a meeting, and that takes the rest of the day. Tasks pile up as the meeting progresses. Sigh.

Chris takes us all for lunch at a local swanky fish restaurant. It is very posh, and we are in our working clothes, but they seem to ignore that. I can state that the garlic baked shrimp was stunning, and just needed a glass of red wine, but being halfway through the day, I made do with a diet coke.

Back to work, back to the meeting. Time passes, afternoon passes into evening.

We drive back to the hotel, and arrange to meet up at seven for dinner in the hotel. I have steak and local stupidly strong beer, the others have burgers. It works well. It has been quite a day, and for the next few months this will be my world.

Welcome to it.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Monday 23rd March 2015

Sunday.

Second day of rest.

Day of gardening.

Review of football.

And on the seventh day of labour did Jelltex rest? No, he did not. But he he did begin the day with coffee and watching the previous day's football.

At half nine, Jools went to Ashford to a bead fair, and I said I would stay home and mow the lawn.

History walk round Dover Harbour with John and Uncle Jeff

And I did go into the shed, and under piles of pots, trays I did indeed find the mower. I did fill it with fuel, and then began the pulling of the starting chord. Accompanied by much swearing. On about the tenth pull, it fired. And died. But the next pull, it was roaring. Well, not roaring, but making a noise loud enough to wake any sleepy heads living in the neigbourhood.

Up and down I went, taking the top off the grass, and removing most of the sycamore saplings which now infest the lawn after the tree was cut down. We will be fighting that battle for years to come! I then actually finished the job by getting the shears out, and trimming the parts that the mower could not reach. I followed that up by an hour of sawing branches. Phew. Must be time for a brew, and I rewarded myself with a couple of blocks of dark chocolate and sat in the garden chair surveying my work. And it was good.

History walk round Dover Harbour with John and Uncle Jeff

Jools came home at half twelve, we had scotch eggs for lunch, and another mince pie, before we set off for the harbour to meet up with a couple of friends who were doing a guided walk. At two a group of about 20 had arrived, so we set off while Jeff spoke at dept about the history of the harbour and its buildings. Sadly, after an hour, Jools was getting cold, and as we were back near the car, we bailed and went home for warming coffee and the last of the mince pies.

History walk round Dover Harbour with John and Uncle Jeff

On the radio, the 'big' game was nearing its end, with Man Utd beating Liverpool 2-1, and 'Stevie Gee' sent off after 38 seconds. Or it could have been 42. Of 34. No one seems too sure. Still funny though. He later appologised, but not for the foul, but for being sent off, or I could be hard on him on that. Anyway, they lost, and are now 5 points off becoming the 3rd loser, or forth place as it is also called.

Spring time in the Jelltex garden

We had chorizo hash again for dinner. Always a popular dinner in our house. By which time the day was fading, and we both seemed tired, so the day once again faded out to bedtime.

And this week, back on my travels, off to Holland for a few days and meetings.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sunday 22nd March 2015

Saturday.

First day of rest.

Only no one told Mulder, who decided at five in the morning, that would be the best time to try to get into the wardrobe. Now, we know he's not the brightest spark, and so lacking thumbs with which to grip the handles, he just banged the door. Again and again. Sometimes he just wakes us up to attention, which is nice. It is getting light, which means I give up sleep, and lay in bed listening to the birds waking up outside, before the clock ticks over to six and it seems time to get up.

Saturday morning walk in a Kentish orchid wood

Coffee. More coffee and croissants make the world seem better. And then I look at the the weather forecast. Outside it is glorious, the sun shines from a clear blue sky, but the BBC reckons it will cloud up soon. So, abandoning the idea of a lazy morning, we get dressed and dash out to one of the lesser know orchid sites, as, well, best check on spring's progress in the world of orchids. The A2 is quiet, but even still it can be a bit of a racetrack once the duel carriageway opens up after Lydden, but we turn off, head down the valley below, up the other side, across fields, through the empty arch of the old Alkham Valley line, across more fields, through a wood before finally arriving at the parking place.

Saturday morning walk in a Kentish orchid wood

Desperate bleating fills the air, and a small flock of sheep are heading our way; what could it mean. The stop ten yards away, all bleating loudly/ One yew comes forward, and two small black lambs scamper from the lea of the hedge in front of us, they want to suckle, but their Mother wants them well out our hungry gaze. The bleating stops, and we turn and walk up the bridleway and up the hill.

Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula

Everywhere thousand of bluebells are shooting up, soon the wood will be carpeted by them. But soon enough the spotted rosettes of Early Purples and I think a few Lesser Butterflies can be seen. The Early Purples number in the dozens, and having not seen the display here until they had pretty much died off, we want to come back once they are in their prime. Or at least I do.

Orchid rosette

As we walk back down the hill, the sun goes behind a cloud and it is like someone has turned the colour knob down on a TV, as everything suddenly becomes so muted. I had decided that we should go back through Barham, a bit of a diversion, but I wanted to see ith the Nailbourne was still flowing, as it seems ages since we have had any rain.

It seems that this is the pause before nature burts forth in full spring mode. The colours are vibrant, at least of the grass, but trees are still mostly skeletons, although the tips of the smallest branches have a hint of green growth, giving a hint of spring. Next weekend the clocks go forward, with it we will have lighter evenings, and darker mornings; at least for a time anyway, as the seasons change ever quicker.

Saturday morning walk in a Kentish orchid wood

In Barham, indeed the Nailbourne is still in full flow, maybe a foot or so deep, and flowing fast. I stop to take a few pictures. Not that different from this time last year, exept the water isn't coming up through the playground of the school and there are no sandbags around. In fact with the daffodils out, and the sun back out, it looks wonderfully spring-like, and a place that would be wonderful to live, a little way away from the Nailbourne though.....

Barham, Kent

We go back via the pet store, as we are out of birdseed. We do enjoy seeing the wild birds in our front garden, and the badgers when we are up when they call, so somehow we spend £80 on peanuts, sunflower hearts and other stuff.

Barham, Kent

Back home we unload the car, have yet more coffee, whilst outside, as predicted the skies cloud over and soon a light drizzle is falling. I have the radio on, Danny Baker, Fighting Talk and then the live football begins, and it is also the last weekend of the six nations egg chasing. So much sport. In the end it is a wonderful afternoon's sport, with three great games of rugby, England just missing out on the title thanks to a resiliant display from France. Ireland with the title, having scored more points than both England and Wales.

In the football, City were playing Forest, and with just 8 games to go, and playing another team in the top 6, this was a must win game. City play really well, and run out 3-1 winner to be end the day three points behind the leaders and in 4th.

We have more pasta salad and cold sausages for dinner. All prepared and served in less than 5 minutes. It is great. And after washing up, it is dark outside and nearly eight in the evening: where has the day gone, and why am I so tired?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Saturday 21st March 2015

Friday.

First day of Spring.

Last day of the working week.

End of days. Possibly.

Yes, the day of the spring equinox, when day equals night. And the day of a solar eclipse. Although, total eclipse was not visible from Kent. Or England. Or Scotland. But from the north of Scotland it would be 98% total, whilst down here in Kent is would be 85%.

But some fool (me) had arranged a meeting between nine and ten when the peak of the eclipse would be just after half nine. Silly me. However, looking out the back door, just confirmed my fears and the forecast, as all we could see was solid thick cloud from horizon to horizon.

Partial solar eclipse 20th March 2015

There was still two hours to go, maybe it would improve? It didn't. I kept going out to look, but as the disc of the sun was obscured, it got darker and darker, but no gaps in the cloud. The cockerel up the street was confused and was crowing almost non-stop. At half nine, the wind dropped, and there was still no gap in the cloud. The meeting I arranged, well, only two of us turned up, and so I managed to end it in 20 minutes. So, allowing me to see the sky darkening.

On TV, live folm from the Faroe Islands, and in a plane above them, showed totality, even if from the ground nothing of the eclipse could be see either.

The day progressed, more meetings, more mails, more phone calls.

Until at about three, I decided I had sent enough mails, it was an hour later in Denmark and Holland, but I kept my phone on just in case of emergencies. I put on the TV to see what was one. And there really is nothing quite like daytime TV for reminding you that even watching paint dry is more entertaining. Channels of crap. Dozens of channels of crap. Someone must watch it, I did find myself diverted by Storage Hunters again, only to find them bidding on boats, I guess at Lake Mead, gambling thousands of bucks, knowing nothing about boats, hoping to make a profit.

I hit the off button.

Once again the light is fading. I make a coffee, sit on the sofa with the cats looking at the birds in the front garden. The weekend has arrived.

Jools comes home, I have made pasta salad for dinner. I open a bottle of red wine, fry up some bangers to go in the pasta. Perfect.

The evening petered out once again, with The DOn waxing about plants, ponds and stuff. Gardening eye-candy.