Friday, 27 November 2015

Friday 27th November 2015


I wish I knew, with certainty, what I was allergic to. And what sets it off.

I mean I can sleep all night, no problems, lay there and think that I feel fine, and yet in 5 minutes be sniffing and sneezing and needing the best drugs known to mankind.

I do know I am allergic to dust and dust mites. I suspect that strong smells, or chemicals in deodorants and perfumes can set an attack off. But once you cut all them out, then what?

Sometimes, all you can do is go outside for a walk and lots of fresh air. That always does the trick. And in November, with the sun low and casting long shadows, these are what I see.

Thursday afternoon walk So, on another morning, I lay in bed, allergy free, and yet within 5 minutes of getting up, I am sniffing away and having trouble breathing. I take drugs, and there is some relief, but its still not good. Work keeps coming in, so it it is afternoon before I can say I have enough time to get outside for a walk and maybe clear my tubes.

Out across the fields along the path which is usually firm and easy going, but now is just a trail of mud, showing brown between the dying grass each side. But I have my boots on, so its no real problem. At the pig's copse, there is a sole piglet, now half grown. The poor thing must be lonely as he runs squealing whenever anyone passes, just wanting some company, as there is food on the ground. He was once one of a group of six or so, but I guess its siblings are now gone. Long gone.

Thursday afternoon walk The view down to Kingsdown is fine as always, but with the need for more walking and getting the blood pumping, I decide to go down the track down the dip, through the mud an up the other side. I was passed by a gentleman on a horse, we bid each other good day, and I watch as he encourages the horse up the steep track the other side. I make slower progress, picking my way through the mud and up the other side, pausing to take shots and to get my breath back. I would think I am out of shape, well I am, but I know that in the summer I could get up here with no trouble, and my breathlessness now is an effect from the allergy and what it is doing to my lungs.

Thursday afternoon walk I walk to the top of Otty Bottom Road, taking a shot as the road tracks along the crease between two hills, descending to the beach at Kingsdown a couple of miles away.

The light from the early afternoon sun is warm and brightens the landscape with warm colours, making my shots, one hope, very pleasing. I double back along the road to the village, past the Kings Head, down Station Road to home, arriving home just in time for another meeting. Just my luck.

Thursday afternoon walk But I do feel better, at least, and get through the meeting and have stuff to do afterwards, which takes me through up to half four. Looking at my contacts on Outlook, most have finished for the day, so I decide enough is enough so switch off the computer and go to prepare dinner: breaded pork, lentil dahl and peas and sweetcorn. I open the last bottle of wine, and things are going very well by the time Jools returns home. In fact the wine flows through dinner and afterwards, and so imagine my surprise to find just half a glass left in the bottom by the time TOTP starts at half seven.

Well, that is it from me until Sunday. Be good.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thursday 26th November 2015


And verily, the sun did shine.

And Jools did go to work before the sun had risen, leaving me with just a coffee pot and three cats.

And halfway though the week, no commuting, and no airports, hotel rooms and boy, does it feel strange? At least I am not tired. At least after the session on the cross trainer the day before, I feel more alive, which means I feel able to take on the tasks of the day, which for the most part is reviewing and re-writing documents. The morning passes, the sun climbs half up the southern hemisphere, then begins to sink in the west. But ran out of sky before it hit the point due west.

I was going to go out to take some shots, before the light faded, but there is always one more document or one more meeting to deal with. I had a document to review, this bounced in at three leaving me two hours to review its content. So much for sunshine. So much for fresh air. So much for photography.

However, there is always time for cross-training. So, with my only other pair of trainers, I get my gear on, select some work out tunes, and off I go. Pumping away.

That done, I am reminded of the biggest ever sports story, as one of the tunes I had listened to was Tessie by the Drop Kick Murphys; a tune written about a baseball team, and re-recorded to celebrate this greatest ever sports story. Now, I know that such terms are so overused, especially in sport, but end of The Curse is one that one day, a film will be written about.

In short, Babe Ruth, baseball player and candy make, was sold by the Red Sox to their arch rivals, the Damn Yankees, and he was rumoured to have said that the Red Six would never win another World Series. And so 86 years passed. 86 years which included some close shaves with winning, but something always seemed to go wrong, so much so that the curse became too real. Cut to 2004, and the Red Sox made it to the post season, and standing in the way of the ALCS pennant was them Yankees.

And soon the Red Sox found themselves 3-0 down in the best of 7 series. They would have to come back from so far back, that no team had ever done so, and yet, they did. Then they met the Cardinals in the World Series, so names after the first sponsor, The World, a newspaper not so the winner could be declared world champions. Anyway, Sox swept the series 4-0 to win 8 post games in a row. And end the curse.

I say this because we football, or soccer, fans think we are the only once passionate about our game, that our supporters are the best in the world. But then to be in Boston, in October when they are playing the Yankees, then witness some real passion and rivalry. Since I was in Boston the year before the curse was busted, I supported the Red Sox, and sat up to watch them win the whole shebang the next year. 86 years of hurt, of failure, causes the release of a whole lot of emotion.

So I watch a DVD I have of the series, sitting beside me the whole while was miss Molly, keeping an eye on me, to see when I would decide it was dinner time.

Dinner for us adults is soup. Spicy Moroccan, which is indeed spicy. I then have to head out into the chaos that is the roads around Dover, as the new security checks are causing so much talbacks and jams. It took Jools 90 minutes to get home earlier, and the only way out to anywhere really is along Reach Road and along the cliffs. I would have taken shots of the traffic jammed on Jubilee Way, but the traffic behind me was so bad, there wasn't space for me to stop.

I had to drop off the house key to my friend Gary, as he is looking after the cats over the weekend, as we are on our travels. More of that another time.

I get home safe, coming back the same way as the traffic is still jammed on all the main routes.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wednesday 25th November 2015


And so the year ploughs on, much later in the day a fine full moon would rise in the east casting strong silvery light on the valley behind the house. But before then we would have rain. Lots of rain. Indeed the wind was howling and rain hammering against the side of the house long before the alarm went off. And dawn, crept, half ashamed over the land, not making it fully daylight until after midday when the clouds lifted.

Morning drizzle Jools left for home a few minutes early to allow for the conditions, leaving me and the complaining cats at hoe to deal with what the day would throw at us.

And in large part, not much was thrown at us, other than rain. However, I did feel lethargic all day, and I got the feeling that I have not been getting up and about enough, so once the work for the day was done, I got the i pod out and did a session on the cross-trainer. And what a difference that made! Afterwards I felt more alive, healthier as the endorphins surged around my system. Therefore, more of the same tomorrow then, I suppose.

Scully Outside the day had faded, but by then the clouds were clearing, and the moon was already rising.

Elsewhere, it was Lee's funeral in Denmark. I would like to have been there, it goes without saying. But, the details were only announced at the weekend, too late to arrange travel. So, my thoughts all afternoon were with his family and my friends and colleagues who were there.

Molly Tuesday night dinner was dirty food, burgers and beer, which hits the spot obviously, and is good once in a while. Those of you who fillow my tavels will know I have more than enough burgers when I am in DK, but hey, what can you do?

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Tuesday 24th November 2015

Blog # 280 for the year: equal most blogs in a year, with six weeks to go.

And blog #1400 as well. Will be bringing you all something special for number 1500, once I can think of something.

Are you bored yet?


Jools' birthday

Dr Who's birthday

And as it was her birthday, Jools took the day off, and decided to spend the day out and about, leaving me in the house working. Well, its only fair, really. We had breakfast together, then she pulled on her walking boots to set off for Deal with the possible final destination being Canterbury, but this would mean catching a bus from Deal. I watched Jools walk down Station Road from the bathroom window before getting dressed and getting ready for another day at the coalface.

Let the sunshine in And it was a typical working day; mails, meetings but it did not involve going to an airport and end the day in a soulless hotel room. I do feel much more rested now I have had 5 days at home, but ust need a few more days to feel like I belong here again. And that is what I am getting, in the end 19 straight days without travel. Perfect.

Outside, needless to day, the sun beams down from a clear blue sky, perfect for walking, so Jools will have had a great time. However for me, it is on the computer all the time. I know it pays the bills.

Jools arrives home at half one, we have a coffee and a saffron bun together. After that, given the choice on how to spend the rest of her birthday, Jools chose to watch Star Trek: Enterprise, which, I have not really watched, but Jools likes it. So, I potted around on the computer until it was time to cook dinner. Yes, given the choice of any (reasonable) place to eat on her special day, Jools chose steak at Chez Jelltex, and who am I to turn a lady down?

I cook steak and the usual trimmings, and even if I say so myself, it was darned good. Jools had bought a bottle of fizz on the way home, so we toasted her, me and our wonderful life together.

In the evening, I listen to some of what we call football on the wireless, and that sees out the day, really.

It was good to last week over with, I suppose grief affects us all in different ways. For me I found myself on the verge of tears a couple of times, for no reason other than have been thinking how lucky we are in our life together. I suppose thankful that we have this, and that we are together. It was announced that the funeral is to take place on Tuesday, if I was in Denmark I would have gone, but as it was a week I was staying at home. I hope Lee would have understood.

I suppose, understandably, this has raised all sorts of questions regarding our lifestyle and things we do and do not do. We shall see I suppose.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Monday 23rd November 2015


It is some pleasure in not have to prepare for yet another trip to Denmark this weekend. I mean, as much fun and high living I might do, and meeting with friends and colleagues, it is tiresome, and by the end of last week, after three weeks on the bounce with being away, I was shattered. I wish I could have a real long lay in, so to feel rested. But most of the time I am awake before six. But these two weeks at home should give me a chance to recharge my batteries.

A return walk to Folkestone Saying that, we both laid in to quarter to eight on Sunday morning. The cats had long given up trying to rouse us and we just sleeping on the stairs waiting for us. Jools shook me awake, telling me I had already missed 20 minutes of MOTD and so missed the first game of the show, Liverpool thumping Citeh. But with the interwebs, there were already plenty of versions on You Tube. So I settled down to watch the rest of the games, Jools made me a coffee and fed the cats. All the important stuff.

A return walk to Folkestone The dreary weather last week meant we did not walk along the harbour. So, with bright sunshine forecast this Sunday, and the fact I needed to buy a birthday card for Jools, we returned.

Calling in at the Battle of Britain memorial, as their new centre has been opened; however, at half ten in the morning it seemed still locked, so somewhere else to return to.

We parked down by the harbour, and along the old fish market, the welk and winkle stalls were doing a steady trade, although their wares smell too fishy to me, especially before eleven on a Sunday morning.

A return walk to Folkestone Over the summer, the authorities had opened the old Harbour Arm for people to walk along, and I was hoping this would still be the case, but once we had walked past the old station and across the huge new car park, I could see the gates leading to the arm were locked fast.

Back round the harbour and up the Old High Street and up the main shopping street to find a card shop. Inside the shop I find a good card, then also get Christmas cards for Jools and Mum, meaning I won't forget until the last minute like last year. Waiting in line for the queue, I am quizzed by a kit in a pushchair with his Gran. Why did I have a camera? Why did I not have change.? His Nan said I had spent it all on coffee. And whisky I added, and the kid burst into laughter.

A return walk to Folkestone I go to find Jools, and together we walk back down the Old High Street to the car, then back along the old main road to Dover and to home. Time then for lunch, lunch of hand raised pork pies and a saffron bun each. Perfect.

We listen to the radio, Jools does some beading and I do some stuff with photographs. Football burbles away on the radio as I make a pot of chili; something I have not made for over a year now, and so with the old grey matter trying to remember my recipe. In the end, it came out OK, not too hot, which shows some wisdom as I grow older. Long gone are the days when I make it as hot as possible.

We decide to have a quiet night, away from any Scandinavian murders, at least for a week or so, and somehow we fritter the evening away, until it is time for bed, and as ever, the weekend has slipped through our fingers.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sunday 22nd November 2015


Another morning when I awake before six. But the room is colder, winter is here. However, the threat of snow has no receded, so the task of the day is to keep warm. But like most weeks the task for the day, first task for the day, is shopping. Well, after coffee.

Sainsbury's, like all supermarkets at quarter past seven on a Saturday morning, is a place for people of a certain age who don't lay in bed any more and want to save the rest of the day for something else. We get dressed, grab a few shopping bags, we always have done this, but now there being a 5p charge now has not brought the end of western civilisation. We made no list, but go round swiping stuff off the shelves, and soon enough had over fifty quids worth of stuff, including a selection of party food to have that evening as we sat on the sofa watching the end of The Bridge.

We do buy a pack of smoked streaky bacon for breakfast, because it seems weeks since we had bacon. And once back home Jools puts the shopping away and I cook bacon.

And there is no avoiding Christmas, it is the third week in November, and so we have to place our order with the butcher, which will mean a drive over to Preston. The plan had been to go to Herne Bay afterwards as the wond was in the north east and so the storm-force winds should have been battering the north Kent coast. But due to the fact there was also to be much rain too, we decided not to go to the coast after all, so it was just the butchers and back. Saying that, alternating between bright sunshine, jet black clouds and then torrential rain, and country lanes full of overflowing puddles made the trip interesting to say the least.

The boys are in good spirits, and busy. So I order our stuff, and it being Jools' birthday on Monday, buy some steaks. And some pork pies. And so cheese. And sausages.

Back home through yet more sunshine and heavy showers, to make some saffron buns, what with it being so near Easter and all that. There is something wonderful about the mix of smells of rising bread and saffron, it really is magical. And once in the oven to bake, it really is irresistible. But we have to wait for them to cool, but something as wonderful as still-warm saffron buns deserve a really good large cup of tea. And with the Man Utd game v Watford on the radio in the background, we make two large buns disappear.

Those of you who know me will not be surprised to find out that I then lay on the sofa to listen to the game, and so managed to sleep through most of the second half. And then comes the main event of the afternoon: Chelski v Norwich on the wireless. Although, of course, its not in the slightest relaxing, as Chelsea play very well without scoring in the 1st half. One lapse of concentration allowed SCosta one on one with Ruddy, and the ball was in the back of the net. And that was that.

And at five, we began the long slog of the final three episodes of The Bridge. After watching episode 8, and putting in the final disc, we find there are just two more, which we watch with Dr Who sandwiched between the Nordic Noir. And that brought us to half ten, and half the weekend already gone.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Saturday 20th November 2015


Bloody Vanessa wakes me up with her chirpy upbeat brand of radio. OK, you've been up since three, but can you please keep it down a bit, some of us are trying to wake up grumpy.

Friday afternoon walk But it is Friday, which means rounding up the week's work. More meetings and maybe an early stack if my manager, i.e me, lets me. I think I will. After all, I reasise how hard I have worked this week and although another seven hour plus sleep, I still feel like I have missed out on a night's sleep somewhere.

Jools has breakfast then leaves for work, and I am left with just the cats, complaining already with the rain outside. Like I can do anything about it, guys!

I have a meeting, another meeting. And somehow I get given yet more tasks on the job I thought I was finished with!

Friday afternoon walk My allergies have just about been under control, but what I really needed, of course, was some fresh air. And if that fresh air could come in conjunction with some fine sunshine so I could take photos at the same time, then so much the better. Therefore, it came as no surprise that just gone two I turned my laptop off and get ready for a walk.

The forecast was saying there should be two hours of unbroken sunshine from now until sunset, I looked outside and saw clouds. Oh well.

I put on just my fleece over a t shirt, and as soon as I went outside the cold wind cut through the coat, but I knew once walking it would be OK. Along the street to where the track began, and on both sides whatever has been planted in the fields replacing the dried beans are already sprouting. Looks like grass, but what do I know?

Friday afternoon walk The cloud was high, and to the south the sun found a gap in the clouds and sent warm milky sunshine to my back. I went on, but with the path so muddy here, I knew that the bottom of the dip would just about be unpassable, so it would be a short walk. But being outside is good, right?

No sign of the pigs in the copse, but I think I saw the sow in the tin hut deep in the woods, sleeping the cold afternoon away. I did turn down the track to the dip, at least to get views across the valley and down to Kingsdown. I picked a fairly dry path through the puddles and areas of mud.

Friday afternoon walk As I stood at the gate to the big field, a couple of cold looking horses came over to say hello. I had no carrots for them, but they seemed happy enough with a pat on their nose, and so carried on munching grass. I turned for home, tracing my steps and looking into the rays of the setting sun, which had found a large clear area of blue sky to beam down from.

Back across the fields, dodging the dogs eggs and thinking it might be nice to have a beer whilst I watch an episode of Time Team when I got back. Molly joined me on the sofa, stretching out and purring for the whole hour.

That watched, and it being half four, it was time to prepare dinner: chorizo hash, and a meal I can rustle up without thinking too much about it. Jools comes home just as I put the potatoes into fry, so she has time to change out of her work things, pour some drinks, then sit down together and listen to Desert Island Discs.

I don't need to tell you what we did for the rest of the evening, a triple bill of The Bridge, and I am now thinking the police chief is behind it. Could be wrong.