Thursday, 31 July 2014

Thursday 31st July 2014


And so I head to the office in Ramsgate, once again in bright sunshine and light winds, which should mean that the monkeys are heading offshore. In fact, their chattering and moaning seems to be much reduced recently, but then I have hardly been there, so what do I know?

Operation "Big Job": day two.

I have the choice of EVERY desk in the office, and so some reason, instead of sitting near a window, I sit at the desk of the HSE guy, and it is stuffy in there. And as the day goes on the atmosphere goes from stuffy to humid to oppressive.

Operation "Big Job": day two.

I work away, cracking the back of creating a new document, all there is to now is to check all 40 plus pages for inaccuracies and errors. That will take up the final two days of the week.

Half three rolls round, and I decide its hot enough. I’m hot enough, so I pack up and head out to the car, where it has warmed up like a locked greenhouse on wheels, which is what it is anyway. I call in at Waitrose so to get something for dinner, thinking there would be something really nice, but I just get some breaded chicken to go with the salad we already have.

Back home at the house, operation Big Job has revealed no new problems, and so we can laugh and joke with the builders, and supply them with beers as they pack up. I guess they have about half the render off the house, the harder half is next, and who knows what wonders they will find on the two extensions?

Operation "Big Job": day two.

We sit outside after dinner, the evening cools and we are joined by the cats who fuss round us now the building work has finished for the day. The light fades and one by one the stars come out. Bats do aerobatics overhead, chasing insects. We call it a day and head to bed.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wednesday 30th July 2014


Still market day in Kings Lynn. In case you'd forgotten.

Operation "Big Job"

And Tuesday was the bay that operation "Big Job" began. So called because it makes operation Bathroom seem very small beer indeed. The plan: to remove all the pebbledash and weathering from the house, change some windows, check for damaged brickwork, and in time cover it all up again.

Operation "Big Job"

The skip arrived at eight, and the builders at nine. The took down the rotten car port, then began on the house. This meant the power had to be off for a while due to the cable coming into the house. I worked soe until the power in the laptop failed, then waited.

Wall Brown, Lasiommata megera

They have a jackhammer to get the pebbledash off, and it is noisy business, and the cats, for the most part, didn't seem to care. Mulder slept half the day in the living room, and Scully was in her normal place on the spare bed. Even Molly didn't run and hide at the noise.

Marbled White, Melanargia galathea

In the evening, we go for a walk and were rewarded with several battered butterflies in the hedgerows, and so i was able to snap my first Comma and Marbled Whites of the year.

We sit outside as dusk fell, waiting for the bats to come and swoop chasing moths. I nurse a large whisky, so not to get a chill, always best to be safe than sorry.

Just a heads up to let you know that we are ten blogs away from the magic 1,000th. Better start planning somethign then

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tuesday 29th July 2014

And on this day some 33 years ago, a third of a century if you will, it was the royal fairy tale wedding between Chaz and Di. It was a nice day, we would have had the day off school, if it wasn't summer holidays, and the family gathered at our place to watch the day's events. as it turned out, it wasn't a fairy tale wedding after all. And it all went Pete Tong.

And since then, our views on the Royals have changed, no matter how much the press and BBC move the events in Gaza off the front page with Baby George's first birthday pictures. Anyone want to buy a Royal, buy one get another free. No takers?


Into the office first thing on the stroke of ten past eight, and the main task of the day is to make my new work laptop, work. I switched it on, logged in, and waited. And waited. And waited.

And then, it just worked. I was able to get things down, transfer files I had saved back onto the new computer, and no hassles at all. Wowzers, who saw that coming? In fact it was such a simple thing that it all seemed a bit of a let down not to have to call IT.

Outside, the clouds gathered, but the storm predicted didn't happen, although sussex got a month's rain in the morning rush hour, flooding one station to the depth of 6 feet. None here. However, after picking Jools up from work, we drove home and behind the cliffs we saw a huge black cloud approaching. Indeed, no sooner had we gotten out of the car did the first drops begin to fall. And soon it was throwing it down.

we made dinner, pan fried aubergines and home-made pasta salad, one of the few recipes the first Mrs Jelltex showed me, and is still wonderful on a hot summer day, or on one when the rain is hammering it down outside. I took a shot of the rain just to show it was there.

Rainy days and Mondays

The builders did not arrive, but promised to be here in the morning. Earplugs at the ready, boys and girls.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Monday 28th July 2014


And another Sunday come round in which I do not have to prepare for a week away. In fact, other than the fact the house is going to be ripped to bits on the morrow, it’s a pretty normal kind of Sunday. We lay in bed so long the cats give up demanding to be fed and head back to wherever they came from to wait.

Class 205 Hastings "Thumper" at the East Kent Light Railway, July 2014

But it is still mighty hot and humid. We lay in bed until gone half seven, then spring into action and make some coffee. And feed the cats. The forecast, as always will dictate what we do, is poor for the later part of the day, but for now the sun is beating down, already too hot to sit on the patio.

Class 205 Hastings "Thumper" at the East Kent Light Railway, July 2014

At eleven, Jools drops me off in Shepherdswell, for a railway gala at the EKLR. As this is one of many events happening over the weekend, we drive along country lanes via Eythorne to get to the station, thus avoiding the country fair at Coldred, which is a good day out, but the traffic would be hell on the A2.

Class 205 Hastings "Thumper" at the East Kent Light Railway, July 2014

Much to my surprise, the platform is heaving with people, more than I have seen before here. The star of the gala is a class 205 “Thumper” DMU, which used to run on the Hastings line, but has now been preserved. It is its first run on the line, and so is popular. At Eythorne, there is a beer tent, a hog roast and classic car rally.

I pay for my ticket and take some shots of the rollingstock which is slowly rusting away. With a screech their other DMU rattles in and then, once emptied, moves out so the Thumper can move into the platform, and the passengers take up their positions to grab a seat in the two train unit. In the end, there is no worries as there is more than enough seats, and slap bang five minutes late we roll off.

Class 205 Hastings "Thumper" at the East Kent Light Railway, July 2014

It is just two miles down the line, but is pleasant enough, and the most important part is supporting the line, which always seems to be strapped for cash. Anyway, at Eythorne, we get off, and I soon see Jools is waiting for me, having done a trip run. So, rather than spend money we don’t need to, we head to the car and then back home for lunch, before we decide what to do for the rest of the day.

The promise is for thunder, but a quick look at the storm scanner shows very little activity over the Channel, so we head to visit the old folks, and return home when we find the house deserted.

The thunder and monsoon-like rain arrives at six, and pours for two hours, turning day into twilight. I cook chorizo hash for dinner, and so we sit at the table with the lamp on as the rain hammers down outside. At least it spared us the chore of watering the garden.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014


And on the sixth day the sun did shine and so we went out to do chores. First up was the trauma that is Tesco. They have renovated our local store, or moved stuff around so you can't anything any more. I believe this is to get us to walk down every aisle so we buy more stuff that didn't want. Jools thinks that the changes are in improvement, in the end we did manage to find all what we wanted, including still warm croissants for breakfast, and once back hoe we warm them some more so I can dunk it in a fresh cup of coffee. Tres bon.

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

jools went for a barnet mangle, then we girded our loins so we could go on one more orchid-hunt, as it is time when the season is really winding down now, and the Violets are the next to last that will show in Kent.

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

Being the end of july, the start of the kiddies holidays means that there are a multitude of things to tempt the young family to do, and so clog up the roads en route to said events. So, we plan an devious route taking us down an never ending series of narrow and narrower lanes all the while heading west and north.

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

we park in the lea of a small church on the hill, making sure we park in the shadow of a tree to keep the sunshine of it, so it might not be like an oven when we return. We grab our cameras and strike out over the fields towards the ancient wood on the hill.

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

we really didn't know if they would be out, it has been warm this week, so they should be. I had heard from a friend that more spikes had been seen nearer the edge of the wood, and indeed just 50 yards in, I spotted first of the spikes, but at least it was a quarter in bloom, which meant some good macro shots anyway.

Further on, I found two more spikes, both fully open and standing alone from each other or any other orchids. Walkers passed as we took our shots, they not knowing or caring that there were such rare orchids next to the path. Happy with the shots, we wandered back to the car, and then drove home in time for lunch, so I could go out again, this time for a beer festival at The Berry in Walmer, as they were being awarded two pub of the year certificates.

Jools dropped me off, and I have two hours in the warm sunshine, drinking cheap beer at a couple of quid a pint. I meet with some friends and chat.

Jools returns, takes me home, upon where I fall asleep on the bed, awaking at half seven not knowing whether it was Sunday morning or still Saturday night.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Friday 25th July 2014


It is easy to forget that, on occasion, it can get quite warm here in the Englands. It does also seem that when we have visitors from overseas, the weather is always rainy, or in some case we suffer record-breaking levels of rainfall. And despite repeated sayings of 'its not normally like this' they really don't believe us, because, well it always rains in England doesn't it?

I say this because it has been mighty warm this week. Not hot, as such, but warm. And humid. Sleeping is almost impossible, but we manage, and during the day when the sun comes up, the temperature and humidity rockets. To the point that the act of just walking is too much, and it is easier to sit in the shade sipping on a mint julip whislt complaining about the vapours.

Evening Walk

And so it was on Thursday, the sun beat down, and I stayed inside trying to hammer together a new document to send to the customer. The day passed with me hardly going out, except to get some fresh air and shield my eyes from the sunshine.

Evening Walk

At the end of the working day, I made a pint of squash and sat in the shade of the hedge, sipping. Even the cats have had enough. Usually, working from home means being pestered all day, but this week I hardly see then until the late afternoon when the shadows lengthen.

Evening Walk

In the evening, we go for a walk, just along to the glade, and the sun was still beating down, meaning it was enough to walk there and back, looking over the golden countryside, and in places see where the harvest has begun. Indeed the large field that stretches from our street to Westcliffe was nearly finished, so we went along to snap the harvest, the farmer choosing that moment to finish for the day, so I got nice shots of a parked combine.

So it goes.


Friday was much the same as Thursday. But with clouds.

I worked until four, then went onto the patio with more iced squash to read some and wait for the cats to come hither.

As it was pay day, and Jools received her first payslip from the LFB, we went out for dinner to celebrate. We walked down and then up the hill to the Red Lion for a pint, but the atmosphere was rather ruined by some old soak, pissed as a fart and holding court to anyone who would listen to his thoughts on life and work. Not that anyone had any choice, as it the way with a drunk, his volume knob had broke, and it was stuck on 11.

Brown Argus, Aricia agestis

We left and walked the short distance to The Smugglers where we treated ourselves to Tournedos Rossini and bottle of Italian wine. It was very good, but it was rather warm in the pub, so as soon as we were done, we paid up and walked back down the hill, up the hill to home.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Thursday 24th July 2014


The temptation to work from home and not have to deal with the troupe of monkeys was too strong, and so after waving Jools off in the car, I settled down to some computer-based work. At least with it so hot these days, the cats are sprawled out under a bush or in deep shade somewhere, and so I am not bothered at all.

I could detail work, but I won't, except to say how wonderful it is still to be home after 5 days, and have no travel booked, and the only travel is to southern Denmark in September. So, the quiet life for me for now.

Meanwhile in Glasgow, the Commonwealth Games begin, which we ignore. Not that I have anything against them, they just seem an irrelevance now, in the sporting world that has several 24 hour sports channels. 'Commonwealth' seems so old fashioned, as does the Queen's baton, which passed for an Olympic torch, and travelled through the 74 competing countries before arriving in scotland and deep fried before being presented to Her maj with a can of Irn Bru.

The wider world demonstrates that nothing has been learned from the past, with Ukraine separatists having brought down a Malaysian airliner last week, still deny they did it, and Russia tries to blame the West. And in the Middle East, Israel has invaded Gaz. again. And is blasting it to bits. Again. And hundreds of civillians and children are being killed. Again. And Israel tries to blame Hamas. Again. And the international community wrings its collective hands and does nothing. Again.