Saturday, 25 October 2014

Saturday 24th October 2014

Friday. What is it with Fridays? I mean they should be the best darndest working day of the week, what with it being the 5th and last of those for most of us, and yet for the past few weeks Fridays have really been messing me about, and ruining my plans for an early stacks. Rather like, then, when I was in the RAF, and as duty armourer you would wait with the duty NCO until 17:00 on Friday so you could lock up either the dump or armoury, and then the phone would go. Is that the duty armourer? I need to draw out 50 pistols, its all licking of in Albania and we need to arm the crew. Or, that hilarious time when the USAF managed to overturn a missle launcher completer with nuclear tipped warhedaed missile on the Hardwick roundabout in Kings Lynn. Is that the bomb dump? There's been an accident, could you come and man a cordon and help right this missile?

Oh, how we laughed. In the end. Anyway, this Friday began with an e mail, and ended up with conferences with various CEOs and managers. As well as sitting in on various other meetings. Then fire off the e required e mails, make phone calls, clear it with legal. And, and only then, can the weekend begin. Oh yeah, remember to set your out of office message and all that stuff.

Man, what a ride.

But that is it, Friday over with, time to relax and especially with a 5 days weekend which will include a trip to London and other places. And beer.

We were both too shattered to do anything much, so we slumped in front of the TV for a while, then hit the wooden hill.

Bring on the weekend.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thursday 223rd October 2014

Welcome to the 227th blog of the year, and I hope you enjoy it.

I mention this as in the whole of last year there were just 226 blogs in the whole year, and the year before that, just 128. In fact it was back in August 2012, at the height of the Olympics, I got so used to writing almost every day, I have tried to continue that habit. Now, I am not sure if anyone ever reads this, I am assured that some do. I realise that sometime it must be a pain to catch up, if anyone ever does, on blogs for the previous week or two.

What I can say is that I am reaching a watershed in my life. Nothing too dramatic, but what I can say is that work is going to take up more and more of my life in the weeks and months to come, right up to the end of next year, as the project moves from the preparation to the construction phase. Now, as I said, I won't say too much about the project, other than it is wind based, and that some of my time will be in Denmark, some in Germany, some in Denmark. A return trip to China might happen. Or not. But details on the day to day issues and tasks will be sketchy, if that, that is because there is commercial consideration to be taken into account, and I have to be seen to be all growed up and adult about this.

These past 24 hours have been difficult: for no reason a major allergy attack struck, meaning I had to result to whisky last night to be able to sleep. I have had worse, but the fact it blew up with no warning, and I was in the office in Ramsgate when it started. I left early, at three, drove home with the windows in the car rolled down to get a flow of fresh air in the car. It partly worked, but during the evening, it got worse. So, whisky and roast chestnuts it was. And it did work.

Days are cooler now, and on Tuesday evening we had a storm, nothing unusual in that, but night came early as the clouds swept in from the north. Rain hammered down, then as quick as it arrived, it cleared, with the light of the setting sun on the storm cloud, revealed stunning mammatus clouds, all heavy and pendulous. The what clouds we had cleared and stars came out, the wind dropped. Amazing.

Mammatus Clouds!

Yes, autumn is here, leaves are turning gold and falling, falling like snow on some days. It gets dark before six in the evenings now, and will be an hour earlier next week once the clocks go back on Sunday morning. The winter will nearly be upon us. And yet, the days are warm, especially when the sun shines, and it can feel like summer, until the sun begins to drop in the afternoon and the shadows really begin to lengthen.

I drove to Ramsgate yesterday, enjoying the freedom of driving along familiar roads, even if their are colsures everywhere, the worst being along the harbour tunnel due to a sewer collapse, this means driving past The Grange, and then down and around the harbour. Not a trauma really, seeing the still waters in the marina. And then there was no one at work. Well, no one on the offices, no monkeys, no chargehands or managers. Just quiet. Very very quiet. I made a pot of coffee and ended up drinking it all myself. I did not run around like a headless chicken. I just got on with work.

Tomorrow is Friday, so the weekend looms, and for me a trip back to the old country and the old fine city for the beer festival. And then the craziness will start. Just saying.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tuesday 21st October 2014

Monday

Work from home.

After a couple of weeks away, it is always wonderful to begin the week by working from home. The extra half hour in bed, the endless cups of proper coffee, the views of the birds feeding, and no airports! Being a Monday, levels of mails were light, so I cruised through the day.

At two, Steve and Martin turn up with a sharp chainsaw to tackle the larger logs from the tree. The peace and quiet of the afternoon is shattered, and then they lug the logs to their truck as Martin wants wood to burn over the winter, so we have negotiated a price reduction for the work. Jools' Dad also turns up, dropping of a part invitation, but also taking the chance to look at the work done on the house. He is impressed and agrees the work done has been done well. He refuses a cuppa and leaves sharpish.

We have bangers and mash for dinner, always a favourite with us. Jools than takes me into town for the monthly CAMRA meeting, which turns out to be painful. I am abused, I kid you not, but the secretary, and then the meeting is riven with arguments and backbiting. I won't be going back, and will be submitting a letter of complaint. I went mainly as the meeting was in yet another new Dover micropub, The Mash Tun, It is very good, but then from what I have seen, all micropubs are fine. The beer is good, on the whole the evening is only spoiled by the meeting.

Jools comes to collect me at half nine, if I would have had a phone, I would have got her to collect me two hours before. After four pints, I slept well.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday 20th October 2014

Sunday.

And on the day of rest, we rested. For the most part anyway.

The sun rose red and angry, full of the promise of rain, which arrived before eight, and meant that we took things easy. I watched the previous night's MOTD and Jools did some beading before heading out to the tip.All in all a quiet morning.

I did some photo editing, listened to the radio, and generally the morning passed. We had an early lunch, some pate on toast.

In the afternoon I cooked a batch of mince pies as Jools wanted to take some to work, to show how much better home made is than shop bought, even Tesco Finest. Like there is even any doubt. The dist of a week's builders traipsing in and out and thus leaving dust, dust and more dust everywhere. Anyway, some mopping, chasing the cat with the muddy paws out and mopping the floor once again.

I listened to the football for the most afternoon, and only went outside to have a cuppa and to sample the mince pies, and in the last three minutes of the QPR v Liverpool game I missed the three goals that transformed a dull 1-1 draw into a stunning 3-2 win for Liverpool. Reality can really be odder than fiction.

Matt and Nelinka

At half five we drove over to Ashford to have dinner with our old friends Matt and Darina. They had moved into their first house with their daughter. It a quiet drive along the motorway, following the sat nav we found our way to their place, and once inside we had a fine meal of fried smoked cheese followed by shepherds pie. All very nice. Although, being a school night, and Matt had to be up at three for his shoft at Ebbsfleet tomorrow, and that we had to drive home, we bid them goodbye at nine for the drive home, arriving home in time to have a cuppa before bed.

Quite where the weekend went is anyone's guess.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday 19th October 2014

Saturday.

As Jools had already done the shopping, the question only remained was what to do with the day? No rain was forecast, but it was supposed to be cloudy in the morning. So what better than to laze the morning away before heading out into the afternoon autumnal sunshine?

Well, there was a glorious sunrise, and the day just continued bright without any sign of clouding over. So, the decision was made to go out and do stuff. Stuff which included heading to Challock, looking inside the church there, then walking in the warm sunshine in Kings Wood. Yes, that sounds all rather wonderful.

Challock, Kent

We drove along the Alkham Valley then a quick blast up the motorway to junction 9 where we turned off and headed into the countryside through Boughton and onto Challock. The key for the church can be obtained at the post office, and so I picked up a couple of magnums to smooth the morning still further, before we took the dead end lane to the islolated church. The church was once on the main road, or what it was in the 18th century, but when Eastwell Manor was built, the road was blocked off and is now sitting at the end of a very quiet dead end, over a mile from the centre of the village it serves. The drive along the lane is very pleasant, made even more so by the dozens of pheasants and partridges that look for food along the road.

A autumnal walk in Kings Wood

The church sits in its isolation beside the wood, looking pristine in the sunshine, we walk tot he porch and the ancient key opens the equally ancient door, and we go inside. I have been inside before, but Jools has not, and she is stunned by the murals that cover the walls. Indeed so am I as I see details I fail to spot on my previous visit. At one point I climb the rood stairs to get a beter view along the top of the rood screen, seeing where once fittings for candles would have sat. The wood is dried and riddled with worm holes, no doubt that it is original.

A autumnal walk in Kings Wood

We leave the church and drive back to the post office to drop the key off. It is just a short drive to Kings Wood, we park the car, change into our boots and are ready for a stomp. I had it in mind to take some shots of sunlight falling through the golden leaves still on the trees before the first autumn storm comes along and blows them off, which should be on Tuesday. So, we walk along the wide path, under a golden canopy from the copsed trees.

A autumnal walk in Kings Wood

Further on the sun pours through the taller trees, falling on and dappling the dry leaves on the ground with golden light. It is a perfect place for a walk. We meet just a few other people, although we can hear children playing in the distance, it seems for the most part we have the place to ourselves. We walk up the twisty path where in spring the bluebells are at their best, but now all is golds, yellows and reds, with the sun shining low in the sky ahead.

A quick diversion to the left brings us to a small group of chestnut trees, and we gather the nuts on the ground for a roasted supper maybe that evening. There is more than enough for us and the deers that also feast on these. In fact we see so many chestnuts on the walk, it is clear it has been a great crop of them this year.

Chestnuts

It was now nearing half one, so we walk back to the car, and instead of taking the easy option of going to the nearest pub, we drive home for lunch and a cuppa, before I take to the sofa to listen to the afternoon football, while outside the day gets old and the sun nears the horizon. Norwich fail to win again at Fulham, and slump to another defeat despite dominating the game. A frustrating afternoon, but then not as back as it was for the Mackems, who slump to an 8-0 loss at Southampton. So much for their certain relegation.

We have soup for dinner, and then settle down for a quiet evening as another day slips by. Phew, rock and roll.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Nothing but good news

Friday.

In this blog, there will be undiluted good news, featuring good news in its purest form. Concentrated good news in fact. If you cannot handle good news, maybe you should stop reading now.

You have been warned.

Friday morning in Arhus was wet. But then it always seems t this time of the year. I shower, get dressed, pack, go down to reception to check out and then have a final breakfast of fruit and bacon rolls. All of the major food groups covered. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee.

A quick drive in the rain to the office to get going with the business of the day. And the amazing thing is, I feel it is going well, and I am growing into my job, and most worryingly, I feel I am in control. At least for now. So, I get work done, have meetings and am ready for the trip home.

At half one I switch the computer off, load the car and drive off into the light traffic and light rain of a Danish afternoon. It is an hour drive to the airport, but I take my time as the roads are still damp, and driving at over 100kmh does not feel safe. Anyway, I arrive at the airport with two and a half hours to spare, so I drop the car off, check in, and sadly I do not have the key of the business lounge this time. So I head to the gastrobar for a bottle of moderately stupidly strong Danish beer. I choose carefully as some were up to 9.2%, then one I do have is just 6%! I sit at the bench looking out over the airport, sipping the beer. Half an hour passes. So, I buy another bottle, which I don't think as I'm ordering it is quite the sensible thing to do, but I have the change in my pocket, and it was nice beer. So what the heck?

The flight was not full, so I slumped into one of my preferred seats, 7A, and look out the window as final checks are made and we make ready to take off. We rise into the over cast skies, and soon are engulfed in cloud, but seconds later emerge out into bright sunshine, as the clouds are so thin, and so we fly on over Denmark and onto Holland, glimpsing the land below through gaps in the clouds.

We arrive over London just as dusk is falling, the city looks so busy, the traffic over the Dartford crossing is static. Welcome home.

The queues at immigration are not so bad now they have scanners to read the electronic passports, so we are through, getting our baggage and heading to the DLR station within minutes of getting off the plane. I check my watch and I am pretty sure I am going to miss the ten to seven train by a couple of minutes. I do't worry, there's another in 25 minutes, so I just do some people watching, listening to the languages people use on their mobiles or talking to their friends. It really is not so scary at all.

Indeed, once I arrive at Stratford, I miss the early train by seconds, so I sit down to wait before heading onto the platform so to be in a good position for the great rush when the train pulls in. However, the front three coaches are just about empty, and I get a seat, and am watching the lights in the East London tunnel fly by as we speed towards Dagenham and the Essex marshes. It is dark or course, so I end up looking at my own reflection looking back at me, even along the M20 the vegetation has grown so high you can hardly see it from a train now, after just 20 years.

And into Kent, through Ashford, Folkestone and onto Dover. It is twenty past eight, it is dark, raining and I am tired. Jools is waiting outside and she presents me with a list of things for discussion. I, or course, ignore this and plow on asking things in my own order.

Any news on the job front? Yes, she was offered a permanent position that very afternoon by a company in Hythe, she is to be an assistant buyer and starts when she can get herself out of the box business. As soon as one hopes.

Any news on Nan? Yes, the doctor saw her and it is mostly down to tiredness, she had taken a mild sedative the night before, and slept for twelve hours, and apart from being grumpy when she woke up being prodded by the quack, she is not seeing men climbing in through the windows any more.

Jools' sister is OK, she is in pain, and can't drive for four weeks, but it is looking good.

The car port is up and finished, and looks good. The exterior lights are all fitted and working. And they all look good. The upstairs windows have all been good and they look spanking. The house sign is back up. It is all done. Big Job completed.

And Jools has a Job.

Nan is OK again.

The house is done.

I am home.

It is the weekend.

All good news.

Saturday 18th October 2014

Thursday

As I have said before, the world is a much better place after ten hours sleep. I think I stirred just the once during the night, but being in Denmark when I looked at the time, and it being dark still outside, it could have been still the middle of the night, but it was quarter to seven! Yay, sleep. But, why not lay here just a little bit longer listening to the hum of the traffic outside?

Why not indeed?

So, I get up, have a shower and go down for breakfast, eventually not arriving to the office until ten past eight. The office was nearly deserted. Turns out this week is ‘potato week’ in DK< when children have the week off when they used to help gather spuds from the fields. It is still holiday season, so most people are off work, there are three of us in an office for 50 people. If I did not move every ten minutes, the lights would power down and I would be sitting in the dark.

No change there, then!

I work though the day, getting stuff done, which is always nice. But then new challenges are thrown my way. As happens. But at half three, there was no more to be done, so I head back to the hotel in the light traffic, and settle down in the armchair to read the latest Private Eye.

That takes me to half five, when I thought that must mean it is dinner time. Downstairs I really felt like having a burger as I had skipped lunch, and so burger and a large classic as usual, whilst I read Q. I guess only the second music magazine I have read in over two years.

I end up flicking through the TV channels, and come across a Heston Blumental show on fish, which diverted my attention until it was ten and time for bed. Another day done!

Speaking to Jools I hear that Nan has been seeing things, full on hallucinations, men climbing in her window when she is talking, Nan tries to kick the men who are not there. Obviously, this causes us concern, it is possibly either: the stroke, the drugs or an infection. he doctor is going to visit on Friday, we hope to get some clarity.