Monday, 30 August 2010

Monday 30th August 2010

Bank holiday weekend; words to chill the heart of any Brit; rain, gales, hurricanes, the kraken. all possibilities on the last public holiday before Christmas. Even in the hottest British summer in 1976, in Lowestoft we had storms and were flooded out. So, how would this year fare?

Macroama 2

Friday night, I was the last person out of the office, as I had my blog to write; if my boss is reading this, that is not true, I had very important letters to write to various places in Denmark. Due to high winds there was no work on the wind farm, and so as the day went on people left for a long break from work. I do believe they did work over the weekend, though.

News on the job; still waiting for clarification on a few things, but should be sorted out, and I could be on salary by Wednesday. Or not. we shall see.

Tamron 90mm f2.8mm macro

On the photography front, I have a new lens; or a second hand one, a Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro; or it does close up really well. And I got it for £70, which was a bargain i can tell you, and I have been insect chasing all weekend.

Small Copper  Lycaena phlaeas

Although, before then we had to g through the monthly ordeal of the teeth pulling that is the DHB pub quiz. It's not the quiz, but the company rally. It's not that bad, but Jools and i answer most of the questions, write them down and all that, whilst the others, all older, and deafer argue about the question from the previous round. Once again, it's not that bad, just feels like it some times.
Anyway, it went well, and with a couple of wrong answers, we did finish second and so we all have a handful of beer vouchers for the next time.

Saturday, we headed off for a walk; and after searching Google Earth, I found a new bridge over the high speed rail line; so we headed over to Folkestone and parked the car beside the old A20 road. We put on our walking boots and stomped off over what felt like the last field in Kent yet to be ploughed, and towards the bridge over the motorway and then onto the bridge over the railway.

And then we wait. And wait some more.

Once roared past after about 20 minutes heading for France or Belgium. And then wait some more. And then I spotted it heading towards us at a great rate of knots; and in a flash it was below me and then gone. The camera and I snapped a few shots and got the one I wanted anyway.

Eurostar at Stone farm, Sandling

We then set off along the footpath, which forms part of the Saxon Shore Way, and followed it through the woods and down a hill and into what looked like the commuter belt, as it was a quiet dead end street full of what looked like mansions spanning several centuries, each with perfect laws and gardens. The footpath was lined with plants and bushes, and most were heavy with fruit, and the blackberries were very sweet indeed.

We headed back home for lunch of crusty bread and cheese, and then for me to listen to the football on the radio as is usual.

Common Blue

In the evening, we headed back out to near where we snapped the Eurostars, to a pub in the folds of the Weald at Monks Horton. The Black Horse is a fine pub, and has a small menu, but what there is is cooked fine. I had steak, which was just splendid, and Jools had duck breast risotto or something. I had a cheese board for dessert, which gave me indigestion all night, which serves me right, really.

Sunday we got up quite early and girded our loins for a ramble. The Ramblers are an organisation who try to keep footpaths and rights of way open throughout the country, and at weekends local groups organise walks, which for some of us sees us passing places we have not seen before. It is fair to say, on most walks we are the youngest people taking part, and that most ramblers conform to a certain age and demographic, it is enjoyable, and chat is interesting, and at the end there is usually a pub.

YAY!

Leaf

So, we drove to the village of Worth, and joined the others waiting before heading off across country, though fields already harvested and woods thick with berries. And the wind was cool, which meant it was quite pleasant. The second half of the walk, we walked over the marshes that used to be sea and separated the Isle of Thanet from the rest of Kent; now it is fertile farm land, and looks very much like Norfolk.

It was a seven mile walk, about our limit at the moment, but good and our legs did feel as though we had done some exercise at least. Time then to head back home for more bread and cheese washed down with home brew ale.

F is for hoverfly

And so to Monday; the bank holiday itself, and the sun did shine. Jools worked in the garden and i messed around on the computer, before we headed out to Eythorne, where Jools dropped me off at the East Kent Railway, where I met up with a friend for the beer festival. i have ridden the train, and so beer was enough. The sun shone still, and the wind began to blow, but the beer was good, and the burger nearly cooked all the way through!

Jools picked me up at half one, and we headed off to Ashford to see The Girl who Played with fire, the follow up to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. and very good it was too.
Back home them, heading back towards the coast and home for dinner and listen to the radio to round the weekend off.

Reeds

Friday, 27 August 2010

Friday 27th August 2010

I awoke Thursday morning at the ungodly hour of two thirty; outside the wind and rain were still howling. I laid there trying to get another couple of hours sleep, but my mind hard started up and so I got up at three for a cuppa and to mess around on the computer.

It had been a late decision to head up to Suffolk to attend the funeral of the father of my good friend, James. Not that I did not want to be there, but the money thing has been weighing heavy. But, it was both our pay days, and so I thought I should be there for my friend, as so I went.

At quarter to five I walked to the car, the rain still fell heavily and the wind was still blowing. At least the drive up the A2 to the tunnel was quiet, very little traffic about, but what there was caused spay like fog. The radio burbled in the background alternating serous with the glib, but it was fine, kept me awake.
At least the tunnel was free, and soon I was in Essex and getting nearer home turf. The rain did not let up, and even when it got light, the feeling of driving through mist did not cease. At least most of the traffic was heading south, towards London .

By half six I was in Ipswich, or rather going round it, over the Orwell Bridge, and still heading north. At Saxmundham, the good roads gave out, and I just had a single carriageway to deal with, but the traffic was still light. Lowestoft , is as it ever was, but quieter. How the streets used to be full with those going to work at half seven on a weekday morning. But in these times when all shipyards, canning factories, wood yards and even SLP closed, there was just a few of us on the streets that early.

I called James on the phone, and he was up. I went to his flat and went up. We talked and shared a cuppa, but there really are no words for days like that. Just being there counts. I left James to his preparations and went to find somewhere to have breakfast. On James’ recommendation, I went to the Woodbine in Suffolk Road , and it was very good, and as seems usual, much bigger than I could actually eat.

I still had three hours to while away before the event, and so I went to visit my Godparents. Like everyone, they are older than when I last saw them, but Alan had had multiple aneurisms during the summer and was only just getting back to normal. I told them about my job, and Mother’s problems, but soon they had to head out for another appointment with the doctor.

I called on another friend, Douglas, as I had correctly guessed, as a builder, he would not be working. But he was having a lay in, and I had surprised him. We stood outside talking for a while, and realising we had not done that for way too long. But it was getting near to time for the ceremony, and we said our goodbyes.

The rain fell harder in a stiffening breeze, and I sat in my car as the previous service ended and the mourners made their way back to their cars. People began to arrive, and I made my way, under an umbrella, to the crematorium to meet back with James and his two children. Not much else to say, James, just to hug and say how sorry I was. And then go inside and wait.
This is where I said goodbye to my Father, two grandmothers and a grandfather as well as two good friends, dead because of a car crash on Christmas a quarter of a century ago.

People began to arrive; James greeted them with a handshake and the words, good of you to come, or something similar. A Whiter Shade of pale struck up, and the coffin was brought in, and then followed Wendy, the widow, and her family.

One thing that I had never thought about, was the etiquette of death; when someone has re-married, how is the ex-wife treated? And their children? Should the current wife consider them in her grief? All these things hung in the air, but seemed to be sorted out, as after the first Hymn, the vicar read out a potted history of the deceased’s life, with ex-wife, son, new wife and new wife’s family all getting mentioned. Having the wisdom of Solomon seems to be part of the job in the clergy, and his editing Wendy’s 9 page biography seemed to read very well, of to my ears.

James’ daughter read a tribute, including THAT poem by Auden, which is perfect, of course. We sang ‘Abide With Me’, and the blessing was read and the curtains closed, and the king left this world and entered the next.

We filed out after the family, and milled around talking, meeting old friends and sharing our grief. I did not fancy the wake, anyway I had my Mother to meet and so said my goodbyes to James and his children, and went back outside into the rain. Mother is much the same, the house smelt of smoke, which she blamed on a friend who had just left. Lies slip easily from her lips, but then again it could have been true. We talked, but it was stilted, and time was getting on, and the rain still fell, and I had at least a four hour journey back home to Kent .

I left and headed down towards Bury St Edmunds, and the good roads which lead to the M11 and then onto the M25 and the tunnel and home. Traffic was heavy, and the rain still fell. And it was energy sapping, straining to see into the spay and mist. But, as the day wore on, I made my way south and home. It took half an hour to get over the bridge and through the tolls, which ate 40 pence and I had to feed it some more, but then I was in Kent , and the final hour of my day.

It was rush hour, and the M20 was heavy with trucks and tourists heading for the coast and the ports and destinations further south and sunnier than here. But, it was trouble free, and soon enough I was in Dover and driving along the cliff road to St Margaret’s, but France was hidden behind a veil, and even the ferries were shrouded. And just after 5, I reversed the car into the drive, and let out one long sigh.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Wednesday 25th August 2010

And so, it come to us all; I am now 45 years old, and now enter a different demographic on surveys. Will I automatically become more conservative? It has to be said, we go to bead at a sensible time each evening, and rise at dawn, or thereabouts. Eat fruit. Although, we could do with doing more exercise, but other than that, we’re there already.

Summer evening walk: Setting sun thistle

Yesterday was a glorious lat summer’s day; a day full of sunshine and light fluffy ‘Simpsons’ clouds. And so in the evening we went for a walk along the lane at the end of our street, past the pigs roaming in the wood, turned left down the rough track, down into the valley and up the other side, past the friendly horse, up the grassy path and over the hill where the wheat had been harvested on both side, and eventually up the final rise to the brown of the hill where Bluebirds nestles on the edge of the cliffs and the land falls down to the rocks below.

It was a warm evening, but blustery, and so it alternated between chilly in the wind to mild in the shelter of a hedge or house. The hedgerows are filled with berries and other fruit ripening, although the plentiful insects are all gone. Just about all fields of cereals have been harvested, and many fields have been ploughed as well. In the golden light as the sun went down and in that chilly wind, it really did feel as though autumn were already here.

Summer evening walk: Harvest time at Kingsdown

We stood at the edge of the cliffs and watched as ferries jostled for position as a cruise liner crept out of Dover harbour; to the north over Thanet, dark skies grew and a rainbow appeared; But for us, sunshine and watching the ships and boats below. A fishing boat struggled through the swell, plunging into waves and swamping its deck.

We headed back and walked into the setting sun as the countryside darkened; we arrived home as the sun set, and there was time to put a pizza in the oven and settle down with a beer and wait for it to cook.

Today, as well as being my birthday, I got the formal offer of a job, although tempered by the fact they will not pay for transport when I have to go to head office, until the next project begins. This came as a shock, and something I will have to think about. I can get up to Manchester for as little as £19, if I booked far enough in advance, but I will not get that luxury. And I will have to find my own accommodation, which is also a shock. But I may be able to bunk with friends, so we shall see.

Summer evening walk: Bales

And in just four months it will be Christmas, and in the middle of winter. And so time passes and we get ever older, and hopefully, wiser.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Monday 23rd August 2010

Aah, the weekend, You wait all week for it and it passes in the twinkling of an eye.

Friday was not a bad day at work; I had another good week as far as the job was concerned; recovered more money and so made my Boss happy, and then he offered me a permanent job, which was very nice of him indeed. And one of the other temporary workers here, Mark, had got a new job for himself working for a boat company on Harwich, and so left us on Friday; and we all went down the pub in Minster for beer and cheesy chilli chips. I say beer, but we had shandy, as we had to go back to work, butt he cheesy chilli chips were fine; cheesy and full of chilli powder with extra chilli powder on top.
I left work at four, and headed to Tesco here in Ramsgate, as I could not face the one in Dover , which always seems to be so crowded. Shopping done, headed back home for the weekend, secure that we could lay in Saturday morning most chores having been done.

Even though the forecast for Saturday was not good, we decided to risk it and head up to Chatham for a wander around the old Naval Dockyard, which I have not been to for three years. It is about 45 minutes to Chatham , and so we went the roundabout way, over the Medway bridge, along the road to Grain and then through the Medway Tunnel. In doing so we spotted a sign for Upnor Castle , and decided we would head there after the dockyard.

Chatham Dockyard supplied the Navy with ships, masts, rope and all sundry items for centuries, before it was closed down in the early 1980s as a cost cutting measure. And these days it is a large open air museum, full of interesting things and fabulous photographic opportunities. As we were near the front of the queue when it opened, we got tickets for the ropery at half ten, which meant that I had to dash to the covered slip straight away before the crowds arrived.
No. 3 Covered Slip was once the largest wooden span structure in Europe when it was built at the beginning of the 19th century, when it was contructed so ships could be built under cover. For many years it has been closed due to a pigeon infestation, but is now clean and open, but called ‘The Big Space’, which is it.

The Big Space

We walked up the steps to the mezzanine floor, closer to the roof, and we were dwarfed by the sweeping lines of the wooden timbers and roof. It was stunning; and as we walked further back from the bowed frontage, the majesty of the building got greater and greater.

The process of making rope, on the face of it, does not sound interesting. Indeed an hour-long talk on how to make rope should be as dull as ditchwater, but it is fascinating, and all the more so by the guide who talked us through the process and brought the story to life. Mr Steve, as the foreman was called, pretended to be from 1875, and talked us through each step of the process, from getting the fibres, making twine and then making the rope strands and combining these to make a rope. After about half an hour, three of us made a short length of three strand rope, which I had done before, but I enjoyed, and each of us go to keep a short length of the rope we made.

The Ropewalk

We walked to the restaurant for some lunch, and for two sandwiches, two muffins, two lemon squashes and two coffees we were charged £17.20! It really is quite shocking how much we are ripped off in these places.

We walked round some more, but did not go on the schooner, the submarine or the frigate, as we had done two of them before, and there would always be another time. Anyway, after a while, we decided to leave and head to Upnor to have a look at the castle.

It was just a short drive under the river through the tunnel, up a short stretch of road and turn off down a country lane, and soon we were heading up a twisty lane, up the side of the valley to a wooded car park. A twenty yard walk through the woods brought us to the top of the High Street, and what a sight! It is a cobbled street, lines with cottages and two pubs, leading down to the water’s edge and the castle.

Upnor Castle

The castle was built in Elizabethan times to defend the dockyard, but it is difficult to get an idea of the shape of the castle due to its shape. So we walked in through the gate, and into a courtyard, with the main building straight ahead. Turns out this used to be the powder store for the cannons which used to line the battlements. I snapped the lead-lined spiral staircase leading down to the waterfront, and then looking back at the castle’s impressive frontage.

Upnor Castle

After snapping it from most angles, we left and stopped in the fine looking pub just yards up the High Street; The Tudor Rose. We sat outside and watched the world go by, or a few villagers anyway, and sipped our beer. Even though it was cloudy, it was humid and felt hot. The beer was good on such a day.

We headed home, and just happened to arrive in time for me to listen to the football on the radio and begin to process the pictures I had taken. In the evening, we sat down to watch Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang on TV.

The weather forecast for Sunday was much worse, with heavy rain and gales forecast. But, a Flickrmeet had been arranged, and so myself and my good friend, Gary, set off at nine for Leeds Castle . Leeds is set in fine grounds, and is part-built on an island in the moat, and also has fine gardens and gangs of peacocks wandering around.

It was already raining when we left Dover , but as we travelled north, the rain stopped and the light grew brighter, until we arrived at the castle and there was sunshine. Gary and I already had tickets and so we walked right in without having to queue, and we were the first to reach the casle and get people free shots while the light lasted. We walked round so the sun was at our backs, and the castle was not in shadow, and almost as soon as we got our shots, the sun went in and the light began to get slightly darker and darker.

Leeds Castle Flickrmeet Sunday 22nd August 2010

At eleven, we walked through the gardens back to the main gate to wait for the others, snapping ornamental streams and mature trees in the fading light. At the gate we waited. And waited. We were approached by peacocks who were used to begging for food, I got some nice shots of an albino one. As for the others, they did not turn up. Seems like as it was raining on the coast, no one bothered to come. And so, we decided to move on before the rain started here, and so made our way to the car.

We drove the short distance to Lenham; I spotted a sign pointing the way to a fine mediaeval market town, and we were convinced to go there. We parked up and in the gathering gloom we snapped some timber-framed buildings, two fine pubs and the parish church, before heading into one of the pubs for a beer and a packet of crisps.

We decided to drive back to Dover , and soon enough the skies grew very dark and the rain began. And did not stop until we were home, had dinner and night had fallen. But we got some good shots, and had found another fine looking Kentish village and another great country pub.

Yay, weeknds!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Thursday 19th August 2010

All day yesterday, the news about the job offer sunk in. What it means, really. It’s not that we spend hours and hours worrying, but it is there, and we have put off numerous things, work on the house, because we just didn’t have the money. And now, maybe we can. But the most important thing is that it secures, for the short term, the house. We can meet the mortgage payments, and in February, re-negotiate our repayments as the fixed rate period ends.
And then thoughts turn to the job, that it is permanent for sure, but is also a promotion, more responsibility, travel, a company credit card, and next year, my own team to train. Probably. That just sounds amazing. And while I was being told this, there were plaudits and praise being heaped upon me. All quite good, really.
And then, in the evening, some of us from the project went over to Whitstable for a meal to celebrate the near end of the project and for the project manager to say thank you for all our work. So, to make this happen, I caught the train into work yesterday. This in turn meant getting up at five and being on Martin Mill station by ten past six to catch the first train into Ramsgate. And then a half mile walk from the station down to West Cliff and to work. And then, in the evening, my colleague Michael, gave me a lift to Whitstable, and whilst he got changed, I walked into town, via the steep hill with fine views over the roofs of the town and onto the mudflats beyond and eventually to the WW2 forts on Shivering Sands.

The Four Horseshoes, Whitstable

I called in the pub on the hill, the Four Horseshoes, for a celebration beer and to snap it for my collection. I called some friends to tell them about the job and to arrange meetings. The beer went down well; I bid the landlady a warm goodbye, and walked down the High Street into the deserted centre of the town. I found the place where the meal was going to be. I tried to a newsagents to buy a magazine to entertain me until eight when the meal was due to start, but there was nothing but ‘celebrity’ gossip rags and Daily Mails.

The Four Horseshoes, Whitstable

I went to another pub, and there was today’s Times, which I flicked through, and it was then just about time to meet up for dinner.

The Saltmarsh is an odd place; they don’t have a menu, but tell us what they will cook for us, and so after a while they brought out the food; starters, shrimp, garlic mushrooms, salad, roasted vegetables. The mains were great; steak, garlic chicken thighs, crispy potatoes, vegetables, chickpeas and other stuff. Jools came to collect me just before ten, and so I missed dessert and coffee and teacakes. It was dark on the way home, but quiet; and we discussed the implications, all good, of the job and how quickly things change.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Wednesday 18th August 2010

And so it came to pass when the lowly Jelltex was spake unto by his boss. And his boss did say, thou hasest done a fine job and verily I would like to keep you in the manner you have been accustomed; in the dark and fed well with BS.

Yes, it is true, I have been offered permanent position within ‘the company’. Am I thrilled? It means being able to pay the mortgage beyond the 1st of October, so I am thrilled. And in truth I have never fitted a job so well as this. However, the scope of my tasks will increase; I will travel, initially backwards and forwards to head office in the north; but, later, to new projects in Belgium and Germany training people to do this job.

I now realise that I am taking over another guy’s job who resigned this morning, and I was offered what sounds like his job less than half an hour later. I don’t care, really. As long as we can meet our bills and maybe save some cash. The future is rosy, the order book is filling up, and for us, hopefully, our worries are over!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Monday 16th August 2010; Forever Autumn

Monday, and the wind does blow and the rain falls in buckets; it must be August! Quite what happened to the summer is anyone’s guess, but there is little else other than wind and rain forecasted this week. It is now betting darker at six in the morning when the alarm wakes us up, and it dark before nine in the evening. Yes, time moves on.

Tonight, from Deal

On Friday evening we drove to Deal for a walk and then a curry at the little place facing the sea we like. It was a great evening, some stunning cloud formations and a few things on the beach to snap, and then in the curry house for king prawn damask or something along with special fried rice. All very nice I have to say, and then back in the car to drive home in the dark. And then we sat outside to watch the skies to try and spot a meteorite or two.

Not much happened on Saturday; we went into Dover so I could get a haircut and then back home for lunch, and then as the clouds grew thicker and the rain fell, I watched the first Premier League game of the season whilst Jools did beading. I had made a Limóncello and Grappa tart on Thursday, and so we sat down at three for a slice of that and a cup of fresh coffee. And then, the other games begin and so I listen to the radio to hear how Norwich and most of the other teams get on.

?

At five, two of our best friends come round for a bbq; I light the coals at half five; the clouds had cleared and the rain stopped just as the BBC had promised, and as I cooked we were bathed in golden sunlight. Matt I think really wanted to come and sample the new batch of home brew which is now ready, and so we had a bottle or three each. Matt and Darina work hard, Matt getting up at three most mornings to work at Ebbsfleet dispatching Eurostar trains to France . Makes me glad of the office hours and short commute I have, along with weekends off.

Sunday morning dawned, cold and grey, with the BBC promising more rain and possibly thunder from France . We decided to chance our luck and have a walk, and then call in at Bluebirds for bacon sandwiches on the cliffs. We followed our normal route, but the fields once filled with golden wheat and brown rapeseed are now all harvested, and under the low clouds colours looked all muted browns and greys. Hedgerows that were a few weeks ago, filled with butterflies and insects were now mostly empty, just ripening blackberries hinting that it was still summer and not the end of October.

The Channel

We ended up at the cliffs, and out in the channel, light shone through breaks in the clouds, casting pools of light on the still sea, and in the distance, a dark smudge on the horizon being the only hint that that is where France lay. We wait until half nine and Bluebirds open, and we order our bacon sandwiches and pots of tea and coffee, and all the time had fine views out their new windows over the Channel.

We walked back via South Foreland Lighthouse, which has now had a few coats of paint and looks brand new, I snapped it as well as inside as there was a couple of shots I missed last time I was there. And then, we headed for home, over fields of yet un-harvested wheat and what looked like linseed, to the village and then down the dip, up the other side and home.
All that was left to do was another afternoon of football as the fixture computer had served up a ‘Super Sunday’ on the first weekend as Arsenal took on Liverpool at Anfield; it just about held my attention to stop me nodding off.

As darkness fell, I cooked steak and sautéed potatoes, and afterwards we watched the final episodes of A Town Called Eureka, which we quite like, but now we have to wait several months until the next DVD comes out. Not much of a trial there for us.

Another sunflower

Time passes for us all, and we never know which days things will change forever. They do and will. And like taxes, there are some things we cannot escape, our mortality being one of those things. It is our lot in life to witness the aging and death of our parents, never an easy task. I was spared the worse with my Father having one heart attack and not recovering. As hard as this was to bear, we were comforted with the thought he had not suffered. Much worse to see the ones we love fade away and become shadows of the people we remember from our youth. No words will ever take the pain away, but being there for our friends we be there for them, to listen.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Friday 13th August 2010

And so it came to pass that on Friday 13th that Jelltex, Mr Jelltex did indeed get the money he had been chasing since the dawn of time, or at east since April when he started at the company. There were wail of celebration as the POs arrived via the wonder of the interwebs and electronic mail. At the weekly progress meeting, I was able to inform my boss that the money had arrived and was now winging its way from one part of the company to another.
It looks good on paper, apparently.

And then we went over a few other subjects, all of which reflected quite badly on Mr X as I call him to protect his identity. Quite what he has been doing in Denmark this week is one question, and is he an asset to the project is another. Stuff happens.

At least it is now the weekend, and as the long wind down comes to an end, thoughts turn as to what exciting things we can do; the weather may even be good enough for a bbq tomorrow, as we should have friends round. I may visit the hair mangler, to sort out my unruly locks and make me part-presentable.

And as if there were not exciting enough, the Premiership season starts tomorrow; and so let the madness begin. Not as though it going to be exciting; there will be games which will be end to end, tons of goals and sendings off and the such. But in the end one of two clubs will win it, and maybe one of four or five tams can win it. And even then, does it really matter who does? Not really. But, the hype will tell of super-Sundays and manic Mondays, terrific Tuesdays and wonderful weekends. Meh!

Well, it is time for me to slide off, I made Limoncello and Grappa Tart last night, and once home I will brew some coffee and we will tuck into a healthy slice; sorry, unhealthy slice, and maybe go out for a curry in Deal. So, as the lightning flashes around and the rain pours down, I bid you a happy weekend. See y’all Monday.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Wednesday 11th August 2010

Another day, and another step closer to actually achieving something with ‘the company.’ I now have agreements from the one of the departments on the cases I have been chasing for months; now the hard part – getting the money out of them for the extra work caused. The total, is not earth shattering, just over €10,000, but represents an acceptance by them for the extra work caused, and allows some of the cost of the project to be deferred.
So, I was looking at the cases after getting one of the cases had been closed, and it was; accepted.

Jelltex shoots, and scores.

And again.

And again

And again.

And can he make it five in a row? Yes he can.



But, can he get the money? That is the big question. And after such a potential victory and landmark decisions, should I rest on my laurels, or go for the spectacular double and force the other unit to adopt the same rules?? Simples; I have already taken on the most obstructive person, and have written to his boss how I think the system should work. It worked last time, eventually. I have the backing of my boss and the head of the whole project for this.

Oh, I do love success!

And I really think I should sample the home brew tonight, to round off a good day.


Home brew Mk II: woodforde's Admiral's Reserve

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Tuesday 10th August 2010

Although it is too early to say if I have won out overall, I have been victorious in a couple of battles today with the evil that is corporate structure of the company I will refer to as ‘the company,’ as no to embarrass the feelings of the self-proclaimed leader of the wind turbine industry.

But, I did win out with the various suppliers to our bit of the company as being responsible for being the technical vendor, or for all intense and purposes they are to blame when we get supplied with a crock of shit. That it has taken the best part of three months to get thus far is remarkable. Now that we have, the actual work of doing root cause analysis needs to be done, on cases nearly a year old. It would be quite funny in a Terry Gilliam/Brazil kind of way. But this is real, and how the company keeps on doing things the same way, whilst deluding itself how great it and their business is. At least I have changed one little part of it.
And so I take this decision and now apply it to all other production units and get them to play with the same rules, rather than making things up as they go along, and changing the rules just because they can; deep breath, you’re going to need it.

There a re a few sniffs in regard of what I do in October once this job is done, but for now there is nothing concrete, and I am hopeful of what the future may bring. We shall see, we shall see.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Monday 9th August 2010

By now it is Monday again. And the weekend has flown by like a very fast bird. Maybe a swallow. African or European, and certainly not carrying coconuts!
Quite where the time goes sometimes is a mystery. Anyway, that was the weekend ,and now it is the week again; the working week, and welcome to it.

I left work at half two on Friday, and headed to Tesco in Dover; we needed big shop this week, and the half empty shelves in Ramsgate just was not going to cut it. And so I parked on the edge of the car park, and grabbed a trolley and headed into the madness. I went round as quick as I could, round the gossiping friends blocking aisles, children screaming, and the generally slow or dead, and was out of there with most of what we wanted and back home to sanity.

I waited for Jools to come home, and we had pizza and some garlic bread before sitting in the back garden watching the butterflies and other assorted insects doing insecty things around the flowers. And then at a quarter to eight, the football season began, with Norwich kicking the season off, and completely blowing it by losing 3-2 to relegation favourites, Watford, live on TV. A new dawn faded.

And then it was dark outside and time for bed.

Saturday morning broke with rain, rain and more rain. Not pleasant, and gloomy enough so that there was little else to do than stay inside or find something to do that took place inside. We went shopping at the country butcher we sometime use; we were hoping to have a family bbq on Sunday and so needed burgers, ribs and the such. And then back home through the deep puddles and standing water and wait for the rain to stop.

I spent the morning looking through the slides I took on my trip to America 5 years ago, and was left wondering if ever I would have the time to transfer the 950 slides to digital before I die! It was good though, as I took many more slides than digital images, and so was good looking at scenes I had forgotten. Each morning I read the diary I kept on the trip, ad so to remind myself the fantastic things I did do over there, and the people I met.

Which it did just as the man on the BBC said, and soon enough the sun came out and the insects filled the garden. I did listen to football on the radio, but could not find it in myself to sit on the sofa and watch either of the games that were on. Also, a church near where to where we live was open in the afternoon, and so in the sunshine we drove over to East Langdon and had a peek.

Rush hour at the thistle

East Langdon church is small, but nice, and there were stalls and people welcoming visitors; butterflies flittered around the churchyard and people sat at trestle tables and ate scones and drank tea. I bought some Kentish cherries and gooseberries, with the plan of making a crumble with the gooseberries.
This is what I did when I got home, with the radio on in the background, burbling away the football scores. I boiled the gooseberries with some sugar to make them soft, and made the crumble mix, and left it to cook later for supper.

White Cliffs Ramblers; Ash Ramble 8th August 2010

For dinner I cooked bargain steak and Jools went out for chips, and once we had eaten we sat down to watch Girl With the Dragon tattoo on TV, which was not bad, and better when we had the crumble.

Sunday was rainy, but had planned to go on a ramble, and it looked bright enough to suggest that it wouldn’t be wet for long. In the end it turned out that it was raining in St Margaret’s only, and once heading towards Sandwich the rain stopped, and although it wasn’t exactly sunny, was bright enough. We met up in the village of Ash , quite close to the church, which was calling the devout to worship by ever increasing speeding peals of bells. At ten we set off, over fields and down lanes. It was a flat walk, which is just fine with us, and although it rain again, not much and we soon dried off.

Rotten fruit for fresh vegetables

We passed huge piles of rotten and rotting fruit at the bottom of a field, the peppers would still good enough to be eaten, and some took a couple for dinner later.
But soon we were back in Ash again, and some of us went for a well-earned pint in the pub before heading home for mozzarella and tomatoes for lunch and then prepare for the arrival of the family for the BBQ.
Jens son, Scott, from a previous marriage is over to visit, and it is the first time I have met him as he has not been in England since 1999 or 2000, there wasn’t much I cooked or poured he did not like, which was good.

White Cliffs Ramblers; Ash Ramble 8th August 2010

As is usual, we cooked too much food, but it was good, and the drink flowed, as did the laughs. And then I opened the whisky. Yay, whisky.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Friday 6th August 2010

Yesterday’s ethical question was, do I drop my colleague in the shit or cover for him. I thought long and hard about it, and mainly remembered the times he promised things on my behalf that he knew I could not deliver. And so, when the question was raised, where is ‘x’ I replied to our boss, he left fifteen minutes after you. It was the truth, and I feel I owe him no loyalty, as he has shown me none thus far. Mr ‘X’ has made it clear that ha does not want to be here, got an agreement that he should stay in Denmark next week, and got his files sent back by courier before he left. I shall not miss him, if he does not come back.
Yesterday’s lesson was about our virtual lives: I know that lurking behind those ‘hilarious’ screen names, mostly, real people hide, or sometimes don’t. On occasion they write about their hopes, fears and loves. Not everyone is truthful, there are many trolls and worse out there, but there are diamonds, people you feel your life is better for having known, even if it was through just their writing or their photography. I got a message that one of my friends from a blog site I used to write on, Judy, aka ‘Knitten Kitten’ had lost her long battle with cancer. She had lived a full life, a tour guide over most of the world, but had love and time for everybody. I feel sorry for having left MD last year, and so did not stay in contact with Judy through the last months of her life. She liked my blogs; especially the ones about my time on boats of the holidays we used to take. But, she was a friend first and foremost, and that is how I shall remember Judy.
Other than that, life has been the same this week. Work, driving to and from work, stuff in the house and sleeping. There may be some other stuff, evening walks and the such, a missing cat, heartbreak; and then joy when the wanderer returned. And now it is Friday, and the weekend is just around the corner. My team, Norwich , kick the season off tonight, live on TV with a game against Watford . Let’s hope its better that last season’s first game, a 7-1 defeat. It is less than four weeks since the end of the world cup; too soon for nine more months of football, but I am ready, and hopefully Norwich are ready too.

The weekend starts here!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Monday 2nd August 2010

And here we are, back at work after a not very relaxing weekend. What with humid nights and travelling the M25 and drinking spirits with friends means that it screws with my body. Let’s face it; I can’t do what I used to do. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up to three in the morning, but that followed by more than four hours sleep.
So, by the time Sunday rolled round I was fit for little else other than just sitting and vegging. I did sleep like a dead man Saturday night, which did help, but last night laying in bed listening to cats fighting outside meant that more sleepless time in bed. Please let it be cool tonight!

Most significant event was the conversation with Mother, pointing out once again that events were in her court. Failure to change could mean another heart attack and possible death. The doctors have just patched her circulation up. And what with my contact probably coming to an end at the end of August, we have more than enough to worry about other than if Mother has been at the family sized fruit and nut bars again. So, that is it.

And on Friday, the football season begins, with Norwich getting the honour of kicking the whole shooting match off live on TV. Lets hope it will be better than last season’s first game when we lost 7-1! So, the countdown has begun. It’s only been three weeks since the world cup finished!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Sunday 1st August 2010

First of all, thank you for all your messages, especially from those who are advertising what i guess is Chinese porn; I did translate one comment, and that is what it seemed it was. So, just to let you know, I will delete any comment not written in English without fail, and will not visit any hyperlink mentioned. Just thought I'd point out you're wasting your time.

And another little bird told me some sensitive types were shocked by the piles blog; well, sorry for that, but my point is that we can't halt the march of time, and we are all getting older. As well as the aforementioned problem, I now have hair growing out of my ears, as well as my nose. In short; I'm getting old. So are you, but we can make sure things are not as bad as they might be. Don't strain; eat fibre.

And so on to the weekend............

As you know, Mother has been ill. Or is ill. was ill. So, I had to go up to Suffolk, as the dutiful son, and being her last blood relative and the such. And being the first weekend of the children's summer holiday, and so many families travelling to or from home, airport, mistresses and so on, that the roads would be busy. The queue for the tunnel began at the end of the A2, but it moved and within half an hour i was in Essex, and the queue going south was 12 miles.

Up the M11 past Stanstead, past Cambridge and then up the A11. And then the good road ran out, and I was stuck in the 5 miles of single carriageway for over an hour just to get through the lights at Elvedon. And then back on the good road to Norwich, and the hospital and the meeting with Mother.

"Bowie"

She had maintained that she had had a minor attack, and now felt fine, but had to have an angiagram to make sure. But was waiting, still. we talked some, it was tough, too much water had passed under the bridge for there to be much warmth. And then she was called for her test.

I had two hours wait and so headed to the cafe for coffee and a magazine to read.

Time passed.

At six i went back up the ward to see her, and she was in some pain. She had to have four stinks inserted, one in each leg and two in her upper body. Turns out she had been lucky. Before the test I had said that it was me or the fags; she chose the fags. In the wake of the procedure, she said that she would give up the weed and change. She was groggy, and so I left her to recover.

I drove to Lowestoft, made sure the cat was fed, and then headed out to visit a mutual friend to convey the news. and then on to the Blue Boar in Oulton village to meet James, and old friend, and for a drink and a chat.

I had a beer, and another, then we shared a selection of 'nibbles' from the meu, before heading back to Mum's to raid her drinks cabinet. It has stuff from the 1990s; bottle of Bacardi which only Dad used to drink, we chose a third of a bottle of Grant's whisky, and then moved on to the Southern Comfort. We talked, the cat played and was generally cute.

When we stopped talking, it was half two in the morning, and James had trouble getting a taxi to take him home. and I crashed out on the bed.

Morning came way too soon, it was ten past seven, I had had ten hours too little sleep, or that's how it felt, and I got myself going, had a shower, fed the cat, emptied his tray, and packed. And after giving the cat a farewell tickle under his chin, I was off.

To Bungay, to pick up another old friend, and head off to Norwich to see the football. On the way I had to drop a bag off for Mother, and he mood seemed less conciliatory than the night before. Oh well, it's her lookout, I'm afraid. I bid her farewell and we drove into the city and breakfast.

I had realised I had not had a meal as such for 36 hours, and was hungry. and so once in Norwich and out of the bus station the first shop we came to was a cafe. We went in and ordered the biggest breakfast they did and sat down to watch the world go by outside on Surrey Street.

Cafe Rhubarb, Norwich

Breakfast came, it was huge: three sausages, three rashers of bacon, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, two fried eggs three slices of toast. I felt hungry, but it beat me; but not Andrew who demolished the lot, and thought about my offer for him to finish my two rashers and one sausage.

Cafe Rhubarb; after breakfast

We walked through the city centre, passed the market and down the narrow network of lanes and alleyways down to the river, over the bridge to the Ribs of Beef pub, and the second hand camera store next door. The camera store had no macro lenses, which was just as well as I couldn't really afford one if they had. we went in the Ribs for a quick pint, and then it was time to head down to meet our friends down in the street of bars near the football ground.

Norfolk Wildlife

A few years have gone by since i did this on a regular basis, and the thrill of it kind of waned. Drinking lots, rehasing conversations on subjects that have not changed in a decade, getting inebriated to the extent that the game would have been a blur.
It was time for the game, and we walked to the ground and took our seats just as the teams were coming out of the tunnel. It was a pre-season game, and this was just for entertainment and getting the payers match fit. Norwich were playing Everton, who are a Premier team.
It was a good game, with tackles, unusually for a friendly, were flying in. City gave Everton a two goal start, thanks to poor defending and goalkeeping. In the second half, City pulled level, but then Everton just did fancy things with the ball, and scored twice.
Andrew and I left ten minutes early and then back to the car. I dropped andrew back in Bungay, and then headed south down towards London and the tunnel and Kent and home. I drove moderately, and time passed. I listened to Radio 4, I am middle age after all, and laughed at the 'humour'.

As i arrived in Kent, the sun set and I pulled over in Dartford to take some pictures of the bridge and traffic; and then back in the car and down to Dover and home.