Saturday, 29 January 2011

Saturday 29th January 2011

And so, Sami's last day with us.

And a Friday. I think we were all really quite pooped what with us galavanting around taking pictures, visiting pubs and eating good pub food.

So we all had a lie in, and at the crack of half ten we set off up the coast to Broadstairs and Margate. Broadstairs is Dickens central, in that he bought a house there and wrote a book called 'Bleak House'; his house was cunningly renamed 'Bleak House.' There are also 'Old Curiosity Shoppes' and the such. But, out of season its streets are empty of tourists, and there is plenty of room on the beach for the casual photographer.

And Margate is, er, Margate. Faded seaside glamour anyone? More of that later.

But before then, we had an appointment with a road sign. Really.

We live here in east Kent, just down the coast from the town of Sandwich. Sandwich. And would you believe nearby there is a village called Ham. I kid you not. And at one point there is a crossroads with a sign pointing the way to Ham and Sandwich. And for some reason, the sign it quite popular with photographers and trophy hinters.

So, can we find the road sign?


Jools and I had seen it before; we knew where Sandwich and Ham was, and the general direction of where the sign should be. and so we went up country lanes, down country lanes. Up and down, east and west. And just as we were about to give up, there it was.
Sami snapped it and we headed off to Broadstairs and the land of Dickens.

Broadstairs and Dickens seem to go together; the town makes a big thing of it, there is, or was a Dickens museum. As I said there are shops, shoppes, and streets named after him of his books of characters from his works. all nice though. And the town is great, huddled on a low cliff overlooking Viking bay, with narrow streets and hardly a place to park. Its winter, and so we find a spot and part.


As we get out we are hit by an icy blast. Jeez its cold. We walk to see Bleak House and to snap it, down to the harbour and back up the hill to the main street and the car park and back into the warm.

We drive on round the coast, past North Foreland Lighthouse, Palm Bay and into Margate. We park at the Lido, put on an extra layer of clothing and head out along the promenade.

Nearly finished is the new Tate gallery being built on the arm of the harbour, and is a shiny four box monstrous carbuncle; lets hope the art inside is better than the building.

Tate Gallery, Margate

we walk along the prom until the amusement arcades run out, and turn round into the breeze. It is at least sunny and the light is wonderful. We head into the old town centre to have lunch at our favourite, craziest cafe; the Mad Hatter's. But, being winter, its closed. And so we retire to a nice Italian cafe on the prom and have Americanos and panninis and generally warm up.

And so with the sun setting, we drive back via the country butchers, stock up on some meat and head home for coffee and French cake.

That night, we treat Sami to a real British experience; a pub quiz. So head up to the old Harbour Board Social club and meet with Jools' family, get the drinks in, and sit down for the quiz to begin.

And we win! Or take part in a three way tie.


And this morning, we take Sami down to the station, as it was time for her to head off to more friends. And like that, we are two again.

Sami leaves (part 2)

We head home, put the kettle on ready for a quiet weekend in which to draw a breath.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Thursday 27th January 2011

Phew, rock and roll!

Oh my gosh, we have been so very busy. Busy indeed. And so yesterday we wanted to head to London for the day. But in a quirk of the modern railway system, the difference between catching a train at 08:44 or before being £199 for the three of us, dropped to £76 for the 09:45. Makes no sense to me, as it means us wasting like half the day before getting to London, but there was nothing else we could do.

So, we boarded the train at the appointed time, and soon were speeding through Kent to London. Sami and I got off at Stratford as we were to head to Canary Wharf first and then to Lloyds before meeting up with jools somewhere near the Thames at lunchtime.

So we split at Stratford, and we climbed the bus to take us to the main station; all around us the Olympic Village rises with pace unabated. It looks like it will be ready in time for the games next year.

London, I think

We walk through the station, and to the DLR platforms, and soon enough were heading through docklands to the realm of the merchant bankers and suchlike. It was a grey and overcast day, and after snapping the buldings we head down to the Jubilee Line to head to London Bridge, and therefore me getting to snap the Shard in its latest state as the builders are also rushing to complete that as well.

Sami and I then walk over London Bridge into the City, up the narrow lanes and alleyways to the modern wonder that is Lloyds. As we neared richly dressed bankers streamed out to get their lunch or grab a cigarette. We walk past into Leadenhall Market, snapping as we went.


A call from Jools tells me that she had completed the bead hunt and was now at the Embankment tube station. Soon she shows up and we think its time to eat; so up Villiers street we choose an Italian place and have fine pasta and pizza along with some fine red wine. As the lunchtime rush does down we watch the people passing by outside.

Soon we join them, the cloud manages to spit with rain, and soon we are dodging showers. A trip on a bus tour round the sights would have cost us £70 for the three of us, so we make do with a walk to Soho, and the assorted sights of the surrounding areas. We find Chinatown, all windows filled with delicious looking goodies and food.

we press on into theatreland and then onto the red light area, or what is left of it. We walk though and find a maze of backstreets and alleyways lined with wonderful record shops and market stalls. We dive into a pub when the rain gets too hard, and nurse pints and halves whilst looking at folks passing by.

Back out into the gathering gloom of a winters evening, down once again through theatreland, down to Carnaby Street, down regent Street and into Traflagar Square. As usual, its mad down there, and so we walk up to Leicester Square to the tube station; and its back to Euston; along the Euston Road to St Pancras. Tie then to grab some salad stuff from Marks and Spencer for dinner, and then climb on the train and head back to Kent.

Time then to get the salads out, along with a glass of wine before it was time for bed as we had another hectic day ahead today, and a very early start for our trip to France.

Our alarms went off at a quarter to five this morning; and there was just enough time for a cup of tea before we loaded the car for the short drive, very short drive to the ferry terminal. We live within four miles of the ferry port, and so we were there by six and after checking in waiting in line by five past.

We passed very fast like ships in the night

We load up, and are under way right on time. Even though the wind was blowing, the boat harding pitched and yawed, and so we had a coffee and croissant and watched the Channel drift past the window.

Once docked, we drove off and head straight to the wine warehouse; we buy seven bottles of wine and then head to the coast for the drive down to Boulogne.

Beach life

The road skirts the coast between modern towns and sand dunes before sharply rising onto chalk cliffs higher than the matching ones in Dover. It was a clear day, and we could see the cliffs of home some 23 miles or so away. Looking at my shots I can see South Foreland lighthouse, but to my eye I could just make out the cliffs in the distance with ships passing between us.

Where the sky and sea meet

We stop at Cap Nez Blanc, Cape white Nose, with stunning views over the Channel and along the coast.The wind blew, and it was mighty chilly. I went on to snap away, before cold hands forced me back to the car and we drove on the Boulogne.

D 940

It was midday, and rush hour; we drove round but could not see anywhere to park or anywhere to eat. So, we head back to a nice looking village we had passed.

We find a place to park, in front of a restaurant. We go in, and get a table, and order our food. I had kipper soup (no really) followed by Guinea Fowl and vegetables rounded off with zabaglione with coffee ice cram and roasted nuts. Needless to say, even the soup, was amazing.

The view from Cap Nez Blanc

We drive to the motorway and then on to Calais, to the supermarket.We load up with cheese, fresh bread and a fancy looking cake, before heading to the port.

Our ferry leaves on time at four, and with the time difference were home by five. We have a cuppa and a slice of the cake we had bought before tucking into sesame bread with wonderful cheese.

Phew, we're now shattered and waiting for the Manic Street Preacher gig on the radio this evening.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Wednesday 26th January 2011

Good morning.

And welcome to day four of the Sami K tour of Kent including pubs and all that.

According to the BBC, Tuesday was to be the best day of the week, and so I thought it best to head off over the Romney Marsh to Dungeness and then on to Rye.

It was a bright and sunny morning as we headed out of St Margaret's and along to coast to Folkestone and then onto the marsh. The sun shone from an attractive blue sky scattered with puffy clouds; perfect.

Welcome to Dungeness

Dungeness is a collection of wooden huts and houses on a broad shingle beach under the shadow of not one, but two nuclear power stations. Many of the houses are homes to artists, and on the beach fishing boats are dragged up the shingle as there is no harbour. It is an odd place to say the least.

Photographers going to work

We park up and walk along the wooden path to the waterline; down below fishermen are standing in hope that they might catch something. We head back to the car and drive on.

Of course I take Sami to Fairfield Church, standing all alone on the marsh; its a shot that has to be taken. And of course, nearby is the Woolpack Inn, and it being lunchtime, we call in for a beer and something to eat.
We have the bar to ourselves; well, just the pub cat to coach, and for us to stare into the roaring fire in the grate. Up the chimney 600 years of soot still clings to the brickwork, and I manage to get a shot looking up. we have a sandwich and then move on to Rye.

The Woolpack, Brookland, Kent

Rye is just over the border in East Sussex, and sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the marsh. It is full of ancient houses and now is a tourist trap full of nick nack shops and the like.

We wander round the town and end up in Grammar school Records where I get a vinyl copy of Roxy Music's greatest hots, with Pajamarama on it; I snap that up. We walk on and end up in an even older pub, the Mermaid, for a coffee and to soak up the atmosphere.

The Mermaid, Rye, East Sussex

All the time, outside, the clouds had thickened, and as we go back outside, drizzle begins to fall, heavier and heavier. We head back to the car, and so back home.

Sami made African peanut stew for us for dinner, and while we ate, we listened to I'm sorry I Haven't a Clue on the i player.

Great day

Rye, East Sussex

Monday, 24 January 2011

Tuesday 24th January 2011

And so, Monday.

After dropping Jools off at work, I get some stuff we had forgotten from Tesco, I came back did the interwebby stuff and then waited for Sami to get up.

And at a nicely late half ten we set off for Canterbury.

Its only 15 miles along the A2 to Canterbury, and at mid-morning the rush hour has long since finished and so we had no trouble getting into the city centre and finding a parking space too!

Top (shop) Sox

Sami wanted to head to Top Shop for some clothes shopping, and so I made do with some people watching outside. Once Sami had bought some stuff, we headed down the main street, looking at the historic buildings and on occasion, snapping them. Outside a Turkish barbers, I spy that there is no one in the chairs, and so take the opportunity to have my barnet mangled, asking Sami to be back in about 20 minutes.

20 minutes later, hair cut, I wait outside the shop.

Wait some more.

And some more.

No Sami.

I post on Facebook that I have lost her, hoping that she might be looking at FB on her phone. Ten minutes later, she arrives, coffee in hand.

Panic over.

All afternoon my phone chirps away with sightings all over the world of Sami.

we wander round the city some more, although not stumping up the £10 to visit the cathedral. We (I) were (was) thirsty, and so we head to a pub on the main street called the Cricketers for ale and crisps.

The Cricketers, Canterbury

And after a wander round the few remaining shops in the city centre we head back to the car and then for home. On the way we call in at the village of Elham, as its pretty enough. We wander down a lane to be confronted by some sheep. Do sheep get bored with grass we wonder? Probably not.

And as the drizzle began, we headed home for coffee and so I could watch the Steelers game which I recorded from the early hours of Monday morning. And they win!!

And to round off the day we watch Chelski beat Bolton 4-0. Not a bad day, not a bad day at all!

Monday 24th January 2011

Good morning:

and for those of us not actually working this week, it IS a good week.

So, the weather forecast was grim; grey and drizzly. And so after a lay-in, we decide to head to Dover castle, as there is lots to do inside and plenty of history stuff with fine views over the town and Channel; or would be if it wasn't so misty.

Henry II's Throne

So, we head to the castle, it's just five minutes from here. We pay our entrance fee and head down to the viewing platform as it is the way to the well signposted secret wartime tunnels.

Not so secret wartime tunnels.

After surveying the view of the channel into the greyness where France lay.we head down to the entrance to the hospital for the start of the tour.

As for the tour, there is not much to tell; most are closed until the late spring for improvements, and so we walked around the hospital listening to stories and recordings of what life may have been like during the war.

Dover Castle patterns

And then back into the daylight and a stiff climb up the main keep. This is where it has been recreated how it may have looked during the reign of Henry II, throne, wall hangings and so on. It is very good indeed. I snap away at some of the decorations as I had already snapped most of the rooms.

and we head up the spiral staircase to the roof, for higher views over Dover and the Channel. Once the breeze had cleared our heads again, we head back down the castle to the NAAFI restaurant for a bite to eat. We were fleeced as seems usual in places such as these, but with the added bonus of unbelievably slow service; so slow that if you had selected one of the hot choices, it would have been stone cold by the time you got through the cashier and sat at your table.

Mappa Mindi

We had a quick look in the castle, St Mary-sub-Castro, before heading back home for coffee and to watch A Company of Wolves which I remember from the 80s as being really good, but to my modern eyes was a mess and full of clumsy metaphors.

After a prawn stir-fry, Sami and I sat down to watch the NFL and eat Tunnocks tea cakes.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunday 23rd January 2011

Good morning.

So, the weekend, and the beginning of a week off. We woke at four on Saturday to drive to Gatwick to collect one of my friends, as Sami was coming over to England for a month, and she was staying with us for the first week of her stay.


At least the M20 and M25s were empty, and we made good time. We were in a hurry as some website said her flight had landed at half four. In the end she landed at twenty past five, we parked up and walked into the arrivals hall, and waited as a stream of people in thin cotton clothes and flip flops carry rum walked past.

Sami came through at half six, and after a hug we headed to the car and then out into the heavy traffic to head to Kent.

As we got back into Kent, dawn broke, and the grey light filled the day. Once in Dover we drove up Castle Hill to get a close look for Sami at the castle, and then along the coast road with the promise that if it was a clear day, we would be able to see France from here. Honest.


Once home, we made coffee and warmed up some croissants. That done, we decide to go to Deal, as its near and quite picturesque and most certainly English. Typically English.

Deal was dull and overcast, but we walk along Middle Street, snapping away. We head back along the High Street, calling in at the record shop and No Name Shop for roast garlic bread and creamy stinky French cheese; something for dinner.

And then we drive to St Margaret's Bay to the Coastguard for a lunch of Fish and Chips whilst looking out at the waves lapping at the beach.

After a combination of jet-lag and an early start, we alltake to our beds in the afternoon for a snooze. Jools and I wake covered in cats, and feeling like poo.

In the end, we give up trying to watch A Company of Wolves and head up the wooden hill to get at least ten hours sleep!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Friday 21st January 2011

Or my 400th post.

Are you still with me?




(That was supposed to be an echo)

So, Friday 21st January; Tony Bliar, our once glorious leader who now travels from place to place giving speeches, returned to be centre stage to tell more ulies, untruths, mispokes, or whatever.

Tony cuts an ever more lonely figure as his once loyal friends dessert him one by one, breaking ranks and saying that they were never really convinced about the case for war. The latest is is oldest, dearest friend,Lord Goldsmith, the once Lord Chancellor, who now says Mr Bliars announcements on the legality of war were at odds with his legal judgements at the time. So sad that it has taken Lord Goldsmith eight years to decide this, and make it public. Just about the only one left beside him, or fighting Tony's corner is Alistair Campbell, someone who is not really known for being upfront and honest about anything.

If Tony is so certain of his position and being right, then let him go to The Hague and test it at the international court.


So, onto more mundane matters; another week at work, more steps going forward and then back. Still no news on whether we all have long-term jobs; so we still continue as normal. If it wasn't for that hanging over our heads, I might go as far to say it's been a successful week; lots sorted and been doing lots of Powerpoint presentations and spreadsheets and generally keeping up with work. And now, I am on holiday for a week, as we have a friend coming over from Canada to stay with us. we shall be going out each day, taking photographs and generally taking the area in. And on Thursday we are going over on a ferry to France to buy more wine, more chocolate, more stinky cheese and eat their food and stuff. Jools says we will need a holiday after this week, and she may well be right.

Ramsgate harbour

The sun came out this week, and made for wonderful sunrises and sunsets. I include here some shots from Ramsgate as I made my way to work on Tuesday morning.

See y'all next week.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Monday 17th January 2011

The choice facing us was to either go to Tesco on the way home from work or wait until Saturday morning and brave the crowds then. In the end, we decided to do it Friday and have a lay in on Saturday. And so after picking Jools up from work we headed up the hill to where Tesco is, and getting the only free trolley we went in.
In the end, it aint so bad on a Friday; most tills are open, and we got our stuff and were through the checkout, packed the car and heading home by five. Just half an hour later. We bought a ready meal, as neither of us wanted to do any cooking, and so tucked into chorizo risotto.

Saturday, we realised we had forgotten croissants, and so Jools said she would head back to Tesco for a pack. I put the kettle on, and soon enough we were dunking our croissants in piping hot cups of coffee in the French fashion. After seeing our friends do this in Le Mans a couple of years ago, just eating them undunked is no longer an option.

It was a cloudy and windy day outside, and looking at the tide table I saw that it was quite high. Working out the wind direction in relation to Dover , I thought that Shakespeare Beach may well be the best place for waves, and so we set off. I decided it was also time to test my knee properly, and so a climb down the steps from Aycliffe should make it clear whether the knee was better or not.

We parked up and putting on our warmest clothes we headed through the subway, along the clifftop path and then down the steps. Beneath us the waves were crashing against the beach; not in spectacular fashion, but goo enough. High tide was just before dawn, but even at nine, it was still quite high. But there was enough of a beach clear of the waves to ensure we wouldn’t be getting wet feet.

Shakespeare Beach

Over the footbridge over the main railway line, and down the steps, and we were on the beach. It would have been easy to sit inside on such a bracing day, but once out of the house and in the wind, we felt more alive. We walked along the high tide mark, dodging the occasional wave. From time to time we would stop to see what the sea had brought ashore, or look a particularly vividly coloured stone or a piece of water carved chalk.

We ended up at the other end of the beach beside the old Admiralty Pier, on which boat-trains used to depart for the continent. But now is just a rusting and crumbling eyesore. The waves were sweeping along the beach, crashing against the pier, and so it was there the biggest waves could be seen.

Javelin and Shakespeare Tunnel, Dover

We turned round and had a face full of wind, as the stiffening breeze was coming from that direction. But even with the extra effort, it was a great walk; our glasses were encrusted with salt crystals and our lips had the tang of salt on them too. Up the steps to the footbridge just in time to see a Javelin pass beneath. And then up the twisty flight of steps, along the path and through the underpass and back to the car.

How about a cuppa on Samphire Hoe I suggested when Jools asked what we should do enxt? Great idea, and so a short blast up Shakespeare Cliff on the A20 brought us to the tunnel, and down through the dark onto the Hoe. Samphire Hoe, an area at the bottom of the cliffs a mile or so long, was built from the spoil from the Channel Tunnel and is now, as well as being a recreation area, a scientific experiment to see how long nature takes to claim the virgin land. There is a cabin, and they sell tea, coffee and the like. We parked up, and sat on a picnic bench, sipping our already cooling drinks.

It has been some time since we had visited a church, and out of the depths of my memory banks I remembered that Woodchurch near Ashford. It was only a short drive to Ashford, and then turn off down the A28, through the wintery landscape and then follow the signposts to Woodchurch. We part near one of the two village pubs, not so cleverly that are next to each other. And we see a footpath between the two pubs pointing the way to the village windmill.

Woodchurch Windmill, Kent

The footpath was more of a stream, and so we slithered our way up the hill to the mill; it’s blades stationary in the breeze. I snapped it from all angles, we walked round it a couple of times, and that was it. So, back down the hill, over the main road to the village church. It seems like we have been on a bit of a streak where each church we visit has its doors unlocked, and this was no different. We go inside, and I dutifully snap it from all angles again. I sign the visitors book, and as I am writing the churchwarden comes in; we chat about the history of the church and the village, and I am given a history of the church.

We head back out, and walk down to the village green, which is big enough to have a full sized football pitch on it. The village team was just finishing a training session, and mud-coated players were walking to their cars and to the pub. Or one of them.

It was midday, and we were hungry, so we walk to one of the pubs, The Bonny Cravat. I ordered a beer for me and a cider for Jools; enquiries for a menu were met with the reply that there was no food today. Oh well; we drink up and decide to head home where I could cook either a late lunch or an early dinner.
So, back home for steak and ale pie, roast potatoes and steamed veg along with the last of the beef gravy from the previous week’s roast. And it was wonderful; I mean really good. That we were very hungry may have helped, but it was a perfect meal. All washed down with either a glass or two of red for me and a bottle of the latest batch of cider for Jools.

And once the football had finished on the radio, we sat down to watch Scott Pilgrim vs the World on TV. It certainly is an aquired taste, but I did get the in-jokes and found it great fun.
And at nine, the NFL began. Due to work, I have not sat up to watch that many late night games this season, but watching the Steelers play their latest rivals, the Ravens in a slug-fest to see which one of them would go through to the Championship game. It made compulsive viewing, and the Steelers got stronger as the game went on, and won out in the end. The game finished at twenty past one, and I went to bed happy.

Not so happy at six when, after Jools had gone down to feed the cats, Mulder came bounding up the stairs, mewing happily, and sat on my chest purring, purring. I did not go back to sleep, but after a while I did get up and was ready to face the day after something less than four hours sleep.

The weather was supposed to get better, and so we took a gamble and went out hoping the sun would come out. Our goal was a picturesque village near Maidstone called Aylesford. Once upon a time it was a small mediaeval village standing on the side of the Medway River . Now the village on the east bank is as ever it was; on the west bank it is a typical commuter town, all stockbroker houses, railway lines and newsprint factories. But it still has a bridge from the middle ages, narrow street lined with timber-framed houses.


We parked the car, and headed over the new road bridge with fabulous views along the river to the old bridge and the village behind. The sun was behind a huge black cloud, and so we waited, and waited. But the cloud would not clear to allow the sun to shine. But, there was promise that it might in a short while. So, we walked along beside the river, to the beginning of the old bridge. I was, of course, snapping all the time, and was loving it. Once across the bridge, we walked around the village, up the hill to the church; inside the final hymn of the days could be heard. And as if by maginc, the sun came out, it got warm, all was well with the world.

We headed back to the new bridge so I could get ‘the’ shot, and that was that.

The Red Lion, Lenham

What now? I said, a drive to the village of Lenham by which time it will be midday and opening time and we will be able to get something to eat. So, a short blast down the A20, we park up, and we were in another picturesque village. We walk round, me snapping away at buildings and churches. And then as the clock in the church tower struck the final chime of twelve, we hot foot it over to the Red Lion. They have a spare table, we sit down, look over the menu and Jools orders braised lamb shanks, roast potatoes and fresh vegetables, and it being warm enough for a spring day, I order a ploughman’s. It was great, so great that we have to order dessert, lime cheesecake for Jools and a fine cheeseboard for myself.

The Red LIon, Lenham

And then time to head home for me to sleep on the sofa ‘watching’ football with kittens on my lap. And so the weekend ended with more and more football and then more NFL. Phew.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Thursday 13th January 2011

So, last Thursday I got this far in writing a blog; just the title. It has been one of those weeks; not much than the normal, but each night we both seemed so tired we had stuff to do and went to bed, or just went to bed, read and fell asleep.

The week; well, we are in the process of seeing if we can combine our various pensions into one pot; what with my career changes and various provider changes, we have seven different pensions, which means multiple costs as well.

It's not as easy at it seems, we have to find the information, fill out forms; but the tricky bit will be when the information comes back and we have to make choices.

Another evening, we spent bottling more beer; that is about six batches we have done now, and each one has been very good indeed; lets hope the latest one lives up to the standard.

Work carries on in much the same way, still no news, so we carry on. My boss is giving me, bit by bot, more work to do, which means i get more involved in the company's procedures and ways. It passes the time1 No, it is good and I seem to still be making forward progress.

I will try to update this again tomorrow with tales of the weekend; of storms, walks along the beach, pub meals and sunshiiiiine.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Monday 10th January 2011

Monday. I could tell it was a Monday from the moment the guy in the people carrier crashed into the back of me this morning. I say me, it was the back of the Polo, but it amounts to the same thing.

I am never good in the mornings. ask any wife of mine; there is a choice! No, seriously, not good in the mornings. Give me tea and internet access and I might rustle up a smile. But don't bet on it.

So, after driving into Dover with Jools, I was heading out of the town, through the housing estate that gets me to the Sandwich road quickest, or at least by the shortest route, I looked in my mirror to see a car behind me. Well, I saw the driver's eyes, as he was so close I could not see his lights.

I kept to the speed limit, and we headed up the hill. Halfway up the hill there is a hump-back bridge over the railway line. Not usually much of a problem. But this morning there was a dustcart coming the other way. And half on my side of the road.

I did what any sensible person would do and stopped. Quickly.

Then came the crash.


As knob-jockey behind me did not react quick enough and used my back bumper to stop.

Once the dustcart had cleared the bridge, I went over and parked up.

'What you stopping for?' he shouted.

I got out and walked to his car; he wound the window down.

'You bloody ran into the back of me!' I shouted, whilst shaking.

'You stopped!' was his quite accurate reply.

'And you ran into the back of me'

'I been over this bridge loads of times, loads of room even when there is a dustcart' he says.

I explained he was so close to me coming up the road that I could not see his lights;

'And you have to be able to stop safely; that means keeping distance'.

He stopped, and I could see the cogs going round in his head.

'I'm late for work. Sorry mate.' And he held out his hand for me to shake.

I shook it.

We looked at the back of the Polo; no damage.

'Make it a lesson learned' I said.

'Sorry'he said again, and shook my hand once more.

On the way up through the estate he kept a large distance from me; a 100 yards or so. At least there was no other incident on the way to work.

I had a good day at work, preparing Powerpoint presentations. I really got into them, taking screen shots, uploading them and then adding arrows and text to each screen. Oh these will go on and on; I will send everyone asleep with these!

The Surfer and the ferries

So, Saturday afternoon, we went down to St Margaret's Bay to watch the rollers, er, roll in at high tide. In truth the waves were not so big, but good to stand and watch and snap. There was a brave surfer trying to 'hang ten' as they say in surfing circles, I believe.

St Margaret's Bay

We retreated into the Coastguard and ordered drinks; cider for Jools and ruby ale for me. And wonder of wonders, there was even a table to sit at in the corner so we could people watch. Lovely.

The Coastguard, St Margaret's Bay

Our friend, Bob, came round quite early Sunday. We sat and talked and then drank coffee, winter ale and then sloe gin. Bob is good company, full of tales and views. But, he would not stay for dinner. His main aim had been to see the kittens, and as luck would have it, Scully took a shine to him and sat on his lap.

Bob and Scully

Sunday lunchtime we head over to Folkestone for a walk; my knee is still sore, and so anything other than a flat walk for me hurts. The sun was out and it was wonderful walking round the harbour, watching the fishermen bringing home the catch.

Cobbled alleyway, Folkestone

Hungry by now, we seek out a chippy and have battered sausage and chips whilst sitting on plastic seating on the chippy like a throwback to the 1970s.

We head back so I could listen to football and prepare dinner. Somehow I had bought a four and a half pound lump of beef and so had to get it in the oven so we could eat before midnight.

The Catch

So, as the games played out I prepared Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and steamed vegetables. And once again made 'proper' gravy. Nothing tastes the same, nothing at all.
we sat down for dinner at seven, and it was splendid; the best roast yet. And then we sat on the sofa watching wild card games whilst we digested dinner. Not a bad end to the day after all.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Saturday 8th January 2010



FA cup weekend.

NFL Wild card weekend.

England win the Ashes.

In Australia!

Ipswich sack Roy Keane!!

Burnley try to pack Paul Lambert (boo)

Norwich say 'NO!'

Lambo aslo says 'NO!!'


And apart from all this sporting malarkey, it has been back to work as well. At least we had another bank holiday on Monday, so it did mean a four day week before the weekend rolls round again. So, four days done, up to date with work, and now preparing FIVE powerpoint presentations to bore future employees. Oh, after a lifetime of death by powerpoint presentations, it will soon be my turn, mwah, ha, ha!

And that really is it for work; at home we had an evening of pension talk as we try to make sense of our pension provisions with an expert, who says he can save us possibly hundreds of pounds a month in insurance premiums.

And yesterday we took the kittens to the vet for their 'operations'. We have wondered if it was the right thing to do, but a few minutes after their return, they were bouncing around as much as they have ever done, and they don't seem to be looking at us with looks of betrayal.

And so, the weekend. High tide is at half one, and there is a strong wind blowing, and so we may head down to the bay to have a look at the rollers,. And there just happens to be a pub down there, and so we may go in to check their beer. I am a quality expert, after all.

I guess one line relating to England's triumph down under is not enough; seeing as it seems to be a once in a quarter century event. Doubly so that each of England's three victories came with an innings defeat of the old enemy. The only blot on the whole series was one test defeat in the 3rd test.
Of course, I could go on here about what cricket is, the complex rules, how come it takes 5 days to complete a game, even then the match might end in a draw. Still, dressing whites, breaks for drinks and tea, good manners, walking when the batsman is out. A game that has to stop at the hint of rain, played on a strip of dead grass 22 yards long. Oh, I could go on. But, when it's good, it's wonderful. And especially when the Australian captain says the English can't bat on Aussie wickets.

So, I awoke each morning for the duration of the five tests, turned on the radio at half five in the morning to find the latest score. Even having the radio on through the night so I could hear the moment when the Ashes were retained. That I slept through the moment is another thing; but I was there in spirit.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Monday 3rd January 2010

Bank holiday.


But this is the last one until Easter. I think.

Claction Pier 1975

As the days have gone by since New Year, at least my knee has gotten a bit better each day, which means, sigh, back to work in the morning, with a jam-packed mail box to sort through, and meetings when I'm not doing that.

The Tequila Monster

Still it's just four days until the weekend again....

On our last visit to Tesco, we bought a scanner, and so I have been copying some old photographs. It's far easier than scanning slides as the resolution is not so high. anyway, I have gone back to my schooldays and many points between then and now. Needless to say, it is shocking to see how you I and my friends were, and that in some cases over 31 years has passed since the shot was taken.

AC Jelltex

Other than that, our days have been full of sport. Or rather my days have been; games almost every day, and evening, and yesterday the final weekend of the NFL regular season. And it goes on today as at three there is a full program of Football League games; the forth such day since December 26th. And Norwich are going for a fourth win. Fingers crossed on that.

We did head out yesterday, to Sandwich for a walk somewhere flat so I would not stress my knee. The shops were mostly closed. But we did find a cake shop open, and so it seemed rude to pass by; and so we went in and I had a triple layer Victoria Sponge and a pot of tea. Very good it was too. Time enough to call in at an off licence for some wine and head back home for lunch.


Today, apart from more scanning and listening to football, I used up the last of the mincemeat in making the last batch of mince pies. We had the piping hot out of the oven after we had cheese and beans on toast; a proper lunch!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Saturday 1st January 2011

As I begin to write this, the Wiener Philharmoniker is beginning the New Year's concert from Vienna. This is now firmly established as a regular event each New Year's day for us. It is something that my first wife introduced to me, and I have continued to watch it each year whenever I can.

And so ring out the old, ring in the new.

So, for new Year's Eve we spent a good part of the day assembling furniture. Our old shelves that held our CDs had collapsed after having kittens sit on their lower shelves, and so before the VAT rise we ordered three new 2m high units enough for nearly double the CDs we have now.

The CD collection; in the new racks.

Of course we had to battle with vague instructions, cats chasing screws and bottles of glue and my gammy knee. But, after getting the first one put together, the other two went up easy enough. And we were able to put the thousand or so CDs back. It looks like a CD shop in our living room now.

A week or so ago, we had called in the Red Lion for a pint, and saw that they were having a hog roast for New Year's and so we bought two tickets and so that is where we planned to see in the new year; all full of pork and crackling.

We set off at half seven, arriving just before eight, finding the pub less than half full; we bought a couple of drinks and settled down to people watch. Our problem being that although this was our local, we were not regulars. And so we talked to no one else really. This is not really a problem for us, as we enjoy each other's company well enough.

So we cradled our drinks and people watched; old blokes propping up the bar to ladies our age dressed as teenagers with impossibly high heels on and layers of orange make up to young teen couple stopping off for a cheap-ish drink before hitting a club.

And then the village transsexual walked in; not that we have any problem with her life choices, but in a previous life there is a possibility she was a male builder with strong arms and deep voice. Even now she cuts a dramatic figure; six foot six in her size 15 slingbacks and peroxided bottle permed hair.


At half nine the food was served; we had a couple of pork rolls and then looked at each other as the music had been turned up; shall we go home? we both said; and so got our coats and headed out the door.

And so we found ourselves back indoors by ten, waiting for Jools Holland to come on TV and entertain us with fine music to midnight. We opened a bottle of Cava and roasted some chestnuts and sat on the sofa with the kittens until we could keep our eyes open no longer, and so climbed the stairs to bed.

The cat in the (bird)house (2)

Rock, and indeed, roll.