Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013


On Tuesday morning, on the way to dropping me off at the railways station in Dover, Jools asked if it worth it for a pint of beer.

And let’s be honest, she has a point. If it were just about beer, then travelling up to Norwich for a few pints when the country is recovering from storm damage, and when there was no clear way on how I was actually going to get to Norwich. But, thanks to the wonder that is Twitter I was able to get updates and ask questions of the railway companies and make educated (for me) choices on the best route.

So, she dropped me off, and I climbed aboard the first high speed service up to that London. On the way I was checking my Twitter feed and it became clear I could not go the normal route, as it was still blocked by fallen trees. So, as per the advice I stayed on the train to St Pancras and then walked to King’s Cross and waited for a train to Cambridge. With just 30 seconds before departure time, the platform was announced and there began a sprint by several hundred people hoping for a seat.

GWUK #931  Cambridge station, Cambridge

I got one, and we left a few moments later, trundling up the ECML and then into deepest Cambridgeshire. We had a half hour wait at Cambridge before the train pulled in and then another scramble ensued to get another seat. And then off to Ely, Brandon and onto Norwich! Yay, beer ahoy!.

It was great running over the fens to Ely, looking at the great cathedral getting bigger and bigger. And then over the flatlands more as we turned east towards Suffolk and home ground. In the end I arrived in the city only 90 minutes later than planned, which was not bad. And I had arranged to be met by a Flickr friend to show some of the lesser known places in the City to snap. And then back to theirs for lunch before being set down outside St Andrew’s Hall for the festival! Top day ahead.

Sarah’s husband dropped us off in Colgate where we visited three churches there, only one open, sadly, but nice to get out and stretch my legs. We walked back up past St Andrews to the market and then into St Peter Mancroft via the Form which I had not been into before. All the while I was taking shots of course, and taking in the familiar and not so familiar sights. We ended up at the Catholic cathedral, another church I have not been into before, and it was a real pleasure in going inside one of the lesser known cathedrals in the country.

It was then back to theirs for lunch, which they had so kindly offered, and we had very nice spaghetti and they also provided me a with a very nice bottle of Abbot Ale. After some chatting there was enough time for me to rush over to the other side of the city to check in the hotel and then be dropped off outside St Andrew’s Hall ready to queue to the beer festival.

36th Norwich Beer Festival, St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Oh, the excitement. Oh, the anticipation! The hour passed quickly and half five arrived and we were ushered in. I got my glass, my beer tokens and rushed to get my first drink, half of Adnam’s Old. Lovely and perfect to warm up with. Next into the other hall for a pint of Redwing’s Pale, which was wonderful. And so on for a couple of hours when it became clear that I did not know anyone, and there being nowhere to sit, and despite having a hot pork roll, a pork pie I was hungry, and so in a surprising move I decided to leave the beer festival after just over a couple of hours and look for a place to eat.

36th Norwich Beer Festival, St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

I had set my mind on a place on Prince of Wales Road called Fatty Arbuckle’s, but that seemed to have closed, and so I found myself at the Riverside and chose a Greek place and ordered some stuffed vine leaves and kebabs. And in another surprising move I then went back to the hotel and crashed out on the bed before ten.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Stormaggedon 2013

I should by be in norwich. Or if not in Norwich then in Norfolk. Or Suffolk. But I was aiming to be in Norwich by now so I could drop my case off at the hotel and queue up for the first session of the beer festival.

But I'm not.

Oh now, I'm at home still, with a case packed, tickets bought and no trains to catch. Or, no trains north of London to catch. I guess I could get to Shenfield, but that would be as far as it goes, and so I am going to try again tomorrow, catching the first train out of Dover to Stratford at just after six.

Stormaggedon at Dover Eastern Docks, Kent

Until then I shall dream of beer and the pints I will miss tonight. Sadly.

You see, today the wind did blow, and trees did fall down. And the overhead wires that trains need to run. Or the electric ones, anyway. And these repairs are going to take most of the day, so the rail company says "don't travel". Or, can't travel.

I was holding some hope of going up today. Times of first trains was pushed back to nine, then ten and then midday. And then 'no trains until further notice'. So, here i am.

Stormaggedon at Admiralty Pier, Dover

But, I have managed to fill the days with stuff. Although for the most part it has been e mailing Southeastern and then Greater Anglia. and then trying to call them. And then tweeting them. I did get a tweet back, and my ticket is valid tomorrow, so no need to panic. And the day of church chasing planned for the daylight hours will go ahead as planned.

Waves at Admiralty Pier, Dover

But when the alarm went off this morning the plan was to catch the quarter to ten train; so I dropped Jools off at work, and headed down to the harbour to check out the waves. At the eastern end of the harbour, waves crashed against the beach depositing stones onto the promenade. I got soaked as a wave crashed behind me and the spray drifted over me.


I headed to Shakespeare Beach, parking near the Lord Walden hotel, banking on their being no traffic wardens about this time of day, and risking ten minutes on the beach snapping the waves. It was a good decision as the waves were huge, breaking against the Admiralty Pier and the spray going high over the old Dover Marine station. It was very impressive, and I was glad I was sheltering in the lea of a fisherman's hut thus staying mostly dry!

Admiralty Pier

Next up was a walk from Aycliffe under the A2o and looking down on the beach far below. The waves looked a lot smaller,or course, but you could still see the waves crashing over the old station. I used the long lens to see the end of the pier being swamped by wave after wave. It looked like the end of the world.

Shakespear Beach

And finally to St Martin's Battery for a general view of the harbour, and the spray arching over the station and the Lord Warden hotel. The light was perfect as a ray of sunlight found its way through the clouds and onto the angry sea below.

Dover Western Docks

Monday 28th October 2013


And so the day of the storm. Or part one of the storm. Yes, the first autumnal blow of the year, and this promised to be a big one. Now, it should be said that way back in 1987, both the Met Office and the BBC were caught out by a similar event that year. And so every time the wind blows, will it be as bad again?

As the day progressed it became clear that the stiff breeze we got during the day would stiffen during Sunday night and peak at dawn on Monday. So, we'd better go out and check the waves out down Samphire Hoe.

The Ninth Wave

But before that we got to enjoy the extra hour we got in bed due to the clocks going back. I laid in bed until quarter to eight, which was rather wonderful. I went down made coffee and cooked bacon butties, which seemed like a great way to start the day. We got our boots and coats on and headed out in the car to Dover and up the A20 to the Hoe.

As expected, the sea wall was closed, and so we walked along well away from the spray as the occasional wave broke over the sea defences. Looking over to Folkestone, we saw a black cloud approaching, so we decided to head to the car to shelter; would we make it in time to stay dry?


In a word. We got damp as the rain pounded on our backs, but not too bad. The rain hammered down for ten minutes then the cloud passed, blue skies appeared and the sun broke through. We took more shots as the rain cleared over Dover Harbour to the north, then headed back up the tunnel and onto Whitfield to visit the old folks. That done it was home for early lunch of pork pies with homemade chutney, and then some serious relaxing as showers passed over and doused us before the sun came back out and dried everything up again.

Stormy weather

As I listened to the football, I cooked roast beef, which was very welcome come seven in the evening. It was pretty much dark by half four, which is the result of the clocks going back of course. Once we ate, we sat down to watch Michael Portillo travel through spain on trains, and so added many more places on our never-ending list of places we want to visit.

And all the while, outside the wind strengthened. Although the badgers still came and ate, picking first the two roast potatoes left over from dinner.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sunday 27th October 2013

Blog #798

It's been a hard slog at times, but look where we are now! Well, the pause before the storm when I set off on my annual 'try to kill my liver' trip to Norfolk for the Beer Festival in that fine city, Norwich.

Or Naaarrich.

So, more silence from me until Wednesday or Thursday at least.


I awoke at about seven, laid in bed whilst Jools fed the cats and made the first pot of coffee of the day. I almost went back to sleep. But COFFEE! Whilst I pottered online we listened to The Museum of Curiosity, The Now Show before it was time to think about what to do with the day. In the end we decided that a trip to Preston was called for as we have little food in the freezer and we also have to put in the order for Christmas at the butchers.

So, in dazzling bright sunshine we headed out to Sandwich, up to Nash and then over the marsh and through Preston to Grover Ferry. See, I had changed the plan again, and now the plan was to go church hunting first, and then head to the butcher. Easy.

About four years back we visited Chislet church with a friend, and since then I appreciate churches more, so I thought a return visit was called for. Chislet was just over the main road, along a couple of lanes and there was the tower just through the trees.

We parked up and headed into the churchyard, taking the unusual shape of the church, with it's, I would imagine, unique tower looking (to me) like a French chateau.

After taking shots from the outside, we go in to find the parishioners cleaning the church, all was busy with dusting and vacuuming. It is a large three cell church, one cell of which is now a sports hall for the school next door, and laid out as a badminton court. Not what you expect in a church! It was like meeting an old friend inside if truth be known, and Chilham is certainly in top five favourite churches in the county.

Next up was a new church: Holy Cross, Hoath.

It was just a short drive, along lanes marked with pre-warboy signs, always a pleasure. It gives the impression of driving in the 50s.

Hoath was unlocked, and inside, although dark, was another delight with a wonderful wooden beamed roof, and behind the altar, a fine circular stained glass window.

It was by now half past opening time, and the temptation to head to The Gate in Boyden was too strong, so we turned round and drove to Boyden, found a place to park and so we settled down with a pint of lovely hooped ale for me and vintage cider for Jools.

Another temptation would have been to eat there, as the good is glorious, but we have stuff at home, so after downing our drinks we head back home via the butchers.

Needless to say the afternoon was spent listening to the football on the radio, and City failed to score once again, but at least didn't concede either, but a goalless draw against Cardiff isn't really good enough. £30m on players who play upfront and we still don't score means something is going wrong.

In the evening we watch World War Z (zed) on ppv, and we soon see through the holes in the plot, but it rattles along at a fair pace and is enjoyable enough.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Saturday 26th October 2013

Friday (continued)

And so at two I pack up my stuff and head to the car. It had all been quite a day for me. I had two project meetings, both of which showed my all the work that goes on in wining and securing an order of this size. And now I am part of all of that. i complete the first draft of the documents I needed to, although they are far from perfect of course.

I drive to Billund in bright sunshine, but I just wanted to get to the airport, check in and relax; so I don't go seeking out any churches, and I am at the airport within an hour, checked in and making my way to the executive lounge as my old boss has a loyalty card which means he can take a guest into the lounge. So, i power the laptop up, fire a couple of e mails off before i lose the connection, so pack it away again, pour myself one of those great free beers and get out the Johnny Vegas book out and get stuck into it.

Our flight is called, so we make our way to the gate, climb onto the BA liveried Dornier, and after a short wait, the engines fire up and we taxi out into the twilight. In the seven or so weeks since I was last in Denmark, the nights have really drawn in, and soon after take off it would be dark.

we cock a snook at gravity and leap into the air, and once we enter the clouds I open the book wanting to finish it by the time we land. I pass on the 'meal', drink and ice cream, and as we descend through the low clouds over Essex, I see the familiar lights of Southend far below. The cabin lights get turned out, and the view is even clearer. We turn towards the north Kent coast, and we bank over Chatham. There is two sets of flashes beside the M2 down below, showing the pantographs arcing: a Eurostar heading towards Europe.

Down and down we go, the winds get stronger and so the planes leaps and twitches about. As we head over the Thames at about 100 feet we lurch towards the ground. 'I like land' i said to the passenger in front of me! He said he was worried too.

But we land without any further drama, and for a change we have just a 5 minute wait at immigration. Jools was waiting for me in the arrival hall, so we kiss and then head to the DLR station and begin the final leg of the journey home.

We catch a crowded Javelin back to Ashford, there was even standing in the corridors between the seats, whilst some passengers have bags on their seats. Greedy and stupid people.

We change at Ashford, to find the 20:07 has been delayed, so we get on that and are home some 15 minutes early. time enough to put the kettle on for a cuppa and a supper of beef sandwiches and pain au raison.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Friday 25th October 2013


Well it is dark, it is also raining. And it is not yet six. That must mean we’re in Denmark. And indeed we are.

I hope I never lose the sense of wonder that comes with being at home at six in the morning and in the office in Esbjerg by one. It really is amazing when you think about it. Jools drops me off at the station at half six, I get my ticket, get on board the train. We glide through the dark to Folkestone, Ashford and are crossing the Medway before it is light enough to pick out any details.

I get out at Stratford, cross to the airport through the old Olympic Park, check in and find that there has been a software failure in security and so we have to queue up right out of the building. Oh man. The queue shortens as earlier flights are called and passengers for those get to jump to the front. By the time I climb the stairs to the security hall I’m still nearly at the back of the queue.

Once I am through security, I find that my usual eatery cannot take cards so I got to a cafĂ© and grab a coffee and panini and check work mails. Only the company’s system fails to recognise my laptop and freezes me out.

Oh well.

We board the flight, and I am next to a businesswoman who has folders open and complains all the time. I pretend to sleep and so the flight passes slowly. Once in the air, we entered rain clouds and so the ground was hidden until we were just a hundred metres above the Danish countryside on final approach.

Welcome to Denmark, as the rain lashed down.

I got my hire car and set off for Esbjerg. It has been several months since I last made the trip, and it was a real pleasure to pass the familiar landmarks and enter the town on the motorway. Once at the office I went in, always better than just standing outside, I got to meet the old team, now old friends really. And knuckle down to work and wrestle with the issues that are vexing me.

Three hours later I leave for the hotel, and after checking in and reading the Johnny Vegas book for a couple of hours I head to the Irish bar to meet up with some old friends. Both Patrick and the Librarian were there. The Librarian was mouthing off something about mead and how wonderful the Vikings were. I pointed out that the Danes, the offspring of Danes now hunker down in blankets and under patio heaters on the warmest night of the year outside Dronning Louise. The blood is diluted.

So, after just the one pint, I head to Bones for ribs and salad. That went down well.

And so ended another fine Monday in DK.


So, back to work at the office in Esbjerg. Last time I was here it was summer and endless sunshine, now it’s dark when I get up and still was after breakfast and head to the car for the short drive to the port.

I do a day’s work. I do some training. Or rather re-training, which was the whole point of my trip here this week. I do my duty, tell people how not to do stuff and that’s it. Time for gezome and back to the hotel. Only I arranged to meet Steffen at Christian IX for dinner and then we were to head to the sports bar to watch the barca game.

And we did. Chilli burger, Leffe, a quich walk to the bar, order more Leffe and Hoegaarden and kick back to watch Messi weave his magic.We call it a night at half time and I watch the remainder of the game in my room.


I have to check out of the Britannia and head to the Scandic in the evening, so I pack and pay the bill, have breakfast, load the car and set off into the darkness of a Danish morning at seven o’clock. Traffic is light, and for the first half an hour I can just about pick up Radio 5 on the car radio. Hearing about traffic jams in Folkestone when driving through the Danish countryside.

There is something especially sad and soul-destroying about dinner in a business hotel. I could have put my coat on and gone to Dronning Louise, Bones or Christian IX. Bust after a day in which I drove to Arhus, did half a day’s work, had lunch with our new CEO and drove back. I was just about shattered. And I would be in bed already were it not for:

The Johnny Vegas book
Champion’s League

So, I had burger and beer down in the lobby, looking at the back of heads of the other diners and wondering if they feel like they have died a little inside too. The food aint bad, but it won’t set the cullenary worl alight, despite the menu having Jamie bloody Oliver’s name all over it. Yes, I am sure he is slaving away in the kitchen cooking something pukka. Like burger and fries. In truth, its like an old friend, in an ever-changing world, something you can rely on. And no matter what Scandic hotel you’re in, it tastes the same.

Anyway. I read. Drank. And ate. Now I’m watching Copenhagen being thrashed in Turkey.

It’s a hobby.

Now, I have a confession: I have rejoined Facebook. I don’t know why, but I did. However, I joined under an assumed name, which I think is fine, and so I can pick who I want to be friends with, as long as they recognise me from my avatar. Some have, most haven’t. It happens. I may ditch it again, but it can be fun. I have told Facebook I live in Esbjerg and that I’m Danish. It doesn’t suspect a thing.


And so to the day of meetings. Now, I don’t mind the odd meeting or two, but one lasting eight hours, it’s a bit too much really. In the introduction, my old boss said that he could not speak for four hours straight. Bot Steffen and I burst out laughing as Philip is the one person I know who can speak for that long without a pause. I think he heard us laugh but he chose to ignore it. Which made it even funnier, or course.

I had to break off from the meeting for more meetings. Which was nice. But at least we were provided with lunch and refreshments through the day.

For the evening we reconvened in Bones at just gone six for dinner. I had the usual small plate of ribs. No, honestly, it was all I needed. All washed down with a couple of beers. And then it was off to Paddy Go Easy for the pub quiz. Imagine my surprise when everyone from the department followed me! So, by now we were the life and soul of the party, and finding everything hilarious.

Or at least I was.

We took part in the pub quiz, and managed to romp to an easy win, with me answering most of the questions in truth. Soren said, “I’ve never won anything before!” Bless. We were presented with a huge box of chocolates and a bottle of wine. I said I would take the chocs into the office next morning, and they kindly said I could keep the wine! Yay.

Team Joint Venture win the pub quiz at Paddy Go Easy, Esbjerg

After Philip and I went back to the hotel, Frank, Soren and Steffen went to the sports bar and ended up drinking well into Friday.


Oh, the colour of Steffen’s eyes this morning! There is nothing smugger than someone who bailed early whilst still merry and fresh as a daisy in the morning when he sees those with hangovers roll into work an hour late!

And so to work, much to do today, then head to the airport, fly to London and then back home on the train. Phew. What a week its been, much better than expected, really.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday 20th October 2013

Welcome to Sunday afternoon, and this, my last blog until next weekend, as I am off to sunny Denmark first thing in the morning. As usual, I will write each day and upload it at the weekend. The bBC have been promising us heavy rain, thunder, lightning and the four horsemen of the apocalypse all day, and it all failed to arrive. We headed out to the cliffs at eleven as it was near high tide. We walked for a while along the cliffs, just enjoying the wind whistling through our hair.

St Margaret's-at-Cliffe, Kent

We then drove down to the Bay to look at the waves crashing onto the beach. I say that, and yet every time we go down, despite the wind the sea seems relatively tranquil in comparison. Like today. However, some low waves did roll in, big enough at high tide to break upon the sea wall, sending spray high into the air. The car park was just about full as people had come down to take in the air. And what air, ripe with the tang of salt.

The rest of the day has been doing chores: trying to repair the cat flap, repairing the wall in the bedroom where the curtain rails have almost fallen off. Almost. I would like to say, this was not my fault, as the previous owner seemed to have plastered the walls with something akin to sand, which holds no rawplug or screw. Or not without some luck. Anyway, we have been mixing up and using Polyfilla, and hopefully when we come to rehang the rail it won't fall off again.


I had been trying to get a couple of friends to join me on a trip to a gala at the Spa Valley Railway this week. But, due to matters out of their control, neither of them could come. And so it was left to Jools to accompany me to Tunbridge Wells and ride on trains. Oh, and there was a beer festival on as well, in which case a designated driver could come in handy......

As the first train was at half eight, we decided to be there to catch that, maybe then be able to leave at a reasonable time and maybe do some other stuff. So, we found ourselves leaving the house before half six, when it was still dark and heading up the M20 to Maidstone.

We arrived in Tunbridge wells with 50 minutes to spare, the station was not yet open, so we headed into the nearby Sainsbury's for 2nd breakfast and more coffee. There was some doubt whether we could park for more than a couple of hours in their car park, and so what with the poor weather forecast, the idea to spend all day there was now being changed into maybe just a morning.

31 206

So at eight fifteen, we boarded the train, double-headed by a 31 and a 37; more than enough horsepower to get us on our way. Despite all that horsepower, we were restricted to 25mph, and so with a growl and rumble, we lurched into motion and through the gloom of a Kentish morning.

The line now goes all the way to Eridge, where it joins up with the Southern line to Waterloo, so this was the first time we had ridden the new extension. The driver had to open the gate to the branch just shy of Eridge, and then we ran parallel with the main line into the station.

The Maidstone Marauder

And then back again.

Once back in Tunbridge wells, the rain began to fall heavily, so we headed into the engine shed for some refreshment, which turned out to be a bbq and the beer festival. Maybe ten fifteen was a little too early for beer, but the beer went down well, and I had four halves, which set me up for the day.

We took the decision to not ride up the line again, and went back to the car and set off for home. On the way back we stopped of at Pembury Old Church but found it locked once more. This is the third time we have called here and each time it has been locked.

We had more luck at Wateringbury which we found unlocked and being cleaned by the churchwardens. So, I took my shots, and looked at the fine memorials and collection of 13 banners.

After leaving the church we stop off at the village pub, The Wateringbury, just to confuse matters, to have lunch, which as we were both hungry turned into a full meal, although we did bail on creme brulee for dessert.

It was a long drive home for Jools, and tricky as the rain hammered down, and traffic on the motorway was like driving in mist due to the spay. But, she got us back safe, time enough to put the kettle on and settle on the sofa to listen to kick off in the 3 o'clock kick offs. Sadly, Norwich met Arsenal when they put in the performance of the season so far, and City were put to the sword 4-1. It could have been more, but at times City played well. Despite being second from bottom, we are just two points from mid-table, this still only being the 8th game of the season, but we really do need to start winning games again.

And so ended another wonderful Saturday: trains, churches, beer festival. What more could I ask for?

Friday, 18 October 2013

Friday 18th October 2013

One huuundred and eeeeightyyyyyyyy.

Yes, welcome to blog #180 for the year 2013. More blogs written in this year than any other years so far. Or at least by me. It has been quite a year, but then they all seem to have been, and then much more interesting stuff in the last two months of the year before we can put our feet up and celebrate Crimble.

Offroader in the mist

Until then it is work, work, work all the way. For the most part. And there will be meetings. Lots of meetings.And minutes of meetings. And agendas for future meetings. And so on.

But for now, I have just been enjoying the moment, with the news of the pay rise this week. Sorry to bang on about it, but it really is quite big news. As I said last night it's like someone saying they will pay the mortgage for us from now on. Its that big.

I'll go to the end of our street

And today: well, today I worked from home, clearing up the mess on the current project, number crunching and seeing where we are as the year draws to an end. I had to head off to the doctors too, as the infection in my leg has come back. Again. So, instead of driving, I walked over the fields to the surgery, then sat amongst the elderly waiting for my turn with the doctor. I heard some gossip several times, but that is fine. And good to know that there are still people who have grown up and old in the village and still call it home.

Ivy on the gate

The doctor gave me more drugs, more creams and lotions and potions, and after waiting for them from the pharmacist, I headed off back home. Walking up, there had been thick fog which had risen shortly after dawn, but the sun had broken through and it felt warm enough in the still air to take off my coat.

To the fields

And so I worked through the afternoon, crunching more numbers, firing off shit-o-grams and then at four, that was it, no more work. Turn off the lap top, and let the weekend begin. Chapel Lane

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thursday 17th October 2013

So, let me recap these past 24 hours:

I get told I got the biggest payrise I have ever received. Even bigger than when I passed my fitter’s course in the RAF. That I asked for this payrise means that I can take a considerable amount of satisfaction from this turn of events. In the short term we will see no real difference, other than we can pay off the debts we have built up this year just by surviving. Well, I say surviving, but of course we have done things, travelled to places. And we have a lovely new bathroom and a fine new garden wall.


In the long term it will mean being able to repair more of the house, save some money, buy a new camera and so on. And on. Jeez what responsibility!

We were already going out for dinner last night. Well, Weatherspoon’s annual Real Ale festival began, so we went to their new place in Deal, The Norman Wisdom, a typical Weatherpoons, but nice enough. Ale at two fifty a pint, and a good selection. And over the next two weeks there will be some 50 ales to try. We had dinner, I had three beers, including Shepherd Neame’s Spooky Ale, nice enough. Three is usually my limit as I have such a low capacity really, so we went home (Jools drove).

We sat down to watch the first couple of episodes of State of Play, which I bought on DVD at the weekend. Quite how I missed this wonderful series a decade ago is beyond me. Gripping stuff and so I guess we shall watch two more tonight.

Whilst we were watching TV, we had 5 badgers outside cleaning up the birdfood and fat balls.

And so ended a rather momentous day.

And in other news, on Tuesday, England qualified for the World Cup. Like at football.

I have been the harshest critic of the England team over the past few years, and of how they have been packing in, say: passion, skill, commitment. And so a week ago, all England had to do was win their last two games against Montenegro and Poland. England strolled to victory in the first game, so on Tuesday all they had to do was beat Poland.

Some 40 years ago, the same Polish team, well not the same team, different set of players, etc, stood between England and the world cup in West Germany, and as Brian Clough described, the goalkeeper was a 'clown with goalkeeping gloves'. History tells us that the clown kept a clean sheet and Poland won 1-0. That since then England have won all 5 of the games between the countries, it is still said they are our bogey side.

Really? Maybe they think that of us. Well, England played well, and although shaky at times, did more than enough to win. A 2-0 victory secured with a last minute goal from Stevie G. It does paper over the cracks, but we did qualify on top of the group, and conceded just the four goals. We're not one of the top seeds at the finals, but then I don't think we would claim to be.

I think the team did well enough when the pressure was on to cut them some slack, they did good. More than well enough to qualify. Lets see how they do next summer now....

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wednesday 16th October 2013

A few weeks ago, you may remember that I was offered a job on a new construction project within the company. I accepted, but then thought about the fact I have been essentially on the same wages for three years now, and my role and more importantly responsibilities have grown considerably. So, I went to my boss and said I wanted more money. I said it nicely, and he said he would think about it.

Several times he called me up to see how much I really earned. Whether he was deciding if was being cheeky or so vastly underpaid he couldn’t believe it, I don’t know. So, anyway, for the last couple of weeks I have been promised by him news of said pay rise. I said OK and thought little of it.

And so this morning, I get a call from my line manager to tell me the news. And I became quite emotional when I was told the result: something like a 43% increase effective from the beginning of next month.

I found myself looking at Amazon a few minutes later looking at DSLR bodies. 7D or 70D? Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tuesday 15th October 2013

Robbie Williams is unhappy.

This is in itself is not remarkable. Nor is the reason he is unhappy either.

What has made Robbie unhappy? That Radio 1 have decided not to play any of his current releases in that he is of no interest to their current demographic. Robbie is 39 and his current album is called ‘Swing Both Ways’ and appears to be full of more ‘standard’ covers. Which on first glance indeed would have little of interest to the average 12-29 year old. I mean it doesn’t get my juices flowing either.

Robbie found fame initially as part of Take That and then as a drunken slob and friend of Oasis before suddenly stumbling into stardom with Angles and Let Me Entertain You. And so on. When you think of it, Robbie has been famous since he was a teen, maybe 25 years. And what he has not encountered what most of us come to terms with in time; that we all are getting old. I realised I had outgrown Radio 1 back in about 2002. It did mark the passing of my youth, but I ended up hating the music and the gibberish that Chris Moyles and his posse would spout every morning.

I found Radio 6 and never went back.

One thing to point out however, is that Radio 1’s mantra was ‘in new music we trust’. Now that in itself is not enough. New music for its own sake is not enough. You should understand what has happened before to see if what is happening now is really any good, or are they just being lazy and copying others. I mean, take Jack White. We all like Jack White, he has been around for a decade and so must be at least 30, plays music based on the blues, and not many would really call him original. But you might think that if you have no concept what has come before. Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Led Zeppelin, Jack White. All play versions of the blue, relying on what came before.

But in the meantime, Robbie will deal with his own mortality by covering Sinatra songs, bemoaning the fact Radio won’t play his stuff now. And does any of it really matter? I think there are two types of music: good music and bad music. If something is bad, don’t listen. There’s more than enough good music out there waiting to be discovered to last a lifetime. Several lifetimes.

Annie Lennox is also not happy. And neither is Charlotte Church.

Seems that the music industry is full of sweaty middle aged men all wanting young women to get their kit off and act all sexy. You don’t say? Who’d have thunk it?

It’s been the way of the bizz for decades now, but with you tube and all that on demand stuff, how someone looks is far more important than the music. Oh its true. In the interest of research, I did become the 27 millionth person to watch Miley Cirus’ Wrecking Ball video on you tube to see if was overly sexy. Now, to answer that question it depends on whether you think that licking a sledgehammer is sexy. I like a good sledgehammer, but it really doesn’t float by boat. As it were. Later on she sat astride said wrecking ball stark naked, for which there does not seem to be any other reason other than she could.

Now that Top of the Pops and The Chart Show have finished, and for a long while Sky stopped me from watching music channels not for any other reason other than I refused to pay a pound extra a month. They now provide them free after all. Not that there is much watching from what I saw. Anyway, yes, there is an overtly sexualisation of women by the music industry, and has been for ages, the question now is should videos be rated in the same way films are?


Most probably.


But it should all be about the music, shouldn't it?

And so back to the real world and the wonderful world of wind turbines. Life goes on, and the pressure begins to mount. Which is nice. Meetings begat meetings which begat more meetings. Each day has more and more meetings which require more and more time to write and read minutes and then act upon the agreed outcomes. Such is the modern way.

And so after work, I drive home, pick up Jools, we go home, drink coffee, make dinner, mess around with photos, have a shower, play with cats and then go to bed. Repeat until weekend arrives.

It was dark this morning when we got up. I mean dark with a capital D. As we made breakfast, fed the cats brightness appeared in the east, and by the time I was driving towards Ramsgate it was getting light. It seems that autumn has crept up on us, it only seems a few weeks ago we were sitting on the patio in the twilight at ten in the evening. In nine weeks it will be the shortest day, and in the middle of winter. I am already looking forward to Spring and the arrival of the orchids, butterflies and warm days again. Not helped by a nature documentary we watched last night which was all about spring.

Hmmmm, spring.

So, heading headlong towards the middle of the week and the hump which indicates the beginning of the long gentle slope towards the weekend. And then a week in Denmark next week, and then some more hoibobs and another beer festival.

Yay, beer.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday 13th October 2013

It is Sunday lunchtime, it is so gloomy outside with the low cloud and heavy rain we're thinking of putting the table lamp on. It is hammering down outside, we might get as much as 2 inches by the end of the day. The three cats are all inside, grumbling that it is so wet outside, the air is heavy with the smell of cooking as we have just made a batch of sausage rolls for lunch.

I have just been with my friend, Gary, to Ashford to collect a freezer he bought on a second hand website. So, it was an adventure heading up the M20 in the driving rain and through the standing water to Ashford. And then to find the A28 closed due to a road race, and the house where we had to go was along that road. You could go to Wye and head back the marshall suggested. So, off into the countryside we headed, through water two feet deep in places, to Wye, over the level crossing (we only had to wait for a train a couple of minutes) and back into Ashford, pick up the freezer, load the car and head back to Dover.

This afternoon, we are making Mum a Christmas cake, and apart from that, not much planned, just some photo-editing, reading maybe and then cooking dinner.

Friday night.

So, England played Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier, and played well. One could argue that there wasn't much of an opposition, but they can only beat who lines up against them, and the 4-1 victory really comes with few down points. And so one last game against Poland on Tuesday stands between England and qualification. Whether we'll do any good once there is another matter, but for the time being we shall see.

This week, some 41 months after the debacle in South Africa where England's golden boys were thrashed by a youthful German side 4-1, a score which was flattering to England in reality. So, quite why it has taken the FA so long to create a panel to see what could be done to improve the standards in our young players. The eight panel members include, of all people, Howard Wilkinson, whose views on creative play would fit on the back of a matchbox! Well, we shall see what happens. The Premier league have declined to take part, so as expected, the game is split into three, the FA, the Football League and the Premier League, with each part with their own views and targets. Making the England team better rates very low on the PL's radar.


After weeks and weeks of doing interesting stuff, we decided that this weekend we would just relax. Certainly not head to London or whatever, and just get some chores done. First off was to get me a haircut. Some early morning abuse and sarcasm seems to work well. Which I get at the barbers, and feel half a stone lighter with my barnet mangled. At the same time Jools got the slow puncture in one of the car tyres fixed. Then into town to get some vegetables, and so shop at M&S which meant that we did not have to go to Tesco at all.

Fractal food

we rounded off the visit to the town centre with brunch at La Salle Verte, I had a fine cherry scone was hed down with excellent coffee. Back home to pack the shopping away, listen to fighting Talk on the radio, have lunch and then head out to do some photographic stuff.

One of my Flickr friends had been posting shots of fungi from a wood near Faversham, which sounds better and more inviting than King's Wood, which as nice as it is, is very busy and the fungi have been disappointing these last two years. So, we set off up the A2 past Canterbury, through Faverhsham and then off on the country lane to Doddington.

Four cups

we parked up on the main road, not really knowing where the fungi were, so we set off into the undergrowth, eyes peeled for anything rotting and /or fungi shaped. We headed along a path, past a kid's swing set up on a low branch, and there in the stump of an old tree were fungi. Dozens of small mushroom shaped fungi.


And everywhere we looked there were more fungi, different shapes, colours and sizes. We spent an hour crawling around, amazed at their beauty and being so fragile.

We headed back to Faversham and then back home where I threw something in the oven for early dinner as we by now darn hungry. Outside darkness fell and so we sat on the sofa waiting for the arrival of the badgers and/or foxes. Not very rock and roll but we like it, and wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Friday 11th October 2013

One thing I have not mentioned this week has been the death of one of my Mum’s neighbours, David. David was diagnosed with MS in about 1999, just when I was going back to hers more often (due to another marriage break-up). I remember looking out at him after hearing the news, the and his wife had been given a mobility cart, but at this early stage he looked absolutely fine. Of course, as the years came by, the disease took ever increasing amounts of his life. He coped and remained cheerful enough. More cheerful that I would be knowing they it was only going to get worse as his limbs failed to obey what he wanted.

Many times he got an infection, and the doctor said to prepare for the worse. And every time he bounced back. This year he moved into a nursing home, and so moved into the final days. He passed away last Friday and is now pain free at last. Seeing someone you know and like as a fiend slowly fall to pieces is much harder than to lose someone without warning. Despite smiling and making the most of things, you know he must be distraught with what was happening.

There really is not much more to say, really.

This week, as I said, has seen the arrival of autumn with wind, rain and all the other stuff we love the season for. Daytime temperatures have dropped ten degrees, and now a coat is needed if you go outside, and the thermostat is checked to see if it really is that cold.

It is.

But we are treated to glorious sunrises and sunsets, misty scenery as I drive to work of a morning, Thursday morning I woke up to find that the badgers had really outdone themselves during the night. Last week they had found the chicken carcass in it, and so each night they would try to get inside it, they always managed it, just to see if there was any more chicken about. So I placed bungee cords around the bin and so for a week they had not got in. However, Wednesday night they dragged the bin onto the lawn, got the bungee cords off and threw the bin and rubbish all over the lawn.


Also they have been digging for worms, and so the back lawn is beginning to resemble the Somme. No really, but you know. Last night as I watched The Sky at Night, 5 badgers and a fox came to eat in the front garden, clearing anything up the birds failed to eat during the day. Depite what they do in the back garden, it is wonderful to be so close to them as they eat in the front garden, and as well as them the fox seemed to be braver this evening too, staying for a good two minutes to clear all the old cat food up from a bowl.

Badger Party Aftermath

And so, to the weekend. Steak and chips tonight, and then watch England play in a world cup qualifier later.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thursday 10th October 2013

Hello and welcome to autumn.

Well, it has been officially autumn for some time now, but no one had told the weather, who seemed content enough to allow summer, or a close approximate to it, continue. Butterflies could still be seen, our strawberry plants are back in fruit, and it has been warm enough to sit on the patio sipping coffees or mint juleps. Whatever your poison is.

Listening to the radio forecast on Radio 4 yesterday on my way into work revealed that snow was predicted in Scotland. OK, it may just in Scotland, and even then, just the hilly bits. But snow?

The reality is that we are about ten weeks away from the shortest day of the year, the clocks go back in two and a half weeks, so it will be dark at about five in the afternoon. And so today the wind is blowing, and rain is falling through the early morning sunshine.

Not much to report otherwise. I went out for breakfast yesterday with my old boss, Ian. We went to Ship Shape and had a small fat boys breakfast, we both passed up the chance to have a .mega’ one. Sitting in an archway overlooking the harbour in the bright sunshine was a fine way to spend an hour at work for sure.

And that was it, really: more work, drive back to Dover, pick up Jools, back home, made beans and cheese on toast, watched an episode of Who Do You Think You Are, Jools made a blackberry and apple crumble and then time for bed. All exciting stuff I think you’ll agree.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Tuesday 8th October 2013

It is the end of the 8th October. It has been a wonderfully golden afternoon, after burning the mist off, the sun shone down and the day was once again warm enough to sit outside. Or I would have sat outside had I not have been at work. Instead I sit behind a closed blind as the sun beats down on the harbour and English Channel beyond.

Beware of the Sunday drivers

I mention this as today, or tonight, the weather is to change, and that will signal the end of these salad days. Temperatures are expected to drop ten degrees and then the wind will blow.


And blow.

But for now, we will make the most of these hours of sunshine.


Jools had to head to the old folk’s place to give Nan a shower, so I was able to head straight home, and after washing up and feeding the cats present, I made a pot of coffee and went outside to read the latest issues of When Saturday Comes that had dropped through the letterbox. Scully mooched around my legs, demanding more food, the food in a different place and attention. Once the sun dropped below the house, the shadows became long and chilly, so I headed inside to wait for Jools to return.

Dot dash, dot dash, dot dash

I for dinner I made do with leftovers, in that we had cold turkey and fried potatoes. And scrummy it was too. I mean really good. I even tried Jools’ home-made chutney and found I liked it. A lot.

Once dark we headed to the cliffs to try to photograph the stars as the nights are dark what with it having been new moon on Saturday. It was pitch dark at the monument, but we took a torch and set up our tripods near to the edge of the cliff, but not too close. It is thrilling to hear the waves lapping far below. For a first attempt it was pretty good, and I think I have learned much. I got a good shot of the monument with the glow of Dover’s streetlights in the sky, but most of star shots were slightly blurred, this because my tripod, despite not having been used much, is over 25 years old, and not too stable. Next I hope to try shots with the Sigma instead of the nifty fifty I used last night. Anyway, after an hour of messing about, we headed up home to inspect our shots and settle down to watch the previous night’s Antique Roadshow, this is so we can watch the front garden at the same time so we can watch the badgers come for their breakfast of peanuts and fat balls.

Dover Patrol

And so, Monday ended and the weekend is just four days away.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Monday 7th October 2013

I have been a member of CAMRA for just over a year now, and although I do like the aim of the organisation, and the results it has achieved, actually attending the meetings, the branch meetings, can be a life-sapping experience. I mean I don’t really know what I thought what would happen at a meeting, but I thought it would involve drinking beer and talking about beer. In reality, agendas were kept to, matter discussed and it was all so serious and earnest. Upon reflection, I think earnest is the best word to use. However, once a month they send round a mail detailing all the beer festivals in the area, which is why Jools was dropping me off at Crabble Mill on Friday night, with a tenner in my pocket to spend on beer and cider.

70013 "Oliver Cromwell", The Boradsman, King's Cross station, London 4th October 2013

I was hoping I would meet people I knew, in the end I did, but just in passing, so I would take my beer outside to sip, and mainly people watch. Beer festivals attract a wide range of folks; the card-carrying CAMRA member, the young, the old, the tattooed. And a lot of women. It seems cider is experiencing something of a revival, and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, a glance at the list of ciders will show that most are over 5% and some touching 10% in strength. I like a beer and a drink as anyone, but that is a one way trip to drunk city!

70013 "Oliver Cromwell", The Broadsman, King's Cross station, London, 5th October 2013

I had three pints, watched people stumble about, as you do, and then at nine I went back outside to wait for Jools to come and pick me up. I slept well that night.


We were up before dawn so we could catch the quarter to seven train into London. It always seems to me that I feel we have more time on such mornings than we do. Suddenly it was six fifteen and we have half an hour to get into Dover, park the car, get tickets and board. But, as ever, we have ten minutes to spare before the train glides out of the station and heads into Harbour Tunnel. And an hour or so later we pull into St Pancras station and have a couple of hours to kill before our next train leaves heading north.

London Transport tram #159, Crich Tram Village, Derbyshire

We head over to King’s Cross to see how the new square in front of the station is coming along, now the ramshackle collection of buildings from the 70s have been cleared. Sadly, it wasn’t quite completed, but in places you can get uninterrupted views of Cubitt’s station for the first time since the early part of the 20th century. Back in the station, I look at the departure board and see a service to Norwich being shown. Hmm, no scheduled services to Norwich leave from King’s Cross I think.

Crich Tramway Village, Crich, Derbyshire

We head to platform 5 where a manky class 47 simmers facing the buffers, and I see steam rising at the front of the train outside the trainshed. We walk along the platform to find that an old friend, Oliver Cromwell is waiting to leave for the fine city, and not many people around either. So I get many fine shots, and once the regulator is let out, I get more shots as she hisses and puffs her way out of the platform. That was a bonus.

Crich Tramway Village, Crich, Derbyshire

So afterwards our thoughts turned to breakfast, and the realisation was that I would really like a proper fried breakfast. So, instead of the Italian place we usually go to on the station, we went to the Booking Office, which is part of the hotel. Which in itself should have been a warning to us about the prices. But, we thought what the heck, and so agreed to stump up the £25 a head for an ‘as much as you can eat’ feast. Fruit, a selection of fried food (and the best scrambled egg I have had outside my own kitchen!), waffles, croissants, pain au raisins, and unlimited coffee. We left fifty quid lighter and several pounds heavier!

Crich Tramway Village, Crich, Derbyshire

We waited for a train to be called, then joined the scramble for seats, which was odd as we all had reservations. We were heading to Derbyshire on a railtour to the national tram museum, all in aid of a fine charity. East Midland Trains laid on an HST set for the day, and once at Alfreton, a fleet of coaches were to whisk us to the museum. All rather wonderful.

And indeed it was. We set off and headed up the Midland Main line, or what is left of it. Up through Bedford on to Nottingham and then up to Alfreton. Outside the station, a dozen or so coaches were waiting, so as we were on the carriage furthest from the station exit, we were left with finding a spare seat here and there, but in the end found on coach only half full. So, we were on our way, through villages and towns made of honey-coloured stone, built up the sides of hills. Up through Crich and there was the entrance. Built into the remains of a quarry, the museum has collected a range of buildings and trams, and now that it is approaching 50 years old is looking very mature indeed. It features about a mile of track, and restored trams from various cities in Britain.

Crich Tramway Village, Crich, Derbyshire

First of all we found a seat in front of a fine looking pub, got a couple of drinks in, and then set about demolishing the sausage bread rolls I had made. After the expense of breakfast, not spending another penny the rest of the day was good. We rode trams and I took many photos, which comes as no surprises. Anyway, the afternoon passed, and soon it was four in the afternoon and time to get back on the coaches and head back to the station.

It was all organised so well that we were back at the station with half an hour to spare, filling the platform with hundreds of passengers waiting for the HST to return. The driver of the DMU heading to Norwich must have thought we were all going to try to pile on to his train. But we didn’t want to go to Norwich, we wanted to go home.

Crich Tramway Village, Crich, Derbyshire

So, we piled on the train, took up our seats and settled down as we headed back south as darkness fell, going back via Nottingham, Melton Mowbray and Corby before rejoining the main line and heading back to London in the darkness. At least arriving back at St Pancras we just had to walk to the other side of the station to get our train back home. Sadly, we had just missed a direct service to Dover, so we caught one twenty minutes later changing at Ashford. And we were back in Dover at just past ten, then back home ten minutes later.

Phew, we were shattered.


We lay in bed until Mulder considered it high time we got up and fed him. It was a glorious day, and very warm indeed, once the sun was high it felt like high summer again. We went for a short walk, just along to the glade in search of butterflies. Sadly, there were just a couple of Speckled Woods, but no blues could be seen. The hedgerows are still full of berries. We have picked plenty enough for jams, chutneys and blackberries for crumbles. So we just looked and marvelled at the size of the spiders in their glistening webs.

At lunchtime we headed to Tesco; with the usual chaos this entails. So, with that done I could lay on the sofa and listen to the City game on the radio. A home game against Chelsea was always going to be tough. Despite us being the 18th biggest spenders in all of Europe this summer, Chelsea spent more than we did on all our 8 players signed than they did on a single player. The gap is huge and will only get bigger. We were drawing 1-1 going into the last ten minutes, but conceded two late goals to slump to a 3-1 defeat and slip into the bottom three. Next up is an away game with Arsenal, but I hope after that we might have some winnable games!

In the evening, we had Jools’ brother and family round for dinner: I cooked a turkey crown and all the trimmings. Somehow that took most of the rest of the day. What with the cooking, the eating and the chatting. After clearing up, and they having left, Jools and I sat outside on the patio, it being so warm still, and as it was a new mood, the sky was incredibly dark, and we could see the milky way, all wispy overhead.

And that was your weekend, peeps…..

I suppose I should mention that for the past eight days, I have been generally allergy free; which is nice. As is the massive doses of antibiotics, nay, horse antibiotics I have been on. The redness on my shin is lessening, which is also nice.

I guess one of the things about feeling better is it is only at that point that you realise how crap you felt before. And at times I have felt crap. Really horribly crap. But then it’s something to get through, get up, go to work so you can collapse at the end of the day and do nothing. Now, there is no excuse, and so hopefully the exercise thing will begin again, and then things will really begin to look up.

So, for now I treasure each night of unbroken sleep, and thrill to getting something close to eight glorious hours. It would have been that last night, except Mulder jumping on the bed once again mewing that maybe we should like to forgo the final hour of sleep so we could get up and put some food in his bowl.


But at least I feel human again, and one mostly alive at that.

Which is nice.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Friday 4th October 2013

Hello. My name is Jelltex and I am on drugs.

Prescription drugs. Horse drugs judging by their size. But it is having an effect, I can see my ankle bones again, like I have thin blokes legs. Anyway, so I take drugs for that, and for my allergies, which seem to have dried up with just the one tablet prescribed by that very nice lady doctor. Oh yes, how much better is it when you don’t have to convince the doctor you really are very ill indeed.

Milepost 95

Anyway, the weekend approaches and I am ready for it. We are off on our travels again tomorrow, but I will leave an element of surprise in that I won’t tell you where we are going, but it does involve going by train. So no surprises there yet!

Last night after work I headed out to Martin Mill station to see a steam train passing through. Martin Mill is our local station, from there it is a stunning descent into Dover through the Guston tunnel and down through Buckland, all the while dropping like a stone so that by the time the train reached Dover Priory it is pretty much at sea level. Heading the other way, it a run gently downhill through Walmer, Deal and Sandwich to Minster Junction. Anyway, the train was due at just after half five, which mean 40 minutes before sunset but with rain forecast it could have been tricky with the light.

70000 "Britannia", Martin Mill, Kent

As it was, after Jools’ train headed out to Dover, we were bathed in golden evening sunshine for a while, which boded well for the arrival of Britannia. Sadly the sun had gone by showtime, but she put on a great show as she thundered through the station and then went up Martin Mill bank into the evening mist and gathering gloom.

Later on I headed down to the promenade to pick Jools up from Yoga. This meant driving down Jubilee Way which is only open in one direction, and after following the signs and driving between the lines of cones I found myself on the wrong side of the road with no other traffic to be seen. I began to doubt whether I had missed a road closed sign or something, but as we spiralled from the cliffs and down to the docks, I was taken back to the correct side of the road.

So, all in all this has been a quiet week, the calm before the storm in terms of work I fear.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tuesday 1st October 2013

And so to the last day of September and then the first day of October.

It is now pretty still dark when the alarm goes off at five forty-five, and the sun is just about rising as i head out of Dover on the drive to Ramsgate just before seven. The days are sunny and mild, and feels like early September really. We are still getting a good crop of the raspberry canes, enough for a good dessert every other day, which seems like free food to me.

Some days it feels like I'm falling apart; what with the allergies and this thing on my leg flaring up again, I just don't want to feel this crappy any more. So, I went to see the quack yesterday. Quackess really, and she listened to me and was surprised the other doctor at the surgery had not prescribed some drugs for me last year. Have some drugs she said.


And then my leg. The infection is back. Better go to the hospital, let me make you an appointment. She rang up and got me one for Tuesday afternoon. And in light of the row in the US over Obamacare, this was all free for me, I did not have to flash my BUPA card.

So today I headed to the hospital at Canterbury, went to the clinic, was asked all these questions, went to to have a scan at the other end of the hospital, walked back to the clinic holding the results in my hand so the nurse could tell me the results. The result is no clots, just an infection, so more drugs for me! But this time i was given them free instead of the prescription the day before.

An hour after waking up on Monday morning, my nose and sinuses cleared and it was if I had never been well, but the result of the dreadful nights sleep was me yawning all day trying to stay awake as I number crunched the data at the end of month and end of quarter.

Just a word on now that darkness falls about half six in the evening, the badgers and foxes are now around at a reasonable time, so we get to see them. In fact the first badger was around at twenty past seven on Sunday. Last night they managed to break into the food bin to get the chicken carcass out