Thursday, 31 July 2014

Thursday 31st July 2014


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

Operation "Big Job": day two.

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

Operation "Big Job": day two.

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

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

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

Operation "Big Job": day two.

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

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wednesday 30th July 2014


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

Operation "Big Job"

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

Operation "Big Job"

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

Wall Brown, Lasiommata megera

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

Marbled White, Melanargia galathea

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

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

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

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tuesday 29th July 2014

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

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


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

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

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

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

Rainy days and Mondays

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

Monday, 28 July 2014

Monday 28th July 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014


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

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

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

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

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

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

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

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis Purpurata

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Friday 25th July 2014


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

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

Evening Walk

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

Evening Walk

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

Evening Walk

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

So it goes.


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

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

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

Brown Argus, Aricia agestis

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

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Thursday 24th July 2014


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wednesday 23rd July 2014


Heading into the office in Ramsgate is a pleasure I had almost forgotten. And yet after mixing it with the maniacs driving to Westward Cross soon wrung the pleasure from that. You have to drive at their speeds to be able to get into the correct lanes, and if all is very tiresome. But now that the ferry port has closed, the drive through the tunnel to the office is very quiet, only disturbed by the pigeons roosting my passing spooked.

Garden poppies

Once in the office I found all the monkeys in, and being their usual selves. Seems the wind is in the north, and the swell is too high for landings out on the farm, so they bicker and the suchlike until they are allowed home at half two.

I get into work, and soon the morning speeds past, I almost am able to ignore the monkeys, but then not quite. As I was about to lose my desk, I left at one and drove home in the wonderfully warm summer sunshine, through light traffic and with all windows in the car wound down.

Peacock butterfly, Aglais io

I work away in the afternoon, and it is even too warm to sit outside. At five I go to collect Jools from the factory, only to find a lorry had managed to get stuck coming out of St Radigan’s. As it happens. A police car stopped in front of us to allow the road to be clear so the lorry could turn. It was almost exciting.

Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta

Once back home, we awaited the arrivals of the builders, as the second phase of the renovation is about to begin, the complete recovering of all the exterior walls, and the discovery of defects unknown which lurk under the current coating. So, the house will be terracotta come September, and have some new windows, a new car port, and our savings will be empty again, but the house will be weather-proof for hopefully 20 years.

We stood outside with the builders as they helped me reduce the stock of beer in the fridge, as it was so warm outside on the patio, it was just a pleasure drinking cold beer in the evening sunshine. So, work is due to begin on Monday, and things will not be the same again.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tuesday 22nd July 2014


What an unusual feeling, being a Monday and not having to pack, get ready to catch a train and head to Denmark, Germany, Sweden or China. In fact I have a whole luxurious week stretching ahead of me at home. In fact, it is possible I could have, wait for it, a whole month at home, maybe until after the late summer bank holiday.


Tell that to the young folks today, and they won't believe you.

To add a even better, ermine trimmed feeling for the day, I worked from home on Monday. Not even having to put any trousers on. I did though, as the postman usually complains.

Work was filled with not having to organise audits, arranging coordination meetings and the such, which it seems all my time since the beginning of April has been filled with. Odd.

At the end of the day, Jools came home, and after salad for dinner we sat down to watch the Lego Movie on Sky. And it was very much as good as we hoped it would be.

Everything is, indeed, awesome.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Monday 21st July 2014


And on what should have been a splendid first day of a weekend of doing what I wanted when I wanted it turned into an episode of The Young Ones, mostly the episode ‘sick’ as I was most certainly ‘under the weather’. It all began on Friday morning, as I developed a sore throat, the unmistakable first sign of impending sneezes and chesty coughs. I coped all well and good through the day, but the combination of poor breathing and a temperature of 21 degrees in the house meant sleep took a long while to come and last less than four hours. I was up at four in the morning, and so flagged during the day as tiredness took over.

The weather forecast was poor for the day, with brightness in the afternoon, but with heavy and potentially thundery showers too. So, we did little during the morning, I played many old CDs I have not listened to in years, revisiting them as Jools told me I should listen to music more, not just radio. So, as the day went on we listened to various albums by The Clash, Arcade Fire, Bunnymen and more lesser listened to stuff too. The day passed, whilst outside the skies darkened once again with the promise of more storms.

I logged onto a site that records lightning strikes, and as the afternoon wore on into evening, I tracked the storms as they moved up the north French coast an into the Channel. We heard the thunder first, rolling around the skies like a distant battle, but then we saw the flashes of lightning. As the evening wore on, the storm got nearer, but not as near, or as fierce as the previous evening’s, but the rain was certainly harder. We switched off all the lights and watched the storms head up through the Channel until they dies out, and one of our neighbours moved their party into the garden, the whoops and snatches of 80s pop hits made me reach for the ear plugs, until sleep took me.


Well, the forecast was better, and so we decided to head up to the north of the county in search of another orchid. Once out of bed, I looked out to see blue skies above, better than expected. But in the time it took me to get downstairs to put the coffee on, fog was rolling in, obscuring the village and the rest of the world.

The Lavender Line

We decided to go anyway, and loaded the car with camera gear and set off, the fog clearing as we headed north up the motorway, and once we were north of Ashford, there was even hints of patches of blue between the cloud. So we headed up right to the M25, then turned off, looking for the one spot in all of the SE where a small green flowering orchid can be seen.

Green-flowered Helleborine, Epipactis phyllanthes ver. degenera

We had directions, which were very accurate indeed, however, we mis-read them which resulted us in being about a mile out, but opposite a large field of Lavender, which meant that if nothing else, I would have fine shots of that if we failed to find the orchids. Jools went on a hunt, re-read the instructions once more, and found them in a few minutes.

Green-flowered Helleborine, Epipactis phyllanthes ver. degenera

The Green-flowered Helleborines is rare as I said before, I suppose it is a medium sized orchid, clearly a Hellebornine, but to the casual observer, maybe even an orchid fanatic, could walk past and not realise. Where we looked, there were about 20 spikes, so we both got down to work snapping away. I suppose those who live nearby are used to macro-photographers on their hands and knees at this spot. But then again, maybe they just think we’re weird.

Green-flowered Helleborine, Epipactis phyllanthes ver. degenera

We headed back down the A20, then cross-country to another nature reserve, where there can be found some rather robust Broad-leafed, out in the open in a clearing in the middle of an ancient wood, situated on a chalk hillside. We parked up, and set out into the wood, with the sun threatening to break through the light cloud cover and make for perfect orchid snapping conditions.

Broad-leafed Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine

We found the orchids with no trouble, some were nearing two feet high, and jam-packed with blooms. It was easy to get shots, even if in the now bright sunlight, my perspiration causing both my glasses and viewfinder to steam up, so shots were by guesswork at times.

The clearing was a delight, filled with woodland and heath butterflies, I managed to snap another Ringlet, before we decided that we had what we wanted and we could hear lunch calling. So, back to the car and into the heavy traffic heading to Margate and the coast, before we turned off and went down past Canterbury and home.

Home where the fog still shrouded everything, and yet it was humid. I dished up the remainder of the pasta salad I cooked the day before, so within ten minutes of getting home, we were tucking into a fine lunch, perfect as we both had skipped breakfast and were rather hungry.

That evening we settled down to watch the final Monty Python show on UK Gold, which I discovered was on by pure chance was don’t watch that much TV or really care about what is on. So, we watched the show, and it was OK< and I smiled a bit, and laughed mostly in anticipation as the realisation as to which sketch was coming up next. Who could begrudge them a final hurrah, after what they did for comedy? Not me. Sadly, broadcasting rules meant that some of the material broadcast before nine had to be bleeped out as things like lady’s gardens and the such is still a non-no. So things have not moved on so much after all, perhaps?

A one, two
A one, two, three, four

Half a bee, philosophically
Must, ipso facto, half not be
But half the bee has got to be
A vis-a-vis its entity, d'you see?

But can a bee be said to be
Or not to be an entire bee
When half the bee is not a bee
Due to some ancient injury?


A laa dee dee, a one two three
Eric, the half a bee
A, B, C, D, E, F, G Eric, the half a bee

Is this wretched demi-bee
Half asleep upon my knee
Some freak from a menagerie?
No! It's Eric, the half a bee

A fiddle de dum, a fiddle de dee
Eric, the half a bee
Hoh hoh hoh, tee hee hee
Eric, the half a bee

I love this hive, employee
Bisected accidentally
One summer afternoon, by me
I love him carnally

He loves him carnally
The end

Cyril Connelly?
No, semi-carnally
Oh, Cyril Connelly

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday 20th July 2014


I woke with the sun streaming through the curtains of another hotel room window. Oh well, home tonight and this time for more than a few days. If I'm lucky.

I hadn't really unpacked the previous night, so I get dressed, pile the rest of my stuff in the case and head down to check out.

after breakfast I head to the car, get in, turn the key and nothing happened. I turned the key again. Nothing. I looked at the dash for any clues as to what could have been wrong. Nothing. I try waiting 20 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute to see if this would reset the system. Or whatever was wrong. Nothing worked this time, i even tried to rock the car, bump start it and nothing. At eight I called the car hire place and they said, oh if its a Toyota, there's a micro-sensor on the clutch, it has to be pressed ALL the way in.

So with my foot almost through the floor whilst depressing the clutch, I turned the key, and the engine fired up straight away. I said thanks to the guy on the phone and silently cursed myself for having wasted 40 minutes that morning alone by something so simple. I headed into the office in the light traffic, and was at my desk in 15 minutes. I prepared the meeting room, checked the projector, and all was set for the meeting.

The day passed and so half two rolled round, I closed the meeting and we all shock hands on what was a good day, and hopefully we can move forward. Most of us had flights to catch, so we all waved at each other as we left the car park and headed to the motorway and south to Billund.

At least with the holiday season in full swing, the roads were quiet enough, and I made good time in getting to Billund. I had two hours to spare as I checked in, but the Danes are all in holiday mode, all leaving from Billund heading for some summer sunshine, and therefore all in front of me in the queue for security. In the end it took a few minutes longer, and I headed up the business lounge were my old boss was waiting and he could sign me in so i could get free beer and nibbles.

Yay, free beer!

We chat a little, but we have to be guarded as sitting with us are some more customers, and so all is well and we smile. I smile as I drink the free beer, but then I always smile when I drink beer.

The flight is called and I head through immigration to the gate, there are just ten of us on the plane, so there is the opposite of a charge when we were told we could board. Two businessmen behind me have four bottles of wine during the flight, and talk louder and louder as we near London. And the swearing increases too.

The pilot announces it is 31 degrees and clear in London, after which I think how pleasant it will be on the trains once we land.

In the end it wasn't so bad, I even get a seat on the DLR and I arrive with 5 minutes to spare to catch the ten to seven train, which means I will be home even earlier. And I get a seat on that too, facing the right way and on the right side of the train too. The air con is all the way up and cool enough for me. I close my eyes as we head out under East London and onto the Essex marshes before heading under the river and into Kent.

Riders on the storm

As we head into Folkestone, the sky is clouding over, and the sky looks darker over France cross the Channel, maybe we would see rain before the evening is done I think. More right than I could imagine.

Storm front

Jools is waiting at the station, and we head home into the increasing gloom. Once home we make a brew and have scotch eggs for supper. Looking outside it seems fine enough, so as we go outside I see the jet black sky underlined with a long white cloud. Even though there was no wind, this cloud was rushing towards us. We stood and watched, as did our neighbours as the cloud approached, a long white cloud stretching over the cliffs to France. As it passed over the wind began, and in a few seconds a gale is blowing, trying to push the hedge and tree over.

Clouds on clouds

The sky now darkens further, and lightning can be seen and thunder rumbles all around. The mother of storms seems to be brewing, and with the wind now up, it seems just moments before we will see the storm. But it takes its time, but the gap between the lightning and thunder lessens, until we see a curtain of rain heading our way, and then it is upon is. Lightning flashes and day has been turned into night. I try to get some shots to show how incredible it was.

Storm over St Margaret's

Night fell and the storm raged, moving off back into the channel, so we headed to bed.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saturday 19th July 2014


Just like Tuesday, with the same players, the same script. Endless auditing.

I get up, meet anni for breakfast, drive to the factory ready for the day. It is a glorious day once again, if anything even hotter than the day before, and the sun shone down from a clear blue sky. Nothing I felt like less doing was sitting in an office talking, listening. We did do a tour of the factory, which involved looking at their paint shot, which meant going in the curing room, which was set to 43 degrees. Jeez that was warm, outside seemed cool. Varde, Denmark

In the afternoon I drive down to Esbjerg to meet with my boss, and give him an update. He has an update for me too, which gives me more than a little to think about. I drive back to Varde, park up, get change and grab my camera and go for a walk around the town. It is a pleasant place, cobbled streets, a church, railway station, an old warf and the usual mix of old a new. The shops in the centre of town seem to be thriving, which is good as the 'shopping mecca' of Esbjerg is just a few kilometres drive away.

Varde, Denmark

Back at the hotel I have dinner on the terrace, sipping local beer whilst I wait for the chilli to arrive. It is a perfect evening, I have the terrace to myself, so I celebrate with a second bottle of beer.

Varde, Denmark


I check out of the hotel, pay the bill, load the car and drive down to Esbjerg for more auditing action. Once again it is a glorious day, and there is nothing I feel like less than being cooped up in the office. At least we finish at three, and so I am free, free to drive to Arhus so I can be in place for the next audit in the morning. Or I would if I could just get the car started. I turn the key for twenty minutes before it bursts into life. I think I know what the reason is, so I am sure if it happened again I could get the car going.

I drive along to Velje, and up the motorway to Arhus and the hotel on the ring road. The car park is nearly empty, so i park near what should be the entrance, but they have the builders in, so the entrance is round the back. And getting to the lifts, restaurant means a long convoluted walk along bland corridors.

I sit outside in the evening sunshine, sipping dark larger and munching on the inevitable burger and fries, which was dinner. Back in my room I can't be bothered with e mails, so listen to some radio for a while, then am in bed for half nine, outside the late evening sunshine still casts shadows through the curtains.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday 18th July 2014

It is Thursday evening, I’m sitting in my room in my pants having just come up from dinner. I was wearing my trousers when I went for dinner, I’ll have you know. I am in the fine city of Arhus, I would have gone into the city centre, but there’s a jazz festival on and the parking is even worse than normal, so I thought I would write a few lines of the blog. I am off home tomorrow, which is good. And if I’m lucky I might spend up to and maybe even more than two weeks at home, with no travel other than orchid hunting to get in the way.

To make matters worse, I am full of cold, or full of the beginning of a cold, which is not nice. But does make a change from an allergic reaction, and so variety is the spice of life. Or mine.


IN a change, I have an evening flight, which means I get to spend the day, or most of it at home, before heading to LCY. I catch up on my mails, pamper the cats, and generally while away the day until it is time to load up the car, head to the factory to collect Jools so she can drive said car home when I get on the train. Whick is what happened, and nothing much exciting happened, other than the usual mix of crap and careless drivers. Heck, someone had managed to crash into one of the few telegraph poles on the road to Westcliffe. Good shot as they are many yards apart.

It says much about my frequent travels that a flight to Denmark does not quicken the pace. Thinking I forgot something, like my passport does of course. Although I haven’t, so I get off at Stratford, head onto the DLR, past the Olympic Stadium which is still being worked on, being converted to a football stadium for the ‘Happy’ Hammers.

At the airport there is another one of them power failures, so cases are stacked everywhere, in the hope the baggage system will work again soon. I leave my bags hoping it will make it to Billund on my flight, otherwise it would get smelly. I get through security, and head to the Italian place for dinner, which turned out to be overpriced lamb and cous cous. Which was nice as the company would be paying. I also had an overpriced beer too, it seemed only right.

We boarded the flight, and it was packed, as for the duration of the Danish holiday season it was the only flight of the day, hence me travelling at night. We leapt into the air, banked high over the east end with fine views of The City in the warm evening light, before heading into the clouds leaving dear old blighty far below.

Sadly, Denmark was hidden under huge banks of clouds and the rain was falling steadily. In fact, Denmark was hidden just before we landed, with the muted tones of the Danish countryside a few tens of metres below. Once down, I collect the keys for the car, from a different country just to keep me on my toes. I have a Toyota for the week, which will be interesting, but more of that later.

It was a 40 minute drive to the hotel in Varde, I follow the sat nav, and so we pass down deserted roads and through deserted villages until I arrived in Varde and the doors of the hotel.

‘For night service, please ring the following number’. Read the sign. So I called, I was given the combination to the key safe, got my room keys and told where the room was. The hotel was empty and in darkness. In the room, there was no kettle, so no drinks. So I powered up the laptop, wrote a mail and went to bed.


I wake up, go to meet Anni for breakfast, and then we head to the factory for another hard day at the audit face, getting our fingers dirty as we audit away, or watch while someone else does. It is a slow and laborious process which seems to take forever. I call a end to the day at half four, and so we head back to the hotel, but I am going to spend the evening back round Shelly’s, as she has invited me for dinner, a lack of sleep and feeling like crap meant I stuck to Coke, or Pepsi for the evening, and drove home at a sensible time and was in bed by half nine.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Monday 14th July 2014


A day off, and able to lay in bed all day if we wanted!

Outside it was dark and overcast, but at least the rain held off.

After breakfast we decide to head out, and for me to get back on the train of those darned Kentish Orchids. The orchid season is short, at least the peak is, from the emergence of the first Early Spiders until the end of the main season when the Common Spotted, Fragrant, etc fade is about six week, this year that main season lasted from the second week in April until the beginning of June, some seven weeks. After then there is a lull until the Helleborines show, which this year means that the Marsh came out in the middle of June, and the others have now started to show. It is odd then, that the most common of Helleborines, the Broad-leaf, I have never photographed before. Quite why this is, I can’t explain, but the Broad-leaf is very common, like always, if you know where to look.

Broad Leaf Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine

So we took a trip up the A2, past Canterbury to a site we have been to before, but mainly to see Early Purples. Anyway, after dodging roadworks and some agricultural show traffic, we turned off the main road, and quickly we were on a narrow lane carved into the chalk hillside. Parking is always troublesome here, but we find a place on the side of the road, and head off following the directions I had been given. And exactly where I was told where they were, there they were! Result.

Broad Leaf Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine

At first I could only see spikes, spikes that had yet to open, but in time, after searching, right on the side of the lane, I found two that had flowers open. It was, however, very dark. I ramped up the ISO to 10,000, used the mini tripod and so got some shots, not brilliant, but still. We had found what we were looking for.

Broad Leaf Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine

Happy with that, we set off for another site, so I could check on the progress of the Violet Helloborine. The Violet is rare, and only grows in a couple of remote locations in Kent. But it is a nice walk over the fields to the wood where they should be found. So, after braving the Canterbury taffic, we head back out into the country, head down more, narrower lanes until we come to the parish church, beside which is the lane leading to the the wood.

A walk in the Kentish Downs

It is about a mile or so along the lane, but it has fine views into the valley below, even if after the heavy rain it was partly hidden by mist. In the hedgerows, cobwebs were strung with drops of dew, some of which we did snap of course. As the rain had stopped, the air was full of hungry insects and bugs, all of wich I tried to snap if they landed.

Into the wood, and it was so gloomy in there. We walk along the track, trying to remember what it was like last year, and finding no trace, until right on the side of the track was a single, but strong spike, not quite out, maybe two weeks away. Despite hinting all around, we found no other spikes, but then it is some six weeks earlier than when we were here last, last year. Maybe more will show.

Violet Helleborine, Epipactis purpurata

Back along the track to the car, and then off to find a pub in which to quench our thirst and maybe have lunch. In the end we arrive at the Compasses Inn, only to find them preparing for a wedding and there being no food. But they do have beer and crisps! So, we take them outside to sit in the outside, still cloudy, but getting humid.

Worlds upon worlds

One final call was at a very well known site, as I wanted to check on a Broad-leaf that we saw growing in June, and had no pigmination, which is rare. Sadly, it seems to have died off, so I walk along the track some more and find many more Broad-leaf, stronger than in the open as opposed to being in shade. I will return in a couple of weeks to snap them on a sunny day, when they should all be open.

We head home, and reward our excursions with coffee and limoncello and grappa tart. Which is always nice.

That night I settle down to watch the 3rd place play off game, and Holland cruise to a 3-0 win against Brasil, to complete a dreadful week for the hosts. Brasil played poorly, and showed they learned nothing from the thrashing against Germany. Oh well.


Another overcast day, which is just typical for a weekend I suppose. Looking at the weather forecast shows it to be gloriously sunny on Monday, just in time for heading back to work.

At half ten we head out in the car so I could snap the local Marsh Hellebornines near Sandwich. There was no wind, which means that even in the poor light, the spikes should not move so I should get some good shots. In the end it was just as well I went when I did, because after parking up and seeking permission form the office to head to the orchid meadow, I find the place overgrown and many of the spikes already dying off. There were just enough to allow me to get shots, and so tick another Kentish Orchid off the list for the year, but I got soaked walking through the meadow and laying down to get the shots. Oh well.

Marsh Helleborine, Epipactis palustris

With that, we head home to have some lunch, and then a hard day’s relaxing stretched out before us. Jools did some gardening, and I did, well, nothing, and it took me all afternoon to do it. Dad and Jen were to come round in the evening for dinner, so at four I began to prepare dinner, roast beef and all the trimmings. And so went the rest of the afternoon and early evening.

Marsh Helleborine, Epipactis palustris

At half seven, it was time to get ready for the big game. The biggest game, the final. Dad and Jen left with slices of tart, and I settled down and tried to stay awake through the first half. Although it was not that end to end, finals seldom are, it was gripping stuff, and Argentina missed two clear cut chances, but Germany had the majority of the possession and were pretty much in control. The game went into extra time, then with seven minutes to go, Germany scored a brilliant goal to win the game and the trophy. No way back to Argentina who began to kick and lash out.

And that was three days at home. I am off on my travels once again tomorrow, so I will see you at the weekend, the start of several weeks at home if I am lucky. I need the break to be honest.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday 13th July 2014 (part 2)


I awoke to my last morning in Denmark for what, four days? And the sun shone in through the curtains. I sprang out of bed, had a shower and got ready for the day ahead. Packed the case, went down to the reception, checked out, packed the car and went for breakfast before heading out onto O2 braving the rush hour traffic.

Only it being holiday season, the traffic was a shadow of its normal self. I went into the office, and started working away, trying to get a week's worth of work done in half a day, or as best as I can. The office was more than half deserted as many have already headed off to the sunshine on annual vacation, leaving the rest of us to guess what the plan is.

Anyway, it got to half one, I feel in control, which is always nice, and decide to head to the airport early, and if the traffic allows, I might head back to Jelling for a look at the chalk wall paintings in the church. So, I walk to the car, inside it is like a greenhouse with the temperature reading 31 degrees. I open both windows and head off past the old head office and onto the motorway and head south.

I have plenty of time, so I cruise along at 100 kph, which is just pleasant enough. And very stress-free too. I head off at j57, along to the start of the motorway, before turning off to Jelling. It is a 10km run into the village, I know it well now, and so without fuss i am parked outside the supermarket, getting the camera out the back and heading past the shops and the burial mound to the church.

I am the only one inside, so i get the shots before heading back outside, I snap the runestones before looking up at the mound and thinking, I really should climb that. So I did. Happy with that, I climb back down again, head to the car and make for the airport.

Of course, with it being holiday season, Billund is packed, so I park up, head to the car hire place, drop the keys off and go to the self service machine to get my boarding pass. Next drop my new case off at the BA desk, head to security, and there I am. With over two hours to kill.

I look up at the gastrobar, and see many seats for a change, so I head up, order a large Hoegaarden and chat with my mate Pav who is about to emigrate to Canada. Pav is the barman, but we always chat if he is on duty, it won't be the same without him, but he has hopes and dreams of a new life in the even more frozen north. Good luck, mate.

At ten to five, I make my way to the gate ready for boarding. I bump into my friend Gary who is working on another project for us, and we swap news. He is about to move to darkest Kent in Broadstairs, so we will be travelling back on the same trains soon if we bump into each other again.

Onto the plane, and once loaded we taxi off. It comes as a surprise to hear the pilot say it is cold and raining in London, not the 31 degrees it is here, last chance to get off! all was clear as we flew down over Denmark and then over Holland and over the North Sea. But then the clouds rolled in beneath us. And as we neared the coast the clouds towered before us, meaning it would be a damp and bumpy final approach for us.

we were just a few hundred yards above ground when the ground came into view. I recognise it as Chatham, and the River Medway. Quickly the plane bans round to north and we head to the Thames and our final approach. The Dartford Crossing is heaving, the bridge jammed with traffic.

Down and down we go, until gravity takes us the final few feet onto the runway, and we're home. Or nearly there anyway. We have to wait an age for a slot, then for the bags to be unloaded and a bus to take us to the terminal. But once there, we get through immigration quickly, my case is waiting, and I'm on my way to the station. I see I probably won't make the five to seven train, but the quarterpast will be easy.

In the end I even have time to head to the coffee shop in Stratford for a coffee and a cold sausage roll before I head down to the platform ready for the train to whisk me home. Not only is the train not full, but I get a seat by a wndow, on the right side for me, and facing forward. And off we go, whilst somewhere behind me, a party is underway as some people crack open a bottle of wine and start some tuneless singing.

Outside, the rain falls heavier and heavier. It is still pouring as we pull into dover. Jools is waiting and so I make a dash for the car, dump the new case in the back, my work bag on the back seat and myself into the passenger seat. Done, nearly home now.

We head upto St Maggies, along flooded roads, Connaught hill turning into a river as the water runs down it. Once inside I ask, where's the cats, and turns out they're all asleep upstairs. In time MOlly comes down to see wha the noise is, and turns out it is I, returned.

She does make a fuss, and accepts being picked up, fussed over and her fur being ruffled. Time enough for a huge cup of tea, a scotch egg before its time for the day to end.


I decide to work from home, get my mails written and the meetings done, then maybe head out in the afternoon if the weather allowed. In the end the weather did not allow and the rain continues all day, and being generally grey and damp. Yuk. I am told it is still 31 degrees in Esbjerg.

Part of the way through the day, as i was in an important meeting on the communicator, Mulder brings in a mouse. Alive. And drops it at my feet, the mouse runs under the open suitcase on the floor. Mulder then spends half an hour jumping over the case over and over again, in the hope of chasing the mouse out. The mouse is nowhere to be seen. Later, I pick up the case, closing both sides and see the mouse just sitting there. I grab it before it realises it, and take it outside, letting it scamper for the undergrowth, it gets to live another day.

I get work done by one, so switch the works computer off, make some dinner and settle on the sofa ready for some serious wittertainmant. Just like old days, let the weekend begin.

I pick Jools up at half four, we head home and have a coffee, and a slice of Limoncello and Grappa tart that i had managed to rustle up inbetween meetings in the morning. How clever I am. It is wonderful with a pot of fresh coffee.

Sunday 13th July 2014


I wake up, refreshed. More work, but then it is just a two minute drive to the factory, and I can lay in bed until gone seven, as we have to be there at eight.

I head to breakfast, which involves a bit of a hunt, as despite the breakfast room being beside the dining room, to get to it means walking three quarters of the way round the hotel. Up steps, down steps. And there we are.

Once fed and watered, I gird my loins and head to the factory. I meet Anni and so we go in so we can brief the people we are to meet and wait for the client.

Once again I will skip the details, so we pick up again at half five in the afternoon, as everyone else has gone home, and so we head to our cars in the deserted car park for the short drive back to the hotel. I was shocked to see every parking space taken, it seems the hotel had been almost empty the night before, now there were many more guests.

Ringkøbing, Denmark

I check the internet connection and find that it is almost non-existent, and so give up and head for dinner at six, where the dining room is already filling up. At least they have a salad bar, which enables me to eat healthily, although this is partly ruined by another big bottle of Danish beer.

Ringkøbing, Denmark

Back in the room, the internet connection is as bad as ever, so I give up and watch CSI on TV, which was really not very good, so I give up on that and head to bed at half nine.


Another day at work. I meet Anni for breakfast just gone seven, then we head to the factory once again. If we were lucky, the third day would be cancelled as they will have been happy with what they have seen. Ringkøbing, Denmark

And that is indeed what happened. At four, it was all over, we all shook hands and the client heads out. Phew. Another good day. Anni can now head home a day early, but I have to stay as my next hotel is not booked until the next night. So I drive back the hotel, try the internet, which is barely working, so after snooze, I head out for a walk round the harbour and the town centre before dinner.

Ringkøbing, Denmark

Ringkobing has a working harbour, just small boats, but it is good to see. Also there is a number of fishermen’s shacks beside the harbour. I am sure some are now holiday homes, but many still in use for storage of nets and other fishing gear. The church is closed, but then it is half six, so no surprise. I walk back to the hotel for dinner.

Ringkøbing, Denmark

The buffet is much sparser than the previous night, and so I have half a plateful of salad before hitting the cheeseboard, and celebrating by having a second pint of beer to wash the cheese down with.

Ringkøbing, Denmark

Back in my room I settle down ready for the world cup semi final between Brasil and Germany; we hoped it would be a good game, but nothing prepared us for what happened. All I was hoping for was that it would be over in 90 minutes, and we would not have to go through extra time and penalties. Germany went 1-0 up on 10 minutes, then scored four more in six mad minutes before the half hour. 5-0 at half time, and Brasil were shell-shocked and dreadful. The defence went missing and they lost their shape, Germany just picked them off. Germany scored two more in the second half, but could have had at least 5 more if they had tried, or the final pass have come off. Brasil score one in injury time, but by then it was all very much over. 1-7, Brasil’s heaviest ever defeat, by some four goals, heaviest semi final defeat.

Ringkøbing, Denmark

Brasil’s fans were stunned. Anger would come later, I’m sure.


And so the end is near! I am heading home to blighty in the morning! OK, tomorrow morning, but still, HOME! It seems that this trip has like lasted forever, and the first night in Lubeck last week a lifetime ago, but the trip has gone very well, everyone happy and work went smoothly, which is nice.

So, I have a shower, pack my lovely new case and check out. I have breakfast, then go back to the car, program the sat nav and head out in the wrong direction. Yay, me. However, I take the Ringkobing ring road and head wet to Arhus, I wnd both windows down as its already 22 degrees and getting hotter and more humid. The journey takes me along long straight roads that rise and fall gently with the landscape, farms and woodland are on both sides of the road, and the sun shines down from an almost clear blue sky.

The sat nav says it’s gonna take two hours, so I settle back and enjoy the drive. Until I get to the roadworks that is. Seems like they built the beginning and the end of the motorway, and are now building the middle, so the temporary road meanders back and forth over the new road, through villages and towns, and all the time the train of traffic behind the slow truck gets longer and longer.

I reach the main north/south road, and zoom up to Arhus at 130km and arrive into the office a full six minutes ahead of what the sat nav said I would. I win!

I do seven hours work, then head back into the bright sunshine and 31 degree heat to the car for the short drive to the hotel. Once in my room, I do the online check in for the flight home, selecting a nice window seat.

I really wanted something healthy for dinner, but once in the restaurant, I say burger and fries with bacon, cheese, onion rings and jalapenos. As usual. It was very nice, if very naughty. Then up to the room to get ready for the second semi final, Argentina v Holland. And what a dour, cagy game it was. I struggle to stay awake, but manage it until there is about 15 minutes of normal time left. I wake up as Argentina are doing a lap of honour, which means I missed extra time and penalties. I switch off the TV, clean my teeth and try to get back to sleep.

Home tomorrow. Or as my Granddad would say, gannin’ yem.