Thursday, 30 June 2016

Political games

They say that a week is a long time in politics. Which is indeed true, however, it is also true that a day is a long time in politics too. Sometimes even half an hour is.

You see, yesterday, the current Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, his wife "aacidentally" sent an e mail with the deal her husband should drive out of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson aka "Boris" in return for his support, stating that her erstwhile employer's, The Daily "Hate" Mail, and that of Rupert Murdoch would not be forthcoming. This made Sarah Vine, sometime columnist with the Mail into some kind of Lady Macbeth figure, the power behind Pob. Even earlier yesterday, media mogul and Austrailan American and non-British tax-payer Rupert Murdoch stated that he saw Mr Gove as the next Prime Minister.

This morning, Mr Gove announced that after several people told him he should run, he was indeed running. That would be his collection of singing potatoes speaking then? In his press release, he said he doubted Boris' leadership abilities. Now this comes after several red tops lead with how unstoppable Boris was in the race to replace Cameron.

At half eleven, Boris was scheduled to have his own press conference in which he would launch is own bid to be PM. At quarter past eleven or so, former BBC Economics Editor, Robert Peston tweeted that Boris was in fact pulling out of the race.

Anyway, the press conference began and to the stunned looks on his aides and supports faces he said that he was not the man to be PM.

The world continues to turn, and the man who performed a 180 degree about turn to join the Leave campaign was in fact leaving the building, his career in tatters. Still got to laugh.

It is clear that both Gove and Johnson used the Leave campaign to further their own careers, and are still doing so even as the country goes to ruin. This is the so-called political elite.

Teresa May is also running, she has ruled out pressing the Article 50 button until the end of the year, "after discussions", Gove also speaks of delaying it. The EU made clear no pressing the button, no discussions normal or formal, So we have a phony period, one at which might continue until the end of time with the button not having been pressed. The British and European civil services know how to delay things. This really could go on forever.

It seems that a vote from both houses of Parliament would be needed to be passed, striking the 1972 act from the state book BEFORE the button is to be pressed. If the button was to be pressed. There is no passion for passing such a thing from either house, so in order to get it through a General Election would have to be called, with on one side waiting to remain and the other wanting to leave. That would give a mandate for the law to be struck off and then the button could be pressed. Or not.

It is clear that the electorate was lied to, and the media allowed this to happen. This is beginning to sink in, and so "buyers remorse" might take place and enough people change their mind. But if the election or another referendum is delayed until the new year, next summer perhaps, there would be enough young new voters to change the outcome anyway.

Anyway, Britain still in the EU, not article 50 has been enacted. 7 days after the referendum.

Wednesday 29th June 2016

I have had enough of my shoulder and the lack of sleep. After being woken at four in the morning once again by the jarring pain as I turned over, I vowed to do something very dramatic, and go to the hospital in the morning.

This did have the negative effect hat I would have to drive the car to drop Jools off in town, then wait at Buckland Hospital for the minor injuries unit to open. Just after nine I saw a nurse, who confirmed that I had ripped my shoulder muscle, which meant that the only thing was to go to see the osteopath once again, and once home I booked an appointment for the afternoon, had breakfast and then began work. The day panned out much the same as any other when working from home; sunny outside whilst I had meetings on the computer. And by the time the work for the day was done, clouds had rolled in from the sea and it was raining hard outside.

I had to go to collect Jools from town once her bus was due, thus braving the utter chaos that is rush hour coupled with a ferry arriving. But then there is the route back home along Reach Road to use in such cases, leaving the hustle and bustle of the town, turning right by the castle, then winding the way up and along the cliffs, over Jubilee Way, clogged with traffic, until we had clear views to the dark shape that showed where freedom in La Belle France lay.

Our living room is nearly clear of cutter; we just have to move the hi fi back to it's desired position, the bookshelf has been replaced by two wall hangings brought back from Japan; and very nice they both look in the alcove.

Souvenir of Japan Jools helps me coat a couple of packs of shrimps with some Japanese breadcrumbs which might make them tempura. Or not. But with some home made savoury rice and a sweet chili dip, it was a perfect light meal.

Afterwards, I made the forst layer of the rumtopf; the instructions said don't use rhubarb as it makes the liquor too sour; but we have loads of it as we have begun bartering with people at Jools' factory; jars of jelly for fresh fruit. A good deal. Anyway we are good for ingredients for crumbles now. Anyway, rhubarb, blueberries and the first raspberry of the year from our canes. Added sugar and most of the bottle of pinapple rum I bought on my last trip to Denmark, and its done. Just have to wait to Christmas now, and once I add strawberries, raspberries and so on before of course.

Anyway, tired, achy, we go to bed before nine and before its dark.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Tuesday 28th June 2016

I awake with the smell of fresh brewed coffee creeping up from downstairs. It seems I have slept through the alarm. It is a grand day outside, but I have to stay inside and work. Such is the life of a manager.


But as I have said, several times, I do like the life and the job, so, best put on my dressing gown and see what is happening with the world.

Now, I know I said I wasn't going to mention "the vote" any more, but I think it is worth stating that on Tuesday, our glorious leader, Tory Boy David Cameron, met with his European equals for the lst time before they shut the door on him forever (Maybe). All day they tried everything to get him to announce the enacting of Article 50; but it was all bluster, as only the country wanting leave can. And so another day passed with no activation, and so nearer political stalemate.

Reading the newspapers is a very different experience to reading political, legal blogs about the situation, and so I have been pre-warned about what would and wouldn't happen that day. At the end of the day, the head of the European Council admitted that there would be no activation until a new leader of the Conservative Party is elected, and the legal process in Britain concluded, which could mean further delay. To show how little concern there is from Number 10 the PM has appointed Oliver Letwin and the Cabinet Office to lead the informal discussions.

So, not article 50 notification; contenders jostling for position to be the new Tory Leader and PM, the Parliamentary Labour Party trying to remove Corbyn, quite what's going on there I have no idea and the England Manager resigned a few minutes after England crashed out of the Euros. A quiet day all round then......

Which is just as well I'm in charge at work, giving myself several rest periods during the day in which to think about things. Well, if I'm honest, my shoulder really has got back to how bad it was a couple of weeks ago, and so a repeat visit the osteopath was arranged for Wednesday, and just about everything I did bloody hurt. So, even sitting at the dining room table, typing hurt. So I did what anyone would do in the same situation; write a blog about it!

Outside the sky clouds over, the wind blows, and so I am tempted to sit on the sofa with Molly to watch "Coast", she just loves sitting laying against our legs. So unlike Molly of old, she seems to like laying with us, if not on our laps, then very near to it. Although she sticks to the strict rule that one stroke is good, two is better and three strokes means getting your hand shredded. Just so you know. We listen to Dark Side of the Moon on 180 gm vinyl; Molly seems unimpressed, but then spooked by all the alarm clocks.

Alas there is no football on TV until Friday, so Jools and I will have to fill the void with conversation, that is once she is home. She leaves work late, but as dinner is left over aubergine and pasta salad, that's not a bad thing. Its all dished up and ready to go when she gets home. I crack open a bottle of red, and another day has passed us by.

As has June....

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Monday 27th June 2016

Pay Day.

Although no bonus. As yet

Did I say bonus? Yes I did, seems like paying me a wage isn't enough, so I am expecting a bag of jelly beans to drop through the door any day now.

I will also work for beer and/or cheese and onion flavoured crisps, just so you know.

And it is the start of the working week, so why then am I awake at half four in the morning? Still early enough to hear the blackbirds, singing from their nests, joyous at the thought of a new day. Oh yeah, bloody insect bites. Seems that the rash of bites, we, literally, suffered on our last visit to Wink's Meadow wasn't enough. So went back, not covered in layers of thick clothing and/or Jungle recipe anti insect spray. So, within seconds of stepping into the meadow, we were both fending black bity things off, not getting them all before they got to taste Kentish (or Norfolk) blood. Which meant that under the warmth of a duvet, the bites began to itch.

At half four in the morning, such things become obvious, whereas in a meadow in Suffolk, you just think of getting orchid shots. Or I do anyway.

So I am up and about at half five, feeding the cats and making coffee.

Jools gets up, has breakfast, and once she is dressed, made her lunch, I settle down and listen to Public Service Broadcasting's Race for Space remix album, which was really the idea in getting the new record deck in the first place. And why not? So I sit in the pre-work quiet of a Monday morning, watching the birds forage for seeds in the front garden. Yes, upon reflection, this is better than sitting in an airport.

The bane of the modern business traveler is the travel expense report, and coming to the end of the quarter, HAL at the head office has been sending me repeated mail reminding me to clear them before the end of the week. So began the search for the missing receipts.

So, work begins, I have meetings, a stack of mails to deal with. So, normal working day then.

There is corned beef sandwiches for dinner, and ignoring the cats as they meow for attention and/or lunch. It matters not which, the meows are the same. Outside it is bright, but windy, so no real regrets about being inside and working rather than being outside playing with cameras and orchods. In fact a real life drama was played out as most of the Labour Part responded to the biggest crisis in the country by reverting to some interanl bllod-letting and regicide. I can't say I understand why they chose this moment, but in two weeks the Chilcot report is published, and Tony Bliar maybe heading for a war crimes trial. Proibably not, but most of the resignees were former Blarites. It sucks that they could be so selfish at this time, when the country is heading down the pan.

Because as Monday went on, no Article 50 notification was made by Great Britain, or the United Kingdom as it is non-ironically called these days. So, arguments continues, as Team "Brexit" withdrew each of the "claims" they made during the run up to the referendum. Bastards. And Boris published his latest Torygraph post was that we should be closer to Europe. Now the wanker tells us.

At half four, I settled down to watch the Spain v Italy game, Jools came home, then after bacon butties I settled down to watch the England v Iceland.

Now, I have already blogged about that, suffice to say it was a dog of a performance by England which just was dreadful, started off OK, but by the time Iceland scored their second after 15 minutes, England lost their shape and just got worse. No leadership on or off the pitch, no passing, no movement and no ideas. Glad when it was over to be honest.

We went to bed, I was angry again and stayed awake until the wee small hours.

Not going to Iceland

Those of you who read these words might have been expecting the "disappointing football match blog", well here it is.

England lost last night to Iceland in the knock out phase of the Euros. England were dreadful, I mean really bad, and yet I found myself wanting Iceland to score a third as it would make it worse. England did not register a good chance on target the whole game, and conceded thanks to two goals that would embarrass a park team. The manager resigned, but there is no one really to replace him, because as I have pointed out, those that have gone before from Kevin Keegan to Sven to Steve McLaren to Capello and now to Roy have achieved about the same results. The only common factor is the players.

Not good enough.

This is what I said two years ago at the end of the last world cup:

"Nothing has changed, and nothing will change, we will stumble into the major competition every two years, hoping against hope that this time it will be different, but it never is. So, until football admits to itself that there is something wrong, and the FA actually does something about it, it will not change. I was so angry after South Africa, and yet, the FA did nothing. And so this time round, I’m not angry, just disappointed that four wasted years, no real change has happened, nor has any change been put into motion.

The likes of “Super” Frank and Stevie “G” will now being closing their international careers, each two years there has been nothing but optimism followed by failure. The players say they are sorry for letting the fans down, let the FA say something similar, saying how sorry they are at the failure of getting out of the group stages for the first time since 1958.

So, while the rest of the world celebrates and looks forward to the next stage of the competition, England’s layers will be either on the beach soaking u the rays, or getting ready for pre-season. The really sad thing is eight weeks from now, the league season will be under way, and all this failure at international level will be forgotten, and the media will be telling us how great the Premier League is. And nothing will change.

Quite how English football has sunk so low, and we are so happy for it to be this way is a tale of money, money and more money. And how the incompetent FA allowed the Premier League to be set up, and failed to put in controls and so the league bloated and became the foremost football organisation in the country, and the success of the national team is of no concern to the PL, just how the billions keep rolling in from TV companies from around the world.

Eight years ago, Germany were horrified by only reaching the quarter finals, and so reorganised the game in their country, and four years later, a youthful German team took England apart en route to the semi finals. Oh, if only the FA would take such actions after this shocker, but things will not change, the same players for the most part, will be laying the same tactics and we will endure failure once again in Russia in 2018.

It is, after all, just a game, and gives us something to talk and moan about, those 52 year of hurt."

And after the world cup in 2010:

"And what a let down, England were even worse than in previous games, and despite pulling a goal back before half time, and having a perfectly good goal disallowed, they were a very poor second to a cool and efficient German team, that now goes on the meet Argentine in the quarter-finals. This is a healthy dose of reality for most England fans, brought up on the belief that England has always been the ebst as well as inventing the game.

But years or under-investment in youth, and over reliance on expensive imports have meant a darth of talent in the Premier League, and this day had been coming a long time, that most hadn’t seen it coming is a sad indightment on the FA and Premier League.

Many of the so-called world’s best, or Golden Generation have had their international careers brought to an inglorious end, and rightly so. Failure of the basics like how to control the ball with one touch or be able to pass to each other being worse offences than tactics or who should or shouldn’t have played.

That there are no real replacements in the pipeline means that the day when England might challenge for the World Cup is maybe a generation away, and only then if there is a sea change in attitudes, which lets be honest, isn’t going to happen any day soon."

So, nothing is going to change and as soon as the new season begins it will all be forgotten about. As the FA doesn't care, why should we?

Monday, 27 June 2016

Sunday 26th June 2016

Sunday, and the plan had been to head out to snap some local orchids, but in the event the sun failed to break through the clouds, and in truth my heart wasn't in it. A week away and a day on the road yesterday, and I was shattered, and just wanted to chill out and maybe watch the footy in the afternoon.

We begin the day with bacon sandwiches, which is as good a day to start the day with anyway. I review the shots from the day before, and upload some of the Frog Orchid shots, and shots of the other orchids, then got down to deal with unpacking and setting up the turntable.

Rega Planar 3 This is only the second brand new turntable I have ever bought, the last one was a small Technics thing in 1983, which was really plug and play as it had a linear arm rather than the usual pivot one. That required no setting up. Back at the salesroom, the owner made it very clear hat the arm had to be balanced very carefully, turn these dials to zero, adjust this weight until it floats, then set both of the dials to 1.75. Sounds simple.

Rega Planar 3 I took the box into the kitchen, then unboxed it, removed the old deck from the hifi, plugged in the new one in and set about balancing the arm.

I did as was told and what was in the instructions. That done I tried to play Altered Images' Don't Talk to me About Love, it skipped dreadfully. I rebalanced the arm again, and got the same result. Through the day I did it many more times, adjusted the two dials and some made it better, slightly. I was frustrated to say the least.

Rega Planar 3 I gave up and helped in the garden, made coffee, watched football. And I thought, one last try.

I thought I could hear something dragging as the platter turned, it didn't sound right to me, but I could not work where the noise was coming from. I looked at the needle in the groove and liked the reflection, and as I moved my head I could see the wires from the cartridge meeting their reflection, meaning they were touching the record! I looked closer, and that was the case, so I lifted the arm us, pressed on the wires making them run closer to the arm and away from the vinyl. I put the arm back down and had Madonna blasting out Like a Prayer in perfect audio. Wowzers.

Rega Planar 3 I had done it, which meant that when we had dinner, aubergine and pasta salad as you asked, whilst we listened to the new Public Service Broadcasting new remix album which arrived at Chez Jelltex this week. Super it is too.

Football in the evening, and that was about it for another weekend. Seemed so short and tomrrow nothing but work and travel expenses to look forward to!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Saturday 25th June 2015

I won't carp on about the EU vote, not on here. Just so you know.

Anyway, Saturday dawned clear and bright, and we should have been out snapping orchids at the seaside in Pegwell and Sandwich Bays, but instead, we are to get in the car and drive to Essex. To pick up a turntable. But what with the great weather forecast, I got thinking about orchids again. THere is an orchid, but then there always is, that is probably extinct in Kent, a small green orchid, called the Frog Orchid, that used to grow in Dover. Or that was the last known site. Indeed a couple of years ago, Jools and I went to look for it, now that I have seen them in real life, we might go again, if there is time. Anyway, checking the orchid book, the best site in EA for them was one we have visited before, Wink's Meadow in Suffolk, so the plan was to drive up, look for the orchids, then drive down, pick up the turntable and be home maybe for 5.

In fact the plan had bee to collect the turntable first, then drive to Suffolk, but as we were both awake just after 5, and had breakfast and coffee and we ready to go just after six, we thought we would just get going.

A pleasant drive up the M20 to Dartford, no delays and only a few poor drivers. Through the tunnel and into Essex, turning off to go up the old A12, we saw it was jammed up right from the roundabout, so we drive all the way back round, back onto the motorway so we could go up the M11 instead. When I thought about it, there was little difference. So, we cruised past Stanstead at 72mph, just slow enough for the sat nav not to bleep at us. Up past Saffron Walden, up the A11, then along to Bury St. Edmunds, and finally up the familiar road to Diss. THis used to be my old stomping ground, and when we did turn off towards Metfield, we were just 14 miles from Bungay.

We know the way so well now, along narrow lanes to the village, then along through some attractive old houses, out onto the perry track of an old USAF airbase, then finally up a dead end lane to the reserve. The road was partially flooded, so we parked on an old aircraft dispersal pan, got out put our walking boots on in case it was wet in the meadow, it was.

THe meadow isn't that large, but by June it is pretty overgrown, and the Frogs are small, about a foot tall, so finding them was going to be tricky. The first thing was to walk round the edge of the site to see if we could see any; that took 45 minutes. We saw hundreds, if not thousands of Pyramidals, some Southern Marsh and a few Common Spotted. But no Frogs. We had been there nearly an hour, and even after following some tracks across the centre of the meadow, we could find nothing.

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis When we were at the site for the first time, I went into the village shop to ask for directions as we could not find it, and one of the assistants was a volunteer there, and she had mentioned the frogs, but we were too early. So, I asked Jools to drive back to the village to see if she was there and to ask for directions where on the site the Frogs were. I stayed behind to look. I had found a small colony of Southern Marsh, so I hoped that's where the Frogs would be. So, Jools went off and I looked. With no luck.

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis var. albiflora I followed the path into the centre of the meadow and looked closely. Still no luck. I heard Jools return, and I looked down. There was a small orchid spike. I stooped down and the lip revealed it to be a Frog. I had found one, at least. Jools showed at the gate, laden with sausage rolls and lashings of fizzy pop, so I waved at her to come over to see.

Frog Orchid Coeloglossum viride All I had to do now was to wait for the sun to break through the cloud cover, so I waited and waited until the sun did break through, and I got my shots. But then we looked around and saw many more spikes, I suppose about a dozen in all, some spikes still emerging, others nearly fully open. But I did not take shots, in case of damaging any more spikes. I did get shots of the single Bee also in the area, and with that, we walked back to the car.

Frog Orchid Coeloglossum viride Should we call at a pub for a bite, or just head back down to Essex? Hmm, a tough call, but in the end, we decided to head back down south, with just a diversion at a highly recommended church, Thornham Parva, and luckily for us, it was just half a mile off the A140 on our way south. So, set the sat nav, and off we set.

Frog Orchid Coeloglossum viride St Mary, Cratfield, Suffolk I have asked a friend for a list of churches in the area to visit, some are "must sees" other are ones others like more than Simon, so I trust Simon and confident on our map reading skills, we drive away looking for Cratfield. But it seems Cratfield is the Suffolk Brigadoon, always within a couple of miles, but never getting nearer. Or at least according to the signposts.

St Mary, Cratfield, Suffolk We give up and drive to Huntingingfield, but find that it, like the other churches in the benefice, are being restored, and I am greeted by a surprisingly young builder, who allows me inside, but all is covered with plastic sheeting.

St Mary, Cratfield, Suffolk We decide on the sat nav, and so program in Huntingfield and so are driving along the narrow country lanes, past farms, lovely cottages and the usual Suffolk countryside. When suddely we pass the village sign for Cratfield, and on the side of the road, just waiting, is the church. I stop and find it open, and not undergoing renovation at all. Which was nice.

St Mary, Huntingfield, Suffolk It is a simple Victorianised church inside, but remarkable for the eight-sided font, covered in splendid and ancient carvings, and some had almost survived the Puritan's hammers.

St Mary, Huntingfield, Suffolk Once I had my shots, I went back to the car and drove on to Huntingfield. Now, Simon had told me in his mail that Cratfield was for the font, and so Huntingfield was to be visited for the roof. I did not know what to expect as I pulled up and parked, and followed two other visitor's through the porch and into the church.

St Mary, Huntingfield, Suffolk Inside, the roof dominates everything else; a Vicar's wife in the 19th century had gotten busy with paintbrushes and painted all surfaces of the roof. It looked spectacular. I suppose its not to everyone's taste, but I think it is glorious,a nd I'm sure people visit the church just to see the roof. For a pound, you can have the church lights switched on, a great way to raise finds, and so bring the paintings even more to life.

St Mary, Huntingfield, Suffolk Usually, we like to have the radio on on Saturday, Huey and Liz Kershaw shows, but as this weekend is Glastonbury, and for once the thought of it left me cold, and for the first time we watched not one minute of it on TV, and I switched the radio off as we listened to a set by Savages on the way up. So, in silence as Jools struggled to stay awake, we made our way back down to Diss then down to the church.

Situated down a quiet lane just off the main Norwich to Ipswich road, after a few stunning large houses sits the ancient church, in a small churchyard with a thatched roof. Inside it has the traces of fine wall paintings that the Puritans failed to remove, and was a real joy to call in and experience. I take shots, then looking at our watch, just after half one, we made our way back to the car and back on our way.

The hi fi shop was in Harlow, just off the M11 near to the junction with the M25. We drove south into Essex, with the sky full of wonderful clouds and stunning light, promising lots of weather before the day was out. The shop was out of the town, so far out of the town that I wasn't sure that I had the correct postcode, but after following directions down narrow lanes, we came to an old country manor house, and in the renovated outbuildings was the shop.

The deck was ready to go, so we had a coffee, chatted, but we really wanted to get going. I paid then took the deck to the car, and we left, back to the motorway.

At least traffic was ligt, a lot of people would now be at home or in the pub ready for the Wales v Northern Ireland game. I wanted to get home to see it too, but I knew we would miss the start. At least the rain held off, and once through Maidstone the traffic thinned out, so we made good time, hammering down the motorway to the coast and home.

We arrived home to an indifferent welcome from the cats. I made a brew then switched the TV on to watch the game. It was exciting, but lacking in quality, it was won by Wales in the 2nd half thanks to a fine move resulting in an own goal.

Scotch eggs and ice cream for dinner, easy to eat before the evening game.

The turntable and new adventures in hi fi could wait until the morning.

The Votey Cokey

In out, shake it all about.

Although, its all over now. Except it isn't. And there are many reasons for that, mostly because Team Brexit never thought they would win, and Team Leave never thought they would leave, and so no preparation was done in case either side were wrong. The EU has been preparing for months, knowing that the vote was coming, and preparing for either result.

We are now in political limb where Neither The PM, either Boris nor Michael want to push the Article 50 nuclear button. And it is Article 50 that everything now rests.

Article 50 gives the right of any member state to withdraw from the union of it wanted. It sets out that the member state must trigger the notification, and sets out a two year timescale for all negotiations to be completed, if not completed, the member state leaves without that or any deals in place and being a victim of the markets. Being able to trade with almost no one. On Britain's side, no planning was done, not even on the Civil Service who could just think about it, not do any actual work.

To enable a Leave vote, the Brexit Team had to lie and lie big. And when anyone pointed out the lies, they were branded as peddling "project fear" and anyway, who wants to listen to experts. And the very people who should have been pointing these lies out, the press, were all on it, as leaving the EU would benefit their non=tax paying non-UK domiciled multi-billionaires. Without EU rules they can flout competition rules, anti-trust rules and buy a larger and larger proportion of the UK media. The did not care a jot about what was good for their readers or the country.

So the lies: £350 million a week spent on EU membership would be spent on the NHS. No free movement of people, taking back control and Britain would be stronger after we made a trade deal with the EU and the rest of our trading partners: we'd be quids in. But no one challenged the lies. They were retold and retold, and the lie went round the country and no one wanted to listen to the truth or reason.

Of course, a referendum where the voters don't have access to the facts is a sham, but even this was pointed out and we were shouted down.

Cameron, the Labour Party and the rest of the Team Remain, did not try anywhere near hard enough to challenge the lies coming out of Boris' mouth, and so Brexit set the agenda and wasn't challenged.

So, the people voted out. People in areas of the country that received most EU money voted to leave that in other areas. Jo Cox's constituents honoured her memory by also voting to leave. The old overwhelmingly voted to leave more than the young who voted to stay. Tories and UKIPers toted to leave, the other party's supporters voted to stay.

It is possible that the devolved Parliament in Scotland and the two assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland need to give their agreement in an Article 50 notification, as being in the EU was written into the laws that allowed their creation. Westminster would almost certainly have to vote on the matter, after all the sovereignty of Westminster was what some of the whole charade was about in the first place, Britain making laws for Britain. It is also possible that the PM could trigger the notification, but legally, no one really knows.

Talking of legality, the referendum wasn't legally binding, but with a 72% turnout and a million plus more votes for Leave, it would be very difficult for Cameron or any PM to ignore unless there were compelling reasons. There isn't any real chance of anyone challenging the legality of the result., nor getting a second referendum, but we shall see. All the time the clock is ticking, each day make the remaining 27 members angry and wanting to punish Britain harsher and harsher.

Cameron doesn't want to push the button, he resigned to put that onto someone else and to also delay the pressing. Neither Boris nor Michael Gove want to either, they have been talking about informal talks. Nobody asked Nigel, because he's Nigel. He just says we should be celebrating.

Celebrating what? Well, its like a student who has maxed out their credit cards, but managed to get one last one, so maxed that on a trip to Ibiza, got twatted on E, danced for a fortnight and came back to find all the credit card bills waiting, and no way out. There is nothing to celebrate.

As each day goes by without the button being pressed, the EU gets angrier and angrier, and less likely the button will be pressed. However, now the vote has been made, any future British PM could threaten an Article 50 notification unless they got what it wanted, and so, here we are, in limbo, in cloud cuckoo land, where many people thought it was really this simple, vote and leave, and in reality, as Al Murray says, its more complicated than that. For those that blindly voted to leave and damn the consequences, how does Westminster explain the button has not been pressed yet, and might never will be?

Within an hour or the vote announced, Gove stated that the £350 million figure was a mistake, and later it was also said that the free movement of people would have to be part of any trade deal. And then the sky fell in. Depanding on who you listen to, between £250 billion and £350 billion was lost in value of Brian PLC, meaning it stated the day as the worlds 5th largest economy and by nine it was the 6th. Banks announced plans to move staff abroad. The pound fell off a cliff, and the FTSE lost over 8%. Just like "project fear" said would happen.

Part of me wants us to have to leave, go through depression after depression, no free movement of British people over to Europe, jobs to be lost, house values to plummet and pensions become worthless, as that will teach the sheeple to listen to experts and not political snake oil merchants.

I have no idea what will happen, but the next 48 hours are crucial, with racist attacks on the rise, with anyone not looking "British" being told to get out of our country. This is the ugly face of Out, racist, studpd and proud of it. We have already talked about moving to either Scotland or Denmark, if things get bad.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Friday 24th June 2016

I wake up at half five, go to check the BBC news and I find that the sky has indeed fallen: Britain has voted to leave the EU. This is a stupid thing, for reasons I might write in a follow up post, we shall see. It makes me agngry, and I get angrier as the day goes on until I was incandescent by bedtime, so much so that I can sleep despite being shattered.

Although my flight isn't until half eleven, I am in the city centre, and Arhus has some dreadful traffic, so I decide to leave early, and find somewhere to stop for an hour on the way, before arriving at the airport at nine to check in.

After checking out and having breakfast, I load the car, set the sat nav out of the city, and engaging all the gears at once, I lurch off into the traffic. It was yet early, and what traffic there was, was coming in the opposite direction, so I drove to through the near-empty streets, turned onto the main road out south, and relaxed.

I pull onto the motorway with no troubles, and cruise down to exit 57, rain was falling gently, but not too bad, so I take my time, find a parking area and, well, park.

In front of me there is an area of grass that has been allowed to grow, and is a windlflower meadow. MY orchid senses tingle, but no matter how hard I look, I don't see any. In fact, wherever I go in Denmark, I see area of grass given over to wildflowers and haymaking in the spring, it looks so much better than tightly cut grass.

Danish wildflower meadow At the airport, I check in and once again mix in with the Danes heading for the sun further south at the security check. I get a table, but my new laptop doesn't have the access code for the VIP wifi like my old one does, so I read to pass the time.

We board the plane, which is painted to look like some kind of golden bird, I have seats near the front again, so sink into my window seat, already I feel my euyes close as the plane is made secure, the safety brief is given and the engines start.

Flight of the Phoenix Weather on the flight is lively; lots of clouds and storms about, so we lump and bump our way down the North Sea. A break in the cloud allows me to see Thanet, with a large shower falling on Ramsgate. It will do the gardens good! I get views of South London as we drop through the clouds on final approach, it looks the same as when I left.

Once safely on the ground, it turns out we had a gate near the centre of the terminal, so just a short walk to immigration, where a trick one of the officers showed me last week got me through the automatic scanners in no time. This did mean that there was a long wait for our bags to come, not sure which is worse, queuing at passport control or waiting by the carousel.

My bag arrives and I dash out through arrivals, down to the station and make it onto a soon-to-depart train to London.

During my flight over, the Prime Minister had resigned, and all in our country was set to change, probably not for the better, leaving us all worse off. But hey, that's life I suppose.

I know my way now, up the stairs, along the walkway to the Hammersmith and City Platforms, to get a Circle Line train to Kings Cross, up the steps to St Pancras, where I see I have 55 monutes to wait before a train to Folkestone, which is fine as Jools is to meet me at half three, thus saving me the rail replacement bus and the taxi ride home.

The ride back to Kent you know now, rain falls a bit, then brightens up before becoming dark once again. Welcome to the British summertime.

Jools is waiting, so we drive back to Dover, then along the cliffs to St Maggies, with view out over the sea to France.

At home I see the artichokes have grown another foot in the 5 days I was gone, and the fruit are a good size now, should we eat them or allow the flowers to form for the bees and insects? I think the latter.

Home at half four, we both are shattered again, a hard week for us both, and then there is the knowledge that our neighbours all voted to leave, and one has a bloody flag flying He's a nice bloke, but it makes me angrier still.

Insalata Caprese for dinner; Jools puts the washing on, we sit outside in the damp evening air, as moths take to the air, collecting pollen that the bees and butterflies had left behind. THere is no football on TV, nor is there any Monty, as Glastonbury is over most of the BBC. We ignore it, and the day comes to an end.....

Thursday 23rd June 2016

I remember now, what having had just the one too many was like. I mean, it wasn't a hangover as such, but I did feel shabby, the room did not spin when I opened my eyes, neither did it stay still.

I'd better have a shower.

I get ready for work, pack my workbag and go down for breakfast at the amazingly early time of ten to seven. Coffee is always good in the early morning, but doubly so on Thursday. Thanks to my Italian speaking car, I could not program the route to the office, but I knew if I went down to the harbour instead of driving through the city, I would find my way. Which is the case. And being so early, traffic was light, the sun was shining, and with the light sparking on the water to my left, it was another good morning to be going to work.

As I turned up the O1 route, I could see that in the four months since i was last here, most of the tram tracks between the harbour and the main ring road had been laid, making it seem so much progress had ben made. They have been building this since my first time in the city in 2011, so progress has not been quick. THe missing link now is the crossing of the O2 ring road, this will cause much chaos as it is the main route into the city from the north, and the main ring road. Good luck with that when it happens.

One of my colleagues likes British chocolate, so I take her Curly Wurlys whenever I go to the office, and her face lights up with the five packets I take her this time too. So, after catching up with friends and colleagues, I go to IT for one of the main jobs of the day, getting a new laptop. I was offered one in January, but wasn't a good time, but now mine has had repeated software failures, and I ran out of patience. So, I arranged to pick a new one up. Only, I wasn't expected, so I told the IT the ticket number, he looked and confirmed it was correct, and he would make it so before the end of the day.

He did better than that, bringing me my new laptop by lunchtime, meaning that inbetween all the meetings, I had to upload my files to the new machine, make sure the software worked.

I have my annual assessment: all is goo there, and I am left feeling mostly happy, with some pointers on how to improve. THis should have made me happy, which it did, but back in the UK there were having a referendum on whether to leave the EU and I was worried as it could have gone either way, with an out vote being disastrous.

That evening, I had been invited to my friends flat, Anni and BO, for dinner and chat, so after checking the map several times, I set of in the now pouring rain for what should have been a 700m walk to where they lived. Over the railway, down the wain street, cross over, down a residential street lined with apartment blocks, past the church, over the avenue and down to the end of the street opposite, and there they were. I had got it right frst time!

Anni makes burger and fries; we talk about things; her work, my work, Japan and so on. It is a fine evening, but I look at my watch; half eight, I need to pack, call Jools and generally get some work done, so I have to leave. A huge storm had just passed, and the air is clean and sparkles. It is humid too, but good to be out, walking the streets back to the hotel.

I throw my stuff into the case, call Jools, and have a shower, and check the BBC one final time with Remain set to win the vote. I go to bed happy.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Wednesday 22nd June 2016

And so began the long slow slide towards the short dark days of Winter, with the day after midsummer. Or the day after the day after midsummer, as the equinox fell on the 20th this year, to confuse everyone. The 21st was also a full moon, but rain fell until after disk and by the time the clouds cleared, it was fat and yell, and not newly-risen strawberry.

It was a warm but dank morning, and today I was moving on, so I had to pack and drive to Arhus, but not till the afternoon, as I had plans.

I shower, pack and get dressed. This week I had brought my big case, as I expected the usual batch of project clothing at head office the next day, and I was sure there was a winter coat wating, and in the middle of summer I don't to be either wearing or carrying it back home come Friday. So, I had space to spare, for now at least.

Moesgaard Museum, Arhus I drive to the office where half to project team were in the office. A problem as my laptop only accesses our intranet when hard-wired into the network, not even the work network is good enough. So, I have to say, I need the only desk, the cable and so on, so the others give way and I have the desk.

Moesgaard Museum, Arhus Outside the sky clears some, and by lunchtime I was so on top of things, I think I maght play hooky. Last week, Manu told me of a museum, where there is Danish hostory in abundance, and a gladiator exhibition. Now, I have no problem with such things, and indeed once I got to the museum, it was great, and I now it puts everything in contex, but it is playing up to the crowd, as it were. Not sure how many gladiatorial areas there in Denmark, maybe some, maybe none, but they made too big a deal about it for me. Saying that, the rest of the museum was wonderful, very interesting and full of relics and re-creations of ancient houses and villages.

Moesgaard Museum, Arhus I drove from Arhus, struggling with the inbuilt sat nat, in time as I tore up the E45, managed to find the museum under a sub-menu. Sadly, for me, the car had been set to Italaian, and that not being one of my strongest languages, ahem, I pushed button after button until I worked out what the menu might mean. Anyway, I managed to program the car, whilst hoofing along at 130 kmh, and turned out it was quite near to the hotel, well, 10 miles anyway. It is built into the side of a shallow hilll, and is a fine modern design. Parking was free, and entrance wasn't much.

Moesgaard Museum, Arhus I stayed for over an hour, looked at all the exhibits, but did not find the bog body I really wanted to see, so after seeing the evolution of the humanoids exhibit, I decided to go to the hotel, check in and have a shower.

There was football on TV, but I think 10 days in or so, I had reached saturation point, so decided to walk to the Highlander Bar and have a drink, then see how I felt. I checked the map then set off, it was less than ten minutes away, down a twisty old road, but Julian remembered me and plied me with cheap beer. And another. And fresh fish and chips. And another beer. And pineapple rum. And brandy. And two more beers.

I seem to remember us trying on hats at some point, and finding it very funny indeed. I had one more beer and went back to the hotel. I must have made it as I woke at some point with the room lights on, the TV on and the laptop working away. I went round switching the lights out before heading back to bed.

I slept well.

Tuesday 21st June 2016

The sky is falling, or that seems to be the thing most mornings. Wake up, turn the laptop and there is an avalanche of mails waiting, each demanding attention and action. I sigh and decise they can all waitin until after breakfast.

So I shower, get dressed and go down to breakfast, where there is bacon! For a change.

Once fed and watered, I go to the Audi in the car park, get it going, rev the engine a few times, then set out on the 5 minute drive to the port and the office. Instead of entering the code at the gate to get in, we are all waved through, with my day glo jacket, it looks like I work there at least.

And so the day begins, find an office, then find my minions have taken up residence are are talking loudly. What should I do to my minions, they say there are going to look at some tower sections. Soon I hope.

There are meetings, calls and mails to answer, then tackle the problem that is documentation. But, with a plan in mind, in a few hours it feels like I'm in control at least. Tat calls for lunch, so I go to Aunt Betty's for a slap up meal of bagels, all in the shape of a bage;. With garlic sauce, chillis and more garlic and chilli stuff, our office wasn't the place to be that afternoon I can tell you.

That evening, I met with a former colleague, Steffan, for brinks, nachos and football. And some chatting. Me meet at Dronning Louise at five, sit in the square drinking Hoegaarden for an hour before going in to watch the football, although after the third half litre my eyes did have trouble focusing. And once that was done, I wander back to the hotel to watch the late game, but fell asleep on my bed, waking up as Croatia score in the last minute to pip Spain.

Monday 20th June 2016

It it midsummers day, a day early, but still, all that extra daylight, light from the middle of the night to the middle of the night. Or something. But like on so many other occasions, this being Britain, the day dawned like it was the middle of November, only with dawn being at before four in the morning of course. Rain lashed down, wind blew, and the cats stared mournfully at the scene outside, and held their bowels in.

However, I had to travel, and not stare out of the window as the rain ran down the outside of the glass, no I could do that from the car on the way to Folkestone, then on the train upto that London.

Driving wasn't fun, heavy rain and other cars and trucks throwing up clouds of spray. I was glad to be dropped off at the station, buy my ticket. However, the woman behind the ticket counter seemed to be suggesting that the works at Dover might finish sooner than thought. Of course she could be wrong, very wrong.

On the train and the rain hammered down harder, and once we began to head towards London, as we picked more passengers up, each batch got on more and more bedraggled.

We arrive in London, and its not better there. I have time to go to the cafe on the station for breakfast. Below, two more trains for London disgorge more commuters heading for work, I drink up my coffee and walk to the DLR station.

Folkestone departure Being summer, the airport is busy, but I check my bag in then go through security, as amazed at the stuff people leave in their hand carry bags, I mean, can't they read all the signs and warnings as they waited in line? apparently not.

There are so many people in the lounge, I struggle to find a place to sit and reply to some mails, whilst some over-helpful woman is over-helping people find out when their flights are leaving. I know she meant well, but so did that man who didn't.

My flight is called, and I find the party of excited schoolchildren also traveling to Billund are having to go via Amsterdam and not on my direct flight. I breathe a sigh of relief. Its not I don't like kids, I do, but not in a confined space. With no weapons.

We walk out to the bus, getting wet, then from the bus to the plane getting wetter as the rain lashed down still.

I know many of the faces on the flight now, not by name, but enough to nod in recognition to. I take out my book to read, strap myself in and close my eyes.

As soon as we leap into the air, and climb over the river, the ground is lost in cloud, so as last week I guess where we are by the movement of the plane. We are buffeted by high winds, so climb higher to get clear air. Breakfast is served, along with coffee. I read my book on the history of football and Europe slips by underneath us as we read, work or sleep.

We dive back below the clouds somewhere between Esbjerg and Billund, the wind is so strong I can see it blowing waves in the fields of corn and barley. It looks like winter down there. And once we're on the ground and out of the aircraft, it feels like it. Can it be just two weeks ago when it was so hot to almost be unbearable? It was.

I present the guys in the car hire office a box of Scottish shortbread i picked up at the airport, as a token of thanks for the hard work they do, and in exchange they give me the keys to an Audi A4 estate thing, that seems a fair exchange to me.

I have a blast driving down to the coast, putting my foot down to get past trucks and trailers carrying turbine parts. But by the time I get to Esbjerg, the clouds had thickened, and the rain fell hard, and did not stop until it was dark and the football finished, and the full moon shone down. Before then, rain fell heavily when I was at the office and once I went to the hotel, and it hammered against my room window.

It was so bad, I stay in the hotel to eat, order steak and beer, and am happy with that.

England play at nine, and are dreadful, getting a dull goalless draw with Slovakia, whilst Wales thrash Russia 3-0.

It was by now, dark, and time for bed.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Sunday 19th June 2016

Yes, a blog written on the day when the day is not complete! Yes, and this is because I'm off to Denmark, again, tomorrow. I hope to have a week off travelling off next week, my shoulder tells me I should.

It was supposed to be a glorious morning, with it getting better as the day went on, so it was a surprise to look out at ten to seven to see thick cloud. Maybe it would clear?

Heath Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza maculata We got off to a slow start, taking our time over the first cup of coffee then mulling over our cereal before realising we had to be in Faversham by nine, less than 30 minutes time.

Heath Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza maculata Runaround!

We loaded up the car, and took to the A2 where a ferry had just disgorged a load of cars and trucks, so once round the roundabout I put my foot down to get past most of them, then cruise along to Shepherdswell where the dual carriageway began, and so would be a clear run up to the motorway junction, then over that into Faversham. And as we drove further inland, the skies cleard some, so by the time we were through Canterbury there were almost clear blue skies.

Heath Spotted Orchid var. leucantha Dactylorhiza maculata Perfect.

We pick up my friend Mark at the Shell garage then take the Ashford road to Challock, then down to the site of the acid bog, where there is one of the few species of Kent orchids I had yet to see, the Heath Spotted. So, we park up and walk through some light woodland and onto another wonderful Kentish habitat: heathland, and on the side of that, the acid bog. And right away we could see the colourful spikes of the orchids.

Heath Spotted Orchid var. leucantha Dactylorhiza maculata Of course, for many people, a Heath Spotted will look very similar if not identical to a Common Spotted, and quite why it matters is something that I cannot answer. But in recent years, DNA testing has been carried out to confirm it is a different species, and one that likes thinks a little on the red side. There were hundreds of spikes, different sizes, different lip shapes, with dots, dashes. All wonderful, even if we did have to wait sometimes for the clouds to pass over so we could get the best shots.

One place has a low boardwalk over the wettest part of the bog, almost a pool, and in it are many fine and unusual Kentish plants, including sundews, a carnivorous plant; small but wonderful.

Further on there is another bog, so Mark and I go in, squelching our way to see the Southern Marsh, Southern Marsh that has mixed with the Heath Spotted. In the end, we gave up after getting some shots, but going was tough, and I had mud up my legs.

We walk back to the car, then take Mark home what with it being Father's Day, so we could then go to our next destination; Woolage. But the clouds were thicker again, and I realised that I had enough shots of the Birds Nests already, the last batch being the best I have yet snapped, so did not really need to go back.

So we drive on through Wingham to Sandwich then to Pegwell Bay to see the seaside Marsh Orchids. The site was cut back a couple of years ago, but is now grazed judging by the huge piles of cattle poo everywhere, but they seem to leave the orchids alone, and once we walked across the road, the cycle path and into the reserve, there are spikes everywhere. And as previously stated, these two species also interbreed and hybridise like mad, so there are a dazzling array of sizes, shapes and colours. I can't even begin to identify most of them, but there were great to see, with one of the spikes reaching 32 inches tall, whch beat last year's best by 5 full inches!

Kentish seaside orchids I am done, I could have go back to PGD or elsewhere, but I would just be repeating shots I already have. So we go back home via the pub! The Hare and Hound in Northboure has been taken over and now offers "Italian" tapas, which sounded good, not as good as they tasted: garlic and chili prawns, fried mash potato and tomato balls, saffron rice and pea balls, fried and calzone. We have two dishes each, then swap over, and it is perfect sitting in the beer garden. Nothing like being in one in the summer time, off the beaten track with just the sound of children playing and nature at work in the background.

We drove home, and sitting on the patio, we have an ice cream whilst cats weave in and out of our legs, trying to get us to feed them. THe sun was still shining, though a bit windy, but above us, crows were mobbing a Peregrine Falcon, an air display for just ourselves and above our garden.

I write blogs, edit shots, as the football has now reached the serious stage where there is just to be games at eight in the evening today and tomorrow, so we have to fill our empty days somehow. A huge bowl of stawberries, raspberries and blueberries smothered in cream, and scotch eggs for our tea. And just like the weekend is slipping through my fingers. Up at near dawn tomorrow for another run to Denmark.

Saturday 18th June 2016

After a week away, I really needed a rest. My body needed a rest, poor sleep and poor diet meant I felt like poo. My mind wanted to be out in the sunshiiine all day, snapping orchids and insects and all things creepy crawly. However, we have to deal what is ambitiously called the English summer, this means that it will rain, even when its not supposed to. Like on Saturday, when we get up, expecting it to be grey but bright, but the rain is falling steadily. I look at the BBC website, and it confirms there should be on rain at all, all day. But no one clearly told the weather, and so the rain continued on and off all day.

Summer in the Jelltex garden I did not go out all day, just to do some chores in the garden, thus putting my shoulder back to its previously achy breaky state, and me calling myself such an idiot and other names as new bits of my arm started to ache. Oh clever me. But more of that later.

Summer in the Jelltex garden After messing around on the computer for a while, I get down to doing some chores: I set up my e bay account, link it to my bank account and after taking shots, set up to sell my 50D body and my collection of Empire Magazines. I sort of the old bottles of booze and spirits we have been given, and decide we should donate them to the old folks in Whitfield. The last of the books are sorted and we now have a near empty book shelf ready to be moved away so we could put the two wall hangings we bought in old Japan last month. It really is starting to look less cluttered, which is good, right?

Summer in the Jelltex garden Jools is outside sorting through her compost heap, so when she does a tip run, I go out and try to truss up the raspberry plants, hammering the sticks into the ground. It was doing this that did it for my shoulder. I felt it as I banged the last one in, and realised how stupid I had been. But by then it was too late of course.

Summer in the Jelltex garden I was bought my first turntable, then part of a music centre in 1980, it was a cheap Phillips thing, not that cheap though, but it saw me through my metal phase and into electropop and into the Indie paradise beyond. I then upgraded to a Technics 319 series hi-fi in 1983, and that lasted until I was about to leave Germany in 1995, when I used money saved from not being married into buying a separates hi fi, all of which I still have now. I also bought a second hand Revolver turntable for about eighty quid, and it is that I have ever since. And it has been a great deck, playing all my vinyl with a fine warm sound. Until the stylus I had fitted in 1996 upon my return to Blighty.

Summer in the Jelltex garden I had to get the cartidge replaces a few months back but Since then, I have not been able to get a good earth on the deck, so after much thought, I have ordered a new one, and next weekend we drive to Essex to collect it. I spent another part of the morning ringing round shops in Kent to see if they had the Rega Planar 3 deck. Nearest one I could find was in Harlow. So, next week we will go north of the river.

The rest of Saturday was full of football. Football in the afternoon, football at teatime, and football in the evening. Saying that, I could not get excited about Hungary v Iceland, so I cook chorizo hash instead of watching it. Portugal played in the evening, with Mr Shiny Ronaldo missing a penalty near the end. How we laughed. Still, a good day, lots achieved, and now tomorrow to look forward to with orchiding in prospect.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Friday 17th June 2016

Oh yes, the day to go home. It seems I have been waiting for you all week

And, as there are no morning flights into London City, I have a lunchtime flight to Heathrow to look forward to.

I check the news on line and see there has been a derailment at Paddington, I think nothing of it. I check my work mails, fire some replies off, then have a shower and try to get all my stuff into the overnight case, including my rain jacket, as outside it is like a summer's day out there!

I am packed, have a shower, put on some clean clothes, and I am ready, it is quarter to eight, and I have three and a half hours to get to the airport. After checking out, I go for breakfast only to find there is no bacon again! Chef's cooking it, I'm told. I wait ten minutes then have the same as yesterday, grab my bags and walk to the car.

It seemed such a grand day, driving to the airport would be great, in an Audi A3, in the sunshine with the windows down, no? No, as soon after getting onto the motorway fog rolled in, and visibility was down to about 500m, and even got chilly.

Up the road to Grindstead, I managed to get past the slow moving cars and trucks, without putting my life in too much risk. Still, it was fun in the Audi, hurtling along at only a gnat's crotchet above the speed limit.

I was at the airport at just before ten, so once I had parked up, dropped the keys off at the office, it was exactly two hours until flight time: perfect.

I even braved the long line into security, as it was such a busy time, there would be flights all day. Anyway, I had little else to do. And once through I find a table, check mails yet again, and am all caught up. I wander round the duty free shop, and I spot a grinder full of pink salt. Now, I suppose you wonder I would want pink salt, well, a few months ago we did a team building thing and the hotel had smoked salt in the kitchen, and I have been looking for it ever since as it was wonderful. Anyway, there was half a kilo of salt, from the Himalayas, so €22 seemed reasonable, I picked up a couple of bars of chocolate too.

It was boarding time, and I time it right to walk through the gate and straight onto the plane where I have a row to myself once again. A friend had reminded me on Faceache that arriving in Heathrow meant getting into London via Paddington where the derailment was. I panicked, but then you can find out anything on the interwebs, and I find there was a reduced service, so all should be OK. If crowded.

I read some of my football book, Kicking and Screaming, about the early days of the professional game from people who were there. It passed an hour of the flight as we flew down the North Sea before turning over Southend. The pilot warned us about storms in the west London area, and as we circled above the City, we were flying through clouds, with the plane lumping and bumping about, it was quite exciting.

Finally, we turn onto final approach, break through the clouds to see the playing fields of Eton and Ascot racecourse before we got lower and lower and finally touching down.


Terminal 5 We taxi to Terminal 5, then wait to get off. As usual there is the scramble to get off, but it is all pretty relaxed. I get in the wrong queue at immigration and have to wait half an hour to be seen, but this is fine as once through my bag is just tumbling out onto the carousel. Yay.

A dash through the arrivals hall, down the lift to the station only to find I had a 16 minute wait for the train, none of your trains every 8 minutes which I am used to at London City. And soon enough the platform was filling up due to the bigger gaps between trains. Anyway, I get on, get a seat, and once we leave Terminal 3 station, there is pretty much no room what with people and cases. Its all so unfriendly, warnings about what tickets you can and can't use, and warnings if you have the wrong ticket. Not a very welcoming experience, but then this is Britain that seems to dislike anyone different. Even people visiting who would spend money!

At Paddington, there are people everywhere waiting for trains. I see the derailed train which had ended up crashing into an electricity support, well done all round, really. Up the steps and along to the Circle Line platforms, and squeeze onto an already full train with my case and salt grinder.

I enjoy the trip along the four stops to Kings Cross; Baker Street and Great Portland Street are two of the most attractive stations on the network, and I always enjoy seeing them as we pass through.

I have 20 minutes to wait for a train, only due to a lightning strike, there are no trains beyond Ashford, so I try to call Jools to see if she'll come and pick me up. She will.

So, onto the train, which is also pretty full too, odd for an early afternoon service outside of the rush hour. Anyway, I have a seat on my favourite side of the train, ready to check off the points of interest as we zip through.

I get off at twenty to three, and Jools is driving round as there is no parking spaces due to the chaos caused by the lightning. She sees me before I see her, so she stops beside me so I can throw the bags in and we can drive home. Rain falls steadily as we potter down the motorway, no need to hurry as its the weekend now and we can relax.

We can relax even more once we are home, make a brew and make one of the chocolate bars vanish which we can do in about three seconds. For dinner, I make potato bread to go with the insalata caprese, and pop that in the oven to cook whilst I cut up the tomatoes and cheese. And it was a triumph of course, washed down with a glass or three of the cheapest red.

Thursday 16th June 2016

And the 4th day of this working trip, and I am feeling the pace. Being in Denmark at just about mid-summer means dawn at about three, and me awake soon after, and so no where enough sleep. Coupled with sitting up to eleven to watch the late game on TV means I am shattered, but struggle through to watch the game to the very end.

And Thursday meant it was time for the so called "Battle of Britain" as England were to play Wales at three in the afternoon. Even the Danish and German commentators used that term, and also it seemed were wondering why the heck Harry Kane was being used to take corners. Like all of England, really.

But before that I had to work, of course. And like all working days, all days really, it began with breakfast, and there being no bacon ready to eat! What in tarnation is this country of Denmark coming to when there's not enough bacon?

I make do with some chocolate wafer things, less messy that the spread and dark chocolate too. But for breakfast? yes indeed.

I drive to the office to find my usual "hot" desk has someone at it, so I go to the project office, away on my own in another building, and right away I find that the sky is falling. So, any thought about dealing with the real issues of the day would have to wait whilst I tried to fix the sky, as it were. Somewhere three hours slipped by, I had meetings, was bitch=slapped by my boss, then un bitch-slapped by him. So, all is well, yeah? Probably.

I find there is a single slice of Thursday cake in the kitchen, so I have that for lunch, run around some more, and after a crazy morning, all seems much better by the afternoon. One final chat with my line manager, where I drop the idea that I might go back to the hotel to watch the game, and he says I should go for it, I done good work this week. So, with that ringing in me ears, I pack up, say goodbye to the team and drive back to the hotel and am up in my room ready for the game to start at three.

England were poor in the 1st half, and concede a free kick for the ninja warrior Bale from a free kick just before half time. Roy panics and brings on Vardy and Sturridge are brought in on for the 2nd half, with the Leicester player scoring soon after kick off, then Dan knocking in a winner on injury time to make it a very nice afternoon indeed. Didn't see that result coming, but happy enough, even if plan A didn't work, and plan B seemed to be having all the strikers on the field at once hoping that someone would score. It did work this time, but much thinking needs to be done before the final group game and then the knock outs.

Josefine I walk to the Dronning Louise on me own for dinner; being another hot day there are plenty of seats inside, where I can watch the Northern Ireland game whilst I eat and sup. And they upset the apple cart by beating Ukraine by 2-0 to send their fans crazy.

It is getting late, well, towards half eight when I leave the bar, back along the shopping street to the hotel, and take up position on the bed to watch the 3rd game of the day, Germany v Poland, which is good but ends 0-0, the first goalless game of the championship.

sunset Outside it was getting dark, so I snap the scene then go to bed, I am home in the morning you know!

Wednesday 15th June 2016

The day before and the day after, I remembered it was a certain ex's birthday, but on the day, it passed my by. Oh well, So it goes, so it goes.

I am awake at six, but lay in bed listening to the gulls outside and the sound of the early morning traffic. It promised to be a testing day ahead, so, no point in hiding under the duvet, let's get out there and rip it's bollocks off.

Or something like that.

I have a shower, get dressed and go down to breakfast to find two colleagues, or one current colleague and one who was a former and is a future one, as he is to be one of my minions once work switches to Ostende, odd me having minions, like I'm a manger or something.

Checks business card and realise I am a manager in fact. Who knew?

I am still full up from the bbq the night before, and as part of the team building later in the day, there is to be another, er, bbq. So, more meat.

I short drive to the office, park up and start work and find the word is coming down around my ears. I battle on, and one by one I defeat the monsters of evil, and so by the time eleven rolls round, and the start of the team building, all is good.

I say team building, its just a bbq really, and one without beer as there is still work to be done later in the day, so we have slow cooked pork and some suspicious sausages and a small, but healthy bit of salad.

Back to work, and with more challenges coming up, I bat them away. At three the rest of the project team leave, and so do most of the technicians, so at four so do we, not before making plans with Manu to meet in the bar at six so we can sup more beer and watch the latest game.

Saying that, the footy isn't on the TV in the bar, we could have asked it to be put on, but what the heck, its a nice evening outside, so after a single beer we walk to the square and take a table outside of Dronnning Louise and order more summer beer and plates of nachos, so settle down to watch the world go by.

I remind Manu as I drink from a half litre glass of Hoegaarden that this is on fact work and people think we are having the time of our life. A waitress brings us our food and I order another beer. Very tough indeed.

We are done, and there is more football to watch back at the hotel, so we walk back down the high street, noticing closed shops for the first time ever, a recession here in Denmark? Maybe. There is a new shopping centre opening the other side of the station, that will cause more shops to close, no?

Friday, 17 June 2016

Tuesday 14th June 2016


And what promised to be a very grim day indeed.

I even set the alarm for six fifteen so I could be in work extra early to get a head start. I was asked if either the bed was on fire or I had had an accident in it (ahem) when the rest of the office arrived, but I was up and working already.

Needless to say the summer weather of two weeks ago has long since gone and we have wall to wall cloud with a keen and cool breeze, so being in work is not such a bind when it is so dull outside.

Work is a uphill battle all morning, then I hear Manu is inbound and asking if we want him to bring bagels! So we say we do, so feast on overflowing bagels laden with salad, spicy sauce and who knows what else. Lovely.

And as the afternoon goes on, I win some small battles, so by the time it is time to go back to the hotel, I am in such a good mood that I plan to meet Manu in the bar at six, so we can drink beer and watch football in the hotel before going to Flammen for BBQ, which is mainly meat, meat and more meat.

I had made a reservation, and once we had ordered drinks, had some salad, we got a plateful of meat to fill our bellies. We know this is not good nor healthy, but darn, it tastes so good. Spicy pork, slow cooked beef and a rack of ribs. I pass on a second round, but Manu does and is soon complaining about his full belly.

Back to the hotel to watch the evening game, do some light work and watch the evening ferry depart laden with lorries.

Monday 13th June 2016

Today is Tuesday, not Monday, and I have been explaining to a friend why I blog; why I write almost every day. I can't explain, but I do enjoy it, and in the main, I do it because I want to, to record what I, or we, did, so to go back in years to come and remember what we did. It does help that I have this international quality expert and playboy liffestyle, coming most weeks to stay in the Playboy Mansion here in Esbjerg. I mean, come here, drink champagne and eat finest fillet of unicorn every night, whats not to like?

It amazes me that others read this, but glad that they, that you do, and although I don't say it much, many thanks for sticking with it through these what, nearly nine years.

That I travel to Denmark, to work, and it takes me something like six hours to get from home to the office is nothing other than a modern miracle. I travel up to London on a train, made in Japan, along a line that links Blighty with France and so the rest of Europe and Asia via a tunnel under the sea. I travel from an airport built on the land left over when the docks of east London closed.

Then I fly to Jutland to work with people from all over Europe, and indeed the world, to put up machines that create more energy than it took to make them,. That is pretty special.

So, although I may sound the commute to Esbjerg sound mundane, its anything but, and it is the result of a lifetime working towards a goal I never set for myself, and yet here I am. Such is life.


It is mid-summer, so waking up at half four or so, it is nearly light, birds are singing, and the cats are still snoozing. But, as the alarm goes off, we have to get ready so I can make the half six train from Folkestone. The weekend has gone, there is nothing else other than to travel and work.

But it is not unpleasant, as I find joy in watching the Kent countryside slip by in all its summer finery, the small villages, still sleeping or just stirring at the start of the working week.

Around me, people are watching last night's rebooted Top Gear on their mobiles, or making spreadsheets, reading the free paper or just sleeping. I am alive with the joy of just being alive, seeing nature and the world outside just doing its thing.

At Stratford I call in at the cafe for breakfast; chili chicken and cheese melt baguette and a large gingerbread latte. I take my time and finish both before walking to the DLR station to the airport.

I check in, drop my case off, and then go upstairs to queue for security, then once through find a place to sit, make calls and check mails.

The flight is called, so we go show our boarding passes and passports again, then climb on the bus to take us to stand 14, climb on the plane, where I ignore the safety brief whilst reading Private Eye. Despite it being sunny and summerlike in Dover at dawn, it soon clouded over, so once in the air, we were engulfed in cloud and Blighty was lost to me for a few days at least.

I could tell where we were by the movement of the aircraft, banking over Brentford, then climbing as we passed over Chelmsford and Colchester. Breakfast and coffee is served, and Europe passes below us.

We drop and soon I see Denmark, the lagoon near Esbjerg, all mudflats at low tide. We touch down, so walk the length of the terminal to baggage reclaim, then through immigration to the car hire place. Sorry, we just have an Audi they tell me. I smile.

I know the way to Esbjerg, down familiar roads, past the usual landmarks, putting my foot down to get past trucks and tractors, before accelerating onto the motorway to 80mph. At least until the next junction where the speed limit drops to 65. And above the trees, our massive new turbines slowly turn, generating huge amounts of power just by using the difference in pressure on the leading and trailing edges of the blades. Each 85m long.

I go to the office, shake hands with the team, and get on with work, getting a couple of hours work done until its time to head to the hotel, where I just get back to work, and able to watch the football at the same time. As you do.

I just go to the hotel restaurant for dinner; beer, burger and fries before watching the end of the Ireland game, where Wes scores for Ireland, but ends 1-1. More work and football in my room, outside the evening ferry departs, sounding a single, mournful toot on its horn. The sun sets and the football plays on.

Welcome to my working week.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sunday 12th June 2016

And so, what should have been a relaxing four day break caused by the funeral and clean up afterwards, instead really became dominated by my shoulder and inability to be able to sleep well.

However, by last night, as long as I did not move once in bed, I was fine. But moving caused such pain to go through my shoulder it would wake me up. And then there was Scully taking up residence in the middle of the bed, giving me so little room to sleep in, but I soldiered onto seven in the morning, where Jools' making coffee brought me to the land of the living.

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera Since staying those four nights at the two ryokans in Japan, we have been thinking about our hoarding habits, and so, for the past week or so have been going through our books and other stuff and deciding what will be on display and what will be in boxes in the attic. Although the attic is just one step away from self storage, I suppose it is a kind of test to see what we can do without. It is possible that by next weekend we will not have a book shelf in our living room at all. Just records and CDs, which is OK I suppose.

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera But before the final stage of the clear up, the sun was going to shine for an hour or so, therefore it was a race to get to Pegwell Bay to see how the Bees were doing before the cloud and rain rolled in from the west.

A quick drive over to Cliffsend, park at the Voking Ship and down the steps onto the abandoned hoverport. And by now I know where to go, so down one of the overgrown roads and opposite the yellow Man Orchids is the first group of Bees, and the one from last week is even taller, but some of the buds from last week have already gone over and are drying out.

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera We wandered around the port, and there were orchids everywhere, so many more than last year, and many more smaller, younger spikes, which bodes well for summers to come. There was also a colony of Southern Marsh too, looking good in the weak sunshine.

Southern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa After a while, I am just happy to see the Bees spreading further north, so in the end once we reach the steps, we climb up, have an ice cream before turning for home as the clouds had rolled in and there was even rain in the air.

Back home we have lunch, sausage sandwiches, with freshly fried bangers. Lovely, but this means that the fruit smoothie that was going to be so healthy, went unmade. Oh well.

And is there three games on TV today? Yes there was, and with it pouring with rain outside, I take to the sofa and try to stay awake. As you do.

Northern Ireland play in the second game, though I spend most of that cooking chorizo hash, but its a good game, even if Poland just sneak it in the end.

We put boxes and boxes of stuff in the attic, something for Meg and George to sort through when all this is theirs, I guess.

Saturday 11th June 2016

I woke up after over eight hours deep sleep feeling better, and my shoulder less painful, at least for now.

Once up, I did some exercise, then watched some TV whilst I applied a pack of frozen sweetcorn to the afflicted parts. That felt better.

I made bacon sandwiches for breakfast and then it was a repeat of Friday, as we went back into town to see the rest of the banks and building societies we had failed to get to on Friday.

We spit duties, Jools did Nan's stuff, and I got to pay money into the bank, got to Boots to buy toothpaste and then buy writing paper and envelopes. This last task is made all the more difficult now as the choice is now so limited as so many of us just don't write letters any more. So the real choice was a variety of coloured Basildon Bond A5 pads and matching envelopes. And none were in black, but given the choice I selected the calmest colour and that was that.

The plan had been to meet in La Salle Verte, a sign outside said that their coffee machine had broken down so there was no point in opening. Instead I sat outside Gala Bingo to watch Dovorians and visitors stumble pass. Jools walked right past me, so I looked on in some amusement as she also found La Salle was closed and looked round for me. I waved, and all was right with the world, so we walked back to the car then drove home.

Of course, at this time of year, just about every waking moment is turned to orchids, and with it being bright but not downright sunny, I thought I would take the chance to go to look for the elusive Musk Orchids at PGD. So, dropping Jools off, I passed on a cup of coffee and instead of the usual route to Folkestone and up the Elham Valley, dodging the badly parked cars, I went to Barham and then down the valley road, turning off up the down, through the hamlet and onto the down itself. Where I found I was the only visitor.

I walked through the first and second paddock; the first was almost orchid-free, and the second pretty overgrown but with more orchids the further you went in, there was even a few Monkey still hanging on, but there was just the two, and these were being crowded out by Common Spotted which were everywhere.

Into the third paddock, and up the path to where I know where the tiny Musk can be found Now, just to look.

And look.

And look.

Walking back and forth, trying the two paths either side. Last year we had them at the end of May, so they should be around now.

Musk Orchid Herminium monorchis I carried on looking, doubting my skill in picking out the tiny spikes from the background vegetation. And then, there was one, about two inches high and almost fully open. Wow, just perfect really, but so small. Three or four years ago it took four visits here to find them, now if they're there, I can find them.

A few feet away there was another tiny spike, just unfurling, smaller than possible, but the pale green colour giving it away. And that was that! Musk Orchid Herminium monorchis I walk on after getting the shots, looking for some white varients of the Fragrants and CSOs; I find a pur albaflora CSO, and many pale Fragrants, along with a few Fly hanging on, as well as Twayblades, a single might GBO and the dead spikes of the Early Purples. How well they lasted in the end.

As I walked out of the site, I was approached by an elderly couple, the man clutching what looked like a new copy of Harraps. Seen anything? he asked. I said about the Musk. And Fly? he added. Yes, there are some fly, but they are pretty poor now. I said the Musk were in the 3rd paddock, and he seemed happy to know that, but I had to tell him, you'll never find it, it's so small. I'll show you I offered. Are you sure?

Yes, I am sure, it will be a pleasure. So, we walked, talked, until we came to the Musk, and even standing over it they failed to see it, I had to lean over to point at it. Oh wow, they were surprised, but thrilled. Another couple were walking along the lower path; seen anything interesting they asked. Musk says I. So I stay there whilst they double back and come up to us. They are also surprised at how small the little spike is. But happy too to have seen it.

Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii var. albiflora This act of charity, or help had taken 90 minutes out of my day, and I really had to be getting back as Jools was to visit Whitfied to divvy out Nan's stuff. So I bid the folks farewell, and and drive back up to Barham and along the A2 to home.

We have lunch, smoothies and ice cream and cream cake. All of the major food groups right there.

Jools drives to Whitfield and I watch the football as it don't watch itself.

Now, it seems that the prospect of a will brings out the baser instincts in some people. It is all the more painful to hear about it in people I know, let alone how it must be to be related to them. However, questions were asked, answers given, and plans that had been arranged are changed without consultation. So sad really to have to witness it all, but there you go, where there's a will. I suppose some might read this and think I am being hard, but for me, its someone else's money, even if it were my Grandparents, I never thought of acting in a way to ensure of an inheritance, just did it out of love and/or family duty really. It's how I feel about Mum's money, I don't think there will be any left, but then its not "mone" anyway, she should do with it as she wants, and she does. Just a shame to see it all spent on mail order shopping and Pringles, but hey. She says she is happy.

So, with the pain of baser instincts hopefully to be forgotten, Jools comes back with some few things of Nan's trinkets, jewelry and mementos.

Inbetween games on TV, I cook bangers and Jersey Royals for dinner, which are great Wales come from behind to win their game, whilst England concede a last minute goal to draw with Russia whilst there is fighting and rioting in the stadium and around Marseilles. Just for once, it would be nice to talk about good football rather than crap passing, wasted chances and bloody drunken idiots fighting.