Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sunday 30th October 2015

A bonus blog, written on the day it describes; my, are we not lucky?

Indeed we are. And double lucky as it was the start of GMT, an extra hour in bed, and should have been a glorious day. And would have been if it hadn't have been for the fog. Fog is the bane of this time of year, along with wind, rain frost, now and the such. Anyway, any thoughts of a drive into Sussex to Sheffield Park were scrubbed as we woke to find the dip full of fog, which meant it wou;d be anywhere there was water about too.

So, a change of plans, and a drive up the motorway to Challock and King's Wood. We have not been there for probably two and a half years, but there is a good display of fungi there I have seen, so why not? Espcially if we leave early doors, before the crowds of dog walkers and families arrive.

Sunrise in Dover It was a dicey drive, a ferry had just arrived and the roads were packed. But in order to get ahead of the roadworks on town, we went up and over Military Hill again, and as we mounted the top, I saw that the sun had broken through the clouds so we stopped at St Martin's batter for me to take shots. And it was worth it, I have to say.

A walk in King's Wood I was glad when we turned off the motorway at Ashford, so bad were people's driving, hogging the middle lanes, not indicating and so on, so to get on the country road leading up onto the wooded down was a pleasure, even if it was shrouded in thick fog. I had hoped to get shots of bright golden leaves in the sunshine, there'd be none of that this morning, but more than enough wildlife and fungi to take our attention. And it wasn't crowded, so we could park and then put on our walking boots and set off into the gloom.

A walk in King's Wood Everywhere there was a thick layer of golden leaves, scattered with husks of chestnuts. And all over the place; on stumps, in the drifts of leaves, were fungi. Of all shapes and sizes, with names I can only guess at. And we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

A walk in King's Wood As we walked down into the lane that cuts through the wood, we heard a noise, and looking up the other side we saw at least four deer, making good their escape from us.

We collected some chestnuts, to roast later one, but leaving most for the animals of the woods.

A walk in King's Wood After an hour and a half, we were happy with what we had seen, so cut through along an overgrown path, through ancient fir trees back to the car, passing by many people just arriving, just as we planned.

We drove back along the motorway, but turning into Folkestone so I could have a haircut; time whizzes by so quickly, I could have sworn I was here only a couple of weeks ago. That done we go to a place to have brunch; pancakes with maple syrup and butter, which was the brunch of champions as it happens.

We call in at the record shop, and I get two nice re-issues of Autobahn and Aladin Sane, which for forty quid the pair, not too bad.

I put on side 1 of Autobahn when we get home, and it sounds fabulous. Hope the neighbours liked it.

Anyway, the afternoon drifted away, I had to do some work, then I made soup for dinner with some left over vegetables, added some curry spices to it, sprinkled some cheese on the top, buttered some crusty bread, and a wonderful dinner.

Mulder seems to have perked up some this evening, but he is still off to the vets in the morning, as Jools is off work and can take him. As for me, I am going to Oostende again, and so back to the hotel and office for me.

You can, if you're Nissan

A few weeks ago, Nissan grande fromage, Carlos Ghosn, arrived at Downing Street for talks with the PM.

And then last week, Nissan announced that it was to build two new models in Sunderland after all. After receiving assurances from the British Government.

The Government was over the moon, Harry, with the deal, and stressed that this was not a bail out nor was there any special favours promised. But as soon as those words were spoken, news wire Reuters were reporting something different. Britain promising to make the difference in tariffs, or as reported elsewhere, promising to stay in a tariff free zone.

Whatever the truth of the deal, is that other car makers; Honda, BMW and other foreign-own manufacturing began to express their desire that similar deals would be applied either to them, or their sectors.

Rebates, deals, assurances, subsidies or whatever was called, goes against the idea that Britain would be able to set up free trade deals once it was out of the EU, or that it would free up money to be spent elsewhere. Seems that any money that could be saved will either be spent compensating corporations or paying more for the same access to free trade zones than we currently already do.

Big business would also be able to threaten Britain to move out unless certain terms were offered, or corporation tax reduced. Or else.

And then there are the broader implications: Ford, or BMW or HOnda that did not get the deals they wanted here, might consider moving elsewhere in the EU, meaning jobs and investment would be kept here (depending on any access to the EU market, of course). Would those self-same countries then be inclined to sign up to a free trade deal with Britain? Even worse, such a deal which offered some kind of state aid to a manufacturer could also be against WTO rules, meaning that if we failed to get a deal with the EU, then falling back on WTO rules could be threatened if we were to have violated their rules too.

So, on the face of it, what seemed like a good deal and great news for the Brexiteers and the PM could me: lower taxes from Nissan and pother car makers, retaliation from the EU and/or the WTO, and many more such companies demanding more of the same for them. Instead of having more money to "spend" on the NHS, we would have less tax and pay for companies to actually have a presence here. Making the Government and the rest of us much worse off, our already stretched services break.

Taking back control, right there.

Saturday 29th October 2016

The final day of British Summer Time, and with an extra hour to have in bed, it meant we could mess around in the evening for an extra hour and sleep the same. However, we were on a bit of a downer, as Mr Fabulous, aka Mulder, is a bit under the weather, feeling lethargic, spends all his time sleeping. He seems perky enough though, purrs when he is stroked. We will keep an eye on the fella.

An autumnal walk to Windy Ridge Anyway, we lay in bed until after seven, and with dawn showing, we clamber out of bed and after coffee, I volunteer to do the shopping thing. Jools still not feeling too sharp, says she will sort out the washing, so with tasks allocated, we can get on. Instead of Tesco, I drive into Deal to whiz round Sainsbury's, as they have a better class of grocery. In actual fact, they do really nice flavoured coatings which I put on chicken breasts or park steaks of shrimps. And then they have nice wine and spirits, I buy some Madeira, and so Sherry for the Christmas cakes. Oh and there was bread, fruit and the rest of the dull stuff.

An autumnal walk to Windy Ridge Back home in time for half eight when we can have hot toasted crumpets for breakfast. And then what? The weather was grey and dull, so we sit in the living room, listening to Huey on the wireless. The morning passes. There is a knock at the door, and it is the postman bringing the calendars for next year I had made last weekend, featuring pictures from our trip to Japan. And it looks great, the photos are huge and reproduction pin sharp. Really good.

An autumnal walk to Windy Ridge After dinner there is football on the radio, Sunderland v Arse, and it is all too predictable in the 1st half, the Gooners 1-0 up at half time, they should have at least 5 by half time. They failed to show up at the start of the second half and allowed Sunderland back in, but after Sunderland pull level with a penalty, then go AWOL and concede three more before the end of the game.

But before the end of the game, the sun had broken through, and agains tall expectations it was a glorious afternoon, and with no wind it felt warm enough appear like summer. It was too nice to stay inside, even with the main batch of matches approaching, so I rescue Jools from the garden and announce to her that we shall go for a walk.

An autumnal walk to Windy Ridge The intention was not to walk for, but we end up going out for an hour, walking to the end of the street, over the fields to Fleet House where the pig's cospe was empty, meaning they remaining porkers had been taken to market. Despite it being the end of October, the ground was fairly dry, meaning we could go either down the dip or up the Windy Ridge. To Jools' surprise I lead her up to Windy Ridge, past the farm and up the long slog to the tree line.

An autumnal walk to Windy Ridge I wanted to get shots of trees turning red and orange, and Windy Ridge being a wood and all that, meant it was the only choice.

Through the wood, looking for fungi, but as always they are think on the ground, or on the wood and trees anyway. But with the sun shining through the canopy above, it was pleasant enough. We break out of the wood, and walk down past the old plant centre. Down in a crease of the land, it was a proper suntrap, and was downright warm. We worked up a sweat climbing back to the road, then down onto our street and back home.

I switch on the radio to find that City were already one down. But it was to get worse, much worse. I mean, 2-0. 3-0. 4-0. and five bloody nil. So much for us not getting a tonking in this league. Bah. Yes, they do happen, but think of the fans having to travel four hours back home with that having just happened.

An autumnal walk to Windy Ridge I switch off the radio before full time, and avoid any more scores. Even when I don't go to games, a bad result can cast a shadow over the weekend.

We had a selection of Chinese tapas, if that's actually a thing, for dinner. I bought boxes of the stuff wondering if i had enough. I had, there was enough for more on Sunday and put some in the freezer too. So it goes.

But with one thing and another, we spend our extra hour in bed, worn our of laid low with our respective lurgies. Urgh.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Friday 28th October 2016

You know the drill by now. Up, dressed, pack, check out, breakfast, load the car and drive to the office.

Only this time, as I drove out of the hotel and towards the ring road, my way was, if not illuminated, but guided by a sliver of old moon, and underneath was the silver dot of Venus. Another two weeks have passed.

I drove to the office without incident, but there is always a moment of worry when turning off the roundabout near the station when in the left hand lane; will the car on the right turn right too, or just carry on? There must be some rules, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I arrive safe and sound, to find the offices in darkness as there is some kind of electrical check going on. So for the time being we practice being burglars with our torches bouncing off the bright surfaces. NO electrickery means no coffee either of course.

Back Home Power is restored, mails tumble in, and work can begin.

It is a rush to get everything down in the four hours I have before I need to drive to Calais to make the train I was booked on. There are meetings, more training, and much swearing to be done in that time.

I check with the team before I leave, making sure all is set and settled. From now on I am call 24/7, so there should be not much to worry about. Into the car and to the big scary roundabout, and seeing as everyone else does it, I stay in the left hand lane all the way round until I can turn off onto the motorway. It feels wrong, but it is without incident, which is nice.

Ten minutes up to the main north-south road, I turn south towards the French border, cruising at 70. The sun was out, and traffic not too bed at all. It was good to think I was going home for the weekend. Across the border, through Grande Synthe, where the road weaves through industrial areas and many railway lines.

Back Home I have booked on the Flexi ticket once again, and have time to stop in the lounge for a coffee and a comfort break. I am offered a sandwich, cake, coffee, picnic box, smoothies and cookies. I have a coffee and a cake, and take the box to have at home with Jools. It contains half a bottle of wine, cookies, crisps. Not bad.

We all leave to board the train and am able to jump the queues and right onto the train.

No messing about, other than the tannoy keeping cutting out, but we pull away on time, and having checked my watch, we emerge at Folkestone less than 20 minutes later, but then took 10 more minutes to circle round to the terminal. I have Nigel Molesworth keeping me company, nice and easy to read, but even with the light prose, i could feel my eyes dropping.

Back Home Just as well we have arrived, and that I have just 15 minutes to go before I am home.

I have two hours to kill before I have to go out to drop the car off, so I make a brew and have one of the packet of cookies and have the radio on.

At four, I drive into town, and with a ferry just arrived, the roads along to the start of the A20 are jammed, so I drive up and over Military Hill, past St Martins, back down the other side, then along to Snargate Street to the office.

A quick look at the car, and I am free to go with the receipt. I just have to wait for Jools to come to collect me.

And the weekend could begin. Only we were both shattered, as JOls had had a cold all week, and I was awake at four that morning. Oh woe is us.


I warm up some soup for dinner, and afterwards we watch Grand Tour of Scotland where it has now reached Loch Maree, within driving distance of the cottage on Skye I think. We shall see, eh Tony!

There is no Don now until the late winter next March, so we can go to bed at nine. And do.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Thursday 27th October 2016

And so Thursday dawned, the most important day for 14 months that I have been on the project. Today, the installation vessel was due to reach the site and begin work.

This shit got really real.

But first I had to get up and work up enough enthusiasm to get dressed and get to the office. It does feel like sometimes I am in a cage, a gilded cage for sure, but a cage nonetheless. So, anyway, breakfast.

There is a massive bowl of strawberries and another of blueberries, so I fill my bowl with both, top it up with yoghurt and then get a coffee. The room has a few other diners, including an old lady who had her table laid each morning, complete with selection of rolls, bread and two pots of coffee. I wonder what her story is.

An evening walk in Oostende I drive to the office, without incident again, which is always good, to find the training for all the techs in full swing already, and so I take to my office, power up the laptop and look at the mails that have been pinging through the interwebs through the night.

Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk, Oostende I could describe, in details what I did on the morning, waiting for the lunch rolls to be delivered, but it was really what I did on Wednesday, Tuesday, and every day when in the portacabins.

Some people complain about the rolls, but freshly baked and prepared rolls with cheese, ham, salami or salmon; all free, what's not to like? I eat mine in the office and cover the keyboard with seeds.

Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk, Oostende The wind gets up, stopping work offshore for the day, so we attend meetings, listen to plans for the next day, two days and so on. Then we walk back to the office for yet more coffee.

I finish at half four, go back to the hotel to find coaches everywhere. No explanation as to what was going on, but buses were parked three deep outside the hotel, the move enough to enable to to get the car between them so I could get into the garage.

Dusk in Oostende By the time I had had a shower, just one remained out of the ten or so that had been there, and soon that had gone too, taking its passengers from whence they came.

With the clocks going back next week, I realise this was the last chance to visit the massive parish church in the centre of town, so I walk along the street of bars, crossing the main square still filled with a fair, and onto the area outside the church.

Dusk in Oostende Needless to say, it is locked, but I snap it from all angles, and am taken by it's Gothic majesty. It is a smaller version of the Dom in Cologne, which isn't a bad thing. There is also a tower of another ruined church, so I snap that too.

I walk back through the town as the shops were closing, ending up at the hotel where I grab a glass of strong beer, and sit outside watching the sun set. But as the previous day, the sun was obscured by clouds, but ten minutes later the clouds in the sky lit up by the light from the sun which had set. I walked along the prom to snap it, the clouds and the light reflected in the buildings.

Dusk in Oostende It was too easy to decide to go to the burger place next to the hotel, and order a cheese burger and a beer. It wasn't too busy, but enough to keep the staff rushed. Phew, I am done, and there is no football to watch. so I can go to bed at a sensible time, and be up in tme to pack and prepare to go home tomorrow.

Wednesday 26th October 2016

And its Groundhog Day. Again. Without the Sonny and Cher of course, but the alarm wakes me at half six, I get ready and am down for breakfast when the place opens at seven, filling up on fruit, compote, roll with sprinkles and coffee. Another fine day is waking, although still dark outside.

So I get the car out of the tightest garage once again, down the ramp and out over the paved area to the road, then avoiding manic cyclists to the harbour and the office where there are two coffee machines ready to dispense instant joy.

I did have Jesper keeping me company for breakfast and in the car to the office. He is down to dish out some safety awareness training. I had that a few weeks back so will be spared.

In the office I power up the laptop and am dealing with the usual stuff, I find that things are really moving forward now, and so we wait the arrival of the vessel.

As there is a course, there is food for lunch, crunchy rolls with ham or cheese, all very nice. And free.

In the evening there is another group meal, meeting outside the hotel at seven. But it seems that Jesper and I can't resist the temptation of beer sitting outside the hotel while we put the world to rights. Another one? Go on then.

One of the techs has the address of a Chinese place programmed in, and so we walk through the town, at route march pace, passing by many places that look fine, and the fair set up in a few of the town squares. We end up beside the marina, where we find the restaurant closed.

However, a short stomp away is another, and they have like 50 free tables, so plenty of room for the 13 of us.

We end up playing lucky dip calling out numbers from the menu, I mean as much as I like Chinese, though not as much as a curry, it all pretty much comes out the same in truth, so I end up with mini spring rolls, and chicken cooked in Gran Marnier liqueur; that well known rustic recipe. Anyway, after setting it on fire, it was OK, lots of fruit and washed down by Chinese and Belgian beer. A nice cocktail.

From there we walked back to where we live, at each junction another one or two peeling off towards their flat until there was just three of us walking up to the hotel.

Tuesday 25th October 2016

At least with Belgian beer running at between 5 and 10%, there is no danger of not being able to sleep, but there is the wooly head effect in the mornings. The alarm goes off at half six, and I lay staring at the ceiling, waiting a few minutes before springing into action as my alter-ego QA Man.


I put on my day-glo jacket of power, and I am set for whatever the forces of evil can throw at me. Downstairs there is breakfast; fruit and rolls with sprinkles. And coffee, strong sweet coffee.

There is the drive to work, in which tired, bloodshot eyes scan the road for errant cyclists and pedestrians, as my brain tries to coordinate movement of my hands and feet in getting us to the office in one piece. Good news is that I make it, and find a parking space. I have now claimed the spare office as mine, so after setting up I search for more coffee.

Oostende at dusk We are now at the stage where everything is real. In fact the clarity is like super HD TV it so clear. So, the day is a wait for the next tranche of mails, dealing with the issues or batting them back.

Morning passes, lunch comes and goes. Then there is the afternoon, and meetings and the spreadsheet of joy. One day I will tell you about the spreadsheet of joy, but for now all you need to know that there is one, and it is filled with joy.

Oostende at dusk After half an hour of headscratching, it is time to go back to the hotel, have a shower and get ready for the evening's activity, as it is one of my minion's birthday.

Oostende at dusk But I need a walk too. Two days in the office is killing me, so I grab the camera and walk out of the hotel, fllowing the tram tracks alongside the shopping area, down to the harbour to snap the serene scene, before walking back up through a residential area made of tall buildings, from different decades and styles, cheek by jowl. It shouldn't do, but does work ,and is pleasing on the eye.

I cross the road with the bars, heading up onto the promenade where the sun is setting low in the west. There are few other people about, but i snap the prom, the beach, people and the sunset. Until the sun is hidden by low cloud, and the whole scene is pastel shaded, and looks a pretty as a picture.

Oostende at dusk At the hotel, with half an hour before the meal, I meet a colleague who is sitting outside sipping a beer. It would be rude not to join him, so I get one myself, then he offers to buy me another. It would also be rude to refuse such a kind offer. And so I lost time for a shower, and go upstairs to drop the camera off before going outside to wait for the team to arrive so we could walk to Den Artist for dinner.

A table for 11 had been booked, and we filled it, ordered good food and beer, had good talk and many laughs. I have steak and fries and mayo and more La Chouffe. Its too easy to have La Chouffe, as everywhere sells it, at least its in small bottles I suppose.

Oostende at dusk It does mean a wander back to the hotel, then a shower, and lay in bed watching Twitter updates as Norwich end up losing to Dirty Leeds in the League cup, but i was long asleep by that point, and would not find the result until the morning.

Monday 24th October 2016

I had my hire car, my hotel reservation and had booked my passage through the Tunnel. So there was no excuse for a late start. And with this being the most important week of the project thus far, it is going to prove to be very exciting to say the least.

I am awake at half five and up at quarter to six, feeding the cats and making coffee and breakfast. I manage to watch the highlights of the football, laughing at all four goals Utd conceded in comical fashion. I dress and am ready, so no more faffing around, I load the car and drive to the terminal.

As I had booked late, there were no cheap fares, and the flexi ticked, able to travel any time, was only a few quid more expensive. So I chose that. I did mean the use of a separate lounge, and I though a separate carriage on the train with dancing unicorns, sweetmeats in aspic to eat and the such, but as I arrived at the lounge I saw that boarding had started, I drove straight through onto the train, where, much to our dismay, we joined the queue with those on the cheaper tickets and ended up in the same carriage as normal. Oh well.

But it was not yet nine, and I was on my way.

On the other side, the sun shone down on Flander's fields and the motorway, traffic was light even if it was half term, so I powered north keeping at the speed limit, through northern France and into Belgium. I took the motorway into Oostende, it entered the city near the station and the office just a few minutes away. So simple and queue free.

And the office is a hive of activity, so I don't fit in at all! Well, I do really, I settle into the office, check mails and so the battle is rejoined, and continues until 5 when I realise I am bushed again, and need a shower. So, I pack up and drve to the hotel, checking into another room that does not face onto the beach! Instead I can hear the clattering and banging from the kitchens below.

I have arranged to meet with the team at half six, at which point we walk to the trendy burger place next to the hotel where we all order various burgers with cheese and silly strong beer. When in Belgium......

We are done, and when we look around, I see that the restaurant is packed, I mean not a spare table, unlike last week when there were just four table taken. Must be a holiday in Belgium too I guess. Anyway, I pay for the meal and the others go back to the ir flat and I to my room where I lay on the bed listening to the radio, another day done and all that.

How'd you like your Brexit? Hard or not at all?

Last week, president of the EU, M. Tusk when asked said that Brexit would be Hard or None.

During the Tory Prty conference, all seemed to be going well, with Minister after Minister making what were later described as "good speeches". But it really means nothing.

Why? I hear you ask.

Well, today, Monday, the leaders of the devolved governments and institutions gathered to hear what Mrs May had to say about Brexit and their role in it. To say the result was damning would be an understatement. When asked if she was undermining Westminster's Brexit strategy, Nicola Sturgeon said there would have to be one to undermine.


And last week there was the culmination of seven year's discussions and negotiations between the EU and Canada on a trade deal. Only in Belgium its not just the government that to agree on it, and all other such deals, but the regional governments too. And Walonia rejected it, and today (also Monday) Belgium pulled the deal. The thought then goes, could the same thing happen with any deal between the EU and Britain? How could it not?

How so? How about Spain rejecting anything until Britain agrees on discussions regarding Gibraltar? Not that hard to imagine. And how about the other 26 countries all wanting their pounds of flesh from London? And even if Britain and the 27 plus regional governments were to reach an agreement, then the whole shebang would have to be ratified by the European Parliament.

And after apparently pushing for what is called the "Hard" option, Mrs May said that no such thing had been decided upon. So, there is no plan, apart from the fact that she may, or may not, trigger Article 50 in March. All depending on whether the High Court and/or the Court of Appeal and/or the European Court agrees that it is Royal (or executive perogative) powers for her to bypass Parliament, and the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the NI Assembly, and therefore runs the risk of breaking up the British Union, or setting the four countries against each other.

As M. Tusk said, the choice will be either Hard or non, as a bespoke deal with Britain, with national opt ins, or outs, would be complicated, and subject to review and.or veto by the 27, pus regional parliaments and the European Parliament. The simple, only choice will be hard or none.

Even with opt ins for certain trade areas, like financial services might be all but impossible to get through the legal clearance needed in Europe. So, crashing out with no deals, or deciding its all too difficult and forget about the whole thing.

Clearly, despite being resolute in conference, Mrs May has no idea, and her Brexit Ministers even less.

What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything, of course.

Sunday 23rd October 2016

Steve asked what time we got up of a morning, and so we said the cats will have us up at six, so no worries. Of course, there had to be something different that happened, and after Mulder had been checking up on us hourly to see if we felt like feeding him, we stirred at just before eight in the morning, woken by Steve going to the bathroom. Oh dear, best get cracking.

The cats had given up and gone back to sleep, sleeping with one eye open to check on any movement towards the food cupboard. So, I feed the cats, make drinks and check on the world via the interwebs as is usual. And the news was that the world is as messed up as it always was.

I make more bacon butties for breakfast to help the waking up process, then Steve goes to pack as he needed to get back home. Oddly, the cats, even Molly, liked Steve and carried on as if he was one of the family even though he didn't like cats. Maybe that's why, cats just know. Anyway, Steve left at just before ten, leaving us and the cats behind.

And as Jools had developed a cold, and hadn't slept well, the half-assed plan I had about going for a walk slipped to the afternoon and then was binned, even though the sun shone low from the autumnal sky.

As usual, we found things to do at home, mainly the washing, preparing lunch and getting ready for the working week ahead.

Lunch came and went, Jools went for a lay down and I listened to some football, wrote some blogs and generally wasted the afternoon away.

Once I had listened to Chelsea spank Man Utd, I went out to collect a curry, as I couldn't be bothered to cook, and so we dined on spicy food until we were stuffed. Perfect.

And, that was your weekend. Just the usual stuff, and there's another one along in a few days.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Saturday 22nd October 2016

Dawn rises over Chez Jelltex revealing three sleeping figures all accompanied by cats; seems like Scully thought that Steve should have a purring hot water bottle during the night and somehow managed to open the door and take position at his feet. He didn't seem to mind though.

Outside it is a bright if cool day, and we have a day of football and photography to look forward to. I cook bacon butties for us all, and that sweeps away the last traces of sleep and the bacon cooks. With our appetites attended to, it was time to get ready so Steve and I could go out to snap trans traveling over the new viaduct. For me it is the final stage of the project to snap the progress of the works on the sea wall, and for Steve the chance to see the panorama of the town and harbour for the cliffs.

Job done at Shakespeare Beach I know the times by hear now, so I allow us 20 minutes to drive to Aycliffe and to climb the cliff path to be in place for the first of the two Javeins, this one coming from London, so there would be no warning until we could see it far below.

Work is still ongoing to replace the rock armour against the remains of the sea wall, and protect what is left of the beach. Still, the footbridge has not been replaced, I suspect the final thing to be done once public access to the beach is allowed once all the heavy plant has gone.

We stay to watch the up service round the corner from Dover Town, then accelerate towards us before vanishing under our feet into Shakespeare Tunnel.

Job done at Shakespeare Beach We walk back to his car, and from Aycliffe I direct him to Folkestone Harbour so we can have a look at the old station and branch line; he was last there on a tour just before the line closed.

Mostlybytrain does Shakespeare We park at the bottom of the OLd High Street, and walking over to the viaduct, I am nearly run over by some tattooed fuckwit driving an old Corsa, I don't say anything, but hold my hands up to indicate "what the heck?" "Fuck off" he shouts out of the wind, oh why don't you I shout back. He stops thinking with his two braincells whether he should come over and thump me. He decides against it as Steve and I have walked on. We don't see him again.

It is low tide, and the whole fishing fleet is beached, or mudded, high and dry, with fishermen getting their craft ready for the next tide and one hardy soul is digging for lugworms, apparently by spreading mud up his waterproofs, or that's how it looks as he is so muddy.

We walk to the station and find that it has received a coat of paint in places; little has been cleared and with the old footbridge now gone, it looks open, and derelict, but not quite as bad as before. Works from the various triennials are still in place, which make a nice counterpoint to the decay around. At the far end of the station a footpath has been made to join up with the harbour arm, and on that, huge amount of work had been done in renovating much of the infrastructure. Under the rusty awning I saw last time, the gaps between the clumns had been filled in, and a cafe and seafood bar have been built, they have yet to open, but there is the smell of fresh seafood in the air.

At the far end of the pier, under the shadow of the lighthouse, a champagne bar had been set up, decorated with nautical bric-a-brac, although closed, I am sure it did great business in the summer and through the warm September we had. Chairs and tables were all about and would be nice to sip champers here on a warm summer evening.

Hoverport We walk back to the car and then drive back to Dover to stop at St Martins for the panoramas over Dover Harbour. It is warm here too, high up on the chalk cliffs, and we can survey the work Dover Harbour Board is doing in wiping out the last traces of the hoverport in creating a new freight termonal they may no longer have funding from Europe for. A jackhammer is thumping away, giving the day a 30bpm kind of soundtrack.

Western Docks Back home we have lunch and listen to the first half of the early game before Jools takes us to Crabble for the game. We arrive at ten past two, and after a steep climb from the road to the ground, we pay £15 each to get in, and inside a neat little ground with a new stand almost complete is revealed. As is the sloping pitch, sloping from right to left at about 5%, would make things interesting.

Dover Athletic v Braintree Town 22nd October 2016 Over a thousand are inside the ground at kick off, and once the direction of play is decided, we swap ends, walking at the foot of the main stand to the far end, so we can cheer on Braintree in attack.

Dover Athletic v Braintree Town 22nd October 2016 Braintree take the lead after ten minutes of "hoofball". The fans celebrate like they have won the cup. After which is one of the most remarkable half hours I have seen for some time, as Braintree seem to have a brainfreeze at the back, and manage to gift Dover 5 goals before half time, either from defensive or goalkeeping mistakes. Every chance goes in, and the fans around me are in a state of shock as each goal goes in.

It seems likely there will be double figures, especially after halftime, when we have all walked to the other end of the ground: Dover score a sixth and heads really have dropped. But Dover took their foot of the gas pedal, and Braintree come back into it, getting close on half a dozen occasions, but fail to find the net. 6-1 is the final score, and all from Essex are shellshocked. Dusk is falling as we file out of the ground, but the Braintree manager comes to the corner of the ground to appologise to all the Braintree fans he can reach. A nice touch.

Dover Athletic v Braintree Town 22nd October 2016 We walk up Crabble Hill, round the bend and to where our old flat was by the traffic lights. Its still there and seems a lifetime ago we left there. We wait down the hill outside the Three cups, a pub I only have set foot inside on our wedding day as Mike and I waited for the limousine. No time to go back in, so we wait outside and a guy walking past asks us the score. He also informs me that Norwich had managed to lose 1-0 to Preston at home, making the football day complete.

She drives us home, and once inside I get cracking making dinner. I have been ambitious. A few weeks back when I went to the butchers, they had a rack of lamb, I bought it in anticipation that Mike and Jane would come round. They didn't, so OI thought I would do it for us. Earlier in the day I had basted the outside of both racks with spiced oil I made myself, then left them to marinate over the afternoon. Once in the oven I make the bejeweled stuffing, with I cook separately. Some steamed vegetables and finally some flavoured cous cous to round it off.

Now, even if I say so myself, this was a stunning meal, worthy of being in a restaurant, wonderful flavours which went together well, and the meat cooked to a turn. Oh man, that was mighty fine.

We are stuffed, fit for sitting on the sofa watching the final Gardener's World of the year. We keep our eyes open, just. But steve drops off during the football on 5 from nine. He is snoring well by ten, so it is an easy choice to head to bed at that point.

Friday 21st October 2016

On my last morning in Oostene, the clouds did clear and the sun did shine, or would have done if dawn had arrived when I got up. As it was, dawn was still an hour away, even if I told myself I could lay in bed a while, my brain was already moving up the gears. So I pack, get dressed and go down for breakfast before checking out.

THere as the struggle to get the car out of the car park, all tine spaces, tight turns and ramps that also turned so tight I had to reverse halfway down to make the turn; and this was with an Astra, with the Passat estate I had last time would have been an adventure to say the least!

Traffic was light, although at roundabouts it was stiff a free for all, with people turning right staying in the left hand lane, not indicating and just driving round. I avoid one such van and make it to the docks safely, and then through the low security barriers to the office. I say low security as they are motion operated, and there are no checks carried out, so anyone can just drive in.

Waiting And then there is work; three hours of chaos until I have to leave. I have to arrange a meeting at short notice, but rattle through that, so I can leave at ten to eleven. I follow the road signs to the motorway, and find that in doing so I avoid the strip malls and traffic jams, reaching the motorway in ten minutes, and the French border in half an hour and Calais in just over an hour. I get some beer and wine before driving to the tunnel, check in and join the queues to get through immigration, which there always seem to be on this side.

I am through in ten minutes and allowed to bypass the waiting at the terminal right to the waiting area just before boarding. Another ten minute wait, and just as we begin to get restless, the light goes greena and we are allowed to board. It is all so painless and efficient.

Boarding As ever.

There is the direction to park as close to the car in front as possible, carriage doors are closed, there is the safety announcement, and the pull away. I manage to finish WSC on the way over. I realise I am so shattered; mostly my fault for watching football until nearly eleven most nights, and then the early starts. I check work mails, not much happeneing, so I think the world can cope with me taking the afternoon off. I switch the phone off just as the line of cars starts to move, and I have the simple drive to the M20, then ten minutes to Dover and finally up Jubilee Way to home. Indoors at five past twelve.

I put the radio on, make a brew and have the sole remaining short cake left over from the weekend. And so the weekend begins.

For a change this weekend, we have one of my Flickr contacts staying with us; Steve is from Suffolk, but supports Braintree Town from Essex, and they are playing Dover on Saturday. He mentioned he was coming down, so we said he should stay with us instead of a guest house.

Anyway, he arrives at half three when Jools comes back with the weekly shopping, meaning we are all done for the weekend.

I make chorizo hash for dinner, which Steve and I wash down with strong Belgian beer, obviously. For the evening, we thought a trip to The Carpenter's Arms in Coldred would be good. If you can't remember, its the place that has not seen a decorator or any improvement since the 50s, but they provide a warm welcome and serve good beer.

We both have two pints of different ruby ale, both good, but the one from the barrel was fine, if flat. And that it that, nearly ten in the evening, full of hash and beer. Best go home to bed.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Thursday 20th October 2016

I wake up to the sound of falling rain. More like a waterfall, really. I lay there in the dark as the rain continued to fall, hammering down on the roof of some part of the kitchen down below.

I am used the agenda for the day now; up to check n the news, shower, get dressed and then down for breakfast, taking a table among the thirty or so unoccupied tables, and then there is the usual fabulous feast to choose from. And the coffee machine was working fine too, which is always a bonus.

Out into the rain in the car, making my way along deserted town centre streets, slowing for every crossing so to ensure I don't take out a cyclist, as they never stop and just tear across. I make it to the ring road without ingredient, and then round two massive roundabouts, which no one seems to observe any rules on, so I take care in exiting, pass under the railway and along the docks to the office.

Seems there had been a team event the evening before, and that then stretched into some beer drinking, which meant the offices were just about deserted, so I take the spare office and begin work.

From the office window Through the morning, people turn up for work, and so the place livens up. A couple of bags of filled rolls are provided for lunch, after which there is more of the same work as usual. Not sure what I did, but it took me all day to do it, and am kept on my toes.

At four, I had had enough and packed up my stuff for a drive to the hotel in daylight. I listen to the radio, and afternoon turns into evening, more rain falls.

I am due to meet my minions at seven, but find the whole project team arriving too outside the hotel. Once we are all there we walk to Den Artist for some BQ and beer and good talk. And laughs

From the office window It really does make an evening feel different when there are people to share food and drink with. We are assembled on the mezzanine floor again, filling the table up. The waitress brings us a constant stream of bottled beers and good food.

We left about half nine, and as soon as we had set foot out the door, the rain came down once more. As we walked past the empty bars that remained open, neon lights reflected off the cobbles, but we strode on trying to get back to either the hotel or flats before we got too wet. One by one we peel off until there are just the three of us who were staying at the hotel. Made it just as my rain proof jacket bean to leak. Phew.

More football on TV, I watch it was one eye, whilst fill my time on the internets and listening to the radio.

Wednesday 19th October 2016

I wake up just before my alarm, it is ten to seven, still dark and the room is cold. Perfect.

For some reason I think I am late, so rush round getting ready before going down for breakfast, and find there is a massive bowl of strawberries and another of blueberries. So I have a lot of both, and some yoghurt, then find that the coffee machine is broken.


But there is another on the other side of the room. Panic over. There are just two other tables taken, I look at them and try to guess why they are here. Well, the family with two young daughters are easy I suppose, an out of season break. Better than work, I don't doubt.

A quick drive to the office, after getting the car out of the garage, still a challenge with those tight corners and bends. But I do it without damaging the car, and drive into what counts as rush hour traffic. In fact it is fine in the town, but I know all roads into two will be jammed.

Anyway, I arrive at the office to find the car park nearly full, and teams of technicians have arrived and have three days training. It is now a noisy and busy place, where just two weeks ago our portacabins were calm and quiet. Here begins the madness.

I take the spare office and begin working, dealing with the hot and not so hot issues.

There are fires to deal with, and less important issues too, but the morning rushes past and soon there are rolls and sandwiches to feast upon, and time for talking and even joking.

But then work rears its head again, and I am tied back to the computer for the rest of the day. At least time passes quickly.

By the time we leave the office, it has clouded over and a torrential downpour is falling, turning the late afternoon almost to night. I drive carefully cak, and once having parked the car look out the entrance at the rain falling so heavy it was like a fog. No way was I going far that evening.

I went back to the burger place, had a pork burger made with salt cured pork, and was darn good. I eat alone, read my magazine and make two bottle of strong beer vanish. It is quiet, a few tables are taken, moslty young couple whispering sweet nothings, I guess mainly about waffles, to each other.

Although low tide, the sea was roaring like a wounded monster, and there was the taste of salt in the air. There was also promise of more rain to come, so I beat a retreat to the hotel, picking up a bottle of silly strength beer from the reception.

There is more football on TV, Citey v Barca, and Barca serve up a lesson in football, winning 4-0. Wowzers.

Tuesday 18th October 2016

And so we find ourselves, once again, getting ready for four days away from home. At least this time it is just to Ostend, and this will be my new commute, traveling over by car each week.

I had failed to book my car onto a train, so that was the first task of the day once we had made coffee, fed the cats, etc, And I find that traveling between eight and ten seemed to be peak hour and traveling between those times would cost a hundred quid more. I balked at that, even with the company paying, so book on the first of the cheap services at 10:50.

That gave me a couple of hours to watch football, pack and get ready. So at just gone nine I had run out of things to do, so set off, thinking worse case I could sit in the terminal and have coffee and an early lunch.

It takes about fifteen minutes to drive to the terminal, uneventful and easy even through the roadworks. I arrive and check in and find I am offered the ten to ten train, which I can just make, so fail to stop at the terminal and thus also fail to get the headlight adapters I needed.

Once through immigrations, I find queues everywhere, as unbeknown to me, there were power supply issues in the tunnel. Two and a half rows of cars are allowed to board a train, whilst we wait.And wait.

And wait.

After eleven, we are allowed on, and after some delay we start the trip over to France. I only learn later in the day that the power situation got worse, and many trains cancelled later on. But I made it.

Rain was falling hard, making the hour blast up the motorway tricky, so I decide to take it easy, and make it safe. Heck, I even know the way to the hotel and office without the sat nav now, which is pretty good. Getting past the long lines of trucks and lorries, kicking up huge plumes of spray is interesting, but i press on and soon reach the turn off and after crossing over fields the road enters the strip mall which signals the edge of Ostend.

Along the main road, under the railway and along the docks, there is the turning, and into the road leading to the office. And once inside I meet friends and colleagues, who are running around like crazy things, but then this is par for the course.

I meet up, then get down to work, able to get four hours work in, catch up on mails and news before the office is cleared at half five, and i can drive to the hotel.

The new hotel.

Where I stayed before, was OK, but parking cost €21 a night, and the rooms were tiny and stuffy. So I asked to be moved to one over the road with its own parking, and some rooms have views over the beach. I drive in and find it has the narrowest of ramps, and even with just an Astra, it is hard getting round the corners and up the ramps to the first floor.

I manage to reverse the car into a tiny space, take out my case and walk down the steps to reception, where opposed the the parking garage, it is spacious and clean and swish. I will like it here.

I get my key and go to my suite on the 4th floor, I also have a balcony, but it looks into a courtyard rather than the beach. Whatevs.

At six, I go out to find somewhere to dinner, and remember there is a burger place next door. Outside I meet someone I have seen around various sites over the years, we greet each other and decide to go and eat together. Means we have someone to talk to, and only one of us has to pay.

I have a find burger, topped with creamy Swiss cheese, accompanied by good steak cut fries and strong Belgian beer. The sun has just set outside, the sky is red and orange, but fading to blue and black quickly. There is more than a chill in the air once we leave and walk the ten metres back to the hotel. Above us the waining moon, now four days past full, is shining down, and the deserted prom looks fine. If cold.

Back in my room there is football, and City are playing too. I follow it on Twitter, and get excited as we were two goals to the good at half time, but collapse in the 2nd half to cling on for a draw.

I open the door to the balcony a fraction, so I can hear the wind blowing, so fall asleep to that sound.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Monday 17th October 2016

Autumn has arrived here in the Garden of England. Last week in Denmark, the keen easterly winds had freed many leaves from trees, and drifts of golden leaves gathered on the edge of roads or against buildings. Not quite at that stage here, but we will soon. From Tuesday, temperatures will dip, and in daytime not get about 12 or so. Winter is coming for sure.

But on this Monday morning, I have the luxury of having an extra day at home as I don't travel to Belgium until Tuesday, which means laying in bed until after six, coffee in dawn's cool light, and a commute from one seat at the dining room table to another.

Jools leaves for work at half six, as she struggles to keep on top of things until her boss returns on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I can relax until half seven, drinking coffee, having breakfast and feeding the cats before work calls.

I see at two in the afternoon, something to chill anyone's heart; webinar. We are switching from SAP to AX at work, which means just about all processes will be different, including registering travel claims. I have that to look forward to.

But before then there is the full inbox, people demanding action, and me being action man, ahem, I take action, or more accurately tell other people to take action.

Outside it is a fine, golden autumnal day, but I have no tome for that, other than to arrange a taxi so I can go to collect a hire car from town, so I could arrange my trip to Ostend for the morning. I am collected by the world's only slow taxi driver, who drives all the time in one gear too high, so acceleration when he pulls out onto the main road is too slow, and I think we would get rear-ended. But don't.

A quick coast down Jubilee Way, along Townwall Street and through the neverending roadworks, double back round to drop me off at the hire car office. All of 5 minutes for a tenner. The car is not ready, can I accept a manual? I do. So get an Astra after a while, and then there is the endless form-filling before I can take the car and drive back home. Where the car will stay outside until the morning. I see that traveling between eight and half ten counts as peak on the tunnel, and would cost my employer an extra hundred quid, so as there is nothing urgent, I book the first of the cheaper trains, meaning I have a slow start in the morning.

There is then the rabbit incident: I am in a meeting on Skype when there is a squeek, and Molly has brought in a live baby rabbit. I look at it, it looks at me and runs. With Molly on one side, me on the other we chase it round the living room until I grab it. I take it outside, but can't stop Molly from following me, and as I release the rabbit, Molly spring off in pursuit. The game was afoot. Mulder was to bring it in again in the evening, with the same result. But sad to report, the rabbit's lifeless body was found this morning. So it goes, so it goes.

The afternoon rushes by, I sit in for the webinar, then have to clear old travel claims. This means sorting through months of mails, receipts, which takes until half four. Where has the day gone?

Where has the year gone?

I pack up, and begin to prepare dinner; leftover beef and more vegetables and warmed through Yorkshire Puddings. And fresh roast potoatoes. All on a school day! We are so lucky, and it is good.

The evening is spent listening to an over-hyped game of football which it never had a chance of living up to. Liverpool v Man Utd; Klopp v Jose, whatever, ended up as a 0-0 draw, so poor I nearly fell asleep on the sofa again. But that is the weekend gone, and Monday too. Tomorrow, off to Belgium and work and training and meetings.

Sunday 16th October 2016

Another weekend bookended by weeks away with work. I know I should be used to it, but, you know, urgh.

But before yet more traveling, there is Sunday, and now that we have a fixed car, what should we do? Watch football, clearly. And eat bacon butties whilst watching football too. That does involve me cooking said bacon, then getting greasy hands as I much on breakfast as I watch Alan Shearer try to for an actual sentence. Painful.

King Alfred's Cakes Daldinia concentrica A walk in thw woods seems still like a good idea, but not traveling to Bluebell Hill or Stockbury. But there are places nearby, like Yockletts. Hmmm, Yockletts, yes, I think we shall go there.

But with rain and half a season of fallen leaves, best take some boots, just to make sure we don't get muddy.

A fungi hunt in deepest Kent I am sure the car knwos the way, along the M20 and then up Stone Street, down the narrow moss covered lane and parking at the edge of the reserve. It seems like a fairy tale, when something familiar has gotten old and overgrown; familiar paths are almost blocked by overhanging trees and bushes, the path slippery with mud. But we do make our way to the glade.

A fungi hunt in deepest Kent We pass some fallen tree trunks, some have fungi erupting from their rotten wood. I take pictures.

Once in the glade, we check on the slow worms, but there liar is empty, so we sit on the bench overlooking the valley, and take in the sights and colours of the season. Trees are turning from green, as are some bushes and shrubs.

Down the hill, through the massive trees and across the Gogway, the sunshine of earlier had now gone, and heavy clouds swept over. As we walked up the track beside the road, rain began to fall, and we decided that we had had enough of outside. So we walked back down the hill and through the reserve back to the car. We had not seen a soul all morning.

A fungi hunt in deepest Kent Back up the Gogway and back onto Stone Street, where traffic was hammering along. We cut through Bridge and back along the A2 to home. Getting back just after midday, and looking in the fridge I see there is nothing for lunch, so i make another half batch of short cakes. I rustle them up in half an hour, Jools makes drinks, and soon we have two warm cakes each, and I have a huge cup of tea too. Perfect.

It seems Sky have redefined the word "super" for their super Sunday offering, just as well then because I take to the sofa again and snooze whilst millionaires run about kicking a ball about.

For dinner we have the first roast of the winter; roast beef and three vegetables, with roast potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings. Of course. It is wonderful, even if I say so myself, we are eating it as darkness falls outside, rain falls gently, so we can't see the full moon rise in the east.

The evening peters out, I have a shower and even with an extra day at home tomorrow, it feels just like it did when I was at school, the dread of the upcoming week.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Saturday 15th October 2016

We slept long and well. Jools had already been shopping, and so we laid in bed until gone seven. I could hear the Robins and Starlings singing for their breakfast, demanding some. As so are the cats. It is nearly full daylight by the time we pull on our dressing gowns and slippers, going downstairs where there is a scene of rabbit murder. Seems like Mulder had caught and killed and butchered a baby rabbit, blood and guts spread around the living room, which was nice. And then, apparently having chocked on fur or a bone, he then brought the rabbit and his dinner up all round the kitchen. Also which was nice.

That he wasn't hungry, and instead lay on the black chair in the back room, barely stirring whilst Molly and Scully ignore the carnage and meow for breakfast.

We clean up, put on some coffee then ponder the great questions of our age; what to do with Saturday. Well, as it turned out, we had to go to Gillingham to pick up a parcel that could not be delivered. You would think that there should be a nearer depot that 40 odd miles away in the Medway towns, but no. So, once we had drunk another coffee, dunked croissants in the coffee, we could go out.

Over the past few weeks, it was clear the car was not well. But by yesterday, it was in a very poor state, Jools had put in non-supermarket fuel and some cleaning agent, but this made no difference, as under gentle acceleration, the engine spluttered and shuddered. We had hoped that what Jools had done would fix it.

But the car got us to Gillingham, turning off the main road into a faceless a dreary industrial estate until we came to the depot. Jools gets out gets her flower supports (don't ask), and we are free to go. But what is this? A garden centre?

Well yes, just a few minutes away, and ideas for our new back garden if the guys ever start it. Anyway, I stay in the car to loisten to Huey, and jOols goes window shopping, but finds it a dreadful experience, as the shop is already decked out for Christmas. So we leave.

My plan was to wander round some of the orchid sites, seeing what they are like out of season, and from Gillingham The Larches is just down the hill, once you get over the M2 anyway. So we drive out of the town, with most traffic heading the other way to the various shops and supermarkets. Not for us.

Down Bluebell Hill we pull off, and the car is really causing us concern. So we look in the manual, find the number of the dealer and call them to see about booking it in. In a surprise move, they can fit us in that morning, so before we had even stepped off the road into the woods, we were packing our stuff away and driving back to Dover.

Back Garden Jools says there is no point in both us going, so she drops me off at home so I can mow the back lawn, whist she takes the sick car to be repaired. I am not complaining, I have only mowed the lawn twoice since coming back from Japan, this being the third, and it looks OK, but with the yellow rattle seed down and spread, I think I had better cut while I have the chance. I am not halway through when Jools comes back, the car fixed: a box had been changed and all is better.

But it is too late really to go anywhere, and I have the lawn to finish, then do lunch and the football doesn't listen to itself. In fact pretty soon after I have finished the lawn, rain starts, and is on and off the rest of the afternoon.

Bishop of Uganda Norwich are at home, and beat Rotherham to go top of the league. Hurrah. The rest of the games blur as I try to stay awake on the sofa with Molly at my feet snoring gently. A fine way to spend the afternoon.

And that is that, really. We have burgers for dinner, and beer, which is fine if unhealthy food. But means we are all done and sitting down ready to watch The Don on the i player.

Banging their heads against the glass window of reality

The previous week was a shameful one in British politics, when the Conservatives embraced nationalism, anti-immigration, intolerance and repatriation of even EU nationals. It was horrific. THe backlash from those with the exception of the Right Wing parts of Fleet Street were strong and swift, not that those self same papers and even the BBC reported it much.

Also on the agenda from Amber Rudd was collecting the names of all foreign born workings and then naming and shaming those firms that employed too high proportions of non-Brits. Or mudbloods if that makes if feel more like fiction.

The Government had to back track on this, and is busy meeting with multi-national companies like Nissan trying to assure them that there would be money for compensation if Britain were to leave the EU and Single Market. Is that was the savings were going to be spent, bribing companies not to leave? It seems that there is a scheme of creating a series of bonded warehouses which would not be part of Britain, but would be in the EU, or something, and there have been leaks of forms already on how to apply to create such a building.

This week the People's Campaign reached court with one day of submissions thus far, and the action resumes on Monday. But already the Government's position has been undermined by the release of a submission to the Hosue fo Lords declaring that Parliament should have the final say after a referendum. Oops indeed.

You really could not make this up.

And so on a daily basis, the Brexiteers and those tasked with delivering the impossible tie themselves in knots in declaring that in order to reclaim sovereignty, the sovereignty of Parliament must be ignored, as the people's will must be respected. Splits in the ranks of the Conservative benches are already showing, and with the appointment of Kier Starmer as Shadow Brexit Minister has meant that there is a semblance of an opposition once more. He published a list of 170 questions (one for each day until the end of March when the PM is supposed to trigger Article 50). That David Davis, one of the three Brexiteers tried to dismiss it as a "stunt", we can think of a word rhyming with stunt that comes to mind when we think of David Davis.

Parliament had a chance to have its voice on Brexit after PMQs, during which Corbyn actually landed some serious blows on the PM. During the debate, serious questions were asked, none of which were answered, and that most of the difficulties were coming from the Tory benches shows that getting any legislation through either Houses is going to be difficult, but then as clearly Davis, Fox knows next to nothing what they are doing, and are being shown up on a weekly basis, maybe scrutiny would be best, only the Government thinks otherwise.

Its all interesting for sure, and many miles yet to run.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Friday 14th October 2016

One of the problems of working on the continent is the time difference. It does mean I will get the our back later in the day, but if you look at it like this: my alarm went off at quarter past five, but in good old British time, it was an hour earlier. Needless to say it was still dark. Very dark. Outside a truck was parked unloading the day's clean bedding and towels, and I mean I could spend all day looking out the window, or I could just go home. There is the finishing of packing, a shower and then put away the computer and the rest; and only now can I tell you that I had forgotten to pack the pile of paperwork I have beeun lugging around for the past few weeks. Lets hope there was nothing I'll miss in that.

I check out and pay the bill. I could have blagged a coffee, but think I should do that at the airport, some 45 minutes away. The roads are emtpy, and until I get within ten miles of Billund, there is nothing else on the road and so I put my foot down some, 90 or 100 or 110, who'd notice the difference? There are long straight roads to drive up, and when I do need to get past a slowe moving truck of car, I can just with a press of my big toe and away the car bounds.

As I ull into the over-full drop off area, there is light in the sky, but not much. And it seems like I have been up for hours and need a coffee. Badly.

I post the keys back, then walk over past the budget carriers desks to BA, where there is no queue. They take my case, then I walk back to the cafe for a roll and large coffee, so I can eat, drink while I wait for the queue at security to die down.

As I am putting my belt on, I see a familiar face, which means that Malcolm's shadow, Jesper, will not be far away. Indeed as I call out "See you"! in comedy Russ Abbot style, I see the jolly viking, Jesper behind. His face breaks into a huge smile when he sees me, which means that if nothing else the time before the flight is called will not be quiet.

We catch up, swap news, and Malcolm offers to buy coffees all round, which is always nice. Their life is always busy, but then so is mine I suppose, and so we stick together until the flight is called and we can go to board.

I am at the other end of the plane, and as soon as I am strapped in, I close my eyes, and even if I don't sleep, I might snooze. So I miss second breakfast, and I suppose I might have slept half an hour or so. Because soon enough the pilot comes on to say we had begun our descent into London.

Southend I had chosen my set with care, on the right side of the plane, just in case the wind was from the east when we land, so I would have great views and so get shots as the plane turns over The Shard. Once we see the coast of Essex, I see that we are higher than normal, and further out to sea, so I am hopeful. We pass Southend out in the Thames estuary, but I get shots along the mile and a half long pier. We cut across Grain, then having flown over Ebbsfleet, the turn west for the circuit of south London.

Grain It is misty, so the shots are not great, but as we get nearer London, the plane drops lower and the ground and urban sprawl gets clearer.

We turn towards Battersea, then turn even sharper over Vauxhall, I can't get clear shots, but I am still hopeful of the shots of the Shard.

In the end we are maybe a hundred yards away from the Shard, over the middle of the river, but I snap away and almost get the shot I want. Looking down I can see Tower Bridge, free from traffic due to roadworks. Then, over the tops the skyscrapers at Canary Wharf, getting lower swooping over the Millennium Dome and then we are bouncing down on the ground.

Ebbsfleet International Home at last. Well, nearly. But the sun is shining, and it is warmer here. I switch on my phone and find there is some great news waiting. This means I will be bale to take the weekend off, or not be as busy as I was last week anyway. I pass the good news all around, then go about passing through immigration, grabbing my case and making my way to the DLR station, where I had just missed a train, and therefore would miss the early train home from Statford.

Dartford Crossing I big my friends farewell, and wait on the platform, making more calls. I realise I am drained. I mean really, really tired. I decide that under the circumstances, once home I would switch off the phone.

At Stratford I have a sausage roll and coffee and read some more Molesworth. There are people to watch too, and to ponder what their stories are.

London Bridge I decide to walk down to the platform to try to snap a new Eurostar, but all is quiet. Seconds after I put the camera away, I see three headlights in the tunnel away to the west, and approaching at a ferrocious speed is a new Eurostar at full tilt, up the hill into the stations, rushing past with great noise, and back down the slope into the tunnel to Dagenham. IN a handful of seconds it had come and gone.

Tower Bridge No shots.

When my train arrives, I take a seat in the front carriage, and close my eyes some more as we shake, rattle and roll through the tunnel into Essex.

I order a taxi to collect me from Dover Priory, so once I arrive I can walk out and deposit my case in the boot, and the Italian driver can take me home all the while moaning about the standards of others' driving whilst breaking just about every rule in the Highway Code. I do arrive home safe though.

Canary Wharf I make lunch whilst Mulder and Scully sleep on upstairs. Molly does come in after a while and is happy when I sit on the sofa for a while. She snuggles up to me, and it would be easy to spend the afternoon like this.

The Dome Poor Jools calls to say that she has to work longer as she is so far behind at work, so I have the rad on as all day Radio 6 are playing tunes from 1979 all day. I can't take my ears off it.

At half four Jools comes back, so I make some potato bread and warm up some soup; spicy lentil soup. We are both shattered, but decide to watch a documentary that had been shown during the week on Painted Lady butterflies. Jools sleeps through at least an hour of it, and I struggle to keep my eyes open, but do manage it. But there is no chance we will stay up to watch The Don, so we go to bed.

It is the weekend.