Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Tuesday 29th November 2016

Another crystal clear morning was dawning outside; there was a line of light in the south east, showing that dawn was coming, But it felt cold in the house, even as the heating clicked on.


There is the smell of coffee brewing, and the sound of just-fed cats leaving through the cat flap. Means it must be Tuesday. I suppose.

Jools will have the car today, which means no trip to the station or to Hythe, instead I can sit on the sofa watching a recording of the football from the weekend, sipping the dregs from a second coffee. Just as it should be.

The commute is moving from one seat to another at the dining room table, but I have until eight, no?

As is usual, the plan for the day is soon abandoned, and instead I am fighting fights I did not see coming. Any thought of actually getting ahead is soon forgotten as the battle is plain survival.

At some point mid-morning there is lunch, warmed up chorizo hash, mixed in with eggs into what was supposed to be an omlette, but was something like could be put together to make an omlette. But it tasted good enough if i'm honest. But it would have been good with a beer or a glass of red plonk. I have coffee instead. Not as good. But the food is good, although not spicy. Spicy enough that is.

And back to work, answering mails and dealing with the hot issues of the day.

Outside, the sun is setting, and the warmth of the day, what there was of it, escapes to the sky, leaving the day cold and already frosty. The year gets ever older, the nights longer and the days shorter. Soon it will be December, with time running out, then just before Christmas, the days will start to lengthen once again. Out on the down and in the woods, orchids are stirring, rosettes forming, ready for the spring in a few months time.

Walk to Fleet House But util then, work, Christmas, New Year and the long hard days of winter.

As work quietens down for the day, I decide to go out for a quick walk. Or a walk that won't take long. You know what I mean.

Walk to Fleet House Just over the fields to Fleet House, admiring the long shadows cast by the low sun away in the west; a stiff breeze in my face and a little warmth from the sun on my back. THe leaves that had a fallen a few weeks back, have now been ground into the mud, and all is brown. THere are a few leaves left on trees as I near the Pig's Copse, but not many.

Walk to Fleet House Actually, its not that muddy, but my back is complaining already, so a fter a quick look to the fields away to Kingsdown, I turn for home and the promise of a fresh pot of coffee. Away to the south and east, from top of the down I can see sea to the horizon, and a few scattered ships plying their way through the Channel.

I take to the sofa to rest my back, find an episode of Wheeler Dealers I hadn't seen, and so with Molly I take my brain off the hook.

Walk to Fleet House For dinner, I cook kofte kebabs and fried jacket spuds, which was deep down and dirty food, and all the better for it.

That night I watch a program on Thomas Cromwell, and learn all about life in the Tudor Court.

Which was nice.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Monday 28th September 2016

We woke up with the skies clear outside, and the thinnest of a sliver of moon suspended above the horizon in the south east. As dawn approached, the moon faded until if disappeared, but will return in a few days when it will be waxing again, showing us all how life and time goes on.

And so began another week of work, but for a change this week I am not traveling, with the aim at some point of tackling the pile of travel claims I have to complete, dating back to the beginning of October now. Oh dearie me. And as I need to have an eye test, I have to have the car to get into town, which means dropping Jools off at the railway station at seven fifteen, so she can catch the train to Sandling, and she has arranged for her boss to pick her up from there.

Stations always seem so cold, doubly so on a frosty November morning with no clouds to hold in warmth, the cold seems total, even if is just above freezing. It is the coldest morning of the season so far. I believe that.

The train arrives and Jools gets on, so I can go back for breakfast before having to make my way into town through the rush hour traffic to be at the opticians at nine. Traffic is crazy, and you have to allow at least half an hour to get the four miles into town, just in case traffic is stacked up. In the end, it wasn't, so I have half an hour to kill, so I dive into Costa for another coffee, my third of the morning, and hopefully something to read. But the shelves were bare, so I have to make do with drinking the coffee and munching on a giant Jammy Dodger, feeling like the real thing did when I was a nipper.

At just gone nine, I walk along the street to the shop, book myself in so some woman can blow air into my eyeballs. I'm sure there is a very good reason for this, but if there is, she aint telling. There are flashing lights, balloons to look at and electronic sight boards; And the upshot is my eyes are slightly worse, and I can wear glasses if I feel I need to, but recommended for driving. OK< will do. Would I like to buy a new pair of either glasses for driving or reading? Do I have to? No. Then I decline, thanks.

I walk back to the car, going via the Co-oP to pick up some crisps to put in my sandwich for lunch, which I think is rather a good idea. So good that soon after arriving home, and certainly not much after half ten, I am making pare sandwiches with a thick layer of crisps. A certain prince among sandwiches. Only bettered by the sustitution of jam for pate in my mind, and that of salt and vingar crisps for the beer ones I had bought. Small quibbles aside, I eat whilst reading the weekend mails and catching up on news.

I would love to have gone out for a walk, or done something outside so to make use of the fine sunshine which shone down unbroken outside. By the time I look up, the sun was setting, and really too late to go out. The cats remind me that despite it being only half three, it was very nearly dinner time, and so how about some kitty kibbles? I give in and feed them.

I am rewarded with Molly coming to lay down on my laptop keyboard and purr while I tickle her belly. Seems like a good exchange.

At quarter to five I get a call from Jools saying her train had not arrived, and there information screens were blank. I look online and find the information; it is running about 25 minutes late, and although I could go to collect her, it would take longer than that to get to the station, so she is happy to wait. At quarter to seven I am waiting outside the station again as her train rattles down from the mouth of Guston tunnel; she is the only one to get off, so once she had crossed the line via the subway and got in, we could go home and have dinner which I had prepared and half cooked.

Nothing beats chorizo hash, even if I did forget to add the paprika this time, so it wasn't spicy, but still good. Especially when we break open a bottle of fizz to have with dinner.

Monday, 28 November 2016

127 is the new 50

Articles that is. Which means this is another Brexit update.

A short one though.

It would appear that contrary to what the Government might claim, the EU and the Single Market are two separate things, as the BBC and other news sources revealed yesterday, that there is also a separate process, Article 127, for leaving the Single Market, or European Economic Area (EEA).

If the two are separate entities, and that the referendum asked only about leaving the EU AND the fact that the Conservative Party 2015 Election manifesto said that single market membership would be retained.

What does it mean? Well, there is another court case in the offing, when details of that emerged so did the existence of Article 127. Point being, if those who are supposed to be guiding Britain in leaving the EU, Brexit, and they do not know the leagl paths in this simple task, what kind of mess would they make of trade negotiations with the rump EU and the rest of the world? And why should we believe a word they say?

That this is being cheered on from the sides by most of the 4th Estate with little or no scrutiny, and the Labour Party having apparently also given up in being an opposition under Corbyn, unless the law and Reality intervene, then the Brexiteers are almost certain to get what they want, when they decide what that it is what they want.


Since writing this, it seems there are differing views on what this may mean, whether is a full member in its own right, of an associate member by virtue of being in the EU, so the act of leaving one will cancel out the other. But this is unclear. There might not be a legal challenge as in the Article 50 case, but would give cause for Parliament to legislate, given that membership of the EEA was a manifesto commitment.

It is also highly likely, that every step of the divorce will bring many, many such questions and unforeseen issues that might slow down the process. If we get that far.

This afternoon, the swivel eyed loons at UKIP announced they have changed their policy on Brexit, and now do not favour the Article 50 route, but annulling the 1972 European Communities act. Hard Brexit is not hard enough, it must be harder. And as a result the effects would be worse, which the loons would then blame anyone, everyone, but themselves. They really have no idea, not that they ever did.

Sunday 27th November 2016

I wish I could say I used my spare time yesterday in a fruitful manner. When in fact I just wasted the whole day. I guess that in a way, doing nothing is just what I wanted to do, just to not go out, do the garden, or anything. One of the reasons is that my back was telling me that sitting at the dining room table or lifting things in the back garden, that it really didn't want to be really doing those sort of things.

It also didn't help that I slept until half seven, not hearing when Jools got up to feed the cats, in the end it was the smell of brewing coffee that roused me.

I watched MOTD, made bacon butties, drank coffee and listened to music.

Then there was football on the radio in the afternoon, but in a move so out of character I can't explain, I didn't listen to it, instead went out to help carry pot plants to decorate the paved area and shelter. In the end I couldn't let Jools do all the work, or all of it alone anyway. And in working together meant that it looked after my back, and I really did want to be involved in the project. We sat in the shelter, talked about softening what we had done, planting shrubs, roses maybe wisteria, and putting bird boxes up, attracting more and more wildlife to the garden.

Looking good And yes, there was even more football on the radio; we sit on the sofa, me listening to the radio and looking out the window at the birds feeding, stroking Molly: and Jools carried on crocheting her blanket she has been making for months. She tells me it is nearly done, but also that there is more wool to use.

We have cheesy beans on toast for dinner, full up after our fishcakes with garlic and ginger rolls for lunch, so chorizo hash will have to wait for Monday.

We ended the day with Life on Earth II; this time its junglier, which was just magical, watching a new species of river dolphin being chased by BBC cameramen. Same as it ever was.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Saturday 26th November 2016

There always seems to be something to get up for, and so when you want to lay in bed, you can't. And conversely, when you can lay in bed with nothing to do all day, your brain wakes up at 100mph and just accelerates. Saturday morning meant that we had to go shopping, so we could have something to eat. So, up dodging hungry cats, make a coffee, feed the mogs, then out on the hunt for smoked salt. Yes, you read that, smoked salt. You see in London last week, they had a small bowl of smoked salt which you could sprinkle on food or, as we did, on the slices of buttered bread. And it was divine. So, we had to get some for home. This is why on Tuesday evening I was in the artisan beer shop in Esbjerg asking for smoked salt and buying ramson salt; that is salt flavoured by local wild garlic (ramsons). Oh and two bottles of Christmas beer too. Anyway, no smoked garlic. A search on the web revealed that Sainsbury's had some, so it was there I went just after seven looking for smoked salt.

St Peter, Whitfield, Dover, Kent Sainsbury's is filled with so many nice things, but after some looking I find the epicure aisle, but there was so much, and yet no smoked garlic. Anyway, most is so expensive in Sainsbury's, so for the main shop, I drove to Whitfield to Tesco to buy some bread, fruit and other stuff. But amazingly, they did have the smoked salt, so I buy two boxes, so I think we could have the salt on fresh rolls to go along with the insalata caprese which we would have for lunch, which as you can imagine would turn out to be a triumph.

Inbetween then, I had a date at a church. Again.

St Peter, Whitfield, Dover, Kent Over the past seven years or so that I have been doing this Kent church project, several churches have proved to be resistant to allow me along with my camera. Last summer I managed to see inside Betteshager church, and then at the end of last month I visited Preston. And now it was one of my local ones, Whitfield. And thanks to the internet and e mail addresses, over the week I arranged to meet the churchwarden at eleven. Could it really be true? We shall see.

St Peter, Whitfield, Dover, Kent Whitfield is only a handful of miles away, near to the old folk's home, but I would be avoiding there. St Peter's is an ancient church, dating back to Saxon times, and parts of the church would show this.

Whitfield is about to explode with people, as the first phase of over 5,000 new houses are being built between the village and the Sandwich road, and indeed on the other side of the Sandwich road. For the moment it is a massive building site, and although Whitfield isn't the most picturesque of places, nor quiet with the A2 running between it and Dover. But this development will make it almost as big as Dover itself. But for the time being, it is as it always has been, a large collection of houses from the 60s and 70s, all narrow streets and rat runs leading across the fields to Guston and St Margaret's, and a way we could get home in the event of traffic jams to the port.

St Peter, Whitfield, Dover, Kent St Peter is tucked away down a narrow lane on the edge of the village, overlooking fields, and is almost hidden from the lane by mature trees, and invisible from the Sandwich road also due to the trees. There is a rough parking area between the trees, so I turn in and see that there were half dozen other cars already there, as well as a dreadful amount of trash from McDonalds, as clearly, sitting outside a quite church is the ideal place to have lunch or supper after picking the food up from the drive through. What I can't understand is why people then throw trash out of the car.

Anyway, from the parking area I could see the door ajar in the church, so I quickly grab my bag containing my cameras and dash inside before the warden might think of wanting to leave. From the outside, St Peter looks plain and austere, and you would think it would be inside. But inside it is full of light and warmth: in the 70s the church had been re-arranged, with the altar opposite the the main door on the north wall, with the modern chairs set round in a semi-circle.

It is a shame that things cannot stay the same, but then if they did, where would we be? The changes make the church better, and with all having clear views of the altar perfect for weddings and christenings. I think the church works this way, there are two Saxon pillars set into the south wall, also there are two small Saxon windows in the south and west walls. It works well, and my memories will be warm thanks to the light and friendship I received here.

From Whitfield I go down the hill to the pet food shop to pick up some bird food. That means mixing it with the Saturday morning shoppers, and the heavy traffic.

The pet food place is inbetween ASDA and Morrison's. with a poorly designed car park surrounding them. I find a parking place, and go into the shop, grab the seeds and mealworms and other stuff. Then there is the fuss of getting out of the car park, with people driving between walking people, taking on their mobiles or sending texts. I was so glad to get out onto the main road, driving down Maison Dieu Road to Townwall Street and then up Jubilee Way to home.


The shed has been moved, the shelter is up, but the patio, old patio, is full of the stuff that should be inside the shed. So, half an hour's work, we put the stuff back in the shed, creating ever more space outside. It looks good.

I had pulled something in my back lifting the bbq inside. I guess I was at an odd angle, but there was no clearing it. My day was done, so I go inside to lay on the sofa, and put the radio on to listen to the end of the football. I try very hard not to fall asleep.

At three Norwich kick off, away at Derby, and playing well. But don't make their possession count, and in the 2nd half, they get tired, and one of our former players scored the winner for Derby. Another defeat, 5th in a row. A poor end to the day.

In other games, Swansea beat Palace 5-4, after being 4-3 down after 90 minutes. That would be well worth watching later.

Again, darkness falls outside, the sun sets. Half the weekend gone and what have we done. Well, churches, garden, shopping and such like.

And so to the forth part of the People's History of Pop, which we recorded from Friday night. Tis edition covered from 1986 to 1996, and in theory, my interview could have been used for this part too. But wasn't of course. In an unexpected turn, the program covered a lot of dance and rave music, which really was as revolutionary as Punk or the borth of Rock and Roll, in that a hit record could be achieved with no radio play, just through exposure in clubs.

Then there was the drugs of that scene too. Maybe Lowestoft just wasn't druggy, or I had my eyes closed, but I saw no drugs during my clubbing years, just lots of beer. I suppose many were on drugs, I can remember a few people drinking Lukozade rather than beer, a sure sign looking back they were on the happy pills, but then some of us were naturally happy.

There was also sections on Blur and Oasis as well as the Spice Girls and all told by their fans, which was great. No one had a chart book though.

Without faith, Brexit is nothing

More reality hit project Brexit this week, as the Chancellor read out his autumn statement on Tuesday, having to base what he said and his plans for the future on facts rather than in something with little more substance than the tooth fairy.

Before that, on Monday, we had the ridiculous situation of the Prime Minister making a statement to the CBI about needing to avoid a "cliff edge Brexit" only for her spokesperson to correct her later in the evening. And to quote the PM, you really could not make this up.

Also on Monday, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis, requested a meeting with his counterpart from the EU. The meeting did not go well, in a single Tweet afterwards, Michael Barnier managed to trash the Rt Hon Sec in four ways: "This morning courtesy visit from @daviddavismp at his request. No negotiation without notification. My work is now focused on EU27. #Brexit." What is clear is that most Brexiteers are as fundamental about Brexit as s religious fundamentalist is. Anything that an expert says or does to support their belief is trumpeted from the highest battlements. And yet, anything, or anyone that brings facts to disprove what a good idea Brexit is, then they must be ridiculed, until it is facts themselves that are in contempt from the believers. Why can't Brexit fail? We said it would and we would make a success of it, even though this is an aim rather than a plan. They don't let facts get in their way of the divine truth.

But it was the Autumn Statement that really took the biscuit, these are screengrabs from various papers of record, The Times, The FT and so on, and some tweets that explain what they mean. One of the most interesting is that the Treasury might have broken the law in not providing the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) with the facts about how much the deal with Nissan might have cost And as an aside, Jaguar have said that unless there was Government subsidy, they may not buld future electric cars in Britain. This will be the first of many such threats by business, but then this is taking back control to give it to international busnessmen.

I will leave it there, as facts and figures from experts and from the Government's own departments say more than I ever could. Except to say that idiot of the week goes to Tory MP and uber-Brexiteer, Jacob Rees Mogg in comparing experts to soothsayers and astrologers. We'll remind him of that next time he gets on a plane to be flown by an expert pilot or get his teeth done by an expert dentist.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Friday 25th November 2016

30 shopping days to Christmas; just so you know.

Drinking on a school day is rarely clever, but doubly so when yo have to be up at five in the morning; and to make matters worse, I was worried I might oversleep so I was awake every hour checking the time.

I am up at five, check the news on the BBC, then pack and try to get all the beers I have been given or bought into the case in such a way they won't break on the flight home.

Orange Downstairs i check out, but it is too early for breakfast by an hour, but anyway, now I have a card to get me into the business lounge at the airport now, so there will be rolls ad coffee there. And beer and wine.....

Needless to say, outside it is dark, and cold. I have to scrape the screen and other windows before I can leave, but there are few others out, so I can nudge out onto the main road without mowing down half a dozen cyclists. Out along the wide boulevard, past rows of three and for story blocks of flats, until the buildings thin, turning out onto the main road which leads directly to the motorway and south.

I wanted to get an early start, as once dawn comes, mist will rise making driving more dangerous. Even now there is mist, but not enough to slow me down, even at 130 once we clear city limits. Above us to the left hangs a sliver of silvery moon and the glowing point that is the planet Venus. It looks cold, so I put on the seat heater in the BMW. Lovely.

Down the motorway, past a few trucks and cars who are also heading south, most traffic is heading north as the rush hour traffic into Arhus is building already.

I turn off the motorway, stuck behind a truck that slows me down to the speed limit, which is probably just as well, really.

The Packed Flight I arrive at the airport with mist swirling around, but at the same time I could hear an aircraft engine starting up. I get my stuff out the back of the car, and walk quickly to the terminal in the cold morning air. Away to the east, there is light in the sky.

After dropping the keys off into the office, I check in my case and see that the Danish rush to the sun is finally over, and there is no early morning queue for security. I am putting my laptop back in my bag when I am called from someone the other side of the room. Its my boss, waving at me. I act like I'm pleased to see him, I could invite him into the lounge upstairs, but his ticket already has given him a ticket to get inside.

Back to Blighty Also inside the lounge is the project manager from another project I helped out, we shake hands, then can go ahnd help ourselves to coffee and Danish pastries. Proper Danish Pastries, made in Denmark.

The others leave for the Manchester flight, leaving me on me tod. So I celebrate by having another coffee and manage to resist having another pastry. Mainly because I would get breakfast if I was still hungry. Upon reflection I think probably would be.

Misty Jutland The flight is called, and I amble down to gate 2, where there are less than ten others waiting. Even after a last minute rush of four young business types, the flight would not be full, even on a plane with less than 30 seats.

Views from the journey home. I strap myself in, and looking outside, indeed the mist has risen, and hangs just over the ground, and away to the west the moon sets.

Once in the air, I get fine views as mist has settled into the shallow river valleys that crss cross Jutland. I snap the scene as the rays of the rising sun cast long shadows from trees that poke through the mist. Almost makes the early start worthwhile.

Views from the journey home, as we climbed over Denmark, the sun rose in the east, casting strong long shadows down below. Up and up we go, leaving the mist and morning rush hours behind, striking out over the sea and south towards Holland where the mist and fog lay thick there too, stopping at the coasts. Breakfast is served, which I accept along with a couple of cups of coffee. After eating, my eyes begin to drop, snoozing the last half an hour as we speed towards Blighty.

The Swale, Kingsferry Bridge and the the Sheerness branch But we are held over the mouth of The Thames, circling round and round over The London Array, one time, two times, three times.

Fort Hoo When we are allowed to proceed, at frst I thought we were going to fly over Thanet and then, hopefully down to St maggies, but the plane turns and follows the north Kent coast past Herne Bay and Whitstable before turning inland to fly over the southern suburbs, making for Crystal Palace where we would turn north towards Battersea where we would then turn east to follow the river before skipping over the rooftops of The City.

The Medway, Chatham, Rochester, Gillingham and Upnor I snap away and get fine shots, but as we get lower and the towers of the modern City loom, the memory card in the camera decides its full, so I can't take any more shots, so just enjoy the sight of the East End and docklands as we drop to touch down at LCY. It is half nine, and I was going to miss the earlier train, so just enjoy the moment of being back home, get to Stratford, have a coffee and a sausage roll and watch people going about their business of the day, when mine was three quarter done.

Battersea After getting to Statford, that is what I do, sitting in my usual seat so I can watch the London-bound trains arrive, disgorge passengers going to start late or maybe some shopping on Black Friday, even if its not really a thing here in UK.

Westminster I go down to the platform to wait for the train to arrive, standing in the narrow rays of sunshine that the monstrous development that is blocking out the sky around the station. The train is more than half empty, so I can take my pick of the seats, but soon realise that due to the dirty windows and the low sun in the west that I would see nothing on the trip back. So, trying to block out the sound of the other passengers, as they listened to music loudly or talk on phones.

St Pauls and some other City Churches I had arranged to be picked up by a taxi from Dover, after a wait it turned up and he whisked me up Jubilee Way back home, all the while the sun shone down brightly. Home at last.

Big Job: The Return After paying the driver, I take myself and the bags to the back door, and surveyed the garden, now that the work was done, and all was peaceful. It was alps the weekend. Did I mention that already?

Big Job: The Return But before the weekend, I had work to do on the computer, so did that right away, sending grenades to all and sundry, and making plans for meetings next week.

Then I could stop, have a brew and some lunch.

Molly came into the house and meowed loudly, enough to make me believe she was happy I was home. Maybe she is, either way we take to the sofa to sit beside each other as I channel flick to see if there was abything worth watching. There wasn't.

But it was the weekend.

Jools comes home, we talk about the garden and what next then have a coffee.

We have fish and chips for dinner, a huge piece of battered fish for me, still crispy as it was freshly cooked. Nothing quite like it, really. Can you hear the sound of the batter snapping as I cut it with a knife? Lovely.

There is TOTP on TV, then Mastermind and finally cliff walks round Cornwall. And we are done, pooped, so call it a day.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Thursday 24th November 2016

And its another sunny day in downtown Arhus. Or it would be once dawn came and the sun would rise. But for me, I was awake and angry at six.

Now, this might seem like a first world problem, but why is it that hotels now seem to insist on having all the climate controls to a control panel that does not work? And to make it worse now, the radiators are now wired in, so cannot be turned off, meaning that on what was a mild week in Denmark, the room was like an oven. So, I had to sleep with the window wide open, which was fine until the building site started work at six, grinding down a concrete floor in the new building, and then there was flashes from a welder at work.

I lay in bed, and must have dozed between grinding sessions, as before I knew it, it was quarter past seven. Oh dearie me.

I get up and am going down for breakfast in ten minutes; then getting the car out of the car park and nudging out into the rush hour traffic for the drive to the office. And it is rush hour, rush hour mostly for cycles, with people with and without lights flying around. I am careful and manage not to hit anyone, even when going down the narrow street upto Arhus North.

The commute means I can check on the progress of the tram line; catinery is up and now just the wiring needs to be fixed, then there might be trams. A city celebrates. Or will when its done.

A walk to the pub And then there is the office, half empty, as projects are in various states of play, and colleagues out doing "stuff".

I grab a desk and get down to work, as is usual. The sun rises, it is a golden day out there, whilst inside we have cake. Every day is cake day for some reason or another in Denmark. I like Denmark for that reason.

As usual, no point trying to get back to the hotel between three and five due to the traffic, so I see those who were also in the office leave one by one, leaving just two of us left. But then I have to make tracks as I am meeting a friend at six for drinks and dinner.

A walk to the pub Driving out onto the main road was fine, but once I took the turning onto the )1 road, leading down to the centre of town, to the hotel, narrows and the cycle lane shares the road, meaning that there is much jostling, but nothing nasty, Tony. And then as we cross the canal, the cycle lane opens up again, and I can get past, reaching the right turn at the junction with the filter light on green, meaning I can turn without having to worry about hitting cyclists of pedestrians. I am sure once you get used to it, it makes sense, but can be fraught it you forget to look and nearly take out a guy on a 70s Puch motorcycle.

A walk to the pub I have ten minutes to wash and freshen up, and then Shags is texting me to say he is downstairs. I go down, and share a local Christmas beer with him, and we exchange home brews, then walk to the smokehouse for dinner, only to find it closed it being Thanksgiving or something. Not in Denmark it isn't! Sigh. So we walk along the canal to Bones and order ribs and another local beer, managing to get the last free table, and sitting right in the window, illuminated by the fairy lights.

N' Ice Chouffe Mmmmm, ribs.

Just over the canal is Highlander, and we were expected, so did not disappoint, went in to sample more beers. They also had a Belgian Christmas beer, which would have been rude not to partake. And it is as wonderful in there as ever, mixing beer and rum. But we were sensible, as I had to be up very early the next morning for the drive to the airport. So we say farewell at about ten, going our separate ways and me up the hill to the hotel, past the kids in the park still hunting Pokemon; is that still a thing?

Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Wednesday dawned cold and bright, with the sky clear and down well advanced. I was also moving hotels, so had to pack, check out then find a table for breakfast.

Back at the office, I deal with the overnight mails, file reports and stuff, so that by half nine I was twiddling my thumbs, so decide to leave for head office early and meet up with colleagues.

I go round saying goodbye to the guys in the office, always bad to have to leave, but I can only be in one place at a time, and I need to go. And I had a 90 minute drive in a BMW to look forward too, all in leather seated luxury.

Arhus at night I load the car and take my leave of the site one last time. I may return once more before the end of the work here, or might not. The project is relentless, like an express train. I need to go to the next station now.

Or head office as we call it.

It is a fine day to be on the road, driving east on a beautiful bright day in light traffic and in a car that cruises at 130 kmh effortlessly is a joy, putting my foot down to overtake something a little slower made the engine roar. This is work I said to myself, laughing.

I turn north along the E45, up to Arhus, in heavier traffic, but time passes quickly. And just by pure chance, I arrived at the office just before lunch meaning I could do some bean stealing and have a plate of healthy salad before the round of meetings began at one.

Arhus at night As the afternoon grew old, the traffic outside grew heavier and heavier. It would be like this until 5, when it would be OK to drive to the hotel in the centre. Most locals leave before three, then work a bit from home, I could do the same, but why bother, really.

I arrive at the hotel to find there were hundreds of pharmacists staying for a conference; they’ll be whacked out on crack and E all night I suspect, the animals. Anyway, they are lining up waiting to check in too, meaning it takes me half an hour. Just enough time to drop my bags in my room, change clothes and go out to meet friends.

Arhus at night Travel for work can be tiresome for sure, but if you can combine that with meeting friends, then so much the better. I walk across the park opposite, dodging mad cyclists on the main road, even if they do have right of way, maybe some lights would be useful, no?

Past the station and up the hill to The Diner, where Anni and Bo are waiting. Anni has a new job and Bo is now almost recovered from his health issues and looks in rude health. Anni is all smiles as she has a new job and is about to complete her degree course. Smart Lady.

Arhus at night We chat and laugh, eat burgers and drink beer. It is great to catch up, and wonderful to see them both doing so well.

Once we say our goodbyes, I walk down to the Highlander to meet up with Chris and Julian. Also in were a group of Indian buys, also in town for a conference. We play some bangra music, do some dancing and make fun of one of the locals who goes to the bar shouting “crisps!”

Arhus at night So Chris and I shout back, “Arse, drink, feck, nuns” Father Ted has a lot to answer for.

It is half ten when after “one last rum”, we take our leave and walk back up the frozen streets back to the hotel.

Tuesday 22nd November 2016

It is Tuesday, at the end of November and I am in Denmark. The alarm went off at half six, I open the curtains to find it is still dark (of course) and is raining gently. Perfect, as it matches my mood. Not that there is anything wrong with the hotel, nor even work as I can meet with friends and get more work done by talking face to face rather than by mail. It’s the being away from home thing again.

So, I shower, get dressed and go down for breakfast. It is packed, but I find a table and so have the usual cereal with yoghurt and coffee followed by a small bacon roll. Danes always cook bacon until it is crispy, so shatters when you bite into the roll, as it should be. Belgians have limp bacon, not so good, which I why I have chocolate spread there.

From the hotel there is a short drive to the office, in what counts as rush hour in downtown Esbjerg, arriving at the office and securing one of the cherished seats at a desk in its own office, rather than the open plan project office.

During the day I go for a walk round the site, looking at the 38 erected towers, and nacelles lined up, ready for shipment. Blades are spread out over most of the site, 55m long, they take a lot of space.

I go out for dinner, to a place that does filled bagels. Gives me a chance to practice my Danish: a garlic bagel with chicken and bacon with curry sauce, tak: I ask. Thankfully, they speak English so I get my order and able to pay, so I can do the Brit thing of eating back at my desk, making a right mess over the keyboard.

I finish at five, drive back in the dark to the hotel, and listen to some music before the main event of the evening; a meal out with the guys from the quality team. And for me its just a walk over the road to Flammen,. Brian arrives early so we can have a drink and chat before the others get here, then walk over the road and shown to our table, where the Christmas special seems to be meat. No real change there.

I had arranged to mee my friend Steffen in the sports bar to watch the FCK game, but I was so full up with bbq that it took an hour to force one beer down, so bailed at half time, walking back through deserted streets to the hotel, where I could call Jools up, whilst watching the end of the game on TV.

Monday 21st November 2016

And it all began so well.

In fact, despite what happened to the train, more of that in a minute, it was a good trip over, but id act as a reminder that what becomes ordinary really is quite incredible the way the modern world fits together.

The alarm went off at quarter to five. Way too early to be called morning, more like middle of the night still. I get dressed, go down stairs and Jools has made coffee, I feel we are ahead of the curve. And then checking on Twitter I seee that my train had been cancelled.

It needed a change of plan, meaning going to Dover instead, and then having breakfast at the airport rather than at Stratford. Oh, and the train would be packed with passengers from two trains trying to get onboard.

At Dover, a lot of people got on a train bound for Charing Cross, I suppose getting out at Ashford for a connecting train, so there was a few more people than normal on the train as we left. Folkestone was different, with people standing after Folkestone West, and people standing between the seats up the length of the carriage. And then at the last stop, Ebbsfleet, yet more people crammed on.

Of course what this did mean is that those of us who wanted to get off at Stratford, would have to fight to get off.

Dawn broke as we zoomed up to London. I was sitting on the other side of the train, so saw a different view out of the windows once it was light enough. There was fog at the Medway, and miles of standing traffic; we bombed through at over a hundred, a blur in the mist.

We pull in at Stratford, and it was a squeeze to get to the luggage rack, get the case out and then get off the train before the doors closed again. I apologised to everyone I hit with the case or my work bag, and those that I missed too. But I did get off.

No time for breakfast, I went straight to the DLR station, got on a waiting train and was on my way to the airport within two minutes. All back on track.

And then at the airport, II check in, go through security, and find the waiting area, now double in size and more crowded than ever. And I have a meeting to attend.

I find a quiet corner, set up the laptop on my kness, connect to the free wif fi, attach headphones and connect to the meeting. And it worked. It is amazing really, how connected we can be, and easy when all the stuff works as it should.

I treat myself to a coffee and a sandwich after the meeting ended, and then had to wait as there was a lot of delays caused by low cloud and fog. We wait and wait, and nearly an hour late, the small plane lands, inbound passengers get off, and we wait to get on.

We take off an hour and five minutes late and once in the air enter low cloud and Blighty is lost from view. And being in cloud means the plane jumps around like a frisky mustang, and I pray to be back on firm ground. But it settles down, and is smooth enough to accept the offer of breakfast, coffee and juice.

It is cold and cloudy in Denmark, with the promise of rain, which is soon realised. But I have a BMW 320, and am happy. Just have an hour drive to Esbjerg in which to enjoy it, but enough traffic to power past so I could use all them horses.

Work is the same whatever office I am in, just the people are different, so I get a chance to say hello all my friends, share a coffee, before getting down to it. Outside, the rain falls.

In the hotel for five, checked in and in my room on the 3rd floor. It is already dark, and I decide I can't be bothered with a walk up the main street to Dronning Louise. So I eat in the hotel; burger and Christmas beer, perfect really. And then back in room for nine to find the WBA game on TV, but then fail to watch most of the game as the interwebs have seduced me. Albion run out 4-0 winners, and are happy.

Me, I'm tired and should have been in bed an hour ago.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sunday 20th November 2016

And with another week away looming, the temptation was to do as little as possible today, and to do it mostly at home.

We work up at six to hear the storm outside at it's peak. Jools closed the bedroom windows for fear the wind would rip them off. They didn't, but once dawn came, we could see the contents of what would normally be in the shed, spread out across this and next door's garden and the shelves they were stored on, on the ground. Beer bottles and demijohns lay smashed, as were pots.

The Saga Sky Oh, the humanity.

We had breakfast, and becuase I am away, I needed to get a birthday card for Jools, I went into town and Jools stayed at home and cleared the garden. It wasn't that bad, if it was, I would have helped, honest.

Town was empty, and all that was open was WH Smiths and the Co-oP, which fitted the bill; so I bought cards, a couple of the new ironic Penguin books, then walked to the Co-oP for milk and rolls, and making good my escape and going to the cliffs to snap the waves lashing Shakespeare Beach and the pier.

Langdon Cliffs A ship had drifted in the storms, and had collided with the barge used for storing rocks for the sea wall project. The ship was badly damaged, but spilled no oil and was towed to shelter later in the day. I take shots anyway.

I visit my friend Gary as he is just out of hospital, he is doing OK, and it is good to catch up on his news.

Admiralty Pier The morning has gone, so I make tracks to get home, travelling along Reach Road so to get the great views out over the Channel and the gaggle of ferries still waiting to get into port. I did not stop to get shots, which was a shame as the sun had just come out and views over to France were incredible with the heavy seas. Oh well.

The day then kind of fades away, we listen to the radio, have lunch, listen to football and then get on with making dinner. Outside the sunshine faded, clouds rolled in and darkness fell. Another weekend gone, and yet I had done so much this one.

Leffe Royale Mount Hood We eat boiled chicken and bacon with rice, which was really very, very good indeed whilst listening to yet more radio.

Andy Murray was playing in the ATP final, and won ins straight sets, what an amazing achievement for him, top of the world at the end of the year. Never thought we would see the day a Britain, or a Scot would ever rise to those heights.

Saturday 19th November 2016

An exciting day!

This day, by accident, we have been planning for months; Jools was going with Jen to the West End to see a couple of Strictly Come Dancing on stage, and I had booked tickets for Norwich's game against QPR in West London. We could travel up together, spit up, then meet again in the evening for a meal in Soho. Brilliant, but could we pull it off?

That, was the question.

Well, we would do our best.

With us not needing to be in London until midday, we could have a relaxing start, lazing around, drinking coffee and eating bacon butties. Which seemed by the far the most sensible thing to do. However, as always, time slipped through our fingers as we both got distracted with our respective hobbies and/or the cats.

Soon enough Jen had been dropped off by Tony, and we had just over ten minutes to drive down the hill to Martin Mill and get our ticket. Thankfully there was no trouble in getting over the Deal road, and at the station there was plenty of parking still. So, we got our stuff out and went to wait on the station where the sunlight shone through gaps in the trees. Despite being sunny, it was very cool so the warmth from the low sun was very welcome.

It was surprising to find the train over half full already, I suppose we had not traveled up mid-morning before, so there were more families on board, and there was a hum of conversation in the carriage where we found seats. Once we arrived at Dover, some got off enabling us to claim four seats round a table, and lining up with a window so I could have the best views on the way. And thinking about it, I had not used the High Speed service for about a month now, so was able to check on the work at Shakespeare Beach.

By the time we left Folkestone, it was just about standing only, and after leaving Ebbsfleet the train had people standing the full length of the carriage, so when the time came to get off at Stratford, we had to squeeze our way through people, and the person who took my seat insisted he picked up his cans of beer in a paper bag to shave on the table for the remainder of the seven minutes of the journey into St Pancras.

Sitting on the train for the hour, we had not seen a guard, so we had no tickets. I knew we could buy them up on the concourse, so we joined the queue for the escalator then went up to ground level. There was the place to buy tickets, but the person was busy with a line of people, and the barriers were open. I waited for what seemed the right amount of time, but with no prospect of paying, we walked through the barriers having traveled up for free. Normally, this would have been a cause for celebration, but the madness of the UK ticketing on the railways means that the return part of a ticket is just 5 pence, and when we came to buy our singles home that evening, it cost is that 5 pence less than the full return. Madness.

It was here we split up, as Jools and Jen wanted a coffee, and I had an appointment with friends in a pub.

I walked to the main station to catch a Circle Line to Bank, then up the steps into the City, past the Bank of England and up Cornhill. Out of habit and being an optimist, I tried the door of St Peter, not expecting it to be unlocked, so I wasn't disappointed to find it indeed locked.

QPR v Norwich City I walked round the corner to The Crosse Keys, a former bank now a pub. And sitting at a table near the door were my friends. And more Norwich fans too. I used the ancient Norfolk greeting, "Wassgorn on?" and it was line we had just met up again after a few hours, not the eighteen months it actually had been since the play off final. Soon we were making jokes at each other's expense, as old friends do, and having a good old time.

Sadly, our old friend time said it was time to walk back to the station and catch a westbound train to White City, where the BBC used to be based, and where a large athletics stadium used to stand. Both are now long gone, but left is the home ground of Queens Park Rangers (QPR), their tight ground surrounded on all sides by houses, and so really community based.

QPR v Norwich City The ground, Loftus Road, is old and now really unsuitable for modern football. The two tiered stands have angles of rake and so close to the pitch, that from our seats the goal near to us was all but invisible, hidden by other supporters. As we took our seats, the players had already come out and were now running to their respective ends, ready for the game to start. And within a minutes, City had had a player sent off and had conceded a penalty. What happened? NO bloody idea as the goal in front of us was hidden.

Oxford Street The penalty was missed, but QPR still scored twice in a 1st half where Norwich were chasing shadows. I will make some excuses in that one of the central defenders had been sent off, but it was much about how poor QPR that they did not score more. And in the second half, City were more on the front foot, but only pulled on back in the final ten minutes. And even after striking the bar, City fell short of the point maybe their rearguard action deserved. But four defeats on the bounce, and a clear lack of self belief coupled with poor substitutions made it almost inevitable that we would not win. Again.

Then at the final whistle, we had to wait 20 minutes to file out of the ground, down the endless steps then along through the houses to the tube station, to file again through the turnstiles and onto the platform. Imagine my surprise to find that I managed to get a carriage with few other passengers in, and as we went eat, the QPR supports left and were replaced with shoppers from Notting hill and Bond Street.

Regent Street I got out at Oxford Circus, and went out onto the street into the middle of a throng of people. People were thronging on both sides of the streets, and to the left on either side of Regent Street as well.

I try to walk down the centre of both streets to find space to get shots. And in that I did succeed, there were other photographers about, with a range of gear, but most with i phones. I make my way to Regent Street, then down it to the start of Carnaby Street, cutting down there to snap the lights there, doubling back and forth as I worked my way down to Piccadilly.

Near to the restaurant, rain began to fall, and not wanting to get too wet, and wanting to get out of the crowds of people. So I go in to see if Jools and Jen had arrived: they hadn't but I could welcome in the bar.

The Snow Queen does i photography Bar?

OK, I go down and am showed to the bar, huge and plush, and not for the likes of me dressed in my most torn Aliens T Shirt and slightly perspiring from having to wear a rain coat. I order a mai tai and try to look lke I belonged. By the time I had drained the glass I had long stopped caring. I also had a small bowl of salted popcorn to crunch on, and was very happy.

Jools and Jen arrived so we were shown to our table, a booth big enough for eight people. We order Danish steaks, friens and various vegetables and a bottle of wine. The food came quickly, so quick Jen and I wish we hadn't ordered another cocktail, but we would just have to drink them.

Carnaby Street The food was great, and the service superb, I loved it, good food, friends, wifey and drink. Makes all the work and travel worthwhile when sometimes we can feel like a million dollars from time to time.

Back on the street, we flag a taxi down to take us back to St Pancras; it has to negotiate the narrow streets of Soho and Chinatown, looking from the open cab window it was wonderful; all reflected neon and the mix of people out at the end of a hard day's shopping or beginning a good night out. All were out, some stressed looking at maps or phones, others like me snapping the lights and sights.

Soon we were out of Soho, hurtling up Tottenham Court Road, past less swanky places, but all lit with neon, and most with many customers.

We were dropped off at St Pancras, enough time to get tickets and for Jen to have a dirty tab outside. Then we join the other boarding the train, hoping to get a seat on a train home. It is pretty crowded again, and as the first autumn storm was due over night, and the wind already picking up, speeds off HS1 were limited to 50 mph, so we would be late.

We snoozed whilst the Spurs fans opposite talked of their team's late fightback to claim a win against West Ham. Kent slipped by, we passed through Ashford, Folkestone and Dover. By now the train was all but empty; the train climed out of Dover and up to the entrance to Guston Tunnel, inside the darkness was more complete of that of the night.

We get off the train, cross over to the car park, take Jen back home to Whitfield before doubling back to St Maggies, along roads almost empty, and being lashed by heavy rain. Inside there were three very hungry cats, so we feed them, have a brew before we call it a day with the wind howling outside.

Another one of them good days.