Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Five 43 at Paddington

A quick post on the move, between Paddington, Kings Cross and Central Bird Command.

I caught the 07.00 out of Bristol for a good old hoof into Paddington on my favourite train and favourite route (though I prefer homeward leg).

Once at Paddington, I hopped across the platforms to catch the tube to Kings Cross.

Bagged this mighty line up as I waited.

Not so long left for these fine machines.

Had an unusually useful call from a recrutiment agency en route to London - unusual in that you normally do all the work and they just phone in with a blah blah blah and a series of jobs you really don't want.

Onwards with Birdfood related matters for the rest of the day.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


This week on my crass three-day-a-week new role, I am working six, maybe seven on the bounce.

I am running our operation in Bath which would shut otherwise. Whilst this is a bind (making a three day week twice that length), it does afford dailies in and out of Bath. Bath is a good city and it is close to BS5, so at least the commute is shorter than some of my 170 mile each way Store visits. Working the store is great fun.

Each day this week I have tried to time the trains in order to bag a London-bound Class 43; Bath is its first stop out of Bristol. Sometimes I achieve this and sometimes I do not. Mid-week I missed it but I did park up next to one on the alternative train. Here in all its glory is 43002, the very first on the list! A trainspotter's delight.

This train was the first production  Inter City 125, a little different from the prototype. It has been running since 1975 when it was delivered into service from Derby.  I caught the same train home after its day's work and my own. Thus I was home on a train 39 years old and easily a  two million miler. It hoofs along at well over 120mph and sometimes feels like it will shake right off the tracks.

Top geek stuff!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Welcome to the 20th Century.

Now I think this is a very good move indeed.

The Church of England has voted in all its administrative bodies to approve the possibility of women becoming Bishops. From my view, the fact that one has a calling is stronger than the interpretation of the Bible on this one.

If you have a calling  you have a calling and surely gender should not matter.

I do hope my former vicar here in BS5 (and now resident in Bow, East London) makes it all the way. Maybe the C of E will go all the way too and employ an artificial Bishop?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

High Speed Chickens

I am back from a 24 hour stay over at my brother and sil's house. I stayed with them in order to make an easy hop into London for a job interview.

To London from their house always makes for a good look in at Slough railway station. It's not glamorous (like Bristol or York or Paddington) but it does make for some quite geeky train spotting. I love going into London from there.


On returning from the interview we had tea and lunch in the garden ahead of the drive back to BS5. It was the first time I had really had a good look at G&A's chickens. They go nuts for mealworms and just a shake of the bucket brings them hurtling from their scratchy tree, KEEERPPPPOWWWW! and they are at your feet pecking like loonies (they will hand feed too).


Friday, 4 July 2014

Walnut panel van

A great day of hard work today. Shifting, lifting, hefting and driving.

I helped Les and Sal move from Goodrich to Linton, an all-Herefordshire village exchange.

We started at 09.00 with a quick run to another nearby village where there was felled walnut timber to be had. On arrival the first batch was ready to go, so in it went. There was a little bit of chain sawing for the next load, so I paused to film it. 

We loaded and shifted the first lot while the other fellas chainsawed the  rest. So, two loads of heavy walnut hand balled on and off the van by 11.35. We followed his up with three more van runs, all of it furniture or big ticket stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed a day of hard work but I will miss my parents' neighbours hugely, they have been terrific.  

They are only up the road though, so plenty of new capers to be had and a lovely home will be made. 

Here is some of the sawing action.

Top stuff! 


Rescue Ridgebacks

At the end of this week I am at my mum and dad's house, helping their neighbours move house.
All this was going as per plan last evening when the phone went and a friend from growing up days came on the line. Were we in the humour for a rescue mission? 

Our friend Kate had broken down whilst on a rescue mission herself, driving two Ridgeback pups to a rescue centre in Hay on Wye. Said party stayed here overnight and will resume their mission this morning. Rather nobly (I thought) I kipped in the conservatory with the hounds, resulting in a 05.15 alarm call of nipped toes and licked ears. By the look of these two, they are a big old bag of lunatic hooliganism. Many things will be chewed. For small dogs they are prolific poop machines. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

From the Metropolis to BS5.

Some time back I caught one of the many trains leaving London Paddington for Bristol. 

It's a journey I take about once month in my current job. I like the route very much. Just occasionally I happen upon a particular service that runs this route, The Bristolian, (like The Flying Scotsman which can be many trains but is only one timed service). The train staff hurtle through the train putting up window posters so passengers are aware of the stops and the destination. This I felt duty bound to liberate; it has all the things I like summarised in one poster - even the sketch of Temple Meads - and they are only thrown away at the end.  I then indulged in a consultation at the framers to get the best look and preserve this happy memory of London to Bristol travel.


Saturday, 28 June 2014

A post about sticks and swine. Post 1200!

Last weekend my brother and I took our older brother's hounds for a long walk. We were staying in Herefordshire and nipped over the border into Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean. We visited a good walking spot called Speculation, in the Cannop Valley.

The walk is based around old railway lines built to service mines (the digging out sort, not the kaaabbboooom type) .

Just as we started out, I heard some careful snuffling and foraging about and to my delight, this magnificent wild pig emerged just going about her business. She was about three times the size of Quaddy (the black labrador in the video). Amazingly the dogs did not even get a sniff of her but when they barked, she just trotted away to another part of the forest. You can just about see her here.


Later in the walk it was the usual blend of sticks, barking, finding water to sit in and general gooning about. And digitalis digitalis.

Monday, 23 June 2014

The wood pile

My parents' superstar neighbours are moving house :-(

This is a real shame as they are the best neighbours a couple could have. It is also sad because the move has been rather prompted by rapaciously money-grabbing folks in the village creating  havoc converting a barn just nearby. Loads of stress, noise, invasion of privacy and unfriendliness.

In helping them move, and ahead of my brother's wedding (of which, more soon) we were in the village this weekend. My bro' and I helped the neighbours relocate their mahoosive wood pile to the new village. Three chaps in a van unsupervised. Here are some action shots and some wood pile progress. I'd say we hand balled a couple of tons in and out of the van on a 24 degrees Friday. It was great fun with a sense of satisfaction.

Toby the  dog liked taking stuff OUT of the van just when he could reach it after we had put it in!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Chicken links and Happy Birthday

My brother's wedding tomorrow.

I will be wearing my very favourite cuff links, bought for me in affection (thank you and happy, happy birthday to you for today x ), and kept that way too.  

I will also have this glass Chicken in my pocket for the day, a link to a terrific young man who bought it for me in his thoughtful and observant way a little time back.

And this day prior to the wedding? A quiet pint out for the groom and his two brothers , then a walk up Coppett Hill near Goodrich to watch the sun set. That part with the hounds, and wrapping up at about 9.00 pm.

In preparation for this evening , my other brother and I shifted about a ton and a half of firewood across Herefordshire!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Father's day

It is Father's day in the UK today and in all these countries below as well.

Just off the phone to my Dad and looking forward to seeing him this coming Thursday  (for my brother's wedding a couple of days later!)

Antigua and Barbuda
Brunei Darussalam
People's Republic of China**
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Hong Kong
Puerto Rico
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom
United States

Potato Rosti...could do better.

Today I was taken with the idea of making a potato rosti.

I had a couple of spuds left and they were coming to  the end of their usefulness, so I went for it via a quick You Tube tutorial first. You Tube is great for that sort of thing.

Armed with a knife, a grater , an onion, butter, cumin and some bacon I set out on course. If I'm honest it was a fail and I wouldn't have served it to a guest, but the taste and the principle is in the bag for next time.

Didn't squeeze enough starch out and made the rosti too thick. Enjoyed it though!

Prep' stage

Shredding potato and onion

Making the rosti

And hereafter it went a bit Pete Tong!

Next time?