Monday, 30 March 2009

Back to School...

Today I am a man returning to gainful employment, and I am mightily pleased and thankful for that, given this current climate. My first week entails readying a new store to trade in a week's time. The store is going to be one of the eight that I will have responsibility for so it will be an education to build it from scratch (well,not the bricks and mortar, obviously).

It is a leisurely start with a lunchtime train to Derbyshire and then we will go at it from tomorrow, I suppose.

I am looking forward to hard work and engagement as they have been in short supply these late months.

More blogging later in the week!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Tipping about, sure...

Today has been my first fully indulgent day in my time in Ireland. The last few days I have been having fun but have also worked hard to give my friend (and host) Seamus a dig out with the various tasks he is into at the moment.

Today however, we all left the house to do our own thing. I have been on a journey out of Co. Wexford and into Killkenny, and particuallry the town of Inistigoe ("In -ish- Teeg"). I like Inistigoe more than most places in this country and whilst Galway and the west coast were spectacualr on the last visit, Inistigoe just has something about it. I stopped there today, perhaps my fourth visit these last three years and had a pint in the pub you can see here. As with everywhere in this country, chat and inquisitiveness were quickly forthcoming. A fine pint of Guinness and an easy drive home after being made very welcome in a friendly bar.

A fine day indeed.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Irish employment.

These last few days in Ireland I have been a man about many a new task! In the final days of not working, I have had many things to do.

I have been a welder's mate whilst helping to change out a plough on a tracor (pictured). I have also watched the tractor ploughing and given my two penneth on that. I have been a bit of a farmer looking at the vast field pictured. I have also been a delivery driver, a runner to a hire business and a bit of a plant fitter too. I have also operated some hydraulic JCB equipment which was a complete lark.

In amongst the work there have been several small pints of Guinness whilst watching the rugby and several more in post game analysis. A great little break altogehter.

My brother's birthday today so HBTY,brother.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Irish Friday.

Some right old Friday capers here! I am posting from Ireland tonight and it has been a long old day of jobs, sites, things to do and tippin' about (sure).

I woke early and dropped my host and friend Seamus to his brother's house to pick up a drill, and then his next brother's house to get on site, where there was cladding and fabricated sheeting to be put on a shed. Hours of measuring and looking and deliberating and then I ran out in the car to hire a nibbler, a device for clean cutting fabricated metal; the fella down the road who has one had gone off to Dublin.

After supervising the operation you can see here, and after several bits of hydraulic movement on the plant (with me at the wheel!) I dipped out to put on dinner which was (and has) been a fine lamb stew of my own making.

Back on site once the stew was away and then off into New Ross to assist Seamus in some door to door catalogue drops. A 12 hour day of larks in county Wexford and all in all a fine day indeed. Wine on the go as I type and happily tired after a long country day.

All day long the radio has been at some kind of analysis of Ireland's Grand Slam chances tomorrow - they haven't done it since 1948.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

HBTY and other stuff.

I am happy, exhilarated, grateful, excited and keen all in one rush of thoughts and emotions today.

This week I have been on the phone a good bit with my new line manager sketching out my first three weeks of work in my new role; I am being sent all over the country to look at stores, to help put together a new one that will be on my patch and to see regional offices, head offices, sanctuaries and distribution warehouses. It feels smart to be back in the game and I am grateful for it with a healthy degree of humility and a ready capacity for hard work.

Also it is my brother's birthday today so HB to him. When we were little chaps and I was 5 and he turned 10 just before I became 6 we were both excited as he was twice my age!

Tomorrow I am off to Co. Wexford, Ireland for a week's larks prior to my start in the new role. I am staying with Seamus a former BS5er in the village pictured.

It has been a sunny week in many ways and I have enjoyed time on the wall very much.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Box

I am reading this book at the moment and it's a complete page turner! You might think the subject matter is dull but if you are into ships, trucks, transport and big stuff (as I am), then it's a goldmine. My brother bought this book for me a couple of months ago and I am into it now. And, as you read this, consider that your computer, the keyboard, the desk and even the chair all got to you via one of these.

St Patrick's day today so I suspect there may be a beer in the offing this evening.

The week in BS5 is an alarmingly sunny one and I have put in some reading and relaxation time, on the wall of course.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Look at the size of 'ee

See the nice snake...

With thanks to Walshy!


I've got quite a bit of ironing to do but I am not actually sure if I can be bothered as the sofa is looking much more inviting, and I am a bloke so the sofa/TV combo' edges it.

Megastructures on the box. Get in!

This is strange...Annie Lennox has just knocked on but she wants to watch that bloody awful Loose Women on ITV.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Air Force BS5

Here's three cheeky snaps I took in a quick meeting yesterday, stitching them together with some free software I found on line.

This was an impromptu gathering and I was on board at the last minute to advise the Americans on matters of Bird conservation and retail (it's my new thing). Got home later than planned hence yesterday's chilli being average rather than memorable.

Shanks and spod.

I have started going for a run again each morning before the day unfolds into whatever it is going to be.

There has been no fact to justify stopping this all through February and it's mad because I enjoy it when it is a regular habit. Anyhow, I have been out and about this week and my legs are pleasantly achy as a result. I will try to keep it up for the next week prior to a quick tour in Ireland before resuming work! I am back on 'the plank' after the run too.

My legs are thinner than this diagram suggests, and I am pretty sure on inspecting them that not all these muscles are present, which is why I am a bit gangly and often walk into stuff.

On the spod front I have been looking at Blackberry vids on You Tube prior to getting my own when work starts. They seem quite complicated! My friend Alaina says the Storm is a bit of good kit.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Stan the pan

It's Wednesday and for the last couple of days, Wednesday was hoving into view with a sort of a feeling for a chilli.

That is what I have been prepping these last 90 minutes and it's a bit of a cheeky one!

It has been a pleasant sort of a day with plenty of things on the to do list looked at if not actually crossed off.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

News 24 and learning about birds.

It's been a smart day here in BS5 and I have been working hard on my bird skills prior to starting in my new role next month. The research has been rewarding today and I have a fine teacher indeed; I have learned quite a lot. I am getting to recognise some fine creatures.

I have also been watching News 24 a little bit and as it happened, my favourite presenter was on the air. I Googled her a bit and she's married to Jeremy Vine. The spawny get! I don't think Rachel Schofield would be everyone's cup of tea but I reckon she's a bit of a fox!

And get this for a right old X Files spookiness! I emailed my brother all the way across the planet in Manila to tell him I am having lamb chops for tea and he's at the same caper for his own. Amazing huh?

Blog BS5 - you have to love it!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Bombing queen.

This story was in Retail Week on Friday! Retail Week is my trade magazine and has all things retail in it, on a weekly basis, but I am guessing you might have worked that out.

Anyhow - this all took place in the very room I worked for well over a year at WHS' head office when I managed customer services! Joel came and went after my time though!

Friday, 6 March 2009


After a 2nd interview and a presentation yesterday I have been offered a permanent, full time a job today....

Huge relief, a little humility and some quiet thanks here in BS5!

I start in April as an Area Manager for 8 stores spread across England and Wales - on the road but essentially working from home which is novel, new and exciting.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Shiny stuff

It's bin day here in BS5 - like much of the UK, BS5 is on a 2 weekly collection, which suits me fine but troubles the busy family next door (but we share bins!)

Usually my road gets the rather fine treat of 3 lorries coming down the street in succession, and that's cool. Today however it was just the one...but it was a super-mega-shiny one. This has to be the cleanest vehicle in Bristol today, and rather dangerously I checked out its age as it went past - three years old, not brand new!

It's cooler than the shiny new Mac Book Pro (17") that I have been looking at and discussing with the chaps. Looks good but is a bit pants really.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Game Jeans

Way back when, when I was loafing in front of yet another episode of The West Wing, I enjoyed the phrase 'It's his Game tie' which Charlie says to CJ just before President Bartlett takes on a TV debate.

I have a 'game pair' of jeans and they are right on the money. It's taken about a year to get them just right but they are very much there now. I did have a really legendary pair of game jeans but they were lost in action on holiday a while back. They now live at the bottom of The Kennett and Avon canal and I miss them. I am not much of a man for following brands but Mr Gap does make a fine pair of strides with a 34 inch waist and a 36 inch leg.

In other news, I think my brother has flown from Manilla to Taiwan today to check out the scene. Hopefully he will send me a top smart image of a good Taiwanese bus or something equally representative of that island.

I am pleasantly surprised at the comments on my Old Read post just below this one and it was especially rewarding to bag a comment from a new and thoughtful reader!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

An old read.

My friend Jack is a good egg and a decent fellow. When we were in the pub yesterday watching Ireland edge England by one point, he handed me a gift. Jack had been to a book fair held not far from here; indeed he invited me along to it at the time but I had a training course that morning.

Jack picked up this book for me. It is a copy of The Book of Common Prayer; nothing terribly rare about it but its interest lies in its antiquity. There is a name scribbled in it and the year 1915. Someone had this on their bookshelf 94 years ago and I like the thought of that. The book is leather bound and smells old and experienced. It's a pleasant thing to own.

Health chick.

Barack O has chosen this chick to be Health Secretary (I am guessing she paid all her taxes). She's very grey in the barnet department, a trait I can fully appreciate. I have been reading about Kathleen Sebelius for about a year and I think she'll be right on the money. She's Governor of Kansas which is the big square one with corn, I think.

Well, this is my first March post and the day feels spring-like so far (it's half six in the am). In this spring mood, I am going to do some work towards my second interview for a role with the RSPB.