Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Festive welcome!

Today I'm on Store visits in north Wales and I'm at my usual and excellent B&B (The Clontarf, Llandudno).

It's the little touches that impress, such as changing the usual door welcomes for these festive ones.

Christmas soon and my iPhone is filled with Christmas tunes for the 5 hour train ride home.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Phew! Guess who just called?

Barack O called me just before 6 am to tell me that Mitt had just conceded.

This is good news for BS5 as that other loony isn't in, and therefore China won't be branded a currency shark, and Israel won't have tacit backing for a pre-emptive whack on Iran. And America might look soundly beyond its shores.

As you can see here, Barack was gesturing for a phone so he could make that call to me.

Four years ago I heard the news first time around in BS5, but today it was heard in Bangor, north Wales.

Well done America.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Special Forces Dad-Dude….

Here is my Dad looking pretty cool. I am not sure what he's doing; probably taking in intel' on a mission or something, and maybe thinking about managing the international fall out.

As for me, I am still at the 'behind enemy lines' stage rather than the 'handling'...maybe that's the career path that beckons.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Clean and shining...for now.

Here is VX52 after an hour's Sunday wash and de-clutter. He was full of stuff, as acquired with my brother's use. I am taking him back to BS5 soon, where no doubt the refill of clutter can start again.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Boom boom Bittern

Last night I stayed over in BS5. I hadn't done so in a while and I celebrated the fact by going for a pint with my brother and a fellow BSFiver, Stevie Hopes.

On the way to the pub we checked out this! LNER 4464 Bittern.

For spods: A4 Pacific Class locomotive on a 4-6-2.

Get in!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Hotel decadence.

This week I have been on holiday with BS7.

We have been to the saaaaaarf eaaast of the UK, staying in Kent. We have split our journey home and indulged in an extra night in Hampshire. We did some looking about on line and found The Elvetham Hotel near Hook. It is the former residential pile of the family of Jane Seymour (third wife of Henry VIII, not Solitaire from the James Bond movie).

We bagged a deal for dinner, bed and breakfast for £120. Absolute indulgence! Our room has been the three windowed section on the left hand side with the windows all open in the snap here.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

What a total Kent!

This week BS7 and I have a few days off in Kent. We found a hotel on a last minute site and booked it directly with the hotel ( who matched the offer). We have taken in Sissinghurst Castle and Chartwell, both part of the National Trust, and we have eaten well, relaxed and just lolled about.

I am blogging from the foyer of the hotel, which is all rather relaxed.

The rather smart paving is Sissinghurst.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Do all girls pack pyjamas?

Three o-five in the morning and I'm just shuffling back in to the Premier Inn, Angel St, Sheffield.

Not a late night out in South Yorkshire, but the all clear on a loud, sudden and prompt fire alarm.

The hotel was fully occupied and we all turned out on the street. Four fire engines arrived loud and fast within four minutes, not a bad shout.

As we all gathered on the street outside, there was a definite gender difference; all the girls had pyjamas, shoes and handbags, we blokes were in various states of dress but no one much beyond boxers and a top. I put shoes and socks on in the street and then stood about reasonably warm for forty minutes.

A definite Yorkshire experience.

I wonder if I'll have a refund.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Here we are at forty. May 12th 2012.

Blimey, that went fast. It was only a moment ago that it was about being thirty at the same venue and drinking beer and being equally silly.

I had a great weekend with loads of the people I love and would choose to be with at the drop of a hat.

Here are some pictures of the event.

Monday, 7 May 2012


These pictures were taken at Saltram, a fine country house now in the care of The National Trust. It's in Devon and was the home of a family of wool merchants and farmers called the Parkers.

This is the kitchen with masses of copper pots and pans and about 100 jelly and fruit moulds. Copper sinks too. No shortage of cash in their heyday at Saltram.

I am getting right into my National Trust visit. On the cusp of forty years old and getting right into character.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Geeky pictures, Bristol to Bedford.

Today I have taken trains from Bristol to Bedford via London ready for a couple of days of work in this part of the country.

Some great geeky shots of Bristol and London today, though perhaps not that expertly photographed.

The order might chop and change when I post but it should make sense (and in fact one won't upload) :

First of all, two Inter City 125s ready to go at Bristol. I took the left one to London.

Next, a whole load of 125s all resting at Paddington.

After that it was over to Kings Cross/St. Pancras. This is the newly cleaned and and refurbished roof at Kings Cross (as is the close up).

Over the road via the new KC entrance that opened in March. Funky lighting, big queues.

And lastly a shot of the Euro Star platform at St Pancras with the no doubt expensive (and pointless ?) Olympic rings!

Top geeky action.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Queen

Today I am working in Cardiff , in one of my outfit's Regional Offices. This is pretty normal SOP and was in every way a routine Thursday.

I took the train from BS5 to Cardiff and left the railway station as normal. On emerging into the Welsh air a large crowd was abundantly obvious along with lots of Rozzers, plenty of Range Rovers and a stretch Bentley. I asked a policeman what was going on and he informed me that The Queen was due ! I was very content to wait about and have a bit of a cheer and an atmospheric moment.

Twenty minutes later , Ladies in Waiting emerged along with various civil holders of office, and then The Queen herself. And some double hard looking security types. The crowd cheered and I joined in. HM worked the crowd and said hello to school children. She passed right in front of me waving and beaming.

Here is my picture of the moment.

I had not seen HM before ( not officially, or in circumstances I could divulge mind you), so it really was quite cool!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Courtesy roller skate

VX52 is at the garage, or if you are reading in America, 'in the shop'.

About a year ago someone drove through BS5 dropping kids off in a minibus. The driver hit my car and damaged the wing and took off the minibus bumper in the process. I was away at work but two neighbours took the number plate and gave statements to my insurance firm. The minibus company flatly denied it and the claim stopped dead. I was a bit hacked off. Many months later, my insurance firm surprised me by saying they would waive my excess and just pick up the repair.

So VX52 is in the shop and I even have a courtesy car for the duration. It's quite fun, just a bit bigger than me, loud and unsubtle, but hey I'm not averse to a free car.

Doughnuts at the local car park and a bit of a burn around BS5 . That's my plan.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tuesday Mongolian.

Tonight I am in Bedford overnight on a two day course.

The course is about time management and it has been well run, insightful, inspiring, useful and a very welcome use of my days.

I am at a b&b with a colleague who works at Herne Bay in Kent. He and I hit it off on meeting today, so we had some pints out and then ventured for dinner.

We happened upon a Mongolian buffet place but not the usual sort; the set up was that you picked your own raw ingredients and saw them cooked. You could either follow the recipes on chalk boards with a ladle of this, and pinch of that, a smattering of spices and a ladle of sauce. There were varieties galore and one could be free and easy or prescriptive.

My friend from work was cautious and went by the book, choosing to collate very set recipes for his first tries. I went ad hoc and crazy , making up my own thing. I tried chicken with water chestnut, leeks, bean sprouts, sweet corn, carrot and a mix of coriander powder, chilli, fish stock and garlic. Bang and onto the hot plate. A success! Then I tried lamb and veg and sweet and sour sauce, also a success, and finally I went for a dish of lamb-cheeky, and far too bloody cheeky it was too.

Anyhow, three bowls of great scoff with rice and prawn crackers plus a beer. A good night's eating for under a tenner a head and quite fun to do.

Maybe they serve cat, dog and horse on a Saturday night piss-head shift but Tuesday ingredients were definitely as advertised.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Even on holiday

Even on holiday the Special Forces missions keep coming in.

BS7 and I were driving home from Devon today when the call came in and the outriders hurtled our way, ready for an airport run and a Hercules take off.

Another country, another mission, another cover story.....

Monday, 23 January 2012

Working in the 21st C

Today I am on the train from Bristol to North Wales, the first of five days on the train that will take in Wales, Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and back home again in a big old tour.

I am on the cutting edge of technology, working quite efficiently with a 3g connection, an iPad and a bluetooth keyboard.

I can even do work.

And geeky stuff.

Friday, 6 January 2012

New Hub action!

Some teething troubles to start with and we're a bit hit and miss so far, but this is my new wireless hub which was a free upgrade. The old one was five years old and a bit tired, so hopefully this one will blast along at top speed.

Great service from my ISP too. And the colour and the lights are pretty smart.