Wednesday, 30 July 2014

More canoe action

I am just back at BS5 after a couple of happy and very sunny days over in Goodrich, Herefordshire.

My brother and I visited and it was all going on over there. House over the road is being taken apart then put back together after bracing (see lack of windows in second picture) - I happen to know that work alone is costing more than the balance of my mortgage. Feck!

House behind Ma and Pa's was having the chimney repointed so there were blokes all over that one too.

Dave and I picked a sunny day and went for it in our consortium-purchased canoe along the River Wye (but not all 134 miles of it) . Plenty of paddling; remarkable good fortune in steering and competence when passing attractive women on the bank; tons of gooseys;  a bit of sunburn,  and plenty of aches the day after.

Infinitely more fun than work.

Manhandling roof rack and boat:

Can't kick the habit of pre mission mug shot in case I am caught and questioned behind enemy lines (again):


Prep'. Dave on steering:

Me up front:

Under the bridge at Ross on Wye:

Several of about 450 geese:

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Frank Makes.

For a few weeks now, I have been watching Frank Makes, a great You Tube channel out of Portland, Oregon in the USA.

Frank Howarth is an Architect and wood turner and he makes terrific videos of his turning work. I am not into wood turning per se, but the wood turning here is complemented by animations and voice overs which are equally entertaining, as is the care and provenance of Frank's work. I found the channel (I am afraid to say) whilst looking for a video on concrete forms, shuttering and re-bar. I have watched every upload since!

Frank has 62,000 followers and his videos have amassed well over 2m views. I was therefore pretty chuffed when I made a comment one one video last month, and another on a second this morning, both of which Frank replied to, courteously and promptly. Kinda cool!

These are stills from the video today, turning a clock housing out of left over edges from bowl blanks.

Chimney Sweep (away).

Check this out!


Running it backwards always happens in the reporting of these things, guaranteed!

Well, now they have made a start on the power station, maybe they will waste Didcot itself?

I am going to look out for the gap when I hurtle past on the train in a week or three.

I Player schmiplayer...

Generally, I am a fan of the BBC I player. It is pretty good for content catch-up or live streaming and they just extended it to a catch up window of thirty days from seven.

However, for the last ten days it has been about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike, with lots of failures reported all over the news (but not so prominently on BBC, funnily enough).

All morning I have been getting this patronising update from the BBC. It irks me because I have a 100 meg connection that is steaming along in the background, streaming a myriad of other (train and job search related)  things without breaking a sweat.

Pull your finger out BBC, and enough with your cak messages!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Just the ticket.

Now this could possibly invite the hashtag loser or tragic, but here's 5 years' worth of work rail travel (yeah, I collected it).

Average work journey is 112.25 miles each way and my stores and HQ range from 14 miles way to 155 miles away. I have visited 7, 8 or 9 of them at various times, once each month since March 2009!

When I have the opportunity to move on, I am going to add up the dollar and the mileage!

It might not reach the moon, but it will go beyond the county of Avon...

I love a good train... is there any hope?

Lucky Ladders

Last night whilst at The Barley Mow, I had a text message from Stevie asking if he could borrow my double extending ladders to clean out his guttering. That was no problem of course, but I only have one of them, not both, so that was us kippered.

This morning we knocked on the door of Johnny the hairdresser on the end of our street as Steve knew he had ladders in his lock up. Armed with the right tools for the job, if not the right H&S approach, we got to it. We worked quickly before the heat of the day got it together. Plenty of banter and larks along the way and that's that task sorted for another two years.

No damage to cars, windows, cats or indeed ourselves.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Eighteen days

My job recently shifted to 60% FTE or 3 days per week.

I have been at this caper for about six weeks and in that time, I have worked 52 hours more than contract just to get things done or keep stores open. I have to be diplomatic at work, but here I can state the bleedin' obvious and share the opinion that it's ill thought-out as a concept and fairly fucked up.

Anyhow, having acquired 7 days extra on a 3 day week, I am taking the next fortnight and a bit off to catch up. 18 days until my next day back at work and a fairly easy week on getting back to it (although I am giving up a weekend to work a show on my return).

Things I would like to do these next days:

  • Stay in bed beyond the 06.00 news on Radio 4
  • Loaf about
  • See my folks 
  • Canoe down the Wye with my bro'
  • Really put some wellie into finding my next role
  • Get out on my bike
  • Get running again
  • Work out how my tivo box is any different to the box it replaced
  • Go to Shrewsbury
  • Go to Dawlish for top sea wall train action!
  • Cajole my brother into a good shift clearing the back garden
  • Find my Definitely Maybe album
  • Take a walk across Clifton Suspension bridge
  • Shout loudly ALL DAY LONG and slam the door to kingdom order to emulate my feckin' neighbours of late

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.