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About this blog

trial and error....

Entries in this blog

 

Trust, American style

One thing I did notice in Florida, was the way they just leave their helmets and riding jackets draped over their bikes when they park, especially in State Parks. I wouldn’t dare do that in U.K... is it the guns? The alligators? 

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Super Bowl

Just spent the evening on the sofa in Bradenton, Fla. with a big bag of crisps, half a dozen Budweiser and the Super Bowl. My good wife has occupied herself with her customary clattering about with the dinner plates, wittering on about “is it finished yet” etc but I give her no heed at such times.    I wont post any spoilers for those watching on Monday...   I don’t pay American football much attention, in the U.K.; I simply don’t have the time. I don’t feel any particular at

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

BA, omg...

Somehow, nothing in this country seems to work.    Packed up on Friday amid a contentious issue with the tangled web of agencies, umbrella companies etc who have a choke-hold on contract work in this country, in an increasingly confused situation made worse by HMRC issuing threats in all directions and nil clear guidance, and off on holiday to Tampa. It will sort itself, basically a matter of someone in the chain not paying attention to their job, but who needs it?    I’d rea

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Rockershovels!

For anyone unfamiliar with these brutes..  https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Mining-Company/Geevor-Muckers-Loco-Restoration-Group-1529683350637528/posts/   I’m somehow, rather ambiguous about this. It’s good to see them survive but ... I worked there in my student days.... I went to Geevor as a museum and somehow....

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

A14, A1

Had another trip down the new section of the A1 and A14 yesterday. Things are moving rapidly towards completion, with road signs in place and the general tidying-up of the verges and batters. The cross-connection between two by way of the A1198 is now the obvious route, doubtless THAT road will soon go the way of the A605, near-destroyed by HGVs seeking to save a few minutes’ driving time.    The A1M near Peterborough is in a shocking state, patches, repairs and general wear and tear m

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Goodbye, Mr Chips..

I’m not a great watcher of tv at Xmas or any other time, but I do enjoy it occasionally. This year’s unsung gem was Martin Clunes’ rather touching performance as the eponymous Mr Chips.    I first read the book long ago, when it was banned at the Perse School. The author had been a pupil at The Leys School, across town, and much of the setting (a rather outdated, High Church, minor public school in decaying, historic buildings amid an East Anglian setting) was a poke at the Perse Schoo

rockershovel

rockershovel

Early 60s comparison ..

Early 60s comparison ..

Given the threads about older Hornby models and coarse scale O Gauge, I thought I’d toss this one in. Saw it on eBay. I’m not interested in this particular loco, but it’s an unusually pristine example of what Lionel were actually producing between WW2 and the 1960s. This might be described as “the top of their mainstream range” as opposed to the rare, much-coveted and very expensive “Scale Hudson”     

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Carols in the Cathedral

Arrived home early hours of 23rd. Went to 8pm service tonight in the Cathedral; absolutely packed, kids sang Away In A Manger, Salvation Army band in great form. A proper kickoff to Christmas.   

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Christmas at sea!

....turns out that I'll be at sea over Christmas. After my rather mixed trip to Aberdeen on Weds, one of the people I'd contacted (to no useful effect, as I thought it) rang to ask me to mobilise on Sunday... rig move in UKCS, about 15 days, which is about par for a jack-up move in those waters. Couldn't really say no, as I've had little worthwhile work for some time now and next year looks bleak on the construction front.   I've concluded I need to make some sort of move to make rig m

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

A rare, but dubious pleasure...

Having a rare trip to Aberdeen today, for a meeting about a short job that’s just come in. Cast adrift by 12:00 ... realised the Client was having Christmas Lunch in the canteen and wanted rid of me. Shared a cab into town, mooched about feeling cold and bored, grabbed some lunch and in a spirit of enquiry, caught the 727 bus to the airport instead of a taxi. £3.50 one way including WiFi and usb socket, not bad I thought.    This flight used used to be KLM, now its LoganAir, who tried

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

RWC and Flying Scotsman - a good day!

Started the day watching Wales’ win over Australia. I do like to see dropgoals in open play, they change the whole defensive way of thinking and keep everyone on their toes, and a well-worked drop goal is a thing of beauty. Australia’s (eventual) try from goal line attack was rather tremendous, as was the Welsh interception try... in fact the whole game was a real advert for both the sport, and the tournament.    If England qualify from the pool, they will meet one of those two in the

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Club night ... and a new adventure...

I’ve reached the end of my run of work in U.K. for the time being, having a few weeks off and rather enjoying it. Spent a couple of evenings using the test track at the club, catching up with everyone, very enjoyable    Meanwhile, No 2 Son has introduced a sizeable joker into the pack. He works for one of the sponsors for the RWC, and has been given 2 tickets for the Pool C and D quarter finals in some sort of works award scheme. The original plan was to go with his girlfriend but that

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

informal flying....

I stopped at Birchanger Services today, not a thing I like to do but so it goes. It’s the services by Stansted so....   (whining child) NO, I WANT SOMETHING OUTSIDE!! (stressed mother) well, you can’t! You’re back in England now!    What did surprise me, was the number of people wandering around a motorway services in what appeared to be pyjamas, teamed with hoodies or even dressing gowns on a wet, windy Saturday morning. Do they just fall out of bed in Costa Del Chav an

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

M6, M42... things don’t get any better..

Last night I was returning from Wet Welsh Wales, the Cross Hands area to be precise. I’d rather hoped that the M6/M42 area might be somewhat improved by now, but the general confounding of that area at night by closures, lengthy roadworks and incompletely worked-our or signposted diversions continues apace. That added an hour to my journey...   Then the trailer destroyed a wheelbearing (it was, in fact made in Derby, so possibly some sort of meta-connection there?). So I spent another

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Star in the East...

Just spent a tiresome night in a Premier Inn in Grimsby. Why does a modern hotel chain at the upper end of the “business and overnight” sector think it’s acceptable to have no air-conditioning? Stuffy and unpleasant. Food was downright poor and the cider tasted watery, didn’t finish my pint (which is most unusual). Typical location on a nondescript light industrial estate made for constant traffic noise through the night.    I’m also finding that the whole “working in the U.K. to slow

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Heirs to Basil, 2019..

So, here I am in sunny (occasionally) Lincolnshire. Road conditions mean that the 60 miles or so to work, can be anything from 1hr 40 to 2hrs drive, so I stay out two or three nights a week. I’d mercifully, largely forgotten about English notions of hotel keeping, so it’s all come as rather a shock to the system.    Mostly this means local hotels, booked by the company. These can charitably be described as “variable” and as a sort of bonus, tonight has produced a neighbouring room who

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Market Deeping Club exhibition - cancelled due to vandalism

I’ve just finished a rather depressing read, from the Chairman of a club of which I’m a (mostly absentee) member. I dare say that quite a few readers will already have gathered that the 2019 Exhibition was cancelled due to severe vandalism the night before opening.    I can’t really add to any of this. People directly involved have taken action to progress the situation, the police are involved and I’m sure that long correspondences with insurance adjusters will ensue. Clubs and indivi

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Disappointing start ..

Watching the start of the London Marathon, one of the wheelchair racers failed at the start due to a puncture.   That surprised me. I’d always imagined, insofar as I’d thought if it at all, that elite level wheelchair racing would be attended by support teams like cycle racing, but apparently not...   

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

M6, M5...

I’ve been travelling the M6 the last twelve months, a motorway I knew little about.    Most motorways seem to have their own style of services, and on the M6 it’s those over-bridges containing noisy, cramped food outlets and at Forton, the (mostly abandoned) “observation lounge” reminiscent of a set for a Gerry Anderson puppet show. Whoever thought they were a good idea? The 1960s were truly, a different time...    One worthwhile innovation is that Travelodge have apparently

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

And there it was, gone....

So I’m strolling along as a Project Engineer on directional drilling works. It’s a stroll in the park, I have everything I’m asked for at my fingertips and half the time, I work from home.    This leaves me time to look about me, and I’ve been out today on my 2013 Bonneville. My kids conspired to get me to buy this bike, and... I appreciate their thinking but is it REALLY a Bonneville? Nah, not reeeelly. It’s a pleasant bike and it has the name and the styling - but I owned a Bonnevill

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

God’s Wonderful Railway..

Just been to Cardiff for a client visit.    XC Plymouth to Bristol PW was its usual scruffy, short-formed disappointment (also grossly overcrowded past Taunton, XC being apparently oblivious or uncaring about Cheltenham Week). GWR produced a pleasing change of scene with a rather swish 800 class for the 45 minutes or so to Cardiff; the first time I recall travelling on one if these, and I was rather impressed.    Return journey started with a new-looking DMU from GWR, quite c

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

New digs, new boots...

I’ve just signed a lease for a new (well, different) flat in Plymouth, as I’m still working there. I definitely wanted to escape the student areas... students are a blight on the accommodation market. I was also looking for a furnished let, which most owners don’t offer, and a “break clause” and automatic rollover to rolling status - this is supposedly legally guaranteed, but try to achieve it!    So, I move in a fortnight. The new landlords seem to have picked on the market for contra

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

6N time!

Always a look-ahead date in my diary, and this year has got off to a great start!    Quite what France thought they were doing on Friday, is hard to say. I don’t believe that even Italy have managed to go in at half-time, 16-0 up at home, and still lose. I’d always expect a strong second half with a burst at the last from Wales, and that was what we got... going to be a disappointing year for Les Bleus, on that showing. They looked good at times but that just isn’t enough at that level

rockershovel

rockershovel

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