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trial and error....

Entries in this blog

 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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

 

Stan and Ollie

Whiling away a miserable wet weekend in Plymouth (I don’t go home every weekend because of the time and cost), went to the pictures for the first time in a long time.   Much impressed with the new layout at the cinema, big semi-reclining airline style seats with ample legroom. Being 4:30 in the afternoon, only 7 or 8 in the auditorium... the film was Stan and Ollie, and I loved it.   I was never a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, being (I suppose) the generation that “didn’t want to see a Lau

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Business as usual again...

Xmas is definitely over, after a busy, festive and highly enjoyable week involving presents known and surprising, friends old and new, children who have grown astonishingly since last seen, NONE of my good wife’s innumerable siblings and their offspring (for a mercy...) and very little tv (although I did see Carols from Kings College and St Paul’s at various times).   But it’s back to the world. I usually reckon it an important milestone, the first evening of tv involving various ill-mannered

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Offside, ref!

After various discussion with my sons about the curious coincidence by which the TMO controversially intervened to disallow home tries against the All Blacks two weeks running, No 2 Son produced the following:   “It should be noted that the World Rugby Laws apply equally to Players and Match Officials. Thus the Match officials Law 6 sits side by side in the Law book with the May 2018 amended Tackle Law 14.10 re the new offside line (which is open to a number of interpretations of consistency w

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Jerusalem..

Out in Plymouth for some beer and music, with my much-travelled tenor banjo.   Someone I haven’t seen before, stood up when the “turn” came to him, and in a strong, slightly toneless baritone sang “Jerusalem” a Capella. The whole group followed on, it was quite tremendous.

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Day pass...

Introduced by No 2 Son to another modern novelty, the Sky Day Pass. I don’t generally have any sort of Sky subscription but I do enjoy Test rugby. So, No 2 Son bought a day pass (which covers up to 4 devices), rang round myself and his brother and we watched the England / AB game   FWIW, I thought the disallowed try at the death was a wrong decision, but the overall result about right. NZ clearly knew something that England didn’t at the line-out, England made an obvious captaincy error by pas

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Yay Spoons!

At Stansted, another place much changed since I last saw it, in no wise for the better.   However it DOES have a Witherspoon’s, who served a quite acceptable g&t WITHOUT the shovel full of ice in a half-pint balloon that so many places dispense, and even had some Angostura bitters.   I quite like ‘Spoons...

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Northward Ho! In which divers misadventures befall our correspondent..

Well, that was fun. For family reasons, a long and difficult journey at a difficult time, in which some showed to better advantage than others.   First leg, Cross Country, Plymouth to BNS. Cross Country consistently fail to impress, and this was no exception; a crowded, short-formation train (4 car Voyager instead of 7-car HST; reservations in disorder, charging sockets not working despite the new overhead reservation displays). The diversion for the incident on the line was just one of those

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Cross country, in every sense

Today’s venture is Peterborough to Plymouth, by way of Birmingham New St.   First leg, Peterborough to BNS with Cross Country. 3 car DMU, fairly new-looking. Seat backs sprinkled with accumulated reservations, some clearly for journeys in the opposite direction. Occupancy perhaps 20%, so no problems. Strong free WiFi, no charging sockets. Ticket check, no card check. Bought a pastie and coffee on the station, just as well as events turned out.   Unremarkable journey, good time.   Interest

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Western adventure, sort of..

Made the journey from Plymouth to Peterborough by train, in a spirit of enquiry. Not tremendously impressed.   The Plymouth to London Paddington train was absolutely choked with students. The train was, apparently, an 8-car set instead of a 10-car set. It had been fitted with newer seats and the ad-hoc looking conversion to power sockets at the tables that you see on Great Central trains, but otherwise looked its age. Quite good free WiFi, though, evidenced by much bleeping and trilling of sm

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Crash, bang, sparrowhawk!

So there was a loud crash on the roof over the bay window, much flapping and scrabbling, and this...     My best identification is a female sparrowhawk, apparently they specialise in hunting pigeons and are well known to hunt in gardens...

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Avon Bridge... wonderful...

I really must get a dashcam.   Off to S Wales this weekend for my annual dose of Sportster racing. Actually not the only time I ride this bike but the only place it gets a “proper” outing on its natural habitat, a half-mile trotting track. Where’s Bruce Brown when you need him?   So I drove over the Avon Bridge heading West, with the evening sun glittering in the cables; absolutely glorious.

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Back where I hadn’t expected to be...

I’m out on site again, on a rather spectacular location overlooking the Solent. This is my first “site” job in the U.K. for almost ten years, back on a drilling site after a long time away from that field, so I’ll see how it goes.   The specialist contractor, my employer, are the British arm of a Dutch contractor and rather unexpectedly, I find I’m more comfortable there than I was last year, working in an office in Birmingham. I found the general flow of office conversation in Brum, trivial

rockershovel

rockershovel

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