Sunday, 28 October 2012

Chartham to Canterbury.

Yet another Astro Society evening was marred by clouds, although the guest speaker more than made up for it with a fascinating talk on astronomy and archaeology. I never realised Kits Coty, stones marking a burial mound near Aylesford, aligned with the constellations at certain times of the year back when they were first placed.

Saturday.




A  walk from Chartham to Canterbury, ending with a pub lunch. That was the plan for today. Andy arrived at our place and we set off for the station to meet up with other friends. After a twenty minute wait on the train we finally got underway, and were soon at Chartham. We were joined by Chip's mum and set off for Canterbury. The weather forecast was for cold and clear, not rain. It was raining. The surroundings however were lovely. Its a place we have driven past loads of times but never appreciated. The path follows the river, from Chartham, around the back of Thannington Without and Wincheap and into the City. As we arrived at the Foundry the sun came out. The pub was great, beer was brewed on the premises and two pints of 'Oktoberfest' ale went down well, especially with a half rack of ribs and treacle tart for pud. I wholeheartedly recommend this place. If you are ever in Canterbury check out The Foundry. Suitably replenished we headed back to the station via the high street. There was a stall selling hats and 'scraves' (according to the sign). Back at Ashford we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. It was a great day with good friends. We always have a bit of a laugh when we get together, today was no exception. 

Back at home I had a bit of a nap towards the end of Star Wars Episode IV, although I managed at last to see the bit where the Imperial Stormtrooper accidently bangs his head on the blown open door. Its only taken me thirty five years to spot it! We popped into Dave and Tina's to collect the banana beer for next Saturday, and Dave handed me a rocket, which was huge, bigger than the one I bought last weekend. Next Saturday's firework do should be a corker.

Sunday.

It was nice to have an extra hour in bed today. Its a pity cats don't do GMT.
After the weekly shop, which involved visits to two different supermarkets, I finished off a job I started a couple of weeks ago. The afternoon was spent in the Environment Centre attending the AGM of the radio station. Afterwards some of us adjourned to the pub for refreshment and an informal chat. I get the feeling these social events don't happen very often down there. That sounds familiar as at the other station I worked at the same thing happened. I'm not sure why, maybe its a combination of lack of funds, busy lifestyles or the fact that people won't make the effort to socialise. I always find that things get discussed more in  the open at the pub than round a committee table. I even managed to talk one of our presenters into maybe attending one of our astronomy meetings, as I heard him on the radio talk about the Mars Curiosity mission. Back home for dinner, and its a slow cooker special tonight, followed by an evening of TV.

Until next week then......

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Going Digital 20-21 October 2012

Saturday.



I slept well last night, that was until the cats decided it was a weekday and tried to wake us at 6am. Cats don't do weekends.
First stop today was to get the rear number plate re-fitted on Sarah's car. As is the norm the garage where we got the car had bodged it with not sticky enough sticky pads, so it was hanging off. First place we went didn't do roadside repairs, but I did pick up some wiper blades as mine were knackered. A quick trip to MC motors to get it screwed on was in order, although the mechanic (who bore a passing resemblance to Ray Winstone) had some extra sticky double sided stuff which he assured us would do the trick. We gave him a couple of quid for sorting it.
Then, as we were on the same industrial estate I went to the model shop. I was planning to upgrade the railway to digital, as my christmas pressie was a digital train pack (pic). I came away with a controller and two free digital (DCC) boards so I can upgrade my existing locos. We then popped into town for provisions, including a visit to the new Tesco Express in the town centre. If it brings more people into town then it can't be a bad thing, but Tesco already have two supermarkets and an express in Ashford. Overkill maybe? After a nice coffee and cake in County Square we joined the traffic queues out of town. 
I fitted the new wiper blades, and had a chat with one of the neighbours. Apparently she is a convert to 107.1 AHBS Radio as well, but didn't realise she could receive it in Singleton even though her car radio receives it in Tenterden. The afternoon was spent in the garage fiddling with the railway layout. I also exercised my soldering skills converting my Javelin HS1 to digital. Luckily the Flying Scotsman was DCC ready so it was just a case of plug the DCC board into the socket and watch it go.
The time flew by and before I knew it was gone 5pm. We were supposed to be at a quiz night in Dartford, but I couldn't get a team together and it seemed a waste of petrol going up there without a team. We had a very nice home made Lasagne though , and a  glass of wine or two to wash it down. After 'Strictly' I went back into the garage for another few hours tinkering with the railway, Then watched 'Kill Bill Part 1' on BBC2. There's nothing like a bit of mindless violence  to end a Saturday night.

Sunday.

I slept very badly last night. I think it must have been the strong coffee I made. I must stick to decaf. After the usual Sunday shop, and lunch, we nipped out to get some Fireworks for the party in a couple of weeks. The past couple of years we have got them from 'Homeplus' and this year was no exception. We bought a large box, plus a huge rocket. I think we are going to have a big display this year. Then we went to Dobbies for our monthly free hot drinks. Christmas is in full swing there, and we decided to get a new fibre optic tree as our current one is looking a bit sorry for itself. It has a definite 'lean' to it and looks a bit knackered now. We have had it since 2005 and it was cheap back then.  The rain hasn't stopped all day, so doing anything in the garden was out of the question. I have a load of slabs to break up and they will have to wait. So it was back to the model railway when I got home. I tried out the the new train pack. After a few teething troubles I got it working ok.

Until next week then...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Rock and Cellars 13-14 October 2012

Saturday.



The plan today was to collect a load of rubble from my parents place. Luckily Manky and Batty had volunteered to help out. I picked them up early then headed to Aylesford to collect the Hilux, then on to Crayford for a spot of breakfast at the Bubble and Squeak Cafe, and a look round Maplins. After the rubble was loaded we then delivered it back to my garden in Ashford, dropped off the fellas and took the pickup back to the dealers. It was nice to see that they (Beadles) had cleaned my car as well.
Julie and Andrew came round this evening for a drink and a chat. It turned into a bit of a film night as we had bought some new dvds this afternoon. We ended up watching 'Rock of Ages', a musical featuring all those 80's rock tunes that were a soundtrack to my twenty-somethings. I enjoyed it. It was a no-brainer, harmless fun film. I wouldn't mind seeing the stage version.

Sunday.




I got up early to watch the Korean GP. I should have stayed in bed really, it won't go down in history as a classic race. After shopping I decided to fit the new back door mat. It needed to be fitted in two parts as one side has a few angles in it to fit in with the wall and unit. I cut a template out of cardboard, which I thought would fit. I need to measure it again...
This afternoon we headed off to Winchelsea to meet up with the clans for a trip around the town's cellars. These medieval vaults are a feature of many houses in the town and the local archaeological society arrange tours. As this was the last one of the year the turnout for the event was huge, so they had to split us into three groups. One of the residents took a picture of us from his bedroom as even he hadn't seen so many people. After a good talk about the history of the town performed in the middle of the road with the use of a chalked out coastline, our designated tour guide took us into the first of three cellars. Two were actually used to store wine (their original purpose). The third was three linked cellars which looked more like a church vault. At the end of the Cellar tour the guide offered us a quick tour round the church (St Thomas) which was very interesting as well. We finished the afternoon with a well earned cuppa in the hotel. We said our goodbyes and headed for home where a menu from the local Chinese takeaway was awaiting us.

Until next week then...



Sunday, 7 October 2012

'Looky Uppy' and Locomotives 6-7 October 2012

Saturday.



The morning was spent putting the rest of the house straight after we had the flooring fitted yesterday. After a spot of lunch we went over to the Singleton Environmental Centre (pic), who were having an open day. The Chairman of AHBS was there publicising the station and also representing the centre (as he works there). We had a chat, then tea and cake. We watched a guy trying to make fire using wood and string, ala Ray Mears. All he managed to produce was smoke. Somebody should have passed him a lighter. After saying our goodbyes we popped into the carpet shop to get a new doormat. The other one has been used by the cats as a pissoir so we had to chuck it.
This evening Graham came down for a curry and a bit of astronomy (he uses the phrase 'Looky Uppy' which describes it exactly). After a really nice meal in town we went over to Woodchurch and met up with other like minded individuals for a rare event. A cloudless evening of stargazing. The skies there are amazing. The milky way was visible from horizon to horizon. We only packed up when the dew got to my telescope lens. I must get a dew shield. Apart from that it was a great evening. 

Sunday.





I noticed there was a model railway exhibition on at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. So the plan was to go down there in the afternoon after the weekly shop and a spot of lunch, plus a TV catch up session from last night. Some of the excellent displays they had there have motivated me to get some more done to my model railway. So I bought some more track and a loco. Sarah bought me my early Christmas present which was a four car Network Southeast passenger train (4-VEP). It is a digital control fitted model so now I have to upgrade my system to digital. I had better start saving my pennies now. We met up with Steve from the Astro club who was helping his friend run a stall there. After a cuppa and a chat we left for home. 

Until next week then...