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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Dining in with Friends and the End of an Era 25-26 February 2012

We decided to eat out for brekkie today. Normally Saturday morning consists of cereal and toast, but having some free drink vouchers for Dobbies that ran out at the end of the month we thought 'Why not?' 
Actually we didn't need them as drinks were included in the price, they also had a 2 for 1 offer so a six piece English with toast and tea came to £5.95 for both of us. 
Whilst chowing down I had the car washed. With all the dirt cleaned off it has revealed a large scratch on the bonnet that I obviously did when clearing the snow off a few weeks ago. I reckon some T-cut will hopefully clear it. They also had a clearance sale on 'Spot on' kitchenware, so we came away with a tea caddy and a lasagne dish.

We decided to go to Canterbury for an Ornament hunt, specifically a Country Artists Bird of Prey,  and I needed some new undercrackers. After purchasing said garments we visited our usual department store which had one ornament on display but we didn't like it. We went to another department store and  came away with a Roman figure Chess set instead. On the way back to Ashford we stopped off at Bybrook Barn for yet another ornament hunt. They did have one we liked but it was over £200, Ouch. I did see this though, a £100 cuddly, full size Sheep. I'm sure there is a demand somewhere but I can't think what you would need one for....

After a spot of DIY (putting up shelves) we got ready for tonight's event. It is round three of 'Dine in with friends' and we are off to High Halden for a spot of dinner and fun hosted by Julie and Andrew with Dave, Tina, Kat and James. The others arrived at our place, as we are going in convoy and it gave Kat a chance to see Arnie. We had so much food tonight. There was loads of garlic bread, dips, and Chicken Fajitas rounded off with Black Forest Gateaux and Bakewell tart. Lovely!  Then we played a few great games of Dirty Minds and Uno Extreme, where in one extraordinary game I went from 21 cards to 3 in one round, and went on to win. We always have a good laugh at these events, and even now Sarah and I are planning what to serve when it is our turn again. 


Had a bit of a lie-in this morning, but we were still up and dressed by 9:30 and off to Asda. On the way back we looked at new lighting for the wall unit, and after seeing the price of LED decided to repair the existing ones. We also nipped into the curtain shop opposite the DIY store. It would be good to get new ones as the living room ones were there when we moved in over five years ago. I received a call from John. Today is the last show on Dance Web Radio as he is closing the station for a while. Ironically the Server in the studio is now playing silly buggers so it is highly likely there won't be a live last show today, which is a shame. We consoled ourselves with a trip to the outlet. Every time we go there things change. Shops close, others open and its usually my favourite ones that shut down. Yes I mean you Goldsmiths.  

So farewell for the time being to Dance Web Radio. It is the end of an era and I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 18 months playing music that I love to listeners from all over the UK and the world, From Ashford to South Africa to Canada. To John, Phil, Russell, Gee, Darren, Steve, Mick, Dave, Dean, Gareth, Terry, Roy, Thom, Mitch, Toast and Lee as well as our international contributors Artii, John M and Yum Tum....Its been a pleasure working with you guys and I'm sure we'll be back in the near future.

Until next week then...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Out and About. 18-19 February 2012

We have a busy one this weekend. I woke up this morning feeling a bit down in the dumps. I read some stuff on Facebook last night that saddened me. The radio station that I've been on since the start in 2010 is shutting down for a while whilst the proprietor re-thinks his strategy for the station. After speaking to him today I can see where he is coming from. There is a lot involved in running a radio station, and he was virtually doing it on his own, with the help of a few others. Something has to give when there is hardly any revenue coming in and all your spare time is taken up. If you are a regular listener, why not think about a donation? I know in these austere times it seems a bit of a cheek to ask, but if you like what we do and want us to continue, a few quid would help us keep the station going.

We had arranged a visit to Sarah's cousin. She had offered us a choice of Caithness Paperweights that were left by Sarah's late Aunt and Uncle.  We came away with a really nice one that will stand pride of place in our new wall unit. After a quick visit home to see Sarah's other Aunt, who had come to visit Arnie, we went to Tenterden to look at stuff to put on the wall unit. We came away with a Royal Scot Rose bowl to match the vase we already own. We popped into Biddenden on the way back to see the owners of Clarices and tell them the sad news about Sarah's Aunt and Uncle. We were disappointed that they no longer run a tea room there but they still had some Caithness pieces, and we came away with a vastly reduced perfume bottle. They specialise more in Moorcroft pottery, which is incredibly expensive. They have a vase in there that costs £1500, that's ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS. and that's not the cheapest. Strewth!

Tonight we went out for DL's Birthday bash in Chiquitos Rochester. It was good to catch up with VPR friends and we had a good time. However.............. The service was snail paced, one hour between courses is not really acceptable. The food was uninspiring. The air con had thrown a wobbler meaning the place was like a fridge and we were also put by a draughty fire exit. To their credit they did give us free hot drinks. The sizzling chocolate dessert didn't, and we had to wait for a replacement at about 11:40pm. They have just opened one of these in Ashford. I hope its better than the Rochester one!


We were up early for the drive to Dover Castle, via Folkestone to collect Steve and Lukey. We arrived at the Castle well before opening time, but that meant we were one of the first in and parked right by the entrance. We met up with Batty, Manky, Tina, Julie and Andrew soon after and started our visit with a tour of the Hospital and Operation Dynamo tunnels. Excellent they were. Then after a spot of lunch in the freezing cold overlooking Dover we went into the castle for a look around. again that was very interesting. Whilst in the gift shop we decided to join English Heritage. What a palaver! They cocked up the refund of the entrance fee and ended up debiting Sarah's card again instead of crediting it. Then after refunding that we were still £32 down and they couldn't work it out. It took them half an hour to sort it out. By then we had to leave for Deal so missed the look around the Roman Church. Maybe next time. We did have a great time though and we are looking forward to the next event.
After a very good radio show we collected a Chinese takeaway on the way home. Now that's all eaten its time to relax. Its been a busy weekend!

Until next week......

Sunday, 12 February 2012

(Not) Born to DIY... 11-12 February 2012

I had a couple of days off this week. Thursday was for a funeral, yesterday was a last minute decision because I wanted to sort out the garage in readiness for installing the railway layout. This meant loading the car with all the crap that accumulates in the garage and a trip to the recycling centre (I remember when these places were just called 'The Dump') and I managed to clear enough space in the corner for the board, with storage space underneath.
This morning I set off early to buy some hardware bits from B&Q, then we went over to the carpet shop in Willesborough. We are thinking of replacing the flooring in the dining room, and we wanted to see what was available. It looks like wood effect vinyl flooring is the best option. We want to ditch the carpet in there as its a nightmare to keep clean. Being dark green it doesn't help having two white cats who shed fur! John, he of John's Carpets let us take some sample books away with us to see what different styles look like in the room.
After lunch I retired to the garage to install the layout. Now it is in place I'm thinking about re-locating points, sidings etc because the planned station scene is now at the back, and facing the wall. I could have just turned the whole lot round but it would have meant re-wiring the controllers, which would have been at the back. I the process I managed to strip the skin from my knuckle hack sawing a metal tube. Then I was using the electric screwdriver on a bracket when the screw just snapped and the driver bit ploughed into the palm of my hand. Owwww! At this point I must apologise to my neighbour for the choice language emanating from the garage. It reminded me of Kenny Everett's character Reg Prescott, who was a disaster at DIY!

we decided to dine out tonight, so we headed to Zarin Indian Restaurant in town. The food was superb. We had our first date there back in 2002 and the food has always been consistently good. They do a good special set meal with a main, rice, naan, veg dish and dhal for less than 15 quid. Add to that poppadoms and a large Kingfisher and small Coke it came to just under £40.  The rest of the evening was spent playing around with some trial software called AnyRail 4. Its used to design model railway layouts. and for a freebie in limited form its not too bad.


Surprise, its snowing again. Luckily it was only a short sprinkling so we were up & out about 10:30. After the weekly shop I set about sorting my tunes for today's radio show. I decided to feature Whitney Houston today, as it was announced she had died. What a sad loss, she had a fantastic voice until her lifestyle choices took its toll on her singing ability. The photo above is how I like to remember her, from her second album. Rest in peace Whitney.

The show went well, considering It has been about four weeks since I last broadcast. I got to meet the new presenter who follows me, Mitch. A nice chap who should do well down there. Then it was home for a lovely roast chicken dinner, and Top Gear.....Nice

Until next week then.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Winter Draws on 4-5 February 2012

Welcome to month two of 2012. We haven't much planned for this weekend, certainly not on Saturday night. We were in town quite early this morning. There was no reason why we just got up half hour earlier. So after visits to Argos, WH Smith, Card Factory and a couple of Pound Emporiums we treated ourselves to hot drinks at Cafe Express, and I must admit I also had a caramel slice, well I need to keep my strength up! My free gift from Hornby was waiting at the sorting office so after joining the queue, which stretched outside and along the path I received my new oo gauge locomotive. We stopped at Farm Foods on the way home to stock the freezer up, and as we arrived saw one of my astro society friends leaving. We exchanged pleasantries and went on our merry way.
Then it was home for a quick lunch.  I decided to remove the track mat from my railway layout. So the afternoon was spent re-positioning the track and tacking it down again. I had a quick drive out to the Model Shop to get some goods wagons for the new loco to pull. Then we picked up Sarah's Sister so she could visit Arnie, who is now at home but confined to his crate for 10 - 12 weeks while his leg heals.
Dinner tonight was Farm Foods Chinese again. The crispy duck was amazing, even better and a lot cheaper than the local takeaway. The lemon chicken wasn't too shabby either. Then we watched a film on BBC3 that I wanted to catch up with, Tropic Thunder, which I enjoyed. Tom Cruise's character was very funny, although the Robert Downey Jnr character wore a bit thin after a while.


Oh look it has snowed overnight. Well it was forecast so nobody can complain. We decided to venture down to Asda. The roads were just passable with care. The snow shovels, sledges and bags of rock salt were selling fast, so we picked up a bag of salt. Not wanting to get caught out I bought a snow shovel last year. After clearing the path I phoned John to see what the roads were like in Deal. He said don't bother coming down, the snow was bad as he has had to dig out the studio and he has lost the dog in the garden. We had been invited to some sledging in the park but driving there is not really an option, and I don't think there are any slopes in the park!
After a lunch of some really good scrambled eggs I spent an hour or so finishing building my Country Station model, then we decided to go for a walk around Singleton Lake. It was also a great opportunity to get the DSLR out and take a few photos, some of which  I have sent to the Kentish Express.
Lets hope that's it for the snow this year. I don't fancy the journey to work in bad weather. in 2010 I spent  over seven hours in the car and only got from Penge to Barnehurst (about 18 miles). Never again!

Until next week then...