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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Closed Down and A long Walk 24-25 March 2012


I slept quite well last night. I think spending yesterday afternoon gardening helped. Holly the cat decided that we were not going to sleep in though, and after being trampled on and meeowed at I got  up to let the cats out. I then decided to do some ironing. After breakfast I checked my emails. I have been expecting an important one all week, then it dawned on me that it was probably stuck in the spam folder on web mail. Sure enough it was so now I can proceed with things. Watch this space! I then had a Skype call with my Aussie cousin. It was the first time I used Skype on the new laptop, and during our conversation the webcam decides to zoom in randomly for no reason, strange. Anyway after a good catch-up we went to Maidstone to check out an ornament shop, yes we are still filling the wall unit. Unfortunately there was a distinct lack of ornaments in the ornament shop, it having closed down only the week before. Yet another high street shop becomes the victim of the recession. We had a quick lunch in the Italian cafe in the Chequers centre, then after buying a few bits we needed set off for home, via Homebase to replace the workmate I managed to destroy yesterday. That will teach me to buy a Wickes cheapy one. After an afternoon spent doing more stuff in the garden I sat back and soaked in the nice weather with a cuppa. Then realised I missed the F1 qualifying, Luckily the iPlayer had it so I managed to squeeze it in before dinner. Tonight is all about talent shows on TV, with BBC1 showing 'The Voice' which I am quite enjoying. Then over on ITV its the car crash telly that is 'Britains Got Talent'. I only watch this for the fact they tend to show more people with no talent, which goes against the title somewhat. But it is good entertainment! Tonights show had an equal mix of terrible (see pic), bizarre, shows promise and in the case of the last contestants, Stunning. The best funny bits are still provided by Ant and Dec though!


After a morning shop, and preparing dinner for tonight we set off to Dave and Tina's place for a trip to Folkestone and a bracing walk along the Warren. For those not in the know the Warren is the coastal path at the bottom of the cliffs from East Cliff to Abbotscliff near Dover. We met up with Lukey, Kat, The dog Sidney and one of Dave's colleagues The weather was superb, with just a ice cool sea breeze to take off the heat from the sun, and the walk was quite easy on the way down, with a bit of an incline as we neared the East Cliff. Photos of the walk including some interesting shots of unknown items we saw, can be found here.

According to Google earth we walked about 5 miles. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon stroll. It would have been nice to get an Ice cream but the bar/restaurant at East Cliff Pavillion has gone a bit posh since I last went there (about 20 years ago) and now they don't sell things like that.
We arrived back home after dropping off Dave and Tina, and luckily I found some FAB Ice Lollies in the freezer which went down a treat. After Grand Prix and a smashing dinner I'm now watching 'Avatar' then later on ITV there is a new drama Titanic to watch, even if I do know the ending!

Until next week then. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Things To Do, People To See 17-18 March 2012


Having cleaned out the aquarium on friday night, I decided to leave out the plastic plant and arch as it was clogged with hair algae. Sarah's brother had recommended one type of fish that laps it up, called that American Flag Fish. So we decided to go down to Swallow Aquatics in Tenterden  and make enquiries. They didn't have what we wanted, but they offered us another fish, the Flying Fox, which also ate the stuff. So we got three. We also bought a sunken shipwreck to go in the tank and some live food. I spotted some Zombie garden ornaments in the centre. At £150 and £100 respectively I don't think I will be partaking thanks.
By the time we got home the heavens had opened, so gardening was out, and we didn't need to go anywhere else so I spent the afternoon doing bits on the model railway. We fancied a curry, and decided to try Everest Inn in the town after hearing good things about it. Yes the food was good, I even had a Ghurka Beer which was perfectly gluggable. But it was a bit pricey, and as there are restaurants in town that are cheaper and just as good it is not a place we will be going to regularly. I also don't agree with the 10% service charge they added. I think that should be at the customers discretion! We rounded off the evening with a Blu-ray of The Expendables. Basically 'Commando' with all the action heros, Sly Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lungren and even a brief appearance from Arnie and Bruce. The plot? Lots of mindless violence and guns and explosions, just the film for Saturday night!


A busy day started with our usual trip to the Asda. Then it was off to Gravesend for a Mothers Day get together dinner with my brother, sis-in-law and Mum and Dad. After a good chicken dinner and an even better apple crumble I helped Graham check the battery on Corina's motorbike (Suzuki SV650), which went flat last Sunday while he was out on it. It may have been a new battery but it needed a good charge, and Graham had hooked it up to a solar charger, which would have kept it topped up but it needed a good boost. I also got the chance to Try Graham's Ducati for size. I only sat on it though. I must take my test! After thrashing him at Wii bowling, and him thrashing me at baseball and tennis, Graham brought out these chocolate witchetty grubs, 7 of which have toffee filling and three with Tripe! by now Colin Sarah and James had turned up so five of us had one each. and all of them were toffee. That meant round two had three bad ones. Phew I picked a good one, but the others didn't. I never laughed  so much as when Graham ran out of the room shouting UUURGHH ITS TRIPE! Then Colin grimaced as he caught the flavour of tripe and spat his out as well. 

Earlier this week I decided to offer my services as a volunteer and radio presenter to Ashford Hospital Broadcasting Service (AHBS). I had arranged to meet them tonight. We were welcomed in by the studio manager, and I joined the two presenters in the studio for a quick chat. They thought it would be good to try me out so gave me some request slips to read out live on air. Then we had a very quick talk about my experiences in hospital radio. Time was brief though as they had a mountain of requests to get through. After chatting with the studio manager I have decided to apply for membership. The only bugbear is having to go through the rigmarole with the NHS Trust. Can you believe that although I have a Valid CRB certificate for hospital volunteers,  I need another for this trust. What a complete waste of NHS money. I know that procedures must be followed and I cannot jump the queue but this must be looked into. I feel a letter to the powers that be may be in order. Anyway I enjoyed the evening down there. They are a dedicated bunch who really care about their listeners, the patients, as well as the community radio side. I have managed to avoid the Grand Prix result all day, so watching the highlights on BBC wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I actually liked the highlights as sometimes there can be lap after lap of nothing happening, and I end up nodding off.

Until next week then

Sunday, 11 March 2012

A weekend Walk


Went shopping, Had lunch at the Blue and White Cafe, drove home, did housework, made cheese straws, Put Arnie in a cage in the Garden for a while.
That was our day in a nutshell. In the evening though our friends came round for a drink and a chat, We ended up watching two episodes from series one of Little Britain, I don't know how we got round to that subject. We also tried new Chocolate Philidelphia Cheese, on Digestive biscuits. All I can say is wow, mini chocolate cheesecakes!


We couldn't decide what to do today. Do we take advantage of our English Heritage membership? Well no because most of the places don't open until April. I put on Facebook that we were thinking about going somewhere but didn't know where, and our friend Tina said they were going to Kings Wood for a walk and we could join them. So we set off for Kings Wood via Dobbies and B&Q. Then whilst we were in B&Q  my mobile rang. It was Dave telling us about a change of plan, we were going to Hythe. 
So we arrived at their place and set off  in Tina's car, following their Son, Girlfriend, daughter of Girlfriend, and Fudge the Dog.
We drove through Hythe......and didn't stop. We eventually arrived at Sandgate, not quite Hythe.  We were walking on the coastal path to Folkestone, stopping on the way so Lacey could play on the great playground stuff they have en route. I have never been here before, I honestly never walked beyond the Water Lift. We arrived at the Harbour where we had arranged to meet James, Kat and Sidney. I treated myself to some seafood, it must be thirty odd years since I ate seafood down there, and Sarah bought some chips, which we shared. After a quick walk on the beach (tide was in so not much of a beach) we ambled back to Sandgate, stopping to throw stones at the bell between two posts on the seafront. We also  stopped again so Lacey (and Dave) could play on the giant kids climbing frame/slide/zipwire thing (See Pic). It was a lovely walk, great weather and I feel I had some good exercise today. Here's to next time!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Steve's Blog Supplemental - Keeping it Local

It is not very often I post a ranting blog, but something was announced today that boiled my bodily fluids. I was always a fan of  local radio, and our station, KMFM was always known as being a good local radio station. Over the years they have been slowly but surely networking their programmes all over Kent, becoming less local. Up to a point where it was now only the Breakfast shows that were broadcast from regional studios, including one here in Ashford. This was not a bad thing as the breakfast shows were the only thing I listened to in the car before losing the signal. I liked the idea of hearing information that was relevant to me, like if Chart Road was flooded or the Matalan Roundabout was stuffed. I liked the banter between the presenters, Kirstyn and Webbo. Now the station is becoming just another faceless, 'Better Music mix FM' just like all the other so called local stations in the UK. When KMFM won the licence from Ofcom they won it for offering a local service. Now it has been announced that there will be no more regional content. Everything is being networked Kent wide. I'm not interested in what is happening in Maidstone, Thanet or Chatham. The BBC do that much better than KMFM ever could. Also they have dumped some really popular and good presenters, and specialist music shows are off the schedule. They say its a new and exciting period. I say its cutting costs, and it will probably show in their decreasing listening figures as listeners migrate. I remember a few years ago when Invicta were taken over by the Heart Network, KMFM had a field day welcoming new listeners. Now the same is about to happen to them, and AHBS community radio could see their listening figures increase if they play their cards right. Sorry KMFM but this is one change too far, myself and a number of my friends will no longer be tuning in....Now where is my DAB radio....

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Quiet One 3-4 March 2012


After a great Friday night at Sam and Chippy's Chilli, Chat and Choons night , we had a bit of a lie-in this morning. I didn't have that much to drink so was OK, In fact the food last night was really good and soaked up the beer that I did drink! We popped into town to pay a few bills and pick up some items, then on to Farm Foods for stuff for the freezer. Then we went to Dobbies for free coffee and cake. This afternoon I could have happily dozed off in front of the telly but instead decided to build some more platforms for the model railway. I noticed the sun is now out and there are clear skies. Dare I tempt fate and get the telescope out later. I'm lagging behind on imaging so far this year, I need to get snapping! 
So after crispy duck and Chicken Chow Mein washed down with the best part of a bottle of Pinot, I got the telescope out. The moon was quite bright and washed out the Orion Nebula. Plus I really struggled to focus it in the camera and ended up imaging a few blank screens. Then I turned to Mars, after taking about 30 shots of a bright blob I gave up. So after about 2 hours I ended up with a few moon shots. I really need more practice and less wine!

Sunday and the weather is awful so we decided to go on another Country Artists ornament hunt. this time Bluewater was our destination. After the obligatory queue on the A2 we arrived and scoured John Lewis to no avail. I went into model zone and picked up a few railway bits, which I put back when I was told the price had gone up by £9 on a few plastic buildings....£38 in total! After a fruitless trip around Bluewater we headed off to Bexleyheath where I remembered there was a rather good gift shop. We came away with a really nice Merlin Falcon. The shop, Gallery Gifts is excellent. They sell everything from Swarovski to Trumpton characters and Pocket Dragons. 

We called into the parents because I had promised to fit a new bathroom light for them. I also offered to get their old clock repaired, if we could display it on our mantelpiece. We got home about 5pm to the smell of a cooking Chicken, the oven timer had worked. 

Until next week then....