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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Canterbury and Cache 29-30 September 2012


I was going to take the Naim down to Soundcraft to have the software updated, but I realised that I have to take the hi-fi apart next friday anyway so the new flooring can be laid. I can take it there then. 
So we decided to have a trip to Canterbury. It was packed. The main reason being that there was a huge food and drink festival in  the Dane Gardens. After a quick look round the shops we headed for the festival. They always have an abundance of certain stalls at these fairs. Fudge, cheese, cider/apple juice, chutneys and venison sausages. We bought some local blue cheese, chilli BBQ sauce and some Italian pastries (Cannoli). Plus I had a swift half of 'Friggin in the Riggin' from the Nelson Brewery in Chatham. A most acceptable brew. 

As the sun was making a valiant attempt to finish September with some pleasant weather, we put the roof down on the Pug and had a nice drive back to Ashford, apart from passing a rather stinky cess pit. 
A quick stop at Farmfoods for Duck and other frozen food on the way home. Then after arriving home  I had to put all my trains back on the track after one of the Cats staged a major derailment. We had a call from Sarah's sister. Her PC was overheating and could I go round there and blow out the interiors. We went over armed with tools and a can of blower spray. It didn't really need much de-fluffing but it looks like the graphics card is on the way out, and that was confirmed later on when she phoned to say it had died. We will be off to PC world tomorrow. She came home with us and we had a blow-out Chinese meal, then watched the last Dr Who for the time being. It was a cracking episode, quite sad and even scary (The cherubs gave me the creeps) but now we have to wait until Christmas for the next dose of the Doctor.


I received a message from Manky first thing. Would we like to go for a walk this afternoon just on the other side of Great Chart. I need a good walk, it was just if I could get there on time. So this morning was quite hectic. Collect graphics card from Alison's PC, food shopping, PC World, Family Bargains for storage boxes, drop off shopping, back to Alisons, Install new card, then Dobbies for free coffee and lunch. I finally arrived at the Hoodeners Horse at 1:15pm and met up with MB, Tina, Lisa, Earle and Fudge. A swift pint later and we were heading towards Daniels Water via Purchase Woods. The idea of the afternoon was to sound out the area for planting Geocaches (Surprise surprise). We did get slightly lost and ended up walking a complete circle around the woods which MB and I only realised when we passed a Farm that we had walked past earlier. We never got to Daniels Water though. On the way back they stopped to find a Geocache that had eluded them. As I was helping to find it as well I was logged on the cache. It was my first find. I am no longer a 'muggle'. If I have time on Friday I may have a look round Singleton for more. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Party Time 22-23 September 2012I


We had a few things to sort out before heading to Chippy's place for his 40th Birthday party. I had to pop into town and visit my favourite shop, Soundcraft HiFi. I needed some replacements for the spikes on my speaker stands and equipment rack. The reason being that we are having laminate flooring fitted in the dining room, and spikes are not appropriate. Luckily they knew exactly what I needed and not only that they were very cheap. I also asked about updating the software in my audio unit, and they can do it for free as its quite a tricky job and you could end up with a very nice designer brick if you tried it yourself. Its going in next weekend for the update.
We went to the carpet shop to choose the flooring and get an installation date, then home for a bit of GP qualifying. Soon it was time to get changed and head off to Chez Chippy for the party. As we approached town on the bus we saw the other guests walking down the road so we got off and met them, so we all arrived together.

The party was great, Manky had brewed some very acceptable beer with citrus flavours (I've paid for worse) and Sam had laid on a very nice table of food. Everyone had a great time and the beer went down very well, too well for some people (see pic). Manky was feeling no pain. At the end of a great evening Andy and Julie gave  us a lift home and we finished off the evening with coffee at ours.

Sunday. (Warning - Sweeney spoiler ahead)

The weather did not look good and I felt sorry for a group who were going off geocaching near Wrotham hill this morning. I think they may have got a tad drenched. After shopping we decided to go and see The Sweeney. The early afternoon showing was with subtitles, we didn't fancy that so we went for the late afternoon showing. I thought the film was great and Ray Winstone / Ben Drew were superb, however the locations were slightly off. They drove out of Gravesend river front straight onto the Isle of Sheppey. Hey ho its artistic licence I suppose. The shoot out in Trafalgar Square was brilliant. How did they manage that!! After the film we went for a curry in town, a place we never tried before. The food was good, definitely one to use again.

Until next week then.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Trip to Edinburgh 14-15-16 September 2012


At last it was time for our long weekend break. This is something Sarah and I have done in the last three years and this year we decided to go to Edinburgh.
We booked a Hotel and train package months ago, and after dumping the cats at the the cattery we set off for Kings Cross via the Javelin, arriving in time to take our seats in First Class on the 11:30 East Coast service. The journey was good, with plenty of complimentary food, drink and Wi-Fi.  We arrived in Edinburgh on time and found the Hotel to be just opposite the station. The room was ok, clean but tired decor and yet again a tiny bathroom. The view was non existent, just scaffolding on the building next door. The hotel is going through some refurbishment which meant the lounge was closed, but the bar in the restaurant was open even though you had to sit at a dining table. 
We went for a walk and found a nice middle eastern restaurant. After a set meal of starters, mixed grill with rice and veg stews,then baklava with ice cream we headed for the 'Real Mary Kings Close'. a 17th century street with houses that is now effectively underground as it has been built on over the years. It was featured a few years ago on 'Most Haunted' and I have to say I wouldn't like to be alone down there at night....spooky!


After a full 'Scottish' breakfast we first checked at the station regarding our return journey, more about that later. Then we boarded a tour bus to Leith where the Royal Yacht Britannia is moored.
If ever you are in Edinburgh I would recommend you visit that. It was really interesting and they have made a good effort in turning it into a tourist attraction. The bus trip back into the city was interesting too. We were pelted with sweets by the local kids, some hitting people on the open top deck. The driver did check if everyone was ok, then reported it. I suspect nothing will get done though.  The afternoon was spent walking around town including a trip up to the castle. We declined to go in though as it was expensive, and frankly if you seen one castle etc... We had dinner. Then as we walked out into the street I could hear a distant pipe band. The Edinburgh Postal band were celebrating 50 years and were performing down by the art gallery. We watched them march up and down the square with the swirl of the bagpipes in the air, it really captured the atmosphere of the place. 


I was in the shower when the fire alarm went off. We threw some clothes on even though I was still wet. Then just as I got my shoes on, it stopped. Apparently someone (not us) had left the bathroom door open with the shower on, and the steam had set it off.
We had checked our travel details yesterday. There was engineering works between Edinburgh and Newcastle and our train journey would take longer as it went to Carlisle first, then on to Newcastle. Just how long we didn't realise until we got to Lockerbie. The train stopped, then waited nearly two hours while they finished over-running engineering works. There were problems further down the line, when passengers who had first class tickets on cancelled trains challenged us and fellow passengers about our seat reservations. We politely told them this was not their train and we had been on here since early this morning. I think the staff did a sterling job getting everyone sorted and ensuring we were fed and watered. Eight hours later we arrived at Kings Cross, then it was a high speed trip back to Ashford. OK so Sunday was not ideal, but all in all we had a good weekend, Roll on next years trip!

Until next weekend then.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Training and Goose Fair 8-9 September 2012


I took a stroll down to the shops to get a paper this morning. Its something I don't do too often and really should do more as the walk is quite pleasant, and of course good for you and the environment. Dave turned up with his Van and we loaded the stuff for the Challock Goose Fair. Then we popped over to Steve's place to collect  'Dobbie' and the PST. After a quick coffee with Dave and a spot of lunch Sarah and I set off for the Singleton Environment Centre for our training from AHBS. 
We have never been there before, even though its right on our doorstep. The walk took us through the Highland Park estate, where in 2005 we had planned to buy a new house. It was good to see the building works completed although I'm glad we didn't move there. The houses are on top of each other, very claustrophobic! 
We arrived at the centre to be greeted by Daniel. We started with a presentation on health and safety, then Richard led us through responsibilities of broadcasting  as dictated by Ofcom. I noticed the cafe there looked good, and when we had a break some of us (not me!) had cake which they said was good. The tea was nice though. We finished about 5:30pm and walked home. We decided to order up a pizza. I like ordering online, and its the first time we had used Papa Johns. Very nice Pizza, especially when washed down with a glass or two of wine! We watched the second episode of Dr Who, which while i quite enjoyed, I didn't like the fact that the Doctor sent the baddie to his death. A bit out of character if you ask me. Then I finished of the evening with Last Night at the Proms, through the home cinema!


It was 5am and I was fast asleep when suddenly Sarah leaps about three feet in the air and dives out of bed. Apparently something had crawled across her head, that something being a large (and now squashed) spider. Of course I was expected to get up  and dispose of it. I gave it a 'Burial at Sea' then returned to my bed. 7:30 came round in no time and after a nice breakfast we drove over to Badger HQ where Dave was waiting in the street for us.

We arrived at Challock at 9am to be met by Dave(2) and his daughters who had brought all the stuff over in his van. We were shown to our pitch which was next door to KMFM. I was talking to the bloke on the stall and he rolled his eyes when I said I was a member of AHBS. I noticed that they hardly sold a goodie bag all day, whilst our stand was very busy. I wonder if it was something to do with the way they changed their format?
We were soon joined by Drew, then Denver & Jo turned up and stayed a while. It was nice to see a few of our members and people who are on our Facebook page. All in all it was a great day, plenty of punters, sunny, no cloud and the moon was visible until early afternoon. At last we had something to aim the telescopes at, as well as the solar scope. Highlights included:

Me and Sarah photographed holding an Olympic torch.

Dave picking up a kid so they could see into the PST then spending the rest of the day with sticky hands.

Drew and Dave having a 'Sun vs Moon' contest. The sun won.

Sarah winning cup-a-soups on the tombola.

Me winning a bottle of orange squash and a jar of coffee on the tombola.

The day was soon over and after packing up and heading for home, we had a spot of dinner and watched 'The Hunger Games'.

Until next week then.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Fireworks and Film 1-2 September 2012

It has been quite a week. I presented my first request show on AHBS, and I presented my last show on Valley Park Radio. I will miss Thursday nights, we had built up a good evening of entertainment and of course seeing my friends weekly and catching up. I have not left VPR completely, but I will no longer be taking an active role in the station. It may be a while before I get a regular slot on AHBS,  but I'm happy filling in on any vacant request shows. DWR, the internet station I record for is off air at the moment due to technical difficulties. I can't believe that for the first time since I started in 1995 I don't have a regular weekly show. It feels a bit strange.


We had to pop into town this morning. We have been collecting the Diamond Jubilee editions of London Landmarks by Lilliput Lane, and the last one had arrived at the shop. There was a moment when they were about to charge us full price, after last week when they said it was discounted. A quick check put things right. We had lunch and watched the GP qualifying. Al phoned for a chat, then I set about de-foresting the garden. The magnolia tree in the front was starting to grow rather large. It was blocking daylight into the living room. That was pruned back to a more manageable size. The lawns were mowed, also the patio was de-weeded and treated. We then called into Sarah's nephew to drop stuff off for them to sell at the boot fair. Someone had given him a telescope to sell and he wanted to know much it was worth.

Then it was round to badger HQ to meet up with the gang and head towards Sandgate seafront for a firework display. We met up with Jose, Maria and their boys on the seafront. Manky had identified a geo-cache nearby, so we all set off in search of that. After it was found myself and Manky then went in search of an off license, whilst others went in search of chips. The display lasted about ten minutes and was good for a freebie. When that had finished we headed back to Jose's place and watched 'Rio', an animated film that must have passed me by, but was enjoyable. We arrived home about 11:30pm and I started watching a film called 'Soulboy' about the northern soul scene in the 1970's. The music was ok, pity about the acting and storyline. 


We were at a bit of a loose end today after a previously organised event was re-scheduled for next month. We decided to go to the cinema as that is something we hardly ever do these days, and we went to see 'Total Recall'. Now I'm a big fan of the 1990 version, Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I had to suspend any comparisons and treat it as a different film. The premise was the same, but the location was just confined to Earth. I won't give too much away but there were one or two homages to the original, It just misses some of that Arnie humour. 

Is it me or do films these days look more like video games. The action is way too fast, I reckon kids are being conditioned by online gaming to see this as the norm. Two movies I've seen this year, Mission Impossible, and this one, seem to overload the senses, the action is too fast and non-stop, with lightning quick edits. Sometimes at the sacrifice of a good story line.

Back home now and some homemade lasagne was waiting for us, a nice way to finish off a weekend.