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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Trip to Birmingham 24-25 November 2012


This morning I am Coventry bound, Sarah is Solihull bound. I have never been to Coventry before (and no, I've never been sent there either!). First impressions are its a bit like Croydon, but without the charm.
The museum was actually a bit of an eye opener. I never realised there have been so many british vehicle manufacturers over the years. They also had a scooter exhibition on at the entrance. If I was to ask people "name me a make of scooter", most would say Vespa or Lambretta. There were some really cool looking british makes there, and a scooter 'thing' that hardly sold, due to its poor design and looks. (see pics).

Along with the usual array of vintage and classic cars and bicycles (Coventry was a cycle 'Hub') there was the Thrust SSC display, including a ride on a simulator. Also of note was a collection of 20,000 model cars, buses, trains, planes etc... all collected by the same person. The last gallery was called 'Curators Choice', and it ranged from a Raleigh Chopper to a DeLorean (lovely looking car actually) and a red Mini Metro. What was so special about the Metro. Well it was owned by a Lady Diana Spencer, before she met Charlie. I had a Metro once. I bet she didn't have the problems that I had with mine. It was the worst car I ever owned. I enjoyed the museum. If ever you are in Coventry I suggest a visit. 
David suggested we stroll over to the Canal Basin. Apparently there were shops, cafes etc.. to walk round. So we set off in that direction in what was now pouring rain. Well all they had was a Tattoo parlour, everything else was closed or closed down. When we got back to the car the parking machine didn't accept the ticket. Luckily the barrier was set to open automatically. At least we got free parking. Back at base I watched the GP Qualifying, had dinner and the rest of the evening was spent playing cards.


We planned to leave early afternoon. So Sarah's mum prepared a blow-out Sunday Lunch first. Then we packed and got underway about 2pm, aiming to get home about 5pm. Sarah drove the first stint. Sutton Coldfield to Beaconsfield in 1.5 hours non stop. Then it was my turn to drive. We got on the M25 OK. Then at Junction 13 we came to a halt. The Gantry signs said 'Accident'... An hour and a half and half a mile later we passed the scene of the accident. We eventually arrived home at 6:30pm. The same thing happening going up. Her stint was easy, mine was traffic jams. 

I managed a news blackout before I watched the Grand Prix highlights. What a great finish to the GP season. The start of the race was in the balance for the two would-be champions, and to see another Brit driver on the podium was a great result. Its a shame Lewis got taken out on his final race for McLaren, but well done Vettel.
We have a day off tomorrow, but its not going to be a lazy one. We have a bit of an early start! More about that later..

Until next week then.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Trip to Birmingham 22-23 November 2012


After spending a morning packing, herding cats and Doctors appointments we finally got underway about 2pm. Traffic was fine for a Thursday afternoon and we did the M20, M26, M25 and most of the M40 without any incident.  A quick pit stop at Oxford services and it was my turn to drive. The weather was closing in and we noticed a lot of flooding in the fields around the River Cherwell. By the time we hit the M42 it  was the west midlands rush hour. We crawled along past all the main junctions until our exit, Junction 9. By now it was chucking it down. The local news showed terrible flooding, as you may have seen on the national news. I hope this weather improves over the weekend. 


After brekkie we all decided do a bit of Christmas shopping in Wolverhampton. Why Wolves I hear you ask. Well it has a department store that Sarah likes. So we jumped on the train to New street, then a quick walk to Snow Hill and jumped on a Tram to Wolverhampton. The fares are so cheap here. I can't help wonder that if they reduced fares in the south east people would use public transport more instead of clogging our roads. Have you ever tried to get to Bluewater near or after Christmas? Its a bloody Nightmare. Anyway Sarah found the clothes she wanted. another present sorted. Then after coffee and a very mediocre sausage roll we headed back to the City and the German Market. 
Whilst the market was all very picturesque and there was plenty of food, drink, sweets, trinkets etc to be had I couldn't help wonder if it was a tad overpriced. I was impressed with the look of the half metre sausage though! 

We popped into the Museum/Art gallery and whiled away a couple of hours at an exhibition celebrating the people of Birmingham. Very interesting it was too. I particularly like the BSA motorcycle (Birmingham Small Arms don't you know) Circa 1911 and had a 1965 tax disc on it.

Back at base we sat down for a couple of hours rest then it was off to 'Buffet Island'. You guessed it a chinese buffet at a road junction. The food there is very nice. There is great selection of grub and you can even have it cooked fresh, if you want noodles or a pancake. 

Tomorrow David and me are off to Coventry for a look round the transport museum. The ladies are doing more retail therapy.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Radio and Cinema 17-18 November 2012


For the first time in weeks, we had nothing planned for the weekend. First off though we headed towards Tenterden. My hair needed a cut and there are only  two places I use. One is in Barnehurst, a bit too far for me to travel. We parked up, and after getting my 'ears lowered' we had a stroll around the shops. One place had a wonderful model carousel in the window. It was fully working with lights, music, even the horses went up and down. There was a 'for sale' sign on it so out of curiosity Sarah asked the assistant how much it was. £450 was the answer. Phew! Then again this is Tenterden, they are a bit posh around there.... 

During a break for coffee and cake I had a call from Steve at AHBS. He had a technical query about Dover Community Radio  for me and told me he was presenting the request show at AHBS tonight. Would I be a contact for him as he was lone working. I offered to come down and help. So we decided to do an hour each on the air tonight.
Back home I fitted a new pull switch in the bathroom, Then we had to go into town so Sarah could visit the optician and order her new specs. It was also the Christmas light switch-on in town, so the place was packed. The area by the bandstand was gridlocked, it was not very pleasant and people could have been crushed.
We didn't stay for the switch-on, instead going straight down to the studio. Two hours passed quickly, we even had a few people phone in, and after recording a promo we headed for home via somewhere for food. As I dropped on to the M20 at junction 10 the traffic had stopped ahead. There must have been an accident which closed it. 10 minutes later we were underway though. For all I said about having nothing planned, we haven't stopped since we left the house this morning.


Plans for today...

Buy a new catfish.

Go and see 'Skyfall'.

Both tasks were achieved. We now have a Leopard Catfish, The pic is the actual one we bought. It seems to have settled in ok, we just need a name for it now. After watching a few episodes of ST:TNG we headed off to Cineworld, collecting Alison in the way. I thoroughly enjoyed Skyfall, but if you haven't seen it yet I won't say anything. I'm just glad nobody told me anything about it beforehand...Superb!

Until next week then...

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Rye Fawkes Pageant and RIP Mick 10-11 November 2012

It always seems that when we have a busy schedule planned, myself or Sarah catches a cold. This time it was me, with Sarah coming down today. I had Thursday off sick as I was feeling awful. I had already booked Friday off so I had two days to recover before the weekend. Friday night we were fit enough to go up to the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone for the Stage Theatre Society production of 'Beauty and the Beast'. What an excellent show! Even better when you realise that no performer was over 19.


There was nothing planned until the evening. So we watched telly, had lunch,  and watched the Muppet Movie DVD. Soon it was time to collect Julie and Andy, then meet up with the other clans for the trip to Rye. We arrived in a convoy of six cars (I think) and parked up on the A259 about a mile from town. We made our way to the High Street where we met more clans then queued for chips. Luckily the queue was just out of the door. By the time I left the shop it was snaking down the road. I reckon there were more here this year than last. The place was packed. We stood at the same place as last year and by the time chips, drinks candy floss etc was consumed and sparklers lit the procession was making its way down the street. Manky used his LED banner on his phone to herd us all down to the bonfire for the main event. 100k worth of fireworks later it was time to leave. The queue out of town wasn't too bad, and apart from the fog through Appledore and up to High Halden the journey back was ok. Yet again it was a great evening and a worthy end to the bonfire parade season.


I came downstairs to the news that Mick, our 3 year old Bristlenosed Catfish was no more. I netted him out of the aquarium and tried to flush him, but in a final act of defiance he refused to budge. So a garden burial was in order. I just hope the cats don't dig him up. I will be replacing him soon as I like Plecos. By the way the photo is not Mick, but it was the nearest I could find on the web. I have searched through my pics and I can't find any. He was a bit camera shy.

This afternoon we were thinking about going to see 'Skyfall'. However Sarah's cold is not better so She doesn't fancy sitting in the cinema all snotty, and I don't blame her. Will I ever get to see this film? As it was a nice day we decided to drive down to Tenterden Garden Centre and check out replacements for Mick. Swallow Aquatics didn't really have much in as they are re-fitting the store. We had a look at the Christmas display and bought something, stopping to photograph 'The worlds biggest spade' verified by the Guiness book of Records. Then we drove back home via Woodchurch, Kenardington and Hamstreet, a very picturesque route which I have done on the bike, but never in the car. As I type this Star Trek:TNG is on the telly. Of course I have seen these loads of times, but this is one series I can watch again and again. 

Until next week then...


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Fireworks and Food 3-4 November 2012


It was up and at 'em this morning. We had food to buy as were were feeding over thirty people this evening. First stop was the town centre to pay few bills. Then Asda, then home, then Waitrose to get the bits we forgot to buy in Asda. The afternoon was spent preparing Chilli Con Carne for the masses. After putting The spuds and sausages in the oven I managed to catch a few minutes watching the GP qualifying before getting the garden ready, while Sarah tidied round the rest of the house. 
The first people arrived around 6pm. Then there was a steady stream of arrivals bearing all sorts of explosive devices until everybody was accounted for. The Mankybrew beer was sampled and the general concensus was 'I've paid for worse'. Actually it was very gluggable. We had the first round of fireworks until 7:30, then a break for food. We eventually finished around 9pm with a couple of huge rockets courtesy of us and Manky, then Chinese lanterns. All too soon it was over for another year. Some said their good nights, some sat indoors and chatted. A few of us sat outside by the warmth from the chimnea. We had the bright idea of burning the spent fireworks. All was going well until there was a big explosion of sparks, Obviously there was a UXD in amongst the dead'uns. The Rear Admiral, who was sitting next to it leapt from his seat like Usain Bolt out of the blocks. I'm still giggling about it now. Yet again it was a great evening with good friends and family. Oh yes and special thanks to Manky for the beer, Tina for the soup and Sam for the rocky road cakes! Same time next year folks.


The plan was to take Sarah's parents up to my Brothers place, via Bluewater. We got near the junction on the A2 and  the queue into bluewater was horrendous. So we decided to get some food for dinner in the local Asda and have lunch there. We had a chat and coffee round at Colin and Sarah's place. Back at home we prepared dinner for tonight. Then after roast chicken was scoffed we took the rest of the beer back to Badger HQ.  Now back home (again) and its time to put the feet up and watch telly after a busy but enjoyable weekend.

Until next week.........