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Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012  Review - January to June

Now that the festivities are dying down, the selection boxes and tins of sweets have been raided, and everyone is fed up with cold Turkey, its time to have a look at this year's weekend world. Its interesting looking back over the past years events, some weekends have been dull, most have been good, either spent with friends or family, or both.


Stargazing Live, Wye Stargazing and building my model railway seemed to be the theme this month. All was working out fine until we got received news that Arnie had been seriously injured. The Vet fixed him up and he spent the next few months in solitary, poor thing.


The month started with a dusting of snow. Luckily it didn't last, just enough to cause a day of trouble on the roads. I had a photo published in the local paper of a Swan on a frozen Singleton Lake. Sadly Dance Web Radio closed, only temporarily but it saw a significant change in the way it operated. We grand dine in and a grand day out with friends at Dover Castle. Another is planned for February 2013.
We said farewell to Sarah's Uncle, and of course the music world mourned the loss of Whitney Houston.


We went for a couple of good walks this month, both were along the coastline around Folkestone. The first took us along the coastal path from Sandgate. The second was an excellent walk along the Warren. The weather was great and it was probably the best walk I've taken.
The local Radio Station threw a wobbler and sacked all their breakfast show presenters, and I offered my services to 107.1 AHBS, the Local Community and Hospital Radio Station. It would be September  until I get on the air.


Another good month, and the weather wasn't too bad either. We went to see Avenue Q in Canterbury, excellent. I joined the others for a bike ride in the countryside around Ashford. What a great day we had. Easter Sunday was spent at the Smarden Duck race. The weather had turned into what would be a damp and miserable spring. Oh and I celebrated my Birthday.


We bought another car. Little did we know it would turn out to be a lemon. The garage did what they could, but when we eventually got it back someone could have killed us by leaving the injector manifold loose, spraying petrol all over the engine bay. The RAC came to our rescue. It didn't go wrong again until November, and we had it repaired properly by a professional garage. Then Christmas day the CD player ate a CD. Bloody French electrics...Anyhow we also went for a nice sunny walk in Bethersden, won a pop quiz and helped a friend move house.


The month started with a visit to the Folkestone Airshow. We failed to take any sun protection and got burnt to a cinder, I have never been so red. After Sarah's Birthday BBQ we set off to Birmingham for a family wedding. Then a week later we went to a friend's wedding reception. Both were excellent. We used one of our Christmas presents, lunch for two at Eastwell Manor. The end of June saw us at a local dog show, representing the Astronomy Society.

Next week. July - December.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Shopping and Radio. 22-23 December 2012

As the big day approaches, so the shops start to get very busy. There was mention of a get together in town for an event with AHBS. The weather was atrocious and members were very busy doing other things. I don't think it occurred but having avoided town because of traffic problems I could be wrong. We arrived at Asda about 8:30 this morning, it wasn't too busy. We got all we wanted and then headed for the farm shop to get the sprouts ready for transport to Birmingham. Sarah bought a load of cheese. A quick stop for a frothy coffee, and a stop at yet another supermarket, then home. The afternoon was spent wrapping presents and doing housework.
There was a slight change of plan. We were going to cook dinner for Sarah's Dad, who was staying overnight. After defrosting chicken we were told he would be eating elsewhere, so its chicken tomorrow instead. We went down to the Chinese restaurant in town, and had quite a nice meal. On the way back we popped into Asda again, twelve hours after our first visit to get a few bits that we needed during the day. We watched the 'Strictly' final, well done to Louis Smith, but I thought he got the popularity vote for dancing topless. Now maybe if Kimberly Walsh had done the same thing......


Guess what? We had to go to the supermarkets again. Sainsburys was rammed at 10 in the morning, so we went into town instead. On the way we saw the 'ELF' mobile heading towards yet another Geocaching adventure.

This afternoon I was on the air with another Steve on AHBS. The show went well apart from a bit of finger trouble on Steve's part, and he blamed me for distracting him! I managed to play a bit of 80's soul out this afternoon, I think it went down well.

This evening we spent wrapping presents ready for Tuesday. There is a bit of work to go to tomorrow then its no more work until the 31st.

Merry Christmas peeps......

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Quiet One - 15-16 December 2012

I suppose its nice to have a quiet weekend in the run up to the season's festivities. There was nothing in the diary, no parties, get togethers, walks, or visits. 


We went into town first thing. I needed a few bits n bobs. Whilst searching for bits n bobs we bumped into Julie & Andy, also shopping for bits n bobs. Back home we had a spot of lunch. I had been tasked with buying a new PA system for the Astronomy Society. I had seen one from Maplins that fitted the bill so the plan was to go down to the Folkestone branch and get it this afternoon. First off Sarah's Nephew phoned and asked if we could transport 'A few boxes' for him. When we got round there and he showed what he wanted shifting the term 'A few boxes' was an understatement. I dropped the back seats down and we filled the car with boxes. He also wanted a glass cabinet shifting (That one was sprung on us when we got there) but as time was pressing on we really had to get down to Folkestone. We got the PA system and speaker stands, and because I spent more than a certain amount they gave me £25 off as well, saving the Society some dosh. 
We got home and watched 'Despicable Me', a very enjoyable animated film. The evening was spent with a crispy duck from Farm Foods, Sweet n Sour Chicken and a beer. Then we watched 'Strictly'...As I said it was a quiet one.


We planned to visit the parents today. I offered to take them out for lunch but they were already sorted, so we went into Dartford first for a look round the shops and a spot of lunch in the 'All day Cafe'. I used to go there years ago, when I lived up there. Nothing much has changed even the set breakfast (1) was still the same. They used to employ a very camp (and very hilarious) waiter, who sadly doesn't work there any more. I saw this guy on TV once during the general election campaign a few years back. He accosted William Hague outside the cafe and asked him if he wanted a taste of his little sausage. 

Dartford town centre is still a shadow of its former self, although it was good to see the market had made the effort. We sat round at the parents place for an hour or two, had a cuppa and watched a bit of the Carry On film then left for home. An uneventful journey home, with a stop for fuel again. Then it was time to put the dinner on and write this blog. The evening will be spent writing cards.

As I say, a quiet weekend. Some would say dull.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Deck the Halls with Light Emitting Diodes 8-9 December 2012


We went into town early today and first stop was breakfast at the Gorge. I managed to get most of the Christmas pressies as well. We were back home by midday. I decided to put up the exterior 'House-Bling'. It seems to have prompted all the neighbours to do the same. The lights were brought down from the loft. I actually packed them away properly in January, so they unraveled quite easily. The only problem is I seem to be missing one mains adapter. I seem to remember throwing away a faulty one last year. At least the remaining ones worked first time. 
This evening we decided to go into town for a curry. Normally we would have cooked but we had nothing in, We don't normally shop until tomorrow. As we walked down the High Street we noticed Blockbuster were having a DVD sale so we had a browse, and bought 'The Artist' at a very reduced price. Another to add to the growing list of DVD/Blu-rays we purchased and haven't seen yet.


I needed a new pair of shoes. So after the weekly shop we popped over to the outlet. We bumped into Jackie and her other half. It was good to see her as she moved away a while back and the only contact we have is via Facebook. Anyway I finally found a pair that I liked. 
After lunch we went over to yet another shop, this time over at Wincheap. They had exactly what we wanted so it was worth the journey.

It was sad to hear that Sir Patrick Moore has passed away, aged 89. He probably did more to promote astronomy in the UK than anyone else. Did you know that 'The Sky at Night' has been running non-stop for 55 years, and Patrick has presented every one of them, including last Monday's episode. That's quite an achievement.   I was lucky to see him on a lecture tour a few years back. He enthralled the audience with his talk on the solar system, then after the interlude, during which he peddled some of his own CDs of Xylophone music, he took questions from the floor. I never got the chance to meet him in person, but a few of my fellow astronomy friends did three years ago and they said it was a memorable experience. He was an honourary member of the AAS, and his name appeared on our member signing in sheets, just in case he happened to turn up to one of our meetings. I think it says something about the man that all the tributes and comments I've read  have had nothing but praise for him. Farewell Sir Patrick, you will be sorely missed. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Weekend off 1-2 December 2012

It has been a busy week. Every evening has been filled with one event or another, and was rounded off with a really good Astronomy Society meeting on Friday night. Josh gave a talk on 'New Horizons'. We presented Drew with a Pot Noodle for services to the Society (pic). Steve gave a great talk about Astronomers of note. Sarah won the constellation lottery. We had clear-ish skies so were able to get the telescopes out and most of our attendees managed to view the moon, Jupiter or the Pleiades. We even caught a glimpse of the Andromeda Galaxy, a bit of an achievement considering the poor viewing conditions.


We had to be at the garage for 9am so there was only chance for a short lie-in today. The Pug has decided to revert to its original faults (various lights and warnings). The garage did a quick diagnosis but will only know for sure when they run it from cold. That means keeping it until Monday.
We went into town and as is the case every year we bought stuff for ourselves and no Christmas pressies. There is still plenty of time before the big day. I've been known to buy presents at 4:55pm on Christmas Eve.

We walked down to the RSPCA cattery for their Bazaar, which also meant having a look at the cats that are in residence at the moment. Lots of 'Awww' moments (pic). Anyway we won a bottle of plonk and some chocs on the tombola so it was worth a visit.
Then we headed to Park Mall where Webbo and Co. were hosting the lights switch-on. We also bumped into Julie and the O'latas. Luckily they had volunteers to wear the parrot costume for 'Find a Voice' (pic) so I wasn't needed. The afternoon was spent doing nowt, except watching old episodes of ST:TNG. The evening was rounded off with a Chinese takeaway, bottle of plonk (sadly past its best) whilst watching Strictly and ...Celeb. I managed to catch the end of Bad 25, a Spike Lee film about the making of Michael Jackson's 'Bad' Album. I need to watch the rest on catch-up as it looked excellent.


We seemed to spend the whole day driving about. Starting out at 10am from home-Asda-Currys/Pets at Home-Sainsburys-Home. Then Home-Town Centre-Home. Then Home-Sarah's Nephew-AHBS-Home. All I need is a 'For Hire' sign on top of the car and I'll be sorted. 
In between that we decided to order our 'Christmas Pressie to Ourselves' online. What a palaver! We went through the ordering process, which took longer than usual because the John Lewis website was on go slow. Then card verification took ages, then decided it didn't recognise my password. So then we had to go through the whole process again with Sarah's card, which worked this time. The good thing is that our order is going to be sent to the local supermarket for collection, rather than the Royal Mail failing to deliver and dumping it back at the sorting office, which you can't park outside because of double yellow lines and over zealous wardens. We collect it tomorrow night. All will be revealed on next weekend's blog.

Until next week then...