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Sunday, 19 May 2013

50th Birthday - Port Lympne Experience 16-17 May 2013

Its been a while since I last Blogged. I was having a look through my previous few posts and they all said roughly the same thing. Apart from my 50th nothing much has happened since Easter. 

Earlier this year I was offered a special gift for my 50th Birthday. Either something like a meal on the Kent & East Sussex Railway, or an overnight stay at Livingstone Lodge. I decided on the Port Lympne, Livingstone Lodge as I had already done the K&ESR a couple of times. We invited our friends, Andy & Julie as they had expressed an interest, and we booked it for 16th May.


Andy & Julie turned up in the morning, and after loading the car we set off for Lympne. First stop was lunch at Boltophs Bridge Inn in West Hythe. After a nice Ploughmans and a couple of Doombars it was time to head to the Park. We arrived about 30 minutes too early so we were told to have a wander, grab a coffee and report back at 4pm. At 4pm we were greeted by our guide, Andrew and offered either a glass of Sparkling wine or an Amarula, which is like a fruity Baileys. It went down quite nicely. We boarded the truck and our luggage was taken to our tents. The drive around the park lasted just under two hours and Andrew gave us a running commentary about the animals we saw. It was really interesting. We arrived at the camp and were put in the two tents closest to the Laapa (the place where we eat) but they were furthest from the toilet/shower block. The tent was excellent. Large, heated and with all the things we needed, toiletries, dressing gowns and slippers. We sat out on the veranda looking out over Romney Marsh and out to sea. The wind was a tad chilly, but when the sun set so it did subside. Before we went to  dinner I was sprung my first surprise. Sarah had paid for me to have a Tapir experience. I was to get up close and personal to the beasts. 

We strolled over to the Laapa for a drink before dinner. There were some nice smells coming from the Fire pit in the room. A huge hunk of fillet steak was cooking on there. We were seated and helped ourselves to starters, very nice. In between courses a Giraffe turned up for a feed. The staff gave it some bread which was gobbled up. Then we queued for mains. The steak was the best I have ever tasted, along with Scallops, Chicken and various veggie dishes it was a great meal. Then the second surprise turned up. A birthday cake and the staff singing 'Happy Birthday'. We were all too full to eat cake so it was put in the fridge for later. We rounded off the evening with a dessert, coffee and chocolates. We gave the cheese and biscuits a miss. Andrew chatted to us about his experiences in South Africa and UK. We retired about 10.30pm, bellies full and feeling tired. 


It wasn't too warm in the night, although it was bearable with the heater on in the tent. Dogs howling and barking woke me about 4am, and I slept restless until 6.30 when I really needed to use the loo. I put my head outside the tent and there were two Rhino walking past. Then, as the water hole was right below our location, Wildebeast started gathering, as well as Elan. The shower room was good. Very clean with plenty of hot water. We dressed and made our way to the Laapa where the coffee was on (good) and Breakfast was about to be served. 
The trip back to reception took about 30 minutes and again we saw a few beasts. Then Andrew drove us four down to the Tapir enclosure. Chris, the Keeper allowed all of us to go in and see the Tapirs. They love having their tummys rubbed, and will lie down with their legs in the air while you rub away!
I found them fascinating, they are very docile although they do bite, especially around feeding time. 
We were led out to the outside enclosure, where Chris showed us a trick. He would whistle to them, and they would whistle back, brilliant!

We said farewell to Port Lympne and headed for Howletts. They knew we were coming and let us in no problem. We made it as far as the Gorilla enclosure where one of the keepers was giving a talk. We were suddenly overcome with exhaustion, I don't think any of us slept well last night. so after an hour at Howletts we headed for home and an afternoon nap.

I can honestly say I had a great time, with great friends and I would recommend the Livingstone Lodge experience to anyone. It was a fantastic two days.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter Haircut and Caves 29-30 March 2013

Friday night was astronomy night. Yet again it was cloudy but the evening went well. I gave the introduction and Dr David Mannion gave a good presentation. We had to shoot off quickly afterwards because we had promised to call in on a friend who was having a 'Birthday Soiree'. In the process I left my keys behind, and we wouldn't get in without them. Luckily someone kept them for us and I collected them on the way home.


My hair needed cutting, so after the weekly shop we headed off for Tenterden. As we drove through High Halden I noticed a sign outside a shop offering Dairy Brewery Beer, three for a fiver. I made a note to call in on the way back. Tenterden was rammed, we had to park down at the railway station. After getting the ears lowered we had lunch and a mooch around the shops. We stopped at friends on the way home (High Halden) for coffee and a chat. It also gave me an opportunity to get some beer.

Tonight we had Asda Curry, then settled down to watch the new Dr Who series. I enjoyed it. The new assistant shows promise, and the story was ok, even if it was slightly updated from a previous David Tenant episode based in the fifties. I noticed it was clear outside so I decided to have a look for that elusive Comet. after scanning the relevant part of the sky with binoculars, I noticed a slightly elongated smudgy object. Comet PanSTARRS has now been spotted by me.

Easter Sunday.

Today we had planned to visit Chislehurst Caves. As there was only six of us going Manky offered to drive us up in his seven seater. We arrived at the meeting point, a layby at the top of the road and met another of  the group. The weather was awful. It was blowing a blizzard of icy bits. Our phones buzzed. Manky's car wouldn't start and Tina's car had a flat tyre. Myself and Lisa stepped in and soon enough we met up and set off in convoy. We arrived at the caves with about 45 minutes to spare before the next tour. As we were with a load of Geocachers it would have been rude for them not to find one. Surely enough there was one hidden in the car park.

The tour was great. You spend about fifty minutes down there. There is one point in the tour where they take the hurricane lamps away from you, to demonstrate how dark it is down there. It is pitch black. Back up at ground level, we went to Petts Wood for a Wetherspoons lunch. We met up with our friend, Jackie and had a good chat over drinks and roast beef. (well some of us had roast). It was soon time to leave. I enjoyed today. It was a good recovery from an abandoned (by us) Smarden Duck Race. We watched the boat race (Oxford won) then caught up with stuff we had recorded over the past week.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Long Weekend 21-24 March 2013

There's nothing like a few days off before the weekend. We spent Thursday in London. After a quick journey on the High Speed we arrived at St Pancras then headed for Knightsbridge via the underground.  First stop was Harrods. Both of us hadn't been there for over twenty years. We stumbled across the Chocolate room. Oh my,  I've never seen so much confectionery in one place. Sarah purchased some fudge after getting a free sample. She went a bit mad with the amount she bought but hey, we are in Harrods. We went to the cafe for a drink. The nice waitress showed us to a table and was trying to recommend the 22ct Gold Tea (Yes, tea with gold in it) at £14 a cup. Blimey the Cappucino was expensive enough at a  fiver! 

After drooling at the Rolexes in the windows of 'Watches of Switzerland ' we jumped back on the tube to Oxford Circus, then a short walk to our lunch venue, Bodean's. I have heard a lot about this place from friends and colleagues, and it didn't disappoint. The platter for two was huge, with loads of different BBQ meats including pulled pork, ribs, beef and chicken. Along with coleslaw and fries. Not the place for veggies, although to be fair there are veggie options on the menu! It was great food and the service was good. But the downstairs restaurant was a bit dark, the ambient light was so low I had trouble seeing what was on my plate, let alone being able to read the menu.   

I needed a new bedside lamp. My one packed up this week, the touch sensitive base died. Luckily John Lewis had exactly what I wanted. Then we walked further down Oxford street to Selfridges, where I bought some more coffee pods for my Nespresso machine. We jumped on a bus to get back to Kings Cross. The traffic was horrendous. After 45 minutes we had only got as far as Warren Street. So we jumped off there and got the tube back to St Pancras. The travelcard was a worthwhile purchase. We could have spent more time in London, but decided to get home before rush hour started. Thank heavens for high speed trains. Only thirty seven minutes to get back to Ashford. 


After the excesses of yesterday we spent some time at home today. First task was taking junk down to the recycling centre. As we were loading the car one of the neighbours came across to chat to us. He was genuinely upset, Their Cat had been put to sleep due to old age. Shame. Seventeen is a good age for a Cat. Then we took advantage of  no rain, or sleet, or snow to do some work in the garden. The mower fired up after a few attempts, and I gave the lawn a much needed haircut. Then it was off to 107.1FM AHBS to present the  'Hometime' show. It was great fun and went very quickly, there is so much to do in two hours the time just flies by. On the way home we picked up some Chinese food. It says something when the lady behind the counter in the takeaway knows your first name.


Woke up to reports of snow, although there is none in Ashford. We ventured into town, bumped into friends, did a bit of shopping, had a coffee then back home for lunch. This afternoon was spent watching the GP qualifying, and preparing stuff for this Friday's AAS meeting. Then we decided to do  the weekly shop. Saturday night was spent in front of the TV. 

A bit of a non-event day really.


Its bitterly cold. We took the pug out to get the tyres pumped up. Sainsbury's supply free air and water. Other garages have the nerve to charge for a few minutes air. Be warned. I can't believe its nearing the end of March and I'm having to wear hat, gloves and my winter coat....Hurry up Spring!

After lunch I watched the Malaysian GP, then prepared dinner, Puerto Rican Chicken from Levi Roots cook book. Always turns out good. At least its only a four day week next week. Then Easter holidays.

Until next week then...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Beer Festival 16-17 March 2013

This week has been a bad one with regard to weather and travel arrangements. Blizzards on Monday and travel disruptions (Operation Stack) until Thursday meant getting home was a nightmare. It was good to wind down on Friday night with a game of Poker with good friends.


The plan for today was a visit to the Leas Lift beer festival in Folkestone. As I was about to get ready to leave home the doorbell rang. It was Andy, who asked if I had a spanner. He was on his new purchase, a Kawasaki 'Ninja' and the rear indicator was hanging off. I sorted him out and he was soon on his way again. 

The weather today was terrible, this time last year March was very pleasant. We were walking along the Warren in sunshine. Today its high winds, rain, hail the lot. I met up with MB, Tina and Batty at the station, and twenty minutes later  Lukey met us at Folkestone Central. From there it was a short walk into town for a breakfast, at the aptly named 'Full English' cafe. Suitably refreshed we stopped for a couple of swift halves at the British Lion, where we met up with Lisa. Then on to the Guildhall, where Lukey thrashed me at Pool. I forgot he was a regular club player. 

The walk down to the Leas Lift was, to say the least, interesting. High winds, driving rain and hail made me think my £100 plus waterproof coat was money well spent. Boy oh boy it was rough. The waves were crashing up the harbour wall. I didn't envy anybody out on the Channel today. The hail actually hurt my face.  Everyone attending the beer festival was crammed into the building at the bottom of the lift. It was cosy.  The toilet facilities were, as MB put it, Feral. The modesty tarpaulin was blowing about everywhere and the trough was swinging in the wind. 

We purchased beer tokens (yes, really!) One token got you a very generous half pint. I had four, starting with a Hazelnut Coffee Porter (Nutty), then a Ramsgate No. 5 (gluggable) and finishing with two generous halves of Dairy Brewery 'Copper Top' (my favourite of the day). Lisa had her photo taken for the local rag, and MB thought it was naughty to press the button marked 'Do Not Press This Bell'. It had to be done. 

The lift was not working, so I didn't fancy the walk back to the station, and by now I'd had enough beer. So I called Sarah to come and collect me. Soon it was time to say farewell to the others. On the way home we stopped to buy a new drinks fridge. I had been using a camping fridge in the garage. A few weeks ago I went to get some fruit juice from it and all the cartons were frozen solid. The thing had gone haywire. 

This evening we ordered Chinese food. Normally I would eat the lot, but I only managed half of what I ordered. I was stuffed. The rest of the evening was spent snoozing in front of the TV. It has been a good Saturday.


The cats made sure we got our early morning call, I eventually got up about 8 o'clock to feed them and make a drink. Then after the shopping we set up the drinks fridge in the garage, then I snoozed in front of the Australian GP (Yawn). I hope the season improves. I started transferring CDs on to my portable hard drive. Its a long process that's going to take me ages.

We have a three day week next week. I really need some time off .

Until next week then

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Not much happening (again) 9-10 March 2013

Friday night we took part in a quiz night. It was organised by Sarah's colleagues to help fund a family to travel to the U.S with their daughter, who is having specialist medical treatment there. Not only did we raise £1000 but our team also won, much to the consternation of Sarah's colleague, who thought her team would win. A good evening was had by all.


A quick trip into town to get a mothers day card, and a mooch around HMV. They haven't got much left but I did pick up Prince - Purple Rain CD for three quid. Then after a frothy coffee we just went home. We caught up with some TV that had been recorded, then decided to do the weekly shop as we were going out early on Sunday. My watch auction finished, and I was pleased to have doubled my money. Sometimes its good to blag a bargain, and even better to sell it at good price. 
I wanted steak for dinner, Sarah wanted chicken so we cooked our own tonight. Sirloin, chips and mushrooms for me and chicken & noodles for her. My steak was lovely, although the bottle of Moldovan Red I seemed to have acquired would have been better off sprinkled on my chips.

I watched 'Made in Dagenham' tonight. I thought it was an excellent film. I remember when I left school and  worked at a timber yard by the Thames at Belvedere. You could see the Ford factory across the river and I was always impressed by the giant 'Ford' sign on the Foundry building (Pic). It reminds me of the summer of '79, when I earned £30 a week stacking timber that the forklift drivers had knocked over. I was part of a crew of people all waiting to start Uni, apprenticeships etc. so we were all in the same situation. It was a great time of my life. I checked on Google earth and the timber yard is no longer there. Shame.


I woke up with a headache. I reckon that Moldovan red didn't agree with me last night, even though I only had one glass. We got up and suited and booted ready for a lunch out with the family. Unfortunately illness has struck my parents so we didn't eat out, instead having an impromptu Sunday roast at their place. 

We went to Bluewater afterwards, and as usual just strolled around looking at the nice things in the shop windows. We did buy some cupcakes in John Lewis though, they were a lot cheaper than Lola ones, which did taste nice (we had a sample) but weren't worth the money. At the end of the day its just a cake for one. It wasn't too busy there, I reckon people were spending Mothers Day indoors. It started snowing on the way home. Will this weather ever improve?  Winter is beginning to get on my nerves.

Lets hope the clouds clear this week. There is a comet to be spotted and if it becomes a naked eye object someone just may have to eat something that may disagree with him. However not much has happened on the Comet spotting front just yet....

Until next week then...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Canterbury and Clean - up 2-3 March 2013

This week, I have been mostly presenting on the radio. I did my usual Tuesday night request show, then stood in for someone on the Wednesday night request show. Its been a while since I did two in one week and I quite enjoyed it.  Since before Christmas I have been suffering with a trapped nerve in my shoulder. In January the doctor prescribed tablets and physiotherapy, and it seems to have done the trick. I had the last physio session on Friday and now the shoulder is a lot better.


We went to Canterbury this morning. I needed a new jacket for spring. I can't keep wearing the fleece, and the Leather one only comes out for best. I made use of a £5 off voucher with Debenhams and got a nice Harrington Jacket. After lunch, courtesy of Nandos, we did a bit more shopping then headed for home.
This afternoon I put one of my watches on eBay. I hardly wear this one and it just sits in its nice case ticking away, unused. I should get a reasonable price for it as its a limited edition. If you fancy a look here is the link.

I had a listen to Peter Young on Jazz FM. Its something I rarely do (I always forget he is on) and I really enjoyed the show. There was a great mix of Jazz and soul,  PY is a great presenter and has been at the top of his game for years. I used to listen to him on Capital Radio in the late 70's/early 80's. He was one of the better presenters on there until the likes of Pat/Mick/Dr Fox took over and bland formulaic playlists were the order of the day.

The evening was spent in the company of Friends. We listened to Wham's first LP (on Vinyl!) and chatted over drinks and nibbles. I gave them a demonstration of internet radio including a listen to one of Afghanistan's two pop music stations, and a listen in to the California Highway Patrol (CHiPs) scanner. They had pulled over a pick-up for having too wide wheels. Exciting huh!


After the weekly shop, we had a look through the Auto Trader website. We really need to change the Pug for something that is cheaper to run. We have decided to get another Yaris as Sarah liked the one we had a few years back, and we like Toyotas. There was one for sale in Gillingham, so I quickly phoned my Bruv to see if he had heard of the dealer. He was less than complimentary,  but offered to find one for us. Watch this space.

We popped out to B&Q where I bought a 4lb 'Cooking Hammer' for smashing up my concrete slabs . The afternoon was spent smashing up, clearing the old fireworks from New Years Eve (I hardly ever venture into the garden in winter!) and Sarah did the essential job of clearing Cat poo from the lawn. I don't do poo. We did find a dead bird as well, Cats will be Cats.... I then cleaned out about six months worth of crud from inside my car. Thats a couple of pounds worth of petrol saved!

Until next week then...

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Typical Weekend 23-24 February 2013

Its been a three day weekend for us. We had Friday off and spent the day in Maidstone. we had a stroll round the shopping centre, then stopped for lunch at a place called 'Mexxa Mexxa'. The theme is 'Mexican' and the lunch specials seemed good value. It was OK. Next a quick look around Maplins (essential!) then we took advantage of Blockbuster's closing down sale and grabbed some cheap Blu Ray films.
Friday night was Astronomy night, and true to form it was cloudy and snowing. That didn't dampen proceedings though. I sold a hat and set up Jason's laptop through the PA system, to great effect. Emma gave a great talk on the (Dwarf) Planet Pluto. I put 'Dwarf' in parenthesis because I, and many others still think Pluto as a planet, even though the powers that be have demoted it. Oh and sarah won a tenner in the constellation raffle. All in all a good evening.


The morning was spent hoovering and dusting. We then met up with the rest of Sarah's family for lunch at the Chinese buffet in town. We have eaten there many times before, and although the food is OK, I think the quality has decreased over the years and now I actually prefer the Chinese restaurant on the High Street. Its a bit more expensive but the food is freshly cooked and you can eat what you want for a fixed price.
The afternoon was spent at the Designer Outlet. Everyone bought shoes and things, except me who bought nowt, even though I was after a pair of trainers. By now I was gasping for a cuppa, so we headed for home where the kettle went on straight away. The evening was spent with Sarah's Parents. We had a few games of cards, which I won quite a few chips, and the Rummikub came out. I only learnt to play this game in the past few years, I've yet to win a round....


I see we had some settling snow last night. Winter just doesn't want to disappear just yet. We did the weekly shop, then popped into Currys to get some printer cartridges, and ended up buying a new shredder. Plus we got a 10% off voucher for printer cartridges, so saved a couple of quid on them as well. 
We really didn't want to go out anywhere today, so after waving goodbye to Sarah's parents, we had lunch then settled down to watch 'Skyfall', a great film. I was channel hopping after dinner and found an episode of  'Enterprise'. The jury is still out on that series, I could never get into it like I did with 'Next Generation' Although I have to say Jolene Blalock plays a very good Vulcan!  

Until next week then...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Posh Nosh 16-17 February 2013

This week I was given  a courtesy car for a day whilst mine was in having warranty work done. For a basic motor it was bristling with tech. There was a scrolling bargraph display showing how much fuel I was using. A rear facing camera came on when I put it in reverse and there was this annoying little indicator light that told me when to change one of the six gears. Back in the old days my first car had an AM radio and windey-up windows. No power steering, central locking, airbags, traction control, antilock brakes, air con, trip computers etc.. I wondered how we managed back then.


We had to go to my parents place to collect a keyboard for somebody, so it was a good chance to visit Dartford and call in at my brothers. Dartford doesn't get any better. I blogged last year that the town was dying on its arse, there seems to be little improvement. Apparently Mary Portas was supposed to visit this week as part of the 'Portas Pilot Scheme'. She never turned up. The only improvement I saw was an extension to the '99p Store'.  That says it all really. After lunch and a chat at Brothers place we stopped at a well known haberdashery/homeware chain to get a curtain pole. They didn't have the one we wanted. We collected the keyboard from my parents, did some food shopping for tonight and was home in time to cook dinner for the masses. Home made Lasagne with minced STEAK, not Shergar, and very nice it was too.


After the weekly shop, including a rather unsavoury episode in Sainsburys, we got ourselves suited and booted for lunch at Eastwell Manor. We had a Sunday lunch gift token from Christmas to use. The food and service was top notch. I had Pigeon breast salad with carrot puree, very nice and a first for me. Not sure if the added popcorn enhanced the dish though. Then it was roast beef with all the trimmings including a delicious red cabbage, cooked with redcurrants. Dessert was a Choclate Fondant with Tonka Berry ice cream. Probably the best I've ever eaten. I had to look up Tonka berries when I got home. They are used in cooking in France and the rest of Europe and have a Vanilla/Cinnamon extra flavour. Apparently it is banned for human consumption in the US as there is an ingredient that can be harmful to humans, but only if you eat a bucketload. The same can be said for Nutmeg, which is poisonous in extra large doses and yet we eat custard tarts with it sprinkled on all the time, so what do they know? 
Afterwards we drove down to St Mary's Eastwell to visit the reputed tomb of Richard Plantagenet. What with his old man being in the news lately the place has become a focal point for visitors. Whilst there we saw a man doing some brass rubbing, not quite a good description because the tomb is stone but you know what I mean.  

Until next week then...

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Song Marathon and Star Trek 9-10 February 2013


This weekend, AHBS hold their fundraiser. Basically we ask for money from the public and play their requests and dedications. I was hosting a soul show from 5-7pm. The morning was spent in town. There wasn't much we needed. We looked at wallpaper in Wilkos, I bought a newspaper in Smiths and had a frothy coffee and muffin in the coffee and muffin shop. Suitably refreshed we headed for home. 

After lunch We went down to the hospital and spent the afternoon with the AHBS crew who were presenting a show from the Foyer. I had to prepare for my show, which I decided to play all the music from CDs. Normally I use the PC, this time it was just for Promos/Jingles etc... It was soon time to get myself on the air, and after handing over control back to me in the studio two hours soon flew by. On the way home we collected some Chinese grub, well it is Chinese new year after all.


The weather is atrocious, rain, wind, cold and later snow is forecast. After the weekly shop and lunch of bacon sarnies I actually managed to watch the rest of 'the sixth sense' which Sarah had recorded. A film I gave up on years ago after I guessed the ending twenty minutes in. Actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I then went out to get petrol. Whilst in the shop I saw a couple of Cadbury 'Egg n spoon' desserts, so I bought them. Then I popped into the studio for a chat with the afternoon crew, and sort out some of the playlist for Tuesday's show. The weather was really turning bad, and just as I got home it started snowing. After a great dinner of Enchiladas I watched the next Star Trek Film (III). It is true what they say about the Star Trek Movies. The even number ones are better than the odd numbers. I is boring, II is excellent, III is so-so, IV is good, V is pants and VI is my favourite of the series. The snow is now settling, should be fun getting to work tomorrow!

Until next week then...

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Day at the Museum 2-3 February 2013

Today's event had been planned months ago, and we were all eagerly looking forward to it. We had been invited to other events today, but of course we turned them down to celebrate Bear (Steve's) Birthday. The plan was to spend the day in London, first a trip to the British Museum then food and drinks afterwards. We gathered at Ashford International, and took advantage of cheap group travel offers (4 people travelling on the HS1 and tube/bus in town for less than 20 quid each). Less than forty minutes later we were walking through St Pancras and Kings Cross station to get a photo opportunity at the Harry Potter 'Platform 9 3/4' display. Then it was a quick walk up the Caledonian Road to Cafe Oz for a great breakfast, just what was needed for the day ahead. 

I have never been to the British Museum before. There is a lot to see, including Mummies, pots, spears, alabaster statues and rather rude potteries. We all wandered off in different directions, with plans to re-group later for a drink in the pub opposite. After seeing most of the rooms, we missed a few but we can always re-visit, we adjourned to the pub where we met up with Terry. The others soon joined us and after a couple of pints of 'Old Peculier' we headed for Covent Garden. Some went to look for plastic boxes, we had a look in the shops and watched a good street magic show. We re-grouped again for a swift half in the pub before heading to Leicester Square for dinner at Ed's Diner. 
We heard that Manky had been offered a freebie in the street. What he thought was a sweet turned out to be soap, which he discovered after eating it. Oh how we laughed. We managed to get seats at the counter in Ed's and ordered burgers and milkshakes. Not bad at all and I liked the traditional jukeboxes. By now I was feeling rather full, so turned down dessert! We jumped on the tube back to Kings Cross. The train was already at St Pancras so we  didn't have to wait for long and was home in fifty minutes. It was a great day with great friends. We don't go to London enough,  Something we must rectify this year.


I think I earned myself a lie-in today, so we didn't get down to Asda until much later than normal. Sarah's parents were down and they had brought a load of records, a mixture of singles and albums for me to root through. Apart from Napoleon IX and Sid Vicious there was not much of interest, but there were two Rock n Roll 78's (Shake Rattle n Roll and Whole Lotta Woman) and a really old 12" 78 in its original cover. It must be at least 1920's vintage. I'll have to do some research on it. Dinner went in, and there are great roast lamb aromas wafting around the house whilst I'm watching 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan'.

Until next week then...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Birthday Curry 26-27 January 2013

This week, I spent three days in Cardiff working at the airport, and to no avail apparently. When we left everything was working fine. Four hours later it all went wrong again. Oh well looks like another trip could be the order of the day....I also had my first physiotherapy session for my dodgy shoulder. I'm sure it is going to do me good in the long term, but I just felt that I had taken a good beating!


I was awakened early by Sarah, who suddenly said 'quick quick we have to get up!'. 'No we don't its Saturday!' I replied.  Turns out she was dreaming that it was next Saturday and we were going to London with Stevie and Co. Having spent the morning watching stuff on the box, I decided a trip out to get the car washed was required. The first place I went to was packed out, the queue was back into the road. So after a quick visit to the model shop for some railway bits we went over to a car wash behind Homeplus. They did a good job as well. At home, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the garage. Then it was time to head for Gravesend. Its my brother's birthday tomorrow so he had booked a table or two at an Indian Restaurant. He was a regular there, but it was the first time we had visited this place. The food was OK, although the service was pedestrian. We had the service charge deducted because of this and we didn't leave a tip.  We all had a good time though, although I have to say I preferred the last meal we had in the Gandhi.


It must have rained hard last night. The path round the side of the house was almost flooded. After the weekly shop we had lunch, then went over to Canterbury to buy some curtain poles. I notice some people on FB have been exercising their baking skills. Obviously inspired by Hollywood and Berry. I found some rhubarb in the freezer, so decided to make a crumble. Very nice it was too! There is loads of good stuff on the TV tonight, so I'll be in front of the box.

Until next week then...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Winter Arrives - 19-20 January 2013

I left work early on Friday. The snow was quite heavy in SE London so I wanted to beat it home. I got back to Ashford and there was no snow until much later on. Mind you the disruption has caused me work complications. I am supposed to go to Cardiff Airport next week. Plan A was travel on Sunday to start the job on Monday morning then be home by Wednesday. Now Plan B is on. Travel to Orpington on train, get collected then drive to Cardiff, Start the job on Tuesday and hopefully be home late Wednesday night or stay until Thursday. Trouble is I won't know if I'm going until Monday morning, and we get the OK from the Airport. 


We were supposed to be doing some radio training this morning, but there was disruption due to the weather so it was postponed. Instead we ventured into town. There was a 'Green Energy' fair on in County Square, basically energy saving hints and tips from companies. They had TV Weather presenter Kaddy Lee Preston there, and on the Ball Contractors stand Webbo was promoting stuff. We had a chat with John about radio stuff and talked to Matthew about Solar panels. Last year we tried to get them fitted for nowt, but we were blown out twice after being assured we were eligible. Now it transpires the prices have tumbled, almost half of what they used to cost. Its almost a viable proposition now with the price of energy rising.

After a nice lunch I spent the afternoon in the garage laying railway track, until I couldn't feel my toes any more. We had planned to go down to our friends for a curry, but they have had an outbreak of dreaded lurgy, so we have had to postpone it. We still fancied curry, so went to the Indian Diner in town. The food in there is good, I had a dish with Chicken Tikka and lamb meatballs in a spicy sauce. Sarah went for the Pasanda, which she found a tad too sweet, but it did describe it as 'Fruity' on the menu. Back home we watched 'Gremlins 2'. Not as good as the first one but still entertaining.


The real snow has arrived. I looked outside about 7:30am and it was falling quite heavily.  The roads are still clear. It looks as though the Highways Department have done their homework and gritted well before the event. We were in Asda first thing. Then I had to pop into the station to get a ticket for tomorrows journey. I didn't fancy the Monday morning queue although there was still a bit of a queue there. Its a good job the firm is paying for the ticket. 20 quid for a single journey, mainly because I'm travelling before 9am. 
We had nothing planned for the rest of the day, so we watched 'Taken'.  A good film, must get to see 'Taken 2' now. Then we went for a walk around Singleton Lake. We fed a few Swans and Ducks, walked around the lake then came home. At 5pm I can report it hasn't stopped snowing all day. Tomorrows travel arrangements are looking decidedly dodgy!

Until next weekend then...

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Stargazing Live 12-13 January 2013


We got up early, thinking someone would turn up this morning to check on what the water company think is a leak. Apparently our meter is turning very very slowly when there is no water drawn, odd. Anyway he contacted us and said he would be round on Sunday. I recorded an interview Drew did for Radio Kent as part of Stargazing Live, then we went into town. I had to get a holdall for the PA system and get bits for tonight's Stargazing Live event. We had a good lunch in the Chinese Restaurant, they do a very nice lunchtime special. On the way back home we stopped to get the milk. Then I managed to get an hour or so in front of the telly before it was time to load up the car and head for Woodchurch.

We arrived just after 4pm and everything was in full flow. Chairs were being put out, telescopes were being set up. It was a pity the weather was terrible. The forecast said sleet, it was drizzly, cloudy and cold. Not the ideal conditions for Stargazing. Still we had nearly 100 people turn up and they were treated to great talks by Drew (Space Rock Thingies) and Dave (Mars). The ladies (and Lukey) did a great job in  the kitchen serving up hot dogs, soup and drinks. I think the evening went really well. Hopefully next year we can hold it again, this time with better weather. Ironically when I put the TV on at home they were showing Armageddon, the subject of Drew's talk. Photos of the event can be found here.


We did the usual shop, then after lunch a work associate of Sarah turned up to check on our so called water leak. He couldn't hear anything in our pipes, I reckon its dribbling from the meter end.
I spent the afternoon in the garage, installing the layout for the model railway. Andy turned up to collect some bits, and he ended up helping me in the garage finish off the frame. After a nice dinner we are now settled in front of the box for the evening. Looking forward to watching 'Ripper Street'.

Until next week then...

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Back to Normal, Whatever Normal is 5-6 January 2013

I was going to write a review of the second half of 2012 but really couldn't be bothered, so I've condensed each month into one sentence.

July - Olympic Torch procession
August - Batcamp
September - Edinburgh
October - Winchelsea Cellars
November - Fireworks
December - Christmas


We went into Tenterden this morning. I had to get some  pellets for the air rifle I just purchased. Andy and  myself are going to a rifle range club in Ashford on Monday and hopefully I can get a bit of target practice. 
When we got home I took down all the Christmas lights and stored them in the loft until December. I noticed one lot had packed up, so they went in the bin. 
The afternoon was spent in the garage re-building the railway layout. I've changed it from 6ft x 4ft to 12ft x 2ft, and the layout will be a straight with sidings, rather than an oval. It also frees up some space in the garage. After seeing what dross they had on the telly, this evening was spent  watching 'The Hangover' A film I seemed to have missed, and I found very funny. Then Channel 4 were showing 'Inglorious Basterds', the Quentin Tarrantino classic. I watched it until I dropped off  about midnight, then retired. I can always finish it off on DVD.


We must have used a lot of our supplies last week because the shop came to considerably more than normal. Plus we bought extra stuff, in fitting with our resolution to eat more fruit and veg and less junk. After lunch (soup) I set off for to the Radio Station to record a promo for this Saturday's Stargazing Live event. Then I was home in time for Andy & Julie, who came round so we could arrange an overnight safari experience at Port Lympne. Its all booked for May as part of my half-century celebrations, We are all very excited about it. 

Until next week then....