A little less conversation

My plans to escape Wrights went awry, I received an offer from ADL but in the end chose not to follow it up. I have about 5-7 years left to work and have decided to stay put. It would have been nice to have a seven minute commute but sometimes you have to think of the bigger picture. I felt bad about backing out at this stage but sometimes you have to do what’s right for yourself.

Radio

After a some thought I decided to sell some of my redundant radio equipment, I sold four radios and some other bits and pieces and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I got my fingers burnt a few years ago when I sold my old FT-187. Unwittingly I sold it to a guy who sells radio components, who, on receipt of the radio, took the narrow filters out of it and promptly reported me for selling a non working radio. Predictably Paypal and Ebay ruled in his favour and I was left with a very bad taste in my mouth. Anyway I listed all my equipment as non-returnable and it all sold. I still have a couple of base station radios for HF and VHF/UHF. 

The other Saturday I went up into the shack to do some tidying and switched on the HF set, lo and behold I picked up an American station working a contest, a quick look on the web told me it was the weekend of the CQWW contest, so I quickly set about working as many stations as I could, I only managed about 5 hours over the weekend but still made 60 contacts, a good weekends work for someone who hasn’t touched the morse key for nearly a year.

My local radio club had it’s AGM last week, I normally go to these even though over the past year I think I have only attended the club once. I decided not to renew my membership. I have enjoyed being a member of HADARS but I don’t feel I identify with the club demographic any more. 

Allotment 

Apart from some brussels, garlic and celeriac, its all finished on the plot. I never go round to covering the ground this autumn so that means the work in the spring is going to be tougher, but I could do with the exercise. 

I will start my plan for next year shortly, this will last until I start planting in the spring and then it all goes out the window. I normally base my plan on what worked well and what didn’t. I don’t think I am going to grow spuds this year, I have had three years on the plot and I’ve never had a good show, even when I grow them in bags. I had a better show with cucumbers this year but that was mainly down to making them climb, I will do this again next year. The raspberries and blackcurrants weren’t very good but that in the main was due to very dry hot summer we had, so fingers crossed for next year.

Christmas

It’s going to be a quiet one for me this year, Lesley is on a long day 07:00 to 20:00, Patrick is going to his grandparents and Toni and Chris will be having their first Christmas in their house. So it will be just me and the pooch at home on Christmas day. We will have a house full on Boxing day which I am looking forward to.

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Waiting on a call from you

Pastures new? (again?)

You may remember that I have been sniffing around another company with a view to joining them. Yesterday I got the call to say I have got the job, their view is that I should start in three months time which is normal with positions like this. Management roles normally require at least three months notice. The interesting thing will be what my current employer does when/if I put my notice in. The new company is in direct competition with my current employer which could mean there may be a chance of gardening leave. Gardening leave is very common in my industry especially at higher levels, (higher than me) and it is done to stop you passing on any commercial information onto the competition. However, one of my colleagues has just put his notice in to go to a customer and I was quite surprised how laid back the company was about this, so I may see myself in the thick of it right up until the point I go (if I go).

I have gone through this over the past month or so as it became more clear that I was the favourite for the role. You pick up this information from the most unsuspecting places, first of all it started with calls from my engineers to say they’d heard a rumour, this was picked up from random bus garage staff which would have heard stuff from the opposition staff. Then comes the visits on LinkedIn from anonymous or the other companies staff as they check out your background. And then comes the fishing from customers senior management normally because they have been asked questions making sure that I have no bad blood with the customers.

One of the biggest reservations I have, is that over the past eight and a half years I have more or less been left alone to build my own team in London. Leaving them behind does make me a little anxious, my management style is very different to the company style, and it does worry me that someone is going to come in and kick it all up in the air. I need to get past this and think of myself for once. My average commute is around 2.5 hours per day, with at least one trip home per week lasting three hours. The journey home from the interview took seven minutes.

Watch this space

Odin

My beloved Land Rover Odin is up for MOT in two weeks time, unfortunately while giving it the once over I spotted some corrosion and after a bit of poking around made quite a few holes in the floor and floor members. I have the metal and the mig welder, the rest relies on a. Me still being able to weld and b. there being enough good metal on Odin to weld to. This will be my winter project, providing it can be saved and the weather is half decent.

Below: Odin in less rustier times

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Leyton Orient

Last week I took my son and my daughter’s boyfriend to the match versus Hartlepool, Pat has been before but this was Chris’s first time. Chris is a big football fan and supports Liverpool? Me neither. We had a few beers in the supporters club and then wandered in. Hartlepool were a decent side but like the O’s have struggled since landing in the 5th tier. We managed to grind out a 0:0 draw despite the O’s being down to ten men and in the last 15 minutes it looked like we could have got the three points, but alas it wasn’t to be. Luckily Salford and Wrexham also drew which meant we are still in the top three and no one is breaking away from us yet. It was an enjoyable day and at least we didn’t loose, which normally happen when I bring guests..

 

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Hoch Soll er Leben

Well, it’s here! My 58th spin around the sun, in the words of George Burns “If I’d have known I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myself”

A friend sent me a picture last year that I’d never seen before taken at a wedding in around 1982. This is me just about in my prime with a family I knew, the girl in the picture died a few years ago from a brain tumour, taken far too young, her brother and father are on the left.

Honey & the Smiths

The funny thing is that I don’t remember much about the wedding or this picture, I can only date it because of the event. It’s funny how time slips by, I am still in touch with a couple of people from the time when this picture was taken, but mostly via social media, which I don’t really consider as proper contact. I do meet up with my oldest friend a couple of times a year and am in contact with him on the phone regularly, he was at the wedding the picture taken at. Over the years I have had a big circle of friends which has dwindled down over the course of 40 odd years. It used to trouble me but I think this is natural, over time people change as well as their direction in life, it stands to reason that people will naturally drift. This doesn’t matter, I think what does is that you end up with a brain full of memories, we’re born alone and we die alone.

I got called back today for a job I went for a month or so ago, the job interests me and it is very close to home, it took me seven minutes to get home from the “interview”, which compared to my normal commute of more than two hours per day would be a bonus. I will have to wait and see how it goes, but one thing is for sure, this will hopefully be the last move, workwise, for me.

Clearing the allotment continues, despite my back problem, however the plot is still giving up its goods

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We will probably be eating beetroots for the rest of the winter, we have had a good crop this year. The surprise was the cucumber, I still have another three on the plant but I think the frost will put paid to that. The brown fruits in the centre are Medlars, these need to be left for a couple of weeks to “blett” and then they are ok to eat.

Mrs H went to see her parents this week and I will pick her up next weekend, the father in law was 80 last month and the Ma in law is 76, they have both had some health issues in the last year or so and its nice for Lesley to get some time with them. So its just me and the pooch for the next week, he’s good company, he doesn’t answer back and he’s always pleased to see me. He is a smelly bastard though.

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Gotta Light?

I have been struggling for a few weeks now with Sciatica, I have never let any ailment hold me back. But I have to admit, it is really depressing me (I’m not depressed), I reach my 58th birthday next week and I find anything that reminds me of my age lowers my mood. People often comment when they find out my age that they didn’t realise I was that age, I credit this to having a youthful mind and being very active. However I have been hobbling around like a little old man and I don’t like it. I do find myself questioning whether this is it, is this a permanent issue or will it pass like it used to. The jury’s out a the moment so we’ll have to watch this space.

Yesterday the Orient lost their first game of the season, we came up against a very determined Sutton Utd who battled and battled to go one ahead and keep the lead. They have obviously watched our style of play and knew exactly how to topple us. Thirteen games in a row unbeaten is a record for us and my only hope that the fans don’t turn on the team, things can get pretty toxic at Brisbane road and even yesterday I could hear the grumbles behind me as it became obvious that we weren’t going to get a goal back.

I bought my wife two tickets for Marc Almond/Soft Cell’s last concert, I got these as an early birthday present and she will be going with our daughter today. The concert is at the O2 and the last time she went was when it was the millennium exhibition, quite a lot has changed since then. She has always been a Soft Cell fan and it will be nice for her to catch the last ever concert.

As things quieten down on the plot, all my garlic has put shoots out so I should be five months away from a bumper crop next year. Anyway as things quieten down Mrs H has decided that I need to decorate the kitchen, so this will be my next project apart from:

  • Welding the Land Rover
  • Winterising the boat
  • Sorting out my antennas
  • Selling some of my radio equipment

Anyway, I am off to do some shopping and make the most of my last weekend of freedom before the winter projects kick in.

 

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Oh no, Joe Porterhouse

Allotment

The allotment is giving up the last of her goodies but there is still stuff going on, I put the garlic in last weekend and it already putting shoots out. I’m not sure whether to grow it in the greenhouse or outside. Garlic is hardy and the rule of thumb is to plant on the shortest day (Dec 21st) and harvest on the longest day (June 21st) so it will survive frost and snow. I will put some in the greenhouse as a comparison and see how it woks out as I intend to cover my plot again this year. While clearing the plot this week I noticed three new cucumbers, I though I had seen the last of these. I have moved them to the inside of the netting to stop the foxes having a snack. My medlars are looking ready and during this weeks high winds a couple were blown from the tree, but the rest still feel pretty attached so I am resisting the urge to pick them. They are normally ready in October/November but due to the very hot summer they may ripen earlier, just like most of the other fruit and veg.

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Pulled, Picked and plucked this week

  • Tomatoes for ripening
  • Rose Hips (for making tea)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Jalapenos and Paprika (for pickling)
  • Butternut squashes (Roasting and for soups)
  • Beetroot (Pickling and Roasting)
  • Lemon Balm (I use it in vinegar)
  • Rainbow Baby Carrots

Not a bad haul for late September

Family

My daughter and her boyfriend have recently bought a French bulldog pup which they have named Freddie.

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I am not into small dogs but I will make an exception with this chap. He has absolutely no fear and is the most confident pup I have ever come across. When they visit he walks around my house like he owns the place, much to the consternation of Alfie (My 6 year old chocolate Labrador). Alfie isn’t good with puppies so barks at him a bit but it doesn’t put Freddie off at all even when he is running from Alf after pinching one of his favourite toys. My daughter and her boyfriend are now going through the pain of house training, something I don’t envy. That said, I have been really lucky with dogs, my last two have picked it up really quickly.

Leyton Orient

The O’s are really on fire at the moment and we are currently unbeaten this season and sit at the top of the Vanarama league. Its now been 18 months since the mad Italian (Francesco Becchetti) cut us loose with just eight players three weeks before the start of the season and we seem to have turned a corner. Last season was a real eye opener, the national league really is different type of football. It also goes without saying that the refereeing is equally poor. We struggled last season but this season we are certainly looking like promotion candidates subject to a disaster. Probably the only thing I like about this league is the proximity of the away games, they are quite easy to get to as many of the clubs are in the south east. Braintree Tuesday evening!

Work

Last week I travelled to Northern Ireland for a meeting back at the factory, I was an eye opener for me because over the past couple of months the factory has been moved to a new site across the road into the old tobacco factory. It is really modern compared to the old site. The old factory grew organically and tended to be a pick scattered, whereas the new site now has a flow to it.

The worst part about the trip was the fight into Aldergrove just as storm Allie turned up. The landings at Aldergrove can be interesting due to crosswinds at the best of times but this time was probably about the hairiest I have had.

 

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Got no reason, for coming to me….

Facebook,

I removed myself from facebook a couple of months ago, I un-friended all my “friends” and deleted my account. I never missed the interaction with people but after some time I did begin to miss some of the groups I belonged to, so a week or two ago I set myself back up again and just use it for the two or three groups I belong to. I didn’t use my email address to verify my account I used my mobile phone number. Despite this I have still had a number of friend requests, I have decided however, not to accept any requests and just keep my account for groups.

Allotment

I dug my rotovator out this week from the locker where it has been parked since I last used it. To say it was ridden hard and put away wet would be an understatement. When I put it back it had a puncture and was stuck in gear. I had the thought of sitting there in the sunshine carrying out the repairs and giving the old girl a service. Spin the clock forward 5 months and I am now under pressure to make it serviceable. I dug it out of the locker, and when I say dug, I mean dug. I bought a couple of new inner tubes and set about replacing the tube on the punctured tyre, what a bastard! For the uninitiated the smaller the wheel diameter, the harder it is to get the tyre back over the rim, anyway after some sweating, struggling and swearing I managed to get the tyre back on after changing the tube and even managed to avoid catching the tube. After this I set about getting to bottom of why it was stuck in gear. On this model the gear is constantly engaged and relies on a manual belt tensioner which when tightened by a lever engages the tensioner and the belt then connects the engine to the gearbox. This just needed the cable adjusting, a quick pull on the start cord and the 200cc engine sparked into life and she was up and running again. She will get a lot of use as we clear the plot for the winter, the aim is to manure and cover up again till March/April. I still have some stuff growing, cucumbers, runners, butternut squashes, beetroots, tomatoes, medlars, brussels and celeriac. I expect most of this will be finished in the next 3 weeks, I can then get the soil turned over, fertilised and covered.

Leyton Orient

I have just come away from the 11th game of the season and once again the O’s come away unbeaten after beating Barnet 3:1. We are absolutely on fire this season and for the first time in about 4-5 years we look like a threat, we are looking like we might be a serious challenge for promotion this year. Up the O’s!!!!!

Ham Radio

We are currently around the low point of the sunspot cycle so conditions have been poor for some time, this is the main reason for my lack of motivation to have a tap on the morse key. I plan to go up into the shack next week and have  a play and get my ear in again to play a bit of morse.

Pastures New??

I went to see another company this week with a view to joining them, the interview was very informal, I have known the interviewer for more years than I care to remember, I was very impressed with the set up, but am keeping an open mind. Watch this space!

 

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The Squeaky Wheel gets the Oil

I have decided to close down my website and domain hence the move to the wordpress site, we’ll see how this works out. Well it’s been a couple of months since I last posted and the summer has practically passed by.

Allotment

It has been a bumper year this year for most of the plot, the big disappointment was the berries and currants. This is mainly due to the very dry weather an extreme heat. However everything else really took off, but watering became a mammoth task, with me having to water on a daily basis. The house is overflowing with pickles, rhubarb gin and this year I have had a go at making hard cider, thanks to the abundance of apples grown this year. We also had enough onions for me to string them and store them in the shed, and right now I have about 15 butternut squashes hardening up. All in all it has been a good summer on the plot.

Inkpen Beacon

My favourite poem is Wessex Heights and some time ago I decided to try and visit the places mentioned in the poem. I was at a loose end on a day off back towards the end of July so jumped in the car with the camera and did the two and a half hour journey to Inkpen. The place is a long way from the beaten path, probably 30-40 minutes from the M4. I arrived there at about 11:30 and made my way to the gibbet. I think if Hardy was to turn up today he would recognise the spot. It was very difficult to find anything modern on the horizon except for the radio mast at Membury a way off in the distance. I had a very peaceful afternoon and met some nice people. Definitely worth a visit again.

Wessex Heights by Thomas Hardy

There are some heights in Wessex, shaped as if by a kindly hand
For thinking, dreaming, dying on, and at crises when I stand,
Say, on Ingpen Beacon eastward, or on Wylls-Neck westwardly,
I seem where I was before my birth, and after death may be.
In the lowlands I have no comrade, not even the lone man’s friend –
Her who suffereth long and is kind; accepts what he is too weak to
mend:
Down there they are dubious and askance; there nobody thinks as I,
But mind-chains do not clank where one’s next neighbour is the sky.
In the towns I am tracked by phantoms having weird detective ways –
Shadows of beings who fellowed with myself of earlier days:
They hang about at places, and they say harsh heavy things –
Men with a frigid sneer, and women with tart disparagings.
Down there I seem to be false to myself, my simple self that was,
And is not now, and I see him watching, wondering what crass cause
Can have merged him into such a strange continuator as this,
Who yet has something in common with himself, my chrysalis.
I cannot go to the great grey Plain; there’s a figure against the
moon,
Nobody sees it but I, and it makes my breast beat out of tune;
I cannot go to the tall-spired town, being barred by the forms now
passed
For everybody but me, in whose long vision they stand there fast.
There’s a ghost at Yell’ham Bottom chiding loud at the fall of the
night,
There’s a ghost in Froom-side Vale, thin lipped and vague, in a
shroud of white,
There is one in the railway-train whenever I do not want it near,
I see its profile against the pane, saying what I would not hear.
As for one rare fair woman, I am now but a thought of hers,
I enter her mind and another thought succeeds me that she prefers;
Yet my love for her in its fulness she herself even did not know;
Well, time cures hearts of tenderness, and now I can let her go.
So I am found on Ingpen Beacon, or on Wylls-Neck to the west,
Or else on homely Bulbarrow, or little Pilsdon Crest,
Where men have never cared to haunt, nor women have walked with me,
And ghosts then keep their distance; and I know some liberty.
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