We’re now into the thick of the new year and work things are starting to settle down. The period between Christmas and new year sees a real down turn in bus service with a Saturday service operated during this period. The downside is some buses don’t move during this time and we end up with a mad rush the day after new years day with non starts etc. Things are quietening down now however.
After a few weeks off the air with work and antenna problems I am back again. I put a new antenna up last year and intended to try it out for portable, when I’m out and about. I was so impressed with it’s performance that I left it up, which is fine. However I hadn’t sealed the connector and box for the weather. A few weeks ago I noticed that the antenna wouldn’t tune and that’s when I realised my mistake. The Unun box had water in it and rain water had also got into the co-ax which kissed good bye to any insulation required. I have now replace the feeder and dried out the box and we are up and running again. I had two 599 contacts into Spain and Slovenia yesterday evening, so I know its all working again. I like the antenna because I can tune from 80m to 10m, so it is a useful antenna.
I should have been up at the boat this weekend gone but didn’t manage it, I had a few jobs around the house to do. We went up over Christmas but the boat looks a bit neglected at the moment, due to the mild weather there is quite a bit of algae covering all the boats up there so I do need to get down and give the old girl a wash. Plus I could do with a tinker, with a boat, unless its a year old there is always something that needs tightening adjusting or replacing. The worst thing you can do with a boat is neglect it as it will bite you back at some stage.
I went to the radio club on Friday, I ended up staying until half eleven, I haven’t done this for ages. We had a good laugh, I actually enjoyed myself up there for the first time in over a year.
Flippin hell, where has the time gone? Summer is now over and we are a third of the way into the autumn.
I have had a great summer and even a good September.
My camera skills, (not that I was anything more than competent) are coming back to me. I am now using a Canon 7D, I am really enjoying taking pictures again and I have even joined a website called meetup.com, it has tons of camera groups who meet up in places and set about taking picture. I haven’t been to any meet up yet as I don’t want to embarrass myself, but I know I will go soon.
During the 2nd week of September we took the boat out for a week, we haven’t done this for some time. We had a great time and we even managed to get on at Ranworth, this is Lesley’s favourite mooring spot. It was great to be out and about again and the boat performed well and without event. Alfie loved it and was as good as gold while we were out, he has settled into boat life very quickly.
We are off again for a few days in October.
Radio has been a bit quiet of late with many other distractions of late. I have been back to the radio club, but I doubt I will be going back on a regular basis. August and September were probably about the quietest months I have known since taking up the hobby. This can be blamed on the fact that we are quite low down in the sun spot cycle and the fact that there was quite a lot of solar flare activity which does play havoc with the ionosphere.
Things are starting to pick up again however, and I even managed to work a Canadian this week VO1MP, stangely enough he was my first Canadian contact when I first had a QSO with him back in 2007.
Work is getting a little problematic at the moment and I think it may be time to consider my options again.
I renewed my season ticket this year despite the league table drop and now have M115 for the year, my seat neighbours are a good bunch and I have a good spot. The season started well but we are starting to slip again, so watch this space.
Gott Mitt Uns!
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and this is in the main because I have been so busy up at the boat. This weekend has been the first one in seven weeks that I have actually been at home all weekend.
Work has been a real grind lately with a lot of negative activity in the press and media which has ramped up the pressure on my department considerably. Because of this radio has had to take a bit of a back seat of late.
I have been getting back into photography lately and as my technique improves I started seeing the shortfall with my current camera, Canon 1000D. So I took the plunge last week and bought a 7D body and upgraded. I liked the 1000D but in comparison to the 7D it is way behind. The 7D is an 18mp camera as opposed to the 1000D which is 10mp. The 7D is nearly twice the weight of the 1000D but it does feel like a proper camera, the bonus is that the lenses fit both the 7D and the 1000D, so it was a relatively cheap upgrade.
I have been out this weekend trying it out and and I am liking the results see below:
Some of the pictures above were taken at my local nature reserve, I live about half a mile away and in the twenty odd years I have lived here this is the first time I have visited. I was really fortunate as today they had an exhibition on beekeeping and honey making. They actually had a working hive on display with glass panels, it was fascinating. I got talking to a chap outside who had been keeping bees for over thirty years. I then had a walk around the reserve and it made a nice pleasant stroll. I will definitely be returning.
Alfie found a frisbee yesterday and has made me take it out every time we went for a walk this weekend, the poor sod is knackered now.
I belong to a facebook group called photos of Harlow, there are people on there who are a mine of information about Harlow. I found out this weekend that the pond in Risdens wood is actually a crater left over from a V2 rocket strike in WWII, in fact it was the 599th rocket to hit the UK. I think my dog would probably thank the Germans for this if he could.
Football season starts next week for me with Orient at home to Barnet, we have lost some good players over the summer but I am hoping with the new manager they get wound up enough to want to get back up into the 3rd division, watch this space.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted and the main reason for this is that I have been flat out at the boat every spare moment I had, in fact I have just got in from another great though tiring weekend.
We took the boat out a couple of weekends ago and visited the White Horse in Neatishead, this used to be my favourite broads pub and was taken over a year or two ago, this was my first visit since it was taken over. We liked the pub because it was dog friendly, felt like a local pub and had great, friendly staff. I have to say I was relieved as apart from the facelift nothing had changed, great staff, great service and still dog friendly, I’m looking forward to visiting once the summer season is over. We got there lunchtime with the intention of stopping for one and then going back to the boat. We parked ourselves in the new yard area with the dog and was soon joined by a family who were on their first boating trip, they came from Whitstable and we sat there for a couple of hours sharing stories and enjoying each others company. It reminded us of the reason we like boating in the first place.
I have spent the last couple of weekends on the moorings, I have painted the decks and gunwhales and varnished the rear doors, it’s great seeing Martha looking good again. It has also been nice catching up with everyone again.
I’ll be up again next weekend to continuing with the varnishing, we plan to go out on her for a week in September, providing I can get the time off.
In other news I sat and passed my IOSH exam last week, this is a qualification in Health and Safety something I’ve been looking to do for some time.
Back to work tomorrow and time to make plans for next weekend.
Friday saw my annual visit to the nurse, except that I have missed three appointments. So once we got the bollocking over she went on to read my results, advantage Honey. She was very surprised to see my recent blood test results. My HBa1C and fasting tests were down considerably on the previous results, she said I don’t know how you are doing it, just keep doing it. I have to say the biggest factor in my success is the Paleo diet. 20.5lbs lost so far.
After my visit with the nurse I was quite pumped up so I got home, cracked on with work and got finished by about half past two. Me and Alf then jumped in the car and set off for Norfolk.
You may remember that on my last visit my water pump failed on the boat. I ordered a replacement on ebay, this turned up and was the wrong one, so I ordered one from ASAP a very good boat parts suppliers in Beccles, like an idiot I went by the picture on the site and not the blurb and when trying to fit the pump on Friday night I noticed that the impeller was larger than the original pump and would not fit the engine.
Norfolk is like going back in time, and don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is frustrating at times. ASAP the biggest parts suppliers on the broads doesn’t open on Saturday. I then spent the whole morning driving around Norfolk visiting boatyards trying to locate a replacement pump. I eventually found one at Thorpe at Kingfisher Cruisers. Really nice people!
Problem No 37!
I got the pump back and fitted it to the boat only to find that the impeller seemed to be snagging when turned by hand, not something you want when the engine is driving the pump at 1000rpm. So on closer inspectionit turned out the impeller was 80 thousandths of an inch to wide. I then spent the next 2 hours taking with a fine grinding wheel taking metal from the outer edge of the impeller. Eventually I managed to fit the pump and it turned freely. So I topped the coolant up adding anti freeze to the mix and started the engine up. The engine got up to temperature pretty quickly which is never a good sign. You guessed it, I had an air lock, this was borne out by the fact that I had no hot water from any of the taps. After a great deal of faffing around which involved getting burned I eventually got all the air out and managed to get some hot water. I had intended taking Alfie for a walk on the beach but unfortunately by low tide the rain was bucketing down, I had had a bad day and decided to go home, which we did.
The HF bands have been rubbish lately so I haven’t done any radio worth talking about.
Back to the boat again next Friday.
At last we have had some signs of summer. I have lived in Harlow for more than 20 years. In all this time I’ve never really explored the area so On Sunday the sun was shining and I decided to take Alfie for a walk along the River Stort. I made my way to Parndon Mill and managed to get parked up. So we set off along the river bank which is mainly an asphelt path, it was quite busy with lots of people on bikes and also walking there dogs or just strolling. As usual Alfie loved wandering off in front all the while looking for a way to get into the water. The Stort is a navigation and the banks are quite steep, but it didn’t take long and Alfie was swimming around. On the way back there was a narrow boat in the lock at Parndon Mill. I stopped for a while and had a chat with the couple whose boat it was. They were a really nice couple who had been living on the boat for about 8 years. It was great chatting to them and it was just nice to wander around and smell the fresh air without any timetable. I am looking forward to getting around Harlow with my camera a bit more over the next year or two.
left, Alfie running along the riverbank
Last month saw my best month so far for CW contacts with 42 contacts made. But we are into a new month and it starts again, this month has been slow starting but I’m sure it will pick up.
I have bought an new beam for 2m and 70cm, I have now built it and can’t wait to get it up and work the UKAC contest. Watch this space. I have been attending the Harlow club again, I am not convinced it’s where I want to be but we’ll see how it goes.
Life is pretty good at the moment, I am trying a different approach to life and at the age of 54 I seem to be seeing things in a different light. I’m not saying we should expect a different Paul, but lets just say my outlook is changing. Things that used to be important to me are now less so. Lets see how it goes.
The diet is going well and I’m still finding it quite easy to follow, which is half the battle.
I had another four day week last week, I have to admit I am enjoying them. We took Friday off to visit the boat, we haven’t been up there since November last year, we were lucky because we had a very mild winter and Martha was in pretty good shape because of this. We also had a partial eclipse on the way up, unfortunately it was so overcast we never manager to see it, we just noticed how dark it got. By the time we got to Stalham the cloud had gone and we had a beautiful sunny day with a temperature around 13c. The boat was in good shape so there wasn’t much for me to do except play ball with Alfie, no matter how I try I cannot wear this dog out, he even had a swim. We had a pleasant evening but by the time we went to bed the boat was being blown about a bit so I didn’t sleep very well. The weather was miserable on Saturday so we had breakfast and set off for home.
Sunday I went back out on the bike, it is still a struggle but I did push it a bit more, I managed 8 miles which is still bugger all compared to what I used to be able to do but I have to work on my fitness first. I am getting used to the bike and I have to say the brakes are the best I have ever had on a pushbike, they are discs front and rear. I managed to burn 675 calories which will help. The plan this week is to do a midweek ride, or at least a turbo trainer session. I am feeling a bit better on the bike and hope to keep this up.
I dusted the road bike off today and can’t wait to give that a blast when I drop some more weight.
I’ve been pretty quiet on the radio over the past couple of weeks but I did manage a QSO tonight with Miguel (EA2CFR) near Pamplona in Spain.