Hello darkness my old friend

Work

2018 carries on unabated, Christmas seems just a distant memory now as we race through January. Work picked up right where it left off in December and at times if feels like feeding wolves, no matter how nice you are to people, you are still going to get bitten at some stage as it is in their nature. They were biting hard in December and resumed straight away in November. I discussed my 2018 plan with my boss last week and I am pleased to say that he as agreed all my suggested changes, so this year looks to be very challenging. I was a bit disappointed with a couple of events recently at work, a couple of guys who I have looked after and helped out when they needed it,in two completely unrelated events, both stitched me up royally over the past four weeks. It’s a shame because it’s always the people who take liberties that end up spoiling it for everyone else.

My Mother

Rumblings from the bush telegraph would suggest that my mother has taken a turn for the worst. I have not seen my mother for more that 5 years and we became estranged some 5 years or more before that, to all intents and purposes she died some time ago. However hearing that she has had to leave her home, has saddened me. My mother was a funny old bird and after speaking to a couple her sisters, she was a lot like her mother in some of her ways. I know she had an awful childhood with an abusive drunken father and I think in some ways this would explain some of her odd ways. I had my issues with my mother, but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Chris, despite everything I have a lot of good memories of you and will remember these, all the best wherever you end up.

Other stuff

Quite a lot planned for the next couple of months, we are decorating top to bottom as I start to look forward to next stage of my life, Retirement. I have a few years left to go and it is in single figures now, but we have plans and that involves tidying the house up with a view to sell it. We will also sell the boat this year, we have had our use out of it and we only manage a few visits per year and it isn’t really cost effective to keep it, with mooring’s, licenses and insurance, you are into close on £3000 per annum before you even take the boat out. We have had Martha 14 years now and I think we’ve done it all, Lesley even says I can use the money we get for her to buy a newer Landrover. I better get this done before she changes her mind.

Allotment

The weather has been awful of late and I can’t do anything with the plot at the moment. The ground is completely water logged. I have a lot of plans for the plot this year so can’t wait for the weather to break.

Till the next time

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Restrictive Covenants

Everything seems to have been busy of late, both work and family life, and I’m not complaining as time flies when you’re busy.

Boat

We managed four days up in Norfolk last week, the weather wasn’t fantastic but it was great to get away. We went took Martha out an spent a bit of time visiting old haunts, and managed to run into a few old friends. It was good to get around, the boat behaved herself and is now due some maintenance for the winter. As usual Alfie thoroughly enjoyed it and we managed some good long walks ashore. That’s the beauty of having had a boat here for so long, I now know most of the public and permissive footpaths which take me and the dog off the beaten track. One of our friends is moving up here in the next couple of months and we took a drive to see her new place, I’m not sure how they are going to get on as it is a bit rural and I don’t see them living like that.

Radio

Nothing at all to report here, I have not had a contact on the radio since August as I have been drawn into other distractions of late.

Allotment

The growing season is really winding down now with activity at the allotment (from others) really dwindling now. As for us we continue to grow and plan for next year. I am just pulling up my butternut squashes, in fact we started eating our squashes last night. I am also growing some winter cabbages (Durham Early) and some parsnips. I finally got my greenhouse up and it went together well, just in time for the winter and getting stuff ready for the new year.

GreenhouseThe greenhouse up and in place, minus the glass obviously.

 

 

 

I have also got some autumn raspberries coming along as well, these are not as sweet as the summer varieties, but nice all the same.

Autumn Gold20161021_172536

The last Carrots for this year

 

 

 

So Plot 8b is winding down although there will be plenty of maintenance to carry out during the winter, and I hope to be able to report some good news regarding the allotment in my next post.

Work

I was offered a role with a very large Fleet Management company recently. Unfortunately as with all these things not is all as it seems. The post was for a Fleet Engineer covering the south of England and had 4 depots in the region. One of the depots was a problem depot, which they were keen for me to sort out, and I was up for the challenge. The first alarm bell started ringing when at my second interview I asked for a copy of the job description, this was not forthcoming and the interviewer got a little testy about it. A job offer came and few days later the job pack arrived at home. The first surprise was the pay package, which was lower than discussed, and even lower for the first 3 months. The contract also had a restrictive covenant in it which stop me working for any other fleet management companies for at least three months after leaving them, this is almost unworkable for me. There was also a clause about items not mentioned in my contract but I am still contractually obliged to conform to, I asked for details of what these items are, to be told that I would have to ask for specifics items as there were too many to list.

With all this I decided that the job was not for me so dropped it much to the disappointment of the agency. So it looks like I will be staying put, for the time being.

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I’ll be standin on the corner full of gin, when they bring your dead body in.

Its been a couple of weeks since my last post, but that’s not to say nothing has been happening.

Allotment

I have finally got my last courgettes from the plot, I have now dug up both plants, they were starting to suffer from leaf mould and I don’t think they would have bore much more. I have turned over the soil and put some manure in.

The onions are now coming up and Christ they are strong.

I dug my spuds up, they make it look very easy on youtube but I don’t think I had a spud that hadn’t been spiked with my fork. I got about 5lbs from the plants and considering they grew from a couple of jacket spuds we didn’t eat I think it did well.

My butternut and St Johns Squashes are growing well and the St Johns ones are already being taken home. I have planted some winter potatoes, these should be ready for the Christmas table.

I have planted some Parsnip, Cabbage and Chard seeds into the little greenhouse and these are shooting up now. And my tomato plants have been planted out and are flowering.

We still haven’t heard anything about the other half of our plot yet, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

This weekend I went to one of my cousins to pick up an unwanted 6ft x 6ft glass greenhouse. I can’t wait to get it erected, this will give me a lot more options with stuff to grow.

I had a pretty stressful week at work last week and on Friday evening I went up to the plot for a few hours. I was amazed how de-stressed I was when I went back home at sunset.

Orient

I went to the last O’s match vs Yeovil, the game was atrocious and Orient wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Hackney marshes on Sunday, in fact I think there are some better players over there. At the end the fans were shouting Becchetti out at the gallery. Becchetti is the clubs owner, what happened next beggared belief, the chairman just waved the supporters quite dismissively which made matters worse,  and then to put the tin lid on it all the fans clapped and cheered the Yeovil players off the pitch after booing the Orient players off. We are playing at home again on Tuesday evening and the fixture has almost become a side line to the inevitable protestations.

Watch this space.

Other news

I had an interview last week and the feedback from the agency was that I am now a firm favourite, time to start thinking about what I want to do. I will have a second interview in a couple of weeks so I have time to consider this, but its strange. I am now responsible for 30 staff and three business units and I am having crisis of confidence, I know this is because of my age and the time I have spent with my current employer, but its still difficult all the same.

Toni has just returned to Italy after being in New York for fashion week and a few days spent in Santa Barbara on the west coast. I envy her, to be that young and be paid to visit these places, she’s a lucky girl.

Boat

We spent last weekend at the boat and the weather was perfect, Martha behaved herself and we had a good trip visiting some of our favourite places. Alfie hurt his leg while we were up there, but it is better now. I think he may have a weak joint or muscle as this keeps happening.

I bid you a good evening and what’s left of your weekend

 

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You can stand me up at the gates of hell

I write this while sitting on the boat in the middle of Salhouse Broad in Norfolk.

Boat

This weekend has been long overdue, after a quick clean up and a fettle we were underway again. On our run round we bumped into a few old friends who we haven’t seen for a couple of years. It was really nice to catch up, time moves on but people generally stay the same. The dog loves the boat life, he is quite happy to sit behind me as we go along and never attempts to get off.  We will be going back home tomorrow and I have a couple of days off, this will give me time to prepare for an interview I have on Wednesday. I then have to fly to Belfast on Wednesday evening for a meeting with top brass in the factory on Thursday morning.

Allotment

I had a potter around the allotment before we left for the boat. The French beans have budded. The rest of the stuff is going great guns, I also planted a tayberry bush, this will be in my raspberry run. I think I will be picking plums when I get back from Norfolk, they were looking good when I left.

Fuckwits and wasters ptII

I went to the radio club on Friday night and I managed to bump into none other than the man who sponges off his wife. He berated me last week on 2 metres for failing to give my locator while mobile, a license condition that was stopped four years ago. As luck had it he decided to visit the local radio club this week. I can be pretty intimidating when I want to and suffice it to say an apology was forthcoming and we can all move on with our lives and he also now understands the terms of his radio transmitting license.

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend

 

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Pillock!!!

Allotment

Everything is doing as it should on Plot 8b. We will be pulling lettuce this week and we have had some radishes already. I have either got the touch or it’s beginners luck, most likely the later. The time flies while I am on the plot and the issues with work just disappear. The allotments are surrounded more or less completely by bushes and trees and it is a haven for wild birds, we also have a resident fox. The fox sat and watched me working the other week for about 4 hours, I kept my distance and he just lay there in the sun, at one point he curled up in a ball and slept so I know he doesn’t feel too threatened. I also have a juvenile robin who appears whenever I’m turning dirt over for the worms and insects that surface, he shows no fear and has even sat on the end of my fork.

We have some good neighbours up there and we are now swapping seedlings with a Portuguese family who have a plot near the entrance, I am enjoying this although I’m not sure what winter allotmenteering is going to be like.

Radio

I haven’t done too much radio for some time now due to being pulled in other directions, HADARS had their annual field weekend last week. For the first time in ages I never felt compelled to go, so didn’t. It’s been about 4 months since I went to the radio club now. I tend not to be that active during the summer due to the shack getting uncomfortably hot.

 

Boat

For the first time in ages Lesley’s off duties match up with my time off, so a trip to Norfolk is on the cards. I know this will just mean that I will spend my time working on the boat instead of the plot, but it’s in the fresh air and its away from home.

Fuckwits and Wasters

This week I was told off by a bloke who sponges off his missus, it was quite funny.

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I’m living in an age, that calls darkness light

A few ups and down this week, but the weekend is here and a trip to the boat beckons. A strange thing happened this week, about found my bad mood had lifted, don’t know why.

Radio

The bands have been flat again this week with chances of any DX virtually non-existent. I have managed a few special event stations on the key however. Friday night saw an EGM at the radio club and I reckon that the was the longest I have spent at the club in a long time. The meeting was a lot about nothing really some changes to the constitution and a vote about equipment.

Family

Toni is in Dallas with work attending a fashion event, she then flies back to the UK, meets up with her boyfriend and goes out to Portugal for a short break before flying back to Florence, I am envious, not the boyfriend bit, but its great to be young and travelling the world. Especially when most of it is paid for by the company.

Boat

Lesley has just finished a night shift and we are going to go to the boat today, I have Monday off and am looking forward to the short break. I’ve not been up for a few weeks but the last time I was up she was in pretty good nick

Alfie Stick Left, Alfie lost the 2ft long stick so decided half the tree would make a good replacement

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’ll do for now, the weather doesn’t look to good but a weekend up the boat is better than almost anywhere, I’ll be taking my camera as I have done much photography over the winter.

 

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Don’t jump off the roof dad

I write this as we are half way through the Easter weekend, this is a four day weekend and two four day working weeks. Toni is home this weekend for a flying visit and has spent some of it catching up with friends, she’ll need a break when she gets back home.

Radio

I had a cracking weekend on the radio, Lesley was on nights for two nights which meant I could sit in my shack and work the world, which I pretty much did. The key got a hammering, I managed a couple of Asiatic Russian Stations as well as the US NY and Illinois, plus Canada and quite a few EU stations. I am knocking the rust from my wrist and had a real block today trying to send BT, which came out more like X.

I have also put the FT-7800 in my work car, as I spend more time in this car than the Landrover. It has been interesting but Ofcom really messed this up when they changed the licensing system (IMHO). Years ago you had to pass a morse test before you were allowed on the HF bands, this meant that non morse stations were restricted to the VHF & UHF bands, this kept these bands very active. A few years ago they opened the HF bands to all and sundry and the VHF/UHF frequencies are hardly used. I will keep the FT-7800 in the car as sometimes its nice to talk to someone on the way home.

Boat

Friday I took a run up to Martha, the weather was great and once I’d finished fettling I really wanted to stay the night, I had to pick Toni up in the morning so an overnight was out of the question. Martha is looking well and apart from a bit more cleaning and some tinkering she is pretty well ship shape.

I’m looking forward to a few nights up here soon.

Family

I am sitting here with the family waiting for dinner, a typical Sunday evening. Lesley is cooking a Christmas dinner as Toni was in Italy for Christmas. Poor thing has just realised the clocks went forward last night and it has messed up her timings, she has only had 5 hours sleep last night after working nights so I really can’t blame her. We have been married thirty one years this year, and I am a much better man because of her.

Orient

I only have about 5 more home games to go to this season and we are playing Hartlepool tomorrow, I will be there. Up the O’s!!

 

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