Is it on then? Are we on the brink?

Allotment

At last the plot is drying out and I have a chance to get the soil turned over.

 

 

 

 

After a number of false starts I have managed to get the soil turned over on my plot. The soil is London clay and it doesn’t take too much rain to turn it into an 80ft x 20ft solid lump. We had some good weather last week and I was able to get the rotavator out and start breaking it up, and had to fork it all first however. During this time I managed to fix the rotavator, since I’ve had it, it runs for a while and then cuts out. I first thought the problem was fuel related and have stripped the carburettor and cleaned and re-jetted it with the fault still occurring. Last week I decided that I was going to get stuck in and get to the bottom of the problem even if I had to strip it into a hundred pieces. Anyway to cut it short I eventually diagnosed to a faulty oil pressure sensor. The motor has a safety device fitted to stop the engine running if it runs out of oil. I bypassed this and the problem has gone away, it was great being able to run the motor continuously and get my work done.

I managed to plant seeds in the greenhouse, get my climbing frame up, plant some King Edwards and Maris pipers and 50 onions. All my trees are in full bloom, with the exception of the Medlar, and I’m not really sure what to expect from that. My blackcurrants, redcurrants and raspberries are going well and are in fruit but albeit quite a way off.

Left: Blossoms on the cherry tree with my plum tree in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bike

Left: This steed was dumped at my workplace and has been sitting there for three years. The bike is a messenger type cycle with a fixed wheel and no brakes. I took it home and fixed it up and for the first time in more than 30 years I had a ride on a fixed wheel. The discipline is quite a bit different than riding a bike with a freewheel. The first thing you notice is setting off. You have to set the pedals to the right position to start and of course you cannot back pedal to line them up. Once moving you cannot freewheel, which can be fiddly if you are using clips or toe-clips as you have to either lock in first time or wait for the pedal to come around again. Stopping is another novelty, you don’t need brakes in the conventional sense. Normally fixed wheel bikes have just a front brake as heavy braking is carried out by applying downward pressure on the up stroke of the pedals which takes some getting used to. Anyway I managed 5 miles without killing myself, people or animals. I’d forgotten what fun these bikes are to ride, this one definitely has a place in the stable with my six other bikes, you can never have enough pushbikes.

We had an unexpected departure last week, we have two cats, sisters who are seven years old. One of them was a bit under the weather and we decided to take her to the vets to get her checked out, little did I know that she wouldn’t be coming back. It turned out that she was in the final stages of Kidney disease and had to be put down. She gave no signs of being ill apart from a couple of days before we took her to the vets. It was such a shock, completely unexpected. We picked up her ashes today.

Orient

We have now come to the end of the home season with one last game on Saturday at Gateshead which ends our first season in the national league. It has been a funny seasons with lots of ups and downs and two managers. I haven’t missed one home game and even managed a couple of away games. I will renew my season ticket this summer and it is good to see the club being run properly after three years of being run by a lunatic Italian. We ended up mid table at the end of the season which I am happy with, there is a plan to push for promotion next season. I’m not going to hold my breath for this but after last season I am just happy I still have a club to support which wasn’t looking likely toward the end of last season.

 

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The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Well spring has put in a proper appearance at last and the evenings are getting lighter. I got out on my road bike today and put a few miles in, my legs are still a bit wobbly but after tomorrows run they’ll settle down.

Orient

I met up with a few mates at the football last week, and we had a few pints and a good natter. The result was awful but we had a good time catching up and remembering old mates, a few of which are now dead, one of the joys of getting older I guess.

Work

I had a phone call recently from an agency, they got my details from Linkedin because of my experience with Hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles. It was a bit of a bolt out of the blue, but the upshot is they are paying me handsomely to carry out some consultancy work for a foreign company who are looking to introduce a Hydrogen network into the UK. The rate is fantastic and equates to about one days work per month. Unfortunately I cannot give any more details than that, I have had a telephone conference to scope out the work and have started already. It’s nice to have something to sink my teeth into.

 

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Quietly now, as we turn the page

 

Another weekend at the boat, nice and peaceful

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I decided after last weeks fiasco at the boat that the engine needed a service. So during the week I gathered all the parts together needed to carry out an engine service. After a hectic week at work, on Friday afternoon I set off up the boat, a little later than I normally would, but was pleased that the by-pass at Thetford had relieved the normal traffic jams of the past. I arrived at Tescos Stalham by about 19:00, after a buying some provisions I boarded the boat and it was nice to be back. For some time I have been struggling with the boat as it seems every time I go up there I always have some work to do. However that said this weekend I had some work to do, but it wasn’t work that had to be done and that is the difference.

The weather was cracking, in the high 20’s and I opened up the canopy and settled in for the evening, in the knowledge that I had a busy day tomorrow.

Being a very light sleeper and suffering from Insomnia for more than 20 years I was really surprised to have slept in till 10am the next morning, I never sleep this long normally. I set about servicing the engine and changed all the filters and the engine oil. I also cleaned out the engine bilge, this had filled up recently when the water pump dropped all the coolant out. I have always prided myself on a clean engine bay but of late I have not been too attentive in this area. this took me most of the day and I’m pleased to say everything went to plan. On Saturday evening I sat on the front of the boat looking out into the marina listening to the birds and watching the Swallows diving and darting about picking up insects for their young.

I came back home on Sunday morning safe in the knowledge that the boat is shipshape and ready to go out when I come up next week.

I haven’t done much radio recently, unfortunately there has been a very large solar flare which has knocked most of HF radio comms for about two weeks now, however I did work my mate Bob, about half a mile away on the key today.

My new pedals arrived for my bike while I was away, these are Look KEO pedals, I have always used Look after trying Shimano and SPD. My old pedals are about 15 years old and the cleats are quite worn so its about time I got a new set. I am nearing the wait I feel comfortable with on my road bike and expect to be back on the road with it in about 7 days time, watch this space.

 

That’ll do for now

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A mixed bag really

Three weeks ago in a bid to loose some weight I started the Paleo diet. Having done Atkins a couple of times I had reservations. Three weeks later I find myself 16lbs lighter and not craving anything, I also have not had a drink for three weeks, I am quite upbeat about this because I feel that this diet is manageable with my lifestyle, so watch this space.

Cycling

I got out on the bike today for the first time in a few weeks, I did my 8.5 mile Harlow circuit, and despite having not been on the bike for a few weeks I managed to return a reasonable time. I haven’t done much distance stuff as we are still waiting for some decent weather. I reckon if my current weight loss plan keeps going I should be able to get out on my road bike in about 4-6 weeks time. I have an old friend who wants to go out with me on our bikes, we used to cycle together in the 70’s with Javelin CC. He was a good bloke but extremely competitive and a bit of a know it all, a bit like me. So this is the main reason for my diet and fitness plan.

Radio

It’s been a busy month on the radio and I have 28 contacts in the log so far, and still a few more days to go before the end of the month.

Despite saying I wouldn’t, this week I went back to the Harlow radio club and re-joined, I have my reservations and it didn’t take long for some of the petty bickering to raise it’s head again. I have mixed feelings about re-joining and will see how it goes. What did surprise me was the time that everyone called it a day, by 10pm most of the members had gone home,¬†and by 10:30 they were locking up. There was a time not too long ago that closing time on most Friday’s was after midnight.

Orient

I bought my season ticket last week, it had been reduced by 20% to reflect the fact that they have been relegated to the fourth division. I look forward to the new season and to see what’s left of our once great little team.

Tomorrow is a public holiday in England and I shall be making the most of my day off, by doing whatever the wife orders me to do

 

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72 DXCC’s and growing

The weather is on the turn and at last I feel like summer is on the way. Work has been up and down of late, but nothing new there I hear you mutter. The less I dwell on this the better for all parties involved.

Radio

Radio keeps getting better and better. Yesterday alone I added 4 new entities to my list. First off I was delighted to a Japanese station, followed very quickly by a Libyan station, some time after I managed a closer station, but nonetheless elusive (for me), Crete. After this excitement (this is what passes as excitement when you’re my age) I went back downstairs for dinner. I went back on the radio and after working a few stations including Ken K3WW, I worked what I thought was another US station which turned out to be the US Virgin Islands. A very good days work. My target this month is 31 stations, it is the tenth of the month and I am already on 23 stations, so I am quite a bit ahead.

Election

This week saw the general election come and go, I have to admit to having an interest in politics, so I followed this closely. It was a result I don’t think anyone foresaw and I think it will be remembered for some time to come. The one thing we have now that we didn’t have at the last election was Twitter, unfortunately the moans and groans are piling up and I think because of the medium it is being listened to, it’s sad really because once again the noisy minority will probably be appeased to shut them up.

Leyton Orient

Well, it happened, my team have been relegated to the 2nd (4th) division. I managed to get to their last home game of the season against Sheffield United, which they managed a 2-2 draw, but it shows that the team are being poorly managed, I won’t go on about it, plenty of people have. Roll on next season!

Cycling

My fitness is slowly coming back and I am enjoying being back on the pushbike.

That’ll do for now.

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My body is a cage

After a very busy March April has been a little more sedate, the cycling is going well and I can feel my fitness coming back although it is still quite a way off. I am currently riding at weekends and I am managing around 20-25 miles per weekend. I am still only using my hybrid bike, I prefer the gear ratios on the road bike but its a means to an end.

Radio

The sun has been busy of late firing flares into the solar system, and as any radio ham will know, this causes disruption to the Ionosphere. Radio uses the Ionosphere to bounce bounce signals around the globe. So of late the airwaves have been a bit flat. I have managed a few contacts but tonight I went into the shack and after working a Dutch station on 40m I switched to 17m and heard an Indian special event station, I managed to get back to him straight away. Straight after I worked him I switched to 40m and worked a station in Montenegro. So tonight I have worked two new countries on the key.

The weekend is here and I need to make some plans.

 

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Burning Ring of Fire

This weekend saw Easter arrive, I love this time of year, not for any religious regions but purely for the fact that us worker have two four day weeks with a four day weekend sandwiched in the middle.

Cycling

Lesley had two night shifts to do this weekend so I couldn’t venture far. This was useful as it meant I would be able to get some more miles into my legs. I got up bright and early Friday morning with good intentions, but alas, it was pissing down with rain. Unfortunately I have no wet get at present so the ride was off. I had better luck on Saturday morning as it stayed dry. I set off to do my eight mile local circuit, I still found it a bit of a stretch but not as much as I did last week, all in all I did the circuit in bang on one hour, six minutes faster than last week, and with fewer stops.

I was quite psyched up after this ride so I set about making a couple of adjustments to the workhorse, toe clips and end bars and I was happy. After a bit of deliberation I decided that Sunday’s ride would be done on the road, a trip out to Matching Green. I felt as though I could manage the 23 mile circuit so planned that.

Sunday was overcast when I set out but at least it was dry. Getting out of Harlow is a bugger if you are unfit, like me, as you have to climb to get out into the country. So I was puffing well by the time I got to Foster Street. I was doing quite well until about 5 miles in but then got concerned about the pain in my backside. I decided to do what I called the Matching Short Circuit, which means turning off before Little Laver and heading direct Matching. I did quite well and was pretty pleased with myself when I got back home after covering 16.5 miles albeit in the leisurely time of 1hr 40. I am looking forward to my 8 miler tomorrow.

Radio

I paid a visit to the Harlow Radio Club on Friday, this was my first visit in 5 months or more. The reason for my visit was pick up a panadapter for my FT-950. It was good to see the lads but I didn’t a stay long and I am not hankering to get back there.

Looking forward to getting back on the bike tomorrow.

 

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