This is not my Beautiful Wife

I’ve been chasing around all over the place this week looking forward to the weekend. Every couple of months my old Colleagues from FTA meet up at a pub near Leadenhall Market in the City of London, I haven’t been for more than 5 years. The build up to this has left me in a reflective mood thinking of some of the characters I worked with at the FTA. We had a great night and it was really good to see them all after so long. While they all looked pretty much the same, the topic of conversation has now moved to pensions, reitrement and moving out of London. The other thing was that when talking about the kids, they were all now grown up, Time flies, it has now been 9 years since I left FTA and it is now a completely different beast to the one I started at 20 years ago, still, nothing stays the same.


I have been pretty quiet but I am still keeping the CW up, I worked Michael in Germany tonight and Karl in Austria in the week.


The battle of the bulge is under way and I have taken up cycling again, I have a long way to go, but intend to keep at it.


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Try Walking in my Shoes

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.


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Cockles and Mussels

Had a nice short week at work this week due to us being in Doncaster last weekend and returning on Monday, so it went pretty quick all in all.


Alfies feet are healing up quite nicely now and he is getting about really well. He still limps a bit when he overdoes it but I don’t think there will be any lasting damage.


Friday I left work and went straight to Ramsgate to meet up with a couple of old friends, I had booked myself into the Travelodge which was bang smack in front of the harbour. The hotel was like all the other travelodges, very clean but no atmosphere, I don’t mind this, having spent more years than I care to remember stopping in hotels, I quite like knowing the standard of the hotel I’m going to.

I met up with Guiseppe (Paul), and we took a stroll along the harbour to the Queens Head, this is a fantastic little pub, just like they used to be before Wetherspoons and Yates’s decided to sterilise the industry. We met up with our old friend John, me and Paul hadn’t seen John since he left London in 1978. We stopped in the Queens Head for a few pints and then made our way to a new Tapas bar called Bench, it had only opened on Wednesday. We sat and talked away the years until after 1:30 and then all staggered back off to our various bunks. The next morning I met Guiseppe at the harbour with one of his friends and we went off for breakfast in a cafe under an arch. The breakfast was great and we had a long chat with Guiseppe’s mate Lee. It turns out Lee used to live in Canning Town so it didn’t take long before we were talking about people we both knew. After Breakfast me and Guiseppe set off for Sandwich and Margate and we were on our feet all day. I went back home at about 17:00 but Guiseppe stayed down to have a drink with Lee. All in all it was a great weekend with good company

Guiseppe and me

Me and Guiseppe enjoying a glass of Viru at Bench, Ramsgate




I bit the bullet and ventured out on the bike today. I have been putting it off for some time, I have lost some weight recently and want to keep this momentum going, I have always cycled and at times have been a little obsessive about it, however I haven’t been on the bike in anger for about seven years. I have about 5 bikes (who’s counting), I am currently to heavy for most of them but I have a hybrid with 26in wheels which can cope with me. I also bought an new heart rate monitor, I like using a HRM it gives me something to work against, I think they are a great training aid. My new HRM also has a GPS device and when you download your training info the route taken, including altitude, is then plotted onto a map, fantastic. I though long and hard and decided not to overdo it today so opted for a 5 mile hilly route and it almost killed me. 5 miles in 45 minutes which would have been unheard of for me 10 years ago. But, I have to remind myself that I haven’t been active for sometime and I need to really build my fitness up. Watch this space..


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I’m glad that week is over

Well, I’ve had a rotter of a week. It started off with me under the microscope due to allegations from a customer that my department had provided a very poor service. While I had no concerns that I could disprove the allegations, the amount of time involved in pulling all the facts together and the fact that it’s like being circled by sharks all in all made for a week I’d like to forget. Unfortunately all this faff meant my radio activity was reduced greatly. This means that I am now behind on my monthly CW target of one QSO per month. I’m still happy though as I’m only six QSO’s behind and I think a concerted effort next week may see me get that back in line, we’ll have to see.

Band conditions have been a bit up and down this weekend, I managed a couple of CW qso’s one with Norman (GM4KGK) in Stornoway western isles. This is the first Scottish station I have worked on the key, it had the added bonus of having a relatively rare WAB square, so it was a good result all round for me. This brings my total countries worked to 14, with the Germans being the most common contacts for me.

In other news I got in contact with an old friend this week via Facebook. He was someone I got friendly with when I was 15 and joined a local cycling club. Javelin CC was a club based in Forest Gate, and run by a guy called George Matthews. I often wonder what happened to George, he was a good bloke and would always help you out with a loan of a bike if you couldn’t go out. We used to meet every Tuesday night at Durning Hall Forest Gate and again every Sunday morning at either Ilford Broadway or Woolwich Ferry, and from there we would go off for the day on a route George had worked out. We also used to go Youth Hostelling some weekends and I visited lots of interesting places even going as far as Wales on one long weekend. Anyway I got in touch with my old mate Joe and while looking on his facebook found a couple of pictures of me, when I had hair, with the bike.

I’m the one in white with my back to the camera. Judging by the bike I’m on this was around 1976 and I think at Matching Green Essex.

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Below: taken in 1977 just outside Ross on Wye, me (middle) Joe (Left) and I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember the other lads name.

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I have some very fond memories of Javelin CC and the guys I ised to ride with, it now all seems like a lifetime away.

The weekend is almost over and my thoughts are being pulled back into work mode so I will have to leave it there this time

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Blast from the past

A very busy last week with the added bonus of knowing I was going to be off for a week at the end of it.

During a quiet spell I found myself poking around facebook when I came across a page for ex-Wallace Arnold staff who had died. I posted a picture of my father and put a few words up. Within half an hour I was contacted by an old friend who I had lost contact with 30 years ago. It’s been really nice catching up and being able to close off a few questions I had.

Morse continues to improve and I have managed a few QSO’s , my problems seem to be with my sending, I tend to get a bit tense about 2 overs in and start mis-tapping. This will improve with practice. I tried again on Sunday but unfortunately there was a contest on 40m and I can’t see the point of a rubber stamp QSO “5nn 73”! I did manage an Algerian and a Belearic station on Sunday afternoon on 12m and 15m.

As I type I should be looking forward to a week off, however I recieved a call this afternoon from Camberwell bus garage to state that one of their brand new Borisbuses had been involved in a very serious incident, the driver had to be cut from the cab and apparently 12 people were injured. The thing that really galls me with this is that the driver generally makes an allegation against the brakes. I have been in transport for more than 36 years and in all my time being involved in alleged brake failures I have never found one that stood up, and only one driver ever told me the truth. He was a guy called Harry who worked at RHM, and he said word for word “Paul, I was driving down Ilford High Road and I spotted a bird on the other side of the road with a short skirt and then I looked back and the car in front had stopped” No disciplinary action was ever taken against Harry because he saved us a few quid in investigating the claim and calling in VOSA etc.

The contact from my old friend has made me very nostalgic this week and I have thought about stacks of stuff I wouldn’t normally think about, it’s funny how things turn out, loads and loads of what ifs, if I had a time machine.

My youngest went off to Marrakesh today for a weeks holiday, I dropped her off at her friends place near Gatwick. I have just received a text from her 21:00 to say she has landed and it’s very warm.

I have decided to start getting out on the bike again so I am going to get my training planner back out again and get it back on track. Where’s my Lycra?

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Two wheels on my wagon

yet another blistering week at work, I’m beginning to wonder why I am sticking around, watch this space.

A bit sad this weekend because the Radio club field weekend was moved to this weekend and unfortunately I was unable to attend. I had everything planned for the original weekend at the end of the month but unfortunately this was changed and the trip brought forward to this weekend and I only had about 2 weeks notice of this so was unable to re-arrange things to suit. I was disappointed because this is one of my favourite aspects of the hobby, still it wasn’t to be avoided.

Sunday was quite a nice day so I took the bike out for a local ride. Cycling is a good exercise for getting over a broken leg as there is no impact and with the gears you can keep the load on your leg within acceptable limits.

I set off to do the 3.5 mile circuit I used to do just to keep my legs spinning years ago there are a couple of short hilly bits which help put you under a bit of pressure but not too hilly as to exhaust you. I was using a Carrera Hybrid bike I bought for my son a few years ago but he never used, I swapped a laptop with him so that it became mine. I have only used it a couple of times and as such I have not adjusted the bike to suit me, so the first ride was more of a finding out ride. I found the saddle uncomfortable and the gears/handlebar set up not to my liking, the bike also did not have a speedo, I have to have something to measure my effort so this was important that I get one fitted. I did the ride in about 22 minutes which wasn’t too bad considering a) I am getting over my broken leg and ankle b) I haven’t ridden a bike sine last year. Anyway on my return I set about with my allen keys to make the bike more useable to me. The seat pitch was angled up at the front, I’ve never ridden this way, can’t get comfortable this way so this was easily adjusted. All the handlebars needed was tilting to make the SRAM gearchangers more easily accessible which I did. I had a speedo sitting in my toolbox which I duly fitted and tested. The speedo is a wireless one and to be honest I don’t like the delay on the speed reading, but we’ll see how it goes, if I can’t get on with it I’ll fit a wire one.

Once all the adjustments were made I took my steed out again and tried out the new bike settings, I did the route in 20 minutes dead, I was puffing a bit but my leg was feeling good. I did get out of the saddle a couple of times and it held up well. The bike felt better with the new adjustments and as has been said, the jury’s out on the speedo.

I have started making plans to pull down my old breeze block shed and build a new wooden one. The aim is to move my radio equipment in their once it’s finished and have the shack outside. When I first got licensed in 2007 I had my radios in the shed and I quite liked it, I moved the radios inside the house around 2009  and have been happy with them in the house but having them in the shed will make them more accessible to me. I will also get a little wood burning stove for the winter, it will be quite cosy when it’s all sorted out.

Today is Father’s day and I have had a good day, unfortunately it does make me think of my own Father, not that we ever did anything special for Fathers day, I still think of him most days but today of all days is more poignant, So wherever you ended up Pat, I look forward to seeing you again.

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I have a few meetings next week including a trip to Manchester to visit Siemens. I will also be on duty at the radio club next week as we have an open day on Saturday and we are also working from Harlow Museum as a special event station on the Sunday.

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