Come live with me

Allotment, Buses, Work

Wrightbus

On the 25th September Wrightbus finally went into administration. As usual the media were well in front any info coming from the company. I found out the night before from one of my contacts inside the factory, that the company would be going into administration in the morning. I was told to gather my staff and expect a call in the morning to receive the news officially. Sadly my staff came to Orpington and we all hung around waiting for the call, we watched a covert feed from the factory as production staff were all told it was over. We waited till 14:00 and still hadn’t heard anything official so I sent the lads home and told them to not drive their vans tomorrow until we had heard something. We received the official notice at 16:50 after a hastily organised conference call, it was as if they had forgotten they had staff on the mainland.

I was devastated by the news, I had worked for Wrights for nine and a half years and had built the team myself, it was like a bereavement. After 42 years of continuous employment I was now looking at the prospect of signing on, I was advised to do this straight away by the administrator. I wasn’t really up to doing this and quickly found myself a new job. I am still connected with the bus industry.

Allotment

The plot is now more or less finished for the year and I am in the process of covering it up. I left it too late to cover last year and really regretted it. The plot really ran away from me, in part, due to not covering it up. So I am not going to make the same mistake again. I am going to leave a little part of the plot open so that I can plant my garlic and some winter onions. I haven’t produced as much as I like to this year, but everything grown got eaten.

Mostly cleared but still a bit to do

Photo Archives

I was having a rummage around through my old photographs and came across this one. It was from one of two holidays I had with my parents and was taken in the south of France. We went away in an old 1961 Vauxhall Victor Estate, my dads sister and her family came with us in a different car. We went as far as Lourdes, my fathers family were big Catholics. The little girl next to me is my cousin Margret, I am still in touch with her today. I was about five years old when this was taken.

Paul and Margret C1965

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Under your thumb forever

Allotment, Buses, Uncategorized

Wrightbus

We had a call on Friday updating us on the current situation, which hasn’t told us much more than we already know. We are expecting it to reach a conclusion in the next week or so. I’m not sure what Wrights will look like after this is over, I have my own views. I’ll share them when its all settled.

Allotment

I have more or less got my plot cleared! It has been really hard work, a big lump of the plot has really gotten away from me this year. I think the effort needed to clear the plot has really taken my mind off of the shenanigans in Ballymena. I have some big plans next year and in the four years I have had the plot I don’t think I’ve ever got all of it back to dirt. Over the next few weeks I will be rotavating and covering most of the plot in order to get a good start next spring. Lesley has already started covering her plot as most of her veg is up and stored now. Lesley has had a good year, with a bumper crop of spuds, carrots and butternut squashes. I did really well with onions and shallots, and I have three strings of onions hanging in the shed, I reckon they will see us through to December/January. I had a ropey year for Apples, Tomatoes and Beetroots. I had plenty of gooseberries, redcurrants and plums. So I still have much to do but should be fully closed up by November, the only thing will grow over the winter will be garlic.

The plot looking less grassy

Ham Radio

Although I haven’t done much radio lately and have no intentions of attending the club, I did find out that that one of the guys I liked up there has died. Steve M6SBQ was a fair bit older than me but came from the same part of London as me. We instantly had a connection that many of the other members of the club didn’t get. Even though Harlow is only about 20 miles from where I grew up, if you weren’t from there you couldn’t understand. I don’t know where you ended up Steve, but all the best mate until we talk further down the log.

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Fate, up against your will

Uncategorized

Wrights is still rumbling on and is a very sad place to work in London. There are still a few interested parties but no one is coming to the front. I understand the need to keep this under wraps until it is all signed and sealed, but the buyer/investor will probably influence my decision to stay or go. So for me, there is quite a bit riding on this and the uncertainty is driving me potty.

Family

Quite a few birthday’s this month the most important (for me) is my Daughter’s 30th. She and her boyfriend have taken themselves off to Florence for the weekend, a bit of a nostalgic trip for her as she used to work there. My dear Father in-law is 80 next week so my Son and wife are travelling up on Monday to be with him. They have quite a week planned, I am disappointed that I can’t be there, because despite the popular jokes, I actually love my in-laws. My goddaughter/niece also turns 41 this week, time really does fly.

Allotment

I have been working really hard this week on the plot. I have made quite a bit of progress on the top half of my plot which has got ahead of my this year. It is clearing quite well and I will be covering it again with builders membrane to keep the weeds down next year. The plan for the bottom half next year is to put a nature pond in and some wild flowers around it. We have quite a bit of wildlife around the allotment and it will be nice to give it a hand. My wife has a small pond on her plot and every year it is filled with frogspawn. I would like to see hedgehogs on the site but the rescue people won’t allow us any (rightly so) because of the use of slug pellets. The good thing is that the use of metaldehydes in slug pellets will be banned in 2020, which will mean that once the old supplies of pellets dry up we should be ok. I don’t use pellets and don’t really have any problems, the guy with the plot next to me must go through five tubs per season, ridiculous!

Personal

I haven’t been feeling myself lately, I have been having some really dark moods. This is unusual for me because I normally shake these things off quite easily, but I think with all that’s going on in work, it is starting to effect me. I don’t believe in depression, I have seen a family member manipulate other members of the family to get an easy ride so don’t believe one bit of it in most cases. My mother carried a baby full term and due to medical negligence, lost the baby during birth, she suffered badly and did have a hard time getting over it. I fully get depression in cases like this, but I have nothing to be depressed over, unlike many of the people (self) diagnosed with depression today. Unless you have had some traumatic experience (war, child loss, abuse etc) I just don’t get it.

Enough waffle for today

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Men with a wintry sneer

Uncategorized

It’s been a while but I’m back.

I can’t believe we’re into spring already, for once I have been busy with my non-work life, don’t get me wrong work is still busy but I have been making time for myself so far this year. I seem to have got my mojo back for photography and have been making time for it and feel that my eye for it is coming back.

Tower Bridge on a wet and windy Monday evening

I have been spending a bit of time in London with my camera and thoroughly enjoying it, with or without the camera I have always enjoyed walking around the city, it sort of runs in the family. My brother is a blue badged guide for London and was recently awarded Freedom of the City of London. This give him certain rights such as being able to herd sheep across London Bridge and also freedom to walk around the city with an unsheathed sword, I can see no good will come of this 🙂

Blackfriars bridge

My football team are still going strong and after yesterdays game against Wrexham we are back at the top of the league. The team has completely turned around in the past two years since our lunatic Italian owner walked off. The atmosphere yesterday was brilliant and the best it has been for a few years, we are normally criticised for being quiet, with the South stand making the most noise and my stand (West) being silent. That wasn’t the case yesterday and it was good to hear. The margin for the top spot is very tight and no one can guarantee automatic promotion into the football league but I have my fingers crossed. I have managed a few away games this year and I have a couple more left to do before the season ends. Up the O’s!!

Rickshaw driver on his break

I have started planting stuff in the greenhouse for the allotment. We had a bit of a false start a couple of weeks ago when we had a week of warm temperatures and sunny skies and it did give you the feeling that it was time to get stuff in the ground. Spin forward to today and my plot is waterlogged in places so I won’t be turning it over too soon. It is good to see the trees coming into bud. No major changes planned for the plot this year. I want to grow more herbs, so I will create an area for this. I won’t be planting any potatoes this year, I have never done well with spuds. I will plant more onions and shallots. I am also thinking of planting another fruit tree or two, I’m still mulling it over though. I have planted some more rhubarb (taken from an abandoned plot) and aim to make more Rhubarb gin, this went down very well last year with all who drank it. I never touch the stuff, I have a sip when I am bottling in, but that’s about all. So I make it for others really but I get a lot joy from this.

Paul having a bath

I have had a load of old black and white negatives laying around the place. Many years ago my mother decided to throw out a couple of old suitcases, these had lots of old photos and negatives so I took the suitcases. I recently bought a photographic scanner to reproduce photo’s from the negatives. I have always been keen on the old photo’s and was surprised to see so many pictures I had never seen before. I have one of my father in his sleeping quarters when he was in the Merchant Navy, he looks about twelve years old (below) he was in the Merchant Navy from about 1957-62, I was born in 1960.

My Dad around 1959-60

He served on a number of ships and worked mostly in the engine room although he did serve one voyage as kitchen staff, I can only imagine how that worked out, the old man made a mean bubble and squeak but that is my only recollection of his culinary skills. He served on the: RMS Rangitata, MV Deseado, Dunotter Castle as well as some other. He sailed to New Zealand, the US and South Africa.

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Oh no, Joe Porterhouse

Alf, Allotment, Orient, Work

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.

IMG-20180912-WA0000

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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The Squeaky Wheel gets the Oil

Allotment

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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He just loved to live that way

Allotment, Work

My employer Wrightbus, have just announced another 95 redundancies, or should I say the start of a consultation process to make 95 members of staff redundant. We are only just getting over the previous redundancy announcement. Things are going to get very interesting over the next 6-9 months. Wirght’s like the other UK bus builders are feeling the pinch after recent reports showed a marked downturn in passenger number over the past couple of years. The situation is different to the provinces where the routes rely on passenger revenue, in London, routes are controlled by TfL and are allocated on a pence per mile basis, so passenger numbers don’t normally mean that much to the operators, however TfL holds the purse strings and they have some major budget restrictions. I’m not sure where I will be in twelve months time, but whatever happens it’s going to be interesting.

 

Allotment

The plots are both looking well and Lesley has surpassed herself with her plot. She really has a knack for gardening, something that surprised us both.

Everything that needs to be in the ground is planted with my runner beans being the last sees to plant, which I did today. I still have some serious weed problems on the top half of my plot, with bindweed and the dreaded mare’s tail. Mare’s tail is almost impossible to resolve as the root can be over two metres below the surface.

Our Strawberries are ripening now and we have already had a few bowlfuls so far. I also have quite a few blackcurrant bushes which are in fruit at the moment and the berries are darkening daily.

Not much else to say today, more next time.

 

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