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.



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.



Can you hear me Mother!

Allotment, Orient, Work

The title of this post is related to the music hall comedian Sandy Powell, and is nothing to do with anyone related to me alive or dead!

Last week I was lain flat by a chest infection which very quickly developed into bronchitis. I had a bout of bronchitis when I was young and if you have suffered once you will never be fully rid of it unless you move somewhere dry and warm. I have always suffered with my chest once you know how it works you get used to it a know how to prepare for it before it comes.  I am now on the way out of the other side of it.

Plot 8

The weather is warming up now and plenty of my bushes are now going into bud, the only place I am not seeing much progress is in my greenhouse, I have a couple of cabbages growing in there which aren’t doing too bad. But my seedlings are yet to make their mark. I put my spuds out to chit in the greenhouse, I have put 12 out to start with, duke of York, King Edwards and Wiljna’s. I will start with 4 plants of each and then continue planting at intervals throughout the spring. We don’t eat many spuds and most of these will go to neighbours. I was up at the site this week and met a newcomer, I’m pleased to see this, as we have a number of empty plots and I like to see the place busy. Anyway Dave has taken over a derelict plot opposite my son’s plot. So that one down three more plots to fill.

My youtube channel is doing well, I have 40 subscribers!!!! There is a very good allotment community on youtube and it is a great place to get advice and assistance. One of the stars on there, a guy called Blue Star Dave had his plot broken into and his greenhouse was burned and damaged beyond repair. A go fund me page was set up and within a week he had enough to buy himself a new greenhouse, and he is now filming the erection on a weekly basis.


The last New Routemaster buses will be coming off the production line in the next two months or so which will bring the total in London to 1000. It has taken the best part of four years to get these buses in to London, and while they are very eyecatching, only time will tell whether they will be well thought of in years to come only time will tell. They were branded as a replacement to the original routemaster, at the time I was working for TfL and I can say that the expectations were way over the top even in the early stages. The requirements for a bus to be used in London are so vast, that even an original Routemaster would not cut it in today’s world. I liked the original but it has a place, and that is 1970’s London, I always think trying to label something as a replacement was setting up for failure. This week I have been at Wrights for seven years, in another seven years I will a year away from retirement, that’s a sobering thought. Wrights have been in business 70 this year and to commemorate this they gave all staff a special edition model NRM, only 2000 made and all issued to Wrightbus staff, my bus is number 1725 of 2000. A number of these have turned up on eBay and the most I have seen them go for is £90. So mine will have to stay in my collection to appreciate for a bit longer. The lads in the factory were trying to get William Wright to sing their boxes so that the value would go up, he declined.


The circus continues as we all sit and wait for Administration or relegation.


That’ll do for now


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He just loved to live that way

Buses, Family, Radio

It’s been a month since my last post so I thought I’d bring you up to date.

Toni has now been in Italy two weeks and is settling in nicely, she loves the city, and the job and everyone is really friendly.

On Friday this week me and Patrick will be taking the rest of her stuff out there by car. Fifteen years ago I wouldn’t have thought much of jumping the car and driving for 15 hours straight, however as I get older I am beginning to understand my limitations. So the itinerary is thus.

Friday Harlow-Dover-Dunkirk- Ulm overnight

Saturday Ulm- Austria – Florence 2 nights

Monday Florence – Dijon overnight

Tuesday Dijon – Dunkirk – Dover Home

I’m looking forward to the drive and will be re-visiting places I have been to and spent some time at in the past.

As expected things are very quiet at home without Toni, but I do keep in touch with her through the half a dozen apps at our disposal, but its not the same. Toni has lined up some places for us to eat next weekend and from what she tells me you can’t really go wrong.

This week saw the club AGM, and I couldn’t be bothered to go, strange really but although I still enjoy the radio and am as active as I can be, I’m really not bothered with club activities.

Work is still busy and we are looking at around June for the last bus to roll off the line probably LT800.

That’ll do for now


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28 and Counting

Buses, Radio, Uncategorized, Work

This weekend saw my 28th wedding anniversary come and go,  I can’t believe she has stuck with me for so long, but she has.

For fathers day, some months ago, my daughter treated us to tickets to the Rugby League world cup semi-finals. At that time we had no idea that England was going to be in the semi’s so we had a nice result. It was a double header with both semi finals being played that day. First up was England vs New Zealand, it was a good match and there was a good turn out at Wembley stadium with all nationalities covered. The first half saw us loosing to NZ. this was quickly turned around in the 2nd half and we managed to get four points ahead of the kiwi’s. Very disappointed when about a minute from the final whistle we were penalised for a high tackle and our fortunes quickly changed whenpossesion changed to the Kiwi’s followed up by a try and then a conversion in the last 10 seconds which ended England’s cup run.

The next game was Australia vs Fiji, the final score was 64-0 to the Ozzies, I don’t think I need to comment any further on that one. Suffice it to say that at half time the Ozzies were up 28-0 and even the three Oz supporters in front of me had sort of switched off at 20-0. The atmosphere had left the stadium so me and Toni decided to start the walk back to my workshop to pick up the car. It was a very good day and put to bed the disappointment of not being able to go to the Shard earlier in the year.

The radio has been pretty quiet of late with band conditions fairly flat, although when they do get a lift, they really lift. Unfortunately I seem to have been either working or doing other stuff each time there is a lift on. I’m hoping that this weekend I’ll be around in case there is a lift.

This weekend I am going to attempt to wire up my 70cm antenna and rotator to the new shack, I have been without 70cm’s since the move and while it isn’t my most active band I still miss some of the activity.

Work continues at a stupid pace but there is some light at the end of the tunnel, I have been given authorisation to recruit some more engineers, which is good as we are now up to over 100 Borisbuses and this is keeping us very busy.

On Sunday we are supposed to be off to Doncaster for an overnight stay, however as with all plans this year, this is now up in the air. Just as I got home yesterday I received a call from Lesley to say she had been sent home as she had been vomiting. She spent the rest of the day laid up in bed and the outlook doesn’t look good for travel on Sunday. We shall have to see.

Last night was the Harlow and District Amateur Radio Society AGM. It was a good meeting and the committee remains unchanged, this means I am still Vice Chairman.

It’s a funny job really with no real tasks, most other committees I have sat on the VC has also been the secretary.

Anyway that’s enough for now

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Borismaster-New Routemaster-NB4L whatever you want to call it

Buses, Radio, Uncategorized, Work

I have my head down quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. The main reason for this is the introduction of 32 new Boris buses into Metroline Holloway. As you may or may not be aware I work for the company that builds these buses and look after all after sales problems that may arise after the buses leave the factory

Boris Buses waiting to go into service


NBfL’s sitting at PV the day before moving off to Holloway. The guy in the centre of the picture has just finished fitting the blinds



There was a fair amount of snagging work to get them ready but the engineers worked their arses off to get them ready an on Saturday they rolled into service. This is still a very new product and teething problems will occur. The plan is to have 600 of these on London’s streets by 2017. Watch this space.

In other news the Radio club had station at the Harlow Museum Festival, it was a very good set up with both HF and VHF stations. The conditions weren’t great but we still managed a few contacts.

I think as I get older I am finding that I like people less and less, I’m not sure why that is but there is definately something going on up there in my old swede.


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