Dah Dah Dah

Flippin hell! a month has passed since my last blogpost. I sit here writing this after I have just booked ferries and hotels to make a road trip to Florence to visit my daughter before Christmas. The last time I went the return leg was through France, this time around I am going to go back up through Germany, but stopping in Karlsruhe on the way back. I had some fun times in this neck of the woods in the eighties. I won’t be visiting Westendorf this time as the family I normally visit will be away for December.The main difference between this trip and the last one is that I will be going out alone but coming back with Toni. She has been headhunted by a company in London so she is winging her way back home with me. I’m sad that she never stopped in Italy, but the offer she has had is very good and she will be able to get her own place when she settles down.

Allotment

Things have quietened down on the plot now. Last week the people with the stables next door delivered 6 cubic metres of manure. So I have been spreading this all over my now, mostly barren, plot. The Autumn raspberries fruited and I had some, but the frost took care of most of them. My Kale and Brocolli are still doing well and I have some cabbages on the go as well, but apart from that it is all quiet up there at the moment. We also had some good news this weekend, we took the plot over in June and we soon noticed that we had never seen anyone on the other half of the plot. I expressed an interest in the other half should it become vacant. Other plot holders told us that the tenant had not been near or by for over a year, but they had seen him around the town so knew he was still about. Anyway to cut a long story short we have now been told we can have the other half, although we can’t start on it until the paperwork is done. The plot had two apple trees and a pear tree on it, these have since disappeared once word got out that the previous tenant had given up. I am not really bothered about this as while the fruit was very good, the trees were planted a bit higgledy piggledy. This now makes it easier to plan out the whole plot.

Family

We had some good news, Lesley has worked either Boxing Day, Christmas Day or both for the past 13 years. This year she has them both off! This is great news for us and to add to that Toni will be home, I think we have the makings of a great Christmas.

Leyton Orient

The O’s are now getting lots of media attention for all the wrong reasons. Our form so far this year has been abysmal, we have only won one game at home this season so far, we are also on our third manager and it isn’t even Christmas yet. The sad thing is that from 1968 to 2014 we have had 12 managers, Francesco Becchetti took over in 2014 and we have had 8 managers. Morale at the club is at an all time low and the atmosphere in the stands is becoming toxic. We are playing Blackpool today and there are some planned protests, so it’s going to be fun. The O’s are in real danger of dropping out of the football league for the first time in its history. We currently have another Italian manager, who hasn’t worked since getting Sampdoria relegated 5 years ago. The man doesn’t speak a word of English and we regard it as another puppet manager just like the other Italian managers we have gone through. One of the concerns that has come out of recent rumours and radio interviews is that the Chairman is picking the teams for the matches, not good at all. We have also seen our favourite and most loyal player let go (just outside of the transfer deadline which stopped him working till Christmas) much to annoyance and bafflement of the fan base. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen next but you can’t help thinking that with that big lump of prime real estate that is the ground, there may be a plan to force Orient into the Vanarama so that they would have to sell the ground to survive. I will go on supporting the O’s wherever they end up, but it shouldn’t have to be like this.

Radio

The bands have been very flat as we trudge through the low part of the sun spot cycle. I did manage a CW contact with a station on the Island of Minorca (Javi EA6ALW) but I couldn’t hear the Serbian or Ukranian stations he worked before me. The conditions are very odd to say the least.

I haven’t been to the radio club since before June, so I will show my face next week at the AGM. I’m not sure why I have a lack of interest for the club, considering three years ago I was there every night and at every event and maintenance day. It may be that there are only a couple of member who I have anything more than radio in common with, it could be that I grew tired of listening to the people who do bugger all for the club moaning about the way the club was run. It could be the fact that once you’ve heard the same jokes and banter a couple of times it wears a bit thin. I will go next week, I will also re-join again, but I don’t have any plans to be a regular visitor.

Right that’ll do for now.

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My spirit will not haunt the mound

A few events to add this month, in fact we have started June in high spirits

My dear old mother in law was diagnosed with lung cancer last month. Two weeks ago she had a piece of her lung removed and this week after a meeting with the consultant and he told her they were happy that they had removed the cancer and Chemo would not be necessary at this stage. She still has to have regular checks but hopefully things are on the up for her.

Radio

I ended the month on 74 contacts which is a record for me. There were no surprises regarding new countries as propagation has not been brilliant, but it was good to get the brain working. The new radio is performing well.

Allotment

after waiting for a allotment for more than seven years a couple of weeks ago I got an email from the Harlow Allotments Association to say that a couple of plots had come up at Honey Hill and Netteswell.

We decided to take the plot a Honey Hill, the name was to much of a coincidence no to act on. We opted for a half plot which works out to about 90 square metres.

Plot 8b 1st June 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you as you can see above the plot is overgrown so a lot of work is needed  just to get to the point of planting anything. As luck has there are some established fruits and plants beneath the weed. We have a plum tree, cherry tree (I think) gooseberry bush, raspberry bush, blackberries and last night I found some strawberries.

I started work on it last night and today I will be taking a strimmer up there to clear the weeds and see what else is in there.

watch this space.

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He just loved to live that way

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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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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Es Wolt Ein Madchen

At last we have had some signs of summer. I have lived in Harlow for more than 20 years. In  all this time I’ve never really explored the area so On Sunday the sun was shining and I decided to take Alfie for a walk along the River Stort. I made my way to Parndon Mill and managed to get parked up. So we set off along the river bank which is mainly an asphelt path, it was quite busy with lots of people on bikes and also walking there dogs or just strolling. As usual Alfie loved wandering off in front all the while looking for a way to get into the water. The Stort is a navigation and the banks are quite steep, but it didn’t take long and Alfie was swimming around. On the way back there was a narrow boat in the lock at Parndon Mill. I stopped for a while and had a chat with the couple whose boat it was. They were a really nice couple who had been living on the boat for about 8 years. It was great chatting to them and it was just nice to wander around and smell the fresh air without any timetable. I am looking forward to getting around Harlow with my camera a bit more over the next year or two.

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left, Alfie running along the riverbank

 

 

 

Radio

Last month saw my best month so far for CW contacts with 42 contacts made.  But we are into a new month and it starts again, this month has been slow starting but I’m sure it will pick up.

I have bought an new beam for 2m and 70cm, I have now built it and can’t wait to get it up and work the UKAC contest. Watch this space. I have been attending the Harlow club again, I am not convinced it’s where I want to be but we’ll see how it goes.

Other News

Life is pretty good at the moment, I am trying a different approach to life and at the age of 54 I seem to be seeing things in a different light. I’m not saying we should expect a different Paul, but lets just say my outlook is changing. Things that used to be important to me are now less so. Lets see how it goes.

The diet is going well and I’m still finding it quite easy to follow, which is half the battle.

 

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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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