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


Message ends———————————————————————————–va

Blast from the past

Buses, Cycling, Radio

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?

Message ends————————————————————VA


My new Shack

Alf, Boat, Buses

Firstly I’d just like to point out that a shack is what radio hams call the the place they operate their radio’s from. Shacks come in all shapes and sizes, I have had a number of different locations for my radios, they are currently in the loft which is where I operate from.

The old shed came down over the course of a couple of weekends and the new shack is now progressing well. Today I started on the flooring as the roof and shiplap is now done. The floor will take a little while to get right. But I should be able to start on the shack electrics pretty soon. I am hoping to be able to get my radios in place by the 2nd week of September.

Work at the moment is relentless, we put 32 new Boris Buses or should I say NBfL’s into Metroline’s depot at Holloway. The buses are settling down well and the need to have an engineer based there is reducing. However as I write a batch of 32 NBfL’s are destined for Go Ahead’s depot at Stockwell, followed by another 20 odd for London United, so things are going to get a whole lot busier over the coming months. Considering TfL’s plan is to have 600 of these on the road over the next 4 years I think the roller coaster has just broke free and there is no getting off until bus number 600 comes into London.

A couple of months ago while I pondered life from my hospital bed I decided that there is more to life than work, and I decided to do something about it and stop putting work before my home life, that lasted until I got the plaster taken off my leg. It’s amazing how you can deliberate and plan over something and just drop straight back into your old habits with the blink of an eye. One thing is for sure, I must start making a bit of time for myself, work will be there when I am dead.

At the end of the month I will be camping for the weekend as my radio club has its 2nd annual trip to Aylmer’s Farm. I really enjoy these weekends and was very disappointed when the trip in June was re-scheduled to a date I wasn’t available. I haven’t had a great deal of time to play radio recently what with the new shack and work, so I look forward to doing a bit on the last weekend in August, I’m hoping it will be a good turnout as the last two trips were a little under subscribed.

Alf is nearly full grown now and I have to say he has been a brilliant addition to the family, he has settled in well and keeps me on my toes which is nice.

I have totally neglected the boat so far this summer, again due to work constraints unfortunately the future doesn’t look too good as far as free time goes, it may be time for a job change I think. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, but more about that when things pan out.

That’s enough for now, those buses won’t fix themselves


Message ends——————————————————VA