They’re skin and craters like the moon

Bloody Christmas

I am fed up with Christmas already, don’t get me wrong, I am not a Christian nor do I follow any organised religion. So I’m not going to bang on about the commercialisation of it all, or how it is getting away from the true meaning of Christmas, because I’m not sure that there was ever a true meaning. I’m not knocking anybody’s belief system, but my own personal belief is that religion answered the questions science never had the answers for, it was also a very good tool for controlling the masses. For me Christmas is a time when on the whole people tend to stop being arseholes, if only for a couple of days, and it is a good chance to catch up with family and close friends, a couple of days off work helps this no end. Anyway, whatever sky fairy you follow, best wishes to you for the Christmas break.

Old Friends

I was contacted this week by the wife of one of my old managers. Peter James was the Transport Manager of a coach company my father and I worked at in Leyton then Mile End and in the end Stratford. Galleon Coaches started off as Essex County Coaches in the Romford Road many moons ago, they were incorporated by the Workers Travel Association which had ties to the unions. Anyway I worked for Galleon as a driver for about three years, in fact the tip money I saved help us buy our first house. I enjoyed my stint doing tours of the UK and Europe, but having grown up around coach drivers (incl my Father) I never wanted to do it for a living long term. Of all the people I have worked with over the years coach drivers seem to have the highest divorce among any of my friends or colleagues in other trades. Anyway, back to my old guvnor, Peter had been a driver courier for Galleon and got himself promoted into the office. Peter took a chance on me and gave me a coach and sent me off all over Europe with tourists and trusted me to read up on the history of cities and monuments and relay this back to the passengers. It makes me go cold sometimes when I think of what I got up to, I mean, who would trust a 23 year old with a coach and send them off to Germany with 53 people to look after. I earned some fantastic sums of money and if I had my time over again I wouldn’t change a thing. Peter died last year a couple of weeks before his 81st birthday, I will always remember him as a firm but fair boss who had a wealth of knowledge on touring, I am pleased to have known him.

Allotment

I can’t really get on with much at the moment, the ground is completely water logged especially after the recent snow. I am going to have to make some time to do a plan for next year. There are some vegetables I am going to give a miss next year.

Peas are the first ones, I have tried for two years and never had any luck.

Radishes, I have no problems growing these, it’s just that no one at home really likes them.

Things that did really well

Gherkins, I love these and I have so many pickle jars they’ll keep me going over the winter

Cucamelons, easy to grow and taste lovely

Courgettes, but that’s a given

Must try harder

Potatoes, really never got going this year, both crops

Brussels, disappointing very small.

Butternut Squashes, I did so well in 2016, rubbish last year, 2 squashes

Watch this space.

Other Stuff

I did say I was going to put up my DNA results, but I have completely forgotten about it, my next blogpost will cover the findings.

Toni and her boyfriend have just bought a flat in Harlow, not too far from the allotment, she is now working for House of Fraser in the marketing team. So pretty soon 3-4 weeks it will just be me and Mrs H at home.

I finally managed to get Odin, my dear old Landrover, through its MOT. It has been off the road for over 12 months due to restrictions on my time. But I bit the bullet and replaced all the brake hoses and pads and put it in for test. It passed first time but I got a couple of advisories on rust, so that will be my summer project.

A couple of pics

Left, Odin in the snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Alfie less than impressed with the weather

 

 

 

 

That’ll do for now, till the next time and you can find out why me and my siblings get very brown when the sun comes out, how I’m related to Bono and Benjamin Franklin and confirmation of my Scandinavian heritage, and more.

Loneliness, is a crowded room

Friday saw my annual visit to the nurse, except that I have missed three appointments. So once we got the bollocking over she went on to read my results, advantage Honey. She was very surprised to see my recent blood test results. My HBa1C and fasting tests were down considerably on the previous results, she said I don’t know how you are doing it, just keep doing it. I have to say the biggest factor in my success is the Paleo diet. 20.5lbs lost so far.

After my visit with the nurse I was quite pumped up so I got home, cracked on with work and got finished by about half past two. Me and Alf then jumped in the car and set off for Norfolk.

You may remember that on my last visit my water pump failed on the boat. I ordered a replacement on ebay, this turned up and was the wrong one, so I ordered one from ASAP a very good boat parts suppliers in Beccles, like an idiot I went by the picture on the site and not the blurb and when trying to fit the pump on Friday night I noticed that the impeller was larger than the original pump and would not fit the engine.

Norfolk is like going back in time, and don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is frustrating at times. ASAP the biggest parts suppliers on the broads doesn’t open on Saturday. I then spent the whole morning driving around Norfolk visiting boatyards trying to locate a replacement pump. I eventually found one at Thorpe at Kingfisher Cruisers. Really nice people!

Problem No 37!

I got the pump back and fitted it to the boat only to find that the impeller seemed to be snagging when turned by hand, not something you want when the engine is driving the pump at 1000rpm. So on closer inspectionit turned out the impeller was 80 thousandths of an inch to wide. I then spent the next 2 hours taking with a fine grinding wheel taking metal from the outer edge of the impeller. Eventually I managed to fit the pump and it turned freely. So I topped the coolant up adding anti freeze to the mix and started the engine up. The engine got up to temperature pretty quickly which is never a good sign. You guessed it, I had an air lock, this was borne out by the fact that I had no hot water from any of the taps. After a great deal of faffing around which involved getting burned I eventually got all the air out and managed to get some hot water. I had intended taking Alfie for a walk on the beach but unfortunately by low tide the rain was bucketing down, I had had a bad day and decided to go home, which we did.

Radio

The HF bands have been rubbish lately so I haven’t done any radio worth talking about.

Back to the boat again next Friday.

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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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