Back in Lincoln from Cardiff

fish at 85

fish at 85

It’s another 5am Sunday morning. When you are awake you are awake. Eyes need to clear somewhat but otherwise fine. Looks like another warm day in prospect. Anne and I are off to see Lindisfarne at the Lincoln Folk Festival at the Drill Hall. Looking forward to it. The only downside is that the beer selection at the Drill Hall is rubbish. Run by the council… We are having dinner somewhere in town which will be nice, just the two of us.

Enquiries starting to come in for the campervan through the camperbug website. None have bitten yet, other than an advanced booking for next year but one of them must do sooner rather than later. I have a couple of little wiring jobs to do this week before we head up to Whitby. Also had an enquiry for this week which would put the kybosh on the Whitby trip (for which I’ve paid in advance for the campsite) but business is business.

Was quite late to sleep last night – 11.30 ish. Anne was watching the Celebrity Masterchef Final in bed on her iPhone so I drifted off. It was a quiet Saturday night in despite there being attractions all over the place – Joe playing at the Jolly Brewer, and bands on at both the Morning Star and the West End Tap. Friday was such a long day though that the body needed a quiet night aven though it was a Saturday. The days all blur into one anyway.

Cardiff was a successful trip. We had a bbq at Sue’s following a lovely lunch at Fish at 85. Bbq’d breakfast on Saturday morning and then went to Cardiff Bay for a looksee before heading home.

Facing a busy few days. Have to go to Matlock to pick John and Joe Donnerstag up from the YNOT Festival on Monday morning and then figure how I’m going to get the shelving unit I bought back from BHS. Need a pal with a van – I have someone in mind.

Then I have to do Hannah’s student loan form, the paperwork for which still hasn’t arrived. I have printed something off but it doesn’t look like the one I sent off for Joe! The Student Finance company is a bit of a joke tbh. It’s not funny though. It’s stressful for everyone involved. I’ve found an online version but it won’t print off properly. It’s 12 different GIFs of the form!

Whilst I was trying to print the forms off the printer came up with a message saying I was running low on ink so I ordered some online from HP. Nw that is an efficient system. Printer website directed me to HP and a few clicks of a button and the ink will be on its way. Not particularly cheap but efficient and effective. Student finance could learn a lesson or two from them

Busy Thursday

pizza pizza

Got to cram a lot in today. 9am dentist. Then it’s take the van to CamperUK to get the sink sorted and get some advice on fitting the fridge, After that it’s downtown to get a new SIM and pick Rich up and if possible go to the back door of BHS to pick up the shelving unit I bought yesterday. Hopefully I will be able to dismantle it and fit it in the estate car. May have to do that after Rich has gone.

It’s a 5am start today. Reminds me of an early morning in Greece. Although I have been trying to get some work done pretty much most of the rest of the world seems to be on holiday so not much is happening and I am almost by default also on holiday. Life is pretty relaxed anyway.

The phone arrived yesterday pretty much at the start of the 1 hour window given by DPD. Fairly stressed looking driver. I was delivery number 94. All the deliveries seemed to be within half a mile or so of our house.

The first immediately noticeable thing about the phone was the quality of the camera. It is seriously good, especially when compared with that of the Kindle Fire I have been using, which I know is no real comparison. The other thing is the speed. No more waiting for web pages to load.

Very successful pizza making session last night. Joe made the dough and we all did our own toppings and cooked the pizzas on a special stone on the bbq. Came out like a wood fired pizza. The bbq has been a result this year what with the success of the rotisserie.

John is off to the YNOT festival today, after his tennis coaching stint. He has been helping out at the Eastgate Tennis Club Summer Camp. The festival will be a real contrast with the summer camp – grunge versus clean cut. We’ve been digging out kit for him. Already looks as if he has a ton of stuff without adding in the cans of cider he will be smuggling in. Warm cider, yuk.

BHS closing down sale

bought a shelving unit

Got an email last night saying that my phone insurance claim had been approved and a new one would be despatched within 3 working days. This morning woke up to an email with the DPD tracking link showing that the delivery will arrive between 16.35 and 17.35. Yay. I will be whole again.

Did some work on the campervan sink but have decided to leave it to the experts – CamperUK are looking at it first thing in the morning. That’s after I’ve been to the dentist and then downtown to pick up Richard from Lonap and a shelving unit I bought from the BHS closing down sale. It’s a real result at £25 for a very solid double sided unit each with three shelves. Just so happens we need one anyway. Also bought two good solid wooden boxes at £5. You know it makes sense.

Picked up Hannah and Sarah Ward from the train station, dumped their bags in the car and went for lunch at Chimichangas on the Brayford. Sat outside in the sun on the off chance of seeing Guy Martin practising for some hydrofoil speed record. Lots of crowds there but no sign of Guy when we were there. No matter.

En route back to the car bought Joe a second hand hard drive for £4 (40GB) so that he can learn to build a linux server and finally stopped at FatFace to buy a new pair of shorts – nice red pair. Might take a pic when I have my phone back. Will need to get a new sim tomorrow. Jobs jobs jobs.

Weather is still perfect. Tomorrow afternoon is supposed to be wet but the next week is looking good.

Tree Surgery

had to move the cars innit

Another great night’s kip. This is what a quiet night in does for you. Today is Tuesday. It’s just another day. It will be marked, unremarkably, by a trip or two to the tip, a visit to Coops to pay for Betty’s MoT test last week and other as yet unknown and unremarkable activities.

Most days are thus. They can’t always be whiz bang headliners really can they? It is important to cram as much in to your life as you can but it is difficult to sustain the pace. You need a rest every now and again.

Or do you? Let’s consider this. My life philosophy is to enjoy it while I can. I don’t know why I am here and on that basis might as well make the best of it. This is a personal philosophy. Others find it convenient to delegate their life direction to deity(ies). At least their after life direction. Others give it little thought. None of it really matters.

What does matter is whether you are happy. Many people in this world are unhappy. There is a lot of bad stuff going on. Many people probably can’t define their state. They are neither happy nor unhappy. These people probably have bouts of contentment. A surprise birthday party maybe or a holiday in Spain (or Greece etc).

I once put my name down for a yoga taster session. There was a notice in the men’s changing room at the gym. Figured this was part of me taking control. Eventually got a call saying I was the only person to have put their name down so instead accepted a Tai Chi taster class instead, with a load of retired housewives. Only did the one class.

It is difficult to take control over your own life. We all have commitments. We have to pay the rent or mortgage. We have to eat, socialize, wear clothes in which to socialize and so on. We get trapped into situations that are difficult to escape from. People who live in places like London pay a high cost of living. It would be cheaper to get a job outside of London and live somewhere more pleasant but they don’t like the idea of stepping off the London housing ladder and worry about job options. They find it difficult to escape. It’s also hard once a family becomes established in an area.

I’m not here to help them. I only observe. You have to do stuff yourselves.

Last night I dug out an old passport. I may have needed to tell the Chinese visa people when I last got a visa for China. It was 2001. Turns out I only need to let them know if it had been in the last 12 months but it did make me look at the passport.

The passport expired in 2005. It almost looks as if I replaced it because I had run out of pages but my current passport expires in 2025 so that mustn’t have been the case. The old one has lots of interesting stamps. 05 Oct 1999 Singapore. July 13 1996 Los Angeles USA. March 24 2000 Vancouver. March 20 1998 Taipei. 8th October 1999 Indonesia. 29 Nov 2000 Japan. 20 July 2000 Ben Gurion. To name but a few. I once lost passport in amsterdam that had New York, Moscow and Tel Aviv all on the same page, fwiw.

Whilst it was exciting to do all this travel, and there are only a few places left that I haven’t been to that might be on the bucket list, with hindsight the trips were characterised by waiting at airports and sitting on long flights in uncomfortable seats. Very little of it was done at the front of the plane. When I stopped the international travel in 2004 to work at Timico I didn’t miss it at all. The airport waits and the jet lag, which gets me quite badly, were what I remember most about the lifestyle. Sure I got to see a lot of the world but was happy to stop doing it.

Now I seem to be travelling again. Not nearly as much and in far more comfort as the trips are mostly short haul. This year I will have flown to Venice, Dublin, Luxembourg, Brussels, Barcelona twice, Copenhagen, Isle of Man, Madrid, Krakow and Shanghai. The Shanghai trip is the outlier but I figured I’d not been for many years so I’d go and it won’t be too onerous. In fact I’m really looking forward to it. Staying at the Shangri-La Hotel. Stay tuned for that one.

UK life has also been action packed. Wimbledon, Coast to Coast walk, Latitude in the campervan, Llanberis walking holiday all spring to mind. It all adds up to a certain state of existence. Good karma, if that is a phrase.

It’s time to go and make Anne a cup of tea. In a bit…

The pool was quite full this morning with lots of people I’d not seen before. They don’t normally stay the pace. Most of them will not return. When I returned to the house the tree surgeon truck was waiting outside the house. We had been expecting them tomorrow. No matter. Better to get it done.

We are having the tree that overhangs the decking trimmed and the front hedge. It’s only after it has been done that you realise how badly it needed doing. The guy climbed to the top of the tree to sling his rope over. Missed that bit and the Kindle Fire camera isn’t really up to capturing the moment anyway.

As I write I can hear a second chainsaw in operation down the road. The tree surgeons just said to each other “that’s Eric”. “No it’s not Eric. Don’t know who it is” 🙂

More in due course…

Monday 25th July – summer continues in the Davies house

good night’s sleep fwiw

Another quiet night in last night. Watched a Beach Boys documentary. Pet Sounds. V good.  Saw the Beach Boys at Wembley Arena a long time ago. The amazing thing was that the hits kept coming. You thought they could surely not have any more songs you knew but no.

Also watched Robot Wars. Quite enjoyed it. Took tom to see it in Sheffield when he was a lot younger.

Sat in the TV room as it got dark then went and closed the back doors. Was another productive day. We can be satisfied.

Anne cooked a lasagne for dinner. The four of us sat round to eat. The norm over the past year has been three of us with Joe, Hannah and Tom being away. A full house now becomes a real luxury. Very noisy mind you:)

After dinner Joe went out to a jam session at some pub or other. He is cramming in the opportunities to play music.

This morning woke up after a great night’s sleep if somewhat sweaty – we don’t open our front window as the noise of the traffic keeps Anne awake. Out early to Tesco to get some bread for John’s packed lunch. He continues his career as an assistant tennis coach today at the Eastgate Club summer camp. Keep him off the streets:). Whilst at Tesco picked up two packs each of strawberries and raspberries that had just been reduced in price. They won’t last the day in our house.

Got to do some work today. Things have slowed down a little as people go on holiday but I can still get something done. Will also have to try and fit in a trip to the tip (possibly two trips) and see if I can get in to see John Hill to pass judgement on my tooth. Urgh.

But first a swim.

The silhouettes are beginning to appear. It is 21.05, to use the 24 hour clock. Five past nine pm to some. The TV was switched off but is now back on. Something of interest. No doubt.

I have a wood pigeon for company. I can’t see it but I know it is there. It might well be looking at me. Sinister. Maybe. Brainless bird.

The bright screens in front of me illuminate with out a flicker. No flickering screens. No. Smooth screens. High definition screens.  The bewilderment of Charlie Chaplin. Were he still alive today. The flicks. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. The smooths.

Something occasionally tells me to go out and buy an airgun for the purpose of taking shots at the pigeons and the squirrels. It is never a serious consideration. Never saw the point of gratuitous slaughter. Gratuitous slaughter. Now that’s a phrase that makes you think. Sit up man. I’ll leave it to nature.

Tonight we watched University Challenge. Liverpool were eliminated from the competition. In one fell swoop. A wave of Paxman’s wand. The press of the buzzer. Or lack of it. That’s why they were knocked out. An insufficiently deep knowledge of obscure subjects. 19th century musicals, the mathematics of deep space, Greek philosophers, early 20th century medical breakthroughs, events of 1915, heraldic symbols. You get the idea. Liverpool University did not. Someone has to go…

A cough penetrates the two walls or three doors. Most likely the latter.

I’ve been researching my trip to China. Printing off the visa application. Looking at the hotels I will be staying at. Thinking about the possibility of getting a jacket made whilst I’m out there. If I have time. I don’t do suits.

More toothache

crispy duck

& crispy duck from rotisserie

Pesky toothache is back. Infact half my lower lip is numb. Will have to go and see John Hill tomorrow. Whilst 2016 has been a fun year it has also been characterised by toothache. It’s an age thing!

6am and it’s looking like another great day ahead weather wise. Had a very successful crispy duck spit roasted on the bbq yesterday. 2 ½ hours. Anne sourced pancakes from downtown and Joe cooked a stir fry. We ate out on the patio.

Also collected a load of duck fat having cleaned the drip tray on the Weber. It’ll be slightly Chinese spices flavoured but I’m sure we will be able to use it for roasties. Talking about Chinese I haven’t yet mentioned my trip to Shanghai at the end of August. Just over a week. Taking in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Should be fun. Need to get visa sorted.

It’s very still out there, No rain overnight. Great time of day. I must refill the bird feeder. We had a fairly productive day yesterday despite my spending over an hour on hold trying to get through to the mobile phone insurance people in response to an email. Bit annoying because on my first attempt it took 45 minutes only to find that the girl at the other end couldn’t hear me. Had to go through the same process all over again.

In the end they told me they hadn’t received my proof of purchase. The work of seconds to rectify and a bit odd as I had already uploaded it when I first purchased and registered the phone.

The biggest annoyance of not having a phone is not being able to take pics and vids. I’m having to resort to screenshots and others’ photos for these diary entries. Have to keep them going as this is going to turn into a book at the end of the year. I’ve done ok so far.

Yesterday was a great cricketing day. We ramped up 589 against Pakistan and they are 57 for 4 in reply. A drubbing in prospect. This is the right kind of test match. At least it isn’t one of those where you are constantly having to turn off the radio because it is going frustratingly badly. On the other hand we do need these games to be a little closer. I suppose Pakistan did with the first test thugh god know how based on yesterday’s performance.

Popped down to the West End Tap for a few glasses of lime and soda last night. Joe was sitting in with Jazz Orbit. Came away before the end. Past my bedtime:) It’s unusual to see me out late on any night. I’m an early doors kind of guy. As are most of my peer group.

We are very much now in the holiday season. Schools broke up  on Friday and the news is full of huge delays at the Port of Dover because the French Authorities have an ongoing state of emergency and are doing lengthy security checks on all travellers. You can understand why they are doing this. They do need to throw more resources at it though.

As well as toothache the year might also be characterised by the growth in violence generally in our global society. Massacres, bombings, shootings all over the place.  I think we have got away with it here in the UK although we have had problems in the past. The world is changing for the worse.

The only thing to do is focus on nice things. Keep the bird feeder topped up:)

I have just worked out how I can use photos taken with the kindle fire. They are automatically uploaded to Amazon Drive so I just have to go there with my macbook and download them. Bit of a faff but any port in a storm innit. Hadn’t really registered that I was getting free storage with Amazon. 5GB. I may have mentioned this before but it is a real nuisance having to rely on the Amazon ecosystem with the fire. Especially the Silk browser. However at only £35 it is difficult to complain. I just rarely use the device.

Finished the bath sealant. Finicky, hot sweaty job. Watched a how to vid first which proved worthwhile. Main tip is to use masking tape. Meant that my amateur efforts ended up with a good straight line. Now chillin’ on the deck chair on the deck – the only place where there is shade at this time of day. Listning to the warm up for the cricket.

Next job is empty out the workshop. It isn’t really a workshop these days. It’s a brick garden store. Very handy as we can keep a lot of stuff in there but it does end up very untidy as things tend to just get chucked in. Needs a bit of ivy removing from the outside as well. This may get done. V shall C.

So work is done for the day. We have treated ourselves to a Magnum-like ice cream from the freezer that Anne has been keeping quiet about. I’ve had a shower and donned a clean pair of shorts and a white linen tshirt. I shall have to think what to take to China clothes wise. Shanghai and Hong Kong are going to be quite a bit warmer and more humid than here. Might invest in another pair of shorts. Might also be able to buy some gear out there though I doubt they have my size. Didn’t the last time I went which must have been a good 15 years ago. Bought a large silk dressing gown that still turned out too small. Tom appeared in it at Latitude.

Did a post Latitude VW Campervan post on Anne’s Vans. Starting to build up the promo. Still one or two bits need sorting out. Needs a fridge that will last a few days on the leisure battery. The fridge we have now is good for when running the engine or when using an electrical hookup but the folk who had it before us only ever went to posh caravan club campsites. That’s not our style. We wouldn’t mix easily with caravaners although we do have one or two friends with a caravan that we have been away with for the weekend.

Ordinarily now would be a perfect time to crack open a cold beer. Plenty of time until dinner and sitting in the back garden relaxing. Don’t really feel like one though so will give it a miss.

Sunny side of the street

leave your worries on the doorstep

Aargh it’s another gorgeous day in Glockamorra. What is this thing called sun? Grab your coat and grab your hat. No rewind. Just grab your hat and leave your worries on the doorstep. No need for a coat in this weather. Just sun cream.

Dropped Hannah off to catch the 09.30 train from Lincoln Central direct to the the heart of the metropolis, Kings Cross Station. Except the train was cancelled and they were putting on a replacement bus service to Newark. Hannah was fine with it although she won’t have her seat reservation. She’ll be right.

Here is my current jobs list:

Reinforce trapdoor in attic
Affix new deckchair canvas
Tidy workshop
Put away camping stuff
Clean trailer
Fix Anne’s drawer

Also taking Betty round to CamperUK to see if they can advise on fridge fitting.

This evening I am spit roasting a duck. The rotisserie has proved to be a huge success. V succulent meat when cooked with it.

Made the mistake of calling the mobile phone insurance people this morning. They sent me an email asking me to do so. Now been on hold for at least 30 mins. I have to stay on the phone now having made the time investment. After 45 minutes I got through but the person at the other end couldn’t hear me! Called again and eventually discovered that they hadn’t received my proof of purchase. I did upload this when I first registered the phone and have now resent it by email.

Fixed the drawer whilst I was waiting on the phone. Now also scraped the old sealant from around the bath in preparation for putting some clean new stuff down. Note not on the jobs list but had a pressing need to be done.

Cricket going well. 2nd test England v Pakistan at Old Trafford. 427 for 5. Root 185 n/o, night watchman Woakes out for 58. Not bad. It’s a comfortable listen when it’s going well.