early one morning

the kettle

It is not yet time to boil the kettle. Funny to think that this ritual goes on all around the world in a certain time window, in my case around 6.30am but anything between this time and 8am ish. You can imagine plotting the rise in energy consumption moving around the globe as the world wakes up and sticks the kettle on.

I was careful to use the word energy there instead of electricity as some people may use gas and potentially even wood fire. Those of a wood fire bent will likely take a lot longer. Having the embers hot from last night will help, obvs.

That’s something I quite like doing, lighting the fire from the previous day’s embers without resorting to the use of a match. Doesn’t happen very often as we rarely have a fire going. It is the weekend. I might treat us. I have to nip out today to deposit a cheque in the bank as it is too large to do using the app and could use the opportunity to buy some fuel. 

We have got a massive pile of wood at the bottom of the garden but it needs cutting up. Old bits of fence, chairs, stuff like that. Really best suited to kindling and the intermediate sized wood stage rather than the main log burning activity of the fire. When I say throw another chair leg on the fire I really do mean it 🙂

Might get the chainsaw out later, if I can get anywhere near it past all the gardening bits – bamboo canes, piled up plant pots etc. Don’t worry I’ve got all the gear although it is a bit of a rigmarole putting it all on. Needs must. No steel toe cap boots though.

In other news I was just checking the rules for entering Belgium. We are notionally off there on February 14th. They still need you to do a PCR test and quarantine until you get the result. As far as I can see. You need a degree in covid travel to work it out. All I want is for someone to say “do this Tref”. There is a scenario where we don’t bother going but there are three weeks yet. Hotels are all cancellable and return flights from Schipol. Not sure about the Eurostar. I’m not particularly impressed with Eurostar as an entity.

Gotta go. The watched kettle never boils but it has absolutely no hope of doing so if you don’t fill it up and switch it on…


early thoughts

Thought for the Day came on 4 mins early today on Radio 4 and completely threw our schedule. In consequence everything is 4 mins ahead of plan this morning. How am I going to cope with the opportunity to increase productivity? The thought itself did not register. The purpose of the thought for the day slot is I assume to prompt those who are still in bed to remove themselves from its comfortable attractions, swing out the legs and get on with the order of the day.

As you might therefore imagine I have  made it to the shed earlier than normal, not that there is a normal. For the record it is a fine frosty morning. Crisp enough for the proclamation of joyous existence.

There is not an order of the day per se. I have one 30 minute meeting at 10am and am otherwise progressing activities across a wide front. This includes a walk to the Arboretum with John writing some Anne’s Vans copy and converting a pile of paperwork overflowing from my “filing” tray for electronic storage using the marvellous ScanSnap machine.

I also need to plan the attack on my waistline. Part of throttling back from full time employment is to exercise more and lose weight. This is relatively straightforward when at home in Lincoln but a lot harder when travelling. It isn’t the travelling bit that makes it difficult it’s the what I’m doing when I get there.

I have two experiences to relate. The first is that I once did the Atkins diet whilst away for two weeks on business. The diet worked. I lost a stone and a half but was constantly thirsty and it didn’t feel right.

Then one year I did sober October with Steve Wildman and Rob Vashak. I had no problem with laying off the booze for the month. The issue was the boredom experienced when in Amsterdam at the RIPE conference for a week and then a separate week in Brussels. They were long days and in the evening everyone would go out on the lash whilst I consumed gallons of mineral water.

It was v boring and I determined afterwards that a wholly sober October was not for me unless I was spending the whole month at home.

Now I have a fairly active few weeks ahead. Somehow the word is back in travel mode and I have a number of trips planned. These include dinner in London on 27th Jan and 9th Feb, Brussels on 14th and 15th Feb, Antwerp on 16th Feb and Amsterdam on 17th. This is closely followed by London again on 8th and 9th March.

I’m just going to have to try and strike a balance innit. I am looking at the keto diet for a short time as some pals are doing it. It is the Atkins diet really although I guess it will have moved on in that some green veg is included. See how it goes. I might keep you posted, might not. See how I feel 🙂

In the shed I am insulated from the world. Inside is at a comfortable working temperature but I can see the frost on the lawn clearly suggesting otherwise out there. More than half the lawn facing side of the shed is north facing window and door. In that respect it would be a good artist’s studio. I view it as a multipurpose space and the fact that I have not yet produced any painting is neither here nor there. No sculptures either.

Walked into town with the lad for a few games of pool at the Cube & Cue this morning. It used to be called Riley’s. I am a member. I was also a member at Rileys. I joined in between lockdowns to play snooker. I played once then it closed and phoenixed under the new name. I joined again. Only cost a fiver. So I am a member of a snooker club. We had a good time. Played 7 games in an hour. It went to the last second before the light automatically went off. 

It isn’t always about winning when you play with your kids but that doesn’t apply when they are twenty one years old. Whilst you are happy for the younger generation to take over you still wan to put off the day and show them who is boss. I’m crap at snooker so I can’t do it when playing that.

Took a while to get used to the table. Hit the ball too hard and it bounces out off the rubber at the back of the hole. Don’t hit it hard enough and it would roll true. Remembering some of the fantastic snooker recoveries at the Masters where someone would roll the cue ball off three cushions and leave it resting against a red at the end of the table. I tried it. Didn’t work.

Walked back up Lindum Hill. Not done that for some time and you could tell. I need to do more of it. Golf on Thursday.


no pressure

I like it when there is no pressure to do anything. I have one job to finish off which is to fit spacers behind the “new” sewing desk to ensure solidity against the wall in the “new” sewing room. This is a dividend of the kids growing up and leaving home. There will still be a bed in there but sewing will be the room’s main purpose.

I am quite prepared to accept the concept that one day the shed might have to be used as temporary sleeping quarters, at Christmas perhaps but we are not there yet. It would need multiple offspring back with their own offspring to make that happen. There is no rush for this.

Quite a number of my pals now have grandchildren, including one or two people I was at school with. I am ok with this although for someone in my class at school to be a grandparent does bring it very close to home. With these people my memories are of us being in our teens. Parties and nights out with even the notion of being settled and having our own families being a distant concept.

You notice quite a change in someone who has become a grandparent. They get all dewy eyed when thinking about it. There is even a cohort amongst my pals, mostly “tough ex rugby playing types”,  who happily chat with each other about the joys of grandparenthood. I can understand it with the girls but not the blokes. I daresay my time will come. Like I said, no pressure kids.

The sewing room is moving down from the attic which is already a recording studio but will now be more so. Fortunately someone invented headphones so our reverie is only occasionally interrupted by loud music.

Another observation this morning is that there are some radio programs that won’t let me play them on Sonos. The Sunday Service on BBC Radio 4 is such a programme. Yesterday it was another BBC job though I can’t quite remember what it was. Feels a bit odd but maybe the Beeb has stopped Sonos playing anything. Digging into it it’s TuneIn Radio that can’t broadcast it. The Beeb must be forcing everyone onto BBC Sounds. That’s all well and good but no use if they don’t let me stream over Sonos. Spotify does. Rewind. Sorted. Ignore this paragraph 🙂

Sitting here in the TV room I have just noticed a bag of knitting.

Sewing room desk complete and also shower door adjusted to close gap that opened up after a while.

We have a good size family house. When all four kids are home it is big enough to give everyone their own space. You don’t feel on top of each other. One downside is that I’m the only person who sits in the sitting room (living room/front room/lounge/call it what you will) and this is where the open fire resides. This means that we rarely light the fire although when in full flow it does provide a good glow to the whole house.

The conservatory hardly ever gets used. I might take a cuppa in there after breakfast on a sunny day and it very occasionally plays host to a lunch or dinner. We rarely have people round for dinner. Before kids it was commonplace but became too much effort, and cost. Now we are out of the habit and our pals are all such raving party animals that we would need to psych ourselves up for the undoubted session ahead. When the kids are home the conservatory is more of a conservatoire as the piano is there and it does get played.

The TV room is the warmest room. It’s a v cosy family den. The TV itself, being thicker than a matchstick feels a little outdated and doesn’t have all the connectivity we (I assume we do) all expect these days aka the shed telly. It only has one HDMI port and I do occasionally plonk myself down in front of it to watch something on the Chromecast only to find that someone has unhooked it and plugged in a playstation instead. Annoying eh? The shed telly has something like 12 HDMI ports (well at least 8, I haven’t really counted) as it is connected via an external amp.

The kitchen is the best room in our house. It’s a bigun and the room that is used the most. There is a pew running along the end farthest from the window. We bought it when the church was selling them off to make a more flexible pace. Their loss, our gain. It’s by far the most popular place to sit at the kitchen table. We are lucky that the kitchen is big enough to take it. 

The last job, for the moment, has been finished. I straightened the wonky fencepost put in only a few weeks ago and affixed some horizontal wires for the purpose of espaliering the plum tree. I am now sitting down to a well earned cuppa and will soon get going on my new book “Spies of the Airways” by Hugh Skillen. It’s part of a trilogy that includes “Knowledge Strengthens the Arm” and one on the Enigma whose name escapes me. I’ve separately ordered all three. 

Ciao amigos


The short lived 5am debate

I daresay most of you will only devote a contemptuous millisecond to my anguish at 5am this morning when I glanced at my bedside alarm clock and noted the time. Anguish doesn’t really properly reflect today’s early morning emotions. All I did was clock the time and conduct a very short lived debate with myself regarding whether I should get up and head downstairs to do something useful or sit it out (lie it out) and assume that I would get back to sleep until the display showed a more sensible time for a Saturday morning.

The debate didn’t really involve me presenting two arguments and weighing one up against the other. I was simply thinking that it was early, it was bloody cold out and the heating wasn’t due to come on for ages yet and I was very cosy in bed. Although each incident in the debate was very short lived I know it went on, and off, for a good thirty minutes because the last time I remember seeing was five thirty.

The next time I looked the clock said six thirty and I knew that staying in bed had been the right decision. At six forty five I got up, went downstairs to make the tea and was safely back in bed by five to seven.

Now up I have breakfasted well on ham, eggs, tomaytoes and mushrooms washed down with a couple of mugs of char. Mixing my vernacular there but this is allowed. Good phrase that: to mix the vernacular. Truth is to call bacon ham is only borderline vernacular and entirely dependent on your viewpoint. Also tomaytoes is merely adding an accent to tomahtoes that suggests the author is either well travelled or watches too much junk TV. I’ll leave that to you to decide. Both could apply.


I woke up this morning

I woke up this morning and knocked my specs off the bedside table, oh yea. It made me consider my situation. Had I lived in the stone age would I even be alive. I am not only half blind without my specs but have an appalling sense of smell and my hearing ain’t what it used to be. If my name were Ugg, address The Cave, I could well have been eaten by a sabre tooth tiger by now. Hiding up that tree probs, or behind a rock.

If my name were Ugg I probably wouldn’t be thinking about buying a new alarm clock radio. Ours gains approximately a second a month and one of the LEDs is on the blink, pun intended. 

I Googled “bluetooth alarm clock radio”. This was a mistake at this time of the morning. I was bombarded with options, none of which seemed particularly cheap. Doesn’t feel to me as if a clock radio needs to be expensive. I retreated and ditched the word bluetooth from the search. 

This uncovered some what might be termed traditional clock radios at the lower end of the price spectrum but also gave me the classic dilemma of buyers everywhere and that is spec creep. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a clock radio, TV or a car it’s the temptation to add bells and whistles. Shouldn’t it have bluetooth anyway?

Let’s face it all I need a clock radio for is to tell the time and play BBC Radio 4. I rarely use it as an alarm. I use the dog and bone for that. I quite like the idea of being able to charge my phone wirelessly but then that would mean having the phone about 18 inches from my head at night. 

It would be quite useful to integrate the clock radio with my sonos speakers. It seems simple enough to use a Sonos as an alarm but we want to be able to see the time and also set a snooze time on the radio when going to bed at night. I guess the answer is a simple alarm clock radio and if we really want a Sonos in the bedroom to have a separate speaker.

No rush. This one will run and run. I still haven’t bought a new toaster after pontificating about it a couple or three years ago. Meanwhile there is snooker on the box. It’s nil nil with no points on the board and the best of 11.


shred that sheet

I woke up this morning and said to myself “made it through another night”. I sometimes think this. The whole pandemic sitch together with the ageing process makes you look at life differently. At 60 I am an orphan. Fortunately I have a great support structure around me. A very patient wife and 4 kids who still talk to me.

Yesterday we had a nice day out in Louth. Well not a whole day out. Louth ain’t that big but we had a nice stroll and had nice lunch in a nice caff. I also bought some books off a market stall.

Upon arriving in Louth the first thing we did after parking was have a coffee in a different caff to the nice one we ended in for the nice lunch. It too was nice. A couple plonked down at the table next to us and once settled she asked him what day it was. He responded that it was Wednesday and that she had asked him that yesterday. I pointed out that yesterday it was Tuesday not Wednesday. 

This caused general mirth in the cafe – it was a small cafe. There also followed a debate about how nobody could ever remember what it was, including the waitress who had apparently turned up for work the previous day thinking it was a Wednesday.

Today, as the astute amongst you will have gleaned, is a Thursday. There was evidence of an early frost as I walked to the shed although it felt almost springlike. Working day today! No rush though. I do feel that a fourth cup of tea might be appropriate but I’d have to go back to the house to source and it won’t do me any harm to delay a little.

The news is I have deferred my jury service to August. It suddenly clashed with a dinner I want to go to in London. The process was simple enough although I had to listen to 3 ½ minute of messages and options beforeI made it through to a person. I remember this from the last time I called as this time like then the voicemail message we one person but it was someone different telling me that my phone call would be recorded. Why couldn’t the same bloke have recorded both bits.

When I eventually got through the person didn’t want to waste time chatting. She had a job to do. She didn’t say that in so many words but you could tell 🙂 I could choose anytime in the next twelve months for the deferral so I went for a quiet time when I knew we wouldn’t be away. I say quiet time but actually August is busy for those of us in the campervan rental game but because of that I knew we would defo be in Lincoln.

Funny how people are different innit. A person who didn’t want to waste time chatting is fine to answer the phone for someone trying to defer jury service but would be no use working in a shop where staff might reasonably be expected to be friendly and chatty. Oh go on then yes I will buy that jumper. Or paper shredder.

My paper shredder is out on a van for delivery and arrives sometime today. Fwiw. Bought online not in a shop so no chatty sales assistant. It’s the solution to piles of papers building up in carrier bags in da shed. A fun time to be had. I bought one with a largeish capacity so that I didn’t have to keep emptying it. It will still sit compactly in the corner next to my desk though. Shred that sheet!


cauld old morning

Tis a cauld old morning of it and the sun is low in a seemingly cloudless sky. Still very much deep midwinter without the snow effects. No creaking of trees either as the frosty wind blesses them with its presence. Perhaps that sound effect is reserved for night time.

The lack of snow in winter hereabouts makes it harder to produce evocative descriptions. I can’t really hark back to my childhood as I’m fairly sure that snowbound winters were few and far between then, even when living in North Wales. Certainly not in the Isle of Man which is centrally heated by the gulf stream.

Had a trip out to Louth today. I bought a few second hand books from a stall in the market and a 2kg bag of bird seed and then nipped over to see the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway. We last visited the railway perhaps fifteen years ago or more and it doesn’t appear to have changed at all. Still the same fund raiser appeal to extend the line nearly to Louth.

On the way back from the railway we picked up a couple of free bags of horse manure compost left at the side of the road. The things you do!

Louth itself is of another era. As the car moves through the winter countryside the nearer Louth you get the further back in time it feels you are. Should be twinned with nearby Woodhall Spa which stopped in the 1940s.

Back in the shed I’m listening to a webinar on the EU Regulatory Framework for Communications Providers. Yawn. Hadn’t realised it was going to be such a basic “Dummies Guide”. I’m in now so I will sit it out. Fortunately the snooker is on the box. On mute.


sun day

Somewhat amazing night last night. I rarely watch game shows but this one was different as it had Will and Kathryn Ward in it. We went to their wedding! Can’t remember the name but it was a new gig with Ant and Dec who are well known TV celebrities. The point is they won half a million quid. Will and Kathryn that is, not Ant and Dec. Fantastic. I’ll not watch any more of the shows. Not my thang and I’ve seen all I need to see.

Kansas City Chiefs also won. Edged it in the fourth quarter. I am newly a Chiefs fan, for reasons you will have to scroll back through my timeline to discover. The game was on past my bedtime but I might see if it available on catchup. Cmon the Chiefs. Innit.

Treated myself to a lie in this morning and a proper wet shave once I’d made it out of bed. Outside the sky is cloudless and the weather looks perfect for a stroll to the Bail.

Just back from dropping a member of the congregation at St Peter in Eastgate Church. As I drove past the Lindum Cricket Club it occurred to me that I didn’t go along to watch a single match last summer which will need sorting this year. The real point though is that I am going to far fewer places than I used to. 

This sitch will hopefully change as the world resumes normal service, if it ever does. For everyone’s sake.

Back from a late morning walk with our John. 5k. Steps that is. Need to up the game on the walking.  The plan is walking, swimming and cycling. Bit of yoga maybs.


I had a dream

I had a dream. There I was driving along in a campervan when I saw an old geezer collapse on the pavement and some other a little less old bearded chap had stopped to see if he was ok. I pulled to a halt and asked if they needed any help. The bearded guy told me to call for an ambulance which I did.

After a while on hold whilst the 999 person was trying to sort an ambulance we realised that the old geezer was just inebriated and didn’t really need an ambulance and a good kip would sort him. I killed the call and in the meantime realised that someone had nicked my campervan. Bar steward.

Now I don’t normally remember dreams but this one obviously stuck. I’ll leave it to you to interpret.

Breakfasted well and strolled, hood up, to the shed. It is raining ish but the forecast is for heavier rain. I may get stranded. The shed was unusually cold. Something tripped the power in the house yesterday and I forgot to turn the heater in the shed back on. Good job we don’t live in Alaska. I do quite like the idea of going to Alaska though. Wilderness adventure. I’d need to find someone to come with me.

A bit damp now as walked to Waitrose with John for a few supplies. Steady rain all the way back and my specs steamed up so could hardly see. Good job I knew the way. Jeans were totes soaked by the time I got home. Hey… Good job I had a spare pair innit.

Now sat enjoying a cup of tea in the TV room. No TV on. I’m pondering subscribing to the Disney+ channel later today as we want to watch Get Back, the Beatles series of the making of the album. I suspect that once we have watched it I will cancel the subscription. Worth eight quid though.



Good breakfast. Stroll to shed. A time for relaxation. Ease into the day. Easement would have been a good word for this but it has already been bagged and has connotations inconsistent with the sentiment.

Ahead, a day of meditation, spiritual and bodily improvement. By this I mean I’m going to pluck some partridges, fix the loft ladder and then go for a swim 🙂 .

Interesting to consider that like many repetitive exercises swimming has a strong element of meditation. Detached focus on the job in hand. I may occasionally think of things when swimming but mostly I think of nothing. 

I do occasionally look up and check the pool clock. This is not as straightforward as you might think because I’m pretty blind without my specs and although I have prescription swimming goggles they are so scratched to be almost non functional as such. They still keep water out of my eyes.

The shed is a perfect place for mediation. In the deepest days of lockdown, with the circling covid horde baying for victims, the shed was not only a workplace but also somewhere to throw down your yoga mat. In the shed you could be at one with the world around you.

Those days are long gone. The freedoms that came with the summer and shed doors wide open to the garden disappeared when freezing temperatures forced closed those doors.

We should not keep looking over our shoulders. Look ahead. Heads up and eyes on the horizon. Just writing that brought a smile to my face. The power of positive thinking. Wow.


tis evening

Tis evening. Outside, the temperature has dropped below zero and all sensible beings have kept to their lairs. It is not a night to be abroad. For some it is their first winter. For many it will be their last. Struggle’s end. A frozen lifeless body. No time to mourn. Survival.


(fence) post

Children walking to school outside the front of the house. An icy cold morning. In my infinite wisdom I suggested to Steve who lives around the corner that we could go on a bike ride. Hmm. I regretted it almost as soon as I’d said it but hey, these things have to be done. I have also booked lane swimming at 3pm for the rest of the week.

Steve has to be in Nottingham first thing but will be back at around 11am. Plenty of time to get sorted and to get my head in the right space.

It is all about getting into a routine. I have no problem in booking swimming slots now that I am back in the swing of it. It is quite handy being able to choose the last slot of the afternoon session as it is typically relatively quiet. Most people are chained to their desks at that time obvs.

I do like cold days. It helps having heating in the house. A couple of winters ago this was not the case and in the following spring we ended up replacing most of the radiators and the boiler. Pretty much a complete new central heating system. This January we are having the windows at the front of the house replaced and we will then be fully double glazed. 

Some might think it strange that this is not already the case but the house was built in 1939 before the inventor of double glazing had come up with the idea. I don’t now the inventor’s name but you can just picture that Eureka moment when the idea came up. Perhaps they had accidentally made twice the amount of glass for the job and decided to use it all seeing as it was there.

However it was invented it is surely a good idea Shirley.

Started on the fence post installation. Don’t want to rush this although the weather is turning after today so they need to be in really. The metal post receptacles or supports or whatever they are called are 60% in place and now need the sledgehammer to finish off. Stopped off at the shed as an interim act as I need to head back to the garage for the sledgehammer and the stepladder needed to hammer the actual posts in from on high. They are ten footers. Or similar.

I assume that the use of imperial measurements will now return to mainstream in today’s dysfunctional society even though you have to be my age really to refer to them with any regularity. I doubt kids talk in yards, feet and inches when a centimetre will suffice. You can picture the scheme in the playground (yard?!). “Anyone got five bob I can borrow. Two and six would do. I’m taking Doreen to the pictures later” Snorrapnin.

I do find it a little odd when building materials are quoted in millimetres. 2,400 mm when it is clearly 2.4m. Or ten feet. Or 3 yards 1 foot.

The other thing I find odd is the continental way of swapping commas and decimal points in numbers but that is another story.

Gorrago. Fenceposts don’t put themselves up yanow.

early one morning

false alarm, clock

That moment when you realise that you need a new alarm clock radio: when you wake up in the night and glance at the clock to see it saying 7.10 and think to yourself what a great nights kip. Then when glancing at your phone it says 1.10am and you realise an LED is starting to go on the radio!

Like many of you I’m sure we listen to the news in bed. I mostly switch off my hearing at this point as it is mostly bad news or tedious stuff but this morning I couldn’t help noticing the repetition on multiple bulletins of the news of the Prince Andrew lawsuit and separately of some female silicon valley entrepreneur who had been done for fraud. 

The thing that came to mind regarding Andy was the frequent repetition of the words sex offences on prime time news. Made me wonder how many parents would be explaining to their kids over the breakfast table what this term meant.

The fraudster stuff just got a bit repetitive especially as I’d never heard of her. Probably never will again once the cell keys have been thrown away. She got multiple 20 year sentences. Had she “just” gone and murdered someone she would probably have got off more lightly.

Walked to Waitrose with John for a few bits. It’s around a mile each way. Cold out but warmed up with the brisk walk. Passed a retirement flat with a faded name sign “Ren and Dave, Dunromin” or similar. I got the spellin rite. Was definitely Dave. Dave in fact was just stretching his legs at the door as we walked past. Important years when there are still two of you around.

Got home and stuck a new trellis near the potting shed door. The flimsy old one wasn’t up to supporting the rose which was being held up by bits of string tied to nails. There wasn’t much enthusiasm to stay out in the cold to help so it took me more than one attempt to get it level but the end result is fine. I now know the correct trellis hanging technique. 

Noted also that the garlic I planted in the autumn is poking through in two rows. The first sign of renewal. New life. Enough garden jobs for one day. Don’t want to do them all in one go. Tomorrow I plan on hammering in some new fence posts to hold the plum tree.

Now sat in the shed listening to a spot of Rachnmaninoff whilst charging my fitbit. I note the date on it is Lay sometime. Shows how long it is since I used it. Was on 0% charge. Problem is I don’t wear a watch but I have decided to start using it when exercising which I want to do more of. 

Before Christmas I always had a psychological block against downing tools and going for a walk/to the gym/pool. The problem was, as with many jobs, I had more work I could be doing than time available so I didn’t do the exercise. Now with a vastly curtailed working week the mental blockage has been removed.

Off to the pool at 3pm. Hoping it won’t be as busy as yesterday.

early one morning


06:09. There is something arty about that time. It isn’t symmetrical but feels as if it is. 60:90 isn’t quite the same. Personal preference.

Mayne you are a 60:90 kind of person. Doesn’t sound like I am. It would be funny if the whole world was divided into 06:09 and 60:90 types. Maybe it is. Maybe I’ve just stumbled across a hitherto undiscovered law of nature or similar.

Astounding!  Academics will devote entire careers to the exploration of the deep meaning of this. Whole new industries will be formed around the twin concepts. Is it good versus evil? Doesn’t feel as if it is. It isn’t as black and white as that.

I will be selling 06:09 t-shirts to kickstart the whole activity. Not 60:90 t-shirts obvs. I can’t do everything yanow and philosophically it wouldn’t feel right.

Today is a Bank Holiday btw. Feels like another Sunday for some reason. Bank Holidays should feel uplifting. A bonus extra day in your life. Not in January. Went for a swim. I’ve never seen the pool so rammed. After a while I hit the sauna and another occupant pointed out that most people go back to work tomorrow so might keep the 11am booking to see how it goes. 

Lots of people decide they need to shift a bit of timber after Christmas but I reckon a couple of weeks should see it all go back to normal. The new normal? What is the new normal? What was the old normal? I can’t remember that far back.


music on hold

On hold now for over two minutes. I’m half expecting this to be an hour’s job as it is British Airways but we shall see. It’s an I want a refund not a voucher job. It was a reward flight but the tax must have been around £1,400. I want both points and tax back. 

Their music on hold gets a little tedious after a while. The first few times you hear it it isn’t too bad. A bit of classical geetar. Now I want them to change the record. Never mind.

En route to the shed this morning the tree was dispatched through the conservatory door. Still needs relocating to the woodpile which itself needs a big tidy up. A morning with the chainsaw.

Part of the BA irritation is that the music occasionally stops making you think you are about to be put through to a person but what you get is the same “all of our agents are busy message”. The irony is that their website where I have the page open on my booking times out before anyone answers.

I was downgraded from gold to silver a couple of weeks before they extended everyone’s status last year, or was it the year before. Had I still been gold they would quite possibly have already answered the phone by now. Ah well.

We were going on a big trip but the continuation of the pandemic makes it too risky. The risk, apart from perhaps finding lots of places closed on our trip, is that of catching covid and having to isolate in a (expensive) hotel room somewhere in the Caribbean or USA. We were going to 4 destinations.

We will reschedule the trip.

Fifteen minutes. At least I get time to write this. As I write back in the house the decorations are being boxed up for another year. I quite like the relative austerity of January although the first two months of the year do quickly get tedious with their low light levels. 

Today, as it happens, is not a low light day. Perfect for getting out in the fresh air, were I not on hold to BA. Needs must. After the BA I need to cancel an American Airlines internal flight. I’ll have to see how that goes. I booked a fully flexible fare in case of this eventuality and they have also change the flight time, fwiw so it is likely to be just the hassle of calling them. Might be able to do it online. Who knows?

All this hassle does bode well for our campervan rental business Anne’s Vans. It is likely to be a lot easier to continue holidaying in the UK. Advanced bookings are up 78% year on year and that’s before we add the fourth van to the roster. Might do that this weekend although it is still undergoing internal refurbishment and we are short on photos.

Thirty minutes.

Fifty minutes and it is all done, at least the BA flight. An espresso made on top of the stove and now onto American.

First impressions. Poor quality line and appalling music on hold. It’s Caribbean steel band music which together with the poor line grates.

In other news my Caravan & Motorhome club membership renewal email arrived yesterday. “It’s only £56*, when you think about the great adventures you can start planning and booking, we think that’s well worth it.

I joined a year ago in order to book a trip with some pals this coming April. You need to be a member to use the particular site we are headed to. Not used it since then and haven’t even had the stay yet! 🙂 There was a time where I wouldn’t have been seen dead being a member of such an organisation but the “motorhome” bit justifies it. When I joined they gave me “Count” as an option instead of Mr, Mrs etc so I adopted that title, at least for use in exploring the great outdoors presented to us by the club.

Meanwhile American Airlines are focussed on providing me with excellent service and are working very hard to be with me as soon as possible and appreciate my patience. Huh! Thirteen minutes. The musical interlude between these statements seems to be even shorter than with BA. They must have done some research on the subject. 

The science of music on hold. Music is still crap. I think the poor line is that connecting to the music on hold media server. The message that keeps being injected into the music stream is pretty clear.

In forty minutes I need to take Hannah to the station. I would hope this is finished by then. It will have taken an hour. I dunno.

Twenty five minutes. I should have brought a book. I do have a few here in the shed, “History of the Adjustable Spanner” being a notable volume. However I don’t want to get distracted from the task in hand of being there when the music finally stops and they will give me a limited window to actually say something. This whole process is stupefying. It would at least be nice to know someone was going to answer the phone if I stayed on long enough.

They should start paying me/callers if they don’t answer the phone within a certain time. That would soon get their staffing levels sorted. I know these are extraordinary times, which actually is why I’m cancelling the trip.

On track to be on hold for longer than BA. Not much of a claim to fame is it, for either company. Sounded like the BA call centre was in India. Any bets on where AA’s is? 55 minutes.

At least I’ve done a little job that needed doing in the shed. Put my Gudbye T Jane vinyl single clock birthday present up again. I did originally stick it up but needed to change the command strip arrangement for reasons with which I won’t bore you. I now also have a DVD player on my desk, solely for the purpose of playing the 50th Anniversary of Recordiau Sain triple CD that my friend Nest gave me, again for my birthday. Lots of good old numbers on there. My amp doesn’t have a DVD/CD player or a USB port otherwise that would have been the obvious place to leave it permanently.

Lunchtime has arrived. One hour and two minutes into the hold. One hour and six minutes and I’ve started looking up AA hold times on tinterweb. Anything between two and 12 hours. This does not bode well. I’ll give it another ten mins and then bail. The flight isn’t for ten weeks or so. Next time I’ll call using my mobile and whilst wearing headphones so that I can move around and do stuff.

BREAKING NEWS: One hour and ten minutes and someone has answered the phone. Now I’m back on hold whilst she consults the tariff department. Always a bit of a worry 🙂 Being put on hold that is. The number of times I’ve been in this situation and the line has dropped is not funny. Just hope there isn’t such a long wait for their internal calls.

Must have taken nigh on 90 mins for the whole process including filling out a bureaucratic refund request form online but I got there in the end. Collapses into an amorphous state. That’s a couple of grand’s worth of refunds and a morning spent on hold.

That’s all folks.