Archive for February, 2016

Shifted the hedge trimmings innit

Monday, February 29th, 2016

green fingered Tref – ish

45 minutes swim to start the day. It’s an obvious thing but I do find the more I swim the more I find myself wanting to do more. Trouble is getting to the pool earlier is hard – the bed is nice and cosy and it’s frosty out. I would have been able to get there earlier had I not had to deice the car (s).

I feel as if I’m back in the fitness and healthy eating groove this week after last week’s trip to Barca. I do have a couple of day’s meetings that will end up in the pub to survive. And don’t go telling me I’ll just have to resist temptation:)

at 10am I started clearing yesterday’s trimmings into the green bins. This took me 90 minutes. It involved using the clippers to get most of the small green stuff off the branches so that they were easily compressed into the bins. The stick sized bare branches were put in one pile next to the woodpile and the bigger stuff onto the woodpile itself. Not a bad morning’s work really.

Had a chat with Dad, did some tripadvisor reviews from Venice and then had pea and watercress soup for lunch. All in all not a bad morning of it.

You do notice more when you are out in the garden. This morning I had a chat with a robin. He didn’t seem to have much to say so it was a little one sided! Flew off when my back was turned. Ah well.

After lunch went downtown to do a few chores, market, bank, vodafone shop. Signed up with Voda for a plan that includes 20GB data for £20 a month. It also included sky sports mobile. Tonight I rang EE to cancel their account and they matched the offer. Later I tried to install the sky app on my oneplus 2 phone only to find it is incompatible. Forced my hand really. Called EE back and accepted their offer.

Tomorrow I’ll call Vodafone and cancel their order. You have a 2 week period of grace in which to do it and in anycase they are unable to fulfil their side of the deal. The EE offer also included free EU calls and texts!

Featured image is a little in the shade but if you look carefully it shows some of the hedge trimmings I got rid of today.

Thassit for now. London tomorrow. See ya there.

PS I offer you a short video showing sparks flying at a building site at the top of Lincoln High Street.


Sunday, February 28th, 2016

thou shalt rest

My 4 x great grandfather the Reverend Daniel Davies, founder of the baptist church in Llandysul, was for a number of years ejected from his church because one of his farm workers was found to be working on a Sunday. Shows how religious views were strictly held at the turn of the 18th century. His nephew William was the first Welsh baptist missionary to die in Africa. William’s father was the Rector of the Church of Wales in Llandysul and Bangor Henllan. He would have been shocked that his son crossed over the the protestants.

These are stories for elaboration at a different time. They sprang to mind as I sit here tapping away in the kitchen listening to Radio 4. They have just broadcast an article on the growth of the Manx language which was nice to listen to. What they didn’t mention that this was very much boosted by my dad Alun Davies who was the Director of Education who introduced the teaching of Manx in primary schools. He is retired now but as a native Welsh speaker he could see the value in learning Manx.

The other story, quite near to home, unusually, was an interview with Radio 2 DJ Tony Blackburn who has been fired from the BBC for disagreeing with the party line over child molestation cases in the 1970s. Our son Tom works at the Beeb and said that the mood in the office was terrible. I won’t bore you with the details but it sounds to me as if the Beeb have got it wrong on this one.

Being a day of rest one would think I would be sat around all day “resting”. In my case this will involve getting the chicken casserole ready for tonight’s tea. Also I’ll be out the back using my new ladder to prune the fruit trees. They haven’t been done for years and the pear in particular hasn’t fruited for a long time. Every year it gets brown leaves – there is something wrong there  that I may also sort today (to the best of the guy at Pennels Garden Centre’s abilities.

Anne and I are also going to the cathedral to look at an exhibition of “Lent Art”. It’s free entry so it is a way of getting round the armed guards that normally look down from their barbed wire towers to make sure that you pay the entry fee.

I may thereafter continue for a bit of a walk – the training restarts after the week of hard indulgence at MWC in Barca.

The breakfast of  bacon, eggs mushrooms and tomatoes is part of this training. No bread of course. I need to start looking at longer walks now. Thursday may be a good candidate.

Didn’t go for a walk. After the arty stuff Anne and I hit a caff on Steep Hill for a cuppa and then I went home to crack on with the back garden. The new ladder is a real result allowing me to reach and destroy foliage hitherto protected by its elevation.

Trimmed until 4pm and then came in to wax my jacket. This is now done and the coat has had a blow dry using the hair drier. It’s a little waxy so hopefully will dry off after a while.

I here offer you some photos from inside Lincoln Cathedral.

Also some vids:

It’s Saturday 27th February and the jobs list continues

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

the shelves are up!

It is Saturday and I do have a few jobs on the list. I have already, with almost uneasy haste, glued the two end bits of velcro back onto the wooden pelmet of the kitchen blind. It’ll go back on when the glue is set. It’s quite an old tube of glue so there is a possibility I guess that it won’t set. There is also a chance that I read the instructions wrongly – glue isn’t just glue these days much in the same way that a TV isn’t just a TV.

I have also already refilled the by now nearly empty bird feeders. One of them was I’m sure emptied by squirrels but I did see some birds at it too so on the basis that they do get some benefit I don’t mind putting out the nuts.

All this is before 10am on a Saturday morning!

The jobs list does contain some long standing items, one of which could very well get done today. This is the replacement of the bulbs in the two front floodlights. I can do this now because I purchased some new tall step ladders. These are currently jobs list virgins but it’s a state that will not continue beyond this morning:)

I may try and get a walk in this afternoon although it wouldn’t do any harm to rest the body following the efforts of Mobile World Congress and there are after all two rugby matches on today.

Replaced the bulbs in the floodlights. I think I have to wait until night-time to see if they work because the motion sensor is also light sensitive. If it still doesn’t work it can only be the fuse or the actual detector. I don’t think it’s the fuse because that fuse also services two sockets in Hannah’s bedroom and they apparently work ok. It will be a real pain in the neck if I have to replace the detector.

I the meantime I’ve tidied up the bench and have even stuck some shelves up in the garage to take the odds and sods. I recently bought some plastic “pods” from JTF which are a little on the small side but will do. It’s to put things like electrical tape, tape measures and other miscellaneous bits of useful stuff that you need to have to hand. Reused a shelving unit for the shelves. Retrieved it from the woodpile and cut it down a little. Works fine and was less effort than making new shelves.

Been out to pay the deposit at the Bronze Pig for the LONAP board dinner on 17th March. They wanted a tenner a head. Ok. Freezing out so we have the heating on all day. Now watching the Italy v Scotland match on the box. It’s only of marginal interest so writing this at the same time. The biggie is England v Ireland at 16.50.

Friday – the journey home

Friday, February 26th, 2016

chill out weekend in prospect

Back on the train headed Nowf out of the Cross of Kings. Chap talking loudly on the phone – asking “you and Dick to do the specimens on Monday”. At least it was a short phone call. He’s stopped now. I see he is editing a spreadsheet with “Consultant fees to Crane for year” as a topic. Can’t quite make out how much he’s charging:).

Somewhat tiring week in Barca. Living in Lincoln doesn’t help really because it adds a lot of journey time. That said I was sat next to a chap on the plane who lived near Wimbledon and he had a 90 minute journey home from Gatwick. 

I have a couple of phone calls booked in this pm then after that it’s chill out time methinks.

I was the only person in for breakfast at the “Club Lounge” at the hotel. Had a sausage sandwich, glass of milk and a cup of tea. It’s the first cup of tea since leaving for Spain. I don’t bother when abroad. Needs to have proper fresh milk with it. My guts feel iffy after the sausage sandwich mind you! Hotels rarely understand sausages. Or bacon for that matter.

Joe is keeping me waiting on our online scrabble game. Keeps claiming to have rubbish letters:).

The featured image btw is of a sticker on the wall in one of the gents loos in MWC. I thought it was a bit of an odd/dodgy place for people to be invited to get their phones out to scan the QR code so I whipped it out and took a pic! I haven’t bothered trying to scan the code.

PS It’s bloomin cold back in Lincoln – bring on the spring.

Goodbye Barcelona – Thursday 25th Feb

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Great couple of days at Mobile World Congress

Using the voice rec on the Chromebook. Not sure it’s as good as it might be because of the background noise in the business class lounge so lots of manual corrections. Been sat here for a good couple of hours already having a beer with my old mate Adrian Knowles. I found out that we were both at Mobile World Congress and heading back home at different times but too much so and so we were able to catch on old times. Carriage return newline (not sure how to execute those commands in voice rec :))

Catching the 20 past 8 plane tonight. Going to stay in Gatwick Airport because I won’t get there early enough to catch the train back to Lincoln. Still I’ve had a good couple days and get home about lunch time tomorrow ready for the weekend.

The great meal and with the Genband boys last night. We ended up at the restaurant called Los Caracoles. We were sat right by the kitchen.  Food was great, wine was great. Big thanks to Stuart and Tony from Genband.

Not much on this weekend which is a good thing. I’ll be able to get on and the trim the front hedge and I’m sure Anne will have one or two other jobs ready for me. Wales vs France tomorrow night so something useful to do for Friday night.

Dictation stop into it really well I gotta go back in this stupid if Edison connected but actually it’s going to help cut along. Especially since I was coming for security I took the day off the end of month finger index finger when I was getting my liquid sound to put into the clear plastic bag cursor on the razor but you know but very nice to experience so tell me when my fingers tell me wrapped in tissue paper.

Left that para unedited for your entertainment:

Vids since last ones yesterday:

Letter from Las Ramblas

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Doncha just love Barca 🙂

Mobile World Congress in Barca today. Had a good lie in as we didn’t finish at the Michael Collins Irish  bar until around 1.30. They do very good measures of shorts here in Spain. Can’t really call them “shorts”.

We hit the bar after an unusual fish restaurant called La Paradeta near Sagrada Familia. It was more like a cafeteria. You queued up by the fish counter pointing at what you wanted, paid and went and sat down wherever you could find a spot. At some point they announced your number over a dodgy pa and you went to collect the cooked goods from a serving hatch.

Don’t get me wrong it was good food and I had a good time there with the Netaxis boys.

It’s back to the MWC show today after finding a spot of brekkie in the Boqueria. It’s just around the corner and will have some great photo material so stay tuned.

Yesterday’s vids not posted yesterday:

BA Galleries Lounge T3 230216

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Barca bound

Arrived at the lounge at 11.10 for a 13.40 flight. Problem is if I don’t give the journey time lots of contingency it can get a bit risky as is witnessed by the slight delay on the way down due to there being a dead body on the track after Peterborough. On this occasion the delay was only around 15 minutes and I made good connections on the tube and Heathrow Express. Hand baggage only, online checkin and business class fast track added to the ease of the journey.

The downside of course is that I am now going to be sat in the lounge for some time and without imbibing at that. Doesn’t make sense with a long day ahead. I’ll save it for a glass of wine with the meal on the plane although the meal is generally not worth having.

The upside of being sat in the lounge is having time to sort the photos I scanned last night. The sorting involves cropping, mostly, and filing into relevant folders. Lots of old pre-digital camera pics – family in IoM, nana, Paris trip with Anne.

The upshot of all this is that I haven’t got much to say. Featured image is of my grandmother “nana”. Pic below is a view of the coal tips/slag heap in front of her house.


I’ll leave you with these videos:

Off to Barcelona in the morning

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Si si senor

Off to Barcelona in the morning. Looking forward to it. Moreover I’m flying business class so it will be a bit more comfortable and on the way home it’s an 8pm ish flight which will be perfect timing for a couple of glasses of champagne on board. Staying at the Crowne Plaza at Gatwick when I get back to the UK because it will be too late to catch a train home and it’s a darn sight cheaper in Gatwick than in Central London.

Today was a day of getting ready for Barca really. Walked to Tom Visconi’s in the Bail for a haircut. Then after lunch (a few salad bits) walked into town to pick up a train ticket. 4.7 miles all told which on top of the swim this morning was a reasonable amount of exercise.

All I have to do now is decide what to wear. I don’t want to take much stuff. It’s all got to fit in my Osprey bag. Problem is the weather in Barca is a lot nicer than here so I need to set off in winter clothes and arrive in what will almost feel like the height of the British summer. It was 20 degrees C in Barcelona today.

The diet will to some extent go out the door this week, if only because of the booze that will inevitably be consumed at the trade show, or more specifically in the evenings. Will be doing a lot of walking though so that may offset the excess.

Check the video out – also discusses Brexit.

Sunday Sunday you’re good to me

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

pulled pork for lunch

As I write I am in a tight game of Scrabble with Joe Davies. I have 311 points to his 285 and it is his go. He only has three letters left and I have five, all one pointers. If I were a betting man I’d say I was going to win but you never know with Scrabble. The fat lady ain’t sung yet. Stay tuned for updates (In other words read on because the game will probably have finished by the time I finish this post.

Went to pick up the car this morning from Westgate car park. We were running late for Shannon’s birthday bash last night so I drove there and left it overnight. The problem was the overnight rate only lasted until 8am which would have meant an unnecessarily early start. Fortunately I discovered in conversation at the restaurant that you could download an app to pay and this is what I did. I lay in bed this morning and at around 7.45 paid for a couple of hours parking. Result.

As a result I set off at around 25 to ten and got there with five minutes to spare. There was nobody around that looked like a car park attendant but you never know. Having picked the car up I went to Waitrose to buy a few last minute bits for lunch. Amusingly I forgot to switch off runkeeper. As a result I am down as having walked 3.12 miles in just under 27 minutes. A personal best 🙂

I just won the Scrabble btw. A lot of it is down to the luck of the draw 🙂

So now the fire is lit and all is quiet in the house pending Anne’s return from church and the arrival of the Wards for lunch. The pork has been in at gas mark 1 since 4am. We set the timer. It should be nicely “pullable”. The sweet potato wedges are ready to go in the oven. The rolls are bought as is the coleslaw. We are all set really.

I may not have much of an inclination to write later so will post this soon and it will probably be all you get today unless I add some videos as is becoming my practice.


Oh and just one other thing. Today is dad’s birthday. 82. Penblwydd hapus dad 🙂



The Lincoln Olympic Stadium – you heard it first on philosopherontap

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Lincoln needs public institutions

It’s a good thing the 6 Nations rugby tournament has weekends where there is no play. Ostensibly this is to allow players to recover from what are obviously very physical games that take their toll on a body. Actually the fans also need recovery time. Were we to spend five consecutive Saturdays watching the rugby in the pub there would be far more marriage break ups.

So today I will hopefully get some jobs done. I’m not totally sure what these jobs will be particularly as Anne has cautioned me from trying to fit too much in. This was in response to my proclamation that I will cut the front hedge using my new step ladders.

We are also heading down to Coops’ garage to take some promo pics of Anne with her van which Anne considers will take up much of the morning. That and going to the tip which is also down Coops’ way. We are throwing a glass topped table/sideboard that we have been unable to sell on ebay nor give away.

It’s another dull day in the Colonia. Perhaps a good day to indulge myself in some philosopherontap thinking, aka this diary entry. When I throttled back from work I did intend to do a lot more writing but that hasn’t happened. This is partly because I think I’m not conditioned to not work. I have been able to do some exercise that would not otherwise have happened but not the great literary efforts I had in mind.

When we were in Venice in January we passed the Istituto Veneto Di Scienze Lettere ed Arti. It struck me that there was no reason why Lincoln should not have such a public entity/body/edifice – struggling to find the right word here. There isn’t anything like it in Lincoln afaik. Ok we have a library, and the Usher Gallery, and indeed the University but the Lincoln Institute of Science, Letters and the Arts is different.

Using the same thought process I figured we could also look around to identify other such “institutes” that the town lacks. The Lincolnshire Sausage Foundation. The World Centre for Alternative Something or other. We could bring back some of the Roman buildings long since lost to us. The Forum. The Roman Baths. This really demands a philosopherontap session in the Morning Star to thrash out what is missing. Doesn’t have to be achievable. Just what is not there that should be. The Lincoln Olympic Stadium…

I’m quite excited about the step ladders btw. 3m tall. There is nothing in the garden I won’t be able to reach. Especially the apples at the top of the tree that are obviously going to be much better than any of the ones lower down but which we have not been able to harvest before. Anne has just finished up the last of last autumn’s crop. They weren’t in much state for eating but fine for apple tarts. I believe tomorrow lunch’s apple sauce is from our own apples:)

The bird feeders have been attracting plenty of small birds. Having been able to watch them at it I note that they often sit nearby first looking around for any signs of danger. They don’t dwell at the feeder either. Quick in, get what they need and out again. I am happy to be able to help them. This is a truly dreary time of year with the occasional sunny days not really making up for the rest of them.

There is colour in the garden. The daffs are out and there is a pink blossom on one of the shrubs that hangs over from next door. The beech hedge is also a rich light ochre colour. You forget that it’s summertime state is green.

Some garden pics inc ladders and last night’s restaurant here.

The toothache is back

Friday, February 19th, 2016


Blimmin toothache is back. Didn’t get it at all yesterday. The cure is a combination of dabbing sensodyne on the sensitive area and swilling whisky. Means I’ve not gone to the gym this afternoon. Didn’t have time to go on a walk today. It will have to wait until Monday. At least I went swimming this morning.

Sunday’s pulled pork is being marinaded as we speak. It’s in the garage fridge. The plan is to put it in the oven on Gas Mark 1 with the timer set to come on at 4am on Sunday morning.

This afternoon I applied some leather treatment to the Meindl boots. Gotta look after your tools. They are still fairly new and haven’t seen any serious hammer yet but hey…

Anne has gone out with Michelle for a cawfee and John is out delivering Bailgate Independents so I have the house to myself.

It is not an attractive day out there. Cloudy and cold. Not much going for it. At least it isn’t raining. We are off out tonight. Dinner with Michelle and gang at the Lincoln Taphouse and Kitchen. Should be a goodun. Meeting Terry in the strugs at 5. Dinner isn’t until 8 so will have to pace myself.

Featured image is of some of the ingredients that went into the marinade.

Bright sunny Thursday in February.

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

sunny side of the street

Why live on the dark side. This is what Februaries should be all about. Gorgeous bright sunny days – perfect for a walk. Except no walking today except maybe to the Bailgate. Today I have Richard from LONAP coming for our monthly 121. Always good meetings. I got in half an hour in the pool first thing in lieu of any other exercise today.

The sunshine is a great relief from the freezing miserable wetness of yesterday. The conservatory is warm and I have the fire lit in the sitting room behind me. Great conditions for productivity.

Anne is busy painting the room we have called the play room. It’s the converted old garage, Never really did much playing in there although the drum kit got used. It was a good place for the drum kit being well out of the way with plenty of air gaps for sound proofing. The kit is now in the attic.

The playroom has been renamed the gym. It has a rowing machine in there plus a bike, oh and a dart board 🙂 It’s a good rowing machine – concept 2 – so there is no reason why it shouldn’t get used, other than sloth. I have to believe it will get used. 30 mins burns roughly 500 calories which is 2 ½ pints of bitter 🙂

Before picking Rich up from the station I’m stopping off at Fosters butchers to by a Boston Butt. This is a shoulder of pork for use in Sunday’s pulled pork recipe. Quite looking forward to it. You may know that I like cooking and rarely get the opportunity to display my talents to others. This will be the second Sunday in three weeks that we have had people round for lunch! For the record we are having pulled pork, Boston baked beans, sweetcorn, sweet potato wedges and some nice bread rolls that I’ll get fresh from Waitrose after they open on Sunday.

Whilst we are on the theme of food we are also going to the Lincoln Taphouse and Kitchen on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s 2 nights in a row and four days in a row in which we will have had a big meal (inc today’s lunch at the Wig and Mitre). Friday it’s a night out with Michele Reid and a couple of her kids who are up in Lincoln from Alton for the weekend. Terry and Nige are coming along. Saturday it’s Shannon’s 30th birthday bash. Terry and Nige will be there:)

Grab your coat and grab your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep…

Wet Wednesday 160216

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

red sky at morning…

The registration documents for Dad’s Peugeot 406 estate came back today. Just need to get the car insured now. Also went for a swim first thing as usual. Did a few jobs related to Anne’s vans listings on the various websites and so forth.

Not been a very nice day weather-wise. Rain for most of the day and very cold out. Popped down to coops’ garage to sort out getting a new number plate for the Peugeot then bought some coal on the way home. Lit the fire. Then popped down to the Morning Star ostensibly to wet the baby’s head with Matt Russell but bit of crossed wires and he was still in the hospital. Have a nice chat with the guys there anyway.

Fish stew for dinner absolutely lovely. Delicious. Fair play to Anne. Bed.


Tuesday 16th February CE 2016 – ma feet is tired

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

A walk to Wragby

Ma feet is sore, as they say in Tennessee, or some simlar place. Walked from Lincoln to Wragby today. 10.7 miles in 3hrs 34 mins plus a stop for lunch in the layby beyond Langworth. For the first time today my legs were tired, especially the right leg which I think is the weaker one due to breaking it whilst skiing on a school trip to Italy when I was 13.

It’s all good stuff though. At least as far as the legs go. All strength building stuff, particularly today as there must have been a couple of miles where there was no footpath and I had to walk on the soft grass verge which was a lot harder going. It isn’t much fun really walking along the side of a busy trunk road, in this case the A158 to Wragby. In future I need to find nicer routes.

Still a lot of work to be done on the feet. I expect I’ll get there. A few observations along the route. One is that you really notice the silence when there are no cars passing. This must mean that the steady state is a lot of noise from cars.

Another is that you notice businesses that have shut down. In this case the George pub in Langworth and the Blackbirds B&B and restaurant a bit further on before Wragby. Shame really but I’m not sure why anyone would want to stay in a B&B at the side of the A158 in the middle of nowhere.

The third thing is the litter. Lots of discarded drinks cans and other rubbish, including what looked like a hypodermic syringe. I didn’t stop to examine it closely. I also passed a dead badger fwiw. First time I’ve seen one close up. That’s the countryside for you.

I’m back now. Anne picked my up from the square in Wragby. She noted that the passenger seat was covered in sweat when I got out. One assumes that as one gets fitter one will sweat less. Innit. I’m wearing the right gear I think. Wicking base layer and fleece layers followed by a Goretex hard shell. I’ll be investing in some new togs before Llanberis.

Had a radox bath with the hot water being topped up every now and again. I think I could have coped with even hotter today. At least my legs have recovered.

Pics from walk here.

Vids below:

Monday 15th Feb – a cold un

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Almost had to crack the ice on Yarborough swimming pool

Anne’s Van’s website finally went live today. If you are looking for a VW campervan hire in Lincolnshire then look no further. We haven’t started to promote it yet but Anne’s Van has a Facebook page and is registered with a number of travel agent type sites such as Airbnb. Look out for some promotional activity over the next week or two.

Today has been very cold but lovely and sunny. Went to the pool as usual first thing and was surprised to see so many people there. The two slow lanes had at least 4 swimmers in each lane. Fortunately they all start to get out after a while and by the time the buzzer went I only had one other person for company. In fact the buzzer didn’t go. I think it’s broken. The lights lit up though.

Followed the swim up with 65 mins on the treadmill this afternoon. Raised a good sweat and ended up with an uphill light jog for the last 90 seconds. Might not sound like a lot to some of you fitness fanatics but it’s progress. I’m quite pleased with today’s efforts – it’s very easy to cut the time short and say that’s enough for the day but I kept going

Had the fire lit all day because of the cold outside. I’ve used up all the coal (smokeless) now so will need to buy some more tomorrow.

Still having problems with the sensitive tooth. Only cure appears to be a slug of whisky swilled around the tooth 🙂 Not a long term sustainable solution though!

The featured image is the low winter sun seen from our back garden this morning.