Archive for September, 2016

Feelgood film

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Bridget Jones’s Baby – a must watch movie

I have to confess that one of my favourite movies is Mary Poppins. It’s a nice happy movie with the odd bit of excitement, emotion and a very happy ending. Well this is what Bridget jones’s Baby was like. I was somewhat trepidatious about going to watch it. Did so really because otherwise Anne wouldn’t have had the chance to go. It was terrific. Go and see it.

Kept me out of the pub and we walked there and back so that’s around two hours of walking today. Not bad. Featured image – chimneys silhouetted against the fading light.

Nuff said.

lindum hill

clippety clop

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Orsen Cart tour in Lincoln

Factory reset on Virgin router today. Hopefully that will resolve the painfully slow connection times. Have been resorting to using my phone as a hotspot. Also note that I can’t find the MiFi. Hopefully not lost whilst travelling. It was a freebie from EE. Ah well.

Swung by the Bail to buy sausages and cheese and thence to one of the rentals to return the deposit to a departing tenant. Mick is on holiday. Need to get that one re rented but it will wait until Mick gets back.

Quite a pleasant walk really, although you do notice that it gets fairly chilly when out of the sun. Fortunately there is plenty of sun around. Otherwise been actually doing some work today. Have a conference call at 3pm. Wossthatallabouteh?

Anne and I are off out to the flicks tonight. Bridget Joneses Baby, or some simlar title. Love is… Means an earlyish tea (chichen fajitas) and then a walk down for a 7.30 showing. I’d like to bet the actual movie won’t be on until 8pm.

Pic is the horse and carriage tour starting in the Bailgate in Lincoln.

The Accordionist

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

at Castle Hill

I was in the Bail waiting for John to finish his sax lesson. An accordionist was playing in Castle Hill so I went along and sat on the bench right next to him. It was a beautiful sunny evening and I said there for ten minutes or so before John turned up and we headed back to the car. He was a joy to listen to. Very talented and not blaring the sound out through an amplifier as you so often hear these days.

the accordionist

the accordionist

the accordionist

Downtown Lincoln

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

roadworks and continental markets coexist

Quick visit to my accountants Wright Vigar this morning and then a stroll around Lincoln city centre. Lots of road works going on, a continental market making the normally wide street narrow and then two security vans trying to squeeze through.

Bought a small 6 grain loaf plus some mixed olives, sun dried tomatoes and cheese. Walking up Steep Hill bumped into Shannon who then pointed out the beer shop where Suzie was working so we went in to say hello. Carried on up the hill until Joff’s caff and have stopped there for a cup of green tea and a little relaxation.

I very rarely spend time in the city centre without good reason. You can never walk in a straight line. Purchased some Roubles for John’s forthcoming Russia school trip.

Featured image is the patisserie in the high street this morning. Very French blokes behind the counter.




waking up in Lincoln

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Home Sweet Home

It’s nice to wake up in my own bed. Snuggle up to Anne. Go downstairs to make the tea. Be offered a bacon sandwich (because we have to use it up). Have a second cup of tea. Ease gently into the morning. With the possible exception of a quick trip to Brussels I am now home for three weeks. Wahey. It’s been a busy summer.

I suspect that the shorts are shortly about to go back into the drawer until next season. I may take the opportunity to rearrange the wardrobe and drawers. Might also look to ordering some wood although we do have a lot of stuff on the pile at the bottom of the garden. It’s mostly old furniture and shelving and needs chopping up or sawing. Ok for kindling but not for the real deal.

A loud jazzy noise is coming down the stairs. John is up for breakfast. At least it’s not Radio 1.

Returned last night to the news that Anne is now Chair of the Friends of William Farr School. Proud of her. I asked whether she was a chairman, chairwoman, chairperson or simply just chair. She wasn’t sure. Doesn’t sound right being married to a chair. An inanimate wooden object. It is easier to say though. Try it.

The loud jazzy noise is fading away as it retreats upstairs.

The front door opens and closes behind a departing school run. The house is quiet.

Began following a really useful twitter account last night. @howoldishenry provides a daily update on how old King Henry VIII would be were he still alive today. You never know when that info is going to come in handy and it is a good reference source for any neo-Tudor studies anyone may be undertaking (I may have invented a new movement there).

In other news we have just booked a weekend in Clematis Cottage in Tealby for February whilst John is away in Paris on a school trip. We won this in the raffle at Joanne Haylock’s charity ball in the summer. Yay. Tealby is not very far but it will be a nice break. Two pubs I think and local walks.

Right. Gotta get on with things. Catch ya later.

Featured image is a campervan mug. One of a pair sent by cousin Janette. Thanks Janette. Check out our campervan rental website Anne’s vans.

An update on Wednesday

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The afternoon shift

Spent the day on the ITSPA stand at Convergence Summit South. For the last time ever. The show is morphing into something else in Birmingham. Whatever. We had a barrel of Daisy Gold on the stand and it was beholden on us ITSPA council members to lead by example.

Andy Rawnsley and I were about to leave to walk to the station when someone I had fed a beer to offered to drive us there. We ended up at the Euston Tap pub before Andy left to catch the 18.00 train to Manchester.

I walked to the Kings Cross Tandoori for some nosh as I had an hour before my 19.06 left. Weird conversation on the table next to me. Some bloke talking to his mate. He was speaking out against Facebook. The pal was clearly a Facebook user and was trying to agree diplomatically with the dissenter. Ex girlfriends seemed to be involved in the conversation.

The talk moved on to a proposed boys golfing trip whereby the girls would be able to go off and do their own thing. Belton Woods was mentioned as a “great hotel”. They really lost me there. Belton Woods is just a modern corporate edifice with no character. Hey…

On the train some bloke came and sat opposite me. After a couple of minutes he decided to move to a different carriage. Must have been something I said! Now listening to a bit of late night jazz. Ruby, My Dear by Charlie Rouse.

Quite a full train. A lot of them will get off at Peterborough. Good oh.

Gibberish – the language of the Gibbers. A once proud people the Gibbers lost the plot. Nobody knows where the plot went or tbh are particularly bothered but go it did sending a whole nation into disarray.

They didn’t walk around in circles in a confused manner but did start making incoherent statements about subjects known only to themselves. Some Gibbers would vibrate their lower lips with their forefingers exacerbating the problem of communication.

The biggest issue facing the Gibber people is the fact that not only can nobody outside their community understand a word they are saying but none of them can understand each other either. Each Gibber therefore lives in a world of his or her own.

None of them have a problem with this because at least they each understand what they are trying to say, even if nobody else does. Those speaking Gibberish are kings in their own cocoon.

Good Morning Sandown Park

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

And a barrel of Daisy Gold

Usual great exec dinner last night. Got a little heated when we discussed Brexit so I had to move the conversation on. We were all cream crackered having been on our feet at Convergence Summit South all day. Food was a bit of a disappointment. They didn’t have any steaks and not enough steak and ale pies but we got by. I ended up with ham, egg and chips. Fine. I like ham egg and chips.

Adjourned to the bar afterwards drinking brandies and whiskies.

This morning is a beautiful Autumn day. I passed on my usual walk around Hampton Court as my new shoes are giving the back of my foot a bit of gyp. Instead sat in the lounge bar tapping away.

Now I’m sat doing booth duty at the ITSPA booth at Convergence Summit South. How did I get lumbered with this? Ah well. Just a question of deciding when is the right time to have the first beer. After lunch. Probs.

Looking forward to an abstemious time for the next three weeks. I’m currently not going anywhere until Madrid towards the end of October at which point it will be ten days away. Part of that will be with Anne which will be great.
daisy gold

Kings Arms

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Hampton Court

Usual great LONAP social last night following the AGM. Belgos on Kingsway. Hit the hay relatively early. Woke up to find the shower not working. Waited around 90 mins but ended up having to use a flannel and a bottle of water. Not good. Suggested that some “consideration” would be appropriate for my next stay which is 8th Dec. I got an email from the front of house manager telling em we would be upgraded to highest available spec room. Fine.

Now in room 3 of Kings Arms at Hampton Court. I stay here every year for the convergence summit south show. It’s the best room I’ve had. 4 poster bed. What’s more the shower works 🙂

My two panel sessions at the show went well. ITSPA have a barrel of beer on the stand so I took a pint along for the second, ITSPA session.

Now headed down to bar for some pre dinner drinks.

Lincoln Drill Hall for a

Monday, September 26th, 2016

David Starkey lecture

Excellent night at the Drill Hall to see historian David Starkey. His lecture was about how the Tudors chose their successors. Lots of plotting, getting competitors out of the loop. He drew a parallel with the Brexit situation in the UK. There was an equally large event in the reign of Henry VIII with the English reformation and the split from Europe and the Catholic Church.

I asked him whether there was anything in history that pointed to economic unrest following the separation. In Tudor times there were massive problems, as much down to the dismantling of the mechanisms of raising cash by (the very much disliked) Henry VII rather than the separation from Europe as far as I could see.

I was pleased to note that the walk back up the hill, whilst not totally effortless was relatively straightforward. The legacy of 12 days on the trail with the coast to coast.

This morning I am back on the southbound train headed for the LONAP AGM. I like these LONAP meetings as the folk there are all a really nice crowd. We have a few beers afterwards needless to say. I get into Kings Cross and will have a roughly 30 minute walk. Only issue with that is the leather shoes I’m wearing not really being suited to walking the city streets but I’ll be fine.

In the meantime it’s a full English with toast on the train.

Rumours on the wire that there’s going to be an announcement at 07.45 re labour party split. It’s now 07.53 and nothing has happened. Ah well.

The house was quite cool this morning when I got up to make the tea, at 06.30. Another sign that the Summer is behind us. I have my LONAP fleece with me. No rain forecast. Just cooler weather. Like.


Autumn leaves fall and are swept out of sight

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Wonderful autumn

It’s definitely arrived. Outside it is mellow and damp and I have just picked some cooking apples to go with the apple and blackberry crumble we are planning for lunch. After the beef and ale pie. I need to pop out and get some custard and puff pastry. I like my custard cold. Like revenge.

Custard is a dish best served cold. I like that. Has depth. Meaning. Goes well in sherry trifle. And with apple and blackberry crumble.

This year is our first serious crop of bramleys. Anne’s dad Keith gave us the tree a few years ago and it is now becoming established, if still in need of some growth spurts.

After lunch we will be waving farewell again to Joe who is off on the second year of his Newcastle adventure. Year two at university is one to cram as much in as possible. He is social secretary of the university wind band and also plays in the university jazz orchestra. Good times.

The house will be relatively quiet once more. Apart from the fact that John’s drums are now in the attic where the roof and floor serve as the perfect amplifier for sound. Boy are they noisy. John sits up there practising with headphones on listening to a sound track.  Whenever you want to communicate with him you have to go up the ladder and wave to attract his attention. We can’t complain. He has a good mix of activities – sport, music and of course online gaming.

Anne is preparing the veg before she heads off to choich. Also peeled the apples. I’m responsible for the pie. It’s like being the bloke stood at the bbq but different. I’m not bad at pies, stews and roasts. The secret is good ingredient and slow cooking. I don’t make my own pastry. Maybe one day. I’m told that the pre made stuff that you just have to roll out is just as good. Perhaps I’ll try making it myself one day.

Bought some puff pastry in Waitrose. It’s the perfect size for the dish so no messing about. All is quiet now with the inhabitants of upstairs doing their own thang and me tapping away whilst the pie filling simmers gently on the top of the stove.

Looking forward to when we need to light the fire. Doesn’t very often get cold enough in Lincoln but it is nice to have it lit occasionally even though I will probably find myself sat there on my own. The house is big enough to lose a family of six without getting on top of one another and they all tend to find a space somewhere. On the rare occasion that they are all home that is.



Joe’s band at the West End Tap last night

Yes we have no

Saturday, September 24th, 2016


If I had a favourite fruit it might be the banana.

I am sure that somewhere in my past the banana sandwich has played its part. It is something I should probably revisit. Buttered crusty white bread with ripe bananas.

The banana is a versatile fruit. Banana pancakes, banana split, banana daiquiri spring to mind. I’m sure there are other fine recipes. When the kids were small we used to mash up bananas for them.

Barbecued bananas are great with brown sugar and brandy or chocolate. Add lots of double cream.

All my life I’ve peeled the banana from the stem end but someone in the family noticed an ape in a TV nature programme peeling it from the other end. Hmm. I’m not sure I can change the habit of a lifetime at the tender age of 54 ¾.

The banana skin has always been associated with slipperiness. This is a valid representation if a little unfair as no other fruit has appears to carry this burden despite some having the same slip quotient (new term – no point in looking it up).

Bananas in the shops nowadays tend to be greener and you are required to ripen them at home.

There is no point in buying too large a bunch at any one visit as they won’t all be eaten before they start to go off.

Some songs are based on bananas. Yes we have no bananas. The banana boat song. Two that spring to mind (all I could think of actually).

A fruit bowl is incomplete without a bunch of bananas.

There was (is?) a pop group called bananarama.

According to Wikipedia Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fibre. Note the change of Wikipedia’s incorrect (American) spelling of fibre to the correct version.

The leaves of the banana plant can be used as plates for the eating of food and also as roofs of improvised shelters when shipwrecked on remote tropical islands.

Featured image: a duo of bananas on a black granite background.


Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Sweet Home Lincoln

Joe picked me up from the station at 5.15 and we went for a swift un at the Morning Star en route. Traffic continues to be terrible downtown with all the road closures in place for the revamping of the bus station.

The eurostar was also late in to St Pancras having been held for fifteen minutes inside the channel tunnel. Not the best places to hold a train. The upshot was that instead of a three hour layover in Kings Cross I was there for forty five minutes. On the Eurostar I’d had red wine with my meal and had a couple of pale ales on the train north to keep going.

Had chicken rogan josh for tea and basically snoozed on the settee for the rest of the evening before having an early night.

It’s now Saturday morning. I’ve started my new book – “John Wesley and the Church of England”. Promises to be an interesting read. It requires undisturbed reading time in order to give it the appropriate amount of attention.

Now waiting for Phil the roofer to turn up to finish off a few bits and bobs before heading down to Coops’ to pick up Anne’s car.

Proper cooked breakfast this morning. Breakfasts when travelling and staying in hotels are rarely as good as you get at home. My plans for the day have been somewhat altered by Anne. I had thought we were off to the Usher Gallery and the Collection for the day but that apparently is next weekend. Gives me time to relax and do a few bits and bobs. I’m cooking a steak and ale pie for tomorrow’s lunch so will need to get the ingreds for that. After lunch Joe is heading back to Newcastle and the start of year two.

He still has a couple of gigs to get through today – West End Tap at 4 and the Tap and Spile later on. He’s put a band together especially for this.

more as it happens…

Four hundred odd quid to get Anne’s car through its MoT. It’s a Citroen C4 and actually quite a nifty little motor. Only prob is we can’t insure the kids on it so it will have to go before John turns 17. The Micra is becoming a beast to drive and I don’t think it is worth keeping it beyond the insurance year which is end of October or simlar.

The filling for the steak and ale pie is simmering away on gas mark 1. I’ll give it 6 hours or so today to get a very tasty and tender pie.

Feeling very relaxed

Just had a black bomber cheese in a Waitrose flute baguette with some home made plum chutney washed down with a glass of cow juice. Interesting how families develop their own slang for things. I suspect it is mostly me rather than our family. It’s a bit like I chose the playful pet name gorgeosity for Anne. I never call her that but it is sometimes used where a leg pull is appropriate.

Radio 4 is on the wireless is on in the kitchen and I can hear some music emanating from somewhere else in the house. The garage perhaps. Joe is doing some soldering. He is mending a cable that I think may be required for this afternoon’s set at the West End Tap.

I don’t think I’m going to do any more jobs today. Sunday is the day for jobs. I’ve read my book a bit and now looking for some inspiration. I will have to stay out of sight a little as Anne may have other ideas on the jobs front.

Debating whether to wear one of my linen jackets for going to the West End Tap. It’s a lovely day.

on way home

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Missed Eurostar!!

What a morning. Pleasant leisurely breakfast (bacon roll with HP) with Dave Cargill at the Hilton and then a taxi to the train station. I was doing my usually piece to camera in front of the departures board when a soldier with gun came up and asked to look at my picture. He thought I’d been videoing him. He went away happy and of course almost certainly appreciative of my vid:)

Eventually found the train – not easy because they only give you the final destination and not the interim ones. Had to ask at the information desk. Sat on the 09.54 on platform 2 I then realised that I should have caught a train an hour earlier. Doh. I was only going to have 14 minutes to make my Eurostar and check in closes 30 mins before departure. Fail. Had to call Eurostar and change my ticket at a price that was marginally less than buying a new one.

So now I’m sat in an empty departure lounge in Brussels with a two hour wait until my train. It’s too early to start on the beer so I have a bottle of water and a laptop.

On the plus side I’ve just been called by the Jury Service people and told that my services were no longer required as they had too many people lined up for the two weeks I was down for. Gave me the option of still turning up on the 3rd, deferring it to another time or being taken off the list completely. I opted for the latter. The letter I originally had said there was no way to escape but obviously this isn’t entirely the case. Result.

Now sat here feeling I should be buying something. A drink or something to eat. There isn’t anything there I want other than the bottle of water I bought when I got here. I had a good breakfast and will also have a meal on the train, albeit not really being up to much.

A mum and two kids have just sat down at the next table in the Coffee Club Caff. She is speaking a very dulcet French to them which sounds very nice. The kids are speaking both French and English in appropriate accents. Tres impressif.

The wifi in this caff is totally naff btw. I’ve used it to upload the two vids below as they will have been biggish files but am going to have to switch back to using my phone as a 4G hotspot.

The great thing about this Eurostar trip is that I will have connectivity all the way, having purchaysed a 500MB data bundle from EE for £3. great stuff.

Wearing my headphones again btw. There is a bloke behind my seat whose conversation is really annoying so it’s a way of shutting him out.

Two out of three of us around this table with headphones on. The other guy is reading a novel. tend not to read novels myself. It’s called the fifth gospel. Doesn’t sound like my kind of thing. I’m ignoring him anyway. Listening to Life in the Fast Lane. The annoying bloke is still talking…

the coffee club at brussels zuid

Great place

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Antwerp – moules frites at Elfde Gebod

Very impressed with Antwerp. Got to the hotel at 2ish and went for a stroll. There’s a big trail cycling world cup on at the weekend so a lot of the open space in the centre of the city is being turned into a course. Dinner was moules frites at Elfde Gebod.

Breakfast with Dave Cargill and after a short stroll around the middle of Antwerp am now sat in a meeting room at the Hilton. There is a good crown here although the ac needs turning down a little – it’s a bit on the warm side.

The attendees at this meeting are mostly from Benelux. What is impressive is that the language is English. The impressive bit comes from the fact that hey can all conduct business in English, a language that isn’t their own. Not the fact that English is the language. Interesting to hear them speak in American English. The word router is pronounced in the American way. Row 1 ter not rooter.

Long but good day. Finished with me giving a bit of a talk on UK expansion. Now back in room chillin before going down to dinner.

row as in argument not boating

escalator by Tref

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

A letter to Tom, Hannah, Joe and John

Alright you lot? Just on the Eurostar zooming through the countryside Belgium bound. No idea where we are but I think still in la belle France. I’m listening, very appropriately, to Jacques Brell. There is an announcement but I can’t hear it with old Jacques singing passionately in my ears. Ah coming into Lille je pense.

I thought it was about time you got a collective letter. I don’t have anything particular to say. Mum and I are off out for a cultural Saturday on October 1st. The exhibition of portraits in the Usher Gallery in the morning, lunch followed by an afternoon of talks on local history at the Collection. The latter is art of the Lincoln Book Festival, or similar. Nice to do something like that with your mum.

Mum is a particularly English way of describing Webs. As a dual Irish Welsh national I would of course naturally call mine mam. The same would apply if I was from Newcastle and Liverpewl. It must therefore be a Southern English thing.

Just seen a typical Frenchman was along the platform. V smart suit, nice haircut and towing a suitcase and laptop bag. On his way to do a bit of business. Or returning from the same.

The escalator continues even though there is no-one on it. A bit wasteful. Quite artistic though. I can imagine a display at the Tate Modern comprising of just an escalator. They would have to have double height gallery or indeed just rope off one of the escalators between floors. People could stand and watch the display either at the bottom or the top.

This could potentially cause problems. If there is only one up and one down escalator then people would have to use the lift to go either up or down, depending on the direction of the one used in the display. There could be an issue here with the capacity of the lift. You would need several to replace a single escalator. The only alternative is plan A – build a stand alone escalator in the gallery. Nobody said art was easy. If it was everyone would be a Picasso.

I envisage this display would have a simple card next to it saying “escalator by Tref”. No capital E. Doesn’t need it. That would suggest a start and finish which of course the escalator doesn’t really have. Unless it is switched off but that would undermine the subject.

We would have to see how it goes but we might have to post an attendant at the entrance to the escalator to stop idiots stepping onto the display. Adds to the cost for the gallery but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and this will not have been a cheap exhibit to put on anyway.

This work is for sale. There is more than one available but each one is signed and individually numbered. People could buy them in pairs and install them as functional escalators in a building of their choice. Their home even. Clearly it would have to be a big home but this is unlikely to be a problem for someone able to afford this work.

It isn’t difficult to envisage a scenario where thousands are sold, making us all rich, and creating a situation where people travel around the world just to “collect” escalators by Tref. I could even do a website that allows people to post pictures of themselves next to any given numbered piece. There could be a hierarchy of fans with the higher statuses reserved for people who have seen more of them than others. Silver, gold and platinum or maybe something denoting the number of floors climbed. The higher the number the higher the status. I think we’ll do it that way.

As I think about it the main escalator display would definitely have to be a riser. This would be far more positive than the down version and is more in keeping with my optimistic outlook on life. The pairing of up and down is also ok but down on its own isn’t. The pairing brings with it a lot more scope for interpretation. The dual version would be called “pair of escalators by Tref”.

The viewing position for the paired exhibit should be from the bottom. It would be a completely different work if viewed from the top. In this respect the piece is very versatile. It is several works of art in one. As I think of it there is even scope for the solo down escalator as it would have associated with it a completely different set of thoughts and emotions to the up escalator. The gallery could decide which one it wanted to display. This may be influenced by whatever else is on display or merely by the physical constrains of the space in which it is displayed.

The question that now springs to mind is whether the same logic can be applied to a lift. The lift brings with it scope for lots more creativity. Different visuals and sounds inside. Perhaps changing as the lift goes up and down. I’m not going to elaborate at this stage of the creativity process but I’d like to consider the idea bagsied.