Archive for April, 2022

two weeks in april

Friday, April 15th, 2022

A frisson of relaxation ran down between my shoulderblades as rain started to fall on the roof of the shed. Outside it is a typical British spring day. Wet, windy and not particularly warm. Inside I’ve just nudged the heating up.

Today my work day finished around 3.30 when the other person said he had been double booked. I may yet take the call tonight but no dramas, as they say. John and I went for a stroll to the Adam and Eve in the now sunny yet still cold and windy afternoon. We consumed a soft drink and returned home via Lindum Terrace.

I am sat in what we call our front room. We have more than one front room but this one gets the name. It is quiet in the house. Just John and I here. The lad moves to London on  Monday. It is going to get quieter.

Anne and I quite like it when there are only the two of us in the house. I quickly get lonely when it is just me. I’m not used to being on my own having had 4 noisy kids filling the airwaves. The noise itself is something you have to get used to. Fortunately this was for us an iterative process whereby the decibel levels were only stepped up every two or three years.

The reduction in noise levels seemed hardly noticeable with the departure of each adult child but I guess when John goes that will be 3it. Of course we love it when they come home to visit.

Recycling out. Forgot to do it last night but at 6am whilst listening to the news I suddenly remembered. All is well. The lorry hasn’t been yet. Slipped on my chilli pattern back door shoes and a fleece over my pyjamas and out I went.

There is something about an early start to the day. Always makes me think of being at a port catching a very early ferry. The same smell is in the air. Somehow. Must be the smell of the dawn.

Now in the shed and it is blowing (another) gale. We have to remember that this is normal British spring weather. Climate change induced musings about how warm the weather is these days are still relatively few and far between. I was considering nipping back to the kitchen to stick the kettle on but the driving rain is somewhat off putting. It’s because I wear specs. I did in the end, in between flurries.

The first alarm in the guise of the milkman went off at 05.20 this morning. I hit the snooze button and the second alarm came eight minutes later in the form of the dawn chorus. This time I got up and went downstairs where the noise from the back garden was even louder.

I guess it’s a long old day hunting for insects and worms. Someone’s gotta do it. That “gotta” wasn’t the word I typed but was the google docs autocorrect suggestion for my “got to” which I accepted. The changing nature of language. Probably not helped by the fact that I sometimes ignore grammar for artistic effect 😉 Is this the Americanisation of Tref? Dear god, no. Heaven forfend. My goodness. Etc etc etc

The Easter holidays are upon us. I know this because I have started to note people’s unavailability for meetings. We are not going anywhere. We used to when the kids were smaller but life is hectic these days and we like a quiet weekend at home doing things. This year anyhow. We were probably locked down last year and the year before that.

Locked down. A new phrase in the common psyche, the vernacular. A new tool for the control of the people. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy defines lockdown as “a state of being reserved for the common man that did not seem to apply for those who made the rules”. The signal that the rule of law does not have to apply. Can life ever return to how it was?

The Second Poetical Law of Thermodynamics states

The cosmos will die

A scientific certainty

I will die

The story of humanity

The ultimate question

A constant of futility

Temperature and pressure

Energy and entropy

Poetical expressions

Of irreversibility…

Life has never been the same again. Ever. Despite the desire of humankind to make it thus. A misplaced nostalgia. I don’t suppose you can misplace nostalgia.

I wonder whether birds get nostalgic. They have certainly gone quiet. More to do with the digestion of early worms than silent contemplation of past wriggly repasts. See what I did there? I can’t say I liked it particularly. Past wriggly repasts. Doesn’t roll off the tongue. No pun intended. 

A bright Saturday morning sunshine streams through the conservatory windows. I am sat in the company of John, an espresso at my side and my laptop open. In past times it would have been a newspaper which was taken at the weekends. My consumption of printed matter dwindled a long time ago but I am considering ordering the FT on a Saturday which in all fairness is a good read. Guardian aside, which I support with a small financial contribution, most of the others are just clickbait, printed or otherwise. Even quite often the BBC tbh.

I used to use the Telegraph but years ago that was reduced to little more than a comic. My only real reason for reading it was the Alex cartoon but that on its own became insufficient a motive when taking the other dross into consideration. I don’t know if Alex is still going.

This morning we have a round of golf in prospect. An 11am tee time has been booked. A final needle match with son John who on Monday moves to the smoke. He is mostly packed and last night we went to the Adam and Even for a few frames of pool. John won 3 – 2  but it went to the last ball. Always the sign of a good competition. I will be happy if the golf today goes to the last put.

Looking at the booking system there is no one booked after us. We took the first open tee time for non members so we may get lucky and not have anyone in front either. That was certainly the case when we played during the week a couple of weeks ago. All good stuff for the step count.

Golf is currently on the telly with the Masters being on in the USA. Annoys the hell out of me how good these guys are. Same goes for snooker. Augusta is clearly a tough course because even the top guys sometimes exhibit the same performance characteristics as I might do today. We shall see. Stay positive Tref.

I have an hour or so before the clubs need slinging in the boot. No point in getting there too early. None of this doing a bit of practice before you tee off stuff. The season starts now in earnest. I have a round planned for Thursday with Adie though we have left the details until later. Will need to get my stretch and flex class in first.

Curry order Castle View 9th April

4 poppadoms & dips inc Mango chutney


14 Vegetable samosa £3.95

Choose between a vegetable or meat filling

25 Tandoori Deluxe £13.95

A combination of Tandoori varieties, comprising chicken tikka, Tandoori chicken, lamb and kebab served on a red hot sizzler with nan

Masala chips


13 Chicken Chaat £4.95

Diced chicken served in a special butter with home made bread

31 Tandoori Mixed Shashlick £14.50

Chicken Tikka, Lamb Tikka served with salad


39 Chicken Tikka Massala £10.50

Diced Tandoori roasted chicken or lamb cooked in a sauce with delicate blends of aromatic spices and herbs simmered in tomatoes, butter and cream

93 Pilau Rice £2.75

basmati rice with saffron

99 Naan £2.95

Baked bread in clay oven

Norbert Dentressangle – a lament

Oh Norbert, Norbert where have you gone

Your name was such a funky one

When we saw you on the roads

Last night I interrupted the diet to consume a curry. It is not really possible to have a Castle View curry without beer so that was also on the menu. This was a “last supper” for John who is moving to London on Monday. Clearly he will eat more food before going so technically it wasn’t his last supper but Hannah is here for the weekend and goes back this pm so we made it thus. 

Before picking up the curry had a beer in the Vic with the two of them which was v enjoyable. Other than the fact that twenty blokes on a pub crawl got there just before us so it took a while to get served.

This morning I am sat in the front room and can hear the lad preparing his penultimate breakfast in the kitch. Mine will be more of a brunch methinks as I am still full from last night. Gives me time to ponder my menu selection. We are out of eggs. Maybe I will pop to the market and buy some from a local farmer who has brought them into town to sell. Assuming that farmers do this sort of thing on the Sabbath. Who will buy my beautiful roses?

The house is alive to the beat of an unknown musician. I say unknown. Really I mean unknown to me. The aficionado selecting the music must know. It was ok to start with but is to a degree getting a bit repetitive. I’m sure my dad thought the same the day I bought a boxed set of Beatles singles.

I contacted the meteorological office for a weather report and they told me it would be a little warmer than yesterday. It was cold on the golf course, especially when the sun went behind a cloud which was on a frequent basis. I didn’t play particularly well. Two fantastic drives and I hit the green on three par threes but we had a good time and John and I made two new friends called Phil and Mandy. 

It was nice to see my name on the honours board as having won the 36 hole medal in 1985. That was thirty seven years ago! How is that possible?

In other news Google have just sent me this:

“Your access to the G Suite legacy free edition will end soon. As a valued customer, you’re eligible to switch now to a new Google Workspace subscription and enjoy a special discount. Or, in the coming weeks, you’ll be able to join a waiting list for a no-cost option. If you take no action by June 1, 2022, we’ll automatically transition you to the recommended Google Workspace subscription.”

I was an early adopter with G Suite and as such had it for free since T0. Google is letting me have it for three bucks a month which is ok I guess. If I could sort out the upgrade. There are complications. I doesn’t seem to want me to tell it I am not in the USA but in the oasis paradise set in a rural sea that is Lincoln. Sgonnahavetowait.

Last night in Halifax. <an edgy new play by a one day to be famous writer.

Taxi picked me up at 11.45 to catch the 12.15 stopping train to Leeds. One of the stops is Sheffield where I change trains and catch an express to Manchester. The taxi driver gave us his life story including the ongoing divorce proceedings. I won’t bore you with the details but other people’s complicated lives make you grateful for and appreciate the relative simplicity of your own.

Last night I booked 3 nights in the Negresco in Nice for September 2023. It’s a long way away but I looked at one of the Hiltons I had planned to stay at and it was already sold out for all of September and half October. I thought I’d better get something sorted for the Negresco as I’ve fancied staying there for a while. All the time we’ve been planning this trip actually. When in Nice…

We will be mostly staying in one of the campervans. It’s the Rugby World Cup. I figured there would be poetry in turning up at one of the top hotels in the world in a  50 year old campervan. Good photo opportunity. I will need to check on the parking. Life is short. Fill it with good stuff.

Will need to make sure we pack some number ones as well as shorts and tshirts which will mostly be the trip dress code. The Negresco has a classy bar. Too expensive to spend the whole night there though 🙂

On the train a couple of students have bumped into each other. They are on their way home for Easter. One student to the other. “What’s your attendance this year?” “ 40%, it’s rubbish.” Now I don’t care how many lectures they miss but it is interesting that the University feels the need to record whether they attend or not. A certain lack of trust there.

The students’ conversation is getting a bit tedious. All about relationships. First of all the taxi driver and now on the train. In Sheffield I will be discussing telecommunications software which will feel like a bit of light relief. He has opened a bottle of lager and says he can’t drink like he used to. He is around 21 I’d guess.

The train is just pulling out of Gainsborough and on our left there is a travellers’ campsite and a power station, fwiw. On the right some cows are lying down in a field. Wossthatallabout. I’d check the weather forecast for Manchester, my ultimate destination today, but there is no signal in this middle of nowhere stretch of train track snaking through the Lincolnshire badlands. Soon we will be in Yorkshire.

Out to the shed by 08.15. Goodness gracious me. It is nice and fresh spring day. This is in fact the best time of year. When it isn’t blowing a gale, chucking it down and bloody freezing that is because it can also be like that. So when the weather is benevolent this is very much the best time of year. Innit

Today I do have some things in the plan. At 10.30 we have the stretch and flex class and I am already in my stretch and flex gear ready to have some of my extremely tight muscles loosened a bit.

At 13.30 I have a conference call with folks from California, Chicago, Antwerp and Bedford. A truly mixed geographic bag. After that the Easter vacation beckons. Not that we are going anywhere. Some quality time in the garden perhaps. I also need to research pillows and laptop bags. I donated my laptop bag to a migrating son who also included his pillows in the list of items being transported to his new abode. Figured we may as well get some nice ones as his room is now the main guest bedroom. Might as well have some ourselves as well.

Back at my desk and noticed a load of missed calls. The most recent were from the BT text service that allows me to receive sms on my landline. The other was from a recognised untrustworthy sms scammer number !

New lift concept. Buttons in the wrong order or in the right order but send you to the wrong floors & you have to memorise which button goes to which floor over a period of time.

I am sat on the 14.18 from Manchester Piccadilly to Cleethorpes calling at the Field of Sheff whereupon I change trains for an onward connection to Lincoln. The train has not yet departed. I am however pleased to inform you that whilst the “at seat service” is only available in the front three carriages I am indeed sat in one of these and thus intend to avail myself of some light refreshments during the journey.

Manchester looks very dull in the rain. It rains a lot in Manchester. It must be a struggle for the place to not look dull.  

Last night @Mark Fordyce and I upon returning from dinner decided we would like a pina colada before hitting our respective hay filled mattresses. Bizarrely the security person told us that we needed a booking and the bar was full. I asked the receptionist whether there was anything she could do about it. Of course Tref she said and personally escorted us up in the elevator to the 23rd floor.

There were plenty of free tables so I’m not really sure what the game was. We must have not looked hip enough. This was despite the fact that I was wearing my hand made tweed pea jacket, green with some purple running through it and a matching purple lining. All’s well that ends well. We consumed three pina coladas each as they were excellent. No ice. A step up in fact from the last time we had them in this bar. Obvs had the senior mixologist on duty.

The train route between Manchester and Sheffield is blessed with beautiful countryside.

2 rabbits in a field

March into April

Friday, April 1st, 2022

Taking some time to ease into the day. Had thought I’d read the papers (online) in the shed as it was likely to be warmer than the hoose but when I arrived I realised I’d switched off the heating thinking that it would no longer be needed. Also the news is all depressing stuff with the only ray of sunshine being the fact that Russian Boris might get fined for attending pissups at number 10 during lockdown.

The campervan season is coming up hard on the rails so much of this week is going to be devoted to preparations for that plus a few Netaxis bits and bobs.

I have quite a few pictures I need to get up on the wall. The ones in the shed are waiting on me to get my act together with command strips – I don’t want to put holes in the pristine plaster. Bought a copy of the very first OS map of Snowdonia whilst away at the weekend so that will go up easily enough on the map wall behind my desk. Every shed should have a map wall. 

I was once privileged enough to attend a dinner in the place where the main DDay operations were being conducted. There was a huge map wall covering the European theatre. It was very impressive but not sure the building is there anymore, at least not as part of the Royal Navy. I’d have to look it up.

It is very peaceful here in the shed this morning. I can see a wood pigeon perched on next door’s TV aerial. It would be a perfect target for a shotgun although it is behaving itself at the moment. I don’t possess a shotgun anyway and I’m not sure next door would appreciate having their TV aerial battered with pellets. If only there was a way for me to tell the peregrine falcons that normally live on the cathedral tower that their food was there waiting for them.

Been a sat at my desk all day day. This is not good as I defo feel the need for exercise.  Will slightly make up for it tomorrow with a stint in the gym before  (or maybs after) stretch and flex. Even some fresh air would do. Fresh air is in plentiful supply. I just need to stick my head out of the shed doors and breathe in deeply.

Gearing up for the first campervan hire on Friday. Unfortunately the weather looks as if it will be freezing. We can lend them them a heater anyway. The vans are quite cozy when you are tucked away at night with the heater on.

Snowed overnight. Light covering. In fact looking at the cctv it is still snowing lightly now.

Ca va? It is Friday and we all know what that means. In our case it means this pm we will be driving to Caadiff to visit frens and relashuns. The 9m sun is streaming through the conservatory windows almost to the point where I need ski goggles. There is still some snow left in shaded parts of the garden. I do not count ski goggles as one of my possessions.

Yesterday I went along with my best friend to a Stretch and Flex class and duly stretched and flexed whilst at the same time emitting the occasional grunt. My muscles are v inflexible. I’m not here to discuss the class other than to observe how surreal I thought the whole situation was. Not the fact that I was one of only three blokes surrounded by forty women. It was the fact that here we were doing a normal every day thing such as an exercise class whilst the news was full of bombings and killings in the Ukraine. Will the world ever change? These wars seem always to be down to one despot wanting to make a mark on history.

The other thought going through my mind as I lay awake last night was the animalistic nature of man. I was a living being lying in bed just breathing and thinking. Could have been like any animal in the jungle. What goes on in the mind of a monkey (aardvark, zebra, water buffalo – take your pick) when it is lying awake on its branch trying to squeeze in its regulation 8 hours in between avoiding being eaten by a tiger. Ok the answer there might be obvious but the principle applies.

I mostly packed for the Cardiff trip last night. This morning my choice of attire was questioned/discussed and I am now also chucking in a couple of flowery jackets as options. Interesting that flowery might be preferred over plain/tweedy. Because we have the car I will inevitably also chuck in loads of other things I probably won’t use but that is fine innit. I am including my camera for a rare outing. We are off to visit @Steve Jones to look at his newborn lambs tomorrow and thence to tour the Brecon Beacons. A camera might prove useful. 

Packing for a trip is best done in an unhurried manner. Over a period of hours or days you will remember other things you wanted to put in the case, usually to the point where it becomes a struggle to shut the lid. If taking a car this is less of a problem as last minute items can easily be thrown in the boot or onto the back seat.

I used to do a lot of work related international travel and could pack for a trip in five minutes. I would often throw in dirty laundry and get it washed as soon as I arrived at my destination. 

I recall one trip to Canada where I rocked up at the Air Canada check in desk in Terminal 3 to find that I’d forgotten my passport. It was in a jacket I’d been wearing on the trip to Dublin the previous week. Having eventually tracked down Anne the passport was dispatched by taxi and I waited for three hours in the Air Canada Arrivals lounge until it made it to Heathrow. Fortunately there was a later flight. Thank god for business class travel and elite frequent flyer status. It really comes into its own when something goes wrong.