Archive for March, 2023


Thursday, March 30th, 2023

Just paid the staff. Now have thirty mins or so to play with before heading for my stretch and flex class at Yarborough. I am in desperate need of stretching and flexing.

Tis a lovely sunny day out there and the first of the season where I am in shorts. Longs would be a backwards step from hereon although I don’t preclude them on occasion. Summer is short. Wear shorts. Life is short. I’ve turned the shed heating down a couple of notches and the door is open. Won’t be long before the heating will be switched off until Octoberish.

Today is a mixed day of campervan prep, doing my accounts and some Netaxis stuff. First hire of the season goes out tomorrow. We have reduced expectations for this season due to the economic s&^te going on in general but surprisingly the first couple of months are ahead of last season so it may turn out ok. 

Back from stretch and flex. Boy is it a tough class.

Interesting discovery this pm. I recently adjusted my monitors to what I thought was the appropriate height which is top of the monitor level with eyes. However because my specs are varifocal I find myself lifting my head up a bit so that I view the upper half of the monitor through the lower bit of the specs. If I don’t do this then I’m looking through the long distance viewing bit of the specs.

I need to decide whether to lower the monitors further to accommodate this. Not going to rush into this one especially as it would result in the gap between monitor and desk being too small to slide my deskphone under. I don’t use the deskphone that often and normally have it unplugged and pushed to the side of the desk behind the right hand monitor.

This evening I have the house to myself and have a relaxing bath in prospect. I’m still working my way through my book on New Orleans’ history: Empire of Sin. NoLa has always been a happening spot 🙂

After yesterday’s hectic boozy day out at the races a quiet night is just the right thing. Off to Caadiff tomoz so will be back to being hectic. Need to check out the Oriel Canfas exhibit. Still plenty of time to get there if you haven’t yet been 🙂

what to wear to the races

Wednesday, March 29th, 2023

Have an hour to kill before prep is underway for racing at Market Rasen. When I say prep I really just mean sticking on a shirt and jacket, maybe even a bow tie. I don’t do normal ties. Symbols of enslavement to the system. The machine. Same with suits, mostly although I do recognise that in the right place a suit can be good. Otherwise it is the uniform of the modern office bound factory fodder.

So I’m sat in the shed listening to tunes and scribbling. I do occasionally think of work  related stuff but just stick it down as a calendar reminder to do in the morning. Will be a busy day tomorrow.

In the meantime, en route to the course, we will need a visit to the cashpoint to ensure we have enough stake to make the winnings of the day appreciable. By tonight we could be rich, rich I tell you.

Playing some Deep Purple. This morning is not about relaxing background music. It is about loud, uptempo tunes that get the adrenaline going.

Not been to the races for years. It’s a good day out every now and again. Will need to source some info on the runners and riders. Sporting Life? Not a v responsive website. They need to sort out a CDN. BBC was straight in.

The first race has only three runners and racing expert Tim tells me the fave is 1-12 on so hardly worth the effort.

There is another big decision to be made and that is which hat to wear? Some have feathers, some don’t. Feels as if feathers would be appropriate today. Mustard maybe. V shall c. So will you.

I invested in some binocs for this trip. Been thinking of buying some for years but not really had an occasion to use them. They will come in handy for other uses such as bird watching and, well, bird watching 🙂

Bird watching is a noble activity although it has the drawback that you need to be able to identify the avian objects in the lens. I have the Collins Book of British Birds or similar which is supposed to be the authoritative text. The problem is that there are so many birds covered within its pages that it would take me ages to flick through and find the particular bird I was looking at by which time it would have gone. 

Problems problems. I bet they don’t have the same problems on the lower Serengetti wetlands, assuming there is such a place. I imagine it will be teeming with wildlife.

One more tune and then I must away. Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends. Great cover version. Do you need anybody? I just need someone to lurve.

I find the notion of writing lyrics like this difficult. I already have someone to lurve so if I was writing a song it couldn’t be about anything like that. I have a few ideas though. Stay tuned, so to speak…

noise noise noise

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Noise, noise, noise. I have some sounds blasting away in the shed. Have to be careful not to have it on so loud that the neighbours can hear. Obvs it could also affect my hearing when I’m older.

Now playing Street Life by the Crusaders. Stuck my vinyl version on at some point but I’d played it so much that the sound quality was rubbish it was so worn out. I’ll probs go in the hoose once this has finished. Bean chilli for tea tonight. Yum.

I was awake from 3.45 until 5.01am afaik. Sometimes when you are awake in the night you drift off and then wake up every now and then without realising that you’ve been asleep in betweentimes. 

I finally awoke at 07.36 and sounded the alarm. One of us usually nips down to make the tea at 06.30 but we had both slept through.

Had a busy morning of it and at 11.40 got ready to nip to the barbers down the road until I remembered I was expecting a delivery. Nobody else in to sign for it so I’ve postponed haircut. The barber isn’t expecting me anyway.

home yay

Monday, March 27th, 2023

Woken up in Lincoln. Yay. We do like our trips but there is no place like home. We are lucky to have a nice place to live.

Breakfast was some granary sourdough toast with half an avocado and some chopped walnuts and a balsamic drizzle. Lunch is going to be an omelette and bean chilli for dinner. All good.

Now chillin’ on a sofa with a cup of tea contemplating the day ahead. A few days at home to get the campervans ready for the season with the first hire going out on Friday. 

a few days in god’s country

Sunday, March 26th, 2023

Great few days in God’s country and will be pointing the car east after a leisurely breakfast. Fortunately it is served until ten on a Sunday. The only drawback is the long drive home which on this occasion will be broken by a stop on the Wirral. I’ll have the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. My annual pass has expired so I’ll have to dig deep and fork out another twenty quid for 2023 and beyond. Rewind. Just checked and it expires today so I’ll be ok. Result, yay. These little victories in life all add up.

Up with the lark

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Up with the lark and have elected to occupy our not much sat in living room. This room, unlike the TV room does not have a TV but is spacious and has aspects to both front and rear gardens. That was for the benefit of the estate agents amongst you. Afaik I only have one friend on FB who is one 🙂

Through the glass panelled French doors the shed is visible with a little colour just starting to appear as a gentle contrast to the silhouette of the holme oak tree above. The eastern end of the greenhouse is visible.

There are no larks around us to my knowledge. Instead I’ve stuck “Lark Ascending” on the Sonos in the corner. Shouldn’t wake the rest of the household.

Great kip and woke naturally at around twenty five past five. Under those circumstances there is no need to lie there wondering whether I’ll get back to sleep or not. There is a day ahead to get on with. It’s a ‘don’t think I have too much work to do’ day. A short call mid morning, some packing for North Wales then off to visit Alison and Luigi en route after lunch.

In the short time I’ve been sat here, the morning has fully broken. Early morning light is streaming in and I can see that it is quite windy out there.

Interesting concept, daybreak. Does it get snapped in half? I just asked Google. There are two definitions:

1 separate or cause to separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock, or strain

2 interrupt (a sequence, course, or continuous state)

In this morning’s case the latter clearly applies. I knew this really but had never sat there and considered it. Words just come out because you know they are the the right ones to apply. Or at least you think you do 🙂 Our ability to communicate is amazing. I’m constantly amazed at life in general.

Listening to Filma Solo by Gabriel Olafs. The fact that I can do this is also amazing. Can you tell I’m amazed right now.

I won’t be breaking the fast yet. Twirly man.

I have ten thousand five hundred and sixteen unread emails in my inbox. There must be a way of easily deleting them. Don’t bother sending me an email. I am waiting for one in particular, from a fruit, concerning a delivery they have not yet shipped. It ain’t coming this morning so I’ll probs end up rescheduling it when they finally get their act together as we won’t be around. This is unusual for the fruit. They normally deliver early.

the queue

Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

I started at number eleven but am now number four in the queue, after eleven minutes and forty seconds. I’ve been number four in the queue for a while. I wonder how much time I’ve spent on hold during my lifetime. Probs wouldn’t really want to know tbh. I should have brought my book with me but it is in the house and I am on the phone in the shed that I only use for making calls where I think I might be on hold for ages.

The main issue when on hold for a long time is when you decide you need to go to the loo but have no idea how much longer you will have to wait before the phone is answered. Currently I am working on my second cup of tea. There was enough left in the pot 🙂 . On previous occasions I’ve turned the volume on the speakerphone up to max and nipped out quickly.

Twenty minutes in I am now number three. I budgeted some time for this call but now have used up half the allocated amount. I have a conf call in twenty four minutes.

Thirty two minutes and have been answered but I’m on hold again as the person needs to ask something to someone else. Sounds like they are new on the job. All sorted, I’m sure you are glad to hear.

perfectly damp spring day

Monday, March 20th, 2023

A perfectly damp spring day in the shire. Wet but not miserable. The garden is starting to grow again. Unfortunately it is the forest of sycamore seedlings that is most apparent but the apricot has been in flower a few days now and there is evidence of the waking of the apple and plum trees from their deep winter slumber.

The sycamores will be cruelly terminated on the first suitably dry day which will coincide with scarification and aeration of the lawn.

At the time of scarification and aeration. Sounds very dramatic, as if out of the Lord of The Rings. Trollen blade wielding horde marching in ranks across the lawn in front of the kitchen.

sixty one

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

I was born in sixty one and am sixty one years old. I think 🙂. Couple of things spring to mind. I’m a lot stiffer nowadays and I have to scroll a long way down when inserting birth year online. The two are unrelated apart from the age link. 

Just looked and apparently a pint of beer was 2s 1/2d in 1961. That would have been of no interest to me at the time, particularly as my birth month was December as regulars at trefbash will know. Presumably we are talking ordinary bitter here. A pint of beer nowadays is a lot more and is very much dependant on where you are.

A pint of milk was 8d, something a lot more relevant to me at the time, I’d guess although I’m pretty sure I was breast fed.

The scrolling down might be annoying had I not had 61 years to get used to it and it has crept up on me over time. It does however annoy me when I have to scroll down to select ‘United Kingdom’ when the country at the top is ‘United States’.  Tossers. There, you can see I’m annoyed.

I was born in sixty one

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

I was born in sixty one and am sixty one years old. I think 🙂. Couple of things spring to mind. I’m a lot stiffer nowadays and I have to scroll a long way down when inserting birth year online. The two are unrelated apart from the age link. 

Just looked and apparently a pint of beer was 2s 1/2d in 1961. That would have been of no interest to me at the time, particularly as my birth month was December as regulars at trefbash will know. Presumably we are talking ordinary bitter here. A pint of beer nowadays is a lot more and is very much dependant on where you are.

A pint of milk was 8d, something a lot more relevant to me at the time, I’d guess although I’m pretty sure I was breast fed.

The scrolling down might be annoying had I not had 61 years to get used to it and it has crept up on me over time. It does however annoy me when I have to scroll down to select ‘United Kingdom’ when the country at the top is ‘United States’.  Tossers. There, you can see I’m annoyed.

blurry eyed

Monday, March 13th, 2023

Somewhat blurry eyed this morning as I await the departure of the 07.30. Usual seat, E5. Brussels bound. One night only.

I say ‘usual’ seat but it isn’t as if I have a regular commute. It wouldn’t be much of a life if I had to catch the 07.30 every morning. Get used to it I suppose.

Waiting for the bacon rolls to be dished out. I can smell the bacon which, considering we still have 15 mins before departure, ain’t necessarily a good thing. Don’t want the bacon sat there do we? Could do with a cup of tea.

In all fairness they brought the tea ten minutes before departure, and the orange juice, and my bacon roll order has been taken with the promise of a yo’ gurt as well if they have any left. Don’t ask don’t get. Innit.

Bit of a result this morning. No chatty woman sat in my seat having reserved the one next to me in a carriage that was otherwise fairly empty. Yet! Also the bacon sandwich was served the second the train left the station, fair play.

It’s my first trip to Brussels this year. Time was I’d be over once a month or so but covid killed that off. I’m booked on an afternoon train back tomorrow but might change it to an earlier train as I’m really only over for a meeting this pm. Buggered if I’m going there and back in a day though. It’s a long old trip.

The bacon roll isn’t really enough. It’s a paltry effort. Will grab a croissant et un cafe in the Eurostar lounge. Probablement. Latte. I like dunking my croissant in the coffee.

As we run along the banks of the Trent into Newark I see lots of fishermen out and about, each with a van parked up behind them. Has the season just begun I wonder or is it simply that it’s the first warm enough day. I dunno. Lots of newly planted trees which is good I suppose.

The journey between Lincoln and Newark has only taken 20 minutes. The timetable suggests 25 but that is always conservative. Feels very slow on this Azuma train. The 25 minutes is designed for slow cross country chuggers. Feels as if I’ve already been on the train for ages.

The bloke opposite me on the aisle is going to Peterborough. I detected this from the seat reservation details above him. I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes books so am good at stuff like that. The same seat is reserved from Peterborough to Stevenage but is available after thereafter.

You might also wish to note that they aren’t serving hot drinks at the cafe bar this morning as no paper cups were delivered. I’d be somewhat dischuffed if I was travelling in standard class. They can still serve coffee and tea if you have brought your own cup! Not in the same cup obvs. Leaving Newark I’m on my second cup of tea.

In the distance three windmills turn purposefully pumping power into the grid. Windy out there. Monday. It could be brighter. Miserable day really.

From the conversation with the train manager checking the tickets it looks as if the bloke with the reservation to Peterborough is the same person occupying the seat to Stevenage. Must have been a cheaper deal to get two separate tickets. Might have a play with that sometime, if I can be bothered. Advanced tickets are usually pretty cheap anyway especially with, ahem, a Senior Railcard. Mind you I have yet to book my return train – wasn’t sure what time I’d be getting back from Brussels.

I note that a film called Everything Everywhere All At Once has won a lot of Oscars. If anyone would like to tell me the plot you won’t be spoiling it for me as it is unlikely that I will get to see it. I only know because the media is full of it this morning. 

This, I suppose, is a good news story. I can’t complain. I’m always whinging about the fact that they only normally dish out bad news. I’ll not mention it again then. Still won’t see the movie, probs.

The name of the movie is a bit of a coup (or maybe not) for EE who started off as Everything Everywhere but quietly dropped the tagline/brand for EE as it was not only a bit of a mouthful but a daft name. When they first launched EE they used the domain extension. The .com was already taken by a small engineering organisation in the USA. Just looked now and the .com does not resolve. It is still owned by someone but their identity has been withheld. Woteva. Maybe EE should have been EEAAO? Fair bet the dot com was available

Just passed a yellow digger dredging a drain. Quite a wide drain. Just south of Yaxley if you know the area, which I don’t. In fact Yaxley is new to me. I’ll never mention it again, not because I have anything against Yaxley but it seems fairly innocuous and I only looked it up to find out where I’d seen the digger which will, I’m sure, be of interest to many. Feels as if we are travelling on a different line to the usual one but I may be wrong. Checked realtimetrains but I can’t really tell. I’ve probably just never been looking up when travelling on that line.

Lots of flooding in the fields around Huntingdon. Avoid flooded fields. Bloke with a blue coat walking his dog.

We must be nearing Stevenage as the bloke with the seat reservation has packed his little rucksack. Done the zip up. Fitted his still half full free small bottle of water into the top of the front zipped pocket. He is off on one last trip to the loo before getting off. I’ll be doing that myself in a bit having had three cups of tea innit.

Nearly in London. Gotta go. See ya.

10.06 E2

Friday, March 10th, 2023

Sat on the 10.06 seat E2. First to get served from the trolley. Not that I’ll want much more than a cup of tea. It’s been a full-on three days in London. Really I’m in a state of trance. Never got round to my planned visit to camden market yesterday. Breakfast started at 8am and finished at 10.30. Lunch then started at noon and finished at around 5.30. Ma gurd. An early night is called for. 

A French woman is holding a loud conversation on her speakerphone. We are about to hit some tunnels so hopefully that will sort her. Otherwise I’m going to say something. Huh, harrumph.

I still have a few things to do this pm that I need to gather the energy to sort. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Not much reely. Just need to tick a few things off the list.

The Frenchwoman has stopped but has been replaced by someone on the next table who is a wedding organiser. At least I can only hear her end of the conversation although that in itself is quite irritating. I’m also getting the hello? can you hear me? I’m on a train.

Vaughan Williams to the rescue. I happen to know she gets off at the borough of Pete but that is an hour away.

Sorry if I’m boring you as I periodically have a bit of a rant about other people’s loud train conversations. I suppose it is why some folks have private jets 🙂I’m not about to get a private jet. Nowhere to keep it for one thing. You can’t get anything in our garage as it is.

It has been snowing in Lincoln and the house will be cold. I may repair to the shed where, before leaving for the South, I just turned down the heating rather than switching it off.

Now listening to a Mozart Horn Concerto No 4 in Eb Major K495 I. Allegro maestoso. It isn’t really doing it for me. Let’s move on to Bizet. Carmen. Actually no, let’s not. Donna Summer Hot Stuff. Raise the tempo.

Kid opposite is still working his way through his bacon roll. Finished mine ages ago.

I’m glad to be leaving London behind. Full on big bad fast paced city. Not a place for the faint of heart, or the weak. That said, we are returning for five nights in June. The lure of the bright lights. Hoping to make our fortune, or spend it. Will find somewhere more convivial to stay than the Doubletree Angel.

The norther we get the greyer it seems to get. A smattering of snow still on the ground. I invented a new word there. Norther. Seems reasonable. I don’t really care whether it is liked by the grammar gestapo. Ve haff vays of making you spell.

Just to spoil a different, politically correct party I should at this point tell you that I identify as Tref. Not he/him/it or duck billed platypus or any other description you care to apply. Came up in conversation yesterday. Occasionally I am addressed as Sir but that is premature and I am quick to correct anyone that makes this mistake. My name is Tref. Glad that’s settled. Or Huw. My full name is Huw Trefor Davies. Call me what you like.

As the sleepy hamlet of Grantham gets nearer the landscape gets whiter. Horse drawn sleighs glide silently through the picture postcard streets of the ancient market town. Smoke billows from the chimneys of cottages lining the road on the way north. 

The train has ground to a halt to the south of the station awaiting a signal change. Owen the Signal, on secondment from the Meirioneth and Llantysilio Railway Company, wakes up with a start from his untimetabled nap, gets up and pulls the lever. The train begins to move again.

We are thirty five minutes away from Lincoln and the train’s final destination. The spire of St Wulfram’s Church disappears to the rear.


Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

Interesting deals, to be had. Dinners to book. Nights out to look forward to. Thoughts to process. Total switch off. Relaxed living. The notion of being totally a man of leisure. How does that compute? Books to write. Grass to mow. Wine to drink. No flights.

At 05.58 this morning the birds started to sing. No point setting your clock by them as it will probably get earlier every day except when the clocks are artificially changed in order to extend the day for agricultural workers during the first world war at which point there will be a dislocation.

I have 1,120 Tier Points with British Airways. Just 380 away from Gold status. Quite achievable before May 8th if I desperately wanted to. I don’t. If I flew a lot it might be worth the effort but my points have been accumulated on relatively few flights and the benefits of being Gold are relatively few over and above those of Silver.

The future of travel is in surface transportation. A longer and more expensive mode, certainly for anything other than a bus journey. We humans were not designed to fly 🙂If you only use ground transportation then status with an airline is irrelevant.

Next weekend I have some free time on the Sunday and will be available to do jobs. I realise that such activity would be in breach of centuries old Sabbath rules so before a final decision is made on this subject it will need some careful consideration. The same is true for Saturday which is also a Sabbath but I am not planning on doing any jobs on that day but will be watching rugby instead.

The beauty of not subscribing to any one of the many religions available to me is that I can pick and choose Sabbaths to suit my own needs. The same thought processes, on a more restricted scale, were going on in the minds of Davieses in the eighteenth century. My 4x great grandfather Daniel Davies was excommunicated for letting his farm hand work on a Sunday. They let him back in after a few years but it would have caused quite a stir at the time. This, as I recall, was around the year 1792 when Daniel was a founding minister at the Baptist Church in Llandysul. 

As an aside it is a little known fact that the Baptist church in Llandysul is not in Cardiganshire where the village itself lies but over the river in Carmarthenshire. How about that then!

Many sabbaths have been and gone since I uncovered that little gem. I am overdue another stint of family tree research. Because I don’t live near Llandysul this has to be mainly Internet based. 

The great thing about the internet is that it helps promote choice and this is certainly true when it comes to finding a religion that fits your need, ie which day is the Sabbath, assuming that’s your bag. 

You do have to take care as there is a lot of misinformation out there. Fake accounts etc. Sounds too good to be true? Reminiscent of being approached on Facebook by gorgeous scantily clad females looking for friendship. Fact-check which day is their Sabbath would be my advice or you could find yourself scammed. #collectionplate #cashextraction #everydayisasabbath.

If anyone has a reliable source identifying religions with a Sabbath on Mondays to Fridays feel free to share.

Just looked up. It’s six thirty and it is light out. The birds were right. 

By gum, by ‘eck, by zantium

the merry month of March

Monday, March 6th, 2023

Left the heating on in the shed overnight thinking we were in for a big freeze. Doesn’t seem to have rocked up. I now have the door ajar to the garden.

Tis a Monday morning in the merry month of March. March is not a particularly merry month but I’m trying to raise your spirits. Cheer you up a bit. I realise it is a little presumptive of me to think that your spirits need raising but even if they don’t there’s no harm in upping them a bit more. You might move from a state of happiness to being ecstatic. What’s not to like?

In reality March is quite a miserable month. It offers a sniff of spring and better times ahead whilst reminding us that we are not quite there yet.

As I write a robin is chirruping merrily on an apple tree branch. I expect it will particularly be looking forward to the good times ahead. I must buy some mealworms. Robins like mealworms. 

I quite like the idea of burying myself in gardening activities. There is something quite wholesome about it. Better to be worrying about greenfly than the shenanigans that life otherwise throws your way. Need to get some grass seed anyway and to deploy the scarifier that I borrowed from Lee yesterday.

The main issue over the next couple of weeks is that I am pretty much booked up. 4 days in London this week and the rugby on Saturday. Then next week it is 2 days in Brussels, one in Bangor for the Annual Engineering Lecture and Dinner about which I am v excited, and finally two days in Cardiff before dashing back for the 6 Nations Super Saturday. All go innit.

The Last Tablet

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Contemporary crowd once full of purpose. Sole survivor, somehow symbolic, the last tablet.  GONE! Plate purge purist, soil eliminator, grime grabber and cleanser of crockery. Succumbed. Final moments: aged pellet, slow dissolution, dissemination of power. Bare utility, poignant gap, uncertain future.