diary early one morning

up early again

Up early again. The whoop of the wood pigeons above the back garden seems to be an ever present soundtrack. There is a gentle breeze out there under a cloudy sky but it should be warm enough and we will enjoy a weekend of pottering about after a seemingly manic few weeks.

The garden is about to start giving. We have a broad bean salad planned for tonight using the first harvest from our very first crop. The strawberries need attending to as a bird has already taken its fancy to the first of what look like many fruit. Wimbledon fortnight is about to start.

We have no tickets this year. Overlooked in the confusion of covid. This isn’t to say we have nothing planned for the summer. England v Pakistan in Cardiff is to be followed by a week in London and then later a few days in Caernarfon. Somewhere in between we have a graduation ceremony to attend and another son’s gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

We also need to try out our new campervan, the fourth in the fleet. This one comes in v good condition but needs a refresh to its interior. This will happen over the winter and in the meantime is for “personal, domestic & pleasure” as the insurance policy says.

The new van has not publicly been named yet although I do have a working name in mind. Still mulling it over. We don’t know where to go yet – just a weekend jaunt. We usually go away with our crowd of pals in September but nothing has yet been arranged. Also a trip to the Latitude Festival has been mooted but no decision made as yet and we may not go. My memory of our last attendance at that festival seems to be dominated by the appalling beer on offer. I didn’t even know they still made Tuborg lager.

The plan for this afternoon is to give the shed its annual wood treatment spray. I must make sure that I wear appropriate face protection as my visit to Clearview opticians last year around the same time revealed a film of the spray on my glasses lenses. Some of the stuff must have been inhaled and it killed off some of the lawn when I sprayed the garden furniture so not good. The lawn recovered as did I.

This evening is already planned out. Wales v Denmark. Should, unusually, be an exciting game as both sides played some entertaining football in their last game of the group stages and go into the game expecting to be able to win.


on a winters day

Winter day out at the coast yesterday for Anne’s birthday. Bloody cold and windy with the occasional rain shower thrown in. Had a good time but it came with an element of necessary stoicism engendered in folk brought up in the British Isles. Today the sun is back and the birds have reverted to song.

Last night I noticed the gutter overflowing above the drain pipe outside the kitchen. Fetching the ladder I could find no blockage only to realise it was at the bottom where sycamore seeds had clogged up the pipe. Poked my finger around to release the obstruction only to be almost bowled over by the rush of escaping water. Soaked! Hey…

Busy day today with meetings for much of the day. On the plus side we are back to wearing shorts.


may the fourth be with you

Day off today as it is May the fourth. Star Wars Day. May the fourth be with you. It also happens to be the birthday of my chosen life partner, she who must be obeyed, the giant whose shoulders I stand on etc etc.

We have a day out at the coast in mind. It was going to be in Campervan Ruby but the weather is not supportive of that original plan and have opted for the comfort and security of the defender.

Afore we go I have a short jaunt to Waitrose in mind for picnic provisions and we should be off by mid morning. Champagne, caviar, side of smoked salmon, that sort of thing. Bread rolls and some milk 🙂

There is no rush. It is not as if we need to get there early to get a parking space. We are headed to Huttoft. There is a scenario where there will be nobody else there. Just a lone, bored, person in the ice cream kiosk spending their time staring into their phone and barely acknowledging our presence.

This part of Lincolnshire is a path we have not oft trod. I envisage meandering up the coast until we get to Mablethorpe taking in Anderby Creek, Sandilands, Sutton on Sea, Miami Beach (yes) and Trusthorpe.

The biggest decision of the day is where to have fish and chips. The obvious choice is somewhere in Maybo but the timing might point to picking some up from the Carholme Road Chippy when we get home. V shall c.

I will be taking my new camera. Still learning how to use it but should be an expert in a couple of years or so. Hopefully the rain will momentarily stop for me to take some pics. It is lashing down right now accompanied by wind assisted sound effects.


Cold May

Sat in the conservatory after breakfast. Unseasonably cold, if you can ever use that term in the UK where the weather has a will of its own whatever the time of year. Rain is on the way. The garden needs it.

Elsewhere in the house a radio programme is moving around and has begun to compete with the birdsong that was otherwise the only noticeable sound. Dishes now clink.

Part of the programme for the day involves what is known as diy. This particular project requires some small right angled brackets which I will source from a local purveyor of such things called B&Q.


flights of fancy

5.20am on a Sunday morning. I am up. No point in lying in bed when you are fully awake. My brain isn’t totally in gear yet. Been checking out reward flights again. This is for our onward journey from Tobago to Miami. Two very contrasting destinations. The flights I am after are with American Airlines who do show availability of reward flights but this availability is not reflected on I figure the colonials hold back a day or three before letting the brits offer the same deals. The one mitigating factor is that if I had to pay for the flights the pricing is not unreasonable.  The AA website is far more responsive than BA btw where the user experience is pretty unsatisfactory.

Yesterday, the first day a flight was made available for when we want to fly the per person cost in J was £1,540 which is totally ridiculous. However today it is down to £245. If you are desperate enough to secure a seat £1,540 is a very expensive price to pay. Still worth getting the reward flight if poss. 4 hour flight so business class makes sense especially as the seats won’t just be normal coach seats with a curtain in between.

On the other hand we are planning a trip to Florence in October. It’s a 2 hour flight and not worth paying extra for business class especially as there is no lounge at LCY. Horses for courses innit.

The Florence trip is because we still have a voucher for the Hotel Grand Cavour where our stay last year was cancelled due to covid. I note that the room prices are currently less than half what we paid way back when. The original trip was just a stop off en route to watch football in Rome but this time we are making Florence a mini break with a 3 nighter. Back in London on the way home we have ticket to see Anything Goes at the Barbican. Assuming the work is open here obvs.

Last time we “did” Florence was also a one nighter and we stayed at the Hilton. This is a modern hotel and not in the city centre. Ok you got the points and a diamond upgrade but you didn’t really get the “Florence experience”. We will this time.

Quite a busy old day of it. did some Anne’s vans stuff this morning (look out for some exciting news next week) and nipped with herself to B&Q for a rare shopping trip together. Pebbles, wood preservative, varnish, plants and a metal plasterers strip. Now watching the League Cup Final.

Grand Cavour booked together with BA flights. Also Conrad MidTown booked in NYC. Close to Central Park. I’m clearly expecting normality to return!


another virtual meeting

Sat in another team meeting in listening mode. Means I can do other stuff that doesn’t involve me speaking. Tbh I am starting to lose patience with these talking shops. Too many people with too many opinions that we all have to listen to. They should just listen to me and get on with it 🙂

Outside it is yet again a sunny day driven by a high pressure weather system parked near the UK but the wind remains from the east and it is thus cold, especially out of the sun.

Campervan Bertie returned safely yesterday and a good time was had on the golf course. I had a v puer front nine but a not bad back nine. I’ve started playing with just two clubs and a putter. I bought a new Ping gap wedge and a second hand 6 iron from American Golf and am determined to get good with just those two clubs and then buy a new set of Ping irons. My other clubs are around 40 years old and I sense it is time they were retired. Taking a while but I’m sure I’ll get back into the swing of it. 

Dropped off some leek seedlings and tomato plants for Steve Rowland at his shop, The Artisan Maker, in the Bail. The Bail was rammed. Beautiful sunny afternoon. Lots of drinkers sat outside the Lion and Snake and the Prince of Wales. They will all conk out by tea time. Taking the moral high ground we are off for a swim. Booked in for 2.30. Early doors later in the Star.

Campervan Betty was returned with rave reviews. Called the hirer who had only good to say and was also happy to send a photo.



Another warm day in prospect. Up at 5.30 again. Have already scanned the news. Nothing to catch my eye. Sure lots going on but it means little to me in my small bubble. It wasn’t so long ago that news of goings on in the world would take weeks to get through and I would probably have never travelled outside my own village. Would I have been less happy?

Breakfast was a sausage in a roll with mushrooms and a glass of milk. The sausage needed using up. In the shed by 08.30 having published my weather report for the day. I do this over on trefsgreenhouse Facebook page. Sometimes it gets as many as two or three views. They are knocking each over over to get at it. That’s not the attitude I expect from lovers of Tref’s Greenhouse. Calm down you lot. Control yourselves.

Yesterday 4 people were reported as having died due to covid19. In 2019 1,752 people died in road traffic accidents. That’s an average of 4.8 a day. Living is a risky business. What would be your acceptable risk of dying every time you walked out of the house. At 0.000007% chance of dying every time you get in a car it’s a chance you take. I’m not here to worry you and I’m not here to discuss the rights and wrongs of any given approach to covid safety 🙂 I’m just messing about on a page.

All is calm in the shed. I have stuff to do but it will wait. Looking out onto the garden I see a robin flittering around. Our robins are very used to people. They wolf down the mealworm as soon as I put it out and if one of us is digging in the garden they are in there like a shot looking for insects and worms.

In the pool at 2.30. Started off with two others in a double width lane and ended up on my own. This is great and is why I’ve started going at that time – late lunch etc.

Showers not working at Yarborough mind you. Blocked pipe or simlar. Bit annoying especially when they don’t tell you before you get in the pool, not that that would have stopped me. Also had another case when someone crossing lanes to get out got in my way and broke my rhythm, or what exists of it. it’s just common sense and etiquette that some people just don’t possess.



Le sol brillait. That’s my O’Level French shining through. It is a truly gorgeous spring day here in Lincoln and the opening day of the campervan rental season. The season proper doesn’t start until May 17th when campsites are allowed to open their toilet blocks but we do have a few bookings before then.

Pool was busyish this morning. Swimming as I do in the slow lane also presented a few “issues” with different people’s swim speeds requiring tactical movements to avoid having to stop. Also when I got to one end one irritating person decided to cross in front of me from another lane as I got to the turn. Bloody annoying when that happens. Some people have no awareness or etiquette. It is all complicated by the fact that I do alternate lengths breast stroke and front crawl so someone who I might happily swim behind when doing breast stroke I will be too fast for when doing front crawl.

Now listening to a bit of Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade Op 35. Random job on Spotify playlist. Herbert von karajan and the Berlin Phil. The best.



Another sunny day in the shire and a gentle start at number 118. I quite like the way that weekend days open for business. Tea followed by leisurely breakfast and then another cup of tea listening to Classic FM. At least on Sundays. On this occasion I’ve switched from the live programme to the Spotify playlist. Same stuff, same effect, no ads. Ads are intrusive and there seem to be more of them than usual this morning.

I like also sitting tapping away at my laptop with no preconception of what is about to appear in front of me. Sometimes it is good to stare at the screen and come up with good ideas. Future plans.

Last week I pretty much determined to throttle back from telecoms and concentrate on festivals, campervans and other diverse and interesting activities. Will see this year out first. I’ve always had in mind to add an online retail section to the Anne’s Vans business. I did explore it a while back but concluded that it would take too much time to do it properly. I would be able to make the time if not working.

My approach to setting up new lines of businesses has to be one that lets you do things remotely. Outsource the work. Just come up with the ideas in the first place and get it running. You need to be able to manage the business from underneath a palm tree on a Caribbean isle or from your seat at a pavement cafe in  Provence. That sort of thing. 

This may sound fanciful but it is not. Half the battle is having the idea in the first place and then executing. The Caribbean bit can be part of the idea. This is what people struggle with. Lots of people come up with ideas but never see them through. Many more people don’t even come up with ideas but this is probably because they aren’t sitting down now trying to think of them. They shouldn’t need to try. Ideas should just come to them when they give it time.

The diverse and interesting thing to do might not be a business at all. I want to get into bookbinding though whether I’ll have the patience for that is another thing. It could be travel although I am in two minds about that. We have two big travel adventures already lined up over the next couple of years. One involves long haul flights and the other a long haul campervan journey. I’m not overly fussed about getting on a  plane anymore and am looking to use up my avios on next year’s trip west. The journey by van to the South of France in 2023 will be a far more sedate activity although probably quite knackering. Will defo need to slot in a few hotel nights in between campsites.

Debating whether to go for a swim this afternoon. The plan for today is to work through the jobs list and then spend time with Joe cooking a leg of lamb for dinner this evening. This may or may not leave room for a swim. The other question relates to who else will be in the pool. During the week the mid afternoon slot looks like yielding the perfect environment for lane swimming with very few people in the pool. Will this be the case on a Sunday? Will the slots have been booked by parents looking to give bored kids something to do. It isn’t meant to be a general swim but ya never know. I’m overthinking this.


funeral of the decade

Anyone I know been invited to the funeral of the decade? Unlikely. Also unlikely that it will be the funeral of the decade but let’s not go there.

There are serious consequences to the timing of this funeral, and I’m not talking about the lack of a bank holiday to go with it which would have been a popular move. I’m talking football kickoff times on Saturday. The imps game away at Bristol Rovers is on at 12.30 which means a really early start in the bus for the lads. Hopefully they will all get to bed early tonight although we all know that just going to bed early doesn’t mean falling asleep early.

Ordinarily I like a good funeral, if someone has had a long innings. It is a good way of celebrating a life. Well the wake is. The actual funeral is just something you have to get out of the way before the wake.

Now in another boring meeting. I ignored the whole 90 minutes yesterday but this one I am down to say something so have to half listen. 

We’ve been seeing magpies in the back garden. There is a nesting pair in the evergreen oak over the back fence. This is a first, in living memory. Yesterday we even had a trio of vociferous ducks land. Two blokes and a bird, so to speak. She was the one making all the noise. Even waddled towards me on the deck as I was videoing the relatively rare event. In fact I can’t remember seeing ducks in the back garden before. Another first.

It is a Friday. I typically finish at lunchtime on Fridays after my regular meeting with the South Aftricans at noon. Today I have one further meeting at 1pm. Then it’s a swim at 2.30. This morning we have a trip to the tip and are picking up Colin’s fridge en route. Exciting stuff eh? The day will be rounded off with a visit to the garden of the Burton Club for beverages with a select number of friends.


hair today

According to Google “on average, hair tends to grow between 0.5 and 1.7 centimeters per month. This is equivalent to around 0.2 to 0.7 inches.” Just trying to figure out how long it will take my hair to grow how long. 

The jury is still out on how long I want it to be. I don’t know really. The chances are I will grow out of this rebellious/hippy phase and move on to a number three all over. Only time will tell and grow hair.

One thing I’ve found myself doing is running my fingers through my hair in the way that people with long hair tend to do. Also I have to think hard about when I want to wash it. Not because of the faff of drying it. It’s because my hair is very fine and after it has been washed and dried (towel) it seems a bit flat. Takes the rest of the day to get some body back into it. Or volume. I’m not an expert on these things 🙂

The next steps are to lose some weight and get an earring. Of the three things being discussed here, grow hair, lose weight and get earring, two are not endorsed by the rest of the family. I doubt you will find it difficult to identify which ones.

Life is all about striking a balance isn’t it? Life is short. Hair can be long or short. You can decide about your hair.

I am now sitting in a meeting where they are discussing Artificial Intelligence. I’ve muted myself, stopped the camera and turned the volume down. I have drifted off.

My gaze has moved to the back garden. Outside it is a blustery afternoon and the daffs and tulips are dancing in an unstructured manner. This is somewhat similar to the way I dance. The daffodil dance. I didn’t know it was called that.

It is Wednesday. I’m not sure what Wednesday is supposed to feel like. This one feels as if it is in between Tuesday and Thursday. Does that make sense? This is deep stuff 🙂 I sense I’m drifting here. Trying to let my imagination take me somewhere I am not. It’s no different to going to the movies. I don’t go to the movies. My imagination can run amok without it.

When I was lane swimming this morning I momentarily imagined I was swimming in the hotel pool in the Caribbean. Didn’t last long.

I think the meeting on AI has taken the stuffing out of my motivation for today. I’ve affixed the replacement panel heater to the wall of the shed. Had to be creative with one of the screw fixings as I yanked the old one out when trying to remove the old heater. Sorted now though, natch. Now I’m watching an old Rick Stein programme coming from Lisbon.


blue sky thinking

Another day, another swim, another blue sky. Porridge oats, yo gurt, Anne’s home made granola and berries for breakfast. Tres bien. Accidentally poured the tea into the milk jug in the shed this morning. The milkiest tea you ever saw and totally undrinkable. Start again.

Was awake at 5.30 after a deep sleep last night fuelled by five pints of Staropramen at the reopening of the Morning Star. The plan was to call BA to book the return leg of next year’s big trip but upon reflection decided to stay an additional couple of days so now coming back on the Monday instead of Saturday.

There are plenty of reward flights available from Boston so it won’t be a mad rush to call them as soon as they open. Also need to sort AA flights from POS to Miami and Miami to JFK, hopefully also on Avios. There.

Golf this PM followed by a beer in the Friendship Arms beer garden.


there has never been a better time to do it than now.

In breaking news Yarborough leisure centre has reopened and I was in the pool for shortly after 8.30 this morning for my pre booked lane swim. Around 6 persons per double sized lane so not too bad. Did just over 30 mins of extremely slow breastroke and front crawl mix. Hair now smells of chlorine even though I did wash it afterwards #cantdoathingwithit.

It is a beautiful sunny day although quite cold. There was a slight scattering of snow on the ground this morning and although I was awake from around 5.30 I stayed in bed as it was Anne’s turn to make the tea. She too lay there motionless in the hope that I would get up and make it. Fun and games 🙂

Intellectual energy

Sitting in a field high on music. I am wearing only a tee shirt and shorts. It’s a warm evening. Feels as if the whole crowd is doing the same thing. Singing along. Am in between drinks. The last one was over an hour ago and I don’t know when the next one will come.


wear a vest

Frosty out there. Wear a vest. I am basking in the warmth of the conservatory, sun streaming in through the windows. For a period of time last year the conservatory was the orangery but the miniature orange tree we had growing is now in the greenhouse and I’m not sure of it’s chances of survival. Needs watering at least.

It is the sabbath, at least in the parts of the world historically influenced by Christianity. Muslim areas of the world had it yeaterday. You know this. I think I have just discovered a perfect multi-faith concept religion. One that has 7 different sects each celebrating the sabbath on a different day of the week. In this religion you would have seven days off a week. You could be a “non believing adherent” able to take advantage of each sabbath as it suited. This is no different to the way that we all like to celebrate Christmas even though most of us aren’t practising Christians.

There are a couple of practical issues associated with this model. One is that we might never get any of the jobs done around the house and garden. The truth could equally be that they would all be done in a very timely manner. Those are actually the only issues I can think of. 

The upsides are of real interest. For example you could invite friends around for a barbecue every afternoon safe in the knowledge that the next day was not a school day. I’m sure you can think of other benefits.

Been snowing off and on this pm. In one sense it is a shame it wasn’t snowing when we were in the outdoor swimming pool in Jubilee Park last Friday. Would have given us the feeling of being real troopers, or words to that effect. I have 08.30 lane swimming slots booked at Yarborough for Monday and Tuesday so hopefully that will be the start of getting back into the swim of it, so to speak, excuse the pun.


the growing season

Very noticeable at this time of year is all the growth in the garden. I doubt most people give it any thought beyond the need to keep mowing the lawn. If you are a gardener you will be more interested but largely because you will be looking for a nice colourful border or a good crop of fruit and veg in the Autumn. 

This good harvest is unlikely to be an existential event. If your onion crop is poor you will pop to the supermarket to top it up. Ditto spuds, carrots and apples etc.

We don’t think about the significance of spring to mankind as a whole. Without this renewal of growth, change in the season, we would not be. This is fairly fundamental. It is something that would have been in the mind of every human as recently as 300 years ago. Perhaps less. A poor or non-existent harvest would have been a disaster and very much life threatening. Think about the Irish potato famine.

This is stuff that entered my mind as I was making the tea this morning.