early one morning

five twenty four

Goldarnit it is five twenty four, am, and I’m awake, bright eyed and up and at it. No point in resisting. Worst thing you can do is lie in bed trying to get some more kip when your body is saying, nope, it’s fine, had enough thanks, let’s get up and tend to the crops or go and hunt or gather some breakfast.

So I’m downstairs. In the tee vee room tending to the crops. Don’t like calling it the tv room. Not sure a tv is something that should have a room dedicated to it. More like a snug with a tv on the wall. It is snug,. Cosy. Only negative thing is that it is in the front of the house and therefore has road noise. Even at five twenty four, albeit occasional. More noticeable when the noise isn’t constant.

What is it that makes people drive somewhere at this hour? I know that society has to operate. Folk have to get into work for the start of the early shift. Others are on their way home after locking up at the night club. I suppose although it is only Tuesday. I think.

Comes back to this clock thing. Time. Ordered time. We only have a certain amount of it.  We chop it up into discrete periods and cram as much stuff in as possible. I can let you have seven minutes thirty five seconds. Well maybe.

Not sure why we bother with a television per se. There is rarely anything on I want to watch. If we are sat in the snug, as I now seem to call it, for the moment at least, as often as not I have my headphones on to avoid having to hear Greg Wallace or whatever that woman is called who seems to be on every cooking, knitting and woodworking show going. A presenter for the sake of being a presenter. Trying to encourage the contestants!

I like a bit of woodworking meself but don’t feel the need to watch a woodworking competition on the telly. It’ll be ludo next, or scrabble, or poetry writing. I do have a work bench in the garage that I could use to do my own woodworking although it is a little on the small side. It was made to measure to fit in the available space next to one of the fridge freezers. Could have moved the FF and had a bigger one but the FF is there because there is shelving to its left. Could have made the shelving shorter I suppose…

The shed is a multi purpose facility in the garden that could accommodate a decent sized workbench.  One of my thoughts during its planning and construction is that the shed would serve as an office, a studio and a workspace for the nurturing of creativity. Manãna. I could fit a workbench in there but would have to get rid of the second desk that is used by visiting offspring to ‘work from home’.

Spent some time last night working on the playlist for trefbash 14. Regulars will know that the format, almost since the get go, has been live jazz from around six pm until the food is served at sevenish followed by bopping to funk/swing/whateva thereafter. The clamour has been for more live bopping after the food and so what the people want the people get. The pre nosh jazz has been replaced with more funky dancing afterwards.

This year’s theme is ‘music festival’ and my thinking is sixties festival stuff until the food. Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix. That kind of vibe. We shall see. You will find out soon enough. Not long now. If you’ve never been and want to come drop me a line. I’ll squeeze you in.

Drizzly blustery walk to the shed this morning. I quite like this weather. Just switched the heating on so it will take a few mins to get to temperature. Switched on my machine and all the windows were already up and in position. Four email accounts/domains. Three businesses and a tref. I have had to close the news sites windows. Dunno why I even bother. Climate change, war, famine.

THG is going away for a couple of nights leaving me in charge. Not sure I like the responsibility. Tomorrow is bin day and I’ve already forgotten which one goes out. I’ll be able to see what others in the street do so that takes care of that. As long as I remember.

I do get to choose dinner. Tonight is very possibly steak night. Tomorrow is another day. Just another day. Problem is I quite fancy beans in toast but that ain’t keto friendly.

early one morning travel

Foggy start

Looking out of the cottage first floor window at the line of fishing boats tied up next to each other in Killybegs harbour. Ireland’s premier fishing port and we are smack bang in the middle of it. 

They are wonderful looking boats. The nearest is Pacelli D383. Most people here are associated with the fishing industry one way or another. Times are not great since they were forced to give up some quota post brexshit. UK waters. Mackerel don’t recognise territoriality 🙂

Bright lights are still on around the quayside as it is very foggy, a fact that was drawn to my attention by the foghorn blasting out periodically. Presumably from a nearby lighthouse.

John has gone off surfing with Toby and Lils. 7am start. They are welcome to it. A hardy bunch. John does not have a wetsuit which he may find out to be an issue. We will know soon enough.

Everyone knows everyone here. Was in the Harbour Inn early doors yesterday chatting to an O’Rourke from Leitrim. Mam was an O’Rourke from Leitrim. Spent the night with the extended family: Fidelma, Dearbhla, Rory, Lachlan, Cathy, Claire  et al. Tara Hotel and The Fleet.

Today’s entertainment is a boat trip to the cliffs of Slieve League. Hoping the fog will have lifted. The forecast is good and the fog should burn off. Light winds also which is obvs desirable when going on a long sea journey. 3 hours apaz. Right now the fog does seem to be getting heavier though!

There are signs of life in the cottage. Noises from a downstairs bathroom. I am in the kitchen. A good orientation and hence the view.

I have breakfast options this morning. Sausage sandwich or bacon sandwich. The sausages are Irish recipe and I am tempted. The bacon is just the rubbish you get in supermarkets. Ditto the sausages really but I do have a soft spot for ‘Irish recipe’ as mam used to sometimes serve them up when we were kids. 

Two sandwiches are an option but I do need to pace myself. This trip is a marathon not a sprint. I’l mull it over. No rush. It is a Saturday morning in Killybegs and most non surfers are still snuggled up in bed.

I can see a scenario where a stroll around the corner to buy a paper might be in order. Fishing Times or similar. If they sell it anywhere it will be in Killybegs.

We are joining the boat at one pm this afternoon from a spot in front of the Ahoy Cafe. A goodly emporium if you are looking for bodily sustenance before a long voyage. Or anytime you are hungry I suppose. Had breakfast there with Rory a couple of trips back.

Then just along from there is the ship’s chandlers. A truly wonderful aladdin’s cave selling every kind of cleat, block and tackle and rope going. I love that kind of stuff and have to restrain myself from buying any. Don’t really need it although it would of course look great in the shed. If there was any room which there isn’t. I guess a block and tackle would be perfectly positioned hanging outside under the overhang at the front of the shed. Hmm. I still regret not buying the spitfire squadron scramble bell from Hemswell Antique Centre a few years back. It was a bit on the big side and I already have a bell, albeit a ship’s bell. Keep meaning to go back and see if they still have it.

THG is now up and a second cup of tea has appeared. For the record I made the first, for both of us. I just opted to drink mine in the kitchen where, as you know, I was able to look out over the harbour, were it not blanketed in fog.

early one morning

the blink of an eye

My right eye blinked open. I could see the time was 5.25. a m. The left eye was buried in the pillow. Awake I contemplated getting out of bed. Should I leave my comfortable spot and get up and do something? It wasn’t even my turn to make the tea. I don’t mind that. Taking extra turns 🙂

Dawn is with us, accompanied by her avian chorus. Welcome to the day.

A busy morning ahead. No rush, for anything. I see snail trails on the patio. We need a pet hedgehog. Wouldn’t need to feed it. Just let it live in the garden and eat slugs and snails. I say this every year but have never got around to building a hedgehog house.

Twilight in the garden. Minimal lighting in the shed. My Lagunitas IPA sign and a couple of handmade lamps from Prendinas. Marseterchef on in the TV room. Silence.

It’s been a busy day. Tomorrow morning the house will be a hive of activity as we load up the car for our trip. All the paperwork has been printed out. Car valeted. Haircut had.

The haircut is a story in itself. I went to Antonios as it is easy to park in Tesco and wander around the corner onto Wragby Road. There are two barbers in residence: Antonio and Alfio, or similar. Antonio is very quick and chatty. Alfio is extremely slow with no conversation whatsoever. 

I arrived at the barbers and there was one guy in front of me in the queue. The two As were clipping away. Then Antonio finished and the next bloke went and sat in the chair. Oh no I thought. I’m going to be stuck with slow Alfio. Fortunately Alfio was so slow and Antonio so quick that the latter had finished the next punter before Alfio’s chair became vacant.

Phew. I strode up and sat in the vacant chair in front of Antonio as soon as it was empty. Yanow the haircut is nothing special but it is number two back and sides with a trim off the top. All I need. All I ask is that I can’t grab the hair at the back of my neck. It will last me a couple of months. £12. No problemo.

early one morning

pictures, poetry and plays

Up early, before six am, having had a good night’s sleep. The rain has moved on for now after leaving its mark. The front room is still a jumble of odds and ends waiting to be packed into the car for tomorrow’s journey to Hannah and George’s new place. A canteen of cutlery, lampshade, soft furnishings, a wallpaper steamer. Odds and ends.

The conservatory sits still like a painting or photograph. The piano, table and chairs and rocking chair, picture on the wall, plants. Must be the light. Raindrops adorn the glazing. The doors are more than slightly ajar.

I have two bookcases in this room. The one next to the door which we had custom built to fit the space is made of walnut. It holds perhaps four hundred and fifty books on seven shelves. Quite a wide bookcase that is secured to the wall at the top. Would not be good if it toppled over.

The other bookcase is smaller and is built of some African wood perhaps. Don’t recall where we picked it up. It contains mostly poetry and plays.

early one morning

worshipful company of wheeltappers

With sleep filled eyes I walk slowly down the stairs.

The grass needs cutting and it is observed that the lemon tree in the pot in the conservatory has shed most of its leaves. We’ve never managed to grow a lemon. Google tells me we need to feed it regularly and change the top two inches of compost every spring. This we have not been doing, I’m sure. I need to head out this morning so will purchayse some citrus feed. Too late for this season but a lesson learnt. Perhaps.

The day grows brighter.

Today the shed is due a tidy. Gotta shift some stuff to the attic, a task made easier by the fact that John is home for a few days. He has to get back to London for a rehearsal on Monday. He is supporting Rag n Bone man at his Colwyn Bay gig the following weekend. Biggest gig so far. Exciting. Honk that saxophone.

I’ll be in London meself on Monday.

Got tickets for the 5th Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Quite excited. Bruch’s violin concerto. I have it on vinyl. Dinner beforehand. Italian. Never been to a prom concert. The “last night” puts me off. I can’t cope with that jingoistic stuff. Should be good. We were at the RAH last October for a Pink Martini gig. Very different to Bruch but very fantastic.

There is a pigeon on the conservatory roof.

When you have a cup of tea is it accompanied by a drop of milk or a splash of milk? This thought came to mind this morning over breakfast as I accurately splashed a drop of milk into my cup. This is a skill developed over fifty years or so of drinking tea. I wasn’t an early starter on the tea front. 

It isn’t a science although some nerdy boff or other might have a different view: ‘the ratio of milk to tea needs to be exactly x% for the perfect cup’. Rubbish of course. I mostly drink English breakfast tea but do occasionally stray to a milkless variety such as mint, green or camomile. Something different to add variety to life. We all like variety. A break in our otherwise humdrum existence. Bring back the Wheel Tappers and Shunters Social Club 🙂

Presumably they still have wheeltappers to this day. In the days of cost savings I imagine that drivers have to do their own shunting. Another lost profession. Skill. Wheel tapping is, however, all about health and safety innit. Can’t afford to cut corners there. 

Takes years to properly train a wheeltapper. It’s all about training the ear. Not everyone can do it. You have to be born a wheeltapper. A job handed down through the generations. Wouldn’t surprise me to find that  there is a Worshipful Company of Wheeltappers. They deserve that kind of recognition. Let me know if you come across it. Couldn’t be bothered to look meself 🙂

early one morning

fresh old morning

Tis a fresh old morning out there. Not entirely true as the day is still relatively young. Fresh it is though. The garden would appear to have had a good soaking overnight. This is as it should be. The correct order of things.

It remains cloudy. Good job there is now a break between test matches. We need some sustained good weather, at least during the day. The next match is in Manchester. Doubly challenging when it comes to weather.

Enough of this meteorological drizzle, I mean drivel. I am expecting a new bag today. A Dr Duffel 70litre in mustard yellow. Seem to have lost my North Face duffel. This will no doubt turn up immediately after the delivery of the new bag. No matter. You can’t have too many duffel bags.

I used to spell duffel duffle. I still do really. It’s just that they market the Dr Duffel job as written so that’s what it is. The beauty of a duffle bag on expedition is its squashiness. Whilst hardshell suitcases are good for aircraft holds and for the battering they receive by the baggage handling system. 

All well and good if your ultimate travel destination requires sitting in airport lounges sipping champagne whilst en route but not so much when loading all your gear for an extended trip in a Land Rover.

Much planning has gone into this forthcoming jaunt to the point where we are taking a bag just for laundry. Ordinarily we use a hotel’s plastic laundry bag and just shove that in one of our bags. The filled laundry bag replaces the space of the clean clothes, ish.

However this trip we will be on the road for over a month. Makes sense to take a laundry bag. Despite the fact that we will be stopping at many a roadside inn, so to speak, these gaffs don’t generally provide a laundry service. Not that we would be daft enough to use a hotel laundry service.

Time was I’d be doing so much international travel that I’d often take dirty laundry with me and get it cleaned as soon as I reached the first destination of my next trip. I wasn’t paying then 🙂 On the second half of this trip we will be stopping at self catering accommodation with washing machines. I’m sure I’ll have enough pairs of pants to make it through the first two and a half weeks 🙂

It’s going to be a shorts and t shirts trip with a jumper thrown in for good measure and a waterproof top because our first destination is Donegal. Socks will not form part of the uniform.

Meanwhile back in Lincoln the wind has got up and it looks as if we are in for a typical British summer’s day. Time to make the tea.

Just harvested a couple of leek seed heads. The green ‘envelope’ had split open and they are now in a paper envelope in the shed. Didn’t want to risk waiting until the seeds had dried out on the stem in case they just fell on the ground or were scoffed by pesky birds.

It has been noted that the shed is in need  of a bit of a tidy. This is so. Need to figure out where to put the gazebo canopies. Loft probs. Johnny boy arrives home for a few days later and he can help me.

diary early one morning

bright day in prospect

A bright day in prospect. Not looked at the weather forecast but I can tell you that at the crack of sparrowfart there is nary a cloud in the sky. That is not entirely true as from my perspective in the conservatory I did spot a solitary wisp but glancing back up to double check even that has now moved on.

I was going to say that wisp of cloud ‘evaporated’ but that didn’t feel right. Clouds are surely the result of evaporation in the first place. Or are they condensed. I dunno. It matters little. Only perhaps to Michael Fish and his pals at the meteorological office. Where is he now? Michael Fish.

It is still out there. Nary a breath of wind. A magpie just flew by carrying some nest building material. You would have thought any construction would be finished by now. Perhaps a bit of maintenance. It flew to the top of next door’s pine tree the other side of the fence to the greenhouse. Will keep an eye on that treetop. Magpies are pretty vicious birds. I saw one attacking a blackbird in our garden earlier this year. The magpies are also relative newcomers. I don’t mind a bit of avian variety although small birds would be preferable. I need to sort out the feeders.

A variety of packing to do today. I have, as you know, a shindig in London tomorrow. On thursday morning I hot foot (by train) it to Liverpool for a family funeral. Then Friday it’s back home across the pennines with THG in her car. So that’s three different clothing requirements.

The dress code for the funeral is ‘funeral’. Fair enough. When I go I want the dress code to be ‘hawaiian shirt’ 🙂We were all particularly fond of this uncle who did live to a ripe old age so Thursday will very much be a celebration of his life.

When mam passed away we had a packed church followed by a very good reception at Peel Golf Club where she had been Lady Captain. Then there was a hiatus where some of the family wandered down to the beach and the breakwater. I strolled to the Whitehouse pub and had a couple of quiet pints before meeting the core team for dinner at the Creek Inn whereupon we had a great singsong.

Dad died at a time when lockdown restrictions were still being eased so numbers were constrained. Actually the constraints included the age and infirmity of his friendship group as well as the fact that the funeral was in Cardiff rather than the Isle of Man. We did have a great wake afterwards. They were both celebrated appropriately.

Dad once told me he had been to a funeral of a teacher in the Isle of Man where only a handful of people were present, including the widow and small family. He recalls contrasting this with his own father’s funeral. My grandfather was a miner in South Wales. Miners never lived to retirement age and when they died, prematurely, the whole community would turn out to pay their respects. There were hundreds of people at his funeral.

Enough of this funeral speak. My grandmother, Eluned Davies (nee Lewis) was born in 1907. A hugely different era. It is hard to get your brain around the difference in complexity of the world then and now. No TV, no telephone. A coal fired range instead of gas or electric cooker. Very little English spoken, at least in Cefneithin.

I remember visiting one of dad’s cousins with him a few years back. We spoke in Welsh but I had to seriously concentrate to understand the local dialect. As pure as it came. Rooted in the countryside. Our house was a miner’s cottage in a row opposite the Blaenhirwaun pit.

The evidence of the pit has long since been obliterated, the slag heaps, or tips, reburied underground and the area restored to the parkland it once was. Nothing lasts forever.

When I was a kid we used to spend our summer holidays visiting nana. Highlights of the week would include visits from the Coop van and from John The Baker’s van. We would go on the bus to the market in Llanelli. Mam and dad would head up to the Farmers Arms for a few. There was also a now defunct pub across the fields at the back of the house whose name, disappointingly, escapes me but where at 1am of an evening the local bobby would pop in for a pint and mingle with the farmer who had recently won the Welsh sheep dog trials. Different times…

Our Andy is on Centre Court shortly. At one time it was our Tim and I daresay it was someone else before him. I can’t remember that far back. Our Sue? Wimbledon mania comes to the UK for two weeks every July where people who have never picked up a racket let alone played a game become instant armchair experts.

If I watch any tennis during the rest of the year it is probably because I’ve accidentally clicked on a TV channel. I have played the game and do possess a racquet, somewhere. Whenever I played tennis I would basically always lose my service game as I’m totes crap at serving.

Our son John, on the other hand, has played since he was a little lad. He can play tennis. No point in me playing our John 🙂 

I would consider joining the Local Eastgate Tennis Club as a social member. They serve Beavertown Neck Oil, which I like, and membership there gives you the chance of getting Wimbledon tickets in the draw out of their allocation. Wimbledon is a good day out.

Not this year though. I’m probably going to join Notts CCC for next season. The West Indies are coming next July and I being a member would not only give me early access to tix but also good tix. 

I used to be a Country Member of Glamorgan CCC but they stopped that membership category and wanted two hundred and fifty quid for the privilege. Considering that in three or four years of being a member I went once, that does not represent good value for money. I didn’t mind shelling out sixty quid. Notts membership is cheaper and they get test matches. And it is only thirty miles or so away.

diary early one morning

Awake at five thirty

Awake at five thirty so thought I might as well get up and stick the kettle on. Windy out there this morning. That’s nature for you eh?

Yesterday I cooked a chicken on the barbecue using the rotisserie. First time I’d used it with the new granite worktop setup. The turning mechanism only just fitted but fit it did and the new outdoor electrical socket proved its worth. Roasted the bird in a piripiri rub which came out well and we now have plenty of meat left over for consumption this week. Not that I’m around all week.

One specific result from yesterday’s barbecue was that I have now worked out the right gas setting to maintain a constant one hundred and eighty degrees Centigrade which is what most meats need for spit roasting. Dunno why it took me so many years but now it is done. Means I can just set the barbecue going and walk away without having to faff about tweaking different burners. 

Using it again next Saturday as we are having a few pals round though not worked out what to cook yet. Boned leg of lamb maybs.

My brain isn’t totes in gear at oh five thirty but I guess it doesn’t really matter. Not much to think about anyway. Not much I chose to think about. I’ve been through my usual routine of checking Facebook, WhatsApp and reading the papers. They aren’t really paper anymore I know but that’s a more interesting way of putting it than saying I read the online media outlets. The BBC never was a paper anyway.

On Wednesday I’m taking the early train down to London, fifty acorns tied in a sack. No not really although I am thinking about taking in the Paul McCartney photo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery as I do have some spare time in the morning.

It’s a bit of a nuisance catching the seven thirty train as it is about half an hour too early for my body clock. I can’t rely on waking up at five thirty every morning. It’s the first direct train so much easier than changing at Newark. Problem is the next direct train is at 11.27 or similar which gets me in too late for the shindig I’m off to that afternoon.

Catching the seven thirty means leaving the house at seven which makes it too early for a decent breakfast and the measly microwaved attempt at a bacon roll you get on the train ain’t much cop. Better than nothing I suppose. I’ll be in seat E5 if you happen to be catching that train. Look me up. I always go for that seat if I can. Sitting at the same seat every time is not much use if I am trying to avoid being kidnapped I know but it is a risk I am prepared to take 🙂

I think on Wednesday I will leave my laptop at home and buy a paper to read on the train…

early one morning

oh five forty

By oh five forty this morning the dawn chorus was already in full voice. A pale white glow rose from the east blending with the pastel blue above. An artist had drawn a restless  treetop silhouette on the backdrop. After yesterday’s storm we are in for a bright sunny morning.

We currently have two campervans sat in our front drive. Back from trips. They are heading down to the depot this morning. Taking up too much space. Bit of a shuttle job with the Head Gardener following in her car to give me a lift back home. No more hires now until the start of May. It is still early in the season and tbh we don’t want to turn it into a full time activity.

Next weekend is the Lincoln 10k and we will have a houseful of sportsmen and women up for the occasion. The runners will need feeding and one of them will be celebrating a big birthday so a tasty meal in prospect for the Sunday night. Steak pie and chips has been requested. They will all have big appetites after the race.

I say race but I doubt we have any contenders. This is all about participation. Mother and daughter will be running together. Brings a smile to my face. I’ll be the only one in the house not running. Norrapnin. In all we have five runners staying.

The last time it was run there was a deluge of biblical proportions. Quite apt on a Sunday. Sister Sue and I took shelter in the Lincoln Hotel and enjoyed coffee and croissants whilst we waited for the ladies to finish their course. 

Over the weekend I discovered the delights of the bar and coffee shop at the Eastgate Tennis Club and may hang out there although I suspect it will be too early for a beer. When the race is run praps.The runners will want rehydrating.

I’ve never been a runner, even when I was superfit and playing rugby. I would typically do 5km once a week to supplement the training and once ran a 10km loop across both Menai Bridges. Only saw the no pedestrian signs once I was on the Brittania bridge and wasn’t about to turn back then. Going back a bit now. Over forty years!!

early one morning

Up with the lark

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.

early one morning

blurry eyed

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.

early one morning


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

early one morning

The Shipping Forecast

Last night we discovered we were both awake when we shouldn’t have been. Usually if I happen to be awake I try to lie still so as not to disturb Anne and vice versa. On this occasion we decided to turn on the wireless set on a timer – that usually gets us back into the land of nod.

During the night Radio 4 is basically the long wave broadcast as far as I can see and on this occasion it was on the World Service News (I think – I wasn’t that awake). We got talk of meetings to discuss diplomatic approach to dealing with China and an article about a Pakistan woman rugby player (international?) who drowned on a boat trying to get to Italy to get her kid an operation.

That wasn’t going to get me to sleep again. Fortunately the Shipping Forecast came on. Result. What a great news item. I rarely hear it nowadays because our kitchen radio (wireless) is DAB and doesn’t have long wave. I suppose I might be able to find it on DAB?

The point is that the Shipping Forecast is so reassuring. Doesn’t matter what the weather is like. It is the fact that this has been broadcast all my life. It is a constant. A monotone delivery makes it very relaxing.

Now this morning’s forecast was not particularly good news 4 – 2 falling with rain but the content is irrelevant, unless you are on a boat.

This got me back to sleep but before it did it reminded me that a few years ago I came up with a project to write down a year’s worth of BBC traffic and travel bulletins. The plan was to consolidate each bulletin so that all roads mentioned during the year would be included once.

The country would have been gridlocked. This is still a valid project. Just needs planning and executing. In an ideal world I could source a year’s worth of bulletins in one go rather than painstakingly wait for 12 months. Probs never happen but the idea is good.

I eventually nodded off and woke up at six forty five.

early one morning


As I glanced at the clock on the bedside table this morning it ticked noiselessly over from 05.29 to 05.30. As an experiment I stared at it, thinking it would seem to take forever to move on to 05.31. It didn’t. Same for 05.32.

My god, I thought. I might as well get up if time goes that quickly. Don’t want to waste it lying in bed. This isn’t always my approach. Our bed is v cosy but I am often awake at this time and if I can’t nod off again I head downstairs.

It isn’t that I fill my day with activity. Sometimes I sit there doing nothing but then realise I’m bored and start tidying the shed, or simlar. Doing my expenses perhaps. Or planning a trip or stuff.

For the last week I’ve been inviting people to a dinner I’m hosting in town next week and the other day I filled up some time buying tickets for next year’s Olympic Games in gay Paree. 

This process took a lot longer than you might imagine. Not because it was a terrible experience waiting for hours in a queue in the way it was for the Rugby World Cup in France. It was because I hadn’t been expecting the email which basically said ‘Oy tref we are giving you 48 hours to fill your boots with tickets for three events’.

Took me a while to realise that this was the organising committee telling me the tickets were mine if I wanted them and was in a position to hand over some dosh. I hadn’t even been planning to go to the Olympics in 2024 and had only registered my interest because they kept chucking ads at me on Facebook and figured I might as well do it as not.

When the email arrived it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss so I delved. Took the plunge, although I hadn’t given any thought as to what sports I might want to see. It even took me quite a bit of staring to find out how to start the process. I did eventually spot the ‘BOOK NOW’ button or similar slap bang in front of me on the website but this was after scrolling up and down a few times clicking on non-existent links. Oy Paris2024 – you need more than one BOOK NOW button.

Then of course I had to decide what sports to see. I went straight for the men’s 1,500m and 100m finals but either these tickets had already gone or they had not yet been made available. Not all sessions for every sport seemed to be up for grabs in this release. Would probably been prohibitively expensive anyway especially as they were letting me buy 6 tickets for each session. No point in going on my own is there? I ended up spending a few bob on eighteen tickets for three sessions – two rugby sevens and one basketball. The rugby will be a very sociable couple of days out.

The cost of the tickets, whilst not particularly cheap, pales into insignificance compared to the cost of staying in Paris when the games are on.At least it was on AirBnB. Robbing bastards. It was the same in London in 2012. It is actually too far ahead to even book hotels right now, at least with Hilton, so I might be being a bit unfair on them but I doubt it.

When we stayed in London during the Olympics in 2012 we did opt for a very last minute hotel room – Kings Cross Travelodge (I know, I know!) and booking for the next day was surprisingly a lot cheaper than trying to book months in advance. I guess there could have been lots of cancellations as people’s teams were knocked out of different events.

When we strolled around Covent Garden that Saturday morning the place was eerily quiet. Much quieter than on a normal Saturday. Everyone was either still in bed or had gone to the games.

Anyway, plenty of time to plan for the Olympics. Lots of things to do before then like making the tea which is what I’m going to do now 🙂

early one morning

Diffused light

Up by five twenty this morning. I’d lain in bed pondering whether I could squeeze in another hour’s kip. Decided no. Wasn’t worth the effort. I was wide awake and had already put my specs on. This brings focus to the darkness. A relatively modern and artificial construct. It wasn’t total darkness as the street light diffuses through and around the curtains. Seemed to look a lot brighter this morning but I must have imagined it.

Now I am sat downstairs, in the darkness, although the light from the laptop reveals shadows in the room. Bookcase. Table lamp.

I have not yet looked to see what is happening out there. Who is saying what? This is difficult as social media and news media are addictive. I bought a newspaper on Saturday but have not yet read it all. There is a scenario whereby that is all you need. A paper once a week at the weekend where you might notionally have time to read it. Or where you can take the whole of the following week to read it.

Why not? I don’t think I could do it although it might be an interesting experiment, for the next month say. I’ve just upgraded my broadband connection and wifi network to speed up my already fast access to the web. The answer would be to go on holiday somewhere where there is no connectivity. Keld for example, in Swaledale. One of our fave spots. Google The Keld Lodge Hotel and book a visit.

The other night I lay awake for a good hour but it was too early to get up and I did eventually drop off again. Whilst I was awake I did pick up the phone and write “The Good Hour” down as I figured it would be a great idea for a poem. However that page still sits there blank awaiting inspiration. You will see it when it’s ready. Ditto “Not a pot, on offer” and “Hieronymus Nosh – food philosopher”. 

You have to write these notions down when you think of them or they are gone forever. Now the rest of you might look at “Not a pot, on offer” and “Hieronymus Nosh – food philosopher” and think ‘der Tref’s losing the plot’. You could be right. Not even sure where they came from. 

I think Hieronymus was my incorrect answer to a question on University Challenge last night. Didn’t get many right. Usually I might get half a dozen or so but it was a generally low scoring round so the brainy students on the telly must have also struggled.

It’s a bit like a pub quiz but totally different. I’m totes crap at pub quizzes because they often focus on popular culture, of which I am no expert, and are also very dependent on how the brain of the person setting the questions works.

If you want to know more about ole Hieronymus look him up on Wikipedia. There’s a classic arty intellectual write up on him. It’s not for me. I don’t know much about art but I know what I like 😂.

I doubt there are any kids named Hieronymus these days. Not looked it up. Missing a trick there folks. It could be the next trendy kids’ name after Brooklyn Bridge and Moonbase or whatever Frank Zappa’s son was called. 

I believe Frank’s kid changed his name by deed poll. He is probably now a Dave. Don’t blame him. Being called Dave will help him disappear into the crowd after a childhood no doubt spent in the full glare of his father’s publicity or at least its diffused light which is how my own day started, as you know.

Gorra go. Tea to make and it’s not even my turn!