30 January 2007

Not much to add today but, seeing as I’m on a roll with this place, I thought I’d “Blog” anyway!

We hit the gym again last night. I had a good workout - must have been in the right frame of mind! - whilst Lynda had a new programme set for her by one of the personal trainers. We’ll be back there again tomorrow night.

Spring must be just around the corner - yeah, right! - as I managed to ride the long route to work on my bike this morning. No more dark mornings!

On Thursday, we should be able to collect the new video/DVD recorder so I’ll have my new toy to play with.

Then, it’s the weekend and its Super Bowl time. Late, late night for me on Sunday with a beer or two, plenty of Pringles, and maybe even a pizza, whilst I watch the game!

28 January 2007

A rude awakening!

After a relaxing evening last night, watching TV, drinking a cider or two and eating Pringles, all hell broke loose first thing this morning! Well, at 8:00AM anyway!

Lynda and I were fast asleep in bed when I was suddenly awoken by a loud noise in my left ear. After coming down off the ceiling I grabbed for the alarm clock radio, whilst moaning at Lynda for switching it on on a Sunday! Grabbing the alarm only made things worse - I actually switched it ON, when the thing was already off!

By the time I realised that the alarm wasn’t the target I should be aiming for, and had grabbed the cordless phone from the bedside cabinet, the ringing had stopped! Great, not only had I been awoken way too early on a Sunday morning I had also missed the phone call. Still, it could only get worse… a quick look at the display on the phone revealed that the battery was almost dead, I’d have to go down stairs to get the other phone to see who had called!

Once downstairs I discovered that it was my mum that had called and, on returning her call, it became quite clear that she realised that she had fetched me out of bed! Guess I didn’t sound too awake, much to her amusement.

The phone call… that was to ask if I was free to go up to the farm and help my dad put up the nest boxes that we should have done last weekend - I jumped at the opportunity to spend the morning out in the open.

Some of the nest boxes including the "block of flats"!

The rest of the day went off without quite so much drama; we managed to put up around 18 nest boxes in all (including the birding equivalent to a block of flats), we didn’t get the tractor and trailer stuck in the still rather wet fields, I only managed to hit my finger once with the hammer and the wind, that had been increasing in strength all morning, didn’t blow me off the ladders. All in all, a good result for the day.

Now, it’s just a case of waiting to see if the boxes are accepted as suitable homes by the birds.

"Shouldn’t someone be holding my ladder? Please?"

More photos including Freddie the bull, who came to see us, are HERE!

The TV...

Well, I fetched the new TV and it’s great! Bigger picture, better definition, better colours, just better really! My other new toy will have to wait until next Thursday though, the shop was out of stock of the video/DVD recorder. Still, that means I get to play with another new toy, on another day!

When we pick the video/DVD recorder up, we will be faced with just one more decision and that is whether to stick with using Scart leads or go with the new, all singing all dancing, HDMI leads. I am told (by the man selling them!) that we will see a noticeable improvement with the HDMI ones - I would hope so at the price! A one-metre HDMI lead will cost between £40 and £60! A Scart lead, we could get for under £10 if we wanted any new ones.

More on this one later in the week!

26 January 2007

So, another week comes to an end. Not a bad week but I am glad that it is almost the weekend!

The snow arrived a little later than forecast, it started at 10:45PM Monday, but it did not amount to much. When we went to work on Tuesday morning there was about two inches of very soft snow and that was all gone by midday. The rest of the week has just been very cold with a fair amount of ice on the side roads - not the weather for using the mountain bike! That has not seen the light of day since Monday!

I ordered another engine at work this week… I sent it back again too! Yes, another damaged unit! The replacement arrived the following day and thankfully that one was okay. On February 8, I have been invited to a meeting with the UK parts distributors, the UK franchise managers and a couple of other dealer representatives to discuss any issues we may have with the parts supply/credit process. That could be fun - I will start and compile my evidence this weekend!

I have managed to get my head in gear for the gym again this week, two visits so far, and I have also managed to drag myself out of bed in time to have breakfast each day. I’m not sure if it’s down to eating breakfast or going to the gym but I do feel as though I’ve had a bit more “go in me” this week.

On Wednesday, Lynda and I went in search of a new TV and a video/DVD recorder. If they have the ones we want in stock I will be picking them up tomorrow after work, new toys just in time for the weekend.

One last little thing... the foxes have been fighting out in the garden most evenings this week so I guess that there has been a bit of a territory battle going on or more than one dog fox has been showing an interest in our local vixen. With luck, we may be seeing cubs playing in - or destroying - our garden again this spring.

21 January 2007

It’s been a quiet week overall, work has settled down into a more normal pace again and once more the enthusiasm for the gym has left me! I managed one ride to and from work on the bike - Monday - but after that it was the car every day. It’s not that I didn’t want to use the bike more a case of not being able to because of the weather.

Now that the gales and heavy rain have left us I thought I might able to get back on my bike, having just seen the weather forecast, I may not! Tonight we could be in for freezing temperatures followed by showers in the morning. We might even get the odd flurry of snow later in the day too. How nice.

On Tuesday, the Albannach pendant I won just before Christmas arrived - cracking bit of work it is too. Take a look at Gunnar's Anvil for more information on the jewellery and metalwork created by Rob Stewart over in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Thursday was the day the gales really hit their peak. Locally, roads were closed, trees were blown down, and houses were left without gas or electricity. Nationally, the number of people killed in the bad weather reached into double figures, many major roads and motorways were closed and thousands of people were caught up in the traffic chaos that followed. Four of our staff from work were caught up in the delays as they tried to return from a training course in Worcestershire. The journey home, which should have taken a little over two hours, ended up taking almost six hours!

Today was one of the best days of the year so far weather wise, clear blue skies, very little in the way of wind and no rain. It would have been the perfect day to have been up at the farm putting up all the new bird boxes that my dad wants to get in place before the breeding season starts. Well, it would have been, if it hadn’t been for all the rain we’ve had these past few weeks.

The ground is that wet everywhere that there was no way we could have taken the tractor and trailer, with all the boxes and the ladders, down into the fields. All we can do now is hope for some dry weather so that we can have another try in the next week or two, if not; it looks like we may have to carry everything to where it is needed bit by bit.

This coming week is Farmhouse Breakfast Week, so this afternoon I cooked another batch of my “breakfast casserole”. Any excuse to eat! All I need to do now is manage to get myself out of bed in time to actually eat some breakfast before heading off to work.

14 January 2007

You have to laugh, don't you?

Laugh? I nearly bought a round! Well, I would have, if the pub next-door to work had been open!

A replacement engine arrived at work on Saturday to do the job of the damaged one we received on Thursday. This time, I was already at work when the delivery arrived and so was able to check the parts myself. The “new” engine never even came out the back of the lorry! One quick look at the box had me a little concerned, it had a hole in the packaging.

As it turned out the hole was nothing to worry about - no damage to that side of the engine. The other side wasn’t so lucky! The damage to this second unit wasn’t as bad as the first but the oil filter housing had taken a bit of a beating at sometime and there was no way we could risk fitting the engine to a customer's car, so back it went!

This morning Lynda and I went to the gym, again. That’s three times this week! Well, three times for me - Lynda didn’t go Thursday when I worked myself into the ground! At long last I feel as if I am now fully back into the swing of going to the gym on a regular basis again.

We have tickets for our first gig of 2007 - Last Night’s Fun at the Assembly Rooms in Derby. I always enjoy seeing this band play and now they have a new member on board, Ciaran Boyle, playing bodhran, I’m looking forward to this gig even more.

Other gigs that I’m planning on going to over the next few months include Karnataka, Thee na Shee, The Reasoning and, maybe, The Battlefield Band. No doubt there will be many more added to the “wants” list over the coming weeks as bands announce their 2007 schedules.

12 January 2007

Well, things have certainly picked up over the past few days!

I started my week by watching a gorgeous sunrise on Monday morning and having a reasonably quiet day at work, since then all hell has broken loose! It has been non-stop every day from then on!

On Tuesday, the plan was to have gone to the gym after work but, for some reason, I didn’t feel too good from around lunchtime onwards and the idea of a workout was abandoned. Not quite sure what was up with me, I just felt all “washed out” somehow. Maybe I’m missing all the Christmas food!

Wednesday brought more than its fair share of problems at work and I was glad to get out of the place and head for the gym. In fact, I was so glad to leave work I actually packed by bags and left half an hour early! It was a case of… “Sorry but I’ve had enough for today! I’ll see you in the morning!” and off I went! The only problem with going to the gym in that frame of mind is that you tend to do too much and, although the workout got things out of my system, it sure did hurt the next day.

Thursday was one of those fun workdays that just attack you the moment you walk through the door. I'm usually at work in plenty of time to check in the day’s parts delivery and deal with any issues that may arise from it. This Thursday, we had a different driver deliver to us and he was early, very early. By the time I walked in the door at 8:15AM he had been gone for over an hour.

Okay I thought, shouldn’t be a problem, the boss has checked the deliveries before so I’ll just carry on as normal. Well, normal tends to be around three or four cases of parts, on Thursday it was 24! I could only just get through the door into the goods-in area! If that wasn’t enough of a headache first thing in a morning, I then discovered that a complete engine we had been awaiting from Germany was part of the delivery but it was damaged! Great, over £3000 worth of scrap metal I needed to try to claim back from the supplier!

After numerous phone calls, a trip home to fetch my camera - so that I could take photos of the damaged engine - and then e-mailing the photos, I think we may get things sorted. The thing is, if the delivery had arrived at the normal time, I’d have just rejected the engine there and then and saved all the extra trouble! I’ll tell you what though… the gym helped again last night! STRESS!!!

08 January 2007

The sun came up...

Some mornings I just do not feel like work (OK, most mornings I do not feel like work!) and this morning was one of them!

The alarm went off at 6:45AM, as it always does, but I couldn't drag myself out of bed until almost 7:30AM! Then, it was the usual mad rush to get everything ready for my bike ride into work. The weather this morning was dry and there was only a small amount of cloud cover - at least something was good about Monday morning!

As I left the house I could see that the sun was coming up and that we were in for a colourful sunrise. By the time I got to the edge of Pride Park the sky was ablaze - pity I didn’t have my camera with me. Even more of a pity that I had to go into work!

A quick glance at my watch showed that I had a few minutes to kill, so I took the slightly longer route via Alvaston Park, any excuse to arrive at work at the last moment. As I stood looking at the sunrise over the lake, I remembered the camera on my phone. A couple of quick snapshots, one last look at the day that was just starting, and I headed off for work.

It may be just another small city park but that little bit of nature sure did help me through the day!

Alvaston Park Lake - phone picture!

Alvaston Park Lake - phone picture!

River Derwent, Alvaston - phone picture!

07 January 2007

Back to normal...

Well, 2007 is well underway and nothing has really changed, yet!

Work is still a little bit hit an’ miss… one moment I’m sat wondering what to do next then, out of nowhere, I have too much to do! Friday afternoon, hopefully, saw things start to pick up again after the Christmas and New Year break with three rather large crash repair jobs being phoned in within the space of two hours. Bad news for some ones insurance, but good news for me!

The weather is hit an’ miss too, it cannot seem to make its mind up from one day to the next. I managed to use the bike Tuesday, though I did get wet going to and from work. Wednesday we went to the gym so no bike that day. Thursday and Friday were damp and drizzly but I got away with biking without getting too wet!

I mentioned the gym, well, I’m back in the mood for the place now. Tuesday was the first workout since just before Christmas and it hurt. All the excessive eating over the holidays came back to haunt me and, to be honest, I was glad to leave the place. By Wednesday morning all the pain was forgotten and I was pleased to have had the workout. This morning I was at the gym again by 9:30AM and had another good workout and, if all goes to plan, I’ll be back there three times next week.

So, everything is just about returning to normal. I’ve not had a chance to get out birding yet, that needs to be sorted out soon, and I also need to start and look for one or two bands to go and see. Other than that, it’s business as usual!

02 January 2007

The Woodland Trust

Like most of us, I enjoy sending and receiving Christmas cards, and birthday cards and pretty well any cards! They kind of make you feel wanted or special or remembered don’t they!

Well, when they all have to come down off the fireplace, the wall, the Christmas tree or wherever you stick yours... DON’T THROW THEM AWAY!

That card with the fat Santa on it or the cute little bear or the snow-covered church was once a tree and you can help turn it back into one!

Just click on the banner below to find out how you can do your little bit to help plant a tree!

01 January 2007


Well, that’s another year over and another just starting. At least the weather at the end of 2006 didn’t continue into today - this morning dawned dry and bight with a clear blue sky, the wind was still blowing somewhat but not half as strong as last night.

After a quick breakfast, we were out of the door at 9:30AM and setting off on our first walk of the year, a repeat of the one we did last New Year’s Day. We walked from home to Elvaston Castle, around the lake, pausing to feed the ducks and geese, then on towards Borrowash where we joined the river path back towards Derby. We followed the river all the way back to Alvaston Park, stopping again to feed more ducks, geese and swans, before heading back for home.

The weather all morning had been great but as we headed away from the edge of Pride Park we could see clouds starting to build over Derby. Before we had walked much more than half a mile the rain started! Luckily it didn’t last too long and wasn’t very heavy so we didn’t get too wet - the rain did give us a great rainbow over the city though. We arrived back home at 1:00PM, more than ready for lunch!

Tomorrow it’s back to work and, with no holidays booked yet, the prospect of a long, cold and wet, winter ahead! Maybe I’ll just hibernate!

Lynda, with "friends", at Elvaston Castle.

Aren't birds great?

River Derwent - very fast flowing after all the recent rain.

Err, right! We didn't plan on swimming anyway!

"Look, another bag of bread everyone!"

"Feed me!"

So gentle - when they want to be!