26 March 2007

A nice start to the week...

So, the week has started rather well, and yes, I am surprised by that!

This morning dawned dry, bright and sunny so I used the bike to go into work. I stopped off at Alvaston Park on the way, to feed the ducks, swans and geese - it’s always a nice way to start the working day!

By 8:30am all thoughts of an easy day had gone out of the window - we had no internet access and no way of getting any invoices etc downloaded! Oh well, not my problem, leave it to the boss! I had a coffee, a walk out onto the sales forecourt and enjoyed the sun for a while! After that, I carried on with whatever I could and let the whole thing wash over me. Today, I was chilling!

The second chill out session of the day started at 11:20am. Lynda had phoned me not long after I arrived at work to tell me that the new Airbus A380 was due to do a fly-past over the Rolls Royce engine works, here in Derby, today at around 11:30am. After standing outside with some of the other staff at work for a short while, we suddenly heard the sound of jet engines. Boy, that A380 is one BIG plane!

The first fly-past saw the plane turn away from us around a mile or so in the distance and we didn’t get too good a view through the hazy cloud. The second pass saw the A380 come straight over us at about 2000ft before banking steeply and quickly climbing up out of view. The plane was in a plain white livery, with no airline logos or wording at all, and it made the airbus look almost ghost-like in the hazy blue and white sky.

The rest of the day passed without too much trauma; the internet is sort of working, the sun came out even more and nobody was too stressed out by the issues caused by the errors in the new computer programmes. The ride home - along the long route - was very pleasant with the birds singing away as though there wasn't a care in the world!

Tomorrow, is another day though…

Photos from "This Is Derbyshire", the Derby Evening Telegraph web site.

25 March 2007

Nothing much going on at the moment so this will be a very brief Blog! Yes, I can be brief!

We’ve been having an updated computer programme installed at work over the past week… it’s all going wrong! This coming week could well be rather interesting, even if it is only to see who gets involved in the biggest arguments!

After the slight glitch with my new glasses last week I now have them safely in my possession; so it’s out with the Giorgio Armani and in with the Dolce & Gabbana! Ooh, name dropper! I am rather pleased with them though - just so long as they last as well as the old ones did!

Today, I spent a fair amount of the day out in the garden; I mowed the lawns, then rolled them, dug the flower boarders over and gave the mountain bike a bit of a clean. The weather first thing wasn’t too clever - cloudy, dull and rather cool - but by early afternoon it felt quite warm and turned into a rather nice day.

So, that just about covers things. Told you I can be brief!

24 March 2007

Derby Cathedral Peregrines

I’ve just been watching a video clip of the Derby Cathedral Peregrines and I must say that I found it just a little bit funny!

It shows the male arriving at the nest platform with a small amount of food, and then the female arrives and steals his dinner!

The look on the poor little male birds face is priceless!

For more updates on the Peregrines check out….

18 March 2007

A long story, not cut short!

It has been a busy few days with quite a lot happening but I will try to condense it down into as short a Blog as I can!

Friday… Lynda and I went into Derby to pick up our new glasses. We spent ages getting them “fitted” - I thought they were going to chop off one of my ears and re-fix it lower down my head at one point! - only to discover a fault in one of the lenses on my pair when I got home! The glasses have now gone back!

We drove up to Rowarth in the afternoon for The Silver Dogs gig. We didn’t get to have a walk up on the moors due to the weather, it rained! Finding the Little Mill Inn proved to be just as hard as I had imagined - we missed at least two turnings off the main road, and then finished up having to reverse down a single-track dead end road! Finding the inn was not only a relief but also a pleasure. It’s a great pub, in a great location and serves some very good food. It was worth the drive out just for that.

The Little Mill Inn, Rowarth.

You can stay the night, in an old Pullman railway coach!

The working water wheel next to the inn.

The Silver Dogs gig was excellent; this band need to be playing much bigger venues to much larger audiences. We sat chatting to our old friend Mark “The Madfiddler” Knight for a while before the band played and also got to know the rest of the band members a little - a good bunch of people they are too. As for Mark, he is still as mad as a hatter! He went walkabout at one point during the set and finished up out on the road playing his fiddle. Luckily, Mark still uses a radio mic setup on stage so, even though the crowd lost sight of him, we could still hear him play! Great stuff!

Mark (The Madfiddler) Knight!

The Silver Dogs!

The Madfiddler!

Saturday… Not surprisingly, we had a rather late start to the day, well it was around 2:30AM when we got to bed! I think it was somewhere around 11:30AM when we finally surfaced! I spent what was left of the morning, and some of the early afternoon, sorting through the photos I had taken the night before whilst Lynda went into Derby to do a bit of shopping and to take my glasses back.

After watching some of the rugby on TV - I fell asleep through most of it - it was time to head off to The Flowerpot, venue for the second gig of the weekend. This time it was Thee na Shee we were off to see. This was another new band to me although a couple of the band members were people I knew from other bands; Mick Doyle also plays with Neverland; John Adams plays with The Rattlers.

As it was St. Patrick’s Day The Flowerpot was packed out for this gig; everyone was in party mood and the place was really buzzing. The atmosphere was helped even more by the fact that quite a few of Mick’s family and friends were over from Ireland for the gig. The evening kicked off with a couple of Mick’s family or friends (I can’t remember which) playing for around ¾ of an hour as a warm up. They played a great set of traditional Irish music and really got everyone in the mood for the rest of the evening.

As for Thee na Shee; it’s something like 11 years since they last played regularly, apart from one comeback gig last year, but it didn’t show at all, they played a superb set. There was everything from slow, haunting, tracks featuring Celtic Harp to full-blown Celtic rock n’ roll. With luck, this band will now start and play a few more live gigs again and I’ll be there as and when they do.

Robin Launder - Thee na Shee

Robin Launder and Mick Doyle - Thee na Shee

Jeff Davenport - Thee na Shee

Sunday… A day of rest! We went up to see my mum this morning to take her Mothers Day card and present. On the way back I called in at PC World and purchased a new anti-virus programme for the PC. We then came home, had lunch, watched some TV and I fell asleep! I did wake up in time to watch the F1 Grand Prix re-run though. Not a bad race I suppose but I missed Schumacher! And, if you watched the race… What on earth was David Coulthard doing? I’m sure there must be something in the rules about trying to decapitate the opposition using your own car!

So, that’s the weekend covered - trying to condense it didn’t work too well, did it?

More photos from The Little Mill Inn gig HERE!

More photos from The Flowerpot gig HERE!

15 March 2007

Okay, I know it’s just a little bit early but…


I had to post that now because we are going to be a little bit busy over the next couple of days! Tomorrow Lynda and I are off work and have quite a bit to do one way or another. In the morning, we are both going to be picking up new glasses, doing a little bit of shopping in Derby, then heading off into the wilds of north Derbyshire for a gig. We are off to see The Silver Dogs play at the Little Mill Inn at Rowarth, near Glossop.

If the weather isn’t too bad then I hope to be able to take in a bit of a walk up on the moors… if the weather doesn’t play ball, we’ll just have to spend more time in the pub! Either way I’ll try and get photos of something!

On Saturday, after what I imagine will be a late start to the day, we have another gig, Thee na Shee at The Flowerpot in Derby. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long while now and, with it being St. Patrick’s Night, I’m sure it’s going to be a bit of a party!

* edited photo courtesy of my friend Sarah, in Indiana!

13 March 2007


Last night we had a little taste of the future…

July 1 2007 sees the introduction of the ban on smoking in all enclosed public places in England and, after visiting the Bulls Head in Denby last night, it cannot come soon enough! Since the Bulls Head re-opened a week ago, after a massive fire last year, it has become a no smoking pub and it is great! To be able to go out, enjoy a meal, a drink, and not go home smelling of stale cigarette smoke was, quite literally, a refreshing change!

As for the rest of the evening, it was superb - great food, plenty of it, friendly and efficient service and a very relaxing feel to the place with an excellent job having been done of the refit. There was also live music in the bar area from a three-piece jazz group playing bass and lead guitar and clarinet. I wasn’t too sure about the music when we first walked in - not my usual style! - but, I have to admit it did add to the evening and I actually enjoyed it in the end. I’m NOT converted though!

Just for the record we ate…

Golden Breaded Mushrooms - Lynda
Parcels of Brie Cheese with Mango - for me

Main Course
Chicken Napolean - Lynda
Chicken Jalfrazi - for me

Crunchie Bailey Boo - one each!

11 March 2007

The weekend.

My morning at work yesterday was nice and easy - I spent most of it cleaning the fish tank in the showroom! Apart from that, there was little else to do. I did sort out one or two orders ready for Monday and also ran off a couple of reports but that’s about all.

Today I have been out birding again with Paul; we stayed local again, very local for me, and spent a pleasant four hours in and around the grounds of Elvaston Castle. We didn’t come across anything too exciting but even so, it was nice to be out and about in the sunshine.

The highlights, such as they were, included numerous drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, at least 6 Jay, 3 or 4 Goldcrest, a pair of Bullfinch and a singing Chiffchaff. This little Chiffchaff may not have been the most colourful of things but to me it meant the start of spring! I always think that we are finally over winter when the first summer migrants arrive back. One other bird that would have been a highlight, if we could have found it, was a Tawny Owl. On two separate occasions we heard the owl calling close to us but we failed to see it!

I didn’t try for any bird photos whilst we were out, I played around with one or two different camera angles instead. I didn’t take too many photos but these are some of the better ones.

One last little bit of “news”… Lynda and I are off up to Scotland again later in the year. We will be going back to the Loch Lomond area, in July, for the music festival and the Callander World Highland Games.

07 March 2007

Age; it’s just a number!

So, just when do little boys grown up and become men?

On the way into work this morning - on the mountain bike - I came across a minor problem, the track alongside the river was flooded underneath one of the road bridges. It wasn’t too deep, around a foot or so of water I guess, but it was just enough for it to come up onto my shoes as I rode through it.

Now, on the way to work I took it very slowly and managed to get through without getting wet apart from a little water on my shoes, which didn’t come through. Tonight, I could quite easily have taken the much sorter and drier route home - oh no, that wouldn’t have been half as much fun!

By the time I reached the “water splash” a fair amount of it had drained away which meant that it was now much easier to ride through quickly! Yep, I got wet! Even though I still have the winter mudguards on the bike, I still managed to get mud and water right up my back, over my rucksack and all over the bike! I also had quite a large smile on my face!

Boys, they NEVER grow up!

04 March 2007

Yet more rain...

Here’s a thing… listen to the weather reports but DO NOT trust them!

According to three websites, and a weather forecast on the TV, it was not going to rain here until early afternoon today. Well, to me, early afternoon is not 11:00AM!

Even though I am still close to death from the attack of Man Flu, I kept my promise to Paul that we would go out birding this morning. We met at 8:00AM in the car park at Carsington Water and had a good run of luck with the birds we found for the first three hours, and then it rained! In true Carsington style, we were just about as far from the car as we could have been when the heavens opened - as is always the case when it rains up there! By 11:30AM, we were heading for home, very wet!

We did have a few rather good birds though… Tawny Owl was one of the first things we came across, followed later in the morning by Barn Owl and also Great Northern Diver (Common Loon, for my friends in America), numerous Bullfinch, a few Redwing, a single Curlew (heading for breeding grounds up on the moors I’d guess), around 20 Ruddy Duck and four very noisy Oystercatchers! Why do those things have to be so damn loud???

In the end, apart from getting a good soaking, it wasn’t too bad a morning. The plan is to make local trips like this one a regular thing so, Ali, expect Paul to be running off on Sunday mornings a little more often from now on!

A couple of little extra bits from yesterday… as well as getting my new printer/scanner whilst in Derby we also picked up tickets to see Thee na Shee at The Flowerpot on St. Patrick’s night, March 17. This is the evening after we will have seen The Silver Dogs play so it’s another two-gig weekend! Things are starting to come together nicely on the music front.

As we walked across Derby market place yesterday we were met by around a dozen Autograss cars - the Pennine club were holding a PR day to promote the forthcoming season. It was nice to catch up with a few people that I had not seen since last season finished and to see some race cars again -it’s been a long winter!

A brand new, rear engined, Class 7 from the Pennine club.

Don’t worry, I don’t take my camera with me when I go shopping - these were taken on my phone!

Lunar Eclipse…

Last night we witnessed a total lunar eclipse - and pretty damn good it was too!

For once, the British weather played along with us and didn’t spoil the occasion at all, well, not too much! It could have been 10 or 15 degrees warmer but hey, you can’t have everything!

I tried to get as many good photos as I could - taken through my birding ‘scope - but the more the shadow covered the moon, the harder it got to get my camera to focus. Below are some of the better shots - not great shots, just better than the real bad ones! If you click on a photo, it will open into a bigger window.









Want to know more about lunar eclipses, and also when the next one will be visible to you, then click HERE!

03 March 2007

A new toy!

Evening! Just a quick post to try out a new toy!

I was off work today and, seeing as how I’m feeling a bit down due to the Man Flu, I decided to treat myself to a new toy - an all in one printer/scanner/copier for the PC.

I have been wanting to scan a load of old photos and birding notes for some while, so, now I can, and it didn’t even cost me a penny as I had a bunch of Argos shopping vouchers to use from work!

So, here is my first scanned and uploaded photo…

Yes, that is me sat on the side of the car! Its back in either 1977 or ‘78 at the old Flagg Moor grass track. My dad is the one driving the car and it had been a great day's racing. We had won all of our heats, the final and also an all-comers race, which saw us given a full lap's handicap from the start - it still wasn’t enough to stop my dad winning!

Right, I must run as we are in the middle of watching the total lunar eclipse!

01 March 2007

Today, I can confirm that I have been hit by that most deadly of viruses - MAN FLU! Quite how I managed to get through the night I will never know, but I did and I soldiered on through the day at work.

I have just about lived on Lemsip and orange juice today but I must admit that the 12-inch “dustbin lid” sandwich that Lynda delivered to work for me this lunchtime did help! Ham salad with chicken and stuffing - it was great!

Lynda and I both booked March 16 off work today, so we will be going to see The Silver Dogs play at The Little Mill Inn. Having the day off work means that we will be able to head up to north Derbyshire during the morning and spend the day having a look around before the gig.