Tuesday, 27 April 2010

By the Way.....

The pictures on the "Bedford Steels" Tower:

Showing red hot steel bars passing through our rolling mill were taken by - Guess who? - Correct! Me! They "blew up" to a metre square quite nicely and there are more on the other side of the tower.

I was dead chuffed that the stand designer thought they were good enough to be used like this!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Busy weekend

With our son Mark arriving from Rotterdam on Friday morning, it's been a busy weekend! Tell you more later but here's a taster .....

Belper Town won their last game of the season - nice photos to be found at:

and then there's my effort at:

And whilst on the subject of pics - here's a couple from the Bauma 2010 show I attended last week:
Our booth at the show (P&V and Bedford Steels)

On the way back, we stayed at the Red Horse (Cheval Rouge) near Metz in France....

Listen carefully, I shall show these only once......

Sign outside my bedroom window

The Red 'Orse

The square at Sainte-Menehould, from my room window
 (but couldn't see Rene Artois!)

Anyway - lunchtime over - back to work - more follows when I get a chance - or, rather,  IF I get a chance!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Back to Reality

Been a hectic but, on the whole, enjoyable week.

Sunday morning - 6:00 a.m., I and a colleague from our American headquarters were collected from the Park Hotel, Sheffield and after a quick scoot down the M1, we met up with another colleague at Leicester Forest East Services to form a 2-car convoy to Munich.

We had planned to fly but the Icelandic volcano made a 'ash of that! (Geddit? - made a 'ash of that? Oh never mind..... if I gotta explain it...)

Anyway - we stayed over Sunday night at a nice hotel in the Metz area - at a little place called Saint Avold. (Campanile - General Patton Way - very good hotel!)

Monday morning - 8:00 start and we arrived at the hotel in Munich about 1 pm. Quick shower and change then catch the "underground" out to the Messe (Exhibition Hall) for the Bauma 2010 show. Learned late in the evening that Belper Town Reserves had won their Cup Final - and I missed it... Grrrrr!

Tuesday - full day at the show (9:00 am to 6:30 pm) then back to the hotel and out for dinner at a restaurant almost next door where we watched the Inter v Barca game whilst eating dinner. (I was more concerned about finding news of the biggest game that night - Belper Town Cup Final v Matlock at Pride Park, Derby which I was, of course, missing! Sadly, Belper lost!)

Wednesday morning back at the show until about 2 pm when Chris (a colleague from our sister company) and I set off back to England. Again, we broke the journey this time staying at a small hotel "Le Cheval Rouge" (The Red Horse!) near Reims. The view from my window over the town square reminded me of 'Allo, 'Allo!

Anyway - Thursday morning - up at 6:15 to hit the road for 7:30 and head for Calais.

We caught the noon shuttle and then tackled that wonderful M25/M1 motorway drive. No comparison with the French motorways!!

Made it home late afternoon and went to the local carvery for dinner. Crashed into bed about 9:30 pm cos I was absolutely knackered. The round trip covered 1750 miles in all - in less than a week.

I didn't take a camera - which is highly unusual for me but I've taken some shots on my Blackberry and I'll share them as soon as I can figure how to get them on to my PC!

Today - picked up my son from East Midlands Airport. His aborted trip last week was rescheduled for this week - and you're now up to date.

By the way - if you ever need to use the shuttle - buy a "Flexiplus" ticket if possible! It's a bit more expensive but it allows you get priority boarding and access to the Flexiplus Lounge, where they provide you with a sandwich, crisps, bar of chocalate, a bun and coffee and a soft drink for you to either eat there or take on the train and enjoy whilst you're being transported under the Channel. There's fruit and allsorts of other stuff on offer too! I was very impressed!

Right - going to see if I can figure out the pictures - back in a while.....

Friday, 16 April 2010

..and better...

It's been decided that another guy will join us so we'll take two cars and have a convoy!

"Ah, breaker one-nine, this here's the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c'mon? Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure. By golly, it's clean clear to Flag Town, c'mon. Yeah, that's a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy... "

And - it just gets better..

Now having to reorganise my trip cos it looks increasingly likely that we won't fly Monday morning. Spoke to my boss - who is halfway across France, driving to Munich and we're now trying to arrange to drive through the tunnel on Sunday - lay up somewhere far side of France Sunday night and continue to Munich Monday morning.

A colleague from Derby would collect me (cos my car wouldn't last 860 miles) and our American visitor around 6 on Sunday morning and then we drive,drive,drive. Oh Joy!

Waiting now for NATS update due at 8:30 pm before cancelling hotels, flights, booking tunnel etc etc.

Life just gets more hassle-free with every day that passes.....

My week (Ups and Downs as Smiffy says - see Six Tame Sides)

Monday - drop car at our sister company at Dronfield. Thought the clutch may be about to give up the ghost. That had been arranged on Friday afternoon but when I came to move the car on Sunday evening - found I also had a puncture! Anyway the beauty of running a company car is that you can just ask someone "Sort that out for me please?" and it gets sorted.

Went back to Dronfield in the afternoon to take some pictures of drill rods (don't ask) for inclusion on the new website which is about to be launched. Not a total success but my excuse is conditions were less than perfect!

Tuesday - Collected car on the way home from work. Diagnostics computer at the garage showed a coolant sensor was knackered so this apparently confuses the engine, causing it to over rev, lose power, or not tick over properly. A common fault on VW Boras apparently.

Wednesday - highlight of the week!! After a 4th visit to Dronfield (a meeting this time) I picked up the Duchess and we shot off down to Quorn FC for the Unibond President's Cup Final - Belper Town v Stamford.

It was a good game, made all the better by the fact that Belper won 3-1 and lifted the trophy (and just as importantly, a cheque for £1,000!) Quorn FC have a very nice facility and it was an extremely enjoyable "match day experience." I didn't take the camera but look at Tim Harrisons photos here for a flavour of the game:


There's also an excellent match report on the Belper Town website - see link on the right.

The result also means that the Belper Management team of Andy Carney and Danny Hudson have won silverware in every full season they have been in charge. Derbyshire Senior Cup in the 1st season, League runners-up in the 2nd and now Presidents Cup in the 3rd. And there's another cup final on Tuesday for the 1st team, this time against Matlock. A proper derby game this one and it will be staged at the home of Derby County FC - Pride Park. A big occasion!

Thursday - back "down" again with news that my son's plan to fly back to the UK for a few days was scuppered by the Icelandic Volcano. As some bloke said on Look North last night - "Well, the Icelanders screwed up our banks now they screwed up our holidays but what can you do?"

Friday - Son's flight rescheduled for today was cancelled again - although to be fair, it was shown as cancelled on the EMA web site at 8 pm Thursday evening! I got to work early - got lots to do cos it's gone absolutely crackers again. We're as busy as we've been in months and the paperwork mountain seems to grow by the hour. Also had lotsa stuff to sort before I disappear to Germany on Monday for 3 days (volcanic ash permitting of course.) I am attending the Bauma 2010 show in Munich and will be helping to "man" the stand shared by our company and our sister company.

I fly back Wednesday afternoon but this means I will miss Belper Reserves Cup Final on Monday and the 1st Team's Cup Final on Tuesday.... I know it's wrong but I'm praying for another volcanic eruption!

Tell you what tho - there's some really, really nice folk involved with Belper Town FC. Since I'll be away, the Duchess was going to have to miss the Pride Park visit because she was unsure about driving to a place she's never been before and then driving back home to Sheffield. At the game on Wednesday, Mick (Belper right back) Harcourt's parents, Ian and Deni, got to hear about this and immediately offered to collect her from Nortoner Towers and deliver her back here after the match. They live in Chesterfield so will have to head north to Sheffield then back south to Derby but they insist it's no bother. I think that's really nice and can't thank them enough! (Jealous to death that the Duchess will see it and I won't but what can you do!?)

Tomorrow - since our lad's visit is cancelled, we're thinking of going down to Belper to watch the Reserves in league action. We'll see if we can get the Duchess' Pride Park ticket whilst we're there.  If the weather is kind, might even stop at Bakewell for fish & chips!!

Then Sunday - pack and get ready for 5 pm when I have to collect one of our American colleagues who is staying at the Park Hotel, just aroud the corner from Nortoner Towers. He flew in from Arkansas on Wednesday - just beating the ash - and we'll travel down to Birmingham airport Sunday evening. Overnight stay then hopefully a 7 a.m. flight to Munich.

I might get a chance to post again but we'll see. It's strange but when I see the week summarised like this - it seems to have been less hectic than it actually has. Believe me - I've worked my socks off this week and I'm knackered!!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

A good weekend of footy!

We decided at the last minute on Saturday to go to Mansfield to watch Belper Town Reserves play at Forest Town. The thinking was that the 1st team were at Carlton and since that is one of Belper's bogey grounds (we never get anything there), and Mansfield is a lot nearer Nortoner Towers, and it was getting on for 1:30 pm, we'd go watch the ressies.

The journey (which the sat nav says is 37 minutes), took over an hour and a quarter! We got stuck in a 2.1/2 mile queue on the A617 heading to cross the M1 at Junction 29 and when that cleared, we were held up for a good half hour whilst police recovered 2 cars after a bad smash in Forest Town itself. It was a mess - a BMW had hit a Fiesta side-on at a set of "filtered" traffic lights so it seemed one or the other had jumped the lights.

Anyway - in glorious sunshine, we watched Belper Town Reserves cruise to a 5-0 win over 3rd from bottom Forest Town. It was a perfect day for "snapping" so there's a bigger than usual album here:

One of my better efforts! I'm quite pleased with this one.

After the match we heard the 1st team had actually won 4-2 at Carlton and with other results helping, they are back in the last play off spot. Played more games than anyone else tho but I'd rather have points on the board than  games in hand.

Saturday evening - Barca beat Real Madrid 2-0 and although not a classic by any means, it's always worth watching when Messi steps onto the pitch.

I've been out in the garden all afternoon - the lawnmower had it's first outing of the season - then came inside to watch extra time in the Portsmouth v Spurs FA Cup semi-final. Pompey won 2-0 and to say Harry Redknapp looked miffed would be an understatement!!

Roast Beef and Yorkshire pud for tea - and you're up to date! 

Sundays are sometimes a mixed blessing - good to have a sunny day and a choice of whether to work or play but they are a damn sight too close to Monday morning for me! Now that would be less of a problem if we'd won the Lotto on Saturday night but we didn't - again - so we'll see what next week brings.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Browsing my pictures.

I decided to show you some of my favourites from the files on my PC.

Please look and (hopefully) enjoy but also remember  please - they are all copyrighted so no nicking them or I'll be after yer!

and any comments would be appreciated (Not just nice ones - if you think they're rubbish say so! I'll send the boys round with the knee-capping gear but that doesn't mean you're not entitled to your opinion!!)

Friday, 9 April 2010

There's an election on...

.....and I've just heard the lunchtime news as I ate my sandwich.

Is anyone as depressed as I am at the "Presidential" choices we find ourselves faced with?

Gordon (Vote for me or I'll spit the dummy so fkn far you'll NEVER find it.) Brown
Even if he does get voted back in you just know he'll make our lives hell for having the nerve to require an election in the first place. You know he'll just do WTF he likes and claim a public mandate.

David (I'm down with the kids - provided they aren't those council estate type oiks) Cameron.
Our nation being represented at stuff like the G8 summit talks really would be like sending one of the Famous Five to negotiate our best deal - only happens after pop and crisps have been consumed and we've given that bully Brown a damn good thrashing.

Nick (No! Really! I'm not kidding! It's true - I AM the Lib Dems leader!) Clegg.
Nonentity describes him perfectly. If it wasn't for the fact he has a strong backer in Vince Cable, he would simply evaporate into the ether.

BNP, UKIP, Greens, blah blah...

It's frightening that I find myself agreeing with a lady interviewed on the street today  - "What's the point - they're all in it for the money and the power. Why bother voting at all because whatever the general public declares it wants, the government will do as it likes anyway."

A scary point but an almost credible one and now I am REALLY pissed off! Thank God the weekend starts here.

A very stressful few days...

..but the major cause is recorded somewhere a little less public!

Wednesday evening - Belper Town Reserves v Carlton Reserves in a cup semi final. Sadly Belper lost 1 - 3 and even more sadly, I had another "mare" with the camera. My less than satisfactory record of the game can be found here:

Today it's "early closing" at work then the Duchess has to go to hospital for an X-Ray on the hip that's been causing her problems. Doc's diagnosis is incomplete although it's reckoned there's some fluid on the Duchess' knee and that might be contributing to the hip/ankle problems (making her "walk funny" and distressing the hip.)

After that - "by ear". May go to Meadowhall or the chippy for "tea" we'll see.

As for the weekend - the forecast isn't too bad and both Belper 1st team and reserves are away. If we decide not to travel, there's always the garden...... (I heard the 3rd lawnmower of spring yesterday!)

Fill you in on the details later.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Late - but here are the pics from Monday's game......

click on the link.....

Poor result and a 2nd defeat in two games may well have put paid to play-off hopes. We'll see. Don't they say that it's not over until the fat lady sings? Well - I reckon she might be practising her scales.

Tonight it's back to The Meadow to watch Belper Town Reserves in a cup semi-final. They are a good side and well worth watching. Top of the league by some 6 points and now the semi. Looking forward to it. I'm taking the camera so hopefully there'l be some pics for you to look at.

I'll be back!
(Gotta go now  lunchtime is over so it's back to work.)

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Should have been gardening....

... and to be fair, I did a little bit of "weed-killing" but since it's so early in the season, I didn't want to overstretch myself you understand.

I restocked the various bird feeders around the garden and was almost immediately rewarded by a visit from this fella:

A Great Spotted Woodpecker. We've had visits regularly throughout the winter from a couple of these birds. Handsome looking chap but I'm not sure why they're called "Great Spotted". No spots as such that I can see.

Anyway - point of info (or interest - but then again, you may not be interested.) The metal piece at the top of the feeders is a squirrel deterent. If a tree rat tries to slide down the feeder to get at the food, its weight slides the metal sheath down and covers the food! Works a treat!!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Not a great weekend so far.....

I worked on Good Friday (well - I was AT work) which meant we couldn't go to Grantham v Belper yesterday afternoon. Probably just as well. Belper lost 4-2, Ant Wilson was sent off for violent conduct (so his season is probably over) and Tim Harrisons pics:

show the absolutely appalling weather conditions.

After the supermarket run this morning, Saturday has been spent sorting through the 22,000-odd photos on my PC (well - I have been taking pictures for 35 years so that doesn't seem an unreasonable number does it?) Weather can't seem to make it's mind up - sunny one minute then threatening heavy rain next minute.

Listening to Sheffield Wednesday at QPR on Radio Sheffield. Losing 1-0 and looking like we'll never score apparently.

Not a lot else happening - Oh Yeah - I went for a pre-operation assessment at the Hallamshire Hospital on Thursday. They are now to decide when they want me in to shift this kidney stone. The assessment lasted almost 3 hours and they took blood samples, urine samples, MRSA swabs, blood pressure and I was weighed and had an ECG.

I came home with about 5 separate brochures which explain rules for hospital visitors (cos I might be in overnight), spinal anaesthetics, what a stent is (basically, a temporary drainage tube, fitted after the op), info of the Theatre Admissions Unit, info on reducing infection risk.. all information which must now be given to patients "just in case" as the staff nurse put it!

Anyway - I'll leave you with a photo..... one of the 22,000 I particularly like...

And Wednesday have just equalised..... and the sun is out!