Friday, 30 December 2011


That's the sound of the last week and a bit flying by!! So - here's a catch up.

As reported in the last entry - I went to Sheffield to complete my Christmas shopping and it nearly worked. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday basically confirmed how poor the facilities are in the centre of my home town. A couple of years ago, a grandiose plan to rebuild one of  the main shopping areas was unveiled. Going by the name of Sevenstone, the idea was to demolish just about everything around The Moor and relocate the main markets to the bottom of The Moor.

Compulsory Purchase Orders were set up and everything from about halfway down, on the left hand side, was demolished. Then the recession hit. Plans were shelved until quite recently when a revised and reduced plan was accepted by the Council Planners. I believe building starts in 2013 but The Moor has gone from a bustling, busy shopping centre to a selection of "bargain" stores and it was announced a couple of weeks ago that Argos, Jonathan James (shoes) and LJ Jewellers are closing, leaving at least three more shop windows which will be filled with artistic displays mounted by local students and charitable organisations. (You can't buy anything in these "ghost stores" but the Council reckon it's better than having empty windows with "To Let" boards.)

Anyway - Chesterfield came to the rescue. I've said before that it is way better than Sheffield!

A relaxed Christmas came and went - nice pressies as ever but the nicest bit was the fact that we shared it with our son and daughter in law.

On Boxing Day, Belper Town played Sheffield FC and although I invited our son and his wife to come down to the Meadows, they suddenly remembered an "urgent appointment" and had to decline. Unfortunately, Belper were beaten 3-1 but the score doesn't truly reflect the game. Having taken the lead in the first half, Belper let Sheffield back in through a couple of defensive errors. In the closing moments, Belper hit the post and had another effort cleared off the line. I put the camera away before the end and missed the third goal but Tim Harrison did it again. Here's his excellent album:

Tuesday morning, Mark and D set off back to Rotterdam because they had an appointment on Wednesday morning to sign the papers for the new apartment they are about to move into.

We decided to try to cheer ourselves up by walking down through "The Ravine", a footpath through part of Graves Park to the local shopping  centre at Woodseats. It was cold, but dry (and best of all, downhill all then way!) and I took a few shots.

Fungal growth on a fallen tree

 Sure it's late December??!!

After another fruitless search for a bathroom floor covering we both liked at a local store, (Pyramid Carpets), we caught the bus back up the hill for a cuppa and feet up!

Another good afternoon on Wednesday. We drove out to Blacktoft Sands, an RSPB reserve near Goole. It was blowing an absolute gale so we didn't see much apart from a couple of swans out on the open water. The waves were like the North Sea! However, we were treated to the delightful sight of Marsh Harriers riding the wind over the reedbeds. A first for us but even though I had the big lens at full extension, they were just a little too far away to get a really decent shot. Here's the best of the day:

Marsh Harrier

Beautifully marked Pheasant skulking in the grass by the hide

Lapwings battling the wind

Bobbing up and down like this!!

Lovely old church over the other side of the Reserve.

One of the best things about the day was the fact that when we got back to the car, windswept but relaxed, enjoying a cuppa, it started to rain! Not often we get that lucky. Usually, the rain hits when we're "between cover!"

Fish and Chip supper rounded off a smashing day.

Thursday - because of the awful weather, we never strayed further than Sainsbury's for bread and milk, until early evening when we went to the Bowshaw Carvery for dinner.

Friday - Sheffield Market first thing, supermarket done before lunch and like a fool, whilst the Duchess was battling through Morrisons, I put the car through the car wash which is why, 10 minutes after we arrived home, it started raining and it really ain't stopped since!

That's where we are now. The next football event is Ilkeston v Belper on Monday. Last day before back to work on Tuesday.

As I said at the start of this novelette - where'd it go??!!

Finally, if I don't get a chance before tomorrow night - just hope anyone who has taken the time to read this has a really good 2012. "Happy New Year!"

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Baubles to the Lot of Yer!!!!

The tree is up thanks to The Duchess - and it looks really good! All her own work of course. My sole contribution is to fetch the stuff down from the loft!

It's starting to feel like Christmas. (Isn't there a song in there somewhere?) Work is done until 3rd Jan, the tree and trimmings are up, the turkey is ordered and I am panicking about Christmas pressies!

Thats not strictly true actually. I've got a few bits and pieces already for the Duchess and I'll pick up her main present tomorrow. (Reserved it online just now!) At least she'll have some parcels to open on Christmas Day so some of the pressure is off!

 Tomorrow my son and I are invited to share a buffet lunch at our divisional headquarters (my son designed our company websites, had a hand in some of the office refurbishment they've recently had done and he's now working on one of their product catalogues.) He needs to meet with my boss to fine tune a couple of things and after lunch, I'll be back "down Sheffield" to do stage 2 of the shopping. (Next year - I'm gonna have it all done by the end of October. Mind - I said that last year and the year before....)

Right - next instalment follows ASAP but for now...

Joyeux Noel mes amis!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Back by Popular Demand.....

...Well, that's not strictly true.... it's really because my reader - Snapper Harrison - keeps nagging at me to update the blog!

It's a real bits and pieces effort this time (stuff as I think of it basically!) but here goes..

Had a long weekend a bit ago - think I mentioned it - and me and The Duchess went down to Sheffield market on the Friday. After getting the meat for the weekend, we decided to have a sandwich and a cuppa at one of the very good stalls in the meat and fish market. Bacon and egg sarnie and a cuppa - can't beat it. As we waited for the food, I spotted this notice in the corner of the table.... made me giggle!

Someone obviously spotted the second letter is a 'U' and not and 'O' but that just makes the rest of the mis-spelling even funnier!

During the last week or so we've also spent a couple of hours looking around the shops for Christmas pressies. Now, my son's brother in law is a "push bike fanatic." Tamas is Hungarian, married to a Dutch girl and with an English brother in law (our son of course!) Proper United Nations job when they have a family dinner!

I digress. Tamas also has a collection of old bicycles, including folding bikes, and when in a store called "Stone The Crows" in Sheffield, we saw these which we thought might interest him:

Pics aren't the sharpest - taken on my iPhone and with an unsteady hand but the models in the upper picture actually work with moving pedals and a chain driven rear wheel. (Snapper might like these an all come to think!)

Other stuff - well - footy and Belper actually won a game last Saturday! OK, Shepshed Dynamo were next to bottom of the league but the "Current Form" charts showed they were two places ahead of us over the last 6 games. It was a reasonably comfortable 3-1 win in the end but for me, the encouraging fact is that although Belper had gone ahead then allowed Shepshed back into it, the lads knuckled down, got stuck in and two Jon Froggat goals sorted it out. Jon's first goals in a while and hopefully, that will set him off on a "scoring run."

My pics from the game aren't edited and sorted yet but as ever - 'Arrison Strikes Again! - see here for a very good view of the action.

Oh Aye - and while we're talking football, Belper went out of the Derbyshire Senior Cup on the previous Tuesday. Lost 9-3 which sounds awful until you know that there were several first team members in the Derby side and to score 3 against them is something to be proud of - and by all accounts the Belper lads gave as good as they got! Snapper was there too of course:

Finally on tne footy front - did anyone see the tweet that has been circulating recently.....

Ronaldo sez "God sent me to show people how to play football."

Messi sez "I didn't send anybody."

So - aside from the ramblings above, the very best part of the last few days is the safe arrival of our son and daughter in law who have come over from their home in Rotterdam to join us for Christmas. Great to see them of course but as ever, they have a busy schedule because a part of the trip involves Mark visiting clients in Sheffield. And he has to catch up with his best mate whilst he's here of course and then there's the shopping!

Any road up. There ain't a lot else to tell y'all. The only excursion the camera has had was to Belper last Saturday and as I said - I'm not through editing those pictures yet. I'll maybe get some time over the next few days. I've saved some days vacation and actually finish work tomorrow night (Tuesday) until Tuesday January 3rd. Mind you - I haven't really started Christmas shopping yet so the second half of the week will be a bit hectic!!

I'll let you know how I get on!


Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Wasted Journey!

Not my Norwegian trip - that went well!

No - the Duches and I decided to make the relatively short drive (56 minutes) through the Peak Distict to New Mills to watch Belper Town yesterday. Unfortunately, just as we arrived we were told the game was off! Cancelled by the match referee about a quarter of an hour before we got there.

The pitch actually looked playable although there was deep mud and waterlogging in one goalmouth. I did also hear that the ref tried to roll a ball in the centre circle but it was so wet, it wouldn't roll. So maybe the postponement was justified but what got to me was the fact that according to the chat at the ground, the pitch was exactly the same earlier in the morning when a local ref declared it fit!

Anyway a disgruntled bus load of supporters headed back to Belper whilst the Duchess and I decided to find somewhere on the way back home to sit and look at the snow and maybe take some pictures. We eventually stopped on the A6 - just through Buxton and whilst the Duchess mashed the tea, I took a few shots. Here's about the best of them.

And finally - the Lesser Spotted Monarch Charter in flight.... 

Back to football and since my last post, Belper have lost two more games. The Kidsgrove game mentioned in the last entry resulted in a 0-2 defeat and on the following Tuesday, Belper lost again to high-flying Grantham Town - again 0-2. Snapper went to Kidsgrove and his pics are here....

.....but he didn't got to Grantham -(neither did we - I got back from Norway about 8:30 on  Tuesday evening but we wouldn't have made the trek anyway!)

Next week we meet Shepshed - one of the two teams in the "relegation zone" and one of only half a dozen or so teams below us in the league table so it's a real 6-pointer as they say! (Although I dunno why - it's still only 3 points for a win innit?!)

Anyway - the rest of my week was spent playing catch up after the trip, which as I said, was a success. Even so, I did book Friday and Monday off (9th and 12th December) so I'm currently on a long weekend. I will have to do a couple of hours work during my break but that can wait until the X Factor final is on TV tonight!

For now - that's that - Ciao bambinos!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Another "catch-up"

Been another hectic week and a bit. Here's the highlights (and lowlights as far as footy is concerned!)

Friday - The Duchess did the supermarket run in the morning and as soon as I got home (early finish) Friday afternoon, we drove out into Derbyshire - on the assumption that the clear blue sky and bright sunshine of the morning would continue into the afternoon - it didn't by the way but we still had a good afternoon.

Came back via Fox House and sat at the top of Froggatt Edge, supping a cuppa and watching a rainstorm gathering. The sunset was bright yellow and the sky very dramatic.

Think it might rain?

 This house fascinates me - think it's called White Lodge

It's up a gated track with a "Private Keep Out" notice!

Saturday - Belper Town were at home to Carlton Town. Lost 0-2 unfortunately although the scoreline isn't perhaps a true reflection of the game. Having conceded a late goal, Belper were pressing for an equaliser when Carlton scored a second on the break.

Tim Harrison's album is here:

Another excellent set. I took some and whilst they are an improvement on recent weeks, they are'nt to Tim's standard! I seem to be having lots of focusing issues lately - particularly at football matches. Anyway - we'll persevere. After all practice makes perfect doesn't it?

Monday came and went as Monday's do then on Tuesday - Belper suffered another home defeat. This time, we lost 1-2 to Sutton Coldfield. A very disappointing result and I don't know what the answer is to the clubs current poor run of form. We started slowly again - conceded an early goal again and didn't really start playing until about 60 minutes had passed. Then we snatched an equaliser but conceded a late goal - again - again!

Here's Tim's pics:

He's a great bloke and a good mate (I'd like to think) but his consistency as far as footy pics is concerned is getting very annoying!! (Only joking Tim - just jealous is all - keep up the good work!)

Today we're at Kidsgrove and the team really does need a result. The Duchess and I aren't going - I'm off to Norway for a couple of days on Sunday so most of Saturday is spent in preparation for my meetings.

Not much else to report from last week apart from Thursday when the Duchess and I met up at Meadowhall after work and went to TGI Friday for a meal. It ain't cheap but it's good grub!

Talking of grub - she's preparing a full English right now for breakfast/lunch so I'll close this and go eat.

I'm back from Norway on Tuesday evening and back in the office Wednesday so I'll report then! (Hopefully)

"Ser deg senere" ( Norwegian for "See You Later" I believe!)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Buddy Marvellous!!

Quick post to tell you about a new experience (for me anyway!)

Last night we went to Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre to see the Buddy Holly story - a musical, obviously.

Now, bear in mind that I have been to the theatre only twice in my life. Once as an "enforced" school trip (Macbeth - part of my English Literature O Level course) and once to see a pantomime (Oh yes I did!).

Never seen a musical or a play (I know - philistine!) except on telly and to be honest - I was a bit sceptical about what we might see. BUT - it was an absolutely fabulous evening. Thoroughly enjoyed it! It's only on in Sheffield for this week and it's really worth a look.

The cast are not household names and I half expected it to be a bit "Amateur Dramitics" but it was very well presented and I was surprised to see the cast actually playing the instruments. I'd half expected them to "mime" the guitar playing to backing tracks but they are all talented musicians in their own right.

Buddy Holly died in 1959 and as we left the theatre we were speculating on which of today's stars will still be having their music played in 60 years time.... not many, if any at all.

Oh - and Belper Town won away at Goole on Tuesday - 3-0 and according to the match report, deserved the win. Snapper Harrison didn't go and neither did I so there's no pictures to link. Good that the losing streak has ended but another tough game beckons on Saturday - Carlton Town at home. There'll be pictures of that one I promise you!

Finally for now - just to fetch me back down from the two "highs" detailed above, the Duchess called me to say I've got a letter from the tax man who says I owe him £309. Amazing innit. You can never seem to get a pound in front. We've just been awarded  a 3% pay rise, effective first of November and since today is pay day - that's hopefully gone in the bank - on the same day I get a bill for £309.

Better close this now - I'm at work waiting for some info to let me progress a job I'm doing - better gerron wi it then.

See yer!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ups and Downs (the downs are mainly football!)

As ever - football first.

Went to see Belper v Stamford Saturday 12th and unfortunately, Belper were edged out 2-3 in a very entertaining game. The Duchess didn't make it due to the cold she picked up from somewhere or other? Snappers pics are here:

Then, on Tuesday - another defeat - this time in the league cup against Worksop Town, although 1-3 after extra time is a bit flattering to Worksop. A dodgy extra time penalty and an offside-looking goal sealed it. I didn't bother with the camera - but Tim Harrison did - and this is a cracking set:

Unfortunately, Belper were beaten again yesterday. This time 0-3 and to be honest, this one is a little more concerning because the opposition, Market Drayton, haven't had a great season and were close to the bottom of the league. Snapper couldn't make it so there are no pics but maybe that's just as well!

That's 4 defeats on the spin now and some folk are getting a bit twitchy!

Instead of making the trip to Market Drayton, the Duchess and I caught a bus into the centre of Sheffield, then another out to one of our old stomping grounds at Fulwood. The plan was to walk down from the Forge Dam through the Porter valley and get a bus back up to Norton from "somewhere."

Anyway - in the end, we walked all the way down through Endcliffe Park and down Ecclesall Road back into Sheffield and got on a bus at the bottom of London Road. When we got home, I used Google Earth to measure how far we'd walked . It turned out to be just around 4.1/2 miles! Not bad for a couple of couch potatoes! And it does explain why my legs don't seem to want to work this morning! Enjoyed it though - but I don't think we'll repeat the feat this afternoon!

It was a really beautiful day and I got some more nice "Autumn Colours" shots. It's the first time I've used the camera since last Sunday when I messed around for an hour in the garden, looking at dew on spiders webs.

It's been a busy week at work. My right hand man has been selected for jury service and our third team member was on vacation until Wednesday morning. She's back now of course but our juror colleague has been selected to hear a murder trial which will probably last for 2 weeks or so!

Anyway - there's not a lot else to tell so here's a couple of yesterday's shots - I like these!
Wire Mill Dam

The River Porter


And there's an album here:

If you wanna look.
Right -  gotta go - lunchtime - see yer later!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

What IS The World Coming To?

Just a quick note....

This baffles and saddens me.....

In her capacity as a Junior Sunday League Registrar, the Duchess has just received notice of an FA Disciplinary case in which a young player from the Junior League (and not a player from one of the older age groups) is charged with assaulting a referee! No details can be repeated here of course but if it's true, how can that be allowed to happen?

D'you blame parents, team manager, the kid?

I dunno - as I said - just makes me feel very sad.

I'll update you with footy action since my last post in a bit. For some reason, I don't particularly feel like it right now!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Promised Whirlow/Redmires Album..... here:

It really was a super day.

Before this awful cold broke, I had booked Thursday and Friday of this week off work as "floating day" holidays.

This morning, in  my first venture outside since Monday, I accompanied the Duchess to the optician's for a check up. Good news is that her eyes are "healthy" and there is no prescription change from her last examination.

After that, we went down to the Meadowhall Retail Park (not the Mall), specifically to Hobbycraft, because she needed some bits and pieces to start making christmas cards. We actually bumped into some old friends and me and Mr. B had a good owd natter while the ladies compared notes on card-making. Before we knew it, we'd been in there nearly two hours. (The only time I've ever really enjoyed Hobbycraft to be honest!!!! Just joking Duchess!)

We decided to have lunch at the big Morrisons supermarket by the Parkway and when we were through, drove the short distance to Catcliffe Flash, a small dam near Brinsworth. There's a lay-by where you can sit and watch the waterfowl. (And there's always a pair of binoculars and a "bird book" in the car!)

It wasn't the greatest of days weather-wise but we enjoyed an hour and saw Shovellers, Pochard, Wigeon and three Herons as well as the more usual Mallard, Coot and Black Headed Gulls. A family of 5 swans was there too.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera with me but the visit made our minds up about what to do with tomorrow's day off! No matter what the weather - it's up early, get the supermarket run done, then drive to Potteric Carr, just off the A1, for a spot more bird watching and photography!

We are now waiting for a bloke to call with a new iPhone for me. I have a 3GS and the case has cracked. I reported it to Orange yesterday (I pay Orange Care Insurance) and they'll bring me a replacement this evening between 6 and 10 pm!

I'm feeling better generally - still got a hacking chesty cough (it wasn't this bad when I smoked for Gawd's sake!) but it's easing. Another good nights sleep tonight and that should see it sorted - although the Duchess isn't showing any major signs of having caught it but I think she will - don't you?!

Right steak is cooking so I'll go and tuck in for the benefit of my health. (They say you should feed a cold don't they?)

See Yer Later!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Poorly sick - and suffering!

Started with what seemed just a bit of a head cold on Friday mid-morning but it's developed into something really nasty. Coughing, Sneezing, sore throat, headache - probably man flu.

So - gave work a miss today because I only got about an hours sleep last night and feel really shocking. I plan to try to get into see the doctor tomorrow cos I think I've pulled a muscle in my rib area with the coughing and stuff.

Anyway - on Saturday, Belper's trip to Curzon Ashton proved as difficult as expected and the lads came away having lost 2-1 to a good Curzon side. Tim was there and recorded the action:

and there's another good set from Mossley Smiffy - his firsat sight of Belper this season:

On Sunday - before this pig of a cold really kicked in - we made the short trip to Whirlow Park in Sheffield. This was where we held our wedding reception many moons ago (in fact, it will be 40 years ago on May 20th 2012!) and it was interesting to have a look all these years later. It's changed a lot of course but a couple of locations in the gardens brought back memories!!

1972 - and a mere slip of a lad! (need a haircut tho!)
 2011 - and it's a different bench!

There's a lovely walk down through the woods (and as it's downhill - I loved it!) Got some nice shots of the autumn colours, saw a flock of Mandarin ducks and generally enjoyed the warm sunshine.

I like this sort of shot   - light through leaves

 Mandarins - getting frisky!

Then on to Redmires Dam where we saw another "first" for us. There were Crossbills in the conifer tree tops. An unusual visitor for our part of the world. I managed to sneak a couple of shots the best of which is this one - edited and cropped of course - pushing the 500mm telephoto to the limit!
Also got some nice pics of gulls in flight - in fact - I think I'll knock up an album of the day. I'll post it ASAP.

Monday - went in to the office but only managed until lunchtime when I had to come home (having infected everyone of course!). Spent the majority of the afternoon asleep and feeling sorry for myself.

Right - I'm tired again now - took some paracetomol an hour or so ago and think they are "kicking in". We'll see how I feel in the morning.

Must get fit for Saturday - Belper Town at home to Stamford. Looking forward to that.

Going to bed now - I'll work on the "Whirlow/Redmires" album tomorrow maybe. We'll see.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Time for a Catch Up I Think!

Been a busy couple of weeks - hence no time to post.

Football first. Belper have played three games since I last posted. Drawn one, lost one (and how!) and won one.

Loughborough 2 - 2 Belper Town - didn't go - was in Brazil - but here's Snapper's pictures:

Belper Town 1 - 5 Hucknall (First home game in ages!) Again here's Tims pictures:

and I took my camera to this one too:

and finally, last Tuesday night - Quorn 1 - 2 Belper Town. Tim's pictures are here:

Again, I took my camera but to be honest - had a bit of a 'mare and with only  a few half decent shots, didn't create an album so you'll have to be content with the Maestro Tim Harrison's effort. (That's no hardship mind - they're very good - again....)

Next round of the FA Trophy tomorrow - away at Curzon Ashton. That will be tough. They are riding high in the Northern Section of our league. The Duchess and I can't make it unfortunately but Snapper has promised text updates so we can keep up with what's happening. (Good mate is Tim - he also writes a very interesting blog - link on the right - "The Cycling Photographer." Have a look - it's as good as his pictures!)

The week before last, a colleague and I made our first trip to Brazil. We had been asked by a customer there if we could go to see them to talk about possible supply contracts for 2012. The visit went very well and will hopefully bring us US$1 million of new business next year.

Now, I've been dragging my bag around the world since 1985 but I've never experienced a customer visit like this one.

We flew Monday evening from Heathrow and arrived in Rio de Janeiro at 6:15 a.m. (12 hours later!) We were collected from the airport and taken to a hotel overlooking Copacabana beach where they left us to rest. "Pick you up 7:30 tomorrow morning." we were told. After a shower and breakfast, we had a stroll along the "promenade" - it got a bit warm (30 C at 11 in the morning!) so we went back to the hotel for a nap then another short stroll in the afternoon. Had dinner at a small restaurant about 100 yards from the hotel then went back to our rooms and I was in bed and asleep by 8:30 pm!

Wednesday morning we were collected (after the most spectacular sunrise I've ever seen)

 and driven to the plant in a small town called Sumidouro, up in the mountains. The drive took 3 hours and some of the scenery was spectacular.

Good discussions with this family firm and after showing us their factory, we were also shown around 2 of the 4 farms they own in the area. They told us that back in January 2011, Brazil suffered major flooding in which 1200 people were killed. Their factory had 8 feet of water in parts of it. They are recovering now and relocating a lot of their operation to drier places in the town!

On the way back to Rio, we were treated to a "Brazilian Barbecue." This takes place in a restaurant. Waiters bring 3 feet long skewers with various cuts of meat on them (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, sausage etc etc) to the table and slice pieces off onto your plate depending what your preference is! It's the only meal I've ever eaten where the plate filled up as I ate rather than clearing!

Dropped back to the hotel at 10:15 pm and we were told "We'll collect you at 10 a.m. tomorrow to do the tourist thing!"

Thursday - we went to the world famous "Christ The Redeemer Statue"  (The Christ as its known locally) which towers over Rio de Janeiro and then took the cable car rides to the top of Sugarloaf mountain. Both were very busy but some of the views are truly breathtaking!

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for something to eat - another Brazilian Barbecue would you believe - before being dropped at the hotel about 4:15 pm. We were told a driver would collect us at 8:30 pm to take us to the airport to check in for the flight home at 1:35 a.m. Friday morning.

One of the most amazing things about the trip was the fact that they paid for everything - the hotel, the touristy bits, dinner - the lot. Another first for me on my travels!

I didn't take the big camera -  we were travelling light with just carry on bags - but I had the Duchess Ixus in my pocket and I've made an album;

If I haven't bored the pants off you and you are still with me - have a look!

Obrigado muchachos

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Another Win for Belper!

Just a quick note!

Belper Town progressed through another round of the FA Trophy with a 1-0 win at Barton Rovers.

Not a great game by all accounts but a win is a win as they say and the reward is a further £2,200 to be added to the £2,000 which was the payout for winning the Prelim round.

We didn't go - we were wandering around Chesterfield getting some last bits and pieces for my trip but the ever-reliable Mr Harrison was there and recorded the action:

Have a look - they are well worth viewing!

Belper's next fixture is an away game on Tuesday evening at Loughborough. The Duchess doesn't fancy making the trip while I'm away but I'm sure someone will keep her informed!

Nowt else to tell you just now. We're hoping to find time to nip out this afternoon, perhaps to Carburton Lakes, just for an hour, if packing and getting my stuff together allows time!

See yer in a week or so!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Another Good Week..

....Footy-wise anyway.

As indicated in the last blog entry, on Tuesday evening we made the short trip to Sheffield FC to watch Belper Town in the League Cup. Both sides made changes and rested "key" players but Belper came away with a very good 2-1 win. Some of the Nailers football was absolutely tremendous - pass and move stuff, one touch, played at pace and we were 2-0 up inside 20 minutes!

The Sheffield FC web site has comment from theirr manager who suggests they aren't bothered by the defeat in what was, to them, a "nothing" game. Whatever...... Here's Tim's pics:

Excellent as ever Tim!  I took my camera and got some decent shots but simply haven't had the time to make an album and post it on t'net! However - here's a few - just to prove I did take my cameras!

"OK lads, Here's the plan!"

Lee Whittington's diving header....

...hits the back of the net for 1-0 to Belper

Rushy pops in the 2nd (too quick for me - but he's obviously delighted!!)

Sheffield had just pulled one back and Mozza wants to know how long left.

That was certainly the highlight of the week. We've nipped out after tea a couple of evenings looking at possible vinyl flooring and paint for the bathroom but it's proving a bit difficult to find what's "just right." The search wil be suspended for a week anyway since I'm off on my travels again on Monday. Maybe inspiration will strike during the journey - we'll see.

As for Belper Town - they are away today at Barton Rovers in the 2nd Round of the FA Trophy. Need to win that one because there's decent money on offer for the winners. Barton are at the same level as Belper but they are based down near Luton so it's a fair old trek.  Too far for us actually. According to various route finders and sat navs, it's about 125 miles from Nortoner Towers and a 2 hour 15 minute journey at least. That's not really so bad I guess it's just that it's another 125 mile and 2.1/4 hours to get back after the match! A bit too much when I'm getting ready for a trip!

That's about it really - pretty mundane I guess but what can I say - that's how it is sometimes.

I'm not taking the laptop to Brazil - we're travelling light with just carry on bags but I hope to have the little Ixus camera with me and will post anything worth looking at when I get back.

For now... "COME ON YOU NAILERS!!!!"

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday Already! Where'd The Weekend go?

and also - where did the last week and a half go!

Anyway - with time whizzing by - here's what's been happening in my world since I last updated the blog from the USA.

Got back in one piece although the flights from Pittsburgh to Toronto and Toronto to Heathrow were both an hour late which meant we missed the 8 a.m. Saturday morning shuttle flight up to Manchester. "No problem" they said - "We'll put you on the next one! At 5:15 this afternoon!"

We didn't fancy sitting around Heathrow all day so after exploring options, we managed to catch a National Express bus to Sheffield. Due at Meadowhall at 2:25 pm, it actually got there around 2:40 pm. The Duchess picked us up and after dropping my colleague off at his home in Stocksbridge, we got back to Nortoner Towers at around 3:30 pm.

Belper Town were in action at Carlton (again!) and as we were driving home, I sent a text to Snapper Harrison to ask for an update on the score. We were losing 2-1 but there followed an avalanche of messages advising it's 2-2. No - 3-2 to Carlton. Hang on. It's 3-3! Scrub that - it's 4-3 to Carlton. It isn't - we've equalised again. 4-4! Then the best news - Belper made it 5-4 which was the final score eventually. How Snapper managed to keep texting and snapping I still don't know but his album from the game is here:

Who says blokes can't multitask??!!!

Actually, during my absence, the Nailers had won another game, beating Goole FC 2-0 at the Meadows. Snapper captured that one too......

Yesterday we decided to make the short trip to Brigg Town to watch Belper in action. Because of my USA trip and other assorted reasons, I hadn't seen the previous 4 games (all won incidentally) and was really missing the footy. In fact, the only game I'd seen under the new management team was at Carlton when we lost 3-2! Some of my friends at Belper reminded me of this fact on arrival at Brigg and I was categorically warned that if the team went 2 goals down, I was to be ejected from the ground.

I was therefore concerned when Brigg scored on 7 minutes! But it was fine in the end. Belper scored twice to make it 2-1 and five wins on the bounce! I took my camera but put it away part way through the first half as I was busy chatting away with other fans. Snapper stuck to the task and the game is recorded here......

So you're up to date on the footy front. It's Sheffield FC next in the League Cup on Tuesday night and we'll be there. It's only a mile down the road from Nortoner Towers. It'll be tough. They made some good signings in the summer and have been in the top two pretty much all season. We'll see.

Other matters - last week, as soon as I got back from the trip, workmen arrived to rip out our bath and replace it with a large shower cubicle. It'll mean no more hour long Radox soaks but it's more practical all round and something we perhaps should have looked at a while ago. Anyway - the work is now done and we just need to decorate and that's that. (Although this morning, we found a small leak from the side of the cubicle so I'll call them tomorrow.)

The remainder of the last week has been spent in catching up with paperwork and putting the finishing touches to the next business trip. A week on Monday (24th) we're off to Brazil. It's another hectic one and the schedule is.....

Monday - National Express bus to Heathrow to catch a 9:15 pm flight to Rio de Janeiro. It's a 12 hour direct flight and we arrive early Tuesday morning. The client is sending a driver to meet us and take us to a hotel to rest up, having flown all night. Wednesday morning the driver will collect us and take us to the clients plant, 3 hours drive from Rio. He will then bring us back to the hotel in the evening. We have to be at the airpoort at 10 pm Rio time on Thursday night  to check in for the flight home which leaves at 1:35 in the morning, Friday! Again - the driver will collect us and take us to the airport. (They are really looking after us!)

We get back to Heathrow at 4 pm Friday afternoon and have booked on the 7 pm shuttle up to Manchester where the Duchess will be waiting to bring us home. It's going to be tiring, especially at my age but there is a consolation of sorts. The hotel in Rio overlooks Copacabana beach. It's a dirty job etc., etc............

To close - a few shots from the USA trip:

Four Points Hotel, Toronto - Coronation Street on the telly!

Holiday Inn Express, Toronto - those planes land mighty close to the hotel next door!

The River side Suite, Radisson Grand Rapids - the bedroom....

 .....the lounge/dining area from the kitchen.....

... and again...

...and an iPhone dock so the phone could be charged whilst listening to my tunes (It's Lorrie Morgan, singing "Dear Me" if you're interested.)....

 ... they even provided a spectacular sunrise over the Grand River..

 The colours were just starting to show. The USA in the autumn really is spectacular.

Rented Toyota Camry - nice motor!

Right - really gotta go. Grab a sandwich then down to Pyramid Carpets to try and select a floor covering for the bathroom. We're going with vinyl rather than carpet but we've already had a quick look and there's hundreds to choose from so it won't be easy.

After that - hacking and chopping in the garden while the weather is behaving itself. Before I know where I am - it'll be Monday and back to work. Ho Hum!