Monday, 30 May 2011

It's Bank Holiday Monday.....

... how can you tell?

S'easy! (Views from our bedroom window!)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A week off next week!

So been very busy getting everything sorted before the break.

Wednesday - went to the Under-15s Presentation Night as planned. Another local referee did the honours. Uriah Rennie this time. He's had major surgery on his knee but hopes to be back reffing soon. (Although to be fair - after he described - in detail - the surgery he's had, I was surprised he was even walking!)

Thursday/Friday - Busy days at work. Head down, stuck in time!

Saturday - not the best of days weather wise but after lunch, we decided to have a drive out to the High Peak Garden Centre at Bamford to get a cup of tea and a scone. Bought some bits for the garden and came back via Hucklow.

Spent an hour or so watching the gliders (on a VERY windy day - I was surprised they were up there!) and took a few pics:

When we got back - took a few shots of a pair of bullfinches on the feeders in the garden. They aren't the best - taken through the bedroom window and at the full extension of a 300mm zoom lens. (That's two of my excuses anyway!)

Hopefully better efforts will follow of these rare visitors to our garden.

Finally, what a fantastic performance by Barcelona last night. I actually watched a recording this morning and after the first 10 minutes, there was only ever going to be one winner. I liked Mark Lawrenson's comment on the radio - during the game when it was still 0-0 and United were coming under increasing pressure. He said "It's like sitting in your house watching the clouds start to build - you know sooner or later - its going to pour down on you."

Anyway - that'll do for now. Got to start thinking about the week off and making the most of it. It's the Duchess' birthday on Thursday (June 2nd) and we want to try and cram in some "days out" although the forecast ain't great! We'll see.

I'll let you know how it went!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Howard Webb - Top Bloke!

Monday night -, accompanied The Duchess to the Sheffield & District Junior Sunday League Under-10s Presentation Night at Barnsley Metrodome. And a good night was had by all - or so it seemed to me!!

Trophies were presented by Howard Webb - a really nice guy!

Our son had heard Webb would be doing the honours and asked if I would mind getting him to sign an autograph addressed to his mate Yuri. Thing is - Yuri is a Dutchman and our lad wanted to "wind him up" since Howard is not totally forgiven, by some people anyway,  in Holland for the World Cup Final defeat!

He obliged .....

 Howard saw the joke! After I'd texted the above photo to our lad - I got a reply:

"Oh that's Awesome! Please tell him he's made a Yorkshireman away from home very very happy!"

After the presentation - I showed Mr Webb the text and he said "Brilliant! Tell him to keep fighting the England cause over there!"

As I said - really nice bloke - arrived at about 8 pm and presented somewhere in the region of 400 to 500 trophies and hung around afterwards chatting to the players and parents and signing autographs. 

He tries to do at least one of the Presentation Nights every year (well he is a "local lad" - comes from Rotherham) and this year, the Junior League presented him with a commemorative trophy to mark his 2010 World Cup Final performance:

I didn't take the big camera. The League have an "official" photographer, who is a pro, and I didn't want to tread on his toes! (Had a lively debate with him re Canon v Nikon tho - he's a Nikon man - and not for budging!!) Aside from that, although I knew there would be dozens of parents taking pics of the kids, there could well be CRB issues if I'd started firing off at all angles!

However, took The Duchess' Canon Ixus - but I don't know what I did wrong because most of the shots are rubbish. But here's a couple anyway...

BTW - These blokes are one of the Management Teams from one of the winning teams - we don't really have Under-10s that big in our local league!

There's another Presentation Night tonight - this time the Under-15s. Me and The Duchess will attend again and I'll report ASAP!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Back in One Piece..

Got back from the trip Wednesday. Landed at Heathrow 25 minutes late at 12:45 pm after a flight of 8.1/2 hours, from Dallas.

Got back to Sheffield around 7:30 pm and back in the office Thursday.

Anyway - here's a couple more pics from the trip.

1985 Honda Goldwing at the hotel where we stayed near Boston.
The bike was way better equipped than the Hyundai Accent we had rented!

There was a cock-up with the booking at the last hotel on the trip so they moved us to another place and they paid for the rooms. A free night in an upgraded room and they even threw in a pitcher of Bud Light as an apology!

The hotel was called the Fairfield Inn and Suites

 and its a pity we were only there for one night.... the rooms had a bedroom, a living area with sofa and coffee table. There were two TVs and a CD player/stereo system! Very Nice!

View from tthe room doorway
 The "Living Area"

After a visit to our parent company, we headed for home on Tuesday afternoon.....

Flying down to Dallas Fort Worth and the long flight home!

Friday afternoon, we went down to Horncastle to pay the balance of our holiday bill - Elmhirst Lakes again - 2 weeks fishing - can't wait. We had fish and chips at the restaurant in the square and then a steady drive home.

Saturday was spent cutting grass and generally tidying the back garden. Hedges next.....

Not much else to say, although I shall be watching what speculation and conjecture I put on here because it would appear that some readers interpret passing comment as gospel truth. Remember - they say you should believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see!!!

Later.... perhaps!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Trip So Far...

Saturday May 7th - picked up colleague from his  home 7:15 pm and drove down to Heathrow. Roadworks and a wrong turn (my mistake!) meant we arrived at the hotel at midnight instead of 10:15 pm.

Sunday - Breakfast at the hotel (£33 for the pair of us!!!! Robbing Southern b's!) Noon flight to Toronto and then a short flight to Sudbury Ontario, arriving 8:30 pm (1:30 a.m. Monday UK time!) Dinner (a burger) and bed!

Monday - client visit - went well - then fly back to Toronto. Met next morning's customer for dinner at the Keg (Steakhouse/Pub type chain - but very good!)

Tuesday - Awoke early to a glorious sunrise
Client picked us up from hotel, we had lunch then meeting at their place then flight to Boston. Flight delayed 2 hours.  Picked up hire car and arrived at hotel just before 11pm. Grabbed a quick bite at the local Sports Bar. Bed at midnight!

But the most important news of the day was the appointment of a new manager at Belper Town FC. The job has gone to Tommy Taylor, an ex-professional, with almost 1,000 senior games to his credit! Interesting choice and he'll have last seasons top scorer, Jon Froggatt as player/assistant manager.

Wednesday - Drove around to clients office - good meeting. He declined lunch so we grabbed a sandwich and headed back to Logan airport, dropped off the car - Hyundai Accent - don't ever buy or rent one! It cornered like a boat and had wind-up windows. Odd that. Wind up windows but one of the best radios I've ever seen and a plug in for an MP3 player!

Our flight was delayed due to thunderstorms over Grand Rapids but we eventually got there and in a small regional jet (60-seater), landed as the sky flashed and banged to the left of the aircraft! Picked up a hire car (Jetta - much betta!)

and drove to the hotel where it started raining heavily as we got out of the car on the car park! The kitchen was closed (well - it was 11 pm) so we ordered takeaway. Fast food dinner at midnight again!

Thursday - good meeting, lunch then a 5 hour drive to Bellefontaine Ohio (the temperature guage read 91 F at one point - at 4:48 pm it was still 89 F!)
where we checked into the Super 8 Motel. Arrived at 8 pm. and dined at McDonalds..... nuff said.

Friday - really good meeting at the clients place. The firm is run by a husband and wife team - two of the nicest people I know - and they always make us welcome. Because we were staying in the same hotel for a second night, we spent the whole day with them. This included a tour of the local area - including the shortest street in the world (Guinness book verified!) and the world's first concrete street - both in Bellefontaine Ohio. The shortest street is slightly longer than your average family car!

Saturday morning - left for our drive to the Pittsburgh area around 10:15 a.m and arrived at this hotel (Washington - Pennsylvania not DC) around 2:45 pm. The open road...
Chilled out for the afternoon and ate a late dinner at the Outback restaurant - Chicken and Ribs - lovely!) Heavy thunderstorms overnight flooded parts of the local area but we're OK here.

Sunday - up late. Continental breakfast and then a short drive to the local shopping mall where I picked up a couple of cds from Walmart. Looked for an anniversary present for the Duchess but nothing worthy was found. It's our 39th Wedding Anniversary on 20th May - 2 days after I get back. We had a sandwich for lunch then headed back to the hotel.

Chat via Skype with the Duchess - marvellous invention that! She's been at Under-11 and Under-15 Cup Finals most of the day and was relaxing at home after a tiring day.

Tomorrow we check out of the hotel and drive to Monongahela (about an hour away) for a meeting with a client. Straight from there to Pittsburgh airport, drop the car then fly to Springdale Arkansas via Memphis to meet up with the boss at our Corporate Headquarters on Tuesday.

Tuesday evening it's Springdale/Dallas/Heathrow, arriving in London at noon Wednesday. Pick up car from hotel and drive north to God's County and a proper cup of tea.

Back in the office Thursday. Read this lot again and you'll see why I haven't posted - we've never stopped until now!

Anyway, I gotta go... Oh BTW - pictures from the Duchess' little Canon Ixus camera - pleased with them!

See Y'all y'hear!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Och Aye The Noo - Shalom - Tha Nose.....

Bank Holiday Monday - we decided to have a walk up to the local park because they were holding a "Highland Fling". Lovely day (although I have to say the only "Highland" thing about it was a pipe band and some highland cattle!)

Anyway - there am I - taking pictures of the pipers (wearing the t-shirt my son brought me back from Israel)

When one of the pipers (pic on left) approaches me and points at the camera - or so I thought. Maybe he didn't want me taking pictures??!

He then sez "Shalom" (in a Yorkshire accent) and starts translating the Hebrew word on the shirt!

Five minutes later, he brings another of the pipers across and introduces him as Professor McNulty (below right) from Sheffield University. He wanted the Prof to confirm his translation. (Despite the fact we know it says "Goldstar" because it's repeated in English at the top of the logo!)

Could only happen to me - In Graves Park, Sheffield,  talking about Hebrew translation to a Scot and a Yorkshireman.... hence "Och Aye The Noo..... Shalom..... Tha Nose!" Surreal!

It was a good afternoon, although a very strong wind made it chilly but we spent a good couple of hours looking at Birds of Prey, Highland Cattle and Shire Horses. There were stalls selling a wide variety of foods and also a fairground for the kids to enjoy. Generally, a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

I'm working on an album because I got some nice shots of Owls and Falcons as well as the Highland Cattle.

Like these:

Post it ASAP but things are a but hectic just now. On Sunday, I head off to Canada and the USA to do a tour of some of the more important customers. It's also a "training exercise" for my colleague who will take over my duties when I retire (sometine over the next 18 months to 2 years!)

I'll try to post "from the road" as often as possible but we're cramming in a fair bit in over the 10 days we're away.

For now   - "Haste Ye Back" (oh and errrr - Shalom!)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Bluebell Wood

We had a wander around the bluebell wood yesterday. We spent a lovely hour or so wandering through woodland that we didn't even know existed! And my neighbour was right - it was delightful!

Afterwards, since it was such a nice afternoon, we drove out to the High Peak Garden Centre at Bamford for a cuppa and a scone before heading back home to listen to Radio Sheffield commentary on the Owls and the Blades. Both teams drew their respective games and that means the Blades are relegated to League One. As someone on Radio Sheffield said - looking forward to at least 2 Sheffield derbies next season... "It's a pity that one of the biggest derbies in the country will take place on the third tier of English football next season."

Oh well - here's hoping it's Wednesday first and United second at the end of next season! It's ridiculous that a city the size of Sheffield doesn't have at least one team playing at the top level.

Then - after a teatime sandwich - it was out into the garden to mow what masquerades as a lawn at the back of the house! I actually came in at around 8:30 pm, having spent 2.1/2 hours on the task.

Today will see something similar. The Archers Omnibus has just finished and when I've done this, we'll have a bite and see where we get to this afternoon. Home to Roast Pork and all the trimmings then another couple of hours tackling the front garden. (And I haven't even started on the hedges!!)

Also - whilst listening to the Archers this morning, I finally managed to sort out a "Cromford Canal Album" - It's here if you wanna look!

Sorry once again for the delay in posting this but I hope you enjoy it!

Anyway - for now..... "Tot straks!"