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!