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!)