Sunday, 21 October 2012

Almost Time to Head for Home

Currently in a Holiday Inn Expresss hotel in Bentleyville Pennsylvania having driven here from Bellefontaine Ohio earlier today.
The trip is almost over and it has been an eventful and frustrating one but I'll tell you about that in a bit. Right now we need a footy update.
We went to the Carlton game and guess what - another draw! Belper went behind to a great free-kick but pulled it back to 1-1 with an equally great strike from Simon Harrison. I took the camera and got some good shots but there wasn't time to process them and build an album before I set off on this trip. I'll organise that and put the pics on here when I get home. (Snapper was ill and missed the game so for now, there are no pics to show.)
The next game was last Tuesday - I was away and the Duchess decided not to go on her own. A reasonably comfortable 3-0 win for Belper was the outcome and Snapper returned to duty with an excellent album - look here -
Then today - yet another draw!! The game was away at Chasetown and from the match report, it is a bit of a mystery why 3 more points were not secured by BTFC! Rapid work by the main man - Snapper Harrison - saw his match album posted on the Fans Forum within a couple of hours of the final whistle. Yet another cracking set is here:
So footy update complete. Now for the trip.....
Sunday - flew Manchester/Heathrow/Toronto/Sudbury, Ontario but sadly, our bags didn't make it to Toronto with us. Anyway - since we were flying back down to Toronto on the Monday afternoon, we had them delivered to the hotel we would be staying at Monday night.
Monday - flew back to Toronto, dinner with client.
Tuesday - after meeting client and lunch, flew Toronto/Chicago/Springdale, Arkansas for meetings at corporate office on Wednesday.
Wednesday - afternoon/evening - should have flown Springdale/Chicago/Grand Rapids, Michigan but when we got to the airport we were told the flight had been oversold and we were not going to Chicago that evening. Instead, they stuck us in a hotel for the night and booked us on a flight to Chicago at 5:48 a.m. on Thursday.
Thursday - out of bed at 3:30 a.m.for a 4:15 pick up to take us back to the airport. Flew to Chicago on time (arrived 7:30 a.m.) but then had to sit on Chicago airport for 12 hours before flying to Grand Rapids at 7:30 pm. This meant we had to cancel the planned meeting with our client - we had already deferred hotel rooms and car rental by 24 hours.
Friday - set off at 7:30 a.m. to drive five hours south into Ohio. Met with the client, took them to dinner and then I went to bed. Fell asleep around 9:30 pm
Saturday - woke  at 5 a.m. Thought "sod that" and rolled over, waking again at 7 a.m. Made a coffee and stayed in bed until around 9 a.m. watching TV.
Drove to this location (Bentleyville) - taking our time - and have just had dinner - Burger King - (because a salesman's life on the road is all cordon bleu and champagne of course!) The drive down was easy and the trees are just starting to put on a spectacular show of autumn colour. I have the little Ixus camera with me and got one or two nice shots. Here's one:
Tomorrow - we are invited to a barbecue at the home of our client. The plan is to get there about 2pm, watch American football on TV, beer and a barbecue. Looking forward to it!
Monday - see the client and then head for Pittsburgh airport for flights to Manchester via Chicago (again!). We get back to Manny airport at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday so it'll be home about noon, having dropped my colleague off at his house.
Back in the office Wednesday cos there's no rest for the wicked!
Belper have an away game at Newcastle Town Tuesday evening but I don't plan to go to that!
Right - a long catch up and if you are still with me - I'll say goodnight. More follows - after I get past the jet lag!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Another draw - oh hang on - its not!

Tuesday night - Belper Town away at Gresley (The Duchess and I were at home getting text updates from a mate at the game.)

90 minutes - its 0-0, again, then the Belper keeper drops the ball and it rolls in for a 1-0 defeat in the 94 minute..... Dammit.

The consequence is that Belper Town are only kept off the bottom spot by goal difference and we are the only team in the division not to have won a game this season.
Next up is Carlton Town at home, tomorrow. We are hoping to go to the game but I head off for Canada on Sunday morning, collecting my colleague from his home at 6:30 ish. Don't think I'll take the camera if we go - I won't have time to process the pics on Saturday evening - too busy packing but I might blog a report from the road if I get a chance.
The only other event in the last week is a major cock up by Plusnet and Orange which has left us with no landline and no broadband connection at home.
I had decided to switch to Orange because the 10 Gb cap on internet use at Plusnet was becoming a pain in the bum. So - we upgraded the Duchess' mobile phone and signed up for Orange unlimited broadband and home phone package.
The new router duly arrived (1st October) I set it up (2nd October) and we began running an unlimited broadband connection at speeds which were 50% up on Plusnet.
Everything looked good then on Wednesday this week (10th October) the Duchess noticed at about 5 pm that we had no wifi to the iPhones and iPad. I reset the router and the PC but still no broadband. Anyway - we were going down to Meadowhall so decided to see what was happening when we got back, thinking it might be a local service issue.
On return, we still had no broadband and so I called Orange on 150, from my wifes phone, to see what they had to say. After the usual, "we can't speak to you cos you're not the account holder" (it's in the Duchess' name) we discovered that we had no landline at all because Plusnet had disconnected before Orange could take over so a "new line" order had to be placed and actioned.
We were told our landline would be restored on 15th October and broadband 10 days after that!
I exploded and asked how we are supposed to operate with no landline telephone until Monday and no broadband until 25th October, pointing out we had been using Orange broadband for over a week!!!!
No joy so I decided to call Orange the next day, when I'd calmed down. Got the usual - "we need to speak to your wife..... can't answer you" b*ll*x. So got the Duchess to call them. She got a different tale - a visit from an BT Openreach engineer is needed and has been booked for October 26th. So no landline until October 26th!!!!
(Why an engineers visit is necessary is totally unknown - the line has not been moved, the router is the same as we've been using for a week or more but hey - what do I know - I only used to work at BT some time ago!)
The Duchess blew her stack at the guy from Orange explaining that I head off on a trip to Canada and USA on Sunday, and our son lives in Holland so she will be totally isolated without the landline and broadband (for Skype etc). Nowt he could do apparently.
Later that day - would you believe the Duchess got a call from an Orange customer service guy. "Hello Mrs Allsebrook. Just calling to see how you are getting on with your new broadband and landline service? Hope you're enjoying using it!"
After she came down from the ceiling and explained our problem she got a very sympathetic "Oh that's awful, That can't be right. Must be something we can do" response. "Leave it with me" he added - "If I can't help I'll ring back." (Which to be honest - seems a strange response! You'd think he'd ring back if he COULD help!")
Anyway - absolute latest is no apparent change in the situation. Although we did call in at the Orange store at Meadowhall last night and the lady who signed us up suggested we wait to see if the line is restored on Monday 15th, as originally promised and if not, the Duchess is to pop back to Meadowhall on Tuesday to see if the staff can "gee up" the job - hoping that "in store pressure" might get some action.
We're not holding our breath but The Duchess will let me know via 3G and e-mail because I'll be in Toronto by then. 
Pain inthe 'arris - totally.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Three More Draws!

Pity Belper Town aren't on the  football pools coupons (do they still have Littlewoods Pools btw?!)
Anyway - since my last post and the horror of the 5-1 mauling by Ilkeston, Belper have played three more games. All draws (although one was won on a penalty shoot out!)
First - FA Trophy v Leamington. Saturday September 29th. Drew 2-2 so a replay was needed. Belper had gone 2 goals behind (again!) but fought back to draw 2-2 and take the tie to a replay at Belper on the Tuesday.
The Duchess and I couldn't go because our son's mate was coming to Nortoner Towers to strip the old plaster off the kitchen. He did a cracking job and on Sunday, plaster boarded it ready for skimming.
Snapper was there of course and his pictures are here:
We didn't go to the replay either. A drive of about 2.1/2 hours on a Tuesday evening just wasn't on. We missed an exciting game by all accounts. This time, Belper went 2 goals up but were dragged back to 2-2 and extra time then penalties meant a very late night. (Glad we didn't go - it would have been well past midnight when we got back.)
Snapper couldn't make it either so there are no snaps of the match.
Then yesterday it was back to league action with a trip to Loughborough Dynamo, who we had beaten 4-3 about 3 weeks ago in the FA Trophy to get through to the game v Leamington.
Another draw! But this time 0-0 although how Belper didn't score in the last 20 minutes I don't know. The ball hit the woodwork at least 3 times and we missed two absolute sitters in the first half but it wasn't to be.
A disappointing outcome and I know manager Peter Duffield wasn't happy. We could hear him giving the team a verbal lashing after the game - and we were a good 30 feet from the dressing rooms!
I confess I didn't totally understand why, when we have one of the best midfield players at this level in Steve Warne, a lot of the time we played long balls over the top of midfield for Ash Longstaff and new guy Andy Siribour to chase or flick on. Anyway - as I've said before, it's the easiest game in the world to play when you're sitting in the stand.
My record of the game is here:
Probably my best ever "soccer set" this and the new camera worked a treat again. However, as I said on the Fans Forum, if I can't manage a half decent set on a bright, sunny day it's probably time to pack it in!
Aside from footy - my next trip is almost set up. Off to Canada and USA on Sunday 14th October. Back in the UK on Tuesday 23rd and the office Wednesday 24th. This might actually be my last trip "stateside." My colleague who is destined to take over my duties will do the next one, in the spring, on his own and then there should be one more in autumn 2013 before I finally retire on 28th March 2014. I am hoping I'll be allowed to do a "Farewell Tour". I've been visiting the majority of the clients  since 1985 and have made some good friends on my travels. It'd be nice to say "See Ya!" properly!
Today - I couldn't really be arsed to get out in the garden so me and The Duchess had a little drive out to Carburton to sit by the lake and watch/snap the birds. Right now she's cooking roast beef and Yorkshire pud so as the smell wafts up from the kitchen, I'm going to close this now and get ready to eat.
See yer in a bit!