Thursday, 14 March 2013

Here Endeth The Lesson....

I am closing down the blog.
It has become more trouble than it's worth.
It's been fun - for the most part - but if I want to say what I truly feel, think and believe, then that cannot continue to be done here.
Norton Yer Life will carry on - but to access it you will need the keys to my desk and your reading glasses as it will become a paper-based, personal, private and honest record of my life and surroundings.
The upside of this is that I can change the sub heading back to it's original form and truly record the "Random Thoughts Of A Random Mind" without fear of stirring up trouble or controversy.
It's been emotional..... as they say.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Hmmmm Looks Like My Readership is Larger than I Thought!

My "Disappointment" post from earlier today has reached a wider than intended audience it seems.
Someone has lifted it and posted it on the Belper Town forum.
That was obviously never my intention and perhaps I was a little naive in believing that a post on my blog during which I vented my spleen and a separate, personal e-mail to the Club Secretary would have been sufficient to sort the matter out.
In fact - I am genuinely amazed that I have a wider readership than I ever realised.
Google Stats certainly doesn't reflect that.
Anyway - I am now firmly in the bad books and have asked for the post on the Forum to be deleted since that was never where it should have gone. So - thanks a bunch whoever you are.
The blog sub heading will now be changed to EXTREMELY carefully considered thoughts from a random  mind if not ceased altogether....
Seems like its more trouble than its worth perhaps.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Pictures From Our Day At Old Moor

Finally finished editing and creating a Flickr set.... here they are...

We had an absolutely super day.

It's Been An Interesting Month....

...with some developments which won't be discussed here but which, collectively, have had a profound effect on my personal philosophy and outlook on life.
Anyway - as I said - that discussion is reserved for another forum.
Life goes on - with no time or inclination to post until now. And again - I don't know why I chose to post now.
Footy is going well. Belper Town are on 12 game unbeaten run and strengthened their grip on the last play off place with a win at Halesowen Town Tuesday night. An important three points because Halesowen have had seven straight wins and were closing in on Belper's 5th place in the league.
We decided that a 3.1/2 hours round trip (plus 90 mins of the game itself) on a  Tuesday night was not on so looked at various fixture lists and planned to go to watch Worksop Parramore in the NCEL Premier Division. A 40 minute drive on a fine evening seemed a grand prospect (anything other than Man U on the telly tbh!)
We set off at 6:15 and were back home just before 7 pm!! About 15 minutes into the journey, at Eckington, we found dense fog and a visibility of around 10  yards!! Although patchy, the fog seemed to be getting worse as we drove on so I aborted the drive and  we headed back home. Turns out the game was called off because of the fog anyway! 
Belper have a tough game coming up on Saturday - Stamford at home. That will be difficult. Stamford are in 2nd place and their current form shows P8, W6, D1, L1, F15, A4.   Compared to Belper's P8, W5, D3,  L0, F24, A8. So it's a 3 goals per game Belper attack against a defence that's conceded an average of a half a goal per game. Got 0-0 written all over it? (Mind you - I'd take that if it were offered now.) We gotta be there early - Ops Committee meeting at noon.
Photography? - well - got the camera back and all seems fine. Done a couple of football "shoots" which came out quite well and last Saturday, as Belper were away somewhere in the wilds of Leicestershire, we decided to have a trip to the Old Moor RSPB reserve at Wath-on-Dearne as it was an absolutely glorious day. We had a terrific time and I managed some cracking pictures of various birds, grasses, sheep (??) etc (big headed maybe - but I'm proud of 'em!) I'm sorting an album out when  I get a moment and a link will appear here soon.
So - another week toward retirement is passing as quickly as the rest of my life! I'm not sure yet if I'm totally convinced retiring is something to look forward to or to dread - we'll have to wait and see eh?

Attending the funeral of a mate we've known for around 30 years doesn't help the mood any. Pete was 68 - which is no age these days - and had been involved with the Junior League for all of the time we've known him. He lived just around the corner from us and will be missed - RIP Socks!
Gonna close this now - before I get even more morose........

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A Busy Week!

Since my last note - the snow disappeared almost overnight  Saturday into Sunday last weekend - the visit from our Norwegian customer went extremely well and a concert at Sheffield City Hall was very enjoyable. (OK - it was Ronan Keating but to be fair - I quite like his music!)
The concert meant we missed Belper Towns visit to Chesterfield FC's new stadium for a Derbyshire Senior Cup tie. The Nailers played very well by all accounts, but the result was a 4-2 defeat. Tim Harrison did brave the appalling conditions (rain and gale force winds) and put a nice album  together. It's here - have a look:
Monday morning - I set off for Manchester airport at 10 a.m. to pick up some visitors from Norway, thinking I'd have plenty of time because they weren't due to land until noon. The Snake Pass was closed by an accident so I decided to go via Peak Forest and Chapel-en-le-Frith but thanks to 4 sets of roadworks and an accident at Styal, the usual 1 hour 15 journey took me just over 2 hours.
After lunch and discussions in the office, we treated our guests to dinner at the Manor House Hotel in Dronfield on Monday evening - where they were staying. It was extremely good! The hotel is located right in the centre of the oldest part of Dronfield village and is an absolutely cracking place.
Tuesday - collected the visitors from their hotel for more discussion and a plant tour before a quick burger at Frankie & Bennys then I dropped them at their second appointment in Clowne.
Tuesday evening - Ronan Keating with the Duchess and that meant 2 late nights in a row for the owd giffer - something I'm not at all used to these days.
Wednesday morning - 8 a.m. - pick visitors up from their hotel and deliver to Manchester airport for their flight back to Oslo. Back in the office after lunch then a quiet night in!
Thursday morning - Sales Forecast meeting at work, paperwork all afternoon. Another quiet evening spent editing photos.
Friday is our half day of course and the morning was taken up with a Qualitty Management Review Meeting. After sorting out the supermarket run, I spent the afternoon trying to figure what was wrong with the computer monitor which refused to display any sort of image and just sat there sulking and flashing the blue "power on/off" indicator light at me.
Tried a different "monitor to computer" cable - nothing. We have a TV in the back bedroom which doubles as a monitor of sorts so tried that - it worked but I had problems getting the desktop configuration right - so I could click icons etc - as you do. At least that made it unlikely the cable was at fault. It would have been nice to have a look at the manual but the problem was - the manual is on a disc which I couldn't look at because I couldn't get an image on the screen!
Next - tried plugging just the monitor into the mains with no connection to the PC at all - the flashing blue light started immediately. Tried a different power supply cable. Still the monitor sulked. My brilliant detective work deduced that the monitor was knackered so after tea - off to Currys to get as new 'un. Works fine btw!
Saturday - our first footy in about 3 weeks and we made our way to Belper for BTFC v Chasetown. We had to head off early - our presence was required at noon for a meeting of the Belper Town "Ops Committee." This is a small committee of volunteers who sort out a variety of match day tasks and help fund the club through various fund-raising events. The Duchess and I were extremely honoured to be asked to join the Committee.
Anyway - after an interesting meeting which gave us an insight into some of the "behind the scenes" stuff which ensures match day goes smoothly, we watched Belper secure another 3 points with a 3-0 win over Chasetown.
It wasn't as comfortable as the score suggests. Chasetown finished with 9 men and up until the second sending-off, were pretty much holding their own with only 10 players.
Still, it's 3 more points and we're still in the play off places!
Since it was a bright, sunny day and "sundown" was about 4:40, I decided to give the little 300D a go, figuring I wouldn't be shooting much under floodlights. Coupled with the 70 - 200mm f2.8 - it didn't do a bad job, if I say so myself! Even so - I'll be glad when I get the 5D back - which is Tuesday Feb 5th I am delighted to sayt!
Anyhow - see what you think:
and Snapper Harrisons album is here (another good set - it's getting annoying how he rarely misses any major moment of the game!) Oreight Tim!?!
Right - not a lot else to tell - I've another busy week next week at work and we are planning to go to Lincoln next Saturday to watch Belper of course. There might be a blog post before then but I'm not making any promises.
Oh - and before I forget - I've now got a head cold and a very sore throat so I'm looking for tea and sympathy - any offers?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I Hate Winter! (but it could be worse!)

I got an e-mail from a customer/friend in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada overnight.
Apparently, the temperature there was minus 46 yesterday (and that's degrees C not F.)
He says that around 1100 cars wouldn't start because the batteries were frozen! And we're complaining about Minus 3!!
Anyway - update - my birthday passed pleasantly enough. Couldn't drive to work because of the 15cm (6" in old money) of snow on the drive and car. I decided to walk  to the end of the street and get a bus into Sheffield but after standing at the bus stop  for 25 minutes with no sign of a bus, watching a traffic queue that moved 20 yards in that time, I gave up, walked back home, got a cup of coffee and decided to try again later.
I never actually made it in to the office and so did some work from home. E-mail and the Internet are wonderful aren't they?!
Opened my pressies which included Seb Coe's autobiography, Jess Ennis' autobiography, (note the Sheffield connection!) Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crosswords selection and a new beard trimmer! Nice!
Then the Duchess decided to treat me to a birthday tea at the Norton pub at the end of the road! She had a Ribeye Steak and I had Steak and Chicken Combo with BBQ sauce. We both had Tomato soup for starters and with a drink each, total cost was about £24.
I got to work on Tuesday via bus and walking. Yes - walking - a bit of a novelty for me to be honest! (And I know what you're thinking Smiffy!!!)
Wednesday and today, I drove in. Don't want to overdo it at my age!
There's obviously been no football to report and since I don't have my camera back yet, I couldn't have taken pictures anyway! I suppose I could have use the 300D but with only 8 megapixels and a max ISO of 1600, I doubt it would have been up to the job. I took some "snow pics" with it but to be brutally honest, the snaps I took on the iPhone were just about as good. Still - it does make a nice "reserve" I guess. I did get a couple of nice shots of icicles using the 100mm Macro lens and I'd show them to you but Blogger won't allow me to post any more pictures on here!
Right - work beckons, we have customers from Norway next week and we need to get our stories straight!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I Hate Winter!

Pain in the bum!
I decided on Friday that I wasn't clearing the drive to get the car out for our "half day shift" at work so called in and booked a "holiday day."
We had done the supermarket run on Thursday evening (along with a lot of other folk if the empty bread shelves were anything to go by) so had no reason to venture out.
We had another small problem with the central heating boiler to sort out though! The damn thing started making peculiar noises and then lit up the "reset" switch.
I contacted the installers who told me the "condensation vent" had become blocked with ice so just nip outside and pour boiling water on it. (The vent actually connects to a pipe which goes under our back door step.) That sorted it OK - until later in the evening when it dropped cold again and the problem came back.
Anyway - we put our heads together and came up with a temporary fix. (It's worked up to now anyway!)
After defrosting the pipe again, we got an old blanket and cut it into strips which we wrapped around the plastic pipe to keep it warm, then to keep it dry, we covered the blanket with a combination of black bags and a sheet of polythene which had been on a new mattress the Duchess ordered a bit ago. (Never throw owt away - tha never nose when it'll come in 'andy!)
And - to be fair - I use the royal "we". The Duchess did most of the pipe wrapping whilst I held the torch.... Shocking innit!
When we can get to Wickes or B&Q, we'll have a look for proper pipe lagging alternatives but as I said - the temporary fix seems to be holding out.
Haven't done anything much else this weekend apart from a walk down to the local Morrisons supermarket this afternoon to get the "Birthday Buns" for work tomorrow.
Since it's my birthday tomorrow - I am required to take the "Birthday Buns" to work. Suppose I could always book another day off although I don't think that would go down very well!!
OK - roast chicken smells are drifting up from the kitchen so I'm off - see yer later.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Waiting with bated breath.....

Got a call this morning from the insurers telling me to go ahead with the repair to the camera lens. They will immediately send me a cheque for £506 (repair cost less £100 excess) and I am to pay the repairer direct on completion.
The repairers tell me they will order the parts today and let me know when it's done. I've asked for a delivery estimate but they haven't got back to me yet.
Fingers crossed it won't be long! I'm suffering withdrawal symptons. I got my first SLR in 1974 and have enjoyed taking snaps since then. As a result, I now have close to 60,000 images on my PC. (All backed up to two separate external, portable hard drives of course.) 

Monday, 14 January 2013

A small sigh of relief....

Just got the repair estimate for my camera/lens.
Report says the camera body is undamaged but the lens repair will cost £606 including VAT.
The cost should be covered on my Contents Insurance and I'm about to call R&SA to sort it out because since Jessops went broke, the administrators have told the camera repairers to deal directly with me.
My policy says "Full Replacement Value" so I'm hoping to get a new lens (cost around £750 to £850 depending where you get it) instead of repairing the old one. Whichever way, there's a £100 excess so I'll still be out of pocket but not by as much as I could have been.
Incidentally - the company who've been dealing with the problem is called:

PJ Camera Repairs Ltd
10B Watlands View
Phone:  01782 711 990
Their service so far has been excellent. Friendly and quick - just like you need!
Give them your support if you need estimates/repairs!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Nailers go marching on!

Watched a super performance from a confident Belper Town FC yesterday as they beat Market Drayton 5-0. It could have been 8 or 9 if the chances created had all been taken but to be fair - the visitors hit the post twice and the Belper keeper made 2 excellent saves.
So - 3 more points and with Kings Lynn not playing due to their fixture in the FA Trophy, the Nailers are now in fourth place and flying! Some tough games to come but on current form, you'd have to say the mighty BTFC have a more than even chance of picking up points in all of them. Fingers crossed.
My camera is still at the menders - but Tim Harrisons record of the game is here:
Another fine set Mr H.!
Next up is the Derbyshire Senior Cup game against Chesterfield at their new stadium on Tuesday evening. Looking forward to that. It'll be interesting to see how strong a line-up Chesterfield play. We'll have to wait and see of course.
Nowt else to tell, apart from the fact we have a light covering of snow here at Nortoner Towers this morning and also - whisper it - the luck may be changing perhaps?  We won a tenner on the National Lottery last night! (But don't worry folks - I'll still talk to me mates!!)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Here's a thought.....

...Jessops went into administration yesterday.
On Monday - their appointed repair agent (PJ Camera Repairs)  collected my camera for inspection and damage report to Jessops/Royal and Sun Alliance.
As a result of entering administration, Jessops are not honouring vouchers issued as competition  prizes and, I assume, vouchers issued as  replacement value by insurers.
I've called R&SA and they've told me that although they are not sure what is happening as far as the relationship with Jessops goes, they (or at least the Claims handler I spoke to) are sure everything will be sorted out and not to worry.
Not to worry. Hmmmm. Wouldn't you?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

And now I have a stinking head cold!

But Belper Town cheered me up for a while yesterday with a thoroughly professional performance in beating Rainworth MW at their place by 3 goals to 1.
A very competitive game with a lot of talking points was captured as ever by Snapper Harrison - and here are his pictures.....
Very good set an all that Tim!
I didn't take the camera - it's all packed and ready for pick up from work on Monday by the repairers. I eagerly await the result of their examination.
Nowt else to tell except we just finished dismantling the Christmas tree and decorations. All now needs moving up to the loft. I'll do that in a bit - and very carefully given my recent run of luck!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

To quote Victor Meldrew - "I don't BELIEVE it!"

Called in  at our sister company at Dronfield on the way home from work Friday (early finish still feels good!)
Dropped off what I needed to drop off and headed for home, 5 minutes drive away. On the way, would you believe, I had an accident! I drove into the back of the car in front as we entered the Bowshaw roundabout.
Traffic was just heavy enough to make us wait for a gap. A gap appeared so I glanced forward and saw the car in front had started to move off. I glanced again to my right and estimated there was still enough time for me to go as well so I accelerated, looked forward and he had stopped. Bang!
My fault, we exchanged insurance details and I went back to our sister company's office to see the boss and report. The car is driveable but there's cosmetic damage to the front grill and bumper.
Another incident I could do without..... wonder when my luck will turn?
And btw - the insurers are picking up the 5D and lens from work on Monday. They'll check out the lens (which as I said is totally screwed) and also the body (which I am really hoping isn't damaged.)
Football today - Belper Town away at Rainworth. Looking forward to that - I think!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Remind me not to tempt fate....

Remember my "are you superstitious" blog entry and one of the closing comments, quote "Wonder what breaks next?", end quote.
Well guess what - Wednesday 2nd January 2013, I managed to drop the camera and the 24 to 105mm "kit lens" is now knackered.
I'm sorting it out through my contents insurance policy. The lens is definitely damaged - the "zoom ring" won't "zoom" - or at least it will but it's very stiff and when the lens is presented to the body, the bayonet fitting is also very stiff. I managed to get the lens off the camera after I'd dropped it and I've fitted and used the 100mm fixed and the 70 to 200mm with no apparent problems but I want to make sure the body isn't internally damaged.
Anyway - the camera and lens will be collected by a representative of Jessops (the insurance company use Jessops as their "camera inspections and repair" agents) and they will report back to the insurers  on what can be repaired or needs replacing. The insurance company explained that anything up to £1,000 can be authorised by phone but anything over that and they will send a claims assessor to interview me.
The lens sells for about £800 so if it's just that, it will be repaired or replaced and the bill will go to the insurers but the body sells for around £3,000 so that would need further discussion! Since the policy allows a max of £2,912 on any "single valuable claim" - it's based on a percentage of the buildings cover -  it might be a very expensive mishap.
I now await a call to say when the gear will be picked up.
Incidentally, I was bemoaning my run of bad luck to my son and he's given me something of a bollocking about my suggestion it's all linked to breaking a mirror. He says the series of events is just coincidence and part of life's general curiosities. (He did also add that if my daughter-in-law hears me talking like that she will kick my butt! She hates negativity basically. They are both probably right - they usually are!)
So - I'll get back to my sulking now (but don't tell our lad!)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

To everyone.
Looking forward to footy today - a fine morning here in Sheffield although we've had some overnight rain.
Back to work in the morning......  Looking forward to that a little less than I am the football match!
See yer later