Sarah's Transition Diary .. weeks 297 - 300


.... is for those who might want to contact me about my diary.

Day 2073 - Week 297 - Thursday 12th August 2010.

Day 2073. Thursday 12th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

More to come ...

Day 2074. Friday 13th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

15.47 .. We are finally on the road ..

19.35 .. We finally arrive at the Great Western Hotel, Exeter. It’s adjacent to St David’s station. I guess once it would have been a very grand establishment, but it is rather tired now, though “quaint” in certain respects. Car parking outside the front door costs £7.20 for the night !!!

We book in ..

20.13 .. We are in the restaurant .. it’s all ours .. just the two of us .. should this be seen as a warning !!

More to come ...

Day 2075. Saturday 14th August  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.30 .. The alarm goes off ..

It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. but not today .. what no scales !!!

08.20 .. We head down to breakfast .. full english and more ..


09.20 .. We reload the car in the drizzle, I cross the road to get some pictures of the Great Western Hotel.

09.25 .. We are on the road, Jane ( the TomTom) gives us an ETA in Bideford of  10.25 .. going across country. Before we leave Exeter I fill the car up again at an Esso garage, 115p a litre for unleaded seems cheap for this part of the world .. two miles later we pass a Shell garage at 114p a litre .. thanks to a Tesco next door selling at the same .. isn’t “competition” great for the consumer ..LOL.

10.35 .. After a leisurely drive and a few holdups .. we arrive in Bideford .. now where to park. I park at the end of the town in a Pay and display .. in a position very overlooked by a couple of busy shops .. £1.80 for 2 hours .. ok, it’s tourist season.


On the quay side a little way from where we have parked I spot a tall ship moored on the opposite bank of the river by the old bridge .. .

We head for the shops, via a quay side farmers market .. as we walk through, we try a few samples. A meet farm is pushing it’s range of sausages, via cooked samples .. gosh they are fabulous .. sadly they won’t survive till we get home, nor is this market here again till the second Saturday next month.

We head into town to have a look around .. I remember the layout quite well, Karen doesn’t remember it so well. In a gift shop I spot a Meercat mug with “Simples” written on it .. it’s a bit “tacky” in quality from the looks of it .. but I might have to return and buy one of those to be my mug at the new place when I start.

We go and visit the covered market near the top of the hill, and we have a wonder around. A Silver Smiths shop run by a couple of women catch my eye .. they have a pair of “Dutch Heart” earings that catch my eye, but they aren’t very big .. so I’ll give them a miss for the time being.

We return to the car via the farmers market again .. where we buy some apple juice and cider .. 5 different jams and chutneys .. all delicious from the samples we tried .. and some honey .. just wish they were going to be here next week to buy some of those amazing sausages.

12.40 .. We head for Appledore where we park up for a couple of hours, another £1.80 .. we go into a pub for a bite to eat .. we both have cheese, bacon and mushroom loaded jacket potatoes. There’s clearly a wedding about to happen at the church just around the corner .. judging by the very smartly dressed couples in the pub.


Looking out towards the sea from the carpark opposite, out of view is Instow opposite this position.

Post lunch we nip around to the “Appledore Chocolate shop” .. Karen wanted to go and do it. Good thing too .. apart from not buying any chocolate, they have a good selection of humourous coasters .. I buy six for the boat we will be buying shortly .. and the other 3 are for home and one maybe for work.

13.50 .. We leave Appledore and head for the "superstore" in Bideford, on the eastern side .. it's a Morrisons .. beggars can't be choosers .. LOL.

15.35 .. We leave Morrisons .. and head for Bucks Mills.


15.58 .. We arrive at Georges Cottage ..

In the evening we head off to Clovelly initially ..

20.50 .. ish .. We stop at a pub in Hartland to eat .. there’s a stag & hen night on, and a band is going to be playing ..

The food is cheap but actually really quite good, though initially that could not be said of the service at the bar.

22.10 .. The band finally starts to play, and I record some of it on my Marantz after introducing myself and asking permission from the "roadie". "A.J. & the Underdogs" are a cover band, the female singer "AJ" has quite a good voice from first impressions .. but her microphone and or technique was letting her down a little.  I can't wait around more than two tracks .. Karen is alone in the bar.

<< MP3 Sample >> ( to come )

22.30 .. ish.. We leave the pub ..

On the A39 between Clovelly and Bucks Cross I pull into a layby so we can star gaze .. looking for the meteor shower that should be continuing tonight. The conditions are ideal, it’s pitch black here and the detail in the stars is amazing .. but the meteor shower has escaped us ..

23.05 .. We are back at the cottage .. gosh it’s dark here ..

More to come ...

Day 2076. Sunday 15th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

11.30 .. We finally get up .. hey it’s Sunday and it is the first morning of our “second honeymoon” ..

We head off on an exploring / memories trip .. going East from Bucks Mills .. Heading around Westward Ho! and across the big bridge and down into Instow. The tide is right out as we park up on the street in a 1 hour free parking bay. We can see where we were yesterday across the estuary ..

An ice cream .. and a walk along the beach back towards the car. It’s a lovely sandy beach, littered with many boats and bilge keel yachts that have been grounded deliberately. This is one and only advantage of  a bilge keel boat ( that’s with two shorter keels, often spaced apart in a “V” ) .. I’d be tempted, but I want a fin keel boat because they do sail better over all, and give a much nicer ride in lumpy seas. 

16.50 .. Says the car park ticket machine as we park up in Ilfracombe, right by the harbour entrance.

In a gift shop we spot some stuffed Meerkats .. I can’t resist one that is in boxer shorts holding a heart with “I (heart) Meerkat” on it .. it’ll actually stand up in that classic Meercat pose, this will go on my desk at the new place when I start.

17.42 .. We leave Ilfracombe, with Jane taking us back the fast route

18.40 .. We arrive at “The Pig on the Hill”, it’s sign posted off the Westward Ho! road just after you leave the A39. It’s an odd sort of place ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2077. Monday 16th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.20.. ish .. Karen gets up and makes some tea ..

10.10 .. Up and at it ..

12.15 .. ish .. We head off to explore Westward of where we are now ..

12.40 .. OK .. this wasn’t what I had intended .. we arrive at Hartland Point, not Hartland Quay .. and end up paying £1.50 to park up and not see a great deal.

Well actually we did get to see at least 4 seals playing in the water below the cliffs we are on .. seemed like two of them where being “affectionate” .. << smiles >>. We walk up to the top of the hill to be able to look down onto the Hartland Point light house, which like most others is no longer manned, except in “exceptional” weather circumstances .. when apparently they send somebody along to keep a look out. Below to the west side is the wreck of a ship from the 1980's .. well what is left of the rusting hulk .. not a lot actually.

13.12 .. ish .. We head off for Hartland Quay .. to find something to eat.

13.45 .. We arrive at Hartland Quay .. the lowest car park by the museum and hotel is stuffed, but I manage to find a little place to park Violet. We have a quick look around before heading into the hotel to eat.

All the outside tables are occupied, but to be honest in the stiffening breeze it’s not that warm .. so we go for a table inside ..

We arrive at Widmouth Bay, just west of Bude. As we cruise past the car park I spot an old friend sitting in her conservatory .. Betty is the mother of Sandra, Steve the plumber’s ex wife from a few years back .. she’s on the phone. Karen initially thinks it’s not her. We drive into the adjacent beach car park and I go get a ticket.

16.01.. Says the second ticket machine as  I finally get my £1 for an hours parking.

Karen and I go get a coffee at the beach side café, before going and having a walk along the beach. Seeing the rock formations brings a lot of memories back .. and in the distance we can see a caravan park we stayed at a couple of times and a big pub where we used to and eat with the kids years ago.

16.48 .. I go alone to knock on Betty’s door ..

She comes to the door and doesn’t recognise me initially .. “ Hello Betty how are you .. you probably don’t recognise me” .. it takes a few moments then ping .. “I know you, you’re Trevor” .. “Yes I was” I shyly reply.

Betty walks out to the car to fetch Karen in .. so we go in and have a cup of tea. Betty is one for doing things properly .. we are soon sitting in front of a bone china tea service, with a plate of biscuits on a plate with a doily.

We reminisce about old times ( 20 - 25 years or so ago ) when we used to come down here to holiday, we stayed with her and her late husband once, and rented a neighbours house for a week in the past too.     

17.25 .. We leave Widmouth Bay and head back to Bude 

17.40 .. After doing a circuit of the town’s one way system I park up .. right outside the shop with the tents I’d spotted earlier.

We go into the shop .. they have two different types of small tents both in a choice of colours, both reduced from £49.95 to £25, ideal for use as a sun shade / shelter on the beach so that my elderly fishing umbrella that must be over 40 years old, can be retired.

In hind site, we may have bought the wrong one .. the one we bought is a clever design in that it’s made using two hoops, and packs flat ish into a round bag with no dismantling at all .. the other was a more conventional shape, and would require a little more effort putting it up and taking it down .. but packs into a small cylinder.

When I try to get the new “tent” into the boot of the car .. tilt, error .. it doesn’t fit .. DOH. We do like the purple and grey colour though .. that was the main attraction to Karen.

We continue to walk the circuit of the town, popping into an ancient bakery that was just closing for the night to buy some scones .. last time we were here was probably 20 years ago.  

18.30 .. We head for Georges via the full circuit of the town, extending out to some of the beach car parks. Karen needs a comfort break. In a big car park I spot a toilet block .. I go investigate for her .. and return with a thumbs down .. I wouldn’t have wanted to go in there 3 years ago when I could stand to take a wee .. we drive on.

19.40 .. ish .. After several stops to check out visible mobile masts for a 3G connection, and failing, we end up at Bucks Cross. I try the computer again and Karen calls Claire on her mobile phone. The antivirus starts an update .. I can’t really stop it .. but I use the time to download a BT ( Vodafone ) coverage map .. there is nothing this side of Bideford, where clearly there is a mast. I also get the phone number for “aunty Sheila” who lives in Wembury near Plymouth .. who we might go and see tomorrow. 
20.10 .. We are back in Georges ..

20.25 .. Dinner is served .. a  pork pie ( bought in the farmers market Saturday ) salad .. it’s really very nice, washed down with some read wine. Dessert is a couple of scones each with strawberries, jam and clotted cream ..

22.35 .. We are in bed ..

23.20 .. I turn the music off ..

More to come ...

Day 2078. Tuesday 17th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.30 .. The alarm goes off .. I need to get up and put the bin bag out ready for collection ..

07.50 .. I get up to sort the rubbish and make some tea .. the rubbish bag needs to be removed from the bin and carried down to the road .. lovely job .. especially as somebody has filled one bin bag to virtual over flowing .. it’s a struggle getting the bag out of the bin without tearing it ..

08.05 .. I’m back in bed with the tea .. once consumed we snuggle down .. and take it in turns to do the cuddling and falling to sleep .. purrrrr .. purrrrrr .. << smiles >>.

10.10 .. Up and at it ..

11.15 .. I go and shower ..

13.12 .. We arrive at Dartington Crystal in Torrington ..

13.45 .. Having gone around the “museum” part we go and try and do the “factory tour” .. only to be told the blowers are going for a 15 minute break, so we go and find the loo’s and the restaurant. Our first “Cornish Pasty” of our stay ..

14.20 .. Feeling refreshed we head back to do the “factory tour” .. we watch the various processes being done, including a little girl having a foot print in a sandbox being cast with in glass ..

15.00 .. ish .. We head into the Dartington Crystal shop and have a look around .. the “slight seconds” are quite cheap .. but the fully QC’d and engraved products are not. Karen takes a fancy to some purple crystal wine glasses .. they are lovely .. but they are £25 a pair.

15.35 .. We go and pay for our items .. luckily Karen has a “Spend £50 or more and get 10% off” voucher 6 wine glasses come a little cheaper .. we also take advantage of the current special offer .. and get two chunky crystal tumblers for £9.99 each instead of £14.99.

15.45 .. We finally head for Plymouth to visit “auntie Shiela” .. the traffic is hell .. and my eta of 16.30 - 17.00 is totally blown away. !!

17.42 .. We finally arrive at Shiela’s home, only an hour late or so ..

Tea and fruit loaf are chatted over. I apologise for wrecking her evening and invite her out for dinner .. she agrees and phones somewhere nice she knows .. 

19.10 .. ish .. We head for the restaurant chosen by Shiela .. “The Bridge” is a very modern building overlooking a large marina in Plymouth Harbour on the east bank.

The food and atmosphere are very good, in fact it’s probably the best food we’ve  had so far down here, I had the Thai chicken kebabs .. hmmmm .. think English chicken kebabs .. with Thai red curry sauce poured over them .. but it was nice .. sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream follows .. that included a date stone too .. but it was nice. 

22.20 .. ish .. We leave the restaurant, I need petrol, so Sheila guides us to the local Morrisons, only to find none of the pumps are accepting cards tonight, all 4 are saying use kiosk .. but it’s not manned .. so we head off .. fortunately the next garage, a “Jet” one is open .. 112.9 .. wow .. but it is only Jet unleaded, so I only put 22 litres in.

23.05 .. We are outside Sheila’s .. she invites us in for coffee .. we accept.

Conversation goes to families again .. Sheila asks about Juliet, my sister. I explain the current situation between Juliet and I and that we haven’t seen each other or really communicated for 18 months or so. She asks why .. so I tell her about the trigger and some of the conversations that followed. Sheila was well aware, as a long time family friend, part time employee of my dad at one point .. of what my dad got up to years ago with his many “extra marital” affairs and his clear bias towards Juliet when we were kids and teenagers. Juliet of course accepts none of those facts.

It’s no surprise to her that dad had forced Dee to buy a house down near Juliet and that on his death he left the bulk of his estate to Juliet, rather than even his second wife, who surely had to put up with a lot too from him, and had provided him with a roof over his head.

23.35 .. We finally leave Sheila’s ..  

We chat on the way home, Karen says something that makes me think I’ve been seeing too much into the recent change in the way we are .. guess I assumed to much .. and it gets me thinking about a lot of different things.

12.40 .. I’d been pushing the car along the country lanes and had shaved over 20 minutes off our arrival time at Georges when Karen indicates she’s not feeling too good .. so I slow down.

A few minutes later as we cut through a town a car pulls out behind us and seems to be following us. In the lights of a roundabout I see it’s a police car. It’s holding back a little .. and so do I. After about 8 miles it suddenly U turns on a junction and heads off back the other way .. hmmm .. got no burglars and muggers to go find ?

Karen is not feeling to well at all .. so I slow right down and start driving along the middle of the road to avoid pot holes for her curbside, she realises what I’m doing.

01.28 .. We are home .. Karen goes up straight away ..

02.15 .. I’m in bed .. a short cuddle .. with her feeling unwell it’s all that can happen.

02.25 .. ish .. I turn the lights off .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2079. Wednesday 18th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.30 .. Karen gets up for a comfort break and makes the tea ..

Cuddles follow .. but I detect it’s cooler than the last few days .. << sighs >>.

10.15 .. Up and at it ..

12.50 .. I’m dressed and down stairs .. ready to go .. but we stop and have a sandwich for lunch before we go ..

14.05 .. We arrive in windswept Instow, time to test out the new beach protection. Having found a parking bay a little further along from the last time, that gives us 2 hours free parking .. we have plenty of time.

14.15 .. We’ve found a nice spot on a nearly deserted beach .. I unpack the PPP ( Purple Passion Pagoda ), it springs open uncontrollably .. hmmm .. I wanted to try and do it slowly so I could see how it packed up, as it came with no instructions .. “easy to erect in seconds” .. and so it did. I use a couple of bags full of sand attached to a couple of guys to windward .. with the PPP side on to the wind.

Well it was very cosy inside .. though with the wind rattling it loudly passions did not get raised  very much.

15.50 .. With our free time up soon I we decide to go .. gosh it’s a lot cooler outside than in. OK Heuston, we have a problem .. how the hell do you fold the ruddy thing up again to make it fit into the circular holder .. we  try many options .. they all fail .. I cannot get it to fold more than in half .. looks as if it needs to go into three, to be small enough .. but I can’t work it out. Luckily, folded in half it just fits in behind the rear seats. 

We head off to the “superstore” on the west side of Bideford.

16.15 .. We arrive at Asda’s .. well for a superstore it’s not massive, I’d say about 1/3 of the size of the Cardiff one. The “George” section isn’t very big, so nothing tempts Karen .. we go get some milk and a few other goodies before heading back to Georges.

17.15 .. We stop outside the Post Office at Bucks Cross, it’s the top of the valley to Bucks Mills .. I nip in to see if I can get some more scones .. they only have fruit ones left .. so I buy two.

Back in Georges, we’ve bought the tent inside and I open it again .. to try and work out a folding routine in still air conditions .. after 15 minutes we give up.

I walk down to the wall at the bottom of the valley where the path to the beach starts .. with the little laptop to try and google some tent instructions .. no signal .. DOH.

Time for a cup of tea.

18.50 .. We head off out .. at the top of the valley we park up outside the post office again where I know I can get a BT GPRS signal .. Karen phones Claire and I use the PC. I think I found the manufacturers website .. but no instructions .. so I e-mail their help department for some assistance.

19.30 .. We arrive at the Hoop’s Inn .. it looks a tad busy in the bar .. we get a drink and start a tab, and some menu’s to look through.

19.45 .. I go to the bar to order our food .. only to be told they are not taking anymore orders for 15 minutes, and then the wait for food will be 45 minutes .. hmmm. We decide to pay for the drinks and move on, but I book a restaurant table for tomorrow at 19.30. The not so good news is they use the same menu upstairs. This isn’t the place it was 28 years ago ..

Back in the car .. we decide to go back to Georges and use some of the food up we bought in ..

20.15 .. ish .. Dinner is served .. it’s a cheese, beef and ham salad .. dessert is a combo of scones, fruit and more cheese .. all washed down with red and then white wine.

Post dinner we watch TV for a while and drink some more wine.

21.50 .. Karen heads to bed and I follow shortly ..

22.30 .. I’m in bed too .. passions rise ..

Some considerable time later .. nightie night.

More to come LOL ..

Day 2080 - Week 298 - Thursday 19th August 2010.

Day 2080. Thursday 19th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.30 .. We wake up ..

09.40 .. Post a quick cuddle I make the tea .. time to relax with each other ..

10.45 .. Up and at it .. 

12.53 .. I head to shower ..

13.25 .. Dressed and ready to go ...

13.45 .. We stop at the top of the hill .. I get a text from Susan, Mick’s partner .. they’ve had to have one of there two dogs put down after being run over earlier in the week .. as yet we don’t know which one. A call to the manufacturer of our pop up tent gets a response, and the girl I speak too finds my email from yesterday. She sends me an e-mail immediately .. with an attachment.

13.55 .. The e-mail is in my googlemail account inbox .. is the attachment a PDF .. no .. it’s a 2.7Mb JPG .. and I’m running on a 53kbs GPRS connection, taking me back to old fashioned dial up modems  .. it takes nearly 10 minutes to down load, but it does reveal the secret of folding the tent .. phew !!   

14.20 .. ish .. We arrive at the outlet village to do the tour .. it’s hissing down with rain.

Well we go into most of the outlet shops just to look around .. but we do end up laying out money in several shops .. a duvet set for our bed at home ( purple one side, deep pink the other ), we would have bought a second set in another shop but they didn’t have the pretty purple on white print in king size .. DOH .. a top for me, 2 for Karen from Cotton Traders, some CD’s and Karen bought some gifts for others.

I send a text to Sue in response to her earlier one, agreeing to meet up tomorrow.

17.20 .. We head back to George’s via a tour of the town .. turning right out of the outlet village complex and picking up the “old road” from the west into Bideford. This part really hasn’t changed .. Karen has little memory of it .. but I do.

As we are passing the Esso garage next door to Morrisons I use the opportunity to fill the car up .. 120.9 for 97 ron “energy supreme” .. we’ll see how Violet likes this.

18.02 .. We are back in George’s ..

19.15 .. We are later than hoped as we leave for the Hoop’s Inn .. at the top of the valley I stop so Karen can call Claire .. as the call goes on I start to drive on .. the phone signal holds up ..

19.30 .. We arrive at the Hoop’s Inn .. the weather is seriously unpleasant .. Karen points out a parking space outside the front of the building, a very short distance from the front door.

Third time lucky with wine ..

A couple of telephone calls from Mick .. he’s in a very iffy signal area .. inside the pub isn’t good either .. we agree to meet at Bos Castle tomorrow .. 

10.15 .. ish.. We leave the Hoops Inn .. it’s seriously hissing down outside, luckily we are literally a 5 second dash to the car .. enough to get seriously damp in the process.

10.25 .. We arrive at George’s .. magically the rain slows right down to allow us to escape into the place without getting too wet. Karen heads for bed almost immediately .. I follow her up and start ripping the new CD’s onto the laptop .. Michael Bolton’s Greatest Hits will do for later.

10.55 .. Karen is out of the bathroom .. I go in a few minutes later.

11.25 .. I get into bed .. passions rise to a new height ..

12.30 .. Michael Bolton finished a while ago .. I get out of bed and shut the laptop down ..

Nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2081. Friday 20th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.30 .. We are awake .. Karen gets up for a comfort break. On her return, initially we lay apart, but soon snuggle up and share the cuddles till the alarm goes off ..

08.20 .. The alarm goes off .. I let it time out and snooze ..

08.30 .. Up and at it ..

10.27 .. I need to shower ..

11.15 .. I do battle with the tent .. “simples” .. as a MeerKat would say .. when you know how .. LOL.

11.25 .. We really need to get going ..

11.35 .. With Jane programmed to guide us to Boscastle, after a struggle .. we are on our way. Talk about Sunday drivers .. but this is Friday .. there seems to a load of old folk dawdling along at 40 mph where most of the “Atlantic Highway” is actually 60mph. Our 8 minutes of lea way soon whittles away ..

12.28 .. We arrive at Boscastle and eventually find a parking space .. it’s drizzling on and off and isn’t very pleasant. I go buy a 4 hours parking ticket .. £3 ( buy 3 and get the 4th free ) .. << grimace >>.

Well yesterday’s plan with Mick hasn’t got off the ground .. there is no Tesco or Vodafone mobile service here.

Karen and I do a quick search mission .. I check the whole length of the car park, no sign of them or there car. We do a search through the village and return to the car park.

13.18 .. We have given up and decided to go and find something to eat .. as we go to cross the road, Mick and Susan come round the corner .. from the other direction to our approach .. they wave at us and go and find a parking space .. it takes an age for them to return, they are at the far end of the car park.

13.35 .. We are together .. hugs all round. We decide to go eat immediately. Apparently Susan had sent me a text about the time we arrived explaining why they are late .. I’ll get it later.

We learn about the dog, and how it met it’s end. The dog was run over, albeit very gently it seems, but that didn’t bring the end really. The dog that has gone is the elder of their two, in fact she was the mother of the other one .. they were both lovely dogs, sadly the mum had multiple problems through old age, that meant putting it down appears to have been immanent anyway. Either way, it’s not the best holiday they have had.

After eating we go and walk out on the east side of the village. There’s a sort of village museum that covers a lot of history, with a small section about the 2006 floods and destruction. Many of the buildings have signs on them indicating the flood levels .. it must have been terrifying. Luckily nobody was killed, one person was slightly injured ..

Over 130 vehicles were washed down through the harbour, many further out to sea, over 30 have never been recovered .. a video plays all the time showing newsreel stuff and locals own footage .. absolutely amazing.

After the walk out to the headland, where we see a seal playing in the harbour entrance we head back. I’m really not wearing the right shoes for this and find the slate blocks quite slippery. Back on the level we head across a modern replacement for a bridge that was badly damaged in the floods .. to get some locally made ice cream.

16.15 .. Our time is nearly up .. so we head for the pottery where we bought an item or two on a holiday with the kids 20 years or so ago .. it hadn’t suffered too badly in the floods it seems.

Well following on from our purple shopping at Dartington Crystal .. we get a few items to go on the table of this pottery .. all with a purple base glaze .. a couple of chunky candle sticks, some little dishes ideal for olives or sauces .. a mug for Robert with a blue base glaze.

As he’s managed to chip 75% of our day to day dishes, plates and mugs over the last couple of years .. I suggest keeping the mug back till the day he leaves home .. then chip it for him so he has something to remember us by .. Karen giggles .. am I being cruel ..  

16.48 .. We say goodbye to Mick and Susan .. and head for George’s .. via Bude and the scenic route through Widemouth Bay ..

17.52 .. I stop at the Bucks Cross Post Office to get some scones and cream.

18.50 .. We leave for Hartland Quay ..

19.15 .. We arrive at a very windy Hartland Quay .. we go straight into the hotel to eat .. we get some drinks, order some food and start a tab.

Our starter of two portions of garlic bread arrives .. enormous portions.

I go get some more drinks .. while I’m away the mains arrive. The food ( sirloin steaks ) are very basic and simple but well cooked and comes with lots of little extra’s .. incredible value really. We decide against desserts, so I pay the bill and we go outside.

20.40 .. I get the camera from the car .. only to have the battery die on me almost instantly .. so we give up on that, walk down to the beach and have a dusk paddle in the sea .. the water isn’t that cold actually. There are loads of shadowy figures in the surf doing the things surfers do .. some are pretty good, with the wind the surf is pretty good too.

20.58 .. We head back to George’s ..

21.20 .. We are “home” at George’s ..

A cup of tea to warm us up after our paddle .. LOL .. and catch up on the TV news ..

21.50 .. Karen heads up to wash and get ready for bed .. I sit and do some diary notes.

22.35 .. Karen’s come to find me .. I pack up and head for the bathroom ..

23.00 .. ish .. I’m in bed ..

Passions rise .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2082. Saturday 21st August  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept quite well .. things are good between Karen and I, relaxing is so much easier now.

07.20 .. The alarm goes off ..

07.30 .. Up and at it ..

It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. no it’s not .. I’m dreading it when I can check it .. tomorrow .. << grimace >>.

We head down and sort breakfast before doing the packing and showering ..

09.30 .. ish .. I start to pack the car .. we have a lot of extra stuff to fit in and we haven’t finished yet to be honest.

Karen does a quick note for the “maid” regarding problems we have found ..  

09.58 .. Karen goes to put the key in the outside key safe .. disaster .. on the way back towards the car she slips over on the wet and very slippery slate block path, the other side of the front door.

In the car she’s in pain and rolls up her soiled jeans, her right knee is badly grazed through the material and is bleeding .. ouch !!.

10.03 .. We drive away .. in the rain .. a bit sad really .. because we are going home away from this slightly special place. I hope the new found passion between us continues at home, I’m sure it will.

We are heading for the Asda and Factory Outlet store complex. Jane gives us a non stop ETA for home as 13.55 .. 210 miles .. hmmm .. not on a Saturday in holiday season .. LOL.

10.20 .. We arrive at the “superstore” complex, luckily I find an empty bay pretty much outside Asda’s door. Karen stays in the car and dry while I raid Asda’s for a few items .. including some plasters.

10.33 .. I return to the car, only to realise I forgot the plasters .. DOH .. though I remembered everything else. I return to Asda’s and get a selection of things, including a small travel first aid kit, a selection of different plasters including a pack of special graze dressings and some medical cleansing wipes.

10.42 .. I leave Karen to sort her wound out and head into the Factory Outlet area. First stop Cotton Traders to buy a couple of pastel shade £3 “T” shirts for Linda to print for me .. and some garden chairs we had taken a fancy to in “Mountain Life”. We are in luck .. they now only have two of the chairs left Karen and I really liked ( yes they have purple recliner frames and spotted covers ) and appear to be really well made, and a different pink one for Claire.

A chap from the shop assists me and carries the two bigger chairs to the car for me .. they just slide into the gap between the seats stacked on top with the drivers seat pulled forward for loading .. the car is now officially full .. LOL.

11.08 .. We are on the road again and rejoin the A39 after a detour to top Violet up again with Bideford’s cheap Esso Supreme .. I also raid a shop on another detour .. one to get a mug for work .. its “loud” and got two Meerkat’s with “Simples” written on it. As we drive away up the hill Karen spots another shop with MeerKat’s in the window .. so I park again and walk back.

They are just putting their Meerkat stock out .. they only just put the window display in .. if we’d been a few minutes earlier we’d have not seen them. They haven’t got any Meerkat mugs, but I do buy two rather nice “Sarah” and “Karen” mugs .. and another Meerkat, this one wearing a maroon “smoking jacket” like in the TV commercials .. LOL.

Well it’s Saturday morning, and many others are heading east too. I think the A39 at times like this is probably a victim of it’s own success, as the M25 became. The queue’s and hold ups in places go for miles .. though much of it is set up to give three lanes on hills .. two up and one down .. much more could have been dual carriageway.

13.00 .. ish .. We reached the M5 .. to discover it’s almost at a standstill .. I do two circuits of the roundabout above to make sure and head up the A38 to Taunton instead. Seems a few others are doing that too but at least it’s doing 40mph instead of a lot less adds about 5 miles to our journey.

Taunton is actually two junctions up the M5, the A38 kisses the M5 about 20 miles nearer Taunton again, with only about 7 miles to go to the next junction .. I take a gamble and take to the motorway .. it’s doing 40mph now most of the time .. I guess I did the right thing. 

At Taunton it’s a cut across to the A303, past my sisters place and onwards to the M3 and home. But a lot of others seem to be doing the same thing. I ignore Jane and use the “short cut” through Langport to avoid a lot of the queue’s to Yeouvilton.

13.56 .. We join the A303, having bypassed about 30 miles of TomTom holiday route .. I guess we’ve saved a load of time .. cause the A303 as we join it is crawling along.

14.08 .. We stop just past my sisters place at the Sparkford Inn, to have a quick bite to eat .. use the facilities etc. We both go for different chicken sandwiches .. then swap halves when they arrive .. love is .. << smiles >>.

14.55 .. We are back on the road .. Jane is now giving us an ETA of 16.12 .. 86 miles .. dream on.

The A303 is a mare, with many holdups .. at one point just before we have passed Stone Henge . .that has increased to 16.58 .. hmmm .. some mighty jams for sure.

Once past Stone Henge the road really starts to move onceon the continuous dual carriageway that joins the M3 non stop. Though it’s stopped raining a while ago the roads aren’t bone dry. I join the outside lane rocket space .. and start to catch up on time in a big way .. Violet with the load on still is very eagre to go .. but at unmentionable speeds she feel’s a little “loose” .. not the feeling she gave going to Christine’s across the Yorkshire Moors on worse road surfaces at the same speeds .. it must be the load we are carrying unbalancing the car.

16.45 .. We are home, the last 8 days has put 862 miles on Violet .. we should have used Red really. Gosh I’m car seat shaped .. after a little fiddling, taking the three chairs out, Karen can get to her handbag and the keys to Red, so we can put her in the road to make unloading Violet easier.

17.25 .. With the car unloaded and a few things sorted .. Karen says I can go use the PC for a while .. I check my e-mails.

There is some interesting news from an ex colleague at the “old place” .. apparently they have appointed another ex Radio 1 DJ, who did do a spell in the building I worked in about 14 years ago .. to be the network Breakfast DJ from 06.00 till 10.00 weekdays. He’s a seriously nice guy on air, and I worked with him in my early 80's BBC days with Radio 1. However he had an attitude with other staff off air that really grated with me and others at the time.

Another good friend from the old place will be doing the breakfast show in the mean time, which will do her no harm at all .. so I guess all the current network stations breakfast DJ’s are being made redundant too .. sooner or later.

He starts in January 2011, he currently works in London and lives nearby .. are they going to expect him to move to Manchester to do this show or keep the studio’s in London open .. I don’t have that information.

For sure, in the independent radio station business, where most of the DJ’s work on short term freelance contracts .. this sort of chop and change means they have little security beyond their reputations and ability to pull an audience given the restrictions put on them by licence and management.

I remember a DJ on this station “in the good old days”, 13 - 14 years ago, that had an amazing following. The old management forced a music policy change through and though his following had been high .. his audience walked. He became very vocal about the new policy after loads of calls from complaining listeners, which was a disaster, but he didn’t last as long as the disastrous music scheduling .. sadly .. and that was short lived too.

17.45 .. ish .. I start a Skype call with Nanda in Holland .. she’s been trying to get us on our Skype phone a few times in the last week.

She’s on good form, we talk about a lot of things, including my redundancy. It turns out if I’d been employed in Holland my old company would have had to pay me 3 years salary to get rid of me the way they did. For this reason it seems it doesn’t happen too often in the Netherlands, and businesses plan for the long term rather than the next few months, as what seems to happen in the UK all too often. 

19.25 .. I order a Chinese ..

19.58 .. I’m back with the food .. it’s washed down with the 3/4 of a bottle of white we bought home from Devon.

21.55 .. ish .. Karen heads for bed .. I should follow her soon ..

Time flies .. and I’m not chatting to folks on line either ..

00.05 .. I’m in the bedroom ..

00.42 .. I climb into bed .. Karen stirs .. we exchange kisses then it’s lights out .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2083. Sunday 22nd August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

Back in our own bed is bliss .. and I slept really well. Recently I’ve been emptying my water glass most nights, but really not aware of doing it .. must be drinking in my sleep .. no laying awake worrying anymore.

07.15 .. The alarm goes off ..

07.22 .. I get up .. post comfort break I go make some tea .. while the kettle boils I weigh myself .. 14st 9 ½ lb .. well it feels a lot worse than that .. hopefully the excess will fall off quickly like it did after my return from Nanda’s a few weeks ago.

I return with the tea, I put the TV on .. then have to get up to turn the freeview box on .. we don’t want football .. BBC News 24 sorts us out .. we snuggle up while the tea cools .. as always I finish mine first, so I curl up with my head in her lap .. purr, purrrrrrrr .. << smiles >>.

08.10 .. Up and at it .. I head for the shower .. my hair can wait till tomorrow .. so a quicky routine is in order.

08.45 .. I’m dressed and sorted .. I head downstairs to sort the kitchen routine .. however I go to boot the laptop and main PC with the full intension of copying last weeks pictures from the laptop to the main PC while munching .. but I get carried away .. finding friends on my new Facebook profile, the intension is to separate my real life everyday contacts from my old profile that buses my web name and has mainly “virtual” trans friends.

Before anyone takes exception .. there are quite a few of my real friends on there too .. Alison, Christine x 2, Martha, Frankie and others I’ve forgotten to mention ..

09.15 .. Arghhhh .. look at the time .. I rush to the kitchen and sort the kitchen routine .. where’s my pills .. found them ..phew.

Thinking that Sparkle was nearly full .. we do a car shuffle and put Violet at the back of the drive ..

09.31 .. We are on the road to collect Claire .. I thought Sparkle was filled up, but she’s not .. so we need to stop for fuel. In Egham I have a lucky escape .. Karen’s stopped a bit further forward on pump 3 than usual, and I open the door onto a post I couldn’t see .. luckily there is no damage.

09.52 .. We join the M25 .. well the really good news it seems they have really finished the widening works clockwise from J17 to J19. As J17 will be my exit when I start my new job .. that should improve traffic flow no end .. << smiles >> .. I’m thinking of doing a dummy run on Friday the 3rd Sept ..

10.10 .. We join the M1 .. it’s flowing really well .. famous last words.

10.35 .. We come to halt a few vehicles back from the front of a queue .. created by a rolling road block that stops .. grrrrr .. why do they need to re arrange cones at this time of the day ???

10.40 .. We are rolling again .. but now we are going to be late for Claire’s pick up .. DOH.

10.48 .. We are clear of the 50MPH zone .. and 7 minutes late .. Mrs Schummaker comes out of hiding and she lets rip in Sparkle for the first time .. with a nearly empty M1 she’s actually holding back a little .. it will be interesting to find out what sparkle will do one day .. it’s supposed to be the same as Red .. and I know she would actually do at least 8mph faster than claimed on V power .. speedo verified by our TomTom. 

11.04 .. Karen’s made up 3 minutes in that short blast .. Claire see’s our car drive in and we can see her starting to flap her arms in excitement .. as she does .. we are greeted with hugs and kisses and she gets into the car.

11.07 .. Back on the road .. the M1 is really clear .. Claire is now a little quieter than normal .. we have to hope she’s not going to give us grief later.

11.59 .. Sadly the same can’t be said initially for the M25 .. the queues through the road works anti clockwise are long and slow .. but past junction 17 .. all is good.

12.30 .. We leave the M25 ..

12.43 .. We are home ..

13.10 .. Lunch is served .. a ham sandwich, crisps and dips, olives .. a slice of fruit cake and some a cup of tea to wash it all down.

Post lunch I transfer my diary back to the PC and check a few things .. I find an off line message from Kirsti on Yahoo .. I reply ..

16.28 .. We head for my mums, Robert comes too .. as we get to Egham Claire asks Karen for Apricot jam for breakfast .. Karen says we’ll have to buy some ..

16.48 .. We arrive at my mum’s .. OK it’s been a couple of weeks .. but life repeats itself with my mum.

I sort a couple of issues for her, then she starts on about a few things .. like how her sense of taste is getting worse and worse. What happens next gets a “spooky” from Karen and I .. she pulls a jar of Apricot Jam out of her fridge and offers it to us .. she can’t eat it anymore because she can’t taste it .. so is Claire a psychic ? .. I wonder how she’d do with lottery numbers !?!  

17.58 .. It’s a relief to head for home .. via the garage again to fill Red up ..

18.25 .. We are home .. I start the disposable BBQ going ..

We surprise Claire with the new garden chair we bought for her in Devon .. she likes it .. and happily sits in it ..

18.50 .. ish .. it’s ready to start cooking .. chicken drumsticks and some Bratworst sausages I bought home from Nanda’s a three weeks ago ..

The BBQ starts to fizzle out rather early I think. Previously I’ve bought individual ones from Waitrose, but as we’ve now decided to wait for the autumn sales before buying a decent one I bought a three pack of single use ones yesterday from Waitrose. The packing says it’s the same as the single ones from the same company .. “Buy three and save” .. but on closer inspection they are slightly different .. the one from the three pack is shallower, so I guess it holds less charcoal than the one still sitting to one side from 2 weeks ago ..

19.30 .. With the help of a gas blow lamp heating the bottom of the tray gently we’ve managed to finish the foods cooking .. three spare drumsticks to eat cold with lunch tomorrow ..

I put everything away including Claire’s seat, that’s when I find a “weight limit 90KG” label .. oo er .. a quick sum Claire’s weight is .. << oo er >> .. but it all still seems straight without any sign of stress .. 

19.40 .. Karen takes Claire up for her bath .. I go prepare some Strawberries. I open a pack of Waitrose Strawberries .. there are some enormous ones .. the three biggest alone, hulled and cut up .. way 117g .. wow ..

20.05 .. Karen and Claire return .. strawberries and ice cream all round .. lovely.

Karen makes a cup of tea .. that helps down the ritual popcorn course that Claire expects on her evenings home before bed. 

20.20 .. ish .. I head off for friends John and Julie, it’s Julie’s birthday today .. I take her a card and box of chocolates ..

20.35 .. ish .. I’m there, gosh the drive is stuffed with cars .. 5 of them I think .. I’ll have to reverse out later.

I’m greeted at the door by Paul, their eldest son, Adam soon joins .. followed by Julie fresh out of the bathroom .. John then appears, still very disabled by the stroke he had some time ago.

We exchange family news.. Paul is starting teaching IT at a local school in two weeks .. I tell them about Karen and I and apologise for not being in contact in the last 6 months. Julie will call Karen soon so we can restart having a regular chinese or Indian with them .. at their home.

20.58 .. I head for home ..

21.17 .. I am home .. Karen is still up .. we chat about what was said at J & J’s.

21.40 .. Karen heads up to bed ..

21.50 .. I head for bed too ..

22.27 .. I’m in bed too .. Karen turns the TV off and we snuggle up for a while .. passions rise .. << smiles >>.

Nightie night ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2084. Monday 23rd August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept really well, things are so much happier in my life now that relaxing is not a problem .. no longer do I lay in bed, dreading, waiting for the phone to ring.

08.02 .. I wake briefly and take a drink from my nearly empty water glass .. I soon dose off.

09.15 .. ish .. I’m woken up by voices on the landing .. Karen and Claire’s.

09.26 .. Up and at it .. a quick pit stop and I head down to sort the kitchen routine ..

10.50 .. I finally head for a shower .. full monty time .. luxury .. first dose of conditioner for my poor hair for weeks .. feels lovely later.

11.40 .. I’m getting dressed, problem is many of my lower half’s with “fitted waists” .. don’t fit anymore .. the diet restarts tomorrow .. maybe .. it needs to work quick otherwise I’ll need to buy more jeans for starting work again, but some are serious tat now .. maybe I should buy a new pair too.

As Karen takes Claire up to bath I switch the PC on .. time to do more sorting on my two Facebook profiles .. moving work / personal friends without “Trans Issues” to my new profile .. it’s taken a while to go through my friends list and do this. Fact is everybody there has known me for years anyway .. but starting a new job .. where people may not necessarily know my history .. I feel it would be nicer for them than to discover something, which is down to my discretion now .. << smiles >>. 

13.05 .. Lunch is served .. the same as yesterday really, with the addition of the cakes make by Claire ( Karen ) earlier .. topped with something special .. a little clotted cream .. mmmmm.

13.35 .. To the PC .. I find Yahoo off liners from Linda and Kirsti .. I reply to both ..

14.10 .. We are on the road to take Claire back .. rather early but this is a Monday .. it feels rather odd .. Karen is surprised before she realises that our bank in Sunningdale is open .. LOL. There  is more traffic on the road for sure ..

Karen gets cut up twice by a black VW Beetle .. after the second time we discover why .. the chap is on the phone .. OK, I do that too sometimes, I am not alone for sure .. using the phone when driving that is .. but if you can’t drive when using a phone like he couldn’t .. DON’T .. grrrr.

14.30 .. The M25 is busy ..

14.40 .. Into the road works beyond J17 just before J18 and the road works it grinds to a near halt. We are using up the 23 minutes of spare time we started with according to Jane rapidly .. this is really bad ..

15.17 .. We finally join the M1 .. we are now 2 minutes behind Jane’s schedule .. it seems to be running a lot better than the M25 ..

15.35 .. The first set of road works comes and goes without incident .. except for some amazing rain .. and we are being help at 50mph all the way into the second set of “active” roadworks .. hmmm .. more time lost.

15.47 .. We leave the second set of roadworks .. it’s stopped raining .. but the surface water and spray are horrendous . .the sun makes an appearance and illuminates the spray making seeing ahead even harder .. Mrs Schumacker will have to remain in the bottle. We are 9 minutes late now.

16.09 .. We arrive at Northampton services .. her car awaits .. she happily decants from our car to the homes ..

16.14 .. We head for home .. the weather ahead seems to be clearing up nicely now .. just a little spray occasionally to cope with.

16.31 .. It couldn’t last for long  we meet a queue heading into the second set ( from home ) road works and things grind to an intermittent crawl ..

16.38 .. A police 4 x 4, “2 & blues on” hurtles down the hard shoulder .. hmmm .. the blue patchy sky is covered by a large grey cloud .. and more rain .. lovely.

16.52 .. In the roadworks, right under J13 there has been a multi car shunt .. some have been cleared it appears .. two more to go. Soon as we are past it the speed picks up .. just like the rain .. British summers .. “Great Britain” .. LOL.

17.12 .. We join the M25 and another queue but once through J18 the queue clears and we are soon doing 70mph ..

17.44 .. We go through M25 J16 towards home .. this will be my route home around this time from two weeks today .. it’ll be interesting to see how quickly we get home .. at the moment Karen is getting “gonged” by Jane for some reason .. << grimace >>. OK we are still in School holiday zone .. so this isn’t a fair test .. it’ll be 3rd week in September onwards before the traffic gets back to “normal”.

A couple of miles on we get into the controlled speed limit zone .. 60mph  

17.48 .. We cross J15 .. a overhead sign says “SPRAY SLOW” .. the road is bone dry and the sky is 80% blue space ..

17.50 .. OK I should have been paying more attention .. we join a queue going under J14 .. I would have done an “Up and Over” here .. probably saving quite a bit of time .. the speed limit is now 40 .. we wish !!!

17.55 .. We are now level with the ramp back on at J14 .. from experience it’s a lucky escape .. the up and over would have taken 2 minutes max .. today .. less.

17.58 .. We leave the M25 .. I’d say the A30 is a little quieter than normal ..

18.17 .. We are home .. 90% blue sky .. lovely .. except Roberts taken both parking spaces outside the house .. grrrrrr. Karen gets Robert to move his car.

A cup of tea hits the spot ..

While waiting for dinner and things .. I decide to go and clean the windscreen on Red on the inside. Driving back earlier, when it started to mist is was clear that the fitter who fitted it a 10 days or so ago didn’t clean the drivers side properly .. that’s soon done.

I decide to do the windscreen on Violet too, then try an external glass polish / cleaner on the drivers door glass and door mirror. This “Turtle Wax” product is supposed to repel water, so the glass stays cleaner, and apparently if used on Windscreens almost eliminates the use of windscreen wipers .. but I’m not risking the windscreen yet.

19.28 .. Dinner is served .. grilled chicken done with pasta and mushroom and Madeira cream sauce .. it’s lovely .. dessert is Strawberries .. what no vanilla ice cream .. we have to “slum it” with samples of two different clotted creams .. << grins >> 

21.19 .. I’m on the bed ready to start the drudgery .. it’s been 11 days and I’m just a little nervous .. the glass of red wine with dinner has helped I guess.

21.55 .. I’m cooked .. well that was quite easy in the end, but then I am much more relaxed, and able to relax that much easier not worrying about calls from work at all hours.

22.25 .. I’ve cleansed and I’m ready for bed .. Karen goes to sort herself out.

22.50 .. Karen returns to bed ..

Passions rise .. I’m glad that this can happen here too .. << smiles >> .. life is so good now.

00.26 .. I turn the lights off and take a drink .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2085. Tuesday 24th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

Blissful sleep .. << smiles >>

06.00 .. ish .. I’m disturbed by Karen putting another blanket over me “you look cold” .. I was a little .. she’s up to have a comfort break ..

08.30 .. ish .. We are awake .. Karen gets up and makes the tea. We cuddle up and watch the news ..

09.05 .. ish .. I need the loo, so I go sort that and do a quick freshen up .. I notice my mouth is swollen again .. now what on earth has triggered that from yesterday’s food ?  Before returning to bed I weigh myself .. 14st 7lb .. well that’s improving.

09.35 .. Up and at it .. I head down after Karen to do the kitchen routine .. breakfast is in the lounge watching TV.

Our BT hub phone starts to ring .. somebody offering us a cracking deal on our house building and contents insurance which is due very soon .. I let him try to do his job .. will just have to wait now for the written quotation.

10.20 .. I boot the PC to check more of my e-mails.

I answer an e-mail from a friend at “the old place” .. interesting developments there too ..

11.20 .. Karen heads out to see her friend ..

12.35 .. I head to the bathroom to sort the routine .. just a quickie today ..

13.20 .. Lunch .. it’s the return of PAB .. hopefully the weight will fall off more.

13.30 .. Post lunch I’ve got two sink fulls of washing up to do .. a dish washer will be part of the new kitchen when we get it eventually ..

14.18 .. The washing up is sorted .. phew .. I go to the PC ..

14.32 .. I open Skype and see Nanda’s on line .. I give her a call ..

15.05 .. I say goodbye to Nanda, and answer some off liners on Yahoo from Kirsti, Dawn and Lucinda ..

Chats with Julie ( long time no see ) and Linda on Yahoo ..

Hazy pops up for a chat too .. it’s been a while ..

17.50 .. I’m hungry .. I go make a cup of tea and find some biscuits .. some I bought home from Germany .. lovely .. << grimace >> .. what diet is this .. << sulks >>.

18.05 .. ish .. Karen is home ..

19.08 .. I head for Budgens ..

22.30 .. I spend a long time trying to set up an Advert with Autotrader for Red .. in the end I have to give up when after multiple attempts .. I fail to upload a picture ..

00.30 .. I climb into bed .. nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2086. Wednesday 25th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

22.58 .. I’m in bed .. passions rise ..

23.40 .. lights out .. nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2087 - Week 299 - Thursday 26th August 2010.

Day 2087. Thursday 26th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.35 .. Up and at it .. I go do a weight check .. 14st 4 ½ lb .. that’s a pound a day off since returning from holiday .. I need to continue that way ..
15.35 .. I head for the charity shop in Sunningdale with stuff from my mothers for them to use ..

Dinner is served .. a cold pork chop with a salad .. dessert is strawberries and yoghurt ..

23.35 .. I’m in bed .. passions rise ..

12.55 .. I turn the lights off .. nighty night ..

More to come ...

Day 2088. Friday 27th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept really well again ..

08.15 .. I’m awake ..

11.32 .. I’m in the doctors ..

11.38 .. I’m called through to see the doctor .. it’s a slightly frustrating conversation.

12.10 .. I’m home ..

13.10 .. Lunch .. PAB .. but I do add some lovely brie and biscuits .. << sighs >>.

13.50 .. I go on line and try for a second time to place the advert in Autotrader for Red .. it’s really got to go. After I’ve placed the add, successfully at last, I find a lot of ads for similar aged care .. many are cheaper, lower milage, some are as expensive .. I suspect that few of the cars there will have the pile of bills we have got for the car .. << grimace >>.

14.50 .. I call my new company to talk to personnel about my P45 from the old place, and the MOD questionnaire pack I’ve not received .. I eventually get to a voicemail .. so I leave a message.

17.10 .. ish .. I get a call back from Joanne at the new company .. I can take the P45 with me Monday week, she will chase the MOD, she thinks she forgot to tell them I was starting earlier now .. oop’s.

My mother calls .. just to make my day .. NOT.
Karen makes a cup of tea .. it helps wash down the last of the fudge.

19.20 .. Dinner is served .. chicken fillet chopped up with Tagliatelle and a tomato and herb sauce .. dessert is strawberries and yoghurt ..

22.05 .. Karen heads off to bed .. I head for the PC ..

22.50 .. I head for bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2089. Saturday 28th August  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

08.10 .. I need a quick pit stop and then head down and do the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 2 3/4b .. << smiles >> .. YES,Yes, yes .. phew .. 6 3/4 lb off in 6 days .. I like that .. bet it won’t continue .. << grimace >>. I return to bed for a cuddle ..

08.35 .. I get up and make the tea ..

09.40 .. I really must make a move ..

10.40 .. I head for Lightwater, via the dump to lose 2 compactor bags full of shredded paper. A car wash for Red follows in Lightwater .. then pay our paper bill .. 

11.28 .. I’m in Waitrose in Sunningdale for a few items ..

12.16 .. I’m home .. I put the jewellers in Petersfield co-ordinates into the TomTom .. it says we need 58 minutes to go 40 miles .. that seems odd. We change our plans and have lunch at home, then dine out tonight ..

13.21 .. We are on the road for Petersfield .. I thought I knew where I was going, as far as fastest route is concerned, but Jane and Karen shouting “Petersfields left” ( cause of a road sign and what Jane was saying ) .. so I went left.

Grrrrr .. stupid TomTom .. it cuts us across to the A3 about 10 miles east of the disaster called Hinehead .. with the road works and this usual bottle neck on full form .. it adds ten minutes to our travel time .. and finally joins up with my cut across through Bordon about 5 miles from Petersfield .. DOH .. my route would have been hassle free. 

14.31 .. We enter Trevor Towner, Gold & Silver Smiths in Petersfield. Trevor is called through by a member of his staff to look at our wedding rings and sort them out. Mine is simple, it needs making round again and polishing .. Karens is more complex. He checks my ring size and compares it to the ring forced onto his gauge .. the same.

Karen had her wedding ring cut off about 2 months ago because it was about 5 sizes too small now and cutting off the blood supply in her finger .. not good .. a lot of pain. The jeweller measures her finger to get a snug fit .. then forces her cut ring onto the gauge to the same point .. it’s going to need a fair chunk of gold dropping in. Sadly the hall mark was cut through when it was removed .. that may need redoing.

The rings will be ready in a week to 10 days cause of the bank holiday .. ho hum. He’ll let us know when they are ready. It feels really odd as we leave not having that ring on my finger ..

We go for a walk around the town, which is quite quant .. there’s a farmers market on and a general market too .. nice .. we buy some olives and some garlic, as in peeled and ready to eat ..

15.43 .. We head for home .. I do a fuel stop in Bordon .. the basic Shell “Fuel Saver” is 116.9 .. better than Egham, but 9p more for V Power .. CRIMINAL .. so Red gets a dose of Shell “Fuel Saver” unleaded.

16.22 .. We are home ..

16.28 .. I head for my mums in Sparkle .. alone ..

16.38 .. I’m just pulling into Egham, when my mobile rings .. it’s my mother ..

16.43 .. I’m in my mothers ..

17.52 .. I can’t take anymore .. I head for home via a fuel stop in Egham ..

18.12 .. I’m home .. Karen asks what I’ve said to my mother .. she’s tried to call about 15 minutes ago .. soon after I left .. she wonders why .. I chewed off my mother a little for the letter she wrote to Karen a short while back ..

I use the sun to nip into the garden to dead head some rose bushes and a little tidy up ..

19.08 .. I’m back in doors ..

19.35 .. I dash up stairs to clean up and change ..

20.13 .. We head for The Bel Vedere Italian restaurant in Bagshot, this was the last place that the dining group I organise used as a “guest venue” ..

20.21 .. We are in the restaurant reception area, the manager spots us, walks over and welcomes us “Good evening Sarah, good evening signora”.

We are shown to a table and olives and bread arrive while I look at the wine list ..

22.40 .. We are home .. I do some diary notes for today while Karen heads for the bathroom ..

23.55 .. I head for bed .. 

More to come ...

Day 2090. Sunday 29th August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

10.30 .. Karen gets up and makes some tea ..

11.50 .. Finally up and at it .. I need to take my HRT.

17.35 .. I head for my mums ..

17.47 .. I’m home again .. briefly ..

18.10 .. I’m at my mum’s ..

18.58 .. I’m home ..

23.31 .. I head for bed ..

More to come ...                                    

Day 2091. Monday 30th August 2010.( Sarah is legally 5 years old today .. )

Memory Joggers ...

08.18 .. Oop’s .. up and at it .. I head for a quick shower and quicker hair wash .. Gary, Karen’s tree surgeon brother, is coming around at 09.30 to quote us to sort our garden out .. 

09.18 .. I’ve just finished drying my hair when I hear a rumbling diesel outside .. Gary’s arrived early ..

10.10 .. ish .. Gary heads for home ..

I sort my kitchen routine

00.20 .. I finally arrive in bed ..

Passions rise ..

01.40 .. Nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2092. Tuesday 31st August 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

19.45 .. We leave home heading for Hyns Chinese restaurant in South Ascot .. Amanda calls to say she’s just leaving and will see us there soon, I give directions, she soon knows where she is going.

19.55 .. We arrive at Hyns .. parking is a pain tonight, we later discover there’s a party going on inside in the hidden back part. As we are trying to park “Lucinda” and Margaret arrive, Lucinda is in her alterego mode .. they go round the block while somebody backs out and leaves.

We are seated in the window at a round table for 5 .. we order some soft drinks and start chatting.

20.10 .. ish .. Amanda arrives .. we soon sort out what we are eating, “Lucinda” chooses a bottle of Chardonnay for us to enjoy, Margaret refrains.

Well courses come and go and we chat about different things .. we offer to share our duck course with L & M but they decline.

Our usual friendly waiter is quite jovial as usual, he’s seen Karen and I many times .. last time 5 weeks ago last Friday .. the day I left the old place. He refers to me by my first name a lot and just before the main course arrives he presents me with my glasses case from 5 weeks ago .. apparently after he found it he dashed out to catch me but we had gone ..

The main courses arrive .. Margaret gets two massive battered chicken fillets as a portion for her sweet and sour chicken .. by the end we are all pretty well stuffed.

Our waiter clears away and brings out the dessert for the set menu .. accept he’s put 2 extra portions on so L & M can join us. Amanda joins me in a coffee ..

22.25 .. ish .. I ask for the bill and I work out the sums £156+ inc 10% service .. “Lucinda” suggests a 5 way split, I say no as she and Margaret only had a couple of courses from the menu each were the three of us had Karen and I’s usual Chef’s special house menu. It’s soon sorted ..

We head our own ways .. we say goodbye to L & M last as their car is close to ours, Mandy’s is across the main road. Karen and I hope Margaret is happy to have joined the group and finally met me .. I know it’s early times still socially for them, we can only hope she got the right impression.

22.40 .. ish .. We are home .. Karen heads up and sorts herself in the bathroom ..

23.56 .. I finally climb into bed .. it’s just a snuggle up tonight .. nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2093. Wednesday 1st September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

11.30 .. We finally leave home heading for West Wittering .. I drive the outward journey and head across country as if we were heading for Selsey Bill via Chiddingfold .. a really gorgeous village.

13.08 .. £5 to park the car .. hmmmm .. such is life. We thought we were being clever by going today .. the place is heaving .. we drive down towards where the beech curves round into the entrance to Chichester harbour .. and find a place to fit Red in.

Knowing high water will be about 15.40 ( GMT ) .. I’m keen to find a patch of beech that I can be sure is just above the expected high water mark. The thin lowest band of sea weed is the give away, and I know it’ll be higher this after noon as the tides are moving from neeps to springs.

13.22 .. I’ve built a camp for the two of us using my 40+ year old fishing umbrella and two of the brilliant wind breaks my mother made for us many years ago ..

15.30 .. ish .. I go for a paddle in the sea alone .. leaving Karen to snooze a little ..

16.40 . .I look round the wind break .. we chose well the tide has come up another few metres further than the weed mark .. and we are 10 to15 metres safe of that ..

We settle down for lunch as it’s that time.

18.08 .. Car packed, I drive off while discussing what we are going to do food wise .. we agree on Chichester Marina Club, we’ve been there before a few years back .. the food is always good quality and cheap enough.

19.42 .. I head back to the car to grab my camera .. the sun is setting .. time to grab a shot or two looking along the two thirds of the marina from the club house towards the lock in the sunset .. lovely ..

19.52 .. I go and order some desserts and more drinks .. Karen goes outside to call Claire’s home on her mobile ..

20.20 .. We leave the club house and cut across to the Ancastor Marines sales office a few metres away to see what they have for sale .. they have a few old Westerly’s but not the varieties I’m interested in.

20.30 .. ish .. We head for home, with Karen at the wheel ..

21.10 .. We are driving towards Bordon when Karen asks me to redirect the air vent on my side to the side window .. gosh the car is really steamed up .. I switch the air con on .. then realise I’d pushed the air to recirculate before Chichester Marina when we drove through some smoke .. DOH .. I push the lever across .. gosh what a sudden difference .. LOL.

21.44 .. We are home ..

More to come ...

Day 2094 - Week 300 - Thursday 2nd September 2010.

Day 2094. Thursday 2nd September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.00 .. The alarm goes off .. it’s new job dummy run job.

06.12 .. Up and it .. I head for a shower and give my hair a wash ..

06.48 .. I head downstairs to dry my hair ..

07.55 .. I head out to Red to do my dummy run .. I put Jane up and select my destination.

07.59 .. A moment early .. I head for “work” .. the traffic down the M25 is pretty typical, with a 7 minute queue to the A30 roundabout by the M25 ..

08.17 .. I join the M25 .. it’s busy .. but it’s not crawling .. when I get to J16, the M40 .. I ignore Jane and head east one junction to pick up the A40 / A413. There can’t be much difference between routes, as Jane almost immediately plots me the new route taking me through Chalfont St Peter’s “high street”. One worry will be winter snow and ice .. there’s a lot of hills here.

08.41 .. I’m in the lane into the new place and stop short of the security barriers and hut .. well it’s been pretty consistent over the three trips I’ve made. I do a three point turn and stop at the exit onto the “main road” .. I study the map on the TomTom looking for another way home.

08.51 .. I think I’ve found a way so I go and try some country lane “rat running” .. but I make a mistake and rather than ending up on the A40 west of the M25, I end up on the A413 somewhat North on Chalfont St Peters .. I’ve done 6 miles to go a lot less .. DOH. I’ll have to play with routes next week to see what I can work out.

09.02 .. I resume the A413 route home, heading for Waitrose ..

09.41 .. I’m in Waitrose .. gosh this is the time to shop .. not a lot of people in here.

10.35 .. ish .. I’m home, I unload the car and fill the fridge ..

More to come ...

Day 2095. Friday 3rd September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.22 .. Oop’s .. we’ve slept through the alarm ..

06.25 .. Up and at it ..

07.45 .. I boot the PC and check my e-mails and change my Facebook status on both profiles ..

08.50 .. Finally on the road for Gosport .. the traffic is kind to me at this time as I decide to go the M3 / M27 route to Fareham.

10.08 .. At Fareham the cheap Esso garage still is .. 112.9 for unleaded, Red gets a dose of “Supreme” at 119.9 .. amazing.

When I return to the car I notice a missed call from Bob’s mobile .. I return the call. 

10.22 .. I arrive outside the marina where Bob is waiting for me .. I pick him up, he hands me a free car parking card .. I drive in and open the barrier with it ..

10.29 .. ish .. I’m on board the boat .. where to start .. a cup of tea and a ginger nut or three ..

New Feruno Navtex install .. “simples” .. and for once a boat install goes pretty easy. A quick test of the system with the aerial installed shows that the NMEA connections are the wrong way round and this unit pulls everything else down .. soon rectified and all works.

Fitting the new antenna is a delicate job standing in the narrow walk way outside the boat .. if I go overt it’ll be a hard landing on the pontoon a few feet below ..

I use the old Navtex antenna cable to pull a “mouse” through .. to draw the new cable in .. this means removing the “N” type from the cable .. not too much of a problem.

With the hull gland reassembled on the cable after a fashion .. it’s time to pull the new cable back into the hull luckily I can lean on through the bridge door and pull on the “mouse” gently while feeding the new antenna cable into the tight whole .. it takes a while but success.

Bob can’t find any silicone rubber or mastic to reseal the gland .. bum ..   

13.10 .. We stop for lunch .. Bob makes me a cheese and ham sandwich .. I use my fruit as a chaser for that .. giving Bob slices off my apple and pear.

13.30 .. ish .. Lunch is over .. the next project ..

Bob has an Icom DSC Command-mic to install on the flybridge .. there is a cable that needs to connect it to the M505 radio on the bridge below. Well .. the original wiring path from bridge to fly bridge, point to point should only be 2 -  3 metres .. but during the original install they took the wiring down into the bilge and back up .. why ? .. cause they could.

With the flybridge instrument panel out .. I can see the roof mounding for the side of the roof which has two aerial cables running through it. After a little discussion with Bob he agree’s my plan to drill a whole with a tank cutter inside the instrument panel into that moulding. Nervously I do the drilling .. success. I soon have the 6 metre extension cable fed under the fly bridge chart table from under the helm wheel .. through the new hole and pulled through the whole front edge of the bridge roof to the port side instrument housing .. connected to the VHF. 

Next job is to mount the Command-mic near to the flybridge helm, then mount the connector through a whole I have to create under the flybridge wheel .. again soon sorted .. Bob goes off to buy a new tube of sealant.

The external loudspeaker for the VHF RT, to be mounted under the wheel panel too .. is another little problem. The mounting goes easily .. but it refuses to work .. Bob remembers there is a “secret menu” in the Command-mic that enables that external loudspeaker .. but not how to access it .. and he’s not got the instruction sheet for the command mic.

Bob calls ICOM .. and asks for their technician to talk to me .. introducing me he says .. “this is my engineer, HIS name is Sarah” .. grrrrrrr .. I bite my tongue .. but the technician isn’t immediately available .. they agree to call us back.

While we wait for the call back on Bob’s mobile .. I seal up the gland and secure everything with the Navtex aerial on the Port side.

Bob’s phone rings .. it’s the technician .. again he does it to me .. “let me pass you to my engineer, HIS name is Sarah” .. I’m quietly fuming ..

17.15 .. I’m finally on the road for home .. I call Karen as I approach the M27 .. Jane is saying I’ll be home at 18.52. Karen tells me there is a message on the answerphone from a woman wanting to have a look at Red ..

18.39 .. I’m home .. didn’t Red do well .. but the MPG is showing 45.2 .. oop’s.

I make call to the woman who wants to look at Red .. she seems really keen, but suggests it’s over priced. I explain the situation with what we’ve replaced recently .. she’s very interested still .. she’s going to leave immediately to have a look and drive it .. so our dinner goes on hold.

19.25 .. “Vicky”, husband and baby arrive .. a quick show around, and I take “Vicky” for a drive out, while hubby minds sleeping baby .. she drives back. On the way back I invite her to try the brakes “properly” .. she’s quite timid and even on a second “harder” attempt doesn’t trigger the ABS .. but she’s very happy.

19.45 .. She loves the car and want’s it .. husband isn’t sure .. they sit in their car and I go back in while they discuss it ..

20.00 .. ish .. Vicky comes to the door .. she does want the car, she needs to work on her husband .. she’ll call tomorrow to let us know one way or the other.

20.15 .. ish .. Dinner is finally served .. a cold pork chop salad .. followed by a Waitrose “pot au chocolate” .. lovely ..

22.50 .. I head for bed ..

23.20 .. I climb into bed .. we snuggle up for a while before sleeping.

23.45 .. Lights out .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2096. Saturday 4th September  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.13 .. Up and at it .. it needs to be a quicky routine .. but with the sun blasting in the bathroom window .. it’s ideal plucking conditions ..

07.29 .. ish .. Karen is banging on the bathroom door on Robert’s behalf .. eh what .. hmmm.

07.34 .. I leave the bathroom ..

07.40 .. After sitting on the bed for a few minutes I head down stairs and do the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 4lb .. << sighs >> .. up on last week ..

Back to the bedroom to dress .. purple crops and purple flowery top.

07.48 .. I’m back in the kitchen to sort the routine there ..

07.55 .. Post breakfast I start to do a quick clear up in the lounge .. ready for Claire’s visit .. to be honest we have such a lot to do here still .. << sighs >>.

09.25 .. We are on the road to Northampton .. in Red .. hopefully for the last time in her ..

Hmmm .. what’s happened to yesterdays weather forecast for today .. wall to wall blue sky this is not ..

09.40 .. We join the M25 .. it’s moving well ..

10.03 .. We join the M1 .. all looks good ..

I try to get my Sarah phone to reconnect to our TomTom for hands free .. but it won’t play ball .. each can find the other .. connect initially then the phone drops the connection. I try deleting all the settings in both phone and TomTom .. I do the pairing operation afresh, they find each other and the passwords are entered .. but still won’t play ball for more than a few seconds.

10.51 .. We arrive early at Northampton services .. no sign of the homes vehicle, and Karen is desperate for the loo .. so she parks up and heads for the services building ..

10.59 .. Karen returns ..

11.01 .. Claire arrives .. the transfer is soon completed and we head for home .. ETA 12.32.

11.50 .. As we leave the M1 we join the back of the queue on the junction to the M25 itself .. once we can see down onto the M25 we can see there’s a breakdown or accident where the slip road joins the M25 .. it clears as we get there .. but not for very far ..

12.15 .. We get to J18 and the traffic queue disappears .. lovely .. ETA now is 12.52 ..

12.28 .. Karen tries for an up and over at J14 .. but loses out slightly.

12.33 .. We leave the M25 at J 13 ..

12.53 .. We are home ..

To amuse Claire I put Karen and I’s “Purple Passion Pagoda” up in the garden .. she laughs when I let go of the folded up “pancake” and it springs up to be a tent .. she’s soon inside and wants me to go in too, I get her cushion, and return later to get the blanket she asks for.

13.25 .. Lunch is served .. for Claire and I inside the tent .. Karen sits outside on a chair .. she could have got inside with us ..

Lunch is a coronation chicken filler sandwich .. some crisps and a dip, olives and sun dried tomatoes with Feta cheese chunks .. washed down with cranberry juice. Cake is a malt loaf shared 3 ways .. lovely.

After lunch I open the post and find a note form the jeweller in Petersfield .. it implies our rings are ready to collect, even though we thought it would be next week .. a phone call confirms it. So that sets a plan for later.

Claire happily lays in the tent during the afternoon, I take my “handbag” glasses off and hang them on a hook inside the tent. I leave her after a while as she doses off .. and go do some more searching for missing invoices for Red’s recent work .. and do some other clearing too ..  

15.22 .. We head off to Petersfield to collect our rings ..

16.08 .. We park in the High Street in a 1 hour bay and I walk across to collect the rings, Karen stays with Claire. In the shop the business is sorted very quickly, the woman behind the counter from last week has a young male trainee working with her, so the card transaction takes a while.

I put my ring on straight away .. it’s lovely and shiny now, and round again .. looks more like a woman’s wedding ring .. I’ll have to be more careful from now on .. avoid bending it and doing “rough work” unprotected. Karen’s ring gets put into a fancy bag out of the clear plastic bag it was in.

16.17 .. I’m back in the car .. we head for my mothers place .. Karen is reluctant to try her ring on now .. which  I find hard to understand.

17.12 .. We arrive at my mums ..

Mum is in her usual condition .. playing for sympathy. For months I’ve been telling her that her “lack of retention” as she keeps telling us maybe the onset of Alzheimer's disease .. which she’s always got aggressive about and poo poo’d. Now her “wonderful nurse” who does her bathing has said the same .. and now she says she might have that and she’ll have to change the way she needs to do everything.

She got a list of things .. the top one is “Karen letter” .. I assume she wanted to clear the air with Karen ( one lives in hope ) after what I told her last week .. but now she can’t remember what that was about .. so goes on to the next thing .. hmmmm.

18.25 .. We leave my mums .. we stop in Egham to top Red up again .. then head for home.

18.49 .. We are home .. I need to get the barbeque lit .. Claire goes and makes camp in the tent again, but facing out .. she looks quite cute .. in a Claire way .. Karen takes some photo’s including me at the barbeque ..


It's hot sitting over a mini barbecue .. but it's a fun time .. doesn't it get dark earlier now !!!

19.10 .. ish .. The barbeque, 2nd box from a pack of three is alight .. and like the first from this pack it proves to be quite feeble .. I’m going to try returning the last of the three pack to Waitrose and explain my feelings about the apparently identical single pack and money saving 3 pack boxes .. grrrrrrr .. with maybe ½ to 2/3 of the charcoal in the multi-pack units.

19.40 .. The barbeque is fizzling out .. even with Camping Gaz blow lamp assistance .. Karen takes the chicken pieces I have no chance of booking to put in the oven to finish off .. they’ll be lunch tomorrow. I find and put my “tree light” ( 300W halogen flood light ), place it on the garage roof and light up the oak tree .. it’s starting to get dark with the unexpected cloud cover.

20.05 .. We’ve finished eating .. Karen takes Claire for her evening bath .. I put the tent away and put the garden back to order. Before going back to my invoice hunt and shredding I go prepare our strawberries.

I can’t find my glasses .. where did I leave them ..

20.25 .. Karen and Claire return just as I finish the strawberries prep .. and dish out some ice cream. We retreat to the lounge to eat them, I sit along side Claire before Karen hands her strawberries and ice cream to her.

Karen offers her some sprinkles on it, just as karen goes to sprinkle out the pink ones Claire asked for, Claire throws her bowl across the room .. landing on the carpet a few feet away .. that’s the end of her dessert for tonight. I sit and eat mine in front of her, but not before scooping up her wreckage and putting it in the kitchen. Claire knows she’s done wrong ..

Karen goes up and gets ready for bed .. we have drinks and popcorn afterwards .. Claire should not get any popcorn I feel .. but she does ..

22.45 .. The film I was watching finishes .. gripping stuff about American agents .. so I head for bed too .. a final hunt for my glasses .. maybe I buried them while searching through papers earlier . .they’ll turn up ..

23.15 .. I’m in bed .. Karen finally reveals she’s got her ring on .. but ..

23.25 .. After some sharp words about our rings and weather to have a blessing service or not .. I’d sooner roll over and sulk .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2097. Sunday 5th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I didn’t sleep as well as I have recently .. I’m just a little stressed starting the new job tomorrow.

09.05 .. We are awake .. after a little closeness Karen gets up for a comfort break .. Claire is disturbed by something and I can hear her .. I put Claire cam on the bedroom TV to see what she’s up to ..

09.12 .. Karen has got Claire up, after last nights incident I have to get up to .. I do a quick pit stop as I follow them down.

Breakfast and pills sitting next to Claire in the lounge .. she starts asking to try my cereals .. I let her have a some when I’m nearly finished.

09.45 .. I head up for a shower, but need to do one emergency nail repair after last nights accident with it.  However on close inspection, two other nails are just hanging on .. so I do them too, reusing the old reinforcing as I’ve learnt to do, just need to do the other three later tonight.

10.25 .. I’m finally in the bathroom .. to shower .. it’s a full monty, but I hold back on the conditioner, hoping to get three days out of my hair .. mind you with the new job and no motor bike, hair will be less of a problem in the mornings .. << smiles >>

11.02 .. I’m clear of the bathroom, I get dressed and head down stairs .. to dry my hair, Karen’s located the “big bill” for Red .. we’d mislaid several of the bills which have slowly come to light as we clear our lounge.

11.10 .. Karen takes Claire for her bath as I finish sorting my hair. I boot the PC and check my e-mails.

11.30 .. ish .. Claire returns and I dry her hair .. while Karen goes and showers. Claire lays out on the settee when I’ve done her hair, she soon doses off ..

PING !!! .. I remember taking my glasses off in the tent yesterday .. I pull the tent out from behind a chair by the French doors and have a feel .. phew .. I can feel them inside .. I open the tent indoors .. Claire laughs .. I retrieve the glasses and re-pack the tent .. it takes 2 attempts again .. LOL.

12.10 .. ish .. Karen returns .. Claire is snoring at times ..

I’ve added all the bills up for the red car since March, we’ll make a paper loss on that money if we don’t get our £2800 asking price. Karen seriously suggests selling Sparkle and keeping Red as it drives better, and we’ll make less of a loss.. Karen, having suggested selling Sparkle now that the novelty has worn off .. I’d want to swap numbers between Red and Sparkle if we do that .. the current “personal plate” on Red is my old male initials, but that will cost at least £160.

14.05 .. We are sorting a few things in the kitchen .. Karen starts talking about Red and the perspective buyer we saw Friday .. “I don’t want it going to any old buyer .. I want it to go to a decent home, like the young woman yesterday with the baby” .. we both love the car .. we have been so many places in her over the years, and till the exhaust failed it had never let us down on the road, we don’t consider the battery dying when 37 months old in the drive way a let down as such.

14.22 .. We are on the road with Claire .. in Red .. Karen’s favourite again at the moment.

14.35 .. We join the M25 .. it’s running really well ..

I answer the text message I got from Vicky yesterday re the sale of Red, letting her know that yesterdays customer was a no show, and that now Karen and I have found all the bills since March this year .. £2759.**, and the fact Karen prefers driving Red to Sparkle, she now thinks we should insure it and use it to save the miles on Violet ( whose done 16K in her first year ) and Sparkle. If we don’t sell Red, we will keep her.

14.49 .. We join the road works queue in the 50 mph zone just before J18 .. what joy .. Jane says we have 21 minutes in hand for Claire’s rendezvous .. we may well need it ..

14.59 .. We join the M1 .. we’ve used up 4 minutes of spare time .. the M1 is alaso moving well at this point and time ..

In one section of the motorway roadworks, Karen is doing 50mph in the outside of the two lanes, and articulated lorry roars up behind and starts flashing .. hmmm .. Karen holds her ground. Half a mile later out of the contraflow the lorry driver starts to pass Karen up the inside and doesn’t quite get clear when the speed limit changes .. Karen overtakes again and just holds position for a while .. the lorry driver looks incredibly young !!!

 15.50 .. We arrive at Northampton southbound services .. seconds later the home car pulls in too.

15.55 .. We are back on the road ..

Knowing what’s waiting for us on the M25 I start playing with Jane, and discover a feature using “browse map” .. I set a new course that will allow us to bypass the M25 from the M1 to where the road works on the M25 finish at J18 .. keeping “outside” the M25 .. a drive in the country .. << smiles >>.

16.12 .. We pass a massive smash in the contraflow lane coming the other way .. it’s only just happened in the last minute of so .. several very damaged cars and one partially buried to windscreen level under the raised back of a sports car ..

16.20 .. We see the start of a flood of emergency vehicles heading down to the accident in the two lanes of the main carriageway opposite .. headed by a fleet of police cars .. finally we see an ambulance and a fire engine ..

16.25 .. As we draw to where the contraflow starts they are still letting cars go down there, none of the police vehicles that have screamed by have stopped to shut it off ..

16.26 .. A motorway works truck is seen with in the outside lane approaching the contraflow with it’s big arrow saying pass to the left .. he’ll be closing the contraflow .. and about time, after 200 or so cars have entered it .. it’s a very long section .. about 7.5 miles I think.

16.42 .. Karen has missed the exit so we carry on .. option is to try inside the M25 . .but Karen opts for the M25 ..

16.46 .. We join the queue on the slip road to join a stuffed M25 .. ho hum.

16.48 .. Once on to the motorway it does seem to move .. at 30mph .. but not for far .. after a mile we are doing 4 - 10 mph.

17.25 .. We finally leave the M25 ..

17.40 .. We are home .. time for a cup of tea and think about things for tomorrow.

17.45 .. Karen has made the tea .. we sit and eat a “Claire” cake and some biscuits ..

23.05 .. I head for bed ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2098. Monday 6th September 2010. ( First day at “the new place” )

Memory Joggers ...

05.55 .. The alarm goes off ..

06.08 .. After a brief cuddle it’s up and at it ..

07.54 .. I’m finally on the road, a little later than intended ..

08.40 .. I’m parked up opposite the security building and go in to introduce myself .. the guard starts me filling in a visitors pass then recognises my name .. “Stop, I have something for you” .. a PAC fob with my name on it. He says he’ll call ahead to where I’m going and alert someone.

08.48 .. I enter what I refer to as the main reception, nobody there .. so I stand like a lemon, a couple of people walk past me on their way in, then a woman comes in and asks if she can help .. she goes off to find someone. Ten seconds later my immediate boss, Jon, walks in and welcomes me, I follow him through to the engineering area and he invites me into his office.

Well the morning is a lot of admin, I go see personnel who relieve me of my P45, then into finance to meet people, and to get the department head to program my gate fob to open all the doors engineers need around this companies area of the site.

I get introduced to some of my new colleagues .. Tracy the administrator for the “technical” dept, Peter who joined last week.

Boss Jon takes me through some H&S stuff, and walks me out near to the gate to see our fire assembly point .. “L” ..

12.25 .. Lunch, Jon escorts me to the “Canteen” taking his sandwiches with him .. I go for Garlic chicken with sauteed potatoes .. and a banana .. £4.10 isn’t bad .. the food really was quite good.

13.25 .. We wander back to the office ..

17.35 .. I leave the office ..

18.20 .. I’m home .. and pretty happy too ..

Chats with Kirsti and Gillian from USA ..

22.46 .. I head for bed ..

23.15 .. I’m in bed .. I massage Karen’s right shoulder for a while .. she’s hurt it at work today ..

23.30 .. Nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2099. Tuesday 7th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

05.55 .. The alarm .. a quick snuggle.

08.05 .. I’m late getting on to the road ..

09.07 .. I’m in the office .. boss Jon is cool .. realizing the problems for everyone today .. several arrive after me.

I’m having a problem with names .. I do a rough floor plan and fill in the 6 names ( inc mine) I can remember of the 15 .. and ask Tracy to fill in the blanks .. she does it happily .. << smiles >>

12.02 .. We all head for one of the conference rooms for a medal ceremony .. and buffet lunch .. well it’s all very nice for sure .. one of my colleagues has spent over 5 years in days in Afghanistan ..

13.25 .. I return to the office with a colleague .. chatting about technical things ..

Jon gives me a project .. it’s a set of “broadcast over consumer “internet access” network” kit made by Comrex, to get working.

17.44 .. I leave the office .. heading across country to Maplin’s in Slough . .to try and get mum a new watch battery .. I fail ..

19.16 .. I’m home ..

19.35 .. ish .. Nanda calls me on Skype from Holland .. we chat for a while, she’s not feeling to good at the moment ..

20.15 .. Dinner is served .. chicken fillet salad .. followed by bio yoghurt with granola and honey .. all washed down with water.

Yahoo chats with Martha and Lucinda ..

22.15 .. I head to bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2100. Wednesday 8th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

12.40 .. I head down to the town / village .. but the road is now closed like they have been threatening with signs for the last two days .. so I follow another from our site .. single track road down to Chalfont St Giles, then follow my nose to get to “our village”.. it started to hiss with rain as I got into the car ..

12.50 .. I’m in the village, the rain hasn’t happened here .. 4.5 miles to go about 1.1 miles. My job is to find a Jewellers to get a watch battery for my mum .. I go into a “we sell everything” type hardware shop .. to look around .. amazingly they stock a massive range of watch batteries, including my mum’s rare one .. I get two.

I explore a little more of the village before returning to the car and heading back the long way .. I remember the way too !!

13.26 .. I’m back in the office ..

15.00 .. ish .. Boss Jon asks me to go into his office .. oo er .. but it’s actually good news .. I’m offered a trip to a site in Alberta Canada .. starting on the 27th for ten days .. he wants me to check with home to make sure everything is ok. Seb will be my partner on this trip / installation project, he’s going to take two days leave at the end and come back later .. to go sight seeing or something. I’m shown the map of where it is, looks quite close to Jamie’s place .. so maybe I could do the same ..

17.10 .. I get through to Karen and discuss my news .. sadly it’s a Claire weekend in the middle .. but we are going to have to learn to cope with this in the future ..

17.45 .. I finally leave for home .. going the “long way around as the road is still closed the shorter way ..

More to come ...

Diary .... the next 4 weeks....

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