Sarah's Transition Diary .. weeks 301 - 304


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

Day 2101 - Week 301 - Thursday 9th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

05.55 .. The alarm goes off ..

06.10 .. Up and at it .. I need to wash my hair ..

08.50 .. I’m in the office .. this mornings route was 26.2 miles in 46 minutes, door to door, and I kept the speed down to 60mph only .. Red’s returned 56.2 mpg .. if I can repeat that daily that’s going to save me a shed load on my last job.

I spot a job that has been logged in the fault reporting system .. it’s an easy one really .. but gets my name into the system visibly.

12.30 .. I start my fruit lunch ..

I meet Seb, one of my new colleagues whose been out on the road the last three days .. he’s the person I’ll being going to Canada with to do a project with ..

I’m invited to a “send off” for the “new boy” whose taking over full time in Germany in a week or two .. apparently it’s starting off in a village pub, then crossing the road to an Indian .. it’s next Thursday night .. of course I accept ..

17.45 .. I head for home via my mothers flat in Egham to drop her watch off .. the traffic isn’t too good on the M25 ..

18.38 .. I’m in my mothers .. I hand her the watch and I get a few of her troubles before I have to excuse myself ..

18.55 .. I head for home via the garage in Egham to top Red up a bit ..

19.18 .. I’m home .. I need to get ready for the pub and tonight’s meal .. I quickly check my home e-mails ..

19.58 .. I arrive at the pub .. I’m the first .. I get myself a drink and sit at a table near the fire place .. Amanda soon arrives, I get her a drink and we chat while we wait for Julie-Anne.

20.10 .. ish .. Julie-Anne arrives .. we move straight to the dinning room .. good thing I didn’t book tonight .. LOL .. there’s only about 6 others in there on two tables .. we choose a table on the garden side.

22.31 .. ish .. I head for home ..

23.10 .. I’m in bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2102. Friday 10th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

05.55 .. The alarm goes off ..

08.11 .. Oo er .. I’m a little late leaving, knowing Friday traffic should be light .. and I need to go the long way around .. as I know the “main road” past the site is closed about 100yds towards the village due to water main work ..

I don’t spare the horses or fuel .. good thing as I need to go the long way around to because I don’t know if the road linking the village to the site will be open .. good call .. cause it’s not as it turns out.

08.50 .. 28.8 miles later .. I’m in the car park .. 39 minutes door to door .. but Red’s only managed 43.2 mpg .. ho hum.

12.55 .. I’ve just washed my hands to start lunch when the lights in the office flicker .. soon the phones are ringing .. no lights in some of the main office blocks .. then calls telling us we are off air.

It’s all hands to the pumps .. we are running on the UPS .. except it’s not done it’s job properly and there was a dip in output as the power failed .. and most of the digital systems .. computers, servers and audio matrix have all gone down or latched up ..

As for the UPS .. it’s got a countdown timer to show when it’ll run out, and another showing when the diesel generator will be started by the UPS .. 5 minutes after power failure starts .. the UPS itself with it’s massive battery bank can run the CTA and clearly engineering offices for 15 minutes .. allegedly ..

14.00 .. ish .. there’s been a lot of running around .. for much of the time I’ve just been a spectator trying to take in what the experts are up to.

16.30 .. ish .. The mains power is back .. and the diesel generator shuts itself off.

19.58 .. We head for Hyns in Sparkle .. I drive there, Karen is offering to drive home .. I’ve done that the last few times out.

20.08 .. We are in Hyns in South Ascot, again, well the food is good.

22.00 .. ish .. We have coffee’s and are given fortune cookies for the first time .. then much to our amazement we are offered a “liqueurs” or another drink on the house before we leave .. I go for an Armagnac .. it’s not a brilliant one but at least it’s a pleasant thought and recognition of our continued and frequent custom .. the third time there in 7 weeks.

22.30 .. ish .. I pay the bill and Karen drives me home .. hic ..  

More to come ...

Day 2103. Saturday 11th September  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

03.45 .. I head for the loo .. and notice my face and tongue is swollen ..

Once sorted in the loo I head for the kitchen via my handbag to get one of the 4mg anti histamines my doctor prescribed for these situations .. 

04.05 .. I’m back in bed ..

09.15 .. Karen has bought me a cup of tea ..

10.10 .. Up and at it .. a comfort break then head down and do the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 7lb .. sob, sob .. that is very disappointing ..

22.30 .. Time to head to bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2104. Sunday 12th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.00 .. Karen wakes me with a cup of tea ..

09.24 .. I'm at the PC and logged into the BBC site to take part in the anti pope retoric on TV ..

09.28 .. A production assistant talks to me and asks what my views are and why .. I explain what I am and what the pope has said about us .. he's going to pass me on to the producer ..

09.35 .. The producer looses my picture while we are talking and asks me to log back in afgain .. so I do ..

09.38 .. The producer is really interested in gettin me on air because of my view point from a pope damned minority .. so I'm queued to be on at about 10.53 ..

10.52 .. The producer tells me they’ve lost my picture .. so can’t come to me and it’s too late to log out again ..

11.00 .. Time for breakfast, I take a folic acid supplement for the first time ..

11.15 .. I’m in the bathroom for a quick shower .. 

11.50 .. ish .. I’m in the road with my bike to give it a good clean ..

13.40 .. Karen calls me in for lunch .. I’ll continue with the bike later ..

Lunch is the same as yesterday really .. ham sandwich, olives, garlic cloves .. all washed down with apple juice .. cake is a couple of “Welsh cakes” ..

14.10 .. Back to the bike .. last bit of cleaning then a little bit of polish.

Error .. having worn gloves while chemically cleaning the wheels and other bits, I start using Turtle wax RED polish, without gloves. I’ll be going to work tomorrow with stained hands .. DOH.

15.40 .. The bike looks good if you don’t look at the engine or fork legs .. the screen, instuments and mirrors I’ve treated with “rain ex” .. I go for a ride ..  

More to come ...                                   

Day 2105. Monday 13th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I had a really strange night ..

05.55 .. The alarm goes off ..

08.03 .. I’m on the road ..

08.45 .. AH .. the A413 is down to one lane ahead of me and there’s a ½ mile queue to the next roundabout .. time to go exploring ..

Well that turns out to be a right turn of luck .. I’ve found another corner cutting road, that is really quiet this morning ..

08.52 .. I’m in the car park ..

08.55 .. I’m in the office ..

12.15 .. I head for the security gate after receiving an e-mail inviting me to go change my fob pass for a proper photo one ..

12.25 .. I leave the security gate proud possessor of a company phot pass ..

17.05 .. I spot an email from the “despatch” department .. the mail room .. they have a parcel for me !! Tracy shows me the way across .. it’s my new monitor for home ..

17.40 .. I leave the office to collect my car and bring it to the office door .. I’m not going to carry the new monitor to the car park .. it’s a little drizzly anyway ..

17.48 .. I’m finally on the road for home ..

18.38 .. I’m home ..

More to come ...

Day 2106. Tuesday 14th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

Blood test !!!

More to come ...

Day 2107. Wednesday 15th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.00 .. The alarm goes off .. up and at it ..

18.10 .. I finally leave the office ..

More to come ...

Day 2108 - Week 302 - Thursday 16th September 2010.

Day 2108. Thursday 16th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

18.30 .. I’m home ..

19.30 .. Yes .. dinner is served .. proper food .. winter is coming .. a jacket potato, decent sausages and “Branston” baked beans .. the best ones we think now ..

More to come ...

Day 2109. Friday 17th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

05.55 .. The alarm goes off ..

10.01 .. I’m in Chiswick Honda for my bikes MOT ..

11.02 .. The service chap comes and finds me .. bad news .. apparently my front disc pads have only got 10% and although the brakes are working fine .. it’s a failure .. hmmmm. So it’s another hours wait while they change both sets of front disc pads .. if I’ve done them in the past it’s taken me 40 minutes .. so why does a “professional” need to take an hour to do it !!??

12.20 .. My bill is ready .. £143 for the new disc pads, an hours labour and the MOT. I’m told to wait for a “little while” while the bike receives a free Valet .. NOOOOOooooo .. it was brilliantly clean I explain when I bought it in .. he rushes out to stop the valet before it’s started. I go sit in the waiting area again.

I’m taken out to the bike, there’s a big splodge of grease on the polished fuel tank .. I’m not amused. A rag is found and it’s rubbed off.

12.26 .. I finally leave Chiswick Honda ..

12.55 .. I’m home .. was that the last ride on my bike .. time will tell ..

More to come ...

Day 2110. Saturday 18th September  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.55 .. The alarm goes off ..

07.10 .. Up and at it .. Robert is in the shower so my comfort stop has to be downstairs ..

07.22 .. It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 4 3/4lb .. that’s more like it .. a week non proper PAB lunches at work seems to help things, despite last nights Chinese..

07.28 .. I return to the bedroom with cups of tea .. but Karen has got up .. she returns to bed to drink her tea ..

07.42 .. Up and at it part 2 .. I head for a shower ..

09.15 .. Hoovering done, I nip out and check the petrol situation with Red .. It’ll get us to Claire and back .. if all goes well ..

09.22 .. We walk out to Red that is parked in the road .. and start chatting to the Inge, the German wife from next door .. they’ve just come back from Germany recently. Chat is about Claire and my new job, she asks Karen about coping when I go away .. she and her kids got used to husband John travelling away so much in his job .. it’s the effect on Claire’s visits home that will be the main problem.

09.32 .. We are finally on the road .. they’ve started some drainage works on the A30 on Egham Hill again this morning .. they did loads of work here 5 or so years ago .. was a real problem even on the bike during that time .. there is only two ways around that for me, I bet everyone else will be doing that too in their cars.

09.48 .. We join the M25 .. it’s moving well this morning .. Karen tells me that the home told

10.05 .. We enter the M25 road works at J18 .. all is running well .. in our direction, but in the other .. oo er .. Karen suggests going home “the other way”. Good thing we didn’t use the contra flow lane going our way, as it’s backed up .. I spot a Ford Galaxy type “Mini Cab” with it’s hazards on, cars trying to squeeze by it.

10.13 .. We join the M1 .. it’s moving well for the moment .. Karen is getting “dunged” by Kate quite a lot .. not quite Mrs Schumacker though ..     

10.22 .. We join the back of some near stationary traffic at J10 .. this isn’t good .. our “spare time is now negative on Kate’s display ..

10.36 .. To call the home or not .. we start to roll faster .. so I put off calling, especially as we have heard there is more trouble at Watford Gap, beyond J15A where we stop .. but that could well affect the home coming from the other direction.

More bad news .. a sign tells us that the M1 is shut J16 - J18 North bound .. we hope it’s not going to tail back past J15A.

10.52 .. We are out of the road works .. Kate recons our ETA is now 11.13 .. and the road is to busy for Mrs Schumacker to show what Red can do ..

11.00 .. The RDS kicks in on the radio and we get a traffic report .. the M1 is tailing back from J16 to J15A .. we have another 8.8 miles to go .. we are doing 65 - 70 with fingers crossed.

11.10 .. Things get heated when I suggest we play it safe and leave at J15 .. I put a road block into Kate and it plots a route that adds 7 minutes to our ETA assuming the M1 was going to do 70 all the way to J15a

11.28 .. We finally arrive at Northampton services .. the homes car is waiting. Claire seems to be in a good mood despite the fears Karen voiced earlier.

11.32 .. We are back on the road southbound .. they are queueing for J15A on the other side for a couple of miles .. racing at Silverstone today clearly isn’t helping either.

As the M25 is hell .. we’ve decided, to try another route home .. I’ve plotted a route with Kate to take us across from J8 towards where I work .. then we can drop down onto the M25 via the M40 .. gosh getting Claire at the moment is such a pain .. travel wise .. roll on a couple of years to lose the road works.

12.03 .. We stop at some services so Karen can have a comfort break .. she has a head ache too .. so I swap sides and drive ..

We leave the M1 at J8 and head west .. Red is feeling thirsty so I give her 10 litres of Texeco 97 ron. We continue our journey .. heading west then cutting through Amersham. I take a diversion to show Karen where I work .. well the outside .. the primary set of ram proof barriers are closed.

13.00 .. ish .. We head for home from work via a route that Kate put on me the other day .. past a “mobile home park” where Karen lived 30 years ago during her first marriage .. it has changed a lot since then .. looks quite posh now.

13.46 .. We are finally home ..  

While Karen makes lunch .. I stick the tent up in the garden and let Claire set up camp in there .. I join her.

14.03 .. Lunch is served .. Claire and I do lunch in the tent .. Karen sits just outside on a chair. A ham sandwich, olives, crisps and a dip.

14.25 .. ish .. Claire and I lay down in the tent .. I’ve got a couple of her blankets from the lounge and cushions.

It’s very relaxing in there, listening to the birds in the trees that remain after Gary’s murder of our garden yesterday .. so much so that after I get Claire to quieten down we both fall asleep .. allegedly .. Karen took some pictures inside the tent while we snored .. 

16.45 .. ish .. we head for my mum’s .. via a lottery shop to get a ticket or two .. Claire’s picked a set of numbers .. with so many things she seems to be able to see the future .. however it later proves this doesn’t extend to the lottery .. << sighs >>.

17.21.. We are in my mum’s .. it’s multiple job day .. I have to tighten up a mirror on her broom stick / mobility scooter .. then fit a valence to her bed .. she has off course bought a bizarre type for some reason .. that we have to stick velcro tags onto the base .. which the thing sticks too .. hmmm .. do I sense moans about it in the near future .. time will tell.

17.58 .. Karen suddenly realises she’s left my mum’s ice cream and cheese in the car .. I rush out and get it .. it’s not that solid when I get it, but I’m sure it’ll be ok.

18.38 .. We head for home .. via a fill up for Red in Egham ..

19.05 .. We are home ..  after some umming and erring it’s going to have to be Pizza night with Claire .. after about 5 trips on the trot doing barbeque’s for her, we’ll have to call it off tonight .. it’s too late, too cold and getting  dark .. so I make the call ..

19.21 .. I’m back with the food .. we make quick work of it. I go to the kitchen to get Claire some ice cream, only to discover when Karen took my mothers ice cream out earlier, she’d left the freezer door open a crack .. the ice cream is soft .. oo er.

23.45 .. I’m in the bedroom ..

00.12 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2111. Sunday 19th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.00 .. ish .. Karen brings me a cup of tea ..

09.20 .. Up and at it .. after a comfort break I head for the kitchen to sort my routine there ..

I eat my breakfast then boot my PC .. after a short while I start chatting to Lori from America, on Facebook chat .. she is a heroine of mine .. years ago she was a co founder of the original Yahoo SRSinThailand group that helped me so much before Tina Marie stole and destroyed it. My GRSinThailand group is trying to emulate her original group .. and she’s a member to guide us .. she’s a great example to everyone..

10.35 .. I’m in the bathroom .. a quick bit off “defuzzing” then it’s a full monty in  the shower ..

11.22 .. I’m out of the bathroom .. and let it be known .. nobody seems to be in a rush ..

Claire arrives for me to dry her hair post bath .. and starts asking for a barbeque for lunch .. sadly it’s too cold and the sky, despite the weather forecast is very threatening.

I exchange messages on Facebook with Seb from the old place. Turns out he runs Tony Blackburn’s Facebook for him and he accepts the friendship request from a while back .. now I can answer his jokes .. LOL. Seb asks about the new place I work for .. “fabulous” I tell him.

Back to the PC .. I’m flicking between my two Facebook profiles .. the one here quite a few people know about, and my “stealth” one, well it’s not stealth really as most people there are work colleagues old and new who know my history anyway. I spot Tracy  from my new work on line have a chat with her .. she’s down in Bristol staying with her sister, to see the roll out yesterday of the new A380 airbus.

12.50 .. Lunch is finally served .. a  chicken / sweetcorn / bacon sandwich filler sandwich .. olives, crisps and dips ..

13.58 .. We head off in Red to take Claire back .. rather earlier than we would normally .. to go via Waitrose in Sunningdale to see if they have any of the free “Royal Dutchy” chocolates left .. 

14.10 .. I’m in Waitrose .. I can remember a few items off of the shopping list Karen had created this morning .. so as I head through the store  I get them too .. I also collect the free chocolates which amazes me. I get my mum another 4 pack of Duracell “Active Charge” rechargeable batteries .. that adds 50% to the bill ..

I pick my usual check out to use, the familiar face, whose very chatty, asks me which paper the voucher for the chocolates came from “cause I’ve seen loads of these today” .. “yesterdays Daily Telegraph” ..

14.25 .. Back in the car we head directly for Northampton .. forgetting about the road works on Egham Hill .. DOH .. we loose about 5 minutes for 3 changes of lights.

14.43 .. We join the M25 .. it’s running really well at this time .. even through the road works .. in both directions.

14.58 .. Spoke too soon .. we hit the back of a queue as we approach J19 .. doing 0 - 8 mph .. I plot an escape route from the junction but Karen ignores it ..

15.18 .. We pick up speed again as we come to the end of the contra-flow ..

15.21 .. We join the M1, we’ve lost our time buffer .. we are now 4 minutes behind time all ready.

There’s been a couple of accidents south bound .. Karen wants to take the other route home .. 

15.54 .. We leave the restriction of the M1 roadworks, having lost another 5 minutes or so .. wooosh .. Mrs  Schumacker is back out of the box ..

16.08 .. We arrive at Northampton (south) services .. unload Claire into the homes vehicle and I have to go .. I head for the services building for a comfort break ..

16.28 .. I return to the car .. Karen quips did I empty the toilets of everyone .. ha ha.

16.30 .. We are back on the road .. heading for Oxford .. to get home another route .. then I hit on a plan .. let’s set Kate to take us home .. avoiding motorways .. so she takes us down the A5 initially .. but our ETA has grown by 40 minutes, assuming no traffic jams on the motorways that we have seen .. so we will probably break even but see some nice country side into the bargain ..

The A5 passes Milton Keynes .. I’m guessing the main hobbies here are fishing and dingy sailing .. so many lakes, so many boat parks with loads of masts .. looks really nice as we go past.

I start to guide Karen following my nose .. we take the A418 towards Aylesbury .. it’s new dual carriage way that Kate knows nothing about .. we follow it till it ends and joins the old A418.

After a few more miles towards Aylesbury I set Kate to take us home the fastest route .. she’s added 10 miles to the journey instantly, but  reduced the time by 15 minutes .. we will see.

DOH ..

17.35 .. We end up rejoining the M25 at J19 !!! .. grrrrr .. and a crawling queue for a while. We are going to buy a paper map or two for the cars so never again are we taken for a ride by Kate and her creators .. about that Garmin I was going to buy a few months ago .. << grimace >>.

18.19 .. We are home ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2112. Monday 20th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

More to come ...

Day 2113. Tuesday 21st September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

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

08.40 .. As I approach M25 J16 to the M40 east bound peal off I look up and spot the M40 is stationary .. arghhhhh. I decide to head on to J17 and let Kate plot me a route back .. she gives me an ETA of 09.10 and has added 12 miles to my journey .. I put my foot down.

08.59 .. I open the barrier with my pass ..

09.04 .. I’m in my office ..

12.45 .. Post lunch .. APBO .. I head out in the sun into the grounds of the complex to take a few photo’s around the complex to show Karen .. and stick on my other Facebook profile .. “THE NEW PLACE” .. 

15.35 .. I leave the office heading to see the company doctor who is based in Stoke Poges .. however the road works in Gerrards Cross is causing major hold ups .. time ticks by ..

Through the roadworks I fear being late so I push on ..

15.59 .. I’m parked outside the Lanes Medical Centre ..

16.06 .. I’m finally called through to the doctors surgery .. Dr Cheese is really nice .. he's taking over the customs / immigration letter writing I need for trips from my GP. We chat for a while and I hand him the list of my current prescribed medicines .. he’ll do me an open dated letter, if my HRT changes then he’ll re-do the letter.

He then went through the list of jabs I have to have .. just talking about them made me feel faint .. and he realised it. He'll do them as and when needed .. << grimace >>.

16.25 .. I head back off to work .. I risk Gerrards Cross centre again, but this time I drive through barely stopping at all.

16.40 .. I’m back in the office ..

17.40 .. I head for home ..

More to come ...

Day 2114. Wednesday 22nd September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

12.20 .. Lunch time .. APBO .. Apple, Pear, Banana, Orange ..

12.40 .. I give Dr Cheese’s number 

14.35 .. I start the trip to the “town hall” as apparently “The Canteen” is referred to

17.15 .. ish .. I’m reorganising the pallet to get everything on it as I had for the trip from the storage unit .. as I lift the second speaker back on I loose my balance .. drop the speaker and fall backwards over the pallet onto the ground .. bum .. that hurts. Peter asks if I’m OK ..

17.20 .. ish .. I drag the pallet truck back to the storage unit .. followed by Peter and James .. hang on a minute .. maybe I should be doing the “following” rather than the dragging ..

17.45 .. I head for home ..

18.25 .. I call Karen while queueing to get across the Pooley Green railway crossing .. it takes three liftings of the barrier for me to go the 100yds or so and get across .. grrrrrr.

19.25 .. Dinner is served .. it’s a pork chop, salad and new potatoes .. dessert is a Waitrose “Pot au Chocolate” followed by a little chocolate ice cream ..

00.02 .. I climb into bed .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2115 - Week 303 - Thursday
23rd September 2010.

Day 2115. Thursday 23rd September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

More to come ...

Day 2116. Friday 24th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

More to come ...

Day 2117. Saturday 25th September  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 4lb ...

18.32 .. We drive past Two Point heading well West for a Tapas at Domingo’s ..

18.50 .. Stuck in traffic in Bayswater we are discussing the traffic, calling Claire and what we are eating .. turns out Karen wanted to go to Two Point, and only said Tapas as she thought I wanted it .. so I turn around ..

16.05 .. We are parked up in the Chiltern Street NCP ..

19.10 .. We are in Two Point

The manager see’s us enter, he later comes across and says “Welcome home” .. I introduce Karen to him as “my wife” .. 

20.50 .. ish .. we leave “Two Point” ..

21.29 .. We are home ..

More to come ...

Day 2118. Sunday 26th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.38 .. I’m awake ..

14.05 .. Lunch ..

15.05 .. I head for Waitrose and my mums ..

16.15 .. I’m in my mums ..

16.45 .. I head for home ..

17.02 .. I’m home ..

19.20 .. Dinner is served .. two pieces of “minute steak” with a salad .. dessert a little later is strawberries and ice cream prepared by Karen.

23.45 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2119. Monday 27th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

05.55 .. The alarm goes off ..

06.05 .. I wake with a start .. a quick cuddle

06.10 .. Up and at it .. I head for the shower .. it only needs to be a quickie routine today .. hair wash not required.

06.40 .. I'm back in the bedroom .. a very brief snuggle in my undies.

06.47 .. Karen gets up, I follow .. time to dress and get cracking ..

07.12 .. I'm sorted with all my breakfast and things .. time to finish packing. I've decided not to take my own laptop too .. so I get all the accessories I need from mine, web cam, usb phone, mouse etc, and make sure I have all the software I need and a chunk of diary copied and pasted into a Word 2000 document, saved to a couple of memory sticks.

The packing continues .. I weight the odd bags .. my main suitcase is limited to 23Kg, my carry on bag to 10Kg, my "personal bag" is 10Kg and I'm allowed a "purse" and a carry on coat.

Well I end up with 24.9 Kg in my main case ( inc some parts for work that are nearly 1.5 kg on their own. My carry on bag ends up at 10.1 Kg and my personal bag, to which they must mean a laptop given the dimensions they state are the same as that .. weighs a mere 6.9 Kg .. so I could take my laptop .. hmmmm .. I don't.

09.15 .. I head for my nail studio to sort hands out .. three nails need more than a little work .. in the end I've missed my right index finger .. it's cracked .. I stuff a repair kit into my suitcase.

09.48 .. As I run downstairs I hear the phone ringing .. my taxi has arrived he's outside, and early .. I peep outside it's one of those big Chrysler 300 things .. I continue to finish off my packing.

09.58 .. I open the back door and heave my case half out so it's visible .. the driver from the local "Village Cars" doesn't move. I head back into get my carry on bag .. still no movement .. finally when I return with laptop, handbag  ("purse") and my coat he's moved and got my suitcase out to the car.

Well guess who ends up lifting the suitcase into the back of the car .. moi .. he's a 70 + year old ex solder with bad hands .. it's too heavy for him to lift up !!! .. won has to wonder why he does this work then.

10.02 .. We are on the road .. gosh I regret telling him who I work for .. and had worked for till 3 months ago .. he's a DJ too in his spare time, and used to share gigs with Robbie Vincent, a DJ who used to work for my old company in one of it's guises.

On the way to the airport he's telling me his life story and fiddling with his radio / cd player trying to find my old station and then a CD that's a Jazz favourite of his .. as we go over the brow of the hill to Knowle Green he thumps the curb hard .. he then stops playing with his CD player.

10.32 .. We enter the tunnel to Heathrow, he's trying to persuade me he can drop me at terminal 1 and I can walk through a tunnel, as T3 roads were solid when he did an earlier run .. I persuade him otherwise .. and the roads are clear.

10.38 .. Outside terminal 3 .. it's down to me to hump my suitcase out of his boot and onto a trolley .. "you're a strong lady" he quips .. I bight my tongue .. ruddy good thing too .. having second thoughts about "Village Cars" .. just hope it's not him on my return .. as they are booked to collect me.

I enter the terminal via entrance "F" .. I scan around for friends and Air Canada .. I play a hunch and start walking down towards entrance C .. and find the Air Canada desks. I can't see Seb, so I get my phone out of my handbag ..

"Your not trying to call me are you?" says a familiar voice from behind .. it's Seb. He's already booked in .. thanks mate. So I go do the same .. I'm guessing we'll be sitting apart .. I'm not wrong.

We head up to go through emigration and then though the luggage check area .. well I guessed this wouldn't be straight forward .. and it's not. As I walk through the barrier the alarms go off .. just as they have for my carry on bag. A woman tries to give me a pat down .. her colleagues take the piss as she struggles to reach my shoulders .. then the hand held wand doesn't satisfy her .. though I've identified all my metal work .. so I'm invited to enter the body scanner .. it tales a while to give the green light.

Back at the baggage scanner I discover I've scored an own goal .. I moved my wash kit from my main suitcase to my carry on .. into the bin goes two containers of shampoo, one of body wash and another of conditioner .. grrrrrrrr. Isn't it ironic that my Epipen and it's needle was allowed through no questions asked.

After some time Seb and I get to walk though the duty free .. I top up on Stirling notes and enquire about buying Canadian Dollars. On Saturday in London I was offered 1.52 = £1. However in rip off Heathrow it's £1.45 everywhere .. and the "interbank" rate hasn't crashed over the weekend.

Seb has forgotten his headphones, so goes into Dixons and buys some. We need a drink .. so head off to a place to get some tea for Seb .. a hot chocolate suits me no problem.

Drink sorted, and consumed, I need a comfort break .. Seb guards my things as I wander off. Sorted, I return and Seb goes and does the same. On Seb's return he suggests we eat .. I go along with him and we order a meal in the same place .. Seb has a salad, I go for a Lasagne ..

12.32 .. Food and drink consumed, Seb pays on his company card then we go and head for our gate .. Gate 26.

12.38 .. We've arrived at the gate .. they are boarding already, but not our  rows yet .. so there is a slight pause. It's an Airbus A330, two engines .. so we'll be going the long way there then .. LOL.

12.50 .. The queues inside the aircraft are pretty big .. and it takes a while to filter through .. surely it would make sense to load the aircraft with the rear rows first. NO. You have to load people towards the back last, so they can't get past those sorting themselves out towards the front of that section .. DOH.

13.05 .. I'm seated, two rows back from Seb .. he's in 25H, I'm in 27K, a window seat, sitting next to a Norwegian chap who is a regular on this route.

We get all the pre flight announcements .. then a message from the captain saying there is a slight wait till we have a "slot".

13.22 .. "Push back" into the main area and the engines are started. After another short wait we join a queue of aircraft at the eastern end of the northern runway.

13.34 .. We are off .. a few minutes after take off I know Karen is just below me .. << sighs >>.

13.55 .. We've levelled off and we are told we can use things like laptops .. I don't need telling twice .. sadly the power point between the two seats isn't working .. so I'll have to use the battery. The entertainment system is switched on .. and it crashes .. a 20 minute reboot.

14.40 .. A meal is served .. it's a choice of grilled chicken or grilled steak .. I opt for the chicken.

15.40 .. I look at the moving map .. we are flying over Iceland en route to clip over Greenland .. 936 miles flow ..

15.50 .. We loose the in flight entertainment system for the third time .. another 20 minute reboot ..

16.30 .. The in flight entertainment is showing signs of coming back .. just a welcome screen that allows you to do nothing ..

16.50 .. I try to get my company laptop out of hibernation mode .. it now will not remember my password .. DOH .. and I can't shut it down in any of the usual ways .. so I "finger" it off.

17.00 .. We have the entertainment system back .. I wonder how long for .. but none of the power points have come back on .. so I can only work as long as my battery lasts .. we are now flying over the middle of Greenland, about 1/3 of the way up from the southern end. A hostess brings more water around .. lovely.

The laptop restarts .. and it allows me to log back in again .. gosh I wish I'd remembered to copy my MP3 collection from my own laptop .. another oversight .. DOH .. now I'm starting to wonder what I have forgotten .. << sighs >>.

For amusement, while listening to music from the plane .. I start looking through some of my photo albums I put on the company laptop .. I've got last years Thai picture set and the day from Bangkok in January 08. I find myself smiling, laughing and sighing occasionally .. some serious memories in those ..

18.30 .. We are well over half way there .. now flying over Canada, and we are being given little ice cream tubs by "Purbeck" and a drink .. I opt for the coffee just for a change .. I've drunk a fair amount of water so far ..

18.45 .. or should I say 11.30 given that we are now into Canadian airspace .. gosh this is going to be a long day .. I'm hoping now that the periods of turbulence we had earlier won't repeat .. time will tell. Well the laptop battery is fully charged again .. well it seems to think it is .. I might as well swap batteries and try charging the other one .. but I go back to my Thai album.

I start to weep at different times as I'm looking at photographs again .. for a whole host off odd reasons .. friends made in Thailand, the Thai people especially the Suporn Clinic girls and the fabulous nurses in the hospital. My last trip was to make some adjustments here and there.. rather than the biggie of the year before.

One of the things that saddened me much was it was during this trip Karen and I's relationship became a non relationship. This she voiced when we went to see a councillor back in January and February this year. I feared going home, but tried to ignore the apparent coldness I met on my return home.

Of course with this fab new job of mine, things between Karen and I have totally changed again, she's in love with me again .. and trying hard to get used to new feelings and sensations.

The excitement of doing my first foreign trip for my new company has been wiped out by going away from Karen for 11 days .. I'm already missing her .. at this time at home it would be cup of tea time more often than not sitting together on the settee.

12.45 .. ( Canadian central time ) .. I've finally changed the battery .. and I'm starting to yarn .. this is going to be a flipping long day.

13.00 .. Two and a quarter hours to landing time .. I wonder if I'll be able to raise Karen on a phone when I'm down. Off course we need to get through Immigration at Calgary and checked in for the 55 minute hop to Medicine Hat.

We run into a little turbulence again .. seeing the wings flap when that happens is a little odd. The travelling map is saying landing time at 15.11 .. it's also saying we've only come 2028 miles with another 938 to go .. I think when they rebooted the system it zeroed the milage .. DOH.

Looking out of the window I can see what  looks like some big storms off head and out to port .. a few minutes later we start to bounce around again .. flexing that wing .. oo er ..

13.16 .. My entertainment screen has frozen .. everyone else's seem to me ok .. DOH .. I report it to a passing stewardess .. she says they can reset mine alone .. time will tell.

13.25 .. More food .. this time it's a "posh wrap" .. the choice is corn or lamb .. I go for the lamb option. .. the box says "Lamb Hotpot" .. well yes there was plenty of pot, and it was very hot .. but I'm not sure if any of the lamb made it into my wrap. I joke with my Norwegian neighbour that if this Canadian food at "posh level" .. let's turn the plane around .. but then I notice the email address on the bottom of the package ..

13.41 .. Wow .. now we are bouncing around .. well timed .. trying to drink lemonade .. sadly my screen is still dead .. so I can't see where  we are on a map. The last the time I've bounced as bad as this was going over Sahara desert en route to Johannesburg many years ago at night.

13.50 .. Another announcement .. the stewardesses are now bring around Canadian customs forms .. lucky it's to hand in my handbag.

Miracles .. I even have a pen .. one of the recent cheapy ones from the old place .. years ago in the "good old days" they used to give away quality metal ball points .. I must get some refills for the ones I've "run out" at home.    

The annoying thing about that the announcement that just happened .. the screen in front of me displayed "announcement" then went blank again .. << sighs >>.

14.37 .. An announcement .. it's going to get bumpy as we start to decend into Calgary .. touch down is little over 30 minutes away .. so I better pack up .. I can see land out there very clearly .. << smiles >>.

14.40 .. Computer off.

Well the pilot wasn't messing when he said bumpy on the approach .. he made a few sharp banked turns as we came down .. exciting.

15.13 .. Touch down ..

16.20 .. ish .. We've escaped customs again, though the customs man who checked me out was quite inquisitive about what work I did.

So we head for a cup of tea, before going through luggage inspection again for then short hop to Medicine hat. I get my HTC phone working with my Vodafone £20 a month contract connecting through Rogers .. I get a text message .. Welcome to the Rogers network .. out going calls will cost £1.35 a minute .. Ouuuuch. I send Karen a text message .. which she answers ..

We head off for the Medicine hat check in .. and again I get the treatment .. scanned all over by another very short woman who is satisfied eventually. Then my carry on bag gets the empty out routine again .. I get the third degree from another Canadian official .. hmmmm. She goes through my wash bag, again taking things out and re bagging them .. why .. I'm at a loss.

17.00 .. ish .. Seb and I settle in the A2 gate area .. I try the free wi-fi .. which is free if your prepared to give some details away for 2 hours .. want to keep yourself to yourself .. they give you 15 minutes .. which having logged out and back in again I got another 15 minutes worth. Enough to check e-mails from work, log into Facebook and find a message from Karen .. which I answer.

17.30 .. Time to call it a day again for a while ..

18.32 .. We are airborne again .. in this 20 seater "cigar tube" as Seb calls it .. I'm in seat 4B .. which is by the emergency exit over the starboard wing .. the "captain / steward" explained how to open it if needed ..

19.10 .. ish .. We are back on the ground in Medicine Hat ..

We are met by Rory, the station mamnager I believe,  we sort the hire car out and Rory leads us to our hotel .. where he helps me by carrying / wheeling my main case for me up to my room .. 

21.20 .. We are in Montana's "Cookhouse" just across the road from the hotel ..

22.55 .. I'm back in my hotel room ..

More to come ...

Day 2120. Tuesday 28th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.00 .. The alarm goes off ..

08.05 .. I'm in the Jungle restaurant for breakfast ..

More to come ...

Day 2121. Wednesday 29th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.00 .. The alarm goes off ..

08.15 .. I’m in the Jungle restaurant for breakfast ..

09.08 .. Finally on the road .. I’m driving ..

We stop at “Timmy  Houlton’s” .. think Costa Coffee but half the price .. your not far off ..

09.58 .. We are at the studio’s ..

Seb finishes the TV routing work .. the suggestions I made to get around non working video DA’s have been approved over night so Seb loads another version of the control configuration program and completes the plugging of the “command” PC video and sound outputs.

I start to sort the little production studio .. listing connections by cable number to the old mixer, then removing it from the system ..

I consult Rory, the station manager about positioning of the new sound mixer ..

11.45 .. ish .. We try to start cutting the desk .. the jig saw loaned to nus by the Canadian part time engineer Mike Kress has a very blunt blade .. so we have to stop after a couple of inches and despatch Mike to go get some more blades.

12.30 .. An early lunch ..

21.45 .. We’ve finally called it a day .. lock up and head for the car ..

22.30 .. ish .. We are in the outskirts of Medicine Hat and looking for something to eat .. disaster .. I drive around various area’s .. Seb jumping out at various places to see if they are open and serving .. they are not ..

22.55 .. We have to eat .. so it’s the Macdonalds just across the road from the hotel .. well I must say, from memory cause I haven’t eaten in a UK one for years .. that the offerings here are far better than the UK.

More to come ...

Day 2122 - Week 304 - Thursday 30th September 2010.

Day 2122. Thursday 30th September 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.00 .. The alarm ..

07.18 .. I'm in the Jungle restaurant for breakfast ..

07.30 .. Surprise .. Seb joins me for breakfast .. he's not gone running this morning.

07.43 .. Back in my room .. I need to do an emergency repair on my rioght index finger nail .. while I'm doing it I'm chatting to Nanda in Holland, where it's coming up for 16.00 in the afternoon ..

08.06 .. We are on the road .. Seb drives so I can make some notes for a company report I've been tasked to do .. I do it here in my diary and at personal notes at the same time ..

08.38 .. We are in the office ..

11.15 .. We head of to the transmitter site ..

11.30 .. We are at the transmitter site to meet the Canadian part time engineer and one of his colleagues .. a chance for me to see whats what .. our FM transmitter is 702 watts, according to it's power meter ..

The Canadian doesn't have a spectrum analyser to line the dish up .. he's trying to  use a domestic receiver .. hopeless really ..

11.50 .. We head off back to Medicine Hat to get some parts .. stopping at "Subway" for lunch ..

13.50 .. We are back at the station ..

I buy some "Girl Guide Cookies" .. the little girl and her father are charming .. 

20.20 .. We leave the station .. we head for the base "Canex" to get some petrol .. or gas .. it's the longest fill up I've ever experienced ..

20.38 .. We are on the road for Medicine Hat ..

21.15 .. ish .. we arrive at the "Beefeater" in Medicine Hat .. it's very quiet ..

More to come ...

Day 2123. Friday 1st October 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.00 .. The alarm …

Post shower .. a chat with Lucinda .. now to be called Alex.

07.20 .. Breakfast ..

08.00 .. I’m waiting at the Budget rent a car for the staff to start ..

08.08 .. The Budget woman arrives .. She wants a lot of money a day for a car .. $51 + £29 a day waver insurance .. it’s an “Intermediate” size car ..eventually I agree on a “weekend deal”, this afternoon through to Monday morning for $91 plus the optional insurances .. I want to be worry free ..

08.22 .. After de-icing the car the car we are off ..

More to come ...

Day 2124. Saturday 2nd October  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 13st 1lb ...

More to come ...

Day 2125. Sunday 3rd October 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

Banff ..

19.35 .. I finally head back to Medicine Hat ..

20.45 .. I stop in Calgary for some food, a bowl of spicy chicken pasta and a slice of Carrot cake washed down with a glass of Sprite ..

21.25 .. Back on the road ..

23.40 .. I pull over at “Brooks” and go to a Tim Hortons ..

00.40 .. As I pull into the garage in front of the hotel to top the car up .. Im confronted by 4 police cars, one unmarked .. all with their lights flashing .. but they’ve pulled a Nissan Skylark .. phew .. after what I was doing 15 minutes or so ago.

00.45 .. I park the car in the Budget lot and empty it out .. it’s a struggle to carry everything in, in one trip ..

00.52 .. I’m in my room .. I rush to set the laptop up to call Karen .. but she’s gone .. so I call her mobile .. she’s stuck in our village at home .. Monday morning traffic ..

02.05 .. I set my alarm on my Sarah phone and get into bed ..  nightie night.

More to come ...                                   

Day 2126. Monday 4th October 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

05.30 .. TILT !!!! .. the alarm I set earlier .. has gone off an hour early .. sad thing is it wasn’t till I’d been up for 20 minutes that I realised my error ..

A chat with Linda ..

08.30 .. Seb knocks on my door ..

19.45 .. An evening meal in “Tumbleweeds Restaurant” on the west side of Medicine Hat .. it’s highly regarded as the best restaurant in town.

I have to try the Bison steak .. and I’m very glad I did .. gosh what flavour ..

21.30 .. ish .. Seb and I arrive back at the hotel and head for the Fountain Bar to use some of our “free” drink tickets .. well buy one, get one free ..

More to come ...

Day 2127. Tuesday 5th October 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

More to come ...

Day 2128. Wednesday 6th October 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.00 .. My alarm goes off ..

08.38 .. I head down to breakfast ..

09.32 .. I leave room 315 for the last time ..

10.15 .. ish .. We arrive at the radio station .. to be met by one very unhappy Dave .. seems all my work yesterday was to little avail .. but using the test gear in an empty studio enables me to sort the Yellowtec VIP Digital voice processor properly .. well at least check all the levels are OK.

I set to work in the empty studio as Seb heads off with Mike the Canadian engineer to try and set up the big dish at the FM transmitter site.

Well the original installation was terribly wrong .. no wonder I felt Rory’s voice last week was a little edgy at times. Using the test kit, I’m able to set the desk channel up precisely and see what the VIP Digital is really doing ..

12.05 .. ish .. I get Dave to come in and try the processor for size .. to keep him really happy I create a preset just for him .. “**** Dave”, and tweak the settings copied from Neils settings to suit his voice .. after 15 minutes of tweaking he’s really happy .. that’s what we want !!

13.00 .. ish .. Seb and I walk to the Canex to get some lunch and things.

I like the Canadian style .. a “Gormet” sandwich costing over $5 states “best before November10” .. OK .. 50% food ( roast beef, processed cheese and mustard in white bread ) .. 50% preservatives I guess. I buy some “beef jerky” to try and take home .. gosh it’s chewy but has an amazing flavour.

13.40 .. ish .. I call Karen to see how things are .. just 20 hours from a kiss and cuddle ..

13.50 .. I say goodbye to Karen, pack all my things up and get ready to go .. I head for the little studio to get into something more comfortable .. my long skirt, white camisole and white blouse .. and put some makeup on. 

14.20 .. ish .. We leave the radio station and head back to Medicine Hat airport ..

A fuel stop just before the airport gives me an opportunity to nip around the corner and get a picture of “Tumbleweeds Restaurant” .. place of our best meal.

14.55 .. We arrive at the airport ..

More hassles at security .. << sighs >>

16.12 .. We are airborne again in the “flying cigar tube” .. gosh I don’t like these, if only cause of the poor pressurisation . 

16.53 .. We are on the ground again ..

Seb guards my carry on stuff while I head for the ladies, he’s waiting for his bags ..

17.15 .. Seb is worried about his connection to Toronto .. his luggage still hasn’t arrived on the conveyor .. he says he’ll have to run for it when it arrives, so I say goodbye and head for a lift up  to departures ..

18.45 .. They start to board AC0850 .. I’ve got a port side window seat .. 49A .. 3 rows back from where the A330 plane narrows in the stern from 8 seats across to 7 .. yep three rows from the back, close to the toilet.

19.10 .. After a short delay we are off .. they expect us to arrive 15 minutes early in London ..

20.25 .. My food arrives .. I go for the chicken pasta .. well it’s edible .. washed down with airline red wine .. I know I shouldn’t.

21.00 .. The service was cleared away and I put my hair up into a scrunchie and try to snooze .. interestingly two of the stewardesses have bagged a three seat row next to me .. how come they get to eat with proper cutlery from proper plates .. hmmmm

I select some light classical music on the sound system to listen too .. to help me relax ..

More to come ...

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

Return to Diary Index.....

Return to page 1 (main page).....