We visited Portmeirion in Wales, with the aim of seeing the Rhododendrons in flower. Excellent weekend, not very bright, but at least it did not rain. Pictures will be on the web in a few weeks.
The Kingswood against Wotton BBQ and tug of war was a great success. The weather stayed warm and sunny. The unending supply of burgers and sausages produced by Ian and Julie Smith went down well. The pedigree was on form, being expertly poured by Annie Stanton . The only items not on form were the Kingswood teams. We lost all three tug of war matches. Thanks to Austin Lovell for adjudicating.
Afterwards Jake provided us with a buffet supper in the Plough and Anchor.
Pictures coming soon.
Selina is back from Liverpool having finished her third and final year at Liverpool.
This is the last full week at the bank for several weeks now. Left home on a lovely sunny morning with mist in the fields. Queuing up waiting to board, in our little Easyjet boarding groups of 30, I pomdered how the 30 tickets per boarding group actually translates into 37 plus people. Plane a little late arriving in a cool cloudy Edinburgh. I do hope it gets brighter this week, as I want to go out and take a few photos.
For supper Ed Aldridge, Joe Zamir and I met up at Zest for a curry and a few glasses of Stella. The place was quite busy for a Monday. Back at the hotel I had to open all the windows because the room was stifling hot with the heating on.
Down to breakfast dead on 7.00, no need to queue today. No Americans. Started off a cool cloudy day which improved through out. The evening was a lovely almost cloudless day, quite clear with a strong cool wind blowing from the East. Ed Aldridge drove off to the coast to surf. I decided to walk up Arthur’s seat and take some photos.
Near the top I was accosted by a middle aged man asking me if I could call his son, as his mobile had run out of juice. He had been up there all night and all day having slipped on the grass. We did not get through to his son. I left him, finished my walk to the top, took some excellent photos and then walked down. On the way down I met the man again. It turned out he had just become homeless, walked up to Arthur’s seat at 11.30 the previous evening for a place to sleep. Apparently many homeless sleep in the park, going to the top in the cold wind does not seem sensible though. He could not get down again as he had dizzy spells and loses his balance, and was partially sighted. I had wondered why I knew more about the layout of the park then him, who lived in the area. The white stick was the clue in the end. I helped him down the easier track, supporting him over the rough areas where he tending to slip and fall, down to the main road. Here he was quite happy to be left.
Walked back into town to try a Moroccan restaurant, Fez on Nicholson Street, which I had tried to find a couple of weeks ago. Yes it had a small discrete entrance to a basement. Starters were prawns wrapped in filo pastry. Main course was couscous and lamb. The food was very filling, but all pretty tasteless really. Won’t be going there again.
Breakfast at the hotel had a small queue at 7.00, but loads of people already eating. They were not Americans, but Australians this time. You could tell, a different set of clothing, it looked like many had only just arrived from the outback.
It was another sunny day here in paradise. I stayed late at work looking into bands for the wedding. It was a quick lunch out at the Cumberland at midday.
After work up onto Salisbury crags to take a few photographs. A quick walk around town and then a short stay at Whistle Binkies. Acoustic guitar is not my sort of music.
Thought I would beat the crowds down to breakfast. Arrived before 7.00, of course this time there was nobody there at all, and I could not get in. Did find a notice on the wall from the tour company. I see Friday is going to be the problem day for breakfast.
Jemma from the bank was leaving today, moving to Norfolk, so we all descended on the Café Royal for a short drink, which lasted until past midnight. No supper tonight and McDonalds was closed, so was hungry to bed.
As predicted, turmoil at breakfast. There were massive long queues with two tour companies demanding breakfast at 7.00. I went back to my room to read a book, then down for a large breakfast.
Back home at a very reasonable time of 7.00, to find it empty. Rosemary had already gone to the pub on her own.
After a hard weekend working in the garden I was really refreshed for the Monday slog to Edinburgh. Bounced out of bed at 05.45, washed dressed and drove to Luton. Remarkably clear roads on the way, and arrived at 06:45. Parked in the same place as last week, next to a car with no wheels. I feel there should always be a spare space there. Then the inevitable wait for the car park bus. When NCP charge a rip off £10 a day for parking, I expect a frequent bus service. On to the plane ready for take off, but oh no, two Scottish air traffic controllers had not turned up for work, so twenty minute delay for take off.
No clouds leaving Luton. I spotted Leighton Buzzard and then the M1 and the Amazon buildings from the air. They miss a trick there; they should paint their web address on the roof. From then on it was cloudy, landed in Edinburgh were there was a cold wind blowing, quite a change from down south. Arrived at the office pretty well on time at 10.10. Never quite sure why the door to door time going north is always shorter than the time going south. Most of the day looking at a performance issue, and then out for the evening.
Yura Usvyat was in town, working at Standard Life. He too is here for the week with an exemption from the PSD all hands day. We met up at 19.30 for a meal at the Japanese place called Izzi. I stayed away from the Sashimi, which I believe used to have adverse effects on the stomach. Instead I had some sushi (avocado) and then some steak. It was pretty good really; A change from the Petit Paris. Afterwards we met up with Ed in the Bow bar for a few pints of beer.
It was another fine day in Edinburgh. I spent the day with the networks people trying to hunt down the problem with the CICS CTG slow connection times. After work had a quick drink in Whistle Binkies, was accosted by a Scots man who talked at me for 15 minutes. I did not understand a word he said. Met up with Yura Usvyat and had a meal in the Mussel Inn. Yes I had mussels in a blue cheese sauce. That was it, back to the prison cell and to bed.
Another day, more analysis of implementation problems as the Operational Acceptance Tests were being done. After work met up with Yura for a curry at the Veranda near to Haymarket rail station. I arrived first and sat in the restaurant for 5 minutes, call from Yura he was on his way. After another 5 minutes I looked at the menu and was rather confused. This was meant to be an Indian restaurant, why was it selling Thai. I asked the waiter the name of the restaurant; oops I was in the wrong one, left and went next door to the correct place. Sat down. A few minutes later Yura arrived. He also had been to the Thai restaurant, couldn’t see me, asked the waiters where I was and was told I had been there, realised it was the wrong place and gone next door.
After a reasonable meal of Indian Mezis, (I know that the wrong name), went back to the cell.
Tourists!! Why oh why do the all arrive at breakfast at the same time. The restaurant was not big enough to seat them all, there was a huge queue of doddery old Americans who could not operate the milk dispensing machines, complaining about the cold, asking the hotel to put the heating on, while the rest of us were hot and had the windows wide open.
Otherwise the day started bright and cheerful with me singing as I walked into work. The rest of the working day was mundane. On the way out and walking up the hill with Mary, and talking to Yura on the phone, I was almost squashed at the traffic lights. Luckily Mary thought I was worth saving and pulled me back. Yes men can only actively participate in one task at a time.
In the evening met up with Mary Devine, Yura Usvyat and Ed Aldwych in the Villager bar on King George IV Bridge. Then we moved across the road to the Outsider for a meal. This restaurant has a wonderful view of the castle. I have eaten there before, sometime last year. This time I ate Red Snapper and a bowl of oven cooked peppers and baby tomatoes.
Then we went onto Whistle Binkies until closing time. Here we saw several bands play. It is amazing how four hours of time can just disappear. So I am afraid it was probably 3.30 before I hit the sack.
Wet day to today, up late and into breakfast, and yes all those f****** tourists were there again. This time I shrugged the shoulders and marched straight on out. Today caught a taxi to work, so as not to dissolve on the way in. You know when you have had a good night out. The pockets are always full of loose change.
As the day progressed the weather improved. Left work at 14.30 and caught Easyjet home. Arrived a little late for an evening meal at the Angel with Rosemary.
This weekend was wonderfully warm, so much so we were able to sit out in the garden late Sunday evening eating our barbequed Herrings and sausages. The sunset was magnificent, so much so I ran to the house to get the camera and photo the sun as it dipped below the horizon.
Spent much at Bloomes and Homebase buying bits for the garden, and then mowing the lawn, and laying stepping-stones to the hot tub. We have at last removed the atrocious pallets we laid around the hot tub as temporary decking. It is now back to grass and stepping-stones to gain access.
Several drinks in the Plough and Anchor with friends on the Friday and Saturday.
This week I am back to a five-day week. Caught the 7:55 Easyjet from Luton Airport. It never ceases to amaze me my boarding number is in the hundreds, what time do those who board first arrive at? Good flight to Edinburgh, left on time, arrived on time, clear day in Edinburgh. I saw Arthurs Seat, the castle mound, Carlton hill, Hibs stadium and Murryfield. Yes this was the first time I spotted these famous landmarks from the air. I think it must have been the route we took, a little nearer the city and not flying far out to sea that we sometimes do, (to waste time and slot into a landing I presume).
Was a good day in Edinburgh, plenty of sun. Ate at Petit Paris and had a warm bacon and herring salad to start, and rabbit to finish.
Tuesday, not so warm today and the sun never shone.. The bank started running performance tests today, so worked late until 7.30 in the evening. After work had a beer in the Globe with Bill Strachan, Mary, Ed and the new salesman Mark Robertson. After the Globe we ventured into the Opal Lounge, seems the door men have forgotten Mary and I after the little incident on Jacks leaving day. Here we had a Thai Fusion meal, quite good. Left just after eleven so Mary could catch the train back to Glasgow. I ventured into Whistle Binkies for a quick pint, but ended up listening to three bands playing. One band (Stella 66) comes from Liverpool, I pretended I was interested in having them play at Selina’s wedding and scrounged a free CD from them. Selina tells me there is a bar in Liverpool called Stella 66 which she of course has drunk at. Eventually managed to drag myself out of there by 2.30 and into bed just before sunrise.
Wednesday was another late day, leaving the bank at 8.00. Spent the day trying to find out why the performance was not great, and why some transactions in the test scripts were not working. Lovely sunny day though. Evening I tried to find a new restaurant called the Fez on Nicolson Street. Never found it. Now reading the article in the restaurant guide I see its says “Tucked away in a basement under a kebab shop not far away from the Festival Theatre, it would be easy to saunter past Fez without realising it was there” So I ended up eating at the Bay of Bengal on the High Street. Remind me never to eat there again. Afterwards I had a quick pint with Ed, and an early night before midnight.
Thursday was bright and sunny. Worked late until 10.00pm so did not get out to eat. Some pizza was brought in while we were running our tests. I was tempted by WB, but decided on an alcohol free night and went back to the Apex City to watch TV.
Friday was not very eventful. Plane left on time. Arrived home before 7.00 and before Rosemary was home. Nice evening, had a quick drink in the Plough and Anchor just before 8.00 One regular couple leaving said we were too late.
We drove down to Hastings on Friday for a couple of nights with forty others from the Cambridge Society. We visited a couple of English wine makers, visited Rye, climbed several land slides in the sea cliffs, visited churches and Abbeys.
A full write up with pictures will be published in several weeks.
This week was a short week in Edinburgh, just the three days. I have also made a change in the flights, now flying from Luton instead of Birmingham. Since the summer season has started, the flight back to Birmingham was a bit too late or too early. I wanted a nice 16.00 flight back so that I was not to late home in the evening.
Well it all started pretty well, caught the 7.55 Easyjet from Luton and arrived on time at Edinburgh. It was a miserable day though, raining in Buckinghamshire and raining in Edinburgh. Rosemary told me the weather in London was Thunderstorms, Hail and Snow. Very very Frightening.
Back into the Apex City with the lovely walk in showers, and yet again I add to my collection of ducks.
Evening was a meal at the Petit Paris, Tomato and Basil soup followed by Coq Oh Vin, then a couple of pints with Ed.
Wednesday was a mixture of showers and sun. Started bright but cold. In the evening had a quick meal at Petit Paris, then onto Whistle Binkies and Bannermans for some rock music. Quite entertaining.
Thursday I caught the earlier (16.30) flight back to Luton. Was a bit delayed.
A three-day holiday, but what horrible weather. Rained all day on Saturday, Rosemary went to visit her parents, I did Tescos and installed a wireless link at the neighbours so they could access the internet through our broadband. The took us our for a meal at the Pheasant in Brill.
Ah Saturday, up at 3:45 to meet up with some other lunatics at Finemere wood to hear the dawn chorus. I have never heard so much noise from a group of people trying to keep quiet. People should not wear all those expensive Gortex jackets. Hey a quite fleece was all that was needed on this rainless warm early morning. We heard some birds, (too numerous for me to name) and then had a walk around in the light to see the bluebells. Finished off with a bacon roll and then back to the house by 8.00 for the rest of the day. This was organised by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. Finemere wood is about two miles from us. Though we have never walked through it, we have often visited the pond near by.
A little git of gardening in the afternoon while the weather was fine.
Sunday started off wet and miserable, so a day in front of the PC I think. Maybe a quick visit to the P&A in the evening to sort out the Tug of War.