Its been a while again!

Afternoon all, hope your all well? Ive been out and about again with the truck so been busy with the 4×4 adventure to Portugal on the blog writing that..getting it right then publishing

https://allmyownstuff.wordpress.com/travel-adventures/land-rover-adventures/the-portugal-adventure-spring-2022/

Ive not bothered about posting anything on the Page / Post bit since June 2021 I cant believe thats the last time I said anything about anything..just to laugh at Matt Hancocks own goal, nearly two years on and Boris has scored so many home goals its become boring!

Life for me is now covid free, I dont know if Ive ever had it to be honest but by following common sense (not issued by the government) I and wife Julie are both fine and on top of our game save from the aches and pains that come free when passing 65! Ive not even had a cold or flu, we have only met folk in passing when out shopping and my activity with the camera sees me not too close to anyone and only in the company of horses and their riders mostly.

Persistent ailments have resulted in a visit to the Dr’s. (pre covid)I had a mild headache for just about 2 yrs.. I tried different glasses..sunglasses too which is something I don’t wear as you know, turns out its my neck, an old fighting injury at “Scrubs” I had a pressure at the back of my neck that was causing it.. DR SHAH my doc is old fashion type does not agree with need less medicines and says it how it is..a great bloke really! and was prescribed antidepressants, ,Im a bit fed uip with it but not depressed about it doc I said! He explained that its a mild medicine and one of the side effects could help, the downside was tiredness and drowsiness. I could stop at anytime he said..OK so I tried it and yes I was sleeping in longer, waking up was hard work I felt like a teenager. about 6 months into and it I was cured, It comes back briefly when I sneeze or strain at something.. Also sitting posture at this ‘putor was improved and have the screen tipped well back to make me look up more.

Also began to get small cramps in my feet almost nightly making my toes curl, not so painful but always woke me up resulting in me walking it off on a cold floor. Occasionally Id get it like a footballer in my thigh and leap out of bed like it was on fooking fire, swearing and cussing like a lunatic! fukc me that really hurt! A chance conversation about it with my father-in-law resulting in an old wives remedy I thought of a small glass of tonic water every night…Guess what? Cured again!!

My left hip began aching quite painful at times as I carried on with stuff, occasionally it would put me in the comfy chair. Remember when Boris told us all to get an hrs exercise during lockdown? well we trundled out daily and the ache started ’bout 2 yrs ago. Fck this I said to myself and cut down, not one for strolling out daily in the first place why am I doing it now I reasoned? a few months ago I contacted the Drs and hads a scan which told I had osteoarthritis ..no shit Sherlock I said to myself, the physio said he was surprised I was walking ok-ish I went for a stroll once a week-ish down to the big pond and back, a mile all told.. driving is fine, sleep is painless, Ive just slowed it down a bit. The physio gave me a printout of exercises which only gave me lots of pain so that went in the bin toot sweet. Ive slowed up from my usual rushing around Im”cutting my cloth to suit” I think is the phrase and am coping. FINALLY Im acting my age, physically at least.. My mind is sound and I dont feel like all is lost so I think im good really.

AND…thats where I am at. The diary is filling up with small photography jobs and enough to keep me occupied. Can’t do anything more about Boris neither can I do owt about the Russians except hate them more! Anyway enough of that, Ill end this update with a recent pic of me care of Julie to prove Im still stood up and ready for action!

Me as of May 2022… not photoshopped..

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

July 2021

Here we still are then at Walnut Cottage, both of us double jabbed and feeling fine. Since March a few things have changed with the b’stard Covid! The dominant strain now being the Indian variant, so called because it was first detected as coming from there though the Indian Government doesnt want us to call it so and our government has tried to give it a scientific name but its still come from India… funny but I never heard Kent Council objecting about the previous strains name did you?

The Health Minister Handycock has gone after getting caught on the office CCTV sneaking about behind closed doors making sure nobody was about before groping the arse and have a good snog with some brunette. He said he was going coz he let us all down and broke Governments covid guidelines, no mention about letting his wife down. Do you think she found out at the same time as we did on the telly? Oh well not to worry. The good news is they they have fixed that problem now having disconnecting that particular camera! The self appointed guru to the PM and his government has also gone. The shyte he has spouted during and since is stuff of a cheap novel. I cant believe he’s had such a high education and once again backs up the belief that common sense is mostly absent in people with lots of brain. So thats both Cumming and Handycock off the shelf.. (both unfortunate surnames dont you think?)

Matti Handycock and his bit on the side..

That weird boy Cummings..not a patch on Rasputin...

Meanwhile our Boris got married again for the third time. Im also third time married so can see nowt wrong with that, we can’t all meet the perfect partner at the first go can we? Can I just say that both he and I are happy husbands…

Our Boris
Yours truly

What have I been doing since last time? you ask. Photography has been my saving grace all through the pandemic and getting out had had a purpose even if its just into the garden with my new MACRO lens and get down and really close to the bugs and insects. I can get down pretty easy getting back up is a bit harder. One friend of similar disposition actually joked about it when we saw each other a couple of months ago obviously she has the same seizing up problem of some moving parts! “Bash on” we must and just keep trying before we seize up altogether! It’s difficult in my mature years getting the mind to work at the same level as the body Im a bit like “yeah I can do that, hold my beer” then find out actually I can’t..Oh its a fukcin shyte position to be in and can be quite depressing! Slowly Im coming round to agreeing with my body that doing stuff is going to take longer. All the Dr will say is Your at that time of life.

In Spring we decided to invest in a new and bigger shed, the arse has just about fallen out of the old one, the greenhouse went to a new home and I set about levelling the ground and moving paving slabs and big heavy blocks of bloody granite. Thankfully Id worked down a coal mine 10 yrs and knew the correct way to move stuff about with crowbar and know how to use a spade. The new shed came but wasn’t level. Id have to that sorted otherwise it was going to drive me nuts! Again employing coal mining techniques I asked my farmer pal to lift the shed up with his telehandler (a very useful kind of fork lift tractor with lots of interchangeable parts ) I got on my belly underneath and put some planks under…sorted! I then had to buy a new angle grinder as the other had burnt out trying to cut down the washing post..seems it was a section of scaffolding pole and weighed a bloody ton! Y see our house was built by an enthusiastic DIY guy and his son in the 1970’s Using brick and stone from a disused mill near Halifax its quite unusual really, the roof tiles for example are yorkshire stone and are 2×3 foot in size! Funny story here, was we first moved here we had a man install SKY but he couldn’t drill through the wall.. “bugger that I need a bigger drill”.. he came back another day with a bigger drill attached to an even bigger man.. The black gate posts too are BIG, I found out they belonged to the water board and came from a reservoir. So its not your everyday cottage.. The shed now sits on our very large underground brick septic tank, hence me digging up all those bloody bricks!

The new BIG shed..

Some equine stuff has opened up with restrictions and some events finally took place in Spring . I was more than happy to pop along to see friends and acquaintances again and to do photography for the day. It made me realise how Id missed the occasions and the people even though I don’t know most guys that well and only see them at these horse events. Getting out and about for the day to different places is what I love and getting to places I wouldn’t normally go or be allowed to go is something Im grateful for.

HUNTER TRIALS

Pony Club

Group ride ..East Riding of Yorkshire

whilst on the subject of horses, Black Betty has gone to a new owner as Julie has been struggling to ride comfortably, her creaking body is kept going with regular visits to her physio but thats not been possible for a year or so. Betty was getting more and more rounder and in fear of becoming a field ornament so she has a new and a more active life with Danni who stables her in the field behind us so we still see each other. The red Nissan and the horse trailer have also gone, replaced with a white Dacia Duster, its quite the budget car and liked by the both of us even though its not got quite the same oompfh!

The other truck has been out camping already, we spent a few days with some of our ATLAS OVERLAND 4X4 ADVENTURE friends up there in Northumberland as they were on a 7 day tour. Remembering what went where was a challenge as we hadnt done it for a while. The site had had to close on the morning of our arrival due to a couple of staff members testing positive for covid! We were welcome to camp but the amenities would be shut. Im told the site was fully booked and the owner had spent all day ringing folk to cancel. So just 6 4xr4 vehicles in the field atop the hill. It was exactly up my street.

ATLAS OVERLAND camp

We dont usually spend much time on site its just a place to sleep really and often only a one night stay. Some of the trucks have roof tents whilst others have ground tents and the rest sleep inside the vehicles, its whatever suits your body really! If you fancy this kind of thing you should give Pete and wife Jo a call 07834637355 you should also have a neb at his web page. to see what else he does https://www.atlasoverland.com/.

Pete leads the group for a visit to HOLY ISLAND

I dropped in to see Rob on our return to book the truck in for its service and get some electrical bugs ironed out, this visit proved fortunate, as a special car renovation team had opened at the premises next door to Rob. I decided it was time to get all the jobs done in one hit. Having my overseas trips cancelled for the moment meant I had the money and time to get it done, so its going into the beauty parlour for August. The front end of the truck gets properly sandblasted in the harsh climate of Morocco so is often sporting a well worn patina look and leaves the living area electrics a bit iffy so after 5 yrs it needs a good “fettle” Im no mechanic or electric bod but Im handy with a paintbrush and the red primer..

A rocky track in another valley
The snow-line creeps higher on the Atlas Mountains

The Sahara

Some may say dont go to such places then your truck wont fall to bits and wont need money throwing at it all the time.. I say but where in the world would I get such experiences . The photos loom ace and remind me of the feelings sights and sounds..the roar of the engine.. the hot air blasting through the open windowed truck..me getting properly exfoliated.. the bouncing about..the banter on the radio..the nightly camp fires ..the unbelievable views.. the amazing places Ive slept and under oh so clear skies…the vast desert and fantastic snow topped Atlas mtns..Do y get the picture yet? After each and every trip I yean for the next time.

At the moment its still unclear about driving on the continent and my fave place Morroc is off the menu now until they and Spain can iron out the latest big bump in there ongoing dispute. Spain still clings onto two port areas of Morocco called Ceuta and Melilla, in fact such is the latest bump that the ferries have practically ceased to sail betwenn each other and that’s on top of the covid stuff! I really don’t relish sharing a plane to anywhere..green list or other the various covid rules and restrictions would make the whole thing something for me to avoid. So I/we will happily spend our time travelling the UK instead..just like the old days.. Adapt and overcome I guess.

Red Primer applied here and there

You may see me around in a 2 wheel drive white Duster in August, Julie is happy its not a 4×4 version, means I wont be taking it where I shouldnt, probably…. I will hopefully see you all again in the Autumn.. Ciao for now!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MARCH 2021

Im down the lane again today and windy it sure is! Im sure its only the black crows that enjoy the howling winds, I watch them toss and tumble in the air shouting and hollering at each other occasionally they set down on the freshly ploughed field to be swept back into the air moments later by another rush of wind. My local Sparrow Hawk I imagine is having a hard time of it as do the pairs of Buzzard who normally swirl to height on warm thermals, bet hey cant see dinner in the distance with this wind either, it makes my eyes water and Im down her just 5 foot 7 inches from the ground, so for those guys hundreds of feet up it must be quite savage. i saw a lone egret swan by leisurely, his wide wings angling to allow him to tack into the winds, lucky for him the crows where busy playing or they would have been mobbing his ass! Lucky for me too that Julie has cut my locks today so my fringe wasnt blowing into my eyes, twas only my 3rd cut since March 2020..a year ago..

Here we are then still on lockdown but with something to head for finally. 20+ million folk have already taken their first jab, I get mine next week then the 2nd one in June. The schools have opened this week the scientists, medical experts, virologists and government are watching the figures before we move to the next phase we are as a nation holding our breath.

Theres not much to tell you really Ive been nowhere and done nothing! The lane has been walked twice a week and am on nodding terms with everyone saying hello with a smile. I see some more often than others, I see the dog walkers more than most, some of them seem to be on a bit of a route march so dont hold them up and just say hello as they pass. Some who do pause get the nod from the dog that they should be moving and not chatting! The old boy on his bike who rides up to the big pond to see the birds, he does chat a bit as do a few locals who I dont know from adam, they pause to chat and pass a few minutes. I didnt think id miss strangers but it seems I do! We are all in the same boat, our lives strangled to a standstill, trips to the food shops have long since calmed down since the early days and we are confidant there will always be toilet rolls available after all! Trips anywhere else are pretty much confined to the history books for now.

Something that has changed since March 2020 is the news especially the local news and how it comes across. We have all Im sure invited news presenters into our home on a daily basis this past 12 months. We in turn have gone into everyone else’s homes albeit virtually, its been different hasnt it? Books flowers and wall art all there for our inquisitive eyes! Did you know there is a business doing really well out of this, they have stuff for hire for backgrounds during video conferencing …called Zoom now isnt it? Yes you can hire stuff to give a particular impression.

Here at Walnut Cottage its Naga, Charlie, Dan and louse from BBC BREAKFAST. that greet me when I get out of bed. I tried the ITV version once but nearly smashed the bloody TV, I just cannot stand that PIERS fella hes a right knob! Though this week he’s shot his bolt at something and was unable to contain himself and now he’s gone for now. So too has the Orange Idiot in America, so thats all good for me! In the early evening its sometimes a 5.00 CORONA bulletin presented by somebody from Government and usually flanked by a scientist or a medical expert, me and Julie only listen to the information given and not the questions from the public or the yapping scoop searching journalist bstards! We often take in into the 22.00 hrs BBC news though sometimes we have Tom Bradbury on ITV. Im sure its just me but he comes across as taking the piss, makes me grin he does! Whoever gives the info be it Boris or Handcock I actually understand what they have said and dont need every sentence unpicking by “experts” to tell me what they have really mean. They drive me and Julie up the wall when they start! Im glad Mrs Patel doesnt show herself as much now, she doesnt comes across well at all for me, neither do those slimy creatures.. Jenneric & Ashworth.

BBC GOOD MORNING team..

Dan Louse..Naga..Charlie.. They have the full scope of tone between them. Dan is THE funny one and often puts his foot in it which makes Louse giggle a lot Both are easy on the ear. Naga is the stunner, very classy lady, loud and opinionated. She stops Charlie in his tracks occasionally with her thoughts and he struggles to know what to say back, he is stiff and often humourless is our Charlie and doent like any comments about his jazzy socks but hes very good at interrogating politicians! All in all a good mix I guess.

BBC GOOD MORNING weather girl

AND of course Carol Kirkwood the main weather girl in the morning. There are several eye catching weather girls around at the moment but she is the tops. Carol has a gentle Scottish accent a lovely smile and curvy figure that melts the sleep from my eyes! I like the flamboyant Owen too he’s got a proper buzz about him. He would make anyone sit up and take notice. He is destined for bigger things Im sure and a huge leap forward from yer Micheal Fish of the 80’s eh?

The evening crew at the BBC Look North are good on the eye too. Hudson the tight arsed weather man with the boyish looks and excellent sarcastic wit makes me chuckle especially when Amy Garcia starts on him, it obvious they go back quite a while. Luxmy Gopal is good to listen to and brings a fresh breeze of colour, she just loves the colour pink! I dont know why Im telling you all this Im sure you have your own preferences! Just shows I guess that theres not a lot to speak about. Hope Ive entertained you for 10 minutes! Ill be about again in a month or too Inshallah….Stay around and stay safe everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

CHRISTMAS DAY 2020

Its Christmas Day today, though you wouldn’t think it here at Walnut Cottage, and especially this year 2020!

For me, Christmas went pop when I eventually realised Santa wasn’t real, blimey all that letter writing for nothing too! When I think back though they were exciting days leading up to the 25th starting with the tree decorating, the paper looped trimmings and the family meetings with some of my Aunties and Uncles. it was well worth Mum & Dad keeping it up by playing along with it all.

Patiently waiting for Santa

Meeting Santa every Boxing Night was a night to look forward to round at Uncle Eric’s and Aunty Daisy at their fab party. They were not my real relations but really lovely friendly people. Uncle Eric was a huge man and the head farrier for the beer giant Tetleys at Leeds I think, it was he of course who played a great and jolly Santa, funny when you think about it that I had eight real uncles yet this man who wasn’t a real one, was my favourite!

Approaching my “know it all” days

I remember Christmas being a bit smelly with “boiled to death” Brussels Sprouts. Im gipping even now at the smell..scarred for life I was! I remember too the kitchen windows being steamed up and the silver sixpence in the pudding, funny how it ALWAYS turned up in my bowl. Poor mum was upto her neck in the kitchen all morning after the unwrapping of presents frenzy, I remember after dinner I used to eagerly wait for the Top of The Pops Xmas special and then having to stay quiet for the Queen at 3. My early teenage Christmas years weren’t full of joy but dotted with boredom, bored of a day that became so tedious and boring and STILL mum slaved away in the kitchen on her own. Both my brothers had left the coup one joined the army the other had his own family so they split their day between families. I remembered it was mostly just mum dad and me from then on. As a late teenager and on into my twenty somethings I drifted from pub to pub with equally fed up mates pi**ing it all up against the wall! Christmas became a morning of visiting uncles and aunties for a drink or two..even had 2 xmas lunches one year coming back home full and a bit tiddly, mum was not pleased! I remember taking dad to the WMC (club) whilst mum as usual slaved over the cooker. I remember one year we bought mum a microwave, she thought that much of it that she covered it with a cloth and stood a plant on it and he refused to entertain a mini TV in her kitchen, I didn’t know it at the time but the kitchen was her sacred place. It got so tedious that I didnt like Christmas at all anymore. I hated the sight and smells of the whole damn day and reminded me of dismal Mondays. I really didnt like Mondays as a yoof and long before the bloody Boomtown Rats wrote a song about it! Oh the joys of yoofness!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 032-mummick-xmas-90s.jpg
Brother Mick and me at a rare Xmas day dinner with Mum & Dad..1990..something

When I joined the Prison service I “up sticks” and moved from Wakefield to London to another world and a different life. T’was the making of me. Christmas day would often find me quite happily working and I often volunteered to work both Christmas and Boxing Day giving my married mates time of with there families, in exchange they would work New Years Eve for me. London town was mine for the picking! Oh happy days and nights with those frantic black cab trips back to work at dawn! I did go home at Christmas occasionally which by then became a quieter and much happier day, I finally understood mums world!

I spent a couple of Christmas weekends in Denmark with wife No 2, flying into Copenahagen then catching the night sleeper train to the in-laws, the train was painted midnight blue and even had the moon and stars painted on the doors! A tradition over there was to receive your presents on Christmas Eve but only after singing a carol. Danish Father Christmas Beer was rocket fuel and rice pudding was so thick that the spoon actually stood upright..I kid you not!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 041-a-bali-1994.jpg
Your truly in Bali on one sunny christmas day
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 041f-haderselv-1993.jpg
Another christmas day Haderslev Denmark..yes its snowing!

Christmas in retirement for me now is a time to think with fondness and love for friends and family and furry friends no longer here. I spent Christmas on a beach a couple of times in and scuba diving in Bali. It was something I always wanted to do, Drinking mint tea on the beach with my own servant, THAT was a highlight! Always on thinking back Id end up with a smile on my face. (Like Im doing now whilst tapping this out on the keyboard. In his later years Dad would stay with us for a while, sitting beside me with a copious glass full on the day and somehow ALWAYS managed to control the TV remote!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is s.jpg
Dad on Christmas Day at ours!

So guys thats how me and Christmas roll! I do feel for families who do make it a special time for themselves their relatives and the kids, I do feel for the families split by work and distance who normally come together right now but its something we all have to do our best endure until we beat the COVID. Id like to end todays blog entry with a BIG thumbs up to our Dr’s and nurses who do nothing but their best at sometimes great cost to themselves.

See you all again soon and stay safe!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November ..the middle of.. 2020

Hello all,

Hope your all doing OK during LOCKDOWN..The Sequel?.. I think its a bit harder the second time around because we all know exactly what we will be putting ourselves through for the greater good without worrying to much about toilet roll….WTF was all that about and WHO started that off?

We managed to decorate and re-carpet this room, during the midsummer covid break the old carpet was Axminster and had been down since before we bought the place over 20 yrs ago. However, the ‘putor swivel chair wheels rubbed it threadbare at a joint, it seemed this room had been put together with left overs and totally unseen until the swivel chair did its worst Id resorted to gaffa tape as lockdown part 1 arrived. Other than that I thought the carpet fine and still liked it! The replacement carpet is like soft grass and pushes up between my toes in comparison with the previous and showed it to be flat and wafer thin, the underlay was so worn it had turned to powder in places! We also replaced the hall and spare bedroom carpet. The percentage of carpet unused is huge when you think about it and really only gets worn at door entrances and around your fave chairs, the rest of the room carpet is covered by furniture and quite unused, Imagine all that un trodden but very dusty carpet in your bedrooms! Well thats how it seems so in ours house with just the two of us and the cat.

POOKA during lockdown part 1

We get used to what we have and the only times we notice is when it gets replaced. Last week the truck failed to start on the way to its service, It seems the starter motor was the problem, I got a tug from Julie in hers, she pulled me just just twenty yards I dropped the clutch in second gear and off we went. I had it replaced during the service and boy how different it sounded, crisp light and quicker! I had no idea how worn the old one was until the new one was fitted….a bit like the carpet!

However, the washer was a different kettle of fish it was getting louder and louder on spin and took longer and longer to complete any cycle, Its situated below me in the cellar so I did notice, at first I thought Julie was spending more and more time washing clothes and thought perhaps it was for “something to do” during lockdown LOL! the week before the second lockdown we ordered one from our nearest retailer..brushing aside all the bolt on services they try to saddle me with eager to extract more money from us. Deliver it and carry it to where the old one is, I will do the Installation, its the same kind of washer so its just old for new, unplug old one, unscrew water pipe and get it off the block and replace, simples… We paid a £10 to get it delivered in two days time otherwise it was going to be 2 weeks!.. They rolled up Saturday as requested but would only drop at the front door. “Covid rules” and all that… I wanted it at the other door, with led to downstairs..six steps straight into the cellar, sorted.. I wonder what would have been the plan if we had opted for their £40 installation service? He tried to cite me health and safety rules too when he took one look at the steps, said Id have to get ‘ “SOMEONE” to help me? He and his mate dropped it at the door and left. Both were worried to fook about covid and the impending lockdown and muttering how the company didn’t care for their safety. I couldn’t blame them to be fair and quite agree, meanwhile we pensionable couple and 3 legged cat were left with a quandary! We unwrapped the foam protectors it in order for me to shuffle it down the concrete steps using its back and a piece of carpet. We used the 2.5 vehicle trolly jack and a sand track to shuffle the old one off the block and got the new one in its place. Shuffling the old one back up the stairs was hard I tipped it end over end back up the concrete steps and into the back of the pick up. My legs were trembling a bit I can tell you! I know its awkward and had intended to offer the lads a tenner each to take the new one downstairs and and the old one up and into the back of the truck..The next day I was at the refuse centre again, I use the site every couple of months and recently done several trips with all that carpet last month so Im on nodding terms with the two regular guys there, I appreciate what they do and are find them quite helpful.

New washer in place..time for a break and a cuppa. The postcards are from our travels over the years and often posted to arrive home before we return.

So the comedy show in the USA has finished…I think! A great distraction to whats occurring at the moment. Its funny to see the jokes and comedy clips appearing on social media. I think its so embarrassing for Americans, I cant understand why nobody has shot the man yet considering their history for dispatching presidents. Did you know…. they have assassinated 4 presidents? Not to mention 17 assassination attempts and plots so far! As for ordinary citizens, well at the moment they are killing each other at the rate of 109 people per DAY…

Autumn colours

Ive spent a few days exploring Autumn colours lately and trying different angles… Not a lot else I can do really at the moment. Taking the camera with me as often as I can when I go for a walk make the days slide along nicely. Speaking of which, time for me to get my boots o and take a wander, Ill see you soon x

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TWO TRIBES…

I follow two tribes with the camera, both appear a million miles apart but really they are very similar, both share the compassion and love of their sport..share too the injuries..the bandages..the bruising..the breaks..the rips and cuts..they share too the yellow air ambulance on occasion..they share the euphoria..the fears..the lows from loss of confidence..The highs from nailing it and the exceptional skill with reign or throttle..they share too the incredible balance and invisible core strength..most of all they enjoy the life chosen.. each day out sprinkled with great excitement and laughter..they share the belonging within the tribe..and the lasting friendships.. and of course the drain of the hard earned money! Miles apart they might seem but both tribes are fearless brave and hard as nails!..some might say as mad as hatters but thats only due to lack of understanding.. Kick on / let the clutch out…..

Similarities between horse riders and moto X riders
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

End of August…2020..

Afternoon all,

What a year 2020 has turned into. Everyone in the UK and eventually on planet earth has had their way of living changed, not for better or worse but for necessity The last time we spoke was May 17th as Covid began it rampage across the United Kingdom killing hundreds of people A DAY.

Health Secretary.. Matt H

We turned the TV on at 5 every evening to see the coloured graphs surging upwards and listened to Matt Hancock most of the time, to his left and right stood a scientist and a medical expert who carefully fed us information, though I suspect they knew or suspected a hell of a lot more but would have probably been catastrophic to the general public had they said at the time..For example 6 months into it and there are murmurs of no vaccine for a year..or two..if at all. I listened to Matt H at the podium for weeks on end yes he does come across a bit stiff and stares a lot but at least he does sound normal…

Boris Johnson, who has been elected the U.K.’s incoming prime minister, arrives at the Conservative Party’s headquarters in central London on Tuesday.

                                             Our Boris…The Prime Minister

Unlike our Boris, his Churchillian troop rallying fist waving speeches sprinkled with catchy phrases just dont wash!  On the flip side he is a colourful character and an ideal answer to the orange bleach drinking idiot across the pond. Not too sure what Comrade Putin or the geezer from China makes of him though. The daily statements of the struggle to provide PPE showed to me how slow the government were in reacting. Ironic too the fact that the bulk of it came from China!

   Media centre from the 1960’s The Radiogram… I remember scanning for the police on ours when I was a kid… and listening to the top 20 on Sunday night. We had a TV too, wey hey!

 

       The all singing all dancing colour TV.. Ours was only 2 foot thick…Note the wall multi plug working its nuts off….

 

             The Mobile phone…combines all TV, Radio and Camera technology

 

The TV has taken over the from the stereo unit over the years becoming the central most important source of information /entertainment and just about everyone has one. Computors are taking over along with those ever so clever mobile phones that Captain Kirk and Scottie would give their right arms for and are taking over from the family TV, supplemented by laptop and table top ‘putors. The information that ordinary citizens  the world over can access is fantastic and instant, though some governments probably wish we couldn’t. Another new word “Social media” has entered our vocabulary and encompasses the many platforms available to us, use of mobile film clips of incidents are used all the time to show what traditional news teams cannot…The BIG explosion in Beirut city for example. Reading and watching anything and everything that anyone can put on means we have to determine whats real or not. Either by cross checking or digging about online for info on the author before deciding.  THAT is the downside of free speech and unregulated media, say something long enough and loud enough and folk start believing!

Arthur Scargill. Leader of the National Union of Mineworkers..The greatest orater Ive ever heard, would have you believing black was white

 

So Whats happening in my little world you probably not thinking… No longer do I look down from the bridge at the almost empty M18 motorway, getting a toot from one of the few truckers and wondering who is going where, no, its all back to normal levels on the roads. Id taken plenty of photos of empty streets, they too have returned to normal (ish)

    Me as of 2 minutes ago. photo from..yes, my fone

The big pond down the lane soon got discovered by folk early on who started walking on the instructions of the government, word spread and before you knew it underpants towels odd socks and a red size 34 bra hung from branches. Dozens upon dozens of empty alcohol bottles littered the place, it was heartbreaking to see, a couple of us went down in a pick up and filled it with sacks of refuse. The 6 of us swept around the ponds edge and cleared it up toot sweet including dozens and dozens of shiny little gas canisters that littered the edge.

Collecting other peoples crap was the easy part, disposing of it was the hard part…

Seeing on TV..or the laptop..other well known beauty spots getting badly littered beggars belief. Not ONE person owned up to being a lazy dirty S.O.B! The extraordinary self imposed two month exile we all put ourselves through rebounded when “Lockdown” began to ease with selfish uncaring bouts of littering the scale we have not seen before. The mass exodus to beauty spots cars being dumped anywhere and everywhere, the need to get out was that great, remember too the beach fiasco at Bournemouth?  The basic need for many to just get out was that great. For all its negativity and problems caused to the folk at Bournemouth and other beautiful places it probably helped a lot of peoples deteriorating  mental state and probably served as a barometer of the people to the government as to how far they can push.

Bournemouth

About “getting away” Ive never felt the same way, our self imposed exile was actually pretty well the norm as we are both retired and live down a lane, have no near neighbours can walk about safely seeing next to nobodyand getting on with retirement, we sat in the garden most days with Pooka the cat, Julie often nipped across the lane in the field with her horse BETTY most days. We had little rubbish, I had a little fire pit and burnt the burnable. The house maintenance jobs were done, stuff I needed was purchased on line.  The only odd bit was the weekly trip to the supermarket. the lines we had to follow at safe distances and in one direction only and spray basket handles and hands, hardly anyone had masks on back then, not helpful they said back then! I drove maybe 5 miles a week so didnt put fuel in the pick up for 2 months at least!

Like thousands of others I signed up online to help the hospitals as soon as they asked and sat back waiting to be called but it never happened! Not once was I asked to help in the 3 months I had the app set to live. Our NHS appears to have survived so I have switched the app off, Im happy to help but keen not be be taken advantage of..if you get my drift…

Even Mother Nature joins in thanking our NHS

Last week we ventured out to PC WORLD at one of the retail parks, I was going to buy a new CD player as the study one had finally broken, the place looked like it was closing down, sales staff sparse and limited to their area I had to go find someone but the choice of items where limited and nothing I chose was in stock, I couldn’t buy the one on the shelf either so when and were’s it coming from? Bloody China again and no we dont know when sir… Looks like Amazon or E-bay again LOL!

The Black Lives Matter movement appeared and disappeared from our screens when a black criminal died after his arrest in America, Someone stood over the policemen and filmed his arrest on a phone. Unrest and demonstrations against police brutality in the states quickly erupted. Here at home the same demonstrations appeared then took a turn as they attacked British history and statues in the UK were vandalised, one even ending up in the river Avon in Bristol. Demands from BLM grew for the removal of several others, it seemed quickly to change from demonstrating against police brutality to demonstrating against our country and our roots. Is it any wonder I frown!

August now and slowly we can begin to touch base again with our fave cafe/ restaurant and pub but with restrictions and masks that we all have to wear and its bloody awkward isn’t it? It makes one appreciate even more what our nurses and doctors are still enduring.. Slightly funny too that I cover up with a black face mask before going into the P.O to post some photo’s. Personally Ive got back to photographing some horse events that with restrictions are happening again, have to say there is no issue with distances as horses dont stand that close to each other, riders are easily 2 metres apart. There isnt a toilet issue as equine folk would nod knowingly. No close gatherings at all TBH, occasionally a gazeebo with hot water boiler and coffee or tea is on offer but most horsey folk bring a picnic and sit around horse boxes with their horses, y cant get up close as ponios dont have the same manners as they barge about a lot munching from hay nets or hoovering the lush grass around them, often you will here raised voices “WILL YOU STAND STILL!” or “STOP THAT!” Its not like having a dog…

Lots of pleasure rides are being organised on private land up and down the country

The rules are evolving all the time as we know! Bubbles of 6  were fine on this ride.

Holidays? Think not at the moment. Ive no wish to put us through the pullava that others are doing, being retired means holidays are not as essential to me as they used to be, every day is a holiday to be honest for us. Yes my 4×4 trip to Morocco in March was ky-boshed as was the other one in June to the wilds of Portugal. Im in the mind of “There’s always next time” Im looking at a week or so in the Scottish Highlands in the land Rover, being self sufficient means I can be very flexible Ive been nebbing on a couple of land Rover sites at comments and posts today and it looks like October might be the time to go. All the kids should hopefully be back at school..some have started already in some places. A certain amount of “suck it and see” and a careful eye on the infection rates. Doncaster and my area has a very low rate of infection at the moment but that could quickly change.

Since March Ive listened to the experts and read about pandemics and such…its quite sobering reading and quite frankly what happened in the past, whats happening right now and whats possibly in store for us in the future is quite frightening. On saying that, I  will see you all again sometime around January for another natter. Chins up everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

So that was Spring 2020

Good afternoon everyone,

It was January when we last spoke and things were going as they do coming out of winter..pretty slowly. Finally we saw the last of the incessant rains. Parts of Doncaster had flooded badly again. The nearby folk of FISHLAKE had been badly flooded before Christmas by the over flowing River Don. All the river contents had been pumped back into the receding river by the biggest pumps Ive ever seen and they were busy with their clean up and putting their lives back together again. That was a bad time for them. Then February 2020 came and the rains returned, nearby the small town of SNAITH and both EAST and WEST COWICK began to drown as the River Aire overtopped. TV reports followed the water as it crept up the street swallowing homes as it slowly came on..and on. The local church stepped upto the plate to become their centre of relief. Volunteer groups began to come forward for the second time in as many months. Flooding had blighted many other places throughout the country this winter, IRONBRIDGE down the west country springs to mind, Lincolnshire copped badly too. I heard of just one fatality in Fishlake, for that we can be thankful for I guess.

A dramatic photo taken by a farmer in his tractor late afternoon as the River Don began to overtop. It had already breached further back causing suffering for the townsfolk of Doncaster and the Bentley it must have been very frightening.

Rural flooding was widespead to the east of the River Don. Farmers had a     terrible time of it again, it would take a long time to recover

 

It was very hard to take in, whole fields resembled the North Sea  This was the road from The NAB and the main road to Fishlake from Stainforth. It had been closed weeks already and only the odd 4×4 could make it, when the pumps arrived it was closed of for several more weeks as the metal pipes ran from the fields to the river

I began to hear reports on the TV about a bug that was going about in China and they had closed a village off because it was bad. I think that was at the end of February, I didn’t think much of it to be honest, China was thousands of miles away. WOOHAN? never heard of it!

The gathering pace of the bug in China was getting a daily airing on TV. Seeing the Chinese authorities as usual man handling people into vans and locking them up was nt anything new to see coming from this country, seeing  the medics in white and those useless looking flapping blue plastic gowns and masks. Seems a bit like overkill to me and WHY are they wearing masks? We know they dont treat their own people kindly, the police and army seem to be the rubber cosh for the government. Horrible bastards those bloody Chinese, always treading heavily on their population, they should kick off, Its another revolution in the making and  I dont believe a word the suits say, they are communists after all and have never come clean about anything, just look at Russia and that odd lot that run North Korea. Mind you, some countries are getting as bad who really should know better. Look at the USA these days especially with that orange idiot in charge.

Some bloke near Brighton had got the bug and brought it back with him, been to Italy I think. He had flu symptoms and was told to stay at home for 2 weeks. So its like flu?  Thats not so bad. More information was slowly coming out of China and the bug was in fact a virus, some stories said it was from a meat market and from bats in particular, Those Chinese eat anything, I saw a clip of a Chinese woman eating a young turtle, she bit the head clean off, horrible woman! Another story mentioned a government germ research facility. Lies fibs and rumours..probably..

There was an outbreak in Northern Italy and because it was in Europe the news became more believable and a bit more serious, in my mind. The virus had been given a name Coronavirus the first of many new words to cross many lips..CORONAVIRUS..  The  news media began to dig deep and the life and works of a special breed of  people came to light another new word to many..VIROLOGY… The world over these virologist guys have been combating virus after virus and monitoring what was developing and mutating. Another new word reached our lips now..COVID 19. it was the name of this new bug it was spreading super fast and was turning into an epidemic in that aforementioned area in China and now a region in Italy, it also in South Korea now. Bloody hell its spreading like wildfire and its in Brighton in England already. People had Numbers began to come out of China of how many had actually died….and, well.. you know how it pans out from here on and it became a pandemic..A new word for many PANDEMIC

We are living through extraordinary times right now, a lot of people have died, BUT lot more have survived this terrible thing. I have stood in queues for food and bloody toilet rolls, remember that scare? Why the fukc were we fretting about bog rolls? I thought it was actually funny, as did most of us eventually, we have took the piss out or ourselves relentlessly on FACEBOOK havent we!  A world wide scare over bog rolls for gods sake! You couldn’t have written it yet here I am writing about it.

FACEBOOK and other media sites have ..in my opinion.. proved to be helpful and useful having kept people informed and in touch and have enabled authorities to convey messages. DONCASTER COUNCIL for example have a good FB page and is constantly being updated. TICKTOCK is a new media page that lets folk be very creative with sort video clips and provides moments of merriment. Ive seen plenty fo clip on FB form my FB friends who dont post on FB normally but have produced and posted musical clips of themselves for our amusement and entertainment..I forgive and love you all for putting in the effort. The toilet roll challenge has been taken up by many and Ive loved the efforts from the equine groups Im friends especially with the guys from the BBMH&YAS.

The most important sought after item in March 2020

Another unfamiliar word to pass our lips in 2020 is FURLOUGHED..As the UK government does its best to cope. Its difficult to comprehend the figures when glued to daily TV COVID BRIEFING (another new word) listening to the figures quoted in their thousands… of samples taken people testing positive..hospital patient numbers..numbers of those who survive and those who sadly dont. Its fucking heartbreaking to sit and listen to every day at 5. I think we have listened almost every day. Listening to Matt Hancock of the struggle to find and provide the right protective equipment for our medical services in such huge numbers..weekly. China it seems is a huge supplier of PPE ..another new word..that we need by the hundreds of thousands..weekly..  Many UK firms have managed to changed the way they do things and are able to help provide PPE and special hospital equipment. The story of the F1 racing team designing a new breathing gadget for the NHS was a particular great to hear. On the downside, to hear of dubious people coming forward with false promises to supply and of those scum who have broken into stores building in Sheffield to steal our hard got PPI has been hard to hear.  But these black spots are easily overrun by the thousands and thousands of good people all rushing forward to assist our fighting NHS our nurses and our doctors. If these people fall we ALL fall.. Im just waiting for it to be all over and the new “HUG a NURSE” appeal starts!

Wherever we live and whatever our circumstance we have all been affected. From the dad without a job and looking after his child in a bedsit in Hackney to the affluent family in their 20 acre mansion complete with racehorses in North Yorkshire. We have all been affected. Take me and my wife Julie, both retired and able to live a normal lifestyle with POOKA the cat and BETTY the horse. We are down a little lane and see only the bin men and Jess the Postie on a regular basis.

Jess our Postie..

Having spent most of my life working with criminals in HMP so this life suits me to the ground..Julie too. The noise from the motorway had gone from a gentle whooshing to nearly silence. The lane however had got really busy with horse riders walkers and newborn cyclists! It was easy to see who was used to being out and about in the countryside and who wasn’t. I was begining to think..what ate THEY doing coming down here I dont recognise who they are, The large pond began to attract folk as they “discovered it” Unfortunately the rubbish followed, beer and pop bottles empty Styrofoam trays and plastic bottles. One chap new to the world of biking in the countryside managed to get himself knocked off his bike by a tractor in a lane. Some folk have no right being on a bike! I took a few photos on the bridge over the M18. I found myself in the early days frowning at cars on the motorway I was convinced they had no right being there LOL! I was trying hard to stay at home. Ive had two 4×4 trips cancelled for gods sake, why cant they stay at bloody home? I had to remind myself to behave a few times I can tell you.

 

                                               M18 weekday early March 2020

Our lives are changing and bikes are being seriously considered as an alternative to cars and more importantly pubic transport. Im sure though in the long run this will revert as things get better and when the rain and cold return in  6 months time Im REALLY sure! We are a lazy breed in general after all!

                                                                      Sainsburys Doncaster

 

Aldi..Thorne South Yorkshire 

 

                                               March 2020.  Wheatley Mills Doncaster

The new way of shopping takes a bit longer as we all consider distancing we are very happy to do so at the moment and many of us are starting wear a mask or cover our faces to help each others well being, its like a positive sign to each other. I passed a “Chippie” (cooked fish and chip takeaway shop for you non British folk reading this) on Friday and saw there were a dozen folk in a queue, but it seemed so long because they kept six foot apart.

 Turning into a scruffy OIK at 62 years of age..Up at the big pond

 

It seems we are over the peak of deaths here in the UK, we are still in a tight spot but thanks to government advice and the general populaces’ acceptance to dig our heels in and do whats been asked we are going in the right direction and the figures are slowly coming down..

Today is Sunday 17th May and the end of the first week of lockdown measures..another new word for us..LOCKDOWN.. I went to the local builders merchants to pick up some supplies for my shortening list of jobs. I drove slowly past the park at Doncaster and saw folk in small numbers and observing social-distancing…another new word SOCIAL  DISTANCING.. have to say it was heartening to see.

                                                                       My Corona 

See you all at the end of summer guys, keep your bloody distance and your chins up!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

January.. 2020

Morning everyone!

So thats 2019 been and gone the end of another decade, thats 2010 to 2020. We welcome another January another year and another decade, its bloody flown dont you think? This Christmas and the New year has been and gone and I should now know what the hell day it is! ( Just had to check..its Friday)

 And today is……?

 

Nothing significant will change for me I dont suppose. Ive done everything Ive yearned to do in life, Ive never had a bucket list, if I wanted to do something I simply went and did it. Life is for living and not waiting til one retires to do it! I saw that with my old dad who worked all his life to provide for his family, then struggled a bit for something to do after retiring, I remember him going to Technical collage in Castleford at 65 to learn carpentry. He was very good with hammer and nail and not much else unfortunately. I remember him bringing home a bird table he’d built, it was heavy, robust and able to receive a Chinook helicopter never mind a blackbird or thrush..Oh Dad you were a star and the reason I too am getting “cack handed”!!  We both have that  “be reight”  mentality that the world now sees on the TV with Guy Martin. I think its a good way to be really as it doesn’t over complicate life.

So in the last couple of years Ive began to follow that old English tradition of Hunting. I follow both fox-hounds and blood hounds. To me as a non rider I find it a lively and colourful spectacle, to me as a photographer I find it a challenge to get ahead and to a place to capture them on camera. When following the laid trail (Fox Hunting) or the scent of the runner (Bloodhounds) is should be straight forward to get to point A but as with all animals its not! It keeps me active, Ive been spotted jogging across muddy fields with camera trying to beat the horses to point A! It keeps me in touch too with all different kinds of people in person and not just on the internet.

Which direction might they appear from?   Hunt horses keep me guessing

 

My driving adventures are still  regular too, Julie comes along often when it suits her but she has a horse and is loathe to leave her for long..Its a horsey thing…So I get about a lot on my own. The Scottish Highlands is a fave as is Morocco. Lots of Europe Ive done on the motorbike years ago and know what will suit me since making the transition from a young man on two wheels to an old git on four wheels. The latter wins now as it lets me get to vastly different places but at a slower speed, which also suits.

My tolerance at my fellow fukcin human has not changed much I have to admit. I do get disappointed with folk whom I thought knew better. Sometimes I stand back and chuckle inwardly coz as an old bloke I know you know! At times I shake my head at folks short sightedness too. I sound like a wise old man, Im not really Ive just been there and done it and when it works its brilliant and when it doesn’t its crap. I still fukc up occasionally with things and people…A Yoda I am not!

I like the constant updating of FB of my friends too,  its interesting to see how they carry on with their lives and quite happy most are at the end of a button, quite a few drop off the radar as they get on with their changing lives and changing partners, never to be seen or heard from again a few stay around and have done since I cant remember when! All in all I feel blessed to know you all.

Julies tolerance of me is still good Im happy and lucky to report by the way, we creak along together nicely contentedly mostly.. We have been together 21 yrs now.. 3rd time lucky is true for me! Pooka the cat is getting older and more unsteady on her feet bless her, sometime she leaps cat-like from one chair to the other but lands wrong or slips, reminding us of her creeping frailty.

   POOKA

Black Betty the horse is still going strong and has me as her slave when Julie has to trek up north to tend to frail parents. Betty lets me pick her feet out brush her and chuck a rug over her and feed her carrots whilst chatting over the hedge grooming her neck for seemingly hours. Next time you chat up a girl and spot she has black fingertips its not malnutrition, its coz she has a horse guys!

So what lies in store for the next ten years then? The answer is probably “more of the same” The fires in Oz with eventually burn out and they will prepare better for the future Trump and the recently ramped up fisticuffs between America and Iran is going to shorten more lives theres no doubt about that. If they con us all again to join an invasion of Iran I hope they have a better plan in place than the last bloke did when they invaded..I mean liberated Iraq.. though I doubt it. Ive never thought our own Boris as a US puppet or a man of war but one never knows!

I know this, Im getting slower and creakier and those little aches and pains get more frequent. I remember thinking about planning for retirement a while ago it’s difficult to predict but I decided that 55 to 65 yrs of age and I I would still be active and fit and be able to do everything I wanted. At 65 to 75 yrs I would start to break down more and probably be on more than just nodding terms with my Dr! Then 75 yrs  onwards and I would be in the lap of the gods and good luck…Hopefully I wont be a vegan or gay or wheelchair or bed bound, its not for me.

That last bit sounds a bit gloomy so I’ll be positive and say Im looking forward to the future.. Rather than worry or overthink stuff lets all crack on with what we love doing best coz it will all be over before we know it..Ooops sorry…LOL!

See you soon x

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Morocco OCT 2019..The road to the Sahara.. Part 1.

via Morocco Oct 2019..The road to the Sahara.. Part 1.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment