"Interesting" week spent trying to avoid the mayhem that is known as the M25 commute between Merstham and Uxbridge.
The journey is great (40-45 minutes) when it works - it rarely does, but when there is a problem just pick a time between 90 minutes and 3 and a half hours.
I broke my personal record for a trip to Uxbridge on Wednesday morning, leaving home at 06:00 and getting to the Stockley Park office at 09:10.
This was due to a road closure at the Reigate junction which prevented cars going onto the motorway at junction 8. This was compounded by accidents on my alternative route and road closures for maintenance (road and water mains) in Surrey.
My misery was brought into perspective as I neared the Uxbridge office - there were Emergency Services attending to another car shunt and the roof of one of the cars had been cut off to allow access to one poor driver. At least I had a better trip to work than that poor driver.
On Thursday morning, a left hand drive truck from European haulage firm Waggeners, found himself in the wrong lane for an exit to the M3 and almost took me out of the game as he pulled over right, back onto the M25, where I was minding my own business.
I am not too easily unnerved, but I took a few minutes to regroup!
At least I escaped that one unscathed.
I only have two more days scheduled at the Canon Europe office, 25 November and 1 December, so wish me luck with those.
Little to report in the footie, except that the Gunners seem unable to defend a lead at the moment. The last two results against Anderlecht (3-3 after being 3-0 up) in the Champions League, and losing the lead to go down 2-1 against Swansea in the Premiership do not fill me with much hope.
On the up side, Theo Walcott is nearly back, Giroud is in contention for the game on Saturday, Jack Wilshere is getting back to form after injury and Alexis Sanchez has been a revelation.
The Slow Club gig at the Electric, Brixton was really quite special. I think they are a class act. So much so, in fact that I saw a notice that they are playing a small gig at the Old Church in N16 London on Friday 12 December and could not resist. This is just going to be a two piece concert with Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson performing on their own. Looking forward to that. Here is the latest single, "Everything Is New"
The following Friday, 19 December I am booked to go to Hammersmith to see the annual science based entertainment that is Brian and Robin's Christmas Compendium of Reason. This is hosted by comedian Robin Ince who friend Professor Brian Cox and other popular science worthies and other guests giving the audience a very interesting evening. Last year's show was stolen by Commander Chris Hadfield (ISS astronaut) doing a Q&A and singing his version of "Space Oddity" (which raised the roof). It is good to hear very smart people talking about things which excite them about their field.
Blackpool-born singer-songwriter Rae Morris has also announced the release of her debut album "Unguarded" in January 2015. This will be supported by a tour and I am off to see her at the Electric, Brixton on 12 February. Here is the last single "Closer".
And another of my band of favourites, Emmy the Great is also out and about and is on a short UK tour early next year. This time I will be away to the Green Door Store in Brighton on 28 January. Here is her first tune for some time, "Swimming Pool", on her website.
That I think is about all I have for now, so until next time -
Take care and love to all
As has become the norm, I really can't believe that it is the best part of a month since my last update to BlogFest.
Either time flies when you are having fun, or time is going quicker as I get older !
Centenary of the "War to End All Wars"
In the UK, we have seemingly embraced the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The most iconic scene has been produced by the installation artist Paul Cummings, who has been planting close to 888,246 ceramic poppies in the moat at the Tower of London. It is a stunning piece of work and is very moving - "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red".
Luckily I went up to the Tower a few weeks ago, and managed to get a few photos. The last two weekends, it has been heaving with people and has become a bit of a free for all.
The last poppies will be planted on Armistice Day, 11 November, after which it will be dismantled and the poppies sold in aid of Armed Services charities. Two parts are being saved - one section each will go to the Imperial War Museums in Manchester and London.
Some more photos can be seen here.
Trip to the Imperial War Museum
On 25 October, four Adults and 16 cub scouts we headed up to Lambeth and went to the recently revamped Imperial War Museum. London stations and streets were heaving with tourists and families enjoying the first weekend of the school half term.
I had not visited the museum since I lived in London as a kid.
I enjoyed it, especially the World War One galleries, which are very informative and nicely laid out.
There are a more few photos here.
Cub Scouts postponed
Very wet weather caused the weekly Cub Scout meeting to be postponed - rain water had seeped under the wood block flooring causing it to swell and form humps like traffic speed bumps.
Traffic mayhem in Reigate has also caused us problems - a planned quiz trail around the town has been rescheduled until road works on major roads around the area have been completed in early 2015.
Greenwich - Maritime Museum and the Longitude Problem
Last Saturday, I went up to London (as normal) to keep an eye on my Mum and took in the Tower Poppies for a second (very crowded) time on the way, and a visit to the Maritime Museum on the way back.
I had seen a poster for an exhibit about the Longitude Problem and how it was solved on a train.
This is the sort of history I love - an individual's dedication to solve a problem, up against the establishment and fighting for recognition.
John Harrison created timekeepers to maintain an accurate record of the time in Greenwich for mariners. Using the time difference between their local time and GMT, they were able to calculate their longitudinal position.
In the 1720s, this was considered a big enough problem for shipping that a prize of
GBP 20,000 was offered (about GBP 3,000,000 today).
The timekeepers "H1", "H2", "H3" and "H4" were masterpieces of design and overcame the major problems (temperature variance, ship's movement etc) brilliantly.
It is a great story.
Silly Season has started, so I am going to be sharing my work time between Woodhatch and Uxbridge until (currently 5 December). The plan is pretty disjointed, but we shall see what physical effects it has on me...
Tomorrow (11 November), I am up to the Electric in Brixton to see Slow Club, (for my money, at least) a great duo.
On 2 December, I am booked to see NEEDTOBREATHE play an acoustic gig at the lovely Bush Hall in London's Shepherd's Bush.
Christmas present to me is on 20 December, when I am up to the Hammersmith Odeon to see the science based annual "Christmas Compendium with Brian Cox and Robin Ince"
Already booked for next year are:
Emmy The Great
and the Glastonbury Festival.
TTFN, my Friends. until then...