The appalling events in Manchester have overtaken my writing of this diary / blog update.
My thoughts and sympathy go to the victims and families affected my this cowardly attack.
This was a soft target, and bad news.
No good ever comes of these acts.
Now, here is the blog, I was going to publish:
Hello there Dear Reader,
May has been another (fairly) busy month in Eggybreadland.
Apart from the usual weekend visits for mothercare, I have been lucky enough to visit gardens, parks and the V&A.
On 7 May, I popped up to the RHS Gardens at Wisley with friends and their families (after a full English at a nearby Morrisons supermarket). Although I am no gardener, I like Wisley - it changes each time you go. There are many opportunities to take some very nice photos.
On Saturday 13 May after a morning visit to my Mum, a friend and I met up and after a potter around the West End, took a 24 bus up to Hampstead Heath.
If you are not aware, a short stroll from the bus terminus takes you to Parliament Hill Fields, which offers a great view of London from the 2012 Olympic site in the East to City and St Pauls round to the BT Tower and Houses of Parliament in the West.
The main features which gave the hill it's name are still visible although the new steel and glass boxes and towers are beginning to encroach severely, but the obelisk that is the Shard still (to my eye at least) looks exciting.
I took a few images and they can be viewed elsewhere on this site.
On Sunday 14 May, after another Full English Breakfast at the Morrisons store in Weybridge, a friend and their daughter left the car at Hampton Court station car park (£2 all day on Sundays - but not public holidays!).
We had a nice stroll past Hampton Court to Henry VIII's adjoining deer chase at Bushy Park. The weather was very good, and I managed to get my first very red face of the year (but just the right hand side).
A lovely day :) <Pictures and page here>
On Saturday 20 May, I was up in London Town checking on my Mum and visited "The Pink Floyd Exhibition-Their Mortal Remains" at the V&A. This was very, very good and if you are a fan, get there if you can.
I was just a little surprised at the £24 ticket price, but would say that as a fan, it was very interesting and immersive.
< Photos and web page here >
Another good one.
The 2016/17 Premier League Season has been a very frustrating one, not only for the Arsenal Fans but I suspect, the players and the Manager.
Yet again, the spine and steel within the team has been lacking, there is a surplus of creative midfield players but the team is shy of defending and strike force cover.
Bad decisions regarding announcements about Arsene Wenger's future seem to have made the ship unstable.
I stick by my statement in the previous blog that it is time for Arsene Wenger to leave the manager's job. I would have no problem with the idea that he could "go upstairs" to a consultative role. In fact I think that Wenger is one of the two great visionary managers in Arsenal's history together with Herbert Chapman in the early days at Highbury.
My issue is really about who should take over, and why has no candidate been groomed ?
I really don't know the answer, but do fear what is to come if Wenger decides to go at the end of his current contract.
I am expecting little from next weekend's FA Cup Final against Chelsea, so would prefer to remember The Professor not as in the slide show at the top of this section, but like this:
I suspect that realisation of what Arsenal have had will not hit most fans until he is gone.
Arsenal Football Club under Arsene Wenger has been very special.
That said, we won't know if he is staying or going until after the Cup Final.
If you would like to review my ramblings about football and more specifically check these pages out:
<The Beautiful Game - my outlook on the football matters>
or select the "Football" category to the right towards the top of this page to see what my blog ramblings have been.
A few people have asked me if I miss the Scouting and the honest answer is a loud "No".
That said, when I went to Bushy Park earlier in the month, I did have my very first heart-tug since giving up my appointment in February.
At the start of the fair, there was a parade of cars and bikes , the groups who were there, a marching ban, local Sea Cadets and a local Scout Group.
The Scouts were a bit scruffy although in uniform as were the Cub Scouts, but I did have a "that would have been me" moment when I saw the leaders with them.
Just 29 days until the <Glastonbury Festival>, which I am looking forward to attending for the third time - it is nice in this instance to be classed as a "Veteran".
Next week sees the local school's half term, and I am taking a few days leave to hang out with my dear friend and their lovely daughter.
There are a few trips planned, but more of that next time.
Until then, pip pip...
And let's be careful out there.
Ironically just after the Cub Scouts Centenary celebration on 16 December 2016, I have decided to hang up my 5th Reigate Scout Group fleece.
I have been on a bit of a downward cycle in my attitude about Scouts for probably over a year now and it hasn't improved (as it always has in the past).
I haven't missed Cub Scouts during the holiday breaks and haven't thought "Great, it's Monday. Let's get me to Cubs" when we have been due to start again, even after the extended Summer break.
Cub Scouts has become little more than what I do on a Monday evening.
After much soul searching, I decided over the Christmas break that the time has come for me to jump and see where I land as my heart isn't in it now.
I will miss the camaraderie and good nature of some of the leaders who I have worked with for about 24 years, but that is about all, and I will keep in touch with them.
This decision has been a long time coming, but I think the time is right for me to go, before the great memories of the good times we have had are tainted by bitterness and resentment because I am just going through the motions for the next meeting / term / year or whatever.
My appointment as Cub Scout Sectioon Assistant will officially end on 28 February 2017.
I am feeling a little remorse, having just realised that it is a full month since I last wrote to you.
Without making excuses I have had to take a short break as too much time working on the PC, and use of the tablet and phone has left me struggling with headaches and generally feeling dreadful.
The main suspect was my eyes, so I booked a trip to the optician who told me I needed a new prescription.
The various tests took 50 minutes and they declared that both my near and far sight had improved (near sight significantly) since my last test in 2011.
That was the good part and the next 90 minutes were nightmare for me.
Which frames / coatings did I want ?
There are thousands to choose from and the words used by the staff are not really useful to me - "those are more fun", "those are more informal", "those are a little funky", "those are a slightly more business-like".
In truth, this is one of those occasions when the opinion of a partner or trusted friend is invaluable to tell you that you look like a bufoon or Dame Edna Everidge.
I can make a choice from three, but there is just too much choice !
In other health news, I am due to have some dental work done and a crown fitted on one of my back teeth. The dentist has tried for a few years to stabilise it but more drastic action is needed. We have had problems with the labwork and moulds, but I am now due to have the crown fitted on Friday 13th May.
And, in a bid to keep this old body mobile I have taken on a low impact exercise regime, trying to make 10,000 steps a day.
My job in the Postroom means that it should not be too onerous, although some creative route planning when collecting and delivering packages is useful.I am quite pleased with the daily average for April - 12,382.
On a mammoth Saturday on 16 April, I managed 23,945 steps when along with 21 noisy cubs, 1 scout and a few leaders we had a trip to Brighton.
We had a good day, taking in the usual seafront sights and take in a special showing of the new Disney version of "The Jungle Book" being put on to celebrate 100 years of Cub Scouts.
The film was fabulous, and the inclusion of The Bare Necessities and King Louis Song from the original cartoon inspired.
Last Sunday, the annual Reigate District St George's Day event was held. This is when all Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders renew their promise.
A couple of week's ago the Cub Pack visited Reigate Fire Station for an interesting but cold evening.
Folk Music has been at the fore in April with good gigs by both Bellowhead and The Young 'Uns.
This was Bellowhead's Farewell Tour - "Thats All Folks".
It was a brilliant, exhuberant evening in Brighton, but I am sad that they are calling it a day after 12 years.
The Young 'Uns are a very good folk trio from the North. I don't have any photos as somehow I forgot my camera.
Just take my word for it, the are Proper. Folk.
Finally, I cannot avoid the fact that my bloved Arsenal's challenges have fallen short again this season.
Sadly, as a fan I have say that I think that once again it seems to be due to a lack of strength in depth within the squad. The team also lacks a leader on the pitch.
I wish Leicester City well, they deserve the success they have had this season and have been refreshing
Enough for now, Dear Reader.
Until next time.
Hello Dear Reader, once again it’s for a catch up.
The Easter break has come and gone and Storm Katie has been battering half of the UK.
Unusually, it was the Midlands to the South which took the brunt of the damaging winds.
There was garden fence and tree damage locally, but personally I escaped with some ripped roofing felt on my shed.
Cubs Scouts is currently on the Easter break.
The Reigate Cub Scout Cooking Competition (which we won last year) surpassed my expectations and our young team of 2 eight and 2 nine year olds managed to cook a two course meal in 90 minutes from scratch for less than £5 using 4 gas burners (and without losing any fingers, having any disasters or giving the judges food poisoning).
This year’s theme was 100 years of Cub Scouts, so Baloo managed to find “An Indian Recipe” from 1917 and a recipe for a Spotted Dick pudding.
During practice, the Indian Recipe produced a really good Chicken Curry with onions. It was very flavoursome chicken dish and a beautiful sauce (not all sauce like a modern curry).
The Spotted Dick pudding was really good, but we some learned that it did need a full 60 minutes boiling in the Muslin cloth.
The rules say that a leader cannot assist their own team, and I was a little out of position as I was keeping an eye on another group at the opposite end of the hall from ours.
This proved frustrating, but I did at least manage to get word to ours to use some more heat to help reduce the sauce for the main course.
Points are awarded for Teamwork, Food Hygiene, Presentation, Technique and Taste with 10 points for each.
Out of a total of 50 points, the winners got 42 points.
Our team managed 41 points, so finished second.
Third place in the morning groups achieved 39 points.
There were four more teams in the afternoon session, the highest of which was awarded 31 points.
It was a really great effort from such a young team, and it is great to see these kids taking on a challenge so successfully.
But I am not sure who was more chuffed at the result, the Cubs or their parents. More than one of them told me that the youngsters had never cooked before!
We have a visit planned to the local Fire Station for the first meeting of the new term next week and in April, we will be going down to Brighton for the day and seeing a special screening of the new version of “The Jungle Book”
Yet again, I have been appalled by atrocities in Europe.
My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
The bombings at Brussels Airport and Metro Stations on 22 March were both indiscriminate and shocking.
The perpetrators must learn that no good can ever come of this behaviour.
I was also saddened to hear that Johan Cruyff had lost his battle with cancer.
He was one of the first wave of flamboyant international footballers that I was really aware of. Such an exciting player to see in a World Cup and European Championships.
Luckily, his vision of “Total Football” and the “Cruff Turn” will live on.
<The moment the Cruyff turn was introduced to the world>
Johan Cruyff RIP
My beloved Vinyl
I have spent spare moments over the past few weeks cataloguing my old vinyl collection. I love the format, but no longer play it and really could not part with it.
The popular end of the collection is now on show <<<<here>>>>
I also have many classical LPs, but I do not feel quite as emotionally attached to those!
I have been to a couple of gigs in the last week.
Last Thursday, Emmy The Great played a lovely gig at the Islington Assembly Hall supporting the release of her third album “Second Love”.
Although the Photography Fascists were in evidence, I did manage to sneak a few reasonable pictures, which are here.
Saturday’s gig by The Tuts was less successful. Having got to Barfly at Camden, I was surprised to see their name on the bill to perform at 9:45, as the band themselves had said that they would be on early.
At about 7:30, their names were being crossed from the bills and we were told that The Tuts would not be playing.
The band came through the bar as they left and explained to a few of us disappointed fans that they had agreed to an early slot as they were expected elsewhere at 10:00. They found that the Promotor had bumped them up the bill to headliners when they arrived, and their previous commitment meant they could no longer play.
We did have a chat about the new album and how things were going with the Pledge Music crowd funding.
They are nice kids. Attitude in spades, but real nice girls.
That is about all for now.
Chin chin xxx
27/2/2016 0 Comments
I was volunteered to prepare an activity about the flag of the United Kingdom at an upcoming Cub Scout meeting. I was surprised at a few elements of it's history.
As a clever reader, you are probably aware the Union Flag (or surprisingly the Union Jack as it can be known, even if not being flown at sea), comprises stylised representations of the flags or satires (diagonal crosses) of the countries in the Union.
Since Richard I declared in 1194 that England's flag would be the red St Georges Cross on a white background.
By 1606, although still different countries, England and Scotland did share the same monarch - James I of England, James VI of Scotland - so the decision was made to design a flag to be used on shipping which was a combined effort at the time.
They took the Scottish flag (the St Andrew's Saltire - the diagonal cross)
and the English Flag (the St George's Cross) to produce the first Union Flag.
The white border around the red cross is there for heraldic reasons to separate the colours.
With the 1707 Act of Union, Queen Anne declared that the Union Flag be used both at sea and on land - as by this act England and Scotland were united under the monarch and one parliament.
In 1801 Great Britain enlarged to include Ireland so a new flag reflecting this was required.
The St Patrick Satire was therefore incorporated to represent Ireland.
This was done with an offset which in heraldic terms is known as "counterchanging".
This means that the Union Flag is not actually symmetrical.
The flag was not changed when Ireland split to form the Republic and Northern Ireland in 1921. Only Northern Ireland remains in the United Kingdom
So, Dear Reader here is the question.
Why does no Welsh elements appear on the Union Flag?
The United Kingdom does comprise England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Well, when the first Union Flag was created in 1606, Wales had been united with England since the 13th century. This meant that it's status was actually a Principality and not Kingdom.
As such, it could not be included.
A notification on Facebook got me thinking that some years ago, on my old web site I had written a page waxing lyrical about one of (probably my absolute) favourite local British foodstuff.
I have dug through my laptop and found the words which I wrote but alas the original pictures have been lost in a black hole somewhere.
Sadly, Oatcake shops are very few on the ground now - even the site of the famous "Hole In The Wall" has been redeveloped, but there are still some around if you search.
Here is that web page with some fresh images.
Ode To The Oatcake
While clearing out some old tax papers, bank statements, credit card and utility bills I came across a page torn from The Sunday Times magazine back in late 1991 (from what I can deduce).
This folded page is unusual in that it is a tribute to what some of us consider to be a great delicacy. Others say they are too rich. Even some sons of Lichfield folk have decreed that they are foul and a piece of bread is preferable.
In my opinion, they are possibly one of the most versatile and unknown foods, which are very hard to find anywhere south of Uttoxeter or north of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
A local supermarket once stocked them down here in the South of England, but although they were usually sold out before I could get any, I was told that they no longer have them - shame on them.
What is this food ?
The North Staffordshire Oatcake
(a.k.a "The Tunstall Tortilla" or the "Potteries Papadam"
"Oatcakes", people say, "I like those" and therein lies the confusion.
These are not the dreadful, dry, hardboard-like Scottish biscuits.
The North Staffordshire Oatcake is succulent and in my personal view still best served as a savoury snack or as part of a full breakfast or brunch with bacon, eggs and cheese.
My Aunt Jean has served oatcakes as a Lasagne style meal (using them to replace the pasta sheets).
They are simply superb.
If you happen upon an Oatcake shop - there is one in Cheadle, another in Leek, Hanley and a few others scattered around - do not squander the chance to see the delicacies coming off the bakestone and trying them for yourselves.
Here is a transcript of the original article from the Sunday Times:
Ode To The Oatcake
Report: Philip Oakes
What divides Britain - more surely than accent or class or even the cash flow - is where you can find the Staffordshire oatcake. To my knowledge it has never been sighted north of Blackburn or south of Rugby. Its natural habitat is the Potteries, once the black heart of the Midlands, where bottle ovens belched smoke as thick as gravy and food was heavy not only with carbohydrates but with a morality that announced itself in maxims.
In my mother's house, the favourite text was "Waste not, want not", with "Plain living and high thinking" coming a close second. Without hesitation, she decreed that bread was Good. So was porridge. So was home-made soup with its ballast of lentils and pearl barley, its surface beaded with fat. I asked her what it was that winked in my soup and she instantly told me: "Goodness".
Oatcakes were undeniably Good, but they were a luxury. I should explain. A Staffordshire oatcake is nothing like its Scottish cousin. It is not a parched and gritty biscuit, but a moist pancake, made with a batter of oatmeal and yeast.
In his Ode to the Oatcake, Arthur Berry, the Potteries artist and poet, describes it fondly, warts and all:
As flat and thin as a dishcloth
An obedient and suppliant cheek
That will bend any way you want it
Round and floppy, the oatcake
Has texture similar to the skins of old colliers or men
Dying of potter's rot
Don't let the poetic license put you off. The oatcake is delicious, eaten hot or cold, the perfect accompaniment to all fried food, stuffed with bacon or grated cheese, spread with honey or, quite simply, running with melted butter.
I've seen it dismissed as a variation on the Greek pitta or Breton crêpe. But there is no comparison. The Staffordshire original is not just a wrap-round but an entity; a delicacy in its own right.
Exiles yearn for it.
When I was in my teens, I first moved to London, my mother sent me parcels of oatcakes, limp and weighty, anonymous in brown paper. What she was telling me, I suspect, was that I should never have left home and the message was spelled out in oatmeal.
When I was a boy we always had oatcakes for breakfast on winter Sunday mornings. They were not considered to be a summer food ("They over-heat the blood", explained my mother) and from April to September we did without. But the first fogs of autumn signalled an end to the waiting. As dusk fell on Saturday evening (street lamps lit, the paper-boy on the corner shouting the match results), I was despatched to the oatcake shop. Chain bakeries sold oatcakes six days a week. So, bizarrely, did some butchers' shops. But the best oatcake makers - those perfectionists who made nothing else - restricted themselves to three days only, the run-up to the weekend. For the rest of the week their doors were locked, their blinds drawn.
The shop we patronised was in the mining village of Smallthorne, not far from the knacker's yard where we sometimes went ratting. The bottom of its bow window was level with my eyes and I would stand there in the dusk for an hour at a time, watching the oatcakes being made.
On the far side of the shop the oatcake man measured oatmeal, flour and milk and water into tall white jugs. He added salt and yeast and when the mixture had risen he would cross over to his bakestone, a black iron plate which sent waves of heat shimmering to the ceiling and pour out 12 liquid pats which would spread and sizzle on the metal. Bubbles bulged and burst. The mouth-watering smell of toasted oatmeal seeped under the door and into the street and as the edges turned crisp and golden he would flip them over to cook the other side. When they were done he would stack them in a tender, tottering pile beside the bakestone and start on the next batch. As always, I bought 12. The oatcake man wrapped them in tissue paper and I bore them home, clasped to my chest like a hot and fragrant poultice.
Fifty years on, the great Staffordshire love affair with the oatcake endures. The product, though, seems to have meandered upmarket. At the Victoria Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, they sell them as bar snacks (chicken and chutney is a favourite filling), and when I last visited the Potteries my hotel advertised something called a Potter's Breakfast. It comprised oatcakes stuffed with grated cheese and washed down with half a bottle of champagne. Not even the tourists were buying.
What is strange is that the oatcake has never caught on outside Staffordshire. Food writers have tried to spread the word. Jane Grigson was a fan. So is Susan Campbell, who wrote about in her English Cookery (Consumers' Association and Hodder & Stoughton). But, despite their gospelling, it remains a local treat.
We make our own, using this recipe:
225g (8oz) fine oatmeal
225g (8oz) plain flour
2 tsp salt
400ml (¾pt) milk
400ml (¾pt) water
15g (½oz) fresh yeast (or half quantity dried)
Lard for frying
Mix the oatmeal, flour and salt in a large bowl. Warm the milk and water together to blood heat. Cream the yeast with a little of the warm liquid. When it froths stir into the flour and oatmeal with the remaining liquid. This will be runny; don't worry.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave the mixture to rise for an hour or until it has doubled in bulk. Make the oatcakes like pancakes, using a frying pan, large or small (larger pans make thinner oatcakes) and frying each side for about three or four minutes or until they are golden. Stack within a folded cloth.
To reheat, pile them on one plate, cover with another and put in a moderate oven. They will emerge hot and steamy. Wrapped in a slightly damp tea towel and put in a cool place, they will keep for a week.
Ours rarely last that long, which - according to Arthur Berry - is just as well. His ode advises that oatcakes should only be eaten two or three times a week:
Such richness every day would be too much
Rather like having the News of the World
Delivered as a morning paper
What's more, he adds:
These cakes can play the very
Devil with your waistline
I must WARN !
Leads to BULGENCE
Live dangerously. Try them and see.
“Marley was dead, dead as a door-nail. Let that fact be understood for certain” (or something like that) starts the only Dickens I have ever read.
I am sure that more academically qualified people than myself would dismiss “A Christmas Carol” as an unworthy short story, but although I love a good TV or film adapation of a Charles Dickens work I find the books too wordy and the language just plain tricky.
Anyway, one of the items in the Gibson Cub Scout Pack programme was rehearsing for and putting on a playlette for the Mums and Dads as part of the Cubs Entertainer badge work this coming Monday.
This has involved two weeks of reading through and rehearsal and then a dress rehearsal and performance due on 30 November.
The planning was vague to say the least, and after the meeting three weeks ago Baloo - who was in charge – was asked whether there was a script or something to start work with the following week.
His reply did not inspire – “Well not yet, but we are working on it and it should be ready by next Monday. I think it will be a take on A Christmas Carol.”
I received a phone text message the following Sunday, “Are you up for a bit of acting on Monday?”
I answered “Acting the fool?, maybe.”
At the Monday meeting, the scripts were passed around. I was given one with the comment, “I hope we haven’t type cast you too much, you will be Scrooge”.
Now, Dear Reader this did not spook me too much. I thought there would be a couple of scenes, but it would be easy enough.
The first read through confirmed that there were not too many words to say.
At a second read through with some stage directions being given, my “not much” theory was blasted completely out of the water.
Scrooge enters the stage on the first line of the script from The Narrators: “There was a man called Scrooge”.
I then walk London’s streets and utter two lines before going to my work place.
There I have dialogue with Bob Cratchit about having Christmas Day off, then with my Nephew Fred and then have a few crossed words with some Charity Workers.
Then a sudden change of scene to Scrooge is bedroom to be accosted by first Marley’s Ghost and then the Ghost of Christmas Past.
He takes me to Scrooge’s school and Fezziwig’s shop party, before I am passed on to the Ghost of Christmas Present who takes me on to Nephew Fred’s and Bob Cratchit’s.
The game of Pass-the-Scrooge is carried on by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come with the trip to the graveyard before I wake up mid-nightmare and it is still Christmas Day.
Of course, Scrooge has had his transformation and gets the Boy to buy the massive turkey for Bob Cratchit’s Christmas feast and then goes to dinner and we all end up singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas”
So the “bit of acting” actually equates with my being on stage from the first line to the last.
Monday’s meeting is the Dress Rehearsal and actual performance.
It should be “interesting”.
In other Scouting News, I managed to complete a First Response course yesterday.
Next weekend I am part of the cooking crew at a two day County Scout "Management" Course. It should not be too onerous as I have heard that numbers may be between 8 and 10.
There may also be a Gibson Cub Scout Pack Christmas Party on Saturday, but this needs to be confirmed.
I have been privileged to see three excellent but very different gigs this week.
On Tuesday, I was at the lovely Union Chapel in Islington to see Billy Bragg. This was a very stripped back affair, with The Bard's only accompaniment being CJ Hillman on Pedal Guitar and guitars.
The following evening, I saw Courtney Barnett's rocking set at The Forum, Kentish Town.
On Saturday, it was up to the Royal Albert Hall to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. That really was a fun night.
The pre-Christmas house cleaning continues when I get the time or can actually be bothered (not often enough). Guests are arriving on or about 22 or 23 December.
I am not sure when the Christmas house decorations will go up this year. In the past, I have had them in place on 1st December or as late as a week before the big day.
As with the housework, it will get done when I get the time. At this point, however I am not sure when this window will open.
That has got to be enough for now.
Until next time. Let's be careful out there.
Today has been a little strange.
I am still suffering from a bit of a cough (3 weeks and counting), so took the opportunity for a sneaky lay-in. I was 'excused' a trip up to Covent Garden to visit my Mum as I was booked up to escort a team of Cubs to the Surrey County Cub Scout Cooking Competition.
The 5th Reigate Gibson Cub Pack had won the Reigate District Competition earlier in the year, so was representing Reigate at the County gig.
We arrived at the venue and my colleague Baloo realised that he had left the recipe sheet, together with other required paperwork at the Scout Hut.
After recovering from that, the competition started and our Cubs managed a very good 2nd place, being 3.5 points (of 50) behind the winners.
Anyhoo I digress, and once we got into the hall, I was greeted by some old friends who I have cooked with and known since I started my Scouting. Once pleasantries had been exchanged, they asked if I was busy the first weekend in December.
As it happens, there is a Cub Sleepover at the Scout HQ on Saturday 4 December and a Cub Scout Carol Service on Sunday 5 December.
A discussion ensued and it seems that there is a small (8-10 attendees, 3-4 tutors) at the County Training Centre and little help to do the catering (in fact Jan and Kevin who I was talking to were both tutoring and also in the frame for the catering). Perceiving their need for some assistance in the kitchen, I thought about what my timetable would be for that weekend and decided that the logistics could be possible to help at both the training and the sleepover.
Admittedly, I will have to miss the Carol Service on the Sunday, and I will have to leave after doing the lunch time washing up at the training course on the Saturday to get to the Party / Sleepover, and leave the Sleepover after breakfast on the Sunday morning to get to spud bashing at the training course, but this is a done deal.
If you can lend a hand, do so - that is what I try to do.
Apart from ignominy (is that the word?) in the UEFA Champions League, my beloved Gunners are in fairly good shape so far this season. Luckily Alexis Sanchez seems to want to play and play and will show a fine work ethic to his team mates. In today's game at Watford, he showed up and put in a shift even after arriving back on Friday from International Duty and scoring two goals in South America. He is a class act
I was booked for a small gig on 6 October (Meadowlark, at the Lexington) but realised on the preceding Thursday that I had not received my e-ticket. I emailed the customer service and heard nothing until Monday 5th.
Their advice was that I should not worry as the concert was not for several weeks and the e-ticket would be sent about 3 weeks before the gig. If this is not received 7 days beforehand I should call them on their (premium rate) number.
So Dear Reader, I called them and explained that as I had said in my email the gig was NOT in several weeks, rather the following evening.
The operator kindly told me that she would resend the e-ticket email in the next two hours as they would have been sent out in August.
No email came my way, so I decided to write the date off as the ticket value was low (£8) and I was feeling sick in any case.
Weirdly a couple of days later, I received an email asking how the service had been and I replied laying into the agency somewhat and declaring that I probably would never use their services again.
Even more weirdly, last Sunday I received an email containing an e-ticket for the gig. The gig date was the 14th of December.
It seems that the date had been re-arranged and no-one had actually told me.
For the want of a single email, all of this unpleasantness would have been avoided.
On the up-side, I will get to the concert after all and it will be my last of this year.
Finally, a little about my visit to the Victoria and Albert museum.
I was not really looking forward to this, as the V&A was the least favourite Kensington museum when I was a kid (too many dresses and fabrics).
In the event it was a great day out - the Photography Fascists were noticeably absent as evidenced here.
That's enough for now, so
4/10/2015 0 Comments
Hello again, Dear Reader,
The initial ticket sales for the Glastonbury Festival 2016 have been and gone with no success for this fan.
The first sale for 15,000 coach package tickets on October 1st lasted 15 of your Earth minutes.
Today's sale of 120,000 general admission was at 09:00 this morning, and was all done by 09:31.
I have been through the disappointment of sale failure before, and can live with that - but what rankles me is the fact that for 25 minutes of today's sale I could not even access the See Tickets website due to traffic volumes.
All is not lost, however - there is a resale of tickets not taken up next April, and if that doesn't come off there are other good festivals around - maybe it will be the year to experiment.
It has been a strange week or so. I have been struggling with a cough and cold and actually took a day off sick a couple of Fridays ago.
I missed a Cub Scout meeting and a District Push Cart event.
I had to miss a gig in Brixton so I had a chance to recover.
The cold element is persevering, but at least the cough element has abated.
Although I missed out on the Wolf Alice gig, I did venture up to Shoreditch last week to the Village Underground and after getting hopelessly lost because of building works saw my old pals Summer Camp. They put on a good show and the support acts were interesting. Although my view was brilliant, my selected spot made for awkward photo taking, but some some results were OK and can be seen <here>.
And finally... There is the County Cub Scouts Cooking Competition coming up in a few weekends, so as representatives of Reigate District, our Cub Pack will have to "up our game" and practice cooking a new two course menu.
The week after that we have a Pack Holiday at Frylands Wood Camp Site - no canvas and in a hut, so it sounds luxurious.
I hope I have shaken this damned cold by then!
Been a few weeks, but I have been busy at work. This is a little out of step with the norm, but since I got back from holiday after Glastonbury it has been quite hectic and pretty physical.
There have been events to get vans of kit to, and back to the office and send out again. Lots of kit, some very heavy cases which need loading and unloading and reloading.
As always, one of the four of my Postroom colleagues will help and take the lead. The other two, quite bluntly are a waste of time - one not through their own fault, but the other however sucks any goodwill from a room like a black hole - instantly.
So why am I feeling out of kilter with the moderns ?
Well, long story short yesterday I was very busy and am actually feeling pretty misused now.
From what I can gather, there has been some questions raised about how much training has been given in some environmental elements necessary to the functioning of a modern workplace.
[Yes, there is a tone in that...]
I am really just damned miffed that I was given the run around for at least 45 minutes trying to get a spill near the hazardous waste container in the loading bay cleared up.
It was hosed away after considerations by grounds, maintenance and cleaning staff as well as my own management.
Today, we received a meeting invitation to receive some training relating to spill clearance.
I bumped into the lad who told us about the spill and his environmental colleague and, in a cheery voice and with a smile he told me that yesterday's test had been a good one and had confirmed that training had not been given.
I am feeling annoyed and misused, simply because I resent the "test" and the waste of my time.
In my world, the way to find things out is to ask the question, not play a stupid game and waste four workers time amounting to 3 man-hours.
Had I been asked yesterday if we had received any training, I would have said "No".
I cannot understand how this sort of game playing can be right.
Yes, if training has been given test us, but at least ask us if we have received training. We are adults and will tell you.
The World Scouting Jamboree has been giving Scouts from all over the planet a brilliant adventure in Japan. Some Scouting friends' son is out there. I am just a wee bit jealous.
I tweeted on 29 July:
"34,000 Scouts from 150+ countries in Japan for the Jamboree . We are part of this great movement. #wsj2015 Proud."
Although the antics at the England v Australia Test Matches have been mildly interesting, I am very happy that the Beautiful Game is back tomorrow.
Arsenal have been pretty quiet in the transfer market, but bringing in goalkeeper Petr Cech is, I think a great move.
The pre-season has given the Gunners three trophies in as many weeks - it can't be bad!
I realised shortly after returning from Glastonbury that my live music diary was pretty bare until the end of September.
I have sorted this out now and have booked up for gigs from The Gaslight Anthem, Wolf Alice and Ian Anderson peforming the intriguing "Jethro Tull:The Rock Opera" which tells the story of the agricultural pioneer whose name they pinched.
That will do for now.