It’s the noise …


… or to be more accurate, the lack of noise that’s the unnerving thing. We live about 1/4 of a Motorway Fencingmile from the A1 motorway. In fact, from one of the front bedroom windows, you can see the tops of the trucks as they journey north and south. What we tend to hear during the night, is either a continuous roar or a loud humming, depending on the wind direction. When they upgraded this section, they put up fencing that should have acted like a baffle-board to cut down on the noise. Unfortunately, this fencing is about 1 foot too low, and as such the sound apparently just flows over the top!

We noticed it during the 1st “lock-down” that the sounds coming from the motorway were a lot less during the day and after about 10pm until around 8am there appeared to be no sound at all. It is the same this time, although there seemed to be more traffic during the day than the previous time.

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I had a bit of shopping to do yesterday. You know, just the essentials – beer, wine whiskey etc. I am still amazed at the number of people that do not wear their face coverings properly. I’ve seen people with just their mouth covered and even one who seemed to think that the virus spreads through their chin. It is simple enough, cover your nose and mouth. It’s uncomfortable, but we should be doing it. Although, you can see why some people don’t when senior politicians don’t wear it correctly! The image of Jeremy Corbyn leaving a building, with his nose uncovered makes a mockery of what everyone is supposed to be doing. All in this together?

It finally hit …


I refer to the so named “Beast From The East” weather event. Up to last night, the bad weather was more like a “Wimp From The P1020182West” as it had not been as we ha been advised by the TV weather gurus. But from about 22:30 it started to snow a little heavier than before. This morning we awoke to this. Must be about 10cm or 4” in old money. We’ve had some heavy bursts and some lighter ones, but it hasn’t really stopped. R*** has not gone to his day services today. S**** had told K*** that the motorway was quite bad, so we decided it would be better if he stayed at home. He is not good when it comes to traffic holdups and can get quite aggressive if there is any kind of delay. Its one of the main reasons he get transported in a mini-bus. He knows he has to have his seatbelt fastened and from the middle seat of the bus, he is not able to reach either the escort or the driver.

K*** has an appointment at the eye clinic today, and with the problems she has been having, decided that should keep the appointment. I would have tried to cancel it. It’s not a good driving day.

Life changer + 105


The assessment went as well as I could have expected. We found the hospital without too much of a problem. The only problem we had, was that I had read the route directions incorrectly. I had read it that we should go down the A1/M1 link road to the M62. What I should have read was that we should go down the A1(M) to the M62. My little detour cost us an extra 25 minutes, which meant that we got to the hospital with literally minutes to spare.

It was a Practice Nurse that did the assessment, which turned out to be a lot of questions, a few blood samples, a couple of swabs (for MRSA) and a urine sample. This was all done in about 30 minutes and followed by an ECG. In total, including getting to and from the parked car, we were there 45 minutes only. The nurse went over some of the details of what was going to happen but I don’t think it reassured K*** much more. I have not got to the mental state yet that makes me feel worried. However, I did get the slight feeling on the way home, that it is getting very real now.

Just a quick update


     First thing to say, is “I have a new phone!!”  It’s not that I needed a new phone, but my contract had come to the end of the two year minimum, and my Sony-Xperia-Tprovider gives the chance of an upgrade. There was nothing wrong with the old one, but the new one has a more modern styling, more storage, better range of applications and the new contract, whilst costing a little more, is more suitable for my needs. It is not the latest model, by a long way, but it is still a good phone. To get the latest, would have cost me over £34.00 a month, with an upfront cost of £49.00. Not worth it.

     I didn’t mention previously, that we are having our ensuite updated, or more to the point, completely replaced. Mrs H was wanted it doing for a long time, and the breaking point came, when the shower packed in. Our usual ‘handy-man’ fitted a new one, but it never worked properly. According to the people fitting out the new room, it was totally the wrong type. It never occurred to me to do any before/after photos, so the only one I have is a ‘during’ picture. I will try and remember to do an ‘after’ picture when it is all done. As you can imagine, there are quite a few downsides to the whole project. The biggest two are, the dust, and Mrs H’s dread of taking a bath. In all the years we have been married, I can only think of a very few occasions that she has taken a bath. Always a shower. It has usually been, when we had showers installed/replaced or when we have been away. I prefer a bath to a shower. I love to just lie there and soak, with a nice drink and a good book (don’t try it with a Kindle though.)

     Latest news on the job front, is basically not much more than I knew last month. We’ve been assured, that there are more jobs to fill than staff to fill them, so it’s not a cost cutting exercise. We’ve also been told (not assured) that they are not looking to change grading system, so I suppose, that there is not too much to worry about. My main concern is where we will be based. Seven years ago, when our service moved out of the city centre to an industrial estate just off the M1 KAmotorway, I bought a small car. Using public transport would have meant two buses each way, with ten minutes waiting time between. Although a car is more expensive than public transport, it is far more reliable and convenient. One of the rumours is that we may move back to the city centre, to have a more central base. this would either mean, back to the bus, or pay out over £100.00 a month in car park fees. Now I know that does not sound a lot for city centre parking, but that is the charge in one of the council run multi-storey car parks. The charge has just been reduced from £9.00 to £5.00 all day to attract business. I’m worried, that once the business starts to pick up again, the the council will increase to price again!! We are having a team meeting on Thursday, so may hear a bit more then. It it quite typical of council managers to drip feed information, which has the effect of feeding the rumour mongers. I will update as and when.

One Week On


It has been a long week! This was the week when R*** was going to have his first sleep at his new placement (let’s call it college). On Tuesday, the staff took him to visit the place where was going to sleep, just for a look round and to help him familiarise himself with the place. They said he seemed interested (whatever that means for R***.) Then on Wednesday, he stayed later, and had his tea there, again familiarisation. The staff it went really well, once he had accepted that he was having his tea there, and then going home. Thursday was the big one. First of all, he had an appointment at the doctors,and it was a bit of a surprise, that he, and K*** were given their flu jabs. Then he was told, that he was having ‘one sleep, then R***’s house’. I understand that it was not as bad as was expected. K*** got lots of phone reports from the college, to reassure us that he was fine. A little confused at the start of the evening, but apparently settled well. Friday morning, he was nattering to come home, and as an afterthought, maybe we should have told him ‘one sleep, college then R***’s house’. To cap it all, on the way home on Friday, an accident shut the Motorway, which meant he was nearly an hour late getting home. His taxi driver and escort said he had been fine, just a little loud. Touch wood, the weekend is going okay.

         The work in the kitchen is just about done. Just a few little bits to sort out, but that has been a trial too this week. The new fridge/freezer arrived on the previous Friday. K*** had paid to have it installed, which basically involved the delivery people, taking it off the van, putting it in the kitchen and plugging it in. This was never going to be simple !!!!! The first thing we were told, by the driver, was that ‘It’s not going to fit up the steps!’ K*** told them that the gap had been measured, and it would. Then we were told that ’We can’t turn it through the kitchen door!’ We ended up having to get them to put it in the garage. K*** called D*** (the handyman) and explained what had happened, and he said he would come round on Monday, and have a look what could be done.

          The day arrived, and D***, Me, S**** and K**** (the next door neighbour) stood around for about ten minutes, scratching our collective heads, before getting started. The wallThen it was a bit like that old Bernard Cribbens song ‘Right Said Fred’. Got half way up the steps, then D*** realised that half the gatepost had to come off. Bit further, then a fence panel The fridgehad to go. Eventually, after a great deal of manly huffing and grunting we managed to get it up to the door. The next thing was to lift it onto the side wall, turn it then swing the bottom in through the doorway (door had been removed before starting). The grunting and huffing had increased tenfold, by this time. Still, it went in a lot easier than we were led to expect. D*** replaced everything he had removed and went off, leaving K*** to admire her new kitchen. He came back on the Tuesday and did a bit more work, so that it actually fitted in the space left by the cupboard, but all is serene now. Just waiting for K***s next project with bated breath.

Top 10 Driving hates


I enjoy driving, and consider myself an average driver. I’m not the best driver in the world and certainly not the worst, so the word ‘average’ is probably the best description I can offer. Like most people I hate the way some other motorists drive, and I would like to share my Top Ten moans.

  1. Drivers who will not move out of lane one, on the motorway, when I am trying to join;
  2. Those who move into lane one when approaching  the joining lane of the motorway;
  3. Drivers who drive in lane two or three under the speed limit, when lane one and two are free;
  4. Heavy goods vehicle drivers, who wait until they get to an incline and then try to overtake, usually going at the same speed as the vehicle they are trying to overtake;
  5. Drivers who pass you, then pull in front of you and immediately slow down;
  6. Vehicles that have ‘Baby on Board’ signs in the back of their car, but don’t have a baby on board;
  7. Non Volvo drivers that have their headlights on all the time – just buy a Volvo !!!!!;
  8. Vehicles that have a faulty headlight and use full beam to compensate;
  9. Drivers that have their front fog lights on when it’s not foggy;
    and finally
  10. Drivers of grey vehicles, who drive on grey roads on grey days with no lights on.

Theses are in no particular order, because they should all be at number one, depending on the circumstances. I do have a lot more driving hates, but the list would go on forever.

What are yours?

Stereo again …


   Mrs H bought me the new PC speaker system I wanted. It looks better than the last one and has a much better sound. I can now alter the bass tones, which I was not able to do before. So well satisfied am I.

   It was quite foggy this morning when I set off. The A1 access road was really dense, but as soon as I hit the motorway, the fog lifted. It did not make the fools turn off their rear fog lights though. I think it is just laziness. The car was quite frozen too, which was a surprise, because from the living room window, it did not look frosty.

   Still having problems with my Asda credit card. I tried to get some petrol yesterday morning, and the pump would not accept the card. It was a good job I had my MBNA card, or else I would have been stuck. I think I’m going to cancel this card. I only got the thing because I could save 2p a litre on petrol and get points. But they stopped the points in 2008, and dropped the saving to 1p a litre last year, so it’s not really worth it.

Let it snow, let it snow, LET IT STOP !!!!


   It’s grim up North, or so the saying goes. There was no snow at 05:30 this morning when I looked out, but by 06:30 we had a good 1 inch covering. Driving was fun, to say the least. I struggle to comprehend, why people with 4×4 drive monsters, think they have the right to overtake, at speed, vehicles that are driving with caution. Nobody has anywhere to go at that speed, in those conditions. Another amazing thing, Juggernauts driving down the motorway in the outside lane !!!! Since when did that become legal ???

Of course, most of the staff that got in this morning, were asking that age old question ‘When will they send us home ?’ If you don’t want to be here, then don’t come. You see they think that if they get ‘sent’ home, then they will not lose money or flexi-time, whereas if they just don’t turn up, they will lose money or flexi-time. What they forget, is that this kind of thing is what flexi-time was partly designed for. My line manager turned up at 09:30. Did he thank everyone that had got here (before him), for making the effort ??? Not a chance !!!!! I think the ba*tard just expected it !!!

Last Friday ..


   It has just struck me, that today was the last working Friday of 2009. I had not thought of it before, but in only 14 days time it will be 2010 !!!!

   It was a bit of a hairy drive into work this morning. The side roads were, as expected, quite difficult. However, everyone drove slowly and sensibly. It was not until I got onto the motorway, that I experienced any problems. The problems were the truckers !!!! The matrix signs said 30 mph, and 85% of the drivers were sticking to that speed or just over or under. The exception seemed to be some of the truck drivers. Some of them seemed to be of the opinion, that the speed limit did not apply to them. Twice I was flashed by a large truck, whilst in lane 2 of 4 lane stretch of the motorway, before they flew past me at speeds in excess of 50+. Then I hear on the radio about the serious problems caused by ‘jack-knifed’ trucks blocking the roads. To my mind, in the type of conditions we were experiencing this morning, the driver of any truck that jack-knifes should be prosecuted for dangerous driving. I know of people who set off 30 minutes early this morning, because of the weather, and arrived 2 hours late because of the problems caused by a jack-knifed truck. Rant Over.

  

Today it snowed …..


   The snow had been falling for nearly 1 minute, before that fateful cry came from within the ranks … ‘Can we go early … It’s snowing ???’ It is the same every time. Snow only has to be mentioned, and there are some people wanting to leave early. Tomorrow, those same people will spend most of the day, watching the weather through the few windows we have in the office, and bemoaning the fact that management will not let us go home. Well is you like your home so much, LEAVE !!!!!

   To be honest, it’s 22:40 and there is a good 1 inch of snow. We probably will not get much more overnight, but you never can tell. I’ll take it easy driving tomorrow. It’s motorway for 9/10 of the journey, so the road will not be so bad, once I get out of the village. I’ll wager good money, that the car park at work is like an ice-rink. It usually is.

   No problems with the system today. However, one of the major parts of the upgrade, still has to be started. I am supposed to run a Windows ’Scheduled Task’, but our IT department, in their infinite wisdom, has disabled that particular function. Thanks guys, you really know how to make things easy for the rest of us. What really bugs me, is that technology is supposed to make work more efficient and productive. But IT departments do not seem to think that way. I’m convinced, that if the IT department had their way, then we would not have computers, just in case we caused any problems !!!!!

What a bummer…….


   I took the eldest back to his flat tonight. For some reason, I went via Headingley. I normally shoot down the motorway and then cut through estates to get to the city centre, so I don’t know why i went the way I did. Anyway to cut the story short, I got caught by a speed camera !!!  There I was, pontificating about the van driver, not using the bus lane when it is okay to do so, when the camera flashed. It flashed twice, so hopefully the van driver got caught too.  I came home via the motorway. Doing 70 all the way home, with cars flying past at God only knows what speed. No-one there to stop them, in the dark, wind and rain. Somehow seems a little unfair.

Another day off ….


   Yes, another day off on Wednesday. well it is my wedding anniversary, so i think I’m entitled. A reasonable day at work today. S**** appeared to be in a better mood than yesterday (I’m still flavour of the month) although still managing to be a pain. The migration from Lotus Notes to Outlook continues, with very few hitches that I can see. A couple of people have had a few problems, but no one seems to have anything major. The photocopier/printer packed up today. It was unbelievable. The status message said ‘Faulty Printer Board  – call service engineer’. Now you would think that would indicate that a serious problem existed. However, it took one of the staff nearly 20 minutes off trying to remove imaginary jammed paper, before they told me of the problem !!!!

   Mrs H ordered the new car today. She’s not picked the colour yet, as there are new models coming out in December. Apparently, because of the popularity of the Volvo C30, she was advised to order now. It will seem very different for her, from the Scenic.

   The car seemed fine after it’s service, although it was a nightmare driving to work. Dark, foggy, lots of rain with plenty of spray on the motorway, made for a scary experience. Most of the drivers seemed to take note of the conditions and drive appropriately, but there are always the odd lunatic, like the guy that left it too late at A1/M1 junction. The half-wit came flying across from the 3rd lane and joined the A1 by crossing the hatchings. Another few seconds, and he would have hit the banking.

   The quote came through for my car insurance renewal today. I have not had a claim in 4 years, and LV have increased the premium by 10.5%. Outrageous !!!!

Still only Wednesday…..


The dentist went well. Very little pain, in fact the ‘scale and polish’ was more , shall we say, uncomfortable that the drilling. She just hit one spot that was bad, but it was okay. It is difficult to explain, but I find women dentists, to be better at the job than man. they just seem to get on with it, whereas the men dentists seem to dither a bit, sometimes.

We had our annual ‘you’ve all done really well’ performance review today. It is so monotonous, and I’m not that bothered really. There needs to be more feedback to staff on how well they are doing. Not just a once a year pat on the back. Still, after the farce with the lap-tops, it looks like I’m being upgraded. so not such a wasted 2 hours after all. Hopefully, I should be able to get the remote working software, so in effect I could work from home if I need to. Not that I will.

Eldest is driving more, and I have to say, he is getting more and more confident. I just hope he does not get over confident. That is where the problems start. I’ll have to give him a try on the Motorway at sometime soon. I’m not too sure it is a good idea when there is a passenger. If I can get him to catch the bus to my office, we can go from there. It is quite an easy access point, and it is only about six miles and we can get off again.

Holiday …. all done


Well back to work tomorrow. In some respects, the week seems to have flown by. In others it dragged a little. The drive there was quite reasonable. It was all motorway, M1, M62, M60, M61, M6, M55 with a short distance on an a road at each end. I don’t mind the motorways. I don’t seem to get a frustrated on M roads. We only had one hold up. It lasted for about 40 minutes and was due to some kind of spillage on the M6. A couple of very stupid girls in the jam. Sat in the middle lane, music on full blast, bouncing up and down in their seats. Suddenly the passenger opened the car door and started dancing in the middle of the road. Stupid.

Weather was kind to us though, no rain to speaBlackpool Tower Circusk of until Friday, but quite windy. I caught a bit of sun on the the Thursday and Saturday. On Tuesday we did the walk from the lake at St Anne’s to Lytham which was nice. Wednesday saw us in the Blackpool Tower. We went to the circus, but it was not the youngest’s type of thing. He lasted an hour, which was not bad for him. It is not the same though. I was quite disappointed with the whole show. The clowns seemed to reply more on vocal humour than the slapstick. Mind you, no body can come close to Charlie Caroli, and I think was expecting too much. Thursday was a trip to Marton Mere. We saw the leaflet last time, but never got there. Interesting place. It seems it Marton Mere is a 10,000 year old lake. One of only two natural lakes in Lancashire, and it was remarkably clean and litter free, despite  being next to a caravan site.

Saturday, saw us back up at Lytham/St Annes again. A different walk this time, and a lot less windy. Here comes the rantLytham Windmill … I get sick of seeing dogs everywhere. I worked it out, every third person/couple/family had a dog or dogs. They all seem to be on extremely long leads, when they are on leads at all. I never remember seeing as many dogs when I was a kid. And talking of kids (rant part two), why are they so noisy these days. Always screaming, and out of control. not like when I was young……… showing signs of age now.

One annoying thing though. I like to walk through the Pleasure Beach at Blackpool. Very rarely go on any of the rides (too pricey these days), but I enjoy marvelling at the amazing The Big One attractions. Not any more …… there is now a £5.00 charge for people just to walk round. So that means, those who go with their kids, and look after the bags and prams, now have to pay for the privilege. An absolute disgrace, and I think may be a wrong move, as I think some people just won’t go.

Set off home on Sunday at around 10:00 (I like to get home early on the last day) and was home for 12:15. It could have been 11:30 if we had not stopped for coffee.

All my plants/seedlings were okay. Eldest had done quite well there. The house was okay, no problems there. Just one problem, but we talked it through, and I think he got the message.

And yet another day…….


It did not start well. The youngest lad up at 4:30am. He was in and out of our room for his ‘cuddles’ about every half hour. I reset the alarm clock for 7:00am, thinking I would be off at just after 7:40am. However, I had not banked on the frost. To make matters worse, the ‘de-icer’, that was a good price is a bit rubbish. The spray is so fine, that it just does nothing at all. So it took 20 minutes to get the car into a sufficiently safe state to drive. I was a little worried that I was low on juice, but the light was not on, so no problems. As soon as I hit the motorway, on came the light. The petrol gauge was hovering just a fraction above empty. So with fingers crossed I got to work. Just had to worry about getting home now, but there are plenty of service stations on the way home.

I thought I had trashed my mobile tonight. I had tried to send a ‘flash’ movie file (.flv) by bluetooth, but it was taking such a long time, that I cancelled the transfer. After that, nothing on the phone would work. Literally nothing was working. A bit of panic was staring to set in as I had no idea what the problem was, or what I could do even. I tried everything I could think of, but as soon as the the phone started, it crashed. I then had a random thought, and changed the memory card for the older one. Hey presto, as if by magic, the damn thing worked as normal. I was able to then delete the offending file from the phone memory and then replace the memory again. Job done. So now I’m puzzled. Why should changing the memory card allow the phone to work again ? Is there a link between the internal phone memory and the card ? Do I really care ? I think not.

The catering department are selling ‘bacon n sausage’ butties tomorrow. They are a good price, cheaper than the van by about 60p. It all depends on whether they are a comparable size. They say the baps are ‘floured’ baps, so I hope they are not those dinner bun size. That would be a bit small. Never mind, I will give it a try once and report back.

Speaking of reporting back, I made a start on the biography today and as promised, I read chapter one. It has started very well, and I’m enjoying it already. A friend has read it and says it gets better as it progresses.