Monday, 28 May 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

It's been a bit non stop this last week. I really do not know where the time goes.

After we got back from the vintage rally last weekend, we were straight back to work.

Wednesday evening saw me at a Union meeting, hearing the companies proposals to cut our pay and impose conditions that are totally unacceptable. As you can imagine it did not go down well with those that attended. In fact I would say that the mood was some what dangerous.

So watch this space.

However, I do have a plan, more will be revealed as soon as I know more myself! (looking good though).

Friday evening Jodi "M"s daughter came over for a beer and a bite to eat.

Saturday both myself and "M" worked and that evening we set off to a friends house deep in the New Forest. In fact it is only 5 minutes walk from Bucklers Hard. 

We were going to meet "M"s brothers fiancee for the first time. We had the post code so put that into the Sat-Nav and got to where it said "You Have Reached Your Destination" great, but we had a choice of houses and no signal on our mobiles to confirm the house.

All we knew was that it had security gates at the entrance and a drive (yep posh)!

Not having a signal, we decided that as our friend was a well known local for having a pint or 16 we should try the local pub and see if they could point us in the general location.

We came across Polish Pete, who was not Polish but Lithuanian and he not only gave us directions but also the gate access code.

So off we trot, "M" try's to punch in the access code, nothing, so we tried variations to it, with no success. One last chance at phoning and we get a signal and a reply. The conversation went along the lines of this. Tommy is her brother.

"M" I cant get the gates to work.

Tommy - try this number ****

"M" Nothing, not working

Tommy - If I wave my arms can you see me in the garden.

"M" Yes I can see you.

Tommy - You are trying to get into the wrong house!

"M" Woops!

So sorry to the posh folk who had what looked like a pair of gypsies in a Pajero trying to gain access to their house!

A good night was had, with plenty of cider and red wine consumed. We slept in a house that night, which was a novelty and both of us had a rubbish nights sleep. Far to warm!

Tommy has two Great Danes, Layla and Eric, both rescue dogs and are lovely, big softies, but China does not get on with them, so she spent the night at "M"s Mum's with her dog Buddy.

Eric is leaning over the brick wall and hoovering up the remains left on the BBQ!

For breakfast we went into Hythe and had breakfast sat on the balcony of Seashells over looking the Solent. A fantastic place to have a fry up!

Sunday afternoon I spent asleep! A full 6 hours meant that I was wide awake till 0200hrs this morning, which when you have to get up at 0500hrs is not good.

So that was our week!

This week we have nothing planned, so here's for a no stress few days running up to having a long weekend off!

Till later.......................

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Three Okefords Preservation Society Vintage Rally 2012

It was the weekend for the rally held annually at Shillingstone. We have been to this rally several times, but this year was a little different for us.

Due to work commitments we could not exhibit, which was a bit annoying as it is a great rally, in fact we would go as far to say one of the best organised out of the dozen or so that we attend each year.

However, we still made it! Our Pajero being a long wheelbase and a seven seater has a unique feature that all the rear seats fold flat to make a double bed. So armed with a couple of long cushions off our reclining chairs we had a comfy, well sort of comfy bed for the night.

We arrived Saturday lunch time and went off and had a look around and catch up with friends

So many things can happen in a year, sad to say that there are a couple of people that are no longer with us, another has just undergone heart surgery, one has cancer and on a happier note I was talking with a friend, and he said that he had a new addition, I thought he was referring to his new caravan, but he called his wife out and she had in her arms a 14 week old baby! Wow!

We then went and watched the tractor pulling, the event here is not a competition it's all for fun, but they put on a good show, with some real monsters being run.

For you petrol heads there was a tractor running a 7.4ltr Ford V8, with no silencer, just pipes straight out the manifold it was deafening!

Some of the V8 diesels ran that hot that the exhausts and manifolds were glowing red hot!

There was also a monster short wheel based defender Landrover, running a 4.6ltr V8 fitted with a supercharger from a Jaguar developing 600 bhp. Now that sounded amazing.

After a few ciders we eventually headed back to the Pajero and our bed, I wouldn't say it was a great nights sleep, but I've had a lot worse! "M" reckons she didn't sleep but I heard her snoring a couple of times!

This morning we went and had a full English breakfast which to be honest was pretty rank, and then went for a cuppa with friends who had their engines up and running.

We headed back to our campsite mid morning as we wanted to get our big awning up.

You may remember that the last time we used the awning we had to take it down in a hurry as the wind had bent a number of the poles. We had them straightened by a friend of "M"s who has an engineering company.

All our poles are now perfect and slide in and out as they should do.

So the job of laying the poles out in the right place and order is left to "M". I have learnt that it is best just to do as I'm told when putting up the awning. It's so much easier that way.

But, there looked as if there was a problem, two poles seemed to be missing! "M" set about looking for the original diagram and I made a cup of tea. After around 30 mins of "M" still not being able to find the diagram or able to sort the poles out I took it upon myself to see if I could solve the mystery.

5 minutes later I discovered that the poles had been put together wrongly, and so I pointed this out to "M" who replied with the comment - "You are such a F+**ing Wan*^er! The awning is now up and the chicken is cooking on the cadac - roast dinner tonight and all is harmonious on site!

Back to work tomorrow, more "Carry On - On The Buses" for me and "M" is back to pulling her hair out as she has a person working with her at the moment who is next to useless. The person that normally works with her is off as she managed to bust her leg badly and is currently pinned up and cannot do a thing!

So till later.........................

Monday, 14 May 2012

Weekend Came And Went!

Well I don't know about you lot, but our weekend flew by in the blink of an eye!

I guess it did not help that both "M" and I had to work Saturday, "M" worked the morning and I worked all day!

Saturday evening was spent at "M"s son's who was baby sitting, so "M" got her cuddle fix from our Grandson!

Sunday we went into Christchurch for it's food festival.

The weather was great, a bit breezy down on the quay, but the main street was packed.

Both sides of the road were packed with stalls serving up food of all sorts! We both ate well, having a taster of a few things. I ended up having a bowl of paella which did not have any fish in it, but chicken and chrizo. So does that make it a Risotto?

"M" went for some freshly cooked roast beef, which was lovely and rare, which is how we both like our beef.

Both were excellent. We also bought a wild garlic loaf, which is on the table for this evening's tea, and a lardy cake. If you have never had a lardy cake you really do not know what you are missing. Without doubt one of my all time favourites.

Now, as I said there were stalls and stalls of food, of all types, freshly cooked, from all over Europe and also local suppliers selling their wares.

So with all this amazing food, why the hell would you buy a bag of chips! Some folk just have no imagination!

A good day out, with some most welcome sunshine, got home and cooked on the cadac and had a couple of cider's. Perfect day out.

Monday now being over, I'm not long home and "M" is on her way, so best get the tea sorted out!

Till later......................

Friday, 11 May 2012

The British Are So Good At Complaining!

A couple of days ago whilst out driving my bus on a circular route of a local town, in fact I do the same trip around the town 8 times in one day!

The challenge with this is to run the route to it's schedule, now the times that are given I reckon were worked out and driven in the middle of the night with not one badly parked vehicle slowing you down, no traffic to contend with and not having to pick up a single passenger.

In other words they are near on impossible, without a good deal of luck!

So imagine my surprise when I was on my 4th or 5th trip around and running on time and I stop to pick up an elderly lady who then complains that I was on time!

Yes, running on time! She went on to tell me that as the service is usually always a couple of minutes late she always leaves the house a few minutes later so she doesn't have to stand around waiting! I had made her dash for the bus!

All I could say was "sorry for being on time"!

But us Brit's are great at complaining at trivial things and I do include myself in this, but the larger things tend to get brushed aside or not worried about.

Somewhere along the line we have lost a grip on perspective.

When there is local outcry that cycle lanes have been painted on a stretch of road with no consultation, what is there to consult about? Its white paint on a road!

Yet, no one complains that fuel and food prices are currently increasing at an alarming rate!  Yes, we make reference to it, but there is no action taken, unlike the cycle lane haters who have taken a real dislike to the paint and it has made the local papers!

I have no idea what the answer is, I don't even think there is one, we are that much in the shite that no amount of complaining, flag waving and shouting will get us anywhere. This is probably why we are content to complain about the little things, these things can be challenged and you get an apology.

Mind you it sure is a funny old world when you have to apologise for doing something correct.

Till later.............

Thursday, 10 May 2012

And Still It Rains!

No real let up with the weather at all here deep in the heart of the New Forest!

Last night heavy rain was forecast, and for once the weather man got it right.

Our site is waterlogged, and certainly would not advise a front wheel drive camper van to come here as it would most certainly get bogged in.

But, my hat goes off to the intrepid campers who despite howling winds, torrential rain, and at least an inch of water surrounding their tent have not given up and are still here!

A young couple perhaps, hardy and foolish? a pair of wierdo's? no a couple aged in their 50's!

I'm afraid both "M" and I both said last night, that if that was us it would be the nearest bed and breakfast for us!

I managed to finish early today, due to the fact that my last school run only had 3 kids on board and they all got off at the early stops, so that was it for me, foot down and back to the depot!

I've a day off tomorrow, (Friday) then working on Saturday. Not so good, due to the change of rota's means I now have to work every other Saturday!

This does cause a lot of problems with our vintage rallies, some we will simply not be able to go to, so a real shame, but at the end of the day, we require money to live so what has to be done, has to be done.

"M" also has to work every other Saturday, at least we have managed to arrange them so we are both off at the same time.

Well, off for a bite to eat, as I have a lay in tomorrow morning, so a few beers hopefully for me!

Till later...............

Monday, 7 May 2012

Here Comes The Rain Again!

Bank holiday Monday and yes, it's raining!

The site we are currently on has a mix of caravans and brave souls in tents! I do feel a bit sorry for the tenters especially as they have small kids with them, but everyone has a choice.

I just hope that this isn't their first time out camping as with this weather it may well put them off.

Mind you after looking through the recent edition of the Camping and Caravan Club magazine I was astonished at the price of tents! £500 is not an unreasonable amount to pay for a tent these days.

We bought our first caravan for £157.00 and enjoyed many a night away in it! I personally know which way I would spend my hard earnt cash!

I still believe that a caravan is a very cheap way to get away in the UK for a weekend, whilst having a degree of comfort and warmth! Not forgetting keeping dry!

"M" is back shortly her flight has just arrived back at Bournemouth airport, Ive been up for a while as I had a bit of tidying to do!

Last night Mr Gulliver and young Thomas stayed over in their campervan, I cooked a wicked pork in cider with roasted vegetables all done on the cadac. It was lush even if I do say so myself.

A vast quantity of cider was consumed, including some with the name of "Legbender" and yes it did exactly what it said it would!

I can't get out of the habit now of waking around 0400hrs everyday, so lie in's seem impossible for me, I was awake for ages, trying to drift back off to sleep so but with no luck what so ever, so got up and made the place look reasonably presentable for "M"s arrival.

I've missed her, just doesn't feel right without her around.

No plans for today, just chilling out, I suspect "M" will be requiring masses of sleep so I doubt I will get to see that much of her today, but, as it's grey, damp and raining outside, sounds perfect for a duvet day.

Till later...........

Saturday, 5 May 2012

I Started Out With Nothing And I've Still Got Most Of It Left!

As "M" is away on a girls hen weekend in Spain myself and "China" dog have been left to amuse ourselves this bank holiday weekend.

Luckily "M" left me the washing and tidying up to do, plus putting up the small awning!

Last night I was searching itunes for all sorts of weird and spurious songs, and armed with a couple of beers manage to down load a number of  album tracks which caught my eye or ear as the case may be!

Just to show what an eclectic taste in music I have I downloaded Motorhead Ace Of Spades and Flatt and Scruggs Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Now I don't think you could get much farther apart than that!

Not too sure what any psychologist would say, as they say your music collection says a lot about the person you are!

It did get me thinking though and I searched for old songs that I hadn't heard in years, such as "The Mac Lads" and "Sweaty Betty" only click on this if you don't mind swearing!

Charlie Drake - My Boomerang Won't Come Back! Classic song, I had this as a 7" single!

The first ever album well actually a tape cassette (remember those)? was Splodgenessabounds and probably their best known song, "Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps please"

Not only my favourite album but also my favourite film is The Blues Brothers. If you have not seen it then you must. It is a true classic, and is responsible for me learning to play the harmonica and holding some of the wildest parties JHQ has ever seen, we brought the roof down one night, yes, seriously the suspended ceiling collapsed!

We had people turning up from different units from all over Germany wanting to come to our parties, entrance was very simple, you supply us with a 24 can slab of Carlsberg, you get invited! At one stage we had two full wardrobes full of slabs!

Back in those days, JHQ was a bit of a dream posting for us squaddies, so for me to end up their was nothing short of a major miracle.

The best Blues Brothers Song is "Sweet Home Chicago" which over the years I have played to death and played along to so many times I could play it backwards!

Anyway, one of the things that has always amused me is blues names, they are simply brilliant such as Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, T-Bone Walker, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Scrapper Blackwell and of course Blind Lemon Jefferson!

I once had this mad idea I wanted to open a bar and call it the Blind Lemon Blues Bar, a small intimate cafe/bistro type place that served great food, fine ale, and a small stage where every weekend blues bands would play. Of course the only music would be blues orientated.

I did save the best name till last and he is also responsible for my blog title, he is an absolute lunatic and with a name of "Seasick Steve" has to be the best blues name ever!

He is total rock n roll, and lived the blues lifestyle so he sings what he knows about!

Just imagine a small, low ceiling, dimly lit bar, amazing electric atmosphere, packed, with standing room only, a buzz of excitement and wonder as Seasick Steve who looks as if he has just woken from a doorway enters on to the small raised stage at the back of the bar.

Welcome to the Blind Lemon Blues Bar and give a big hand to Seasick Steve playing his 3 string guitar and his Mississippi drum machine, here he is singing Dog House Blues! Enjoy and if that doesn't have you tapping your foot, get someone to check your pulse, you must be on God's golden shore!

Till later.......................

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Straight Awning Poles

You may remember me saying that our awning blew down bending a number of poles.

Thankfully "M" knew some one who had an engineering company, we gave him the poles and he put them in a roller and hey presto, back to being straight again!

We now have a couple of poles that are difficult to pull apart so we are going to give them to him to see if he can work his magic once more.

These poles to buy are a tad expensive so this was a real result for us.

Here on our new site, the water has gone down, but the ground is still very wet and the entrance onto the site field is a bit boggy and muddy. No problems for us in our 4x4 but I do feel a bit sorry for a couple who have turned up today in their Ford Fiesta and have erected a tent! Brave souls!

The shower is wicked, with as much hot water as you want and reasonably powerful and best of all it's free!

So perfectly happy here, even though we are close to a railway line it doesn't bother us at all.

I want to put up our little awning, but will wait a few more days to see if the ground drys out a bit first. It will probably go up over the weekend.

"M" is away this weekend on a Hen Do weekend - She is off to Spain, fly's out tomorrow (Friday) and gets back in early on Monday morning.

So "China" and I are home alone! I think Mr Gulliver and young Thomas will be paying us a visit, so copious amounts of cider will be drunk on Saturday evening with no doubt plenty of grub on the cadac.

I'm now having to work every other Saturday which I am not impressed about! They only gave us 7 days notice to do this. The company said that it was not a significant change to our working week to give us longer notice! 

Well excuse me, but it royally knackers up my weekends! Even putting some of our vintage rallies in doubt, due to travelling etc.

So not really sure what to do about it. Grin and bear it is not really an option as it will just eat away at me and make me bitter and twisted. I will have to think of something.

Shepherds Pie, home made by "M" tonight, so off for a beer.

Till later........................

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Problems With Driving A Bus!

My day job now consists of driving a bus, this can be anything from a 70 seater coach, to a midi coach to a double decker!

But, with all of them the same problems seem to occur on a regular basis.

The main problem for me is other people's attitude to how much room they think they need to give to a larger vehicle.

Well, all I can say is, decided on the amount you are going to give, then treble it!

Only today I was driving down a narrow lane, met a car, and as I had school kids on board I am not allowed to reverse for safety reasons. So the car had no choice but to back up. They did this with a lot of huffing and puffing and not very well I might add as they nearly put it in a hedge

On reversing back far enough to allow me to pass, I waved to say thank you and was given the middle finger salute! Charming!

Now you may of thought this was by a young lad late for work, but no, it was by a middle aged woman! Cant wait to see her again on the lanes, Ill maker her reverse for bloody miles next time!

On my route today, I had some town driving on residential streets, trying to squeeze between parked cars on either side of the road, with just an inch either side is no fun! But,what if I was a fire engine or ambulance ? How on earth would they get down with out wrecking vehicles?

It does make me wonder what people think when they park up!

Parking on bus stops! Why do people think this is ok! One old dear got a massive blast of the horn today as she had parked right in the middle of a stop which was clearly marked! How she didn't see me try and pull in behind her I do not know!

Oh and please don't blame the bus driver if he is late, he doesn't set off with the plan that he is going to. He cannot help it if he is held up due to the volume of traffic, or that some idiot has parked badly making it difficult to pass.

It also takes time for older people to get on and off a bus, hence another time delay to factor in.

Today I was moaned at for being 10 minutes late! Yes I should of developed the art of time travel then I could of got to the bus stop before they did!

To be honest it was lucky it was only 10 minutes! If you don't like it get a bloody taxi! Sorry forgot, they were on bus passes and get them for free anyway! So why moan!

Mind you, some folk are very nice, and I get waved at quite a bit, well that's what it looks like!

I've done some of the routes a few times now, and one old dear as she gets off the bus always hands me a boiled sweet! Very thoughtful and most welcome when you have been driving for 
4 straight hours!

And to be honest when the passengers get off nearly all of them say thank you, and that even includes school kids!

So next time you catch a bus, don't forget to say thanks to the driver, it really does cheer us up! A sweet is fantastic, watch their face light up when you hand it to them,  and please don't moan at them for being late, it's a tough job and they really are trying to do their best!

Till later.................

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

April Showers - Roll On Summer!

What a month April turned out to be!

So much has happened during April I really do not know where to start!

Firstly I am now a Grandad! Tayo our Grandson was born on Easter Monday weighing in at a whopping 9lb 3oz! 10 days late and with a cracking head of hair!

My daughter turned 18 on the last day of the month of April!

The A-Z challenge took over for the month, so now back to regular blogging about our day to day life.

The challenge was good fun, I did cheat and schedule posts, which was just as well, due to an unforeseen occurrence which I'm afraid I've been asked not to write about, but this totally banjaxed us for a bit.

The month started off warm and sunny, and we thought, yes! This is the start of summer, we had a couple of nice sunny weeks, and then as soon as they announce a hose pipe ban the heavens open and it hasn't stopped raining!

We had visit's from various friends and family, Kev and Just, came for a BBQ, Mr Gulliver and young Thomas stayed for a Saturday night and finally a great weekend was had when JE and his Dad Kevin turned up. Both JE and Kevin were both ex Army, JE being of the RMP kind, but we didnt hold that against him and his Dad was ex Signals same as me!

So with lots in common, and plenty of beer, we had a full on weekend of eating and drinking!

Now meeting up with JE and Kevin was all down to this blog! We did not know each other at all, but this is the thing, all of us being ex services we instantly have a bond that cannot be broken, no matter how hard you may try, it still all comes down to the fact that once your in your in!

Our awning blew down and bent a number of poles, we are currently trying to see if they can be re straightened as "M" knows someone who has an engineering company and he has said he may be able to roll them straight. Will find out over the next week.

The Pajero went in for it's MOT, glad to say that after 18 years it flew through first time and no advisories! Brilliant!

I joined a trade union! The RMT - Rail Maritime and Transport Union. I never thought I would ever join a union, but things are happening at our company which I am not completely happy with, along with the rest of the drivers. So thought it prudent to join.

This doesn't mean I'm voting Labour and becoming an anti Royalist! Far from it, but thought it may be safer in numbers!

I'm sure there are many other things that have happened during the month, but that was a quick summary!