31 March 2016

Garden Work

For some time Claire has wanted to update the garden to giveher more flower beds after we lost a lot with the decking.

In the end we went for raised beds and the contractor came yesterday and some twelve hours later had finished. Now it needs all the re-planting of the plants that Claire had to dig up.  

Part of the plan was to create a "dog" area and we need to ensure that we get Reggie to go there for his "reliefs".




Looks nice at the moment....



27 March 2016

Lambing @ Brockhill

Today we had a trip up to the farm by Brockhill Park and the school. As it was for the lambing we couldn't take Reggie.

In the end we didn't see many lambs but we did see some of the pigs that they rear. The school has its own young farmers club.




The pigs are quite fascinating when they aren't fast asleep and snoring loudly.

The other reason was to see The Independent Baker. She is the daughter of one of Claire's friend's.  She make some marvellous cakes.




Of course we had to try some slices of her cakes.

Once eaten we set off home. We needed to take Reggie out whilst the weather was good.

A slight mistake on my behalf and we arrived at Dymchurch for a walk on the beach at high tide! No beach visible.


In the we had a long walk along the promenade. It was windy with Storm Katie and her 65mph winds due any moment. 

The sea comes up to just below where the yellow line is painted on the edge. 


The pano shows the sky colour as well as the sea.


Dymchurch also has three Martello Towers, one in the car-park and unused, one to the east and a private house, and this one right in the middle is open to visitors on certain dates.


I turned and took a picture of Claire and Reggie. 

Our last stop was at Lamby's seafood stall where we indulged in some whelks.

Not to everyone's taste, but with some chilli vinegar and pepper the flavours come out. They are salty enough!


And then home.

21 March 2016

Mutton Jeff

Deaf. Cockney rhyming slang.

Not technically a cockney as I was born slightly West of Westminster Bridge. The view of the Houses of Parliament from St Thomas' must have been inspiring for my mum as I ruined her Christmas.

Back to being mutton. No change in my right ear. Have to wait until April 4th when I go to the surgery again!

😖

20 March 2016

Grove Ferry Inn

Yesterday was quite busy.  Firstly I had the monthly Meldrews MCC meeting at the Blue and White Cafe in Smeeth. Quite a decent turnout with six of us. I collected a few quid for the 1916-2016 Anniversary pins that I got off the Royal British Legion.

In the afternoon we had a "Kent Big Weekend" trip to Grove Ferry and a boat trip. It didn't look very dog friendly and so I took Reggie out for a walk before we went out. "The Kent Big Weekend" has been running a few years and is an initiative to get people out to the attractions the county has to offer tourists.

With 90 minutes between home and the boat, we should have had plenty of room.  I set the satnav, mistake, and then set off. It took us on a route I would never have thought of and then we hit a snag with roads closed due to a railway bridge needing repairs, In the end the 45 minute journey took 80. At least we did get the change to visit Patrixbourne 3 time and have a drive through two of the fords, once each.

Arriving so late meant no lunch and straight on the boat. On the jetty the previous trip came in complete with couple and large Labrador!  Grrr.

The trip itself was quite good. A little cold and the first day that they were running this year.  This early in the year there's not a lot of wildlife apart from a few wading birds and Herons.  We went ot were kingfisher's next and only saw one of the birds as it streaked away and then later on its way back!   Later in the year the visiting birds will have migrated to the area and will provide more entertainment.

Once back on dry land, we found the pub is dog friendly!  In fact, the sign in the fireplace makes that very clear.  Grrr again! 



After a coffee to warm up we hurried home, going back the way we should and would have gone without TomTom's instructions!  Back in 40 minutes!

A quick comfort break for both of us and Reggie and he was in the car and we went to the beach at Dymchurch. Opting to pay the £1.20 an hour and park in the car-park.  The alternatives are muddier and less safe but free.

An hour on the beach with him running and swimming burns off some of his excess energy.  The beach is off limits to dogs from May 1st to September 30th and so we have to make the most of the miles of sand, when the tide is out, as we can, One of the best things we have bought is the ball and springy launcher.  He runs for miles after the ball. 



In the end a great day out and about.

13 March 2016

Thomas!

As I right clicked on the E: drive on the laptop and selected "format", I had one of those little nervous moments.

Spin the clock back a week.

The quarterly email arrived advising me that my latest update was available. It took a couple of days before I hooked the TomTom up and installed the maps. 

Once finished I tested that it worked. Everything seemed to be in working order except the problem I encounter very (too?) often. The ability to create ad-hoc routes through the Address tile on the plan route screen.

I did the usual, deleted the application but this time it didn't work. I tried a few times and then logged a call.

Then it was the weekend and apart from the email acknowledging the problem nothing came back.

Wednesday came and the reply said to go to TomTom Home and delete all the contents off the computer. As I have the US mapping there I skipped that bullet point and went to the second.

That's where we came in. Formatting the unit's 2gb memory. 

I did it. Full format to FAT32.

The clock seemed to stop, time stood still.

Restarting Home found the unit and as instructed I installed everything except the map. Once completed I restored the map for Europe West.

After it rebooted I tested it. A few things are missing like the startup screen image. No biggy there.

The nice English ladies voice has gone and replaced with American and Australian voices. No thanks. Had to opt for the English male voice!

Apart from that it seems to be working okay. Routes including the Address tile work well.

12 March 2016

Deaf Four

The antibiotic course has finished. Not a great improvement.

With music on my phone playing on high I can hear a little through it but mostly distorted.

Have another appointment on Monday to see what can be done and whether it's a wait and see job.

7 March 2016

Deaf Three...

So back to the surgery to see the nurse practitioner who knows ENT stuff.

Checks both ears. She is certain that there's no perforation just an enlarged drum caused by an infection. So now on a course of antibiotics and no bike riding until it clears up.

Fingers still crossed.

Deaf Too

After a week of no hearing in my right ear I went to the surgery.

Expecting to have my ears syringed or whatever they do, I was shocked to find I had a perforated eardrum.

No loud noises. No insertions into ear. Just sitting in the office chatting about work.

Apparently it can happen for a number of reasons and should cure itself. Have another appointment to take a look at it.

Fingers crossed again.

3 March 2016

MAG Press Release 3-3-2016

MAG welcomes GLA 'Easy Rider' Report on policy responses to motorcycling by Transport for London (TfL).

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has made significant contributions to a ground breaking investigation and report on TfL's approach to motorcycling and casualty reduction for Powered Two Wheeler (PTW) riders in the Capital. See GLA press release link: http://is.gd/g2hUGb

MAG Chair, Selina Lavender said: "This report has great potential to help TfL and policy makers in all UK urban areas improve the way that motorcycling and the interests and safety of bikers are treated. As Val Shawcross, GLA Transport Committee Chair rightly points out, motorcyclists have been overlooked in public discussion about road safety in recent years – but this report does a lot to reverse that trend. And, although we appreciate some of the things TfL have done recently, we also share the concerns raised by the GLA about the need for much more to be done."

The report was published by the Greater London Authority Transport Committee on Thursday 3rd March 2016 link: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/a/ac/Easy_rider_improving_motorcycle_safety2-1.pdf 

It praised TfL for publishing a new Urban Motorcycling Design Handbook link: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/7/79/2016-03-Tfl-urban-motorcycle-design-handbook.pdf, which was initially proposed by MAG and is aimed at highlighting aspects of road scheme design that may have adverse impacts on PTW riders.

But it also identified a number of concerns and recommendations that TfL needs to focus on if it is to make motorcycling safer in London:

The first was a need for TfL to update the Motorcycle Safety Action Plan "accompanied by a dedicated budget". Other key areas for sharper focus and action included:
  • A better understanding of why motorcyclist casualties occur
  • Doing more to encourage motorcycle access to all bus lanes across the Capital
  • Increasing education about safe riding
  • Setting targets for increasing uptake of Bikesafe schemes
  • Taking the needs of all vulnerable road users into account in the design of road schemes – and ensuring that guidance in TfL's new Handbook is applied to all future proposals for modifications of roads in London
  • More focus on the role of PTWs in solving congestion problems

MAG's observations and concerns were made in a formal written submission, input as one of four key stakeholders by Campaigns and Policy Adviser, Dr Leon Mannings and an informal meeting with the Transport Committee Chair and colleagues which included Leon alongside Lembit Opik, MAG's Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

The Greater London Assembly’s Transport committee devoted an entire public meeting to a review of TfL's approach and performance on October 15th, 2015.

2 March 2016

Deaf!

Hopefully not forever... Not permanently.

I was sitting at my desk, all of us chatting when I couldn't hear anything in my right ear. A few deep swallows and a try to "blow" my ears had no result.

I trotted off to the pharmacy and the pharmacist suggested it was merely wax building up and sold me some drops.

Twice a day since. No change.

I called the surgery today and have an appointment with the nurse on Monday morning to sort it out. Until then continue with the drops.

All I have at the moment is a constant whooshing noise in the right. A bit like driving with the driver's window cracked open a little... Plus a little loss of balance.

Other suggestions from colleagues range from shaving my beard off to warm olive oil. 

My mums's old solution, literally, of soda  bicarbonate in warm water is frowned on.

I remember my dad having my his ears syringed and leaving the surgery and not noticing anything different until a bus went past and it was so loud he almost jumped out of his skin. I can imagine him turning the sky a very dark shade of blue!

Hoping for the same!!