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Monday 3rd August 2015

 

Yesterday in this part of the world was a bit of a nightmare, thousands of cyclists descended on the roads all around South London and Surrey causing traffic chaos.  I know there are arguments on both sides, like it’s only one day etc. but it’s still chaos for any of us trying to get somewhere.  Roads closed, bridges closed etc. etc.   I reckon this annual chaos should be shared around the country and not always the leafy lanes of Surrey.  So, that’s sorted that.  In the middle of all this we had occasion to visit Chiswick for a lunch date, we opted to take the train which worked well except on the return trip there were hundreds of bikers with their bikes blocking the doors and corridors as well, why didn’t they cycle home?  Probably too knackered.  Back in the mid 50’s we used to cycle to Eastbourne and back in a day - without any Lycra.  Only plimsolls, a cape, a couple of gears and a soggy sandwich in your bonk bag.

 

Witness to an incident on the river just upstream of Chiswick Bridge yesterday which could have turned nasty.  A smallish canal boat spotted with smoke issuing from the cabin, obviously drifting and in some distress.  A passing large river cruiser, with what seemed to be a small wedding party aboard, spotted the dilemma and did a 180 turn threw a line aboard and tried to tow it backwards against a very strong tide, which I thought was probably the only thing to do in the circumstances.  However towing any boat backwards means that the rudder of the towed boat is probably unusable and caused alarming gyrations.  Somebody had obviously called the RNLI which, as luck would have it, have a station just downstream of Chiswick Bridge.  Within minutes the RNLI rib arrived on scene and managed to attach a line to the bow of the canal boat, all boats now drifting quickly towards Kew Bridge.  The line from the cruiser to the stern of the canal boat was let go and the RNLI rib tried to tow the canal boat downstream which meant the line slackened then went taught and snapped and whiplashed back to the RNLI boat, fortunately nobody in the way.  Both boats now drifting again.  Another line was successfully attached to the bow of the canal boat and this time the RNLI boat towed it very slowly against the tide and disappeared towards Chiswick Bridge.  As a boaty person with some experience of this particular stretch of river I would say that all acted pretty well in the circumstances and probably prevented a nasty situation developing but my question to the Captain of the canal boat is ‘Why didn’t you throw out the anchor as soon as you spotted the problem?’  Maybe you did but it wasn't holding.  I've had the same problem.

 

It is unlikely that any of the participants will see this or find it of interest but that goes for the rest of this blog as well – doesn’t it?

 

Still working on my next and last relatively tame sailing story – I bet you can’t wait!

 

RNLI just arrived on scene - cruiser towing canal boat backwards against the tide

RNLI about to throw a second line to the drifting canal boat

Tuesday 4th August 2015

 

Before we leave the boaty scene I’d like to introduce you to ‘Kellar’ she was an Orkney 440 Fishing Boat which I bought brand new and kept at Northney Marina on Hayling Island for a few years.  She took us to all parts of Chichester Harbour and across to the Isle of Wight.  Also trailed her to Pembrokeshire for a week to explore Milford Haven also the Norfolk Broads all the time trying to catch a fish – no fish!  She was named after our Black Labrador who was with us for 14 years – another story!

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Kellar with Bob and Marcia escorting Kittiwake in Chichester Harbour

Kellar moored in Milford Haven near the 'Cleddau Box Girder Bridge'

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Bill, Bob, Mike and Bob on 'Lambarda' in Split Harbour Croatia.  If you missed the hilarious story it's HERE.

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Phil, Spike, Mike, Bob and Bob aboard 'Clean Sweep' moored outside the Folly Inn on the River Medina IOW.

Full story now available HERE

Wednesday 5th August 2015

 

If you didn't notice, the final sailing story is now available above.  I expect by now there are loads of you out there making fortunes with APO's, Easyreaders, Handy Sander's, Recruitment businesses etc etc - but I've not heard anything so far.  Probably on holiday.  In the meantime take a look at Jonesy Bear enjoying his first freshly picked Corn on the Cob - delicious.

 

Saturday 15th August 2015

 

Apologies for absence.  Survived another holiday which might produce another story.  In the meantime harvesting armfuls of sweet corn and erecting scaffolding to measure height of sunflowers.

 

For those of you who are new to this blog also my two dedicated followers who may have forgotten the juicy bits and can’t be bothered to trawl back I’ll list all the highlights so far:-

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Tuesday 5th May 2015 - Spitfire Jock.

 

Monday 15th June 2015 - Invasion of Spitfires.

 

Tuesday 23rd June 2015 - The Muscle Engine.   PAGE 1

 

Wednesday 24th June 2015 – The Bomb.  (Page 11)

 

Thursday 25th June 2015 – How to Make your Fortune with the APO.   PAGE 1

 

Friday 26th June  2015 – How to Make your Fortune with the Easyreader.   PAGE 1

 

Saturday 27th June 2015 – How to Make your Fortune with the Handy Sander.   PAGE 1

 

Wednesday 1st July – Sailing around Menorca.  (Action Video)

 

Thursday 2nd July 2015 – Untapped Source of Energy?   PAGE 2

 

Wednesday 8th July 2015 – A Trip around the West Coast of Scotland in a Camper Van.   PAGE 2

 

Monday 13th July 2015 – ‘Poem’ – From Ushant to the Scillies.   PAGE 3

 

Tuesday 14th July 2015 – ‘The Millennium Hike’.

 

Wednesday 15th July 2015 - ‘Sailing on the Solent’.

 

Thursday 16th July 2015 – Sailing in Croatia’.

 

Saturday 18th July 2015 – How to Make Your Fortune with 'Walktowork’.   PAGE 3

 

Monday 20th July 2015 – Round Menorca Sailing Trip.

 

Wednesday 22nd July 2015 – Incredible Round the Pole Model Aircraft.   PAGE 3

 

Saturday 25th July 2015 – A Short Hike Along West Wittering Beach.

 

Sunday 26th July 2015 – A Guide to Recruitment Consultancy.

 

Monday 27th July 2015 – Growing Up Without A Mobile Phone.   PAGE 3

 

Monday 27th July 2015 – ‘Ayling’s Corner’ Oxshott.

 

Wednesday 29th July 2015 – Adventures with Smashey and Nicey (One).

 

Friday 31st July 2015 – Adventures with Smashey and Nicey (Two).

 

Tuesday 4th August 2015 – Sailing on the Solent with ‘Clean Sweep’.

Tuesday 18th August 2015

 

Fear not another un-remarkable story is on it's way but first I have to know if Jane is OK after being thwarted at the altar.  In the meantime you can check out Caravan No 21 in Branscombe, It's for sale at £28,000!  Full details from Mark HERE.

 

Tuesday Afternoon

 

Click HERE for 'An Un-Remarkable Journey' to this caravan...........

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Wednesday 19th August 2015

 

Why didn't I think of that?................................................................

 

Thursday 20th August 2015

 

Off on another trip round the M25 today - could be another story!

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Friday 21st August 2015

 

Jane (Eyre) now at her wits end wandering the moors alone with not a shilling to her name, cold, wet, destitute and yet somehow still resolute that she has done the right thing and trusting in providence to light a candle in the darkness.

 

So, I thought, there’s nothing else to do but to treat her to a ride round the M25, try to lift her spirits, let her see a world of care homes and broken spirits that defy description.  Let her hear (English) Jane issuing precise instructions as to the way forward - ‘in 800 yards, keep right, keep right’, ‘take the exit and then take the Motorway’ maybe then she will reflect that her predicament is in fact not so hopeless after all, maybe then she will see that faint glimmer of a candle at Junction 26 maybe even she will feel sorry for all those caught up in the headlong stampede towards Junction 27 and beyond to who knows where. She was, dear Reader, on the back seat with a torn spine and faded pages, bookmarked at page 275 and not wanting to be there, I felt that I should treat her gently, I eased back to 75 and then 65, still too fast, try 55, I sensed her relax, she closed her eyes and hoped the telephone wouldn’t ring.

 

I rang the bell at ………….Care Home and signed her in, she was unable to comprehend that such a place was allowed to exist.  Were these human beings that once had life and now could not lift a spoon to their mouth?  Jane wanted desperately to help but knew not how, she mused that those who were unable to see would perhaps enjoy some music or the story from a book and those that couldn’t hear could see the birds or the trees or the sky.  Those unable to see or hear could feel the warmth of a pet or a sculpted work of art and those with a troubled mind would find peace.  She yearned to be back on her moor with nothing but the wind and the earthy scent for company and an uncertain future, but a future nonetheless. To those about her at this moment there seemed no future, merely death and decay but yet she hoped that their existence had somehow touched others in some way that would spread tranquillity amongst the heather and mist on their moor.

 

English Jane issued further unerring instructions to Romford, Marcia unaware of the now less troubled mind riding on the back seat.

 

Sadly another visit to another erstwhile radiant and vibrant couple now reliant on prescribed drugs and constant help from various agencies and a variety of gizmos and gadgets to aid mobility and senses. Jane now for some reason wanted to take me in her arms and forever be mine but mindful of deep relationships forged over many years thought that it was not her place to intervene. A hug was enough for she had now seen that her dire predicament on the moor was in fact an explosion of sunlight, a realisation that there is work to be done and the sure knowledge that somehow; somewhere Mr Rochester would cross her path once more.  She released her grip around my neck and begged me to dial Home on the GPS and have (English) Jane whisper her soothing instructions to transport us back to Morton, this time at no less than 85 over the Dartford Crossing.

 

How could I refuse?

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Sunday 23rd August 2015

 

Yes, I paid my £2.50 Dart Crossing Charge as I assume that those all seeing cameras clocked my number plate, what they didn’t see was Jane lounging in the back with a serene countenance on her face dreaming of the moors and English Jane in the front both now full of hope that we didn’t need to ‘turn around when possible’. Blind, one armed Mr Rochester at the wheel – sorry reins.

 

You will be pleased to know that you are now one of 88 eager readers of this blog and spend an average of 7 minutes and 24 seconds enjoying these rambles, which, reminds me, if one of those eager readers is you Ron it’s about time we arranged another hike for us energetic codgers, need some more material for the next adventure!

 

In the meantime I have an admission to make. Some years ago I bought a stick it yourself matchstick model of a 1920’s London Bus for our Grandson, he found it impossible to make and so did I so I found some 3mm thick  fibreboard in the shed (everything in my shed) and bought a coping saw and very carefully cut out the parts according to the plan.  I then entered it in to the Craft Section of the local Village Show – I won First Prize.  On the back of the red ‘First Prize’ sticker the judge had written ‘I am advised that you are under 11 years old’. The bus had rolled along the table into the children’s section – honest!

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Far sighted advertising above the door.

If you can't read it it says -

www.walktowork.co.uk Est. 1906.

Not sure what it means.

Tuesday 25th August 2015

 

Feeling very close to Charlotte Bronte this morning as I have just changed a complete ceiling light fitting without getting an electric shock.  How in the name of Edward Rochester is this relevant?

 

Well, if you look at the end of Chapter XXXV you will hear Jane describing a feeling such as I would have experienced if I had had that electric shock.

 

‘The one candle was dying out; the room was full of moonlight.  My heart beat fast and thick; I heard the throb.  Suddenly it stood still to an inexpressible feeling that thrilled it through, and passed at once to my head and extremities.  The feeling was not like an electric shock, but it was quite as sharp, as strange, as startling; it acted on my senses as if their utmost activity hitherto had been but torpor, from which they were now summoned and forced to wake.  They rose expectant; eye and ear waited while the flesh quivered on my bones.’

   

Phew!

 

You will have to read it to find out why she was in such a state but my question is, how the Edward Rochester does she know about an ‘electric shock’ when the first electricity wasn’t piped to Haworth until the late 1800’s?  Charlotte must have been very well read – a bit like our Charlotte with ‘Topsy and Tim go on an Aeroplane’!

 

Thursday 27th August 2015

 

Despite the tragic and dark events going on on our planet yesterday, a report on prime time BBC news that some ‘top engineer’ had come up with a formula for ‘fast Poohsticks’ must make the rest of the world think we are potty.  This ‘top engineer’ came up with the idea that the speed of a Poohstick is a function of density, area and drag of the stick.  Surely anyone with common sense knows that the speed of any Poohstick is dependent only on the varying speed of the surface of the river which is dictated by the contours of the bottom of the river – ask any fisherman or oarsman who sculls up and down the river between Putney and Mortlake – or anywhere else for that matter.  That’s why Oxford and Cambridge fight for the fast bits and often end up with oars in a tangle.  QED.

 

PS.  Any puff of wind will also dictate winners and losers.  PPS. For fisherman read fisherperson and oarsman read oarsperson - sorry.

 

Friday 28th August 2015

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Sunflower Selfie.

For you - dear reader - for reading thus far.

Sunday 30th August 2015

 

Hope you enjoyed your Sunflower, they do seem to have caused quite a stir in the street, so much so I’ve had a request to grow more next year so something to think about.  Now that Jane has gone from my life I will be looking for another ‘project’.  

 

Henry the chocolate Labrador is on holiday in Ireland at the moment, he’s the one you may remember we look after a couple of times a week.  He might be featuring in this blog before long so watch this space.  That is if he doesn’t turn green!

 

Monday 31st August 2015

 

Discovered something called Walking Football, sounds like a good idea but not sure what the penalty is if you break into a trot, probably Walktowork for a week!

 

The rules make interesting reading -  

 

Replacement of a Defective Ball -

 

2.5   If the ball bursts or becomes defective during the course of a game: the game is stopped.

 

I would have thought that it would be better with a floppy ball – no need to walk so fast.

 

Not much else to do today except dream about Jane (Eyre, just in case you had forgotten) and wait for the rain to stop – it’s Bank Holiday Monday.  What's new?

 

Wednesday 2nd September 2015

 

'Tom's Online Dog and Cat Show' has raised over £1500 so far and counting.  Tom is a remarkable lad; you can read all about him on Facebook.  If you remember Spitfire Jock (see blog Tuesday May 5th on Page 1) well Jock was Tom’s Grandfather and bequeathed me the Spitfire kit.  Tom’s Mum also designed the logo for Walktowork check it all out from - https://www.justgiving.com/tomlovespets/

A very creative family.  Henry wanted to enter but he's still on holiday.

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Thursday 3rd September 2015

 

47 years ago today I arrived in Seattle in the good old US of A with $5 in my pocket, which I used as a down payment on a 1962 Ford Galaxie. No, I know it’s not that interesting but it meant that I didn’t have to Walktowork – of course!  Not a bad picture eh! Chic?

 

Friday 4th September 2015

 

33 years ago today I arrived in New Zealand still searching for the end of the rainbow…………..couldn’t find it in amongst the 70 million sheep.  Nice mutton!

 

Saturday 5th September 2015

 

Ever since I can remember we have had a piano in the house but my playing has never got further than White Christmas and a few bluesy numbers which, I admit are painful to listen to.  However tomorrow I should have a musical story to tell which will be amazing.  Incidentally our little Lottie now at 18 months has already a delicate touch on the keyboard.

 

Oh yes! I have fallen in love again, sorry, this time with Lauren who is interviewing my son-in-law HERE.

 

Monday 7th September 2015

 

Imagine being born, weighing only one and a half pounds, being severely handicapped, blind and yet from the age of two being able to memorise any piece of music and reproduce it on the keyboard.  Well this is Derek Paravicini, now 36 years old, who, despite all these afflictions entertained us in a sunny garden in Chiswick yesterday.  Derek, along with his young vibrant friends on drums, base guitar and vocalists transfixed all within earshot.

 

His story is too long and amazing to relate here but you can find all about him on your screen starting HERE.  All the proceeds from his playing go to The Amber Trust, a charity for blind children.  Being a bit of a dreamer on the keyboard I was blown away.  Plenty of information and performances on You Tube.

 

Wednesday 9th September 2015

 

Still in awe of Derek’s keyboard skills now sitting at the piano waiting for inspiration, I’ve been waiting since 1952!  Yesterday took the old CRV 40 miles down the A3, with Marcia, Jane and Emily (sorry Lauren) Emily is Charlotte’s sister and wrote Wuthering Heights so there might be more scandal. We all ended up at Uppark which is a National Trust property with stunning views out across the Sussex countryside.  A quiet hour under the sun hat in the dappled shade of a Copper Beech was preceded by a cup of coffee and followed by a cup of tea. Retirement is sometimes sweet. The sound of silence only shattered once by the sound of a real Spitfire just taken off from Goodwood doing aerobatics overhead.  The sky was blue and the carpet of wildflowers intoxicating.  Yesterday I also happened upon the blog of a vicar’s wife in Dorset who likened her neat pile of towels in her airing cupboard to a vision in ‘fifty shades of grey’ she even published a picture – some blogs are really, really boring aren’t they?.  

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Thursday 10th September 2015

 

Well, Sam, sunflowers finished, rhubarb finished, corn on the cob finished, I could show you a picture of a bucket of beans but not very inspiring.  If you really want inspiration on your screen (which I admit is difficult to find) go HERE.  If you are still at a loss for something to do you could always visit Cobham this Saturday and marvel at the Heritage Fair and put your money on a yellow plastic duck which will be racing down the river (Poohsticks fashion) in their hundreds nay thousands – first prize £250 plus a mention on Bob’s Blog!

 

Friday 11th September 2015

 

Now I don’t want you to get the idea that this retirement business is easy, you have to work at it, so, if everything’s working and that includes the trains and you have a ‘Two Together Rail Card’ you have to use it.  Which, in plain language means that we did a Michael Portillo to Eastbourne via Cla’am.  Translated (for you guys out there in Plymouth Mich.) that means we travelled to Eastbourne by train via Clapham Junction.

 

Nothing more to say really except following the obligatory fish and chips, a ride in an open-topped bus to Beachy Head, an hour in the sunshine on the picnic blanket with Jane, Charlotte and Emily (sorry Lauren), watch some nutter leap off Beachy Head, I hasten to add he had a para-glider strapped to his back, a hike back all the way down to the Wish Tower for a cup of tea via many stops to read of the hundreds of poor souls whose names are inscribed on wooden benches all along the prom’ who ‘Loved this place’ and a stimulating ride back to Cobham with thousands of commuters wishing I was one of them – a commuter I mean -  not a name on a wooden bench – yet!

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Tuesday 15th September 2015

 

On Sunday 15th September 1940, exactly 75 years ago, the Battle for Britain in the skies over Southern England, although we didn’t know it at the time, had reached a turning point.  Today is 'Battle of Britain Day’ and to mark the occasion, 30 Spitfires and Hurricanes assembled at Goodwood Airfield and flew in formation in the skies over Sussex and Hampshire – awe inspiring.

 

For those of you who have stuck with this blog no doubt you will be aware by now that the writer has a bit of a soft spot for the Spitfire.

 

He  would now like to take this opportunity to add his thanks and admiration to R J Mitchell and his Spitfire design team and to all those who were in anyway involved in the incredible effort during WW2 to keep us all safe in our beds - despite the writer being bombed in his bed at 4am on Saturday 1st April 1944.

 

Thank you.

 

Bob.

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P.S.

 

Saturday 10th October 2015

 

For those of you who may have read my account of ‘The Bomb’ (see ‘The Lucky Jones’ on Page 11), I have recently found an article in the same magazine written in 2001 by a neighbour who lived in the cottages opposite, he would have been about 10 at the time.  For me aged 5 at the time, although I still have vivid memories and inaccurate newspaper cuttings, I have often asked myself ‘did this really happen?’ as it was never spoken about in the family.  This article by Allan Simmons proves that it did happen and for me makes sobering reading.

 

One night I awoke suddenly to the noise of a German aircraft. They could be identified by sound and that had penetrated my sleep. The noise came nearer and nearer and then a whistle came from the night sky - the bombs were on their way. I gripped the sides of the mattress and my jaw shut tight; I knew I was in the hands of the Almighty.

 

My bed slid across the stained floor boards and little pieces of linoleum and plaster fell from the ceiling. I heard the clay tiles on the roof clatter back down on the bathrooms. It felt like being in a cement mixer. Then all went still and I heard a rumble which I realized was masonry falling. I thought the walls would come in on me.

 

When the noise stopped I called out to my mother in the next room, and told her not to open the bedroom door because I thought the front of our terraced house had gone.

 

I opened my bedroom door and crawled out on the floor; everything was as it should be. On looking out of the hall window I could see that the rumble had been the two farm cottages opposite with seven people inside, which were completely flat.

 

In the morning it turned out they had all escaped, the bomb going under the cottages, the blast going through floors and ceilings and roof, catapulting the occupants still in their beds out into the night sky - a miracle!

 

Tuesday 17th November 2015

 

Somebody sent me an email today which I accidentally deleted, sorry, if it was youi please send it again - don't get many emails!

 

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