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Hi - I'm john, and I live in Sherwood Forest, home of Robin Hood.
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8 March 07, collection day!



Fri 10 April 2009 Having used the National Express 465 service regularly during the past two years, I thought I had experienced everything that could be expected from it. But last night's run was exceptionally exciting throughout. Due to leave at 11.30 pm, we actually left ten minutes late, at 11.40 pm. Being Maundy Thursday, Victoria coach station, London, was exceptionally busy, and the Eurolines check in desk was being troubled by some travellers who had missed their coach. Evntaully police were called to that incident. On the 465, we travelled out of the coach station, past Hyde Park corner to Marble Arch. But instead of taking the special bus short cut route which misses out two sets of lights, we went the longer way round, when we had a phone call from National Express, asking the driver to pick up an extra passenger at Golders Green. One we had established that, although 46 had been expected on the coach at the start, and places should not be reserved for any no-shows trying to embark at Golders Green, it was agreed that we could take him. But by that time we were in the wrong lane at Marble Arch, so we went back down Park Lane to Hyde Park corner, then travelled back up the Hyde Park side, again going the long way round at Marble Arch. Now we were about twenty minutes late, and that continued to Golders Green, where we picked up several booked passengers, and, I assume the extra. We travelled to the motorway and on to Leicester Forest East, where this service has a break. Even though we were twenty minutes late, arriving at about 1.55 am, we were told that we would not depart until 2.45, which is about 25 minutes later than the time needed to get to Nottingham on time. In the event we left at 2.55 am! We then approached the Broad Marsh bus station via Wilford Rd, instead of taking the way specially designed for buses and coaches using a bus only lane, so that we had to go round the block along Collin St, and getting delayed by the several sets of traffic lights. Arriving in Nottingham, passengers left, and time was spent by the driver on the phone trying to sort out a blocked toilet problem, with the mechanic being told we would be at Chesterfield at 4 am. Since it was about 3.40 then, that was obviously impossible. As we left we saw someone waving us down, so we went round and entered the bus station again. It turned out he wanted Heathrow, not somewhere that this service visits on its way from Nottingham to Huddersfield. As expected we took the usual South Yorkshire drivers way out of Nottingham, along Alfreton Road towards Nuthall Road, turning at Gregory Boulevard. Then, as we approached the traffic lights at Hucknall Road, a while Lexus pulled alongside, and mostly stayed in that position as we drove up Mansfield Rd, passing the first set of linked cameras on the way. So we were rather squashed on to the inside lane, not very wide anyway. I then heard a bang, and saw that the nearside wing mirror had been turned when it hit a post. We stopped near the summit of the hill, but despite trying to set the mirror properly, that proved impossible. The engineer was again called on the phone, and asked to bring a spanner. He was also told to expect us rather later than 4 am, as we were still on our way to Mansfiled. Nothing further happened while I was on the coach, and I was dropped at Mansfield Bus Station, at around 4.10 am, with the prospect of a 4 mile walk back along the A60. It was pleasant enough, with the birds singing, and with some jogging, I arrived home at 5.20 this morning. An interesting journey, ironically the most expensive I have made from London to Mansfield, £15.10 single. Fares are always increased during busy times at Christmas and Easter. I am doing it again tomorrow, so I hope for a more normal time.

Tue 3 Feb 2009 So my countdown to 3 Feb reaches 0 at last. It has been running for about 5 years, and 1600 days seemed so far ahead at that time. I did have thoughts of travelling to Lubbock for this memorable day, but I do not leave the UK, so that was a none starter. I also used to listen to the local radio station www.kdav.com situated now on Buddy Holly Avenue in Lubbock, free at first, it became subscription. However, I had to cut down so I have not heard that station for several years now. I hope the listeners are enjoying the day, as I can imagine its Buddy tunes for 24 hours. If not, it ought to be! Just remember that at least the music is still alive after fifty years, since that fateful day in 1959.
Lubbock Texas has its Buddy Holly, Sherwood Forest has its Robin Hood. Unfortunately Robin did not leave many recordings or videos to remember him by. Luckily we have about 110 from Buddy, all brilliant, which I have been listening to while at home today.Thank you Buddy for the legacy of those great tunes, from Peggy Sue, Listen to me, Take Your Time, I'm Changing all those Changes, and the rest. No wonder the musical Buddy goes from success to success. And there is a great tribute to Buddy coming to Nottingham again in a few weeks. He has been twice before at least, and I was luckily enough to get front row centre, as I again have for the lastest show, Dance Party, recreating the last tour Buddy did, at the end of the month. But without the events of fifty years ago, where would Bobby Vee be? No doubt he would still have been a success, he still tours today, and I visit the theatre every time he is on. Last time, several years ago now, he did not come to Nottingham, so I had to go to Wolverhampton, to see him, along with Johnny Preston, a real class act with his Running Bear (you only need one big hit), and others. Thank you all for such brilliant tunes. We had the best music, as Marty Wilde continues to remind us.

Thur 1 Jan 2009. A Happy New Year to all my readers!Following on from the earlier story of the rail ticket, next I posted a gumtree ad GIVING it away. That was also removed on the grounds that I am not allowed to sell rail tickets because I am unauthorised. I did contact gumtree saying I am not selling the ticket, but have not had a reply. Clearly a mistake that they are not prepared to admit has been made.
Secondly I have a spare coach ticket for Newcastle to London, and I am giving that away. But the British public seems to view anything free with suspicion, as so far not one of the original four who expressed interest has sent me a stamped addressed envelope which I need to prove to me that they are really committed to the ticket. I could simply send the details but then the recipiant may not turn up. I need evidence of seriously wanting the ticket, otherwise it will get wasted. In the end, it is of no consequence to myself, as it did not cost anything in the first palce.

Sunday 28 Dec 2008. The last time I saw Ken Dodd was at the London Palladium in the mid 60s, but I had to leave before the end in order to catch the tube to Barking, where I was living at the time. Last night his Happiness tour arrived on its penultimate city, Nottingham, Royal Centre, where a packed theatre holding 2500 I think saw him entertain. The show started at 7 pm, with a 25 minute interval at 9.55 pm, and finished at 12.15 am today! He should have a knighthood for all the enjoyment he has brought during his 54 years entertaining. He started his career on the same site, occupied by the Empire at the time in 1954. I caught a late night service Pronto home at 1.30 am, at a cost of �5. It was either that or walking 10 miles!
On gumtree I see there are a lot of ads for train tickets where the purchaser has had a change of plan so is unable to use them. I tried placing an ad and it was removed on the grounds that only registered traders are allowed to sell train tickets. So is my �2.50 return Nottingham to London for 20 January 2009 going to be wasted? I bought the ticket to see a matinee at the Old Vic, but that has now been cancelled. I was lucky enough to get a replacement for 31 Jan, with a VAT refund of 50p, but I still have the ticket for 20 Jan. Does anyone reading this want 7 hours in London, travelling from Nottingham for only the price I paid, �2.50 ?

Monday 3 Nov 2008. Time really flies these days, a sign of getting older! I have visited London many times on the direct 450 service from here, usually returning on the 11.30 pn 465. Excellent and helpful drivers, although I am a bit wary now that the price is �11.10 : an increase with the booking fee from �9.75. Went down on the 5.35 am yesterday, the second day of Rainbow Warrior'sist to West India docks. It made a lovely sight, although because so many members of Greenpeace wished to visit, it really was a whiste stop tour of the upper decks. I liked the comment from our lovely female guide about my waterproof pvc jeans, which are stretcy and very tight."Are you going diving or making a fashion statement" More of the latter, I guess,since I am not a diver,but they would be suitable along with the corresponding back zipped top, for outdoor swimming. The point is that they are waterproof, fairly windproof, and I like them. I ordered this pair especially without the chill cheaters logo, so that they are suitable for more general wear. They are also a fairly matt finish, so do not loiok out of place anywhere. I wear them most of the time in Northumberland when I visit the caravan, both when I am indoors for warmth, and outdoors for shopping, walking and particularly the theatre, where I have seen similar looking trousers or jeans,eiether in leather or pvc

Tuesday 29 July 2008. Just back from three days around Carlisle, staying at the uni halls being used by YHA. I walked the first section of the Hadrian's Wall walk, from west to east. I cannot understand why the guidebook describes the route from east to west, which is against the prevailing winds, and mostly into the sun, thus reducing the effect of photographs. I passed plenty walking it though, so it comes as no surprise to see notices asking walkers to avoid walking in single file to limit the effects of disturbance to the ground, especially near the path of the wall. Normally across farmer's fields we are asked to KEEP in single file!

Monday 7 July 2007. The 52nd Chevy Chase was held on Saturday. This is a 20 mile fell walk and race starting from Wooler YH, vis The Cheviot and Hedgehope. My time this year was 7 hr 11 min 36 sec, 33 minutes faster than last year. It is good to know I am not slowing down yet.

Sunday 29 June 2008. One of the best plays based on real life, that I saw recently at the National, is The Pitman Painters, about a group of miners from the Ashington area in Northumberland. I really must visit the museum and see the paintings for myself.
On Thursday I saw Lou Reed, in Nottingham, his only English date apart from London, where he performed Berlin, as well as three encores. But not Walk on the Wild Side. Disappointing for �45 + fee. Much better was Albert Lee, who played at the monthly Blue Stetson put on by Geoff at Ravenshead Village Hall. For �15 we got nearly two hours of Hogan's Heros. A fantastic evening, which will put Ravenshead on the map for touring celebrities! Here is a scan of Albert Lee's autograph, written in a 1997 Everly Brothers programme, when he had dark hair. 11 years later it is now white!
I completed the Durham Dales 52 mile challenge walk early this morning, in a time of 20 hr 36 mins. I could have been over two hours quicker, but again got lost on the moor in the dark. Maybe I will get the route correct next year, as I have wandered off the route in that section every year since the 100 was held in 1999.

Monday 26 May 2008. I completed the Yoredale 100 from Skipton in a time of 40 hr 46 mins. After failing to complete the previous two events, I am very pleased to have added a seventh 100 to my list, in my 3rd fastest time. The scenery in the Yorkshire wolds is very impressive, although mobile phone coverage is none existant between Horton and Hawes. Enjoyed the Pepsi and Coca Cola at several checkpoints!

Sunday 27 April 2008. The Woldsman 50 event was held yesterday, with a new starting point at Driffield Showground, and a new improved route. This is the longest walk I have entered since last year's 100, when I walked 65 miles, so I wondered how I would get on. Thanks to good support at the checkpoints (those yoghurts went down well!), good organisation, a wonderfully scenic route, Neal and Paul, and especially Neil from Barclays, (who had forfeited a black tie dinner to do this event), I completed the 50 miles in 15 hr 55 mins, ending up at 65th out of 124 starters. Here are the results in full.

Friday 25 April 2008. Went to Birmingham REP to see Hapgood yesterday. This espionage play by Tom Stoppard is about as incomprehensible as Shakespeare. I understood the references to Leibnitz and Euler though.
The two books I ordered by Bennett have arrived. Msany pages of small print will keep me reading for weeks!
I ordered a seat for A Doll's House at the Northern Stage for next week. Cost : �3. Hope I can get enough petrol to get to Newcastle.

Tuesday 22 April 2008. Yesterday I came to the rescue of a virgin National Express coach driver on his first solo journey from Nottingham to London, service 450. To leave Nottingham he first went round the Collin St block after leaving Broad Marsh bus station, then onto Canal St, turning right passing the Radio Nottingham building into London Rd. This continued over Trent Bridge, then left on to the Grantham Rd, so I thought he had heard of bad traffic conditions on the M1 and was taking the A1. But no, when we got to the roundabout on the outer ring road, it was a right, and then left onto the A606. Now this can be achieved much more directly from Trent Bridge, but at least we were now on a recognised route to the M1, via A46. However, it was clear that he was unsure of the turn on to the A46 from the A606, which is why I took over his navigation! Luckily I was in the front seat. So we continued on the M1 until J2, but I suggested J1 is better. We joined the North Circular, where we have a choice of three right turns. The first goes through a residential area, and I was not sure of that anyway, the second, I found out later, is only an unofficial turn, and is not to be used, so we took the third one, and ended up nicely at Golders Green, about 20 minutes late, mainly due to the M1 widening from J10 to J6. I guided him the rest of the way to Marble Arch, where I de-coached! I hope he found his way to Victoria Coach Station, and then back to Nottingham on the 6.30 pm 450 service.
The return 11.30 pm was interesting too. A driver I have seen regualrly on the 465 has always taken the A46, A606 route from the M1, but a few days ago, because of a road closure, had to carry on along the M1 to the A453, which at 2.30 am he found much quicker. So he now uses that route. But he missed the buses only right turn, which gives an efficient way into Broad Marsh Bus Station, instead of going round the Collin St block. At the stop I was able to mention this, and I hope it works on tonights service. Also, I pointed out the way Nottingham Silverdale drivers leave Broad Marsh to get to Mansfield...left turn from Canal St, and then left into Station St to join London Rd, which soon picks up the traditional route. So all things considered, I feel I had a successful day.
The Southwark Playhouse production of Tryptych was fascinationg, with just three women taking the parts. Pity the audience is not bigger though.

Sunday 13 April 2008. The most important thing in life is to have good health, but wealth must come not far behind. Having been retired for nearly eleven years now, without claiming anything from the state, I am pleased to have survived and lived the lifestyle I am living. It is also a pleasure to help others out at times of difficulty. Rebecca, for example, was so pleased to have been given the free software she required and asked for on freecycle. I am also pleased to help out with loans where necessary. For example, some time ago I was told that Mr T was in difficuties with his finances, and could not keep up the payments on his car. So I sorted that problem out, and even today he continues to use credit cards on my account, which gives me cashback! Now I learn that Mrs A is again in urgent need of cash, and once again I am pleased to help out. What else is money for but to bring happiness to the world? I am trying to do my bit!

Saturday 12 April 2008. Freecycle goes from strength to strength. It is great to be able to help people out by giving away stuff that has been stored in the loft for years. Even the pelmets have gone, unscrewed and taken away! Pleased to have been able to help out Rebecca with her requirements for the laptop that she told me she had won!

Friday 11 April 2008. Saw the world premiers of Never So Good and Gone With the Wind during the past couple of weeks. Actually they were both first preview nights. The latter was timed to run at 3 hr 45 min, so I had to miss the last 35 mins to catch my coach home!
Why has Nat Express not put on any fun fares from Nottingham to London after this month? They are on from Leeds, for example.
I saw Blood Brothers this afternoon, on tour with Linda Nolan, once of the Nolan sisters. What a terrible ending. The poorer twin shoots the other dead, and in turn is shot dead by the police. Oh dear! And this has run for twenty years in London. I like happy!

Sunday 30 March 2008. Why would Honda Nottingham be calling me, asking if I was changing the R this year? I have only had it one year so far, and as I explained it has done just 7100 miles, so I am not ready to change. The new Subaru looks interesting, five doors with a time of 5.3 sec!
I was able this year to join the Cleveland Survival event, starting from Chop Gate (Yat). 26 miles over the N Yorks moors. Started at 8.14 am, a lovely morning, but the forecast rain arrived early afternoon, and just got heavier. I finished in just under 10 hours. A good event, and I am pleased I do not have the examiners meeting to clash with it any more. I have marked my last set of coursework...that was last year.

Friday 28 March 2008. Eighteen months ago, when I had the previous Honda Civic R serviced, it looked like new, having had a superb clean both inside and out. This year, when I booked the first service for the new R, I recieved the following comment as part of the confirmation email: the service also comes with a free Honda happiness health check and wash n vac So you can understand my disappointment when collecting the car that nothing had been done; the inside being exactly as I had left it. Result Honda Unhappiness.
The Institute of Assessors has now recieved its charter, so the letters are MCIEA. However, from 1 May it will cost �50 per year to belong as a member.
A phone call from my exam board tells me that course work entries are down, so that I would no longer be required as a team leader. I could, however, continue as a marker. I declined that option, since I do not need the �1000 + income from it, and I am particularly pleased that coursework in Mathematics is being discontinued after this year. As a consequence, I had to cancel the two nights stay in Birmingham, and the Birmingham REP kindly changed the date for the play I had booked at no extra charge, to the Saturday afternoon.
My new national bus pass has not yet arrived. Checking with Gedling Council, I am told there has been a glitch concerning mine, so I will be issued with a temporary paper pass. I hope it works in the Newcastle area next week. Why the problem though? My pass has always been expiring 31 March 2008 anyway, so there has been plenty of time to sort this out. It is a pity that the issuing of the passes has been left right until the last minute, since it gives no time to resolve any problems such as I am encountering. All this and I pay over �2300 in Council Tax.

Friday 7 March 2008. My first entry for 2008, and the year is nearly over already! Since the last entry before christmas I have been very occupied. Firstly there have been two lots of examining work. There is a new body for examination assesors, and I am entitled to have the letters MIEA after my name now, having been a team leader for many years. More details are available HERE
I bought a new domain name for a local conservative association a short while ago. Visit www.sherwoodconservativeassociation.org.uk
And that reminds me, a friend of mine has bought the domain everyonedoesit.biz. Is she going into business?!
Shares are not doing very well in general at this time. I am biding my time, hoping to make some purchases again when they fall further. I did buy some a couple of weeks ago, but they are now even lower!
I have been visiting the theatre several times a week this year. Last night I saw an amateur production of Summer Holiday. An extremely enjoyable evening. Because the 450 National Express seervice runs through my village, it is so easy to get transport to London. And at a cost of �9.75 direct, it beats the trains every time. I am going again tomorrow, returning on the 11.30 pm coach, after seeing two plays.
However, now we are into March it will be possible to get back to my caravan on the Northumberland coast, which I will be visiting shortly.
Apparently there is a new ruling for holiday homes for 2007-2008. It reduces council tax when there is a restriction on occupancy from a planning consent. Since that applies to my holiday bungalow at Anderby Creek, I have been granted that reduction, meaning that I will be paying about 60% of the Band A tax in future, not so much more than before the law was changed to allow councils to put up the tax from 50% to 90% of the total charge.
My computer upgrade is wowrking well. The 1920 x 1200 monitor is now used fully by the intel quad core processor with Vista Ultimate and 4 Mb ram.
The Belvoir Challenge 26 mile event took place three weeks ago. And for once there was no mud, which enabled times to be faster. I completed it in 7 hrs 13 mins, a fairly pleasing time, although I did have to slow down at the half way point. I had kept with Richard until then. He finished about 20 minutes ahead.

Saturday 22 Dec 2007. Saw a fascinating live webcam this morning, from Newgrange, Ireland, on the winter solstice day. Unfortunately it was too cloudy today, but the recording of the sun shining into the burial ground made yesterday was fascinating!
Thank you Fred for the card and comments. Interesting to know how you are getting on, and even more interesting to know that there is at least one viewer to this page. Have you seen any of my 40 + vids on youtube yet? Please make contact by email the next time you read this.

Tuesday 18 Dec 2007. Both my treats have arrived! Last week it was the Wi-Fi radio from Roberts: on Sunday I did not even know this type of radio existed. Several makes were reviewed in a Sunday Times article, and I ordered the 5 star Roberts on that afternoon. It arrived a week ago today. Setting up took half an hour: it finds the routers in the area, and by entering the password, immediately logs in. It then gives a choice of regions in the world, and on selecting USA it soon found over 3000 stations. Quite fantastic! And excellent value too and service from a supplier via amazon at around �175. Then this Sunday I ordered a 24 in widescreen Acer monitor, free delivery by next Saturday. However, on checking the tracking for it, I saw it had arrived overnight last night at the local depot, in Ilkeston, and it was delivered here this afternoon. Again setting up was straightforward, it is good to have a widescreen monitor this size, and the clarity is amazing! Windows can open side by side rather than overlapping. The resolution is 1920 x 1200.

Tuesday 4 Dec 2007. Thank you to the editor of Strider, the magazine of the LDWA, for printing my picture half page inside back cover of the Dec issue. It was taken on the bridge near Hardwick village, Clumber Park, on a LDWA social walk in August, when for the second time parts of the park were closed to the public. This time it was an open air concert, but in January it was a Health & Safety issue from the strong winds a couple of days earlier, making the trees dangerous!

Thursday 15 November 2007. So you are probably thinking that I have had nothing to write about in here. In fact, I have been so busy there has been no time to update. What with holidays and weekends away climbing Munros, going to the theatre, particularly in London, ans now examination marking, there has just not been the time. How grateful I am for the cheap fares on National Express this year. To London from �3.95 up to �9.50 return nearly door to door, and Glasgow for �4, admittedly via Mansfiled, Sheffield and London! Using this comoany for the long distance travel, and public transprt locally too, I have not been using the Civic R very much at all. In fact I did not buy any petrol for two months, and have now done just 5500 miles in 8 months!

Sunday 2 Sep 2007. How time flies! Two months since I have updated this page. I have been on a couple of Munro weekends, from Glasgow, climbing a total of four Munros, making 47 climbed so far. I have visited London several times, seeing shows, including Bad Girls, the Musical, as well as getting to theatres in Nottingham. I saw the UK premier of Burial at Thebes, by Sophocles at the Nottingham Playhouse last Friday. Quite a new experience for me.

Monday 9 July 2007. The 51st Chevy Chase was held on Saturday. This is a 20 mile walk or run starting from Wooler in the Cheviots, with 4000 ft of ascent. My time this year was 7 hr 44 mins, about 54 mins slower than last year, when the bogs had dried out. See the pictures here

Sunday 24 June 2007. Completed the Durham Dales 52 from Wolsingham in a time of 21 hr 25 min. The streams were swollen, and so had to be jumped or waded. Thank you to Clive for walking with me for most of the event. But where was all the expected rain. Thunder was around, and later I heard that surrounding areas had suffered storms and flooding. But there was no sign of any of that on the walk. But why did we get off course yet again. the 4th time this has happened on the same section!
Gordon Brown has taken over as leader of the Labour Party today, and in a few days time he will be prime minister. It was noticable straight away in his maiden speach at the confernece today that he is trying hard to stop that irritating habit of his of dropping his jaw when he breathes in. Instead, there is a squashing together of his lips. Sill a silly expression, but an improvement. Maybe too he can have lessons on how to pronouce the date 2012: twenty twelve instead of two thousand and twelve.

Wednesday 20 June 2007. Just back from a weekend climbing three of the four Far North Munros: Ben Hope and Ben Klibreck on Saturday, followed by Conival on Sunday. So that makes 45 climbed so far, but these are the first ones for four years. The advent of cheap travel helps make this possible more often: Nottingham to Glasgow for �4 return! Does anyone use the railways these days?
It is always a pleasure to get feedback from my ex-students. Thank you Kevin for your kind words. Not only were you a good teacher.... read the full text by visiting my guestbook.

Monday 28 May 2007. Back yesterday from the Welsh 100, having stopped at 65 miles, walked in 29 hours, with a back problem. I said that I would not be entering any more of these events, but I enjoy the preparation, the map reading, and even the night sections with the new Silva LED head lamp, which gave off a very bright white light. So I think I must use the heavier rucksac on future shorter events, and see if the same problem occurs. It was a very enjoyable few days away, walking sections of the route during the previous three days. I stayed at the Clun Mill YH, about 20 miles from Llandridnod Wells. But the A488 road. Oh dear. Why are main roads so twisty?
So Jeremy Clarkson describes the new Civic R as being less fun than walking. That is an interesting comparison in my case! But then an evening drinking with him would surely be less fun than one with Dr Crippen. Read his thoughts here.

Sunday 13 May 2007. Several more shows: Closer and Hysteria, both in Birmingham, and The New Statesman at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. Also, three days invigilating KS3 exams at Arnold Hill School. But why are 32 teachers leaving at the end of the summer term? I cannot remember so many all at the same time. A lack of stability is not good for a school. Also, coursework marking continues for the next few weeks.
After my disasterous time in the Peakland Way last week, where I made two navigational errors, and so stopped at about 28 miles out of 50, I had a very successful Windmill Way walk yesterday. I completed the 26 miles in 6 hr 51 mins: so far as I could tell I was the first walker home. It was a very enjoyable event, covering a pleasant route in the Wolds north of Hull. Now the Mid Wales 100 looms ever closer.

Sunday 22 April 2007. Since the last entry I have travelled over 1300 miles in the new R. A red version passed me on the A1 on Friday afternoon, but I think the silver is the preferred colour, being like a De Beers cut diamond when it catches the sunlight. And the design continues to amaze me: the way the lines continue into the tail lights and wing are just magical.
The local elections draw ever nearer. Three recent visitors to my sites: click here , here and here to see the details.
Since my last entry six weeks ago I have had a couple of visits to the new caravan at Sandy Bay, as well as two visits to London, to see Whipping it Up and The Entertainer. I go again Wednesday to see Equus, and later in the week am off to Birmingham for the annual coursework meeting, where I am taking in two more plays.

Thusday 8 March 2007. Collected the new Honda Civic R this morning. Pictures Here

Tuesday 27 February 2007. My photos and videos from the 17th Belvoir Challenge can be accessed HERE
The Honda Civic R was delivered to the dealers today. Pictures HERE

Monday 26 February 2007. No sign of the Honda Civic R being delivered yet. For more details, Click Here

Wednesday 17 January 2007. My feature has now been moved from the front page of the Radio Nottingham website. You can find it Here
Thursday 11 January 2007. So interest rates go up by 1/4 %. Now why is that bad news for home owners, as the BBC repeatedly keeps saying, despite my emailing them about the error. It is only mortgage holders who will suffer an increase in the amount that they have to repay. Home owners no doubt have money invested, and will benefit by the increase since they will recieve a higher return.
The BBC R Nottingham website here has an interesting feature on walking. Why not have a look?

Saturday 6 January 2007. Booked a weeks holiday walking the Highland Way High route from north of Glasgow to Fort William, which takes in several Munros on its way. Also, a couple of weekends with Scot-Trek to climb a few more Munros. These start from Glasgow, but with the advent of cheap coach travel they become viable. However, I do have to get to London first to avail myself of the Megabus £1 fare to Glasgow. As it is an overnight service there is no extra cost.

Friday 22 Dec 2006. The shortest day, but already it is possible to tell that the evenings are getting lighter. The sunset times have been getting later for about a week now. Unfortunately the mornings continue to get darker until the beginning of January.
I received the 2007 brochure for NWFrontiers Holidays today. How lovely to see that three of my photographs have been used in its production. Thank you Marco. See you again on my next holiday with you, in September 2007!

Thursday 2 November 2006. Two more videos uploaded to youtube. You can find Ollie as a kitten here, and, with thanks to Moira for reminding me of this one, a video of my trip up Blackpool Tower is available here. The most popular of all my videos by far is this one, with 427 viewers.
An interesting sign at the side of the road a few miles north of Sumburg Airport, Shetland, showing its latitude of 60 N. Click .And where is 61 N you ask? A few miles north of Outstack, so there will be no post marking that one! Are there any more latitude markers in the UK? If not, then this is unique to the UK, a very special sign indeed.

Wednesday 1 November 2006. Further to Monday's item on tor, another feature especially for the freenode server is the ability to cloak or hide ones IP. By using pgp or gpg it is possible to get a hostmask such as mine :"i=Richard@gateway/gpg-tor/key-0x2516A745", thus avoiding telling the world, or at least those on the server or the channel, all the details of ones ISP. You will notice that I am not using my real name, in the interests of further anonymity! Also, I have changed to a different ID both for the tor server and the channel nic for the sake of consistency, since I wanted both IDs to be the same. On the tor server page are details of the reliablity of the servers being used. It would appear that as soon as the server has been up for longer than the median time of all servers, it is termed reliable. Mine became reliable yesterday for a short time on being up for 1 day 8 hours, but soon after I had to reboot.

Monday 30 October 2006. An excellent concert by Joe Brown , daughter Sam, and son Pete, at the RCH, Nottingham last night. He plays a mean fiddle!
Some thoughts on tor servers: I have been using tor for over a year now, both for web brousing and for IRC. It is fascinating to check the IP used by visiting whatismyip.com, and seeing a random IP address appear. But the detailed statistics here show all the servers, complete with IP addresses and status etc. A further page shows even more: including uptimes, donated bandwidth speed, email address etc, The most interesting data I find is the bandwidth rates shown for each individual. The UK ones are around the 30KB/s speed, but there are others as fast as 3 MB/s! Just think what the speed of their IP connections must be. Although my 10MB/s connection is very fast for the UK, it is nowhere near the speeds reached elsewhere. And if the server configuration is set at the default level for speed, then you will have no bandwidth left for yourself! Another word of warning: best not to set up yourself as an exit node, as that is the one that will appear on whatever website is visited. And you thought tor was anonymous? It may be for the users, but not so much for the servers!

Sunday 22 October 2006. Another succesful walk yesterday, this time from Kelham. It was billed as 26 miles, but I suspect it was at least 27; I was first walker in a time of 6 hr 59 min. The walk is called The Dave Lewis challenge walk, in memory to a member of the Newark AC, who died in tragic circumstances whilst on holiday. Entries were low: my advice would be to have a webpage detailing the event, together with a downloadable entry form.
My event number for the Welsh 100 is 10. Despite all my efforts at trying to get number 1!
I have added a site search function to this site. Find it near the bottom of this page.

Friday 20 October 2006. Had a great day yesterday: to London to see Spamalot! Well worth seeing...although you should like Monty Python humour. The cheap fares on inter city coaches make trips to see a west-end show viable..and almost door to door too..so much so that I collected my ticket for Derek Jacobi from Wyndhams.
A pity about the results from the Waltham Winder, now updated to include those from the 2006 event held last Saturday. The time of both Richard and myself was 5 hr 57, not 5 hr 58...and we were equal first, not as stated here. I have asked for them to be corrected.

Saturday 14 October 2006. I did the Waltham Winder 26 mile challenge walk today, coming in first with Richard Gough in a fast time of 5 hr 57 min. Luckily the course is flat, although I did make three unintended diversions. The route is signed by red arrows, and when they are missed, misinterpreted or missing, then things go wrong! You can see the offical results Here. Interestingly, the lady calculating the times before writing them on the certificates worked out the from 8.17 am to 2.14 pm was 6 hr 3 mins! A nice error in wrong subtraction.
For online marking, www.rm.com runs a test to determine the suitability of the computer on which the marking will be done. It checks the following : browser (has to be IE, Firefox not allowed!), Browser version (has to be version 6>Cookies (enabled), Flash (installed v 8), Bandwidth (over 500kbps: a new test showed 7124.6kbps, so well in on that one!), platform (windows XP) screen resolution (1280 x 800 is ok), .net framework has to be installed, sufficient ram, and available hard disc space. The fascinating point at the moment is that IE has to be version 6. On lappy I have installed IE 7. The tabs are better than firefox, so I prefer IE7, and that is rejected for online marking! No doubt the test will be upgraded very soon, since Vista is arriving, which will have IE 7 as its browser. Meanwhile, officially lappy cannot mark online papers. Odd that, since I used it in the summer!
Another video (a bit dark, this one) from Beauty & Ollie can be viwed Here

Wednesday 11 October 2006. A quick download of pgp last night, and, surprise surprise, it worked straight away after installing!
I hope you like the new live countdown, showing the time left to next years LDWA 100 walk from Llandridnod Wells.

Sunday 8 October 2006. Watch the new video of Beauty and Ollie, the Birman cats, Here
What a week for my margin account. I made a wrong decision in selling short on Vodafone, and did not cut my losses soon enough. But by closing on most of the deal on Thursday and Friday, and immediately getting into Corus and Party Gaming, the losses were more than eliminated. Hopefully there will soon be a bid for Corus. Details will be updated Here. I am also watching the waste disposal company Biffa, split off from Severn Trent water last week. GUS splits this week, into Experian and Home Retail, so maybe there are profits to be made there too.

Sunday 1 Oct 2006. Yesterday I was on the steam engine trip put on by Princess Margaret Rose tours, pulled by Duchess of Sutherland, 6233. Photos can be found HERE, and a short video HERE

Saturday 23 September 2006. The great skua attack is now online.View it HERE

Sunday 17 September 2006. Yesterday I again took part in the High Peak 40, a 40 mile challenge event from Buxton. This year was my slowest yet, just over 13 hr 30 min. A few years ago I completed it in under 10 hours! Time marches on....!

Monday 11 Septemebr 2006. The photos are now uploaded. View them Here

Sunday 10 September 2006. Just back from my first visit to The Shetlands. How peaceful everything is there! And thank you to Julie etc for an interesting series of walks on the islands, during which I managed to visit the most northerly part of the UK (apart from the rock and the lighthouse, of course). However, the dive bombing Great Skua is 'interesting' to watch. Pix will be uploaded in due course.

Monday 21 August 2006. My margin account has been running for one year now. After a big failure with Carphone Warehouse, that was shorted, but continued to rise in value, making my initial £2000 fall to £1440, things are looking up. I made £300 last week, mainly aided by three investments in Vodafone on Wed, Thur & Friday: it now stands at £2770, equivalent to a profit of38.5% in one year. Full details of all the trades can be found Here
And on another matter, a great victory this week. It pays not to give up!

Sunday 13 August 2006. An interesting new website to find out how much your neighbours make use of new technology. Click HERE. This is what it comes up with about my area of Nottinghamshire: Type E16 : This Type contains many people who have access to electronic technologies but who are not very heavy users of them. Mostly in late middle age, these people do not view technology as a leisure activity and are not influenced by fashions or the need to keep up with peer groups. This Type, though it does have access to the internet, tends not to use it to purchase games, fashion wear, videos or holidays, preferring to deal with organisations directly. However the Type does purchase flowers over the Internet. . I can honestly say I have never bought flowers over the internet!

Saturday 12 August 2006. All the pix from the Nor' West Trek have now been sorted out, recorded on to a DVD, and sent off to Marco. Maybe one or two will be used in the 2007 programme booklet!

Monday 7 August 2006. Now returned after the Nor' West Trek walking holiday in NW Scotland with North West Frontiers, I am busy uploading some photos. As part of the trip the group walked from Cape Wrath to Sandwood Bay. Here is the link for the photos.

Thursday 27 July 2006. Phew..how quick you have to be to get the best price for megabus tickets. I managed to get a £1 ticket for Aberdeen to Sheffield on megabus...and three hours later it is up to £8. Meanwhile, the weather at Ullapool is cloudy, poor visibility, temperatures around mid 60s, with a 30% chance of rain for the next few days! That will cool me down somewhat.
And now some extra online marking for tonight, once they are set up online.

Monday 17 July 2006. Marking is now finished: the lastest work, online, went very well indeed!
The Civic R had its 25,000 service today. Only 21 months old, and its done so much. But then it is such a fun car to drive. And the motor show will have more details of the Civic 3 door range, including the R, due for release Feb 2007.

Sunday 9 July 2006. See my pix of the St Cuthbert's Way here

Friday 7 July 2006. Uploaded the photos of the Chevy Chase. You can view them here. Also here are the photos from the Whitby trip with the Ravenshead Travel Club, 3 July 2006. Note the steam bus!

Tuesday 4 July 2006. Went on my first day out with the Ravenshead Travel Club yesterday. This was an outing to Whitby: perfect timing, and excellent fish & chips, with stops at Knaresborough, Helmsley and Asda, Monks Cross, near York. The great new attraction at Whitby is the steam bus, which trundles around the streets. While the rest of the country had its heat wave, Whitby was pleasantly cool, with a sea fret keeping temperatures down.
Today I sold GUS shares for a profit of £436, made in just three weeks. One of my better deals!

Sunday 2 July 2006. Just back from three days away. Friday I walked the first few miles of St Cuthbert's Way, taking in the Eildon hills as well. Then on Saturday I met Moira to do the 50th Chevy Chase, the last time from the Wooler YH, as it closes in a few weeks time. My time for the 20 mile event was 6 hr 50 mins, Moira coming in some 24 minutes later. It was a very hot and humid day, but up on top of The Cheviot and Hedgehope it was pleasantly cool. Because of better dry conditions underfoot, I found the descents much easier and quicker than previously. Last year I took 8 hr 34 mins! The ascent of Hedgehope went well too, taking a less steep and less direct route up. Today I did the next few miles of the St Cuthbert's Way, taking 5 hrs on the route, but just 2 hrs on the direct route to return to the Honda Civic R. However, this was during a thunderstorm, so I got drenched. The whole of the Way has now been walked, so all that remains is to put the photographs in order, and record to DVD as a record of the journey from Melrose to Holy Island.

Monday 5 June 2006. The 100 in Northumberland this year was hard going at times. The section from the refuge hut to Scotchman's Ford taking me four hours. Moira joined me for the section from Rothbury to Hope Farm. I eventually stopped at 78 miles, at Bolton Village Hall. I then spent a few days recovering at Sandy Bay. Thursday was a magical day, before I drove 251.5 miles down to Cambridge in the early hours of Friday morning, for DOMS and standardisation meetings. Today and tomorrow I am at Arnold Hill invigilating for the GCSE and A level exams.
BAA shares continue to move upwards, the profit now is £1400, with hopefully more to come in the next few days.
So 28 Hillcrest Rd sold for £249,950 on 24 Feb 06, thereby releasing £105,950 cash! Nicely done.

Tuesday 23 May 2006. As all the photos from the Northumberland 100 walk have now been uploaded onto yahoo, here is a link to access them via the ldwa website. LDWA INFO. Thank you to Julie for the link.

Sunday 14 May 2006. Back from a few days in the caravan, during which I completed the 100 recce, complete with nearly 2000 photographs of the route, copies of which have been sent to one of the organisers. That should serve as a useful reminder before the event itself, which is now only a week on Saturday. I also have done the final sections of the St. Cuthbert's Way, a 60 mile trail from Melrose to Holy Island. Walking across the causeway is an interesting experience. Interestingly on the Isle itself there are no waymarks showing the route. I followed the OS map, but it is disappointing that there is no plaque at the finish. Personally, I feel it ought to end on St Cuthbert's Island itself, a small island off the SW corner of Holy Island, which I took the opportunity at low tide to visit.
Now I have a few days of examination work, before returning to Northumberland next week, prior to the 100 starting at 10 am Saturday 27 May. My countdown to the event will go into negative while I am away, but I will then update it to count down to next years 100 in Mid Wales.

Sunday 7 May 2006. The Peatland Way 50 mile challenge walk took me 14 hr 20 minutes yesterday. The route description needs sharpening somewhat! Lock Lane..off the A614. NO! This must be the flatest challenge walk to be held in the UK. Hardly a hill in sight. And where is the newspaper report and pictures on www.doncastertoday.co.uk ?
I went directly from the walk to the online marking training session, which went very well indeed. It is interesting to see how other parts of the system are set up, even if I am not directly involved in them.

Friday 5 May 2006. A very busy time now, marking coursework tasks and looking after my team. What with the long walks,(another 50 miler coming up very soon), a trip to an online marking training meeting, invigilation at Arnold Hill School, and then a few more days at the caravan, to finish the 100 reccee, amongst other things, there is almost no time to get on the computer! Both desktop computers have been repaired, one needing a new HDD. The largest it could take is 120Gb, but I do have 2 aux HDD as well, storing thousands of photographs taken over the past five years. It now needs a new install of XP, and then I will update to IE 7, already installed and working well on this laptop, instead of Firefox.
Some useful share price rises recently, particularly in A & L today, although I cannot see an offer appearing around the £15 level. Anything would be good though, as the shares were free in the first place!

 

 

 


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