Thursday, 20 December 2018

2018 ...and Happy Christmas !

Well Hello. It's been a year since I posted on here and what a busy year it's been. I"m still trying to keep this page active although there have been some difficulties in doing it. On a side note, the e-mail address I originally signed up with on here is no longer valid due to other problem issues so I'm using recovery addresses. It's difficult to know which system I'm on for comments and old images. I'll get around to commenting in the next week or so and it'll be interesting to see who's still blogging. I've essentially had a year out on Instagram.

The most relaxing part of the year was a week away to  a cottage on the shores of Loch Long in Scotland during September.

One of the things I mentioned in the last blog post was the distractions of real life and the inability to purchase a new computer to replace the old one. The white one on the right lasted a bit longer than the staff at the apple shop thought it would. Although it was purchased in early 2010 and had several upgrades including a non standard device with holding 650GB, one of the staff commented at a maintenance session that it was "vintage" !!!  As you can see it is not working with the current operating system and is now two systems behind, consequently it is very slow and crashed my 2016 images file which I had to unfortunately reload unedited. It was recommended because of it's age and obsolete battery that I didn't upgrade it as they couldn't guarantee it would work in the way I wished it to. It now has to work only with the mains lead and the battery level in more recent weeks reads consistently 0%.
Last year I sought advice on which one I should purchase to replace it but only got around to doing that in August this year. Back ups had to be transferred manually as my external drive had too much content on it. Thankfully I stored photos and important files on another external drive in a way I could find them from folders. After transferring my documents, folders and 82GB of iTunes, I had an e-mail to say that there was a re-call on all laptops of that model built between June 2017 and June 2018.  Some had a problem linking the hardware and software and it turned out at the subsequent service in November that mine was one of them. I was asked to back up all the data on it prior to this visit and when I got home I had to start again as it was like a brand new laptop with everything wiped from it.
I decided a few years ago to give a Flickr a try as the website delivered good quality images and 1 TB away free for storage. It seems according to a recent e-mail, they've changed their mind and want all those people like me to subscribe. Not sure what to do about that yet as Ive converted 75% of my blog images onto Flickr which would mean them dropping off the old blog posts. Is nothing ever simple with computers ?? !! Not sure where to go with this yet.

After the installation of the new kitchen in November last year, the other end of the kitchen diner was extended in the early part of this year. this is the completed unpainted version showing the length from the ceiling join. I have just finished the room today in time for the family coming for Christmas.

For some time I have been involved with an organisation loosely linked to as group of churches called Mighty Oaks giving out free quality hot drinks to those worse for wear or otherwise late on a Friday night (A kind of street pastors role but more about the coffee and if anyone wants to chat about anything at all). It is a commitment that can be time consuming, cold but very rewarding.  We have been borrowing a trailer cart from Morpeth for two years who do their work on a Saturday night. Unfortunately the cart that had to be towed was not as young and reliable as it used to be so we spent a lot of time sourcing a vehicle for our own purposes.

Our discussions with the local coffee van conversion (Coffee Latino) firm took my wife and myself to a 2nd hand garage near Saltaire to test drive a van at the end of April.

The DFSK pick-up seemed suitable and potentially affordable but there were lots of administration issues to sort out such as fund raising, Van Insurance, Public liability insurance, where the van was going to be stored and the current ongoing Charity status application. This last point seems to be taking forever after the first application submitted wasn't good enough and they wanted a safeguarding policy, DBS checks etc etc.

In the meantime we carry on in a part of Gateshead where we make all kinds of quality coffee, hot chocolate, tea and have supplies on board of bottled water, flip flops for post party goers, dog biscuits and umbrellas.
My wife sorts out the rota out and we seem to do 1 in 2 or 1 in 3 Friday nights.
In addition to the holiday mentioned in the first image, we took a much needed short notice week away to the village of Ashford Bowdler on the outskirts of Ludlow in July, it was an opportunity to explore Shropshire, North Herefordshire and the Welsh Border. This was all new territory for me. The collage of images above is Ashford Bowdler and the pictures were taken on my daily morning dog walks.

We visited relatives in Kent during May and saw new places such as Ramsgate.

 We always try to fit in a short break or two to Keswick or the Lake District. This was the view from near the hotel looking north over Derwentwater.

Molly usually comes with us and as you can see is now becoming a well travelled dog ... Speaking of trains ... apologies for four 2018 images here but just in case I use Flickr for the class 37 fans ....

I did four extensive class 37 diesel rail tours this year, Crewe to Carlisle, Crewe to Bognor, a Routes and Branches tour of Central Scotland and a Shrewsbury to Penzance trip. The four locations depicted are Hellifield, Guildford, Helensburgh Central and Plymouth.

We had new births this year out in the back field behind the garden fence and also a new arrival in the family that has enjoyably taken a bit of time up.

This year I decided to print some Christmas cards using one of last years photos. Optimal Print did a great job and printed 60 of these, that leaves me to say Happy Christmas to you all and I'll see if I can do better next year ....

Monday, 18 December 2017

Happy New Year ... Happy Christmas 2017 !!

It seems a surreal and an unfamiliar experience to be publishing a post after a break of about 18 months. It's been a busy period due to getting married, selling two houses and moving to the countryside.

More recently I have had to empty and return a rented garage back to the local council as I had no further use for it near where my Mother used to live. It has been a monumental task trying to downsize and although I'm not quite there yet, (1/2 a room to sort) it seems within touching distance. I was incapacitated for a while when I broke a bone in my foot and was off work for six weeks in the middle of the year.

I had planned to get a new laptop in the autumn but that still hasn't happened do to distractions of a new kitchen and annoying maintenance and repairs to brand new and old large household appliances. thought you may like to see some very local scenes. I was encouraged by a follower (Cranberry Morning) to join Instagram a while back so have been active on there to keep myself operational !! I also had to apply comment moderation to this blog a few months ago due to spam.

There is a bakery just opened up in the village and it serves a variety of savoury and sweet treats to eat inside or takeaway. Whilst waiting for a breakfast, I caught up with the weekend sports news with a sourdough bread to take home afterwards.

The view from the other side of the table on an earlier occasion looking out on the snow.

Hello to whoever is still following me and I thought I'd squeeze in a solitary 2017 post
and wish you all a Happy Christmas from the local village green, Hopefully I should be back at some point in early in 2018.

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