Monday, July 29, 2013

Speak up

When we moved back from France our English phones (PAYG from Vodafone) wouldn't work because there was no signal.
Network coverage at the time was pretty poor with all the carriers but according to the coverage maps 3 Network wasn't bad and they also had very attractive data packages, so we went with them.
Over a period of time it became obvious that their indoor coverage wasn't too hot so, over the last few days, I have been talking to them about a Home Signal box. A piece of kit (femtocell) that will boost your signal using the internet.
For some reason they go through a bit of a hoo ha before they consider that you should get one but eventually they admitted that my signal was poor and sent us one. What a difference. I've gone from no signal (or one bar) to a full four. Wow, excellent.
Now all I've got to do is get the system to recognise Jan's phone as well and we're sorted.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

It's a joke

On the subject of watching comedians I'd noticed that one of our favorites had just announced a tour. I checked to see if he was appearing near us and the closest I could get was York.
No problem it's only an hour away so I started the booking process. I chose a Friday (not sure why, just can't get out of the weekend habit) but I could only get individual seats, we couldn't sit together. So then I switched to the day before, Thursday, and there was no problem.
What's interesting about all that? The booking was for November 2014.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A paddle in the North Sea

We don't go to Middlesbrough very often, in fact this was the second time in as many years and the reason is quite straightforward. We wanted to see Sean Lock, who we both find very funny, and couldn't get tickets, because he was sold out in or around Harrogate, our preferred venue. We could however get tickets at a venue in Middlesbrough.
Whilst Middlesbrough is only about 45 minutes by the shortest route, like the previous time, we set off for a trip across the North Yorkshire moors with a stop for lunch in Levisham and a paddle in the sea (Jan not me) at Runswick Bay.
 The Horseshoe Inn in Levisham is good. It offers solid, tasty, wholesome cooking that is not too expensive. Jan's belly pork and my lamb shank were both very good. The remote village of Levisham is situated up the other side of a steep gorge from A169 and it's not the sort of place that you come across by accident. We found the pub after a bit of research and it was a good find.
The detour to Runswick Bay was a bit of a trip down memory lane for Jan who, as a very young child, used to visit Middlesbrough for a holiday (do you know anyone else on earth who would visit Middlesbrough for a holiday?) and Runswick Bay was one of the places she went to.
Sean Lock, a standup comedian, was touring with his Purple Van Man show and we had tickets for The Town Hall. Looking at life through a skewed white van man perspective, he was very, very funny.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another use for WD40

'Help me separate these, I've tried everything,' said Jan.
'Yeah, no problem,' said he. Except there was a problem and they wouldn't shift. Somehow two ceramic flower pots had got stuck one inside the other and they wouldn't budge.
'OK, which shall I break,' said he.
'I like them both,' said she.
'OK, I'll try one last thing before I break one,' said he. 'Where's the WD40?' Frankly I didn't think it would work. After about four minutes when lots of heaving and straining I put them to one side to wash my hands.
Suddenly there was a cracking sound and then, after another few seconds, another. Bingo, they pulled apart relatively easily.
Who's your daddy?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rory Stewart

Wow, that was an interesting evening. Let me explain.
Since we've been back I (we've) taken a bit more interest in politics. We have the time and the interest.
We arrived too late to vote in the last national elections and out of curiosity I started to take a small interest in who won in our area. Geographically it's a very big area and would stretch the incumbent.
Then, somewhat by accident I came across a friend of our MP who I found out had been invited to speak locally. Our MP is Julian Smith and his friend is Rory Stewart. Stewart in particular interested me because of what he has achieved at such an early age. If you take a look at his Wiki page and look at his achievements it's almost unbelievable.
Having now met him I could easily see him as Prime Minister. Watch this space.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


A cracking end to the cricket today. Very exciting.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Well waddaya know

One of the reasons we bought the house we did when we moved back to the UK was its proximity to large open spaces and some lovely woods with a small river running through it. All perfect for dog walking.
What we didn't fully appreciate is the hidden benefit of the woods and river. As the sun beats down relentlessly at the moment the wood, no more than two minutes away, provide a wonderful shade for both ourselves and the dogs. Cool.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Phew what a scorcher

Several months back I booked tickets to visit the Great Yorkshire Show. In all the years I lived in Harrogate I can't remember ever visiting and, as Jan was keen to go, it was a no brainer. The roads around the showground can get very congested but I did a little research and followed the instructions (even though it was a little circuitous) and got there and parked with no problem. The showground is huge and frankly the sun was too hot (28C) and, in order to avoid sunburn, we kept bobbing in and out of some of the covered halls to get a little relief from the searing heat. It wasn't much better.
Anyway, you certainly see the great and the good and judging from the accents they were from far and wide.

Monday, July 8, 2013

What can you say

So I called my mum last night to discuss something totally different and she started the conversation by saying, 'so that Murray won. But that man he was playing was serving ever so aggressively.'

What am I going to do?

I always get depressed at the end of the football season and wonder what I'm going to do for sport entertainment over the summer months. However, every year it works out. In between rugby, tennis, motor racing and darts (just joking about the darts) the months fly by. In a little over a month the footie season starts again, yippee.
I was chatting to my next door neighbour Darren, also a football fan, about football on television. He installs industrial cables for a living and travels around the country to do it. He had just returned from an atomic weapons research establishment (they make nuclear bombs) and the conversation got round to security and the two hours it took them to get into the place even though they had security clearance.
Anyway, the conversation then turned to security in prison where he had also worked. He mentioned a reported conversation between a notorious killer, and the prison governor at Wakefield high security prison. The governor is alleged to have said that as times were tight he needed to make cutbacks. The prisoner is alleged to have said to him, 'let me get onto the same wing as the nonces and I'll make the cut backs for you.'

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Do my ears deceive me?

So I'm sitting here writing this rubbish when I hear a loud but distant shout from outside.
I can't quite believe it.
What I think I hear is "ragnbone".
We both look outside and true enough there's a small flatbed piled high with scrap metal doing a u-turn. I can't remember the last time I heard that cry.
However, I think these guys might need a little marketing help. At the speed they're driving there isn't a cat in hells chance that you would have time to hear their message, gather together what you wanted to give them, get outside and stop them.
It reminded me of this clip from Morecambe and Wise.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wensleydale Railway

Following on from yesterday's post, I have to say that I didn't really enjoy the train journey. They used a diesel train exactly the same as the type I used to travel to school in many years ago. Whilst I would expect the carriages to be suffering quite a bit of wear and tear after 50 years I have never quite got used to the constant smell of diesel fumes that get into the carriage and this made me feel a little unwell. I suffered in silence but it made me feel a little queasy. We did however check out when the steam trains would run so that if we decided to come back later with the little ones it wouldn't be a problem.
The journey between Leeming and Leyburn took about 35 minutes with some lovely scenery but probably a little too long to keep very young ones amused so we will shorten the trip next time by starting in Bedale where there also happens to be a children's farm. If they only realised the planning that goes into their holidays.
Anyway, Leyburn itself was nice, with a typical market square. If we'd had enough time (we only had about 45 minutes sit down time before the return journey) I would have liked to eat at the Sandpiper but as that was not to be, we walked around the square and had fish and chips sitting on a wooden bench outside Barclays Bank.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Yorkshire Dales

Because I lived next to a train line in my youth, I used to enjoy watching trains. However, despite catching the train from Harrogate to Leeds throughout all my secondary school years, I didn't get into full 'anorak' mode and the interest faded.
Last night we watched an episode of The Dales, thirty minutes of mild and sometimes irritating (because of Ade Edmondson) information about life in the Yorkshire Dales. I see it as very good grounding for Jan who used to think that the Dales only ever happened on the radio (for my overseas readers, this is a mildly amusing play on the word dales - don't worry you're not missing anything, old gits in the UK will know what I'm talking about).
Anyway, last night's programme reviewed the Wensleydale Railway which looked interesting and, in a fit of nostalgia, I suggested that we try the journey. Added to that we have grandchildren from Spain visiting later this month and we are researching things to occupy them. Jan was up for it, so off we went to Leeming Bar with trainspotting notebooks in hand having done some research about where to get a decent lunch in Leyburn.
That was the important bit.

Monday, July 1, 2013


My daughter lost her phone yesterday at Wellington Country Park in Berkshire.
How did I know, living in Yorkshire, well because the nice man who found it rang me?
Next problem, how to get hold of her. I looked at her Facebook page and noticed that someone who I didn't know had 'tagged' her in a photo. The photo was taken a few minutes beforehand at the country park. Then, by a process of contacting that person, who contacted other friends, finally got a message to my daughter and she got her phone back.
I'm still looking after her after all these years.