Saturday, 31 January 2009


Within 45 minutes of my last post, all these people had visited this blog:

Oslo: Lisbon, Lisboa: Lima: Piracicaba, Sao Paulo: Brazil: Jakarta, Jakarta Raya: Shanghai: Saint Louis, Missouri: Bilbao, Pais Vasco: Bloomingdale, Illinois: Madrid: Bucharest, Bucuresti: Milan, Lombardia: Espoo, Southern Finland: Ingersheim, Alsace: Baarn, Urtecht: Angra, Azores: Gurgaon, Haryana

Blown it! - only £1.41 left

There we are, I've spent my leaving present from N.W. Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and have bought a state of the art G.P.S. system for footpath walking and geocaching.
It's a Satmap Active 10 - and it's pretty amazing, so far...
The system uses Ordnance Survey maps on SD memory cards and I have bought a 'custom built' map covering the area I think I will need locally. When I planned it out on a paper map it turned out to be 80km x 50km and happened to be centred on Luton Airport.

O.K. the map alone was over £100, but look at what it does...

Initial screen before unit obtains 'home co-ordinates'

Zoomed in on Redbourn

Redbourn common

One of the roads around the common.
It is possible to zoom in even further but obviously a lot of detail is lost. At this level you can easily see which side of the road you are walking on.
The beauty of this unit is that you need no longer worry about straying from a footpath and walking through a farmyard which is 'out of bounds'. As soon as you stray from the footpath, it's immediately obvious on the screen. Just to left of the road below, you can see a footpath across the common clearly marked in green.

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Friday, 30 January 2009

Who else was it bought for then?


I was going to go into an antique shop today but it looked like they were stocktaking and I didn't want to be counted.
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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Pavilion ready for rebuilding

Cricket pavilion with its new straight girders:

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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Back to WORK already!

Well, voluntary work anyway.
Helped out with the printing of the Parish Magazine this morning. Made 300 copies of the magazine on the photocopier. This month the magazine consists of about 16 double sided A4 pages with a colour cover sheet back and front. The copier collates all the copies and is supposed to staple them as well, but it seems the stapling side of things is too flimsy and isn't really up to the job. So, I did the stapling this morning - luckily we have an electric stapler!

Had to get to the Church for 9:30 (am!) - look it was still foggy (for "heavens" sake!).

1000 of the 1270 copies required - last 270 to be done tomorrow!
Then, the distribution side of the organisation takes over...

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Monday, 26 January 2009

More visitors from exotic lands

All these people have visited the site recently:

New Zealand: Evora, Evora: Bangkok, Krung Thep: Montpellier, Languedoc-Rousillon: Florence, Toscana: Bogota, Cundinamarca: Warsaw, Warszawa: Bergen, Hordaland: Quincy, Illinois: Houston, Texas.

Spring is springing

Just back from our 'free' night at The Noke Hotel where we had a superb room - but no hot water! We drew this to the attention of the duty manager who apologised profusely, of course.
We have do produce a review of the hotel and say if we would recommend it to our friends - with no hot water! I shouldn't have been too surprised as I had previously read a review of the hotel on one of the travel websites where an American visitor had complained that there was no hot water, and that was on the 19th January. Maybe they had the same room as us?

The hotel has 111 bedrooms but we were the only people eating in the restaurant! We ate in the cheaper bar/restaurant as the "one with the AA rosette" isn't open on Sunday nights. The food was O.K. but overpriced for what it was.

There were a couple of business meetings starting as we left this morning, but it seems their main trade is 'funeral teas' as they are very close to Garston Crematorium. We were told they did at least one a day.

Never mind funerals...on our return home the garden was springing into life...

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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Residents First Weekend

This weekend gives local people a chance to enjoy all that St.Albans City and District has to offer.
Many attractions and places of interest are open 'free of charge' to those with an AL postcode.
SWIMBO and I have just been to St.Albans and joined a 'Crime & Punishment' tour.
Firstly we visited the cells beneath the old Magistrates Court.

Then into the courtroom itself, which operated until 1964.

We had to admire the ceiling.

This is the 7th year of 'Residents First' and seems to be getting more and more popular.

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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Boosting the retirement income

Looking forward to receiving my first pension payment on the 24th!
When my (relatively) large lump sum payment went into the bank the statement entry was followed by: "JIMO NHS MNTHLY A" so I am hoping that a huge error has been made and that I will be receiving my lump sum payment every month from now on - somehow I doubt it, watch this space...

In the meantime, the vouchers above were received following a very constructive 'complaint(?)' letter I sent to Greene King following our stay at the White Hart at Coggeshall - see entry dated 5th January.

The room was, I suppose best described as 'tired' and needed some T.L.C. The staff had mentioned that they were rather stretched and I felt that I should make this point to Greene King, hoping that standards weren't being allowed to slip at this otherwise excellent hotel. Plus, there was a large space on the shelf where our promised DVD player should have been.

The slightly poor room certainly did not spoil our stay, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time as you will have heard - we were only there for one night after all.

As mentioned in my letter to Greene King, I realise that the preferred option is to complain at the time, but the duty manager was doubling up, and manning reception and the bar and I doubted that anything could have been done to put things right during our short stay.
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Monday, 19 January 2009

Decorator & Cache No.2

There...that's a good reason for getting the professionals in.
They have enough dust sheets to do a proper job of 'sheeting up' as they call it.

Of course, the sheets have other uses:

Found cache No.2 yesterday hidden in the base of a tree which I must have walked past hundreds of times.

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Ha! nearly right

Someone has just arrived on the blog from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh as a result of a Google search for 'viagra blog'!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

O M G as in Oh! My God..

As regular followers may have noticed, I have added a 'widget' to the blog which registers who has viewed the blog - and where they have accessed it from.
During the last day, there have been visitors from:
Washington, Idaho, Santiago, South Carolina, Parana (Brazil), Laval (Pays de la Loire), Golas (Brazil), Minnesota, Keila Harjumaa (?), Wisconsin, Caracas, Bratislava, Boulogne-billancourt (Ille-de-France), Andalucia, Riga, Hyderabad, Madras, Florida, Ontario, Montreuil-bellay, Jalisco (?), Madrid, Cabanac-et-villagrains, Tamil Nadu.

SWMBO thinks 'JR' is an international code for VIAGRA.

(For those who have enquired: SWMBO = She Who Must Be Obeyed)

Just a quick 'catch up'

A few extra items from the last week:

This, believe it or not, is looking towards the site of the Channel 4's Time Team excavation of the four Roman temples shown on television during the last couple of weeks.

The cricket pavilion on the common stripped back to its main girders - click on the photo to zoom in and see the amazing distortion to one of the girders caused by the intense heat of the fire.

A 'gradient marker' (is there a correct term?) showing that, "It's all downhill to Redbourn from Harpenden".

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Friday, 16 January 2009

New career already?

SWMBO decided we should enter this competition:

As I have lots of time now, she thought I should think up the catchy 'complete the statement' bit.
I think I may have entered this sort of thing once, possibly twice in my lifetime.
We decided to use the letters S T A L B A N S to come up with something appropriate. Out comes the dictionary and I get to work, coming up with:
I like to invite my friends and family to visit St.Albans because...
St.Albans is:
Telephone call last night, "You've won a night at the Noke Hotel".
Now, just a minute SWMBO...this is bed and breakfast. You are going to want a drink (or three) in the bar, a meal in the restaurant (with wine), and we are going to end up well out of pocket.
I need some rules for my new career as 'slogan writer and competition winner'.
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Thursday, 15 January 2009

Patrick McGoohan dies at 80

Now this is a bit sad.

Hopefully the series will be repeated on T.V. as a fitting tribute?

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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

About this blog...

If, like me, you are new to all this blogging business:
1. Don't forget you can post comments - click on 'comments' below each entry.
2. You can become a 'follower' of the blog - see right hand side.
3. If you click on a photo, it will enlarge - interesting to see the bizarre contents of the cache box.
Most of all:
Thanks for reading it!

Geocaching - a secret world

Went to meet SWMBO for lunch in Dunstable which was bathed in glorious sunshine - at 3:00pm Redbourn was still shrouded in gloomy mist!

Went along the Nicky Railway Line towards Harpenden to enter the mysterious world of geocaching for the first time:

Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache anywhere in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache's existence and location online.

Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache.

The original cache type consists, at a bare minimum, of a container and a log book. Normally you'll find a tupperware container for example filled with goodies, or a smaller container ("micro cache") such as a 35mm film drum, too small to contain items except for a log book. The coordinates listed on the geocache web page are the exact location for the cache.The general rule of thumb is, "If you take an item, leave an item, and write in the logbook."

All very mysterious...

I went on the web page, found 'Nicky Line No.5' (there are 7, plus a bonus you can find after searching out all the rest and solving a combined clue).

I entered N 51 degrees 48.445 W 000 degrees 23.129 and set off.

There is an optional clue which I opted for as this was my first cache, which was 'under some sleepers'.

Amazingly I found it quite easily (it was listed as a simple one), the above photo is obviously taken from the boundary fence as the box was totally invisible from the footpath.

I was completely unprepared, of course, and didn't take anything to put in the box - probably not expecting to find the thing at all.
So...there you go, my first geocache and I'm still not sure about it all.
There are millions and millions worldwide and this series was 'planted' by the Berko Monkeys.

If all that's not sad enough, my best buy today was 5 kilos (kilos!) of potatoes from Aldi for 49p!

By the way - 4.26 miles walked today.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

More about the Nicky Railway Line

The Nicky Line was created as a branch rail link between Hemel Hempstead and Harpenden, with the purpose of linking Hemel with Luton to support the straw plait trade. It opened on 16th July 1877 and the last passenger train ran on 16th June 1947. The route has been transformed into National Cycle route 57, and can be accessed at multiple points.

Aarrgghh! Man 'Flu now!

Got up late this morning as my sore throat from Sunday/Monday has now developed into full blown Man 'Flu - why am I always last with everything? Everyone else had it around Christmas time!
I've had to give my apologies for the Neighbourhood Watch meeting this evening as I don't think it's fair to 'knock out' all the Street Coordinators in one go with this nasty bug.
I'll just have to spend the day continuing to tidy up the office, with a box of tissues to hand.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Bit warmer now!

It's already nine degrees Centigrade, and it's only 10 o'clock! I've been wanting to top up the fish pond all week but until yesterday, the hosepipe had been frozen for four days. The fish are a bit happier now with a bit more water to splash about in.
We had a good meal at Lussmanns restaurant in St.Albans on Saturday evening. The only gripe was that, being a 'modern' restaurant with no soft furnishings, the general noise level rises tremendously during the evening. It's not too bad if you are on a table for two, but any more than that and conversation would be difficult - unless you shout, then it gets worse and worse! - oh, and the tables were a bit small and squashed in a bit. Apart from that...the food and service were very good, but at minus 5 Centigrade it was a bit nippy walking back to the car, although I don't think we can hold Lussmanns responsible for that?

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Improve your domestic skills

One of the things I need to do is improve my ironing skills and progress beyond handkerchiefs and tea towels. So SWMBO arranges an ironing lesson. Luckily for me, by the effective use of lunchtime treats during the previous week, Poppy girl and I have hatched yet another cunning plan...

Oh well, maybe next week then?

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Friday, 9 January 2009

Aarrgghh! not so easy then, this blogging?

Just been back to revisit today's blog and found that the photos had vanished.
Apologies to those who had logged on and wondered what had happened.
I posted them, logged off, logged back on to check them, and all was fine, then...goodness knows.
Anyway, all re-posted, and hopefully O.K. now.

Go on...get out there!

Managed to force myself to go out for my walk today. It was below freezing though and some of the pavements had black ice on them.
3.30 miles today including part of the Nicky Railway Line which ran (still runs?) between Hemel Hempstead and Harpenden.

Makes you wish you had an open fire at home - look at all those logs!
Maybe they're there for the wildlife, though?

That'll be a Roman Road then, straight for miles.

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