Another Year Over!

My back is now fixed, but picked up a dose of the flu! Very disruptive for my gym regime!

Well finally got my pay sorted with Royal Mail. In the end they were trying to diddle me out of a days money, but the guy in the Croydon office got it sorted straight away. They even paid me 2 days holiday money, which at the hiring interview stated wouldn’t happen?

Yes, another Birthday has passed me by. As with most men, I still have the mental age of being in my mid-20’s. 🙂

The 2018 trip is now finished and will take in Belgium, Germany and France this year.

Grand Tour 2018

I am using Ferries this year instead of Eurotunnel as it means I can start off in Dunkirk which is slightly nearer to Belgium. On the return journey I will travel from Dieppe to Newhaven which is a much better journey home.

First stop is Ypres which should give us a little time to pay our respects to some of the War hero’s.  Then another overnight stop in Belgium before heading to the Mosel in Germany. Staying for a couple of days at a vineyard which will be interesting. Next area will be the Black Forest near Titisee. This is an area that Jasmin and I have walked around on a couple of holidays.  Beautiful area and should be nice in the Spring.

Leaving Germany and heading into France there are a number of interesting sites by Lakes and rivers that should enable me to get out the SUP, so I am spending several days at each place. Eventually we will be arriving by the ‘Med’ and spending about a week close to Perpignan before heading along the edge of the Pyrenees to the Atlantic coast.

We are going to try out a site at Labenne which although there are limited facilities the site is next to the beach. Labenne is, of course, part of British Aquitane (see previous Blog’s on the subject).

Nouvelle Aquitane, created by the amalgamation of Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes in the 2014 reforms, is now the largest administration area in France. I guess it will make it easier when it is handed back to Great Britain. I suspect that’s what a lot of the Brexit talks are about!

We will spend about one month around Azur and the Rockley site (La Rive) which is where Lauren is working this year, before heading up the Vendée to the other coastal sites. One thing I must do this year is use my new shell-fish hunting equipment. Looking forward to that!

Back Home early this year as we are off to Northern Ireland to visit the folks and possibly do some walking in the Mourne mountains, before hopefully an Army reunion in Herford and then some climbing in Dartmoor. The end of the year may well see us heading off to southern Spain for the winter.

That looks like the year is planned out!! I still have to find time for decorating the front room and the outside of the house front and back!

Timmy News.

He’s been eating non-stop since we removed him from hibernation early and he’s gained all the weight back that he lost. I’ve mixed the earth and sand and filled his home area. He had started to eat the straw from time to time. He would look guilty when found with straw poking out of his mouth!

Timmy’s refurbished home

French lessons are going well and I passed the Speaking assessment last week and have the Listening assessment (listen to a spoken story and then answer questions) to do. It’s shame that I can’t attend the writing part of the course next but I’m away. Although they are looking at letting me do the first part of the course for a reduced fee. Wait and see.

Au revoir!


Let’s get up-to-date!

Well in the end the Christmas Casual work with Royal Mail flew by. After the first week my body was used to the cycling and toil, so much so, that I could get on with the DIY when I got home. Of course Jasmin was away again at her sisters having a great time while I slaved. A bit more about the work …

The use of the work “slave” is a bit harsh as I was paid the ‘minimum wage’ and it was my fault that I worked so hard, but I only have an ‘ON’ switch when it comes to manual labour.

Into the middle of the 3rd week and the Supervisor said that we would only have two 20 minute breaks during the day? Again I pointed out that we were docked an hour for breaks each day.

“That’s not an issue because I have agreed with the office that we can pay you for the extra daily 20 minutes” he said,

I replied “No problem for me as long as I get paid!”

Only a few of us on the Mail Sort/ DSA work agreed to this with the guys on the parcel sorting saying that they would stick with the original 1 hour. In the end the Supervisor was pretty lenient with the breaks anyway especially when the work was lighter . I reckon that in the end we were getting the 20 minutes back by getting longer breaks and finishing earlier. The other half of the shift doing the parcels seemed to have to go back to work at the same time as us and were still there when we left! 🙂

In the first couple of weeks, the payslip was correct but because of being paid in arrears we didn’t get our final payslips until after we had left. Well, the next one was incorrect and further checking it would seem that due to cutoff dates everyone (including the permies) don’t get their full pay before Christmas. I think that adds to the Management versus Workers fire at Royal Mail! Me being me, sent in a spreadsheet stating the hours I worked to the payroll office and will have to wait and see what I’m paid after the promised date of 5th January.

I also reckon that with a change to the process and perhaps another sorting machine Royal Mail could become much more efficient. What about replacing/ enhancing the current stamp to include the postal address so that machines can read the addresses and sort letters/ parcels? The machines can sort through the business envelope windows. It is just hand-written letters that are the problem and even some of them can be read. At Christmas time there is a lot of manual sorting and on occassions  we helped if the other work was clear…

How hard is it to put letters into a pigeon-hole based on the postcode? Well quite hard, if the postcode marked pigeon-holes aren’t in alphabetical order? The permies had no problem because they’ve sorted a million letters, but for any new comers or part-timers the only guide is a sheet showing what colour label on the pigeon-hole to look for associated with the post-code and then they photocopied the sheets in black and white! You had to laugh. I guess Royal Mail had some form of system in place and then the postcodes got extended so they added them on the end? Just speculation, who knows, but it caused my OCD nature some stress!

Anyway, the aforementioned DIY work was an extension of the downstairs ring-main to remove all of the inter-connected extension leads. It’s surprising how many sockets are needed when the tech builds up. Top tip from my younger brother – use an old wood chisel to chop the holes. The sharpness of the chisel creates a neater cut. Of course don’t expect to chisel wood with it later!

Only whacked my hand twice!
The finished product

Oh yes … Happy New Year to everyone! (or even Bonne année à tous!)

Not been a great start, as part 2 to DIY was to replace a couple of mains sockets with the type that incorporate USB sockets. First one completed OK, the second one was fiddly as I had to extend the wires, but not too much hassle. Just had to push the wires in and screw the socket in place when a massive back spasm jolted me. That was it. Back locked, good and proper, much worse than normal. Jasmin to the rescue and talked her through finishing the work! Luckily I got an appointment to see my Osteopath who did a bit of manipulation and eased some of the tension. That was about 5 days ago and I’m still not able to get comfy sitting, standing and especially sleeping. That’s a complete nightmare waking up every couple of hours.  Its like being on stag (guard duty for the uninitiated). There is some improvement and I’ll be seeing the Osteopath a bit more often for a while. Another top tip from the younger Bruv who is also a back-pain sufferer – “wear your back support for a while”.  Yep, that helps support my back and takes some of the strain off the stomach muscles. So much for getting back into the Gym! A least I was able to dress myself today, so as I said much improved!

An unexpected New Year visitor – Timmy the Tortoise!! Well, he didn’t get up by himself but during his weekly weighing and checking session I discovered that he had poo’ed.  Very bad as his stomach was supposed to be empty to prevent bacteria growing while he was hibernating.  Looks like he had been eating the straw he was bedded in prior to hibernation in the fridge. No choice but to wake him up and keep him awake ’til next winter. Rearranged the Lounge again and back in with the tortoise enclosure. He’s definitely awake as he’s exploring his sleeping area and sounds as if he’s clawing his way through the wooden base. Bath-time for him later!

Hello everyone!

He should have a earth/ sand 50-50 mix to walk on once I get up to the garden centre and my son Kris mixes it (did I mention my bad back?). The stones keep his claws filed and the soil provides a more natural substrate than the straw, which was always a temporary solution in the winter. Next year I will keep Timmy away from food (and bedding straw) for 6 weeks to ensure an empty stomach before hibernating and build a nice wooden box, padded with old towels, for his hibernation box – then it will be back in the fridge!

Just to let you know that I can use my Google Home Mini perfectly (thank you again Donna and family), in contrast to the Facebook post going around of a ‘Dad’ trying to use an Amazon Echo (on LADbible) 🙂 . Unfortunately ‘Darwinism’ isn’t instant and he has already spread his genes as it was his son who had given him the device as a present (and told him to address it as “Trevor”!)

One last thing … congratulations to my son Kris for his promotion at work. Keep it up as my retirement money may run out!! And also to my eldest grand-daughter Lauren who has taken the Activities Managers job this summer in La Rive, near Sanguinet, for Rockely Watersports. It is all about managing the water-based activities at the site (sailing, wind-surfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking etc) and more importantly keeping the guests safe on the water. Will pop in to see her in the summer and have already checked out an Aire nearby 🙂

Au revoir!



First work week over

Well French Film night was interesting. The film itself was good, the attending lecturer said that the actors were well known in France. Worth a watch, there are copies with English subtitles. A shame only three from our course turned up. As a reminder the film was ” Les Choristes”.

The DIY at the daughters went well and I was particularly pleased that the outside temperature was about 3°C as getting the 6mm cable through into the fuse box was a nightmare! Took 1 1/2 hours to complete that part of the work into the wiska box. Much warmer in the outhouse 🙂


The plumbing for the new dishwasher was simpler but working under the worktop isn’t great for my back. As usual a couple of leaks, one was the old washing machine water hose that didn’t like the reconnection. Spare hose at the ready! The other was the connection of the two waste hoses, just needed to be tightened.


The radiator replacement at home also went well apart from having to pull up every floorboard in the vicinity to get to the old pipes. I’ve really got to like the plastic push-fit plumbing stuff now. It’s a shame because I love to use my blow-torch – is that a normal man-thing or just worrying? Just one remaining job, to patch where the old mounting brackets were.

New Radiator

Paid Work …

First week finished. After the first couple of days I was exhausted. Just had to get home and rest. The cycle home takes about 10 minutes longer than going! 7 hours of physical work either moving sacks of, generally, bundles of magazines or cutting open the sacks and moving the contents onto the tables for further post code sorting. They have now got the process sorted, as I didn’t realise that this setup is just for Christmas. The original processes were so inefficient that they were driving me crazy, but I managed to keep quiet. It was all about workflow – unload the lorries in Distribution (another group of workers), a couple of rounds of Sorting to get the mail (large letters) into trays in preparation for machine sorting. The Shift Managers were on the ball because in a couple of days things were moving much better. I can feel my Abs improving already, but I’m not sure about my finger tendons – could just be that I try to lift the bundles by gripping with my fingers on one hand, rather than like the others that lift one bundle with both hands. Some of the regular staff are already saying that I’m working too hard! I just tell them that I can’t get my cardio rate up without working that hard! Not enjoying getting up at 0500 hours though!

Au revoir!

OMG back to work soon!

In a moment of madness I thought it would be fun to apply for a Christmas job with Royal Mail. The original idea was to become a Christmas postie to get in some serious daily cardio, but when the jobs came out it wasn’t listed. In the end I opted to work in the Sorting Office, which is about pushing parcels around in trolleys (I think, as there wasn’t any real job description at the interview). Should achieve the same thing for the cardio. Went to recce the route to the Office today as I’ll commute by bike. It’s only 2.5 miles away, so about half the distance I used to cycle to work. I found my ‘secret’ walk-through that cuts off cycling too far down Beddington Lane and exits on the industrial estate and quieter roads. The site has a large covered cycle shed which will keep the bike drier on the wet days. Not sure about storage facilities for my rucksack of necessities, such as change of clothing (wet days), repair kit, pump and lights – I’m starting at 0600 hours – eek!! Us retired people don’t normally get up until 0900 hours!

Tonight is French Film night at Sutton College where all the various French courses can watch a film in their study language and discuss it afterwards. I believe the film has English subtitles for ‘us beginners’. The film is titled “Les Choristes” (Le Spectacle Musical). As far as the course is going, each week seems to bring a huge amount of new vocabulary towards the end of the session. I’m beginning to think that because most of the students don’t have time to revise, the review period at the start of the session lasts 75% of the time. That leaves very little time for the new course content to be introduced. I, of course, revise regularly in order to be class swot 🙂

DIY has been going well. New radiator in without too many hic-cups.  Didn’t push one of the fittings on fully first time around, so a small leak. As I drain the system down the sewer manhole, I discovered that the outlet was flowing correctly.  This all started when the Electricity Board dug up the road outside the house for the new South London supply and backup cables disturbing a family of rats.  They dug up from the sewer by the edge of my manhole (the old air vent pipe) and deposited all the soil and stones  down the drain.  The stones eventually form a solid ‘cork’ that has to be cleaned out by. Looks like where I blocked the hole last time, the rain has just washed in back down. I think I will have to put a cement surround down in this area to stop any further blockages.

Next major job is to extend the ring-main over in the tech area ( router, NAS etc). I purchased some triple socket adaptors (fit into double back-box). It’s never simple as the last socket in the chain has to have surface wiring installed into trunking to take it around a supporting pillar. I’ve got a fair amount of brick chasing to do now that the wall is marked out.

First however, is my daughters out-building electrical upgrade. As there will be a tumble-drier plus a couple of freezer/ fridges and a light hanging off the circuit the existing flex back to the board has to be replaced! This means a new circuit-breaker in the board and a new cable run. Managed to scrounge some armoured cable, wiska boxes, breaker etc from the bruv so looks like a full days work tomorrow. It will be interesting trying to get the new cable into the fuse board, which has been plastered into the wall, without destroying half the house!! Second job is to plumb in a new cold-water point for their dishwasher. I love working under kitchen worktops, my back is already twinging with the thought of it. I think I will try and build it on the table and then install to the cold water main. As usual I’ll let you know how I get on.


Timmy’s in the fridge for winter

Timmy has now reached a decent weight (1200gms) so that hibernation is safer. I wouldn’t have bothered as we have the indoor habitat, but now that he has the freedom of the house he destroys all in his wake. When we first collected Timmy he weighed about 40 gms, that was 7 years ago. Mediterranean tortoises have a short hibernation of about 1 1/2 months in the wild, so hibernation in a colder climate were he will sleep for about 3 1/2 months is much riskier. There are a couple of methods for hibernation; 1) Put in an insulated box and place in an outhouse 2) Put in a fridge that stays at 5ºC . The constant temperature of around 5ºC is important as it keeps the tortoise asleep. The problem with outhouses (or lofts etc) is that if a warm spell occurs they can wake up and if this happens too many times their store of energy is used up. Even if they make it to warmer weather in the spring they are in poor condition. I had planned to use the beer fridge in the garage, but on measuring the temperature it drops to 0ºC  which is far too cold so Timmy is on the bottom shelf of our normal fridge fast asleep. Just requires that the door is opened regularly and fingers crossed he’ll sleep until spring.

Update …

Since starting this post, he’s been in there for a week and seems OK. Weekly weighing to keep a check on him.

Volunteered to help the brother-in-law install a new kitchen at my niece Charlottes’  house. Younger brother also there to do the electrics. Always a learning curve with ‘one -off’ DIY projects. I probably installed my kitchen about 15 years ago, so any pitfalls that I encountered I have long forgotten.  Luckily Richard is around builders all the time so had a million little tips to pass on. I’d forgotten how hard kitchen installation work is, making the bike ride home tough. In the end it was all cardio exercise and saved a visit to the gym. I missed the final day as I’ve sneaked off on holiday to Brighton again, but by all accounts the cupboards, sink, ovens etc are all in their final resting places waiting for the granite work surface to be delivered. Nearly done.

That’s good because I’ve got a number of jobs that need doing…

A radiator in the back bedroom need to be replaced as it seems to be rotting and letting in air. All parts on site ready to go!

The lounge TV area is a mess. I mounted the TV (an impressive 65″ Samsung) ages ago but have never got around to hiding the cables hanging down. Samsung TV’s now come with a small box for all the source inputs, delivering the signal via one HDMI lead to the TV (plus power cable).  So no need for all the cables that used to be dangling (other source HDMI, PC VGA, SCART), thankfully progress has been made. I also wanted to get rid of the TV table that houses the DVD player, Sky Box, Raspberry Pi Kodi media player etc. All this technology, including my two NAS devices and Router, Phone unit, require power so I have about 3 extension cables running this lot! I’ve bought a shelving unit that will fit by the chimney breast to house all the tech.  I’ll extend the existing socket ring main to provide another 6 outlets and hide them behind the unit. Should be nice and neat when finished.

As I mentioned we’re back in Brighton and it is distinctly Autumnal now. Short walk yesterday to blow away the cobwebs. Woolly hat needed.

Undercliff Walk

We decided to walk along the cliff top this time to a set of steps that descend to Undercliff Walk and return via this path. The steps are at the roundabout for the Ovingdean turn-off (must have a ‘dean’ in the village name around here!) and the Blind Veterans UK Centre (one of three UK premises).

Wildlife watch …

More Herons at the beach as it was low tide and also what appears to be Great White Egrets.  Apparently they don’t all migrate for winter, with some remaining in the South i.e. breeding here now.

Blind Veterans UK Centre

We walked through the Marina for a change and passed a flat that had a bird feeder out. A flock of Goldfinches back and forth to the feeder. Must be the best looking of the Finches. There was even a Wren who put in an appearance. Very unexpected on an estate in a Marina, but the hedges dividing the gardens of the lower apartments provide a safe haven.


Today was much brighter and we went on the circular walk that takes us up over the racecourse and into Rottingdean before returning via Undercliff Walk. It works out at just over 10 miles with a stop off at Molly’s for toasties and tea.

Wildlife watch …

First to put in an appearance was a Stone Chat family and the light was perfect for seeing the males colours. Kestrels are relatively common on the South Downs and it wasn’t long before we saw one hunting. The wind today providing the best conditions for hovering,  saving energy.  A little further on I spotted one in an Hawthorn bush just staring at the ground. We were only about 20 feet away, but that didn’t distract it. A sudden dive to the ground and I thought it must have made a kill, but no, it sat there for a while looking and I suspect that the mouse? must have a hole there and got away. The Kestrel not wishing to look foolish sat there and nonchalantly preened itself.


One other reason for being in Brighton over this particular time is Remembrance Sunday. A while back I used to attend the Crawley Parade as Lauren PJ was in the cadets who played a prominent role.


Since then I discovered the Brighton Parade and have attended the past couple of years. As always the Corp (for the unknowing, that means the Royal Corps of Signals, my old mob) is represented, as the Royal Signals Association has a Branch there and that means a standard bearer for the Parade. I also bumped into the Lieutenant who commands the local cadet force. She is Royal Signals, but the cadet force in Brighton is aligned to the Royal Corps of Engineers. Sadly the R. Sigs. affiliated cadet force was based in Eastbourne, but was disbanded I presume because of lack of numbers? Next year I may venture up to the main parade at the Cenotaph.

The RSA Wreath

Lest we forget!

Other news …

Just purchased a new phone – the Google Pixel 2 to replace my ageing Nexus 5. It was scary (but successful) taking the scissors to trim down the SIM card!!

We’re back home now, so on with the DIY!!

Au revoir! À bientôt!







Chores…then push South

I’ve always enjoyed the sense of accomplishment in a bit of DIY, even if the air can be slightly ‘blue’ during the actual works. The kitchen is finished – all nicely painted, which to be honest consisted of the ceiling, a shelf and a couple of bits of skirting board. My fussiness meant I painted the boards that are permanently hidden behind the fridge and washing machine, but I just can’t help it!

My next challenge might be painting the outside of the house before the cold weather arrives. I’ve got to decide whether to completely strip and repaint the facia’s, as I did 20 years ago, or get Steve the Roofer round to fit plastic? I could get him to replace the felt on the flat section above the bay window at the same time. I need to get my brand new virgin ladders out for a recce up there to see “How hard can it be to DIY?”. As I sacked the window cleaner after retiring I probably need to get the ladders out to clean the windows and sills! Let’s hope the mild weather holds.

Enough of that, as we are now back to our local’ish\favourite site again (Brighton) and as it has been for the last couple of years, relatively mild, calm weather. My brother Richard has invited us again to the Lodge Ladies Weekend which is in Brighton, so an extra reason for visiting.  Might do an update to this blog after the ‘do’.

Lazy setup day, followed by shopping the next day as it was cloudy. Did cycle into Hove before shopping to get some miles in. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the one remaining Brighton Pier.  These are the remains of the other – West Pier …

Remains of West Pier

I’m always disappointed when the owners of a Grade 1 listed building ‘get away with’ allowing the property to disintegrate into an irreparable wreck. How did two separate fires destroy this property in 2003? Am I a cynic?

Needed a new white shirt to wear for Remembrance Sunday, when we are back in Brighton for the Parade etc. Either too much time in the Gym or too many calories (of course I favour the former excuse) but I’m no longer a 16″ neck. Can get it buttoned, but too tight and the chest buttons bulge. All signs of putting on bulk!

On the way back we pass the Brighton Zip Line, a new’ish attraction that I thought I might like to partake in. Further investigation and it’s only about a 20 second ride from about 100 feet up. Not enough of a thrill for me.

Brighton Zip Line
A Dad & Son having fun

Poet and didn’t know it! (Previous caption)

Woke up today to glorious sunny weather. First task was to nip back to Debenhams to exchange the shirt! Out with the bikes and off we went. Left Jasmin on the Promenade above the Brighton Music Hall, from which we could hear “The Closest Thing to Crazy” being sung. Looked over the railings and saw that it was not a machine, but a person.

Amy at Brighton Music Hall

Over and back to Debenhams in double-quick time (Army slang for very speedy, I think based on the Light Infantry marching speed) before heading down to the Brighton Music Hall for Coffee/Tea and listening to that ‘person’ – Amy. Beautiful voice singing Katie Melua/ Amy Winehouse and similar genre. Although there is often Music in the evenings at this Bar/ Kitchen for which tickets can be purchased, during the daytime (and when it’s sunny) the Bar invites ‘buskers’ along to sing for tips. I can recall previous passing-by’s listening and the standard is always very good. This one was perfect music to complement the sunny day and I could have stayed for hours, but time was pushing on (mainly because I didn’t get up too early!).

IMG_20171027_113254 (2)

I wanted to try and check/ remember the songs that Amy was singing, something that I’m awful at. I know the tunes, but can rarely associate them with an artists’ name, same with Films and Actors/Actresses. I know, I’ll download ‘Spotify’ onto this laptop and so off to the Windows Apps store I go. Hmm, that’s taking a long time and on checking find out that Windows has decided to download 12 updates to other Apps!!!! Killed them, leaving just Spotify downloading? After 20 mins it has downloaded 250 Kb, so thought it will be quicker to download on my Android phone.  Yep, here it is already, all 40Mb!

Popped into Asda’s on the way back for provisions, had lunch and head off again this time in the other direction towards the Marina and Undercliff Walk. I can’t praise this walkway enough, and Brighton CC for building it. OK so they had an ulterior motive – keeping Rottingdean out of the sea but instead of just building a sea wall they turned it into a walkway enjoyed by thousands!

We’re over an hour in and the 80Mb Windows download has reached 5Mb !!!!!!!!!

Didn’t get too far without feeling the need to record our progress, so stopped off at the Marina for a selfie …

Selfie at the Marina

Wildlife update …

Further along the walkway I spotted a couple of birds standing in the water. It was low’ish tide so fairly shallow and I assumed a couple of Cormorant’s and decided to take their photo. There was something nagging at me, but I carried on. A lady stopped (with dog in the shopping trolley) and said ” Are they Herons?” It twigged and I replied “Yes, they are!” It’s strange that because I didn’t expect to see Herons at the seaside my brain just thought of Cormorants, despite the several give-away signs 1) Much longer necks 2) longer beaks 3) Shape and colour of the wings (as one took off showing the light band). Context is everything! So Herons aren’t just fresh-water predators.

Couple of NOT Cormorants

Just off-shore, opposite the Marina, is the battery of green power – a Wind Farm and what appears to be a not green Oil Rig …

20171027_142434 (2)
Wind Farm

The strange thing is that 1) a few weeks ago when it was v. windy the rotors weren’t turning. That may be correct as too much wind isn’t good. 2) this time – flat calm with a breeze – still not turning? Not generating much electricity then!?

Just Googled – The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm doesn’t come online until 2018! Consists of 116 turbines and the last one wasn’t installed until September 2017, about one month ago. I’ll be checking for rotation next year then!

Reached the end of the Undercliff Walk and time for a rest (sorry for the nudity) …

Getting some rays!

On the way back we usually stop off for a cup of tea at Molly’s Cafe.

Molly’s Cafe on the Undercliff Walk

Today was no exception and I took the chance to laze around on the rocks of the groyne. What a great word ‘Groyne‘ is! Not sure from the correct definition if groyne is the correct word for a line of large rocks – I suppose it is a wall? Even better, the Americans use the spelling ‘Groin’ lol. Check out the definition in the link above – I would never have guessed where this word derived from.

Boulder Groyne opposite Molly’s Cafe

Mostly smooth Granite with some other types, not a geologist, but one looked as if it had been melted. Think I spotted a fossil that looked either like a clam shell or a coral fan …

Fossil Shell or Coral?

A number of kids and adults took to the sea without wetsuits – how hard is that? I was disappointed that I didn’t have my paddleboard here as the last two days have been flat calm. I would have had my wetsuit on!!!

P.S. Several hours later and Spotify is installed!

Au revoir! À bientôt



On the move once more!

It’s been a drag cooped up at home after so many weeks in France!

Baby sitting for a while at the daughters house while they swanned off to New York. Followed by a DIY frenzy …

First was the patio,  front and back paths jet washed – only been waiting for 10 years! There are red paving stones in the pathway! Then pointing the front pathway slabs, a task that just takes hours because it is so fiddly to keep neat. After that fun, there was plastering the area around the boiler flue and old pipeway boxes – just 5 years in waiting. Managed to keep the plaster flowing for ages by several pre-coats of PVA to stop the water being sucked away, but the area didn’t allow for that long sweep of the trowel so hard to keep neat.  In the end a smooth job that now needs painting. That’s a job for next week.

This week we have got away to Brighton and are at the Caravan Club site just north of the Brighton Marina. It’s a large site that is always nearly full of oldies like Jasmin and I.

The Rig

A long while ago some enterprising ex-Royal Signaller had produced some decals that could be stuck on ‘things’.  The decay references ex-7 Signal Regiment (was based in Herford, Germany) which provided the communications for 1 BR Corp during the Cold War. While, as some jerk pointed out (I’ve done well not to take a more offensive stab on FB at aforementioned jerk), the ‘spear’ icon that the official 7 Sigs ‘flag’ had isn’t on them, that’s not the point. Anyone seeing this decal will know, 1) I’m an ex-Signaller and 2) I was at 7 Sigs during my Service. Small rant over!

RS Decal

First full day was ‘out for a walk’, so had a look at the map and off we went …

Coast View from Balsdean Reservoir

It’s always a good walk if you pass a windmill! Just the other side of this windmill is the A259 coast road and the sea.


It turned out to be nearly 12 miles of a walk, so tired legs for Jasmin!

Wildlife watch …

Also found this fine fellow (Ocypus olens) …

Devil’s Coach-horse Beetle

When threatened they curl their abdomen up (aka Scorpion) and open their mandibles to look fierce … he he. They don’t sting, but just beware the ‘jaws’ which can latch on to human skin.

Today was a cycle ride along the coast.  Cycled down to the Marina, turned right and kept going until the harbour at Shoreham-by-Sea.  This is also the major footpath route known as the ‘Monarch’s Way’.  The path stops there because of the inlet to the harbour. (I recall in the days of ‘foot and mouth’ and being banned from the countryside we did many coastal walks – turn around and find the bridge into town to get around the inlet).  Cycled back for a meander up the remaining Pier before continuing East.

Brighton Pier

Brighton council have created the ‘Undercliff Walk’ which runs from Madeira Drive (by the Pier) to Saltdean. It was part of our walking route yesterday, when the quiet fierce wind was blowing sea-spray over the wall, but today protected us from the much lighter breeze. It was hot in the sun!

Undercliff Walk is not really a ‘pathway’, but is the sea wall – protection for the cliffs from the sea.

Undercliff Walk
More Undercliff Walk

The cliffs stretch from Brighton and eventually join the ‘more famous’ cliffs of Beachy Head etc. There aren’t many places in Europe where Ice Age (that is about 250,000 years ago) cliffs are exposed.

Some Geology …

While the majority of the cliffs are white, which is because they are mainly Calcium Carbonate from the shells of molluscs, there are layers of flint and bands of a dark material. The flint and brown sediments were washed down the Whitehawk Valley during periods of global warming.

Black Rock Cliffs Geology

All in all, a lovely day out with more tired legs as we cycled about 20 miles!

The Sun was shining!

This is the newer editor that appears to import larger photo’s.

Au revoir! À bientôt!