Category Archives: dog walking

Le Manoir Meal, Hockey and Wine Tasting

The first half of the week was quiet down in Eastbourne again but made up for it at the end of the week and I took one of my more amusing photos for a while.

Hockey Coaching and Watching

Before popping to Eastbourne, I resumed by hockey coaching career with Paul on Monday evening, trying to build on the previous weeks work with more basics of moving the ball, attacking and defending exercises with a game at the end. After watching a few of the player’s games recently, learning to pass the ball quickly, accurately, picking it up whilst moving, not letting it bounce of the stick straight to the opponent and knowing what to do with it all needed work! One of the first exercises was right back to basics and exaggerating the sticking of the left elbow out and up in front to teach them to dribble in front of them rather than besides their feet. Also worked on left hand strength with a game of killer in the D just using the left hand.

I also ended up watching a couple of sessions with Jamie playing – Bucks training on Friday and ACHC U14s match on Sunday. Some of the principles applied to them as well, but there was an awful lot of ball watching going on, lack of structure and watching the line to goal which was interesting. I think what makes a great player is not just the technical ability and confidence to execute a move, but the ability to read a game before it happens, where the ball is going to be moved and hence what position to stand in ready for the play to unfold. Friday was also good as I caught up with an old friend Matt from Aylesbury Hockey Club who I’ve toured occasionally with a few times over the last 20 + years.

Web Work

Plastic Gin Glasses – with reflections!

Undertook plenty of work again this week for the usual clients. I was having particular fun trying to migrate a lot of data to a new WooCommerce web site into my local staging Desktopserver web site. I popped in to see Ian at J&J Air Systems again this week too – we are continuing to make good progress on visitor numbers for their site. We still have a huge amount of work to do though, but it is exciting.

I only popped into Cater For You for a few hours this week, but took a number of photos for a combination of new products and new photos for the new web site. I put up a couple of photos for a brand new plastic gin glasses section, but think i’ll have to re-do them as the reflection of the camera and lightpod is so bad.

Birthday Celebrations

Wine tasting

We spent the weekend celebrating Sarah’s birthday. First off was a trip to Oxfordshire and a meal at the Le Manoir. As you can see from the photos, Sarah was looking absolutely beautiful, I’m very lucky. Unfortunately it was raining so we didn’t wander round the gardens, but the whole afternoon was a fabulous experience. The knowledge of the serving team, the reception, the quality of the food was all exceptional and incredibly friendly, a special afternoon for us.

Afterwards we had a small family gathering to celebrate with a glass or two and a slice of cake. Saturday was the main day though as Sarah had organised a fabulous wine tasting event. The event host was very knowledgeable and introduced us to three white then three red wines, introducing us to how to test the alcohol levels (legs), acidity and which region of the world the grape would come from. It was unilaterally declared that I was a cheap date as I couldn’t tell what was what due to my taste buds!

Special mention to Stratton Bakery too who did Sarah’s absolutely fabulous birthday cake, something very special indeed with after eight mints all round it.

Exercise

My foot was still painful, but I did do a few dog walks with Molly and also tried a cycle ride. Particularly exciting was that I was allocated a place in the Prudential ride 100 ballot so need to get back up to speed on my bike. I’m afraid Saturday was a bit of a disaster as I completely ran out of energy and then got cramp in my calf in pouring rain, so had to phone Sarah to pick me up after 25 miles. It is almost half a year since I did the London to Brighton I guess, but this will be almost twice as long as that. The Isle of Wight I think was over 70 miles, but that was very hilly too. Need to get my head down to get fit again though. I’m also considering doing a duathalon if I can get my foot back running without pain again.

Particularly amusing when walking Molly was seeing a lorry driving from the HS2 site at the back of us – completely dominating Chesham Lane. Also is a dump of garden waste on Shire Lane again and a few photos of the development starting at Newland Park. Whilst I was cycling I saw what I thought was a hilarious photo of a horse hanging out of The Swan pub in Swan Bottom.

Still no golf…

Eastbourne, TD Record Month and ACHC Quiz Night

As promised in last week’s blog, this week has been rather quieter. I’ve done no exercise as my foot was giving me too much grief (my arthritis I think) and sciatica grumbling, so no runs across the downs, still no golf and only one dog walk. Not even a cross trainer session in the garage.

Snow in Eastbourne

Web Design Work

I spent the early part of the week in Eastbourne again helping out with hospital trips. It was also an opportunity to do a huge amount of work which I duly did. The bulk of the work was getting to grips with the new Fastbreak Sports web site project. I had I thought successfully migrated the data out of their SellerDeck V10 site and next was the large project of cleaning up the images (making them square) and picking out the larger ones. I was then in the process of importing into my local staging WordPress. I was trying a couple of plugs ins, the Woocommerce csv import and also a WP All Import plug in. I think i’m going to have to do a mixture of both to import all of the data. Something I do need to get my head around is the importing of data into custom fields for their Google Shopping feed. This will also then help me out for another couple of web sites – The Stapling Company and J & J Air Systems. I also did a lot of updating on both of those web sites this week.

British Battles

John Mackenzie of Britishbattles.com preparing another map

On Thursday, I popped in to see the very talented John Mackenzie who runs the British Battles web site which I helped to set up for him in early 2002. Until recently this was by far and away my busiest web site (now possibly Trading Depot) sometimes having 10,000 visitors a day. Since the rise of Wikipedia and other niche history sites, traffic has dropped off a little. I recently migrated their web site to new hosts Nimbus where the speed has improved and costs reduced. It is also hosted via Cloudflare to minimise the bandwidth through their caching service.

John spends a huge amount of time researching each individual battle / war and documenting accordingly. He also draws all the site maps under the John Fawkes name and which are some of the first source maps on the Internet. His Twitter site has over 13,000 followers and he is also preparing for a lecture tour, starting with a U3A talk on Braddock soon. A very interesting person and I always love catching up with him.

Fasthosts migration to 20i

This is still carrying on with a few sites a week. I’m now down to just over 50 packages to migrate – obviously the harder ones. I’ve also cleaned up the number of active customers I have – think it’ll be whittled down to around 75 actives sites that I host by the end of the project. I’ve extended the project timescale to September now due to a particular client who was frustratingly non-understanding of what I was trying to do.

Snow Arrived

We had another dumping of snow on Thursday, R & J were delighted as it meant no school on the Friday. I’m feeling particularly guilty though as I was going to go to Wycombe on Friday and means I’ve not managed to get into the Cater For You office for the last couple of weeks now. It was end of month though so handy to concentrate on that. I don’t particularly need to go in as the fabulous team can manage perfectly well without seeing me.

Rebecca spent the snow day baking and making snowmen and Jamie went out with his friends and came back soaking – just what he should be doing 🙂 We also dug out the long forgotten snooker table – I used to love playing it when I was a child and practised for hours. Molly loves it too unfortunately.

Trading Depot Record Night Out – Crazy Bear Beaconsfield

I did manage to join up with the Trading Depot team on Friday night out for a meal at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield, to celebrate a significant milestone in their monthly sales targets. The team are a very good bunch and all work tremendously hard, so fully deserved their pat on the back. I carried on with my dry January which I successfully completed so was not quite as much in the spirit as others, but I always enjoy their banter and laughter. I’m hoping when my Eastbourne trips finish that I can spend a day or two more a month working there (if they’ll have me of course).

Screaming Frog Insights

Screaming Frog

I carried on running a few reports on Screaming Frog to help reduce errors on my web sites. This was partly re-ignited by my chats with Darren on Friday evening. I ran it on this site, also linking to Google Analytics and Search Console. There was a huge amount of images from 10+ years ago that were missing, so after trawling through a few old backup hard drives, I managed to track them down.

Trying to find missing images to cut the 404 errors

More oddly, I also noticed that Google is waiting to index over a thousand pages from the site – they’ve been crawled but wondering if it thinks they are spam. The site hasn’t got many good inbound links, though does have an ok (nothing special) page and domain authority. I was wondering if duplicate content is hampering it, so installed a plug in to just show excerpts from my blog posts rather than the whole post. I shall keep an eye on that over the coming weeks.

ACHC Quiz Night

achc-quiz-night-140-people-feb-2019
ACHC Quiz Night at Amersham Free Church Hall – 140 People

The quiz night is one of the biggest social events of the Amersham and Chalfont Hockey Club year and significant fund raiser. Possibly only the end of year dinner dance is bigger, though that isn’t a fund raiser, more a celebration of the playing season. It was therefore a huge disappointment that Challoners Boys School cancelled the hire of the hall on the Friday due to health and safety concerns with the snow. The committee (well done to them) managed to re-arrange it to the Amersham Church Hall, but they couldn’t change the temporary bar license from Chiltern District Council as they need five working days (bureaucracy at its finest). So it was bring your own booze and ask everyone to donate generously to the raffle instead. We were the ‘No Animals, Just Vets’ team, the Over 40’s table and we came fifth, though I think drink was the winner.

Next week sees another couple of days in Eastbourne, hockey coaching after a two week layoff (depending on snow I guess) and hopefully back to running. Also expect to finally make an appearance at Cater For You again. There is also a big birthday to be celebrated, so my dry January will finally be (temporarily?) broken.

Walking Mylo

Cashman very kindly invited us over for Sunday lunch a couple of weeks ago – a beautiful peppered roast beef 🙂

Rebecca though was most interested in giving Mylo attention and taking him for a walk – she absolutely loves dogs and seeing Mylo was great. We went for a lovely walk round leachcroft woods – though i was amazed by the burnt out cars here and there – and the motorbikes that were in an adjacent field that had obviously come up the footpass. Aside from that it is amazing how many green fields and how much beautiful countryside there is on our doorstep. Jamie loved running around, jumping and swinging on trees and things.

This weekend I’m joining up with Mike, Scott and hopefully Chris in Milton Keynes (!!) to celebrate Mike’s 40th birthday. Visiting a nightclub and hopefully staying in a hotel up there – though I haven’t booked yet like everyone else!! I remember at College there were about 4 or 5 people with birthdays on Dec 4th – Mike, Jim Wilson and I cannot remember the others…

Uploaded loads of photos on my Facebook page if you are interested.