Category Archives: eastbourne trip

Christmas Meals and Golf

A beautiful walk across the Downs with Rebecca and Sarah at the weekend

Another busy week with work and play.  A few old hockey boys got together for a Christmas golf jaunt around Berkhamsted Golf Club to chew the cud and play some average golf.  I arrived on time for tee off as I was busy finishing off some work phone calls and emails.  It was an interesting course to play in beautiful countryside with no sand bunkers but plenty of gorse and hillocks to test us.  I was playing off my ‘Golfshot’ advised handicap of 22 and managed to hit my 36 stableford score – though that was by paring 4 of the last 5 holes – my front 9 was an appalling 51.  The main issue with my game is 0-50 yards to the green – anything up to 160 i’m ok and putting is fine, but this short game often costs me 15 shots a game, extremely frustrating. Thanks for Davey for sorting it out again.  There was also plenty of talk in the bar after of an overseas golf holiday for next year, we’ve not been on one since our Porto trip a couple of years ago.

I really enjoy seeing my old hockey mates many of whom are from the old debauched days of 20 years ago up to the current day where many are now directors in major companies.  The topic of Brexit obviously cropped up and it was distressing to hear just how many jobs have already been moved abroad and contingency plans for wholesale uplifting of operations.  Funnily enough, they aren’t announcing these moves in the press – one involved a subsidiary which has already moved 700 jobs.  The damage being wreaked on the UK economy is really upsetting.

Work wise I’ve been doing some liaising on the new Cater For You web site which has now slipped back to March.  I’ve an awful lot of content and photographing to do in January ready for the new site.  One of the customer service team has also tendered his resignation which is a real shame, though it is to work with his Dad’s company.  Just the third long term member of the team to leave in the last 8 years.  We will see how Brexit pans out and whether we should replace him.  Starting to consider contingency plans in case the economy comes to a full stop with a hard Brexit. Also uploaded a few more new products including a full range of bakery food packaging.

I had a catch up with an old colleague from CSE who has set up at AJH Cables Ltd.  He helped me a huge amount with content at CSE and helped to really push that business forward – he is now doing some really exciting things with his own business, particularly in the export markets.  I said I would help give him some top level ideas for him to implement in the digital area and i’m looking forward to hearing more about how his new venture goes.  Amusingly, we are both through to the SME Bucks awards in Milton Keynes in February so will share a drink and story with them too.

On Thursday I popped in to see a very old client of mine – John Mackenzie who has created the British Battles web site and which used to be my busiest web site peaking a few years ago with 10,000 visits a day, quite astonishing.  The web site really is a tour de force of work and I always marvel with the effort that he has put into researching each battle and painstakingly documenting them from many sources of information.  The more recent battles are as long as any degree dissertation.  Hosting cropped up as an issue though as bandwidth is huge with the images and volume of visitors. We currently have a dedicated server and Cloudflare, but need to reduce the cost as it is unsustainable at present levels.

On Friday afternoon I finally managed some Christmas shopping.  I popped into Amersham, where I also accidentally topped up on some Vinyl records too.

Friday we popped down to my parents for my Dad’s birthday.  Great to see my sister and her boys again for a lovely meal at the Sundial Restaurant. We’ve been there several times to celebrate various events and they always serve a meal of the highest quality.  The meal was a good standard again and everyone on top form.  We unfortunately had to walk the dog in the evening in the dark and wet and windy weather, fortunately The Tiger Inn was welcoming and we dried off with a couple of local pints of lager, warm fire and friendly bar team.

On Sunday we went and walked off the Saturday and also made room for two Christmas dinners that we were having that day.  Firstly a wonderful family meal in Eastbourne by Mum and then three hours later at the Scott’s for the ‘B’s Dining Club Christmas Special’.  Fortunately not as raucous as last year when there was heavy snow. We went to bed thinking we’d re-run the Vicar of Dibley Christmas special though.

Exercise wise it has been a bit quieter with a round of golf (as above), treadmill run and a few Molly walks, but that is it.  Things need to be stepped up a bit, not least to work off the weekend and impending Christmas dinners. 

More Parties, Work Week and Running

Crow Link Coastline

Crow Link Coastline Low Tide

I was wondering when I thought about re-starting this blog whether I would have enough material to do a ‘weekly’ blog post summarising what i’d been up to.  The first two weeks have been busy!

This week started with a trip down to Eastbourne so I could ferry the parents to and from a couple of hospital appointments (to carry on a theme for last week!).  A tough time ahead for them unfortunately.  On the flip side, it meant that I was able to do a lot of work in peace and quiet and managed to crack on with some more J & J Air Systems CompAir and Bambi Air Compressor updates and of course Cater For You.

Whilst I was there, I also managed a couple of runs from their Friston base with the Downs and stunning countryside literally on their doorstep.  My Achilles recuperation is coming along well, I still have a bit of pain in the left one but it is definitely getting there.  Unfortunately, i’m still a long way from playing hockey which I miss dreadfully.  It is now almost two years since the right achilles went (tendinitis) with only a few months of fitness before the left one went in the Over 40’s final.  I’m targeting a return next season when Jamie is eligible to play and pootling around in the 5th XI with him and possibly the odd Over 40’s game this season if we are short (think that will be too soon though). I have been asked to try my hand at umpiring, but I’ve always been appalling when I’ve tried previously.

JJ Air Systems

JJ Air Systems Champion Air Compressors Photography

Once I returned on Wednesday afternoon, it was back to normal and a hectic work schedule.  Thursday was a catch up with J & J to plan some more developments and a quick pop into Cater For You to catch up on the comings and goings.  I’ve a backlog of about 20 products I have to put up on the site ASAP which i’d promised Jason (our fab purchasing manager) I would put on-line the previous week. Fortunately none of the products are Christmas products.  We also had the latest designs for our new site which is an evolution of the current web site but looking absolutely fabulous.  The timings seem to have slipped already which is a bit of a worry as we have the toughest development / integration bit still to come.  I’m still really pissed off about OGL / ProfitPlus API not being developed ready for our project, despite it almost being ready when they demo’d it at the start of September.  Then again, we cannot integrate our new VOIP phone system and they took many months to sort out MyHermes after disputing it was a major carrier! Anyway….

On Friday I had a series of meetings / catch ups with clients which I always enjoy, though you don’t actually manage to do any work! I started the day badly by going out in the rain for a short run and somehow managed to hit a lamp post with my shoulder – I was wearing hi vis so not sure how that happened… (idiot)… First up was the Community Centre where I was too early and hadn’t actually said I was going so went off to CSE where there was a chat about how to finish off their new CSE UK web site.  This has been in progress for way too long and this was to try and get it over the line and operating as was originally intended.  Good to be back at CSE as they have a great Marketing chap working there now meaning I’ve not had to do any work there for many months.  I started working with John in 2001 and he is also my C4U business partner – I thoroughly enjoy working with him.  He also bought me fish and chips for lunch, what’s not to like!

After CSE / Wooburn Green, I popped over to Fastbreak Sports in Chesham where they were having an email order confirmation problem. Turns out it was an issue from me moving one of their domains over to my new hosting company 20i from Fasthosts.  This is proving an immense project trying to migrate over 200 domains and hosting and I’ve not started on the trickier ones yet.  20i has been a revelation of customer service and also price point – I guess things might change as they get larger (I hope not).  Once Fastbreak was sorted, I caught up with someone else in Chesham to talk about moving forward with a brand new business – I’ve registered http://www.tradekitchensuk.com/ and will put some holding information up for them soon to get it propagating.

Once these series of meetings had finished, it was a quick change and off out to the Cater For You Christmas dinner at Taplow House Hotel.  The team has worked tremendously hard again this year, and I know they were all looking forward to being there.  We had partners along again this year and we numbered a total of 28 people, a record.  We’ve added three more people to the team in the last year. The meal was very good, the venue was very impressive, though I didn’t get to mingle as much as I could of done.  My impromptu speech in the bar at Midnight could have been a lot better too!  I did particularly enjoy catching up with a lot of the team, a highlight was with Sue and Partner Steve.  I’ve been working with Sue since 1992, she is an inspiration to me and just a brilliant person as well as pure silk on the phone when chatting to our customers.

Philips Wood Trail Running

Philips Wood Trail Running with Molly

Peppers from the Greenhouse

Peppers from the Greenhouse

Saturday morning was a late start, but I did take Molly out for a 10k jaunt over to Chorleywood and back.  Like my parents, we are very lucky being so close to the stunning Chiltern’s countryside though HS2 is re-starting in earnest at the back of us.  The run was a bit muddy as they’ve been doing tree work in Philips Wood but Molly and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  There are also some sheep on the way which Molly enjoys seeing, fortunately they are well fenced in to keep Molly out. I also attended to the greenhouse where absurdly I still have peppers and chillis growing.  I was hoping to have it all cleaned and empty by now ready for the start of a new growing season in February.

Saturday evening was a night out I was particularly looking forward to, a few beers with some old Robertswood Dad’s to catch up on a few months. Just very chilled and relaxing in the Merlins Cave Chalfont St Giles.  I think that is my favourite pub at the moment.  Such a shame they’ve closed my old second home the Waggon and Horses in Chalfont St Peter, but it had gone downhill in recent times with some poor landlords and Greene King just wanting to cash in on the property value rather than manage it properly.  The Dumb Bell has had some investment into it over the last year, but I just don’t seem to have the urge to pop in there as much.

Sunday didn’t stop either.  When I finally got out of bed after watching some dispiriting politics programmes about Brexit, I got to work on the garden and clearing up the leaves.  The oak tree has finally shed its last leaf and so I could get to work.  I managed to fill our green bin and four recycling bins with leaves before having to just push them to the edges ready for when the composting has started and the next empty green bin.  I need to do a lot more work on the garden and hope to put a bird friendly new hedge in down one side as soon as spring starts springing.

Next off we’d been invited to Milton’s Cottage for John Milton’s 410th birthday party.  I have been working on their web site on and off since around 2002 through Sarah’s Dad who was Chairman of the Trustees for many years from the 80’s to the 2000’s (I think).  We happened to randomly bump into a few hockey faces too but it was particularly heart warming listening to fond stories of what Philip did for the cottage over many years.  The current trustees though are a world away from that era and have done an astonishing job to secure the future for generations to come.

To round off the week, the road had a festive get together at one of the houses who were overwhelmingly generous with their hospitality.  It is great getting together with everyone, we are very lucky having such a close community in the road and though we were late it was fun catching up with everyone.

I always thought I was fairly busy, and another week recounting what I’ve been up to kind of confirms that!  The week coming up is no different.

Weekend in Eastbourne

R and J chasing Bubbles
Sarah was galavanting round the gorges of the Breacon Beacons last weekend, so I took the opportunity to take flight down to Eastbourne and catch up with the family, once I had taken R & J to a couple of parties they were invited to.

We turned up after some long traffic jams on Saturday afternoon and we made some giant bubbles which was great fun. Their garden really is extraordinary, so much room and things in it. The selection of fruit and veg is astounding.

Sunday we popped down to Auntie Sarah’s for a bar-b-q which was jolly good fun indeed and R & J throughly wore themselves out.

On Monday the Birger family turned up for more Rebecca present giving – her birthday lasted more than 8 days which is fairly impressive! Rebecca was over the moon to see her Uncle John. They stayed up rather late and for the first time in years I had to wake both of them up on Tues morning at 8.00.

Great stuff 🙂

John and Rebecca