Category Archives: grand union canal

Hockey, Darts, Coombe Hill and The Grand Union Canal

Sunday morning stroll around Coombe Hill

Hockey Coaching

A disappointing turnout on Monday evening with about 10 people coming along – I’m hoping the numbers aren’t a reflection of what we are doing and more about half term / general apathy.

We built on the previous week by introducing more dynamic basics routines, receiving the ball on the move and passing on the move, we also re-introduced the cone gate for them to focus on too. We then moved onto some aerials training which had been requested by one of the younger participants. Aerials is something I’ve never been able to do properly and would never dare to try it in a game. To be fair they all did the exercise of throwing the aerial top D then shooting pretty well. No goalie though and still a lot of shots missed. Paul then introduced a couple of great exercises, firstly 3 v 1 in a box and passing to each player on a cone, trying to intercept and then a 3 v 2 exercise, introducing basic defending skills, line to goal concept and of course shooting. We then finished with a small game. I’m still enjoying it immensely and building the exercises up over the weeks and working as a team with Paul is very enjoyable and I think working well. Watching the down time though, it is still all about shooting from the top of the D, some things will never ever change, only the very odd person practising their skills or close control etc.


Simon, part of the triples I was ‘helping’

Martin Whatsapp’d me last week, he was desperate for a player for the triples knockout competition. I had no idea what that was, and my memories of the last time I played in the World Cup Football period last year was one of barely being able to hit the board. I used to be ok (20+ years ago) but agreed to come along to the General Arms in Chesham to help out under The Crown Pub team branding! The strategy for me was to ‘hit the board’ aiming bottom left for maximum possible points. It seemed to work as we won the first match, I even hit a double 16 to checkout one game. We should have won the second match, but unfortunately we were knocked out. Drinking lime and soda probably didn’t help my cause either. The pub itself was quite nice with plenty of TV’s showing the night’s football action. The other darts players were friendly too.

Cycle along the Grand Union Canal

Grand Union Canal near Watford / Croxley Green

On Saturday afternoon in between taxi trips, I popped out on the hybrid to do a short cycle ride along the Grand Union Canal. I rather fancied a sausage sandwich at Cafe @ loch 81 too which doesn’t close until 5.30. I pootled down past the Dumb Bell and and picked up the canal by The Coy Carp pub as usual. I quickly arrived at the cafe so thought i’d carry on a bit longer before indulging in the sausage sandwich, eventually turning around somewhere around Watford. I just love the tranquility by the canal and the quaint views of a bygone era. Unfortunately, by the time I got back to the cafe at 3.45, they’d stopped serving hot food – 15 minutes earlier would have been fine. So a cake and cup of tea had to suffice.

Coombe Hill Family Walk

Coombe Hill panoramic (Jamie must have moved!)

I’d wanted to pop over to the highest point in the Chilterns for some time now, particularly with Rebecca. It was a glorious day and we eventually managed to get the whole family (begrudgingly) out of the house and over to the National Trust car park by Coombe Hill. I have to say, it hold spectacular views over Aylesbury and the surround areas (including Chequers). It was a delightful short walk with everyone and we all caught up on what’s been happening, made me so pleased and was the best time spent with family in ages.

Web Work Week

The highlight of the week was a trip to Milton Keynes for the SME Bucks MK small business awards where I had entered Cater For You into the Fastest Growing Business category. I was delighted to be a guest of the AJH Cables team who were also there in the Best Entrepreneur category. Apart for that, it has been head down getting through a huge amount of web work including ongoing work on the Fastbreak site which is now getting to alpha stages, J&J and preparing images for the new Cater For You web site. We should be signing off the final designs for that and look forward to the next stage of front end development.

Rickmansworth Golf

So I finally managed to get a round of golf in. It was a glorious day on Friday, so after a lunch time meeting in Chesham I managed to get to Rickmansworth and dash round in the glorious sunshine. A bit of a rush so we didn’t play terribly well, but was nice to feel the warm sun on my skin.

Dumb Bell

Finally, on Sunday Sarah and I walked Molly up to the Dumb Bell pub to watch Crystal Palace on TV and have a quiet drink. We bumped into Banner and had a delightful few hours catching up and giggling away. We also had one of their burgers, it was delicious too.

In the Dumb Bell with Molly, Banner and B

Next week is a very busy work week and I’m hoping I can finally shift my cough / cold combination – still fine to work and function, just really annoying.

Client Visits, London and Hockey Coaching

Hockey Coaching

So I started the week with another session of hockey coaching with Paul. Again, I really enjoyed it and came away with a beaming smile. The session was tighter than the previous week and we tested the attendees with some extended basics and finishing with a game. I’m now almost certain that it is genetically impossible for anyone over 40 to cleanly reverse stick the ball whilst being second nature to the youngsters. Another common shout from me in the session was elbow out to exaggerate the dribbling to the top D. Unfortunately, i’m not able to attend the next two sessions as I’ll be down in Eastbourne with my parents. The club is very lucky (hard work by various voluneers) to have such a talented group of youngsters coming through the club and also the older generation still keen to learn and progress whilst giving support to the younger members.

Web Work

The first half of the week was all about Cater For You and J & J Air Systems. Cater For You is still knee deep in a new Magento platform’d web site design and we were presented with the drafts for the responsive site. If we can increase the lowly mobile responsive rate then that’ll pay for the project itself. I’m also sorting out images which can and cannot be used for the project. We still have a swathe of images not touched for 15 years and are too small or not suitable and we’ll need to re-take hundreds of photos. It has also prompted me to look more closely at dead stock / slow moving and whether we want to take them across to the new web site.

New VOIP phone system at Cater For You

We have also invested in a brand new VOIP telephone system. The team were complaining that the old analogue lines were quiet and with the increased number of phone calls and size of team they couldn’t hear customers very well. Delighted to hear that this system has fully resolved that and they can hear clearly. Only downer was the people who installed it did no training for the team which was a bit odd.

The end of the week saw me based at CSE and then Trading Depot, both companies I’ve been working for since the early 2000’s in various guises. The latter has released a podcast featuring me as the guinea pig for the first edition – the following ones do sound a lot more exciting – maybe download my one if you have insomnia? Really enjoy going there as there is always so much going on and first time I’ve seen them since the Christmas do – my Dad dancing seemed to amuse them….

If you do want to hear my voice and a 1 hour summary of how my career has progressed over the last 30 years or so, give it a listen. You can download the podcast from here or click below.

London with Becca

Banana Cake – Cater For You recipe

Rebecca had her braces fitted this week so we had made some nice soft banana cake for her to eat earlier in the week. She then asked that we do something together on Saturday, so obviously I jumped at the chance for a bit of time with her. We popped into London once I’d dropped Jamie and his bike off at a friends and headed straight for Oxford Street with the aim of being at Canary Wharf at darkness for the Winter Lights exhibition / show.

Whilst I cannot stand shopping, I do enjoy it with Rebecca and she milled around the various clothes shops buying the odd thing. What was interesting to me though was how busy say Top Shop, John Lewis, H &M were then went into my favourite, Debenhams and it was really dead. They are having a tough time with sales at the moment and teetering on the edge of administration, I wondered about buying some shares, but if their store has no footfall on Oxford Street they really are in big trouble. Obviously there isn’t a big segment in the market for middle aged men who don’t go shopping!

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

A quick search of what there was to do this weekend in London showed that this was the main attraction. When we arrived in a packed train, Canary Wharf was busy, though not unbearably. Surprisingly, it is the first time I’ve been there, despite the fact many of my friends have worked there of the years. It was quite an eye opener for us with the skyscrapers reaching into the starry sky. A cold evening, we trundled around a few of the sights, where eventually we picked up a map, and realised it was a lot bigger than we had thought! After seeing about half of the displays and stopping for some fries, we decided to pootle back home and defrost in the tube. Well worth going to though and we eventually arrived back home shortly before 10pm.

Batchworth Lake Walk to Cafe @ Lock 81

As I was spending half the week away in Eastbourne, I thought it would be nice to spend the morning with Sarah and Molly. I have previously mentioned on social media and my cycling blog posts that I love the Grand Union Canal by Rickmansworth and in particular the beautiful Cafe at Lock 81, so we parked up at the Aquadrome (currently free parking but soon to be paid for) and walked around Bathworth Lake and down the Canal to the Cafe. It was a crisp sunny morning, so a warm cup of tea and their fabulous bacon sandwiches were just the ticket.

Before driving down to Eastbourne, Jamie and I popped to the hockey club to mess around and practice whilst also having half an eye on B who was playing in the ladies Over 45’s game. Unfortunately they lost heavily to a very good Canterbury side who were a pleasure to watch.

As well as the dog walk, this week I went for the usual 10k run over to Chorleywood and back with Molly, couple of treadmill workouts and most importantly no golf.

Run with Molly – by the Dumb Bell field

Grand Union Canal / Ash & Debs

No hockey this weekend, so my side may not have lost – well they probably did as most of them did loose! Sarah played and won – though their big game is this weekend again the run away leaders.

The weekend got off to a good start as on Thursday night we thought that the fireproof sheets I’d smashed up in our bedroom and fragments and sent dust flying everywhere(I discovered they were fireproof as they didn’t burn in a bonfire) might be Asbestos Insulating Board – and subsequently didn’t sleep Thurs night in our panic that we’d have to get a professional deep cleaning / remove people in. However, Sarah went to a place in Watford with a piece of it to have it analysed at a lab for £40 and was told it was Superlux – an AIB asbestos free product – what a massive relief.

Rebecca London Transport MuseumAnyway, a great weekend ensued after that with Ash and Debs and family coming down to visit us on Friday afternoon. We just stayed in on Friday night cooking a chorizo and chicken risotto (chorizo seems to be in every recipe at the moment but credit to a Mr G Brown for my inspiration for this) which was very good. Saturday morning was raining so we stayed in but when Sarah got home we tripped off to London and the London Transport Museum where we whiled away the afternoon. R & J loved it – r seems to be fascinated with maps at the moment. As always, the train trip was almost the best part of the day.

Saturday morning we went down to Harefield / Coy Carp and had a walk down the Grand Union Canal in glorious sunshine. It is such a beautiful little spot and a great haven for wildlife and just a generally relaxing walk. We managed to get back to the car just as the heavens opened with rain.

In the afternoon I (with Jamie) put up my birthday present bird feeder. I’m hoping it is squirrel proof but will soon see I suppose. So far in three days (and not being there much) i’ve seen the long tailed tits, blue tits and nut hatches. I also spotted another bird which I’m not sure what it is – a Dunnock maybe – hopefully someone can help with the ID.

I’ve just finished a web site which was genuinely interesting from a new / green technology point of view :