Category Archives: hockey

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 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.

England Hockey Masters Final (T3) 2018

I’ve been playing hockey on and off since 1996, mostly off due to my useless body which continually gets injured.  Two years ago after a summer 1’s game at OMT we were laughing about how the youngsters were all flying past us and wouldn’t it be a good idea to (re)start the ACHC men’s Over 40’s team.  So a germ of an idea snowballed into reality and somehow I was Captain and using my (and the teams) extensive list of contacts, we set about creating a squad and entered the England Hockey Over 40’s national competition.

ACHC O40’s September 2016 vs Old C’s

After dredging through my contacts and getting back in touch with a heap of people I hadn’t spoken to for many years, we gathered a fearless group of players, some who hadn’t played for many years and had a friendly against Marlow Hockey Club who helped us out tremendously. The first game and real thing came against Old Cranleighan hockey club.  We were fortunate in that game and the old competitive spirit came back into everyone and we won on flicks, though this meant we stayed in Tier 2 and not drop into Tier 3 which would have been more suitable for this newly assembled group of friends.  We lost to Marlow in an absolute humdinger on a hot day 6-5, but we had all re-formed and the banter was non stop – something that I think is missing from many current Saturday teams with many players not going back to the bar and mixing, or just sitting on their phones – maybe i’m just getting old!

So roll on the 2017-18 season and I was still the Captain of the team despite being long term sidelined again, this time with an achilles problem. This time we lost our first game of the campaign against previous Tier 2 winners and runners up Henley.  With only 11 players we started slowly and the game was over by the end of the first half at 5-0.  We drew the second half 1-1.   So the third tier beckoned.

The next couple of fixtures we squeaked through against West Herts b team and Luton (won on flicks though we did dominate the game) and a very stressful re-arrangement due to snow.  The game against Broxbourne was interesting as it was half term – my goodness it was tough to get a team out, but I turned up some unexpected gems who hadn’t picked up a stick for quite some time. Trick even turned up from Cambridge to help us out.  Somehow, we battered them 7-2, our only comfortable win of the cup run.

So the quarter finals arrived against Petersfield, and snow threatened to intervene again, what a nightmare.  The squad came out on the Saturday and cleared the entire pitch of snow – though typically it would probably have cleared with warmer weather – but the team bonded even closer.  From this point, I said that the team would not change unless there was unavailability or injured – we had the same squad of 16 players for the last three games, which was really tough on a couple of players who were back from injury or illness – including this season’s captain Paul who would probably have made the difference in the final.

The semi finals saw us turn up at Witham, a club where one of my hockey touring colleagues was chairman for a while and have a great hockey pedigree.  We got hammered 5-1, with a couple of their players dominating the game.  Our best players Richie and John commented at half time that they weren’t able to get near them but they battled on and on.  Whilst we drowned our sorrows in the bar afterwards, their Captain told us that the team was an amalgamation from other teams (as some of our previous oppo was) and it turns out, England Hockey adjudged that they shouldn’t have been playing in Tier 3 as they were regularly playing at too high a level.

So completely unexpectedly, we were through to the final and rather disappointingly, they had moved the date and venue to Birmingham University – superb facilities but we were rather hoping it would be at the Olympic Park!  Despite the date change, every one of the 16 players made themselves available and the club vintage team were so generous and sorted out a coach to take most of the players and spectators – spectators who would have to buy a ticket to watch us play!!!

This would be the greatest day of my hockey career (only the CSP 1st XI being promoted can compete) and I woke up feeling rough / temperature (probably stress!) and highly dubious about my other achilles lasting the game. Paul was still on standby, should I be unselfish and get him playing instead of me – unfortunately, I decided to play myself and had the honour and privilege of leading the squad out onto the pitch and various team announcements.  We were playing Holcombe, a club who are right at the top of the hockey family tree, a fact that I think got into our heads for the start of the game.

By half time, we were 3-0 down and at one point it looked like a drubbing was on the cards.  Then we realised that we could play, we were fit and nerves seemed to disappear and we eventually clawed our way back to 3-2 with all the chances going our way. I still maintain another 10 minutes and we’d have won!

Even though we didn’t make it, I’ve never been so proud to be a Captain and be part of that squad of players on that day – I was bursting with pride with what we created over those two seasons.  The coach home was just as good, clearing off three mini barrels of beer from the Rebellion brewery and just as many bottles of lager.  Twenty five people went for a curry in Amersham – what a day (and night). Unfortunately, my other achilles went half way through the game and I could hardly run and has again put me out of hockey for the foreseeable (the physio did say forever, but I want to play with Jamie next season).

So in summary, we had seven games, lost three, drew one and won only three (fourth on flicks) and despite hardly playing, it was one of the best season’s of hockey of my life, something I will treasure forever.

Below are a few photos from the day:

Spring is Springing – 3 points

Spring is Springing
Came home from Trading Depot on Thursday evening, and spring was definitely in the air – the rest of the Watts family were having a bar-b-q!!!! As you can see a disposable bar-b-q was burning brightly with chicken kebabs next to the garden rockery and the beautiful Cherry Blossom on the tree at the bottom of the garden – it really is stunning at the moment.

On Friday night I went down to the Waggon and Horses for a quick drink with John where we had a very productive board meeting – made some exciting decisions for Cater For You.
Saturday morning, my missing screws were sent by IKEA for my final CD rack – and I’m delighted to say I just had enough space for all my CD’s. So my study / working environment is just about complete with good desk and PC and all my music surrounding me – superb – just like Cross Lanes was.
Saturday afternoon I went and played another away game (seems to be all away games this year) at the beach in Slough – Herschel School against South Bucks – and we only went and bloody won it – the first points of the year in a game of hockey I’ve been involved in. We took a team photo which I’ll load up to the hitsports site later this week if I get a chance (though doubt it completely and utterly overloaded with work this week).
Saturday night I went along for Mark’s 30th birthday party in the Village Hall – after a couple wandered back down to the White Hart and then sloped off for a quick chicken kebab for the walk home – haven’t had a kebab for years and years – it was horrible!!
Sunday we decided on the spur of the moment to go to Eastbourne and see the rest of the Watts family – R & J wanted to see Grandma and Grandpa Watts and also go to the beach. They had (and I) a fabulous time. Some great photos of them on the beach with their cousins (see below. Sarah (sister) also had a look at my feet as I was hobbling a bit on Sunday and her official podiatrist diagnosis was the achilles are swollen. So came away with a few exercises to stretch the back of my legs. Just one more game though – away to Henley next week.
Rebecca and Mummy searching for Shells

The finished article with sea defences

Very enjoyable weekend

Watsy playing hockeyWhat a rather splendid weekend. Managed to polish off a load of work on Friday night, then had a lovely time with R & J on Saturday morning – we built some robots – which we’d been reading Harry and the Dinosaurs build – so that was rather pleasing. The 1’s were short so I lumbered up to Wokingham – I don’t think I’ve played there before as I didn’t recognise it – a newly laid pitch apparently – very good it was too. We won 4-1 which was rather good – good fun chasing defenders down with Warren too – I was playing up front for the first time in about 18 months. Here’s a glorious action photo of me probably missing the ball.

In the evening I did some more work then we went to Chalfont swimming pool for the first time. It was great – got there at 11, nice and empty the water was warm, the air was cold and they had loads of swimming play objects all round the pool – which R & J loved diving after – their swimming is coming along nicely at the moment.

Sunday afternoon after our Roast Chicken we had an afternoon clearing up the garden – a very large bonfire in the veg patch and cleared some chopped down shrub / small tree branches off the decking – ready to move the greenhouse on to it. I’m sure I’ve spent way too much time the last few years trying to sort the bloody greenhouse – I’m going to have to get a few mates round to help me move it onto there too and remove the existing water feature.

Two Parties, The Beach all in all excellent

I had an excellent weekend last weekend. I played snooker with martin and charlie on the friday night – and I won which was even better. Then straight down to Eastbourne on Saturday morning for Harry’s birthday party at 11 – not so great I think i was caught with a mobile camera on the A23 just past Gatwick.

The party was great and we stayed there until Sunday lunchtime – we also went to the beach which R & J love doing – though it was bitingly cold.

Eastbourne Beach

Then back for Eve’s party on Sunday afternoon – they were pretty tired by the end of that though as can be seen here where they are content to look after Anna. It wasn’t the best nights sleep ever though either.

Eve's Party

The week has flown by – i’ve been covering Cater For You this week – its been enjoyable though getting back involved in the day to day business again – and its so much busier than this time last year. But i’ve been balancing that with my other work as well – did over 12 hours yesterday. The largest amount of work I can talk about is I’ve almost completed a brand new section on CK Tools on the CSE Buy online web site. I think that’ll be a rather good seller – i fancy some of the kit myself!

Still feel ok today – but next week i guess i’ll be paying!!

I’ve had loads of web site enquiries recently as well which has been a bit odd – they tend to come in flurrys though.

Playing hockey again this weekend – though not particularly looking forward to it – High Wycombe – and i’ve a hacking cough still – had it for three weeks. Might also be playing on the Sunday as well…. maybe.

Champagne Breakfast, Hockey and leaves

A wonderful weekend was had by all – except Sarah and I are feeling a bit grotty with a heavy cold.

Friday night we were pleased to just get there I think – I felt not exactly on the money on the Friday afernoon with my head. Saturday we played hockey – I turned up in the 2’s this week – though started as sub and didn’t get as long as i’d have wanted – but not exactly surprising – got to give starts to the regular players. I won’t be playing next weekend as Sarah is in Wallingford – and then in Plymouth for a cup game all day Sunday – from 7-7 I guess.

Anyway, decided to surprise her with a champagne breakfast this morning – smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and a small bottle of bubbly – Rebecca and Jamie also enjoyed the meal – not drink obviously!

Champagne Breakfast

After that I spent about four hours clearing away the leaves from the lower bit of the garden – a bit laborious really but in the fresh air and doing a bit of exercise which was nice.

Another really busy week coming up again – wondering whether my feet will touch the ground as usual!

Wonderful weekend

Had a fabulous weekend last weekend – went and saw the Sex Pistols who were pretty go – very loud but i’m really pleased i’ve actually seen them now. Just the Buzzcocks to go now!

Actually got to play hockey this weekend – I didn’t exactly excel though – pretty poor really – wondering whether to play this weekend or not – feeling really really tired though so probably not a good idea.

Saturday night I was pretty tired after only 4 1/2 hours sleep Fri night and hockey but went to Dan and Jenny’s engagement party which was pretty good – glad I went. Sunday Annie, Wardy and Cash popped round for a delicious Sunday lunch. Got up at 10.30 which was pretty nice – though i’m getting really bad back ache if I lie in bed now!!

James and Rebecca in the Autumn Leaves

Really enjoyed being with Rebecca and James as usual – they were very good value. We had a lovely walk on Sunday with our guests and we tried a bit of leaf clearing up on Saturday – but we didn’t get that far with it – much more fun throwing them in the air and playing with them!!

Two Games of Hockey

Played two games of hockey at the weekend so feeling rather tired this morning. I had only meant to play hockey on the Sunday – but they seemed rather short so played for the 1’s and it didn’t clash at all with Sarah which was quite handy. Just a one off I think though – hopefully be able to play golf with Martin next Saturday.

Just had a blood test as well this morning – the Chalfont hospital – great service to just drop in there rather than hang around in Amersham for ages. I was the first one in at 8.30.

Busy old week coming up – had cleared most of my backlog of work last week – and then a load more arrived in my in-box and also end of month…

Annoyed I’ve left my camera in Eastbourne the previous weekend. I was thinking about buying a new one though as doing a lot of product photography so a better one might be in order anyway.

A Quick Update – council, james, hockey etc

A quick update as I know I haven’t posted anything for a week.

Had a council meeting on Monday evening – not a lot went on – the elections are in May of course – a few are standing down and a few standing again – I was handed a form but declined it – so guess I’ve decided i’m not standing again. I am still kind of torn by it as I do enjoy it – knowing what is going on in the village I have grown up in – but I cannot justify it any more – even though I do do more that some others!! The only other interesting things were a protest by a resident who is spending a lot of time complaining about the sign post for the new building and that Debenham House on the NSE (Which is opposite where I live) and why that is boarded up – it is leased to the Mental Health Trust for another 70+ years – the NSE has offered a price which they’ve accepted but some other beaureacrats have said it isn’t enough so there is a stalemate – in which time it is vandalised and generally trashed – which is no use to anyone.

Played two games of hockey at the weekend – was pretty tired on Sunday evening – especially as the fabulous short cut I took home past Goodwood races from Worthing must have added at least 45 minutes – well done Watsy…. sorry about that Dave and Mark! Turned up just in time for Roast Chicken at Warren and Zoe’s though lol.

Work has been manic as normal – launched a new web site but will do a blog on that later in the week. Another of my customers offered me two days a week at their offices on web design – it is a very very interesting project, but i’m not sure yet.

James and Rebecca have been super cool as always. James has taken several shaky steps forward now – he is also teething at the moment – he hasn’t been anywhere near as knocked out by it as Rebecca was though. He is also saying mama and dada – though it might just be coincidence still. They both wake up at about 6.15am at the moment – Rebecca shouting for Mummy or Daddy. Sarah is tired at the moment working hard but generally speaking they are all on good form.

I’m just wondering whether to carry on with this blog – when I started it I was a parish councillor, sports club directory, village appraisal member and on the board at the youth club – i’m none of those now – so not really much to post about in the future…