Category Archives: web design

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.

Darts

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.

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 ūüôā 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.

Dead Peppers, Eastbourne and Litter

Trip to Eastbourne

Run across the Downs from Crows Link to Birling Gap
The Jazz arrives in Friston

Thank fully a quieter week this week as I spent the first three days down in Eastbourne to ferry my Dad to and from the hospital. The least I can do after they’ve supported me for almost 50 years. It is always good to spend time with them, though the continuous antiques programmes can become a little tedious, though I can see why they are addictive… It did mean however that I managed to get through large volumes of work just sitting there from first thing to last thing. The other thing that is good as I’ve mentioned before is that they are right on top of a hill in the Downs. I therefore had a couple of beautiful runs across stunning countryside, and was fortunate that the weather was just cold and not wet.

Eastbourne Hospital

When we popped down to Eastbourne Hospital, a few things struck me. Firstly was the litter shoved in the bushes around the car park and looked like it was from people standing around smoking. Quite astonishing. I think the litter was particularly in my mind as I had to skip the FPA’s annual environment conference up in London, always very interesting. We are lucky in that we had free parking, but apparently the parking is outsourced and in their attendant hut they have three people and a ticket payment machine so surely someone could a. pick up the litter and b. the break even of the car parking must be high and exasperate the level of car parking charges for sick people and visitors. Overall though, the service from the NHS has been nothing short of superb.

Runs Across the Downs

View between Crows Link and Birling Gap

As i’m continuing my rehabilitation back from my achilles problems over the last couple of years, it was a pleasure to get back out across the Downs and absolutely stunning countryside. I did two runs, one up towards Jevington and another to the coast and Crows Link / Birling Gap. The latter is much tougher in terms of elevation but each have stunning countryside.

Jamie trying out his new stick at a snow covered Amersham and Chalfont Hockey Club!

Jolly Farmer Meal

On Wednesday when I got back, from a green Eastbourne to a snow covered Chalfont, we popped straight out with the family and a few good friends for a meal at the Jolly Farmer in Chalfont St Peter. I’ve only had a couple of meals there since it re-opened after transforming from ‘The Village Hall’ and they’ve been superb. The service I think is something that sets it apart from similar local establishments. I had the full starter, main and pudding, delicious. I’m still doing dry January so stuck to lime and soda’s. Not sure how deep I will go into the winter with my lack of drinking, i’m quite enjoying sobriety again. I did it last year and previously for my half marathon too.

Run to Amersham

I decided to have a go at just extending my running my an extra mile, and I was unfortunately really slow and struggling. A real shame as it was a favourite run of mine a couple of years ago down by the Misbourne, through the fields and woods from St Giles to Amersham. It also means Molly can have a stroll through the Misbourne and drink at the turn. It is odd that the flow is still strong there and nothing from Chalfont St Giles. I’m afraid there was still no golf again this week, though my friend is back from holiday next week so may try and shoehorn a quick round in. I did also get my hybrid bike service at Dee’s Cycles in Amersham for a princely sum, so also hoping for a few more trips down to the canal and a bacon sarnie!

Web Work

As I alluded to above, I managed to get through a huge stack of work, even working all day Sunday again unfortunately. There was some decent updates on J & J and The Stapling Company where I popped in and took a lot of product photos and updated the layout somewhat. I’ve designed their site using the Genesis Framework on WordPress and they wanted a table layout for their product categories so bought a plug in from Barn2 Media, which unfortunately didn’t work out of the box. I was extremely grateful for both of their technical supports to guide me accordingly.

We also had the mock up of the new Cater For You web site mobile / responsive design. I think it needs more work, especially given the lowly conversion rate at the moment compared to desktop. I also sourced some eye watering quotes for hosting, but Magento is a high powered beast!

My Deanta Internal Doors blog post for Trading Depot also saw the light of day after the WordPress update I did was fixed by Darren! The V5 upgrade didn’t go quite as smoothly as others I’ve done.

Greenhouse Clearance and Switch Off

So after the last electricity bill and blaming Jamie and his Fortnite playing, I wandered into my greenhouse and it was warm…. much warmer than the snowy outside… so no wonder the peppers and chillis were still growing ok! So this Saturday I’m afraid was the big switch greenhouse heater switch off and a clean up with some Jeyes fluid. The propagator was also cleaned ready for new seedlings in the next few weeks and more electric consumption.

If you want to get in touch, please just send me an email [email protected] or follow me on the usual Social Media outlets including Twitter.

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.

Christmas Parties and Work

PET Cake BoxesIt has been another very busy week since the last blog post and the upgrades to our data networking around the house,¬† On the work front I have been continuing to do some preparation for the new Cater For You web site.¬† With the help of SellerDeck, I finally managed to extract all of the data out in spreadsheet format to see what needs to be updated.¬† I thought I / we’d been thorough when adding new products – something that I think differentiates us from our competitors who just put the basics supplied by manufacturers and why we are near the top of the Google rankings… but I was wrong.¬† So that means I’ve a huge amount of measuring, weighing and photographing to do before February.¬† Unfortunately OGL who supply our finance system ProfitItplus have been incredibly unhelpful in finishing their API for data exchange, but fortunately we have a fall back option and everything is still on track for February.

We have a number of new products that I’ve been very slowly adding to the site – there is a great range of new PET cake boxes¬†(photo above) ready to go up as soon as I’ve finished preparing the photographs I took last week. It is currently one of our peak times at C4U so I also spent a few hours in the warehouse putting stock away whilst the rest of the team were coping with the landslide of orders.¬† The seasonality of the business has always struck me as slightly bonkers and impossible to have the right resources available for all areas, but there is not a lot we can do about it.¬† Only a few more weeks and then it is low season until Easter next year (hence why we do our major projects between now and then!) and all our mince pie boxes are tucked away for another year.

I’ve also been doing a fair amount of work on the new J & J Air Systems web site where we’ve doubled the traffic since its relaunch, along with the enquires. In addition to the CodePath tool I bought for the SellerDeck extraction above, I also renewed my subscription to Screaming Frog SEO tool, I did a blog post on my Chalfont Web Design to cover that. Some good news on this front was that I had a successful ballot application for a ticket to BrightonSEO in April 2019.¬† Love going there and absorbing the best techniques and what is coming up in the future, it really is insightful.¬† We still also use the services of a dedicated SEO company for Cater For You for the really technical areas, but there is so much that most web sites can do easily to improve their rankings relatively easily.

Amersham Hospital ParkingI popped into Amersham hospital this week to have a blood test to check up on my Psoriatic Arthritis numbers and was staggered how busy it was and how much it cost.  For the first 30 minutes it is free, but after that it was £3.50 for the next 2 1/2 hours.  I would have preferred to use Chalfont St Peter hospital as it is local and free parking, but unfortunately, a few years ago they scrapped the queuing system and they outsourced the booking of appointments, where the telephone line is open for 3 hours and it is normally engaged.  Surely that outsourcing cost would have been better employed paying the phlebotomist for another hour a day rather than a third party telephone service Рit is almost like the local health authority are trying to make it difficult to be used and maybe close it due to under use.  Saying all that, I was lucky to get a space at Amersham, the queue as I left (two 1/2 hours later) was almost back to the main road.

CSE Bowling and Curry night out

So after a busy week, it was a busy weekend.¬† I was very lucky to be invited by a couple of my customers to Christmas do’s on Friday and Saturday.¬† The Friday was a pleasant evening out with the CSE Distributors team in High Wycombe bowling and then a great curry in the Chutney.¬† It has been ages since I went bowling and enjoyed it.¬† I also enjoyed spending some time with the CSE team too as I’ve not seen them for a while since they employed an excellent full time marketing person.

Saturday evening I was out with the fabulous Trading Depot team who have worked tremendously hard this year to keep up with the growth in the business.¬† It was a great night out at Windsor Race Course and parties organised by Best Parties Ever with acrobats, good food and decent disco afterwards.¬† The facilities were top notch, though not sure my Dad dancing was…

Spring Weather

Picnic in the Spring
At last, the freezing cold winter seems to be passing, and spring is springing. A beautiful day on Sunday, so Rebecca decided that we were having a picnic outside – which was an excellent idea – I promise I wasn’t as grumpy as I look in the photo.

We were also celebrating as Rebecca had achieved a level 2 swimming certificate and moved up a class and James was very pleased to have spent a second week at Junior hockey training – Rebecca also went before swimming and enjoyed it.

As you can see, I completed the move of my greenhouse to a sunnier spot on the decking, though Sarah has ‘mentioned’ that it now blocks the view of the field from the kitchen but it is ready for spring planting (though I should have started already). I’ve also completely dug over the veg patch ready – I think I’m way ahead of schedule for once. The lawn is going to be scarified next weekend. Unfortunately the carrots I planted before Christmas received some extra close attention from R & J and are half the number now…

Still playing hockey, though frustratingly I haven’t scored for a couple of weeks, any my groin injury is getting worse – just two games left to the end of the season thank goodness.

Work has been extremely busy, but at least I’ve found a new warehouse – twice the size of the current one and higher. Web design has also been very busy especially as I’m still learning how to bespoke Actinic V9 with CSS. Launched a couple of new web sites too as well as maintaining existing customers. Things aren’t helped by the fact I’m going to have to move all my customers blog’s to a new blogging system as blogger.com is stopping FTP – I’ve moved one already to a blog spot but that isn’t the best solution for SEO and smooth integration on one web site.

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.

Open Spaces, Car radio, weekend

Went to my last open spaces meeting on Monday. I’m still a bit disappointed I haven’t enough time to carry on as I do enjoy it. At the meeting we talked about the haywardens being asked to mow the St Joseph’s grounds (at a commercial rate), the play equipment and the fact that a group of parents want to try and do something about the Gold Hill play area (they were taken aback apparently when told the cost of new equipment!).

Sarah’s Dad is doing well at the moment. He had his operation on Monday and was brought round yesterday and was in good spirits last night – Sarah has been going up each night to London to visit him – so we are all very pleased about that.

I bought a new car stereo last week as I haven’t been able to receive FM since I bought the car – and it has a DAB radio in it. Its the first time I’ve heard one – and I was looking forward to the constant crackle free quality of DAB radio. Obviously I haven’t read the manual yet, but all it does if flick between DAB and FM if the signal isn’t strong enough – and it is really annoying. At least I can sort of listen to the radio now anyway.

Rebecca and James are doing very well at the moment. James is now able to walk severeal steps at a time – last night we watched him walk half way across the play room – with open mouths!! It is his birthday this Easter Weekend so that will be good – though obviously the family get together will have to be postponed for a couple of months. I am sure as well that when he is asking for sarah he is saying mumma, and dadda for me – before I just thought it was conincidence but this morning he said it differently each time he went to one of us… Rebecca’s conversation is now very good. She has a few spots on her at the moment and we were wondering if she has chicken pox but there doesn’t seem to be enough. Anyway, we are looking forward to spending a long weekend with them this weekend – no plans as yet though my knees are both on their way down after a bad end to last week and start to this..

Here is James taking his life in his hands playing with Popeye:

The Google update has happened as predicted – though it doesn’t appear to have fed through to the .uk results yet – and my web sites have done pretty well – Cater For You is back at number one for just about every search term again – a busy summer coming up. We’ve just increased the warehouse space to cope as well and looking to take another person on.

Fasthosts floored by Telewest cable cut | The Register

Ah ha, this will be why Fasthosts went down yesterday then. One of my customers said they were down the previous sunday as well.

I didn’t also know they had been bought out by a German company. I hope they don’t go the same way as most of the other bought out Internet companies eg Demon etc