Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Why The Silence in July

It’s day 2 of the next stage of my life.

I was made redundant from Ruggles & Jeffery after just 10  months. I have spent the last 4 weeks completing a period of gardening leave having time with the family, watching the Olympics 2012 on television and feverishly looking for a new job. I have now started work at the Law Society on a short term contract which began on Monday. During my “break”, I spent time in the garden, in the pool and the whole family loved the coverage of the Games. Luc and I went to see Gabon v South Korea in the Olympic football at Wembley whilst Julie watched the show jumping at Greenwich.

The Law Society are based at the Fleet Street end of Chancery Lane. The nearest Tube Station is Temple which is ironic as that was the same station I got out of whilst at my first job at PSAC back in 1979. For the first two days, I have walked from Fenchurch Street as after all the running around at home, I’m spending a lot more time sitting down.

Sadly, we didn’t get to go on our holiday in Devon last week, but I had lots to do to prepare for the new job and tie up loose ends. We also had the house painted and it looks great whilst our pool still looks a little green in spite of my constant scooping, vacuuming and putting in tons of chemicals, chlorine and ph-.

We have stopped Luc playing out on the road outside the house these holidays as the house felt like it was in the middle of a siege when Luc was in the garden and all his friends were gathering outside. Luc had fun in his pool, built Airfix models, built puzzle balls and has played really well with Georgina.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Weekend 23 & 24 June 2012

On Saturday morning, I took Luc to Danbury.

Whilst Luc was doing the high ropes, I paddled my kayak on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation at Paper Mill Lock. I was a bit better than last time but was struggling to get comfortable. I thought it was down to the bar at the end of the kayak needing adjustment but actually it was down to my big feet in trainers not reaching the bar. I also bumped into Barry from Bramston Canoe Club who was leading a group of school children and suggested that I came along to one of their Monday night sessions in Witham.

In the afternoon, we went to the Pumpkins Nursery School summer fete. There was a sponsored walk which Luc, Julie and Georgina. The children had temporary tattoos, played hook the duck, named the bear and entered raffles and tombollas.

Luc has decided to take up painting and yused my mother's old water colour set which was virtually unused as she preferred oils. He did some nice paintings of beaches and fields.

In the evening I watched Spain beat France easily at the Euros.

On Sunday, I took part in the Horndon-on-the-Hill 10k and recorded a reasonable time of 60 minutes and 7 seconds. It's by no means my best ever time but it is a good come back to running.

In the afternoon, I did some gardening and the threatened continuous rain forecast for the day turned out to be 2 quick showers so I was disappointed that we didn't go to the Blackwater Show.

Luc did some more pictures and I'll feature them on his website in the next few days.

In the evening I watched the inevitable England defeat to Italy in the quarter final of the European Championships on penalties. England were hopeless in normal time which finished 0-0 and barely strung 2 passes together.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Weekend 16 & 17 June 2012

On Saturday, Luc and I went to Danbury Outdoor Centre. Whilst Luc did "Problem Solving" which he described as like being on a game show and the Obstacle Course, I ran from Paper Mill Lock to the Outdoor Centre and back. At least that was the plan. In the event, I ran up the hill to the Outdoor Centre in 37 minutes 16 seconds and was feeling a bit sluggish on the return for about 15 minutes when I had an overwhelming need to stop running - so I did. I walked back to the car which was parked at the bridge at Paper Mill Lock. The whole trip took me 1 hour 30 minutes and 50 seconds. I saw Tony, my boss at Ruggles & Jeffery who was there to pick up his children.

Julie took Georgina off to a party at the Paddocks when we got back whilst Luc did Lego.It appeared that the Entertainer at the party upset most of the children and got the hump with one child in particular. Julie reckoned that he made at least half the children cry so better than most.

In the Euros, Poland and Russia failed to qualify whilst  surprisingly Greece and Czech Republic got through. I had a low fat sausage casserolle based on a hairy bikers recipe for dinner.

On Sunday morning I went to the recycling centre (tip) to dispose of the old kitchen units and lots of off-cuts from the new one. It took me ages to unload but once again the trailer has proved invaluable.

The Castle Point Show had been postponed because of the weather so we went to the Weald Country Park show near Brentwood. It was excellent with a reenactment of the War of the Roses, dog exhibition, bouncy castles, kite making, lots of vintage cars, deers to feed and water zorbing.  The park itself is really nice and Buddy enjoyed socialising with lots of other dogs including 4 King Charles Cavaliers. Georgie was not too keen on the water zorbing but Luc was excellent at it.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Friday 15 June 2012

I went running before work this week on Thursday and again this morning. Earlier in the week, on Monday, I was signed-off by the Dietitian as I've lost a lot of weight, but was reminded that I need to do 30 minutes exercise every day. I did my best ever time of 13 minutes seconds for the run to the Lobster Smack and back on Thursday and a more sedate 14 minutes seconds today. After each run, my "cool down" was a walk round the block with Georgie and Buddy.

The results from last Sunday's family attempt at Orienteering  at Langdon Hills have been published on the HAVOC website and we came 45th out of 48. It was quite a serious event but somehow we contrived not to come last!

I watched England play against Sweden in the second group game of the Euros this evening. Roy Hodgson (England Manager) had decided to play 2 central forwards (Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck) when most teams are playing 4-5-1.  And the genius that is Roy Hodgson ensured a 3-2 win with both Welbeck and Carroll scoring and an inspired substitution bringing on Theo Walcott to score the equaliser at 2-2 and set up the winner. Good match.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Weekend 9 & 10 June 2012

On Saturday morning, I took Luc to Danbury Outdoor Centre where Luc did Archery and Climbing. Tony's (my boss at Ruggles & Jeffery) children were there along with a couple of their friends. Luc had a good time. Meanwhile I took the kayak out on a wobbly trip from Paper Mill Lock to Rushes Lock and back on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. I underestimated the flow of the water and really struggled to get back to Paper Mill Lock in time to pick up Luc. Fortunately, I didn't fall in and I was getting better by the time I arrived back.

In the afternoon, I took Luc and Georgie to Chelmsford Museum to see iguanas, spiders, owls, lizards and snakes. We also did the museum trail. We were allowed to stroke and touch all the animals. Luc and I got to have a snake (Royal Python) around our necks. 

I watched the European Championship football on the television. Mark Lawrenson, the former Irish international and Liverpool defender, turned TV pundit was dreadful in the role of colour commentator, as usual. 

Saturday was my late mother's birthday. We all really miss her and wish that she was still with us.

On Sunday  morning I made rolls and sandwiches and we all (including Buddy) went to Langdon Hills to go orienteering. We were not that good, particularly as lots of the other competitors were running round and we were walking at Georgie's pace. We eventually finished on a score of -20 as we took more than the permitted hour and only found 7 markers but everyone enjoyed the walk and the picnic afterwards.

I watched Spain draw 1-1 with Italy and Croatia beat Ireland 3-1. I get cross when people toadie around the Irish and act like they are British.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Weekend

We had a lovely day yesterday (Tuesday) with Sue and Ned. We dropped off Buddy at Jack and Jean’s house and then drove round the M25 to Cobham. We met Sue and Ned at Old Lodge Stud and then Julie, Luc and Georgina rode Sue’s horse Pebble on Bookham Common. Both the children were very confident with Pebble as she is very good natured and gentle in spite of her size. Pebble was particularly good with the children when they gave her carrots. Luc also fed Sue’s hens that are kept at the stables by hand.

We had lunch in the cars in a pretty car park in Weybridge next to Weybridge Sailing Club as the rain started to fall. It didn’t matter as we all got very wet when we went in the kayak. Luc, Ned and I all had a turn at kayaking whilst Georgie had a paddle in the Thames!

The weather was pretty awful on Monday, but Luc, Georgie and I went crabbing at Benfleet Yacht Club as I misjudged the tide to do it at Concord Beach. We only caught 1 crab which Georgie landed. There was a bit of excitement at the club as a yacht was hauled up the slip way for repairs having been hit by a fishing boat that had escaped its moorings.

In between the showers on Sunday, Luc, Georgie and I went to what was left of the “Big Jubilee Picnic” on the green at Labworth. It was meant to be a green full of picnicers but there was nobody eating as the grass was too wet! The children did get to sit in a fire engine and an old Southend district bus and we watched some tug-of-war. We called in to see Jack and Jean and watched some of the Jubilee flotilla on the Thames - it was very spectacular.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Saturday 2 June 2012

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A busy day ahead.

Georgie woke me up early and I made the sandwiches for Luc's and my lunch. I had a really good run and managed the run to Paper Mill Lock in 1 hour 14 minutes without stopping.

After a trip to Wicks, I watched the football but left just after half time to watch Speedway for the first time. We went to the Arena Essex Raceway to watch the Lakeside Hammers. Lots of people from my firm, Ruggles & Jeffery were there.

The Hammers lost badly but it was excellent entertainment and Luc thoroughly enjoyed himself.

I've decided to limit my "daily" blogs to just significant days in my life and that of the world.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Thursday 31 May 2012

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Today's diary is dedicated to my views on the sacking and replacement of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish. As a Fulham fan, I saw him play live only a couple of times and was shocked just how good he actually was. He had incredible ball control, great shot, vision and strength but also a superb passing ability where he would bend the ball around the opposition to find a team mate. However, it's not on his wonderful playing record or on his humility and sensitivity after the Hillsborough disaster that I want to support him.

It now looks definite  that Brendan Rodgers the current manager at Swansea City will become the next Liverpool boss replacing Kenny Dalglish. This appears an extraordinary decision by the owners of Liverpool, Fenway Sports Group.

Kenny Dalglish won the League Cup last year and took Liverpool to the final of the FA Cup where they lost to Chelsea, the European Champions. Liverpool finished 8th in the League last year but in mitigation they hit the post or cross bar more than any other side and were without Lucas all season who has emerged as one of their best players. Added to this, five highly rated British players didn't perform to their capabilities for much of the season: Downing, Henderson, Adam, Carroll and the too often injured Gerard let the manager down. Finally, one of their best players Suarez was banned for racially abusing Patrice Evra (See Clive Russell's Sports View). If Dalglish had been sacked over his management of the Suarez affair and his "kick racism in" t-shirts that the team wore to support Suarez, then the decision to sack him would have been sad but perhaps understandable.

As Liverpool very publicly looked for a new manager, my view was that unless the man appointed was exceptional, then Kenny Dalglish was actually the best man for the job with the best track record, just as he was when he was appointed.

In the end having flirted with Roberto Martinez (current Wigan Manager) who previously led Swansea City to promotion to the Championship from League 1, Liverpool have appointed Brendan Rodgers who got Swansea promoted from the Championship to the Premier League. Both managers kept their respective teams in the Premier League last year. 

Rodgers was previously manager of Reading who sacked him after a poor run of results and he also managed Watford with no success. Due to injury, Rodgers took to coaching at Reading when he was quite young before he could make a first team appearance in English football. He joined Reading from Ballymena. Of course, playing or not playing the game at the top level, does not mean you'll be a successful manager.

However, set against Kenny Dalglish's managerial trophy cabinet of FA Cups, First Division titles, League Cup and Scottish League Cup, the achievements of Rodgers single promotion looks paltry. 

So will Rodgers be a success? If he is, it's a wild gamble that's paid off and not an astute or clever appointment.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Wednesday 30 May 2012

I awoke to another warm day but the forecast is not good with showers expected.

There was a minor accident at Sadlers Farm roundabout and it appeared that Lottie's mum (one of our neighbours) had gone into the back of another car.

I tweeted and posted details on facebook about the Kids for a Quid at the Lakeside Hammers  on Saturday that Ruggles & Jeffery is sponsoring. We've had some interest in our company on the back of it and our name has gone out to thousands of people. The emails from the last 2 days seem to have been well received.

Was very tired by the time I got in. Luc did an excellent piece of homework on Roman numerals and then played outside with his friends.

Julie cooked a whole chicken in herbs which she casseroled on the hob. It tasted very nice.

Watched Outnumbered on TV and the children in the programme are so like ours.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Lakeside Hammers Kids 4 A Quid
I woke up to another beautiful sunny morning. I even enjoyed putting the black rubbish bags out for collection!

There is yet another change to the layout at Sadlers farm roundabout but I still can't see how all the work will actually improve things.

I wrote and sent out lots of emails to local schools and our clients about the Lakeside Hammers Kids 4 A Quid initiative that Ruggles & Jeffery is sponsoring today.

I met Luc and Julie at the Lighthouse Centre at lunchtime and we were able to report to the doctor that Luc is behaving a lot better and life is a lot better. Luc is, however, feeling a bit poorly which may be a side-effect of his medication. Luc doesn't have to go back for 6 months.

I read an article on line by Dan walker about Avram Grant (the ex Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham manager) and his return to Auschwitz and his Polish home. Avram is Jewish and his family suffered atrocities under the Nazis during the second world war. I tweeted about it and got a reply from respected and hard working journalist at Talk Sport, Ian Abrahams (Talk Sport).

I filtered the pool and added chlorine and after dinner watched Silk and an old but entertaining episode of Outnumbered on television.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Monday 28 May 2012

Woke up early and whilst flicking through the channels on TV, I found a tweet being featured on Sports Tonight alongside Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen - fame at last.

It was another lovely day and I had breakfast in the Summer House. Luc was still asleep when I left for work but he had been poorly in the night. We have decided to keep in him off school today. I wonder how quickly he will recover when he sees the sun and the pool!

Ruggles & Jeffery are sponsoring the Kids for a Quid scheme at the Lakeside Hammers on Saturday evening and so I emailed 150 local schools to let them know about it.

As if by magic, it started raining this afternoon. What a disappointment! I was hoping for more sun and time in the pool. 

Watched the final episode of 56 Up and it was as interesting as the two before. It's reassuring to see how so many of the people are happy now and are better able to cope with difficult situations.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday 27 May 2012

Georgie woke me just before 6am and I was straight out to put the pool heater on.

We went to Morrisons for some odds and ends, but actually bought a Bay Tree and Olive Tree. Bay Trees remind me of Jeremy Drake's stag night from years ago when he attempted to take a bay tree from outside the restaurant at the end of the evening. I also bought a new inflatable boat from Camping & General as the old one had a hole in it.

The children and I went into the pool and had a lovely time. The boat gave us lots of fun as Georgie could sit safely in the boat but she also went swimming with me. Meanwhile, Luc showed off his swimming and was in and out of the boat, surf board and lilo.

Julie planted the trees and bedding plants and the garden looks lovely now. I saw a picture of me in the pool and I look very thin so I need to work on my fitness and body shape, I needed to lose weight but I still need to keep up my strength.

I ended up having 3 swims today and we all felt very tired by the evening. Georgie fell asleep on the floor in the lounge.

I listened to some cricket in the Summer House as England got the better of the West Indies. Test Match Special remains a wonderful radio programme with the cricket serving as a backdrop.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saturday 26 May 2012

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Another Saturday morning trip to Danbury where Luc did orienteering and bush man skills. He  really enjoyed it. I went for a short run as it was so hot.

I took Luc to Spencer's football party in the afternoon and he had a great time. He wasn't looking forward to it but had really enjoyed himself. Meanwhile I went to the Yacht Club to try to put my kayak there for the summer but I need to make some calls first. I took Georgie to Canvey Marsh for the RSPB Open Day.

Luc, Georgie and I all went in the pool for the first time. The pool was warm enough and deep enough for me to swim in it.

Watched England play Norway in an international friendly. England played ok, but Gerard the new England should have been sent off for a typical act of thuggery.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Friday 25 May 2012

It's my footballing hero's, Luc Nilis, Birthday and another beautiful summer's day. I'm really looking forward to the weekend as the tide and the potentially warm weather mean that I might be able to kayak at the Benfleet Yacht Club in the afternoon. 

Sine my mum died a couple of years ago, I haven't been able to feel much when something bad happen to people I am not connected to even sporting heroes or favourite actors, politicians or comedians.However, today I found out that Karen, my sister-in-law, has cancer and is not optimistic about her long term future never mind the next few weeks.

On a "lighter" note, I had a craving for a pork pie and cider today which will only be satisfied by a pork pie with slightly healthier lager substituted for the pie. I wrote to Aviva to complain about the decision not to promote London Welsh to the premiership. Makes them look bad and makes rugby look like a Mickey Mouse sport.

Spoke to my sister tonight and she is well. We are all looking forward to the summer hols.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Thursday 24 May 2012

I woke up to another lovely day.

I had to call into the office before going toThree Rivers Golf & Country Club in Cold Norton, Essex to give a Marketing Presentation to the Ruggles & Jeffery Board, this morning. I think I did quite well. Three Rivers Golf & Country Club is a beautiful place set in the Essex countryside and very luxurious. By the time I had completed my presentation, the weather had warmed up even more and it was an absolutely glorious day. Just the weather for spending time outdoors but I had to go back into the office.

Stopped off for a coke at the very excellent Country Produce Store on the road to North Fambridge. Enjoyed the drive back to the office.

The feedback from my presentation was really good so it's been one of my best working days ever that hasn't involved alcohol, the RCN or shenanigans!

Luc had his school disco this evening and I met him afterwards. He'd had a great time and has made friends with Jake again.

The evening was great as I watched an episode of Jonathan Creek on tele.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Another glorious day and certainly not one to be spent in doors, but I spent the day in the office. We had to put the air condition on as it got very hot. I wanted to update the website www.buildingmaintenance.co.uk but www.123-reg.co.uk decided to choose today to not work

Did some more work on the pool when I got in and I think it's time to put on the heater tomorrow night.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

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I awoke feeling good today. The sun is shining and it looks a perfect day.

I had my weekly catch up with Tony that went very well. My holiday request has been accepted so we're off camping at Old Cotmore Farm at Stokenham in the South Hams area of Devon for 8 days in August (sooo excited!). It looks a lovely spot and close to Blackpool Sands, Hall Sands, Slapton Sands, East Portlemouth, Salcombe, Banthem, Thurlesden and Bigbury-on-Sea with the magical Burgh Island out to sea. Shirley & Nick (my Aunt and Uncle) live nearby and we can meet them in town or on the beach so they are not overwhelmed by the children. 

I've also got a week off after the Bank Holiday at the end of August so I'm going to be spending a lot of time with the family and hopefully keep Luc entertained over the holidays.I've managed to set up lots of things to do each weekend from now until the summer holidays. 

I popped into Makro on the way home to get some MacDougall's Oxtail and Minestrone soup. The soups are inexpensive (£1.39 for a packet that contains 25 servings or 10 for Clive) and a great filler if you're on a diet like me. I did some more work on the pool and with the warm weather, it should be ready for use at the weekend.
Old Cotmore Farm Camping

Monday, 21 May 2012

Monday 21 May 2012

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I had hoped to go running this morning but I felt too tired (lazy) when I woke up.

Luc surpassed himself this morning by being as difficult as he could be. Good luck to Mrs Smith his class teacher today! He was getting silly about his friend Jake's website and "Window Cops" which is a silly invention of Jake's based on Neighbourhood Watch. Anyway, as Luc's website gets 60,000 impressions per month on google and 2,000+ visitors (due to his  lego images page and videos), he needn't worry. I'm going to have to add a counter to the home page to keep him happy!! I eventually lost my temper with him as he refused to get in the bat, out of the bath, eat his breakfast, get dressed, get off the computer and had littered his bedroom with lego and magnetix.

Ok day at work but an awful journey home through the roadworks at Sadlers Farm.

When I got in, Steve and Karen were there to pick up Mason who had been on a play date with Luc. Julie had taken the boys and Georgie to the beach and given them their tea.

The pool is looking better and the weather is set fair for the rest of the week. So hopefully, it will be in use by the weekend.

I watched the second part of 56 up and it was just as interesting as the first programme last week. As I'm of an age to empathise with the people whose lives have been featured and as I have grown up with this programme, I find it absolutely fascinating to see how people have changed, where they live in relation to where they were born, whether they are "successful" or not and the most important things around their happiness, future ambitions etc...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sunday 20 May 2012

We all slept really well and didn't get up until after 8am. The weather was forecast to be awful today but actually it was overcast and quite mild. 

Luc and I went to Thorndon Country Park at Ingrave near Brentwood and for the first time in my life but not that I hadn't wanted to previously, we went orienteering. It was organised by Havering and South Essex Orienteering Club (HAVOC). We did 2 courses totalling just over 5 kilometres but the reality is we covered far more distance as the direct lines particularly on the second harder course were impassable . It took us just over 2 hours to do both courses. Thorndon Park is lovely with lots of paths for runners, walkers, dogs and mountain bikers. Luc enjoyed himself very much as well and got to keep his maps and compass. Some of the views on to open countryside were amazing

In the afternoon, we all went to the recycling centre and then wen to the recently revamped play ground near Dead Man's Creek on Canvey We also went on to the beach. I played a bit of football with Luc in the garden.

With Orienteering now done that's just about all my lifetime sporting ambitions done. I haven't been Windsurfing, Water skiing or Scuba diving but apart from a brief yearning to water ski I've never really wanted to do any of those. I now want to run 10K in under an hour and to get better at kayaking so that will do me this year.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Saturday 19 May 2012

Luc and I went to Danbury. Luc went on the High Ropes. Tony my boss at Ruggles & Jeffery was there with his 2 sons and Luc seemed to get on ok with them.

I had a poor run from the Outdoor Centre to Paper Mill Lock and had to have a break at the lock - it meant I could watch some kayaks being launched. It was really hilly and I even had to walk a bit. My total time was 1 hour 21 minutes 18 seconds. As it took me just 35 minutes 20 seconds to get there but it meant it took me 45 minutes 58 seconds to get back which shows not only how hilly it was and but how tired I got. I measured the route using the excellent website  "take to the streets" and its 3.32 miles each way so the outward run wasn't too bad.

Luc has had a row with his friend Jake at school, so I had to update Luc's website to remove any mention of Jake and his "Windows Cops".

West Ham won the Championship play-off final at Wembley  this afternoon beating Blackpool 2-1. I didn't watch the game as I really wanted West Ham to fail (Sam Allardyce phobia) and would have got bitter and twisted watching it. It's more than enough that Chelsea are playing Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League this evening.

I went to the library and then went to the excellent Crystal Clear Leisure and got some stuff for the pool and it's looking a lot better. By this evening the pool is cleaner and actually smelling of chlorine.

Chris & Alf (Julie's Aunt and Uncle) came over to take the children to McDonalds whilst we went to Wickes to look at kitchen floor tiles and work surface - wooohoooooooooo!The children ended up going to the park and to the beach so they didn't get back until after 8pm.

Georgie went straight to sleep conveniently at half time in the Champions League Final. It was a very tense game which went to extra time and then penalties having finished 1-1, although Bayern played much better than Chelsea and missed a penalty in normal time. John Terry, Ramires, Meireles and Ivanovic were all suspended for this game. Chelsea won it in a truly dramatic penalty shoot out.

Friday 18 May 2012

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 I had a good night's sleep and was very reluctant to get up. I tried on my shorty wet suit and I could actually get it on. When it arrived as a present at Christmas, I couldn't get it past my thighs.

A very easy drive to work and an ok day although the phone was really busy. I emailed Cotmore Farm about our camping holiday and they have vacancies for the first week in August.

Had a row with Julie about camping and went to bed in a strop.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Thursday 17 May 2012

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After a bit of a blip on the dieting front, I am now back down to 13 stone which is very pleasing.

I slept quite well in spite of Georgie's regular night time disturbance, but felt really tired when I woke up. The traffic on Canvey was absolutely horrendous this morning and I was a couple of minutes late for work.

My much anticipated presentation has been put back to next week and the pressure will  be on as I will have to present to the Board at their Strategy Meeting!

On the way home, I listened to Test Match Special on Radio 4 Long Wave. It made laugh out loud in the car as Henry Blofeld, Phil Tuffnell and Jonathan Agnew were on excellent form.

When I got home, Luc had disgraced himself by falling out with his friends.

I went for a walk around the block with Georgie and Buddy.

Started watching an old episode of "New Tricks" on TV but didn't have the patience to see it through to the end. Saw the new Halfords summer advert featuring the Skids - it's wonderful and I did my 1980s dance around the lounge to it!!


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Wednesday 16 May 2012

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Georgie, my 3 year old daughter woke up at 2.22 am (digital clock) and she seemed very upset, so I ended up sleeping in the spare room with her. As she virtually bounced into the spare room, I am not sure how upset she really was or whether it's becoming a routine.

Georgie and I went for a walk around the block with Buddy and it was bright and sunny for a change.

I was running late and only just made it to work on time. I attended the Contracts Managers meeting and things are getting very busy on the work front which is good.

I ran through my presentation for tomorrow and I was not too impressed with it so more work to be done.

The England football squad to play in the European Championship 2012 was announced today by manager, Roy Hodgson. It is:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Rob Green, John Ruddy

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Joleon Lescott, John Terry

Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing

Strikers: Andy Carroll, Jermaine Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck

As usual, the press are having a field day and most of the criticism surrounds picking Stewart Downing and not picking Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Phil Jagielka, Peter Crouch and Grant Holt. Surprisingly, apart from Downing those that have replaced the missing players in the squad have not been named by the press as not justifying their place probably just in case they are the stars of the tournament.

As I see it, we will probably play 17 players in total during the tournament, possibly 1 more during our last game when we commit to desperate measures not to go out.

So the players that actually make the team on my 1-4-5-1 formation is with 1st eleven highlighted:

Goalkeeper (1) Hart,
Defenders (5) Cole, Cahill, Jones, Terry, Johnson
Midfielders (8) Walcott Parker Lampard Gerrard Young with regular subs Barry, Milner and cameos by Chamberlain
Strikers (4): Welbeck (games 1 and 2 then regular sub) and Rooney with regular sub Carroll and desperate cameo from Defoe

Carrick can pass very well but he is not England’s best holding midfielder defensively and with Lampard and Gerrard wanting to monopolise the ball and with pace and skill on the wing, then I think we are ok without him. The other forwards were only ever going to be support for Welbeck and Rooney.

On this basis the only real questions were Jagielka in for either Jones or Cahill and picking either Terry or Ferdinand.  Having picked Terry, then in theory Cahill is an obvious selection as he is a club team mate of Terry at Chelsea. Jones got the nod as he is versatile and can play across the backline or in defensive midfield.

Finally, what about Rio Ferdinand and John Terry? Well, they can’t play together on the pitch as both have lost a bit of pace and they can’t play together off the pitch as Terry is currently awaiting a court case where he is charged with racially abusing Rio’s brother Anton in a bad tempered Chelsea game against QPR. It’s a pity because actually either would replace the other better than anyone else currently available and they both have bags of experience. Personally, I’d have taken Rio particularly as I think Terry’s speed and balance have been exposed a couple of times this season and he is currently banned from the Champions League Final due to an act of thuggery that got him sent off.

So apart from Rio Ferdinand, we may not agree with the fringe selections but as has been proved time and again, it’s usually a 16 or 17 man squad. Indeed, Roy Hodgson said before the squad was announced, that he didn’t see the need to double up on every position as 6 or 7 players won't actually get a game.

I went for a walk at the sailing club with Georgie and Buddy in the evening and watched Southend lose to Crewe in the semi final of the League " (Division 4) play-offs. The first half was dire but the second was quite good.

Kenny Dalglish has been sacked as manager but I'll comment on that when his successor is known.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

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I took Luc to Breakfast Club at his school this morning.

I had an ok day at work.

I made a chicken dinner with jacket potato and peas. It was doubly healthy evening, as my wonderful KP beef crisps were a few days out of date and Julie had thrown them away!! Even a little stale, I was enjoying them more than any other crisp. Still, they are not good for my cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes.

I watched a bit of the League 1 (ironically Division 3) play off between Huddersfield and MK Dons on the computer which Huddersfield won on aggregate, just.

Afterwards, I watched an excellent if disturbing programme called Silk on BBC 1. It starred Phil Davis and Neil Stuke. Very good.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Monday 14 May 2012

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I had an appointment with the nurse at the Doctor's Surgery.

The good news is my blood sugar and cholesterol are right down to normal levels and my blood pressure is only very slightly high. My waist and weight are ok but obviously losing another 9 pounds before my next check-up would improve things further. After my run on Saturday it's a realistic aim for 15 June particularly as I need to step up the training for the Horndon Feast and Fare run on 24 June 2012.

When I got home, I was a bit worried about the pool as it's looking green!!

In the evening, I watched 56 up a programme that is on every 7 years looking at the lives of people born in 1956 and the way their dreams as children, teenagers and young adults have been fulfilled or otherwise. It's really good stuff.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday 13 May 2012

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We all slept well and didn't get up until after 8am.
In the morning, I tested the sealant on the pool healer - one side is leaking! I spent most of the morning trying to clean the pool and remove thousands of leaves.  I also tidied the shed and summer house. The heater pipes are now virtually sealed and the pool is looking a lot better.

Luc has decided to write a novel on the Titanic so he spent the morning on the computer.

In the afternoon, I watched the final game of the Premiership season between Manchester City and QPR. The final games of the season were played simultaneously. It was a dramatic game with Manchester City coming back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in extra time. They have won the premiership on goal difference ahead of Manchester United who won 1-0 away at Sunderland. QPR stay up at the expense of Bolton who had to win at Stoke but could only draw 2-2. Arsenal are third having won 3-2 at West Bromwich Albion. Fulham lost to Spurs 2-0 away.

Luc played in the garden with Harvey and Mitchell. They were actually good and let Georgina join in with their games.

I watched the Truman show on TV and read a lot of the South by Southeast by Anthony Horowitz.

Team Played Goal Difference Points

Man City 38 64 89

Man Utd 38 56 89

Arsenal 38 25 70

Tottenham 38 25 69

Newcastle 38 5 65

Chelsea 38 19 64

Everton 38 10 56

Liverpool 38 7 52

Fulham 38 -3 52

West Brom 38 -7 47

Swansea 38 -7 47

Norwich 38 -14 47

Sunderland 38 -1 45

Stoke 38 -17 45

Wigan 38 -20 43

Aston Villa 38 -16 38

QPR 38 -23 37

Bolton 38 -31 36

Blackburn 38 -30 31

Wolves 38 -42 25 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Saturday 12 May 2012

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Luc and I went to Danbury again today. I had to make the sandwiches and then drove Luc to Danbury. We drove through the ford again but the water was quite low.

Luc did the low ropes and obstacle course whilst I went for my now usual run of 10 K. It took me 1 hour 3 minutes 56 seconds which is more than 9 minutes better than last week. It  was a lovely sunny day and I enjoyed the run and the scenery.

After the run I drove to Paper Mill Lock to see what's there. it looks a good place to kayak but was overrun by about 50 teenage hikers.

After I drove home, I went to the library, bought a card for Michael's Birthday and bought some sugar free sherbet lemons and strawberries. Luc had a bath and I had a shower in readiness for Michael's Birthday party. I dropped Luc off at the Vi bowl which is a virtual bowling alley on Canvey "sea" front. There was a bar there and full-size snooker tables whilst the bowling took place upstairs. 

On the way home I bought some silicone from GMD on Canvey to seal the pipes for the pool pump and heater. Normally, I find the staff at GMD's rude and unhelpful but surprisingly after blanking me for 10 minutes a lady actually approached me and asked me if I needed help and advised me of the best product and price. It's also difficult to park near the shop as there are double yellow lines outside and in the neighbouring side streets.

With Julie's help I put the pipe back on and so fingers are crossed that it would have sealed by tomorrow morning.

I picked Luc up with Georgie from  Vi bowl and it was carnage. Luc was perspiring and had played every game apart from bowling! Incidentally, the children got a great party bag and a punnet of popcorn.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Friday 11 May 2012

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I forgot to draw the curtains last night and so I woke up ridiculously early with the sun pouring in through the uncovered windows. It was doubly annoying as Georgie slept through the night and didn't get up until 6.30am.

I had a reasonable day in the office and then went off  for a meeting with Tony to see Jay Mitra at Essex University in Southend on Sea.

The new pool pump has arrived. I tested it and it works, so I'll have to spend time over the weekend sealing the connections.

I played football with Luc in the garden before spending most of the evening working. 

I did a load of work on a potential project this evening and sent a draft over to Tony before bed. I then watched Criminal Minds on television.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Thursday 10 May 2012

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An early start as I had to attend the Canvey Island FSB meeting at the Monico Dining Rooms near Canvey Sea Front. The meeting wasn't well attended again and my foot was really painful - the result of playing football in crocs with Luc at the weekend! As I was expected to stand up for 90 minutes, I was in considerable discomfort by the end. Still, I like most of the people who attended this event.

A couple of tablets later and I am feeling a million times better.

I did some nifty desk research about some potential new opportunities for our building contractor work.

I was really pleased to get home tonight which is odd as it's Thursday not Friday. I love getting a lovely greeting from everyone when I get home which I did.

Watched Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban (not my favourite) on the computer and then another excellent episode of Criminal Minds on television.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Wednesday 9 May 2012

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Georgie woke at 5.30 am and was in chatty mood so in spite of my best negotiating powers, we had a very early start. It was dustbin day and as it's recycling week, I had to put out bottles, garden refuse (there was plenty) as well as pink plastic sacks containing cans, paper and other items to be recycled. 

I finished updating my website first thing this morning by reinstating my holding page so that most of the previous pages are back on line and, hopefully, there are no more broken links. I'm trying to get a top 5 ranking for the search term Clive Russell on yahoo, google and bing.

Only Jan and I were in the office this morning so it was very quiet. 

This evening, I went for a walk with Georgie and Buddy at the sailing club. We went all the way to the Bench and had a lovely chat about Georgie's day at Nursery. Buddy ran happily around us and even managed to get within 25 yards of catching a crow!

I watched the final of the Europa League between Athletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. It's a pity that the demands and priorities of the Premier League mean that top English teams don't commit to Cup competitions apart from the Champions League. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Tuesday 8 May 2012

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Back to work today. I dropped Luc off at breakfast club. He proudly wore the medal he received from completing the Southend Pier walk on Sunday.

I had a better day at work and have some solid plans for improving the website.

I ordered a new pump for the swimming pool. It looks like the pump was the problem all along.  I spent the evening improving my website and watching Liverpool V Chelsea on TV. I've put back on my old publications: Sports View, Sports View and the Book Review and they are available here.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Monday 7 May 2012 (Bank Holiday)

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Georgina woke at 3am and wanted to chat before she eventually went back to sleep nearer to 4am. She also wanted me to read whilst she got back to sleep. I was very tired this morning, but as I had promised Luc a trip to Mersea Island, I got up earlier than I would have liked.

I cut the lawn for the first time in ages and tried to fix the pool heater. The grass looks great but the pool heater still isn't working.

I made rolls for the picnic and then we all set off for Mersea Island including Buddy. It's a lovely drive to Mersea Island on the B1026 and B1025 and we listened to Five Go to Mystery Moor and Five On A Treasure Island. We decided to go to the Country Park at East Mersea where it was very windy and quite cold but the children still had a good time on the beach and Buddy enjoyed running round. We went home via Danbury in order to drive through the ford but then got stuck next to a 4x4 with an enormous caravan!

When we got home, the weather was sunny and quite warm. I had yet another attempt at getting the pool to work. I played a bit of football in the garden with Luc in the evening sunshine.