Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Its been sometime............

..... since I made an entry in here. In mitigation all I can say is that I have not been well, in fact I am still not well. Normaly if I get a cold or anything similar I can shake it off within a couple of days but not this time. What started as a cold became a chest infection which the doctor now tells me has cleared but I am not to sure.
I have been left with a terrible rasping cough, have the shivers and spent the whole of last weekend being violently sick.

As a result I have done next to nothing about Christmas apart from sending some parcels off in the post. Apart from those I have not even written any christmas cards as yet! I really do feel lousy.

Hope to make another entry before Christmas but in case I dont a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, and whatever I have I just hope you dont catch it.


Sunday, 23 November 2008

That blooming white stuff!

Yes we had the first snowfall of the winter this morning. From force of habit I normally wake up at 6 im the morning and when I looked outside it was dry with not even a touch of frost so being Sunday I did what any normal person would and went back to bed. After 30 years of shift work my days of getting up at 4.30 on Sunday mornings are a rapidly fading memory!

Next time I looked out was just before 9 and it was snowing hard and settling to boot! Fortunately by 11 it had turned to rain and cleared. However the road surfaces are still wet and if it freezes hard tonight there is always the delightful prospect of black ice in the morning. Luckily my car (Toyots Corrola) has pretty good roadholding but I am always wary especially of some of the idiots on the road these days.

I have actually spent some time trying to remember when we last had snow in November-normally does not happen until after Christmas.

Take care and keep warm

Friday, 14 November 2008

Old Age Beckons

Dont know if anyone else saw the programme on ITV 1 tonight about increased life expectancy. The forecast aparently is that we will soon live to be 150. I dont know about anyone else the thought petrifies me. I will be 57 in a couple of weeks time and I am beginning to look forward to retirement in a few years time- 30 years plus of shift work takes its toll! It will be nice to have more time to myself and to do the things that I enjoy but if I live to be 150 I honestly think that I would end up being a burden on both state and society and being the individual that I am I would not wish that.

Talking of TV its Children In need night again today. Its something I tend to avoid although I know that it raises vast amounts of cash for very worthy causes. Tonight there is a good reason to watch (or at least listen) to it. Its being co hosted by one of my favourite jazz singers Clare Teal who is worth a listen any time. To be honest though I actually prefer Clare Martin!

Friday, 7 November 2008

It seems to have been lonher

In fact its only been since 30th October that I last posted. The reason for my absence-my computer gave up the ghost and remedial treatment cost me £90 ouch!

So the American dream has come true Barak Obama is President elect of America. I have got to admit that I do not follow American politics although perhaps I should as what ever happens in Washington has a knock on effect throughout the world.

However what peturbs me was an article that I read in a newspaper to the effect that the American dream may well become thr American nightmare in so far as they reckon Obama might not make it to his inaugeration day as certain elements wish to remove him, hence the amount of security around him including 3 inch bullet proof glass. What price freedom.

In fact I am not really interested in British politics amymore. Until about 10 years ago I was a card carrying fully paid up member of the Liberal Democrats In fact I even spent time helping to distribute election material. The reason I was enthusiastic was that the candidate was honest and said that as a member of a minority he could not promise to reduce taxes or other wonderful things but he would do his best for all his constituants regardless of ther political persuasion. Come election night he polled so few votes that he lost his deposit. Incidentally the candidates name was Stephen Jaquobi who has gone on to become a prominent lawyer.

My ongoing battle with AO Hell continues and will do so until I recieve my laptop or a refund plus. The latest twist is that they rang me up and said that they would reduce my monthly payment to £14.99 and even though I said I had a letter from them saying it was going to be £6.99 he knew nothing about it. I will NOT give up on this one.

I have also found the pictures that go back to my days as a skinhead and my first love. I might publish a few later but at the moment I am wallowing in nostalgia, people-places- clothes etc. I suppose skinhead fashion was the ultimate unisex fashion statement. Short hair, jeans, braces etc we all wore the same.

Take care


Thursday, 30 October 2008

To Late

I was going to post this in my AOL journal but find I am unable to do so!


Tomorrow 31st August will go down in
history as a sad day. It is the day that
Journals disappear. Over the years I have made
Many friends and I hope most will keep in contact
Through my new home at http://andy-andyslife.blogspot.com/
For those who don’t join me you can e mail me any time at andrewfrnd@aol.com
Whatever happens may I wish you all the very best for the future

Friday, 24 October 2008

Living History

Today I visted the oldest working station in London at Deptford. It has been open since 1836 as part of the London and Greenwich Railway. At the time of opening the line was not ready as far as Greenwich and the terminal at London Bridge was not ready so trains used a temporary terminus at Spa Road. Incidentally the whole line between London and Greenwich was built on a viaduct because it took up less room than an embankment and cut down the cost of land needed. Seems like somethings never change although I wonder what the original promoters would make of things now. There are 16 running lines between London Bridge, Spa Road and Blue Anchor and service frequency is incredible.

Deptford may be the oldest station in London but the oldest railway in Kent is (or was) the Crab and Wrinkle line between Canterbury and Whitstable opened in 1830. The area I cover is roughly triangular in shape and covers from London to Ramsgate,along the coast to Hastings and back to London via Tunbridge Wells.

When I was at school I always found history to be one of the most boring subjects but recently I have become to take an interest. Deptford contains several churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was the home of the Royal Naval Dockyards in Tudor times. Deptford Creek is now industrialised but it does not take a lot to cast your mind back and imagine all the sailing ships. Amongst other things that happened there was the knighting of Sir Francis Drake after defeating the the Spanish Amada and its also where Sir Walter Raliegh laid down his cloak for Queen Elisabeth 1 to walk across. Not all things were so joyous though Deptford is the place where Christopher Marlowe the playright was stabbed to death following an argument.

Deptford also has a wonderfull street market which sells all sorts of nice things to eat including many I have never heard of!

I really must remember to take my camera and get some pictures of these places.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The season of Mists and Mellow fruits

In some ways autumn is my favourite time of year. Everything is so mellow in the natural world, leaves are turning brown and falling. Day time temperatures are still reasonably pleasant and even though we know colder days are on there way everything seems so pleasant.

The fact that winter was on its way was rather dramatically brought home to me yesterday. Firstly I had better explain what I do for a living, I work as a finance auditor for London & South Eastern Railway (Southeastern) and my job involves visiting each and every one of our stations on a regular basis. Yesterday I went to Broadstairs on the North Kent coast and when I left Maidstone at 07.15 it was blue sky and bright sunshine so I decided on a light coat. As Southeastern is the worlds busiest railway I had a choice of routes, I could either go via Ashford and Canterbury or via Rochester and Faversham. I chose the latter and the further we got along the coast it got cloudier and distinctly chillier. In fact when I had finished the audit it was my intention to get some fish and chips for lunch but it was so flipping cold I decided not to bother to wander into the town but jumped on a train instead.

I decided to return home via Canterbury and Ashford as services on the Chatham main line were being disrupted by a signal failure at Herne Hill. A bad decision! All went well until we aproached Ashford when it was anounced that a tree had fallen on the line at Pluckley. This was added to by a failure of a freight train between West Malling and Borough Green. All in all it took me four and a half hours to get home and even than I had to write a report and e mail it off.

In a way this job is a bit like a well known TV comedy sketch, yesterday Bradstairs, today Sevenoaks and tommorow somewhere else.

Anyway today we have clear sky and sunshine so maybe its not so bad after all.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Mrs Tiggywinkle

Mrs Tiggywinkle
If like me you enjoyed reading Beatrix Potter as a child you will remember the character Mrs Tiggywinkle.
Last night I had a face to face meeting with a real Mrs Tiggywinkle.For those who dont know the area where I live it is a semi rural area on the outskirts of a village. Normally I can sleep through any thing and indeed I slept through the hurricane of 1987.
My garage is set back from the house, in fact its nearly in the back garden. The door is one of those metal up and over ones and as the garage is also behind double gates in the driveway I tend to leave the door open during the day. It was about midnight that I awoke to hear a strange metalic clanging kind of sound which I discovered was coming from behind the garage door. My first reaction was to think that as we have many foxes in the area one had become locked in the garage when I closed the door. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and out scuttled a hedgehog followed by two babys who promptly walked of down the lawn.
Bearing in mind that it is now mid October I hope the two little ones make it through the winter and dont fall fowl of the weather or a predator. I checked the garage out to see if they had been nesting there but there was no sign of it.
It is a sign of climate change that two baby hedgehogs were around in October but I suppose as we did not have a summer this year and its been warm but damp today we may have a mild winter.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Memory Triggers

Memory triggers
It must be a sign of old age but recently I have noticed that reading or seeing things brings back memories from the past.
Working for the railway I see lots of graffiti, some witty, some artistic and others just downright silly. I am not certain quite what category I would put the following in though!
Sex is not the answer
Sex is the question
Yes is the answer
At first I thought it was quite amusing when I saw it written on a station wall but then my memory started kicking in and went back to the sixties 'make love not war' era. What wonderful ideals we had in those days, everything was going to be peace and love. John and Yoko had there sleep in for peace, people had flowers in there hair and all was going to be well in the world. Talking of hair at this time I had shoulder length hair.
What went wrong.
I look at the world now, there is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan amongst other places, the worlds financial system is in tatters, what price our dreams now. I geninuely feel concerned for the future, what kind of society are our children going to inherit?
May be we should have another sleep in for peace and maybe that unknown graffiti artist has a point.
I have tried posting these entries on Bebo, Blog.co and thoughts.com as well as blogger but apart from blogger I have had no response so me thinks I will stick with that when A O Hell finally pulls the rug from under us. There is also a rumour doing the rounds that aol itself is going in January. Think i will resort to sending messages to you by carrier pigeon!
Love and Peace

Monday, 6 October 2008

Sussex by the sea and acroos the marsh

Was at St Leonards Warrior Square today doing an audit today. Well when you are in the area how can you resist popping along to Hastings and having fish and chips for lunch, if you have not had fish and chips at Hastings you have not lived! Found a nice spot in a shelter on the front and thoroughly enjoyed my lunc. Even the sun shone on me, what a contrast to yesterday.
One of the pleasures or otherwise of my job is the amount of travelling involved but I find it quite interesting watching the way the countryside has changed throughout the year. Returning from Hastings to Maidstone there are several options but my favourite is using the Marshlink service to Ashford travelling across Romney Marsh. I have always had a liking for the marsh ever since I read the Dr Syn books as a child. The famous but fictional smuggling parson from Dymchurch was also a favourite of my fathers. One of the joys of travelling by train is that it crosses areas of the marsh you would not normally see by road. There are umpteen very isolated houses and in your mind you can see them being used by smugglers and you can almost hear the winter storms ravaging on the windows.
One thing that has brought the marsh up to date is the building of a wind farm. From a distance it looks impressive with tall pillars supporting graceful sails. In fact you can almost imagine a 21st centuary eqvivalent of Don Quixote charging at them! Sadly as you get nearer you see all the trappings that go with them, the pylons and the overhead cables. I suppose even Romney Marsh has to move with the times! Quite what Dr Syn and his gang would of made of it all is another matter entirely.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

saving your aol journal

Saving your AOL journal
Thanks to Kirsty for discovering a site that enables you to copy your whole journal into word format in one go. Download BackStreet Browser 3.1, it works very well. I have been writing this journal since August 2005 and it took two minutes to copy the lot!
Thanks Kirsty

Friday, 3 October 2008

Now I wonder...........
Those who know me know that I have a great liking for jazz and especially female vocalists. If I listen to Clare Martin, Clare Teale, Karrin Allyson I am a happy man indeed.
If you read all the small print in my profile you will discover that its my birthday on November 29th, yes I will admit it I will be 57 this year. You can imagine my delight at discovering tonight that the fabulous Gwyneth Herbert is live at Pizza Express in Maidstone on November 22nd. OK its a week early but its my birthday after all! Trouble is tickets are like goldust and I am just hoping I manage to get one.
If you have never heard Gwyneth Herbert by the way check her out-you wont be disapointed!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Wedding Pictures 1947

These are the pictures that did not come out in my first post about my Mother and Fathers wedding.
Just in case you wondered what I look like. Picture taken in 2006 near Lake Garda.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008


This is a new blog intended to take over from my AOL Journal! I have copied the last entry from there
16:30:56 o'clock BST Feeling Frustrated Hearing Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross
Is this the end?
Seems like AOL dont like us anymore! First they closed AOL groups down, I was a member of a couple and yes it was a good way of chatting to a group of friends. Than all of a sudden AOL profiles disappeared although there is a way of getting round that(if you want to know e mail me). Today however is taking things to extreme however and to say I am frustrated to receive the following is a mild understatement.
Hi everybody,It pains me to write that in the next day or so, most of you will be receiving email informing you of AOL's decision to shutdown Journals. I thought as long standing supporters of JLand, I should personally let you know a little earlier.This has been an incredibly hard month and half for me as I am as much a part of JLand as any of you (I have been developing software for this product since day 1).The silver lining here, is that most likely, users will be offered the choice of migrating all their Journals to Blogger (John Panzer, former Journals Engg Manager is now at Blogger in a similar capacity). We have been working on a migration plan for the better part of a month and things are coming together nicely. The challenge for us (you, the community and me) is to find a way to keep this community together on Blogger. I have some ideas and wanted to sound you out for some more. I am planning to migratethe Magic Smoke blog over to Blogger and we could have it be the community hub over there. Again, I hope people still want this kind of a hub over there.
Although, it is incredibly sad that JLand as we know it, is going away, I think this is the best thing to happen for JLanders.In fact, the advantages of moving to Blogger are many..- users can monetize their blogs by putting ads in their blog- users can permanently save their blogs as books or other files.- we can grow the community over there.- you can get better themes and so on...
So, in the coming days and weeks Ilook to your support and ideas to make sure we keep the community together while we move to Blogger..
Thanks and Peace,

I think its absolutely disgusting of AOL to do this with no prior consultation but as I have always said that the past is to be respected and the future to be looked forward to I have copied my last entry into Bebo and will continue to do so until AOL Journals finally goes. Have not fathomed out how to transfer picture yet but feel free to have a look at http://www.bebo.com/Blog.jsp?MemberId=2701183907

Over the months and years I have made many good friends on here and I hope they can continue. If you decide to transfer to Bebo (or any other site) please keep in contact.

Wedding Pictures
As promised a couple of pictures from my Mother and Fathers wedding in 1947

Sadly they were only to enjoy 14 years together as my father died of cancer in 1961 when I was 9 years old. My mother than had the unenviable task of bringing up two boys on her own and there certainly was not the support than that there is now. Money was never plentiful but she made certain we never went hungry or without essentials.
She eventually remarried in 1972 and had 25 years of happiness with my step father Ken until she passed away due to heart failure in 1997. Like my fathers mother who never knew how ill he was before she died a year before him, my Mother never knew how ill I was to become in 1998 with cancer.
I have been told by many people that I have inherited many of my Fathers ways, he would do anything for anybody and not even expect any thanks for it. In fact I honestly believe he was the most caring person I have ever met.
Geoffery Friend 1914-1961
Monica Friend 1924- 1997