I'm now in Kent in a very comfortable and good value boutique hotel cum pub about four miles from Maidstone. I managed to get an hour of film today at slough and Bracknell whichwboth offer an interesting diversion from much of the normal offerjngs where reading in its many guises along with independents provide the backbone of services and allbthe drivers were very friendly and in bracknell i had aaplessant chat with a Burmese refugee who was surprised to meet someone with much knowledge and familiarity with his birth country.bit was sunny until afternoon then that evril sunshine and clouds. I was staying on here are it was supposed to be cloudy tomorrow although that is no longer certain. IllI get Maidstone finished first thing and catch the morning rush hour and hope that it holds out against the sun and then head to Chatham which can stand a degree of sunshine, it will be another month or more and the clocks changing before sunshine is a benefit filming rather than a hazard. The family funeral saw me up at a quarter to four am and straight down to Guildford where I took advantage of the light cloud and got the busy morning rush hour services then across Surrey and west susseS down to Littlehampton which I haven't visited for several decades. We had a family lunch although I stuck to ice cream albeit it turned out to be a shake whatever that is like runny ice cream with bits or lumps in it. Then north of Worthing through heavy traffic to get to the crematorium for uncle Roy's. Funeral and back to east Preston later for some lovely sandwiches and cakes to which my sister Yvonne served up in the absence of Mandy who is in ireland. I'm not really that helpless but usually I'll drop something and make a mess. Then I headed east to hailsham north of Eastbourne to see john and Maureen bishop swapping films, magazines etc and a welcome brew to keep me going and then back across to Brighton and up the aa23 and then some bumpy pot holes roads worse than Cheshire cat which I thought impossible to the country house hotel in the middle of nowhere. TThereading lamp didn't work and I was too tired to tell anyone but it was absolutely quiet and comfortable and I was straight to sleep waking before the alarm to be ready for breakfast at seven and I had a susages sandwich plus pastries juice and fruit. Then the hunt for somewhere to film, I tried Uxbridge twice , useless this time of year so that's how I ended up in nearby Slough. The hotel I'm in now has a noisy road outside even though it's rural but is a lot bigger and stylish than last night so much so that fasting day or not I'll try alight supper and pudding just to check it out for the future as well need somewhere for the detling rally in April. Home after filming tomorrow hopefully getting clear of London before the pm rush hour it seems to be holidays again for the children they never seem to be at school these days.
A superb concert at the RNCM it was another co-operation between nations with an octet from Bergen in Norway working with the colleges chamber choir, the quality and breadth of material was spot on and it was possibly the most sublime music making with voice only that could be achieved. Mandy is now in Ireland with Hil and Sean with Jane round to dinner this evening as Mandy gets to know their new home. I'm ready for a very early start in the morning and hoping to get down to the south coast in the morning with a couple of hours for filming should the weather be ok, some rain is expected but Tuesday will be bright again with the challenges of changeable weather but then Wednesday should be light clouds and little wind and then I'll cover Maidstone and Chatham. I'll try and get a blog or two done on my journey, staying near Garwick tomorrow. After the family funeral I'll make my way east to visit John Biship and then up to the hotel. I'll take a last look at the outlook before bed then and decide my targets for filming on Tuesday around the London area. I did manage to get the Bus Spot Ultra Canterbury finished and I've also put some cine of sometimes marginal usefulness on Youtube so that it gets a good audience, all part of our open access plan, digital downloading on the shop will also be possible plus of course a commercial use licence. A few Kent shots to part with then.
I think the first thing I would uninvent is the mobile phone followed by the computer along of course with nuclear weapons and the like! Things like email can deliver their own tiny Exocet missiles into your life just like the terrible barbed comments through Facebook or Youtube. It is probably worth noting that most social media emanates from the USA not China or Russia although they would like you to think that. Scary thatt Trumps minions are able to access all that data on you. We eventually followed through on the Nat West compromised accounts issue and found that all types of accounts for Mandy had been infected and needed new cards issuing which was a devil as Mandy is away to Ireland on Sunday. It has been a bitch of a week for IT problems, we had the keyboard stop working which looked like meaning a new motherboard for our editing deck but it turned out to be a dust blocking vents issue a few icy blasts from the compressed air tine saw the new board I picked up come to life, what a relief. We also had an issue with Clonter Opera which was resolved today amicably. Aren't 'issues' thick and fast in our lives as if they weren't complicated enough. Anyone had the HMRC latest phone scam if you get it put the phone down quick, don't press any buttons or ring any numbers, this could be replacing your computer is at threat scam. Most of this actually originates in India or other Asian centres - so if the hate mail don't get you the scammers might.
I've managed to get all the past couple of weeks releases of DVDs loaded on the shop and next will get the digital versions online. We had the plumbers in today to service gas boiler and fire plus fixed kitchen tap all fairly swiftly accomplished. Mandy has collected our sack of pills for the next few weeks from Holmes Chapel Health centre. I'm going to finish off the minor decorating jobs tomorrow and when I go to Asia in March I'll load up the redundant bird feeders so there will be lots available to the little things while I'm away, Mandy hasn't the stability in her mobility to reach up and get the feeders don to fill. I finished putting clips of latest DVD releases on to Youtube I did also manage to get all the still photos from February to date filed away but need to put them on the Smugmug site which alas gets few people using it despite the requests for all our photos to be available, you can get prints or digital downloads. We shall be disposing of all our PMP stock transport prints starting this spring with bulk purchase offers at £25 for 100. We also have our old DVD stock sale ongoing at events with more amazing less than half price bargains at the rallies. We shall be going to the Ribble 100 event and have a stand there plus of course film this important anniversary. That leads us to Lancashire which we visit in this evenings slide show. Also here are the covers for the latest DVDs.
As I've hinted at in the past I think we may be coming to the time when we need to seriously reflect on social media and our hobby, the Youtube channel does nothing at all to protect people from threats and intimidation therefore allowing comments on clips seems wasted as it brings nothing but upset, I know the ratio may be hundreds to one but when the 'one' comes it is usually out of all proportion to a harmless hobby. The same applies to Facebook whereby some people post nothing but rants and swear words and information we had probably best do without. My friend John in Guangzhou has 'fixed' me up with an old mobile which will have a computer so we can communicate on apps, obviously with the language difference he would have missed the context of my not having such a thing, namely I don't want it!
We had a good film session at Derby yesterday, on Monday I'm down at a family funeral in Sussex afterwards calling in at John Bishops at Hailsham and then staying overnight near Gatwick, given up on Premier Inns as they cost an arm and a leg, the weather at present couldn't be more against me for bus filming as it is sunny periods which is the worse possible mix but then light cloud Wed and Thursday plus Monday when I'm at the funeral, as usual I expect it will change a dozen times before then so I will remain flexible in my arrangements. We have the plumber coming to service the boiler and gas fire tomorrow morning plus get the kitchen sink tap sorted, it keeps going wobbly, I got underneath to fix it once but it only lasted a few weeks. I'm doing battle with the Natwest bank after our accounts have been compromised with data from one of the security leaks, someone has registered us for online banking, we've already got new credit cards, we went to the branch this morning to no vail they cannot tell you anything about it, they gave us yet another phone number to try, it is hell dealing with them but I expect they are all as bad as one another.
Today we got the DVD post away and then to Ellesmere Port, got some dog toys for Mandy to tajke to Ireland on Sunday, I topped up with bird food and then to Marks & Spencers for lunch and then the Polio Fellowship meeting at the Whitby social club. Pub night tonight at The Crown. We've been emptying the airing cupboard for the plumber access and thrown some old stuff out. Photos from Derby, the truck DVDs are getting towards the end of editing four of them all new locations. Considering the mixed weather they didn't come out too bad.
Mandy's cousin Barb on Vancouver Island slightly misjudged the time difference when we were woken at 3am this morning, in the scramble from our slumbers to switch on the light Mandy knocked over her water and then cleaning that up fell but all was soon sorted but it took a long time to get back to sleep. Barb caught up later today in the relatively tranquil afternoon. I was up and about and soon heading down into Shropshire with the dual target of finishing off the Shropshire Bus DVD and also trying out a couple of the new truck filming spots I'd identified on my way to a meeting in Shrewsbury last week. Had a successful day albeit weather conditions for filming were far from ideal with mixed sun and cloud alternating. It will take a good bit of editing but I'm hoping to have two DVDs featuring two new locations in addition to the new one new Newark and the one at Goole we filmed at in January, can't be bad four new locations and its only the second month. Telford bus station was fairly boring, the only progress is a handful of Arriva buses in the new livery, between the two visits not a single decker spotted although I assume there must be some for schools duties. The truck locations were not ideal but in summer weather may well be so and both had plenty of action, I'll post the results from all this activity over the next few days. A family bereavement may well take my down to Sussex early next week, perhaps the impetus I needed to get my film work done in Kent, hoping for suitable weather. Lets start then with lorries this morning between Whitchurch and Shrewsbury.
All was well that ended well despite the erratic weather forecasts from the BBC. Heading for Immingham to cover the lorries there instead of being the brightest area it turned out to be dark cloud and raining so had a brew at the truck stop there and then headed to Lincoln as I figured that region seemed to look clear on the way over and no use picking Doncaster or Sheffield as sun would be a nuisance covering buses there whereas Lincoln's new bus station is spot on which is what I did. Then with lots of time in hand I went towards Newark with the thought of following up my observations on a roundabout with the junction to the A1, this turned out to be just one of three roundabouts and I filled my boots as they say with lorry film and got masses of stills as well. Lincoln buses were very similar to last years visit you can see them tomorrow. Film destination tomorrow to be decided at bedtime but at present it looks like finishing off in Shropshire at Oswestry and Telford and trying some of the new places for lorries I noted when I went down to the meeting in Shrewsbury last week.
We were woken from our slumbers at 5.50 this morning with the alarming news that Mandy's cousin Max in New Zealand had suffered a stroke a couple of weeks back, in between we hadn't been in touch as Max is the more computer savvy and explains an urgent call for phone contact the other day. Well thankfully it was only Max's speech which has suffered and with therapy this is already improving. So our very best wishes and prayers for Max and Tina and all their family who must have been very concerned. Also in the wars is our neighbour over the road, Alex, who reapeared after some days away sans car, some idiot in a van hit her head on on the wrong side of the road, she seems to have sustained quite a few cuts and bruises and arm in a sling.
After church we cracked on with domestic jobs, I carried on with the minor decorative improvements of wear and tear in the bedrooms, bathroom and landing windows and tiles but when I'd finished the whole afternoon had passed by. We are struggling to keep up with the weather outlook which is changing by the minute but sufficient to say we shall try and get out with the camera on Mon, Tues,Wednesday and Friday. Very little to get ready by way of DVDs so just going to get them done and then sit down with the remainder of the wine, has beef from one of the German cheapos, absolute rubbish I don't rate them at all but Mandy thinks it saves money, not when it goes in the bin I say. We might get back to Telford to finish off the Shropshire DVD so here is a stab at a slide show from thereabouts with first Staffs and then Shropshire.
A day for getting jobs done after a night of fierce winds. We managed to get a couple of bits of shopping done early, it was based on my sudden remembrance of a recipe Mandy hadn't cooked for years so ingredients in store we decided to do our run to the tip on Northwich which was handy as it passes Halfords and the warning light came up on the Jazz that the fob battery was low. At the tip we had the usual empty boxes, the remnants of the 16mm cine film which hadn't sold on EBay, a shame as there were several of the Pan Am travel films and other good stuff but I've copied it all and the price of postage makes selling at a 1p unthinkable and really some of the people I encountered dealing with cine on EBay were enough to make your blood boil.
We unloaded at the tip several other goodies the toaster that was the wrong colour and only toasted one side, the printer which had a sealed unti so you couldn't clean the ink heads and some other junk, with the Jazz full that still left the old PMP stand and the false floor assemble I had made for the van. These metal jobs were heading to Keith Roden who makes all sorts of warehouse trolleys and bins amongst a thousand other things like rearing sheep. It was good to catch up with friends and it was well after 5pm when we left, Mandy is busy preparing dinner, it doesn't really matter if we run late on a Saturday.
I'm keeping an eye on the weather for filming next week, plans for Mon,Tues,Wed and Friday - Thursday is the monthly Polio Fellowship meeting at Ellesmere Port, which reminds me I'm doing the talk next month before I leave on my Asian trip. One of our possible film locations could be a two day London visit, also a quickie to Telford to get the Shropshire bus film finished and then a couple of the possible truck spots which I eyed up last week when visiting Shrewsbury. It was funny to see the old PMP stand go today, we've had it for about 25 years and it has been up from Dublin to Belfast, Plymouth to Lathalmond and lots inbetween. We have the tents now which we won't need for our first two of the years events which will be nicely under cover at Detling and Brooklands. So with talk of London why not take a peek at things past in that region.
We ended up with quite a lot of DVD orders today, it had mounted up through the net and phone with little now via ordinary post. All went of this afternoon, we gave up waiting for todays post to arrive, any more late and it would be the next days delivery. I had a text on my old phone saying it was Natwest re online banking which we don't do, the branch said just delete it its a scam. Then today Mandy gets a letter which looks a bit iffy from Nat West eventually gets their fraud line, turns out someone has opened online banking in our name and with my old email which ceased over 2 years ago. I guess it must have been from one of those mega data releases, the bank said they were inundated with enquiries but we've seen or heard nothing in the media about it, so I rang up the papers and got them on the case. It is really weird as when we asked last time we had a phishing attempt Nat West said they didn't have security in India but today online once more they said they were in India, which is of course where 99% of all scams and annoying phone calls come from. I'm suggesting to McVey our mp that the UK government with-hold all payments we still give them ( why?) until they get on top of the billion pound industry their scamming of honest hard working British people, particularly the elderly. Unlike the Brexit I could find hell for a better bunch of people in said sub continent.
We did some shopping. Putting it way I searched through for some Balloti beans which were a few years past the use by date, checked through the rest and turfed out numerous other items, problem is Mandy being short can't always see that we have them in the cupboard and puts fresh items in front of old ones. Good old Compass came up trumps with its trading results this week, worth a bottle of fizzy as we put rather a lot into them a couple of years back, I get some things right although offset by utilities and bus companies who are all at substantial loss thankfully with no huge investment. I just liked to get the upper hand when there was a problem with the likes of Stagecoach or fuel vendors. The latest bus spot ultra DVD is ready other than the DVD cover, its on Oldham, a quicky as I had little really old material but the next is Canterbury which I've lots to sort through to get it compiled. I did put East Kent one recently so won't go there again. Lets go to lorries as the Asia trip looms mid March only a month away with hopefully all sorts of transport here are all sorts of lorries!
Wet and windy with a mix of rain, sleet and snow then just wind, eventually after flinging half the rubbish from the road in the gutter being bin day it subsided and came out sunny mid afternoon. We are expecting another dose of similar overnight and through tomorrow so no filming at all and another catch up day. I did really well today and not only are the latest releases on DVD on the shop but I'm also rapidly getting up to date on the digital download versions. I've got all the covers for them made and the first sales copies went our today fresh off the press as they say. Quite a lot of DVD orders online, by phone and post but all cleared and in the post. I've already started the next Bus Spot Ultra production which covers Rochdale after that it will be Canterbury. John Bishop kindly unearthed the list of cine films I have in my collections, about 240 in total excluding social material. In the case of the Winter collection which has already appeared on tv in Scotland it will probably need to go to the National Library of Scotland cine film collection and perhaps they will be able to scan it on their £100k machines, wish I could have one, roll on Euro lotttery eh. Tonights slide show is on Cardiff taken yesterday morning. Also the cover of the latest DVD and digital releases.
PMP Sponsors of bus rallies for 25 years.