outside the exec lounge windown I can see the easy jet planes being deiced a chap running over them with a hair dryer hopefully emirates will be a trifle more organised and I'm hoping that it will be an Airbus rather than one of those really uncomfortable American jobs which wreck my back. I got up early and headed straight to work,all our locals roads were covered in snow the garden and drive wee covered and very icy. Mandy managed to get through to Tina and Max in new Zealand and showed them the snow which never occurs in the steamy northland of north island. it was too bad for Mandy to venture out but as it warmed up a clear path appeared around the house so while I was at work Mandy managed to get to the garage and put down some rock salt and it was well cleared by the time I got back.I got the jobs I needs to do at work all done but had some material I needed to drop off at our knutsford office on the way back,snowy but passable although the mail room lad who has slight learning impairment was struggling with his trolley which is the same one as we have for pmp,I noted his flat tyres helped him lighten the load and set him off with a push up the path towards reception,bless. a quick cuppa and and change to lighter clothing although I've a light jumper and rain coat just in case and we are off to the airport it was showing about forty minutes late but I think its a knock on from yesterday when it was closed they may well catch up the time I wouldn't want to be too late into Dubai tonight I want a bit of shut eye before I get gricing in the city. lots there to see monorail,tram,metro buses and open toppers,even so a day may be sufficient, the news from Bangladesh wasn't too dirr so fingers crossed that peace has broken out when we arrive or it will be a back of the ambulance job to town,not sure if they have to resort to that these days. I'm sure Dubai will be with fi endowed so hopefully I'll blog Saturday their time.
I didn't turn out to be the best of days to have reserved for a meeting in Stockton but I was awake a little early so used the time to get going and see if I could keep ahead of the weather front which had brought strong gusts and flickering lights yesterday evening. It was clear on the roads with glimpses of sunshine although snow on the hills, traffic was light for the morning rush hour. Up in Cumbria just the outside lane was closed in places and then it all came to a halt towards Carlisle, the A66 which was the intended route was closed. Yes so it was an up and across and down again round trip. Carlisle looked gridlocked but the way around to the A69 was actually clear it was the town which was iced up. The was a delay in one spot as a van had failed to climb a short hill which actually looked quite clear. After it picked up I followed a snow plough until we hit the dual carriageway and from then on it was clear sky and sunshine although it was a good few hours expended on this roundabout journey. I stopped for fuel, I'd taken the van so it was diesel noted petrol was just £1.03 a litre up there.
I was quite early for the meeting, I cursed that i hadn'rt had the camera as there had been some terrific snowy trucks scenes on the A69 diverted from the A66 closure but even then I was still only an hour early and had lunch with our apprentice and noted his good progress. We sat in the canteen, I got a cup of coffee having already eaten my sandwiches I didn't want to spoil my appetite for dinner tonight, I think Mandy's done something special to see me off on my trip. The polsityrene cup leaked, I put it in another eventually I was covered in coffee as was the floor just my luck. We had our meeting and presentation to the lads and then I stuffed a few biscuits in my pocket and headed back down the A169 to join the A1M which was amazingly clear although lots of road work sections. A short stop at a police incident, a crashed car being recovered I think and then straight over the M62 from Yorkshire to home in double quick time, I think the dire forecasts had kept people away from the roads.
I've just been out and given the birds a last feed and shown Mandy a few more things she can do for herself on the computer when I'm away. Quiet on the net though although phone and post are fine. Manchester airport closed briefly but reopened and the snow has melted already. I've checked in and printed my boarding card so perhaps a short blog tomorrow morning from the airport around UK lunchtime. I put a few clips on the net last night, I might add some more this evening, can't see us going to the pub though, bet I don't get a decent pint for a couple of weeks although India isn't too bad although I wouldn't want to pay £50 a bottle for their wine.
garment manufactuers form a hman chain in Dhaka in protest against the government and opposition parties over the continued disruption of normal fife in this one of the worlds poorest nations. The bad news tonight is that yet another lorry drivers mate has been killed this time when the truck rolled over when he was trying to get the driver out of the burning vehicle. It is into the furnace of hatred that we set off on our journey to this Friday, I doubt that sanity will strike home as the pm tells the police to do everything they have to to keep peace, laudable words but the opposition who boycotted last years elections don't give a damn about how many people their terrorists kill. It seems that yet another nation is heading into the anarchy which seems to follow as extremists grab hold of the reins. I really felt that the army may have stepped in to restore some order, we would be very unlucky to walk into an actual act of violence and this has to be balanced against the natural friendliness of the people and the low crime rate for visitors who must be down to single digits, at least the hotel staff won't be too busy. Another 24 Hartal or enforced strike is underway Thursday in the capital and other districts. In yet another development the terrorists are forcing people off buses before they torch the vehicles, they felt burning people alive wasn't gaining much public support for them, now there is a surprise.
Another little flurry of packages with models plopping on the doorstep, well next door and the greenhouse actually, not even got time to open them up , I've spent the evening getting the case packed, only a couple of kilos over weight at 12 easy peasy with electronic check in you don't get to tied up with the staff, anyway when I sit on board every other person seems to have three or four bags worth of stuff, most of which that clock your head with as the get past. I can't check in until tomorrow, it will have to wait until evening as its only 24 hours before flight time that you can do it, I wish they would make is at least 36. Tomorrow I'm driving up for a meeting at the NETA college in Stockton, I'll set off normal time via Yorkshire as I don't think the A66 will be open if the snow comes as forecast, goodness knows what time I'll get back. It looks like being very warm on the trip, hopefully not from flames though. I will go in work early Friday as I've just got a bundle of training requests through at the last minute which i need to enter up. Auditors in today, usual office fluttering about to accommodate, all seemed to go well.
I'm loading up some clips from our earlier lorry coverage in the UK, these will be on Youtube this evening, Trunk Road to Wales March 1996, blimey when looking at it they seem to be from the arc well not a very old arc, talking of which our next trip to plan for myself and Mandy will be to Colombia perhaps at Christmas, I'd like to catch the sugar cane harvest there, 4 truck road trains at harvest time, amazing old lorries still about and new tram in second city plus metro, much safer these days, on the coast hundreds of hotels are going up as it reaps the semi peace dividend.
I'm putting a stack of Vietnam clips on Youtube as they are now the second biggest viewing country on Youtube after the UK, I just hope they click on an advert when they visit.
We are making a start on packing for the big trip at the end of the week, well Mandy has actually packed all the clothes, I'm counting on getting laundry done at the half way mark in Bangladesh. We had a nice note from Hasan, he is looking forward to our arrival and I think all things considered with the state of the country it is quite calm on our part to just do the British thing and carry on just like the posters say. There isn't anything particularly bad happening today but their pm has refused to enter into peace talks with Zia until the violence across the country ceases. Hartals are still being called in specific locations but all things considered they are just another pimple on the bigger picture. We have got a couple of suggestions of places to visit in India should turmoil descend on us otherwise its still over to Calcutta at the end. Just as I get ready for the heat the weather looks as if it is going to go downhill on Thursday and I'm meant to be heading over to the North East, perhaps if it gets back I'll change plans, in any case if I go I'll take the van as it needs a run out and is far safer with some added weight as opposed to my little sewing machine on wheels.
I spent a lot of time on the pnoe and internet today, the works printer was up the creek, all day they were trying to fix my conections when it turned out to be a wider problem only I was the only one to notice, silly old me. All the rubbish that's going on with the Scottish episode is more than enough to cope with at present, good job I've got an iron constitution, Mandy is so angry with them as well but I suppose I can sell my story to the papers it may become all like the Greek aircraft spotters all over again.
Anyway I must get that Vietnam truck stuff loaded up, the evenings just flown by, even Weebly had a wobbly on their web site as I couldn't get the correct method of posting to show on the orders received today, typical that there would be a lot, however I'm told it's a known issuer and they are working to fix it, ahh then that's everything just fine and dandy then. I've loaded masses of the Cuba material on to my Smugmug photo sales site, prints are from just 50p each.
I think the general atmosphere in Bangladesh is starting to be against the violence which has swept the country and even when a 36 hour Hartal was aimed at the population they refused to be cowed by the threats. All our arrangements are going ahead as planned and even the cabins on the Rocket have been booked. Hasan our local agent is meeting us at the hotel in Dhaka next Monday morning. Meanwhile I have a full day in Dubai on the way out to film the new tramway plus the metro and monorail which runs through the Palm development. I can't say it's the type of place that I'd normally want to go but it is quite a different look that has been employed in the design and certainly not a region which we have had occasion to cover that much. I've started getting the case packed and really focused on the trip which promises to be quite memorable.
Meanwhile after the busy day at the Festival of brass at the RNCM I can settle back into a routine and pick up on the Austrian material which still has Vienna to have the sound track added. I'll then give it a rest until I come back from the Bangladesh trip. Lots of other stuff buzzing around, the incidents in Scotland last year have now emerged from the woodwork and come back to haunt me so another whole bunch of worrying and really I can't describe how I feel about the police in Scotland who seem racist to the core. More worry and expense but not a battle that i can let go without fighting it as far as I can.
Here the weather looks as if it will take a downturn later ij the week, hoping the runway is clear at Manchester Friday afternoon. I'm looking at future trips at present one of which may well be to Colombia, there look to be some interesting trucks including road trains which are used in the sugar harvest.
Another late blog but we've been out for most of the day. We had a reasonable lay in bed and then I did the RSPB bird watch for an hour, about 14 species seen although nothing other than the more mundane sorts and the largest contender were the Goldfinches of which there was a flock of 9 hanging around. Our regular fox showed up again last night, it must have been this that started the holes in the lawn, he is getting very regular. I saw a Kestral hovering opposite from the editing room it was seen off by two mobbing Jackdaws. Anyway then Sue arrive and after a cuppa it was time to head into Manchester. We had lunch at the RNCM restaurant, not my favourite thing eating and drinking at lunch time. It was the Cory band first then the rather strange sensation as we watched the band of the Kings Division which is a new band from the army but goes back all the way to my father George's band in the 1930s in the Kings Liverpool Regt. So that was a bit weird in a nice way. Then after a drink it was time for Grimethorpe Colliery band which rounded off the festival of brass weekend and took us to about 8.30 and when we got home we were far too stuffed to think about supper which can carry forward to tomorrow nights tea.
The Monday newspapers in Bangladesh published whilst in the midst of a countrywide Hartal or enforced strike shows that the country is getting really cheesed off and most trains were running and not just buses in the city but even inter urban services. A couple of petrol bombings in Dhaka but it really does seem as if the blockade is losing steam and Zia who's son died in Malaysia seems to have lost political capital which has gone to the pm as she tried to visit Zia but was snubbed with a story that she had been sedated which may not be true. I'm starting to get a little more optimistic that we'll be getting stuff done and if life is starting to get back to normal in the midst of the turmoil it might throw up some interesting stories, just so long as we come out of in in one piece. Chatting through with Martin in the morning, it won't hurt to have a plan b up our sleeves with the rudiments of a strategy for Indian narrow gauge in the mountains if we are forced to leave Bangldesh early.
I've finished the pictures on the second Austrian tram archive, I'll start on the sound tomorrow evening. I've a few bits of paperwoprk to get sorted so Mandy knows where we are on the trip and business cards to put in in case we need to explain our presence in B'desh. Meanwhile a couple of clips from Hull yesterday.
Good evening friends, viewers,customers worldwide. It was as promised a mainly sunny day and we decided to make Hull our destination. We got up a little earlier at 6am and were parked up at the back of Marks & Spencer's and had breakfast there at 8.30. I started on the buses by walking down to the end of the bus station but there light isn't that good first thing so I went back up by the BBC offices and it was easy enough to clock up the footage as the morning drew on and then I went back to the roundabout at the end of the bus station and got carried away with all the activity so a slightly longer than normal film. I'll edit it this evening and hopefully a couple of clips on Youtube later this evening. I also managed to make a start on the Vienna archive tram feature last night, about 15 minutes of image completed. I decided to be a little selective as some material even with computer enhancement is a bit marginal and I have no lack of scenes to select from.
There was a bit of a flurry of orders on the internet last night and today but nothing at all in the post which is quite unusual. We had a bot of a tour around Holderness ijn East Yorkshire after we finished at Hull and Mandy saw several places like Withernsea for the first time, we came back around through Beverley which was just blocked through with grid locked treafic, got home about 5pm. Anyway we got done what was required. Commendation goes to the Eat Yorkshire Route 54 lady driver although it was a short ride she displayed very helpful behaviour to customers such as the elderly lady with sopping trolley whose way on at the raised stop was impeded by a car parked over the stop, she also pointed out the failing of the driver!
The news from Bangladesh hasn't really shown any particular progress although the pm did go to see the opposition lady Zia whose son had died but she had been sedated, perhaps a glimmer of humanity and perhaps an olive branch. The port of Chittagong reckon that there is a normal amount of goods lmoving, no idea though on buses but the factories are running short of supplies. Still hoping that they reach a truce or that there is a coup and the army takes over which is probably the best option as then there would be no hartals. Oh well nearly dinner time, shots from Hull earlier today.
The senseless violence in poverty stricken Bangladesh carries on with two more deaths through petrol bombs thrown at trucks the drivers of which and indeed their helpers receive little pay and nothing when there aren't working so little wonder they are braving the terrorists who are inflicting such chaos on the country just because Zia has spat the dummy out of the pram, boycotted elections and then a year later moans because she can't influence government through ordinary channels and whips her supporters up into a frenzy which makes the run of the mill hartals look like a picnic in the park. On my last visit the military still had control and the country was much more stable although listening to the prats from the British embassy you would have thought they were in another galaxy dreaming about democracy and that military rule was so bad, not so bad if you are on the line between hunger and dinner. I looked up the temperature for the coming weeks , it's sunny and warm in Bangladesh but if we revert to plan b and come straight back to India and go up to the narrow gauge railways it will be very chilly at about 12-13 degrees C. I've been to Sainsburys and picked up some sweets and nibbels for the trips to sustain me when the food is just too awful. I've found my duck tape round around a pencil which is my quick fix kit for most items whilst on the road. The medical kit needs a bit of sewlecting from, as we only have hand lugguage its no use taking needles, anyway lets hope we arent that bad they need to be used, now anti burn cream theres a thought.
It was very busy at work for a Friday we even had a meeting in the afternoon but i was rewarded by very quiet motorwayus which is mego weird for a Friday afternoon in the M56/M6 although it was all coming to a halt after Knutsford heading south but that is the same any day. I ordered up a new Australian tri axle decker which John Lidstone seems to have already got but there has been no email to confirm, perhaps they've sold out, they are doing one of the Chinese open top tour buses next. From this you'll take it that Buses mag was out today, more operators biting the dust but always a few more people around to risk their shilling on a new venture. Today would have been the right weather for Manchester or Leeds etc but tomorrow stills looks as if it will be sunny, places like Coventry, Hull, Doncaster come to mind even Dudley where winter sun isn't such a pain.
I've just finished the first of the two Austrian archive films and am burning the master disc, clips will go on Youtube this evening. Then I'll be starting the Vienna archive volume which again features some amazing early footage from the capital and some of the ancient stock which ran in the 1960s including the American cars. There is an amazing ammount of coverage produced by our friend Alan Mortimer taken around the capital of light rail, buses and the S bahn. Also we have rare shots of the old trolleybuses. A couple of links to recent Youtube archive oldie releases that i put up earlier this week just to keep the interest of readers on a wider front. Superb footage by Martin Rickitt.
We got a nice email back from co-op power apologising that we couldn't upload our readings for gas on the new account but it seems that Scottish Power are being slow to transfer the required data, no surprise there then. Mandy was at the dentist for quite a while having the tooth which fell apart before we left for Cuba before Christmas sorted out at Partington, she's got the Polio Fellowship committee meeting tomorrow at Ellesmere Port. I've been monitoring the news coming in from Bangladesh and realised that in addition to the paper online there are Youtube uploads from their main news channel. Actually there were threads of hope, frantic activity with trucks at Chittagong and quite a lot of Bedford TKs still in use which I never saw on my previous visit although I hardly left Dhaka that time. There were scenes from upstairs on a wrecked double decker tumbling along with windows smashed loaded three days ago and scenes of trains overflowing even by Bangla standards bringing pilgrims back from the recent festival. Nothing on the ferries but the government is anxious that they are shown as having life nearly as normal although I think any semblance of schedules is right out of the window so Asan will be earning his keep by bribing and smiling our way through the mayhem, lets hope they don't go burning bus tickets, perhaps they'll be special ones to commemorate our visit, well they've had enough notice.
I made a lot of progress last night putting the sound on the Austrian archive DVD, by gum it's taken some work, I had to overcome shortfalls with the current software , it excels in all other ways except for sound addition. Anyway I seem to have overcome things and got 30 minutes fully finished, I've a little time this evening before we go down the Pheasant for our Thursday night drink. Its been mild and dull with glimpses of sun, fingers crossed that the forecasts are wrong and Saturday produces cloud as the forecast sun really conspires against film work on the buses. A number of orders now for DVDs as it's magazine release time of the month. I've been pretty hectic at work but well on top of everything now and next week will be frantic as I'm in the North East on Thursday and fly out via Dubai on the Friday. AS I hoped to film in Manchester Saturday lets have some shots from there tonight.
after taking my camera bag to work thinking there would be some spectacular snow falls it turned we and even melted the small amount of snow and ice left from last weekend. So really it was a bit less cold today even if a bit damp. Last night I managed to get the editing of the Austrian archive up to an hour, I've got one section by Alan Mortimer to add which covers the minor railways and the likes of Gmunden. The second DVD will cover Vienna for which I have some cracking vintage film. The dizzy feeling is still there in the background by certainly less pronounced than it was at the weekend. It's been pretty hectic at work, I was at Birkenhead with apprentice reviews in the morning then got a parcel of outstanding material from our trainer and I galloped through it and got a lot away in the post to clients awaiting certs for their courses delivered in December.
We had a response from Hasan in Bangladesh today, I'd checked their electronic Morning star newspaper a couple of times and the impression coming out is that the blockade is fizzling out, the government toughing up with the terrorists and the people are just pretty pissed off with the whole episode whilst the opposition woman sits in her HQ directing chaos around the country whose elections she boycotted last year and expects everyone to recognise them as some paragon of democracy. Hasan's email also seemed to back up these impressions and I am slightly optimistic that we'll get there but how and if we do all our schedule is another issue.
I've put a short sale on EBay this week so dip in please, I've taken off a number of items which haven't sold for over a year but our shop on this site has the full range as does Amazon. The links to Youtube are recent uploads, I've found a method of speeding up the process quite a lot but I need a wide range as just UK buses doesn't attract a world wide audience who are hopefully busy clicking the adverts and averting what was a post Christmas lull in activity. I'm not sure of the weekends film destinations should the weather play in our favour, perhaps Manchester and Liverpool or maybe Leeds. I think the Bangladesh situation had me looking at Indian railways the other night, film thanks to Martin Rickitt who will accompany me on this hazardous trip.
PMP Sponsors the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust at Kirkby.