Monday, 20 December 2010

Farewell "Mo"

Clean shaven once more!

Growing it did raise £850+ for Prostate Cancer Research so it was worthwhile, even though Mission Control was, shall we say, not in favour!

The Wedding

Well after 7.5 hours on the road we made it up to Baildon, we went via Birmingham to collect Lawrie and Emma. A long old haul with plenty of traffic jams thanks to the snow; but we made it safe and sound.
It was all worth it when the wedding took place, our niece Nicola looked stunning. 

 Julia's twin sister, Phil. The mother of the bride.

The snow added a festive touch although it was mighty chilly when the group photos were taken outside. David seems rather cold, and cold champagne doesn't help much!

In the evening floating laterns were lit which meant another trip outside.
"Uncle Peter", the brides father with Andrew and Helena

 Emma wrapped up warm!

I even danced with my wife!

All in all a great bash, many congratulations to Joe and Nicola; they are a lovely couple. We even managed the drive home without hitting one traffic jam!

Monday, 13 December 2010

The snow has gone - but may be back!

Well the snow has gone; at least for the time being. According to those nice Weather Chappies on the TV Arctic conditions are set to return later this week. That is when we are due to drive t'up north to the wedding of Julia's niece. I guess all we can do is wait and see what happens. As all the ladies (well Julia at least) have bought the posh frocks etc for the wedding I just hope that we can make it.

The "Mo" is still on; Nicola did ask me to keep it for the wedding although whether she sees it will depend on the weather.

Alright as you have probably guessed by now I am taking these self portraits on the iMac.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The UK in the snow from above

Lots of the white-stuff about!

Thanks for the Donations

Well Movember has drawn to a close. Thanks to the may who sponsored me I raised £492.50 for Prostate Cancer Charities. When I started I thought that anything over £100 would be good, so to have raised so much is great and the site does not stop taking donations until 09:00 GMT on 10/12/12, so you can still click here.
 I have not yet shaved the Mo off; Julia says it makes me look grumpy perhaps because I am a grumpy old man.
Anyway there it is all I need now is my fedora and I shall be complete.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The iMac is here

and within 5 minutes of taking it out of the box I was happily using it on the internet! I went for the 27 inch version which didn't seem that big in the shop, but seems massive in the office; still as I get older and the eyes start to fail I can use a very large font! Being a student, albeit part-time I was able to get a reasonable discount. Now all I have to do is get used to the differences between it and the stuff from Mr Gates. I know who has the better product and it doesn't come from Seattle!

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Leg and the Mo

Never to take the easy way Julia got an infection in her leg ulcer, which to put it mildly gave her absolute hell. She is on antibiotics and now seems to be on the mend. Last weekend we had the Church Christmas Fayre - this was the first one that Julia has missed; it would have been too much for her standing all the time. Yes there were chairs but knowing my wife.........

The Mo is coming along. Much to my great surprise I have raised £452 - and there is still time to donate. Click here please! The Mo is looking better than I had hoped for although my niece has asked me to keep it for her wedding on December 18. I am not sure if she is that serious and if mission control will allow it; we shall wait and see.

Monday, 22 November 2010


Julia has been suffering with a leg ulcer for past seven months; it began whilst we were on the Pilgrimage in May. Eventually she went to the doctors to see about treatment. To cut a long story short she had operations on the veins in both legs last Tuesday. She has not been too brilliant since; she went out today for the first time and came back absolutely shattered. Hopefully things will now start to improve. We went to the funereal Mass of a Catenian friend, Brian, who was a lovely man. He was only 74 but he had eight great grandchildren at the Mass; we are in our sixties without any grandchildren!

The Mo is coming along; sponsorship always welcome: - click here please.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Study Weekend

Last weekend saw the first "Study Weekend" of my course in Pastoral Theology. Apart from the learning it was a good chance to get to know the other eleven in my year and those in the years above. It took place at High Leigh which is a conference centre in Hertfordshire, about 30 miles north of London.
The house had originally been owned by the Barclay Family (of banking fame). It is now used as a Christian Conference and Study Center. various bits have been added on to accommodate students/delegates but it remains quite a nice building with pleasant grounds
All in all a good weekend. Despite all my studying the "Mo" continues to grow!

If you wish to sponsor me and help raise money for Prostate Cancer Charities then click here.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Closing the Lodge in Movember

We managed a weekend at the Lodge to prepare it for the winter break. David came down with us and we all had a great time. After Mass on Sunday we went to Boscastle, scene of the terrible floods in 2004. It is now fully recovered although the main road in was closed for maintenance; the shopkeepers were not best pleased.

The "Mo" Nine days in!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Movember - Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

What disease affects 1 man in 6? Prostate Cancer
I'm joining the growing club of modern gentlemen who believe in the virtues of fine moustachery, immaculate grooming and growing a moustache for Movember. I am looking for like-minded ladies and gentlemen to join my team to change the face of men's health.
Movember is about raising funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One man dies every hour from the disease in the UK.
It's time we did something about this.
The more people we get on board, the more lives we can impact. I am asking you to join the team and either grow a moustache as a Mo Bro or as a Mo Sista to help us on our journey.
The rules are simple, you are cleanly shaven on 1st November and you have 30 days to grow a Mo and raise cash for charity. I think especially those who already have facial hair should join, shave, and grow a Mo.
Clean shaven at start of the month
If you would like to donate please click here and then follow the steps

If you would like to join my Movember team click here  and follow the steps. Once registered you'll be sent all the information you need to raise funds and start growing as part of our Movember team.

To see the impact Movember citizens are already making, click here.

Also, a few FAQ’s
•      Yes Julia doesn’t like me growing a Mo either, so isn’t that even more reason to participate and raise funds for a fantastic charity
•      I need you Mo Sista’s now to encourage the men to join in, and later to help and encourage. So no worries you don’t need to grow anything
•      The team name I’m a member of on the public register on the UK Movember website is ‘The Authority & Co’ – I’m doing this with some work colleagues

I hope you join / support me to change the face of men's health and have a bit of fun along the way.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Memorial to a Frenchman

Last weekend we met up with a couple of old college friends of mine John and Martin together with Maria and Julia their "better halves". Regular readers of this Blog (are there any?) will recall that we meet up two/three times a year. This time it was the turn for us to meet up in the Bromley area. We went for lunch at "The Thai" Chislehurst; excellent food albeit service was a tad slow. Still we had a good time and will happily go back there again.
After lunch we went for a walk around Chislehurst Common and the duck ponds.

Further on the walk we came to a rare site in England, a memorial to a Frenchman and a royal one at that! Napoleon III and Empress Eugine, who were exiled to Chislehurst, and made Camden Place their temporary residence. The Emperor and Empress soon established a varied social life at Camden Place (now Chislehurst Golf Club) and entertained much royalty and nobility there. The Emperor and Empress' only child, Louis, Prince Imperial, was also residing in Chislehurst, although he was stationed at the Royal Woolwich Military Academy as an officer cadet in 1872. He went with the British Army to South Africa nd fought in the Zulu Wars when his party was ambushed at the Umbanzi River. The people of Chislehurst erected this memorial to him.

It was not all history on the walk, we did see some interesting funghi

Then it was back to Mellish Mansions for tea and cake before our friends departed for home.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Family Matters

We called in and saw my last remaining uncle and aunt; Gordon and Grace who live in Worthing. They are 98 and 96 respectively and have now been married for over 71 years, some achievement! They are both OKish although not quite as sprightly as they were; hardly surprising really to say the least. We had a good chat with them and spent a happy hour or so with them.
The other recent family event was the double birthday celebration of my cousin John and his wife Anni. It was a great bash with some 60 plus family members there.
After we had chatted, ate and drunk our fair share (or even more than our fair share) their children gave a life history with photos. They then said that as Anni was Austrian they had a surprise for them; some dancers came in doing the Viennese Waltz. There was a sudden cry from Anni when she recognized the masked dancers as her two sisters, husbands plus two children who had flown from Austria for the party.

To say that Anni and John were delighted is the understatement of the year. Quite a party!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Visit to Vilnius

Last week I had to go to Vilnius on business. As always on business trips you get tantalising glimpses of fascinating place without the time to explore; work gets in the way! the country has a fascinating history although from the thirties to the nineties it suffered greatly. First invasion by Germany and then the era of the Soviet occupation.  I did manage a visit to the old KGB building which is now a museum dedicated to the Genocide Victims.
On the outside are the names of a few of the early victims of the reign of terror.

Inside I found it very chilling and macabre. There was not much to see in the cells; the were mainly bare and empty, but somehow the knowledge of what went on; the brutal beatings, the solitary confinement sometime in freezing water, the padded cell so that screams went unheard gave it a very disturbing atmosphere. Upstairs there was an exhibition of what happened and how the partisans fought back against overwhelming odds. There are pictures and stories of Catholic Priests and Bishops who opposed the Soviet regime; they too perished here or in exile in Siberia.
Isolation cells
I felt quite ashamed that this had gone on in my lifetime and that I knew nothing about it. Mans inhumanity to man knows no boundaries.
The city itself is interesting, there is a lovely cathedral and the people are friendly and welcoming.
 On the last evening some of the locals that we were working with took us out into the country to a restaurant serving typical food, very good and filling to say the least!

All in all a very interesting place and one more on the list of things to do and places to see.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sundowners for Andy

Andy and I joined IBM about the same time some 26 plus years ago. We both joined in property Services looking after IBM buildings. We also both joined up in the "Back to the Field" call some 23/4 years ago; this was IBM getting non-IT professionals to move into IT. Andy ended up in sales where he had a very successful career and was well respected by all who worked with him. He was one of those who worked hard and played hard; apart form his wife Diana two of his great loves were sailing and the outdoors. Sadly Andy died of cancer almost two year ago. One of his last wishes was that a bench in his memory was installed by the sea at one his sailing clubs.
Thus on Saturday we went to Thorney Island Sailing Club for the unveiling of the bench; designed and built by his uncle, and drink a sundowner or two in his memory.
The plaque
 Diana saying a few words
Max with his son, my Godson Joe

Diaconate Formation

At last I started the formation programme which will, God Willing, lead me to the Permanent Diaconate in the Church. The formal part of this process is a degree course in Pastoral Theology form St. Mary's College, Strawberry Hill (scene of a recent visit by the Pope). This takes place at St.John's Seminary at Wonersh, there is one study day per month, two study weekends each year plus visits to your personal tutor - plus lost of reading. the first study was last weekend. It was very enjoyable except that now the homework starts! A reflective diary, a presentation and a 1500 word essay. If anyone would care to post a 1500 word comment How the letter, Dei Verbum, affects our understanding of the Bible as the "Word of God"  it would be read by me with great interest - complete with footnotes, bibliography etc please!!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Dietary Update

As I haven't mentioned the diet for several months you have probably guessed that things went slightly askew! From a weight of X stone 10 lbs I managed to achieve x stone 14 lbs - a net gain and not at all what I meant to achieve. There are a whole raft of mitigating circumstances, but dear Oscar Wilde summed it up most succinctly in Lady Windermere's Fan; "I can resist everything except temptation." Matters came to a head last Monday when I went to a formal Catenian dinner and struggled for several minutes before I could do my trousers up! So it is back on the diet which means cutting down on bread, potatoes, pasta etc and no beer although wine is OK. So far I have managed to lose a few pounds, in fact this morning I was x stone 6 lbs although I suspect this may be a false low. Still it is in the right direction at least.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


I have just installed Dropbox which is a file sharing application and it allows non Dropbox users to link to files you put in the box, even when your host computer is switched off. You simply put files into the Dropbox public folder on your machine and create a link to them. This Internet stuff will never catch on!
So to test this click HERE and you should see a family photo taken at Helena's graduation. Please let me know if this does/does not work for you.
Many thanks

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Back from Devon

Julia and I spent the last 10 days or so down at our lodge in Devon. Despite the poor weather we had a great time. We met up with Mike and Jane, Mike is an old college friend of mine who lives in Exemouth,. We met at the Cary Arms in Babbacombe for lunch; as luck would have it this pub/hotel starred in the Sunday Times Travel Section the following Sunday. It is well worth a visit; not cheap but great beer and good food.

View from the pub

We also saw a great art exibition at Buckfast Abbey, it featured fourteen pictures of the Stations of the Cross and twelve pictures of the Stations of teh Resurrection - well worth a visit although the exhibition closes on September 13.

As always Dartmoor is lovely, as are the animals!

All in all a great few days.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Official Graduation Photograph

At last the official graduation photos.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Trying to trace Pauline ??? (nee Sollitt)

Rather a long shot this one. Julia and I are trying to track down one of our bridesmaids who we lost touch with shortly after she got married (neither of us can remember her married name). Her maiden name was Pauline Sollitt and she went to St. Paul's College at Newbold Revel with Julia all those years ago. This photo was taken at Pauline's wedding (I suspect that like all of us she may have changed in 37 years!)

Monday, 9 August 2010

A Hectic Few Days

Last weekend we had the great "excitement" of the arrival of a new Dyson Vacuum Cleaner (our first Dyson). The last vacuum cleaner had developed a habit of cutting out and you had to wait an increasing length of time before it reset itself. Like most modern appliances it was impossible to take apart to see exactly where the problem lay, that is progress for you. Matters came to a  head when it took me almost 2 hours to clean the car; most of the time being spent waiting. Anyway this machine is awesome in what it sucks up. It is not the quietest or the lightest but it certainly cleans.
Then Helena came down from Hull mid-week for a job interview as a management trainee. Julia went up to town with her (browsing the shops whilst Helena had the interview) and I joined them after work. We met up with Andrew and Gaew and had a couple of drinks followed by (sadly) a rather indifferent meal. Still we had a great evening; it is the people that count.
Friday the bottom fell out of my world as I had a colonoscopy in the evening (too much information). I see the great man this week although he did say that there is nothing seriously wrong; phew!
Sunday a long time American friend, Pat Reilley, came over for the day. I first met Pat in 1997 when I was in the States for six weeks on business writing an IBM Redbook. As I was over for such a long period I made contact with the local Scouts, I was a Scout Leader at the time. Pat was the international adviser and we struck up a good friendship. Pat made a small memento which is now one of my treasured possessions;

Pat had been to Scotland with some American Scouts and was now in London with his grandson, Todd and another scout, Ian. We had a most enjoyable day, we took them to Greenwich showed them the  Zero degrees Meridian Line, the Royal Observatory and then down to the town to see the painted hall in the old Naval College and the local market. Then back home for dinner, a most enjoyable day.
Todd, Pat and Ian

The Painted Hall

Friday, 30 July 2010

T'up North

There are endless debates as to where the "North" of England begins. My dad thought that Manchester where Julia comes from was in the frozen Arctic wastelands, whereas a college friend who was born in Carlisle thought that Manchester was in the South Midlands. A recall many years ago staying in a hotel in Winchester and this debate was taking place in the letter columns of a local paper. One writer said that north was anything north of the A34 (a local arterial road) and that London was the most southerly of the northern fishing ports!
Anyway this week I had to spend a couple of days in Sunderland at a customer. I stayed overnight at a hotel in Roker on the beach front. The weather was lovely and I was astounded at how lovely it was. It was just a shame that I was working and could only enjoy the scenery on an evening and before breakfast stroll.