Another Grey Day

09 May 2017


Brilliant sunshine Yesterday, Walking round in just a Polo Shirt (And Trousers) as it was so warm and decided to forgo the Tee shirt (Vest) today as well, as I was hanging my washing out on the line at 7a.m. in my PJ’s quite comfortably.

That’ll serve me right, it’s now overcast and a nippy breeze as I arrive at Lands End Airport for another trip over to the Isles of Scilly.

Now that is something you don’t see everyday, well not on the Apron of an Airport anyway! OK it is only a small airfield here with only one destination and owned and run by the Airline, but it IS designated as an Airport!   Looks like they are installing another Fuel bunker, maybe they’re fed up with trailing hoses around in front of the Terminal windows or just can’t cope properly once the air traffic from here increased since the Heliport in Penzance closed a few Years ago.    That could get interesting as another company is starting to clear land for another Heliport at Penzance!

The driver didn’t wear a Hard Hat whilst working with the Crane, now he’s moving the Truck on the Apron and Taxiway with no Yellow flashy Beacon. Only in Cornwall! Anywhere else and the Unions would have called in the Health & Safety people and stopped work. OK he had a Guy with a Radio check out it was ok with the tower to move, but rules is rules and I used to have to jump through all sorts of hoops on airfields both Military and Civilian when ‘up country’.

Going to St.Martins again, to fit some parts that we Estimated for when I came a Fortnight ago, later flight at 10:35 so will have about 4 hours on the Island to work in, the rest of the day is travel.

Bit later start than Yesterday, Left home today at 8:20 (9:30 at Lands End) Yesterday I had a phone call from the Alarm monitoring company for Work, 03:44 “Morning Andy, wake up the Burglar alarm’s going off” The young Lady at the other end of the phone was so awake and fresh sounding I could easily have strangled Her!   False Alarm as usual, told the Boss to get the outside lights fixed or He can go out next time. (Our office is in a dead end of a trading estate with no public lighting and with the vehicles parked right outside the door, it gets scary shadows in the middle of the night.)

Arrived on the Islands ok, again was the only passenger on the transfer across to St Martins from St Marys, got onto the Quay at the Hotel and saw an old customer walking down to meet me. “Hey Scottie, you’re on the wrong Island” says I, boy it gets confusing when customers staff flit around, I’m never sure then if I’ve got the right names or not!

This is the Karma, St Martins, as you can see the Sun has come out now!


This is the Sea facing side of the Hotel.


How’s this for a spot for lunch?

Yes that is white sand, the Terrace is sand and the Concrete path in the photos is the road on this island! I have had my lunch out here in the past and yes, I do know how lucky I am, don’t forget I get paid for this!

Got the jobs done I came over for, and even cast an Eye over another machine too, had a lift over the Island to the other Quay as it is now Too High a tide to embark safely at the local one…


When I got off the boat this morning, I was at the end of the Quay where that pole is.


(Sorry about the hand trying to shade the camera on the ‘Phone, but you get the Idea just How local the Quay is)

 …and got straight onto the Jet boat again. Once again was the only passenger, I could get used to this first class treatment! To make it even better the Sun has come out now as well. Got off at the Quay at St. Marys and as I was sat in the sun waiting for my lift back up to the Airport just had to have a tub of locally made Ice-cream. This Ice-cream is a bit special as not only is it absolutely delicious, it’s made from the most Westerly Cows in England at the most westerly Dairy! Troytown Farm, St.Agnes.

Managed to get a few pictures of the Harbour on St Marys, The Yellow and Blue boat tied up at the Quayside is ‘Cyclone’ my water Taxi today.


The Yellow boat in the middle of the Harbour is the Ambulance, funded locally and also used to ferry the medical staff around between the Islands if needed.


And that’s the Lifeboat off to the Left with the old lifeboat House above the Ambulance.

Arrived back up at the Airport in glorious sunshine and had a leisurely wait to check in then board the Skybus back to Cornwall.


This is St Marys Airport, Yup that’s it, Arrivals at the Left and Cafe at the Right with Departures in the centre


I’m stood in the outdoor area of the Cafe next to a picnic bench, that’s a ‘Plane parking bay on the Apron, with Runway light just beyond it, 


And that’s the view out of the window at the other side of the Cafe, the Young Lady is waiting for the plane to park and she is ready with the wheel chocks. 

A Big plane this time, and a much smoother flight back than two weeks ago!

This is the Terminal at Lands End, welcome to Cornwall!


A bit hazy, but it was taken with my phone through a plastic window in the plane.

An uneventful drive home, just as well as I didn’t want any, tomorrow is my Birthday and I’d like a quiet one if I may!


A different Island this time 

Off to the beautiful Isles of Scilly again today, the Island of St.Martins this time to the Hotel there.

Was weighed at check in so that means we are going on a Baby Plane, (they weigh you to balance the plane!) a British Norman Islander BN-2B with a maximum of 9 people on board including the Pilot. (Well, 10 if they had a copilot .)

Boat transfer should be interesting today as we are forecast Gales and Rain this afternoon.

Flight out ok, boat transfer to St. Martins was by a ‘Jet Boat’ from Tresco Boat Services, Oh Dear I was the only passenger! The water wasn’t too bad this morning and the sun was shining so being inside the Cabin it was ok.

Did what I went for and finished earlier than expected, Caught a tripper boat back to St. Marys, the wind had got up and so had the waves And it was an open boat!
If you ever travel between the Islands at any time of Year and even on a dead flat Sea day, I would strongly recommend wearing a splash proof jacket and having a hat available, as especially when rounding the end of an Island into open water the spray can soak you in an instant! I’ve seen many day trippers and Holidaymakers soaked to the skin over the Years, usually in the height of Summer, luckily I was tipped off about this before I went the first time.
Boy had the wind got up by the time we got back to the Quay at St Marys, waited for the shuttle bus back to the Airport in the sunshine and out of the wind quite pleasantly until I had to round the building to get on the bus. Brrr that North wind is bleddy cold!
Of course the Airport is on top of a hill so had to almost run in to the Terminal on arrival.
Managed to get booking changed from 18:00 flight to 16:15, it was now 15:15 so just had to get a Coffee and something to eat as hadn’t eaten since grabbing a sandwich at 06:50 and I was famished!
Flew back on one of the ‘Big’ planes, a Twin Otter 18 seats and a pet kennel. No ‘Trolly Dollies’ on this Airline!
That was a bumpy flight, 28 Miles or so at 1000 Feet of cross wind, ENE into a Northerly wind led to a few lumps and bumps of air to fly through.
To quote one of their Pilots on a previous trip “Any one could fly a 747 as it flies itself, these planes and this route are what Pilots train for, that’s why I am here”.
Landed on the runway Starboard wheel first then a bump as the other wheel came down to Earth, it don’t get boring working here.
Uneventful drive home so 11&1/4 Hours of variety today!
Sorry there’s no pics today, best time to take them would have been on the open tripper boat this p.m. but I wasn’t going to get soaked standing up, not even for you!

Is it bedtime yet?

29th Jan 2017

For a while now, ok for a long time now, I have been fighting my Mattress.

I have been losing this fight each night, it’s been giving me Back twinges, it hurts my duff knee and twangs alarmingly every time it is sat or laid on! Just as concerning is that you can be laid quiet still, e.g. reading your Kindle, and TWANG!! and your hip changes position a little.

Being a master at procrastination I have been trying to ignore the bleddy thing for ages, then I did a scary thing last Weekend and worked out my finances, money in savings upcoming family holiday almost paid for (money put aside), both credit cards in the black etc.

My Lovely Wife has intimated (Not as subtly as She maybe had thought) that as I have now turned the offending Mattress round, She won’t be sleeping on it again! (Think 2” Deep Andy shapes trench now on Her side of the bed.) (We live over 200 miles apart so Every night spent in the same room is to be cherished.)

Now that’s an ultimatum that I’m not about to ignore, we only spend 5 weeks together each Year as it is, This Mattress and I had to part company.

Time to bite the bullet and spend some money. Now Julie has a full Memory-foam mattress on Her bed, and superbly comfortable it is too, whilst my nemesis is a Memory-foam topped sprung thing that I have had for about 6 or 7 Years ever since they came into common use. Bought it from a local discount bed shop, maybe not the best choice of retailer but we are very limited around here in retail selections ‘cos nobody with any money lives here all Year round.

Julie (The Boss) can’t remember the make of Her Mattress, the on-line store no longer selling them and the label is underneath it, and being a forgetful dolt I have forgotten to look for it so have had to do a lot of research into Makes and types of these things. Thank you Google! Now I’m totally confused!

The upshot is that if you want a full memory-foam mattress then the large Mattress manufacturers that you’ve known for decades have poor reviews or want well over £1000 for a King size one. Look, I know my cards are in credit but come on I’m NOT paying that kind of money AND waiting two weeks for delivery that they want me to pay extra for. Especially when you realise that some of them tend to re-badge the cheaper ones with their name on anyway.

Well I settled on an EVE Mattress, I kept going back to their site over a period of months and having read the reviews on both Facebook and Amazon was as sure as I could be without being able to try one that’s what I wanted. Amazon sell them cheaper than the Manufacturer but the Guarantee isn’t as good. From EVE you get a 100 Night satisfaction or return policy, they will send 2 people to collect it and you get a full refund, if you keep it then you get a 10 Year Warranty. (Providing they’re still in business of course, sorry it’s the cynic in me surfacing again.)

I wanted an UK King size, 5ft wide (1500x2000mm in Metric) though they above all the suppliers seem to do an exhaustive of not endless range of sizes, they’ll make them up to custom sizes too (though they do apologise for not doing a 2 day delivery on them!.

So after my daily phone call to my Julie (9pm every evening, keeps me sane (almost)), Wednesday evening I went online and ordered one (using a £150 discount code I found on Google) to be delivered Saturday Morning between 07:30 and 13:00. Pay £20.00 for Saturday delivery or take a day off? Bah Humbug the Saturday is cheaper (and quicker)!

Boy was the website customer friendly, even let me pay by PayPal, so less worry about card security at their end then. Sent them an Email comment at 22:10 thanking them for having a customer friendly website and went to bed contented, Got to work the next morning and at 8:29 my phone pinged for an incoming mail, it was a reply to my comment not an ‘acknowledgement’ but a reply typed by a lady in their customer care team, Gosh that’s quick!

I have had a new Duvet waiting in it’s box since Christmas, longer really but picked it up from Eldest Daughter at Christmas (Staff Discount rides again) and a new Mattress protector waiting to be fitted for even longer, so Saturday Morning saw me getting up at 06:30, laying these out flat to expand, stripping the bed and after doing my regular weekly wash load doing another 2 loads of bedding.

The UPS delivery man arrived at about 10:30, I live on a Garden Estate so the last 300 Yards or so to my front door is by foot, this poor guy was stronger than he looks as he didn’t have his own van today so no trolley and had carried the Mattress box all that way! 20”x 20”x 42” and 70.4 lbs is some achievement, the box not being damaged or marked at all. Signed his device, told him to hang on whilst I got my wallet and he said Nah, that’s ok mate and went!

Wishing I lived in a bungalow, I now had to get this box upstairs on my own with a dodgy knee and a staircase that’s narrow and steep. After trying to carry or pull it up, collapsing in a fit of giggles as I couldn’t move it at all that way I decided that it had to be pushed. Now I’m not the fittest of people, have got a dodgy knee and getting on a bit but I regularly move and lift Laundry Equipment weighing up to 300kg on my own using whatever comes to hand so wasn’t about to be defeated by a bleddy mattress!

Laid the box length wise on the stairs and with my shoulder against the lower end pushed it up stairs by way of what can best be described as a crawl. Yup, seemed pretty funny at the time too, was almost expecting one of the Neighbours to call round to ask what all the expletives were about! (Had left the back door open as it was a nice day.)

Sliding it along the carpet to the bed, parked it in a corner of the bedroom and with some difficulty removed the old mattress and put that half in the spare bedroom whilst I continued getting to know the new one.

The box has one fully taped end and one with a security tape and tabs so opened that end and tipped up the box…. Nope. Not an Inch! The Mattress sits there in its Vacuum bag looking at me as is to say ‘You didn’t think it would be that easy did you?’ Tipped the box onto the bed frame (slatted Pine with a raised skirt round) and folding the opening flaps back stood it on the bed slats with the open end down.

Now this mattress likes its box it is a very nice box, strongest cardboard box I’ve seen for Years, but leave it it must! Stood balancing on the bed slats and pulled the box off the mattress slowly , straightened up the light-shade afterwards, and climbing off the bed put the box in the bathroom. (Now in the Spare bedroom awaiting recycling.)

Ooh look thought I, there’s a little booklet on top of the mattress roll, must have been put in the box before the mattress went in! I wonder what it’s about?

Unboxing the Mattress Lay the box down sideways on the surface of your bed. Open both ends of the box and push the mattress through.” Now why didn’t I just open the wrong end of the box first and then I’d have known, wouldn’t I? Rest of it is good though, tells you how to get the mattress the right way up before you cut the vacuum bag off it. These Memory-foam Mattresses take a while to expand from the 2” thick in the bag to their full 9 1/2” depth, Eve say 4 to 6 Hours so I left it for 7!

Made the bed with the new Protector and Duvet, (ok, and the rest of the bed linen) and had to force myself to get off it (Was face down, spread-eagled with a ridiculous grin on my face) and go downstairs so I could ‘phone Julie, lock up then collapse in a heap.

Woke up this Morning (Sunday) to find that I had no achy joints until I got out of bed! Took the old Mattress down to the Recycling facility (Dump) after folding it length-ways using Ratchet straps, and holding it there with Gaffer tape to get it into my Van. The Box from the Mattress and the one from the Duvet will have to wait until Friday when our Kerbside recycling Truck comes round. Meanwhile I look forward to sleeping better, having less pain and above all Julie is now coming to visit me in March as against my visiting Her, so giving us 2 extra days together (1 day each way spent travelling out of my Annual Leave) That alone is worth the £549.00!

Ok it’s work but it’s still overseas 

Left home this morning at 6:15 and drove West almost to the end of Cornwall,  got on a ‘Plane and flew 28 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, got off the Plane (after it Landed) and caught a minibus to the Quay on St. Marys then a ‘Jet’ boat a couple of miles further to get off on the Private Holiday Island of Tresco!

Shame I’m here for work really, I couldn’t afford to come and stay here otherwise. 

That’s a view of the Lands End peninsula  from the Terminal at the Airport,  taken through the early morning mist  so a bit fuzzy. 

Somebody has to do it. 

11 Oct 2016

Today I have had to Fly to the Isles of Scilly, 28 Miles out west of England in the North Atlantic.
A struggle I know but somebody has to come and repair the Laundry Equipment over here, and I don’t mind in good weather, Unfortunately it is not always good weather!

Good today though, and got better as the day went on.  On a Sunny day the Islands could be in the Caribbean though a little cooler though still in the Gulf Stream waters.

I was working on St Marys, the main one of the 5 inhabited Islands today, so no boat trips needed, not a bad thing as it’s blowing a Force 5-6 and the water is a bit choppy with nothing to divert the waves after the USA!


Oh well, better go home I suppose

Monday 6th June 2016

Cologne to Basingstoke.

After our usual breakfast here, we joined the A4 Westbound from the A559 extension of the A59 Northbound, and carried on via the E314 and Then the E40 round the dreaded R0 at Brussels and onwards towards France and the Tunnel at Calais.

(We stopped for Lunch just after Brussels, we like these services, and they are at a good position.)

On arrival at Calais we were rather early, however we were not offered an earlier train for once, so went and sat in Starbucks whilst waiting for our train to be called. They called us on time, so we went and queued up in the lane and waited. Unfortunately the trains were running late due to an earlier technical fault, so we waited another half hour before boarding but got back to the UK ok.

Stopped at Cobham Services on the M25 Clockwise, had a meal and stretched my bad leg and knee. After all this driving they really hurt, my knee locked itself up over time and just after the Reigate junction I managed to stretch it out, (Not easy when it’s your Right knee and it’s your driving) so a while out stretched was essential. Carried on back to Basingstoke, arriving mid evening.

Tuesday 7th June 2016

Rest Day in Basingstoke.

Had a really lazy day, pottered up to Sainsburys and got some food for the rest of the week, then back to Julies flat and slob out.

Wednesday 8th June 2016

Back to Cornwall.

Left Basingstoke after 9am, M3, A303 then A30 West. Stopped for lunch at the American (Style) Diner Route303 at Newcott , I’ve been a couple of times before but it was Julies first visit. The portion sizes really do have to be seen to be believed, I only ordered two Chicken wraps, but they came with a salad and chips, proper chips not those Mash Julienne things the fast food places give you!

Continued down to West Cornwall and my little house near Camborne, Cup of Tea and unpack, 2 loads of washing later and that was that, back to work Tomorrow.

Unpacked and hung my new ‘toy’, set the time and tensioned the weights (No electronics or springs in this genuine article, the weights are 1.5kg EACH) and it worked first time.

I hope you haven’t minded reading this drivel, I’ve never done a travel log as a part a Blog before, and certainly not attempted to put pictures in before so it’s been a learning curve.

Don’t know when I’ll post again, but no doubt you’ll find it or avoid it when I do!

Schiltach to Cologne.

Black Forest or lost.

Sunday 5th June 2016

After Breakfast I loaded the car, Nice thing taking you own car on these trips is that you can take as much luggage as you like, and having a Peugeot 3008 it’s got a large boot! As our two large wheelie cases and overnight holdalls, I managed to get Laptop case and Cuckoo Clock in and my Fleece jacket, all under the Parcel shelf.

Went and found Rose and paid for our room, the evening meals and all the wine. After the Bank added their large bit of silver as well, the Seven Nights B&B and Five evening meals etc. came to £736.18. try that in a Three star hotel in the UK for two people, Super-king bedroom etc.

We left Schiltach and travelled alongside the Kinzig river to join the B33 west to pick up the A5 northbound near Offenburg, then onwards and Northwards, stopping for Tea and cake then Lunch North of Frankfurt on the way to level with Koblenz, when I peeled off the Autobahn and cut across to follow the B42 up the Right hand side of the Rhine through Linz, Konigswinter etc. (As a resident of Cornwall I get withdrawal if I don’t see the sea or Boats on the water every week!)

This took us to the B59 and then at J35 we left to fill up with Diesel then go to the Karsten, our bed for the Night.

Familiar faces and Hotel was very welcome, we arrived about Four in the afternoon and as the heat was rising and with it the humidity sat out on the balcony of our room overlooking the Garden with a Cup of Tea for a while before flopping on the bed to read with the balcony door open .

This is Anna’s Garden at the Karsten with the sun shades pulled down for the Conservatory that forms part of the Breakfast room.