Grand day out

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Well our very good friend S is over from the States on business and spending a few hours with us in between his breathless gambols around the commercial centres of W Europe. I’ve written about S several times; we met when I joined the Post Office’s Telecommunications section after leaving university, back in the Middle Ages. He was a smart lad and I was a dopey herbert if truth be told. An unlikely pairing, we became firm friends and remained so even after he and wife M and the boys emigrated to America quite a few years ago now. I’m fairly sure he didn’t leave to escape me if that’s what you’re thinking. He’s still involved in high level telecomms stuff  and these trips are a welcome way for us to keep in touch even though he’s always on a manic schedule and of course we do miss seeing M and the lads (nay men).

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Chill Bill: Volume 1

I used to think I had the best of jobs when I headed up the marketing team at Cellnet and then topped it when I became Head of Sponsorship at BT. Both roles had their difficult moments: at Cellnet I worked for some really twatty bosses (exceptions BMc and SA) whereas at BT I had a great boss but the bureaucracy was numbing. But that apart I had a ball, working with some great guys and doing some of the most cutting edge, award-winning and, let’s be honest, enjoyable marketing stuff you could imagine. And they paid me. Bliss. But here’s the thing, I think I’ve found the law enforcement equivalent of the very best job in the world. Well in the Met Police. Here’s a clue:

police deer

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like a grove

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Take a look at that; it’s my new olive tree courtesy of my lovely daughters and son-in-laws for Father’s Day. I love it. We are true olive geeks now having lived with our own grove in Italy. As mad as it may sound it drives me nuts not being there to tend to them, work on the pruning and so on. It won’t be long before we need to head off out there for the olive picking again. Good job too because for the first time in over 6 years we are running out of our oil. Arggh. Still to make me feel better I can pop out onto our balcony here and feed my nurturing need by removing any yellow leaves from not just the latest tree but also from the one got for me by Simon and Jayne for my 60th. So we now have a beautiful two-tree olive grove here in Teddington to complement the Italy ‘estate’. Ha! Here’s a shot of the ulivi twins:

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And that chair is where I’ll be sat with a glass of wine in my hand once British summer time eventually starts.

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Just as they promised…

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Well they forewarned us that the re-tarmac work on the road outside would be done at night and at 9pm yesterday the road was closed and the heavy equipment was moved in. This monster started ripping up the tarmac literally on the section of road which has been resurfaced 3 times in the last few weeks. I’d driven back from Yorkshire yesterday evening after spending the week-end with our good friends L & S. I was pretty bushed and still not feeling 100% right after a recent spell of tonsillitis. So last night’s activity was the last thing I needed. I went to bed around  midnight but was still listening to the racket at 1pm.  It wasn’t quiet work – they had several lorries being loaded with the ripped up tarmac and pile driving gear to cut through the road stuff around the grids and other iron works (see picture below). I’m amazed they can get away with this through the night but more than anything I’m staggered that so much effort and cost has gone into repairing the road surface over recent weeks knowing that this major re-surfacing was imminent. At some point the cost gets passed back to us; local residents and consumers. It’s a bloody scandal but nobody seems to care other than me. Tonight they’ll finish off the work outside our home, I hope. Then I’ll give it 4 weeks before some other company comes along to rip the road up again. Sigh. Here’s that bloody pile driving JCB that drives me to distraction – I can’t wait till we meet again

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ugly buildings

Regular readers may be coming to the conclusion that I’m a frustrated wannabe architect masquerading as a marketing guy. Damn you’re good. Anyway here’s the latest in an occasional series of postings inspired by my irresistible desire to write about buildings that I come across. You may remember in a recent posting I was going on about how I found nearby Twickenhan to be a pleasant few lanes down by the river spoiled by a scruffy High St that would shame Slough and a hideously ugly office block slap bang in the centre of the town. I scoffed, as I tend to do, because the High St here in Teddington is chock full of interesting shops, restaurants and bars and 20 times more attractive in my view.  However, as is also my want, I was talking the truth but not the whole truth. You see Teddington has a slab ugly building sister itself…in fact two.

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twickenham

Nah not rugby HQ, I’ve been thinking about the town itself. Most readers will know that we’ve found a place inTeddington which is our UK base now. And we’re very happy here. The beautiful river Thames and the famous lock is just down the road. Our little town has loads of nice bars and restaurants and more interior design shops than you can shake an Alessi-designed spatula at. We’ve got some great food stores within easy reach and loads of activities for daughter R to get involved with.  Just down the road is lovely Bushy Park and across the river historic Richmond Park.  And down the river is lively Kingston just 5-10 minutes away and nearby Hampton Court whilst upstream is attractive Strawberry Hill, where C works, St Margarets where daughter S and live and just across the river from them Richmond town itself which is about as prettily dramatic as any place in the Greater London area. It has everything really. And in the middle of all this terrific area nestled by the Thames is the blight that is Twickenham, a town with a famous stadium nearby and not a lot else.

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