Off track

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Poptop2, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    Just remembered, The KDAA have always had the rights to the far bank, we had the nearside bank :thumbsup:
  2. he's still going numpty! it's just that he's not necessarily widely known over here :rolleyes:

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  3. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    I think you and I had a ciggy together the day before. Can't remember the conversation though, but yes you did say that to me on the Sunday morning after listening to my drunken ramblings with baysearcher the night before. x
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  4. yes! I think the only thing i remember of your ramblings was thinking that i could listen to them all night and that you should do it professionally. not a clue what you said :D
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  5. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    Other people have told me the same thing, but I have never believed them and have a distinct lack of public speaking confidence. :(
  6. a recording studio isn't public speaking, it's a booth. get yourself booked in and get onto voice over agents etc
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
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  7. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    If only I had the nerve x
  8. you can book a recording studio session for peanuts now and usually with a decent sound engineer. you can even do it at home but you won't get the rounded acoustics and vocals that your voice should have. Not that i'm a sound type - i know bugger all about it engineering wise but i have a pretty good ear and have worked with a lot in the past :)

    get it booked (about £30 an hour) and get it sent off! :)
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  9. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    Bob was a great bloke. He was actually going slowly blind when we moved there and eventually did go blind. He had a Birmingham grammar school education and was a local councillor with the best sense of humour ever. One day in a very boring mundane planning meeting a posh lady councillor asked why when she walked in the forest she noticed some trees had numbers on them. There was a short silence while people searched their minds for the answer, Bob piped up and suggested it was so the squirrels knew where they lived.

    They weren’t amused initially, but soon the stifled giggles turned to roaring laughter. He was asked not to do that sort of thing again by the chair afterwards.

    We knew he was going blind, but he insisted on driving whenever he could.

    One weekend we planned a trip to Weston park, to the Morris minor show. Bob being Bob wanted to drive and got his way. On the way home Maureen mentioned his hair and the fact he had actually had a perm that week. Lou and I fell about laughing, calling him Keegan and similar, when Lou ( who was sat behind him in the back ) said devilishly “ a perm is very flammable Bob!” and flicked her lighter by his head, a spark shot out and his hair went up in flames, Lou panicked and started banging his head to put it out, Bob panicked and careered the car off the road into the verge , me and Maureen fell about laughing hysterically and bob called Lou some choice names. Maureen drove the rest of the way home with all of us in fits of laughter and Lou feeling decidedly silly, but giggling.

    Bob and Maureen were the best friends we ever had. Mo ( Maureen) died of cancer in 1994, Bob went slowly blind. He remarried in 1996 to a lady he met at the lonely hearts club. He died three years ago aged 75.

    We miss them both dearly.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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  10. Faust

    Faust Supporter

    Good memories there Malc ...Bob was a real character ...and without venturing out like you did you would never of met him .
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  11. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    Yes he was.

    Actually we met Bob in 1981 at Lou’s parents house. Maureen had her own driving school and had been Lou, her mum’s, my brother's and Lou’s sisters driving instructor. It was a snowy day Bob and Mo had been to the pub and decided to pop in to Lou’s mum and dad’s house for an italian coffee. We came in from spending the day on our house restoration and immediately got on with them. We spent the next few hours at our newly renovated house around the corner laughing and chatting. They were our first ever house guests. We were friends from that moment on.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  12. areksilverfish

    areksilverfish Supporter

    ..I love to read your stories

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  13. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    We met Maureen a bit earlier when we were all learning to drive, she gave me my first lesson in March 1978 when she worked for a driving school, but only the one and we had forgotten that. She met Lou and I together in 1979 when she had her own school and began teaching Lou, her mum and her sister. A year we always disagreed about and would argue jokingly about when we did actually meet.

    At the risk of sounding too sentimental, the last gift Mo ever bought me was a bottle of wine for Christmas 1993 when she knew she had cancer.

    It was this one. I still have it here.

    She had the last word on that.

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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  14. Hi I really enjoy reading your stories, you have the knack of drawing people in and I agree with Ermintrude dont waste that talent.;)
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  15. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    Thank you. I may do some more on this one, if it isn't too boring?

    It was after all a 15 year long adventure. :)
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  16. areksilverfish

    areksilverfish Supporter no it’s not..just bring it on can’t wait..I really read it with interest

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  17. DubCat

    DubCat Sponsor

    Really enjoying this story Malc. Looking forward to the next instalment.
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  18. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    We'd come so far by the summer of 89. We had paid cash for a property and pretty much built or rebuilt depending on your view a house of our own in a beautiful location. Not a small feat considering two years ago we were basically homeless and most definitely skint ( if you excuse the £2k our solicitor had forgotten she had for us ). Yes we'd overcome a a difficult time in our lives. Yay us, time for some wine and fun. :)

    In the meantime Mo and Bob had foregone their deposit on the new mobile home and at roughly the same time bought the one we originally went to look at.

    They had their own mini project going on there, but unlike us they employed Tom to do their building. They had two small extensions built, the place fully plasterboarded and skimmed internally, a new kitchen, Calor gas central heating and a Masterboard and Tyrolean render outer skin put on.

    They then capped the whole building off with a new pitched roof. It took about six month's to complete and when finished allowed them time to relax and enjoy the peace of our new surroundings. They were also invaluable as a source of respite when things got on top of our own build.

    The fun came in the shape of friends and family. Our little place became a go to place for country trips within our group of family and mates, and some not family and mates, never mind they were all welcome then as they seemed more than willing to muck in and help with our build. We did have some epic get together's.

    The summer evenings after work were often spent swimming in the river with our nephews and nieces that oddly preferred to stay at Aunty Lou and uncle Malc's rather than home. We became surrogate parents for half the kids in the family. something that continued for the next 15 years and still does today. Only yesterday our nephew messaged me thanking us for his wonderful childhood. He's nearly forty now and living in that there London.

    The farmer would hang a pheasant and pigeon or two over the fence whenever he held a shoot, and Lou would make a meal from it. Lou's mum showed us how to cook fish, barbel, eels, chub and pike from the river. On occasion this made a lovely meal, but only on occasion as we had difficulty convincing our friends that home caught fish etc was actually perfectly okay to eat.

    Some of our new neighbours had quirks and some were of the wealthy owner type that came down the lane to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. To a man they were pleasant and welcoming.

    In the depth of winter the first year we lost the electric supply. It was Christmas day 1988, the snow was deep and the draw of heating and cooking through the woefully inadequate overhead supply had blown a main fuse in the transformer box in the field. luckily we did at least have a calor gas cooker and a stock of candles, Mo and Bob however had electric for cooking. Obviously we sorted this by them coming around to ours with their guests to join our guests and eating with us, but during the meal Tom the builder arrived heavily clad against the weather with a frown on his face.

    Tom had become concerned about an old boy who lived alone in the far corner of the field not far from the river. He knew he only had electricity as a means of heating and cooking. Seeing as the weather had been cold for days and there had been no sign of Frank the old boy ( for that was his name, Frank. Not the Yorkshire ' old Frank mentioned earlier, another old Frank from somewhere south! ) he wanted support to go investigate. We agreed we needed to go and see if he was okay along with Tom and Bob. By the time we made our way through the snow to Frank's house we had been joined by other worried neighbours, one of whom thought it was best to phone the ambulance and had popped to the phone box to do so.

    The ambulance crew struggled down the lane in the severe conditions and arrived as we had Frank open the door. Frank was indeed half frozen to death, he seemed bewildered by all the goings on and politely allowed us in. After a brief medical check over the ambulance guys suggested he was fine, but could probably do with a warm house and meal. Of course we wrapped him warmly against the chill and in a spirit of bon ami, brought Old Frank back to ours to join the growing throng for Christmas lunch and a sit by the fire. As we tucked into the third course with candles for lighting and an old transistor radio in readiness for the Queen's speech the lights came back on, we let out a loud cheer.

    A fully revived and slightly inebriated old Frank asked if we could go check his place over and bring back some reserve port from his very nice stock.

    The day had been a complete adventure, not only had we improvised, helped a neighbour in proper need of help and had a great gang for lunch, we had met other new neighbours, who in their combined concern had come out to help a neighbour in need.

    The crew from the electric company that were sent out to fix the fuse became regulars to our field in those early winters. That Christmas day they had worked 18 hours mending blown fuses in our field and others. They took some supplying with coffee, but we managed to accommodate them. In later years they simply brought a large flask up for filling when it was empty. We sometimes see them now on bleak winter days in their landrover with ladders on the back heading out that way and wonder to ourselves who they are off to help out now and hope the people keep them supplied with coffee and appreciate their efforts. I know we always will.

    This place was growing on us. Frank went home eventually at about 9 pm, so too did our other guests, and just as they all left the snow began to fall again. Lou and I went inside, put a few more logs on the fire, poured a couple of cognacs, relit a few candles turned off the lights and watched the snow fall across the field from our new patio window. We looked at each and smiled contendedly. It was one of life's nice moments where you thought to yourself, things just don't get any better than this. Chin chin, Chink!
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  19. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    I might add to this ad hoc as and when :)
  20. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Administrator

    So here we were, we’d moved in. It was late autumn and cold. Friends and family had been and passed judgement, some good, some bad, some optimistic and some pessimistic, we cared not one jot, we had a project to get on with and a roof over our head, albeit a leaky one.

    We had a few immediate issues to sort, the water needed connnecting and we needed more than just an open fire in one room, the search was on for a central heating system. It had to be a LPG system as there was no mains service locally. We also had to source a large gas tank and someone to fit it.

    The answer to the first problem was solved with a chat to the local farmer who owned the surrounding fields. David was a typical farmer, said little but listened and observed a lot. I made a trip to meet him purposely to ask if I could connect to the mains via a standpipe he had in the field. He agreed we could for a fee and under the condition I did all the work. I agreed readily and went back to work out the task.

    The standpipe was just under 900 paces from my house across the field, or there was another one 200 yards across the road. This would involve paying the council for roadwork and wouldn’t be cheap. So, I went to the local building merchant and bought 1000 metres of blue 30mm pipe and a shovel. The heavy clay soil was backbreakingly difficult and sticky. Tom had said it had to be 2ft deep and smooth edged, he also told me to skim the turf first and replace. Bit by bit the whole process took me a week to complete, not all week, but most of the week in bits and drabs. My back hasn’t stopped aching since.

    When I went to pay David I moaned about the digging. He looked at me like I was off another planet and said “ why didn’t you use the JCB over there, the keys are always in it and I don’t mind!” I could have kicked myself, I had never used one before, but by crikey I would have learned. I chose to chew Tom’s ear off instead for not telling me!

    The central heating system issue was solved in one go when someone advertised a new complete system in the local paper for £500. It had been installed six months earlier and they had taken it out. It was a brilliant Worcester system and like new, what they never mentioned was the frost damaged diverter valve that cost me another £180 to replace. Eh oh, I had the set up, all I had to do was hang the rads, run the piping and hang the boiler on the new bathroom wall in readiness for my fishing mad corgi certified brother in law Steve to come fit it.

    The fact he lived in Bournemouth made it a fair wait, but when he got going he was/ is a superb plumber and we were up and running in two days, and no leaks.

    The shed suddenly felt like a home.

    Lady our dog had, it seemed been got at. The main suspect was Rufus, Tom’s dog who had eaten our cat flap. The nephews and nieces were super excited at the prospect of a litter, Lady herself seemed less so. We talked about what they would be like, how many there would be and the kids began choosing names. Myself I worried about homing them, and vowed to have Lady sterilised as soon as possible after.

    In April the night came, Lady fussed making her basket comfortable while all the time looking anything but herself. Lou and I read books on the delivery and how to care for puppies, ourselves just a little anxious, not to mention excited. In the end as the evening wore on our little Lady did all the hard work herself. The first one popped out just after supper time and lady cleaned it with all the caring and expertise of a seasoned mum, by the early hours we had six little puppies with tiny scrunched up faces, all suckling on mum in the basket under the kitchen table. Lady looked tired, yet had a look of contentment on her face. Our little girl was a mum to six new puppies. Lou held her puppies and I took her for a short walk before we all retired to bed for a well earned sleep.

    The next morning we woke to find lady and her pups all snuggled at the bottom of our bed. Lady had obviously decided they would be warmer there and in the middle of the night moved them one by one to our bed. She had been very quiet about it as we never felt a thing, that or we were so tired from the excitement that we’d slept through any movement, nonetheless we had seven new born puppies in our life and a lot of mess to come. As I picked them up and moved them back into the basket I suddenly thought ‘ seven’ there were six last night when we went to bed? She had quietly produced the seventh sometime during the night, possibly and this is only a theory given her later antics, it was ‘ Ratbag’ , the one we kept. Her official name was Rebecca, but ‘ Ratbag’ seemed to stick and she thoroughly earned the tag.

    With seven puppies to feed and mess to be avoided we covered the floor in newspaper, and we put a board up to stop them clambering into the bedroom at night.

    Feed time when we weened them consisted of a plate of porridge with some chappy mixed in.

    The little darlings would scamper out of the basket under the table and all find a place around the edge of the plate eating inwards, bar one. Ratbag would simply walk into the middle of the plate, sit down and eat out. Lou would pick her up and say ‘ you cheeky little Ratbag, and pretend to be annoyed. Ratbag was soon shortened to Ratty and the kids loved her, if there was trouble to be found Ratty would find it. The first thing the kids would shout when their parents brought them over as they got out of the car would be ” RATBAG” and off she would go running. She was just another kid in the gang. Probably the naughtiest, but she was cute with it.

    However, as the weeks went by it became apparent Rufus wasn’t the father, they had long legs and liver spots, long noses and big ears. No, the father it seemed was Jake the pointer who lived the other end of the field with our new found friends Barbara and Trevor. Rufus’s arch enemy. Dut dut durn, we were to hear more of this rivalry later, but for now Rufus was off the hook, and the daft sod had eaten our catflap for nothing!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
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