Tag Archives: sandbach

Saturday 26th October 2013 – I REMEMBER …

… back to 2004 when I was ill and thinking that I ought to develop a new interest, that the subject of footy first came up. Brussels is ideally situated for being a Northern European footy fan and I do remember thinking that as Belgium and France are rather boring in that respect, I ought to cast my net a little further afield.

Dutch football fans are well-known for their passion and ardour and as the town of Breda is easy to get to from here on public transport (change trains at Antwerpen), then NAC came onto the radar. However, times changed, and things changed, and I changed, and that was that. Nevertheless, it was always something that turned around in the back of my mind.

Dutch football has some very interestingly-named teams such as Willem III, Heracles and Top Oss, but pride of place has to go to the enigmatically-named Go Ahead Eagles. Any team with a name like that deserves to be supported. And so imagine my surprise this morning when, over a cup of coffee, I glanced at the footy fixtures and found that the Eagles were playing away this evening – at NAC Breda!

So early this afternoon after lunch I leapt into Caliburn and shot off up the motorway as far as Weerde (I really ought to live in a town with a name like that – second only to the town of Silly of course) when I realised that I didn’t have my passport (I seem to be making a habit of this).

Back on my way to Antwerpen I encountered a Carrefour at Mechelen so I was even able to do a pile of shopping, and after that, with Golden Earring playing on Caliburn’s music centre in honour of my Going Dutch, I eventually arrived at the ground.

stadion rat verlegh NAC Breda netherlands eredivisieNice and modern, which many purists (including Yours Truly) will think is a pity, but with plenty of space around it and plenty of parking too which makes a pleasant change.

Buying a ticket for an Eredivisie match is not easy. You need to have a Dutch FA clubcard to but a ticket for the match. if you don’t have one, which of course I don’t, you need to produce a national identity card, which I don’t have either, or else produce a passport, which I did have, so it was a good job that I remembered to go back and fetch it. But just €15 (that’s £12) for a ticket is an absolute bargain to watch a 1st-tier match in a keenly-fought domestic league.

Next stop was to buy some food. I left Caliburn (who has never been to the Netherlands before, by the way, so there’s a first) at the Stadion Rat Verlegh (a delightful name) and went on foot to the centre, and I’m glad that I did because I stumbled once more upon something quite exciting that I would otherwise have missed.

fokker 100 scrapyard breda netherlandsThis is a Fokker 100 of the late 1980s or early 1990s and what it is doing here as an advert for a scrapyard I really have no idea. This isn’t the first one that we have seen either, for those of you with very long memories will recall the Andover that sat on top of a scrapyard at Ettiley Heath, at the back of Sandbach, for a while. But anyway, here it is and here it sits, and here it will probably stay until the price of scrap aluminium rises again.

It did rather remind me of that delightful story about the old World War I pilot reliving one of his battles during a live television interview.
“There I was, at 8,000 feet, all on my own, and suddenly these five German Fokkers appeared out of a cloud, right in front of me”
“I should mention, for the benefit of our younger viewers” said the interviewer “that a Fokker is a type of German aeroplane”
“Thats right!” ejaculated our hero. “These Fokkers were Albatroses”

historic building medieval centre breda netherlandsSo I eventually made it into town, following my nose which was quite interested in the smell of chips that it was detecting.

This brought me to a little square just on the edge of the old medieval centre and here was a beautiful historic building. I’ve absolutely no idea what it might be although it looks like an ersatz town hall or school building of the late 19th Century when the Dutch ran out of inspiration. However, I could be completely wrong about this and nothing would surprise me.

Here I was distracted as two pizza delivery motorcyclists burst out of an alleyway and headed off in different directions. That gave me a clue and so I headed into the alleyway and found myself at the back of a takeaway pizza lace. My takeaway Vegetarian with my own vegan cheese (I always come prepared) was one of the best I’ve ever eaten.

public urinal Breda NetherlandsOn the way back to the stadium in the dark, wishing that I had come here much earlier to properly explore the town, I encountered this object, right outside the football ground as you,might expect one such object to be. Whatever its proper name might be, I was told that the locals refer to it as the p155 house, and for very good reason too as you can see.

In fact I made very good use of it. I must stop drinking all of this flavoured water while I’m driving. It’s doing me no good at all, I tell you that. I’m not sure how I would have coped had I not found this artefact. It’s certainly a novel way to spend 1.2 centimes.

Mind you, it’s a bit disconcerting having to resort to something like this in front of a crowd of about 17,000 people trying to get into the Stadion Rat Verlegh. I mean, I didn’t want to give them all an inferiority complex.

stadion rat verlegh nac breda go ahead eagles deventer netherlands eredivisie 26 october 2013But that’s enough of me talking rubbish. Let’s concentrate on the football.

Tyhe quality was rather … errr … less than I was expecting for an Eredivisie match. NAC were, well, about average I suppose but Go Ahead Eagles were thoroughly awful and how they were in one place higher than the home side before the kick-off I really do not know. They had a central defence pairing of Lord Lucan and Martin Bormann and for the second quarter of the game they were quite simply torn to shreds. Its no exaggeration to say that 4-0 at half-time, all the goals coming in that 20-odd minute spell, was something of an understatement.

stadion rat verlegh nac breda go ahead eagles deventer netherlands eredivisie 26 october 2013It will also come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the second half was a totally different game. Naive followers of the sport would expect the second half to begin with the Eagles having their heads buried in their boots and a bouyant bunch of Breda boyos bouncing out to run up a cricket score (mind you, 4-0 IS a cricket score when England are batting).

But no, Breda had gone right off the boil and were content to play exhibition football for a while, passing the ball around amongst themselves instead of going for the jugular.

This of course gave the Eagles some kind of respite and a couple of times they snatched the ball away and went racing off down the ptch to give the Breda defence some VERY ANXIOUS moments indeed. I remember thinking that if the Eagles scored twice (which they could so easily have done), there would have been an almighty panic in the Breda side and anything could happen.

stadion rat verlegh nac breda go ahead eagles deventer netherlands eredivisie 26 october 2013However the Breda defence stood firm and with just two or three minutes to go, they managed to pot a fifth goal to calm what was clearly becoming a jittery Breda performance. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a side winning 4-0 look so nervous.

But I really don’t know why teams like this do this kind of thing. 4-0 up and looking good, and then going on the defensive for 45 minutes. They should have carried on with the allout attack, been 6-0 up after the hour, and then gone on to bury this team, instead of giving them a few easy chances to get back into the game. Really bad planning, this, and I would have kicked the players all around the stadium. A tight mid-table finish means that goal difference is all important when it comes to doling out the prize money at the end of the season and whenever you are given the opportunity, which doesn’t arrive very often for clubs like this, you should be going for the throat;

And on that note, I went home. Another one of my … errr … goals in life accomplished.

Thursday 15th September 2011 – I HAD …

… an absolutely excellent nights sleep last night. Out like a light although I did have to get up to go for a gypsy’s in the middle of the night

This morning however it’s not as gorgeous as all that as far as the weather goes because there’s a low hanging cloud or mist all over the place. Its all grey and overcast and misty damp and clammy not very nice at all.

Nevertheless I managed to make my way to Home Depot where I managed to purchase my weed control blanket, but not a brush-cutter. There was nothing suitable so I’m going to have to see about getting a second hand one. I managed to organise a few other exciting bits and pieces while I was there, including some cheap metal shelving clips that will make nice and ideal straps for holding solar panels on the roof of the car.

I had an interesting chat with one of the sales staff there. He’s called Danny and comes from Croatia. And so we had a good chat about Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia and places like that, reliving old journeys that we had made.

And then down to the University of New Brunswick where to find my way around campus I stopped a girl but she didn’t understand any English. So when I asked in French she didn’t understand any of that either so I asked her what language she did exactly speak thinking that I might summon up something and she said Persian. So how she is going to study in New Brunswick at the English-and-French-speaking University is anyone’s guess.

Its Doctor Chang with whom I need to speak about my wind turbines and he’s not in, as you might expect and so I’m going to have to come back here again. I hope that he will talk to me because judging by the leaflets that I saw about what he has been doing he could be an extremely useful person to know.

And I heard that lorry that sounds like an old Foden 2-stroke diesel when it’s slowing down so I dashed out to see, and it’s a Western Star. Thats not too much of a surprise as at one time Western Star had a major interest in Foden junior’s ERF lorry manufacturing business down the road in Sandbach.

But what has just come around this corner here at these traffic lights is something that I haven’t seen for I haven’t a clue how many years and that is a Honda 6 When was the last time I saw a 6-cylinder Honda. Of course we are talking motor cycles here, in case you are wondering.

legislative Office of Conflicts of Interest Commissioner fredericton new brunswick canadaSo with a couple of hours to kill, I can go for a wander around Fredericton.

This white building is the legislative Office of Conflicts of Interest Commissioner, and that’s an enigmatic organisation if ever I heard of one. I wonder what he does and what cases he’s considered during his tenure of office.

But it is a nice building, isn’t it? I could live in a place like this with its nice round turret

maison jewett house fredericton new brunswick canadaHere’s another nice building almost next door on the corner of King Street and Secretary Lane. And it also has a nice round turret of the type that would appeal to me.

It’s the Maison Jewett House, whoever Jewett was when he was at home if he ever was. Ahhh – yes, he was a local doctor and, strangely enough, he wasn’t the first owner of the house. It’s now being used as government offices

war memorial fredericton new brunswick canadaI always like to have a look at war memorials and Canadian ones are quite surprising to a European such as myself.

In Europe, there are usually at least 5 times more victims recorded for World War I than there are for World War II but here in Canada, the numbers are about equal. However, that’s rather misleading. The population in Canada was much smaller in 1914 than it was in 1939

anglican christ church cathedral fredericton new brunswick canadaThis is the Christ Church Cathedral and while I’ve seen many bigger cathedrals than this, I’ve also seen one or two smaller ones.

If you think that it’s small and that you might have seen it before, it’s said to be a copy of St Mary’s church in Snettisham, Norfolk and having seen the church when I visited my friend Lorna who lived nearby, I can see the resemblance.

The cathedral was built between 1845 and 1853, and its claim to fame was that it was struck by lightning on 3rd July 1911. it did make me wonder what they had done in the cathedral to have incurred this sort of divine wrath.

railway bridge across saint john river fredericton new brunswick canadaThere used to be a railway line or two here in Fredericton but today it’s one of two provincial capitals (the other one being Charlottetown on Prince Edward Isle) to have had its railway lines ripped away.

The track bed is now a riverside walk and the bridge across the Saint John River is a walkway and cycle path.

It was on here that someone wished me a “good evening young fellow” so there’s clearly a vacancy for a good optician in the city.

legislative assembly building fredericton new brunswick canadaDown along Queen Street is the Legislative Assembly Building for the Government of New Brunswick.

It dates from 1882 and replaced a previous building which, for the benefit of those of you who have not yet come to terms with life in Eastern Canada, was destroyed in a fire in 1877. The dome, by the way, is over 40 metres high.

To the left is the old Education Building dating from 1816.

york county building fredericton new brunswick canadaFredericton is actually situated in York County, New Brunswick, and over there is the old York County Building of 1855

It also served as the County Court back in the old days, and what was unusual about it was that back in the early days it had a market underneath with the Court buildings on top. I suppose that if they set up the stocks outside, the spectators wouldn’t have too far to go to find the rotten fruit and vegetables.

fredericton new brunswick canadaDespite what you might think, this really is a lighthouse. The Saint John River used to be navigable to paddle-wheelers as far upriver as Perth-Andover. There were 21 lighthouses along the river, and this one at Fredericton was the farthest north.

12 of them remain today, of which 7 still serve their original purpose, such is the volume of pleasure traffic that might be found on the river

st dunstans church tow away zone fredericton new brunswick canadaThis is something that really gets on my wick.I always understood that Christians were supposed to turn the other cheek, forgive people their sins, and pardon the wrong-doer. I read nothing in the Bible that states that sinners and wrong-doers would be towed away.

It’s this kind of hypocrisy that brings the church, Christians and Christianity into disrepute. Didn’t St Paul say something about “be not afraid to entertain strangers, for thereby, some have entertained angels unawares”?

museum officers square fredericton new brunswick canadaThis is Officers Square where there is a museum that preserves relics of life in the area in bygone days.

It has a considerable military significance and every day tourists can witness the Changing of the Guard, followed by, at the Royal Canadian Bank down the road, the Guarding of the Change.

There’s also going to be a stage here for the Festival tomorrow.

As far as the festival went, I was at the Hoodoo House tonight.

First on stage tonight was a guitarist called Morgan Davis, and he started off by giving a pro-active demonstration of playing on a cigar box guitar.

Next up was Geoff Bartley, who plays like an early T S McPhee when he lets go and ups the tempo, which is unfortunately something that he didn’t do all that often. But he did let rip with a superb version of Chuck Berry’s “Nadine is that you”.

Rambling Dan Stevens certainly lived up to his name. He a real rambling blues singer who sings just like an old blues singer should. His version of “My Baby Don’t Need No Loving” was excellent and the jam that he did at the end with Geoff Bartley was magnificent.

The main group tonight is Joe Murphy, Garrett Mason and the Water Street band, with a keyboard player who looks just like Mini-Me
. Murphy did a lead-guitar type of thing with bottle neck slider and his guitar fell to bits in the middle of it.

They are pretty good and they really rock when the mouth organ player pi … errr … leaves the stage. He spoils it after a while. You can have far too much of a mouth organ. If he’s not there they are really tight and they really rock. I quite enjoyed them.

And now we have torrential rain storming down outside and one of the venues has been flooded out. I won’t be going for a late-night photography walk-around tonight I’ll tell you that.

And thanks to Dave and his wife from Nottingham and now New Brunswick who looked after me so well here this evening. They have given me quite a few hints to follow up.

Saturday 11th June 2011 – HIS NIBS IS AT IT AGAIN!

caroline strawberry moose caliburn sandbach cheshire ukHere you can see him dipping into his Auntie Caroline’s cod and chips.

To pass the evening, I went to see Caroline again.

We ended up going out to the chippy (not half as good as a traditional Belgian fritkot), I have to admit, and that was where His Nibs joined in the (af)fray.

But Caroline’s cat Bigsy is very poorly and she might not pull through. I wanted to make sure that I saw her and gave her a stroke.

So after many vicissitudes, not the least of which was parking up for the night in a zone where there was no mobile phone signal (something that only I can do), I finally made contact with whatsername and, sure enough, my wallet was there.

That was just as well as I would shudder to have to think what I would have had to do had it not been there.

She was making breakfast for the family (it was quite early) I was also invited to eat there and that really put an end to my journey to Ilkeston and Vehicle Wiring Products, as they would have been closed by the time I would have arrived.

Instead I went to DK Motorcycles in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

As well as selling road-going machines the company also imports classic motorcycles from the USA. They arrive in all states of repair and I always like to go along if I can to see what’s arrived.

They had a few mint Hondas, including a couple of rare 1970s 350-fours as well as a pile of other stuff as well that was fit for renovation, including a 95%-complete Honda 160.

As an aside, I passed my motorcycle test on a Honda 160 belonging to my mate Ray Stigter.

Many of the machines that arrive there are only suitable to be broken up for spares and I always go to chat to the guys there because many of you might not know that I own probably one of the rarest of all Japanese motocycles – a CB92 “Benly” from 1961.

It’s basically complete and after we assembled it we even had it running after a fashion, but that was back in 1974 and that is a long time ago.

It desperately needs an overhaul but spares for it are impossible to find now – hence the regular visits to DK Motorcycles.

They might one day have one in that is only fit for dismantling but to date the guys in there freely admit that this is one motorcycle that they have never ever seen and don’t ever reckon that they will do either.

One regular feature of this blog in its previous incarnation was something to do with poorly-sited solar panels.

badly sited solar panels keele staffordshire ukBut we gave that up when we were overwhelmed with them. Some of these solar panel salesmen have no shame of course.

We’ve seen some dreadful ones on our travels in the past but this must be pretty near the bottom of the pile.

It’s all about the salesman’s income and nothing whatever to do with the reputation of the product that he’s selling

Lunch was at Waitrose in Sandbach and then I went to B&Q in Crewe to see if they had the doors that I need for my house. My house is dark and gloomy due to the small windows and if I’m putting partition walls in, this will cut the light down further.

What I need is some dirt-cheap glass-panelled doors and finding them in France is impossible. However B&Q does a nice cheap line in exactly what I want.

The door that I fitted into the attic came from there and you can see what a good job it does as well – hence a requirement for another half-dozen to match.

B&Q came up trumps in more ways than one.

  1. they had enough in stock.
  2. they had some that were only 650mm instead of 750mm and that’s what I need for the bathroom and the office.
  3. with my trade card I had almost £100 off the retail price – £240 for 6 instead of about £335 or so.

When you think about it … “you are always thinking about it” – ed … that’s just 20 weeks of rental on my mailbox paid off in one swell foop.

You can see why it’s important to have a UK address if I am buying stuff over here.

Now Caroline and I are having a coffee on Sandbach Services. In a short while I’ll be dropping her off at home and making my way in the general direction of Bacup.

I have to go to see a digger there tomorrow morning.

Friday 10th June 2011 – I FINALLY MADE …

… it down this afternoon to see this boss of The One That Got Away who had been hankering after seeing me.

And the reason for my visit was quickly unveiled.

It seems that his company has won a contract to supply and fit out a new village hall on the Staffordshire Moorlands, and it all has to be off-grid.

Off-grid is not something in which they have any expertise and so it seems that I’ve been drafted in on this project as well.

I’m not sure what the payment might be, but “panels at cost” is a good inducement for me to become involved in it, if nothing else.

We then spent until some ridiculous time this morning catching up on all the old times that we knew when she worked for me as a kid back in the 1980s, and discussed everything that has happened to us since we last met quite a long time ago.

It was lovely to see her again after all of this time and I was sorry to leave.

Terry rang me up as well during the day. He wants me to go to look at a digger in Accrington or Bacup or somewhere like that tomorrow, and then I need to be in Ilkeston as well to pick up some stuff from Vehicle Wiring Products.

But I’m not going anywhere until I’m reunited with my wallet, which I hope is still at whatsername’s. If it isn’t I am going to be having more than just a few problems.

Wednesday 8th June 2011 – HAVING LEFT DAVE’S …

alston moor nenthead cumbria ul… last night at … errr … 05:30 this morning in broad daylight, I found a suitable place to park up.

We’re on top on a mountain on the Alston Moor somewhere not too far away from Nenthead.

And when I finally awoke … errr … this afternoon, I had some fun with some locals who were admiring Caliburn’s signwriting with consternation.
“Good place for a dozen wind turbines, isn’t it?”

The speed at which they climbed into their car and shot off, presumably to launch another NIMBY campaign against wind farms, was impressive to say the least.

Say what you like about these NIMBY environmentalists. They couldn’t care less about more nuclear powers stations being built, as long as they are in someone else’s back yard.

Having had a quick coffee, I drove for ages (and it was ages too) through all of the horse-drawn caravans littering the road between Middleton and Kirkby Lonsdale.

You have no idea – or maybe you can guess – how much I hate these after having to negotiate an endless stream of them on some of the narrowest and most winding A-roads in the country.

Horses out of control “driven” by drivers who don’t have a clue. They need tests and drivers’ licences – they need road tax and a minimum speed limit.

And – even more importantly – they need to keep a substantial distance between themselves and the one o front instead of bunching up in impassable lines of 10 and 12 outfits

Failing that, they can p155 off into a field and get out of everyone’s feet. There are plenty of bridlepaths and cartways where they can mill about at their leisure out of everyone else’s way.

I finally arrived in Middlewich just about in time to rescue Percy Penguin from work and give her my fullest attention. But it was touch and go, I’ll tell you.

Now I’m on Sandbach Services and I’m sodding off in a minute to find a place to sleep. Its [gulp] 02:31 and I have a lot to do tomorrow.

Saturday 4th June 2011 – HAVING ORGANISED …

… most things around here, I’m moving on tonight.

Last night I slept in comfort and tranquility on the fishermen’s car part at the back of Moston near Sandbach. If there’s no night-fishing going on, that can be a nice peaceful spot, as indeed it was last night.

There was tons of work to attend to today – all kinds of paperwork that I had been letting go which needed bringing up-to-date.

There was also some stuff that I needed to check up with on the internet and so that involved removing myself down to Sandbach Services, for whose assistance I have long been grateful.

For lunch I nipped into the supermarket in Sandbach – a Waitrose, would you believe – to pick up some stuff and then went and found a quiet corner in which to eat it.

Later that afternoon I went back into Crewe. It was probably 20 years or something like that since I’ve seen Cassie, Joanie and Malcolm. it was only meant to be a brief one-hour visit but we had so much to say that it was gone 20:00 by the time I left.

That took me round to Congleton and Caroline’s to rescue Strawberry Moose after all of his adventures in North America, and we all went out for a pizza, a coffee and a good chat too.

Dropping Caroline off, I hit the road for the North.

Friday 3rd June 2011 – TODAY WAS SOMETHING …

… like a bad start

A blasted tractor wanted to get into the field across the entrance to which I was parked. First time for 50 years I reckoned, judging by the looks of the gate and the track down there, and it had to be today of course

And so I removed myself to another spec and set about tidying up Caliburn.

However I was interrupted by a phone call, and what a pleasant surprise this was.

Back 100 years ago when I had my taxis there was a girl who used to work for me on Saturdays answering the phone and so on to earn some pocket money. She used to draw the images for me for the humorous remarks that I made.

After I sold up, we kept in touch for a short while but then we lost touch with each other. Anyway, to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … these Social Networks have a lot to answer for and she has tracked me down.

She’s now working as the Financial Controller for a Renewable Energy Company in Newcastle-under-Lyme and she reckons that it might be a profitable encounter for all of us if we (me, she and her boss) were to meet up sometime for a chat.

Apart from that, it would be so nice to meet her again after all these years, and I am really looking forward to that of course.

I could do with a few profitable encounters, the way things are right now. It’s been a long time since I had any … "last night?" – ed … and so we are all going for coffee next Thursday afternoon

I’ve also been house-hunting for Percy Penguin this afternoon and it’s just like Belgium here
“Didn’t you see anything suitable in our window?”
“Well, if I saw anything interesting in your window there wouldn’t be any point at all in you working here, would there?

And with an attitude like that you may as well p155 off home because you won’t be in business for long”.

It seems that even with a substantial amount of cash at stake, there are still far too many people who cant be asked to stop talking and stop drinking coffee to deal with any customers.

No wonder the UK is going broke.

Thursday 2nd June 2011 – I FOUND A …

caliburn overnight parking poplar motors lymm cheshire uk… lovely place to kip last night. A bit of old abandoned road near the Poplar Motors Cafe near Lymm on the edge of the M6.

Another one of those places that is totally deserted at night but when you wake up in the morning it’s swamped out with car-sharers.

And I had quite an early start this morning. Thanks for the text, Percy Penguin

With my early start it wasn’t long before I ended up on Trafford Park at Screwfix and Toolstation – my catalogues are out of date and need replacing.

And then round to Maccess – the auto-spars wholesalers – for some car bits (I still have my trade card for there from when I had my taxis).

Maccess has gone right downhill but I managed to spend £220 there all the same, including the new brake pads that I need for Caliburn (the guy at the MoT station said that they were down).

From there I sped along the M62 to St Helens to my storage unit. I’ve emptied that out and closed it down now.

A quick nip across the yard to Elite Workwear to order some more shirts with logos as the ones I have are getting a little shabby and I need some new stuff. It’s a reasonable quality, reasonable price and stops me worrying about what I’m going to be wearing.

Next stop was IKEA at Burtonwood but there was nothing really of interest there and so I went to the B&Q Superstore at Ashton-in-Makerfield for Caliburn’s suspended floor.

Here I really struck it lucky.

It seems that there was a salesman there from the B&Q Trade Counter working on a commission basis and short of his targets for trade customers. And the advantage of having corporate clothing and the like is that I actually look like a tradesman (which is, after all, the aim of it).

He asked for two proofs of identity which of course I don’t have, but one of the advantages of having a fully-signwritten van like Caliburn is that it looks kosher, no matter what the reality might or might not be, and that was the aim of that as well.

For the second piece of identity, which needed to be proof of a business address, did I not have in Caliburn the lease of my 1 cubic metre of mailbox in Stoke on Trent that I signed yesterday?

And so with a salesman desperately seeking a target figure and willing to turn something of a blind eye to the finer points of the paperwork, I now have a B&Q Trade Card, and you can’t knock that.

Especially as one of the reasons that I am here is to buy 5 glazed interior doors like the one into my little attic (that came from B&Q a few years ago).

I really can’t emphasise this enough – a van isn’t simply a means of transporting goods and possessions around – it’s 15 square metres of mobile advertising space and if you are in any kind of business you should make the most if it.

I reckon that over half of whatever it is that I have done has come due to the £250 I spent in having Caliburn signwritten.

And so to Crewe – and it seems that my house in Gainsborough Road needs a total rewire as the cabling is falling to bits. No surprise there – I bought the house in 1981 and the only attention that the wiring has had since then has been the couple of extra sockets that I added.

Actually, it’s probably them that need replacement – I didn’t have a clue what I was doing in those days … “and today?” – ed.

The estate agents also tell me that they had to replace the carpets on the ground floor as they were all threadbare. “Not to worry” I replied. “They were there when I bought the place in 1981” – which brought the house down.

“Well, you’ve had your money’s worth there then” said the agent.

After shopping at the new Morrison’s at Crewe, next stop was to rescue Percy Penguin, who couldn’t get home after work, and give her some personal attention.

And that was that. Here I am on Sandbach Services with a new mega-fast high-speed interent connection, and free too, thanks to Roadchef Services and BT Openlink.

I’m off to bed in a minute, if I can think of somewhere handy to sleep.