Taking a Gander…   2 comments


Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net


Gander Airport

Gander Airport
Courtesy of Google Maps and R. Villarias


Canada is one of those countries one goes to, that one immediately likes. Its true that in my case it was always coupled with a business trip to the USA and I was certainly jaded from up to three weeks working in the USA by the time I arrived.

There was always something peaceful about Canada, even in Toronto (pictured) but perhaps more so in Montreal. Many of the best aspects of French culture have been taken by the city and made their own.

I remember clearly on my first visit that I had a client meeting where the address was fourteen thousand and odd Trans Canada Highway. I really had visions of driving for about 2 days and the meeting being actually in Vancouver.

It was with trepidation then that I ordered a taxi from my hotel, made sure that it took credit cards, jumped in the back purposely refusing to look at the meter at any point during the journey.

I managed to get there in the end and only a few minutes late. The cab fare however was somewhat over 100 C$.

On a more recent occasion I was flying from New York to London on American Airlines. Sitting across the isle from me was a very pleasant American woman doctor with whom I was discussing the importance of Continuing Medical Education. We were interrupted by a stewardess who asked the medic to go with her as an old lady was suffering some kind of distress.

The old lady was brought forward to sit with the doctor and given an oxygen mask. We weren’t too far from Gander at the time, so we were diverted to there. For those that don’t know, in the days before they could fly very far, planes would take off from Heathrow, fly to Shannon in the West of Ireland, refuel there, then fly to Gander where they would again fill their tanks for the rest of the journey. Since the advent of the 747 Gander is no longer used for this purpose.

On our arrival at Gander, some paramedics boarded the plane. Two of them immediately helped the old lady, the third seemed to be rifling through her things. The doctor, seeing the concern on my face and knowing I was from the UK, leaned over and told me they were just looking for her credit cards to make sure she could pay for their services. Not entirely sure what they would have done if she didn’t have one, but she was an American so unlikely.

By this time the delay mean’t we had missed our landing time at Heathrow, and we weren’t allowed to take off from Gander until a new time spot could be agreed, which was problematic given how busy Heathrow Airport is. The end result was we were on the tarmac for about 4 or 5 hours, they were not able to allow us off the plane or able to bring extra supplies on board.

This was a day time flight so we didn’t arrive at Heathrow in the end until somewhat after midnight and the place was deserted. American Airlines laid on some buses and I was able to get to Victoria Station but had to get a taxi from there to get me home.

I’ve been playing with the formatting on this post, as I don’t really like the default way that WordPress handles placing text around images. It seems to work fine on both my PC Laptop and Apple Airbook, but might not work too well with tablets and phones. Please let me know if you have a problem with it.


Posted January 28, 2013 by bluonthemove in Food, Publishing, Travel, Walking

A snowy day is no for caching   8 comments

The title is adapted from that well known Irish saying of which my father was so fond.

“A windy day is no for thatching”.

A snowy day

A snowy day

I’ve been reading quite a lot on wordpress about geocaching, so found myself last night going over to the geocaching.com website and having a look round. If you don’t know what geocaching is take a look at the site yourself.

There are several geocaches quite close to me, so I thought I’d go out and take a look. Indeed 3 of them are on or just off the Long and Winding road of my previous post. I have an old Garmin emap GPS which I bought in 1999 but haven’t used for a couple of years which I thought could be given a new lease of life.

Isn’t the Internet a wonderous thing. I went into Google and found the instruction manual for my old Garmin, and most importantly, how to manually enter GPS coordinates. I know I could download a geocaching app to my GPS enabled smartphone, and if I catch the geocaching bug I might well do so.

So there I was, a couple of hours ago, wrapped up in a warm coat and ready to go out. It’s snowing. I decide to leave the GPS at home and just take a walk down to the first cache site and see what I can see. I didn’t really search very much as I immediately realised where it was and the snow was getting heavier. Sneakily the geocaching.com map seems to suggest the cache is on the other side of the road.

Now I know where to look, all I need now is a dry morning. Not sure what I’d do if I found it as all the ones nearby seem to be micro caches which I suppose is no surprise in an urban area. I’d guess the drill is sign the log and replace it where it was. There are also some up on Wimbledon common, these might be more interesting but the weather needs to warm up a bit before I’m going all the way up there.

Posted January 14, 2013 by bluonthemove in geocaching, Publishing, Walking, Wimbledon

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The long and winding road   6 comments

The Long and winding path

The Long and winding path

OK, not exactly a road, more a footpath.

This is the footpath that I take to walk to Wimbledon town centre.

Now that might not inspire you very much, but the point of the post is to show a few pics taken with the camera built into my new phone. Its 8.8 megapixels so ought to be quite good, but its not as easy to hold steady as a proper camera, so there is a little blurring.

Town Centre itself was quite busy and by the noise some of the younger people were making I’d guess the pubs had done a brisk trade too. Its also cold and damp, so decided I wouldn’t stay away from home for too long.


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Posted January 6, 2013 by bluonthemove in Food, Walking, Wimbledon

Happy New Year   1 comment

Since I reached adulthood, celebrating New Year has always been more important to me than Christmas. Probably in the unrealistic hope that the new year would be better than the old one.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, with that in mind, a Happy 2013 to everyone.

Posted December 31, 2012 by bluonthemove in Family, Gibraltar, Wimbledon

The buffet nearly not eaten   2 comments

This post was brought to mind by a link to a 5 year old post written by someone who’s blog I have followed for just over a year.

I guess my mother had been ill since my brother and I both graduated from University the same summer, he having done a 4 year degree at St. Andrew’s University and me a 3 year one from London. The GP, a family friend, had been palming her off with tonics of one sort or another, not really believing there was anything much wrong with her.

After a few years back and forth, and in part because she was the wife of a hospital consultant, the local consultant physician decided he should see her. He was none the wiser after the consultation so arranged for her to be seen by some chap at The Charing Cross hospital (now relocated to Fulham).

I think if my father hadn’t been a doctor, they might too have sent her packing, but instead they decided to admit her for an extensive series of tests. Imagine, if you will, my horror finding that my much loathed mother was being admitted to hospital within 15 minutes drive of the flat I had bought some 6 months earlier. Could I move I thought, to avoid being expected to go and see her. I’d really thought I was safe in London.

She then spent the lion’s share of the next four years in the Charing Cross. My father and I got into a routine, he would drive the 60 miles from where they lived on a Wednesday afternoon and I’d meet him at the hopsital about an hour before the end of visiting then we’d go for a beer then he’d drive back to Sussex. I could just about cope with my mother for an hour. Most weekends he’d come up by train on a Friday, I’d drive him back to Sussex, spend the weekend there then drive him back up to the Charing Cross on the Sunday and he’d go back by train.

My biggest problem was the Sunday. My father wanted to get to the hospital for about 3pm in the afternoon and it was difficult to get away before the end of visiting, so some weekends I had to spend 4 hours in my mother’s company as the pubs didn’t open until 7pm on a Sunday evening and my father liked a bit of a debrief after the visit.

Perhaps I should explain my mother was not a particularly nice person. Her only friends were the wives of other doctors and indeed most of those were the wives of my fathers junior colleagues. None of these friends ever visited my mother in hospital, even though a number of them travelled to London from time to time.

Eventually they came up with a diagnosis, my mother’s body was revolting (I could have told them that!!). It seems her white blood cells were attacking her body tissue and during the course of her illness she had amputations of her fingers and toes as the white blood cells killed off the blood supply. The only medication for this was the same stuff they give to people who have had transplants, which diminished the immune system and made her more susceptible to infections.

Inevitably my father got a phone call at 6am one morning. He then phoned me, asked me to call both my brothers and tell them, and then to meet him at the hospital about 11am so we coulld attend to the formalities of talking to the doctors and registering the death. They said she’d had a good night but had woken about 5am and was in distress. Neither father nor I believed a word of it of course, they say stuff like that to make relatives feel better. My mother was 60.

So, I phoned my brother, the one mentioned above who went to St. Andrews University. His wife answered and before I could say a word, she lambasted me for phoning so early and waking her up, it would now be about 7am. When she had finished the tirade, I asked her if she could tell my brother his mother had died, when it was convenient. I then put the phone down, I had better things to do than deal with a cantankerous sister in law. When it rang about 2 minutes later I ignored it, but I did answer it about 30 mins later, after I’d spoken to my eldest brother.

So, that evening, my father, two brothers and myself were at the family home in Sussex. A curious mixture of emotions, we drank champagne before dinner and some vintage Mouton Cadet with it. I suspect we partook of roast lamb, especially as at this time my eldest brother still ate meat which he was very accomplished at cooking. My father perhaps because a four year ordeal was over, the rest of us glad his ordeal was over. I think in the 4 years my brothers visited mother probably twice each at most, as I would have done were she not on my doorstep.

So, fast forward to the funeral service, the crematorium and of course, the buffet.

We had arranged for a service to be held at the local village church. Funerals are about those left behind as much as anything, and my father was very popular locally and we know a whole host of people would turn up. In fact the church was packed, latecomers had to stand at the back.

There was then to be a cremation at the local crematorium officiated by the same vicar who had done the funeral. There were 50 or so close friends invited to attend this and to come back to the house afterwards. My brother was in his element and most of the day before was in preparation of cooked meats, fish and salads, cheese and deserts, and importantly various mayonnaises to garnish the food.

So, we get back to the house after the crematorium, as we approached we could see the french windows were open, panic set in, we’d clearly been burgled, what mess might we find.

Well, None.

We were visited by the most gentlemany of burglars. A window in the study had been left ajar for the cat, but it wasn’t double glazed so could easily have been forced. Blocking the door from the study to the living room was a table laid out with glasses and several bottles of sherry. The burglars took the time to move the table without breaking any of the glasses to gain access to the living room where the buffet was laid out.

My father had a pair of silver sauce boats, which my brother had filled with various styles of mayonnaise. These were next to plates of cold meats covered with cling film. The burglars carefully emptied the sauce boats on to the cling film protected plates without making any mess at all.

Now the problem was, the burglars had taken every knife and fork in the house. So we had 40 odd people, each with a glass of wine or sherry, salivating over this top class buffet with nothing to eat it with. So various friends were despatched home to get their cutlery as the police arrived to investigate.

At this point the whole thing descended into farce. We had all these people around, not able to eat, whilst being questioned by the coppers. Coppers were busy taking nose prints off the french windows to help estimate the height of the burglars. As everyone the coppers were talking to, all pillars of the local community, had drinks and no food, we offered the officers drinks too, which somewhat surprisingly they accepted.

Eventually, knives and forks turned up and some semblance of normality returned, albeit to a situation far removed from any kind of normality.

On a final note, before my mother went into hospital my father had got a building company in to do some work, which was run by a friend of his from the golf club. As my mother trusted no one, she’d hidden all the family silver behind piles of old carpet deep in some cupboards. Some months later we found all this stuff, and so off to the bank vaults it went and subsequently sold after my father passed on years later.

Posted December 30, 2012 by bluonthemove in Family

To them that celebrate…..   3 comments

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all m

Posted December 24, 2012 by bluonthemove in Uncategorized

Beef steak and Vegetarians   3 comments

It seems that vegtarians have a lot to thank Beef steak for, well according to the BBC News this morning.

To quote the BBC:

The Beefsteak chapel hardly sounds like a place where vegetarians would be welcome, but more than 200 years ago, this tiny chapel in Salford was the British birthplace of the meat-free diet.

In an even greater twist, the cleric who preached the moral virtues of vegetarianism was the Reverend William Cowherd. His Beefsteak Chapel was the country’s first vegetarian church.

For people who want to read more – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20666581

Posted December 17, 2012 by bluonthemove in Uncategorized