Month: March 2014


My beloved Kenwood Hi Fi

Goodbye to my Kenwood

When I was 24 (and that’s a little while ago now 🙂 I decided to buy a really nice hi fi.

I knew the following year I was going to buy a house, and money wouldn’t be so readily available. I decided I’d make a big splash.

At the time, the Kenwood UD90 cost £900 (I paid it in 10 installments). I absolutely loved that thing, and in good times and bad, I sat and listened to an array of different cd’s (it had a dizzying array of features, but I hardly used any of them).

Today, most musical needs can be provided with a mobile phone and most pc’s and tv’s have comparable sound quality (and also neighbors seem to have a lot less patience for borderline “loud” music).

So, I’ve decided to give it to charity. But for 2 weeks, I’m keeping it set up, and as you can see from this picture, I’ve got all my Smith’s cd’s to listen to.


Off on a walking weekend on the 2st of March, and another the weekend after (when I’ll be giving a talk on Social Media to the YHA association). I’ve also paid the final balance on my Cuba trip in May.

Other weekend, went out walking with the CDWG. One of the best day walks I’ve ever done with the walking group, it started off with a trip to Aber falls.


As we wandered up the hill, it really took it out of me.

Walking across uneven ground, when there’s no path is far more tiring than the alternative.

Once your above the fern line, you have snow to deal with which makes it even more exhausting.

A sit down, sandwiches and coffee from my flask.


And then it happens. I decide to wander back down the valley on my own. I walk carefully, as I’m wandering across snow drifts and ice.

I had to be careful (some people think you can only move on ground like this with crampons and ice axes, but if you’ve had training and your careful, its fine.

Down at the car park, there’s a pub nearby. I find that I’m locked out of the car, and my money is in the glove compartment. Its an hour before anyone arrives !.

For the first time in ages, we go into the pub for an after work drink, and I choose coffee rather than lager !.

Cambridge boats

Spent some time in our Cambridge office recently

It really is a nice place there, and although I’m busy in the daytime, its very relaxing during the evening.

The Antarctic museum


One of my favourite things there, is the Scott Antarctica museum.

Just like how whenever I’m in London, I always pass and visit the British musuem, whenever I’m in Cambridge, I do the same.

At home I still enjoy the picture I bought from there, Grotto in a Berg.

My Fish

On the subject of things at home.

Just thought I’d put up this picture of my fish, as they haven’t been featured on in a while, but still provide me with constant inspiration.

Otherwise, I’ve been doing loads of stuff in the house, in readiness for summer. I’ve also taken care of the pigeons in the back garden (I’ve used some pigeon spikes on the top of my drain pipe. I had to fight the urge to just shoot them with an air rifle !).

Caravans in North Wales

Visited another office a few days ago.

It involved a brilliant trip to Llandudno.

I always love the train to Llandudno, as it travels right down the coast and the views are superb.

I also saw loads of caravans, which reminded me of family holidays in my youth.

On a different travel subject, I was delighted to read this article about Interailing.

Me at Ness Gardens

Although summer hasn’t fully arrived yet, it was a nice day last Sunday, so we headed to Ness Botanical Gardens on the Wirral (still unsure about putting “the” in front of Wirral, but old habits…).

Had some nice lunch, and then spent 3 hours just wandering around ponds, tree’s and plants.

A view in Ness Gardens

A little expensive I thought at £6.50 but compared to the price of say the cinema, quite competitive. You could also bring you’r own picnic, if you don’t want a sit down dinner, and the good news, you can stay there all day.

Jonathan Creek

Well, the 5th series of Jonathan Creek (one of my all time favourite tv series) is over.

I have to say I felt a bit underwhelmed. The actual crimes and mysteries were a bit too off the wall this time. I liked the dynamic with his wife, but considering it was full of “in” jokes, I’ve watched every episode and been a fan for years, but I couldn’t get a lot of them.

Glad it was back, but hope they do it better next time (and should really bring the duffel coat back 🙂

Teak bar sold by Antique Pine Imports

Saw this superb bar at Antique Pine Imports, run by my friend Glenn.

I love it, and think its fantastic. Key challenges are:

1. I don’t know where it would fit in the house.

2. Beautiful stuff like this isn’t cheap. It costs about £5000

For the 2nd one, Ill try this.

Dan leaving, babes, film look-a-likes and Liverpool.

Dan on the train to London fixing a server remotely

Well, today marks the last week for Dan here at Phonak.

Dan has assisted me ably for the last 3 years. I’ll be sorry to see him go, but optimistic about his plans for the future (and look forward to seeing the new van he’s been promised).

In the picture above, Dan and I were traveling down to London, and there was a problem with our Sharepoint server.

We connected the laptop, to the trains wifi and remoted back into the office to fix it (one of the cool tricks you can do with computers and the reason I love this industry so much).

Dan putting rubbish into the skip without being asked

I’ve been a team leader for over 20 years.

Before that, I always said I would treat my team fairly, have a rota for tea making and such like.

Dan has, on occasion forced me to question that, with his near constant back chat.

It is, and has always been motivated to deliver the best possible outcome and not (as I occasionally think) to get on my nerves 🙂

In the photo above, Dan had just installed a pc, and, not realising he was being watched, has put the rubbish into the skip without being asked or reminded.


Over and above our work in Warrington, and the construction of our new building, this photo (for me) captures our finest hour.

We were asked to assist one of our customers with a sensitive technical problem, which affected small children (but manifested itself in a complex pc problem).

Visiting London for the day, we were honored to visit one of the best hospitals in the world and resolve the problem to greatfull thanks from the staff.

On the way home, we had some burgers and pints, and stopped by the Thames for this shot.

Plans are afoot for his leaving do on Friday so get in touch if you want to come along.

The next week will be bitter sweet for me. Best wishes for the future Dan, you’ll be missed by everyone at Sonova and

Gru from dispicable me.

I was at a friends house a little while ago.

Their daughter Amy was watching a film called Despicable me, featuring a character called Gru.


Setting up some dashboard monitors the other day Craig walked into the shot.

I hadn’t met him before, but he instantly reminded me of Gru.

Glenn with some hot babes in the Townhouse in Chester

Glenn and I were out on Wednesday Chester IVC to catch up with our friend Andy, who we met there.

After all the sensible pubs had shut, we went to the Town house, a favorite venue, we visited on Glenn’s birthday.

Here Glenn is photographed with some hot babes who we met on the evening.

View from Liverpool Museum

Last Saturday, we were out to see a band.

We decided to go over earlier, and see a bit of the town. Of special interest was the Museum of Liverpool.

I’ve seen it a few times, and always wondered why it was designed that shape. Once inside, the answer is obvious.

As well as a museum, its a sort of viewing area for the 3 famous Liverpool landmarks, The Liver building, the Qunard building and the Port of Liverpool building.

In the 50's and 60's, people used to rent kettles from the council !

There were just too many interesting things in the museum to list here, but take my word, you could easily spend a day in there.

One thing that did jump out of all the excellent exhibits, was this kettle.

Most of us can remember when the post office ran telephony before BT, and that we used to rent the telephone.

Did you know, that during the 50’s and 60’s, some people were so poor, that they actually rented kettles and other appliances from the council.

A bit more of a wander around, and a visit to Bridewells for a drink (its a converted prison, and the old “cell’s” have ingeniously become booths for watching sport and suchlike).

Although its been around for a while, the 1 center, is still quite new to me, so I love wandering around there.

We went for dinner at Browns. I had pie, and I loved the way there burned a capital B into the crust of the pie (unfortunately, my phone was dead and I haven’t been able to find a picture anywhere on the internet.

Went to see Big Country at Erics on Mathews Street

We finish our dinner, and head to the unlikely named “Erics”.

Its a music venue on the internationally famous Mathews Street.

I hadn’t realised, but Big Country were in their heyday, nearly 30 years ago. I always remember them from the soundtrack to Restless Natives and trekking across the Alps for 20 miles with a heavy rucksack, with their greatest hits playing on a cassette Walkman.

Again, sadly, with a phone dead, I couldn’t take any photos, so I got this one off the internet.

A can of Carling listening to Big Country on stage was pretty superb. Thanks to Nikki for organizing it.