charitable Coast to Coast travel

Coast to coast tracking and other Galaxy S7 Edge stuff

Coast to Coast tech update

This coast to coast tech update involves my new phone. Am liking the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge more and more especially as I discover more features.

The double click on the home button when the screen is locked brings up the camera v quickly. This is very useful. The only issue I will have on the coast to coast, where i will probably want to take lots of photos and videos, will be that ideally these photos will be embedded in the Runkeeper route map and will therefore need to be taken from inside the app. I may be able to programme the phone to bring up runkeeper quickly – will investigate.

The one thing that will be tested today is the battery life. Out and about in London I am certain to use the phone more. Even if it is just more photos and videos (of me:)). At 9.56 I am down to 85% having been fully charged before I left home.

One of the features that compares very well with the Oneplus 2 is the sharing to Google Drive. I photograph all my receipts as I get them and upload to specific folders on Google Drive. On the Oneplus2 I had to specifically delete the photo name and replace it with something more useful (eg taxi£5). On the Edge the old text is already selected and all I have to do is type in the new name. These are small things but greatly enhance usability. I imagine this is down to the specific instance of Android being used but it might be Samsung related.

Certainly the Edge doesn’t feel as if it has so much bloatware as earlier Samsung Galaxy devices I have used. This was one of my main complaints about Samsung. Having said that I don’t really use Samsung’s own apps.

With regard to tech for the Coast to Coast walk I think I’ve decided to use Runkeeper for the tracking with embedded photos but with Fitbit and the OS Maps app as alternatives. I’ve tested the Fitbit a fair bit and the battery life seems to be roughly 8 hours in GPS mode so it might be ok. The OS app will give me far better on the ground resolution but they don’t yet have the real time online sharing feature. Runkeeper will allow me to share my data with the world so I will be providing a link each day to the online route tracker so that you can see where I am. They also have APIs into Facebook and Twitter for sharing the data.

It means I will have to become a premium member of both the Ordnance Survey and Runkeeper but I think it will be worth it.

We have to remember that one of the reasons for this walk is to raise cash for Cancer Research UK so if anyone has any thoughts about how to increase the publicity surrounding the event please feel free to share. We are talking about extended publicity over a 2 week period starting on Sunday May 1st. More coast to coast stuff here. Donate at our JustGiving Page

ITSPA council meeting this afternoon. Ciao bebes.

Stay tuned for another coast to coast tech update when I have it 🙂

travel Weekend

VW campervan hire lincoln

Anne’s Vans VW campervan hire lincoln

Anne’s vans is our new VW campervan hire Lincoln business. If you are thinking of heading off for a UK based holiday you could do worse than a VW campervan hire from Anne’s Vans in Lincoln.

The idea came about when last summer we tried to hire a vintage VW campervan but couldn’t find one for love nor money. Every one was rented out for the season. This gave us the idea of buying our own van and hiring it out when we aren’t using it, which is most of the time.

The van is looked after by our friend Dave Cooper from DC Automotive and is kept in dry storage in his garage in Lincoln. It gives us peace of mind knowing that the van is well maintained and in top notch condition for both our own use and that of customers.

Our first van is called Betty. She is the first of perhaps a stable of vans that will grow as the business expands. Betty has been completely restored over a period of 3 years. She was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt from there up. Her colour scheme is the original paint job used when she left the factory.

Whilst the base vehicle has been kept to its original spec no expense has been spared on the interior which reflects the height of VW campervan luxury. There is even a porta potty that can be a life saver when caught short in a campsite the middle of the night. Everyone will understand the after effects of drinking lots of wine and beer whilst gazing at the sunset over a beach.

Knowing that readers of this blog like their tech stuff I can say that campervan Betty has been fitted with a high end stereo with DAB and Bluetooth and a handsfree phone kit. Seems a bit out of place in a 19712 campervan but the previously installed radio had a cassette deck in it and wasn’t going to cut it. So now people the van can get to the campsite using the sat nav on their phone whist listening to Spotify and taking calls legally.

Check out the Anne’s Vans website for more info and to keep up to date with the VW campervan news.

Btw we did think of calling the website something else. I have the domain name vwcampervan.hire but whilst this might be good for SEO purposes actually the business is my lovely wife Anne’s and the name Anne’s Vans is far more personable. Also check out the Anne’s Vans Facebook page. If you are searching for “VW campervan hire Lincoln” then look no further.

All the best.


Ps – bit of unashamed advertising I know but hey…

charitable Coast to Coast Weekend

Coast to Coast sponsored walk accommodation update

Details of our coast to coast accommodation

Quite a number of people have asked about accompanying us for some of the Coast to Coast walk. I now have the details of our coast to coast accommodation for each night so if you are considering coming along you can contact the B&B directly to check for vacancies.

Saturday 30th April St Bees hours miles Stonehouse Farm, 133 Main St St Bees CA27 0DE
Sunday 1st May Ennerdale Bridge 7 14 Thorn Trees, Ennerdale Bridge, CA23 3AR
Monday 2nd Seatoller 7 14.5 The Glaramara Centre, Seatoller, Borrowdale CA12 5XQ,
Tuesday 3rd Patterdale 9 17.5 Grisedale Lodge, Grisedale Bridge, Patterdale CA11 0PJ
Wednesday 4th Shap 7 16 New Ing Lodge, Shap, CA10 3LX
Thursday 5th Kirkby Stephen 9 20 Fletcher House, Fletcher Hill Market Street, Kirkby Stephen CA17 4QQ
Friday 6th Keld 6 13 Keld Lodge Hotel, Keld DL11 6LL
Saturday 7th Reeth 5 11 The Manse, Reeth DL11 6SN
Sunday 8th Richmond 5 11 Willance House, 24 Frenchgate Richmond DL10 7AG
Monday 9th Ingleby Cross 9 23 Ingleside, Ingleby Arncliffe Northallerton DL6 3LN
Tuesday 10th Chop Gate (Clay Bank Top) 6 12.5 West Cote, Chop Gate TS9 7JF
Wednesday 11th Glaisedale 6 18.5 The Arncliffe Arms, 1 Glaisdale Terrace, Glaisdale, YO21 2QL
Thursday 12th Robin Hood’s Bay 8 19 Raven House, Victoria Terrace RHB YO22 4RJ

If you need distances between overnight stops you can check them out on this previous coast to coast post. Most days roughly average around 2 to 2.2 miles an hour – I’ve stuck the miles between stops and estimated time taken for people who might want to choose a leg based on time or distance. Some of them are toughies with lots of climbs and rough terrain.

If you do think you might want to come along please let me know.

All the coast to coast accommodation we are using get good reviews so I reckon we’ve done alright here. I’m particularly looking forward to Richmond which is a short day with lots of pubs at the end of it.We may of course not be interested in beer by then – body/temple etc. On the flipside the Richmond to Ingleby Cross day is a monster at 23 miles (unless you are in the commandos in which case it will be a stroll in the park) so beer may be off the menu the night before.

Donations are coming along nicely with this morning’s tally at £690. Remember the cause is Cancer Research UK in memory of my Mam who died one year ago to the start date of this walk and who was Chairman of Marown and District Branch of the IoM Anti Cancer Association. Dad thinks Cancer research is very well funded and that there are other equally deserving causes such as Alzheimers Disease. My view is that progress towards sorting cancer is coming along very well and the more we can throw at it at this moment the better.

JustGiving page is here.

Featured image courtesy of the Arncliffe Arms website. I’m sure they won’t mind.

Coast to Coast End User phones

Galaxy S7 Edge First Impressions

Galaxy S7 Edge waterproof phone

I need a waterproof phone for the Coast to Coast sponsored walk. The new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a bit of a result. It feels great in the hand and the camera would appear to be top notch. I did um and ah a bit before buying it as it comes with a hefty price tag – £630 from EE including a PAYG starter SIM which I don’t need but that was the deal.

My previous two phones have been the Oneplus1 and Oneplus2. As value for money they have been great and both are still usable. Once I’ve had the Oneplus2 screen repaired that is – it’s biggest weakness appears to be it’s poor resistance to a bit of rain.

The Oneplus2 was also not the most reliable phone – kept locking up when using Runkeeper I needed it for taking photos. This is whilst I’ve been out on my Coast to Coast training walks. I’m hoping that in the Galaxy S7 Edge I have a phone that will do the job for me on the actual coast to Coast walk.

The Oneplus 2 is billed as a flagship killer. It isn’t. It is almost there but misses a few finesses. One has to remember it is less than half the price of the S7 Edge. Not being waterproof was a killer for me. Once repaired I’m going to use it as a backup and a second phone when travelling – the two SIM trays was very useful. I’d use my EE SIM for calls and texts and a local in country SIM for data. Roaming data charges are total ripoffs.

I suspect the battery capacity of the Edge is only just going to be ok. It is now 10am and the battery is at 65% charge. I charged it up yesterday evening and it lost maybe 10% just sat there overnight. This, I assume is down to the lock screen data which I guess I could disable. I’ll leave it as is for now. It isn’t a problem at the moment.

The fingerprint recognition works really well on the Samsung. It feels as if it is an improvement on the Oneplus.

I did look at the iPhone but tbh that was too big a jump for me. I am now the possessor of a high end Macbook Pro. Most of my pals in the networking industry use such a device. I now consider that I have the right laptop and phone. The chromebook can stay as a backup and will also probably be the laptop i take with me on the Coast to Coast – I don’t want to risk the Macbook Pro being nicked in transit between B&Bs. It does mean my video editing capabilities will be constrained for coast to coast blogging purposes but I can stick to one take videos which is what I do now.

One of the things that has amused me is the presence of Microsoft Office apps on the Edge. I abandoned Microsoft years ago now and won’t go back. The icons have been moved to a safe place. Ditto the Samsung Apps.

Don’t forget that in May I am doing the Wainwright Cast to Coast Sponsored walk in aid of Cancer research UK. This is in memory of my Mam Eileen who died one ear ago to the day of the start day of y Coast to Coast walk. She was an active fundraiser and Chairman of the Marown and District Branch of the IoM Anti Cancer Association. I am being accompanied on the walk by my son Tom and two friends Mark and Luke Agius. If you want to support the cause the please go to the JustGiving page. 

PS re the waterproof phone bit – I’m not going to test it – don’t want to push my luck 🙂

charitable Coast to Coast Weekend

Coast to coast training update

Coast to Coast training progress

The Coast to Coast sponsored walk is 27 days away so it’s time for an update on how the preparations are going.

Since I pushed the button in January and bought a pair of boots I’ve been gradually upping the level of intensity of the “training”. As well as my usual morning swim, which is a great calorie burner, I’ve been going on longer and longer walks.

These began as one hour three milers,  increasing to five miles (the first of which ended at the Strugglers Inn in Lincoln). If you have a sedentary lifestyle you feel even these relatively short walks – sore back during the walk, very sore feet after the walk & stiffness the next day.

The first longish walk was an eight miler from Lincoln out to Scothern and then on to Nettleham. It was a freezing day and much of the walk was into the teeth of a wind so I didn’t make it the last three miles back into Lincoln but caught a convenient bus instead. The stop at the cafe in Nettleham put paid to the resolve.

After that walk I started to put together longer trips and did 7 or 8 10+ milers including a walk from Lincoln to Wragby along the very busy A158. This is when I concluded that walking along the road wasn’t a good idea, especially when the A158 ran out of footpath two thirds of the way along. I now try to keep to proper off road footpaths.

Pretty much all of these local walks have been along the flat. They culminated with an 18 mile stroll with my son and partner in crime on the C2C Tom from Lincoln to Woodhall Spa along the side of the river Witham. This took a good 7 hours and was the first walk that was similar in length to some of the days on the Coast to Coast where the average is around 16 miles a day.

it was after the Woodhall walk that I unfortunately had to conclude that I needed different sized boots. My left foot is one size bigger than my right and this foot needed a boot a half size bigger. This is an expensive situation as I ended up buying two top of the range pairs of Meindl boots at sizes 9 1/2 and 10. I need to find a boot buddy with matching but reversed shoe size requirements.

I bit the bullet on the boots because they are the most important bit of kit for a walker.

The new “odd” sized boots have now been road tested in Snowdonia and Derbyshire where in the space of 8 days I did 5 walks including climbs of 1,200 feet or more. The Snowdon climb was 2,200 feet and was a killer for someone who isn’t fit enough. Snowdon itself is 3,500 feet but fortunately (strange perspective perhaps) the advice from the ranger was not to go beyond the snow line so I didn’t 🙂

This week has been great prep for the Coast to Coast where the climbs are typically 1,500 feet although one of the days in the Lake District will have two of those. I feel as if the task – 12 days and 192 miles is doable. Survivable.

The sore back seems to have gone and the feet are certainly a lot less achey after a walk than they had been at the start of the training.

I now have most of the gear that I need, purchased largely from GoOutoors in Lincoln. This shop has been a pleasant surprise as they have staff there who really seem to know what they are talking about and they are willing to price match anything you can find cheaper elsewhere and knock a further ten percent off. This was a result when I bought my Deuter day bag which was £110 reduced to £100 instore. I found it at Millets online for £77 so GoOutdoors sold it to me at £70. Result.

I also have merino wool base layers, various fleeces and a Marmot hard shell outer, Montane walking trousers which are seriously good and Berghaus overtrousers. I sweat buckets on a walk but this kit is perfect and dries very quickly.

The one aspect of the walk that isn’t totally sorted yet is the tech. I have been using Runkeeper on my Oneplus 2 to track progress and take photos en route. However I discovered in Snowdonia that the Oneplus 2 is very definitely not waterproof. In fact it is now knackered and either needs fixing or replacing.

I have been using a Fitbit Surge that was very kindly sent to me by Fitbit for the walk. I don’t normally wear a watch but will need one for the C2C to keep abreast of time/progress. The Surge is good but I’m not sure will have a good enough battery life to last the whole day when using GPS. I’m still testing this.

It may be that I stick with Runkeeper for the tracking as there is a plugin that allows you to post live progress updates on the blog. I’ll update you on this as I get nearrer the off.

The next few weeks are going to be mixed from a training perspective. I have a weekend mountain walking in Derbyshire planned but also a few business trips which are absolutely no good from fitness perspective. Most readers of this blog are in the internet industry and will understand the”social” problem associated with conference going.

I’m likely to concentrate on swimming and aerobic sessions in the gym. Nothing replaces walking as exercise but improving my lung capacity will stand me in good stead up the hills in the Lake District and takes less time. I have also shed 10Kg since January and if I can do the same again in April that will also be a benefit.

That’s all for now folks. Remember I am doing this Coast to Coast training in preparation for the sponsored walk in aid of Cancer research UK. I have a JustGiving page if anyone feels as if they want to donate to the cause.

Image is of Me, Irina Trentea, Will Hargrave and Andy Davidson atop Winhill last Saturday.

Stay tuned…

Video shot by Andy Davidson

charitable Coast to Coast End User Weekend

Coast to coast Sponsored Walk provisional schedule

coast to coast sponsored walk provisional schedule

The Wainwright coast to coast sponsored walk provisional schedule is provided below. This is the route as prescribed by Alfred Wainwright.

Saturday 30th April Travel to St Bees
Sunday 1st May Walk St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge 14 miles (22.5 km)
Monday 2nd May Walk Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite 14.5 miles (23 km)
Tuesday 3rd May Walk Rosthwaite to Patterdale 17.5 miles (28 km)
Wednesday 4th May Walk Patterdale to Shap 16 miles (25.5 km)
Thursday 5th May Walk Shap to Kirkby Stephen 20 miles (32 km)
Friday 6th May Walk Kirkby Stephen to Keld 13 miles (21 km)
Saturday 7th May Walk Keld to Reeth 11 miles (17.5 km)
Sunday 8th May Walk Reeth to Richmond 11 miles (17.5 km)
Monday 9th May Walk Richmond to Ingleby Cross 23 miles (37 km)
Tuesday 10th May Walk Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top 12.5 miles (20 km)
Wednesday 11th May Walk Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale 18.5 miles (29.5 km)
Thursday 12th May Walk Glaisdale to Robin Hood’s Bay 19 miles (30.5 km)
Friday 13th May Depart from Robin Hood’s Bay after breakfast

We won’t have the exact details of the overnight stops until I’ve paid the final cash for the trip to the travel agent, Contours Walking Holidays (whose image we are using in this post). We are staying at B&Bs each night and our bags are being transported from location to location. There is no way I would manage carrying two weeks worth of kit.

Our friend Adie Smith’s son Tom did this and also camped every night. He completed the walk in 7 days or so and after the first day had to do it in flip flops because his feet blistered badly in his boots! I am not in that league.

When I get the final details of the B&Bs I will let you all know. Quite a number of people have already expressed an interest in joining us for part of the journey.

As a reminder my son Tom and I are doing this in memory of my Mam Eileen who died one year to the day we start the walk – May 1st. Mam did not die of cancer but was Chairman of the Marown and District branch of the IoM Anti Cancer Association. My father in law Keith died of the disease in 2014.

If you want more detail on the walk itself there is a wikipedia entry. I will also be keeping the coast to coast sponsored walk event page updated as things happen.

Our JustGiving page is here.

charitable Coast to Coast End User Weekend

Preparation for the coast to coast sponsored walk

coast to coast walk preparation – no pain no gain – my feet hurt 🙂

You may have read yesterday about my intention to do the Wainwright Coast to coast Sponsored to raise cash for Cancer Research UK. I am doing this in memory of my mother Eileen who died on may the 1st 2015, exactly one year from the date we start the walk. Mam had been Chairman of the Marown and District Branch of the IoM Anti Cancer Association. My father in law Keith succumbed to cancer in 2014. This post is the first that discusses my coast to coast walk preparation.

The Wainwright Coast to Coast walk is rated as the second best walk world (I read somewhere) and is 190 miles from St Bees in Cumbria on the West Coast to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire on the East. The walk takes in the Lake District, The Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors. It is a pretty gruelling 12 days of walking and there is no way I would have been able to take it on in January when we decided to go for it with friend Ajax (Mark Agius) and his son Luke.

May 1st however seemed to be suitably long way away giving me plenty of time to prepare. You have to remember that my idea of exercise was to walk to the pub half a mile away and I may even have cadged a lift back off my wife.

I took it as a challenge to get fit enough to complete the walk. It seemed to me that not only would I be fit if I managed to survive 12 days non stop walking 9am until 5ish on most days but I had to be reasonably fit before even setting off.

I bought a pair of walking boots.

My feet are wide and odd sizes (right foot is an 8 and left foot is a 9). Finding a suitable pair of boots I thought would be a challenge. I tried a load on in a couple of shops but always felt that they were either too big for one foot or too small for the other.

In the end I drove to Richmond in Yorkshire to the Alt Berg factory shop where they were happy to pair you up with odd sizes. However they didn’t make their boots wide enough for my feet (!!!) so I ended up buying a pair of Meindl boots off the shelf.

I’ve spent the last few weeks going on occasional walks using the Meindl boots. My feet are still sore after every walk but I am hoping this will gradually diminish the more I walk. Thirty years of sitting with my feet up on a desk will take more than a few walks to sort out.

In the last two or three weeks I have completed 6 walks of between 9 and 10 miles. I now need to start stepping up the pace and increasing the distance. The longest day on the coast to coast is 23 miles so 10 miles doesn’t even get me half way.

At Easter the family are off to Llanberis for some walking in Snowdonia. I figure if I can put some hills in that will help me when it comes to the Lake District where some of the days involve more than one ascent. If I can climb Snowdon then i can take on anything the Lake District can throw at me.

Two out of the following three weekends I will be walking in the peak district (Andy and Suddy and then with the Scouts) and then that leaves me with two more weeks until the beginning of May. Not far off really!

Featured image is the route of today’s walk. Check out my coast to coast walk event page. Details of today’s coast to coast walk preparation are on my personal blog

charitable Coast to Coast End User travel Weekend

Wainwright 190 mile Coast to Coast sponsored walk in aid of Cancer Research UK

Coast to coast sponsored walk

On May 1st 2016 my son Tom and I will be setting off from St Bees in Cumbria on the West Coast of England to walk to Robin Hood’s Bay on the East Coast. This is a 190 mile coast to coast sponsored walk.

coast to coast sponsored walk cancer research logoWe are doing it to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. There are two main reasons why this is important to us.

  1. May 1st is the first anniversary of the death of my mother, Eileen. Mam did not die of cancer but she had been Chairman of the Marown and District branch of the Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association (where I grew up). Raising funds to help beat cancer was important to Mam. She was a nurse and had spent years helping and comforting patients at the end of their lives.
  2. My wife Anne’s father Keith died of Cancer two years ago.


So this walk is in memory of these two important people. I am expecting some side benefits. Walking for 190 miles across the lake district, Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors is going to be somewhat of a challenge for someone who has spent the last thirty years with his feet propped up on a desk. I have had to get into training just to be able to even get to the start. I’m hoping there will be less of me at the end than there was at the beginning of the odyssey.

The other benefit will be spending two weeks in the company of my first born effectively away from electronic screens. At this point I hear some of you fall off your chairs in disbelief. How can this be so? 🙂

Well the trip is not going to be entirely offline, other than the fact that there will be little or no mobile reception along much of the route. I am expecting to post updates from our B&B(/pub) every night and will be publishing a live tracker of our progress en route. Expect vids and pics.

Tom and I would also like to think that the walk will raise some serious cash for the cause. Most people have been touched by cancer in one way or another. In 2016 we are seeing signs that there is light at the end of the tunnel but we aren’t there yet.

If you would like to help please consider making a donation, no matter how small, to our JustGiving Page. Our chosen charity is Cancer Research UK.

Also if you want to come along on all or part of this walk then you are very welcome to do so and should get in touch.  Our friend Mark Agius and his son Luke are coming the whole way. We set off at 9am on Sunday 1st May and arrive at our destination at tea time on Thursday 12th.

Stay tuned to this blog for more info as it happens and in particular the coast to coast sponsored walk event page.

Featured image courtesy of Contours Walking Holidays.

food and drink Weekend

Tref is on holiday

Back roughly the third week in Jan. Hope your Christmas is a goodun and that Santa brings you everything on the list, always assuming you’ve been good during the year.

In the Davies household we will have a full deck of kids back for the holidays so we are all looking forward to that.

Also I will be working on so keep your mince pies peeled for that early in the new year.

If I can offer any advice on how to survive the holidays it is be sure to drink to excess, eat too much and lie in excessively late every day, small children permitting.

If you are anywhere near Lincoln on Wednesday 23rd December you are very cordially invited to my annual carol singing session in the Morning Star – details on the Facebook events page here. It’s a great evening, assuming you like beer and singing Christmas Carols.

If we are lucky the evening may also evolve into a jazz session once the carol singers have exhausted their repertoire.

See ya in 2016 🙂

fun stuff Weekend

trefbash 2015 is today – SOLD OUT

trefbash 2015 est arrivee

trefbash 2015 is a sellout, as usual and I’m looking forward to meeting y’all. Hopefully the theme of Bond meets Rocky Horror will have given people food for thought. Early indications are positive.

Don’t expect much feedback tomorrow as trefbash has traditionally grown into a two day event. Doors open tonight at 6pm and revelry continues until the official 2pm ish closing time.

Tomorrow morning (9 – 9.30 ish) we will be at Silvas on Shaftesbury avenue for one of the best greasy spoon breakfasts in London. In fact it’s almost a travesty to call Silvas a greasy spoon but hey…

Past performance suggests we will then find a pub and carry on the party. I’m on the 15.08 home from town on Friday.

trefbash marks the end of activities for the year for the blog. There will be a video released at some point hopefully next week once the dust has settled. trefbash 2015 also has a Facebook photo Album. You have to be a friend to post pics there but I guess if you are coming tonight that qualifies you for friendship. Just invite me and I’ll accept.

If you are coming tonight see you there. If not too bad – sgonna be a goodun. If you’ve never been to a trefbash you can see what you’re missing in these previous years’ trefbash posts.

fun stuff

RIPE71 Tuesday afternoon – international cyberwarfare – the internet as a field of war


This talk promises to be very interesting – is presented by  team from Leiden University

Engineer internet travel

RIPE71 – end to end reportingish

A RIPE71 story begins. The live blogging feature doesn’t seem to want to show embedded videos so these are pasted into the body of the blog

End User travel

Hurricane Nora strikes

I mean storm Abigail

I should say mildly agitated bit of wind Abigail.  I wouldn’t promote her to storm, at least not in Lincoln. Course things may be different in other parts of the country. In the West. Where they get all the weather.

Here in Lincoln it has got colder and I’ve stuck the central heating on. Yesterday I noticed people (ok girls) walking around Lincoln in strapless tops! It was that warm. Not today. Today it’s warm vest and scarf weather.

This afternoon I’ve been packing to go off to RIPE 71 in Bucharest. One assumes that a vest is going to be necessary in Roumania. I have visions of the snow drifting up against the castle wall, burying the cottages of the villagers down in the valley. You can just about see the tops of the roofs and the chimneys are emanating woodsmoke. Hope they have enough supplies in. It’s going to be a hard winter ahead.

Not for those of us attending the RIPE conference. That’s in a warm and comfortable hotel with a pool – gotta keep fit and healthy innit. Offset the effects of “conference life”.

I’m back in town next Thursday for the Exec Dinner with Danny Prieskel. We currently have 18 execs signed and room for just 2 more if you want to come, Tix here. Then it’s off to the Isle of Man to see me dear old Dad. Expect photos.

So you may hear from me over the next couple of weeks or you may not. In the meantime I am looking for some guest contributors interested in discussing telecom fraud issues. If you have something to say re fraud by all means drop me a line – or leave a comment here.

In the meantime have a great weekend. Catch you on Facebook sometime…

PS you may be wondering about the featured image in this post. It’s a bit of a tree blown down, presumably, by storm Abigail!

End User fun stuff

trefbash 2015 update

trefbash 2015 update – registrations over the halfway mark

Signups for trefbash 2015 are roughly on par with last year with over a 100 tickets now “sold”, most of which have gone to regulars. It’s quite interesting to see which ticket types have been selling fastest – I’ve crested a number of different tickets in line with the Bond meets Rocky Horror theme of this year’s bash.

Ticket Type Number sold so far
My name is Bond 39
Dr Frank N. Furter 7
Janet Weiss (s!^£) 1
Brad Majors (a$$h0!3) 1
Pussy Galore 5
Jaws 4
Goldfinger 5
Scaramanga 5
Dr No 7
Tiffany Case 3
Honey Ryder 2
M 17
Moneypenny 5

It’s quite telling that lots of people fancy themselves a bit of a James Bond. Also I haven’t looked but I wonder how many of the 17 people currently going as M are female in line with the Judi Dench portrayal in Skyfall.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the 7 people signed up as Frank N. Furter turn up. Also up until yesterday nobody had signed up as Janet Weiss (slut) and there was only one Brad Majors (asshole). There are now one of each.

Although we have the Christmas Market here in Lincoln the weekend before trefbash seems to be the start of the party season proper, after which nothing much gets done. I know some of you will be slogging away with month/quarter/year end impending but hey…

Traditionally some of us also have a few sherberts in town the following day before catching the train nowf so if you can plan that into your busy schedule then you are welcome to join us.

Still time to get yer name down if you plan on coming. trefbash 2015 is four weeks today. Signup page here.

End User fun stuff

Ten past four and it’s getting dark!

Custard is a dish best served cold

I’m a great believer in knocking off work when it gets dark. If it had been intended that we should work in the dark we would have invented torches been born with a light on our foreheads.

It’s ten past four and it’s getting dark. Time to huddle round the hearth, nice woollen blanket on our laps. Only illumination is the glow from the fire. On this occasion I’ll have to settle for switching on the central heating and stick with the glow from my laptop screen.

Way back when we lived in Waunfawr near Caernarfon we had a coal fire which my mum used to like to lie in front of. Then we moved to the Isle of Man where we only had radiators. Mum used to lie in front of the radiator! I digress though there isn’t really much point to this post. Just thought I’d take a break from doing other things.

It’s a good job I can type without having to look at the keyboard. Ish. Cos it’s dark. I mentioned that. It’s also chucking it down. Quite relaxing here in the conservatory with the sound of the rain on the roof. My office is in the conservatory. It’s all cabled up but I only use the Cat5 connection for the SIP phone. Also have a SIP DECT phone fwiw.

Screenshot_2015-11-05-07-46-33A car has just driven by on the main road outside with its siren going. Couldn’t tell whether it was a police car or ambulance (or fire engine for that matter). Wouldn’t have been able to see anyway because of the hedge. Also I’ve had to switch on a light – have just realised my touch typing ain’t all that good anymore. It’s a consequence of changing laptop sizes too many times. Each keyboard is a different size – messes up your spatial awareness ifyaknowworramean.

Now I’m multitasking, writing this post and communicating with an offspring using Facebook. Of course you can’t tell that I’m doing it but hey… It has meant that my productivity rate has slowed.

It’s really dark out now and the heating is at last taking effect. Another siren goes by. The mean streets of Lincoln. Buzzing tourist spot by day. Gangland by night. Not really. Just sounded exciting. Sometimes you have to jazz life up a bit. Like, for example, by coming along to trefbash 2015. You know it makes sense. Also still have a few tix left for my Danny Prieskel dinner where we will be discussing telecom fraud. Get signed up.

Couple more sirens go by in short order. Must be something big going down. Mean streets, like I said. More likely to be a traffic accident. When it rains, as it is still doing right now, we have road traffic accidents (RTAs) and the Lincoln roads get gridlocked. On such occasions the only sensible course of action is to park up and head for the pub. You can always come back in the morning for the car.

If you live near Lincoln one thing you might be interested in is the carol singing night at teh Morning Star pub – my local. Details on Facebook. It’s on 23rd of December this year. We have Colin Dudman accompanying the singing on the piano and when we’ve done with the singing Joe Davies joins in on trumpet and we finish off the night with some jazz.

I think that’ll do for the mo and will leave you with the following saying to muse over:

custard is a dish best served cold

Business peering travel

First train to London – just leaving town

Stardate 4th November Editor’s vlog early morning report

Catching the 19.06 back from King’s Cross if anyone else is around at that time. FIrst train to London – just leaving town – I’m not sure i like the term vlog but this is the beginning of me doing more of this kind of stuff. It’s quicker and easier than writing it:)

PS new pic of me – good quality capture though not sure it captures the essence – needs the right combination of niceness and rebelliousness.

Engineer peering travel

Lovely to have you with us

Return from Euro-IX Berlin

I don’t know whether it’s just hotel living or the exposure to different cultures but it’s always nice to come home after a trip overseas. For the first part of this week I was at Euro-IX Berlin. It was the usual useful meeting of Internet Exchange Point operators from mostly Europe but also around the world and I always get a lot out of it.

Our hotel in Berlin put on a fabulous spread for breakfast every day and indeed I took along a bottle of HP Sauce knowing that outside the UK you rarely find such condiments at the table. I knew however in my heart of hearts that the bacon and sausage on offer that would go with the HP were not going to meet spec. They didn’t. After the first day I stuck with croissants and fruit. Very sensible really.

I also find myself making up sandwiches for lunch. These conference hotels always put on a substantial buffet but just think about it. How many of us have a large lunch at work every day (ok outside of France, Spain, Italy etc 🙂 ). We usually have a sandwich or similarly light nosh. So in Berlin I took some bread and whatever meat was on offer and just made a butty.

Dinners I am ok with. Usually international fare served up in every country and accompanied by moderate amounts of beer and wine in keeping with being compos-mentis for the next day of conferencing (bed by 11pm etc :)). However how many of you go out for dinner or to the pub on several consecutive nights when you are at home? Right.

So whilst we all enjoy a bit of travel we all like to get home to our own comfort zone. In very recent memory I recall coming back from consecutive trips to Bucharest and Toledo. After having had a week of rich living I was beginning to suffer (I’ll leave it to your imaginations to decide how). My first action back in the UK was upon leaving Luton Airport to stop at the services on the M1 and purchase a cheese sandwich and a pint of milk. After consuming said items my constitution returned to normal. Hey presto. Amazing really the effect of a cheese sandwich and a pint of milk.

On the trip to Berlin the recuperation began the moment I entered the BA lounge at Telgel Airport. Then when on board the captain welcomed us over the tannoy saying it was “lovely to have us aboard” my shoulders began to relax.

I’m not really a big fan of British culture especially when abroad but there was something very comforting in that use of language. You aren’t going to get it anywhere else. It was as if Sgt Wilson from Dad’s Army was at the controls. Lovely.

The trip home was greatly assisted by technology – Uber. It’s got to a point when travelling that its a real disappointment to arrive somewhere that doesn’t have an Uber service. The rest of the day was beans on toast, hot bath and early to bed to avoid the Apprentice on TV (which really annoys me).


PS check out my talk at Euro-IX Berlin about getting stuck in a lift.

PPS the featured image is of some grappa being poured for me at the Aigner restaurant on Tuesday night

End User travel

Sony Centre Berlin

Sony Centre Berlin – part of a E4Bn investment built on wasteland in the last 20 years

The building in the featured image is next door to the Sony Centre and is the only pre ww2 building in the area to have survived the bombing.

Image below is of some sections of the Berlin wall now on display. I was quite surprised that the wall wasn’t any higher – maybe only 10 or 12 feet. However you have to remember that there were two walls with a minefield and barbed wire in between.

By the time the wall came down there were only 16 million people left in the GDR, 1 million of whom were security guards!!!

Berlin wall

And finally a very artistic shot of me in the Sony Centre

sony centre berlin

End User travel

Euref gas holder Berlin

The tour continues – euref gas holder Berlin

Euref gas holder Berlin. Berlin is a wonderfully atmospheric place. As someone who grew up during the Cold War it really does represent a rich seam of somewhat sombre material for the bloggers imagination. Especially on a grey October day.

Our tour took us to the Euref Centre for Alternative Energy and a sight of a gas holder built in 2013. Not much left around here from that era.

End User travel

Thoughts from a cocoon

Flight BA 462 to Madrid

I’m buried in music on a flight to Madrid. My own earphones insulate me from the tinny emissions of a cheap set of earphones across the aisle. The dress code is high summer. Whilst Autumn in the UK has screeched around the corner and slid to a halt in front of me kicking up the detritus of the season of light it is still hotter in Madrid than the highest temperatures we see back home.

I’ve read some of the paper (FT) and had a brief snooze which was only interrupted by the food trolley. Fair play the iced bun was quite tasty. It was slightly annoying having seen copies of the Financial TImes available free of charge as I got on the plane. I had just forked out £3.50 barely 30 minutes earlier.

At least I was in the privileged position of priority boarding on account of my BA frequent flyer status (bronze – 🙂 It’s a pleasant enough flight. Seat 16F has an empty seat beside it so room to spread out the FT and another tray on which to put my cup of tea. Yes folks, a cup of tea. The 3 days in Sheffield talking about the internet last week were quite boozy and I’d rather arrive at the hotel tonight reasonably fresh. A beer on the terrace, assuming there is such a facility, will then be most refreshing.

Yesterday I bought a campervan. It’s an early VW T2 bay – 1971. No road tax as it’s considered to be a vintage car. We havent decided what to call it yet. The previous owners called it Kay, presumably due to it’s K reg number plate. That’s a bit wishy washy for me. Ideally I wanted a Dave. We will have to give the name some thought. I’m not even sure if it’s a boy or a girl.

When I get back to the UK I need to book tickets to Latitude. If you have a campervan you need to go to festivals. MIght even do it from Madrid. I believe the internet arrived there some time ago. It’s a nice hotel where I’m staying. NH Collection Eurobuilding. I’m there for the European Peering Forum – EPF as those who know call it.

It’s just going to be an extension of Sheffield – long days talking to people and long nights eating and drinking. I might just have a quiet night in at the hotel tonight. Bit of a swim followed by a healthy meal and some refreshing mineral water. Yea. Honest! 😉

The hotel has a very nice looking spa with a load of treatments on offer. I never bother with the treatments. For one my back is too ticklish. A massage has me writhing in ticklish agony. Usually I end up just wallowing in a hot tub for a while. This time I have brought my swimming goggles – I’m gonna try and get some exercise.

10 minutes to landing. That’s all you’re getting. Ciao amigos.

charitable food and drink Weekend

Evening meals and aid for refugees

Lincoln aid for refugees

Tonight we are having pork curry. It’s been cobbled together from some leftovers from last night’s bbq and the use of some spices I bought last year when strolling through Lincoln market. I came across a stall selling Indian spices so I bought a few quid’s worth without really knowing when I’d make use of them.

Since then the garam masala mix has been used pretty extensively but we hardly seem to have touched the huge bagful. This time I roasted and ground some of the spices then fried them in oil and ghee together with garlic, ginger and green chili. Add onions, green pepper, bbd’d pork from last night, a tin of coconut milk and two of tomatoes and we are cooking on gas (yes).

Rugby has been watched but cricket ignored – I don’t think it’s going very well. Hannah and I have also been to deliver food to the collection point for the Calais refugees. The whole situation has caught everyone’s imagination and there was a constant stream of people delivering mostly clothes to the collection point down behind the Horse and Groom pub in Lincoln.

Hannah and I had been to Tesco to return the borrowed glasses we used for the party last night. Whilst we were there we stacked up with basic foodstuffs – oil, rice, flour etc for our donation. For some reason it gave me quite a pleasure on emptying the Tesco shelves of their value tomato puree. Maybe it was the ordered rows of tubes of puree that I liked although it was quite an emotional thing to fill the shopping trolley with food destined for people with a real need for it. I tried to imagine who it would end up with.

The whole refugee situation has become distressing. Over time my attitude to the refugees has changed from “these are just trying to get somewhere they can have a richer life” to “wow these are real people with really desperate problems trying to flee to somewhere safe where they can lead normal lives and their kids can go to school”.

We stacked up our trolley with food but in doing so wondered whether there was a more efficient way of using the money. Buying the food from a wholesalers rather than Tesco. Buying sacks of rice rather than small bags of the value stuff, though those did seem to offer the best value in-store. At least it made us feel that we were helping in our small way and unfortunately I’m not sure I trust big charities enough to donate them cash.

I think I will at least value the fact that we are able to have the curry in the comfort and safety of our own kitchen tonight rather than be hungry on some roadside or in a refugee camp somewhere in Europe.

aid donations at Lincoln Brayford Wharf

travel Weekend

Winding my way down beach street the holidays are drawing to a close

beach street – summer of excess

It’s back to school tomorrow and the walks down beach street will soon become a distant memory. The ice cream parlour on the prom effectively closes its doors to us until the next holiday.

No longer will we be woken by the cry of seagulls. No more early morning trips to the breakwater, cool breeze ruffling our hair, a gaze out to sea and back for breakfast.

The second hand bookshop on Michael Street will have time to replenish its stocks and the regulars in the snug of the Whitehouse Hotel can have their seats back.

This morning I am wearing long trousers for the first time since maybe May and the early signs of autumn have also driven me to long sleeves and a light coat for my trip to London. I am easing myself back into the land of work just as nature eases us gently from Summer into Autumn.

Got some exciting projects coming up. Stay tuned.

travel Weekend

Rachel Hair Do

Rachel Hair do – you going?

Still on holiday and thought you’d like this – a poster for a gig in Peel, IoM. They don’t explicitly say it’s the Rachel Hair do but seems obvious. She’s also pretty used to the pun I’m sure 🙂

travel Weekend

Glen Maye and other holiday musings

Yesterday Dad and I picked Tom up from the airport. His flight showed up as running 5 minutes late so we took the opportunity to nip to the bottle bank before heading for the airport. Turns out the flight landed 8 minutes early so the lad was there waiting for u when we arrived at Ronaldsway.

glen maye beachOur My plans for a trip on the Manx Electric Railway and thence up the mountain were stymied by the fact that I had forgotten the roads were closed all day for the Grand Prix. Instead we went for a walk down Gen Maye. Some of us. It’s a beautiful glen with a pebble beach at the end of the walk. Lovely walk.

boats at night at peel breakwaterBack to the house in Peel to catch the Ireland v Wales rugby. There are some things that always take priority over holiday activities. We won. Later out to dinner at the Harbour Lights Cafe on the promenade (@harbour_lights). great food. The place was packed. You bring your own wine and there is no corkage. Prior to the meal we had a beer at the Marine, just over the road then afterwards Hannah and I walked around the breakwater before heading back up the hill.

fenella beach at nightToday it’s the annual Viking Longboat Races. First time we have been here whilst they are on. Exciting. Pics to follow hopefully. Then we have friends Elaine and Peter coming round to dinner. Roast beef with all the trimmings. Not often Dad gets to do a joint as he is on his own.

After today we have one more full day left in the Isle of Man. Back home Thursday evening. It’s been a good couple of weeks. It’ll take me a while to recover I’m sure. I’m in London on Thursday for a lunch and then a LONAP meeeting. Not too onerous a start back to work.

Catch ya later…

travel Weekend

Walking around Peel Shoprite

Walking around Peel Shoprite

Walking around Peel Shoprite whilst the others bought some salady bits for dinner last night. Had just returned from Tynwald Mills where we happened across a shoe sale. We bought 5 pairs of shoes for £50 including a pair of Barkers leather shoes reduced from £170 to £10. Steal.

May stick up some photos in due course – fwiw.

travel Weekend

Peel Saturday 29th August and yes Tref is still on holiday

Peel Saturday 29th August

Just been out for my favourite early morning spin to Fenella beach. I do the same route every time. Down past Moore’s Kipper factory and along the far side of the quay to Fenella car park.

Unfortunately at this time of year there are always a few campervans taking up the far end of the car park. The really scenic end. I don’t blame them. I’d do the same myself. A fantastic place to spend the night. However I like to get there early and have the place to myself. Not happening on a bank holiday weekend.

After gazing at the sea and castle for a few minutes I then move round to the breakwater. This morning I parked up and climbed the stairs. A bit of breeze but a perfectly calm sea. Absolutely no boats in sight and indeed to begin with the only other people in sight were a couple of fishermen at the far end of the breakwater. It’s low tide. Don’t know if it is a good time to fish.

Out to sea there was no sign of a basking shark. There never is. I did see one once. Once in about ten or fifteen years of looking. This coming Monday we are going on a 2 hour boat ride to the south of the island. The Sound. If we are ever going to see basking sharks that will be the time.

Turning my attention to the inner breakwater a few fishing boats are tied up. I don’t know how they decide which days to go out. Today is a Saturday so maybe not. They are bottom dredgers, after queenies. Crabs are also landed at Peel but not much else these days I think, at least not on an industrial scale. I might be wrong but haven’t seen any.

Back in the car I drive back around the marina and along the prom. This morning a flock of geese had decided to take a stroll so I pulled up for a short while and watched. They showed no sign of going anywhere in a hurry. Tourists at large. Eventually I squeezed the car past the outermost goose and made my way left past the Heritage Museum and the Creek pub, along the harbour and down to the end of the prom. Someone was already ensconced in one of the shelters. Probably be there all day now. An old man with a pony tail.

I point the car back up the hill and head for home.

travel Weekend

Fenella Beach Peel – on holiday

Fenella Beach Peel

Fenella Beach Peel – far away in time

Fenella Beach Peel – far away in time

Fenella Beach Peel – far away in time

Fenella Beach Peel – far away in time

travel Weekend

Peel breakwater first light

Peel breakwater first light

Peel breakwater at first light on Thursday morning. Had just returned from Douglas after dropping Joe off at the ferry. He had to go home early from the holiday as the Pylons had been invited to play at the Jamie Oliver Feastival in the Cotswolds.

travel Weekend

The boating lake – Onchan Park (yup, still on holiday)

The boating lake – Onchan Park

The boating lake – Onchan Park – luxury travel from a bygone era

travel Weekend

Peel dawn – tref is still on holiday

Peel dawn – tref is still on holiday

Was up yesterday whilst still dark to take Joe to the Sea Terminus to catch the boat. He is playing Jamie Oliver’s Feastival with The Pylons today.

On the way home I dropped by the harbour as the dawn was arriving.