Saturday, November 05, 2022

Fireworks at Wilmslow bonfire

Kath, Thom and Kath's friend Kate took Thomas to see the fireworks at Wilmslow community bonfire this evening. The fireworks were really spectacular the crowd was large. Possibly too large for the amount of refreshments sands. We didn't manage to get a drink as the queue was so long. 

We did however catch our neighbours Julies and Emily there was lively to see them.

Thom really seemed to enjoy the fireworks though it was a bit of a late night for him and he was a bit teary on the way home. 

Wilmslow was heaving and it showed how nice the town is when lots of people are walking about. Pity about the rogue parking going on ruining it for others blocking curbs, I wish the traffic officers had been out. 

Sunday, October 02, 2022

High voltage

Thom looking snazzy in his H&M suit
Yesterday was Karolina's  (Kath's sister) Wedding day. At 4pm we headed to the Church to watch the ceremony. It was all in Polish and took around an hour. She and Artur looked amazing and very happy together. 

I had to take Thom out for a walk part way through so Kath could watch the ceremony without an impatient toddler. Unfortunately I missed the "I do" moment. Apparently the priest was a bit of a misogynist, spouting such snippets of wisdom as "Karolina, you must make sure that you husband goes for a drink with the boys, Artur you need to give Karolina money for the hairdresser". This apart it was a lovely ceremony and Artur and Karolina seemed very proud and in love.

After the ceremony we got on the bus to Folwark Nadawki. The last time I was here, it was my wedding to Kath so brought back some lovely memories. We were seated with Kath cousins and brother. We ate, drank, laughed and watched the first dance. The dance was absolutely amazing like something from Strictly! 

Thom looked great in his H&M "suit" and he really enjoyed meeting everybody, especially his Polish Grandad - Marek. He even had a boogie on the dance floor. He got spoilt rotten with cuddles, kisses and presents from many of the family and friends.

Family picture of Myself Thom and Kath in our wedding attire
There was an InstaMax camera to capture photo memories as modern Polaroids which could be taken away and also stuck into the guestbook as little mementoes the day. We got a pictures of ourselves with Thom and put one into the guestbook. 

Unfortunately having a small child meant that we had to leave very early (the party went on until 5am). We did manage to catch up with plenty of people, which meant a lot, given some of them we have not seen since the day we said "I do".   

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Cycling in Bialystok

We are currently on holiday here in Bialystok for Kath’s sisters wedding. I am really impressed with how much the cycling infrastructure has improved since I was last here.

Bialystok is a small city but its been made good for active travel thanks to the large weirder streets and cycling provision. With Covid and other life things we haven’t been here for years, in which time there has been a lot of improvements. Bike hire and scooter hire is all over the city. Most impressively some of the hire bikes had seats for children so I could ride with Thom. They have also built out a lot of segregated cycle lanes including a nice one that follows the path of the river.

It’s not a panacea though as unfortunately there are draconian rules on crossing the streets as a pedestrian complete with on the spot fines for jaywalking. The light timing are also pretty poor, often you have to wait minutes in order to cross the streets. Fortunately unlike in Britain most of the crossings are straight over without the dog leg double beg button push.

It’s working though we have both remarked how visible it is people cycling around the city. It’s common to see both young and old riders in the city centre. I also noticed that stand outside the shopping mall had a lot of bikes present (even though it was a terrible wheel bender stand they have them here too). Our rental apartment also has a lot of bikes parked up. This is quite a big change Kath remarked how she hadn’t seen so many older people cycling previously.

Noticeable too is that the bus infra has had improvements with new stands and large bendy busses. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

First flight

I now know what its like to be the parent of the child who is screaming on the aeroplane! Kath Thom and I headed from Manchester to Warsaw via Ryanair (I know but there aren’t many options from Manchester).  Thankfully the person next to us was very kind and was travelling with a group so spent most of his time further down the plane with his mates. They were off to watch a drifting competition.

Given that the flight was late around 40 minutes so we had already been queuing prior to that. Thom was actually a really good boy. It broke his normal routine but he only had one big cry mid way through the flight. I don’t think he liked being cooped up on Kath’s lap. It was our first flight in over two years and the first with Thom so we were a little on edge.

On arrival to Warsaw, we were met by Piotrek who generously offered us a lift to Bialystok. The drive is around 2.5 hours, and unfortunately it was extremely bad weather rain lashing down all the way in the dark. I am very glad I didn’t had to drive myself. Had we have had to take public transport it would have been much longer as we would have been forced to take the bus into Warsaw first then either take the train or another bus to Bialystok.

Thom was mostly ok on the drive he was extremely tired but also very awake so we had a range of moods

from singing to screaming to sleep. Kath had rented an apartment for us in the city centre a short walk to her old apartment which is now where her sister lives. It is on the top of the ten floor building so we have no upstairs neighbours and we get a pretty good view out of the balcony.

Today I met Karolina future husband Artur, we enjoyed a family meal together it was a really nice evening. Her brother and mum and dad were also present so we had a nice catchup over a burger and fries.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Family cycle

This Sunday we all went on a family ride courtesy of the Cycling Wilmslow community.  Starting off in Handforth we navigated around Tesco Extra, through the industrial estate, then picking up the bridal way which runs alongside the railway and A34, then through Cheadlee Drive to Turves road.

Crossing over we continued to Bruntwood park where we stopped off for an ice cream and to let the children have a play in the park.

After the ride Kath and I ended to the Bulls head for a celebratory drink and snack. You can see the route on Komoot

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

My first intro to IRC


A long time ago (2004) I was working at a company in Accrington. I ran the IT systems for this company and they used an old version of Microsoft exchange (6 I think). One of the options which had been enabled was internet relay chat. Though mostly now used by career criminals. Back in the 90s and early 00s it was the a tool to communicate with other people. 

Microsoft produced at the time a client called Microsoft comic chat which in one mode rendered the conversations as a sort of comic strip. This was the first time I had seen Comic Sans in use!

Later I would try and start a venture which sold IRC bots which spectacularly crashed and burned after we were DOS attacked. The hosting provider not only took us offline but removed our server and sent it back to us. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Monday, July 11, 2022


A long time ago, before Thom and pre covid 19 I booked tickets to see Pearl Jam in Hyde park. After several re-scheduallings Kath and I finally got the change to go to the gig. Pearl Jam produced one of my favourite albums and I have always wanted to see them live.

Nina and Bruce stepped in to take care of Thom overnight, so Kath and I could have a free time at the gig. We took the train and checked into the Pullman Hotel in St Pancras in time for lunch. We ate in the restaurant which was super cool but with a price tag to match. Overall I couldn’t recommend it for the food, but not bad for a cocktail in style.

After lunch and a quick change we headed out to Hyde Park to British summer time event. We arrived in time to grab a beer and catch Jonny Marr. The event was sponsored by American Express and they had a special setup where we picked up a free water bottle and tote. The weather was amazing, really sunny and warm, so the water was a good touch.

Next up was Stereophonics, they were the first band I saw live way back in 1999. They were really good and I enjoyed it very much.

We had a posh had a posh hamburger and celebrated being child free and out on a night out for the first time in months with a bottle of Moët. Kath also queued up and bought me a tour t shirt, very cool. Next up it was time for the main event. The set was amazing all my favourites and great banter. It must have been hot on the Great Oak stage with the full sun beaming in, I bet that they were glad when the sun set. 

There were times during the set where I was back to being a teenager listening to ten again, or Vs. It felt really good.

The tube was super busy on the return, we were lucky to get on. When were arrived back at the hotel from the 11 floor we had the most amazing view over the city. 

We woke up early the next day so checked out and got the train back to Wilmslow. We took Bruce and Nina out for lunch to thank them for looking after Thom. He seemed in great spirits. I think he had enjoyed seeing Connie too. 

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Running up that hill

Me stood next to the rotary dryer holding a 1.8kg hammerSometimes it's possible to do something in a sustainable way that also saves you money. While recovering from Covid, Kath and I have been thinking about some ways to save money. One thing we thought of was to use the dryer less and line dry our clothes outside. Since we had Thom the washing pile has ballooned in size so we are doing more washing and drying. Given the recent good weather we thought that we could save quite a bit of electricity by drying the clothes in the sun. The energy saving trust estimates a £35 / year saving (though given the current high energy costs maybe more). We ended up choosing a Brabantia folding rotary dryer. Kath found a great deal on Amazon which came with the ground spike, cover and peg bag.

To fit the ground spike I ended up buying a 1.8kg hammer as my smaller nail hammer wasn't heavy enough to get it into the ground. Even with the heavy version it took a good deal of hammering to get the spike flush in the ground so that the mover would go over the top. 


Covid 19 lateral flow tests showing positive results
Covid 19 lateral flow tests showing positive results
After managing to avoid it for a long time Kath and I finally got caught out by Covid-19. On Wednesday morning Kath she was feeling ill so she did a Covid Test. She gets the tests for free as she tests for work. So she did a test and it was positive as was mine and Thom's.

Thankfully (probably thanks to the Vaccines) it hasn't been to bad so far just felt very tired with a cough and head cold.

It did unfortunately mean I had to cancel a work trip to London and work from home this week.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

We could be strangers

Arrived home after spending a lovely week in Pembroke South Wales. We rented a cottage about a mile from Pembroke Village. It was an air bnb on a Farm we were really impressed.

Pembroke is a lovely small town complete with a Castle which we had a tour around. They have a huge map of castles in Wales on what was once a tennis court! 

Rhino at Folly Farm
There was so much to explore, we went to a different beach each day. Plus managed to find an excellent Farm/Zoo experience. Thom saw a Rhino for the first time and was enchanted. 

Tenby was our favourite day trip, we ended up going twice we enjoyed it so much. I had been there before in my youth but only had very vague recollection of the trips. Very impressed with South Wales seemed much more friendly and clean than the North. Really amazing beaches too.

We were really lucky with the weather mostly clear and sunny perfect really was a wonderful family get away.

Enjoying beach life

Pembroke Castle

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Hold my hand

Last night headed to see the Top Gun Maverick. We had been awaiting the arrival of the film for years, much delayed thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic we were excited to see Tom Cruise jet off once again.

We had decided to view it at the Light Cinema in Stockport. I met up with Ian to catch the train to Stockport only to find it had been cancelled. We ended up taking a taxi meeting up with Dan and Berger at the Swan with Two necks opposite the Red Rock complex. 

I haven't been in the Swan for many years maybe even a decade, it hasn't changed much with the wood panelling and anachronistic Smoke Room. Enjoyed a pint there before heading in the the Light.

I enjoyed the film, it was similar to the New Star Wars or Star Trek films been made to mirror the scenes and characters of the original in a way to keep old fans happy but have some new younger cast brought in. Interestingly as the film goes on the planes get older. Starting out with the experimental Jet to the F18, F14 ended the film with Cruise piloting a WW2 era prop plane. The cinematography was amazing, not a complete cgi lots of live action cameras strapped in cockpits and on the wing tips. It certainly was entertaining and well worth catching on the big screen.

On the way home another train was cancelled so we had to catch the very last train, after spending the day with Thom and in the Garden I was ready for bed. Think I am missing Cruises ability to still perform at the highest level in spite of his age.

Paramount have a twitter tool to generate you Top Gun Callsign, mine was rocket!

Everything's electric

Pre Race

Last Sunday was the Great Manchester Run. I had entered the 10KM so we headed out to Manchester on the train in the morning. I was in the White Wave starting 11:47 so had plenty of time. The trains were packed with runners and with city fans heading into town early to soak up the atmosphere pre game.

I had done the Great run a few times before, its a great event with loads of support on the course. The event started as part of the Manchester commonwealth games. I read that it's the third biggest participation event in the UK beaten in numbers only by the London Marathon and Great North Run.

While I was running Kath took Thom to relax in the peace garden. These are now part of the recently redeveloped Lincoln Square. At the moment its a slightly weird space with lots of new butemupty shop units. However the Lincoln statue now has more space to and the Peace gardens are back after being moved from St Peters square to make room for the second city crossing.

Waiting to start

I always found it slightly weird that there is a statue of Lincoln here, seems slightly incongruous to have an American president in a British city, Manchester supported the Yankee states and their desire to end slavery even though the blockade on the confederate states hurt the economy of Manchester.

I must admit that I had not done a huge amount of training for the run so I was pleased to come in just under the 1 hour mark. Far from my personal best it was still a great effort and I really enjoyed the run.

After meeting with Kath we headed for some much needed food then hopped on the train back home. Fortunately the train home was much quieter.

Post race in Lincoln Square
If you fancy doing the Great Run Manchester use this link to get £10 off your entry.

Sunday, May 01, 2022


Thom playing with the water table
This weekend I am looking after Thom while Kath is working. Yesterday, I took him to my parents on the bike in the morning then spent the afternoon playing with the water table. Ive also taken him to the park on the swings which seems to be one of the favourite things at the moment.

Last weekend we journey to Wales to meet up with Kath's friend Jenny and her daughter. Her parents have a lovely cottage in the valleys. It was really nice to see the children interacting and we ended up getting Thom a writing tablet.

Thom on the Swings