More delays!

Can you beieve it?
After the horrific delays last time I took the plane, I decided to get the train to London for my meeting today…. wrong decision!

Good old GNER did their best to keep us moving, but the crumbling infrastructure which passes for a railway system in this country got the better of them, yet again…

I was booked on the 0700 from Newcastle, scheduled to arrive into Kings Cross at 0950 or thereabouts, giving me plenty of time to get the tube to my meeting at 1100.

After sitting on the train (train number 1) in Newcastle station going nowhere fast, we were told that the train was cancelled because of overhead line failure in the Peterborough area. We were told to get off the train and catch the 0740. Which we did (train number 2).

This arrived at York, where we were told it was terminating. We got off. And onto another train (train number 3). We were told this was cleared to go to Doncaster. We arrived in Doncaster, and to great cheers were told that we had now been cleared to go on to Peterborough. By this time we were an hour and a half late. We arrived in Peterborough. We got off.

We then queued for half an hour to get on specially provided buses (train (OK, bus) number 4), which took us to Huntingdon by way of quaint Cambridgeshire lanes.

We arrived in Huntingdon, got off the bus and walked to the station, to be greeted by the back of the train (train number 5) we were supposed to be getting on, leaving the platform heading for London. It seems they got fed up waiting, and left without half the passengers….

So we were told to get on a chuggy local train (train number 6) bound for Kings Cross. Which we did. And it chugged. And chugged. And chugged some more, stopping at every station, and in between stations as well.

On arriving at Stevenage, we noticed a fast GNER train pull in on the platform opposite. Thinking that this would, without doubt, get us to London more quickly than the chuggy thing we were one, we all got off and piled onto the fast train (train number 7).

This left and then promptly stopped 2 minutes later. A fault with the door locks apparently. This seemed to get fixed after 10 minutes (or they decided that it wouldn’t matter if a few people fell out along the way), and we eventually arrived into Kings Cross at 1245 – nearly 3 hours later than we should have.

Perhaps fly(may)be aren’t that bad after all!

Flybe v Easyjet

I’ve been having some discussions recently with my friend Lynne about which airline is worse…

Fly (may) be
or
Easyjet (why do they wear orange?)

I reckon flybe is the pits, following a disasterous journey to Southampton recently.
Lynne reckons Easyjet is worse, following her stressful journey to Belfast recently, coupled with her frustrations over scrumming for seats.

I thought I’d give you fine people the chance to vote (Joseph / Big Brother style).
Just add a comment, and let me know which you think is worse, and why!
And if you have any nominations for a worse airline (is it possible?), please feel free to vent your spleen!

Over to you…
(ranting is allowed!)

A splendid evening

Mrs D and I had a splendid evening yesterday at church…

About 50 of us had a lovely meal courtesy of Sandra and her team in the kitchen (thank you all – the food was delicious), and were entertained (and made to think) between courses by Rev Dennis Pethers and the Envizage Theatre Company, from Viz-a-viz Ministries, all the way from Essex… The theme was ‘More to Life’ – there must be more to life that this…

Accompanying us were Edwina and Lee – the parents of some of our KidzKlub kids – a family we have grown to know and love over the past year through our weekly visits… They had a lovely time, enjoying the food, conversation and drama… and it turned out this was the first time they had been out as a couple in 12 years…

We are so glad they enjoyed themselves and were challenged by what they heard (and weren’t even put off by the Essex accent!!) – we’ll just have to make sure that it isn’t another 12 years till we invite them out again!

Fly Maybe?

Well, here I am back home again after a fantastic weekend in Bournemouth / Poole / Christchurch celebrating the impending marriage of one of my best friends, Stu…

The sun shone every day from the moment we got up, the skies were blue, and it was scorching hot – perfect weather for a spot of golf on the Saturday morning (yes, I know I’ve never picked up a golf bat / racket / club before in my life) and a private cruise down the River Stour in the afternoon with strawberries and champagne, followed by lunch at the Beach House on Mudeford sandbank, at the end of Christchurch Bay….

Then out in the evening for a curry and some drinks – the perfect end to a perfect day!

I came second in the overall golf challenge (a score of 37 against a par of 18), although we only made it round 6 holes in 2 hours… and I won the high score competition too (12 on the first hole!)

What number bat do I need for this one…?


Who’s going to eat the last strawberry?

Mudeford sands – where the beach huts go for more than £100k each!

But the whole weekend could have been a disaster before it began… thanks to Fly Be.

I was booked on the 5pm from Newcastle to Southampton, so pitched up at the airport at around 3.45 to check in. No problems there. Through security. Easy. Check the boards. 30 minutes till we go to the gate. Time for a coffee.

The time counts down to zero. Go to Gate 6. So I stand up to go to Gate 6. Then It changes to 25 minutes again. Fair enough, I thought. A bit of a delay. Counts down to zero again. Then the flight disappears from the board… Then 135 minutes appears. What?

Chos then ensues. Announcement – apologies on behalf of Fly Be… technical problems on inbound flight… still at Southampton… delay of 2.5 hours…. go to desk and get a meal voucher… Fantastic!

So I found a corner and read some of my book… then went to get something to eat… looked at the board – only 45 minutes to go now, but only 30 minutes since it said 135 minutes – something strange going on with the numbers – they must be flybe minutes…

Looked again at the board – 3 minutes to go – brilliant, we all thought – except no plane has arrived for us to get on…. 20 minutes passed – display still says 3 minutes – definitely flybe minutes…. or should that be flymaybe minutes?!

Looked again after another 10 minutes and the wait time had jumped back to 59 minutes… was somebody having a laugh?

And so it went on… and on… and on… Eventually I found a group of other irate passengers in the same situation as me…. all trying to find out what was going on – but there was nobody around – and when somebody did turn up, they left sharpish, promising to return in 10 minutes with answers – they still havem’t turned up!

We eventually took off at 9.45pm, a full 4 hours and 45 minutes late….

Thankfully the return flight was uneventful, though they did thank us for flying with them, ‘The UK’s favourite low-cost airline’! How can this be?

So if any of you are thinking of maybe flying with flybe, remember, flymaybe could be closer to the truth!

Thanks to Dave, for organising the weekend, and to Stu, for giving us the excuse to get together, by getting married!

Urban gardening

We spent an enjoyable hour this morning with our housegroup and a load of the Kidz Klub kids from the neighbourhood, replanting one of the planters on the street near church…. The men from the council came with loads of plants and soil, and lended a hand too!

The kids had a great time, and were really focussed on the task in hand! Not much soil slinging either, although whose idea was it to water the plants with super soakers??!


Before


All hands on deck


Don’t stand on it!


What about putting that one there?


Result!


Let’s hope it stays like this for a while…

Tummy poppers

We’ve just had our three beautiful godsons (aged nearly 5, 3 and 18 months) to stay over – to give their mum and dad a well-deserved break in the country by themselves…

We had a great time – Mrs D took them to the park and they played on the swings – then I came home from work and we read stories till tea time…

Then ‘The Jungle Book’ DVD for a while till bath-time…
…a Bible story and prayers, and then bed…
‘Tummy poppers now, tummy poppers’ (don’t ask – I have no idea!)

Not a squeak from them all night (well, apart from the snoring!)

This morning I managed to make breakfast – ‘krispies please, krispies…’‘what’s that popping noise?’ Then toast (‘strawberry jam please, not raspberry’).

Then off to work for me, and off to the park for them with Mrs D…
kiss bye bye, kiss bye bye

It has been reported to me that while I was at work, Mrs D was told that I was very good at making breakfast, and I even managed to do it all by myself!

We now know:
1. our car isn’t wide enough for 3 child seats
2. our bathroom floor squeaks horribly, paricularly when cleaning your teeth at 11pm and trying not to wake the kids
3. the importance of stair gates
4. elephants can fly
5. I’m good at making breakfast

We still don’t know:
1. what a tummy popper is
2. where all the rice krispies went

A grand time was had by all…
We can’t wait to do it all again soon!

Wobbly doglet

Doglet is walking sideways and can’t quite keep her eyes open…
…such are the after-effects of a general anaethestic!

She went in because of a poorly bottom – but she wouldn’t let the vet poke about (would you?!), so they had to admit her and make her sleepy so they could have a look…

So she now sports a lovely plastic collar which looks for all the world like a lamp-shade – she’s supposed to keep this on for 5 days, to stop her licking where she shouldn’t, but I don’t see that happening somehow… she’s so wobbly at the moment she keeps bumping into things with the collar – poor thing!

While she was under, they also cleaned her teeth – so she’ll have sore gums at the moment too!
But she’ll be fine – just a bit dozy at the moment!