We used to say that the last weekend of the month was when everything went wrong, but for some time now the last weekends of the months appeared to pass by without anything untoward occurring. Of course, it couldn't last, could it?
I'll start off with an apology to anyone and everyone who was unable to get on to Weekend Rails (or for that matter www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk and www.petebriddon.co.uk) on Wednesday afternoon and evening. At about 2pm the servers where our websites are held had to be shutdown unexpectedly and were off for several hours while checks were made and the systems re-booted. By mid evening one or two of the websites were up and by the early hours of Thursday all was back to normal.
They say that all human life goes through courtrooms. As we sat in the waiting area outside Court 7 of the Chesterfield County Court building on Monday, 1st February, Andrew and I had no reason to question it. A few yards away, a gentleman, dressed in trainers, jogging bottoms and wearing a baseball cap, and who from his demeanour was clearly influenced by what I assumed was excessive alcohol, asked Peak Rail's Jackie Statham if she'd like a coffee. Was he trying to chat her up? A few minutes later we looked over to see that he was now sat, fast asleep face down on a table. Some time passed and there was a crash. Perhaps a restless sleeper, he had slid off the chair and now rested on the floor with the waste bin that had been in the way as his pillow.. Andrew went and informed Irene, the Court Usher, who came over and got on her phone. Two security guards arrived: roused him, raised him and aided him off into the fresh air outside. The man's legal representative now had a problem – in Court the Judge was calling for his attendance, but the security staff wouldn't let him back in.
So, January is over and we move into month number two of 2016. It'll soon be autumn and I'll be wondering where the year went. We've had some more windy weather in the last few days so some more of the fence panels at Briddon Country Pile have blown down and some time before this summer rushes by and the evenings draw in again I must commandeer Andrew for a time to get it renewed.
OK, I think we've had winter for this year. Looking back at my diary, over the years it has always been the second, or sometimes 3rd week in January that snow used to descend on Briddon Towers and Sheffield would become paralysed. Now we're at the Briddon Country Pile in Derbyshire I don't suppose it is really much different, and the one day of snow we've seen this week is probably it for this winter. Not that I particularly relish cold weather or anything - it saves on the gas bill - but if we're going to have mild wet winters henceforward I think we may have to evolve by growing flippers.
December is upon us, and all around houses are lit up with garish lights, a large Christmas tree has appeared at the crossroads by Station Road, and tinsel and twee models of Santa and reindeer will shortly be taking over shop windows. It's not just that at my age Christmas has lost its freshness – I just have to tell myself it's for the kiddiewinkles anyway – but heavens, on our Freesat service there's been a channel broadcasting 100% Christmas tosh since... well it seems like forever now but it was probably about the beginning of November.
There really ought to be a fanfare at the beginning of this week's blog. Not because there is some magic number (actually it's the 282nd edition) nor interval to celebrate, but rather, the cladding contractors have done their job and departed.
The trouble with having shed with only about three-quarters of its total roof and three of its four walls complete is that it is neither an open space nor a shed. Not that I should complain, even to have that much is a step up from having no roof and no walls higher than two metres. But if rain falls electrical things continue to need sheeting over, and if the wind blows you feel it.
I can't believe that 2015 is five-sixths over. I normally find this time of year depressing – the clocks go back, and suddenly the weather seems to be colder, the days massively shorter. Maybe if we kept the clocks the same the winter would never get a toe-hold.
Tata lived up to – or maybe lived down to – what I expected this week. Having placed an order for the additional sheets early last week, it took them well in to this week before they got it on the computer and managed to raise me the Proforma invoice. I paid it straight away and it took them until Friday to get the order slotted in to the manufacturing programme with the result that I now have a delivery date of 23rd October.