Holiday journal

A long empty beach with a blue sky

Note: Since this draft post has remained in my drafts (using Drafts!) for six months now I guess a regular holiday journal is a bit beyond my blogging abilities! Oh well. Perhaps this year.

Earlier this (now last!) year I did a holiday journal. In a self deprecating offhand comment I said it was a one off. So here we are on the last day of the summer holiday and I remember to write my journal. Ah! I did not think I’d be so bad bad (even worse – see note above!)

Anyway here’s a few highlights. All written retrospectively. If I forget to do another daily blog for our next holiday then I will abandon the idea as unworkable. I’ve never been one for routine tasks. Even at 55 years old I still struggle to remember to brush my teeth daily).

# Sunday
Arrival at the campsite.

# Monday
First proper day of holidays whilst finishing the tent setup. But we did have lunch on the beach!

Also the day I discover that a new camera I recently added to my home built CCTV system (using [Motion]( is generating a LOT of images/video. About 3TB in one day. Normally not a problem as a script will remove them at the end of each day. However, at some point I’d used “11” to the “mtime” variable to “find”…! So it was keeping 11 days of temporary files. Having to edit a script on a iPhone using VIM is not that attractive. Even with Tmux.

The Camera is a Reolink 4K IP PoE Camera Outdoor CCTV RLC-810A

This day was also a festival with fireworks. Pretty cool to watch a fireworks display whilst sat on the beach. The fireworks had a large “fall zone” and I guess had been set to explode lower as I did not have to strain my neck watching them!

# Tuesday
Pool and beach day with a stroll into town for dinner.

# Wednesday

Err. see the previous day for the exact same activities….!

# Thursday

A beach day, but this time we rented bikes and cycled along the coast to a lovely beach bar.

Quite amazingly spotted a fresh pizza vending machine!

# Friday

Another cycle along the coast for a fresh local beer. Lovely.

# Saturday


# Sunday

Beach # Monday

# Tuesday
Getting boring now (which is the point of a relaxing holiday, but not necessarily an interesting blog post).

# Wednesday

# Thursday
A trip across the bay to Ile de Ré on a RIB. Outwards we were drenched. The overnight storm had not properly calmed down and the waves were big. I guess ripples are big at 40kph in a boat.

On the way back it was like a mirror.

I had a grapefruit ice cream at the famous ice cream shop in the harbour.

# Friday
A day of relaxing prior to leaving the next morning.

# Saturday
Drive to near Nante to stay at the brother in law’s for two nights.

# Monday
Drive across France to Douai to stay with the parents in law

# Tuesday
Drive back home via the Tunnel. Journey quite good and uneventful although quite a bit of Brexit swearing whilst waiting for passport control (fuck brexit).


Ten green trays with four varieties of seed potatoes in an untidy shed!
Left to right- Red Duke of York, Charlotte, Pink Fir Apple and Caledonian rose!

I’ve started early with the spuds this year. Chitting is the process of leaving them in daylight to get the shouts growing. Helps them get started quickly when you then bury them.

They are ready to plant when you have a 20/30mm of shouts. Remove all but the strongest then plant them at the bottom of a trench and just cover with soil. The spuds grow above the seed potatoe so as the shouts grow keep piling earth on top.

River Cam gauge

In a break from my usual plan9ing here’s the gauge for the lock just upstream of us on the River Cam from Shoothill River Gauge map. I had the boat turned around facing downstream as I was cleaning it last week. The back of the boat with its rudders and props is much more vunerable to damage from debris. With the biblical rain yesterday I saw the river had risen and dropped overnight (mud was deposited). Generally when that happens then 24 hours later the river rises again as rain from upstream reaches us. The river did not look to be running that fast, so I decided to turn the boat around by ropes in anticipation of the stronger flows to come. Whoops. The river flow was quite deceptive. It was a real struggle to spin the boat around. All done safely now.

So here’s a gauge for the river flows.

This is the code.

<iframe frameborder="0" width="300" height="446" src=""></iframe>

The EA/.gov site says the level is normal albeit still rising:

River Cam level at Cambridge Baits Bite


Wagyu entrecôte steak

So on the way back from holiday and staying with relatives for a night in Brittany. We ordered a properly indulgent Wagyu entrecôte. Was very tasty and the meat just melted in your mouth. But the price did make me think I prefer a tougher and tastier cut.

Bye bye Facebook

So My Facebook Account Was Suspended Yesterday as It Did Not Follow “Community Standards”. I’m guessing it’s because I put a guillotine as my profile photo and made a number of anti royalty posts over the coronation (all quite mild!).
I’ve had this account since 2006ish but I do not think I will miss it. Saying that though it is inconvenient:
– I used to sell bits and bobs using Facebook Marketplace. It far easier to sell something locally than other sites.
– I was the sole admin of a Facebook Page for my job. That page is likely now orphaned and will never be updated again.
– I ran a few FaceBook ads for that company too.
– I created and was admin for my village’s Facebook group. That is the one I will miss the most. I posted the village newsletter and many other village events (including the church even though I am an atheist!)*. There is one other admin so the few hundred users will still get some use out of it.
– I setup a Facebook page for a [local campaign]( to prevent a sewage works being relocated to greenbelt just outside the village.
All those are now gone.
I do have a Quest II headset. However, Meta did split off that into a separate account some months back. I guess it’s still working OK.
Still all in all Facebook is not a force for good.
Despite my misgivings I’m still on [Twitter](, but [Mastodon]( is where I will publish stuff.
*I did help setup the streaming of the Coronation in the church, thus showing I’m a multi layered hypocrite.

Before we had a bathroom

We’ve got plumbers in today replacing a few items that have broken in the 15 years since we fitted them. Before we moved into this house we had about 11 months of renovation to turn a flimsy house with no insulation, minimal plumbing and wired with appallingly dangerous wiring (rubber coated cables where the insulation had disintegrated), into something that could be lived in.

I could rant about how the plumbers back then made absolutely no thought as to future maintenance, but I will not. However, in looking for how the shower was fitted (so it can be replaced) I came across this photo before the bathroom even existed.


In this photo the flat roof of the utility room below has been removed and replaced by joists to provide a floor. The door opening was previously a window at the top of the stairs. The shower was fitted between the two studs you see to the left and in front of the white door.

Here’s how it looks now from the exterior (the window you see is about where I was stood when I took the above photo 14 years ago.

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Spring is coming – flowers in the garden

Our garden was well planned by the previous owners. They bought the house in 1933 and spent their lives planning the garden. No lawn, but vegetable patches in the middle and flowers around the borders. We have left the garden much wilder. The vegetables patches were replaced by grass (although we reverted part of that to vegetables patches during the first lockdown). The borders are still full of flowers. All planned so that the last weeks of Winter and Spring are full of flowers, snowdrops, aconites, crocuses, daffodils, then tulips, crown imperials, irises and plenty more. Here’s the first batch:

(The first daffodils photo is from elsewhere in the village, but it’s a lovely photo!).

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Goodbye to my boots!

So I say goodbye to my Lowa walking boots this morning. I’ve had these many years and they have really stood up to abuse. The left boot developed a leak in the heel that stopped them being used too seriously. But there again since my daughter was born serious hikes have been rare. Still I kept them as they feel like trainers but are very firm. Also the hinged ankle protector makes it impossible to twist your ankles regardless of the angle you put your foot down.

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But in clearing out the “solar thermal” cupboard I realised the material in the sole had rotted way. unrepairable so into the bin they go.

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half term holidays

So the plans for the start of half term were well and truly skewered by covid finally catching up with me! it was quite mild apart from two sleepless nights, but no venturing anywhere until those parallels lines became singular.

We had our first outdoor dining experience of 2023. Naan breads and sausages cooked over a fire.

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A visit to the nearest pub (Crown and Punchbowl) then ham, egg n chips at the newly reopened Plough and Fleece (how lucky we are to have two pubs in Horningsea).

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To round off the week we stayed overnight in an Airbnb in the middle of a wood. Really lovely new wood cabin in the grounds of Houghton Hall.

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The surrounding woods were lovely. Within the space of a twenty minute dusk walk we were circled by a barn owl hunting, watched by a single deer, and saw the hind legs of two hares as they scarpered.

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The next day I had the nicest bacon and egg sandwich I’d have for many years then a lovely walk the next day on the beach at Holme Near Sands rounded off our 24 hr trip to Norfolk. Our tradition of always calling at Brancaster Staith for some dressed crab was spoilt somewhat as the van was not there. But it was saved by a roadside place selling fresh mussels. So our dinner on our return was moules marinere. Yummy!

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First outdoor cooking of the year

It’s school half term, so whereas it’s still pretty damp outside, it’s a good time to cook sausages and naan bread on a campfire outside.

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I’ve learnt from previous years and rather than having to turn a naan regularly so it does not flow through the grill bars, I used a baking tray over the fires instead. It still needed turning quickly to avoid burning, but they baked nicely and were the yummiest I’ve done yet!

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The grill is made from the steel bars of an old scrap iron bed frame at the right width to slide a grill from an oven. Fit’s nicely across the fire pit.