Sunday, 1 October 2023

I Had A Busy Morning,

first thing Jenny called round, 

to pick up some boxes for her brother Mark, who lives in Cambodia, after a coffee and a chat they made a move to go shopping, for myself I was out to the doctors surgery, another covid booster for me!

on the way a quick look at the car that demolished a couple of gate pillars a few days ago, looking at the open bonnet the front of the car looks undamaged, but just look at the state of the rear of the car! hopefully no one was walking on the pavement at the time,

onward past the green,

and churchyard, where in the right of the photograph I noticed these,

a lovely stand of cyclamen,

they looked just so nice,

down the steps towards the restaurants at the bottom of the hill,

at the traffic lights a look up the High Street,

and behind me towards the church, into and out of the surgery in no time at all, there were four rooms with nurses, and in my case my doctor injecting people as they arrived for their appointments, 

back up the steps by what was once the police station, now a thing of the past, our 3 local police stations now closed, Beckenham, Penge and Bromley, 

as I passed the church I noticed this,

a tribute band to Buddy Holly and the Crickets, guess where we will be on November 4th.?

into the park and home for a coffee and my breakfast, in the afternoon I updated the shops special offer page for the October offers, as well as prepare some invoices, 

after which I watched The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, which was directed by Wes Anderson, a delightful film of a story by Roald Dahl

it was then time for my evening read and sherry, 'Cheers!',

for tonight a lamb hot pot,

eyes down and tuck in ! then feet up for, 

65, a neat sci-fi about the age of dinosaurs, I will not make any comments as it is a new release, so you may have not seen it, 

I followed that with Tenet, visually stunning with great effects, although in one special effect they really did crash a full size 747 into a hanger, again I will not comment, but I will say I lost the plot, and then by shear happenstance Diana returned home, so a coffee and a chat as we watched a Midsomer Murder before we were off to bed.

Do Not Mess With Fish 285,

and you thought fish were fun!

photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA well this one has I guess a fun life, at an estimated age between 92 and 101 years, Methuselah, an Australian lungfish, (Neoceratodus forsteri), at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, is allegedly the oldest fish held in captivity, the fish arrived in 1938, on a steamboat from Australia, along with 230 other fish, Methuselah is the only one of the fish still alive today, scientists believe it’s a female, although they can’t be sure, scientists usually harvest the ear bones of fish after their death and count them like tree rings to estimate their age, but lungfish have very different ear bones, “Genetics is really quite straightforward for normal fish – but for lungfish, they’re so unique and so different that all of those techniques didn’t or don’t work,” David T Roberts, a senior scientist with Seqwater, told The Guardian,

 “It’s always pushed the envelope on uncovering some of its secrets to be able to manage and conserve it – and age is a really important one.”, lungfish can breathe air using a single lung when they are out of water or when the water composition changes, and they also happen to have the largest genome out of all known animals – 43 billion base pairs. That’s roughly 14 times the number of pairs in humans, so how long is Methuselah going to live? as it happens no one knows, but by all accounts she/he seems to be as lively as ever.

I Have Always Wanted To Be A Pop Star,

nothing special just the usual one, no discernible talent, but with huge wads of cash coming in, 

well it appears I am not to late if this group G-Pop is anything to go by, the name of the group is a play on words, the Japanese word ‘Ojii-san’ translates as ‘old man’ the members are aged between 65 and 87, so at 73 I should fit right in there! The Kochi Prefecture-based music troupe made its professional debut seven years ago, it’s been busy putting a positive spin on the country’s rapidly aging population ever since, Universal Studios Japan reportedly signed G-Pop soon after the group’s debut, and the band’s two most successful singles, ‘Hooray to Old Age’ and ‘I Was Young’, got hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, and here one of them is,

described by their record label as “ordinary grandpas usually working as fishermen or Bamboo Union heads,” the 5 G-Pop members are all very energetic, despite the group’s average age of 74, and welcome the challenge of changing people’s opinions about aging, just when they were about to go into mainstream productions Covid hit so that was it “We kept in touch with each other by cellphone even during the pandemic to make sure we were fine so that we could come back anytime,” group leader Noriyasu Tanioka, said, but now the pandemic seems to be over watch out for G-Pop, hopefully if they want a Western look to their line up, they will find me!

Saturday, 30 September 2023

Another Busy Early Start Day,

so again I am only making one post,

as first thing today I have a appointment with the nurse for my covid booster jab, back to Friday, I spent most of yesterday posting the blog, in the late afternoon I had a chat with the painters who were repairing one of our windows, the one that has to be replaced will happen in a few weeks, yesterday I mention that we could not get back to London on the boat as the bridge was stuck, as you can see the event was recorded by Roldan Fidias in the photograph above, the article is here, in the late afternoon Diana left for work as she is on late shift this evening, 

after my evening meal I was out, but not before having a chart with Jenny who is Cambodian Mark's sister, tomorrow she will be travelling up to se us and pick up a couple of boxes we are looking after for Mark,

the nights are now starting to draw in, 

into the club grounds and past the tennis courts,

and into the club where I meet up with Steve, also joining us Frank called by, we chatted that night away, after saying our farewells we made a move for our homes, Diana arrived home shortly after myself, so it was a coffee and a chat as we watched a Midsomer Murder before we were off to bed.

Friday, 29 September 2023

Blog Posted,

and we were out,

to join the early morning commuters to London, I should say we had taken so many photographs that I have split this post into 2 parts, if you would like to see the second half of our day please press the 'Older Posts' button at the bottom right of the page, it was so crowded on the train that I did not get the camera out until we had reached the Tower of London,

and here we are outside of the Tower,

looking across from the tube station,

we had taken a train from Beckenham Junction to Victoria, then a tube to Tower Hill,

next under the road, 

passing some of the earlier buildings on the site,

but these,

and the Tower were not what we had come to see,

we made our way past the spring flower garden,

we did not cross Tower Bridge,

but walked towards the staircase down on this side of the River Thames,

the Tower of London on our right,

looking along the Embankment where we soon would be walking,

and there, we caught a first glimpse of her, 

under the road,

and past Tower Bridge,

a quick pose,

looking across the river to the Shard and H. M. S. Belfast,

close up!

the bridge at low tide,

well I just had too!

Diana playing with her telephone, 

and here she is,

one more from Diana,

the jetty we will be boarding from,

so near yet so far,

we continued walking to the jetty, passing food trucks, it was still too early for their customers to the Tower,

most of these we see are Citrons like this one,

but here there were two Peugeots, 

on the entrance to the Tower,

2 Yeomen of the Guard, were getting prepared for today's visitors,

up the hill,

and past the entrance to the Tower,

we were so close,

Diana as excited as I was,

and her she is, the Waverley, the World’s last seagoing paddle steamer,

we are going to cruise from Tower Pier to Southend-on-Sea and return in the evening,

the crew were readying the ship,

Tower Bridge in the background,

opposite the Shard and the Belfast,

Diana had bought that tickets as an early Christmas present to me, well Christmas as of today is only 86 days away!

a couple more,

for the album,

looking down it was low tide,

the gangway, 

and pontoon we will be using,

next to it this fearsome boat,

opposite us bubbles, that will start to be popular for diners a the winter evening draw in,

down onto the pontoon,

hotels opposite us,

keeping the ship ship shape, is a never ending process, 

job done!

and here we are aboard her,

we started to take a look around,

and settled down for the journey,

all set, 

I carried on looking around,

the queue to board was long to say the least, as far as passengers are concerned, the boat was originally certificated to carry 1350 passengers, with almost 70 years of updates to worldwide passenger carrying regulations and safety policies in place, Waverley's carrying capacity has gradually been reduced and she can now carry up to 860 passengers, 

the steam powered windlass,

as we were facing up river a tug was needed to turn us, unlike steam powered ferries like the old ones that were used at the ferry crossing at Woolwich back in the 1950s, the Waverley needs a tug to turn her, she has one common power shaft, both paddles have to turn together, the Woolwich ferries on the other hand had a engine for both port and starboard, so one engine could go forward whilst the other in reverse, so it could turn on a sixpence, the Waverley cannot unless helped,

the welcome mat,

I had a look at some of the lounges,

and bars, 


I just had to look at the engine, 

one of the engineers draining water which had condensed in the cold cylinders, this will have to be done until the cylinders are warm enough and the steam does not condense in them,

the engine is a 2,100 horsepower, triple expansion reciprocating steam engine,


the plague says it all, 

I could not help myself, 

I just had to keep taking photographs, 

at the end of the second past of this post there are 2 videos we made of the ship being turned and of the engine room and steam windlass,

all stop!

the engines steam controls,

I continued looking around, the ships restaurant,

gift shop,

back past the other side of the engine,

the pursers office where train tickets can be bought, if you do not fancy the 1.3 walk along Southend pier to get to the shores,

the tug,


hawser aboard,

the important bit, the towing hook,

taking up the slack,

a harbour vessel to escort us,

as we,

start to make our turn,

now parallel to the bridge, 

it was just a shame it was such a grey colourless day,

but there it is,

we were both so happy just to be here,

taking lots of photographs,

nearly there,

Diana was making a video, which I will post at the end of the second post, both videos are too big to upload to Blogger, so I have to upload them to YouTube and publish them from there,

almost under,

and we are through,

looking back,

and here I am!

we passed downstream of St Catharine's docks, with sailing barges berthed outside,

past the river police station,

we have taken so many photographs of these buildings on our way upstream,

when we are on a Uber water taxi,

but of course these,

are all taken in the open air with no glass between us and the shore,

time for Diana to explore,

the engine room, under full power, making 18 knots / 33 km/h / 21 mph not bad for a vessel built in 1947, now 76 years old,

under the watchful eyes,

of the engineers,

and guess who was here?

well me of course,

time for breakfast,

I grabbed a table, Diana snagged the food,

we both had a coffee,

and a bacon roll,

we were out in time,

to pass the O2,

and sky train if you call,

this gondola crossing that,

not for those that suffer from a fear of heights,

a vessel coming towards us,

we go to the entrance with the green arrow,

the vessel through, and with just a change of a single letter my name,

instead of Sand Falcon it would read Stan Falcon, in case you do not know my middle name is Falcon,

we neared,

and passed through the barrier, the barrier spans 520 metres across the River Thames near Woolwich, protecting the 125 square kilometres of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges, when on those occasions the barrier is raised, when not in use it is lowered to the river bed and ships can pass freely over it,

a couple more for the album,

all smiles,

well I just had too!

if you have a sweet tooth in the UK,

this is the place that makes it happen,

the unloading bay at Tate & Lyle

next on the port side, 

a ferry across the Thames for passengers, cars and lorries,

Diana took a seat inside,

I popped outside again,

and there she was, I tried to get rid of the reflection,

only just, 

here a place on the starboard side we had visited before, Crossness, which we had visited in April 2019, back in the day Joseph Bazalgette and his colleagues devised and built a network of sewers that carried the city’s waste water to two huge pumping and filtration stations on either side of the Thames, east of the metropolitan area, opened by Prince Albert in 1865, the building was designed in ornate Romanesque style in gault brick, ornamented inside with painted ironwork, the old engines were decommissioned at the end of the 1950s and the machinery fell victim to rust and vandalism. Its deterioration continued until the establishment of the Crossness Engines Trust in 1985, a team of volunteers progressively restored the old machinery and began to show the results to the public, with an accompanying exhibition on the history of sanitation, housed in the only grade I‑listed industrial building in south-east London, and that is what we visited,

a familiar name, if anyone in the UK owned a Dagenham Dustbin, (and I did!), it was built here,

being close to the M25 motorway network, there are so many areas where ships can unload, their goods to be then taken by road,

and speaking of the M25 there it is on the bridge,

Diana went back inside,

I carried on snapping away,

in the distance a ship unloading,

on the shore,

so many wharfs, 

now disused, 

as we neared the vessel it looked so strange,

almost like it had been cut in half,

at the waterline, it was the Pauline, a ro-ro cargo ship,

you could see straight through it!

the vessel was unloading trucks,

I have never seen such a strange ship in my life,

we moved on passing it by,

towards the M25 motorway bridge,

which carries vehicles from the north to the south,

to go to the south to the north there is the Dartford Tunnel,


and by the other side,

we left it behind,

as we passed a dredger,

we were both enjoying the trip,

so much,

another dredger

when I visit Duncan every Wednesday I can see these dockyard cranes,

from the train, which means we are closing on Gravesend, 

passing more terminals,

this vessel, 

was coming straight towards us, "left hand up a bit"

which worked,

this one carrying containers,

a strange looking building in the distance,

I have no idea what it is, we are now approaching the jetty at Gravesend, so I will stop here, if you would like to see the rest of our day, and a couple of videos please press the 'Older Posts' button at the bottom right of the page.