Well I never!

So as you know I have had an issue with water ingress into my mk3 Ford Focus and I thought I had fixed the issue. Turns out I was utterly wrong.

Water was still coming into my car. I started by checking some of the other rubber grommits under the rear of my bumper. Suddenly I was greeted with dripping water on my face and arm.

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What a load of crap!

So today I was doing a safety inspection of the M20 and A20 through Kent. I stopped in one of the laybys on the A20 to call in a defect to the communications centre, and this is what I found. I wish I hadn’t.

Sadly this is the kind of stuff that the laybys on our network have to deal with; people not planning their journey properly and getting caught short, which then end up using the “outside toilet”. At least this one used something to wipe!

Needless to say I also called this in to get cleared up! Disgusting

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I attended my temporary traffic management basic course today.

This has simply got to be one of the easiest tests I have ever done! It really is a basic course as the name suggests. It’s a quick run-through (over several hours of course) of the different types of traffic management. 12A/B, 12C, and 12D.

The course explains each type of traffic management and the tickets needed to do certain things with each. It also highlights basic health and safety within the industry, types of equipment used, how to maintain a closure and safety zones within a closure etc.

The test centre used was based in Chesham, and the instructor was someone who I have worked with previously. I did the course with 7 other people, 1 of which I work with from the A21 depot, so it was quite an intimate affair.

There was an array of people on the course. Only 3 of us had any experience of working on the roads. One was a taxi driver, one is an instructor for first aid, two unemployed, one warehouse worker, and one farmer.

We all passed the course with flying colours with a score of 20 out of 20. All in all it was a good course with good instruction, but as the name of it suggests, it is basic, but it’s the first step into traffic management.

If this is something that you would like to do, you can find more information on the Lantra website here – https://www.lantra.co.uk/course/temporary-traffic-management-basic-course

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Water Ingress

So recently I’ve had a little problem with my car. For some reason and still an unknown reason my car has been letting in water, which pools in the spare wheel well and then splashes through under the back seats and on to the footwell behind the drivers seat.

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I spoke to Ford regarding this issue and they said it was a common known fault of the Ford Focus MKIII. The air vents on the exterior of the vehicle tend to come loose and allow water to build up between the skins of the car which eventually comes into the interior. I looked up what they said it could be and it turns out they’re right. It is a common problem. It’s all over the car forums. I went back to Ford and asked that as they know about the problem and it is a common fault, will Ford pay to rectify the issue. They almost laughed at me on the phone and said it would cost £430 to get sorted. Crap!

Well, as I am not willing to pay £430 at the moment I decided to have a little look about on the internet to see if anyone has put together a video of how to solve the issue. They have!


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Snowdon Summit

Ever since I travelled to Wales in back in February 2015, I have been wanting to go again, but take the kids. Although I went back in July 2015 to do the three peaks challenge, I didn’t really get the opportunity to explore or really enjoy what I was seeing while I was there.

Fast forward to 2018 and I thought it was about time I took the kids around Wales to explore and enjoy what nature offers. August 2018 arrives and I have the kids with me for the summer holidays while they’re off of school.

We stayed in a hotel near Northop Hall for 6 nights, which isn’t too far from Chester and Liverpool. The majority of the holiday was to be spent around Snowdonia National Park which meant a little travelling, but not too much.

We set off from the hotel at around 7am and stopped in Conwy for breakfast at Premier Inn. £9.50 for all 3 of us to have a full English. After breakfast we stopped at Tesco to grab something for later on in the day and to make sure we carried plenty of water with us.

At around 11am we set off down to the Pen-y-Pass car park at the foot of Snowdon arriving shortly after at around 12pm. Upon arrival we found the car park completely full and no spaces available. I went back to Llanberis to check out their park and ride service and found it half way between the two. Upon parking I realised that I didn’t bring any change with me to pay. I found a layby closer to Pen-y-Pass and called for a taxi up to where we were originally going to park.

We finally got all set up and ready to start the trail at around 1pm. I decided to go The Miner’s Tack as that’s the way I took when I did the three peak challenge and it’s a nice walk and there is plenty to see along the way.

The walk started off nice and sunny and as we weren’t just walking to the top we were also exploring this was great. We stopped off at an old building at the end of Llyn Llydaw to have some lunch and have a little play. We left here around 4.30ish and continued on our journey. About another hour passed as we continued up the mountain and the weather took a crappy direction. It started to get foggy and it started to rain. Now this isn’t normal rain, it was extremely fine rain. The type that makes you wet throughout. Yeah ok, not too bad we could deal with that. At this point we were at Glaslyn and though, sod it, we’re almost there so might as well carry on.

About 45 minutes later walking up from Glaslyn the wind decided it wanted to chime in as well. So, there we were walking up the side of this mountain with fog, very fine rain and the occasional gust. We finally managed to reach the summit, thick fog as in can’t see more than about 50m in front of you thick fog, fine rain and gusty wind. Needless to say we raced to the top to touch the sun dial thing got our photos then went down to the visitor centre hoping it was open so we could catch the train down.

Needless to say the damn thing was closed. Everyone had gone and we were all up there by ourselves! Ok, well we stopped outside under a shelter near the entrance and had some refreshments. A couple chocolate bars and drinks. After about 30 minutes of resting we decided that we would make our way down and follow the Llanberis path. That path was covered in sharp slate everywhere you were stepping and was unavoidable, but was safer for the kids. Once we got down into the valley near Llyn Du’r Arddu the rain had stopped, there were no more gusts and the fog had gone. The end of the day was beginning to look a lot brighter. Finally reaching Llanberis at around 9pm that evening. Exhausted and tired, but happy we had all summitted Snowdon we walked around to The Royal Victoria Hotel and asked them if they could call a taxi for us to get back to my car. 25 minutes later, we were in the car changing into warm dry clothes and were heading back to the hotel to sleep.

The way I have described it sounds a lot more dangerous than it really was. I was with the kids at all times and made sure they were safe. We all had a source of communication and I had shown them the way we were going so we were all prepared for any eventuality.


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Bluebells

As the weather is beautiful right now and we are at the height of the bluebell season I decided that I would grab the camera and head on out to somewhere and see what I could do.

Obviously it’s been a while since I’ve taken any proper photos so this was going to be a whole new thing for me again. Learning how to use my camera properly was the object of the game, so I decided that I would take all photos on manual. This would help me get to know my camera again.

Location of choice was Dene Country Park just on the outskirts of Shipbourne. I arrived there just after 11am and began my journey wandering through the woodland. For the first 15 minutes of my walk I only saw the odd Bluebell. I thought I had missed them. A little while later I was greeted by a sea of purple. It was beautiful.

Sadly the camera can never do justice to Bluebells, but I tried my best. Tell me what you think.

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Alton Towers

It’s now half term and the kids have some time off of school, so they were coming down to mine for just over a week, but first I thought it be good to take Ryan to Alton Towers for the weekend as now he is tall enough to go on all of the rides.

I finished work on the Friday at 6am and moseyed on home and slept until 4pm at which time I got up got showered and packed my things. It’s now 6pm and I’m driving to go and get the boy from his mums. I arrive just after 8pm and was greeted with massive hugs and kisses from both of the kids. I spend about 45 minutes there before heading up the A34 to our destination. 4 long hours later we arrive in Stoke at our hotel. Turned out to be the wrong hotel – I had put the post code for another hotel I was looking at in the Sat Nav. No big deal as the actual hotel was only 5 miles in the direction we just come from.

We arrived at the proper hotel just after midnight. Checked in and headed to our room. I go in and there are two single beds. I stand there scratching my head thinking “I’m pretty sure I booked a family room”. We went back down stairs to reception and they changed our room to a double as they didn’t have any more family rooms left. It means sharing the bed with Ryan, but that wasn’t a problem. He snores just as much as I do!

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We were up at 7.30am the next morning and headed off to the nearest Premier Inn hotel as they do some cracking breakfasts. We filled up on grub and then headed off to Alton Towers arriving just after 10.30. We entered the park after the 15 minute walk from the car park and headed straight to our first ride.

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Football

The guys at work know I like to use my camera, so they suggested that I come and take some photos of their football game. I’ve never taken any photos of a football match before and I was anxious that I wouldn’t be able to get any good snaps of the guys playing. Nevertheless, I said I would go along but warned them all that the photos may not be any good.

They were playing at 3G pitch in Sittingbourne, which wasn’t too far from mine. I didn’t realise just how close it was so turned up around 20 minutes early.

Kick off was at 2pm then a trip to the pub for drinks afterwards. I took a fair amount of photos while at the game, some of the better ones are below.

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The Food Challenge

Completing a food challenge has been one of the things I have wanted to do for a while now. I didn’t want anything too huge but as with all food challenges there are of a certain size or that wouldn’t be challenges!

A few of us from work decided we would head to a Flaming Grill as they have some cheap challenges. There were four of us in total. I had the 32oz steak and chips and the other boys had a the 24oz burger with chicken, bacon, and chips.

When the plate arrived I lost all confidence in my ability to get through this thing alive. The steak was bigger than the damn plate!

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The boys faces when they got theirs was pretty much the same as mine! The size of their burger! Christ!

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As there was no time limit on the challenge we decided that we would take our time. We didn’t haven’t to be anywhere afterwards. I cut mine up into nice small pieces and worked my way through the steak. After about an hour I had finished the steak and half of the chips. I was reaching my limit.

Thirty minutes of chatter and I decided to pick at the remainder. I finished the chips – this left me with the onions, onion rings, tomato, mushrooms, and peas. The onion rings were easy. Down they went.

Next came the onions and damn they tasted disgusting. They had been sat under the steak the entire time cooking away on the hot plate that it was served on. They were burnt, gooey and tasted like ash and were mixed in with some of the mushrooms. I left those for a while and started on the peas, tomato, and other mushrooms.

I hate mushrooms – I don’t think they even lasted more than a second in my mouth. They were swallowed so quick. The same happened with the tomato. The peas were quite nice though. Everything is gone now except the onions and a few mushrooms.

At this point I look up at the boys and they had got through about half of their meal. Hardly touching their chips and other sides. It looks like I had to do this one on my own.

Each and every bite of the onions and mushrooms made me want to be sick. I was so full my stomach was hurting, and they tasted so gross. Finally after 2 hours and 30 odd minutes of the plates arriving I had finished. I had completed my challenge! I had been victorious. I was a champion! I even got my certificate to prove it!

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Wonders of technology

A while ago my daughter came across a YouTube channel called Art For Kids Hub that essentially teaches kids how to draw, and it does this in a very positive, friendly and relatable way that anyone of any age is able to follow.

The show looks to be hosted by a professional artist with his children. He teaches them step by step how to draw characters such as Mario, or a Minion, or a dinosaur. He is very patient and promotes the fact that even if a drawing is not that great it’s ok because this is all about practicing, and becoming better.

This evening I wanted to spend time with my daughter and partake in a subject that she enjoys – drawing. What better way to do this than to sit on FaceTime, and both watch the same video together all the while following the instructions.

Admittedly I’m no good at drawing, but I am willing to give anything a go just to spend time with my children even if it is by using FaceTime.

I took several shots of our drawings (mine are the smaller inset photo as these are screenshots of FaceTime), and have posted them below along with a video from Art For Kids Hub.

Greg

Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid


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