Friday, September 29, 2006

Oops - I seem to have neglected this page recently. Still alive, just in the middle of moving offices. Leaving Paddington Station and going to Great Portland Street for the next few months. Little news at the moment. Off to see old work colleagues later - 2nd time in a week I will have been out! Last week we had an enjoyable trip along the Grand Central Canal after work, being suitably winded and dined along the way, followed by a late bar back at the hotel.

The weather is beginning to change and it will soon be time to pack our bags and head back to London. I'll miss coming home to the log fire - instead I will have the local youth element of East Dulwich showing that you don't have to be 18 to buy fireworks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Confirmation today that we've been shortlisted to bid for two new franchises - busy times ahead.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Before I forget you can now see my Greenbelt 2002 pictures in full at Flickr at Included are the unseen footage of Ned Flanders with Jude Levemore showing how to swing!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well I reached the weekend in one piece. Friday was spent high up in a forest working out how to get from one tree to the next. I went on my Extreme course and must admit it was quite hard at times. But it was also good fun and did wonders for my fear of heights. The final part of the course is 80 feet up where you walk off the edge of the platform and fall! A counter weight system kicks in and slows the decent at the bottom - similar to a parachute jump. This was followed by a 1000 foot zip wire trip through the forest. The most scary bit was when we were literally catapulted into the air (from about 60 feet up) - didn't know what was going to happen as our team went first. Definitely classifies as a dangerous sport - except for the safety harness - just in case!

Friday night was a boys night out. I usually try and get one night out during my stay here with Paul, father to my goddaughter Eve. He runs one of the main shops in Little Walsingham - is an expert on Ikons and is probably the biggest supplier of them in Europe. He has possibly the smallest shop in the village but manages to have one of the highest sales per square foot of any business. Opposite, Mary, his wife, runs the biggest shop in the village.

So Friday night Paul and I went off for a meal - this is the only time I get a chance to eat out in the evening here so we try and find a decent place. We spent the first hour driving round North Norfolk looking for someone not fully booked. Friday nights here you have to usually book well in advance.Eventually we opted for Binham and the Chequers pub.Fortunately they had one table free. I had baked cod done with mustard and herbs - delicious. Desert was the best bread & butter pudding I can remember having - never too heavy and withpassion fruitadded to give it a slightly different taste. Got seriously overcharged but was resolved and then off to The Bull in Walsingham for a drink or 2. Eventually I opted out and went home as an allnight card game was underway and I didn't want to have too late a night as busy following day.

I enjoy talking to Paul - very Level 5 - we are very chalk & cheese but somehow hit it off when we were stranded at a pub for about 4 hours during a church youth weekend - after 4 hours drinking you tend to be everyone's best friend! He's an amazing artist - one day I will blog some of his paintings (done in wax and then shapes carved out) - he once painted the Madonna - but known as the Madonna with Big Rosy Lips - probably my favourite picture as I saw it being painted from scratch (I spent most of 6 months on the dole at his studios giving my views on what worked etc - usually complete garbage!). The painting is now owned by Dot & Charlie of Lies Damned Lies. They saw his work when he exhibited at Greenbelt. Sadly Paul stopped painting when they moved to Walsingham but he is now talking about starting again - I think depends on him having ideas that he wants to develop. He's not someone who simply starts with a blank canvas. There is also talk of them coming to Greenbelt next year - to run a shop in the village selling stuff similar to that which the pilgrims buy - plus a selection of Ikons - will depend in part on pitch price as bank holiday very busy in Walsingham so have to arrange staff cover. Hope they make it as Paul would be a good addition to the Level 5 group.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wrote this cople of days ago but still no time to sit down add photos etc so for now here is summary of recent days

I seem to very busy typing stuff for Helen the last few days so no time to blog. I'm on holiday for the week so I don'thave any long train journeys when I can write. But today I am travelling on the North Norfolk Railway - a steam train that operates a few miles away from us. So I'm typing this as we trundle along at a very slow pace with smoke billowing out of the funnel and into the carriages.

Yesterday I went towatch the high tide at Blakeney - this was one of the rare occassions when it is a very high tide and the water swamps the car parking areas, covers the main road and turns the hotel into a moated castle. I have always complained that whenever we go to Blakeney the tide is out. Yesterday it was just a mass of water.

Hopefully later this week I will go and climb some trees at an extreme sport centre where you climb trees, absail down them and high wire across the forest. Just need it to stay dry.

Football tonight and hopefully back to normality after the weekend's upset at Goodison. I was surprised it was the most goals scored against Liverpool for such a long time, whereas we seem to score that many against Everton most seasons.

It's so long since I blogged I haven't mentioned any of our twitching adventures. It is hard living in North Norfolk to not notice the wild birds that live here. Weekend before last we went to Titeshwall RSPB reserve - we only got as far as the cafe mind but we did buy a gorgeous wooden Snowy Owl. I love owls and see them quite often here. Barn owls nest about 100 metres from our house and I was able to watch one flying in the dark in front of our house the other night. Our swifts and housemartin lodgers have now left for warmer climates - I think they got fed up with the August weather as they normally leave mid September.

Once this train journey has finished I plan to drive to the Chequers pub in Binham (one of our neighbour villages) to enjoy a pub lunchand look at their micro brewery they have just finished building. I tried to buy into the brewery but the pub is owned by the village and they want to keep it that way. I still want to set up a brewery in Walsingham but this would mean being here all year and having to give up working on the railways - which I enjoy these days (and it pays better than micro breweries).

Nice to see that some of the Greenbelt hotel crew managed to meet up in London this week for a curry. Would love to have been there but it's a long way from Norfolk. Once we go back to London social life will be fairly minimal as I expect to be working on new projects (find out next week) that don't finish until the end of February. The only possible exception will be a very short trip to Chicago for a CD release party but even this might prove difficult. I'm assuming we get Christmas off as it's a 120 day project instead of the usual 90 days.

Next week we have arranged a work event on Thursday - the last I heard was that we were going on a canal trip - not sure this is true though as could be 20-30 involved, in which case a barge trip down the Thames might be more appropriate.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Lots of blogs the last few days about Paul & Emma's wedding - and you can see some great pictures at the official photographer blog - great picture of a smiling Jude in it. Makes me feel guilty about my failure to post my Brother's wedding report - been editing for the last 3 months as I struggle with inserting pictures. So to make up for this, here is part 1. Not sure when part 2 will follow.

As promised what follows is a summary of Peter & Kyoko's wedding in July. The Saturday meant an early start to London on the train. It was a long, but excellent day.

Not all went to plan - Peter had planned to drive Kyoko and himself from the church (St Brides- Fleet Street) to the reception at Frontline in his Morgan. But come Saturday morning the car battery was dead (nice car but if not used often - Peter is out of the country most of the year - it kills the battery) so plan B was required with them both catching the bus to the reception instead.

This was the same weekend Helen & I got married and for a while it looked like we would have the same weather - hot, humid & heavy showers - but it stayed dry just long enough to complete the photos. The wedding was at St Brides - the official church for journalists and perfectly located just off Fleet Street. Despite the priting presses having long gone from Fleet Street the church has maintained its strong links with the media.

The wedding was an international affair with Kyoko's family/friends flying in from Japan, ace cameraman Fred Scott from Lebanon,

Andrew (best man) had flown in from Australia,

the BBC's China bureau had flown in, and correspondents, producers, technicians, friends and family had gathered from around the world. Missing were the faces that would be onTV news bulletins later that night. I was one of the ushers for the day.

My cousin's daughter Emily was the main bridesmaid. In addition were relations of Kyoko who had flown over from Japan to be bridesmaid and page boy. I only tend to see my cousins every few years these days - as kids we were together all the time - so always nice to meet them at these get-togethers.

Emily is clearly going to break many a man's heart as she gets older - and I think has probably broken a few boy's hearts already. The wedding ceremony was in English & Japanese, combining a mixture of new, traditional and ancient (Kyoko comes from an area steeped in religious history and I guess I found the Japanese proverbs the most interesting part of the service.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I noticed a lot of people I met at Greenbelt questioned how and why I would want to commute 3 hours each way to and from work each day. It's not all bad as in the morning I try to doze off for half the journey and in the evening I split the journey between reading the paper and doing work.

The big plus is what you get when you come home. I can sit in front of the inglenook fireplace chucking another log on the fire,

and spend time cooking in the kitchen which we designed and I think is the coolest room in the house.

I have a study in the attic and broadband so working from home is possible once a week. On a warm summer's evening we can sit outside in the garden watching and listening to the multitude of birds who frequent the garden - and if it's cold you just turn on the patio heater.

Over the road is the village post office where you can buy the best home-made victoria sponge cake in existence. It's a 10 minute walk to the pub (so not all good!) where you can spend all day (and sometimes all night) in deep conversation with locals.

Also about 10 minutes walk away - across the ford and to the top of the hill - is the local church - it is very old and in the winter very cold - new heating has been promised later this year. Many of the congregation are farmers and when we have the Harvest Supper it is in a barn sat next to the combine harvester.

At the weekend we can drive to some of the best places in North Norfolk within 20 minutes. The best places we have season tickets for so can come and go when we like.

We now also have a farmers shop recently opened down the road which sells local produce - the local lamb is the best, and not forgetting the real ale shop which is 10 minutes away.

Helen knows all the neighbours and when it's sunny we can relax.

Five miles north is the sea where you can see the seals swimming and sunbathing, take in the glorious coast line features of North Norfolk with endless creeks, estuarys and salt marshes. And see some of the most spectacular wildlife in Britain with 10,000s of geese making this their migratory home.

And best of all my god daughter lives down the road.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Couple of new links added. Darren who I've worked with at Greenbelt for a number of years and who now books the light entertainments stuff (i.e. anything that gets bad press Darren is probably to blame!). And Peter Case who has played at the festival several times and is currently airing his autobiography via his blog page. It makes good reading.

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