Tuesday, 30 June 2015

4 Years Ago, Today

Albert still has his Sainsbury Dartford
Depot security badge
June 30th is one of our significant land mark dates. It was 4 years ago today that I ran out of usefulness to DHL contract distribution and the Sainsbury's Dartford Depot, allegedly, at least on my then terms and conditions. To be fair to them, they were very good to me, their 'then' longest serving employee with just under 29 years continuous service. Sadly, they don't make jobs like that any more! The settlement was very generous and I was treated really well but it was still a bitter-sweet day. My 'peers' did a special version of the morning meeting to acknowledge my efforts and I was allowed to spend a good part of the day wandering about the 500,000 sq feet depot bidding farewell to those among the 400+ employees I knew.

Our 'Hen with One Chick' now well
feathered up and starting to wander. 
Then at half past three (briefly interupted by a fire drill during which I was not allowed to leave the site) we did the proper farewell and I was presented with all the signed cards and some gifts. One of these, from those who knew that I 'hated' garden gnomes and was off to "spend more time in the garden" was, inevitably a gnome which they had even put through security check-in, so he had his own access badge with his photo and his name, Albert Green. I still have him gracing a cairn of boulders in the front garden. If any of my old 'DHL lot' read this, thanks again and I will never forget you guys. This was 2011 and is no doubt covered in this blog if you want to go look.

The 'new' Fiat Panda
From today it will also be the day we bought our first Irish car, a replacement for the belov├ęd red Fiat Panda, Tim, which we decided was getting a bit too close to sell by date to be relied on to do that many more years' service. The 'new' car is also  Fiat Panda 1100cc but brings us up to date by 6 years. It is basically the same as the previous one but has a different 'dash' and (Yay!) the old tape deck is replaced by a CD player. Now we can throw away the old speaking-book stories we'd been hanging onto since they were a thing, we no longer have anything to play them on. They were a couple of Shakespeare plays and some Terry Pratchett books and they have rattled around in the door pockets of the 04 reg car since we moved here.

The Captain checks out the new vehicle.
Whoever buys the old car will get quite a nice vehicle and now with shiny new front brake discs and shoes, the tow hitch carefully removed (the old wiring reinstated obviously) and well valeted throughout. We hope that they never find out that the head gasket has possibly leaked (we don't know for sure even now) and been sealed up with the Blue Devil gloop. May they drive for many more miles in the bliss of ignorance till the old lad dies of some unrelated aged ailment.

Barbara takes a look inside. 
We are very pleased with the 'new' one which seems as bright and willing as Tim did 6 years ago. We have not been any great distances yet - we brought the car home from near Ballyhaunis via a fuel top-up in Balla-D, then Liz nipped down to the PO to buy water when our water mains died (again), and now she is back in Balla-D for knitting. On that small sample, the car seems fine and we have great hopes that it will be as good as the previous Panda. When we transfered the insurance across we found that we are due a rebate because these newer cars are cheaper to insure. It is also cheaper to tax, being a modern, low emmissions engine. As far as I know it does not yet have a name, but that is Liz's department. The 'Tim' came from our UK reg letters which spelt a very abridged 'Timbuktu', but this is originally a Dublin reg car, so the only letter is the 'D' for Dublin.

One of the least focused pics I have ever taken (well, it is
very crisp on the wire!) but you can see one of the two chicks
hatched by the Elderberry Buff-Orp. 
Finally, our Elderberry Buff DID manage to hatch that egg and, in fact, a 2nd. One is the orange of a Buff Orp. the other paler, so it may be from a white Hubbard or a Sussex Ponte hen. Less than 24 hours old, these babies were already being shown how to peck at food and scratch, when I slid a shallow bowl of appropriate grub in under the wire - I think Mum was fairly hungry too, so was immediately clucking and fussing at the food so that she had an excuse to get a crop full while teaching the chicks. Well done Elderberry Buff. The clutch we gave her were a rescue of half a dozen from a hedgerow stash (it was all we had). 2 of these got broken along the way (one with a half-grown embryo inside). She's hatched 2 survivors, a third unbroken one proved to be sterile and a fourth is a Guinea fowl egg. That will also be sterile, obviously as we have no cock bird.

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

Yay, looks nice and I am sure will get a lot of use over the next few years.