Fireworks – in July!

Reading time: 3 minutes...

Well, this was a treat! We just love firework displays and Rosi had told us about ‘Firework Champions’ a while ago. Tonight was our first opportunity to see one of their events live! In short, ‘Firework Champions’ is an outdoor event (really!?), where the best-of-the-best firework companies battle it out live to be err… fireworks champions, and that’s decided by those present voting for their fave via a mobile phone. Fab!

There are events all over the country and tonight’s was at Stanford Hall. We’d been watching the weather forecast for the past few days, and it didn’t look good at all! A re-check today – the day of the event – confirmed that things hadn’t changed much! Rain, rain and then some more rain!

Whilst I took a somewhat optimistic view about the planned pre-event picnic (“Oh, let’s just turn up, set up the picnic outside the Hall and eat with an umbrella nearby”), Ann was far more pragmatic! The result, a perfectly executed ‘Plan B’ – still the same picnic, but in the comfort of our lounge!!! – all helped along with a few drinks.

Our regular get-together-gang have mixed views about whether a fireworks evening is the best way to spend a Saturday night, so we didn’t quite get the full team together for tonight. No matter though, we picked up John and Trish with Jo, Janet and Carol joining us at ours for the picnic. Rosi and her friends were making their own way there whilst executing a slightly different ‘Plan B’!

Suitably stuffed, we convoyed our way over to Stanford Hall arriving with plenty of time to spare before the main displays. Our only worry was that because we were arriving later, and given the popularity of the event, there wouldn’t be any prime spots left for us to position ourselves for the best view of the show. We needn’t have worried, we parked easily (in spite of the crowds) and found ourselves a perfect spot, away from the noise of the music speakers, and with a great view of the promised proceedings!

Our only challenge WAS the weather, where the forecast had came true and it proceeded to p***** down all evening. But because we’re British, and we know every type of rain going – we were well prepared! Umbrellas, sensible footwear, gagools and plastic sheets for those without! Boy, we know how to enjoy a Summer’s evening!!!

‘Drowned Rats’ doesn’t even begin to describe it!!

…and as the evening wore-on, the rain continued… and then continued some more. So-much-so that even before they announced the winners on the night, a lot of people were heading back to their cars. From a fireworks perspective, all the displays were really good. Just when we thought we’d seen all types of ‘firework’, we were amazed to see another type being shown-off. Terrific! …and then some

We hung on for a bit, but then even we lost the will to stay until the very end.

..and that’s where things got really interesting. Exiting the car-park became an Olympic Sport, with those who had practised in previous years, they were soon in sight of the exit. For us noobies, it was a patient wait in line before we too, started ducking and diving between lanes – gold medals all round please!! Eventually we were out, but our troubles were just beginning. We’d recalled on the way there that junction 1 of the A14 was closed and combination of that together with an out-of-date sat-nav, no diversion signs and a deteriorating weather situation, reducing visibility, meant resorting to a good ‘ol-fashioned’ atlas. It’s fair to say, we saw parts of the back roads in Northamptonshire that we’d never seen before… probably twice three times on the same night!!

Eventually, we dropped off John and Trish at theirs just after midnight. Not bad for an event that finished around 10.30!!

However, in spite of the really bad weather, a poor exit strategy and getting seriously lost on local roads, it WAS a great night, and we all had a good time! Friends and Food were, as usual, in top form!

Bye-bye OCA

Reading time: < 1 minute...


Well all good things come to an end, and today, I said my final ‘goodbye’ to The OCA after 13 years as their WebMaster. Having stepped-aside as Chair and Magazine Editor this time last year, this was the final (final!) ‘cheerio’ having allowed a year to find a replacement. Going forward, I’ll simply be a ‘Member’.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed developing the site and bringing (occasionally ‘dragging’) the Association into the 20th (and then, 21st) century! The biggest benefit was that the Website certainly helped with the recruiting of new Members. Many ‘found us’ via the various search engines, and after a look-round, decided to sign-up.

In spite of its successes, at 61 years of age, I shouldn’t really be designing websites, should I? – it’s a young persons’ game and I’m mindful that the site was starting to possibly look a bit ‘dated’. Hopefully, my replacement will bring a fresh pair of eyes to proceedings!

I think I fulfilled the Association’s motto though: ‘Ludum Ludite’ (‘Play the Game’)

Palmers Re- assembled!

Reading time: < 1 minute...

We jumped on the train from Bedford today and headed for Bromley South where we met up with Neil, Debbie, Alfie and Frankie.

Armed with vouchers, we walked up the High Street to the Ask restaurant in Bromley (where we’d met up last August) for lunch and a good catch-up. A lot has happened in the 12 months, since we were last here – Alf is now in full-time employment and Frank has just finished his A-Levels AND scooped a Maths prize along the way!

A perfect opportunity to celebrate their success!

The menu was extensive…!

…and the food delicious!

Palmers Re-assembled!!!

We had a very relaxed lunch and it was good to catch-up. Just after 2, we walked back down the High Street to the Station and said our goodbyes. We had a short wait for the 2.30 and were back in Bedford by 4.15 – and home by 5.30.

It’s been a great day with (half the) family!

Tablet Coaching: Getting Around & Core Apps

Reading time: < 1 minute...Auto cross-posted from my WordPress Blog:

Today, we confirmed the Lesson Plans and looked at a typical layout of a Tablet screen as well as an introduction to Android’s ‘Core Apps’.

Laptop Coaching: Recap – Google Maps/Data on DVDs

Reading time: < 1 minute...Auto cross-posted from my WordPress Blog:


In this penultimate lesson (for this Class), we re-looked at Google Maps and discussed how to manage data to/from a portable DVD drive.

Laptop Coaching: OoBE!

Reading time: < 1 minute...

Auto cross-posted from my WordPress Blog:

Two of the pupils recently bought a new Laptop, so today, we looked at the OoBE (Out of Box Experience) when setting up a Laptop for the very first time.

Doctor Who – Christmas Special 2017

Reading time: < 1 minute...

This short teaser-video appeared this morning on YouTube courtesy of Comic-Con 2017.