Monday, June 21, 2004

Spaceship One

Spaceship One piloted by Mike Melvill became the first private rocket plane to enter space today. A new dawn breaks for man in space and England defeat Croatia 4-2 in the European Championship.

Saturday, June 19, 2004


We have a crew in the Ukraine at the moment working for the Poltava Petroleum Company. I was sent on Friday 18th June to deliver some needed equipment, including a computer and a Downhole Memory Tool (MMS-A-041-C). All went well until I reached Boryspil Airport near Kiev. The customs officials took one look at the Downhole Memory and immediately sent for a senior customs officer. None of them spoke any English and I speak very poor Russian so my explanations did not enlighten them at all. A local driver had been sent to collect me so I fetched him and allowed him to do some arguing for me. He phoned the client, who also spoke to the customs officer. At the end of lots of arguing it was decided that the Memory Tool would not be allowed into the country. The driver took the computer and left me to my fate. My passport was retained and I was left in a corner waiting for bureaucracy to remember my existence. They eventually remembered me, returned my passport and provided me with a receipt for the tool. I then left the airport and found my hotel (Hotel Boryspil in the city of Boryspil). On arrival at the hotel I went straight to sleep. A few hours later I woke, took my clothes off and went to bed. I woke at 4:30am (2:30am BST) and returned to the airport to try and retrieve the Memory Tool. After an hour of asking almost everybody what I needed to do to get the tool back, I found someone who seemed to understand and who brought it to me. I checked it onto the flight home. On returning to Birmingham I found that none of my bags had arrived and was told that they would be delivered to my home later in the day. The bags finally arrived a day later, apparently none the worse for wear.
There are two Boryspil hotels. One is within a few hundred yards of the airport, the other is in the City of Boryspil. If you get a taxi at the airport the driver will certainly take you to the nearest, whether you have a reservation at that one or not and charge you the rate for the more distant hotel. There is little point in using the hotel in the city. It is not convenient either for the airport or Kiev. It is better to get the airport hotel or one in Kiev.

Sunday, June 13, 2004


Took the family on their first trip in the Post Office Campervan on the 12th June 2004 returning on the 13th having spent the night at a campsite in Biggin, Derbyshire with some noisy Geordies carousing late into the night waking up Michelle (who is eight months old at the moment) to our obvious ire.
Apart from this our trip went very well. We went to Dovedale, an absolutely idyllic spot which everybody should visit given the chance. Before we left the car park Matthew had spotted Chaffinches and Robins which annoyed him by not pausing for a photograph. The River Dove runs down from Miller's Dale through a gorge cut into limestone. This has left some stunning limestone pillars along the sides of the river, notably Ilam Rock. We wandered up the side of the river, with Matthew finding a few brachiopod fossils on the way and both Matthew and Roseanne climbing some of the cliffs without due care for the height from which they would fall. We paused to play at the stepping stones which are used to get the footpath across the river and provide most people with a bit of fun. Further up, the river descends some small falls at which Matthew and Roseanne were able to see a Dipper and Yellow Wagtails for the first time. There were many Mayflies flying above the water and occasionaly we saw Brown Trout jumping out of the river to catch them. The Mayflies were also the favoured food of the Yellow Wagtails which darted out from the banks in order to catch them on the wing.
We walked as far as Ilam Rock where we turned around and returned to our van, Kathryn was full of herself, actually running back down the path ahead of the rest of us. Back at the van and after a cup of tea we adjourned to our campsite.
The next day, after a slow start we drove to Buxton and had some chips and a stroll around town before returning home.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Transit of Venus

I managed to fit in two observations of the transit of Venus during the day both using my binoculars as a projector onto the back of a Kelloggs Special K packet. The first was at eight o'clock British Summer Time using my dustbin as a support. My image was upside down with Venus in the upper left quadrant. The second was during my tea break at work at eleven o'clock. This time it was coming to an end and in the upper right quadrant of my image.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Kinder Scout

Friday 5th June until Sunday 7th saw the inaugural yearly Cordon hike on Kinder Scout in Derbyshire's Peak District. Friday was mobilisation day. The five Cordon Brothers converged on Cooper's campsite in Edale, Nigel was late and the intended method of contacting him would not work because it relied on mobile phones for which there was no signal. Eventually the rest of us gave up and adjourned to the nearest pub where Nigel duly appeared in time for his round. After a few more pints in the Nags Head we went to bed. Two of us using the post office campervan for the first time and the others in Simon's tent. Next morning after breakfast we started on our trek up the hill and immediately began to feel the pain resulting from lack of fitness as we trudged up the hill and were passed by turbo charged octagenarians with smirks on their faces. We did make it to the top however and were happily marching along when Ryan declared that we had gone the wrong way. After much map viewing and compass watching our leader decided that all that was required was a short one eighth of a mile detour up a stream bed and we would find the missing path. After trudging through peat bogs up to our knees for a few miles fruitlessly searching for the mythical path we stopped for lunch. Simon then lumbered Christopher with his pack and set off running hither and thither until eventually he exclaimed that he had found a path. It was in fact, entirely the opposite side of the mountain from the point we intended to be but a path is still a path no matter how you spell it. We followed this path in the correct general direction until Ryan again decided that we needed to follow another stream in order to get back to the path we wanted. Surprisingly enough, this time he was right. For a few miles Nigel's boots had been eating his feet and he was as a result hobbling in agony, so his boots were traded with Ryan for his shoes and progress was made. Again we were back in the groove and soon found our way to the trig point where on consultation with the map Ryan confidently explained that our path was due South and then pointed to one going East which we duly followed. It soon became obvious by looking down to our right that Jacob's Ladder, our intended path was several hundred feet below us. Rather than double back we decided to go straight down the hill over Christopher's Nedge. Several falls, sprained ankles and damaged knees later, after accidentally finding the remains of Wing Commander Dickie Speares Avro Anson, in which he crashed fatally in 1945 we gained our target and made an uneventful journey back to our campsite with minor tea stop at Upper Booth on the way. Here we were joined by Cousin Graham with whom we adjourned to the pub and by whom we were regailed on the excitements of community nursing for the rest of the evening. The next day, after a short walk up Mam Tor, a short lecture on the joys of goniotites and an ice cream stop at Blue John Cavern we returned home satisfied that our aches and pains were a small price to pay for a very enjoyable weekend.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Marishes 3

Worked at Marishes 3 drillsite for Viking UK Gas Ltd between 26th May 2004 and 31st May 2004. The site is at the confluence of the River Rye and River Derwent in North Yorkshire near Malton. Used the Old Lodge Hotel and the Bean Sheaf Hotel. I can recommend the Old Lodge, but there is poor mobile phone reception at the Bean Sheaf. Ran a Junk Basket, Bridge Plug and CIS Gyrodata Whipstock Orientation and Borehole Orientation on exit from the milled window. Had one trip out to Robin Hood's Bay, a picturesque and peaceful spot and a wilder night in Great Yarmouth which I will not expand on too much. Went through the North Riding Forest Park on the way to Robin Hood's Bay. Worth a second, longer visit.