Hello and welcome to my Blog, my name is Chris, a bus driver for First Mendip based in Wells, Somerset. Married to Fiona, we live in Midsomer Norton near Bath, with Harvey the dog and Boots the cat. My main hobby is Amateur Radio and I hold the call sign G4KVI. I am the repeater keeper for GB3UB and MB7UB. I have a fascination for the weather and all things to do with nature and science. I am a biker and currently ride a Honda CBfF600. As a Christian I worship, when shifts allow at St. Nicolas Church in Radstock. These are my observations on my life, both at work and at home.

28 Dec 2014

Weather site

I have now fixed the problem with my weather site. It is now providing clear and up to date data. You can find it at http://www.qsl.net/g4kvi/index.htm. One day I will try and make it look a little better but web design is not my best subject so I will leave it like it is for the time being.

12 Dec 2014

The effects live on

So three years on from contracting Viral meningitis I am finding it is still leaving its mark. I had a cold this week and it has hit me hard resulting in two days off work, something that would never happened before VM made its appearance. Since I have been at home with little energy I have spent some time doing a little research. I have found the fact I get a lot of colds and they are much worse than you would expect seems to be common among those that have had VM. I have also found that the short temper and aggression I have may also be down to VM. Also a lack of concentration seems to be a theme, something I really struggle with at present. So knowing all this where do I go? Hopefully now I understand a little more about why, I can try and move on and overcome some of this obstacles. One thing I have come to telise over the last few years is how life changing illness not only affects the person but almost everyone they come into contact with. So New years resolution is to try and find the old Chris and get him to come and play more often.

20 Oct 2014

Stand up straight

Some of you know I have been suffering from a bad back for some time. Had a couple of trips to the Doctor and told I have a trapped nerve. Given pain killers and referred for physiotherapy. However the pain and loss of feeling in my arm has become worse. Turns out I have medical cover so for the first time in many years I went private. Rang the local hospital and seen today!. Turns out that due to my poor posture over the years and possibly the various knee injuries I have a disc in my spine is pressing on a nerve causing the pain and numbness in my arm. After the hour session things have eased a little and I have a list of exercise to do during the day to loosen my back up. Hopefully I can prevent any future damage. So all those people that kept telling me to 'stand up straight Dunn'. You were correct!!

24 Sep 2014

All types of people

This week is a little better than last mainly because I haven't had to go through Keynsham with its seemingly non stop roadworks. I don't know if it is the councils intention to kill the town off but that seems to be the result. Anyway, back to the title. I have been keeping a mental note of all the different types of people I have had on the bus this week. here are some of them.

  • The lady who had no idea where she was
  • The gent in the wheelchair who was profoundly disabled.
  • The woman who despite me leaving from the correct bay at the correct time still shouted and chased me down the bus station for leaving from the wrong bay.
  • The rather drunk man who asked, nicely, if he could bring his can on the bus.
  • The rather sad man who spent the journey telling me how his life had fallen apart.
  • The school child who suddenly remembered she had forgotten her bag.
  • The deaf gent.
  • The gent who stormed off the bus after a poor lady had a coughing fit complaining about the germs.
I could go on but this is just a snap shot of the types of people I interacted with every day. they all need to be treated in a different manner. So the next time you get on a bus spaare a thought for the driver and think of the skills they need and use every day. And that is before they drive the bus.

21 Sep 2014

A pants week

Finally at the end of a week of earlies. That is 0615, which is not that early but since my little illness I have found early shifts very difficult. Anyway they have not really been a problem and I have not been left with the overwhelming tiredness I have become used to over the last couple of years.
What has spoiled the week has been the almost constant 'late running'. It seemed at times that I was never running a service on time. This obviously upset the passengers and me and although I can claim for overtime and submit 'loss mileage'  forms to show why I have not completed a journey, after a week it has begun to show and I have got a little upset and angry. Bit stupid really when some of the delays are caused by roadworks and other external factors. However, some have been caused by insufficient time being given to complete the trip, and it seems at times that those producing the timings are a a little out of touch with the real world and this is something the passengers pick up on,fortunately most realise it is not the drivers fault. This week has however taken me back to when I was a field support engineer, as soon as I had a problem reported to me I would always go and have a look for myself, something that obviously is not happening to running times. Anyway, off tomorrow so a relaxing day and a bit of time with God and then back to work and hopefully a little more enjoyable than this week.

6 Sep 2014

The Race card

One thing I pride myself on is that I try and treat everyone I meet the same. As such I have had only one (that I can remember) incident where some has said 'it's because I am (insert colour, race gender)' Anyway today I had the second. I spotted a car driving fast through the bus station, this is not unusual especially on Saturday as Sat Navs still show the old road layout. What is unusual is to see said same vehicle heading back at speed the wrong way behind the reversing buses and heading for the entrance with an approaching bus. I shouted, loudly and the lady stopped. She then got out and said she did not understand the road signs and was new to the country. I pointed out perhaps she should spend some time learning the signs etc, before driving. The inspector got her turned round to head the correct way out the station. It was at this point she called me a racist.and that I should give her type some space. At this point I finally noticed she was driving what appeared to be her car, a UK registered one. So bottom line, if stopping someone causing an accident makes me a racist. I plead guilty! Please if you do fall in to this category, please never use the race card unfairly or use it as a weapon.

14 Aug 2014

Peace and quiet

My sense of peace is continuing and life's little problems seem to be just that. Out walking the dog tonight I was reminded just how fortunate we are to live where we do.We have very little external noise, road, aircraft rail etc and standing in the garden I am able, after a while, to make out the milky way, see maybe a satellite or even a 'shooting star'. If you live in an area of high light and noise pollution try and take some time to get out in the open and just look up, even with the naked eye it is truly breathtaking.

10 Aug 2014

Back home

Back home after two weeks at   New Wine. I think it has been the best in many years. Certainty the driest! I have felt a real sense of peace which I haven't felt in a long while. It was a good time with some very good friends, both old and new. I found I had time to spend  listening to what God has been saying to me and perhaps have not heard. That is not just to slow down, but to stop and listen to what God wants from any given situation, and also to pray before a task rather than asking for help when it's all gone wrong! So today very much a chill day and prepare for work tomorrow. I am feeling strangely excited.

5 Aug 2014

Going in Gods direction?

Half way through the second week at New Wine and half a day spent being a delegate. Started the morning off in the Urban venue. This venue promotes church in the inner cities. The Worship was a little 'out there' and I have to say I nearly left, however, by being a little different it made me stop and think. Rather than just singing the songs, I was beginning to see the real meaning in the words. I have to say it made me a little bit emotional and listening to the speaker again had me really thinking about what was being said and the meaning it had in my life.
After a coffee it was off to a seminar. This one on God in the workplace. Again a thought provoking talk.  about being a Christian in the workplace. All in all the day seemed to be a day of being directed by God. Tomorrow is the day off so we will see how that pans out given the amount of rain that is falling at the moment.

27 Jul 2014

Silver Wedding

On the 15th Fiona and I celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary. I surprised her with 12 red roses and sparkling wine, and by taking two days off work. We had a very nice meal in Bath and with the weather so nice had two lovely days.
As you may know we spend two weeks in the summer at New Wine. Again I managed to surprise Fiona by arranging to renew our wedding vows on site. I have to say it has been a little stressful trying to keep it a secret but today has proved it has been 100% worthwhile, The ceremony went very well and it was so great to celebrate with new friends and old, most of which were not at our wedding So a great big thank you to those that have made this day possible and thank you to my Wife Fiona for standing by me through good times and bad and here is to another 25.

25 Jun 2014

Full Power

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and as a result I have been able to upgrade the shack power supply. I now have a Nevada PSW-30H. This is an incredibly  small and very light PSU  that gives a constant 25 amps so  I am now able to run the TS-50 at the full 100w.


Weather station changes

Have made some changes to the weather station here. The sensors were mounted on a fencepost, but with the recent hot weather it appears the wall beneath was acting as a radiator and giving some error on the temperature. Also it was shielded from most of the wind. So, I have moved it to the other side of the garden on the wooden fence and more in the clear, which should give more accurate readings.


4 Jun 2014

Company Elections

If you have found this from one of my adverts this blog will give you an idea of who I am, and what makes me tick. So enjoy looking and use your vote wisely, and please vote, many people died so that we had the opportunity to vote.

Using 112

Was sent this very intersting information about using 112 on your mobile phone. Even I didn't know some of these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPZv_8dABfU

26 May 2014

Crossing the road

There seems to be an urban myth that when using a Zebra crossing that traffic has to stop. If you read the Highway Code it states -

18

At all crossings. When using any type of crossing you should
  • always check that the traffic has stopped before you start to cross or push a pram onto a crossing
  • always cross between the studs or over the zebra markings. Do not cross at the side of the crossing or on the zig-zag lines, as it can be dangerous.
You MUST NOT loiter on any type of crossing.
Laws ZPPPCRGD reg 19 & RTRA sect 25(5)

19

Zebra crossings. Give traffic plenty of time to see you and to stop before you start to cross. Vehicles will need more time when the road is slippery. Wait until traffic has stopped from both directions or the road is clear before crossing. Remember that traffic does not have to stop until someone has moved onto the crossing. Keep looking both ways, and listening, in case a driver or rider has not seen you and attempts to overtake a vehicle that has stopped.



Highway Code - Rule 19 Zebra Crossings Have Flashing Beacons

So the next pedestrian that complains that my 21 tonnes of metal fails to stop as they approach the crossing and says they will call the police. Please take note.

18 May 2014

Just for fun

Had a rather pleasant day out on the bike with work colleagues. We have been talking about having a ride out for ages and given the weather it was decided to go today I have never been on a ride out and never been on the bike just for fun so I was just a little bit excited!  Anyway we started off at the works depot and headed out to Cheddar.  It is a  very long time since I have been here, but it was a great ride with some nice roads and spectacular sights as we went through the gorge. We took advantage of stooping off and enjoying an ice cream and enjoying the sunshine.We then set off for Weston-Super-Mare    another nice ride and very glad we were on bikes as the traffic into Weston was very heavy. Weston has a dedicated  bike park on the seafront and we parked up there. One of  our Polish colleagues had arranged a table at a Polish bar in town and we made our way up there. I wish I had known as the food was excellent, but a Sunday lunch was waiting at home! So an excellent day out and looking forward to the next. Below is a track of the ride.




 

7 May 2014

Employee Director & GreenRoad Fleet Elite Award

For those that know me I can be a bit loud and opinionated. I always try and make my views known I also try and do the best I can at anything I do.That is why I have decided to stand for the Employee Director job. I will not say to much about on here but I do have a page on Facebook.
Also this week turns out I won an award. This time as a GreenRoad Fleet Elite Award. Green road is the system which is used to see how well we can drive a bus and indicates sudden braking turning etc and produces a weekly score. The target score in 20 and mine is usually below 10 and as it seems it was below an average of 5 last year I win an award. Have to say I am still no real fan of Green Road/Drive Green but it does at least give me something to keep me amused and motivated during the day.

3 Apr 2014

Never happened before

After my winging about people saying 'never seen that before' I have had a 'first time that has happened' moment. On the 13 route today and for the first time in 10 years, had a puncture. These are very rare and think I have only ever seen a handful. Anyway managed to get it to the depot and appears it had a foreign object in it.

6 Mar 2014

Pearls of Wisdom

Sitting on the bus today I thought of all those 'Pearls of Wisdom' that people tell you and you find out from, sometimes bitter experience. Just for my own interest, here are some of mine. You may find it interesting.
  • Never burn your bridges. You never know when you may need a friend or find yourself bumping into an ex boss.
  • Never turn down a kind offer. You may not get another one
  • If it seems too good to be true, IT IS
  • No matter how bad you are feeling or how bleak your situation seems, you always find somebody in a worse situation. The reverse also applies!
  • If you don't want it to rain, take a coat.
  • The screwdriver you have is never the correct one.
  • No matter how many nuts and bolts you have you never have one that fits.
  • Never have any regrets. the decisions you make are the correct ones at the time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
  • Prayer works.
  • God never lets you down. Can seem a bit slow,but he works to his plan, not ours.
  • Always be first at the bar. Its always the cheapest round.

21 Feb 2014

Bike with an MOT

For once a holiday coincided with the bikes MOT expiring. I don't use that much as I am able to use the bus to get back and forth from work (for free). The front pads had an advisory last year so I set about replacing them. However, the pad pin was rusted in. I tried the usual easy way's, mole grips, oil etc but as I don't have a blow torch I decided to let the experts do it. So, I have just picked it up with it's no new MOT with no advisories. Just must get round to servicing it.

20 Feb 2014

Weather Website make over

Coming to the end of a rather successful weeks holiday. Lot of 'odd jobs' done and hopefully tomorrow the bike will have a new MOT. Have had one hiccup. That is that my old enemy, anxiety suddenly made it's self known. No idea where it came from but hopefully some appropriate prayer will send it on it's way. Another little 'gift' that my illness left behind. Anyway on to happy things and after looking at many weather site and getting rather jealous, I finally got round to sorting mine. It is rather basic at present but certainty looking much better. There a few little things that need sorting and eventually I want to expand it and make it look more professional, but for the time being it looks good. You can find by clicking the My Weather data link.

26 Jan 2014

Twitter to Facebook problems

I have for a while sent my Weather data to Twitter which then is sent to Facebook. I have recently figured out how to improve that data including solar radiation and length of day calculations. However since then the data will not show on Facebook. If you want a twice daily snapshot of local conditions you can view them
at https://twitter.com/chrisandfiona.

20 Jan 2014

System restored

Slight problem last week in that the hard drive on the Dell Latitude 620 that runs the weather and radio software, failed. I think this is only the second hard drive I have had fail.I took the opportunity to upgrade from the 80G that was fitted to a 320G. I did look at 500 and 1TB ones but on reading the reviews and talking to people it appears they have two platters and therefore are slightly less reliable and plus the fact 320G is far big enough for me. Replacing the hard drive was VERY easy taking about 5 mins (3 screws) However, I now had the task of reloading the software. Fortunately the Dell came with a complete version of WinXP SP2 so that saved a lot of problems. Loading this took about 3 hours. I then had a major problem getting the internal Wi-Fi to work.I had a Wi-Fi dongle which I used to get Internet access and after a lot of reading turns out that SP2 is not compatible with WPA2 which my router was set to. Setting it back to WPA solved the problem temporarily and enabled me to upgrade to SP3. The Wi-Fi then burst into life! I then had to load all the radio and weather software back on such as Cumulus, Uiview. This was easy but took some time to get the settings back fortunately I had taken screen shots which made things a little easier. I am still getting updates from both Dell and Microsoft but as the last one had 151 items hopefully things will slow down. Most things should be back working such as the weather data and Uiview, just a couple of location issues which are causing some problems. However, I am very pleased with my efforts, although I don't think I will be applying for any IT jobs!

10 Jan 2014

2m SSB

After an absence of about 20 years I now have an aerial up for 2m ssb. The last entry for SSB (J3E) was in 1993!! The location here is not that good for VHF being fairly low down and surrounded by hills. Any way the 9el Tonna is up and pointing slightly north of east so we will see what we can hear.

1 Jan 2014

And we think we have it bad.

This was on one of my user groups.

The WA8LMF VHF-HF-ISS Satgate APRS igate, UI-webserver and EchoLink node was
off-line, after an electric power outage caused by the massive ice storm that
hit the US Midwest on the night of Saturday 21 December. Tens of thousands of
trees in the area collapsed under the weight of up to a half-inch of ice on
every branch. For the first 4 or 5 days, one would randomly heard a sound like
a gunshot and then a small explosion, as another large branch would break off a
tall tree and crash to the ground. Even though I had massive battery backup for
the hamshack, the collapsing trees took out the Comcast cable line cutting off
my Internet connection, along with the AC power. The power was out for 9 days
here in the East Lansing, Michigan area with nighttime temperatures going as
low as 0 F (-17 C).

Consumers Energy, the utility that serves most of the lower peninsula of
Michigan, had 200,000 accounts without power in the days immediately after the
storm. They brought in over 1,000 workers from neighboring states and as far
away as Missouri on a mutual-aid response for the recovery effort. My power
was finally restored yesterday (Monday 30 December).

The WA8LMF APRS igate and webserver is now back on line and fully functional at

<http://wa8lmf.net/map> .

My weather data