Peter Burton's daily log, covering Peter's personal interests, e.g. jazz, travel and general grumpiness plus (occasionally) the business of Isomatic and its associate companies.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Split phase to 3 phase converter
Today we visited a customer site where wires were getting hot. There seemed nothing wrong with the converter and the customer's system seemed to be working well. It took me some time to realise that the converter was for split phase (230-0-230V) and was being used from single phase (0-230V). The input transformer has done very well to survive such mistreatment.
Our Suzuki Ignis Sport was being serviced so we borrowed a Suzuki Wagon R. Performance was surprisingly acceptable, although it was poor at standing starts; too much power and traction was lost. Ride/handling compromise was good; softer than the Ignis Sport.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Apex Jazz Band at the Cricketers
On Monday night we saw the Apex Jazz Band at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. This was the full line-up except that Dave Beale deputised on drums. Terry is now playing a 6-string guitar for all the slow numbers, sounding better than ever. It was a fun evening with much repartee between the band members and us. Subjects ranged from Sidney Bechet through marriage to the name Burton that we share with trombonist Clive.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
El Moreno and Carol Oliver at Epsom Playhouse
On Saturday evening we saw classical guitarist El Moreno
at The Epsom Playhouse
Myers Theatre. He was joined for a few numbers by soprano Carol Oliver. A wide variety of pieces were performed of which I was particularly impressed by 'Variations on a Theme from the Magic Flute' by Fernando Sor. El Moreno played it as well as world-famous guitarist Eduardo Fernandez on one of our records.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Sainsbury, Tesco, M&S, Guildford market
We received a very good letter from Justin King, Sainsbury CEO, apologising for the way his Burpham store had driven us away and enclosing a voucher for 20 pounds. We have been using Tesco at Warfield for the past 4 weeks and we are still learning to navigate the store. Excellent cheap pork pies, delicatessen good but understaffed, minimal queuing at checkouts. Weaknesses; poor fruit and vegetables, don't stock Golden Wonder sea salt crisps, ready meals mean the complete meal not just the main part, e.g. no Indian or Thai meals without rice included.
This weekend we tried buying most goods from Tesco, saving the rest for Guildford market (bananas and melons) and M & S (Indian meals and Salmon in watercress sauce). This gets the best of both worlds but doubles the length of time spent shopping. Next Saturday we might try fish and meat from the market; pictured below.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Trip to Yorkshire
Today I undertook a 500 mile round trip to Yorkshire. Fog at both ends and freezing cold there. The visit went well though and over quickly. Excellent lunch and beer at the local pub.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Denise Lawrence Band at Epsom Jazz Club
On Monday evening we saw The Denise Lawrence Band
at The Epsom Playhouse
Tuesday jazz club. Great piano from Tony Lawrence and great reed playing by Mike Atterbury to back up the fine vocals from Denise. Ken Rankine (bass) and Pete Littleproud (drums) provided the excellent rhythm section.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Pete Davis with Phil Brown Swingtet
On Sunday evening we saw the Phil Brown quintet at the Saddlers Arms, Send Marsh, Surrey. Once again the audience was miniscule, which is worrying for the future. It was a quintet because trumpet/flugelhorn and guitar were missing from the full swingtet. Special was guest Pete Davis playing Tenor Sax, Clarinet and flute. Highlight was his solo 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams'.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Suzuki Ignis Sport, Peaslake
On Saturday morning we took our Suzuki Ignis Sport
in to Town and Country Cars
in Ripley, Surrey to request some additions/replacements at the next service. As it it so often used as a van, we were advised to unload it to enable the staff to work on it !
In the afternoon we drove to Peaslake
, a beautiful village in the Surrey hills, where we had local real ale and tea at the Hurtwood Inn
. It is a real village, not just a hamlet, with its own village stores.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
No more midweek nights out in London
Sad to say we will no longer be spending our money in London except for Sundays. We have been caught out making innocent driving/parking mistakes twice, once by the City of Westminster and once by Ken Livingstone's transport for London. We have paid each of these extreme right-wing evil organisations 50 pounds as a result. It seems they want to drive all visitors away except the very wealthy.
Yes, we do insist on driving to our destination. We are too old to wait for buses and trains in the cold, dark, damp evenings and suffer the delays and cancellations. We did not enjoy it at 19 years old and looked forward to better days.
In addition to the Sod U Ken
website we need a 'Bugger Westminster City Council' web site. The picture of Ken below shows him smirking. Is this at the thought of how he infiltrated the Labour Party when he is clearly to the right of Ghengis Khan or is it the thought that the extreme left meets the extreme right round the back somewhere ?
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Ampair at METS exhibition in Amsterdam
Our associate company Ampair
is exhibiting at the Marine Electronics Trade Show
in Amsterdam this week. This has taken three key sales staff so Isomatic UK, Boost Energy and Ampair sales are all being handled simultaneously by Peter and Selina Burton. When all three telephones ring at once it is impossible to handle all three calls well. Fortunately the workshop and warehouse can be left unsupervised for a few days as we have a good crowd of technicians.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Emanuel Ax at Wigmore Hall
On Monday, after visiting The Wallace Collection
we went to a piano recital by Emanuel Ax at The Wigmore Hall
. I was not very taken with the first half of the performance, which included two new compositions, but after the interval we had the sheer delight of the four Chopin Ballades.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Holidays; Spain, Northern England & Scottish borders
Today we are making plans for holidays in 2006. I favour Madrid
and surrounding area for May, combining culture in the form of the Prado, etc. with trips out to the Spanish countryside. I previously stayed near the picture below when on business there.
For August we are planning to tour Northern England and the Scottish borders, visiting many places that alone do not justify the travel but together should make a varied and interesting holiday. Pictures show some of the stopping places; Chester, Ullswater, Jedburgh, Edinburgh, Berwick and York
Saturday, November 12, 2005
MYOB (Mind Your Own Business)
On Friday I had my first training as a MYOB
user. It is very comprehensive, particularly for the price, including adjusting sales stock records as sales are made and preventing a sale when stock is zero. Sales entry is not intuitive to my mind so training is essential.
For American readers to understand the above please note:
The USA equivalent of the English word stock is inventory
The English equivalent of the USA word stock is shares.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Vauxhall Combo Van hire from Apex car rental
Yesterday we carried a heavy load of demonstration equipment to a customer site and back, a round trip of 333 miles. We used a Vauxhall Combo 1.7D from Apex car rental
The Diesel engine is the finest I have experienced, indistinguishable from a petrol engine except at cold start. Despite the load, it accelerated quickly to cruising speed with none of the expected sharp cut in power at 4000 rpm; it just carried on revving. The ride was fine both unladen and with the springs substantially compressed under load. I can wholeheartedly recommend this van for short term hire.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Phil Brown Swingtet at the Cricketers
On Monday night we saw the Phil Brown Swingtet at the Cricketers
in Horsell Birch, Woking. They were missing Ken Ames on Guitar so it was really the sextet. Special features included five trombones playing Mood Indigo and Undecided and a tenor Sax duet between Mark Aston and guest 'Francis'. Interestingly, Mark played one of the five trombones as well as any of the specialists and better than some. His tenor playing was better than ever; remember this is the man who once said to us "I am not that good really." He was modest but wrong !
The picture below showing the pub is from the CD recorded live there this summer.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Moffats for high visibility waistcoats
On Saturday morning we went shopping in Guildford; very unusual for us at this time. It was much quieter than in the afternoons. Amazingly we found almost everything we wanted, including a pair of high visibility waistcoats. These we found in Moffats, a shop we had always ignored because we associated it with one of our hates, i.e. camping. This shop is actually a goldmine for industrial clothing and we could well return there in future. It is essential to ask for assistance as goods are hidden in nooks and crannies that one would never find unaided.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Tesco at Warfield
Last week we wrote to the Chairman and CEO of Sainsbury, explaining why we would no longer be shopping there after 22 years. On Friday evening we did a week's shopping at a different supermarket; Tesco at Warfield, Berkshire
. It was difficult but we will persevere for a few weeks to give Tesco a fair chance before we make a long term decision.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Ken Livingstone; London's bus service is crap
On Tuesday evening we followed in the footsteps of Ken Livingstone, avoided the congestion charge and used London buses. It sounds so easy until one tries it.
Every leg is 1.2 pounds each, tickets from a machine that only takes coins. So for a return journey for two persons with one bus change, we must have 9.6 pounds in loose change. From where is this supposed to come ? Everyone wants one's change but few want to give it.
On the return, in the dark, the destination board at the bus stop showed bus due in 2 minutes for our destination. When that bus arrived the driver told us he was not going that far and we would need to wait 17 minutes for the next bus. We took a taxi but how does someone on a low income manage ?
If you want to rant about the congestion charge, please browse the Sod U Ken