UXB Addiscombe

In 1998 we moved into Alexandra Road. The house needed some work and the garden had been neglected and was full of rubble. We hired somebody to clear the rubbish and also turn over the soil.

Next day I was out in the garden in discussion with Phil, our builder when we spotted a curious small cylindrical object.

“Oh, looks like a bomb!” said Phil.

I pondered for a few seconds. The railway line nearby had been a WW2 target for the Luftwaffe

“Too small”, I replied, “anti-aircraft shell maybe?”

“Er, didn’t some of those have warheads?”

I went inside and called the police on the non-emergency number and explained that we might have found an unexploded wartime shell. On hearing this the operator said “I’ll put you through to 999”.

“Oh, no rush,” I said, “it’s been there 50 years, it can probably wait a few minutes more!”.

I explained the situation again to the emergency operator and she said “We’ll send somebody round right away but meanwhile please keep away from that side of the house and also let your neighbours know.”.

Well, we’d met the neighbours on one side but not the other, so I knocked on their door and said “Good morning, my name is Andy. We’ve just moved in next door, oh, and – by the way – we might have an unexploded bomb in the garden”.

A constable arrived, took a look at the artefact, said it looked dodgy and that the inspector was on the way. A uniformed inspector arrived, took a look himself and said “It’s quite possible. We find about one a year. I’ll call the Bomb Squad”.

By now four houses in Alexandra Road and another four in Davidson Road had been evacuated. Neighbours who’d never met before were chatting and making each other cups of tea.

Eventually we heard a siren and a dark blue Ford Granada pulled up. Two burly chaps got out, spoke to the inspector, and walked through to the garden. When they came back one was carrying my ‘bomb’. Without a word they got into the car and drove off.

I asked the inspector what it was. He replied: “They said building material – but I’m not so sure…”.

This gave me a theory. I suspect that during Bomb Disposal classes the instructor will produce my ‘bomb’ and say “Now, if some daft pillock calls up with one of these….”.

There was a postscript. Later that I day I came home in the car and was looking for somewhere to park. A chap pulled up on the far side of the road, got out of his car and made that universal gesture which means “I’m just popping on for a second then I’m off again so you can have the space”.

Next day I saw the same fellow and said to him “Thanks for the parking space yesterday. My name’s Andy, we’ve just moved in opposite”

“Ah!”, he said, “you’re the one with the bomb”.


Box Quarantine

This post may surprise people as I am know, for example, as having a cavalier attitude to things like sell-by dates.

I’m taking C19 a little more warily though. Althought I think that picking up the bug from a shopping trip is not a great risk, I still take precautions.

When I go into the shop I wear gloves – gardening gloves which seem to be more practical then wresting with latex ones. They don’t wear out either.

When I get home I find an empty cardboard box and mark it up for three days hence, so if today is Saturday then I write Tuesday on it.

I then put all the shopping in the box.

Anything non-perishable and non-urgent stays in the box until tea time on Tuesday by which time 72 hours (or thereabouts) have passed and any lurking C19 will have gone to the great petri dish in the sky.

Perishable food in any sort of packet I transfer to my own packaging or food boxes using gloves to handle the shop packet but bare hand for anything else.

If the shop packaging is reusable then I put it in the box with the non-perishable shopping so it can get reused a few days on.

Anything which can’t be handled this way and which can’t wait gets a disinfectious spray and a wipe. This applies mainly to bottles (usually beer!).

Am also wary of the post. Letters and cardboard boxes I leave for 24 hours, plastic wrapped things for 72 hours.

I suspect I’m being over precautious but, for the sake of a few minutes, better that than bringing C19 into the household.

Santa’s sleigh in the sky

This is for 2019 and will be revised for the next year.

If you have little ones and they are up early on Xmas morning (and what child isn’t? 🙂) and the weather is clear then point them towards the heavens at around 6.50 or so (see below).

With a couple of minutes’ patience scanning the sky to the south and southwest and a little luck they’ll see Santa’s sleigh heading home!

London: 6.52, Birmingham: 6.54, Cornwall 6.56.

(it is, of course, the International Space Station)


Hayling Island, 2015.
Hayling Island, 2015.
Hayling Island, 2015.
The Solent, Hampshire, 2015.
Carshalton, Surrey, 2018. The Carshalton Day Of Dance.
Hampshire Avon, Boxing Day 2019. In flood and over half a mile wide.


Appledore, Devon, 2017.
Croydon 2016.
Dorset 2017. Black Bream freshly caught from Bournemouth Bay
Hampshire 2015.
North London, 2019. Coots feeding on proffered mealworms on the Lea Navigation.
Hayling Island, 2015.
UK, 2015.
Hayling Island, 2015. Black-Headed Gull (left) and Common Tern.
London, 2017.


London 2004. On South Bank by HMS Belfast.
Croydon 2002. Triumph 2000 saloon from 1968.
Black Mountains, Wales, 2007.
Black Mountains, Wales, 2007.
Black Mountains, Wales, 2019. Wether (neutered) rams in conference.
Croydon 2014.
London 2019. Old Thameside Inn, Southwark


Croydon 2016.
London 2019. Viewed from the Thameside Inn on the South Bank
Dartford, Kent, 2016.
Croydon 2018. Shirley Park golf course at dawn.
Cranbrook, Kent, 2019. The Apple Fair.
Croydon, 2010. 1960s Jaguar 420G awating restoration.
City of London, 2019. Looking south to the Elephant and Castle tower.
London 2019. Highgate Cemetary.
London 2019. Classic car owner on way to a show (car is a Morris Marina GT)