Category Archives: Manchester

My Home city in the NW of England

Old boys gathering

The week at the heart of the UK Engineering Applications hub has been a busy one with a mixture of tickets being raised with technical support being requested to new software requiring ordering. We do seem to be getting a large volume of tickets being raised at the moment. I do say though that in most cases it’s not the IT or software causing the problems but the users! Maybe more training or less access to the software settings or maybe both!

Friday though was the ‘Old Boy’s gathering. Hamlin had set the wheels in motion for us to get together something we’d not done since December last year! The ‘old boy’s’ are a group of ex-colleagues who worked together over the years and mainly got together at Povall Floor + Wilson (PF+W) in the late 90’s. but as time passed by moved on & worked at other companies, however we have all kept in touch.

There were only 6 of us who were able to make the gathering at The Rising Sun in Manchester which is our usual haunt. Guess what by the time Phil Beswick & I got there just before 18:00 the guys were in their usual spot in the window. The beer, laughter & stories flowed all night long and with 300+ years in age for the 6 of us there was some story telling. Nothing to eat which is always dangerous meant I was busy looking for something to eat on the wall home from Hindley rail station. At 22:30 on a Friday night I was appalled that there are no open chippys but if you want pizza, curry or kebab you are heartily catered for. So it was a kebab for me to help soak the beer up.

Up early on Saturday as United had the lunch time KO against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Not a had game for the neutral to watch. Chelsea went 1-0 up after some slack defending by Paul Pogba allowing Rudiger to score in the 21st minute. United rallied round with a better 2nd half performance where Anthony Martial scored twice before Ross Barkley scored the equaliser in the 96th minute for Chelsea. So many time over the years had we used all minutes available to us & often teased by opposition fans calling it Fergie time that we got undone by our own best asset. As the Chelsea fans jumped with joy there was a minor bust-up on the touchline as one of Chelsea’s backroom staff twice ran past Jose Mourinho celebrating in his face before Mourinho was up out of his seat. At the end of the game there were chants of F*ck off Mourinho from some of the Chelsea fans. Strange behaviour as he is their most successful manager. Chelsea staff & fans equal no class.

Today we’ve had mum & dad over for tea. Nice to see them as we’ve not seen them for two weeks. They both look well. We even got a Skype call from Sam, Harry & Nancy who again I’d not heard from in a couple of weeks. Harry has lost a tooth & the tooth fairy had left a £2 coin. Wow inflation is at a high as 50 years ago I was only getting a sixpence (old money) equivalent to 2.5 pence in New money.

Autodesk University London 2018 & World Cup 2018

Wow last week was a busy week with a 4 day trip to London for AutoDESK University 2018.

It started off with a 07:09 train from Wigan North Western to London Euston that was delayed by 20 minutes due to trespassers on the line between Lancaster & Preston. Not the start i wanted!

Instead of arriving in Euston at 09.10 & having 50 minutes to travel across London to the Arcadis BIM forum I was left with just 25 minutes to do the same journey.

I arrived at the forum at 10:10 (only 10 minutes late) not too bad as it was at the Tower Hotel near Tower Bridge & St Katherine’s Dock

The day was spent with approx 120 Arcadians from all over Europe listening to how Arcadis is transforming itself into a Digital & BIM leader within our industry. AutoDESK were also out our internal meeting which shows the partnership & closeness of our two great companies.

In the evening Arcadis had put on a BBQ & beers for our staff to mingle & get to know each other. This was done in a private area outside of the hotel on the banks of the River Thames. We also had a large screen showing England’s opening game in the 2018 World Cup against Tunisia.

Arcadis Staff at the BIM forum

The rooms we were given in the hotel were a little more expensive than our usual budget as we usually have a budget of £125/night however the rooms we’d been allocated were £190/night. This caused some concerns of being able to get them approved & pushed through our expenses system.

Some of the staff had great views of Tower Bridge, like the one below

Tower Bridge

While others like myself had view up the river :(, like the one below

The following day we were all up early for the short walk to Tobacco Dock for AutoDESK University London 2018

We then had two days of classes & forums from AutoDESK staff & other companies who all use the AutoDESK software from around Europe.

One of my colleagues from Engineering Applications gave a 1 hour presentation alongside a colleague from AutoDESK on BIM360. BIM360 is being adopted by Arcadis as our Common Data Environment. This was particularly interesting.

As with most events the days were long but we did have the evenings to socialise & have a couple of beers to get to know people. Our Tuesday night was spent in a pub on St Katherine’s Docks called The Dickens Inn.

Day two & we all had to wear our Arcadis (Orange) Tee shirts which allowed the 120 strong Arcadis Group standout from the 1400 visitors to AutoDESK University.

Arcadis Team

Our final night together in London allowed Yannick (France), Roland (Holland) & myself to get out for something to eat

Roland, Gary & Yannick at Tower Bridge

The final day was spent working in Arcadis House before my 2 hour train journey home to catch-up with Mrs C.

Friday I worked from home & was surprised by a dragon-fly flying into the house & settling down on the window frame next to me for a brief rest.

Dragon-Fly

Saturday I spent time with mum & dad. I even brought dad in to the Manchester office so he could see Manchester from 10 floors up.

Then i went over to spend the later part of the afternoon with Sam my daughter & the grandchildren.

Sunday was going to be all about sport on TV, with the England game against Panama which they comfortably ran out winners with a 6-1 victory. then it was the French Gran-prix before another 2 games of football.

A busy weekend with friends

We’ve had a busy weekend with friends who have been up visiting from London.

Helen (an old school fried of Michele’s) and Brian arrived late on Friday evening after a long drive from Horsham in West Sussex. Michele had cooked a welcoming winter meal for our guests of Chicken and Vegitable Bake, all as requested by Helen. Helen and Brian had this served to them last time they called up and liked it so much that it had been requested once again.

Friday evening was spent drinking beer/wine and chatting  as it had been a while since we had last seen the pair of them.

Saturday morning was a little bit rushed as Michele had organised a treat for Helen and herself that had been brought forward by a couple of hours. So it was off into Manchester. I dropped the girls off just off Peter Street by the Free Trade Hall now the Radisson Hotel. The treat Michele had arranged was for the two of them to have their nails done at The Midland Hotel. The Midland Hotel was not Michele’s first choice but the Radisson Hotel was unable to undertake the nails on the saturday.

While the girls were pampering themselves Brian and i went to the National Football Museum at the Urbis Centre.There are some very interesting exhibits in the museum. The one that i think stood out most of all was the presentation on disasters at football games and how the change was made to all seater stadia, especially after the Fire disaster at Bradford City FC, where 56 people perished.

Following our visit to the museum Brian & I called into Sinclair’s Oyster Bar for a cheeky pint before catching the girls up outside of the Pandora store in Manchester Arndale.

We then spent the afternoon mooching about the city, stopping off for lunch and then grabbing a couple of extra cheeky beers.

The evening was spent at home where we had a hearty Chinese take-away all washed down with plenty of beer.

Michele made us all sit through the X Factor before Brian and i got chance to catch up with Match of the Day.

Sunday was a lazy day which started off with a full cooked English breakfast. Brian and Helen left shortly after lunchtime with a 4+ hour drive home, but guess what Michele forgot to give Helen the pies she’d been storing in the freezer for her! Oh well Helen I suppose i’ll have to eat them 😉