2013 Blogs

24th December 2013

From Mozambique; MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone I know.

Things are really quiet here at the moment as there is only a skeleton staff left to ensure that everything ticks over during the holiday period.

There were plans to go down to the beach tomorrow for Xmas lunch, but its now been decided that we will have a buffet here at the camp, with everyone invited. So a Phillipino from a contractor and others nationaals will help to prepare the food to represent as many of the nationalities here as possible.

We have had a lot of rain in the past few days which seems to have triggered a big increase in the number of flying insects that plague us as soon as the sun starts to sink. Last night was particulary bad with swarms of them entering through the door of the dining room everytime someone came in or went out.

I have been out this morning taking some photos of any I could find and have uploaded a set to a new photograph gallery; "Mozambique Bugs”. I will keep a lookout for other interesting insects and hopefully build up quite a collection of the critters.

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I have also managed to take a few shots of  a pair of Bronze Mannikins (thank you Eve for the ID) that have set up nest in a tree near where we have our evening pint.

The camp cat has also noticed the birds, but fortunatley for them it keeps falling out of the tree when the branches bend under it weight.

The cat was brought to the camp from our previous one to help control any snakes that might stray through the perimiter fence. 

I’m not sure how effective they would be, but, every little helps I suppose.

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I also took a few photos of the cat last night when it decided it wanted to explore the beer table.

I particularly liked this one as even though James is out of focus in the background you can still recognise him.



16th December 2013

I’m back in the swing of things now here Mozambique. On the way here I had a great time in Manchester with Phil and then saw my daughter and grandchildren in Zurich.

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For those of you who have asked, the picture to the left is the ‘bar' (which is outside the fence line) at Pioneer camp where I am working.

The bar is only open from 5 to 6 in the evening and on the night these photographs were taken a thundercloud started getting nearer and nearer.

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The light you can see in the photo here is internal lightning within the thundercloud itself. It was very impressive! I only had the Sony RX1 with me as there was no sign of anything interesting when we walked to the bar. It just goes to show that you must have a camera with you at all times. No camera: No picture.

I do try to ensure that at the very least the Sony is always on my belt.

I have some pictures from Zurich. which I will upload in the coming days, so keep checking.

Tony, Mozambique.

8th December 2013

Where has the time gone. I am due to leave for my travels back to work tomorrow.  First to Manchester where I will meet up with Phil for a visit to the Brewdog Bar; I bought some shares and they sent me a 10 Beer Bucks voucher, which expire in January.

After Manchester I fly to Zurich, where hopefully I will meet up with my daughter and the grandchildren. I say hopefully, as her phone is not working and she hasnt replied to my email. But if nothing else, I will leave the Christmas presents with a neighbour.

Then on Wednesday evening I take an overnight flight to Jo-Burg where I am booked into an airport hotel till 3 AM the next morning before catching the charter flight into Mozambique and back to work.

I will be there over Christmas and all being well will return to the UK on 11th January.

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Photo wise; I have been very lacking in effort whilst I have been home. On Thursday, when there were plenty of opportunities withthe storm, I was at the dentist in Chester! I think I must have been on the last train along the coastal line, as the waves were coming over the wall beside the track.

I did get this shot of a Robin in Haulfre Gardens on one of my gentle strolls though.


For a pre christmas get-to-gether with Keith & Carole this afternoon I went to the Kings Head seconds after Ali had left.

(In reality 1.5 hours later), anyway, about 3 o’clock a guitarist turned up to play classical music, and very good he was too. A couple of photos can be found here.

I have also tonight updated the PnP section of the website with some recent shots.

And finally! Carole Campbell; dont forget to say thankyou to me when I return,  for not publishing the brilliant, glamorous, eyecatching photo of you I have from the Kings Head today.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to everybody I know and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

Tony.

24th November 2013

61

Again!

What a rush things have been over the past week. I arrived in the UK a week ago today, one day at home and then down to south Wales to meet my sister for a birthday dinner at the 'Inn at Penallt', near Monmouth. We had to stay the first night in Clearwell as the Inn does not open on a Monday, but there you go, can't have everything you would like. Even more importantly, the Boat public house on the banks of the Wye at Penallt does not open on a Tuesday and has winter hours. We will have to be more dilligent in the preparation next year.

Been to Cambrian Photography today and bought a new tripod. I needed one that I could carry on flights with me. The plan is to take some star scapes whilst in Mozambique. Where I work there is next to no light pollution and the nights are really dark so hopefully I will be able to post some good shots.

I have been to Haulfre Gardens and taken some pics of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. See the lower section of the left hand banner on the home page. I am not totally happy yet, and will try to improve on each during the next two weeks.

13th November 2013

So much for forward planning. The day before I was due to fly home I was asked if I would go to Maputo to Pre-Qualfy a potential supplier of electrical equipment for the project.

Well, Ali would be looking after her mum who was due to have a replacement hip, which meant I would have had time on my hands, so Yes was the answer.

I am writing this from the Polano Hotel in Maputo, 5 star old world and very nice, and I will now be flying to Jo-Burg on Friday and home on Saturday.

Cheers!

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8th November 2013

Friday, and I leave here on Tuesday next week. A four week trip doesn't half go fast; especially when you are really busy.

Its been more than a week since my last post and I had only taken a couple of photos until yesterday when we took a short trip to inspect the site of future works. I have added a selection of the photos to the Mozambique gallery and the first in the series one can be found here.

I have started now to prepare for my departure; compiling my hand-over notes for my back-to-back and completing all the outstanding items.

I will travel from here to MdP and thence onwards to Jo-Burg, Zurich and Manchester on Wednesday.

26th October 2013

Since yesterday when I put up the link to YouTube from the 1995 Vivians to Owens dig with the Great Orme Exploration Society. Dave Flowers has uploaded a second video, this time of the society within the Pen Morfa.

I have therefore moved the link from yesterday to the Contact and Links page where the links can be grouped together.

On Tuesday I will have been back working in Mozambique for two weeks and will be half way through this trip.

Still no great picture opportunities though. Every time I leave the office I have one or the other of the cameras with me, but nothing. No birds, no reptiles just nothing.

Hopefully that will change as the summer approaches and the animals come to realise that we are here and there are food opportunities.

25th October 2013

Not much has happend on the photographic front over the past few days, The below photo shows the beginnings of phase 2 of Pioneer camp when it will grow to 288 persons.

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The only other picture I've taken recently was of this bug hanging from a shaving on a fence post.

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Recently Dave Flowers, a friend from the Great Orme Exploration Society ( see links page ) posted a video on YouTube.

Link to video moved to here.

This was taken in 1995 when I was active in the exploration of the abandoned underground workings of the copper mines of the Great Orme.

We went underground at least once a week and very often twice, during this period. Quite often there were ten or so of us on the underground trips. Everybody worked as a team, which is essential when you are in what can only be described as very dangerous locations.

The Vivians to Owens dig continued for quite some time and I am sure that we were through to the Owens workings, although we could never find a way to areas previously surveyed from the Owens side of the complex.

20th October 2013

I'm back in Mozambique now and have settled in to the new 'Pioneer' camp. It is much better than the old camp as we now have our own rooms with a shower, whereas before we were sharing two to a room.

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My room is the last one on the right in the above photo which was taken two nights ago on the way back from a little refreshment. As you can see, the camp is not complete yet, but it is getting better all the time.

I have added a couple of bird photos to the gallery, here. I havent seen any other wild life since getting back, but saying that, I havent been away from the camp either.

14th October 2013

This blog is being written in the bar of the Southern Sun hotel at Jo-Burg airport. I arrived at about 9:30 this morning after the flight from Zurich.

I went to Zurich on my way back to work to see my daughter and grandchildren. The weather was stunning with bright blue skies and it seemed a lot warmer than the Uk when I left. I have uploaded some photos in a new Zurich gallery here.

The hotel where I stayed in Zurich was picked partially due to a review which said it had a special bar; it has! 

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I counted the top shelf and there were 97 different bottles!

In all there were 27 different varieties of Gin on the second shelf, and NO, I did not try them all.

Sarae the youngest grandchild is really shooting up  and my daughter; Claire, reckons she has my genes in her as her legs and arms seem really long. 

It is really special to me being able to visit them, as up until recently I had had no contact for 25 years. Claire 'found me' when I was working in Afghanistan. Thank you Claire.

I will have to have an early night tonight as I have to be at the airport at 03:30 in the morning for my flight to MdP and then onwards to Palma and finally Afungi.

11th October 2013

Tomorrow morning, early, I start my journey back to Mozambique.

The first flight is to Zurich where I will stop-over in order to see my daughter and grandchildren. I then fly to Johannesburg overnight on Sunday and arrive early Monday morning. The following morning at 03:30, I get the company chartered jet to MdP in Mozambique, and from there it is a short hop in a cessna to Palma where the original camp is. 

Pioneer camp where I work is one and a half hours away over dirt tracks.

I will be back in the UK on 14th November.

Hopefully, this trip I will be able to update the web site with some decent pictures. I am taking back the Nikon D800 with two lenses; a 28 to 300mm telezoom and an 105mm micro.

I have finished my buying spree that precedes every trip I make, be it hand gel sanitiser or Malorone for myself . Additionally, there is always something needed for work, this time a key cabinet for out LOTO procedure.

To all my friends that have made my short holiday a pleasure; Thank you. I look forward to seeing you all in November.

Salutations

Tony

10th October 2013

On Saturday 5th October, myself and Ali went for what we were expecting to be a very short walk in a wood near Llanrwst in the Snowdonia National Park. 

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Coed Felin Blwm proved to be much more than we had anticipated, It was very enjoyable and well worth a visit.

We walked up through the wood, following the well used track and there in front of us was a double waterfall. Photos here.

Continuing upwards we eventually reached a small lane which we walked along until we reached a second woodland walk descending back to the main Trefriw  to Llanwrst road which we follows back to the Coed Felin Blwm carpark.

2nd October 2013

Having some spare time yesterday I went for a walk in the Gwydyr Forest. I had previously noticed the sign for the Forest Lakes walk and decided to give it a look.

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The walk was very pleasant and took less than the 2 hours stated on the sign, but I was on my own, and not delayed with any other people.

The weather stayed dry, although it was very humid and I was soaked by the time I got back to the car.

The walk starts and ends at the Llyn Sarnau car park (SH 778 592) and is suitable for most people without any harsh climbs, although a walking stick is usefull on a couple of the descents as they were quite slippery yesterday.

A highlight of the walk was a little garden of fungi growing around the base of a tree near an old lead mine. I assume that the fungi were lovers of this type of soil. Photos of these and others from the walk can be found here.

1st October 2013

Saturday saw me and Ali up early to embark on an epic adventure, we had decided to circumnavigate Snowdonia using the bus and train services.

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We set out from Llandudno at 07:30 in the morning (and I got up without Ali having to call me) 

Our next port of call was Caernarfon, where we borded the Welsh Highland Railway stema train to Porth Maddock.

I had splashed out and we had a seat in the first-class Pullamd Carrieage.

26th September 2013

It has taken me much longer than I expected to get back to normal after the eleven weeks in Mozambique.

This blog is being published using my new Macbook Air which will be going back to Mozambique with me. The laptop I took with me previously was a windows machine and I use a  Mac program called Sandvox to build and maintain this web site.

Yesterday I went on a wak about in Chester with my friend Keith. We had lunch in the Albion preceded and followed by a few pints. The landlord of the Albion shown in the below photo has been there for the past 41 years. is that a UK record I wonder?


The landlord of the Albion in Chester. 40 plus years in one pub!

19th September 2013

Well. I am home again. Instead of 28 days in Mozambique I ended up doing eleven weeks.

In the coming week I will update the web site with my thoughts and photos since July.

1st July 2013

It looks very much as if I will now be leaving for Mozambique on Wednesday of this week. We are just waiting for the official order to come through.

30th June 2013

What a week!

I have been to Stockport for a job interview; Electrical engineer for a sugar refinery in Lagos, Nigeria. Terms and conditions not very good; six months work and then two weeks holiday. I was thinking of turning down the job if offered, which might happen tomorrow.

The very next day I had a phone call from an agency who have had my CV since I started working overseas again. Would I be available for a position in Mozambique? Yes! 12 months contract, 28 days on and 28 days off. Friday morning I had another phone call saying I have got the job and could I leave within the next week. 

So it looks like I am off to Mozambique some time soon. I have never been to the southern hemisphere before, but I am hoping that there will be plenty of photographic possibilities. I have had my Sony RX1 returned, so that is the camera I will take for the first time. Will take the Nikon D800 on later trips, once I have settled in a bit.

Yesterday I went to Chester as I needed to get an international driving permit for Mozambique. Whilst there we called in the Albion for lunch.

The back rooms in the Albion, Chester.

The back rooms of the Albion in Chester.

21st June 2013

I was sat in the garden this afternoon after returning from taking some photographs of the Bee Orchids when I looked over the wall to our small garden and saw these two doing what they should do at this time of year I suppose.

Anyway I just had time to get the camera which was in the house. luckily it still had the 105mm macro lens fitted and took this shot before they flew away.

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Summer mating.

19th June 2013

                                                                                                                         

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Sunday saw us off to visit Erddig, the National Trust property near Wrexham. We had a very enjoyable walk around the gardens before the house opened at 12:30. It was interesting to see all the photographs that the Yorke family who owned Erddig for 240 years had taken of their servants and staff.

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Since we were in the Wrexham area, and it was a Sunday, it seemed a shame not to have a Sunday lunch. So we went to the Pant-yr-Ochain nr. Wrexham. It was very busy, being Fathers Day, but the lunch was the best Roast Beef and Yorkshire I can ever remember having.

On returning home I noticed that some of the photographs I had taken using my 17-35mm Nikon lens were not focused exactly as I had composed the picture. I spent Monday and Tuesday fine tuning the AF on my D800, with all my lenses each having a different setting. 

I have found though, the camera cannot be adjusted enough for the 17-35mm F2.8 wide angle lens. Cambrian Photography in Colwyn Bay are checking with Nikon UK as to what to do next. The lens was only purchased in August 2012 and the camera in March 2012 with extended warranty on the camera, so both are covered under guarantee.

While I was calibrating the AF for my 105mm Nikon macro lens though, I noticed that the bees in our garden were busily collecting the pollen from a blue Geranium and I managed to get the photo below.


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10th June 2013

The weather was glorious again yesterday so I went for a little stroll in the afternoon to Conwy. I hadn't gone far though when I saw my friends Keith and Carole on the beach at West Shore.

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It only took ninety five minutes to walk along the cycle track to Conwy, where I was able to have some refreshments in the Albion. 

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On a previous visit to the Albion myself and friends tried the strongest beer ever at 37% ABV. 

This has now been superseded by this tipple. I did not sample it this time as I think it would be best enjoyed in the company of others. But the Albion is certainly my favorite pub in Conwy. They always have a good selection of draught ales, ciders and perry's on the bar.

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Conwy castle the quay and town taken from the cycle track.

8th June 2013

Yesterday I went to photograph the Woodpeckers and they had gone. They can still be heard and seen occasionally within Haulfre Gardens, so between 3 pm on Thursday and 11am yesterday morning the young had fledged.

The week I have just spent photographing the woodpeckers was very enjoyable and has taught me a lot more about photography.

3rd June 2013

I have finally managed to get some good pictures of our local Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

It took a full morning, searching for a good spot to take the photographs, but finally I found the perfect place. I had found their nest, and they had at least one chick.

Yesterday and today I have been back and will continue until the chicks are fully fledged, which judging by the size of them in the photographs wont be long.

And then, as my friend Eve says, I should be able to get some good pictures of the chicks on twigs begging for more food from their ever attentive parents.

28th April 2013

Three Brammock Rods now erected with temporary supports.Ali and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon yesterday up on the Great Orme, helping fellow members of the Great Orme Exploration Society (GOES) erect three replica "Brammock Rods".

Brammock Rods were part of the old Tom & Jerry pumping system that de-watered the victorian copper mines on the Great Orme. For further information visit the GOES website.

Ali with Wilma looking for food.The head of a Brammock Rod

Wilma our labrador is forever attentive whenever there is food about.

The photo below shows the Great Orme Tram on the upper section of the journey to the summit of the Great Orme through the flat rod bearing on the top of a brammock rod.











25th April 2013

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Well! I'm back home in Llandudno after a good flight in business class on the Emirates A380 from Dubai to Manchester.

It must be the best aircraft flying at the moment, it is so quiet on takeoff and generally is a joy to fly on.

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I managed to join up with Mansour in Dubai and we had a couple of glasses of wine and a meal. 

The camera that took these photographs, my new Sony RX1 has developed an error message; E:61:00. So it has been taken back to Cambrian Photography this morning for return to Sony for repair. Looking on the web, it seeems that this is a common problem for all Cybershot cameras, one solution to the error message I saw, was to drop the camera from about three feet onto the floor carpet. Not sure  I want to even try that solution, much easier just to send it back to Sony.

Typically though it is raining, so I think I will stay indoors for the day.

21st April 2013

I have now added a gallery of photographs of reptiles, insects and spiders etc. 

Hopefully when I leave here I will be able to spend a few hours in Dubai and meet up with a friend and collegue; Mansour. Mansour is on his way back to work after having a very short one week holiday back in Heidelberg. I have known Mansour for about six years now, We both worked for the same company while I was in Afghanistan.

Hanging around with nothing to do, although boring, has at least given me the time to develop this website. This is something I have been meaning to do for a long time. I bought the domain greatorme.com about ten years ago with the thought that it would eventually be my personal web presence.

20th April 2013

Well, I'm still in Iraq. No idea yet when I might be leaving.

I have today added a "Birds in Iraq" collection to the galleries. I have not yet managed to name all the birds , so help would be much appreciated.

27th May 2013

Today i was sorting out some photographs from the Llandudno airshow and I noticed that on all my pictures of the RAF helicopter there was a distubance in the air behind it.

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The photoabve above is the full picture and shows the disturbance as a circle of air around the rear of the helicopter that gives the impression that it is out of focus. Below is a crop of just the helicopter and the "vortex".

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I am assuming that it is the resolving power of my D800 which allows this to be seen?

17th May 2013

Electrical Problem

Many years ago, when I was working in Algeria, I was given an electrical problem by a workmate who's name I can't now remember. But, the problem has not been forgotten. In all the time since, 34 years or thereabouts, I have regulary given this problem to electricians and engineers whom I have been working with.

Only one person has managed to give me a solution; Roger Tange, was the high voltage engineer when I worked for Sybetra in Iraq in the early 1980's and he drew the solution in the dust on the floor of a sub-station after only thinking about it for a minute or two.

I was told when I was given the problem that there were two solutions, but I only managed to find one. I have since seen a second solution so there are definitely two ways to complete the wiring.

Enjoy!

16th may 2013

Yesterday myself and some friends went for lunch at the Kinmel Arms, St George. This outing is a semi regular occurance and over the years we have been to most eateries of note in our area of north Wales. Our numbers vary from three upwards depending on who is in the country and available at any one time. Yesterday was a larger than normal do with nine of us in total.

To my mind the Kinmel Arms ranks as the best place to eat and I would certainly go more often if it was just a little nearer Llandudno.

12th May 2013

We have just returned from a short holiday in south Wales to visit my family.

We stayed at the Inn at Penalt, which is above the Wye Valley on the Welsh side near to Monmouth. It was excellent and highly recommended. The rooms were a bit on the small side, but in fairness this was explained on their web site.

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The Inn at Penallt

The service and food were first class and we will be returning before the year is out.

A short walk down towards the river (1.5 miles) is the Boat Inn. This superb pub is on the riverside where an old railway bridge, with footpath, crosses over to Redbrook on the English side of the Wye.

I was last at the boat in 1970 (or thereabouts) when I was a member of Newport Phoenix Cycling Club and it used to be a favorite stop for lunch when cycling down or up the Wye Valley.

The pub was just as I remembered it, although we were told that the present landlady has been making much needed renovations. All very sympathetically done I must say.

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The Boat Inn at Penallt

We also had lunch while we were away at the Carpenters Arms on the B4235 near Shirenewton; another old cycling haunt.

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The Carpenters Arms, Shirenewton.

All in all we have had a very enjoyable couple of days away. And a final photo with a question mark. Is the reddy pink flower a “Cranesbill?

8th May 2013

I have todaay taken my first ever "proper" macro photographs. I will upload any that are OK for viewing within the next couple of days. But here is a taster.

A Mason Bee in our garden.

7th May 2013

Been to the Dentist this morning so my mouth is still a bit numb after the injection.

I have now added a description to each of the People n Pubs section photographs.

I have also started on creating a page for friends to showcase some of their photographs. This was requested by Dennis Oliver of the Abbey Lodge Hotel.

6th May 2013

I have now added content to the PnP's page. This stands for People and Pubs and is a bit of fun with photos taken over the years by myself and some friends while we have been enjoying a spot of refreshment.

4th May 2013

Yesterday was the first day of the Llandudno Victorian Extravangaza. The weather started off dull and them we had a shower before settling down to a very nice afternoon.

Due to working overseas I normally miss the extravangaza, so this year I spent a few hours walking the streets and taking some pictures.

In 2012 during the combined services open day, I took some photos of the Llandudno Lifeboat which can be found here. Llandudno Lifeboat.

3rd may 2013

I have today added a new gallery to the Photographs section which I took whilst walking on the Orme on May 1st. The Great Orme Trams are very popular within the town and the majority of tourists who visit the resort take a ride on the two sections of the cable-hauled tramway to the summit of the Great Orme.

For this set of pictures I have modified how I save them out of Adobe Lighroom and I hope thatr they will now be clearer in the enlarged form.

1st may 2013

Yesterday, the weather forecast was good, so I went to Blaenau Ffestiniog. For those of you who do not know, the local myth is that "it always rains" in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Well to prove the sceptics wrong have a look at the pictures I have put on the photographs section. Here. My return train to Llandudno is to the right with the Ffestiniog steam railway train Merddin Emrys at the station.

Blaenau Ffestiniog railway station with Merddin Emrys at the platform.

I must also give a big thank you to my friend Eve Parry for her help in naming the Birds in Iraq. There are still a couple that either do not have a name or we are not certain if the given name is correct, so any help appreciated.

19th April - First Post

This is new for me. I have never blogged previously and it will be interesting to see how this develops.

I have just learned that I am being made redundant from my job in Iraq. Realistically I have known this was coming for some time, as the project was coming to an end and the company I work for did not seem that interested in bidding for more work at this location.

I have built up a good electrical team during my time here, with two excellent British electrical supervisors, and I am sure that they are fully capable of completing the small amount of outstanding work. My best wishes to James and Wesley, carry on the good work.

Hopefully I will be leaving here on Tuesday and flying into Manchester on Wednesday.

© Tony Davies 2016