Archive for September, 2012

Bah.

After my last entry, saying how I’d banged that reverse in without breaking a sweat, the rest of the week I made a meal of it. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working. On Friday I watched as another driver set to it. I was reversing the trailer down the middle of the road, swinging the arse end up to the posts and trying to wriggle it in from there. He drove from the far side of the road and swung the back as wide as possible. He was more or less lined up whilst still eight feet from the posts. Loads of room to straighten up and correct without worrying about hitting anything. I’ll try that tomorrow.

I’ve got the directions in my head for both drops now. All I have to do is crack that reverse. When I’m confident about that I think I’ll be applying for a new job. I’ll be competent in all respects of the job then. I mean, I can get it done now, but I want to be able to bang it in first go, knowing that the side I can’t see is not going to hit anything. That’s still my biggest problem, having the confidence to back in at an angle.

This is brilliant practise for that. I have warehouse lads to shout if I’m going to hit something. Ideal. That is the game plan, then; crack this reverse, apply for new job.

I want one because the hours on this one are shite. I ended up finishing at 3am twice last week. That’s not good if you can’t sleep so well in the daytime. And there’s the problem with it being a ‘self-employed sub-contractor’ job. I’ve still not paid any taxes and have no idea where I stand. I fear next April is going to be horrific.

 

In other news Wendy has caught a vile bug. She was off sick on Friday, spent all yesterday throwing up and has moped about the place, ghastly ill, all day today. Now I think I’m coming down with it. This is far from ideal as it’s my trails half marathon (up the stupidly steep hills around Rivington) next Saturday. Bugger.

 

I am all kitted out for Winter cycling now but I’ll not be riding in until I feel better. Not even feeling properly bad yet, just weak and hot/cold. They had a special in Aldi on Thursday. All cycling gear. I got a shedload. I turned up at 8am, on a workday, (having got up especially after little sleep) and by 8.02 (when they finally opened the doors) there was a queue outside. I was caught out last time when Lidl had a special on. By the time I got there, two hours after opening, it was mostly all gone. This time I was prepared. My mate on Twitter tipped me off that it was coming in.

Aldikit

Just look at the goodies! Winter cycling tights, waterproof jacket and trousers, socks, gloves, winter coat (x2, the red and blue) and two long sleeve Autumn/ Spring tops (or under the Winter coat layers.)

It was a bit of a dear do, but they are all such bargains that I couldn’t resist. The winter tops are £45+ each elsewhere, £15 at Aldi, the waterproof £30-50, £15. The tops £30 each, £10…

My game plan now is to get rid of this bug, let some air out of my front tyre so I’ve got some grip (it’s slipped out a few times in the rain, most unnerving!) take off my tri bars until Spring (wider hand positions, more control in case of front end slippage) and take off the clip-in pedals and replace them with  the toe-clip ones the bike came with. That way I should have all the kit to cycle to work through the worst of the weather, have some grip and control, and be able to get my foot down if I’m about to fall off. Armed with all of that I have no excuses.

All that kit, if it does enable me to ride in every day, is the best economical investment ever. I’ve been driving in (as I was being lazy and it was pissing it down) and it’s costing about £46 in ten days in petrol! OK, that included a run to Rivington and one to Frodsham, but bloody hell it’s a dear do.

 

Talking of investments, did I mention we had to bin our old DVD player? I pre-ordered the DVD box set of The Avengers (Marvel comics films, not Steed and Mrs Peel) as we loved Avengers Assemble so much. It’s another brilliant success by Joss Whedon. Well, it’s another brilliant film by Joss, the other brilliant work he’s done has not been that much of a success. Anywho, we got the box set, Wendy set to watching it while I was at work, and it was sticking. I assumed it wouldn’t be a brand new DVD so looked at a replacement player. I saw we could get a blue ray player for under £70 so we’ve upgraded. Bloody spiffy bit of kit. Apparently as well as (obviously) playing blue ray discs it automatically upgrades the quality on DVD’s. Cool. Now we need a blue ray film to see if it’s as life-changingly marvellous as they say.

 

Also, but this very day, I’ve ordered a new computer! Finally!

Mandy and Luke gave us this one years back. They said it was old and needed upgrading then.  I’ve been covetously eyeing a replacement for a while. Whilst Luke was staying with us it became painfully apparent how old this one was. He could burn off a disc in 20 minutes or something, this blighter was taking 3 or 4 hours. There are big files called .MKV files that people use  increasingly as they hold more detail but which this PC can’t run. My ‘phone can run them. That’s sad.

So I’ve bit the bullet and bought a Chilliblast Obsidian computer. Chilliblast have won PC Pro’s best stack award for the last 3 years so it should be good. It’s only the basic model, without the monitor it’s costing £466, but as Luke said, whatever I get will seem a million times better than this old beast.

We can’t afford it. Which is to say, we don’t have the money in the bank, it will have to go into the authorized overdraft thing, but what the hell, if I’m working nearly 60 hours a week (and I am, goddamit!) we’ll pay that off in a week or two. Then it’s got.

Everything bought that I want/ need. I have running kit, cycling kit, and wetsuit (I need some new trunks, admittedly but that’s not going to break the bank) and I’m in next year’s Outlaw.

We have a decent telly and blue ray player for Wendy to indulge her O.C.D., and now I’ll have a spiffy new computer to indulge my obsession. Yay!

Talking of which, my favourite tweets for the week have been;

“Children are heavy sleepers. Paint their faces to look like each other for fun and existential terror.”

“Me: Your shoes are on the wrong feet. 4 year old:…. Me:….. 4 year old:… Me:…. 4 year old: I don’t have any other feet. Me: fair enough.”

Then there this all over Twitter; the caption was “Who would have thought two hula hoops in a cup of coffee would be so beautiful?”

Coffee hula hoops

Twitter couldn’t let it rest there so the riposte was “Who would have thought that two hula hoops in some hair clippings could be so beautiful?”

 

hair hula hoops

I love Twitter.

 

Oh, the other news, I got my police report back, “No live trace.”  So I’ve had to email the coppers for whatever details they can provide, when I get that back I have to chase down the courts for crime, sentence, fine, date, etc . Then I can apply for an interview in London at the American embassy. If they clear me I can send away to the Canadians. And pay between $200 – $1,000 for them to do the paperwork!

Hassle.

That’s all the exciting news for now. Best go and pat Wendy in her illness.

Later,

Buck.

New job.

Just a quick one. I had my first crack at my new run yesterday. I went to some hideous one horse town on Friday, end of the M65, Barnoldswick, Lancashire. Tight as buggery getting in, stupidly tight crossroads to turn down, scary tight bays. It seems that is going to be a regular feature on my new run. I didn’t do it yesterday, (Monday) but I heard them saying that I was to take returns there today. Ace.

My truck driving instructor gave me a tip, he said if you see a railing on the pavement on the corner of a turn it’s a visual clue. It’s been put there to protect pedestrian. ie, it is so tight there is a good chance your trailer will mount the pavement. The crossroads going into Barnoldswick has railings on all four corners. And re-enforcing stumps before them.

It is tight.

You have to drive in to the oncoming lane, take all of it, and then swing in. That *just* gets you around the corner. To add to the fun there is a cop shop on one of the corners, so there’s no getting away with a hit.

So that’s fun.

 

The run I was told I was doing, and that I did yesterday, was set off from Irlam, run down to Crewe, pick up a trailer and take it to Cowley, Oxfordshire, then come back.

I was thinking it wasn’t going to last long as a job. I couldn’t understand why you would pay someone to start in Irlam, run down solo (without a trailer) to Crewe (an hour’s wages and diesel) before starting the run. Why not just get someone from Crewe to do it? If I have to take returns up to Barnoldswick first that makes sense.

 

My first run yesterday, then. I drove into Crewe, (I went there on Friday as well, so that was easy enough to find) and was told to shunt a trailer onto a bay as they were going to put my load onto a different trailer. OK, fair enough. I picked up the trailer, drove around to a bay and was just about to start to back on when I saw the main transport manager had come out to watch me. As it was my first run for him I thought he’d come out to assess me. The skill in artic driving is 95% in the reverse. No pressure then. I reversed it on in one, then took a little shunt to straighten it up a bit. Not too shabby.

It turns out they have a H&S system in place there, whereby someone from the office has to physically unlock the bays when the trailer had been made safe. ie, when the driver’s keys have been handed in, or in this case, when I’d dropped it and pulled away from it. He wasn’t there to judge me. D’oh!

That went about as well as can be expected. Which is to say; it took me about an hour just to get out of the yard. Then a quick tootle down to Cowley. Because the M6 from Irlam to Crewe was so congested I was really up against it, trying to beat my tacho. By law you have to take a forty five minute break after four and a half hours driving.  I got into the site with about eight minutes to spare and then they said I had to back it into the warehouse. They have two doorways cut into the side of the warehouse. There is enough room to back in, but it’s not what you’d call comfortable.

tight

The bitch of it is; you can’t drive forward, get it straight and reverse in. You have to start your reverse on a two lane road at 90 degrees to the doorway. They had trucks parked on the road as well. *sobs* When I was driving out there was just enough room for me to get my trailer level with the posts then put it on full lock. Getting it reversed in was … challenging.

Especially as I was against the clock. I did it in about three minutes. As you can see from the pic, there was stuff to the left and right of the straight-reverse position, so I couldn’t swing wide and straighten up inside the warehouse.

When I got out (and finished shaking) the guys were saying that it was bloody good driving, apparently that was the harder of the doors (thanks for telling me!) and they’d had drivers take fifty minutes to get in.

This is my final weakness in my driving. I’ve mastered the blind side reverse, backing on to bays (ha! We laugh at backing on to bays!) now it’s just the ninety degree reverse. It’s having the confidence to put your arse end in when you can only see one side. Now I am going to get nightly practice. I was saying to Wendy, if I believed in such, it’s like I’ve been given the daily blind side reverse to do until I mastered it, now I’ve been given practice at my last weakness. 

There was a run for Stobbarts where you had to do a ninety degree reverse into a parking bay with no room to straighten up. I simply couldn’t do it. I was going backwards and forwards, sweating and flapping, getting nowhere. One of the other drivers ended up getting out and talking me back and even then the driver in the bay next to me had to pull out to give me more room to swing in. That was about December-ish. Last night I banged it in.

Now there’s just the small matter of doing it every night. Without ever getting it wrong. No pressure.

I say my final weakness, there is also the small matter of being terrified of finding anywhere new. With the help of my truckers map, satnav and ‘phone satnav I can do it no problem. It must just be a residual terror from the Stobbart days when I was really shit and flapping. God that was a shit time. If I’d have had any realistic option then I wouldn’t be trucking now. That was like a barely controlled panic attack the whole time. Horrible, horrible.

Well, once again my ‘just a quick one’ has bloated out.

Later,

Buck.

Hmmm.

Strange things are afoot at the circle K, to quote the philosophers Bill and Ted.

It had got to Friday morning and I thought I’d better start looking for other jobs. I rang one at Asda, early starts and good money but not ideal as the hours were “8 – 48” per week. If you got one shift  in a week you’d be broke, then there’s the hanging by the telephone… less than perfect but I rang anyway as they were desperate for drivers, shifts and times to suit you. No-one answered the ‘phone. *sigh*  

Still not too arsed, loads of jobs about. One would take me on, however poor the pay and conditions. Some advertising “meets minimum wage.” Not exceeds, meets. For a class 1 driver. Cheeky bastards.

I went in Friday for my last shift and the guy who was in charge of HDS (Home Delivery Service, not that that’s important) before they moved it to another site, (taking my job with them, bastards!) asked me if I was available next week. I said I was. Would I like to do a different run, starting in Irlam at 1400, pick up in Crewe, down to Kent, get tipped and reloaded, back to Crewe, trailer swap then back to Irlam.

Shit hours, 1400 till probably 0100 –0200 ish, but it pays the bills. I said I’d do it. I asked if it was just for the week and he said, “No, it’s ongoing”. Hmmm.

 

In several respects this is fantastic news. I don’t have to worry about money, or dicking about with agencies calling day and night wanting you to start at an hour’s notice, and, most importantly, if I’m doing the same run each time I only have to find it once. They sent me to two different places on Friday. I really don’t like it. It’s the only way I’m going to learn, but it is nerve racking for me. One of the new places was Crewe, so I only have to find one place and I’m set up for as long as this contract lasts.

 

The down sides are not inconsiderable though; for one I’ll not see Wendy from Monday morning until Saturday morning. Sorry, apart from a few hours on Wednesday, her day off. If I’m cycling in and back I’ll need a shower before bed, noisy at that time in the morning with Wendy trying to sleep. It is not much fun for me, either. I’d much prefer an early start, early finish. Then there’s the training. I can’t do swimming lessons in the evening as I’ll be working them all.

 

Needs must.

 

There is a local swimming baths that opens at dinner time. If I re-join Warrington tri club (and actually attend this time) they run a Saturday swim with a qualified swimming instructor, perhaps he could train me. So I could get lessons at the weekend, apply stuff learned during the week.

I’ve sussed a nice course for the bike ride. Instead of wasting energy on a 70 mile ride with only one lap of the evil hill ascent at Rivington I’ve plotted a 20 mile lap that is just the hill, up and down, and the ride back to the start. I tried it out yesterday. It’s do-able. I left it a bit late going, and I wanted a run as well, so I only did one lap, then a run up the hill and back down. Enough to get you sweating. If I go early  and start with, say, three laps and a run I’ll soon be up to speed.

Today I did that 20 mile run from just over the swing bridge on Walton drag to the top of Frodsham hill and back. My legs felt pretty good. Considering I’m only four runs away from 10 milers. I’ve done three 13 milers then last week a 50% step up to 20 miles. Once you’ve done it, less is, well, …less.

Still a poor time, 2:47.09, but I picked the pace up several times going up hill. That’s good.

 

Still not got the report back from the coppers, so no movement on the Canada front. They are giving Wendy problems over her passport. Want proof of name changes.

 

Strange days indeed.

Right, I’m knackered. If anything interesting has happened in the week my brain is not recalling it.

Later,

Buck.

Damn you, younger me!

I’ve got my passport back, all brand new and funky with a less serial-killer/-yak-molester photo’ in. Which is always a bonus if you want to try and get through customs without a cavity search. At the very least I expect flowers before that.

The French is progressing. Slower now, but I am understanding it. Instead of giving you lists of words and all their different endings he’s explaining the logic behind the endings. Whilst building your vocabulary and giving you practice in structuring the sentences. Negations are tricky. Adding an N, flipping the order if it’s a question, changing the ending of the verb, and then working out where you are going to stick the ‘not’.  He says he’s teaching us how to use the verbs, “if you can use the verbs you can use the language.”

Anyway, I do half a C.D.’s worth (about an hour and a half/ two hours) then my brain melts out of my ears and I have to call it a day. The next day I go back over the last half of what I did (quarter C.D.), understand it this time around, then do another quarter. This way each day is half revision/ consolidation, half challenging and moving forward.

The speed of progression has slowed, but it’s solid learning. I’m not skimming and moving on without understanding.

I’m halfway through C.D. 4. The whole of the Basic French course is 8 C.D.’s.

I have to say, even though it’s only French, the first choice of UK second languages, I am quite thrilled about the thought of having another tongue. Hopefully German will come a bit easier after picking up one language. Who knows, maybe finally learn Russian properly?

 

All is going swimmingly, I’ve got my passport and am learning French, Wendy has sent off for her passport, I’ve sent off for that police criminal record thing… and that’s where we hit the wall. That was a formality. I’ve only got a driving offence and (apart from 3 points for speeding- that now stay on four years, grrrr- off next year) it is ‘spent’ and history.

Not so.

Apparently if you’ve had any brushes with law if you are applying for a foreign visa you HAVE to declare them. Ace. So I can’t waltz into the states and test my passport that way, I have to apply for a visa and go through an interview process.

With Canada, they respect other country’s ‘spent/ clean slate’ policies but you still have to apply for a rehabilitation of offenders form and be judged. So stupid drunken 30’s me may have just shafted TT, upright-citizen me good and proper.

Bollocks.

 

Not over till the fat trucker sings.

I will apply for both visas and carry on with the plan. If it’s a ‘no’, …, well, karma’s a bitch.

 

I got my race results. Official time was 1:39.41 About what I thought. I broke the 1:40 barrier, which wasn’t a bad effort considering I ran the last 9 miles through bad cramps.  I was 189th out of 1,122 runners, 41st in my category (male 40- 50 years old). If I hadn’t cramped…

The first one over the line (Paul Lockwood, male ‘MSNR’ category –?- ) did it in 1:10.28 , which is, by any reasonable standard, just showing off. The last one (Philip Winstanley, male 40-50) did it in 3:03.30. He was 224th in the category.  Which means I was nearer the front than the back and in the top 20% of my age group and overall. I coulda been a contender! Damn you, cramp!

To prove the camera does indeed lie, as evidenced by the fact there are professional photographers,  here is a shot of me crossing the line.

CEQ_6512 - 2

From that you’d think I was comfortably charging across the line, hair blowing in the wind. Actually I was shuffling across on pure determination alone, in a whole world of pain.  

 

The Outlaw triathlon (whom I follow on Facebook) announced it was selling places for 2013. They said it on Friday, when they’d been open for 24 hours, and over half the places had already gone. Wendy encouraged me. I’m in!

Oh bloody bugger! I’m in the Outlaw. Again. I swore ‘never again’, after the last one. This time I want to crack  sub 10 hours. That would be a massive achievement. That’s not your mamby-pamby ‘I’ll be happy with a finish’ Iron distance tri. That’s full-on, flat-out, taking-it-to-the-max-and-keeping-it-there for 9 hours 59 minutes of pain.

I reckon I can do it.

Now I have sussed out that hills make you faster I can improve. Before I was running. And running. And running. I was always trying to push it a bit but have enough left to finish. Hill work you just endure going up, then go like the clappers going down and magically you get faster! Nothing in reserve, keep going or crash and burn. With that in mind I’m eyeing a Rivington trials half marathon in a few weeks. Nothing but evil, killer hills for 13.1 miles. Yeah, baby!  I’m going to go for a run in a bit and see if I can avoid cramps. If so I’ll be entering. Post injury I’ve been doing 10 mile runs, with three 13 milers. Today, as I’m back in the triathlon game, I’m going to raise the bar. A hilly 20 miler.

 

I’ve a week left on this job, then I’m going to try to get on a morning start. Once that’s in the bag I’ll be taking swimming lessons, 1-on-1. If I can knock the swim down an hour I’m in with a shout.

 

In other news, my old leather trenchcoat has been consigned to the great Goth wardrobe in the sky. I was trying to pimp it with a Sisters of Mercy logo. I had the brilliant idea of getting a sticker, like the Darwin-in-a-fish-with-legs one I’ve put on the car. It looked groovy.

Groovy!

However, it was meant to stick on glass or smooth, rigid surfaces. I could see it just peeling off, so I bought some spray glue. That shit is serious. It stuck alright, but then stayed sticky. I thought it would set after a few days, no. Bastard. In the end, when I finally tried to wear it, where the coat folded when I sat, it stuck to itself and peeled the sticker off. Gutted.

So it was back to ebay for new casual attire.

I got this for £15. Bargain.

Neocoat 005

Not the best shot of it. Little Cat could probably take better photo’s than Wendy, but it’s got a certain casual attire chic. I need to fill out up top, really. (I must, I must improve my bust.) Huzzah for swimming.

 

By the way, you know how I love Twitter? Here is an example of why; the Olympics closing ceremony. Apparently Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was a brilliantly conceived, spectacular celebration of all that is good about Britain. The closing ceremony, by all accounts, was a shambolic bag of tits.

Here are a few of the comments from the night.

“That tight-rope walker is doing well not to take the easy way through this dirge.”

“This is what Las Vegas would have been like every night if the Nazi’s had won the war.”

“I was in labour for 33 hours. It was better than this.”

“Danny Boyle is currently  going through his CV boldly underling *opening* ceremony.”

“This is a song about Syd Barrett taking too many drugs and going mad. An impulse we can sympathize with right now.”

“This is like Danny Boyle jumped off a Bedford Falls bridge and Clarence the Angel is showing him what life would be like without him.”

“This is the nightmare of a depressed worker who fell asleep at the end of a ten hour shift with Heart FM playing over the factory tannoy.”

“If this was cruise ship entertainment you’d be in a dinghy in inky darkness shouting ‘fuck it I don’t care leave me’ at port authorities.”

“USE THE ROOFTOP MISSILES NOW. IT’S OUR LAST CHANCE.”

“At the beginning of the evening Brian May’s hair was jet black.”

“Do you hear that scrapping sound, that’s Freddie clawing his way out of the ground to come punch Jessie J up the bracket.”

“This is the spotify playlist of a serial killer.”

I was crying laughing. The abuse was brilliant.

The on the Paralympics closing ceremony when Coldplay did about 6 tracks and Twitter got into a tizzy about it someone posted: “I’d rather listen to Hitler sing 80’s power ballads than sit through another Coldplay song”

 

As someone noted, before Twitter people only used to watch programmes they liked. I don’t watch at it, just enjoy the merciless critique-ing.

Right, that expanded beyond measure. Time to run.

Later,

Buck.

PS, that nearly killed me. Once again my ambition far outstrips my ability. Any run that includes the run up Frodsham hill is a tough one, putting that as the middle point of a huge step-up to a 20 mile run is just stupid. Still, I did it. Crap time of 2:55.31 (for 20.21 miles. Poor, but look at the graph :

www.mapmyrun.com screen capture 2012-9-15-19-29-13

Bright side; I followed the tips for downhill running and didn’t cramp! Yay! Entering the Rivington trials half as we speak.

PS

I did the half marathon this morning. Lovely day for it. I was going great guns. They have pace-setter runners who have a helium filled balloon displaying the time they are going for. I started in the 1:30 – 1:45 section, but when we set off the 1:45 pace-setter was way ahead of me. I wanted to threaten 1:30 this year so I had to work my way through the pack until I could see the 1:30 balloon. I missed the first mile marker, but paced myself going up the cantilever bridge hill, opened my legs and got a trot on going down. When I checked my time at the 2 mile point I was averaging 7.15 m/m. Or 1:34 for the distance. I was feeling OK at the faster pace. Then at mile 4 my quads began to cramp again. My right thigh first, then the left. There was nothing I could do about it so I pushed on.

At the 10 mile point, after running 6 miles with cramped quads, I was still averaging 7.30 m/m, good enough for 1:37. Then there was the long, slow downhill past the Dingle and under the Bridgewater Canal. The bit where you get free speed and everyone was getting a move on. My thighs were crippling me and I was slowing down. I gritted my teeth and stumbled on. I was so grateful for the uphill of the cantilever, but then the steep downhill on the other side finished me. I got to the bottom and had to stop. I tried stretching my quads (by lifting my foot up against my bum, I could barely lift my foot off the floor, my thighs were screaming!) but that was useless. I just had to start running again. It was bloody killing me, but at least I knew it was flat from there on in, so the pain wouldn’t get any worse. On mile 12 –13 I had enough energy to pick the pace up and overtake people again. It wasn’t that the pain was any less, just that it would be over in a bit and I still had loads of energy.

I forgot to stop my stopwatch on the line, but after a brief conversation with an official who wanted to make sure I was alright and a stagger to the goody-bag area it was 1:40.15  I reckon I did it in 1:39, but until they publish the official times am kidding myself it might have been a 1:38.

I was shouting out loud when I tried to stretch off. The pain was intense.

Still, new PB for that course, my previous best being 1:42.38

I really think I could have threatened the 1:30 mark though. Gutted.

 

I’ve spent some time researching what caused quad cramps, after ruling out sodium deficiency (studies show it’s not primarily that) and period pains (I’m way past the menopause) the two likeliest suspects are; new trainers (Dammit! I like these trainers, comfiest and fastest I’ve had in ages.) or over-extending my legs on the downhills. This is possible, I have been opening my legs and speeding up. Apparently it’s lots of little steps with your feet landing under your body, not long strides as they cause your quads to act as shock absorbers.

I’m going to work on the second theory first. I really like these trainers and I don’t want to blow £80 -£100 on a different pair. Especially when these were only £50.

Ho hum.

Later,

Buck.

This and indeed, that.

This has been a quiet week. It’s the Warrington half marathon tomorrow so I’ve taken a week off exercising to fully rest up for it. It means I’ve had loads of free time to kill, and that the weather has been perfect for training. Obviously.

Last Sunday was my last run. I did the route into Frodsham, up Froddy hill, down the other side for half a mile and then back. 13 very hilly miles. The two mile ascent to the top of the hill is a slow rise followed by a mile straight up. As it’s the halfway point of the run it can be a bit tiring. ‘Train hard, fight easy’, as they say. Wendy and I had been feeling a bit weakened with some bug that was going round. I forced myself to do the run as it was my last chance if I wanted a week’s R&R. Happily, although I felt weak as a kitten driving over there, when I got going I was alright.

I sweated it out, hit the start of the big climb and just pushed through. I nearly killed myself getting to the top of Frodsham hill then tried to get my breath back on the half mile descent. Suddenly my right thigh muscle cramped like a bitch. I tried to ignore it but it was hurting that much I really thought I’d done myself a mischief. I was gutted. The free-speed, easy, reward part of the run was ruined. I had to stop and beat it a bit to try and get it working. Then stretched off. I started again, same thing. The real downer was it was at exactly the halfway point. I couldn’t be any further away from the car. And I had the two mile descent to contend with. So I could either try and run back or limp for hours. I chose to run.

I had to stop, (on the downhill! Grrrr!) a further three times. It was hurting that much I was actually faster and in less pain on the uphills. I’ve never had that before. Hopefully never will again, but now I’ve had it I’m always going to be conscious of the fact it could happen.

Totally not good. I used to mock the tennis players and the like who got the physio on for a cramp, never again! Pure misery.

 

In other news, Op Canada is progressing apace. I’ve sent away for a new passport and am learning French. I’ve done the first two CD’s worth. I’m most of the way through the third but I’m going to have to go back and try to get my head around a strange rule. You have to change verb endings. I have some of it, such as when there is ‘does/ doesn’t –ing’ words, but there is more to it. Very good course though. Referring to old English (Shakespearian and King James Bible era English – Lord Of The Rings English I think of it in my godless, cultureless way-) makes sense of it. “Forgive them father for they know not what they do” not “Forgive them father they don’t know what they are doing.” Genius.

That’s taxing my little ol’ brain, but I think I’m getting it. There are 8 CD’s in the Basic French course. I’ll blast that (!) and then start watching French TV online while I do the Advanced French and Vocabulary Builder.

Then it’s German.  Maybe a smattering of Italian. See how it goes.

 

I read online that you have to get a criminal records check before you can get a work visa. I’m applying for that. Another £50, plus I have to get some photo’s signed. Assuming that comes back OK I’m free to carry on. Wendy is having similar issues with her passport, photo’s signed, details including passport numbers of parents and person signing photo’s etc. Hopefully we should be able to post them Tuesday. Then maybe nip over for a long weekend to Paris at some point. Practice the lingo and driving on the wrong side of the road.

 

Work have extended their stay in Irlam for another week, so I should have another week’s work/ pay before I have to start looking for something new. There are plenty of driving jobs out there, so I should be able to land one of them.

 

The best news of the year was the return of Doctor Who last week! That was awesome news. Looking forward to it tonight, then it’s my race tomorrow morning and the flicks for Total Recall in the evening. Excellent weekend!

Some overly talented sort has knocked this up :

CoolestbobhatthissideofJayne

The coolness knows no bounds! Epic win! It’s not for sale so there goes everyone’s xmas prezzie. Sorry.

 

I’ve sorted out the Canadian holiday I want. It’s going to cost a small fortune, but it will be awesome. Plus we spend the first two days in Vancouver, about 50 miles from the border, so we can try to go over for a day trip. Gawd bless the Cousins.

Here’s the site; http://www.canadiansky.co.uk/selfdrive-great-parks-of-the-west-tour-834.htm 

Look at the place!

glacier-park

BanffNationalPark

Just look at it! Holy crap! Don’t you want to swim that lake then run up that mountain? I know Wendy does. Oh. Does not. Not. My mistake. I showed the holiday to my Canadian chum on Twitter and she said it was a fair price and “…The route the chose is stunning.” (sic) She said she usually pays £700 for flights alone, so it was not bad.

I need to live there. Not want, need.

Everything is geared to Op Canada now. Until I hit an insurmountable obstacle that is my goal. Also they have a Canadian Ironman! That should be fun. Right, I’m going to ring up and see about starting the ball rolling with the holiday. I have to know where they fly from and on what dates, (and whether I can put a deposit down rather than the eye-watering full price in one go) after that Wendy can see if she can book the dates off, if so I’ll book it. *mega excited face*

Later,

Buck.