Category: Uncategorized

Tidying Up

I’ve been practicing my typing and I’m getting better at it.

The quick brown fox does indeed jump over the lazy dog.

Still have to remember to use the wrong hand for the B. As a result I may have to buy a yacht so I don’t have to keep typing “boat”. I don’t make the rules.

I’ve not been able to go to the boat club for two weeks because it’s been blowing a gale, today it was 2mph, supposedly. It doesn’t even feel like that. No point in going.

I’ve had a busy day doing other stuff. Wendy’s offside rear tyre keeps going down.Slowly, but it’s every few weeks. It was doing it before we got the new tyres so I assume there’s something slightly wrong with the wheel. A slight leak somewhere. I ordered a second hand wheel and tyre off eBay, it arrived yesterday so I went to swap it over this morning. I got the old wheel off, went to fit the new one, but in daylight there are lots of little cracks in the rubber. The tyre has lots of tread, but it’s a bit old and probably perished. There’s no point in risking it seeing as the existing tyre probably hasn’t done 100 miles. I put the old wheel back on. I’ll take it to the tyre place tomorrow and get them to swap it over and fit a new valve and balance the wheel.

I’ve been thinking about getting rid of that project bike to clear out some space in my shed. It’s not just the frame, which takes up a big space down one side of the shed, but the engine on the workbench, the big box of spare engine parts, and all the other bike bits (exhaust system, seat, radiator, etc) filling up my shelves.

I wanted it gone but I was putting off getting rid because I was anticipating hassle. I listed it (free to a good home as long as they take it all) and a few hours later someone said they would definitely have it. They are coming to get it later. That was easy. I don’t know what I was worried about. I’ve dragged everything around to the front, ready for them to collect. That was hard work, but I’ll be glad to see the back of it. (Later: they’ve been. It’s gone. Excellent.)

I’ve brushed out the shed and moved Wendy’s, and my old pushbike into it. I’ll get around to moving my turbo trainer and other bike out as well. I need to set up the light and an electrical supply first.

I’ve lifted my dahlias in preparation of following the American dahlia woman’s instructions. This could be the year I get it right! One (of the many) things I wasn’t doing right is to clean them thoroughly, getting all the dirt off, then leave them to dry for a week before putting them away in dry compost (or vermiculite) for the winter.

I’ll separate some of the Bishop Of Landstaff tubers and bury them back in the raised bed. Not putting all my eggs in one basket then. The Bish has survived in the raised bed for years.

The hostas have started to die back so I’ve tipped out the green bin and some bags of manure to enrich the soil. I noticed in spring that the soil in the bed in front of the kitchen window is awful. It’s like clay. After humping the engine, spare engine, and bike bits around to the front, upending a full, waterlogged green bin was an extra joy for my back.

That dry patch at work seems to be over. I had 3 weeks not getting all of the shifts I’d said I was available, but I got all 4 last week (day off for a funeral) and all 5 next week. Normal service is resumed. I wouldn’t have thought I’ll miss a shift until late January now. I was quite enjoying having extra days off, but that’s only fun for brief periods on the agency. If it goes on for long you start to worry that you won’t get enough work. Well, money. I don’t want the work, I want the money.

I think I’m finally clear of the plague weakness (I wasn’t sure if the cold was just masking it) and the cold. Wendy and I have got a tickle on our chests now, so that’s nice. A change is as as good as a rest. But I was running round like a loon getting everything done today and I was fine. Tomorrow I’ve got a bunch of jobs to do in the morning, but if I’m still alright when Wendy goes to see her mate in the afternoon, I’ll start with a light session on my turbo trainer.

I was going to do that 24 hour race this year, but with Wendy being loony it wouldn’t have been fair to leave her on her own for a full weekend. Obviously I was in no way prepared and it would have been a disaster, but that doesn’t usually stop me. Anyway, the organisers have emailed me and deferred my place to next year!


So that’s my year fallow blown out of the water.

Seeing as I’m still resting my hoof, and realistically I’m going to spend more of the 24 hrs walking than running, I’m going to start training for fast walking. Talking of, I’ve noted down the salient points from that women’s endurance sports article, the bit about what men typically do wrong. I’m not doing the running for a while, but I can work on the walking, cross train on the cycling, and strength train. I hate strength training, but, they always say that’s how you prevent injuries. I could really do with a some time without injuries.

Strength train. Walk. Cross train.

Get a plan. Stick to the plan. Stay slow on slow days, flat out on fast days.

Be consistent with training.

Be prepared for the event, don’t wing it.

Stay in the moment. Don’t focus on a finish line many, many hours away.

Know your race pace. Practice it. Be confident in it. Stick to it.

Work out correct fuel/ hydration. I always wing that, but the science is damning. The example given is a 10st runner on a warm day. They say you typically lose 3 pints of water an hour, so 6 pints over two hours, which drops 12% off your performance. So, say I was going for a sub 3, a 6.48 m/m pace, after 2 hours I’d be running 7.34 m/m for the same effort, just through dehydration. I really need to get that right.

I have to focus and get it right this time. I lack self discipline. I have enough native stubbornness to see me through to not too shameful times, which has held me back in a way. If I was truly awful I’d have to do everything right to get anywhere. This time I have to nail everything. The older I get the harder a sub 3 becomes.

Also, I had a bit of a (huge, ginormous) relapse on the shopping thing. I decided I needed a car at some point to tow my boat, and my bike was too pretty to use in winter, so I might as well get a car. Now! It all made perfect sense. I did the usual. Obsessing over this model vs that model, narrowing it down, then completely changing my mind, getting myself so stressed out that I was looking forward to getting the car just to end the obsessing.

I got so far as to start an advert to sell my Triumph and I contacted several people over shortlist cars. Then I had to ride my bike to pick up a cooker element to mend our cooker (fixed it, only electrocuted myself once *proud face*) and I remembered how much I love my bike. Wendy said, jokingly, that I needed to scruff it up so I wouldn’t be scared of using it, and it made me think. I’ve fallen into the ‘owned by possessions’ trap. If I’ve got a bike that is too precious to use, I don’t own it, it owns me. I scrapped my advert and told the car seller that I didn’t want it. I can’t decide if it was a win over my compulsion or just me coming to my senses. Either is good, really. Usually the fake rationale is perfectly obvious and patently self evident right until the moment I get it home.

Quick update then I’m done. I took the new wheel to the proper tyre people today to get the new tyre swapped over on to the new wheel. The guy pointed out the bubbling on the wheel lacquer and said that happens on the inside of the rim, stopping the tyre from making a good seal. He said they could take the wheel off, clean the rim and the area around the valve and put the same wheel and tyre back on. OK. Irritating as I’d bought a new (second hand) wheel, but at least it was getting sorted. He came back 10 minutes later and said he’d cleaned the rim and around the valve, but really the problem was the valve itself. When Tyres On The Drive fitted the new tyre they did half a job and left the old valve in! That’s why I thought it had to be the wheel. It had just had a new tyre and valve, so it couldn’t be anything else. Thanks a bunch you slack cowboys. So £40 for a wheel and £24.50 (most of which was the fee for taking the wheel off and refitting) to rectify TOTD’s slack job. Super.

Ah well, at least it’s sorted now. And we’ve got a spare wheel. Grrrrrr.

Here’s some twitter.

Best thing in the history of forever: (sound on)




Same Again.

I find myself back in the same old rut, obsessing over buying stuff, even in the light of self knowledge. Somewhere down the line I’m going to need a car with a towing hook. And I find I’m loathe to use my “toy” motorbike. It’s a sunny day, fun machine. I don’t want to take it out in nasty weather and ruin it. Which is being owned by possessions, and a different subject.

So that leaves me here. Going into winter without a workhorse bike, or car.

So, if I need a car, I might as well get one. Then I’d have wheels to get to my boat club, and room to carry my kit, and towing capability down the road when I want to move my boat.

I’m just writing this out to try and clarify what I should do. I have several options and I keep flicking from one to the other.

1, Sell my bike, use the money to buy a car, and a cheap motorbike that I’m not loathe to use.

2, Sell my bike, and just buy the car.

3, Buy the car, see if I actually use the bike/ would use a bike if it was a workhorse, then decide if I sell or keep.

Hmmm, 3 clearly looks the winner.

I’m going to be pushbiking to work for as long as I’ve got this job, and I don’t ever intend to leave it, so a motorised vehicle is just for going to the boat club and towing said boat for the foreseeable. I really can’t see when I’m going to use a motorbike. I don’t like to ride just for the sake of riding, I need to be going somewhere. But I’m losing nowt by waiting and seeing. If I sell now it’s gone. And going into winter is the worst time to sell a motorbike anyway. OK. Settled.



PS, I had several avenues of enquiry open on the car front. Ideally I want an estate (so I can throw pushbikes in the back) with a towing hook, and a big enough engine to not struggle. The boat isn’t particulary heavy, but I remember the Mighty Micra struggled to get up steep hills without any load. You had to drop gears to get up Windy Hill. Poor beast. The trouble is the estates tend to be bigger engines. Good for my needs, bad for my insurance. I kept circling back to the Peugeot 207 sw, (Station Wagon! *sigh*). The reviews said the best of the bunch was the 2 litre engine model,the insurance quotes said not. My best bet was the 1.4, which the reviews said was woefully pedestrian. I was going to compromise on the 1.6 model.

A left field option has just popped up. A supposedly immaculate 2003 Volvo V70. It’s a 2.4 litre automatic estate with a towing hook. I did a mock insurance quote, £370. Way cheaper than the Pug! Weird. And it’s in Stockton Heath.

It looks in top nick. The advert says “perfect bodywork” (the Pug I was looking at had rust around the wheel arch when I zoomed in on the bigger screen of the computer) and the engine looks clean enough to eat your dinner off. I’ve enquired. It does mean I have to get a pipe and a rocking chair if I get it though.

Exciting New Stuff

I’ve been reworking my story lately. I’ve decided to do it as a short story. I’m not happy with consistency of it, in keeping with what I now know to be the rationale to it, but I have a beginning, middle and end. I will be pleased just to actually finish one of my stories. This means I’ve been doing lots of typing. I’ve been using the laptop quite a bit and I realised I actually prefer the layout of the keyboard. It’s not something I’ve ever considered. I just muddle through with the touch typing, losing my place on the home keys every now and then. The laptop set up had a big red button in the middle of the keyboard so you stay centered. Once the idea took hold that you can get a better keyboard I had a look.

Look at this beast I’m trialing as we speak.

A clear division of hands, curved to fit the shape of your hands, and built-in wrist rests. When I get the hang of this I’m going to be way better. The one problem I’ve noted, being self taught, is that I use the wrong hand for the B. I keep trying to reach my right hand over and I’m hitting the N. It will probably be a good thing when I correct it.

It only arrived this afternoon so it’s still a bit weird.

I seem to have got back into reading again, which is a good. Sadly some of the books have been less than great. So, so, less than great. Which is a damn shame because they have had great concepts.

Another new and exciting development is I seem to finally over my latest bout of plague weakness. It was getting me down, to be honest, it had been nearly 3 weeks. So, yay!Over that. Now I’ve just got a common or garden sore throat and cold. So that’s lovely. Variety is the spice of life. I had two days without shifts allocated so I said I was unavailable and took the time off to be poorly. I’ve only got a 7 and a bit hours shift tomorrow, so I should be ok for that. Wow. You don’t realise how many B’s you use until you type every one wrong.

The weekend before last it was well windy, and I’d finished setting up all my new lines and sail on my boat, so I took it for a spin. Ha! It’s much the same as learning to drive anything else, you have to know what you are doing, and feel in control, before you can start enjoying the thrilling stuff. As it was I was just getting blown from tack to tack, without any clear idea what I was doing, while fighting the fierce gusts just to stay upright. One of them caught me. First outing of my full size, new sail (which is to say, powerful). No matter how I heeled out of the boat, turned the rudder in, or let the mainsheet out, it just kept blowing me over. The one redeeming point was it happened at such a linear rate I could see what was happening, even if I couldn’t stop it, so managed to scramble over the boat without getting thrown in to the drink, and stand on the daggerboard (small, removable keel) to right it. Like this.

Then scramble back in, without swimming. That was enough for me, though. I wasn’t learning anything and it was making me nervous. Last Sunday was blowing a gale as well so I didn’t bother. This week, if I’m not too ill, looks alright. On the bright side, when I first saw the size of the boating lake I thought it was going to be too tame for me, and I would nave to be getting out on the sea as soon as possible.


Not even.

It turns out I need to learn a lot more first, and even then there is plenty of excitement to be had when the wind picks up. I don’t want to think about what that would have been like if I’d have been on the sea. Waves, fierce winds, tides… I wouldn’t have stood a chance. Skill-up, first.

With the plague weakness, which was a nasty and prolonged bout, and now this cold, I’ve not got back into training properly yet. I set the bar for my fitness on The Sufferfest, but couldn’t get it to work with my trainer for long, so did it again on Trainer Road. Since then I’ve done nothing but be weak and eat. That’s one of the worst things about it, you know the food isn’t going to help but your body is never full and always craving the sweet fix that will it stop it from crashing. When this mere bug goes away I hope to be able to train and diet again. Before I crush my bike under my blubber.

Right, that’s about it, really. I just wanted to take my new keyboard for a test drive.

Some images and twitter then I’m done.

Whipped my lines, all sailory.

Got Wendy a pillow. Not a loved prezzie.

Some insights into how a government that despises the poor and weak can get away with slaughter.

Then in one day we had the Tories attacking the NHS (trying to swing opinion against, prior to full privitisation)

moved to put themselves above the law

Strip us of patient confidentiality

and moved to ensure only official state propaganda could be viewed on social media.

That was one day in the Reich.

Today we had a government minister found guilty of taking cash from undeclared interests, so the Tories moved to change the law so he would no longer be guilty. Apparently it was Bozo using him as an excuse to change the law as he has similar charges upcoming. This is how it works

There was such an outcry that the guy has resigned and Bozo has climbed down on legalising corruption. I’ve not read the full story yet, but that seems to be the headline.

So, things are going swimmingly in the Tory post Brexit Sunlit Uplands. In no way a fascist dystopia.

Still, when you think it looks bleak and hopeless, trust the yanks to make it worse.

This week I learned the acronym LAWS, Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, and now I may never sleep again.

As if our organic one’s aren’t bad enough.

Put down the noose, it’s not all bad. Twitter came through on the uplifting and whimsical.