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Saturday, 28 February 2009

0902.28 PIG

Morticia asked me this week if she could have a pet pig. I know she loves the animals and goes a little daft when she sees them in petting zoos or farms but I really wasn't expecting this. The reason behind it is that a friend of hers (who has a small-holding / good life style back garden) has a pig that has just given birth to a number of little porkers.

I guess most people would instantly dismiss the idea if their partner asked such a question, not me, I did the research for her and unfortunately there are a number of issues that would prevent us having such a pet. The main one is space, the garden is to small and would have to be turned over completely to the animal. The other main one would be the expense of securing the fencing to prevent the animal escaping.

All in all, a nice little dream but not going to be possible. Plus how could I be expected to enjoy a bacon and sausage sandwich with a pet pig looking at me?
Harley has been suffering with severe stomach aches all week which culminated in us taking her to the hospital yesterday. It was great to be kept for 5 hours just to be told that it wasn't appendicitis and to come back if it got worse. I guess the doctors were keen to get to the golf course (it was Friday afternoon).

She seems a little better today but we are keeping a close eye on her.
Still no sign of my bike. My last conversation with the bike shop was a couple of days ago when they were still waiting for the mech hanger. I now wish I'd purchased the parts and fitted them myself.

- Lesson learned!

Monday, 23 February 2009

0902.23 SUNDAY NIGHT @ WORK

I hate the idea of working Sundays and if you'd asked me this time yesterday I'd have said that I hate working Sundays full stop. I think this stems from my time working on the buses when Sunday evening were the most boring shifts ever. Last night, however, was exceptionally busy at work. I fact I've generated enough paperwork to keep me busy for the first 2 hours of my shift today. So maybe when I say that I hate working on a Sunday it's just the thought of leaving my family at home.

Getting home last night was another matter all together. I checked the bus timetables and there was a 45 minute wait for the bus that goes directly home. I'm not one for waiting around so I jumped on a tram to Meadowhall. At Meadowhall I checked departure up home, 32 minutes wait (just 3 minutes earlier than the bus I could have caught from Sheffield). I ended up walking the last couple of miles.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

0902.22 NO IRON STEED

I was looking forward to picking up my bike yesterday after it's repair but unfortunately I received a phone call late on Friday afternoon from the workshop at the cycle store to tell me that a part was needed to attach the rear mech to the bike and was out of stock. This means that I'll probably be off the road for another week.

Personally I think this strengthens the argument for me having a 2nd bike. After approaching the supply chain at work regarding the possibility of another Cycle2Work scheme (by far the easiest way of financing another bike), I was told that it was "unlikely" that they would run another scheme. It seems that they have ticked that box.

It looks like the possibility of me getting another bike is slim. A 2nd hand one may be a possibility if the right bike at the right price came along but chances I think are low.

I'm working later today, I've always hated working on a Sunday. Might get a few miles on my work bike.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

0902.15 VALENTINE

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. We made a deal this year to only buy cards for each other and to have a night in with a chinese and a DVD. It was the perfect evening, add a couple of bottles of Cava and the evening was complete.
Last week was my first week in exile while my bike is off the road. It's booked in for repair but the first available date isn't until 0902.20 (next Friday) so my exile onto the peasant wagon (the bus) continues for another week.

I'm trying to use this experience as leverage and an argument for owning a second bike. I'm fancying a road bike to do some leisure riding and distance work on. Morticia isn't convinced, I guess I'll have to work harder.

Monday, 9 February 2009

0902.09 SNOW SNOW SNOW

Unless you've been on the other side of the world you can't have missed the worst snow falls in 20 years (I can vouch for that as I was around 20 years ago).

Heavy snow on Monday and again on Wednesday (around these parts) practically brought the country to a standstill. "Why did this happen?" a lot of people ask, the news has been filled with Scandinavians telling us how well they cope with the snow. Well to put it simply, we don't get much in the way of snow anymore. We don't have the infrastructure because we don't normally need it.

I think the lemming approach by the great unwashed did more damage to the transport system than the weather did. If it wasn't for drivers rushing out to get home, driving in conditions that they have little or no experience of driving in then perhaps things would have kept moving a little better. How many of the drivers that got stuck actually had a themos, a blanket or even a shovel? Very few I'd guess.

Anyway, the thaw has started (although rumours of more snow persist) and soon life will be back to normal. I've enjoyed the snow and I'd welcome more.

All the way through the bad weather I've kept on cycling, however, whilst pushing the bike over my icy driveway I slipped and fell, dropping the bike. This I believe did some unforseen damage because whilst riding home from working the derby match on Saturday the rear derailleur snapped off.

So now I'm without my bike. I'm miserable as hell (and will be until it's repaired). This has come on top of the TV blowing up and losing my favourite hat.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

0902.03 SNOWMAN II - ICE WARRIOR

Well the promised 'second wave' of snow never materialised up here, instead the snow turned to sleet then froze over leaving the entire area covered in a sheet of ice. Once again crazy motorists insist on trying their luck and driving in horrendous conditions (personally I'd invalidate their insurance, except maybe 3rd party, if they didn't have a bloody good reason to be out on the roads). I heard various 'horror' stories about how it took people over 2 hours to get home last night. I have no sympathy at all. It took me 35 minutes (10 minutes longer than usual) on my bike.

Why not try out a different way of travelling to work. Walk or at least walk to a main road (which are clear in the most part) and catch public transport. Don't worry about being late, your boss will be pleased to see you and that you made an effort to get in at all.

Many schools have closed over the region, my kids' schools haven't though. We have 3 main schools in our village, 2 primary and one secondary. One of the primaries has taken the decision to close, I have to wonder why when the others have opened (I have various issues with this school since this is where my eldest daughter went).

There are two pieces of advice to follow in extreme weather conditions:
  1. Don't Panic - the world isn't ending.
  2. Don't be a lemming - just because everyone is setting off home, doesn't mean you have to. Wait til it all dies down and then go.
Stay safe out there or better still, hibernate until the spring.

Monday, 2 February 2009

0902.02 WHERE SNOWMAN HAS GONE BEFORE

Last night the snow arrived and what has been called the first wave came during the rest of the day. I love to see the snow, it reminds me of my childhood when winters seemed to last for ages.

Snow on my Street

Out and about this afternoon the kids were out playing and motorists were panicking. The smell of burning clutches filled the air as cars slipped, slid and sat in traffic. Shops closed early, public transport was cancelled and Meadowhall shopping centre closed. It's amazing how a few inches of the white stuff can bring a country to it's knees.

Cycling in the Snow

The roads were clear so I cycled in to work this afternoon. This meant that I had to cycle home in a blizzard. I managed to safely get through both ways. Tomorrow could be a different story, more snow is promised. As I lay here on my settee looking out the window at the world with a blanket of white over it, watching the snow fall, I wonder if I'll wake up tomorrow to chaos. it's been a kind of fun day, wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

0902.01 STREET LIFE

I live on a fairly quiet street, a cul-de-sac of sorts (the access to the main road at the bottom was blocked many years before I arrived). There are comings and goings mainly because it's a main pedestrian thoroughfare from the bus stops and local shops. Since the chav families across the road moved out it's been very uneventful (and I do like it that way).

Until yesterday....

Just before Christmas we got new neighbours next door, not really spoken to them apart from the odd hello. Yesterday we had major drama (for  'round here), police and ambulance in attendance after some huge domestic incident. Don't know any details but I know the officers were looking at forcing the door because they came 'round to our house to look at our front door (which is identical).

Not much happens in my personal life at the moment, so a little bit of street drama goes a long way.
I'm considering taking up running again (when the weather warms up a little). It's been a few years but hopefully I'll be able to enter a half marathon next year as a target.