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Saturday, 25 December 2010

1012.25 THE CAPTAIN'S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

As John Lennon once said 'And so this is Christmas', this particularly is the 40th one I have celebrated.

My Christmas is a family one with my wife and 2 daughters. We shared dinner with my father-in-law and soon Morticia's step sister and family will arrive for drinks and nibbles. I'm making a point not to visit any social media today and apart from a couple of texts and this blog post I've not touched my phone, I've also left my Blackberry swiched off for the day.

I'm glad to be here after what has been a difficult year. Morticia's illness and the possibility of a dietary condition (which proved negative) caused tension at home along with teenage angst with my eldest daughter. The voting in of a Conservative lead coalition government and all the job uncertainty that brought has been pretty much on my mind. The most difficult this to bear for me this year has been the passing of my Grandad who meant the world to me. Life carries a lot of pain, it's what shapes us but sometimes it feels that the pain is too much to bear, this year is one of the most challenging in those respects for me.

On the good side I managed to make the family holiday to Wales happen once again, I really never tire of that place. Work is good and I find myself now spearheading the social media revolution within our team running a Twitter feed and Facebook page. My cycling has dropped off a little but this is because I'm still waiting for the Cycle to Work scheme to start up again.

I hope that next year I get cut a little slack my fate and finally manage to get thing evened out. All I want is to enjoy life more without all the difficulties that seem to be piled on me in abundance. It will be the year of my 40th, a real milestone, one that does bother me. Still, let's see...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

1012.21 JOB SECURITY

Every public sector employee in the country is currently going through hell at the moment. Not knowing what the future holds or whether your job will be cut is a real and apparrent fear. I feel a little luckier today since it was announced that the budget which funds my job is to be ring-fenced (ie protected) for the next 2 years. This means I can enjoy a small amount of peace of mind. For me as the only wage earner in our household the prospect of losing my job is unthinkable, it would quite simply unravel my whole life and that of my family.

So this Christmas I can raise a glass safe in the knowledge that I can still do the job that I love in the New Year.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

1012.19 LIVING WITH ME

As anyone who has known me for any length of time or used to read this blog some time ago will know, my wife, Morticia, has had a long standing illness which challenges us every day. A few years ago she had open heart surgery and we hoped that once recovered things would return to normal. Unfortunatly this has not been the case and after years of testing and visits to doctors and clinics, this year, we finally got a clear diagnosis of CFS/ME. I'm not going to go into what that is here, if you want to know then feel free to Google it.

We struggle through day to day and as her primary carer I can meet most of her immediate needs. Where I fail is in the looking after the house and garden, getting those little jobs done etc. Don't get me wrong, our house is clean, it's just cluttered with things that really could do with sorting out. With my time filled with work then the needs of the kids and Morticia I rarely get time to do anything else. When I do get downtime I need it to rest and use it to either relax or explore a creative outlet. My cycling is confined to commuting or extended commutes, no leisure rides for me.

Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't swap anything and I'll do anything for my Morticia and my children. Sometimes it all gets on top of me but I don't have a channel I can express that through. Friends are great but surely they're getting bored of hearing about my problems.

There is a small light at the end of the tunnel. Last week we finally managed to get to see the CFS/ME service for South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. It was an experience to finally speak to a health professional who understood. I have high hopes for our future, and hope that together we can manage this and get on with our life together.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

1012.07 PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This week I have been late for work everyday because of major fail in public transport.

The heavy covering of snow has been followed up with record low temperatures, some places getting as low as -20 C. All main roads and the majority of side roads have been gritted so buses are running pretty much a full service.

Buses running late or missing are not a way of encouraging the public to adopt mass transit for their commute, what's the point if you can rely on it to get you into work. I'm lucky since my supervisors are understanding about my predicament. I would use the car but it's a real pain to get it off our road since it never get's gritted (I live on a cul-de-sac) and the couple of times I've ventured out with the car I've needed assistance from neighbours.

With the winter weather set to continue for the rest of the year at least I forsee more logistical misery. I for one can't wait for the big thaw so I can get back on my bike*.

*Some may ask why I'm not cycling, after all there are plenty out there who are. Well that's their choice, I've assessed the risk and decided that I don't want to put myself in unnessesary danger, after all it only takes one patch of ice!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

1012.02 SNOWED IN

On Tuesday the snow really moved in on us and the next day it was our turn to be on the news. My overtime was cancelled that day as we all decided it would be best to attempt to get home. Because of the weather I'm using public transport and so I went out into the blizzard to assess my options. I ended up catching a bus travelling down Prince of Wales Road which, considering it's a main dual carriageway, was an 'ice rink'. The bus managed to get me to the Arena in Attercliffe but from there I had to walk the rest of the way home since all the other buses had been taken off.

Yesterday was more of the same with a covering of about a foot of snow and main roads inaccessable to most traffic. All public transport (except trams) were cancelled. I was told by my supervisor to make my way to a more local office to work for the day. Two others from our team did the same.

Today I decided I was getting into work whatever. Luckily most main roads were accessable and buses were being run along them.

More snow is forecast as everyone struggles to get around. At this point there is an average of 2 feet covering in most places. My road at home is completely cut off (vehicularly speaking) and I've very little chance of getting my car out.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

1011.28 SNOW

Today we returned from the south to find the land covered with the white fluffy stuff. Since there was no snow down south (save an overnight dusting that quickly melted) I was surprised and the fact.

More is forcast this week, let's see if it can really snow!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

1011.27 ST NEOTS

Once again I find myself a Northerner in the south as I return to St Neots to pick up my wife who is down here visiting and bring her home.

I've been a visitor to this little town very few people I know have even heard of for the last few years now. It's the home of my Mother in Law and her partner and we probably visit 3-4 times a year. I'm starting to gain a familiarity with the place and if you excuse all the southerners that infest it, it's quite a nice place.

The shopping centre is adequate with little in the way of major outlets, still I do enjoy a rumage through the charity shops in the town before a bite in the cafe.

I have yet to sample local beers there and I would like to cycle the area but I have little doubt that will happen in due course.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

1010.29 MOVEMBER

MovemberA few of the guys at work have decided to lend their top lips to men's heath charities and do that most gentlemanly of pursuits, that is grow a moustache. We have a team and you can follow our efforts here on my blog. The challenge is simple grow the best 'mo' you can in 30 days and get sponsored for it.


This is what 'MOVEMBER' is all about...

If you want to donate please visit http://bit.ly/8ZUVMp

Visit my Mo Space at http://uk.movember.com/mospace/770552/

Monday, 25 October 2010

1010.25 WEEKEND RESTBITE

It's been a rough week for me with a nasty bought of manflu that made work really difficult. I even took Wednesday off to sleep off the effects. Whilst it was welcome it didn't quite do the trick.

I've been looking forward to visiting my Mother-in-law down in St Neots this weekend, kind of like a short break. This break is coming to an end and whilst I'm feeling lots better today has been a somber affair with the death in the early hours of my Mother-in-law's best friend.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

1010.20 SPENDING REVIEW

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm no lover of the Tories. I watched Thatcher destroy the community I grew up in. The North has taken years to get back up on it's feet only to be knocked on it's arse again by Cameron and his Tory boy sidekick.

I sat and watched George Osborne deliver his 'smoke and mirrors' presentation waiting to see how far he was going to cut my department. Watching it turned my stomach and yet the information he passed was so vague that lots of public sector workers are still in the dark.

It appears that my job is safe at least for the next couple of years. The future for the whole country is in doubt now but what is clear is that while Osbourne says we are all in it together, it's apparent that some are more in it than others.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

1010.16 DEAD GIRL

This week they pulled a dead girl out of the canal at the bottom of my street. I didn't know who she was, I've heard different things about her but it doesn't change the fact that she's been murdered. It's never good but it's really shocking when it's in your own community.

Friday, 15 October 2010

1010.15 LOSE THE FAITH

Since I got back from our holiday my cycling has been pretty much just the daily commute. Pleasure rides are getting fewer and fewer. Part of the reason being that the bike needs some tweeks and adjustments, things that mean taking the bike off the rode for a few days. I only have the one bike so I can't afford to be without it, I'm waiting for Cycle to Work to start (scheduled by the end of the year) so that I can take the old one off the road.

Over the last few weeks the ride has become a chore, I've found myself considering my options for the commute which I never thought I'd ever do.

Maybe it's the bike, it's riding like a dog and since returning from holiday (and after seeing those cyclists riding in Wales) I've longed for a decent road bike and the only way I have of funding that dream is through work.

The Cycle to Work scheme has been a battle at work which has had it's ups and downs. We finally got an agreement to start a new scheme (but not a timescale) last month.
I don't know why after so many years I feel like this, my cycling dreams are turning stale.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

1010.14 DEVIL

Builds up to very little. Very short.

The Captain's Movie Review in 7 Words.

5/7

Saturday, 4 September 2010

1009.04 AN APOLOGY

I know there hasn't been an update on my blog for a while and for this I appologize. I do have loads of notes and jottings ready to compile into entries but I haven't had the chance to sort it out recently. I have a couple of illustrations which are holding me up. Hopefully I'll have it all up in the next seven days.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

1008.31 THE FINAL BILL


The End of 'The Bill'Today saw the end of the long running Police drama, "The Bill".


This programme was a 'must see' for me at one time, especially when it was in it's 30 minute episode, bi-weekly and later tri-weekly format. It had a great influence on me, made me want to take a job helping and protecting the public. I even toyed with the idea of joining the force as a Police Officer.


It lost it's edge when the Brookside boss took over as Executive Producer and tried to 'soap it up'. Although it regained it's direction later it never fully returned to it's previous position.


Lately, ITV tried to make it more edgy with a later time slot and darker storylines, this was the final nail in it's coffin.


Although I lost interest some years ago (perhaps because of the changes), after hundreds of episodes including 2 live ones, I am sorry to see it go and will mourn it's passing.

Monday, 30 August 2010

1008.30 LAST HOLI-DAY

Family
Since returning from holiday I've aimed for a little quality time with my family. This has involved sitting in the house with Morticia and the kids. Sometimes this has been good but as with all families it can be disastrous.

On the whole it's been a good week but I have to say that I'm ready to go back to work...

Friday, 27 August 2010

1008.27 HAIR OF THE DRAGON

Every year when I go to Wales I always bring home a few Welsh ales. This year I didn't manage to get to a local beer off so I had to rely on the local Tescos (which wasn't too local). Managed to get plenty though...

Monday, 23 August 2010

1008.15 CEI NEWYDD VII

DAY ONE:
We arrived after an uneventful but enjoyable trip, travelling on a Sunday made quite a difference to the traffic levels meaning getting through Manchester was a doddle. We arrived at the Hotel Penwig just after midday, it was like waking from a dream to find that the grey humdrum of real life was a nasty nightmare and that the quiet relaxed tranquility of Cei Newydd was real life.

I was very tired on arrival but the long drive as always was worth it. Mike, the Manager, recognised us straight away and greeted us all with his usual friendly welcome. The cottage would be a home for the next 8 nights.

The area has a poor mobile signal with no signal in cottage at all. There is something quite liberating about it, almost like holidays when I was a kid when you had absolutely no contact with anyone except for a postcard to friends and family. There were spots of signal and a few WiFi hotspots to keep me in the 21st century.

DAY TWO:
0824 - We enjoyed an early night last night after a couple of pints of Brains (the best Welsh ale). I awoke early and managed to catch the sun rising over the sea (I did go back to sleep). It's time now to get up and get ready for breakfast.

The first full day gave us glorious sunshine which meant that we spent the day on the beach with loads of swimming in the sea.

DAY THREE:
The weather was a little poor today so we decided to have a trip inland. I decided I wanted to seek out Llanddui Brieffi, made famous on the TV show, 'Little Britain' (you know, the only gay in the village). It was just a sleepy little village with a pub and Post Office and apart from stopping for a small photo opportunity we decided to drive on to Tregaron.

Tregaron was home to a little museum which used to be the town school house. It was there we were served tea and Welsh cakes by a couple of old ladies. It is a lovely little town and a wonderful day.

Later back in Cei Newydd the annual Regatta in full swing as we drank in the Penwig following a nice meal in the Dolou Inn.

DAY FOUR:
A lazy day in the town, the sun was glorious this afternoon with an enjoyable sit out on the front terrace of the Penwig.

DAY FIVE:
A little overcast but this didn't get in the way of a trip to the beach and another swim in the sea.

DAY SIX:
0945 - I'm out on the streets of Cei Newydd. The quiet is only interrupted by the odd vehicle passing by.

It's grey and drizzle fills the air. This doesn't get in way of the beauty of the place. It was a better afternoon, good food and plenty of Brains bitter / SA continues my enjoyment.

A visit to the Seahorse Inn and a small beer festival were essential this afternoon.

DAY SEVEN:
We spent the morning on the beach. It did rain a little but didn't deter us from the sea. Despite the rain it stayed really warm.

At 1620 went to see the arrival of the Great Tour cycle challenge with Daly Thompson arrive in New Quay. Unfortunately he decided to miss the finish point and go straight to the Inn the team were planning on staying in. To say I was very disappointed would be an understatement.

Lots of beer tonight in the Penwig and the Seahorse. Harlz, my eldest daughter, was mistaken for my girlfriend and a local lifeguard (because she was wearing a New Quay Lifeguard top) by a bloke in the Seahorse. Either he was pissed or thought I was some sort of pervert (maybe both?).

DAY EIGHT:
Today is our last full day and it's a glorious sunny day. A trip out on the boat was order of the day.

We opted for the shorter 1 hour trip and wasn't disappointed. Dolphins put on quite a show for us (and again later that evening as we watched from the pier).

We had booked a Sunday lunch earlier in the week at the Wellington Inn after enjoying the same last year, safe to say we weren't disappointed. Later we walked along the beach right across the bay. we walked to a place we'd never been in the years we've been coming to this place. We discovered a place across the bay that no doubt we'll revisit many times in the future.

Later the same evening dolphins, including a mother with a calf wowed onlookers on the pier, afterwards it was back to the Penwig for the last few drinks.
DAY NINE:
0838 - All packed up ready for last breakfast before departure. No rush time for bit of shopping for last minute souvenirs.

After saying goodbye to Mike and Chris and all the staff at the Penwig we left around 1230.

Initially we drove in the wrong direction (intentionally) so we could visit the Tescos in Cardigan. We stocked up with nibbles for the journey and some Welsh ales for me. We then set off through Wales along the coast road to Aberystwyth then saying goodbye to the sea as we headed inland through Snowdonia National Park towards North Wales and England.

We've already booked in for next year, can't see me ever tiring of this place.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

1008.01 HAPPY YORKSHIRE DAY

Yorkshire
To celebrate Yorkshire Day I took my family out for a meal to The Crown in Matlock. Ok, so I know that Matlock is in Derbyshire but it's the gesture that counts right?

You can't beat a good pub lunch, for me you can keep your restaurants and fancy dining, Burger and a Beer for a fiver? How do you get better than that?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

1007.24 SHEFFIELD BY NIGHT


For the first time in ages I went down to Sheffield for a night out. I have to say either Sheffield has become too much for me or it has become a wank night out. I much prefer Rotherham for a night out (not that I go out much). Maybe Sheffield has moved on, I unfortunately haven't.

*SUPPLIMENTAL*

I wrote the above words upon returning home from a night out with old friends Mr C and Shuffle. While the sentiment still stands (in that I tend to have a better night out in Rotherham than Sheffield these days) I did enjoy meeting up and catching up on old times. I guess all the old places we used to go to have gone and there is no point of reference to our youth and the nights out we used to have back in the late 80s and early nineties.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

1007.24 MOT TIME

The most stressful time for any car owner (and I am an owner but not really a driver since Morticia has the car most of the time) is the annual MOT. It's the waiting, the not knowing how much you're gonna have to spend to keep the car on the road for another year. Luckily for me my car passed this morning just wanting a headlight bulb which they fitted for free.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

1007.22 COURSE WORK

Most of this week I have been on a course at the Fire Service training centre (nothing to to with fires, just classroom space my organisation sometimes use). Initially I was questioning why I'd been sent on the course as I felt it was aimed more at supervisors level. Most of it was over my head and out of my remit. Later on into the course it's usefulness became apparent and I began to contribute to the discussions. When I call it a course it was actually an 'improvement event' designed to look at the inherent problems of a specific system and getting working more efficiently. The group became very close and efficient and we quickly solved the problem put before us.

The facilities provided by the Fire Brigade were far superior to the training facilities we normally get in house. I hope the next course I get sent on is here.

Monday, 19 July 2010

1007.19 MY WIFE IS A VAMPIRE

My Missus is a VampireI seem to be having a lot of late nights recently, in fact if I think back I can't remember a time when I did get early nights. To get to bed before midnight is a rare occasion indeed. The problem is that my wife is a creature of the night who comes alive after dark and hates the sunrise. It's not good for me I know and sometimes I need to get some sleep but I relent each night and wait up with her.

Friday, 16 July 2010

1007.15 BELLY ACHE

I've been off work all this week with some sort of stomach bug. Safe to say that I've spent a lot of time in the smallest room this week. At this very moment I'm scared to fart. It's not just downstairs action either, I've felt pretty sick, especially today. I was hoping to be back at work tomorrow but I'm not sure at this point if this will happen.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

1007.09 PREDATORS

COMPLETE COPY OF ORIGINAL, VERY PREDICTABLE ENDING
The Captain's Movie Review in Seven Words

4/7

Friday, 9 July 2010

1007.09 VIEWSCREEN

New TV
After over 6 months watching an old borrowed narrowscreen CRT TV (since my old CRT widescreen blew up last year) I have finally purchased a new 37" HD ready LCD TV and I am over the moon with it. It's the perfect companion to my new Sky+HD box. Morticia wanted a 32" but I managed to pull a sly one in the shop and get the TV I wanted (she still complains that it's too big!). I'm really impressed with the HD picture, might have to invest in a BluRay player next.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

1006.03 LE TOUR!

Today sees the beginning of Le Tour de France, the pinnacle of the cycling calendar. A month of road cycling might not appeal to most but for me this is the one. You can keep your World Cup and your Wimbledon, I'll be tuned to Eurosport or ITV4 until 1007.25 when the bikes fly down the Champs Elysees.

My money is literally on Bradley Wiggins since I have placed a small wager on him winning the Yellow Jersey.

Today is also my 11th wedding anniversary, not sure how sat in front of the TV watching today's prologue is going to go down.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

1006.29 IMMORTALITY

We all have immortality, we live on through our children and their children. We live on in the hearts of the people we touch. As long as we are remembered we live on.

Good bye Grandad x

Friday, 18 June 2010

1006.18 GEOFFREY WILLIS HALL 1932-2010

Grandad

Yesterday, just before 19:00 my Grandad passed away. A light has gone out inside of me and I miss him so much.

There will never be another like you, love you x

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

1006.16 MOVING UP

Moving OutThe last to days we have been moving office at work. We have gone from a building in the City Centre to a small  building in the local community we serve. When I say "we have been moving" I use the phrase loosely as I have had very little to do with the logistics of the operation. In fact the whole team have been moving everything except me and one other. This means that my stuff is up at the new place in crates waiting to be unpacked. Everyone else is sorted. I feel aggrieved about being one of the only two left to pick up all the work whilst everyone else go to get stuck in with the task of getting the new place operational. I did manage to move my personal stuff up but only in between jobs.

It's a good job the 'powers that be' don't do brewery trips. In my opinion the whole operation has been badly organised.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

1006.06 DARK TIMES

I'm in such a mess at the moment, I usually cope pretty well with anything that life throws at me but at this moment in time I just can't seem to get a grip on things. There is so much going on, all negative my mind just can't cope. I fear though this is just the tip of the iceberg and things are set to get worse before they get better.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

1006.01 IS THERE ANYBODY THERE?

My blogging has been a little all over the place recently. Perhaps this is because I am at a particularly low point in my life. I feel so much despair, I really don't know how much more shit I can take.

The question I am asking myself is should I carry on blogging? It's pretty evident that I have no readers, comments practically never happen and I feel like I am shouting into the abyss. The reason (apart from my writings) is probably down to social networks. I love Twitter (Facebook is a bit plebby for my liking these days) and the instant reaction dynamic but it's gone so quick. Blogs last potentially forever (especially if they are achieved correctly) and are more detailed, thought out and sometimes (maybe not in my case) more entertaining.

So are blogs dead? Maybe not quite, but is mine?

Saturday, 22 May 2010

1005.22 SKY PLUS HD

Sky+HD
My Sky TV started to fail a couple of weeks ago which prompted me to phone customer services. They did a a few system checks with my which lead to a diagnosis of a faulty LBM (which I believe is the knobbly bit on the end of the stick on the dish). An engineer would have cost me just under £70 just for the call out so I asked if an upgrade was possible. I was transferred to the sales dept.

The sales dept could offer me a free system with a £30 set up fee but only if I took the HD package on top of my existing pack (an extra £10 per month). I told them that I didn't have a HD TV so the pack would be useless. I was then offered a system from £169 +set up. I told them that they were insulting me and asked to cancel my subscription.

Now I know this kind of story has been told be many people, many times. But this is the first time I have had first hand experience of going through the cancellation procedure for anything. The guy in cancellations was very sympathetic and immediately offered me the full Sky+HD system without the HD package for £29 with free installation. I'm not greedy, I wasn't after something for nothing and this I saw as a fair offer. I agreed.

Today the engineer came (at 08:00 this morning) to fit my new Sky. To say I am happy is an understatement. The system is amazing. I can see why people say that Sky+ will change the way you view TV. It's amazing! I can now watch all the shows that used to pass me by because of the hours I work or family hogging the remote.

I'm off now to watch more TV, see ya!

Monday, 17 May 2010

1005.17 CYCLECAM #02

Part of my commute home along Brightside Lane in Sheffield.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

1005.16 IRON MAN 2

FUN ACTION SUPERHERO MOVIE, BETTER THAN FIRST
The Captain's Movie Review in Seven Words

6/7

1005.15 LADS DAY OUT

I have to say that I've never been out on an all day drinking session, until now. Although I have to add that the drinking wasn't really what it was all about, it was more about good company, conversation and having a laugh. The group consisted of blokes from my team at work; Harvey Bubbles, Ginger Melon, The Boy Stubbs, Mauritian Elvis, Reidy, Mumbles and my good self.

The day started in Sheffield City Centre at 09:00with a visit to the Benjamin Huntsman, a Wetherspoons pub which serves cheap breakfasts. Then onward to catch the bus to Matlock, our destination for today, the 214 which incidentally was driven by a complete prick who got the bus into Matlock 30 minutes late for no explainable reason.

We started in the George, another Wetherspoons house, mainly because of the cheap beer. Later onto the Railway where we got hold of the dartboard for a couple of games. Then after Mumbles and I popped into a cycle shop next door (whilst the others were in the bookies) wh went back to the George for lunch and because some of the lads wanted to watch the game.

We left Matlock on the last bus (17:10) and ended up in the Sheffield Tap (a relatively new pub in Sheffield Railway Station) before calling it a night.

The Lads in Matlock
It was a great day out, nice to relax and spend time with friends with no pressure to get hammered. It was particularly poignant as the Mauritian Elvis is leaving the team soon (new job within our organisation). I look forward to doing this again soon.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

1005.13 HOT TUB TIME MACHINE

BACK TO THE FUTURE MEETS THE HANGOVER
The Captain's Movie Review in Seven Words

6/7

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

1005.11 CYCLECAM #01

A look at a small part of my commute from my village in Rotherham. I knocked the camera when I set it recording so the picture is a little slanting.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

1005.09 CYCLECAM

I am now happy that I have gotten the angle and mounting right for my new Cyclecam. This is the first 5 minutes or so of my commute home starting at Lambert Street in Sheffield City Centre.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

1005.08 WELL HUNG

So we have a hung Parliament which basically means that whilst the Tories got the most votes they don't have enough to form a government. They are now talking with the Liberal Democrats with a view to joining together in a coalition government. Well all I can say is that it could have been worse. Whilst I am not happy that Labour didn't win at least the Tories didn't either. If they do form a coalition government then they still won't have a majority so are effectively muzzled to some degree.

I wait and see what the future has in store...

Thursday, 6 May 2010

1005.06 ELECTION DAY

Today is the day to make your voice heard (unless like me you've voted by post). I firmly believe that it is everyone's duty to vote so I ask everyone in the United Kingdom to get off their arses and get down to the polling stations.

I'm supporting Labour as I believe they are the only party (and I certainly don't believe that they are perfect) that can move this country forward. I dread the possibility of another Conservative government, Thatcher and Major last time destroyed so much of society, especially in the north. I guess in 24 hours we'll know.

Today is also Morticia's birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LOVE YOU LOADS xxx

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

1005.05 THIRTY NINE

So it's my birthday....

Just an ordinary day really, except with greetings cards. I still had to go up to school and then after mooching about the house for a couple of hours, I went to work. Morticia did cook me a special supper for when I returned though - steak, chips with Yorkshire pudding, loveley!

Thanks to all my friends and family for the cards and messages throughout the day.

My Mother in Law (and her partner) bought me a mini DV cam for mounting on my bike, it's a brilliant little toy so I cam film bits of my rides when I'm out. I've used some of the supplied mountings to attach it to my helmet. I did do a couple of tests on my commute today with it clipped to my jacket which came out well but the angles and camera shake caused problems. Check out my YouTube channel to see them.

Helmet-Cam
New Helmet Cam

Sunday, 2 May 2010

1005.02 TO SHAVE OR NOT TO SHAVE

Beard Election
It was a bit of fun but I had every intention of abiding with the results. 

So here they are, reviled first this morning on Twitter and Facebook;




Beard Party - 11 votes,
Shave Party - 15 votes.

So I shaved it off this afternoon, it's gone but not forever....

Saturday, 1 May 2010

1005.01 BEARD OR NO BEARD

BeardToday is the Great Beard Election, You can vote whether I shave it off or keep it at my Twitter profile.

Current polling results are;

5 votes to shave.

4 votes to keep the beard.

Have your say now!

1004.30 CYCLING STATS FOR APRIL 10

Not much change on the previous month (slight increase). More rides or ride extentions are needed. Still waiting for word on the work's Cycle to Work scheme.




Best Distance (Daily)
= 34.19 miles (on the 19th)

Longest Time out of the saddle
= 6 days


Saturday, 24 April 2010

1004.24 ASHES TO ASHES

Volcanic
You must have been living in a cave if you haven't noticed the disruption caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption which spewed it's ash over the skys of Europe. The skys were completely clear from the usual jet-streams that normally criss-cross the heavens at this time of year. Morticia's Auntie and Uncle were stranded (along with thousands of others) and unable to get home. Ferry, train and car hire became a premium as people battled to find alternatives to air travel.

Maybe I am being cynical or somehow I'm not getting it but why are we so reliant on the aeroplane? I for one haven't flown for over 20 years, I just haven't felt the need. I can understand some destinations but local internal flights are just ridiculous, trains and coaches should be cheaper and therefore encouraged. I think I'm getting off topic here, I'm starting to rant.

The disruption wasn't just to travellers, my eldest's school was forced to close to 2 of the year groups because of teachers trapped on holiday

Anyway, after almost a week it was all over and life is gradually turning back to normal.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

1004.17 HAIRY

Beard
That's right, I've grown a full beard. I've let my facial hair grow before but I really don't feel like shaving this one off. My self esteem and general mood is low at the moment so I guess the fuzz gives me something to hide behind.

The other day, Thursday I think, I had a terrible pain on the sole of my right foot. I looked but couldn't see anything. Upon closer inspection I found a white hair about an inch long sticking out of the source of the pain. It was quickly removed by tweezers but led me to some interesting questions. Was that really a hair growing out of the sole of my foot? Further investigation on the internet revealed that some people had come across this phenomenon. It was either a rogue follicle or a 'hair splinter'. Since it was the same colour as the fur on my cat's tail I'm leaning (hopefully) towards the latter.

Friday, 16 April 2010

1004.16 BRILLIANT BRITAIN

With the upcoming General Election looming (1005.06), the media is full of politics. I've never really considered myself to be very politically motivated but I have to say that the prospect of a Conservative government scares the shit out of me. I'm old enough to have seen what Thatcher did the last time around. Communities were destroyed and industries decimated so a few could get richer. I grew up in a small mining town to the south of Sheffield and saw first hand what the Tories did. They like to cut or sell to line the pockets of themselves or their friends and this will happen again if they get in.

The polls show a worrying trend towards the blue, I can only hope that people saw what Mr Cameron is all about on yesterday evening's leadership debate. 

As a public service worker I ask people to think about their vote. I urge all those who would not normally bother to vote this year, it's important. We all need to take responsibility for our own lives and 'not voting' is like burying your head in the sand.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

1004.06 END OF EASTER

That's it, Easter is done for another year. I'm lucky since I've got another couple of days off to spend with my family. We've now returned home from our weekend with Morticia's mother and it is time to get on with it. I have just one out of my two eggs left, seems everyone in the house got loads more than me again.

Today the general election was confirmed as 6th May which is Morticia's birthday and the day after mine. I guess it's gonna be a dull old April.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

1004.04 HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDAD

A week ago we thought he wouldn't be here for his 78th birthday, today he celebrates - all be it in a very low key fashion.

I wish I could be with him today but we are away at Morticia's mother's house. I spoke to him on the phone earlier and he is in my thoughts today more than ever.

Hopefully he'll be able to come home from hospital soon.

1004.04 ELEVENTH HOUR

The Eleventh DoctorYesterday saw Matt Smith's debut as the eleventh Doctor in series 5 of Doctor Who. It was all change with a new Doctor, new assistant, new TARDIS, new title sequence, new logo and not forgetting new Executive Producer/Head Writer.

I've been defending the changes all along to the doubters (Doctor Who's gift is that it can refresh and 'regenerate' and it is that that keeps it from going stale) and yesterday at 18:20 was time to find out whether my faith was misplaced or not.

I was pleased to say that I wasn't disappointed, it was a fun, action packed opener which helped flesh out the new Time Lord's character. Amy Pond, the new companion looks to be the best yet (and she's gorgeous to boot). All in all I'm more excited now about the new series than I was before.

Fish fingers and custard? Hmmmm.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

1004.03 THE EGGS-FACTOR

Happy Easter
The year rolls on and before we know it it's Easter. It seems only yesterday it was Christmas. Maybe it's a symptom of getting older.

It's the Easter weekend and I find the period so much more enjoyable than Christmas. A time to relax and spend time with family without the commercialism of the festive season. A few Easter eggs and a good meal await tomorrow.

Yesterday was relaxed which culunated in the beginning of a new series of Ashes to Ashes. Today promises to be just as relaxing with a new series of Doctor Who this afternoon.

I can put my feet up and forget my worries.

Happy Easter everyone!