Tuesday 29 December 2015


I've been lucky enough to get a few days off this Christmas. So what have I been up to? Nothing. Not a thing and is been brilliant. We had family visit on Christmas day and Boxing day, the rest of the time the 3 of us just relaxed, watched TV and ate junk food. I have strong views about the sales on Boxing day so I will NEVER be one of the people that makes people have to work unnessesarily.

Today is the last day before I return to work and we've just done a bit of shopping and tidying. I left my bike at work on Christmas Eve so tomorrow I'm travelling in on the bus.

Sunday 27 December 2015


The Captain's Movie Review in Seven Words :



Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ok I finally got there. I waited for the crowds to subside a little, especially since the cinema is close to the the largest shopping centre and the arena.

Friday 25 December 2015


We started the year with a funeral for Uncle Mick, I was also just recovering from my second cycling accident. It was a low place to start, we hadn't had a holiday in years, I was getting physio for my injury and my self confidence was on the floor.

The good news was that I had a new bike (which I was yet to ride) and the best news was that our eldest had come back home. Our family was complete again.

Snow came and went in February and I started riding my bike again.

A free trial on gave me the opportunity to continue the feeble start I'd already made to my family tree. This time I made some real strides. The breakthrough was finding a long lost cousin who had already done plenty of work. I found the story of my direct ancestor who had changed his surname, this opened up the story. I traced back my family to the Norman conquest and a poor Knight who came over with William the Conqueror. Further still I traced the family line back to Norway then Sweden. The furthest concrete record I found was for a king of Sweden and the last of the Yngling dynasty. After that it was all in the history books and subject of myth and legend. If it's true then I am a direct decendant of Odin. I'll take that.

After months of indecision and pondering I decided to join a cycling club. It was time to add a social layer to my hobby. I joined with a group who met up on Sunday mornings about 8km away. They're a great bunch, I've ridden some great rides this year including a 100 miler to York. I also rode my first sportive in August conquering Holme Moss. All in all a great year of cycling.

There was a general election this year where we hoped that the horrendous coalition government would be over. Well it was. But not in the way I hoped. The conservatives won with a slight majority. We are in for a hard 5 years of cuts and austerity. This was reflected at work where in August our jobs were declared "at risk". This remained the case until last week when the status was removed as many have chosen to leave recently.

Terrorist attacks over the world, especially in Paris changed the world all over again.

The derelict pub that in its day caused us loads of headaches was finally demolished. We now have a lovely view of Don Valley.

After the great news last year of our eldest daughter's return and reunion things seemed to be going well throughout the year. That is until late summer when unexpectedly she walked out cutting off all ties. This was the case until a few days ago when she visited. Things are still in the early stages but I'm hoping we can develop a relationship over the coming months.

The summer saw us on holiday for the first time in 3 years. We visited our favourite Welsh place, this time staying in a beautiful cottage across from the beach. We've booked again for next year.
Rags went on a school trip in October so Morticia and I took the opportunity to have a short break in Scarborough. It was our first holiday together since our honeymoon.

It's been a hard year. At its worst it was horrendous and difficult which of course tainted all of the good. I have to say though the year is on course to end on a high point, but that is the subject of another post.


Monday 21 December 2015


As promised,the rest of my choices for TV over the festive period.

Sunday 27th
Top pick: Catherine Tate's Nan #1 (BBC1 22:25)
Mention: Harry Price: Ghost Hunter (ITV 20:30)
Eight out of Ten Cats Does Countdown Christmas Special (Ch4 22:00)

Monday 28th
Top pick: Royal Institution Christmas Lectures #1 (BBC4 20:00)
There are no mentions today, not keen on what's to offer. Perhaps a day to catch up with what's been recorded?

Tuesday 29th
Top pick: Eight out of Ten Cats End of the Year Special (Ch4 21:00)
Mention: Storage Hunters UK Celebrity Special (Dave 20:00)
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures #2 (BBC4 20:00)

Wednesday 30th
Top pick: Catherine Tate's Nan #2 (BBC1 22:25)
Mention: Royal Institution Christmas Lectures #3 (BBC4 20:00)
The Real Star of Bethlehem: A Sky at Night Christmas Special (BBC4 21:00)
All New It'll Be Alright on the Night (ITV 21:00)

New Year's Eve
Top pick: TFI New Year's Eve (Ch4 19:30)
Mention: Celebrity Juice: Bestest of the Unseen Bits (ITV2 23:15)

New Year's Day
Top pick: Sherlock (BBC1 21:00)
Mention: Mrs Brown's Boys #2 (BBC1 22:30)

And that's it for this Christmas. These are my picks, there are hundreds of channels and I may have missed some gems. That's the way it goes, thank goodness for catch-up TV.


Sunday 13 December 2015


The arrival of the Christmas Radio Times is an integral part of my festive experience. I relish flicking through the pages with my pen marking all the programmes I don't want to miss. As I've done previously I want to share some of my choices. As usual no films are included, just specials and seasonal one offs.

A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

Saturday 19th
Top pick: The Perfect Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special (BBC2 18:35)
Mention: Porridge 1976 Christmas Special (BBC2 20:05)

Sunday 20th
Top pick: BBC Sports Personality of the Year (BBC1 18:50)
Only because Chris Froome is nominated
Monday 21st Top pick: John Bishop Christmas Show (BBC1 21:00)
Mention: Judge Ringer for Text Santa (ITV2 18:00)
Mock the Week Festive Compilation (BBC2 22:00)
Celebrity Juice Festive Edition #1 (ITV2 23:45)

Tuesday 22nd
Top pick: Back in Time for Christmas #1 (BBC2 18:30)

Wednesday 23rd
Top pick: Back in Time for Christmas #2 (BBC2 18:00)
Mention: Celebrity Juice Festive Edition #2 (ITV2 22:00)
Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special(R) (BBC1 23:05)

Christmas Eve
Top pick: Not Going Out (Special) (BBC1 22:45)
Mention: Would I Lie to You? At Christmas (BBC1 20:00)
Eight out of Ten Cats Christmas Special (Ch4 21:00)
Through the Christmas Keyhole (ITV 21:45)

Christmas Day
Top pick: Doctor Who (BBC1 17:15)
Mention: Mrs Brown's Boys #1 (BBC1 21:45)

Boxing Day
Top pick: The Big Fat Quiz of the Year (Ch4 21:00)
Mention: Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas (BBC1 18:10)
Still Open All Hours (festive episode) (BBC1 20:00)
Inside Lego at Christmas (Ch4 20:00)
A Gert Lush Christmas (BBC2 21:00)

The New Year choice will follow later....

Friday 11 December 2015


Back in August it was announced at work that my role was officially "at risk". This was because of the government cuts, they were looking at losing over 60 people (from my role alone). It was a difficult thing to hear, it was looking like we were alll going to be interviewed for own own jobs.

Since then many, like rats from a sinking ship, have found other jobs and moved on. So much so that this week we were informed that our jobs were no longer "at risk" at we were safe at least until April 2017.

From next April there will be more changes including a new 3 week shift pattern (which includes more weekend working). At least now we can breath a little easier.

Wednesday 9 December 2015


The Captain's Movie Review in Seven Words :

Not Christmassy at all, not my humour. 


The Night Before

Sunday 6 December 2015

1512.06 TRIMMED UP

People tend to think I'm anti Christmas. I'm not. What I hate is the comercialisation and the hype. I hate the fact that shops start pushing it down your neck from the end of August. Why do we need to prepare for 3 months just for a day?

Ok now I've got that off my chest here's the start of my Christmas story... 

I'd planned to make a day of the decorating. Usually it takes ages and we are still busy late into the evening. Rags assisted me early to move the furniture around (necessary to get the tree in). We then got the boxes down from the loft and began the task. 

Around lunchtime as a break we decided to attend a Christmas fayre in Firth Park. We wish we'd have not bothered, it was a load of crap. Not wasting any more time we went to a local Weatherspoons for food before going back home to continue. 

Rather than being a cheerful, seasonal event it eventually became a stressful task for us all. We overran, eventually finishing around 20:30 ish. 

So the house is ready for Christmas at the proper time... in December. 

Monday 23 November 2015

1511.23 TERROR

The terrorist incidents today in Paris have alarmed and shocked us all. What touched a nerve for us is that it was only a few weeks ago our daughter was in Paris on a school trip.

My thoughts are with the victims.

Saturday 21 November 2015


It's been over 20 years since I've been to Manchester, and that also was for a trip to Coronation Street (or actually Granada Studios Tour as it was). I've been through Manchester many times, usually on my way to Wales or sometimes Chester Zoo.

We booked the trip for Rags' birthday but because it was booked up this was the first available date. It was an early entry slot so we'd need to be up and travelling at the crack of dawn. 

The night before we watched the weather reports saying that snow was likely overnight which would potentially end our day out before it even started. To get to Manchester by road from our neck of the woods you only really have 2 options. Snake pass or Woodhead pass (you can go by motorway but that's a massive diversion). At the time we went to bed Snake pass was closed due to snow! 

It was an early start and although there was a little wintry weather evident the drive across Woodhead pass there were no issues. We arrived without incident and managed to park directly outside.

The tour itself was different to my previous visit. It was all about behind the scenes production of a television show. You don't need to be a fan of Corrie (I'm a bit of a passive viewer) to appreciate the experience. The end of the tour, of course is the street itself. A 3/4 size purpose built fake street. It's a odd experience, very surreal.

A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

After the tour was over we left, it was the final time we'd lay eyes on this street since the area is set to be redeveloped soon. We headed into town, I'd never been into Manchester City Centre before.

Manchester is a great city. To the outsider (me) it seemed to be doing it all right. The shops were good, busy and in the right places. In comparison, my home city seems to get it wrong, the city centre shopping is dying because of bad choices. Manchester was also hosting a magnificent Christmas market. The only downer on the day was the meal we had at a local Harvester, but it was the only place we could get a seat (Manchester was heaving today).

Wednesday 28 October 2015


At midnight on Sunday we waved goodbye to our youngest, Rags, as she set off by coach on a 3 day school trip to Paris.

The following morning Morticia and I were driving north east towards Scarborough. This was our first trip together since our honeymoon.

We'd planned this trip some months earlier when Morticia received an email offering a deal on stays in the Grand in Scarborough. Morticia had aways wanted to stay there since she first saw the magnificent building that dominates the bay as a child. We booked and the time came 'round.

We arrived without incident and even managed to park fairly hassle free. After that it started to go wrong. Now I'm not daft, I know the Grand isn't as grand as it once was. I was under no illusion. We entered the reception area and we were immediately impressed with the beautiful architectural features and the impressive staircase which dominated the centre of the large hall. We then noticed how small the reception desk was in the corner, and how large the queue was for it.

The queuing is when we first got an incling that there might be something wrong. The queue was made up of people checking in and people complaining. We got to the front and got our booking sorted out by a woman who looked like she was having a bad day and was passing on the vibe. We were directed to our room which was down what looked like a service corridor to a lift and down 1 level. We got to the room; it was shabby, smelly and it had NO WINDOW! I wish I'd taken a photo just to show how bad it was.

We returned to reception, this wasn't acceptable (I'm normally the kind of person that can put up with most things but everyone has a limit). I joined the back of the queue (again) and waited. The same woman listened to me with a "don't give a toss" look then started the hotel was full and we'd have to put up with it. We were absolutely NOT going to put up with it! We demanded a refund deciding that we'd rather go home than stay in a smelly dump. We emerged back into daylight with the refund back on our credit card.

Upset and angry we were going to spend a short time in Scarborough before heading back but I thought I'd try to find an alternative hotel on the internet. The first one we tried was full. It was a long shot, the place was busier than I'd imagined for the time of year. The second one was a bit further out, just above the spa.

The Ambassador Spa Hotel was on a street filled with hotels. I'd put in a booking on the aptly named website but this was ultra last minute. I went to reception and asked. The friendly receptionist had a look and with a smile announced that there was one room left. Result!

Relief lead to excitement as we unpacked. The room was clean, a nice size and tastefully decorated. We lost most of our afternoon faffing about getting a room so we were keen not to waste the evening. We were both tired and hungry so a trip into the town rather than the sea front seemed to best course of action. We found a pub called The Courtyard which did food. A couple of beers and a nice meal were consumed before we returned to the hotel for a drink in the bar and an early night.

Breakfast was a buffet which I always like. We went down to the front via one of the cliff trams which Morticia had never ridden on. We strolled on the sea front stopping regularly (a necessity because of Morticia's condition) at cafes and pubs. We had lunch in the chip shop cafe where we ate before with our children. It was so different to not have any responsibilities.

A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

Our final morning and we had a greeting from a new friend outside the bathroom window...

A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

After checkout we went onto the front again, unlike yesterday it was pissing it down. That still didn't dampen our spirits. We stuck around until lunch (at Winking Willy's) then went to take a look at the statue of the chap sat on the bench. Then it was time to head home.

We stopped off at a pub on the way home, the Coach & Horses in Rillington. It has to be one of the worst pubs I've ever been in. We didn't stay to long...

Late night Rags pick up. Rags was due back about midnight. In fact they were running early. We tracked her phone up the M1 to Chesterfield before her battery died. She did manage to call us with an ETA. We sat in the car outside school, as did every other parent, waiting. The coach came and a very tired Rags was delivered back to us.

She had had the experience of a lifetime and we had recaptured something from a long time ago and a glimpse into our future.

Monday 5 October 2015


The 5p carrier bag charge started today. What a fuss! I've been to Wales many times, they've had it for years any it's such a non-issue. It'll all be normal in a few months and people will either carry reusable bags or pay the 5p. The system works and it will stop the massive amount of plastic bags wasted every year.

Sunday 4 October 2015


My baby. My youngest is 14. Bloody hell! As a treat we took her and a friend to Yorkshire Wildlife Park. We did want to take her to Coronation Street but it's booked up until the end of the year (we booked it anyway).

A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

Sunday 13 September 2015


I've always wanted to do a sportive...

A cyclosportive, or often simply sportive, is a short to long distance, organised, mass-participation cycling event.

In particular I wanted to do the 65 Roses Holme Moss Classic, why? Because last year whilst I was nursing a broken collarbone and feeling sorry for myself I observed a number of cyclists riding past the end of my road, all had numbers on the front. I did some research and found out it was the aforementioned ride. I vowed to myself then that I would ride this "next year".

I signed up some months ago and immediately began to kak myself. The thought of climbing Holme Moss filled me with dread. What if I couldn't manage it? What if I was last back?

The day came, I was both excited and nervous. I met up with 4 others from my cycling club before the start. The plan was to touch base before the off, not to ride together. The mass start from Magna was an experience in itself riding in large numbers on closed roads. The field thinned out as I got to Thorpe Hesley and from that point I passed and was passed by many other riders.

Fast forward to the object of the ride...

Holme Moss.

I have to say it was challenging. It was tough. But I got up without stopping, I got up with strong legs, I got to the top and felt invincible! It's not the nicest thing to say but I actually got satisfaction from riding past those that were pushing their bikes up. I made it, I was in my own way, on top of the world.

I was riding with Steve from my club. We'd not planned to team up but we just ended up sticking with each other. He really struggled with the climb. I waited 15 minutes at the summit, he'd ended up pushing most of the climb. After that he was in a bad way. I supported him back through to Sheffield. As soon as we hit the Rotherham border I dropped him (he was happy to be able to follow the route back).

I managed to 105km in 5 and a half hours with an accent of 1666m. Next year I hope to smash that.

Monday 31 August 2015


Coming home is always hard but this year it's been so much harder.

Whilst away, at work they announced that they were placing my role officially 'at risk' and that they were looking to lose a number of people. Add onto this the fact that my family (outside my home) don't give a damn about me and my eldest daughter doesn't want anything to do with us - and I really wonder what the hell am I still doing here. There's nothing if my job ends.

I really want to live in mid Wales, quality of life seems so much better. I need a plan of action.

Supplemental 1510.06; Since writing this things at work have potentially got better with a number of people leaving or with offers of jobs. Still uncertain but there is probably some breathing room. I still feel the same about living out there but hopefully we'll get time to do it properly.

Saturday 29 August 2015


It's taken a while to post this. Not sure why, I've just been sitting on it a while... 

It's been a couple of years since we were last here yet despite a couple of minor changes the place felt immediately like home. More like home than home in fact. We arrived a bit early for check in to our cottage but I'd already arranged to be able to park up in front. 

Previous years we had stayed in the "cottage" that was part of the Hotel Penwig, and we'd had some great holidays there. When there was a change in management it was no longer the same so for this year we decided to try something new. Our home for the week was a 'real' cottage, an old building with loads of character overlooking the harbour. 

We enjoyed the place as we always have, the weather wasn't the best but not the worst either - we managed a couple of visits to the beach. The pubs were largely the same (the Dolau Inn had a slight redecoration) with exception of the Black Lion which had had a major refurbishment. Sadly the Penwig Hotel (where we used to stay) had lost its atmosphere and it seemed all of the regular faces. 

We met up with friends and enjoyed an afternoon catching up. Before we left we booked the cottage for next year. 

The drive home was filled with sadness. Our hearts were lifted as we drove through Bala when the Vulcan XH558 flew overhead. 

Tan y flwyddyn nesaf. 

Saturday 22 August 2015


23:10 (1508.21) - I had planned for everything to be packed up and ready for tea time today. That went out of the window hours ago. Thankfully everything is (hopefully) ready and we are relaxing before heading to bed.

06:15 - It looks like we will be setting off shortly, bang on schedule. The car is already loaded and soon we will be on our way.

08:05 - I've been driving for a couple of hours now, pretty uneventful. We got over Woodhead pass and through Manchester without delay or incident. I'm currently parked outside the main doors of Chester services, this is our regular comfort stop off when heading to Wales.

09:45 - We crossed over the Welsh border not long after we left Chester, we all always get excited when we see this bridge...
Photo taken from Google Streetview
Our first stop in Wales was at the side of Lake Bala. We had a picnic in the car whilst the rain fell outside.

10:54 - Our final stretch legs / comfort stop was in the beautiful little town of Machynlleth which became famous recently for the wrong reasons. This was in our thoughts during our visit.

Our drive took us through Aberystwyth, Aberaeron and finally we arrived. Driving on the approach road felt strange. We have had a deep love of our destination for many years, missing the last two had an effect on us all. Passed the holiday park and the road narrows, the familiar houses then the Seahorse Inn (a favourite of mine) where we turn down the hill to the sea. We've arrived, its 12:30 and we are here at our spiritual home.

Welcome to Cei Newydd.

A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

Friday 21 August 2015


Preparing for a holiday can be stressful. Not for me, as long as I know where I'm going and I've got clean pants for every day then I'm sorted.

A holiday for me is all about clearing your mind and achieving relaxation. Morticia is going out of her mind worrying about if everything will be done on time. I've no doubt that on Saturday morning we'll be setting off for Wales on schedule.

Monday 17 August 2015


Yesterday was my cycling club's "100 miler". It was a chance for me to really move my cycling to another level. I achieved 2 personal bests, the overall distance which came to 114.6 miles and also the longest/furthest continuous ride (to the cafe stop) which was around 70 miles. 

The ride was from Swinton, South Yorkshire to Narburn, York and back. Adding in my ride from home to Swinton then back afterwards, the ride totaled 114.6 miles. A personal best for distance.

Friday 14 August 2015


This week we moved workplace as government cuts forced our local building to close. We are all now working from a larger facility and if I'm honest I don't like it. I am one that doesn't like change - a creature of habit if you will. Everyone says I will get used to the larger team in time.

The other issue is that it's a far bit closer to my home. Some would say that's a good thing but not if you cycle and enjoy the extra miles (especially the climb).

Maybe I will get used to the change, let's face it I don't really have much of a choice.

Wednesday 5 August 2015


Over a year ago our eldest daughter came back into our lives. Things were good, she moved home and our family was whole again. Then suddenly, I mean like a bolt from the blue, she stated to us that it wasn't working out. She packed a bag and left.

I can try and guess what's going on behind the scenes but I'm not going to waste the energy. My energy is best used holding my family together once more.

She has cut off all ties to us and has not been in contact (apart from replying to a few of my text messages) since she left.

Sunday 2 August 2015


I've been going out almost every Sunday with my new cycling club. I've made new friends and I can feel the benefits over being a 'lone ranger'. Using my cycling camera and a handlebar mount I managed to capture the essence of the Sunday morning ride.

Saturday 18 July 2015


Shaving. A man's right of passage or a lifelong curse?

I've been shaving since I was about 16. As I got older the frequency that I needed to shave increased. I now shave daily but after a few hours you start to see a shadow. My shaving is compounded by the fact that I now shave more than just my face. Before you start having dirty thoughts you should know (if you know me you know) that I shave my head.

I've always been on the lookout for the perfect shaving system. I've had the Gillette and Wilkinson Sword systems but they are so expensive to maintain (especially for my shaving and frequency). I've gone down the budget systems which are cheaper but not brilliant. More recently I've been experimenting with a more old fashioned approach. Shaving like my great Grandad would have. I'm talking about the good old 'safety razor' together with brush and shaving soap. There is definatly a learning curve, the first time I slashed my head to ribbons. Since then I'm getting the hang of it and an appreciation of the art of shaving. I've still got a way to go to mastering the method but it's a satisfying journey. Plus the blades are cheap.

Tuesday 30 June 2015


The earliest mention the Royal George public house was in 1869. Throughout the years I imagine the pub must have served the community well. It would have served miners from the nearby Garrowtree mine and steel worker from the works in Masborough.

Fast forward to 2001, industry is a distant memory and deprivation is common in the area. Houses are built opposite (after many years of being a empty patch of land). It's at this point that I come into the story. It's at this point we begin to have issues with the pub behind our house.

I knew there would be some issues when we bought the house, drunks singing and taxis honking horns, I'm pretty tolerant. The issues we started to get were so much worse than that...

  • Customers smoking weed
  • Kids playing football
  • People climbing into our garden
  • Loud music (speaker put outside on sunny days) 
  • Rowdy behaviour till all hours

It was really driving us mad, especially since our bedroom directly overlooked it. A lot of communication between me, the council and the police (I'm assuming other residents also complained) got the place closed. I always hoped it would reopen with a strong management to turn it into a community asset. It never did.

There was a planning application submitted to convert the building into a large house which was turned down. Then it looked like it might be a restaurant (which we would have apposed because of potential of parking issues).

Last week a fence went up around it and scaffolding went up. We thought it was about to get a refurb (although no planning had been put in). The next thing we knew contractors moved in and started knocking the building down. So now it's a big open space, I'm keeping an eye out for any plans but for now we have a view down the Don Valley.

I was never a customer of the 'George' but I can't help feel a little sad at its demise.

Friday 5 June 2015


Captain's Movie Review in Seven Words...

Visually impressive. Lacks story. They kill Kylie!

IMDb: San Andreas

Ok it's just the usual trip to the cinema except there's a little more to tell. Everyone that knows me knows I don't have hair (on my head) and as such I rarely go out without a hat. In winter they keep me warm and in summer they protect my delicate scalp from the harmful rays. I have quite a collection and last week Morticia bought me a new one when she visited Camden. It was this one I wore to the pictures, whilst we watched the film I set it down in the empty seat by my side. When the film ended we left swiftly. It was when I walked through my door and went to take off my hat I realised it wasn't there and I realised I never retrieved it from the cinema seat. 

I didn't tell Morticia, I felt guilty that I'd not taken care of the gift I'd just received. I fired off an email to the cinema in hope that they would have found it. I waited until lunchtime the next day for a response. I phoned, I re-emailed, and I even telephoned the customer service team. Nothing. In the afternoon I finally got a phone call to say that they had found my hat and I could call in and pick it up at my convenience. 

I'm calling in tomorrow.

Supplemental 1506.06: I called in this morning and retrieved my hat.

Thursday 4 June 2015

1506.04 NOT "FOREVER"

I love TV, I'm no snob about it. There are some great shows out there, too many for anyone to watch them all. Thankfully these days most people have the opportunity to 'catch up' using various methods.

I'm all for trying a new show, if it's good I'll stick with it, if it's bad I'll simply stop. Recently there was a programme called 'Forever' about an immortal doctor (I'll not bore you with the details, I'll stick a link at the bottom for that).

As the series progressed it was more and more evident from internet chatter that the chances of the show being renewed for a 2nd season were becoming less and less. I'll never understand American television politics. Sponsors and time slots are mentioned but I don't get it.

It was confirmed shortly before the season finalle that the show had been cancelled by its American network. A real shame, especially considering some of the crap the Americans keep renewing and sending over.

It's got a slim chance of a lifeline in the form of television streaming services (Netflix or Amazon) which could decide to revive the show. I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday 28 May 2015


It's always been my intention to start cycling with a club. Last year, after the Tour and after I searched out a suitable club, I had the intention of introducing myself. Then, as I've previously mentioned, disaster struck (1409.21). It was a long road to recovery, then finally I got to the stage when I thought I was ready to join my local cycling club. The first time I bottled it but about a month ago I took the leap...

I'd been monitoring the club's activities on their Facebook page for some time. They posted details of the Sunday club ride and I dropped them a comment asking if I could tag along. Very quickly I got a response inviting me along.

I got up nice and early put together my bits and bobs and checked over my 'best' bike (as I had done the night before). I set off into the dry quiet Sunday morning. The ride to the meeting point was about 8km away so it served as a warm up and practice with what was still a fairly unfamiliar steed. I arrived at the meeting point (a pub car park), there were a couple of riders already there to which I introduced myself. More came along, all seemed very welcoming but I still felt a bit of an outsider (understandable I know). There were 2 rides planned, an 'A' run and a 'B'run, I went along with the 'B' group.

I've ridden with a group before but not often and not for a long while. Various members took the time to speak to me and chat as we moved out into the countryside. The pace was probably higher than I would do on a solo ride but not beyond me by a long way, we rode out to Bank View Cafe in Langsett where we had a break and a bite to eat. We left and set off back, the ride was good and I feel I was up to the challenges I put before me. I feel I took the next step in my cycling journey, so much so that I have continued to ride with the group.

Thursday 7 May 2015


If you live in the UK you can't have not noticed that there's an election. For me and millions lie me this election is a potential turning point. As a northern public servant and a carer for my disabled wife I have been in the sights of this Tory government for some time. Tomorrow I will find out if I've got a future (yes I do believe it is that bad).

I voted by post last week, it's not hard to guess when my 'X' went.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

1505.06 FOUR FOUR

My birthday weekend didn't start to well. For months I've been planning my cycle ride to watch the Tour de Yorkshire on the other side of Barnsley. The weather forecast didn't look too clever and as the day approached the predictions got worse. I still prepared as if I was going but when I got up on Sunday morning the rain was biblical, I half expected to see an ark floating down the main road outside my bedroom window. I searched my soul, I really wanted this but did I want to be out in the rain for 4-6 hours? Not to mention the increased potential for accidents (which is something I'm keen to avoid given my recent history). Decision made then, not going... Gutted!

Not only was this my birthday weekend, it was also Bank Holiday Weekend. What to do on a Bank Holiday Monday. One thing was certain I wasn't planning on heading out and sitting in a traffic jam. We (as a family) decided to head out later in the day. We headed out to Bakewell in the Peak District, it's not that far. We had our tea in one of the pubs in the village and a steady walk by the river. It was a lovely evening.

My birthday passed without any significant anything, I booked the time off work which made the day pass easier. Morticia's birthday is the day after, we spent the day at home again.

Sunday 19 April 2015


I've never ever pretended that I'm a particularly great cyclist. I enjoy cycling and that's it. My training seemed for a long while not to be progressing at all. The last few weeks things have started to drop into place. I feel my legs starting to take shape and my weight I'm carrying around my middle is slowly going. I feel as though I'm ready for the next stage... 

Today I almost went out and joined up with a local club with a view to joining. But in the end I bottled it. I'm pretty disappointed with myself especially since my next opportunity won't be for weeks now. Until then I'll carry on riding solo until next opportunity arises. 

Wednesday 15 April 2015


Captain's Movie Review in Seven Words...

Lost charm of the original. Best avoid.

Monday 13 April 2015


When I was off work injured one of the things I did to occupy my time was to do a little research into my family tree. All very interesting... to me maybe, I wouldn't want to bore anyone else with most of what I found.

One thing that became apparent was the confirmation of something I already suspected. The males in my family line (the ones that share my surname) don't seem to live past 65. The ones in my living memory all had poor lifestyle habits but what about the ones in the distant past?

My lifestyle is better that quite a lot of my family. I'm active (cycling a minimum of 100 km per week), I don't (and never have) smoke and I barely drink alcohol (maybe 3 pints a month). My diet has room for improvement but it's not horrendous. The main room for improvement in my opinion is sleep. My sleep pattern is poor and my sleep debt is running too high. I know this is partly due to my wife's condition and my duties as carer. Still I'm sure there's some improvements I can make.

On the news this morning BBC journalist Simon Jack was speaking about the high number of suicides amongst men in their forties and his experience (his father killed himself 25 years ago at age 44). It is subject of a Panorama programme tonight (should be on iPlayer afterwards). This resonated with me as in 2012 I suffered a breakdown which I still feel the invisible scars (more than the visible scars I sport from recent cycling injuries).

All in all I'm at a very dangerous time of life and it's very scary when you think about it.
Fatal silence: Why do so many fortysomething men kill themselves? -

Sunday 15 March 2015

1503.15 MOTHERS' DAY

This year we wanted to do something special to mark Mothers Day. It's the first time in recent years that we've all been together and it needed to be special. The last time we were all together we took a trip to Whitby so we decided to do the same again.

It was an early start (I was up at 6am) so that we could beat any potential crowds. I know it's out of season but it can still get busy.

We had a great day, truly wonderful. Morticia struggled getting around a little but we didnt rush her around. It got quite busy in the middle of the day with queues forming outside all of the cafes, restaurants and take-aways. We waited a while before enjoying a meal in Robertson's fish and chip restaurant.

A good time, no a great time was had but now it's time to pay the price. Morticia, I'm betting will be bed ridden for the next few days. Was it worth it? She says so and who am I to argue?

Friday 27 February 2015


I don't normally mention the passing of celebrities, many of my childhood heroes have passed over the last few years, I guess that happens as you get older.

Today is different, everyone knows I'm a big Star Trek fan and it's been a massive part of my life. I can't remember a time when I wasn't watching Star Trek. So it comes as no surprise that I am deeply saddened by the loss of Leonard Nimoy.

I had the good fortune to briefly meet him 5 years ago. It was at a signing at the Collectormania event, the organisers didn't allow photography or videoing. I went in with a camera around my neck switched on to record video. He was literally signing hundreds of autographs and it was a bit of a 'production line' so my mission was to get a brief engagement. He signed my photo and I held out my hand and spoke to him. He shook my hand and answered, I was is awe! It was a definite highlight in my life.

So I'll leave this post with the words of Admiral Kirk speaking at Spock's funeral at the end of Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan...

"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human"

Rest in Peace Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

Thursday 19 February 2015


I finally have my bike back on the road and (touch wood) I've commenced my riding once again. I had a nervous ride home from work the day before yesterday and it was fine. Yesterday I had a ride out to the HR department which is near to Sheffield City Centre, then onwards (and upwards) to my place of work. The climbs were difficult but I managed. I'm carrying more weight than I'd like, hopefully I can drop a stone fairly quickly (really before the summer if possible).

After so many false starts I'm hoping that this is it.

Sunday 15 February 2015


We don't go out on Valentine's day. As a shift worker it's unusual for me to have the night off. This year it's not only on a Saturday but also it's my day off. Add to this the fact that this is the 20th Valentine with Morticia it just couldn't go without celebration.

Weeks ago I booked a table at Browns restaurant but was later to find out that they were only serving from a set menu (on which there was nothing which really appealed). I managed to get a late booking at a new restaurant called Anchorage, an American east coast establishment.

We had a great evening visiting the Brewdog bar and establishments in the West One complex. The meal in Anchorage was wonderful as was the atmosphere. It turned out wonderful, we both agreed that we are now at a stage with the children that we can go out more regularly. I hope we do this again soon.

We caught the last bus home at midnight.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

1502.03 COLD SNAP

So the first month of 2015 is over. It's been cold and we've had a couple of snow days (snow days for me at least don't mean a day off work).

I had hoped to be back on the bike by now, apart from a couple of commute rides this hasn't happened. Firstly the weather has been against me, I'm not in a place where I'm willing to risk the frostly or snowy days. Then there was a technical problem with my steed. The rear mech felt wrong and following a gear change it chucked the chain off. My mech hanger had bent. Following a visit to my local cycle repair shop it appears that the rear mech has been damaged too. It was on my list to replace so not a huge deal. I'm hoping to have it back later this week.

Our eldest continues to live with us with little issue. If she could just get a job...

The snowfalls had little effect except to delay my commute to work. I noted (as usual) that teachers continue to struggle with getting in. Luckily this didn't affect my youngest daughter's school on this occasion.

I'm writing this on the top deck of the bus on my way home. It's pretty full, there are a number of loud phone calls in foreign languages and the faint sound of tinny headphone leakage. An elderly Asian man is sat beside me (who I'm sure is trying to get a sneaky glance at my phone screen). It's quite a claustrophobic atmosphere, this is why I prefer my bike.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

1501.28 EX MACHINA

The Captain's movie review on 7 words...

An intelligent study of AI with twist.