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Sunday, 31 January 2016

1601.31 A TEMPORARY DRAWING

I've been illustrating my blog with cartoons since October 2007. By April 2010 it had become a requirement for every post. This caused an issue when I didn't have a cartoon to fit the post. Since then I always intended to come up with a placeholder cartoon (I did play with a 'test card' placeholder but I quickly dispensed with it). So 5 years+ later I have done the necessary. Hopefully, if you are reading this years down the line when I've collated my blogs into print (for posterity and my family legacy) this will be the only place you will see this cartoon.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

1601.23 CHUNKY MONKEY

Since Christmas I've pretty much let myself go, eating pretty much whatever is not good for me. Add the fact that Morticia and I have been getting out together more (which is wonderful) it all adds up. My cycling commute is a considerably shorter since I moved workplace last August so the opportunity to burn off the excess just isn't there like it was. 

So I find myself looking down at a bit of a developing gut which has to go... 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

1601.20 END OF THE BIRTH OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Many years ago when few were on the internet and it ran at a snails pace (remember 56K modems?) there came about a website that offered to put us in touch with old friends from our school days or even those friends we just lost touch with. There was of course a cost, they charged a subscription to communicate with our lost friends (it was free to put your details on).

Then came Facebook. Same sort of thing but free. Facebook also let you share information with your current friends too. Did I mention it was free? Friends Reunited eventually stopped charging but by then I think it was too late.

Today I got an email stating they were closing down, I'd all but forgotten about them let alone that I still had an account with them. I've probably still got an account with MySpace too (I have, I just checked). I don't think I'm about to lose any sleep about the passing but it is worthwhile remembering one of the early pioneering web services and social network before the term had even been coined.

Monday, 18 January 2016

1601.18 PROJECT COMMUTER BIKE

2 years ago I put together an old steel bike to get me through the winter commutes. Unfortunately it was crashed into by a car which resulted in me suffering a broken wrist. The bike faired quite well with minor damage and a broken rear wheel.

And so it's sat in my shed ever since. I just haven't been able to face doing anything to it. Until now. I've ordered new wheels (hoping they'll fit since they are a slightly different size) and if I just do a few tweaks and add a few accessories then I'll have a perfect commuter machine.

Watch this space for progress.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

1601.17 FINALLY SNOW

After predictions and forecasts the snow made an appearance last night. I was out enjoying a 'date night' with Morticia whilst Rags was at a sleep over when it started to really come down. Social media was buzzing with pictures of snow covered streets and whinges about getting about.

It lasted just a few hours really. It started to thaw today and is just about gone.
The obligatory snow covered street picture

Thursday, 14 January 2016

1601.14 BONKING

bonk
bɒŋk/ informal verb: 
1. hit (someone or something).
2. [BRITISH] have sexual intercourse.
3. (of a cyclist or runner) reach a point of exhaustion that makes it impossible to go further.

Who's reading expecting some sort of steamy blog post? Sorry to disappoint, this is about the 3rd definition.

Last Sunday was the first time in quite a while that I'd gone out with the cycling club. The weather was favorable and I'd booked the day off work (since I didn't know when I'd get another opportunity). It was great to be out, the turnout was good, we had 16 riders, as we made our way to a cafe in Kellingley near Wakefield. The ride out was without any issues but as we set off back it was into a nasty headwind which made each pedal turn a chore. Every hill felt like a mountain and the closer I got to Swinton (the start & finish point) the harder it became.

I got to the finish point and I was empty. Done. Unfortunately the 'finish' was still about 8km from home with 2 moderate climbs. It was at this point I remembered that I had an emergency flap jack in my pocket. It enabled me to take a slow slog home. The journey that normally takes about 20 minutes took me an hour.

Every rider gets a ride like this at some point. My fitness level has fallen over the winter period and I didn't take that into consideration.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

1601.12 STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

Rags has been going to Army Cadets since before Christmas. Last night she got her uniform, she was so chuffed when she got home. Today she auditioned for the lead in her drama class' performance of "Legally Blonde" and got it. She never ceases to amaze me.

Friday, 8 January 2016

1601.08 SCHOOL REPORT

I took today off. Reason being that tonight was Rags' school parents evening. I've always been an involved father, it's my place to be part of my childrens' education.

Rags has always had good reports from school but this is the first in year 9 (if you are older and without kids in school then it's the 3rd year) so it's the start of her GCSE courses. No pressure then!

We sat one by one in front of teachers who of I'd have seen them in the street would have thought they were also pupils (sorry students) of the same school. Each teacher in turn went on to say how fantastic our daughter was and that she was a "pleasure to teach".

We had promised that if she got a good report from EVERY teacher then she would receive a prize. Safe to say that this evening had cost us. I will be ordering her a new charm for her Nomination bracelet (what she has chosen). Afterwards we went for tea at the Ring O Bells pub (a Hungry Horse), it was free dessert night with main meals so the treat was even better.

Monday, 4 January 2016

1601.04 NEW CAR

Not strictly true, I'll explain. The last time I bought a car was 0707.26 (July 2007), it was a Citreon Xsara Picasso which is still going strong in the hands of Morticia's father. For the last 4 years (for reasons I'm not going to go into) we have leased our car. For 3 years we had a Nissan Qashqui, which was a wonderful car. A year last December it was time to change. After some deliberation we chose a Fiat 500L which ticked all the boxes.

For reasons again I'm not going to elaborate on the lease was to come to a premature end. As this all came to light over the Christmas period it has been a rush to sort things out. I managed to negotiate to purchase our current vehicle and this morning I completed the transaction.

We now own our Fiat 500L, It's a great car with character, a glass roof, loads of boot space and is nice and economical. I'm happy, relieved and satisfied with how it's all turned out. 

Our new car (taken a year before we owned it)

Saturday, 2 January 2016

1601.02 SURPRISE!

One of the main reasons for visiting Morticia's mother was because it's her 60th birthday on the Tuesday following our visit. It was Morticia's dream to organise a bit of a surprise party. Preparations have been ongoing for some months now with a special cake being commissioned and secret communications with her partner. All this and trying to keep her mother from suspecting anything. Friends and family were invited and we organised the food and
drink. 

The day came and a suitable distraction was sorted to get her out of the house whilst I, together with Rags and [Morticia's mother's] partner put u up banners and balloons as well as preparing the buffet. Guests arrived and shortly after the birthday girl returned to a huge SURPRISE!!

Morticia's brother and family also came down (they live near us so the journey is 2 hours) and was the proverbial icing on the cake.

The party was a big success and I think will be remembered for years to come. 

Happy birthday Mother in law!

Friday, 1 January 2016

1601.01 LET'S GET STARTED

So I survived 2015. Today I find myself, as in previous years, in St Neots at the mother in law's. We drove down last night following a day shift at work. 

I'm not about to lay down any resolutions, to me they are pointless and just setting myself up to fail before I start. I've got some goals but I think I'll keep those to myself. The only thing I'll happily reveal is the fact that I intend to cycle further this year (last year I managed a total of 5017km) than last year. 

There are loads more changes on the cards at work with a new shift pattern being implemented in April and the possibility of a forced transfer to a new team (as they attempt to balance numbers following last year's exodus).

I'm hoping we can pull off another holiday this August , it's a very important event in our family's year and our visits to Wales a very special to us all. 

Then there's the beard. I've had a goatee on and off since I was in my early 20s. The style has been tweeked over the years and since the hair on my head went has been the only hair above my neck for some years. About a month ago I decided to myself that I would let the beard grow down and that it has. The plan is obviously in the public domain now since it extends down from my chin about an inch. Morticia wasn't chuffed but I think she's started to accept it since she bought me some beard conditioning oil for Christmas. My boss hasn't said anything (since our appearance is regulated) so for now I'm going to enjoy it and see where it goes. 
My beard featured in my
onesie on Boxing Day!
Oh, and Star Trek is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year.

1601.01 HAPPY NEW YEAR


Happy New Year to everyone. Except David Cameron. 

Hoping 2016 is going to be the year when everything just finally works out.