Monthly Archives: July 2008

A Ride

After last night’s confession about not much exercise, today at work I formulated a plan to take the mountainbike out for an evening spin.

Then changed my mind and decided I wasn’t making best use of the summer, wasn’t too tired so perhaps the motorbike should have an outing. And that’s how I ended up here.

I think i’ve mentioned Soichiro Honda on here before – great bloke, fantastic visionary, good educational attitude but developed a soul-less corporation of adequacy in vehicles. The people who buy his bikes are much the same, it seems. Well, excepting those who own an RC30, of course. That bike makes exceptions to laws, we all know that. Suzuki make poorly finished, reasonably desireable bikes with a 2 year shelf life and riders who’d like to but really can’t quite. Except GSX R750’s and their riders who know a decent package, normally know how to ride and can thus be excused for erring on the side of blueness. I can’t understand Kawasaki or their riders – all so dated after about 2 weeks, ugly, predominantly green and somehow lull their owners into all sorts of colour matched leathery nastyness. Except…nope, i’m struggling – even Z1 owners are odd. Ducati? Let’s leave it there. Triumph? Not yet. Harley? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Ah, Yamaha. Every correct thinking man’s steed of choice. Well, mine for now, anyway. So this evening, the R6 at the top of the page got fired into life. I was feeling a touch tired, but not so bad I couldn’t go for an easy bimble, did the first 8 miles or so at an easy pace, slowly around the corners as I wasn’t really feeling it, gently on the straight bits and generally just rolling corner to corner. Then got to the main road junction and a CBR600F eased past, race can loudly to the fore but generally looking sterile as you like. So I pulled out behind him, only for his blue mate on his SV1000S to come alongside, albeit in the next 40 limit, exhaust booming in a typical “me! me! me!” style of annoyance.

Loud pipes are fun, I admit (mine’s not quiet, after all), but living on a main road, their appeal is diminishing and my theory has always been for people who race through villages and towns to be shit on proper roads. Well, Mr SV then came past, then carried on accelerating, all the way through the subsequent 30 limit and beyond, his soul-less mate following along. I was going to turn off, but this act annoyed me so I thought i’d put my village theory to the test and give chase, so after the 30 limit, that’s what I did.

And, true to form, 1.5 miles , about 12 bends and 4 cars later, they were holding me up.

Absolute frustration. I wasn’t on top form, they were just slow idiots with loud pipes living up to  stereotype. I was annoyed and their actions in the next town did nothing to change that. Thankfully I took a different route to them next and had a fun blat home, albeit going past a bloke on a Kawasaki outside Sissinghurst fast enough to wonder what was up and feeling guilty in the process, but it was all fun.

And I can now carry on with my slow rider theory, continue to feel quick on a bike despite really definitely not being so any more, state Honda and Suzuki riders are knobs and look forward to the weekend with the best distraction from wanting to do all that is dear to me in the world ever.

209 cars. And if I can stop singing the Button Moon tune and not think of the third sheep from the left, i’ll be onto a winner!


Ok, I admit, things have been slow on the exercise front.

The temperature has at last reached the levels that prohibit me from doing much and while I run in sleet and snow and like a cold house to sleep in (which may have to change on selected evenings this winter [with any luck!]), I can’t carry on in the heat such as it is.

So, aside from having disappointing quantities of sheep whenever guests arrive, not skydiving much due to enjoying other areas of life to keep me out of the sky and removing several million atoms of kneeslider on Sunday afternoon, life’s been un-bloggable.

But it’s all good. I’d like to be a touch less tired, something i’m about to take steps to sort out with inordinate hours of sleep for a week night, other than that, the mountain bike should get a thrapping on the weekend and if the temperature goes low, i’ll run again.

Until then, 12mm rain last night (most of which I walked back from the station through), 2mm evapouration today, 211 cars and 10 sheep. Honest!


In a timeframe that seems like a million years ago now, I made a foolish statement that the field behind me contained over 20 sheep. Well, I say foolish statement – that’s a bit unfair, it did contain many sheep at that time. But no-one (well, no-one I know. The neighbours did and Dave will back me up, i’m sure. Ask him when you see him!) saw them, until one day they all disappeared, then 3 returned, then the number grew back to 6. Where it stalled. And I was scrabbling for credibility, attempting to prove I can count, that 6 isn’t over 20, that there were more, really, honest, and that i’m not a bare faced liar.

Well, today after my run and shopping trip, I went for the daily look across to the pond and thought “that bunch of sheep looks more like a flock”. Then it moved, I did a headcount and lo! 10 sheep! Ok, it’s not a score, but now double figures have been reached, I feel more relaxed about my sanity. Well, maybe that’s taking it a bit far, but my powers to recognise quantities of animals, at least!

But before I saw them, upon finishing work (first day back. Does anyone have a method of returning safely to work after a great holiday without contemplating retiring at least a trillion times before getting on with things?) I went for a hilly 4.6 miles. Around the block, past the park the long way, alongside the tennis courts and up the long hill to the top. Then back, but downhill all the way. A bit warm for me (after an average weeks’ weather while I was off, now it comes good…typical), but i’m guessing a lot warmer for the oddity playing tennis in a long sleeved top and jeans. I liked his style, but if you drop personal standards to a level where you’ll be seen playing tennis in public, why not go the whole hog and don a pair of shorts, eh?

34 minutes 55 wasn’t setting any pb’s alight but my calves are oddly tight, it felt fun, was warmer than I like and I was happy.

Still am, really. Despite work, life’s good.

237 cars. 10 sheep. 4.6 miles.

Slower than a run

So Saturday came and went with a late-ish start, a smooth trip to London, a spot of gardening and the promise of fine ale. That translated into a mix of beer, one pint of St. Austell and some Italian fare and part one of my master plan for a fine weekend completed. Which was enhanced upon the return home by Cathy showing more enthusiasm for the bikes than I imagined as the BMX was climbed aboard for an impromptu ride around the downstairs living area with no encouragement whatsoever. And that from a girl who hasn’t ridden for 30 years and finds BMX bikes wrong, wrong and wrong again!

So, being encouraged that Sunday may lead to a ride after all, I woke reasonably eagerly. Then gave up, slept for an age and decided my last day before returning to work could indeed be taken at a suitably leisurely pace that it would be savoured rather than regretted.

This was backed up when Cathy got on the mountain bike for a proposed ride to see if the cows had yet returned and duly announced her intention to fall off/ run over small people/ get run over/ fall in the canal. I had no intention of any of these becoming reality, so we set off slowly. Honest. The ride was good. One set of steps was enjoyed, one moment saw a near perilous speed wobble as the bike drifted onto the edge of a grassy bank (not the rider, clearly…just the bike!) and the pace was pleasant for a Sunday jaunt. Despite the bombing of the set of steps, just to demonstrate what is possible and not because it’s fun in the slightest of course and jumping every speed hump encountered, the overall pace for 8.5 miles was slower than a run, but far more entertaining, while much quicker than a walk and far far far more amusing so all in a damned pleasant round off to a good week.

Running form should return next week, Monday will probably be a seafront jaunt, Thursday or Friday will see a return to the hills and stress will grow. Roll on the weekend again!

241 cars. And no, you can’t put it back in. Correct!


After my excitement on Wednesday, proving I can fall towards the ground at 120mph and move in a co-ordinated fashion whilst doing so, i’ve been quite happily enjoying my holiday with a bit of gardening, a coordinated effort to visit every style of restaurant in London and generally being supremely happy.

I can tick off Chinese, South Indian, Italian and Turkish just from the last week, so it’s probably for the best that today I went for a bit of a run. Unfortunately i’ve also been introduced to a pub that has 4 taps on one portion of the bar alone, starting from the left; St. Austell Brewery Best, Sussex Best, Timothy Taylor Landlord and London Pride. All would be included in a list of my 5 favourite pints. So that means 8 visits before I even start on the promised Belgian fruit beer varieties. Happy evenings, more running to prevent beer bloat awareness!

The run itself was uneventful. The backs of my thighs were hurting before I set off, my calves were tight all the way around, I only set off for 4 miles anyway and it passed without drama. Felt really really hungry about 3 miles in, though, so fried off some beansprouts, carrot and cabbage as soon as I got in before devouring a steak and trimmings about half hour later. And if i’m still 9 stone bloody 9 tomorrow, i’ll be calling whichever dietician I can find and offer them my metabolism for research into skinniness in the face of adversity!

The clouds put paid to any dreams of a jump this afternoon, so I did a briefing at the club to convert myself from ripcord (reliable method of canopy deployment, but depends on a sprung pilot chute to pull the main canopy) to throw away whereby you physically throw the pilot chute into the wind (has no chance of coming over the nose of the main canopy after deployment so is more reliable still and most rigs are configured that way), so the afternoon was all good.

Seems life is fine at the moment…guess work next week will bring me back down with a thump. Got a great weekend planned, so i’ll suspend panic about what I don’t know until the last second on Monday morning!

Trace of rain. 248 cars.


Maybe the shortest post in the world.

I’m off out in a second, but before then…I went to the parachute club this morning, hoping the wind would stay down to do a practice then hopefully a registered qualifying jump.

Got on the second lift, kitted up nervously, but thought it didn’t matter if it went wrong as it was only a practice. So I did a nice dive exit, stabilised, turned right 360, left 360, checked altitude, backlooped (went slightly sideways, but it was fine), checked altitude again, waved off, turned 180, tracked for 3 seconds, stabilised, checked altitude and had loads. Since it was a practice, I had 4000ft. left to play in, so turned again, tracked a bit, stabilised, waved off and pulled at 4000ft. Nice landing, everything.

Back at the sheds, I was well happy, put my name up for a proper go, started packing, got called over by Jane, ran through the jump, she confirmed all i’d said (she was observing through the biggest binoculars known to man) and wrote in my book that that was that…QJ over, all splendid.

Then the wind got up, a student was taken off the next lift, I took his place and thus completed my first jump as a licensed skydiver. A-license, done. Bring on the next stage! Right, time to go.

Murderous intent?

One thing was on my mind upon going to bed last night and that was my failure to run. It was a good day, but with my plans for the rest of the week, my three run plan is looking shady if the weather’s fine tomorrow and I spend the day at the parachute club.

So this morning, I got up, ate, hacked up some ivy from the neighbouring fence ready for a trip to the dump, had a second beverage and a quick paper read (ah, the way I spoil myself on holiday!) then set out for a lope.

The road was a bit busy, so I crossed almost as soon as I left the drive, then spotted a dad with his three daughters and son, all on bikes, all waiting to cross the road on their bikes, all evidently off for a game of tennis. So after i’d got about half way to them, I was planning where i’d stop to let them see and cross…when the doting father gave his boy the all clear to go and all I could hear was a) squealing tyres and b) the dad calling his first (bravest?) daughter back who’d followed her brother away. And yes, the squealing tyres were from a locked-up transit trying to miss his son. I very quickly guessed a few things. 1) He encouraged his son to go when he did because he wanted to kill him. 2) He called back his daughter because he didn’t want her to go the same way. Or certainly not at the same time. 3) He doesn’t quite get the way roads work, or he’d take his family half way down the hill to allow an easier start, more chance to see vehicles and thus extend plenty of lives…not least the van driver’s tyres. It was great. Especially the boy crying instantly he stopped on the path, asking his dad why did you try to kill me with broken, sobbing speech! None of the girls showed a hint of surprise, so I guess it’s a reasonably frequent event as family outings go.

Still, it took my mind off the heat of the run. Which reminds me why I stop running in the summer, usually. Man, it was cloudy, breezy and not as warm as it should be, but just over half way, I was overheating and feeling so sluggish I wanted it to be over. Good job I had plenty of drink. Still, 5.4 miles, 42.10 with no pace increase in the end mile, so not too bad.

Followed by the aforementioned trip to the dump, a swift banana purchase, a thrash on the bike, a clean of the bike and here I am. The mountain bike will be abused this evening, just in the local car park for some stunts practice (probably more like re-learning…it feels aeons since last time), then an early night – the weather looks good for jumping tomorrow and I want to be fresh.

5.4 miles. 252 cars. One family incident. A holiday that’s looking good.

Ah yes, a holiday

Another cracking weekend, and just for once it didn’t end with an exercise and ironing session. Nice. Instead, a late bit of food and an hour in front of the box gave way to sleep (needed after a restless Saturday night – why do a few beers sometimes bring on superb sleep and at others lead only to fitful dozing? Maybe I should change the drink of choice to investigate…) and a bit of a lie in.

I was intending on a run today, but that’ll now be a tomorrow morning job.

Instead, a bit of weeding in the garden gave way to a ride on the motorbike. A trip to see the parents left the kneesliders in the same state they started in (too much diesel on the reliable corners for my liking) but did leave a big black line on the road on the return journey which wasn’t intended. In fact, how I didn’t fall off will forever be a mystery. Last year, when the bike was only a couple of months old, I locked the rear wheel when it un-weighted in a bit of panic braking, causing it to slew around a bit. Which, to be honest, felt fun. Especially when the old bike’s back brake a) didn’t work, b) didn’t need to as the front could hold the back wheel in the air reliably and controllably from 70mph and c) meant my foot was so far from a comfortable position it hurt. Today, I came out of a corner on one of the lanes to find a dirty great trailer in the road with an 8 wheel tipper lorry coming in the opposite direction. The gap didn’t look good. So, I hit both brakes. On a slight crest in the road. Which was bumpy. And the front wheel locked. And the bike went away from me, so I let off the front anchor, squeezed my buttocks and the back lever a touch harder in unison, felt the bike squirrel both ways once more and somehow aimed for what little gap there was and made it through. I thought the dark visor was to ease the glare and look good, not hide fearful expressions…might invest in some brown leathers too if this carries on! Still, the rest of the ride home was uneventful.

Then I went to the parachute club, it being nice and sunny, but the winds were just over strength, I didn’t want to waste the rest of the day waiting so after a couple of hours, came home, gardened a bit, ate, cursed my broadband (which seems to be breaking…roll on October when I can change the server) while I excercised (upper body), made a couple of phone calls, cleaned the car and here I am.

Damned good start to the holiday, a run tomorrow morning and who knows what else? Repeat today to fade would suit, to be honest. Life’s ok at the moment.

No rain (a trace over the weekend, but I was out so can’t tell if it amounted to the magic millimetre). 252 cars.


So yesterday didn’t go at all as planned.

First off, I forgot my running kit when leaving for work, but didn’t feel it a problem as I fancied a run around the village anyhow. But then, with the threat of finishing the job being so tantalisingly close as well as two disappointed directors walking around with faces like smacked arses, I felt a bit of a push might be needed. Or should I say a bit more of a push. Didn’t know if that were possible, but didn’t want to give up, so finally left a mere 12.5 hours after arriving. And once home, spoke to my favourite person in the world, ate, washed up, watered the greenhouse (well, strictly speaking, the contents of the greenhouse…you get the idea) and went to bed.

Only to find myself flat out on site again just 11.5 hours after i’d left (who needs more than 10 hours at home in every 36, eh?), trying to get the site into a state I could get snagged and forget about for the next week while i’m off.

And at 5.40 this evening, I managed it.

And promptly set off on a pleasant 4.2 mile seafront run to celebrate. And felt I should have gone the hilly route after all, the wind being so strong it was like running uphill anyway. Except the hilly route wouldn’t have let me view the entire population of China trying to get into one photo, on Hastings seafront, in the wind, at high tide, all seemingly glum faced at the prospect. And I do mean all. Well, I guess it was all – I think there were several billion of them, crammed in, trying to out glum each other. I hope they cheer up before they go home. Or that they saw the girl I watched after the run, proper drunk at all of twenty past six, wobbling around, abusing her mate before vomiting bright blue liquid all over her previously dirty white trousers. Nice girl. Her dad’s done the raising of her well.

I worry about the future of the planet. I mean, blue vomit? It could at least be cider at her age…

So, now I have a week off. A week of all sorts of stuff I love. I’ll update as it happens.

Loads of rain…when did I last enter it?  13mm Weds, 3.5mm Thurs, trace today. 256 cars.


Since the 5 mile saunter on Sunday, my legs have been feeling fresh. But unfortunately the need to shop, catch up after a weekend out, water the greenhouse and work unfeasibly long hours has prohibited all but upper body exercise bits.

So, no running yet, Thursday will get me out onto the hills of Hastings where i’ve planned my 6.2 mile hilly route to re-build some muscle and get ready for a week of flat runs around the village because NEXT WEEK I’M ON HOLIDAY. Did I say that loudly enough?

The week I cancelled for Alex to be able to go away with his little lady friend has at last nearly arrived. And I intend to do far more skydiving than is healthy for my bank balance, run lots, ride the wheels off the motorbike, run, do the garden, find a decent route into London, sleep, cycle, eat as much local bakery produce as my arteries can handle and mostly forget work, forget work and forget a bit more work than that.

Hopefully with a bit less than yesterday’s 10mm rain or todays 6.5mm. Clouds looked good, though. 275 cars to go. 1 evening of fun being looked forward to tomorrow.