September 26
Last night I took advantage of the last night of the year when I could take my road bike to [[Herne Hill Velodrome]] for a spell on the track. I arrived early in the foolish hope that I'd be able to get more time on the track, only to find a school session with track bikes was beginning, so since road and track bikes simply do not mix I had to wait my turn. When I did take to the track it took a while to find my stride, I was immediately disappointed to find I could not really "pull the big one" in top gear, settling for one or two down. I had to pull over after a few minutes to divvy up my fiver (goes towards upkeep and insurance, so can't really grumble), sign the sheet with contact details, don the numbered elastic band (so they know who I am if unconscious!) and surrender my water bottle (made sense, don't want the distraction on a track). Then back to the track, this time with a few more riders. It turns out Herne Hill is perfect for taking a turn with a road bike, the circuit is wider than the modern Velodrome and the banking a good ten degrees less steep, this gleaned from Wikipedia. I was determined to try an put in a decent average and tried to pace myself whilst making the odd burst and experimenting with an odd half lap here and there slipstreaming form the odd rider. At the end of the session I had put in 54 odd minute ride time and averaged 20.97 mph, which feels OK. I will certainly be extremely proud if I ever turn in stats like that on the open road! It was quite something to discover the amount of effort slipstreaming cuts out of the ride, especially as it was a very windy day and one side of the circuit much harder work than the other. But I always chose to drop out of any group or rider I was following, wanting the personal challenge and not knowing any of the others. There was one pair of gents quite my senior whom I never could catch despite going many turns of the track - now I can see that since they were pairing they'd have an easier time keeping up a good speed! So to catch them would actually have been a big ask, even if I were fitter than I am. The odd full on carbon bike whizzed past me from time to time, and not sure I'd ever get on with the peculiar acoustics of those in operation, sounds too much like an airfix kit on wheels for my liking. I struggled to cope with seeing the young teenager in the track class also, because he had a dreamy Pinarello road bike, full Cinelli "designer" riding gear, and clearly a far younger fitter body than I'll ever have again - felt like he had the world handed to him on a plate, and here I am aged 52 with my first decent road bike.... hard not to acknowledge some degree of envy. My most significant consolation is, of course, our magnificent tandem and the best stoker in the world home I shall be marrying next year, God willing!
05:02 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
September 21

Didactic is dying, long live Reading!

see the link , Now I really have no excuse for not being more diligent in my reviewing of my reading and so forth - who knows, perhaps there may even be a revival in the commenting, and accessibility of my writing blog? It is a work in progress, but that is my aim.
05:21 AM | 0 Comments
September 10
isn't she lovely?
02:57 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: ,
will you look at the back tyre on that!
02:54 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,
September 05

Step Zero

Hello, my name is Paul And my father is an alcoholic (hit the wall) I dream of my father's death and it is still his problem (take a breath) Hello my name is Paul And my mother is dead (hit the nail on the head) Goodbye Dionysian wines of sun, Hedonistic Epicurean good clean fun (have a whine) Goodbye my name was Paul I never had a problem with alcohol at all (hit the wall) There may or may not be scope for a poem in there - too autobiographic for me. AA meetings - not a bundle of fun. Seems they are a way of life for many. Now then, where's my next one? Ha ha Ha.
03:30 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,
August 31

The Death of Didactic

I am not going to renew the domain.... the new domain (already purchased) is or I doubt it will however, be read by any more people - eu or not you.... I am hoping to grapple with Chyrp and make commenting easier somehow though then again I am in an exceptionally negative mood at the moment, witness the fact I have read about ten book since my last review.... shame, maybe, then again maybe I need to be more in touch with the eclectic (who has also not been making any entry) or maybe the online side of things is just not worth a candle...
09:35 PM | 0 Comments
August 18

pyjamas hurts and life

SO I was happy to discover that at the end of "The Boy in Striped Pyjamas" the boy dies! Yeah go make the bad guy Nazi pay - and what a stereotype that the women are good in the movie of the book - there is something sick in that... I was very disappointed in the way that Gretchen did not counterbalance - at least in the movie... on the other hand I saw the end of "the Hurt Locker" on the telly also - and was impressed by one aspect alone (I do NOT think it should have been up for any Oscars - pretty crap movie IMHO) but what I did notice was the scene where a so called suicide bomber was actually strapped into a cage with a timer etc. and had walked up to the bomb disposal team seeking help to get himself out of the bomb cage, so to speak. Of course this is an American movie and he did not get out and the bomb disposal guy did not die (BOoooo) but it does cast the term "suicide bomber" in another light and make me wonder if this movie was actually propaganda of modern times - hence the Oscars, which are of course American - and no one could deny America is myopic and one sided when it comes to suicide bombs and Muslims, maybe? Anyway - it got me thinking a bit... And on a side note I was most upset they cut the audio description commentary on the pyjamas move so I still do not know if that was the voice of Jeremy Hardy and I somewhat doubt google is a friend in that regard! - /me goes to search.... Have to say impossible to discover whom should be credited with the voicing of the audio description for this movie, if anyone could let me know - in fact if anyone ever reads this that would be nice to know.... yeah yeah comment whore - but whatever
12:42 AM | 0 Comments
June 26

Liberia - no place to be young and female

the title says it all - I heard about the situation there from a "Save the Children" spokesperson on Radio Four this morning - and the images haunt me still... to be written, sorry, but will soon try to encapsulate I did spend many hours trying to find a way to donate specific to my concerns - without success sad to say
10:03 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: ,
June 16

A salutary tale

I have developed [a coping strategy]( "forum post that explains this strategy") for my cycling... well for the times when I feel danger has been inflicted upon me, for want of a better expression. My normal experiences of this are depressingly abusive towards myself - for example recently I was cut up by a driver, quite badly as she turned left despite my loud proclamation, "Please do not cut me up!" an don drawing level with her at the traffic lights she discarded a fag butt in my general direction and told me to "F**K Off" before I could even ask if she knew she had cut me up (obviously it was intentional). I was left feeling shitty despite my best efforts to drop her aura of shittiness all over me..... But then a couple of days ago things turned out with a most expected outcome... I was travelling up the first hill on my commute and a car seemed to whizz by about 18 inches off my elbow, which is enough to get my ire up... I managed to get a wriggle on and catch him in a queue of traffic on the other side of the hill... at first the driver appeared to be your usual, and showed no signs of hearing my complaint of less than three feet clearance on overtaking. Things seemed promising when he volunteered to pull over to discuss. We continued to dispute reasonably and I thanked him for taking the time to pull over. Not long after that he said "You don't know who I am do you?" and proceeded to reveal he was manager of [[Herne Hill Velodrome]]! He explained an oncoming car had been signalling left and then come straight on, combined with my perhaps not "keeping my line" and he had thought I was downshifting with my bike being a tourer etc. My mind was already thrown into turmoil and I sort of almost offered a salute. He asked if I had taken part in the recent "night ride" and I said not this year, but did it last year on our tandem. Before long we were comparing tandem tales, it turned out he once managed a 30 miles in a sub hour time and held a record on a day when that particular record was broken six times! Sadly his wife sold the tandem after apparently throwing up behind him, which I can imagine would be a pretty off-putting experience all round. But the tale is salutary in more ways than my involuntary salute I think... Given we one day hope to plan a tandem club ride involving a Velodrome stop for the café I am sure this could actually be the first time a positive new contact has been made in such apparently adverse circumstances.
08:49 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,
May 26

Bamboo Bike ahoy!

Tomorrow - eleven AM - I am booked in for a ride on the FIRST BAMBOO BIKE in London! More to follow soon , but I am extremely and unreasonably excited.... [See here for pics etc!]( "Link to another blog post on te subject with picture!") WOW! More details to come soon - but it was something else - a real blast! If I had unlimited money and enough space in my house/life for another bike this could very well be one I would choose!
12:30 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: ,
May 15
Chirpy chirpy cheese platter?
08:37 AM | 0 Comments

Beaks, tails, and tubes

It has been a very Spring-like time of late.... rejuvenation of bicycles under varying conditions and the thrill of a third (drum brake on Derek). Also out diary has been very full, happily with some entertaining into the mix. Pictures are to follow above this post which will shed some light on the subject line! And shed some light is an apt turn of phrase, because the tails referred to are those of "Voyager" where I have been struggling to find a satisfactory way to attach a "Cateye" rear light whose fitting needs to be plundered for Derek. I thought I had hit upon it when I superglued to a pound shop fitting and improvised with Bungees, but first after a week or so the glue gave out and then I found the bolt had compromised the fitting also. I had time over the weekend to play with some other options and am hopeful of an ingenious arrangement with the (re-glued with another adhesive) fitting sandwiched and ganging adjacent to the dérailleur. Of course the light is going to get dead mucky and have a hard life, but I rather like the idea of a low hanging light into the mix with my seat post and rear helmet - we'll see how long this one lasts (and if I hear it fall should it become detached!). As for the beaks, well we had guests over the weekend and had deployed our cheese platter (pictured). This was an impulsive gift from my sister, and we were a little surprised when our guest said "OH! You've got a Sarah Rose!" Or something (I may have the name wrong). It turns out these birds atop or incorporated into her designs are a trade mark and that our cheese platter is somehow a celebrity in the chine world! And we never knew we has posh pottery at all! Last and gloomiest are the tubes - no pictures but suffice to say I somehow contrived to have two punctures on Friday, to blow out a valve on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon in the process of "repairing" managed to explode one tube, fit another with a slow which had to be removed, attempt fitting a 26" MTB tube to a 700 35mm tyre (don't bother trying, it is futile!) and finally somehow patch over the two patches with a slow to achieve one good tube, which I shall have to ride direct to the bike shop to get a spare. At least that is (fingers crossed) my entire puncture allowance for the next thousand miles in one weekend. I am aspiring to acquire the new limited edition "London" tyres from Schwalbe which might just make that mileage achievable puncture free, but I have yet to see them in a bike shop... maybe tomorrow?
06:18 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,
May 14
Voyager can has tail light!
05:38 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,
April 24

Little Big ride

This weekend will see "The Big Ride" in London, organised by the London Cycling Campaign with closed roads between Park Lane and Embankment and plenty of satellite rides feeding in from Boroughs and towns all around. And I am respecting my daughters stated wish to join the ride without recourse to motorised transport - this indeed will make it a Big Little Ride! Having plotted the journey for the quietest options it looks like we will put in about nine miles each way, maybe a touch less on the return depending what we do at the ride. And the ride is sure to be about six miles - which makes the total my daughter will be attempting about twenty four miles.... now you have to remember her previous maximum distance was under twelve miles and that took about two and a half hours..... So I have every faith that this is within her capabilities, but also I know this is going to be a big ask she is making of herself. I just hope I can be a good Dad about it and keep all pressure off and above all make it fun and safe so that she has only good memories of the event. I am not worried about my memories in the slightest - it is going to be hard work for me too End of the day my only "get out of jail card" is to lock the bikes and resort to public transport or cab, returning at a later time to pick up bikes.... Then again, this is England, there is the weather.... But then I am me and my daughter seems to be growing a similar affinity for cycling so far as I can tell..... Buoyed up at the moment having plugged in my hi-fi again after it's last mothball period - not the turntable obviously - that would need a new house basically to be viable... But one day my vinyl may be heard again, one day....
03:58 AM | 0 Comments
April 03

Arvo Pært's Pasio

Yesterday I discovered this was to be performed at Westminster Abbey tonight. There were still tickets in the North Nave, just a few so I took a couple. Glad I did as I see it is now sold out I have since learned this is apparently one of his most popular works, base don the St Johns Gospel and involving some complicated schema known as [tintinnabuli]( "a description of tintinnabuli from wikipedia") which I guess is where tintinnabulation comes from? Jesus is a baritone with Pilate a tenor and a quartet for the evangelist - with choral backing I guess.... Seventy minutes straight through so there's some level of anxiety about being there on time! This was an extremely memorable concert, but I have to be honest - there were perhaps six or maybe a dozen bars in the performance that I found incredibly transformative, needless to say the crucifixo and the closing bars were the passages. I do not mean to diminish the rest of the performance though and I am certain the whole was required for those parts to have affected me the way they did. I have never had the sensation of light as intensely as the closing of that piece, and I can completely understand the reasons for the ascension and halos to be golden now.... During the more narrative parts I did idly wonder what the life of a serious choirboy at a school like that is and how it shapes the man; and ironically my thoughts tended to be along the lines of "there but for the grace of God!"...! Well, it strikes me as ironic now, perhaps there is something of the Easter message in that to be discovered?
05:00 PM | 0 Comments
March 28

Voyage to my Mother

Grid reference 116586, remember that.... there are a wild cherry and an oak, remember row L/25/73 and L/C/56 (row C is directly above row 1).... These facts should lead me to the place where I once arranged for trees to be planted at Tredethick Farm dedicated to my late mother. I am thinking of cycling there and have entered a "quiet route" option to the Cycle Journey planner, which tells me to allow for just over three hundred miles and "more than a days cycling"... I reckon a week easy..... But I should phone ahead to Tim and Nicky to check they are in if I want them to show me to the trees so I'll need to remember 01208 873618 too, but I much prefer the idea of scanning the hand drawn map and working my own way there, trespass and solitary pilgrimage are surely more the way to approach this, though life may very well surprise me. Right now I have no idea if I shall even depart.... I am contemplating a more urban journey to where it all began at Montpelier Road right now, but aware that is slightly foolhardy. Then there's getting back.... What the cost? Now there's a reckoning....
11:26 PM | 0 Comments
March 15

Cycling Society

Perhaps it is the weather, with a surge of sunshine unexpectedly and a warmer day not so long ago, but my mind is turning to cycling and I cannot seem to find any way to concentrate on work. However it is not especially cheerful as my random online readings have led me to discover the painfully slow progress and tortuous dealings around the Blackfriars Bridge developments and the fact that the Olympics towpath and cycle routes are actually being CLOSED for the Olympics. Aero often remarks that she believes some things are being done properly and I shall be intrigued to see what she may make of the "floating towpath" plans as and when they may come about, but from where I ride it seems a pathetically lost opportunity for massive improvements to London Cycling being completely lost. Hopefully there will be an outlet for my frustrations on the 28th April, when "The Big Ride" is scheduled with closed streets to try and make a point of raising the profile of cycling safety for London in the run up to the mayoral elections. It would be a very dad day for London Cycling if Boris Johnson were re-elected, I have a sick feeling most people believe he is somehow linked with cycling in a positive way, when in fact it was pure political manoeuvring and he clearly cares very little for the lot of the London Cyclist. But returning to the view of sunlight beyond the bars of the office, my mind realises there is a wider society of others who cycle and that I have been too long from joining their ranks - I really should sign up to the London Cycle Campaign, I almost did so right here and now, but then realise there was an option of "corporate membership" which awoke the sleeping procrastinator in me. So I shall try (in vain no doubt) to persuade the small outfit where I work to fork out two hundred quid for a corporate membership then I'd be able to sign up for half price. Or maybe I should just ask Aero to go halves on it, that would be more pragmatic and put the procrastinator back to sleep!
02:47 PM | 0 Comments
February 24


I read things I have written here and I feel pretty much sick and sad. Aero never comments any more, I am ranting and raging to myself, it has no meaning nor theme nor any coherent structure. Neither does my life, but that is no excuse. Going out on my bicycle is not an answer, but I am unable to sleep and have no answer. Tomorrow I shall go to work - Aero is left alone again and it will, no doubt, feel like an act of anger and spite. How I ache and rage against the wastefulness of my life that has left me deposited here washed up with a dead end recycling job and not much hope of any future. But that is the talk of poor me and he is DEAD. Long live manic me. Now let's get those screens tested and sorted and let's get the shit stowed and let's haul ass and build computers and sell the fuckers to bring in the money to pay the man. And let's kiss ass and apologise too while we're at it - everyone has to eat shit some of the time.
10:29 PM | 0 Comments

manners and misogyny

I have a strange feeling that the exhibition of unwarranted courtly manners can be a "tell" for a misogynistic nature. I have desisted from waiting for my therapist to sit before I do myself. I derive a weird pleasure from knowing that my partner is unlikely to ever read these words far less to comment on them/ How regressed am I? About eleven, maybe? Luckily it changes all the time and I mainly want to talk to my inner adult - the seventy year old geezer inside - who is not so dumb. Talking of therapists she wants me to write a letter to my father to get him out of my head - nice idea - sadly not so simple - the fucker needs shooting and a bullet in the brain, well it is kinda terminal. Manner maketh the man - misogyny maketh the me (as my father made me)
04:35 AM | 0 Comments

sad and tragic

Sad was when I got excited to see a comment on Ghost Bikes and think it might have been from my partner.... Only to discover it was my own comment to myself.... Tragic was the revelation as to exactly how much I hate my father I want to kill the fucker the mother fucker abusive bastard I have no love left for him he is a purely abusive bastard I am so scared I am him the only reason my partner loves me is as a specimen of abuse I want to kill my father very badly What held me back must have been something good struggling and I can just remember the last good thing I felt - it died when my sister was born I wish i could make my father never be alive But where does that leave me? He is the most unmitigated unloving awful bastard I could ever imagine - why the fuck was he allowed to live - I could believe in eugenics - but then I would have to go - and him before me He is the Antichrist - and I mean that.... (OH HE'D BE SO PROUD!)
12:51 AM | 0 Comments
← Previous Next → Page 3 of 9