Saturday, 31 March 2012


Another trip to Meadow Lane for me and the boy Robert.  The first 5 minutes today against Oldham were great, attacking and open play from both teams, we were in for a game here.....  Oh no, things calmed down, County edged the first half but went in at half time 0-0.

The second half and County were poor, not enough men forward, no one to make attacking passes to.  Oldham provided a occasional threat and actually looked as though they could pinch it, until the 89th minute.  The ball comes out to left back Sheehan, 25 yards out, he drills it goalwards, slight deflection and through the keepers raised arms into the net, 1-0.  4 minutes of added time spent mostly in County's half proved a nail biting climax, but the whistle finally came and 3 points were in the bag.  Robert came home a happy boy.

Had a brief meeting with the comittee off the cycling club today to hand over the membership stuff I've been looking after having putting it back on track.  Can't say what was discussed, but exciting times ahead for Beeston CC.

Looking forward to some family time tomorrow afternoon, hoping to take a drive into Derbycestershire.

Friday, 30 March 2012


My faith in the British public has been partly restored today after being on the receiving end of a good deed.  I had the misfortune of hitting a pheasant today whilst on my round, or maybe it was the pheasant who suffered the misfortune?  Amazingly the only damage to my truck was a number plate was snapped leaving my front number plate swinging around.  Unfortunately for the pheasant, she suffered a much more serious outcome, one she is not here to tell her family about.

With the company I work for being a stickler for 'the book' and quite rightly so I obviously rang the incident in and suggested I secured the plate somehow and continued on my round.  Whilst in the shop I was serving an old fella came over to let me know about my swinging number plate, to which I thanked him for taking the trouble to let me know but that I was aware.  The old boy reckoned he has some wire in his van and could secure it for me if I wished.  Carry on my man!  Next thing I know he's back from the back of his van (I don't know if it was some kind of Aladdin's cave) with some cable ties and a number plate bolt! How random!  "If the bolt don't fit I'll strap her up with these" he proudly announced.

Within a few minutes he was beaming with glee, he had secured my number plate and was obviously happy at being able to assist me.  I said my thank you's and sent him off with a couple of loafs, he didn't want to accept but I insisted, "We've got to look after each other" he proclaimed!  Now if only a few more people had this attitude, it certainly make you think about yourself.  I'm guilty of not putting myself out for those few minutes on occasions, we are always in a rush or too busy to help.

I got a lucky break today with that old boy being in the right place at the right time, next time if I can help someone I will, we only get out of life what we are prepared to put as Mrs H commented when I told her the story. 

I've decided on the Wilier, application for the Ride to Work voucher has gone in, now awaiting for my certificate to come through from Evans and the order goes in.  I also signed up to CTC today so that I can claim another 10% off the price of the bike as I will be spending over the £1000 limit.  Not only the discount but the CTC membership offers good insurance cover for its members.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


I expectantly find myself bike hunting today.  Upon my arrival back at the depot after my round I was greeted by a nice lady from Evans Cycles who informed me that until the 20th April the company are doing the Bike to Work scheme through Evans.  The obvious downside is having to deal with Evans, my previous experience is not great.  Yes the staff are friendly enough, even when you go back with a problem, it's just they don't fill you with any confidence, you don't get that warm feeling that you would from a friendly local bike shop.

Grumbling about Evans aside I have in the region of £1250 to spend on bike and 5 accessories to claim 20% discount and bring us in at £1000, the limit for the scheme.  For those who don't know how this works, my employer buys the bike and I pay them £13 a week for 12 months, so at the end of the year I've got £1250's worth for £680! Can't be bad.

So the shortlist....

Wilier La Triestina- £1149

Cannondale CAAD8- £1049

Felt F75 - £1175

Any thoughts and opinions you may have are appreciated, currently I'm favouring the Wilier I think.  I like the internal cable routing and the prestige the name gives as well as it being a bit different, you don't tend to see too many out on a club ride.  However I'm told the Cannondale is a cracking ride and I quite like the look of the Felt.  I've phoned Evans and none are in stock for me to try and the Wilier takes 21 days to arrive so it doesn't leave me long to decide which one I want if the deal has to be done by the 20th April!

The purchase has been approved by Mrs H, when I say approved it's more like she's given in to my nagging ;) so a trip to Evans in the next few days to get the ball rolling I think as well as other bike shops to see if I can actually get a test ride within 21 days, nothing like striking whilst the irons hot!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


View towards Ashby from Staunton Harold
Mother nature treated us to yet another gorgeous spring day so it would have been rude of me not to get out there and enjoy it on another bike ride.  After yesterdays hilly peak district ride I fancied something a little easier today so just set off on a steady bimble, no route in mind, just made it up as I went along.  Went down a few roads the 'other way' to what I usually do which gave a nice perspective on some of the areas I ride, ended up at Staunton Harold a regular club ride cafe stop, not that I stopped at the cafe today.

Breedon Priory
Got to Breedon on the Hill and decided to ride up to Priory Church.  I've often wondered what the climb up there would be like, the answer is... quite disappointing.  I knew it was short but thought it would be a lot sharper.  It's a hill but nothing serious, felt quite let down.  Headed towards Derby from here over Swarkestone Bridge which is a national monument and has links with the Civil War of 1643 and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

Then onto Elvaston Castle which is currently fighting to save it's public access as the local council seek to lease it to a consortium who wish to build a golf course on the grounds, thus making much of the estate closed off to public, this would be a crying shame as the grounds are beautiful.  From there it was home through Borrowash, Breaston and Long Eaton.

Distance = 85 km
Time = 3 hrs 5 mins
Ave Speed = 27.3 kph

Road Bike = 1203.1 km
Indoor = 331.4 km
Ran = 154.5 km
Total = 1689.0 km

Managed to get a bit more time on the wheels off the pug, quite a laborious task but got to be done.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Took advantage of the good weather again and took a ride out into the Peak District for the first time this year.  There is something totally different about heading off into Derbyshire and it's hills for a bike ride, it feels like a 'proper' ride.  I'm not a good climber at all but love to challenge myself on the hills.  Local ones like Cloves and Drum are good testers but nothing great.  In fact Cloves today felt dead easy, probably due to the fact that the last time I climbed it I was a good 1.5 stone heavier than today.

The first real testers were Spanker Lane closely followed by Holly Lane.  Spanker is OK, it just has a steep section about half way, Holly however kicks you in the guts right at the start, you turn left off the bridge and bang, it's there, just enough time to scramble through the gears, by the time you reach the right hand bend 100 meters in it really kicks off, a steep gradient for about 300 meters.  Stay seated your pulling wheelies so you have to stand whether you like it or not, once you reach the junction on your left the gradient slacks a little, but your only about 10% of the way up the hill, the remainder is quite pleasant though after what you've just been through.

Onto Wirksworth, this section up to Carsington is probably my favourite part of the ride.... the climb up West End out of Wirksworth is lovely, a good climb, not the longest but up through the houses that sit really close to the road, turn the corner, your only half way but now it's back in beautiful countryside.  The ride home from Carsington is mostly back downhill to Kedleston where a couple of kicks up and a lovely downhill see you in Little Eaton facing Drum Hill, as said before, a good tester but not really a hard hill, that is until you do it at the end of a peak ride... that was my thoughts last year.  This year it is much easier.  I'm so glad to have shed some timber as David Harmon might say, but does make the hills a much more pleasant experience, I just can't wait to get back out into the Peak.

Carsington Water in the distance

Distance = 95.6 km
Time = 3 hrs 59 mins
Ave Speed = 23.9 kph

Road Bike = 1118.1 km
Indoor = 313.5 km
Ran = 141.5 km
Total = 1573.1 km

Once home and showered (me and the bike) I had a go at starting to strip and clean the wheels off the peugeot, undecided whether to use them on the project or not, either way they need cleaning up as they will get sold if not used.  Good news from Mercian, they can supply the correct graphics for the pug if I go to them for the respray, so that's one quality option open to me.

Went to see Sister Act at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham tonight, I wasn't entirely looking forward to it if I'm honest but a good performance was made and I came away pleasantly surprised.  For all the shows we go to see in London,  the local option although not as much of a spectacle does provide a quicker more cost effective 'fix' due to the lack of travel and overnight costs.

Monday, 26 March 2012


Took another 65 seconds off my 10k PB whilst out running today, getting closer to my modest target of a sub 50 minute 10k run.  I have to remind myself at times that I have only been running for a few months and to not be too hard on myself.

Once home and showered I had another fettle with the Peugeot, managed to clean most of the stubborn glue off the bars, it was like the proverbial shit on blanket!  I've started looking around on the net for places to ring about a paint job, it needs to be good but not too pricey, any ideas reader?
Bottom Bracket being degreased
Chrome on the forks is stunning
Love the gold on the lugs, this has to stay!

Before de-glueing
After De-glueing

Sunday, 25 March 2012


Made the most of today's rather clement weather by spending the afternoon on the patio stripping the Peugeot down. 
Dismantled the bottom bracket and headset and was amazed to find all parts in good order, albeit the grease had seen much better days and everything needed a right good cleaning.  The stem took some removing but came in the end after some gentle persuasion with a rubber mallet.
Everything received a large dose of de-greaser and a good rub down, most of it will be going back on the project as it is rebuilt.  The 'wanted' list of parts is quite small, brake levers are required but I hope to use the existing calipers. 
The big dilemma is what to do with the frame and forks, I'm quite capable of doing a decent paint job, but it would be nice to really get a good job done.  So the frame will be touted round a few local establishments looking for a competitive quote on a respray.  And as its a restoration of the frame I need to find a decal set as well.  I'll post a few pics tomorrow from the pc, this blogger app is good most things but photos it ain't!
Coincidentally a neighbour was struggling to remove his crank arms from a nice Trek mtb frame he's getting powder coated whilst I was stripping my bottom bracket, a bit of wd40 and the rubber mallet soon had things moving though.
In other news I sprinkled £10 worth of pigeon feed on the back garden, in other words I sowed grass seed over the veg patch as I can no longer get motivated to be a gardener.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Duller than dish water today, after a pea soup start and an early knock from work I was into the usual Saturday afternoon routine of a visit to Granny Harry's.  Tea, gingers and idle gossip for a couple of hours, did manage to sneak out to the sweet shop with the children for 10 minutes just to break the monotony.
Friends unexpectedly joined us for dinner which was rather nice, we chatted about the upcoming charity events in honour of their daughter Cerys in aid of Little Hearts Matter, more on that another time.
The clocks jump forward tonight and I'm already feeling deprived of sleep without losing another hour, so I'll bid you farewell.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Not sure who and when, but I can't imagine Cav or Wiggo sparking one up in a race
Well a very dull mundane day today, the highlight of the day was mowing the lawn, it doesn't stop there though, this was closely followed by relocating a gate in the garden. 

Whilst I had the mower out I did the piece of land outside the front of our house as it's anyone's guess as to when Broxtowe Borough Council bother to come and cut it.  I asked the question of them last year when the grass verges of Toton were overgrown and going to seed, it really did look a mess.  I was informed that due to budget cuts the grass verges would only be cut four times in the year unless they grew too much and caused a danger to traffic. 

This is despite the fact that the council seem quite happy to throw good money away on a planter outside our house which is constantly vandalised and subsequently repaired at great cost to the taxpayer.  It is stocked with nice plants twice a year which ultimately die off due to lack of watering.  The thing has been an eyesore and general nuisance (as well as a public convenience) since it was put there four years ago.  I have lobbied the council on numerous occasions as well as speaking to our MP on the matter, and everyone seems more than happy to keep throwing money at it.... baffles me!

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Great pic of Team RadioShack training
Took a steady 6 mile run today after Mondays 11 mile effort, felt tired towards the end and realised that I should have done my shorter route today.  I just felt tired, no pain or aches in the legs, no feeling of loss of power, just tired, and I feel great now so can only assume my body just couldn't be arsed at that particular time.

Been spending some time thinking about Project Peugeot and what do with it, it's looking more likely that I'll cobble something together using my current single speed as a donor bike.  I do like the current set up of the Falcon frame but do I have a need for two single speeds really?  Neither are ideally suitable for going fixed and to be honest I'm not sure I want to either.  So I'm thinking of putting the wheels off the Falcon on the peugeot and using the original cranks and just sourcing a suitable chainring as I don't like the cranks and chainring currently on the falcon.  That will leave me with a Falcon frame and crome forks surplus to requirements, ebay beckons methinks, although I'll offer it round the club first as it is in 'Beeston Blue'.

I want to keep the Peugeot as retro as possible so will retain as much of the bike as I can, need to find some nice brake levers though as it only came with one broken one...

I'm looking forward to the Belgian classics getting under way, its a great part of the cycling season, today's picture shows Fabian Cancellara  of RadioShack and his team mate doing a reccy of the Tour of Flanders.  Fab has shown he is in good form and is worth a bet in the upcoming classics I reckon.

BILL HONEYWELL: The End of the World Record Dream

BILL HONEYWELL: The End of the World Record Dream: It’s been a bad week as far as the John O’Groats to Land’s End World Record Relay (JOGLE for short) is concerned.  But following much ...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Booked a short trip to Ibiza today, 5 nights in July on the island.  Hopefully we will get some of the 30c average temperature for our stay.  Looking forward to running along the beach, and doing some exploring both day and night.  The highlight of trip though will undoubtedly be Pascha and David Guetta.
Another rant about taxi'sits I'm afraid.  I'm concious of the fact this getting repetitive so I'll keep it short.  Taxi drivers of Burton and Swadlincote seem to be the worst, blatant disregard of road rules seems to be common practice in those parts. 
Some amusing news is that it appears UPS have done a deal to buy TNT out at last, it's been rumoured for years but finally looks as though it's going through.  Now I don't wish any misfortune to any friends I have still at TNT, I hope their jobs will remain secure.  However any possible new owner needs to take a good look at senior management, a major cull is needed to remove the old school bully boy management that seems to rule, it just doesn't work these days and is the reason I left just over a year ago. 
I was threatened by a senior manager and ultimately ended up walking out of a well paid job to go and work at Tesco for half the money, it really was that bad!
Occasionally you come across arseholes like this in life, unfortunately I seem to have had the pleasure of dealing with 2 of life's biggest arseholes in the past couple of years.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


A windmill - I tried to find it's name but couldn't
Opted for a shorter than normal ride after yesterdays longer than normal run.  Tour de Loughborough was my route today, nice route around Loughborough funnily enough, a few smaller hills, a long drag up to Beacon Hill, a lovely fast section from Beacon down through Swithland.  It's a lovely route with a bit of everything.  The sun was out and it was nice to feel its warmth on my bare arms and legs.  For the first day of spring, it doesn't get much better than this.

Being out on the bike gives me time to mull things over, it's a great time for me to clear my mind.  Today I came to the decision to stand back from looking after the memberships for the cycling club I'm in (Beeston CC).  There are various reasons for this, firstly I just don't have the time to do it, I don't feel inclined to do it any more, and whilst the club won't even publicly acknowledge the fact that it is I managing the membership why should I bother?  There are political reasons for them not naming me which I understand and respect, but it is frustrating none the less.

I also re-evaluated this years goals on the bike, given the fact that running now takes up much of my recreational time and that I will be running a half marathon later this year and intend to run a full one next year it is highly unlikely that I will acheive 5000 miles on the bike.  So whilst running is this (and next) years main focus I am still very much looking to forward to riding, but just enjoying it and not pressurising myself to reach any specific goals.  Audax will be my main focus on the bike, steady longer rides. 

Distance = 74.3 km
Time = 2 hrs 41 mins
Ave Speed = 26.7 kph

Road Bike = 1022.5 km
Indoor = 313.5 km
Ran = 141.5 km
Total = 1477.5 km

Monday, 19 March 2012


Well my run didn't go to plan, in a good way though.  I got myself settled into a steady groove by the time I was in Sandiacre coming along the canal from Ilkeston and was feeling I could maintain this for longer than planned.  By the time I reached the planned point of heading for home just before Long Eaton I decided I was going to continue.  How far I wasn't sure yet, but there are plenty of points where I could easily head for home.  Once through Long Eaton and nearing the Fields Farm Road crossing of the canal I had to decide, head for home or buckle in for at least another 4 miles.  By this point I had already ran farther than ever before.

I carried on to Trent Lock, it was at this point I began to feel this uncharted distance in my legs, my engine was fine but the legs were weary.  I had to carry on, the shortest route home now was along the Trent Mersey canal to Cranfleet Lock and onto Meadow Lane, Long Eaton.  Across Manor Park and I was home.  Really pleased to have completed an 11 mile run, and I still have over 6 months to train for a sub 2hour attempt at a half marathon.

I also had the pleasure of being quoted circa £350 to replace the egr valve, the cause of my engine management warning light being illuminated, for £350 the light can stay on, it's annoying but that annoying.  A bit of DIY required me thinks, it's already been cleaned once but I'll try again, if that fails I try and source one and fit it myself.  I don't like to get my hands dirty with cars but at that price I'll give it a bash.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


Mixed bag of thoughts today, last day of 6 at work today, that's always a good thing.  And being at work got me off the hook with Mothers day duties this morning, the kids had to fend for themselves this year in spoiling their mother, I've still to hear if they did a good job, it doesn't look good though as when I got home Kelly was cooking lunch....  Whilst on Mothers day, I have of course spared a thought for my Mum this morning as well as those I know who will be missing their Mums today.  Not only should we think of those missing their Mums, we should also spare a thought for those Mums missing their children today.

I apologise in advance for this but I must have a rant about taxi drivers, this morning I witnessed several pieces of bad driving from taxi'ists, from middle lane hogging on an empty motorway at 03:30 to driving in the dark with no lights (I kid you not).  It really does piss me off that these professional drivers drive to such a low standard, I know they have to take tests to get a taxi licence but does their driving actually get assessed?

F1 is back, and yet again I'm giving it another chance after a boring season last year, and given the fact that I refuse to pay for Sky's services I am now limited to watching highlights of half of the races it was a close call to not bothering with it at all this year.  But, I thought I'd give it a shot, I avoided the result all morning and settled in for the extended highlights on the beeb.  Great to see Jenson winning, by far my favourite driver on the current F1 grid, and also good to see Williams back in some kind of form and other teams mixing it up, there seems to have been a closing of the gap between the better and worse teams over the winter.  Hopefully this year will provide a closer competition and a second title for Jenson!

MOT day for my motor tomorrow so fingers crossed for that and for a good 7 mile run back from the garage via Ilkeston and back home along the canal.

Saturday, 17 March 2012


Another visit to Meadow Lane to see Notts County today, and whilst I don't profess to know a lot about football, and even less about County I will say Notts certainly seem to be improving under Keith Curle.
Sacking previous manager Martin Allen wasn't a popular move, nor was it one that the clubs form suggested was necessary, it was surprising to say the least.  But now a month later it seems to have been an inspired decision.  Many where bemused when Curle was named as manager, he certainly wasn't the obvious choice to improve on what Allen had started.

Notts Vs Sheffield Wednesday
But, from the games I have seen County are improving each week.  Better football, more desire, and actually becoming entertaining to watch.  Under Curle County were unbeaten before hosting fallen giants Sheffield Wednesday today.  Both teams played well and where evenly matched throughout.  Early in the second half Wednesdays share of the pressure paid off with a couple of goals.  County continued to play well and got one back but a second was always out of reach.  Despite today's loss I think Notts are certainly an improvement on what they where before Curle's arrival.

We generally only go to the football courtesy of Roberts mate who keeps winning tickets, his mum informed us today that he has won two more sets of tickets and for us to pick which games we want to see.
Thoughts go out to Fabrice Muamba the Bolton player who collapsed today on the pitch and is now critically ill in hospital, just goes to show that heart problems can happen to any of us!
Hope your still reading and have not fallen asleep yet unlike me who has fallen asleep writing this.... Day 6 at work tomorrow and I'm more than ready for my rest days.

Friday, 16 March 2012


I'm not sure if my nephew Zac has any career ambitions yet, he's not even started 'proper' school yet, but god help us if he ever holds a position of power, or even worse a law enforcer.  I say this because he informed me this afternoon that if I drove through a red traffic light the police would take me away to a nasty house.  Fair enough you may think albeit a little harsh.... Oh no the worst is yet to come.  Apparently then carnivores would eat me! 

Whilst I applaud a tougher no nonsense approach from the authorities I do think being eaten may be a little too much for jumping a red light.  But I do wish I had such an imagination as little Zac, I love the innocence of some of the things little kids say, it sure brightened my afternoon up.

My 'MyKnoaky' arrived today, a cool idea from pro cyclist Andreas Klier.  It is a small piece of oak that you carry with you so that you can 'knock on wood' or 'touch wood' at any time, a lucky charm if you like.  Not only is it a lucky charm but for every Knoaky sold a tree is planted for Plant for the Planet foundation.

I wouldn't say I was overly superstitious but I'm of the opinion that it can't do any harm, and if it make you feel better/safer then what the heck.  Superstition interests me, I like to read and hear about why certain groups of people do certain things, what they expect to gain from it and if it does actually work.  Some say it's all a load of twaddle, others swear by it, me... I just keep an open mind.  Sounds a bit like religion really doesn't it?

Andreas talking about MyKnoaky

Really early night for me tonight, feeling it this week after being off last week and Robert and I have another trip to Meadow Lane tomorrow afternoon, you never know it may 'touch wood' for Notts County.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


One of 'those' days today... That 'pea soup' fog was about this morning, in fact it really was quite bad at half 3 this morning.  I left for work as usual and carefully proceeded down the A52 unaware of what was to come.  The warning signs were there at J25 of the M1, an ambulance with blues on was loitering seemingly uncertain of which way it needed to go on the motorway.  Then by the sliproad for the north bound side a police car also on blues.  Thing is at that time of day and without the benefit of hindsight you just carry on, carry on that is until you are faced with a wall of blue lights flashing in the fog.  One and a half hours later a nice police man told me to drive into the services, onto the service road, over the motorway to grab a quick birds eye view of the carnage below and back onto motorway one, this time south bound to where I started.  Now why couldn't that cock by the sliproad have stopped me joining the motorway, he obviously knew what was ahead and must have had an idea how serious it was. BBC News report (clicky)

Later on after managing to claw back some of my lost time after my late arrival at work I suffered more misfortune in the shape of a flat tyre.  Luckily I was round the corner from an ATS depot so was only off the road for just over an hour.  Combined with the earlier shenanigans it was enough to write my day off by the time I finally got home.

Further update on yesterday's nutter on the canal... At half 5 this morning after more than 12 hours negotiating with police he gave himself up.  BBC News Report (clicky)

Was hoping to pop down the cue club tonight for an hour or so, but just couldn't be bothered, a glass of some girly black currant cider was calling me....

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Blogging from my phone tonight so the picture may just appear to be a black void, but if you look closely you should see two white dots.  Those two dots in tonight's western sky are Jupiter and Venus.  I am no astronomer but am reliably informed by Robert that Venus (the upper and brighter of the two) is the hottest planet and Jupiter the largest.

As said I have no real interest in astronomy but can't help but be impressed by seeing two planets with the naked eye.  Not long ago Robert and I attended the night sky event at Wollaton Park where we viewed Jupiter (I could be wrong) through a telescope.  To the naked eye it looked like a bright star, but through the scope you could (just) see the striped surface of the planet and several of its moons.  Again I couldn't help but be impressed.

In other news, whilst viewing our neighbouring planets I could hear a helicopter buzzing around, Robert commented that is was flying around earlier in the day.  After consulting the local jungle drums via facebook and Twitter and following subsequent leads it is apparent armed police are negotiating with a wanted criminal on a canal boat a mile or so from Hobbs Towers -

They better sort it by Monday, I'm planning on running home from Ilson along the canal.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Very little of interest to report tonight, went to work, went for a run, looked for a holiday in Ibiza, and that's about it. 

Hopefully Mrs H and I will be jetting off to Ibiza for a short break with friends to see David Guetta playing his Fuck Me I'm Famous night at Pacha.  This is all part of our living our lives backwards kind of plan that seems to be unfolding.

Whilst all our friends were out partying and living it up we were busy getting wed and having babies.  Many thought (and said) we were too young and it wouldn't last, well 15 years on we're still going strong.  Yes there have been low points but don't we all experience that.  I feel now we are stronger than ever, as we have matured we understand and appreciate what it is we have that bit more.

Now the tables are turning.  Our thoughts were that we would rather 'live life' later on when we had some money and stability behind us and are still fit and able to do what most 20 somethings get up to.  By doing things young we brought a house on the right side of the property boom.  Got the children out of the way early doors, by the time I'm in my 40's we will be able to leave the kids home alone and do as we wish. 

Next stage of the master plan is to invest our money into an early retirement plan, we have a few ideas and if things go to plan I'll be giving up the daily grind at 55, fingers crossed!

We may have done it the old fashioned way but if I had my time again I'd do nothing differently.

Monday, 12 March 2012


It would be fair to say I wasn't looking forward to today, the day that our close friends Emma and Andrew said goodbye to their baby daughter.  Cerys was born with a serious heart condition which was diagnosed before her birth.  After surgery Cerys defied the odds twice, she surprised everyone caring for her by bouncing back.  Even after the heartbreaking decision to let her go she fought back just to give her mum and dad a few more days with her.

Kelly and I didn't get the opportunity to meet little Cerys, but she touched ours and many others lives.  Emma & Andy kept friends and family updated daily on the little ones progress, we and I'm sure all others were extremely grateful for this.

After 12 days Cerys fell asleep for the last time in the arms of mummy and daddy, she had fought a brave battle, she had given her proud parents all she could.

For believers of fate the reasons for Cerys' short life will become clear one day, maybe not when they are looking for it, but it will happen.  I believe she is in a good place now, free from any pain and in the knowledge that her mum and dad loved her more than anything they have ever known.  I'm not overly religious but I'm sure she'll be watching down on mum and dad, and her brother's and sisters in years to come, I've even had a word with my mum to keep an eye out for her.

The service this morning was beautiful, just perfect! And Cerys's tea party after was lovely, a fitting tribute to heavens newest and brightest angel!

Rest in peace Cerys, you will always be loved xxx

Sunday, 11 March 2012

BILL HONEYWELL: Record Breakers!!

BILL HONEYWELL: Record Breakers!!: After Bill & Richard's Excellent Adventure (I think this name will stick!), the next big, fantastic challenge is - as one of a team of 20 cy...


Bolsover Castle
Well we were treated to a lovely spring day today.  An overtime shift saw me rising at 3am and for the first time this year I heard the birds singing as I rose at silly o'clock.

By the time I left the depot with a fully loaded lorry at 05:40 the sky was lighting up and at just before 06:30 I was treated to a lovely sunrise.  As I was saying the other day, there really is something special about mornings like this.  The route I did today was one of the more scenic routes taking in North Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire bordering South Yorkshire.  Lovely roads and views between drops, especially when you get out Creswell - Bolsover way.  Also saw something you don't see often this morning, a stoat!  I don't know a lot about these animals but was surprised to see it in such a built up area.

An early finish and I was home for 11:00, quick change and out in the garden to give it a spring clean.  I f*cking hate gardening, hard to believe from someone who kept an allotment for nearly 2 years.  I dont mind mowing the lawn every now and then but when it comes to weeding, well I'd rather pull my fingernails out! 

One good thing about a good tidy up in the garden is that the pyromaniac in me comes out to play and true to form it wasn't long before a years worth of rubbish and the old chicken coop were up in flames threatening to take out the next door neighbours fence too, Christ that felt burns well :)

Once I had satisfied the destructive devil inside me it was beer time.  After a hard week of daily exercise and full of satisfaction after tidying and burning the garden I figured a few beers in front of the telly wouldn't hurt.  A great week of cycling has been on TV and I was 2 days behind so had plenty to catch up on. 

A great week for Bradley Wiggins taking the overall in the Paris-Nice, the first British winner since Tom Simpson in 1967.  Can he maintain this kind of form until July?  We'll wait and see.

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Southwell Minster
Rode my first Audax of the year today, 105k out of Alfreton on the 3 Fields ride.

Upon drawing the curtains this morning I was greeted with brilliant sunshine, what more could I want?  Well the sun to stay with me would have been nice.  As soon as I got in the car the sun went in.  By the time I was on the M1 it was raining!  Well 'rain' is a slight exaggeration, fine drizzle is more accurate.

Luckily the light drizzle had ceased by 08:30 when after my cup of tea I set off.  Within the first kilometre I missed the 2nd turn of the ride, not the best of starts but a stark reminder to keep a beady eye on the satnav.  After turning round and following the correct route I was taken through Blackwell, Pleasley and onto Shirebrook, not the nicest places in themselves but some decent cycling roads linking them all together.  Once clear of Shitebrook (spot the deliberate spelling mistake) I was heading my first 'control point'.

For those who don't know Audax I'll briefly explain.... You follow a route which is unsigned, you have a detailed route sheet giving full instructions of the route.  To prove you have done the route and not taken any short cuts there are control points.  These can be manned by the organiser where your brevet card is stamped, they can be an information control where a question is asked on your brevet card.  For example today's question was what is the name on the burglar alarm of a house on a T-Junction at Whaley?  You simply write the answer on your brevet card.  The other type of control is a 'free control' where you have to get a timed and dated receipt of any kind from a town to prove you were there.

On my way to Whaley for the first control I was taken up a quiet leafy lane which was covered in squashed frogs, two frogs seemed to have been squashed in a compromising position, fancy stopping in the middle of the road to do that!  Control point done and I was heading for the second control of Bothamsall for tea and cakes and a brief chat with Dad who was manning the control for he is a member of Alfreton CTC who run this ride.

Thats the nice thing about Audax, you are given tea/coffee and often toast or sandwiches at the start, and more tea, coffee, cakes and sandwiches at the finish included in the price which is usually about £5, compare that to the price of a sportive (usually £20 +) and you can see the appeal of Audax.  En route there is usually at least one stop where food and hot drinks are available.

I had made good time to the second stop helped by a tailwind which would carry me to Soutwell and the third control, this one being a 'free control' where a quick stop at a cash point gave me my evidence that I had passed through the town.  Onwards to the finish back at Alfreton knowing that I would have to turn and face the wind that had pushed me most of the way.  Everything was OK until 80k's, then bang.... block headwind and just to rub it in most of the last 25k was uphill as well.  Head down and just slog it out was the only way to go, just over an hour later I was back in Alfreton.

At 80k my average speed was 27.2kph, by the finish that had been reduced to 25.1.  After coffee and cake I was on my way home quite pleased with my (moving) time of 4 hrs 11mins.

A good start to my Audax year, not sure how many I'll get in as my silly shift pattern rules out most weekends but I have a few already booked and paid for and am looking forward to them already.

Distance = 105.5 km
Time = 4 hrs 11 mins
Ave Speed = 25.1 kph
Ascent = 1165m (11.1 m/km)

Road Bike = 948.2 km
Indoor = 313.5 km
Ran = 121.5 km
Total = 1383.2 km

Friday, 9 March 2012


Well as my week off draws to an end I find myself with nothing other to blog about than some form of exercise, a 10k run today, my first attempt at this distance against the clock.  I estimated from a previous run that I was around the 55 min mark for the distance.  So was pleasantly surprised to clock 51:30, quite reasonable I thought.

So what was my original motivation to get physical and sporty.  7 and a half years ago when Mum died I wanted to to something for cancer charities.  Give something back, especially to Macmillan Cancer Support who helped Mum in her last weeks.  It took me a while to find the right challenges.

I got back into mountain biking and foolishly decided to ride the 50 mile Great Nottingham bike ride, a road event on a mountain bike.  It was tough going for a fat bloke but I raised over £150 for my efforts.  This road based event wetted my appetite somewhat and it wasn't long before I purchased a road bike and started racking up some mileage.

On the start line for the c2c
Next up in 2010 was the coast to coast event.  I rode from one side of England (Whitehaven) to the other (Sunderland) with Dad over two days, again for Macmillan, this time raising nearly £300.  See my c2c blog here (clicky clicky).

So what's next?  I didn't have anything planned for this year, but following our close friends loss of their 12 day old daughter who had serious heart problems diagnosed prior to her birth, a half marathon is a distinct possibility.  I was looking at running this distance this year as a personal challenge, but our friends and their family are all in training to run the Cardiff half marathon in October, and have invited me (and Kelly) to join them.  Some of us are experienced runners, some (like me) are new to the game and others are still yet to tread the pavements in their unused brand new shiny trainers.  Whatever our ability we all have our own personal targets for the run, but one shared reason for doing it.

They have nominated the charity Little Hearts Matter for this run so it is important to us all to reach our own personal targets thus raising some hard cash for this charity.  I will of course be pestering everyone I know for cash when the time comes.  My target..... under 2 hours will do for me.

Thursday, 8 March 2012


Long Lane at dawn, the gateway to many of my rides
Opted to go shorter and harder today (ooo-er) I was planning another 100k ride but once I was tanking along Long Lane I thought I'd keep up the good pace and cut the ride a little shorter.  I was heading for Hoby on a 90k ride but pealed off at Seagrave and took one of my favourite roads Berrycot Lane up to Six Hills and back home.  I kept an average speed of just over 28kph (17.5mph) which given the breeze out there today isn't too shabby at all for me.  I also took note of my 50k time of 1hr 46, another milestone to chip away at.  Must have a crack at 50 miles once the mudguards are off, I reckon that PB is there for the taking.

Distance = 71 km
Time = 2 hrs 31 mins
Ave Speed = 28.1 kph
Ascent = 455m (6.4 m/km)

Road Bike = 842.7 km
Indoor = 313.5 km
Ran = 93.4 km
Total = 1249.6 km

Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day but I may sneak a little run in, OK I probably will go for a run...

Tonight saw me heading to Stapleford Cue Club to indulge in my latest pastime, a few games of pool.  My mate got me into this a few months ago.  It's nothing serious, just a group of lads in it mainly for the social aspect of having a few games and a few drinks on a Thursday evening.  Just to make it more interesting they formed a team to play in the Long Eaton & district pool league.  We are currently out of season so tonight was just a (well needed on my part) training session working on my angles and doubles.  I played snooker poorly as a teenager and haven't lifted a cue since so I have a lot to learn.  As said, we don't take it too seriously, a look at the league tables will tell you that, it's just nice to get out each week for a couple of hours in good company, have a laugh and whack a few balls about.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Much a day of nothingness today, a wet and windy day saw me wimping out of my original plan of the hilly TT course, opting instead for a turbo session in front of Paris-Nice on Eurosport.  Good to see Team Sky doing so well and controlling the race to keep Wiggins in yellow.  I'm not Brads biggest fan it has to be said, whilst I wish him well I just don't think he has the ability to match all the hype,  Saying that with a certain Bertie Contador out of the way for a while and the fact that the Schleck's can not time trial it only takes Cuddles to have a rough time and Wiggo has as good a chance as the next GC contender.

My day out with Team Sky (that's me on the left in the Hi Vis)

I keep mentioning my weight loss of late so it's about time I put that record to bed before you all get sick of hearing about it.  I didn't set out with any real intention of losing a great deal of weight, I did want to shed some but not in a diety kind of way, I just wanted to cut out the crap I ate and hope I lost a bit of weight over time.  So what went wrong with that plan?

My new job certainly helped, instead of standing/ sitting around generally doing nothing at Tesco I now have a job on my feet, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling baskets and 'stacks' of bread.  This 'exercise' has increased my metabolism and increased my desire to do more.  So after getting used to being physical at work I thought I would try running, mainly because in the winter it's quite a lot of 'faff' to get me and the bike ready for a ride and then clean up after, especially when my exercise 'window' is about 2 hours in the afternoon.  So I saw running as a more time efficient  way of exercising.

Little did I know what effect it would have on my weight.  It started to drop off very quickly, as I felt lighter and fitter the more I wanted to be in shape, loose a few more pounds.  It's addictive, and when its going well you have the desire to do better, that little bit more.  My diet has improved, I eat better and less.  I wouldn't say I was on a diet as such, I just watch my calories, try to keep within my RDI, but most importantly try to make sure I'm using more calories than I take in, that way I figure I can't put weight on.

So where am I?  I've lost 2 stone since last August, I'm now 14 1/2 stone, would like to get under 14 stone, would love to get to 13 1/2.  

I promise now to try my best not to keep rattling an about it with the exception of when I meet the two goals mentioned above.

Another 100k's on the bike in order tomorrow before a rest day on Friday and a 100k Audax on Saturday, can't wait to get my 2012 Audax account open.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

1937 Paris - Nice

A club mate posted this on our clubs website, love the train crossing part.


Sudbury Hall
First ride in over a week, took a new route over to Doveridge via Duffield, Kedleston and nowhere else really, very quiet lanes of South Derbyshire towards Uttoxeter.  The section from Long Lane through to Doveridge really was beautiful, did myself proud with the route planning.  Of course the unbroken sunshine helped matters, a cold start was rewarded by wall to wall sunnyness for everyone of today's 108 kilometres.

I stopped at Sudbury Hall (above) to chomp my banana and fruit loaf seeing as I had full gloves on today and didn't fancy eating with them on.  Sudbury is where our good friends Emma and Andy got married last year, despite the early rain it was a truly magical day and it was a honour to be able to share it with them, as we have done many special moments since (Black Eyed Peas been my favourite) and I'm sure we will do in the future.

The only problem with stopping to eat is that I usually struggle to get going again, not today though, I was straight back into it and felt good all the way home from Sudbury via familiar roads around Repton, Swarkestone, Aston & Weston on Trent & Shardlow.

My stamina has certainly improved this year, I'm quite sure this is down to the running that I have been doing over the winter.  Hills don't take it out of me like they did last year, that'll be the running and the weight lost.  I'm in the best shape I ever have been, problem is weight loss seems to be addictive, I have lowered my target twice now!

Distance = 108.5 km
Time = 4 hrs 17 mins
Ave Speed = 25.2 kph
Ascent = 1088m (10.1 m/km)

Road Bike = 771.7 km
Indoor = 313.5 km
Ran = 83.4 km
Total = 1168.6 km

I fancy a crack at the Hilly TT course tomorrow, not necessarily to put a good time in but more just to see how I go.  I reckon I can take 5 minutes of my PB this year, maybe a little ambitious but its a challenging target.

Getting the blog in early today as we have company this evening, it may not be a late one but there will be plenty of pots to sort out after.

Monday, 5 March 2012


View along the Trent this morning
Had the opportunity to ride with some clubs mates this morning which quite tickled my fancy, but with chores to be done due to our weekend away I just didn't have the time so opted for a 10k run instead.

It was a lovely bright and breezy morning, if a little on the chilly side.  The wind factor made me happy to be running rather than riding and I managed to put a decent performance in.  Today's was the furthest I have ran since taking it up at 6.4 miles and i managed it in 57 minutes, not great by any means but a good marker for me to chip away at before reaching my target of a 45 minute 10k.

Pedal power is the order of the day tomorrow, hoping to get three 100k ish rides in this week and one smaller one.  I have a 100k Audax on Saturday so three rides during the week will be enough!

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Day 2 in London, visited east London and the Olympic games site, saw the aquatic centre and the main stadium from afar.  The area is still very much under construction so access is very limited.

From there we headed back into town for the science museum, the least said about that the better.... Bored me and the children almost to tears, it has to be said we are not at all scientifically inclined, but as with a lot of attractions in the smoke at least it is free to enter.

So why so many trips to London?  For a country boy I do seem to spend a lot of time down there.  There is so much on offer, there is always something going on, free places to visit, west end shows to see.  We really enjoy the shows and still have a few on our wish list so I'm sure it won't be too long before we find ourselves heading south again.

Off work this coming week so expect lots of talk of bike riding....

Saturday, 3 March 2012


My small branch of the Hobbs family is down sarf in that there London again.  As usual we've took in a show, We will rock you.  Great show although not really suitable for the children, they found the story boring but did enjoy most of the music.

Off for a peek at the Olympic stadiums tomorrow before going back into town for the National Science museum.

I'm leaving you now tho for my cold Stella, contents of my hip flask and oh so comfy premier inn bed.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Did a bit of housework this morning and it was high time the bowl to the left was cleaned out of the junk it has accumulated over the past few years.  Hobbs Of Woodstock, my Grandparents business of chartered surveying and letting agency.  Based in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, I used to love our family visits to Woodstock to stay with Grandma and Grandad  before their divorce.  It was a lovely property on Oxford Street.  I always remember the spiral wooden staircase and the attic rooms, the place had real character and so did the residents. 

Grandad used to chase us round on all fours until we submitted and Grandma loved taking us out into the grounds of Blenheim for walks and feeding of the ducks and swans.  Now whenever we stay somewhere near a busy road the sound of traffic passing by and the pedestrian crossing bleeping occasionally always takes me back to Woodstock.

After my general cleaning/ironing duties it was time for a run, followed my regular 5.2 mile circuit of part of Attenborough Nature Reserve, I felt good throughout the run and realised that a PB may be on the cards... 1 min and 7 secs off my best, well pleased.  What's even more pleasing is that I'm knocking times of my runs and it feels as though less effort is going in to them.  Now I seem to have shaken my knee troubles off I really am enjoying my running. 

I have a possible target for later in the year, I'm keeping tight lipped for now about where and what it is as it's only an idea at the moment, but it will be for a very worthwhile cause very close to friends of ours hearts, and yes I will be asking you all for money if it happens.

Finally (if your still reading) I am preparing for another Hobbs weekend assault on that there London this weekend, I am rather miffed though that TFL have decided to close the Overground and Metropolitan lines this weekend for 'engineering' the two lines that serve our hotel, looks like we'll be using buses this weekend then!

Before I leave you, there is talk of a stag do in September requiring my presence and also Mrs H and Mrs F are plotting a trip to Ibiza this summer to see David Guetta, fun times ahead.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Long Eaton canal this morning
Well it was pea soup on my way to work this morning (never really understood why the term pea soup is used) but as the sun rose and burnt off the fog we were left with a beautiful day.  Today's picture was taken by the canal this morning as day broke.  That is one major bonus to my job, being out and about as the day breaks, it really is the best part of the day.

Since the age of 13 (speaking officially) I have loved the early mornings, a must really as paper boys who can't get out of bed aren't much use.  Even at that age I appreciated what a wonderful time of day it was.

It's hard to describe but I'll have a go..... It's as if everything in the world is as it should be at 4 o'clock in the morning, it is peaceful save a few birds chirping away, they signal the arrival of the new day and as lightness spreads the world awakes, it is only then that negatives start to creep in.  As people arise and set out on their daily routines they spread the grumpiness as they go if it is a gloomy day, but happiness if it a bright sunny morning.  As the world gets busy we lose the peacefulness as the hustle and  bustle takes over, peoples care free attitude turns to selfishness as the daily grind seems to wash there happiness away.  I wish it could be 7am all day. Chris Evans describes this much better than I can in his 'Memoirs of a Fruitcake' book.

One such example of people turning the day sour was my altercation with a driving instructor today, Malc's School of Motoring.  Now I admit I did dare to overtake Lord Malc but at no pint did I endanger his or my life, so I was quite surprised to firstly hear Malc's horn over David Guetta and then see Malc waving two fingers at me!  Now as a partly qualified driving instructor (yet another story for another day) I am well aware that the Driving Standards Agency are very keen on instructors teaching the art of Defensive Driving, within this element is a requirement not to display or be a cause of road rage.  Malc may have been having a bad day, he may have as happy as I at 7am and not let this incident bother him, I don't know, but please Malc, lead by example, what you did today was not a great advert for your services.