26 July 2007

It's all about timing!

Perfect timing meant I was able to get to work and back on my bike on Monday and not get caught in the heavy rain we had on and off all day.

Even better timing meant that I got the lawns mowed on Tuesday evening after work. Just as I was packing everything away, it poured down with rain again!

Then, in true Richard style, I go and get a head cold just in time for our trip to Scotland! Perfect timing!

With a little luck, and a lot of Lemsip, I should have just about got over the cold (man-flu) by the time we get to see Albannach play on Saturday. It’s looking like we’ll get to see them play three gigs on Saturday - Loch Lomond Shores in the afternoon, Lomond Park Hotel early evening and then the Tullie Inn at night.

Right, time I finished off my packing!

22 July 2007

Count down to Alba!

Well, so much for me watching what I eat! I was at the gym again this morning - I was there just before 9:00AM, on a Sunday! - and I checked up on my B.M.I. and body fat again and it wasn’t good!

My B.M.I. has risen, slightly, from 23.4 to 23.5, which I can cope with. My body fat has risen from 21.6% to 25.2%! That I am not so happy about! If I’m honest, I didn’t do too well on keeping away from the chocolate and crisps over the past week and now it has come back to haunt me. This week, I will try harder - only problem is, on Friday we head up to Scotland for just over a week. By early afternoon on Friday, I should have already tasted my first tray of chips and deep-fried Haggis. Not the sort of food to lower your body fat!

So, onto Scotland. We’ll arrive at Loch Lomond around lunchtime on Friday, in plenty of time for the Loch Lomond Festival, which starts later that afternoon. How much of the festival we see on Friday depends on the weather, we may just have a meal and a few drinks at the inn we’re staying at! On Saturday, we should get to see two Albannach gigs - one during the day and then another at the Tullie Inn in the evening.

Next on the list is the World Highland Games at Callander on Sunday. We attended these games for the first time last year and really enjoyed them, so we’re there again this year and looking forward to another great day - fingers crossed for the weather. After the games on Sunday my plan, at the moment, is to head straight back to the Loch Lomond Festival to see The Raggle Taggle Gypsies play. I’ve never seen this band before but from the little bit of their music I’ve heard, via the internet, they should prove to be well worth seeing.

From Monday onwards we’ll be taking things as they come. Trips to Glasgow, Stirling Castle, and a whisky distillery or two are on the list but it will just be a case of taking time to enjoy being away from work, home and the usual routine.

Now a word of warning… I went shopping yesterday (something I hate) and came back with two new sets of batteries and a 1GB memory card for my camera! Be ready for rather a lot of photos from Scotland when we return! You have been warned!

15 July 2007

A busy old week...

Well, it’s been a busy old week, one way or another!

Monday was one of those days at work…

Tuesday we went to the gym after work - the only time this week - and I came away feeling that once again I had had a good workout and that the gym is worth all the effort, and money! It’s just a pity that I couldn’t get to the gym again all week though.

Wednesday evening Lynda and I went to watch one of her old school mates crown green bowling. Yeah, I know, crown green bowling! What??? But, and here’s the worrying bit, I actually enjoyed the evening! I’m not going to say that we have a full grasp of the rules yet, far from it!, but as the evening went on we did start to follow things a lot more and got quite into it in the end. Lynda is checking with her friend to see when they are playing on their home green again, as it is only a few minutes walk from here. Another good reason to go again… the beer is cheap, very cheap!

On Thursday, it was my dad’s birthday so we went to visit him in the evening. I has hoping that we may be able to have a walk around the farm with him and visit the wildlife pond/area he has created over the past few years but the constant rain we’ve been getting meant that the fields would have been a mud bath. Whilst we sat talking, it came out that an old school mate of mine is very ill and suffering from cancer. I’m not sure what hit me the most, hearing that he was ill or the fact that he is only a year or so older than me.

Friday was Lynda’s dad’s birthday and we took him, and Sue, out for a meal at the Jasmine Garden Cantonese restaurant. There’s not a lot I can say about this place other than it is superb value for money! The eat all you like buffet was only £10.50 each (even cheaper Sunday - Thursday) and the food is great! As usual when we go here, we ate way too much again!

After work on Saturday afternoon, Lynda and I headed into Derby for the annual beer festival at the Assembly Rooms. Usually we would attend one of the evening sessions but this year I chose Saturday afternoon so that we could see a local band, Cold Flame, playing. And to try a beer or two of course! In the end it was a comedy skiffle band, Kick n Rush, that turned out to be the more entertaining! Cold Flame were good but much of their set was cover versions of other band's music - I’m not a huge fan of cover bands! Having said that, the stuff we heard Kick n Rush play was also familiar stuff from other bands, only played in a comedy way! We walked into the main hall just as they started to sing Wild Rover, all good fun for a Saturday afternoon at a beer festival!

Cold Flame, at the start of their set.

Lynda - before too many drinks!

Kick 'n' Rush - on the main stage.

Stupid grin, blurred photo, full glass - another good beer festival!

Maybe it's best that we head home!

Today, Sunday, I had planned on going for another early morning bike ride. I was up and out of bed by 7:00am only to find it pouring down with rain, yet again! So, no bike ride just a morning in front of the TV, followed by an afternoon in front of the TV! Staying home did have its plus points though… Lynda made a Sweet Potato Pie. It was gorgeous! When Lynda said that she would be making this pie I expected it to be a main course pie, a bit like a meat pie only vegetarian, but it is in fact a sweet or pudding if you like. Either way, it’s great with ice cream!

After all the excess of the past few days, I think the gym will be well used over the coming week, if we’re not all under six foot of water by then that is. The rain has been pretty heavy for most of the day and right now it’s throwing it down again and we have thunder and lightening to go with it - a typical summers evening really.

The missing link!

Oops! I’ve just tried to play the video of the SOS All-Stars that I posted and found the link no longer worked! SORRY!

It’s now fixed and playing again - only it has better sound now too!

09 July 2007


There has been a lot of press, both good and bad, about the Live Earth gigs at the weekend but one little bit did grab my attention and it was, I think, just brilliant! It was the opening from the London gig - The SOS All-Stars! I just LOVE drums and I thought this was an excellent opening - pity some of other stuff later in the day wasn’t as good!

As for the gigs themselves, and the amount of energy used/emissions created, I’m trying to keep an open mind on that.

08 July 2007

So much for me saying that the gym was a priority and that I would be there last Tuesday evening, I didn’t get a workout until Saturday morning in the end! I packed my gym bag on Tuesday morning, put it in the car and was all set for a good workout in the evening, by early afternoon I had an evil headache and generally felt yuck! I still didn’t feel too good by Thursday, the day I would normally be at the gym, so no workout again then and on Friday, I decided that I might as well wait until Saturday morning for a gym visit.

When I did finally make it through the door of the gym I managed a good mix of cardio and fixed weights and came away feeling as though I had put in a good effort. Whilst there I also used the all singing, all dancing scales/B.M.I/body fat machine that they have. The results came as a bit of a surprise!

Weight - 11st 7lb (as I expected).
Height - 5ft 9½. (I’m not getting any taller!)
B.M.I (body mass index) - 23.4 (just about ideal)
Body fat - 21.6% (between good and excellent!)

I was expecting a lot worse on the body fat but it could still be better. I now plan to try to reduce that figure by watching what I eat a little more. If you see me with a chocolate bar… take it off me!

For the second day running, we had no rain today - in fact, it actually felt like summer! So much so that I was out of bed by 6:00AM, had a light breakfast, checked the bike over and then went for a ride around South Derbyshire! I covered something like 25 miles in just under an hour and three quarters and was back home by 8:20AM! I thought is was great - Lynda didn’t! I’d left my house key behind and, seeing as she was still asleep when I got home, I had to wake her up so I could get back in the house!

Cycle route 66 - just around the corner from home!

The ride itself was one of the best I’ve had. I didn’t see a single person in the first 45 minuets of the ride, the weather was great - nice and sunny but not too warm - and the scenery was gorgeous. The only minor set back was one of the cycle paths being almost completely blocked by a fallen tree. Even that didn’t cause too much of a problem as other cyclists, or walkers, had made a small pathway through the branches.

The blocked cycle path!

Breedon church.

The view from the church.

The rest of the morning was spent catching up on jobs outside. I’ve washed the car, mown the lawns and cut back a lot of the overgrown shrubs in the garden and all before lunch, when I came inside to watch the British F1 Grand Prix!

A tidy garden again!

Now, Lewis Hamilton. Is he going to be the next F1 super star? Some would say he already is. I’m still not quite sure. Yes, he’s had a superb start to his career and has finished in the top three in all nine of this season's races, so he can quite clearly drive, but is he really that much better than the rest or is he just a very good driver in the best car? Only time will tell. This country certainly needs someone that is capable of winning championships again that’s for sure!

As for this season - I’m not writing off Ferrari, or either of their two drivers, just yet!

02 July 2007

Still quiet...

Another week goes by and it was more of the same… work, work, work, rain, rain, rain.

After the worst of the flooding last Monday, I managed to get out of work for half an hour during Tuesday afternoon and take a walk down to the River Derwent, at the rear of Pride Park. The water must have been a good 10 or 12 feet higher than normal and had, in places, actually come up and over the river bank and flooded the cycle path.

Camera phone photo of the River Derwent on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning saw a brief respite from the rain and I took the chance to use the bike to get to work. I just about managed to get there before the first shower came and was lucky enough to ride home at night during another dry spell. The ride along the river path showed that the river had dropped by about 8 feet in just over 24 hours. The rest of the week saw the bike back in the garage as the rain fell constantly - I love the bike rides but not enough to get drowned first thing in a morning!

The gym is still a priority - I managed to drag myself there on a further three occasions last week and will be there tomorrow evening. At long last, I seem to be back into a routine with my workouts and feel committed to them again, only time will tell. I have also been using Lynda’s pedometer to measure my steps and distance walked during the day. An average day is around five or six thousand steps, which works out at about 2 or 2.5 miles. I’m a long way short of the recommended 10,000 steps but at least I am trying to up the distance whenever I can.

Sunday, 1 July 2007. A date that I have looked forward to for a long, long time! Smoking was finally banned from all enclosed public places in England! No more coming home from pubs, clubs, restaurants and gigs smelling like a week-old ashtray! Many people think this ban is a breach of their human rights… I say killing me with your smoke is a breach of MY human rights!

If people want to smoke that’s fine by me, I don’t have a problem with that, but non-smokers are equally entitled to clear air. As the adverts in the papers have been saying…